Pantheon - Odilon Redon
Pantheon - Odilon Redon
Reflection - Odilon Redon
There is a phrase used to describe China’s summer: 南北普遍高温 nánběi pǔbiàn gāowēn, which means “north and south generally have high temperatures”.
Foreigners who have spent at least one summer in China generally find it accurate. It is only May, but clearly, summer has arrived! Summer season fruits have appeared on street stands and in supermarkets. Some of them are distinctly Chinese fruits that come around during this much heated season.
1. Pitaya / Dragon fruit: 火龙果 huǒ lóng guǒ
2. Longan: 龙眼 lóngyǎn
3. Durian: 榴莲 liúlián
4. Red bayberry: 杨梅 yángméi
"In the past twenty years, corporate profits have quadrupled while the corporate tax percent has dropped by half. The payroll tax, paid by workers, has doubled. In effect, corporations have decided to let middle-class workers pay for national investments that have largely benefited businesses over the years. The greater part of basic research, especially for technology and health care, has been conducted with government money. Even today 60% of university research is government-supported. Corporations use highways and shipping lanes and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, and communications towers and satellites to conduct online business."
I accepted the invitation to the [Israeli] presidential conference with the intention that this would not only allow me to express my opinion on the prospects for a peace settlement but also because it would allow me to lecture on the West Bank.
“However, I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster."
FRANCE’S NATIONAL Assembly and Senate have voted to extend the country’s military intervention in Mali. A resolution passed both houses of parliament on April 22. Not a single vote was cast in opposition.
Three days later, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 2100, creating a policing mission beginning July 1, 2013. The mission is called by its French acronym MINUSMA. Its projected size is 11,200 soldiers and 1,440 police.
France invaded the north of Mali with fighter aircraft and 4,000 soldiers on January 11. The Mali government and its French benefactor had lost control of the area in 2012 to Tuareg and other national groups fighting for autonomy and independence. Rightist Islamist forces that oppose the sovereignty aspirations of the national minorities then briefly rose to military dominance in the region. It is their presence that served as the key pretext for the French intervention and now for a foreign, military and police occupation of undeclared duration.
Presently, there are some 6,000 soldiers from African countries serving in a “peacekeeping” role in the south of Mali, while French soldiers are engaged in combat with Islamists in the north. Also, what’s called a military training mission by the European Union has some 200 soldiers on the ground and hundreds more providing supplies and equipment.
The U.S. is a key backer of the French intervention. It has significantly boosted its military presence in West Africa during the past decade and recently opened a drone airbase in neighboring Niger.
Janos Starker plays Gabriel Fauré’s “Élégie” (with Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra).
Goodbye Janos Starker, You will be missed.
What’s the name of the Russian fairytale character portrayed in this image?
A few hints: she lives in a wooden hut on chicken legs, owns a broom made of birch and uses a mortar as her preferred means of transport…
China Water ProblemA Weibo post from @财经网,China’s financial and economical magazine, quote from an article published by “the Atlantic” on April 29th :【美媒：2.8万条河流从中国消 失】 美国《大西洋月刊》文章称，20年前，中国有约5万条河流。但现在，2.8万条河流不见了。就中国损失的河流而言，几乎相当于美国失去整条密西西比河。文 章认为，把河流消失归因于气候变化符合政治口径，对地下水开采缺乏控制和经济发展过快才是罪魁祸。[U.S. media: 28’000 rivers disappear from China] An article from USA “The Atlantic” explains that 20 years ago, there were about 50,000 rivers in China. But now, 28 000 rivers have gone. In terms of the loss of rivers, almost equivalent to the United States to lose the entire Mississippi River. According to the article, this disappearance of rivers is attributed to climate change in accordance with political caliber, but lack of control the exploitation of groundwater and rapid economic development is the culprit.What the post does not say is that the remaining 22,000 rivers are in critical conditions, with 20% of the country’s water rated too toxic to come in contact with.
As the 2013 federal budget looms, both the Labor government and the Opposition insist on the need to cut social spending. All the talk is about bringing the budget back into surplus as soon as possible and the cuts, they argue, will be needed to end the federal deficit.
Ministers in Julia Gillard’s government have warned of a huge shortfall in government revenue, estimated at $7.5 billion by treasurer Wayne Swan and $17 billion by finance minister Penny Wong.
The purpose of these pre-budget announcements is to prepare the public to accept cuts in social spending. Indeed the Gillard government has already announced the biggest cut to tertiary education funding on record.
The $2.3 billion cut is bigger than any of the cuts to tertiary funding by the former Howard government. It comes after a $1 billion cut last year by the Gillard government and cuts to TAFE funding by the Victorian and NSW state governments, cuts that have brought the TAFE sector to the edge of destruction.
There is nasty manipulation of public fear and confusion going on here.
Jill Stein - Why Capitalism is Killing the Planet - EcoSocialist Conference
Dr. Jill Stein was the nominee of the Green Party for President of the United States in the 2012 election. She is a mother, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She is the co-author of two widely-praised reports, °In Harm’s Way, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging. The reports promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats.
Private Prison Profits Skyrocket, as Executives Assure Investors of ‘Growing Offender Population’
by Nicole Flatow for ThinkProgress.org
A major U.S. private prison operator known for inmate abuse, violations, and disregard for the truth reported a 56-percent spike in profit in the first quarter of 2013, due in part to its new strategy for drastically reducing its taxes, the Associated Press reports. During a conference call touting its success, representatives at GEO Group boasted that the company continues to have “solid occupancy rates in mid to high 90s” and that they are optimistic “regarding the outlook for the industry,” in part due to a “growing offender population.” GEO Senior Vice President John Hurley assured investors during the call:
We have a longstanding partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshal Service and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE. … We continue to see meaningful opportunities for us to partner with all three of these federal agencies, notwithstanding the various issues with the federal budget, which we believe will have no material negative impact on our business. The federal bureau of prisons continues to face capacity constraints coupled with a growing offender population.
The federal prison population has swelled 790 percent since 1980, in large part due to draconian drug and immigration laws. And the United States maintains the title of the world’s number one jailer. Private prison operators nonetheless remain enthusiastic about the prospects of high incarceration rates for business. Representatives on this call shied away from the strong language fellow prison firm Corrections Corporation of America used during its investor call in February, when CEO Damon Hininger assured a strong “continued demand for beds” even after immigration reform. GEO executives explained that they are now taking the position that “discussing our approach and strategies about any particular procurement is really not in the best interest of our company or our shareholders.”
Following a trend of corporations achieving dramatic tax reductions by becoming a real estate investment trust (REIT) – a mechanism historically reserved for firms holding real estate as an investment — both GEO and fellow prison operator Corrections Corporation of America successfully persuaded the Internal Revenue Service recently that they are essentially holding real estate, analogizing prisoners to renters paid for by the government. In reality, the job of running a prison is only nominally about the facility where it’s housed, and primarily about ensuring humane prisoner treatment, inmate rehabilitation, and public safety. But private prison corporations charging “rent” to house prisoners make no more or less money depending on whether they achieve these goals, particularly not when immense political spending to lobby for incarceration and privatization outweighs the public pressure from widely reported abuses at private facilities.