Carnival of the Optimists Will be Delayed

It should be up tomorrow morning: this evening went weird, and I’m badly behind the ball….


US in danger of being pushed out of C Eurasian bases?

Opinion: Anti-democratic political shift in Central Asia?

If the last few holdouts are seriously terrified of the “color” revolutions… then this might be plausible. Wouldn’t be all that bright, and it would be bad economically… but since when have the tyrants given a rat’s pee about how their subjects fare?

East-Central and East-Euro Happenings

Decided to put together some news, since this region is geopolitically critical, yet seems to constantly fall off the newsmap.

Hungarians increasingly skeptical about role of EU: other sources cite discomfort with Turkish accession.

Joblessness dips slightly in Hungary, but stats are mixed.

Chechens a bit miffed with Hungary?
(Pestiside is not a “serious” newspaper, but we’d have to agree that the jihadist website is very clearly tossing out some *weird* propaganda about Hungary. Note the typical islamist racism towards Africans.)

And if you think that’s bizarre, how about the Hungarian Prime Minister publicly admitting to the country having little to no low-level air defense?

Hungarian Scientists develop miracle kefir. (That’s “funny-tasting yoghurt” to the rest of us.)

Slovakia figures it out, ends compulsory military service:

Indiana Nat’l Guardsmen on exercise with Slovaks. (No unit names.)

Slovak high court blocks EU constitution ratification: on grounds that it should have been settled in referendum:

Czech armored carrier acquisition predicated upon airlift capacity. This suggests that the Czech Republic is taking its NATO responsibilities quite a bit more seriously than similarly-sized members such as Belgium or Hungary.

Abortions in PostCommunist Czech Republic fading — (not to inflame abortiond debate, but given Europe’s incipient demographic collapse, it’s relevant)

Vaclav Klaus gets in trouble thanking “extremists.” (Note their platform stances, which would be considered conservative-but-mainstream in the US.)

Talking heads bloviate in shock that Klaus would return correspondence with “extremist” constituents:

Polish Minister of Defense visits Pentagon. Press time with Rumsfeld:

Polish-Lithuanian reconciliation ceremony

Putin and Chirac diss Polish/Lithuania as politically irrelevant. (Polish and Lithuanian ministers not invited to Kaliningrad conference, attended by France and Germany despite the EU subject matter being entirely relevant to them. (Shades of the old Great Powers mentality?)

Inflationary Pressures diminishing in Poland

Commentary by Anatol Pasat: “Russian Gas Attack” Pasat comments of Russia’s use of its exclusive oil-supplier status as a foreign-policy club.

Redeco to build oil refinery in Moldova

Quick press review of devastating floods’ effect in Romania

Albanians to run Kosovo police force: politically sensitive doesn’t begin to describe it.


“I’d like to register a complaint!”

The Complaint:

Quote:A wake-up call from Luke’s jets
Jun. 23, 2005 12:00 AM “Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank forthe morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 a.m., a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over BellRoad at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this ! wake-up call, or werethey trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns’ early-bird special? Any response would be appreciated.”


The response:

Quote: Regarding “A wake-up call from Luke’s jets” (Letters, Thursday):

On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt ——- , who was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed atLuke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.t 9 a.m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.Based on the letter writer’s recount of the flyby, and because of thejet noise, I’m sure you didn’t hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of —– as I gave them their son’s flag on behalf of the president of the United States and allthose veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured. A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviatorsand take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writerwitnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.The letter writer asks, “Whom do we thank for the morning air show?” The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks tothe widow and parents of —-, and thank them for you, for it wasin their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of theirlives.

(name withheld-BA)
CO 63rd Fighter Squadron
Luke Air Force Base

Spokes in the Great Wheel

Hrm… be a reservist and do MilInt, and get paid extra to learn languages while playing a part in the Great Game?

Or get my teacher’s cert, and do my best to salvage kids in the wreck of government schools while pursuing my hobbies all summer and winter vacations?

Carnival of the Revolutions, July 18th 2005

Welcome to the Carnival of the Revolutions

From Wonkette at Weichegud ET Politics: It’s starting to look worse and worse in Ethiopia. Basically, Ethiopia is the Ukraine of Africa, except the world has been slow to come to Ethiopia’s defense. But slowly, Mr. Meles’ true nature is being unmasked—what do you call a government that signs a peace treaty on Friday, and then arrests its opposition on Saturday? No, it’s not a riddle.

A Live-8 concert to help Africa? What about when the famine is cold-bloodedly intentional? From Satire, ruminations on what’s really needed in Zimbabwe: the guitar-machinegun, (Not Safe for Work!!) and some material regarding the US Second Amendment. (If humor never entered the scene, we’d never have realized just how potent a weapon in the arsenal of freedom is the “protest babe.”)

Laura Bush and her daughters go to Africa. The First Lady pledged American assistance on a broad array of fronts, from Darfur to HIV.

South Africa’s Mbeki a Mugabe protege:
The evictions have begun.

Ethiopundit pulls up a ton of background information for the reader trying to get a sense of what’s going on.

Mugabe’s urban political evictions going rural.

Bush terror strategy Central Asia Human Rights and Democracy Act. Aid would come with strings attached — long overdue strings.

->Cuba protests over indifference to hurricane damage and general widespread misery.
->Castro refuses hurricane aid, Cubans go out in rare protests.

Chavez setting up death squads: (link requires registration)

From Blogrel : a current Central Asian geopolitical analysis up. The Great Game continues. Or put another way, why is the US interested in Central Asia?

Also, Commentary on Christopher Walker (now with freedom house, link provided)… expect the differences between Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan/Georgia/Ukraine to count.

Deal on disputed Karabakh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia close(again).

Kyrgyzstan voting a great success! After Akeyev’s ouster, Kurmanbek Bakiyev has won decisively — and cleanly.

Iran plays cheerleader for the London bombings. Guess who the Chechens suspect was behind it? Has six letters, starts with “R…..”

Proof that Al Qaeda sought to influence the Spanish elections and bring about the downfall of “Aznar the Ignoble.”

Transdniester positive on reintegration with Moldova: apparently the latest round of discussions would allow for Moldovan suzerainty, and leave the degree of autonomy in Transdinester to be hammered out politically.

Georgia unveils innovative approach to reintegration with breakway South Ossetia: clearly distinguish what Georgia has to offer from S. Ossetia’s northern neighbors by offering significant … concessions isn’t the right word. In effect, Georgia is simply trying to make it overwhelmingly in South Ossetia’s interest to take them up on the offer.

Regime Change in Iran has the week in review. There’s a lot going on, from election updates, student clashes, and news from multiple sources regarding Akbar Ganji.

Middle East:
Syria sowing discord in Lebanon after elections. The “corpse in armor” insists on fighting it out all the way to the end.

Arabs wary of Iran election results: more Sunni/Shia divide, after Zarqawi’s earlier threats this week against the Shia? (Outright speculation by the host.)

March held to protest violence in Northern Iraq.

Muslims rejecting terrorism and embracing democracy: the numbers aren’t where they could be yet, and the data holds some bad news… but the progress is clear.

Egypt opposition holds rare, joint protests. PubliusPundit thinks it’s tactical and decidedly temporary. However, the ramifications of two groups as ideologically juxtaposed as Kifaya and the Muslim Brotherhood getting together even temporarily is large, and good. Should it hold to even the medium-term, it would be serious progress for peaceful politics.

Northeast Asia:
This is good…. Bush doctrine focuses on North Korea. Word on the Korean Gulags beginning to really get out. (great links)

Tangentially-relevant, but great pics: South Koreans protest against relocation of US troops (into area).

Russia fears the collapse of Dagestan:

Information Block Sickness.” One always expects differences in translation… but with the authorities in Russia regularly censoring the English-language media , David McDuff notes that those differences are stark.

Siberian Light has a different take on the same phenomena… commenting on McDuff’s work, he wonders, “why censor the English-language material, but leave the Russian intact?” (Worrying trend, or intentional clumsiness? -BA)

McDuff continues to provide provocative reading:
-> André Glucksmann: “Russia is digging itself a grave in Chechnya.” Chechen Society newspaper, # 14(52), July 19, 2005

-> Man to watch: Vladislav Surkov, who is making waves… A possible successor to Putin?

SouthEast Asia:
Massive anti-Arroyo rally in Philippines: 30,000+ involved.

Up to 200,000 march in pro-Arroyo counter-rally in Philippines in ongoing election fraud scandal. Shades of Lebanon? This wouldn’t be the first government mass counter-rally this year.

UPDATE: A post got bobbled somewhere in the submissions phase, from TomPain at CommonerSense. Interesting Things afoot in Angola…. now, if you think the US Presidential elections dragged out in 2000….
My thanks to Willisms for allowing me to host this Carnival: it is a deep honor. Thanks to all the submitters, particularly PubliusPundit and GatewayPundit, who dredged wide and deep. I haven’t been much of a submitter thus far, mostly because of feeling inadequate compared to these two… but the more, the better. I will see what can be done with Glenn Reynolds’ “process not event” dictum for next week’s Carnival, which will be held at SoapGun Blog on July 25th. General carnival information can be found over at Willisms here.
See you next week at Soap Gun.

Carnival of Cats #69

Well, hello… Posted by Picasa

Welcome into our little corner, BUT…
Answer me these questions three, ere the other side ye see…
1. What is your favorite wet food?
2. How many kittens can pounce on the head of their mommy?
3. What is the blood pressure of a purr-comatose human? (Uh, systolic or diastolic?)

Onward and purrward!
(Disclaimer: I can’t get CoC68 to load. I think these are all fresh, but there’s an outside possibility that some of these are repeats — I don’t recognize any from before, but I’ve got a brain like a sieve, and the holes are getting bigger– and I’d rather err by repeat publication than by omission.)

First, a request for help… if you can, please, help save Wampi, who was senselessly thrown off an apartment building.

This week, Ellison (of Blog D’Ellison fame) bows before The Queen

And he might pick up a few pointers about doing so, from Cutting Edge of Ecstasy, on Keeping a Woman Happy.

Meanwhile, DrTony waxes artistic, with Catty Warhol.

Now and Zen, as Beth Donovan points out, you just have to stop and smell the roses… and perhaps, eat them?

Barry at Enrevanche shows us Gato, the Sound Engineer (Podcasting). Domo Arigato Mr. Gato! (He is, a modern cat…)

Biscuit finds a friend! Love, leashes, trash cans, and stuffed pouncing, preserved for posterity at BTW.

Spooky-cat hangs out over at the Geezer’s Corner, and she likes cigars.

Melange shows us Sleeping Beauties. Not to mention, How Cats Sleep. (Any way they want to, whereever on the bed they want to, as late in the day as they want to….)

and, inspiring rousing choruses of “awwwwwwws” from Bombay owners everywhere, Sabaki over at Middle-Fork, enjoys a Big Toe. (umm… a LOT)

Pixel, on the other hand, supervises online Grammar over at Labkat.

Elevator Up! Elevator Down! Elevator Up! Sophie, at Bootstrap Analysis, is the Queen of Elevator Butt.

At I-Pets, on the other hand, Grace has had a long day. Clearly she needs a nap.

Harley and Tinker, on the other hand, seem plenty chipper… almost Zen-like. Inscrutable. Somebody over at Curiouser and Curiouser, bring a mouse…

Aunt Holly is ready for her closeup

At Elms in the Yard, it’s a bit different. Hillel could really use a home. The Bunny thinks it’s a bit far to ship him to Texas, but he definitely looks like a keeper….

And nothing at Lunar Obverse was altered in order to allow Smacky to violate the laws of physics…

Somebody over at Striving for Average has a little Computer-Ownership Issue. C’mon, get your grubby little primate paws off of it, and let the rightful owner absorb the CPU heat…

What are you winking at, Spider? Nobody at Running Scared can tell… (faeries? dustbunnies? random fluctuations of the ether? How can mere humans know?)

Hi may not precisely have a Moosey Fate, but he knows when to yield to the inevitable… it’s hot…

It’s hard work, napping at AthenaMama’s… fortunately, Thalia seems up to the challenge.

Oh, no! Pixel and Smudge play at Trapped at Cathouse Chat! Oh, that devilish human trick… (warning, Pixel gets hers: graphic catgrabbing images enclosed, may not be suitable for some dog owners)

Meanwhile, Resistance is Futile, but Memphis is unconcerned about the Chinese nuclear threat.

Ogre’s Politics and News provides the valuable service of a link to a five thousand name database, for the finicky cat who can’t decide what she’d like her human to call her…

Hold the presses. I’ve always wanted a cat like this one, over at Relentlessly Optimistic. One who likes to swim, like Pepper… (note, not R.O.’s cat)

Too funny to summarize, but I bet the mouse is *very* unhappy over at Quite Early One Morning.

From Sisu, Diva Tiny and Baby, complete with cute toe action… plus, how to focus the feline mind.

Ferdy, the Conservative Cat, says that “sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to get up.”

At Watermark, we see cats, Fashionable, Smart, and Foolish.

Dolphin is planning to get overweight in order to accomodate his masters’ lap needs…
you have to make sacrifices, you know…

Maggie wants to point out that Carlos is so cool (and relaxed, or, comatose perhaps?) when the puppy’s outside…

Kiril presents The Official Blog Bouncer, who is pondering the ins and outs of his new pad. I’d be on my best behavior, too.

Venus and Mercury (who own their own blog!), are, shall we say, Not Amused.

Hey, I’m trying to get some sleep here! Sheesh, what do you expect folks at the Republic of Seabrook to do, work?

Attention attention, alert at Ego…. Morris is entering the building. This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill.

Hey, the blog may be Full of Crap, but EVERYBODY loves Mister Fluffy Feet!

From Music and Cats…. brotherly love. Awww.

A triple-submission from Mog: Cat Loaf, Too Darned Hot, I’ve got the lap… booyah! Hahaha…

All this talk of Harry Potter has the fine felines of the Oubliette intrigued… how’s this familiar thing work, and what’s in it for them? Plus, Mac may not be much for the flashy thing, but he does a great road-kill impression…

Over at Ramble Strip… Cinders didn’t make it… is there an afterlife for kitties? (Cinderella and Cinderfella are muy cute, too…)

That’s it for this one, folks. See you next time.

Fatwah issued against Carnival of Cordite member

Anarchangel has a message for those who would kill him: his bullets are rolled in pig fat, and he is ready.

Hoping for the best. I’ve been just close enough to this sort of thing to know that it’s very, very real. Spread the word, folks. We’re not the only ones on the blogosphere. Our enemies read our words.

Our enemies should fear them. Because, two invasions and four revolutions later, our enemies still don’t understand a fundamental truth: we’re don’t play nice because we’re weak. We’re playing nice, and still kicking their asses. We play with the kid gloves on because we are so powerful that we can do so, and still win, easily. Those gloves can come off, at any time.

Heed this lesson: You do NOT want to see what happens when America decides to take the gloves off.

Scales for sale…

New poll: do you support suicide bombers?

And, if so, would you support their bodyweight just prior to detonation? Just a thought.
Here’s the results. Apparently support is dropping. It’s W-P, so middling reliability, particularly given that they don’t tell us how the questions were phrased.

As usual, Muslims taking the poll view Christians unfavorably at best, and are universally comfortable in their Jew-hating. (In other news, hydrogen continues to possess a single proton.)

UPDATE: I’ve found the original, and will drill through the data. I strongly suspect that WP is putting a nice face on bad news.


“Kiezebrink is one of the most well-known chicken killers in Europe,” according to this latest Sports Update from Spiegel Online. In the latest “avoiding avian flu championship,” Kiezebrink is known to have managed an astounding ten thousand chickens slaughtered per hour.

Reaction to the news was instantaneous, as it puts him into contention with Pascal LeSangfroid, Europe’s reigning slaughterer, a specialist in the particularly difficult field of little lizards whose tails drop off, and potentially in position to make a run on the world record still held by Janos Fejszetbaszni, the famous Poodle Pounder of Pest.

So, Zarqawi wants to take down the Badr brigade?

And now, Sunni militant groups have apparently executed an Iranian agent.

This may be the feel-good comedy hit of their jihadist week, after London, but as covered earlier, this is appallingly bad strategy. The last thing the Salafists need is an open war with Iran and its puppets….

Not that I condone the murder of *anybody,* but accepting that Iran does not have good intentions for either the US or Iraq, this sort of “red on red” action is the sort of strategic blunder we could only hope for in our dreams.

Carnival of the Optimists #13: Lemons from lemonade

Does life ever REALLY give you lemons? I don’t think so. Lemons are self-contained. They stack. Handling them is obvious… as opposed to twelve gallons of lemonade, poured surreptitiously on one’s head when it’s least expected.

Sometimes I think that compromises are a really bad idea. For instance, I was entirely ready to compromise on my archaeological research, which requires odd materials and the services of exotic and uncommon craftsmen, due to a financial mishap involving my house’s foundation.

But, in the end, I realized that I had a blind spot in my planning, and fulfilling my goals for the LongsufferingWife and I was still possible. It simply required tenacity, and a determination that everybody involved will WIN, not merely “lose by an acceptable margin.”

Welcome, to the Carnival of the Optimists.

Well, that’s my good news for the week… pure “bootstrap.” We had a big old nasty problem, which both necessitated the need for a change, and perhaps not coincidentally, provided for a potential improvement to the family’s general financial game plan.

What else do we have cooking this week?

Good News!

At Willisms, we have “Botswana,” a surprisingly successful sub-Saharan African nation, that has taken its lemonade and done all sorts of good things with it.

Bootstrap/How To!

Harvey, at Bad Example, covers how to put an image in a Blogger sidebar, as well as why good manners on the Internet are in everybody’s best interests.

And Atlas Shrugs brings up the end of this week’s submissions with a mini-carnival (should I call it that? It’s not labeled “carnival,” but it’s longer than mine are…) in praise of milbloggers and the women who love them. Lots of good stuff.

“Progress” for this week will knock your socks off. Literally, it hates socks.
No, seriously, a pseudo-title might be my regular refrain of “Science fiction is here today.” Because, just in case you missed it, and it’s way too cool to miss, we blew a big freaking hole in the side of a comet (Tempel 1), just so we could find out what the heck it’s made from. It may not be a cure for cancer, but it’s important… and what’s more than that, it’s important and cool!

That’s all we’ve got this week, folks: it’s a short one. Keep them coming, and floss with those silver linings until they’re a regular part of your diet.

Archery Update, Day 4

It’s definitely about developing the body strength. Nice, tight groups (given that I’m shooting a self-bow, not a compound) when I can keep the bow absolutly steady on the draw. Broke another arrow on a bad release… but it’s fixable, even though it’ll be shorter.

Not bad… I’m starting to be disappointed with groups I’d have been thrilled about last week.

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