Daily Archive: 02/01/2011

Feb 01 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for February 1, 2011-

DocuDharma

Feb 01 2011

Reporting the Revolutions: Day 5 with Up Dates

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

The Guardian has a Live Blog that refreshes automatically every minute.

FireDogLake now has a direct link to all their coverage.

This is day eight of the protest in Egypt demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down.

After a day of protest that drew more than a million peaceful demonstrators to Tahrir Square in Cairo and around other cities in Egypt, there are still tens of thousands of protesters in the streets, many having vowed to remain until Pres. Hosni Mubarak leaves office. News agencies are reporting that Mubarak will make a televised address possibly announcing that he will not run for office in September. Whether that will satisfy the protesters and the opposition parties is in doubt. President Obama is also urging Mubarak not to run:

The message was conveyed to Mr. Mubarak by Frank G. Wisner, a seasoned former diplomat with deep ties to Egypt, these officials said. Mr. Wisner’s message, they said, was not a blunt demand for Mr. Mubarak to step aside now, but firm counsel that he should make way for a reform process that would culminate in free and fair elections in September to elect a new Egyptian leader.

This back channel message, authorized directly by Mr. Obama, would appear to tip the administration beyond the delicate balancing act it has performed in the last week – resisting calls for Mr. Mubarak to step down, even as it has called for an “orderly transition” to a more politically open Egypt.

Up Date 1900 hrs EST:

In a late night appearance on state television, President Hosni Mubarak has said he would not run for reelection in September and would oversee an orderly transition. In his refusal to step down, Mubarak said:

“I never intended to run for re-election,” Mubarak said in his address. “I will use the remaining months of my term in office to fill the peoples’ demands.”

That would leave Mubarak in charge of overseeing a transitional government until the next presidential election, currently scheduled for September. He promised reforms to the constitution, particularly article 76, which makes it virtually impossible for independent candidates to run for office. And he said his government would focus on improving the economy and providing jobs.

“My new government will be responsive to the needs of young people,” he said. “It will fulfil those legitimate demands and help the return of stability and security.”

Mubarak also made a point of saying that he would “die in this land” – a message to protesters that he did not plan to flee into exile like recently deposed Tunisian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Mubarak also said the protests were “manipulated and controlled by political forces” and the people must chose between “chaos and stability”.

This did not satisfy many of the protesters in the streets who could be heard yelling “Erhal! Erhal!”, or “Leave! Leave!”. Many left the square where earlier over one million people had gathered. Calls to march on the presidential palace and new of “we wont leave until Mubarak is gone” were echoed through the square.

Al Jazeera correspondent in the midst of Tahrir Square in Cairo, says that protesters are “furious after Mubarak’s ‘audacious’ speech.” He adds that the protesters are insisting that the army remove Mubarak from power.

There have also been reports of shots being fired over the heads of crowds in the port city of Alexandria where there have been clashes between anti-government and pro-Mubarak protesters.

President Obama in a live address said the he spoke with Mubarak after he spoke and told him that only Egyptian people can determine their leaders, need orderly transition that’s meaningful, peaceful and must begin now.

Feb 01 2011

Welcome to the Port Writers Alliance

I’m pleased to announce today the formation of the Port Writers Alliance.  This is a collective effort of Antemedius, DocuDharma, Firefly Dreaming, Ignoring Asia, The Dream Antilles, The Stars Hollow Gazette, Wild Wild Left, and writing in the rAw.

About The Name

A little to the left of starboard if you get the drift.  A harbor or anchorage.

About The Concept

There’s a lot of news and commentary that could be receiving more attention.

Rather than crosspost on a single central site what we’d like to encourage is crossreading and commenting.

We’ll be using two mechanisms to accomplish this-

  • Firedog Lake style links to affiliated sites across the banner (props).  I’ve always admired the way Jane and her crew have been able to maximize excitement and can only hope to emulate it.
  • Regular cross promotional digests of associated sites’ content.

How Does This Work?

Each site will decide for itself the content they want to feature and how often.  They’ll produce a digest and publish it on the affiliated sites.  It will be promoted by the host or not whenever, depending on the desires of the host site.

Authors must choose for themselves if they want to crosspost, though they should expect requests to do so.

The point is to increase visibility and impact.

Independence

Each site has it’s own vibe.  Formula One and Le Tour and if you ever think I’m talking about Politics you are sadly mistaken.

Content that is acceptable in some places is not in others and it is up to the host to decide.  All you free speech advocates can find a place to express yourselves I’m sure.  Port Writers Alliance sites enforce their own polices which are not uniform.

Success

The objective is that we’ll drive some traffic and raise some awareness.  I like to keep expectations realistic.

What you will see as a reader

Below each site’s Banner you’ll see some buttons that take you to the Front Page of each site.  Fairly frequently you’ll see a digest post from the individual sites that provide links to content they wish to highlight.  Sometimes it will have been crossposted but often not, so the pieces may be of special interest to you and you’ll want to click through and read them.  Even for crossposted pieces the reactions will be different.

If you wish to comment or contribute you’ll have to register independently at that site.  We just don’t have the technology Jane does at Firedog Lake.

If you are used to the pace of Daily Kos (and I don’t link just because I’m not sure about stability with the advent of dK 4.0) what you will find is that our blogs run quite a bit slower.  You can’t expect instant reactions or high volume responses.

On the other hand we’re attempting with this project to expose you to a wide range of diverse content so that there is plenty for you to read and explore.

I’m interested in your reactions to this initiative.  Please let me know below.

Feb 01 2011

Haiti Developments

No doubt by now you’re aware of the return of ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier, but you may have missed the news that the only democratically elected President of Haiti ever, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is also returning to Haiti.

This takes place against the backdrop of the devastating earthquake one year ago and the announcement tomorrow of the results of the first round of another Presidential election where the clear winner was Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady.

The second place on the ballot was disputed between Michel Martelly, a popular singer, and the hand picked choice of current President Rene Preval- Jude Celestin.

Celestin had a slim lead in the vote count, but widespread allegations of fraud are leading to reports of his withdrawal from the race.

Feb 01 2011

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”

Paul Krugman: A Cross of Rubber

Last Saturday, reported The Financial Times, some of the world’s most powerful financial executives were going to hold a private meeting with finance ministers in Davos, the site of the World Economic Forum. The principal demand of the executives, the newspaper suggested, would be that governments “stop banker-bashing.” Apparently bailing bankers out after they precipitated the worst slump since the Great Depression isn’t enough – politicians have to stop hurting their feelings, too.

But the bankers also had a more substantive demand: they want higher interest rates, despite the persistence of very high unemployment in the United States and Europe, because they say that low rates are feeding inflation. And what worries me is the possibility that policy makers might actually take their advice.

To understand the issues, you need to know that we’re in the midst of what the International Monetary Fund calls a “two speed” recovery, in which some countries are speeding ahead, but others – including the United States – have yet to get out of first gear.

Jeremy Scahill: Washington’s Sudden Embrace of Al Jazeera Won’t Erase Past US Crimes Against the Network

If it weren’t for Al Jazeera, much of the unfolding Egyptian revolution would never have been televised. Its Arabic and English language channels have provided the most comprehensive coverage of any network in any language hands-down. Despite the Mubarak regime’s attempts to shut it down, Al Jazeera’s brave reporters and camera crews have persevered. Six Al Jazeera journalists were detained briefly on Monday, their equipment seized. The US responded swiftly to their detention with the State Department calling for their release. “We are concerned by the shutdown of Al Jazeera in Egypt and arrest of its correspondents,” State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley tweeted. “Egypt must be open and the reporters released.”

The Obama White House has been intently monitoring al Jazeera’s coverage of the Egyptian revolt. The network, already famous worldwide, is now a household name in the US. Thousands of Americans-many of whom likely had never watched the network before-are livestreaming Al Jazeera on the internet and over their phones. With a handful of exceptions, most US cities and states have no channel that broadcasts Al Jazeera. That’s because cowardly US cable providers refuse to grant the channel a distribution platform, largely for fear of being perceived as supporting or enabling a network that for years has been portrayed negatively by US officials.

Laura Flanders: Inequality Drives Egyptians to Streets, But Ours Worse

It’s amazing what inequality can drive people to, eventually. Just look at Egypt.

“These big guys are stealing all the money,” one 24-year-old textile worker standing at his second job as a fruit peddler told a reporter this weekend. “People are desperate.”

“I wish we could be like the United States with a democracy, but we cannot,” said another.

And so they protest, regardless of police batons, curfews and shootings. With over a 150 estimated dead, a march of millions is scheduled for Tuesday.

In spite of what some on Fox News (and the Israel lobby’s camp) sought to argue this weekend, namely that the protests were all the work of Islamist radicals, every report from the ground contradicts that. As in Tunisia, the protesters are driven by fury at poverty, lack of options and the looting of their state by the super-powerful.

It’s an equation we understand-elsewhere: a massive gap between rich and poor is inconsistent with democracy. But before you get carried away with third world conditions there, try here. On Friday a guest blogger at Yves Smith’s Naked Capitalism blog noted a remarkable fact: the US actually has much greater inequality than Egypt-or Tunisia, or Yemen.

Feb 01 2011

Latest Wikileaks Revelation

It’s been a long time so in case you’ve forgotten, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the Libyan Intellegence officer convicted of organizing the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 including 11 people in the town of Lockerbie, Scotland where the plane fell to earth.

Al-Megrahi was imprisoned from 2001 to 2009 when he was released for compassionate reasons with a supposedly terminal cancer diagnosis.  He’s still alive and was greeted on his return to Libya as a hero.

At the time of his release there was understandable outrage and the Blair/Brown British Labor government steadfastly maintained that the decision was made by Scottish authorities alone.

Well, it turns out that was a lie.

WikiLeaks cables show Government was ‘playing false’ over Lockerbie bomber

By Christopher Hope, and Robert Winnett, The Daily Telegraph

9:21 AM GMT 01 Feb 2011

A Foreign Office minister sent Libyan officials detailed legal advice on how to use Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s cancer diagnosis to ensure he was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, documents obtained by the Daily Telegraph show.

The Duke of York is also said to have played a behind-the-scenes role in encouraging the terrorist’s release.

The Scottish First Minister said the revelations confirm that while his administration acted according to its public pronouncements on the affair, Tony Blair’s Government was behaving duplicitously.

“The cables … show that the former UK Government were playing false on the issue, with a different public position from their private one,” said a statement released by Mr Salmond’s office.

Feb 01 2011

On This Day in History February 1

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

February 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 333 days remaining until the end of the year (334 in leap years).

On this day in 1896, the opera La Bohème receives its premiere in Turin.

La Bohème is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La Bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then La Bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas internationally. According to Opera America, it is the second most frequently performed opera in the United States, just behind another Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly. In 1946, fifty years after the opera’s premiere, Toscanini conducted a performance of it on radio with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. This performance was eventually released on records and on Compact Disc. It is the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor.

Origin of the story

According to its title page, the libretto of La bohème is based on Henri Murger‘s novel, Scènes de la vie de bohème, a collection of vignettes portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. Although usually called a novel, it has no unified plot. Like the 1849 play by Murger and Thèodore Barrière, the opera’s libretto focuses on the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimi, ending with her death. Also like the play, the libretto combines two characters from the novel, Mimi and Francine, into a single Mimi character.

Much of the libretto is original. The main plots of acts two and three are the librettists’ invention, with only a few passing references to incidents and characters in Murger. Most of acts one and four follow the novel, piecing together episodes from various chapters. The final scenes in acts one and four, the scenes with Rodolfo and Mimi, resemble both the play and the novel. The story of their meeting closely follows chapter 18 of the novel, in which the two lovers living in the garret are not Rodolphe and Mimi at all, but rather Jacques and Francine. The story of Mimi’s death in the opera draws from two different chapters in the novel, one relating Francine’s death and the other relating Mimi’s.

The published libretto includes a note from the librettists briefly discussing their adaptation. Without mentioning the play directly, they defend their conflation of Francine and Mimi into a single character: “Chi puo non confondere nel delicato profilo di una sola donna quelli di Mimi e di Francine?” (“Who cannot detect in the delicate profile of one woman the personality both of Mimi and of Francine?”) At the time, the novel was in the public domain, Murger having died without heirs, but rights to the play were still controlled by Barrière’s heirs.

Feb 01 2011

Six In The Morning

I Get To Be The Next President  

Exclusive intervew: Robert Fisk meets Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt’s saviour-in-waiting

Mohamed ElBaradei: The man who would be President

Man of the moment? Of course Mohamed ElBaradei is. But man of the people, I have my doubts. He doesn’t claim to be, of course, and sitting in his garden easy chair near an impossibly blue but rather small swimming pool, he sometimes appears – even wearing his baseball hat – like a very friendly, shrewd and bespectacled mouse. He will not like that description, but this is a mouse, I suspect, with very sharp teeth.

It’s almost a delight to dissect the bigger mice who work in the White House and the State Department.

“Do you remember how on the second day, all we heard was that they were ‘monitoring the situation’. On the second day, Secretary Clinton said: ‘We assess the situation as stable’; it was funny yesterday, too, to hear Clinton say that ‘we have been urging the Egyptian Mubarak for 30 years to move on this – and he moved backward – how on earth can you still ask him to introduce democratic reform?

Feb 01 2011

The revolution will be streamed

Originally posted at The Great Orange Satan.

Welcome to the future.

For the past week, the citizens of Egypt have been protesting and calling for their “president” of 30 years to step down. And yes, there is a lot more to the story.  

But there is a bigger story here. Consider this: What have you really learned about the protests in Egypt (and Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Jordan and Lebanon) from the US media?

Let’s consider that.

Feb 01 2011

Prime Time

Entirely unexciting.  Even Cable sucks.  Some premiers.

Mister… you can say anything you want about me. I’m gonna have to ask you not to talk about my horse that way.

Later-

Dave hosts Justin Bieber, Pauley Perrette, and Best Coast.  Jon has Bill Gates (ugh), Stephen Samer Shehata and Paul Offit.  Alton does Tacos and Tortillas.  Conan hosts Amy Poehler.

Well, what do you make of it so far?  Nope, too late to turn back now.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

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