Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Evidence of Witness 69: Blair has shown himself more a fool than a liar - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
In trying to prove him mendacious, critics of Mr Blair underplay his incompetence. His very fluency as a propagandist militated against long-term military success. He conflates the invasion of Iraq with the long-term occupation of Iraq as if both were seen as acts of liberation by ordinary Iraqis. The US and Britain might just have got away with overthrowing Saddam Hussein, whom most Iraqis wanted to see the back of, but a long-term imperial occupation was never going to succeed because it had too many enemies inside and outside the country.The Evidence of Witness 69: Blair has shown himself more a fool than a liar - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
Tories backtrack on spending cuts with pledge to freeze council tax | Politics | The Observer
David Cameron's policy of slashing government spending was thrown into confusion last night after his party suddenly promised to spend more on annual grants to local authorities, allowing them to freeze council tax while maintaining local services.
The pledge contradicted statements in which the Tory leader has promised only to protect the budgets for health and international development from potentially drastic spending cuts in the first years of a Tory administration.
The commitment to increase one of the biggest areas of government spending came as the Tories faced pressure to explain how they could claim, credibly, to be able to freeze council tax for two years and maintain services.
When asked to explain how services would be maintained while bills were frozen, the Tories issued a statement saying that the overall amount of money to councils from central government would increase if they won power.
A Conservative spokeswoman issued an official statement, saying: "We will provide additional central funding to local councils to help deliver our council tax freeze policy."
It said the Tories would fund this in part by "cutting wasteful central government spending", such as fees for consultants, and by cutting back the tiers of unelected regional government.
The extra money to keep council taxes down would be permanent, it said. "The funding will continue after the end of the two-year freeze to avoid cliff-edge effects [sharp rises in the third year] for councils which have frozen their council tax. We will be making savings to the overall DCLG budget, for example, by cutting back the tiers of unelected regional government."
The communities secretary, John Denham, said the Tories were in chaos over their spending plans. He said Treasury figures revealed that the cost of the freeze had already soared to way above the £1bn estimated by the Tories, claiming that official costings by the Treasury showed it would cost £470m more than the Conservatives claimed.
Caroline Spelman, shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, said people could look forward to a better deal than under Labour: "Council tax has already doubled across the country under Gordon Brown, while frontline services like weekly bin collections have halved. Further tax rises and service cuts are on the way if Labour can cling to power.
"Conservatives will freeze council tax for two years across England and will scrap Labour's council tax revaluation. This will save households over £500 a year compared to Gordon Brown's tax-raising plans."
Brown is a proven commodity able to make tough decisions who saw the UK through the darkest economic hour since 1929. Not even the English can be this stupid.
Cameron yesterday backed off earlier claims that he would make early cuts to the nation’s 178 billion pound ($285 billion) deficit, saying “early action doesn’t have to be particularly extensive,” according to the Financial Times.Brown’s Labour Party Gains in U.K. Polls as Tories’ Lead Dips - Bloomberg.com
Friday, January 29, 2010
What resulted was what one Democratic strategist described as "amazing theater" -- certainly for cable news. Standing on a stage, looking down at his Republican questioners, Obama assumed the role of responsible adult to the GOP children, or, at the very least, of a college professor teaching and lecturing a room full of students.Obama Goes To GOP Lions' Den -- And Mauls The Lions
The 5.7 percent annual growth rate in the fourth quarter was the fastest pace since 2003. It marked two straight quarters of growth after four quarters of decline. Growth exceeded expectations mainly because business spending on equipment and software jumped much more than forecast.Economy grows at 5.7 pct pace, fastest since 2003 - Yahoo! Finance
Johann Hari: This corruption in Washington is smothering America's future - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
For more than a century, the US has slowly put some limits – too few, too feeble – on how much corporations can bribe, bully or intimidate politicians. On Tuesday, they were burned away in one whoosh. The Supreme Court ruled that corporations can suddenly run political adverts during an election campaign – and there is absolutely no limit on how many, or how much they can spend. So if you anger the investment bankers by supporting legislation to break up the too-big-to-fail banks, you will smack into a wall of 24/7 ads exposing your every flaw. If you displease oil companies by supporting legislation to deal with global warming, you will now be hit by a tsunami of advertising saying you are opposed to jobs and the American Way. If you rile the defence contractors by opposing the gargantuan war budget, you will face a smear-campaign calling you Soft on Terror.Johann Hari: This corruption in Washington is smothering America's future - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I know why CBS is running an ad sponsored by Focus on the Family and starring Tim Tebow. It needs the money.Celizic: CBS making huge mistake with Tebow ad - Super Bowl XLIV- nbcsports.msnbc.com
There is no other reason — and certainly no good reason — for anyone, including a television executive, to decide that the ethical standards which had stood for generations are suddenly no more worth preserving than that hairball the cat just coughed up. Advertising revenues are down throughout the industry, and one way to combat that is to accept ads you used to refuse from organizations dedicated to bigotry and divisiveness.
And so we get an anti-abortion ad by a homophobic organization during the biggest sporting event of the year. At a time when we’re all sitting together watching the big game, we’ll have another reason to argue and yell at each other.***
The Super Bowl ad will apparently feature the quarterback and his mother, who was advised to abort the pregnancy that resulted in his birth. But she refused, and, lo, unto her a quarterback was born. It will no doubt be a very heartwarming spot. I guess the point is that if Tebow’s mother had followed the doctors’ advice, the world would have been deprived of a desperately needed football player and there would not have been a Heisman Trophy winner in 2007.The Super Bowl doesn’t need it, and neither do we.
You want to stuff your religion down my throat, have the decency to come and ring my doorbell like a good Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness. Then I can at least share with you my own fervently held belief:
You are a presumptuous and pompous gasbag.
Steve Richards: Those looking for a hidden scandal will be disappointed - Steve Richards, Commentators - The Independent
As the joint architects of new Labour, a project defined against their party's past, neither Blair nor Brown dared to contemplate a scenario where they were placed against the US and the Conservative party by opposing a war. As I have written before, every instinct in Blair's political body would have told him to navigate a route that gave no space to the Conservatives and enabled him to remain in alliance with Middle England and the newspapers they read. Acutely aware of Labour's vote-losing past when it was regarded as soft on defence and anti-American, Blair was always going to stick with the US over Iraq and seek as broad an international coalition of support as was possible.Steve Richards: Those looking for a hidden scandal will be disappointed - Steve Richards, Commentators - The Independent
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Breaking news, Pres. Obama has announced the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military. We ALL know that there are a ton of gay men and women serving in the military currently and many more gay veterans. For many folks military service is the path to college education and a better career. The US military is a prime example of the benefits of affirmative action, yet this policy that denies gay people the ability to express their personal identity, lifestyle and family has lingered. The policy doesn’t really serve any purpose except to make gay people and their contributions invisible. As if ignoring gay people would make them somehow magically disappear! Thank you President Obama for finally getting rid of this stale old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy!!CyDy Blog » Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!!
Dean Denham, president of Public Policy Polling, the North Carolina-based survey firm that carried out the poll, said the Fox strategy had been brilliant commercially but its implications were troubling. "That people see the network as trustworthy is worrying in terms of the future of reasoned debate in America. A lie screamed loudly will trump a truth spoken quietly," he said.Fox most trusted news channel in US, poll shows | World news | guardian.co.uk
The new findings immediately set off a debate over funding. Critics argued that the disturbing new data were just the latest in a long series of indications that the focus on abstinence programs was a dismal failure.Rise in teen pregnancies spurs debate - Washington Post- msnbc.com
"Now we know that after 10 years and over $1.5 billion in abstinence-only funding, the U.S. is lurching backwards on teen sexual health," said James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth, a Washington advocacy group.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
A senior government source said: "We are simply astonished at what the Tories are doing. The Northern Ireland peace process has been strengthened by the bipartisan approach between all major parties at Westminster. Holding talks at a country estate and excluding the nationalists is absolutely not within that spirit."
The bipartisan approach dates back to November 1993, when it was revealed that Major's government had held secret talks with the IRA. John Hume, the former SDLP leader, marched into the office of the late Labour leader, John Smith, to ask him to pull his punches because an important political process was under way.
The Tories were strongly criticised in Northern Ireland last night. Alasdair McDonnell, the deputy leader of the SDLP, said: "This is a very sinister development. We have travelled far over 15 years of peacemaking and are now at the point of putting in the last piece of jigsaw. What we have is Mr Cameron parachuting in with hobnailed boots, going off into a corner with two parties and excluding three others."
Brown and Cowen in talks to rescue Stormont power-sharing deal | UK news | The Guardian
Monday, January 25, 2010
The convention, to be held in Nashville in early February, made a splash by attracting big-name politicians. (Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech.) But some groups have criticized the cost — $549 per ticket and a $9.95 fee, plus hotel and airfare — as out of reach for the average tea partier. And they have balked at Ms. Palin’s speaking fee, which news reports have put at $100,000, a figure that organizers will not confirm or deny.Tea Party Disputes Take Toll on Convention - NYTimes.com
All of which makes me wonder whether there couldn't be a second ad speculating what the world would be like if Hitler's mother HAD had an abortion.
Giving God a break at the Super Bowl | Media | The Guardian
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Kennedy didn’t settle for the generic populist rhetoric of Obama’s latest threats to “fight” unspecified bankers some indeterminate day. He instead took the strong action of dressing down U.S. Steel by name. As Richard Reeves writes in his book “President Kennedy,” reporters were left “literally gasping.” The young president called out big steel for threatening “economic recovery and stability” while Americans risked their lives in Southeast Asia. J.F.K. threatened to sic his brother’s Justice Department on corporate records and then held firm as his opponents likened his flex of muscle to the power grabs of Hitler and Mussolini. (Sound familiar?) U.S. Steel capitulated in two days. The Times soon reported on its front page that Kennedy was at “a high point in popular support.”
Can anyone picture Obama exerting such take-no-prisoners leadership to challenge those who threaten our own economic recovery and stability at a time of deep recession and war? That we can’t is a powerful indicator of why what happened in Massachusetts will not stay in Massachusetts if this White House fails to reboot.
Op-Ed Columnist - After the Massachusetts Massacre - NYTimes.com
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Further evidence of the recovery in the UK housing market has come from figures showing completed residential property sales hit a two-year high in December.BBC News - Property sales hit two-year high
Friday, January 22, 2010
BBC News - David Cameron accuses Labour of 'moral failure'
Conservative leader David Cameron is to accuse Labour of "moral failure" and presiding over a country in both economic and social recession.
In a speech, he will say the UK rewards parents who split up and is a place where professionals are told to follow rules rather than do what is best.
Mr Cameron will mention the case of two brothers being sentenced later for attacking two boys in South Yorkshire.
The government said the case was "uniquely terrible and extremely rare".
Not sure was a "moral recession" is? Don't know if I want to know. But with a sudden flood of good UK economic news the Tories need to change the entire focus to something else, and it looks like Cameron has gone through another one of those changes in a matter of days most people would take decades to carry out. From a belt tightening budget fixer to a social engineer prepared to radically change government policy for traditional moral categories. I am not precisely sure what Cameron thinks that the government in London can do to stop a single crime in the North of the Country.
Mortgage lending was "surprisingly strong" in December, but the figures came as one building society announced a sharp rise in rates.BBC News - Mortgage lending up and Skipton raises rates
Lenders overestimated the number of people who would default on unsecured credit such as credit cards and loans, a Bank of England report has said.BBC News - Default levels on credit lower than expected
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Robert Fisk: The tree-lined bunkers that could change the face of the Middle East - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent
Beck launched into a long rant about how Brown had just put his daughters up for grabs on a "meat market" and how shocked he was that anyone could say something like that on national television. Then came that moment that differentiates Beck on the radio from Beck on the TV: he started comparing Brown to Gary Condit.Glenn Beck Scott Brown 'Dead Intern': Beck Slams Brown For 'Available' Daughters Comments (VIDEO)
BBC News - China economy shows strong growth
China says its economy expanded by 8.7% in 2009, exceeding even the government's own initial expectations.
The pace of change increased as the year went on, with growth in the final quarter of 2009 increasing by 10.7% from 2008.
It is a major turnaround for an economy that was hit by the global downturn just a year ago.
China is now on course to overtake Japan and become the world's second-biggest economy.
Japan announces its latest GDP figures next month. Its economy is likely to have contracted by about 6% in 2009.
Who won the Cold War again?
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
BBC News - UK jobless total falls to 2.46m
The number of people unemployed in the UK has fallen for the first time in 18 months, official figures showed.
Total unemployment now stands at 2.46 million, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), down by 7,000 compared with three months ago.
Meanwhile, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell to 1.61 million.
But the inactivity rate - measuring the number of people neither working nor looking for work - rose to 21%.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
On gospel, Abba and the death of the record: an audience with Brian Eno | Interview | Music | The Observer
"I think records were just a little bubble through time and those who made a living from them for a while were lucky. There is no reason why anyone should have made so much money from selling records except that everything was right for this period of time. I always knew it would run out sooner or later. It couldn't last, and now it's running out. I don't particularly care that it is and like the way things are going. The record age was just a blip. It was a bit like if you had a source of whale blubber in the 1840s and it could be used as fuel. Before gas came along, if you traded in whale blubber, you were the richest man on Earth. Then gas came along and you'd be stuck with your whale blubber. Sorry mate – history's moving along. Recorded music equals whale blubber. Eventually, something else will replace it."On gospel, Abba and the death of the record: an audience with Brian Eno | Interview | Music | The Observer
Saturday, January 16, 2010
At the same time as the insurgency began in the south, in Aden, another revolution happened in the North Yemen. A group of republicans who were also followers of President Nasser overthrew the ruling royal family. Nasser then sent Egyptian troops to support the republicans.
Many in the British government wanted to recognise the new regime, but a small group in the security services, led by David Stirling, persuaded the Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, to let them organise a covert war in the deserts and mountains of Yemen in support of the royal family.
These men had a romantic and simplified view of the world. They did not see this war as a nationalist struggle but as part of a much wider fight against a communist takeover of the world. Engaging in this global conflict would be a way of recapturing Britain's power and greatness.
The Islamism that we face today rose up in the 1970s precisely as a reaction to those corrupt regimes and their western backers. It too is an anti-colonial project that is very similar to Nasser's vision of a united Arab world free of western influence - but with religion bolted on. And now, to fight it, we are preparing to send arms and "intelligence advisers" to help prop up a corrupt regime in Yemen.
BBC - Adam Curtis Blog: YEMEN - THE RETURN OF OLD GHOSTS
The widely reported success of the UK retail sector over the Christmas period may not be as buoyant as the figures suggest, a study has warned.BBC News - Christmas retail sales 'not so buoyant'
Retailers from John Lewis to Sainsbury's, and Tesco to Poundland all reported strong sales over the Christmas period.
Verdict retail analyst Matthew Pinner said: "Big, high-profile collapses such as Woolworths have had all the coverage, but the relentless closure of small stores has done just as much to push up vacancy rates.
"This has freed up extra sales which have been absorbed by the bigger stronger players, lifting their sales."
You can't please some people. One minute they're whining about the mollycoddling nanny state, the next they're insisting the council employs a man to walk directly in front of them, shovelling grit beneath each potential footfall.Charlie Brooker's Screen burn | Television & radio | The Guardian
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The UK economy grew by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2009, a leading economic think tank has said.BBC News - UK economy 'returns to growth', think tank NIESR says
Security minister Lord West said the "abhorrent" and "offensive" comments by Mike Savage could stir up violence if the ruling was overturned.BBC News - UK ban on US shock jock Mike Savage 'to stay in place'
Monday, January 11, 2010
Retailers enjoyed their best December growth for eight years, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said.BBC News - Christmas sales beat expectations
Like-for-like sales rose 4.2% by value during the month after a last-minute buying spree by shoppers, and a rebound in consumer confidence.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said the sales were "stronger figures than we dared hope for".
The improvement comes as a range of retailers have reported buoyant trading over the Christmas period.
FT Press: Informationalizing Sports: Baseball, Football, and Basketball > Informationalizing Sports: Baseball, Football, and Basketball
Americans began playing baseball before the American Civil War, and it became a hugely popular sport that could be played by kids, young men in informal pickup games, local leagues, and eventually by professional teams organized in national leagues. In fact, the game became so popular that people around the world think of baseball as pure Americana, as culturally identified with the United States as apple pie, hot dogs, and democracy. Americans couldn't leave well enough alone. By the end of the 19th century, they were doing more than simply playing baseball; they were informationalizing it. During the 20th century they ran the game through every major information technology that came along, from radio to TV, into computers, and then all over the Internet. The heart of this informationalizing process was not just a story of reporting in local newspapers who played, won, and lost games; it was the collection and dissemination of extraordinary amounts of information about the game that makes this a useful case study to look at.FT Press: Informationalizing Sports: Baseball, Football, and Basketball > Informationalizing Sports: Baseball, Football, and Basketball
Sunday, January 10, 2010
THE effect of free money is remarkable. A year ago investors were panicking and there was talk of another Depression. Now the MSCI world index of global share prices is more than 70% higher than its low in March 2009. That’s largely thanks to interest rates of 1% or less in America, Japan, Britain and the euro zone, which have persuaded investors to take their money out of cash and to buy risky assets.Markets: Bubble warning | The Economist
Finally the Economist see a bubble and sees danger in the collapse of the bubble. The economist didn't seem to see the danger in the credit collapse, didn't spend much time on the housing boom, didn't worry about the bubble's caused by deregulation or cuts on high level taxes. But allow the government to run stimulus packages and the Tories at the world's most consistently wrong magazine shit their pants.
Given the Economists predictions on Bush, the Iraq War, Bush and the peace process, the California economic boom for 1998 and essentially everything they have written over the past 10 years, I would not lose sleep.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Children of UK service personnel killed in action would be offered university scholarships under the Tories, shadow chancellor George Osborne has pledged.BBC News - Tories plan scholarships for children of fallen troops
I can't decide if this is a pathetic stunt or a desperate try. Try and get above 40% by any means necessary.
On "Good Morning America" Friday, the former New York mayor declared, "We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we've had one under Obama."Rudy Giuliani: 'We Had No Domestic Attacks Under Bush; We've Had One Under Obama'
Idiot statement of the day. I guess 9-11, Anthrax, and the shoe bombers never happened eh? And heh what about attacks in the UK and Spain that killed hundreds? Oh well, Rudiy has never been much of a detail person.
Here's a fact about the underwear attack that you might have missed in the media shoutfest: it failed. It failed, first of all, because Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was just one terrorist. Once upon a time, al-Qaeda's modus operandi was to launch multiple, simultaneous attacks. That way, even if one attack failed, the entire operation wouldn't. On 9/11, the network deployed 19 hijackers on four planes; on 12/25, by contrast, it managed only one. Second, the underwear attack failed because Abdulmutallab wasn't particularly well trained. The 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were personally selected by Osama bin Laden from the tens of thousands of potential killers who went through al-Qaeda's Afghan training camps in the 1990s. The ringleaders got extensive training on the design of airplanes and the behavior of aircraft crews, even before they enrolled in U.S. flight schools. The grunts were made to slit the throats of camels and sheep to overcome their inhibitions about murder. Abdulmutallab, by contrast, reportedly used a syringe to try to detonate a notoriously hard-to-detonate explosive called PETN. "To make this stuff work," says Van Romero, an explosives expert at New Mexico Tech, "you have to know what you're doing." Abdulmutallab, it appears, did not.What al-Qaeda Can't Do - TIME
BBC News - Geoff Hoon may face no confidence vote
Former minister Geoff Hoon could face a vote of no confidence from his constituency, following his call for a ballot on Gordon Brown's leadership.
Following a meeting of the Labour Party members in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, Mr Hoon told the BBC he was not "carried aloft like a conquering hero".
He said while he faced criticism, he also had some supportive comments.
The BBC understands that some activists are considering tabling a motion of no confidence in him as their MP.
They think he had not apologised sufficiently tonight for his role in potentially destabilising Gordon Brown's leadership of the Labour Party, in the run-up to the forthcoming general election.
Mr Hoon told Friday night's meeting he was remaining as the candidate for the next election.
Friday, January 08, 2010
Thursday, January 07, 2010
BBC News - Cameron says he hopes poster picture was not airbrushed
Does this look like the Big Brother ad for Apple in 1984 or what?
N. Korea reform wipes out free market wealth - Washington Post- msnbc.com
TOKYO - Strong-armed currency reform in North Korea, which has confiscated the savings of small businesses and forbidden the use of foreign money, is now causing runaway inflation and contributing to food shortages, according to several reports from inside the closed state.
Currency reform is part of an aggressive crackdown on free markets by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
His government has ordered the closure by the end of March of a large wholesale market in the northeastern port city of Chongjin, according to Good Friends, a Seoul-based aid group with a network of informants inside the country. Another major wholesale market near the capital, Pyongyang, was shut down in June.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Spot Gold 30 days of Gold, with almost 20% of value lost in a month.
Dow Jones Industrial Average - Google Finance
As you can see the Dow trended up over the same time. Gold is a safe haven, and the economy is turning the corner globally and gold prices are in for some major downward motion.
So when you see Carrie in the Sex in the City ads dressed in Gold shoes, glasses, necklace and bag or you hear Gleen Beck talk about gold you know what is happening. Investors are tyring to use media to find suckers to unload gold on now that the price is in for a drop.
DO NOT BUY GOLD NOW. The time to buy gold was 2000 when Bush stold the election, 2003 when he pushed the Iraq war, 2004 when he was re-elected and 2007 as the US housing market collapsed. Depending on when you purchased your gold it is now time to get out. Probably a good time to sell gold and buy a new house.
When Hoover failed to reverse America’s slowdown and was booted out of office in 1932, he was replaced by Franklin Roosevelt, who, unlike Hoover, was not hamstrung by a rigid anti-government ideology and anti-deficit economics. If Obama and the Democrats lose power to the Republicans in 2010 and then 2012, they will be replaced by a party that is mired in the idolization of past institutions and is even less equipped than the Democrats to deal with the challenges of the twenty-first century. Hoover’s defeat led eventually to America’s revival. Obama’s defeat could speed the country’s decline.
Barack Obama, You Remind Me Of Herbert Hoover | The New Republic
Monday, January 04, 2010
After this 60-year feeding frenzy, Earth itself has become disposable | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
In a new paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Sir Partha Dasgupta makes the point that the problem with gross domestic product is the gross bit. There are no deductions involved: all economic activity is accounted as if it were of positive value. Social harm is added to, not subtracted from, social good. A train crash which generates £1bn worth of track repairs, medical bills and funeral costs is deemed by this measure to be as beneficial as an uninterrupted service which generates £1bn in ticket sales.
Most important, no deduction is made to account for the depreciation of natural capital: the overuse or degradation of soil, water, forests, fisheries and the atmosphere. Dasgupta shows that the total wealth of a nation can decline even as its GDP is growing. In Pakistan, for instance, his rough figures suggest that while GDP per capita grew by an average of 2.2% a year between 1970 and 2000, total wealth declined by 1.4%. Amazingly, there are still no official figures that seek to show trends in the actual wealth of nations.
After this 60-year feeding frenzy, Earth itself has become disposable | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
Sunday, January 03, 2010
But what these year-end numbers do not show is that US stocks ended the decade lower than they began. Those investors who were convinced that buy-and-hold was the conservative, fail-safe strategy are among the biggest losers from all this. (It's the first time that a decade's returns have been negative since the 1930s)'Harsh lessons we may need to learn again' | Al Jazeera Blogs
As I stood in the security line at JFK airport waiting to be frisked before boarding a New Year's day flight home, another goal, or at least consequence, of the most recent attack became apparent, one deeply tied to the obsession with physical and sexual honour in radical Islamist ideology: With this one failed action, the movement will succeed in routinising the systematic physical violation of airline travellers by our own security personnel as a part of the price of air travel.Al Jazeera English - Focus - The $30bn pair of underpants
Invasive frisking of the most intimate areas of the human body and revealing full body scans represent from a hardcore Salafi perspective an almost unbearable indignity -one they will surely relish seeing millions of the enemy routinely suffer, especially when such violations mirror the daily indignities and sexual humiliation infamously suffered by inmates in Guantanamo and other US-run prisons.
Robert Fisk’s World: Walls never work: in the Middle East or in Ireland - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent
But the English and Scots "settlements" failed in Ireland. Protestant hopes of eternal support from London eventually proved false. And so, what of Israeli hopes of eternal support from Washington? I still don't believe in a one-state solution – which the Protestant minority will one day have to accept in Ireland, if they have not, subconsciously, already done so – but colonisation leads only to the graveyard. Walls don't work. Nor "superior" religions. Nor ethnic cleansing. History, which should be studied as eternally as false hopes, is a great punisher.Robert Fisk’s World: Walls never work: in the Middle East or in Ireland - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent
David Cameron to pledge NHS cash boost for most deprived areas | Politics | The Observer
Over the past century, the world's population of tigers has been reduced by 95% as a result of hunting and poaching for their body parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. There are only around 3,200 tigers left on the planet.Battle will be stepped up this year to save the tiger | Environment | The Observer
But the overall impression here is of a huge relief effort that has not only met its initial goal of reconstruction but has in many ways exceeded it. The East Coast Road is proof that the global aid industry, so often maligned for inefficiency and corruption, can really bring about long-term social transformation.In Tsunami’s Wake, an Unexpected Second Chance - NYTimes.com
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Sir John said the handling of the 2003 invasion had done more damage to trust in the UK political system than the expenses scandal, and the Chilcott inquiry was raising further questions about the Government's conduct.Major fears regime change was Blair's motive for Iraq war - UK Politics, UK - The Independent