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Category: 1210DC (October)
Artists must not become brand names for collectors (October 31 2012) Artists must not become brand names for collectors (October 31 2012)

Jean-François Torres the French President of the Concrete Art Space founded in 1990 by Sybil Albers and Gottfried Honegger, the Espace de l’Art Concret has educational studios, an art center, and a building housing the Albers-Honegger collection, on its campus near Nice on the Côte d’Azur. In an interview with Juliette Soulez for Blouin Artinfo, Torres states “The Concrete Art Space resists the temptation to make exhibitions that are too crowd-pleasing. We have a lot of freedom. We can sometimes show unknown artists who were very significant in art history. …I believe above all that artists must not become brand names for collectors to buy. At the Concrete Art Space, we situate ourselves in a more experimental vein. Plus, in terms of our budget, we are required to develop other approaches, which lead to original projects that are very specific to our space. …It’s quite beautiful the way that the donation building, a contemporary and even experimental building, contrasts with the 15th-century castle where the art center is located. Inside the donation building you feel as if you’re in a living room. The architecture doesn’t dominate the works. …In my opinion, the impact of the Concrete Art Space does not necessarily depend on the number of visitors. If we show someone that there is something other than an image imposed by the world in which we live, that is already a lot. And concrete art in particular can inspire this type of self-reflection. …We would also like to pursue our activities with an Internet program that could be used in schools. At the Concrete Art Space, children discover that simply with a few colors and geometrical shapes the world is more beautiful to look at. And that’s great.”


Inspired by Blouin Artinfo image source Blouin Artinfo

Syria artists in a time of revolt (October 30 2012) Syria artists in a time of revolt (October 30 2012)

Jane Ferguson the British Freelance Journalist currently with Aljazeera has published an article titled ‘Portrait of Syria artists in a time of revolt’ discussing how artists who fled the country had experienced “torture” by security forces but are still intent on continuing their work. Ferguson states “Many of them [Artists] have been detained, beaten and disappeared by the government for focusing their talents on the ugliest of truths around them. In times of war, writers, painters, filmmakers and photographers often mirror its horror. We now look upon great works such as Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, with nostalgia – neatly cleansed of the terror that inspired them. Fast forward a generation and works born from the Syrian revolution will likely be part of our contemporary art world. But first Syrian artists must survive, and to do that many have fled the country. Filmmaker Firas Fayyad tried to board a flight from Damascus Airport last November. … they put a bag over his head, threw him into a car, and drove him to the first of a series of underground detention centres where he said he was beaten and interrogated repeatedly for four months. …After his release in March, Fayyad knew he was being watched, and could be arrested again at any time. He left the country on foot. …He is now working to challenge the Assad government as an exiled activist, even though the once peaceful rebellion has transformed into an increasingly violent civil war.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Linkedin

How Young Madrid Rejects Austerity (October 29 2012) How Young Madrid Rejects Austerity (October 29 2012)

Julia Ramírez Blanco the 26 year old Spanish Art historian and critic has published an article in The Nation Magazine titled ‘How Young Madrid Rejects Austerity: The What and Why of 25S’. Blanco states “Young people in Spain grew up in a country where most citizens had access to all levels of education, where the welfare state provided healthcare, and where access to university permitted dreams of a decent future. Now all this has suddenly disappeared in the name of austerity, which the government has unilaterally proclaimed the only option. None of the measures being implemented appeared in campaign platforms of the governing conservative party Partido Popular, now 10 months into its tenure in office. With university fees rising, general social budgets disappearing and the youth unemployment rate over 50 percent, it is no wonder that many young people feel cheated. The protest encampments of the indignados sprouted all over Spain in May 2011, and since then demonstrations have cropped up regularly in objection to specific measures—cuts to education, cuts to healthcare, cuts to mining subsidies. But on September 25 of this year, the indignation took the form of a clear and confrontational questioning of the entire governing system. The goal of the action was to “highlight the distance between governors and citizens, and to demand the reopening of the constitutional process.” …Spanish youth, who grew up in a good educational system and enjoyed many social rights, has been jolted. They are too awake, now, to simply sit back and accept their popularly-anointed status as a generation “without a future.””


Inspired by The Nation image source The Art of Engagement

Court gives torture the green light (October 28 2012) Court gives torture the green light (October 28 2012)

Jeanne Theoharis an American an associate professor of political science, along with Saskia Sassen has published an article on The Nation titled ‘A Human Rights Court Gives Torture the Green Light’. The article states “…the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) bowed to pressure from the US and British governments and turned a blind eye to the torturous conditions at the federal Supermax prison, ADX (short for Administrative Maximum), in Florence, Colorado, where prisoners languish in long-term solitary confinement. Dealing a blow to human rights on both sides of the Atlantic, the court rejected an appeal by five terror suspects held in Britain to block their extradition to the United States. …The most restrictive prison in the federal system, ADX was built to keep every prisoner in solitary confinement and designed to limit all communication among prisoners. Cells are the size of a small bathroom with thick concrete walls and steel doors. A prisoner must eat, sleep, shower, read, pray and use the toilet in the cell. For one hour a day, prisoners may exercise in an outdoor cage too small to run in or in a windowless indoor cell, empty except for a pull-up bar. The outdoor “recreation” cages are known as “dog runs” because they resemble kennels. The only “contact” ADX prisoners have with other inmates is shouting to each other through toilets, vents or the outdoor cages. They receive food through a slot and eat every meal alone within arm’s length of their toilet. Psychiatric care at ADX often consists of shouting to prisoners through their doors to inquire if they’re “OK.””


Inspired by The Nation image source Wnyc

Property of a commercial oligarchy (October 27 2012) Property of a commercial oligarchy (October 27 2012)

Lewis H. Lapham the 77 year old American writer and editor describes how American democracy became the property of a commercial oligarchy in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘Feast of fools’. Lapham states “ Forbidden the use of words apt to depress a Q Score or disturb a Gallup poll, the candidates stand as product placements meant to be seen instead of heard, their quality to be inferred from the cost of their manufacture. The sponsors of the event, generous to a fault but careful to remain anonymous, dress it up with the bursting in air of star-spangled photo ops, abundant assortments of multiflavoured sound bites, and the candidates so well-contrived that they can be played for jokes, presented as game-show contestants, or posed as noble knights-at-arms setting forth on vision quests, enduring the trials by klieg light, until on election night they come to judgment before the throne of cameras by whom and for whom they were produced. Best of all, at least from the point of view of the commercial oligarchy paying for both the politicians and the press coverage, the issue is never about the why of who owes what to whom, only about the how much and when, or if, the check is in the mail. No loose talk about what is meant by the word democracy or in what ways it refers to the cherished hope of liberty embodied in the history of a courageous people. The campaigns don’t favour the voters with the gratitude and respect owed to their standing as valuable citizens participant in the making of such a thing as a common good. They stay on message with their parsing of democracy as the ancient Greek name for the American Express card…”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source 3quarksdaily

Ocean acid leaves mollusks naked and confused (October 26 2012) Ocean acid leaves mollusks naked and confused (October 26 2012)

Stephen Leahy the Canadian Journalist and lead international science and environment correspondent at IPS News, has published an article titled ‘Ocean Acidification Leaves Mollusks Naked and Confused’ on the effects of carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans. “When dissolved in seawater, carbonic acid is formed and calcium carbonate, vital for the formation of the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms, becomes scarcer.” Leahy states “Climate change will ruin Chilean sea snails’ ability to sniff out and avoid their archenemy, a predatory crab  … as the oceans become more and more acidic, some fish become hyperactive and confused, and move towards their predators instead of trying to escape. …nearly 600 scientists from around the world presented their research at the Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World: Ocean Acidification in Monterey, California. Researchers discovered only 10 years ago that burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas has made the oceans about 30 percent more acidic since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. One third of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from using fossil fuels has been absorbed by the oceans. When CO2 dissolves in seawater, carbonic acid is formed. This phenomenon, known as ocean acidification, reduces the availability of calcium carbonate, which interferes with the formation of the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms. The combination of greater acidity and a lower concentration of calcium carbonate in the water also has consequences for the physiological functions of numerous living beings. This is basic, undisputed ocean chemistry.”


Inspired by IPS News image source Twitter

Must put the marginalised at the centre (October 25 2012) Must put the marginalised at the centre (October 25 2012)

Pauline Rose the British Director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report and former Senior Policy Analyst with the GMR team has published an article on Aljazeera titled “’Education First’ must put the marginalised at the centre” stating there is a need to draw attention to unacceptable levels of education inequality across countries and between groups. Rose states “Goal-setting often leads to attention being paid to low-hanging fruit – those easiest to reach, making it possible to show progress most quickly. Unfortunately, in education, this approach has left 61 million children – many of them poor, girls and those living in remote rural locations – missing out on the push towards getting all children into school by 2015. It is welcome that one of the three areas being addressed by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, in his new global initiative launched on September 26, 2012, “Education First” is putting every child into school. To achieve this important intention, future goals and any discussions of a post-2015 agenda must include equity-based targets so that the marginalised benefit from progress. This is a remediable injustice and one which we must all work to resolve. …Some children or young people may have been disadvantaged by more than one factor in their access to school. …A key reason for the likely failure to reach the 2015 deadline of the six Education for All goals is because marginalised have not been given enough attention.  For this reason, education goals set after 2015 must include equity-based targets.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

Redefined photography as an artform (October 24 2012) Redefined photography as an artform (October 24 2012)

Wolfgang Tillmans the 44 year old German Fine-art photographer and artist whose diverse body of work is distinguished by observation of his surroundings and an ongoing investigation of the photographic medium’s foundations. Tillmans has an exhibition at the Moderna Museet Stockholm curated by Daniel Birnbaum and Jo Widoff, and in an e-flux article described as “one of the leading artists of his generation and is constantly in the public eye, with exhibitions all over the world. The exhibition at Moderna Museet is Wolfgang Tillmans’ largest exhibition to date and brings nearly twenty years of picture-making to a new audience. …an artist who has extended the boundaries of photography and redefined the medium of photography as an artform. Wolfgang Tillmans first attracted attention at the beginning of the 1990s, with his apparently mundane pictures of subjects taken from his own surroundings. After studying in Britain, he published photographs in prominent publications such as i-D, Spex and Interview. Today, these pictures are considered trendsetting for the young generation of the 1990s, and raise questions about subcultures and sexual identities. By turning everyday situations into almost monumental images, Tillmans very strikingly captured the spirit of the times. It soon became evident that his pictures renegotiate photographic conventions and reflect contemporary currents related to culture and identity. Since then, Tillmans has continued his in-depth investigations, expanding the realm of photography and redefining the very medium as an artform. …Recently Tillmans’ art has taken a number of different directions, revolving around various issues, everything from still lifes and modern landscapes to his lifelong interest in astronomy and the night sky.”


Inspired by e-flux image source Wikipedia

Pushback Against Growing Islamophobia (October 23 2012) Pushback Against Growing Islamophobia (October 23 2012)

James R. Lobe the 63 year old American journalist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Inter Press Service, best known for his criticism of U.S. foreign policy and American militarism, has published an article on the IPS News titled ‘US: Pushback Against Growing Islamophobia’. Lobe states “Faced with a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and a well-funded campaign to promote Islamophobia, a coalition of faith and religious freedom groups said it will circulate a new pamphlet on frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Islam and U.S. Muslims to elected officials across the United States. The initiative, which coincides with the appearance in subway stations in New York City and Washington of pro-Israel ads equating the Jewish state with “civilised man” and “Jihad” with “savages”, is designed to rebut the notion that Muslims pose a threat to U.S. values and way of life. “Nothing gives weight to bigotry more than ignorance,” said Rev. Welton Gaddy, a Baptist minister who is president of the Interfaith Alliance, a grassroots organisation of leaders representing 75 faith traditions. “The FAQ enables people to be spared of an agenda-driven fear and to be done with a negative movement born of misinformation…” Gaddy was joined by Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Project of the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center which co-sponsored the new 13-page pamphlet, entitled “What is the Truth About American Muslims?” “In my view,” Haynes said in reference to the so-called “Stop Islamisation of America” (SIOA) movement that, among other things, has sponsored the subway ads, “this campaign to spread hate and fear is the most significant threat to religious freedom in America today”.”


Inspired by IPS News image source Lobelog

If you take personally you're a dopey gorp (October 22 2012) If you take personally you’re a dopey gorp (October 22 2012)

Ricky Dene Gervais the 51 year old English comedian, actor and producer who achieved mainstream success with his television series ‘The Office’, according to Jordan Zakarin for the Hollywood Reporter “…it’s safe to say that he likes to get on people’s nerves, or at the very least, push their buttons. It’s a large part of his comedy, pushing that socially acceptable envelope and insisting people learn to take the joke.” Zakarin states “A committed Atheist, Gervais often muses on his disbelief in god through the social media platform [Twitter]. That doesn’t always sit well with his followers, who instead of deciding to unfollow him, respond back with great frustration and often, attacks. …He no longer retweets the name of his opponents — he doesn’t want to give them publicity — but does respond, quite aggressively, to their attacks. One thing to know about Gervais: he doesn’t back down. Especially because refusing to do so only helps build his brand. Win-win. Here is a sampling… 30 Sep 12 “Why do you always mock the Bibble asshole!!??” I can’t believe my luck with this tweet. Hahaha 1 Oct 12 “Atheism is narcissistic” And what’s the term for believing that the same God who ignored the holocaust will help you win an award? 1 Oct 12 “stop going on about religion and tweet some jokes” Fuck you. Pay me. 4 Oct 12  The Earth is 6,000 years old. Please RT to raise ignorance and confusion amongst the gullible. 5 Oct 12 “so what do you think being dead feels like?” You know what it felt like for the billions of years before you were born? Exactly like that. 5 Oct 12 Opinions don’t affect facts. But facts should affect opinions, and do, if you’re rational. 5 Oct 12  Complaining about what someone tweets about is like calling up the numbers in classified ads and shouting “But I don’t want piano lessons!” 5 Oct 12 I love how people walk round with crucifixes, skullcaps, pointy hats, funny beards and then say “you shoud keep your atheism to yourself.” 5 Oct 12 I get many tweets from Christians saying I should keep my beliefs to myself, but I never see them tweeting that to other Christians. Weird”


Inspired by Jordan Zakarin image source Thomas Atilla Lewis

A Potential Piece of Yellowism (October 21 2012) A Potential Piece of Yellowism (October 21 2012)

Vladimir Umanets the 26 year old Russian founder of ‘Yellowism’ has been arrested by British police for the graffiti damage caused to a Mark Rothko painting at the Tate Modern. In an article by John Fahey & Ellen Branagh published in The Independent, states “The wording on the bottom-right corner of the piece appears to read: “Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism. “Umanets said “Some people think I’m crazy or a vandal, but my intention was not to destroy or decrease the value, or to go crazy. I am not a vandal.” Umanets, who studied art, is one of the founders of “Yellowism”, which he describes as… “Yellowism is not art, and Yellowish isn’t anti-art. It’s an element of contemporary visual culture. It’s not an artistic movement. It’s not art, it’s not reality, it’s just Yellowism. It can’t be presented in a gallery of art, it can be presented only in Yellowistic chambers. The main difference between Yellowism and art is that in art you have got freedom of interpretation, in Yellowism you don’t have freedom of interpretation. Everything is about Yellowism – that’s it. I am a Yellowist. I believe what I am doing and I want people to start talking about this. It was like a platform. I don’t need to be famous, I don’t want money, I don’t want fame, I’m not seeking attention. Maybe I would like to point people’s attention on what it’s all about. What is Yellowism? What is art? It’s good people are shocked about what happened. No one is realising what actually happened, everyone is just posting that the piece has been damaged or destroyed or defaced. “But I believe that after a few years they will start looking for it from the right angle. So that’s why I did it. I believe that from everything bad there’s always a good outcome so I’m prepared for that but obviously I don’t want to spend a few months, even a few weeks, in jail. But I do strongly believe in what I am doing, I have dedicated my life to this. To be honest, I do believe I increased the value. It seems probably ridiculous for someone but I do believe in this. I didn’t decrease the value, I didn’t destroy this picture, I put something new.”


Inspired by John Fahey & Ellen Branagh image source Huff Post

World Bank and the development delusion (October 20 2012) World Bank and the development delusion (October 20 2012)

Jim Yong Kim the 52 year old Korean-American physician, anthropologist and current President of the World Bank has been the subject of review by Jason Hickel in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘The World Bank and the development delusion’. Hickel states “When Jim Yong Kim took the helm of the World Bank in July, progressives in the development community hailed it as a turning point in the fight against poverty. For once the Bank is headed not by a US military boss or a Wall Street executive, but by an actual expert in the field of development. …I have deep respect for Kim and his past accomplishments, but I do not share the optimism that has overcome the development community. I find it astounding that we continue to place our hope for the end of poverty in an international financial institution that is fundamentally beholden to the interests of Wall Street and the US government. And we do so against all the available evidence. History shows that most of the countries that have come under the sway of the World Bank – and its sister institution, the IMF – have experienced declining development outcomes over the past 30 years or so.  …Kim probably won’t be able to accomplish these reforms because they would run up against enormously powerful economic interests. Real change will require rebuilding the global justice movement by linking together organisations that have been working on these issues for decades. As neoliberal policy has ravaged the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, there’s a lot of anger out there ready to be mobilised. A revolution lies waiting in the wings; we have only to call it forth.”


Inspired by Jason Hickel image source NIH

The culture of corruption (October 19 2012) The culture of corruption (October 19 2012)

Nadine Gordimer the 88 year old South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature has spoken to Aljazeera on the ‘The culture of corruption’ and questions what happened to the democracy that Nelson Mandela and other South African leaders ushered in? The Aljazeera article states that “Social unrest these days is part of the fabric of South African life. The promise of what was once called the rainbow nation still to be realised. A different perhaps more ominous chapter has opened in this country – there is widespread public discontent with what is perceived as endemic corruption, and deep disappointment if not anger at the gross inequality that is still so much part of the society. How did it come to this? What happened to the democracy that Nelson Mandela and other great leaders ushered in? …Gordimer who for decades has provided a mirror in which the people of South Africa could view themselves. …She became a member of the African National Congress at a time when the movement was outlawed in South Africa and though many of her works were banned, she never stopped writing, never softened the voices of those entangled in the racist maze that was the system of apartheid. And in the years since the ANC came to power she subjected the new rulers to the same honest and rigorous scrutiny she applied to the white government they replaced. She continues to probe, to reveal truths that many would rather remain hidden. And above all, Nadine Gordimer continues to reject censorship of ideas in any form, her mantra unchanged through decades that a people can only be free if they are free to say what they want.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Bengt Oberger

Offended in their religious feelings (October 18 2012) Offended in their religious feelings (October 18 2012)

Jorge Sampaio the 73 year old Portuguese former President and now the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations claims ‘All citizens should have the right not to be gratuitously offended in their religious feelings’ in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘Wake up call to speak out for our common values and rights’. Sampaio states “The indignation that has flared up in so many countries against a provocative video, produced in murky circumstances and aimed at offending one group’s religious beliefs, is legitimate and fully understandable.  No believer, be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish, to mention only the religions of the Book – is ready to accept indecent attacks on matters they hold sacred. …it is important to recognise that one person’s contemptible actions do not represent an entire nation, or everyone in a particular group or of a certain faith. Here, I must emphasise the crucial responsibility that falls on political and religious leaders to speak out to their constituencies, urging them to be mindful of this fact.  … In democratic societies and increasingly all over the world, people are free to voice their rights. Let’s join all our voices and work together to address in an appropriate way the alarming rise of extremism, religious hatred and hate speech, all of which undermine people’s expectations of a better life in dignity, freedom and security. We need to be bold and take action urgently to turn the possibility of living together in diversity, dialogue, respect and peace into reality.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Wikipedia

Netizens Reject Cybercrime Act (October 17 2012) Netizens Reject Cybercrime Act (October 17 2012)

Kara Santos the Filipino writer and photographer published an article on IPS News titled ‘Filipino Netizens Reject Cybercrime Act’ claiming “A newly enacted cybercrime law in the Philippines has raised fears that not only online media but also ordinary netizens could be persecuted for exercising their freedom of expression”. Santos states “Media groups have expressed concern that the law poses a threat to press freedom and limits freedom of expression in the country. Bloggers and social media practitioners also point out that the new law allows the government to shut down websites without due process, and makes Internet users liable for simply clicking the ‘like’ button on Facebook or re-tweeting something on Twitter. …the law also broadens the coverage of libel as a content-related offense that can be committed by just about anybody using a computer. …Many Filipinos are disturbed by the fact that the man allegedly responsible for this last-minute change, which lumps online libel with cybersex and child pornography, is notorious for plagiarising blogs, and recently elicited a spate of criticism from active netizens. …investigative journalist and blogger Raissa Robles claims that Senator Vicente Sotto III pushed for the insertion into the law at the eleventh hour “Historically, in the Philippines, it is the rich and the powerful who use libel as a weapon to suppress criticisms about them. Before the Internet came along, it was easier for the rich and the powerful to control criticisms. All they needed to do was buy a stake in newspapers, TV and radio. Or sue them. Now they have realised that the Web is beyond their control.”


Inspired by IPS News image source Facebook

Perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers (October 16 2012) Perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers (October 16 2012)

David Leigh the 66 year old British journalist, author and the investigations executive editor of The Guardian is the subject of an article by Dan Hind on Aljazeera titled ‘Reincarnating the newspaper industry’. Hind states “…Leigh set out what he called a “perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers, ensure media plurality and monetise the web” – add a £2 ($3.2) monthly levy on broadband fees and thereby raise around £500 million ($807 million) a year. The money would then be distributed to news operations “according to their share of UK online readership”. …Revenues from print sales are in steep decline, he said, and paywalls won’t work in the UK, because of the BBC. …The lean pickings from web advertising on a free newspaper site will only pay for a fraction of the high-quality investigative journalism that commercial newspapers generate. We’ll just get the timid BBC on the one hand, and superficial junk on the other.” …here’s what I see as the main problem with Leigh’s suggestion. The distribution mechanism he proposes will not serve the stated aim. …While some good investigative journalism does appear in British newspapers, it accounts for only a tiny fraction of content as a whole. Much more space is given to celebrity gossip, chitchat from Westminster, lifestyle features, sports coverage, scare stories about immigrants, half-baked nonsense about the economy and similar “superficial junk”. …Leigh’s levy would go to those news operations with large online readerships, regardless of the amount of “high-quality investigative journalism” they commissioned and published. This will tend to reward, and preserve, incumbency.”


Inspired by Dan Hind image source Twitter

Satanic lies like evolution filling their heads (October 15 2012) Satanic lies like evolution filling their heads (October 15 2012)

Jack Wu the looney American candidate for the Kansas State Board of Education and member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, claims he “…fell victim to the lies of his evil teachers and thought evolution was real science for a time. After elementary school, [he] attended a private “Christian” school. There, [he] was taught that God created the world and the universe. At first, [he] stuck with his old pseudo-science evolution-based cosmology. However, the light of the holy scriptures burned all those trashy concepts away. [He] now knows that God is the Creator of all things. With the upcoming elections, [he] endeavors to make a difference in this evil city of Topeka and this perverse state of Kansas. The students and children of this generation need the light of the scriptures if to correct their erroneous ways. They don’t need Satanic lies like evolution filling their heads, and if elected to office, [he] would like to purge such lies from the curriculum.” Wu believes “The current public educational system in Kansas and the United States is preparing its students to be liars, crooks, thieves, murderers, and perverts. My mission, in running for the Kansas State Board of Education, is to throw out the crap that teachers are feeding their students and replace it with healthy good for the soul knowledge from the holy scriptures. Let’s be specific. Evolution should never be taught in public schools as science. Evolution is false science! God made the heaven and the earth and created humans from the dust of the earth! The very bad teachers that teach that men descended from apes via evolution need to have their teaching licenses revoked. Yes, students should be taught that God created everything.


Inspired by Louis Peitzman image source BBC

Torture and the Myth of Never Again (October 14 2012) Torture and the Myth of Never Again (October 14 2012)

John Kiriakou the 48 year old American former CIA analyst and case officer, the first official within the U.S. government to confirm the use of water boarding of al-Qaeda prisoners as an interrogation technique, which he described as torture has been profiled by Peter Van Buren for TomDispatch in an article titled ‘The Persecution of John Kiriakou – Torture and the Myth of Never Again’. Van Buren states “The one man in the whole archipelago of America’s secret horrors facing prosecution is former CIA agent John Kiriakou. Of the untold numbers of men and women involved in the whole nightmare show of those years, only one may go to jail. And of course, he didn’t torture anyone. The charges against Kiriakou allege that in answering questions from reporters about suspicions that the CIA tortured detainees in its custody, he violated the Espionage Act, once an obscure World War I-era law that aimed at punishing Americans who gave aid to the enemy. It was passed in 1917 and has been the subject of much judicial and Congressional doubt ever since. Kiriakou is one of six government whistleblowers who have been charged under the Act by the Obama administration. From 1917 until Obama came into office, only three people had ever charged in this way. The Obama Justice Department claims the former CIA officer “disclosed classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities.”


Inspired by TomDispatch image source Twitter

Got no personal interest in closing it down (October 13 2012) Got no personal interest in closing it down (October 13 2012)

John Christensen the British economist co-founder of the Tax Justice Network and director of its London-based International Secretariat, plays a leading role in campaigning for tighter regulation and control of tax havens and offshore finance centres. Christensen told Aljazeera: “In many cases it’s the politicians and their cronies and their families and the business people who sponsor the political parties who are using these offshore financial services so they got no personal interest in closing it down. If they wanted to close it down they could do it tomorrow. It’s not a question of rocket science and how difficult to do that, all they have to do is improve information exchange between countries and require disclosure of information about offshore accounts, offshore companies, offshore trusts. The fact of the matter is they don’t want to do it because they themselves are complicit with the process.” An Aljazeera article states “A new report has now revealed that some of the world’s richest people have more than $30 trillion stashed in offshore tax havens. A global elite group of super-rich has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary amount of wealth offshore. Research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network says the value is as much as the gross domestic products of the US and Japan combined. …the world’s super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off possibly as much as $32 trillion from their home countries and hide it abroad. In fact, G20 member countries, both developed and emerging economies, have been pledging to close down tax havens since 2008.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Save India

I don't scare easily (October 12 2012) I don’t scare easily (October 12 2012)

Lydia Cacho the 49 year old Mexican journalist, feminist, and human rights activist, described by Amnesty International as “perhaps Mexico’s most famous investigative journalist and women’s rights advocate”, her reporting focuses on violence against and sexual abuse of women and children. Cacho has been profiled by Emine Saner for the The Guardian in an article titled ‘I don’t scare easily’ despite her investigations having led to attempts on her life, and now been forced to flee her country. Saner states “At 23, she became a reporter, and started writing about violence against women. In 1999, a man followed her into the bathroom of a bus station in Cancun and inflicted a brutal attack, in which she was raped and had several bones broken – an attack, she believes, that was “punishment” for her work. And so the threats continued, especially once she started trying to expose a paedophile ring in Cancun for her previous book… “You learn how to walk the street and be looking all the time for signs of somebody coming, like a motorcycle.” …As well as her writing, she has founded a women’s shelter in Cancun; last year, it provided refuge or psychological and legal help to 30,000 women fleeing abuse. Cacho never wanted to become the story, but the threats on her life also bring a spotlight to her work, and to the dangers faced by her colleagues. …We are journalists because we want to change the world.” She smiles. “I think my job has made a difference.”


Inspired by Emine Saner image source Twitter

Why are people disappearing in China (October 11 2012) Why are people disappearing in China (October 11 2012)

Phelim Kine the American Senior Researcher of the Asia Division at Human Rights Watch has published an article in the Global Post titled ‘Why are people disappearing in China?’ arguing that foreign countries should resist China’s efforts to make them complicit in the abuse of human rights. Kine states “The Chinese government has a novel solution to the growing problem of illegal enforced disappearances. “Legalize” them. …Chinese state media announced a proposed change in the Criminal Procedure Law which would allow police to legally detain individuals and hold them incommunicado in secret detention for up to six months without contact with either their families or legal counsel. The Chinese government is pitching the proposed change as merely an extension of the conditions of the existing practice of residential surveillance, or “soft arrest,” to suspects in state security, terrorism or major corruption cases. “Soft arrest” allows police to confine criminal suspects to their homes for up to six months without trial or due legal process. But Chinese lawyers, legal scholars and human rights activists warn that the proposal is a cynical fig leaf of legal justification for a wave of enforced disappearances which violate both domestic and international law. …[past 6 months] Chinese security forces have forcibly disappeared at least 26 writers, artists, bloggers and human rights defenders, according to the nongovernmental organization Chinese Human Rights Defenders. …Victims are often violently abducted, denied their right to due legal process and contact with loved ones or lawyers, and are at high risk of torture while in custody.”


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Spanish public won't accept a financial coup d'etat (October 10 2012) Spanish public won’t accept a financial coup d’etat (October 10 2012)

Katharine Ainger the Barcelona based writer interested in the points where art, creativity, radical democracy and ecological justice intersect, reports in an article for The Guardian titled ‘The Spanish public won’t accept a financial coup d’etat’, claiming that Spain’s government is right to fear the public reaction to this new round of suffering mandated by the financial markets. Ainger states “The attempt by the Spanish “Occupy” movement, the indignados, to surround the Congress in Madrid has been compared by the secretary general of the ruling rightwing People’s party (PP) to an attempted coup. Spanish democracy may indeed be in peril, but the danger is not in the streets. According to the Financial Times, the EU has been in secret talks with the economy minister Luis de Guindos to implement further austerity measures in advance of Spain requesting a full bailout. …The government is right to fear the Spanish public’s reaction to this new round of suffering mandated by the financial markets. … Spain is on the brink of insolvency and under huge pressure to accept a rescue package. In return, the eurozone’s fourth largest economy will have to surrender sovereign and financial control to the IMF, the European commission, and the European Central Bank. …Already many protest signs say: “We can’t take any more.” With a 26% unemployment rate, 22% of Spanish households now live below the poverty line and a further 30% cannot “reach the end of the month”… Loss of sovereignty is fuelling desire for Catalan independence with huge protests. Spanish citizen movements, like those in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and France have demanded a debt audit, to see who really owes what to whom.”


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The twin child of the Big Bang (October 9 2012) The twin child of the Big Bang (October 9 2012)

Frank Close the 67 year old British particle physicist, Professor and author has published an article in the Prospect Magazine titled ‘The twin child of the Big Bang’ discussing the first moments of the universe, how we may soon find out why matter overpowered antimatter, its mirror opposite. Close states “…We know how the energy in the heat of the Big Bang created the basic seeds of matter, and how over the eons these particles have formed galaxies of stars, including our own Milky Way and solar system. …Matter is not the Big Bang’s only child. It was born with a long-lost twin: antimatter. Matter and antimatter are the yin and yang of reality. … When the energy of the Big Bang congealed into the fundamental particles of matter, an imprint in the form of metaphorical holes, their antimatter siblings, was also formed. …Experiments have shown that quarks are the basic seeds of matter as we know it. There are also exotic forms of matter, containing what are known as strange, charm or bottom quarks, which rarely exist independently, except under very special conditions, such as briefly during or just after the Big Bang. They are unstable and their decays produce the stable forms from which our mature universe is made. …tantalising results are beginning to emerge. As data accumulate, the experiments at Cern will reveal sharper images of the processes at work in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. Why the Big Bang happened is likely to remain an enigma. Why the universe managed to survive, and evolve, may soon be answered.”


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Never been against the communist state (October 8 2012) Never been against the communist state (October 8 2012)

Nguyen Van Hai known as Dieu Cay the Vietnamese blogger charged with producing anti-state propaganda against the one-party Vietnamese state under a “vague” section of the criminal code, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Nguyen has already been in detention since September 2008, when he was jailed for tax fraud. According to the Raw Story blog, “mobile phone signals had apparently been blocked inside the court compound as [Nguyen was] tried under Article 88 of the Criminal Code, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail. …posting political articles on the banned Vietnamese website “Free Journalists Club” as well as writing on [blogs] denouncing corruption and injustice and criticising Hanoi’s foreign policy. Communist Vietnam bans private media — all newspapers and television channels are state-run. …Rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called upon the government to drop the charges and release … immediately. Reporters Without Borders ranked Vietnam 172 out of 179 countries in its 2011-2012 press freedom index and identified the authoritarian state as an “Enemy of the Internet” because of systematic use of cyber-censorship.” Court President Nguyen Phi Long said, “crimes were especially serious with clear intention against the state … must be seriously punished. …abused the popularity of the Internet to post articles which undermined and blackened (Vietnam’s) leaders, criticising the (Communist) party (and) destroying people’s trust in the state” Nguyen in a speech that was cut off when the audio feed was terminated said that he had never been against the communist state.


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Chronicle of a death foretold (October 7 2012) Chronicle of a death foretold (October 7 2012)

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif the 32 year old Yemini citizen detained for over 10 years at the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay has died in custody without having ever been charged with a crime. Murtaza Hussain has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Chronicle of a death foretold’ in which he states “The cause of his death has been recorded as unknown and may never truly be known, but Latif had long suffered from feelings of extreme depression during his time in jail, having made several suicide attempts in the previous years. …Latif was initially captured by Pakistani bounty hunters in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when a mixture of confusion and desire for vengeance resulted in the effective labeling of any military age Arab males found in Afghanistan and Pakistan as potential terrorists. He had been receiving medical care in Amman, Jordan for chronic injuries he had received from a car crash in Yemen that had fractured his skull and caused permanent damage to his hearing. Lured to Pakistan by the promise of cheap healthcare, once the war started he ended up caught in the dragnet of opportunistic bounty hunters who detained him, proclaimed him a terrorist and handed him over to the US military in neighboring Afghanistan …in order to collect large cash incentives from the US military for their handover. No evidence was ever found connecting him to terrorism or violent militancy of any kind… Indeed, when he was apprehended he was found not to be in possession of weapons or extremist literature of any kind – what he had with him were copies of his medical records.”


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Thinking Contemporary Curating (October 6 2012) Thinking Contemporary Curating (October 6 2012)

Terence Edwin Smith the 68 year old Australian art historian, art critic and artist renowned for his ability “to write criticism at once alert to the forces that contextualize art and sensitive to the elements and qualities that inhere to the works of art themselves”, has been interviewed by Orit Gat. In the interview Smith states “To give something back to curators. We all owe them a huge debt. When you’re an art historian, you tend to search museum installations and exhibitions for fresh art historical facts, for something that will help you interpret more deeply, or at least differently, a school of art or the work of an artist over a whole career. If you’re an art critic, you try to write about your response to the works in the exhibition, one by one or one compared to others, with a focus on the artist or a kind of art. But art critics, art historians, the general public, and even artists don’t pay sufficient attention to the curatorial thought behind exhibitions. …[curators] have become more active, more public thinkers…and call themselves “exhibition makers.” They overtly engage viewers with their thinking about art, and particularly about how art relates to the world—which is something that art itself has done much more since the 1960s and 1970s. Also, curators have become more like artists in the ways they present an exhibition–it then becomes, in a sense, an artwork. At the same time, certain artists are making works of art that are more like exhibitions, and more and more are taking control of exhibiting their own art…”


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The insult, the injury and indignities of empire (October 5 2012) The insult, the injury and indignities of empire (October 5 2012)

Abdullah Al-Arian the 31 year old Assistant Professor of history specializing in the modern Middle East has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The insult, the injury and the indignities of empire’, citing during colonial times, scathing critiques of Islam were often met by Muslims with thoughtful and measured responses. Al-Arian states “…the United States and its European allies hope to absolve themselves of any culpability for the recurring hostility expressed by populations in the Middle East and beyond. To deny historical experiences and current political realities allows one to miss the point entirely: that the offence caused by the steady flow of anti-Islamic cultural production is quite literally adding insult to injury. And it is much easier for all of those involved to focus on the insult rather than the injury. There is little new in the amateurish hate-filled film that emerged out of the bowels of an Islamophobia industry that has picked up considerable steam in the last decade. Aside from trading the physical soapbox for the digital one of YouTube, anti-Islamic screeds have not evolved much since the era of the Crusades, relying primarily on a thoroughly discredited historical narrative of Prophet Muhammad’s life and mission that acted as a kind of medieval war propaganda. …Anyone seeking to understand the recent upheavals need only contrast the latest response with historical ones. Internal Muslim condemnations against the protests have relied primarily on Muhammad’s example of ignoring insults against his person. But in fact, there is a long tradition of Muslim tolerance for insults against their faith and its founder.”


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EU Cap Only Boosts Biofuels (October 4 2012) EU Cap Only Boosts Biofuels (October 4 2012)

Daan Bauwens the Belgian freelance investigative journalist for the international press agency Inter Press Service, and founder of the documentary film collective “Reach”, has published an article on IPS titled ‘EU Cap Only Boosts Biofuels’. In the article Bauwens states “The European Commission has announced it will limit the amount of crop-based biofuels used in transport, but its newly proposed measures are not nearly enough to curb the disastrous impact of the EU’s biofuel policy around the world. Its effects will only worsen, activists say. …Europe’s hunger for biofuels is pushing up global food prices and driving people off their land, resulting in deeper hunger and malnutrition in poor countries. …despite soy and maize prices being at all-time highs in July and prices of cereals and oil remaining at peak levels in August, the Commission and most governments seemed to turn a blind eye to the devastating impacts that EU biofuels mandates have on food prices and land rights. …“I’m happy the EC is finally recognising the fact that the use of food-crops for fuel is problematic,” says Ruth Kelly, Oxfam’s economic policy advisor and writer of Oxfam’s new report, “but putting a cap of 5 percent on biofuel consumption is ridiculous. At this moment the biofuel use in the EU is only at 4.5 percent. So the new cap of 5 percent is actually an increase of what we’re using at the moment. In 2008 biofuels accounted for 3.5 percent of all transport fuels in the EU. That same year, the land that was required to grow crops for those biofuels could have fed 127 million people.”


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Unjust fate of an American terrorist (October 3 2012) Unjust fate of an American terrorist (October 3 2012)

Muhammad Salah the 59 year old Palestinian-born citizen of the United States has been profiled by Charlotte Silver in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘The unjust fate of an American terrorist’. Silver states “In 1993, Salah was a grocer in the suburbs of Chicago; a husband and father of four children. He was described as soft-spoken and keen on community volunteer work. Today, Salah is the sole person residing in the US who is labelled a “terrorist”. The status, assigned to him in 1995, has rendered his every movement, purchase, transaction and life decision – from the mundane to the substantive – subject to review by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). “He is, essentially, internally banished. He cannot engage with anyone, and no one can engage with him,” said David Cole, an attorney with the Centre for Constitutional Rights… “Internal banishment” is a form of punishment in which the government determines with whom the sentenced is permitted to speak. It gained notoriety by its wide use under South Africa’s apartheid regime. …Salah has never been told why he was placed on the list, never been convicted of anything and he has an eternal sentence of internal banishment under constant surveillance. …Salah filed a lawsuit to lift this surreal siege on his life – a siege so total it has prevented even civil rights organisations from contacting and helping him access his legal rights.  …”All we know, is that in 1995 the Treasury added him to the list. They didn’t give him notice or any reason, and never disclosed anything about why he was added,” said Cole.”


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Social construction of nature through advertising (October 2 2012) Social construction of nature through advertising (October 2 2012)

Marie Sierra the American Australian Artist and academic Professor researching the social construction of nature through the advertising of ‘green’ whitegoods, has a particular interest in how art constitutes research, leading her to be active in visual arts advocacy, representing the interests of practising artists through committee positions with Contemporary Art Spaces, the Public Art Committee and the Cultural Affairs Committee for the City of Melbourne. Sierra is the Head of the School of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Tasmania, and a past board member of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, performing consulting work for local government and industry in relation to commissioning and strategic planning for public art. Sierra has held numerous solo exhibitions and has participated in group shows in Australia, the US, and France. Active as an arts writer, Sierra regularly presents research papers at conferences and written a number of essays and reviews for magazines such as Agenda, Kerb, Art Monthly and Meanjin, and an art critic for a Melbourne based newspaper. Sierra recently ran the department of Sculpture and Spatial Practice at the Faculty of VCA & Music at Melbourne University, holding senior positions as Graduate Research Coordinator and Associate Dean Research, winning several grants and awards, including a 2007 Venice Biennale educator.


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Jesus said to them, ‘My wife’ (October 1 2012) Jesus said to them, ‘My wife’ (October 1 2012)

Karen Leigh King the 58 year old American Professor of Ecclesiastical History working in the field of early Christianity and Gnosticism has revealed a 1,600-year-old text fragment that suggest some early Christians believed Jesus was married—possibly to Mary Magdalene. The ancient papyrus fragment has a phrase, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife.’” The text also mentions “Mary,” arguably a reference to Mary Magdalene. In a Smithsonian Magazine article by Ariel Sabar states “The fragment was a shade smaller than an ATM card, honey-hued and densely inked on both sides with faded black script. …in the ancient Egyptian language of Coptic, into which many early Christian texts were translated in the third and fourth centuries, when Alexandria vied with Rome as an incubator of Christian thought. …The fragment’s 33 words, scattered across 14 incomplete lines, leave a good deal to interpretation. But in King’s analysis, and as she argues in a forthcoming article in the Harvard Theological Review, the “wife” Jesus refers to is probably Mary Magdalene, and Jesus appears to be defending her against someone, perhaps one of the male disciples. “She will be able to be my disciple,” Jesus replies. Then, two lines later, he says: “I dwell with her.” …The question the discovery raises, King told me, is, “Why is it that only the literature that said he was celibate survived? And all of the texts that showed he had an intimate relationship with Magdalene or is married didn’t survive? Is that 100 percent happenstance? Or is it because of the fact that celibacy becomes the ideal for Christianity?”


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