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June 30, 2005

With four Indian budget carriers already flying and an equal number expected to begin operations by the end of this year, fares have plummeted.

One airline has offered seats for one rupee (two US cents). The aviation boom has no parallel in India's history.

BBC

The new National Security Service, America's secret police 

FBI overhaul

And in a move which could prove controversial, the FBI is to be reorganised.

Within it there will be another new intelligence body called the National Security Service. It will assume responsibility for intelligence work within the US.

Americans have long resisted the growth of domestic intelligence agencies like those in Europe, believing they pose a threat to civil liberties.
BBC

The Silverman-Robb Commission handed its report to President George W Bush in March.

Famously, the commission found that US intelligence on Iraq's WMD had been wrong, and it recommended to the president 74 ways in which the US intelligence effort could be improved.

Mr Bush has now accepted 70 of those recommendations.

June 27, 2005

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN YELLING ABOUT FOR YEARS 

Finally someone besides me is doing it! I have for years been climbing on my soap box telling leaders of this country how to communicate with Afghan’s out side of Kabul. I have been talking about the ability of the importance of the village roomer and of ledged in villages.

Now it seems at least one government person is doing it, and with real pizzazz!

BBC
"On another occasion, we watched a white-bearded State Department official named Chris Mason stand before a tribal shura - a group of tribal elders, seated cross-legged on the floor before him - and deliver a mesmerising speech addressing allegations over the desecration of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay.

Those reports might be true, he admitted candidly, he had no way of knowing. But they should not be how America is judged.

"With my last drop of blood I would stop this thing from happening," he shouted with marvellous theatricality.

"If there was a Koran on this stand today, and the devil came to set fire to it; I would throw my own body on the Koran to protect it from the devil's fire." "

Benny Hinn strikes again! 

BBC
The vehicle of the expected wonders of the Holy Spirit was American evangelist Benny Hinn, who flew into Nigeria in a Gulfstream private jet with a large retinue that included his bodyguards.

He was received at Lagos airport in a motorcade of Hummer jeeps and other expensive cars. Whatever disappointment he felt on the first and second days of the miracle crusade, Hinn kept to himself - but he opened up with anger on the final day.

"Four million dollars down the drain," he shouted into the microphone from the huge rostrum.

He said that he had been assured by the local organising committee that at least six million people would attend the crusade - but the total turnout was only around one million. As a result, he realised that all the mega public address equipment he had flown in from the US was not needed.

He also complained about some claimed expenditures, the charges imposed on pastors who attended his day-time seminar, and journalists who sought to cover the crusade.

He then announced publicly that he would not provide any more funds, and that the local organisers should pay all outstanding bills from the collections they made on the first two days.

June 26, 2005

“It’s the end of the world as we know it……….” 

Every time I think of the war on terror I think how easy it would be for this “war” to turn into a 100% world war down religious lines….. When I read stuff like this it seems to be closer.

It’s not going to be some great terrible event that a Christian does to a Muslim or vise versa it’s going to start with something like this story. Jews on Jews. Real religious division doesn’t occur until each religion involved separates into the black and white, on or off, “real believers,” or non believers, with us or against us. Kinda crap.

Read this article and pay attention to intensity of the situation.

June 23, 2005

Woman Rant 

A girl going to school is a big topic in former Taliban run Afghanistan….at least the media has made it one. Girls of all ages going to school everyday is an amazing and awesome thing considering that countries past and I fully support it in anyway I can.

However it creates a dynamic that we in the west don’t think about. You see we see education as empowerment (and it is), how ever too many times that empowerment turns into personal torture in poor Islamic cultures.

One is still hard pressed to find a marriage in these countries that was not arranged. Regardless of religion, culturally all marriages are arranged by the families.

A woman is empowered by her education in that culture if her family is rich and she can go to the west. However if they are middle class or poor she will end up married to some random guy who may or may not have the same level of education. On top of it 98% of the time she will only be a baby making machine anyway and will have to stay at home covered head to toe. Now a village girl who grew up like that with little or no education may not have too much of a problem with it. But for an educated girl/woman it has to be sheer torture. She has no choice; she can not rise up as an empowered woman and make changes. The reputation of both families would be ruined not to mention she would probably end up very hurt or dead.

When this element is applied to minority groups such as Christians in those same countries the pool of eligible bachelors goes WAY down. To find an educated, motivated minority Christian man for every educated Christian woman is impossible in many Islamic countries. Marriage between Christians is not a luxury like it is in the states. Out there it’s a requirement, even if one party converts to the others religion, it is highly looked down on and most family’s end up in major feuds (and people die if it’s the majority religion converting to the minority religion for marriage).

So my point is this. When you see the media stories about the millions of girls going to school in these normally woman oppressive cultures, don’t be naive enough to think it is a full step forward…. Look at the big picture and ensure any group you support has plans that incorporate more than one partial step. It is a process, but all too often organizations go with the fan fair of the media and stop short and bringing real long lasting help and solutions to problems the say they are fixing.

No sleep till Brooklyn 

Did you know that in the puritan southern state of Texas one can not buy alcohol before 7AM! What is up with that?

Around 5am this morning I decided to go get some breakfast and do some grocery shopping. Now those of you who don’t know me probably think I got up early to do this… that is just silly. I was still awake, so I ventured out.

I was one of two people in the 24 hour grocery store. This is usually the young trendy hot chick grocery of choice (I usually avoid it) but none insight this morning. The lady looked at me weird when she said “You can’t buy this” I was stunned, taken aback, and then I remembered… I was in Texas! Here in Texas only Catholics would want wine at 530AM and since Catholics are going to burn in hell anyway, (because they aren’t southern Baptists) they figured they would make a law about it.

I made a u-turn in a no u-turn after 4am crossing… it was 545am. I am such a rebel.

I go through cycles of sleep all the time or no sleep at all. I thought I was over the no sleep at all thing. I had been in the sleep all the time phase for a long time. But here I am awake still.

So anyway, luckily for me I had a bottle or Shiraz back in the dungeon so I will nurse a glass and eventually go lay down and hopefully nap.

I talked to people all over the world on my Skype last night/this morning, nice tool.

June 22, 2005

Is the world ready to have UBL captured or killed? 

The media have been causing havoc with relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent weeks. The CIA director has made comments that the media says mean he knows where UBL is. All fingers (in the media’s opinion) point to Northern or Easter Pakistan. However there are still some (A tiny minority) who say UBL is in Iran.

What will the word look like with out UBL mysteriously hiding somewhere?

What will the world look like when UBL is in the custody of some country?

What will the world look like when UBL is confirmed dead?

I don’t have the answer but I can see a number of very bad scenarios that involve ignorant members of the media inciting extremists, ignorant members of government spouting cocky competitor religious views (i.e. the Christian God helped us catch him finally) etc..

In other scenarios it may just be the world says good ridden to an idealist extremist (much like when the present US presidents term is up) but no one knows for sure.

However I bet this organization will be busy during that time.

Postmodernist

63%

Modernist

56%

Materialist

56%

Idealist

50%

Cultural Creative

50%

Existentialist

50%

Romanticist

38%

Fundamentalist

25%

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com
From Red

June 21, 2005


June 14, 2005

Some intense quotes from an intense time in October 2003.

Tonight I am lonelier then I have ever been, I believe I have lost some faith in the world today... the weird thing is I never had faith in the world to loose. In some aspects my faith was restored by the response for help I got from the senators and media, however I feel disillusioned by the fact that I could not cause change to the situation.


It is rare for me not to be able to effect change some how in circumstances surrounding my life. I don't like that feeling.


We are better then "them" not because we are Christians, or our color, or our respective nationalities, we are better then "Them" because we are self aware, analytical and we do the right thing regardless of the circumstances.


This adventure that has been thrust upon us is going to define the fiber of our humanity, indeed it will define who we were and who we will be.


Tonight I stand; when all else has been done all we do is stand firm and wait. Time is a surreal definition of our capability to have survived in this life


I will watch, wait and listen. I will long for my lover; I will continue to be strong and determined. But I am weak, I am scared, I have anger inside me that I dare not let escape.

June 07, 2005

I turn 30 September 1st. I expected to die at 22. Apparently I am still alive (or at least that is what the THEY want me to believe).

This is what I would like for my birthday since it’s probably one of my last… and hell, I am lucky (or not) to have made it this far.

I would like anyone and everyone who has ever known me to write a “Chapter” or a page or a paragraph about there experience of me. It doesn’t have to be nice or funny (unless I was) but it has to be a real experience or thought you have had about or with me.

Please include the following:

1. Date and Country we meet in (or as close as possible)
2. First impression of me, Last impression of me
3. What you thought I would do with my life back then and what you think I will do with it now (or it will do with me)

Easy as that. You are writing the first 30 years of my life so keep it real. If you want to write a chapter or two that is cool. If you wanna write a single paragraph I’ll still love you (that is if I already do otherwise you will stay mediocre)

Thank you for your corporation and participation in this depressing year of my life.

Lovingly

The old fart.

June 04, 2005

RoadTrippin 

The Road Trip of the South:
Marigold came to visit and take a road trip. Travis flew in from his overseas adventures. The last time we hung out was 20 minutes at a layover Travis had on his way home from another oversea adventure (do you get the theme here?) in August of 2001. After several years of hanging out prior to, and then several years emailing and calling after, the friendship picked up where it left off. Hanging out, and making new stories that are really only funny to the two of ‘em.

We set out Wednesday June 1, 2005. Drove from Austin to Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge to New Orleans, New Orleans to Memphis, Memphis to Greenville. Spent huge chunks of time on bridges that went over swamp lands in Louisiana. Drove lush green highways in Mississippi. Drove past a Disneyland-esque huge line for Graceland (the main goal in Memphis). We decided to skip that and go on to Greenville which has the one thing we really don’t want to miss. Birthplace of the Frog exhibit, which is where Kermit the Frog was “born.”

We’ve gone 1100 miles, not gotten pulled over, seen a million crop dusters, a ton of “church” signs. Stopped for a lube on the truck, after which the guy we paid shook Travis’ hand and God Blessed us.

One of us (no names) has been wussing out with a sore tummy. Fortunately it hasn’t stopped him from eating junk food or pizza, which is what we’ve been living on. Marigold has been doing a very good job letting go of her awful caffeine addiction, which hasn’t been easy. Starbucks’ reach is very far, but not so much here in the south.

Fun Facts to Tell Your Friends:
If you live in Mississippi and are hugely overweight, chances are good your car will have large rust spots and resemble a water vessel.
Mad Libs are not funny with Travis. He doesn’t know what Adjectives are. Among other things.
Being a Marriott Executive with Rewards pays off… Free Hotels!! I highly recommend signing up… tell them I sent you…
Looking for Baskin Robbins? Try Mississippi! They have tons of them!
Seen a Piggly Wiggly? Want to? Also Mississippi!
Love Waffle House? See above… Mississippi is your answer!
Like dirty downtowns? Malls listed as tourist attractions? Try New Orleans!
Louisiana has HUGE bridges on top of swamps. I think they’re probably some of the longest bridges in the world. Fill up on gas before you start driving… they don’t have a lot of gas stations out there, wouldn’t want to swim for it!

Things we’ve listened to:
Beatles
Led Zeppelin
Soundtrack to Austin Powers 2
Soundtrack to Starsky & Hutch
Tenacious D
Benny Goodman
Garth Brooks
Basement Jaxx
Beach Boys
Simon & Garfunkle
Gorillaz
Metallic
Limp Biskit
Eminem
Damien Rice
Soundtrack to Gross Pointe Blank
The Audio Book “America the Book” by Jon Stewart

Things I’ve read:
NOTHING!

Ghost Written for Travis

June 02, 2005

Gay Pakistan - 'less inhibited than West' 

Throughout South Asia, homosexuality has been a taboo subject. But there are signs in some areas that gay people are now becoming more open in their behaviour. In this column a gay man in Pakistan talks about the advantages of being gay there compared to the West. He prefers to remain anonymous.

BBC

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