dimecres, 31 de desembre del 2008

85 anys, ex-parlamentari, jueu, i pacifista.

“Gush Shalom” has acceded to my wish to mark my 85th birthday not with a public celebration, as on my 80th, but with a brain-storming session devoted to the main issues concerning Israel.

At the close of the event, I was given the floor. This is what I said:


I have to admit that I am moved. Throughout my long life I have not been pampered with expressions of affection. I am much more used to manifestations of hate. Therefore, please excuse me if I am a bit embarrassed.

PEOPLE ASK ME: How does it feel to be 85?

Well, it is strange. After all, only yesterday I was 42, the youngest member of the Knesset. I don’t feel any older or wiser than I did then.

85 is (in the old Hebrew way of numbering by letters) PH. PH can mean “poh”, here - and yes, I am here and fully intend to remain here for a while to come – first, because I enjoy it, and second, because I still have some things to finish.

PH can also mean peh, mouth – the mouth that enables me to voice my thoughts. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the thoughts that are occupying my mind today.

What is special about 85-year-olds in Israel? First of all, we are the generation that founded the state. As such – I feel – we bear an additional responsibility for what is happening here. If our state is not what we imagined it should be – it’s our duty to act to change it.

AND HERE we face a strange paradox. We are partners in a historic success. And we are partners in a dismal failure.

Perhaps only members of my generation can fully grasp the extend of our success in the transformation of the national consciousness.

Many people ask me: where do I draw my optimism from when the situation becomes very bad, when good people are seized by depression and despair? At such moments I remind myself - and remind the people who listen to me – where we started from. I bring this up again and again for those who did not live through it, and those who have forgotten:

On the morrow of that war, the ‘48 war, when some of us said that there exists a Palestinian people and that we must make peace with them, we were a tiny handful here and in the whole world. We were laughed at. There are no Palestinians, we were told. “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people!” Golda Meir was still asserting much later.

Is there anyone today who denies the existence of the Palestinian people?

We argued that in order to achieve peace, a Palestinian state must come into being. They laughed at us. What? Why? There is Jordan. There is Egypt. There are 22 Arab states. That’s enough!

Today it is a world-wide consensus – two states for two peoples.

We said that we must talk with the enemy, and the enemy was then the PLO. Four cabinet ministers demanded that I should be put on trial for high treason when I met with Yasser Arafat in Beirut during the siege. All four of them later met with Arafat, and the State of Israel signed official treaties with the PLO.

True, the treaties were not implemented and did not lead to peace. But the mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO, between Israel and the Palestinian people, became a fact. That was a revolution, and it cannot be reversed.

Today we are saying: we must talk with Hamas. Hamas is an integral part of the Palestinian reality. And this idea, too, is gaining ground.

What an uproar we caused when we said that Jerusalem must become the capital of the two states! Today almost everybody knows that this must happen, that it will happen.

I have devoted 60 years of my life to this struggle, and it is still in full swing. But we have defeated the idea of a Greater Israel and put forward the alternative of the two states, which has carried conviction in Israel and throughout the world. So much so, that even those in the successive Israeli governments who strongly oppose the idea are now compelled to pretend to support it in order to attract votes.

Think about this when you feel despair. Look at the whole picture, not only at the nearest small part of it.

BUT AS BIG as our victory is our defeat.

It is enough to look at these coming elections: the three big parties talk almost the same language, and not one of them puts forward a plan for peace.

There are small parties which say good and honest things, but at this juncture we simply need more than that. What is lacking is a major political force that is ready to come to power in order to make peace.

It is quite clear that the results of this coming election will be bad – and the only question is whether they will be just bad, or very bad, or even worse.

Why is this happening? There are many reasons, many pretexts. We criticize – and rightly so - many things, the media, the education system, all our successive governments, the President of the United States, all the world.

But I miss one criticism – the criticism of ourselves.

My father used to tell me: if the situation is bad, the first thing to do is to ask yourself if you are alright. So I am asking: Am I alright? Are we alright?

Yes, we have voiced the right ideas. Our ideas have won. But what have we done to realize these ideas in practice, on the political battlefield?

Politics is a matter of power. What have we done to create a progressive political force in Israel? How did it happen that the Left, the camp of peace and progress, has almost been eradicated from the political map? Why don’t we have political power, why don’t we have, for example, even one newspaper, radio or TV station? How did the Israeli Left lose, in the last generation, all its levers of power?

We in the peace camp include many wonderful men and women, who confront the army every week in the fight against the Wall, who monitor the checkpoints, who refuse to serve in the occupation army, who fight against the occupation in dozens of ways. Many of us, of all ages, take part in these actions.

But while we stand and protest, the settlers rush ahead. Another goat and another dunam (1000 square meters), another hill and another outpost. Sometimes I, too, have the feeling that the dogs bark and the caravan moves on – and I am not content with being the dog. We chase the mosquitoes, but the swamp that produces the mosquitoes gets bigger and bigger.

The swamp is political. Only a political force can drain it. In other words: only a force that can confront the ruling powers, influence the decisions of the government and the Knesset.

That is a historic failure, and we bear the responsibility for it.

IF I may be permitted to voice a birthday wish: the day after the elections I would like us to start thinking about the next elections.

We have to think anew. From the ground up. Examine everything we have done up to now and find out where we went wrong.

Why did we not succeed in convincing enough of the young, of the Oriental Jewish community, of the immigrants from Russia, of the Arab community in Israel, of the moderate religious sector – that there is somebody to talk with, that it is possible to bring about change, that indeed – we can! Why did we not succeed in touching the heart of the young generation that is disgusted by politics – by the politics they know?

What is needed is something completely new, a new act of creation. I would say: we must prepare the ground for an Israeli Obama.

Obama means: to kindle hope where there was no hope before. To demand a change from the foundations up and believe that it is possible to bring about this change. To ignite the enthusiasm of masses of young people for a message that stirs the heart, a message of ending the occupation, of social justice, of caring for the planet. The longing for a different system – secular, just, decent, seeking peace.

The new message must address the mind and the heart, speak to the emotions and not only to the intellect. It must arouse again the idealism that is hiding in many a heart and dare not show its face.

The great obstacle to such an explosion is despair. It is so much easier to despair. So much more comfortable. It doesn’t demand anything. It is easier to say that everything is lost. That they have stolen our state. But pessimism, as is well known, does not give birth to anything, it just leads to internal or external emigration.

I refuse to be pessimistic. In my 85 years I have seen too many unexpected, surprising, amazing, things – both good and bad – for me not to believe in the unexpected. Obama was unexpected, and here it happened before our very eyes. The fall of the Berlin wall was unexpected, and nobody could even have imagined it a moment before it happened. Even the victory of the Greens in the recent municipal election in Tel-Aviv was like that.

I WANT to propose the start of a new endeavor a day after the elections. I would like the best of the intellectuals and the peace activists, the social activists and the fighters for the environment to gather and start thinking together, in order to bring about the Israeli miracle.

Perhaps there should be a grand congress of those who want change, a Sanhedrin of peace and human rights activists, a kind of alternative Knesset.

From the heights of my 85 years I want to call all those to whom our future here is close to the heart, Jews and Arabs, and especially the young, to mobilize for a joint effort to prepare the ground for the big change, for the Other Israel, for a state where it will be fun to live, an Israel we can be proud of.

This is not a game that can be played between existing organizations, but a completely new political creation, that will speak a new language, that will bring a new message.

I believe that this will happen, if not tomorrow then the day after. I wish for myself, and for all of you present in this hall, that we shall see it with our own eyes, that we shall be partners, that we shall be able to say: we have succeeded, we are entrusting the state to good hands.

AND NOW I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you, my friends, who have come to mark my birthday with me by exchanging views and debating the issues that are so important to all of us.

Heartfelt thanks to the moderators and the speakers, who have bared the issues for us, to the organizers of this beautiful event, to the members of Gush Shalom who made it possible. Thanks to all of you, who have come from near and afar, and thanks for the good wishes you have showered on me.

I couldn’t imagine a more enjoyable and exciting birthday. Thank you.

Una caseta a la muntanya? o al desert... aixó si als EEUU, Rebaixes fí de temporada

Property Values

What You Get for ... $150,000

Stewart Cairns for The New York Times

A three-bedroom one-and-a-half-bath house in the Adirondack Park Preserve is on the market for $173,000. More Photos >

Published: December 30, 2008

Morristown, Ariz.

WHAT: A one-bedroom one-bath set of buildings in the Sonora Desert

HOW MUCH: $125,000


SETTING: The property is on a mesa about an hour north of Phoenix. Adjacent to the land is Lake Pleasant, a man-made reservoir with places to fish, boat, hike and scuba dive.

COMMON SPACES: The house is divided into three buildings: one for living, one for sleeping and one as a studio for ceramics and metalwork. The current owner uses a solar-powered generator.

PERSONAL SPACES: The house’s bedroom is separated from the living area by sliding doors and a walkway.

OUTDOOR SPACE: The lot is covered in desert rock, brush and hedge. There are views of a canyon from the back deck, and Lake Pleasant can be seen from a ridge nearby.

TAXES: $225 a year

CONTACT: Scott Jarson, Jarson & Jarson Real Estate (480) 425-9300; www.azarchitecture.com

Indian Lake, N.Y.

WHAT: A three-bedroom one-and-a-half-bath house in the Adirondack Park Preserve

HOW MUCH: $173,000


SETTING: This house is located on a cul-de-sac at the end of a 100-foot-long road. No neighbors are visible from the yard. Indian Lake is home to about 1,500 residents. There are several rivers, lakes and streams in the area for fishing pike, pickerel, perch and trout. Nearby is a network of trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Lake George is about an hour away; Lake Placid — and the Whiteface ski resort — is about two hours; so is Albany International Airport.

COMMON SPACES: The house’s living room has a wall of windows with southern exposure. (The current owner grows her tomatoes indoors.) There are tile floors and a wood-burning stove. Exposed wood inside the house is Douglas fir collected by the house’s builder and previous owner, a contractor.

PERSONAL SPACES: One of the three bedrooms upstairs has a deck; all have views of the forest.

OUTDOOR SPACE: The property is planted with perennials, an apple tree and bushes bearing blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

TAXES: $1,200 a year

CONTACT: Nanci Vineyard, Adirondack by Owner (518) 648-0173; www.adkbyowner.com

Leadville, Colo.

WHAT: A two-bedroom one-bath house

HOW MUCH: $159,000


SETTING: The house is on a residential street near Harrison Avenue, the main strip of Leadville’s historic district. Leadville, a town of 2,800 people, is nearly two miles above sea level. Old mines in the area are open for tours. Breckenridge is an hour away; Vail and Aspen are about 45 minutes; and Denver is about an hour and a half.

COMMON SPACES: The living room has a wood-burning stove; and parts of the interior — including several doors and the bathroom’s claw-foot tub — are original to the house.

PERSONAL SPACES: Both bedrooms were recently repainted.

OUTDOOR SPACE: The backyard has views of the Rockies.

TAXES: $686.38

CONTACT: Amy Tait, RE/MAX Aspen Leaf Realty (970) 390-8954; www.leadvillehomes.com

Prohibiu els panxots i les esquenes peludes

Un diputat "reverendo" de un partit democristià australià ha llançat aquesta proposta coincidint amb l'inici del estiu, tornem al concepte de "platges familiars". La resposta d'un grup de dones locals: Prohibiu els panxots i les esquenes peludes.

Lanciata dal deputato reverendo Nile

Australia: proposta per proibire topless
in spiaggia nel Nuovo Galles del Sud

«L'esposizione dei seni delle donne sarà vietata. Le famiglie non vogliono vedere queste cose»

SYDNEY - Il reverendo Fred Nile, deputato del Parlamento del Nuovo Galles del Sud e presidente del minoritario Partito cristiano democratico, ha presentato la proposta per vietare il topless sulle spiagge del più popoloso Stato australiano. Il reverendo Nile intende rendere più severe le leggi esistenti sull'abbigliamento al mare. «La legge è chiara. L'esposizione dei seni delle donne sarà vietata», ha spiegato Nile.

PROTESTE - Secondo Paul Gibson, un altro parlamentare del Nuovo Galles del Sud, le famiglie non vogliono vedere donne in topless. Alle radio sono giunte molte telefonate di protesta per la proposta di legge. In Australia le spiagge di nudisti sono legali in tutti gli Stati tranne che nel Queensland. La proposta in pratica non ha nessuna possibilità di venire accolta, dal momento che i leader dei due principali partiti nel Parlamento del Nuovo Galles del Sud hanno detto che spetta ai singoli Comuni stabilire quali sono i limiti della decenza sulle spiagge. In Australia c'è il più alto tasso al mondo di melanoma, il cancro della pelle.

30 dicembre 2008


Una reacció anónima a la entrada de Hildebrant (periodista peruà enllaçat al títol)

Anónimo dijo...

Penosamente tenemos que aceptar la limpieza etnica de Palestina, todo sea en nombre de la democracia. Asi es, como son miserables e inferiores los palestinos, su desaparicion es justificable pero lamentable.

Un gobierno elegido democraticamente como Hamas, tiene que ser barrido del mapa lamentablemente... ya que Occidente tiene doble estandares morales sobre la democracia (No es malo ya que esto resguarda la verdadera democracia). No es culpa de Occidente o de Israel, la culpa es de los ciudadanos de Gaza que no saben elegir a los lideres que Israel y Occidente gustan.

Si han muerto mas de 380 palestinos y muchos de ellos niños, no es culpa de Israel... es culpa de los palestinos. El gobierno de Israel hace lo que tiene que hacer y es corregir el problema que los palestinos han creado: Elegir democraticamente a los gobernantes que han querido.

La autodeterminacion es una termino eufemistico en este caso... solo es bueno para los elegidos, para el resto no. Los ciudadanos de Gaza han estado sin alimentos, medicinas, asistencia medica durante meses... pero la culpa es de ellos no de Israel. Porque han elegido mal y deben pagar las consecuencias todos... los niños, ancianos, enfermos... es lamentable pero que mas se puede hacer ya que ellos son los culpables de todo por su perfido terrorismo.

Al contrario del terrorismo de Hamas, lo que practica el gobierno de Israel es el castigo colectivo que es una practica aceptada por todos los paises como metodo humanitario y democratico para lidiar con el terrorismo... puede sonar como terrorismo el castigo colectivo, pero no nos confundamos ya que el castigo colectivo esta amparado por la ley internacional y la ONU. Asi que es totalmente justificado esta politica...

Asi que si es que tienen verdadero espiritu democratico y humano repitan conmigo:

La Guerra es la Paz
La Libertad es la Esclavitud
La Ignorancia es la Fuerza

dilluns, 29 de desembre del 2008

guerra química (de la BBC)

'Viagra lure' for Afghan warlords

Viagra pills, generic pic
Viagra is not always known about in rural areas of Afghanistan

America's CIA has found a novel way to gain information from fickle Afghan warlords - supplying sex-enhancing drug Viagra, a US media report says.

The Washington Post said it was one of a number of enticements being used.

In one case, a 60-year-old warlord with four wives was given four pills and four days later detailed Taleban movements in return for more.

"Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people," the Post quoted one agent as saying.

"Whether it's building a school or handing out Viagra."

'Silver bullet'

The newspaper said the use of Viagra had to be handled sensitively as the drug was not always known about in rural areas.

It quoted one retired agent as saying: "You didn't hand it out to younger guys, but it could be a silver bullet to make connections to the older ones."

In the case of the 60-year-old warlord - the head of a clan in southern Afghanistan who had not co-operated - operatives saw he had four younger wives.

The pills were explained and offered. Four days later the agents returned.

"He came up to us beaming," the Post quoted an agent as saying. "He said, 'You are a great man.'

"And after that we could do whatever we wanted in his area."

The pills could put chieftains "back in an authoritative position", another official said.

The paper said the CIA had a long line of inducements for the notoriously fickle warlords, including dental work, visas, toys and medicine.

It quoted one private security official as saying that simply handing over large sums of money would raise suspicions about newfound wealth.

L'esperança, la joia, el futur, en una imatge.

Misa multitudinaria en Madrid

Tres personas se santiguan poco antes del comienzo de la misa oficiada por el cardenal-arzobispo de Madrid. (EFE)

diumenge, 28 de desembre del 2008

la festa de graduació (del Telegraph)

Ahir en veure les imatges a la tele, vaig pensar que havien atacat un objectiu militar de Hamas, però avui veig que es tractava de la cerimònia de graduació dels nous policies (alló de que tiren la gorra al aire), però aquí sols van fer una cinquena part de la carnisseria.

Israel attack on Gaza: Fragile peace shattered again

The young Palestinian cadets who gathered in Gaza City’s police headquarters on Saturday would have been buzzing with excitement as they prepared for their passing out ceremony.

Gaza attacks: bodies outside Hamas police HQ
A Palestinian cradles the body of a Hamas policeman as others look for survivors outside the Hamas police headquarters following the Israeli air strike on Gaza City.

Proud mothers and fathers would have been invited to the parade, where the salute was to be taken by Major-General Tawfiq Jaber, the commander of the police force in the Gaza Strip, which has been controlled by the militant Islamist movement, Hamas, since June 2007.

What nobody on the ground knew was that, just as the band played and the cadets formed up to march past Gen Jaber, they were in the cross-hairs of the Israeli air force.

It is not yet known if the gathering was hit by a guided missile or, as is more likely, a laser-guided bomb. What is certain is that a huge explosion ripped through the scene, killing at least 40 people, including the General.

Within minutes fifty sites, all Hamas police and security force facilities located from Rafah in the south to Gaza City in the north, were attacked by 60 jet fighters. Saturday is a normal working day in Gaza and all these buildings were occupied.

Plumes of thick black smoke rose into the grey winter sky the length and breadth of the Strip as the first wave of Israeli air strikes took place.

F-16 jets were heard overhead, along with the clatter of helicopter gunships and the whine of engines from unmanned drones.

At ground level, the air was filled the sound of ambulance sirens and the wailing of relatives gathered at Gaza’s numerous mortuaries, places that have seen plenty of carnage-fuelled grief over the years.

Once the smoke and dust cleared at the police headquarters, rescuers gingerly began searching the scene for signs of life. There were few.

Most of the fatalities appeared to be in uniform, although it is probable civilians were killed in the police compound.

With Israel restricting the entry of foreign reporters to Gaza, authoritative accounts of what happened came from local sources. The Telegraph’s fixer in Gaza went into mourning after losing a cousin in the attack.

A local television cameraman filmed uniformed bodies piled up on top of each other as all around the wounded writhed in pain.

Rescuers carried those showing signs of life to cars and ambulances, while others tried to revive the unconscious. Several of the rescuers beat their heads and shouted: "Allahu akbar (God is greatest)." One badly wounded, prostrate man quietly recited verses from the Koran.

Islam Shahwan, the Hamas police spokesman, gave the death toll at the police headquarters as at least forty. This was the most prominent target of Israel’s most punishing assault on the Gaza Strip since the end of the Second Intifada in 2004.

The Israeli government gave the green light for the military operation at a meeting of the National Security Cabinet on Christmas Day. The NSC met to deliberate how to deal with the expiry of a six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on Dec 19.

Hopes for a renewal of the truce had been scuppered by tit-for-tat exchanges that began when Israeli ground forces raided Gaza in November. Their aim was to close down a tunnel linking Gaza with neighbouring Egypt. Militants were preparing to use this to smuggle in rockets to launch at southern Israel.

That ground operation, during which three Palestinian fighters were killed, sealed the fate of the ceasefire. The militants began to fire rockets in large numbers at the towns of southern Israel for the first time in months, placing commanders under immediate pressure to respond.

Israel will hold a general election in February and politicians cannot appear anything but robust in dealing with the threat posed by rocket fire from Gaza.

After the NSC’s decision to authorise a military operation, the only question was what kind of attack would follow. Israel has used ground forces before, but this has never provided a lasting solution to the menace of the rockets launched from Gaza.

This time, Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, Ehud Barak, the defence minister, and other security chiefs decided on something quite different.

Instead of a ground offensive or pinprick air attacks, they would order a massive air assault on all known Hamas security targets. Hamas operatives did not fire all the rockets launched from Gaza - other militant groups such as the Islamic Jihad Party fired many. But Israel believes that Hamas, as the governing power in Gaza, could be held responsible and targeted accordingly.

The office of Ehud Olmert, Israel’s outgoing prime minister, issued a statement explaining that the "cabinet has tasked the prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister with deciding on the time and manner of the said action". this added: "Following a unanimous decision, the three have decided on the Israeli Air Force strike which took place this morning. Israel stresses that it will continue to take action against the terror attacks and rocket fire emanating form Gaza against Israeli citizens.’’

After the first round of air attacks, the Israeli air force sent up patrols to deal with the predicted wave of retaliatory rocket launches.

After the initial round of strikes, sources inside Gaza reported more explosions as the air force sought to destroy rocket-launching parties.

However, they failed to stop all the retaliation. Late in the morning, an Israeli man was killed by a rocket in the Israeli town of Netivot. He was the first Israeli to die as a result of Palestinian rocket attacks since June.

In total, nine Israelis have been killed by rockets launched from Gaza since 2005, when it withdrew from the territory and dismantled all settlements.

Yesterday alone saw over 200 Palestinian deaths.

el guardià en el camp d'opi

Sona a Salinger però és la heréncia de la col:laboració Blair-Bush. Soldat britanic patrullant un camp de opi.

perqué Déu no cura els amputats?

clicar el titol

Si us hà interessat us afageixo la web del lloc


the elephant in the room

Jà a meitat del període de festes, i després de veure la reacció (força irada per cert), del Hildebrant a la maternitat de la Virgen María peruana (veure els blogs enllaçats a la dreta), us afageixo aquest documental de principis del 2006 "The God delusion" (subtitulat en espanyol) de Richard Dawkins professor de Biología a Oxford, i ateu militant. Lligaría amb el post del 19 de dessembre de Ben Sixteen agraïnt els esforços qu fà la ciència per posar de manifest la grandesa de Déu.
(Clicar al títol).

dissabte, 27 de desembre del 2008

la idea inicial era posar-li el nom d'un futbolista, finalment s'han decidit per aquest

Peru Christmas baby named Jesus

Virgen Maria, Adolfo and baby Jesus Emanuel (photo: National Perinatal Institute)
A Peruvian nativity (photo: National Perinatal Institute)

A Peruvian woman called Virgen Maria, who is married to a carpenter, has named her son Jesus Emanuel after giving birth on Christmas Day.

Twenty-year-old Virgen Maria Huarcaya Palomino had not been due to give birth on Thursday, but went into labour early and underwent a Caesarean operation.

Her husband, who shares the same profession as Saint Joseph, is in fact called Adolfo Jorge Huaman.

He said the couple had been planning to name their son after a football player.

"But thanks to a happy coincidence this is how things ended up," he said.

Baby Jesus was born at 0220 local time (0720 GMT) on 25 December at the National Perinatal Institute in Lima and weighed 3.32kg.

His mother said: "I am so happy to give birth on such a special date. I didn't think that my baby was going to be born today and now that I have him in my arms I am very happy."

Virgen Maria means Virgin Mary in English. She told local television that her grandfather, a devotee of the Virgin Mary, had chosen her own unusual name, with which, until now, she had not felt comfortable.

"In school they made fun of my name," she said.

La vida de Bryan (gairabé trenta anys després encara looking at the bright side of life)

A partir de una serie de analissis del Guardian sobre la compatibilitat del relat, l'atrezzo, els personatges amb el contexte històric.

Life of Brian: birth, blessings and blasphemy

Monty Python's comedy about an ordinary man being mistaken for the messiah makes us look on the bright side of life – and gives us a fairly accurate portrayal of first-century Judea

The Life of Brian

Scenes of Roman life: Monty Python's The Life of Brian. Photograph: Kobal

Director: Terry Jones
Entertainment grade: A
History grade: C

  1. Life Of Brian
  2. Release: 1979
  3. Country: UK
  4. Cert (UK): 15
  5. Runtime: 93 mins
  6. Directors: Terry Jones
  7. Cast: Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
  8. More on this film

Monty Python's Life of Brian follows the story of Brian Cohen, a half-Roman, half-Israelite man, living in Judea in AD 33, on a Saturday afternoon, at around teatime. Brian is a snack vendor and member of the anti-Roman resistance, and is shown to live contemporaneously with Jesus of Nazareth.


The Life of Brian

The film opens with three wise men from the orient arriving in a stable to bestow gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on a newborn baby. The scene is based on the account of Jesus' birth in the gospel of Matthew, though Matthew does not record a mishap whereby the magi accidentally bestow their gifts on Terry Jones in a dress. As for non-biblical first century sources, they too are curiously silent on the matter. It must be admitted that there is little evidence for the existence of the historical Brian. However, it is considered acceptable in academic circles to view Monty Python as fiction.


The Life of Brian

Brian and his mother are trying to listen to Jesus speak, but from the back of the crowd it's hard to hear. Following some confusion – "Blessed are the cheesemakers?" – they go instead to watch a man being stoned for blasphemy. Though stoning was not a legal punishment in Greek or Roman law, it was one of the four forms of capital punishment in the Jewish criminal code, along with decapitation by sword, strangulation, and being made to drink molten lead. As the film correctly hints, stoning was extremely popular with angry mobs. The Bible advises stoning for, among other offences, being a wizard, touching Mount Sinai while Moses receives the ten commandments, rebelling against your parents, or goring someone to death, if you are an ox. Further to this, stoning was often carried out summarily against traitors, and bad actors.


The Life of Brian

Having joined the People's Front of Judea (rejecting the rival Judean People's Front), Brian is sent in the middle of the night to write "Romans go home" on the governor's palace. As he is scrawling the words "Romanes eunt domus," a centurion apprehends him. "What's this, then?" he barks. "People called Romanes, they go, the house?" Incensed, he grills Brian on the Latin grammar, finally achieving the correct "Romani ite domum". Genuine examples of contemporary graffiti, best preserved at Pompeii from AD 79, reveal that even native Latin speakers had trouble with the complexities of case and declension. They also reveal a lot of filthy gossip about prostitutes and gladiators but, seeing as that is not strictly relevant to the film, interested readers will just have to look it up for themselves. It certainly makes the later joke about a Roman called Biggus Dickus seem very much in keeping with the humour of the first century.


The Life of Brian

Despite a long and mostly historically accurate list of things the Romans did for us (sanitation, roads, irrigation, medicine, education, viticulture, public order and peace), the People's Front of Judea continues its campaign to drive them out. Misfortune prevails, and Brian is captured, then sentenced to be crucified. Worse yet, he's crucified next to Eric Idle playing a cheeky local prankster. The prankster can't resist regaling Brian with anecdotes about his brother. "Randy little bugger. Up and down like the Assyrian Empire." The Assyrian Empire, though it did fluctuate in strength, had gone down finally over six hundred years before this scene is set. Making the joke old in AD 33, but not inaccurate.


The Life of Brian

Bearing in mind that the Pythons probably didn't have historical truth at the absolute top of their agenda, The Life of Brian gives a surprisingly respectable nod towards first-century Judea. The Tunisian locations make a good substitute for the Holy Land, the sets and costumes – aside from in the brief scene where Brian is kidnapped by aliens – are convincing, and there's a commendable feel for the contemporary sense of popular resentment against the Roman Empire. Historically speaking, there's no reason to stop looking on the bright side of life.

divendres, 26 de desembre del 2008

les bombolles futures

Després de les hipoteques, dels fons, dels habitatges, s'en preveuen tres més, però amb la expectativa de que deixin alguns valors sólids (infraestructura pública, sanitat, i energía-producció sostenibles. Una mica llarg però interessant.

Why I'm Rooting for 3 Big Economic Bubbles

By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real. Posted December 26, 2008.

We need a healthcare bubble, an infrastructure bubble and a green bubble right now -- or else the whole thing will pop.

Let's see, I've lived and worked through how many bubbles and bubble pops?

My first bubble must have been the real estate bubble that developed during the Carter Presidency. Housing prices in my Northern California region were popping up 2% a month. Everyone and their uncle suddenly wanted to buy a "fixer upper" and cash in.

That bubble burst sometime late in 1979, if I recall properly, which I should since I owned a real estate company at the time. I knew the end was near for that bubble when suddenly the investors showing up in my office weren't grizzled old pros, but average Joes. "Hi, my neighbor and I scrapped together five grand and we want to invest it in a fixer upper," they'd tell me.

I took that as a sure sign that the jig was up. I sold my office and went looking for another line of work. That turned out being the newspaper business, which is a story for another day.

After that I avoided bubbles until 1996, when I suddenly found myself in wallet deep in a San Francisco Internet startup, Quokka Sports. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeha! What ride that was. We burnt through $164 million in venture capital money in less than 40 months. And when the dust settled in 2001 all that was left were 438 over-priced Herman Miller desk chairs, a ping pong table and a couple of tons of empty Cheeto bags.

Of course, we were just one of hundreds of dot com companies that flared like new-born stars, burnt brightly for a short time, then went super nova, leaving nothing behind but a big ass echo and lot of dust. (The dust would be all that dot.com stock ordinary folks bought like lemmings at the top of the curve…. as they always do - just like those two neighbors I mentioned above who were gonna get rich buying fixer uppers..)

That's the way of bubbles. They are fueled by hope, greed and -- most of all -- other people's money. And the money is easy to get. Hell the bubblemisters don't even have go get the stuff. Other people bring it to them by the truckload and beg them to take the stuff.

When the bubble bursts the bubblemisters shrug and mumble things like, "Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained," and "Hey, don't blame me, you're the one who begged us to let you in on the action." (My favorite rationalization during the dot.com bubble came when a reporter asked a venture capitalist why they continue funding CEOs who ran failed dot.com companies. "Because you can't encourage risk-taking by punishing failure," he replied. Easy for him to say, since he was investing what? - Other people's money.)

But the real problem with most bubbles is not that people lose money. The real problem with bubbles is that the amount of money lavished on bubble-stuff rarely creates anything near the amount of useful tangibles that could have invented/produced with the commensurate amount of money.

Nobel Prize winning economist and columnist, Paul Krugman wrote yesterday;

"…once the economy has perked up a bit, there will be a lot of pressure on the new administration to pull back, to throw away the economy's crutches….The point is that it may take a lot longer than many people think before the U.S. economy is ready to live without bubbles.."

Now, while I agree with that in principle, I am rooting for three more bubbles;
  • An infrastructure building boom bubble
  • A universal healthcare bubble
  • A green technologies bubble.
Because that's the only way we're going to deal with the challenges that face us.

Thanks to Global Warming deniers in both government and industry, we are at least 25-years behind the curve on addressing human contributions to global climate change. And there's simply no way normal market forces are going to spend what it will take to catch up. In fact many industries, like coal and oil, have taken a page right out of the old Big Tobacco playbook, pumping out junk science and junkier scientists to counter such efforts.

The only way to catch up is to ignite the same animal passion that fuels every bubble - greed. "Make some green by investing green," needs to become one of America's investment mantras. "A healthy American is a consuming American" is another good one.

There are some early signs that just that kind of thing may be beginning to happen. With Democrats back in power, and the billions of fresh dollars rolling off the presses in DC, investors smell new opportunities in new places - the kind of places Democrats and the incoming Obama administration say they favor - healthcare, infrastructure and all things green.
Need capital? Green start-ups may fare best in tough '09

December 17, 2008 --Start-up companies in green industries stand the best chance of getting venture capital funding in 2009 -- in what will otherwise be a dismal year for entrepreneurs looking for money, a new venture industry survey suggests.

"We will likely see a marked slowdown of new investments as venture capitalists turn their attention to supporting existing companies," said Mark Heesen, NVCA president. Despite the overall slowdown expected in venture funding, 48% of venture capitalists predicted increased investment in clean technology businesses, ranking that sector at the top of list of industries likely to get more funding. The life sciences industry, including biotech, ranked second."

The pressure on the incoming Obama administration to change the direction of the Bush bailouts will be overwhelming. Ordinary Americans have no sympathy for Wall Street companies and bankers who took it up the assets when the housing market collapsed. Nor do Americans have much of appetite for saving the Big Three auto companies, which wasted the last decade rock stupid products like Hummers and other four-wheeled dinosaurs.

So between now and eight years from now over a trillion dollars will be lavished on our long-neglected national infrastructure, expanding and modernizing our healthcare systems and on R&D/deployment of clean, renewable energy sources and technolgies.

Sure, all three areas will become investment bubbles. Duh. America is now and will always be a capitalist nation. It's in our DNA. Everyone wants a piece of whatever is happening now. Don't you? (Don't try that holier than thou crap with me…. you would too.)

And so, "The Greater Fool Theory" will again kick in. New companies will form, new ideas will not only be funded, but over-funded, by venture capitalists eager to grow these new infrastructure, healthcare or green companies fast as they can so they can take them them public, (IPO) and start over again…for as long as the bubble lasts.

Once again, the general public will serve as the greatest fools. As they hear about the millions being made in these three new bubbles they will begin pestering their broker to get them in on these hot IPOs. Day traders will stay up all night online, prowling amatuer investor chat rooms where the sharks play "pump and dump," with the newbies drop who stumble in drooling for an opportunity to snap up the "hottest" new green or healthcare company IPO.

Then, at some point, each of these three bubbles will burst, as all bubbles must. A small number of healthcare and green start ups will actually survive in some form. The lucky ones will be acquired by biggies, like Johnson & Johnson, Exxon, Kaiser Permanente, etc.

But, like the dot.com companies of yore, most will not make it, and they will disappear, along with billions of investor dollars.

But this time, at least, the stuff left behind by the healthcare, infrastructure and green bubbles, will endure long after their creators and funders are long gone. And they will form a modernized foundation upon which a resurgent American economy can not only stand, but grow.

That's what happened after FDR lavished federal funds on dams, roads and bridges, most of which are still in use today. And it happend again when, after WWII, Ike lavished more federal money, knitting the nation together with a new national highway system. Imagine how the America of the 1960 on could have been anything near what it became without all that infrastructure.

And so it will be with the federal money that will spark the healthcare, infrastructure and green bubble of 2009-2017. After that bubblemisters of the future will have new bridges, highways and high-speed trains on which to deliver their goods and services. All Americans will have cleaner water, cleaner air and safer food. Air travelers will enjoy less delays due to new airports and modernized air traffic control systems. Universal healthcare will extend lives and the quality of those lives.

(Of course, conservatives out there will shake their heads at all this. "The government can dump all the money they want into those three areas and the private sector is still not going to invest in something they could lose money on," they'd claim. Not so. Not so. And don't force me to list all money-losing schemes the private sector dumped trillions into over the past couple of decades. The private sector always follows the money… be it other people's money or Uncle Sam's money. Just lay out in the warm sunlight and they'll show up like flies attracted to camel dung. And the very people who claim they won't be attracted to it will be among the first banging on the door to get in once those trains start leaving the station. You can bet the farm on it. History tells us so.)

Ah, but I digress.

The biggest bang for the buck will be generated by all the green technologies nourished and grown by the combination of government and speculative money. Those investments will pay dividends for a century -no, for centuries to come. The return on those investments will be incalculable. Not because we can't do the math, but because all the human wealth on earth would be drop in the bucket by comparison.

Finally we'd enjoy investment bubbles that leave more behind than they consume -- bridges to somewhere..bridges to the future. Imagine if we had a green technology bubble, for example, as large as the recent housing bubble. Imagine that, and what it would leave behind for the future generations.

Bubble on, dudes.


See more stories tagged with: economy, housing, green jobs, bubble

Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, which was nominated for a Pulitzer.

L'infern al paradís

Un altre cop la imatge de la verge encapaçalant un desastre... (l'anterior era la dels incendis de California).
Ara fà exactament quatre anys del tsunami.

Independent Appeal: Mental scars of war and terror

Sri Lanka has one of the world's highest rates of mental illness but until now little medical help was available. Fiona Barton reports

Friday, 26 December 2008

A statue of the Virgin Mary stands among the debris from the tsunami in 2004 one of several disasters that have left Sri Lankans traumatised


A statue of the Virgin Mary stands among the debris from the tsunami in 2004 one of several disasters that have left Sri Lankans traumatised

    Jeff Koons, la pornografía, i els hereus de la corona (de Liberation)

    Culture 26 déc. 6h51

    L’expo Jeff Koons couronnée au château de Versailles


    Le tribunal administratif a débouté mercredi le «descendant direct» de Louis XIV qui portait plainte pour «profanation» et «pornographie».


    Vincent Noce

    "Michael Jackson and Bubbles", une des oeuvres de Jeff Koons exposées au chateau de Versailles. (Benoit Tessier / Reuters)

    Ce n’était pas encore l’appel de Clermont (1), mais pas loin. Posant en représentant moral de Louis XIV en tant que «descendant direct», le prince Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon-Parme a demandé l’interdiction de l’exposition «pornographique» de Jeff Koons défigurant, selon lui, le château de Versailles. Mercredi soir, le tribunal administratif de Versailles, dans une décision fortement motivée, lui a récusé toute légitimité. Le juge des référés a notamment estimé que «l’exposition ne portait pas atteinte au respect de la vie privée et familiale des visiteurs et de leurs enfants». Président de l’établissement et promoteur de cette exposition qui fit grand bruit, Jean-Jacques Aillagon s’est félicité d’une décision qui renvoie les roitelets sinon à la guillotine, du moins aux oubliettes de l’Histoire. «Admettre un droit de regard des familles royales ou aristocratiques sur le patrimoine serait revenu à proclamer que la Révolution n’a pas eu lieu», nous a-t-il déclaré.

    Pin-up. Oubliant combien le château et le parc avaient été d’abord un lieu de plaisirs et de libertinage, Charles-Emmanuel avait engagé un recours pour «profanation» d’un lieu sacré et «atteinte au respect des morts», requérant un tribunal de la République de reconnaître «le droit immémorial au respect de ses aïeux, sans profanation de ses ancêtres», et «le droit d’accéder à la connaissance du patrimoine sans contrainte pornographique». Il se disait notamment choqué par la pin-up enlacée d’une panthère rose, ainsi que par une légende de Koons comparant les fleurs du bouquet dans la chambre de Marie-Antoinette à autant de culs. Il a été aussi chagriné par le buste de son ancêtre, sculpté non dans le marbre, mais dans un «matériau prolétaire»… Le timing princier était pour le moins surprenant, l’exposition censée se terminer le 14 décembre. En fait, Aillagon a décidé de prolonger l’événement révolutionnaire jusqu’au 4 janvier. Le prince de Bourbon-Parme aurait cédé à la pression de représentants de sa famille pour un geste symbolique. Il n’aurait pu rendre meilleur service à l’exposition, dans la mesure où il a réussi à relancer l’intérêt médiatique pour les dernières semaines de la présentation honnie.

    Excités. Le président de Versailles ne peut que se féliciter d’avoir été surtout la cible d’une poignée d’excités de l’extrême droite (Libération du 26 août). Une centaine d’entre eux avait ensuite manifesté devant la grille le jour du vernissage, le 10 septembre. En revanche, l’exposition, montrant pour la première fois le célébrissime artiste américain en France, a eu un accueil critique favorable, voire dithyrambique sous la plume de Philippe Dagen, le chroniqueur du Monde. Et le château annonce 15 % de hausse des entrées par rapport à la même période l’an dernier, ayant reçu 500 000 visiteurs, partagés entre amusement et perplexité devant les 17 œuvres monumentales disséminées dans les appartements royaux et les jardins.

    (1) Le 27 novembre 1095, Urbain II lançait la première croisade.

    Vos commentaires

    dimecres, 24 de desembre del 2008

    papa noel

    24. ¡Mamá, mamá, Papá Noel huele a pacharán!

    Actualizado 24-12-2008 12:03 CET

    ¿Quién es más cruel: los grandes almacenes que malpagan a un pobre parado para que se disfrace de Santa Claus o los padres que obligan a los chiquillos a sentarse en sus rodillas?

    La colección que Scott Clark exhibe en su flickr no tiene desperdicio: 26 instantáneas de niños posando con esos papanoeles que ponen los centros comerciales en Navidad para atraer clientela.

    En las fotografías hay ejemplares de Santa Claus para todos los gustos. Algunos dan el pego, pero la mayoría lo que dan es miedo. Los pequeñines, llorosos, histéricos, acojonados, no acaban de entender por qué sus progenitores les someten a semejante tortura. A partir de este momento, para ellos, el mayor enigma de la Navidad es cómo coño se las apañará un indigente con barba postiza para comprar tantos millones de juguetes y llevarlos a cada una de sus casas. Por eso, el día que les revelan la verdad sobre Papá Noel y los Reyes Magos, juran vengarse de sus padres, que les han hecho creer durante toda su infancia que el hombre más bondadoso del mundo es un tío que cada vez que te pregunta si has sido bueno este año deja en el aire una peste a Anís del Mono que tira para atrás.

    Los adultos no tenemos remedio. Nos preocupan los juguetes bélicos, el exceso de videojuegos, la programación televisiva inadecuada, pero, en cambio, no tenemos reparos en poner a nuestros retoños en brazos de un desconocido sólo porque va enfundado en un esquijama de color rojo y blanco. Eso sí que crea traumas de por vida y no los anuncios sexistas.

    En cuanto vi estas fotos, me acordé del episodio número 1 de los Simpson. El año que viene, por cierto, hará 20 años de su primera emisión. En este capítulo inaugural de la serie, la Central Nuclear en la que Homer trabaja decide no dar a sus trabajadores la paga extra de diciembre, y él se ve obligado a aceptar un empleo como Papá Noel en los Grandes Almacenes de Springfield para sacar algo de pasta con la que comprar los regalos navideños. Si no lo habéis visto, os lo recomiendo encarecidamente. Al final, cuando Bart descubre que ese Santa Claus patético es en realidad su padre, le dice una frase memorable: "Jo papá, tienes que querernos mucho para haber caído tan bajo".

    Es curioso, pero si os fijáis, los verdaderos protagonistas de estas imágenes no son los niños, sino los papanoeles. A mí me inspiran ternura. Hacen el ridículo, pasan frío, soportan a madres e hijos a los que cualquiera querría asesinar. La suya es una dura tarea. Por eso, esta noche, pienso brindar por ellos. Melchores, Gaspares, Baltasares, Santaclauses del mundo, esclavos del marketing navideño, va por ustedes.

    sopar de nadal

    La cena

    Archivado en:
    blog anatoli, navidad
    Actualizado 24-12-2008 14:56 CET

    Ayer, la cosas pintaban fatal. Hoy no es que hayan mejorado, pero las veo de otra forma.


    Un indigente, hoy, en un portal de Sevilla.

    Esto fue que el Ahmed se largó a su pueblo de la morería. Pilló un billete baratísimo y dijo que para lo que tenía que hacer aquí, o sea nada, pues que prefería hacerlo allí. Y adiós muy buenas, que no le esperemos hasta después de Reyes. Yo ya me había hecho a la idea de cenar a solas con el Vladimiro, que no me parecía un planazo propiamente dicho, pero algo es algo. Ni eso. Va el Vladi y me sale con que pasará la Nochebuena con los de su iglesia evangélica. Me invitó a acompañarle, pero ya fui una vez y lo de cantar aleluyas en plan yanqui no es lo mío. Me largué de casa bastante rebotado y fui al súper a comprarme un festín navideño para mí solo, con su Freixenet, su whisky Long John y sus barquillos.

    Iba ya de vuelta, con mi bolsa de exquisiteces, cuando vi a unos tipos cargando cajas en una furgoneta. A uno le conocía, un chaval de Senegal, muy fumeta él y no demasiado currante, porque hará un par de años coincidimos en una obra. Saludé al chaval, que se llama Abdú, y me metí un poco con él porque andaba doblado debajo de una caja de latas de tomate frito: "Venga, Abdú, que tú puedes, piensa en la paga extraordinaria". En cuanto soltó la caja se me vino y me dio un abrazo, "qué pasa, serbio tocacojones" (aclaro que no soy serbio ni tocacojones, es sólo una forma de hablar), y me dijo que ni paga extra ni nada, que estaba en paro y pensando en largarse. "Pues ahora mismo estarás sacándote un dinerillo", le solté. Entonces terció otro desde dentro de la furgoneta: "Aquí no cobra ni Dios, y está mal que yo lo diga".

    Asomé la cabeza y me llevé un corte, porque el de dentro, el que colocaba las cajas, llevaba esa cosa en el cuello que llevan los curas. Un servidor no es muy de curas, la verdad. Otra cosa es negar el saludo. Nos dimos la mano y me explicó que estaban recogiendo comida para una cena navideña con mucha gente. Con vagabundos chiflados, nada menos. Uyuyuy, pensé. Ya estaba apartándome discretamente para darme el piro, porque para desgracias me sobran con las mías, cuando anunció que después de cargar las cajas se pagaba unas cañas. Ahí me tocó el flanco sensible. Hasta eché una mano.

    El tío cumplió e invitó a unas rondas. No parecía un cura, parecía una persona normal, no sé si me explico. Salvando las distancias, o sea, quitando la mayoría de los tacos y las barbaridades, hablaba de sus jefes en el obispado como yo hablaba de los míos cuando trabajaba. Había estado preparando un informe sobre las prostitutas extranjeras, con los problemas del esclavismo, la mala salud, las palizas y demás, hasta que sus jefes decidieron que no valía la pena preocuparse por ellas. Entonces le pusieron a trabajar con la gente medio loca que vive en la calle. Hay a montones. Son esos que por la noche duermen en un cajero o tirados en la acera.

    Acabadas las cervezas, dimos una vuelta y encontramos a una señora totalmente hecha polvo, acurrucada en un portal. El cura la conocía. Por lo visto, estaba invitada al banquete de los mendigos. La señora me vio el whisky en la bolsa y pidió un traguito. El cura le dijo que no, que mejor esperar al brindis de Nochebuena y que ya pasarían a recogerla para llevarla a la cena.

    No sé por qué no le di la botella a la señora. Me sentí muy chungo.

    Tampoco sé cómo acabé apuntándome a la cena de los locos. El caso es que dentro de un rato me voy para allá, a hacer de pinche de cocina.

    Llevaré el whisky, el champán y los barquillos. Será una cena penosa, seguro. Ya les contaré. Pero ahora mismo estoy más animado que ayer. Puede que sea el espíritu navideño. O, más probablemente, que la crisis me ha vuelto gilipollas.

    mitrofan (absolts pels pèls)

    ben sixteen tour 2008 (de Rue 89)

    Le pape à Lourdes : backstage virtuel dans le Ben Sixteen tour 2008

    Cette nuit j'ai fait un rêve , étrange et pénètrant (koikeu !). Entouré d'une bande de scoutons sortis de "Hamster Jovial", j'étais à Lourdes.

    Je me suis réveillé , trempé de stupeur, auprès de mon buisson ardent.

    Pour voir, et écouter, le diaporama de Gilles Vidal en plein écran, cliquez ici

    Backstage à Lourdes.

    Ouf, c'est au dernier moment que j'ai obtenu mon pass "VIP",(Vêpres, Incantations, Prières) pour accéder aux coulisses du Pape Tour 2008.

    C'est pas du Ronsart que nous slame le Papounet, mais y'a un paquet de robes pourpres sur les souliers de satin. Allez mignonnes, allons voir si la grotte....

    Première vertu cardinale, éviter de chanter "Imagine" devant les nonnes, elles sont venues pour Abbaye road.

    Un groupe de lépreux myopathes chante "je suis malade". Pas du goût des gardes suisses qui exfiltrent illico les adeptes du lama.

    Les jeunes filles, jambes croisées et cols claudines sentent bon les JMJ et l'eau de Cologne.

    Quelques Chippendales en short de bure, huilés saintement, font des étirements devant un petit groupe de soeurs Sourire dominicaines.

    Une pièce montée d'hosties multicolores, des "pêts de nonnes", quelques "étouffes chrétiens" et des spiritueux sont proposés aux bénévoles.

    Je cherche de l'eau, en vain...

    Ben Sixteen est en retard, ça grouille dans la grotte, Bernadette s'illumine sous les traits d'une jeune fille pure en tenue de bergère.

    Ça y est je le vois enfin.

    Allelouya Akbar!

    Mais quel est son secret pour avoir une tenue d'un blanc aussi impeccable?

    Panoreportage: le départ de la Papamobile après la procession de l'eucharistie (dimanche fin d'après-midi).

    Pour voir tous les panoreportages de Gilles Vidal, cliquez ici