“It is quite common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar.”

― Edward W. Said

"A developing country that wants to develop its economy must first of all keep natural resources in its own hands."
- Deng Xiaoping

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ann Coulter: Hispanic culture is deficient and Ann Coulter wants Jews "to be perfected"

Ann Coulter: Hispanic culture is deficient

Ann Coulter wants Jews "to be perfected"

Afghanistan You Never See

Journalist Bilal Sarwary provides a rare glimpse into life in Afghanistan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

By Luke Royes 

ABC.NET.AU - 14 Jan 2015

Bilal Sarwary is showing the world the glimpses of Afghanistan few see.
The South Asian country used to attract tens of thousands of Western tourists each year, drawn by its rugged scenery, vibrant culture and relics from its time at the heart of the Silk Road trade route.
But its picturesque snow-capped peaks and luscious, fertile valleys have long gone uncelebrated, hidden from the world behind the veil of fierce conflict.
Armed with a smartphone, Sarwary, an Afghan freelance journalist and photographer, has harnessed the power of social media to challenge the prevailing view of the country as a war-torn void bounded by Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan and China.
By regularly posting photos of Afghan life, people and the country's diverse landscapes to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, accompanied by the #Afghanistanyouneversee hashtag, Sarwary has provided a chance for the curious to get a peek into a land long plagued by discord.

READ MORE....

COMEDY: Win Lose or Draw Muhammad

video

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Intellectuals and power: A conversation between Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze

https://libcom.org/library/intellectuals-power-a-conversation-between-michel-foucault-and-gilles-deleuze

This is a transcript of a 1972 conversation between the post-structuralist philosophers Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, which discusses the links between the struggles of women, homosexuals, prisoners etc to class struggle, and also the relationship between theory, practice and power

This transcript first appeared in English in the book ‘Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: selected essays and interviews by Michel Foucault’ edited by Donald F. Bouchard.

MICHEL FOUCAULT: A Maoist once said to me: "I can easily understand Sartre's purpose in siding with us; I can understand his goals and his involvement in politics; I can partially understand your position, since you've always been concerned with the problem of confinement. But Deleuze is an enigma." I was shocked by this statement because your position has always seemed particularly clear to me.

GILLES DELEUZE: Possibly we're in the process of experiencing a new relationship between theory and practice. At one time, practice was considered an application of theory, a consequence; at other times, it bad an opposite sense and it was thought to inspire theory, to be indispensable for the creation of future theoretical forms. In any event, their relationship was understood in terms of a process of totalisation. For us, however, the question is seen in a different light. The relationships between theory and practice are far more partial and fragmentary. on one side, a theory is always local and related to a limited field, and it is applied in another sphere, more or less distant from it. The relationship which holds in the application of a theory is never one of resemblance. Moreover, from the moment a theory moves into its proper domain, it begins to encounter obstacles, walls, and blockages which require its relay by another type of discourse (it is through this other discourse that it eventually passes to a different domain). Practice is a set of relays from one theoretical point to another, and theory is a relay from one practice to another. No theory can develop without eventually encountering a wall, and practice is necessary for piercing this wall. For example, your work  began in the theoretical analysis of the context of confinement, specifically with respect to the psychiatric asylum within a capitalist society in the nineteenth century. Then you became aware of the necessity for confined individuals to speak for themselves, to create a relay (it's possible, on the contrary, that your function was already that of a relay in relation to them); and this group is found in prisons -- these individuals are imprisoned. It was on this basis that You organised the information group for prisons (G.I.P.)(1), the object being to create conditions that permit the prisoners themselves to speak. It would be absolutely false to say, as the Maoist implied, that in moving to this practice you were applying your theories. This was not an application; nor was it a project for initiating reforms or an enquiry in the traditional sense. The emphasis was altogether different: a system of relays within a larger sphere, within a multiplicity of parts that are both theoretical and practical. A theorising intellectual, for us, is no longer a subject, a representing or representative consciousness. Those who act and struggle are no longer represented, either by a group or a union that appropriates the right to stand as their conscience. Who speaks and acts? It is always a multiplicity, even within the person who speaks and acts. All of us are "groupuscules."(2) Representation no longer exists; there's only action-theoretical action and practical action which serve as relays and form networks.

FOUCAULT: It seems to me that the political involvement of the intellectual was traditionally the product of two different aspects of his activity: his position as an intellectual in bourgeois society, in the system of capitalist production and within the ideology it produces or imposes (his exploitation, poverty, rejection, persecution, the accusations of subversive activity, immorality, etc); and his proper discourse to the extent that it revealed a particular truth, that it disclosed political relationships where they were unsuspected. These two forms of politicisation did not exclude each other, but, being of a different order, neither did they coincide. Some were classed as "outcasts" and others as "socialists." During moments of violent reaction on the part of the authorities, these two positions were readily fused: after 1848, after the Commune, after 1940. The intellectual was rejected and persecuted at the precise moment when the facts became incontrovertible, when it was forbidden to say that the emperor had no clothes. The intellectual spoke the truth to those who had yet to see it, in the name of those who were forbidden to speak the truth: he was conscience, consciousness, and eloquence. In the most recent upheaval (3) the intellectual discovered that the masses no longer need him to gain knowledge: they know perfectly well, without illusion; they know far better than he and they are certainly capable of expressing themselves. But there exists a system of power which blocks, prohibits, and invalidates this discourse and this knowledge, a power not only found in the manifest authority of censorship, but one that profoundly and subtly penetrates an entire societal network. Intellectuals are themselves agents of this system of power-the idea of their responsibility for "consciousness" and discourse forms part of the system. The intellectual's role is no longer to place himself "somewhat ahead and to the side" in order to express the stifled truth of the collectivity; rather, it is to struggle against the forms of power that transform him into its object and instrument in the sphere of "knowledge," "truth," "consciousness," and "discourse. "(4)

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To Raise Productivity, Let More Employees Work from Home

Nicholas Bloom  

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW - From the January–February 2014 Issue

The study: Nicholas Bloom and graduate student James Liang, who is also a cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip, gave the staff at Ctrip’s call center the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months. Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data collected at the conclusion of the study revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive.
The challenge: Should more of us be doing our jobs in our pajamas? Would the performance of employees actually improve if companies let them stay home? Professor Bloom, defend your research.
Bloom: The results we saw at Ctrip blew me away. Ctrip was thinking that it could save money on space and furniture if people worked from home and that the savings would outweigh the productivity hit it would take when employees left the discipline of the office environment. Instead, we found that people working from home completed 13.5% more calls than the staff in the office did—meaning that Ctrip got almost an extra workday a week out of them. They also quit at half the rate of people in the office—way beyond what we anticipated. And predictably, at-home workers reported much higher job satisfaction.

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The Open-Office Trap

By Maria Konnikova

The New Yorker - January 7, 2014

In 1973, my high school, Acton-Boxborough Regional, in Acton, Massachusetts, moved to a sprawling brick building at the foot of a hill. Inspired by architectural trends of the preceding decade, the classrooms in one of its wings didn’t have doors. The rooms opened up directly onto the hallway, and tidbits about the French Revolution, say, or Benjamin Franklin’s breakfast, would drift from one classroom to another. Distracting at best and frustrating at worst, wide-open classrooms went, for the most part, the way of other ill-considered architectural fads of the time, like concrete domes. (Following an eighty-million-dollar renovation and expansion, in 2005, none of the new wings at A.B.R.H.S. have open classrooms.) Yet the workplace counterpart of the open classroom, the open office, flourishes: some seventy per cent of all offices now have an open floor plan.

The open office was originally conceived by a team from Hamburg, Germany, in the nineteen-fifties, to facilitate communication and idea flow. But a growing body of evidence suggests that the open office undermines the very things that it was designed to achieve. In June, 1997, a large oil and gas company in western Canada asked a group of psychologists at the University of Calgary to monitor workers as they transitioned from a traditional office arrangement to an open one. The psychologists assessed the employees’ satisfaction with their surroundings, as well as their stress level, job performance, and interpersonal relationships before the transition, four weeks after the transition, and, finally, six months afterward. The employees suffered according to every measure: the new space was disruptive, stressful, and cumbersome, and, instead of feeling closer, coworkers felt distant, dissatisfied, and resentful. Productivity fell.

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Open-Plan Workspaces Are the Work of Satan

By Kevin Drum

Mother Jones | Tue Dec. 30, 2014

After nine years in an office, Lindsey Kaufman's bosses decided to convert her ad agency into an open plan workspace:
Our new, modern Tribeca office was beautifully airy, and yet remarkably oppressive. Nothing was private. On the first day, I took my seat at the table assigned to our creative department, next to a nice woman who I suspect was an air horn in a former life. All day, there was constant shuffling, yelling,and laughing, along with loud music piped through a PA system.
…These new floor plans are ideal for maximizing a company's space while minimizing costs. Bosses love the ability to keep a closer eye on their employees, ensuring clandestine porn-watching, constant social media-browsing and unlimited personal cellphone use isn't occupying billing hours. But employers are getting a false sense of improved productivity. A 2013 study found that many workers in open offices are frustrated by distractions that lead to poorer work performance. Nearly half of the surveyed workers in open offices said the lack of sound privacy was a significant problem for them and more than 30 percent complained about the lack of visual privacy. Meanwhile, "ease of interaction" with colleagues — the problem that open offices profess to fix — was cited as a problem by fewer than 10 percent of workers in any type of office setting.
Do not dare to ever criticize cubicles in my presence. This is what they replaced, not spacious corner offices with lots of natural light and walnut desks. Compared to open plan, cubicles are a paradise on Earth. Open plan is the work of Satan.
That is all.

READ MORE....

Google got it wrong: The open-office trend is destroying the workplace.

Workplaces need more walls, not fewer.

By Lindsey Kaufman

The Washington Post -  December 30, 2014

A year ago, my boss announced that our large New York ad agency would be moving to an open office. After nine years as a senior writer, I was forced to trade in my private office for a seat at a long, shared table. It felt like my boss had ripped off my clothes and left me standing in my skivvies.
Our new, modern Tribeca office was beautifully airy, and yet remarkably oppressive. Nothing was private. On the first day, I took my seat at the table assigned to our creative department, next to a nice woman who I suspect was an air horn in a former life.  All day, there was constant shuffling, yelling, and laughing, along with loud music piped through a PA system.  As an excessive water drinker, I feared my co-workers were tallying my frequent bathroom trips.  At day’s end, I bid adieu to the 12 pairs of eyes I felt judging my 5:04 p.m. departure time. I beelined to the Beats store to purchase their best noise-cancelling headphones in an unmistakably visible neon blue.

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Do Jordan’s tribes challenge or strengthen the state?

By Kristen Kao

The Washington Post - May 28

This post is part of the “Rethinking Nation and Nationalism” symposium.

In the spring of 2013, a fight between two students of different tribes at a university in southern Jordan killed four people and injured many. Tribe members on both sides reportedly supplied the students with weapons and closed the roads surrounding the area for days after the event so that they could personally punish the perpetrators.
Bystanders complained that state officials’ failure to intervene effectively escalated the conflict. Order was restored only once a pact was brokered between the sheiks of the two tribes in a process known as al-atwa.

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In Morocco, Exploring Remnants of Jewish History

The New York Times -   MAY 30, 2015

By  

Boy 1: “What are those two guys doing walking around here?”
Boy 2: “It’s obvious. They’re looking for the Jews.”
This exchange was translated from Arabic by Youness Abeddour, a guide and documentarian who agreed to share with me his knowledge of the mellah, the walled Jewish quarter, of Fez. Boy 2, though, was mistaken. Although as many as 240,000 Jews lived in Morocco as recently as the 1940s, only around 3,000 remain in the country today. Youness and I had not come to look for the Jews; we had come to look for the traces they left behind.
These traces, whether in buildings or objects, or less tangibly in music and stories and memory, were ubiquitous if sometimes elusive in the mellahs of Fez and, as I discovered later, Marrakesh. Some were easily found, others less so; but running like an electrical charge through this rich but disappearing heritage was a palpable sense of urgency about what will happen in the coming years to Morocco’s Jewish legacy.

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Why ISIL’s Attacks on Shiites of Saudi Arabia Threaten World Economy

Juan Cole

Juancole.com - May. 30, 2015 

Daesh (ISIL, ISIS) took responsibility for a terrorist attack Friday on the Shiite al-Husayn Mosque in Dammam, which left three victims dead. Saudi security forces are taking credit for spotting that the car the terrorists were driving was suspicious and preventing it from getting too near the mosque. But Shiites are saying that two youth from the mosque blocked the attackers and were blown up themselves.
Relations were already bad between the ruling hyper-Sunni Wahhabis and the Shiite minority before the bombings this month.
Saudi Arabia produces 10.3 million barrels a day of petroleum. The whole world only produces 93 million barrels a day, so Saudi Arabia is doing like 11 percent of world production.
When you say Saudi Arabia has petroleum, you are really talking about the Eastern Province along the Gulf littoral. There’s something demographically distinctive about that area. It has traditionally had a big Shiite population. Most of the kingdom’s 2.4 million or so Shiites (out of a citizen population of a little over 20 million) live in the Eastern Province where the oil is. Significant numbers of the workers on the oil rigs are Shiite.

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Mecca Becomes A Mecca For Skyscraper Hotels

NPR - May 30, 2015

Leila Fadel

At the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the booming call to prayer competes with the racket of construction.
The Grand Mosque is the destination for the most sacred Muslim pilgrimage and it holds the Kaaba, the black cube of a building in the center of the mosque known to Muslims as the House of God.
But skyscraper hotels increasingly dominate the skyline, dwarfing the Great Mosque where worshippers gather, and angering those who seek to retain the city's history and traditional architecture.
Cranes fill the sky and soaring above it all is the Clock Tower Hotel, which reaches some 130 stories. To build it, the city literally blew up a mountain that once overlooked the Grand Mosque nestled in the valley between peaks.
This building spree has become a symbol of the transformation and commercialization of Mecca, the birthplace of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Hotel rooms with a Kaaba view are hot-ticket items.

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The Very Strange Life Of Nepal's Child Goddess

NPR - May 28, 2015

Julie McCarthy

Last month's earthquake brought much of Kathmandu's historic Durbar Square, a World Heritage Site, tumbling to the ground. Nepal's showcase temples and palaces were reduced to ruins. But save for a few cracks, the home of the city's Living Goddess remained intact.
Largely unknown to the outside world, Nepal's centuries-old institution of the child deity, the Kumari Devi, is deeply embedded in the culture of Kathmandu Valley. Young, beautiful and decorous, even a glimpse of her is believed to bring good fortune.
The current Kumari of Kathmandu, age 9, is the best known of several girls who are worshipped in Nepal, and is revered by many though she lives an isolated and secretive existence inside the house and is rarely seen.
At her home, caretaker Gautam Shakya says the building's square shape stabilized it in the recent tremors. Yet nothing so mundane was involved, insists Udhav Man Karmacharya, one of the main priests attending the Kumari.

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The peer review drugs don’t work

A process at the heart of science is based on faith rather than evidence, says Richard Smith, and vested interests keep it in place

By Richard SmitH

TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION - May 28 2015   

It is paradoxical and ironic that peer review, a process at the heart of science, is based on faith not evidence.
There is evidence on peer review, but few scientists and scientific editors seem to know of it – and what it shows is that the process has little if any benefit and lots of flaws.
Peer review is supposed to be the quality assurance system for science, weeding out the scientifically unreliable and reassuring readers of journals that they can trust what they are reading. In reality, however, it is ineffective, largely a lottery, anti-innovatory, slow, expensive, wasteful of scientific time, inefficient, easily abused, prone to bias, unable to detect fraud and irrelevant.
As Drummond Rennie, the founder of the annual International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, says, “If peer review was a drug it would never be allowed onto the market.”
Cochrane reviews, which gather systematically all available evidence, are the highest form of scientific evidence. A 2007 Cochrane review of peer review for journals concludes: “At present, little empirical evidence is available to support the use of editorial peer review as a mechanism to ensure quality of biomedical research.”

READ MORE..... 

Rich people will become immortal ‘god-like’ cyborgs in 200 years – historian

RUSSIA TODAY - May 29, 2015

Rich people living 200 years from now are likely to become “god-like” immortal cyborgs, while the poor will die out, an historian has claimed.
Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the merger of humans and machines would be the greatest evolution since the appearance of life.
He added the greatest minds in computer engineering already believe death is a mere technological problem with a solution.
Harari said advances in technology will enable humans to become god-like creatures, as different from today’s humans as chimpanzees are from us.

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Vancouver: Well, am I a boring city?

English.news.cn | 2015-05-30


VANCOUVER, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Vancouverites are feeling defensive this week after being labeled by The Economist magazine as a mind-numbingly boring city that has become too safe and predictable.
A travel columnist under the name Gulliver argued on the magazine that as cities become nicer and more stable, the less fun they become. Vancouver routinely tops international livability indexes and therefore is a "boring city."
But Bob Kronbauer, who has been running the Vancouver Is Awesome blog for seven years, told Xinhua Friday that Gulliver can leave Vancouver to the rest of us.
Kronbauer's team has published thousands of stories singing the praises of this coastal city in west Canada.

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6 links that will show you what Google knows about you


Want to find out all the things Google knows about you? Here are 6 links that will show you some of the data Google has about you.

1. Find out what Google thinks about you

In order to serve relevant ads, Google collects data about you and creates a profile. You can control and review the information Google has on you here:
Google also has a tool called Google Analytics, that helps publishers see what pages you have viewed on their website, how many times you have visited it, how long did you stay etc. You can opt out if you don’t want this type of data to be collected:
http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout

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Ex-Georgian president, wanted at home, becomes governor in Ukraine

Russia Today -  May 30, 2015

Georgia's former President Mikhail Saakashvili, wanted by his country's prosecutors for embezzlement, abuse of power and politically-motivated attacks, has been appointed governor of Ukraine's Odessa region.
President Petro Poroshenko personally appointed Saakashvili to the post, saying the former Georgian leader is "a friend of Ukraine." In a statement at Saakashvili's nomination in Odessa, Poroshenko said the two had known each other for 25 years, since university days.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's Not Rude: These Portraits Of Wounded Vets Are Meant To Be Stared At

NPR - May 25, 2015

It's impolite to stare. But when it comes to severely injured soldiers, maybe we don't look enough; or maybe we'd rather not see wounded veterans at all.
That's the message you get from photographer David Jay's Unknown Soldier series. Jay spent three years taking portraits of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but before that — for nearly 20 years — he was a fashion photographer. His stylish, artful images appeared in magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
"The fashion stuff is beautiful and sexy — and completely untrue," he says.
Truth became the focus of Jay's work for the first time about 10 years ago, when he started The SCAR Project, a series of portraits of women, naked from the waist up, with mastectomy scars. Around the time he was taking those photos, he was also trying to comprehend the news coming from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We hear about 'this number of men were killed' and 'this many were injured,'" Jay says, "and we think of them — maybe they got shot — or we don't really picture what these injured men look like."

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Nike, Coca-Cola among multinationals rethinking corruption-tainted FIFA sponsorship

Russia Today - May 28, 2015

Multinational corporations with ties to FIFA are scrambling to distance themselves from the allegations of impropriety that have put the global soccer organization this week at the center of a major corruption scandal.
Nike, Adidas, Coca Cola and Visa are among the companies that have been driven to releasing statements this week after 14 current and former FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland on Wednesday in connection with charges unsealed in the United States.
While Oregon-based Nike isn’t named in the 47-count indictment, the long-time World Cup team sponsor has been rumored to be tied to the affair after the Justice Department alleged this week that FIFA officials bribed “a multinational sportswear company headquartered in the United States” to get a deal with the Brazilian national soccer team.
According to the federal indictment unsealed in a Brooklyn, New York courthouse on Wednesday, an identified sporting goods company agreed to pay $160 million with FIFA over the course of a decade for the rights to exclusively sell Brazilian gear; elsewhere, the indictment alleges that millions of dollars funneled through a Swiss bank account went towards paying off “high-ranking” FIFA and Brazilian soccer officials, Bloomberg News reported.

READ MORE...

Will Robots be the Soldiers of the Future?

Israel Defense Forces - May 28, 2015

When looking a decade ahead, the direction is clear for our ground forces – unmanned vehicles. The induction of these vehicles and robots into the battlefield will dramatically change the future of urban warfare, leading modern day combat into new and unexpected directions. 
In recent years, the very best minds of the IDF and the Defense Ministry have dedicated themselves to the development of advanced technology that may turn the tide in future conflicts. By improving technologies used by the IAF and the Israel Navy, in the next decade unmanned vehicles may become as common as drones.
Though there is still a long way to go before unmanned vehicles can be used on the battlefield, the first unmanned vehicle by the IDF has been patrolling borders for the last 6 years. The primary model, “Guardium,” is used mainly for observation. Its successor, “Border Protector”, expected to come into use this year (2015), will have the ability to patrol borders and deliver weapons and other paramount items to soldiers in the battlefield.
“Border Protector” is based off a modified Ford 350 vehicle and will be remote controlled. “It will be able to load more equipment, such as weapons and observation devices, than the previous model,” explains Maj. Lior Trabelsi, the Head of the Robotics Desk in the Weaponry Department of the Ground Forces.

READ MORE......

A Beautiful Mind - The Documentary John Nash


Antonio Negri: A Revolt That Never Ends


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Message to My Freshman Students

Keith M. Parsons
Philosopher, historian, author; Professor of Philosophy at University of Houston-Clear Lake

The Huffington Post - 05/14/2015 

For the first time in many years I am teaching a freshman course, Introduction to Philosophy. The experience has been mostly good. I had been told that my freshman students would be apathetic, incurious, inattentive, unresponsive and frequently absent, and that they would exude an insufferable sense of entitlement. I am happy to say that this characterization was not true of most students. Still, some students are often absent, and others, even when present, are distracted or disengaged. Some have had to be cautioned that class is not their social hour and others reminded not to send text messages in class. I have had to tell these students that, unlike high school, they will not be sent to detention if they are found in the hall without a pass, and that they are free to leave if they are not interested. Actually, I doubt that the differences between high school and university have ever been adequately explained to them, so, on the first class day of next term, I will address my new freshmen as follows:
Welcome to higher education! If you want to be successful here you need to know a few things about how this place works. One of the main things you need to know is the difference between the instructors you will have here and those you had before. Let me take a few minutes to explain this to you.

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A JOURNAL: Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 
Vol 4, No 1 (2015)

Articles
Cutcha Risling Baldy
PDF
Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti, Sharon Stein, Cash Ahenakew, Dallas Hunt
PDF
Yomaira C. Figueroa
PDF
Argelia Gonzalez Hurtado
PDF
Marco Antonio Cervantes, Lillian Patricia Saldaña

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Governments must step up efforts to tackle youth unemployment

OECD - 27/05/2015 - More than 35 million young people, aged 16-29, across OECD countries are neither employed nor in education or training (NEET). Overall, young people are twice as likely as prime-age workers to be unemployed. Governments need to do more to give young people a good start to their working lives and help them find work, according to a new OECD report.
The OECD Skills Outlook 2015 says that around half of all NEETs in the OECD are out of school and not looking for work and are likely to have dropped off the radar of their country’s education, social, and labour market systems. 
“Addressing this issue is not only a moral imperative, but also an economic necessity,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report in Berlin. “Too many young people leave education without having acquired the right skills and, even those who do, are prevented from putting them to productive use. These young people often face a difficult future and need all our support. “
The report expands on the findings of the first OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), published in 2013, and creates a detailed picture of how young people acquire and use their skills, as well as the potential barriers they face to doing both. 
It shows that 10% of new graduates have poor literacy skills and 14% have poor numeracy skills. More than 40% of those who left school before completing their upper secondary education have poor numeracy and literacy skills.
Work and education are also too often separate worlds: less than 50% of students in vocational education and training programmes, and less than 40% of students in academic programmes in the 22 OECD countries and regions covered were participating in some kind of work-based learning at the time of the survey. Even young people with strong skills have trouble finding work. Many firms find it too expensive to hire individuals with no labour market experience.

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Why does the US have 800 military bases around the world?

by Johnny Harris

Vox - May 18, 2015

The US has around 800 military bases in other countries, which costs an estimated $100 billion annually, a number that could be much higher depending on whether you count the bases still open in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is according to American University professor David Vine in his forthcoming book Base Nation, in which he seeks to quantify the financial, environmental, and human costs of keeping these bases open.
The word "base" is a broad term that captures all sorts of military posts, stations, camps, forts, etc. around the globe. The Pentagon specifics that a "base site" is any geographic location that is "owned by or leased to, or otherwise possessed" by the military.
Most of these bases cropped up after World War II when the US took position as the global leader and peacekeeper in and around Japan and Germany. The Korean and Cold Wars sped up the expansion of US military infrastructure to other countries. Containing Soviet communism led the US to set up posts all over the globe to ensure a geopolitical foothold in places that were vulnerable to Soviet influence — which basically meant everywhere.



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A NEW BOOK: Base Nation How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World American Empire Project

David Vine
American University


Metropolitan Books – APRIL 2015

From Italy to the Indian Ocean, from Japan to Honduras, a far-reaching examination of the perils of American military bases overseas
http://us.macmillan.com/basenation/davidvine

American military bases encircle the globe. More than two decades after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. still stations its troops at nearly a thousand locations in foreign lands. These bases are usually taken for granted or overlooked entirely, a little-noticed part of the Pentagon's vast operations. But in an eye-opening account, Base Nation shows that the worldwide network of bases brings with it a panoply of ills--and actually makes the nation less safe in the long run.
As David Vine demonstrates, the overseas bases raise geopolitical tensions and provoke widespread antipathy towards the United States. They also undermine American democratic ideals, pushing the U.S. into partnerships with dictators and perpetuating a system of second-class citizenship in territories like Guam. They breed sexual violence, destroy the environment, and damage local economies. And their financial cost is staggering: though the Pentagon underplays the numbers, Vine's accounting proves that the bill approaches $100 billion per year.
For many decades, the need for overseas bases has been a quasi-religious dictum of U.S. foreign policy. But in recent years, a bipartisan coalition has finally started to question this conventional wisdom. With the U.S. withdrawing from Afghanistan and ending thirteen years of war, there is no better time to re-examine the tenets of our military strategy. Base Nation is an essential contribution to that debate.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies Academic Mailing List Virginia Tech


Our Objectives
We have created a mailing list for scholars who may be interested in exchanging academic information related with Islam and Muslim Societies. You will find the information necessary to be a subscriber to this list. This is a scholarly network on Islam and Muslim Societies, which facilitates the academic exchange of information on conferences, panels, articles, books, and events. This network does not promote the orientalist approach toward Islam and Muslim Societies. We believe that Islam is a part and parcel of World civilization and has contributed toward the humanistic value of mankind. However, the last two hundreds years of human history shows us that Muslim Societies have been subject to a colonialist process. This process has transformed Islam from its original meaning and message to that of a reactionary identity. Therefore, today in Muslim Societies we witness poverty, economic inequality, chaotic urbanization, corruption, anti-democratic regimes, gender inequality, and occupations.
The Worldwide Islam Scholars Network promotes C. Wright Mills’ Sociological Imagination perspectives in relation to Islam and Muslim Societies. Within this network of Sociologists, Political Scientists, Religious Studies Scholars, Historians, we will exchange scholarly information on Islam and Muslim societies.   
The Sociology of Islam Academic Mailing list at Portland State University is a free professional and academic networking tool to encourage interaction between individuals & organizations involved in Islam/Sociology of Islam/Islamist Movements and related fields worldwide. Members and subscribers are encouraged to dialogue and share resources on books, articles, conferences, teaching, and other related purposes.

The Archive at Virginia Tech
April 2007 – October 2009
April 2014 - Present

The Archive at Portland State University
November 2009 – April 2014

If you want to subscribe to the list, please send me an email.

DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF ISLAM MAILING LIST:

*  Country                  Subscribers
*  -------                       -----------
*  (AC)                                    1
*  Armenia                              2
*  Australia                             29
*  Austria                                2
*  Bangladesh                          1
*  Belgium                               10
*  Bosnia and Herzegovina     1
*  Botswana                            1
*  Brazil                                  2
*  Bulgaria                               1
*  Canada                                56
*  Chile                                    2
*  Czech Republic                   1
*  Denmark                             14
*  (ED)                                                1
*  (EU)                                                4
*  Egypt                                  1
*  Finland                                6
*  Former                                1
*  France                                 27
*  Germany                             91
*  Hungary                              3
*  India                                    2
*  Ireland                                 3
*  Islamic Republic of Iran      13
*  Israel                                   15
*  Italy                                                20
*  Japan                                   10
*  Kenya                                 1
*  Kuwait                                1
*  Kyrgyzstan                         1
*  Lebanon                              5
*  Luxembourg                        1
*  Malaysia                             4
*  Mexico                                2
*  Morocco                             3
*  Netherlands                         33
*  New Zealand                       2
*  Nigeria                                 3
*  Norway                               8
*  Pakistan                              10
*  Poland                                 3
*  Qatar                                   18
*  Republic of Korea               2
*  Russian Federation             5
*  Saudi Arabia                       3
*  Singapore                            3
*  South Africa                        6
*  Spain                                   32
*  Sweden                                22
*  Switzerland                         6
*  Turkey                                92
*  Tanzania                             1
*  United Arab Emirates         8
*  United kingdom                  122
*  United states                       1,558

* Total number of academicians subscribed to the list:          2275
* Total number of countries represented:                               56
* Total number of universities represented:                           413 


Best and Salaam to you all,

Tugrul Keskin
Founder and Moderator of the Sociology of Islam Mailing List

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