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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Haiti and Nigeria each facing cholera outbreak

Over 1,500 people have died from cholera in Nigeria in 2010, while an estimated 200 plus have perished in Haiti from a cholera outbreak that has escalated these past few weeks. Canada and other countries have recently increased their efforts to help Haiti battle the outbreak, and the University of Miami School of Medicine's emergency response plan for the Haiti cholera outbreak includes ramping up supplies to its 2 medical facilities in the region.

In Nigeria the number of cholera cases so far in 2010 is nearly three times the total for 2009 and seven times that of 2008, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The Red Cross estimates that women and children account for 80 per cent of the 2010 total of over 40,000 (1,500+ fatalities) cases of cholera in Nigeria.

According to the World Health Organization web page about cholera prevention and control, clean water supplies are the number one preventive method, while appropriate treatment during outbreaks can reduce fatalities from 30-50% to under 1%.

George Clooney spurs effort to prevent war in Sudan

Sudan is a dysfunctional country with a north led primarily by Islamic fundamentalists and a south with a predominantly Christian population that believes its oil wealth is being siphoned off by the north. Although the north / south conflict is viewed as a potentially imminent civil war, due to the religious factors (and the oil...ugh) involved there is a possibility of regional countries becoming involved.

The U.S. Secretary of State has called the situation in Sudan a "ticking time bomb." The CIA has reported that "mass killing or genocide is most likely to occur in Southern Sudan." President Obama believes "the stakes are enormous."

We NOW have a brief window of opportunity to achieve something that has rarely been done: prevent a war before it occurs. If the international community is too hesitant or too late in its efforts, however, as was the case in Darfur, then hundreds of thousands may perish. The most recent war between the North and South in Sudan was ended by a U.S.-led peace process, but not before two and a half million men, women, and children died in the travesty.

On January 9th, Southern Sudan will go to the polls for a vote for regarding independence. Sudan as a whole is currently led by an indicted war criminal, Omar al-Bashir. As the New Year approaches, both northern and southern Sudan are preparing for war, leaving civilians at grave risk of major human rights violations, and loss of life.

George Clooney and John Pendergrast are spearheading an effort to have regular people ask President Obama and the USA Government to lead a diplomatic effort to prevent bloodshed in Sudan, and this campaign deserves all our support. Canadians should also contact our government asking them to help prevent war in Sudan also.

George Clooney website against war in Sudan

Monday, October 11, 2010

New DOA Lineup a Joe Keithley Tour de Force

Doa circa 1980: Joe, Chuck, Randy, Dave

Having had the opportunity to see DOA at the Horseshoe Friday night (Oct 8th, 2010), and also having seen the version a couple years ago with Randy Rampage back in the band, it is clear that Joe "Shithead" Keithley is driving DOA into the future, and not living in the past.

DOA with Randy Rampage, circa 2007/2008

This was a brilliant show, with all the power and force of early DOA, a run-thru of the timeless punk anthems the Vancouver legends are known for. As someone who saw the original trio (Shithead, Rampage, Biscuits) several times in 1979 and opened for the fearless foursome (now including stellar guitarist Dave Gregg) six or seven times in 1980, this was powerful punk nostalgia for like the Strummer song claims "you know I was there too."

It was 20th Century punk rock at its finest!

DOA with Dan and Jesse

New DOA lineup with Dirty Dan Sedan and Jesse Pincher Pinner may not have the visual and vocal force of the Rampage version, yet this new band is musically powerful, forward-looking and ready to change the world. The Talk Minus Action Tour features most of the songs that made DOA into the icons they are and also showcases a range of material that illustrates how Joe and his band remain a vibrant political force in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century.

DOA has always been about Joe's music and lyrics, and the new lineup really showcases his guitar prowess and social progress initiatives; DOA remains a leader in the fight for biological diversity and human rights everywhere!

DOA Punk Rock links:

Sudden Death Records, DOA punk rock

Early DOA punk rock photos, Deep Wave Festival

Official Randy Rampage website

Joe Keithley supports and teams with David Suzuki Foundation

Original Joe College blog

DOA MySpace page

Neanderthal thug Carl Paladino attacks validity of homosexuals

While complaining that people who said he wanted to hurt gays were misquoting him, he still managed to lump homosexuals in with "pornographers and the perverts who seek to target our children and destroy their lives" and claim that getting married and raising a family would be a better option for them than being homosexual...

I don't know about you, but I never made a choice to be heterosexual, I just found myself longing for the female body in every way, and I'm sure it must be the same type of primal urges for gays. This guy is either stupid or evil, because unfortunately his remarks reinforce the lunkhead mentality that fuels bullying and worse.

American politics is degenerating into uncivil territory that I really don't wanna see in Canada, and I don't believe will happen. We are such a diverse cultural mix that any type of discrimination is suspect, and I do hope we remain vigilant. Though I'm generally a pacifist, I would be really tempted to punch this guy in the face if he were trying to gain a Canadian political office.

Here's a quote from a recent speech:

We must stop pandering to the pornographers and the perverts who seek to target our children and destroy their lives.

I didn't march in the gay parade this year, gay pride parade this year. My opponent did. And that's not the example that we should be showing our children. Certainly not in our schools.

And don't misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie. My approach is live and let live.

I just think my children and your children would be much better off and more successful getting married and raising a family. And I don't want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.

One would have to think that being anti-Gay and anti-science (option?) in NYC would be a foolish, losing proposition, so let's hope that Andrew Cuomo wins big in November and Paladino slithers off into the darkness and fades away.

Friday, October 8, 2010

China calls Liu's Nobel Prize "obscene"

With the USA devolving into polarized paranoia and China still navel gazing and refusing to be a transparent, open society, it makes one hope that India can keep growing their economy to emerge as a 3rd, possibly less extreme global force. The wingnuts in China's politburo would have been wise to stay silent as democracy activist Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Like earlier democracy advocates such as Liang Qichao (February 23, 1873–January 19, 1929) and Liang Shuming (October 18, 1893—June 23, 1988) and other reformers through the decades, a forward-thinker like Liu Xiaobo can face tremendous persecution at home.

Liu Xiaobo arose as a strike leader during the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989. He was sentenced to 11 years' jail in December 2009, for writing a manifesto calling for free speech and multi-party elections.

The Nobel Committee praised him for his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights" and reiterated its belief in a "close connection between human rights and peace".

China, which had warned against giving the prize to Liu, summoned Norway's ambassador to protest.

"This is an obscenity against the peace prize," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement.

"(Liu's) actions are diametrically opposed to the aims of the Nobel prize. Nobel's behest was that the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to somebody who promoted peace between peoples, promoted international friendship and disarmament."

They really don't get it, yet...

Ecology in the news:

NASA scientist says Alberta oilsands threaten entire planet

Washington State to retrofit public buildings to reduce energy, pollution

Remembering John Winston Lennon

Like many rebel-minded musicians (including my friend Joe Keithley of DOA), my primary lyrical / social influences are Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Bob Marley. The punkified among us would add the likes of John Lydon, Joe Strummer and even Joey "Shithead" Keithley himself to that list, however Dylan, Lennon and Marley are the Holy Friggin Trinity of rock music.

John would have been 70 years old tomorrow, had his life not been cut short by a madman and a handgun 30 years ago. Google is running an inspired Jophn Lennon animation today and possibly for the weekend, and in case you missed it, check it out here:

YouTube video of Google's John Lennon birthday animation

Here are some more cool John Lennon links:

John Lennon page on wikipedia.org

Official John Lennon website, lyrics swag mp3

John Lennon Family photo album on MySpace

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Earth-like planet Zarmina's World, where fiction meets fact

GJ581 g, also know as Gliese 581 g and nicknamed Zarmina's World by discoverer Steve Vogt (after his wife Zarmina), clearly illustrates the potential of finding additional planets that are even more like our beautiful baby Gaia.

Even if there is no way we can get there from here without breaking known laws of physics, it will be pretty cool when we find spheres even closer in climate to ours. Gliese 581 g only gets up to about 10 degrees Farenheit, and as I already live in Canada, am hoping the next one can be a tad warmer.

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