In Pakistan, the earthquake was felt as far south as Lahore, where this multi-storey building collapsed. Scared residents fled into the streets as the tremors began. [BBC/AP]
Medical attention for the wounded has also been limited. This child was evacuated out of Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, by US helicopter. [BBC/AP]
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred at 03:50:38 (UTC) on Saturday, October 8, 2005, in Pakistan. Subtract 4 hours from UTC for Eastern Daylight Time (New York), or add 5 hours to UTC for the local time of the earthquake.
At least 30,000 people killed, 43,000 injured and many towns and villages destroyed or badly damaged in northern Pakistan. At least 800 people were killed in India and four people in Afghanistan. An estimated 2.5 million people in the area have been left homeless. Landslides have damaged roads and bridges blocking access to many of the worst-hit areas.
International aid is pouring into the region. International Rescue and Recovery teams have saved some lives, pulling people out from beneath the rubble of many buildings. Here are some web sites with main sections devoted to this terrible event with news and donation information:
If you wish to donate money to help people in this region, be sure to go directly to the official web site of an NGO or charity. As with any natural disaster, fraudulent websites and scam artists inevitably pop up to take advantage of disasters and your generosity.
This last year, Mother Nature has been a total bitch -- the tsunami, wildfires, and multiple hurricanes. What do you think is next, a volcano erupting, or a large meteor hitting a major city, or the much talked about bird flu pandemic? Do these natural disasters make you wonder about your religion's prophecies of end times?
George W. Bush had no choice but to postpone his latest September 11th anniversary "Stay the Course" terrorism speech because of the acts of God -- called hurricane Katrina and then Rita. He finally found time the other morning to get back on message about his Global War on Terror (GWoT) and again justify his invasion of Iraq to pre-emptively strike back at his negative popular opinion polls here in the United States. Not surprising, since the casualty numbers of American military killed will soon reach another milestone of 2000 killed, shortly. Dubya's job approval poll numbers are drilling down lower than the depth for finding new oil in a national wildlife reserve. Oh, frack it. Nevermind.
When Bush bullet-pointed his shifting motivations for Iraq, he failed to tell us that apparently God told him to invade Iraq. However, he was sure to tell the American people that his administration had thwarted no less than ten terrorist acts since the Al Qaeda attacks of September 11th. Well, sort of. A few hours later, some people in the media finally discovered their own pair of balls again and actually asked White House Press Excuser, Scott McClellan, for specific examples of the so-called foiled plots.
Breaking from their usual practice of void slogans and vacuous bullshit, the troubled White House felt compelled to tell the press -- no, no, we're not lying this time -- look at this. The additional press release was less vague than the President's speech. All in all, the president's speech [transcript] was fairly good, but the White House staff must be lost without their architect, Karl Rove. They are tripping over their own words, stammering, and backed into a corner by their own core conservative supporters because of the Meiers supreme court nomination.
They are stuck on defense, swinging their arms blindly like a cornered animal, and howling loudly with their own contradictions.
In his speech, originally scheduled to mark the four-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks but postponed after Hurricane Katrina, Bush had many terms for his enemy, calling it variously "Islamic radicalism," "militant Jihadism" and even "Islamofascism." He did not declare an end to his "global war on terror," a phrase that some advisers had pushed to abandon in favor of "strategy against violent extremism."
Bush, however, rejected the idea that "extremism" had been "strengthened" by the ongoing U.S. war in Iraq, taking strong issue with analysts who believe that Iraq has become a "melting pot for jihadists from around the world, a training group and an indoctrination center" for a new generation of terrorists, as the State Department's annual report on terrorism put it this year.
"To say Iraq has not contributed to the rise of global Sunni extremism movement is delusional," said Roger W. Cressey, a former White House counterterrorism adviser under Bush and President Bill Clinton. "We should have an honest discussion about what these unintended consequences of the Iraq war are and what do we do to counter them." [Washington Post]
I'd conspiratorially say BushCo only hauled out the 9-11 speech to raise his job approval numbers, but they can't even do that right, at the moment. Dubya was to give this speech anyway, and the hurricanes just postponed it. However, the question of whether or not DHS sent out the terror alert memo the day after Dubya's speech concerning some NYC subway plot to scare this shit out of some people seems like a seriously politically-motivated and contrived exclamation point.
Do these colors run?
Here's the thing about intelligence gathered about plots: It can be total bullshit, or not. I'm not bashing NYC's elected hobbit for "erring on the side of caution," as mayor Bloomberg has stated. But, I would like to point out that the people seem to forget the roller coaster ride of alerts the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) put all of us through last year before the 2004 election.
Last year, DHS sounded like they had studied Monty Python movies for security.
The case of Luis Posada Carriles isn't in the national news, but it is causing a huge stir in the south Florida Cuban population and much opinion in the Miami Herald:
"Mr. Posada is a Cold War combatant who never gave up the fight."
"Mr. Posada has a questionable past."
If "questionable past" refers to Posada's own admission of organizing the plot that resulted in an airplane exploding, killing 73 people, I'd agree with that statement. If being a "cold war warrior" means that Posada assisted in that whole Reagan-era Iran/Contra affair, okay. If "never gave up" means that he was involved in terrorist activities as recently as 2000, then, I agree again.
The very department (DHS) that is supposed to protect the citizens of the United States from terror is now using legalistic smoke and mirrors to thwartthedeportation and extradiction of this terrorist. Don't expect much news concerning this, unless Venezuela decides to make it a bigger issue. You'll have to do your own research through the links I've found to get to the truth of this conspiracy.
I just got this in my Atom Films newsletter. Intel and AtomFilms are sponsoring an Indies Film Contest that anyone can enter. The grand prize winner will get $25,000 cash, plus a home entertainment system worth $20,000. With that kind of scratch, you could buy a spiffy new electric vehicle and a hooker, or a few years worth of gasoline! Even if your film kinda sucks, they will pay you $10,000 for 2nd and 3rd place, which is generously called "two first prize winners." See their bizarre, yet official rules to enter. You have until November 21st to submit your digital cinematic vision for consideration.
Some of the official rules mandate that you must use an Intel processor at some point along the way, so you Mac/Apple freaks should call your PC-based buds and make some arrangements. If you win, you could always pay for his or her participation in your indie film project with some time with hookers or in the champagne room at the strip club.
Other weird rules include that the film shall not be longer than four minutes long. I guess that is because scientific studies have shown that you frackin' slackers don't have a five minute attention span without taking your ritalin.
Another official rule of the Intel/Atom Films contest that I found strange was that you must use their music, if you want to have any music with your film. Here is the list of approved soundtracks for use with your entry. I downloaded SCI-FI_1.ZIP just to hear one sample of the available audio. It's not bad, and potential contestants are allowed to modify the tuneage to suit the needs of their film.
I'm looking forward to (hopeful that) someone using little bits of all of the many audio MP3s available on the audio page in a massively schizophrenic way, just to piss off the sponsors at Intel. Take that, you Intel control freaks!
In related news: the Amazon/AmEx/Tribeca indies film contest has wound down to five finalists for your consideration on the Amazon Screening Room about which I blogged here, last month. You can vote for your favorite of these five entry finalists until October 28th:
"Duel at Red Table" by Jack Paccione Jr.
"Battaglia" by Owen Smith
"Richter's Agenda" by Paul Matusheski
"Coming Home" by Greg Benson
"Meter Maids" by Joseph Garner
Out of these five films, I only saw "Meter Maids" and it was a good film -- worthy to be a finalist. I'm not surprised that it is a finalist for your consideration among the others. Do take five minutes and vote for one of these films before the end of this month. Someone is going to get that $50,000 AmEx card -- so if you vote, you can help out one these five talented indie film makers.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today unveiled Pivo, its imaginative electric car concept, in partnership with renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami at the company's Nissan Ginza Gallery in downtown Tokyo.
Pivo, which will be on display at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, features an innovative cabin that revolves 360 degrees, eliminating the need to reverse. Thanks to its compact body, the car is also exceptionally easy to maneuver.
The three-seater car comes with a number of user-friendly technologies, including Nissan's Around View Monitor which reduces blind spots by displaying the outside surroundings on screens mounted on the inside of the car's A-pillars located on either side of the windshield. A dash-mounted infrared (IR) commander allows the driver to operate the navigation and stereo systems with simple finger movements without letting go of the steering wheel.
Pivo is powered by Nissan's compact, high-performance lithium-ion battery and its unique Super Motor, resulting in zero emissions.
The gallery space for the Pivo event, which was designed by Murakami, features a futuristic vegetable garden installation, as well as large balloons and illustrations of "Pivo-chan," a character he designed based on the concept car's inspiring image.
Since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I have often complained that the main stream media has completely failed to report the real news of the war to the citizens of the United States. Left-wingers complain that Bush administration only wants to tell happy stories of rebuilding schools and hospitals and that government simply lies about everything else. Right-wingers complain that the media only reports "if it bleeds, it leads" bad news stories. It's likely that there is truth in both camps. A third factor of media disservice to the public is their own self-censorship over FCC rules or editorial tastes.
The internet, however, with its instant access to a digital planet hungry for truth -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- doesn't allow any event or news story to remain buried by goverments or corporations forever. Even the most highly guarded secrets are eventually told to someone. The Pentagon seems to leak like a sieve, lately. Dirty political tricks, like Karl Rove and the Valerie Plame scandal, eventually blow back. Even the ugliness of war eventually hits home.
One bizarre article, "War Pornography," by Chris Thompson published in the East Bay Express last month was picked up by news agencies seemingly all over the planet, but not covered in newspapers or on TV news in the U.S. Apparently, an amateur porn site in the Netherlands allows soldiers free access if they upload their own amateur photos of the war dead from Afghanistan and Iraq. This newsblurb -- which simply boils down to a controversial URL -- isn't as sophisticated as arguing the pros and cons of Dubya's two Supreme Court justice nominations, nor as immediate as Katrina blaming, nor as sexy as some missing girl from the Bible belt in the Caribbean. It just is.
Regardless of your own politics, here are two of the photos I chose to display here on Thunderstorms in the Imajica. First, to show that war is hell for everyone concerned, no matter what side you are on. A British soldier in Basra under fire, last month. I looked, and looked, but I can't say what his ultimate fate was from this fire fight in Basra.
And the second photo shows that the U.S. and Coalition forces do act more humanely than their enemies in Iraq. Unlike foreign fighters or hardcore Ba'athist insurgents in Iraq, who gleefully embrace the opportunity to slaughter the wounded Coalition forces after engagement on film for Arab language media, the U.S. military instead bounces into a hotzone with their medical personnel to help the wounded.
In the case of the second photo: a poor bastard that didn't stop at a roadside military check point, but was obviously stopped by American fire power. His left leg was reportedly amputated from ballistic injuries. He had additional explosives and military ordinance in his car.
War in Iraq is hell for our military service members. I'm all for supporting our troops, but at the same time, I'm not for glorifying war and carnage as if were a damn game. It's not. Ask any cop on an urban beat who may have had to shoot someone. Killing in self defense is an adrenaline filled experience that makes you feel euphoric and lucky to be alive, unlike the dead guy, but it is not a fucking video game. Scenes of carnage weigh on you, even if you are the victor in the conflict.
For the sake of truth, I'll post a direct link to Forum 23. I feel compelled to warn you that you will never in your life see anything as gruesome, hopefully. Do not even browse the forum casually if you are easily nauseated or sickened by images of absolute violence and gore. The two images above are fairly tame in comparison to the other images in Forum 23.
These are real digital pix of war casualties taken by the boots on the ground. Most are 100+ Kb images.