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9.29.2007

BURMA IN TURMOIL: MY OPINON

While it’s normally not within people’s rights to say how matters should be handled by foreign governments, what is happening in Myanmar is very alarming that it is now incumbent upon every citizen of the world to call for an end to the wholesale shooting of protesters. Video feeds that leaked into the global media showed helpless protesters (led by Buddhist monks) being mowed down with automatic rifles.


THE FLESH

vs.

THE FAL


I have not had the chance to closely check the type of rifle being used but the width of the magazines make me speculate that it fires 7.62mm caliber bullets. The soldiers are probably using the Belgian FAL rifles that chambers 51 rounds per magazine (the US M-16 use a smaller 5.56mm ammunition with 30 rounds/ magazine ). The FAL is arguably one of the deadliest rifles in the world. I dwelt a bit on this detail to illustrate the damage that it can cause on the delicate human flesh.

The photo is close to the actual size and the leftmost bullet is the 7.62mm. Imagine the damage that it can cause to the human flesh)

I know that the press can create an otherwise nasty impression out of a good institution. However, the fact that the protests are being led by the Buddhist monks who are known to be very peaceful (remember their non violent protests during the Vietnam war?), the country’s internet has been shut down and that their titular figurehead is the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung Suu Kyi, I am inclined to believe claims that the protesters are mainly armed with boos and insults and yet are being stopped with bone shattering FAL rifles.

Stop the killings in Burma now. Bring the country under UN supervision until things have normalized.

POWERFUL SPEAKERS IN SMALL BOXES

My first encounter with Bose speakers was when I visited a friend’s house, more than 20 years ago. The sound coming out from his stereo was so good but I couldn’t the speakers. It turned out that he had a couple of small but powerful box speakers installed. I couldn’t find it because I was looking for big speakers that I thought then was more appropriate for the volume that I was hearing.

Rio Las Vegas

With so much going on, no amount of money can make me leave my workstation tonight. Of course, there is one exception. And that is a treat to the Rio Las Vegas! The place is a bit separate from the strip but is nonetheless very accessible. There, one can enjoy the facilities and amenities of a newly renovated luxury hotel. Ahh, Viva Las Vegas!

Sub Prime loans

The Sub prime market seems to have gone down in flames and we can expect some adverse effects in the real estate market. Real property prices of some neighborhoods will probably drop drastically as lenders start to take possession of collaterals from borrowers who failed to pay their obligations. C’est la vie! The economy moves in cycles of booms and busts. If there’s an impending bust now, we are not so sure. However, what we are sure of is that real estate is good collateral, most of the time.

Book Reading

With so many things to do this weekend, there’s not much time left for me to read my books. During the past few years, I have been to a number of book bargains and amassed a small library of good titles. Book reading is still better and more relaxing compared to PDF files. The only downside to books that I can see at this point, is the problem of maintaining storage spaces.

9.27.2007

No Mas Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Mama Mia!!!


I have always listed Montepulciano d'Abruzzo among my chosen wines. However, I may have to drink less of it starting this year, as Italy's grape harvest has become very low. In fact, the country is now recording its lowest yield in 70 years.

I remember the days when France's grape harvests were also low and the market started noticing the wines produced in other countries. As a result, my personal favorites now include those that came out of Australia, Chile and South Africa. With Italy's grape problems, the world may start noticing new suppliers and wine varieties from other countries.

Well, diversity creates opportunities.

Viva!

A NICE SITE FOR TATTOO LOVERS

For the past several years that I’ve been surfing online, I’ve been to so many dating sites. The past few years saw the rapid growth of similar websites and I believe that this is due to several “Create your own dating site” software that is now freely available in various ecommerce sites.

Today however, I checked out a unique dating site that I think will have a loyal following through the years. A dating/ social networking site for tattoo lovers. tattoo singles enable people who are into skin art to get acquainted and even end up tattoo dating, should they feel comfortable with the idea.

Those who would like to try the site can do so for free. All that’s needed is for one to sign up and load a photo into his profile. After the site has been verified and approved by the administrators, the new member start sending messages and getting to know the other members.

Tattoo lovers is a wonderful site for people who love tattoos.





9.25.2007

IN ISRAEL, THEY GET CAUGHT

SJ once commented in this blog that in Israel, they get caught. That comment is now proving to be a little more accurate as a new scandal develops. The incumbent Israeli Prime Minister is under investigation for alleged irregularities attached to his purchase of a new home in Jerusalem.
“The ministry said the investigation is to clarify suspicions of criminal action that stemmed from a report by the state comptroller on Olmert's deal to purchase the house. That report came after a complaint was filed saying Olmert received a significant reduction in the price in return for expediting building permits.”

It seems that things really work in that country. Why can’t it be the same elsewhere, especially in the poorest countries?


Flags courtesy of ITA's
Flags of All Countries used with permission.

The best inventory on new and used cars!

It's never easy to have to admit that you need a new car, but thankfully Conklin makes it easier. It's easy to see why they're the biggest dealer of Used Cars in Newton, Kansas. Just look at the selection! I know you'll be impressed not just with the selection, but with the service you get from this Kansas Car Dealer. Don't let apprehension about getting a new or used car stop you from visiting Conklin they've been doing this for years and I know they'll have just what you're looking for. They'll be your first and last stop in your search for a new car. They also provide services for Wichita new and used cars.

Get the experience of dozens of law firms!

Whereas in the past, the legal profession frowned on the internet, the times have changed, and law firms are quickly moving into the digital world in a variety of ways, including Denver and Dallas computer networking. Dallas and Colorado lawyers have been able to enjoy the knowledge and experience of other lawyers thanks to companies like BNC that work with many professionals in the industry. I know it sounds too good to be true, but your firm really can move to the next level and gain valuable resources thanks to a Dallas and Denver Computer Consultant that can provide a number of services, including IT (Information Technology), to protect and enhance your firm's ability to function. I know you want to give your clients the best services possible, so why don't you get the best services available for yourself as well? If you call BNC, I'm sure you'll find they're just what your firm has been looking for.

Call Center Consulting from an Industry Leader

There's no reason to be wasting precious labor hours when you're not that busy. I know you want to take care of your customers, but you also need to protect your bottom line. F. Curtis Barry has been working in Call Center Consulting for over 20 years, and specializes in direct-to-customer sales. They understand what you need to do to make sure that your phones are manned when you really need them to be.
They not only work for you, but with you, finding out what's important to you, then collaborating with you to come up with a plan of action. I thought they were a leader in order management systems, but it turns out that F. Curtis Barry & Company offer a range of services for a wide range of companies including warehouse consulting. I think you'll be surprised by what they can do for you and your company. I know I was.

9.24.2007

Asthmatic Basketball Star

I remember when I was still in school and our club had a friendly basketball match against a much superior team. We would have been easily trounced but we had a superb player that made us win after overtime. Our star, who by the way had asthma, ended playing the whole stretch and collapsed from exhaustion. Before we rushed him to the hospital, his last words were, “I need oxygen”. If only we had a portable oxygen concentrator, we would not have worried for about an hour. We were lucky he turned OK.

CHINA: THE LATEST REGARDING THE TOY RECALLS

OK, so China’s factory produced toys that were deemed unsafe for kids. Lead paint was used and falling magnets that kids can swallow were on some of the toys. However, it is turning out that Mattel, the company that issued the massive recall was partly at fault. The falling magnets were caused by Mattel’s design flaw and Chinese manufacturers were made to look bad. Mattel apologized but in my opinion, the sorry came quite late. It simply wasn’t issued early enough. It’s a good thing that China took the late apology quite well and no fiery complaints followed. Perhaps, the government realized that their factories are accountable for most of the blame.

9.22.2007

CUSTOMIZED COMPUTERS AT LOW COST

Looking at the company’s online computer stores, I noticed with much glee that DELL remains loyal to a formula that made it the customers’ delight.

The company’s success story started when Michael Dell started customizing personal computers for the end users. With his style, the customers got to pick the features that were appropriate to their needs at optimal prices. Based on what I saw in the company's web pages, I can say that DELL continues the tradition of offering personalized computers at low cost.

One’s visit to the website will reveal that a buyer is actually guided through a process that allows him to intelligently assemble the computer of his choice. In the end, the end user will get the feeling of having bought a customized personal equipment at the price of cheap computers. What a fine way to make a purchase.

While the endorsement is honest and something that and done without the need for anything, this site would like to thank Dell Computers for sponsoring this post.

9.21.2007

DOHA ROUND: NOW MORE DOABLE?

WTO's Director General Pascal Lamy was quoted saying that a deal is now more doable. However, he also added that it is not an assurance that such will indeed happen.
"My feeling is that given the level of activity of negotiations in Geneva it is now doable, but saying something is doable is not saying it’s going to be done," he said on the sidelines of an international forum on aid for trade."
So much has been written about it in this site and I have gotten quite tired repeating myself. Let's just hope that the negotiators will not sell out their countries and genuinely move in the direction of the conference's real goal-- to bring the benefits of global trade to the less developed economy.


Related posts in this site are linked here.

Supporting Drug Rehabs

If I am to pick one cause where to put money on, it will be in drug rehabs. Compared to the time when I was growing up, when the bad kids in the block were into grass (marijuana), a lot of kids have now been into casual and heavy use of cocaine, ecstasy, ice and a lot of cocktail drugs.

Time to do something. Otherwise, the youth, where we bank the future of this country, will lead us to perdition.

Popcorn and Movies during the weekend

It’s Friday and I can almost hear and smell the popcorn machines by the cinemas already. Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for family relaxation and the thought that I will be enjoying my family’s company in less than 24 hours is very exciting. Nice movies, popcorn, soda and chocolate bar are the things that I live for. Of course, golf has to be inserted early in the morning, while the rest of the family is still in bed.

Broadway Weekend

It suddenly occurred to me that my family appreciates occasional forays into activities that they are not used to. Browsing the net just now, I searched for some Broadway shows and came upon something that most, if not all, of us will probably love. In a moment, I will be typing, my credit card number in an ecommerce site. With the Wicked tickets in my hand, I will be going home to surprise my family. I can’t wait to see the joy in their faces later.

SITE OF THE DAY: Air Ambulances (Available 24 x 7)

In this world where information has become more accessible than before, the mode of extending medical care and providing easier medical access to patients has taken a big step forward. It is now easy to avail of the services of a modern and state of the art air ambulance through www.airambulance.net- the central hub for information about air ambulances in the United States.

The company’s air crews include registered nurses, flight paramedics, respiratory therapists and even doctors, as the need arise. And most specially, all the crew members are specially trained in flight physiology, something which is most critical in this kind of work. They have 21 years of experience in the industry and have an assortment of aircrafts that include Lear Jets 55, 36, 35, and 25, Turbo Props and Twin engine planes. All their aircrafts are licensed by the FAA (part 135) and Air Ambulance Certified.

The company’s website details the process of how to avail of their services, specific information for each of the US States and all other necessary information. It is most important to know that they are available 24 hours a day and trusted by hospitals from all over the world.

This site is something that everyone should keep in his list of important resources. While constantly keeping ourselves fit and safe to avoid the need for medical care, it would be best to know where to get help in the event the need comes. Should the need becomes very urgent that it requires a rapid response, don’t hesitate to call 1-800-827-0745

This post is brought to us by Air Ambulance America.

9.15.2007

THE STATE LOTTERY: THE TRAGEDY OF WINNING

The story that rich man who became a lottery winner is quite a novelty. However, his life's pattern after winning the jackpot is very common among most of the winners.

A couple of years ago, I read a few articles and heard some firsthand stories about people who suddenly became rich. The stories covered people who got rich because of a winning lottery ticket and a lucky streak in a start up business. Most of the stories were about those who were below middle class if not really poor. I initially typed “Dirt poor” but decided to substitute it with the word “poor”.

Most of the stories have horrendously similar patterns.
  1. Poor man becomes suddenly rich.
  2. Newly minted rich man mismanages his money (and his life, for that matter).
  3. Rich man goes back to becoming poor.
  4. And worse, the “Once Rich-Poor Man” is now in worse shape.
There’s this formerly jobless man living on spouse’s support and living in his mother in law’s house. After winning 65 million in the lottery, he became the coolest man in town and spent money left and right. He even tried to venture into a business which is something he doesn’t have any expertise. Of course, the realization always comes in a lot later, when it has become too late. The end result after a year was a jobless wife, a drug addict for a sister in law, a distraught mother in law and most of all, less than a $50 left in cash and only one car (an SUV that’s scheduled to be advertised for sale).

An article that I’ve read talked about a US survey on the lives of people a few years after winning the lottery. The result was very similar. Most winners end up being worse off, not only in financial terms but also in quality of life.

I have initially thought of offering my services as a financial adviser to lottery winners. I am very confident that my experiences in helping my bosses become a lot richer and most importantly, become successful will come in very handy. However, I backed off knowing that locating the the instant winners will not be so easy. Besides, the lottery winners will not want any “Stranger in suit” telling him how to manage his oodles of money. But with all the sad stories going around, perhaps, it’s time that I revive and push forward with this idea.

COMMENTARY: Partial Withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq

Prior to June 15, this year, The United Nations authorized the stay of the US led coalition forces in Iraq only up to December 31, 2007. In addition, the UN authorized a review of the mandate on June 15.

On June 2007, the UN declared: "As requested by the government of Iraq ... the members of the council agreed upon the continuation of the mandate."

It must be noted that even Russia, supported the extension.

Back in the US, there is strong clamor for the withdrawal of the US troops. Based on what the media has been showing, my impression is that people are demanding a withdrawal because of the US troops growing casualty list, a matter that in my opinion is attributed to strategic errors made by the US. It is a good thing that the US President, despite his unpopularity strongly stands for an extension and even strengthened the troops’ presence. But yesterday, he announced a withdrawal of 21,800 troops by next summer.


While I have previously posted my strong opposition to an early withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq ("You invaded it, you fix it!"), I believe that it is time to show the Iraqi government and its people that they have to get their acts together and handle their country’s affairs. Iraq is after all, their land. What made me revise an earlier position is my perception that the Iraqi government is not that serious in doing its role to rebuild a devastated country. This was made very glaring when their Congress’ strong position to declare a month long holiday while the country continues to be ravaged by widespread criminality, sectarian and terrorist violence. They even had the gall to call criticisms to their plan an "Interference".

This site believes in self determination of the Iraqi’s and echoes the call of its Foreign Minister when he declared:
“No Iraqi government official - indeed, no Iraqi citizen - wants the presence of foreign troops on Iraqi soil one day longer than is vitally necessary.”

9.12.2007

SERIOUS PLUNDER CASE: A PRESIDENT FACES VERDICT


In the Philippines, the immediate past president of the land will be facing the court within a few minutes. The charges that he faced includes plunder which carries a sentence of up to 40 years.

During the past few decades, several past presidents of various countries have been charged for serious offenses that were allegedly committed while in they were office. The personalities include the past presidents of Thailand, South Korea, Israel, Indonesia and many others.

In my recollection, none of them have really been inside their respective country's jails for convicted criminals.

Let's see what the verdict this time, will be.


9.10.2007

Visit Hawaii

Let’s go to Hawaii. Have you ever imagined a period when you do nothing but relax under the shade of trees by the beach, surf to your heart’s content, water ski till you feel like a pro, scuba dive and stay in a nice villa instead of a hotel? All of that and more are very possible when you take Hawaiian vacations.


Since I started working, I have always mimicked a Pat Morita dialogue in a movie. As a Japanese cop being sent on assignment to the US and he joked, “It would be better if you’d be sending me to Honolulu, instead” Whenever, I use the same lines, I never failed to receive the same frown that Pat Morita got in the movie. For me, it always is very funny.

For those wanting to visit, Hawaiian Local Travel Information is easily accessible. And whether the purpose of the visit is a family vacation, a honeymoon, an anniversary or any other activity, there are plenty of experts who can facilitate a meaningful experience. See you in Hawaii!

Quiet Neighborhood

It only seemed like yesterday when our dads were physically very strong and so active, the neighborhood kids were always around and our street was so busy. Now, all the small kids are emailing college graduation announcements, all the dads seem to have retired, my childhood friends have left to build their own families. Only a handful of us remain in the neighborhood.


There’s a saying that go, “From the cradle to the grave is but a day!” I cannot agree with it any less.

9.07.2007

Site Review: Furniture from Home

Furniturefromhome.com is a site that neatly presents all its goods. Products are presented based on usage and type making it very friendly for the consumers. For example, all Home-Office-Furniture is presented in one page while bedroom furniture, living room furniture and other furnishing sets have their own dedicated sections. Dining room Furniture, like the other collections are presented in the same manner. Thumbnails of different products, like brown leather dining chairs, are first arranged in the appropriate page and clicking on it will expand the image for better appreciation.

The products in this website are classy and the corresponding prices are prominently displayed for easy evaluation. Should the buyer decide to buy, the checkout process is fast and easy. This ecommerce site is Hacker Safe.

DOHA ROUND: PLEASE CONCLUDE IT NOW!

With the talks about to start, there is not nothing left but be optimistic that the DOHA round will be successfully concluded. The previous negotiations ended in disappointments but hopefully, both sides would have already figured out a way to profitably conclude this story.

The chief of the World Trade Organization is optimistic that an agreement within the next few months is doable and yet refuses to make a prediction. Such an attitude belies the true state of the negotiation which is, uncertain. The past several negotiations failed mostly because both sides refused to budge. The US insists that the developing countries should open their markets to agricultural exports but the other side rightfully contends that the US should first put an end to subsidies of American farmers. As previously discussed, the developing economies, which stand to endanger its local farmers by exposing them to products imported from the US and other developing states, will be at the losing end of such a deal. Uncompetitive US farm products will be able to penetrate and compete in foreign markets simply because of state subsidies. Economists call it dumping. I don’t know how the US, the supposed champion of free trade, is able to sit in the negotiating table with a straight face.

Reading my previous notes about this story, I realized that the DOHA round has taken a different form. Instead of it being a way of bringing the benefits of global trade to the less developed economy, it has transformed as a US opportunity to increase its market reach. The way I see it, it has become a way to unjustly fatten American farmers at the expense of poor countries.
"Cotton officials from Chad, Mali, Benin and Burkina Faso met to renew their campaign against foreign agricultural subsidies they say hurt their farmers and lower global cotton prices.

Burkina Faso's representative to the World Trade Organization, Moussa Niebe, says Africans are not looking for favors from rich trade partners.

"This is really a problem of justice," Nebie said. We are just asking them to respect the rules of international trade, the rules of the WTO [World Trade Organization], and the rules of the free market. "
I hope that the representatives of the poor countries will not be pressured and sell their countrymen. I also pray that the US will work towards the real aim of the DOHA round which is, to make poor countries benefit from world trade.

RELATED ARTICLES: Here, here and here.




9.05.2007

THE KARL BLOG: AN INSPIRATIONAL SITE

In these times of diversity, where the newspapers and TV programs seem to be filled with mostly negative energy, inspirational messages are most welcome for most people. This site therefore welcomes an assignment to promote an inspirational website.




Karl's blog, written by Karl Moore is filled with inspiring messages for everybody. It teaches ways on how people can deal with negative occurrences in their daily lives and fill their lives with zest. The author is one reliable source of positive energy being a highly regarded author, media personality and entrepreneur. Among his present endeavors are two online radio programs and a site featuring fine music. The Karl Blog also has a forum where readers can register and post their views regarding the site and its articles.

TOBACCO TAXES: THE NEED FOR AN EXTENSIVE BENEFIT COST ANALYSIS

In the Philippines, a senator recently questioned the wisdom behind the existing tax rates being imposed on cigarettes. According to the legislator, the taxes being collected by the government (PhP26 Billion) is far less than the amount being spent (PhP 47 Billion) on tobacco related ailments.

Looking at the matter a bit further, what benefits and costs can actually be connected with cigarettes? The benefit side includes: Taxes, income being made by advertisers (cigarette advertisements are not outlawed in that country), business for various suppliers and service providers (like trucking companies), livelihood for the companies' employees and tobacco farmers, etc.

Despite the seemingly numerous benefits brought by the presence of the tobacco industry, as enumerated above, the costs are far greater. The serious tobacco related ailments can be transferred to offsprings and at this point, there is still no definite cure to it.

The senator is therefore correct when he advocated the imposition of heavier taxes on cigarettes. It doesn't matter if it is the manufacturer or the smoker who will be more heavily penalized for as long as cigarettes be made to pay for all the government and societal costs associated with it. Besides, there can be no greater deterrent to smoking withdrawal than high prices.

However, the government should be careful in determining the level of taxes to be imposed on cigarettes. Imposing too high a tax on tobacco might encourage widespread smuggling and that will effectively undermine the government's program. The major question that will arise will therefore be, how much should the government impose on tobacco products?

Garage Storage

One item that I would like to install in my garage is the aluminum cabinet. While cabinets are essential in keeping the garage free of clutter and very organized, the aluminum garage storage system offers added benefits. It is durable, lightweight, beautiful and can virtually last forever since it doesn’t rust. Within 15 years, when the entire house should have been practically renovated and most of the items replaced, the aluminum garage cabinet should still be in its best condition.

9.01.2007

FASHIONABLE SLIPPERS: Supply Side Economics

There is some truth to the belief that supply creates its own demand. As former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once said, “If you build it (the hotels), they (tourists) will come.” Today, Singapore is far from its former image. It not only serves top quality services, it also draws a lot of income by being a tourist destination.

At the micro level, my cheap, old fashioned but reliable slippers have never failed me. I use it at home all the time and it has always been very reliable. Replacement pairs are available only in flea markets. Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of expensive and fashionable pairs are now occupying prime shelves in classy stores. These brands, in my opinion, are nothing more than a reinvention of the old design and presently marketed as a fashion item. The slippers, which used to be home footwear, have already become fashionable weekend outdoor attire.