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The Absence of Allen Sherpa – A Visit to the Tribal Areas

Everyone has at some point heard references to the “tribal areas” of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, but few grasp the significance of the term. Our perceptions are colored by the books we’ve read, Hollywood movies we’ve seen and the pseudo-news coverage to which we’ve been exposed. They’re painted as dark areas where bandits lurk in the shadows that would exist if the sun ever shined. The people are sinister, uneducated and clannish. They view all outsiders with suspicion and distain. They know little about the outside world other than that it is bad and its influence should be resisted when its extermination isn’t possible. As our efforts in Afghanistan continue to meet with great frustration, I wanted to know more about the tribal areas in the hope of getting a better understanding of the “big picture”.

Upon my arrival in the tribal area, I found much of the stereotype justified. It was almost like a walk back in time. The levels of civilization varied substantially. It was obvious there was some wealth, but it was clearly concentrated in the hands of a very few. Most of the “houses” were more basic than those to which I am accustomed. Some had electricity, intermittent as it may have been, but some did not. Plumbing (with the exception of sewer) was common, but not taken for granted. The lucky ones had firewood piled high. Others had to forage for wood on an “as needed” basis when the severe winter cold made it a matter of survival.

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Talking to Stumps

Sure, I’m generalizing. So be aware I acknowledge there are exceptions to what I’m about to say. At last count there were twelve. Not bad for a group of a few tens of millions. It’s increasingly difficult to pick a descriptive name for the group. Call them FOXites, tea baggers, right wing-nuts, religious zealots, conservatives or Republicans, each group disavows automatic inclusion in the other, but the reality is that by superimposing each group’s demographic over the others, the boundaries are barely blurred. Sadly for some (namely conservatives and Republicans), their labels used to carry an element of pensive respect, but those were the days of William F. Buckley and other educated, intelligent icons of their philosophical sect. Buckley and his ilk have been replaced by the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and numerous other doctrinal windbags that don’t even believe in their own theater. They pander to the under-educated, intellectually lazy “patriots” that find a three piece jigsaw puzzle a formidable mental challenge. They’re making a mockery out of the American political system by feeding nonsensical populist rubbish into the unfiltered minds of the philosophical zombies that roam the range contributing little beyond mental defecant to the discussion of the substantive issues confronting America today.

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Babs’ Quote of the Day – 2010.1.22

Congratulations, Fox News! In what can only be described as a Major Coup one of the most unbiased and influential news organizations in the Bible Belt has landed a real gem in Sarah Palin as a contributor to their news team. Her written release concerning this new development summed it up nicely, “I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News. It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.”  Pat yourself on the back, Fox.  My incredulity at this brilliant move has altered my perception of your news reporting tenfold. Fox is truly a news icon, oozing integrity at every turn while cementing their credibility and enhancing their standing among their viewers if not their peers. ITAR-TASS salutes you.

Famous American Socialists

On her way to the King’s palace, Chicken Little met Henny Penny. Henny Penny said she was going into the woods to hunt for worms.

“Oh no, don’t go!” said Chicken Little. “I was there and the sky fell on my head. Come with me to tell the King.”

So Henny Penny joined Chicken Little and they went along and went along as fast as they could.

The moon-bats of denial who continue to doubt evolution can point to Chicken Little and thousands of Americans who haven’t evolved beyond the point of jumping to nonsensical conclusions with scanty evidence as proof evolution is a myth. Even worse are the minions that take the word of the fool and run with it as if it was cast in stone. Sadly, we are a nation, a world overflowing with people guilty of a gullibility of such immense proportions as to jeopardize our future existence.

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The Media Circus is Back in Town

A Florida couple was murdered. Their family and friends mourn. Byrd and Melanie Billings were found shot to death in the bedroom of their Beulah, Florida home. Inarguably, it was an outrageous act of perversion. As if the sickness of the crime isn’t adequate in of itself, the media has turned it into a cross between a TV melodrama and a reality show. The true sickness is in the media’s willingness to turn the event into circus proportions and in the American public’s willingness and anxiousness to gobble up every gory detail.

The most egregious instances of the media peddling the disgusting details come from the tabloidal networks masquerading as “news” channels. Not surprisingly, the drivel mongers at FOX News lead the way. I had the ill-fortune of having lunch where FOX was broadcast as if the food wasn’t bad enough already. As I ate, I watched as “Urgent Update” followed “Breaking News” with all the nonsense the dirt hounds could dig up. Based on the extent of the coverage, one could easily have been convinced they were watching the aftermath of the assassination of a major world leader. Michael Jackson was known all over the world. This coverage rivaled Jackson’s and who knew the Billings family outside of Beulah, Florida?

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Teaching Pigs to Wrestle

Monday I spent the morning in a board meeting discussing mundane but critical matters that should not need to be addressed, but, due to the creativity of the human race and its uncanny ability to wiggle through loopholes, inevitably must be addressed. Just as nature finds ways around obstacles such as the Claymore mines of pesticides, antibiotics and natural disasters, so humans dodge rules, regulations and Arizona Revised Statutes.

Never build flexibility into covenants, conditions, and restrictions. They turn around and bite you on the butt like a ferocious bear market. Not unlike a total lack of regulatory policies.

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