Shoes On The Ground
thepoliticalnotebook:

What are the languages best suited to the 140 character exigencies of the Twitter medium? Turns out they’re Chinese and Arabic.
[The Economist]

thepoliticalnotebook:

What are the languages best suited to the 140 character exigencies of the Twitter medium? Turns out they’re Chinese and Arabic.

[The Economist]


thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
Pakistani journalist Murtaza Razvi, senior assistant editor and head of magazines at Dawn, was found dead in Karachi yesterday, his body bearing the marks of torture.
In Afghanistan, Salahuddin Rabbani, the son of slain former leader Burhanuddin Rabbani, will head the High Peace Council. 
The Taliban engaged in an 18 hour attack on Kabul that was ended early Monday by Afghan forces on the ground and coalition air assaults.
The LA Times published damning photographs of soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division posing with the bodies of suicide bombers. WARNING: The pictures in the link are quite graphic.
Interesting stat to consider: the US spends $14,000 annually per Afghan soldier, but each Afghan soldier is paid $1872. Here’s an interesting look into the finances.
At least 36 were killed on Thursday in blasts across Iraq from Ramadi and Kirkuk to Baghdad. Hundreds were injured.
Following South Sudan’s occupation of a disputed oil field, Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir declared that he would teach his southern neighbour a “final lesson by force.”
The Mexican police seized 250,000 US-made bullets that were being smuggled across the border.
Ban Ki-Moon declares that Syria has not complied with the cease-fire. No one is surprised.
A recent US-DPRK deal hailed as major progress has fallen through. North Korea is now saying it will not honor the deal to suspend uranium enrichment and long-range missile tests in exchange for food aid. A nuclear test seems inevitable.
India successfully tested a long-range ballistic missile with nuclear capability, signifying a regional arms build-up.
New polling data shows that Americans today report being more afraid of Iran than Americans in 1985 were afraid of the USSR. Interesting polling data, although I think we’re dealing with a different kind of fear.
As Libya undergoes its critical transition, it cannot forget the victims of the war’s sexual violence.
Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a Libyan commander who was abducted and flown to a Gaddhafi prison with the help of MI6, has begun legal proceedings against Jack Straw, the man who was at the time the British Foreign Secretary, for complicity in his torture during the rendition operation.
Yesterday was Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. McClatchy brings us a terrible story about the plight of many aging survivors living uncared for and below the poverty line in Israel.
Some 1200 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike this week, protesting the terrible conditions and humiliation inside their jails.
Panetta announced a “special victims unit” to deal with sexual assault in the military.
The Marines will open up their officer infantry school to women!
The TIME Top 100 list included its usual fair share of odd choices, but also some on point ones relevant to this list. Former defense secretary Robert Gates wrote about our inimitable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Admiral Mike Mullen wrote about Barbara Van Dahlen, who, through her program Give An Hour, mobilizes mental health professionals in support of veterans. Also notably on the list are cartoonist Ali Ferzat, Samira Ibrahim, Manal al-Sharif and Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.
Photo: At rest after setting up a camp that overlooks the Pakistan border. April 8. Javier Manzano/Polaris

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in WarA Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.

Photo: At rest after setting up a camp that overlooks the Pakistan border. April 8. Javier Manzano/Polaris

*There are more African American adults under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.

*As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.

* A black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery. The recent disintegration of the African American family is due in large part to the mass imprisonment of black fathers.

*If you take into account prisoners, a large majority of African American men in some urban areas have been labeled felons for life. (In the Chicago area, the figure is nearly 80%.) These men are part of a growing undercaste — not class, caste — permanently relegated, by law, to a second-class status. They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits, much as their grandparents and great-grandparents were during the Jim Crow era.

cjchivers:

PHOTO OF THE DAY.
Today’s mail included a thick envelope from the U.K. containing a well-timed set of travel aids.
These work around here on a couple of levels. I’m headed out the door tomorrow, for a couple of days off ahead of the next bout of work. Two of my sons will be with me. We’ll bring these along for latenight cards. Later, they’ll be put to other use, I’m sure.
Courtesy of Colin King. (Thank you, Colin. Again.)

cjchivers:

PHOTO OF THE DAY.

Today’s mail included a thick envelope from the U.K. containing a well-timed set of travel aids.

These work around here on a couple of levels. I’m headed out the door tomorrow, for a couple of days off ahead of the next bout of work. Two of my sons will be with me. We’ll bring these along for latenight cards. Later, they’ll be put to other use, I’m sure.

Courtesy of Colin King. (Thank you, Colin. Again.)

King. Or Queen. Al Arabiya.
I am learning, little by little, but it is the vocabulary that keeps me down. I hang out with my Arabic friends, enjoy culture, practice language… Enta Melake.

Ente Melekti.

I’ve never spelled these words phonetically before, so forgive me…but i’ve told my friends we only speak Arabic, and about 60% they abide. But for that 60% I have to strive I have to strive, to understand, a single word. And there will be a word that will put me o’er the edge, a natural speaking word, I’ll know like a long lost friend.

So my King, I’m a Queen, don’t you, dare forget me. I can sing in your language even easier, than I speak.

I’ll pass along now for continuing would be exaggerating, or pretending, al ohgar, albe Al Arabiya. That I can’t yet speak.

Goodnight; sweet dreams.

Texas, Poland, DC, other places, & Los Angeles

I try not to live in a bubble. So should we all. So should you.

We see so much darkness. I see too; way too many people who don’t want to see. But the world’s around us, and it’s dark. We have an obligation to open our eyes and be present so, let’s discuss.

I regularly read your news that I know excels in every way: educationally, traveling and basically you just just being super stars of knowing how things work and why they are.

For some reason today I’m thinking about two in particular: @texasinafrica or Laura Saey, and @abumuqawama or Andrew Exum.

Twitter can be a class you always wanted to take, and never did. And for me these two would be teaching to the chairs my ass didn’t sit in.

But I’m so thankful, that I get to hear their voices. It’s a new age, and a new way, and there will never again be a wait and a void like there’s been before.

I can’t say I’m an expert. I can’t even say I’m more than the everyday. But I enjoy this discussion, introductions, traveling…far away. The beauty of a brilliant mind, is not lost on me. So be. I’m off to another place, hopefully one you’ll embrace, argh could this mind stop trying to rhyme?

I thank you both for being so much more. For giving all that you have which is A LOT, and SO MUCH MORE.

Whatever, I just wish I could see webcasts, or transcripts more quickly! And I hope and believe there are others like me. Tell me. A Story.

The truth is sadly a two-way path. It is my belief that we, have to be, forever solid in our resolve, if we have resolve.  My truth is a one-way path that l hope to have the honor to, pass by, and stamp with a photograph of you or yours who cares the like mind, like mine, I feel lucky all the time.

And I thank the ones that inspire me, thank you.

On The Currency of #KONY2012, et al

There has been such brouhaha on #Kony2012. I follow, and support, both sides of the discussion that has rumbled the lands of the intertubes these last few days. Let’s talk about it.

So, yeah, MONEY. How do NGOs spend their money? What percentage of their non-profit intake actually goes back to the people they so claim need it? WE ARE NOW TALKING ABOUT THIS. A LOT.

So, yeah, fame. How much “artist liaison” effort is being spent instead of paying experts to dig up land mines. WE ARE NOW TALKING ABOUT THIS, TOO. A LOT.

So, yeah, knowledge. How many of these people have gone to school to get a PhD so they can then know enough about how to help people, you know, the right way, versus the personal experience way. WE ARE NOW TALKING ABOUT THIS, TOO. A LOT.

Don’t worry peeps. I am truly on both sides. Without the PhDs we can’t truly move forward, because we all, at least I, seek your expertise, read your 100+ page PDF downloads and await your blog posts like the call asking for a second wanted date.

But PhD or not, without a group desire to move forward, there will be little forward movement. And the desire for forward movement comes from those who inspire NORMAL people to act. Not just the few, the proud, the PhDs. Who I DO so respect, who were blessed with this calling from probably the 7th grade. Or before. As I said, the few.

Movement and change come from more than one currency.

Not just the currency of education.

Not just the currency of donations.

#KONY2012 is currently changing the currency of a global ‘NASDAQ’ of NGOs at a rate such that any Wall Streeter would paw at it’s cuffs like a cat that cannot be settled no matter how many strokes around the ears.

Because currency is also a mass desire to talk, to share, to act, and to make change. With money or without.

And currency can be knowledge.

Naysayers may say it’s not true knowledge, but information ebbs, flows, wanes. Look at the US; and Republicans vs. Democrats. They each believe they are right. Knowledge has sadly become more and more ‘bendable’ as eyes see differently the same reflected light.

The ‘knowledge’ of #KONY2012 is breeding discussions that are DESIRERING to be had. Conversations in the global dialogue that NEED to be discussed.

Whether your specifics of truth and delivery of the message agree or not, or fall as far away as Antarctica…people, MANY people, are watching in a 30 MINUTE VIDEO. Words and images that have galvanized a global community to TALK TOGETHER about the views, the disagreements, and the passions, that Invisible Children has put into a high speed train of non-profit discussion no one has done in YEARS.

I have met both sides. Living in Los Angeles and not DC I spend more time with the start-ups than the PhDs, though if I were in DC I would be at every conference of intellectual experts I could get into and would be begging to interact more. Now I just have to read the oft delayed reports, or when lucky, watch the webcasts.

Instead here, I do what I can to engage and inform my physical and digital community, and to help the people that I know have so much heart make change…the right way or not. I’ve seen them welcome all criticisms, with outstanding resolve and openness. I’ve seen their passion and their idealism and their strive, day and night to find even a small success in the greater world than them.

To engage global discussion is a greater currency than any governmental note can define.

These people don’t waste money. They don’t spend even a fraction on a fancy video that a more formal organization would spend months and millions to make. They are informal to a fault some might say.

But like in football, if you are small you can move quickly, if you are large you are slow…these informal, youthful, organizations are building coalitions of LISTENERS. Of people who will care, do, sign, act, and give. Now thanks to these global discussions, normal people will give to more than just the up-starts but also to the established, and begin to learn, talk, share, inquire and act more than ever.

People and their voices are the currency of the future. The more we voice, the more people there are to hear, and the more then again there are to speak out to a new ear. We’ve seen their impact come to life in Tunis, Cairo, Wisconsin, The Occupy Movement and all over the world at once through the technology that is forever changing our lives.

I know one thing, the aim of both sides are the same albeit differently executed. But as evidenced by this weeks execution of point, the currency of words can be far more powerful than the wallet.

It is my hope from here on out, that each side sees the power of the other, and works together for a greater good. Which is more important than any of the energy expended on this, brouhaha.

BRILLIANT READ.

actalibertas:

15-Sep-2011 | Christopher Doyle

One could be forgiven for not noticing the recent deadly attacks in Afghanistan. Downplayed as “not a very big deal” and “mediocre harassment” by current U.S. Ambassador, Ryan Crocker, the attack this Tuesday on the U.S. embassy in Kabul was singularly…