February 5th, 2010

Гацо Бацов от ФК Бацова Маала
  • htpcl

Travel impossible: or the road to nowhere

Dobro veče, my dear America-centric pals who are fascinated about the broad bright world! While you're all bickering about such insignificant issues like health-care (duh), media pundits (yawn) and the global crisis (Zzzzz), I'm going to divert your attention to a place which few people give a damn about - 'cept when there are a couple of hundred thousand tons of cluster bombs that are supposed to be wasted (and fast, please). A place whose name, however, is often evoked whenever we're talking in terms of political fragmentation, the Divide-And-Conquer/Rule principle, and about backward, 19-century mentality. Yes, I'm talking about the Balkans, this oh so pleasant place which is both supposed to be part of the modern world, part of Europe, and a connecting section between the East and West. And truly, it does possess features of both the East and West, as you will see.

Let's take transportation for example. My examples are always anecdotal, but when you pile a thousand anecdotal examples, I think we're already talking of a trend. See, the Balkans are said to be strolling fast toward Europe (really!). At least their eastern part already is considered part of it, as Bulgaria and Romania entered the EU (the fact they're kind of Division Two of the EU is another story - or maybe it ain't - I'll let you make the judgment).

My point is, what could be a more eloquent sign of the lack of real European integration than the fact that there's hardly any other corner of the supposedly "developed" world, and particularly Europe, where it is so hard to get your ass from one country to the neighboring one?

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  • paft

"You Ain't Got The EJICASHUN to Vote!"

That was the caption from an editorial cartoon about Jim Crow literacy tests in the days before the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The cartoon showed a black voter, a Tuskegee University graduate, being turned away from the polls by a grinning white registrar.

Ah, the good old days. Tom Tancredo and the Tea Party Movement miss them...

And then, something really odd happened, mostly because I think that we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country. People who could not even spell the word "vote," or say it in English, put a committed socialist idealogue in the White House, name is Barack Hussein Obama. Tom Tancredo,speaking yesterday at the first Tea Party National Convention

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Faith / Debate

This came up on a friend's journal, and I'm curious what people here think about the statement

The problem is people don't put their faith up for debate. It's not a topic that comes into the realm of reason and discourse. It is socially (and often legally) wrong to challenge the tenets of someone's faith. Yet the deductions they make from their faith shape politics and social norms. If you can't debate the root belief how can there be any real debate about how society should be organized and what is acceptable/expected?"

I think maybe in a sense religion/faith impact is so general that specific debate is meaningless for specific topics, unless the original poster was just bothered by the fact in general faith seems to have an impact on such topics as abortion, homosexual marriages and the nature of the separation of church and state.
hat lasso

The Oil in Haiti.

...Rendering unto Caesar
Of course you know there was an devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti. 200,000 have been identified as dead. 300,00 injured. 250,000 homes and 30,000 business collapsed or damaged.

As you know, the world has responded with aid. Dominican was first to offer aid. Iceland's ICE-SAR was first to arrive. Brasil sent the largest single nation financial donation ($USD 210million). The USA sent the largest single nation recovery effort by deploying more then 10,000 troops...

The U.S. Navy listed its resources in the area as "17 ships, 48 helicopters and 12 fixed-wing aircraft" in addition to 10,000 sailors and Marines.[184] The Navy had conducted 336 air deliveries, delivered 32,400 US gallons (123,000 l; 27,000 imp gal) of water, 532,440 bottles of water, 111,082 meals and 9,000 lb (4,100 kg) of medical supplies

So where are the Americans? Tweets from Haiti have reported a noticeable absence of American military personal in Haiti. Suspicious much? Not to worry, the co-ordinated efforts organized that the UN and Haitians would be in charge of regular security, while Americans would securely run the airports.

Aid workers which saw five MSF aircraft carrying a field hospital repeatedly turned away blamed U.S.-controlled airport operations for prioritizing the transportation of security troops over rescuers and supplies.

Allow me to change the subject to oil because the subject of earthquakes is linked.

The most commonly accepted theory of petroleum origin is the biological fossil fuel theory. That is that organic materials, plant animals, etc, break down and rot over many millenniums to become combustible fossil fuels. Proof of this theory exists in that fossils are often found in the same general vicinity as oil. Further proof is that this can be synthesized in laboratory process's to some general satisfaction.

There is old competing Russian theory of Abiogenic petroleum creation.
Put briefly, it proposed that petroleum forms deep in the Earth’s mantle under extremely high pressure and temperature through a reaction between carbonates, iron oxides and water. This process goes on continuously, and the petroleum migrates upwards through the lithosphere. At issue is the formation of complex hydrocarbons. There has never been any doubt that simple hydrocarbons such as methane can be formed by inorganic processes.

If Abiogenics is at least partially responsible for replenishing dwindling oil supplies the rims of tectonic plates (where the mantle is closest to the surface) then these might be decent oil reserves. Haiti, like Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, is along rims of tectonic plates. Haiti is not unknown to oil speculators.

Bloomberg reports, "“A geologist, callous as it may seem, tracing that fault zone from Port-au-Prince to the border looking for gas and oil seeps, may find a structure that hasn’t been drilled,” said Pierce, exploration manager at Zion Oil & Gas Inc., a Dallas- based company that’s drilling in Israel. “A discovery could significantly improve the country’s economy and stimulate further exploration.”

The French ELF oil company has has previous exploratory insights... "We have identified 20 Oil sites (in Haiti) launches Daniel Mathurin stating that 5 of them are considered very important by practitioners and policies."

In a devastated, poor and flattened nation there seems to be some opportunity. Of course Haitians do not have the money, resources or experience to exploit their own resources. Suddenly through this tragedy they not only have the world's attention to help in their recovery, but they also have the ear of investment. As Brand Hauser said, "Business is the uniquely human response to a moral or cosmic crisis"

The economic opportunities, be they oil, or gold, or first class coastal resort hotels, will all pass through the ports of entry/exit. And the airports are controlled with and by 10,000 US Navy and Marine personal.

The United States Senate has become the Polish Sejm (Senate)

After nearly a year of being held up, Martha Johnnson's confirmation (which was nearly unanimous) was finally approved after Senator Kit Bond (R) finally relented when he removed a hold on her vote only after pork for a pet project in Kansas City was approved. Now Senator Shelby (R) is holding up *all* votes on Obama administration nominees until his pork belly coffers are full to the brim with lots o'goodies. This situation is completely insane and has voters furious (poll after poll indicates they're fed up with the partisan bickering in Washington).

Paul Krugman noticed this pattern from Poland's past. Poland was one of the largest and powerful countries in Europe; but that changed when their legislative body became deadlocked over any attempt to pass legislation:

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