Laugh & Eat.


The US must stop sexual violence against immigrant farmworkers.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrant farmworker women and girls in the United States face a high risk of sexual violence and sexual harassment in their workplaces because US authorities and employers fail to protect them adequately.
In a new 95-page report, Human Rights Watch documents rape, stalking, unwanted touching, exhibitionism, or vulgar and obscene language by supervisors, employers, and others in positions of power. Most farmworkers interviewed said they had experienced such treatment or knew others who had. And most said they had not reported these or other workplace abuses, fearing reprisals. Those who had filed sexual harassment claims or reported sexual assault to the police had done so with the encouragement and assistance of survivor advocates or attorneys in the face of difficult challenges.
Farmworkers described experiences such as the following:
A woman in California reported that a supervisor at a lettuce company raped her and later told her that she “should remember it’s because of him that [she has] this job.”
A woman in New York said that a supervisor, when she picked potatoes and onions, would touch women’s breasts and buttocks. If they tried to resist, he would threaten to call immigration or fire them.
Four women who had worked together packing cauliflower in California said a supervisor would regularly expose himself and make comments like, “[That woman] needs to be fucked!” When they tried to defend one young woman whom he singled out for particular abuse, he fired all of them.
© 2011 AP Photo

The conditions migrant farm workers face (women and men) in the U.S. is appalling. We are allowing the systematic subjugation and abuse of millions of people.  Official ‘citizen’ or not, you are a human being and have certain inalienable rights. 
Remember when those words were written by immigrant, ex-pat-agitators? It meant something. Why doesn’t it now?

George Lucas Strikes Back of the Day: Star Wars creator George Lucas has been trying for years to convert a large parcel of land in Marin County, California into a 300,000 square foot movie studio, with amenities including a day care center, restaurants, a gym and a parking garage, only to be shot down by his wealthy neighbors.
Because the local homeowners’ association has refused to let Lucas move forward with the studio, he’s decided to put the land to good use by transforming it into low-income housing, simultaneously doing a good deed and trolling his fellow landowners.
“If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land, then we are hoping that people who need it the most will benefit,” Lucas snarked.
He’s even donating the various studies and surveys he paid for while working on the movie studio project, to help the new housing development get underway more quickly.
That might be almost enough to outweigh creating Jar Jar Binks.

Mr. Lucas, in some tiny part of your heart, you may have actually wanted to do the right thing and provide affordable shelter to a vulnerable population in America. 
By doing so under these circumstances (i.e. wanting to seek revenge on your neighbors for not going along with your Neverland Ranch: Lucas Edition idea) you have just categorized those low-income residents you are trying to help as a punishment. 
You’re importing a perceived parasite into an idealized dreamscape with the hopes of creating misery on the part of your neighbors and perhaps even disorder. 
Besides, where is this place? Is it actually feasible to house low-income citizens who may not own cars far, far away from their jobs and social service networks? Will this half-ironic jab actually do any good for anyone?
If It’s Held Together With Duct-tape, It’s Not Working.

Hey, Tennessee. Yeah, you, little guy. Can I have a word?

I see you’ve got some sex ed programs there. That’s nice. We want our kids to be able to make safe and informed decisions about their sexual health.

What’s that?

Oh, “abstinence only”? You say it’s the only way to keep kids from getting pregnant or passing STDs? That’s funny, your abstinence only program that’s been around for a while now hasn’t impacted the 26.7% of 10-19 year olds that were pregnant in 2010.

What’s that little guy? You got a plan? Okay, lay it on me.

What the-? Oh god, what is this? SB 3310 and it does what? It potentially bans hugging? Because it might lead to sexual behavior?

Hugs might also lead to friends. Should we ban human emotion?

Let’s get this straight. If you have to tack on an ad-hoc amendment that steps outside of actual sex education to put restrictions on behavior outside of the classroom, your program isn’t working.

Abstinence-Only education doesn’t work. Morals don’t play into it. The numbers speak for themselves. 

The Oracles of Pennsylvania Avenue

Read the full article/watch the video here.

This is a great story.  To stand so strongly and gracefully behind your values is a lesson not easily swallowed by a generation of ‘instant-gratifiers’.  I’m looking forward to sitting down and watching the whole series.

One sentence that disturbed me though was rather casually thrown in by the author:

I also discovered that nuclear waste (Depleted Uranium) from both the weapons industry and the nuclear power industry was being placed into armour-piercing weapons, and that the use of such weapons by the US military was suspected of having dramatically increased the number of horrific birth defects among Iraqi children.

Is this true? Dear Lord, what horrific warriors we are. Could this be considered chemical/nuclear warfare? Does it violate Geneva or any other law on appropriate wartime conduct? 

Check out this info graphic Obama for America, President Obama’s 2012 campaign posted on their Facebook account yesterday.  
It makes the debate going on about whether or not women’s contraception should be covered under health insurance even more disturbing. Or simple. Depending on your point of view.

What’s More Expensive Than College? Not Going to College

College has its skeptics, and the skeptics make good points. Does a four-year university make sense for every student? Probably not. Is the modern on-site college education necessarily the ideal means to deliver training after high school? Maybe not. Vocational training and community colleges deserve a place in this discussion. And we happen to be living through a quiet revolution in higher education.
Here are three quick examples. First, beginning this year, students at MITx can take free online courses offered by MIT and receive a credential for a price far less than tuition if they demonstrate mastery in the subject. Second, the University of Southern California is experimenting with online classrooms that connect students across the country in front of a single professor. Third, there’s Western Governors University, a non-profit, private online university that’s spearheading the movement toward “competency-based degrees” that reward what students can prove they know rather than how many hours or credits they amass. 
Some of these experiments will fail, and some will scale. What’s important is that they offer higher ed and retraining that is cheap, creative, and convenient. If we can win the marketing war in neighborhoods blighted by NEETs and deliver a post-high school education to some of those 7 million young people who have disengaged with education and work, we will be spending money to save money. 
Take out a globe and give it a spin. I challenge you to land on a region where education gains aren’t translating to productivity and income gains. The highest-income countries have the highest rates of enrollment in secondary school and the smallest share of informal employment that is vulnerable to an economic downturn. There is a cost to not educating young people. The evidence is literally all around us.
Read more.

Great point here, but it’s important not to forget that while we’ll make more money as college grads, we’ll have less spending power for many years due to large debts and dwindling pools of accessible credit. Which is why I really love the emphasis here on alternative methods of education, including the impending upsurge in online degrees.
 We can’t stop education kids because it’s expensive, but we sure as hell can’t keep paying for college as it is now.
Sex and Drugs (and women’s rights.)

Guys, I’ve tried to step back and just let the political drama of choosing the least lopsided peacock to play presidential candidate play out above my overworked head, but the recent legislation in Virginia broke this camel’s back.

Some of us might need a recap of this fantastic trip through Neverland the Republicans have cooked up, so here’s my version:

  1. Abortions are immoral and just plain bad. They should be illegal, and barring making them illegal, we should try to subtly persuade women to not get abortions. Idea: keep clinics which offer abortion services (even if they offer other important and at times life saving functions) from getting ANY MONEY.
  2. A rational individual may interpret this to mean, “Let’s pay more attention to family planning and so avoid these awkward situations,” but you’d be WRONG. Because family planning is tantamount to abortion. Contraception (by which I mean the form that women have control over, nobody is saying condoms are immoral) is evil because it blocks God’s will (even if it’s not your god.) And if we can’t storm teenager’s homes and re-lock the chastity belt ourselves, we’ll settle for making birth control as rare as street parking in Manhattan. Translation: If you have any inclination to not offer contraception coverage in your employee health care, that’s fine. As long as you provide funding for men’s completely vital treatments, such as Viagra or gonorrheal infections (which, wouldn’t you know would also be preventable with abstinence or God’s will.)
  3. So, according to the Republican vanguard, you’re perfectly logical choices are no sex (unless you’ve been sexually assault…actually no, if the choice to have sex has been taken away from you violently, you will still be denied the choice to bear a child as a result) or a family of Biblical proportions, we’ll have some odd looking families. Maybe single parent households, very young parents (or in some cases very old) and those who just aren’t financially stable to support a family. I guess we’ll have to up the ante on social services. WRONG AGAIN SILLY BADGER. Welfare is an unfair taxation on those of us who have made the right (God’s?) choices and worked hard for our future and the next Republican candidate will work to strip away any financial support for you and your new love child.  

So, we can’t have birth control, we can’t have after-pregnacy health measures, we can’t even have after-birth/infancy/childhood support and it is women’s fault that the American Family is falling to pieces. What do you want from us? Miraculous de-conception? 

Hey, rich-white-males, l’m going to let you in on a little secret: it takes two to tango (and to have sex) so if you keep targeting the rights that women hold without holding men equally accountable in the reproductive process (or better yet just leaving everyone alone) then somebody’s going to get wise and think you’re a bunch of sexist, chauvinist, power mongers that would love to see women subjugated.

 *Whew. That was a long trip down memory lane guys. Makes me wonder why the war on religion is getting so much more airtime than the War on Women.



This tweet bugs me. I’m having trouble articulating why, but maybe one of you will be able to better explain it. 

This tweet is fucked up for a couple of reasons: 
1. He is using “cocaine addicted” in a pejorative manner, making it appear that she deserved to die because of her addiction. People don’t chose to be addicted to things, and people who are addicted to things are not lesser human beings because of it. Someone with an addiction still deserves respect and dignity. Addiction is a disease not a choice. 
2. Whitney Houston was not just a “cocaine addicted musician”. She was a cultural icon who fought her way to the top of a very racist very sexist music business. Her accomplishments are many, and she deserves to be remembered for them. 
3. It’s not Houston’s fault she died, nor is it her fault that the news media will cover her death more so than Syria. This tweet is insulting Houston to make a point about the US news media. He should be insulting the media or the American public for not caring about Syria, not Houston.
4. You can care about the death of a major cultural icon, AND Syria at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive.  

Dan, whoever you are you elitist white man, you just got burned.

I talked with Nancy Pelosi about SOPA the other day, and she said that the experience with piracy is different for people in the movie industry. Maybe — I’m not a movie producer. But I do know that right now the entire content industry is facing massive systemic changes, and to claim that declining sales are because of piracy is so over the top. Any company that is providing great content online in a way that’s easy to use with a fair price has a booming business right now. The people who don’t are trying to fight that future.

So here we have this legislation, with all of these possible harms, to solve a problem that only exists in the minds of people who are afraid of the future. Why should the government be intervening on behalf of the people who aren’t getting with the program?

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