► Maple Leaf pedicure

► Italian ink - "Life is Beautiful"

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Did Lance cheat ?

This diary is about doping in sports... or the use of performance enhancing drugs.  This is an appropriate topic, made all the more appropriate with the upcoming Olympics.

Doping has a long history in sports, obviously.  Many athletes have been caught, and there is a cloud that hangs over every sport as a result.  

But how pervasive is the problem ?  What is the underlying origin of the problem ? And can something be done about it ??

Michael Shermer (of the Skeptic Society had an article in the April issue of Scientific American on that topic recently (unfortunately, you need to be a subscriber to get the pictures; but the fulltext is available).  His arguments sound really compelling:

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The 2008 Olympics, brought to you by

Barack Obama.

Yep. The Obama campiagn is purchasing a 5 million dollar Olympic package.

http://adage.com/article?article_id=1298 53

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The Rocket's Red Glare May Be Chinese

by Walter Brasch

    Wearing a pith helmet and brandishing a blunderbuss, Marshbaum burst into my office and ordered me to the floor. I looked at my faux friend and media foil, about to ask him what his latest scheme was. With Marshbaum, who was fed "Honeymooners" episodes by IV when he was a child, everything is a scheme to make money. But, in the fraction of time I had before he yelled for me to get under my desk and cover my head, I quickly determined he was serious.

    "We're at war!" he shouted, hyper-kinetically upset.

    "Of course we're at war," I said. "Bush diverted resources from Afghanistan to invade Iraq. Been at war five years."

    "Not that war," said Marshbaum. "This is bigger. China invaded our homeland. We're under attack. And thanks to a 5-4 decision by the Supremes, me and Ole Betsy will defend my home from the Commie invaders."

    "You been watching too many recycled Cold War films?" I asked. "China is our trading partner. They loaned us billions to reduce our exorbitant unbalanced budget. Their factories are producing goods for the American consumer almost as fast as Washington politicians have been producing verbal diarrhea."

     "The Chinese have launched rockets at us. We don't have much time."

     "I didn't see anything on the 24/7 news channels about an invasion."

    "Of course not," said Marshbaum, "they're too busy tracking celebrity weddings, break-ups, and drunk driving arrests."

    "Even the worst journalist would pick up on an invasion of the U.S," I said.

    "Yeah," he replied sarcastically, "like they picked up on the PATRIOT Act violating a half-dozen constitutional amendments? Like they figured out the Bush-Cheney Oil and Screw Corp. lied to them about Iraq, the environment, the housing crisis, the economy, and how to make barbecued burritos?"

    "But war with China?" I asked skeptically.

    "China!" he said authoritatively. "Largest Communist country in the world. More than a billion people. Largest Army in the world. While the politicians focused on being nasty to Cuba, which has only 11 million people and hardly any weapons, the Chinese have been getting ready to invade us. It's been a sneak attack that started years ago. Some of the best students in American colleges are Chinese. They're the cadre for the take-over, and it's less than a week away!"

    "I assume you have evidence," I asked, playing along with Marshbaum. After all, I had no idea how deadly a blunderbuss could be, especially if I was in the same room with one.

    "Tents," said Marshbaum. "Thousands of tents have been set up the past two weeks on every major road in America. They're ammunition depots. Come July Fourth, the Chinese students will stop getting perfect scores on their SATs, join their comrades from all the Chinese buffets, go to the tents, activate the weapons and blow us all sky high with Roman Candles and Multi-break Shells. Dahlias, Willows, and Rings. An arsenal of destruction!"

    "They're fireworks!" I told my naive friend. "Fireworks! Jefferson, Madison, and the patriots started the revolution so we could eat hotdogs and potato salad, then shoot off a color spectacular and get a three-day weekend."

    "For a journalist, you're even denser than I thought." And so he walked me through his logic. "Ninety-Eight percent of all fireworks we use for July Fourth are made in China."

    "I see no evidence of war here," I said. "The Chinese also supply most of our toys and just about anything that winds up at the Dollar Store."

    "Do you think the largest army in the world would be content to stay in Asia and eat sushi all day?" I disregarded the anomaly that sushi is a Japanese dish, but when Marshbaum is on a roll it's hard to divert him with logic. "Come July Fourth, they're going to shock and awe us with their fireworks, play a Tchaikovsky overture, and then take over the rest of America."

    "The Olympics are only about five weeks away," I reminded him, "why would the Chinese attack us when it's hosting the leading display for unity and peace?"

    "Because they need more emaciated squeaky-voiced gymnasts," he said, "and we'll be so grateful to get rid of them and those snooty equestrians as well that we'll wave flags to honor China."

    "Americans are going to wave Chinese flags? That's ridiculous!"

    "American flags," said Marshbaum. "Most flags and flag pins--you know the ones the semi-patriotic American politicians always wear--are made in China." Marshbaum thought a moment. "Maybe their Army won't need to invade us. They've already defeated us."

[Dr. Brasch, an award-winning syndicated columnist, is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University and president of the Pennsylvania Press Club. His latest book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (November 2007), available through amazon.com and other bookstores. You may contact Brasch at brasch@bloomu.edu or through his website at: www.walterbrasch.com.]

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World Must Speak Out

China has been getting away with human rights abuses in Tibet and other parts of the world for too long. With the recent protests in the streets of Lhasa and the crackdown and murdering of innocent civilians and monks, it has become evident that the governments and people of the free world must stand up with Tibet and its people and demand their freedom.

I am not Buddhist or Tibetan, but I believe that all people have the right to self-determination.

China invaded its peaceful neighbour. It has set up a system of apartheid that subjects Tibetans to control by the minority Han Chinese.

China has oppressed Tibetan religion, culture, and language. It has branded the Dalai Lama -- a peaceful man who believes that Tibet should remain in China, but as a democratic autonomous region, much like Hong Kong -- as a divisive force who wants to destroy the Chinese people.

It has been nearly 58 years since China invaded Tibet and began its genocide. It is time that we all stand with one voice against this horrendous injustice.

With the Beijing Olympics approaching, it is the perfect time to let the Chinese government know that the world will no longer turn a blind eye.

I encourage all those who believe that China should no longer get away with its human rights abuses in Tibet and elsewhere to join the campaign for a free Tibet. Fly the Tibet flag or hang off your balcony or whatever, write your Member of Congress, or Senator and tell them that Tibet should be free.  I also encourage everyone to turn the tv off when it comes to the Beijing Olympics.  How can we expect to have freedom if we do not defend those who want it but do not have it?  Free Tibet!

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