Monday, August 27, 2007

Cousin Taipan writes

My cousin Taipan writes about the so-called Marshal Plan for Mindanao. There is?

All bark, no bite
By Taipan Millan
One Small Voice

THERE WAS plenty of talk about a so-called Marshall Plan for Mindanao. The idea was copied, albeit in much smaller terms that there is mention of the word Mini, from the huge US effort to rebuild Europe after the Second World War.

The concept is that a plan shall be drawn to implement in Mindanao a set of programs and projects focusing on infrastructure, education, and other major concerns.

The scheme is that this plan shall be funded by countries like the US and those in Europe, Southeast Asia, and other rich nations. It shall be massive in scale so as to immensely fast track rehabilitation and substantially jumpstart development.

Coming from no less than the Speaker of the House, with an accompanying commitment of allocating a counterpart fund, this is indeed music to the ears.

Thus, almost immediately after the grand pronouncement, the Mindanao block of the House threw its full support to the idea, echoing the possibility that this might just be what will finally make Mindanao the "Land OF Fulfillment" instead of the plain, old "Land of Promise."

But after issuing these very hopeful statements, nothing has been heard of any plan, Marshall or otherwise. This is of course not to say that nothing has come out of the idea. We may one day be surprised by a sudden barrage and bombardment of money for anything and everything. We wish.

But this early, there are observations that we must hope are false because they are threatening to make Mindanao the "Land of Unfulfilled Promises."

First, there is no such existing plan at all, and no individual or group has been seriously tasked or sincerely assigned to come up with such plan.

Second, there are currently no donors or sponsors who have signified support for such a plan that currently does not exist, and no official call or formal solicitation has been made to raise said funds.

Third, aside from the initial motherhood statements, the Speaker of the House has neither repeated nor reiterated the idea even at least to mention the source of the counterpart funds that he has committed.

And aside from the general avowal of support, the Mindanao block of the House has not followed up or followed through with the idea, even at least to mention that they will pour in their pork barrel or a part of it for this effort.

Fourth, given that this idea was hatched in the first place in relation to the never-ending armed conflict, it is not even clear if the use of the word Mindanao covers the whole island or just those areas where there is or was war, or if it refers to the fight against separatists, secessionists, insurgents or terrorists.

Fifth, considering that corollary to this idea is the grant of a general amnesty for all combatants and enemies of the state, it is not even sure if both parties are amenable to this arrangement of one party admitting to the commission of a crime and the other party forgiving without punishment.

There are countless of other observations that can be identified but the above are enough to cast a doubt as to the ultimate realization of this so-called Marshall Plan for Mindanao.

This is not being negative and pessimistic. This is being truthful and realistic.

Hopefully, something will come out of this idea other than just raising our hopes and just lifting our expectations. Hopefully, this will not end up like all the countless other plans that have been let loose? All bark, no bite.

Comments are most welcome. Please send them to

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with AFP?
Tuesday August 14, 2007: An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City. At least 175 people were slaughtered on Tuesday and more than 200 wounded when four suicide truck bombs targeted people from an ancient religious sect in northern Iraq, officials said.(AFP/Wissam al-Okaili)

Everyone (except AFP?) knows that bullets fired don't look like this. Unless one throws these bullets. But why do that?

Update: AFP now knows as it changed the accompanying caption to this image.

But this is a Yahoo! News cache image.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Newsweek: uhm, sorry

Newsweek contributing editor Robert J. Samuelson sort of apologizes for their global warming deniers story. Good for them.

Independence Art Reef

The Independence Art Reef centerpiece artwork made by my cousin Kublai was finally deployed. Here's the story.
My previous post here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lucky 13?

Tiger Woods in a few hours will start his final round of the 2007 PGA Championship, leading the field at -7, 3 shots ahead of Ames. Tiger's 12-0 whenever he led after 54 holes. Would it be a lucky 13 for him? It will probably end up the way statistics play up. Another stat at play here: he is 7-0 over his final round partner. Question to ask is: who is going to be runner-up?

Update: It's Woody Austin. Tiger as always finished ahead at -8. His 13th major, 13-0 whenever he led after three days. 31 years old when he won his 13th (better than all-time fave Jack Nicklaus who won 13 at 35).

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Aba, galante siya!

Why am I not surprised?
MM quotes:
Responding to a refusal by city leaders to declare the city a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, more than a dozen people gathered outside City Hall on Monday night to denounce recent immigration raids, accusing federal officials of “terrorizing” immigrant communities and breaking up families.

A coalition of local immigrant rights groups, including the Orange County Alliance for Immigrants Rights and the Front Against the Raids, announced a planned program to create a hot line that will notify people where and when immigration raids will take place. The program would also coordinate a support system for the families of deportee targets.

“We want to have a more organized effort to counter these attacks,” said Jaime Conteras, a 20-year-old Filipino immigrant who now lives in Santa Ana. “We cannot let people trample on our rights.”

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

When do you stop to help?

On the way to work this morning, just before 8am, I saw a man, may just be a kid really, dying from what appeared to be a gunshot wound in the left side of his head. Traffic slowed, but moving. Many people were looking, too shocked perhaps, or knowing that he was going to die of his wound. I usually sit behind the driver in the company car, and as we passed by that kid (must have been buying something from that sari-sari store when he was shot), I shifted towards the right side of the car to see a better view, thinking that the kid was already dead. He wasn't. But only near death. We did not stop any more. Should we have stopped? Get him to the hospital?

I've seen dead people, from accidents, etc. I was in the bedside of a boy many years ago in the regional hospital ER (our former company driver hit him earlier in the day), operating the ambo bag. He was dying too. When the chief resident arrived, he declared him dead. Today was quite different. I did not see that kid die, but I knew he wasn't going to make it. A murder victim isn't quite the same as a victim of a car accident.

I heard that police aren't ruling out "fraternity-related".

The science is settled

Kid you not. The science surrounding global warming is settled. Two German scientists prove it.

Global Warming at Odds With Science
Phil Brennan,
Monday, Aug. 6, 2007

Global warming fanatics insist that "the science is settled" regarding this contentious issue and they're right — two German scientist have settled it once and for all by proving conclusively that there is no such thing as a "greenhouse effect" in global climate.

They've also proven that there can be no way of accurately measuring average global temperature in the way it is now done. CO2 cannot play the role attributed to it by the supporters of the global warming theory, and the very idea violates the laws of thermodynamics.

Another author adds his name to the growing list of people who want a debate on global warming with Al Gore. Dennis Avery.

And more on the celebs' do as I say, not what I do.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

August 6, 1945

About 65 years ago to the day, the first Atomic Bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. I was fortunate to visit Hiroshima for a training program in 2001 with some others from ASEAN countries (countries mostly occupied by the Japanese in World War I). The city hosted dinner for us together with other ASEANers who were Hiroshima residents. I remember the Hiroshima pizza (Okonomiyaki, a pan-fried Japanese dish cooked with various ingredients similar to a pancake or pizza, which means “cook what you like, the way you like”); the Japanese girl who danced the Sakura; and the Japanese lady architect who was working for the city planning office who asked me a most intriguing question: Is it true that you in the Philippines hate the Japanese? Whoa. How do you answer that?

We did not get to eat much. Not because the food wasn't great, nor wasn't enough. We just had a lot of talking to do. The Pinoys later went out to get us a real meal: McDonalds. To go. Everyone else went out also because they too had not much to eat.

Hiroshima also has the Peace Memorial (Genbaku or A-Bomb Dome), which was the only structure left standing -- it was the Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall then, later renamed Genbaku. Topmost photo.

The Genbaku is now part of a memorial complex that commemorates the bombing. The complex has a long building some distance from the Genbaku that shows artifacts of the bombing. Not a very happy place. Some of our colleagues, the women especially, did not finish viewing everything.

The before and after presentation:

Ultimate Global Warming Challenge

Here's a chance to win USD100,000.00. It's very easy (you have to pay 15 bucks though). Or not.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

GW alarmists find ally in Newsweek

Newsweek added its voice among the GW alarmists in its The Truth About Denial.

The over-used deny-to-get-oil-money slant: Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change. Through advertisements, op-eds, lobbying and media attention, greenhouse doubters (they hate being called deniers) argued first that the world is not warming; measurements indicating otherwise are flawed, they said. Then they claimed that any warming is natural, not caused by human activities. Now they contend that the looming warming will be minuscule and harmless.

But not so fast. Read Noel Sheppard's to this Newsweek Disgrace.

Read Clive Crook's take on the IPCC. To. Feel. Better.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Global Warming and Catholics

Here's Dr. Jeff Mirus on Catholic Culture

Global Warming and Catholics
Posted Jul. 22, 2007 5:21 PM || by Dr. Jeff Mirus

By now it is a commonplace of counter-cultural reporting that concern about global warming is as much the latest secularist crisis of salvation as it is anything else. Should Catholics be concerned about it, one way or another?

While the scientific community is generally agreed that the globe is in a warming trend, scientists are sharply divided on whether human activity is a significant contributor to this trend. Many believe that the most consistent interpretation of the evidence is that we are simply experiencing the kind of cyclical change that has been going on for as along as we can read the records of the earth. There have long been well-documented mini-cycles as well as major cycles that take about 1500 years to complete. Moreover, it is highly likely that the cooling portions of these cycles have been far harder on humanity than the warming portions.

When you balance the conflicting evidence against the recurring pattern of alarmism which has been characteristic of secularists over the past fifty years or so, one has to wonder. I can still remember when the population bomb went off and the religion of tiny families was born, from which we have slipped into no families at all. And in the 1970’s “everybody” was convinced we were heading for a new ice age. The fear-mongering concerning global warming comes from the same crowd, a crowd with unfortunately wide representation in the media and, therefore, in politics. This crowd is currently busy attempting to eliminate all contrary evidence and opposing opinion from the mainstream media, academia and political life.

Catholics, of course, are as free to analyze the evidence as anyone else, and can reach their own conclusions. If we become convinced that contemporary human behavior should be changed to contribute to a solution to global warming, we will have the support of a long Catholic tradition of material detachment, responsible stewardship, and concern for the poor. And if we become convinced that the only real concern is the behavior of wealthy secularists who like to usurp the role of savior, then we will still have the support of a long tradition of material detachment, responsible stewardship, and concern for the poor.

Meanwhile, perhaps we can also take consolation from the fact that nobody is willing to pay for the astronomically expensive policies proposed by the demagogues. And surely we ought to recognize (and oppose) a preferential option for the rich in those proposals that would enable the very wealthy Al Gores of the world to buy “global warming credits”, in effect paying a fee to continue living as if they don’t really care about the planet. If we’re facing a crisis, let’s face it like Catholics. And if we’re not, let’s face that like Catholics too. Have I mentioned material detachment, responsible stewardship and concern for the poor?

Take the GREEN Pledge

This is the GREENer Pledge courtesy of Steven Milloy (

Taking the GREEN pledge!
I’m joining making our world GREENer!
I will (check items that apply):

[ ] Increase personal use of ethanol derived from grape biomass and various grains and cereals
[ ] Use more solar energy by taking longer beach vacations
[ ] Only work Saturday and Sunday, making all other days weekend to reduce driving
[ ] Open canned sodas slower to reduce rate of CO2 emissions
[ ] Gain weight - fat people are composed of more carbon than skinny people, thus keeping more carbon out of the environment
[ ] Reduce CO2-emissions by doing as little exercise as possible
[ ] Reduce global methane emissions by eating more farm animals
[ ] Avoid spicy foods to reduce personal emissions
[ ] Campaign to sequester Congress and the U.N.
[ ] Recycle environmentalists into biofuels
[ ] Lobby Congress to fund flying carpet research to replace jet travel
[ ] Help promote greater fuel efficiency by lobbying Congress to repeal the Law of Gravity

Will YOU take the pledge?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Kevin Garnett is now a Celtic. In a 1 for 7 deal, KG became a Celtic to join Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Let's see what this big triumvirate can do. The Celtics' 16 championships is still the record to beat in the NBA, but they have not won one since 1986 (I remember that series, watched in the Philippines over the FEN feed from Clark -- those were the days, huh?) with that year's big triumvirate Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish. Foxnews says: The Celtics won their last championship, the third with the original Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, in 1986. Two members of that club orchestrated Tuesday's blockbuster trade - Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale.