On Arsene Wenger

labenal's Blog

I’ve blogged about prejudice, racism, politics and the refugees. Now it’s time to take it down a notch and discuss a topic I am no less passionate about, but is (dare I admit it) less grave!

As anyone with any experience of social media knows, Arsenal fans simply rule. We outnumber pretty much everyone (@Arsenal has 6.6 million followers whereas some other random club’s official account, @spursofficial has a fewer than 1.3m followers).

Last night, we gloriously qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the gazillionth year in a row, and we sit nicely just off the top of he Premier League.

But not all is rosy in the red red garden that is North London. Many Gooners are less than 100% satisfied and have been expressing their feelings across social media.

Now I get that we have the most expensive season tickets. I get that we…

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Billie Jean King and Elton John’s Philadelphia Freedom

Let. First Serve.

this article appeared first at – http://www.eltonjohn.com/billie-jean-king-talks-about-philadelphia-freedom/

press play and listen to the song:

Philadelphia Freedom

In February 1975, Elton released Philadelphia Freedom – a song that was not available on any album, and would not be until its inclusion on Elton John’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 in 1977.

The stand-alone single, his second in a row followingLucy In The Sky With Diamonds, entered theBillboard Hot 100 charts at #53 on March 8. Five weeks later it reached the #1 position, where it stayed for two weeks, and spent a total of five months on the chart overall.

Written on the label of the vinyl 45 RPM single were the words, “with Love to B.J.K. and the sound of Philadelphia”. Fans who wanted to decipher the cryptic first part of this dedication would have to go back 17 months to when one of the world’s most popular…

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Procurement of Fruit

unitedindependence

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So exactly two weeks ago, after church class (RCIA), I went to the grocery store to pick up some last minute food items in order to complete my prep cook for the rest of the work week. I typically do this on Sundays, but I had a lazy Sunday after getting into some shenanigans the Saturday before and opted out of my normal prep cooking ritual. I recall being extremely tired as it was almost 9:30pm when I was walking into the local whack ass Food Lion (I was definitely too lazy to drive out of the way to Safeway or Wegmans). I skimmed my list as I darted thru the produce, meat, and frozen food sections. “I just want to get the hell home”, I thought repeatedly to myself. I spent all of 10/15 min gathering my necessities in that bad boy before heading to the checkout line. “Almost…

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The Time Is Now

Insideplaya

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In the late ’70s, I had a good friend and upstairs neighbor who was adventurous. Like many of us who’d grown up during the height of the Soul era, he was the type who wasn’t quite content with the Disco thing that had all the kids dancing, at the time, so he searched for more.

He listened to the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and Blondie, leaders of the Punk and New Wave movements, and began attending underground parties, in Queens and Manhattan, at unsanctioned and obscure locations that featured something called rapping. He had great stories. Seemed like he was having fun.

High school days ended all too quickly, and I went on to Boston, to college, to make new friends in the local dance, radio and record communities. In the summer of ’79, my classmate, Jay Dixon, the current PD of New York’s Hot 97, invited me to join…

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Callout for Canadian Contacts!!!

To help with the on-going actions in any way please use the contact information and links from the appeal…
GM Workers 1To give a quick overview, I am a volunteer with the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee in Portland, Oregon. I and a number of individuals from other organizations, mostly in Detroit, Michigan, have been supporting the Colombian workers who were injured while working for General Motors at the company’s Bogota, Colombia plant. The injuries were caused by extremely poor working conditions and GM instead of improving the assembly line, rigged a system to illegally rid itself of injured workers.
The injured workers have been challenging GM through all of the government regulatory processes available to them for a number of years and in August of 2011, set up a tent encampment in front of the U.S. Embassy on the street in Bogota, Colombia.

GM Workers 2Since then, they have gone through a series of 4 dramatic hunger strikes with their lips stitched closed with a needle and thread and have maintained the tent encampment to this day- over 1000 days of occupation. The injured workers have received death threats and been victims of politically motivated crimes.

But the pressure that they have generated has resulted in improved conditions within the plant, including $6 million worth of ergonomic improvements to the assembly line and the opportunity for new hires to organize without the same degree of retaliation. Though GM acknowledged the legitimacy of their grievances by sitting down to negotiate with them, the company offered a pittance of a settlement- it was not even enough to cover the back surgeries that many of them need as a result of showing up to work every day. This is a significant shirking of GM’s legal responsibility to these workers as laid out by Colombian law.

So while GM has refused to settle, the workers, permanently disabled, have been unable to find employment and have been slowly sliding into financial misery. Currently injured worker Carlos Trujillo is facing the foreclosure of his home. Luckily he has connected with a foreclosure resistance group on the ground in Bogota, Victimas de Banqueros and they have gone through his papers and found that Colpatria bank (which is owned by Scotiabank) is carrying out fraud in Carlos’ case. They are challenging it legally, though the Colombian courts are tilted heavily toward the banks, and we are trying to create an international outcry. We feel that the mere evidence of this case gaining international attention will create a significant amount of pressure and might be enough to prevent the foreclosure.

As I said, we are a network of individuals in the U.S. Our Detroit team is located close enough to the Canadian border to be planning a trip to Windsor to deliver a letter and do an action in front of Scotiabank. We are hoping to connect with others in Canada who might be willing to do similar actions in their cities as well as to participate in actions such as faxing the president of Colpatria in Colombia (we have a free way to send an international fax online).

We would very much appreciate any connection you can make for us with individuals involved especially in Latin America solidarity and foreclosure resistance campaigns in Canada, although we would be more than happy to work with anyone who cares about human rights or who is interested in supporting this international foreclosure resistance campaign.

I would appreciate any contacts that you could give me. We would be happy to prepare a communique as well as a list of actions that individuals and groups can take.

Sincerely,

Paige Shell-Spurling
503-601-9290

puppetista@gmail.com

 

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Melbourne Police Make Gambling Arrest for “Court-Siding”

Let. First Serve.

this article appeared first at – http://www.10sballs.com/2014/01/16/melbourne-police-make-gambling-arrest/

“It’s certainly the first time it’s (legislation) been used in tennis in Victoria and I’m not aware of a (tennis) example anywhere in the world where courtsiding has been able to be dealt with in a criminal setting,” Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said.

Bob Larson

January 16, 2014 –  Not that long ago there was a bookmaker’s tent situated on the grounds of Melbourne Park and the on-line betting website Tab Sportsbet was one of the minor sponsors of the Australian Open.

tennisgamblerBut the hard line against gambling in tennis took more force as a British man accused of secretly transmitting scores from courtside in order to help gambling associates beat delays in TV coverage, appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Daniel Dobson was charged with ‘court-siding’ or illegally gambling from the bleacher seats, in what is believed to be the first prosecution of its…

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No party wins majority in Czech election

this article appeared first at – http://www.mail.com/int/news/europe/2420612-party-wins-majority-czech-election.html#.1258-stage-hero1-2

October 26, 2013

PRAGUE (AP) — A special parliamentary election held in the Czech Republic left no party with a majority on Saturday, which could lead to protracted negotiations aimed at forming a coalition government.

andrej-babis czechThe two-day election was called to end a political crisis triggered by the center-right government’s collapse in a whirlwind of allegations about corruption and marital infidelity. With all the votes counted by the Czech Statistics Office, the left-wing Social Democrats won 20.45 percent, or 50 seats, in the 200-seat lower house of Parliament. The party’s ally, the Communists, finished third, receiving 14.91 percent of the vote, or 33 seats.

The Communists had hoped to give the Social Democrats their tacit support in a government that would give the Communists a share of the power for the first time since the 1989 Velvet Revolution, which ended 40 years of communist rule in the country.

“The result is not what we expected,” Bohuslav Sobotka, the chairman of the Social Democrats, said, referring to the worst election result for his party since 1993, when Czechoslovakia split into two countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

In the republic, Parliament’s lower house dominates the legislative process, and the leader of its strongest party is generally asked by the president to try to form a new government. But that is not expected to be easy this time, given the election result for the top seven parties of the 24 that competed in the election.

The new centrist ANO (YES) movement, which campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket, finished in a surprisingly strong second place, with 18.65 percent, or 47 seats. “No government would be able to do without it,” said analyst Tomas Lebeda, regarding the forthcoming coalition talks.

ANO, which had reached out to voters disgusted by corruption scandals, is led by a billionaire businessman Andrej Babis. On Saturday, he criticized a plan by the Social Democrats to increase corporate and personal income taxes for those in the highest bracket. “Our country needs economic stability,” he said. “What we need is low taxes.”

The election was called after Prime Minister Petr Necas’ center-right coalition broke down in June amid a spy scandal and corruption allegations. They included the arrest of Jana Nagyova, Necas’ closest aide, with whom he was having an affair. She is suspected of bribery and ordering a military intelligence agency to spy on Necas’ then estranged wife.

Necas has since divorced his wife, Radka, and married Nagyova. Necas’ conservative Civic Democrats party was clearly punished by voters, receiving just 7.72 percent of the vote, or 16 seats. “It’s a fatal loss,” said its acting chairman, Martin Kuba.

Another conservative member of the former government, the TOP 09 party, captured 11.99 percent of the vote, or 26 seats. The new populist Dawn of Direct Democracy movement got 6.88 percent, while Christian Democrats returned to Parliament after a three-year absence with 6.78 percent. Both those parties now have 14 seats.

The Social Democrats said they are ready to open negotiations about forming a new government with any party except the Civic Democrats and the TOP 09 party. “Our goal is to create a stable government,” Sobotka said.

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