August 10, 2008 archive

Docudharma Times Sunday August 10

Breathing Easy At The Olympics

If You’re An

Exhaust Pipe

Sunday’s Headlines:

Michael Phelps is off to a roaring start

Sarkozy accused of hypocrisy as his wife meets the Dalai Lama

Russian ballet students: Pirouetting for Putin

Mbeki flies in to speed power deal between Mugabe and opposition

Africa shamed one more time

Renewed bomb attacks kill five in China

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi met lawyer: party spokesman

U.S., Iraq Remain Unresolved On Dates for U.S. Troop Pullout

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish dead at 67

U.S. guns arm Mexican drug cartels

Russia widens attacks as world pleads for peace in South Ossetia

· Moscow targets Georgian towns

· UN heads frantic bid to contain war in Caucasus

Peter Beaumont, Matthew Collin in Tbilisi and Helen Womack in Moscow

The Observer,

Sunday August 10 2008

Russian bombers and artillery yesterday widened their attack against Georgian forces with strikes against towns and military bases across the country in a dangerous escalation of the two-day-old war. Moscow appeared determined to dismantle Georgia’s military capability in punishment for its rival’s brutal attempt to regain control of the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia.

Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, last night insisted that its actions were ‘legitimate’ and called on Georgia to end its ‘aggression’ against the separatist province.

As the civilian casualties escalated on both sides, Georgia’s military adventure seemed to be unravelling. President Mikheil Saakashvili demanded a ceasefire from Russia and implored the West to intervene to help him. Georgia’s difficulties deepened further as separatists in a second pro-Russian breakaway Georgian republic – Abkhazia – joined the conflict, attacking Georgian forces in the contested upper Kodori Gorge.

Beijing Curbs Religious Rights

Christian Activists Detail Harassment

By Maureen Fan

Washington Post Foreign Service

Sunday, August 10, 2008; Page A01

BEIJING — China describes itself as a religiously tolerant society, one that allows its citizens to worship freely. This week, per Olympic tradition, it is extending that same freedom to athletes in the form of worship rooms in the Olympic Village, each dedicated for the world’s major religions.

Worshipers also have at their disposal dozens of foreign clerics; 10,000 English-Chinese Bibles emblazoned with the Olympics logo; and an electric organ, for Catholics.

But religious freedom does not extend beyond the heavily secured perimeter fence of the Olympic Green.


Democrats derail effort by Clinton backers to ban caucuses

By Steven Thomma | McClatchy Newspapers

PITTSBURGH – Devoted Hillary Clinton supporters urged the Democratic party Saturday to get rid of caucuses, the town hall meetings in states such as Iowa where Clinton’s presidential campaign stumbled and Barack Obama launched his march to the nomination.

“We need to get rid of caucuses,” said Melissa Whitener, a waitress from Conneaut, Pa., who traveled to lobby the Democratic National Committee as it prepared its party platform.

“Caucuses are inherently unfair,” she said. “I work in a restaurant. I can’t take off a whole shift to go sit in a caucus. We need to all be on the same primary system. Why should 2,000 people in Iowa have the same say as 2 million in Pennsylvania?”

The 2008 Presidential Election: A Blow Job?

Renowned (and reviled by some) film maker Michael Moore has written a new book to be released September 01 this year: “Mikes Election Guide 2008” in which he offers up a smorgasborg of helpful tips and hints that the Democrats and Barack Obama can easily use to live up to the long history and promise of the Democratic Party and blow the election again for themselves this year.

With a hat tip to T. Christopher Kelly who blogs at TalkLeft as TChris, here’s the problem to be dealt with this year:

Beginning with their stunning inability to defeat the most detested politician in American history, Richard Nixon, and continuing through their stunning inability to defeat the most detested politician in the world, George II, the Democrats are the masters of blowing it. And they don’t just simply “blow it” – they blow it especially when the electorate seems desperate to give it to them.

So. How to do it bigger and better than ever before this year?

Well, Good old Mike has published a “preview” of his new book in an edited extract from Mike’s Election Guide published in todays Guardian.

Here’s a few choice quotes, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the entire article.

From The Guardian, here’s How to blow it

It’s the most winnable presidential election in American history – but the Democrats are old hands at losing. Michael Moore offers some helpful hints on how they might gift it all to the Republicans.

“Let’s snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

“We never met an election we’d like to win.”

“Why get elected when you can be defeated!”

Wonderful Writers You Might Not Have Heard Of: Cesar Aira

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


Cesar Aira

Maybe this should be an occasional series.  I don’t really know how many wonderful, creative Latin American writers’ works I have come to admire, but which have received completely insufficient notice in the US. These would include works by writers with too few English translations, and works revered in their writers’ own countries, but virtually unknown to US readers.  The authors of these works, like the one in this essay, are the writers you might not have heard of.

Wiki tells the basics about Cesar Aira:

César Aira (born on February 23, 1949 in Coronel Pringles, Buenos Aires Province) is an Argentine writer and translator, considered by many as one of the leading exponents of Argentine contemporary literature, in spite of his limited public recognition.

He has published over fifty books of stories, novels and essays. Indeed, at least since 1993 a hallmark of his work is an almost frenetic level of writing and publication, two to four novella-length books each year.

Aira has often spoken in interviews of elaborating an avant-garde aesthetic in which, rather than editing what he has written, he engages in a “flight forward” (fuga hacia adelante) to improvise a way out of the corners he writes himself into. Aira also seeks in his own work, and praises in the work of others (such as the Argentine-Parisian cartoonist and comic novelist Copi), the “continuum” (el continuo) of a constant movement forward in the fictional narrative. As a result his fictions can jump radically from one genre to another, and often deploy narrative strategies from popular culture and “subliterary” genres like pulp science fiction and television soap operas; on the other hand, he frequently deliberately refuses to conform to generic expectations for how a novel ought to end, leaving many of his fictions quite open-ended.

Two really good looks at Obama

The first, Obama’s Letters of No Apology by Paul Street via asks:

Should Barack Obama’s volunteers mail “Letters of No Apology” to survivors of the large number of people killed by U.S. imperial assault in Iraq and Afghanistan?

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