“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Presenting, President Zuma of South Africa.

Jacob Zuma faces first lady dilemma

ANC leader who looks set to be South Africa's next president may have to choose between his many wives
David Smith in Pretoria, Thursday 23 April 2009

The voters appear to have made their choice abundantly clear in South Africa's election. Now the president-in-waiting, Jacob Zuma, must make a delicate diplomatic choice of his own: which of his wives will be the country's first lady?

When Zuma attends events such as the G20, at which the Wags attracted much attention recently, there is likely to be only one seat allocated to his spouse alongside the likes of Michelle Obama, Sarah Brown and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Zuma once told a television interviewer: "There are plenty of politicians who have mistresses and children that they hide so as to pretend they're monogamous. I prefer to be open. I love my wives and I'm proud of my children."

When the president of the African National Congress (ANC) voted in his rural Zulu homeland yesterday, one of his wives stood to the side watching patiently as he was mobbed by cheering crowds and reporters.

Nompumelelo Ntuli, 34, Zuma's youngest wife, was soon attracting her own crowd of admirers. Women whispered: "Isn't she beautiful!" as Ntuli, decked out in an apricot and blue tie-dye outfit, cast a smile. "Jesus is Lord!" was all she said in response to questions.

Reports conflict on how many times Zuma, 67, a Zulu traditionalist and unabashed polygamist, has married over the years. His first wife is Sizakele Khumalo, whom he has known for 50 years and married in 1973.

He wed Ntuli last year, and reportedly was married again in January to Thobeka Mabhija, a Durban socialite with whom he is said to have two children.

Two more wives are no longer with him. Kate Mantsho Zuma killed herself in 2000. He divorced the other, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in 1998, although she remains a trusted aide and, as the country's foreign affairs minister, is expected to join his cabinet. He is said to have more than 10 children; possibly as many as 18.

South African law recognises such marriages, although fewer young South Africans are entering into them because they are seen as expensive and old-fashioned. It remains common among several tribes, however, including the Zulus and Swazis.

In the contest to be first lady, Khumalo has the seniority and experience but Ntuli has the glamour and ease in social situations. Khumalo, who presides over the family homestead near the school where Zuma voted in Kwanxamalala, rarely appears in public.

Ntuli, who uses her maiden name, as is customary in polygamous marriages to differentiate among the wives, has been more active outside the home. She organised a prayer meeting in south-eastern South Africa earlier this year, calling for political tolerance, and established a community development foundation.

ANC officials decline to comment, insisting that it is a private matter for Zuma.


  1. Holy Cow! Somebody hold T back.

    "T" Nip.

    O/T on the first comment, but I'm sure you'll forgive me. :)

  2. Now, let's go back and read the new post. :)

  3. About the last thread. It's hard for me to see how anything that can be taken out with tamiflu, or any of the other popular flu-fighters, can cause a "catastrophic" Pandemic.

  4. That Zuma fellow is no John Edwards.

    Good for him, that he likes his wives, stays true to the "old ways", as conservatives should.

  5. Iraq for Iraqis.

    Sooner the better.

    Does no good for US to stay on the streets of Iraq, not now that we've announced our leaving.
    Time to fallback to the mega-bases and wait for the planes.

  6. Well, I'll be back, later.

    Gotta head over to Home Depot for ....aaah ... somethin', I'm sure.

  7. Ahmadinejad has actively encouraged the public to write to him in a drive to boost his populist image. But advisers have warned that the letters could contain poisonous substances intended to kill him.

    "To prevent him getting poisoned, the security team have warned him in several cases to be careful about the letters which are given to him on his provincial trips," reported Jahan News, a website close to the security services. "But Dr Ahmadinejad in response has declared he is going to behave as before."

    Since being elected in 2005, Ahmadinejad has received millions of letters, many pleading for money or help with personal problems. He has pledged to read as many as possible and instructed his aides to respond to every message sent to him.
    Poison Pens

  8. Stay calm, amigos. We've declared a state of "Public Health Emergency", but it's not really very serious, she says.

    Just another Crisis that's to good to let slip slide on by.

    ... In Washington, the head of the Centers for Disease Control said 20 cases had been confirmed in five U.S. states by noon Sunday. The largest number of cases was in New York, where the CDC confirmed cases in eight students at a preparatory school in that city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday.

    Another seven cases have been confirmed in California, two each in Kansas and Texas and one in Ohio, said Dr. Richard Besser, the CDC's acting director. Only one person has had to be hospitalized, but Besser said authorities are likely to see "a broader spectrum of disease" in the days ahead.

    "Given the reports out of Mexico, I would expect that over time we're going to see more severe disease in this country," he said.

    The U.S. government declared a public health emergency -- a step Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said "sounds more severe than really it is.

    Arizona's latest gift to America, Janet Napolitano.


  9. Looks like the sacrifical lamb is being annoitted.

    John Podesta, the head of a left-leaning think tank who ran the Obama transition team, is calling for the impeachment of Jay Bybee, a federal judge and former Bush administration official who wrote one of the “torture memos” made public last week.

    In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-Mich.), Podesta says that since he has "issued opinions that violate the Constitution and concealed relevant aspects of his legal views and professional conduct from the Senate, Bybee has neither the legal nor moral authority to sit in judgment of others."

    Podesta becomes one of the most prominent Democrats to push for Bybee’s impeachment. The former Clinton chief of staff runs the influential Center for American Progress, and is close to the Obama administration. Obama has left open the door to prosecutions of the authors of the memos that authorized harsh interrogation techniques, even as the president has tried to tamp down calls for a congressional commission to investigate the matter.

    The move suggests that the administration sees this as a way to take a specific and concrete action without opening the door to either a truth commission or prosecution of former Bush officials. It's also a middle road that's unlikely to appease either side

    Ben Smith, ... Podesta letter: Impeach Bybee

  10. Bybee, who wrote the memos while serving as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel from November 2001 to March 2003, was later appointed in that month to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    UPDATE: From Podesta's appearance on "State of the Union" today:

    PODESTA: Look, the one thing I disagree with you and David about is I do think there is a distinction between going back and prosecuting in the criminal courts the actors who were involved in these memos and letting Judge Bybee continue to sit on a court one step removed from the Supreme Court. He's acting and listening to cases and making judgments of others, and we know that he authorized things that were illegal under U.S. law and violated the U.S. obligations under international treaties, and you know, I think that if he would do the right thing, he should just simply resign. But if he doesn't, I think this is one matter where he continues to sit. He doesn't have the moral or legal authority to continue to do that. And I think a simple matter would be to remove him from office.

  11. But this is not simply a policy disagreement — to frame it as such glosses over far too much. We’re not just disagreeing about, say, tax rates here.

    The issue of torture, and what we do about it after the fact, gets to the heart of who we are as a country. So, I apologize for the previous thousand words of hand-wringing.

    This is some nasty stuff we’re dealing with.
    On Torture

  12. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday would not rule out impeachment hearings against federal Judge Jay Bybee over accusations he misled Congress about his role in shaping Bush administration policy that condoned harsh interrogation techniques that critics say amounted to torture.

    Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said lawmakers must determine whether Mr. Bybee lied during his 2003 confirmation hearings, which won him a lifetime appointment to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    "I would not call for his impeachment without knowing what the facts are," Mrs. Pelosi said. "But I do think that the legal opinions, as we are learning now, that were issued by the [Justice Department's] Office of Legal Counsel did not serve our country well and were not based on our country's values."

    "In terms of his particular situation, I think the important place to look is what he said about that at the confirmation hearings," Mrs. Pelosi told reporters at a breakfast round table hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

    Judge Bybee, who as a top Justice Department lawyer signed memos in 2002 giving the legal green light for the CIA to use harsh interrogation techniques, has faced calls for impeachment or his resignation from the bench since the Obama administration made the memos public last week.

    The memos still were classified when President George W. Bush nominated him to the bench. He was not asked about the memos at his confirmation hearing, but he was asked about the administration's policy concerning detained terror suspects and other policies related to the war on terror.

  13. this ANC leader also...

    is a rapist who blamed the wife of a friend for wearing a skirt that invited the attack....

    and this guy thinks aids can be washed off in the shower...

  14. People said that about William Jefferson Clinton, too.

    Lost his license to be a lawyer over the episode, so there is some commonality there.

    Power corrupts and the corrupt seek power.

    Both fellows were elected to their countrys' highest political office.

    With full faith, trust and confidence of quite a few of their respective electorates.

  15. He also reiterated his promises to improve public services and step up the fight against one of the world's highest crime rates. But he did not say how these goals would be achieved against a background of a shrinking economy, falling commodity prices and lower foreign investment.

    Mr Zuma's team will take office with the odds stacked against them to deliver on expectations, the Sunday Times, South Africa's best-selling weekend newspaper, said in an editorial.

    It said: "Their (Mr Zuma's and the ANC's] job is to do more than their predecessors with fewer resources and a reduced reservoir of public trust and patience."
    Action on Economy

  16. Washes away AIDs or the Pig Flu, aye, then Mr Zuma does not have any concept of micro-biology, if what you say is true, wi"o", and I do not doubt that it is, true.

    A product of public schools, I'd almost betcha.

  17. "There will be no surprises in the next administration's program of action"- Zuma

  18. April 26 (Bloomberg) -- Russia suspended imports of all meat from Mexico and the U.S. states of Texas, California and Kansas shipped after April 21 on concern about the spread of swine flu, the country’s veterinary watchdog said.

    The suspension also affects pork from Guatemala, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Salvador, and the U.S. states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Florida, the watchdog added in a statement on its Web site today.

    Swine flu, known as the H1N1 virus, originated in Mexico where it has been linked to as many as 81 deaths.

    Travelers arriving in Russia from the above areas will have meat products confiscated, the watchdog, known as Rosselkhoznadzor in Russian, said in the statement.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Yuriy Humber in Moscow at

  19. By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

    WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - A new and unusual strain of swine flu is likely widespread and impossible to contain at this point, experts agree.

    The H1N1 strain has killed at least 20 people and possibly 48 more in Mexico and has been confirmed in at least eight people in the United States, all of whom had mild illness.

    Probable cases also were found at a school in the New York City borough of Queens and experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they fully expect to find more cases. Here is why:

    * This new strain of influenza has shown it can spread easily from person to person.

    * It has been found in several places and among people who had no known contact. This suggests there is an unseen chain of infection and that the virus has been spreading quietly.

    * This can happen because respiratory illnesses are very common and doctors rarely test patients for flu. People could have had the swine virus and never known it.

    * At least in the United States, it has so far only been found in people who had mild illness, another factor that would have allowed it to spread undetected.

    * World Health Organization director Dr. Margaret Chan has said the new strain of H1N1 has the potential to become a pandemic strain because it does spread easily and does cause serious disease.

    * CDC experts note that while it is possible to contain an outbreak of disease that is in one limited area, once it is reported in widespread locations, the spread is impossible to control.

  20. From Oz:

    Anti-viral drugs that could be sensitive to the virus are available through pharmacies and are also in the national stockpile in case of emergency.

    The health protection committee, of which Professor Bishop is a member, is liaising with the WHO as well as health authorities in New Zealand and the US.

    The latest information on Australia's response to swine flu will be posted on the internet at
    Swine Flu

  21. President Zuma's youngest wife, the lovely Nompumelelo Ntul

  22. "We have learned from the mistakes of the past 15 years, especially the manner of which we may have, to some degree, neglected the people's movement"- Zuma

  23. The UN conference on racism in Geneva has ended, overshadowed by a speech made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he accused Israel of racism against the Palestinians, prompting a walkout.


    Yet this week has demonstrated the deep divisions that exist over what constitutes racism, let alone how to confront it.


    Yet Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistan's ambassador to the UN, says the developing world's focus on Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is understandable.
    Highlights Divisions

  24. With the economy seemingly heading for recession, economic policy decisions are pressing. Jeremy Cronin, a Communist party leader tipped for a government job, warned that meeting commitments on public services and reducing unem-ployment could take years.

    "What's keeping things ticking is the big infrastructure spend [of R787bn ($90bn, €68bn, £61bn) over three years]," he said.

    "Clearly that's going to come under strain with tax revenues [falling] and the difficulties of an Eskom [the struggling state power utility] to borrow in the foreign markets."
    Campaign Promises

  25. While uncertainty loomed over the reverberations of the swine influenza reported in Mexico, the United States and Canada, the impact on the Tokyo market was limited as no infections have yet been detected in Japan, brokers said.

    Air and sea transport issues were hurt most. Oil and coal products issues also fell.

    Gainers were led by real estate, textiles and banking issues.
    Tokyo Stocks

  26. As a former federal prosecutor, I know a good case from a bad one. I know a case based on solid evidence and even-handed application of the law versus one based on scoring political points.

    Mr. Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, have professed their desire to take politics out of the Justice Department, to restore integrity to a department that they believe had gone astray under Mr. Bush. Their recent actions, however, speak otherwise.

    The bottom line is that any attempt to prosecute or sanction lawyers such as Messrs. Bradbury, Bybee or Yoo would be a fool's errand. And whatever our new president and his attorney general are, they aren't fools.
    Interrogation Memos

  27. The country’s governing coalition has been emboldened by a surge in popularity over its handling of the war. On Sunday it won a sweeping victory in a local election in Western Province.

    But government successes on the battlefield have also embittered many ethnic Tamils, especially those overseas, and have displaced at least 200,000 civilians now in refugee camps across the northern part of the country. The government is requesting tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments to help manage the flood of refugees.

    Since late January, when rebel-held territory shrank sharply, more than 6,400 civilians have been killed and 13,000 wounded, according to the United Nations.
    Cease-fire Rejected

  28. Let those girls all have a mud fight, and the winner is First Lady.

    I heard you can get rid of aids by screwing a virgin. Heard it in CapeTown.

  29. Head of the ANC election campaign Fikile Mbalula told AFP that the party's clean sweep in KwaZulu-Natal spelt the death of the IFP, despite it once holding a pivotal role in South Africa's transition to democracy.

    Results in the provice showed that voters had identified with the ANC's policies, he said.

    "It was important for us that Zuma gets the support of his home people, it's got nothing to do with his Zuluness," said Mbalula.
    Zulu Stronghold

  30. No, bob. The book club is not defunct.

    The book club marches on.

    I, however, have a son who is soon to be on his fourth series of antibiotics in almost as many months, have to persuade an ENT to rip out his tonsils before he does it himself, and have a gang of workers spending most of their time trying fleece someone. My daughter is a miserable puddle worrying over her study abroad and has had her car booted for the umpteenth time to the tune of almost two hundred bucks.

    For starters.

    Look at it this way:

    No, never mind.

  31. Sympathize with your son, for sure.

    Had mine out twice, one time around didn't do it. Back then, the doc put me under with, I quess it was ether?, nah, or something, some concoction I watched him pour on a cloth and then cover my face.

    God-awful nauseous waking up, bloody, and nauseous for days after.

    That second time around I was not looking forward to.

    Still recall the smell.

  32. I quess Zuma will be forced to finally and officially establish the pricking order, if he hasn't already.

  33. Bob,

    Same thing happened to me. 6 teeth pulled at once. 4 wisdoms and 2 molars. 2 hours. Put me under with some kind of gas. I was sicker than a dog for about 3 days afterwards. The sickest I have ever been.

  34. After emptying the contents of my stomach, I was still dry-heaving after that for quite some time. Was not a good time.

  35. You're too young for my procedure I think, Sam. Did they put something on a rag and cover your face?

    When I had my colonoscopy, easy as pie. Just out, then up. No discomfort afterwards.

    I'm not sure I'm understanding this immediate buzz about the flu, except the time of year is odd.

    Heck, in our school classes we had a dozen out at a time when I was growing up, and things were considered normal.

    An ounce of prevention and caution is worth a pound of cure, though.

  36. On the other hand now I'm reading 103 dead out of 1600 cases, around 6% or so.....

  37. Gas mask. 6 teeth pulled. Still have my tonsils. This would've been around '79.

    Heads up. Somebody in the office here. His father who is supposedly in the know is saying the greenback is set to take a big dive soon.

  38. Normal flu mortality is 0.1%. Spanish flu was between 2 and 5% of the world population out of 20% infected.

  39. There's stuff to hate for the right and the left. The state Republican Party opposes 1A because of the taxes.

    The Democratic Party at its state convention Sunday went neutral, fearing the spending control.

    But for the broad center -- if it bothers to vote -- the choice should be simple: Trading temporary taxes for permanent spending constraints is a bargain.
    Spending Control Measure

  40. The don't make ships like they used to. Two Israeli Harpoon missiles and down she goes to Davey Jones' locker.

    Iranian Weapons Ship Sunk near Sudan

  41. Last month, Sudan said it believed that Israel carried out air strikes on its soil in February that targeted weapons smugglers.

    While Israeli spokespeople did not comment on allegations of the country's involvement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted that Israel carried out the strikes, vowing that it would hit terrorist infrastructure wherever it was.

    Sudanese sources said that one of these strikes destroyed an Iranian ship, possibly on its way to Sudan.
    Destroyed Near Sudan

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. from The Journal of Near Death Studies Volume 19, #2, Winter 2000

    In 1919, when she was 28, the writer Katherine Anne Porter, living in Denver, contracted the influenza that was spreading around the world at that time. She ran a fever of 105 degrees for nine days; the newspapers prepared her obituary; the family made arrangements (Givner, 1982, pg. 125). She received an experimental shot of strychnine and recovered, and her account is familiar material to those who study NDE's:

    It simply divided my life, cut across it like that....It was, I think, the fact that I really had participated in death, that I knew what death was, and had almost experienced it. I had what the Christians call the "beatific vision," and the Greeks called the "happy day," the happy vision just before death (Givner, 1982, pg. 126).It was not until 20 years later that she captured this experience in her famous short novel "Pale Horse, Pale Rider," the story of the young Denver reporter Miranda, who, just as a relationship with a young soldier began to bud, contracted and nearly succumbed to influenza; Miranda recovered only to discover that her young man had himself died of it. Steve Straight wrote about that story and Porter's NDE in the Journal in 1984, documenting well the depth of the NDE that Porter evidently passed through, based on the description in the story, and the alienating effects of it afterwards that Porter struggled to overcome.--

    Doggone it, I read that article but can't find it, my Journal library being scattered about. If I could I'd quote some of it. In short, everybody else seemed asleep, she only awake, as if an alien in an unreal world.

  44. Damn blogger, you work your butt to make a nice post and it screws it up every time.

  45. Not enough doctors.

    Well, duh.

    Ash, you listening?

    Not Enough Doctors

  46. As the country edges toward full computerization of medical records, most of the objections have focused on potential breaches of privacy. Beth Israel Deaconess has stumbled on a different problem in its tie-in with Google Health: accuracy.


    In any case, the ease of linkage to other sites should not be the prime consideration in the design and operation of patients' personal profiles. If they are to help patients and their doctors make treatment decisions, especially in emergency conditions, the profiles must contain no inaccurate information.

    Cutting corners by using insurance claims data should be no one's idea of a best practice in medical information technology.
    Health Concern