What a beautiful headline in the Guardian!Afghanistan withdrawal before 2015, says David CameronDavid Cameron yesterday gave the first clear indication of the timing for a full withdrawal of British soldiers from Afghanistan, saying that he wanted troops[...]
Read The Full Article:
Tonight's Rescue Rangers are watercarrier4diogenes, rexymeteorite, jlms qkw, Got a Grip, and Shayera with vcmvo2 as reader and editor.
The diaries up for rescue are:
jotter has High Impact Diaries: June 24, 2010.
bronte17 has tonight's Top Comments (06-25-2010): Bad Moon A Rising.
Enjoy and please post your own favorite diaries from the past twenty-four hours in this Open Thread!
Runnin' scared in't so easy when you're wearin' shitkickers Texas republicans are apparently terrified that the former mayor of Houston, Democrat Bill White, will kick the shit out of head shitkicker and part-time secessionist Rick "Governor Goodhair" Perry. How scared are they? Scared enough that some of Perry's close associates put up the cash for an effort to get a Green party candidate on the ballot to split the votes of lefties and "useful idiots" off from the Democrats, allowing Perry to sneak back in. It didn't work, and now they have buzzard egg all over their smug, republican faces.
While we have our boots on, let's check in on Louie Gohmert. He's always good for a laugh..."Speaking on the House floor last night, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) continued his assault on common sense by making the generally nonsensical claim that terrorists were recruiting pregnant women in order for them to have U.S.-born children who would, several decades from now, attack the United States and "destroy our way of life.""
We are genuinely surprised by this The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the Democrat Vincent Sheheen over Nikki Haley in the governor's race there. Turns out, they liked the stimulus that Mark Sanford wanted to turn down. Haley is considered his "prot?g?," and supported those efforts, angering many in the state that realized the need for the infusion of federal dollars.
Shit like this makes us want to shout from the top of the Sears Tower with a Stratocaster that TAXES ARE THE PRICE YOU PAY TO LIVE IN A CIVILIZED SOCIETY "Drivers in California who cause crashes may find their pocketbooks dented as well, courtesy of local fire departments. ... More than two dozen fire agencies, struggling for ways to boost sagging budgets, have begun tallying service charges at crash sites and sending bills to drivers or their insurance companies. ... Is a pumper truck called to the scene? That'll be $400. Traffic cones and flares needed? Another $20. An incident commander to oversee? That's $75 an hour."
Time to send special forces in to round up everybody in the Vatican, special rendition them to Boston and slap the whole bunch with RICO. "The Vatican has expressed shock at raids, including the "violation" of a cathedral crypt, by Belgian police investigating alleged child sex abuse. As well as searching a couple of main Church offices and a cardinal's home, police had drilled holes in two archbishops' tombs, said the Church. Prosecutors said the raids were over alleged "abuse of minors committed by a certain number of Church figures". Belgium is one of many countries where the Church has been hit by sex scandal. In April, the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned after admitting he had sexually abused a boy more than 20 years ago."
Uh, no, Angela - we don't want any part of your "austerity" plan to spending-cut Europe into medieval penury. "Germany's Chancellor has insisted that Europe's leaders are making good progress in talks with the US about how to bolster fragile economic growth. Angela Merkel told journalists at the G8 summit in Canada there was "mutual understanding" with President Obama over deficit reduction plans. Leaders are attending summits of the G8 and G20 groups of leading states. Mr Obama is worried that a series of deep budget cuts announced by European countries may delay global recovery. But on Friday, after an initial meeting of the G8 - US, Canada, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Russia, Japan - Mrs Merkel said there was much common ground. "I have made it clear that we need sustainable growth and that growth and intelligent austerity measures don't have to be contradictions," Mrs Merkel told journalists."
Hey Pakistan: Mohammed was a goat-fucking child molester, and you're a bunch of motherfucking morons. How's that for blasphemy? "Pakistan will start monitoring seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, for content it deems offensive to Muslims. YouTube, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail and Bing will also come under scrutiny, while 17 less well-known sites will be blocked. Officials will monitor the sites and block links deemed inappropriate. In May, Pakistan banned access to Facebook after the social network hosted a "blasphemous" competition to draw the prophet Muhammad. The new action will see Pakistani authorities monitor content published on the seven sites, blocking individual pages if content is judged to be offensive. Telecoms official Khurram Mehran said links would be blocked without disturbing the main website."
Dear whaling apologists: when you're reduced to arguing the degree of suffering, you've already lost. "Norwegian animal welfare organisations have been accused of misleading the public over the "cruelty" of whaling. Activists recently released a video that they said showed a harpooned whale possibly taking two hours to die. At the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, the Norwegian delegation said the footage had been packaged in a way as to "misrepresent the facts". The campaigners, who rejected the allegations, say they were considering their options on how to respond. The film was shot in May in the Lofoten Islands off the northwestern coast of Norway, the heart of the nation's whaling industry."
But troops are leaving Afghanistan next year! Right? "Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants UK troops out of Afghanistan within five years. Asked if he wanted the troops home by the next general election, due in 2015, Mr Cameron said: "I want that to happen, make no mistake about it." But, ahead of talks with US President Barack Obama on Saturday, Mr Cameron told Sky News he preferred not to "deal in too strict timetables". Some 307 UK forces personnel have died since the Afghan mission began in 2001."
Protesting police brutality in a brutal police state - that's courage. "Several thousand demonstrators have taken to the streets of the Egyptian city of Alexandria to protest against alleged police brutality. They were led by the former UN nuclear chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, now a campaigner for reform in his homeland. It is the latest in a series of protests sparked by the death earlier this month of 28-year-old Khaled Said. Witnesses say police beat him to death on an Alexandria street. Officials say he suffocated after swallowing drugs. Pictures of his injured face have appeared on social networking websites, sparking condemnation from human rights groups. The protest happened after Friday prayers in the northern port city of Alexandria.Witnesses put the crowd at anything from 2,000 to 5,000 people - making it one of the biggest opposition demonstrations since Mr ElBaradei became involved in the movement - says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo. It is also the first time he has joined a protest himself, our correspondent says."
Three cane strokes for graffiti - how many for destroying an entire ocean ecosystem by oil gusher? "A Swiss man has been sentenced to five months in jail and three strokes of a cane for spray-painting graffiti on a train in Singapore. Oliver Fricker, 32, a software consultant, admitted breaking into a depot and vandalising the train. The judge called it a serious breach of security. Caning in Singapore involves being struck with a wooden stick on the back of the thigh, which can leave permanent scars. Amnesty International called the sentence barbaric."
If you have Verizon cell service, this is a good enough reason to change carriers "Michaela Brummund's husband, a marine, was killed in Afghanistan by an IED. ... Following his death, the young widow decided to move home to Copperopolis, a small California town with a population of just over 2,000, in order to be closer to her family and grieve. ... Verizon, however, does not offer cell phone service in the town. Brummund called the phone company to cancel her service, and they hit her with a $350 early termination fee for ending her contract before expired--despite Brummund "being a widow and Verizon not living up to its contractual obligations to provide actual cellphone coverage.""
So is Missouri the "Don't-Show-Me" State now? "Strict new regulations on adult-oriented businesses are set to become law after receiving Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's signature on Friday. ... The wide-ranging bill restricts hours of operation and potential locations for businesses such as strip clubs and adult bookstores, bans total nudity and alcohol from such establishments, and limits interactions between employees and customers."
Read The Full Article:
The latest LiberalOasis Radio Show podcast is up, with Traci Olsen and myself discussing the final Wall St. reform bill, the Senate jobs filibuster, the possibility of a carbon cap bill this summer, the McChrystal resignation, and, as usual, Twilight.
Today is the first anniversary of MJ going off to that big dance studio in the sky. I was talking to a friend today and she kept mentioning how creepy MJ was. She said that every time she saw him (especially the post plastic surgery, Liz Taylor nose and chin, Michael) she felt "creeped" out. Not me. Maybe it's because I loved some of his music so much, but I never felt "creeped" out by MJ.
Now, to be sure, there are some things in life that do creep me out:
Clowns are creepy. So are images of large rabbits; and we can't forget cats. Those twins from "The Shining" were creepy. Frogs, and people holding large bibles in public creep me out as well. Oh, and I can't forget those anchors on FOX television. Now that's creepy!
Anyway, speaking of creepy: I see Glen Beck is planning a march on Washington D.C. to commemorate Dr. King's historic march and speech back in 1963 .
Now this is A-merry-ca, so Beck and his minions are free to march until their heels bleed. But as king funkadelic lamented over at Kos; I too have to wonder who Beck is bringing with him?
[From the looks of this he already has some folks eager to sign up] You black folks won't like this, but I bet he has a huge turnout. All those white folks are more that eager to show that we have moved past our racial issues and can embrace the dream of the commie we used to hate. And there will be some black folks there, too; the ones who are all too willing to show the rest of us that Beck isn't such a bad guy.
Let me sign off with a post from Rudolph over at Instablogs:
"Wonders shall never end.
The uncompleted work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will now be finished by the very Reverend Glenn Beck.
Yes, you heard me right.
The Fox news opinionated entertainer is organizing a march on Washington on the same day and at the same spot where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous ?I have a dream? speech.
Beck will be talking about getting black Americans home to their conservative roots. He plans to use black boards, white chalks, pies and pictures to show black Americans how the Democratic Party had deceived them for so long.
He plans to talk about justice -but not its cousin ? social justice.
Rev. Beck will raise the issue of personal responsibility ? just like Minister Louis Farrakhan did during the Million Man March on Washington.
What other proof does anyone need to certify the failure of Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young and Al Sharpton, than to have Glenn Beck leading the new civil right movement.
For those mischievous fellows who do not pay serious attention to Beck, he reminded then that his mission came straight from God.
At first, he wondered what God was doing talking to a guy like himself. And then, he got a call from the Vatican.
And there you have it.
Only in America." [More]
Oh Rudolph, what's with all the sarcasm? FYI, I think that they do have some things in common: Didn't they both go to jail?
Read The Full Article:
Hmmm. Seems to be one of these could have tangible results and one might not.
First, the Day Prayer:
On Thursday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) issued an order designating June 27 a "Statewide Day of Prayer" for perseverance through the BP oil spill that continues to devastate the country's Gulf Coast region.That's one "solution" proferred by the Governor of Louisiana. He's also been screaming that the federal government hasn't been doing enough. But, Jindal has one major resource at this disposal -- the National Guard -- and he's not using it:
Gov. Bobby Jindal's message has been loud and clear, using language such as "We will only be winning this war when we're actually deploying every resource," "They (the federal government) can provide more resources" and "It's clear the resources needed to protect our coast are still not here."By all the bitching Jindal's been doing -- and the fact that he's got time to declare days of prayer, one would think that he's done everything he could. Not true at all.
But nearly two months after the governor requested - and the Department of Defense approved the use of 6,000 Louisiana National Guard troops - only a fraction - 1,053 - have actually been deployed by Jindal to fight the spill.
"If you ask any Louisianan, if you said 'If you had those troops, do you think they could be put to good use? Is there anything they can do in your parish?' I think they'd all tell you 'Absolutely,'" Louisiana state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, said.
It's believed officials in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi and are reluctant to use more troops because their presence could hurt tourism. In hardest-hit Louisiana, however, Jindal is pointing fingers.Stunning. Commander Allen pointed out that Jindal's finger pointing is "just flat wrong."
Violist William Primrose is our soloist tonight in all three performances of Berlioz' Harold in Italy.
For once, there's been no change of plan -- yet. I said last week that we might stick with Berlioz and take a peek at his symphony with viola obbligato Harold in Italy, inspired by Byron's Child Harold.
Harold was a sequel of sorts to Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique, and in its four-movement form it actually behaves more like a symphony than the Fantastic Symphony -- except for that matter of the viola obbligato. It's clearly not a concerto, it's . . . well, a symphony with viola obbligato (an important solo part). And I thought tonight we would plunge right in, with three very different performances of the lovely second movement, the "March of the pilgrims singing their evening prayer." Note how much more gradually Sir Thomas Beecham's pilgrims march than Charles Munch's, with Arturo Toscanini's smack in between.
Different as these performances may be, they have one important thing in common: the great violist William Primrose, heard here over a 19-year span as soloist. In 1939, when he first played Harold with Toscanini, he was in fact still a member of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which had a host of outstanding musicians in its principal chairs.
One thing to listen for: As in the Symphonie fantastique, Berlioz used the idea of an idée fixe, a musical theme that recurs in each movement. In this second movement of Harold in Italy, which begins with some chords of taut expectation that quickly give way to a wonderful pastoral marching tune, the viola slips in with a bit of what sounds like decoration to the melodic line, and then suddenly it's singing, as beautifully straightforward viola solo -- the idée fixe -- at 1:27 of the Toscanini performance, 1:42 of the Beecham, and 1:18 of the Munch.
BERLIOZ: Harold in Italy, Op. 16:
ii. March of the pilgrims singing their evening prayer
William Primrose, viola; NBC Symphony Orchestra, Arturo Toscanini, cond. Music & Arts, recorded live, Jan. 2, 1939
William Primrose, viola; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham, cond. Collumbia/CBS/Sony, recorded Nov. 13 and 15, 1951
William Primrose, viola; Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch, cond. RCA/BMG, recorded March 31, 1958
IN TOMORROW NIGHT'S PREVIEW --
I haven't thought that far ahead. It'll be Berlioz, I'm pretty sure, though, and then Sunday we'll take in the whole of Harold in Italy.
SUNDAY CLASSICS POSTS
The current list is here.
Read The Full Article:
BAH HUMBUG! A forward-thinking Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force major-general had his pay cut after trying to dig up a 4m-tall fir tree on a Shizuoka base to use as a Christmas tree.A weekly magazine claimed the Imperial Household Agency asked[...]
Read The Full Article:
South Africa may have become the first World Cup host not to qualify for the second round, but that hasn't stopped South Africans of all races from celebrating Bafana Bafana. The 2010 Cup has been promoted as the Rainbow Nation's coming-out party on the world stage. If the 1995 Rugby World Cup--when Nelson Mandela famously donned the Springboks' jersey--was a moment of post-Apartheid reconciliation, this was the time for a transformed, multiracial South Africa to showcase its achievements.
Traditionally, soccer has been the sport of Black South Africans, with rugby preferred by Whites and Coloureds. (And sport, like everything else, was obsessively racialized under the Apartheid regime.) Even today, despite sixteen years of democracy and numerous integration initiatives, Bafana are overwhelmingly Black and the Springboks overwhelmingly White.
Black and White South Africans' lingering sportive differences mirror electoral differences. South Africa has had four National Assembly elections since the arrival of "one person, one vote" in 1994. In each of them, the African National Congress (ANC)--the party of Madiba and liberation--has won with over 65% of the vote. As South Africa's president is elected by the National Assembly, the majority party controls both the executive and legislative branches.
This does not prevent debate and dissent, however. President Thabo Mbeki faced a great deal of intra-party resistance to his HIV/AIDS policies, and lost the ANC leadership contest to Jacob Zuma in 2007. In September 2008, the ANC leadership ousted Mbeki as president six months before his term ended. Kgalema Motlanthe took over as a caretaker president until the April 2009 election, which Zuma won.
My colleague Daniel Berman described the electoral mechanisms that kept the National Party (NP) in power during the Apartheid years. The ANC requires nothing so complicated: a system of proportional representation and an electorate that remains overwhelmingly loyal are enough. But while the ANC is the preference of Black South Africans (79% of the national population), it receives paltry support among Whites (9.6%). Coloured (8.9%) and Asian/Indian (2.5%) voters are the "swing" demographics that determine how big the ANC's majority is.
In the 2009 election, the top three parties were the ANC, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and the Congress of the People (COPE). The DA, headed by former Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille, is a centrist, good-government coalition that is still largely perceived as the "White party." COPE was formed by Mbeki-loyalists who splintered from the ANC. While COPE was initially anticipated to be a serious challenger to the ANC, it ended up taking less than 10% of the vote.
The racial breakdown listed comes from a March 2009 poll and is subject to the caveats of all pre-election polls. (South Africa does not have the extensive, demographic-based exit polling of the US.) Still, it paints a heavily polarized picture: less than five percent of Whites intended to vote ANC, while a trivial number of Blacks supported the DA. The numbers among Coloured and Asian voters are more mixed. Indeed, it was largely due to a poor showing among Coloureds that the ANC lost the two-thirds supermajority necessary to make constitutional changes.
When South Africans elect the National Assembly, they simultaneously elect the legislatures of each of their nine provinces. The ANC has continuously controlled the provincial legislatures of all but two: KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. The latter, home to Cape Town, is the only province without a Black majority. (Coloureds constitute a slight majority.) It continued to support the National Party in the 1994 election, and has recently emerged as the DA's stronghold. In KwaZulu-Natal, the Zulu-nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) won the 1994 and 1999 elections. Since Zuma, a Zulu, became leader of the ANC, the IFP's support has waned. By contrast, Gauteng--the largest province and home to Johannesburg--votes similarly to the country as a whole.
While the DA is now a moderately strong opposition, the ANC is likely to govern South Africa for a long time--though maybe not until Jesus comes. As long as memories of Apartheid remain personal, the Black majority will continue to vote for the party that gave it the right to have rights. Fortunately for South Africa, the ANC is a multiracial, broad-spectrum coalition that incorporates a great deal of internal dissent. (Witness the Mbeki-Zuma schism.) ANC politicians have diverse views on issues of free trade, social equality, crime, development, public health and foreign relations. And while the ANC has been plagued by corruption, its internal factions give it the ability to correct itself. This capacity for self-correction, combined with a free press and strong institutions, keeps South African democracy secure.
But for all its institutional security and stability, South Africa has been a one-party state since 1948. (With a shift from NP hegemony to ANC in 1994.) South Africa has never experienced something other democracies take for granted: a change in governing party through a free and fair election. When that happens, South Africa will have experienced a transformation worth a hundred World Cups.
Read The Full Article: