Why not add "cracker" and "honky" to that list while your at it...

Activists urge boycott of the 'N-word' - Los Angeles Times

Apparently the leaders of black America have decided it is time to start looking within as they continue their fight against racism, which has been given renewed media attention following the racial tirade of Michael Richards (a.k.a. Kramer from the television series Seinfeld) directed toward two obnoxious hecklers during his recent stand-up performance in L.A. First of all, I want to applaud the Reverend Jackson and his posse for their genuine acknowledgment that the real root of the continued use of derogatory slurs like "nigger" is the prevailing notion that it is o.k. for blacks to use them, but it is reprehensible when it comes from a white man. This has baffled me since I was first introduced to rap music back in grade school, and it has continued to peeve me ever since. Why, I have always wondered, can't I (as a white man) use a word that seems to carry no negative connotations when shared between "brothers"? Why is it o.k., or at least accepted amongst whites, for black comedians such as Richard Prior to make fun of the "honky" or "cracker"? The obvious answer to both questions is that black American's as a collective whole still have a chip on their shoulder because of the sins of our ancestors, and as a result, they feel a sense of entitlement to say whatever they choose without retribution, while simultaneously scrutinizing the words of white men and women through a hyper-sensitive, politically correct microscope. I think that the decision by the leaders of the NAACP today to push for a community wide ban on the use of the "N" word is unquestionably a step toward pacifying once and for all the obviously tenuous issues of race and racism in America today. However, I find it hard to believe that any prominent black leader is going to stand up and call for an end to the racially motivated slurs many blacks use unabashedly toward whites.


Geriatric Jihad In Jabaliya

Grandmother targets Israeli troops as a suicide bomber - Los Angeles Times

Related Google News Link

64 year-old Palestinian grandmother Fatma Omar An-Najar who blew herself up hear Israeli troops yesterday may sound to the typical American watching Fox News as if she were another victim of the same radical Islamic psychological manipulation that has claimed the lives of 100+ Palestinian terrorists in the last 6 years, but upon further scrutiny both her motives and her justification become clear to all but the most pig-headed. Mother of nine and grandmother of forty, An-Najar's home was recently demolished by the Israeli army because she harbored Hamas militants and participated in a massive (and voluntary) human-shield demonstration which successfully rebuffed a planned Israeli offensive earlier in the week. First of all, I think it would be fair to assume that she has lost immediate family members to Israel's occupying force (possibly her husband or children) and for this reason it is reasonable to assume that she truly is sympathetic to the Hamas led resistance in the Palestinian territories. That said, are we or aren't we discussing a 64 YEAR-OLD GRANDMA?!?

Sympathtic or not, the Palestinian territories have turned into a war zone since the eruption of conflict over the kidnapped Israeli soldier and subsequent military offenses by the Jews. What was Fatma to do when young men fighting in her backyard demanded she provide them safe harbor? Certainly nobody suggests that she stand-up to them and refuse; well, except of course the Israeli military, which somehow gathered that she may be capable of such bold action under such distressing circumstances. What kind of sick-minded, evil people demolish the home of a grandmother who had no choice but to live in the middle of the violence. Do you know of any grandmother who wouldn't gladly give their life for the sake of their children/grandchildren? Considering conditions in her region, she was probably left with nothing when the Jews punitively destroyed her family's home, provoking her failed attack and even further compounding their public relations problems around the world.

Since the outbreak of renewed organized resistence on a large scale, followed by the most idiotic military campaign in the brief history of modern warfare, I have noticed a profound shift in tactics and long-term strategy from that of the Kamakazi operatives sent on high-risk/low-return missions toward one centered around accentuating the agglomerated capabilities of resistence movements under Hezbollah and Hamas on two fronts. From these strongholds the resistance is using weapons of the ballistic rather than suicide variety. I think Hassan Nassrallah, leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, truly gets it, let the Israeli come and kill you while your sleeping when they blow up your apartment building or place of business-- suicide bombers win no sympathy where it counts, in the West. The sooner we recognize this paradigmatic shift in the region's balance of power and moral superiority, the sooner our policies will effectively address the realities that we face in the Middle East.

Genomics break-through bad for the politically correct movement?

Medical News Today-Humans Differ Genetically More Than Previously Thought

Google News Links

I was immediately struck by the headline listed in the first link above because a fundamental assumption of human evolution and biological structure has now been shattered to bits. As I understand this information I have read and reread, it states that the genetic variation between individuals could now reasonably be considered a factor in that person's cognitive and physical development. Prior conventional wisdom asserted that all human-beings are at the genetic level 99.9% the same, when in actuality it appears that the probable genetic variation between two individuals may in fact be 10-15 times greater. Due to inexplicable circumstances encountered over the course of our species' evolution, it is now common for there to be found extra "copies" of genes at varying rates from individual to individual, rather than the presumed two (one from each parent) per genetic trait. Though the article, and most of the articles so far listed on Google News have stressed the importance of these findings for the prospects of prescribing the genetic catalysts of specific diseases among some and not other, I see quite different implications on the horizon for the the concept of the individual and the "genetic ceilings" of limited capability if science continues to follow along this path.

Anyone who hasn't seen GATTACA, the 1997 film staring Ethan Hawke, should be sure to add it to their Netflix movie list ASAP. Hawke plays a genetically deficient individual who was branded as below average at birth based strictly on a blood sample. The movie goes on to address many of the ethical conundrums that this discovery has now leapt from the silver screen of science fiction and has planted itself on a collision course with the bio-ethical debates that are currently raging throughout American society. Since it has been a few years since I have had the opportunity to view the film I will refrain from commenting at length herein, but once I have had the chance to watch it through and write a review worthy of its philosophical foresightedness.

For now I would like to leave everyone to ponder the possibility that our race defines more about us than what terms we preferred to be grouped under (i.e. black, hispanic, etc...). What if we are each, as a result of our racial and cultural heritage, quantifiably superior to our fellow man of different heritage at the most basic level of being? This question only broaches a conversation that cannot very easily be addressed at length at this time, but upon further reflection I will definitely post my thoughts. I would greatly appreciate hearing your's, so please comment below on the ideas put forth in all posts.


Making Meaning...

When I arrived at my office last Thursday I discovered that my great friend (and one of Asia's Top 25 entrepreneurs under the age of 25 according to Business Week) had left me a gift, and in the seventy-two hours that followed I spent every second of free time glued to the pages of Guy Kawasaki's new book The Art of the Start. I finally finished up the last ten pages yesterday while riding the El into Lincoln Park and I have been unable to divert my mind from trying to deduce what "meaning" I hope to make as I jump way in over my head into the sea of runaway ambition. So compelled to further explore this idea was I, that I just created a new blog called Makers of Meaning to use as a forum for commenting on the best and worst examples of entrepreneurs and corporations who have used actual imagination when conceiving their organizations role in the evolution of human innovation. There are several sections of this book which I plan to write on in much greater detail in subsequent postings, but in the mean time go to the book store and buy your favorite entrepreneur this phenomenal book for Christmas.

Making the most of eBay

This was on ebay:

You are bidding on the contact information for my friend who acquired a PS3 by waiting in line outside Best Buy for two days in advance. I was there with him the entire time, but already sold mine. He has in his posession a PS3, extra controller, extra charger, three games (Resistance, Madden, and Ridge Racer), and a 2 year replacement plan. Keep in mind that you are not bidding on an actual system, but only the information where you might obtain one. You will be able to contact him and he is very willing to sell if the price is right. The unit is in the Atlanta, GA area and he would be willing to deliver in person if close by. PayPal is the only payment form accepted.

There were 20 bids and the final price was $1,100.

Above italicized quoted from Marginal Revolution)

I applaud the innovative individual who thought up this brilliant scheme. I can imagine he had quite a good time this weekend.


Wii is where it's at...

Google News Results for "Nintendo Wii"

Nintendo Wii on Wikipedia

Wikipedia Nintendo Portal

Google sorted search results for "nintendo wii more:cheats"

Official site

I will never forget the day I received my very first Nintendo video game system....

Christmas 1992, I was nine and my sister five. We must have spent the next six months shooting ducks (Duck Hunt) and dodging evil mushrooms (Super Mario). Since that time I have totally shunned video games, playing only in short intervals (Halo only) and usually with great impatience... that is, until the other day when I had the opportunity to try out Nintendo's new Wii. Built upon a similar business plan to their original, revolutionary system, the Wii brings to life an entirely new paradigm in interactive video gaming. It is without question closer to achieving a virtual reality-like dynamic than any of its competitors, and I don't even need to play any of the other next generation systems (which I haven't) to make such an assertion. For all of the hype surrounding the PS3, I have yet to even talk to anyone that has anything good to say about it, primarily because nobody has been able to get there hands on one that they don't immediately list on eBay, but also because they focused all of their development efforts on graphics without fundamentally changing the type of games/interfaces that they offer.

Though I am eagerly anticipating the next installation in the Halo franchise from Microsoft, I doubt I will even consider picking up an Xbox controller until it comes out, and who knows if I will even see a PS3 until after the New Year. Thus, because of both Nintendo's imaginative design and its modest pricing I have decided to officially endorse Nintendo as the video game company of the past, present and future.


The Rundown On Web 2.0

Web 2.0 Companies Organized by Logo

Google News Results for "Web 2.0"

Web 2.0 on Wikipedia

I am sure everyone reading this post has heard of and likely experimented with the many new (and usually free) web companies focused on creating information sharing networks utilizing web-based software suits and giving users a tangible personal "presence" on the internet. The phenomenon began with the boom in popularity of blogs, again something I am sure all reads are familiar with, and has exploded as younger generations begin to swallow up a larger share of primary internet users. Rupert Murdoch has popularized the label "techno natives" to describe everyone under the age of 22 who has either a MySpace, Facebook or various other "blog" account on which they post photos of their friends, write about their favorite Simpson's episode and list their interests for the world to read. Anyone who has gotten swept up into the Google Revolution (like me) understands the true value of totally free services provided by companies that store any necessary information on the web to be accessed from anywhere. Internet startups are beginning to recognize that the traditional business model of charging for web-based services is dead and will remain so, and they have chosen to develop advanced applications, each with the potential to change the way we understand and use the vast maze of information available online. Certainly, each experiment with the next generation of internet evolution is a long-term trial in the fortitude of the internet business, which now must exist both in the world that is now and the world that is coming-- FAST.

A few tortured insomniacs undoubtedly stricken with carpel tunnel syndrome have made attempts to index all of these concept companies, which seem to materialize hourly and blow-up almost as quickly. Econsultant.com has a list of about 1200 companies that they have broken down into catagories and are accompanied by multi-lingual comments from users. Another list issued by Sacred Cow Dung is quite comprehensive and regularly updated. In the next few days I will profile my favorite Web 2.0 companies and I encourage all to start their own bookmark file of companies that they encounter because you never know when the services these high-unconventional companies offer will be useful.


Blair speech on a 'whole Middle East strategy': full text - Britain - Times Online

Blair speech on a 'whole Middle East strategy': full text - Britain - Times Online

In my opinion there is no political figure of the last several generations that has made a greater impact on the state of the world today than British PM Tony Blair. He has inspired me to lead a life of public service and he has set his nation on a course toward a bright future by constructively working with his counterpart across the pond in ways and at levels which his European brothers were never able to duplicate. His arguments in support of the war against terrorists has successfully plugged the intellectual leaks in President Bush's rhetorical style, and has retained much of the multinational forces' otherwise waning legitimacy.

The following is the text of the Prime Minister's annual address before the Lord Mayor's Banquet in London, a speech traditional used by British premiers to outline their foreign policy. The speech was delivered on 13 November 2006.

My Lord Mayor, My Late Lord Mayor, Your Grace, My Lord High Chancellor, Your Excellencies, My Lords, Aldermen, Sheriffs, Chief Commoner, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Remembrance weekend took on a special poignancy this year. No longer do we only look back, nostalgia mixed with emotion and pride, on the supreme sacrifices of two World Wars.

In this century, a new and unconventional enemy has appeared: a global terrorism, based on a thoroughly warped misinterpretation of Islam, which is fanatical and deadly. It was present for years but little noticed by us, before 9/11. Since 9/11, it has cast its shadow over the Western world.

The bomb which killed British forces in Iraq yesterday was a cruel and wicked reminder that this terrorism is dedicated to one end: to stop democracy flourishing in Arab and Muslim countries; to foster sectarian division; to drive out the possibility of reconciliation between people of different faiths.

In defiance of the wishes of the Government of Iraq, now elected, and of the UN which for over three years has supported that democratic process, they urge violence to eliminate hope. In Basra, we are halfway through the army and police operation, which British forces are supporting, to put the proper authorities in charge of the city. It is an operation that is succeeding. The bomb was designed to stop it.

Do not countenance the myth that it is a protest about the so-called occupation of Basra by British forces. On the contrary, the terrorists know the whole purpose of the operation we are conducting with the Iraqi forces is to allow Iraqis to take charge.

Once again we should reflect on the quite humbling courage of the British Armed Forces. They are remarkable people, making an extraordinary sacrifice. They have our admiration. And for the families of those that have fallen, we extend to them our most profound sympathy and condolences.

Both in respect of Iraq and Afghanistan this weekend we remembered those who have died. But it is critical that we understand what links both struggles. Of course, in each case there are very specific national factors at play.

But in the ideology and methods that are fuelling the violence in both countries, there is a common set of characteristics. It is the same ideology, the same methods that have seen thousands die in acts of terrorism across the world.

In Iraq, the pressure from such terrorism has changed the nature of the battle. Its purpose is now plain: to provoke civil war. The violence is not therefore an accident or a result of faulty planning. It is a deliberate strategy. It is the direct result of outside extremists teaming up with internal extremists - al-Qaeda with the Sunni insurgents, Iranian backed Shia militia - to foment hatred and thus throttle at birth the possibility of non-sectarian democracy. These external elements are, of course, the same elements driving extremism the world over.

This is crucial to our understanding of the right strategy to combat it. The majority of Iraqis don't want this extremism - they showed that when they voted for an explicitly non-sectarian Government. But the terrorists are trying to propel them towards it.

Just as the situation is evolving, so our strategy should evolve to meet it.

Inside Iraq we should empower the Iraqi leadership that wants to take responsibility - that knows that they, not us, must lead and win the fight against terrorism. To do this, effectively, they need our support, politically, in their economy and for their armed forces.

  • First, we need a strong political compact in Iraq led by the Iraqi Government to bring all parties together, with clear commitments to non-sectarian government and to democracy;
  • Second, we need to build Iraqi governing capability, especially in the disbursement of money for reconstruction and rebuilding of the economy;
  • Third, we must plug any gaps in training, equipment and command and control in the Iraqi Army and help the new Interior Minister root out sectarianism in the police, which in turn will allow us, within the timeframe set down by General Casey, to transition to Iraqi control.

However, most crucial is this. Just as it is, in significant part, forces outside Iraq that are trying to create mayhem inside Iraq, so we have to have a strategy that pins them back, not only in Iraq but outside it too.

In other words, a major part of the answer to Iraq lies not in Iraq itself but outside it, in the whole of the region where the same forces are at work, where the roots of this global terrorism are to be found, where the extremism flourishes, with a propaganda that may be, indeed is, totally false; but is, nonetheless, attractive to much of the Arab street.

That is what I call a "whole Middle East" strategy.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding that this is about changing policy on Syria and Iran. First, those two countries do not at all share identical interests. But in any event that is not where we start.

On the contrary, we should start with Israel/Palestine. That is the core. We should then make progress on Lebanon. We should unite all moderate Arab and Moslem voices behind a push for peace in those countries but also in Iraq. We should be standing up for, empowering, respecting those with a moderate and modern view of the faith of Islam everywhere.

What is happening in the Middle East today is not complex. It is simple. Iran is being confronted over its nuclear weapons ambitions. Its stock market has lost a third of its value in the last year and foreign credit is increasingly hard to come by. The statements of its President - such as wiping Israel from the face of the earth - are causing alarm, even in Iran.

To be fair, they have a genuine, if entirely misplaced fear, that the US seeks a military solution in Iran. They don't. But we all want Iran to suspend its enrichment process which if allowed to continue, will give them a nuclear weapon. Under the agreement we brokered in June, the US has said they will talk to Iran direct for the first time in 30 years, if they abide by the UN demand to suspend enrichment. But Iran is refusing to do it.

Instead they are using the pressure points in the region to thwart us. So they help the most extreme elements of Hamas in Palestine; Hizbollah in the Lebanon; Shia militia in Iraq. That way, they put obstacles in the path to peace, paint us, as they did over the Israel/Lebanon conflict, as the aggressors, inflame the Arab street and create political turmoil in our democratic politics.

It is a perfectly straightforward and clear strategy. It will only be defeated by an equally clear one: to relieve these pressure points one by one and then, from a position of strength to talk, in a way I described in July in my speech in Los Angeles: offer Iran a clear strategic choice: they help the MEPP [Middle East Peace Process] not hinder it; they stop supporting terrorism in Lebanon or Iraq; and they abide by, not flout, their international obligations. In that case, a new partnership is possible. Or alternatively they face the consequences of not doing so: isolation.

The basic point I come back to, again and again and which I have made many times here - is that whether in Iraq, or Afghanistan or indeed combating terrorism here, these battles are inextricably bound together. It is a global issue. It needs a global response.

Which brings me to the principal consideration of Britain's foreign policy over the past 10 years.

Global challenges can only be met by global alliances. A nation like Britain has no prospect - none - in the world as it is developing today, of pursuing its national interest except in close concert with others. That is why, no matter how tough the test, and these past years since 9/11 have shown how tough it can be - the alliances Britain has with America and within Europe, must remain the cornerstones of our policy.

Do not misunderstand me. I support the US willingly. I believe in the EU for reasons of principle. I supported the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq because I believed them right. I have put Britain at the centre of Europe because I am proud that we are part of the largest political union and biggest economic market in the world. For me these alliances have never been a struggle between individual conscience and duty to my country. It is a happy marriage of conviction and realpolitik.

But just for a moment, leave aside the obvious and deep-rooted ties of history with America. Leave aside the fact that only, together, when the US finally entered WWII, were we able to succeed. Leave aside the prospect of Britain facing the Cold War for half a century without the transatlantic alliance, an absurd thought. Leave it all aside and focus on today and the future.

Take any problem Britain wants solving: global terrorism - (assuming you don't believe that but for George Bush it wouldn't exist); climate change; Israel/Palestine; Iran and North Korea's nuclear programme; world trade; Africa in general, right now Sudan in particular; global poverty.

We may agree or disagree with the US position on some or all of these issues. But none of these vital British concerns can be addressed, let alone solved, without America. Without America, Kosovo could not have been attempted. Without Kosovo, Milosevic might still be running Serbia; and the Balkans rather than stabilising with a potential future in Europe, would have remained the destabilising force it was for most of the 20th Century. We need America. That is a fact.

All that, in a sense, is obvious. But - runs the more sophisticated argument -: America we like, this American President we don't. This is a comforting argument. It separates anti-America from anti-Bush. However it is also a cop-out.

Let us not kid ourselves. 9/11 would have changed any American President's foreign policy. 3000 innocent people dead in the streets of New York; the al-Qaeda operatives who did it, trained out of Afghanistan. Following 9/11, American policy was going to shift. It was going to get out after the terrorists with all America's might and any President who didn't do it, wasn't going to be President for long.

When I said, after 9/11 that we should stand shoulder to shoulder with America, I said it because I believed it. But I also thought it was profoundly in Britain's interests. I knew this attack wasn't aimed at America per se; but at America as the leading representative of our values.

Look round the world today; look even just within Europe. Britain is not the only country that faces a terrorist threat. We all do, allies and non-allies, anyone in fact that isn't "them". I thought then and I think now that defeating this threat - whose roots are deep and have been a long time growing - was going to take a generation; and I knew then and know now that defeating it, was never going to be done without an America prepared to lead as America, to its credit, has.

And the truth is, for Britain, it is always right for us to keep our partnership with America strong.

Post 9/11, there were no half-hearted allies of America. There were allies and others. We were allies then and that's how we should stay; and the test of any alliance, I'm afraid, is not when it's easy but when it's tough.

Most bizarrely, there is a significant section of British opinion today that wants us both distant from America and from the EU. Some Prime Ministers, when they actually have to deal with what can be a maddening process in Europe, become disillusioned with the whole thing. Not me.

I can't see a single good reason for Britain not being at the centre of Europe and every good reason why it should be. Europe gives us weight and strength. In fact, in my view, Europe should be far more confident about its potential. Provided it eschews grand institutional visions and concentrates on grand practical visions - for prosperity, in energy, fighting crime, in developing defence capability - it has a huge, even exciting future. Enlargement has been remarkable. And on all these issues Britain has been in a clear leadership position. We should rejoice in it.

These alliances will become more not less crucial.

We all welcome the benign economic and political development of China. But its force is one to be reckoned with. All of us too can see how Russia has emerged under President Putin as a stronger, more confident nation. But it also knows it is a major power and we rely on its energy resources. India is making extraordinary strides in every way. But it, like China, will be a nation more than twice the size, in population, of the whole of Europe.

Let me put this delicately but firmly. The world is changing. New powers are emerging. In the decades to come there will be many international negotiations, debates, occasionally, if only in a diplomatic sense, confrontations.

Britain in this early 21st Century world is a country with extraordinary strengths. It is well and justifiably respected. But it is also a country of 60 million people whose geography could fit neatly into a corner of Alaska. We will need collective strength in the years ahead. That strength is infinitely easier to generate, and more to our liking, if based on alliances with nations that share our values.

For that reason, our partnership with America and our membership of the EU are precisely suited to Britain. For that reason, it would be insane, - yes I would put it as strongly as that - for us to give up either relationship. For that reason anti-Americanism or Euroscepticism are not merely foolish they are the surest route to the destruction of our true national interest.

Both alliances are founded in history. Both are, however, now, at this point, utterly validated by the future. These are no misty-eyed products of sentiment, relics of a bygone age to be taken out and cradled fondly. They are the vital life source of British power, influence and weight in the new global community taking shape around us. To nurture and enhance them is not vain glory. It is the most hard-headed realism. Lose them - and alliances are like all living things, neglect them and they die - and we will spend a long time struggling to revive what's gone.

When people say: yes, but we want a "British" foreign policy, I say: of course we do, but in today's world a foreign policy based on strong alliances, is the only "British" policy which works.


The New Guy

Hey I'm Joe Ruf. I'm a new contributer to "The World We'll Inherit" (Good Title). Hope everyone appriecates, and doesn't judge, my imput. I assure you all my points can be backed up(though I will not be siting sources, this is not an essay) So Rock n Roll lets hear some opinions


We Decide 2006, Predictions...

Well, election day has finally arrived and everyone seems to agree that the country is likely to be a very different place Wednesday morning. These pundits seem to be following the conventional wisdom, which has the Democrats taking control of the House and at the very least narrowing the gap in the Senate, and the media has trumpeted the coming triumph of Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who would become the first female Speaker of the House (which puts her frightening close to the oval office). There are several reasons why I disagree with the prevailing political prognostications--

1. Conservatives have been hearing for weeks/months that the Democrats are walking away with Congress and I am certain a lot of people will vote because they are scared.

2. Early voting is both new and unpredictable with some estimates putting the percentage of total votes cast early at about 30%. If anything this should make for an interesting case study in election dynamics and voter trends which could rewrite the campaign play book for both parties.

3. Saddam Hussein found himself on the front page of every newspaper in the world on Monday following his conviction on charges of crimes against humanity, for which he has been condemned to the gallows. Hopefully this timely verdict will remind enough people that "The Butcher of Baghdad" is the only person truly responsible for the mess in Iraq.

4. Gas prices have plummeted in the last 8-10 weeks. Actual savings from this drop in prices probably have yet to make up for the hundreds of extra dollars many Americans shilled out during the summer driving season, but as undecided voters drive to the polls and contemplate their decision, this tangible improvement in the their daily lives may make the difference.

5. $$$$. Money matters and the Republicans have more of it, so they have every reason to be optimistic about their chances to stage a last ditch comeback. It is this war chest that makes the Republican grassroots mobilization that much more effective than that of the Democrats.

Maybe I'm crazy and can't let go of the hope that everyone who is a supposed 'expert' is really a delusional crackpot, but I'm am going out on a limb and predict that the Republicans will retain their majority in both Houses. If they don't, we are going to have to live under the legislative agenda of Speaker Pelosi, a prospect which should scare anyone with half a brain.