Monday, April 30, 2007

Leadership at its Easiest

We've all heard so many times about how Bush and Guliani showed strong leadership after 911. But if you think about it, this is easy leadership.

I respect Bush & Guliani's so called "leadership," however the things that they did were "no brainers" It was a given that Rudy would come before the city and the world after 911, to list casualties, services being offered, looking stressed and sad and inform about what was being done.

It was a given that Bush would stand before the world, vowing to bring the terrorists who organized the attacks (the Taliban and Bin Laden) to justice. Not hard leadership if you ask me. This had to be done.

This is leadership at its easiest. There was no other choice for these two at that time. Real leadership is hard. Real leaders do what few can do. Where were the leaders who said, "Wait, this information on WMD is too weak to go to war on." Where was the leader who shouted that there was no link between Saddam and 911?

These leaders were around, I know. However they were followed by the few, not the masses.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

How to Build an Islamic Terrorist

1. Behave arrogantly as a foreign government in Islamic countries. -- Invading a country (or two countries) for however good a reason, (and there are some good reasons) is extremely arrogant no matter who you ask.

2. Be present in Islamic countries conducting activities other than: free health care, sports, arts, community development, humanitarian, other philanthropy. -- War does not fall into the above.

3. Kill, or be responsible for, or be associated with the killing of friends or relatives of people in Islamic countries. -- This has happened to great extent both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

4. Put people out of work in Islamic countries, without at least providing other viable employment for them and their families. -- De-Baathification.

The above, in my opinion should be heeded by those wishing to decrease the number of terrorists today and tomorrow. This is not rocket science. This is common sense at its most basic level.

Hitting the Wall

I remember being at a management training in LaSaunne a few years ago and we heard a presentation from a highly respected member of the business world working in banking. He said:

"Sometimes in business, (and maybe in life) you find yourself on a bicycle, riding down a steep hill, no brakes...What do you do??

After some discussion, he gave his answer: "You hit the wall."

After hearing so much about global warming, carbon emissions and the need to control them, I found this: showing just how carbon emissions have grown over the past few years. Now, I don't claim to know how this is impacting (or will impact)our global environment, but if the "chicken littles" are correct, then one has to wonder if the world has the will to do what may need to be done about this before it's too late. No brakes?

to be continued...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Our Generation, Our Nastalgia

Not so many good things about growing old. However, of all the good things about growing older, Nastalgia is one of them. No nostalgia for kids. In fact, life has exempted anyone under 21 from feeling it. And you really can’t begin to really enjoy it until you’re past 30.

It first hit me when I was 32 and at the SF airport. I was in the music store where they were selling CDs. (remember those?) And there was a 4 disc package of all the Schoolhouse Rock songs. I couldn’t not buy it as “Conjunction Junction” started playing in my head. Before I got to the counter, “Zero, my hero” started, and as I was walking out with my gift box, “Noun is a person, place or thing” was rocking. It truly is a cool feeling.

Websites are great for a nostalgia fix also. Try “Jump the Shark” a website dedicated to TV programming since its beginning-- with a twist: Discussion is about when the show turned bad. For Happy Days, it was certainly the arrival of Chachi, wasn’t it? Sometimes, it seems, shows “jump back,” meaning that they get good again. And then there are the great ones that “never jumped the shark” Monday night football. I still remember watching a Monday night game when I was 12 and John Lennon was shot. A ticker across the bottom reported it first.

As far as movies goes, there is no better source for nostalgia. I bought Saturday Night Fever on DVD a couple years ago. Watched it six times before it was damaged beyond repair. Wonderfully nostalgic. Check this nostalgia review by John Derbyshire at the National Review.

How about The Breakfast Club? St. Elmo’s Fire anyone? Taps. What about that one with Matt Dillon, Jodie Foster and Tatum O’Neil at summer camp? (Deep sigh.)

Yeah, getting old is not so bad. What a wonderful feeling, Nostalgia. Even the bad moments of our past give us fine feelings sometimes. In any case, I’m gonna order SNF again. Just to see John Travolta in that film is a blast.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Central Asia ain't a Bad Place to be

Central Asia Ain’t a Bad Place to be.

After living outside the US since 1992, I can say that Central Asia living is underrated. The number of people who come here, and at first glance are hating it, don’t know what they’re missing. I’ve spent multiple years in each Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (where I’m living now), and find the living here just fine for several reasons. But most of all I find the people, the relatively easy living, and the nature just great. As I am in Bishkek now and plan to be for awhile, I’ll tailor my comments to Kyrgyzstan for this article.

The People. The Soviet Union left Central Asia with a highly educated, and integrated population. People here are interested in the arts, politics, sports and science on par with people from any country. As a foreigner from the US, I have always been treated with respect, and find the people here just as interested in me and where I come from as I have been in learning about their part of the world. As the economy is developing, you can see the progress the business people are making as just about daily a new café or bar is opening somewhere.

What one might not realize is the relative easy and enjoyable living that can be found here. Real Estate is very reasonable, as is labor if you want to run a business. There are a few okay restaurants around. (I always make the point that since I like to cook, I don’t need 100 great restaurants, but 10 okay ones will do.) And prices for eating out are a fraction of what you would pay in the West. Traffic is light for the time being. There are rare traffic jams, but only in the very center of the city and at predictable times.

Finally, if you like nature, Kyrgyzstan can’t be beat. The country is 93% mountains, and from the capital you have a great view of some very close, and breathtaking peaks. The country is home to the world’s second largest alpine lake, Issik – Kol, which is fast becoming a tourist destination not only for Russians and Kazakhs, but also for Europeans. And if you like skiing, from the capital, Bishkek, you can be on some pretty good slopes in about 40 minutes.

So, for anyone interested in an enjoyable place to visit that you might not have considered, check out Central Asia, and specifically Kyrgyzstan. On and off, I’ve spent over six years here and find so many things about the place to my liking. Whether you are interested in meeting new, interesting people, or are looking for a new, relatively inexpensive destination, or if you are into nature and like to hike or ski or just hang out in a new place, Central Asia should be on your list.


Pillar Articles

Ariticles in the Pipeline.

1. Central Asia ain't a bad place to be.
2. Our Generation, Our Nostalgia -- Conjunction Junction, Happy Days, and things that make us warm inside.
3. Tips to help Americans elect future Presidents
4. Why Midlife retirement is where it's at, and how to avoid pitfalls.
5. Neo-Socialism: Why philanthropy will explode in the near future.

Chudy Rudelioni, I mean Rudy you had your chance

Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped. Get it here:

I say to Chudy Rudliani and Chick Cheny, and those who will listen, "You had your chance to stop a terrorist attack. It was a big one in September 2001. You failed. Now sit down, shut up and stop screwing up the world.

Expect more like this...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pat Tillman...Hero.

You are our hero not for how you died, but for how you lived.

Pat Tillman's brother tells it like it is here.

How much more disrespect for our fallen soldiers can be shown, than lying about the circumstances in which they died for your own benefit. The Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch inventions tell us that this administration believes that creating and protecting a lie are more important than getting at the truth.

...Working on a positive post and some good news.

Obama on Global Affairs: Two thumbs up.

The man has it right as far as I'm concerned. You can read the speech here. Looking forward to what he has to say about domestic policy.

Top 10 coolest toys from my childhood

1. BigWheel - best use of plastic ever!
2. Evel Knevil gyro motorcycle
3. Stretch Armstrong - always wanted to cut him open
6. GI Joe - shaved him and his beard grew back
7. Head to head football - coolest TV commercials "That's a Bradshaw in there!"

Anybody else? I need 5 more. No video games, despite my affinity for them.

Fame and Shame: April 23-30

Don Imus Just let us down.
Al Sharpton Hypocrite let us all down again.
Paul Wolfowitz: Would have expected no more from you
Alberto Gonzales Ya big dummy
Bush & Cheney perpetually in this part of the list

Ried and Soanya Good Luck brave souls
Virginia Tech Students Hang in there
Boris Yeltsin Thanks, you were the right man, in the right place at the right time

Monday, April 23, 2007

Iraq Wall: Wait a minute...Stop. Someone's unhappy.

Is seems so. The kicker: Iraq's prime minister said Sunday that he has ordered a halt to the U.S. military construction of a barrier separating a Sunni enclave from surrounding Shiite areas in Baghdad after fierce criticism over the project at home.

Now I'm not in favor of building barriers. They are very bad and usually not very pretty. But sometimes (in dire situations) they can help. The Berlin wall, kept a lot of people behind it, and there seems to be fewer "suiciders" in Isreal after the building of their wall.

"I oppose the building of the wall and its construction will stop," al-Maliki said during a joint news conference with the secretary-general of the Arab League. "There are other methods to protect neighborhoods,...

Other methods? Like what? And why haven't you been using them? Oh, the surge. It seems the only thing surging since the infusion of an additional 20,000 US soldiers (make that 30,000 now) are the number of and "spectacularity" of the attacks.

Maybe the "fierce criticism" is coming from car bombers. I'm sure they don't like the wall either.

Poison: KGB men? Noooo.

If proven to be orchestrated by the Kremlin, the Litvinenko poisoning is just another in a long line of (increasingly) brazen acts by the Russian government to stifle dissent at home and abroad. I recently read that a friend of Litvenenko's in the US was mysteriously murdered recently as well. (correct me if I'm wrong on that)

Regarding Litvenenko, the evidence is pointing to the KGB and then to "you know Pu." Read about it here. If I got it right, the plutonium was on them, and on the planes they traveled on to and from the UK. So there's a good chance they've got something to do with it. As KGB they had motive as Litvenenko was anti-Kremlin and making threats. The idea that Berezovsky was behind it is very, very weak.

Fact is, the Russians are holding a great hand (energy resources). They have smacked Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and even Western Europe with nicely timed gas cuts in an effort (at least in part) to flex some muscle. Muscle that the have and are building.

BTW as I'm living now in the former Soviet Union for 15 years, I'll be following the region.

Shameful Royal Navy Hostages

I still don't get it.

1. While fighting a war, you somehow manage to get yourselves captured by a country NOT fighting a war. No shots fired.
2. You immediately confess, seemingly to anything the Iranians want you to confess to, allowing yourselves to be filmed smiling and relaxing, putting up no resistance.
3. Upon release you thank those who captured you and accept gifts from them?!
4. Upon returning home you sell the story.
5. And NOW you go on and make sick jokes about it while you are home on leave.

Any money that any of these hostages earned should be confiscated and invested in the war effort.

Not exactly the behavior I would expect from brave, honorable, well-trained service personnel.

Finest Hypocracy

_________'s operatives have been known for torturing

_________ has a history of attacking countries posing no threat to him.

_________'s government has wmd, and has used wmd.

_________'s soldiers have raped innocent women.

2 names fill the blanks equally well. Guess which two.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reid and Soanya 1000 Days Non-stop at Sea

This one might be interesting to follow. These two are gonna get bored. The blog sure sounds romantic, but it's still pushing 3 years on a boat! The young lady has never been at sea! I'm sure bets are being taken as to how long she'll last, but I wish her and the two of them the very very best.

Virginia Tech. A moment of silence for you.

4/17 Virginia Tech

Very sad. But what to do about it? Now we can expect the question in the media or at the political level, “How can we make sure this never happens again?” And Bush to declare war on school shooters. “We have to take the war to them, and stop them before they get started and can ever do this again.” Gun control will come up again, but the truth is that if someone wants to kill a lot of people, he doesn’t need a gun. Timothy McVeigh anyone?

And then we have people like Dr. Phil saying this is all something new and something needs to be done about it. While something needs to be done about it, it isn’t new. Sad to say but there have been school shootings & massacres for decades. They will continue. And when they happen we will all gather ‘round the fireplace and come up with no good answer, or a good answer that will not always be implemented. Unpleasant…I’ll get back when I have the solution, or I hear of a good one.

Putin tightens the screws...


As if the Litvinenko case, British Petroleum's problems, foreign retail workers ouster, etc. weren't enough, now 50% Good News Is the Bad News in Russian Radio.

And we can expect it to get worse before it gets better.

More coming on this for sure.


4/16 Imus

After following the ouster of Don Imus last week and all the fallout surrounding it, I felt bad. I have only heard excerpts of his show as he’s not broadcast where I am. Imus made a comment he shouldn’t have. And I felt a twinge of guilt as a white male for being more upset with those who ran screaming to the sides of the Rutgers players.

I felt the piling on of Sharpton, Jackson, Oprah, Obama, Hillary and others, who did this for personal gain to be far more loathsome. If they were concerned about stopping this kind of language, they would have long ago gone after the Hip Hop crowd. A great civil rights leader would do so. Where is she?

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