We were in greater danger from nuclear weapons than we thought during the Cold War era, and that danger still exists.
That is what I learned from reading COMMAND AND CONTROL: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schosser, a history of nuclear weapons technology from World War Two to the present.
The danger was not so much that the USA or USSR would intentionally start a nuclear war. Deterrence did work. The danger was an accidentak discharge or launch of a nuclear missile. As Eric Schlosser documented, this nearly happened literally hundreds of times. Evidently nobody knows the actual number because the U.S. government doesn’t keep a list.
Even Robert Peurifoy of Sandia Laboratories, the leading advocate of safer nuclear technology within the government, didn’t know of all of them.
I’m adopted. I was born in South Korea and abandoned as a baby. On my official adoption paperwork, they wrote that I was a “foundling,” which means I was neither abandoned by family or taken from my family. I was left somewhere and luckily, found by someone who took me to an orphanage. It’s kind of interesting to be a “foundling,” but I’ll save the birth story thing for another post.
On January 12, 2014, I gave a talk at the Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY, about “Islamophobia: the New Racism.”
Since I am a filmmaker, I like to add an audio-visual dimension to everything I do, so I started with a Ted Talk by Melissa Boigon and then proceeded to focus on certain aspects of Islamophobia and explore how they fit the definition of racism.
Melissa’s 10-minute talk is a great way to break the ice and get into the meaning and nature of Islamophobia:
Radical environmentalist Peg Millett, who served time in federal prison for defending the Earth, spoke at the Flying Squirrel Community Space in Rochester NY on January 23 2014. Introduction was by Buffalo Burning Books author Leslie James Pickering who wrote The Evan Mecham Eco-Terrorist International Conspiracy.
There are 4 parts to the video. Scroll down and click "read more"
On Friday, January 17, 2014, Brenda Hardaway, between five and seven days past her due date, stood before state Supreme Court Justice Francis A. Affronti and plead guilty to felony second degree assault with the understanding that she would get a reduced sentence of six months in jail and five years of probation.
Submitted by Emily Good & Julie Gelfand (video: Ted Forsyth & Susan Galloway) on Thu, 2014-01-16 21:04
We start with Emily Good explaining what was going on before January 9, 2014....
There was a day recently when Rochester's temperature ranged from -2° to 6°F, and it was on that day that the local development corporation (LDC) contracted by Monroe County and charged with operating the Civic Center parking garage (55 Fitzhugh Street South) intended to close it off to homeless folks at night. The previous night--one of Rochester's coldest, with a wind chill temperature dipping to -30°F--I spent at St. Joseph's House of Hospitality along with 16 guests taking refuge from the arctic blast. Once all of our beds were full, we called around to several shelters in order to find space for others. One went to the Open Door Mission. Another was approved by the Department of Social Services to stay at the Cadillac Hotel, while others were denied. Where do these people go when all of the area's shelters are full? The House of Mercy accepts everyone, but space and resources are limited there too.
For decades, one of the last options for homeless folks has been the Civic Center parking garage. It is warm enough inside for people to survive long nights of below-zero temperatures. Young men just out of jail have told me that even the police have suggested heading to the parking garage when they have no place else to go upon release. It has long been a shelter of last resort, and as our homeless population grows, the county has not made much of an effort to meet the desperate need for safe shelter. Until emergency shelter space is found for every person who needs it, it is absolutely immoral to seal off this structure built for cars from people who need it for life saving warmth.
Back to that day last week, January 7th, 2014: all of the area's schools were closed due to extreme cold. The LDC's board was scheduled to hold a public meeting, and there was an outcry in the community. We filled a carload of folks from St. Joe's and went down to the meeting to speak out against the closure. At the parking meter, I realized that I had no change or money whatsoever, and the three passengers--all homeless or transitioning from homelessness--scraped together a few quarters and nickels to feed the meter. Then we got the call that the meeting had been rescheduled to Thursday the 9th. Apparently it was too cold to discuss evicting homeless folks from their de facto emergency shelter. The public testimony from the rescheduled meeting of the board of that LDC, featured folks who have stayed in the parking garage. These longtime advocates for the homeless included Harry Murray, Tom Malthaner, Sister Grace Miller, and many more.
Julie Gelfand picks up the story from January 9, 2014....
Corporate branding campaigns, no matter how intricate, are designed to sustain and increase the sale of products by aligning the corporate brand with a particular (sub)cultural symbol or icon. This partnership lends the corporate brand the authenticity and legitimacy it needs to gain our attention, admiration, and money- but more importantly, our loyalty.
Education is an essential component of the fight against inequality. A fair and equal education not only offers up opportunities, but builds hope in a future that is bright and secure. Battling poverty, hunger, and social injustice begins with battling inequities in public education. In New York State, education is under attack. Over the past three years AP, IB, and elective courses have been reduced or eliminated. Music, Art, Theater and sports programs have been reduced or eliminated. 35,000 educators and support staff have lost their jobs statewide, and many New Yorkers have come to know record poverty. New York State has forgone its constitutional promise and moral obligation to provide a quality education to all students.
W and I are both 100% in support of reproductive rights and health. I worked at Planned Parenthood for half a decade. During my time there, I got into reproductive justice. I got in deep. I learned a lot from others in the movements. I also spent a lot of time helping others, especially those deeply rooted in pro-choice activism, to “get” what repro justice is. Pro-choice and repro justice aren’t synonyms. Here’s a definition of reproductive justice from SisterSong:
The reproductive justice framework – the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments — is based on the human right to make personal decisions about one’s life, and the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions is important for women of color.
It represents a shift for women advocating for control of their bodies, from a narrower focus on legal access and individual choice (the focus of mainstream organizations) to a broader analysis of racial, economic, cultural, and structural constraints on our power.
Reproductive Justice addresses the social reality of inequality, specifically, the inequality of opportunities that we have to control our reproductive destiny. Our options for making choices have to be safe, affordable and accessible, three minimal cornerstones of government support for all individual life decisions.
Repro justice takes the conversation beyond birth control, abortion, and sex ed and makes us ask questions like:
How do class and race play a role in reproductive rights work?
How are trans* and gender non-conforming people accessing sexual and reproductive health care?
How do the issues of education, literacy, and language access play into sexual and reproductive health outcomes?
What are the points of connection between taking care of the environment and taking care of our bodies?
How can we repair tensions between the disability rights communities and the pro-choice/repro justice communities?
I could write a whole post about any of those topics. There are lots of questions to raise. The question I want to address is this one: Who has the right to parent?
From the 1850′s to the 1930′s stereograms were considered cutting edge home entertainment technology. Two photos taken at the same time from slightly different angles would be view together using a special set of lenses called a stereoscope. The result would be an ever so subtle (yet mind-tingling) simulated 3D view…
Submitted by T. Forsyth / Take Back The Land - Rochester on Thu, 2014-01-09 14:04
Rochester, NY - In an unprecedented victory, Catherine Lennon, who gained local and national attention after moving back into her foreclosed home after being evicted, was according to public records, recently deeded back her house, without a mortgage.
It is easy to forget how America, with all of its faults, is still an exceptional country, governed by laws for the people and to some extent by the people. Even those who commit crimes, and find themselves on the receiving end of retributive punishment, can understand the importance of a legal system that punishes criminals and holds them responsible for their actions. There is a predominant element of retribution, which is meant to consequentially evolve into restoration (rehabilitation and repairing damage). Its primary objective is to achieve justice for the victim and assure the safety of law-abiding citizens. Its secondary objective is to rehabilitate the criminal, preparing him or her to be released at some point as a law-abiding, taxpaying, productive member of society. This is where the travesty begins which is vividly illustrated in the following piece from a 9/16/13 New York Law Journal article, written by John Coher:
“Some judges, most recently Supreme Court Justice Richard Mott of Columbia County, have taken the Parole Board to task for its policies and procedures. In a trio of decisions this year, Mott has ordered the Parole Board to grant new interviews to inmates where it used boilerplate language to deny release, but offered nothing to back it up.