Sir Paul McCartney said he was carrying a message of peace for Israel and Palestine as he toured the West Bank town of Bethlehem ahead of his planned concert in Tel Aviv.

By Tim Butcher in Bethlehem

Last Updated: 8:18PM BST 24 Sep 2008

Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney visits the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem

During a lightning visit to the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, Sir Paul got a mixed reaction.

Among local Palestinians there was mostly bafflement at his status. Mohammed Itmaizi, a 26-year-old policeman guarding the ancient Byzantine basilica, said he had never heard of the Beatles or Sir Paul.

But among Western tourists visiting the church, Sir Paul's visit was welcomed with gusto. -----

When asked his attitude to those Palestinian leaders who have criticised him for agreeing to perform in Israel, breaking their call for a cultural boycott of Israel, he said he respected their view but disagreed.

"I have come here to Bethlehem deliberately to see Palestine with my own eyes," he said.

"Anyone who knows me knows I support peace for all people.

"This visit is meant to counter those that criticise me for going to Israel."

The visit to Bethlehem, which lies in the occupied West Bank, had to be arranged at the last moment as plans to visit Ramallah, the de facto capital of the occupied territories, had to be cancelled for security reasons.

Diplomats feared Sir Paul could get caught up in a protest rally in Ramallah by Palestinian opponents of his Israeli concert.

See the rest of the article:

0,,5302330,00 Paul McCartney's Tel Aviv concert ad

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By Dennis Rice

SIR Paul McCartney has been threatened that he will be the target of suicide bombers unless he abandons plans to play his first concert in Israel.

Self-styled preacher of hate Omar Bakri claimed the former Beatle’s decision to take part in the Jewish state’s 60th anniversary celebrations had made him an enemy of all Muslims.

Sources said Sir Paul was shocked but refused to be intimidated.

In an interview with Israeli media yesterday he said: “I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused. I do what I think and I have many friends who support Israel.”

Sir Paul McCartney's children are said to be "racked with worry" over death threats made against their father.

Mary, Stella, James and step-daughter Heather are all extremely concerned about the former Beatle's upcoming concert in Israel after he received murderous warnings from Islamic extremist Omar Bakri Muhammad.

Paul McCartney Target of Terror

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Last July, the wetlands flyover tour was co-sponsored by the state, the America's Wetland Foundation and the National Guard. The intention? To give lawmakers from other states a glimpse of Louisiana's crumbling "energy coast."

Lawmakers from as far away as Puerto Rico, New Hampshire and Alaska climb aboard for a bird's-eye view of the watery coastline. In many places, it's more water than coast.

From the air, they tour a portion of the 1,900 square miles of submerged coastal Louisiana. They learn that 1.7 miles of marshland will reduce the elevation of storm surge by about a foot. Cypress and tupelo forests also have huge buffering effects:the trees capture energy and hold floodwaters. Over the years, man-made changes to the natural hydrology of the Mississippi River and the coastal region have destroyed once-extensive coastal forests, prairies and marshes. To date, Louisiana's land loss equals an area the size of Delaware — and it's growing.

"This makes me more sympathetic to my friends in Louisiana," says Rep. John Grange a Republican from Kansas. "During Katrina, you saw human suffering, but you didn't see the ecological impact like we did today."

Back on the ground, it's evident that the effects of oil and gas pipelines and transportation canals — watery highways of saltwater intrusion into now-devastated fresh-water ecosystems — have made an impact on the group.� Source: The Gambit

And for those of you who think New Orleans needs to quit living and stop asking
for 'handouts':

Guarding the Coast The oil and gas industry's front organizations, including America's Wetland Foundation run by Big Oil front man, R. King Milling ("Coast Guarding," Aug. 26, 2008, The Gambit), is nothing more than an attempt to have taxpayers foot the bill for Big Oil's destruction of our wetlands in its oil-and-gas operations along the coast over the last 50 years, which returned billions in profits to its already gloated coffers.

While Milling and the other oil and gas henchmen on the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority ponder ways to avoid responsibility for Big Oil's destruction of our wetlands, we lose more miles of coastline.

What will it take for the citizens of Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and our elected leaders to wake up and finally hold the oil companies responsible for their destructive behavior? Evidently, $4 per gallon of gas and destruction of our homes, property and loved ones is not enough. Vincent L. Bowers: letter to Editor The Gambit

So, it isn't just the government and Army Corps of Engineers who are responsible for the destruction in New Orleans and Louisiana and Mississippi, from Katrina, the oil companies themselves have caused a major portion of the problem.
And if you bought gas and oil and natural gas from Louisiana....

The Chief of Houma Nation of Louisiana in Isle de Jean Charles on the aftermath of Ike and Gustav:

Brenda Robichaux, the principal chief of the United Houma Nation, says it broke her heart when she saw what Gustav did.

“I was in tears as I was walking because this is our community. You know, and it's very, very important that we can maintain our life here,” she said.

She says about 100 people live on the island, most of them members of her tribal nation. “We’ve lived here for generation after generation. And so it's family.”

Chief Robichaux says she gets angry thinking about how much this area has lost. The grassy fields with oak trees where kids played, cattle grazed and the barrier islands that offered storm protection.

“You know, why hasn’t the coastal erosion issue been addressed sooner? Why hasn’t those barrier islands been restored? Why hasn’t the oil and gas industry had to repair the location canals that they built that made this community so fragile and so vulnerable?”

People here say what happened to Isle de Jean Charles during Gustav should be a message to the rest of Louisiana. Coastal erosion has destroyed their protection. And now the way of life they have known for generations is in jeopardy.

“This community is a tale of what we can expect for other communities along our coast,” said Natalie Snider from the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.

Isle de Jean Charles destruction

Banksy does New Orleans

Broad Strokes- "--- Clandestine celebrity ---

E-mail blasts, blog notes and a New York Times blurb trumpeted that the British graffiti artist known as Banksy visited New Orleans in the waning days of August, applying illusionistic stencils to scattered sites. Banksy's works address the threats of Hurricane Gustav (a child swinging on a life saver as if it were a tire, for instance) and graffiti eradicator Fred Radtke (a gray workman blotting out sunflowers).

Banksy might be somewhat conflicted by his dual craving for attention (one e-mailer implied that he has a 'representative') and anonymity, but it must be said that his realistic, relevant, trompe l'oeil stencils are a vast improvement over the unimaginative doodling favored by most Crescent City sprayers.
British street artist Banksy has raised the bar far above the usual wall scribbling seen in New Orleans.
Arts writer Doug MacCash can be reached at or 504.826.3481. Read him online at"

Photos of Banksy work in New Orleans on his website and on, one photostream.
Unfortunately the Gray Ghost has already painted over at least one of them.

Wow, Banksy managed about a dozen before Gustav hit, and a few photos and comments made the scene.

I've been begging everyone to ask Banksy to come to New Orleans. Now if we can just stop the Gray Ghost, Fred Radtke.

René O'Deay

banksy in new orleans

banksy in new orleans
Originally uploaded by artbymags
Elysian Fields at Decatur

Long before Gustav began his journey into the Gulf of Mexico, growing from tropical depression to hurricane, the anticipation of today's Saints opener in the Superdome already had been building into its own sort of perfect storm.

Expectations are as high as they've ever been in New Orleans, with new additions Jeremy Shockey, Jonathan Vilma and Sedrick Ellis joining old favorites such as Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Deuce McAllister. The Saints are opening their season at home for the first time in four years, and they are playing perhaps the most important opponent on the schedule, the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It's hard to imagine anything could have intensified today's game, but Gustav did just that, forcing the city to evacuate last weekend before mercifully avoiding the type of devastating blow Hurricane Katrina dealt this region three years ago.

Now, with the populace returning home, this game will serve as New Orleans' loudest sigh of relief -- a "post-hurricane party in the Dome, now that everyone's back together," according to Saints owner/executive Rita Benson LeBlanc.

"I think being back in the Dome, I think it could be electric," said Saints linebacker Scott Fujita,

Tickets still available!

by Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune September 05, 2008 11:08AM

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Superdome will be operating Sunday afternoon as if it's any other game day or at least that's the goal, according to Doug Thornton, the regional vice president of SMG, the company that manages the Superdome.

Thornton said fans won't notice any difference in the traffic or the parking or inside the stadium, with the only possible exception being some specialty food items like carving stations and po-boys and pastas that require a little extra prep time.

"Our goal is to have absolutely no change in the way this operation is run on game day," Thornton said. "We're going to be in great shape. And we're going to play a football game. That's the main thing."

Sunday at the Superdome: New Orleans Saints game is ON! Sunday at the Superdome: New Orleans Saints game is ON!

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