Watch Israel And Gaza Coverage On Al Jazeera TV

Watch live coverage here.  You can play the feed on Real Player Theatre mode if you desire.

Getting a perspective of the Israel and Gaza conflict, other than that from American networks, is quite refreshing.  While the BBC is providing objective coverage, the reporting of  Al Jazeera TV, along with great analysis, is really worth your time.  It might even challenge your thinking.

Al Franken Now Leads With 225 Votes..Counting Virtually Done!

Amazing.  Let us recall that Norm Coleman should never have been elected to fill Paul Wellstone’s seat.  So this news is so very sweet to hear.  But know that Norm Coleman will fight to undo the vote tallies.

Norm Coleman will seek a court to undo the vote total, as undermining the will of the people is the trend for Republicans since George Bush was selected President in 2000.

Victory in Minnesota’s drawn-out Senate race moved within Democrat Al Franken’s grasp today — when he
pushed his lead over Republican Norm Coleman to 225 votes with the two-month recount virtually done. 

Franken netted 176 votes more than Republican Norm Coleman in the review of the formerly sealed absentee ballots after coming in with a 49-vote advantage.  There were 933 ballots in the pile of ballots that didn’t get counted on Election Day. 

Unless Coleman wins a pending court petition that seeks to add hundreds more ballots to the recount, the counting is done and a state board can sign off on the result on Monday or Tuesday. An election certificate, however, can’t be issued for at least one more week under state law. 

Franken attorney Marc Elias says the candidate is confident there are no more ballots to count and the margin should stand.  But Coleman hasn’t ruled out filing a lawsuit challenging the election result, claiming there were irregulaties that gave Franken an unfair advantage.

Map of Israel And Gaza Fighting

This is how the map looks.  Click link for larger view, and daily journal of events.  The link is very informative.

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Israel Escalates Violence In Gaza With Ground Troops

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After eight days of relentless air strikes in Gaza, ground forces are now being used by Israel.  Thousands of troops are ready, along with tanks to enter Gaza.  By Israel’s very own accounts this will be a ‘lengthy operation’, and that of course does not bode well for the Palestinians who are short of food, water, and medical supplies.  It also endangers the entire region which is a tinderbox of emotions and historical complexities.

The world community needs to exert some control over this matter in spite of President Bush just collecting his pay check and watching his time in office flutter away.  We might recall how President Jimmy Carter worked without sleep in the final days of his term in office to get the American hostages out of Iran.  Might it be too much to think that Bush could find a few hours to get involved with this latest Middle East crisis?  A crisis, it should be noted, that his Administration played a role in creating by not demanding more of Israel over the past 8 years.  For Bush just to blame Hamas for this matter is absurd.    Israel has much of the blame for this matter on their shoulders too.

After all it was Bush who wanted democracy to flow in the Middle East, and the election of Hamas by the Palestinians in a popular election is a by-product of his wishes for the region.  There were many who wondered if Bush understood the nature of democracy, and how it grows from the bottom up over time.  I do find it ironic that Bush is now angry at the outcome of what he desired.

As the world watches the bloodshed continue in Gaza who might we expect to take on the role of international leader?  America it seems has resigned itself to impotency yet again when it comes to diplomacy.

Norm Coleman Might Lose Seat While Election Results Decided

Giggle.

When the 111th Congress convenes on Tuesday, Norm Coleman may be out of an office, even though his Senate race remains far from settled.

Coleman’s first term officially expires at noon on Saturday, and he is locked in one of the closest Senate races in history, with Democrat Al Franken clinging to a 49-vote lead out of nearly 3 million votes cast.

Since he has not been certified a winner in the race, Coleman may have to give up his privileges as a senator, including his desk on the floor, his personal office and his right to vote on legislation, according to Democratic aides familiar with the rules.

Some of his staff members could continue to get paid for up to 60 days if they do not find new employment, but each eligible aide would need to return every two weeks and sign an affidavit to certify he or she has not found new work. Coleman still would be able to enter the Senate chambers and meet with his colleagues on the floor, since former members are granted floor privileges so long as they are not registered lobbyists.

It is possible, however, that all of Coleman’s privileges may remain intact should the two parties reach an accommodation, and aides signaled that talks were occurring on the matter through Friday.

“We are still reviewing the situation,” said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “Norm Coleman should respect the conclusions of the Minnesota State Canvassing Board.”

Wal-Mart Wants To Build Near Major Civil War Site

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UPDATED

Preservationists today hailed the decision by Wal-Mart to drop its plans to build a supercenter within the original boundaries of the Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia. In an unexpected move early Wednesday in Virginia’s Orange Circuit Court, Wal-Mart revealed it was abandoning its proposal to construct a store on the property. The retailer said it was withdrawing from a legal case in which preservationists and some local residents were fighting its plans, a Circuit Court official confirmed.

Wal-Mart has always been a soulless corporation.  The actual harm they do to the towns they settle in, and the way they undermine smaller ‘mom and pop’ businesses has long been documented.  Why people even work at Wal-Mart, or shop at one of those stores, is a complete mystery to me.

There is of course a long list of Wal-Mart apologists that rationalize all the actions of this major business.  But how will they spin the desire of Wal-Mart to build a super-center right across from the famed Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia, the first site where Ulysses Grant and Robert Lee joined in battle in 1864?  The site where 24,000 soldiers were killed or wounded.  This battle was important as it started the famed Overland Campaign that in less than a year would end the Civil War.  I know that most workers at Wal-Mart might not know or care for these important pieces of history.  But thankfully many readers of history do care.

To say that historians and scholars are outraged over this building plan would be an understatement.  The total disregard for the historical import of the area, and the fact that many thousands lost their lives there is just maddening.  And yet this soulless corporation thinks they have more a right to build a store there, than our country has a right to say there are definite limits on the gross expansion of greedy businesses.

While the actual proposed Wal-Mart super-center (these things are just obscene to even look at) will not be on the actual battlefield, one of the realistic fears is the never-ending sprawl that will accompany such a business.  The desire of scholars to see Wal-Mart find someplace else…..anywhere else….is understandable.   The historic landscape should not be marred by the box store that sucks the very life out of a community.  The Civil War writers and thinkers that line my bookshelves, such as James McPherson, Ken Burns, and my favorite David McCullough, are among those who are fighting this idea by Wal-Mart.

Historical preservationists have been successful with such nonsensical ideas as that proposed by Wal-Mart in the past.  Pressure must be applied now to make sure Wal-Mart is stopped with this plan.

 

This blog will be a source for more on this story.

Saturday Song: Ernie Haase And Signature Sound “Trying To Get A Glimpse”

Let us start Saturday Song 2009 with some energy!