The place where I come from is a bit unusual. It’s a place in the Pacific Northwest where you can still go out and stake your claim. Literally, thanks to the General Mining Act of 1872. Yes, 1872. As in 141 years ago. Yes, just seven years after the Civil War. Outdated much?
Some miners will stay up in the hills year-round, utterly alone, and living in shacks with no electricity. Every few months they drive their pickup trucks into town and load up on supplies. Then it’s right back into them thar hills.
As you might imagine, that kind of lifestyle combined the total lack of human socialization can make them a bit eccentric. I hope to experience something similar on my one-way mission to Mars. (I’ll use the 1872 law to stake a claim in the cargo bay and shoot anyone who trespasses under interstellar law.)
Meanwhile, I have a person in my life who acts a lot like this. Allow me to introduce Emily, our former landlady. She’s elderly and lives alone in the hills outside of town with her cats. And, like her distant miner counterparts, she’s a bit eccentric.
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Egyptian blogger receives two-year sentence #Egypt
This is a follow-up to my earlier post entitled “Tyranny in Egypt” about Egyptian political prison Maikel Nabil, his hunger strike, and his quest for justice in a country in upheaval…
I have two questions. How many times have people who told the truth been persecuted? Truth is what it is. But when the truth is unpalatable to some, it can be followed by retribution. Then it takes many courageous people to do what is required to right the wrong. Sometimes this actually happens, but I bet more often than not it never does.
My second question has to deal with assholes. What good is a revolution to displace an asshole if the result is only more assholes?
In other words, what the hell is going on in Egypt?
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Tyranny in Egypt
Thanks to that #FF (Follow Friday) thing on Twitter I found a new blog this week. Blogdramedy did an #FF for someone called @the_blacklisted. I liked the tweets so I clicked “follow.” I then checked out the blog and subscribed.
Something on the blacklisted blog caught my eye and motivated me to learn more. Unfortunately the “reblog” function wasn’t working, so I shall attempt to wing it.
Have you heard the story of Maikel Nabil Sanad? He’s a young man, blogger, atheist and political activist from Cairo, Egypt.
The removal from power of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 after a wave of a civil disobedience was exciting and welcomed by many of us in the west. The question then became: If a void is created, what will fill it?
The fate of Maikel Nabil offers insight into that question.
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You’ve got blockage
A year ago today I blogged about Google pulling out of China. Google had redirected google.cn to google.com.hk. I just verified that still holds true as of this morning.
Also being reported is that China has closed 130,000 internet cafes during the last six years in an attempt to control information available to its people.
China, prominently showcased as the site of the 2008 Olympics, initially stated that Internet access would not be censored at the Olympic Village press center. However, journalists that arrived at the press center found that sites containing politically sensitive matter were inaccessible and learned that the IOC had quietly agreed to “some of the limitations.”
According to Wikipedia, China’s internet censorship does not extend to Hong Kong:
The controls come about a year after Google removed its Chinese language Internet search engine from China and relocated it to Hong Kong, where Beijing has few controls.
Now Google and China are at it again. Yesterday Google accused China of “disrupting” Gmail service saying it was due to a “government blockage.”
Beijing has long had some of the world’s strictest Internet controls. But after pro-democracy demonstrations broke out in the Middle East in January, the Chinese government seems to have intensified effort to censor Web content and disrupt Web searches related to calls for similar protests in China.
China currently blocks other social media sites so prominently featured in pro-democracy demonstrations in other countries recently like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Both quotes are from The New York Times.
Meanwhile, China has intensified condemnation of Libyan air strikes and Libya’s top oil official in Tripoli said that oil contracts could be offered directly to China. Along with Russia, China abstained from a U.N. resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya. India has also criticized the attacks on Libya.
As if that wasn’t enough, China recently was targeted in the crosshairs of none other than Sarah Palin:
I personally have huge military concerns about what is going on in China. What’s with the buildup? You don’t see a tangible outside threat . . . to that country. Is that just for a defensive posture? How can that be? Stockpiling ballistic missiles, submarines, new-age ultramodern fighter aircrafts. It certainly means America needs to be vigilant looking at what China is doing.
–Sarah Palin, speaking in India, March 19, 2011 (Source.)
The destinies of the United States and China seem to be converging in a variety of ways. The question is, how will that all play out? Will we ever so pro-democracy demonstrations in China like we’ve seen in Egypt and other countries? It sure seems unlikely but 2011 has been a strange year so far. Who knows?