Archive | April, 2013

The Economist The Times They Will be a Changing

22 Apr

http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21574467-times-they-will-be-changing

The times they will be a-changing

Mar 30th 2013 |From the print edition

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World. By Shereen El Feki. Pantheon; 368 pages; $28.95. Chatto & Windus; £14.99. Buy from Amazon.com; Amazon.co.uk

SHEREEN EL FEKI is a brave woman. Spending five years quizzing Arabs about the intimate details of their sex lives is no easy task. But having done so Ms El Feki, a science writer (formerly of The Economist), broadcaster and vice-chair of the UN’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law, has produced in “Sex and the Citadel” a fascinating survey of sex that is rich in detail. Despite its comprehensive title, the book focuses for the most part on Egypt, though Ms El Feki (who is half-Egyptian and half-Welsh, and raised in Canada) does travel to and report on other parts of the region. Understanding the attitudes and practices of Egyptians when it comes to sex is intriguing in itself. But Ms El Feki also uses sex as a means to understand better a country and society that has been rocked by revolution.

The Arab world today is widely criticised for its sexual intolerance. Women hide their charms under dark billows of fabric; girls have their genitals mutilated by elders determined to keep their desires in check; gay men are arrested and then raped by their jailers.

Once upon a time things were different. The Prophet Muhammad urged his followers to satisfy their partners in the bedroom. Prudish medieval Christians despised his detailed advice on the ins and outs of sex as “a cunning ploy to win converts”, which undermine their own faith’s fixation on virginity, chastity and monogamy. When Gustave Flaubert travelled to Egypt in the 19th century, he spent hazy days watching bawdy skits on the streets of Cairo about “whores and buggering donkeys”, and fleshy nights enjoying the local prostitutes.

Today East and West have shifted positions. The West, in the eyes of Islamic conservatives at least, is a “cesspit of sexual chaos and moral decay”. Sex in the Arab world is, theoretically at least, confined to “state-registered, family-approved, religiously sanctioned matrimony”. Beyond those boundaries intimacy is shameful and forbidden. Even knowing about sex is haram—forbidden. An official from Egypt’s ministry of education told Ms El Feki that he would prefer to see sex education offered only when young people started university, just around the time when they might be thinking of marriage. Before then it is not necessary because no one has sex outside wedlock, he insists (under pressure he concedes that some might sin but society would collapse were they to be condoned).

As Ms El Feki’s book makes clear, such claims about the abstinence of young Egyptians are laughable. In the Arab world, explains an Egyptian gynaecologist, sex is the opposite of sport: “everyone talks about football, but hardly anyone plays it. But sex—everyone is doing it, but nobody wants to talk about it.” As a result young Arabs are painfully ignorant about it. Rania, a doctor, sits in a basement in Cairo operating a helpline for confused teenagers, patiently answering questions about anything from masturbation to whether washing boys’ and girls’ underwear together can lead to pregnancy.

Ms El Feki has talked to experts, pored over statistics and picked through history, gathering a wealth of information. Most memorable are the people she met in the course of her research: a group of Egyptian housewives, wide-eyed with curiosity at the sight of a vibrator; Heba Kotb, a kindly Islamic sex therapist determined to teach married Muslims that Islam commands them to have fun in the bedroom; Munir, a gay Egyptian, who yearns to be respected “as a human, not because I am gay.”

The revolutions of the Arab spring have not prompted a sexual revolution in the region, nor does Ms El Feki expect them to in the near future. When it comes to sex, people’s attitudes and behaviour are tightly bound up in “myriad threads of past and present.” Weaving a new tapestry will require a different pattern and “that will take decades.” Still, with the promise of better education and more freedom, she is confident that one day change will come.

text by Randi Richards @texastoest

17 Apr

I am 66 years old, and have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).  COPD consists of Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema.  Either way I,as many sufferers do, have all three of the diseases that make up COPD.  Being the curious sort, and having an active mind, I have put together quite a bit of information about the disease itself, and the stresses of dealing with the money required, as well as treatment, both pharmaceutical and therapeutic. COPD causes shortness of breath, and low oxygen content in the body.  The patient often has to take oxygen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Even with oxygen, shortness of breath occurs.  There are several medications that lessen the symptoms of the disease.  Most of them are expensive.  Many people cannot afford to buy their medications and/or the health insurance to cover them.  My medications alone (not including Oxygen) cost upward of $700 a month ,  the majority of which Medicare, Part-D Supplemental Insurance, and Extra Help from Medicare pay.  Some patients are not fortunate enough to be able to afford the insurance necessary to pay these expenses, and the insurance that covers the medications is costly in itself.  When I first got sick (before Medicare, etc), it didn’t take long before I was having to accept public assistance.  My coffers depleted, I needed public funds to even afford the doctors and labs I needed. One treatment for COPD is Pulmonary Rehabilitation.  It does lessen the symptoms of the disease.   The problem is, if the patient does not have insurance or medicare/medicaid, it is often beyond what most people can pay. In addition, those who suffer with COPD often cannot cover their living expenses and need help to pay housing expenses (rent, mortgage payments, utilities), and food costs.  The big drain on the resources of people with COPD is medical expenses, be that direct payments to medical facilities, doctors, health insurance, or medications.

BBC Beyonce y Jay Z Habana Cuba

7 Apr

Beyonce and Jay-Z visit to Cuba queried in US Congress

A visit to Cuba by US pop singer Beyonce and her rap star husband Jay-Z is coming under scrutiny in connection with the US economic embargo.

Two Republican members of Congress have requested official information on whether the couple had US government permission to travel there.

The stars caused a local sensation when they celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana this week.

There was no immediate comment from representatives of Beyonce.

Singer Beyonce and Jay-Z celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary with a trip to Cuba
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, both members of Congress from Florida, asked the US treasury department to clarify what license the two stars had obtained to travel to Cuba.

“Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, US dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people,” they wrote.

Beyonce and Jay-Z turned heads in the Cuban capital on Thursday when they toured the streets of Old Havana.

Visiting historical landmarks, they took photos and chatted to local residents.

Beyonce, a household name in her home country, sang the US national anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January.

Americans are not allowed to visit Cuba and spend money there unless they have special US government permission, according to guidance on the US treasury website.

Richard III act 1 scene 1

3 Apr

GLOUCESTER
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,
About a prophecy, which says that ‘G’
Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY

Brother, good day; what means this armed guard
That waits upon your grace?

CLARENCE
His majesty
Tendering my person’s safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.

GLOUCESTER
Upon what cause?

CLARENCE
Because my name is George.

GLOUCESTER
Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers:
O, belike his majesty hath some intent
That you shall be new-christen’d in the Tower.
But what’s the matter, Clarence? may I know?

CLARENCE
Yea, Richard, when I know; for I protest
As yet I do not: but, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies and dreams;
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G.
And says a wizard told him that by G
His issue disinherited should be;
And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought that I am he.
These, as I learn, and such like toys as these
Have moved his highness to commit me now.

GLOUCESTER
Why, this it is, when men are ruled by women:
‘Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower:
My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, ’tis she
That tempers him to this extremity.
Was it not she and that good man of worship,
Anthony Woodville, her brother there,
That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
From whence this present day he is deliver’d?
We are not safe, Clarence; we are not safe.

CLARENCE
By heaven, I think there’s no man is secure
But the queen’s kindred and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.
Heard ye not what an humble suppliant
Lord hastings was to her for his delivery?

GLOUCESTER
Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I’ll tell you what; I think it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men and wear her livery:
The jealous o’erworn widow and herself,
Since that our brother dubb’d them gentlewomen.
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.

BRAKENBURY
I beseech your graces both to pardon me;
His majesty hath straitly given in charge
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with his brother.

GLOUCESTER
Even so; an’t please your worship, Brakenbury,
You may partake of any thing we say:
We speak no treason, man: we say the king
Is wise and virtuous, and his noble queen
Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous;
We say that Shore’s wife hath a pretty foot,
A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
And that the queen’s kindred are made gentle-folks:
How say you sir? Can you deny all this?

BRAKENBURY
With this, my lord, myself have nought to do.

GLOUCESTER
Naught to do with mistress Shore! I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best he do it secretly, alone.

BRAKENBURY
What one, my lord?

GLOUCESTER
Her husband, knave: wouldst thou betray me?

BRAKENBURY
I beseech your grace to pardon me, and withal
Forbear your conference with the noble duke.

CLARENCE
We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.

GLOUCESTER
We are the queen’s abjects, and must obey.
Brother, farewell: I will unto the king;
And whatsoever you will employ me in,
Were it to call King Edward’s widow sister,
I will perform it to enfranchise you.
Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.

CLARENCE
I know it pleaseth neither of us well.

GLOUCESTER
Well, your imprisonment shall not be long;
Meantime, have patience.

CLARENCE
I must perforce. Farewell.

Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and Guard

GLOUCESTER
Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne’er return.
Simple, plain Clarence! I do love thee so,
That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
But who comes here? the new-deliver’d Hastings?

Enter HASTINGS

HASTINGS
Good time of day unto my gracious lord!

GLOUCESTER
As much unto my good lord chamberlain!
Well are you welcome to the open air.
How hath your lordship brook’d imprisonment?

HASTINGS
With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must:
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
That were the cause of my imprisonment.

GLOUCESTER
No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too;
For they that were your enemies are his,
And have prevail’d as much on him as you.

HASTINGS
More pity that the eagle should be mew’d,
While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.

GLOUCESTER
What news abroad?

HASTINGS
No news so bad abroad as this at home;
The King is sickly, weak and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.

GLOUCESTER
Now, by Saint Paul, this news is bad indeed.
O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
And overmuch consumed his royal person:
‘Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
What, is he in his bed?

HASTINGS
He is.

GLOUCESTER
Go you before, and I will follow you.

Exit HASTINGS

He cannot live, I hope; and must not die
Till George be pack’d with post-horse up to heaven.
I’ll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence,
With lies well steel’d with weighty arguments;
And, if I fall not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live:
Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
And leave the world for me to bustle in!
For then I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter.
What though I kill’d her husband and her father?
The readiest way to make the wench amends
Is to become her husband and her father:
The which will I; not all so much for love
As for another secret close intent,
By marrying her which I must reach unto.
But yet I run before my horse to market:
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns:
When they are gone, then must I count my gains.

Richard III act one scene one

2 Apr

GLOUCESTER
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,
About a prophecy, which says that ‘G’
Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY

Brother, good day; what means this armed guard
That waits upon your grace?

CLARENCE
His majesty
Tendering my person’s safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.

GLOUCESTER
Upon what cause?

CLARENCE
Because my name is George.

GLOUCESTER
Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers:
O, belike his majesty hath some intent
That you shall be new-christen’d in the Tower.
But what’s the matter, Clarence? may I know?

CLARENCE
Yea, Richard, when I know; for I protest
As yet I do not: but, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies and dreams;
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G.
And says a wizard told him that by G
His issue disinherited should be;
And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought that I am he.
These, as I learn, and such like toys as these
Have moved his highness to commit me now.

GLOUCESTER
Why, this it is, when men are ruled by women:
‘Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower:
My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, ’tis she
That tempers him to this extremity.
Was it not she and that good man of worship,
Anthony Woodville, her brother there,
That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
From whence this present day he is deliver’d?
We are not safe, Clarence; we are not safe.

CLARENCE
By heaven, I think there’s no man is secure
But the queen’s kindred and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.
Heard ye not what an humble suppliant
Lord hastings was to her for his delivery?

GLOUCESTER
Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I’ll tell you what; I think it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men and wear her livery:
The jealous o’erworn widow and herself,
Since that our brother dubb’d them gentlewomen.
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.

BRAKENBURY
I beseech your graces both to pardon me;
His majesty hath straitly given in charge
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with his brother.

GLOUCESTER
Even so; an’t please your worship, Brakenbury,
You may partake of any thing we say:
We speak no treason, man: we say the king
Is wise and virtuous, and his noble queen
Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous;
We say that Shore’s wife hath a pretty foot,
A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
And that the queen’s kindred are made gentle-folks:
How say you sir? Can you deny all this?

BRAKENBURY
With this, my lord, myself have nought to do.

GLOUCESTER
Naught to do with mistress Shore! I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best he do it secretly, alone.

BRAKENBURY
What one, my lord?

GLOUCESTER
Her husband, knave: wouldst thou betray me?

BRAKENBURY
I beseech your grace to pardon me, and withal
Forbear your conference with the noble duke.

CLARENCE
We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.

GLOUCESTER
We are the queen’s abjects, and must obey.
Brother, farewell: I will unto the king;
And whatsoever you will employ me in,
Were it to call King Edward’s widow sister,
I will perform it to enfranchise you.
Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.

CLARENCE
I know it pleaseth neither of us well.

GLOUCESTER
Well, your imprisonment shall not be long;
Meantime, have patience.

CLARENCE
I must perforce. Farewell.

Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and Guard

GLOUCESTER
Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne’er return.
Simple, plain Clarence! I do love thee so,
That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
But who comes here? the new-deliver’d Hastings?

Enter HASTINGS

HASTINGS
Good time of day unto my gracious lord!

GLOUCESTER
As much unto my good lord chamberlain!
Well are you welcome to the open air.
How hath your lordship brook’d imprisonment?

HASTINGS
With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must:
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
That were the cause of my imprisonment.

GLOUCESTER
No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too;
For they that were your enemies are his,
And have prevail’d as much on him as you.

HASTINGS
More pity that the eagle should be mew’d,
While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.

GLOUCESTER
What news abroad?

HASTINGS
No news so bad abroad as this at home;
The King is sickly, weak and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.

GLOUCESTER
Now, by Saint Paul, this news is bad indeed.
O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
And overmuch consumed his royal person:
‘Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
What, is he in his bed?

HASTINGS
He is.

GLOUCESTER
Go you before, and I will follow you.

Exit HASTINGS

He cannot live, I hope; and must not die
Till George be pack’d with post-horse up to heaven.
I’ll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence,
With lies well steel’d with weighty arguments;
And, if I fall not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live:
Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
And leave the world for me to bustle in!
For then I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter.
What though I kill’d her husband and her father?
The readiest way to make the wench amends
Is to become her husband and her father:
The which will I; not all so much for love
As for another secret close intent,
By marrying her which I must reach unto.
But yet I run before my horse to market:
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns:
When they are gone, then must I count my gains.

txt from Randi Richards to an attorney

1 Apr

Dear David,

 

Thank you for calling today regarding our project to set up a foundation for the benefit of COPD patients.  We are excited to have you join the project, and look forward to working with you.

 

I told you about the promotional materials that Adam, and Tom did for us, and the links are:

 

Meet Randi Richards

 

This video was posted for gathering like-minded people to our project.  As I remember, Tom had around 100 hits on this video during the first week.  He promotes us on Twitter, and the interest is immediate.  Even now, he is receiving a lot of positive responses to the video and the mission.

 

Who Are You?

As we work social networking sites, we are often asked, “Who are you?” when we approach people about the project.  So, Adam and Tom put this video together to answer that question.

 

I have made notes of your contact information, and will take you up on getting in touch with you when we have newsworthy events.  If you have ideas we might use to further the project, or if you want to brainstorm with us, please contact Adam and/or me and we will be happy to discuss those thoughts with you.  It might be easier on all of us if we used conference calling.

 

You are welcome to email me at TexasToest@gmail.com.  I am in the process of setting up an email account for the project, and will let you know when that has been accomplished.  As you know, the telephone number I have dedicated to our foundation is (214) 272-3320.  Call me any time.  I promise to know who you are the next time you contact me.

 

Sincerely,

Randi Richards

Land Line: (214) 272-3320

Fax:  214-853-5524