Archive for June, 2019

29
Jun

John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview

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.

26
Jun

Al Sharpton speaks out on race, rights and what bothers him about his critics

Monday, December 3, 2007

At Thanksgiving dinner David Shankbone told his white middle class family that he was to interview Reverend Al Sharpton that Saturday. The announcement caused an impassioned discussion about the civil rights leader’s work, the problems facing the black community and whether Sharpton helps or hurts his cause. Opinion was divided. “He’s an opportunist.” “He only stirs things up.” “Why do I always see his face when there’s a problem?”

Shankbone went to the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem with this Thanksgiving discussion to inform the conversation. Below is his interview with Al Sharpton on everything from Tawana Brawley, his purported feud with Barack Obama, criticism by influential African Americans such as Clarence Page, his experience running for President, to how he never expected he would see fifty (he is now 53). “People would say to me, ‘Now that I hear you, even if I disagree with you I don’t think you’re as bad as I thought,'” said Sharpton. “I would say, ‘Let me ask you a question: what was “bad as you thought”?’ And they couldn’t say. They don’t know why they think you’re bad, they just know you’re supposed to be bad because the right wing tells them you’re bad.”

Contents

  • 1 Sharpton’s beginnings in the movement
  • 2 James Brown: a father to Sharpton
  • 3 Criticism: Sharpton is always there
  • 4 Tawana Brawley to Megan Williams
  • 5 Sharpton and the African-American media
  • 6 Why the need for an Al Sharpton?
  • 7 Al Sharpton and Presidential Politics
  • 8 On Barack Obama
  • 9 The Iraq War
  • 10 Sharpton as a symbol
  • 11 Blacks and whites and talking about race
  • 12 Don Imus, Michael Richards and Dog The Bounty Hunter
  • 13 Sources
23
Jun

Actor Jerry Orbach dead at age 69

Friday, December 31, 2004

New York City – Actor Jerry Orbach died in his home in Manhattan at age 69. Orbach was a staple of American cinema, stage and television, with his most recent role being in the NBC police drama “Law and Order.”

Orbach is survived by his wife of 25 years, Elaine Cancilla, and his two sons Anthony and Christopher.

Orbach was born in the tough Bronx borough of New York City in 1935 to a family of entertainers. His father Leon Orbach was an vaudeville actor and his mother Emily Orbach was a radio singer and greeting card writer.

The family moved often to keep up with travelling Vaudeville acts, but eventually settled in Waukegan Illinois where Orbach played football at the local high school. After graduation, Orbach got a summer job at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling doing odd jobs ranging from stagecraft to small acting parts in plays.

He then studied drama at the University of Illinois before transferring to Northwestern where he studied the Stanislavsky Method of drama acting. In 1955, Orbach dropped out of college and moved to New York City where he got a job as an understudy in The Threepenny Opera.

Orbach continued to work in theater, eventually earning roles in broadway musicals, but by 1961 had grown dissatisfied with being typecast as a musical actor. He tried briefly to break into film without success, and eventually returned to broadway where he earned numerous accolades for his roles in such musicals as “Guys and Dolls” and “Chicago“.

Orbach finally broke into television in the 1980s as a recurring character in shows such as the mystery-drama “Murder She Wrote” and the hit sitcom “Golden Girls“.

He earned the lead role as the title character in his own short-lived series “The Law and Harry McGraw”, a spinoff of “Murder She Wrote”. Orbach also scored key roles in a few Hollywood films, including the action thriller “F/X”, and the dance-musical hit “Dirty Dancing”, but continued to find his mainstay in television crime dramas.

In 1990, he picked up a role in the new NBC crime drama “Law and Order” as the acerbic-witted Lennie Briscoe, a role which soon become a regular job. Orbach continued in this role in addition to movie roles and occasional musical appearances until his death this last week.

Orbach was diagnosed with Prostate cancer in Spring of 2004, a fact he kept private until November when he checked into New York’s Memorial Sloan-Ketting Cancer Center for treatment. In spite of the aggressive nature of the treatment, he died on the evening of December 28.

20
Jun

BHP halts operations after mine death in Western Australia

Sunday, February 5, 2006

A BHP Billiton nickel mine at Leinster, 645Km northeast of Perth, Western Australia has halted operations after the death of a mine worker. WA Police say Mark Quinn, 32, an employee of mining contractor MacMahon’s, working about 900 metres underground, was killed in an explosion.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known. Department of Community and Employment Protection investigators have travelled to the site from Kalgoorlie to conduct an inquiry.

Global resources giant BHP Billiton Ltd./Plc, says employees are being briefed and counselled over the incident. The mine will remain closed until the investigation is complete. Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

According to media reports, no-one else was injured in the explosion – the cause of which is not yet known. The accident comes almost two years after a BHP Billiton worker died in a gas explosion at the Boodarie iron plant in Port Hedland, WA. The plant was then abandoned after the incident in May 2004.

In April 2004, a man was killed at BHP Billiton’s Nelson Point facility, also at Port Hedland in WA. In May 2000 a truck driver was killed at a BHP Pilbara iron ore operation in WA. BHP Billiton employ some 37,000 people at over 100 operations in 25 countries.

Coal mines in the United States’ West Virginia district were also suspended earlier this week, due to increased amounts of miners’ deaths.

14
Jun

Two fallen Canadian soldiers return home from Afghanistan

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The bodies of two Canadian soldiers killed by a suicide bomber in Kandahar, Afghanistan were brought back to Canada. Both were from CFB Petawawa located in Petawawa, Ontario.

Their vehicle has intercepted on a road by a suicide bomber. A helicopter came helping all injured and possibly dead soldiers into it where they received medical attention somewhere safe. This time, their vehicle was blown up by a man’s car when he drived into them and detonated his car. Two Canadians were killed, the rest were injured.

Canadian, U.S., Dutch, and British soldiers stood at Kandhar Airfield Thursday to farewell Cpl. Albert Storm and Officer Robert Girouard. A piper played Amazing Grace as the Canadian flag-covered coffins were carried onto the C-130 Hercules aircraft for their flight home.

“It’s very hard for me to do it but I know my colleague, my friend and soldier, is going home to a restful place,” Cpl. Victor Thibault, 38, of Digby, Nova Scotia said to the Canadian Press. “He’s done what he had to do and I believe that’s good… He was a good friend. I will miss him,” he said.

Forty-four Canadian soldiers as well as one diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002. About 2,500 Canadian troops are serving in Afghanistan.

12
Jun

Bird flu may infect 20 percent of world’s population, kill millions

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Past Pandemics have claimed many lives.
Disease Year Death toll
Spanish Flu 1918/1919 50 million
Asian Flu 1957 1 million
Hong Kong Flu 1968 1 million

The science journal Nature devoted a special section to the Asian H5N1 virus, or “Avian Flu“, highlighting the danger it poses to world populations, and cautioning that unless steps are taken soon, it could lead to the deaths of many millions and lead to a major economic crisis. Their analysis shows a danger of it mutating into a strain with a lethality similar to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

Michael Osterholm, a scientist at the University of Minnesota, gave grave caution about the situation. “Time is running out to prepare for the next pandemic… There is a critical need for comprehensive medical and non-medical pandemic planning at the ground level that goes beyond what has been considered so far.”

Preparations being made for flu pandemic
There is a crisis plan being drawn up in New York City. The Asian bird flu could mutate and cause a pandemic.

The plan addresses quarantines, testing, overcrowding in hospitals, and rationing of vaccines and treatments.

New evidence suggests the bird flu may be moving to stage 5. When stage 6 is reached, there could be a rapid spread of the flu.

The next pandemic is projected to originate in poultry in Asia, due either to the H5N1 virus adapting on its own or mixing with genetic material from a human virus. In the journal, virologists at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam strongly urged better organized research into outbreaks in Asia, calling the current efforts patchy and uncoordinated, saying, “We propose establishing a permanent global task force to control a flu pandemic, in which relevant agencies would work together with leading research groups from different disciplines.” The annual cost of this task force would be less than $1.5 million annually.

Deaths due to the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak reached between 20-50 million people, on the order of roughly 2% of the Earth’s population of nearly 2 billion at the time; the Earth’s population has increased by more than threefold since then. This disease spread around the world in the course of six months, killing 25 million. India was particularly hard hit, with 17 million deaths. Half a million died in the USA, and 200,000 in the UK. It is estimated to have afflicted about 20% of the world’s population to some extent, before it vanished eighteen months after its initial outbreak.

12
Jun

Ford Motor Company cutting 30,000 jobs by 2012

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Ford Motor Company, the second-largest car manufacturer in America, will cut 30,000 jobs and 14 plants as part of a restructuring plan to relieve Ford after a US$1.6 billion loss last year in North American sales.

The plan, called “Way Forward”, the brainchild of Ford’s Chief Executive Officer, William Clay Ford Jr., is to end Ford’s North American losses by 2008. To accomplish this 30,000 jobs which make up 20 to 25 percent of Ford’s North American workforce of 122,000 people will be cut and 14 plants will be closed in order to bring Ford’s production capacity in line with demand.

By the end of this year, the Atlanta and St. Louis plants will be closed. Atlanta makes the Ford Taurus sedan, which is being phased out. The St. Louis plant is one of two plants that manufactures the Ford Explorer, whose sales had a 29% decline in 2005. It will also close its Wixom, Michigan plant, Batavia Transmission in Ohio the Windsor Casting plant in Ontario which was previously announced by Ford that it was to be closed after contract negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union.

The plant in St. Thomas, Ontario plant will have one shift cut from it. The plant makes the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis cars. On this cut of the one shift, Whitey MacDonald, chairperson of Local 1520, Canadian Auto Workers union said “There is a lot of anger here today, there is no doubt about it. Any time a plant goes to one shift, it puts them in limbo. This car has made the company millions of dollars over the years they have invested in other products and locations – we are entitled to some new investment given our track record.”

Positive news for the plant is that Ford is still committed to invest $200 million into the plant to upgrade the appearance of the two cars manufactured there. On the contrary, according to Automotive analyst Dennis DesRosier believes that the factory is still “likely” to close. DesRoiser said, “The St. Thomas plant is old, the product is old, it make sense it is on that list. This may be just a short-term reprieve, it may be look at permanent closure in two to three years.”

Two more plants will close in 2008, another two in 2012. Two more plants to be closed are to be announced later this year. Also, Ford will fire 12% of its 53 executive officers.

Due to the company’s current contract with the United Auto Workers union, workers at the idled plants will still be receiving their pay and benefits until Ford negotiates a new contract with the union. However, the workers may not earn what they earn today because they will not be eligible for overtime.

The UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Gerald Bantom called say the plan is “extremely disappointing.” The UAW issued statement saying “The impacted hourly and salaried workers find themselves facing uncertain futures because of senior management’s failure to halt Ford’s sliding market share. The announcement has further left a cloud hanging over the entire work force because of pending future announcements of additional facilities to be closed at some point in the future.”

8
Jun

Car hits five-year-old Australian girl

Saturday, May 6, 2006

A car driven by an 80-year-old man has hit a five year old girl at a pedestrian crossing at Frenchs Forest Road in Seaforth, in Sydney‘s north at 4 p.m. AEST.

Sophie Delezio, 5, was rushed to Sydney Children’s Hospital. She has injuries to shoulder, jaw, numerous rib fractures but her most serious injury is bleeding around her left lung. She is expected to fully recover. She is expected to be in intensive care for three weeks. She is not expected to have to undergo surgery. A drug called NovoSeven is credited with stopping the bleeding around her lung.

The 80-year-old driver of the car that crashed into her has been arrested on negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm and failing to give way at a pedestrian crossing. He is expected to front Manly Court on 15 July 2006.

Sophie was also involved in an accident involving a driver crashing into the Roundhouse Childcare Centre on December 15, 2003 causing her severe burns to 85% of her body. She also lost both feet, some fingers, and her right ear.

6
Jun

Adele and David Bowie each win five Grammys

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

On Sunday, British singer Adele won five Grammy Awards at the 59th Grammy Awards event in Los Angeles. David Bowie posthumously won five Grammys.

Adele won Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo and Record of the Year for her song Hello, and Album of the Year for her album 25, becoming the first singer to win the Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year twice.

David Bowie was nominated in five categories — three for his album Blackstar in Best Alternative Music Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, and Best Rock Performance; and two for his song Blackstar, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. Days after releasing his 25th album, Blackstar, Bowie passed away in January 2016, due to cancer. Before Blackstar, Bowie won a Grammy for his music video Jazzin’ for Blue Jean, and Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, never winning the award in a major category before.

In the event, singer Bruno Mars paid tribute to music icon Prince, replicating style, costumes, and guitar of Prince’s. Minneapolis-based funk band The Time, who had performed with Prince, paid tribute to the singer who passed away in April at the age of 57. Adele, in her performance, paid tribute to George Michael. While performing, Adele stopped, swore, and restarted. She later apologised, saying “I am sorry for swearing and I am sorry for starting again, I can’t mess this up for him[…] I am sorry, I can’t.” British pop singer George Michael died on Christmas Day of heart failure at the age of 53.

Adele was in tears while receiving Grammy for the Album of the Year. In her acceptance speech, she said, “But I can’t possibly accept this award. And I’m very humbled and I’m very grateful and gracious. But my artist of my life is Beyoncé. And this album to me, the ‘Lemonade’ album, is just so monumental. Beyoncé, it’s so monumental. And so well thought out, and so beautiful and soul-baring and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let us see. And we appreciate that. And all us artists here, we fucking adore you. You are our light. And the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel, is empowering. And you make them stand up for themselves. And I love you.” Other albums in the pool, besides 25 and Lemonade, were Justin Bieber’s Purpose, Drake’s Views, and A Sailor’s Guide To Earth by Sturgill Simpson.

Earlier, while receiving award for the Record of the Year, Adele said, “My dream and my idol is Queen Bee [Beyoncé], and I adore you and you move my soul every single day and you have done for nearly seventeen years”. Other songs nominated in the category were Beyoncé’s Formation, Work by Rihanna, 7 Years by Lukas Graham, and Stressed Out by TWENTY ØNE PILØTS.

Beyoncé received the largest number of nominations for the event — nine — but she won only two. Her album Lemonade won Best Urban Contemporary Album and her song Formation won Best Music Video.

Chance The Rapper won Best New Artist, and claimed Best Rap Performance for No Problem and Best Rap Album for Coloring Book. Chance’s songs were never sold, and were available for free on streaming services.

The new host James Corden took a pratfall on the stairs while entering. The duo TWENTY ØNE PILØTS won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their song Stressed Out. Upon announcement, they removed their pants to accept the award. Sharing an incident of watching Grammys before the duo was famous, Tyler Joseph said Josh Dun proposed if they were to receive a Grammy, they would receive it in their underpants as they were in underpants watching the award ceremony at the time. In his acceptance speech, he said, “I want everyone who’s watching at home to know that you could be next. So watch out, because anyone from anywhere can do anything.”

3
Jun

Two killed in landslide in Tenerife

Sunday, November 1, 2009

At least two people have been killed in a landslide at the Playa de los Gigantes beach on the Spanish island of Tenerife. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed the information today.

The victims were both women. One of them was identified as a 34-year-old woman from the southern part of the island. The other was identified as Marion Auril O’Hara, a 57-year-old woman from the United Kingdom. The collapsing of the cliff, which was on a small beach and stretched 130 feet (40 metres), occurred at around 1600 GMT on Sunday.

Initially, it was believed that there were six people trapped underneath the cliff. 150 rescue workers dug with picks and shovels, and continued digging for over four hours. However, the search was later scaled down, with the Senior Civil Guard Officer saying that “we now believe that these two women were the only victims.”

Howard Williams, who was on holiday from the United Kingdom in the area, told Sky News Online that “police were aware the cliff was dangerous for days, but the only thing they put in place was a bit of builder’s tape.”