I had the distinct pleasure of joining a group of over a hundred members of the United Church of Gainesville (home of the “If they can burn it we can read it” campaign in response to the planned Quran burning) who donned blue shirts reading “Gay and Straight Together” to march down University Avenue to the Bo Diddley Community Plaza as part of Pride Parade 2010. It was a spectacular day and the turnout was tremendous.
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|By: Jim White Saturday October 23, 2010 5:07 pm|
|By: Jim White Friday October 22, 2010 7:42 am|
In leaving an early-morning voicemail for Professor Anita Hill, insisting that she apologize to Clarence Thomas for “what you did with my husband“, Ginni Thomas has re-ignited scrutiny into Thomas’ testimony at his confirmation hearing. That scrutiny does not leave the Supreme Court justice in a flattering light. In fact, yet another credible witness has come forward today, adding one more person relating a nearly identical description of Thomas’ outrageous behavior toward women (pdf) and his obsession with pornography. With multiple victims of Thomas’ inappropriate behavior coming forward, the question now must be asked why we allow a Supreme Court justice to remain on the bench when it is clear that he committed perjury in his confirmation hearing by categorically denying confirmed events.
|By: Jim White Wednesday October 20, 2010 5:11 am|
Details are beginning to emerge in the death of an Afghan prisoner on Sunday night. According to ISAF, a US soldier is in custody and a criminal investigation is underway. Hamid Karzai issued a short statement calling the death a killing by coalition forces. The New York Times recounts that one version of the story suggests the prisoner may have been trying to escape, but other Afghans who were present at the prison disagree on that point.
|By: Jim White Monday October 18, 2010 6:10 am|
|By: Jim White Thursday October 14, 2010 6:58 am|
While debate rages in the United States on whether to allow George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans to expire, Hillary Clinton spoke Thursday in Brussels before a planned Friday meeting of “Friends of Democratic Pakistan”, calling for Pakistan to expand its tax base. Clinton’s call for Pakistan to force the rich to bear their fair share of the tax burden seems to be a message that the US should heed, as well.
|By: Jim White Wednesday October 13, 2010 6:32 am|
The New York Times has a fresh story on the training of Afghan security forces, and despite making claims of training progress in the headline, the story documents, yet again, that US efforts to shape a Western security force in Afghanistan are failing. At the same time, we learn from the ICRC that the offensive in the Kandahar area has doubled the rate of war injured treated at a local hospital.
|By: Jim White Tuesday October 12, 2010 5:54 am|
Pakistan re-opened the Torkham crossing on Sunday, eleven days after it was closed in response to NATO helicopter incursions into the country. On Monday, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani pledged that Pakistan would not allow flood reconstruction to detract from the country’s fight against terrorists. These are welcome developments in reducing US-Pakistan tensions that reached a very high point during the crisis.
|By: Jim White Thursday October 7, 2010 5:48 am|
As I reported on Wednesday, although the joint NATO-Pakistan investigation of the deaths of Pakistani soldiers at a border post concluded on Tuesday, no joint statement had yet been issued. Dawn had listed the areas of disagreement that were delaying release of a statement. Late Wednesday, both NATO and the US Embassy in Pakistan released statements on the investigation and the incident, presumably signaling that no joint statement will be forthcoming. A review of Dawn’s list of areas of disagreement in light of the released statements shows that all but one of Pakistan’s demands were met. Pakistan had insisted that NATO take responsibility for the attacks and deaths, but neither the NATO nor US Embassy statement does so. A Washington Post story this morning provides more details on the sequence of events in the attacks on the border post, lending support to Pakistan’s account of what happened.
|By: Jim White Wednesday October 6, 2010 5:28 am|
Tensions between the United States and Pakistan continue to grow. At the same time that NATO and Pakistan were concluding an investigation of the helicopter attack that killed three Pakistani troops, a US assessment that Pakistan is not aggressively pursuing terrorists became public. Perhaps as a result, release of a joint statement on the investigation has been delayed in a disagreement about its wording and some trucks have now been delayed at the Chaman crossing into Afghanistan, while attacks on fuel tankers continue.
|By: Jim White Tuesday October 5, 2010 6:37 am|
In an article published Monday by Der Spiegel, we learn that German authorities remain skeptical regarding information being obtained by US interrogation of Ahmad Sidiqi, a German citizen of Afghan heritage currently held at Bagram Air Base. Since there are accusations that US torture continues at this facility (which appears to be under the control of the Defense Intelligence Agency outside normal detention practices) and since it is known that torture produces notoriously unreliable information, then the question must be asked whether the German skepticism is based on a presumption that Sidiqi is being tortured.