February 14, 2011 archive

Reporting the Revolution: February 14

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

class=”BrightcoveExperience”>With Hosni Mubarak gone and rumors running rampant on his fortune, health and whereabouts, promises of democracy and reform from the military, one would think that the revolution was finished. Today, despite threats of arrest and pleas to go back to work, thousands of striking workers took to the streets again in Tahrir Square and across Egypt demanding better pay and working conditions. Even the police held a demonstration. Even though the internet and phone service is working, the press is still being harassed. There have been reports of camera equipment confiscated, reporters taken into custody and the military has ordered Al Jazeera to stop filming the protests. However, the state media has now taken to praising the revolution with proclamations of “the people ousted the regime”.

The military is walking a very fine line trying to get the economy running and a semblance of order so the government transition can progress to elections in September, as hoped. Banks did not open today because of the continuing protests and tomorrow is a bank holiday. The military council has promised that banks will open on Wednesday.

Protests in other countries are getting larger and louder, as the young Arabs grow weary of stifling regimes. There were many large demonstrations in Iran, Yemen, and Bahrain disregarding bans by governments and the strong presence of police and military.

Guardian has a Live Blog from their reporters in Egypt and around the region refreshes automatically every minute. .

The “Jasmine Revolution” that started in Tunisia is growing It is going to be an interesting summer.

Here is a round up of news:

Clashes reported in Iran protests

Pro-reformist marches under way in Tehran despite a heavy security presence and police crackdown.

There are reports in social media sites and non-state Iranian news sites of clashes between protesters and security forces in Tehran, the Iranian capital.

Thousands of demonstrators were marching on Monday on Enghelab and Azadi streets [which connect and create a straight path through the city centre], with a heavy presence in Enghelab Square and Vali-Asr Street, according to these reports.

Several clashes have been reported on Twitter, the micro-blogging site, with claims of some demonstrators being teargassed and others beaten and arrested.

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, in Tehran, confirmed reports that security forces used tear gas, pepper spray and batons against the protesters.

She said up to 10,000 security forces had been deployed to prevent protesters from gathering at Azadi Square, where the marches, originating from various points in Tehran, were expected to converge.

Young Arabs who can’t wait to throw off shackles of tradition

The frustrated generation at the heart of the protests tell how their progress is being stifled by unemployment and corruption

They live with their parents, hang out in cafes, Facebook their friends, study in their spare time, listen to local rappers – and despair about ever being able to get a good, fulfilling job and start a family. The young people at the vanguard of the protests sweeping the Arab world are an exasperated demographic, the lucky ones stuck in poorly paid jobs they hate, the unlucky ones touting degrees that don’t get them anywhere, an entire generation muzzled by tradition, deference and authoritarian rule.

WikiLeaks cables: Egyptian military head is ‘old and resistant to change’

US ambassador to Cairo gives his opinion on Muhammad Tantawi and number two general, Sami Enan

Nothing Egypt’s military council has done in its past suggests it has the capacity or inclination to introduce speedy and radical change. Guaranteed its $1.3bn (£812m) annual grant from the US – a dividend from the Camp David peace accord with Israel – it has gained the reputation as a hidebound institution with little appetite for reform.

Army urges Egyptians to end strikes

Military council calls on workers to play their role in reviving the economy after almost three weeks of turmoil.

Egypt state media changes sides

Loyal government mouthpieces to the end of Mubarak’s rule, state-run media outlets now celebrate the revolution.

Egyptian minds are opened

Upheaval has opened the door to political and economic reform, but its most lasting effect may be psychological.

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

And these articles-

Along with my weekly feature Monday Business Edition.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

March on Wall Street and Goldman Sachs May 1, 2011

May 1st!

One million people!

Wall Street!

Goldman Sachs!

Wall Street Goldman Sachs

60min: Wael Ghonim and Egypt’s New Age

“I wrote, ‘Dear Western governments. You have been supporting the regime that was oppressing us for 30 years. Please don’t get involved now. We don’t need you.’ ” – Wael Ghonim 13 Feb. 2011

An Interview with Adlai Stevenson III, Part Two: The Role of the Media

Midway through our interview, Senator Stevenson spoke about the ways in which the mainstream media shortchanges the American people.  While criticizing sound bite culture, as so many have before, his harshest words were for a mass media who, in his opinion, oversimplifies broader issues without taking the time to provide the full context to its audience.  In his opinion, this is tantamount to complete irresponsibility.  Then, perhaps qualifying his remarks somewhat, Stevenson conceded something very interesting.

Very Big News About Ron Paul and… YAF?

Young Americans for Freedom Kicks Out Ron Paul

The Young Americans for Freedom has voted the Texas congressman off its national advisory board in the aftermath of his straw poll win at CPAC over his positions on national security issues.

“Rep. Paul’s refusal to support our nation’s military and national security interests border on treason,” says YAF (Young Americans for Freedom) Director Jordan Marks.


But about this Goldwater-era organization, Ron Paul’s political director only responded “I thought they were defunct.”

Not quite, and Wikipedia claims they still have chapters at “several” colleges.

So why was this news-worthy?

12 guys in a tree-house somewhere don’t like Ron Paul! So what?

But Google News returns 662 results for “Ron Paul YAF,” including the New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, and the Los Angeles Times, which is to say, every major news organization in the United States.

And it’s all about 12 guys in a tree-house who don’t like Ron Paul!

Is it possible that Corporate News and its masters are terrified of Ron Paul, and grasping at every straw that might discredit him with the conservatives who will dominate Republican primaries in 2012?

Six In The Morning

They’re Just Moving Too Fast

Governments step up political concessions, dole out benefits or prepare the riot police in attempts to keep order after the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, which showed people that strongmen may not be needed to protect against sectarian violence or Islamic extremism.

Middle East nations scramble to contain unrest

Reporting from Amman, Jordan – To track the growing political movements gaining strength from the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia across North Africa and the Middle East, one would be well advised to get a planner.

There were Saturday’s clashes between demonstrators and police in Algeria, now referred to as #feb12 on Twitter, much as Egypt’s uprising shall forever be known as #jan25. New popular protests are scheduled Monday in Bahrain (#feb14) and Iran (#25Bahman). Libya comes next on #feb17, followed by Algeria again on #feb19, Morocco #feb20, Cameroon #feb23 and Kuwait #mar8.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

Once upon a time there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. And they grew next to each other. And every day the straight tree would look at the crooked tree and he would say, “You’re crooked. You’ve always been crooked and you’ll continue to be crooked. But look at me! Look at me!” said the straight tree. He said, “I’m tall and I’m straight.” And then one day the lumberjacks came into the forest and looked around, and the manager in charge said, “Cut all the straight trees.” And that crooked tree is still there to this day, growing strong and growing strange.

–Tom Waits,


Imagining postcapitalism: global warming

For this installment of the “Imagining postcapitalism” series, I will offer an introductory perspective upon global warming, continuing the invitation to rethink the politics of global warming suggested in this diary.  

Neglected Tropical Diseases: Guinea-worm disease

Cross posted from Stars Hollow Gazette

This is a series of diaries focused on the World Health Organization Neglected Tropical Diseases Program. I initially wrote a diary about Dengue Fever that had hospitalized Salon columnist and constitutional lawyer, Glenn Greenwald. The second diary briefly introduced the other diseases on the WHO list.

This week will focus on Guinea-worm disease (GWD), or Dracunculiasis, which is a debilitating and painful parasitic infection caused by a large nematode (roundworm), Dracunculus medinensis. The guinea worm is one of the best historically documented human parasites, with tales of its behaviour reaching as far back as the 2nd century BC in accounts penned by Greek chroniclers. It is also mentioned in the Egyptian scrolls, dating from 1550 BC. An Old Testament description of “fiery serpents” may have been referring to Guinea Worm: “And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.” (Numbers 21:4-9). The name dracunculiasis is derived from the Latin “affliction with little dragons” while the common name “guinea worm” appeared after Europeans saw the disease on the Guinea coast of West Africa in the 17th century.

It a water born disease and is contracted by drinking stagnant water that has been contaminated with the worm and copepods infested by the larvae. Copepods are tiny crustaceans found in sea and nearly every freshwater habitat. The disease manifests itself about a year after infection, usually as a large blister on the leg, that burns and itches and the mature worm, 1m long, tries to emerge. The infected person tries to relieve the pain by immersing the infected part in water, usually open water sources such as ponds and shallow wells. This stimulates the worm to emerge and release thousands of larvae into the water, thus perpetuating the cycle.

For persons living in remote areas with no access to medical care, healing of the ulcers can take several weeks. People in endemic villages are incapacitated during peak agricultural activities. This can seriously affect their agricultural production and the availability of food in the household, and consequently the nutritional status of their family members, particularly young children. Outbreaks can cause serious disruption to local food supplies and school attendance.

The good news is that the end of GWD is currently in sight. Thanks to President Jimmy Carter and the his Center’s initiative to eradicate this disease there are currently only four countries in the world where GWD is endemic, Sudan, Ghana, Mali and Ethiopia. The major focus is on Sudan where 84% of the 3,190 infections reported in 2009 occurred. WHO predicted it will be “a few years yet” before eradication is achieved, on the basis that it took 6-12 years for the countries that have so far eliminated Guinea worm transmission. Endemic countries must report to the International Commission for the Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication and document the absence of indigenous cases of GWD for at least three consecutive years to be certified as Guinea worm-free. Guinea worm disease will be only the second human disease, after smallpox, to be eradicated globally.


Guinea worm disease can only be transmitted by drinking contaminated water, and can be completely prevented through relatively simple measures that could result in the disease being eradicated:

   * Drinking solely water drawn from underground sources free from contamination, such as a borehole or hand-dug wells.

   * Filtering drinking water, using a fine-mesh cloth filter like nylon, to remove the guinea worm-containing crustaceans.

   * Preventing people with emerging guinea worms from entering ponds and wells used for drinking water.

   * Developing new sources of drinking water that lack the parasites, or repairing dysfunctional ones.

Water sources can also be treated with larvicides to kill worm-carrying crustaceans.

Further discussion is below the fold, since the brief description of treatment and video are graphic and not for the squeamish.

Late Night Karaoke

Anatomy of a Struggle: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers

If there is ever to be any effective pushback against the hegemony of capital, we will need bases of power, organized expressions of sustained popular resistance to exploitation and repression.  The contemporary political landscape of neoliberal media message management, social atomization and political alienation  can seem harsh and desolate for those of us looking for direction, for effective means of participation and expression of solidarity.

Today I’ll take a look at the struggle of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for some measure of justice and dignity in the fruit and vegetable fields of Florida, their history, the impressive solidarity network they have built, some recent victories, and some ongoing and upcoming efforts and actions that offer us all an opportunity to participate in solidarity.

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