Sunday, March 27, 2011

Obama’s Critical Strategic Mistake – Libya

Ineffective, indecisive, lacking leadership, cowardly.  These are words I never thought to use to describe the President of the United States.  Yet they are descriptive of his failure in the Middle East and North Africa.  Many people (including myself) can talk of morality and the terrible horror that Gadhafi continues to visit upon his own people.  We can draw comparisons dating back almost 80 years where we have dithered while people in foreign lands were massacred for having the temerity to stand for what they believed.   We can talk about being caring human beings and concerned and “on their side.”  But talk is cheap and for Obama it seems to be free.  Even today in his press conference (was he expecting the first question to be about Libya? I was happy about that) he danced around the facts.  He mentioned that “if” Gadhafi were to go door to door rooting out protesters he (Obama) would see that as an “overreaction.”  Well, Mr. President, in Zawia yesterday it is reported that he was doing just that, going door to door and grabbing young men and hauling them off to unknown, and unseen, places.  What will you do?  Why did you not even acknowledge that he is attacking innocent civilians brutally and without mercy?  Why didn’t you acknowledge reports of massacres already happening?  Why didn’t you acknowledge that in the last 24 hours he has attacked his own cities with tanks, artillery and aircraft?  In my own view it is because you have no passion, no knowledge and no guts.
But, if we step back from all the empty rhetoric, and from the personal tragedy, the central issue from a strategic and diplomatic perspective is that by our indecision, inaction and failure to lead, we are losing the youth of the Middle East.  Which means we are losing the Middle East.  Now, many would say that the Middle East hates us anyway.  True, in some sense, but only because we have supported and continue to support oppressive, outmoded and stifling regimes.  With the recent uprisings has come a unique, possibly once in a lifetime, opportunity to not only get on the right side of history but to endear ourselves to an entire generation of Middle Eastern, moderate, democratic, youth.  And we are squandering it.  Obama is not leading, he is trying to reach consensus.  He is making a fundamental strategic mistake.
The Middle East is a developing part of the world, rich in oil reserves and not much else.  It is also dominated by youth.  It is predominantly Muslim and, as the idiotic hearings being held by Congressman King demonstrate, our relationship with Muslims at home, in the Middle East and throughout the world is at best strained.  America has significant long term strategic interests in the region and in peace in the region and therefore in our relationship with Muslim youth.  We also have a long term strategic interest in combating terrorism and hatred of the US. 
Supporting these uprisings is one strategic opportunity we have to help ourselves with Muslim youth and to enhance our power in the region. We are squandering it by sending the message we are sending in Libya.  Hosni Mubarak is probably sitting in his hotel room saying “Damn, why didn’t I just crush the protesters? The US wouldn’t have done anything and I could be sitting pretty.” That is certainly how Asad and Ahmadinejad will think and frankly that is probably similar to what the Saudis are thinking. Therein lies the rub.  If we do nothing or if we do to little to late, we will have not only squandered the opportunity but emboldened our enemies.  Gadhafi is a relatively easy target.  Ahmadinejad is not and if he becomes emboldened he will not only crush his own opposition, he may become adventurous.  Oman, Iraq could be targets.  Is that the position we want – being forced to fight Iran, when we could have prevented the venture by defeating Gadhafi?  That is just stupid.  Another word I never thought I would call Obama.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Random fact Saturdays!

If you have 3 quarters, 4 dimes, and 4 pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.
The numbers '172' can be found on the back of the U.S. $5 dollar bill in the bushes at the base of the Lincoln Memorial.
President Kennedy was the fastest random speaker in the world with upwards of 350 words per minute.
In the average lifetime, a person will walk the equivalent of 5 times around the equator.
Odontophobia is the fear of teeth.
The 57 on Heinz ketchup bottles represents the number of varieties of pickles the company once had.
In the early days of the telephone, operators would pick up a call and use the phrase, "Well, are you there?". It wasn't until 1895 that someone suggested answering the phone with the phrase "number please?"
The surface area of an average-sized brick is 79 cm squared.
According to suicide statistics, Monday is the favored day for self-destruction.
Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.
The most common name in the world is Mohammed.
It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 around the time that the King James Version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is shake and the 46th word from the last word is spear.
Karoke means "empty orchestra" in Japanese.
The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.
The first known contraceptive was crocodile dung, used by Egyptians in 2000 B.C.
Rhode Island is the smallest state with the longest name. The official name, used on all state documents, is "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."
When you die your hair still grows for a couple of months.
There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.
Isaac Asimov is the only author to have a book in every Dewey-decimal category.
The newspaper serving Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, the home of Rocky and Bullwinkle, is the Picayune Intellegence.
It would take 11 Empire State Buildings, stacked one on top of the other, to measure the Gulf of Mexico at its deepest point.
The first person selected as the Time Magazine Man of the Year - Charles Lindbergh in 1927.
The most money ever paid for a cow in an auction was $1.3 million.
It took Leo Tolstoy six years to write "War & Peace".
The Neanderthal's brain was bigger than yours is.
On the new hundred dollar bill the time on the clock tower of Independence Hall is 4:10.
Each of the suits on a deck of cards represents the four major pillars of the economy in the middle ages: heart represented the Church, spades represented the military, clubs represented agriculture, and diamonds represented the merchant class.
The names of the two stone lions in front of the New York Public Library are Patience and Fortitude. They were named by then-mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
The sound of E.T. walking was made by someone squishing her hands in jelly.
Lucy and Linus (who where brother and sister) had another little brother named Rerun. (He sometimes played left-field on Charlie Brown's baseball team, [when he could find it!]).
The pancreas produces Insulin.
1 in 5,000 north Atlantic lobsters are born bright blue.
There are 10 human body parts that are only 3 letters long (eye hip arm leg ear toe jaw rib lip gum).
A skunk's smell can be detected by a human a mile away.
The word "lethologica" describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want.
The king of hearts is the only king without a moustache.
Henry Ford produced the model T only in black because the black paint available at the time was the fastest to dry.
Mario, of Super Mario Bros. fame, appeared in the 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong. His original name was Jumpman, but was changed to Mario to honor the Nintendo of America's landlord, Mario Segali.
The three best-known western names in China: Jesus Christ, Richard Nixon, and Elvis Presley.
Every year about 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced.
Elephants are the only mammals that can't jump.
The international telephone dialing code for Antarctica is 672.
World Tourist day is observed on September 27.
Women are 37% more likely to go to a psychiatrist than men are.
The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet (9 m).
Diet Coke was only invented in 1982.
There are more than 1,700 references to gems and precious stones in the King James translation of the Bible.
When snakes are born with two heads, they fight each other for food.
American car horns beep in the tone of F.
Turning a clock's hands counterclockwise while setting it is not necessarily harmful. It is only damaging when the timepiece contains a chiming mechanism.
There are twice as many kangaroos in Australia as there are people. The kangaroo population is estimated at about 40 million.
Police dogs are trained to react to commands in a foreign language; commonly German but more recently Hungarian.
The Australian $5 to $100 notes are made of plastic.
St. Stephen is the patron saint of bricklayers.
The average person makes about 1,140 telephone calls each year.
Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards.
If you had enough water to fill one million goldfish bowls, you could fill an entire stadium.
Mary Stuart became Queen of Scotland when she was only six days old.
Charlie Brown's father was a barber.
Flying from London to New York by Concord, due to the time zones crossed, you can arrive 2 hours before you leave.
Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet (2 m) away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV.
A lion's roar can be heard from five miles away.
The citrus soda 7-UP was created in 1929; "7" was selected because the original containers were 7 ounces. "UP" indicated the direction of the bubbles.
Canadian researchers have found that Einstein's brain was 15% wider than normal.
The average person spends about 2 years on the phone in a lifetime.
The fist product to have a bar code was Wrigleys gum.
The largest number of children born to one woman is recorded at 69. From 1725-1765, a Russian peasant woman gave birth to 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets.
Beatrix Potter created the first of her legendary "Peter Rabbit" children's stories in 1902.
In ancient Rome, it was considered a sign of leadership to be born with a crooked nose.
The word "nerd" was first coined by Dr. Seuss in "If I Ran the Zoo."
A 41-gun salute is the traditional salute to a royal birth in Great Britain.
The bagpipe was originally made from the whole skin of a dead sheep.
The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear. Any cup-shaped object placed over the ear produces the same effect.
Revolvers cannot be silenced because of all the noisy gasses which escape the cylinder gap at the rear of the barrel.
Liberace Museum has a mirror-plated Rolls Royce; jewel-encrusted capes, and the largest rhinestone in the world, weighing 59 pounds and almost a foot in diameter.
A car that shifts manually gets 2 miles more per gallon of gas than a car with automatic shift.
Cats can hear ultrasound.
Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.
The United States has never lost a war in which mules were used.
Children grow faster in the springtime.
On average, there are 178 sesame seeds on each McDonalds BigMac bun.
Paul Revere rode on a horse that belonged to Deacon Larkin.
The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named after Grover Cleveland's baby daughter, Ruth.
Minus 40 degrees Celsius is exactly the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down -- hence the expression "to get fired"
Nobody knows who built the Taj Mahal. The names of the architects, masons, and designers that have come down to us have all proved to be latter-day inventions, and there is no evidence to indicate who the real creators were.
Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell.
7.5 million toothpicks can be created from a cord of wood.
The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.
A 41-gun salute is the traditional salute to a royal birth in Great Britain.
The earliest recorded case of a man giving up smoking was on April 5, 1679, when Johan Katsu, Sheriff of Turku, Finland, wrote in his diary "I quit smoking tobacco." He died one month later.
"Goodbye" came from "God bye" which came from "God be with you."
February is Black History Month.
Jane Barbie was the woman who did the voice recordings for the Bell System.
The first drive-in service station in the United States was opened by Gulf Oil Company - on December 1, 1913, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The elephant is the only animal with 4 knees.
Kansas state law requires pedestrians crossing the highways at night to wear tail lights. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

minecraft friday

There are manly men with powertools in our office, punching floors and walls in an attempt to make things look better. As a result, we haven’t been able to work from the office this week, and worked from home. Jens spent most of the week working on a new mob; the wolf! You can tame it and order it to follow you around, and it’ll work as a pet. They’re fairly rare, but they won’t despawn once you’ve tamed them.
I worked on the achievement and stats system. One design issue was dealing with offline mode and synching the achievements once you get a connection again, but that’s been solved. We’ve got a couple of people in the office who don’t like achievements in games at all, so the goal is to design something that they’re fine with.
Achievements will NOT be chores like “cut down 10000 trees”, but rather challenges like “ride a pig off a cliff”. Stats, however, will be used to keep track of how many trees you have cut down. The long term plan is to show achievements and stats from the profile page on as well, in case you want to brag.
Just keep in mind that because you can design your own levels and run your own servers, people will be able to cheat with achievements and stats! ;)
Oh, and here’s a vid of the wolves:

this comes directly from notches blog personally i cannot wait for wolves and achievements what do you guys think?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Funny Thursdays

this is all about funny pictures from around the internets


There was a recent pole done on whether or not the American people thought the air strikes in Libya was the right way to go in the on going confrontation. 68% of the people polled said it was the right thing to do and 28% said it was wrong. How ever, When the same group was polled on if they thought the Obama administration was handling Libya well or not (keep in mind this is the same guy who approved the air strikes that Americans overwhelmingly support) only 50% think he is doing the right thing while 29% disagree. What is the cause of this massive 18 point loss you may ask yourself well if you ask me It's the damage done by the GOP propaganda machine, that machine includes people like Newt Gingrich of course who wont back the president no matter WHAT he does. Just a few weeks ago Gingrich was interviewed on fox and he HAMMERED Obama for not intervening in Libya. Then after the President orders the air strikes  he says he would NOT intervene and there are plenty of other ways to effect Gaddfi. Republicans you guys really need to get your act together if you ask me. Well on that note ill go ahead and christen this page with its first blog post.

-Brian Sutton