Sunday, August 31, 2014

No, She Didn't Say That

For John, BLUFWhen something gets associated with you, it can be hard to shake.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Trying to strike a lighter tone with one of my "Progressive" friends, I said that I thought it was unfortunate that in 2008 there were the choices there were.

His response was that the Republican Vice President (Sarah Palin) was unacceptable under any circumstances, and then mentioned the apocryphal Palin line, "I can see Russia from my house".  Even that progressive web site Snopes admits that it was never uttered by Ms Palin.

OK, so Governor Palin did say to Charlie Gibson "They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska".

By Dave Cohoe (Photo by Dave Cohoe) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Little Diomede Island on the left (Alaska, USA) and Big Diomede Island (Russia) on the right, looking Southward.  About three and a half miles apart.

The ever charming and funny Tina Fey is the one who, while playing the part of Governor Palin in a SNL sketch, said "And I can see Russia from my house."

But, what really makes this a joke is Electing Senator Joe Biden as Vice President.  Really?

Regards  —  Cliff

  Actually, a Democrat due to what he sees as a lack of Republicans he likes.
I loved her in the movie Admission, where she was Ms Portia Nathan.  On the other hand, maybe I just liked the alternative high school.  No, I liked Ms Fey also.
  I would like to put in a plug for my view that the Vice President does not work for the President, but is an independent person, with an actual, albeit often scoffed at, job as President of the Senate.  And, we shouldn't want the Vice President so close to the President that if the US Congress moves to Impeach and Convict the President of High Crimes and Misdemeanors it has to take down the Vice President at the same time.  Remember Vice President Spiro T Agnew?  The "Deep State" had to make him go away before it felt free to go after President Nixon.  Or so it appears.

Drought in CENTAM

For John, BLUFThis immigration thing is not going away, in that the immigrants are driven by drought and violence.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Surely someone in Government saw this coming.  Someone in CIA?  Someone in Department of States?  Maybe someone in the Department of Agriculture or Treasury?

This is a short blurb with some statistics, but what it points to, inevitably, is the fact that, as often happens with drought, mass migration follows.

This Reuters report is from The International Herald Tribune.  The dateline is Friday, 29 August, and the headline is "Central America Hit by Severe Drought".

A severe drought has ravaged crops in Central America, and as many as 2.8 million people are struggling to feed themselves, the United Nations World Food Program said Friday.  The drought, which is also affecting South America, has been particularly hard on southern Guatemala, northernHonduras and western El Salvador.  Guatemala declared a state of emergency after 256,000 families lost their crops.
Regards  —  Cliff

  As old as the Bible.  Isn't that how Jacob and his sons ended up in Egypt? (Genesis 42)
  I would think 256,000 families works out to more than a million people.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Scotland the Brave

For John, BLUFNext month will be interesting, elections here and across the pond.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I don't know how the vote will come out on Thursday, 18 September on Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom or separating itself back to its former independent self.

But, we do have partisan views here in Lowell.

And, of course, we have Scotland the Brave

No, I think it would be a bad move.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Scotland and England have been united since 1 May 1707, 52 years after Chelmsford, MA, was incorporated.
  After a mandatory Advert.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Trading Prisoners

For John, BLUFThe ISIL problem is not just isolated to Syria and Iraq.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is an interesting article from yesterday's edition of The Washington Post, about ISIL wanting US to release a prisoner from a Federal Prison.  It isn't like we are threatening to behead this woman, Aafia Siddiqui.  We just put her away for over eighty years for trying to kill American law enforcement personnel.

Here is the headline:  ‘Lady al-Qaeda’:  The American-educated PhD the Islamic State desperately wants freed.  From the article,

They want her back so badly, jihadists said they would have traded James Foley for Siddiqui, who’s in U.S. prison.  They said they would have traded Bowe Bergdahl for her.  They said they would trade a 26-year-old American woman, kidnapped one year ago, for her.
Regards  —  Cliff

  "U.S. officers were invited to question her and were ushered into a room without being told by their Afghan hosts that Siddiqui was “unsecured” behind a curtain that divided the room, according to an FBI criminal complaint. She grabbed an Army officer’s M-4 rifle that was on the floor next to the curtain and screamed, “Allah Akbar!” and, in English, “Get the f— out of here!” the complaint said. She opened fire, but missed the officers, who returned fire and hit her twice in the abdomen."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Market Basket Back

For John, BLUFWill Arthur T be able to bring back the business?  That is the big gamble.

Today Market Basket got back in the grocery store business, after a settlement.

I believe Hannaford anticipated this, because they had special tents on the South side of the Store on Route 38 here in Lowell, to feed the folks who are in from as far away as New York. Here is a closeup of the hand made sign: In the mean time, here is a NECN TV truck in front of the Market Basket at the North end of Tewksbury. And to prove it is real, here is a Cart Herder straightening Carts (Carriages) at a Corral. My wife is thrilled.

Regards  —  Cliff

Like Brother Like Sister?

For John, BLUFMulti-culturalism is sometimes awkward.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From MSN we have an Associated Press article from Reporter Michael R Sisak, about another member of the Tsarnaev family.  This time it is sister Ailiana Tsarnaeva.  Ms Tsarnaeva is living in Bergen, NJ, with her sister Bella Tsarnaeva.  There appears to have been a love triangle with someone from Manhattan involved with Ms Tsarnaeva's boyfriend.  Per the article:
Several media outlets reported Tsarnaeva told the Harlem woman she had "people who can go over there and put a bomb on you."
Actually, I would think the number of people is slowly dwindling.  But, maybe not.

The article has a very attractive photo of Ms Ailiana Tsarnaeva, who is a nice looking young woman and not some harridan.

Here is a link to the article and here is the lede:

NEW YORK (AP) — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's sister was arrested Wednesday on suspicion she threatened to bomb a woman who previously had a romantic relationship with her boyfriend.  Ailina Tsarnaeva, who lives in North Bergen, New Jersey, made the threat against an upper Manhattan woman via telephone on Monday, police said.  She turned herself in at a Manhattan police precinct, and police charged her with aggravated harassment.
It appears Ms Tsarnaeva has already come to the attention of the police, over the passing of bad paper.  This time she was issued a ticket and told to appear at a 30 September court hearing.

The question is, as people from other cultures immigrate to the United States, how long does it take them to shed their old ways of coping with problems and adopt the ways of their new nation?  I would hope sociology could help us in this matter.  The flip side of the question is if we will be forced to adopt the coping techniques of the new immigrants.<.p> Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Fight in the Middle East is a Fight Over Ideas

For John, BLUFWe are dealing with fights over ideas in the Middle East.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Many ask why Muslim scholars don't push back against violent actors blowing things up and killing people in the name of Allah.  Here is an article from The Jordan Times, providing that very specific pushback.  THe author is Reporter Abeer Numan and the Headline is "Scholars say extremist militants should not be called ‘jihadists’".

The person who forwarded the article said:

The struggle against Muslim extremism is also a battle for ideas.  Few have spoken out against having their religion hijacked by criminals and murderers as much as the Jordanian religious leaders and the monarchy.
Since this battle with ISIL and other such groups is to a large degree a battle over ideas, it behoves us to pick our words in ways that do not enhance the standing of ISIL.

We should not think we can defeat ISIL by just killing people, by playing "whack a mole".  Strong, disciplined forces can push ISIL back into a guerrilla mode, but that is not the same as defeating the ideas being put forward by ISIL.  Those ideas are attractive to men and women around the world.  Not large numbers, but significant numbers.  For example, per Newsweek 16% of French Citizens support ISIL.  There are reasons to question the poll numbers and its methodology, but still, it is an indication of a problem in Europe.

Regards  —  Cliff

  For example, US Psychological Warfare types might be updating Wikipedia to make "the Islamic State" the "so called" Islamic State.