Iran On My Mind

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...Image via CrunchBase
New York Times: Why Not to Bomb Iran the magazine unveiled a cover story saying that Israel is likely to bomb Iran within a year.... “Netanyahu’s belief is that Iran is not Israel’s problem alone; it is the world’s problem, and the world, led by the United States, is duty-bound to grapple with it.” .... Israel’s inclination to attack Iran is “more a matter of the amygdala and emotion than of the cortex and thought.” .... Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly has “near-sanctity, in the public’s mind” because it has “allowed the Jewish state to recover from the wounds of the Holocaust.” ..... “The Jews had no power to stop Hitler from annihilating us,” an anonymous Israeli official tells Goldberg. “Today, 6 million Jews live in Israel, and someone is threatening them with annihilation. But now we have the power to stop them. Bibi knows that this is the choice.” ..... “The challenges posed by a nuclear Iran are more subtle than a direct attack ..... “Iran’s militant proxies would be able to fire rockets and engage in other terror activities while enjoying a nuclear umbrella.” ...... If the Holocaust has left Israelis with an exaggerated fear of Iran’s intentions, it has also left them with an absolute refusal to be cowed. .......Given that the United States would almost certainly be drawn into war with Iran in the wake of an Israeli strike, and given that America would be blamed for the strike whether or not it had green-lighted it, and given the many ways this would be bad for national security, how can American leaders keep it from happening? ....an attack would radically dim what prospects there are for lasting peace in the Middle East; Israel’s downward spiral — in which regional hostility toward it leads to conflicts that only deepen the hostility — would be sustained big time.

I am at the early stages of my digital journeys into Iran. I am in a mood to soak up information. I am in a mood to network among the Iranian diaspora. I want to read up. I want to send out emails. I want to call up a few people. Immersion is the word. You want to immerse.

This is about the concept of open intelligence. What if all information you or anyone else needs is already out there and anyone can access it?

I want to start making some moves. The work has to start in the diaspora.

I said in my last post that Burma would not be possible, Tibet is even harder. (Iran: Am I Running Late? Maybe Not) I need to revisit that statement. I meant to talk in terms of the project I have in mind. Iran is the most possible.

Of course Burma and Tibet are options, but they are not low hanging fruits like Iran. I'd need greater resources and power to make a dent with Burma and Tibet. And Iran should have my plate full for now.

The principles I applied in Nepal and intend to apply in Iran, they are universally applicable. But you have to mutate with the virus. Those principles will have unique applications from one country to the next. You are talking about dynamic, complex situations.



New York Times

U.S. Sends Muslim Center Imam to Arab World to Promote Religious Tolerance: Imam Feisal will be traveling to Qatar, Bahrain and the U.A.E. .... the plan to build a center with a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center attacks has provoked a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment. ..... this is how we engage an issue, have a robust debate ..... we have seen this in various parts of the world, where people who promote tolerance and diversity are intimidated, jailed, killed…. ..... there was frustration in the Muslim world “against the policies of the U.S. government, politically, where we espouse principles of democracy and human rights and where we ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries.” ...... a Muslim Deepak Chopra. ..... the blatantly false reporting that has led some victims’ families to think that this project is somehow designed by Muslims to gloat over the attacks on 9/11. That could not be farther from the truth...... the traditional Islamic feast to mark the end of Ramadan will fall on or around Sept. 11.

Oil Plumes May Be More Toxic Than Thought, Scientists Warn Undersea plumes of microscopic oil droplets extending dozens of miles from the BP wellhead may be more toxic to marine microorganisms in the Gulf of Mexico than previously believed .... the heavily dispersed oil in the gulf remains a persistent threat to sea life. .... widespread ecological damage. ..... ive million barrels of oil released from the Deepwater Horizon well had been removed from the gulf through human or natural processes, or had been so highly dispersed that it ceased to pose a significant threat to the ecosystem.

Dimming the Skyline to Save the Birds The New York City skyline is a treacherous place for migrating birds..... leaves thousands of birds dead .... The birds are drawn in by the glow of the city and are unable to see the miles of concrete and glass stretching into the sky ..... collision with manmade structures is one of the chief reasons that most of the species that migrate through North America are declining. In two migratory seasons, Audubon counted 90,000 birds who were killed in collisions with buildings in New York City.

Triumph Fades on Racial Gap in City Schools the evaporation of one of their signature accomplishments: the closing of the racial achievement gap.....in the city’s third through eighth grades, 40 percent of black students and 46 percent of Hispanic students met state standards in math, compared with 75 percent of white students and 82 percent of Asian students. ...... Reducing racial gaps in educational performance has been a national preoccupation for decades. .... Reducing racial gaps in educational performance has been a national preoccupation for decades..... the latest state math and English tests show that the proficiency gap between minority and white students has returned to about the same level as when the mayor arrived ..... worsening economic conditions for poor families and an increase in fatherless black households ...... would continue to close low-performing schools ...... keep pushing to pay more to teachers who work in hard-to-staff neighborhoods or subjects ...... The city has closed 91 poorly performing schools, established about 100 charter schools and sent waves of new young teachers and principals into schools in poor neighborhoods. .... the “Harlem-Scarsdale” gap in math. ...... Asian students have generally performed better than white students on state math tests in the city, and about the same on English tests.

Filling the Tank With Something Else the hunt for miracles. .... the new Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, which is intended to finance high-risk, high-reward projects. ..... compared to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the Pentagon, which spread seed money for such projects and incubated a variety of useful technologies, including the Internet...... A pound of gasoline holds about 35 times more energy than a pound of lead-acid batteries ..... Benjamin Franklin built a set of glass bottles that stored electricity and released it all at once; he called it a battery because, like guns, the bottles fired simultaneously. ..... convert the tremendous amount of energy stored by plants and trees to a car fuel..... “Cotton is pure cellulose” ..... “real science fiction stuff,” ideas promising enough to attract a few million dollars for research but not quite promising enough to draw the private capital required for small-scale production.

City Cemeteries Face Gridlock virtually no amount of money will secure a final resting place in the heart of a city that is fast running out of graveyard space..... Trinity Church Cemetery in Washington Heights, the last operating graveyard in Manhattan, has stopped selling plots, offering burial only in the most “extraordinary circumstances,” or to people with long-held reservations.... But New Yorkers continue to die, some 60,000 a year. ..... “We have people who would like to disinter Mom and Dad and sell the graves back to make some money” ..... London allows people to be buried upright, while cemeteries in Singapore and Sydney, among others, offer “limited tenure” ...... squeezing coffins into every barren inch, narrowing paths, stacking coffins nine-deep...... “We have had bribes offered, sure,” Mr. Tarantino said. “But we have nothing to be bribed for. We have no room.” ...... the extravagant monuments favored in the 1920s, reminders of the boom before the Depression ..... Despite the bulging waistlines that have necessitated bigger casket sizes across the country, Washington Cemetery is strict: no caskets more than 26 inches wide. ...... Many New Yorkers who struggled and saved to live in the city end up buried elsewhere. ..... 25 percent of all those who die in the city are opting to be cremated ..... the tombstones of the notable and the notorious. .... Being buried under a tree is more desirable than being out in the open.... many Asians prefer to be buried on hilltops

The Making of Andrew Cuomo calling his new vehicle “a toaster oven on wheels.” ..... “This campaign is as much about January as it is about November” ..... he’s more diplomatic, he knows Albany inside out, he has a passion for governing. ..... Populist outrage is building over the state’s historically untouchable public-employee unions, with their ever-expanding pensions and outdated culture of unfireable workers and overpaid bureaucrats. ...... t a little more than two election cycles ago his personal life was in shambles and his political career appeared to be over. ..... the job that his father held for three terms and that he has coveted for the better part of a decade. ..... That Cuomo has become New York’s dominant Democrat figure is something of a political miracle. ...... David Paterson, called a press conference the day after he was sworn into office to admit that he, too, had engaged in extramarital sex and was soon under investigation for a variety of other misdeeds ...... Once a gateway to national office, Albany is now where political careers go to die. ..... Even setting aside New York’s general ungovernability, the state faces a fiscal crisis that many economists say is more dire than the one New York City experienced when it nearly went broke in the 1970s. ..... “Albany’s antics today would make Boss Tweed blush” ..... politicians campaign in poetry and govern in prose ..... favors short, declarative sentences and unvarnished imagery. ..... Mario, a voracious reader who writes almost daily in his diary ..... not introspective or philosophical; his intelligence is intuitive and blunt. ..... Cuomo has aggressively pursued pension-padding in the public sector as well as a handful of high-profile government-corruption cases, most notably the lawsuit he filed against Espada for “looting” $14 million in state and federal money from the network of health clinics that Espada founded. ...... he was less interested in pursuing individual companies for wrongdoing than in finding examples of systemic abuse. .... Bill Clinton’s most accessible and quotable cabinet secretary. ..... a larger problem: a perception that Cuomo was too brash, too arrogant, too self-aggrandizing ..... At HUD, he cranked out press releases at a furious pace and traveled so frequently that one Republican senator, Kit Bond, kept track of his itinerary. ...... a middle-class kid from Queens ..... The Kennedys are an open, sprawling family that is un-self-conscious about its flaws. ..... He parlayed his work on homelessness into a job as assistant secretary at HUD ..... a reputation for being irresistibly charming — in addition to ruthless — ..... the same colorful talker he always was ..... a step down from being a cabinet secretary. ..... Most of the historical artifacts inside Cuomo’s office are Clinton-related ..... a book-length manifesto, “The New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action.” ..... the state’s lawmakers enjoy a rate of re-election that exceeds 95 percent.... clean up Albany; get the state’s “fiscal house in order”; “rightsize” its government; and restart its stalled-out economy. .... on paper, his agenda looks a lot like Spitzer’s .... what he did to HUD. When Cuomo took over, the agency was known as something of a slush fund for shady slumlords and real estate developers. ...... “There are 10,000 local governments in the state of New York,” he said at the state convention. “Ten thousand! Town, village, lighting district, water district, sewer district, a special district to count the other districts in case you missed a district.” ...... states can’t file for bankruptcy protection — there has been no come-to-Jesus moment ....... taxes, which are already 79 percent above the national average. ..... Cuomo has close financial and personal ties to the very special-interest groups that are contributing to the state’s budget woes ..... Jennifer Cunningham, a lobbyist for the state’s gargantuan health-workers’ union, which can be expected to provide the most powerful opposition to reforming New York’s bloated Medicaid system, helped run Cuomo’s 2006 race for attorney general and continues to serve as an informal adviser to him. ........ Spitzer and Cuomo have a history of mutual enmity dating to 2000 ..... Governor Spitzer asked Attorney General Cuomo to investigate the possible abuse of government travel privileges by Joe Bruno, the Republican leader of the state. Instead, Cuomo investigated Spitzer for having state troopers follow Bruno. ...... one prominent Democrat who has tangled repeatedly with Cuomo described him to me as “soulless, valueless and ambition incarnate” ..... He rarely fails to mention Mario Cuomo during his campaign speeches, invariably to vigorous applause. ...... Mario Cuomo still practices law at the Manhattan-based Willkie Farr & Gallagher. ... Cuomo told me that he just had a disturbing dream that his son won the election but quit before being sworn in because he couldn’t face having to deal with the Legislature. ..... Mario lobbied Bill Clinton to get Andrew his first job at HUD and lined up a handful of key endorsements for him in the attorney general’s race in 2006. ..... he is pledging to wreak some serious havoc on his father’s legacy of big-government generosity. ..... Spitzer, the self-described steamroller, took the bad-cop approach, effectively trying to bully the Legislature into submission. Paterson, a former state senator himself, tried reasoning with his former colleagues, to no better effect ..... speaker of the State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, a shrewd political tactician who wields enormous power inside the statehouse. ...... The speaker is said to not like Cuomo ..... “His philosophy is that it’s smarter to wait for an opponent to make a mistake than to force a fight. . . . That’s what he did with Spitzer; he just sat back and let him punch himself silly ...... Albany is a complex, temperamental political organism ..... patience, flexibility and the willingness to accommodate ..... like Spitzer, Cuomo has a reputation for being something of a bully ..... they have scoffed at Cuomo’s invitation to sign his pledge. Talking to members of the Legislature, you get the sense they’re spoiling for a fight. ..... “I wish him luck,” Díaz deadpanned when I mentioned some of Cuomo’s reform proposals to him. “We have been getting too many macho men in the government — too many macho men,” he continued, tilting back in his chair and working a wrist exerciser as he spoke. ....... They are preparing for a crusade of their own to beat back a hard-charging executive. “We are expecting a thug,” a senior Democrat told me when I asked about Cuomo. .....where Spitzer played one-on-one against the Legislature, he wants to bring voters into the game. .... He has the votes, but he needs more than that; he needs their fury ... “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar” .... Eliot could have been their best friend. I think I can be their best friend.
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