Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Unable to leave a comment? Google Plus' SNAFU

UPDATE--Google has disabled my ability to even select Adult Content, let alone any other G+ settings, so it appears that the linkage between this blog and Google Plus remains permanent.  If you do not have a Google Plus account and still want to comment on a blog entry, please email your comment, with the title of the entry you want to comment on in the Subject line, to and I'll have to post that comment for you, if you request reposting.

 I do have friends who were boycotting Google since G+ was launched, and respect their preference for not having anything of theirs posted on anything Google, so reposting of a comment is dependent on a request for me to do so.

Google sucks.


Up til today I thought that all I had to do was moderate comments in order to get them posted, but since I linked this blog to my Google Plus audience, it has come to pass than only Google Plus account holders are able to post comments.

That audience is primarily Asian, not entirely English-fluent, and so I've decided to try to break that Google Plus tie-in...except I can't find the controls to do so in my admin panel.  The only apparent way to do that is to designate this blog as having adult content, and so I'm going to try to designate this blog that way just to break that linkage.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Venezuela about to get treated like Turkey?

Thanks to the Spanish speaking activists I follow on Facebook, I got a heads up on the pact that Venezuela signed with the Palestinian Authority to sell petroleum products to Palestine at what's been described as a reasonable price.

And in order to Google an English language article about it, I got directed to Malaysia. Domestic media not covering this?  Not surprised. But after the bruhaha Turkey encountered from Israel when they sent a supplies #flotilla to Palestine, I'm wondering if Venezuela is pretending to be naive with an intention of evoking an Israeli attack, or just what that deal is actually involving.

Even though U.S. media is apparently asleep at the switch on this one, it's worth watching for whatever developments may come of it.

Article: Netanyahu waits til March 2013 to apologize to Turkey

Friday, August 23, 2013

March On Washinton anniversary--a perspective

From my earliest elementary school days, I never could get a grasp on what the deal with race discrimination was all about, and I credit my years in Catholic parochial school for that mainly because my playmates were of different races and nationalities.  In junior high, I had a best friend who was Haitian and she was just as much to blame as my dad for my involvement in shortwave radio.  Before my dad introduced me to Civil Defense and ham radio, she had a Zenith Transoceanic by which she'd catch (at least) 4VEH as a means of staying in touch with the home country.  The fact that we had two languages in common was a plus, too--English and French (I don't know if Latin counts).  Latino or Creole, what counted was that the kids were Catholics and nothing else. Nobody told me there was anything wrong with that, and as I got older and other people tried to tell me what was right and wrong about who to associate with, I found the whole thing harder to understand.

When I started hearing stuff about Martin Luther King Jr. and the race riots, protests and marches, I also heard about lynchings and dogs, hydrants and fire hoses, and thought that was worse. And as long as I hung around Catholics I found myself among, I wasn't alone in that view. Going to public school was when I got a different sort of education on the matter--we're talking southern part of Illinois, where the Civil War gets re-enacted and it's the rebels that get the cheers.

Fortunately, I also learned early on how to test for the validity of statements made by asking questions.  Well--it was fortunate back then, at least...and thus I learned the fine points of segregationist propriety and exactly what it meant to precariously ride that line between what was and what wasn't proper.  It's from this that I also have a considerable admiration for Follies artist Bert Williams, who succeeded in being a hit with all races quite in spite of that.

Graduated grade school, going into college, registered for a new class in a new department called Black American Studies, which is where I first became enamored of buried history.  Right out of the gate I learned stuff never covered in grade school and it's where I first acquired an appetite to find out more stuff about what's never usually taught, and launched myself on a quest for more of that. Forget historians--I wanted to get into time travel, along the lines of the first Doctor Who as portrayed by William Hartnell even though, at the time, the Doctor was portrayed by Tom Baker (another favorite).  History that isn't in any book was what I was looking for.

I've said in an earlier entry that I've lived in black neighborhoods, owned a house in one, lived in housing projects and such, and read a book titled "Black Like Me"--a book that should be on every school's mandatory reading list, IMHO.  Whitefolk like me can maybe use a coloring agent to change the color of their skins for temporary, but blackfolk are black all their lives--and knowing this also makes me realize that the charge that I'll never know what being black is like may be true in principle, but I have to say that living as one white person in a black community can be very similar in a number of respects.

First of all, when you're the only white person in a sea of black faces, it's a profound feeling of being different and obvious that you never forget.  Recognizing that a black kid in a sea of white faces in a white school right after desegregation is enforced can't be different than that is akin to walking a mile in that kid's shoes.  Living in a black neighborhood will also give you a whole different perspective on the police, too.  How they deal with policing a white neighborhood compared to a black neighborhood is irrefutable as well, so when whitefolk hear complaints about cops from blackfolk, they're inclined to pass the complaints off as nonsense because that's not been their experience.

Not their experience.  Recognize that the experiences are indeed different, and in the interest of justice, shouldn't be.  We may have seen clear to elect (and re-elect) a black president, but we still have differences in experiences due to segregation.  The March on Washington had among its ranks some white folk, and were I old enough at the time, I would have been one of 'em.  There are more whitefolk now that would happily join the blackfolk in the strife for actual equality than there used to be, but we still have a long way to go before all whitefolk come to realize that the way they live is NOT the way everybody else lives, and it really IS their business to care about that.  It's in the interest of justice.

Black American history isn't pretty, no matter how much the aforementioned certain somebody works hard to pretty it up and tries to pretend that Bert Williams never happened, and that what he achieved wasn't noteworthy.  When Black American history is prettied up like that, the March on Washington loses both its purpose and its significance.

A few more things I know about Black American history that is living history, as it's ongoing: too often the "break" that a black person gets into big money is either sports or comic type entertainment, and just because a black person earns bread & butter as, say, a minstrel, it doesn't mean that he/she has no talent in other departments. I can't stand boxing, but I'm a big fan of one particular black boxer.  That's because he took what started out as a family sit-com and morphed it into an outstanding drama.  I'm talking about Roc.  He'll always be known as a boxer, no doubt, but a stellar dramatist?  I'm sure he'd suffer the same fate as Bert Williams on that count.

What I also know for a fact is that even though the Wayans brothers made their big money on the TV show In Living Color via spoofery and tomfoolery, they printed up tee shirts to donate to college science clubs for black scientists.  It's from the black engineers at Arizona State that I picked up my highly prized Homey D. Clown tee shirt.  Pretty up black history pretending stuff didn't happen?  I don't think so. This homey don't play that.

(...and I STILL think Damon Wayans is hot.)

September Update: Bill Cosby about why we should remember the Birmingham church bombing. It's pertinent to why we shouldn't pretty up black history.

And another reason has cropped up: Dr. Shiping Bao, who got fired after testifying at Zimmerman's trial for killing Trayvon Martin. He's filing a wrongful termination case against his former employer, but I'm afraid he's going to get a rude awakening about Right To Work states.  Even if Florida isn't a Right To Work state, it's still an Employment At Will Doctrine state.  All traditionally conservative-run states are.

In my first post about the Martin-Zimmerman matter, I did observe how astonishing how Dr. Shiping Bao, an expert and expected to be dispassionate, turned into something of a hostile witness--hostile to the defense--and I was wondering what the backstory on that phenomenon might be. The truth of that is now out via The Grio, it appears.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

PEGASYS, local cable access channel, needs a champion

Not the last City Commission meeting, but the previous one, a couple of commissioners had the local cable access organization, PEGASYS, in their crosshairs for outright termination--contract renewal was up for a vote, and they were making nasty noises about why vote on a contract when its entire future was in question.  Yeah, I got a problem with that; I was expressly prohibited from making a video of Winter Chautauqua and I was gonna wait that year for when PEGASYS would finally show it...except if that contract wasn't renewed, it would never air.  Yeah, it was only in retrospect that I figured I should have asserted my Fair Use rights, but the last thing I wanted to do at the time was get into an argument (even though an argument transpired anyway; inevitable, that, I suppose).

Somebody showed up at the commission meeting and basically sunk teeth into why PEGASYS should continue, even though those two weren't convinced of voting in favor of relocation funding (it's been forced by the city to move out of its established location).

PEGASYS gets to live for one more year. ONE.

In these times of downsizing even important things, I'm sure nobody found that the cutting of Enid Chautauqua was any surprise, but PEGASYS too?  Some things aren't worth fighting for, some are just losing battles...and some things are darn well worth it even if ya die trying.  I draw the line at cutting PEGASYS.

Put up yer dukes, City Hall.  I'm ready for ya.

Confused by the date on the pics? Well, because of other online city politics (who else gets online etc) and how search engines work (Google's blog SEO in particular), I deliberately delayed the reporting of this matter for about a month. It also makes sense to take care with usage or omitting of names, which may appear as part of an image instead of part of the text, or not at all.
In this era of crazy budget cuts, and some for no real good reason, it just seems to me that if fighting is inevitable, the sane thing to do is to fight for the same side.

Fact: I'm not the enemy--the funding cutters are.

UPDATE: After some asking around, it appears that this issue is mostly resolved, and what remains unresolved is in process of being resolved.  Won't jinx the future by giving more details, though...except the following...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pentagon press conference happening now, with Chinese rep. Wow.

Since it's currently in progress (I'm watching it live on CSPAN 1) I will have to post pertinent links later--suffice it to say for now that a convergence of topics I've already covered here is occurring, from the Chinese incursions in the South China Sea to Egypt/Israel and Snowden. Heads up, folks, a significant shift in U.S. policy is occurring as I type this.  It was just last month when there were U.S. - Japan military exercises formally protested by China; I wonder what the Japanese must be thinking about this development.

Additional news down the pike is that the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors has observed the passage of one year's time since Al Hurra staffer Bashir Fahmi disappeared.  Generally speaking, it's not a good time for journalists in that general region, in general.  Stay tuned.
 Global Times article article
NHK World, next day, mentioned Japan's tiff with Russia regarding islands disputes in same region; add that to island disputes with S. Korea, and  you have Japan doing itself a huge disservice in being at odds with those who would otherwise be allies in any dispute with China regarding Senkaku and regarding Okinawa's U.S. military base. And yet rising nationalism there is the impetus behind Japan's stance against its own best interests.  Go figure.

Stuff happening faster than I can keep up with today. New developments in Egypt are disconcerting as well, to say the least.
New charter? WHAT constitution?
Venezuelan take on the new charter (Spanish)
Egypt is Tunisia repeated? --Telegraph
Chatter that I have been observing mentions something about Erdogan's role in what's going on, pretty much under the media radar at this point. Hmmm--He's Turkey's prime minister who was very vocal about his support of Morsi, and seeking condemnation by the UN on Morsi's removal.  Arutz 7 reports some kind of Egyptian TV boycott of Turk soap operas as a result, which is what I find strange because it's been my impression that Egyptian state media were inclined to support Morsi too.

In the meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald on Twitter, makes good on his promise to focus publicity on UK affairs. This is one of them. And Al Jazeera America announced its launch tomorrow.  And while I was typing this, the Greenwald item got reTweeted several times.  People, if you have ever wondered what Twitter could ever be good for, you're seeing one thing.  Another is on the spot news feeds.  Yet another is watching elected officials, and yet another is keeping up on rapidly developing situations (like Egypt).  I've said it before and I'll say it again: On Twitter, follow Mona Eltahawy. Also Ahram OnlineAl Arabiya EnglishEgypt IndependentThe Big Pharaoh (English/Arabic) and Sandmonkey (English/Arabic).  For starters.

Just in via pourmecoffee on Twitter--comic relief. He says this is the UK government going through the Guardian's computers:

Well, it appears that today is Morsi's birthday.  And whaddaya no....looks like Lincoln Chafee and Jeffery Levin are now following li'l ole ME on Twitter. Sure beats Karl Rove.

NEXT DAY UPDATE: Was listening to NPR this AM and heard Mona Eltahawy stay on the line for an ongoing discussion of Egypt, which made me wonder what has become of Christianne Amanpour, who used to be the go-to gal reporting on international incidents.  I understand that she's the anchor on CNN International, but apparently that requires that she give up her usual rounds on her usual beats around the globe. Regarding the Middle East, and not just Egypt, Mona Eltahawy has stepped in and apparently is filling Amanpour's rather large shoes.  Speaking as a fan: you go, girl.

A number of Tweets late last night involved links to YouTube videos showing graphic pictures of cadavers which were the result of the turmoil in Cairo and it certainly wasn't conducive to a good night's rest after turn-in.  I have to remark about the bodies shown from the quashing of the jailbreak yesterday from Abu Zaabal prison, that the tear gas sold to Egypt by the U.S. was never meant to be used in a confined space like the vehicle used to transport the prisoners to a different facility, and yet Egyptians would be warranted for blaming the U.S. for the sale and its subsequent misuse, especially given that the U.S. is responsible for the military exercises and training in Egypt.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In sha Allah, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Lebanon et al

Twitter is the place to be when shtuff hits the fan somewhere on the globe, and once again, current events cross paths with history as reported by Richard Engle:

Archaeology is great when stuff doesn't get destroyed, but stuff gets destroyed.  You also can't dig up artifacts where there's been aircraft-dropped bombs. Even less so when the bombs dropped are atomic.

Shocked about what's being destroyed in Egypt? You should have noticed what antiquities were lost in Syria.  The only hope that future generations have in looking into archaeological discoveries are the old books because any new book published beyond the year 2013 will not have that information.

In sha Allah, we have the current state of Egypt, we have the current state of Palestine, we have the current state of Syria, the current state of Tunisia, also in turmoil, and we have periodic insurgencies still in Libya. You'd think these guys would stop and think long enough to realize that any sort of God has anything to do with anything would have taken sides by now and settle things once and for all.  He never does, does he. No one on any side has any favors from any God and hasn't for centuries, and what continues to happen in the name of deities is naught but man's own insanities.

In Egypt I have friends that are pro and anti Morsi, and I'd prefer not to take sides--but I can't remain silent, either.  My heart is big enough to care about all of them, and all I wish would happen is that people would just come to their senses, how destruction solves nothing and causes more, not fewer, problems.  If you believe in a God, recognize FIRST that the people you're fighting are his creation, too, and that either we're all God's chosen or none of us are, and that any God that plays favorites is too immoral to honor.  Muslims who believe that no Muslim converts others to Islam, that it takes Allah to make a Muslim, know something about Islam that the Islamists don't--make the most of that where it counts.

Libyans are 'way ahead of Egypt on that count, and I have better confidence that Libya will recover well, although that will take time too.  But the U.S. press isn't paying any more attention to Libya or Tunisia, or even Syria at this point and I suspect it's because of all the turmoil, Egypt will have the largest impact on the smallest elephant in the room: Israel.  Both Israel and the U.S. are clutching at straws trying not to call Egypt's situation as a military coup because of the reliance of both on what was an ally under brutal Mubarak and continued commitment to those treaties by Morsi.

Continuing to fund the Egyptian military under the previous treaties amounts to basically whistling Dixie past the graveyard at this point, and Egypt, as an ally committed to previous terms, is now a proverbial straw man, and that includes Israel who should suddenly realize that those 1200 new "settlements" just throws gasoline on all fires.

As Mom would say: it's time for a time out.  Everybody sit down, shut up, and cool off for a few months, and bring all that crap down to a screeching halt.  And no, I don't expect anybody to listen.  They're all nuts--3 journalists were killed today and this did not have to happen.

Report from Al Jazeera English
Egypt Independent
Al Jazeera live blog: Cairo
BBC takes Bablowi's word on things
Pictures--The Week
Egypt-Tunisia connection

Don't you believe that Muslims are all about persecuting Jews and Christians--this just in via Twitter: Muslims putting a Christian church under personal protection:

Just heard back from a pro-Morsi friend and am glad she's alright. She appears to be better skilled at staying out of trouble than I ever was.  Hoping the best for the rest.
Regarding Obama's address regarding U.S. - Egyptian military exercises, my Egyptian friends would do well to note that no violence is justified, by either the military or the protesters.  It must be acknowledged that while Morsi was properly elected, his conduct in office regarding Egyptian constitution was no better than Mubarak's, and that both the police and the military regarded the original anti-Morsi protest group, still the largest protest in history, is to be considered in addition to any protest group pro-Morsi people may muster, and its acceptance of Morsi as a commander in chief was untenable.

Rule by mob is not acceptable regardless of whose mob it is, and the point of a proper government requires these things:

1) civilian control of the military
2) a voice for all citizens whether in the majority or in the minority
3) every citizen and all branches of government be subject to a constitution, without any single part of the nation being the party which alters or creates it.  A constitution is something that every citizen and every branch of government agrees to be governed and held accountable by as supreme law of the land
4) a justice system set up to insure no prejudice in its deliberation and determination of justice and compliance with the constitution, without religious or majority influence, with each side of an issue presenting its case to a panel of judges much like a fatwah is presented but it's the judges that arrive at the decision. Diversity is preserved when sharia does not exceed the boundaries of its neighborhood; Shiya sharia for Shiites; Sunni sharia for Sunnis, Christians ruled by their respective churches--but with fair, just secular law of the nation governing all.

In sha Allah Palestine: so far, Right of Return has been a failed battle, and blaming the U.S. and Israel for this is elevating them to the power of Allah, because this is the will that has prevailed. Recognize that every single time that Israel has been attacked by bombs and rockets, Israel is given an excuse to maintain whatever it does in the name of security. Recognize the contribution that attackers make toward the hostility claimed as just by Israel.  Violence never gains anything--violence loses everything; in Egypt, it loses not only itself as its history but itself in the destruction of its centers of learning.  Burning a university is inexcusable no matter who does it.  Destroy your history and you destroy your identity.

Recognize the inextricability between history of record, of artifact, and identity.  This is why there are so many history revisionists afoot, and throughout history.  History is the argument for the identity regardless of how true the claimed history is.  The two cannot be separated, and when you lose the proofs of your history, you lose the grounds for your identity.

I note with interest all the Republicans getting on talking head shows proclaiming that Obama should have declared this a coup and cut funding to Egypt's military long ago. What that does is throw Israel under the bus, as it's in Israel's interest to maintain pre-existing treaties and conditions particularly along the Egypt/Gaza border, and the Sinai.  Here's a reminder that these are the same people who proclaimed that Israel would have a better ally in a Romney administration compared to an Obama administration.  It's amazing.  And yet--Israel is not only the elephant in the room, it also appears that it's the camel whose nose is under the Pentagon's tent, as it were.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today's News: British, Argentine old news.

Cue up Ronald Reagan saying "there you go again"...although in Argentina's case, things might change their position come October.  What happened: Argentina's opposition party won the latest election there and its current president is basically in lame duck territory, all the while sabre rattling has been revived over whose territory the Falkland Islands are supposed to be. This isn't the only ongoing conflict that Argentina has with Britain--there's also the Antarctica territory dispute.

Brits will argue that both the Falklands and Gibraltar are British by tradition and should remain so, but now Spain disagrees too, based on what Britain wants to do with it by way of its claimed property rights--namely, that business about installing an artificial reef.

Reuters--August update on Gibraltar

This, while all the while the U.S. puts its own resources into the dispute between Japan and China over the South China Sea and the Senkaku Isles (Japanese term; China calls them Diaoyu).

And there's a lot of time between now and October.  We'll see.

In other new old news is a new video of the same old tsunami that wiped out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.  At first, staying on the frontage road seemed like a good idea, and then it started to look like climbing up to the highest story of a nearby building might not be good enough.

Also--Happy Independence Day, India!

Now that the day's traffic to this blog has died down, I'm going to add an observation about my audience, which I know is primarily Asian (via Google Plus) up until I noticed traffic from World of Radio.  First: Hi guys, glad to see you. Second: you won't find a whole lot about radio except in the context of global situations or history, and I know it's the latter that some of you old timers would like.  But it's you old timers that also know that I've moved on since the mid 1980s, going into the computer hobby out of the radio hobby, and like a number of things I've left behind, I'm not going back even though I like to stay in touch via DXLD yg. I go where there's new adventures to be had and I've always been like that, sorry.

I "donated" all my old QSLs to Richard Wood's doorstep when I checked out of Cape Girardeau MO so I don't even have those to post outside of a few that escaped the purge, though I'll have to say that I wish I had hung onto my KGEI QSL and my old logging tapes.  NASWA old timers who have figured out my relation to Charlie Loudenboomer also know that I was into shortwave not so much for DXing for cards but for the music (hint: I briefly did a Music Page column just before I dropped out) and armchair traveling, which was the adventure part of that experience.  I still get a charge out of hearing McMurdo on that rare occasion, and in view of what I just posted about Argentina and Antarctica, you'd think I'd mention that the fact that it's in Spanish should be a point in Argentina's favor.  Nah.  It's incidental.

So, then--there's nothing new about history, which is necessarily old, and which renders my relatively recent interest in that to be an oxymoron of sorts.  Let me explain it to you this way: visiting a different time is almost like visiting a different planet, and the deal is that there are still adventures in exotic cultures to be had there just as there is (was) with armchair traveling via the shortwave radio, and let's face it, guys: shortwave right now is mostly a cesspool of wingnuts, religion and jammers (though I give China credit for having such interesting firedrakes out there and I'm sad to see them go).

I miss the OLD HCJB, Voice of the Andes, which did used to air regional cultural programs back in the day, amid those infernal religious sermons, and they've gotten more robotic about stuff now that they have a station in Australia.  Cultural content is what's missing, even on Radio Cairo these days.  I'm just not getting as much out of shortwave listening as I used to, and there are always new avenues of exploration in history when one avoids the musty classrooms. And there's this matter of how history affects current events, like the rift between Japan and S. Korea, the obstacle Turkey faces re: EU and the Armenian matter. Still, adventures are what I go on--life's too short to not.

One thing that hasn't changed over the decades, though: people abroad are more interested in American history than Americans are. And probably ever will be.  I write for them now, on this Asian-heavy blog.  As Leo Van der Walt used to say on the now-gone Radio RSA: tot siens. And remember--this too shall be history, eventually.  Tomorrow is just your future yesterday.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Good point, Reince Priebus--point of order, re: Hilary.

I don't think Mr. Priebus had a point of order in mind when making his argument for pulling debates from whatever networks may air any documentary on Hillary Clinton.

He makes the error that Clinton is presumed to announce running for president in 2016, and that any documentary on her past record should be viewed as network electioneering.  Mr. Priebus, electioneering is a valid charge AFTER a person has declared to be a candidate, and I think you need to be reintroduced to Ronald Reagan, who promoted the idea to the Soviets that it's bad to quash free speech, that it's a better idea to counter free speech with more free speech.

Your assignment: produce your own documentaries.  Case closed.

Adding a heads-up on something I'm watching on Book TV: Erick Stakelbek presenting his book, "The Brotherhood: America's Next Great Enemy", date stamped 7/25/13 and what a pile of rot the author is making it sound like.

Like Priebus, he's taking a few grains of truth and twisting 'em into a pretzel on which he builds the rest of his case in order to sell a bill of goods.  No sale.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Through a pinhole camera into the past--Crimean War

It's a phrase I heard via Radio Lab this PM, regarding the type of time travel I fancy most: what isn't in books.  Sights, smells, lay of the land where you stand, surroundings, who else is there.  Radio Lab was covering an investigation of two photographs from 1855 in Crimea.  Photographer: Roger Fenton.

...with cannon balls, and without...
Author Errol Morris concludes that the area was staged for the photographs, depending on which of Fenton's clients ordered which type of picture.  Having attended a Chautauqua performance in portrayal of one Bessie Coleman, aviator, in which the actor sung songs, I would instead call this "staging" a dramatization, a practice continued to this day.  Face it--cameras in 1855 were too slow to catch action in progress, and the goal was to convey the feel of the time and the area, just the things I look for when time traveling.

I repeat myself when I say that things like this preclude getting sources from other books, and when one writes a book on the investigation, himself becomes the authority on the matter.  When I do such things myself, having never written a book on any of my investigations, I'm typically never taken as an authority on my own conclusions, particularly because I can't cite any other authoritative book as a source.  I can never give a single book as a single source of any particular bit of information because I typically triangulate among several--my conclusions are my own, not a conclusion found in any book. But I will say here and now that the conclusions I reach are my own, and I am the originating source of my own conclusions, as based on thorough investigation, nonetheless.

National Media Museum blog about this topic
Sean Palmer's article
Getty Museum article
Roger Fenton, Wikipedia