Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt Tries to Shut Down Social Media

After watching the crowds in the streets on CNN and hearing about the various government buildings on fire, I would say Egypt is in full revolt.  Not surprising since the president there has allegedly been re-elected over 30 years. Nonsense, it's a dictatorship posing as a democracy, and though there are more freedoms than in some totalitarian countries, Egypt is still not a democracy. 

Meanwhile, the government is trying to stifle the revolt by shutting down the country's ISPs.  They are afraid of the communication and advantages offered by social media.

From an interview on Computer World: "Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet have made civil disobedience more efficient," said industry analyst Rebecca Wettemann from Nucleus Research. "The government is reacting to a civil problem by cutting one channel of communications, and there are always other ways."

The beauty of the internet and the web is the ability of information to reroute and it makes things very difficult to control.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the country's main opposition party seems to be behind much of the protests.  What this means for the future of Egypt is still unclear.  As this uprising plays out, it will behoove the United States to avoid getting embroiled in it.  I personally think Egypt should be governed by Egyptians.  My hope is that it won't become another radical fundamentalist nation like others in the middle-east. For LGBT Egyptians life is not rosy, I could only assume that under a fundamentalist Muslim regeim things would get a lot worse. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Holocaust Remembrance Day

"Arbeit Macht Frei" -- "Work Sets You Free"

These words marked the entrance to the notorious concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland.  The camp was liberated by Soviet troops on Jan. 27, 1945, and today the date is marked as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

For those who might not remember, the Nazi's arrested and eventually exterminated millions of prisoners.  Best estimates are as follows:

5.1–6.0 million Jews, including 3.0–3.5 million Polish Jews
1.8 –1.9 million Gentile Poles
200,000–800,000 Roma & Sinti
200,000–300,000 people with disabilities
10,000–25,000 homosexual men
2,000 Jehovah's Witnesses

Gay men were marked with a pink triangle, now a symbol of gay liberation.  

It's a good time to remember this horror and make sure it never happens again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taco Bell = Beef? Maybe Not?

I was reminded of a scandal that broke years ago ion my home town of Dallas, Texas when a local Mexical food buffet was accused of serving dog food in their enchiladas.  Though it's hardly dog food, the ingredients in a Taco Bell taco look more like breakfast cereal than beef, and that's the issue.

According to a class-action lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in the Central District of California, the chain is serving a product that hardly qualifies as beef.  Only 36% of the taco filling is beef by volume with the rest being everything from oats to yeast and other ingredients including soy lecithin, etc.  Following are the "other" ingredients that make up the alleged beef:
  1. Water
  2. Isolated oat product
  3. Salt
  4. Chili pepper
  5. Onion powder
  6. Tomato powder
  7. Oats (wheat)
  8. Soy lecithin
  9. Sugar
  10. Spices
  11. Maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose)
  12. Soybean oil (anti-dusting agent)
  13. Garlic powder
  14. Autolyzed yeast extract
  15. Citric acid, caramel color
  16. Cocoa powder
  17. Silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent)
  18. Natural flavors
  19. Yeast
  20. Modified corn starch
  21. Natural smoke flavor
  22. Salt
  23. Sodium phosphate
  24. Less than 2% of beef broth
  25. Potassium phosphate
  26. Potassium lactate

Anderson Cooper Catches Michele Bachmann Lying About American History

Anderson Cooper explains the numerous lies told by Michele Bachmann in her rewriting of American History.

Will Doritos Air Gay Superbowl Ad?

That seems to be the question on many advertisers lips.  The TV spot which takes place in a sauna is rife with sexual innuendo and skin, but ultimately has a funny ending. For once the idea of the characters being gay is not used as a pejorative punchline.  Watch and you decide.  Personally I doubt if this will ever see network TV, but the buzz has already worked to Doritos advantage.

Monday, January 24, 2011

RIP Jack LaLanne

One of my earliest memories of Jack LeLanne was watching him in his form fitting gymnastic pants encouraging viewers to follow along for a stretching exercise.  He and his dog Happy were bopping along to an unseen organist who played along with his calisthenics.

LeLanne popularized exercise in the home and pioneered in the TV fitness genre long before Jane Fonda or anyone else.  Though his recommendations for health eating sometimes confused me, his enthusiasm was contagious.

I remember for his 70th birthday he was handcuffed and pulled a boatload of reporters from Alcatraz to San Francisco with his teeth. Though he got a lot of comedians ridiculing the act, it was pretty impressive.

LeLanne died at the age of 96 yesterday surrounded by his family watching a football game at his California home.