Wikinews interviews Jim Babka, chair of Libertarian organization Downsize DC

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 09 7th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A reporter from Wikinews recently interviewed Jim Babka, chair of Libertarian organization Downsize DC. The organization claims to have arranged for 22,158 people to send a message regarding the “American Freedom Agenda Act” proposed by Ron Paul, in addition to supporting many other laws. The full text of the interview can be found below.

Wikinews interviews winner of 55 Paralympic medals, Trischa Zorn

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 09 5th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Monday, September 3, 2012

London, England— Last Friday, Wikinews interviewed Trischa Zorn, 55-time medal-winner. The U.S. Paralympic swimmer’s haul includes 41 golds.

Zorn discussed a variety of issues, including frustration with the classification system that has disadvantaged some United States swimmers because of what she sees as its subjective nature. She also talked about the increased visibility of the Games, how things have changed from when she started in 1980 to the current 2012 Summer Paralympics. Zorn discussed how sponsorship has evolved from her early time participating, and issues with the Paralympics inside the United States at the present.

This year Zorn was inducted into the International Paralympic Hall of Fame at a ceremony in London. Having last competed in the 2004 Summer Paralympics, if she was swimming today, she would be classified as an S12 swimmer. She currently works for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, helping returning soldiers adjust to life as civilians.

((Laura Hale)) We do Wikinews, which is related to Wikipedia … And, your article on Wikipedia sucks.

Trischa Zorn: Right
((WN)) The sources don’t agree on how many [Paralympic] medals you won. So how many medals have you won?

TZ: 55 medals. 41 gold, nine silver and five bronze.
((WN)) More gold medals than the next nearest total medal winner.

TZ: Correct
((Hawkeye7)) In fact, the next two, three, maybe four, put together.

TZ: Correct
((WN)) You started [Paralympic] swimming in 1980.

TZ: My first games was in 1980, and my last games was in 2004 in Athens.
((WN)) 2004?

TZ: Yes. Eight years ago.
((WN)) And you medalled there?

TZ: I got a bronze. I was only swimming in two events.
((WN)) And you remember all 55?

TZ: I know what events I swam. Relays and stuff. The discrepancy is because early on they weren’t really keeping track of the events. Like my first games in 1980, I won seven medals, and they only recorded five. In 1984, because the games were in New York, and because of the boycott, from when we boycotted in 1980, not a lot of European countries came over. So there wasn’t a lot of statistic keeping.
((WN)) We have found the IPC database had a lot of problems on the Australian side. We have been correcting that.

TZ: I have a whole list of all the events.What ones I won. A British writer was writing a book and wanted to include me, so I collated all my results and sent it to her.
((WN)) When you started in 1980, did they have the three categories for blind swimming?

TZ: They had the three categories, but they weren’t like S categories now. There was B1 for blind, B2 and B3. I was in the middle, a B2. The equivalent to S12 now.
((WN)) Has classification on the blind sports side changed much since you started?

TZ: They would like it to be in the regular classification S1 to S10. They would like everybody to be all one and use a points system. But I’m not a big fan of the points system, and I’m not a big fan of the classification procedure.
((WN)) Blind sports is the only medically based classification left. The rest are all functionality based.

TZ: Correct
((WN)) They are moving towards an evidence based system, but I’m not sure what that is.

TZ: Unfortunately, the classifications are very subjective. And a lot of the classifications, they don’t go by actual evidence of medical documentation, it’s what you can do in the water. So, for example, we have one of our athletes, Mallory Weggemann, that was an S7. She had multiple world records as an S7 and two days before she was supposed to comes here the IPC says: “We want to reclassify you. We want to do your classification all over” So she came here and they put her through a dry land regimen of classification. Then they said “let’s get you in the water. We’ll classify you there.” Then they said: “Oh no! You’re an S8!” Even though she had medical documentation to say that she was a T10 paraplegic with no function in her legs.
((WN)) Did classification ever effect you?

TZ: Not with me, but there has been problems with the S13. It’s supposed to be best corrected. There have been people that I swam against in the past that two years later were disqualified. Their vision, now they found out, was too good. It’s very subjective. There needs to be a test where they can see what you can see. Because, as an athlete, you go in and somebody says: “Can you see this?” or “Can you read that?”
((WN)) You’re involved with the veterans? On the sports side?

TZ: I work for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
((WN)) How long have you worked for them?

TZ: I have worked for them for a year now. I actually see some of the veterans like Brad that have come back lately, and how they have come through Walter Reed. I work more on the business side of it. But its still nice to see that they are being welcomed back, being provided opportunities for sports. Things that they thought that they would never be able to do.
((WN)) One of the criticisms of the US Paralympic Committee, and I don’t want to get you in trouble, is that the reason that the US is having problems right now with funding support is that they have been focused on veterans, and ignoring other people with disabilities. Would you care to comment on that?

TZ: Well I think that anything in the US that deals with veterans, the US is very passionate about, and sports, unfortunately, amateur sports, have become a business. And any kind of funding through the Department of Defense, going for veterans and whatever programs they are involved in is very important. But, as I’ve always said, funds always end up drying up. They’re not always going to be there, so you can’t depend strictly on that. Therefore, you need to have a well-rounded funding base, not just for veterans, for all athletes.
((Hawkeye7)) Where does funding normally come from in the United States?
((Laura Hale)) Hawkeye7’s an Australian, so his model is that the government pays for sport.

TZ: It’s funny, I look and I see what the Paralympic athletes get now, and what we even got in ’08 compared to when I first came. We had to pay to go to the Paralympics. We had to pay for our uniforms. It was only from Sydney that we didn’t have to pay anything, and we were provided uniforms. So each games has built on certain things. So, for example, 1988 was the first time that we had the same venues as the Olympics. ’92 was the first time that we were able to actually hear our national anthem, because before you didn’t, you just heard a games recording. So then in ’96 obviously because it was in the US, I think they thought that that was going to bring more awareness, and it did to an extent; but, once it was gone it kind of dwindled away. And then, in 2000 in Sydney, things had become … we were the first – there were four of us – we were able to train at an Olympic training centre. Not with the team, but we were able to use the facilities at the Olympic training centre full-time. But now they have a full time resident program. They are not training alongside Olympic athletes, but at least they are funded by the Olympic Committee. They get to train there, they get to live there. So things have changed. And then people argue about prize money, and sponsorship. It’s different.
((WN)) Do you think they should be sponsored? In Australia, Evan O’Hanlon, he’s an athlete, he has cerebral palsy, her covers his shoes with tape, because he feels that he is advertising for whoever makes his shoes, and he feels that he should get sponsorship. Do you think that we have reached the point with disability sports on the world stage where the elite athletes should be sponsored?

TZ: Well I think that there are certain talented athletes in the US that are now getting the global sponsors such as Jessica Long being a Visa athlete and having opportunities with Coke. And Rudy Garcia-Tolson with BP. And those big companies are jumpingon board and seeing the opportunities not just from a marketing standpoint, but you are allowing the young athletes to see that and touch it, and before it wasn’t. I mean you are basically competing because you love the sport. Now it’s just like Olympic athletes. They know what the possibilities of an outcome is going to be. Now, granted, Paralympic athletes don’t get $50,000 for a gold medal, or $10,000 for a bronze. We’d be lucky if we get $5,000 or $10,000.
((WN)) Do you think that all 55 of your Paralympic medals are equivalent to Olympic medals?

TZ: They are equivalent in respect that I did the same training as any Olympic athlete. I trained alongside able bodied athletes in the club setting where I trained, and a college setting.
((WN)) Which clubs and which colleges was that?

TZ: Actually, when I was younger I swam for San Diego Matadors down in California, and in college at the University of Nebraska, and then when I moved to Indiana I was training there with a coach it was with the Riviera Swim Club.
((WN)) You’ve been all over.

TZ: I’ve been going east as I’ve left my home state of California.
((WN)) Because of sport?

TZ: Because of coaching. My club coach left the club and went to the college level. So when I went to college he continued coaching.
((WN)) Did you get a scholarship?

TZ: I was on a full athletic scholarship. I was the first physically disabled athlete to get a full Division One scholarship.
((WN)) That is so cool.

TZ: I guess they say, they are not as equal, but medals are medals, and whatever your heart is and whatever you think of it, that is what it means.
((WN)) In Australia, my impression is that they do view them as exactly the same, whereas in America, some people do not even know that the Paralympics are on.

TZ: Yes. And unfortunately it’s a stereotypical society. In the US we don’t typically stereotype Paralympic athletes as the Australians or the Europeans do, and especially if you don’t look disabled. If you put me next to Jessica Long, she’s an incredible athlete but her story is going to be more desirable, because her disability is more noticeable. Don’t do that for me. But it’s to the extent where you are losing the focus of the athletics.
((Laura Hale)) Is there anything else we should know in terms of the history of the Paralympics?
((Hawkeye7)) Particularly about yourself.
((Laura Hale)) Are you a shy and retiring individual?

TZ: I am. And I think that’s part of it. I’m not very good with bragging.
((WN)) At selling yourself?

TZ: At selling myself. And I feel that my medals and my performance in the water speaks for itself.
((WN)) You were out there tonight presenting a medal.

TZ: And it was an honour to be on that side of it for these games. In 2008, I was honoured to be part of the Presidential delegation. I am involved with the US Olympic Committee as an athlete adviser on the rules and regulations and the rights of athletes. That’s basically where I want to be right now. I want to be an advocate for athletes.
((Hawkeye7)) We were at water polo match in Canberra, watching the Australian Olympic water polo team. And Ellie Cole walked in and they announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Ellie Cole!” These Olympians applauded Ellie Cole.
((Laura Hale)) They do that at the Canberra Capitals games. They introduced Ellie Cole and her dad. It’s a completely different perspective. People outside the United States ask: “Why don’t you acknowledge them? What is wrong with the US?”
((Hawkeye7)) Every ad break [in Australia] there’s a Paralympian
((Laura Hale)) Grace Bowman! You haven’t done any commercials have you?

TZ: No to the extent that some athletes do, but for Visa and Coke. For Atlanta we did some commercials for Coke, it’s headquarters is in Atlanta. I’ve done Hartford Insurance, but not globally.
((Laura Hale)) Thank you.
((Hawkeye7)) Thank you.

CanadaVOTES: Liberal Sandra Gardiner running in Perth—Wellington

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 09 3rd, 2019  |  No Comments »

Friday, September 26, 2008

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. Liberal Party candidate Sandra Gardiner is standing for election in the riding of Perth—Wellington. A Stratford resident for the last 17 years, she has worked as a Registered Nurse for the last 14, in hospital, long term, and community care settings. She is a member of Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Canadian Association of Physicians concerned about the Environment, FarmGate5, Common Action for the Restoration of the Environment, Autism Ontario, the Planning Committee for Rotary Respite House, and board member of Optimism Place, the local women’s shelter.

Wikinews contacted Sandra, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

The riding is currently held by Conservative Gary Schellenberger, who was also MP for the previous riding, Perth—Middlesex. Perth—Wellington includes the County of Perth, and the Town of Minto and the townships of Mapleton and Wellington North in the County of Wellington. Also challenging Schellenberger are John Cowling (Green), Irma DeVries (Christian Heritage), Julian Ichim (Marxist-Leninist), and Kerry McManus (NDP).

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, listed below.

One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 09 3rd, 2019  |  No Comments »

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Across Egypt hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets for the day, marking exactly one year since the outbreak of protests leading to 83-year-old longstanding ruler Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. The country’s decades-long emergency rule was partially lifted this week; meanwhile, a possible economic meltdown looms and a newly-elected parliament held their first meeting on Monday.

Despite the new parliament, military rule introduced following Mubarak’s fall last spring remains. Echoing the demands from a year ago, some protesters are demanding the military relinquish power; there are doubts an elected civilian leader will be permitted to replace the army.

The brief unity against Mubarak has since fragmented, with Secularists and Islamists marking the revolution’s anniversary splitting to opposing sides of Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square and chanting at each other. Initial demonstrations last year were mainly from young secularists; now, Islamic parties hold most of the new parliament’s seats — the country’s first democratic one in six decades.

Salafis hold 25% of the seats and 47% are held by the Muslim Brotherhood, which brought supporters to Cairo for the anniversary. Tahrir Square alone contained tens of thousands of people, some witnesses putting the crowd at 150,000 strong. It’s the largest number on the streets since the revolution.

Military rulers planned celebrations including pyrotechnics, commemorative coins, and air displays. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces took power after last year’s February 11 resignation of Mubarak.

Alaa al-Aswani, a pro-democracy activist writing in al-Masry al-Youm, said: “We must take to the streets on Wednesday, not to celebrate a revolution which has not achieved its goals, but to demonstrate peacefully our determination to achieve the objectives of the revolution,” — to “live in dignity, bring about justice, try the killers of the martyrs and achieve a minimum social justice”

Alexandria in the north and the eastern port city of Suez also saw large gatherings. It was bitter fighting in Suez led to the first of the revolution’s 850 casualties in ousting Mubarak. “We didn’t come out to celebrate. We came out to protest against the military council and to tell it to leave power immediately and hand over power to civilians,” said protestor Mohamed Ismail.

“Martyrs, sleep and rest. We will complete the struggle,” chanted crowds in Alexandria, a reference to the 850 ‘martyrs of the revolution’. No convictions are in yet although Mubarak is on trial. Photos of the dead were displayed in Tahrir Square. Young Tahrir chanters went with “Down with military rule” and “Revolution until victory, revolution in all of Egypt’s streets”.

If the protestors demanding the military leave power get their way, the Islamists celebrating election victory face a variety of challenges. For now, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi — whose career featured twenty years as defence minister under Mubarak — rules the nation and promises to cede power following presidential elections this year.

The economy is troubled and unemployment is up since Mubarak left. With tourism and foreign investment greatly lower than usual, budget and payment deficits are up — with the Central Bank eating into its reserves in a bid to keep the Egyptian pound from losing too much value.

Last week the nation sought US$3.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF insists upon funding also being secured from other donors, and strong support from Egypt’s leaders. IMF estimates say the money could be handed over in a few months — whereas Egypt wanted it in a matter of weeks.

The country has managed to bolster trade with the United States and Jordan. Amr Abul Ata, Egyptian ambassador to the fellow Middle-East state, told The Jordan Times in an interview for the anniversary that trade between the nations increased in 2011, and he expects another increase this year. This despite insurgent attacks reducing Egyptian gas production — alongside electricity the main export to Jordan. Jordan exports foodstuffs to Egypt and has just signed a deal increasing the prices it pays for gas. 2011 trade between the countries was worth US$1 billion.

The anniversary also saw a new trade deal with the US, signed by foreign trade and industry minister Mahmoud Eisa and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. President Barack Obama promises work to improve U.S. investment in, and trade with, nations changing political systems after the Arab Spring. Details remain to be agreed, but various proposals include US assistance for Egyptian small and medium enterprises. Both nations intend subjecting plans to ministerial scrutiny.

The U.S. hailed “several historic milestones in its transition to democracy” within a matter of days of Egypt’s revolution. This despite U.S.-Egypt ties being close during Mubarak’s rule.

US$1 billion in grants has been received already from Qatar and Saudi Arabia but army rulers refused to take loans from Gulf nations despite offers-in-principle coming from nations including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Foreign aid has trickled in; no money at all has been sent from G8 nations, despite the G8 Deauville Partnership earmarking US$20 billion for Arab Spring nations.

A total of US$7 billion was promised from the Gulf. The United Kingdom pledged to split £110 million between Egypt and Arab Spring initiator Tunisia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says G8 money should start arriving in June, when the presidential election is scheduled.

The African Development Bank approved US$1.5 billion in loans whilst Mubarak still held power but, despite discussions since last March, no further funding has been agreed. The IMF offered a cheap loan six months ago, but was turned away. Foreign investment last year fell from US$6 billion to $375 million.

Rights, justice and public order remain contentious issues. Tantawi lifted the state of emergency on Tuesday, a day before the revolution’s anniversary, but left it in place to deal with the exception of ‘thuggery’. “This is not a real cancellation of the state of emergency,” said Islamist Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan. “The proper law designates the ending of the state of emergency completely or enforcing it completely, nothing in between.”

The same day, Amnesty International released a report on its efforts to establish basic human rights and end the death penalty in the country. Despite sending a ten-point manifesto to all 54 political parties, only the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (of the Egyptian Bloc liberals) and the left-wing Popular Socialist Alliance Party signed up. Measures included religious freedom, help to the impoverished, and rights for women. Elections did see a handful of women win seats in the new parliament.

The largest parliamentary group is the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, who Amnesty say did not respond. Oral assurances on all but female rights and abolition of the death penalty were given by Al-Nour, the Salafist runners-up in the elections, but no written declaration or signature.

“We challenge the new parliament to use the opportunity of drafting the new constitution to guarantee all of these rights for all people in Egypt. The cornerstone must be non-discrimination and gender equality,” said Amnesty, noting that the first seven points were less contentious amongst the twelve responding parties. There was general agreement for free speech, free assembly, fair trials, investigating Mubarak’s 30-year rule for atrocities, and lifting the state of emergency. A more mixed response was given to ensuring no discrimination against LGBT individuals, whilst two parties claimed reports of Coptic Christian persecution are exaggerated.

Mubarak himself is a prominent contender for the death penalty, currently on trial for the killings of protesters. The five-man prosecution team are also seeking death for six senior police officers and the chief of security in the same case. Corruption offences are also being tried, with Gamal Mubarak and Alaa Mubarak accused alongside their father Hosni.

The prosecution case has been hampered by changes in witness testimony and there are complaints of Interior Ministry obstruction in producing evidence. Tantawi has testified in a closed hearing that Mubarak never ordered protesters shot.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you believe Egypt’s current military rulers will allow a peacful transition to civilian rule?
Add or view comments

Hisham Talaat Moustafa, an ex-MP and real estate billionaire, is another death penalty candidate. He, alongside Ahmed Sukkari, was initially sentenced to death for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim. A new trial was granted on procedural grounds and he is now serving a fifteen-year term for paying Sukkari US$2 million to slit 30-year-old’s Tamim’s throat in Dubai. Her assassin was caught when police followed him back to his hotel and found a shirt stained with her blood; he was in custody within two hours of the murder.

The court of appeals is now set to hear another trial for both men after the convictions were once more ruled unsound.

A military crackdown took place last November, the morning after a major protest, and sparking off days of violence. Egypt was wary of a repeat this week, with police and military massed near Tahrir Square whilst volunteers manned checkpoints into the square itself.

The military has pardoned and released at least 2,000 prisoners jailed following military trials, prominently including a blogger imprisoned for defaming the army and deemed troublesome for supporting Israel. 26-year-old Maikel Nabil was given a three year sentence in April. He has been on hunger strike alleging abuse at the hands of his captors. He wants normalised relations with Israel. Thousands have now left Tora prison in Cairo.

New York executive files $60 million libel lawsuit over insurance scandal

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 09 1st, 2019  |  No Comments »

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A former Marsh & McLennan Cos. executive has hit former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer with a $60 million defamation lawsuit over an online magazine article regarding an insurance bid-rigging scandal.

William Gilman, a former Marsh managing director, filed a complaint last Friday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, over allegations Mr. Spitzer defamed him in a Slate article published a year ago. A copy of the complaint was made public on Monday.

Gilman, who had a final insurance fraud charge dismissed in January, said Spitzer acted with “actual malice” by suggesting that he was guilty of crimes of which he was never accused.

Although he wasn’t named in the article, Mr. Gilman complained that Spitzer defamed him by writing that “Marsh’s behavior was a blatant abuse of law and market power: price-fixing, bid-rigging and kickbacks all designed to harm their customers and the market while Marsh and its employees pocketed the increased fees and kickbacks.”

“While Mr. Spitzer’s statements do not refer to Mr. Gilman by name, Mr. Gilman is readily identifiable as the subject of the defamatory comments,” said the complaint. “Mr. Spitzer was well aware of his own allegations as attorney general and the resolution of those allegations in favor of Mr. Gilman and yet, recklessly disregarded these facts.”

In 2004 Mr. Spizter, then the state’s Attorney General, announced an investigation into the practices at Marsh & McLennan, particularly fees paid by insures to brokers who place business with them. Gilman, who worked for the company at the time, was charged in 2005 with 37 counts of insurance fraud. Gilman’s final charge was dropped last January.

“I haven’t seen the lawsuit and so will not comment on it,” said Spitzer. “The illegalities rampant at Marsh & McLennan leading to their fine of $850 million and the multiple judicial findings of illegality are clear from the public record.”

Mr. Gilman is now seeking at least $10 million in compensatory damages; $20 million in general damages, including damage to his reputation; and $30 million in punitive damages.

The Importance Of Working With A Professional Web Design Company In Miami

WcKskV5C | Fine Arts Experts | 08 24th, 2019  |  No Comments »

byadmin

Instead of attempting to build your own website or hiring someone with limited experience, you should understand the benefits of working with professional web designers.

Increase Compatibility with Devices and Browsers

Working with a web design company increases the compatibility of your website with various devices and web browsers. Along with a wide assortment of devices, the latest smartphones, tablets, and popular web browsers regularly receive updates.

These details often make it difficult for the features on a site to work perfectly across all devices and browsers. A web design company performs extensive testing before your site goes live. Compatibility issues are discovered and fixed, ensuring that everything loads as intended whether a visitor is viewing your site on his or her phone or home computer.

Improve Your Website Search Engine Optimization

Most people now use search engines to find businesses, services, and products. SEO is necessary for increasing traffic to your website through organic searches.

There are many independent designers who can create attractive websites. However, a professional web design company ensures that your site includes the proper use of keywords, links, and other search engine optimization techniques.

Continue to Reach New Customers and Clients

Working with a professional web design company in Miami also ensures that your website remains updated and visible to search engines. Maintaining a quality website helps you continue to attract new potential customers or clients.

Check out the website Webdesigns.miami to discover professional design services. Along with custom website creation, you can work with experts to assist with your social media marketing or for quality graphic design or search engine optimization.

If you want to reach a larger audience and convert visitors into paying customers, you need a website that works correctly on all devices. Whether you need to rebuild an existing site or create a new site, rely on the experience of professional designers and developers.

Wikinews Shorts: February 5, 2007

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 08 23rd, 2019  |  No Comments »

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, February 5, 2007.

Macedonian police kill four militants in mountain operation

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 08 23rd, 2019  |  No Comments »

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

At least four members of an armed criminal group have been killed and six arrested in a police action dubbed “Mountain Storm,” Macedonian Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski told the MIA state news agency. He said no police officers were injured and confirmed special forces were still in the area.

Locals from the village of Brodec, a Šar Mountain village north of Tetovo, have confirmed a shootout between police and armed groups in the village.

A spokesman for NATO peacekeepers in neighbouring Kosovo told a news conference a helicopter had crashed but there was no information on casualties. Macedonian police denied that report. “There is no helicopter down on the Macedonian side,” spokesman Ivo Kotevski told Reuters.

Local media reported that police are searching for Lirim Jakupi (also known as “Nazi”), a convicted criminal who escaped with seven other men in a violent break-out from Kosovo`s Dubrava Prison in August and is believed to be hiding in the area. Last week Xhavid Morina, another escaped convict from Dubrava Prison, was found dead near Odri, a village close to Tetovo. Also, in October, a Macedonian policeman was killed in an ambush near the border with Kosovo and Croatian TV aired a video showing Albanian militants threatening actions in Kosovo.

Several media reported that KFOR has closed the border towards Macedonia, in the part of Kosovo, due to the police operation at Šar Mountain. KFOR troops are heavily armed and ready to shoot in case of “conflict spillover at Kosovo territory,” media report.

The operation was announced over at 14:00 local time.

The clashes took place in the part of Macedonia which saw bitter ethnic clashes in 2001.

John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 08 20th, 2019  |  No Comments »

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.

Diesel Generator: A Quick Access Power Source

WcKskV5C | Off Road Carts | 08 18th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Diesel Generator: A Quick Access Power Source

by

Katie Janet Josh

Generators have long been an alternative source of power. Its use varies from the industrial to personal need. The product specifications of generators can be known by just reading its brochure and the technical nature of which are lengthily discussed by other sources in the web. However, this article will tackle only the basic issues and benefit of owning a diesel generator and everyday impact to the public. In fact, boring you with every data available is actually counterproductive. Perhaps, it might be interesting to discuss the beneficial use of owning one.

Electricity is probably the main source of power that is used every day. Its use is evidently manifested even in the everyday jobs that we do. Our homes cannot run smoothly without it. A good rest is not possible without electricity powering the air-conditioning unit. Offices will not be a conducive place to work. All in all, without electricity man will be thrown back to the Stone Age, and every industrial endeavor for advancement and development would stop to a grinding halt.

YouTube Preview Image

Diesel Generators are very handy as an external source of power. Power shortages are common nowadays and unexpected power interruption would likely happen without warning. Stand-by power generators are a necessity for every business establishment as well as for the home. They come in every possible size to accommodate the requirements of consumers. Compact ones can provide basic electrical power to light up a house during power interruption. On the other hand, Industrial grade diesel generator can even produce enough electrical power to light up the entire City and even neighboring cities in the event of power shortages and interruption. The conventional use of diesel generator has benefited different sectors on our society. A few of these are construction companies that rely most on the convenience and capability of diesel generators to provide the needed electricity on work sites. Financial centers in cities around the world banked on the diesel generators to aid and furnish them the needed power source in case of emergency. Even, when calamity strikes or in case of natural disaster, portable diesel generators always play an important part in making a difference.

These industrial machines be it a compact one or and industrial grade are not hard to maintain. On the average, diesel generators would only require a regular check-up and the needed oil change just like the regular car. They have a higher fuel efficiency ratio compare to a gasoline operated generating sets. Considering that diesel fuel is much cheaper that gasoline diesel generators, extraordinary expenses on fuel are lesser compared to the gasoline generators.

The convenience and the benefit that goes with acquiring a diesel generator greatly balanced the cost that comes with it. It is convenient to own one right now than be caught in the dark. Generators have gained a status of necessity in the modern world, cause without it there would never be a light in the end of the tunnel.

Expert articles on

Diesel Power Generators

and

Gas Power Generators

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com