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26 June 2005

US acknowledges torture

The Information Clearinghouse website has a story from Agence France Presse that concerns the first official admission by US officials that torture by American personnel has occurred. The documents given to the UN committee against torture admits to torture of prisoners in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan, but says that all such acts were committed by low-ranking military personnel and were not approved by their superiors. Well, I guess it's a start. This, combined with more recent news that the American public is finally beginning to register some disapproval of the administration's pursuit of the Iraqi occupation, may in fact signal a long-overdue turnaround in the past three years of flagrant abuse of power on the part of America's ruling party.

21 June 2005

Help save our rescue centre

Leicester Animal Aid, which runs the really excellent dog (and now also cat) rescue centre in Huncote, Leics, is facing the possibility of closing down at the end of this year due to a severe funding crisis. As the link explains, the organisation is entirely funded by donations (money and in-kind) and volunteers. The future survival of over 100 dogs and cats is at stake. Please visit the website and donate what you can to help. Our Sandi, who passed away about a year ago, and our current only-dog Desmond (pictured), both came to us from LAA at Huncote, as did Cassie, our Akita who died in 2000.

16 June 2005

Baghdad Burning

Because I have not been keeping up with my blogging and, more importantly, my blog reading, I missedRiverbend's blistering rebuttal of Thomas Friedman's ill-informed (and as Riverbend says, incredibly arrogant) NY Times article Outrage and Silence. Don't you miss it, too; this is really vital reading.

12 June 2005

Blogkeeping - Bookcrossing and more

I have finally got a few books registered at BookCrossing.com. You may need to join (free) to see this. Most of the books are in the "available" category, but two in "To be read" and two in "Permanent collection". Now I can go to book-crossing meet-ups with something to offer!
Other personal news - DH and I went to Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield today. It was quite exhausting. (It is also 75 miles away.) I bought tons of clothes, though. For work, and the possible upcoming job hunt. More later on that, as I am under a gag order at the moment.

Howard Zinn on the scourge of Nationalism

I found this link (from The Progressive) at Whole Wide World of Fat Buddha. It echoes my feelings on the subject perfectly. In my heart, I belong to a nation called "None" and our anthem is "Don't Fence Me In."

10 June 2005

News of the Weird

This is a story I would think was a hoax, except who could make up such a thing? And I must ask, how many mayors, whether controversial or not, love their city so much that they want to import poisonous snakes within its boundaries?

06 June 2005

Blogkeeping

I have been so bad that my page hits have drastically declined. I haven't done any actual blogging for over a week, but you may notice a change nevertheless. I have amended my template here to remove the button for meetup.com. meetup.com began charging for its "services", which is not so bad in itself, but what they are charging is absurd - 9 USD a month per group. It appears that people are leaving in droves. I was in 10 groups, some of which were struggling to become active, only one of which was really robust and every single one of them is either disbanded or abandoned. I have added in its place three new buttons for the current focus of my online community-building: tribe.net, Google groups and especially Bookcrossing.com.
Bookcrossing, Nottingham, was the one really active meetup group I was (am) in. It has migrated to a mailing group in yahoo.co.uk. But all the real action is in the bookcrossing-uk group and the Bookcrossing site itself. I just received my release kit from their US supply store this morning and I plan to get really involved with it.
I migrated my East Midlands Webloggers group, which has still not really got off the ground, to Google Groups, and Jay followed suit with the Midlands American Ex-pats group which she moderated. And I am still to be found hanging out on tribe.net sometimes. I wish it would get more participation in the UK (apart from London) because it is most useful and meaningful in its local dimension, with the possibility of f2f meetings, job seeking, swapping, and other activities. But it's still serendipitously interesting, for all its flaws.
I have also changed the template a bit over at Deborama's Books; I added a link to a great auxiliary Bookcrossing site called Wren's Crossing. I will soon (I hope) be putting up a small flood of new book reviews, including some books got through Bookcrossing.

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