Reading Digest – 17 August 2012   Leave a comment

“I want you to clean every one of these organ pipes that you have befouled with your ‘popular’ music.” – Reverend Lovejoy

Band With Greatest Name Ever Found Guilty of Being Too Cool for Church:

guardianlogo1 Pussy Riot trial verdict – live! – The three members of Pussy Riot have been found (what passes for) guilty in Moscow.  There have also been arrests outside the trial, reportedly including prominent opposition leader and former chess champion Gary Kasparov.  No word yet on any possible prison sentence for the three women, but on paper it could be anywhere from three to seven years. 

So nice to see everyone getting exercised over fair trials . . . meanwhile, Julian Assange sits in legal limbo in London.  Obviously not precise equivalents, but the same basic principals are in play (fair trials, free speech, etcetera). 


aljazeeralogo1 Dozens killed in South Africa mine shooting:

More than 30 people have been killed in a shooting at a mine in South Africa’s North West province, the country’s police minister says.

Police shot at the workers who were protesting on Thursday afternoon over pay at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, some 100km northwest of Johannesburg.

The incident appears to be one of the bloodiest police operations since the end of white-minority rule in 1994 in Africa’s biggest economy.

Al Jazeera has stunning video from right when the shooting started.  The police had the miners cordoned off between razor wire and massive armored vehicles, and then they started firing.  The cops are saying that some of the miners had firearms, but the video shows a very one sided affair that took ambulances a full hour to reach. 

nytimeslogo1 South African Police Kill 30 Striking Miners:

The strike and the government’s iron-fisted response are emblematic of the frustration with the slow pace of transforming South Africa’s largely white-owned business establishment and the growing perception that the A.N.C. and its allies have become too cozy with big business. As a result, many people here, especially the young, have looked for more radical solutions.

“N.U.M. has deserted us,” said one of the striking workers, who gave his name as Kelebone, referring to the older union, the National Union of Mineworkers, by its abbreviation. “N.U.M. is working with the white people and getting money. They forgot about the workers.”

Obviously this is a confused story at the moment, but remember what Martin Sheen said:

Rich been doing it to the poor since the beginning of time.  The only difference between the Pyramids and the Empire State Building is the Egyptians didn’t allow unions. 

More Green-on-Blue in Afghanistan:

bbclogo1 Policeman in Afghanistan kills two US soldiers:

Two US soldiers have been shot dead by a local policeman in Afghanistan, officials for the international Nato-led force in the country say.

The policeman, reportedly a member of a local defence force being trained by international troops, was also shot and killed, officials said.

The incident happened in the western province of Farah.

It is the latest in a series of so-called "green on blue" attacks by members of the Afghan security forces.

nytimeslogo1 Another Afghan Police Attack Kills 2 US Troops:

The attacks in the country’s far west and south brought to seven the number of times that a member of the Afghan security forces — or someone wearing their uniform — has opened fire on international forces in the past two weeks.

Such assaults by allies, virtually unheard of just a few years ago, have recently escalated, killing at least 36 foreign troops so far this year. They also raise questions about the strategy to train Afghan national police and soldiers to take over security and fight insurgents after most foreign troops leave the country by the end of 2014.

The NATO-led coalition has said such attacks are anomalies stemming from personal disputes, but the supreme leader of the Taliban boasted on Thursday night that the insurgents are infiltrating the quickly expanding Afghan forces.

aljazeeralogo1 Taliban leader claims victory in Eid message:

Omar said the Taliban "will make efforts to reach an understanding with the Afghan factions in due time following [the] pull-out of the invaders".

NATO troops are due to withdraw by the end of 2014.

The Taliban have always refused to negotiate directly with the government of President Hamid Karzai.

It’s doubtful this (relatively) low level of violence will be enough to attract real attention during the upcoming election campaign.  Nobody wants to talk about Afghanistan, it’s not fun and too depressing.  Speaking of depressing . . .

South Sudanese Refugees:

bbclogo1 Sudanese refugees face ‘humanitarian disaster’:

People are dying in large numbers in a refugee camp in South Sudan, Medecins Sans Frontieres has warned.

The medical charity says as many as four young children die at the Batil camp every day – twice the established emergency threshold.

Full report at the MSF website

Japan vs. Both Chinas:

bbclogo1 Japan deports activists in disputed islands row:

Japan has deported seven of 14 activists who sailed to disputed islands from Hong Kong, Japanese officials say.

The group left for Hong Kong from an airport in Okinawa, while the rest are expected to head back by boat.


A group of 150 people are getting ready to sail from Japan’s south-western island of Ishigaki to the disputed islands, reports the Agence-France Presse news agency.

The flotilla of 20 boats is expected to reach the islands on Saturday night.

nytimeslogo1 Japan Plans to Deport Chinese on Island:

By deporting the 14 so soon after their arrest, Japan appears to be trying to avoid a larger standoff similar to one that began two years ago after Japanese authorities arrested a Chinese trawler captain in waters off the same islands. That incident grew into a two-week-long diplomatic showdown, which China appeared to win after cutting off exports to Japan of rare earth metals, used in making electronics.

Mmmm, Asian nationalism.  That never leads to trouble, does it? 


nytimeslogo1 In Lebanon, Sunnis Threaten Shiites Over Kidnapping of Syrians:

Sectarian tensions escalated across Lebanon on Thursday as Sunnis in border towns threatened Shiites after several Shiite families who had already abducted more than 30 Syrians added several more to their hostage total.

The expanded kidnapping wave occurred as the war in Syria staggered on — with battles in Aleppo and dozens of bodies found in a landfill outside the Syrian capital, Damascus, according to activists — and it suggested that the threat of regional chaos was increasing.

And in today’s episode of soap opera sensation “As Syria Turns”:

aljazeeralogo1 UN to close Syria observer mission:

Diplomats told the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity that Brahimi,  who has previously served in Afghanistan and Iraq, had been undecided for days about whether to accept the offer of the post from Ban, did not want to be seen as a mere replacement of Annan but wanted an altered title and mandate.

An “altered title and mandate”, that’ll show ’em!

Fit to Print:

nytimeslogo1 Georgia Student Newspaper Editors Quit, Claiming Interference – Good for them:

In the last month, she said, officials at the nonprofit publishing company that owns the newspaper had hired nonstudent employees “with veto power over students’ decisions.” (The publishing company and the newspaper are independent of the university.)

In particular, students objected to the editorial adviser, Ed Morales, being elevated to editorial director with the authority to veto decisions on editorial content, rather than simply advise.

nytimeslogo1 Romney Says He Paid at Least 13 Percent in Income Taxes – He’s also said he’s pro-choice, accepts climate change, and isn’t an asshole.  Why on earth should anyone believe him this time? 

nytimeslogo1  Paul Ryan Gives P90X Workout a Boost – Ladies and Gentlemen, your Website of Record. 

Posted August 17, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Reading Digest, The Simpsons

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