A Poem For Friday

Nov 21 2014 @ 6:26pm

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“for deLawd” by Lucille Clifton:

people say they have a hard time
understanding how i
go on about my business
playing my ray charles
hollering at the kids—
seem like my afro
cut off in some old image
would show I got a long memory
and I come from a line
of black and going on women
who got used to making it through murdered sons
and who grief kept on pushing
who fried chicken
ironed
swept off the back steps
who grief kept
for their still alive sons
for their sons coming
for their sons gone
just pushing

(From The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010, edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glasner with a foreward by Toni Morrison © 2012 by The Estate of Lucille Clifton. Used by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. Photo by Flickr user Greg)

Quote For The Day

Nov 21 2014 @ 5:53pm

“The suggestion that any feature of this ruthless business is designed to afford “protection” to the pigs, much less to the babies, is perverse. Normal, healthy mother pigs, for example, do not after birth fall over and crush their young — as if they were all just naturally clumsy. These pigs.jpgare not exactly normal, healthy animals we’re talking about, however, after their interminable, pain-inflicting confinement in the gestation crates, among many other travails. Subject a sow to hyper-intensive breeding so that she is grossly larger than nature intended, fill her with steroids to accelerate growth still more, withhold anything resembling humane veterinary care, and through it all deny the creature her every natural need and desire, even the need to move and turn around — and, yes, she is not going to be quite herself. Just spare us this talk of how factory farmers are “protecting” the young from their mothers, when what’s needed here is protection of all these creatures from the whole wretched system.

Being immobilized for all of their existence, lying and living in their own urine and excrement, the sows are sick, sore, atrophied, usually lame, crazed or broken in spirit, and kept alive in these torments only by a massive and reckless use of steroids. The confinement of the sows, presented in terms of solicitude for the piglets, is among the causes of the welfare problem it purports to solve. And the piglets in any case are taken from their mothers in short order to begin their own lives of merciless confinement, mutilation, privation, and fear, in a process, from birth to slaughter, utterly devoid of human compassion,” – Matthew Scully, speaking truth to power, and putting governor Christie on the spot. Scully’s book, Dominion, remains a must-read on this vital moral issue.

The View From Your Window

Nov 21 2014 @ 5:19pm

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Heuchin, France, 9.57 am

Skilled But Excluded

Nov 21 2014 @ 4:44pm

Leonid Bershidsky regrets that that Obama’s executive order did little for skilled immigrants:

On the surface, there is little the president, without Congress’s help, can do for skilled migrants. The Immigration and Nationality Act allows only 65,000 people a year to receive H1B temporary skilled worker visas. (Exempt from this quota are 20,000 U.S. graduates of master’s degree programs, as well as an unlimited number of potential government and nonprofit employees.) Just 140,000 skilled workers and their family members are eligible for employment-based green cards each year. …

Perhaps the story of the lottery-losing programmer isn’t as poignant as that of Astrid Silva, who, according to Obama, came to America with just “a cross, her doll and the frilly dress she had on.” The programmer would, however, be more immediately useful to the U.S. economy than Silva, “a college student working on her third degree.” Not letting him in is at least as wrong as kicking out Silva would be.

Jim Manzi argues for more high-skilled immigrants generally:

All of the major Anglophone democracies have done a far better job of this than America and have reaped the benefits.

Read On

Mental Health Break

Nov 21 2014 @ 4:20pm

Taking the movie montage to a whole new level:

Yes, Obama Is A Phony On Torture

Nov 21 2014 @ 3:51pm

The Obama administration, it is now beyond dispute, is in thrall to the CIA. The president, through his chief-of-staff, Denis McDonough, has been doing all he can to render the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on torture unintelligible, if he cannot prevent its publication entirely. And he is not giving an inch in his now two-years’ war against the transparency and accountability he once said he favored. Readers know I’ve almost given up on them, and am deeply concerned that next year, a Republican-run Senate will bury the report for ever. That’s clearly John Brennan’s strategy, as it has been from the start. It’s also, clearly, Obama’s.

I once saw Obama as a way out of our torture shame. If he was never going to investigate and prosecute, as is demanded of any signatory to Geneva, I never thought he would actively prevent even some small measure of accountability. How wrong I was.

Senator Rockefeller calls it like it is after yet another meeting with John Brennan’s best friend, Denis McDonough, a Catholic for some reason dedicated to ensuring that torturers not only face no punishment or reproach, but that their crimes are protected from public accountability for ever:

Read On

In the wake of yesterday’s video of weed-smoking grandmas, a reader associates to this remarkable video from the 1950s:

It’s hard to imagine seeing something like this on our screens today, isn’t it? But fascinating nonetheless, as our reader explains:

It was during the days when everyone was trying to figure out the range of psychotropic effects of this drug. It is quite moving. She is obviously a very nice person contentedly attached to the era. Once high, however, she says repeatedly to the doctor in attendance: “Everything is one. Can’t you see it? Can’t you feel it?” This, with a bobbed hairdo and wearing a smart cocktail dress. A prophetic peek into the near future.

Yglesias Award Nominee

Nov 21 2014 @ 3:29pm

“No person, or presidential administration, is perfect. Mistakes happen. But this steady stream of screw-ups means that “people are going to be more skeptical of HHS figures in the future, for understandable reasons,” Cohn writes. When the White House releases monthly enrollment numbers — figures that are expected to be higher than last year — the public will doubt them. And it’s just at the moment that Obamacare’s marketplaces are running better than ever that this series of sloppy mistakes make it look like worse than anyone thought,” – Sarah Kliff, Vox.

The Power Of Shit

Nov 21 2014 @ 3:06pm

As of yesterday, residents of Bath in southwest England have the exciting opportunity to ride a bus powered entirely by their own garbage and excrement:

The 40-seat “Bio-Bus” runs on biomethane gas, generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste. It can travel up to 186 miles on one tank of gas, which takes the annual waste of around five people to produce. The bus is run by Bath Bus Company and will transport passengers between Bath and Bristol Airport. Engineers believe the bus could provide a sustainable way of fuelling public transport while improving urban air quality.

The gas is generated at Bristol sewage treatment works, run by GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water. It produces fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines and is both renewable and sustainable. This week, the company also became the first in the UK to inject gas generated from human and food waste into the national gas grid network.

Fittingly, the Bio-Bus rolled out on the heels of World Toilet Day. But this is not the only poo-based technology to come out recently. As Becky Ferreira points out, we are in the midst of a veritable golden age of human-waste recycling:

Read On

Faces Of The Day

Nov 21 2014 @ 2:55pm

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Like some Doctor Who re-union, here’s Frank Foer, Mike Kinsley, Rick Hertzberg, and yours truly at Wednesday night’s 100th Anniversary dinner in honor of The New Republic. The NYT has a write-up of the event here. It was wonderful to see some old friend and former-friends and also a little unsettling to see so many once-deemed-eternal magazines and newspapers figuring out a way to survive in this new and unforgiving media economy. I really hope TNR endures. These institutions matter. And the web has yet to create their equivalents.