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Current Topic: Current Events

Rebels Hijack Gadhafi's Phone Network -
Topic: Current Events 8:23 am EDT, Apr 15, 2011

A team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive has helped rebels hijack Col. Moammar Gadhafi's cellphone network and re-establish their own communications.

The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gadhafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.

Rebels Hijack Gadhafi's Phone Network -

Haiti Earthquake Aftermath Montage
Topic: Current Events 8:10 am EST, Feb 25, 2010

Khalid Mohtaseb:

A week after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, I was hired to shoot ENG footage for two international networks. This is a montage of personal footage I shot of the aftermath during my spare time, in and around Port au Prince. We were in Haiti for a total of 6 days in which 2 of those days were spent traveling to and from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR.

Haiti Earthquake Aftermath Montage

Where Do We Go from Here?
Topic: Current Events 7:29 am EDT, Oct  9, 2008

Actually, the trouble in the U.S. economy is that we have, for the last 20 years, subsidized the most unproductive form of capital accommodation. This housing capital gives you some, you know, utility services, but it's not productive in terms of increasing the productivity. We've not invested enough in machinery and other stuff and more in housing stock.

And I think to try artificially to prop up the housing market doesn't make sense. There's still a huge excess inventory of homes.

And I think we at some point realize that probably continuing subsidizing of property is not going to be the right solution. There has to be a price adjustment. The inventory has to be worked out. This housing recession is going to continue for a while. Home prices have fallen from the peak already 25 percent. My own work suggests they're going to fall another 15 percent, 14 percent, just to bring it back to what the real home prices were before this bubble started.

So we have a huge bubble, and we should not do things essentially artificially to try to prevent that market process from occurring. And I think that, over time, actually, if we have less homes and less investment in housing and more investment in productive capital, that's going to be good for the U.S. economy.


Chop, baby, chop, and chop now.

And before:

"Soy! Soy! Soy! Soy! Soy!"

Where Do We Go from Here?

The Diver’s View
Topic: Current Events 8:04 pm EDT, Aug 24, 2008

Thomas Finchum, an American diver competing in Beijing, describes the view from the 10-meter platform at the Water Cube.

Put it in full screen on a big display.

The Diver’s View

Leave Barack Alone!!!
Topic: Current Events 7:15 am EDT, Aug  1, 2008

Barack is making America cool again!

All you people want is more, more, more, more, more!

(pnsfw audio)

From last year:

Leave Britney Alone!

Leave Barack Alone!!!

How We Talk about the 'War on Terrorism'
Topic: Current Events 6:48 am EST, Jan 22, 2008

This paper focuses on how leaders in Western countries talk about the “war on terrorism.”

The paper discusses the difficulties of defining “terrorism,” because, unlike Marxism or capitalism, “terrorism” is not an ideology. Instead the term may be used to designate actions that are used by members of non-governmental organizations against civilian targets. In the case of the “war on terrorism,” the signifier, “terrorism,” is used widely. However, the signified, the perpetrators and what they do, are quite different. Because the designation of the signified depends upon the speaker, the concept of terrorism seems to be subjective and fluid. The signified switches radically both by context and over time, while the only aspect that is stable is the signifier, “terrorism.”

The paper goes on to analyze the “war on terrorism” as an ontological metaphor.

The paper concludes by arguing that although figures of speech contribute to the cognitive dimension of meaning by helping us to recognize the equivalence to which we are committed and suggesting new equivalences, metaphors like the “war on terrorism” raise problems and do little to increase our understanding.

Considering different cultural codes and world views, this type of metaphor is highly counterproductive for communication on the global level.

How We Talk about the 'War on Terrorism'
Topic: Current Events 7:58 pm EDT, Jul 11, 2007

Does anyone know anything about the Capitol IP network infrastructure?

Use this site to search the publicly released phone records of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, proprietor of Pamela Martin and Associates in Washington, DC.

Jihad is the new punk
Topic: Current Events 9:48 am EDT, Jul  6, 2007

... they have all experienced tensions in their personal lives, or were faced with deep and sustained crises of identity ...

... [they] frequently experience a tension between traditional [culture] ... and ... [contemporary] society. Extremism gives them an identity that allows them to rebel against both.

The op-ed author is right when he says, "None of this will be of much help ..."

Jihad is the new punk

Walled City
Topic: Current Events 8:45 am EDT, Apr 24, 2007

This op-ed may be OBE:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Sunday he was ordering a halt to construction of the wall around the Adhamiya neighborhood. And American officials, who did not immediately concur, indicated today they would go along with Mr. Maliki.

I had flagged this news in my Sunday NYT sampler. This is an op-ed in today's Washington Post; he's lamenting the short attention span theater that is the contemporary news media.

Meanwhile, back in Baghdad, we're building a wall. Actually, quite a few walls.


Basically, we're turning Baghdad into Belfast.

Mr. Robinson may favor the IRA analogy. Meanwhile, Iraqis are comparing themselves to Native Americans:

A doctor in Adhamiya, Abu Hassan, said the wall would transform the residents into caged animals.

“It’s unbelievable that they treat us in such an inhumane manner,” he said in a telephone interview. “They’re trying to isolate us from other parts of Baghdad. The hatred will be much greater between the two sects.”

“The Native Americans were treated better than us,” he added.

I don't know about that ... at least the Iraqi population isn't dying of "germs" ... (which is actually surprising, since most of them don't have regular access to clean water.)

For their part, the soldiers are comparing it to China:

The wall is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence. ... The soldiers jokingly call it "The Great Wall of Adhamiya."

Residents are comparing themselves to Palestinians:

Some Adhamiya residents have compared the wall to barriers erected by Israel in the occupied West Bank.

The reaction on the street was pretty clear:

Eighteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, history seems to be moving backwards here in the Middle East. More than a single wall of separation and suppression are now in demand for each country, once in the name of sects, and another time in the name of extremism and moderation, but always with the aim of redrawing maps.

Walled City

In Baghdad, Sectarian Lines Too Deadly to Cross
Topic: Current Events 8:41 am EST, Mar  4, 2007

Ms. Shaima said her two sons now carried guns at night to protect her and her neighbors. The Shiite-led Iraqi government will not protect them because the Shiites "want to finish us," she said. "They will start breaking into our houses, raping us in front of our children, then killing us with our kids," she added. "They will let Iraq reach a point where Palestinian misery will seem like a picnic."

... Some Iraqis draw the border at their own doorsteps.

Saadi Khazaal Jawad, 60, a Shiite former government worker and restaurateur, said his neighborhood was so dangerous, he was a virtual shut-in.

On most days, Mr. Jawad said, he prays, eats, naps, reads newspapers and watches television. Oprah Winfrey and Rachael Ray are among his favorites.

... Iraqis all across Baghdad said it could take years ...

In Baghdad, Sectarian Lines Too Deadly to Cross

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