Docudharma Times Monday Dec.17

This is an Open Thread: No Credit Needed To Enter

Headlines For Monday December 17: A town against the wall: Obama confronts rumor he is a Muslim: Storm buries Northeast, causes 3 deaths: Africa war wounds begin to heal amid progress: Inside the Hajj, with 1m believers


Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said this month that he would take landowners to court to seize property if needed, and also pledged that he would not pay more than market price for land.

A town against the wall

Granjeno on the Rio Grande has outlasted the rule of Spain, Mexico and the Republic of Texas. Now the border fence aims for its heart.

By Miguel Bustillo, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 17, 2007

GRANJENO, TEXAS — Gloria Garza doesn’t have a whole lot. But what she has, she clings to with pride.

She lives in a simple stucco house with a rustic wooden veranda and a well fashioned from odd stones her husband found around the state. Kittens stretch lazily in the sun beside her porch. Armadillos dart across her backyard.

Her two-acre lot is her heirloom, her link to a legacy that dates to 1767, when Spain’s King Carlos III gave her pioneer ancestors a porcion of property that started at the Rio Grande and stretched inland for miles.

So she is not going to be quiet while some bureaucrat in Washington tries to take it — to build a border fence. She doesn’t want to become an unintended victim in a war against illegal immigration that she sees as misguided and wrong.

Obama confronts rumor he is a Muslim

MASON CITY, Iowa – Democrat Barack Obama yesterday confronted one of the persistent falsehoods circulating about him on the Internet – by going to church.

He attended services at the First Congregational United Church of Christ with reporters in tow, a rejoinder to the e-mailed rumors that he is a Muslim and poses a threat to the security of the United States.

Obama did not address the rumors, but described how he joined Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago two decades ago while working as a community organizer.

“What I found during the course of this work was, one, that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they come together and find common ground,” he told the congregation.

Storm buries Northeast, causes 3 deaths

BOSTON – A wind-blown brew of snow, sleet and freezing rain cut visibility and iced over highways from the Great Lakes to New England on Sunday, stranding air and road travelers and causing a jetliner to skid off a runway.

At least three traffic deaths have been blamed on the storm.

The National Weather Service posted winter storm warnings from Michigan and Indiana all the way to Maine. Around a foot of snow had fallen on parts of the Chicago area, with 10 inches in Vermont. Meteorologists said that 18 inches was possible in northern New England; more snow was still expected in parts of Michigan.

“Our biggest advice right now is, stay home,” said Maine State Police Sgt. Andrew Donovan. Visibility in the blowing snow was less than 200 yards, and in stronger gusts “if there’s a car in front of you, you can’t even see it,” he said.


Africa war wounds begin to heal amid progress

Rwanda bringing together killers, victims in an attempt to solidify peace

A yearlong exploration by The Associated Press suggests that despite immense challenges, progress is gaining a foothold in pockets of Africa, in spheres ranging from democracy to education. And after minimal results from five decades of Western advice and aid, the progress is led by Africans themselves.

MAYANGE, Rwanda – The late afternoon sun gleams off the tin roofs of this small farming village, as neighbors Xavier Nemeye and Cecile Mukagasana watch their children play tag around the banana trees.

The two friends were born here and share much of Mayange’s daily life. They talk every day, pray at the same church and send their children to the same school, the only one there is.

Final Punches in South Africa Brawl

The race for the leadership of South Africa reached a fever pitch on Saturday, the eve of a decisive ruling party conference, as state investigators filed revised allegations of corruption against the leading contender.

News broke on Saturday that the Directorate of Special Operations filed papers Friday in the Constitutional Court opposing Jacob Zuma’s attempts to set aside an earlier judgment disallowing its evidence against him. Those papers included an affidavit which read: “The extent and gravity of the charges has grown… The payments based on the old and the new evidence are therefore more than three times greater than those based on the old evidence alone.” The charges concern allegations that Zuma was involved in the payments of bribes by French arms company Thint during a 2000 deal;


Old U.S. Allies, Still Hiding Deep in Laos

VIENTIANE PROVINCE, Laos – They call themselves America’s forgotten soldiers.

Four decades after the Central Intelligence Agency hired thousands of jungle warriors to fight Communists on the western fringes of the Vietnam War, men who say they are veterans of that covert operation are isolated, hungry and periodically hunted by a Laotian Communist government still mistrustful of the men who sided with America.

“If I surrender, I will be punished,” said Xang Yang, a wiry 58-year-old still capable of crawling nimbly through thick bamboo underbrush. “They will never forgive me. I cannot live outside the jungle because I am a former American soldier.”

Crouching Tiger star goes into battle for million hidden orphans

The screen goddess stooped to give ten-year-old Li Hubin a teddy bear and a hug. The room fell silent as Zhang Ziyi, the star of Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, listened to the chatter of the child who made history by becoming the first orphan to be handed to foster parents in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

For a disabled orphan in China, the chances of finding a loving home were once slim. But Zhang has teamed up with a British social worker to make sure that more abandoned children are given the chance of a family life.

Care for Children, a British-founded charity, has pioneered the concept of foster care in China.

“There are so many in China who do not have my good fortune. I want to give something back to society and since I love children this seemed like a way for me to make a difference,” Zhang, the charity’s patron, said. Such words from a screen idol could actually make a difference in a country where charity work is in its infancy.

Middle East

Inside the Hajj, with 1m believers

The Guardian’s religious affairs correspondent travels to the Hajj to offer a unique insight into the rituals and mood at the world’s largest pilgrimage

When the call came for afternoon prayer, more than a million Muslims squeezed into the Grand Mosque, an area measuring a third of a square kilometre. Latecomers streamed into surrounding alleyways, tunnels, malls, markets, car parks and pavements.

Public address announcements – in Arabic, English, Urdu and French – urged pilgrims not to block walkways with prayer mats, but people still jostled for any nook or cranny.

Many had arrived early on Friday to secure a space as close as possible to the Ka’ba – the black cube that all Muslims turn to when praying – and waited in stifling conditions. As the muezzin’s call soared through the air a hush fell over the city. The pilgrims moved slowly and in unison, only rustling fabrics and creaking joints could be heard.

Israeli sanctions ‘will ruin plans to rebuild Palestinian economy’

Donors from 90 nations gather in Paris today to pledge billions of dollars to rebuild the shattered Palestinian economy, but economists and human rights groups say that the huge cash injection will be wasted if Israel does not lift crippling roadblocks and travel restrictions.

Oxfam, the World Bank and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) have said that Israeli curbs on movement into and within the West Bank and Gaza Strip have strangled the Palestinian economy.

The situation is particularly dire in Gaza, which has been suffering a total closure of its borders by Israel and Egypt since the radical Islamist movement Hamas seized power there in June. The coastal territory’s economy has been effectively wiped out by six months of isolation.


    • Edger on December 17, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Dan Fogeberg passed away on Sunday.

    …the singer and songwriter whose hits “Leader of the Band” and “Same Old Lang Syne” helped define the soft-rock era, died Sunday at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56.

    Mr. Fogelberg learned he had advanced prostate cancer in 2004. In a statement then, he thanked fans for their support. “It is truly overwhelming and humbling to realize how many lives my music has touched so deeply all these years,” he wrote. “I thank you from the very depths of my heart.”

    Mr. Fogelberg’s music was powerful in its simplicity. He did not rely on the volume of his voice to convey his emotions; instead, they came through in his soft, tender delivery and his poignant lyrics. Songs like “Same Old Lang Syne,” in which a man reminisces after meeting an old girlfriend by chance during the holidays, became classics not only for his performance, but also for their engaging story lines.

    Mr. Fogelberg’s heyday was in the 1970s and early ’80s, when he scored several platinum and multiplatinum records fueled by such hits as “The Power of Gold” and “Leader of the Band,” a touching tribute he wrote to his father, a bandleader. Mr. Fogelberg put out his first album in 1972.

    An only child

    Alone and wild

    A cabinet makers son

    His hands were meant

    For different work

    And his heart was known

    To none —

    He left his home

    And went his lone

    And solitary way

    And he gave to me

    A gift I know

    I never Can repay

    Leader of the Band

    Same Auld Lang Syne

    Rest in Peace, Dan. Thanks for being you….


    For those of you who did Pride MMA, he was always entertaining, although a bit on the wired side (and the weird side, too).

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