stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
ZOMG I am not even kidding. I was just listening to BBC's Hardtalk with Sudan's Ambassador to the UN, Abdalmahmood Mohamed, discussing the upcoming Copenhagen summit. The ambassador is also chairman of the G77 Bloc, which represents several hundred poor and developing countries. Pre-negotiations the G77 threatened to walk out of talks if rich countries (ie US and EU) do not make further cuts in their emissions.

But interviewer Stephen Sackur wasn't satisfied with the 'diplo talk' the ambassador was spewing, and upbraided him several times regarding the facts. In fact after one of those moments Mahmood seemingly lost his temper, but Sackur bulldozered on, pulling quotes from various reports and flinging them at the ambassador. It was a little troubling at first, listening to someone who was at once patronising and scarily knowledgeable verbally attacking the interviewee. What is this, the radio version of The O'Reilly Factor? Then Sackur confirmed my suspicions when he brought up the indictment against Sudan's president. And the human rights abuses. And Darfur.

GO GO GO! Holy crap, I mean, it sounded like he wasn't a fan of Sudan's government from the beginning of the interview but I wasn't expecting Sackur to blindside the ambassador and confront him on Darfur! He even said he had been reading up on the reports and had more quotes for Mahmood. It was at this point that I thought Sackur sounded like Alan Partridge, except you know, less conceited and more politically minded. Something in the way he kept interrupting the ambassador with disdain dripping from his voice. And what's more, the ambassador was made silent many times during the discussion. Seriously, classic stuff. Go and have a listen here.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
I stayed up last night so I could watch the BBC's Question Time with panelists Jack Straw (Labour), playwright Bonnie Greer, Nick Griffin (BNP), Baroness Sayeed Warsi (Conservative), Chris Huhne (LibDem). Around the same time it was morning in the UK, and many had begun the day tweeting about Nick Griffin's controversial appearance. In fact, "Nick Griffin" was second in Trending Topics. For those who are unaware of the insidious group called the British National Party - they are a fascist lot who seek a return to a 'true' Britain free of nonwhites.



This was me as I watched the entire thing.

Cut to save the flist from my angry livetweets )

One thing Griffin said that I hadn't tweeted: that David Duke came from a KKK that's non-violent. He had the nerve to say that whilst sitting beside an African-American (Bonnie Greer). The man is clearly delusional, but has his appearance on Question Time lent him an air of legitimacy? The press articles seem to suggest so, picking up on the many across the country who voiced their support.

The BBC's own Have Your Say QT forum became filled with pro-Nick Griffin comments. And most of the 400 callers who called the BBC on QT complained Griffin was being 'ambushed'. Griffin himself is to lodge a formal complaint against the corporation for how his appearance was handled and requests to be filmed outside of London -- a city he claims is 'ethnically cleansed'. If Nick Griffin does appear on QT a second time, I fear it will tip a large segment of the population who are frustrated with the three major parties into considering voting BNP. Not because of they agree with crazy things Griffin says, but because they will now view him as a legitimate option to voice their anger.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
You guys I am busting my gut out here, it is so freakin' funny. Via the BBC:

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has described himself as the most persecuted person "in the entire history of the world".

Mr Berlusconi also said he was "the best prime minister we can find today".

In an impassioned statement, he then mistakenly told reporters he had spent millions of euros on "judges", before correcting himself to say "lawyers".


the most persecuted person in the entire history of the world.

BRB LOLING FOREVER!
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (gandhi)
There's no excuse for my being so late to this, and I bring forth a list of Iran-related links in hopes they will help.

Context/News
Iran Post-election Editions 1-4 on [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political: noteworthy articles, twitters, links/pics/vids in the comments updated frequently

The Guardian Live Post

[livejournal.com profile] existencialismo's brief on the election background and major players

Tatsuma's thread on Fark regarding the timeline and history of protests in Iran

[livejournal.com profile] kuwdora's History of Iran

What we can do to help:

How to setup a proxy for Iranian citizens (via Austin Heap)

Cyberwar Guide for Iran Elections (via BoingBoing)

Google Translate Persian to help translate articles, photos of paperwork etc

Other

The Guardian reports the US admits asking Twitter to postpone maintenance to help Iranian protestors

Ahmedinejad says his comments were taken out of context when referring to his opponents as "dust" or "dirt" (via CNN)

[livejournal.com profile] scififanatic's freestyle dedicated to the Iranian revolutionaries

Protests are being planned and linked to on Facebook, but for those who don't have FB [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political's live posts will sometimes have that information. In addition, Why We Protest - Iran has a board dedicated to world wide protest planning here.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
It must be no fun living in the UK as a member of the Labour party and reading the headlines about the party's history defeat at the polls -- its worst since 1918. Here, safely ensconced more than a hop and a skip across the pond, I find it all so very intriguing.

The Telegraph's article makes the PM's speech to his party and its rebels seem worthy of a cinematic flourish -- or at least a television movie. Keeping with that theme, the Guardian's headline reads Gordon Brown's Great Escape.

The question though, is why? From what can be assessed by a quick skim through the papers, no one has the guts to force Brown out. Which seems strange, considering last year's extremely unsubtle attempt to push forward dark horse Foreign Secretary David Miliband for the position. In fact, Miliband publicly declared his support for the PM. Independent commentator Steve Richards notes that Miliband and others who have made this choice did so for fear of what an early election may bring.

One almost feels sorry for Brown, given the highly negative press that's been put out. But even if I didn't have sheer hatred for Tony Blair and thus feel sympathy for his fomer No. 2, I can't say this isn't any of Brown's fault. How else to explain the ruinous result that is the election of 2 BNP as MEPs?

That by its own doesn't mean politics in the country are heading to the right. Rather, it shows voters are leaving Labour in droves. This needs to be fixed/patched/made over if the party wishes to remain relevant, much less in power. The causes may be due to Brown's governing style, or the political calamities left over from Blair, or the lack of confidence shown by deserting MPs. Maybe it's the fact that being in power for more than a decade has exposed the complacency of those in charge. Whatever it is, it is still down to the PM to rally the troops and reassure voters that the party hasn't forgotten them or their ideals.

Will this happen? Can this happen? All I know is that I can easily see the Tories come to power.

And totally unrelated: David Blunkett attacked by cow. Is it wrong that I LOL'd so hard reading that headline?
stinglikeabee: Joe Biden :D (biden :D)

Watch CBS Videos Online

SQUEE!

PS Why no mention of Biden/Amtrack love?

PPS I guess I'm back :P
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (facepalm)
1. Antonio Villaraigosa is re-elected Mayor of Los Angeles. Not that I had faith someone else would win, and generally, Villaraigosa isn't that bad*. BUT re-election has increased speculation that he intends to run for Governor next year. Oh dear lord.

1a. When I arrived at SFO last week and saw San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's huge grin on a welcome sign, I cracked up. Because it's miles away better than the pictures of Villaraigosa's empty-eyed stare mugging the camera. Anyway, Newsom will be running for Governor next year. I can't wait for the lulz when opponents replay the 'Whether You Like It Or Not!' clip that was an intense soundbite for Yes on 8 adverts.

2. PAD is more than out-of-touch with his audience and other comic book fans, he's stomping around in a fountain of White privilege and splashing the rest of us (via deadbrowalking and [livejournal.com profile] brownbetty).

*I bring you the classic LA Weekly article, The All-About-Me Mayor: Antonio Villaraigosa's Frenetic Self-Promotion.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (obama)


No idea who made it, but A++++ will LOL again
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (obama)
Watching Smallville tonight allowed me to completely miss Bush's farewell speech and the ensuing heartburn. I don't think the man's evil, like some would like to believe. In his speeches and interviews, he seems almost likeable. But it was him and his administration that was behind the many things that has lessened America's standing. Torture, environmental destruction, over reliance on foreign oil, divisive partisan rhetoric, ignoring international diplomacy to launch two wars, and not to mention the way Katrina was handled ...

But finally that era is behind us, and may we all move forward without repeating the mistakes of the past. Four more days.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
Gah. Every time I see Noah Wyle in an ad for The Librarian, what pops to mind is 'where are the sexy librarian specs?'

Uh. Hi?

To sum up:

Internet connection back on, finally. On my list of things to do this weekend is writing a letter to the Better Business Bureau. Yeah, that bad.

Last Saturday's protest pictures should be uploaded some time this weekend as well. The ugliest thing I saw that day was a sign with a large black swastika. My guess is that the pro-prop 8 group included a Neo Nazi. Charming.

NaNo is killing me. My characters, who I now deeply resent, are killing me. Their crappy little adventure is killing me. So I rock in my chair, mumbling over and over: only 20,000 more words.

Please excuse me, I must drift off into sweet, merciful sleep. Tomorrow is more writing, more coffee, hopefully catching up with flist, and getting my hair done. Catch you all on the flipside...

Also: Obiden or Joebama? Sure Joebama rolls off the tongue, but Obiden just sounds so right.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (elizabeth cady stanton)
Frustrated the opposition to California's Prop 8 was losing ground, today's rally at Downtown's Pershing Square aimed to reinvigorate. More than 200 people flocked to hoist signs and chant no on 8 slogans, and listen to speakers like Councilwoman Jan Perry and Chastity Bono.

Only a few blocks away, supporters of Prop 8 were bused in to gather in front of City Hall to insist marriage be only between a man and a woman.



Pictures and more under the cut )
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (gandhi)
Flist, I've just got back from an incredible No on Prop 8 rally and NEEDED* to post this. Prop 8 in California would ELIMINATE same-sex marriages, would take away the rights of certain individuals to possess what should be a UNIVERSAL RIGHT, and is the TEST CASE for the entire nation. Our opponents are powered by money that's poured in from out of state interests intent on altering the state constitution and making sure our LGBT community remain treated as second-class citizens.

This is not a cultural matter -- even if a person does not approve of homosexuals, it does not give them the right to decide who they may marry. Civil unions are not the same -- they are SEPARATE, NOT EQUAL. Does this remind you of anything?

So please, even if you do not live in California, spread the word to friends or family who do live in this state and make sure they will vote NO this Tuesday.

*Sorry for the random capitalisations. I feel like Frank Miller, whee!
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
According the NY Times, the Frontline documentary 'Torturing Democracy' will not be shown by PBS because a time slot wasn't available. However, PBS affiliates are airing the 90 minute piece.

In fact, I'm watching it right now. Torturing Democracy is the first Frontline documentary I haven't been able to make it through in entirety. Though there are few dramatisations and plenty of photos from Abu Ghraib, the acts of torture are described in graphic detail. And in these descriptions there are no ifs or buts -- it was torture.

Unbelievably, the POTUS' legal team tried to assert that the office can make something illegal (torture) legal during the time of war. Should the orders granting authorisation to use controversial techniques be uncovered, the architects of torture would somehow be exempted from prosecution.

The outrageous thing is that Bush, Rumsfeld, and their cronies will never be prosecuted thanks to the House passing a bill that includes a war crimes immunity clause. This is retroactive immunity to those who may have carried out or sanctioned torture. And Guantanamo still exists, with about a hundred being held without charge or a hope for a trial.

I can't help but be disappointed that during the election neither McCain nor Obama focused on the Bush administration's crimes. McCain because he has been outspoken against torture, in particular waterboarding, and Obama because he's supposed to be a symbol of hope for this nation. And shame on PBS if it's true they backed down from showing the documentary because they wanted to wait until Bush was out of office.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
What's Joe Biden when it's at home?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
The Times OnlineBurma's junta leader has agreed to allow access to all foreign aid workers to help with the relief operation after Cyclone Nargis, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said.

Mr Ban made the announcement after more than two hours of talks with Senior General Than Shwe, the reclusive leader of the country’s military regime, whose refusal to let them in earlier set off international outrage.

About damn time. Remember, the cyclone was on 2-3 May and this belated response has meant several hundreds of thousands were needlessly suffering from lack of support for close to three weeks. The Burmese government do not have the resources -- both in supplies and manpower -- to assist, particularly in the most rural areas. The junta's first moves should be to grant visas for foreign aid workers and allow the ships ladened with aid to dock.

Unfortunately, I'm still a little cynical as to whether the Burmese authorities will not somehow impede the aid workers in providing services. Think diverting aid to certain areas instead of where it may be needed. In this case, ASEAN should be more visible in telling the junta off.

It's a bit disappointing the UN didn't do a forcible humanitarian relief effort. As I've noted before this is extremely unlikely and would wreak havoc in the squabbling International community, but in a perfect world and all that.

In the end (barring the junta going back on its word), this event has shown how successful Ban Ki Moon's diplomatic talks are. I hope this means we might be seeing a Dag Hammarskjöld in the making :) 
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
I usually don't watch the talk shows on PBS, except for the occasional Travis Smiley. But last night as I was trying my best to fall asleep, I came across the UK's Foreign Minister talking with Charlie Rose and found myself engrossed. Not with what Miliband had to say, that shite was pretty irritating, but with the fact that the Foreign Minister is articulate. It's worlds universes away from President Bush and his sub-standard elocution.

It's comforting to know there are still politicians who can parry the questions they cannot answer forthright and make diplomatic statements that can satisfy the interviewer, instead of sounding like a broken record. Of course, it doesn't excuse the government's stance but as a former MUN-er, I'm concerned with these sorts of things. The other part that allows Miliband to stand out from the stateside politicians? He sounds as if he believes of what he speaks, and not just in soundbites.


stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (sickens)
From the BBC: Mehdi Kazemi has said his life is in danger if he is returned to Iran, where he says his boyfriend named him as a partner before being executed. Homosexual acts are illegal in the Islamic republic. A Dutch spokesman said Mr Kazemi would now be sent to the UK, the first European country he entered. A claim for asylum in the UK had already been turned down.

From what I understand of listening to Radio 4's excellent past series on asylum and asylum seekers, a person wishing to apply for asylum must do so on the first friendly soil. Kazemi was correct in seeking asylum in the UK, but unfortunately the level of success is low. There have been cases where perfectly suited asylum cases were denied. Farhat Khan was trapped in a violent marriage to a man who was planning to marry his young daughters to violent relatives. She argued her return to Pakistan would mean her death, as the men in her family believed in 'honour killings'. The UK's response: Khan would not be in danger if she simply moved away to another part of Pakistan. Eventually she won her case, but she was lucky. What about the women who haven't the education, or the skills to convince the Home Office of their predicament? In this case, they may be detained or imprisoned as failed asylum seekers, before being deporting to their country of origin.

When Kazemi's asylum application was denied, he left for the Netherlands where it's better for LGBT asylum seekers. I say better, because that country has accepted seekers from Iran because of the punishment for homosexual acts: execution.  However the Dutch government will not listen to his case because he had landed on the UK first. There was a similar scandal when controversial former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali admitted she lied on her application from which country she arrived from in order to speed up the process. She came to the Netherlands through Kenya and Germany, two countries where she might have applied for asylum. What's frustrating is that no one is denying homosexuals in Iran are executed, and that two Western countries with all their liberal talk are not willing to protect one man from certain death.

Applying for asylum based on sexuality is tricky. Even in the US there's a strong possibility the application will fail and the seeker will be deported. The UK Home Office haven't given any details of why it turned down Kazemi's application, but a commenter mentioned the stance of the government is that gays and lesbians in Iran may not fear danger if they were 'discreet'. There's no chance of that now for Kazemi, who feared for his life in the first place because his ex-lover outed him before execution. The resulting publicity from Kazemi's fight to stay is only making it worse, basically targeting him for death. Once Kazemi is sent to the UK, that country will begin deportation proceedings.

It's sickening that the current climate is so virulently against asylum seekers. This is not just happening in Europe, but in Asia as well. Australia regularly detains or turn away asylum-seekers, Malaysia imprisons. Why is this? After World War II, millions of refugees left their homes to resettle in the Western world. Has this experience forced some sort of backlash? See this article where an immigrant to the UK says problems in the neighbourhood was caused by asylum seekers who 'waste' tax money on beer. He'd like nothing better than to deport them all. His opinions however are shared by many who believe asylum seekers are really economic migrants who lie on applications in order to gain benefits.

I can't believe anyone who could be so cold-hearted as to refuse help to an asylum seeker who may be subject to abuse, or torture, or death even if you don't agree with their positions.  Could these asylum decisions ever be justified?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (ordinary)
Another one for the ain't-that-a-coinkydink column: as I read of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's surprising scandal involving a high-class prostitution ring, Ella Fitzgerald's Love For Sale played in the background.

I don't know much about the politician to gloat at this sudden turn of events, but did notice at the press conference Spitzer's wife was at his side. Stand by your man is practically a political necessity, but suppose Mrs Spitzer had a choice. Suppose she could decide this was too humiliating and walk out with the kids. When Bill Clinton's shananagins were exposed, I could understand why Hilary had to remain (political ambitions and all that). But what about that poor woman whose husband stated at a press conference 'I am a gay American'? Why would they remain loyal to the man who had betrayed them so openly?

Is it love, stubbornness, or convenience? Or is it something that could be worked out? This is just as interesting as why the men were involved in the seedy behaviour in the first place, and unfortunately not discussed as often. I just don't understand why it's expected by the public that the woman will stay with the man, maybe until it dies down. Is a woman worse off in the court of public opinion if she leaves her husband in this situation?

*sigh* But on the other hand, it truly 'Ain't Nobody's Business', least of all mine.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (aw no)
Bloody hell, Clinton's got some fight left in her. The bloody cheek of the woman, saying she'd agree to have Obama as her VP candidate. Still you have to admit, it's pretty gutsy :D

An e-mail from my boss came in today. It's pretty much over. HR won't rehire me and I'm left out to dry. Although, and Boss couldn't guarantee, I may be transferred to Hong Kong or Tokyo. *sigh* Whatever, I've pretty much given up hope of returning to the company. It's looking more and more likely I'm going to have to leave the US this summer.

Anyway, I'm working on writing something right now. It's pretty much messed up my schedule on Google Calendar, but damn if it isn't fun. Here's hoping I can actually do it, because writing fanfic is nerve wracking.

That is all. Hi [personal profile] romanyg!
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (lurker)
Hee, sorry, wild hyperbole there. I'm referring to the primary results, playing out on the television. My mind's a bit fuzzy though, for some reason I ate half a box of spaghetti. Carb overload *groan*.

Who would have imagined the scenario that played out on the Republican side at the beginning of 2008? Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and now Mike Huckabee have withdrawn from the race. All hail Republican candidate presumptive Senator John McCain!

For the Democrats, I'm guessing this is a bit of a letdown. Was the plan something along the side of 'hope Huckabee will be chosen, cos it's much easier to discredit him'? Attacking McCain, a former POW, is going to be a little tricky. After all, the last pot shot at the Senator resulted in a surge of support.

What I want to know is, if Obama wins the ticket, will he directly attack McCain? Will he finally get his hands dirty to win votes?

The reason I ask about Obama specifically is: a) it looks quite likely he'll win the ticket, and b) I already know the answer if Clinton somehow becomes the Democratic candidate. 'Shame on you!'

Anyway, enough of that. Who wants to listen to politics all day? I've got the latest Sur La Table catalogue in the mail today!

Click for unnecessary kitchen equipment )

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