Lauren’s father passed away at 2:40pm on Tuesday. He’s survived by his wife, two daughters, his parents, a brother, and his cat. He’ll be greatly missed by all.
As a result I’ll be offline, for the most part, for the remainder of the week. If you’re the religious type a small prayer would mean a lot to Lauren and her family.
I haven’t been posting to the site for a number of reasons. My life is pretty hectic right now. I’m finishing up my degree, I’m pushing through the various policies I’ve been working on over the last year as IFC President, and supporting Lauren as she faces her father’s passing.
Yesterday we were called to the hospital around 5:30am and stayed pretty much the whole day. Needless to say it was physically and emotionally draining for the both of us. I’d like to thank those of you who have kept Lauren and her family in your thoughts and prayers.
I recently wrote an article for Zend.com, a leading PHP resource and community website, about the popular templating engine, Smarty. The article is titled Smarty: A closer look and covers some of the more advanced features of Smarty. If you have any questions please post them in the discussion forum. I’ll be trolling over the next few days.
I find it so funny when news sources report on possible military strikes on various targets only to say “there is no word when and where a strike could happen.”
No shit Sherlock! Did you really think when you asked that question that any government in the world would answer it? I can hear it now “Yeah we’re putting all our guys here in the hopes we can blow up their radar stations. Next question?” I wish they would just omit it from all news sources.
A side note to this story: If you’re a retired military person stay the hell away from CNN – no one cares about your “expert” opinion.
I came across an interesting article outlining California’s gas woes. It goes into great detail as to why California’s gas prices are so much higher than the rest of the country’s. Furthermore, it explains why gas costs more in the summer than in the winter.
It seems that the summer heat affects the way gas behaves and the way it pollutes. This means gas companies have to create a special “summer blend” that costs more to refine.
Becuase California has stricter pollution standards and the recent switch away from MTBE to ethanol the state is experiencing increased gas prices as the refiners perfect their ethanol based blends.
Questions are being raised about price gouging, as can be expected when gas prices are 40 cents higher than the rest of the US. It seems a few of the refiners have already perfected the blend and cut costs, but since many haven’t prices remain high, which, in turn, results in huge profits for the ones who have perfected the new ethanol blend. Yet another day of craziness in the free market oil trade.
In an amazing trade the US has given a whopping $27 million USD to an al Qaeda foot soldier for the recent capture of one of the big wigs.
I think it’s fine that we give large sums of money to people who provide evidence to arrest those “higher up the food chain”, but what bothers me is that this asshole not only gets the money, but he gets to walk away a free man.
The best part about this whole story is that he’s moving to Britain with his family. I find it funny that this idiot terrorists, whom we’re all so scared of, are perfectly willing to trade in their rhetoric for a few bucks. Hell, for $27 million I’d give a donkey head.
Rumsfeld is a friggin hypocrit and so is the US government. A story outlining the US relationship with Iraq tells how we aided Iraq in its war with Iran because we viewed Iraq as the lesser of two evils.
If we knew he was the lesser of two evils then why the hell did we give him the chemical weapons? Only after he used them, which shouldn’t have shocked us, did we change our minds about his regime.
The above has a perfect analogy. First you find two schoolyard bullies. Then you choose the lesser of the two bullies. After that you give him a large stockpile of firecrackers. Once you’ve set this all up your “shocked” when little Tommy uses the firecrackers (provided by you) to blow up the neighbor’s (and his own) mailbox. Under current US law you would be just as guilty as he is.
A major setback for the US Government today in it’s ongoing “enemy combatant” debate. Jose Padilla has been given the right to meet with his lawyers by a federal judge. For those who don’t know Mr. Padilla is a US citizen who was working with al Qaeda to detonate a “dirty bomb” on US soild.
The decision is a legal setback for the Bush administration, which sought to block Padilla from meeting his defense lawyers under any circumstances, saying national security is more important than a detainee’s right to counsel.
No one will deny that Mr. Padilla is a very bad man, but in the same sense even Jeffrey Dahmer got to talk to his lawyer. The thing that scares me the most is that the US government denied a US citizen a basic right, the right to counsel.
I came across a short essay about the supposed “Coalition of the Willing” that we keep hearing about. I searched quite a bit around the net and couldn’t find a definitive list of who actually is a part of the coalition. The essay covers how many of the countries in the coalition are only a part of it because the US is increasing aid, paying them outright, or threatening action if they don’t join the coalition. Brings new meaning to the word “willing” doesn’t it?
I don’t have a source, but I remember hearing that Spain, Portugal, and Britain were the main allies. With Tony Blair’s own cabinet members threatening resignation I wonder how much help Spain and Portugal have to offer. Last time I checked neith Spain nor Portugal were considered anywhere near “global players.”
Against Empire by Michael Parenti is a scathing review of US foreign policy. Over the last year I have become increasingly disillusioned with my birth country. This book only strengthened those feelings. Evidently, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Before you tell me to buy a plane ticket to another country let me enlighten you on some interesting facts outlined in the book.
- In 1945 corporations paid 50% of the income taxes in America. Today they pay 7%. Take a guess as to who pays the rest (you).
- The reason Iraq invaded Kuwait originally was because Kuwait was drilling sideways into Iraq’s oil reserves.
- The US government sent hundreds of millions of dollars to Sadaam Hussein to fight a war with Iran. Along with that money we also sent him the very recipes for the gasses we are now trying to destroy.
- Conoco leased it’s offices in Madagascar during the Somalia dabacle to the US government to use as its embassy. The funny part is there is strong evidence that the US was there protecting Conoco’s oil rights in Somalia. Essentially, Conoco was paid by the US so the US could protect “out interests” (aka Conoco’s oil rights).
Still not angry? How about these nuggets?
- The US government sends more in aid to Isreal than all the countries of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
- American spends more on its military than the next fifteen countries combined. That’s $230 billion compared to a mere $36 billion for second place.
- The WTO, empowered by the GATT, is an unelected council that has the right to overrule ANY signing country in regards to teriffs, environmental legislation, business laws, etc. In other words the GATT could find a law putting a limit on Rainforest logging “illegal” because it “unfairly” penalizes ranchers who need the grazing land.
We *need* a big military because of foreign threats right? Do we need almost ten times the protection as the rest of the world? I’m not so sure, considering Mexico and Canada have much more to lose than to gain by invading our country. Next time you complain about a pot hole, or the cost of insurance, or how much college costs these days, think about how much we spend on the military. Think about the last time you seriously felt the US was crumbling around you because of “foreign threats.”
As a result of the current administration’s foreign policy, not to mention the foreign policy for the last 100 years, I’ve been seriously considering moving my sorry ass to another country. Possibly Australia or New Zealand. I’m tired of living with all this hypocritical bullshit.
In conclusion, I’d just like to say that everyone should read this book. It should be taught in every school. I’d love to hear your thoughts!