Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Roman Catholic Papacy's fetish with bestowing sainthood and trying to prove unsupported miracles might just be coming unstuck with people growing more aware of the real doings of the so-called 'saints'. More muck is being raked out of Mother Theresa, aka Agnes Bojaxhiu's can of charity missions whose fast tracking to sainthood is encountering some hiccups.
According to Michael Parenti
What usually went unreported were the vast sums she received from wealthy contributors, including a million dollars from convicted savings & loan swindler Charles Keating, on whose behalf she sent a personal plea for clemency to the presiding judge. She was asked by the prosecutor in that case to return Keating’s gift because it was money he had stolen. She never did. She also accepted substantial sums given by the brutal Duvalier dictatorship that regularly stole from the Haitian public treasury.
When tending to her own ailments, however, Teresa checked into some of the costliest hospitals and recovery care units in the world for state-of-the-art treatment.
Teresa journeyed the globe to wage campaigns against divorce, abortion, and birth control. At her Nobel award ceremony, she announced that “the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.” And she once suggested that AIDS might be a just retribution for improper sexual conduct.
Teresa emitted a continual flow of promotional misinformation about herself. She claimed that her mission in Calcutta fed over a thousand people daily. On other occasions she jumped the number to 4000, 7000, and 9000. Actually her soup kitchens fed not more than 150 people (six days a week), and this included her retinue of nuns, novices, and brothers. She claimed that her school in the Calcutta slum contained five thousand children when it actually enrolled less than one hundred.
She herself lived lavishly well, enjoying luxurious accommodations in her travels abroad. It seems to have gone unnoticed that as a world celebrity she spent most of her time away from Calcutta, with protracted stays at opulent residences in Europe and the United States, jetting from Rome to London to New York in private planes.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Vegetarianism has long since promoted good health. One-third of all cancers is related to a diet of meat eating. The risk of having cardio-vascular diseases and/or stopping the progression of coronary artery diseases is greatly reduced with a lean vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian food has more fiber in it and has very little animal fat. This helps in keeping a person's weight down. The average animal product can clog arteries with fat and make the person sluggish and slow down his immune system. Meat eaters also undergo accelerated cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age and their life span is reduced remarkably.
Recent reports have indicated that there is a large amount of mercury in sea produce.High levels of mercury can lead to a wide range of physical ills, including kidney and neurological damage, and can cause fatigue, vision problems and tremors. According to the National Wildlife Federation,nearly every aspect of our food web has been contaminated with mercury and its difficult to find an ecosystem that's not contaminated, whether it's ocean or forest or coastal waters or wetlands.The primary sources of mercury in the water system include coal-burning power plants, wastewater treatment plants and waste incinerators.
The fiber in vegetarian meal cleanses the internal system and makes our digestive and excretary organs work more efficiently in disposing off the waste. People who eat lower on the food chain tend to have fewer instances of constipation and hemorrhoids.
Billion of animals are slaughtered for human consumption each year.Animals are mostly factory farmed. This means cramming them into tightly spaced cages where they can barely move and fed with a diet tainted with pesticides and antibiotics to fatten them up and keep them off from infection.It is inhuman to help propagate the miseries of these animals which are forced to spend their entire lives in crates and stalls so small that they can't even turn around.Many animals get so fattened up due to the fatty diet that they are fed and the lack of exercise and free movement that their legs cannot support their weight due to their abnormally heavy bodies and are in constant pain and susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer till they are mercifully killed.
Chicken in hatcheries suffer untold agonies and are made,artificially, to lay more eggs.Each chicken is given less than half a square foot of space. Shortly after hatching, chickens have the ends of their beaks cut off. These mutilations are performed without anesthesia, ostensibly to reduce injuries that result when stressed birds are driven to fighting.Today's "broiler"(meat)chickens have been genetically altered to grow twice as fast than before and being pushed beyond their biological limits, hundreds of millions of chickens die every year before reaching slaughter weight at 6 weeks of age. Laying more than their share of eggs,the hens' bodies are severely taxed. They suffer from "fatty liver syndrome" when their liver cells, which work overtime to produce the fat and protein for egg yolks, accumulate extra fat. After one year in egg production, the birds are sent off to slaughter and end up usually in soups,or similar low-grade chicken meat products in which their bodies can be shredded to hide the bruises.In many cases, these 'spent hens' are ground up alive in huge grinders to be used as animal feed! Is there no end to human cruelty?
Lastly,it takes a lot of grain to feed animals raised for slaughter. Also,chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for miles of polluted rivers and streams which greatly threaten water quality.It may seem puerile, but cows belch and burp and an incredible amount of methane is let out every day, and when added to the flatulent excesses of other farm animals, they represent the single largest source of methane in the atmosphere.Belching and farting adds up to a massive 26 per cent of all emissions.A UN report found that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. This is due to the manure the animals produce, and the synthetic fertilisers for farming and growing the animals for slaughter.
With all these negatives, isnt it time we shifted to a vegetarian diet which is healthy for us and the environment? Check out the video(which is bit long)here to see the inhuman suffering of animals brought in for slaughter.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I had a good laugh seeing this cute piggy on Gizmodo. You push his hat and flames come out of his nostrils for lighting up your ciggy and when he is out of gas, stick the butane filler up his backside! He!He! Crazy gadgets which bring out the funnier side of life. Nevertheless, they wont find any takers from the one billion plus moslems of the world ;))
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Jemima Khan Goldsmith(ex-wife of Pakistan skipper,Imran Khan)has no love lost with Benazir Bhutto,ex-PM of Pakistan, who has, with a flourish now returned-after her self imposed exile- to take up cudgels from where she left off.
Jemima has written a nice piece worth reading about Benazir knowing her probably better than others as her ex-husband's rival.
She preferred instead to kowtow to the mullahs in order to cling to power, forming an expedient alliance with Pakistan's Religious Coalition Party and leaving Pakistan's women as powerless as she found them.
Make no mistake, Benazir may look the part, but she's as ruthless and conniving as they come--a kleptocrat in a Hermes headscarf.
Benazir is said to have stashed millions of her ill-gotten wealth in Swiss Banks and offshore accounts. Inquiries have so far found that Zardari, Benazir's equally corrupt husband,went on a shopping spree in the mid-1990s, purchasing among other things a $4 million, 355-acre estate south of London.Officials leading the inquiry in Pakistan say that the $100 million they have identified so far is only a small part of a much larger windfall from corrupt activities. They maintain that an inquiry begun in Islamabad immediately after Bhutto's dismissal in 1996 found evidence that her family and associates generated more than $1.5 billion in illicit profits through kickbacks in virtually every sphere of government activity -- from rice deals, to the sell-off of government land, even rake-offs from government welfare schemes.
In the largest single payment investigators have discovered, a gold bullion dealer in the Middle East was shown to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari's accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan's jewelry industry. The money was deposited into a Citibank account in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai.
Among the string of big ticket real estate that she owns are Rockwood, a 355-acre estate south of London, and a $2.5 million country manor in Normandy.
Benazir, in her third run in Pak politics will be a must-watch on power politics and with an enhanced chaotic alliance with Musharraf, a gloom and doom scenario is all set to unfold.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Indians back home are gloating over the election of (Piyush)Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana. They would do well to note a few self-centred and power backed moves of the man who is only of Indian origin.
To go up the political ladder, the man chose to convert himself to Roman Catholism from Hinduism which is an unwanted baggage in the ultra conservative Republican right wing party to which he belongs. Not to be outdone, he has also offered testimony before Baptist and Pentecostal congregations since the beginning of the 2007 campaign season. One never knows when one might need the help of people of all denominations!
Jindal is totally against abortion with no exceptions.He supports an abortion ban without exceptions for the life of the woman, the health of the woman, rape, or incest.
He is also an enthusiastic supporter of the war in Iraq.
A true Republican and good to carry the baton that Bush wields!
So what have we here?! Dick Cheney's wife herself admits that her husband,Dick Cheney (vice Prez and co-perpetrator of the beleaguered Iraq debacle)and Barack Obama(Democratic candidate in running for the Presidential elections and part non practising moslem)are infact eighth cousins! Wait! There's even more. Obama and President George Bush are 11th cousins! No kidding!
Check it for yourself at Guardian Unlimited
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I would hate this to turn out to be anything more than an illusory investigation. David Copperfield, the man who made the Statue of Liberty disappear is certainly in trouble with his ranch in Las Vegas raided by the FBI in an on-going case of sexual misconduct with a woman in the Bahamas.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Coastal waters of Israel is supposed to be one of the worst polluted water bodies of the world. Heavy metals and pesticides are discharged into the sea under government licenses and the company responsible for the sewage of the area is the biggest polluter in the eastern Mediterranean.
Of the heavy metals and pesticides discharged into the sea under government licenses, are 130 tons of pesticides, 5 tons of arsenic, 1,300 tons of ammonia and a ton of cyanide.
The most recent United Nations report on the Mediterranean ranked the greater Tel Aviv area as one of the 10 most polluting urban centers in the Mediterranean.
Seems like the country is busy only with its security concerns.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Today is Blog Action Day, organised by Blogactionday,a non-profit organisation. The theme of environment chosen for this year is one of the best memes I have come across as the deed is noble in thought and spirit.More than 16000 blogs are participating in this action day.This blog is also one in the lengthy list. My contributory post to this is about the harmful effects of coal burn and carbon sequestration as a viable option in mitigating the harmful effects of coal carbon emissions.
Coal is a relatively cheap and abundant commodity and is an excellent source of energy. But it comes at a significant cost to the environment. Coal emissions lead to acid rain, smog and toxic mercury content in the atmosphere and groundwater,and global warming. Coal is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. More and more countries however are building coal fired power plants and using coal in a variety of other applications.
The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States is striving to find a way to cut coal emissions. Its plan is to regulate the way carbon is stored in the ground. This is called carbon sequestration. Sequestering is the capture and burying of carbon from coal. It aims to strip carbon before coal is burned, capture it and bury it deep under the ground in geological formations that wont release it into the atmosphere.By storing carbon dioxide underground,atleast 90% of the carbon emissions from the coal fired plants can be contained from being let out into the atmosphere.
Waste carbon dioxide can be pumped into oil fields to boost production.This clean energy technique will reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
Clean coal technology, if successfully operated,would reaffirm coal as the king of the energy landscape in the US with the added benefit of the technology being environmentally sound.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
War and strife has brought no one anything other than misery. And Palestine history has been one long period of suffering for its citizenry. With Fatah and Hamas at each others' throat, the general populace of Gaza, whose problems are only escalating with Isreal pushing in their might, are a harried lot.
Israel has completely closed commercial and travel crossings following the Hamas-dominated government's takeover of the Gaza Strip in June.This closure of the Rafah crossing has all but stopped the trade supplies from entering Gaza strip.The economic siege has resulted in high prices and very low incomes. And rising unemployment is not helping the cause.With no natural resources and all industries paralyzed by Israel's closures,the population has become increasingly dependant on the UN and other foreign agencies' handouts.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Kurdistan, the northern part of Iraq which is independently administered, is apparently doing well for itself.
According to their website,
Fewer than two hundred US troops
are stationed here.
Arabs, Kurds and westerners all vacation together.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Russia has ambitious plans of building a tunnel under the Bering Strait connecting its far east landmass with Alaska. The 64 mile tunnel, not unlike the English Chunnel connecting England and France, could stimulate freight traffic and aid in supply of oil, gas and electricity from Siberia to the US and Canada. The mega project could cost a whopping $65 billion and could take a decade for completion.
Sounds far-fetched with no news about this from the US side.
Unnerves one to go through these horrendous facts on Zimbabwe. Not a single point in it is positive. Most galling to read is that bit on Mugabe's mansions!
1. Located 16 km north of Harare, Mugabe’s 25 en suite bedroom mansion is the size of a medium-sized hotel.
2. Building the mansion has cost in excess of US$ 26 million in a country where most people earn less than the equivalent of eleven dollars a month.
3. More than 2 000 bags of cement meant for the victims of Operation Murambatsvina were diverted to ongoing building operations at the Mugabe mansion.
4. This is the third luxury residence that Mugabe has built and the fifth he has owned since he came to power.
5. In 2003, Mugabe and his wife Grace also took over the magnificent Iron Mask farm in the Mazowe area from elderly white commercial farmers. The owners were given 48 hours to leave the property after a visit by Grace Mugabe, accompanied by police, soldiers and youth militia.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Nigeria(that scam ridden,corrupt country) refused a visa to Bill Gates claiming that he could be a drain on their resources by staying on there indefinetely! The world's second richest man-recently upstaged by Carlos Slim of Mexico-then had to prove his personal networth of billions!He!He!
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Kim Jong Il, the eccentric North Korean ruler is a closet film buff. He reportedly, kidnapped a film director and his actress wife to help him produce movies!
Reportedly, it is a crime to import movies from democratic South Korea into communist North Korea. And a routine tactic used by the North Korean police to monitor the illegal viewership of such movies is to cut the electricity to apartment blocks before a raid and then go to each home to check what is on video tapes or DVDs that have become stuck inside players.This rule however, does not apply to Kim who is known to own around 15000 film dvds!
North Korea is one of the most closed nations of the world and totalitarian in the extreme tightly controlling outside information and tolerating no dissent. Internet and cell phones are banned for use by the ordinary masses and radio and television is state controlled. The ruling elite however, have access to all these banned communication devices!
A novel method of studying the effects of global warming with the help of old paintings of celebrated artists is being worked on.
The team, at the National Observatory of Athens, is using the works of old masters to work out the amount of natural pollution spewed into the skies by eruptions such as Mount Krakatoa in 1883. Reports from the time describe stunning sunsets for several years afterwards, as the retreating light was scattered by reflective particles thrown high into the atmosphere. By studying the colour of sunsets painted before and after such eruptions, the researchers say they can calculate the amount of material in the sky at the time.
The team found 181 artists who had painted sunsets between 1500 and 1900. The 554 pictures included works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Hogarth. They used a computer to work out the relative amounts of red and green in each picture, along the horizon. Sunlight scattered by airborne particles appears more red than green, so the reddest sunsets indicate the dirtiest skies. The researchers found most pictures with the highest red/green ratios were painted in the three years following a documented eruption. There were 54 of these "volcanic sunset" pictures.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Blackwater,USA seems to be constantly in the news these days. After landing in a soup with the random civilian shooting incident, their shady activities have been scrutinised with investigative thoroughness. The latest in this circus of events is the welcome bill passed by the House of Representatives to end the immunity of private security companies such as Blackwater in war zones. Having said that, it must be added that the bill has its own shortcomings, including imprecise descriptions about the locations where the law would apply and the impracticality of conducting costly overseas investigations. Nevertheless, its a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ordered new security procedures for American diplomatic convoys in Iraq and the proactive involvement of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security as a monitoring agency.
Blackwater,USA given the boot in Iraq!
Brazilian Bombers for Blackwater
Interview with Jeremy Scahill
Rise of Blackwater
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Britishers continue to be conned by the wily Nigerians.Fraudsters in Nigeria rake in £3.5 billion a year from the UK by email scams and letters and phonecalls.
Nigeria has become synonymous with corruption, where it is a way of life.
"Here you pay for everything but the view," a Nigerian told a visitor to Abuja, the country's new capital.
Around the city and other urban centres, policemen run "mobile courts", running purges against offences that are unpredictable - one day "illegal" windscreen wipers, another "illegal" bumpers, the next "illegal" tyres. The only thing to do is to pay the required bribe and gain the greeting: "You are free to go. The court is over."
With this much of easy money pouring in,those crooks will never stop,for sure.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Pacifism is the new mantra. And Dhimmitude is gaining in popularity. Even the esteemed New York University seems to be bowing down to obscurantist Islamic rituals providing for footbaths for its Moslem students. What next!? Halal meat, maybe!
In a bathroom there by the Muslim prayer room - as well as in more-visible university bathrooms - Muslim students wash before each of five daily prayers, a task they precariously conclude by rinsing their feet in hip-high sinks.
Although students haven't been clamoring for foot baths, according to leaders and members of NYU's Muslim community, they would prefer them to standard sinks where washing leads to wet floors, dirty conditions and, at times, uncomfortable moments.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
With people getting more and more mobile and air connectivity getting better and in many cases,cheaper, we are all jumping onto aircrafts more than ever before.
Consider the following facts:
Air travel is a big way of leaving our carbon footprint on our earth.Even if we cannot reduce our air travels, we can try to lighten the environmental load that air travelling causes.
Here are few ways to go about it: