November 2008 archive

Docudharma Times Sunday November 30

Never Accuse Hapazardly

As Peace Becomes Conflict    

Sunday’s Headlines:

Economic rescue could cost $8.5 trillion

Silver-Haired Shoplifters On the Rise In Japan

Bangkok chaos grows after grenade attack on opposition protesters

Cracks widen in Mugabe regime as soldiers riot over shortage of cash

More than 300 dead in Nigeria rioting

Iran executes IT expert who spied for Israel

Key clerics criticize new U.S.-Iraq security deal

Economic crisis top issue in Romanian elections

Swiss Vote on State-Supported Medical Heroin Program

No corking Uruguay’s emerging status as wine country

India Faces Reckoning as Terror Toll Eclipses 170


Published: November 29, 2008

MUMBAI, India – Death still hung over Mumbai on Sunday, as the Indian government reckoned with troubling questions about its ability to respond to escalating terror attacks.

The morning after the standoff ended at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, the official death toll remained 172. But the police said they were still waiting for the final figures of dead bodies pulled from the wreckage from the hotel, a 105-year-old landmark. Funerals were scheduled to continue throughout Sunday, for the second day in a row.

As an investigation moved forward, there were questions about whether Indian authorities could have anticipated the attack and had better security in place, especially after a 2007 report to Parliament that the country’s shores were inadequately protected from infiltration by sea – which is how the attackers sneaked into Mumbai.

Citizen Journalists Provide Glimpses Into Attacks


Published: November 29, 2008

From his terrace on Colaba Causeway in south Mumbai, Arun Shanbhag saw the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel burn. He saw ambulances leave the Nariman House. And he recorded every move on the Internet.

Mr. Shanbhag, who lives in Boston but happened to be in Mumbai when the attacks began on Wednesday, described the gunfire on his Twitter feed – the “thud, thud, thud” of shotguns and the short bursts of automatic weapons – and uploaded photos to his personal blog.

Mr. Shanbhag, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said he had not heard the term citizen journalism until Thursday, but now he knows that is exactly what he was doing. “I felt I had a responsibility to share my view with the outside world,” Mr. Shanbhag said in an e-mail message on Saturday morning.



Joint Chiefs Chairman ‘Very Positive’ After Meeting With Obama

By Karen DeYoung

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, November 30, 2008; Page A01

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went unarmed into his first meeting with the new commander in chief — no aides, no PowerPoint presentation, no briefing books. Summoned nine days ago to President-elect Barack Obama’s Chicago transition office, Mullen showed up with just a pad, a pen and a desire to take the measure of his incoming boss.

There was little talk of exiting Iraq or beefing up the U.S. force in Afghanistan; the one-on-one, 45-minute conversation ranged from the personal to the philosophical. Mullen came away with what he wanted: a view of the next president as a non-ideological pragmatist who was willing to both listen and lead.

Late Night Karaoke

So What Are You Waiting For?


The Red Elvises – Boogie Woogie on the Beach

The Perils of Non-Impeachment

J*#@%s F&(#%+g C&$!@t!  From tomorrow’s NYT:

The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job.


Public health officials and labor unions said the rule would delay needed protections for workers, resulting in additional deaths and illnesses.…

The 40% Solution Bush Considers His Legacy

Something leaped from an internet page today, it was about Bush and his legacy, what he wants it to be or the grand delusion.

“I’d like to be a president (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace;

I diary about Iraq off and on with disappointing results which seems to plague all of us who try to report what is happening there. Many people don’t believe the numbers as evidenced by comments on on another poster’s Iraq diary earlier this week. People actually believe the Surge has worked to the benefit of Iraqis and there is no genocide. For all of you who do not believe the numbers, remember, what you know of Iraq is filtered through the sociopathic delusions of George W. Bush. We don’t do body counts. Why would he mention dead and maimed Iraqis, the very fact we do not count tells you how trivial their lives are in the greater scheme of all things GWB.  George W. Bush has the deranged wish to be remembered for liberating Iraq from the grip of Saddam? Let him and all of us remember this …  

On Shooting Self In Thigh: My Country ‘Tis Of Thee

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles


Plexico Burress, Shakespearean Tragic Hero

OMFG. New York Football Giants star receiver Plexico Burress last night shot himself in the thigh with a handgun.  Will he play again this year?  Who knows?  He was released from the hospital today.  There are other questions though.  Like: WTF is he doing with a loaded pistol in a night club during the season?  And htf did he shoot himself in the thigh?  Isn’t that like totally embarrassing?  And is this the stupidest economic “accident” we’ve seen this year, a year of gigantic, incredibly stupid economic “accidents?”

So those of us in the “life as figure of speech” department were thinking about Plexico Burress this afternoon.  And we were thinking hard.

The big question for us is whether he’s a metaphor for the United States’s economy?  Or the war effort in Iraq?  Or the Bush Administration?  Or the War on TerrorTM?  Or something else that’s a gigantic f*ck up?

What kind of figure of speech is he anyway?  Is this an example of synecdoche? Is this an example of metonymy? Is it metaphor?  WTF is this anyway?  And, more important, what does it mean, if anything, to us?

The New York Times supplies the back story:

It was unclear what led to the gun’s discharge. There were no reports of any fights inside the club before the shooting. The police did not say whether any charges would be filed, but they noted that felony charges were possible if a person possesses a loaded, unlicensed handgun in a place other than his residence or business.

Under the league’s personal-conduct policy, violations of local gun laws can result in a player’s suspension…snip

It is the latest controversy involving Burress, who signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Giants just before the season opener. He was suspended for 12 days, including a victory over Seattle, because he missed meetings without explanation.

Against San Francisco on Oct. 19, Burress shouted at Coach Tom Coughlin on the sideline after drawing an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. The N.F.L. fined Burress $45,000 for verbally abusing the officials.

Coughlin held him out of the first quarter of the Oct. 26 game against the Steelers because he missed treatment on a neck and shoulder injury the day before.

The Times also reports that Burress, who is 31, has a 5-year $35 million contract.

I know that you, dear readers, are incredibly busy and perplexed by other, vital questions, but seriously now, have you ever heard of anything as ridiculous and expensive as this?

Then again, oops.  I guess so.  How about Michael Vick?

Oh, goddess supreme, preserve us in safety from the end of this Empire.

Pre-Emptive Self-Congratulatory Year-End Round-Up

Wow, is that enough hyphenation for one title? Probably not, but let’s not shove the porous boundaries of taste any more than we already have…but on the other hand, why not? It’s never stopped me before, and although there’s no real reason for this senseless recycling, I’m perfectly at peace with yet again Doing It Because I Can. See, for a multitude of reasons, I blogged a lot in 2008-more than ever before, and probably too much, even-whether it was for my personal blog or my band blog or my book blog. Yeah, that’s three (3) blogs, but like many other people, over the past decade I’ve discovered that the internet is a great place to indulge one’s vanity. And I am chock-full of that, man, so the past two years in particular have been basically dedicated to amusing myself-when I actually have time to do that-while the world burns.

Online Course: Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey

From David Harvey’s website

David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) and author of various books, articles, and lectures. He has been teaching Karl Marx’s Capital for nearly 40 years. Read his CV.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Bases brace for surge in stress-related disorders

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

Sat Nov 29, 11:34 am ET

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Some 15,000 soldiers are heading home to this sprawling base after spending more than a year at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and military health officials are bracing for a surge in brain injuries and psychological problems among those troops.

Facing prospects that one in five of the 101st Airborne Division soldiers will suffer from stress-related disorders, the base has nearly doubled its psychological health staff. Army leaders are hoping to use the base’s experiences to assess the long-term impact of repeated deployments.

The three 101st Airborne combat brigades, which have begun arriving home, have gone through at least three tours in Iraq. The 3rd Brigade also served seven months in Afghanistan, early in the war. Next spring, the 4th Brigade will return from a 15-month tour in Afghanistan. So far, roughly 10,000 soldiers have come back; the remainder are expected by the end of January.

Let’s ask Obama to have New Orleans musicians play at the Inaugural

(NOTE: This diary was originally posted on Daily Kos by azureblue, a musician who got his start in New Orleans. Per a request he made to readers in a comment under that diary, I am crossposting it here–because he and I feel this is an idea that needs as much attention and exposure as possible so hopefully Obama will pick up on it.)

The title says it all, but this grew out of a discussion last night about Obama’s love for jazz, and the possibility of him having jazz players at the inauguration:

The Sword’s Edge: Obama And Big Oil

Antonia Juhasz is the author of The Bu$h Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time and most recently, The Tyranny of Oil: The World’s Most Powerful Industry, and What We Must Do To Stop It.

Juhasz is a policy-analyst and a Fellow with Oil Change International, “a research and advocacy organization that exists to force progress in the energy industry towards an environmentally and socially sustainable energy future”, and the Institute for Policy Studies, a policy studies non-profit think-tank for progressive or liberal causes based in Washington, D.C. IPS work is organized into over a dozen projects, all working collaboratively and strategically to pursue three overarching policy goals: Peace, Justice and the Environment.

She has taught at the New College of California in the Activism and Social Change Masters Program and as a guest lecturer on U.S. Foreign Policy at the McMaster University Labour Studies Program in a unique educational program with the Canadian Automobile Workers Union, and lives in San Francisco.

Today Antonia talks with Sharmini Peries of the The Real News about whether or not Barack Obama is likely to buck, or back, the most powerful corporations in the world, and whether he’ll continue the same foreign policies that have over the past 60 odd years of “pragmatic” conservative US imperialism nearly brought the empire to it’s knees, drastically lowering the amount of expenditures on liberal social policies.

Real News: November 29 – 7 min 37 sec

Will Obama reign in big oil?

Antonia Juhasz: Clinton-era deregulation helped big oil get bigger

Hat tips to NL for raising the discussion of pragmatism this morning, and to KJ for my title. 🙂

Obama’s previous gig as president

By now we all know that Barack Obama went to Harvard Law school and was the first African American President of the Law Review in 1990 when he was 28 years old. His tenure in that position might give us some clues as to who this man is and how he will lead. I’ve been doing some reading about that time in his life and find it pretty instructive.

For example, the LA Times reprinted an article by Tammerlin Drummond from back in March of 1990 not long after Obama was elected to the position. She starts off with this interesting information.

The post, considered the highest honor a student can attain at Harvard Law School, almost always leads to a coveted clerkship with the U.S. Supreme Court after graduation and a lucrative offer from the law firm of one’s choice.

Yet Obama, who has gone deep into debt to meet the $25,000-a-year cost of a Harvard Law School education, has left many in disbelief by asserting that he wants neither.

“One of the luxuries of going to Harvard Law School is it means you can take risks in your life,” Obama said recently. “You can try to do things to improve society and still land on your feet. That’s what a Harvard education should buy-enough confidence and security to pursue your dreams and give something back.”


Docudharma Times Saturday November 29

Could The Good Old Days Return?

Let’s Hope Not

Saturday’s Headlines:

No sympathy for Detroit at a Kia plant in Georgia

Coup fears rise after Thai PM sacks police chief

Inside room 2115: ‘We climbed into the bath and hid under some pillows’

Down to their last hundred million but Russia’s elite still enjoy fun of the fair

Grand chieftain of anthropology lives to see his centenary

War in Iraq ends for international forces

OPEC struggles to find balance in oil market

Ethiopian troops to leave Somalia

Former South African addict helps others kick the habit – by surfing

In Mexico, Casita Linda is building hope

The Times OF India

Battle for Mumbai ends, death toll rises to 195

29 Nov 2008, 1304 hrs IST, AGENCIES

MUMBAI: Security forces freed the landmark Taj hotel here after an intense night-long firing amid a series of explosions, with three terrorists gunned down by the commandos, authorities said this morning. “Three terrorists have been killed but we are still continuing our operations,” Director General of NSG, J K Dutt, told reporters outside the hotel.

Mumbai disaster official R Jadhav told that 195 people had been killed and nearly 300 injured in the battle, which began when the dozen or so militants split into groups to attack multiple targets across the city, including the main railway station and a hospital.  

The operation to flush out terrorists from Taj Hotel is over, signalling an end to the 62-hour siege by terrorists three of whom were killed this morning in an assault by the elite commandos of National Security Guards (NSG).

Security chiefs fear revamped version of 70s-style violence

Head-on attacks on soft targets by small, well-trained gangs will be harder to detect and to stop, say intelligence officials

Richard Norton-Taylor, Saturday November 29 2008 00.01 GMT

Western intelligence officials yesterday expressed concern about the security implications of the Mumbai attacks for their own cities as they confronted the prospect of new tactics being adopted by highly trained and motivated terrorists.

They contrasted the Mumbai attacks with suicide and car bombers who have plotted outrages in London. The latter have been mainly self-radicalised, self-selected groups of individuals, slowly gathering bomb-making equipment and vulnerable to surveillance by the security services, counter-terrorist officials said.

In contrast, they said, the group who attacked Mumbai were armed with rifles and grenades and stormed their targets in the city head-on.



National Security Pick: From a Marine to a Mediator


Published: November 28, 2008

WASHINGTON – James L. Jones, a retired four-star general, was among a mostly Republican crowd watching a presidential debate in October when Barack Obama casually mentioned that he got a lot of his advice on foreign policy from General Jones.

“Explain yourself!” some of the Republicans demanded, as General Jones later recalled it.

He did not. A 6-foot-5 Marine Corps commandant with the looks of John Wayne, General Jones is not given to talking about his political bent, be it Republican or Democrat. And yet, he is Mr. Obama’s choice for national security adviser, a job that will make him the main foreign policy sounding board and sage to a president with relatively little foreign policy experience.

Load more