Saturday, March 08, 2008

Cats Slaughtered for Beijing Olympic Games

Terrified cats crammed tightly into cages are hauled off to a meat market in Guangzhou

Cats by the thousands are being rounded up and killed by Chinese authorities, reports the Daily Mail in the Sunday edition. Owners willingly handover their pet cats or abandon them in the streets where the felines are caught and stuffed into cages so small and crowded the cats cannot move.

Beijing communist rulers have told the public the cats carry deadly diseases and must be destroyed. Officials say the cats are a serious urban health risk and possibly contributed to a SARS outbreak in 2003. However, even with the deadly disease warnings, hundreds of cats are being sold as food at meat markets.

There has been an explosion of restaurants in Beijing serving cat meat. Hundreds of cats are being shipped to Guangzhou in southern China. Restaurants there are well known for serving the meat of cats, dogs, snakes, and tigers.

The crackdown on Beijing's 500,000 cats is seen by animal welfare activists as another extreme measure to clean up the streets preparatory to the Olympic Games in August 2008. Hu Yuan shares her home with 250 abandoned cats. The 80 year old retired doctor said the problems started with former president Jiang Zemin.

"He didn't like dogs so he decided to have dogs killed. But there was a bad reaction from the foreign media and they were pressured to stop...Now they have stopped killing dogs but the new victims are cats. It is all connected to the Olympics."
Yan Qi, the founder of an animal rescue group negotiated the release of 30 pets from one of the dozen animal collection compounds. He said the cats were in such bad shape that half of them died within days. Of his visit to the compound, Yan Qi said,

"When we went inside, we saw about 70 cats being kept in cages stacked one on top of the other in two tiny rooms. Disease spreads quickly among them and they die slowly in agony and distress. The government won't even do the cats the kindness of giving them lethal injections when they become sick. They just wait for them to die ... It is the abandoned pets that suffer the most and die the soonest. They relied so much on their owners that they can't cope with the new environment. Most refuse to eat or drink and get sick more quickly than the feral cats ... We do not believe any of the cats that go in there survive. They are like death camps."
One cat lovers' group negotiated the release of 30 pets from one of the compounds in Shahe, north-west Beijing, but said they were in such a pitiful condition that half of them died within days of their release.

"These cats are being left to die. It is very inhumane," said the group's founder Yan Qi, who runs a sanctuary for cats.

"When we went inside, we saw about 70 cats being kept in cages stacked one on top of the other in two tiny rooms.

Rescued diseased pet
"Disease spreads quickly among them and they die slowly in agony and distress. The government won't even do the cats the kindness of giving them lethal injections when they become sick. They just wait for them to die.

"It is the abandoned pets that suffer the most and die the soonest. They relied so much on their owners that they can't cope with the new environment.

"Most refuse to eat or drink and get sick more quickly than the feral cats."

Ms. Yan's group has now been denied access to the pounds. "We do not believe any of the cats that go in there survive," she said. "They are like death camps."
Enjoy the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Mime or Racist - Robert Downey, Jr in Black Makeup

When Black Americans don whiteface, it's called Mime.

When White Americans don blackface, it's called Racism.

Robert Downey, Jr., right, is a racially white actor. His profession is to personify charactors of film and stage so that the audience believes he is the charactor portrayed.

Above, Downey is the charactor between the blonde Jack Black and the girlyman Ben Stiller, two American comic actors. In an upcoming movie, Tropic Thunder, Downey plays an "Oscar-winning actor taking on a role originally written for a black actor, and rather than re-write the part, he goes method."

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Mercaz Harav Yeshiva Massacre

The killing field

The dead

Yochai Lipschitz, 18, of Jerusalem

Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, of Shiloh

Yonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, 19, of Kochav Hashahar

Neriah Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem

Roey Roth, 18, of Elkana

Segev Pniel Avihayil, 15, of Neveh Daniel

Avraham David Moses, 16, of Efrat

Maharata Trunoch, 26, of Ashdod

The survivors

The killer


Names of the dead:
Israellycool - Aussie Dave

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Unsafe Text on London Streets

Two blondes walk into a building ... you'd think one of them would've seen it.

Okay, that was a joke. This isn't -

Brick Lane has been branded an accident blackspot - for clumsy mobile phone users who crash into lamp posts while texting.

A survey found the Hoxton street is Britain's worst thoroughfare for "walk-and-text" injury victims.

Across London, it is claimed there were more than 68,000 such accidents last year, with victims' injuries ranging from minor bruises to fractured skulls.

The blame was placed on the large amount of street furniture such as lamp posts and bins and a growing number of pedestrians attracted by the area's curry houses and bars.

Now Brick Lane has been made the country's first "Safe Text" street, with brightly coloured padding, similar to that used on rugby posts, placed on lamp posts to test if it helps protect dozy mobile users.

If the trial is successful, the idea could be rolled out to other London blackspots, including Charing Cross Road, Old Bond Street, Oxford Street and Church Street, Stoke Newington.

The survey, by text information company, revealed 44 per cent of mobile users backed the idea of the padding to save themselves from injury and mild embarrassment. Other suggestions included "mobile motorways", like cycle lanes, giving people a brightly coloured line to follow to stay out of danger.

William Ostrom of said: "The study found Brick Lane was the worst for a combination of reasons. It has a very high concentration of lamp posts, signs and bins in a small area. Added to the pedestrian footfall and the number of drinking establishments, it's a hot spot for accidents."

The research showed more than six million mobile owners had been injured in collisions while walking and using the phone. The number of accidents was said to be linked to our obsession with texting - Britain's 48 million mobile users together send 4.7 million texts an hour.

Campaign groups blamed growing levels of street "clutter", such as lamp posts, bins and recycling points. Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Living Streets, said: "Britain's streets are becoming increasingly like obstacle courses. We were surprised by the scale of accidents but know from our members that cluttered streets continue to cause daily danger."
When I was a kid and bumped into a chair or some such, my Mom would say, "The chair was there first." No sympathy whatsoever ... Those London lamp posts were installed a hundred years ago. Instead of padding the lamp posts, perhaps 6 million Brits need to don padded clothing and helmets - some sort of safe text condom.

There was a time when "can't walk and chew gum at the same time" was a mild insult. How did we get to a place where "can't walk and text at the same time" is a red badge of courage? Must the architectural integrity of a beautiful city be sacrificed for a bunch of morons? Or is it simpler? Does the padding carry advertisements for the texting service?

Forty-four per cent of London's cellphone users like the padding idea to protect them from being hurt or "mild embarrassment". I don't know about you, but I'd be at least mildly embarrassed by running into a lamp post, padded or not.

Rachel Lucas
The Evening Standard

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Henry Kissinger's Long View

DER SPIEGEL 8/2008 - February 18, 2008


'Europeans Hide Behind the Unpopularity of President Bush'

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 84, has thrown his support behind John McCain. SPIEGEL spoke with Kissinger about Germany's Afghanistan mission, tepid European commitment to combatting Islamist extremism and whether direct talks with Iran should go ahead.

SPIEGEL: Dr. Kissinger, you have endorsed Senator John McCain as your choice for the White House. McCain, though, has said he would be prepared to stay in Iraq for another 100 years. Are you sure he is the right man for the job?

Kissinger: John and I have been friends for 30 years. I have great confidence in him.

SPIEGEL: Most Americans would like to see a rapid withdrawal from Iraq and possibly Afghanistan. But McCain has made his motto "No Surrender."

Kissinger: He was trying to make a distinction between American military forces in a country where they were there as part of a civil war and military forces that are part of an alliance accepted by the population, such as in Germany after World War II. He did not say we should stay in Iraq in a combat mission. He was trying to make exactly the opposite point.

SPIEGEL: The Democrats have promised a rapid withdrawal. Is this a realistic option?

Kissinger: The issue is: Are American forces withdrawn as part of a political settlement? Or are they withdrawn because America is exhausted by the war? In the latter case, the consequences of an American withdrawal would be catastrophic.

SPIEGEL: Do you think there would be another eruption of violence?

There would be a high possibility of killing fields. Radical Islam won't stop because we withdraw. A rapid withdrawal would be a demonstration in the region of the impotence of Western power. Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaida would achieve a more dominant role, and the ability of Western nations to shape events would be sharply reduced. The virus would have huge consequences for all countries with large Muslim populations: India, Indonesia, and large parts of Europe.

SPIEGEL: That is not how many Europeans see it.

Kissinger: Some Europeans do not want to understand that this is not an American problem alone. The consequences of such an outcome would be at least as serious for Europe as for the Americans.

SPIEGEL: What does Europe not understand? Paris, London and Berlin do not see the "war on terror" as a common challenge for the West?

Kissinger: I don't like the term "war on terror" because terror is a method, not a political movement.
We are in a war against radical Islam that is trying to overthrow the moderate elements in the Islamic world and which is fundamentally challenging the secular structures of Western societies. All this is happening at a difficult period in European history.

SPIEGEL: Difficult why?

Kissinger: The
major events in European history were conducted by nation-states which developed over several hundred years. There was never a question in the mind of European populations that the state was authorized to ask for sacrifices and that the citizens had a duty to carry it out. Now the structure of the nation-state has been given up to some considerable extent in Europe. And the capacity of governments to ask for sacrifices has diminished correspondingly.

SPIEGEL: Thirty years ago, you asked for one phone number that could be used to call Europe.

Kissinger: ... and it happened. The problem now is: Nation-states have not just given up part of their sovereignty to the European Union but also part of their vision for their own future. Their future is now tied to the European Union, and the EU has not yet achieved a vision and loyalty comparable to the nation-state. So, there is a vacuum between Europe's past and Europe's future.

SPIEGEL: What do you expect from European leaders? Should German Chancellor Angela Merkel step up and ask the Germans to make sacrifices in the fight against terrorism?

Kissinger: I think Angela Merkel, like any leader, has to think of her re-election. I have high regard for her. But
I do not know many Europeans who would deny that the victory of radical Islam in Baghdad, Beirut or Saudi Arabia would have huge consequences for the West. However, they are not willing to fight to prevent it.

SPIEGEL: For example in Afghanistan. Does NATO need more German troops in the southern part of the country?

Kissinger: I think it is obvious that the United States cannot permanently do all the fighting for Western interests by itself. So, two conclusions are possible:
Either there are no Western interests in the region and we don't fight. Or there are vital Western interests in the region and we have to fight. That means we need more German and NATO troops in Afghanistan. What I am not comfortable with is that some NATO members send troops primarily for non-combat missions. That cannot be a healthy situation in the long term.

Many Germans say we have to stand up to the terrorists, but that Germans can't do the actual fighting, partly because of our history. You are intimately familiar with German history -- your family left Germany when you were nearly 15 years old. Is it fair for today's Germany to refer to the constraints of history?

Kissinger: I understand it, but it is not a sustainable position. In the long run, we cannot have
two categories of members in the NATO alliance: those that are willing to fight and others that are trying to be members à la carte. That cannot work for long.

SPIEGEL: Do you think the Germans can be persuaded to change their approach?

Kissinger: The Germans have to decide that for themselves. But if they stick to that attitude, Germany would be a different kind of nation than Britain or France or others.

SPIEGEL: Isn't German and European opposition to a greater military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq also a result of deep distrust of American power?

Kissinger: By this time next year, we will see the beginning of a new administration. We will then discover to what extent the Bush administration was the cause or the alibi for European-American disagreements.
Right now, many Europeans hide behind the unpopularity of President Bush. And this administration made several mistakes in the beginning.

SPIEGEL: What do you see as the biggest mistakes?

Kissinger: To go into Iraq with insufficient troops, to disband the Iraqi army, the handling of the relations with allies at the beginning even though not every ally distinguished himself by loyalty. But
I do believe that George W. Bush has correctly understood the global challenge we are facing, the threat of radical Islam, and that he has fought that battle with great fortitude. He will be appreciated for that later.

SPIEGEL: In 50 years, historians will treat his legacy more kindly?

Kissinger: That will happen much earlier.

SPIEGEL: Will the next president of the United States ask for a greater European commitment?

Kissinger: It is not impossible that a new administration will say that we can't go on without more European commitment. And that they would use this as an excuse for withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't think John McCain would do that, though.

SPIEGEL: Barack Obama also says the conflict in Pakistan is the war Americans really need to win. Is he right?

Kissinger: You can always say there is some other war I would rather want to fight than the one I am in. What does it mean to fight the war in Pakistan? Should we use military power to control the tribal regions in Pakistan and to conduct military operations in a region which Britain failed to pacify in over 100 years of colonization? Should we use military force to prevent a radical take-over of the Pakistani government? Should we prevent the Pakistani state from splitting up into three or four ethnically based groups? I don't think we have the capacity to do that.

SPIEGEL: What about pushing for more military action against al-Qaida terrorists in the border regions with Afghanistan?

Kissinger: The audience listening to such exhortations believes that there is a master plan to bring another government there and that this democratic government will fight the tribal regions. In the short-term, this is an illusion.

SPIEGEL: What would be your advice for dealing with radical Islam and the governments in the region?

You cannot simultaneously attempt to overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in the name of democracy and fight radical Islam. The democratization processes and the war against radical Islam have a different time frame.

SPIEGEL: Is it time for a strategic reassessment? You have experience with that: In the 1970s, Richard Nixon and you stunned the world by flying to China and sitting down with the Communist dictator Mao.

Kissinger: We did not wake up one morning and say it would be beautiful to talk to Mao. Nixon and I both believed we needed to bring China into the international system. We tried to connect objective reality with moral considerations. And objective reality was changed by the Sino-Soviet tensions and the consequent commitment by Beijing to coexistence.

SPIEGEL: Times have changed, but such moral considerations still exist. Should the new US president fly to Tehran and sit down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Kissinger: Some believe that the mere act of conversation will alter the tension. I believe that negotiations succeed only if they reflect an objective reality. The key issue with Iran is whether it sees itself as a cause or as a nation. If Iran wants to be a respected nation-state in the region without claiming religious or imperial domination, then we should be able to come to some form of understanding. But we will not reach that goal unless Iran realizes that this is not a historical opportunity to resurrect Persian dreams of glory.

SPIEGEL: And the Iranians need to feel Western pressure to come to that conclusion?

Kissinger: We need a mixture of pressure and incentives. We must realize that painless sanctions are a contradiction.

SPIEGEL: Sounds like the old game of carrots and sticks. You think the US president should meet with an Iranian leader only after painful sanctions?

Kissinger: You would never start with such a step. Nixon sat down with Mao three years after we had initial contact. I think a meeting with an Iranian president would be at the end of a process, not the very beginning.

SPIEGEL: But looking at legacy again, will historians look back one day and write: The Iraq adventure prevented the US from focusing on other strategic challenges -- such as the rapid rise of India and China? Is the Superpower distracted rather than over-stretched?

I think we face three challenges currently: The disappearance of the nation-state; the rise of India and China; and, thirdly, the emergence of problems and challenges that cannot be solved by a single power, such as energy and the environment. We do not have the luxury to focus on one problem; we have to deal with all three of them or we won't succeed with any of them. The rise of Asia will be an enormous event. But we cannot say that we should therefore keep other challenges, such as the fight against radical Islam, in abeyance.

SPIEGEL: Is China still a partner or primarily a rival?

China has to be treated as a potential partner. We must use all ingenuity to create a system in which the great states of Asia -- which really are not nation-states in the European sense but large conglomerates of cultures -- can participate. We have no choice.

SPIEGEL: Does the fact that "guided democracies" like Russia or China are currently more successful in economic terms undermine the attractiveness of Western-style democracy? Is that a new model that is becoming attractive for young people?

Kissinger: The problem of guided democracies is that they have great difficulties solving the problem of succession and of giving access to the widest possible pool of talent. China has come closer to solving that problem than any other undemocratic system. I believe that the democratic model is better and more durable for the future but not automatically. It depends on our vision and determination.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Kissinger, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us.

Interview conducted by Gregor Peter Schmitz and Gabor Steingart in New York,1518,535964,00.html

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Woody Keeble Got His Medal of Honor

Woodrow Wilson Keeble stood 6 foot one and weighed 235 and he liked to be called "Woody". He was a barrel chested giant of a man born into the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe May 16, 1917, in Waubay, South Dakota. The Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux reservation stretches across the State border into North Dakota.

In 1942, he joined the N. Dakota National Guard and served with the U.S. Army in World War II and the Korean Conflict. It is for his actions in Korea that Woody was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor today.

During the two wars, Mstr. Sgt. Keeble received two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross. In all, Keeble won 27 citations, ribbons, and medals which made him the most decorated soldier in North Dakota history. He joins a half dozen other N. Dakota medal of Honor recipients.

His great size and strength placed Woody head and shoulders above his fellows. Veterans tell the story of "when they were out in the sticks and a jeep would pull up with ammunition or mail, Woody would go to the front of the jeep, pick it up by the bumper and turn it around so the driver didn't have to do a U-turn." If you are thinking of Big Bad John right about now, you're probably not alone.

Keeble was part of the Army units that took over the hard fighting from the Marines on the Pacific Island of Guadalcanal. Keeble's stepson, Russell Hawkins said, "His fellow soldiers said he had to fight a lot of hand-to-hand fights with the Japanese, so he saw their faces. Every now and then he would get a faraway look in his eyes, and I knew he was thinking about those men and the things he had to do."

Then came Korea. Keeble volunteered because "somebody has to teach those boys how to fight." Keeble taught them by example. He was leading three platoons up a steep, rugged hill being held by Communist Chinese forces which had fortified the position with three machine gun emplacements. Three separate direct assaults had produced nothing more than heavy casualties for the Americans. Keeble determined that if three platoons couldn't take the hill maybe one man could.

With his rifle and an extra supply of grenades, he started back up the hill. The accuracy of his pitching arm was good enough to get him recruited by the Chicago White Sox, but this day it was the Chinese who were were in the strike zone. Keeble subdued the first trench with a grenade, then the second. He took out the last bunker with rifle fire. He did all this while under intense machine gun fire and enemy grenade explosions. Keeble was hit by 83 grenade fragments "in the chest, both arms, right calf, knee, right thigh and left thigh. One eyewitness said he saw the chest bullet come out of his back." In spite of his wounds, Mstr. Sgt. Keeble refused to be evacuated until his men had established a defensive perimeter and the wounded had been taken to safety.

Having gone through the horrors of two wars, Keeble returned to North Dakota to a series of devastating tragedies. While recovering from his battle wounds, his first wife, Blossom, died. Years later, he was struck down by a series of strokes that paralyzed this once physically active and imposing man and deprived him of speech.

Woodrow Wilson Keeble died in 1982 while friends, family, and Army buddies continued their campaign for the Medal of Honor. The Army says there was a series of screw-ups and missed deadlines that prevented Keeble's records and applications from getting to the right places and people.

Bigotry against American Indians has run a long course and is slowly giving way. There are more than 180,000 American Indian Veterans and many hundreds are currently serving in the Armed Forces. Every one is deserving of the all the honor and respect this nation can muster. They fought for hundreds of years to keep the land that we took by force and trickery, yet the Indian warriors continue selflessly giving their lives in the service of their one time enemy and the land they still love.

To Mstr. Sgt. Keeble, I can only say a humble, pilamaya yelo.

Byron Dorgan, Grand Forks Herald
Doreen Yellowbird, Grand Forks Herald
CNN Politics
The White House

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What Happens When Cute, Cuddly Polar Bears Grow Up?

Remember Knut? The cute little white puff ball of a Polar Bear at the Berlin Zoo who captivated the hearts and minds of normally sane people like Mike at Mike's America here, here, and here ... sure, now you remember.

Mike likes cute Polar Bears and Knut is grown-up so he now has another cute cub, Wilber, with which to plaster his blog. Don't get me wrong, Knut and Wilber are two of the cutest critters on God's green acre and are very photogenic. And Mike's America is indeed one of the finest blogs going.

But, what happens when a Polar Bear grows up and stops being cute as a button? Will Mike tell you what happens? I don't know. All I know is that I haven't seen anything but photos of another cute as a button Polar Bear cub.

Well, I'll tell you with a little help from the Daily Mail.
Knut now weighs 22 stone and has six-inch claws and a fearsome set of fangs to match.

And he seemed to be particularly keen to test them on the three-year-old boy lying on the ground next to his enclosure.

Not so cute anymore, is he? And that's what will happen with Wilber, too. Sure, they're nice and cuddly cute to start and just when you're all comfortable with the puff balls, they turn and rip your face off!

Mother Nature is not nice.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.