Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Day

Monday, January 28, 2008

For The Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

by Gary Snyder

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back To The Future?

I wanna be the leader
I wanna be the leader
Can I be the leader?
Can I? I can?
Promise? Promise?
Yippee, I'm the leader
I'm the leader

OK what shall we do?

by Roger McGough

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gaza Today: Some Facts

* Over 80% of people in Gaza now live below the poverty line.
* Israel impossed fuel sanctions in Sep 07 and local electrical infrastructure can provide only 35% of Gaza's needs. The cutting-off of the electricity hampers hospital operating, water supply and sewage systems.
* In Oct 07, the public provider of water and sanitation services received just 50% of the fuel it needs to operate its wells, pumping stations and treatment plants. 210,000 people are now able to access drinking water supplies for only 1-2 hours a day.
* 1.2 million Gazans are now dependent on food aid. Only 41% of Gaza's food import needs are currently being met.
* The closure of borders has led to price increases, shortages of basic commodities and reduced purchases of meat (98%), dairy products (86%) and fruit (99%).
* There are no stocks left of 85 essential medicines, including chemotherapy drugs, strong antibiotics and several psychiatric drugs. For a further 138 drugs there are only stocks for three months at most. Supplies of nitrous oxide for surgical anaesthesia will run out in two weeks.
* 17.5% of patients who have requested access to East Jerusalem, Israel or abroad for emergency or chronic medical treatment have been denied permits since June 07.

Monday, January 21, 2008

DM for PM?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Let's De-Tech A Bit

It is being said in some trend-sniffing quarters that this is a year in which cutting-edge people may attempt to go without so much technology for some of the time. To 'de-tech' their lives a little. Being billed as 'de-techers', such people - weary in their eyeballs, or having just received an outrageous credit-card bill, or finding themselves momentarily intrigued by face-to-face conversation - will begin to 'manage their relationship with gadgetry' in a slightly firmer manner. Perhaps switching off their laptop while eating. And, before too long, even going without any technology for a brief part of the evening.

Already there are confirmed reports of at least seven people in the north London area leaving their Blackberries behind while going out on dates, of a married couple in Derbyshire hanging a sheet over the HDTV screen in their bedroom for almost a week (although possibly because the bedroom was being decorated) and of a mother in Chislehurst not topping up her children's T-Mobiles until the weekend because her offspring wouldn't help load the dishwasher despite being asked repeatedly. In Wolverhampton, a man running a media course left his iPhone at a friend's house and didn't go back for it for 36 hours.

By the time trend-sniffers say the de-teching trend is expected to really take hold, in 2011, large numbers of people will need to be showing the resolve to take regular 'data sabbaths' as part of 'de-tech diet plans' so as not to be completely spellbound all day and night by the touch-sensitive screens on their walls. On which they could so enjoyably be 'bringing up' and 'dragging' things around in the manner of a weather girl, Pentagon-briefing major, musical conductor, dervish and starship helmsman all rolled into one.

By John Hind

Friday, January 18, 2008

State Brutality

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another Day...

...another "legal" killing in Palestine.
And no-one says a thing.
Except this woman, today:

Your story (Israeli troops kill 19 in Gaza Strip incursion, January 16) has inevitably been followed by another Israeli atrocity yesterday, with three Palestinians, including a 14-year old boy, killed by an Israeli air strike on a car in Gaza City. The Israeli military have admitted they were all civilians. How much more killing and collective punishment are we expecting the Palestinians in Gaza to take? Israel is restricting the Gazans' access to food, fuel, electricity and water, ensuring all entry and exit points are closed to them, and forcing Palestinians to watch family and friends dying because the Israeli authorities are preventing them from leaving Gaza to access medical treatment. President Bush's visit has clearly emboldened the Israeli government to escalate its military assault on Gaza. The government must call for the siege to be lifted. A protest against the crime being perpetrated on Palestinians is planned for January 26.

Sarah Colborne

Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hero Of The Day

His name is Dan "Cheeky" Watson and until today I had no idea who he was. Just two notes: he was a rugby player and he is from South Africa. A free coffee to anyone who writes clues about his life.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Friar