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From Stranger (blog) - Posted by news intern Ansel Herz
It's been three weeks since May Day, and the reverberations from the day's mayhem continue. At a court hearing last Thursday, two young men accused of throwing rocks at the police were arraigned in King County Superior Court. That evening, Seattle police posted to their website asking for tips from the public on eight suspects, complete with videos that appear to show young men smashing windows with rocks and skateboards.
"I could feel my temper rising as I watched this thing fall apart," KIRO radio host Dave Ross told Mayor Mike McGinn the day after May Day. "Why have they adopted [Seattle] as their playground?" his co-host asked.
"There is a desire to provoke a confrontation with the police, so then they can claim the police overreacted," McGinn said. "This is in fact the objective of the march."
"I speak for the majority of Seattle when I say fuck you all and your stupid white privilege that thinks you can walk around smashing shit up, yelling and throwing shit at the police," wrote one typical Slog commenter.
It's easy to stereotype window-breakers and rock-throwers as spoiled kids throwing tantrums, out with malevolent intentions to mess with the police, and then feel indignant about it. But truth be told, those are lazy, inaccurate assumptions.
At the court hearing last week, it became clear that the two guys being arraigned are homeless. The prosecutor argued against letting them go and called them "threats to community safety."
But the judge released 18-year-old Joshua Irwin-Patterson back into "clean and sober housing," run by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA), until his June trial. A JRA employee testified that under her supervision since 2011, Irwin-Patterson had been "doing well."
Twenty-one-year-old Marcel Davis would return to the Orion Center, a facility for homeless youth, if released, his attorney said. At one point during the hearing, Davis, who is black, seemed to have trouble understanding a simple question. He's being charged with second degree assault for allegedly throwing a rock that broke a police officer's kneecap. The judge decided to continue jailing him on $60,000 bail.
Of the 17 people arrested on May Day, "about nine" are homeless or without stable housing, according to Lizz M. (she prefers not use her last name), a Seattle University student who's helping raise money to defray their legal costs. "Four or five identify as queer. Two are juveniles," and "two or three" will be judged in mental competency hearings.
The narrative of pampered lawbreakers "makes me so angry," she says. "What else can you expect from a life like that. You're on the street," she adds, referring to Davis. According to police reports last year, he has the mental capacity of a 14-year-old.
"It's a little alien to me," Mayor Mike McGinn told KIRO. "I just never considered throwing a rock at a police officer as part of the toolbox of change."
Of course it's alien. There's a great deal of social distance between someone like McGinn, a lawyer turned mayor, and most of those who allegedly smashed things and were arrested. Most activists in Seattle channel their ideas and feelings into more productive forms of protest. But those who were arrested aren't like most activists.
Because the average person wouldn't break random windows. In fact, broken windows are a bit like terrorist attacks. And "blowback" is a useful frame through which to analyze both.
The CIA first used the term "blowback" in a 1954 report on the coup d'etat, which the agency helped carry out, against Iran's prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh. It has since become a shorthand for the "unintended results of American actions abroad." Last month, while Dzohkar Tsaernaev hid in a boat, he reportedly scrawled a note describing the Boston bombings "retribution" for attacking Iraq and Afghanistan and calling "the victims 'collateral damage' in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars."
Who could have guessed? And yet our civic leaders don't talk about blowback. Instead, we profile Muslims in America, and we keep on bombing and droning and killing Muslims overseas. We heap scorn upon the few misguided, radicalized, and ultimately malicious individuals who've carried out terrorist attacks.
We can take the same approach towards anarchists and people on the margins who gravitate towards radical movements in the Pacific Northwest, trying to criminalize their dissent—or we can try to understand their actions (which is not the same as endorsing them) and defuse the tensions that lead to them.
To be absolutely clear: Being an anarchist, breaking a window, or throwing a rock at the cops is not terrorism, full stop, despite the FBI's attempts to conflate them.
But bombings and smashings represent blowback against a game where the rules, to some people, seem fixed and grossly unfair. In the Middle East, it's American hegemony. In America, it's hegemony of the upper class. Breaking a window is an attention-grabbing way of saying, "Fuck those rules."
"People will follow rules they feel they understand and agree with. And they will follow rules that they helped create," explains Joe Brewer, a hyper-articulate linguist and director of the Seattle-based firm Cognitive Policy Works. I called Brewer because he's the mind behind an initiative called The Rules.
"The reason we called it 'the rules' is that this is the core narrative that plays out through all these structural problems," Brewer says. He lists issues like wealth inequality, poverty, institutional sexism, and environmental collapse. "Pick your issue, and you can see how the rules were constructed to make it so... Poverty doesn't exist by accident."
The Rules' latest campaign targets tax havens, where Brewer says some $21-30 trillion has been stashed by the corporations and the rich. Brewer also talks about changing the legal definition of a corporation to eliminate the psychopathic mandate for maximum profits.
"When someone engages in a violent act, that's usually an exasperated response of someone who feels powerless in some way," Brewer says of the May Day window-breakers. "Anger against authority figures comes about when people think the authority figure has betrayed them," he continues. "The most special kind of hatred anyone has is betrayal."
It's safe to say Bryanna Stader, 27, feels betrayed. She's a soft-spoken recent arrival in Seattle from Olympia. Her mom's a nurse and she's never been in police custody before, she says.
- Ansel Herz
- Bryanna Stader
But when police arrested her on May Day and then took her to the emergency room that evening, "It was definitely a different experience. When I asked for water they just ignored me and walked away. They didn't give me any ibuprofen or ice for my swelling... On my ER report, it just says I fell."
She says her injuries stemmed from the "excessive force" police used arresting her. "I remember the police yelled 'arrest.' I was grabbed from behind, and my arms were lifted up above my head," she says. "I remember seeing my feet not on the ground any more and then my face hit the ground... And then when I got out of the police car, I couldn't walk on my foot."
Stader, who works at Subway, isn't sure if her wrist is fractured or just bruised. Her boss advised her to take time off of work until she's healed up. According to the police, she shoved an officer and struggled during the arrest. She denies that and is pleading not guilty to obstruction charges.
"I definitely learned a lot, about the inner system," she says. "Like how the way the police and the hospital kind of seem to be together. And that makes me paranoid and not trusting."
As I mentioned anarchists in a question, Stader interrupted to say she doesn't know what the word really means. "I went down there to just learn about different groups because I know there's something wrong going on in this country. And something should be done to stop it. I'm not an anarchist. I wasn't there to hurt anybody or anything. I just got caught up."
As did I, nearly getting pepper sprayed by police while filming the scene and holding up my press badge. SPD spokesman Sergeant Sean Whitcomb watched the video of the incident, but was unapologetic. He said all uses of force are under review, but that pepper spray was deployed as a last resort and means of self-defense once "bottles, metal bars, and fireworks" had been thrown.
But the officers clearly are not using pepper spray in self-defense. Look at the frame by frame.
They deliberately spray individuals who aren't attacking them. "You're not far off the mark," Whitcomb said, finally opening up some wiggle room. "They weren't doing it because they were afraid of you, or [reporter] Erica Barnett, or the guy in the mohawk...they were doing it to move the crowd, which was hostile."
"I now understand on a visceral level what it's like to feel betrayed by the people we pay to protect us," Barnett wrote the next day.
Here's where the parallels I drew earlier with "the war on terrorism" become almost eerie. "When a lawful order [to disperse] is given, it basically means to leave the area. Not everyone but shoppers, or everyone but reporters, but everyone," Whitcomb continued.
He pondered aloud whether for next year's May Day reporters should wear neon-colored clothes or be issued special press passes into the area by the police. I immediately thought of reporters in warzones who have PRESS emblazoned on their vehicles and vests.
Whitcomb is essentially saying it is not incumbent on Seattle police officers to use force carefully and judiciously, as former SPD chief Norm Stamper advocates. Instead, it's everybody else's responsibility, from bystanders to reporters, to not become collateral damage.
Coincidentally this week, Pentagon officials argued in a congressional hearing that the entire globe is a battlefield.
Fuck those rules.Tags: Seattlemay dayWWWCategory: Analysis
Knoxville, Tennessee: Three Hands Off Appalachia Activists Call Out UBS Wealth Management Services for Funding Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Bristol, Virginia: Mountain Justice Blockades Road to Shut Down Alpha HQ, Five Arrested UPDATE 10:00 AM: All five blockaders have been removed and arrested. Please consider a generous donation to RAMPS Campaign’s legal fund! Even five or ten …
For Immediate Release 5/24/13
Contact: Charles Suggs, 304-986-5080, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alpha Headquarters Shut Down By Demonstrators Locked to Tank of Dirty Water
Residents Protest Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining, Health Impacts and Sludge Expansion
BRISTOL, VA.— Three residents of Central Appalachia and supporters with Mountain Justice chained themselves to an industrial tank of black water in front of Alpha Natural Resources’ Bristol, Va., headquarters to protest Alpha’s mountaintop removal strip mining and coal slurry operations across the region.
“I’m risking arrest today because mountaintop removal has to end now for the future viability of Appalachia,” says Emily Gillespie of Roanoke, Va., whose work with the Mountain Justice movement is inspired by Appalachian women’s history of non-violent resistance. The tank of water represents coal contamination from affected communities across the Appalachian region.
The group called for Alpha to stop seeking an expansion of the Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment in Raleigh County, W.Va. “We want Kevin Crutchfield, CEO of Alpha Natural Resources, to produce a signed document expressing that they won’t seek the expansion of the Brushy Fork Impoundment before we leave,” Junior Walk, 23, from the Brushy Fork area said.
“I live downstream from Alpha’s Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment on Coal River. If that impoundment breaks, my whole family would be killed,” Walk said, “Even if it doesn’t, we’re still being poisoned by Alpha’s mining wastes everyday. I’m here to bring the reality of that destruction to the corporate authorities who are causing it, but who don’t have to suffer its consequences.”
More than 20 peer-reviewed studies since 2010 demonstrate a connection between mountaintop removal coal mining operations and increased cases of kidney, lung, and heart diseases, as well as increased birth defects and early mortality. The ACHE act, currently in sub committee in Washington, calls for a moratorium on new mountaintop removal operations until a definitive, non-partisan study can demonstrate the reason for these community health emergency levels of health impacts.
The impoundment at Brushy Fork holds back almost 5 billion gallons of toxic sludge and is considered the largest earthen dam in the Western hemisphere. Recently leaked records show that Alpha’s coal slurry impoundments in Appalachia failed 59 out of 75 73 total structural tests performed by the Office of Surface Mining. “Alpha is only profitable because they’re allowed to gamble with our lives—and we’re the ones who pay the cost of their negligence and toxic pollution,” Walk said.
Alpha has lost numerous lawsuits relating to pollution from mining wastes in recent years, but they continue to violate safety regulations and expand their hazardous operations.
After refusing to take responsibility for the massive floods caused by the King Coal Highway and their destructive mountaintop removal mining practices, Alpha continues to push forward similar projects, such as the controversial Coalfields Expressway in Virginia.
To learn more about Mountain Justice, visit www.mountainjustice.org
This is a guest post by Caroline Selle
Much of the debate around the Keystone XL pipeline has focused on the dangers of extracting and transporting the tar sands. Left out, however, are those in the United States who are guaranteed to feel the impacts of increased tar sands usage. Spill or no spill, anyone living near a tar sands refinery will bear the burden of the refining process.
Tar sands oil is produced from a mixture of sand, clay, water, and the sticky, peanut-butter like form of petroleum known as bitumen. Unlike conventional crude, it’s essentially solid at room temperature, has a higher heavy metal content, and has to be diluted for transport. The diluents are trade secrets, and the content mixture - which often contains benzene, a human carcinogen - isn’t something companies are required to report.
DeSmogBlog has covered the impacts of tar sands extraction on indigenous communities, and the dangers of moving tar sands through a network of pipelines is aptly covered here. And while major nonprofits have completed studies on the dangers of transporting tar sands, there is significantly less information available on how refining tar sands differs from processing conventional crude.
Additional heavy metals and benzene might sound like a recipe for disaster anywhere, but the location of several major tar sands refineries is already overburdened with pollutants. In Harris County, Texas – home to the city of Houston – people are already surrounded by refineries and factories spewing toxic pollution into the air. And as the southern leg of the Keystone XL project slowly fills in its missing pieces, the spectre of toxic bitumen looms.
Harris County, Texas, is home to the Lyondell Houston Refinery. The Lyondell facility is expanding its ability to refine tar sands bitumen, attempting to more than double its capacity to process Canadian crude. Never mind that the refinery already has numerous Clean Air and Clean Water Act violations. If the facility expands as planned, its capacity will increase from 60,000 to 175,000 barrels a day.
The air quality in Harris County is already dangerous without the added burden of tar sands pollution. Although levels of many chemicals have decreased in recent years, residents are reaping the rewards of living so close to massive amounts of cancer-causing pollution. A 2006 study by the Texas government found increased rates of certain cancers in the Harris County population.
Children living in the areas with the highest level of 1,3 butadiene had a 153% higher chance of developing acute myeloid leukemia than those living in areas with the lowest concentrations of the same chemical. A 2003 study found a positive correlation between ozone density and asthma in Harris County residents, and the cancer risk of Houston residents living in the most contaminated areas is increased by a factor of 1000.
Though the Lyondell website advertises winning “13 national safety awards in the past five years,” the Lyondell Chemical Co. has the second highest rate of disposing of toxics of any industrial facility in Harris County. The more you learn, the worse it gets. In 2011, Harris County accounts for 14.74 percent of total Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) measured chemical releases and transfers in Texas. Texas already ranks 3rd highest (worst) in terms of pounds of toxics released and or transferred - out of 56 states and territories.
Lyondell Chemical Co. owns Houston Refining, a facility in Manchester, Texas which has been the subject of four formal EPA enforcement acts in the last five years. The company was fined $549,055 for violating the Clean Air Act, and yet, as of April, 2013, the facility has had 12 consecutive quarters of non-compliance. The area around Houston refining is 80% minority, with about one out of every four people below the federal poverty line.
Despite these grim statistics, the refinery was granted a pollution permit from the Texas Council on Environmental Quality without the requested public hearing in 2010. Residents were concerned about benzene exposure, which is likely to increase with greater refining of the tar sands. Already, the neighborhood has seen struggles over controlling the amount of benzene in the air.
A 2011 report by the Texas Center for Environmental Quality revealed decreasing levels of toxics in the air, but some residents claim that the data is based off of faulty and broken air quality monitors. Still, the decreasing levels are likely unsafe: Texas has some of the highest ‘safe’ benchmarks for carcinogens in the country. Additionally, the cumulative effect of lifetime exposure to a “toxic soup” of “safe” levels of chemicals is unknown.
With toxic chemical exposure nearly certain, it is unclear what the next step will be for residents of Harris County. It’s clear the area isn’t facing the impacts of the Keystone XL on the same timeline as the rest of the nation. President Obama already approved the lower leg of the pipeline, and the connection from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX is almost complete.
Once built, the Cushing hub will connect to other pipelines and transportation systems moving tar sands from Alberta. For many residents of Harris County, this is a life or death struggle more immediate than the “what-if” of a pipeline spill. And it’s not a “what-if.” For Harris County, the fight is “right now.”
Image credit: Oil Refinery on Shutterstock
"We have a responsibility to awe." — Jason Silva
"Shots of Awe" is a wicked awesome new video series I just discovered. "Performance philosopher" Jason Silva will release a new "philosophical shot of espresso" every Tuesday on the ShotsOfAwe YouTube channel. Pretty cool.
After being diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer at age 14, Zach Sobiech made a conscious choice to become the best person he could be. Long story short, he nailed it. Zach wrote songs, created hundreds of friendships, and touched the hearts of millions when his videos went viral. His girlfriend, Amy Adamle, recounts how incredibly genuine and loving Zach was throughout his entire life. Mr. Sobiech, you will be dearly missed.
Everyone's favorite astrophysicist gets animated during his commencement speech at Rice University. At 5:44, he explains the only things that push a nation to do something big and describes the overwhelmingly positive repercussions at 11:06. At 17:22, he lowers the boom about how wayward America has gotten. Don't miss the end for an uplifting call to action.
This week, under questioning from opposition MPs, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver confirmed that his department intends to spend up to 16.5 million dollars on advertising in the upcoming year. Further details on how this taxpayer-funded PR campaign for Canada's natural resources will be run were lacking.
Mike De Souza writes for Canada.com, that Oliver "also declined to provide specifics on a training program, worth up to $500,000, for his department's scientists and other officials, 'designed to help them communicate with the public and to do so in a way that is accessible to the public.'"
Speaking to a special committee studying spending estimates in the House of Commons on Tuesday evening, Oliver confirmed that much of the advertising would be focused on promoting the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline linking Albertan tar sands oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.
This comes as no surprise, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper trumpeting the multibillion dollar Keystone project's virtues in the US, and his government fighting an EU initiative to label tar sands oil as highly polluting. As De Souza writes, "Canadian and American oil companies are lobbying the Obama government to approve the pipeline in order to support oilsands expansion and jobs."
Oliver reportedly declined to say how much money was being spent in the US and Europe for aforementioned lobbying against climate-change legislation. He "also declined to say whether any advertising money would be spent to promote renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power."
Opposition MPs didn't take kindly to the plan. NDP natural resources critic Peter Julian apparently denounced it as "political advertising," saying that it represents a 7,000 per cent increase in advertising budgets at Natural Resources Canada since 2010-2011. Julian also expressed concerns about the initiative to train scientists on public speaking, especially with the government already under scrutiny for preventing scientists from speaking about research on climate change.
De Souza quotes Julian as saying, "The idea that there would be some kind of formal media muzzling of scientists is something that most Canadians would profoundly disagree with." He took issue with funnelling taxpayers' money into this kind of "media muzzling."
Liberal Marc Garneau also called the promotion of tar sands oil development "irresponsible" when the government still doesn't have concrete answers on the potential impact of tar sands crude spills in the Pacific Ocean. That such spills could have long-term repercussions is clear. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued an order to Enbridge asking them to clean up lingering pollution from a 2010 pipeline spill in Michigan.
When asked about the results of research into the issue, Oliver said that there's no way for him to "know what the precise results of that research would be."
Oliver acknowledged that "climate change is a pressing global problem," but added that the "nature of our policy response is different from that of the opposition parties." One presumes the Harper government's "policy response" is to channel its resources into promoting the very industry that contributes so heavily to this "pressing global problem."
De Souza adds that Natural Resources Canada "emailed Postmedia News explaining that details of the $16.5 million in advertising would be published at some point in the future. It also said that the special training program for scientists and staff was required under the government's public relations policy and that the program's budget would not exceed $400,000 at Natural Resources Canada."
Image Credit: Government of Canada / Wikimedia CommonsTags: Harper Governmenttar sandsKeystone XLadvertisingPRpipelinesclimate change
New Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) replies (1, 2, and 3) expose worse misbehavior at George Mason University. GMU badly mishandled simple plagiarism complaints, including one on a Federally-funded paper, retracted in May 2011, finally ruled as misconduct in 2012. Federal rules required notifications to several agencies earlier, but FOIA requests found no trace of any: Army 1, Army 2, GMU 1, GMU 2.
GMU gets $129M+/year in Federal grant funds, generally takes 30% for itself, but breaks rules.
''"We took these charges very seriously," (GMU Provost Peter) Stearns said, in a telephone interview, adding that the university will forward the investigation reports to federal authorities. The National Institutes of Health and the Department of the Army supported the 2008 study.'
Stearns had already written falsehoods to his own faculty, as detailed in See No Evil, Speak Little Truth, Break Rules, Blame Others, §6. GMU has many respectable faculty members, but the GMU administration ran a bizarre process far outside academic norms, GMU's own rules and Federal rules.
Was this just total incompetence by the administration of a 32,000-student university? Or was some part played by the powerful influence at GMU of Charles Koch and his associates, as discussed in See No Evil §A.5, §A.6?
In any case, Edward Wegman was appointed in Fall 2012 to a 3-year term on the GMU College of Science Promotion and Tenure Committee.
Then, in February 2013 GMU modified its already-opaque and complaint-discouraging process to be even more so.
No Lack of Contradictory Rulings
In December 2009, Canadian blogger “Deep Climate” started documenting problems in the Wegman Report. Based on those findings, in March and May 2010, Raymond Bradley lodged formal plagiarism complaints to GMU for:
- 2.5 pages of the Wegman Report's text, taken from Bradley’s own book, ruled by GMU as not plagiarism, despite comments from experts.
- 5.5p Social Networks Analysis (SNA) in the Wegman Report, also ruled not plagiarism.
- 1.5p subset of that same SNA text re-used in a paper (P179 here) funded by 3 Federal grants. Elsevier forced retraction in May 2011, GMU admitted to plagiarism in February 2012. It seems hard to have done otherwise.
Result 2 obviously contradicted 3. Stearns' February 2012 letter claimed existence of separate committees to handle 1+2, and 3 and claimed separate reports. Earlier FOIAs proved both false. GMU refused to release any reports, so we only have Stearns' word for their contents.
Dan Vergano talked to an expert and wrote:
'Yes, plagiarism does matter," says scientific misconduct expert Nicholas Steneck of the University of Michigan, a former Office of Research Integrity official, by e-mail. Plagiarism is one of the "Big Three" of science misconduct offenses, alongside falsifying and fabricating data that trigger punishment from federal research agencies. "If the project is federally funded, the results of the investigation must be forwarded to the appropriate agency," Steneck says.'
From "See No Evil ... §1.2" GMU should have notified both Army Research Office (ARO) and Office of Research Integrity (ORI, for National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)) at steps 3-5:
- ~05/13/10 Bradley lodges complaint on Federally-funded paper
- ~09/30/10 Inquiry committee report recommended investigation
- ~03/07/11 GMU finally decided an investigation was warranted,
- ~10/11/11 GMU investigation was completed
- ~02/22/12 GMU completed adjudication
FOIAs found nothing from ARO or GMU. While it is possible that both missed notifications,the ARO FOIA staff were especially diligent in tracking down other nontrivial requests. ORI was not asked, because they never comment on open cases.
It is hard to prove non-existence, but the evidence is consistent - GMU failed to notify both agencies, despite Stearns' claim and the media spotlight.
Should GMU show that they did send notifications, I will be glad to retract these comments ... and send new FOIA requests for them.
No Due Diligence
GMU clearly failed to to perform the due diligence demanded by its own policies. It takes but a few minutes' perusal of the grant reports, especially of 0447, to notice at least some of the serious funds misuses detailed in FOIA Facts 2, starting with the Wegman Report. Vergano wrote:
'Although a number of reports by Columbia University statistician Andrew Gelman and others have noted more instances of possible plagiarism in work by Wegman and his team, Stearns says the university is not investigating any other complaints.'
In hopes that the new GMU President Angel Cabrera might take action, he was sent email citing See No Evil... in August 2012 and a similar certified letter in September. These attempts got no acknowledgement, but that omission inspired the latest FOIAs. Although intended to unearth GMU notifications, as a byproduct they happened to expose the pervasive funds misuse and other problems highlighted in this series.
In 2011, GMU got $129M in Federal funds.
Policies Change, But Not For The Better
The old policy applied through February 21, 2013. Many schools specify that legitimate complainants be given reports, even informed of committee members, given appeal rights, etc.
The new policy was signed by Associate VP Elizabeth Brock and Provost Stearns:
The University reserves the right to communicate general information regarding the results of any proceedings, where necessary in the judgment of the administration to preserve or restore the reputation of the University, the respondent, or the complainant. At no time, however, shall the University reveal detailed personal information regarding the complainant, the respondent or witnesses, nor shall the University reveal the nature or substance of the evidence or reasoning employed throughout the proceedings."
This is even more explicit than the old one - GMU will tell nobody anything meaningful. The new procedure mostly resembles the old one, but with some different roles.
Perhaps encouraging, GMU now has an AVP - Assistant VP, Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, a job filled by an experienced person new to GMU. Peter Stearns is still Provost, although Roger Stough appears no longer to be VP Research and Economic Development.
Having studied dozens of university policies and procedures, GMU's new one remains one of the most opaque and hostile to external complaints, that I have seen. It is unclear if anything important will really change, and of course:
Wegman was appointed in Fall 2012 to a 3-year term on the GMU College of Science Promotion and Tenure Committee.
Thus, he will continue to have influence over younger faculty.
Most of the visual work is now done for the Infographic and here it is for your enjoyment.
As before, please leave a comment or email Ed with feedback.
Left to do:
Categories: Solutions Feed
Are you suffering from back pain? Is sleep evading you? Before turning to the medicine cabinet for more sleeping pills you might just try a feather-bed. Here is a short article on the various kinds.
Americans will spend more than $1.4 billion filling up during their Memorial Day travels, according to an analysis released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Recently, three members of Congress and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) have made misleading or inaccurate public statements about climate change, often in the context of extreme weather.
Danny Boyle with a brilliant idea. At 0:50, he coins a fun word, and at 2:00, find out where all the envelope-pushing writers went. Share this if you have the same sentiment (I know I do).
We at March Against Monsanto would to like to apologize for the “statement of non-violence” that was made earlier. The statement did not reflect the views of our international organizing team, and we apologize to all of those who felt marginalized or attacked.
Those involved in the MAM include mothers, fathers, anarchists, Occupiers, progressives, libertarians, liberals, all genders, no genders, apolitical people and everyone else you could imagine.
March Against Monsanto supports a diversity of tactics to be used against Monsanto and their affiliates. We also however do not want to create a space that would endanger children, the elderly, and any other innocent bystanders because of a reactionary assault by local police.
Be safe; be smart; be strategic.
The fight against Monsanto is a big tent, and it is to our benefit to keep it that way. Anyone and everyone dedicated to community, peace and constructive action to get rid of Monsanto are welcome to participate.
We retract our earlier statement, and apologize that it has created confusion and division.
On May 25, the world will know why we march together in solidarity against Monsanto.Tags: MAMCategory: Actions
Would You Rather Be A Nobody Or A Jerk To Everybody? This Graduation Speech Makes It Really Obvious.
If you don't know who John Green is, now is your chance to fall in love with his brain. Unlike a lot of graduation speeches, Green's gets real about how almost every graduate in the room is about to become a nobody. Somehow, it doesn't sound quite as bad when he says it. Go to 4:34 for an exercise straight outta the Mr. Rogers playbook, or skip to 6:44 to discover the harsh realities of the universe. At 11:46, he describes how being a nobody comes with the added benefit of learning how to not be a jerk, and there's a little career tip at 15:01 concerning old people and the Internet.
Stephen Colbert's commencement address is both hilarious and touching as he discusses the Bible (video #1 — 2:12), why he can speak for all of Iran (video #1 — 6:53), the tribulations of the real world (video #2 — 1:02), the reason he hates and fears the graduates (video #2 — 7:02), and why cynicism is bad for you (video #3 — 2:02). Check this speech out if you want a good laugh and a good think.
Jon Stewart's timeless commencement address to the graduates of the College of William & Mary in 2004 contains a few massively powerful statements. At 5:25, he discusses the state of the world (not good). At 6:54, he describes the futility of the wars America is involved in. And at 11:51, he talks about why many of the students present are about to feel very alone. My favorite moment comes at 13:03, when Stewart sticks up for the entire generation of graduates.
This is a guest post by Pam Martens, cross-posted with permission from Wall Street On Parade.
On February 25, 2013, James Hepburn, writing at Daily Kos, made the emphatic assertion in a headline that “Big Tobacco Had Nothing to Do With Tea Party Formation.” That is likely to be the one headline that will haunt Mr. Hepburn to his grave.
I decided to follow in the treacherous footsteps of the IRS and engaged in that unforgiveable sin: I targeted the “tea party” as a key word search at the legacy tobacco document archive. Resting quietly in the archive is full blown proof that Big Tobaccodirectly created multiple Tea Parties in 1994 as push back against a planned increase in the Federal Excise Tax (FET) on cigarettes.
In fact, Big Tobacco not only created the Tea Party, it has promoted it over decades, pumped millions into marketing it, and pulled it out of its magic hat every time it needed to produce an overnight, spontaneous “grassroots” movement.
Hepburn was nit-picking an article at Huffington Post by Brendan DeMelle that characterized an exhaustive study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as confirming that the “Tea Party Was Created By Big Tobacco.” Hepburn writes: “This is unfortunate because one, it isn’t true, and two, it overshadows the true origins of the Tea Party which is still largely unknown and far more interesting.”
DeMelle and the UCSF researchers were focusing on the hundreds of documents linking Big Tobacco with funding and plotting with third party nonprofits to create Tea Party groups – chiefly, the Koch brothers’ Citizens for a Sound Economy and its progeny, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. Hepburn believed the UCSF researchers had failed to show a Big Tobacco company had directly created a Tea Party group. But that wasn’t the thrust of the UCSF researchers’ work – they were investigating the corporate front groups posing as nonprofit grassroots movements.
But direct links to Big Tobacco do exist as a simple search through the trove of tobacco documents obtained in court battles prove. On June 2, 1994, the Associated Press wrote: “Kentucky farmers, taking a cue from the Boston Tea Party, will pitch sulks of tobacco into the Kentucky River next week to show their disgust with efforts by President Clinton and others to raise federal tobacco taxes. About 3,000 growers and their families are expected….” The Associated Press reported that the Council for Burley Tobacco was sponsoring the demonstration.
But that wasn’t who actually was behind the event. In a March 14, 1995 memo from Brian Waddle of the Jack Guthrie & Associates public relations firm, Waddle reveals that his client, the New York City division of Philip Morris under the supervision of Jay Poole, a Vice President of Philip Morris, had “orchestrated” the protest. Waddle writes:
“We’ve had tremendous success over the years in staging events to increase public debate and to generate coverage on the excise tax issue. Last year, we orchestrated ‘The Kentucky Tobacco Party,’ a rally and re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party at our state’s capitol on behalf of growers to protest the proposed FET [Federal Excise Tax] increase. Nearly 4,000 farmers attended the event which resulted in hundreds of stories across the country, including placement with The New York Times, USA Today, the CBS Evening News, CNN, PBS and many others. We were also the front-page story of every daily and weekly newspaper in the state of Kentucky.”
The same year, on August 2, 1994, 400 tobacco growers and warehousemen staged a Tea Party in Greenville, Tennessee, throwing bales of tobacco into a creek. The event was widely covered by local broadcast media and the Associated Press.
(Dumping tobacco into rivers and creeks? And this is supposed to be good public relations? What part of marine life ecosystems don’t these tobacco people understand?)
An unsigned memorandum dated September 2, 1994 from public relations firm Ramhurst revealed that R.J. Reynolds was behind the Greenville demonstration.
The memo says it will summarize activities undertaken as part of the Federal Excise Tax effort, noting:
“We received more favorable coverage from the ‘lost jobs, displaced farmer’ argument than any other. From the early meetings and accompanying publicity (400 growers in Greenville, NC, 600 in Danville, VA, Fairness for Farmers rally at the state capitol in TN) to the recent spate of ‘get-tough’ media hits (tea party in KY, tractor rally in VA, tea party in TN, tobacco burning in SC) there has been an ongoing effort to keep this story in the news. There’s no way tobacco congressman (sic) can miss the activity level (and the intensity) of this key constituency group.”
According to the UCSF researchers, Ramhurst was formed in 1993 with support from R.J. Reynolds and was run by former RJR smokers’ rights group coordinators, James Ellis and Doug Goodyear. By 1994, Ramhurst was executing various programs related to the tobacco company’s national “grassroots” program.tea partytea party tobaccorj reynoldsPhilip MorrisUCSF tobacco study