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December 31, 2004

Cold snap brings Gulf rare snow

Snow has fallen in the United Arab Emirates for the first time in years, shocking residents of a desert country better known for its 50C summer heat.

December 31, 2004 in World News | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

DAVID PHILLIPS: Countdown with Keith Olbermann

I normally don't put any post on the last day of a month. But this is an exception as I would like to share with my friends round the world this transcript of 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann', Keith Olbermann talking with Mr. David Phillips.

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Dec. 29
Read the transcript to the 8 p.m. ET show

OLBERMANN: One of the complications about setting a figure for emergency U.S. relief now is that the $35 million figure is all that was appropriated to the U.S. Agency for International Development. Asked about his agency‘s budget, the director said, quote “We have just spent it.” Americans have always stepped up but what about America? To help us assess whether we as a nation are indeed doing enough, I‘m joined by David Phillips on the Council on Foreign Relations. Until last year a State Department advisor on the Near East and the past senior advisor to UN on the coordination of humanitarian affairs. Mr. Phillips, thanks for your time tonight.

DAVID PHILLIPS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Hi, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Is it a yes or no question? Can we say whether or not we‘re doing enough?

PHILLIPS: It‘s pretty clear that $15 million on day one was a pathetic display by the United States. We needed to set the bar high so that other countries could also be generous. By being dragged to the relief table, we sent the wrong signal. People are dying in these affected populations. And many of those populations are Muslim. If we want to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world, we‘re just going to have to do better.

OLBERMANN: And doing better, if tomorrow we came out and said we‘ll take the daily cost of the war in Iraq, $193 million a day, according to the pentagon, we‘ll send that as direct aid or a week‘s worth of that or whatever, would it make a difference in terms of the perception? Did we already damaged ourselves to say nothing of damaging the recovery efforts by coming out with those initial figures? Or is there still time to be kind of crass about it, still come out and buy goodwill throughout the region?

PHILLIPS: In material terms, those donations will make a significant difference. But we lost the mantle of moral leadership. What the president should have done, is he should have stepped in front of the TV cameras as the first world leader to organize a coalition. He should have laid out a three-point plan, the first phase dealing with the immediate emergency. The second phase dealing with the health implications. The third phase focusing on reconstruction. Because he was the last world leader to address the crisis, it looks as though the United States had little interest in addressing what happened with the tsunami. And particularly, it looks as though we had little interest because of the affected populations were in the third world and were mostly Muslim.

OLBERMANN: About what the UN official, Mr. Egeland said about stinginess yesterday, do you really think there was cause and effect in terms of the additional $20 million coming out? Would this country really have given just $15 or $35 million if he had not made those remarks?

PHILLIPS: This was going to be a rolling start. So I am sure the United States would have stepped up and given more. But I know Mr. Egeland well. Instead of criticizing his remarks, he should be commended. If the Bush administration hadn‘t been shamed by its actions as a result of the UN statement, it‘s not clear when the president would have stepped in front of the TV cameras, made a statement and offered more resources. It‘s important that the international community come together right now. The president talked about prevailing in this moment of need. If that is going to happen, the U.S. has to provide leadership. We didn‘t do that during the critical first couple days.

OLBERMANN: David Phillips with the Council on Foreign Relations, formerly an advisor on the Near East to the current State Department and on humanitarian affairs to the UN, thanks greatly for your time tonight, sir.

PHILLIPS: Thank you, Keith.

December 31, 2004 in Columnists, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

jest for pun (December'04)

(December'04 BlogThoughts

Every calendar's days are numbered.

  • If you try a jigsaw puzzle that is too hard, don't go to pieces.

  • how is the weather there

  • Darkest hours

  • A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch. - James Beard (1903-1985)

  • In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, Long ago. - Christina G. Rossetti (1830 - 1894), A Christmas Carol

  • When you jump for joy, beware that no-one moves the ground from beneath your feet. - Stanislaw Lem (1921 - ), "Unkempt Thoughts", 1962

  • The future's not ours to see

  • food for plate

  • Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. -Henry Van Dyke

  • I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond. - Mae West (1893 - 1980) American actress

  • Take Nothing but Pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time. - Motto of the Baltimore Grotto (caving society)

  • Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong. - George Carlin (1937 - )

  • gross national happiness is more important than gross national product - King of Bhutan

  • A film is never really any good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet. - Orson Welles

  • On cable TV they have a weather channel - 24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window. -Dan Spencer

  • games people p(l)ay

  • There is no gravity. The earth sucks. - Graffito

  • Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.- Sir Richard Steele

  • spam wham

  • December 31, 2004 in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 30, 2004

    Top Science Stories of 2004

    Mars Exploration

    Researchers Unveil New Form of Matter

    Cloned Human Embryos Yield Stem Cells

    Chemists Report New Superheavy Elements

    Ancient Shells May be Earliest Jewels

    Ringed Victory: Cassini Gets Up Close and Personal with Saturn

    NASA Identifies "Likely Direct Cause" of Genesis Crash

    Mini-Human Species Unearthed

    Fixing the Vote

    Holes in the Missile Shield

    Monkey Protein Blocks HIV

    Newly Discovered Galaxy is a Record-Breaker

    continue reading

    December 30, 2004 in Tech/Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Ugly Christmas Lights

    When screenshotit comes to decorating your house for the holidays, nothing says "Christmas" like an inflatable SpongeBob SquarePants. To many homeowners, capturing the spirit of the season involves an enormous number of lights and an enormous utility bill. Those whose homes don't quite epitomize the spirit of goodwill to all manage to embrace the spirit of "too much of a good thing is still too much." In a stunning departure from traditional decorations, a decked-out T. rex lurks in the wilds of suburbia, while a lonely trailer park Santa greets visitors. Operating under the pseudonym of "Santa," the owner of this site has found some of the most over-the-top Christmas lights ever perpetrated on a neighborhood. If you're pining for the tasteful seasonal decorations of yesteryear, you'll find them here -- among the glitter and glitz of today's excesses.

    December 30, 2004 in Reality | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 29, 2004

    Jim Lewis: A hard, simple problem

    If you are interested in sliding puzzles try this one

    If you want to read about the puzzle: Has an inventor found the hardest possible simple sliding-block puzzle?

    Not as simple as it looks

    Below is my solution, you can see the blocks (that may help)

    December 29, 2004 in Fun, Games | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Can you solve this one in 5 tries?

    You have to move all brown frogs to left and yellow to right.

    December 29, 2004 in Fun, Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 28, 2004

    Where Everbody Knows Your Name

    Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
    Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

    Wouldn't you like to get away?

    Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name,
    and they're always glad you came.
    You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same
    You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

    You wanna go where people know, people are all the same,
    You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

    You want to go where people know, people are all the same;
    You want to go where everybody knows your name.

    - Cheers By: Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo

    December 28, 2004 in Reality | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    i love you

    classic movie dialogues

    December 28, 2004 in History | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 27, 2004

    10x10

    screenshotDescribed as "an interactive exploration of the words and pictures that define the time," 10×10 is the brainchild of graphic designer Jonathan Harris. The site automatically collects and graphically displays the most important words and photographs from three of the Internet's top news sources (Reuters World News, BBC World Edition, and New York Times International News). The result is a grid of 100 images, each connected to a single word. Click on an individual photo, and the image enlarges in a pop-up window that includes a series of related headlines linking to the day's news reports. Images and articles are updated hourly, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Because it runs without human intervention, it reveals the most important issues of the moment -- free of bias, politics, and hidden agendas. Take ten for 10×10 and see what's happening now.

    December 27, 2004 in Photography, World News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack