“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, September 07, 2009

Telegraph writer in the lion's den. Could you picture Chris Matthews in there?

This little guy has some tough bark on him and is a cool operator under fire. He should never have trouble getting a date.

Daily Telegraph writer mauled after entering lion's enclosure

“You'd better put on an old jumper as you might get some blood on it,” said our driver, with a grin, as we clambered into the Land Rover to visit the lion sanctuary at Legends resort, deep in Limpopo Province, in the far north of South Africa.

By Charles Starmer Smith
Published: 9:00PM BST 04 Sep 2009

I laughed it off as casually as I could, before slipping on the most padded jacket I had. This was a date with a lion after all.

Sitting alongside the camera crew and my fellow presenter, here with me to make tourism videos on South Africa, I took solace from the fact that the lion I was going to visit was called Mapimpan, which means “little baby” in Shangaan, and it was little more than a year old.

The lion was just a few days old when Arrie, the sanctuary’s resident lion expert, found it wandering the roadside, injured and malnourished.

It had been raised with a view to being released back into the wild. It was made clear that if I wanted to go into the lion’s enclosure it would be entirely at my own risk. It was a chance I was prepared to take.

“You cannot show him any fear. And, above all, don’t turn and run. He’ll think you’re prey,” said Arrie as we approached Mapimpan’s enclosure. I gulped and nodded.

Arrie entered the pen, as the cameras began to roll. Heart surging, I slipped inside and the gate locked behind me. I approached slowly and bent down to stroke Mapimpan’s wiry underbelly. It pawed at my shoes, rolling on to its back. “He likes you,” said Arrie with a smile.

I began to relax, chuckling with disbelief. Then Mapimpan emitted a low growl as it circled around me. “Remember it just wants to play,” said Arrie, sensing my fear.

That was when the lion clamped its jaws around my calf, its teeth sinking into my flesh.

It rose on to its haunches, towering above me and I was spun into a waltz with a 300lb predator – as I pushed desperately at its throat to keep away its jaws. This did not feel like playing.

With a series of fierce clips to Mapimpan’s nose Arrie managed to get it to release me. I had to fight the overwhelming urge to run. But I remembered Arrie’s warning. So I stood there motionless, my heart thudding, my lungs gasping for air.

Mapimpan seemed to be more docile now. I exhaled with relief. But then it slipped back through Arrie’s legs, and was on me again, its teeth bared as it lunged towards my neck. I raised my forearm to divert its jaws from my face, then felt razor-sharp teeth ripping into my shoulder.

The next few seconds were a blur of claws, teeth and shouts as I stumbled around, helpless against the power of this animal.

Not a moment too soon, Arrie managed to free me from Mapimpan’s clutches, cornering it on the far side of the enclosure. It was my cue to leave.

A week has passed since my encounter and people ask whether I blame Arrie for putting me in that predicament, and my answer is still no. It was my choice to go in and it is an experience I will never forget, despite the stitches I needed after “playing” with Mapimpan.

In fact, I look forward to the day I can return to see it in the wild, although this time from the safety of a Land Rover. For that is the lesson I will take from this: too often on safari, tourists dismiss rangers’ warnings and get out of vehicles for a closer look. “They assume it’s safe because the ranger has a gun nearby,” said Arrie. “But they’re wrong. The speed and power of the lion is quite phenomenal – they wouldn’t stand a chance.”

As Frank Bruno, the British boxer, would say when he left the ring to be interviewed after yet another bruising defeat: I know what you mean Arrie.


  1. off topic...

    Rat was bemoaning the total dollars/weapons that palestinians from our great nation, verse the amount the blood sucking joos got...

    so I responded to his ratcurds of shit wisdom:

    desert rat said...
    We pay and arm them less than we have paid and armed the Israeli, doug, over the past 60 years.

    The pittance the Palis are getting from US now, does not balance the scales.


    Ah but Rat, the last 60 years? the ARAB world has gotten far more than the israelis on that juicy American tit...

    the palios are a sub-group invented AFTER the failure of the collective arab world's failure at genocide of the Jewish state..

    300 million arabs and 1/2 the world's oil verses a few million joos... hardly seems fair....

    but to be fair one MUST look at the entire context.

    the muzzies are squatters on everyone else's lands...

    and the current problem is that israel sits on 1/650th of the middle east and the arabs squat on the other 649/650th.

    the arabs now want 50% of the 1/650th...

    but you judge israel as a city state because it's tiny and not a nation...

    you state you dont support israel's right to be because it's a jewish state.. and yet you do not decry every other christian nation or moslem nation that America supports, that is anti-semetic...

    equal standards of decrying....

    for every anti-israeli post you should be posting 649 additional posts decrying arabs...

    America aid should be based on loyality to the USA, last i checked Israel voted with the USA more than any other nation on the face of the earth...

    Rat doesnt understand WHY America is bonded with israel, might i suggest it's clear the vast numbers of Americans...


    israelis = life...

    real simple

    so rat...

    side with the suicide bombers...

    I (and the majority of the American people) will support a reasonable democracy in the middle east that provides freedom of expression, religion, woman's rights and citizenship to people of all backgrounds...

    again, you decry israel as a nothing state and side with the palios...

    your choice...

  2. No

    Arabs = Oil

    Jews = Campaigne Contributions

  3. China to Build 12 Million Cars This Year

    Mark my words, it'll be 20 Million by 2012.


  4. rufus said...

    Arabs = Oil

    Jews = Campaigne Contributions

    Partially correct...

    Arabs=islam, burka, assassination, oil imbargo, gas lines, world trade center, suicide vests, twa hijackings, attack on the 12 colonies in 1783, shria, honor killings, jihad & more

    Jews=commerce, invention, innovation, nobel prizes, einstein, the best corned beef, cheesecake, jewelry, comedy, art, social justice, invention of TGIF, blue jeans, las vegas, glass blowing & the matzo ball (not to mention bagels)

  5. "off topic..."

    What's new?

  6. this is interesting....

    Piracy in the Arctic?

    Once there was a Russian cargo ship full of timber (1.7 million value) that disappeared on a passage from Finland to Algeria..


    Next think ya know? Russia is "rescuing" this timber ship with an armada of sub's & destroyers...

    Now the back story comes out...

    Israel "creates" a gang of euro trash cargo hijackers to "snatch the timber" thus alerting the Russians to the fact that their best s-300 missiles were headed to iran via a rouge criminal Russian army element and thus bringing international attention to weapons transfers to iran...

    wow, we are good...
    except Russia in the open already supplies a hugh scale of weapons, technology and support to iran, if it choose to sell iran the s-300's it would confirm something many already think has happened..

    so is the story valid?

    dont know, but it IS strange that a timber cargo ship would get the attention of the Russia navy like that...

  7. "President Obama and congressional supporters estimate that his health care plan will cost between $50 and $65 billion a year. Such cost estimates are lies whether they come from a Democratic president and Congress, or a Republican president and Congress. ... At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee, along with President Johnson, estimated that Medicare would cost an inflation-adjusted $12 billion by 1990. In 1990, Medicare topped $107 billion. That's nine times Congress' prediction. Today's Medicare tab comes to $420 billion with no signs of leveling off. How much confidence can we have in any cost estimates by the White House or Congress? Another part of the Medicare lie is found in Section 1801 of the 1965 Medicare Act that reads: 'Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize any federal officer or employee to exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine, or the manner in which medical services are provided, or over the selection, tenure, or compensation of any officer, or employee, or any institution, agency or person providing health care services.' Ask your doctor or hospital whether this is true." --economist Walter E. Williams

  8. Three British Muslims were found guilty today of conspiracy to murder thousands of passengers and crew in an unprecedented airline bomb plot that could have proved as deadly as the 9/11 attacks.

    After a retrial at Woolwich Crown Court, jurors found the ringleader, Abdulla Ahmed, and two other men, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain, guilty of plotting to use liquid bombs to blow up airliners en route from Heathrow to the United States.

    Another defendant, Umar Islam, was found guilty of a more general charge of conspiracy to murder because jurors could not decide whether he knew of the specific targets in the plot three years ago.

    Three other men, Arafat Khan, Ibrahim Savant and Waheed Zaman, were found not guilty of conspiracy to blow up aircraft but could face a retrial on the more general conspiracy to murder charge.

    In a related issue, the multiple wives of the defendants have applied for housing allowances for the combined 13 wives and 56 children, ranging in age from 5 months to 22 years old. The seven defendants combined have 13 homes from London to Oxford. School allowances to the 47 K-12 children to the Shria compliant schools. And lastly, a monthly group stipend for 13 adults and 56 children food, utilities and transportation expenses. Nanny and baby sitting services will be provided by the Ministry of Transport as well as the Ministry of Health will provide Medical Cards.

  9. Re: arabs = oil

    sailors = cash

    same game the girls all play in port

    In my absence, I am certain that a regular contributor took another regular contributor to task for dissing the entire US Army over the alleged Afghan tanker truck mishap (the Army way)...Nah...We only get our panties in a twist if someone leaves off an upper case letter. When a "bud" slanders our armed forces and incidentally the United States, well, gosh, he's a bud and not a Jew.

  10. Christie English said it is hard being military parents to see their son deployed.

    "We trust in the Lord that their ship will return safely," she said. "Our family has been through quite a few deployments but we have faith that everything will turn out alright."

    Christie English added they don't speculate about what could happen but focus on the good that the American military is bringing to other countries.

    Away From Home

  11. 53. Lifeofthemind:

    Today’s Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll Index has BHO at -13% and the trends are consistent, have blogged on this before on my site.

  12. Meanwhile, 'Rat continues to put energy into maintaining his alternate Universe.

  13. "In my absence, I am certain that a regular contributor took another regular contributor to task for dissing the entire US Army over the alleged Afghan tanker truck mishap (the Army way)...Nah...We only get our panties in a twist if someone leaves off an upper case letter. When a "bud" slanders our armed forces and incidentally the United States, well, gosh, he's a bud and not a Jew."

    Good thing you showed up Allen. Before your post, we had gone two full posts without the word Jew or Israel being used.

  14. What in heavens name are you rambling about, now, doug?

    I report on the position of the US, most of the time, not my position.

    Which is not even on the table for real discussion. The universe I report upon is the one Mr Olmert and George Mitchell see.

  15. The public half of the Six Stars over Afpakistan has laid out the ground rules and the RoE, for Afpakistan, not me.

    It is not my show or even my reality, but the one that the US sees and reacts to.

    You are the one roaming the Inet for straws to grasp onto.

  16. Quirk,

    ...always glad to oblige, Quirk...The world without Jews is a cookie without chocolate chips.

    I note that you have gone several posts without saying better part of valor...

  17. "six star" (Twilight Zone theme music)... the Big Dip...

    I assure you, Sir, no general officer said the "alleged" screwup was the "Army way". That, Sir, was your personal opinion, to which you are entitled. If you think the Army of the United States is made up of screwups, well, that makes you the Hippie Dippie Weatherman...too cool, Dude.

  18. "The world without Jews is a cookie without chocolate chips."


    However, I've noticed that your and WiO's segues in trying to get back to the Jew "thing" are becoming somewhat tortured.

    "off topic..."


    "..."bud" slanders our armed forces and incidentally the United States, well, gosh, he's a bud and not a Jew."

    Say what? And the "Jew" appeared from where?

    Half the posts on the blog seem to be about foreign aid to the Middle East and the exceptionalism or lack thereof of Israel . The only people that think Israel deserves that much air time are the muslims, the neocons and the Jews (or possibly someone fixated on US foreign aid.)

    Regarding foreign aid, let’s face it. If the US Congress wasn’t wasting our money on foreign aid they would be wasting it on something else. Either way it would be wasted. But hell, that’s what they do in Washington. And these days $26 billion is a rounding error.

    However, it’s simplistic to think of the aid going into Middle East countries as just throwing the money down a rat’s hole regardless of what Rat thinks. As a matter of fact, one could almost argue that the foreign aid is actually providing more stimulus to the economy than the stimulus program.

    Slump, U.S. Role as Top Arms Supplier Grows

    Of the $2.4 billion in aid going to Israel in 2009, almost 100% will go towards purchasing new weapons. Almost 75% of that amount will be spent with U.S. companies. So in a sense what we are really doing is providing subsidies for the U.S. arms industry. (Saving jobs?)

    With regard to the concept of Jewish exceptionalism, it’s a silly conversation. The U.S. doesn’t have friends. It has allies based on aligned interests that can change over time. The same applies for Israel. When Israel votes with the U.S. it is doing so because it is in its own self interest to do so. To think otherwise is na├»ve. If it were in Israel’s self-interest to sell the U.S. down the tubes it would do so. It’s not like they haven’t done it before (recent spying scandals, Roy Bullock, the Lavon Affair, U.S.S. Liberty).

    Now, I’m not arguing that Israel isn’t an important ally. They are that. Especially when compared to their neighbors that encourage or put up with islamofascism. And up until recently, Israel had a reputation for efficiency that was refreshing. However, exceptional? I don’t think so. They’ve got the same corrupt government officials we do. They’re ruthless. They stick it to their “friends” and enemies alike if it promotes their agenda (the same as any other country). Basically, they engage fully in realpolitik. With regard to WiO’s reference to bagels, I prefer baguettes. Corned beef? It gives me indigestion. And I don’t eat chocolate.

    With regard to the Jews, come back when they do something really interesting like maybe taking out Iran’s nuclear capability.

  19. quirk:With regard to the Jews, come back when they do something really interesting like maybe taking out Iran’s nuclear capability.

    so israel takes out iraq's and that's yesteday's news

    so israel takes out syria/n kor & iran's plant in syria last year and that's so yesterday

    so did ever wonder about how many set backs iran has had already?

  20. quirk: With regard to WiO’s reference to bagels, I prefer baguettes. Corned beef? It gives me indigestion. And I don’t eat chocolate.

    with all due respect?

    baguettes? they are a snack, i can eat 6 of them compared to a real bagel.. but they have their place, fake sword fights, whereas a bagel? can kill

    Corned beef gives you indigestion? you are a pussy

    and you dont like chocolate?

    your boring and a pussy

  21. The remaining survivors were housed in lodging houses in Zamboanga City to wait for SuperFerry 19, which would bring them to Davao City.

    Also, the NDCC cited reports from the Philippine Coast Guard indicating the SuperFerry 9 was loaded with 180 tons of residual fuel; 45 tons of special fuel oil; and 25 tons of lube oil.

    Aboitiz Transport System, which owns SuperFerry, has tapped the services of Harbor Star to join the oil spill assessment and monitoring.

    Passenger Rescued

  22. "so israel takes out syria/n kor & iran's plant in syria last year and that's so yesterday..."

    Gosh, WiO, didn't we talk about that last year? As I recall it was kind of interesting. Back then.

    Lebanon was kind of interesting too. Maybe you guys could put together a YouTube video: "Highlights of the Jewish People" You know with a constant loop feature. That way it would save you a lot of typing (something you admit to having a problem with). Someone says something you disagree with, you merely say "Oh Yeah" and then type in the URL.

    And, oh yeah. Don't forget the part about matzo balls, cheesecake, and the bagels. That was especially interesting.

  23. Sure, Quirk, to say that all foreign aid should be done away with is simplistic, but that is the level they want to stay at. Nothing can be "refined", with regards our friends of Israel, there can be no moderation, you either agree that Israel is deserving of an unending US subsidy, or you are a Jew hater.

    Their rational for existence revolves around that Europeon refugee resort in the Levant.

  24. Then. when all else fails, they call you names, like pussy.

    Because they are "real" men of substance.

  25. "Corned beef gives you indigestion? you are a pussy

    and you dont like chocolate?

    your boring and a pussy"

    My gosh, WiO, you are quite the hardass aren't you. This must be an example of what Big Al calls

    On the other hand, others may look at it and say: "Ah vulgarity, the last refuge of the illiterate".

  26. "Because they are "real" men of substance."

    Easy DR. You may think your being sarcastic; however, perhaps you haven't read WiO's bio. Scary stuff. Easy to tell he's a real man of substance. He said so.

  27. Two major coal mine accidents alone claimed 108 fatalities in the January-June period.

    China's mining industry claims an average of eight lives every day. While the government has introduced a raft of legislation to improve safety, collusion between mine owners and local officials allows them to openly flout central government directives, the labor watchdog China Labor Bulletin said in a report earlier this year.

    According to state-run media, as many as 80 percent of China's estimated 16,000 mines are unlicensed.

    35 Dead

  28. dr with regards our friends of Israel, there can be no moderation, you either agree that Israel is deserving of an unending US subsidy, or you are a Jew hater.

    dr, you must be deaf...

    i have stated that israel gets zero economic aid and was happy about that..

    as for military aid? cut it, but dont bitch what happens then...

    you really have a selective memory...

    aid from the USA is a curse for Israel...

    and now that the USA (as far as you are concerned) is a progressive left nation, i am sure America will cut aid to israel just as it is cutting aid to honduras...

  29. "It just makes you realize -- of all the bands in the world, of all the music that transcends culture and generations and language -- the Beatles are it. The song that he knew: It wasn't Elvis. It wasn't Cheap Trick. It was the Beatles."

    On Wednesday, as unlikely as it may seem, the Beatles get redefined with a catalog made crystal clear, and with a video game that will touch millions and earn millions more.

    Once again, the future of music is what's come before.

    Beatles Treasures

  30. Quirk: "Ah vulgarity, the last refuge of the illiterate".

    wow, big words.....

    how long did it take you to cut and paste them together?

  31. Quirk has no bio and 94 page views in 3 years...


    a troll....

  32. You, like allen, are full of lies and half0truths when Israel is the subject of conversation, real man of "substance".

    Examining the American military aid to Israel we find that since the end of WWII Israel had been the largest recipient of US aid (Armed & Dangerous Report). From 1949-2007 Israel had received more than $101 billion in total US economic and military aid. A previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries started phasing out the economic aid and increasing the military aid, and in 2008 all US aid to Israel turned into military aid only. The current MOU, singed by Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns in August 2007, has increased military aid to Israel by 25% a year for the next ten years FY2009-2018, totaling to $30 billion.

    During the Bush administration 2001-2007 American military aid to Israel came under three primary programs; Foreign Military Sales (FMS) ran through the Pentagon totaled $25.2 billion in arms sales and contracts, Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) ran through the States Department totaled $6.16 billion in weapons and equipment, and Excess Defense Articles (EDA) also ran through the Pentagon totaled $36 million in used weapons and equipment. The total comes to a little more than $31.4 billion.

    The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) provided Israel with air, missile & munitions, naval, design, vehicles, and miscellaneous military aid. Israel received $19.81 billion for their air forces that included F-35 joint strike fighters, C-130J-30 aircrafts, JP-8 aviation jet fuel, and T-6A Texan aircrafts. In missiles and munitions Israel received $2.73 billion worth of GBU-28 & 39 small diameter bombs, TOW, Hellfire, bunker buster munitions, AMRAAM, Harpoon, Sidewinder, JDAM's, and MK-80 series. US gave Israel $1.9 billion worth of the new series (Littoral) naval combat ships, $164 million worth of troop carrier armored vehicles and trucks, and $253 million worth of miscellaneous in the form of Patriot Missiles upgrade and M72A7 Light Anti-Armor weapons. Also included in this FMS package were $350 million worth of design and construction of two infantry bases.

    The Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) program contained about three hundred different categories of weapons transfer to Israel. The main top ten categories for FY2001-2006 were $557,896 million in aircraft spare parts, $449 million in missile spare parts, $439 million in engine jet F-100 spare parts, $254 million in engine jet F-100 series (F-15 & F-16), $210 million in ship components and spare parts, $186 million in aircraft fighter F-15 spare parts, $163 million in electronics components and spare parts, $128 million in ammunition raw materials, and $120 million in training equipment.

    The Excess Defense Articles (EDC) program shipped to Israel $36 million worth of used Cobra Helicopters, personnel carriers, carrier command posts, and miscellaneous articles.

    The most outrageous American military aid to Israel is the billions of Dollars worth of refined fuel to the Israeli army. Israel's own oil refineries in Haifa and Ashdod, which could supply Israeli military with all its fuel needs, are instead producing and selling its refined products on the open market. The Israeli army gets all its military fuel from the USA through the FMS program. The US Defense Department uses American tax money to buy oil crude from Arab Gulf States, ship it to American refineries to refine it, and then ship it to Israel.

    According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, from 2004 to 2008 the Bush administration had granted the Israeli army 500 million gallons of oil products worth $1.1 billion. During this period the American tax payers were faced with energy crises and had to pay $4 per gallon of gas at the pump while Israel was getting free gas from the Bush administration. Somebody has to pay for this gas, and it wasn't the Israelis.

  33. The current MOU, singed by Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns in August 2007, has increased military aid to Israel by 25% a year for the next ten years FY2009-2018, totaling to $30 billion.

    $30 billion USD, that is nothing to a real man of "substance".

  34. When is foreign aid not foreign aid? When it goes to Israel.

    Twist the language to spin the debate.

    They are not deserving, there are others with a much greater humanitarian need for our help, than Europeons at a beach club in the Middle East.

  35. "Oil brings great opportunities, and you have been responsible in preparing for new revenue," Mr. Obama said during a speech in which he called on Africans to shape their own destiny.

    "But as so many Ghanaians know, oil cannot simply become the new cocoa," Mr. Obama said in reference to the country's main cash crop and export. Africans ought to not only diversify their exports, but develop their infrastructure through partnerships with the western world instead of relying only on foreign aid, he said.

    Students will be selected through an open application process conducted by the two schools, the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the American Embassy in Ghana.

    Future of Oil

  36. re: "how long did it take you to cut and paste them together?"

    This from the guy whose longer posts appear to pulled from various parts of E. E. Cummings poem "i was sitting in mcsorley's".

    I believe the word is chutzpah.

  37. Quirk,

    Re: "come back when"

    By Jove! We have a hall monitor!

    Better, Quirk, that you had an opinion. Your defense of DR's anti-Army/US insult is unnecessary; DR is perfectly capable of looking foolish on his own.

    Re: "Big Al"

    ...if you only knew, Dear Girl, if you only knew ;-)

  38. Re: "Your defense of DR's anti-Army/US insult is unnecessary; ..."

    Straw man. Either that or you have a reading and/or comprehension problem.