"

Monday, December 15, 2008

And Then There's . . .

. . . Mrs Iago's birthday. The twelth, on a Friday and a full moon, a big 'un, at its closest to Earth as its gonna get this year, with the twin and her stewardess collegue, and a fair amount of decent vino. My bro-in-law and I watched In Bruges in the hours before dawn, more or less, while the three gals and the third gal's guy carried on a loud and rambling conversation which deafened me to much of the dialogue in the flick and forced me to concentrate more than my vino-addled mind was willing to read the Chinese subtitles. By the time we got home by shuttle bus and mass rapid transit and railway train way across to the southwestern sector of the basin, exhaustion made it easy to crash. And Mrs Iago had a real good time.

Next year I will try harder to get her a birthday prez.

But here is a prez for me, which well may be the fountain that provides the means to get that prez for my girl.

Traffic

Yup. That's it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

I can't believe it. I forgot to announce the celebration of my own birthday on Chaos Chasm II.

Well, that could be because it really wasn't all that much of a celebration, just the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I liked it, uh-huh, uh-huh. But any ole hoo, here's a belated birthday present for yours truly, the Intrepid Netrepreneur of Chaos Chasm fame, the one and only Mr Iago de Otto:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Say To Yourself

"I believe I am talking to my Higher Self, so please don't interrupt, thank you very much."

Friday, September 26, 2008

It All Goes South

Here's yet again another weblog, one which I may never have imagined even existed, if I had not stumbled upon it while surfing Blogger.

Voices from the South Centre


(So, what is it about? Let's let South Centre speak for itself, first of all. Why paraphrase at this point when I couldn't say it any better, at least at 6am after only a few hours of sleep.)

South Centre is an intergovernmental organization and think-tank of developing countries based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Centre assists in developing points of view of the South on major policy issues, and generates ideas and action-oriented proposals for consideration by the collectivity of South governments and institutions.

Three key programmes areas of the South Centre are Trade for Development, Innovation and Access to Knowledge, and Global Governance for Development.

Go to South Centre website at http://www.SouthCentre.org

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If It Smells Like Onion

I don't know T.B. Leek, whether or not that this is the writer's true name, and if this is posted elsewhere and if so where, not having looked for it, but I got this from my online buddy and part-time hero Bartcop.


American Dream In The Desert: A Burning Man Report
by T.B. Leek

A Caveat By Way Of Introduction

This piece is especially daunting, as I am attempting to describe an event that must be experienced to be understood.

People who attended Burning Man tried for years to describe it to me; the result was typically various permutations of Keanau Reeves saying, “Whoa”. Until I finally experienced the “Whoa” for myself, I had no earthly clue what they were talking about.

I think the best way to describe the thing is to break it down as much as possible, without over-embellishing on what it all means – although I’m prone to embellishment...we’ll see how it goes.

I should add that this is one person’s interpretation of what Burning Man is about. If reality is an aggregate of our collective perceptions; this is Burning Man as viewed through my window. Some Burners (as Burning Man attendees call themselves) may agree with my observations, others may not.

If you haven’t experienced a burn, hopefully, this piece will give you inspiration to see if for yourself.

The Setting

Burning Man is held, annually, in a stretch of desert northeast of Reno, Nevada; it runs from Monday throughMonday, concluding on Labor Day.

The desert area is commonly referred to as The Playa. “La playa”, in Spanish, means “the beach.” The Playa is very much like the beach…if that beach were on the moon. The surface is (usually) dry,hard and cracked – much like pictures of the Martian landscape – a place totally devoid of moisture. As a visitor, you are ripped out of your everyday head space, almost immediately, upon arrival in this other-worldly terrain.

This year The Playa lived up to its name, as two year’s worth of sub-average winter precipitation left the surface loose, like an actual beach. This made transportation by bike (the preferred mode) tedious at best.

The loose surface also made conditions ripe for dust storms when the winds picked up. 50-80 mph wind gusts are not uncommon and can last for hours. Two days this year there were white-out conditions for most of the daylight hours.

Survival

One can’t really be too upset at the conditions; this is a desert, after all.

As my fellow Burner Chris points out, “A lot of people forget that this is as much a survival event as it is a party.”

Meaning, ‘you could die’.

Everyone who comes must bring with them the basic tools to survive: shelter, food and water. Most people take the shelter challenge to the extreme, building elaborate dwellings. This may lull the uninitiated into a false sense of security. Make no mistakes, however: Mother Nature is the boss here and she will seriously fuck you up if you do not prepare… …or maybe even if you do prepare.

Our camp’s dwelling consists of eight portable car ports, joined together to form an enclosed ‘U’. The individual tents are pitched around the outside of the ‘U’, with the center being an open, covered common space. This provides sanctuary from the burning daytime sun and dust storms.

The guys who organize our camp have been doing this for years. I would call them experts. They ensured that all the components of our dwelling place were securely fastened to each other and to the ground. The poles were secured to the ground by hammering re-bar a foot into the ground, then fastening each pole to the re-bar with rope and/or electrical tape.

Still, on Monday, as fifteen of us took shelter from a white-out, our shade structure was lifted by the winds. Half of it sheared off from the rest and was tossed like a child’s toy several feet over into the neighboring theme camp. Even the half that didn’t get ripped apart was moved a foot from its original position.

One could literally see the collective shift down Maslow’s scale by all of us involved, as higher comforts were ripped away and the need for basic shelter became once again the prime motivation.

As scary as it was, no one was hurt. In fact, we all felt alive in a way one rarely does as an urban dweller. An esprit de corps formed instantly as we worked together to overcome this monumental setback.

Before the storm... ...and after

The City

On the face of The Playa is erected a city, comprised of the various encampments, art installations, etc. Its name is Black Rock City, Nevada. For the one week of the year it exists, it is one of Nevada’s largest municipalities.

Black Rock City is, in many ways, like any other. It has organized streets – a hub and spokes system. The streets are positioned by the Burning Man organizers, prior to the arrival of the city’s residents.

The map is a clock, with The Man in the center. The cross-streets radiate out from The Man and are named for the time corresponding to their position on the clock. Another set of streets ring the outside of the clock face in concentric circles. The streets are alphabetically named, with the exception of the first ring, which is always known as The Esplanade. The alpha street names change each year to correspond to the theme for the year’s event.

This year’s theme was “The American Dream.” All of the streets were named after cars (I took this to be a cheeky and/or snarky commentary on the American dream, by the organizers). Our camp was located on Fairlaine between 8:00 and 8:30. Every theme camp is placed by the organizers into their street address around the city, which makes navigation quite easy.

Besides a well-engineered road system the city has: a post office (fully functional with its own zip code); a radio station; a police force (known as the Black Rock City Rangers); medical stations; a department of motor vehicles; and, an airport. The Burning Man organization sets up one central camp in the roundabout at 6:30. Center Camp offers a common space for lounging, as well as stages for music,performance pieces and topical discussions.

The theme camps fill in the city. There are cafes, bars, nightclubs, galleries, etc. There is also a full spate of activities sponsored by various camps. A guidebook is provided to locate each day’s events.

For example, our theme camp is Fairyland. We sponsored three events over the course of three days, e.g. building fairy wings, making tutus.

The sheer scope of the city is one of the hardest things to explain to someone who hasn’t been there.

Imagine a nomadic tribe of 50,000 people stopping to camp on a desert plane. The encampment goes on for 10 miles. At night torches blaze and there is laughter and merriment all around.

Now imagine the same thing on acid. The people wear colorful day-glo or post-apocalyptic costumes – sometime lit up with twinkly lights, after dark. At night there is neon everywhere (o.k. for this, one need only think of another Nevada metropolis, Las Vegas).

Everywhere you turn, there is something to amaze a sense…or two…or three. It is Mad Max,
Alice in Wonderland and The Beatle’s Yellow Submarine come to life.

Black Rock City Map, 2008

Making wings in Fairyland

It’s A Little Bit Marxist…

In Black Rock City, no money is exchanged (except in two limited situations – there is a coffee bar in Central Camp and there are three camps named Arctica, where one can buy ice; these are controlled by the Burning Man Organization).

For example, if your theme camp is a bar, then you bring in all the supplies necessary to run it.
Patrons are served at no additional cost to themselves.

Gifts are given by camps and individuals to their fellow burners. Gifting is the community standard.

Each person does what they can to contribute to the community. Each person is rewarded for their membership in the community by the other members of the community.

…And A Little Bit Capitalist

But only in the best of ways.

Labor is divided so that no individual bears the brunt of building the community. If your neighbor needs help, you help them. If you need help, chances are someone will be there to lend a hand.

A healthy competitive environment exists in Black Rock City, as well – not in the sense that you screw someone over to get ahead, but in the sense that people see what others have done and strive to do something a little bit better for the betterment of the community. The reward for their efforts is the pride they get when others in the community say, “Nice job”.

Innovation and progress are the norms in Black Rock City.

“A World of Pure Imagination”

Imagination is the cornerstone of innovation and Black Rock City lives on imagination -- as in,
“let’s imagine a city where there isn’t one and build it.”

It starts with the individual. The citizens of Black Rock express their imaginations in their dress.
They wear colorful outfits and costumes. Everything around them becomes an expression of
themselves – their bikes, their camps, etc.

Art is an essential part of the Burning Man experience – often on a very grand scale. The open playa in the center of the city is one gigantic art exhibition. The only large vehicles that can be operated within the city are ‘art cars’ – rolling pieces of visual expression.

For example, my favorite art car, this year, was a giant, rolling disco called The Magic Duck (at least thatis what we called it – sometimes one doesn’t find out the artist’s name for a piece and you call it what you will). Built on the base of a reticulated bus, the main cabin and top of the bus were converted into dance space and a DJ booth. At the front, a giant rubber-ducky head, mirrored like a yellow disco ball towered over the desert. The duck had a comb of flaming jets on its scalp and laser beams shot out of its eyes. It rolled about the playa, stopping every now-and-then as people swarmed about it to dance inside and out. Then it would pick up and move to its next location, with people following in-tow on bike and on foot.

Art in Black Rock City is meant to be experienced: to be touched, played on and, even, burned (if the artist so chooses). It is not fenced up in a tomb-like building and guarded by humorless sentinels, whilst serving as a self-serving advertisement for some wealthy patron or another.

Black Rock City has its own arts foundation, funded by donations from Burners and non-Burners alike. Grants are bestowed on artists to underwrite the huge amounts of time and money they put into their work. The Arts Foundation also installs Playa art pieces in exhibition around the country, for all to appreciate (those that aren’t burned, of course). Corporations, from the outside, are welcome to fund artists, but they are not allowed to emblazon the finished products with their logos in self-congratulation.

In the end, beauty is temporal. What could be more temporal than burning one’s work after it has been beheld?

Sculpture


The Magic Duck


A Pagan Place

The star of the show, from which the event takes its name, is known simply as The Man. The man is a sculpture of wood, lined with neon sitting atop a structure in the center of the city. He is literally at the city’s heart and figuratively its soul.

And every year, on Saturday night, he is burned as the city’s citizens cavort around him.

The pagan overtones of this ritual are evident (and here I’m speaking of primitive ritual, not of
neo-pagan traditions, such as Wicca).

The story goes like this: the willing servant offers himself for sacrifice by and for the community.
Prior to the sacrifice he or she (he in this case) is treated like a god. In traditions practicing regicide, he actually was the head of state and entitled to the wealth and privilege. Whether prince or pauper, in the end he goes to his death and with him takes all the bad energy from the community, leaving the community to prosper in the period until the next offering.

This ritual plays out much less barbarically, when the willing victim is a sculpture and not an actual human.

On Saturday night, the community gathers round The Man (the art cars form a circular perimeter, with the community on the inside). A procession of fire bearers parade and dance around his base. Finally, his arms raise above his head to signal his willingness as a sacrifant. Fireworks erupt and propane explosions trigger his immolation. The crowd erupts into jubilant cheers. There is much hugging, dancing and carrying-on.

The community is renewed for another year.

The Man watches over the city

The Man burns

Spirituality, However You Find It

While the burning of The Man may have pagan undertones, spirituality of all stripes is present within the community.

Each year a structure is built directly above the man (as one would travel towards 12:00 on the clock) referred to generically as The Temple. Like The Man and the festival, The Temple has different themes each year.

It is a non-denominational center for communing with the universe. One may be as a believer in the divine or not believe in anything – it stands as a place to reflect on one’s self and one’s place in the greater design.

The Temple is second only to The Man as a hallmark of the city, which further symbolizes the underlying spiritual convictions of the community.

And as you probably guessed, The Temple is burned too.

In contrast to the revelry when The Man burns, burning The Temple is a solemn affair: the community gathers round the Temple; someone sings a hymn; the fire is lit without fanfare. As the flames rise, people may shout out names of those who have passed, but most silently watch as the structure is engulfed. When it falls, the crowd disperses quietly.

The American Dream

As I previously mentioned, Burning Man 2008’s theme was, “The American Dream.” Some Burners questioned this thematic choice on the part of the organizers. In a ratio probably larger than the generalAmerican populace, many of us are not happy with the current state of our country.

I think the theme was entirely apropos.

America was founded by dreamers – dreamers who were inspired by philosophers – the most optimum dreamers of all.

America’s forefathers were students of the greatest Western intellectual minds of the time, such as Locke and Bacon – men who believed that all men exist in a state of nature and that society should exist to protectthe individual and uplift the human experience.

This is, in fact, the kind of community that Black Rock City is. The rules are entered into freely by the individualand exist to maintain order and safety – not to stifle expression or force a single morality down the throats of everyone.

Of course, Black Rock City does not exist in a vacuum – the city is still subject to the laws of the land on which it sits. However, for the week of its existence, it embodies the promise of what could be.

Systems Theory posits that, “every thing is related to everything else.” Every group of people, every organization,every country has a direct effect on every other group, organization and country and the effect is reciprocal.

The people who create and experience Black Rock City bring its promise back to the systems in which they operate every day: schools, businesses, churches, governmental agencies, community organizations, etc. They carry with them the knowledge that society really can live up to the dreams of our America’s founders and their mentors. Like pathogens of hope, they infect their systems with the promise that society can work for the betterment of the human condition, despite and because of the diversity of its individual members.

If there is anything that can be learned from the current political season, it is that people still believe in hope. People still dream The Founders’ dream – even if that dream has been corrupted by the moralists and the greedy corporatists.

Yes, America was built by dreamers and it is time for the dreamers to take it back.

That is this Burner’s American Dream.

The author, after the burn

Monday, September 22, 2008

Meowing At The Moon

I am going to take the liberty of posting from a blogger weblog I came across not entirely by chance a little earlier today. I do not remember how it is that it was "not entirely by chance", but so what, it's my brain, and if it wants to play tricks on me, who am I to deny my own brain a little fun? I had not intended that sentence to turn into a query, and if you were just thrown for a loop, I beg your kind forgiveness. But getting back to the matter at hand, or at paw, perhaps, I give you this for your reading pleasure ---

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Things have been so crazy for me for the past couple of months.

First, I'm working three jobs. Kind of nuts, I know, but I love each of them and can't get myself to quit any of them. Two of them are adjunct teaching positions at different colleges, and the third is as a librarian. Those suck up 40+ hours a week which is a lot for me. I'm not used to working all those hours.

Second, we bought a townhouse. Nice place up on a mountain, right near a ski slope. Neither Bear (the spouse) nor I ski or snowboard, but hopefully next winter we'll learn. For the time being I'll just have to stare out the window and watch all the silly people fall on their asses.

It's much bigger than our old cramped 600 square foot apartment. We now have 1,600 square feet of roomy goodness. I'm loving it and so are the cats. The floors are set up as split levels so there are plenty of stairs for them to run up and down. Sometimes I wonder if they see it as a giant cat tree rather than a new home.

----------------------------------------------------------

Using Social Media To Drive Traffic Crazy

I grabbed this list off of a WebProNews article by Mike Sachoff entitled "BlogWorld Expo: Using Social Media To Drive Traffic" primarily for my own reference. I am wondering and imagining that this might be true though, that by posting and linking back to the article while at the same time posting a comment with a link back to Chaos Chasm II can help up the organic rankings of this weblog in the search engines. Or at least I hope that this is true in that it is a strategy I have been making more use of of late.

Smarts Tool #1:
Squiddo
It monetizes, builds links and content

Smarts Tool # 2:
Hubpages:
Content sharing site, may outpull your blog, but 60% of revenue share

Smarts Tool #3:
Create your own Wiki

Smarts Tool #4:
Twitter

Smart Tool #5:
Create online video

Smarts Tool #6:
Facebook Pages

Smarts Tool #7:
Digg

And how often do see a sentence with the double-barralled shotgun prepositional phraseology of "of of" used in a sentence? Whoah, wait a minute, did I just stutter there?Hmmm. Now I'm thinking that I am gonna hafta be using Of "Of Of" as the title of a blog posting somehow. Someday. Somewhere. About something . . . halfway intelligent and engaging. ANd then maybe somebody will "digg" it, dammit, Jim.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Buddha Banana

The Monkey Buddha is another weblog that I find to be close to my way of thinking. Again, the thanx goes to Bartcop for providing access to this scenario. Thanx, Bartcop.

John Balboa Meets Rocky Rambo And They Take It To The Bank

In lieu of the current rumor of a fifth and perhaps even a sixth Sly Stallone-helmed Rambo flick, news broke today of a top secret script for another Stallone-penned vehicle that brings together his two most iconic characters. This film is purportedly tentatively entitled Rambo vs. Rocky, although in some quarters apparently Rocky vs. Rambo is favored.

Hollywood insiders that have seen first drafts of the screenplay, much of which the aging action star is said to have written while on location in northern Thailand filming the most recent in the series of movies featuring the enigmatic John Rambo, called simply Rambo, indicate on condition of anonymity that the storyline has elements of science fiction this time around, which may be the instrument by which the age difference of the two characters can be balanced if the title is indicative of the level of violence most fans of both films probably look forward to in that it would be a bit of a stretch to imagine that Rocky, given his seniority over the younger Rambo, could be a match inside or outside the ring, or the jungle for that matter, concrete or otherwise.

A blogger on hecklerspray.com had this to say in a posting about Rambo 5.

---------------------------------------------------------------

The film that everyone's really waiting for though is, and it's definitely gonna be one twisty chiller, involving time travel, amnesia, incest and phobia, yes that's right boys and girls, in the grand old tradition of Bambi Meets Godzilla, Husky and Starch, Jason Does Freddy, we bring you

Rocky vs. Rambo


I can hardly wait . . . but I might have to if Sylvester films two more
Rambos first. But goddamn this is exciting!!!
---------------------------------------------------------------

From what this writer has learned, RvsR will not be your standard buddy flick, and although the dialogue is expected to be somewhat terse, it will be intense and meaningful in a true fists and bullets manner with plenty of succinct repartee between the two lead characters, Mr. Stallone of course doing double duty here. It remains a mystery yet how the John Rambo and Rocky Balboa first meet, but they are at first at odds with one another, which sets the audience up for a good first hour of over-the-top violence, but eventually the antagonists are thrown together to fight against a common cause that has something to do with government agents disguised as space aliens interfering in a terrorist attack on an elementary school in either South America or the sub-Sahara. Whether or not Mr. Stallone will also be in the director's chair for RvsR is not clear but it is likely that he will be involved as a producer. So far he has remained mum on the entire project.

At this point, Rambo vs. Rocky (or Rocky vs. Rambo) seems scheduled for a 2012 release.

****************************************

If alignment with the inanimate is the mark of a Bad Guy, Schoenmaker at least made a sympathetic beginning. But at some point along his way there occurred a shift in outlook so subtle that even Profane, who was unusually sensitive that way, probably couldn't have detected it. He was kept going by hatred for Halidom and perhaps a fading love for Godolphin. These had given rise to what is called a "sense of mission" -- something so tenuous it has to be fed more solid fare than either hatred or love. So it came to be sustained, plausibly enough, by a number of bloodless theories about "idea" of the plastic surgeon. Having heard his vocation on the embattled wind, Schoenmaker's dedication was toward repairing the havoc wrought by agencies outside his own sphere of responsibility. Others -- politicians and machines -- carried on wars; others -- perhaps human machines -- condemned his patients to the ravages of acquired syphilis; others -- on the highways, in the factories -- undid the work of nature with automobiles, milling machines, other instruments of civilian disfigurement. What could he do toward eliminating the causes? They existed, formed a body of things-as-they-are; he came to be afflicted with a conservative laziness. It was social awareness of a sort, but with boundaries and interfaces which made it less than the catholic rage filling him that night in the barracks of the M.O. It was in short a deterioration of purpose; a decay.

V. by Thomas Pynchon

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Life Of A Security Guard Is Always Intense

Confessions of an RNC security guard

From sushi-scarfing Secret Servicemen to drunken Sarah-Palin lust, witness the underside of the Republican shindig.

By Avi Steinberg
Pages 1 2

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Read more: Republican Party, John McCain, Opinion, Republican National Convention, 2008 election, Sarah Palin, Avi Steinberg
Republican Convention Security

Damon Winter/The New York Times/Redux

Local law enforcement officials watch McCain campaign director Rick Davis on a giant screen at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on Aug. 31, 2008.

Sept. 6, 2008 | ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Gathered in the basement of an office building in a tough section of St. Paul, less than two weeks before the gavel drops downtown at the Republican National Convention, roughly 30 recruits hired by a private security company sit through 12 hours of lectures. I am one of these officers-in-training.

The group is a mix of moonlighting prison guards and cops, infantrymen and Marines between tours of duty in Iraq, immigrants, assorted freelance goons and young career seekers. There is also a crisp-looking airman and an outspoken right-wing ideologue, who never fails to demonstrate his remarkable talent for transforming any conversation, even one about the weather, into a discussion about the Mossad.

The RNC, I am told, is a training ground for these recruits. Those who perform well during the grueling 12-hour shifts before, during and after the convention will be considered for permanent jobs at the security firm.

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The instructor is Charles T. Thibodeau, or Chuck, a rotund and self-effacing 65-year-old security consultant bedecked in gold jewelry. Thibodeau leans back, cracks open a can of Rockstar Energy Drink and extols the virtues of non-heroism. He has taken painkillers all week to cope with a recent operation to remove varicose veins and is in something of a confessional mood; having been raised by a town drunk (one of his confessions) he isn't much of a romantic to begin with.

"I'll be the first to admit it," he says, crossing his arms. "I don't fight fair. I fight to win. If you got to take someone out -- sorry, I mean, 'reposition them to the ground' -- you go in with help. Under no circumstances do you go toe-to-toe. You gotta get some beefcake in there. I myself prefer to go in with four to five people. Last thing I want is a level playing field."

"What if you're alone and the guy is coming for you?" asks one of the recruits.

Thibodeau doesn't miss a beat.

"You run."

"I know what some of you tough guys are thinking," says Thibodeau, draining his Rockstar. "But trust me, unless you've got no escape route and are being seriously threatened, and can prove that in court by crying on the stand, you had better retreat. You either run or you cry. Your choice."

A recruit sitting in the back of the room begins to fidget and sink into his chair. He wears a T-shirt in the ubiquitous purple and yellow of Minnesota Vikings football. The shirt reads "What Would Leif Erikson Do?"

Soon enough the recruit answers his own question: Leif Erikson, it turns out, would stand up, wipe his hands on his jeans, mutter "Fuck this" under his breath, slip out the back and not return.

I, however, stay until the bitter end and await my assignment. The following is a log of a night in my life as an RNC security officer. The night shift is 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

6:20 p.m.
I am assigned to guard the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Minneapolis, the official headquarters of the 2008 Republican National Convention. My uniform is cop classic: a jet black flying-cross patrolman's shirt with epaulets; black slacks (along with black belt and shoes that I had to provide myself); and a shiny golden badge that features a bald eagle, the Liberty Bell and the words "security enforcement officer" on it. I'm also sporting two shoulder patches: an American flag on the left and, on the right, the Doric-columned logo of my employers, surrounded by the words "courage, fortitude, protection."

Enthralled by this dizzyingly patriotic get-up I have neglected to try on the cop slacks ahead of time. This turns out to be a tragic mistake. The pants are tight -- obscenely tight -- at the waist. But duty calls. I squeeze into the pants, wince and look at myself in the mirror. My fears are confirmed: I look like the cop from the Village People. I walk gingerly toward the RNC headquarters downtown, trying, like everyone at the convention, to stick to the script.

6:30 p.m.
I walk downtown on Hennepin Avenue and notice a small crowd taking shape. As a "security enforcement officer," naturally I stop to investigate. The crowd is chanting "Ru-dy! Ru-dy! Ru-dy!" and there, indeed, is Mr. Giuliani, waving and baring his teeth to the delight of all assembled. I ask one among the crowd if he's as big a Giuliani booster as his enthusiastic chanting would seem to indicate.

"Naw, can't stand the guy. Way too liberal."

He returns to chanting. I'm running late, but I have to ask.

"So why are you chanting his name?"

"Have you ever chanted his name?"

I confess that I have not.

"Try it, buddy, it's fun. You'll like it."

So I do, to myself, as I trot toward the RNC headquarters. The guy is right; it does put me in a good mood.

6:40 p.m.
A group of college hipsters are loitering on Nicollett Avenue, near the Hyatt. They are clad typically -- scruff, tight jeans, chucks, ironic T-shirts and bandannas. One of them calls out, "Fuckin' fascist!" I look around for this fascist bastard and realize that he's talking to me. I'm partly relieved -- at least he didn't say, "Hey, look! It's the guy from the Village People."

It's been a tense week in the Twin Cities. A series of rough pre-convention raids on the homes of anti-RNC protesters has left even mild-mannered Minnesotans feeling sour.

At the moment, however, I'm in too much of a rush to point out that my pants are just as tight as any hipster's and my shirt possibly even more ironic. I have time only for some quick role-playing and so I shout back, "Get a job, you brat."

7 p.m.
The RNC headquarters at the Hyatt is a gilded fortress -- this week it's service with a smile and a concealed weapon. I am part of a team of 12 security officers (unarmed) who will patrol every entrance and exit to the hotel, front, back and side, for 24 hours a day during the RNC. Guards are also placed in the emergency stairways. We are told not to let anyone up past the sixth floor. Why? Because that's the order. There is no further discussion.

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In addition to my team of black-clad officers, there are hotel security personnel, Minneapolis police, an odd guardsman, state trooper or sheriff's officer, another squad of hired officers (from a different private firm), and members of the FBI, Capitol Police (in suits) and Secret Service (in nicer suits). If you include the Evangelicals, nearly every person at the RNC headquarters has a voice whispering in his ear.

8 p.m.
The voice whispering in my ear belongs to my operations supervisor, Charlie, a good-humored young private detective, who looks like the approachable guy in a boy band, walks like a determined penguin and has a tendency to giggle. He posts me to the front of the building, where I soon witness a heartbreaking exchange. A stocky man in a Hawaiian shirt walks up to a strapping young TV news producer who's milling around with his camera crew. The stocky man says, "Hi, I'm a delegate from Kentucky. Which station you guys from?"

"We're from New York," replies the producer, turning his back on the man.

10 p.m.
The Capitol policemen order pizza; the Secret Service, on the other hand, splurges. A Secret Service agent -- a linebacker with glasses -- walks past me with two big bags of takeout, en route to his undisclosed location upstairs. As he passes, he winks at me and says, "A little sushi action for the fellas."

My partner, who just finished police academy, says, "Man, those guys got style, don't they?"

11 p.m.
I ask an older gentleman -- a delegate from Idaho who seems to go by the name "Doc" -- to open his bag for a security search.

"If you want to be a real cop," he says, "you got to be more forceful. Try again."

I've been standing for four hours in pants that are two sizes too small; I'm developing welts in strange places and rapidly losing patience for what seems to be an endless train of preppy wiseguys.

"Sir, open your bag for me," I say. "Please."

"Good," he says. "Much better."



Midnight
The first wave of delegates, staffers, lobbyists and hangers-on are returning from their parties. I'm still guarding the front door. My first drunk: a guy whose dress shirt is recklessly untucked, his "McCain for America" pin dangling precariously from his lapel. Looking for his credentials, he fumbles around for almost five full minutes.

A car stops in front of the entrance. A man and a woman emerge and exchange a long meaningful hug. They whisper for a bit. Then the woman goes into the hotel and the man steps back into the car and drives away.

"Cheaters," says my new partner, Scott Mendes. "They both got wedding rings."

1:12 a.m.
Two discussions about the war in Iraq suddenly take place.

The first discussion is among a group of young Republicans standing in front of the Hyatt smoking cigars -- party favors from the Giuliani party. The men are all similarly clad in J. Press; some in houndstooth, some in navy blue blazers. The girlfriends, however, wear designer cocktail dresses.

"I'm sick of this chickenshit," says one guy, a sturdy Stanford 2L. "I hear too much apologizing for the war. We should all get behind McCain and stand up proudly and use the 'W' word. We have to tell the voters, 'No, we're not just making gains, we are winning this war.'"

The second conversation takes place between me and Scott, a baby-faced Marine who has served two tours in Iraq (and is expecting to be called up again any day). We're standing 2 feet away from the Republicans. As Scott tells it, his platoon spent almost two years roving around western Iraq doing the bidding of various local tribal bosses, fighting fierce and undefined battles against enemies who had been allies a week earlier.

His take on the war?

"It's bullshit," he says with a shrug. "We got no business there. We get played by all the locals. Guys are dying for nothing. Everyone's losing their minds. It's a disaster."

A new group of Republicans approaches.

"Here come some happy drunks," Scott says to me, smiling.

Three girls in the new group pose for a photo, beaming for the camera. Instead of saying, "Cheese," they surprise us and say, "Facebook!" The image is captured.

Scott opens the door for them, smiles and says, "Good evening," as they stumble in.

2:50 a.m.
At the RNC, the truth-telling starts somewhere around 3 a.m. Delegates who were on-message when they left for their parties at 10 p.m., return too hammered to walk a straight party line.

"How you doing, dude?" one of the drunk delegates says to me as he pulls out a cigarette, almost emptying an entire pocket in the process.

"To tell you the truth," I reply, "my pants are way too tight on the waist. They're killing me."

He gives my pants a glance.

"There's a lot of hot chicks here," he tells me in a failed attempt at a whisper. He reeks of chardonnay. "You cannot spring a woody here, dude. Your pants got no give, know what I mean? It'd be totally obvious. Gov. Palin is staying here -- you gotta be careful. You get what I'm saying? You can't get wood on the job."

"Thanks. I got it," I say.

One of his pals chimes in.

"Gov. Palin is hot, dude," he says, collapsing onto a bench in front of the hotel entrance.

Even in their lusty, alcohol-fueled swoons, these young politicos still call Palin "governor." In a way, this reverential horniness is sort of endearing. But mostly it's just creepy. Sitting on the bench, the young man leans his head back and squeezes his eyes shut, trying, and failing, to stave off vertigo. "Total MILF."

"All right, gentlemen," I say, wielding the word "gentlemen" like a prison guard. "Get out of here. Time to go to sleep."

The right-wing youth resurgence is taking shape here before my eyes and it has a strong erotic undercurrent. For the first time in American politics there is a strong alpha woman with whom mothers identify, and after whom sons lust. The GOP is playing the Oedipal card. And it could mean bloody war, fought house to house.

4:15 a.m.
I'm developing a purely anecdotal theory about Republican drunkenness: that it's related to ideology. The less ideological arrive back at the headquarters earlier in the evening, between midnight and 1 a.m. These are, in chronological order, the Romney and the Giuliani supporters. Both are East Coast, urban college grad, corporate types. They like to drink and reminisce about the Harvard-Yale game, but they also like to wake up early, shave and not smell like booze at committee meetings. The Giuliani people are secular and more openly lecherous. So they tend to drink a bit harder and stay out closer to 1 a.m. The Ron Paul people party past 1 a.m., but not much. And they shave but they don't showboat.

The ones who stay out the latest and come back the drunkest, I notice, are the Huckabee folks, the party's rural conservatives. They believe in Jesus, in the hard-bitten way of the true alcoholic. If they ever sober up, it'll be by the grace of the Lord; and if they intend to stay on the sauce and continue living, then they'll really need His loving kindness. If you intend to be drinking heavily until closing time -- 4 a.m. in the Twin Cities during the RNC -- you had better walk home with Jesus.

I can't place true McCainites on the alcohol-ideology matrix. I think they were all asleep by 9:30 p.m.

Site Pass Presented by

5 a.m.
The only people around the RNC headquarters now are security personnel. Cops of all stripes circulate around the hotel, nodding to one another as they pass, keeping watch mostly on their fellow watchmen. Every once in a while, Charlie's voice crackles over the radio, "Wake up!" and my fellow officers oblige by telling lewd jokes over the line to stay awake. The agony of my ill-fitting cop slacks has given way to a mellow numbness.

I am now posted behind the RNC headquarters, at the back exit, which is an outdoor ledge overlooking a park. It's a lonely perch and the night has turned chilly. Fall is definitely in the air. A man in his mid-60s -- who, to my exhausted eyes, looks a bit like John McCain -- suddenly materializes nearby. Given that I'm dead bored and my eyes have begun playing tricks on me, and that I'm manning a post in the dead of night, I can't help thinking of the ghost of King Hamlet, disturbing the night watch just like this gentleman, with "a countenance more in sorrow than in anger."

All the hotels in the area are dark. Thousands of Republicans stir in their beds, dreaming thousands of dreams about Sarah Palin. But Charles Hunter, an environmentalist delegate from New Hampshire and a veteran of Republican conventions going back to the 1980 coronation of Ronald Reagan at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, can't sleep at all.

"This is my last convention," he tells me, lighting a cigarette.

"Why?"

"I'm a real McCain guy. I served. But I liked the old McCain -- when he was a true hero, before he signed on with the yahoos. I actually believe in 'country first.'"

"Not a fan of Palin?"

"If I were McCain I'd probably bring her onto my ticket, too. That's exactly the problem. I guess I tricked myself into thinking that McCain, even after he watered himself down for the election, could somehow restore sanity. The Democrats tried to paint him as a twin of Bush. Not true. But Palin ... she does remind me of Bush. McCain has made a devil's pact and sealed this party's fate."

Even though he's older, he smokes his cigarette like a young man, with earnest haste, before he flicks it off into the dark.

"That's it," he said, "we're through. Even if we win, we've lost."

Friday, September 5, 2008

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Thanx e-Junkie, You're Great

I got this from my e-Junkie back office.

********************************************************

How to aggregate news using RSS feeds

Posted on December 9, 2006, 9:59 pm by cipher27 under Tips, Tutorials, Guides & How-Tos

With the introduction of Web2.0, the internet has spawned many useful technologies chief among which is the RSS. RSS is variously defined as Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication & RDF Site Summary. What ever the definitions might say RSS is a super simple way for users to keep up with frequently updated sites and read the content through feed readers or news aggregators. RSS can be compared to TiVo, TiVo lets you record shows to view at a later time as per your convenience the RSS feed performs a similar function by allowing you to download latest news to the computer to be read later. RSS feeds can be compared to newsletters in that both provide news on a periodic basis and requires very less user intervention once it is setup, unlike newsletters a user does not need to send subscribe mails when he joins the site and an unsubscribe mail when he no longer wished to receive the newsletter with RSS, the user simply deletes his subscription to the news feed.

RSS enables users to view information from different sites in a single unified interface that a user is familiar with, the user need not know the URL of the site or know how to navigate through the site as long as he has subscribed to the RSS feed, any new information is delivered to his computer automatically. While RSS is a boon to the end user the Publishers stands to profit enormously from this technology too. RSS enables a site operator to maintain his loyal fan base by providing the users with timely updates and thus attract more users. RSS can be used as an effective marketing tool by publishers, Publishers can deliver offers and product related information to its wide user base through RSS thus enabling them to market their product in an easy and convenient manner.

Once a user learns how to add an RSS feed subscription for a site the method is pretty consistent for all sites that provide RSS feeds, thus enabling even the most novice user to subscribe for content from various sites. With RSS a user is in control of the information he wishes to receive, the user can choose to delete a subscription in case he is not interested in it or finds it offensive.

With RSS instead of a person visiting the site to read what has been published the published content is instead pushed to the user who has subscribed to the service and enables a user to aggregate news from several sites and read them at his/her convenience. The feed reader can be set up to check the sites for updates at predefined intervals and download them to the computer automatically. With the growing popularity of handheld devices such as smart phones and PDA’s and media players the popularity of RSS feeds is growing as the content from several sites can be downloaded to the devices so that they can be accessed offline at a later time. Another advantage of RSS feeds is that the site content is presented in a simple plain text format with minimal graphics thus enabling the users to get what they want without intrusive Image ads or popups. While some content providers include interstitial text ads the ads are related to the content and are non intrusive. RSS can be used to syndicate any kind of content and enables users to download the latest content like Podcasts without user intervention.

Typically RSS feeds provide information like current events,job listings deals and rebates etc. RSS feeds contain a headline and a small summary describing the piece of news and often contain links to full featured content,while other sites syndicate the full content of the article or news item through RSS. Sites providing RSS feeds usually indicate it by providing a small button such as the one at the beginning of the article or that display an XML button.

How to subscribe to RSS feeds


RSS feeds cannot be read directly as they are just XML code, to read RSS feeds you need a RSS news reader or news aggregators. RSS news readers are available both as stand alone applications as well as are integrated into most modern browsers. This site provides a huge list of RSS news readers for the windows desktop.

If you are using the popular Mozilla FireFox browser then a built in method of subscribing to RSS feeds exist. RSS feeds subscriptions are called as live bookmarks in FireFox. Once you find a site that offers RSS feeds you can subscribe to them by clicking on the RSS icon in the location bar or the address bar. Once subscribed the Updates can be accessed from the bookmarks menu or from the bookmarks sidebar. This site provides an easy to follow tutorial on adding live bookmarks.The Latest version of Internet explorer also allows you to subscribe and manage your RSS feeds.

While FireFox provides live bookmarks it is not suitable for everyone a lot of extensions exist which can make subscribing to RSS feeds as easy as using a mail client. Sage is an lightweight FireFox extension that allows you to manage RSS subscriptions discover new feeds and has search integration with Technorati and RSS search integration using which you can search for new feeds that interest you. Wizz news reader also supports integration with FireFox 2.0 live bookmarks and allows you to manage your RSS subscriptions.If you are not into desktop applications or dont want to use built in RSS readers in the browser or don’t want to install extensions then you can use several online news aggregators Google provides Google news reader which can be used to subscribe to RSS feeds. Yahoo! Mail Beta also offers an inbuilt RSS news aggregator. NewsGator also offers an online news reader .

We hope that this article helps you in discovering the many wonderful sites on the Intenret that offer RSS and helps you have more productive time on the net.

********************************************************

But that's not all that e-Junkie is up to. Take a look under the hood.



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chaotic Ken

I just totally love this shit even if it is way beyond my ken.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806140211.htm



Quantum Chaos Unveiled?

ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2008) — A University of Utah study is shedding light on an important, unsolved physics problem: the relationship between chaos theory – which is based on 300-year-old Newtonian physics – and the modern theory of quantum mechanics.

The study demonstrated a fundamental new property – what appears to be chaotic behavior in a quantum system – in the magnetic "spins" within the nuclei or centers of atoms of frozen xenon, which normally is a gas and has been tested for making medical images of lungs.

The new study – published in the Aug. 8 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters – was led by Brian Saam, an associate professor of physics and associate dean of the University of Utah's College of Science.

Quantum mechanics – which describes the behavior of molecules, atoms electrons and other subatomic particles – "plays a key role in understanding how electronics work, how all sorts of interesting materials behave, how light behaves during communication by optical fibers," Saam says.

"When you look at all the technology governed by quantum physics, it's not unreasonable to assume that if one can apply chaos theory in a meaningful way to quantum systems, that will provide new insights, new technology, new solutions to problems not yet known."

A Chaotic Dance of Nuclear Spins

Just as atomic nuclei and their orbiting electrons can have electrical charges, they also have another property known as "spin." The spin within an atomic nucleus or electron is like a spinning bar magnet that points either up or down.

Saam and graduate student Steven Morgan zapped xenon atoms with a strong magnetic field, laser beam and radio-wave pulse so the nuclear spins were aligned in four different configurations in four samples of frozen xenon, each containing about 100 billion billion atoms [billion twice is correct].

Despite differing initial configurations, the "dances" of the xenon spins evolved so they eventually were in sync with each other, as measured by nuclear magnetic resonance, or NMR. That took a few thousandths of a second – something physicists seriously call "long-time behavior."

"This type of common behavior has been a signature of classically chaotic (Newtonian) systems, mostly studied using a computer, but it never had been observed in an experimental system that only can be described by quantum mechanics," Saam says.

As an analogy, imagine billions of people in a huge, unfamiliar city. They start walking around in different places and directions, with little conversation among them. Yet, eventually, they all end up walking in the same direction.

Such behavior in nuclear spins had been predicted in 2005 by the study's third author, physicist Boris Fine of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Fine had made the prediction by adapting chaos theory to quantum theory.

Order from Chaos

The evolution of disorder into order by the xenon atoms' nuclear spins is a signature of chaos theory, which, contrary to the popular notion, does not imply complete disorder. Instead, chaos theory describes how weather, certain chemical reactions, planetary orbits, subatomic particles and other dynamic systems change over time, with the changes often highly sensitive to starting conditions.

"When you have a [chaotic] system that is characterized by extreme randomness, it paradoxically can produce ordered behavior after a certain amount of time," says Saam. "There is strong evidence that is happening here in our experiment."

The sensitivity to starting conditions is known popularly as "the butterfly effect," based on the fanciful example that a butterfly flapping its wings in South America might set off subtle atmospheric changes that eventually build into a tornado in Texas.

Saam says chaos theory can make predictions about extremely complex motions of many particles that are interacting with each other. The mathematical notion of chaos first was described in the 1890s. Chaos theory was developed in the 1960s, based on classical physics developed in the late 1600s by Sir Isaac Newton. Classical physics says the motion, speed and location of any particle at any time can be determined precisely.

In contrast, quantum mechanics holds that "when things get atom small, our notions of being able to put a specific particle in a specific place with a specific speed at a specific time become blurry," Saam says. So a particle's speed and location is a matter of probability, and "the probability is the reality."

Details of the Study: 'These Guys are Dancing Together'

Technically, spin is the intrinsic angular momentum of a particle – a concept so difficult to explain in lay terms that physicists usually use the bar magnet analogy.

A nonmagnetic material normally has random spins in the nuclei of its atoms – half the spins are up and half are down, so the net spin is zero. But magnetic fields can be applied so that the spins are aligned – with more up than down, or vice versa.

Physicists can measure the alignment or "polarization" of the spins using NMR's strong magnetic field. Nuclear spins also are used medically: When a patient lies within a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device's large magnet, the spins within atoms in the body generate electrical signals that are used to make images of body tissues. Doctors are testing xenon as a way to enhance MRI images of the lungs.

Saam and colleagues used xenon because its spins can be aligned relatively easily.

In each experiment, Saam and Morgan used a magnetic field and a laser to align or "hyperpolarize" the spins in a sample of about 100 billion billion xenon gas atoms so a majority of the spins either were aligned "up" or "down." Then, they froze the gas into a solid at a temperature of 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

Then they applied a radio wave pulse, which "flips" the spins so they all are perpendicular to the magnetic field instead of parallel to it. That makes them start circling around the magnetic field axis like spinning tops.

In this manner, the physicists created four frozen xenon samples. Within each sample, the spins were aligned, but different radio pulses were used to make the initial alignment or configuration of the spins different from one sample to the next.

The scientists then used NMR to watch the spins decay or fade over thousandths of a second.

"Although they are held in place in the crystal structure, the spins can interact with each other and change the direction in which they're pointed in much the same way that magnets interact with each other when brought close together," Saam says.

The initial configuration of spins in each xenon sample evolved in extremely complicated ways due to the presence of billions of interacting spins, and each sample rapidly "lost its memory" of where it started. Such behavior has been known for 60 years.

The surprise was that while each sample's initial NMR signal was radically different from the other, they displayed "identical long-time behavior," says Saam.

"Somehow despite the fact these spins have very complicated interactions with each other and started out in completely different orientations, they end up all moving in the same way after several milliseconds," he says. "That's never been seen before in a quantum mechanical system. These guys are dancing together."

Saam says the technical achievement was that the huge amount of polarization made it possible for NMR to measure an extremely weak spin signal – only one-thousandth as strong as the original signal by the time the samples appeared to behave chaotically.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Feel Yonder Message

It is always a delight to come across something that makes me feel like --- well, like many things. Okay, I'll make a list.

Like an idiot.
Like a pretty smart guy.
Like learning something more.

Oh, forget it, I don't wanna make this list. Anyway, I received this email today, making me wonder when I had signed up for this forum or website club or whatever it is (since I have not taken any steps yet to secure my new alleged status as an admin moderator or whatever because I got distracted by a link to a blogspot blog --- bear with me here, I will explain). Okay, here is the email missive:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A message to all members of F.Y.M

I have made you administrator. You have been here for awhile and I hope you enjoy being one. Have a good day:)

Visit F.Y.M at: http://freeyourminds.ning.com

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Right. I'm thinking, who and what is Free Your Mind, but I click through, and on the homepage is the announcement of this mission statement, which is all to the good so far:

This is A Open Dialogue, A Gathering Of Minds and A place to make friends and meet new people. Talk about anything and everything. This site is more along the lines of a site dedicated to back and forth chat and conversations. Its about total freedom of speech, so don't be afraid to speak your minds or have fears of being politically correct. Rules - I am adhering to the core principle of free speech, so talk about whatever you want. This site enables you to create a profile, create groups, upload videos and music, post topics and blogs, leave comments on each others profiles and add music and videos to your profiles.

However, in the middle of the page is this link, which I correspondingly thus did clickith through to, and anon ---

You can read my blog at http://trenteady.blogspot.com/.
Posted by Trent on August 16th, 2008 at 5:30pm — No Comments (Add)

Trent Eady, a high school student on Central Canada, writes on some heady topix, ones that are in my vein, right up my alley, in my neck of the woods, so to speak, that it is, some cool shit. And while reading a comment on his his blog I then went to this site, curiouser and curiouser ---

Fusion Report 13 June 008

I tend to take a peek at the "View My Complete Profile" sector of a blogspot blogger's blog, it is sometimes most rewarding, and that has proven at least initially true with the complete profile of the commenter on Trent's blog, one M. Simon.

But before I go any further with this, I am gonna go back and leave a comment on Trent's posting entitled, "A dish best not served", in which he references both Jody Foster and Richard Dawkins.





Friday, August 15, 2008

The Blog Bog

I am gonna hafta join up in this baby. I love it. More things to do. Rather, more things to remember to do. Ha. Boo.

http://successblognet.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crazy Lazy Days Of Plunder

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Warmonger Marketing

I just finished watching Seraphim Falls with Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan. Have you seen it? It's about war, kind of.

My wife and I are probably going to be buying the flat we have been living in since we got married six years ago last June in Hawaii with my family, not hers, although I did meet her twin sister a week later in Honolulu. The flat we will be buying belongs to another sister. If we end up buying it, I guess that we will be getting a good deal. Of course, it all depends perhaps also on the following. And so it goes . . . .

What you are about to read is concerning the advent of WWIII, more or less. I grabbed it off of this website ---


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Massive US Naval Armada Heads For Iran

Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the "enemy force".

The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.

They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group.

Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal (R07) carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone.

The build up of naval forces in the Gulf will be one of the largest multi-national naval armadas since the First and Second Gulf Wars. The intent is to create a US/EU naval blockade (which is an Act of War under international law) around Iran (with supporting air and land elements) to prevent the shipment of benzene and certain other refined oil products headed to Iranian ports. Iran has limited domestic oil refining capacity and imports 40% of its benzene. Cutting off benzene and other key products would cripple the Iranian economy. The neo-cons are counting on such a blockade launching a war with Iran.

The US Naval forces being assembled include the following:

Carrier Strike Group Nine
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) nuclear powered supercarrier
with its Carrier Air Wing Two
Destroyer Squadron Nine:
USS Mobile Bay (CG53) guided missile cruiser
USS Russell (DDG59) guided missile destroyer
USS Momsen (DDG92) guided missile destroyer
USS Shoup (DDG86) guided missile destroyer
USS Ford (FFG54) guided missile frigate
USS Ingraham (FFG61) guided missile frigate
USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG60) guided missile frigate
USS Curts (FFG38) guided missile frigate
Plus one or more nuclear hunter-killer submarines

Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group
USS Peleliu (LHA-5) a Tarawa-class amphibious assault carrier
USS Pearl Harbor (LSD52) assult ship
USS Dubuque (LPD8) assult ship/landing dock
USS Cape St. George (CG71) guided missile cruiser
USS Halsey (DDG97) guided missile destroyer
USS Benfold (DDG65) guided missile destroyer

Carrier Strike Group Two
USS Theodore Roosevelt (DVN71) nuclear powered supercarrier
with its Carrier Air Wing Eight
Destroyer Squadron 22
USS Monterey (CG61) guided missile cruiser
USS Mason (DDG87) guided missile destroyer
USS Nitze (DDG94) guided missile destroyer
USS Sullivans (DDG68) guided missile destroyer

USS Springfield (SSN761) nuclear powered hunter-killer submarine

IWO ESG ~ Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group
USS Iwo Jima (LHD7) amphibious assault carrier
with its Amphibious Squadron Four
and with its 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
USS San Antonio (LPD17) assault ship
USS Velia Gulf (CG72) guided missile cruiser
USS Ramage (DDG61) guided missile destroyer
USS Carter Hall (LSD50) assault ship
USS Roosevelt (DDG80) guided missile destroyer

USS Hartfore (SSN768) nuclear powered hunter-killer submarine

Carrier Strike Group Seven
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN76) nuclear powered supercarrier
with its Carrier Air Wing 14
Destroyer Squadron 7
USS Chancellorsville (CG62) guided missile cruiser
USS Howard (DDG83) guided missile destroyer
USS Gridley (DDG101) guided missile destroyer
USS Decatur (DDG73) guided missile destroyer
USS Thach (FFG43) guided missile frigate
USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7) fast combat support ship

Also likely to join the battle armada:

UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal Carrier Strike Group with assorted guided missile destroyers and frigates, nuclear hunter-killer submarines and support ships

French Navy nuclear powered hunter-killer submarines (likely the Amethyste and perhaps others), plus French Naval Rafale fighter jets operating off of the USS Theodore Roosevelt as the French Carrier Charles de Gaulle is in dry dock, and assorted surface warships

Various other US Navy warships and submarines and support ships. The following USN ships took part (as the "enemy" forces) in Operation Brimstone and several may join in:

USS San Jacinto (CG56) guided missile cruiser
USS Anzio (CG68) guided missile cruiser
USS Normandy (CG60) guided missile cruiser
USS Carney (DDG64) guided missile destroyer
USS Oscar Austin (DDG79) guided missile destroyer
USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG81) guided missile destroyer
USS Carr (FFG52) guided missile frigate

The USS Iwo Jima and USS Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Groups have USMC Harrier jump jets and an assortment of assault and attack helicopters. The Expeditionary Strike Groups have powerful USMC Expeditionary Units with amphibious armor and ground forces trained for operating in shallow waters and in seizures of land assets, such as Qeshm Island (a 50 mile long island off of Bandar Abbas in the Gulf of Hormuz and headquarters of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps).

The large and very advanced nature of the US Naval warships is not only directed at Iran. There is a great fear that Russia and China may oppose the naval and air/land blockade of Iran. If Russian and perhaps Chinese naval warships escort commercial tankers to Iran in violation of the blockade it could be the most dangerous at-sea confrontation since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The US and allied Navies, by front loading a Naval blockade force with very powerful guided missile warships and strike carriers is attempting to have a force so powerful that Russia and China will not be tempted to mess with. This is a most serious game of military brinkmanship with major nuclear armed powers that have profound objections to the neo-con grand strategy and to western control of all of the Middle East's oil supply.

The Russian Navy this spring sent a major battle fleet into the Mediterranean headed by the modern aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov and the flagship of its Black Sea Fleet, the Guided Missile Heavy Cruiser Moskva. This powerful fleet has at least 11 surface ships and unknown numbers of subs and can use the Russian naval facility at Syria's Tartous port for resupply. The Admiral Kuznetsov carries approximately 47 warplanes and 10 helicopters. The warplanes are mostly the powerful Su-33, a naval version (with mid-air refueling capability) of the Su-27 family. While the Su-33 is a very powerful warplane it lacks the power of the stealth USAF F-22. However, the Russians insist that they have developed a plasma based system that allows them to stealth any aircraft and a recent incident where Russian fighters were able to appear unannounced over a US Navy carrier battle group tends to confirm their claims. The Su-33 can be armed with the 3M82 Moskit sea-skimming missile (NATO code name SS-N-22 Sunburn) and the even more powerful P-800 Oniks (also named Yakhonts; NATO code name SS-N-26 Onyx). Both missiles are designed to kill US Navy supercarriers by getting past the cruiser/destroyer screen and the USN point-defense Phalanx system by using high supersonic speeds and violent end maneuvers. Russian subs currently use the underwater rocket VA-111 Shkval (Squall), which is fired from standard 533mm torpedo tubes and reaches a speed of 360kph (230mph) underwater. There is no effective countermeasures to this system and no western counterpart.

A strategic diversion has been created for Russia. The Republic of Georgia, with US backing, is actively preparing for war on South Ossetia. The South Ossetia capital has been shelled and a large Georgian tank force has been heading towards the border. Russia has stated that it will not sit by and allow the Georgians to attack South Ossetia. The Russians are great chess players and this game may not turn out so well for the neo-cons. UPDATE 8 August 2008 ~ War has broken out between Georgia and South Ossetia. At least 10 Russian troops have been killed and 30 wounded and 2 Russian fighter jets downed. American Marines, a thousand of them, have recently been in Georgia training the Georgian military forces. Several European nations stopped Bush and others from allowing Georgia into NATO. Russia is moving a large military force with armor towards the area. This could get bad, and remember it is just a strategic diversion....but one that could have horrific effects. Link to story "Russia sends forces into Georgia rebel conflict". FURTHER UPDATE ~ Russian military forces in active combat; now total of four Russian fighter jets reported downed. ADDITIONAL UPDATE ~ Georgia calls for US help; Russian Air Force bombs Georgian air bases. DEBKA, the Israeli strategy and military site, states that Israeli military officers are advising the Georgian armed forces in combat operations and that 1,000 Israelis are in-combat on the side of Georgia at this time.


Kuwait has activated its "Emergency War Plan" as it and other Gulf nations prepare for the likelihood of a major regional war in the Middle East involving weapons of mass destruction.

The two-ton elephant in the living room of the neo-con strategy is the advanced biowar (ABW) that Iran, and to a lessor extent Syria, has. This places the motherlands of the major neo-con nations (America, France, the United Kingdom), as well as Israel, in grave danger. When the Soviet Union fell the Iranians hired as many out-of-work former Soviet advanced biowar experts as possible. In the last 15 or so years they have helped to develop a truly world class ABW program utilizing recombination DNA genetic engineering technology to create a large number of man made killer viruses. This form of weapon system does not require high tech military delivery systems. The viruses are sub-microscopic and once seeded in a population use the population itself as vectors. Seeding can be done without notice in shopping malls, churches, and other public places. The only real defense to an advanced global strategic biowar attack is to lock down the population as rapidly as possible and let those infected die off.

Unless the public gets it act together and forces the neo-cons to stop the march to yet another war in the Middle East we are apt to see a truly horrific nightmare unfold in OUR COUNTRIES.

Stirling


Do something about this ~ email this article to as many of your friends as possible and post it on as many sites as possible, demand that your political leaders stop this nonsense before it kills us all. The response of average people all over the world in emailing this article to friends and posting it on blogs and web sites everywhere is totally amazing. It is a real happening that I don't think has ever happened to this extent before. People, please start demanding of your elected leaders in Parliament/Congress that they oppose what is happening. The world is sliding into war as the war leaders hide behind the main stream media's attention focused on the Olympics. Demand that your local newspapers, television and radio stations begin giving real coverage to what is happening in Russia/Georgia and the Middle East. Do something while you still can.
I am working on a new article: 08/08/08 THE BEGINNING OF THE SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES AND WORLD WAR III see this site for the article soon.
Blog EUROPE ~ home
Scottish barony title for sale ~ link
The Earl of Stirling is available for public speaking engagements ~ earlofstirling@yahoo.com

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Time Of The Han

On the Twitter blog there is a little thing going on, and although the event in question has transpired already just over 26 hours ago, I still responded. Here is that thing:

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A fun project has emerged out of the Chinese community on Twitter. The idea is to share what you're doing during the opening day of the Olympic Games. To participate, just add #080808 to your tweet and to watch, just visit Twitter Search.

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And although I chose not to participate in this little game, I did post the following comment on that Twitter posting (granted said comment awaits the big okay from the Twitter blog peeps admin, or something) ---

Actually that should be 08/08/08/08/08/08, as in the eighth second of the eighth minute of the eighth post mortem --- Yikes! Sorry, I mean post meridiem --- hour of the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of the new millennium, or if you prefer the Chinese style of date posting, going from large to small, 2008年8月8日8點8分鐘08秒 (or in the minimalist simplified style, 2008年8月8日8点8分钟08秒), in that that is precisely the moment the games were to commence, and apparently it went off without a hitch, although at that time I was sitting with a group of Taiwanese asking them and getting blank stares and virtually no response whose head would roll in Beijing if the commencement firecrackers went off a few seconds too soon or too late, and it was not until the next day, or rather early the following Sunday some time after the witching hour that I was able to view the opening ceremonies, and impressive they most certainly were (Whatever are the Brits gonna do in four years that could possibly top that show?), by means of Multimedia On Demand, or MOD, only recently launched by China Telecom in Taiwan where I hang my hat, and the first rounds of gymnastics which the Russkies were leading at about 3am when I headed home from my in-laws almost 12 hours ago now, and my wife just placed a glass of Merlot to my left which I am now going to attend to.

Slurp. Slurp, slurp.