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Submitted by Emma Needleman on Tue, 07/15/2008 - 11:43am.
2. Huffington Post blogger (and Brandeis University sophomore) Nathan Robinson agreed to watch FOX News for 24 hours straight.
4. Alternet ranked the top ten worst things McCain has done...this week.
5. Elsewhere, the feud between comedian and VH1 "fundit" Michael Ian Black and Tucker Max (the I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell guy) stretches on.
Submitted by Seth Pearce on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 6:17pm.
Jonathan Levine's new film The Wackness is great. It really is. It's depressing. No doubt. But it's a good movie.
Josh Peck, as recently graduated- prep school- drug dealer- hip hop enthusiast- virgin- depressive- bored Luke Shapiro and Sir Ben Kingsley as lost- frustrated- depressive- addicted- bored- tired Dr. Squires are excellent together. Their relationship gives the movie an uncompromising reality that infiltrates every moment of the New York City Hip-Hopped bildungsroman. All the actors have a great understanding for their characters and the director really gets you into the protagonists head. So much so, that your emotions twist and squeeze along with Luke's as he suffers through heartbreak, insecurity and a drugged out emptiness that pervades each frame.
As to the movie's authenticity: A+. Heck, I know kids from my New York City high school of whom this movie could very well be a biography. The film stays true to its location, its music and the complexity of each of its characters and the real life teens whose lives this story replicates. So, what about the drugs?
How come, people ask, Luke was never arrested for dealing drugs, even though in the movie he was often doing so in public, out in the open, using a converted Italian Ice cart? Why was there never the slightest fear of repercussions of his actions. Even though 1994 was right when Rudy Giuliani stepped up his anti-drug enforcement? Simple answer: HE'S WHITE.
The Drug Policy Alliance Network, an organization dedicated to promoting drug policies "grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights," lists many reasons why the war on drugs as currently executed in the United States is completely unjust. One of the key reasons they list is the outrageous racial disparity in drug arrests and convictions.
While African Americans represent "only 13% of drug users," a stat that anyone who watches the Wackness will easily recognize, "they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses." Huh? How could this be? According to DPAN, these higher rates reflect the war's enforcement of laws in inner city areas "where drug use and sales are more likely to take place in open-air drug markets where treatment resources are scarce."
Thus, even though Luke deals in open air areas such as Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, the law enforcement resources aren't directed at such a well-to-do, white, neighborhood.
Other examples of this institutionalized racism include the disparity in sentencing among those convicted of using or selling crack cocaine and powder cocaine, two drugs made from the same active ingredient but the first used more often by lower income minorities and the second by more wealthy whites. Guess who gets the stricter sentence?
The Drug War also ends giving lower level dealers and runners more time than mid-level dealers because the mid-level dealers can usually give the police more information, and in doing so get around the mandatory minimums faced by almost all of the lower lever dealers.
As DPAN says:
Submitted by Seth Pearce on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 3:24pm.
The one thing every liberal must read today:
Submitted by Seth Pearce on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 2:46pm.
Most of the time, if you're a liberal, you probably find yourself in disagreement with Andrew Sullivan. He's a loud and proud conservative pundit, (even if he does support Barack Obama). But now, many liberals are supporting Sullivan in the fight to end the HIV travel and immigration ban.
This ban, which prevents people who are HIV positive from entering or immigrating to the United States, was instituted in 1987 by Jesse Helms. Andrew Sullivan, came to the US in 1984 before the ban was enacted but, because of the ban, he hasn't been allowed to become a citizen of the country he loves.
Now, Senators John Kerry and Gordon Smith in the Senate and Congresswoman Barbara Lee in the House have introduced a bill called the HIV Nondiscrimination in Travel and Immigration Act of 2007 to remove HIV from the list of diseases that exclude people from entering and becoming a citizen of the US.
Today a group of Faith organizations such as the Presbyterian Church, Washington Office, the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced their support for ending the ban on the grounds that because of their "commitment to the well-being of all God's people," they must support a bill that could "reduce stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive persons, enhance U.S. leadership in the global fight against AIDS and allow our ministries to more effectively partner with those most severely affected by HIV and AIDS in the world.
This is a political issue that directly affects the lives of many would-be Americans like Andrew Sullivan and prevents them from truly becoming a part of our American community. This bill will come to a vote any day now, maybe even any minute. If you want, you can write your Senator or Representative to tell them how you feel about the ban.
Submitted by Seth Pearce on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 11:29am.
Must link for sake of awesomeness.
Submitted by Seth Pearce on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 11:19am.
1. Obama will visit the West Bank during his European trip in two weeks, and finally make peace in the Middle East.
2. Sacre Bleu! It's Bastille Day! More on that later.
3. Obama op-eded the New York Times like it was nobody's bizness.
4. The President is lifting the executive ban on offshore drilling. Is this a Bush-McCain policy or a McCain-Bush policy?
6. Jeffrey Wright got arrested in a bar fight. He's such a good actor. Can't wait to his Colin Powell.
7. Mark Sanford on the TV and not much better than Phil Gramm.
Submitted by KAT on Fri, 07/11/2008 - 10:43pm.
Meanwhile, the EPA issued a 588-page federal notice on Friday that, the AP reports, makes "no finding on whether global warming poses a threat to people's health."
That is, like, so bizarre! Because just three weeks ago, the folks at the EPA had concluded that it did, and called for the regulation of greenhouse gases under the auspices of the Clean Air Act.
Three weeks ago I was in Central California myself, to attend my oldest brother's wedding. The day before my departure, when my husband Matt thoughtfully added the weather for Paso Robles to my iPhone, he literally started to shake the phone as if it were broken.
"This can't be right!" he exclaimed; the forecast showed daytime highs ranging from 107 to 110 degrees. On the day of my brother's wedding, the temperature was predicted to hit 108 degrees, so the ceremony, which had been set to take place outside, had to be moved indoors. Why? Because, well, 108 degree heat can be hazardous to your health. Just ask--oh, nevermind.
The LA suburb I grew up in, Woodland Hills (sounds so bucolic, doesn't it?), made the news recently when temperatures there hit a record 109 degrees. My memories of my Valley Girl childhood are filled with disasters: earthquakes, fires, floods, mudslides, Ronald Reagan's ascension from Screen Actors Guild President to Governor of California.
Sometimes the smog was so bad, when I was a kid, the city would issue an alert warning us not to play outdoors. That was normal. But 109 degree weather? Not even close.
In Central California last month, I couldn't get over how horribly dry and brown the hills looked, like the proverbial tinderbox. Grace, my fifteen-year old niece from lush, leafy Larchmont, couldn't either.
"What happens when lightening strikes?" she wondered. Well, Grace, you get hundreds of wildfires raging out of control, is what happens. And more every year, as the Santa Barbara Independent noted last week:
Do greenhouse gases contribute to global warming? You can debate that point--if you're a dumbass. But how can you possibly question whether global warming is a hazard to our health? From drought to floods to fires to a rise in pest populations and plant diseases, the world is reeling from the consequences of this fossil-fueled fever.
But it's the Bush administration that's delirious, determined to fight any attempts to regulate greenhouse gases on the grounds that it would damage the U.S. economy and cause too many job losses. So the White House forced the EPA to revise its earlier document, which not only supported regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act but noted, to the Administration's consternation, that there could be a "net benefit to society...in excess of $2 trillion," as the Wall Street Journal reported Friday:
As opposed to global warming, which only affects some households? Like the families of the farm workers dropping dead in the fields? Or the folks who've lost their homes in the California wildfires? Or the farmers in the heartland who've lost their crops to floods?
Instead of taking action, the Decider's decided that we need to continue to debate this matter until someone who's even more of a Decider sets up shop in the Oval Office, according to the Guardian:
OK, so here's my public comment: on behalf of Abdon Felix Garcia and his fellow farm workers who've perished in the scorching Central Valley heat, may I state that global warming is, like, rilly, rilly deadly? Like, seriously? Mister Prezidon't, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the White House, already--you're killing us.
Submitted by Seth Pearce on Fri, 07/11/2008 - 2:54pm.
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