Archive for america

Overnight: America the Beautiful? - Willie Nelson // New NRDC Mountaintop Removal Video + Action AAA

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

mountaintop

From the press release on this video from the Natural Resources Defense Council:

WASHINGTON (March 24, 2014)--Country music legend Willie Nelson is joining the fight in Congress to protect Appalachian communities from the impacts of the devastating mining practice of mountaintop removal.

In a music video that depicts dynamiting operations in Appalachia and their ruinous consequences, the American icon sings “America the Beautiful” to highlight opposition to giving coal companies free rein to blast the tops off mountains and dump dangerous pollution into surrounding streams and creeks.

The House of Representatives will vote on a bill Tuesday that would make it easier to dump the tons of toxic waste and debris from these mountaintop mining operations into Appalachian streams.

“Willie Nelson is a strong voice for everyday Americans, as shown by his solidarity with the people of Appalachia,” said Jon Devine, senior attorney in NRDC’s Water Program. “This legislation would clear the way for more destruction and more pollution. It must be stopped.”

Nelson, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and first winner of the Country Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award, has long championed the people and communities of rural America with his Farm Aid concerts.

The video, produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council, features Nelson’s song playing over scenes of wooded Appalachian mountains being dynamited by coal companies and the resulting boulders, ash and sludge cascading down on to communities below.

The bill scheduled for Tuesday’s House of Representatives vote, HR 2824, would lock in place a George W. Bush-era rule change that opened up local streams to the pollution caused by the ravages of mountaintop mining. Under this practice, companies are blasting off entire mountaintops to get at the thin coal seams below. They're filling local rivers and streams with blasted debris, and sacrificing the safety and sanctity of countless communities in the region.

Mountaintop removal mining has already leveled more than 500 mountaintops, poisoned or buried over 2,000 miles of streams, and destroyed communities across Appalachia. Top scientists agree that the ecological damage of mountaintop removal is largely irreversible.

For more background on mountaintop removal, see: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/mountaintopremoval.php

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

While we should be stopping this practice for good, a new House bill would actually make it easier, not harder, for coal companies to dump mining waste into mountain streams. The word is the HR bill 2824 will hit this week… If you have a spot in your calendar, please tweet, Facebook post, email, and/or blog post the video. I’ve included sample social media copy along with the press release which can be leveraged for the blog below. Please let me know of any questions and if you are able to post.
Two tweet options that link to the video

Join @NRDC @WillieNelson and take urgent action to #stopMTR in Congress. America the Beautiful? video: http://bit.ly/1rpvbCH

America the Beautiful? Thanks @WillieNelson for fighting to #stopMTR http://bit.ly/1rpvbCH

Tweet links to the action

@WillieNelson says NO to mountaintop removal and you can too. Learn more and act at http://bit.ly/1mqRCq4

Facebook post links to the video

America the Beautiful?: http://bit.ly/1rpvbCH. Join Willie Nelson and NRDC to take urgent action to stop mountaintop removal – today!

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Bigotry And Sexism All Under One Tent - The Tea Party

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

racism

MSNBC and Reince Priebus had a little skirmish around the time of the Super Bowl. It had to do with a questionably accusatory statement released on a tweet by an employee of the cable news outlet. In that twitter remark, the staffer implied that Republican right wingers might not be happy over a new, interracial commercial for Cheerios, to debut during the big football event.

Via Talking Points Memo:

Last year, the cereal brand Cheerios released a commercial that featured an interracial couple and their biracial daughter. The racist backlash against seeing a black man with a white woman was so severe that Cheerios had to disable comments on its YouTube account. During the Super Bowl this year, the brand double-downed on its efforts to be reflective of a diverse nation and released a second commercial featuring the same family.

So based on history, the staffer made his/her comment. Phil Griffin, the head of MSNBC apologized in print and over the phone with RNC Chair, Priebus. He also fired the employee.  I'm not sure why Griffin felt this was necessary as history had spoken on this issue. But being the man he is and feeling it was in everyone's best interest for the network not to appear insensitive by painting all right-wing conservatives with the same brush, Griffin did what he did. Sadly, Priebus wasn't quite so gracious in his handling of the apology. He accepted the actions, but with strings and a stern warning attached, "We'll be watching you."

If only that were true -- maybe the troubled GOP would learn a thing or two.

Well, the Super Bowl comes and goes, and there were some rumblings about the inter-racial family once again, but nothing like the last time. There was more of an outrage over America The Beautiful, just a song, not an anthem as many have claimed, sung in different languages. Somehow, the self-stamped,  true-blooded Americans were outraged that the song could be co-opted for singing (respectfully) by anyone other than a card carrying American citizen. I'm sure many of those same folks might take offense at Obama singing this song as his origins are still fodder for many right-wing discussions and accusations.

So, getting back to the racism issue and the TPM article -- there's a bit more to this undercurrent. It seems that there are levels of implied tolerance.

The American public seems more willing to accept (or ignore) seeing a black woman with a white man than a black man with a white woman.

So how's that match up with society as it really is?

According to reports, black men have a higher rate of interracial marriage than black women, which means it’s more common, and yet it also launches more racist backlash.

Backlash? By whom? Who has the right to criticize?

While bigots focus on tearing down the significance of the family in the Cheerios commercials, advertisements featuring white men with nonwhite women are overlooked. Commercials with white men coupled with black women don’t cause nearly as much disagreement as the inverse.

interracial family

How interesting. So race and sex are intertwined when it comes tolerance. What's okay or "allowable" for one combination is seen as more offensive for others.

Maybe it’s because white men are seen as improving a black woman’s life, saving her from black men who are more interested in dating white women, if various statistics are to be believed.

I have to say, I don't believe this kind of thinking is coming from liberals. If this is the conservative way of thinking, who votes the conservative path? Mostly Republicans. And which branch or wing of the GOP holds racial feelings the strongest? If you ask me, it's the Tea Party.

So this brings me back to the MSNBC apology that the interracial Cheerios ad might have been offensive to right wingers. Well add a sexist angle to this as well. Racism is wrong on every level. But when you add sexism to the conflagration, watch out. Hatred is being fanned, and not by any one group -- though if you look at the statistics, you can see where it's festering the most.

GOP, you want to bring more people to your party, especially women, immigrants and people of color? Maybe start taking some responsibility and speaking out against ignorance. Reince, instead of feigning hurt, look into the accusations leveled at you and address them from within. Obviously when criticized from outside the party, the Republicans drop to the fetal position and sob they're being picked on unjustly. Look around you GOP. Where are your women, your people of color, your immigrants? They're under the Democratic and Independent tents seeking shelter from your rain.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Academic Boycott for Non-Academic Reasons. Stupid

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

college classroom

I understand boycotts - they are a way to express our sadness or disappointment in another entities actions and behavior. The concept allows me a "voice" in another's decision making. We have seen all kinds of boycotts -- from companies that refuse to serve those of color to stores that stock items made of real fur. Our involvement with generally is an economic sense. We withhold our fiscal patronage unless an entity changes it's ways. Basically, we spend our money in places which don't violate our personal interests whether religious, sexual, or political.

Now Time Magazine reports:

(NEW YORK) — The American Studies Association has become the largest U.S. group of scholars to approve a boycott of Israeli universities.

The boycotts are in protest of Israeli policy toward Palestinians. The American Studies Association says their action aims to ban American academic groups and schools from working with Israeli universities and not a ban on work between individual Israeli and U.S. scholars.

Here's what seems peculiar to me. This group, the American Studies Association wants to withhold American cooperation with the Israeli education system? Really? Why?

Politics. This group of educators are taking one of our strongest allies and trying to exert their own conscience on whom? Students? Is that who should be targeted when it comes to "unconscionable" policies? Is this a joke?

If the ASA wants to use it's power for some good, how about boycotting interaction with emerging nations that shoot and kill female students just because they seek an education? That's murder. Ask Malala. Ask the other girls in her country. Anywhere in that region. Oh, and let's not forget Africa and it's denial of learning to young girls. Just look at Lawrence O'Donnell's K.I.N.D. program, kids in need of desks.

I'm all for boycotts, but they should be targeted where most necessary. Let's put a point in that. Attack ignorance, but economically. Don't use education and the sharing of ideas and thoughts as a threat. If anything, open the doors. Show the offenders what they're doing wrong. Don't hide your head in the sand. Keep the great inter-communications on high educational levels open. Maybe great scientific and economic inventions and theories and medical cures have come from Israel. They may have a horrible prime minister, but don't blame the kids.

Open the educational cooperation. Don't be a dropout. Don't be a dope. Face it, this boycott is s-t-u-p-i-d.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Video- President's Weekly Address: Wishing the American People a Happy Thanksgiving

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

What America Do You Live In?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

American Nations today 2

This map above, though small, is a rendering of what our country truly has become. This shouldn't surprise you unless you've just awakened from a 238 year nap. Over the years, certain regions can be counted on to have specific leanings in politics, science, religion, education, and industry. It may seem like stereotyping, and perhaps it is -- but it's accurate.

The determinations are the brainchild of author and journalist Colin Woodard. He factors in American voting patterns, demographics and public opinion polls going back to the days of the first settlers. His conclusion is this, we're not 50 United States, but more like 11 different nations. Check the map and see what America you live in. Courtesy ofWaPo:

Yankeedom: Founded by Puritans, residents in Northeastern states and the industrial Midwest tend to be more comfortable with government regulation. They value education and the common good more than other regions.

New Netherland: The Netherlands was the most sophisticated society in the Western world when New York was founded, Woodard writes, so it’s no wonder that the region has been a hub of global commerce. It’s also the region most accepting of historically persecuted populations.

The Midlands: Stretching from Quaker territory west through Iowa and into more populated areas of the Midwest, the Midlands are “pluralistic and organized around the middle class.” Government intrusion is unwelcome, and ethnic and ideological purity isn’t a priority.

Tidewater: The coastal regions in the English colonies of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware tend to respect authority and value tradition. Once the most powerful American nation, it began to decline during Westward expansion.

Greater Appalachia: Extending from West Virginia through the Great Smoky Mountains and into Northwest Texas, the descendants of Irish, English and Scottish settlers value individual liberty. Residents are “intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers.”

Deep South: Dixie still traces its roots to the caste system established by masters who tried to duplicate West Indies-style slave society, Woodard writes. The Old South values states’ rights and local control and fights the expansion of federal powers.

El Norte: Southwest Texas and the border region is the oldest, and most linguistically different, nation in the Americas. Hard work and self-sufficiency are prized values.

The Left Coast: A hybrid, Woodard says, of Appalachian independence and Yankee utopianism loosely defined by the Pacific Ocean on one side and coastal mountain ranges like the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas on the other. The independence and innovation required of early explorers continues to manifest in places like Silicon Valley and the tech companies around Seattle.

The Far West: The Great Plains and the Mountain West were built by industry, made necessary by harsh, sometimes inhospitable climates. Far Westerners are intensely libertarian and deeply distrustful of big institutions, whether they are railroads and monopolies or the federal government.

New France: Former French colonies in and around New Orleans and Quebec tend toward consensus and egalitarian, “among the most liberal on the continent, with unusually tolerant attitudes toward gays and people of all races and a ready acceptance of government involvement in the economy,” Woodard writes.

First Nation: The few First Nation peoples left — Native Americans who never gave up their land to white settlers — are mainly in the harshly Arctic north of Canada and Alaska. They have sovereignty over their lands, but their population is only around 300,000.

Tweet me and let me know how accurate this is.

I'd love to have you follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Who Put The Pearl In Pearl Harbor

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

USS Arizona

When I first visited Hawaii years ago, I had to go to Pearl Harbor. There was something special about coming from Massachusetts and just being on the island. But out of respect for my father, a veteran of both WWII and Korea, I was drawn to the military historical site. This was where the sneak attack launched the 'great war'. There was something special about the camaraderie and bonds that WWII forged. I can remember as a kid how my father got together every other week with his Army buddies. It was informal at best, but it was a must. Nothing but Christmas or Easter could change this friendly rendezvous. They talked about their escapades and their exploits. Never the death. Never the destruction. Never with regrets. They were proud veterans.

As I have become older and more understanding of strong bonds and friendships, I can fully appreciate a military service that was unknown to me until recently. It's a private interment service available to those who survived the sinking of the Arizona. Survivors of that attack went on, though many of their brothers in arms never basked again in the sun. But their absence was never a full void. They were remembered long after they were gone.

With a h/t to Andrew Meyers, I became aware of a rather under-the-radar memorial commemoration that takes place above and in the submerged carcass of the Arizona.  Here's a private look into a rarely spoken of privilege for those who survived the Pearl Harbor attack, but like all of us will, ultimately succumb to time. How considerate and thoughtful of the armed forces-- not generally known for it's sensitivity -- to provide a touching and fitting farewell to the more recently passed. Those who wish to be reunited with their buddies who didn't make it out.

I'm really proud of our military for their warm and generous option they've provided our brave heroes. Bravo.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Texas Voter ID Scam -- Hey Lady, Where's Your Original Marriage Certificate?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

suggragettes

Ah, Texas. You always find new ways to amaze me. Your fear of Wendy Davis and her rallying women to see the light and toss off the shackles of  GOP oppression in your right-wing state is clearly evident. If you can't get them to vote for you, stop them from voting all together. Now, it's not just enough to show a birth certificate or your driver's license for voter ID in Texas. WOMEN ONLY now need to provide an original marriage certificate -- a certified copy which cost $20 dollars. Isn't this the same as requiring a poll tax?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare