Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Type your summary here
MOre later if I get time

Type rest of the post here
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Massacres Don't Work for Long

It seems rare enough that unarmed demonstrators are fired upon by police/national guard/soldiers. And it is frequent that there are agents provocateurs. It is also common for governments to bring in rural/poor/less educated militia members from distant provinces or different ethnic groups. The conscript Army in Egypt in Jan/Feb could not be reliably counted upon to fire upon demonstrators.

Clubbed, yes; fired upon, rare enough so that I could name a few prominent ones:
None of these are forgotten or swept under the rug. That I can name them years later proves that. As do the wikipedia articles & youtube films. You might have seen some of the fictional Hollywood portrayals above.
* The Greensboro demonstrators were shot by the Klan, but acquitted. The subsequent rift led to a Truth and Reconciliation process.

**Nothing more after this**
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mandela and ‘The Elders’ Aim to Save the World

Mandela and ‘The Elders’ Aim to Save the World
Written by Kate Snow
Saturday, 04 August 2007
JOHANNESBURG — The Elders, a new alliance made up of an elite group of senior statesmen dedicated to solving thorny global problems, unveiled itself today in Johannesburg. The rollout coincided with founding member Nelson Mandela’s 89th birthday.

After a grand entrance, Mandela, the former South African president, announced the rest of the Elders.

The members include Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop emeritus of Capetown; former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and Mohammed Yunus, the Nobel laureate and founder of the Green Bank in Bangladesh. The group plans to get involved in some of the world’s most pressing problems — climate change, pandemics like AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, violent conflicts.

It was an extraordinary gathering;

a who’s who of famous international leaders, with enough emotion to move some of them to tears.

Under a large white futuristic dome, British billionaire Richard Branson and rock star Peter Gabriel, who conceived the idea for the Elders, gathered enough star power to change the world, or at least that’s the hope.

“The structures we have to deal with these problems are often tied down by political, economic and geographic constraints,” Mandela said. The Elders, he argued, will face no such constraints.

Seven years ago, Branson and Gabriel approached Mandela about the Elders idea, and he agreed to help them recruit others. “This group of elders will bring hope and wisdom back into the world,” Branson said. “They’ll play a role in bringing us together.

“Using their collective experience, their moral courage and their ability to rise above the parochial concerns of nations ? they can help make our planet a more peaceful, healthy and equitable place to live, ” Branson said. ” Let us call them ‘global elders,’ not because of their age but because of individual and collective wisdom.”

Calling it “the most extraordinary day” of his life, Gabriel said, “The dream was there might still be a body of people in whom the world could place their trust.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who moderated the event and will serve as its leader, was moved to tears after Gabriel sang an impromptu accapella version of his hit song “Biko,” written about a famous South African political prisoner.

Branson and Gabriel have raised enough money — some $18 million — to fund this group for three years.

Also onboard are names less well known in the United States, including Indian microfinance leader Ela Bhatt; former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland; former Chinese ambassador to the United States Li Zhaoxing.

The group left an empty seat onstage — symbolically — for an elder who was invited, but could not attend because she is under house arrest in Burma, Nobel laureate and human rights advocate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mandela and Carter emphasized the group’s ability to talk to anyone without risk.

“We will be able to risk failure in worthy causes, and we will not need to claim credit for any successes that might be achieved,” said Carter.

Carter said the group does not want to step on or interfere with other positive work that nations or organizations are doing but wants to supplement that work.

Several members acknowledged that the actual activities and actions of the group remain to be determined. There are no titles, no ranking of the members. And it is not clear if they will travel as a group, deploy individual members to global hot spots, or simply sit in a room together to develop strategies or assist those who are suffering find help.

But they certainly have high hopes.

“I didn’t like the title “elders,” because I didn’t feel like an elder,” said Yunus to laughter, “but I like the idea.”

Yunus said the world is without direction and he hopes the Elders can provide some direction.

Speaking of the Elders, almost in the way one would describe a cartoon about superheroes, Mandela said, “The Elders can become a fiercely independent and positive force for good.”

Annan added that the group does not “intend to go and take on Darfur or Somalia and resolve it singlehandedly. We don’t have a magic wand,” he said. But he argued that the group could intervene and perhaps force parties to honor agreements.

“There are certain crimes that shame us all,” said Annan. “We all have a responsibility, and I hope the Elders will take the lead in asking the question: What can we do to move the situation forward?

“Sometimes by saying ‘this is enough we can’t take this anymore it must stop,’ we are making a difference,” Annan continued

Mandela and Branson both celebrated birthdays today. At 89, Mandela looked frail. He walked with a cane and Carter helped him to the podium. But once Mandela got there, he stood tall and easily delivered some 10 minutes of remarks.

“He, as you know, walks sedately,” Tutu joked.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to put the Copenhagen Countdown Clock on your website

Concerned about climate change?
One of the most important things we can do on this planet is to create a strong climate treaty at the UN Climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

And the most important element in drafting a strong treaty is creating an overwhelming public demand in all the countries of the world for this, in the face of reluctant governments and corporate lobbying and greenwashing.

And the key to creating that overwhelming public demand is getting people's mindshare focused on the climate negotiations.

And a good way to do that is to create a small public reminder of the negotiations.

If you have a website, here's something you can do in under two minutes (that's how long it too me):
How to put the Copenhagen Countdown Clock on your website

To put the clock on your website do the following:

A: From the homepage http://unfccc.int follow the link that say's "How to
use the countdown clock on your
website" [http://unfccc.int/home/items/4688.php]
Copy the html code from any of the boxes depending on which version of the
clock you want to use into their webpage.

B: Follow the instructions in A.

(Nothing more in the "more" section below.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why crack down on the Liberty Dollar now?

I find this disturbing because, although I didn't like the Liberty Dollar (I think the income tax of 1912 was a good thing), there is a heavy quality of ex post facto here-- tolerating something for years and then coming down heavy just as the former chief economist of the IMF implicitly ponders whether US might go the way of Argentina and have a currency collapse.


June 5, 2009

Asheville man charged in alleged Liberty Dollar fraud scheme
By Clarke Morrison

authorities arrested an Asheville man in what they said was a scheme to
undermine the U.S. currency system and defraud consumers with so-called
Liberty Dollars.

Kevin Innes marketed the “barter” currency in Western North Carolina
and recruited merchants willing to accept it and give it as change for
products bought with real money, according to an indictment unsealed
this week.

53, faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted. He was indicted along
with Bernard von NotHaus, president of the National Organization for
the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Codes, and two
other defendants from Indiana associated with the corporation.

made an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge in
Asheville Wednesday and was ordered detained pending a detention
hearing set for Monday before a judge in Charlotte, according to the
U.S. Department of Justice.

Liberty Dollars are coins made of silver or gold and are touted as inflation-proof and a way to encourage buying local goods.

groups seek to undermine the U.S. currency system, the government is
compelled to act,” said acting U.S. Attorney Edward Ryan of the Western
District of North Carolina.

coins are not government-produced coinage, yet purchasers were led to
believe by those who made and sold them that they should be spent like
U.S. Federal Reserve Notes,” Ryan said. “Such claims are in violation
of federal law.”

and von NotHaus are charged with uttering and passing coins resembling
genuine U.S. coins and intended for use as money, mail fraud and
selling and possessing Liberty Dollar coins with intent to defraud.

Past statements

Despite warnings from the
federal government to the contrary, Innes told the Citizen-Times in
2006 that Liberty Dollars were legal.

of the first things I did when I started this in Asheville was go to
the police and tell them what I was doing,” he said then.

NotHaus created his organization in Evansville, Ind., in 1998, and
developed the Liberty Dollar. He touted the silver medallions as an
inflation-proof alternative to official currency.

The indictment alleges the corporation's purpose was to limit reliance on and compete with U.S. currency.

held the title of North Carolina regional currency officer and was one
of three members of the group's executive committee, the indictment

A 2007 affidavit said more than 70 businesses in the Asheville area agreed to accept the Liberty Dollar.

understand that there is only one legal currency in the United States,”
said Owen Harris, special agent in charge of the Charlotte office of
the FBI. “When groups try to replace the U.S. dollar with coins and
bills that don't hold the same value, it affects the economy.

“Consumers were using their hard-earned money to buy goods and services, then getting fake change in return.”

arrests are the latest development in an investigation under way since
at least 2004. Federal agents raided the company's headquarters in 2007
and seized documents and precious metals. A private mint in Coeur
d'Alene, Idaho, that produced the coins was raided the same day.

NotHaus' organization said in 2006 that more than $20 million worth of
Liberty Dollar coins and notes were in circulation. Congress has
exclusive power to coin money in the U.S. and to regulate its value,
according to the Treasury Department.

--end --

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Climate Talk- Monday 7 PM, free, Diana Wortham Theatre

 The lineup for the free event on Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m. in the Diana Wortham Theatre includes presentations by:
  1. Greg Wilson, Director of Asheville Operations - Scientific Research Corporation
  2. Ben Teague, Sr. VP for Economic Development - Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Coalition
  3. John Bates, Chief, Remote Sensing Applications Division - NOAA's NCDC
  4. Ron Birk, Director, Civil Space Mission Integration - Northrop Grumman Space Technology

The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A from the audience. A “meet the presenters” reception will be held immediately afterwards in the Colburn.

These talks are being presented by the Colburn Earth Science Museum and the Asheville Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.
The Colburn Museum is having problems with their website today, so I'm posting this.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival or neither?

In 2005, when my VW van was still running, I treated myself to Bonnaroo AND the Newport, RI Folk Festival. Here's my thoughts...
- What was great about Bonnaroo was- well, not much. The price seemed high ($270 minimum at this point), and while
• the lineup was stellar (Iron & Wine, Donna the Buffalo, Alison Krause, Herbie Hancock w/ a surprise appearance by John Mayer, John Prine & many bands who I'd kinda heard of but didn't quite know- Dave Matthews, Rilo Kiley. And many more), that turned out to be a weakness. Did you want to hear Prine OR Krause? With seven stages, one was forced to choose.
• They searched religiously to make sure folks didn't bring in outside liquids-- there was free bad-tasting water, or beverages in the hot sun for $4 or some such.
• The audience was rude and unappreciative. I didn't know there was such a thing as Drunken Southern Fratboys (and the women who mysteriously tolerate them) til I went there. Folks, having paid hundreds of dollars for the privilege of listening to Alison Kraus, sat around and talked with each other. They could have done this in their back yard for free!!
The admission DID cover parking, which WAS camping, toilets (but not showers), the ability to walkdown Shakedown Street (my first time, and an adventure) and the right to have cops tell you to walk in the mud and not on the grass.
I hated it.

In contrast, the Newport Folk Festival was well-behaved and there were only three stages-- two small, one big.
The price was cheaper, but didn't cover camping or parking ($12/day). There was a kids area, which I think there wasn't at Bonnaroo. The lineup was also stellar, but more focused on what I like (the kind of Americana that WNCW plays), and I had strong sense of the history that I was entering into-- many folks there were active singing AND speaking out in the early sixties, and there were at least THREE next generation acts-- Peter Seeger and his grandson Tao's band, Peter Yarrow and daughter Stephanie (I think), and Richard Thompson and son Teddie. I discovered a whole slew of artists, some of whom I only comprehended later as time went by.
(Oddly enough, on the way home from there, I discovered & stopped in at the Purple Fiddle in West Virginia, and heard this unknown group that the venue owner totally vouched for. Since then, the Avett Brothers are taking the world by storm.)
(I suppose I could hyperlink the heck out of this entry, but you can quickly get to respective  web pages quickly enough).

So.... Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, or neither? This year--  probably neither.

I'll probably just get my live music at the Grey Eagle.
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