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04.21.14 - 9:44 PM

Fighting the Monsanto-led global transformation of seeds into profit-making, patent-encased intellectual property, scientists and sustainable food advocates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have launched an Open Source Seeds Initiative to return vegetables to all of us. Likening the move to "a genetic easement," they have introduced 29 new varieties of 14 crops, including carrots, kale, broccoli and quinoa, in packets bearing a haiku-like pledge to use the seeds freely, and enjoy.

"It's kind of a biological meme - free seed! Seed that can be used by anyone!"

-Abby Zimet
04.21.14 - 8:32 PM

Proving the ragged hateful fringes of the country live on, Pennsylvania residents beset by a rash of burglaries woke up to flyers announcing a new neighborhood watch program launched by helpful members of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, who say they are NOT a hate group but a "patriotic white Christian organization...exalting the Caucasian Race and teaching the doctrine of White Supremacy," but this doesn't mean "we are enemies of the colored and mongrel races." In Virginia, meanwhile, residents found "Diversity=White Genocide" messages Sunday in their kids' Easter eggs. Sigh. They were reported as "outraged," so there's that.

-Abby Zimet
04.19.14 - 5:19 PM

You thought Keystone was bad? If approved, Keystone will emit about 24.3 million tons of greenhouse gases, or 1.2 billion over its 50-year life. If approved, two mega coalmines in Australia will emit triple that, or 3.7 billion tons. In honor of that appalling figure and an upcoming National Day of Divestment, action groups have released a great video announcing the coal industry's new Fuck You policy, a "philosophy where we are able straddle the dichotomy between what we know is true and how we can benefit by ignoring that truth."

"Fuck you means we can be passionate about our values, but not act on them. (It takes) our present-day financial burden away from us and transforms it into a chronic, economic, social, cultural and political crisis for future generations. It ensures solid returns to our shareholders, by killing their grandchildren."

-Abby Zimet
04.18.14 - 11:23 PM

Like most of the other thugs of her era, Condoleezza Rice is much in the profitable public eye these days. She just made $150,000 for a speech at the University of Minnesota - part of the  lecture series, “Keeping Faith with a Legacy of Justice,” yet - despite protests, attendees dressed in Gitmo jumpsuits, and a petition signed by 200 faculty, briefly alluding to debate about “things we were involved in" but arguing “we kept the nation safe,” never mind that little incident at the World Trade Center. She's also the new board member of shiny file-sharing startup Dropbox, because as someone who supported the Patriot Act, illegal wiretaps and torture and lied about all of it, who better to trust with our online privacy? A Drop Dropbox boycott campaign is up and running.

-Abby Zimet
04.18.14 - 11:28 AM

Not that we need it in a week that saw the anniversary of the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion and no less than three reports on the many public health risks posed by fracking, but here's more graphic proof of the dangers facing what remains our only planet. From EPA and Greenpeace data, a series of interactive maps showing thousands of facilities possessing "greater than certain threshold quantities of 140 chemicals" - a chilling phrase and number in and of itself - where a "catastrophic chemical release" could harm up to a million people. From Mother Jones. Who said, lest we forget, "Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living."

-Abby Zimet
04.17.14 - 6:42 PM

Changing Times Chap. 632: Spring brings baseball brings renewed visibility to racist names - Braves, Indians, Chief Wahoo - increasingly deemed unacceptable in polite society. Recently, both the Navajo Nation and U.N. joined the fight against "Redskins," Texas schools changed four team names, and a study found national teams with offensive names lose millions a year in revenue. Also, this happened: At Opening Day for the Cleveland Indians, a gaudy painted clueless fan met up with the 1,000-yard stare of Chiricahua Apache Robert Roche, leading the annual protest against the Indians' grotesque mascot “Chief Wahoo.” Has any photo better captured why this is not okay?

-Abby Zimet
04.17.14 - 12:03 AM

Dubbed an experiment in "building empathy," a Silicon Valley “entrepreneur and sociologist" has created Homeless GoPro, wherein a $300 camera usually used for extreme sports is strapped onto poor people on the street to record their own extreme sport of having no home, on the gizmo-happy premise that other people can better understand a reality if it's livestreamed. Following earlier tech efforts - homeless hot spots, homeless bitcoin - the project is working with Adam Reichart, a homeless man who says the young GoPro team are "decent people," even if they do talk about technology offering the "opportunity to elevate our digital communities into our reality (and) our actions into greatness." Alas, for now the poor still need shelter, shower, food, clothes, mailing address, job prospects, dignity and hope. Maybe start with those?

-Abby Zimet

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Tuesday April 22, 2014

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship:

Monday April 21, 2014

Medea Benjamin and Kate Chandley:
Chris Hedges:

Sunday April 20, 2014

Lina Newhouser