What's an Orthodox palm? Only joking, happy Orthodox Palm Sunday.
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) April 28, 2013
We ride cars, get stuck in traffic, to reach a gym, where we ride bicycles that don't move.— Galal (@GalalAmrG) April 28, 2013
The Iraq sanctions myth bit.ly/14Z9h0t argues against the claim that hundreds of thousands of children died, used to justify the war
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) April 28, 2013
BREAKING NEWS: Diplomat tells the truth nyti.ms/187e0sT #Afghanistan #Pakistan
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) April 28, 2013
From the link:
Departing French Envoy Has Frank Words on Afghanistan
...one of those rare truth-telling moments came at a farewell cocktail party last week hosted by the departing French ambassador to Kabul: Bernard Bajolet, who is leaving to head France’s Direction Génerale de la Sécurité Extérieure, its foreign intelligence service.
After the white-coated staff passed the third round of hors d’oeuvres, Mr. Bajolet took the lectern and laid out a picture of how France — a country plagued by a slow economy, waning public support for the Afghan endeavor and demands from other foreign conflicts, including Syria and North Africa — looked at Afghanistan.
While it is certainly easier for France to be a critic from the sidelines than countries whose troops are still fighting in Afghanistan, the country can claim to have done its part. It lost more troops than all but three other countries before withdrawing its last combat forces in the fall.
The room, filled with diplomats, some senior soldiers and a number of Afghan dignitaries, went deadly quiet. When Mr. Bajolet finished, there was restrained applause — and sober expressions. One diplomat raised his eyebrows and nodded slightly; another said, “No holding back there.
So what did he say?
That the Afghan project is on thin ice and that, collectively, the West was responsible for a chunk of what went wrong, though much of the rest the Afghans were responsible for. That the West had done a good job of fighting terrorism, but that most of that was done on Pakistani soil, not on the Afghan side of the border. And that without fundamental changes in how Afghanistan did business, the Afghan government, and by extension the West’s investment in it, would come to little.
His tone was neither shrill nor reproachful. It was matter-of-fact.
“I still cannot understand how we, the international community, and the Afghan government have managed to arrive at a situation in which everything is coming together in 2014 — elections, new president, economic transition, military transition and all this — whereas the negotiations for the peace process have not really started,” Mr. Bajolet said in his opening comments.More at the link.
His tone — the sober, troubled observations of a diplomat closing a chapter — could hardly have been more different from that taken by the new shift of American officials charged with making it work in Afghanistan: in particular, with that of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the new American commanding general here. This week, General Dunford sent out a news release cheering on Afghanistan’s progress, noting some positive-leaning statistics and praising the Afghan Army’s abilities.
Several diplomats in the room could be seen nodding as he said that drugs caused “more casualties than terrorism” in Russia, Europe and the Balkans and that Western governments would be hard-put to make the case for continued spending on Afghanistan if it remains the world’s largest heroin supplier.
Awesome RT @sandmonkey: Mcdonalds has introduced fried chicken to its breakfast. Fried chicken. #onlyinegypt
— arabist (@arabist) April 28, 2013
Cool excerpt. RT @george_chen: How to read Chinese newspapers and get information in China -suggestions by Nien Cheng twitter.com/george_chen/st…
— Gady Epstein (@gadyepstein) April 28, 2013
The holy week is a week preceding Easter when Facebook turns into a cyber-chapel.
— Avtρεας ® (@AndreasFares) April 28, 2013
Was Boston worst terror attack since 9/11? How about rampage killings, etc? My latest on real "homegrown threat".goo.gl/L9pJ4
— Khaled Diab (@DiabolicalIdea) April 28, 2013
...In the mid-1970s, the Law Enforcement Assistant Administration's National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals classified six types of terrorism, including "non-political terrorism". Both US federal regulation and the FBI define terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence … in furtherance of political or social objectives".
This raises a couple of intriguing questions. Why did US officialdom and the media fail to describe Sandy Hook as terrorism and why have American commentators and reporters rushed to assume a political motive for the Boston attacks, even though the older brother and presumed mastermind, Tamerlan, seems to have had plenty of personal issues and private grievances?
It would seem that even if terrorism does not have to be political, the use of this loaded term is often politically motivated. Mass shootings probably don't make it on US society's radar as "terrorism" partly due to the polarised firearms debate. Can you imagine what kind of a stink the gun lobby and people who believe that bearing arms is their constitutional right would whip up if the media or authorities started classing Sandy Hook as a terrorist atrocity?
Video at this next link -- IDF soldier yelling at Palestinian activists.
Israel's healthy democracy: Reserve solider berates left wing activist in the South West Bank ynetnews.com/articles/0,734…
— joseph dana (@ibnezra) April 28, 2013
Stuck between a murderous dictator & Islamist rebels, U.S. policy on Syria is a mess. nytimes.com/2013/04/28/wor…Do read this link.
— Lisa Goldman (@lisang) April 28, 2013
It is a very bleak assessment of the situation facing the US
"...Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of."
HULK SMASH OUTMODED IDEAS OF WHAT CONSTITUTE “HEALTHCARE” MT @ezraklein If this was a pill youd do anything to get it wapo.st/12Rq7LdThis link will be a long read so I'm stopping here to read it myself. Scanning through the first time was not enough.
— ECONOMIST HULK (@ECONOMISTHULK) April 28, 2013
This is Ezra Klein's description and defense of Health Quality Partners.
Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the health policy and management school at Emory University, estimates that 95 percent of spending in Medicare goes to patients with one or more chronic conditions — with enrollees suffering five or more chronic conditions accounting for 78 percent of its spending. “This is the Willie Sutton rule,” he says. “If 80 percent of the spending is going to patients with five or more conditions, that’s where our health-care system needs to go.”
Health Quality Partners is all about going there. The program enrolls Medicare patients with at least one chronic illness and one hospitalization in the past year. It then sends a trained nurse to see them every week, or every month, whether they’re healthy or sick. It sounds simple and, in a way, it is. But simple things can be revolutionary.
Most care-management systems rely on nurses sitting in call centers, checking up on patients over the phone. That model has mostly been a failure. And while many health systems send a nurse regularly in the weeks or months after a serious hospitalization, few send one regularly to even seemingly healthy patients. This a radical redefinition of the health-care system’s role in the lives of the elderly. It redefines being old and chronically ill as a condition requiring professional medical management.
Health Quality Partners’ results have been extraordinary. According to an independent analysis by the consulting firm Mathematica, HQP has reduced hospitalizations by 33 percent and cut Medicare costs by 22 percent.
Others in the profession have taken notice. “It’s like they’ve discovered the fountain of youth in Doylestown, Pa.,” marvels Jeffrey Brenner, founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.
Now Medicare is thinking of shutting it off.