Saturday, August 2, 2014
Cardboard Stories
Because "the homeless are people, just like you and I," they all have stories to tell. The advocacy project Rethink Homelessness asked a group of homeless people in Orlando, Florida to write down one thing about themselves that might surprise others. The resulting video is stunning - especially in light of the recent study finding that each chronically homeless person costs the community $30,000 a year. The cost of finding them housing: $10,000.
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Friday, August 1, 2014
How Quickly Your Suspects Turn To Victims: Garner Death Ruled Homicide
The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the July 17 choking death of Eric Garner by NYPD officers a homicide, thus confirming what anyone who saw the brutal video of the attack would call it. As city officials confront widespread rage at how "routine arrests are becoming modern day lynchings," a powerful flash mob of over 100 Broadway performers partnered with poet Daniel J. Watts at the Times Square police station to "provoke not riot but conversation."
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Monday, July 28, 2014
Not In Our Name
It's hard to find a scrap of hope in Gaza. Perhaps just this: The number of righteous, including Jews, bearing witness, and seeking justice for the Palestinian people. Rejecting the tired claim the violence is "for us, for our ancestors, for our children," Jews are refusing, occupying, hauntingly reading the mourners' Kaddish over Gaza's dead and vowing to end the "inhuman wilderness" they are seeing. It's not much, but it's something. In the name of the innocents lost, of blessed memory.
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Everyone Gets A Gun: Kids Should Learn Readin' and Writin' and Shootin' 'Cause Guns Make Our Lives Better, Also Government-Subsidized Ammunition!
What, you thought the NRA couldn't get any gun-nuttier? They did. Their new video - part of a series aimed at millenials - argues that just like we have laws protecting access to education and parks and voting, we should have them for guns, which are just like that, and though wussy liburals say guns are "dangerous," actually "people need guns," so we should have gun-required zones where kids need to learn to shoot to advance to the next grade, and the government could subsidize shooting just like schools and other "things we value," just like our Founding Fathers wanted. Also freedom, and cash flow!
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This Is How They Lived
Seeking to make real each grievous Gazan death among the staggering numbers, a new website, Humanize Palestine, serves as an online memorial, posting not just names and numbers but images and short biographies of each victim under the heading "In Memory." Its creators say their goal is both to bring together the Palestinian community in mourning, and to help others better understand "who Palestinians are. This is how they lived. This is how their lives were ended."
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We Believe You/It's Not Your Fault: Everyone Has A Story
Stuff happens, especially (still) to girls struggling to grow up whole. Acknowledging "how unbelievably painful and confusing it is to navigate the world as a teenage girl" and the unceasing stories of being "victimized, scared, confused, ashamed, alone, defeated, empowered, defiant, triumphant," writer Lindy West has begun “I Believe You | It’s Not Your Fault” - sub-headed "Notes From Your Big Sister" - a sort of Girls' Guide to Rape Culture Tumblr in which women who've "been through some stuff" offer an alternative narrative to girls by telling their own stories in essays and letters. Both devastatingly and inspiringly, West has been flooded with intensely personal stories with telling titles like "Sometimes He Was Good To Me" and "They Just Wanted To Leave A Mark." Talk to us about anything, she urged readers, and they are. "We’re here, and there are so many of us...We’re all throwing ourselves against the same wall, and we have been for generations."
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014
In Gaza, A Stroke Of Luck, Granted and Denied
The carnage goes on in Gaza. Over 500 now dead. The devastation has sparked fury, with hundreds of thousands protesting around the world, Nobel laureates and other public figures demanding an arms embargo against Israel, and an emergency meeting by the U.N. Security Council just announced. Still, the sheer scope of the horror can also numb us into a sort of moral fatigue. Two individual stories of random life and death to make and keep it real: The little boy on the front, brought into Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital along with his brothers suffering from serious injuries, survived, just. A young man who went out into the rubble of Shujaiya to search for his family during a "ceasefire" was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper as human rights workers with him watched, and filmed, in horror. The searing video of his murder is the closest most of us will likely get to the bloodbath now unfolding. Warning: Graphic. With a grimly poignant video from bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families - tagline "We don't want you here" - calling for an end to it all.
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NYPD Choke Guy to Death For Standing On Sidewalk While Black
The NYPD is again facing widespread outrage following the release of two horrific videos showing the chokehold death of Eric Garner, 43, an asthmatic Staten Island father of six seen struggling on the ground pleading "I can't breathe, I can't breathe" after he was grabbed by a phalanx of NYPD officers for either what bystanders say was breaking up a fight or what cops say was selling loose untaxed cigarettes for extra money - clearly an offense worthy of death - followed by the spectacle of eight cops and four EMT workers called to the scene standing around doing nothing but rifling through his pockets. Two cops and the EMTs have been reassigned to desk jobs, the city is investigating the use of the banned chokehold, and hundreds of people chanting "Go to the tape!" have protested against the constant police harassment and abuse that is their lives. This time, at least, there is video. Warning: Disturbing scene of thugs in action. Update : An NYPD internal report right after the incident failed to mention the chokehold and said Garner's condition "did not seem serious." Except that he was, you know, dead.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014
They Were Children
Israel's murder of four Palestinian children playing on a beach in Gaza City was witnessed by many bystanders, including journalists who have relayed harrowing accounts and photos as they watched the terrified boys run for their lives. Killed were Ahed Atef Bakr, 10, Zakariya Ahed Bakr, 10, Mohammad Ramiz Bakr, 11, and Ismail Mahmoud Bakr, 9. Warning: Graphic. Also heart-shattering, and untenable.
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What God Has Taught: Christian Places of Grace and Truth Are On the Move And Love (Almost) Everyone If They Read the Bible
The Hobby Lobby monster lives, and grows. Even as a Boston-area Christian college joined in a letter to Obama by religious leaders praising our "blessed nation" where "all persons are created in the divine image of the creator" except can they pretty please discriminate against LGBT people? - the Green family has announced their plan to build an $800 million Bible museum hard by the godless halls of Congress in hopes of telling the story of "a reliable historical document.... like none other." Green has warned that "this nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught (and) lessons from the past." And we agree, though he's probably not talking about the lessons stemmimg from that pesky idea of separation of church and state.
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