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Member since: Sat Jun 4, 2005, 09:56 AM
Number of posts: 15,333
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I asked this in another thread and did not get a response.
First, please know that I am a huge supporter of MSF. The questions I'm asking are to fill a gap in my knowledge. Because this part of the story makes no sense to me.
Was the MSF facility marked as a hospital? Presumably, in Afghanistan that would have been with a large red crescent symbol, visible from the air. I have seen nothing in any article that I've read (admittedly not a large percentage of what's out there) that indicates the facility was clearly marked, or not.
If it was, why did the pilot bomb it anyway? If it was visibly marked as a hospital, he should have known that any order to bomb that site was an illegal order, and should have responded along the lines of, "negative, the site is marked as a hospital, we can't bomb a hospital". According to my understanding of the laws of war, anyway.
It is wasn't, why wasn't it? Okay, here is where it gets fuzzy for me. Again, by my understanding of the laws of war - which may be completely wrong of course - if a medical facility is marked by a universally recognized symbol such as a red cross or a red crescent, then if a faction attacks it they are violating the laws of war. (Geneva Convention?) But if it is NOT marked, how does it expect that protection? For all that has been posted about "they told the US their coordinates" that STILL does not make it easy for a pilot to recognize while flying a mission. And that visible recognition would be the final protection in case of human error in providing target coordinates. So I wouldn't think that the new technology of GPS would make the need for marking obsolete. On the other hand, some of these groups we're fighting with allegedly ignore the laws of war anyway, and who knows might even deliberately target a hospital if it is so marked. So maybe there are good reasons why hospitals aren't marked any more, or just this particular hospital wasn't marked?
I appreciate any thoughtful, informed replies and discussion on this topic.
(I will only be able to check in off and on but I will read all replies when I can.)
Posted by MH1 | Wed Oct 7, 2015, 04:04 PM (10 replies)
And by "morons" of course I mean the morons on MSNBC this morning.
"Authenticity" has a highly positive connotation.
"Charisma" is more mixed, but less valued in a politician, when it is recognized as all an act with no positive substance backing it up. (Bill Clinton is loaded with charisma but when people scratched that surface they found substance as well)
If anything Hillary is far more authentic than Trump and the others from the clown car. With the possible exception of the very non-charismatic Santorum. (Authentic doesn't mean good policies, it just means you have a pretty good idea what they are and they track with how the person has behaved throughout their life.)
Let's be clear, personally I don't find Trump charismatic at all, I think he is a buffoon. But his buffoonery obviously appeals to a big chunk of the republican primary electorate. And that's charisma, not authenticity.
Posted by MH1 | Sat Aug 15, 2015, 09:19 AM (2 replies)
he gets $1 million in crowdfunding by Labor Day.
Harvard professor and outspoken political activist Lawrence Lessig is now exploring a bid for the White House. In a Tuesday announcement, Lessig told reporters that he's prepared to take on Democratic presidential hopefuls by making campaign finance reform his core platform. Instead of relying on wealthy donors, however, he is crowdfunding his campaign online, and will officially run if he raises $1 million by Labor Day. His hope is to dismantle corruption in Washington by making citizen equality the central pillar of his presidency.
Lessig says that, if elected, he will "hack" the system by serving as a referendum president, one who will focus his energies solely on passing the Citizen Equality Act. That act will undo political corruption by changing how elections are funded, guarantee the right to vote, and end partisan gerrymandering. After achieving all this, he'll step down, paving the way for his vice president to finish his term.
On his blog, Lessig writes:
In no plausible sense do we have a representative democracy in America today. That fact shows itself in a thousand ways — from #BlackLivesMatter to billion dollar SuperPACs, and none more profound than the deep sense that most Americans have that their government is not theirs. "The system," as Elizabeth Warren puts it, "is rigged." And the fundamental challenge for our democracy today is to find a way to fix that rigged system.
But iunfortunately, as this Gawker article succinctly notes:
Lessig is absolutely right in his beliefs and he is doing the ever-unappreciated work of pushing for the sort of systemic change that is both absolutely necessary if we ever hope to have a well-functioning and fair democracy, and too boring for the general public to give a shit about. So let’s hope a more popular candidate steals his ideas.
Still, I think I might chip in a few bucks to his campaign. I would ****LOVE **** to have Lessig on the debate stage with Hillary, Sanders, and O'Malley. (At least in a debate about making our democracy actually work.)
As for other candidates stealing his ideas, each of them have already included some bits in their platform. But the difference is, there is absolutely no doubt that Lessig really means it when it comes to comprehensive electoral reform.
Lessig for President: https://lessigforpresident.com/
Posted by MH1 | Tue Aug 11, 2015, 08:17 PM (12 replies)
A message from David Macdonald to all supporters of the Cecil Appeal (also maybe good news re: cubs)
This is from the site Jimmy Kimmel mentioned. After he mentioned it, of course the site crashed for awhile because it couldn't handle the flood. Hopefully everyone wanting to donate will return and try again when it is less busy.
July 30, 2015
We are deeply grateful for the hundreds of messages of support you have sent – the value people attach to lions and wildlife conservation inspires us. We hope to keep in touch with you all as the months go forward. Many people ask about the fate of Cecil’s cubs – we are keeping watch. As you probably know, the natural law in lion society is that when a male dies and his weakened coalition is usurped, the new incoming males kill their predecessors’ cubs. This may not happen because Cecil’s brother is still holding the fort. Meanwhile, because of the heavy flow of traffic to our website, some people trying to make donations have been told "please come back later" – we beg you not to forget us, and do please try again later – make a note in your diary to try again tomorrow or the next day, or contact Hannah Curwell-Parry in the UK or David Stiles in the USA and we will get back to you. We depend on donations for all of our work. We are working with the University technical people to try and increase the capacity of the website. Once again, we thank you for your support and inspirational commitment to wildlife conservation.
If everyone who is outraged by this tragedy donates even a small amount to conservation, some good can come of this.
Posted by MH1 | Thu Jul 30, 2015, 03:36 PM (17 replies)
There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
Recently, the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, a national nonprofit, commissioned a test of crayons and found that several brands - some marketed under the kid-appealing names of Mickey Mouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers - contained asbestos fibers.
OK, so maybe your child isn't going to be breathing in crayons, and the asbestos just might stay put. Then again, contaminated crayons could release microscopic fibers as they are worn down, the EWG contends, adding that the average child uses 730 crayons by the age of 10.
All of the crayons and toys that contained asbestos were imported from China. (The complete results are available at www.asbestosnation.org.)
Astoundingly, this wasn't the first time asbestos had been found in either product. Contaminated crayons were found in 2000, and toy crime-scene kits tested positive for asbestos in 2007.
After the previous findings, American crayon manufacturers pledged to stop using talc. But did everyone else? That's why the EWG tested the products again. This time around, Lunder said, no American-made products tested contained any asbestos.
The National Cancer Institute has concluded that "overall evidence suggests there is no safe level of asbestos exposure."
So plenty of people are concerned.
Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, called the presence of asbestos in toys "an unacceptable risk." Landrigan, who reviewed the study, but was not involved in it, is an asbestos expert and former senior adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency on children's environmental health.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/health/kidshealth/20150719_What_s_asbestos_doing_in_kids__crayons_.html
Also at the Environmental Working Group's own site:
Kids lovingly wear down crayons through frequent use—as many as 730 crayons by age 10, according to Crayola—and sometimes chew or eat them. Fingerprint kits contain loose powders that kids blow and possibly inhale; the kits even include brushes and straws that make this easier.
The suspected origin of the asbestos in the items that tested positive is talc, a binding agent in crayons and an ingredient in fingerprint powder. Asbestos deposits are frequently found in talc mines and may contaminate talc products. Although the crayons pose a lower risk than the powders, scientists agree that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
The dangers of asbestos have been public since the 1970s. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has known about asbestos in crayons for 15 years, and eight years ago asbestos was found in another brand of fingerprint toy. Shockingly, these products are legal in 49 states—only Connecticut bans asbestos in children’s toys.
Posted by MH1 | Wed Jul 22, 2015, 08:56 PM (5 replies)
O'Malley Monday address echoed ideas presented earlier by Esri founder and president Jack Dangermound, who said the world is entering a geographic Age of Enlightenment, or geoenlightenment, in which maps and data are combined in dynamic ways to show people how to improve their world. O,Malley is a former mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland and used GIS in his administrations to identify problem areas that required government services. He is a Democratic presidential candidate and used the occasion to present his vision of what federal government should be, collaborative in the way the Internet is. He also said there is an imperative to deal with climate change. "Climate change is the biggest economic and business opportunity to come to the United States in100 years," he said.
I'm guessing that O'Malley's invitation to keynote this conference was due to his use of GIS in the Maryland StateStat system.
I give O'Malley a huge plus over the other candidates for his apparent grasp of technology and vision towards its effective use in good governance.
Posted by MH1 | Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:33 PM (6 replies)
Please just do that.
On news.google.com, for me, this is what comes up under Top Stories:
James Eagan Holmes
Primetime Emmy Awards
I'm not sure what makes that up, but I suppose if more of us started searching for and reading about Sandra Bland, maybe she would show up on more people's news feeds.
Oh and if you have a blog, maybe write a post.
I just think what happened to her is more important than Jeb Bush, and far more deserving of investigation than Planned Parenthood.
Posted by MH1 | Fri Jul 17, 2015, 10:59 AM (1 replies)
On the final day of its most recent session, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will consider a labor law case that experts say could dramatically limit the power of government employee unions.
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was brought on behalf of 10 California public school teachers who sued for the right to leave their union and not still pay "agency fees." If the Supreme Court rules in their favor, it could have the same effect as extending right-to-work law protections to all public employees by invalidating the involuntary extraction of agency fees from worker paychecks. Previous decisions have recognized workers' right to not have union dues extracted, but agency fees are still allowed. These fees are typically 80 percent of the full dues payments. ....
Also more here:
SCOTUS Case Could Bring "Right to Work" to All 50 States
Now joining us to discuss all of this is Samantha Winslow. Samantha is joining us from New York. She is a staff writer for Labor Notes. And before that she was an organizer for SEIU United Healthcare Workers, west in California.
Thank you for joining us, Samantha.
SAMANTHA WNSLOW, STAFF WRITER, LABOR NOTES: Thanks for having me.
DESVARIEUX: So we should note that the court will begin hearing the case in its next session, so that's not until the fall. But this is a very important case because the court has even decided to take it on. Supporters of right to work legislation say that public sector workers should be able to exercise their First Amendment rights to not pay if they don't want to be in a union.
So for you, Samantha, considering that argument, shouldn't we sort of take a listen to what they have to say? That if in order for them, that they shouldn't be paying these union dues if they're not a part of the union.
WINSLOW: Well, they have the right to not be in a union right now. And so what the compromise is is that they have to pay a fair share of the dues that full members pay. And the thinking behind that is that they enjoy the benefits of the union contract. They enjoy the wage increases that the union negotiates, and they enjoy the job security. And they can even be represented if they face discipline or some kind of attack from their employer.
So that was what the Supreme Court decided three years ago to compromise, to say that yes, you have the right to be a member or not be a member. But you do have to pay a fair share of dues to cover the representation that is required by law.
(Apologies if this is already posted. I saw it and thought it too important not to post, and didn't see it here.)
I always think of "right to work" as "right to work for less". I am in a non-union job in the IT industry and see very well what we lose by not having a union.
Posted by MH1 | Sun Jul 5, 2015, 11:24 AM (2 replies)
All around me I hear people rooting for the Cavaliers, and I want to puke. Is it just me?
I put into the Google News search box, "cavaliers domestic violence video" and this is the top hit, from May 11, 2015:
Then there's this, also from May 11:
The video aired on the jumbotron during a Bulls-Cavs game on May 6, 2015.
FIVE DAYS. Based on Google News, that's about all we (the larger "we") even gave a damn about this.
To its credit, RH Reality Check (not exactly MSM) contributed this excellent piece on May 14:
And that video, unmistakably, portrayed abuse: The woman acquiesces to her partner’s demands because he beat her up and intimidated her into it. The final image is the abuser smiling over his win.
After it was roundly condemned on Twitter and across the web, the Cavaliers released a statement the next day that read in part:
While the video was not intended to be offensive, it was a mistake to include content that made light of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a very serious matter and has no place in a parody video that plays in an entertainment venue. We sincerely apologize to those who have been affected by domestic violence for the obvious negative feelings caused by being exposed to this insensitive video.
But in order for this video to get made, someone had to think of the concept. The set had to be created, actors cast, parts learned. Visual had to be filmed, the entire thing had to be edited down, and graphics and voiceover had to be added. To say that it was simply a “mistake” is to downplay and nearly erase the amount of approval that had to happen for that video to get made. It did not “whoops!” into existence.
The night the Cavs showed the video in the arena, statistics tell us that the odds were high that a woman was sitting next to her abuser, their shoulders or knees probably touching. We can imagine her turning her eyes to the Humongotron upon hearing the first bars of “I’ve Had The Time of My Life.” Then she would have seen a scene unfold onscreen that probably would have caused her back to stiffen, shifting away from her partner as she recognized too well the dynamic she was seeing. And then she would have had to watch and listen to the people around her laugh and perhaps even cheer the satisfied smirk of the man at the end of the video as he said, “Go Cavs.”
Then she might have looked over at her partner, her abuser, and seen him, a dedicated Cavaliers fan, enjoying that video. He, too would have recognized the dynamic—but for him, the message he received would have been “Yeah boy!,” with a double thumbs-up from the Cavs. Neither one would have thought they were looking at a “mistake.”
Maybe the Cavs win the NBA title. To be fair, it wasn't the players that conceived, produced, approved, and aired that video. But they belong to an organization that did.
And I don't know how anyone who cares about domestic violence can root for that organization to win anything.
Is it just me?
Posted by MH1 | Wed Jun 10, 2015, 12:18 PM (4 replies)
It airs again at 5 pm Eastern time tomorrow.
(I realize this is group is the choir ... )
Posted by MH1 | Sat May 30, 2015, 11:11 AM (0 replies)