Posted in Current Events

Malalai Kakar

Most of us have been trying to understand the current financial debacle (here’s the timeline as the Brits see it), or watching Tina Fey do her Sarah Palin parody using Sarah’s own words.  It’s easy to miss other news.  I heard about Malalai Kakar on the radio yesterday.

September 29, 2008

Leading policewoman Malalai Kakar shot dead in Afghanistan

Taleban gunmen shot dead Afghanistan’s most high-profile policewoman yesterday as her teenage son prepared to drive her to work. Malalai Kakar, the head of the city of Kandahar’s department for crimes against women, had been the subject of numerous media reports and was famous for her bravery throughout Afghanistan. She had survived several assassination attempts. A spokesman for the Taleban said that the assassination was carried out by its gunmen. “We killed Malalai Kakar,” said Yousuf Ahmadi. “She was our target, and we successfully eliminated our target.”Her death came as reports emerged of a Saudi-brokered initiative to negotiate between the Afghan Government and the Taleban.  Rest of the article here.

Here’s another article from The Scotsman:

Women in Afghanistan: Dying for the job


Commander Malalai Kakar was shot dead outside her house on Sunday. (Picture: Getty)

Women in Afghanistan are being murdered simply for going out to work. Those in high-profile jobs are particularly at risk, as the assassination of a high ranking policewoman this week brutally reiterated, writes Emma Cowing.

LIKE MANY working mothers, Malalai Kakar followed a routine most mornings. She would get her six children up and dressed, cook them a thin pancake filled with green onions for breakfast, see them off to school or settled into their daily chores, then head to work herself. But on Sunday morning, as Kakar walked out of her front door on her way to the office, she was shot dead. Her son, who had been due to give her a lift, was critically injured. Her murderers were members of the Taleban. Their target was Afghanistan’s most senior policewoman.

The death of Commander Kakar, who at 41 was head of Kandahar city’s department of crimes against women, has sent shockwaves through the international community. The European Union mission described the attack as “particularly abhorrent” and said she was an “example” to her fellow citizens. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, described the killing as “an act of cowardice by enemies of peace, welfare and reconstruction in the country”. But to many, not least her family, Commander Kakar’s death comes as little surprise.

For months she had been the target of death threats, and there had been several previous attacks on her life. She carried a pistol underneath her burqa, and often wore the traditional form of Islamic dress in an attempt to remain unrecognised when travelling within Kandahar. As the first female graduate of Kandahar Police Academy – no mean feat in a city that was once the headquarters of the Taleban and is still home to many of its sympathisers – she became the first woman investigator in Kandahar Police Department, and at the time of her death headed a team of around ten female police officers who made it their priority to protect women’s rights. In Afghanistan, even seven years after the fall of the Taleban regime, such a career does not go unnoticed. Rest of the article here.

What can I possibly say?  I stand in awe and admiration of the brave women mentioned in the article above:

Zurghana Kakar (If you click on that link, scroll down—she’s mentioned toward the end of the article.)  Member of the Afghanistan parliament whose husband was recently killed in an assassination attempt on her life (no relation to Malalai Kakar).

Shukria Barakzai

Malalai Joya

Fatana Gailani, founder of the Afghanistan Women Council

Soraya Sobhrang, member of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission

RIP Malalai Kakar, Bibi Hoor and Safia Ahmed-jan.

Posted in Current Events

In Other Sarah News…

Dear Person Who Read This Blog Before September 2,

I know it’s been All-Sarah-All-the-Time around these parts lately.  I’ll see some of you later today at the Pasadena-area blogger meet-up.  You’ll look into my eyes.  You’ll wonder what’s gone wrong with me.

You’ll be relieved to know that my obsessive behavior is not confined to all things Sarah.  For example, I went to see the Dodgers play four times this past week. Much to my surprise, even Manny Ramirez himself seems to have arranged his locks in a sort of Sarah Palin updo (fuzzy photos, click to embiggen):


Palin Should Step Down, Conservative Commentator Says

Cafferty on Palin and the ‘pitiful’ interview with Katie Couric: 12,000 e-mails in 45 minutes

From Susan Carrier via comment on my post Sarah Palin on the TVPoor Sarah by Judith Warner

via Suebob on Twitter:  John McCain says “horsesh*t” during the debate.

Finally, a super fuzzy photo of my favorite Dodger, Andre Ethier, celebrating the Dodgers’ victory over the NL West (that link will take you to another photo of Manny’s updo).

and Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre, along with owner Frank McCourt (on the right):

A happy owner:

Bill Plaschke:  Just Making It To Next Week Won’t Be Enough for Dodgers.

After spending years standing on a Dodgers pitching mound and behind Dodger Stadium home plate, Don Newcombe understands Dodgers success.

And simply qualifying for the playoffs isn’t quite it.

“Just making the postseason is not Dodger tradition,” Newcombe said Thursday. “Getting to the World Series, winning the World Series, now that is Dodger tradition.”

Posted in Current Events

It’s Hard Out There for a Veep

A wanna-be Veep that is.  From the depths of comments on Mudflats:

tamarack (23 Sept 2008 16:22:21) : Palin sighting from a friend in New York-

“I was walking down 76th towards 5th when a bodyguard stopped me, explaining that the street was closed for just a few minutes. Sarah Palin was inside one of the consulates (don’t know which) and the bodyguards were waiting for her to step outside, into her limo, before allowing pedestrian traffic. Well, when she did come out, everyone on the street from the construction guys to the ladies who lunch gave her the biggest BOOOOOOOOO you have ever heard in your life. It was awesome.”

I suppose she considered them all eastern elitists and dismissed the whole thing.

Cajun Boy writes about and links to Matt Taibbi’s article on Sarah Palin in Rolling Stone.  Be sure you’ve imbibed the morning beverage of your choice (PG Tips for me, dearie, ta) before you take the plunge.  Here’s just a snippet:

“We’re used to seeing such blatant cultural caricaturing in our politicians. But Sarah Palin is something new. She’s all caricature. As the candidate of a party whose positions on individual issues are poll losers almost across the board, her shtick is not even designed to sell a line of policies. It’s just designed to sell her. The thing was as much as admitted in the on-air gaffe by former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, who was inadvertently caught saying on MSNBC that Palin wasn’t the most qualified candidate, that the party “went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives.”

Back to Mudflats for another insightful comment:

Regi (23 Sept 2008 17:48:26) :  Palin is a Mary Sue.

(Mary Sue) is a pejorative term used to describe a fictional character who plays a major role in the plot and is particularly characterized by overly idealized and clichéd mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors.

Posted in Let's Get Visual

Church of the Angels: Photo Shoot

Pasadena is well-known in Southern California, in the Western United States, throughout the world (!) as having several architecturally significant structures.  We love this, of course, as it feeds into our sense of living in the center of the universe.  (We best be careful about letting this boast get east of the Mississippi.  I’m sure there are New Yorkers who would gladly layeth the smackdown on our presumption.  Here’s how it would go:  They would tout their superior architecture and arts scene, and then we would burn them with our mighty sun.  But I digress.)

So yesterday pastor and gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was at Church of the Angels shooting photos for his new album.  (Previous posts about the church here, here and here.)  In addition to using the church, the able staff of photographer Andrew MacPherson set up a white background in the parish hall.  Meet Dustin, who organizes all the images (yesterday’s crop: about 1,500).

While Andrew was working hard “that’s good, that’s great, amazing!”  –  I sneaked in a few shots of Donnie from the back . . .

No, there’s no hidden Donnie in the photo above.  I just included it because I like it.  More reflection shots:

Andrew MacPherson was kind enough to let me take his photo while he was working.  Being a student of The Scout’s school of natural lighting, I couldn’t bring myself to use my flash.  Hence, a fuzzy Andrew.  Mind you, Mr. MacPherson works very hard and moves non-stop:

Then I grabbed one of Andrew outside with ye olde camera phone.  You can see Cheryl (left) and Jackie (right) in the background.  They work for Sony/BMG and flew in from NY for the shoot.  I had fun chatting with them.

Having spent years with The Scout, I understand things from the photographer’s point of view.  Light is paramount.  Keeping the subject (the talent) engaged, energized and happy is key.  Toward the end of the day (when the light in the church is absolutely wonderful), Donnie got tired.  He ended up flat out on the grass (another camera phone shot – so washed out!).

Most of the time, I work alone, so it is interesting to me to see a group of people working closely together on a project.  In this case, one person (yes, just ONE PERSON) was late to the shoot yesterday morning (one hour and forty-five minutes late).  It threw the entire schedule for the day off course.  We were supposed to leave at 5 pm.  The last person (Dustin) finally left a hair before 7 pm.

My very best wishes to Donnie and all who were involved with the shoot.  Other than the schedule slip, it was a great day.

photo courtesy of Sony/BMG

UPDATE:  Well, it lasted two whole hours.  My first blog post in the month of September that did not mention Sarah Palin lasted two whole hours.  Then I found this (via Cajun Boy):