Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


In the News: Emissions

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material some of which is emitted as noxious gasses.


China Agrees To Greenhouse Gas Cap; U.S. Will Accelerate Cuts

The United States and China pledged Wednesday to take ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of make-or-break climate talks next year.

President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would move much faster in cutting its levels of pollution. Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to cap China’s emissions in the future – a striking, unprecedented move by a nation that has been reluctant to box itself in on global warming. […]

Developing nations like India and China have long balked at being on the hook for climate change as much as wealthy nations like the U.S. that have been polluting for much longer. But China analysts said Beijing’s willingness to cap its future emissions and to put Xi front and center signaled a significant turnaround.

For Obama, the fight against climate change has become a central facet of the legacy he hopes to leave. Facing opposition in Congress, Obama has sought to bypass lawmakers through emissions regulations on power plants and vehicles.

This is not just about “cementing a legacy”, this is caring about the future of the human species.


Emissions of a different sort (effluvia?) … Obama’s Climate Deal With China Enrages GOP In Congress

But Obama’s opponents in Congress balked, dismissing the new U.S. target as “job-destroying red tape” that would squeeze the middle class.

“This unrealistic plan that the president would dump on his successor would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is set to become the majority leader early next year.

Yes, those pesky regulations … killin’ jobs again!! Who needs clean air or safe work environments??!? Why, wanting people to have better lives and a brighter future is downright un-American!!


More …

How the Media Portrays Africa, China, and India Differently

By: inoljt,

I recently had the pleasure of listening to a fascinating presentation in my Introduction to International Relations class. The professor showed the class pictures what one family in a variety of different countries ate during the duration of a week. The pictures came from the book Hungry Planet, by Peter Menzel. Time Magazine published a series of excerpts (part one and part two) of these pictures.

It was quite interesting to see the typical weekly meal of one family in several countries, ranging from Japan to Germany. The American photo, unfortunately, was the picture-perfect stereotype of over-consuming pre-prepared food (rather than real food).

There was something else that caught my eye, however, as the presentation went on.

More below.

A Review of “The Clash of Civilizations”

By: inoljt,


In 1996 scholar Samuel P. Huntington wrote a famous book titled “The Clash of Civilizations.” Huntington postulated that after the Cold War:

In this new world, local politics is the politics of ethnicity; global politics is the politics of civilizations. The rivalry of the superpowers is replaced by the clash of civilizations. In this new world the most pervasive, important, and dangerous conflicts will not be between social classes, rich and poor, or other economically defined groups, but between peoples belonging to different cultural entities. Tribal wars and ethnic conflicts will occur within civilizations.

I recently had the pleasure of reading through much of Huntington’s book. Huntington posits that the West will be challenged by two civilizations: the “Islamic civilization” and the “Sinic civilization.”

More below.

Why Didn’t Britain Ever Give Democracy to Hong Kong?

By: inoljt,


Great Britain is a democracy and a country dedicated to helping spread liberty around the world.

At least today. There used to be a time when Great Britain was not a friend to democracy. Indeed, there used to be a very undemocratic thing called the British Empire.

One of the last great British colonies was a city called Hong Kong.

More below.

The BRIC Fallacy


(Note: BRIC refers to Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Created by a Goldman Sachs economist, the BRIC countries supposedly are rapidly growing developing countries.)

China is a place with massive regional inequality. A recent feature by The Economist magazine, titled Comparing Chinese Provinces With Countries, found a stark divide between the rich coast and the poor hinderland. Some of my previous obervations about that feature can be found here. In Shanghai and Beijing GDP per person is over $20,000 (as of 2010) – roughly equivalent to a high middle-income country.

In rural Guizhou GDP per person is almost seven times lower. Guizhou is the poorest province in China. It is the part of China the media does not visit and that China tries its best to hide. There are no skyscrapers in the rural parts of Guizhou, just decrepit stone houses dating back to the Maoist era (or earlier).

But there is something else very interesting about Guizhou: as of 2010 its GDP per person was almost exactly equal to GDP per person in India. That is, a person living in the poorest part of China is about as well off as the typical Indian.

More below.

Beijing and Xi’an: a photo diary

Good morning, everyone. As some of you know, I just returned from 12 days in China. As an archaeologist who works in Europe, the Middle East, and the US, I never thought that I would have the opportunity to visit China. However, one of our Chinese colleagues volunteered to host the biennial meeting of the Worked Bone Research Group. The meeting was scheduled right after the annual archaeology meetings Honolulu, so several of us were able to travel from Hawaii to China. I managed to get a great airfare deal that took me from Newark to Honolulu to Beijing and back for only $1190. It was the trip of a lifetime, so I thought that I would share some of my pictures with you.

The WBRG conference was held in Zhengzhou, but we flew into Beijing and were able to spend a couple of days there before the conference. Here is a view of a temple that overlooks the Forbidden City:

And here is a view of the Forbidden City taken from the top of the temple:

Please follow me below the fold.

Books That Changed My Life: The Tao Te Ching

(This is a cross-post from GOS.)

I first encounter the Tao Te Ching when I was in college. After I graduated I looked for a good version of the book and it took a few years and the help of some Chinese friends but I finally found the perfect book. It is translated by Gia-Fu Feng and illustrated by Jane English. What made this book so unique is that it has the translations but it also has the original in calligraphy on black and white photographs. It is quite simply one of the most beautiful books I own.

The Tao Te Ching was written by Lao Tsu in the 6th Century B.C. There are 81 chapters and approximately 5,000 words. Tao means “the way.” According to Rowena Partee Kryde who founded the Creative Harmonics Institute in Mount Shasta, California there are four basic tenets of traditional Taoism.

1. The way of Tao underlies all things.

2. That human interaction that is harmonious with Tao is spontaneous, effortless, and inexhaustible.

3. That the perfected individual is a sage, free from desire and strife.

4. That the sage conducts government by guiding his people back to a state of harmony with Tao.

The chapters are short but very profound.

Chapter 8

The highest good is like water.

Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.

It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.

In dwelling, be close to the land.

In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.

In speech, be true.

In ruling, be just.

In business, be competent.

In action, watch the timing.

No fight: No blame.

Chapter 11

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;

It is the center hole that makes it useful.

Shape clay into a vessel;

It is the space within that makes it useful.

Cut doors and windows for a room;

It is the holes which make it useful.

Therefore profit comes from what is there;

Usefulness from what is not there.

Much of the Tao Te Ching is very mystical. It speaks of simplicity in life. It speaks of the unknowable and trying to live with the unknown. It is the opposite of our Western driven world where power and greed are rampant.

When I first read the Tao Te Ching in college one of my art teachers told me that I had the greatest sense of “space” in any artist he had ever taught. He remarked that I knew that what wasn’t there was just as important as what was there. He loved the fact that I didn’t always try and fill my canvas to the brim. I knew how to let the blank spaces be part of my art. The Tao of Art.

I learned that from the Tao Te Ching. I learned that possessions aren’t the important things. I learned that what is inside and how I treat others are infinitely more important then personal power and acquisitions. I can’t say that I even now fully understand the Tao Te Ching but I find in times of great stress that sitting down and reading it soothes me. I learned to love and value nature. I learned balance and harmony. For something of only 5,000 words I found that the Tao Te Ching taught me some of the most important lessons I learned about life.

Yin Yang photo YinYang_zpsac902418.jpg

Thursday News Tragedies

This diary will be cross-posted at the GOS, also.

(add link when posted).


We are melting, yes.  Finally.  

I ended up writing the OND at the gos again tonight – so here it is:  

I think I hit seven continents (counting the Shackleton voyage re-creation) and several states (whose legislatures are up to NO good in general).  

Welcome all, please comment on stories, or share your own news, and consider this a late-night open thread . . .

Late Tuesday News Shorts

China’s plan to build hydro dams over Salween river – in pictures

Guardian:  Photo Essay

Asia’s last free flowing river originates in Tibet, runs through Yunnan and flows into Burma and Thailand. The folds and bends it creates sustain millions of people and a rich biodiversity of plants and animals. A mega plan to build multiple dams threaten both local people and wildlife

A sidebar discusses “Grand Canyon of the East”  

No room for retired generals, judges in interim govt: PPP  Khaleeq Kiani

As part of its broad election strategy, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has decided in principle to have non-political personalities inducted as caretaker prime minister and provincial chief ministers, to dissolve all assemblies by mid-February and hold elections for national and provincial assemblies on the same date in the middle of May.

A senior PPP leader who attended the meeting of the PPP core committee on Monday told Dawn that the party would not approve of any retired military officer or retired judge for the slots of interim prime minister or chief ministers. He spoke at length about the key decisions taken by the PPP for elections, but declined to talk on record.

He said the PPP leadership decided that the five key positions – the interim prime minister and four chief ministers – would be filled with non-controversial personalities like reputed former bureaucrats or persons of integrity, citing the name of former ambassador to the United Nations Hussain Haroon as example.

According to the PPP leader, the exact date for dissolution of assemblies was discussed, but it was agreed that assemblies be dissolved by middle of February and elections held within 90 days by mid-May. He agreed that delaying elections beyond mid-May was not in the interest of the PPP because of hot weather and the loadshedding.

Hopefully, Pakistan should settle down a bit with this news.  

Sinn Fein says sorry for IRA killing of Irish cops


Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams apologized Tuesday for the Irish Republican Army’s killing of seven police officers and soldiers in the Republic of Ireland, the latest such statement of regret over past bloodshed to come from the IRA-linked party.

Adams expressed remorse during a parliamentary debate about the security and political response to Friday’s fatal shooting of a police officer in the border town of Dundalk. Detective Adrian Donohoe, 41, was shot in the head as he tried to stop a gang robbing a cash collection van outside a bank. An IRA faction based in the neighboring South Armagh region of Northern Ireland is suspected of involvement.

Donohoe was the first policeman to be fatally shot in the Republic of Ireland since 1996, when members of the dominant Provisional IRA faction ambushed another cash-carrying van in Limerick and killed police guard Jerry McCabe. The Provisionals killed a total of six policemen and one soldier during their failed 1970-1997 campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. The Irish security-force members all were shot as they tried to stop IRA bank robberies or free IRA hostages.

This seems late, and I wonder if Sinn Fein will apologize for anything else . .

Thick smog closes airports and highways across China (updated)

South China Morning Post: Stephen Chen

As of 11:00am on Wednesday, the Web site of Beijing’s Capital International Airport shows that about a dozen domestic flights between Beijing and major northern Chinese cities have been cancelled or delayed. Up to 15 international flights have been cancelled. Affected destinations include Tokyo, Istanbul, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur, Chicago, Franfurt and Helsinki.  

Thick smog covered almost one seventh of China yesterday, causing traffic chaos on highways and disruptions at airports.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said satellite images showed smog covering an area of 1.3 million square kilometres by 10am, a third more than on Monday and spanning more than 10 municipalities and provinces.

Serious air pollution was recorded in northern cities such as Beijing and Shijiazhuang and southern cities such as Wuhan and Chengdu .

It was the first time the ministry had released satellite data on the extent of smog, which had also plagued China on three other occasions this month, but it did not release the actual images.

It’s not just Beijing.  

NUM provided members with weapons at Marikana

Mail & Guardian: Maryke Vermaak

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) member and Lonmin employee Saziso Gegeleza testified on the events of August 11, when striking workers tried to attack the union’s office at the Lonmin platinum mine in the North West.

Karl Tip, representing NUM, asked him if there were usually weapons kept at the NUM offices, to which he replied: “No”.

Gegeleza said NUM shop stewards had confiscated the weapons from striking miners.

He said NUM western platinum branch secretary Daluvuyo Bongo handed out weapons as they heard a group of strikers were heading towards the office to burn it down.

“I was given a knobkerrie and a spear.”

Mining, labor rights, violence, economics.