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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Listen to the soldiers' musical soundtrack of the Vietnam War

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is a new book by veteran Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, about soldiers' musical memories and the impact of James Brown, Eric Burdon, Country Joe McDonald, and other popular artists on the Vietnam experience and our understanding of it.

At KQED's Next Avenue, Bradley shared the "Top 10 Songs of Vietnam" mentioned by the hundreds soldiers they interviewed for the book. Here are the top three with Bradley's comments on them:

1. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals
No one saw this coming. Not the writers of the song — the dynamic Brill Building duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; not the group who recorded it — The Animals and their iconic lead singer, Eric Burdon; not the 3 million soldiers who fought in Vietnam who placed extra importance on the lyrics. But the fact is that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is regarded by most Vietnam vets as our We Shall Overcome, says Bobbie Keith, an Armed Forces Radio DJ in Vietnam from 1967-69. Or as Leroy Tecube, an Apache infantryman stationed south of Chu Lai in 1968, recalls: “When the chorus began, singing ability didn’t matter; drunk or sober, everyone joined in as loud as he could.” No wonder it became the title of our book!



Texas Women Are Inducing Their Own Abortions


“I didn’t have any money to go to San Antonio or Corpus . I didn’t even have any money to get across town ... I was just dirt broke.”

That was the response given by a 24-year-old woman in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley when asked by researchers why she had attempted to terminate her pregnancy on her own, without medical help.

Between 100,000 and 240,000 Texas women between the ages of 18 and 49 have tried to end a pregnancy by themselves, according to a pair of surveys released Tuesday by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, a University of Texas-based effort aimed at determining the impact of the state’s reproductive policies.

The figure was found by asking an online, representative sample of 779 women whether they themselves or whether their best friends had ever tried to self-induce an abortion. Of the Texas women surveyed, 1.7 percent said they had performed an abortion on themselves, but 4.1 percent of them said their best friend had or they suspected she had.



Allegiant pilot says he was wrongly fired over evacuation

DALLAS (AP) — A pilot who ordered an emergency evacuation after smoke was detected coming from one of the jet's engines is suing Allegiant Air for firing him.

The 43-year-old pilot says Allegiant is putting profits above safety. Allegiant says the evacuation was unnecessary and put passengers at risk — several were injured sliding down inflatable escape chutes.

The incident in June was one of many over the summer that brought unflattering attention to Allegiant. The Teamsters union, which is trying to negotiate Allegiant pilots' first union contract, has publicized the events and accused the airline of cutting corners on safety.

The case highlights a natural tension in the airline industry: Captains are responsible for safety on the plane, but airlines can and do judge their work.

On June 8, Jason Kinzer was the captain of an Allegiant Air jet with 141 passengers scheduled to fly from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Hagerstown, Maryland. Minutes after takeoff, Kinzer says, flight attendants called the cockpit to report smelling smoke, so he declared an emergency and returned to the airport.



Intelligence agencies pounce on Paris attacks to pursue spy agenda

Government officials are wasting no time in attempting to exploit the tragedy in Paris to pass invasive anti-privacy laws and acquire extraordinary new powers that they have wanted for years. In the process, they are making incredibly dishonest arguments and are receiving virtually no pushback from the media.

Absent any actual information or evidence so far about intelligence failures leading up to the deplorable terrorist attack in Paris, pundits spent the weekend speculating that Edward Snowden and surveillance reform were to blame for the fact that the attack went undetected. Then on Monday, in an epic episode of blame shifting, the CIA director, John Brennan, reportedly said privacy advocates have undermined the ability of spies to monitor terrorists. He explained:

Because of a number of unauthorized disclosures and a lot of hand-wringing over the government’s role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists, there have been some policy and legal and other actions that are taken that make our ability collectively, internationally to find these terrorists much more challenging”, adding that there is a “misrepresentation of what the intelligence security services are doing”.

Read Brennan’s comments carefully because they are very revealing. When he says “legal actions”, he’s referring to the fact that multiple federal courts have ruled that the government’s secret mass surveillance on millions of Americans is illegal. So it sounds like the CIA director is saying it’s a shame that intelligence agencies can’t operate completely above the law any more, and is scapegoating any failings on his agency’s part on accountability that is the hallmark of any democracy. (Though he still can apparently operate above the law.)



Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: The Rest







Tuesday Toon Roundup 1: Giving them what they want

Cathedral Celebrates 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta with Immersive Art Installations

The Salisbury Cathedral in England has multiple claims to fame: it is home to Europe’s oldest working clock, tallest church spire in the United Kingdom, and also the world’s best kept original copy of the Magna Carta. The ancient Magna Carta has come to symbolise key ideas of human rights and equality—concepts that have caused both intellectual and physical ripples throughout the world. To celebrate the 800th anniversary of the document's signing, the Salisbury Cathedral has commissioned international art group Squidsoup to create two immersive installations within the historic architecture.

Enlightenment is a light display with over 6,000 individually controllable points suspended from the North Pole of the cathedral. The lights respond to the presence of visitors, creating an abstract physical space that envelops the viewer. The work is inspired by the ripple effect that the Magna Carta has had over time and space, and how its influence has changed and grown over time to encompass huge portions of the globe.

The second project, Power of Words covers a wall in the chapel with quotes and phrases from the Magna Carta. It grows organically, with the words projected on the walls, but can also be disturbed or destroyed as it reacts to gestures and movement. The disruption of the structure causes the words to move and morph, allowing new phrases to emerge, and is meant to encourage visitors to reflect upon the consequences of their actions, the meaning behind the Magna Carta, and its relevance today, through the power of words.


Bernie Sanders vs. the 1 percent’s propaganda machine

Can he convince Americans to stop voting against their self-interest?
For a generation, working class Republicans have been undermining themselves. This is Bernie's biggest challenge

In “America’s Bitter Pill,” Steven Brill’s masterful work on the passage and implementation of Obamacare, there is an interesting anecdote about an elderly couple from Kentucky, the Browns, who had gone through the ringer of America’s broken healthcare system before the Affordable Care Act was introduced. Unable to get insurance because of a pre-existing condition, they could not afford medication for their many afflictions, from heart disease to diabetes to pain sprouting from a crushed vertebrae. When Obamacare finally came around in Kentucky, with its state healthcare exchange (Kentucky was one of the few red states that complied), the Browns couldn’t believe their luck:

“The Browns had heard about Kynect from television ads Banahan (the Executive Director of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange) had purchased. “We thought it was too good to be true,” Viola Brown told me. “It seemed like the answer to our prayers.”… Shelbyville is in Shelby County, which had voted 67-33 percent for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama. The Browns are white as is 90 percent of Shelby County. Of the four people among those who were enrolling that afternoon who said they had voted and were willing to share their choice with me, all four had voted for Romney. Yet Beshear’s message — or perhaps simply the lure of “answered prayers” that Viola Brown had expressed — seemed to have gotten through. What they were doing at those card tables with the kynectors was not about Barack Obama. In fact, none mentioned Obamacare, except for the one enrollee who said that Kynect was “a lot better than Obamacare.”

This short anecdote says a lot about American politics. It is an example of how political ignorance can be harmful, and how working class people, particularly the white working class, seemingly vote against their interests without even realizing it. The right wing propaganda machine — largely funded by the beloved Koch brothers (recall that creepy commercial with the Uncle Sam Gynecologist) and other special interests — created a panic that the government was “taking over” the healthcare system (if only) and that “death panels” (a Sarah Palin myth that remains in the minds of many to this day), made up of Orwellian bureaucrats deciding who is worthy of healthcare, would be introduced. (Because the private industry was so good at deciding who deserved coverage, after all.)

Had “Kynect” simply been called “Kentucky Obamacare,” some people who finally received the healthcare that they needed would have probably remained uninsured because of fear. (While campaigning for reelection, Sen. Mitch McConnell realized this ignorance, and said that he wanted to keep Kynect, which had become popular, but repeal Obamacare, even though Kynect was in reality Obamacare.) Now, after the election of ultra-conservative Matt Bevin as Kentucky governor earlier this month, people like the Browns may be facing more pain in the future, as he may shutdown Kynect.


Same-sex marriage is now legal in Republic of Ireland

Source: BBC

Same-sex marriage has now become legal in the Republic of Ireland, after new legislation came into effect on Monday.

The law was passed after a referendum in May, when the Irish state became the first in the world to legalise same-sex civil marriage by popular vote.

It is not yet known when and where the first same-sex wedding will be held.

But the first people to be affected are same-sex couples who have already wed legally abroad. Their marriages are now automatically recognised by the state.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34810598

Brazil mining flood could devastate environment for years

The collapse of two dams at a Brazilian mine has cut off drinking water for quarter of a million people and saturated waterways downstream with dense orange sediment that could wreck the ecosystem for years to come.

Nine people were killed, 19 are still listed as missing and 500 people were displaced from their homes when the dams burst at an iron ore mine in southeastern Brazil on Nov. 5.

The sheer volume of water disgorged by the dams and laden with mineral waste across nearly 500 km is staggering: 60 million cubic meters, the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic swimming pools or the volume carried by about 187 oil tankers.

President Dilma Rousseff compared the damage to the 2010 oil spill by BP PLC in the Gulf of Mexico and Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira called it an "environmental catastrophe."


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