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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

Las Vegas is destroyed again...this time on an off-Broadway New York stage."Mission Drift" is a two hour experimental musical created by a New York theatre collective known as The Theater of the Emerging American Moment or The Team. The musical Intertwines the real story of two teenage pioneers in New Amsterdam with the creation and destruction of contemporary Las Vegas. There's the atom bomb, mystic gods and more. Mission Drift attempts to get at the tension between creation and violence:  the love and ambivalence of Americans toward constant expansionism and growth. 

Israel's Supreme Court overturned a law last week that helped tens of thousands of religious men avoid military service and pursue studies at a religious seminary instead. Now, ultra- Orthodox political groups have rallied together against the law, as Netanyahu tried and failed to find a compromise.  In Israel, the law has all Israeli's regardless of gender, age of belief, serving two years in the Israeli military and  eligible for rapid recall if needed.

Russians go to the polls today to elect their next president. It will most likely be their previous president, Vladimir Putin. The election has exposed social rifts and provoked popular opposition not seen in decades. The attitude reported by the BBC is more a stoic Russian resolve to go with the Status Que, regardless of how you feel about it, over the unknown. If he wins, not only will Putin be able to serve another term, due to his time between office as the Prime Minister (Communist Party Chair), but could serve up to two six year terms as President (a dozen years). Presidential terms were increased from four to six years in a recent constitutional revision.

The Chinese village of Wukan  held an election this weekend to choose their village committee, after rebelling against corrupt local officials last year in a dispute about land seizures. The village is now in full electioneering mode with loudspeakers blaring out the election law. Villagers say it will be the first free and fair election in the town's history. Some officials are touting the "Wukan model" as a way of defusing protests, but others say only comprehensive reform of land ownership laws can really solve the widespread problem of official expropriation.

The Agricultural "bank vault" is open for business. This week, thousands of small packets of grain -- wheat and barley -- were placed inside an underground vault on a lonely Arctic island. They joined a growing collection of seeds in that vault, which represents a backup collection of all the different kinds of agricultural crops on Earth.  Survival of anything form a meteor strike to a world nuclear war sparked the development of a project to provide "just in case" for the world's food supply. Genetic engineering and research also contributed, making it possible to protect against extinction, mutation, shortage and extinction of the plant life we depend on.

Virginia votes next week, along with the 9 other states of Super Tuesday. But it's quiet there, compared to other states like Ohio, Georgia, and Tennessee. That's largely because Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are the only candidates on the ballot.  Gingrich, who lives in the state, is among those who failed to navigate the complex regulations and deadlines Virginia uniquely presents for presidential candidates.


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