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America's greatness for helping Haiti.


America's victims of the earthquake individualized, Haiti's undifferentiated mass of hurt and dying made into disaster porn.


Isn't America great for helping Haiti?


America's journalists anticipating violence, some of the coverage almost seeming to call it down, quite frankly; to the point of excitedly and irresponsibly confirming rumors as fact, and having to back away from it.



Aren't we the most generous people in the world?


Slight mention that any other country might be there helping out the Haitians.


But Americans are helping Haiti, we are SO great!!!! (And I exasperatedly begin to think of Jesus' admonition to the Pharisees.)


And then there is the fucking sensationalizing of the Haitians rescuing themselves with their BARE HANDS. I just cannot see what the hell is so strange about this. Wouldn't Americans do the same thing if they were in that situation? Don't all people who don't have access to expensive equipment use whatever they have on hand to rescue people in peril? Isn't the situation dramatic enough that hyperbolic, grating expressions of shock and horror can be dispensed with? To say nothing of the almost slavering eagerness to see riots and violence among the BLACK AND POOR survivors? I suppose you can't expect better from the country that allowed the complete and ongoing clusterfuck that was and is the aftereffects of Katrina. To say nothing of the biased reporting that took place.
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[livejournal.com profile] skywardprodigal has a list of she trusts in terms of donations to Hailti.



[livejournal.com profile] help_haiti is going on in fandom


Also? Dear Lord, can you PLEASE do something about Pat Robertson? Send him a vision or something. He's making you look bad.


Also Rush Limbaugh. Seriously. This guy is poison in the body politic.

Keith Olberman and Eugene Robinson discuss them both

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Listening Post / Listening Post - Yemen news coverage



Media coverage of Yemen and terrorism, Media in China and India, Irish Atheists challenging Blasphemy Law, Macau ten years since the handover of Macau to China.

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Haiti's Earthquake Worst in 200 years


Aftershocks rattled the city as women covered in dust clawed out of debris, wailing. Stunned people wandered the streets holding hands. Thousands gathered in public squares long after nightfall, singing hymns.


People pulled bodies from collapsed homes, covering them with sheets by the side of the road. Passersby lifted the sheets to see if a loved one was underneath. Outside a crumbled building the bodies of five children and three adults lay in a pile.

It was clear tens of thousands lost their homes and many perished in collapsed buildings that were flimsy and dangerous even under normal conditions.

"The hospitals cannot handle all these victims," Dr. Louis-Gerard Gilles, a former senator, said as he helped survivors. "Haiti needs to pray. We all need to pray together."

An Associated Press videographer saw a wrecked hospital where people screamed for help in Petionville, a hillside Port-au-Prince district that is home to many diplomats and wealthy Haitians as well as the poor.MORE
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detroit as a site for large scale post urban farming


EDIT: I'd like to thank the readers for pointing out the flaws and problems that underlie Mr. Hantz' plans to urban farm on a large scale in Detroit. It is, indeed a predator. But I would also like to highlight this article, which I think is pretty good, minus the passing Hantz praise.


food among the ruins there is a lot of highlighting of the work of POC farmers and environmentalists here. People whom, experience teaches, are very likely to be directly in the line of fire of Mr. Hantz and his investors. *sigh*


also: Detroit's 'Quiet Revolution'
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Is Your Eco-Label Lying? Sure, it says it's green. But what's that really mean?


YOUR SHAMPOO BOTTLE is covered with labels proclaiming that its contents are all natural, cruelty free, and biodegradable, but is that actually true? There are more than 300 eco-labels out there, and not all are created equal. Official-looking seals created by industry groups can be misleading. Reassuring claims may be based solely on the manufacturer's word. And some feel-good terms are so broad as to be meaningless. Below, we peel back some common eco-labels and rate them: Green means clean, yellow is okay, and red means buyer beware.


"Hypoallergenic"
Created by cosmetics advertisers in the 1950s, it has no set meaning or standards.

"Fragrance free" Means only that a product doesn't have a noticeable scent; it could still include chemicals that cover up odors.
"Nontoxic" Won't kill your kids if they ingest it, but might contain chemicals that can cause serious health problems.
"Earth smart"/"Green"/"Nature's friend" Meaningless.

ANIMAL CRUELTY

Certified Humane Certified Humane Raised & Handled Meat came from an animal that lived a happy (as far as we know) life with space to move around.
Leaping Bunny Leaping Bunny Cocreated by the Humane Society, this label is for cosmetics and cleaners without ingredients tested on animals.
"Cruelty free" No set standards.
"Free range" No set standards for beef, pork, or eggs. The USDA lets poultry producers make this claim if chickens have "access" to the outdoors for 51% of their lives, not if they actually go out.MORE

fun stuff

Oct. 28th, 2009 01:21 pm
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Willard Wigan: Hold your breath for micro-sculpture



Willard Wigan has immortalized the Obama family in the eye of a needle and Muhammad Ali on the head of a match. In producing sculptures so incredibly small, he works under a microscope and employs ingenious tools, such as a fly's hair or an ex-girlfriend's eyelash for paintbrushes.

This passion for the diminutive stems from feelings of insignificance in Wigan's childhood. He was severely dyslexic but undiagnosed, and his teachers' harsh words drove him to hide in a nearby shed where he made shoes and hats for his friends, the ants. Today, his art has earned him national honors and critical acclaim, proving that some treasures can't be seen with the naked eye.

"It was a fantasy world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn't hold me back and my teachers couldn't criticize me. That's how my career as a micro-sculptor began."
Willard Wigan



Talks William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind



William Kamkwamba, from Malawi, is a born inventor. When he was 14, he built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, working from rough plans he found in a library book called Using Energy and modifying them to fit his needs. The windmill he built powers four lights and two radios in his family home.
After reading about Kamkwamba on Mike McKay's blog Hactivate (which picked up the story from a local Malawi newspaper), TEDGlobal Conference Director Emeka Okafor spent several weeks tracking him down at his home in Masitala Village, Wimbe, and invited him to attend TEDGlobal on a fellowship. Onstage, Kamkwamba talked about his invention and shared his dreams: to build a larger windmill to help with irrigation for his entire village, and to go back to school.
Following Kamkwamba's moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his power system (by incorporating solar energy), and further his education through school and mentorships. Subsequent projects have included clean water, malaria prevention, solar power and lighting for the six homes in his family compound; a deep-water well with a solar-powered pump for clean water; and a drip irrigation system. Kamkwamba himself returned to school, and is now attending the African Leadership Academy, a new pan-African prep school outside Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kamkwamba's story is documented in his autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. A short documentary about Kamkwamba, called Moving Windmills, won several awards last year; Kamkwamba and friends are now working on a full-length film. You can read the ongoing details on his blog (which he keeps with help from his mentor), and support his work and other young inventors at MovingWindmills.org.
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The Good Problem With Housing Near Transit: It’s Almost Too Popular

Local officials are catching on to the power of transit-oriented development to transform quality of life while decreasing congestion, as my colleague Ryan Avent has explored. But now that the federal government is starting to explore how to expand transit-accessible housing, an intriguing problem is arising: it's almost too popular.

jersey_city_TOD.jpgTransit-oriented development in Jersey City, NJ. (Photo: Streetsblog)
After a year-long investigation in 11 cities, auditors at the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported last week that the rising value of housing near transit risks pricing lower-income residents out of the market.
In other words, as transit-oriented development attracts more residents to a given area, property owners are likely to increase prices -- making affordable housing more scarce and rendering government vouchers insufficient.MORE
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Making the Public Transit Beautiful

 

One of the rhetorical strategies of the economic right's cultural politics is to associate the free market with individual pleasure, aesthetic beauty, and technological progress, while associating the public sector with the oppression of the crowd, the spartan ugliness of "civil service issue," and general associations with low-quality, outmoded, cheap machinery. Nowhere is this better seen than in the rhetorical debate over public services.

In the media, the visual and sensory contrast is made very obvious: the car, a luxury commodity associated with wealth and prestige, is an extension of your (now much cooler) person, it's fast and futuristic, and it's well-designed and new (as a matter of fact, it's Audi's concept car for an electric sports car). There's a reason why you never see traffic in car commercials; it would spoil the illusion. By contrast, the dominant media image of mass transit plays up its worst qualities as a social nightmare: it's crowded, claustrophobic, there's no privacy and people and bumping into you, it's noisy and smells terrible, maybe it's dangerous, you're getting delayed again, this is what you take to get where you have to go, not where you want to go.

And part of the cultural work of the left in championing the cause of the public must be to counter-act this kind of imagery. Because the public can and should be beautiful.

This last August, I had the good fortune to travel to Berlin for 10 days. And one of the many things that caught my eye was the fact that, in the land of the autobahn and BMW and Volkswagen, how amazingly abundant and diverse public transit is in Berlin. You can zip across the city in the U-Bahn subway, you can get a wonderful view from the elevated S-Bahn, if you're taking a regular commute you might use one of the bright yellow trams or the plentiful buses, and there are bike paths and cheap rentabikes everywhere. Besides the obvious utility of this redundant network - U-Bahn for speed, trams for a point-to-point commute, S-Bahns from one central spot to another, and bikes and buses for points in between - there's the sheer aesthetic pleasure of it all. ...

And there's no reason why we can't have this kind of public service in the U.S. Granted, you have to have functionality first. The New York City public transit system may be noisy and quite often visually unappealing, but it gets you from point A to point B quickly any time of the day or night. By contrast, the D.C Metro is aesthetically superior to the New York City subway (the cars are newer, the rolling stock runs much quieter, etc.), but its network isn't really as robust as New York City's is. Amtrak, for example, I would argue (again as a lifetime user) has huge deficiencies in both functionality and aesthetic quality. ...

As I've expressed before, I'm a huge believer in mass transit. But beyond that, I'm also someone who is a partisan of the public over the private - I don't like the idea that pleasure and beauty should be commodities, that speed and comfort should be the privilege of the wealthy. Because ultimately what this fight is about is the public square and the common green - whether they should be made beautiful as a source of enjoyment for all but also an expression of a collective aspiration for a better world, or whether they should be chopped up and the pieces sold to the highest bidder.MORE



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VENEZUELA: Women Recycle for Income and Environment

TACARIGUA DE LA LAGUNA, Venezuela, Sep 12 (Tierramérica) - The women of this town in northern Venezuela no longer say "garbage" but rather "secondary raw material," and instead of referring to recycling, they talk about "separation at point of origin."

Tacarigua is a long coastal lagoon covering 9,200 hectares along Venezuela's Caribbean coast, a three-hour drive east of Caracas.

The lagoon has areas where freshwater meets saltwater, but most of it is separated from the sea by a sandy strip 28 kilometres long and about 300 metres wide.

"Here, we women organised ourselves in a small company to collect what we used to see as garbage," María Auxiliadora Uriepero, who has six children and 11 grandchildren, told Tierramérica. She stood in the doorway of her half-built house of cinder-block walls and zinc roof, which currently serves as a warehouse for her sacks of discarded bottles. MORE


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Is there anything or anyone that Obama will stand up for? I mean, if I had wanted a corperatized Republican, I'd have fucking VOTED FOR ONE. Silly me sacrificing my work study cash while at uni to help get him elected cause I believed me when he said it was about the people. I mean, Van Jones? he let go VAN JONES?????? Based on corporate astroturf group Americans for Prosperity and fucking Glenn Beck!?!?!?!This is the last fucking straw.
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Dsteffen at Daily Kos has a very informative and horrifying series of how regulation came to be in some cases. Here it be: How Regulation came to be: 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
According to an AP article that appeared in our local daily this morning, one of the tools the federal government may use in going after Stewart Parnell and other management of the Peanut Corporation of America is the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938. Ironically, the 1938 law has its roots in an incident of corporate hubris and disregard for public safety not unlike the present salmonella-tainted peanut butter case.
"A spoonful of sugar," Julie Andrews sang in her role as Mary Poppins, "Helps the medicine go down." In the middle of the Great Depression, the S. E. Massengill Company found something much better than sugar. Or so they thought. The disaster unfolds on the flip.MORE




How Regulation came to be: The Iroquois Theater Fire

Here's a little mental exercise for you. Picture yourself standing at the front door of your house or apartment preparing to go outside. How do you open the door? Chances are you reach out, grasp the door knob or handle, turn it, and pull the door in towards you. Now picture yourself standing at the door of a business, school, or other public building. What's different? If you answered that the door swings out, give yourself a gold star.

If you know what the Iroquois Theater had to do with this difference, give yourself a big gold star.

...And if you don't, you know where to find out. To the flip.MORE




How Regulation came to be: Radium Girls - Part I

The Radium Dial Company employed about one thousand local women to paint dials primarily for their largest customer, the Westclox clock factory in Peru, Illinois that made the ubiquitous "Big Ben" alarm clock. In an era with few occupations open to women, the pay at the dialpainting factories was significantly better that most alternatives -- as much as three times more -- and the factories had little trouble filling positions. The women, many of them girls fresh out of high school, became part of a phenomenon that would become known collectively as the "Radium Girls".

The women working in Ottawa were assured that the luminous material was safe. Their instructor, wife of the plant manager and teacher of the lip-pointing technique, once ate the radium-laced paint from a spatula to demonstrate its innocuousness. The workers were told by their supervisor that the radium would "put a glow in our cheeks," that "the paint would make us goodlooking,"
Claudia Clark, Radium Girls: Women and Industrial Health Reform: 1910-1935

And then, the workers bones and teeth started to rot, and some began to die
Read more... )
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INDIA

Always Coca-Cola - India (VIDEO)
June 2006
As a principal sponsor of FIFA, Coca-Cola is keen to trade in on the World Cup's image of fair play and good sportsmanship. But many believe its business practices make a mockery of this reputation.

For thirsty fans at the World Cup, there's only one choice of soft drink available. Whether it's Coke, Sprite or Bonaqua, all the brands on sale belong to coca-cola. Many of theses drinks are produced in India, where Coca-Cola's business practices have elicited widespread condemnation. "The coca cola factory ruined my life," despairs one farmer. Producing 0.33L of coke requires 1L of water. In some villages near cola factories, water levels have dropped by 60m. Harvests have fallen by more than 40% because there is not enough water to irrigate fields. But Coca-Cola denies all responsibility. "We are not the problem", states spokesman Rajiv Singh. "There are simply too many people living here who are wasteful with water." Coca-cola also stands accused of pollution and union busting. Many workers in their factories receive around 50 cents for a 12 hour shift. They have no unions and sometimes receive no compensation for injuries sustained. As Bhagwab Das Yadav states: "All we want is for coca cola to respect India's labour laws


From India resource.org

Campaign to Hold Coca-Cola Accountable

Coca-Cola Crisis in India

Communities across India are under assault from Coca-Cola practices in the country. A pattern has emerged as a result of Coca-Cola's bottling operations in India.
  • Communities across India living around Coca-Cola's bottling plants are experiencing severe water shortages, directly as a result of Coca-Cola's massive extraction of water from the common groundwater resource. The wells have run dry and the hand water pumps do not work any more. Studies, including one by the Central Ground Water Board in India, have confirmed the significant depletion of the water table.
  • When the water is extracted from the common groundwater resource by digging deeper, the water smells and tastes strange. Coca-Cola has been indiscriminately discharging its waste water into the fields around its plant and sometimes into rivers, including the Ganges, in the area. The result has been that the groundwater has been polluted as well as the soil. Public health authorities have posted signs around wells and hand pumps advising the community that the water is unfit for human consumption.
  • In two communities, Plachimada and Mehdiganj, Coca-Cola was distributing its solid waste to farmers in the area as "fertilizer". Tests conducted by the BBC found cadmium and lead in the waste, effectively making the waste toxic waste. Coca-Cola stopped the practice of distributing its toxic waste only when ordered to do so by the state government.
  • Tests conducted by a variety of agencies, including the government of India, confirmed that Coca-Cola products contained high levels of pesticides, and as a result, the Parliament of India has banned the sale of Coca-Cola in its cafeteria. However, Coca-Cola not only continues to sell drinks laced with poisons in India (that could never be sold in the US and EU), it is also introducing new products in the Indian market. And as if selling drinks with DDT and other pesticides to Indians was not enough, one of Coca-Cola's latest bottling facilities to open in India, in Ballia, is located in an area with a severe contamination of arsenic in its groundwater.
MORE



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Simply put: Nyota Uhura is not a white girl.

While women of color are not necessarily embroiled in an entirely different feminist struggle than white women, they sure as fuck are not in the same place. (emphasis mine)

...

Uhura being single in TOS was not empowering.


She was single because the male leads were all white and as a black woman she was less of a person than them, she was less of a person than a white woman, and the fact that this serendipitously ended up meaning that she didn't have to spend all of her time mooning pathetically after dismissive men does not make that any more acceptable.

She got to sit in the back and rarely do anything and have her sexuality ignored not because they respected her so much as a colleague and a person, but because she was not a full, real human being and when you're not a full, real human being the idea that actual people would ever desire you or romance you or love you is ridiculous. You are invisible.MORE


[IBARW] Announcement and Ecumenical responses to the Northern Territory (Austrailia) Intervention Basically the Australian gov't is fucking with the Aborigines "for their own good".

Prior to the 2007 Election, the Howard Government began an "intervention" into Indigenous Communities in the Northern Territory. It was supposedly in response to levels of child abuse found in some communities, but used a "one size fits all" approach, and implemented draconian measures such as income "quarantining", getting rid of the permit system in NE Arnhemland, and other bizarre actions that would not be accepted by any other segment of the Australian community without utter uproar and outrage.

...
Anyway: a joint NATSIEC/NATSICA (Indigenous ecumenical bodies originating in the mainstream and evangelical churches respectively) forum earlier this year released this statement. An excerpt:
We believe that Aboriginal Peoples have not been listened to and our stories have
not been heard. The Intervention was implemented without consultation with
Aboriginal Peoples and Government continues to fail to listen with respect and in a
manner which is culturally appropriate.
MORE


For the White Person who wants to be my friend

Pat Parker

The first thing you do is to forget that i'm Black.
Second, you must never forget that i'm Black. MORE


Cages, Vick and Cherry

I remember, as do most people, a couple of years ago when Michael Vick was sentenced to prison. I also remember that a lot of the talk about him revolved around him being a brute (beast/monster/animal/Black) who gained pleasure from torturing dogs. The nail in the coffin for Vick was of course his abuse (murder/torture) of animals that Good people cuddled with, instead of the numerous animals that most of americans are cool with killing for pleasure (meat tasting so good and all). It was, of course, many of my fellow herbivores who went nuts with the racialized and brutal imagery. MORE


International Blog Against Racism Week - Indigenous Small Presses

the Australian Productivity Commission has just released a report on the parallel importation of books. Basically this is a proposal to cut import costs on books, which will probably lower the price of books and almost certainly knock some small presses out of business in Australia. Which would include the small Indigenous presses. I have written to the Government asking that they take the likely impact on small presses into account. Closing small Indigenous presses would mean fewer great books like Sally Morgan’s *My Place* (Fremantle Arts Press, 1987). It would mean losing great books to educate kids about Australia’s indigenous culture like *Aussie Toddlers Can* (Magabala, 2006).* It would mean losing a record of Australian experience, like Yami Lester’s autobiography (IAD Press, 1993). If not for books like *Yami* how would people know about the experiences of Western Desert people exposed to nuclear testing at Maralinga?MORE


Looking for my particular brand of Unicorn

There are talented actors of Persian or Middle Eastern descent in America. They would really like to play roles that do not involve terrorism. Us Middle Eastern people would like to see them play roles that do not involve terrorism. Why? Because media representation of our people fucking matters. It matters to our own perception of ourselves, and it matters to the world's perception of us. The news is bad enough with portraying all Middle Eastern people as some bloc of terrorists, potential terrorists, and oppressed people what need saving by white people. For once, we'd like to see Middle Eastern people living the same stories on the big screen that the white people get to live. And failing that, we would fucking like to see Middle Eastern people playing the roles actually based on our cultures and peoples.MORE

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