May 14, 2010 archive

Pressured from all sides in Pakistan’s Swat Valley

By Kathy Kelly and Joshua Brollier

Photos by G. Simon Harak

May 14th, 2010

In May of 2009, under tremendous pressure from the United States, the Pakistani military began a large-scale military operation in the Swat District of Pakistan to confront militants in the region. The UNHCR said the operation led to one of the largest and fastest displacements it had ever seen. Within ten days, more than two million people fled their homes.

Now, a year later, our small delegation visited the Swat District. After a breathtaking ride through the Hindu Kush mountains (pictured), traveling in a pick-up truck from Shah Mansour in the Swabi district, we arrived in Swat’s capital, Saidu Sharif.

Saidu Sharif is a small town, ringed by mountains. The Swat River, a few hundred yards in width, runs through it. It’s easy to imagine a former time when tourists would flock to visit this scenic treasure. While we were there, the town seemed tranquil. Stores were open and the streets were bustling. Merchants, children, shoppers, bicyclists, goats, cars, donkey carts, rickshaws, and tractors jostled for space in the narrow roadways. But, we also saw dozens of uniformed men, carrying weapons, suggesting that tensions still prevail in Swat.

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Obama blasts oil companies over growing spill

by Sara Hussein, AFP

1 hr 22 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama hit out at oil companies for trying to shift blame for the Gulf of Mexico slick Friday and vowed to end the “cozy” ties between the industry and government regulators.

In an unusually harsh tone, Obama said he had ordered “top to bottom” reform of the federal agency that oversees oil drilling, and announced a review of the enforcement of environmental protection rules.

He hit out at the three oil companies linked to the sunken rig gushing oil into the Gulf for seeking to pass the blame, denouncing what he called a “ridiculous spectacle” by their top officials during congressional hearings.

“I Need A Freakin Job” astroturfing for Breitbart & Corporate America, cause that’s where the $ is

Hat tip to

Someone email, stat.

Image Hosting by If you have seen or heard of the “I Need A Freaking Job” billboard in Buffalo, NY that small business man Jeff Baker and his brother put up or the “movement” website they have started, you might have taken it for a grassroots movement.

   And if job creation grows at the rate it is at through the end of the year, More Jobs Might Be Created This Year Than During George W. Bush’s Entire Presidency

   So, the “I Need A Freaking Job” thing might seem genuine, even, dare I say, grassroots.

Except it isn’t, and Jeff Baker’s brother, Scott Baker, works for Andrew Breitbart of

   Houston, we have Corporate astroturf FAIL.

More below the fold


Open Island


Wild Wild Left Radio #64 On Obama’s Watch? 1/3 Through his Presidency

Tonight at 6PM Eastern Time, WWL Radio!!!!!

Gottlieb and Diane G. will be live and in color (or is that off color?) on WWL radio tonight at 6pm Eastern Time to guide you through Current Events taken from a Wildly Left Prospective.

Hear the Unreported & Under Reported Headlines stories you should be paying attention to, from US Politics, to the farthest reaches of the Earth by the WWL coalition of subversion: undermining the PTB by speaking Truth to Power!!!!

Sometimes we have no control over the hand we are dealt; but we ALWAYS have control on how we play our hand.

2008 played a tidal wave of resentment for the abuses of the last administration: The horrors of Gitmo and torture, the demanding of ending our presence in Iraq, the absolute mandate for National Health Care and last and probably most importantly, accountability for economic crisis and relief from such.

Tonight we will be discussing the continuing escalation and prolonging of the theatres of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We address Seymour Hersch’s revelation about the battlefield executions done by our soldiers.

The oil spill, rather than creating stricter regulations, seems to have made it probable to pass an anti-energy bill that throws much of it to the “State’s Rights” set. The Wall Street thieves still are not being fully investigated, while Iceland actually is imprisoning their equivalents.

Obama seems intent on moving the SCOTUS rightward with his choice of Kagan.

Join us as we attempt to take the barrage if information in this news cycle; cut through the fog and explain what the true results will be….

…. and grade this first third of Obama’s Presidency.

Please join us!

Controversy? We face it. Cutting Edge? We step over it. Revolutions start with information, and The Wild Wild Left Radio brings you the best in information and op/eds from a position that others on the Left fear to tread.

Call In!

Join Gottlieb and Diane every Friday at 6pm EDT on Wild Wild Left Radio, via BlogtalkRadio, for News from the Real Left. No hand-wringing, no PC, just straight talk from reality based politics.

WWL Radio: Free Speech in Practice.

The call in number is 646-929-1264

Listen to The Wild Wild Left on internet talk radio

The live chat link will go live around 5:20.. found at the bottom of the show page, or by clicking the link below!



On This Day in History: May 14

On this day in 1936, Bobby Darin (born Walden Robert Cassotto) was born in the Bronx. In his short career he became the legend that he said he wanted to be before his death at 37 in 1973. His hits “Mack the Knife”, “Splish Splash”, “By the Sea”, “Dream Lover”, “Beyond the Sea” and “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby” are still heard today. Darin successfully moved into movies garnering an Academy Award nomination for “Best Supporting Actor” in the movie Captain Newman, M.D. (1963).

In 1960, Darin married Sandra Dee. They had one son and divorced in 1967. In 1971, he underwent heart surgery in Los Angeles to repair damaged heart valves that he had lived with since childhood. He spent the next year recovering from that surgery and became a spokes person for the American Heart Association.

In 1973, after failing to take medication before a dental procedure, he developed a blood infection that further weakened his heart. On December 19, he under went a second surgery to repair the same two valves that had previously been repaired. After 6 hours of surgery that initially appeared to be successful, he died suddenly in Recovery without ever regaining consciousness on December 20.

This is from a TV special recorded 9 months before Bobby Darin’s death at age 37.

Happy Birthday, Bobby

Deep Water Engineer explains how to Stop the Gushers — Updated with BP info

I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on NPR yesterday,

when I heard this Oil Rig Engineer call in

and explain a “common sense” way to put a halt to the Oil Gusher in the Gulf.

He was a shocked by BP’s incompetent, “shotgun” approach —

to contain the mess, as most of us have been.

Here’s the eye-opening clip, with my transcript of Engineer Henry’s simple advice to BP.

The Gulf Coast Oil Spill and the Future of Offshore Drilling

May 13, 2010

Diane Rehm Show Audio

“Oil Rig Henry” starts his Engineering lesson, at Time Mark 40:20

My transcript of the his Engineering insights, and simple containment and shut-off recommendations, follows next:

Obama/Salazar’s Illegal Offshore Permits Exposed

From the New York Times…

The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species – and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.

Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day.

Under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is required to get permits to allow drilling where it might harm endangered species or marine mammals.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is responsible for protecting endangered species and marine mammals. It has said on repeated occasions that drilling in the gulf affects these animals, but the minerals agency since January 2009 has approved at least three huge lease sales, 103 seismic blasting projects and 346 drilling plans.

Agency records also show that permission for those projects and plans was granted without getting the permits required under federal law.

And it wasn’t exactly a secret in Washington that Obama/Salazar were allowing BP to risk “catastrophic operator errors” in the Gulf of Mexico.


Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Lapis, with inclusions

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Land of Hope and Glory

Who says the English have no sense of humor?  The food is an exquisite exercise in irony and their two most famous composers, Haydn and Handel are, well, German.  But then so is the Monarchy.

Yet if ever a composer could be said to be ‘The’ English Composer, it would probably be Edward Elgar.  If you graduated even from Beauty School in the last hundred or so years, you were shepherded into the ceremony to the Trio of March #1 in DLand of Hope and Glory.

He was a product of late Victorian/Edwardian Nationalism and like many after World War I, came to question some of his previous assumptions.  By that time however he was already looked at as the Rudyard Kipling of English music and his reputation has suffered from it since.

It can’t be said he lacked a sense of humor, his first ‘famous’ piece, the Enigma Variations, was actually an extended satire of the various musical acquaintances he had made in 20 odd years as a professional performer.  But that’s not the joke, the joke is that the true ‘theme’ the variations were composed around is never played and was never disclosed and remains a subject of controversy to this day.

Elgar came to be seen as the successor to Arthur Sullivan and after an incredible surge of popularity between 1900 and 1912 he was Knighted and eventually appointed Master of the King’s Musick (where he eliminated the ‘k’, I told you he had a sense of humor).

After his wife’s death and post war loss of popularity he devoted himself to his ‘hobbies’, rooting for the Wolverhampton Wanderers and playing the ponies (“Get your ice cream.  Get your Tootsie Fruitsie ice cream.”).

He also recorded and was one of the very first people to use EMI’s famous Abbey Road Studios (yes, that one).  Of course it was March #1 in D, “Play this tune as though you’ve never heard it before.”

The Cello Concerto in E Minor (Op. 85) that I am featuring tonight is highly regarded by Elgarians, it has 4 Movements posted by markvogue in 5 parts.  This performance is by Jaqueline DuPre conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Intervention Update

For all of you who were so nice to have responded to my call for help last week,

I`d like to update you on the situation.

The original post is here.…

I had told you that I would forward the link to your comments, to the father.

I have been in touch with him throughout the past week, & tonight,

I have good but also sad news, temporary, I hope.

The father just left my house & told me that his son was removed from the family home,

to be transported to a residential treatment location.

He`d called first to say he was coming to pick up the family dog, Buddha

I was taking care of Buddha since the escalation of the situation in the family home

He`s quite sad to have had to resort to this heartbreaking decision,

but does wish to thank everyone for helping him see what he already saw, although,

through glasses fogged  by loving fatherhood.

Personally, I would like to thank you so very sincerely for having come to my aide to help a friend.


Dispicable People 20100513: Brigitte Gabriel

Of all of the folks who are in contract with the Fox “News” Channel, Brigitte Gabriel is the most uncontrollable one.  She typically shrieks nonsense, most of it very venomous diatribes against Muslim folks.  This is one of the most vile persons that I have ever seen.

She was born in Lebanon in 1964, and claims to have lived in a bomb shelter for many years.  This is a lie, but just one of many.  Even Hannity could not control her on his show tonight, and actually apologized for her.

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