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Showing posts from March, 2009

The Great Afghan Bailout

It's Time to Change Names, Switch Analogies
By Tom Engelhardt

Let's start by stopping.

It's time, as a start, to stop calling our expanding war in Central and South Asia "the Afghan War" or "the Afghanistan War." If Obama's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke doesn't want to, why should we? Recently, in a BBC interview, he insisted that "the 'number one problem' in stabilizing Afghanistan was Taliban sanctuaries in western Pakistan, including tribal areas along the Afghan border and cities like Quetta" in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

And isn't he right? After all, the U.S. seems to be in the process of trading in a limited war in a mountainous, poverty-stricken country of 27 million people for one in an advanced nation of 167 million, with a crumbling economy, rising extremism, advancing corruption, and a large military armed with nuclear weapons. Worse yet, the war in Pakistan seems t…

Inconceivable

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Swing Ball... now that is stretching my imagination...

If they can get along why can't we?

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In a perfect world

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The Urban Jungle

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Everything is changing

I've noticed

does this make me old?

Blagh

Having a break from work = awesome
Going to Sydney to seesome DJs one adores (RPR) = mega the awesome
Staying in a 50th floorapartment in the central city = well cool
Having a themesongfor the Boat Trip with said DJs = fanbloodytastic
Arriving to find DJs have cancelled tour = super depressing



Coming home to find its got cold = par for the course

The Afghanistan Americans Seldom Notice

One Country, Three Futures
By Pratap Chatterjee

Want a billion dollars in development aid? If you happen to live in Afghanistan, the two quickest ways to attract attention and so aid from the U.S. authorities are: Taliban attacks or a flourishing opium trade. For those with neither, the future could be bleak.

In November 2008, during the U.S. presidential elections, I traveled around Afghanistan asking people what they wanted from the United States. From Mazar in the north to Bamiyan in central Afghanistan to the capital city of Kabul, I came away with three very different pictures of the country.

Dragon Valley is a hauntingly beautiful place nestled high up in the heart of the Hindu Kush mountains. To get there from Kabul involves a bumpy, nine-hour drive on unpaved roads through Taliban country. In the last couple of years, a small community of ethnic Hazara people has resettled in this arid valley, as well as on other sparse adjoining lands, all near the legendary remains of a fire-b…

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

If you think preventing climate change is politically difficult, look at the political problems of adapting to it.


By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian, 16th March 2009.

Quietly in public, loudly in private, climate scientists everywhere are saying the same thing: it’s over. The years in which more than two degrees of global warming could have been prevented have passed, the opportunities squandered by denial and delay. On current trajectories we’ll be lucky to get away with four degrees. Mitigation (limiting greenhouse gas pollution) has failed; now we must adapt to what nature sends our way. If we can.

This, at any rate, was the repeated whisper at the climate change conference in Copenhagen last week(1). It’s more or less what Bob Watson, the environment department’s chief scientific adviser, has been telling the British government(2). It is the obvious if unspoken conclusion of scores of scientific papers. Recent work by scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change …

I'm all a flutter

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Dance, Dance, Disco

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It has 'day' in it, I best...

Being a creature of habit and prisoner of routine... sites I visit and read every day

NZ Herald
Faith
Tumeke
Public Address
Four Four
DJ History
Biggie
Information Clearing House
Sydney Morning Herald
You Tube
Facebook
Twitter
Amplifier
Stink Finger
Zmag
Daktari's World
Discogs

The internet... its a happening thing

Oh Yeah

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Living in the new world

Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable
by Clay Shirky

Back in 1993, the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain began investigating piracy of Dave Barry’s popular column, which was published by the Miami Herald and syndicated widely. In the course of tracking down the sources of unlicensed distribution, they found many things, including the copying of his column to alt.fan.dave_barry on usenet; a 2000-person strong mailing list also reading pirated versions; and a teenager in the Midwest who was doing some of the copying himself, because he loved Barry’s work so much he wanted everybody to be able to read it.

One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. I remember Thompson saying something to the effect of “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.” I think about that conversation a lot these days.

The problem …

The clowns, the clowns!

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Securicor Cares

The US and British governments have created a private prison industry which preys on human lives.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian, 3rd March 2009

It’s a staggering case; more staggering still that it has scarcely been mentioned on this side of the ocean. Last week two judges in Pennsylvania were convicted of jailing some 2000 children in exchange for bribes from private prison companies.

Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan sent children to jail for offences so trivial that some of them weren’t even crimes. A 15 year-old called Hillary Transue got three months for creating a spoof web page ridiculing her school’s assistant principal. Mr Ciavarella sent Shane Bly, then 13, to boot camp for trespassing in a vacant building. He gave a 14 year-old, Jamie Quinn, 11 months in prison for slapping a friend during an argument, after the friend slapped her. The judges were paid $2.6 million by companies belonging to the Mid Atlantic Youth Services Corp for helping to fill its jails(1,…

Top black academic argues western approach is not working for Africa

Comic relief?

By Christopher Hart Daily Mail (UK)

We are accustomed to bizarre outbursts and posturings from multimillionaire celebrities, especially when they spot a chance to portray themselves as concerned philanthropists with almost painfully big hearts.

Their favourite method is to drop in for a few hours at some televised charity event - Comic Relief, Live8 and Live Earth.

Perhaps the best-known, and certainly the loudest among them, is U2's Bono. His efforts have won him an honorary British knighthood, no fewer than three Nobel Prize nominations and the adulation of Tony Blair. Yet one of Bono's most significant outbursts - rude, heckling and laden with expletives - took place away from the world's TV cameras at a small conference it Tanzania recently.

Bono had been enraged by a Ugandan writer called Andrew Mwenda, who was presenting a powerful case that international aid, far from helping lift Africa out of poverty, might in fact be the very cause of its troubles.

Even t…

Younger and Hungrier in America - coming to a town near you soon?

The revised and upgraded unemployment figures released on Friday were nothing short of staggering: almost two million jobs lost in the past three months as the official unemployment rate rose to a quarter-century high of 8.1%. Nearly three million Americans are now officially unemployed for six months or more, while another 8.6 million are "working part time because they cannot find full-time employment." Just the previous day, the government released figures showing, not surprisingly, that food stamp recipients had also soared by another 700,000 in February -- 651,000 jobs had been lost that same month -- to a record total of 31.8 million.

Food stamps may be the major government bailout program against hunger, but most bailout efforts by the Obama administration and its predecessor have been focused on pouring multi-billions repeatedly into ever more failing financial institutions, which, as economist Joseph Stiglitz writes, "years of reckless behavior, including bad le…