These are my random musings. Hopefully they will be witty, insightful, and frequently updated.
singrdave's Articles » Page 4
August 6, 2007 by singrdave
Reports may be premature, but Osama bin Laden might be dead of typhoid. Pakistani intelligence is reporting this as fact, but the truth remains to be seen. From FirstPost from the UK: Osama bin Laden, charismatic founder of al-Qaeda, died of typhoid earlier this month in Pakistan, according to a highly classified intelligence brief given to the King of Saudi Arabia and President Chirac this week, and leaked to the French newspaper L'Est Republicain. The chief of the terror group ...
August 6, 2007 by singrdave
Talk about killing two birds with one stone. With grave space at a premium and the planet allegedly undergoing climate change, it's apparently time to find a more eco-friendly way to dispose of corpses. The process, called resomation, allows people to dispose of loved ones in a more ecologically sound way. From the Post Chronicle: A British company says it has an eco-friendly alternative to cremation: boiling bodies into dust. In the process, called resomation, the body is encased in a s...
August 3, 2007 by singrdave
The State Department has announced a new policy to reward mid-level diplomats for their willingness to serve in war-torn Iraq. This is a spectacular idea and it's about time State made this policy change. From the Post Chronicle: A new U.S. State Department policy will reward diplomats who serve a year in Iraq with jobs later in popular spots such as London and Paris. The Washington Times Friday printed a cable from Foreign Service Director-General George Staples, saying: "The idea beh...
July 31, 2007 by singrdave
Hello all, Just wanted to alert my JU buddies that I have joined Facebook, as a way to keep up with all the people I know all over. This way I can post photos of recent trips, family photos, all kinds of stuff. I am very impressed with Facebook -- it's easy to use and has great games and competitions, too. Anyway, below is the link to my page. If you're a Facebook subscriber too, feel free to contact me. Link
July 31, 2007 by singrdave
Fat people will still get health care, but they will be penalized under this new system. As introduced by Clarian Health Partners in Indiana, obese people will be penalized for their "lifestyle choices". From today's Baltimore Sun: Looking for new ways to trim the fat and boost workers' health, some employers are starting to make overweight employees pay if they don't slim down. Others, citing growing medical costs tied to obesity, are offering fit workers lucrative incentives that shave t...
July 30, 2007 by singrdave
I admire and respect those who cycle. I thrilled along with the rest of America (and Texas!) when Lance Armstrong went on his seven-year string of victories. With my physique and stamina, I couldn't imagine becoming a competitive cyclist. I have the utmost respect for those who can make a living as a professional athlete. These guys are incredible athletes. So how come they feel the need to use performance-enhancing drugs in the first place? Yes, legs move bikes. But some legs are p...
July 26, 2007 by singrdave
We are having a discussion at work that I think is JU-worthy: Is the current spate of real-crime dramas like the many cities of CSI and the many departments of Law & Order teaching people to commit murder, rape, and mayhem? Are Hollywood writers showing how to commit and get away with murder? Or is it just entertainment? First off, I think that Hollywood believes that we aren't exposed to enough crime and depravity in our lifetimes, so they feel there's a market for more. I believ...
July 26, 2007 by singrdave
What are the most significant effects, both internally and externally, as a result of widespread governmental human rights abuses in dealing with terrorism or insurgency? When a government uses human rights abuses to enforce counterterrorism policy, the government's moral superiority is eroded both at home and abroad. For many outside observers, the United States' continued detainment of unlawful combatants at Guantanamo Bay is a miscarriage of human rights. This undermines American effort...
July 26, 2007 by singrdave
John Edwards: 2004 Presidential primary candidate, then Vice Presidential candidate with John Kerry. He's campaigning again. This time he's positioning himself as a populist, appealing to middle-class and lower-class voters with his progressive policy stances on Iraq, health care, poverty, and the hue and cry of global warming. His policy stances: Iraq: American troops out of Iraq immediately. Overnight reduction of 40,000-50,000... followed by an "orderly and complete" withdrawal of comb...
July 8, 2007 by singrdave
Brute military force is an ineffective measure against terrorism. If anything, military force can only serve to kill the perpetrators of terrorism in retaliation or preemption. There is, according to Pillar, “an inherent difficulty [in] using force in a situation in which the terrorists have the advantage of being able—and willing—to use it immediately against their captives” (99). Whether the strike is retaliatory or preemptive in nature, there are certain risks in starting the bullets to fl...
July 3, 2007 by singrdave
Hawala is the most important money-movement mechanism you've never heard of. Through it, hundreds of millions of dollars move worldwide annually on just a verbal say-so or a handshake. It allows expatriate workers to send money back to their families and terrorists to launder money throughout both the civilized and the uncivilized world. The components of hawala that distinguish it from other remittance systems are trust and the extensive use of connections such as family relationships or reg...
June 25, 2007 by singrdave
Well, my people, I am off this afternoon for a week's trip to Vermont. I am visiting the campus of my college, Norwich University, where I'm getting my Master's degree in Diplomacy. This is a required one-week residency during the 18-month degree program. While there, I will have to present one of my academic papers in a round table as well as participate in discussions and mixers to get to know these people I've been conversing with online. Should be a lot of fun, and I've never been to V...
June 22, 2007 by singrdave
‘Strategic influence’ is frequently viewed as a key component of foreign policy efforts against terrorist groups. Strategic influence is the ability to engage dissenters in a meaningful way in order to change thinking. In a counterterrorism context, many enemies are in need of some meaningful engagement. Strategic influencers are those who effectively use persuasion to bring about conformity, compliance, or conversion. According to Cragin and Gehwehr, an influence campaign uses planned o...
June 22, 2007 by singrdave
Some internet hacker named Gabriel claims to have the final chapters of the Harry Potter manuscript, which he says he got by uploading a virus onto the publisher's servers. He then gives away the ending, which I am not going to share here. From the Post Chronicle: An Internet user with the handle Gabriel claims he got the ending to the new Harry Potter book by hacking into a computer at the book's British publisher. Bloomsbury is the publisher of J.K. Rowling's upcoming finale in the fan...
June 20, 2007 by singrdave
I think there's a very compelling reason to dub this a "Global War on Terror". There is no one country with which we are at war. 9/11 caused us to go to war with Afghanistan, which at the time was harboring the perpetrators of that horrible crime. Yet al-Qaeda exists in so many other nations that we did not want to restrict our emphasis onto one easily conquerable nation. it wasn't just semantics that made the Bush Administration to dub this a "Global War on Terror". We did not want to ...