Friday, August 10, 2012

Where are the crowds? Maybe next year.


BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

IF THERE'S ONE QUESTION PLAGUING CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O, IT IS: WHERE ARE THE CROWDS?

THEY USED TO BE EVERY WHERE, CHANTING "YES, WE CAN!"

AFTER FOUR YEARS OF NO-HE-CAN'T, THEY DO NOT APPEAR WILLING TO WASTE A PERSONAL DAY ON BARRY O.

IN COLORADO WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, THAT WAS ESPECIALLY TRUE. 

SPEAKING TO DENVER RESIDENTS, THESE REPORTERS HEARD A VARIETY OF EXCUSES INCLUDING:

1) IT'S JUST TOO HOT OUTSIDE
2) I PREFER TO WORSHIP BARRY O IN THE PRIVACY OF MY HOME
3) I AM LOOKING FOR A JOB
4) I HAVE A JOB SO, UNLIKE BARRY O, I HAVE WORK TO DO
5) I AM BUSY BUILDING SOMETHING
6) I HAVE TO GET MY HAIR DONE
7) I HAVE TO GET MY ____ WAXED
8) I DIDN'T ROLL OVER THIS MORNING SMELLING HIS FUNKY BREATH!

AND THE MOST COMMON RESPONSE, "I WON'T BE VOTING FOR HIM THIS FALL."




FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Today, as Jeff Carlisle (ESPN) reports, the US women's  soccer team won the gold medal, as NBC noted, it was their third Summer Olympics in a row to take home the gold in that event.
With three more days left for the London Summer Olympics, Ahmed al-Samarrai gets a little of the press attention.  Who?  In 2004 ESPN reported on Ahmed noting that he was in charge of Iraq's Olympics  and had "survived an assassination attempt when attackers threw grenades and fired automatic weapons at his care in Baghdad after a roadside bomb failed to kill him."  In February 2004, Sinomania noted on the election the month before of "63 year old former athlete Ahmed al-Samarrai" as president of the Iraq National Olympics Committee.  Two years later, he would be in the news for a different reason.   Alan Abrahamson (Los Angeles Times) reported Jully 19, 2006:
 
Al-Samarrai was kidnapped Saturday. He and his colleagues had been at a sports meeting at a cultural center in downtown Baghdad. In all, dozens were seized. Reports say they were taken by heavily armed men dressed in camouflage and police uniforms.
In May, meanwhile, 17 members of an Iraqi taekwondo squad, including four on the national team, were kidnapped on their way to Jordan, where they had hoped to obtain visas for a tournament in Las Vegas -- all 17 disappeared into the desert, with no word since. It remains unclear whether Rasheed was among them.
The head of the Iraqi taekwondo association, Jamal Abdul Karim, was among those kidnapped Saturday.
The abductions Saturday followed the killing Thursday of the Iraqi wrestling team's Sunni coach, shot dead in a Shiite district of Baghdad.
 
Of the dozens, 13 would eventually be released.  Ahmed was not one of the ones released.  In August 2008, Kim Gamel (AP) reported that Ahmed remained missing and that his "wife, Niran, who claims her Sunni husband was kidnapped at a time of sectarian violence and high-level government officials took little action.  She alleges her husband was targeted because he resisted attempts to use the committee as a political forum."  Niran spoke of the need for closure and for justice, for her husband and for the others who were kidnapped as well.  Gamel observed that Niran "faults the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for failing to investigate the attack or to arrest any of the kidnappers."  Niran stated, "They were abducting within al-Maliki's era.  He is the prime minister.  He's supposed to look after the people."
 
Today she tells Andrew Warshaw (Inside The Games), "Since 2006 not a single person from the Iraqi Government has helped me, the same Government who are still in power.  It's simply obscene.  I believe they know who was behind this.  They couldn't push my husband out legally [Nouri wanted to remove Ahmed from the committee and the kidnappers told Ahmed he was an embarrassment to Nouri] so they did it by force.  I have to believe Ahmed is still alive though maybe he has been tortured.  I'm tired and scared with not knowing his fate after this savage crime.  Somebody has to give us some hope.  Some of the families of those kidnapped with my husband had new-born babies who have never seen their fathers.  The IOC represents my last chance."  She wants, as the BBC explains, for the International Olympic Committee to ask serious questions of Nouri's government about the kidnappings.  If that is to happen, it will require public pressure.  In 2010, Jacquelin Magnay (Telegraph of London) explained the official position by quoting the Association of National Olympic Committees President Mario Vasquez who declared that they were not interested in finding out what happened to Ahmad and the others,  "It's not that we forget this issue, it's that we intentially do not want to deal with it.  We deliberately do not want to discuss these matters or mention this to the ministers. They don't want to deal with this either, we come here to discuss sports matter and not matters related to violence. They are regrettable, of course."
 
 
On the issue of the Olympics, Saturday, KUNA noted that Tunisia's Oussam Mellouli (swimmer) and Iraq's Dana Abdul Razak (pictured above, competes in the 100 meter track event) were the only Arabs to make it through the heats and qualify for the first rounds in their competitions.  And from there?  Jim Caple (ESPN) reported the Friday first round,"Dana Abdul Razak lined up in Lane 2 at Olympic Stadium for Heat 5 in the first round of the women's 100-meter dash. Two lanes over, Allyson Felix planted her feet in the starting blocks. The starter's gun went off and the Iraqi runner burst down the track alongside America's most famous female sprinter. Abdul Razak finished last in the heat, losing to Felix by eight-tenths of a second, but that didn't matter much. Earlier in the day, the Iraqi had won her heat. She had raced with some of the world's best and she had advanced women's sports in her country."  John Canzano (Oregonian) observed, "It wasn't lost on me that many of the sprinters around Abdul Razak in the mixed zone didn't grow up in a nation where being able to compete would even be a question. Also, with Allyson Felix of the U.S. coming through moments later after winning the heat and wearing the finest track and field gear to go with the best training/nutrition to go with a USA Track and Field handler who escorted her, I wondered about the vast disparity in resources available to athletes here."  She now holds the record for Iraq in the 100-meter dash (11.91).

When Dana Abdul Razak first competed in the Summer Olympics it was 2008 and she was the only athlete from Iraq.  This year she was one of eight at the Summer Olympics.  She's part of a group of Iraqi athletes making steady progress.   The other seven Iraqis competing in London were Ahmed Abdulkareem, Adnan Taess Akkar, Noor Amer al-Ameri, Mohanad Ahmed Dheyaa al-Azzawi, Safaa al-Jumaili, Rand al-Mashhadani and Ali Nadhim Salman Salman.
 
 
From London to Vietnam, on The Takeaway (PRI) today, environmental destruction was addressed.
 
John Hockenberry: Today the US started a clean up effort to deal with the effects of spraying millions of gallons of the toxic defoliant known as Agent Orange over jungle areas to destory enemy cover during the Vietnam War.  In the almost 40 years since the war ended, Vietnam says several million people have been affected with up to 150,000 children born with severe birth defects because Agent Orange seeped into the water and soils. 
 
US Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear [audio clip]:  The dixon in the ground here is a legacy of the painful past we share.  But the project we undertake here today hand-in-hand with the Vietnamese is, as Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton said, "a sign of the hopeful future we are building together."
 
John Hockenberry: Speaking there that's US Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear.  He was at a ceremony today here in Danang where all of this is being kicked off.  Joining us now is Susan Hammond Director of the War Legacies Project, joins us from Chester, Vermont.  Susan Hammond, thank you for joining us.
 
Susan Hammond: Thank you for having me.
 
John Hockenberry:  How much unfinished business do you say is here?  It's more than just a clean up that begins today, yes?
 
Susan Hammond:  It is.  Well this is the first part of a multi-part problem. The fact that there is still dixon in several hot spots throughout Vietnam -- It's significant that the US is finally getting around to helping the Vietnamese clean this dioxin up.  But there's also the longterm health effects in Vietnam that still need to be addressed.
 
John Hockenberry: And how would those be addressed?  Separate treaties or is that a part of this agreement, it's just in a different stage?
 
Susan Hammond: No.  At this point, it's -- the US has provided some limited funding for programs within the Danang area to provide services for children with disabilities though they do not say it's directly related to Agent Orange.
 
John Hockenberry: How much political interest is there on Capitol Hill to pursuing, you know, programs of recompense like this?  As we know, there's a very, very strong lobby on the POW - MIA issue.  I'm wondering if they go together on this or if they are opposed to this?
 
Susan Hammond:  Uhm, most are not opposed.  There are veterans with their own issues with Agent Orange, that they're labeling Congress but even many of the veterans are supportive of addressing this issue in Vietnam because they're facing it themselves in their own human health and their children's to some extent.
 
 
 
Xin chao.
This morning we celebrate a historic milestone for our bilateral relationship.
Today's ceremony marks the start of a project between Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, to clean up dioxin contaminated soil and sediment at the airport left from the Vietnam War. Over the next few years, workers will dig up the contaminated soil and sediment and place it in a stockpile, where it will be treated using thermal desorption technology. This process uses high temperatures to break down the dioxin in the contaminated soil and make it safe by Vietnamese and U.S. standards for the many men, women, and children who live and work in this area.
We have worked together closely over many years in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation to reach this point. With Presidential and Congressional support from Washington, my Embassy has cooperated with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's Office 33 since its establishment in 1999 to coordinate Vietnam's policies and programs on Agent Orange. We've used annual meetings of the Joint Advisory Committee under the leadership of Office 33 and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to seek science-based solutions to complex environmental and health issues related to Agent Orange.
As part of Vietnam's contribution to the cleanup, the Ministry of National Defense cleared unexploded ordinance from the airport site and will construct a power substation to supply electricity for the remediation process. We also greatly appreciate the strong commitment of other partners, including the Danang People's Committee and Airport Authorities, to the success of this project.
 
 
It is a historic moment.  And it's several decades after the end of that conflict.  What of Iraq?  
 
 



RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Nouri and the willfully ignorant"
"Blackwater walks, Bradley remains imprisoned"
"Gibbs and other lies"
"Even McDonalds suffers"
"4 men, 3 women"
"cartoon, video, mars"
"Bad radio"
"Arrested buck naked"
"He was always a slow child"
"Video"
"Like bratty, little children"
"The shameful Harry Reid"
"If you can wait 18 years, he might have an answer"
"THIS JUST IN! HE NEEDS A LITTLE TIME TO DECIDE!

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