Archived entries for Culture

Who’s a better cook?

According to poll up on Yahooligans! right now, Mom is a better cook.

As of 4:33 today, the moms are looking strong with 15702 of the 25518 votes, or 61%. But, with about 10 votes per minute stil being cast (and no idea how long the polls will remain open), it’s hard to say who’ll be standing when the dust finally settles.

[SPAM] Clinton speach on US-Islamic Relations

this blog entry is political and quotes a speach on U.S.-Islamic relations. Please discontinue reading if you don’t want to real about politics or our world. Thank you for your indulgence.

This speach, given by Bill Clinton to the U.S-Islamic World Forum on January 12th, 2004, in Doha Qatar (.pdf), was to me a great, balanced, optimistic and insightful take of the state of things. Here are some snippets:

The defining feature of the modern world is not terror, nor is it trade nor technology,
although terror, trade, and technology are manifestations of the defining feature of the
modern world, which is its interdependence–a word I far prefer to “globalization,” the
more common word, because for most people globalization has a largely economic
meaning. “Interdependence” is a broader word. It simply means we cannot escape each
other. And our relationships go far beyond economics.

The main point I would like to make about the interdependent world that applies to the
relationships between the United States and the Islamic world is that the interdependence
we enjoy has been of great benefit to some of us, but it is unequal, unstable, and

…half the people in the world today are living on less than $2 a day, a billion people living on less than $1 a day, a sobering thought here in this country [Qatar] that will soon have the highest per capita income in the world.

…this year, 10 million children will die of completely preventable childhood diseases.
One in four of all the people who perish on Earth this year from all causes will die of
AIDS–100 percent preventable–where there is medicine that turns it from a death sentence
to a chronic illness; TB, malaria–treatable with medicine; and infections related to diarrhea, most of them are little children who never got a single clean glass of water in their lives. They, too, are part of interdependence.

The report revealed that under 2 percent of the Arab population has access to the Internet; that only one in 20 university students in the Arab world study science; that with 5 percent of the world’s population, you publish only a little over 1 percent of the world’s books. This is good news. Why? Because all these things are something you can easily do something about.

A couple of years ago, we had a poll where …[the] University of Maryland [asked]: …How much do you think your country spends on foreign aid? The biggest number, 15 percent. [H]ow much should your country spend on
foreign aid? Only 3 to 5 percent. I agreed with them. The problem is America spends less than 1 percent of our budget on foreign aid, the smallest of any wealthy country in the world, and my fellow citizens don’t know it.

Why does the Koran say, “Allah put different people on the Earth not that they might
despise one another but that they might come to know one another and love one another”?
Why does the Torah say, “He who turns aside a stranger might as well turn aside from the
most high God”? Why does the Christian Bible say, “Love your neighbor as yourself”?
This is the crux of this whole thing.

Now, you know I’m a Christian. The most important Christian theologian was St. Paul,
who wrote an interesting commentary on paradise. And since Muslims believe in paradise, I
think I will give you the commentary, and the conclusion of the commentary about what
our values should be.

St. Paul was talking about life today and life in paradise, and this is what he said: “For now, I see through a glass darkly, but then, face to face. Now I know in part, but then, I shall know even as I am known, by God,” parenthesis. “And now abideth faith, hope, and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.”

How in the world could love be greater than faith? Because I see through a glass darkly and I know in part. Oh, I know we’ve got all the television in the world. We’ve got instantaneous communications. We’ve got science. We’ve sequenced the human genome. And we’ve got all these smart politicians. I’m telling you, in the end it all comes down to that. As long as you’re prepared to admit you don’t have the whole truth and somebody else might know something you need to know, we’re going to do just fine. We just need to work at it.

Thank you very much.

Those are just some of the paragraphs that jumped out at me. I’d recommend reading the whole thing. I enjoyed it. (Disclaimer: I usually enjoy reading speaches)

Experts familiar with the report told the newspaper that the threat to global stability “vastly eclipses that of terrorism”.

Yahoo! News – Leaked Pentagon report warns climate change may bring famine, war: report

Leaked Pentagon report warns climate change may bring famine, war: report

Sun Feb 22, 5:17 PM ET

Add Politics – AFP to My Yahoo!

LONDON (AFP) – A secret report prepared by the Pentagon (news – web sites) warns that climate change may lead to global catastrophe costing millions of lives and is a far greater threat than terrorism.

Pentagon Photo

The report was ordered by an influential US Pentagon advisor but was covered up by “US defense chiefs” for four months, until it was “obtained” by the British weekly The Observer.

The leak promises to draw angry attention to US environmental and military policies, following Washington’s rejection of the Kyoto Protocol (news – web sites) on climate change and President George W. Bush (news – web sites)’s skepticism about global warning — a stance that has stunned scientists worldwide.

The Pentagon report, commissioned by Andrew Marshall, predicts that “abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies,” The Observer reported.

The report, quoted in the paper, concluded: “Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life…. Once again, warfare would define human life.”

Its authors — Peter Schwartz, a CIA (news – web sites) consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of Global Business Network based in California — said climate change should be considered “immediately” as a top political and military issue.

It “should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern”, they were quoted as saying.

Some examples given of probable scenarios in the dramatic report include:

– Britain will have winters similar to those in current-day Siberia as European temperatures drop off radically by 2020.

– by 2007 violent storms will make large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable and lead to a breach in the acqueduct system in California that supplies all water to densely populated southern California

– Europe and the United States become “virtual fortresses” trying to keep out millions of migrants whose homelands have been wiped out by rising sea levels or made unfarmable by drought.

– “catastrophic” shortages of potable water and energy will lead to widespread war by 2020.

Randall, one of the authors, called his findings “depressing stuff” and warned that it might even be too late to prevent future disasters.

“We don’t know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,” he told the paper.

Experts familiar with the report told the newspaper that the threat to global stability “vastly eclipses that of terrorism”.

Taking environmental pollution and climate change into account in political and military strategy is a new, complicated and necessary challenge for leaders, Randall said.

“It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat,” he said.

Coming from the Pentagon, normally a bastion of conservative politics, the report is expected to bring environmental issues to the fore in the US presidential race.

Last week the Union of Concerned Scientists, an influential and non-partisan group that includes 20 Nobel laureates, accused the Bush administration of having deliberately distorted scientific fact to serve its policy agenda and having “misled the public”.

Its 38-page report, which it said took over a year to prepare and was not time to coincide with the campaign season, details how Washington “systematically” skewed government scientific studies, suppressed others, stacked panels with political and unqualified appointees and often refused to seek independent expertise on issues.

Critics of the report quoted by the New York Times denied there was deliberate misrepresentation and called it politically motivated.

The person behind the leaked Pentagon report, Andrew Marsall, cannot be accused of the same partisan politicking.

Marsall, 82, has been an advisor for the defense department for decades, and was described by The Observer as the author of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s plans for a major transformation of the US military.

NativeEnergy: Helping Fight Climate Change

NativeEnergy: Helping Fight Climate Change
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