Punk rock bands are hitting Portland this weekend to kick off a national anti-President Bush concert tour laced with appearances in swing states.
The bands probably won't have much appeal to middle-of-the-road swing voters. But if the election is as close as the one in 2000, don't count out the kids in Mohawks, black leather and multiple piercings.
"I do believe a song can change the world, because people are inspired by music," said Justin Sane, one of the punk rockers who will appear in Portland. "There is a lot of emotion tied up in this presidential race. People are feeling the need to express themselves." Sane is lead singer and vocalist for Anti-Flag."
Aging shock rocker Alice Cooper — who happens to be a Bush supporter — put it another way when he expressed disgust with the political concert tours.
"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for," Cooper told the Edmonton Sun in August, "you're a bigger moron than they are."
As part of its reform efforts, the Saudi government in recent months has allowed women to participate in a series of forums, set up by Crown Prince Abdullah, to discuss challenges facing the country. Women have also recently been appointed to the executive committees of several government-controlled entities, including the Journalists' Syndicate and the National Human Rights Commission. In June, the Council of Ministers, the highest decision-making body, issued a plan to create jobs for women, including the setting up of women-only factories.
Many Saudi women consider these major steps in a country where women are not allowed to drive, travel without permission from a male guardian, appear in public without being covered, nor work alongside men.
The suffrage campaign took off last month when municipal bylaws issued did not explicitly ban women from participating in the elections.
But in an interview on state television the following week, a deputy-minister at the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry, Mohammad al-Nagady, said women would not participate in this year's elections.
Though most of the Islamic hardliners have remained mum on the issue of women's participation, some analysts say they would speak out against it if the government were to publicly announce women's participation.
Sulaiman al-Kharashi, an Islamic researcher known for his conservative views, disagrees. He says he's not against women voting because Islam granted women the right to have a say in their affairs. "There is no problem with women voting, which is giving their opinion in matters related to them," he says. But he objects to them running for office. A woman's "standing is more exalted than to be exposed to the abuse and mixing between the genders that will no doubt be part of the election process," he says.
In a country already plagued by skyrocketing sick leave costs, a new survey found that 40 percent of the population thinks it's acceptable to skip work because they feel tired or have trouble getting along with their colleagues.
The survey, presented Friday by the National Social Insurance Board, showed that Swedes manifestly take advantage of the country's liberal sick leave system, officials said.
Sixty-five percent of the 1,002 people interviewed also said that a stressful work situation is also a valid reason for calling in sick.
Sweden's extensive cradle-to-grave welfare system includes generous social insurance programs covering sick leave, parental leave and unemployment benefits.
But paying for workers on long-term sick leave and disability has become one of the government's biggest expenditures.
Sick leave compensation tripled from 15 billion kronor ($2 billion) in 1997 to 45 billion kronor ($6 billion) in 2002.
...according to the Islamic Republic of Iran's interpretation of the Shari'a (I don't know how it's interpreted or done in Arab countries) a woman is automatically the seductress, however young and innocent. According to them, a man, no matter how old and promiscuous, is considered to be a "victim."
Now, quite a few facts about this poor young girl has come to light. First of all she was visibly mentally unwell (I guess bi-polar because by all accounts she wasn't retarded or dysfunctional; she defended herself at the so-called trial ) She told the religious judge, Haji Rezaii, that he should punish the main perpetrators of moral corruption not the victims. I've also heard charges (which I had suspected would be the story) that the Mullah judge, Hadji Rezai, who was also the proud executioner, had in fact wanted her for himself as a "temporary wife" and because either she or her parents had refused him, he had become enraged and had turned against her and falsified her age as 22, so that he could execute her.
I should add that this Mullah was not only the Judge but also the executioner and he proudly hung the noose around her neck himself. After her execution, he said publicly that her punishment was not execution but he taught her a "lesson" because of her sharp tongue.
I do want to mention one thing about these "temporary marriages" if I may...this allows men and women to get married for one hour or stay married for the rest of their lives. It's basically for the most part, a form of "legitimizing" prostitution and by the way, the woman has no rights to any income or assets of the man AND cannot be married to another man though the man is allowed to have his main wife and as many temporary wives he wants.
When Yasser Arafat in January 2002 called on Palestinian women--his "army of roses"--to join in the struggle against Israeli occupation, even he was surprised by their swift and devastating response. Later that same day, Wafa Idris would become the first female suicide bomber of the Intifada. Tragically, she wasn't the last. In Army of Roses, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Barbara Victor profiles Wafa Idris and the other young women who have followed her violent lead toward a martyr's Paradise paved with personal desperation and deadly political maneuvering.
In this astonishing exposé of the political and cultural forces now pressing Palestinian women into martyrdom, investigative journalist Victor identifies what she calls "a new level of cynicism" that has destroyed normal, everyday existence in the Middle East, along with the possibility for lasting peace. Tracing the roots of the women's resistance movement back to so-called personal initiative attacks and a brief period of empowerment in the 1980s before religious leaders clamped down, Victor shows how the current generation of Palestinian women has been courted and cajoled into committing these self-destructive and murderous acts.
By presenting the intimate personal histories of the first five female bombers who have succeeded in blowing themselves up, as well as the troubling stories of some of those who've tried and failed, the author reveals not only the crushing poverty and religious zealotry that one might suspect as motivating factors in their fall, but also a startling emotional component to their death wishes: their broken dreams and blighted inner lives. Victor shows, without dismissing or diminishing the horror of their actions, how far a person can be pushed when she is convinced she has nothing to lose.