T   P   O
The Patient Ox (aka Hénock Gugsa)

G r e e t i n g s !

** TPO **
A personal blog with diverse topicality and multiple interests!

On the menu ... politics, music, poetry, and other good stuff.
There is humor, but there is blunt seriousness here as well!

Parfois, on parle français ici aussi. Je suis un francophile .... Bienvenue à tous!

* Your comments and evaluations are appreciated ! *

Thursday, December 29, 2011

‘Charity’ and ‘the Better Angels of Our Nature’ - by TPO

Abe Lincoln (1809-1865)

‘Charity’ and ‘the Better Angels of Our Nature’
by Hénock Gugsa

It has been almost a hundred-and-fifty years since President Abraham Lincoln brought or reintroduced those ideals and guiding lights to our collective consciousness. He appealed to this nation’s mind and to its heart to do and to follow what was right. And he was, of-course, right. Most wrongs are the result of rash, intemperate, and selfish (as opposed to self-less) acts of the few upon the many. What society needs above all is an abundance of charity, and good-will. If we can achieve these, we have achieved peace on earth. But to get there, we need leaders who, like Old Abe, trust and follow the better angels of their nature.

In all of human history, there have been very few individuals that have pointed the right path for humanity, Christ and Buddha being the prime examples. Sadly, their central messages of charity, love, selflessness, and non-materialism are only given lip service in today’s world. The immorality of governments and political leaders is burgeoning, and society is unfortunately  aiding and abetting. And charity has almost become a dirty and unspoken word!

What does charity mean? It certainly does not mean what the wealthy donate to Oxfam with one hand, while with the other, they receive tax credit from the government. Charity does not mean buying "Toys-For-Tots" or feeding the hungry one-day-a-year (on Thanksgiving Day only?)

And where do all these social analysts and political pundits get their theories of the public being ‘overwhelmed’ by requests for charity? What mind came up with the notion of “compassion fatigue”?! When I first heard about that some time ago, I thought: what a supremely subtle cover for greed and for apathy?!

In my humble opinion, Charity is more than giving aid in the form of a material good. After-all, that is only finite.

- Charity is about a state of mind where the self is secondary and acquiescent to the wishes and considerations of fellow human-beings.
- Charity is recognizing what the French once ideally fought for: Liberté, Egalité, et Fraternité!
- Charity is above all about love, and the proper setting of priorities … where the material can also be immaterial.

Sadly, here in the United States, we see these days that greed and hate have gotten a strong political stronghold on the nation. I am observing less and less of rational reasoning and common sense. There is more negativity, and narrowness of vision. And the hypocrites of yesteryear have now gone a step further and openly abandoned any pretense to compassionate "isms"!

However, this does not mean I have lost my faith in America. This nation has not yet irrevocably lost its way. I am confident that there are still many (invisible) humble voices out there who are quietly doing good deeds. And these individuals are guided always by "the better angels of their nature". They will, like Mr. Lincoln, eventually succeed!

Happy New Year, America !! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Is Sex Passé?" - by Erica Jong

Is Sex Passé?
NY Times - July 9, 2011

WHAT could be more eternal than sexuality? The fog of longing, the obsession with the loved one’s voice, smell, touch. Sex is discombobulating and distracting, it makes you immune to money, politics and family. And sometimes I think the younger generation wants to give it up.

People always ask me what happened to sex since “Fear of Flying.” While editing an anthology of women’s sexual writing called “Sugar in My Bowl” last year, I was fascinated to see, among younger women, a nostalgia for ’50s-era attitudes toward sexuality. The older writers in my anthology are raunchier than the younger writers. The younger writers are obsessed with motherhood and monogamy.

It makes sense. Daughters always want to be different from their mothers. If their mothers discovered free sex, then they want to rediscover monogamy. My daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, who is in her mid-30s, wrote an essay called “They Had Sex So I Didn’t Have To.” Her friend Julie Klam wrote “Let’s Not Talk About Sex.” The novelist Elisa Albert said: “Sex is overexposed. It needs to take a vacation, turn off its phone, get off the grid.” Meg Wolitzer, author of “The Uncoupling,” a fictional retelling of “Lysistrata,” described “a kind of background chatter about women losing interest in sex.” Min Jin Lee, a contributor to the anthology, suggested that “for cosmopolitan singles, sex with intimacy appears to be neither the norm nor the objective.”

Generalizing about cultural trends is tricky, but everywhere there are signs that sex has lost its frisson of freedom. Is sex less piquant when it is not forbidden? Sex itself may not be dead, but it seems sexual passion is on life support.

The Internet obliges by offering simulated sex without intimacy, without identity and without fear of infection. Risky behavior can be devoid of risk — unless of course you use your real name and are an elected official.

Not only did we fail to corrupt our daughters, but we gave them a sterile way to have sex, electronically. Clearly the lure of Internet sex is the lack of involvement. We want to keep the chaos of sex trapped in a device we think we can control.

Just as the watchword of my generation was freedom, that of my daughter’s generation seems to be control. Is this just the predictable swing of the pendulum or a new passion for order in an ever more chaotic world? A little of both. We idealized open marriage; our daughters are back to idealizing monogamy. We were unable to extinguish the lust for propriety.

Punishing the sexual woman is a hoary, antique meme found from “Jane Eyre” to “The Scarlet Letter” to “Sex and the City,” where the lustiest woman ended up with breast cancer. Sex for women is dangerous. Sex for women leads to madness in attics, cancer and death by fire. Better to soul cycle and write cookbooks. Better to give up men and sleep with one’s children. Better to wear one’s baby in a man-distancing sling and breast-feed at all hours so your mate knows your breasts don’t belong to him. Our current orgy of multiple maternity does indeed leave little room for sexuality. With children in your bed, is there any space for sexual passion? The question lingers in the air, unanswered.

Does this mean there are no sexual taboos left? Not really. Sex between older people is the new unmentionable, the thing that makes our kids yell, “Ewww — gross!” You won’t find many movies or TV shows about 70-year-olds falling in love, though they may be doing it in real life.

The backlash against sex has lasted longer than the sexual revolution itself. Both birth control and abortion are under attack in many states. Women’s health care is considered expendable in budgetary negotiations. And the right wing only wants to champion unborn children. (Those already born are presumed able to fend for themselves.)

Lust for control fuels our current obsession with the deficit, our rejection of passion, our undoing of women’s rights. How far will we go in destroying women’s equality before a new generation of feminists wakes up? This time we hope those feminists will be of both genders and that men will understand how much equality benefits them.

Different though we are, men and women were designed to be allies, to fill out each other’s limitations, to raise children together and give them different models of adulthood. We have often botched attempts to do this, but there is valor in trying to get it right, to heal the world and the rift between the sexes, to pursue the healing of home and by extension the healing of the earth.

Physical pleasure binds two people together and lets them endure the inevitable pains and losses of being human. When sex becomes boring, something deeper is usually the problem — resentment or envy or lack of honesty. So I worry about the sudden craze for Lysistrata’s solution. Why reject honey for vinegar? Don’t we all deserve sugar in our bowls?

Erica Jong is the author of 22 books, most recently “Sugar in My Bowl.”

Monday, December 26, 2011

SELABI !! - by Hénock Gugsa

Selabi ! *
ስላቢ !
By Hénock Gugsa ( ሄኖክ  ጉግሣ )

Previously, when the spirit has moved me, I have dared to write about some particularly unique aspects of life in Ethiopia.  You may call them one man's stubborn forays into cultural, day-to-day phenomena that are taken for granted in Ethiopia.  But they could and should certainly fascinate and intrigue Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians in equal measure.  Some of you may have already read or sampled my writing on the topics of "meganya" ( meganya  መጋኛ) or "the yogurt fly" ( the yogurt fly  የ፡ እርጐ፡ ዝንብ).  In the same vein, I would like to address here another interesting Ethiopian reality known as: Selabi. [Pronounced … sel-ah-bee  ሰላቢ]

Well, what is selabi?  I am not really certain of the exact meaning of the word … I must defer that to linguists.  But it is my educated guess that it derives from a root word: meseleb, which could mean … to put one over, to blind, to cheat, etc.  It is a word highly charged with negative connotations.

A selabi is a person that practices trickery, black magic, and disappearing acts of self or of objects nearby.  No good can come of any association with a selabi.  It is bad luck, and bad karma to have a selabi around you.  After an encounter with a selabi, you could be dispossessed of your mojo, and life can suddenly become a series of missteps and disillusionment.  In extreme cases, even your health and well-being could be affected … and that is something to be considered seriously.

Selabi is a close kin to meganya, but in a phantom-like (poltergeist) way.  A selabi’s mischief is sly and subtle, and by the time it is detected, it is probably too late for countermeasures.  Ethiopian parents protect their children by making them wear some talismans and spell-potions around their necks.  It is believed that these items are effective defenses against selabi, meganya, and the pervasive evil-eye!

When the word “selabi” is uttered in any public setting, it is like an alarm bell, a clarion call to stop whatever you're doing and observe your surroundings closely.  Saying “selabi” is like shouting “fire!”  The significance and urgency of the situation is left up to the people on hand at the time.

To me, “selabi” conjures up images of some sociopathic individual who for obvious or non-obvious reasons sets out to make other people’s lives a misery.  A selabi could be one person acting alone, or it could be a group of people working in evil unison to bring about the demise of an individual or another group of people.  Even governments can be selabi!

The pseudo-socialist (in reality fascist) government of Mengistu Haile Mariam is a prime example of a selabi institution that did more harm than good in Ethiopia over two decades ago.  In a period lasting almost 16 years, Mengistu and his "dergue" (ደርግ) committed atrocious acts on a nation that already had enough on its hands dealing with natural calamities, such as droughts and famine.  And in the end, true to form, and like the selabi that he was, Mengistu slipped out of the country and fled to Zimbabwe.  To date, he has been living there in luxury after having plundered whatever he could from poor Ethiopia.  Not surprisingly, it is no irony that Mengistu has been the honored guest of another selabi who goes by the name of Robert Mugabe.

In conclusion, I say to the reader: be alert, be wary, there may be a selabi near you. Don’t put your trust or faith in strangers.  Be doubtful and skeptical of governments and especially of politicians.  The media should also come under your close scrutiny especially those that are commercial and yet claim to be free.  Question and examine closely everything and everyone!  Good faith is only good as an ideal.  In reality, trust (እምነት) is just another tool that a selabi could turn and use against you!  My apologies for a sour-note exit!
* “Selabi” ~ © Hénock Gugsa (ሄኖክ ጉግሣ) - 12/26/2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lines and Squares - by A. A. Milne

Lines and Squares
by A. A. Milne (1882-1956)

Whenever I walk in a London street,
I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, "Bears,
Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"

And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,
As soon as he's silly and steps on a line."
And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
And they try to pretend that nobody cares
Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
But only the sillies believe their talk;
It's ever so portant how you walk.
And it's ever so jolly to call out, "Bears,
Just watch me walking in all the squares!" 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

GOP... Denying and Defying Reality - by TPO

GOP ... Denying and Defying Reality
["Republicans lie about surtaxes ..."]
by NPR (National Public Radio)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

From the Doctorr's Office - by Unknown

From the Doctor's Office
Source: Unknown (?)

1. A man comes into the ER and yells, "My wife's going to have her baby in the cab!" I grabbed my stuff, rushed out to the cab, lifted the lady's dress, and began to take off her underwear. Suddenly I noticed that there were several cabs -and I was in the wrong one. Submitted by Dr. Mark MacDonald, San Antonio, TX.

2. At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient's anterior chest wall. "Big breaths," I instructed. "Yes, they used to be," replied the patient.
Submitted by Dr. Richard Byrnes, Seattle, WA

3. One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct. Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a "massive internal fart."
Submitted by Dr. Susan Steinberg, Manitoba, Canada

4. During a patient's two week follow-up appointment with his cardiologist, he informed me, his doctor, that he was having trouble with one of his medications. "Which one?" I asked. "The patch. The nurse told me to put on a new one every six hours and now I'm running out of places to put it!" I had him quickly undress and discovered what I hoped I wouldn't see. Yes, the man had over fifty patches on his body! Now, the instructions include removal of the old patch before applying a new one.
Submitted by Dr. Rebecca St. Clair, Norfolk, VA

5. While acquainting myself with a new elderly patient, I asked, "How long have you been bedridden?" After a look of complete confusion she answered..."Why, not for about twenty years - when my husband was alive."
Submitted by Dr. Steven Swanson, Corvallis, OR

6. I was caring for a woman and asked, "So how's your breakfast this morning?" "It's very good, except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can't seem to get used to the taste" the patient replied. I then asked to see the jelly and the woman produced a foil packet labeled "KY Jelly."
Submitted by Dr. Leonard Kransdorf, Detroit, MI

7. A nurse was on duty in the Emergency Room, when a young woman with purple hair styled into a punk rocker Mohawk, sporting a variety of tattoos, and wearing strange clothing, entered. It was quickly determined that the patient had acute appendicitis, so she was scheduled for immediate surgery. When she was completely disrobed on the
Operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic hair had been dyed green, and above it there was a tattoo that read, "Keep off the grass." Once the surgery was completed, the surgeon wrote a short note on the patient's dressing, which said, "Sorry, had to mow the lawn."
Submitted by RN no name

AND FINALLY!!!................
8. As a new, young MD doing his residency in OB, I was quite embarrassed when performing female pelvic exams. To cover my embarrassment I had unconsciously formed a habit of whistling softly. The middle-aged lady upon whom I was performing this exam suddenly burst out laughing and further embarrassing me. I looked up from my work and sheepishly said, "I'm sorry. Was I tickling you?"! She replied, "No doctor, but the song you were whistling was, "I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener".
Dr. wouldn't submit his name.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"My Man Newt" - by Maureen Dowd

"My Man Newt"
Maureen Dowd
NY Times OP-Ed Columnist
Published: November 29, 2011

In many ways, Newt is the perfect man.

He knows how to buy good jewelry. He puts his wife ahead of his campaign. He’s so in touch with his feelings that he would rather close the entire federal government than keep his emotions bottled up. He’s confident enough to include a steamy sex scene in a novel. He understands that Paul Revere was warning about the British.

Mitt Romney is a phony with gobs of hair gel. Newt Gingrich is a phony with gobs of historical grandiosity.

The 68-year-old has compared himself to Charles de Gaulle. He has noted nonchalantly: “People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz.” As speaker, he liked to tell reporters he was a World Historical Transformational Figure.

What does it say about the cuckoo G.O.P. primary that Gingrich is the hot new thing? Still, his moment is now. And therein lies the rub.

As one commentator astutely noted, Gingrich is a historian and a futurist who can’t seem to handle the present. He has more exploding cigars in his pocket than the president with whom he had the volatile bromance: Bill Clinton.

But next to Romney, Gingrich seems authentic. Next to Herman Cain, Gingrich seems faithful. Next to Jon Huntsman, Gingrich seems conservative. Next to Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Gingrich actually does look like an intellectual. Unlike the governor of Texas, he surely knows the voting age. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, if brains were elastic, Perry wouldn’t have enough to make suspenders for a parakeet.

In presidential campaigns, it’s all relative.

Franker than ever as he announced plans to retire from Congress, Barney Frank told Abby Goodnough in The Times that Gingrich was “the single biggest factor” in destroying a Washington culture where the two parties respected each other’s differing views yet still worked together.

Newt is the progenitor of the modern politics of personal destruction.

“He got to Congress in ’78 and said, ‘We the Republicans are not going to be able to take over unless we demonize the Democrats,’ ” Frank said.

In the fiction he writes with William R. Forstchen, Gingrich specializes in alternative histories. What if America hadn’t gone to war with Germany in World War II? What if Gen. Robert E. Lee had won Gettysburg?

The Republican also weaves an alternative history of his own life, where he is saving civilization rather than ripping up the fabric of Congress, where he improves the moral climate of America rather than pollutes it.

Romney is a mundane opportunist who reverses himself on core issues. Gingrich is a megalomaniacal opportunist who brazenly indulges in the same sins that he rails about to tear down political rivals.

Republicans have a far greater talent for hypocrisy than easily cowed Democrats do — and no doubt appreciate that in a leader.

Gingrich led the putsch against Democratic Speaker Jim Wright in 1988, bludgeoning him for an ethically sketchy book deal. The following year, as he moved into the House Republican leadership, he himself got in trouble for an ethically sketchy book deal.

Gingrich was part of the House Republican mob trying to impeach Bill Clinton for hiding his affair with a young government staffer, even as Newt himself was hiding his affair with a young government staffer.

Gingrich has excoriated Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for dragging the country into a financial spiral and now demands that Freddie Mac be broken up. But it turns out that he was on contract with Freddie for six years and paid $1.6 million to $1.8 million (yacht trips and Tiffany’s bling for everyone!) to help the company strategize about how to soften up critical conservatives and stay alive.

At a Republican debate in New Hampshire last month before this lucrative deal became public, Gingrich suggested that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd should be put in jail. “All I’m saying is, everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who were at the heart of the sickness that is weakening this country,” he said.

Another transcendent moment in Gingrich hypocrisy. He risibly rationalized his deal, saying he was giving the mortgage company advice as a prestigious historian rather than a hired gun.

Gingrich boasts that he’s full of fresh ideas, but it always seems to essentially be the same old one: Let’s turn the clock back to the ’50s. Just as Newt, who dodged service in Vietnam, once cast the Clintons as hippie “McGovernicks,” now he limns the Occupy Wall Street protesters as hippies who need to take a bath and get a job.

Maybe the ideal man to fix Washington’s dysfunction is the one who made it dysfunctional. He broke it so he should own it. And Newt has the best reason to long for the presidency: He’d never be banished to the back of Air Force One again.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stopping Afghans' Weapons Source - by Greg Jaffe

"To stop Afghan bombs, a focus on Pakistani fertilizer"
By Greg Jaffe, (*)
Washington Post - Published: November 25

To grasp the severity of Lt. Gen. Michael D. Barbero’s $40-fertilizer-bomb problem, it helps to consider some much bigger numbers.

Barbero heads a U.S. military command, with an annual budget of about $2.8 billion, that was created to stem U.S. casualties from insurgent bombs. In just the past few months, he has shelled out $24 million for a new hand-held ground-penetrating radar, $33 million for mini-surveillance robots and $19 million for bomb-resistant underwear.

The insurgent’s weapon of choice in Afghanistan is at the other end of the price spectrum: a plastic jug filled with ammonium nitrate fertilizer. So far this year, these cheap, hard-to-detect bombs have wounded about 3,200 U.S. soldiers and Marines, up 22 percent from 2010, according to the Pentagon.

“We are sweeping more and more of this stuff off the battlefield,” Barbero said of the fertilizer bombs. “But it just keeps coming, and it keeps growing.”

Almost all of the ammonium nitrate used in the Taliban’s bombs comes from two big fertilizer plants across the border in Pakistan. Barbero concluded that the best way to slow the Taliban killing was to make it harder for the insurgents to obtain the fertilizer, which is banned in Afghanistan because it can be made into explosives.

In August, the general called Fawad Mukhtar, the chairman of the Fatima Group, which owns the fertilizer plants, and asked to meet with him in Pakistan.

Mukhtar replied that Barbero did not need to travel. He was planning to visit the United States to drop off his son at college and promised to stop by Barbero’s office in Arlington. The two met for about 30 minutes.

Barbero told the Pakistani businessman that the fertilizer from his plants was responsible for most of the U.S. deaths in Afghanistan. Mukhtar countered that less than 1 percent of his product fell into insurgents’ hands and was fashioned into bombs. The vast majority of the fertilizer was used for farming; people depended on his product to eat and live.

“He is not a radical,” Barbero said of Mukhtar. “I think he wants to be part of the solution.”

Mukhtar declined an interview request for this article. A spokesman for the Fatima Group praised Barbero’s efforts in an e-mail. “I am sure that a person of his experience and caliber can be very effective in dealing with the issue of IED related incidents,” he said, using the abbreviation for improvised explosive device.

The brief office visit was the beginning of Barbero’s months-long immersion in the global fertilizer industry. He and his staff have studied how the ammonium nitrate fertilizer is made, how it can be processed into a bomb and how it might be modified to make it less dangerous or more detectable by U.S. and Afghan troops at border crossings.

A week after his meeting with Mukhtar, Barbero flew to Denver to address a global conference of ammonium nitrate plant managers. His speech included a plea for help and warnings of onerous regulation if industry executives did not find ways to make ammonium nitrate fertilizer less useful as a weapon.

The plant managers reacted coolly. “They told me how hard it was to make it non-detonable,” Barbero said. “I said I got it. But you need to start working on it.”

Last week, Barbero’s command, the Joint IED Defeat Organization, organized its own fertilizer conference at a hotel in Arlington. About 120 industry executives, agronomists, chemists and military officers met for three days. Mukhtar’s Fatima Group sent a representative from its plant in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Almost immediately, the industry executives raised doubts that there was anything they could do to help the military. The amounts of fertilizer the Taliban were using to make their bombs — about 480,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate a year — seemed minuscule when compared with the global industry’s annual output.

“I appreciate the gravity of the situation,” said Donald Thomas, an executive with Illinois-based CF Industries. “I have a son-in-law who is a lance corporal in the Marines. But when I look at the volumes [in insurgent bombs], it is nothing. It is two rail cars out of millions of tons.”

“I think you need to talk to your son-in-law,” said Bob Best, the top fertilizer expert on Barbero’s staff. “That 480,000 pounds is a big number to him.”

In the summer, the 59-year-old chemist visited the Fatima Group’s fertilizer plant in Multan to understand how the company made and distributed its product.

“It was amazing for me,” recalled Best, who said he received a warm reception from the plant’s technical staff.

A few days after his trip, a Pakistani newspaper alleged that Best was a CIA operative and said that U.S. officials were using a diplomatic facade to “secure niches for their spies and hit men in and around Multan.” Best said the allegations are untrue.

At the November conference, Best described how the Taliban convert fertilizer into explosives, a process he has studied for years by making and detonating crude bombs himself.

The first step is to remove calcium carbonate, which the industry began adding to ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the 1970s to make it less explosive. Taliban bombmakers remove the calcium by pouring the fertilizer granules into a large pot of hot water. The insoluble calcium carbonate sinks to the bottom of the container.

The insurgents then dry the ammonium nitrate solution. The final product, which looks like laundry detergent, is packed in yellow plastic jugs. Blasting caps are fashioned out of ball­point pens or glass tubes full of acid. The bombs contain no metal, making them exceptionally hard to detect.

Best flashed a picture of one of the Taliban’s bomb-making factories on a large screen for the conference participants. “What you are seeing is a few guys living in a mud hut with no electricity,” he told the crowd.

A few minutes later the conference broke into working groups. The teams’ task was to find easy, quick and cheap ways to modify the fertilizer so it would be harder to make into a bomb.

Some groups talked about adding pink or yellow dyes to the fertilizer to make it easier to spot at border crossings. One team debated whether there was a way to add an effervescent substance to the bags of calcium ammonium nitrate so that when insurgents placed the granules in water they would get a fizzy mess. Another group suggested putting radio frequency identification tags in the bags so that they could be tracked as they left the factory.

The most promising solution, recommended by all four working groups, involved adding coated urea fertilizer granules to the bags of ammonium nitrate. The combination of urea and ammonium nitrate has a strong affinity for water and would be very difficult for insurgents to dry into an explosive powder.

The urea additives would not stop the insurgents from processing the fertilizer into bombs, but it would complicate their task and potentially make the blast less potent.

On the conference’s last day, groups reported their findings and the attention shifted to Fatima Group representative Farrukh Qureshi, the sole Pakistani at the conference.

A British military officer at the conference suggested that only the Fatima Group plants should have to change their method of production because they were the lone source of the problem in Afghanistan.

“It is a near-monopoly,” the British officer said. “And if those two plants would adjust their processes, it would make it very difficult for the insurgent to shop around.”

Qureshi bristled at the suggestion that Pakistan plants were the only problem. “There is a lot of trade taking place with India. There is Iran and Indonesia,” he said. “And I am not even discussing about the former Russian states. .?.?. The extremists will find ways to get calcium ammonium nitrate. These are very smart people.”

Another conference participant suggested banning ammonium nitrate in Pakistan and forcing farmers to shift to other kinds of fertilizer, such as urea, which is used heavily in the United States and is harder to make into a bomb.

Qureshi said that Pakistan’s impoverished subsistence farmers would need expensive machinery to spread urea. Ammonium nitrate fertilizer is spread by hand and is better suited to Pakistani soil. “Our customers are very change-sensitive and very cost-sensitive,” he said.

A few minutes later, the conference ended. Barbero’s command will pay for some quick studies in the next few months to determine whether adding coated urea granules, dyes or radio tags to the ammonium nitrate bags really will mean fewer bombs.

The goal is to have any potential solution in place at the Fatima Group plants before the 2012 summer fighting season in Afghanistan.


(*) - Correspondent Karin Brulliard in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Here Comes Santa Claus !" - Doris Day

Doris Day"Here comes Santa Claus !"
Doris Day (1924 - )

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Long Words - A.A. Milne

A.A. Milne

 Long Words *
by A.A. Milne (1882 - 1956)

“'Well,' said Owl, 'the customary procedure in such cases is as follows.'

'What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?' said Pooh. 'For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.'

'It means the Thing to Do.'

'As long as it means that, I don’t mind,' said Pooh humbly.'”

* A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926

Monday, December 5, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" - Gene Pitney

"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"
Gene Pitney (1941 - 2006)
Lee Marvin a.k.a Liberty Valance
James Stewart, the "Law" man from the East

//** Lee Marvin vs. James Stewart **\\ 
When Liberty Valance rode to town
the womenfolk would hide,
they'd hide.
When Liberty Valance walked around
the men would step aside.
'Cause the point of a gun was the only law
that Liberty understood.
When it came to shootin' straight and fast
---he was mighty good.

From out of the East a stranger came,
a law book in his hand, a man.
The kind of a man the West would need
to tame a troubled land.
'Cause the point of a gun was the only law
that Liberty understood.
When it came to shootin' straight and fast
---he was mighty good.

Many a man would face his gun
and many a man would fall.
The man who shot Liberty Valance,
he shot Liberty Valance.
He was the bravest of them all.

The love of a girl can make a man stay on
when he should go, stay on.
Just tryin' to build a peaceful life
where love is free to grow.
But the point of a gun was the only law
that Liberty understood.
When the final showdown came at last,
a law book was no good.

Alone and afraid she prayed
that he'd return that fateful night,
awww that night.
When nothin' she said could keep her man
from goin' out to fight.
From the moment a girl gets to be full-grown
the very first thing she learns
When two men go out to face each other
only one retur-r-r-ns!

Everyone heard two shots ring out,
a shot made Liberty fall.
The man who shot Liberty Valance,
he shot Liberty Valance.
He was the bravest of them all.

The man who shot Liberty Valance,
he shot Liberty Valance.
He was the bravest of them all.