New York Times has still not mentioned the AI report on Israel

By any stretch of the word, one would think that the blistering critique of Israel’s apartheid practices by Amnesty International would constitute ‘news’. And yet, as James North writes, a week has passed and the New York Times has still not written a single word on the report. This is from the newspaper that prides itself as being the ‘newspaper of record’ and has on its masthead the slogan “All the news that’s fit to print”, implying that within its pages you will get all the news that you need to know.

This will not come as a surprise to veteran media watchers who have long known that this newspaper serves as a conduit for the message of the Israel lobby in the US, providing cover for Israeli apartheid practices under the guise of being even-handed by occasionally allowing minor criticisms to be written.
[Read more…]

Brian Flores exposes the NFL’s sleazy culture

The National Football League consists of 32 team owned by extremely wealthy people who are mostly white and male and so one would not expect them to be the most ethical of people in terms of the way they do business or the most enlightened when it comes to issues of race. This has already been demonstrated in the way they responded to Colin Kaepernick and the issue of racist team names and mascots. During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, they felt pressured to at least say the right things about racism but it seemed to be the minimal amount that that they could get away with.

American football is a game in which the head coach plays an outsize role in the team’s performance, calling the plays, deciding who is does what, and so on. It is telling that although 70% of the players are black, there is currently only one black head coach. There has been an overwhelming majority of black players for a long time, long enough for large numbers of them to have worked their way through the ranks of player, assistant coach, offensive and defensive coordinator, to finally head coach, so the lack of more black coaches speaks to a real problem. While black coaches have been hired, they are usually hired by struggling teams and their tenure tends to be short-lived. Furthermore, while white coaches who fail with a team and are fired are given multiple opportunities with several other teams as either head coaches or coordinators, black coaches often have just one shot.

[Read more…]

Samantha Bee talks to three religious women about abortion

She brings together three women who are followers of Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism to ask them how well what their religious books actually say about abortion aligns with what we are told about by the anti-choice movement. Very little, it turns out. In fact, they suggest that the current proposed restrictions on abortion actually violate the tenets of their religion.

Spirit photography

There is a very strong desire among some segments of the population to make contact with dead people. This desire has been exploited by charlatans, people who claim that (for a fee, of course) they can channel your loved ones. The methods used have varied over time. In the US, the rise in interest in communicating with the dead coincided with the Civil War that saw massive numbers of dead people that left their families devastated and seeking some form of comfort.

In the mid-19th century, in the early days of photography, the husband and wife team of William and Hannah Mumler created a sensation by taking photographs of people that showed the ghosts of their dead loved ones hovering around them, such as this one of the ghost of Abraham Lincoln standing behind his wife Mary Todd Lincoln.
[Read more…]

Lata Mangeshkar (1929-2022)

Many people in the west may not have heard the above name but this force of nature has died at the age of 92 after testing positive for covid-19. She was a giant in the Indian film and music world, as can be seen in the response to the news of her death.

Lata Mangeshkar, one of India’s most beloved singers, has been cremated in Mumbai with full state honours.

Mangeshkar, whose voice was the soundtrack to hundreds of Bollywood films, died aged 92 on Sunday.

PM Narendra Modi and stars of the entertainment industry attended the funeral, where large crowds gathered to pay their respects.

Her extraordinary career spanned more than half a century and she recorded thousands of songs in 36 languages.

Two days of national mourning will follow the funeral and the national flag will be flown at half-mast throughout the country.

She was what we used to call a ‘playback singer‘ in that it was her voice that was heard in the songs in films while the actor lip-synced the words. India is a nation of many languages but whatever the language of the film and whoever were the actors, it was a pretty safe bet that the singing of the female lead in the film was being done by Mangeshkar. Given that so many Indian films feature multiple songs, she was everywhere, recording thousands of songs. Even I, who watched hardly any Indian films, knew about her and could recognize her distinctive voice.

Here is an example of her singing.

Here we go again – US making allegations without evidence

The war rhetoric against Russia over Ukraine keeps getting ratcheted up. We have representatives of the US government making all manner of allegations about the threatening actions by Russia, including that they are planning false flag operations and crisis actors to provoke an invasion (as if Russia taking its cues from Alex Jones) without providing any shred of evidence.

In an exchange with State Department spokesperson Ned Price, AP reporter Mike Lee presses him to provide more than assertions and reminds him about WMDs in Iraq where similar US government assertions that they had solid evidence turned out to be flat-out lies meant to serve propaganda purposes and lay the groundwork for the invasion of that country.

Watch this exchange as Lee presses Price to provide any evidence at all only to be told by Price that him merely asserting something should be all the evidence that is necessary. Lee reminds him about the Iraq lies.

More reporters should follow Lee’s lead and demand that the public be given more than their “Trust us. We know but can’t tell you” rubbish.

[Read more…]

Great moments in yacht design

I am puzzled by this news report that says that Dutch authorities in the city of Rotterdam are considering temporarily dismantling a bridge in order to allow the yacht commissioned by Jeff Bezos to reach open water.

A plan to temporarily dismantle a recently restored historic bridge in the heart of Dutch port city Rotterdam so that a huge yacht, reportedly being built for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, can get to the North Sea is unlikely to be plain sailing.

Reports this week that the city had already agreed to take apart the Koningshaven Bridge, known locally as De Hef, sparked anger with one Facebook event set up calling for people to pelt the multimillion dollar yacht with rotten eggs.

However, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told The Associated Press on Friday that while a request has been submitted by a shipbuilder for the bridge to temporarily be taken apart over the summer, no permit has yet been sought or granted.

The current Hef railway bridge was opened for trains to cross the Maas River in 1927 and taken out of service in 1993 when it was replaced by a tunnel. Public protests spared it from demolition and it eventually underwent a three-year renovation that ended in 2017. The middle section of the bridge can be raised to allow ships to pass underneath, but apparently not high enough for the new yacht’s masts.

[Read more…]

Amnesty International issues damning report on Israel’s apartheid practices

Amnesty International is the latest mainstream organization that has finally come to the conclusion that what Israel practices with regard to the Palestinians is apartheid, joining other human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem that said similar things a year ago. The 280-page report outlines in great detail the reasons for saying so, pointing to what it calls decades of oppression. It says that Israel achieves this through four main methods.

Fragmentation into domains of control

At the heart of the system is keeping Palestinian separated from each other into distinct territorial, legal and administrative domains

Dispossession of land and property

Decades of discriminatory land and property seizures, home demolitions and forced evictions

Segregation and control

A system of laws and policies that keep Palestinians restricted to enclaves, subject to several measures that control their lives, and segregated from Jewish Israelis

Deprivation of economic & social rights

The deliberate impoverishment of Palestinians keeping them at great disadvantage in comparison to Jewish Israelis
[Read more…]