Happy Thoughts.

I know everyone is all abuzz over the Olympics and Joe Biden (by the way, I am incredibly surprised that Obama picked such a magnificent running mate…maybe he will be okay after all) but here are some interesting thoughts to consider. (Thanks Relevellerr!)

-The Senate is processing a resolution (#580) which calls for a number of sanctions on Iran and urges the president to blockade Iran for the purpose of preventing that country from receiving any shipments of refined petroleum. Because of its limited refining capacity, Iran must import 40% of the oil it consumes. The situation echoes memories of the U.S. blockade of Japan over 67 years ago which prevented that country from receiving the oil it needed and which is now considered to have been a factor in Japan’s decision to attack Pearl Harbor.

-49 Senators have signed on as co-sponsors of Resolution 580.

-The House of Representatives is processing a resolution (#362) similar to the Senate’s, but one that also urges the president to set up a blockade to inspect all people and items entering or leaving Iran and prohibiting Iranian officials from traveling outside the country except for the purpose of nuclear negotiations. In a bulletin published last month, Ron Paul described it as a “virtual war resolution.”

-261 Congressmen have signed on as co-sponsors of Resolution 362.

-Three weeks ago, major elements of the U.S. Navy and several other nations including the United Kingdom and France, concluded a naval exercise in the Atlantic, called Brimstone, and described as a dress rehearsal for a blockade of Iran.

-Since then, the following naval assets have been reported to be heading for the Persian Gulf and the other waters abutting Iran:

-the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, with French Naval Rafale fighter jets on board, and her battle group,

-the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and her battle group,

-the USS Iwo Jima, an amphibious assault ship,

-the United Kingdom’s aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and her battle group,

-and the French nuclear attack submarine Amethyste along with other French ships.

-This armada is joining up with the existing elements of the Fifth Fleet already in the Gulf and its vicinity, which include:

-the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and her battle group,

-the USS Peleliu and her battle group,

-at least one nuclear attack submarine and a variety of other U.S. ships.

-It has been widely reported in the foreign press that this is the largest naval buildup in the Gulf area since the inception of the war in Iraq.

-Russia recently conducted a naval exercise in the Mediterranean involving at least 11 warships, an unknown number of submarines, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsoy and the heavy missile cruiser, Moskva, described as the flagship of its Black Sea Fleet. The exercise was conducted out of and supplied by the Russian facilities at the Syrian port of Tartous.

-The German online publication, ALLES SCHALL und RAUCH, reported that the Kuznetsoy carries about 47 combat jets and ten attack helicopters. The planes have stealth capabilities that are considered inferior to America’s technology, according to the article, but Russian planes were allegedly able to approach U.S. vessels without being detected.

-Undoubtedly, the U.S. and its allies have developed an arsenal of cutting-edge weaponry that has been kept under wraps. Nevertheless, the German report goes on to say that Russian missile technology is of a particularly high order. It claims that there are no known effective counter measures at this time to protect against the high speed torpedoes and missiles Russia has developed that could be capable of sinking an aircraft carrier.

-It is also thought that this technology may have been shared with Tehran which recently conducted its own missile tests, following Israel’s extensive dress rehearsal for an aerial attack on Iran.

-Israel, Kuwait and the other Gulf States have already made their “war contingency plans”, according to news reports, in the face of the growing likelihood of a major regional war in the Middle East.

-The recent and somewhat ongoing crisis in Georgia is considered by some foreign analysts to have been an early move in the high stakes game of chess that seems to be rapidly developing. There is considerable disagreement in the world press over whether the Georgian conflict was actually initiated by the West or by Russia. However, given the fact that it occurred at a time when the movement against Iran was already well underway, it is considered likely that there is a connection.

It may already be too late, but if Iran does not soon take the necessary steps to ease the concern over its assumed nuclear weapons program, it appears that a major action will occur. This most likely would involve a blockade, at least initially, although the possibility of a direct aerial, naval and missile attack cannot be entirely ruled out.

Even a blockade would almost certainly disrupt the supply of oil, however, causing the price to surge and cascading another wave of woe across the already struggling global economies.

Furthermore, the unknown reactions of China and Russia, in this respect, represent the ultimate risk of a naval or aerial confrontation between major nuclear powers.

Paris Responds, China and the U.S., and Kim Jong Il impersonating Roy Orbison

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

She’s not that hot. Really, not my type at all. As attraction goes however, there is a big attraction between the U.S. and China…and they want the world to know it.

BEIJING — The new U.S. Embassy in the Chinese capital is a sprawling maze of glass and concrete that’s the second biggest construction project in the history of the State Department. President Bush himself will inaugurate the complex Friday.

Last week, Chinese officials opened their own giant embassy in Washington, which, at 250,000 square feet, is the biggest embassy in the U.S. capital.
The almost simultaneous inaugurations of the two mega-embassies weren’t a coincidence, U.S. officials said. The two superpowers have been working for years to synchronize the openings days before Friday’s start of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The two countries wanted to send a clear message to the world that Chinese-U.S. ties were what U.S. Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt Jr. called “the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century.”

Sci Fi novel Enders Game could be your game

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Life!) – “Ender’s Game,” the classic science fiction novel about a boy military genius who is trained through war games to fight aliens, is finally becoming a game itself.

Under a deal announced on Tuesday, Chair Entertainment, the game studio behind the recent hit “Undertow,” will develop titles based on Orson Scott Card’s book.

The novel, with its probing of the line between reality and games, has long been eyed by video game fans as a rich source of material for the medium.

Chair plans to make several titles based on the book, with the first one slated to be a downloadable game that should be available in 2009.

Card said he decided to move ahead with an “Ender’s Game” video game after years of wrangling to make a feature film bore no fruit.

“There is going to be a universe of ‘Ender’s Game’ games, hopefully. But that’s like someone starting a restaurant and thinking about opening 100 franchises all over the country,” Card told Reuters.

“Let’s make this one work first,” Card said.

The first game will focus on the Battle Room, the elite military academy where Ender hones his strategic and tactical skills and that provided some of the most memorable scenes in the book.

Sci-fi novel “Ender’s Game” to become video game: Scientific American

The True Meaning of the Olympics- 1.5 Million evicted and homeless

It’s just what we all aspire for in the world, friendly competition among nations to see who can treat their poor the worst.

GENEVA – China continues to evict 13,000 people each month in preparation for the Beijing Olympics, despite worldwide attention and increased scrutiny, a housing rights group said Wednesday.

The Center on Housing Rights and Evictions said a recent trip to the Chinese capital confirmed an estimate it made earlier this year that 1.5 million people would be displaced by the time the 2008 Games are held.

Beijing says the group is grossly inflating the number of people being relocated as a result of the Olympic preparations, and that residents are content with the compensation they have received.

“Despite courageous protests inside China, and condemnation by many international human rights organizations, the Beijing municipality and Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games have persisted with these evictions and displacements,” said Jean du Plessis, the Geneva-based COHRE’s deputy director.

The group — which claimed in June that 1.25 million had already been displaced — said it returned to Beijing in August and found that forced evictions were continuing unabated.
Continue reading “The True Meaning of the Olympics- 1.5 Million evicted and homeless”

Sad barometer of decreasing free time – ‘express’ board games

This is one of the saddest statements on our culture that I have seen recently. People have so little free time that they need “express” versions of classic board games like Monopoly, Sorry or Scrabble that can be played in 20 minutes. If you don’t have more than 20 minutes to sit down and play with your children or your family or your friends, maybe you need to change your life, not buy an “express” version of leisure. Board games are MEANT to drag on, to be lingered over, to pass time… We could probably all benefit from making the time to sit down and play a good old non-electronic board game with other people – for more than 20 minutes!

Hasbro Monopoly Express : Target

Rollercoaster Ride Record Rocked!

A thrillseeker has smashed the Guinness World Record for the longest rollercoaster marathon.

Richard Rodriguez overtook the previous total of nine days and 12 hours at 12.01am on Monday.

The 48-year-old broke the record on the Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Not content with this feat, the American is still riding the rollercoaster to maximise his total.

He said: “It feels amazing to be the world record holder once again, but I’m not just going to give up now – I want to stay on for as long as possible and make my record a solid one.

“The ride crews and all the visitors who have come to support me have been a great help and have inspired me to stay positive during this successful record attempt so I’d like to thank them all.”

Mr Rodriguez has to eat, drink and sleep on rollercoasters as he takes on the ultimate endurance test.

In accordance with stringent Guinness Book of Records guidelines, the American will accumulate five minutes respite for every full hour ridden to allow him to change clothes, shower, have a hot meal and transfer onto the Big Dipper for night-time riding.

He was going head to head with two challengers at Freizeitland Gieselwind park in Germany, but they dropped out after 36 hours due to medical reasons.

Mr Rodriguez had held the record for nearly 30 years until German Frank Rossler beat it last year.