Good Sunday! We are all still here, and I am a bit disappointed. It would have been real nice to be rid of all these religious right, fetus fanatics and loud mouth politicians. After their Ascension, the rest of us heathens could get back to living a regular life without the constant sermons. Imagine a world where women can make their own choices and have access to affordable health care.
We can only dream…right?
Okay, so on with the show. I have lots of updates on the Arab Spring, and its movement northwest, to the land of Paella and running bulls.
First on our list has to be Syria. The protesters continue to be killed by Assad’s “security forces.” And on Saturday, 11 mourners were killed at the funerals. Syria mourners ‘attacked by security forces’ – Middle East – Al Jazeera English
At least 11 mourners have been killed and at least 27 wounded in Homs after security forces opened fire on a massive funeral procession, according to human rights activists.
More than 40,000 people gathered in Homs on Saturday for the funerals of protesters killed in the city on Friday and were walking back from the cemetery in Tal al Nasser on the outskirts of the city when they were fired on without warning, a witness told Al Jazeera.
The sound of gunfire and cries to help the wounded were audible over the phone as Al Jazeera spoke to the eyewitness.
But lawyer and human rights activist Lina Mansour told Al Jazeera, “Today we’ve lost about 10 people killed in Homs. Tens of people injured as well.”
It seems like these killings have been going on for so long, and it is not even Summer yet.
Another lawyer and human rights activist Razan Zaitouna told Al Jazeera that about 58 people have been killed since Friday and that the number continues to increase by the hour.
Zaitouna said while her human rights group has eleven names of those killed in protests at Homs, the actual death toll is much higher because there are many hospitals in different areas that have not yet been contacted for confirmation of casualties.
“First we should be clear, [the] violence is from one side,” she told Al Jazeera by phone from Damascus.
“People on the street act peacefully and don’t use any kind of violence. So who can stop this violence? It is the regime which uses the violence to crack down. It’s the regime who can stop the violence against the people who are demanding freedom – peacefully,” she said.
Zaitouna said there were many chances for the regime to open dialogue with the Syrian people and to stop the deadly crackdown, but now it might be too late.
According to this report, the number of dead in Syria is around 900: Shootings push death toll in Syria above 900 – The Boston Globe
“International pressure is still weak,’’ said Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut. “Despite Obama’s speech, the regime knows that staying in power is more important and in order to stay in power the regime is ready to do anything.’’
As I said above, the protest in Spain are gaining steam: Defiant Spaniards continue protests – Europe – Al Jazeera English Just look at this picture below, all those hands up, the young people standing up for themselves.
Thousands of demostrators demand social and political changes, the day prior to the elections. [EPA]
Thousands of Spaniards have filled city squares and camped out across the country to protest against government austerity before regional elections on Sunday which are likely to deal a blow to the Socialist government.
“In theory, we are going to continue” the protests after the elections, said Angela Cartagena, a spokeswoman for the organisers at the ramshackle protest ‘village’ that has sprung up in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square.
A “general assembly” of the organisers would be held on Sunday morning to confirm the decision, she said.
In the first major election since the government passed huge spending cuts and unpopular reforms, some voters will have to pick their way through plazas littered with protesters’ tents and makeshift beds to reach polling stations.
Demonstrations are forbidden in Spain on election days and the preceding 24 hours. Spain’s electoral commission on Thursday declared that protests planned for Saturday and Sunday were illegal as they “go beyond the constitutionally guaranteed right to demonstrate.”
Let’s see what comes of this, I wonder what country will be next. Geez, I only wish American women would start gathering in the downtown squares and streets of towns in Wisconsin, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska…damn, not going to pull a Howard Dean…and don’t have the time to list all the states sticking it to women.
Oops, kind of went off on a tangent there.
Back to World News. North Sudan army takes control of Abyei – Africa – Al Jazeera English
North Sudan’s army appears to have gained control of the main town in Sudan’s disputed Abyei region after fierce fighting with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), UN and rebel sources said.
UN officials saw 15 tanks of the Sudanese Armed Forces, the northern army, on Saturday in parts of the key town Abyei where earlier mortars slammed against a UN base, Hua Jiang, the UN spokeswoman said on Saturday.
The United States, one of the main backers of Sudan’s landmark 2005 peace deal, has deplored the attack and urged both sides to stop all unauthorised military actions in Abyei.
Click the link above for a picture of Susan Rice on the ground in Sudan.
In Yemen, just how many times is this dude going to yank the carrot backwards. It has happened so many times, I am surprised the stick that carrot (the agreement) is dangling from isn’t broken. Yemen again nears accord for president to step down – latimes.com
Yemen’s political opposition signed an internationally negotiated deal Saturday that lays the groundwork for an end to PresidentAli Abdullah Saleh’s nearly 33-year rule.
Saleh has said he intends to sign the agreement Sunday. But in a speech Saturday, he dismissed the plan as “a mere coup operation.” He also claimed that if he left office, Yemen’s Al Qaeda offshoot would overrun parts of the country.
Okay, why the hell do all these dictators have to scream and point fingers…
This next link has a very sobering image. It is from The Lens, and thanks to Wonk for highlighting this website in one of her post a couple of months ago. Turning Point: Michel Slomka on the Work of Joachim Eskildsen – NYTimes.com
An old woman in front of me found what she was looking for: her son’s coffin. I remember she stood there, crying. She had no news of her son for so long and now she found him again, in a wooden box. She probably never had the chance to say goodbye. She was stroking the coffin, whispering softly.
Be sure to take a look at it.
For those tweeter’s out there, the US State Department Blog had a post with lots and lots of official Twitter address to follow. Just click the link: @StateDept Passes 100,000 Followers | U.S. Department of State Blog
Okay, on to the US after the jump…
Today’s reads are going to be a bit on the “quick” side. Here is the scope on what has happened today.
Pool photo by Richard Drew
Prosecutors had asked the judge, Melissa C. Jackson, supervising judge of Manhattan Criminal Court, to remand Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62, contending that he was a flight risk. They also indicated that a similar attack may have occurred.
“Some of this information include reports that he has in fact engaged in conduct similar to the conduct alleged in this complaint on at least one other occasion,” said John McConnell, an assistant district attorney, adding that the district attorney’s office was still investigating the other occasion, which occurred outside the United States.
Look at the man’s expression as he waits for his case to be heard…defiant and annoyed are the words that come to mind. What do you think?
At least Judge Melissa C Jackson didn’t buy the defense reasons for Stauss-Kahn’s quick get away.
Indeed, Judge Jackson, before ordering remand, indicated that she was concerned about Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s needing to be stopped at the airport.
“When I hear that your client was at J.F.K. Airport about to board a flight,” she said, “that raises some concern.”
Mr. Strauss-Kahn has been charged with various counts of sexual assault including attempted rape, sexual abuse and criminal sexual act. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
After Judge Jackson announced that Mr. Strauss-Kahn would be held without bail, Mr. Brafman asked if she would be amenable to changing her decision if he were able to strike a deal with the Manhattan district attorney’s office in which his client would wear an ankle monitor. Judge Jackson indicated that she would not change her ruling, meaning that Mr. Brafman may have to make a bail appeal to the appellate court.
It is so good to see that this Judge is standing ground on violence against women. After the crap we have seen from another Judge last week, the one that would not approve the TRO for Planned Parenthood’s Defunding in Indiana, seeing this Judge actions is very encouraging.
The International Court may be getting a warrant issued for Gadaffi and his son and brother in-law for crimes against humanity.
The chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said that Colonel Qaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam Qaddafi and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanousi formed an inner circle that crushed peaceful demonstrations and ordered the use of live ammunition and heavy weapons against protestors.
He said he had “direct evidence” that the three men held meetings to plan and direct the operations. Mr. Qaddafi’s “second-eldest son, Seif al-Islam, is a de facto prime minister, and Abdullah al-Sanousi is his right-hand man, his executioner,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said.
A three-judge panel will decide whether to issue arrest warrants. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo seemed to send a clear message from Western governments when he said that it was not up to others, or NATO, but to Libyans themselves to make any arrests.
On the matter of war crimes, in Sudan Ahmed Haroun, was re-elected by 6,5000 votes on Sunday. Sudan war crimes suspect re-elected – Africa – Al Jazeera English
A Sudanese official wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on war crimes charges has been re-elected governor of a central state in Sudan, according to the country’s electoral commission.
Ahmed Haroun, the candidate for the ruling National Congress Party, defeated the candidate for the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] by 6,500 votes in an election on Sunday.
That allows him to remain governor of Southern Kordofan state, a post he was appointed to in 2009.
Haroun faces charges of murder, rape and the forced expulsion of civilians in Darfur.
He is a staunch ally of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is also wanted by the Netherlands-based tribunal over the conflict in the western Darfur region.
Questions are being raised about possible fraud and rigged elections.
The NYT is reporting that opening the spillways is “working.” Opening of Spillway Seen to Relieve Pressure on River – NYTimes.com
The opening of the Morganza spillway has relieved pressure on levees downriver, leading officials to believe that the Mississippi River will crest at Baton Rouge and New Orleans sooner and at lower levels than had once been predicted.
This next link is something that I noticed while doing Google searches on finding abortion providers in Georgia. ThinkProgress » Anti-Abortion Group Uses Google Ads To Misdirect Women Seeking Abortions
An anti-abortion group called Online for Life is buying up Google ad space as part of a campaign to deliberately mislead and misdirect women seeking information about abortions on the internet, the Washington Independent reported Friday. In order to “intercept” “abortion-determined” women who try to find service providers online, the Texas-based group has made their deceptive ads some of the first hits women see when they use Google to search for “abortion” in certain cities. Several of the ads trick women by appearing to offer full-service medical counseling, but instead re-route them to “crisis pregnancy centers” that perform ultrasounds and try to scare women out of having abortions by telling them false or misleading information about the risks of the procedure.
I don’t have time to discuss this right now…I’ve got to go and pick up my former fetus from cheerleading practice. Damn PLUBs.
Over in Indiana, Planned Parenthood is getting a surge in donations. Good. Indiana Planned Parenthood Sees Flood Of Donations After Defunding
Nicole Robbins, 31, is a single mother in Indianapolis, Indiana, who has been visiting Planned Parenthood for pap tests, breast exams and birth control for nearly six years. Last week, she received some bad news: they can no longer legally accept her Medicaid payments.
“I’m frustrated,” she told HuffPost. “Where do I go now? I know the doctor there, I know the people there, I know it’s confidential, I can always call with any questions or concerns. I don’t want to have to go somewhere else.”
Robbins, who is currently on administrative leave from her nursing home job and thus not earning any income, said the staff at her local Planned Parenthood referred her to the Health Advantage program at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis, a managed care program for low-income and uninsured patients. But the hospital is much more difficult to get to from her house than the Planned Parenthood clinic, and there are many unknowns involved: Will she qualify for the program? Will they offer all the same family planning services as Planned Parenthood? Will there be a long waiting list for appointments?
The actions of Gov. Daniels is more oppressive to women than just making it even harder for them to get an abortion. We all know that. And with the cost of gas and the fact that most women will have to drive further to get health care, it just adds more misery and hardship to women who are already having a hell of a time in this economy. Assholes.
Be sure to post some links in the comments, I look forward to reading them when I get back from town.