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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Florida
Home country: USA
Current location: McKinney, TX
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 26,318

About Me

Small business owner, former professor and university administrator... former expat (lived in UAE for 10 years).

Journal Archives

Lady Gaga cancels Indonesian show over security

It’s final: Lady Gaga’s show in Indonesia won’t go on.

Islamic hard-liners have threatened violence if the pop diva holds her “Born This Way Ball” concert in the world’s most populous Muslim country, saying her sexy clothes and provocative dance moves could corrupt youth. Police refused to issue the necessary permits unless she agreed to tone things down... http://www.salon.com/2012/05/27/lady_gaga_cancels_indonesian_show_over_security/

'baby I was canned this way!'... tolerance is a two-way street... I quickly loose patience with fundamentalists of any stripe...

Elections 'nightmare scenario' leaves Egypt revolutionaries in shock

It is all doom and gloom for the Egyptian pro-democracy activists who strove in last year's January Revolution to bring an end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year authoritarian rule.

A sombre mood hung over many Friday evening after learning that neither liberal ex-Muslim Brotherhood figure, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, nor leftist candidate, Hamdeen Sabbahi, made it to the final run-off round of this historic presidential election.

Rubbing salt into the wound, the Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister in Mubarak's final days in power, came first and second, respectively, following two days of voting which kept millions of Egyptians holding their breath...


Many revolutionaries, however, remained either undecided or opted for boycotting the runoff election altogether. Nawara Negm, one of the country's most prominent revolutionary bloggers tweeted: "The Muslim Brotherhood are liars and the Military are treacherous, and thus we are boycotting, boycotting. Down with the rule of the Military and the Brotherhood."... http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/36/122/42909/Presidential-elections-/Presidential-elections-news/Elections-nightmare-scenario-leaves-Egypt-revoluti.aspx

Egypt is becoming a real nightmare. Mursi, for example, has called for the repeal of the ban on female genital mutilation AND laws protecting women from sexual harassment.

Another recent quote from Mursi:

“The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal,” Mursi apparently said in an election speech at Cairo University on Saturday evening. “Today we can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia. The Muslim Brothers and the Freedom and Justice Party will be the conductors of these goals.”... http://www.theblaze.com/stories/muslim-brotherhoods-egyptian-presidential-candidate-jihad-is-our-path-death-in-the-name-of-allah-is-our-goal/

In Europe, Banks Get Bailed Out and Countries Get Austerity

While everyone's attention was elsewhere, last Fall EU members bailed-out Dexia bank. This bank, on paper, is worth more than the GDP of Greece. Apparently, that makes it somehow more deserving. For Dexia, it is business as usual and billions of Euros to stay afloat (this is in addition to what the bank received in the 2008 bailouts):

The bailout plan for Dexia came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed Europe's crisis-hit banks needed to be recapitalised.

Dexia also secured state guarantees of up to 90bn euros to secure borrowing over the next 10 years. Belgium will provide 60.5% of these guarantees, France 36.5% and Luxembourg 3%, the bank said in a statement... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15235915

Meanwhile, Greece was being forced into austerity:

Euro zone finance ministers agreed a 130-billion-euro ($172 billion) rescue for Greece on Tuesday to avert an imminent chaotic default after forcing Athens to commit to unpopular cuts and private bondholders to take bigger losses.

The complex deal wrought in overnight negotiations buys time to stabilize the 17-nation currency bloc and strengthen its financial firewalls, but it leaves deep doubts about Greece's ability to recover and avoid default in the longer term.

After 13 hours of talks, ministers finalized measures to cut Athens' debt to 120.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, a fraction above the target, securing a second rescue in less than two years in time for a major bond repayment due in March... http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/21/us-greece-idUSTRE8120HI20120221

During the 2008 crisis, Dexia borrowed nearly $60 billion from the US Federal reserve to stay afloat:

Since Dexia had a New York banking office they were eligible for various bailouts from the US Federal Reserve. At its peak Dexia had borrowed $58.5 billion... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dexia

Additionally, it wasn't just 'simple' banking losses due to the downturn. A big percentage of their problem (read idiocy) was because they gave a pile of money to Bernie Madoff:

According to the financial services provider Bloomberg Dexia lost €78 million through the Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dexia

Did Dexia deserve a second bailout after not doing the most basic due diligence?

Apparently, austerity is for countries, not the profligate and idiotic banks who created the mess.

Why am I not shocked?

Leaders must act to halt slide toward violence (Lebanon)

New troubles in Lebanon...spill-over from Syria...

Carol Maalouf, a political analyst, also voiced fears of Lebanon drifting toward sectarian violence as a result of the spillover of the turmoil in Syria. She also said the Lebanese government’s dissociation policy on Syria had proven its failure.

“Lebanon can no longer dissociate itself from the events in Syria because the events are spilling over into Lebanon, mainly through the border in the north which is a Sunni stronghold that supports the Syrian revolution against the regime there,” Maalouf, also a lecturer in political science and political history of Lebanon at Notre Dame University, told The Daily Star. “The government’s policy on the Syrian crisis has failed as was manifested in the recent two incidents. The government is reacting to what is happening on the ground rather than adhering to its declared policy of dissociation.”

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2012/May-22/174227-leaders-must-act-to-halt-slide-toward-violence.ashx#ixzz1vagHdsJb
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

How to get arrested in the UAE

Do some dirty dancing
Ever thought your dance moves ought to be illegal? Then head to Dubai, where they just very well might be. Unless you're at a licensed club or in the privacy of your hotel room then dancing is considered indecent and provocative and could get you arrested. During Ramadan you won't even find a dancefloor to throw some shapes on risk-free - dancing, loud music and live music are forbidden during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, so nightclubs usually close and all the bands go on holiday.

Give someone the finger
Back home it's just a bit rude but making insulting gestures in Dubai is regarded as obscene and totally unacceptable – as 56-year-old Brit Simon Andrew discovered in 2010 when he was accused of showing an aviation student his middle finger during a row and was arrested. He denied flipping the bird but had his passport confiscated for eight months as bail surety. It has been known for offenders to get a six-month sentence for such an act and some have been deported.

Have sex on the beach
For a surefire way to wind up behind bars, break a couple of laws at once. Because of their strict laws about indecency, public sex is beyond unacceptable. Do it with someone you're not married to – a crime that entails prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation – and you're firing on all cylinders. Michelle Palmer, 36, of Oakham, Rutland, and Vince Acors, 34, of Bromley, London, did just that in 2009 and were banged up for three months before being deported, as well as fined 1,000 dirhams (about £180).

Snog in a restaurant
Don't assume you have to go all the way to infringe on their decency regulations – the law extends to kissing and even holding hands, unless you're married. British marketing executive Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams – both in their 20s - were arrested and accused of public indecency after an Emirati woman claimed they exchanged a passionate kiss in a restaurant. They were given a one-month jail sentence for public indecency and illegal drinking, fined 1,000 dirhams, then deported. The pair maintain it was merely a peck on the cheek... http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/how-to-get-arrested-in-the-uae.html;_ylt=AkDlMpxzF3pL3_7OkISnirW_auR_;_ylu=X3oDMTU0aDduM2x2BGNjb2RlA2N0LmMEbWl0A01vc3RQb3B1bGFySG9tZU1peGVkTGlzdARwa2cDZjU5MDQ3ODUtOTE0MC0zZWM3LWEwMjUtNDAwODkzZTg5NTJjBHBvcwM3BHNlYwNNZWRpYUJMaXN0TWl4ZWRNb3N0UG9wdWxhckNBVGVtcAR2ZXIDYWM0YjcyOTItYTE4YS0xMWUxLWFmZWItN2FjMTZhZThiMzE0;_ylg=X3oDMTJqN2QzdHFnBGludGwDeGUEbGFuZwNlbi1hZQRwc3RhaWQDZTZhZGIzOGEtMjQ1My0zZTI5LWEyMmQtZjkzMmYxOGEwNDZiBHBzdGNhdAMEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdl;_ylv=3

Dubai cyber cops gag Facebook, Twitter accounts

Even worse, the internet companies went along with it...

Dubai’s cyber cops have shutdown a number of abusive or defamatory Facebook and Twitter accounts this year, UAE newspaper The National reported on Monday.

The number of online crimes investigated by Dubai Police soared by 124%, from 266 in 2010 to 596 last year, the newspaper added.

There have already been 179 cases investigated in the first quarter of 2012.

Facebook and Twitter agreed to close the 15 accounts, three last week, following a series of online police patrols, the report added... http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/dubai-cyber-cops-gag-facebook--twitter-accounts.html;_ylt=Ahy.OR_42n6l58rOv1yxOeq_auR_;_ylu=X3oDMTU0ODYxaHJtBGNjb2RlA2N0LmMEbWl0A01vc3RQb3B1bGFySG9tZU1peGVkTGlzdARwa2cDMDVhZjQwNjktMzY1My0zZDM1LWE1YmYtNTg2OGE0Nzg5MzZlBHBvcwM5BHNlYwNNZWRpYUJMaXN0TWl4ZWRNb3N0UG9wdWxhckNBVGVtcAR2ZXIDZWYwZmVmNDEtYTMyMi0xMWUxLWI3ZTctOTdlMzU4ZTI4N2E1;_ylg=X3oDMTJqN2QzdHFnBGludGwDeGUEbGFuZwNlbi1hZQRwc3RhaWQDZTZhZGIzOGEtMjQ1My0zZTI5LWEyMmQtZjkzMmYxOGEwNDZiBHBzdGNhdAMEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdl;_ylv=3

If it takes decades, you can't send anyone the bill- follow the money

A. Gulf Coast Operations, Response, and Policy Consortium

The Gulf Coast Operations, Response, and Policy Consortium (GCORP) “establishes a group of institutions within Texas that will jointly conduct research to address the unprecedented environmental damage created by [the Deepwater Horizon] oil spill. Based on their existing wealth of data from the Gulf environment, consortium institutions can immediately begin providing information to scientists, policy makers, industry, and other stakeholder groups affected by this spill.”

GCORP members include:

Bush School of Government and Public Service
Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University - Galveston Campus
The University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin - Energy Institute
University of Texas Marine Science Institute
Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System
LBJ School of Public Affairs
Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development
Texas A&M University College of Geosciences
Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
Texas Engineering Experiment Station
Texas State University
Texas Tech University, Institute of Environmental and Human Health
The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering
University of Houston Clear Lake - Environmental Institute of Houston
University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences http://vpr.tamu.edu/funding/gulfresearch

Big oil playing games again...

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