Archive for the 'human_rights' Category

Jan 05 2009

A Hole in a Fence

Published by Brian under film, human_rights, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

A hole in a fence DVD coverOur image of Brooklyn—of New York City in general—is of wall-to-wall people. But, as filmmaker D.W. Young discovered, there are plenty of wide-open spaces in the city. You just have to know where to look. Like through a hole in a fence.

The hole in question gapes in a fence surrounding an abandoned industrial area in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. A home for the homeless and a canvass for graffiti artists, the open space behind the hole in the fence becomes a sounding board for a young architect (Benjamin Uyeda) and filmmaker. In A Hole in a Fence, Young explores issues of class, urban development, the renewal of nature and a host of other issues. Continue reading on Curled Up with a Good DVD…

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Feb 17 2008

A Drunkard-ly Indian

Published by Brian under contributors, poetry, human_rights

poem by Kurt Olson

a drunkard-ly Indian
[native American]
{american Indian}
stumbled down the opposite lane
snow bound; plowed

Call it social injustice
Call it personal choices
but I think he was coping
with the humanity
or lack there of
in this town

prescribed to him
by a people of
pale skin and pale character

he looked right through my
middle-class-white “soul”
and I saw why
my ancestors embarrassed me

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Oct 12 2007

Spies in Our Midst?

DragonspySnips from the Washington Post:

Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.

“I heard someone say, ‘Oh my god, look at those,’ ” the college senior from New York recalled. “I look up and I’m like, ‘What the hell is that?’ They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects.”

No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones. But a number of U.S. government and private entities acknowledge they are trying. Some federally funded teams are even growing live insects with computer chips in them, with the goal of mounting spyware on their bodies and controlling their flight muscles remotely.

The Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems project aims to create literal shutterbugs — camera-toting insects whose nerves have grown into their internal silicon chip so that wranglers can control their activities. DARPA researchers are also raising cyborg beetles with power for various instruments to be generated by their muscles.

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Aug 02 2007

BBC Sells Out to DRM

Defective By Design writes:

The BBC should have chosen free and open standards that work well and are available today—software that you can install on every major operating system including Microsoft’s. Free software.

Instead, they have given Microsoft complete control.This deal isn’t about supporting Microsoft Windows users. It’s about excluding everyone who doesn’t use Microsoft Windows. It says that everyone who does not agree to use DRM and proprietary software made by Microsoft cannot view BBC TV programs over the Internet. Read more.

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Sep 01 2006


Published by Brian under creative commons, human_rights, music

Fight the power on October 3, which Defective By Design has named Digital Rights Management Day. In a nutshell, DRM is evil. DRM is what made Sony think it was OK to sell CDs that install spyware on your computer. DRM is what makes Apple think it’s OK to be a monopoly, and to have iTunes downloads only compatible with iPods. DRM is what make both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD suck big time. DRM is part of the on-going campaign to close down the creative commons and make us all pay every time we surf the web, click the remote, or rip a CD. As the RIAA likes to ask, “Think you own this music? Think again.” Gonna say it again: DRM is evil. Defective By Design wants your suggestions on how to make people aware that DRM is (once more, with feeling) evil and how to shake up the media conglomerates so they quit acting like power-mad behemoths and let the world be filled with art and information. Continue Reading »

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Aug 02 2006

Beyond Marriage

Published by Brian under marriage, gay_rights, human_rights

At last! As I discussed in a previous post, the GLBT drive for “equal” rights, the right to get married, shows an extreme lack of imagination. Why gays, lesbians, and others would want to attain “equal” protection under a racist, sexist, colonialist, and permanently patriarchal system is beyond me. Now, Richard Kim and other have launched Beyond Marriage, a movement that acknowledges that “the struggle for marriage rights should be part of a larger effort to strengthen the stability and security of diverse households and families.” Beyond Marriage advocates for the complete “separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and recognition of relationships, households and families” and “legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families – regardless of kinship or conjugal status.” Separation of church and state, and the divestment of sex from the concept of legal union: Amen, brothers, sisters and ‘tweeners. What this would mean, as I have long argued, is “access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital government support programs including but not limited to health care, housing, Social Security and pension plans, disaster recovery assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.” Kim, writing in The Notion, offers an amusing response to his often “overheated” critics.

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May 18 2006

We Are All Pre-pregnant Women

Published by Brian under sex, science, human_rights, science_fiction

According to an article in The Washington Post, the Centers for Disease Control has advised that all women “between first menstrual period and menopause” treat themselves as “pre-pregnant.” Pre-pregnant women “should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.” The U.S. has one of the highest infant-mortality rates of any industrialized country. But “forever pregnant,” as the Post’s title quips? Mother Jones notes “the incredibly offensive implication that all women are nothing more than incubators who should remain healthy not because it’s good for them, but because it makes for healthier babies. And note that even though the report’s first recommendation is that ‘each woman, man and couple should be encouraged to have a reproductive life plan,’ it never calls on the government to encourage contraceptive use. Which is, uh, pretty important for family planning.” And check out this June 7 article by Sunsara Taylor, “A Handmaid’s Tale”–from real life.

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Apr 06 2006

A Movement with No Immagination Turns Racist

Published by Brian under marriage, gay_rights, human_rights

Richard Kim blogs in The Notion that the gay mainstream press has hit a new low: “If you want to see the pathologies plaguing the gay marriage movement in action, you need look no farther than this article penned by Jasmyne Cannick. Titled ‘Gays First, Then Illegals,’ Cannick’s editorial spews the kind of xenophobic rhetoric now rarely heard outside of right-wing radio and white nativist circles — unless, of course, it’s coming from the mainstream gay press.” Continue Reading »

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Mar 14 2006

Write Your Senator!

Published by Brian under war, human_rights, politics

“Dear Senators Cantwell and Murray: I’m ashamed to admit that I once thought you were pretty good senators. But you and your party’s lack of support for Senator Feingold’s move to censure President Bush for his crimes against civil society, the people of Iraq, and the people of the world through torture and wrongful imprisonment, leave me sick at heart and stomach. You can count on me to do whatever I can to see that you are not reelected. No more Democrats, the party of the chickens. And no more Republicans, the part of the chickenhawks.” Use this letter as a model, if you like; and contact your senators using this form.

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Dec 28 2005

Chocolate, Flowers and Other Love Drugs

Published by Brian under drugs, human_rights, politics

Donald Rumsfeld told us that the people of Iraq would greet the conquering “Coalition” forces with “chocolates and flowers.” In retrospect–and even at the time, to many of us–that sounds completely idiotic. But maybe Rumsfeld was counting on something that, like the best laid plans of chickenhawks and neo-con-men, went didn’t happen. In this context, consider this excerpt from Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s 1975 book, The Speed Culture: ” ‘Chemical warfare’ or ‘drug pacification’ by MDA would probably suppress the fighting instincts of soldiers (or civilians) and make them expansively warm, friendly, and concerned for the welfare of their ‘enemies’.” MDA is an early version of MDMA or, as it’s better known, Ecstasy, the “love drug” and a member of America’s beloved amphetamine family. Grinspoon goes on: “no one (except perhaps for a very small and close-mouthed circle of Defense Department researchers and their employees) seems to know what the effects of massive doses of MDA on large groups of soldiers or civilians might be” (59). Rumsfeld is, of course, a longtime member of the U.S. defense-intelligence community. And the military tested MDA on civilians starting in the 1940s (and continuing into the 1970s–that is, if the experiments have ceased) in a series of projects, the most notorious (or at least the most well known) of which was MK Ultra. MK, you know, is spook-speak for “mind kontrol.”

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