Saturday, September 6, 2008

Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Monday announced his intention to resign, one month after he reshuffled his cabinet. At a press conference held from 9:30 p.m. Fukuda stated that he decided to resign, thinking the government should implement policies with a new line-up. The cabinet will resign en masse and a new prime minister will be designated. Before that, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will elect a new President.

Since the July 2007 election (to replace half the members) in the upper house, the ruling bloc (LDP and New Komeito) has been minority, while being overwhelming majority in the lower house since the 2005 General Election. Fukuda took over Shinzo Abe as a LDP President, and became Japan’s Prime Minister on September 26, 2007.

Contents

  • 1 Surprise announcement
  • 2 Early resignation
  • 3 Fukuda’s self-appraisal
  • 4 Reactions
    • 4.1 The ruling bloc
    • 4.2 The opposition
  • 5 Sources

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.

Are You Living an Authentic or a Fake Life?

by

Ken Keis

“Even the fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having lived authentically and fully.”

Frances Moore Lappe, O Magazine

May 2004

Are You Living an Authentic or a Fake Life?

Authentic: Worthy of acceptance or belief; based on fact not false or imitation; real: actual; true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.

Fake: To alter, manipulate, or treat so as to give a spuriously genuine appearance; counterfeit; concoct; pretend; a worthless imitation passed off as genuine; impostor; charlatan.

Are you REALLY living an authentic life?

Have you ever faked it to impress others or conformed to a group, just to please others?

Do you know individuals who are acting like people they are not?

How can you know the real person inside? The reality is, you can t!

If life is one charade after another, it becomes impossible to determine what is real and what is pretend.

One woman told a story of inviting couples from an “IN” group over to her home for a BBQ. Before she knew it,

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-her menu went from hot dogs to steak;

-she went from leaving her home “as is,” to cleaning it for 2 days;

-she was stressing over the look of her outdoor furniture, so she bought new stuff — that she did not need and could not afford.

By the time the couples arrived, she resented the fact that this event was even happening and hated the entire evening. Yet she was the one who invited them in the first place. Can anyone relate?

We see this type of shallow behavior in Hollywood on a regular basis. Recently, several famous individuals revealed that living that way has consequences. They were not grounded and centered in who they are; they were fakes — and their lives went out of control.

Living authentically has relevance for everyone.

Living authentically in your day-to-day activities will have you living on purpose with passion. If you are not, you are living in a counterfeit world that will become a worthless imitation.

Let me outline what I mean.

1.First, dump this thinking — Fake it till you make it. It s shallow and concocted. That doesn t mean you can t stretch, grow, develop, and improve yourself. It just means be real along the way.

2.To envision the future the way you want it to be requires acknowledging your current state.

When the woman in the story purchased furniture she could not afford, was she faking it or being an impostor? Why are there so many bankruptcies, especially in North America? People fake it right into a debt load they can not handle.

3.Stop pretending to be someone you are not. In high school, we called that peer pressure. Rather than being self-centered or self-absorbed, be honest with yourself and your preferences in life.

As a business consultant for close to 20 years, I am amazed at how many team members in a work situation will not be authentic in meetings or in their interactions with their co-workers. They outwardly pretend that everything is okay, but it is not.

Use your discretion. Don t whine about everything that doesn t meet your needs, but stop representing fake positions or thoughts. They don t benefit anyone — especially you.

If you are not being authentic, you will feel some level of discomfort or you will become miserable. That s not being fair to yourself or others.

It s possible you might not be able to change a problem situation, but you can at least be true to yourself. Don t underestimate how important that is to your well-being and passion.

4.Not being authentic is a cancer of your soul. Once you compromise your personal integrity, you erode your peace of mind and personal energy.

Have you ever met someone who was into pleasing everyone except himself? Even though he did not want to, he repeatedly said Yes, not No, to outside requests or demands. That is not living authentically.

I have encountered many such individuals and they are generally unhappy and even misrepresent their happiness level. There is nothing admirable about that type of behavior.

5.To fully enjoy and engage your life necessitates that you live authentically. Your ability to contribute increases in proportion to your level of authenticity!

It is impossible to be completely authentic unless you can clearly describe what that means to you in all the areas of your life.

Action Steps to Start Living an Authentic Life

1.Are you currently living your life authentically? How would people who know you respond to this question?

2.In what areas of your life do you need to be more real? List them now.

3.What has it cost you when you have not been real with yourself? Frustration, unhappiness, reduced personal energy . . . ?

4.What are some of the root causes of you not being authentic? Fears, insecurity, lack of confidence, avoiding rejection . . . other causes?

5.Fake it till you make it is a shallow, outdated concept. Be real, then move toward your goals and dreams and don t misrepresent yourself on the way. Don t be a fraud or an impostor.

6.You are not doing anyone a favor by allowing him or her to be a fake to you or others. The reality is that denying the truth only lets the situation fester and create a potentially more serious issue in the future.

7.Stop trying to be someone you are not.

8.Be clear about who you are and what your passions are. That way, you can truly live an authentic life.

9.Dump the cloak of impostor and charlatan for the joy of authentic living in every area of your life.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose,

Ken Keis

Ken Keis, MBA, CPC, is an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant. He is President and CEO of CRG Consulting Resource Group International, Inc., Many professionals herald CRG as the Number One global resource center for Personal and Professional Development.

For information on CRG Resources, please visit

crgleader.com

For information on Ken s Training and Speaking Programs, please visit

kenkeis.com

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Are You Living an Authentic or a Fake Life?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

São Paulo, Brazil — Several witnesses are denouncing the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the ruling Workers’ Party (PT). Below are some of the main denunciations and witnesses.

In May, the Brazilian deputy Roberto Jefferson was involved in an alleged corruption scheme that involved the Brazilian Postal Service. Jefferson said that he was unfairly being abandoned and sacrificed. In addition he said that he would not take the fall alone.

On June 6, Roberto Jefferson told the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo that the rulingWorkers’ Party (PT) has been paying Brazilian deputies 30 thousand Brazilian Reais (USD 12 thousand) each, every month, in return for support. Jefferson later confirmed to a Congressional special commission what he had previously stated to the newspaper. Also he added that he had informed the Minister José Dirceu about the payments and that no action was taken. Dirceu denied Jefferson’s allegations.

According to Jefferson the payments only stopped after he informed the President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He also said that the Minister José Dirceu should leave the government, otherwise President Lula would get involved. Two days later, the Minister José Dirceu announced his resignation from his post.

Jefferson denied involvement in the Brazilian Postal Service scandal. Jefferson told the commission that the Brazilian Agency of Intelligence (Abin) was controlled by the former Brazilian Minister of Civil Affairs José Dirceu and it recorded the tape which shows the former Brazilian Postal Service Chief Maurício Marinho during a supposed bribery negotiation with a businessman.

However Jefferson admitted that he received R$ 4 million from the Workers’ Party (PT). According to Jefferson, during a meeting with him and the PTB treasurer Émerson Palmieri, the Workers’ Party treasurer Delúbio Soares and the Workers’ Party President José Genoíno, they decided that PTB should received R$ 20 million. Jefferson said he received only R$ 4 million and the money was delivered by the businessman Marcos Valério Fernandes de Souza, owner of publicity enterprises.

On June 14, Fernanda Karina Ramos Somaggio denounced his former boss Marcos Valério and told the Brazilian magazine “IstoÉ – Dinheiro” that she saw suitcases full of money leaving the enterprise during the time she worked for him as secretary (IstoÉ article). Also she said that Marcos Valério encountered Workers’ Party members several times, including Delúbio Soares. On June 15, the secretary denied everything what she said to “IstoÉ – Dinheiro” to police. However, on June 20, Karina Somaggio said that she lied to the police because she and her family were threatened. In a new testimony to the Brazilian police, Karina Somaggio confirmed the interview to the magazine and the accusations against her former boss, Marcos Valério. Karina Somaggio is now under police protection.

Marcos Valério denied the allegations of Karina Somaggio. He has initiated court proceedings against his former secretary.

Some days later the magazine “IstoÉ” revealed documents from the Council for Control of Financial Activities (Coaf). According to the documents around R$ 20.9 millions left SMP&B and DNA enterprises, which belong to Marcos Valério (IstoÉ article). The Coaf is a Brazilian public agency which monitors irregular financial activities. The enterprises of Marcos Valério have millionaire contracts with the Brazilian government.

On June 21 and 22, parliamentarians listened to the former Brazilian Postal Service Chief Maurício Marinho, accused of involvement in the Brazilian Postal Service scandal. At first Marinho refused talking about any illegality in the Brazilian Postal Service. However, on June 22, after his lawyers admitted that he was not telling the whole truth and that they would leave him, Marinho demanded protection for himself and his family, then started to talk. He said the Workers’ Party general-secretary Sílvio Pereira and the Minister Luiz Gushiken had some influence in the Brazilian Postal Service. He said that the biggest Brazilian Postal Service contracts should be investigated and he mentioned big contracts to the Brazilian bank Bradesco.

Earth Day 2009 celebrated around the globe

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13
Nov

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today is the 39th observance of Earth Day in the northern hemisphere. Earth day is celebrated in Autumn on November 30 in the southern hemisphere. Senator Gaylord Nelson initiated the first Earth Day in April 1970 in the United States, and it is now celebrated by over 1 billion people in over 170 countries worldwide. Earth Day is the biggest environmental event which addresses issues and educates people on environmental awareness on a global scale.

This year, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will beam high-definition images to the NASA website and television. By doing so, NASA hopes to increase appreciation of global climate issues. There will also be a Washington exhibit relating to environmental issues viewed from space as well.

At the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center activities will focus on their slogan for Earth Day 2009, “Just One Drop … PRICELESS” and will demonstrate how the Environmental Control Life Support System operates as used on the International Space Staton (ISS).

Amongst the many festivals, WorldFest is a solar powered music celebration held in Los Angeles, California. Buenos Aires will also feature its second Earth Day event featuring a music festival as well.

“We are in a new era of energy innovation,” said Daniel Yergin at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) forum. Lithium-ion batteries are providing electric storage solutions for electric cars such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Dodge Circuit EV. Algae fuel is a new form of biofuel, but is still under development.

“Energy Smackdown” was a competitive household activity which compared energy usage between 60 separate households across three cities in or near Boston. The various competitors came up with a variety of innovative methods to cut their carbon footprint, installing solar electric panels, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, and using a caulking gun to seal the home from drafts.

“In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off.” is a United States Department of Energy (DOE) estimate.

Miami is installing a smart grid which will use individual household smart meters to allow energy consumers know via a web site, their exact home energy usage. “To me these are prudent and smart investments that will easily pay for themselves. It will show the nation how to address environmental, energy, and economic challenges all at the same time.” said Miami mayor Manny Diaz.

Cal Dooley, CEO of the American Chemistry Council ACC, says the plastic bag industry is prepared to spend US$50 million to revamp their manufacturing facilities and will collect 470 million pounds of recycled plastic every year to make plastic bags of 40% recycled content. The ACC is providing a donation to the Keep America Beautiful environmental organisation, both of whom endorse this new project. The Earth Day Network (EDN) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) would like to see an end to the use of plastic bags, however. “We don’t want people to use disposable bags. We want people to use reusable bags,” says Darby Hoover of the NRDC.

Calgary researchers will begin field surveys to help save the “Northern Leopard Frog (Rana Pipiens). “Northern Leopard Frogs are threatened in Alberta, but endangered in British Columbia,” said Dr. Des Smith, Primary Investigator and Research Scientist with the Calgary Zoo’s Centre for Conservation Research. “It is essential to develop new monitoring techniques for Northern Leopard” said Breana McKnight, Field Team Leader and Endangered Species Researcher.

The traditional Earth day ceremony of planting trees is garnering further attention in Japan as Koichi Nakatani, the nation’s Tree Planting Father travels from Hokkaido to Okinawa.

Students can take part in an Earth Day photo contest sponsored by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies which will feature images and scientific student research for the environmental change depicted in each photo submitted.

“Earth Day should be about teaching about the environment every day,” said Sean Mille director of education for EDN, “We emphasize taking action for your classroom, school, district or community.” 25,000 schools across America made use of the environmental curriculum developed by the National Civic Education Project, the Green Schools Campaign and the Educator’s Network. Lesson plans are broad and varied and may focus on water pollution, recycling, composting, using chemistry to convert cafeteria left-overs into biodiesel or ethanol fuel or converting go-carts to operate on biodiesel or ethanol fuels in shop class.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

On Friday, Zbigniew Brzezinski, a professor and former U.S. National Security Advisor of the Jimmy Carter administration, died at the age of 89.

The New York Times reported he died at a Falls Church, Virginia hospital.

Brzezinski’s daughter Mika announced her father’s death via Instagram. Others paid tribute to Brzezinski, including Joe Scarborough, Mika’s co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, via Twitter and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter via statement.

Brzezinski was born on March 28, 1928 in Warsaw, Poland. His father Tadeusz, a diplomat, moved his family from Europe to Montreal, Canada in 1938 before World War II. Tadeusz retired from politics in 1944 when the Communists occupied his home country, so his family settled in the Canadian countryside.

Zbigniew Brzezinski earned two degrees from Canada’s McGill University and then, in the United States, earned a doctorate from Harvard University. He began his teaching career at Harvard and then Columbia University.

Throughout 1960s, Brzezinski worked for John F. Kennedy as his advisor and then the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. During the 1976 selections he advised Carter on foreign policy, then served as National Security Advisor (NSA) from 1977 to 1981, succeeding Henry Kissinger. As NSA, he assisted Carter in diplomatically handling world affairs, such as the Camp David Accords, 1978; normalizing US–China relations thought the late 1970s; the Iranian Revolution, which led to the Iran hostage crisis, 1979; and the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, 1979.

For his role in politics, Brzezinski earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and later the U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 2016. He has lately taught international studies at the Johns Hopkins University and worked as a counselor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Brzezinski wrote multiple books and some articles, including several from the 1950s.

Brzezinski was survived by his wife Eileen and his three children: daughter Mika and sons Ian and Mark.

Queues start to form for UK iPhone launch tomorrow

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11
Nov

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Queues have started to form today outside the London Apple store for the launch of the iPhone. The phone launches tomorrow at 6.02 p.m. UTC exclusively onto the O2 network amid controversy. The iPhone was launched five months ago in the United States and is set to launch in the United Kingdom and Germany tomorrow.

Many people have braved the poor weather and have set up camp in the street in a bid to be the first of many thousands to buy the product on the first day of it’s release in the UK. Apple have already sold 1.4 million of the units in the US, some of which have already been imported into the UK un-officially. The cost of the device is set as £269 on a minimum £35 per month contract and will be sold at The Carphone Warehouse, O2 and Apple Stores across the UK.

The iPhone has a touch screen display and can act as a phone, text device, web browser, music player and email client all in one. The launch of the product onto one phone network only has caused controversy internationally and has led to many people using free and paid methods of unlocking the phone to be able to use it on other networks even though it voids the warranty. Apple replied to this move by releasing software patches that, when installed, will prevent functionality of the phone.

Vivien Goldman: An interview with the Punk Professor

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11
Nov

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Vivien Goldman recalls with a laugh the day in 1984 when she saw her death, but the laugh fades as she becomes lost in the memory. She was in Nigeria staying in Fela Kuti‘s home; she had just arrived hours before and found people sleeping everywhere like house cats when Muhammadu Buhari‘s army showed up to haul everyone to jail. Kuti was an opponent of the government who was in jail, and they came to arrest his coterie of supporters. They grabbed Goldman and were about to throw her in a truck until Pascal Imbert, Kuti’s manager, yelled out, “Leave her alone. She just arrived from Paris! She’s my wife! She knows nothing!

Goldman stops for a moment and then smiles plainly. “They thought I was just some stupid woman…. That time sexism worked in my favor.”

Vivien Goldman has become a living, teaching testimony of the golden era of punk and reggae. She is an adjunct professor at New York University who has taught courses on the music scene she was thrust in the middle of as a young public relations representative for Island Records. She writes a column for the BBC called “Ask the Punk Professor” where she extols the wisdom she gained as a confidant of Bob Marley; as the person who first put Flava Flav in video; as Chrissie Hynde‘s former roommate; as the woman who worked with the The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Slits and The Raincoats.

As Wikinews reporter David Shankbone found out, Goldman is one of those individuals that when you sit in her presence you realize she simply can not tell you everything she knows or has seen, either to protect the living or to respect the dead.


DS: The first biography of Bob Marley, Soul Rebel, Natural Mystic, was written by you based upon your personal experiences with him, and you have recently written a book about Marley called The Book of Exodus. How difficult is it to continue to mine his life? Is it difficult to come up with new angles?

VG: The original biography was written in a weekend and it was based upon my extensive interviews with him, whereas the Exodus book took two and a half years. I must have been a year past deadline, because it kept on growing. Even I had to acknowledge it was a more mature work. After I wrote the first one, all these other people came out with books. I read them, and they were all good in their different ways, but there was a story that had not been told but that I had lived so intensely, a deep story that had shaped my whole life. It demanded I write a book about it. Nobody else has the experience, and I still have that oompf.

DS: You were there with Marley through that time when he really caught on; was it obvious to you then that there was something amazing and unique happening?

VG: It was really something, and it was huge, but I didn’t examine it then. I believed in Bob with every fiber of my being, but it was hard to realize how everybody in the world would get it in the end, and just how towering a figure and enduring he would prove to be. He deserves everything and more; the role that he occupies is so central. It would have been hard to envisage how huge he became, though.

DS: Warhol’s Factory photographer, Billy Name, once told me he knew that what was going on was amazing, but he never thought Warhol would become the entire fabric of the art world as he is now.

VG: Especially in New York. Warhol was so associated with the punk scene.

DS: But Marley has become a fabric of sorts…

VG: Oh, he’s beyond the fabric of reggae, he’s the fabric of the rebel spirit. Now everybody just puts on a little red, green and gold and they feel it identifies them as being there in the struggle. Even if it is someone flying to the Hamptons for the weekend, they bring out Marley to expresses the rebel aspect they don’t want to completely lose.

DS: How do you define punk?

VG: There are two things. First, the aesthetic: harder, faster, louder. But the second thing is what interested me more, which was the rebel spirit and attitude. That free spirit of punk; that implicit sense of wanting to change a system that is always unfair wherever you are, except for maybe in the Netherlands. But it’s become so commodified

DS: What is the commodified version of punk selling?

VG: Edgy and dangerous. It is amazing: you open the New York Times and the free bits fall out and you get Urban Outfitters or Old Navy with lines of punk kiddie clothes. K-mart, even. I was trying to see what was so deeply punk about those clothes. They were maybe more colorful or something, but they weren’t punk. It’s like the Swarovski crystal take on punk, I mean, please!

DS: That aesthetic is everywhere, as though if one spikes his hair he is punk.

VG: Well, the punk is in the heart, to paraphrase Deee-Lite. I was writing about Good Charlotte and The Police. They adopted the trappings of punk. They aren’t bad groups, but the punk aspect is more manifested by somebody like Manu Chao. He’s one of the punkiest artists out there I can think of. It’s an inclusionary spirit that is punk.

DS: Your philosophy is that punk is not just musical, but also an aesthetic. That it can imbibe anything; that it stands for change and for changing a system. Let me give you a few names, and you to tell me how you think they are or are not punk. Britney Spears.

VG: Oh, no she’s not punk. Punk is not just about wearing smeary black eyeliner, but some sense of engagement. That’s it in a nutshell. She doesn’t have that sense of engagement. She is society.

DS: Dick Cheney.

VG: He is the essence of Babylonian, old structure capitalism, which is about greed and how much one can take for himself. I could see capitalism that is mutually beneficial, such as ‘I want a bigger customer base,’ but they don’t. Take a place I know well like Jamaica. I don’t know if you have seen that documentary Life and Debt, about how the INF squeezed everything out of Jamaica, but that’s a typical thing that happens. Instead of building these people up and paying them a living wage for their work, where we could sell more to them, we just want to suck everything out of the place. Suck the sugar, suck the labor. And that is not very punk. It’s the opposite of punk. That’s what Dick Cheney represents to me. He tries to bring about change, but change that just fattens his pocket. It’s not thinking of the community, and that’s what punk is about.

DS: Kanye West.

VG: He seems to be a positive force. In that sense, I would file him slightly under punk.

DS: Osama bin Laden.

VG: He thinks he is a punk, but he’s too destructive. If I was sitting in the madrassa in the desert chanting the Koran seven days a week, I’d think, yeah, he’s a punk. But I’m not, so I don’t.

DS: Is the definition of punk relative, then? He’s a Madrasah punk but not a Manhattan punk?

VG: Having said that, they would loathe punks, so I think we can safely say, not a punk.

DS: Pete Doherty.

VG: Oh yeah, I think he’s a punk. He’s a punk and he engages with the system in terms of how a powerful a presence he’s become. He is the Keith Richards of his day.

DS: If punk is about change, then why the maudlin sentimentality over the closing of CBGB‘s, which at times turned into demonizing a homeless shelter?

VG: Yeah, and they had not paid their rent, had they? I sided with the homeless shelter in a way, except I thought the whole thing was ridiculous because somebody should have stepped in and bought it and paid it and fixed it up, in the sense there is no shrine. They don’ think about the tourism, do they? I expect that of America now. Los Angeles just destroyed the Brown Derby, and the modernist architecture. That’s the thing about America. There seems to be very little regard for legacy. I think they should have kept CBGBs, but I think that more cynically. My students had a huge debate about it.

DS: I felt it was what it was at a certain moment, but it wasn’t that anymore. They were charging eight dollars for a beer. That’s not very punk, and that wasn’t attracting the punk crowds. It was like people who move to the Bowery because they think it’s so edgy but it’s really a boulevard of glittering condos.

VG: Nostalgie pour la boue: nostalgia for the mud. Not all of them, though. Patti Smith. Anyway, the spirit had moved on to Williamsburg.

DS: Where do you think New York’s culture is going? There are so few places on Earth with such a large concentration of creatives who meet and influence each other, but the city is becoming less affordable and cleansed of any grit. Is there a place for punk in the Manhattan of the future?

VG: They are flushing out the artists. Manhattan is now a ghetto for the very rich. When punk started it was in weird places, places you broke into and that had never been used for shows. It was never in regular venues, but now every nook and cranny is a regular venue and it doesn’t leave much space for the old punk spirit. ABC No Rio, I think they manage to work it in the system. And there are places like The Stone, John Zorn‘s place, which has avant-garde free form jazz. He subsidizes that place, so it remains a little haven. There are a few little pockets, but it has a lot do with the rent. Realistically, there’s loads of stuff happening in places like Brooklyn, more than there seems to be in Manhattan. When I jammed with The Slits, that happened at some after-hours thing in Brooklyn in some warehouse. I remember loads of things in funny places. The first time I heard Public Enemy I was on the rooftop of a building.

DS: You’re friends with Flava Flav, right?

VG: Yes, although I haven’t seen him in a very long time. I remember how I met him. I was doing this video for I Ain’t No Joke with Erik B and Rakim, and they weren’t very vibey in terms of the stagecraft, as it were. The projection. Not to diss anybody, but I needed someone to bring a bit more life into it; it was very low-budget, a vérité kind of shoot. We were in a playground in the projects and there were all these blokes hanging around, and there was one who was super-sprightly, like a live wire. I didn’t know it was Flava Flav and I shouted out, Hey, you, will you come over and be groovy for us? and he did and a lot of the action in the video is Flava Flav spinning around, doing a Dervish in the middle of the playground.

DS: At the time he wasn’t known?

VG: Well, it turned out he was in a group called Public Enemy. The first time I heard them was at a rooftop party, and it’s one of my great New York memories. It was a warehouse building that’s still there behind Houston and Bowery and I remember it was amazing because you never heard music like that before. It was blaring. It was so hot and we were in the middle of the city with graffiti on the walls, people smoking spliffs. It was very free. You don’t see that anymore. Everything is more heavily policed.

DS: Do you think apathy is a problem today?

VG: There’s less intelligent, critical content in general, and celebrity magazines pay the most and sell the most. It’s the Lowest Common Denominator. Britney Spears is an unbelievable example. She’s so young with no good guidance around her, and she is fodder for them to sell more magazines. There’s a gladiator aspect of it: the worse off she is, the better for that industry. But I’m still looking for the people who have conscience. Michael Franti, he’s one of the only ones I look to now. He had that band Spearhead. I’m looking around for conscious artists.

DS: What about G. G. Allin? He used to defecate on the stage to make a point.

VG: That’s quite extreme, and very unhygienic. I wouldn’t need to see that. I don’t think that’s necessarily punk, it’s just scatological. Some people might think it’s punk, but I personally wouldn’t dig it. It’s outrageous, but not in the way I find interesting.

DS: Well, he’s dead. Do you think people are afraid to speak out today?

VG: I guess in Vietnam you did, but now the culture isn’t nearly as organized.

DS: Is violence for the cause of social change punk?

VG: Violence will occur in social change. Violence has always been associated with punk, although punk wants peace in a way. When you look at all the bands in punk, like No Future and Blank Generation, it has implicit an aspiration to a place where you don’t have to be violent. Often it happens. The punk era was violent. Very, very violent. So many people were beaten up during those days. I’m very much a peacenik, but violence often happens, one observes, on the road to social change.

DS: Sandra Bernhard once did an homage to what she called the Big-Tittied Bitches of Rock n’ Roll: Heart, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks. She mourned that there were no big-tittied bitches left. Who are the big-tittied bitches of Rock n’ Roll today?

VG: M.I.A. Tanya Stephens. Joan Jett, still. The Slits, who still suffer from the system and they are still brilliant. Male bands of that statute would have more deals. Big-tittied in terms of cojones, as opposed to cleavage as such.

DS: Do you have moments of extreme self-doubt where you wonder if anything you do matters to anyone?

VG: I have a lot of moments of extreme self-doubt, but you have to be humble and listen to what people say. Although I was never top of the New York Times book chart, I know people have liked my stuff, and that keeps me going. The classes have been amazing. I had done a lot of television and media, but it was the first time I had done something one-on-one. It was the old cliche that a person learns as much as they teach. Loads of my old students keep in touch with me; one wrote to me to tell me he is free-lancing for XXL and some other rap magazines, and how the classes really have been useful and he always refers to them. Even just one person is gratifying and encourages me to continue my work.

DS: You have worked for two corporations that are seen by many as the least punk in their respective communities, the BBC and NYU. How does one remain punk in such environments?

VG: I’m a freelancer. I go in, do my thing, and if they don’t like it then I don’t do it anymore. I stay true to myself, and if it doesn’t work out then I guess ‘fuck off’ on both sides. I haven’t had to compromise myself; nobody has asked me to. BBC America is a different animal than the BBC. As long as I can say what I want to say; I think people come to me because they know what they are getting.

DS: Have you ever been in a situation where you feared for your life, where you thought, this may be the way I go?

VG: There was a lot of violence in the punk times and I got beaten up in street brawls. I particularly remember once in Nigeria… I was there to make a documentary for Channel 4 about Fela Kuti. He was in jail at that time and he wanted to draw attention to his plight to showcase what was going on in Nigeria. It was hard to get through customs because my guides weren’t there to meet me. I found them hiding in the carpark because the police were after them.
We went to Fela’s house where I was going to stay; we went to the shrine and it was amazing. The whole house was covered in people sleeping. I was woken up by this little girl very early in the morning, only about two hours later. She was tapping me on the shoulder and when I looked around there was nobody there, whereas it had been covered in people. She said, “Come! Come! The army is here!”
I went outside and there was the army arresting everyone. People were lined up against the wall. Pascal Imbert, a French guy who was managing Fela, was already on the truck and they were about to take him away. There were all these really serious, heavey Nigerian soldiers with machine guns around. Not friendly, more like stone-faced Belsen guards. It was like that Bob Marley song Ambush in the Night: there were four guns aiming at me. They all turned their guns on me and said, “What should we do with her?” From the truck Pascal shouts out, “Leave her alone! She’s my wife! She’s just arrived from Paris! She doesn’t know anything!” The combination of the words “She’s my wife, she doesn’t’ know anything” were enough. Of course, I had neither arrived from Paris nor was his wife. But they just left me alone; they thought I was just some stupid woman. That time sexism worked in my favor. [Laughs] She doesn’t know anything! They were about to take Pascal away and I rushed up to the head guy very bravely—Pascal always gives me props for this—and I said, “Where are you taking my husband?!” They were actually taking him to a secret jail.

DS: What happened to him in the secret jail?

VG: There’s a documentary about it. He got very thin, he contracted dysentry and he got various diseases. No food, or terrible food. Luckily for him after some months there was an amnesty and he was amongst the prisoners who were released. That was a very heavy moment. I thought I would die, either right then or in a Nigerian jail.

DS: In Jamaica there was so much violence during the civil war.

VG: I’ve seen a lot of death. Many of the people I knew in Jamaica are dead. I think of them a lot; like my very, very close friend Massive Dread. He did so much for the community. At Christmas he’d hold a big party for the kids, and all the rival gangs would come. He was trying to break up some of the coke runnings. They started to have crack dens in Trenchtown and he worked against those. He was opening a library called the Trenchtown Reading Center, in the middle of this broken down ghetto, where kids could sit down to do homework and read books in this nice courtyard. It was really worthwhile.

More On This Topic:

By Susan Willis

In this shaky economy, banks still need to get new customers and there are thousands of banks vying for your business right now. Similarly, most average citizens still need a bank account just to be able to make their way in todays world: we need ATM access, we have to be able to write checks, and we prefer to pay bills and check our bank balances online.

If you are looking to open a new checking account, you have a lot of needs, including:

1. You need the bank to be FDIC-insured, meaning that if the bank were to go out of business, you would still be able to get the full amount of your current balance paid back to you. Lets face it the main reason we put our money into banks is for an added measure of financial security.

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2. You need to be able to access your cash from anywhere, via a readily-available ATM network. And, you dont want to be charged a fee by your bank for using another banks ATM machines.

3. You need your bank to offer an online banking option. This means that you would like to be able to access your account balance, make balance transfers, and pay your bills from any place that has an Internet connection. This is just something that most of us have come to expect from our banks, in this day and age.

4. Of course, in order to have a bank account, you need your bank to accept your application in the first place. This sounds obvious, but it is actually a real concern for many people whose new account applications have been rejected by one or more banks recently. If this has been happening to you, your name may have been reported to something called Chex Systems. This is simply a database that many banks use to determine whether someone might be a risk to the bank if they were to become a new checking account customer. Bottom line: if your name appears in Chex Systems, these banks will reject your application outright.

In addition to these needs, many people also have a few wants vis–vis their new account. One of the most prominent of these wants is to have a no-initial-deposit online checking account. If this describes you, you want a new checking account that you can apply for online but that does not require that you make an initial deposit to apply for your account.

There are some banks that meet all of these conditions both the needs and the wants listed above. The reason it is hard to find such banks that seem almost too good to be true is that the banks with the loudest voices those multiple-billion dollar banks hat spend the most money each year on advertising are the ones you tend to hear about first and most often instead.

Truth is, by doing just a bit more research, you can find the bank of your dreams that is FDIC-insured, offers nationwide ATM access, has online banking, does not refer to Chex Systems when considering your application, and does not require an initial deposit to open the account. Do your research and dont give up you will find the right bank that offers the checking account you have been looking for.

About the Author: Heres a no-initial-deposit online checking account that will never charge you overdraft fees ever:

escape-overdraft-fees.com/

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Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=466645&ca=Finances

U.S. Supreme Court upholds health care mandate

Posted by: in Uncategorized
10
Nov

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In a decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the controversial healthcare law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010. The Supreme Court also upheld the individual mandate provision of the law, which would require most U.S. citizens to obtain health insurance by 2014, or pay a monetary penalty.

The Supreme Court ruled on the law 5–4. Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor jointed Roberts in the majority, while Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were in the minority in supporting the repeal of the law.

The Court did, however, strike down a provision of the law which would have expanded Medicaid to make coverage available to anyone with an income less than 138% of the federal poverty line.

President Barack Obama made a public statement from the White House saying that the Supreme Court’s upholding of the law, “reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America — in the wealthiest nation on Earth – no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.” Obama further added, “Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.” Obama closed his statement by saying, “The highest Court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won’t do — what the country can’t afford to do — is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.” Adding, “With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward — to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also gave a statement from Washington, D.C. saying, “What the Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.” Romney clarified further by saying, “Let’s make clear that we understand what the Court did and did not do. What the Court did today was say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that Obamacare is good law or that it’s good policy.” Further adding, “Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today.” Romney closed by saying, “Our mission is clear: If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama.”

Eric Cantor, Republican leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced shortly after the ruling that the House would vote on repealing the law on July 11, following the July 4 holiday recess. Cantor said, “The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare is a crushing blow to patients throughout the country. Obamacare has failed to keep the President’s basic promise of allowing those who like their health care to keep it, while increasing costs and reducing access to quality care for patients.”

In the ruling of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, John Roberts wrote, “Simply put, Congress may tax and spend. The federal government may enact a tax on an activity that it cannot authorize, forbid or otherwise control.” Meanwhile, Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the dissenting opinion, saying the entire law should have been repealed.

The ruling on the law comes after 26 states challenged the law in oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court in March.