Christmas, the day after, in 2004, following the presidential re-election of George W. Bush.
I am staring out of the window in an extremely dark mood, feeling helpless. Then a friend, a fellow artist, calls to wish me happy holidays. He asks, “How are you?” And instead of “Oh, fine—and you?”, I blurt out the truth: “Not well. Not only am I depressed, I can’t seem to work, to write; it’s as though I am paralyzed, unable to write anything more in the novel I’ve begun. I’ve never felt this way before, but the election….” I am about to explain with further detail when he interrupts, shouting: “No! No, no, no! This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!”
The fatal shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of White police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, not only sparked a nationwide social movement challenging police brutality, but it also amplified media scrutiny of the US legal system. One example is the recent Guardian investigation of a detention facility in Chicago's Homan Square, where police take people for harsh, off-the-book interrogations without reading them their rights and denying access to attorneys. The facility is deemed "the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site" since suspects are effectively "disappeared." While this is the first time Homan Square has been discussed in the mainstream press, it hardly represents anything new or unique in Chicago, or in the United States as a whole. If anything, Homan Square reflects a norm rather than a deviation from US legal and national security policy.
[Photo: From left: Blackfeet tribal member Lita Pepion, of Indian People's Action, which sued to ensure the emails are safeguarded for potential future use; Montana's former chief federal judge Richard Cebull, who sent hundreds of derogatory emails; U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who ruled that the Ninth Circuit, which includes Montana, must preserve them.]
From the article:
“Thank God for Judge Gonzales Rogers,” said Blackfeet tribal member Lita Pepion, who sits on the board of Indian People’s Action. Last year, the advocacy group and three more Native plaintiffs sued to ensure that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals preserved hundreds of derogatory emails sent by Richard Cebull, a former Montana chief federal judge. Now another federal jurist, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, has ordered the Ninth Circuit to safeguard the messages until January 2019.
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com//2015/03/25/justice-speaks-judges-racist-emails-must-be-preserved-159741
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Executive Director Corky DeMarco of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) said here last evening that it is not God’s will that West Virginians be farmers. Instead, he said, it is God’s will that the natural gas industry extract all it can out of the Marcellus shale.
Unlike previous market crashes that were relatively short- lived, the combination of persistent oversupplies and weakening demand are dealing a severe setback to what’s been one of the biggest growth stories in global energy markets. Oilsands companies such as Suncor Energy Inc. already have been rethinking major developments that can require more than $10 billion in investment. Now even existing projects are barely covering costs or in a losing position.
Fish exposed to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) or 17a-ethinylestradiol (EE2) in a laboratory have been found to pass adverse reproductive effects onto their offspring up to three generations later, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Missouri.
Aquatic environments are the ultimate reservoirs for many contaminants, including chemicals that mimic the functions of natural hormones. Fish and other aquatic organisms often have the greatest exposures to such chemicals during critical periods in development or even entire life cycles.
Scientists exposed fish to either BPA or EE2 for one week during embryonic development, while subsequent generations were never exposed. Future generations showed a reduced rate of fertilization and increased embryo mortality. The full study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is available online.
[Photo: A honey store in the community of Degredo, Linhares, Espirito Santo, Brazil. December 18, 2014. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)]
From the article: In the Degredo community, in the municipality of Linhares, on the coast of Espirito Santo, Brazil, the intense yellow of the oil and gas pipes contrasts with the vegetation, which is made up of coconut palms, and the soft colors of the rustic houses built with sheets of metal and wood; others are made of concrete. Like arteries, the pipelines are dispersed throughout the community. In this place, once again a discourse of development and progress brought about by mining and petroleum extraction is being trotted out.
[Photo: Protestors block the road in Washington, D.C., during a protest after two grand juries decided against indicting police officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York. (Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)]
From the article: When 28-year-old George Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on a residential Sanford, Florida, street in February 2012, after trailing the hoodie-clad, iced tea-carrying youth through the neighborhood because he looked “suspicious,” it became clear that America’s Millennial generation had not, in fact, disentangled itself from the nation’s sordid, bloody and lamentable history of racial atrocity. For George Zimmerman, born in October 1983, fits almost every standard definition of the Millennial generation.
[Photo: "Office of Women for Dignity" at the Zapatista Autonomous Municipality "Caracol de Oventic," Chiapas, Mexico. (Photo: Charlotte Maria Sáenz)]
From the article: Resistance and strength manifest like weeds through cracks in Chiapas, Mexico and transnational Kurdistan where the respective Zapatista and Kurdish resistance movements are creating new gender relations as a primary part of their struggle and process for building a better world. In both places, women's participation in the armed forces has been an entry-point for a new social construction of gender relations based on equity.
[Photo: 14 April, 2008- An interior photo of one of the rooms at Station 40, an affordable housing complex in San Francisco's mission district. Station 40's residents were served with an eviction notice, which they are protesting. (Photo: Pete Boyd)]
From the article: As San Francisco rents continue to rise and gentrification spreads, unscrupulous landlords are using new tactics to evict tenants from affordable housing, including bullying residents, going "out of business" and misusing zoning laws.
For people who don't speak English as their first language, language barriers can be a significant hurdle to voting. Difficulty understanding registration forms, ballots and other voting materials for LEP voters such as recently-naturalized citizens may discourage them from turning out to the polls.
[Photo: Fracking operation in progress. Photo via Wikimedia Commons]
From the article: It's the first lawsuit in the province—and one of a rare few ongoing in Canada—to challenge a breach of treaty on the basis of cumulative impacts, or the total adverse environmental effects resulting from decades of industrial activity in the area, rather than legally attacking development on a project-by-project basis.
American culture is imbued with fears that African Americans will someday repay the violence and oppression that has marred their history in this country, according to linguist and cultural critic Noam Chomsky. Speaking with philosopher George Yancy about the roots of American racism, from Native American genocide to anti-black discrimination, Chomsky emphasized the ongoing impact of black enslavement and subjugation in the U.S., saying “fears that the victims might rise up and take revenge are deeply rooted in American culture, with reverberations to the present.”
Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.
And here’s what I find strange: the evidence of this, however inchoate, is all around us and yet it’s as if we can’t bear to take it in or make sense of it or even say that it might be so.