Pakistani President signs bill to merge Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Saturday, June 2, 2018

On Thursday, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain signed a bill to merge the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the neighbouring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The “Federally Administered Tribal Areas Reforms Bill, 2018”, seeking to end the colonial-era rules which are applicable to the five million people living in FATA, was approved by the federal lower house, the National Assembly, on May 24, the upper house — the Senate — on May 25 and the KP Provincial Assembly on May 27. The bill was presented to the president by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Tuesday for the president’s assent. President Hussain’s approval for the 25th Constitutional Amendment will remove mention of “FATA” from the Constitution.

Since Pakistani independence from British rule in 1947, the Pakistani President had been appointing “Political Agents” to govern FATA, who exercised near-complete autonomous control over the areas. These agents were responsible for providing government and judicial services under Article 247 of the Pakistani Constitution. Before January 12, when a bill extended the writ of both the Pakistani Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to FATA, the tribal areas were outside the jurisdiction of the Pakistani courts. Instead, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) was the applicable law of FATA. Per this regulation, dating back to the colonial era, collective punishment of a tribe was possible, and FATA citizens did not enjoy all the rights under the Constitution of Pakistan that other Pakistanis were entitled to.

Along with the purging of “FATA” from the Pakistani constitution, the merger bill affects Article 1 of the constitution which defines Pakistan’s territories. The bill includes changes in the legislative area. KP is to have 55 seats in the country’s National Assembly, and the Senate size is to be decreased to 96 from 104 by 2024. The bill also adds 21 new seats — sixteen general ones, four exclusively for women and one for a non-Muslim candidate — for the FATA citizens in the KP Provincial Assembly; it previously had 124 seats.

The president is yet to sign the 31st Amendment of the Constitution resulting in the usurpation of Article 247 of the Pakistani Constitution which lays down directions for administering the federally and the provincially administered tribal areas of the country. KP is to receive a “FATA Interim Governance Regulation” once the president signs the 31st Amendment. However, the removal of Article 247 would lead to Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) citizens losing certain privileges and incentives. Members of the KP Provincial Assembly from the Malakand division (the PATA) including Inayatullah Khan, Sardar Babak, Dr Haider Ali, and Muhammad Ali Shah expressed their dissatisfaction with the purging of incentives for PATA. Those assembly members also asked for exemption of taxes for PATA citizens. Outgoing Chief Minister of KP, Pervez Khattak said he would raise the concerns with the Federal Government, requesting a ten-year tax exemption for PATA citizens.

After approving the bill, the president said this move is to “open up an entire era of prosperity and development for its people and help them progress in all spheres of life”. He added, saying, “The nation needs to work together to fully benefit from this historic opportunity.”

The merger bill was proposed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and passed with 229–1, 71–5, and 92–7 in the National Assembly, Senate and the KP Provincial Assembly respectively. The Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party were the two parties to oppose the merger in both, provincial and national assemblies.

April 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

Sadr City suicide bomber uses fruit truck to kill 66 on market day

Sunday, July 2, 2006

A suicide bomber exploded a truck bomb in the crowded Al-Ula market in Sadr City in Baghdad on Saturday, killing 66 people and injuring over a 100.

‘At the beginning of this market, the criminal blew up his dynamite-packed truck after trying to go over the pavement,’ said Iraq’s Deputy Health Minister Sabah al-Hussein.

The explosion happened when a police patrol was passing by and caused heavy casualties in the morning market rush. Some shoppers were sent flying on top of nearby two-storey buildings.

The force of the blast left a large crater and wreckage of blown-out cars and windowless buildings. Rescuers were left to pick through a sickening scene of human remains mixed in with exploded vegetable matter and dead animals.

Sadr City, a Shiite city of two million in which religious leader Moqtada Sadr has found popular support, had many times before been targeted by Sunni terrorists who were blamed by some residents for this attack.

It was the deadliest bombing of civilians since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki‘s government assumed responsibility for domestic security in May 2006.

Experts said the truck bomb was a lethal concoction of explosives, shells and shrapnel hidden under a consignment of fruit. The driver of the truck blew himself up in the explosion.

April 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

Iran: Wreckage found of plane crashed in mountains; all believed dead

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Yesterday, the Iranian military announced the wreckage of an Aseman Airlines airplane, which went missing on Sunday morning shortly before it was due to land in Yasuj, had been located at an elevation of about 13,000 feet (4,000 m) in the Zagros Mountains. All 65 people on board were presumed dead. Crews were searching for the aircraft’s two black boxes to try to determine why it crashed.

Ramezan Sharif, a spokesman for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said wreckage of the ATR 72-500 twin-engine turboprop had been sighted by a military drone and helicopters had then been sent to the location. Helicopter pilot Captain Soheili said on state television the wreckage was only some 100 feet (30 m) from a peak on Mount Dena, and “large parts of the plane, which were labeled with the Aseman company logo” were visible. The Revolutionary Guards released photos in which they said bodies of victims could be seen. Regional medical center director Ghafoor Rastinrooz told the official IRNA news agency that helicopters were unable to land at the site because of “deep and dangerous crevices in the area of the crash”. General Kiumars Heidari, chief of ground forces in the Iranian Army, told the Fars News Agency the dead would have to be brought down the mountain by commandos using specialized ground vehicles.

The plane took off at about 0430 UTC on Sunday from the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Aseman Airlines route EP3704 to Yasuj, in the southwest of the country. It vanished from controllers’ radar screens at about 8:52 local time, 0522 UTC, and there were reports from people in the area of Samirom, about 14 miles (22 km) from its destination in Isfahan Province, of seeing it attempting an emergency landing in a pasture and of hearing the crash. Hundreds of searchers organized by the Red Crescent and using drones and dogs combed the mountainous terrain but were hampered by windy, foggy conditions and heavy snow. The search had to be suspended on Sunday. It resumed at dawn on Monday but weather then forced grounding the helicopters. At one point on Monday local officials announced searchers had found the wreckage, only to have the national civil aviation agency and the Red Crescent indicate the statement had been premature. A demonstration was reported by more than 100 people outside a Dena Kooh government office, demanding resignations.

The plane reportedly had a crew of six — a pilot and a co-pilot, two flight attendants, and two security guards — and 59 passengers, one of them a child. A man who recounted missing the flight told the Tabnak news site “God has been really kind to me”, expressing his sadness over those who had died.

The aircraft was 24 years old. Aseman Airlines, Iran’s third largest air carrier and owned by the national civil service pension foundation, said it had been in storage for seven years before recently being placed in operation again. Iran’s aircraft are aging and the country has been prevented from buying spare parts by international sanctions imposed in response to its nuclear program. Those sanctions were to be lifted under an agreement from 2015, and Iranian airlines, including Aseman, have ordered new planes from both Airbus and Boeing. However, since becoming US President, Donald Trump has declined to recertify the agreement.

There have been a number of serious Iranian air accidents in modern times. In 2011, at least 77 people died when an Iran Air Boeing 727 crashed during an emergency landing.

The pilot in the current crash, Captain Hojjatallah Foulad, successfully landed an ATR 72 at the airport in Yasuj in 2013 after one of the engines failed.

April 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Category:May 16, 2010

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April 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

Avoid These Three Kitchen Remodeling San Diego, Ca Mistakes

byalex

Remodeling your kitchen is a great way to improve the value of your home, give it an updated look or just make you feel more comfortable when looking at it. But not all remodeling projects go well. In fact, many people make some mistakes when they try to remodel their kitchen. Instead, you should simply hire a kitchen remodeling San Diego, CA company to do the job so you can avoid the following mistakes.

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Going with the Latest FadsOne of the worst mistakes you can make when remodeling your kitchen is to go with some of the latest fads. There’s a difference between being stylish and choosing fads. Fads are in style right now, but they will be out of style in a few years (think shag carpeting). If you choose fads for your kitchen, you will want to change it again in a few years because it simply won’t be stylish anymore. You can’t go wrong with traditional or classic. You can ask your kitchen remodeling San Diego, CA professional about latest fads and trends so you’ll know what you should stay away from.

Doing It YourselfYou can save some money by doing a kitchen remodeling project yourself, but you can also make the project cost more than necessary. If you aren’t experienced, you might get halfway through the project and decide that you got yourself in over your head. You might even make some mistakes that will be costly to fix which can add to the overall remodeling bill. Instead of trying to remodel your kitchen yourself, you should hire professionals to do the job for you. They will get it done quickly and more efficiently than you could even think about doing it with just yourself.

Not Making the Decisions YourselfWhen you hire a remodeling contractor to renovate your kitchen, you might have a tendency to let them make some of the major decisions. These decisions can include where certain cabinets or appliances should be situated, what types of handles to install on the cabinets and other details. The problem with allowing this to happen is that you won’t feel like the kitchen is customized to your preferences. When the job is done, you might not like some of the decisions that the contractor made. Instead of letting this happen, be ready to make the decisions that need to be made. You’ll feel better about the overall project and you’ll be happier with the new kitchen.

Kitchen remodeling San Diego CA – You can avoid many mistakes and have your kitchen remodeling project done within your budget by using the professional services of NewForm Kitchen & More. From customized cabinets to remodeling and more, you’ll be satisfied with the job they do.

April 8, 2019 in Constructions And Maintenance

John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview

Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Vanderslice has recently learned to enjoy America again. The singer-songwriter, who National Public Radio called “one of the most imaginative, prolific and consistently rewarding artists making music today,” found it through an unlikely source: his French girlfriend. “For the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position…”

Since breaking off from San Francisco local legends, mk Ultra, Vanderslice has produced six critically-acclaimed albums. His most recent, Emerald City, was released July 24th. Titled after the nickname given to the American-occupied Green Zone in Baghdad, it chronicles a world on the verge of imminent collapse under the weight of its own paranoia and loneliness. David Shankbone recently went to the Bowery Ballroom and spoke with Vanderslice about music, photography, touring and what makes a depressed liberal angry.


DS: How is the tour going?

JV: Great! I was just on the Wiki page for Inland Empire, and there is a great synopsis on the film. What’s on there is the best thing I have read about that film. The tour has been great. The thing with touring: say you are on vacation…let’s say you are doing an intense vacation. I went to Thailand alone, and there’s a part of you that just wants to go home. I don’t know what it is. I like to be home, but on tour there is a free floating anxiety that says: Go Home. Go Home.

DS: Anywhere, or just outside of the country?

JV: Anywhere. I want to be home in San Francisco, and I really do love being on tour, but there is almost like a homing beacon inside of me that is beeping and it creates a certain amount of anxiety.

DS: I can relate: You and I have moved around a lot, and we have a lot in common. Pranks, for one. David Bowie is another.

JV: Yeah, I saw that you like David Bowie on your MySpace.

DS: When I was in college I listened to him nonstop. Do you have a favorite album of his?

JV: I loved all the things from early to late seventies. Hunky Dory to Low to “Heroes” to Lodger. Low changed my life. The second I got was Hunky Dory, and the third was Diamond Dogs, which is a very underrated album. Then I got Ziggy Stardust and I was like, wow, this is important…this means something. There was tons of music I discovered in the seventh and eighth grade that I discovered, but I don’t love, respect and relate to it as much as I do Bowie. Especially Low…I was just on a panel with Steve Albini about how it has had a lot of impact.

DS: You said seventh and eighth grade. Were you always listening to people like Bowie or bands like the Velvets, or did you have an Eddie Murphy My Girl Wants to Party All the Time phase?

JV: The thing for me that was the uncool music, I had an older brother who was really into prog music, so it was like Gentle Giant and Yes and King Crimson and Genesis. All the new Genesis that was happening at the time was mind-blowing. Phil Collins‘s solo record…we had every single solo record, like the Mike Rutherford solo record.

DS: Do you shun that music now or is it still a part of you?

JV: Oh no, I appreciate all music. I’m an anti-snob. Last night when I was going to sleep I was watching Ocean’s Thirteen on my computer. It’s not like I always need to watch some super-fragmented, fucked-up art movie like Inland Empire. It’s part of how I relate to the audience. We end every night by going out into the audience and playing acoustically, directly, right in front of the audience, six inches away—that is part of my philosophy.

DS: Do you think New York or San Francisco suffers from artistic elitism more?

JV: I think because of the Internet that there is less and less elitism; everyone is into some little superstar on YouTube and everyone can now appreciate now Justin Timberlake. There is no need for factions. There is too much information, and I think the idea has broken down that some people…I mean, when was the last time you met someone who was into ska, or into punk, and they dressed the part? I don’t meet those people anymore.

DS: Everything is fusion now, like cuisine. It’s hard to find a purely French or purely Vietnamese restaurant.

JV: Exactly! When I was in high school there were factions. I remember the guys who listened to Black Flag. They looked the part! Like they were in theater.

DS: You still find some emos.

JV: Yes, I believe it. But even emo kids, compared to their older brethren, are so open-minded. I opened up for Sunny Day Real Estate and Pedro the Lion, and I did not find their fans to be the cliquish people that I feared, because I was never playing or marketed in the emo genre. I would say it’s because of the Internet.

DS: You could clearly create music that is more mainstream pop and be successful with it, but you choose a lot of very personal and political themes for your music. Are you ever tempted to put out a studio album geared toward the charts just to make some cash?

JV: I would say no. I’m definitely a capitalist, I was an econ major and I have no problem with making money, but I made a pact with myself very early on that I was only going to release music that was true to the voices and harmonic things I heard inside of me—that were honestly inside me—and I have never broken that pact. We just pulled two new songs from Emerald City because I didn’t feel they were exactly what I wanted to have on a record. Maybe I’m too stubborn or not capable of it, but I don’t think…part of the equation for me: this is a low stakes game, making indie music. Relative to the world, with the people I grew up with and where they are now and how much money they make. The money in indie music is a low stakes game from a financial perspective. So the one thing you can have as an indie artist is credibility, and when you burn your credibility, you are done, man. You can not recover from that. These years I have been true to myself, that’s all I have.

DS: Do you think Spoon burned their indie credibility for allowing their music to be used in commercials and by making more studio-oriented albums? They are one of my favorite bands, but they have come a long way from A Series of Sneaks and Girls Can Tell.

JV: They have, but no, I don’t think they’ve lost their credibility at all. I know those guys so well, and Brit and Jim are doing exactly the music they want to do. Brit owns his own studio, and they completely control their means of production, and they are very insulated by being on Merge, and I think their new album—and I bought Telephono when it came out—is as good as anything they have done.

DS: Do you think letting your music be used on commercials does not bring the credibility problem it once did? That used to be the line of demarcation–the whole Sting thing–that if you did commercials you sold out.

JV: Five years ago I would have said that it would have bothered me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. The thing is that bands have shrinking options for revenue streams, and sync deals and licensing, it’s like, man, you better be open to that idea. I remember when Spike Lee said, ‘Yeah, I did these Nike commercials, but it allowed me to do these other films that I wanted to make,’ and in some ways there is an article that Of Montreal and Spoon and other bands that have done sync deals have actually insulated themselves further from the difficulties of being a successful independent band, because they have had some income come in that have allowed them to stay put on labels where they are not being pushed around by anyone.
The ultimate problem—sort of like the only philosophical problem is suicide—the only philosophical problem is whether to be assigned to a major label because you are then going to have so much editorial input that it is probably going to really hurt what you are doing.

DS: Do you believe the only philosophical question is whether to commit suicide?

JV: Absolutely. I think the rest is internal chatter and if I logged and tried to counter the internal chatter I have inside my own brain there is no way I could match that.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and their music?

JV: The thing for me is they are profound iconic figures for me, and I don’t even know their music. I don’t know Winehouse or Doherty’s music, I just know that they are acting a very crucial, mythic part in our culture, and they might be doing it unknowingly.

DS: Glorification of drugs? The rock lifestyle?

JV: More like an out-of-control Id, completely unregulated personal relationships to the world in general. It’s not just drugs, it’s everything. It’s arguing and scratching people’s faces and driving on the wrong side of the road. Those are just the infractions that land them in jail. I think it might be unknowing, but in some ways they are beautiful figures for going that far off the deep end.

DS: As tragic figures?

JV: Yeah, as totally tragic figures. I appreciate that. I take no pleasure in saying that, but I also believe they are important. The figures that go outside—let’s say GG Allin or Penderetsky in the world of classical music—people who are so far outside of the normal boundaries of behavior and communication, it in some way enlarges the size of your landscape, and it’s beautiful. I know it sounds weird to say that, but it is.

DS: They are examples, as well. I recently covered for Wikinews the Iranian President speaking at Columbia and a student named Matt Glick told me that he supported the Iranian President speaking so that he could protest him, that if we don’t give a platform and voice for people, how can we say that they are wrong? I think it’s almost the same thing; they are beautiful as examples of how living a certain way can destroy you, and to look at them and say, “Don’t be that.”

JV: Absolutely, and let me tell you where I’m coming from. I don’t do drugs, I drink maybe three or four times a year. I don’t have any problematic relationship to drugs because there has been a history around me, like probably any musician or creative person, of just blinding array of drug abuse and problems. For me, I am a little bit of a control freak and I don’t have those issues. I just shut those doors. But I also understand and I am very sympathetic to someone who does not shut that door, but goes into that room and stays.

DS: Is it a problem for you to work with people who are using drugs?

JV: I would never work with them. It is a very selfish decision to make and usually those people are total energy vampires and they will take everything they can get from you. Again, this is all in theory…I love that stuff in theory. If Amy Winehouse was my girlfriend, I would probably not be very happy.

DS: Your latest CD is Emerald City and that is an allusion to the compound that we created in Baghdad. How has the current political client affected you in terms of your music?

JV: In some ways, both Pixel Revolt and Emerald City were born out of a recharged and re-energized position of my being….I was so beaten down after the 2000 election and after 9/11 and then the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan; I was so depleted as a person after all that stuff happened, that I had to write my way out of it. I really had to write political songs because for me it is a way of making sense and processing what is going on. The question I’m asked all the time is do I think is a responsibility of people to write politically and I always say, My God, no. if you’re Morrissey, then you write Morrissey stuff. If you are Dan Bejar and Destroyer, then you are Dan Bejar and you are a fucking genius. Write about whatever it is you want to write about. But to get out of that hole I had to write about that.

DS: There are two times I felt deeply connected to New York City, and that was 9/11 and the re-election of George Bush. The depression of the city was palpable during both. I was in law school during the Iraq War, and then when Hurricane Katrina hit, we watched our countrymen debate the logic of rebuilding one of our most culturally significant cities, as we were funding almost without question the destruction of another country to then rebuild it, which seems less and less likely. Do you find it is difficult to enjoy living in America when you see all of these sorts of things going on, and the sort of arguments we have amongst ourselves as a people?

JV: I would say yes, absolutely, but one thing changed that was very strange: I fell in love with a French girl and the genesis of Emerald City was going through this visa process to get her into the country, which was through the State Department. In the middle of process we had her visa reviewed and everything shifted over to Homeland Security. All of my complicated feelings about this country became even more dour and complicated, because here was Homeland Security mailing me letters and all involved in my love life, and they were grilling my girlfriend in Paris and they were grilling me, and we couldn’t travel because she had a pending visa. In some strange ways the thing that changed everything was that we finally got the visa accepted and she came here. Now she is a Parisian girl, and it goes without saying that she despises America, and she would never have considered moving to America. So she moves here and is asking me almost breathlessly, How can you allow this to happen

DS: –you, John Vanderslice, how can you allow this—

JV: –Me! Yes! So for the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position of saying, Listen, not that many people vote and the churches run fucking everything here, man. It’s like if you take out the evangelical Christian you have basically a progressive western European country. That’s all there is to it. But these people don’t vote, poor people don’t vote, there’s a complicated equation of extreme corruption and voter fraud here, and I found myself trying to rattle of all the reasons to her why I am personally not responsible, and it put me in a very interesting position. And then Sarkozy got elected in France and I watched her go through the same horrific thing that we’ve gone through here, and Sarkozy is a nut, man. This guy is a nut.

DS: But he doesn’t compare to George Bush or Dick Cheney. He’s almost a liberal by American standards.

JV: No, because their President doesn’t have much power. It’s interesting because he is a WAPO right-wing and he was very close to Le Pen and he was a card-carrying straight-up Nazi. I view Sarkozy as somewhat of a far-right candidate, especially in the context of French politics. He is dismantling everything. It’s all changing. The school system, the remnants of the socialized medical care system. The thing is he doesn’t have the foreign policy power that Bush does. Bush and Cheney have unprecedented amounts of power, and black budgets…I mean, come on, we’re spending half a trillion dollars in Iraq, and that’s just the money accounted for.

DS: What’s the reaction to you and your music when you play off the coasts?

JV: I would say good…

DS: Have you ever been Dixiechicked?

JV: No! I want to be! I would love to be, because then that means I’m really part of some fiery debate, but I would say there’s a lot of depressed in every single town. You can say Salt Lake City, you can look at what we consider to be conservative cities, and when you play those towns, man, the kids that come out are more or less on the same page and politically active because they are fish out of water.

DS: Depression breeds apathy, and your music seems geared toward anger, trying to wake people from their apathy. Your music is not maudlin and sad, but seems to be an attempt to awaken a spirit, with a self-reflective bent.

JV: That’s the trick. I would say that honestly, when Katrina happened, I thought, “okay, this is a trick to make people so crazy and so angry that they can’t even think. If you were in a community and basically were in a more or less quasi-police state surveillance society with no accountability, where we are pouring untold billions into our infrastructure to protect outside threats against via terrorism, or whatever, and then a natural disaster happens and there is no response. There is an empty response. There is all these ships off the shore that were just out there, just waiting, and nobody came. Michael Brown. It is one of the most insane things I have ever seen in my life.

DS: Is there a feeling in San Francisco that if an earthquake struck, you all would be on your own?

JV: Yes, of course. Part of what happened in New Orleans is that it was a Catholic city, it was a city of sin, it was a black city. And San Francisco? Bush wouldn’t even visit California in the beginning because his numbers were so low. Before Schwarzenegger definitely. I’m totally afraid of the earthquake, and I think everyone is out there. America is in the worst of both worlds: a laissez-fare economy and then the Grover Norquist anti-tax, starve the government until it turns into nothing more than a Argentinian-style government where there are these super rich invisible elite who own everything and there’s no distribution of wealth and nothing that resembles the New Deal, twentieth century embracing of human rights and equality, war against poverty, all of these things. They are trying to kill all that stuff. So, in some ways, it is the worst of both worlds because they are pushing us towards that, and on the same side they have put in a Supreme Court that is so right wing and so fanatically opposed to upholding civil rights, whether it be for foreign fighters…I mean, we are going to see movement with abortion, Miranda rights and stuff that is going to come up on the Court. We’ve tortured so many people who have had no intelligence value that you have to start to look at torture as a symbolic and almost ritualized behavior; you have this…

DS: Organ failure. That’s our baseline…

JV: Yeah, and you have to wonder about how we were torturing people to do nothing more than to send the darkest signal to the world to say, Listen, we are so fucking weird that if you cross the line with us, we are going to be at war with your religion, with your government, and we are going to destroy you.

DS: I interviewed Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is running for President, and he feels we should use as a deterrent against Islam the bombing of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

JV: You would radicalize the very few people who have not been radicalized, yet, by our actions and beliefs. We know what we’ve done out there, and we are going to paying for this for a long time. When Hezbollah was bombing Israel in that border excursion last year, the Hezbollah fighters were writing the names of battles they fought with the Jews in the Seventh Century on their helmets. This shit is never forgotten.

DS: You read a lot of the stuff that is written about you on blogs and on the Internet. Do you ever respond?

JV: No, and I would say that I read stuff that tends to be . I’ve done interviews that have been solely about film and photography. For some reason hearing myself talk about music, and maybe because I have been talking about it for so long, it’s snoozeville. Most interviews I do are very regimented and they tend to follow a certain line. I understand. If I was them, it’s a 200 word piece and I may have never played that town, in Des Moines or something. But, in general, it’s like…my band mates ask why don’t I read the weeklies when I’m in town, and Google my name. It would be really like looking yourself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror you are just error-correcting. There must be some sort of hall of mirrors thing that happens when you are completely involved in the Internet conversation about your music, and in some ways I think that I’m very innocently making music, because I don’t make music in any way that has to do with the response to that music. I don’t believe that the response to the music has anything to do with it. This is something I got from John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, I think the perception of the artwork, in some ways, has nothing to do with the artwork, and I think that is a beautiful, glorious and flattering thing to say to the perceiver, the viewer of that artwork. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Paul Klee‘s drawings, lithographs, watercolors and paintings and when I read his diaries I’m not sure how much of a correlation there is between what his color schemes are denoting and what he is saying and what I am getting out of it. I’m not sure that it matters. Inland Empire is a great example. Lynch basically says, I don’t want to talk about it because I’m going to close doors for the viewer. It’s up to you. It’s not that it’s a riddle or a puzzle. You know how much of your own experience you are putting into the digestion of your own art. That’s not to say that that guy arranges notes in an interesting way, and sings in an interesting way and arranges words in an interesting way, but often, if someone says they really like my music, what I want to say is, That’s cool you focused your attention on that thing, but it does not make me go home and say, Wow, you’re great. My ego is not involved in it.

DS: Often people assume an artist makes an achievement, say wins a Tony or a Grammy or even a Cable Ace Award and people think the artist must feel this lasting sense of accomplishment, but it doesn’t typically happen that way, does it? Often there is some time of elation and satisfaction, but almost immediately the artist is being asked, “Okay, what’s the next thing? What’s next?” and there is an internal pressure to move beyond that achievement and not focus on it.

JV: Oh yeah, exactly. There’s a moment of relief when a mastered record gets back, and then I swear to you that ten minutes after that point I feel there are bigger fish to fry. I grew up listening to classical music, and there is something inside of me that says, Okay, I’ve made six records. Whoop-dee-doo. I grew up listening to Gustav Mahler, and I will never, ever approach what he did.

DS: Do you try?

JV: I love Mahler, but no, his music is too expansive and intellectual, and it’s realized harmonically and compositionally in a way that is five languages beyond me. And that’s okay. I’m very happy to do what I do. How can anyone be so jazzed about making a record when you are up against, shit, five thousand records a week—

DS: —but a lot of it’s crap—

JV: —a lot of it’s crap, but a lot of it is really, really good and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. A lot of it is very good. I’m shocked at some of the stuff I hear. I listen to a lot of music and I am mailed a lot of CDs, and I’m on the web all the time.

DS: I’ve done a lot of photography for Wikipedia and the genesis of it was an attempt to pin down reality, to try to understand a world that I felt had fallen out of my grasp of understanding, because I felt I had no sense of what this world was about anymore. For that, my work is very encyclopedic, and it fit well with Wikipedia. What was the reason you began investing time and effort into photography?

JV: It came from trying to making sense of touring. Touring is incredibly fast and there is so much compressed imagery that comes to you, whether it is the window in the van, or like now, when we are whisking through the Northeast in seven days. Let me tell you, I see a lot of really close people in those seven days. We move a lot, and there is a lot of input coming in. The shows are tremendous and, it is emotionally so overwhelming that you can not log it. You can not keep a file of it. It’s almost like if I take photos while I am doing this, it slows it down or stops it momentarily and orders it. It has made touring less of a blur; concretizes these times. I go back and develop the film, and when I look at the tour I remember things in a very different way. It coalesces. Let’s say I take on fucking photo in Athens, Georgia. That’s really intense. And I tend to take a photo of someone I like, or photos of people I really admire and like.

DS: What bands are working with your studio, Tiny Telephone?

JV: Death Cab for Cutie is going to come back and track their next record there. Right now there is a band called Hello Central that is in there, and they are really good. They’re from L.A. Maids of State was just in there and w:Deerhoof was just in there. Book of Knotts is coming in soon. That will be cool because I think they are going to have Beck sing on a tune. That will be really cool. There’s this band called Jordan from Paris that is starting this week.

DS: Do they approach you, or do you approach them?

JV I would say they approach me. It’s generally word of mouth. We never advertise and it’s very cheap, below market. It’s analog. There’s this self-fulfilling thing that when you’re booked, you stay booked. More bands come in, and they know about it and they keep the business going that way. But it’s totally word of mouth.

April 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

Stabbing at Massachusetts high school leaves one dead

Friday, January 19, 2007

In the United States, a stabbing at the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Massachusetts has left a 15-year old student dead.

The stabbing happened around 7:20 am EST, before classes had started. A fight broke out in a boys’ bathroom between the 15-year old victim, James Alenson and 16-year-old suspect John Odgren, the fight spilled out in the hallway, where the stabbing occurred.

The school was sent into a “lockdown” and students were ushered into the gym, cafeteria and various classrooms. Alenson was rushed to Emerson Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:15 am EST. Odgren admitted to the stabbing and was in the principal’s office saying “I did it, I did it,” to police. However, Odgren also reportedly said “Is he OK? I don’t want him to die,” according to a police report.All students were released at 10:20 am EST.

Odgren was diagnosed with severe Asperger’s syndrome, an autistic spectrum disorder has been on medication for years, was a special education student at the school and had no history of violence according to his lawyer, Jonathan Shapiro. He is being charged with “murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and carrying a knife onto school property” and was arraigned in Framingham District Court where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Shapiro also asked if his client could go to secure facility at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Judge Paul Healy denied the request saying he did not have “enough assurance that Children’s Hospital would be secure.” Instead, he will be held at Middlesex Jail in Cambridge outside of the general population.

According to the school’s website, there will be a community meeting tonight in the school’s auditorium at 7pm EST.

April 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

US president Obama, Congress call for blocking of executive bonuses at AIG insurance company

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

United States President Barack Obama stated Monday that insurance giant AIG is in financial trouble due to “recklessness and greed,” and called for legal action to stop the company from giving out millions of dollars in bonuses to its executives.

“It’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay,” Obama said. “How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat.”

Obama’s statement comes after reports surfaced last weekend saying the insurance agency, which is in deep financial trouble, had paid US$165 million to executives in bonuses, after receiving $170 billion as part of a government bailout plan.

AIG has said that the bonuses have to be given out, as the company is legally required by contract to do so. A representative with the National Economic Council, Lawrence H. Summers, also said that the bonuses were required to be given out. If AIG had refused to give out the bonuses, employees could file a lawsuit against the company for the money.

“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” AIG CEO Edward M. Liddy said in a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on Saturday.

Liddy said that he asked Geithner “to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.”

“I want everybody to be clear that Secretary Geithner’s been on the case,” Obama said. “He’s working to resolve this matter with the new CEO, Edward Liddy, who, by the way, everybody needs to understand, came on board after the contracts that led to these bonuses were agreed to last year.”

If the bonuses cannot be stopped, the U.S. Congress says they want AIG to reimburse the government. Congress is looking to impose stiff new taxes on the pay, or ordering the company to return the money which was originally granted from a government bailout. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, senator Richard Shelby promised that the treasury will recover all of the money. Several U.S. senators along with Liddy have sent letters to AIG asking for the bonuses to be renegotiated, something AIG agreed to and says they will reduce future bonuses by 30%. Senators state that if Libby does not respond by renegotiating the bonuses, the Senate Finance Committee will propose an excise tax. Not only will an excise tax be proposed on AIG, but all companies receiving bailout money and their employees who receive bonuses.

What is the highest excise tax we can impose that will stand up in court? Let’s find out.

Numerous House Democrats have introduced legislation which would place a 100% tax on any bonuses of over $100,000 from companies that are receiving government bailout funds. Meanwhile in the Senate, a bipartisan proposal by Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) would levy a special 90% excise tax on AIG’s bonuses. Asked Senator Baucus, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee: “What is the highest excise tax we can impose that will stand up in court? Let’s find out.”

April 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

Plane crashes into office block in Austin, Texas

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A small plane crashed into a building, which was one of the Echelon office complex, in north Austin, Texas this morning at 09:56 local time (1456 UTC).

Federal officials say the plane owner was Joseph Andrew Stack III; presumed to be the pilot who set his house on fire on the 1800 block of Dapplegrey Lane in north Austin an hour earlier. He then drove to Georgetown Municipal Airport, approximately 20 miles away, took off and then crashed his private plane into the Echelon complex.

The Federal Aviation Authority indicated the light aircraft was a Piper Cherokee PA-28, as did news reports and eye witnesses. The FAA said the plane had no flight plan and was under Visual Flight Rules.

Mr. Stack committed suicide, and a suicide note has been located. Mr. Stack’s suicide note mentions anti-government and anti-corporate ideals, as well as problems with the Internal Revenue Service and that he lost money in the Enron scandal. Although the incident was intentional, a Department of Homeland Security official said that terrorism is not suspected. The online host of the note, T35 Hosting, later removed it in its entirety after the FBI requested its censorship. However, Wikinews has preserved the full text of the letter.

Austin Fire Department reported around 1100 local time (1600 UTC) that two people were transported to local hospitals and one was unaccounted for. One man was admitted at a local hospital under serious condition for smoke inhalation. The other man suffered from second-degree burns on 25% of his back and has been transported by helicopter to Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio and is said to be in stable condition.

The seven-story Echelon Building One is located on 9430 Research Boulevard and contains Internal Revenue Service offices. The Echelon building complex houses a number of federal offices, including Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Research Boulevard is the service road of U.S. Route 183. The incident has caused severe backups on both Research Boulevard and Route 183.

A witness told The Austin Statesman that he saw the plane flying lower than usual, then it made a sharp turn and hit the building.

An Austin County EMS official, James Shamard, said that smoke is visible from at least a mile from the crash site. Another official for the Austin Fire Department said that two persons who were working in the building are still unaccounted for.

MSNBC reports that there was some form of domestic dispute between Mr. Stack and his wife before the incident. He then reportedly used gasoline to light his house on fire. When the fire department arrived, they rescued his wife and teenage daughter.

According to Jerry Cullen, a pilot and former flight instructor who witnessed the crash, the plane was traveling at high speed at time of impact.

April 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hard drive technology breaks storage density record

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the San Jose, California-based joint venture of Japanese storage vendor Hitachi and U.S. technology giant IBM, has set a new record for storage density at 230 gigabits per square inch (Gb/in2). The company has developed technology to implement a recording method known as perpendicular recording, which allowed the increase in density above the current ~130 Gb/in2 limit.

Techworld claims there is a race between Hitachi and Toshiba for who will get the first drives to market which use the technology. According to Hitachi, they expect, “to ship [their] first perpendicular recording product in 2005 on a 2.5-inch hard drive”. Toshiba is also planning to ship a drive in 2005 that uses perpendicular recording.

According to Techworld, Toshiba will ship an 80 GB, 1.8″ drive in 2005. Toshiba’s 1.8″ drives are used in portable electronic devices such as Apple’s iPod, which is currently available in sizes 60 GB and smaller.

While all commercially available hard drives to date use longitudinal recording, perpendicular recording has roots in research done in academic circles over 100 years ago.

Hitachi Tech has produced a Flash animation that explains the rudiments of perpendicular recording in a music-video style.

Inspired by the 1970s Schoolhouse Rock series of educational animation shorts, the flash movie features whimsical moments with data bits and disk platters that speak and sing (not possible with today’s technology), it also contains realistic details. Of no importance to the viewer, but perhaps of interest to some, the animation shows Texas Instruments’ UC5608DWP chips visible briefly in the background. While TI’s UC5608DWP 18-line SCSI terminator chips have been made obsolete by the new UCC5618, the chips are indeed designed for use in hard drives.

April 1, 2019 in Uncategorized