Sunday, August 31, 2014

Know Therefore

Dusk at Riverside Drive
[Photo By: KPA]

Deuteronomy 7: 9-11
9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.

11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

A Little Bit of Blue

[Photos By: KPA]
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

More than the Optics

Optics is a word that has been repeatedly used to refer to President Obama's behavior this past week.

Here's one juxtaposing Obama playing golf with Rand Paul in Guatemala doing charitable doctoring.

Well, how about this one? Obama in his vacation tan suit, with Putin watching. Obama has that frantic look in his eyes that I have documented over the years of his presidency. Putin just looks on, calm and collected.

The caption for this Reuters photograph of Putin reads:
Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a session of the State Council Presidium in Voronezh, August 5, 2014. Putin has ordered his government to prepare retaliatory measures against the latest round of Western sanctions, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday.
Obama's photo caption from ABC News says:
President Barack Obama gestures in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Aug. 28, 2014. Evan Vucci/AP Photo
I think it is more than a "summer suit." Obama is saying that he is still on vacation, no matter the world's situation.

The not so subliminal message is that he doesn't care. And the political message is that he is not watching out for America in particular, and the West in general. He is siding with the enemy. But then, our enemy are his friends, so is behavior his to be expected.

The "perception" message, the "optics" message, is that he's giving the enemy information that should be kept secret for national security reasons, but is now out in the open: America's leadership is hesitant, which makes it vulnerable to attacks. Now is a good time to attack.

All this, in other words, it is more than "the optics."

Here is Republican King basically saying what I'm saying:
You have the whole world watching, you have a week, two weeks of anticipation of what the United States is going to do and then for him to walk out – I'm not trying to be trivial here – but in a light suit, light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about, and he said that's the vision of the second-quarter numbers on the economy.

This is a week after Jim Foley was beheaded, and he's trying to act like, you know, real Americans care about the economy, not about ISIS and not about terrorism. And then he goes on to say that he has no strategy!

Now you know, listen, you and I know that it is easy to mis-speak [inaudible] can say the wrong things. What this showed was, you know, you know there's always a few issues you're not overly familiar with, and you can find yourself saying the wrong thing or saying it in the wrong way. That's the way it struck me is that this is not, that foreign policy is not a major issue to him. It's something he has to talk about, he's not crazy about it, and he'd much rather talk about some social engineering or healthcare or whatever. And he doesn't even know how to..For a guy that's so articulate, he does not know how to express himself on this issue. He's not the --thoughest radar screen, he really isn't.

It was just a terrible performance by a commander-in-chief.

Forget that our allies are watching, forget that the American people are watching. ISIS is watching.

If you were the head of ISIS, if you were [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-] Baghdadi, or if you were any of the ISIS, anyone in the ISIS leadership, would you come away from yesterday afraid of the United States?" he asked. "Would you be afraid that the United States is going to use all its power to crush ISIS?

Or would you think, here's a person who's going to go out and do a few fundraisers over the Labor Day weekend? [More of the interview at]

A Chinese J-11 fighter jet is seen flying near a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon
about 215 km (135 miles) east of China's Hainan Island in this U.S. Department
of Defense handout photo taken August 19, 2014.
Chinese interceptions of U.S. military planes could intensify due to submarine base
"We didn't give [the Americans] enough pressure (before)," Zhang* said... "A knife at the throat is the only deterrence. From now on, we must fly even closer to U.S. surveillance aircraft."

* Zhang is Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong from the National Defense University in Beijing
Source, text and image: Reuters
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Feisty Prince

The Feisty Prince

If England is to get a new Prince, then this one fits the bill! It's time that a feisty prince is in the running. Here he is, at almost one. His first birthday was on June 22, and this photograph was taken on April 19.

There have been several Georges in the British royal family. George is the name of the patron saint of England. The legend of Saint George is that he slew the dragon to rescue a princess.

May that young Prince George's name give him the strength to vanquished the evils of our modern world, to save his England.

St. George Slaying the Dragon
St. Joseph's Orphanage, Lancashire, England
St Joseph’s Orphanage was opened in 1872 and St Joseph’s Hospital for the Sick Poor followed five years later.

The hospital tended injured soldiers during both world wars and its nuns, the Sisters of Charity, also delivered tens of thousands of babies.

The orphanage shut in 1954 and the hospital in 1982 and the building fell into disrepair since nuns using it as a rest home moved out a few years ago. [Source: Lancashire Evening Post, April 16, 2013]
I searched for a while for an image of Saint George (that I liked). I found the one above. It is from an orphanage and hospital that is falling apart, as the linked article relates. More work for this young prince.
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Unsung Modern-Day Heroes

Below is an interview of Will Estes, who plays the quiet, yet determined cop Jamie Reagan on the television series Blue Bloods. Estes is surprisingly similar to the character he plays, so much so that he ends the interview as though he were this cop: "All I know is I'll wear that uniform 'til the day I die."


MF: You've played a few servicemen. What draws you to roles like this?

WE: I enjoy it. The Sopranos was a show about villains. But [Blue Bloods] is a show about heroes, real-life heroes that wear uniforms. They are firemen and police officers, and that's what the show's about.

MF: Tell me how you trained for the role mentally and physically.

WE: We have an incredible technical advisor on the show who was a detective with the NYPD for 24 years. He did homicide, and has seen it and done it all. I go to him for everything, and I just try to soak it all up. For me as an actor, what helps me are the finer points, the small nuances and the things that give insight into the mentality and the emotional content of the work, of the job, of being a police officer.

I try to train based on the role. I played a marine once so all I did was running, pushups and boxing. I did anything that was combat-oriented. I would go shoot and box and just sort of get into the whole mindset. In general I just like to run around and stay active. I did a little gymnastics when I was a kid so I'll run around and find a bar and try to do as many pull-ups as I can do. In terms of nutrition, I just try to eat clean.

MF: Can you give an example of something small you took from your research?

WE: You have to deal with people in a way that no one else does. I mean, you learn to come in and control an isolated situation with other human beings for your safety and for their safety. You learn to deal with people and the roughest elements of society in a way that nobody else really does. That's why I think when you look at somebody who's a cop or military personnel not in uniform, you can just feel it. You don't know what it is, but you can tell that they're a cop or military person, and I think it's because the job changes you.

MF: What qualities do you think a person has to have in order to pursue that career?

WE: I think you've got to have thick skin. It's true that police are really scrutinized these days. I think that it's a frustrating part of the job. I mean, if you discharge your weapon in self-defense, you're guilty until proven innocent.

MF: Playing this role, what's been the biggest challenge for you?

WE: Probably the winter in New York. No, I'll be honest with you. I read this pilot and it was my favorite thing that I've read in a long time. I've always wanted to play a cop on television.

MF: Why is that?

WE: I saw myself in a suit, not in the uniform. Like a detective. But I love the uniform, too. They say that all songs are love songs. I think 90% of great stories are stories about heroes. And I think a cop in a uniform or a detective in a suit is a quintessential hero. It's about justice. And I think there's a reason that there are a lot of cop shows on television. Justice is often a really interesting story and there are a lot of different stories within the element of right and wrong and where you draw the line and the gray area. They make for good stories.

MF: Why do you think the NYPD is admired by some, but hated by others?

WE: I don't know why that is. My guess is that its because New York is the biggest fastest city in the world. And it is, I think in a lot of ways, still the front door to the United States of America for more immigrants than anywhere else that want to visit here or want to be Americans. So its a super fluid, dynamic situation to police. There is sometimes a negative connotation for NY police officers among New Yorkers, but those people haven't had to police New Yorkers either. It's one of the toughest jobs in the world. It's just a really dynamic situation. Just running around and trying to film NYC, you get a sense of what it would be like to police it. It's intense.

We were shooting right near Times Square and these two guys came up and they were wearing suits. And I knew they were detectives just because I know what a detective in a suit looks like after working on this show. I was in my uniform and I was standing on the sidewalk. It's a real uniform, so anyone would assume I'm a police officer from five feet away. So one of the detectives starts to ask me about what it is like being on duty while there's a shoot going on. The other detective stopped him and said, "He's not a real cop," and he says "What are you talking about"? and he says "The collar brass." He's talking about the collar brass on my uniform, which says 12, but there's no 12 precinct in real life. It's like a 555 phone number for the movies.

ME: What do you think it is that women love so much about a man in uniform?

WE: I don't know. That's like, one of those eternal questions. Your guess is as good as mine.

ME:All you know is you're lucky to be wearing it for a job.

WE: All I know is I'll wear that uniform 'til the day I die.
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New York Reflections

I've posted my New York photographs in this site:
New York Reflections
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Garden Fillers

[Photo By: KPA]

These are "border" flowers, used to frame other, more eye-catching plants and flowers. But, a closer look shows how perfect they are.
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat