Sunday, March 13, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

Instead of taking responsibility, Mr. Maliki charged that the protests were organized by "terrorists." He ordered the closing of the offices of two political parties that helped lead the demonstrations.
His only concessions were vows not to seek a third term in 2014 and to cut his pay in half. That was not persuasive, especially given his many recent power grabs.

And of course, that 'concession' not to seek a third term was made February 5th to AFP and the next day, February 6th, Ben Lando and Munaf Ammar (Wall St. Journal) reported that Nouri's spokesperson, Ali al-Mousawi, was declaring, "We would like to correct this article. Maliki said, 'I think that the period of eight years is adequate for the application of a successful program to the prime minister, and if he is not successful, he must vacate his place'." The excerpt above is from the New York Times' editorial board's "Mr. Maliki's Power Grab" which runs in tomorrow's paper. And it's a sad day for the paper when the editorial board's more aware than the reporting. When the Washington Post did their editorial on Nouri's power grab, they were able to link to their own reporting. Remember?

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4442. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD still lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4442.

Xinhua reports
a a Tikrit prison was the site of riot and possibly a break out today and they quote a source who states, "Riot erupted as dozens of inmates clashed in the afternoon with the prison guards and set fire to part of the building of the al-Tasfirait prison in Tikrit". Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) adds that 2 prisoners are dead and seven are injured along with seven guards. AFP notes that there are conflicting reports on whether anyone escaped.

In news of other violence today, Aswat al-Iraq reports a Mosul home invasion resulted in an Iraqi military officer being shot dead, the military shot 1 man dead in Mosul, a Mosul bombing injured one police officer, a Baghdad bombing left three people injured, a Mosul bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer, a Shurqat bombing claimed 2 lives, and 1 Iraqi health employee was shot dead in Mosul. And Saturday? Aswat al-Iraq 1 corpse was discovered in Kut, 7 Iraqi soldiers shot dead in Mosul, and a Baghdad bombing claimed 1 life and left six more injured.

New content at Third:

Pru notes Yuri Prasad's "Bossa Nova and the rise of Brazilian music in the 1960s" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

In 1958 a 17-year old former street kid by the name of Pelé scored two goals against Sweden to help Brazil lift the World Cup.

It was moment that epitomised the hopes of millions that countries emerging from colonialism would transform the world, politically and culturally.

In Brazil, as the economy boomed and the cities grew there was a sense that life was improving, even among the poor majority.

Out went the old Portuguese-style mansions and in came modernist flats and offices. And out went the old-style Samba music that reflected the ossified tastes of the ruling class and in came something fresh—Bossa Nova.

This new “beat sound” combined Brazilian poetry and traditional guitars with modern jazz—a new, imported element from the US.

The impatient yearning for the new world to arrive can be heard in Bossa Nova’s first recording, Joao Gilberto’s Chega de Saudade—which roughly translated means no more blues, or enough longing.

Within months of this release Bossa Nova swept Brazil, and hundreds of new and young artists took up the style.

In packed nightclubs and parties teenage groups—led by future superstars like Jorge Ben, Gilberto Gil and Sergio Mendes—heralded a new era.

Like the cities they inhabited, these pioneers came from a range of ethnic and class backgrounds.

But their music reflected a feeling that modernity meant no longer being defined by your origins.

You can catch the spirit on Baden Powell and Vinicius De Moraes’s Canto De Ossanha.

With its beautiful uplifting chorus and simple guitar and flute backing its crescendo is a near-religious experience—even if you don’t understand a word of what’s being sung!

No wonder that upon hearing the new sound American jazz artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, flocked to Brazil to get a taste of the action.

But by 1964 both the modernist dream and the music were dying. A military dictatorship took power and ruled over Brazil for the next two decades.

The artists that pioneered Bossa Nova were dispersed across the world. The musical styles they created now were infused with the artistic and musical radicalism of the late 1960s.

This compilation charts many of Bossa Nova’s high points and is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.

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