You are browsing the archive for 2014 October 29.

Avatar of admin

by admin

CitizenFour (Edward Snowden) film review

October 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster


He asked us to invest in the lie of his own life, and the lie of “respectability.” We can't laugh with him anymore.


Since the resurgence of conversation about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, I have been thinking about what it means to honestly hold men in our society accountable for the varied forms of violence they do to women. On the heels of comedian Hannibal Burress’ skewering of Cosby over the allegations of 13 women who accuse him of drugging and raping them, we learned that Stephen Collins, who played the lovable dad Rev. Camden  to seven children on the show “Seventh Heaven,” allegedly molested and exposed himself to several young girls many years ago.

At the Crunk Feminist Collective, where I blog, last week I wrote a piece in which I argued that perhaps in light of these allegations about Bill Cosby, it might be time to slay not only Cliff Huxtable, but also Clair Huxtable, as exemplars of a (black) American family ideal to which we should all aspire. That suggestion, of course, was not received well. The Huxtables are a beloved family to most Americans who watched the show in the 1980s and 1990s, and even to a newer generation of children born in the 22 years since it has been off the air.

We are not a society given to slaying our patriarchs, even when they have proved over and over again that they are unworthy of our devotion. Despite increasing acceptance of gay families, the two-parent, heterosexual, nuclear narrative still anchors our notions of proper family. But what does it mean that while these men played progressive, loving family men on television, they potentially and allegedly raped and terrorized women and children in their personal lives?

It feels particularly egregious, because these men had access to literal scripts that could demonstrate another way to live and relate to women and children. Instead, they have perhaps shown themselves to be so many wolves masquerading as proverbial sheep.

Frankly, I think it is high time that these violent crimes begin to cost men something. And that might mean that …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why I Love My Child Free Existence

October 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Drew Bowling, Role Reboot

It’s a choice everyone should be able to make for themselves, and to do so with no risk of being seen as an irresponsible, immature, or unfulfilled.


The following article first appeared on Role Reboot. 

I do not have children nor do I ever want them.

That is an unremarkable statement, and yet I continue to get confused and skeptical responses from many people to whom I’ve said those words. Some people are even downright defiant, stating, “Oh, you’ll change your mind,” as if being nearly 34 years old, I haven’t fully matured enough to know myself.

That particular response is such a scripted and infuriating brush-off that, at this point, I don’t even like getting asked if I have kids. To me, that simple question feels like the iron maiden of conversation devices, and each time I get asked it, it’s as if the cold, metal door begins to shut around me and I must escape quickly if I want to get out alive.

And while I feel overwhelmed now to the point of histrionics, I suspect I’d get a lot more of that second-guessing if I were a woman. My partner—who is a woman—certainly does. Once, after saying that she did not have children, someone incredulously replied to her by saying, “Well, why not?”

This is how our culture regards the child-free—it’s as if the lack of being a parent has somehow stunted my maturity or growth, that I haven’t yet finished my climb to adulthood because I’ve sired no sons or daughters. It’s akin to how some people will regard unwed couples as less serious simply because they are not married (another circumstance that demands a shift in vocabulary).

I suspect this presumption is also why the term “childless” has been so prominent for so long, as if all adults are simply waiting and hoping to have a child similar to how the jobless are hoping to become employed. The “-less” denotes that something is lacking in my child-free adult life, that it’s a state of being that is happening to me rather than a choice I’m making for myself.

“Child-free” is a great alternative to the subtly …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

PG&E May Have Secretly Altered Earthquake Standards for California's Last Nuclear Power Plant

October 29, 2014 in Blogs

By April M. Short, AlterNet

The aging plant is located on an intricate network of earthquake fault lines.


Montaña de Oro State Park is a place where the rolling hills of the Central California coast drop from steep cliffs into crashing waves that are home to diverse sea life ranging from starfish and anemones to sea lions and migrating whales. Nestled among the wildflowers along the craggy bluffs of this majestic natural reserve is Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon.

I grew up in the small beach town that bumps heads with Montaña de Oro and the ominous plant, aptly named for the devil himself. I recall the piercing screech of testing sirens, sounding the potential for a nuclear disaster to render our homes toxic and dangerous. Since Los Osos is located directly along a large and intricate web of earthquake fault lines, it was no mystery how that disaster would likely come to be.

At least, we were assured, the nuclear plant was regularly checked and tested, and would withstand even a significant amount of tectonic action. We had better regulations in place than Japan, didn't we? Diablo could not be the next Fukushima Daiichi because everything here was up to California's strict codes that take the Big One into account, or so we thought.

Surprise! This week a group of environmental activists brought a lawsuit against PG&E and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because, as it turns out, federal regulators secretly revised Diablo’s license “to mask the aging plant’s vulnerability to earthquakes,” as the San Francisco Chronicle put it.

“The suit claims that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and [PG&E] last year changed a key element of the plant’s license related to seismic safety without allowing public input as required by law — or even notifying the public at all. The changes concern the strength of earthquakes that the plant … can withstand,” reports the Chronicle.

The public PG&E failed to notify consists of my parents, cousins, teachers, childhood friends, and their children. It’s heartbreaking to read about a nuclear disaster an ocean away, but it’s terrifying to realize that the same thing could happen here …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

PG&E May Have Secretly and Illegally Altered Earthquake Standards for California's Last Nuclear Power Plant

October 29, 2014 in Blogs

By April M. Short, AlterNet

The aging plant is located on an intricate network of earthquake fault lines.


Montaña de Oro State Park is a place where the pristine, rolling hills of the Central California coast drop from steep cliffs into blue, crashing waves that are home to diverse sea life ranging from starfish and anemones to sea lions and migrating whales. Nestled among the wildflowers along the craggedly bluffs of this majestic natural reserve? Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E)’s nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon.

I grew up in the small beach town that bumps heads with Montaña de Oro and the ominous plant, so aptly named for the Devil himself. I recall the piercing screech of testing sirens now and then, sounding the potential for a nuclear disaster to render our home toxic and dangerous. Since Los Osos is located directly along a large and intricate web of earthquake fault lines, it was no mystery how that disaster would likely come to be.

At least, we were assured, the nuclear plant was regularly checked and tested, and would withstand even a significant amount of tectonic action. We had better regulations in place than, oh, say, Japan, didn't we? Diablo could not be the next Fukushima Daiichi because everything here was up to California's strict codes that take “the big one” into account, or so we thought.

Surprise! This week a group of environmental activists brought a lawsuit against PG&E and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because, as it turns out, federal regulators secretly and illegally revised Diablo’s license “to mask the aging plant’s vulnerability to earthquakes,” as the San Francisco Chronicle put it.

“The suit claims that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and [PG&E] last year changed a key element of the plant’s license related to seismic safety without allowing public input as required by law — or even notifying the public at all. The changes concern the strength of earthquakes that the plant … can withstand,” reads the Chronicle.

The “public” they failed to notify consists of my parents, cousins, teachers, childhood friends and, now, their children. It’s heartbreaking to read about a tragic nuclear disaster an ocean away—but …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

I’m a Muslim With a Beard—What’s So Scary About That?

October 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Areeb Ullah, The Guardian

Since growing some rather impressive facial hair I’ve noticed Muslims are more open to me, but others view me with suspicion.


People stare. Sometimes, on the tube, they cross the carriage to create a space between us. There is something about me some people don’t like, or it makes them uneasy. It’s my beard.

My beard is about three and a half to four inches long now. I started growing it nearly a year ago; the result of a number of things coming together. One – if I am honest – was laziness. It also began not long after an incident at my university,King’s College London. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was guest of honour at a reception. I went along in traditional dress, thinking: “This is Desmond Tutu. He fought against discrimination and oppression. I can be myself because everyone will be welcoming and open.” Then I was stopped by security and they demanded to know it I had actually been invited. From then I just thought: “Why not?”

Slowly, I became more and more fascinated with having a beard. I can only liken it to the experience of black women who relax their hair and then one day stop relaxing their hair and find it opens up a brand new world to them. There are all these beard products, oils, shampoos, combs. People even blog about them.

Once I grew my beard, there was an immediate effect. Muslims are more open to me; others with beards notice me because they understand what I’m experiencing.

Of course, there is also the other issue that beards are big in mainstream popular culture. People started coming up to me and saying “Great beard”. Within my own community, it gives me a sense of solidarity; outside, there is a feeling of specialness. Some people ask: “Are you growing that for religious reasons or because it is fashionable?” At first, I would feel I had to justify it. I would say it was fashionable and then religious. But then I stopped doing …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Facebook Has Totally Reinvented Human Identity—For the Worse

October 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Susan Cox, Salon

Mark Zuckerberg's ideas about what constitutes “identity” aren't just laughable—they're downright destructive.


Let’s face it: Feminism is hot right now. Like, actually fashionable. Chalk it up to a boom in online journalism critiquing tired media tropes and holding politicians accountable with acerbic wit. But there’s one related trend that doesn’t seem to be getting fashionable again: “Cyberfeminism.” Remember that?

Cyberfeminism envisioned the Internet as a new frontier beyond the oppressive bodily boundaries of race and gender where new understandings of identity could take root. Cyberspace was going to be the stage of cultural transformation! We were all going to be super-cool cybernetic avatars, existing in multiple dimensions with boundless potential. Sadly, all we ended up getting was a bunch of porn and misogynistic cybermobs. (Perhaps feminism has emerged with renewed relevance, because the Internet has actually worked to regressively reinvigorate damaging conceptions of gender and promote hateful divisions.)

But then again, it’s undeniable that the Internet really has been nothing short of culturally transformative. Communication technologies have become woven into the very fabric of personhood. With companies increasingly making employees sign “social media contracts” holding them professionally accountable for their online presence, digital identities are gaining recognition for their representative authority.

Our Facebook profile pictures have symbolic weight, strengthened through the repetitive labor of association. Have you ever changed your Facebook profile picture and not really liked it — but then, after a while, decided it was awesome? Like our face in the mirror after a weird new haircut, we need time to readjust our self-image through repeated association.

It may not be as cool as we imagined it in sleek ’90s sci-fi, but we really are creatures existing in multiple dimensions, transcending space and time with our cybernetic reach. And who controls where your body ends and begins as this unholy fusion of man and machine? Those technologies through which you interface, of course, offering you the shape of your digital self, such as the Facebook profile. Sometimes the reduction of your person to Facebook’s arbitrary determinations can be uncomfortable and insulting.

Facebook has redefined the standard of what information should be immediately known about …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

I'd Been Married Less Than a Year When My Husband Was Diagnosed With Cancer

October 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Annalouise Carter, xojane

I'd promised “in sickness and in health.” I just didn't expect the sickness part to be quite so soon.


The wedding was beautiful. It was winter in Oregon, but we'd miraculously discovered a reception site where you could see green out the windows. We'd had an unexpected snowstorm the weekend before, but the weather had finally turned, and the sun even came out for the photos. My family, his family, our friends; so much laughter. And him. Perfect.

Six months later, I was crying in a parking lot in Pasadena, sweating in the 100-degree weather and blubbering into my cell phone, while my dad tried to make sense of my choked-up sentences. They'd found a tumor, six inches across, pressing on my husband's lung. They didn't know what it was. They didn't want to tell us anything until we came in person.

It wasn’t anything concerning at first. A nagging cough that wouldn’t go away. He eventually went to the doctor, who gave him a prescription. Sometimes these things happen after a bad cold, it should clear up in a week or so. 

It didn’t, so he went back. New prescription. Same problem. This went on for a while, along with a handful of cough drops each day. It grew familiar, nothing to worry about, a refrain that accompanied waking and sleeping.

There were other things too. We’d go on hikes together—small ones, no big elevation climbs—that would leave him panting and breathless. We’d joke about his being out of shape. It’s amazing how easy it is to miss things. So many dots on a page you never think about connecting. Who’s to know which details end up being the important ones?

It was an accident, the way we found out. He’d gone in to see another doctor about recent troubles with acid reflux. They took a chest X-ray. Afterward, the technician came in to the room.

“Tell me,” he said. “How’s your general health been?”

“Fine,” my husband said. “I’ve had a cough, but otherwise fine.”

“How long have you had the cough?”

“I don’t remember; a couple months, at least. Why?”

The technician shrugged, looked away. “Just …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

How Responsive Is Investment in Schooling to Changes in Redistributive Policies and in Returns?

October 29, 2014 in Economics

Israeli kibbutzim are voluntary communities that have provided their members with a high degree of income equality for almost a century. Beginning in 1998, many kibbutzim introduced compensation schemes based on members’ productivity, which created a link between productivity and earnings in kibbutzim for the first time. New research from Ran Abramitzky and Victor Lavy studies whether this sharp change in the redistributive policy, by increasing the returns to schooling for kibbutz members, induced high-school students to invest more in their education.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES