Thursday, February 5, 2015
Saving Raif Badawi: We Are Prepared to Present Ourselves, Also Give Him the Nobel Peace Prize
While the fate of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi remains unclear - his case was moved to a court of appeals even as officials twice postponed the next round of a 1,000-lash punishment that advocates deem a death sentence stretched over 20 weeks - the movement to free him escalates. Along with global protests and campaigns, a group of high-profile U.S. academics have offered to take his lashes and two Norwegian politicians have nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize as "a beacon of light."
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Radical Brownies For A More Radical World
Just in time for the release of the Rosa Parks archives on the civil rights icon's 102nd birthday, meet the Radical Brownies, an Oakland-based, Black Panther-inspired group that seeks to empower young girls of color "as they step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership (to) make the world a more radical place." Right-wing trolls are not happy.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Oscar Romero, Beloved Bishop of the Poor, Will Finally Become A Saint
In a belated but righteous move, Pope Francis has decreed that Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, an icon of the theological left assassinated in 1980 by a right-wing death squad, was killed "in hatred of the faith" and thus deserves beatification. The action ends decades of Vatican debate over the legacy of Romero, still remembered by poor Salvadorans for insisting through a brutal civil war that peace is the "contribution of all to the good of all."
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Upping the Ante: UK Abruptly Drops Case Against Apartheid Protesters
Prosecutors have suddenly dropped all charges against nine Palestine solidarity activists who shut down an Israeli-owned U.K. drone engine factory to protest British-made arms used by Israel against Gazans, evidently because neither Britain nor the company wanted to release details about their weapons trade and use - aka "aiding and abetting war crimes." Activists celebrated the legal victory as a “green light" for further actions against factories and others supporting Israeli apartheid.
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Monday, February 2, 2015
Preventable Losses: Your Kids May Die Any Moment So Quick Buy Our Insurance and Then You'll Feel Better!
Man, Nationwide. Looks like the Seahawks weren't the only maladroit losers at the Super Bowl. In a brutal bummer ad now being mercilessly mocked, a cute kid tells us he'll never get to ride a bike or grow up 'cause see he's dead, crushed by a TV or obliterated by another of life's countless cruelties (oddly, not including guns.) Waytago exploiting paranoid parents' fears for profit! The flak led Nationwide to explain their "purpose was to start a conversation, not sell insurance." Uh-huh.
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Friday, January 30, 2015
Righting History, 54 Years Later
Precisely fifty-four years ago, nine young black men sat at the whites-only counter of McCrory's five-and-dime in Rock Hill, S.C. and ordered burgers and cokes, for which crime they were arrested and convicted of trespassing. On Wednesday, eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine returned to court, where a judge - whose uncle had originally sentenced them - threw out the cases. Mindfully, he ruled the record of the charges be preserved: “This will remain part of our history as corrected.”
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Thursday, January 29, 2015
Seattle Police Still Going Nuts
Just in case you forgot what country we're living in: See a berserk (white, female) Seattle cop feverishly screaming "Get back!" as a peaceable (black, male) teacher, having just given a MLK Day speech about civil rights, ambles past talking on his cell phone, at which point the cop pepper sprays him in the face. Seattle police have been here before. Because author and activist Jesse Hagopian has too, he is suing them and the city. His remarkably mild response: "Wish we had a better world."
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Sniper As Hero: Our Deep Sickness
Chris Kyle's American Sniper, to one critic "an odious homage (to) wholesale slaughter," is everywhere. The film has made millions, the book tops bestseller lists, the media gears up for the trial of the vet who killed Kyle. For many, America's eagerness to lionize a guy who saw all his victims as "savages" while mouthing the mindless, jingoistic pieties of America's wars highlights the moral failings of the culture. His widow to the NRA: He was "an everyday man who loved his God and country."
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Celebrating Moderate Beheadings: Pentagon Says Tell Us Why Abdullah Was Cool and Win A Wife
Mind-bogglingly, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey is sponsoring an essay contest to honor Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah as "a man of remarkable character and courage,” presumably on the basis of Abdullah's achievements - his jailing, torturing, mutilating, oppressing, beheading and otherwise infamous denying of basic human rights to many thousands of his own citizens. Go U.S. military: ever on the wrong side of history.
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Monday, January 26, 2015
Use Me Instead
There is, it seems, grace in the world. Appalled that North Miami Beach Police were using photos of young black men for target practice and resolved to "put ourselves in the place of those whose humanity is denied," dozens of clergy and others have offered their own collared, smiling, sacred photos to police shooters with the hashtag #UseMeInstead. Their comments range from concise - "Not cool" - to caustic - "Sorry I'm so pale" - to hauntingly apt: "Inasmuch as you do it to the least of these."
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