Analiese’s Reading 5/2

Very Current:

The Significance of Ali Al-Marri’s Guilty Plea

Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ statements yesterday that he expects the United States will have to transfer up to 100 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the United States, where they’d be held indefinitely without trial, was an odd juxtaposition with yesterday’s guilty plea of Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri.

Washington Independent

Senate recount appeal: Update of previous breathless look at the Coleman brief

The Coleman Supreme Court brief (PDF) … contains few if any surprises. It is a methodical review of arguments Team Coleman has been making in public for weeks, mostly that the Election Contest Court made one big error and two smaller ones, and that the MN Supremes must fix them.


16 Cattle Drop Dead Near Mysterious Fluid at Gas Drilling Site

ProPublica has been reporting for months [2] about how natural gas drilling is affecting the environment, but of all the causes for concern we’ve reported, here’s a doozy. … Sixteen cattle dropped dead in a northwestern Louisiana field this week after apparently drinking from a mysterious fluid adjacent to a natural gas drilling rig, according to Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality and a report in the Shreveport Times …. At least one worker told the newspaper that the fluids, which witnesses described as green and spewing into the air near the drilling derrick, were used for a drilling process called hydraulic fracturing …

Pro Publica

GOP Party Identification Slips Nationwide and in Pennsylvania

Over the first four months of 2009, the Republican Party has continued to lose adherents. Interviews with over 7,000 respondents nationwide so far this year found fewer than a quarter (23%) of the combined total identifying themselves as Republicans. This is down from 25% in 2008, and from 30% in 2004. In total, the GOP has lost roughly a quarter of its base over the past five years.


Digital media and the coming gap in the historical record

During the early days of the Internet, web proponents were quick to make expansive claims about the benefits that the online age would usher in. The web would revolutionize the work environment, they said. It would engender a new era of political activism. It would preserve all human knowledge online, forever….Some of these claims have turned out to be prescient. Others are still open to debate. And some linger in the murky twilight of being true, but only partly so. The promise of the web as the ultimate archival medium falls into this last category.


Where Are the Women? Where Are the Men?

Except…someone’s missing. Two of the G20 countries (Germany and Argentina) have heterosexual, married female leaders, and their husbands aren’t in the photo. I don’t know why–were they not invited to the event? Did they choose not to come? SocProf asks, “Would the husbands have looked out of place here? Would this have been embarrassing to them?”

Sociological Images

Peru’s Fujimori gets 25 years prison for massacres

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was convicted of human rights crimes and sentenced to 25 years in prison on Tuesday, the first time a democratically elected Latin American president has been found guilty in his own country of such offenses.


Watch Green Porno Season 2 Now!

The critically acclaimed series from Isabella Rossellini is back with a new batch of very short films about the reproductive habits of marine animals. GREEN PORNO is scientifically accurate yet extremely entertaining. Produced by Isabella Rossellini, Jody Shapiro and Rick Gilbert.

Sundance Channel

Bird Can Read Human Gaze

We all know that people sometimes change their behavior when someone is looking their way. Now, a new study reported online in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, shows that jackdaws–birds related to crows and ravens with eyes that appear similar to human eyes–can do the same.

Terra Daily

Colombia drugs battle claims 29

At least 29 people have been killed in Colombia as drug traffickers fight for control of an organisation set up by Pablo Escobar of the Medellin cartel. The mafia group was set up by Escobar as an assassination service. After his death in 1993, it expanded into drugs trafficking and extortion, becoming one of the most feared gangs in the country. It is like a return to Escobar’s bad old days, with bodies turning up across the city as the mafia fights it out.

BBC News

Suit: Shell complicit in execution of Nigerian rights activist

A landmark human rights lawsuit, accusing Royal Dutch Shell of complicity in the execution of author and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa some 14 years ago, will proceed to trial in a New York courtroom….The Center for Constitutional Rights and Earth Rights International, along with Mr. Wiwa’s son, allege the International oil company “financed, armed, and otherwise colluded with the Nigerian military forces that used deadly force and conducted massive, brutal raids against the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta.”

The Raw Story

The interview the VA didn’t want you to hear.

Last week, WAMU reporter David Schultz attempted to interview Tommie Canady about the poor treatment he said veterans were receiving from the VA. In the middle of the interview, however, VA communications specialist named Gloria Hairston “stopped Schultz and wouldn’t let him leave until he handed over his [recording] equipment.” After significant public outcry, the VA returned Schultz’s equipment. Today, WAMU aired Schultz’s interview with Canady that the VA didn’t want the public to hear:

Think Progress

5 Years After: Portugal’s Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results

In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections.

Scientific American

UK police stage ‘pre-emptive raids’ on climate activists

If you thought former President George W. Bush’s doctrine of “pre-emptive war” was freaky, try this one on for size.

The Raw Story

Blind to be cured with stem cells

BRITISH scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years’ time.

The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells. It was pioneered by scientists and surgeons from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital.

Times Online

4 Track Films: Movie Production, MN-style

OF THE 150+ FILMS AT THE FAIRLY VENERABLE (27 YEARS!) Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Fest (MSPIFF), a dozen or so have Minnesota connections. But only a very few of these are Minnesota products, through and through.

4 Track Films (with White Man’s World) is a Minnesota film production company based in Duluth. Its principals, Jason Page and Carrie Boberg, both 35, have been making drama together for over a decade. They attended University of Minnesota Duluth, where they studied theater, and then moved to L.A. in the winter of 1996. There they made Piling Up Vera, a 22-minute film that depicted a woman’s life flashing before her eyes. Page says that that was their film school; Vera’s $30,000 budget was about what tuition would have cost, and the experience taught them much of what they needed to know.

Hope or Cynicism? You Have to Choose, Because They Don’t Go Together.

Back in February, I wrote a post about President Obama’s dismissive attitude towards those who compare his previous promises/declarations with his current actions. At the time, he tried to add levity to the fact that he was appointing Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State despite the fact that the major point of policy contention between Obama and Clinton are their views on foreign policy.

Open Left

Catching Up … A slew of important stories on the enviornment:

Building the American Clean Energy Economy

On April 22, people across the country and around the world will celebrate Earth Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of our natural resources and taking real action to make a difference. For decades, while Americans in towns and cities across the country have worked to make a difference in their communities, politicians in both parties in Washington have ignored the energy crisis, imperiling our economy, our security and our planet. Now, we have a unique and critical opportunity to attack the energy crisis head on and create a comprehensive energy policy that will bolster our economy, end our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the threat of deadly pollution that is devastating our planet.


Obama’s Earth Day Speech

President Obama stresses the importance of clean and renewable energies on Earth Day.


13 Breathtaking Effects of Cutting Back on Meat

My first post on the effect of eating meat on the environment provoked quite a bit of discussion, so in honor of Earth Day, I thought I should follow up with more information about how our natural resources (e.g., air, water, and soil) are depleted and devastated by animal agriculture.


Venezuela’s CITGO donates island to US state for preserve

Petty Island, which is 214 hectares (528 acres) in the Delaware River not far from Philadelphia, was bought by Venezuela’s state oil giant PDVSA in 1990.

CITGO Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of PDVSA “has officially transferred control of Petty’s Island to the state of New Jersey for the creation of an ecological, cultural and historical preserve,” Caracas’ embassy here said in a statement.

Energy Daily

Award winning environmentalist beat up while trying to block work on pipeline

Anti-Shell protester Willie Corduff is recovering in hospital after being badly beaten by at least six men in balaclavas and dark clothing at the site where Shell is attempting to lay an onshore, high-pressure pipeline

Corduff, one of the Rossport Five and winner of the 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize, was dragged from under a truck at around 3.45am on Thursday morning by at least six men who then beat him viciously about the head and knees.


Spectacular Recovery From Coral Bleaching At Great Barrier Reef Marine Park In Australia

Marine scientists say they are astonished at the spectacular recovery of certain coral reefs in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from a devastating coral bleaching event in 2006.

That year high sea temperatures caused massive and severe coral bleaching in the Keppel Islands, in the southern part of the GBR. The damaged reefs were quickly smothered by a single species of seaweed – an event that can spell the total loss of the corals.

Science Daily

Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate

“The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

NY Times

Rising seas threaten renowned French coast

France’s Aquitaine coast stretches north from the Spanish border to the Gironde river estuary, encompassing rocky bluffs, giant lagoons, deltas, beaches and Europe’s largest dune. Now climate change has laid siege to this natural oasis, dramatically speeding up the erosion of the 270 kilometre-long (168 miles) Atlantic coastline and threatening local communities.

Terra Daily

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