Category Archives: society

Osama bin Laden dead – details.

With the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, the war in the Middle East is once again trust into the limelight for the United States. After the so called ‘war on terrorism’ has largely been eclipsed in the public mind by more domestic concerns, like our flagging economy, the news of the death of one of the forerunners of the al-Qaida group has brought the issue to the forefront. And it was done during Obama’s watch. This could prove to be a feather in the President’s cap.

Americans gather to celebrate the news at the White House and Ground Zero while the stock markets get a modest boost from higher moral and confidence. U.S. officials say that the body of the master terrorist has been buried at sea, following Islamic practice and tradition that the deceased be buried within 24 hours. It was hard to get a country to accept the remains of the man who was the face of terrorism, so it was decided to bury bin Laden at sea. (This probably means they dumped the body over the side of a boat in whatever ocean or sea they were closest to. Don’t have any illusions here.)

DNA testing offered a “99.9%” certainty that bin Laden was the man shot dead during the raid and detailed photo analysis by the CIA and matching physical features confirmed the identity of the body. U.S. Blackhawk helicopters ferried about two dozen troops from Navy SEAL Team Six, a top military counter-terrorism unit, into the compound identified by the CIA as bin Laden’s hideout — and back out again in less than 40 minutes. Bin Laden was shot in the head, officials said, after he and his bodyguards resisted the assault.

It is unclear what this will mean. People have already stated that while bin Laden’s death is a great blow to terrorism and a victory for the United States, the war is not over. I fear that we have only cut off the head of a hydra, and two will spring up in its place. Homeland Security and the FDA has already issued travel warnings as the threat of retaliation from remaining el-Qaida members and those with radical sympathies is very real.

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Terrorist announced to be dead. Obama on Osama bin Laden.

A crowd gathered at New York’s Ground Zero right after Obama’s speech announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011. Revelers in the crowd scrambled up light poles over the cheering crowd.

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Photos from a natural disaster – Japan earthquake & tsunami.

TIME contract photographer Dominic Nahr arrived just one day after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting devastating tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan on March 11th. Nahr camped out at a Daiou temple in Minami Sanriku where most of the town had been wiped out by the tsunami. The temple, however, was on top of a hill and was spared. Dozens of survivors are living at the temple after having their homes destroyed. Nahr photographed the Buddhist funeral ceremonies that were being done in groups and in an abbreviated form so they could accommodate all the families that lose loved ones, many without a body to mourn.

Survivor's sleep closely together for warmth at a temporary shelter in a Daiou temple in Minami Sanriku, one of the only locations in the area not destroyed by the tsunami. March 29, 2011


Dozens of urns fill a room for a group funeral at a Daiou temple in Minami Sanriku. March 30, 2011


A member of Japan's Self-Defense Forces searches for survivors on March 14, 2011

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Photographs and family mementos saved from rubble after earthquake and tsunami.

Many family photographs have been found in the rubble and ruins of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11. In Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, photographer Toru Hanai explains that search and rescue teams, police, firefighters and the Japan Self Defense Force have been gathering the muddied and damaged pictures and bringing them to the local police station. At the Collection Centre the images are cleaned under the direction of project leader and Ofunato resident Satoko Kinno, a paper conservator and graduate of Camberwell College of Arts in London.

Once restored the images are taken to the shelters where they can be reclaimed by their owners. This photograph, taken by Hanai on April 12, shows a volunteer washing and drying images of one single child, a 4 year-old girl. Just a few days after this photo was taken, Kinno got word that the child and her mother and father had all survived the earthquake and tsunami, and were safe. The photographs will be returned to the family.

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Auction to benefit Japanese quake and tsunami victims.

On Thursday April 21, from 6-9pm at 25CPW Gallery in New York City, a group of international photographers will host a photographic exhibition and silent auction to benefit Architecture for Humanity’s efforts rebuild Japanese communities damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Sixty photographers will be showcased and 100% of the proceeds will be donated.

Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit design service firm whose mission is to building sustainable futures through meaningful projects that make a difference in local communities and are currently collaborating to rebuilding area in Japan ravaged by natural disasters.

For more details and to preview the art, please visit [Wa] Photography Auction

Photography Auction to Benefit Japan Quake Communities – Time Magazine

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Street art popping up in urban areas and the struggle between public art and vandalism laws.

What’s the difference between street art and graffiti? Is there a difference? Is the only difference the fact that the artist paid money to have a piece of paper saying it was different? The word graffiti has bad connotations that people can’t shake off but what if the only thing different between street art and graffiti is the mindset of the person viewing it? Some cities see the value of having street artists, illustrators, and graphic designers recreating bland public spaces and sprucing up old buildings, bridges, and car parks. This is a way to improve an area without spending big bucks on renovating a structure. The addition of vibrant, colorful murals completely transforms the face of a city and can uplift the spirit of a person.

What is Street Art? – PureGraffiti

Why Street Art Matters – The Cool Hunter

It’s also a way to keep other, non- desirable graffiti (gang tags, racial or ethnic slurs) from appearing. Whether it’s a 3D picture painted on the ground, one so real looking you feel like it is jumping out at you, or a colorful riot of paint across a wall, street art is an art form that many people are warming up to. Some people are making quite the name for themselves using this medium. Peter Gibson, known by his alias Roadsworth, has been creating street art in Montreal since the fall of 2001. In the fall of 2004 he was arrested and charged with 53 counts of mischief but he received a relatively lenient sentence which he attributes to public support. Today, he continues to spread his art around the streets of his hometown.

Pedestrian Street Art by Peter Gibson

http://roadsworth.com

De Buillion Street and Saint-Joseph Street, Montreal, Quebec. July 2004.

Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Duluth Ave., Montreal, Quebec. July 2004

Location not given but I love owls, so I kept on here.

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Conflict in Libya drawing international involvement.

An international coalition launched its first strikes on Libya Saturday to destroy the country’s air and missile defense systems and prevent further attacks by the Libyan government on its citizens and rebels in and around the rebel held city of Benghazi, a senior U.S. military official said. More than two dozen warships and a large number of war planes from several countries made up the initial strike force, which was led by the U.S. military’s Africa command, the official said, speaking in an embargoed briefing a few hours before the operation began. “The key first strikes would be on the coast because that is where the integrated air and missile defense systems,” the official added. The first wave included sea-launched U.S. cruise missiles and the deployment of U.S. electronic warfare aircraft.

Oh, so now we’re actively attacking Libya? That will end well.

Forces led by Moammar Gaddafi entered the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi Saturday after airstrikes and fierce fighting as the United States and its allies prepared to launch military attacks on Libya. A warplane was shot down over Benghazi. Government troops — some reportedly in tanks — entered Benghazi from the west, in the university area. The city of 1 million quickly became a ghost town, with residents fleeing or seeking cover in barricaded neighborhoods. A Washington Post reporter saw the aircraft go down in flames. It was not known who shot it down.

On Friday, President Obama warned that the Libyan leader faced imminent military action unless his troops were withdrawn from all disputed cities in the country. But assaults on rebel-held towns continued despite government promises of a cease-fire.

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Violence in Libya increases as people try to organize another protest and are met with gunfire.

We are all watching the Middle East. We cheered Egypt onto victory and now we are watching other countries descend into chaos. None of the anti-government protests that followed Egypt’s example have gone as smoothly or as nonviolently as theirs did. Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, and now Libya have all seen public protests that have been meet with force by the established government and resulted in bloodshed. The leaders of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, have both issued statements to their people basically saying they aren’t going anywhere and have no scruples about killing protesters. Moammar Gadhafi has pretty much said he’d have to die before he’d give up power. Asked about alternatives in the face of growing unrest, Gadhafi said: “Plan A is to live and die in Libya, Plan B is to live and die in Libya, Plan C is to live and die in Libya.” (cough- You may get that wish the way things are going. –cough)

Protesters streamed out of mosques and marched across the Libyan capital to demand the regime’s removal on Friday. (Remember, it is mid-day Friday here in American right now but early Saturday in the Middle East. This happened last night for us.) The protesters were fired upon by militias loyal to Moammar Gadhafi as they tried to march to Tripoli’s central Green Square. One witness reported seeing three protesters killed in the capital’s Souq al-Jomaa district and another reported a fourth death in the district of Fashloum, where another rally was trying to march to the center. Gunmen opened fire on thousands of protesters in Tajoura, a crowded impoverished district on the eastern side of the capital, and others reported gunfire near Green Square where dozens of militiamen shot into the air to disperse protesters coming out of a nearby mosque.

The death toll continues to climb. The New York-based Human Rights Watch has put the death toll in Libya at nearly 300 and Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said estimates of some 1,000 people killed were “credible.” Libya’s delegation to the United Nations in Geneva announced Friday it was defecting to the opposition, an announcement that gained them a standing ovation at the U.N. Human Rights Council. The international community is considering their options in response to the violence. (This means they are thinking about possibly doing something. Maybe.) Amnesty International called on the U.N. Security Council on Friday to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court and impose an immediate arms embargo.

Libyans in Benghazi pray while demonstrating for the removal of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi on Friday. Benghazi residents mourned more victims of the violence as fighting continued around the capital, Tripoli. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Reports say that the second and third largest cities, Benghazi and Zawiyah, are in anti-government hands and that they are also in control of two of Libya’s major oil ports, Breqa and Ras Lanouf, on the Gulf of Sidra. The upheaval in Libya has taken their production of 1.6 million barrels of oil a day off the market. Oil prices hovered above $98 a barrel Friday in Asia, backing away from the spike at $103 seen the day before after it was determined that the loss of Libya’s oil may have cut crude supplies less than previously expected. In my area gas prices sit at $3.19 a gallon.

Gadhafi tells followers to defend the nation – Yahoo! News

Gadhafi speaks to supporters; guns fired – UPI

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A random Friday ramble.

I obviously check a lot of news and article webpages for my post topics here. I also take a glance at what is trending on the search sites, like Google, but those mostly turn out to be actor or celebrity names. (Are we so bored that we have to follow every movement of our favorite celebrity 24 hours a day? You have nothing better to do?) The news offers me a never ending supply of topics to write about and I often get the highest hits on government asshattery. (Asshattery; noun. Meaning the action of being an asshat.) This basically means that as long as there are stupid people in the world, I will have a never ending supply of blog topics.

I was never much into politics before starting this blog. Lacking Sense sort of became a social commentary blog when I wasn’t looking but politics has never been as interesting as it is right now. (The news feeds are full of the Egypt crisis with a smattering of the Republican House and the Democratic Senate acting like children. I’m not looking forward to the 2012 presidential race. Right now the GOP is waiting for Palin to make up her damn mind and either declare her intentions to run or drop out. Once Palin announces her decision, we’ll see which Republicans crawl out of the woodwork. If the economy doesn’t get measurably better in the next two years, Palin could [I stress -could-] be our first female President. Provided if [and by -if-, I mean -when- because you know she will] Palin doesn’t do something really stupid before then to offend even the most rabid conservative Tea Partier. [My Uncle.] Palin could make life very difficult for the Democrats in 2012 of the cards fall right.)

As such, I’m probably more aware of the state of this country and the world than I ever was before. The last five years have been hard on the United States and we’ve been dealt some harsh truths. The United States is no longer the super power we once were and the world has shifted. I don’t think most people understand that. People are focusing on how to make things better here, in this country, and they are not seeing that we are now a part of a world market and we need to adapt for a global connection to succeed. I see a lot of selective blindness going on today. A lot of it is the fact that people are too stupid to go out and seek the information that would allow them to understand and make better decisions. We need more information than just one source or one set of prejudices. Too stupid or too lazy. We are a country of people who know too little, and I’m not just saying that in an academic knowledge sense.

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Wash U cancels Bristol Palin appearance.

Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri canceled an appearance by Bristol Palin after students at the school protested the use of student generated funds to pay for her attendance. Palin had been set to appear in a panel on February 7th on abstinence as a method of preventing teen pregnancy during Washington University’s Sexual Responsibility Week. The money would have come from the Student Union, which receives its funds from a small mandatory activities fee from each undergraduate. It would have cost $15,000 to $20,000 to pay for Bristol Palin’s participation. The school states that both parties mutually agreed to call off the appearance and said it had no contract with the young Palin.

Perhaps the students recognized the hypocrisy of allowing a young woman who had already gotten herself pregnant out of wed-lock to talk about abstinence? Or maybe they just didn’t want to pay a foolish amount of money for the daughter of the most stupid woman in our nation to talk out of her ass for an hour? Possibly being a Democratic, liberal school they didn’t want to invite someone connected with the Republican party? It could be that being college students who obviously didn’t get pregnant as teens they feel insulted by the idea of being preached at by a woman who failed to use a simple condom and has only a GED diploma? Why in the world would you think they wanted to listen to Bristol Palin? I don’t get it.

Statement on Bristol Palin – Washinton U’s statement.

Bristol Palin abstinence panel appearance canceled – The Hill

Bristol Palin, Washington University Agree To Cancel ‘Sex Week’ Appearance – The Huffington Post

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