July 3, 2010 archive
Jul 03 2010
Jul 03 2010
General Petraeus in Afghanistan warns of tough mission
By David Fox
July 3, 2010
|(Reuters) – The United States’ top field commander, General David Petraeus, warned on Saturday of a tough mission ahead a day after arriving to take command of the 150,000-strong NATO-led foreign force in Afghanistan.
Petraeus told hundreds of guests at a U.S. embassy party held to mark U.S. independence day that it was essential to show unity of purpose to solve Afghanistan’s problems.
“This is a tough mission, there is nothing easy about it,” he said at the sprawling and heavily fortified U.S. embassy complex in Kabul, Washington’s biggest foreign mission anywhere in the world and boasting 5 ambassadors.
Jul 03 2010
Sociologist David Harvey, Professor in the Graduate Centre of City University of New York, asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?
Harvey’s influential books include The New Imperialism; Paris, Capital of Modernity; Social Justice and the City; Limits to Capital; The Urbanization of Capital; The Condition of Postmodernity; Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference; Spaces of Hope; and Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography.
This narrated animation is based on a lecture, “The Crises of Capitalism”, given by Professor Harvey in April this year at the RSA. For over 250 years the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress.
Radical sociologist Professor David Harvey visits the RSA to explain how capitalism came to dominate the world and why it resulted in the current financial crisis.
Taking a long view of the current crisis, Professor Harvey exposes the follies of the international financial system, looking closely at the nature of capitalism, how it works and why sometimes it doesn’t.
Examining the cycles of boom and bust in the world’s housing and stock markets, and the vast flows of money that surge round the world daily, Harvey shows that periodic episodes of meltdown are not only inevitable in the capitalist system but, in fact, are essential to its survival. Harvey argues that the essence of capitalism is its amorality and lawlessness and to talk of a regulated, ethical capitalism is to make a fundamental error.
Can crises of the current sort be contained within the constraints of capitalism? Or is it time to make the case for a social order that would allow us to live within a different type of system – one that really could be responsible, just, and humane?
“Capitalism never solves its crisis problems.”
“It moves them around geographically.”
Jul 03 2010
I was sitting on my front steps the other evening talking to one of my favorite neighbors, a Democrat, and happened to mention that I couldn’t believe the congress put SS and by default, medicare, at risk in a supplemental funding bill for that damn war in Afghanistan. “What have we done, become, I am so damn angry at our country now.” Okay, I meant leadership which seems to be about 10 steps behind the polls. She narrowed her school marm eyes and started backing away (uh, uh) so in a placatory (and let’s face it, stupid move) I began talking about Obama’s penchant for charter schools instead of properly funded public schools and how I didn’t trust Obama. She turned and moved quickly away from the offending neighbor.
When living in Chicago, I often picked up my anti-war, anti-bombing of Iraqi children signs and walked down the street to the bus stop for the next rally. On the way to the bus stop, a large family of adults who always seemed to be home sat on their steps and glared at me muttering various and sundries which I couldn’t always make out – but words sometimes floated – “commie”, “bitch”, “terrorist lover.” Festooned on their porch and really any place where possible, were American flags. And they each wore pins, red, white and blue t-shirts, and a scowl for the unworthy traitor passing by. Ironically, I had a flag on my porch after 9/11 for about two weeks in honor of the victims and my uncles who had served (some died) in WW II, and my lefty friends disapproved. When my godchild visited from Italy where she lived now, she was confused at the proliferation of flags and other symbols. What was the purpose? I understood we needed to do something – a symbolic need, a communal need. My flag disappeared after a bit. Hmmm -who would do such a thing? BTW, at the beginning of our rallies, many bystanders hurled plenty of names at our somewhat small groups, which swelled and outnumbered them as the days passed.
Jul 03 2010
FUN & GAMES
A 34-year-old salaryman from Osaka and his 24-year-old OL bride became the 10,000th couple to get hitched at Tokyo Disneyland. Mickey and Minnie Mouse were on hand to witness the nuptials.
A 41-year-old Sendai man won the annual cherry pit-spitting contest in Higashine, Yamagata Prefecture, with a 15.95-meter effort.
Hanshin Tigers outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto was recognized by Guinness World Records for playing 1,492 consecutive games without missing an inning.
It was reported that a 41-year-old pet owner in Utsunomiya is applying to have his 25-year-old mixed-breed male dog certified as the world’s oldest living canine.
Festival-goers in Gifu set a new world record when they sent nagashi-somen (“flowing noodles”) down a 2,500m-long bamboo chute.
A Gallup poll revealed that China has replaced Japan as “the most important partner for the United States” for the first time in 25 years.
Jul 03 2010
About 8:30PM PST…
TEXAS CITY, TEXAS — Two weeks before the blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, the huge, trouble-plagued BP refinery in this coastal town spewed tens of thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals into the skies.
The release from the BP facility here began April 6 and lasted 40 days. It stemmed from the company’s decision to keep producing and selling gasoline while it attempted repairs on a key piece of equipment, according to BP officials and Texas regulators.
BP says it failed to detect the extent of the emissions for several weeks. It discovered the scope of the problem only after analyzing data from a monitor that measures emissions from a flare 300 feet above the ground that was supposed to incinerate the toxic chemicals.
The company now estimates that 538,000 pounds of chemicals escaped from the refinery while it was replacing the equipment. These included 17,000 pounds of benzene, a known carcinogen; 36,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides, which contribute to respiratory problems; and 189,000 pounds of carbon monoxide.
Jul 03 2010
Perhaps you heard about the recent EPA Press Release, regarding latest Toxicity Testing results for Dispersants. Depending on which sound bite you heard, it almost sounded like Corexit got a clean bill of health.
Confused? I was too. And since I had previously written a well-received diary,
Corexit Toxicity Tests not so hot, When Mixed with Oil
by jamess — May 30, 2010
which dove into the Toxicity Data, that the EPA originally cited as credible only 2 months ago, I figured I should try to figure out what was up with the ‘New and Improved’ Dispersant Testing.
What follows is my assessment of what’s happening now, including some relevant links.
I’ll try to keep it brief. (I hate long diaries, lol)
Jul 03 2010
As I previously mentioned, I shall post only images pertaining to underwater life.
Helping me choose these images from my archives, I have my good friend Coconut, a parrot I rescued many years ago.
I therefore will include him in the opening.
Plus I promised Ekaterin I would.
I feel the situation in the gulf is being slowly moved back in the pages of the national newspapers & the gulf is not in the collective minds of the people of the country as a whole.
The pain & suffering to the whole nation will be felt for/in years to come, but the immediate stress is surely being felt among the people directly impacted by this man made catastrophe. Those who live there, breath there & wanted to die in peace there.
These people are our brothers & sisters, sons & daughters, & mothers & fathers.
They are us.
Although many of these specimens imaged are not endemic to the gulf, they are nonetheless part of our planet`s heartbeat, & will ultimately be affected as time goes on, no matter how far our planet`s blood, (the oceans) is pumped to.
I post these to impress upon you, the life forms that many will never have the opportunity to ever see in the wilderness of the unseen.
It bothers me that this was allowed to happen, especially when we can see the devastation we`ve caused on the visible surface of the earth, & which only is a 1/4 part of our pale blue dot.
Another thing that comes to my mind right now, is my anger at the responsible parties to this mess, was temporarily forgotten today, while I attended a funeral for a longtime dear friend.
A funeral!! Damn, I needed a funeral to distract my anger.
But my friend Coconut makes it better albeit only momentarily.
COCONUT for Ekaterin
Jul 03 2010
This week’s selection was the biggest hit by a popular 1960s group, reaching #5 on the US pop charts in October, 1968, remaining on the Billboard Top 40 charts for twelve consecutive weeks. This single would be their only hit to earn the coveted RIAA gold record certification. The song is also featured on the soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film, “Jackie Brown.”
Jul 03 2010
I read in the New York Times today about one of the strange twists of drama Tibetan Buddhism is going through since coming out of its millennial seclusion.
The way it goes is that you have a teacher who is a highly realized master, enlightened, and so forth, and because they have these attributes, they have the power to choose to come back for another lifetime, or many lifetimes, in order to help sentient beings.
That is not a notion confined to Tibetan Buddhism or any other flower of Buddhism. Since The Matrix came out, popular culture in the West has dug the reality trip, as well, yah oh yah.
But the way the Tibetans would find out where the realized teacher had been reborn was pretty unique and powerful in its own way.
Miraculously, these adepts would usually have the time to write a letter, to be opened at their death, and the letter would have clues as to where he could be found, reborn in an auspicious coincidence where these clues could provide a good result.
It was a spiritual treasure hunt. The search itself was a lesson with its own traditions of adventure and illumination, and was a very interesting test to be given from a revered teacher who had just left this world physically, or at least that is the phenomenon presented, the appearance.
If done right, this trip to find the teacher, using the teacher’s last written test, is a real teaching no different than the ones which led to the students now having to find their teacher again.