Sunday, November 30, 2008
From Lifehacker and elsewhere, some videos explaining you how to do stuff.
How to fold a T-shirt (explanations in Japanese, but you don't need to know the language)
If, like me, you are utterly incapable of following the instructions, here's a complete detailed step by step explanations in English. If after that, you still can't do it, you're hopeless and beyond help.:
How To Open A Beer Bottle With A Piece Of Paper:
How To Unlock A Car Door With A Tennis Ball:
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
True Blood is an American television drama series created by Alan Ball, based on the Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris. The show, which premiered on September 7, 2008, has been renewed for a second season. True Blood details the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small Louisiana town.
Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out. Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test .
I find that Vampire Bill has the appropriate dark and mysterious look of a typical Hollywood vampire. In fact, he looks a bit like the main character of the anime Vampire Hunter D.
Anna Paquin however is extremely irritating to watch. First of all, she has a gap between her two front teeth ( like Lawrence Fishburn and Madonna), which the camera keeps zooming on, preventing the viewer to concentrate on anything else, except maybe her rough bumpy skin magnified by the extreme close-ups. To make matters worse, Paquin has only one acting face: she delivers every sentence of the dialogue, no matter how banal and mundane, with Elvis-twitching, trembling lips, so that when she says: "I'll bring you the ketchup", it looks like she's announcing that the end of the world is nigh. And of course, all that twitching and trembling can only direct more attention to her gappy dentition. Very distracting. Grrrr!
So anyhoo, here's the trailer:
After Quasimodo's death, the bishop of the cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bellringer was needed. The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process. After observing several applicants demonstrate their skills, he decided to call it a day when a lone, armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bellringers job.
The bishop was incredulous. "You have no arms!" "No matter," said the man, "Observe!" He then began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon. The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced that he had finally found a suitable replacement for Quasimodo. Suddenly, rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped, and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below.
The stunned bishop rushed down to his side. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before. As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, "Bishop, who was this man?" "I don't know his name", the bishop sadly replied, "but his face rings a bell."
(but wait, there's more...)
The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart due to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop continued his interviews for the bellringer of Notre Dame.
The first man to approach him said, "Your excellency, I am the brother of the poor, armless wretch that fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you honor his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty."
The bishop agreed to give the man an audition, and as the armless man's brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest and died on the spot.
Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief at this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side. "What has happened?", the first breathlessly asked, "Who is this man?" "I don't know his name," sighed the distraught bishop, "but he's a dead ringer for his brother."
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Un extrait du site:
see more pwn and owned pictures
Toshi Maeda of Reuters reports on a new trend in Japan (Of course. Japan has always been the avant-garde of new and mostly cool stuff, the Land of the Rising Trends) : bras for men.
If I may comment as a woman and a lifetime bra wearer: Men, please don't!! If you're unconfortable wearing a tie, you wouldn't enjoy yourself wearing a bra, believe you me.
I wanted to buy a hybrid initially, but I don't think the technology is mature enough for the Canadian weather. And I don't like the idea of being on a waiting list for the privilege of handing my money to a car dealer. So the next best thing, IMHO, is a diesel car. If you're interested, here's a review and specifications for the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/automobiles/autoreviews/23-vw-jetta.html?em
Here's a recent press release about the Jetta TDI:
For this honour, the Jetta TDI Clean Diesel topped the other Green Car of the Year nominees: BMW 335d, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid, and smart fortwo. According to Green Car.com, "this is the first time that a clean diesel model has been awarded the title Green Car of the Year(R)". The jury included editors from Green Car Journal, automotive icon Carroll Shelby, 'Tonight Show' host Jay Leno, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, and Ocean Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau.
"The Volkswagen Jetta TDI rose to the top as Green Car Journal's 2009 Green Car of the Year(R) for some very important reasons," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. "Hybrids have dominated the discussion of environmentally positive vehicles in recent years. The highly fuel efficient, 50 state emissions certified Jetta TDI shows that advanced clean diesel has arrived and is poised to change this dynamic. With its affordable price point, refined ride and handling, and high fuel economy, the Jetta TDI shows that hybrids now have a strong competitor in the marketplace."
In an interview with Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press, Cogan added, "The Jetta TDI epitomizes what the Green Car of the Year(R) honor is all about. It raises the bar significantly in environmental performance...the kind of fuel efficiency offered by gasoline-electric hybrids but in a more affordable way".
Prices for the 2009 Jetta TDI Clean Diesel start at $24,275 for the sedan and at $25,775 for the wagon.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Tom Paine (http://tominpaine.blogspot.com/) explains the Clinton's nomination as SoS:
Back in June after the last primary when Obama went for a secret meeting with Clinton at her Washington townhouse, I wrote a piece called "Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets".
Now we know what actually went on in that closed door meeting at Clinton's Washington home back in June when Obama went to see Clinton hat in hand after Pelosi horsewhipped super delegates to come out and declare for him. Now we know what Lola wanted. And now we know what Lola got.
Four months before a stock market crash and a collapsing economy that all but sealed the victory for any Democratic candidate no matter who it was, Obama surely felt that he couldn't and wouldn't win as the nominee without Clinton's support or her voters. So he requested that meeting at her house which took place behind closed doors. The inside information at the time was that he offered her the Vice-Presidency in return for her support and she turned it down, understandably since, while Cheney had been the ventriloquist and Bush the dummy, usually the VP job is purely symbolic with no official Constitutional duties.
But it doesnt take much logic and insight to see now what was probably negotiated at the time. In all probability, after turning down the offer of VP, Obama offered her any job she wanted in an Obama administration if he should win, in return for her support. And she agreed. Which now explains a lot of Clinton's seemingly over the top support of someone she had campaigned against saying he wasn't qualified ( which happened to be the truth).
Clinton could have tried to fight it out and in my opinion if she had she would have won the nomination. But it was a risk. This deal was probably the next best thing and contained little risk for her other than giving up her campaign for the Presidency.
It's probable that since Obama's victory, Clinton has been pondering whether she wanted Attorney General or Secretary of State. It's no coincidence that a few days after Holder was named Attorney General, the news was leaked that Clinton will be offered Secretary of State. It is obviously the job she decided she wanted.
It is unlikely Clinton would have agreed to take the job if she had any substantial differences with Obama over foreign policy. So it is very likely that Obama's foreign policy will have more of a Clinton stamp than an Obama one since there is no way she would have agreed to carry out a foreign policy she didn't agree with.
The odd man out is Bill Richardson who, to believe James Carville, double crossed Clinton at the last minute by supporting Obama, probably in hopes of getting this job which he wanted really really really badly. This was to be Bill Richardson's twenty pieces of silver. Politics being what it is, it wouldn't surprise me if Clinton chose State partly to screw Richardson out of the job he coveted. It's also the second most important and visible job in any administration.
Of course some Obama sycophants in the press, David Bromwich over at Huffington Post to name one, have become apoplectic over Clinton's impending nomination as Secretary of State probably because it's making him look like a fool after bad mouthing Clinton for 9 months in support of Obama, and now those in the press who spent 9 months tearing her down are going to have to eat their words. And who better to make them look like idiots than Obama himself?
Clinton as Secretary of State says a lot of things. First it says what was apparent back in June when Obama asked for that meeting -- that she was the one in the drivers seat calling the shots and told him what it would take to get her support. Obviously he made the deal. And now the IOU is being paid. Second, it shows that Obama knows he is in over his head and will have to surround himself with the best people he can find, and since he is going to have his hands full with a collapsing economy he obviously needed someone at State that had the visibility and impact to carry out foreign policy with almost the same authority as the President himself. So it's unlikely we are going to hear any more from the press about Clinton's trip to Bosnia as First Lady.
And one other thing. With Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and Obama realizing this isn't going to be a book signing tour, it now seems fairly certain that an unofficial economic advisor who goes by the name of Bill is probably waiting in the wings.
3. Fin de la détresse
Sunday, November 23, 2008
via Miss Cellania (http://www.misscellania.com/)
From the award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music", comes the first of many "songs around the world" being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe. This and other songs such as "One Love" will be released as digital downloads soon; followed by the film soundtrack and DVD early next year.
Sign up at www.playingforchange.com for updates and exclusive content available only to those who...
Join the Movement to help build schools, connect students, and inspire communities in need through music: http://www.playingforchange.com/
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Politics is a cruel, cruel game...
Update - 21 November 2008: From Yuré, a commentator at Cynical-C
"I try not to ruin your blog (my favorite internet addiction)with my broken-english-comments; but, as a diplomat I have to say that usually you don´t shake hands with the main host of a summit (specially when you just meet with him in private, as it is custumary)."
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Gender analysis: http://genderanalyzer.com/
"We guess http://samsarashmamsara.blogspot.com/ is written by a man (58%), however it's quite gender neutral."
I thought I was being insufferably and unequivocably feminist in my writing, but I guess that could be gender neutral.
As mentioned in a previous post, my blog's worth has actually gone down over the years (See thingie on the right side of your screen). In other words, my readership (LOL!!!) is shrinking. My income from ads after 5 years must amount to almost $0.004.
Type analyser :http://www.typealyzer.com/index.php?lang=en
The analysis indicates that the author of http://samsarashmamsara.blogspot.com/ is of the type: INTP - The Thinkers
The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.
They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.
The last part is so true!!! I'm too impatient and cannot seem to get my messages accross. As for the rest...meh.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
It is very frustrating for me, when friends try to talk politics with me, to realize that they are completely ignorant of the facts we are trying to discuss. The last time I had a talk with a friend about misoginy in the Obama campaign, she was adamant that Hillary has been treated fairly. When I mentioned this or that incident, she went: "Huh?" or "When did that happen?" or "Really? Are you sure?". It's like trying to discuss the directing career of Quentin Tarentino with an Amazonian Indian who's never seen a movie before. There's nothing to discuss if our two cognitive bubbles are not even overlapping.
Most people voted for Obama, or are happy that Obama won the election, because it's cool to have a black president. By voting for the cool guy, they can share in his coolness, and show that: 1) they are not racist, which is a cool thing, and 2) that they are part of a young intellectual cool movement. Issues, political platforms, voting fraud, etc... who the heck cares, we're cool, man, kewl, I tell ya!!!
Envoyé par Hung (Merci Hung!) - Pour toute plainte, adressez- vous à M. Hung
Bức thư gửi cho chồng
J'écris vài chữ suivant
J'envois thăm hỏi amant đăng trình
Toute seule dòng lệ rung rinh
Cigogne phận thiếp một mình gian nan
Depuis thiếp bén duyên chàng
Plaisir tính lại nồng nàn mấy khi
Mission chàng đã fini
Trách le ciel khéo bày chi lỡ làng
La cour mousse mọc lune tàn
Bonheur ai nỡ bẽ bàng thế ni
Lạnh lùng với chiếc chemise
L'automne trằn trọc au lit một mình
Mon coeur cảm thấy bất bình
Mes pleurs nó chảy thật tình khôn ngăn
Dù chàng đổ xuống l'argent
Rồi đây thiếp chẳng contente được nào
Ma vie rồi sẽ ra sao?
Garçon một trẻ thiếp giao cho chàng
Để chàng nuôi tại La France
Còn riêng thiếp ẳm về làng une fille
Thôi thôi chàng cứ parti
Đông Ba đợi thiếp Paris chờ chàng
Bức thư trả lời
Bạc đông (Pardon) tiếng Việt nông (non) rành
Me moa ( mais moi) vẫn nhớ le măng (l'aimante) bô cù (beaucoup)
Vít tờ (vite) moa viết cái thư
Rề bông (répondre) vài chữ kẻo ư toa buồn
Xe cờ (c'est que) moa nhớ toa luôn
Nhớ xin hù ếch (silhouette) trẻ (très) buồn của mi!
Đè mông rờ tựa Paris (Dès mon retour à Paris )
Dua, nuy (Jour, nuit) giơ bắn (je pense) li bì à toa
Lô tôm (l'automne) mình moả (moi) sắc xoa (chaque soir)
Ô xôn (au sol) phơi mọt (feuilles mortes) bay xa vàng khè
Xông đờ la k lốt (son de la cloche) dội về
Mơ phe (me fait) thêm trích (triste), Huế tê nhớ về
Ắc tăng đe moả (attendez moi) đừng mê ô còn (aucun)
Trả vay (travail) chịu cực nuôi con
Giăng voa (J'envoie) mỗi tháng tiền còm cho toa
Xôn đa (soldat) hết hạn về nhà
Xét sờ (Chercher) đủ cách đưa toa qua liền.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Today is a day that has largely--and rightly--been given over to Dr. [Denis] Mukwege and his astonishing and heroic work in the Congo. (For those who may have missed his panel, he is, of course, the internationally famed doctor who heads the resolute and magnificent staff of the Panzi Hospital in Eastern Congo.) Driving the work is the endlessly grim and despairing litany of rape and sexual violence. All of us assembled in the Superdome, talk of V-Day and The Vagina Monologues; in the Congo there's a medical term of art called "vaginal destruction." I need not elaborate; most of you have heard Dr. Mukwege. But suffice to say that in the vast historical panorama of violence against women, there is a level of demonic dementia plumbed in the Congo that has seldom, if ever, been reached before.
The United States now spends more in Iraq in a month that the entire world spends on fighting AIDS in a year. Have we reached the point where the terror of AIDS is no match for the war against terror? That's the peg on which I want to hang these remarks. I want to set out an argument that essentially says that what's happening in the Congo is an act of criminal international misogyny, sustained by the indifference of nation states and by the delinquency of the United Nations.
Dr. Mukwege and others have said time and time again that the current saga of the Congo has been going on for more than a decade. It's important to remember that it's a direct result of the escape of thousands of mass murderers who eluded capture after the Rwandan genocide--thanks to the governments of France and the United States--by fleeing into what was then called Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The wars and the horror that followed have been chronicled by journalists, by human rights organizations, by senior representatives of the United Nations Secretary-General, by agencies, by NGOs internationally and NGOs on the ground, by the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs, by the Security Council, and in the process, accentuated and punctuated by the cries and the pain and the carnage of over 5 million deaths.
The sordid saga ebbs and flows. But it was brought back into sudden, vivid public notoriety by Eve Ensler's trip to the Congo in July and August of last year, her visit to the Panzi Hospital, her interviews with the women survivors of rape, and her visceral piece of writing in Glamour magazine which began with the words "I have just returned from Hell."
Eve set off an extraordinary chain reaction: her visit was followed by a fact-finding mission by the current UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs who, upon his return, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times in which he said that the Congo was the worst place in the world for women. Those views were then echoed everywhere (including by the EU Parliament), triggering front page stories in the New York Times, the Washington Postand the Los Angeles Times, and a lengthy segment on 60 Minutes by Anderson Cooper of CNN.
Largely as a result of this growing clamor against the war on women in the Congo, and the fact that Eve Ensler herself testified before the Security Council, the United Nations resolution that renewed the mandate for the UN Peacekeeping force in the Congo (MONUC, as it's called) contained some of the strongest language condemning rape and sexual violence ever to appear in a Security Council resolution, and obliged MONUC, in no uncertain terms, to protect the women of the Congo. The resolution was passed at the end of December last year.
In January of this year, scarce one month later, there was an "Act of Engagement"--a so-called peace commitment signed amongst the warring parties. I use "so-called" advisedly because evidence of peace is hard to find. But that's not the point: the point is much more revelatory and much more damning.
The peace commitment is a fairly lengthy document. Unbelievably, from beginning to end, the word "rape" never appears. Unbelievably, from beginning to end, the phrase "sexual violence" never appears. Unbelievably, "women" are mentioned but once, lumped in with children, the elderly and the disabled. It's as if the organizers of the peace conference had never heard of the Security Council resolution.
But it gets worse. The peace document actually grants amnesty--I repeat, amnesty--to those who have participated in the fighting. To be sure, it makes a deliberate legal distinction, stating that war crimes or crimes against humanity will not be excused. But who's kidding whom? This arcane legal dancing on the head of a pin is not likely to weigh heavily on the troops in the field, who have now been given every reason to believe that since the rapes they committed up to now have been officially forgiven and forgotten, they can rape with impunity again. And indeed, as Dr. Mukwege testified before Congress just last week, the raping and sexual violence continues.
The war may stutter; the raping is unabated.
But the most absurd dimension of this whole discreditable process is the fact that the peace talks were "facilitated"--they were effectively orchestrated--by MONUC, that is to say, by the United Nations. And perhaps most unconscionable of all, despite the existence for seven years of another Security Council resolution 1325, calling for women to be active participants in all peace deliberations, there was no one at that peace table directly representing the women, the more than 200,000 women, whose lives and anatomies were torn to shreds by the very war that the peace talks were meant to resolve.
Thus does the United Nations violate its own principles.
Now let me make something clear. In the nearly twenty-five years that I've been involved in international work, I've been a ready apologist for the United Nations. And I continue to be persuaded that the United Nations can yet offer the best hope for humankind. But when the United Nations goes off the rails, as is the case in the Congo--as is invariably the case when women are involved--my colleagues and I, in our new organization called AIDS-Free World, are not going to bite our tongues. There's too much at stake.
What makes this all the more galling is that in many respects, the UN is the answer. Those of you who intermittently despair of ending sexual violence should know that if the UN brought the full power of its formidable agencies to bear, tremendous progress would be made despite the indifference of many countries. But therein lie cascading levels of hypocrisy.
You heard today about the collective UN campaign to end rape and sexual violence in the Congo--twelve agencies united in this common purpose. But with the exception of some magnificent UNICEF staff on the ground, about whom Ann Veneman, executive director of UNICEF has every right to be proud, the presence of the other UN agencies ranges from negligible to nonexistent. This is all largely an exercise in rhetoric. Even the UN Population Fund, ostensibly the lead agency in the Congo, is pathetically weak on the ground, and on its own website talks of the problems of funding.
It does induce a combination of rage and incredulity when the UN tries to pawn itself off as the serious player in combating sexual violence when the record is so appallingly bad. In fact it could be said-- indeed, it needs to be said--that the V-Day movement and Eve, relatively minuscule players by comparison, have probably done more to ease the pain of violence in the Congo than any one of eleven UN agencies. Who else, I ask you, is building a City of Joy so that the women who have been raped can recover with some sense of security and then become leaders in their communities?
Is there an answer to this collective abject failure of the international community to protect the women of the Congo? There sure is, and the answer sits right at the top, and the answer is the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
I don't know who is advising the Secretary-General on these matters, but he's being led down a garden path soon to be strewn with ghosts that will haunt his entire stewardship, and leave an everlasting pejorative legacy. I know how the UN works; I've been an Ambassador to the UN for my country, the Deputy at UNICEF, an advisor on Africa to a former Secretary-General, and most recently a "Special Envoy." In the incestuous hotbed of the thirty-eighth floor of the United Nations secretariat, where sits the Secretary-General, critics are scorned, derided and mocked.
And exactly the same will happen to me. But I want all of you here assembled to know that it need not be.
If the Secretary-General were to exercise real leadership against sexual violence, instead of falling back--as his advisors have suggested--on statements and rhetoric and fatuous public relations campaigns, he could turn things around. What in God's name is wrong with these people whose lives consist of moving from inertia to paralysis?
The Secretary-General should summon the heads of the twelve UN agencies allegedly involved in "UN Action" on violence against women and read the riot act. He should explain to them that press releases do not prevent rape, and he should demand a plan of action on the ground, with dollars and deadlines. He should equally summon the heads of the ten agencies that comprise UNAIDS and demand a plan of implementation for testing, treatment, prevention and care for women who have been sexually assaulted, again with deadlines. I'm prepared to bet that UNAIDS has never convened such a meeting, despite the fact that the violence of the sexual assaults in the Congo creates avenues in the reproductive tract through which the AIDS virus passes. Dr. Mukwege talks of increased numbers of HIV-positive women turning up at Panzi.
The Secretary-General, taking a leaf from Eve Ensler, should insist on a network of rape crisis centers, rape clinics in all hospitals, sexual violence counsellors, and Cities of Joy right across the Eastern Congo... indeed, across the entire country. The Secretary-General should demand a roll call, an accounting of which countries have contributed financially to ending the violence, and in what amounts, plus those who have not, and then publish the results for the world to see so that the recalcitrants can be brought to the bar of public opinion (How's this for a juxtaposition by way of example: over the course of over a decade? The UN Trust Fund to end Violence Against Women has triumphantly reached $130 million. The United States spends more than $3 billion/week on the war in Iraq).
But there's more. The Secretary-General should launch a personal crusade to double the troop complement--that is, MONUC--in the Congo. The protection provisions in the new so-called peace accord, for women, cannot be implemented with the current troop numbers, large though they may seem.
And finally, the Secretary-General should pull out all the stops in getting the United Nations to agree that the Congo is the best test case for the principle of the "Responsibility to Protect." This principle was universally endorsed by heads of state at the United Nations in September of 2005. It's the first major contemporary international challenge to the sanctity of sovereignty. It simply asserts that where a government is unable or unwilling to protect its own people from gross violations of human rights, then the international community has the responsibility to intervene. That responsibility can be diplomatic negotiation, or economic sanctions, or political pressure or military intervention--whatever it takes to restore justice to the oppressed. Responsibility to Protect was originally drafted with Darfur in mind--it's equally applicable to the Congo. We have to start somewhere.
The Secretary-General has a tremendous challenge. He has the opportunity, and the wherewithal, and the influence and the majesty to save thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of women's lives--physically and psychologically. And once the process begins in earnest in the Congo, it would spread to all dimensions of violence against women everywhere.
To whom else is such an opportunity given? The Secretary-General of the United Nations has said that violence against women is one of the gravest issues of our time. Well, if that's the case, surely he can understand that speeches aren't enough. And if he truly believes what he says, then let him stake his tenure on it. I believe that the struggle for gender equality is the most important struggle on the planet: Ban Ki-Moon should say to the 192 countries that make up the United Nations: "Either you give me evidence that we're going to prevail in this struggle or you find yourself another Secretary-General."
"Ah," people will say, "Lewis has finally lost it." I don't think so. We're talking about more than 50 percent of the world's population, amongst whom are the most uprooted, disinherited and impoverished of the earth. If you can't stand up for the women of the world, then you shouldn't be Secretary-General.
Alas, I guess I know what will happen. We've already had signals. Last fall, in an unprecedented initiative, a High-Level Panel on Reform of the United Nations recommended the creation of a new international agency for women. The recommendation was based on the finding that the record of the UN on gender has been abysmal. If the new agency comes into being, headed by an Under-Secretary General, with funding that starts at $1 billion a year (less than half of UNICEF's resources), and real capacity to run programs on the ground, issues like violence against women would suddenly be confronted with indomitable determination.
The women activists on the ground, the women survivors on the ground, the women activist-survivors on the ground would finally have resources and support for the work that must be done.
But the creation of the new agency is bogged down in the UN General Assembly, caught up in the crossfire between the developed and developing countries. The Secretary-General could break that impasse if he pulled out all the stops. He and the Deputy-Secretary General make speeches that give the impression they support the women's agency, but in truth the language is so carefully and artfully couched as to gut the agency of impact on the ground, in-country, were it ever to come into being. Again, the advisors read the tea leaves in a soiled and broken chalice.
This weekend has been filled with hope in the struggle to end violence against women.
Thoughtful, decent men have come to the fore on this very platform, and women from so many countries have made the case for sanity in words that are moving and compelling in equal measure. I have chosen to link the Congo and the United Nations because as Eve said at the outset, the Congo is the V-Day spotlight for the coming year, and the United Nations can truly break the monolith of violence. We just have to apply unceasing pressure so that the issue is joined rather than manipulated.
I don't have Eve's rhythm and cadence. But I cherish a touch of her spirit, a lot of her anger and a microscopic morsel of her trusting love, commitment and courage that will one day change this world.
See also another one of his speeches on this subject at the Stephen Lewis Foundation's web site : http://www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/news_speech_item.cfm?news=1990
Du Nouvel Observateur en ligne: http://tinyurl.com/6qvkdj
Histoire secrète d'un revirement
Sarko le Russe
Ou comment le président de la République, qui avant son élection n'avait pas de mots assez durs envers Poutine et rêvait de faire plier Moscou, a fini, au pouvoir, par devenir un partenaire très accommodant - Une enquête de Vincent Jauvert
La scène, qui n'a jamais été racontée, se déroule au Kremlin, le 12 août, en début d'après-midi. Nicolas Sarkozy est seul face à Vladimir Poutine et Dimitri Medvedev. Il essaie de convaincre les deux Russes d'arrêter les combats en Géorgie et surtout de ne pas prendre Tbilissi. Il sait qu'une grande partie de l'armée russe veut aller jusqu'au bout et renverser Saakachvili.
Comment ? Grâce aux interceptions des services secrets français ! Selon une note de la direction du renseignement militaire à ce sujet, certains responsables de l'état-major à Moscou conseillent à leurs chefs de foncer puisque la voie est libre. Sarkozy sait aussi - ou croit savoir qu'un pouvoir géorgien fantoche a été constitué par le Kremlin et qu'il est prêt à prendre la relève.
Le président français interpelle Poutine et Medvedev :
«Vous ne pouvez pas faire cela, le monde ne l'acceptera pas.»
Poutine réplique dans son langage ordurier habituel : «Saakachvili, je vais le faire pendre par les couilles.»
«Le pendre ?» demande le président français, effaré.
«Pourquoi pas ? répond le Premier ministre russe. Les Américains ont bien pendu Saddam Hussein.»
«Oui, mais tu veux terminer comme Bush?», rétorque Sarkozy. Poutine est interloqué. Comme Bush ? Il réfléchit puis lâche : «Ah, là, tu marques un point.»
C'est gagné : Saakachvili sauve sa tête et ses... Cet échange fleuri, épisode crucial de la geste géorgienne de Sarkozy, nous a été relaté par Jean-David Levitte, le conseiller diplomatique à l'Elysée.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
From Hot Air [http://hotair.com/archives/2008/11/11/surprise-fec-plans-to-audit-mccains-campaign-funds-but-probably-not-obamas/]
Surprise: FEC plans to audit McCain’s campaign funds — but probably not Obama’s.
Why would they want to audit Obama? The biggest fundraising operation in political history, infused with hundreds of millions of dollars from contributors whose names the campaign refuses to reveal, dependent upon a donation mechanism whose security measures were suspiciously and inexplicably disabled, and accused by reputable publications of having looked the other way at fraudulent donations that would have been detected immediately with cursory oversight.
Aside from that, I mean, why would they want to audit him?
The punchline? It’s because he’s rolling in dough that they’re less inclined to check him out.
Obama is expected to escape that level of scrutiny mostly because he declined an $84 million public grant for his campaign that automatically triggers an audit and because the sheer volume of cash he raised and spent minimizes the significance of his errors. Another factor: The FEC, which would have to vote to launch an audit, is prone to deadlocking on issues that inordinately impact one party or the other – like approving a messy and high-profile probe of a sitting president.
McCain, on the other hand, accepted the $84 million in taxpayer money, which not only barred him from raising or spending more – allowing Obama to fund many times more ads and ground operations – but also will keep his lawyers busy for a couple years explaining how every penny was spent…
[I]ronically, the historic volume of Obama’s small contributions, which may have made it tough for the campaign to weed out problem donations, may also help spare Obama an audit. That’s because the byzantine formula the FEC staff uses to determine whether a campaign has engaged in “substantial” violations of federal election rules – the trigger to recommend an audit to commissioners – takes into account the size of the campaign’s coffers, according to David Mason, who served as a Republican appointee to the FEC until this year.
“So if a House campaign makes a $100,000 error, that’s huge and they’re likely to get audited,” he said. “If a campaign the size of the Obama campaign has a $100,000 error, then maybe not. It would depend on what the error is, obviously,” he said, explaining that mere accounting snafus are unlikely to prompt an audit. More serious and systemic problems, such as illegal contributions, result in campaigns getting tagged with more “audit points,” Mason explained. “If you get enough audit points, you get audited,” he said, adding “nobody outside the commission would know how many audit points the Obama campaign has.”
Monday, November 10, 2008
Asparagus introduced his brother and me to a great site called Songs To Wear Pants To (http://www.songstowearpantsto.com/) where one can listen to great original songs written by Andrew. Andrew will write music and lyrics on ideas you send him, for free if your idea is interesting enough or for money if you need to have a song written for an occasion, a loved one, etc..
I am totally in love with his song about a a rapping robot who's "really nervous about asking a girl out". I have the song in a loop and I listen to it constantly. Click on this link : http://www.songstowearpantsto.com/songs/never-been-in-love/, then click on the pink arrow next to the loudspeaker icon. Never been in love woh woh woh, Never been in love, woh woh ...
It only costs 99 Canadian cents to download the song. Never been in love woh woh woh, Never been in love, woh woh ...
One of the most memorable and endearing scenes was when James Gandolfini (of Soprano fame) and the cast perform the Englebert Humperdink hit: A Man Without Love
Compared to the real McCoy
Which reminds me, do you know how Engelbert Humperdink got his name?
Bonus Scenes: Christopher Walken sings and dances (hilariously badly) the Tom Jones Hit Delilah
Eddie Izzard doing an impression of Christopher Walken doing Shakespeare:
Sunday, November 09, 2008
President-elect Obama has not even moved into the White House and already history is being rewritten. The nastiness of his campaign is being excised from the Akashic Records and all the evil things that Hillary was accused of, and that The Precious and his posse ended up doing/saying as well (voting for the war, being part of the old establishment, doing and saying anything to get elected, etc..), are now considered irrelevant, not important, or part of what The One had to do/say to get elected, a strategy that was denied to Hillary.
So what lessons are we to draw from all this past misogynistic behavior? None. There was no sexism, no women bashing, just some feminists playing the victims again (see one comment in another one of my posts). I must have been dreaming. Obviously I didn't know about the Obamawin's Law.
Vastleft from Corrente (http://www.correntewire.com/obamawins_law) explains the Obamawin's Law:
Thou shalt not break Obamawin’s Law:
No lessons shall be learned (or even considered) from the mistreatment Hillary Clinton received and/or the uncritical treatment Barack Obama received during the 2008 primaries.
The only acceptable reason to revisit this year’s Democratic primaries is for something constructive, like shaming Hillary for not taking evil advice that wasn’t offered to her by her campaign director.
Under no circumstances should you look back to recent months to evaluate Obama’s electability and the implications of his campaign and platform, the DNC’s electoral process, or the behavior of the media, the blogosphere, and Obama’s real-world supporters. It’s ancient history, it doesn’t matter, and a baby pony dies every time you bring it up.
Even people who want to broach such topics are becoming increasingly apologetic, because they know it’s consummately gauche to relive such long- and best-forgotten matters that obviously could have no relevance to today’s and tomorrow’s political situations.
For example, as Lambert notes, Bob Somerby feels compelled to say "not once, but twice, that he’s not refighting the Clinton/Obama primary, because that’s how looking at the actual record of events is consistently framed.”
Glenn Greenwald reacts to concerns about Rachel Maddow’s role in msnbc’s relentless surreality-based trashing of Hillary Clinton thusly: Amazing that there are still so many people who see the entire world through — every last square inch of it — exclusively through the prism of their specific preference in the Obama v. Hillary wars (Hard-core Obama fanatics now think that Chris Matthews and other Hilary-haters are exemplars of great journalism and hard-core Hillary fanatics think that Fox is Fair and Balanced).
Go ahead, I dare you: on almost any lefty blog, try to bring up any lesson that might have been derived from Obamamania and Hillary Hate. If you do, I hope you have a taste for STFU, because a big cup is a-comin’!
Saturday, November 08, 2008
All official road signs in Wales are bilingual, so the local authority e-mailed its in-house translation service for the Welsh version of: "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only". The reply duly came back and officials set the wheels in motion to create the large sign in both languages.
Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated". So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket.
The notice went up and all seemed well - until Welsh speakers began pointing out the embarrassing error.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The rules are different for women than for any other oppressed group. Consider if the shoe were on the other foot: if this were the election of the first (white) woman president, but she’d won by waging a grossly racist campaign against not one but two African-Americans. A campaign where the word “nigger” became the standard term of reference for the two AA candidates. A campaign where the AA candidates were ridiculed and slandered as shiftless and lazy and dumb, where the historic nature of their achievement was completely denied.
In those circumstances, would African-Americans be expected to put all that aside and weep with joy that a (white) woman had finally been elected President? Of course not.
In a patriarchy women are expected to abase themselves utterly. But I don’t play by that rule.
When people are telling you that women ought to be happy for black men right now despite the tread marks on their own backs, think about that.
"Is there any other oppressed group of people on earth who are expected to excuse any and all injuries to themselves as long as someone else benefits?
For my part, I just keep thinking of my sisters in feminism from so many years ago, the heartbroken refugees from the Civil Rights movement. It’s true that Martin Luther King’s dream has now been realized. That’s because when King said “all God’s children, black men and white men,” he really meant men. There was no room for women in King’s dream, except as obedient wives and compliant whores.
The dream where women are full members of the human race — that dream hasn’t been realized yet. In fact, I’m not sure it’s ever even been articulated without some men snickering somewhere in the background. And if today’s celebrations are any indication, we’re still a long ways away."
From : http://soopermouse.blogspot.com/2008/11/celebration.html
Today we celebrate the victory of Barack Obama over the women of America. It has been a hard fight for him, with over half a billion dollars spent, all the media on his side, not to mention all of the women who decided that their own interests were a lot less important than those of the people who have been keeping them down for millenia.
Today we celebrate another victory of the patriarchy over women, with the benevolent help of many people whom we once thought of as friends and allies. This momentous event tells us that everyone can achieve everything they desire as long as they have a penis, and that women have once again been sent to the kitchen where we belong.
Today we celebrate the loss of not one but two competent women and the maintaining and reinforcing of the glass ceiling. We salute the amazing political discourse in which women have once again been kept down with sexist attacks to their looks, families, clothes and all other stuff, while obviously corrupt and incompetent men were given a free pass by the same media who brought us 8 successful years of GW Bush.
We celebrate a serious setback of the women’s equality and we salute the victorious mysoginy forces who have managed to yet again keep the bitches down where they belong.
Go forth and celebrate a victory won by walking all over women, I fucking dare you.
Uncritically, Carl Cameron and Shep Smith are reporting that some anonymous McCain aides say that Palin didn't know that Africa was a continent; she thought, allegedly, it was a country.
It does not occur to either man to question these anonymous, and quite absurd, claims.
Or to wonder if perhaps these aides are of the Buckley/Parker sort, or if they perhaps have in mind a candidate they prefer in 2012...
Thus even Fox News begins the campaign to irradiate Palin to toxic levels for 2012.
Hillary Clinton was not mentioned much tonight; she wasn't on Obama's list of thank-yous, but she probably should have been. Despite the frenetic din of pleading, scolding, haranguing, begging, admonishing and outright mockery that was aimed at Clinton during the primary as she stubbornly refused to concede a primary that she hadn't actually lost, and despite the grim hand-wringing that a long primary would irreparably damage presumed nominee Obama, none of the grave warnings of the take-your-boobs-and-go-homers came to fruition. In fact, by engaging late-primary states like Indiana which haven't helped choose a nominee in decades, the extended primary actually helped wake up Obama voters sooner than usual. It forced them to pay attention to the minutiae of Democratic policies early in the election, and gave the Obama campaign the opportunity to test and perfect its ground operation. The result? Indiana is blue for the first time in 40 years.
Maude knows if Obama had lost, Clinton would be to blame. So please give a little credit where credit is due. Hillary ought to get a bit of the acclaim now that Obama has won. She was a tough competitor – and Obama emerged from his primary ready for a challenge, while McCain emerged from his as the hapless default victor of a dismal field of candidates, not the strongest contender, just the only dude left standing when the rest fell away. He was the best of a bad lot. The Democratic primary was a rigorous gauntlet that transformed the already effective Obama campaign into an unstoppable machine. The Republican primary was a clown car that picked up the McCain campaign in Disarrayville and dropped it off at Mount Meltdown.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I hate bursting people's balloons, but I'm in no mood: I'm taking a taxi to work, because I have to take my car to the garage again and it's going to cost me another $1500, and I don't know where I'll get the money.
Sigh.... I guess it is big news: the first half-black President of the United States. Mark my words, next election, the first 100% black President!! Of all the various blogs I've read this morning, this one stood out:
From Insightanalytical: http://tinyurl.com/57cefe
There will never be a female President of the United States. There. I said it. Ladies, go home and grab your burkas and start cooking dinner for your man and popping out babies. You will never have equal pay for equal work, you will never be considered competent or capable at anything you ever do, and you stand no chance of ever getting anywhere unless it’s to a soccer or hockey game to cheer your (male) children on. Of course the laws will be wide open to allow you to abort female children so you don’t have to sully the landscape with them at all anymore.
How do I know? Because before even half the nation’s votes were tallied tonight, not only were all the major networks calling the race for Barack Obama, but the pundits are already discussing how Sarah Palin was John McCain’s downfall. Pundits attempting to defend her popularity with statistics were shot down on Fox News. That’s it – it’s over. You will not see another female Presidential candidate taken seriously in this country in our lifetimes. We’ll be lucky if we continue to see women continue to hold seats in the Senate and House after tonight. Female Governors? Forget about it. Palin won’t be re-elected there, because in spite of the fact that Alaska loved her (90% approval rating) just 4 months ago, she has been trashed and is now persona non grata in her own state courtesy of the Chosen One.
Hillary Clinton will lose her Senate seat in 2012. Barack Obama had determined that before she surrendered her fight for the Democratic nomination, and all the pundits are hammering how he “beat the Clinton machine”. She is toast. But frankly, that’s OK with me tonight. As far as I am concerned, Hillary is one of the top reasons that Barack Obama was able to destroy the United States Constitution and insinuate himself into the Presidency. She has lost my respect and she has lost my vote. She bears a huge responsibility for Obama’s victory. She gave up on America to save her career. She sold out her constituents and supporters for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver, and she will have to live with that for the rest of her life.
I wish I could reproduce the whole post here, because the author Grail Guardian is saying exactly what I'm thinking, but let me pick out one last quote :
“4th Wave” Feminists: Never underestimate the power of women defiling other women in this coup d’etat. Names like Nancy Pelosi, Donna Brazile, Claire McCaskill, Arianna Huffington, Erica Jong, Alice Germond, Peggy Noonan, Maureen Dowd, Oprah Winfrey, and literally every woman in Hollywood leap to mind in this category at first blush, but let’s not take the credit away from the invisible everyday “feminist”. I’m talking the ones that cried “It’s not that I don’t want a woman President, I do. Just not that woman!” and “I just can’t believe they picked Sarah Palin. That woman isn’t qualified to be President!” They did more to demoralize and frustrate the efforts of every woman in this nation than we have seen in decades. As I stated at the outset, these women (the type who live merely to find men and have no sense of self outside their relationships) have ensured that I shall not live to see a female President of the United States of America. Perhaps it makes them feel more powerful in their own meaningless lives, but they are traitors to us, to themselves, and to this Republic. They have played a vital role in pushing back the clock to roughly the 1920s as far as Women’s Rights are concerned. And I will not be able to laugh or say I told you so when they realize the aftereffects of what they have done.
Please click on the link and read the whole thing. Then, for the next 4 years, don't ask me how I feel about an Obama Presidency. Let me wallow in my bitterness in peace.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
LES PREUVES QUE JÉSUS ETAIT...
1. Il a habité chez sa mère jusqu'à l'âge de 30 ans
2. Il croyait que sa mère était vierge
3. Sa mère le prenait pour un dieu
4. Avec l'entreprise de charpentier de son père, il a fait une multinationale qui marche encore 2000 ans plus tard.
1. Il ne s'est jamais marié
2. Il était au chômage
3. Sa dernière volonté fut pour réclamer à boire.
1. Il pensait que sa mère était vierge
2. Sa mère, elle, le prenait pour Dieu
3. Il est né de père inconnu
4. Il a attendu 30 ans pour se mettre à bosser
1. Il parlait avec les mains
2. Il prenait du vin a tous les repas
3. Il travaillait dans la construction
1. Il appelait tout le monde "Mon frère"
2. Il était sans domicile fixe
3. Personne ne lui donnait de travail
1. Il ne se coupait jamais les cheveux
2. Sur l'eau, il faisait du barefoot
3. il était le gourou d'une secte
1. Son prénom était Jésus
2. Il avait toujours des problèmes avec la loi
3. Sa mère ne savait pas qui était son père
Un jour, Jésus dit à Pierre, "Pierre, tu es la première pierre sur laquelle je bâtirais mon église". Imaginez que Jésus eu été anglais : "Stone, tu es la première stone sur laquelle je bâtirais ma Church", ou allemand : "Stein, tu es la première stein sur laquelle je bâtirais ma Kirche"... ça n'a aucun sens, pour faire un jeu de mot pareil, il faut être français. Jésus était français.
Et même MARSEILLAIS
1. Il allait très souvent a la pêche
2.Il construisit une équipe de douze disciples avec de nombreux supporters
3. L'un des disciples toucha un pot-de-vin
1. Il a habité chez ses parents jusqu'à l'âge de 30 ans
2. Sa mère le prenait pour un dieu et faisait sa lessive
3. Il ne s'entourait que d'amis masculins dont il tenait la main, sans être homosexuel.
4. Il fréquentait des prostituées
5. Il avait un régime alimentaire à base de poissons (il a inventé le nuoc mam).