Representation Through Humiliation


Iran: The New Concern

Today, though, the sounds of hip-hop can be heard blaring from car radios in Tehran's streets, and Eric Clapton's "Rush" and the Eagles' "Hotel California" regularly accompany Iranian broadcasts.

No more — the official IRAN Persian daily reported Monday that Ahmadinejad, as head of the Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, ordered the enactment of an October ruling by the council to ban all Western music, including classical music, on state broadcast outlets.

"Blocking indecent and Western music from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is required," according to a statement on the council's official Web site. Iranian guitarist Babak Riahipour lamented what he called a "terrible" decision. "The decision shows a lack of knowledge and experience," he said. Music was outlawed by Khomeini soon after the 1979 revolution. Many musicians went abroad and built an Iranian music industry in Los Angeles. But as revolutionary fervor started to fade, some light classical music was allowed on Iranian radio and television; some public concerts reappeared in the late 1980s.

In the 1990s, particularly during the presidency of reformist Mohammad Khatami starting in 1997, authorities began relaxing restrictions further. These days in Iran, Western music, films and clothing are widely available in Iran. Bootleg videos and DVDs of films banned by the state are widely available on the black market. Ahmadinejad's order means the state broadcasting authority must execute the decree and prepare a report on its implementation within six months, according to the IRAN Persian daily.

Earlier this month, Ali Rahbari, conductor of Tehran's symphony orchestra, resigned and left Iran to protest the treatment of the music industry in Iran. Before leaving, he played Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to packed Tehran theater houses over several nights last month — its first performance in Tehran since the 1979 revolution. The performances angered many conservatives and prompted newspaper columns accusing Rahbari of promoting Western values.

The ban applies to state-run radio and TV. But Iranians with satellite dishes can get broadcasts originating outside the country. Ahmadinejad won office in August on a platform of reverting to ultraconservative principles, following the eight years of reformist-led rule under Khatami. During his presidential campaign, Ahmadinejad also promised to confront what he called the Western cultural invasion of Iran and promote Islamic values. Since then, Ahmadinejad has jettisoned Iran's moderation in foreign policy and pursued a purge in the government, replacing pragmatic veterans with former military commanders and inexperienced religious hard-liners. He also has issued stinging criticisms of Israel, calling for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map" and describing the Nazi Holocaust as a "myth."

International concerns are high over Iran's nuclear program, with the United States accusing Tehran of pursuing an atomic weapons program. Iran denies the claims. The latest media ban also includes censorship of content of films. "Supervision of content from films, TV series and their voice-overs is emphasized in order to support spiritual cinema and to eliminate triteness and violence," the council said in a statement on its Web site. The council has also issued a ban on foreign movies that promote "arrogant powers," an apparent reference to the United States. The probibitions mirror those imposed in neighboring Afghanistan during the Taliban regime, which imposed a strict version of Islamic law, including a ban on music and film. The Taliban was ousted by a U.S.-led coalition in late 2001.

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16lb Growth Removed From Face

Marlie Casseus, 14, a Haitian girl who has a 16-pound (7.26 kg) tumor-like growth on her face. Casseus, who has a genetic condition that causes deformity in her bones, has undergone surgery on December 14, 2005 at Holtz Children's Hospital , part of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Florida. Casseus' case received global media attention, motivating thousands of people from across the globe to donate to the International Kids Fund which is sponsoring her medical care at the public hospital, part of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Click this link to view pictures

(Due to the graphic nature of the photos, viewer discretion is advised)

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See You Next Fall

Watch The ABC News Video

Shana Richardson, in her first solo, skydiving attempt survived the fall when her primary and secondary parachutes failed to open. Her face was "eggshelled" as Richardson put it and several broken bones throughout her body.

Watch the ABC News video by clicking on the link at the top of this post.

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Hasta la vista. . .Tookie

Stanley Tookie Williams maintained his innocence right up until his death, even when an admission of guilt may have spared him execution.

Even after the courts and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a flurry of Williams' last-ditch appeals before his execution early Tuesday, his supporters vowed to prove his innocence.

Williams, the Crips gang co-founder whose case stirred a national debate about capital punishment versus the possibility of redemption, was executed Tuesday morning for killing four people in 1979.

Williams, 51, died at 12:35 a.m. Officials at San Quentin State Prison seemed to have trouble injecting the lethal mixture into his muscular arm. As they struggled to find a vein, Williams looked up repeatedly and appeared frustrated, shaking his head at supporters and other witnesses.

"You doing that right?" it sounded as if he asked one of the men with a needle.

After he was declared dead, his supporters shouted in unison: "The state of California just killed an innocent man," as they walked out of the chamber.

Lora Owens, stepmother of one of the four people Williams was convicted of killing witnessed the execution. "I believe it was a just punishment long overdue," she told ABC's "Good Morning America."

Williams' case became one of the nation's biggest death-row cause celebres in decades, with Hollywood stars and capital punishment foes arguing that Williams' sentence should be commuted to life in prison because he had made amends by writing children's books about the dangers of gangs and violence.

His execution also drew fierce criticism in Europe, where politicians in Schwarzenegger's native Austria called for his name to be removed from a sports stadium in his hometown.

"Schwarzenegger has a lot of muscles, but apparently not much heart," said Julien Dray, spokesman for the Socialist Party in France, where the death penalty was abolished in 1981.

Williams became the 12th person executed in California since lawmakers reinstated the death penalty in 1977.

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Another Day In Court

On Monday, Saddam Hussein was in court listening to witness’ recollections of the days of Saddam’s reign of terror. After all accounts of the beating torture and sexual humiliation, Saddam decided that he had enough. He burst into rage and fury, telling the judge to “go to hell” and that he refused to continue with the court proceedings.
Saddam sees the proceedings, in my opinion, as a waste of time and that he would just rather die than having to sit through the court process. During basically all of the hearings, he will burst into a rage, ranting and raving over them. He complains of being tired, deprivation of shower opportunities, change of clothes, and personal time to exercise and smoke.
Being blamed for over 140 deaths, I feel, is an absurd amount of people who’s lack of life is your doing.

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[the latest] IPOD's....Are they really worth it???

The latest IPOD has been released. Its name??? iPOD 60GB and it sells for about $399. 60 gigs...... that's more storage than 20 Sony IVAOs. 60gbs means that the iPOD can hold around 15,000 songs, 150 hours of video, and 25,000 color photos. Forget the amount of video and photos and look at the number of songs again; 15,000. Can you name 15,000 songs??? It would take you an entire lifetime of NON-STOP music listening to listen to 15,000 songs and countless years downloading them. So....would you buy a piece of non-savy machinary that would consume your entire lifetime, or spend those hard earned Washingtons on a less "dense" iPOD such as the Nano which holds around 500 and sells for $199 ($179 if you're in college).

It's your money.