What I Learned
On My Holiday
They say travel abroad can be an educational experience.
As a matter of fact I did
learn a few things on my recent trip to Italy.
When shopping with a woman bring a book to read.
If you are in Milan and the Establishment has a VERY large comfortable sectional couch,to sit on,
If you look over and see a a wetbar with goblets, ice bucket and almost a dozen types of liquors,
If instead of fashion magazines they have LARGE maybe 11X17 HARDBOUND books and if you look up from one of the Full page photos and see that model walking across the sales floor.
You are NOT in a simple Dress Shop.
That is how I learned a new phrase in Italian Dolce Gabbana
The Sales force was VERY friendly, they smiled ALL the time.
I remember a woman I met some years ago whose Father was a
Katie told me her Father taught her that there were only two types of people who smiled ALL the time.
The Simpleminded and those who were Truly Evil.
After looking at the remains of one of my Platinum Cards
I ruled out Simple Minded.
Another little tidbit I learned was that the Proverb,
"When in Rome do as the Romans do"
apply to me
My girlfriend is a Russian National and it did not matter
that I could point out an urbane cultured looking Italian business man a couple of tables over eating his
spaghetti in the same manner. I thought she was going to have a stroke.It is not correct Dan
Sigh I have been eating spaghetti for what? Almost 50 years? Maybe there is
a graceful way to do it, but I never learned it, and after 50 years I probably never will.
I decided in the interest of finishing my meal in peace to stick to lasagna, ravioli, and short pastas after that.
Now the last and I must stress this, most important
lesson I learned in Rome.
It is: When eating in an outdoor cafe, make certain
you are completely under
the awning or umbrella!
For those who do not already realize why
I stress this, a picture as they say can portray a thousand words.
they are NOT
cute! They are EVIL!
And in my opinion their vicious accuracy precludes simplemindedness!
Technorati Tags:Dolce Gabbana
The Open Trackback Alliance XXXV
For your listening pleasure while you browse
"Der er et yndigt land" (There Is A Lovely Land)
Words by: Adam Gottlob Oehlenschlager
Music by: Hans Ernst Kr?yer
"Derer et yndigt land" was first performed for a large gathering of Danes in 1844, and became popular quickly with the Danish people. It was adopted later that year by the Danish government as a national anthem, but not the sole national anthem. This anthem is on equal status with "Kong Christian",which is both the national and royal anthem.
When the Danish anthem is usually performed or sung, the first verse is played in its entirety, then it is followed by the last four lines of the last verse. (This is true whether the lyrics are sung or not
Recentlty I have been posting music to Illustrate the Diversity of America, this week I have a different motive to express Solidarity with DENMARK
I maintain my Support of Denmark, and will later today, post links to and my thoughts about a Danish Editorial "We are being pissed upon by Per Nyholm "
I think I shall title my Post, "There is no "But" in "Freedom of Speech".
When I first started upon my journey through the blogverse I created a Statement of Purpose
Now upon reading it, one can realize that I did not hold to every detail of that original statement, but from it's basic premise, I have never swayed, in my belief that the Blogs are in fact the Committees of Correspondence of the Second American Revolution.
And that it is a Revolution of Information, no longer can we afford and allow elite gateways to control what we can see, hear and discuss.
For I believe that those bloggers who find their way, here and in particular from the Blogs associated with Sam.
HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.
Some of us are more Serious, some of us are more lighthearted and some post the common ordinary things that make one smile and recall that Life without the simple things to treasure is meaningless.
And it is important that all have a platform from which to speak.
As I understand this process you can link to this post and trackback to this post on ANY subject or post you think important. It is open. I will repeat this every Monday.
The Committees of Correspondence welcomes your intelligent comments. And also welcomes you to join the
OPEN TRACKBACK ALLIANCE
This week I also have shortened my usual introduction for a more inportant message.
In it's struggle for Freedom of Speech.
Sign the Petition NOW!
JEG opstille hos Danmark!
44545 Total Signatures 1:12 AM CST 22 June 26, 2006 We can do better pass the word~!
From Agora a call to Support the Manifesto online
by signing another Petition, why not sign both?MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism
Created by Mark Jefferson on March 1st, 2006 at 5:42 pm AST
After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all. "
Blogs that Trackback to this Post:
Hezbollah held children until they could be blown from planck's constant
Y'al come back now, Y'heah? ;-)
North Korea: Missile Tests and Regional Impacts
This just in my email box from "Strategic Forecasting, Inc."By Rodger Baker
North Korea has done it again. A week after it tested seven missiles, including the long-range Taepodong-2, a resolution condemning its actions has stalled in the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), South Korea is criticizing Japan for hyping the launch, Japan is openly discussing changes
to its constitutional military restrictions, and the United States is asking China to use its negotiating capabilities to bring some stability to the situation. If North Korea was largely marginalized leading into July, it is now once again the center of attention -- and controversy.
Defying repeated warnings from the United States, Japan, South Korea and even Russia and China, North Korea launched not one but seven missiles, early July 5 local time. Most were short- or medium-range Hwasong or Nodong missiles; the first launch was timed to coincide with the Independence Day launch of space shuttle Discovery in Florida. But it was the third missile, the long-range Taepodong-2 -- believed to be capable of striking Alaska or Hawaii -- that garnered the most attention.
Pyongyang accomplished quite a bit with the July 5 launches. First and foremost, it has shocked the world with multiple tests while managing to avoid a military confrontation with the United States. It has been able to gauge the effectiveness of improvements in its ballistic missile program -- particularly with the short- and medium-range models that pose a more significant threat to regional security than the Taepodong-2. And it has once again exposed and exploited rifts in Washington's Northeast Asian alliance structure.
Moreover, with disagreements stalling any actions against North Korea at the U.N. Security Council, it is China that appears poised to gain the most from Pyongyang's actions.
Taepodong Failure and U.S. Relief
North Korea had placed the Taepodong-2 on its launch platform more than a month prior to the test launch, as if posing it for U.S. spy satellites and reconnaissance aircraft. Several times, Japan or others announced that a launch was imminent, and each time there was a corresponding cry for restraint, and increasingly overt threats from the United States and Japan -- including calls to shoot the missile down in midflight or even strike it before it left the launchpad.
When the Taepodong-2 finally lifted off, at shortly after 5 a.m. local time, it produced more of a fizzle than a bang. The missile didn't fly over Japan. It didn't place a satellite into orbit. It didn't fulfill a bold, unofficial threat by Pyongyang and land off the coast of New York. In fact, it flew within parameters for just 40 seconds, before either breaking up or suffering engine troubles and veering off course. It landed in the waters between North Korea, Japan and Russia a few minutes later.
The failure was quickly labeled by international media, observers and U.S. officials as an embarrassment to the North Korean regime and a demonstration that Pyongyang lacks the wherewithal to pull off a successful test or to threaten the United States. The additional six missiles were written off as little more than upgraded, inaccurate, short-range SCUD missiles. The initial condescension towards North Korea's technical capabilities was coupled with condemnation of the tests and contradictory recommendations for follow-on actions.
But not all the details of the missile's flight path are clear. According to some reports, the missile performed normally for some 40-42 seconds, burned out and fell into the ocean. Other reports suggest a catastrophic failure, fragmentation of the rocket or a fire. Some estimates put the total flight time at around two minutes, while the South Koreans have said total flight time was seven minutes -- during which the missile traveled 499 kilometers from its launch facility.
Given the available information, it is very likely that the missile suffered system damage during the most critical and stressful part of the launch. This is certainly the picture the United States is projecting, and apparently with some relief. In the weeks leading up to the launch, Washington had touted the strengths of the U.S. missile defense system
, moved tests forward on the calendar and warned that the option of shooting down the Taepodong-2 was clearly on the table. The failure of North Korea's missile, however, kept Washington from having to make the difficult decision of whether to carry through with that threat and shoot it down in flight.
There were real reservations about acting on those threats. First, while Washington has confidence in the missile defense system, that confidence is not 100 percent. If North Korea had fired its missile and a U.S. intercept failed, it would be the U.S. Defense Department and the Bush administration with pie on its face. More importantly, such a failure could undermine whatever psychological deterrent the missile defense system currently provides.
But perhaps even more troubling for Washington was the prospect that a strike against the North Korean missile would succeed. First, there is a question of where the intercept would take place -- and where the debris would fall. But the second question is how North Korea would respond. Pyongyang has one key consideration in its actions: ensuring regime survival
. North Korea structures its defense force and projects a prickly personality in order to dissuade the United States or others from attacking. But Pyongyang knows that its capabilities are limited and that, in a war with the United States, it ultimately would lose.
Though it feels threatened by Washington, the North Korean leadership does not view launching an offensive war as a logical act. North Korea is outgunned and outclassed by the United States; launching an invasion of South Korea or an attack on Japan or the United States would be a surefire way to ensure regime change in Pyongyang. If Washington shot down its missile, however, the North Korean elite might view that as a guarantee of imminent U.S. military action -- and Pyongyang might strike out at its neighbors to inflict as much pain as possible, seeking to disrupt any U.S. invasion or attack plans.
But even barring such a reaction, allowing its missile to be shot out of the sky by the U.S. military would trigger significant stresses for North Korea -- both within the elite and from the broader military and society. The regime would question whether it could maintain cohesion and stability without retaliating. For Washington, then, either a failure or a success of the U.S. missile defense system could lead to open hostilities in Northeast Asia. The best thing Washington could have hoped for was that North Korea's missile would fail -- even before the button would have had to be pushed for the intercept.
And Pyongyang knew this as well.
A Scrubbed Launch?
There is some possibility that North Korea intentionally scrubbed the launch. On the one hand, simply putting the missile away after leaving it on the pad for more than a month would have been viewed as capitulation -- and that could have weakened the internal cohesion of the regime. A launch became necessary practically as soon as the missile was rolled out (unless Washington had given in to Pyongyang's calls for bilateral talks).
But on the other hand, while North Korea has always walked close to the line, it has been very careful not to cross it. A successful Taepodong-2 test could have shifted the strategic calculation of Japan or the United States toward North Korea. Tokyo already had warned that if any part of the Taepodong-2 fell on Japanese territory, it would be considered an act of war. And while Washington has been relatively lax toward North Korea, aside from rhetoric and the occasional economic lever, all bets would be off should North Korea demonstrate the ability to pose a concrete threat to the U.S. mainland.
For Pyongyang, a controlled launch failure presented a better outcome than risking an accident or simply putting away the long-range toy. A picture-perfect satellite launch would have been the best outcome, but it is questionable whether North Korea actually believed it would be able to pull one off. After all, few space programs have ever managed to develop new systems without many failures along the way.
Other Missiles and Regional Tensions
Whether Pyongyang failed to succeed or succeeded to fail, the Taepodong-2 was not the only missile launched that morning. There were many motives behind North Korea's additional launches. First, everyone was already expecting a Taepodong-2 launch; if Pyongyang had launched only that rocket, the psychological impact already would have been discounted. There would be little leverage. Second, if the North Koreans knew they would scrub the Taepodong-2 launch, they would want to demonstrate a variety of capabilities to cover for the failure.
Finally, and more significantly, North Korea is intending again to trade its missile launches for concessions from its neighbors and the United States. If a moratorium on missile tests is coming anyway, this launch represented a final chance to assess improvements to North Korea's missile systems, particularly as the country so rarely tests its ballistic missiles. Testing six short- and intermediate-range Hwasong and Nodong missiles -- the real bulk of North Korea's missile force -- would allow the country's military to learn more in a single day about their own capabilities and upgrades than they had in the entirety of the preceding decade.
It is these overlooked missiles that are the true face of North Korean missile technology. Pyongyang's Nodong missiles have the capability of reaching most of Japan, including U.S. bases in Okinawa. North Korea has more than 100 of these mobile missiles, making them an extremely valuable commodity. And its short-range Hwasong series can strike anywhere in South Korea and potentially parts of Japan.
The combination of short-, medium- and long-range missile tests helps to explain the political intent behind the July 5 launches. Dividing any coalition that forms against it has been a key aspect of North Korean foreign policy. The regime in Pyongyang has played skillfully on the differences in strategic thinking of trilateral allies Japan, South Korea and the United States. The current diplomatic spat between Tokyo and Seoul over the extent to which North Korea's missile tests should be dramatized is a key example of just how easily these rifts are exploited. The time and effort the United States is expending to convince the world that Washington and Seoul are on the same page is another.
Stalled at the Security Council
In the UNSC discussions, Russia is expected to abstain from any resolution to punish North Korea -- but China well might veto one, so Tokyo and Washington are delaying any vote on the issue. But though Moscow is not actively joining in attempts to have North Korea sanctioned, Russian authorities have found it difficult to conceal their frustration with Pyongyang. What is clear from initial statements, particularly about the safety of Russian ships and aircraft in the missile test zone, is that the North Koreans never bothered warning Russia before lobbing missiles off its coast.
Amid all of this, China appears to be the least fazed by the North Korean tests.
But China also may have had prior notice about the launches. Initial comments credited to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill suggest that China was notified about the tests before they occurred. Officials in Beijing have countered that they were told of the launches a few hours before North Korea formally announced them -- but still days after they actually had taken place. Either way, the Chinese once again have found the world turning to them for a solution.
Given the Security Council deadlock, China is the only viable path to negotiations with North Korea. In fact, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Bolton has said the Security Council vote was delayed so that diplomacy through China could continue. Washington and Seoul both have called for Beijing to talk to Pyongyang, and the Chinese already had conveniently arranged for a relatively high-level delegation to visit North Korea.
For China, the missile launches have reinforced Beijing's importance to the United States and even Japan. Neither Washington nor Tokyo is prepared to strike back at North Korea militarily -- over either the missile tests or the ongoing nuclear crisis. Both have opted for sanctions and attempts to isolate North Korea, but these paths require the assistance and participation of South Korea and China. And even if Seoul were fully on board, China would remain as North Korea's primary lifeline. China can undermine any U.S. efforts to isolate or punish Pyongyang -- or it can facilitate dialogue.
In the weeks leading up to the missile tests, Beijing had proposed various ways to restart the stalled six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program -- talks from which both Washington and Pyongyang had basically walked away. As the primary coordinator and host of the talks, Beijing has leverage with all the participants -- but China found few takers (aside from South Korea) for its recent proposals. All of that changed, however, when North Korea actually tested the missiles. Washington sent envoys to Beijing and held out the possibility of bilateral talks with Pyongyang (which North Korea has demanded in order to discuss economic sanctions and frozen assets) on the sidelines of the six-party discussions.
While it is not certain that China facilitated the North Korean missile tests, it does seem that Pyongyang was certain the tests wouldn't trigger China to turn on it. If Beijing were truly upset, it could make that rather clear to North Korea in very painful ways. It hasn't. Rather, the Chinese have called on all parties to return to dialogue -- dialogue facilitated by and benefiting China. Meanwhile, North Korea is sitting back and studying the deadlock at the U.N. Security Council, the cracks in the U.S.-South Korea-Japan alliance, and the fact that the world's attention has again turned back toward Pyongyang.
North Korea considered its 1998 Taepodong-1 launch a brilliant success. Only two years later, Pyongyang had gone from being an international outcast and sidelined nation to the center of diplomatic activity -- with normalized relations across Europe and with Canada and Australia. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il hosted then-South Korean President Kim Dae Jung in Pyongyang for the first ever inter-Korean summit in 2000. North Korea gained economic and diplomatic ties and began to break past the constraints of a relationship that had been based primarily on U.S. pressure and Chinese handouts.
Pyongyang sees the same sorts of benefits in its future this time around. It has grown expert at creating artificial crises, from which it reaps economic and political benefits in exchange for merely maintaining the status quo.
In recent years, Washington has attempted to simply ignore North Korea rather than giving in to its temper fits. After all, if a kid in a toy store holds his breath while demanding that a parent buy a new toy, doing so only encourages the behavior -- whereas waiting for the kid to pass out and then start breathing again puts the kibosh on the temper fits. Or at least, that is the theory.
But North Korea always has an extra ace up its sleeve: geography. If the issue were only between North Korea and the United States, Pyongyang would have been ignored into submission years ago. But while its Taepodong-2 failed, its regional missiles proved quite effective. And neither Seoul nor Tokyo can feel as confident as Washington that North Korea really won't do something too crazy if left to stew in its own isolation. When Washington turns a deaf ear, Pyongyang pokes Tokyo and Seoul -- and when they cry out, the United States is drawn back in.
And until a new option is found to be effective, it seems that Beijing is destined to benefit -- as the only voice that can soothe the savage North Korea.
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Technorati Tags:North Korea
17,000 Scientists Can't be wrong? A Global Warming Consensus
Topic: Global Warming
This may not be the consensus you are used to hearing about. Hat Tip No Pasarn! at Green like me. Listed below are 17,200 of the initial signers
During the past 2 years, more than 17,100 basic and applied American scientists, two-thirds with advanced degrees, have signed the Global Warming Petition.
Signers of this petition so far include 2,660 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, and environmental scientists (select this link for a listing of these individuals)
who are especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide on the Earth's atmosphere and climate.
Signers of this petition also include 5,017 scientists whose fields of specialization in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and other life sciences (select this link for a listing of these individuals)
make them especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide upon the Earth's plant and animal life.
Nearly all of the initial 17,100 scientist signers have technical training suitable for the evaluation of the relevant research data, and many are trained in related fields. In addition to these 17,100, approximately 2,400 individuals have signed the petition who are trained in fields other than science or whose field of specialization was not specified on their returned petition.
Of the 19,700 signatures that the project has received in total so far, 17,800 have been independently verified and the other 1,900 have not yet been independently verified. Of those signers holding the degree of PhD, 95% have now been independently verified. One name that was sent in by enviro pranksters, Geri Halliwell, PhD, has been eliminated. Several names, such as Perry Mason and Robert Byrd are still on the list even though enviro press reports have ridiculed their identity with the names of famous personalities. They are actual signers. Perry Mason, for example, is a PhD Chemist.
The costs of this petition project have been paid entirely by private donations. No industrial funding or money from sources within the coal, oil, natural gas or related industries has been utilized. The petition's organizers, who include some faculty members and staff of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, do not otherwise receive funds from such sources. The Institute itself has no such funding. Also, no funds of tax-exempt organizations have been used for this project.
The signatures and the text of the petition stand alone and speak for themselves. These scientists have signed this specific document. They are not associated with any particular organization. Their signatures represent a strong statement about this important issue by many of the best scientific minds in the United States.
This project is titled "Petition Project" and uses a mailing address of its own because the organizers desired an independent, individual opinion from each scientist based on the scientific issues involved - without any implied endorsements of individuals, groups, or institutions.
The remainder of the initial signers and all new signers will be added to these lists as data entry is completed.
Our e-mail address, for the purposes of this project, is: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to mirror this site or download it to your hard drive, click here
You may also view and print
this entire web site in one easy step. Research Review of Global Warming Evidence
Below is an eight page review of information on the subject of "global warming," and a petition in the form of a reply card. Please consider these materials carefully.
The United States is very close to adopting an international agreement that would ration the use of energy and of technologies that depend upon coal, oil, and natural gas and some other organic compounds.
This treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.
The proposed agreement would have very negative effects upon the technology of nations throughout the world, especially those that are currently attempting to lift from poverty and provide opportunities to the over 4 billion people in technologically underdeveloped countries.
It is especially important for America to hear from its citizens who have the training necessary to evaluate the relevant data and offer sound advice.
We urge you to sign and return the petition card. If you would like more cards for use by your colleagues, these will be sent.
Past President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.
President Emeritus, Rockefeller University
Paper: Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
Technorati Tag:Global Warming