Video Premiere: Onyeka Onwenu – Falling In Love

Video Premiere: Onyeka Onwenu – Falling In Love

10 September, 2012

Onyeka Onwenu makes a comeback to the music scene with her new single, “Falling In Love” slated for her “The Legend” compilation album.

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The video was directed by Tolucci.

Check on it.

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Hnaub will kill #nigerians…. Still not ACCREDITED

HNAUB …

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The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Monday cautioned Nigerian students against seeking admission in Houdegbe North American University, Cotonou, Benin Republic (HNAUB). The NUC Deputy Director of Press, Malam Ibrahim Yakassai, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. According to him, the commission has a lot of reservations for the university and has made a lot of publications to alert Nigerians. “In fact, we listed the university as an illegal university in Nigeria,
however, in Benin Republic where it operates, it could be a legal university, but we cannot vouch for its quality. “There are a lot of unethical practices in HNAUB and we have the information. Sometimes, students pursuing medical programmes will come back to Nigeria for clinical and other things. “We have no right to say it is not a recognised university since it is recognised by the country it operates, but we do not approve that university in Nigeria,’’ he said. The NUC spokesman said that there were serious doubts about the
quality of the institution, therefore, NUC would not recommend that
parents should send their children to that school. He said that efforts made by NUC to visit the school for fact findings were frustrated by the HNAUB’s authorities. Yakassai, however, said he could not confirm if the institution was dominated by students from Nigeria as being insinuated. He added that Benin Republic had its regulatory body for universities which should monitor the activities of Houdegbe University.
NAN recalls that a recent report has it that 85 per cent of the students
population of HNAUB are from Nigeria.

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Ode to Hanoi

Paying a tribute cannot be any more better…

from swerve of shore

Travel Photographs from Vietnam

Hanoi was always an easy place to love. A sense of history and a culture that slowly but surely began to embrace change and modernity. Chaos and charm in equal measures. A coldness that opened to warmth at the smallest provocation. Crumbling walls on ancient temples and less ancient French villas. Smiles and leers and sideways glances. Streets that smelled of petrol and burning things. Wet markets where the din of the street sellers drowned out most other conversation. At times the capital would be plagued by gray skies, but when the sun broke and shone and lit up all the yellow walls like so many gilded golden aisles, there was nothing more magical.

I lived in Hanoi for seven years and I wouldn’t take back a single moment. But now there are other cities and horizons to explore. Other towns to unearth and get lost in. Other countries to…

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IS THERE A GOD?

Is There a God?
Does God exist? Here are six straight-forward reasons to believe that God is really there.
By Marilyn Adamson

proof of GodJust once wouldn’t you love for someone to simply show you the evidence for God’s existence? No arm-twisting. No statements of, “You just have to believe.” Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer some of the reasons which suggest that God exists.

But first consider this. When it comes to the possibility of God’s existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God.1 On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.”2 Before you look at the facts surrounding God’s existence, ask yourself, If God does exist, would I want to know him? Here then, are some reasons to consider…

1. Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.

Many examples showing God’s design could be given, possibly with no end. But here are a few:

The Earth…its size is perfect. The Earth’s size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.3 Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.

existence of GodThe Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.

And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.4

Water…colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You’ll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:

It has an unusually high boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.

proof of GodWater is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.5

Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.

Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.

Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.

Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.6

The human brain…simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard. Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands.

existence of GodThe human brain processes more than a million messages a second.7 Your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. The brain functions differently than other organs. There is an intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people.

The eye…can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages — simultaneously.8 Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain — the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.

2. Does God exist? The universe had a start – what caused it?

Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.

Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, “The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion…The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen.”9

Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, “the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade…and the universe was filled with light.”10

The universe has not always existed. It had a start…what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.

3. Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?

Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn’t change — on earth or in galaxies far from us.

How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?

“The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn’t have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence.”11

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, “Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.”12

4. Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell’s behavior.

existence of GodAll instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It’s made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!!

Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.13

existence of GodWhy is this so amazing? One has to ask….how did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person’s body should develop.

Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.

5. Does God exist? We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.

I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people…to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded. To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.

proof of GodI didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, “Ok, you win…” It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.

I am not the only one who has experienced this. Malcolm Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, “I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued.” C.S. Lewis said he remembered, “…night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”

Lewis went on to write a book titled, “Surprised by Joy” as a result of knowing God. I too had no expectations other than rightfully admitting God’s existence. Yet over the following several months, I became amazed by his love for me.

6. Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.

Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and you’ll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you’re looking at him. Though he talked about his Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father.

He said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”14 He claimed attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sin, free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them eternal life in heaven. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words, Jesus pointed people to himself. He did not say, “follow my words and you will find truth.” He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”15

What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He did what people can’t do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people…blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects…created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature…walked on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because he constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I’m telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you’re seeing.16

Jesus Christ showed God to be gentle, loving, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply wanting a relationship with us. Jesus revealed that although God views us as sinners, worthy of his punishment, his love for us ruled and God came up with a different plan. God himself took on the form of man and accepted the punishment for our sin on our behalf. Sounds ludicrous? Perhaps, but many loving fathers would gladly trade places with their child in a cancer ward if they could. The Bible says that the reason we would love God is because he first loved us.

Jesus died in our place so we could be forgiven. Of all the religions known to humanity, only through Jesus will you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to himself. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he offers us a new life today. We can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”17 This is God, in action.

Does God exist? If you want to know, investigate Jesus Christ. We’re told that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”18

God does not force us to believe in him, though he could. Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence for us to willingly respond to him. The earth’s perfect distance from the sun, the unique chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God is there, the willingness for God to be known through Jesus Christ. If you need to know more about Jesus and reasons to believe in him, please see: Beyond Blind Faith.

If you want to begin a relationship with God now, you can.

This is your decision, no coercion here. But if you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with him, you can do so right now by asking him to forgive you and come into your life. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [or her].”19 If you want to do this, but aren’t sure how to put it into words, this may help: “Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. You know my life and that I need to be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me right now and come into my life. I want to know you in a real way. Come into my life now. Thank you that you wanted a relationship with me. Amen.”

God views your relationship with him as permanent. Referring to all those who believe in him, Jesus Christ said of us, “I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”20

So, does God exist? Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way. If you need more information about Jesus’ claim to divinity, or about God’s existence, or if you have similar important questions, please email us.

 About the Author: As a former atheist, Marilyn Adamson found it difficult to refute the continuously answered prayers and quality of life of a close friend. In challenging the beliefs of her friend, Marilyn was amazed to learn the wealth of objective evidence pointing to the existence of God. After about a year of persistent questioning, she responded to God’s offer to come into her life and has found faith in Him to be constantly substantiated and greatly rewarding.

(1) Romans 1:19-21 (2) Jeremiah 29:13-14 (3) R.E.D. Clark, Creation (London: Tyndale Press, 1946), p. 20 (4) The Wonders of God’s Creation, Moody Institute of Science (Chicago, IL) (5) Ibid. (6) Ibid. (7) Ibid. (8) Hugh Davson, Physiology of the Eye, 5th ed (New York: McGraw Hill, 1991) (9) Robert Jastrow; “Message from Professor Robert Jastrow”; LeaderU.com; 2002. (10) Steven Weinberg; The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe; (Basic Books,1988); p 5. (11) Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity; (Regnery Publishing, Inc, 2007, chapter 11). (12) Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist (New York: BasicBooks, 1998), 43. (13) Francis S. Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, and author of The Language of God, (Free Press, New York, NY), 2006 (14) John 8:12 (15) John 14:6 (16) John 14:11 (17) Jeremiah 31:3 (18) John 3:16 (10) Revelation 3:20 (20) John 10:27-29

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Sad End Of A Corps Member

Sad End Of A Corps Member

28 September, 2012

The desire of every young undergraduate in Nigeria is to put on the uniform of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and be addressed as a ‘corper’.

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But fate was very cruel to 24-year-old Augusta Chizoba Ndukwu of Umufu-Amaimo, Ikeduru Local Government area of Imo State. She was gruesomely murdered by unknown persons at Upper Iweka area of the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State.

It was quite sad that Augusta, who had survived a series of hostilities and bombings by the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, in Adamawa State, where she observed her one-year mandatory national youth service, would painfully meet her untimely death in a place she felt was her home.

Her voice was filled with joy when she spoke to her relatives in Owerri on phone, telling them that she had finally come home. She told them that she was at the luxurious park in Upper Iweka, informing them also that she would join them in Owerri the next morning. But she never lived to see the faces of her loved ones, as she was gruesomely murdered by unknown persons that fateful night.

Daily Sun gathered that the deceased, a graduate of Banking and Finance from the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State, was found lying in the pool of her own blood at the notorious fly-over at Upper Iweka on September 12.

According to a family member and the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Imo State Council, Chief Chris Akaraonye, Chizoba left Yola, the capital of Adamawa State on September 11 where she was having her NYSC primary assignment. She was travelling to Onitsha en route Owerri but could not get to her final destination that time because it was already late.

Chief Akaraonye further said the deceased, who had boarded a luxurious bus belonging to a popular transport company (names withheld), called her relatives to inform them that she could not make it again to Owerri. She also informed them that she had decided to pass the night at the company’s motor park together with other passengers. However, according to him, the following day, the family of the deceased, including her fiancé, waited in anxiety for the arrival of Chizoba in Owerri but to no avail. They then started trying her mobile line, but it had been switched off.

“At first, we thought she had a low battery. But after waiting for almost the whole day, we realized it was not usual and we decided to make moves to know why somebody that spoke to us at 10 pm last night could not be reached on phone or could not get to Owerri. In the course of our doubts and fears, we started going through different police stations and Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) formations along the Onitsha-Owerri Road to ascertain if she was involved in a motor accident.

It was when we came to Onitsha that we found her corpse at the Onitsha General Mortuary with gunshot wounds to her chest.” In the next morning, early passersby were shocked to their marrow when they beheld the gory sight of a lady lying in the pool of her own blood at the Upper Iweka axis with two travelling bags filled with children clothing and popcorn. One of the eyewitnesses who pleaded anonymity said that the deceased was a victim of ritual killers.

She confirmed that she was found lying at the Upper Iweka flyover with gunshot wounds on her chest and two travelling bags containing children clothes and popcorn beside her corpse. Though the police swiftly said the deceased could be the victim of an armed robbery attack, they also revealed that the bags were planted by the assailants to divert police investigations, stressing that the police had commenced investigations into the circumstances surrounding the murder.

The Campaign for Democracy (CD), South East Zone has reacted to the incident, describing it as a sin against God and humanity. The group called for proper investigations into the matter with a view to unravelling the circumstances surrounding the senseless killing of the deceased. The Chairman, South East Zone, Dede Uzor. A. Uzor condemned the act while calling on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubarka to personally detail a crack team of investigative police officers to look into the death of the corps member. Dede Uzor further questioned the omission of the deceased’s name in the passengers’ manifest and the alleged role that the transport company played when they returned the bags of the deceased to Yola without contacting the police.

Also speaking on the incident, Chairman of Ndigbo Unity Forum, Mr. Augustine Chukwudum condemned the act, describing it as the most wicked act and cruelty ever meted out to any corps member in the history of the state. Mr. Chukwudum also said his group would mobilize to make sure that criminal elements are sacked from the commercial city. He said the presence of such criminals was hindering the development of commerce and industry in the city.

However, policemen attached to the Central Police Station, CPS, Onitsha led by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Mr. Abdul Yusuf said they have arrested three persons in connection with the death of the corps member, adding that they were still working to unravel the circumstances surrounding the murder of the deceased.

The police said, though, that it could be possible that the girl was murdered at the park by some criminals who then took her body to the Upper Iweka where they kept two bags containing clothes belonging to a boy of six years just to divert police investigations.

According to the police, the deceased was not a victim of ritual killing. It was further gathered that the driver of the luxury bus that brought the deceased from Yola to Onitsha on that fateful night, the manager of the transport company and one other person whose identities were not yet known as at press time have been arrested by the police.

They were picked up to allegedly help give insight to the death of the corps member as well as explain how and why the management of the company swiftly returned the bags of the deceased to Yola without informing the police.  When contacted, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ralph Uzoigwe confirmed that three persons have been arrested by the police to help them in the course of investigations.

He appealed to the general public to help the police with more information that could lead to the arrest of the real killers of the corps member.

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136 Creepy Wiki Articles..

136 Creepy Wiki Articles..

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DO’S AND DONT’S OF FASHION

DO’S AND DONT’S OF FASHION

 

Don’t

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Obama Is So, So Fucked

Obama Is So, So Fucked

Welcome to a non-race-reactionary/pre-debate musing. I’m going to try and look forward today, not backward at the week that has just transpired.

But I’m writing my column this week from Greece, so excuse me for being a little pessimistic. This place is catastrophism concretized. I sense multiple traumas here, and it’s fucking with my head. But I’ll return to Greece at the end of this piece, so stay tuned.

I’m in a hotel complex somewhere south of Athens (far from an island paradise) attending an annual conference of bona fide muckety mucks from the worlds of digital marketing, digital media, and digital doohickeys. To be fair, there are also some people here who make real things, analog things. We presented one such amazing machine ourselves (more on that in the future). But regardless of what we do, we’re all here to learn how to use 1s and 0s to make what we do better. Binary code can do some truly amazing things. But with the conference now over, I can return to More Eddy’s principle obsession—the election.

Contemplating the Greece that exists outside the meeting room walls, the real Greece of “The Multiple Depressions”—economic depression, infrastructural depression, national psychological depression—and far from the media shitstorm in the USA (by the way David Brooks nailed it last week in his New York Times editorial: Romney is what I said he is, a non-ideologue posturing as a Republican Tea Partier, no inner conviction on the radical agenda he is pretending to ape), I have a completely new perspective on the 2012 presidential election.

Obama is fucked. He is so fucked. Or, as a cousin of mine would say for added rhetorical effect, he is “so, so” fucked.

I’m not talking about the election itself. The race will drone on with this or that focus—forensic analyses of Romney’s tax returns, negative ad blitzkriegs in the swing states, fact checking dramas, and the inevitable Romney gaffes and blunders. Then the debates will come and that will be that. It’s Obama’s to lose.

So let’s say he wins.

Obama gets his second term.

Though it’s a thin margin, it’s a huge victory regardless, and for so many reasons that people will go on and on about. They will say he’s matured, that he’ll be a different president in his second term, that he’ll be looking for a new legacy and place in history, etc.

But there won’t be much time for hagiography. The reality of the first six months of his second term is that it’s going to be absolutely brutal.

Here is the shit short-list; I’m covering only the problems that are going to blow up in Newbama’s face in the super short term, from victory in November, to inauguration in January, to the very beginning of summer, 2013:

1.) The Debt Ceiling Debate

The angry mob that really hates this president and has always hated him—the Republicans in the House—do not simply go away on November 12. They have jobs for two more years, at least. And if they sabotaged Obama in ‘11 and ’12, wait until you see what they do in ’13. Well, wait until you see what they do to him in December this year. The House are going to push the president, and the country (and maybe even the world) to the brink of ruin over the debt ceiling. On January 1 the kicked can—the debt ceiling—can’t be kicked anymore and the country will have to raise the ceiling on the money it can borrow, or risk defaulting on its outstanding loans. We have a lot of loans out there. The president is not going to sleep well this Christmas. Or New Year’s. The Republicans will do everything they can to nail him on this. Obama’s real Waterloo wasn’t the Health Care Act; it’s the debt ceiling. And he’s going to come out the other end completely white-haired. The failure of Simpson-Bowles is going to finally catch up with him in spectacular fashion.

2.) Global Economic Downturn

There is another global economic “correction” on the horizon. QE3 + The Eurozone Crisis + China’s New 5 Year Plan are all going to conspire to create a perfect shitstorm for the planet next year. QEing—quantitative easing—is last ditch effort economics: just print more money, things will solve themselves later. The PIIGS countries in Europe would love to have the right to print money—the European Central Bank just enacted a form of our QE3—but it’s a short hit and has the potential to backfire in high inflation rates, and other weird economic issues I don’t really understand. Speaking of the Eurozone, something’s going to give next year. All of these economies are running on fumes: there just isn’t enough demand across the board for a stable continent-wide situation. The Germans will continue to sell cars to the Chinese, but not as they once did. Why? The Chinese economy will be slowed further in 2013 on purpose. In March, the new Chinese Politburo will issue its next 5-year plan and I have an inside scoop that party officials will officially throttle the economy down to 7 percent growth rate in that 5-year plan. That’s way down from historic highs of 10 – 12 percent over the past decade or so. China is looking inward for more sustainable growth, and as they downshift, the whole global economy downshifts with them.

3.) Israel & Iran

Israel will strike Iran in the first three months of 2013. Probably just after the inauguration in January. Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, though challenged internally and by the polls, seem kind of weirdly unstoppable (see David Remnick’s recent piece in The New Yorker, “The Vegetarian”). Israel will strike Iran unilaterally, and the President, though he won’t want to, will not vociferously condemn the attack once it’s happened. And the Israeli strike will not only out Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will take out anything important connected to them, like roads, bridges, power stations, communications towers… the extent of the strike will actually freak people out, it’ll be much wider than most people currently predict. When Bibi goes in he’ll make it really count, for the next 20 years. With one shot at it he will hit Iran hard, and…

4.) Arab Winter

A major strike on Iran (or even a minor strike, for that matter) will throw the region into a definitive state of religious winter. Look at the hysterics caused by The Innocence of Muslims. That will be nothing compared to the geo-religio freakout that will follow a military strike on Iran. The small but vocal religious fanatics we all know and love will be joined by mainstream Arabs from across these newly hatched protean-democracies. These Arab Spring front-liners will join the zealots to defend Iran, violently. As much as these people don’t care for the Persian version of Islam, aside from the obvious schismatic-historical reasons, there’s just way too much solemnity, sorrow, and self-infliction of pain in Persian Shiite Islam for the sensualism and materialism of the Arab world to handle—the Arabs and the Persians are united in their hatred of Israel. United by hate. What will Newbama do? What will he even be able to do? Middle East and West will be divided further, the right wing in the USA and Iran, Israel and Egypt, and Syria, and Libya, Yemen, Pakistan… all right wings everywhere will be emboldened while moderates everywhere will crawl back into their holes. Spoilers Russia and China will criticize and meddle to push their own agendas further in a moment of crisis and markets will nosedive when Iran disrupts the flow of oil through the Gulf. Then Obama will have to get involved. Oh, what a fucking bloody mess, and with no allies in the Arab world that he can stand shoulder to shoulder with to get us through. If Arab Winter falls across the Middle East, Obama will consume his second term in a real, not perceived, clash of civilizations. And, of course, it will be argued that it was all his fault.

So there you have it. That’s why Obama is so, so fucked.

Right off the bat Washington will draw first blood with debt ceiling brinksmanship. Then the world economy will take us all down the shitter and he’ll preside over the slide. Israel will defang Iran on his watch and the whole of Islam will rise in unity against the Jews and the Christians and he won’t have a single friend he can count on.

All of this spells one sure thing: Obama’s second term will guarantee a pretty hard right Republican will take the White House in 2016. That’s why they didn’t field a real candidate this time around. Why burn a real contender. Just wait it out.

Back to Greece.

My impression—no, my feeling—as I spend more time with real Greece outside of the conference walls, is that the Greek malaise is easy to solve. All it would take to fix this entire country—and ergo all it will take to fix the whole of Obama’s second term—is confident, positive, inventive leadership… a good natured lovable chauvinist with huge balls of stone. Yes, Greece, and the world, needs a hero. Now more than ever.

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Confession of a Muslim Psychedelic Tea Drinker

Confession of a Muslim Psychedelic Tea Drinker

Popping the Marks

By Michael Muhammad Knight

The place of drugs in Islam is much more complicated than most people recognize. Because the Qur’an only speaks specifically of wine, Muslims have had to figure out Islamic positions on other substances. The absence of a Qur’anic verse or authentic statement from the Prophet on weed, for example, allowed for a number of possibilities. Some thinkers used qiyas (analogical reasoning) to make a ruling on weed derived from rulings on alcohol: If wine is intoxicating and forbidden in the Qur’an, then all intoxicants belong in the category of wine. Because wine is haram (prohibited), then so must be hashish (which, lacking our modern distinctions, included pot).

Other Muslims, based on a more literal reading of the Qur’an, argued that no one has a right to forbid what the Qur’an itself does not. They felt that for wine and hashish to share one quality does not mean that they are automatically in the same class of substance. The Qur’an’s silence on weed empowered both the herb’s opponents and defenders.

Muslims invented the coffee house as we now know it, and were responsible for coffee finding its way into Christian Europe. But when coffee first made its way from Ethiopia into Yemen and up the Arabian Peninsula, some Muslims challenged its appropriateness. It was clear to early observers that coffee had an effect on people, but legal thinkers had to decide whether these effects qualified as intoxication. More threatening than coffee’s impact on the body, however, was the drink’s social consequence. Like wine drinkers, coffee drinkers tended to assemble in groups. Could the coffee house invite the same troublesome activities that surrounded taverns? Moreover, coffee appeared to assist Sufis in their all-night gatherings, leading some to consider that prohibiting coffee would also aid in the suppression of controversial religious practices and subversive teachings.

So there have been times and places in which Islam seemed to be OK with weed, and also contexts in which Islam condemned coffee. The Muslim position on a given substance, therefore, is less about what “Islam” says than the interpretive choices that Muslims make. These histories informed my forthcoming book, Tripping with Allah, in which I attempt to place Islamic tradition in dialogue with ayahuasca, a psychoactive tea made from the Amazon’s Banisteriopsis caapi vine. My friends who drank ayahuasca said that it had healing qualities; the vine is supposed to pull out all the poisonous shit that’s inside of you.

The book’s dialogue takes place within my own self, as a Muslim drinking ayahuasca. I had no expectations for what would be said to me by the weird insect creatures, flying jaguars, or whatever people saw on ayahuasca, but I brought my own materials to the sacred vine. I came to ayahuasca as a Muslim, with the scriptures, myths, ritual acts, and historic personalities of multiple Islamic traditions in my head. Ayahuasca worked with these things, shaking them up to be reprocessed. Inside me, the chemicals met the texts and their mashing together gave me some useful craziness.

I understand why the self-appointed protectors of my chosen tradition might oppose ayahuasca. Jumbling up your consciousness can rip holes in the fences that keep a scripture’s meanings stable. Tripping with Allah could be the most heretical and blasphemous material that I have produced in roughly a decade of writing crazy books, but it brought me to an entirely different place. I drove straight for the edge of the cliff, but I ended up flying.

The day after my ayahuasca trip, I went to the mosque and did some regular Muslim prayers, feeling as though I had been cleansed of so much angst and alienation that had fueled my weird and punky shit over the years. I can even go to a Salafi mosque and just look for the good in whatever they have. Say what you want about the Salafis, but it’s one way—not the only one—of loving the Prophet.

I don’t know what it all means. I still hold unpopular opinions, fail to meet many Muslims’ checklists for doctrinal “orthodoxy,” and many would take offense that I owe much of my big Muslim reconciliation to psychedelic shamanism. I might have been heading this way already, but it was largely due to an unspeakable drug-induced hallucination that I could reopen my heart to the Prophet and the sunna, his sublime example, which I had kept at arm’s length for years. Whether or not it makes sense, this is my new condition. For me, ayahuasca is an Islamic drug.

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15 Wrong Reasons To Be In A Relationship

15 Wrong Reasons To Be In A Relationship

28 September, 2012

Being in a relationship has all sorts of perks. You have someone to talk to, someone to hug, kiss, and do things with at any given time. While relationships are nice, there are definitely the right reasons and the wrong reasons to decide to date someone.

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Here are 15 wrong reasons for deciding to be committed to someone else.

Avoiding loneliness.

Having a significant other definitely makes your days and nights a lot less lonely, but if you’re only dating in order to distract yourself from feeling lonely and alone, there’s a problem!

You’re bored.

You’ve got all sorts of spare time and not much to do with it. Sometimes when you have too much time on your hands, a quick romantic fixation can unbore you; at least for a little while.

Caught up on the moment.

Once the honeymoon phase of a relationship ends, some people tend to find that they were only dating because of the magical moments and times that were had. But, when that all ends, the passion is over, just like the relationship.

Filling a personal void.

If you have an inner void that you can’t seem to figure out or shake, you probably think that having a loving and caring person in your life will make things better. Wrong! In fact, dating to fill a void only sets you up for a bad relationship.

You want sex.

Admit to it or not, there’s plenty of people in the world who have gotten into a relationship simply because their hook-ups or one night stands were great.

Just because.

Maybe a guy or girl asked you out and you just decided to say yes for the heck of it. While flattery is nice, it’s no means for a relationship.

Desperation.

So you haven’t dated someone in years and to say the least, you’re desperate for some TLC. Being desperate often lands you with the wrong person and a lot of wasted time, and money.

Convenient for you.

Maybe you’ve found a partner who lives closer to work, is near your favorite restaurant, will drive you anywhere, and gets discount tickets at the movies. The perks are nice, but in the end you’re just using the person you’re dating.

Career advances

Rarely do relationships at work go well. The bad part is that when they go bad, they can often go really really bad. Don’t think about dating a boss or a higher-up co-worker to try to further your career. It will probably backfire.

Physical attraction.

Though it’s not to be physically attracted to the person you’re dating, if it’s only a physical relationship, don’t plan for it to last too long.

Peer pressure from friends and relatives.

So your best friend and your closest aunt have all been pushing you to find a man and you cave in. Though it’s nice to appease others, if you’re only playing the field to appeal to others, don’t expect a quality relationship.

Your child needs a mom or dad.

Dating in order to fill a lack of a parent for your child is down right wrong. Having numerous men and women walking in and out of your kid’s life can be traumatizing. Don’t do it!

Money.

Money is nice. Okay, money is real nice, but it’s nothing that can sustain a relationship. Money can’t buy love, remember that.

Your clock is ticking.

So you’re 35, unmarried, and you really want to get the ball rolling. While you may feel strapped for time and in a hurry, don’t settle just because you’re getting older.

For a self-esteem boost.

Dating someone to boost your self-esteem and self-worth is useless because if the relationship doesn’t work, you’re back to where you started. Learn to love yourself before getting into a relationship.

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20 Truly Weird But Awesome Photos

20 Truly Weird But Awesome Photos

20 Truly Weird But Awesome Photos

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