Saturday, November 03, 2007

Water, Water, Everywhere....

As I write this, Hurricane Noel (because he's not in the tropics anymore, he's more precisely referred to as Nor'Easter Noel), is bearing down on the New York City area.

But my problems pale by comparison:
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has pledged the full support of his government to help more than a million people hit by floods in Tabasco state.

Mr Calderon said on a visit to Tabasco that the entire air force was involved in shifting supplies to the region where more than 800,000 are homeless.

Some 80% of the state is under water in the worst flooding for 50 years.
This isn't "shades of Katrina," this IS Katrina, times four!

800,000 homeless. 100% of the harvest in the region is gone, just gone. Livestock, not to mention people, dead. The oil industry has been forced to shut down three major oil ports in Mexico for the past week, after the storms that caused this flooding lifted one drilling rig and slammed it into another, killing twenty one workers.

And take a look at that map: Tabasco and Chiapas are not exactly the wealthy, tony states of Mexico. Chiapans are desperately poor, mostly banana farmers, and other tropical crops. 40% of Chiapans suffer from malnutrition, despite the bountiful harvest of fruit.

Tabasco is a bit better off. The state capital, Villahermosa, is a large, thriving city, and the Grijalva River has been kind to Tabasco.

Had been kind, I should say. My God, this is horrible!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Music Blogging

I try not to repeat artists too frequently, but I post this new Bruce Springsteen song because, even though it's the number one rock song in America, and Bruce's album is the number one album in the country, period, Clear Channel has banned this song from the airwaves.



I got a coin in my palm
I can make it disappear
I got a card up my sleeve
Name it and I’ll pull it out your ear
I got a rabbit in my hat
If you wanna come and see
This is what we’ll be
This is what we’ll be

I got shackles on my wrists
Soon I’ll slip and I’ll be gone
Chain me in a box in the river
And Rising in the Sun
Trust none of what you hear
And less of what you see
This is what we’ll be
This is what we’ll be

I got a shiny saw blade
All I need’s a volunteer
I’ll cut you in half
While your smilin’ at me
And the freedom that your songs
Drifting like a ghost amongst the trees
This is what we’ll be
This is what we’ll be

Now there’s a fire down below
But it’s coming up here
So leave everything you know
Carry only what you feel
On the road the sun is sinkin’ low
Sombody’s hanging in the trees
This is what we’ll be
This is what we’ll be
Yea, I had the same I looked into it.

Clear Channel says it's because Springsteen is too old...but that it's OK to play his older records, like "Dancing In The Dark"!

I smell a rat...a Republican rat....John Fogerty, Annie Lennox, and santana, all of whom at some point have come out against the invasion of Iraq and President Bush and the Republican warmongers in Congress, have apparently also been included in this blacklist.

Friday Cat Kitten Blogging

I hepped wif dis!:
NEW YORK (AP) — An Abyssinian cat from Missouri, named Cinnamon, has just made scientific history. Researchers have largely decoded her DNA, a step that may aid the search for treatments for both feline and human diseases.

The report adds cats to the roughly two dozen mammals whose DNA has been unraveled, a list that includes dogs, chimps, rats, mice, cows and of course, people.

Why add cats? They get more than 200 diseases that resemble human illnesses, and knowing the details of their genetic makeup should help in the search for vaccines and treatments, researchers say. The list includes a cat version of AIDS, SARS, diabetes, retinal disease and spina bifida, said Stephen J. O'Brien of the National Cancer Institute.
OK, so how I hep?

Simpel. Dey decoded de jeans, right? So wen dadby ware hes jeans, I scartch dem up, and dass how I hepped decode de jeans!

Here es how esse I hepped:
Me using mah Wii to do puter stuff!

K, bai!

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Don't forget to vote for Simply Left Behind in the 2007 Weblog Awards!

1) Apparently, it's not Sen. Robert Byrd...

2) I'd fly first class to Singapore just to test this rule. Of course, I'd be alone, but I've never been very quiet.

3) Here's your fucking War On Christmas, BillO! Why don't you whiiiiiiiiiiiiine about how crass and commercialized our Lord's birthday has become, instead of picking on honest people who hold different religious beliefs, you sleazy bastard?!

4) Damn! So much for my new weight-loss program: burgers, beer, and laying out on the couch watching TV!

5) Improve your sex life! With bacon????

6) Give Obama credit: it took him a while but he seems to have rattled Hillary's cage.

7) I don't think it will matter much after January, however.

8) Clinton plays the 'woman' card
Clinton plays the 'woman' card

Interesting tactic. On the one hand, I'm thoroughly repulsed by this, no less than I would be if someone...say, Barack Obama...played the race card. On the other hand, you have it, throw it down. It will inoculate her for the general election.

9) Why does South Carolina hate America so?

10) I did think Stephen Colbert's run for the Presidency was a bad idea, particularly in this election with so much at stake. That's why I am running for "NotPresident". I felt the gravitas of the 2008 election was far too great for me to run a serious campaign parody. (donations accepted here)

11) I did wonder where the white lines on the court went when she played...

12) According to Rudy Giuliani, you are twice as likely to die of prostate cancer in England as you are in America. His pointed jab was at socialized medicine, naturally. However, it turns out that you are much more likely to be diagnosed prostate cancer (same study) in the US as you are in Britain. Why? Because we have in place a publicly-financed (socialized medicine isn't just about treatment) publicity campaign which causes more Americans to get tested! I should point out that prostate cancer, if your life span is long enough, is a near-100% iron-clad guarantee to hit any male human (with small exceptions that are being studied now).

13) Are you a Young Republican who supports the invasion of Iraq, but can't lift a rifle and stand a post? Now you can serve your country and not worry about accidental discharge! Except maybe propulsive diarrhea...

14) Finally, a right-winger wakes up and begins to realize what a miserable failure his life has been. Naturally, he blames liberal Hollywood.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Poetic License

For my part, my position on undocumented workers has always been clear: immigrants are the single biggest economic engine this country has ever had, bigger even than the westward expansion (which was caused and created mostly by immigrants wasn't white Anglo-Saxons saying "there goes the neighborhood").

Ergo, any unnecessary restriction on immigration in my book is stupid, nevermind unenforceable. For the record, I am first-and-a-half generation American.

Comes Tuesday's debate, where Hillary was lambasted for giving a realistic, practical answer, if clumsily worded and even more clumsily defended later on, where it appeared she flip flopped on Eliot Spitzer's licensing plan for immigrants. Under his plan, which was defeated by the state Senate, undocumented immigrant workers would be allowed to obtain driver's licenses.

There's an awful lot of sense here, even if at first blush it seems unpalatable to people who don't share such a generous view about immigration as I do: encouraging them to get legal documentation to drive means they'll be more likely to purchase insurance for their driving, and that means a smaller insurance hit to the rest of us. As it is, they can't buy insurance.

If even a small percentage of "undocumentarians" get their licenses, we've made some headway against one of the more intractable problems of this issue: the costs to society.

Since Congress has abrogated its responsibility on the issue, as Hillary took pains to point out during the debate, Spitzer's plan makes an awful lot of sense. You're not giving anything away to anyone, but you are giving something back to the people who were here first: more security.

Obviously, if Congress later decides to take a stronger anti-immigration stance, Spitzer's plan can close up shop quickly. No harm, no foul.

So what this argument really is all about is the perception that, by having a driver's license, you are making an undocumented worker more American by making him more documented.

Rubbish. A driver's license is not a replacement for a tourist visa, much less a work permit or a green card. And now that the State Department has initiated a "passports for all international travelers" policy, it's not even like a driver's license will get you back into the country at the border.

When most people think of undocumented workers, they think of the day laborers at the corner 7-11 or gas station, waiting for pick up to a menial job (that pays so little, you couldn't get an American to do it anyway).

But many undocumented workers have been here for decades. They own & run businesses: bars, dry cleaners, subcontractors for the construction trades, vegetable stands, restaurants, newspaper delivery services, daycare, private school buses.

In other words, they already drive with the risk of knowing that even one accident can drive them out of business, and knowing that one accident will be unrecoverable to the person or property owner that is damaged.

And they contribute to society, especially to the economy. Believe it or not, they DO pay some taxes: sales tax, for example, or gasoline taxes.

Now, I'm not proposing throwing the borders wide open to anyone who has the gumption to clamber across, or throw out the visa program and let people stay as long as they like. We need some form of bouncer standing there, deciding who can and can't come in: who's going to add to our society while tossing those who means us harm.

But lets not blame immigrants for our own paranoia.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London

Hey, it's Halloween! What better song to celebrate with? And it's funny, too!

Dennis! WTF????

I had so much respect for Kucinich before this:
Yes, he really did say he saw an unidentified flying object.

Democratic presidential long-shot Rep. Dennis Kucinich claimed at Tuesday night’s debate he did indeed see a UFO when he was at the house of actress and close friend Shirley MacLaine in Graham, Washington.

MacLaine described the sighting in a book to be published in November, “Sage-ing While Age-Ing.”
I have a confession to make.

I was laying in bed in one of my country estates one night, when through the skylight, I saw a pencil point of light zip across the sky, and then drop down towards me.

Terrified, I was paralyzed with fear! I could not move. I could not speak. I sensed the UFO land on the lawn near my house. A great yellow glow throbbed at my window.

I couldn't see (I couldn't move my head), but I sensed a large grey head poke into my bedroom. Although I was not alone (this was years ago), I couldn't wake up my partner, who, having travelled here from England, was dead to the world asleep. I tried to nudge her, but to no avail.

And then I woke the fuck up and realized IT WAS A FUCKING DREAM! (so was the chick from England...)

But I also received a deep insight into UFO sightings and close encounters.

You aren't helping the reality-based community, Dennis...

Deserting The Sinking Ship

A-frikkin'-men, is all I have to say, whatever the reasons:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 — Deborah Pryce said she was fed up with ugly politics and being separated from her 5-year-old daughter. David L. Hobson is reaching the end of his time at the top of a powerful subcommittee. Ralph Regula will turn 83 in December, and he said he wanted to pass on his political wisdom to students and drive the flashy Thunderbird he had just bought.

None of these senior Republicans from Ohio, all of whom have announced plans not to seek another term in the House next year, cite their reduced status in the minority as a major factor in deciding to join the exodus of their party members from Congress. Nor do they mention the bleak prospect that running for re-election could mean spending millions of dollars and toughing out a difficult campaign, only to lose anyway.

Yet those factors are there, just beneath the surface, and make it easier to give up a job that they acknowledge is exceedingly hard to quit despite the travel, constituent complaints, constant demands of fund-raising and the all-but-permanent campaign to remain in office.

“Obviously, I would rather be in the majority,” said Mr. Regula, who has spent almost 50 years in public service, considering his state and federal offices. “But it is just time.”
Yeeeeeeeeeeah! But it's not about being in the minority, no sir...

14 House Republicans have announced their retirement, including most recently Presidential candidate Tom "I'm not nuts, I'm right! I really am!" Tancredo.

Among the Republican Senators retiring are Wayne Allard (CO), Larry Craig (ID), Chuck Hagel (NE), Pete Domenici (NM), and John Warner (VA). Democrats stand excellent chances in three of those races, and I wouldn't count out Larry Craig's seat changing hands, either, since people in his state may be completely frustrated with the lack of moral fibre in the Republican party and will punish them the only way they can.

Ted Stevens (AK) hasn't announced that he'll retire, but he will be under enormous pressure to as the FBI ramps up an investigation that involves him.

Three Democratic Senators have announced their retirement as well, according to The Times' article, and the Cook Political Report mentions an additional 13 possible Republican retirements, including Senators Inhofe (OK), Cochran (MS), and Congresscritter Shays (CT).

The curious bit about all this was how the Republicans mentioned here were all tired of the "ugly politics," as if they were innocent bystanders.

In point of fact, if you are one of 200+ people who are committed to a platform that includes division and rancor, you have to look to yourself first and foremost as the main cause of the problem. For Pryce in particular to whinge about ugly politics is ironic, since she's prominently featured in one of Ohio's worst politic scandals, the Bob Ney controversy.

Of course, when a party features such facilitators (*snark*) as Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, and Newt Gingrich, all of whom have carefully crafted a political atmosphere poisoned with hatred and oppression, it shouldn't surprise us to find out that even Republicans got their fair share of venom and spite hurled at them.

The sense you get in 2007, a year out, is that Republicans have realized they'd better fold up tents and regroup now, that Karl Rove's dream of a Republican hegemony to run concurrent to the American empire in the Middle East, was flawed and lethal to the party's chances. A new strategy is needed.

I'm only sad at the damage the country has had to suffer while these cowboys and yahoos have had to work out their anger management issues in public.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

God Really Doesn't Like Bush Much

Let's see...we've had fires, famine, and now...floods, in Iraq:
The largest dam in Iraq is at risk of an imminent collapse that could unleash a 20m (65ft) wave of water on Mosul, a city of 1.7m people, the US has warned.
In May, the US told Iraqi authorities to make Mosul Dam a national priority, as a catastrophic failure would result in a "significant loss of life".

However, a $27m (£13m) US-funded reconstruction project to help shore up the dam has made little or no progress.
This dam repair bought to you by the same people who shored up the New Orleans levees ahead of Katrina should have been the warning.

Wait...let me guess...someone skimmed money off this deal, right?
In a report published on Tuesday, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said US-funded "short-term solutions" had yet to significantly solve the dam's problems.

SIGIR found multiple failures in several of the 21 contracts awarded to repair the dam.

Among the faults were faulty construction and delivery of improper parts, as well as projects which were not completed despite full payments having been made. do you think that happened?:
A Reagan-era diplomat turned entrepreneur, Bremer had recently proven his ability to transform rubble into gold by waiting exactly one month after the September 11 attacks to launch Crisis Consulting Practice, a security company selling “terrorism risk insurance” to multinationals. Bremer had two lieutenants on the economic front: Thomas Foley and Michael Fleischer, the heads of “private sector development” for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Foley is a Greenwich, Connecticut, multimillionaire, a longtime friend of the Bush family and a Bush-Cheney campaign “pioneer” who has described Iraq as a modern California “gold rush.” Fleischer, a venture capitalist, is the brother of former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. Neither man had any high-level diplomatic experience and both use the term corporate “turnaround” specialist to describe what they do. According to Foley, this uniquely qualified them to manage Iraq's economy because it was “the mother of all turnarounds.”

Many of the other CPA postings were equally ideological. The Green Zone, the city within a city that houses the occupation headquarters in Saddam's former palace, was filled with Young Republicans straight out of the Heritage Foundation, all of them given responsibility they could never have dreamed of receiving at home. Jay Hallen, a twenty-four-year-old who had applied for a job at the White House, was put in charge of launching Baghdad's new stock exchange. Scott Erwin, a twenty-one-year-old former intern to Dick Cheney, reported in an email home that “I am assisting Iraqis in the management of finances and budgeting for the domestic security forces.” The college senior's favorite job before this one? “My time as an ice-cream truck driver.” In those early days, the Green Zone felt a bit like the Peace Corps, for people who think the Peace Corps is a communist plot. It was a chance to sleep on cots, wear army boots, and cry “incoming”—all while being guarded around the clock by real soldiers.

The teams of KPMG accountants, investment bankers, think-tank lifers, and Young Republicans that populate the Green Zone have much in common with the IMF missions that rearrange the economies of developing countries from the presidential suites of Sheraton hotels the world over. Except for one rather significant difference: in Iraq they were not negotiating with the government to accept their “structural adjustments” in exchange for a loan; they were the government.
Anyone want to venture a guess as to how many of the provisional administrators went on to form Iraq-based corporations that bid on the projects, thus dipping even deeper into tax payer funds?

Fussed Responders

In 2004, as the Democratic national convention closed and weeks before the Republicans opened their hate-fest in NYC, a window of opportunity opened: John Kerry was the chosen nominee. George W Bush had not been formally coronated for his second term campaign.

Which meant that John Kerry was barred from spending his general election campaign funds because he accepted public funding, but also barred from spending the residue of his primary campaign warchest in the general election period.

Naturally, this void was quickly seized upon by Karl Rove and the other Republofascists, and attacks were quickly launched: Ted Sampley, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the proto-flipflop charges were launched against Kerry.

Kerry, not having media savvy (and frankly, was boring as hell in front of a camera), didn't take the magnitude of these attacks or their repercussions seriously. The campaign wrongly calculated that this three pronged assault on Kerry's character wouldn't resonate.

And in truth, the original charges did not (except the infamous "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it"). But the image people had in their minds early on was one of a man who spoke out of both sides of his mouth.

Not good. What Kerry needed was what Bill Clinton had: a rapid response team.

Move forward to 2008. Hillary Clinton is running and now that things are reaching crunch time, people on both sides of the aisle are launching attacks:
CONCORD, N.H., Oct. 29 — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton came under pointed attack Monday by her two main rivals for the Democratic nomination, who said she was not being direct on Social Security and also suggested she was too cozy with Washington lobbyists.

The rivals, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, in campaign appearances in Iowa and here, took on Mrs. Clinton by name, escalating their attacks on her a day before they were to share a stage at the Democratic debate in Philadelphia.

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Sunday blasted Hillary Rodham Clinton for talking about what she would do on the diplomatic front between her possible election and inauguration.

Clinton has told crowds she would send "distinguished Americans of both political parties to travel around the world on my behalf with a very simple message to the governments and the people alike: The era of cowboy diplomacy is over."

Giuliani, pointing to a story in Sunday's Des Moines Register about her statements, said such comments hurt the United States and undermine the balance of President Bush's term, which ends Jan. 20, 2009.
I'm going to ignore the laughability of Rudy's claim about "credibility". That's kind of like saying Jeffrey Dahmer must be a vegetarian.

Instead, I want to focus on a little-noticed aspect of her campaign:
When Barack Obama confronted Hillary Clinton's vote on Lieberman-Kyl, the Clinton campaign quickly mailed a detailed explanation of her vote to Iowans.

When Barack Obama told the New York Times that he would start to challenge Clinton more aggressively and picked her refusal to detail her Social Security fix as his first target, within 10 hours the Clinton campaign was on the air in New Hampshire with an ad attempting to inoculate any perceived vulnerabilities on Social Security.

Depending on the size of the buy, more New Hampshire residents probably saw the Clinton ad before they heard too much about Obama's charge on Social Security. And notice how Clinton frames her opposition: by using George W. Bush as a foil.
The ad contains a most excellent bit of writing:"These days, it seems like every candidate on earth is coming here for You. But which candidate has been there for you all along?"

The Bill Clinton rapid response team had T shirts printed up in 1992 that said "Speed Kills", meaning the faster they could get a response out to anything Bush the Elder tried to do in the campaign, the faster they could kill his Presidency.

As Carville points out, by 1996 he had moved on. By 1998, nearly all of the team-- Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Dee Dee Myers, and others-- had moved on.

You wonder how the Lewinski affair would have played out if they had stayed?

Now it's 2008. Another Clinton is running and it appears that, yes, a rapid response team has reformed and is running the war room.

One of the big differences this year is YouTube, which did not exist in 1992 or 1996 (or really, in 2004, when you think about it), but which had an huge impact in the 2006 midterm elections. Clinton, Edwards, and Obama make generous use of this medium, so we might even see simultaneous assaults and responses launched in cyberspace and the main stream media.

Presumably, in a general election, greater use of these tactics will have to be employed, and strategies developed to deflect and deflate charges that will be made.

YouTube, as well as other Internet outlets, do not have the same level of self-regulation as even the pitiful excuse we have for news reporting does. Any slander or smear can be posted, with minimal reprisal, yet it will force a rapid response.

And that's not to say the right is without facility in this regard, although their results have been far from effective, much less as dazzling as Clinton's.

So who might make up this rapid response team for Hillary? Well, Mandy Grunwald, one of Hillary's senior advisers, has been blogging for her, so we can assume she's had some input; Crystal Patterson, who was Ted Kennedy's Internet operations manager before joining the campaign; Lee Feinstein, who worked under Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, has the foreign policy duties; and then there's Mark Penn, chief strategist for BOTH Clinton's and James Carville protege. And of course, the Big Dog himself.

So if this all seems familiar, the way the campaign is running, hitting on all cylinders with nary a hiccup, there's the team to credit. Or blame.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cold Hard Facts

One recent trope of right wingers and Republicans recently is that we've seen a decline in the violence in Iraq, that things are getting better, that Sunni and Shi'ite are meeting and might be reaching agreements to cool things out.

It's possible that exhaustion has set in, and that Iraqis have had enough.

Possible. And possibly not:
A suicide car bomb has exploded at a bus terminus in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 20. [...]

In Baghdad, gunmen abducted nine tribal leaders who recently formed a mixed Shia and Sunni group to fight al-Qaeda.
Or then there's this:
[A]t least 27 people died in a suicide bomb attack on a police headquarters in Baquba, north of Baghdad, according to police.

At least 20 people were hurt. Most victims were police recruits.

Correspondents say the attack bears the hallmarks of the al-Qaeda in Iraq militants, who often target recruits.
What most right wingers forget in their crowing about reductions in civilian deaths and civil violence is, Ramadan this year was about two weeks earlier than last year. Yes, it's true: Sunnis and Shi'ites have reached out across the table to try to get a handle on what to do with this mess, but as Joe Klein points out:
[T]here is a missing player in all this hugging and goat eating (ed. note: think of it as a barbecue). He is Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army militia and, quite possibly, the most popular Shi'ite political figure in the country. Al-Sadr is less accessible, a fuzzier figure than al-Hakim. The U.S. intelligence community has only a vague sense of how much control he has over his disparate movement, which includes everything from Iranian-trained guerrillas, referred to as "special groups," to ragtag teenage criminal street gangs who claim the Mahdi mantle. He has been spending a lot of time in Iran lately, where he is said to be receiving advanced religious training. The future of Iraq is likely to be decided by the struggle for power between the Hakim and Sadr families. That struggle could easily turn very lethal. Indeed, in recent days there have been battles between the Sadr and Hakim forces in Karbala and Basra.
So we have Sadr forces and Hakim forces tearing the Shi'ites apart, a renewed front opened up by Al Qaeda, and now Turkey is crossing over into Kurdish Iraq to rout out Kurdish rebels, triggering suicide bombings.

Much like the recent forest fires in Southern California, this civil war is not going to go away easily, and is not easily contained. Clearly, the surge has some small effect in pushing the violence out of the Baghdad region (particularly the Green Zone, but hey! Who cares if Iraqis end up dead, right? *snark*) and other places where the troops were deployed, but in truth, it may only have been a lull.

The real nitty gritty is yet to come.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

African Idiot

Quietly, almost unnoticed in America save for the occasion commercial about Darfur, Africa is slipping away. Despite Dumbya's assertions that Africa wll live "in liberty, peace, and growing prosperity," it doesn't look promising:

By my count, that's three wars (four if you count the nascent violence in Sierra Leone), economies in shambles in the DR Congo, Nigeria, and Somalia, and the prince who might ride in and save the continent is...Muammar Ghaddafi?!?!?!?!?

Heck of a job, Bushie!

In fairness, Ghaddafi, when oil prices have been firm, has been generous to his African neighbors and now that oil is reaching record prices, I'm sure he sees an opportunity to engage in a little economic hegemony of his own.

The Bush administration was so desperate for any good news in the wake of September 11 and the bungled Iraq invasion that it embraced Ghaddafi's offer to surrender his weapons programs to inspectors, a move he had originally committed to under the Clinton administration, which rightly laughed at the offer. Ghaddafi? WMDs?

Ghaddafi had a strategy, of course: Al Qaeda would eventually target Libya and Ghaddafi himself, so by ingratiating with the US, he could ask for military assistance. And of course, the Bushies were forced to embrace it, even if it made but a ripple in the news.

And it turned out that Ghaddafi did have a (very) small scale weapons program going on, mostly chemical and biological, but an embryonic attempt to develop nukes was in the works. Whether he would have seriously pursued these, or if this all was an elaborate shell game to try to wring some concessions from the West in terms of sanctions, we may never know. He did, however, get the concessions. But not the lifting of sanctions, since he had threatened to kill anyone who wanted regime change, shortly after the US offered to lift the sanctions for basically, errrr, just that.

Ghaddafi had tried to unify OPEC and the Arab world behind him, and failed (and then oil tanked). He'd have more success in Africa, to be sure.

Add to Africa's manmade struggles the growing environmental crises: extreme drought in Darfur and Nigeria caused by global warming, as well as flooding in DR Congo...put it this way: when the good news of an entire continent can be summed up with a story about a rugby team defeating an English side in a preliminary tournament game, you have a deeply troubled continent.

The DaVinci Coded

I guess this is a fitting post for a Sunday. A new image of The Last Supper, comprised of 16 billion pixels, has been posted. You can see it in amazing detail at the link in the above picture.