Tuesday, 31 August 2010

U.S. Analyst Is Indicted in Leak Case

Overdose Awareness Day


In memory of Bauwka
Not the first nor the last but one of the youngest...
RIP

AGENDA: Grinding America Down (Trailer)


Wingnut time!

Blair secretly courted Robert Mugabe to boost trade

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Acoustic archaeology: The secret sounds of Stonehenge


Full story

Leonard Cohen - Bird On A Wire (DVD)

                                   


Tony Palmer's 1972 Documentary On Rock's Foremost Poet Finally Sees the Light of Day
Thirty-eight years after it was completed, a 1972 documentary following Leonard Cohen—the enormously influential poet, folk musician and, since 2008, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—on tour in Europe finally has its moment. Originally made as a promotional film for the artist, whose record sales were meager at the time, Bird on a Wire was produced and edited by Tony Palmer, then famed for his seminal 1968 documentary All My Loving, an eye-opening dissection of rock n' roll that featured, among others, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Donovan. In Bird on a Wire, Palmer neatly captured the tour itself––threadbare, fraught with technical difficulties and emotional upheavals––but on first viewing, Cohen balked at the bare bones honesty of the film and demanded a complete re-edit from another source. The result was so disastrous that the film opened and closed on the same day, was forgotten about, then lost. In 2009, 294 cans of celluloid labeled “Bird an a Wire” were found locked in a Hollywood warehouse and immediately shipped to Palmer, who set about re-creating the original film he made all those years ago. The work is a visual poem—Palmer’s camera followed Cohen without judgment, opening the floor to the man as well as the artist. Today’s exclusive clip shows the music legend during an abortive attempt to ask a young German fan out on a date.   
Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire by Tony Palmer is available now on DVD. Tony Palmer tells us more about his first meeting with Cohen here

I still have a video of this great documentary.
He is such a smooth talker in the clip above..."breakfast" indeed!

United States Gives Itself High Marks on Human Rights, but What Comes Next?

This month, the United States submitted an assessment of its human rights record to the UN Human Rights Council as part of the UN’s newest human rights mechanism, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  Unsurprisingly, its report immediately caught flak from the right and the left.  Nationalists and conservatives at the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation complained we should not bother to subject ourselves to scrutiny by states with lesser human rights records and that by doing so we give ammunition to autocrats who can mock our shortcomings.  Progressives applauded the administration for participating seriously in a multilateral process but lamented the failure to address a host of human rights deficits.
In our view, the administration’s report perhaps tries too hard to please everyone and in doing so falls short of what it could have achieved if it had taken a more critical and honest approach to some of the more troublesome elements on the human rights agenda.  It deserves praise for engaging in serious consultations around the country with critics and victims alike to prepare its findings.  Its political instincts, though, were apparently to mute self-criticism in order to forestall attacks from the U.S.-can-do-no-wrong crowd while simultaneously highlighting progress since 2009 as a way to remind voters at home and constituencies abroad that it is different from the Bush administration. 
The real test, however, is how this administration will address such ongoing and thorny issues around detention policy, impunity for torture, immigration and protection of civilians caught in conflict.  On these matters, the report offers very little...
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Super-strength alcohol 'is killing more homeless people than crack or heroin'

‘Drainspotting’: Japanese Manhole Cover Art

These aren’t your average manhole covers. In Japan, they actually look pretty, not those cast-iron monstrosities on sidewalks.
Photographer Remo Camerota has gone around the land of the rising sun and snapping away at these gorgeous street art, publishing an award-winning book Drainspotting while he’s at it.
The book, which is also released as an iPad app, took the award for Best Art Book at the NY Book Festival.
The adorned manhole covers feature anything from firemen to birds to flowers. It’s a beautifully simple idea to liven up city streets—just plaster typically ugly urban structures with colorful, vibrant art. 

Max Tannone - Dub Kweli - Your Gospel


   
The latest release from Max (Jaydiohead) Tannone is Dub Kwelli, a remix of Talib Kweli and classic dub reggae tracks which you can download

The Secret Killers: Covert Assassins Charged With Hunting Down and Killing Afghans

 
"Find, fix, finish, and follow-up" is the way the Pentagon describes the mission of secret military teams in Afghanistan which have been given a mandate to pursue alleged members of the Taliban or al-Qaeda wherever they may be found. Some call these “manhunting” operations and the units assigned to them “capture/kill” teams.
Whatever terminology you choose, the details of dozens of their specific operations -- and how they regularly went badly wrong -- have been revealed for the first time in the mass of secret U.S. military and intelligence documents published by the website Wikileaks in July to a storm of news coverage and official protest.  Representing a form of U.S. covert warfare now on the rise, these teams regularly make more enemies than friends and undermine any goodwill created by U.S. reconstruction projects.
When Danny Hall and Gordon Phillips, the civilian and military directors of the U.S. provincial reconstruction team in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, arrived for a meeting with Gul Agha Sherzai, the local governor, in mid-June 2007, they knew that they had a lot of apologizing to do. Philips had to explain why a covert U.S. military “capture/kill” team named Task Force 373, hunting for Qari Ur-Rahman, an alleged Taliban commander given the code-name “Carbon,” had called in an AC-130 Spectre gunship and inadvertently killed seven Afghan police officers in the middle of the night.
The incident vividly demonstrated the inherent clash between two doctrines in the U.S. war in Afghanistan -- counterinsurgency (“protecting the people”) and counterterrorism (killing terrorists). Although the Obama administration has given lip service to the former, the latter has been, and continues to be, the driving force in its war in Afghanistan.
For Hall, a Foreign Service officer who was less than two months away from a plush assignment in London, working with the military had already proven more difficult than he expected. In an article for Foreign Service Journal published a couple of months before the meeting, he wrote, “I felt like I never really knew what was going on, where I was supposed to be, what my role was, or if I even had one. In particular, I didn't speak either language that I needed: Pashtu or military.”
It had been no less awkward for Phillips. Just a month earlier, he had personally handed over “solatia” payments -- condolence payments for civilian deaths wrongfully caused by U.S. forces -- in Governor Sherzai's presence, while condemning the act of a Taliban suicide bomber who had killed 19 civilians, setting off the incident in question. “We come here as your guests,” he told the relatives of those killed, “invited to aid in the reconstruction and improved security and governance of Nangarhar, to bring you a better life and a brighter future for you and your children.  Today, as I look upon the victims and their families, I join you in mourning for your loved ones.”
Pratap Chatterjee @'Alternet'

Beautiful!

How Google Unwittingly Helped Propagate the Misleading "Ground Zero Mosque" Label

As the inane controversy over the Cordoba House, the Islamic community center being planned in Manhattan, gained momentum, the facility quickly came to be known as the "Ground Zero Mosque." And that label is misleading because it's not at Ground Zero and it's not a mosque.
Where the label started, who knows? Cable news (read: Fox) seems like a good bet. But what's interesting, as the Nieman Journalism Lab points out, is how it came to stick.
When a handy label like "Ground Zero Mosque" emerges, it's immediately attractive to bloggers and editors because it's short and a little provocative. And once it becomes the accepted, if inaccurate, term for the thing, then not using it means sacrificing the easy searchability of the piece you've written.
Poynter ethicist Kelly McBride zeroed in on that idea of search-engine optimization, noting that the AP is being punished for their stand against the term “ground zero mosque” by not appearing very highly on the all-important news searches for that phrase. In order to stay relevant to search engines, news organizations have to continue using an inaccurate term once it’s taken hold, she concluded.
There's a positive feedback loop that reinforces the popular term and it's hard to break out of because, with web traffic as the currency of digital media, optimizing the stuff you publish for search engines is a real revenue consideration.
How do we fix this? I don't know. It would be nice if Google could somehow flag certain terms as epithets or weasel words, but I'm pretty sure that's beyond its capacity and the company doesn't seem very interested in assuming editorial responsibility for anything anyway.
More likely it will just be a matter of responsible media outlets thinking twice before adopting whatever slangy, loaded term gets bandied around on cable news. On that count, my colleague Morgan, who refused to use the label at the height of the controversy, did a better job than I.
Andrew Price @'Good'

Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

 

(Thanx Stan!)

Hunter S. Thompson - The Crazy Never Die


Monday, 30 August 2010

The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party

Good grief!

What's what wrong with this picture?

Help Stop the Terminator's Return

Four years after the moratorium on Terminator technology was reaffirmed by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), proposals to develop and commercialize ‘genetic-use restriction technologies’ (GURTs) are back on the agenda for policymakers and the biotechnology industry. Terminator is a threat to food sovereignty and agrobiodiversity: ending the moratorium on Terminator will increase control of seed by transnational corporations (TNCs) and restrictions on farmers’ rights to save and plant harvested seed. Additionally, pollen from genetically-modified (GM) crops with Terminator will contaminate non-GM and organic crops, and native plant species.
GURTs (herein referred to as ‘Terminator’) are genetic engineering technologies that seek to control plant fertility. First-generation Terminator (also called ‘suicide seed’) was developedjointly by the US Department of Agriculture and Delta and Pine Land Company in the 1990s to protect the intellectual property of US agricultural biotechnology TNCs. GM crops produce sterile seeds to prevent farmers from replanting harvested seed with patented DNA. Due to international public outcry from farmers and civil society worldwide, Terminator has never been commercialized anywhere, and Brazil and India have national moratoriums prohibiting it. In 2000, the CBD recommended a de facto moratorium on field-testing and commercial sale of Terminator seeds. In 2006, pressure from La Via Campesina and its allies helped to strengthen this moratorium in Curitiba, Brazil.
That year, US-based TNC Monsanto Company, the largest seed company in the world, acquired Delta and Pine Land, along with the intellectual property rights to Terminator. Since then industry, the US and European governments and ultra-rich philanthro-capitalists have ramped up rhetoric on the need for Terminator and other biotechnologies to adapt to the climate, energy and food crises. Various false solutions are being proposed to sell the lie that techno-fixes allow rich countries to continue consuming resources and emitting carbon dioxide, unabated: GM crops for cellulosic and second-generation agrofuels; geoengineering ‘climate ready’ GM crops and trees with increased albedo (reflectivity) and resistance to drought, heat and salt; monoculture plantation forests of GM trees to industrially produce biochar for carbon sequestration; and GM algae and marine microbes for carbon dioxide sequestration. Monsanto is proposing that monoculture plantations of its Roundup Ready soybeans qualify for carbon credits under so-called “no-till” agriculture. All of these false solutions create new markets for agricultural biotechnology and ‘extreme genetic engineering’.
With financing by the US government and British Petroleum (BP), in May, Synthetic Genomics, the company founded J. Craig Venter (which helped to sequence the human genome)announced that it had created the first-ever synthetic, self-reproducing microbe with synthetic biology. Venter’s team claims that the microbe can be used to produce clean, green algal biofuels; however, what will happen if this microbe escapes into the wild and contaminates non-synthetic algae with its DNA? Similarly, what will happen when a GM maize variety engineered to have a high amount of stover (the stalks, husks, etc. of maize) for cellulosic agrofuels contaminates food maize varieties? The implications are frightening. Industry is now claiming that Terminator is needed to contain genetic contamination (transgene flow) of food crops and other natural life forms from genetically-engineered DNA in non-food crops; in essence, as a precautionary, environmental necessity. Venter recently told the New York Times that Terminator should be employed to contain transgenic contamination...
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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Arab Strap Is Dead!

John Fugelsang JohnFugelsang Paris Hilton & US drug laws - I love it when stupid things collide.

Girlz With Gunz # 125

William Gibson says:

William Gibson GreatDismal Thank you Glenn for bringing back dignity to America, one crazy white douchebag at a time.

Smoking # 80

Russian Spy Anna Chapman Modelling for Russian Magazine

I'm a Racist Idiot, And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt

Reader J. Peach took this picture at today's "Glenn Beck Restores America"
poetry slam and cookout. All of this man's racist shirts that actually make sense were at the cleaners. (Also, it's "Mauritania," dumbass.)
@'Gawker' 
Give him points for spelling 'Niger' correctly tho!

Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys Live Buffalo10/06/10

2010-06-10
Thursday at the Square,
Lafayette Square,
Buffalo, NY


01 Intro
02 Always A Friend
03 This Bed Is Getting Crowded
04 Anchor
05 Tender Heart
06 Street Songs
07 Everybody Loves Me
08 Chelsea Hotel
09 Sensitive Boys
10 Castanets
11 Real As An Animal
12 Faith
13 Beasts Of Burden
More downloadable shows from Alejandro Escovedo 

Aboombong - Amnemonic

<a href="http://aboombong.bandcamp.com/album/amnemonic">Cheshiahud Loop by aboombong</a>
More tracks & details

More balls!

Balls!

Israeli Education Ministry Approves New 'whites-only' Settlement School

Several months ago, a religious school in the illegal Israeli settlement of Immanuel was criticized for segregating white Jewish students from non-white Jewish students in classes.Originally, the school was fined for this policy of racial segregation, because the school was state funded. Now, the Israeli education ministry has agreed with the white parents' request to allow the school to continue with its racial discrimination under private funding.There is no law preventing racial discrimination by private organizations, even schools, in Israel.
The Israeli court has interpreted these laws to also apply to illegal West bank settlements, like Immanuel, which are located in areas that are supposed to be under Palestinian control. The Palestinian Authority does not allow racial discrimination, but due to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian Territories, it has no authority over the area in question.
74 white girls who have been studying in a building next to the school will now be allowed to study in whites-only classrooms that are privately funded, as their parents claim they do not want their girls to study in racially-mixed classrooms.
@'IMEMC' 

Regular reader JA comments:
 1. True: Immanuel is in the west bank which should be Palestinian Territories
2. True: There was a racial discrimination issue in that school which the Israeli court had to intervene
3. False: the racial issue was an issue between religious Jewish orthodox group and super-religious Jewish orthodox group ,It was wrong and racial and should be allowed in any country , but the thing is it was NOT a black and white thing! i.e. it was racial but not color-racial.

Gates Foundation invests in Monsanto

Farmers and civil society organizations around the world are outraged by the recent discovery of further connections between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agribusiness titan Monsanto. Last week, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, including 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock with an estimated worth of $23.1 million purchased in the second quarter of 2010 (see the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission). This marks a substantial increase from its previous holdings, valued at just over $360,000 (see the Foundation’s 2008 990 Form).
“The Foundation’s direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two primary levels,” said Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering. “First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record. The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious doubt on the Foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers. Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict of interests.”
Monsanto has already negatively impacted agriculture in African countries. For example, in South Africa in 2009, Monsanto’s genetically modified maize failed to produce kernels and hundreds of farmers were devastated. According to Mariam Mayet, environmental attorney and director of the Africa Centre for Biosafety in Johannesburg, some farmers suffered up to an 80% crop failure. While Monsanto compensated the large-scale farmers to whom it directly sold the faulty product, it gave nothing to the small-scale farmers to whom it had handed out free sachets of seeds. “When the economic power of Gates is coupled with the irresponsibility of Monsanto, the outlook for African smallholders is not very promising,” said Mayet. Monsanto’s aggressive patenting practices have also monopolized control over seed in ways that deny farmers control over their own harvest, going so far as to sue—and bankrupt—farmers for “patent infringement.”
News of the Foundation’s recent Monsanto investment has confirmed the misgivings of many farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates in Africa, among them the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition, who commented, “We have long suspected that the founders of AGRA—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—had a long and more intimate affair with Monsanto.” Indeed, according to Travis English, researcher with AGRA Watch, “The Foundation’s ownership of Monsanto stock is emblematic of a deeper, more long-standing involvement with the corporation, particularly in Africa.” In 2008, AGRA Watch, a project of the Seattle-based organization Community Alliance for Global Justice, uncovered many linkages between the Foundation’s grantees and Monsanto. For example, some grantees (in particular about 70% of grantees in Kenya) of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)—considered by the Foundation to be its “African face”—work directly with Monsanto on agricultural development projects. Other prominent links include high-level Foundation staff members who were once senior officials for Monsanto, such as Rob Horsch, formerly Monsanto Vice President of International Development Partnerships and current Senior Program Officer of the Gates Agricultural Development Program.
Transnational corporations like Monsanto have been key collaborators with the Foundation and AGRA’s grantees in promoting the spread of industrial agriculture on the continent. This model of production relies on expensive inputs such as chemical fertilizers, genetically modified seeds, and herbicides. Though this package represents enticing market development opportunities for the private sector, many civil society organizations contend it will lead to further displacement of farmers from the land, an actual increase in hunger, and migration to already swollen cities unable to provide employment opportunities. In the words of a representative from the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition, “AGRA is poison for our farming systems and livelihoods. Under the philanthropic banner of greening agriculture, AGRA will eventually eat away what little is left of sustainable small-scale farming in Africa.”
A 2008 report initiated by the World Bank and the UN, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), promotes alternative solutions to the problems of hunger and poverty that emphasize their social and economic roots. The IAASTD concluded that small-scale agroecological farming is more suitable for the third world than the industrial agricultural model favored by Gates and Monsanto. In a summary of the key findings of IAASTD, the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) emphasizes the report’s warning that “continued reliance on simplistic technological fixes—including transgenic crops—will not reduce persistent hunger and poverty and could exacerbate environmental problems and worsen social inequity.” Furthermore, PANNA explains, “The Assessment’s 21 key findings suggest that small-scale agroecological farming may offer one of the best means to feed the hungry while protecting the planet.”
The Gates Foundation has been challenged in the past for its questionable investments; in 2007, the L.A. Times exposed the Foundation for investing in its own grantees and for its “holdings in many companies that have failed tests of social responsibility because of environmental lapses, employment discrimination, disregard for worker rights, or unethical practices.” The Times chastised the Foundation for what it called “blind-eye investing,” with at least 41% of its assets invested in “companies that countered the foundation’s charitable goals or socially-concerned philosophy.”
Although the Foundation announced it would reassess its practices, it decided to retain them. As reported by the L.A. Times, chief executive of the Foundation Patty Stonesifer defended their investments, stating, “It would be naïve…to think that changing the foundation’s investment policy could stop the human suffering blamed on the practices of companies in which it invests billions of dollars.” This decision is in direct contradiction to the Foundation’s official “Investment Philosophy”, which, according to its website, “defined areas in which the endowment will not invest, such as companies whose profit model is centrally tied to corporate activity that [Bill and Melinda] find egregious. This is why the endowment does not invest in tobacco stocks.”
More recently, the Foundation has come under fire in its own hometown. This week, 250 Seattle residents sent postcards expressing their concern that the Foundation’s approach to agricultural development, rather than reducing hunger as pledged, would instead “increase farmer debt, enrich agribusiness corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta, degrade the environment, and dispossess small farmers.” In addition to demanding that the Foundation instead fund “socially and ecologically appropriate practices determined locally by African farmers and scientists” and support African food sovereignty, they urged the Foundation to cut all ties to Monsanto and the biotechnology industry.
[Please see fact sheet, background research and post-card text on Media Resources page of website here]
Greg Martin gregmartin18 Diversity at Glenn Beck rally is amazing. Lots of different shades of white.

The Libertines rekindle the good old days at Leeds festival 2010

The Libertines
 

The Libertines ... so disorganised they only packed one mic. Photograph: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

They don't half go on about Leeds at Leeds. You can't even sit in a long drop without someone shouting across the lagoon of human discharge how glad they are they're not at Reading. It's the only festival in the world plagued by sibling rivalry.
In fact, Leeds is almost exactly the same as Reading, just with better weather, worse clothes and more chips. Besides, it's not location that's setting the tone for today but the return of two bands who have a permanent place at the top of a generation's CD pile. For the Libertines, this could be the defibrillator that brings them back from the dead. For Arcade Fire, a headline slot provides the opportunity for them to take the next step to becoming a world-beating concern.
There's a whole day of delicious indie to be getting on with before that, with plenty of O2 Academy-type bands having their first crack at the big boy's stage. Mystery Jets do well in the lunchtime slot with hoedown set-closer Behind The Bunhouse achieving the difficult but hilarious feat of getting everyone dancing with a pint in one hand and a polystyrene burger box in the other. The Maccabees outshine them, though, their pained romance making girls throw their hands awkwardly around their neck and look longingly up at the stage like they've just felt love for the first time.
But best of the bunch were the Cribs, back with dad Johnny Marr after a few shows on their own. They play a brilliantly aggressive set on hometurf where we're reminded that Mirror Kisses and You Were Always The One are among the best songs of the 21st century. If only they'd smoked more crack, had dalliances with supermodels and spent a few months in prison, they'd be fully deserving of a slot higher up the bill.
For those who need a break from boys in shirts with the top button done up, UK rapper Giggs provides a powerful rest break. With a crowd who had quite possibly spent the earlier part of the day hot-boxing their sleeping bags, this was Leeds' Shaun Of The Dead moment as these zombie-like children from the suburbs were brought to life by the Peckham rapper's succinct, no-nonsense flows.
The Libertines are not initially as comfortable with the Leeds beast. In his ill-fitting suit and noticeably grubby face, Pete Doherty waddles on like he only found out about this gig 20 minutes earlier but was fortunately camping in a nearby forest. The first few songs clatter and crunch while the band remind themselves what it's like to be on a stage bigger than their combined homes. The pivot comes with the trilogy of Don't Look Back Into The Sun, The Good Old Days and Time For Heroes – the last of which sends people genuinely beserk, crying and screaming like they were trapped in a fire. Sure, if you'd come without hearing the music or knowing the back story, you might wonder if this dated-sounding guitar band who fudge every solo and talk nonsense inbetween songs had in fact lost their way to the BBC Introducing Stage. But then you were never going to get it. Those of us who've ever invested even a sliver of emotion in this band, however, were paid-back 10 fold, the willing of the crowd emotionally auto-tuning out the musical mistakes.
And after that, sacrilege as this sounds, we couldn't be bothered with Arcade Fire (Dave Simpson will be providing the low down on that in Monday's Guardian). In our post-Libertines glow the thought of sustained organ pedals and instrument swapping just didn't appeal. We've heard it was biblical, that they proved beyond doubt that they were deserving of the slot and that an actual shooting star fired across the sky during Power Out. But we went to watch Ash instead on the tiny Festival Republic stage. Joined by new guitarist Russell Lissack (him with the silly hair from Bloc Party), they're still about as much fun you can have with your jumper tied round you waist. Sometimes you just can't beat a bottle of warm Kirov, close proximity to the toilets and Girl From Mars. God this Leeds festival is so much better than that Reading nonsense.

Anger as US conservatives hold Washington rally

Visual Effects: 100 Years of Inspiration

For Herr Boom!
Neil R MrColdheart Did Glenn Beck just tell me the reflecting pool is for reflecting? ..he's so sharp

Don't forget...

Keep your eye on Fifi's blog for live(ish) coverage of Beck's nazi rally!

Glenn Beck does remind us of the Civil Rights Era -

- that is, the people who hated Martin Luther King!
(Click to enlarge)
MORE

HA!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
I Have a Scheme
www.thedailyshow.com



Missiles thrown during Bradford EDL demonstration

Scene of EDL demonstration in Bradford  
Bottles, stones and a smoke bomb were thrown during demonstrations by a right-wing campaign group and their opponents in Bradford.
Trouble flared at the city's Urban Gardens where about 700 English Defence League (EDL) supporters had gathered.
They were being penned in by hundreds of police as a separate group of about 250 from Unite Against Fascism (UAF) assembled for a rival protest nearby.
Police said there were no reports of injuries. One person was arrested.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Missiles have been thrown in the area around the Bradford Urban Gardens.
"However, this has now been contained and police are utilising their resources to manage the current situation."
Mounted police Officers had earlier erected a temporary barricade around Urban Gardens.
EDL supporters began throwing bottles, cans and stones over the barricade towards opponents gathered opposite Urban Gardens shortly after 1400 BST.
A smoke bomb was also thrown over the temporary 8ft high wall separating the two groups, landing on the ground and exploding by uniformed police officers.
For public safety, mounted police pushed people away from Urban Gardens down Market Street, while other officers forced EDL members away from the barricade into the centre of the gardens.
Earlier this month, home secretary Theresa May authorised a blanket ban on marches in Bradford, but this did not prevent "static" demonstrations.
The EDL's Bradford rally was smaller than one held in neighbouring Leeds last October, which attracted about 900 supporters and 1,500 UAF opponents
@'BBC'

Dear EDL, your supporters are protesting Islam by covering their faces with black hoodies. You haven't thought this through have you?

WTF???

Sarah Palin SarahPalinUSA Amazing. We are here. America is beautiful. Washington, DC is filled with extraordinary patriots today to honor our U.S. military.

Fifi DivaKnevil ; Advice 4 teatards engaging in Becks Million 'Moron' March- http://www.welovedc.com/2010/08/27/talking-about-trash-to-our-tea-party-visitors/


Roger Ebert ebertchicago ; And yet again I ask: Are Beck and Palin receiving speakers' fees from the expenses of this nonprofit charity event?

Company presses your ashes into vinyl when you die

Music lovers can now be immortalised when they die by having their ashes baked into vinyl records to leave behind for loved ones.
A UK company called And Vinyly is offering people the chance to press their ashes in a vinyl recording of their own voice, their favourite tunes or their last will and testament. Minimalist audiophiles might want to go for the simple option of having no tunes or voiceover, and simply pressing the ashes into the vinyl to result in pops and crackles.
The company was founded by Jason Leach, who co-founded the techno group and record label Subhead in the 1990s and has since founded a number of other labels, including House of Fix, Daftwerk and Death to Vinyl.
Leach explained to Wired.co.uk that there were a number of factors that made him launch the service, including thinking that he was “getting a bit old” and “might not be invincible”. His mother also started working at a funeral directors, which brought the whole funeral process closer to home. A third prompt was when he saw a TV programme that showed someone in America putting their ashes into fireworks, which made him think about how he might want to be remembered. And, he says, “It’s a bit more interesting than being in a pot on a shelf.”
How does it work?
The process of setting human ashes into vinyl involves a very understanding pressing plant. Basically the ashes must be sprinkled onto the raw piece of vinyl (known as a “biscuit” or “puck”) before it is pressed by the plates. This means that when the plates exert their pressure on the vinyl in order to create the grooves, the ashes are pressed into the record.
The site has a very irreverent style and operates under the strapline "live on from beyond the groove". One of Leach’s family stories, he tells Wired.co.uk, suggests why he has a practical attitude to people’s ashes.
He explains how he went out on a boat with his family members to sprinkle the ashes of his grandfather into the sea. His uncle “released them on the wrong side of the boat and so the ashes went all over us." Apparently the same thing happened to his father, too!
And Vinyly also offers personalised RIV (Rest In Vinyl) artwork -- the simple version just carries your name and your life span, or you can have your portrait painted by artist James Hague, using your ashes mixed into the paint.
The basic package costs £2,000 and comprises of the standard artwork along with up to 30 ash-flecked discs with whatever sounds you choose, lasting a maximum of 24 minutes.
Extras include "Bespook Music", where artists from The House of Fix and www.daftwerk.com write a song especially for you and global distribution of your record in vinyl stores.
The main challenge is choosing the music. Leach says: “It’s difficult to think of what to put on your record because you want it to be the best album you can imagine.”
What would he have on his own record? “I would definitely have a recording of my own voice as well as some 'sound photos' of places that are important to me and then I would have some of my own music on there. It’s something I’m working on.”
Olivia Solon @'Wired' 

Me want...but just not yet thanx!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Burmese junta leaders 'step down' from military posts

Gen Than Shwe has ruled Burma since 1992
Leaders of Burma's junta are reported to have resigned from their military posts, days before the deadline to register candidates in the country's first general election in two decades.
Some reports said junta leader Gen Than Shwe was among those to have stepped down, but other reports denied this.
Observers believe he may want to become civilian president after the election on 7 November.
Critics say the election is a sham designed to entrench military power.
But the junta has said the election is a crucial step in transferring power in Burma from the military to civilians.
Burmese officials told journalists on Friday that there had been a major reshuffle in the military hierarchy.
News organisations run by Burmese exiles, including the Irrawaddy and Mizzima, reported that Than Shwe had relinquished his military role, but would remain as head of the government until the election.
The Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) quoted sources at the country's Foreign Ministry as saying Than Shwe and his deputy Gen Maung Aye were preparing to step down, but had not yet announced their retirement.


Burma's election
  • 25% of seats in parliament reserved for the military
  • More than 75% approval required for any constitutional change
  • Those with criminal convictions cannot stand for election - ruling out many activists
  • Members of religious orders cannot take part - ruling out monks, who led protests in 2007
  • Election commission hand-picked by Burma's military government
The DVB said the two men would become president and vice-president of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
A junta official also told AFP news agency that Than Shwe and Maung Aye were not among the senior military figures who had stepped aside.
The junta's reshuffle comes after 27 senior officials retired from the military leadership in April. Those officials are widely expected to stand for election in November.
State media reported that the deadline to register candidates was 30 August.
Than Shwe, 77, has ruled Burma since 1992.
The last election, in 1990, was won by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), but the military junta never let the party take power.
The NLD, which had refused to take part in the forthcoming election, was recently disbanded.
Under a recently adopted constitution, Burma's president is due to be chosen through a vote taken in the newly elected parliament, in which a quarter of the seats will be reserved for the military.
The BBC's South East Asia correspondent Rachel Harvey says the latest moves appear to reinforce the view held by many democracy activists and Western governments - that even if the election shifts political rule from military to civilian, real power will lie in the same hands that it does now. 

Coming soon...

Glenn Speck

(Click to enlarge)

Mona says:
Keep your eye on Fifi's blog for live(ish) coverage of Beck's nazi rally!
Supervert supervert "8-13 Hz fluctuations in rectal pressure are an objective marker of clitorally-induced orgasm in women." Now you know. http://bit.ly/8X0edk

For Dave:

Police chiefs misled Birmingham city council over Muslim CCTV, inquiry told

The Ultimate Escape: The Bizarre Libertarian Plan of Uploading Brains into Robots to Escape Society

Led by Futurist Roy Kurzweil, "Transhumanism," promotes the adoption of technologies that will eventually help “humans transcend biology."
Perhaps you've had a good laugh over seasteading, the scheme hatched by rich libertarians to escape the clutches of democracy by living on giant metal platforms in the middle of the ocean. But as it turns out, seasteading is something of a wet dry run for some libertarians’ ultimate escape plan of uploading their brains into robot bodies and blasting off into space.
This is also known as “transhumanism,” which is (very) loosely defined as a movement of people/future androids who are promoting the adoption of technologies that will eventually help “humans transcend biology,” in the words of Ray Kurzweil, who serves as transhumanism’s leading figure. Kurzweil first made a name for himself as a teenager when he invented a computerized music synthesizer and he has spent most of his life as a computer programmer, inventor and engineer.
Kurzweil outlines his grand vision for our transhumanist future in his bestselling tome, The Singularity Is Near, in which he draws a roadmap for reverse engineering the brain that will involving “scanning a human brain…and reinstating the brain’s state in a different – most likely more powerful – substrate.” In other words, a computer program will copy your entire brain and upload it into a Terminator body...
Continue reading
Brad Reed @'Alternet'

Friday, 27 August 2010

Grateful Dead March 29, 1995 The Omni Atlanta, GA 2nd set partial - from Phil Lesh's ear monitor


The Government Can Use GPS to Track Your Moves


Christopher Hitchins: A Test of Tolerance

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Click image to expand.
Two weeks ago, I wrote that the arguments against the construction of the Cordoba Initiative center in lower Manhattan were so stupid and demagogic as to be beneath notice. Things have only gone further south since then, with Newt Gingrich's comparison to a Nazi sign outside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum or (take your pick from the grab bag of hysteria) a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor. The first of those pseudo-analogies is wrong in every possible way, in that the Holocaust museum already contains one of the most coolly comprehensive guides to the theory and practice of the Nazi regime in existence, including special exhibits on race theory and party ideology and objective studies of the conditions that brought the party to power. As for the second, there has long been a significant Japanese-American population in Hawaii, and I can't see any reason why it should not place a cultural center anywhere on the islands that it chooses.
From the beginning, though, I pointed out that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was no great bargain and that his Cordoba Initiative was full of euphemisms about Islamic jihad and Islamic theocracy. I mentioned his sinister belief that the United States was partially responsible for the assault on the World Trade Center and his refusal to take a position on the racist Hamas dictatorship in Gaza. The more one reads through his statements, the more alarming it gets. For example, here is Rauf's editorial on the upheaval that followed the brutal hijacking of the Iranian elections in 2009. Regarding President Obama, he advised that:
He should say his administration respects many of the guiding principles of the 1979 revolution—to establish a government that expresses the will of the people; a just government, based on the idea of Vilayet-i-faquih, that establishes the rule of law.

Coyly untranslated here (perhaps for "outreach" purposes), Vilayet-i-faquih is the special term promulgated by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to describe the idea that all of Iranian society is under the permanent stewardship (sometimes rendered as guardianship) of the mullahs. Under this dispensation, "the will of the people" is a meaningless expression, because "the people" are the wards and children of the clergy. It is the justification for a clerical supreme leader, whose rule is impervious to elections and who can pick and choose the candidates and, if it comes to that, the results. It is extremely controversial within Shiite Islam. (Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq, for example, does not endorse it.) As for those numerous Iranians who are not Shiites, it reminds them yet again that they are not considered to be real citizens of the Islamic Republic.
I do not find myself reassured by the fact that Imam Rauf publicly endorses the most extreme and repressive version of Muslim theocracy. The letterhead of the statement, incidentally, describes him as the Cordoba Initiative's "Founder and Visionary." Why does that not delight me, either?
Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center, its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything "offensive" to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …
As for the gorgeous mosaic of religious pluralism, it's easy enough to find mosque Web sites and DVDs that peddle the most disgusting attacks on Jews, Hindus, Christians, unbelievers, and other Muslims—to say nothing of insane diatribes about women and homosexuals. This is why the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous: It insinuates that any reservations about Islam must ipso facto be "phobic." A phobia is an irrational fear or dislike. Islamic preaching very often manifests precisely this feature, which is why suspicion of it is by no means irrational.
From my window, I can see the beautiful minaret of the Washington, D.C., mosque on Massachusetts Avenue. It is situated at the heart of the capital city's diplomatic quarter, and it is where President Bush went immediately after 9/11 to make his gesture toward the "religion of peace." A short while ago, the wife of a new ambassador told me that she had been taking her dog for a walk when a bearded man accosted her and brusquely warned her not to take the animal so close to the sacred precincts. Muslim cabdrivers in other American cities have already refused to take passengers with "unclean" canines.
Another feature of my local mosque that I don't entirely like is the display of flags outside, purportedly showing all those nations that are already Muslim. Some of these flags are of countries like Malaysia, where Islam barely has a majority, or of Turkey, which still has a secular constitution. At the United Nations, the voting bloc of the Organization of the Islamic Conference nations is already proposing a resolution that would circumscribe any criticism of religion in general and of Islam in particular. So, before he is used by our State Department on any more goodwill missions overseas, I would like to see Imam Rauf asked a few searching questions about his support for clerical dictatorship in, just for now, Iran. Let us by all means make the "Ground Zero" debate a test of tolerance. But this will be a one-way street unless it is to be a test of Muslim tolerance as well.