09 Dec 2012

At ‘Urban Uprising’ Conference, Activists Reimagine the City Post-Sandy

Disaster has a way of concentrating the mind. And Gotham has always had its share of it: whether it’s a slow-burning disaster like the epidemic of income inequality, the endemic scourge of police brutality and racial profiling, or the chronic deprivation of healthy food in isolated neighborhoods. Superstorm Sandy churned all of these elements of urban chaos. But in its wake, the storm has laid bare new pathways for innovations, and new frontiers for struggles against inequality.

The undercurrent of these contradictions ran through a conference this weekend dedicated to “designing a city for the 99%,” a possibility made more real and urgent in the storm’s aftermath. Urban Uprising, held at the New School and the CUNY Graduate Center (where this reporter is also a graduate student), brought together academics, legal experts, organizers and urban ecologists to broach fresh questions about organizing communities: how to harness the energy of Occupy and channel it into direct, localized campaigns; how to balance environmental renewal with economic development; and how to reorient debates on food policy away from apolitical consumer interests and toward the connection between food justice and fighting poverty.

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09 Dec 2012

Targeting Children in Afghanistan

Writing at the Guardian, Karen McVeigh says that there is burgeoning outrage over army Lt Col Marion Carrington’s recent statement to the Military Times that troops assisting Afghan police forces were on the lookout for “children with potential hostile intent”.

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08 Dec 2012

Late Night: Hey Jude

There is a BBC Documentary on the development of Southern Rock, called Sweet Home Alabama – The Southern Rock Saga. While watching this, I learned about the history and recording of another version of Hey Jude, performed by Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman in 1969, just months after its release. It is an example of musicians as activists, in a peaceful demonstration that music, as well as tragedy, are colorblind. Please give it a listen, because it is difficult to find a song that is so deeply moving.

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08 Dec 2012

China Labor Watchdogs Expose Dark Side of Global Toy Empire

Despite the occasional factory fire or sweatshop media expose, American consumers have largely inured themselves to the status quo of exploiting the Global South as our overseas workshop for cheap clothes, toys and gadgets. With the holiday shopping season in full swing, consumers have affixed even more tightly the corporate blinders, rendering the workers in Santa’s Workshop comfortably invisible.

But some of the factories churning out hot toys have recently been exposed as bastions of labor abuse.

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08 Dec 2012

What the Tea Party Billionaires Are Really Afraid Of

The great mystery of American politics, a mystery which no one in the world can fathom, not even most Americans, is why so much money, hot air and spittle is being spent on literally paralyzing the American political system and making it impossible, not just to negotiate solutions, but to even have an intelligent conversation about solving the problems facing everyone, everywhere today. For that is what the Tea Party is really about: making first thought, then negotiation, and finally action impossible.

What is all this sound and fury covering up?

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08 Dec 2012

As Obama Prepares to Do Battle Against Washington and Colorado, Here’s the Pointy End of His Spear

The New York Times reported Thursday that high level talks are going on within the Obama administration on how to deal with Washington and Oregon, both of whose voters helped bring Obama his second term, and both of which had more voters support legalizing recreational marijuana use than voted for the president. Obama is the third president in a row to have used marijuana in his younger days.

The NYT article uses so many anonymous White House sources it reeks of “trial balloon.”

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08 Dec 2012

SOPA Opera: La distruzione di Khanna

Act 1: Delight

For the glory of Summer we are punished with Fall. So it was that on November 16th, 2012 the Republican Study Committee offered a bold proposal to reform America’s ridiculous copyright system titled Three Myths About Copyright Law and Where To Fix It. The contact and alleged driving force behind the document was Derek Khanna a staffer at the RSC.

The policy brief was nothing short of a full frontal double barreled blast at Copyright Trolls (also known as the entertainment industry).

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08 Dec 2012

Bridging The Fiscal Cliff: A Wall Street Sales Tax

According to the latest reactionary brainwash scheme turned corporate media narrative America has a “spending problem.” We spend too much on taking care of people (stop laughing rest of the developed world) and therefore we have to go on a severe diet of austerity to enrich Wall Street banksters restore fiscal sanity. Because if we do not rich people and their friends the global bond market will punish us with fire and brimstone – like vigilantes they will say “make my day” and years later relive their glory by cursing at an empty chair.

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08 Dec 2012

How My Friend From Kabul Escaped an Honor Killing and Saved Her Life – So Far

Some women manage to save their own lives. They hide and escape. A friend of mind from Kabul did just that. With a secret mobile phone she messaged her boyfriend from the bathroom of the family house where her father was keeping her a prisoner – and they plotted their escape.

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07 Dec 2012

Wall Street Journal More Interested in Caviar and Obama’s Birth Certificate Than Worker Owned Firms

Social pain, anger at ecological degradation and the inability of traditional politics to address deep economic failings has fueled an extraordinary amount of practical on-the-ground institutional experimentation and innovation by activists, economists and socially minded business leaders in communities around the country.

A vast democratized “new economy” is slowly emerging throughout the United States. The general public, however, knows almost nothing about it because the American press simply does not cover the developing institutions and strategies.

For instance, a sample assessment of coverage between January and November of 2012 by the most widely circulated newspaper in the United States , the Wall Street Journal, found ten times more references to caviar than to employee-owned firms

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