Monday, January 11, 2010

Hands of the "Doomsday Clock" to be moved in New York City and seen live on web for first time ever

Factors In Change to Include Nuclear Proliferation, Weapon Stockpile Shifts, and Climate Change; Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Will Open Event to World With Real-Time Streaming Web Broadcast.

NEW YORK CITY///NEWS ADVISORY///January 14, 2010///The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) will move the minute hand of its famous "Doomsday Clock" at 10 a.m. EST/1500 GMT on January 14, 2010 in New York City. For the first time ever, the event will be opened up to the general public via a live Web feed at http://www.TurnBackTheClock.org.

The last time the Doomsday Clock minute hand moved was in January 2007, when the Clock's minute hand was pushed forward by two minutes from seven to five minutes before midnight.

The precise time to be shown on the updated Doomsday Clock will not be announced until the live news conference in New York City takes place on January 14, 2010. Factors influencing the latest Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.

News event speakers will include:

    * Lawrence Krauss, co-chair, BAS Board of Sponsors, foundation professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics departments, associate director, Beyond Center, co-director, Cosmology Initiative, and director, New Origins Initiative, Arizona State University.

    * Stephen Schneider, member, BAS Science and Security Board, professor of environmental biology and global change, Stanford University, a co-director, Center for Environment Science and Policy of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and senior fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

    * Jayantha Dhanapala, member, BAS Board of Sponsors, president, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and chair, 1995 UN Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Conference;

    * Pervez Hoodbhoy, member, BAS Board of Sponsors, professor of high energy physics, and head, Physics Department, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan; and

    * Kennette Benedict, executive director, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 as way to convey both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero). The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin's Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 19 Nobel Laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences.

TO PARTICIPATE IN PERSON: Attend the live news event on January 14, 2010 at 10 a.m. EST, at the New York Academy of Sciences Building, at 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St, 40th floor, New York City. The event will be limited to credentialed members of the news media. For security reasons, all attendees must RSVP in advance by contacting Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266, or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.

CAN'T PARTICIPATE IN PERSON?: Reporters outside of New York City who are unable to attend the live news event in person can watch and listen to the news conference via a live Webcast by registering by 945 a.m. EST on January 14, 2010 at http://www.TurnBackTheClock.org/media. A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available on the Web at http://www.thebulletin.org as of 6 p.m. EST/2300 GMT on January 14, 2010.

CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.

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Bolivia presents Resolution 'Harmony with Mother Earth' at the United Nations

(New York, NY) November 12th, 2009 Speech given by Bolivian Ambassador Mr. Pablo Solon on thursday, november 12th, at the United Nations Headquarters.

Draft Resolution Presentation Speech “Harmony with Mother Earth” (A/C.2/64/L.24**)

One of the greatest discoveries of civilization was the realization that the Earth is not flat and that we live on a globe. Today we are in the midst of a much larger discovery regarding the nature of our home. To know that Earth is not only round but it is a WHOLE.

The Draft Resolution that the Plurinational State of Bolivia presents co-sponsored by Algeria, Benin, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Eritrea, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mauritius, Nepal, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) is about the Earth as a Whole and the interaction of human beings with that system of which we are a part.The expression “Mother Earth” is used in this Resolution to refer to the interdependence that exists between human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit, as noted by resolution 63/278, which declared the International Mother Earth Day. The expression “Mother Earth” only emphasizes the relationship of humans with the System that we all are part of.

Earth is a Dynamic Planet. The continents, atmosphere, oceans, glaciers are in a constant change, ever interacting in myriad ways.[1]

Our draft resolution is called Harmony with Mother Earth, because the balance of human beings with nature has dangerously altered over in the last century.

According to a study from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), entitled Global Change and the Earth System, the planet behaves as a single, integrated and self-regulating system composed of physical, chemical, biological and human components. The interactions and feedbacks between components are complex and have multiple temporal and spatial scales.

The study states: “Until very recently in the history of Earth, humans and their activities have been an insignificant force in the dynamics of the Earth System. Today, humankind has begun to match and even exceed nature in terms of changing the biosphere and impacting other facets of Earth System functioning. The magnitude, spatial scale, and pace of human-induced change are unprecedented. Human activity now equals or surpasses nature in several biogeochemical cycles. The spatial reach of the impacts is global, either through the flows of the Earth's cycles or the cumulative changes in its states. The speed of these changes is on the order of decades to centuries, not the centuries to millennia pace of comparable change in the natural dynamics of the Earth System.”

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33 conspiracy theories that turned out to be true, what every person should know...

By Jonathan Elinoff, New World Order Report

After reading the article released by Cracked.com, I decided to update and revise their work. the article gave me a chuckle because it lacked many famous and much larger conspiracy theories that became known. Their article had only listed seven. I can name 33 and I am about to release a revised list soon with 75. The article I read at cracked can be viewed here, but don't waste your time, all of that is in this article and more.

Most people can't resist getting the details on the latest conspiracy theories, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. At the same time, many people quickly denounce any conspiracy theory as untrue ... and sometimes as unpatriotic or just plain ridiculous. Lets not forget all of the thousands of conspiracies out of Wall Street like Bernie Madoff and many others to commit fraud and extortion, among many crimes of conspiracy.USA Today reports that over 75% of personal ads in the paper and on craigslist are married couples posing as single for a one night affair.When someone knocks on your door to sell you a set of knives or phone cards, anything for that matter, do they have a profit motive?What is conspiracy other than just a scary way of saying “alternative agenda”?When 2 friends go to a bar and begin to plan their wingman approach on 2 girls they see at the bar, how often are they planning on lying to those girls?“I own a small business and am in town for a short while.Oh yeah, you look beautiful.”

Conspiracy theory is a term that originally was a neutral descriptor for any claim of civil, criminal or political conspiracy. However, it has come almost exclusively to refer to any fringe theory which explains a historical or current event as the result of a secret plot by conspirators of almost superhuman power and cunning.To conspire means "to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or to use such means to accomplish a lawful end."The term "conspiracy theory" is frequently used by scholars and in popular culture to identify secret military, banking, or political actions aimed at stealing power, money, or freedom, from "the people".

To many, conspiracy theories are just human nature.Not all people in this world are honest, hard working and forthcoming about their intentions.Certainly we can all agree on this.So how did the term “conspiracy theory” get grouped in with fiction, fantasy and folklore?Maybe that's a conspiracy, just kidding.Or am I?

Skeptics are important in achieving an objective view of reality, however, skeptism is not the same as reinforcing the official storyline. In fact, a conspiracy theory can be argued as an alternative to the official or “mainstream” story of events. Therefore, when skeptics attempt to ridicule a conspiracy theory by using the official story as a means of proving the conspiracy wrong, in effect, they are just reinforcing the original “mainstream” view of history, and actually not being skeptical. This is not skeptism, it is just a convenient way for the establishment view of things to be seen as the correct version, all the time, every time. In fact, it is common for "hit pieces" or "debunking articles" to pick extremely fringe and not very populated conspiracy theories. This in turn makes all conspiracies on a subject matter look crazy. Skeptics magazine and Popular Mechanics, among many others, did this with 9/11. They referred to less than 10% of the many different conspiracy theories about 9/11 and picked the less popular ones, in fact, they picked the fringe, highly improbable points that only a few people make. This was used as the "final investigation" for looking into the conspiracy theories. Convenient, huh?

In fact, if one were to look into conspiracy theories, they will largely find that thinking about a conspiracy is associated with lunacy and paranoia. Some websites suggest it as an illness. It is also not surprising to see so many people on the internet writing about conspiracy theories in a condescending tone, usually with the words "kool-aid," "crack pot," or "nut job" in their articulation. This must be obvious to anyone that emotionally writing about such serious matter insults the reader more than the conspiracy theorist because there is no need to resort to this kind of behavior. It is employed often with an "expert" who will say something along the lines of, "for these conspiracies to be true, you would need hundreds if not thousands of people to be involved. It's just not conceivable."

I find it extremely odd that the assumption is on thousands of participants in a conspiracy. I, for one, find it hard to believe any conspiracy involving more than a handful of people but the fact remains that there have been conspiracies in our world, proven and not made up, that involved many hundreds of people. It's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact.

One more thing to consider, have you noticed that if the conspiracy is involving powerful interests with the ability to bribe, threaten or manipulate major institutions (like the mafia, big corporations or government) then don't you find it odd when people use one of those as the "credible" counter-argument? What I mean is, if you are discussing a conspiracy about the mafia, and someone hands you a debunking article that was written by the mafia, it doesn't seem like it would take rocket science to look at that with serious criticism and credibility. This is the case with many conspiracies. In fact, I am handed debunking pieces all the time written in many cases by the conspirators in question. Doesn't this seem odd to anybody else but me?

While intelligent cynicism certainly can be healthy, though, some of the greatest discoveries of all time were initially received (often with great vitriol) as blasphemous conspiracy theories -- think of the revelation that the earth was not the center of the universe, or that the world was not flat but actually round.

What follows are some of these most shocking modern conspiracy theories that turned out true after thorough investigation by our society. Some through congressional hearings, others through investigative journalism. Many of these, however, were just admitted to by those involved. These are just 33 of them, and I still had a long list of others to add. There are a total of 33 in this article. Many of these are listed with original and credible news clips on the matter, as well as documentaries.

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Peace Of The Action



Peace Of The Action website is here http://peaceoftheaction.org/
Please visit the site and sign up to Join us in Washington DC March 2010.

Technological fundamentalism in media and culture

By Robert Jensen, Atlantic Free Press

While media watchdogs and bloggers probe contemporary news media for signs of bias — from every angle, on virtually every issue — perhaps the most important of journalists’ biases is ignored: their routine acceptance of society’s technological fundamentalism. This devotion to the industrial world’s core delusion shows up not just in stories about science and technology but in the assumptions about science and technology that underlie virtually all reporting in the corporate commercial news media in the United States.

Let’s start with definitions: While fundamentalism has a specific meaning in Protestant history (an early 20th century movement to promote “The Fundamentals”), more generally the term can be used to describe any intellectual/political/theological position that asserts certainty in the unquestioned truth and/or righteousness of a belief system. Fundamentalism shows up in history often enough, in enough places, that it seems to be a feature not of a particular culture but of human psychology — we humans are prone, though one hopes not doomed, to fundamentalist thinking. The attraction of fundamentalism is not hard to understand; in a maddeningly complex world, such a way of thinking can offer comfort, even if illusory. But fundamentalism is better described as a system of non-thought, for as ecologist Wes Jackson puts it, “fundamentalism takes over where thought leaves off.”[1]

Journalists are conscious of religious fundamentalism and treat it as a phenomenon to be covered, even if they don’t always explore it in much depth. But other fundamentalisms — which likely are even more dangerous than the religious varieties — are the water in which journalists swim, rarely reported upon and usually taken as an unquestioned state of nature. This includes national fundamentalism (the belief that we owe loyalty to nation-states and that patriotism is a good thing) and market fundamentalism (the belief that market-based corporate capitalism is the only rational way to organize an economy in the contemporary world).

But it may well turn out that the gravest threat to a just and sustainable human presence on the planet is technological fundamentalism — the notion that the increasing use of increasingly more sophisticated high-energy advanced technology is always a good thing and that any problems caused by the unintended consequences of such technology eventually can be remedied by more technology. According to David Orr, an environmental studies professor at Oberlin College in Ohio, technological fundamentalists are those “unwilling, perhaps unable, to question our basic assumptions about how our tools relate to our larger purposes and prospects.”[2]

Our experience with unintended consequences is fairly clear. For example, there’s the case of automobiles and the burning of petroleum in internal-combustion engines, which give us the ability to travel considerable distances with a fair amount of individual autonomy. This technology also has given us traffic jams and road rage, strip malls and the interstate highway system, smog in some places while everywhere contributing to rapid climate change that threatens sustainable life on the planet. We haven’t quite figured out how to cope with these problems, and in retrospect it would have been wise to have gone slower in the development of a transportation system based on the car and to have paid more attention to potential negative consequences. The point is not to look back and condemn John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and Dwight Eisenhower, but to ask a simple question: Can we learn from these mistakes?

Those who raise questions about this fundamentalism are often said to be “anti-technology,” which is a meaningless insult. All human beings use technology of some kind, whether stone tools or computers. An anti-fundamentalist position is not that all technology is bad, but that the introduction of new technology should be evaluated carefully on the basis of its effects — predictable and unpredictable — on human communities and the non-human world, with an understanding of the limits of our knowledge.

One expression of this view is the “precautionary principle,” which argues that instead of asking sceptics to prove that a new product or process might be harmful, advocates of the proposed new action should have to prove it is safe. A 1998 conference of scientists, philosophers, lawyers and environmental activists produced this widely used definition of the principle:

When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.
The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action.


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Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura: Secret Societies

Part 1



December 30 2009 - Jesse speaks with Bilderberg expert, Daniel Estulin.

They're thought to be a group of the world's elite who meet once a year at a luxury hotel and decide how they will run the world. It's believed they plan to thin out the population through disease and vaccines. Jesse Ventura infiltrates the Bilderberg Group.

Jesse is hot on the trail of The Bilderberg Group, a collection of the world's elite who meet every year to, as the theory goes, decide how it will run the world. As Ventura tries to infiltrate this secret society he discovers a plot against him, but he is not the only one they are after. Jesse exposes some of the cabal's most well-known and powerful members, and you'll find out how both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are involved.

Their current alleged sinister plot is to dramatically thin out the world's population. Ventura and his team will reveal the cunning methods, involving disease and vaccinations, The Bilderberg Group may use to enact their "soft kill" plan. If you're wondering why you've never even heard of this secret society, it's because the people who control the mainstream media are heavily involved.

What else are they hiding from you?

Medical apartheid: The dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans from colonial times to the present

A new report by the American Cancer society shows that African-Americans are still more likely than any other group to develop and die of cancer. The study states that socio-economic factors play the largest role in this disparity–African Americans have less access to health care and information, and are less likely to get screening and medical treatment. Well, a new book offers one answer into why black Americans deeply mistrust American medicine.

“Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation, abuse and neglect of African Americans. The book reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and the roots of the African American health deficit. It begins with the earliest encounters of blacks and the medical establishment during slavery, looks at how eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify medical experiments conducted by the government and the military–and offers new details about the infamous Tuskegee Experiments that began in the 1930’s.

“Medical Apartheid” also examines less well-known abuses and looks at unethical practices and mistreatment of blacks that are still taking place in the medical establishment today. With us now is the Author of the book–Harriet Washington. She is a medical writer and editor—and a visiting Scholar at DePaul University School of Law.

* Harriet Washington. Medical writer and editor. She is a visiting Scholar at DePaul University School of Law. Previously she was a Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School and at Stanford University. She is the author of the new book, “Medical Apartheid.”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by the author of the book, Harriet Washington, a medical writer and editor, a visiting scholar at DePaul University School of Law. We welcome you to Democracy Now!

HARRIET WASHINGTON: Thank you. I’m very happy to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, this is a fascinating book. First of all, why did you take it on?

HARRIET WASHINGTON: I took it on for two reasons: one, I’m a very naturally curious person, and when I was still in premedical undergraduate at the University of Rochester, I was working in a hospital and came across some case files that dramatically showed a disparity, a racial disparity, in people who were slated to receive kidneys, and that piqued my curiosity.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

HARRIET WASHINGTON: Well, I came across some old case files in a forgotten file folder, and one was of a black gentleman, one was of a white gentleman.

The white gentleman’s file was thick and full of testaments to his loving family, his insurance support, his determination to live and detailed really Herculean attempt on the part of medical personnel to procure a kidney for him, kidney transportation still being relatively new then.

The file of the black gentleman was very thin. The word “Negro” appeared on every page of it, and somebody had underlined it on a social profile, right above the single line that indicated that the medical staff’s plans for him were to help him to prepare for his imminent demise.

The white gentleman and the black gentleman were very similar in their profiles, but they were treated differently, and I wanted to know whether this was a consistent feature of medical care or just an anomaly. And as I began looking into it, I just became intrigued in the vast differences in the way African Americans were used in research.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, your book doesn’t just deal with modern times, but you go back into the—to actually the beginning of the country—

HARRIET WASHINGTON: Absolutely.

JUAN GONZALEZ:—and exactly how these kinds of disparities began to manifest themselves. Could you talk to us a little bit about—especially about those early years, especially during the period of slavery?

HARRIET WASHINGTON: Right, the early years, it was quite chilling. First of all, it’s important to understand that there was a scientific animus called “scientific racism,” which at that time was simply science, and it posited that black people were very, very different from whites, medically and biologically. And this provided a rationale and an underpinning not only for the institution of slavery—slavery probably could not have persisted if there hadn’t been this medical underpinning—but also for the use of blacks in research.

For example, it said that blacks were less intelligent, sub-human, perhaps not even quite human, that they didn’t experience pain, that they were immune to diseases like malaria and heat sickness that made it impossible for whites to work in the field, but made them perfect for labor in the field. So this set of beliefs, this set of scientific beliefs, was not buttressed by any real data, but only by the needs of the community. And this actually gave permission for doctors to acquire slaves for research.

They also had a variety of conditions for which—a good example is reproductive health. All of the early important reproductive health advances were devised by perfecting experiment on black women. Why? Because white women could say no. White women were not interested in having doctors looking at their genitalia during the Victorian era, and white women were not interested in undergoing painful surgery without anesthesia, but black women could not say no

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Sri Lanka rejects UN's conclusions on video purporting to show army's execution of Tamils

Sri Lanka said Friday that a video purportedly showing its troops killing blindfolded, naked Tamils during the civil war was a fabrication and dismissed as biased a U.N. investigation confirming its apparent authenticity.

Philip Alston, a U.N. human rights investigator, said Thursday the footage was probably real, and called for a war crimes investigation into the final bloody months of the war between the government and ethnic Tamil rebels that ended in May.

The revived focus on possible wartime abuses has deeply angered the government and could complicate the island nation's efforts to refocus international donors' attention on its costly postwar rebuilding plans.

"We don't accept his conclusions, and we believe his conclusions are highly subjective and biased," Sri Lanka's Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said of Alston. "We believe he is on a crusade of his own to force a war crime inquiry against Sri Lanka."

Samarasinghe said the government's own investigation into the footage showed it was filled with "discrepancies and shortcomings," and he accused Alston of not following "proper procedures" before announcing his conclusions.

"First thing he should have done was to share the information with the concerned country. But, he hasn't done that," he said.

The video, which appeared to show the summary execution of Tamils by Sri Lankan troops, was shot by a Sri Lankan soldier in January 2009 using a mobile phone, according to the group Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, which released the footage. Britain's Channel 4 television first aired the video in August.

The Sri Lankan government dismissed the footage as fake, but Alston, the U.N. Human Rights Council's investigator on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, said reports by three U.S.-based independent experts on forensic pathology, video analysis and firearm evidence "strongly suggest that the video is authentic."

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Tim Minchin - If I didn't have you



At the Secret Policeman's Ball 2008!

U.S. economy in trouble and why

By Frosty Wooldridge, OpEd News

Ever climb a mountain? Ever speed your car up to 100? Ever run the one-hundred yard dash? Ever ride a bike so fast your thighs screamed in pain? Ever fly in a plane that hit 30,000 feet?

What do they all have in common? Answer: no matter how fast or high you go, you will always come back down.

In 2009, the United States maxed out, hit the wall, smashed on the brakes, screamed into the abyss. Results: 15 million unemployed Americans; 35 million subsisting on food stamps; $12 trillion debt; added three million more people via immigration; up to its ears in debt to China; extended two wars at $12 billion cost every thirty days.

Colorado economist, Mike Folkerth, www.kingofsimple.com wrote a brilliant piece on what we face--"The Top of the Mountain: Every Way Out is Down." With permission, I bring you this interview:

"I believe that America's economy has reached zenith," said Folkerth. "What I'm saying is that should anyone care to consider inflation and per-capita share of GDP, we've hit the top of the mountain, when a nation reaches the tippy-top of the mountain, it's a beautiful view right up to the point of realizing that everything from that point is downhill."

What we face in 2010 and beyond

"I want to fortify my beliefs with a few pesky facts," said Folkerth. "The U.S. represents 4.8% of world population. We use 25% of the energy produced on earth and 30% of the materials produced on the planet. Some of those people who represent the other 95.2% of the global population are beginning to want their share and are getting a little testy about the whole thing.

"Over our lifetimes we consume 75% more than our European counterparts and more than 1000% of that of the folks in 3rd world nations. The U.S. hit peak oil in 1970 and today we use 40% more oil and produce 40% less than we did in that pivotal year.

"Want more? Okay, the National Debt in 1970 was $380 Billion with a "B" and represented 37.6% of GDP. In contrast, the National Debt in 2009 grew to $12.8 TRILLION with a "T" and represents 90.4% of GDP. The debt is expected to eclipse 100% of GDP in 2011"I say 2010. Another way to view our debt is to realize that we have replaced growth of real commerce with growth of real debt.

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Anti-prohibitionist Dr. David Nutt on Norwegian television

Patti Smith's memoir

From The last bohemian by Laura Miller

When Patti Smith first began to release albums in the late 1970s, she seemed to have magically eluded all of the shackles imposed on women in the rock 'n' roll world. She was neither angelic muse nor bad-girl sexpot, a tomboy willing to be photographed in a pale peach slip, flashing a patch of unshaven armpit hair that shocked the record-store boys I knew more than just about anything any girl had ever done. Rumors went around that she claimed to masturbate to photographs of herself, a concept that baffled me; I was so naive I didn't understand yet that people (i.e., men) masturbated to photographs, and the idea of being sufficiently aroused by one's own image to do so was unfathomable. Fascinated, I turned out to see this intimidating person at an in-store appearance, only to have my copy of "Easter" signed by a soft-spoken urchin with a luminous smile.

"Just Kids," Smith's new memoir of her early life and close relationship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, helps explain this and other apparent contradictions. In relating her (very) gradual evolution into a rock singer, Smith gives an account of her first poetry reading accompanied by guitarist Lenny Kaye, at St. Mark's Church in the East Village. Ordinarily self-conscious, she discovered a "submerged arrogance" that only came out in performance, "a whole other side" of herself who behaved, to her dismay, like "a young cock." It's impossible to imagine the Patti Smith who narrates "Just Kids" boasting about her autoerotic practices. Instead, this version of Smith is circumspect to the point of demureness as she describes her adventures in the decadent carnival of New York in the 1960s and '70s. She is as innocent in her own way as I was when I bought that first copy of "Easter," ferociously earnest and irresistibly moving.

As much as Smith loves rock 'n' roll, "Just Kids" confirms that she identifies fundamentally as a poet, specifically as an acolyte of the French symbolist Arthur Rimbaud, who died in 1891. The opening chapters of the book -- with their descriptions of sitting on the stoop of the Chicago rooming house where her mother took in ironing, "waiting for the iceman and the last of the horse-drawn wagons" -- have the flavor of another age, with their slightly antiquated diction and vocabulary. (Smith was born in 1946.) "I lived in my own world, dreaming about the dead and their vanished centuries," she writes of her earliest years living with Mapplethorpe in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the late '60s.manitarian crises - who can keep up? Who cares? They did it to themselves. Where to for lunch?

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Rattling the Cage: A taboo question for Israelis

Larry Derfner writes for The Jerusalem Post

There's a question we Israelis won't ask ourselves about the Palestinians, especially not about Gaza. The question is taboo. Not only won't anyone ask it out loud, but very, very few people will dare ask it in the privacy of their own minds.

However, I think it's time we start asking it, privately and in public. If we don't, I think there's going to be Operation Cast Lead II, then Operation Cast Lead III, and each one is going to be worse than the last, and the consequences for Palestinians and Israelis are going to be unimaginable.

The question we have to ask ourselves is this: If anybody treated us like we're treating the people in Gaza, what would we do?

We don't want to go there, do we? And because we don't, we make it our business not to see, hear or think about how, indeed, we are treating thepeople in Gaza.

All these shocked dignitaries, all these reports, these details, these numbers - thousands of destroyed this and tens of thousands of destroyed that. Rubble, sewage, malnutrition, crying babies, humanitarian crises - who can keep up? Who cares? They did it to themselves. Where to for lunch?

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Jordanian suicide bomber who killed CIA agents 'was triple agent'

The Jordanian suicide bomber who killed several CIA agents in Afghanistan last week fooled Amman’s intelligence agency into believing that he was a reliable informant spying on the al-Qaeda leadership.

But Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi was a triple-agent leading an extraordinary life on the front line of America’s war against militant Islam. An investigation by The Times has revealed that the trainee doctor became an open and public supporter of al-Qaeda, secretly pretended to work for Jordanian intelligence but ultimately sacrificed his life for the cause of jihad.

On December 30 al-Balawi infiltra-ted Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost province near the Pakistan border. He detonated explosives strapped to his body and killed seven CIA agents and his Jordanian handler, Ali bin Zaid, an army captain and distant cousin of King Abdullah II. The Hashemite monarch, his wife, and other Royal Family members attended bin Zaid’s funeral on Friday.

A Jordanian official admitted yesterday that al-Balawi had provided the country’s General Intelligence Department (GID) with valuable “tips” a few months ago “that allowed us to abort a terrorist operation that would have threatened the security and stability of our country”.

The official said that al-Balawi had been interrogated by officers from the GID in March 2009 because of suspicions about his activities. He had been released because the inquiry found “nothing relevant”.

“Months later he contacted us via e-mail and provided information about ill intentions against Jordan, and allowed us to foil terrorist operations targeting the Kingdom. So we decided to pursue our contacts with him on a friendly basis to safeguard our country,” the official told The Times.

Jihadist websites, however, revealed that al-Balawi was working for his handlers’ enemies.

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