Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Really? Are people truly mobilizing to save the 600 Starbucks that are going out of business? Maybe they should turn around. There's most likely another one across the street. In fact, they are opening one in my grocery store. So much for Americans feeling the "crunch."
Wait...I some how got off the point. I just came across this great blog post about these loony Americans organizing to save the Starbucks. Check it out here.
Here is a choice excerpt:
"No, these citizens are mobilizing to keep the doors open at shops that charge them $4 (soon to be $12) for drinks made from agricultural products (coffee beans) that the company has no, true legal right to exploit without adequate compensation to the indigenous populations that have farmed these products for millennia."
I am the first to admit that yes, I'm a progressive that drinks Starbucks. I don't hate it, although I do have some problems with it. However, these people need to take their anger and put it towards some positive change...like asking Starbucks to only use fair trade coffee or encourage reuse of mugs or I dunno, forget Starbucks and pick up a pen to write your Congressperson about this unjust war we are fighting. Just a thought.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Uranium-bearing liquid has leaked from a broken underground pipe at a nuclear plant in southeastern France, the national nuclear safety authority said Friday. It was the second leak discovered at a French site this month.
The Nuclear Safety Authority said experts were trying to determine how much leaked uranium was present at the plant, which is owned by the electricity company Areva.
Areva, which is owned by the French government, is at the forefront of President Nicolas Sarkozy's effort to sell home-grown nuclear energy technology to the rest of the world.
Among all nations, France is the most dependent on nuclear power, with 59 reactors churning out nearly 80 percent of its electricity. The Nuclear Safety Authority said the pipe was believed to have ruptured several years ago. It added that the pipe "was not in line with the applicable regulations, which require shock resistance ability sufficient to avoid rupture."
This is a vivid reminder of how dangerous Nuclear Power can be. It has no carbon imprint on the environment, true unless you live in the town where Chernobyl is, where it is common to see kids with leukemia and cancer, no limbs and the mortality rate deathly low. My friends where I grew up used to house some children from this ravaged area, two girls who were diagnosed with leukemia who came to the states for health care (because Yeltsin made it very clear he was more interested in capitalism than feeding and keeping healthy the Russian population). The outlook for their lives was bleak, but coming to the states for a summer relieved the radiation in their bodies and they became stronger outside of Chernobyl.
Fifteen years after Chernobyl, the world has moved on. But for Belarus the problems are only beginning. Thyroid cancer rates have risen by 2,400 per cent since the explosion . . . It is the country of Belarus which has suffered, and continues to suffer, most from the disaster: 70 per cent of the radiation has fallen on its land and people. . . . Medical research has shown that radioactive elements (primarily caesium 137 and iodine 131) cross the placental barrier from mother to foetus, contaminating each new generation. Faced with soaring levels of infertility and genetic changes, the gene pool of the Belarussian people is now under threat.
Well, I think of course Nuclear power should be discussed with the new "energy diversity" dialogue, I think it's too risky to move in this direction. Wind, Solar and Hydro power is the way to go. We can show the world the way. Why not?
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
In the first round, the former drug addict and first-round pick for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and now Texas Ranger, showed why he leads the majors with 95 RBIs. He proved that he is, by far, the best story in baseball. A man who did not play at all from 2003-2005, after getting sucked into drugs, hit 28 first-round homers. In my living room in Brazil, I stood up and cheered. I almost cried. When interviewed, he deferred to his friend and coach of 71 years, who had just pitched almost a gamesworth of pitches to the man of the hour.
Josh, obviously fatigued, could only put up three home runs in the final round, and bowed out to Justin Morneau, another amazing hitter from the American League.
I was talking to my sister Sarah about another talent who went through hell, Charles Bukowski. The man, who, after writing prodigiously, stopped publishing for almost 20 years, was "re-discovered" at the age of 45, and put out some of the greatest poetry I have ever read. He wrote about people whose lives were not the stuff of Masterpiece Theatre, or Sense and Sensibility. They lived in flophouses, drank Olde English and bet on horses. They loved women who knoew they were failures. Bukowski had sat in dark rooms, and stared at walls that were peeling.
And I guarentee that Josh Hamilton has, too. After his amazing first round, he answered a question from a perfect-bottled blonde interviewer from ESPN by saying that he was just happy to be alive. He got a standing ovation in Yankee Stadium. And he reminded me of another guy who I just recently got into: Bukowski. Here is The Night I Was Going to Die. I'd like to dedicate it to Josh Hamilton and everyone who looks themselves in the eye and doesn't turn away at the ugliness.
the night I was going to die
I was sweating on the bed
and I could hear the crickets
and there was a cat fight outside
and I could feel my soul dropping down through the
and just before it hit the floor I jumped up
I was almost too weak to walk
but I walked around and turned on all the lights
and then I went back to bedand dropped it down again
I was upturning on all the lights
I had a 7-year-old daughter
and I felt sure she wouldn't want me dead
otherwise it wouldn't have mattered
but all that night
nobody came by with a beer
my girlfriend didn't phone
all I could hear were the crickets and it was
and I kept working at it
getting up and down
until the first of the sun came through the window
through the bushes
and then I got on the bed
and the soul stayed inside at last
now people come by
beating on the doors and windows
the phone rings
the phone rings again and again
I get great letters in the mail
hate letters and love letters.
everything is the same again.
Music is disposable. The world we live in, in "real time", has no respect for longevity. artists are chewed up and spit out. Santogoold, with this single, and an amazing album, should fight to remain strong. Even if it means doing what another pioneer, Dizzee Rascal, did, by joining forces with the underground here in the US, and signing with Def Jux records. She is another recruit into a world of leeches, disguised as agents, producers, labels. A Tribe Called Quest, after releasing The Low End Theory, one of th greatest hip-hop albums ever, received less than $30,000 for record sales. As the GZA said on Liquid Swords, "you gotta read the labels."
Sunday, July 13, 2008
They have never had it easy, what with documents, red tape, and headaches, but they don't seem to live in fear.
After another humiliating example of "justice" for illegal immigrants in the land of the free, Postville, Iowa found its way into the news in May for the arrest of 400 undocumented workers at the Agriprocessors plant.
Erik Caymad-Freixas, Spanish professor and translator, witnessed the procedures, and could not stay quiet about what he saw. Today's New York Times op-ed page, with the article, The Shame of Postville, Iowa, discusses what he saw, and the excesses that have been carried out by the Federal government, specifially, ICE, in the name of the law.
Here is an excerpt:
The essay chillingly describes what Dr. Camayd-Freixas saw and heard as he translated for some of the nearly 400 undocumented workers who were seized by federal agents at the Agriprocessors kosher plant in Postville in May.
Under the old way of doing things, the workers, nearly all Guatemalans, would have been simply and swiftly deported. But in a twist of Dickensian cruelty, more than 260 were charged as serious criminals for using false Social Security numbers or residency papers, and most were sentenced to five months in prison.
What is worse, Dr. Camayd-Freixas wrote, is that the system was clearly rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt. He said the court-appointed lawyers had little time in the raids’ hectic aftermath to meet with the workers, many of whom ended up waiving their rights and seemed not to understand the complicated charges against them.
Dr. Camayd-Freixas’s essay describes “the saddest procession I have ever witnessed, which the public would never see” — because cameras were forbidden.
“Driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging as they shuffled through, the slaughterhouse workers were brought in for arraignment, sat and listened through headsets to the interpreted initial appearance, before marching out again to be bused to different county jails, only to make room for the next row of 10.”
He wrote that they had waived their rights in hopes of being quickly deported, “since they had families to support back home.” He said that they did not understand the charges they faced, adding, “and, frankly, neither could I.”
The American populace, frightened by the Mexican worker on the corner, the local politician stumping about the end of jobs for "Americans," and the reality of recession and $145 a gallon gas, has become easily influenced. Fear sells, whether that fear is of Al-Qeada or hordes of poor immigrants running rampant through "our economy." These workers in Iowa were not identity thieves, or hackers. They were not coyotes, trafficking in lives. They were not Mexican mafia, or El Salvadorean gangbangers. They were poor family breadwinners, who risked everything to make some cash to send back to Guatemala.
As the Times wrote:
No one is denying that the workers were on the wrong side of the law. But there is a profound difference between stealing people’s identities to rob them of money and property, and using false papers to merely get a job. It is a distinction that the Bush administration, goaded by immigration extremists, has willfully ignored. Deporting unauthorized workers is one thing; sending desperate breadwinners to prison, and their families deeper into poverty, is another.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
We are in dangerous territory senselessly eroding what we hold dear, our American Democracy.
A woman is told by her doctor that she has six months to live. "Is there anything I can do?" she asks.
"Yes, there is," the doctor replies. 'You could marry a tax accountant."
"How will that help my illness?" the woman asks.
"Oh, it won't help your illness," says the doctor, "but it will make that six months seem like an eternity!"
Monday, July 7, 2008
KOPPEL: "U.S. troops are in a part of the world that produces a huge amount of oil and natural gas. We will have U.S. troops in that region for years to come, whether we want to or not. … And with the price of oil going up to a 4.5 dollars a gallon, imagine what would happen to the price of oil if we precipitously pull troops out of the Persian Gulf. It’s not going to happen."
Saturday, July 5, 2008
The first point they make is alarming to me, more so than anything he has said or done since winning the nomination. The Board says: Now there seems to be a new Barack Obama on the hustings. First, he broke his promise to try to keep both major parties within public-financing limits for the general election. His team explained that, saying he had a grass-roots-based model and that while he was forgoing public money, he also was eschewing gold-plated fund-raisers. These days he’s on a high-roller hunt.
Even his own chief money collector, Penny Pritzker, suggests that the magic of $20 donations from the Web was less a matter of principle than of scheduling. “We have not been able to have much of the senator’s time during the primaries, so we have had to rely more on the Internet,” she explained as she and her team busily scheduled more than a dozen big-ticket events over the next few weeks at which the target price for quality time with the candidate is more than $30,000 per person.
This is the #1 point why I did not automatically support Obama and was with Edwards for a while because the numbers did not lie. Though, Obama was raising bucket loads of money over the internet he still was raising money from large donors. Since the nomination he has "eschewed" the internet and gone the way of all politicians. What will be owed after these? Or more aptly, what is already owed? How about flip flops on the warrantless wiretaps. Who only knows what else?
The Editorial continues to target him for these flip flops and blasts him for the faith based policies as well as FISA, but leaves two huge issues for the end: the death penalty and gun control.
It ends with this: We are not shocked when a candidate moves to the center for the general election. But Mr. Obama’s shifts are striking because he was the candidate who proposed to change the face of politics, the man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games.
There are still vital differences between Mr. Obama and Senator John McCain on issues like the war in Iraq, taxes, health care and Supreme Court nominations. We don’t want any “redefining” on these big questions. This country needs change it can believe in.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Obama responded to the criticism waged against him for supporting the FISA legislation. Now, I don't agree with him. I think he and his colleagues should push strongly for the provision that holds the telecommunications companies responsible. What I do appreciate is his response, his honesty and his ability to take every day Americans ideas and give them credibility. We have a long way to go and the current wind tunnell to the center is disconcerting and horrifying on some level, but I am still with him - for now.
I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to those of you who oppose my decision to support the FISA compromise.
This was not an easy call for me. I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. That's why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.
But I also believe that the compromise bill is far better than the Protect America Act that I voted against last year. The exclusivity provision makes it clear to any president or telecommunications company that no law supersedes the authority of the FISA court. In a dangerous world, government must have the authority to collect the intelligence we need to protect the American people. But in a free society, that authority cannot be unlimited. As I've said many times, an independent monitor must watch the watchers to prevent abuses and to protect the civil liberties of the American people. This compromise law assures that the FISA court has that responsibility.
The Inspectors General report also provides a real mechanism for accountability and should not be discounted. It will allow a close look at past misconduct without hurdles that would exist in federal court because of classification issues. The recent investigation (PDF) uncovering the illegal politicization of Justice Department hiring sets a strong example of the accountability that can come from a tough and thorough IG report.
The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I'm persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe -- particularly since certain electronic surveillance orders will begin to expire later this summer. Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I've chosen to support the current compromise. I do so with the firm intention -- once I'm sworn in as president -- to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.
Now, I understand why some of you feel differently about the current bill, and I'm happy to take my lumps on this side and elsewhere. For the truth is that your organizing, your activism and your passion is an important reason why this bill is better than previous versions. No tool has been more important in focusing peoples' attention on the abuses of executive power in this administration than the active and sustained engagement of American citizens. That holds true -- not just on wiretapping, but on a range of issues where Washington has let the American people down.
I learned long ago, when working as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, that when citizens join their voices together, they can hold their leaders accountable. I'm not exempt from that. I'm certainly not perfect, and expect to be held accountable too. I cannot promise to agree with you on every issue. But I do promise to listen to your concerns, take them seriously, and seek to earn your ongoing support to change the country. That is why we have built the largest grassroots campaign in the history of presidential politics, and that is the kind of White House that I intend to run as president of the United States -- a White House that takes the Constitution seriously, conducts the peoples' business out in the open, welcomes and listens to dissenting views, and asks you to play your part in shaping our country's destiny.
Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That's ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have. After all, the choice in this election could not be clearer. Whether it is the economy, foreign policy, or the Supreme Court, my opponent has embraced the failed course of the last eight years, while I want to take this country in a new direction. Make no mistake: if John McCain is elected, the fundamental direction of this country that we love will not change. But if we come together, we have an historic opportunity to chart a new course, a better course.
So I appreciate the feedback through my.barackobama.com, and I look forward to continuing the conversation in the months and years to come. Together, we have a lot of work to do.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
If we think now it is us funding this campaing we are wrong!! He listened to us through the nomination and is now abandoning us shockingly swift. What is more unbelievable is this video below by Naomi Klein, author of the Shock Doctrine (the best book in 25 years) is she predicts the move accurately. This speech is the day after Hillary endorsed Barack in early June. She calls for us not to abandon Barack Obama, but to push him and push him where he needs to be before the establishment gets a hold of him (which they are already have obviously). What the FISA group is doing on his website is beautiful and fully in line with this notion. Go America.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008