lundi 31 octobre 2011

Chasse aux sorcières: le synchronisme de Cain pour l'Halloween!

Le reportage du NY Times, un peu plus complet.

"Herman Cain called the accusations of sexual harassment against him “a witch hunt” and said he had been falsely accused while the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

Declaring at the National Press Club that he “would be delighted to clear the air,” Mr. Cain said that he is unaware of any settlements paid to his accusers – an assertion he appeared to contradict in an interview later in the day.

“It was concluded after a thorough investigation that it had no basis,” Mr. Cain said to questions by Mark Hamrick, the president of the press club after Politico first reported on the allegations. “I am unaware of any settlement. I hope it wasn’t for much, because I didn’t do anything.”But later, in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on her Fox News show, “On the Record,” he said “there was some sort of settlement or termination” but “no big settlement.”

In the press club remarks, Mr. Cain said that he had “recused myself” during the investigation into the charges made by the women. He derided the report in Politico as being based on “anonymous sources.”

“We are not going to chase anonymous sources, when there are no basis for the accusation,” Mr. Cain said. “I have never sexually harassed anyone and those accusations are totally false.”

Mr. Cain was only asked a handful of questions about the accusations against him after the press club appearance. Mr. Hamrick quickly moved on to questions about the candidate’s tax plan and his reasons for running.

Asked to sing at the end of his talk to the press club, Mr. Cain agreed, singing a few stanzas from “He Looked Beyond My Faults,” and explaining that it would help explain his faith and the “journey” that he and the country are on.

“For it was grace that brought me liberty,” Mr. Cain sang. “I’ll never know why Jesus came to love me so. He looked beyond all my faults and saw my needs.”

But later Monday, Mr. Cain seemed to undermine at least one assertion made at the National Press Club. While he earlier said that he was “unaware” of any settlements, he later provided details about one settlement to several interviewers.

“The charge was filed, they did investigate, it was found to be baseless and yes, there was some sort of settlement or termination,” Mr. Cain said to Greta Van Susteren on her Fox News show, “On the Record,” according to excerpts released by the network.

“I didn’t even know what the contents of that was since it was found baseless there was no big settlement or it would have had to come to me,” Mr. Cain said on the show, which is scheduled to be shown Monday night."

Caricature Cards de St-Louis: enterrés en août et champions en octobre!

Fit for duty: bilan de santé d'Obama

Une "tradition" depuis la Présidence de FDR, la divulgation des résultats d'examens médicaux du commander-in-chief. Remarquez bien tous les détails qu'on fournit!!!! Hallucinant!

"Obama, the doctor said, is “tobacco free,” “physically active,” “eats a healthy diet,” “stays at a healthy weight” and “on occasion drinks alcohol in moderation.”

In all, Obama is “in excellent health and ‘fit for duty,’” Kuhlman said. “All clinical data indicate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency.” The president is also “fit at 50” and “staying healthy at 50+,” the physician said.

The physical was performed at the White House last week with the assistance of consultants from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Though Obama likes to joke about his graying hair and photo comparisons offer visual evidence of his rapid aging in the White House, his health has, by some measures, improved since his last official physical in early 2010.

For one, he’s stopped smoking. First lady Michelle Obama said in February that her husband had quit “almost a year” earlier. And, since then, aides have been peppered by press eager to hear the president had reverted. But, on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” last week, Obama said he had “definitively” quit, something Kuhlman confirmed in his report.

The president’s LDL cholesterol — the “bad” kind — level fell from 138 in February 2010 to 110 this month. His HDL level, meanwhile, improved a bit, from 62 a year and a half ago to 69 now.

Obama had a clean bill on screenings for diabetes, colon cancer and prostate cancer, Kuhlman’s report said. Though he appears lanky and thin, the president’s body mass index — 23.9 — puts him at the upper end of normal weight range, which goes from 18.5 to 24.9. He’s 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighed 181.3 pounds at the time of his screening. His heart rate was 67 beats per minute and his body temperature was 97.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Examinations of the president’s head, ears, nose, pharynx, neck and thyroid were “normal,” and he has a “well-healed lower lip laceration,” presumably the remnants of the injury he suffered while playing basketball almost a year ago. Obama also had uncorrected 20/20 vision.

But the physical did note a few small problems for the president. He suffers back pain, described in the report as “recurrent right trapezius myofascial discomfort,” which can be resolved with “periodic physical therapy.” He also had some benign skin tags removed from his neck.

Kuhlman, a Navy physician, recommended that Obama have another physical in December 2012, when he’ll either be planning for the pressure of another four years in the White House or for someone else to move in and take his place."

Congrès hanté!

100 millions comme prime de séparation!

Qui parle de cynisme ces jours-ci? 100 millions, c'est ce qu'obtiendra Eugene Isenberg. Un contrat bien négocié...

"According to an April SEC filing, Isenberg is contractually entitled to a $100 million payment in the event that he is fired or that the firm otherwise makes a change in control.
Isenberg, or presumably his estate, would have been paid the money even in the event of his death.
News of the payout was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Brian Uhlmer, senior oil service analyst at Global Hunter Securities, called Isenberg's payout "obviously a negative for shareholders."
20 biggest CEO pay raises
"The man obviously doesn't need the money and he's already been compensated for all of the work that he's done there," Uhlmer said.
"This is an unnecessary expense in my mind, but there's no way around it," Uhlmer added. "The board was not going to be able to push him out of the position without the payment."
In a non-binding vote at the Nabors annual meeting earlier this year, 57% of shareholders who voted came out against the compensation packages for Nabors executives, according to a June SEC filing.
Isenberg took over Nabors as it emerged from bankruptcy in 1987 and showed "extraordinary leadership" in leading it to profitability, the firm said in a statement Friday, though it did not offer a reason for his departure."

UNESCO et Palestine: les États-Unis cessent le financement

J'en parlais un peu plus tôt aujourd'hui.

""Today's vote by the member states of UNESCO to admit Palestine as member is regrettable, premature and undermines our shared goal of a comprehensive just and lasing peace in the Middle East.," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
"The United States will refrain from making contributions to UNESCO," she said.
The United States was going to make a $60 million payment in November, and will now not do so, she said.
Some U.S. lawmakers had called on the Obama administration to withhold funding to UNESCO if the measure was approved.
The lawmakers cited U.S. law, which states that funds must be denied to any organization granting the Palestine Liberation Organization "the same standing as member states."
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Mission to UNESCO -- the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -- said the United States contributes $80 million a year.
The U.S. contribution comprises 22% of the agency's funding in its regular budget, a spokeswoman for UNESCO said."

Harcèlement sexuel: les explications de Cain

Ce matin il n'y avait rien... Et puis, les explications.

"Politico said there were two allegations that led to cash settlements behind the story it published Sunday, lead to a long day of questions for Cain. In York’s preview of the taped interview tonight, Cain details one formal harassment complaint he said was found to be “baseless.”

Cain said the complainant was a woman in her “late 30s [or] early 40s,” who worked in the restaurant association’s communications department.

There were reportedly more than one accusations in the complaint, but Cain said he recalled just one incident. “She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying — and I was standing close to her — and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife. And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, ‘My wife comes up to my chin.’” At that point, Cain gestured with his flattened palm near his chin. “And that was put in there [the complaint] as something that made her uncomfortable,” Cain said, “something that was in the sexual harassment charge.”
Cain said he turned the charge over “to my general counsel and one of the ladies that worked for me, the woman in charge of human resources,” who ruled the charge “baseless.”"

Halloween, the day after

Caricature avortement: perte d'identité

Caricature Herman Cain: le placard!

Boeing: on construira des capsules dans l'ancien hangar de la navette!

Pour des "taxis de l'espace"!

"Boeing on Monday announced it has struck a deal to lease an old NASA Space Shuttle hangar to build its new commercial crew capsule, CST-100, aiming to create 550 jobs by the time the facility is scheduled to be at full operations in 2015, a minor economic boost to an area that NASA estimates has suffered 4,000 job losses since 2009, when NASA began preparing to retire the space shuttle, according to the Associated Press.
Boeing’s CST-100 is one of several proposed commercial crew spacecraft, or “space taxis,” that NASA is partially financing to replace the Space Shuttle, which flew its final mission in July. The CST-100 is being designed to carry a crew of seven into low-earth orbit, to the International Space Station and a proposed private space station from Bigelow Aerospace. Boeing also anticipates being able to take civilian tourists up into low-earth orbit on the craft no earlier than 2015.

“We plan to manufacture, assemble and launch the CST-100 from right here, on Florida’s space coast,” aid John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of Commercial Programs for Boeing Space Exploration, at an announcement event at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which was attended by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Governor Rick Scott (R-FL).

“We are extremely pleased that Boeing will locate its Commercial Crew headquarters here in Florida,” said Frank DiBello, president of Space Florida, the State’s aerospace economic development agency, in a prepared statement. “This positions our state well for future growth and a leadership role in NASA’s next generation human space exploration initiatives. It is also a key factor in ensuring Florida’s space-related economy continues to thrive after shuttle retirement.”"

Obama est-il trop cool? Devrait-il s'inspirer de JFK?

L'avis de Chris Matthews de MSNBC... Obama serait également trop arrogant et ne reconnaîtrait pas ses erreurs.

"“Obama is very brilliant, but that’s not leadership necessarily,” Matthews told POLITICO in an interview about his new book, “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero,” due out Tuesday.

The liberal commentator believes the president’s personality is more like Richard Nixon’s than Kennedy’s in at least one key way.

“He and Obama are detached, very cool customers, but Jack didn’t like to be alone, and I think Obama does,” Matthews said. “Obama is more like Nixon that way. He likes to be alone or just with his family or just with his pals from Chicago, and that’s hurting him politically.”

“You have to enjoy the company of other politicians to be a good politician” Matthews added. “If you don’t like playing cards with these other guys and women, if you don’t like hanging out with them and shooting the breeze with them, you’re not going to be friends with them. They’re not going to be loyal to a guy they don’t hang out with. Why should they be loyal to you if they don’t spend any time with you? It’s not human behavior.”

Matthews adores Kennedy. He worshiped him as a kid, growing up in a Republican home outside Philadelphia, and he’s spent the past two decades studying him earnestly through archival research and interviews with those close to him.

Matthews sees the 35th president as being like King Henry V, a “flawed hero but a real hero.” His book sets out to figure out what Kennedy was really like.

Doing so brought the 44th president’s shortcomings into clearer focus.

“The problem with Barack Obama is [he’s] not taking lessons lately, is he? I think he knows he’s got the formula, and that’s the problem,” Matthews said during the interview with POLITICO Editor in Chief John F. Harris. “He doesn’t think that he needs to learn at this point."

La Palestine à l'UNESCO: "représailles" américaines?

Débat moral, légal et... Politique?

"Under existing federal law, the American government must cut off funding for any international body that grants membership status to the Palestinian Authority. That includes not only UNESCO, which helps pave the path for U.S. companies to do business in developing countries, but also the related World Intellectual Property Organization, which resolves international disputes over music, movies and software.

That puts the administration is in a bind: The White House supports UNESCO’s mission, but even if it wanted to ask Congress to waive the law — and that would be a big political risk with Jewish voters and donors — there’s almost no chance that a waiver request would be granted. Still, it’s no small thing to just write off UNESCO.

The potential consequences to American businesses are important enough that the State Department has invited representatives of about two dozen technology and pharmaceutical companies and associations to participate in a discussion of the matter in Foggy Bottom Monday afternoon.

“Even as we approach this situation diplomatically, the Department of State and our U.S. Government partners would like to invite you to a discussion on the current state of play at UNESCO, as well as the ramifications of the Palestinian bid for membership,” reads a copy of the invitation obtained by POLITICO. Invitees include Apple, Google, Microsoft, the Motion Picture Association of America, PhRMA and the Recording Industry Association of America.

While they may have an interest in keeping UNESCO funded, it seems unlikely that major American businesses would pick a fight with Israel, which got a pre-vote boost from friendly lawmakers who want to make sure that funds are, indeed, cut off."

Caricature Obama et les républicains dans la première neige!

Mad Michelle: le Washington Times s'en prend à la "First Lady"

Mad Michelle? Ça ne fait très sérieux de la part du Washington Times...

"Michelle’s back, and she’s madder than ever. She was already pretty angry, seemingly unhappy with just about everything. As her husband wrapped up the Democratic nomination in 2008, she let fly her real feelings: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” A few months into her job as first lady, her French counterpart asked how she liked the gig: “Don’t ask!” she reportedly spat. “It’s hell. I can’t stand it!”

She even seems to be mad at her silver-tongued husband. When the two were to set off on a luxurious 10-day vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, she left early - four hours early - and flew up alone. And those private vacations. She’s traveled to some of the world’s most plush resorts, taking 42 days off in the past year - that’d be eight weeks of vacay time if she held down a normal job.

Now, she is ready to spew her bilious disgust with America on the campaign trail. A dignified, transcendent first lady? No chance. Michelle is going to break with a hundred years of tradition and play the role of attack dog, heaping derision on her husband’s political opponents like no other first lady before her.

And it’s already begun. Mad Michelle this week popped down to Davis Island, Fla., to hobnob with the very people her husband despises - the 1 percent. At a massive mansion on the bay, filled with the wealthiest of the wealthy, America’s first lady launched into a tirade about “them” - the Republicans."

Herman Cain et le harcèlement sexuel: son directeur de campagne réagit

Cain aurait déjà harcelé deux femmes qui avaient accepté de ne pas ébruiter l'affaire en échange de compensations financières.

"Herman Cain’s chief of staff Mark Block told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Monday morning that the Republican presidential candidate did not sexually harass anyone during his time at the National Restaurant Association.

“Let me tell you that Herman Cain has never sexually harassed anybody, period, end of story,” Block said. “Every negative word and accusation in the article is sourced to a series of unnamed or anonymous sources, and this is questionable at best. I am not personally aware of any cash settlement relating to sexual harassment charges.”"

Chinatown New York: inquiétudes liées au décès mystérieux d'un soldat d'origine chinoise.

Le soldat américain Chen a été retrouvé mort (tué par balles)dans une tour de garde en Afghanistan. Depuis l'armée enquête, mais la famille n'a que très peu d'informations sur les circonstances de son décès. Un suicide ou des tirs ennemis? On sait que dans les jours qui ont précédé il a été victime d'un traitement brutal de la part de ses supérieurs, incluant des remarques à caractère racial. Déjà les asiatiques hésitaient à s'enrôler...

"Three days after his death, a military official told Ms. Chen and her husband, Yan Tao Chen, that investigators had not yet determined whether the shot to the head was self-inflicted or fired by someone else.

But the official also revealed, the Chens said, that Private Chen had been subjected to physical abuse and ethnic slurs by superiors, who one night dragged him out of bed and across the floor when he failed to turn off a water heater after showering.

Since then, the military has given little information about its investigation to the Chens, immigrants who speak no English.

And though military officials have reassured the Chens that a thorough investigation is being conducted, their grief is laced with suspicion, shared by their supporters in the local Chinese community, that they will never learn the truth.

For decades, Asian-Americans have had an uneasy relationship with the military, enlisting at lower rates than other ethnic groups.

Many Asian-American families have emphasized higher education and white-collar occupations, rather than the armed services, as a way to get ahead in America, experts say. The dearth of high-profile Asian-Americans in the upper echelons of the military may have also discouraged enlistment.

In New York’s Asian population, the reaction to Private Chen’s death has underscored this feeling, and community leaders say the case threatens to chill attitudes toward the military.

“The family deserves the truth — the honest truth,” said Melissa Chen, one of Private Chen’s aunts."

Maringouin génétiquement modifié pour tuer!

L'objectif de départ est intéressant... Ce moustique transmet aux autres un gène qui meurent avant d'atteindre l'âge adulte. Bien si on pense qu'on pourra limiter les épidémies pour les agriculteurs ou éventuellement réduire les risques de propagation de la malaria. Inquiétant si on pense aux retombées possibles pour l'humain. La Floride aimerait début les expérimentations en décembre.

"The study published on Sunday looked at how successfully the lab-reared, genetically modified insects could mate. About 19,000 engineered mosquitoes were released over four weeks in 2009 in a 25-acre area on Grand Cayman island.

Based on data from traps, the genetically engineered males accounted for 16 percent of the overall male population in the test zone, and the lethal gene was found in almost 10 percent of larvae. Those figures suggest the genetically engineered males were about half as successful in mating as wild ones, a rate sufficient to suppress the population.

Oxitec has already said a larger trial on Grand Cayman island in 2010 reduced the population of the targeted mosquito by 80 percent for three months. That work has not yet been published.

Dr. Alphey said the technique was safe because only males were released, while only females bite people and spread the disease, adding that it should have little environmental impact. “It’s exquisitely targeted to the specific organism you are trying to take out,” he said."

Caricature gladiateur républicain!

Occupy Fox news: fair and balance!

Caricature 7 milliards: vision pessimiste...

Halloween: 7 milliards et la peur!

dimanche 30 octobre 2011

Caricature Irak: retrait et "remerciements"

Caricature hymne européen! I will survive!

Le "classique" de Gloria Gaynor...

Amazing grace: histoire des negro spirituals et interprétation mémorable!

J'ai déjà présenté cet extrait à mes élèves et chaque fois je suis ému. Bon mélange de musique, d'histoire et quelle interprétation!

Michelle Obama: un atout important pour la campagne 2012.

Elles est toujours très populaire et elle participe activement à la campagne électorale. L'équipe de réélection du Président a trouvé ses repères et "utilise" la popularité de Michelle Obama sans pour autant la mêler aux dossiers politiques. Elle évitera les pièges de la campagne 2008...

"As her husband’s reelection campaign amps up, Michelle Obama is in a perfect position to help, by cashing in on her broad popularity with the American public. But here’s the hitch: In order to remain popular, she can’t be seen as too political.

That’s the challenge the Obama campaign faces in deploying the first lady, who could well be the president’s best political asset.

The dilemma comes as campaign aides struggle to combat a dramatic drop in the president’s approval ratings, when Michelle Obama could be critical to bolstering his image as a trustworthy, sympathetic figure.

But the risk is a flashback to 2008 when Michelle Obama became, at times, a controversy, accused in one instance of being an “angry black woman” and, in a satirical political cartoon, depicted as a militant, Afro-wearing figure.

In the past three years, she has replaced that image with one of mom-in-chief and the protector of the Obama family brand. She was photographed in a ball cap and shades shopping at Target, and talked about how she sneaks out to Petco with the family dog.

And she has become a common presence in glossy magazines, with Vogue documenting her fashion choices and Better Homes & Gardens giving her a platform to describe her healthy eating initiative and her efforts to help military families.

So far, Obama is honing her campaign message before friendly crowds at party fundraisers in private residences and grand hotels. Next week, she will raise money in Texas and Louisiana and this week, she spoke at fundraisers in Detroit, Chicago and Tampa, telling audiences that she is ready for the campaign. “I’m in,” Obama said to applause. “I am so in.”

But Obama has also made clear that while the campaign will be a priority, she does not want to be drawn into partisan fights, nor does she intend to abandon the projects she has taken on as first lady."

Halloween: les meilleurs films de peur selon le Washington post

Voici donc la fameuse liste! Peut-être la vôtre diffère-t-elle? Si je n'affectionne pas particulièrement le genre, je conserve un très bon souvenir de Jaws, Alien (le premier de la série), The Shining, The fly et Saw (le premier).

-Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922)
-The Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney, 1925)
-Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
-The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
-Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polansky, 1968)
-Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968)
-The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
-The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
-Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
-The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)
-Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
-Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
-Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
-The Amityville Horror (Stuart Rosenberg, 1979)
-Friday the 13th (Sean S. Cunningham, 1980)
-The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
-Scanners (David Cronenberg, 1981)
-An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)
-Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982)
-The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
-Children of the Corn (Fritz Kiersch, 1984)
-A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984)
-The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)
-Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)
-Scream (Wes Craven, 1996)
-The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick et Eduardo Sánchez, 1999)
-28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002)
-Dawn of the Dead (Zack Snyder, 2004)
-Saw (James Wan, 2004)
-The Mist (Frank Darabont, 2007)
-Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2009)

Anonymous de Roland Emmerich: Shakespeare une seule et même personne?

Nouvelle variation sur une hypothèse qui refuse de mourir...

"And in a movie theater near you, “Anonymous,” which opened Friday, reveals how the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

O brave new world — the culmination of more than 300 years of Enlightenment thinking and empirical science. But in the words of the Bard — whoever he was — “Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!”

Which brings us back to “Anonymous,” Roland Emmerich’s new costume drama that has English professors tying their tweed blazers into knots. After his success with the documentaries “Godzilla” and “Independence Day,” Emmerich has now brought his CGI touch to the Soul of the Age. (And if you think that soul was Shakespeare’s, I’ve got some moon rocks I’d like to sell you.)

Various alternative authors have been promoted over the past 150 years, but the current favorite is Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. (Pay no attention to the fact that he died before “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Tempest” and “The Winter’s Tale” were written.) Behind every one of these claims is the assumption that only an aristocrat could have composed the immortal words of “Hamlet” or written with such precision about Italy or divulged the thoughts of kings and queens. Once you allow that some glovemaker’s son from Stratford with a grade-school education wrote those plays, you’re likely to start imagining that a cloistered old maid in Amherst, Mass., composed the greatest poetry of the 19th century. (But don’t listen to me. I’m nobody. Who are you?)

Following the basic plot of what’s called the Oxfordian Theory, “Anonymous” shows that de Vere was the real writer of what we call “Shakespeare’s work.” The action takes us all the way to the day when the Globe Theatre was burned to the ground in 1613 by fire-breathing dragons. (Don’t quote me on that — I have to check the date.)"

La suite:

Printemps arabe: une révolution sans intellectuels?

Une révolution peut-elle réussir sans un Thomas Paine, un Lenin, Mao ou un Vaclav Havel? L'auteur rappelle à la fin que Kadhafi avait fait sa propre révolution. Va-t-on répéter les mêmes erreurs?

"More than 10 months after it started with the suicide of a Tunisian fruit vendor, the great wave of insurrection across the Arab world has toppled three autocrats and led last week in Tunisia to an election that many hailed as the dawn of a new era. It has not yielded any clear political or economic project, or any intellectual standard-bearers of the kind who shaped almost every modern revolution from 1776 onward. In those revolts, thinkers or ideologues — from Thomas Paine to Lenin to Mao to Vaclav Havel — helped provide a unifying vision or became symbols of a people’s aspirations.

The absence of such figures in the Arab Spring is partly a measure of the pressures Arab intellectuals have lived under in recent decades, trapped between brutal state repression on one side and stifling Islamic orthodoxy on the other. Many were co-opted by their governments (or Persian Gulf oil money) or forced into exile, where they lost touch with the lived reality of their societies. Those who remained have often applauded the revolts of the past year and even marched along with the crowds. But they have not led them, and often appeared stunned and confused by a movement they failed to predict.

The lack of such leaders may also be the hallmark of a largely post-ideological era in which far less need is felt for unifying doctrines or the grandiose figures who provide them. The role of the intellectual may be shrinking into that of the micro-blogger or street organizer. To some, that is just fine. “I don’t think there is a need for intellectuals to spearhead any revolution,” says Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi-born poet and novelist who has written extensively on the Arab Spring and now teaches at New York University. “It is no longer a movement to be led by heroes.”"

Iran: Obama se rapproche-t-il de Bush?

Quelle est la stratégie américaine? Celle du candidat Obama ou celle de W.?

"You will remember that early in the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama signaled that he was going to have a different foreign policy than George Bush - and he chose as his example, Iran. He argued that simply pressuring the country was not a policy and Obama offered to talk to Iran's leaders. Well, two years into his presidency, Obama's Iran policy looks a lot like George W. Bush's - pressure and more pressure.
The punitive tactics have paid off in some measure. Iran faces economic problems. But they are also having a perverse impact on the country, as I witnessed last week. The sanctions are stifling growth, though not as much as one might imagine. So the basic effect has been to weaken civil society and strengthen the state - the opposite of what we should be trying to do in that country. By some estimates, Iran's Revolutionary Guard - the hard-line element of the armed forces, supported by the supreme leader – now controls 40% of the economy.
Is that the goal of our policy?
In fact, what is our goal? Is it to overthrow the Iranian regime? Is it to make it bleed until it gives up its nuclear program? A wholesale revolution continues to strike me as a distant prospect. The regime still has some domestic support, and it uses a mix of religious authority, patronage and force quite effectively.
And we keep forgetting the inconvenient fact that, even if the regime changed, the nuclear energy program - which is popular as an expression of Iranian nationalism and power - will continue. Even the leaders of the Green movement strongly support that program.
Obama should return to his original approach and test the Iranians to see if there is any room for dialogue and agreement. Engaging with Iran, putting its nuclear program under some kind of supervision and finding areas of common interest (such as Afghanistan) would all be important goals.
It might not work - the Iranian regime is divided and often paralyzed itself - but it's worth trying. Strategic engagement with an adversary can go hand in hand with a policy that encourages change in that country. That's how Washington dealt with the Soviet Union and China in the 1970s and 80s."

Caricature Occupy Wall street: menace pour l'ordre public

Caricature tempête sur la côte est fin octobre...

La Maison blanche des horreurs: spécial Halloween!

Par BRIAN McFADDEN dans le NY Times

Occupy Wall street: des viols gérer à "l'interne"?

Le NY Post n'est pas tendre pour le mouvement Occupy Wall street. Aujourd'hui un reportage pourrait provoquer des retombées désastreuses pour le mouvement. Deux viols auraient eu lieu sans qu'on demande aux policiers d'intervenir... On rapporte d'autres cas sur des blogues américains, dont un à Oakland.

"Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park battened down the hatches yesterday as the early October snow turned their tents into igloos, but the close quarters also made easy pickings for one predator.
A sex fiend barged into a woman’s tent and sexually assaulted her at around 6 a.m., said protesters, who chased him from the park.
“Pervert! Pervert! Get the f--k out!” said vigilante Occupiers, who never bothered to call the cops.
“They were shining flashlights in his face and yelling at him to leave,” said a woman who called herself Leslie, but refused to give her real name.

She said that weeks earlier another woman was raped.
“We don’t tell anyone,” she said. “We handle it internally. I said too much already.”"

The Shame of College Sports: Taylor Branch (The Atlantic)

Voici un extrait, et la référence, de l'article mentionné par Gabriel Béland de La Presse dans son article.

"“I’M NOT HIDING,” Sonny Vaccaro told a closed hearing at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., in 2001. “We want to put our materials on the bodies of your athletes, and the best way to do that is buy your school. Or buy your coach.”

Vaccaro’s audience, the members of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, bristled. These were eminent reformers—among them the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, two former heads of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and several university presidents and chancellors. The Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that takes an interest in college athletics as part of its concern with civic life, had tasked them with saving college sports from runaway commercialism as embodied by the likes of Vaccaro, who, since signing his pioneering shoe contract with Michael Jordan in 1984, had built sponsorship empires successively at Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. Not all the members could hide their scorn for the “sneaker pimp” of schoolyard hustle, who boasted of writing checks for millions to everybody in higher education.

“Why,” asked Bryce Jordan, the president emeritus of Penn State, “should a university be an advertising medium for your industry?”

Vaccaro did not blink. “They shouldn’t, sir,” he replied. “You sold your souls, and you’re going to continue selling them. You can be very moral and righteous in asking me that question, sir,” Vaccaro added with irrepressible good cheer, “but there’s not one of you in this room that’s going to turn down any of our money. You’re going to take it. I can only offer it.”

William Friday, a former president of North Carolina’s university system, still winces at the memory. “Boy, the silence that fell in that room,” he recalled recently. “I never will forget it.” Friday, who founded and co-chaired two of the three Knight Foundation sports initiatives over the past 20 years, called Vaccaro “the worst of all” the witnesses ever to come before the panel.

But what Vaccaro said in 2001 was true then, and it’s true now: corporations offer money so they can profit from the glory of college athletes, and the universities grab it. In 2010, despite the faltering economy, a single college athletic league, the football-crazed Southeastern Conference (SEC), became the first to crack the billion-dollar barrier in athletic receipts. The Big Ten pursued closely at $905 million. That money comes from a combination of ticket sales, concession sales, merchandise, licensing fees, and other sources—but the great bulk of it comes from television contracts."

NCAA: un scandale n'attend pas l'autre...

Très bon article dans La Presse sous la plume de Gabriel Béland. Échange entre Béland et Taylor Branch, historien auteur d'un article dans la revue The Atlantic.


"Q. Comment un historien d'abord reconnu pour son oeuvre sur Marthin Luther King en est-il venu à s'intéresser au sport universitaire?

R.Un peu par accident. Je commençais un long projet sur la Révolution américaine, alors j'ai dit au magazine The Atlantic que j'aimerais bien écrire un article plus court pour ne pas tomber dans l'oubli (The Shame of College Sports, octobre 2011, ndlr). Je leur ai proposé de travailler sur la National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), qui est toujours prise dans des scandales. Je suis un vieil amateur de sports, mais je ne connaissais rien à propos de cette organisation et très peu sur le sport universitaire. La recherche a été passionnante, mais plus j'avançais, plus je trouvais qu'il y avait de graves problèmes d'équité dans ce système.

Q. Quel est ce système justement?

R.Les administrateurs du football et du basket-ball universitaires tirent profit d'une conception vaseuse de l'amateurisme, née après la Guerre civile américaine, et qui veut que les athlètes jouent pour l'amour du sport. Les collèges américains entretiennent une industrie du sport qui enrichit tout le monde, sauf les acteurs essentiels du système, les athlètes. Les entraîneurs font des millions en salaire, les écoles construisent des stades aux allures de Taj Mahal, les réseaux de télévision engrangent les profits.

Mais les athlètes sont pris dans un système d'abstinence: en échange d'une bourse d'études, ils renoncent au droit d'avoir un boulot à temps partiel, au droit de recevoir des commandites. Ils n'ont même pas le droit de vendre un de leurs chandails ou un autographe pour arrondir leurs fins de mois. Ils sont emprisonnés dans un système que nous ne tolérerions pas pour quiconque en Amérique et en plus, la NCAA a le culot de dire que c'est pour leur bien.

Le concept d'amateurisme est une chimère. Le sport universitaire aux États-Unis est hautement professionnel. C'est une industrie milliardaire. On pourrait même dire que ce secteur de l'économie est la prochaine grande bulle financière. Tous les pans de l'économie américaine ont souffert de la crise qui dure depuis des années, sauf le sport universitaire. Personne ne se demande pourquoi. La raison est simple: l'industrie prospère en ne payant pas un sou à ses employés les plus qualifiés."

Pour la suite:

San Francisco: élection d'un premier maire d'origine asiatique?

Jeff Adachi se souvient que des membres de sa famille ont été détenus dans des camps de travail pendant la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale et qu'ils ont tout perdu. Le voici maintenant au plus fort de la lutte pour la mairie de San Francisco. Le maire actuel est d'origine asiatique, mais il a été nommé en janvier pour compléter le mandat de Gavin Newsom. D'autres candidats d'origine sont dans la course et il pourrait s'agir d'une "tendance lourde". L'élection se déroulera le 8 janvier. Une victoire d'Adachi pourrait revêtir un cachet particulier puisque les asiatiques furent victimes de racisme pendant une bonne période de l'histoire de San Francisco. L'Article mentionne d'ailleurs le Chinese excluision act de 1882. Outre la photo d'ASdachi, je vous laisse également une caricature qui reflète assez bien les sentiments de certains américains face aux asiatiques à la fin du 19e siècle.

He’s one of six Asian-Americans candidates who are drawing on their life stories of immigration, discrimination and empowerment as they try to become the first Asian-American elected mayor in the city’s history.

San Francisco already has an Asian-American mayor in Ed Lee, who was appointed in January. But the Nov. 8 election is being seen as an historic moment in a city that has the largest percentage of Asian-Americans in the continental United States and boasts the nation’s oldest Chinatown.

While the candidates are from diverse Asian backgrounds and differ on policy, all agree that the community’s time has come.

And it’s not just in San Francisco. The race “is just a glimmer of what’s to come for Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities across the country,” said Gloria Chan, president of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies in Washington.

If an Asian-American candidate wins, San Francisco will be the largest U.S. city with an elected Asian-American mayor. There are 35 Asian-American mayors nationwide, including Lee, according to APAICS.

Having one elected in San Francisco would have special meaning.

“There has been a long history of anti-Asian sentiment in California, even in San Francisco,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, a Chinese-American who is among the mayoral candidates and was endorsed by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Chinese, for example, came during the Gold Rush then stayed to help build railroads and bridges. When gold became scarce and wages began to fall after the Civil War, many Chinese were forced to take up low-income jobs.

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the nation’s first law limiting immigration based on race or nationality.""

Téléphone intelligent et dépendance!

"Don't sleep with your smart phone nearby". Il s'agit du premier conseil de Bob Greene pour "couper" la relation trouble que certains entretiennent avec tous les gadgets qui se sont glissés dans vos vies et qui, dans les cas les plus "graves", provoquent une dépendance.

Comment déterminer que ces onéreux petits jouets accaparent trop notre attention?

"And, more to the point: How many of us have the nagging feeling that we are somehow unable to disconnect -- that the electronic devices we own have begun to own us?
There is an instinct to treat the subject whimsically: "Land o'Goshen, Ma, those kids are walking down the street staring at their cellphone screens." It's as if any criticism of what the digital age has done to society brands the person raising the questions as backward, afraid of change, irrationally wedded to outmoded ways.
So the addiction question is often one that people silently ask themselves. Shouldn't we be spending less time checking and rechecking our many screens, large and small, and more time taking part in what used to be regarded as real life? Is there something inherently wrong when people being separated from their phones, computers and tablets makes them feel nervous, irritable, tense -- in other words, when they begin to exhibit classic withdrawal symptoms?
For guidance on this, I got in touch with Sieberg, who has given as much thought to the subject as anyone of whom I'm aware. A former CNN correspondent, he is a lecturer, writer and broadcaster on technology issues who, in his own life, became increasingly conscious of the unhealthy hold that digital devices can have. He wrote a book called "The Digital Diet" that argues persuasively that there can come a time in a person's life when he or she is a good candidate for technology detox.
I asked him if "addiction" is too strong a word to use in relation to devices that seem to hook their users emotionally, but not chemically.
"Unfortunately, the word 'addiction' has become overused," he said, and should not be trivialized. Addictions to illegal drugs, alcohol and prescription medication are grimly somber matters. But, he said, the idea of an addiction to digital devices is genuine, and is not something that should be greeted with a sardonic wink.
"One definition of 'addiction' is when other people and other activities in your life begin to suffer because of something you know you should cut back on, but don't," he said.
Some of his examples are things that many people will instantly recognize:
-- The urge to pull out a cellphone even when someone you're with in person is in the midst of a conversation with you.
-- Texting even while your child is telling you about his or her day at school, and realizing later that you can't remember the details of what your son or daughter has said to you.
-- Having the vague feeling that something hasn't really happened until you post it to Facebook or Twitter.
-- Feeling isolated and anxious if you are offline for an extended period of time.
-- Noticing that even when your family is all together in one room at home, each person is gazing at his or her own screen and tapping at a miniature keyboard."

La suite:

Halloween: des photos douteuses d'un cabinet d'avocats

Comment expliquer qu'une firme spécialisée de type "foreclosure mill" laisse ses employés célébrer l'halloween de cette manière? Comment ne pas être cynique?

"On Friday, the law firm of Steven J. Baum threw a Halloween party. The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

The party is the firm’s big annual bash. Employees wear Halloween costumes to the office, where they party until around noon, and then return to work, still in costume. I can’t tell you how people dressed for this year’s party, but I can tell you about last year’s.

That’s because a former employee of Steven J. Baum recently sent me snapshots of last year’s party. In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose. I told her I wanted to post the photos on The Times’s Web site so that readers could see them. She agreed, but asked to remain anonymous because she said she fears retaliation.

Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding."

La suite:

La mort de Kadhafi fait oublier l'immoralité de Citigroup!

Thomas L. Friedman (NY Times) s'assure de ne pas laisser ce jugement tomber dans l'indifférence.

"CITIGROUP is lucky that Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed when he was. The Libyan leader’s death diverted attention from a lethal article involving Citigroup that deserved more attention because it helps to explain why many average Americans have expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The news was that Citigroup had to pay a $285 million fine toIt doesn’t get any more immoral than this. As the Securities and Exchange Commission civil complaint noted, in 2007, Citigroup exercised “significant influence” over choosing $500 million of the $1 billion worth of assets in the deal, and the global bank deliberately chose collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s, built from mortgage loans almost sure to fail. According to The Wall Street Journal, the S.E.C. complaint quoted one unnamed C.D.O. trader outside Citigroup as describing the portfolio as resembling something your dog leaves on your neighbor’s lawn. “The deal became largely worthless within months of its creation,” The Journal added. “As a result, about 15 hedge funds, investment managers and other firms that invested in the deal lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits.”

Citigroup, which is under new and better management now, settled the case without admitting or denying any wrongdoing. James Stewart, a business columnist for The Times, noted that Citigroup’s flimflam made “Goldman Sachs mortgage traders look like Boy Scouts. In settling its fraud charges for $550 million last year, Goldman was accused by the S.E.C. of being the middleman in a similar deal, allowing the hedge fund manager John Paulson to help choose the mortgages and then bet against them without disclosing this to the other parties. Citigroup dispensed with a Paulson figure altogether, grabbing those lucrative roles for itself.” (Last Thursday, the U.S. District Court judge overseeing the case demanded that the S.E.C. explain how such serious securities fraud could end with the defendant neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing.)

This gets to the core of why all the anti-Wall Street groups around the globe are resonating. I was in Tahrir Square in Cairo for the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and one of the most striking things to me about that demonstration was how apolitical it was. When I talked to Egyptians, it was clear that what animated their protest, first and foremost, was not a quest for democracy — although that was surely a huge factor. It was a quest for “justice.” Many Egyptians were convinced that they lived in a deeply unjust society where the game had been rigged by the Mubarak family and its crony capitalists. Egypt shows what happens when a country adopts free-market capitalism without developing real rule of law and institutions." settle a case in which, with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.

La suite:

Ali vs Foreman: un cadeau du président Mobutu

J'ai retrouvé cette affiche en fouillant un peu ce matin..

Muhammad Ali contre George Foreman au Zaïre: 30 octobre 1974

Un combat qui a une charge historique et politique! "Africa is the home of the black man" dira Ali. Foreman devait l'emporter, mais Ali va créer la surpise et reconquérir ainsi le titre de champion. Cette victoire marque le point culminant d'une longue progression pour Ali qui n'avait pas boxé depuis trois ans avant son retour de 1971 (il a perdu sa licence de boxe après avoir refusé de combattre au Vietnam). Avant d'affronter la formidable machine qu'est l'imposant Foreman, Ali aura vaincu Ken Norton et Joe Frazier, deux adversaires redoutables.

Le combat entre Foreman et Ali est très bien représenté dans un documentaire intitulé When we were kings (un bijoux)dont voici un extrait:

Occupy Wall street: toujours le même effet?

samedi 29 octobre 2011

Afghanistan: l'atteinte des objectifs entravés par la "tolérance" du Pakistan?

Nouvel épisode de relations tendues... La stratégie de l'administration Obama fonctionnerait sur le terrains, mais...

""Coalition forces have made important security gains in Afghanistan and are on track for a full handoff to local forces in 2014, a Pentagon report said Friday, but safe havens in Pakistan and weak Afghan governance continue to threaten that goal.

“Pakistan continues to tolerate and abet the insurgency in Afghanistan, particularly the Haqqani network,” the semiannual report to Congress said, echoing the administration’s recent tough line with Islamabad. “Enabled by safe havens in Pakistan, the insurgency remains resilient with a notable operational capability, as reflected in isolated high-profile attacks in Kabul and sustained violence levels in eastern Afghanistan.”

The report shows that President Barack Obama’s plan “is working on the ground in Afghanistan,” a senior defense official said at a background briefing for reporters, pushing back against new poll results showing nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose the war, and 58 percent worry that it is turning into another Vietnam. The CNN/ORC International poll of 1,007 adults was conducted Oct. 14-16 and had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

“We are having much more success than people realize,” the official said, noting that the poll results stem from “very widespread misperceptions about Afghanistan.”

The reaction from the Pentagon to the poll shows that the administration clearly is concerned about continued public support for its efforts through 2014 after a string of high-profile attacks by insurgents and a dramatic rise this summer in attacks originating in Pakistan.

The report notes that the safe havens from which the attacks were launched continued to pose the most serious risk to success, a feeling shared by many lawmakers. “Can the relationship [with Pakistan] be salvaged and can our strategic objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan be brought into better alignment?” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) asked Thursday at a hearing on Afghanistan. “It is hard to be optimistic. All the options on the table appear deeply unappetizing. All run the risk of being ineffectual, counterproductive, or both.”"

Europe: la crise n'est pas terminée et les États-Unis sont inquiets..

Du côté américain on continue à suivre de près les développements en Europe. Une partie de la réponse aux problèmes de l'économie américaine repose sur les décisions de la communauté européenne. Obama a plus d'une raisons de s'y intéresser...

"In a carefully worded statement Thursday, President Obama applauded the news out of Europe.

“We welcome the important decisions made last night by the European Union which lay a critical foundation for a comprehensive solution to the Eurozone crisis,” Obama said. “We look forward to the full development and rapid implementation of their plan. We will continue to support the EU and our European allies in their efforts to address this crisis as we work together to sustain the global recovery and put our people back to work.”

If you’re a U.S. political news junkie you probably missed this. And now that you’re reading it here, you may be wondering why the President of the U.S. is commenting at all about something called the “Eurozone crisis.”

Here’s why.

The short version is this: A number of countries on the Euro are heavily indebted. But because they’re part of a monetary union, they can’t meliorate their problems on their own by manipulating their currency, and they risk toppling other, healthier economies, destroying the Euro and potentially plunging the world into another recession. That includes the U.S. That’s why President Obama cares. And his re-election bid probably makes him all the more concerned.

With good reason.

For months now, Eurozone countries have figured out how to add hours, minutes, and seconds to the Euro time bomb, but they haven’t figured out how to defuse it.

They went through similar motions this week, though there’s some optimism that European leaders have at least laid the groundwork for averting catastrophe.

On Thursday, after a tense negotiations, banks that own Greek debt agreed to take a 50 percent loss on the value of those holdings. Dozens of exposed banks will also be forced to raise $150 billion in capital to protect themselves against losses on loans to Greece and other struggling countries. Eurozone countries agreed in principle quadruple the size of the European bailout fund (officially, the European Financial Stability Fund) to $1.4 trillion, but they have no plan in place to do so."

La suite:

Scared Mittless: Jon Stewart et Mitt Romney!

Émission du 27 octobre, la première partie:

Wall street plonge: un autre 29 octobre

Le tristement célèbre mardi noir de 1929... Un "réveil" brutal qui marque la fin des "années folles" et le début de la Grande dépression.