discarded lies: friday, april 20, 2018 7:28 am zst
What's being quelleged isn't even quelque-close-to-true.
daily archive: 09/25/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Mom, he called me a duck!
Some Wisconsinites call Minnesotans "mud ducks" and this raises the very serious question, "mud duck: harmless term of border battle or racist insult?" Myself, I'm a little confused about the race issue here: is it the Minnesotans that are a race or is it the Wisconsinites that are a race? Or is it the ducks?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
'The Amman message'
Abdullah has a hard road ahead of him.
More than any other Arab leader — and even more than his father, the late King Hussein — Abdullah has attached his fate to the West. He has opened Jordanian markets and plans to introduce western democratic reforms.

Like his father, Abdullah also has fostered the only truly warm Arab-Israeli peace, and he met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the United Nations last Friday.

Coupled with a biography firmly rooted in the West — his mother is British and his schooling is American and British — these goals deny Abdullah the appeal among ordinary Arabs that many of his contemporaries have, despite his lineage: Hashemite kings are believed to be direct descendants of Mohammed.

Abdullah’s solution is to use the Arab street’s hardiest vehicle — Islam — to move it toward his vision of moderation. The July assembly in Amman of 180 Islamic scholars from 45 countries concluded with 17 of the most senior scholars issuing religious edicts outlining two principles: Fatwas issued by Muslims not formally trained in Islamic are not legitimate; and Muslims must refrain from calling other Muslims apostates.

The two statements were clearly aimed at Al-Qaida and its leaders. Lumbard, a Cairo-based scholar who helped organize the summit, said the pedigree of the scholars at the Amman meeting lent heft to their fatwas in a way that multiple other efforts to moderate Islam — many of them stemming from Western capitals — could not.

Whether the effort resonates remains to be seen. Lumbard acknowledged that even those scholars, respected as they are, have become remote from an Arab street succored by the Internet and satellite television. The next step, he said, was to compete in those fields with the radicals who advocate terrorism.

Abdullah, 43, places much stock in youth, since half of Jordan’s population is 18 or younger. His first stop in the United States was a meeting with a group of high school students from two Washington public schools, the Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Md., and the Islamic Academy in Fairfax, Va.

Significantly, the most skeptical students at the gathering appeared to be Muslims from the Saudi-backed academy. When one young woman in a scarf expressed doubts that Abdullah’s moderation reflected the Arab world’s “general consensus," Queen Rania struggled for a response, and could cite only an outpouring of Arab sympathy for Americans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

By contrast, the Jewish students were clearly impressed.

“He’s very courageous for taking such a message," said Moshe Broder, a senior at the Hebrew Academy. “He’s a pioneer."

Abdullah will have to start at home, and that could be a problem. Creating change in Jordan’s highly conservative and tribalized political culture has never been easy. A recent campaign against “honor killings" of women has had mixed results at best, and the royal court’s embrace of peace with Israel is not shared by other Jordanian elites, never mind ordinary Jordanians.

The king will have to flex the kind of muscle his father occasionally did to overcome skeptics who see him as ensconced in the West, said Hiam Nawas, a Jordanian expert on political Islam.

“Abdullah will have to spend a fair amount of his own political capital if he wants his message to become authoritative in Jordan," she said.

One way to sell the moderation is to show that it brings results. Hence Abdullah’s appeal in the West, simultaneous with his religious outreach, for expanded trade and political ties.
Read the whole article here.

(a thimbleful of cognac to Jefe)
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guest author: luLU in Discarded Lies:
Life At Blog Command Central
I couldn't find zorkie. We've been roommates for a while, so I recognize her even by dim blue computer light. And if she's home, she's always in Blog Command Central, so she ought to be easy to spot. But I couldn't see her until the cat twitched with an irritable "Mrow!" and then I realized I could see her foot poking the cat. Zorkie's foot was attached to zorkie's leg and sure enough, there was another leg as well. But where was the rest of zorkie? I could hear the usual muttering of curses in several languages, so clearly she was around here somewhere.

I walked to the other side of the room, from where I could see that the rest of zorkie was upside down poking at buttons on the dsl router down on the floor. The cursing got louder. I could also see that the sandwich I had brought in earlier was untouched, probably unnoticed. IP addresses were scribbled on the paper napkin. Gingerly I moved the sandwich right next to the computer, where surely she would have to see it. "Don't touch anything," she yelled at me. "I wasn't!" I yelled back.

Zorkie reappeared right side up and glared at the computer to make sure I hadn't done anything to it. Unfortunately her foot poked the cat harder, provoking a warning claw tap. "Damn it! Get that evil dementor-cat out of here!" "Yes, ma'am, right away ma'am," I replied sarcastically. Zorkie just said, "Mmhmm," her eyes locked on the computer screen. I should explain that once visual lock has been achieved, all non-computer input is routed to a special cache in zorkie's brain for later analysis. And that's if you're lucky, there's also an automatic data-dump function that kicks in a lot. Anyway, "Mmhmm" is the only response zorkie ever gives when she is looking at her monitor. It doesn't matter if this is a total nonsequitur. "What are you having for dinner?" "Mmhmm." "Did you talk to your mom today?" "Mmhmm." "When is she arriving?" "Mmhmm." "I was stung by a swarm of bees in the garden, suffered an allergic reaction and died, and this is actually my ghost standing here talking to you." "Mmhmm."

Two hours later, the sandwich was gone. More IP addresses were written on the napkin. Zorkie was typing and talking on the phone with evariste. She was saying, "Mmhmm...mmhmm... mmhmm." "I was too listening!" she said. "What do you mean, what did you just say?" "Mmhmm." "Oh good grief, you were telling me about rekavolting the fanpups to optimize the portwine servers. Right? Right! Mmhmm, mmhmm..." That may not have been an exact quotation; I didn't know exactly what she was talking about so it's possible I imagined some of the words. As I left, I heard her raving about what she was going to do to people who hadn't written Guest Author posts for bloggie.

I stuck my head in the door to say goodnight before I went to bed. Both dogs were watching with laser-like focus as zorkie nibbled on cheese. The cheese tonight was "Laughing Cow Original Creamy Swiss...A French Favorite," which zorkie has taught me to call it "La Vache Qui Rit." Other nights the cheese might be manchego or parmesan or kasseri. No matter, the dogs always want some. "Goodnight," I said. Zorkie looked up with a strange look in her eyes. I felt a chill. "Have you ever written a Guest Author post for bloggie?" I backed away slowly. "Umm, no, uh, I don't really...that is...I've never...uh, well, good-night!"
1 commentNeil Jakson left a comment at 7:37 pm 02/06
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Speaking of Education
Greek students spend the most hours in private lessons to complete needed education not provided by the Greek public school system. In two studies funded by the European Statistical Agency and "OOSA"--let me interrupt myself for a minute here.

One of my gripes about Greek newspapers, is that they don't provide complete information. For example, this OOSA acronym, I have no idea what it means and nowhere in this article in this very popular and well-respected newspaper is it explained what OOSA stands for. Another thing that really bothers me about Greek-style reportage is the lack of background on an event or story. The attitude of "well, everyone knows" is inexcusable--I happen to not know and would it kill them to fill me in with some background of the things I should know but I don't?

Sorry for the rant. Now back to my original rant.

Greek students spend an average of 27 hours a week in school, as opposed to the 22-23 hours considered more than enough in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. In addition to those hours, they spend another 18.5 hours on homework; in the Netherlands, homework takes an average of 7 hours a week, 5 hours in Finland and Sweden and around 6 in Norway and Denmark.

Greek students have to take "extra" lessons, meaning private lessons, to learn music or sports or a foreign language. That takes about 7.8 hours a week. In high school, 56% of the Dutch and 44% of the Germans are taught three foreign languages. That doesn't happen in Greek schools and students learn foreign languages from private lessons.

Private lessons are also necessary if a student wants to go to university. There are individual private lessons given by tutors and group private lessons (frontistiria).

From first grade on, our house had a revolving door for tutors. We had an English tutor (3 hours a week), a Math tutor (3 hours a week and extra twice a year during exam time), an Ancient Greek tutor (oops, never mind, that was my mom, the drill sergeant), a French tutor (a very old French woman who reeked of gardenias and died after she left our house one night but I had nothing to do with it) and I also attended group private lessons through high school.

All this is not cheap, of course; to prepare for university, a Greek public school student has to spend about €3,380 a year in private lessons. Private schools cost anywhere from €2,210 to €8,630 a year.

So you'd think that with all this schooling and all the money we have to spend on it, we'd be successful in getting into university, finishing up and getting a good job, right? Sure. Twenty two percent of Greek university graduates still cannot find a job five years after graduation, as opposed to 4.7% of the Irish and 4.2% of the Dutch, and the "lucky" ones who have a job, it's often not in their field of study.
4 commentsChris Greenwalt left a comment at 8:21 pm 09/20
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Terrorist-appeasing student leader booted from Middlesex University
The Student Union president of Middlesex University was suspended from school, and rightfully so. The simpering ninny insisted on inviting the terrorist Hizb ut Tahrir to campus for a debate, and worse,
insisted they were a non-violent group. Even worse than that, he was inviting them to give an open Q&A (read recruitment) session on the highest-Muslim-ratio school campus, in an act of what can only be described as open sedition. He should not only be kicked out of school, but tried and jailed as well, as should anyone else that gets the bright idea to bring in terrorists to recruit Muslims in universities under the guise of "academic debate". There is no debating people who wouldn't hesitate to saw your head off.
Middlesex University has suspended the president of its student union and revoked his studentship until further notice after he refused to cancel a debate with the controversial Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The union was ordered to cancel the debate at the end of last week but refused, with the president of the student union, Keith Shilson, arguing that it should be allowed on the grounds of freedom of speech. He claims the group, which is considered by some to be extremist, including the prime minister who announced his intention to proscribe it last month, is a non-violent organisation.

Yesterday, Mr Shilson was escorted from the campus by university security in what is believed to be the first disciplinary action to be taken against a student over the issue of extremism.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned by the National Union of Students (NUS) because, according to NUS policy, the group is "responsible for supporting terrorism and publishing material that incites racial hatred".

But last term Middlesex student union overturned the NUS ban and Mr Shilson invited representatives of Hizb ut-Tahrir to give the Q&A session on September 28 at the union's Hendon campus, which has the highest population of Muslim students.

The university stepped in at the end of last week to order the cancellation of the debate, following a speech by the education secretary, Ruth Kelly, in which she said that vice-chancellors would have to crackdown on extremism on campuses.

The university confirmed that Mr Shilson was yesterday suspended until further notice and that the reason was his refusal to comply with the university's demands over the debate.
no comments yetChris Greenwalt left a comment at 8:21 pm 09/20
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
New Orleans Prisoners Left To Drown Like Rats
This is really obscene, and heads should roll for it. I have a hard time accepting it really happened. 517 Americans are unaccounted for because the people entrusted with their lives, the Orleans sheriff's department, didn't do their job. They just left them there while Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city.
NEW YORK - September 23 - As Hurricane Katrina began pounding New Orleans, the sheriff's department abandoned hundreds of inmates imprisoned in the city’s jail, Human Rights Watch said today.

Inmates in Templeman III, one of several buildings in the Orleans Parish Prison compound, reported that as of Monday, August 29, there were no correctional officers in the building, which held more than 600 inmates. These inmates, including some who were locked in ground-floor cells, were not evacuated until Thursday, September 1, four days after flood waters in the jail had reached chest-level.

“Of all the nightmares during Hurricane Katrina, this must be one of the worst," said Corinne Carey, researcher from Human Rights Watch. “Prisoners were abandoned in their cells without food or water for days as floodwaters rose toward the ceiling."

Human Rights Watch called on the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into the conduct of the Orleans Sheriff's Department, which runs the jail, and to establish the fate of the prisoners who had been locked in the jail. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, which oversaw the evacuation, and the Orleans Sheriff’s Department should account for the 517 inmates who are missing from list of people evacuated from the jail.

Carey spent five days in Louisiana, conducting dozens of interviews with inmates evacuated from Orleans Parish Prison, correctional officers, state officials, lawyers and their investigators who had interviewed more than 1,000 inmates evacuated from the prison.

The sheriff of Orleans Parish, Marlin N. Gusman, did not call for help in evacuating the prison until midnight on Monday, August 29, a state Department of Corrections and Public Safety spokeswoman told Human Rights Watch. Other parish prisons, she said, had called for help on the previous Saturday and Sunday. The evacuation of Orleans Parish Prison was not completed until Friday, September 2.

According to officers who worked at two of the jail buildings, Templeman 1 and 2, they began to evacuate prisoners from those buildings on Tuesday, August 30, when the floodwaters reached chest level inside. These prisoners were taken by boat to the Broad Street overpass bridge, and ultimately transported to correctional facilities outside New Orleans.

But at Templeman III, which housed about 600 inmates, there was no prison staff to help the prisoners. Inmates interviewed by Human Rights Watch varied about when they last remember seeing guards at the facility, but they all insisted that there were no correctional officers in the facility on Monday, August 29. A spokeswoman for the Orleans parish sheriff’s department told Human Rights Watch she did not know whether the officers at Templeman III had left the building before the evacuation.

According to inmates interviewed by Human Rights Watch, they had no food or water from the inmate’s last meal over the weekend of August 27-28 until they were evacuated on Thursday, September 1. By Monday, August 29, the generators had died, leaving them without lights and sealed in without air circulation. The toilets backed up, creating an unbearable stench.

“They left us to die there," Dan Bright, an Orleans Parish Prison inmate told Human Rights Watch at Rapides Parish Prison, where he was sent after the evacuation.

As the water began rising on the first floor, prisoners became anxious and then desperate. Some of the inmates were able to force open their cell doors, helped by inmates held in the common area. All of them, however, remained trapped in the locked facility.

“The water started rising, it was getting to here," said Earrand Kelly, an inmate from Templeman III, as he pointed at his neck. “We was calling down to the guys in the cells under us, talking to them every couple of minutes. They were crying, they were scared. The one that I was cool with, he was saying ‘I'm scared. I feel like I'm about to drown.' He was crying."

Some inmates from Templeman III have said they saw bodies floating in the floodwaters as they were evacuated from the prison. A number of inmates told Human Rights Watch that they were not able to get everyone out from their cells.

Inmates broke jail windows to let air in. They also set fire to blankets and shirts and hung them out of the windows to let people know they were still in the facility. Apparently at least a dozen inmates jumped out of the windows.

"We started to see people in T3 hangin' shirts on fire out the windows," Brooke Moss, an Orleans Parish Prison officer told Human Rights Watch. “They were wavin' em. Then we saw them jumping out of the windows . . . Later on, we saw a sign, I think somebody wrote `help' on it."

As of yesterday, signs reading “Help Us," and “One Man Down," could still be seen hanging from a window in the third floor of Templeman III.

Several corrections officers told Human Rights Watch there was no evacuation plan for the prison, even though the facility had been evacuated during floods in the 1990s.

“It was complete chaos," said a corrections officer with more than 30 years of service at Orleans Parish Prison. When asked what he thought happened to the inmates in Templeman III, he shook his head and said: “Ain't no tellin’ what happened to those people."

“At best, the inmates were left to fend for themselves," said Carey. “At worst, some may have died."

Human Rights Watch was not able to speak directly with Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin N. Gussman or the ranking official in charge of Templeman III. A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department told Human Rights Watch that search-and-rescue teams had gone to the prison and she insisted that “nobody drowned, nobody was left behind."

Human Rights Watch compared an official list of all inmates held at Orleans Parish Prison immediately prior to the hurricane with the most recent list of the evacuated inmates compiled by the state Department of Corrections and Public Safety (which was entitled, “All Offenders Evacuated"). However, the list did not include 517 inmates from the jail, including 130 from Templeman III.

Many of the men held at jail had been arrested for offenses like criminal trespass, public drunkenness or disorderly conduct. Many had not even been brought before a judge and charged, much less been convicted.
no comments yetChris Greenwalt left a comment at 8:21 pm 09/20
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Ten Things I Hate About My Dogs
  1. Their breath. What is it about dogs and bad breath? Even cats' mouths don't stink so bad! (And before you all start sniggering-like-cba, "eeew, zorkie smelled the cat's breath," just keep in mind that I only did this for the sake of research and anyway how would you compare a cat's and a dog's breath?)

  2. Poop. I really wish they didn't.

  3. Their neediness. "Feed me! Feed me! I need potato chips! I need cheese! I need a cookie! I need watermelon!" All the time, "I need, I need, I need!" I'm sick of it.

  4. Their hygiene. To keep it short, they don't have any.

  5. Their nosiness. Which reminds me, they say curiosity killed the cat, why is the rule different for dogs?

  6. Their twisted manipulations. They pretend they have to go out in the middle of the night when they know very well they could hold it until morning, like I do.

  7. Their lies. "We know nothing about this pee stain, we swear!" Uh-huh.

  8. Three years together, they still won't share a toy. How's that for selfishness.

  9. Their size. Pathetic.

  10. I hate it when they get happy. They get [Invis-O-Text™: ON] little tiny erections. It's really gross. [Invis-O-Text™: OFF]
no comments yetChris Greenwalt left a comment at 8:21 pm 09/20
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