The Bay Area has a secret, and it’s this: the area is not as liberal as it appears.
California’s Bay Area enjoys a reputation as one of the most liberal regions in the country, a locale infamous for ‘San Francisco values,’ the alleged libertine attitudes of the Castro, the quirky ‘How Berkeley Can You Be?’ parade, and many more things large and small that project an attitude of liberality, heightened consciousness about social issues, and community to the rest of the nation. When the conservative right wants to set its targets on what it sees as the latest sin of the left, its eyes often look to the Bay Area, and the state as a whole has been at the core of a number of controversies ranging from tighter environmental protections to the legalisation of marijuana to marriage equality.
The Prawer-Begin Plan may or may not pass—but it is already in motion.
On Saturday, thousands gathered across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to demonstrate against the Prawer-Begin Plan—a controversial bill currently under review in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) that could displace up to 40,000 Palestinian Bedouin from the Negev Desert.
Mastodon’s response to criticism shows a sad attempt to retroactively imbue a racist, sexist image with a hipster know-it-all attitude.
U.S. metal band Mastodon found itself embroiled in controversy late last week after they released a limited edition Thanksgiving-themed shirt for sale on their website. The shirt, emblazoned with the band’s name and the words “Happy Thanksgiving,” depicts a scruffy, grinning pilgrim aiming a musket at a scantily-clad Native women, who kneels before him while offering a fully-cooked turkey. Many of the band’s fans were not impressed, and took to Facebook to voice their concerns about the shirt’s artwork. Some fans, such as Native activist Erica Lee, posted further commentary on the shirt’s many issues on Tumblr. Some Native communities on Facebook were also quick to point out the racist and sexist implications of the shirt’s imagery.
“all important stories are minority stories.”
For co-directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, their 13-years-in-the-making “American Promise” may have fulfilled every indie filmmaker’s American Dream. Since winning the Jury Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the doc – which trails this upper-middle-class black couple’s own son Idris and his friend Seun as they learn to navigate the majority white world of NYC’s prestigious Dalton School – has nabbed prize after prize, including the top award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and most recently, at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. It was there in Hot Springs that I finally got to catch the flick – and, as good luck would have it, moderate a Q&A via Skype with the Brooklyn duo. And since there’s rarely enough time post-screening to adequately address questions in depth, I asked the filmmaking couple for a repeat performance here at Global Comment. (“American Promise” will premiere on PBS in February – but if you simply can’t wait, go to www.americanpromise.org to request a screening near you.)
It is this sort of grassroots organizing that packs a heavyweight punch in the fight for workplace safety.
A year ago, on November 24, 2012, the garment industry’s dirty little safety secret was thrust into the global spotlight: 112 people jumped to their deaths or were burned alive in a fire inside an apparel factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Most were women and girls who worked inside the factory; 1800 more were injured. A follow-up report in the Wall Street Journal in December showed that clothing bearing the Wal-Mart brand Faded Glory was found in the factory after the fire. This suggests the factory had been making clothes destined for the retail giant even after a 2011 safety inspection carried out for a Wal-Mart supplier showed that “exits and stairwells at the factory were blocked, workers were unaware of evacuation routes and the factory lacked some firefighting equipment.” Though it has tried to distance itself from the facility, a WalMart spokesperson had to admit that controlling safety conditions for workers throughout the supply chain was “a challenge.” But now, garment workers are speaking out to demand that their workplaces be made safer.
Already, the implementation of Obamacare has been troubled.
The woeful state of health care in the United States has made the country into something that would be a laughingstock, if the stakes weren’t so high. While most other Western nations have managed to create functional (though by no means perfect) systems for ensuring that residents are connected with health services, the United States flails within a system that primarily benefits private insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and hospital conglomerates. Attempts at reform under the Obama Administration have proved difficult. While residents were never promised single payer healthcare (the most obvious solution to the country’s troubles) to begin with, the actual level of health care reform differs radically from that advertised.
Why hasn’t food security become a major rallying point for feminism and social justice movements in the United States?
Could you eat on a budget of just $1.40 per meal?
On 1 November, one in seven people living in the US woke up to a dramatically changed food budget, courtesy of the expiration of an aid extension in the Relief Act of 2009. People relying on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) found that they would be receiving much less per month, with the possibility of even deeper cuts in the future depending on Congressional wrangling. Cuts ranged from $11 USD to $36 USD, depending on family size, which may not sound significant to those with stable incomes living in a state of food security, but could mean the world to low-income people.
Are we supposed to think that police brutality is okay when it’s conducted by a disabled man?
The autumn 2013 television season seems determined to impress with a broad array of shows featuring disabled characters, almost all of whom are in cripface, played by nondisabled actors. (The exception is Michael Fox on his eponymous comedy.) Apparently nondisabled audiences are simply clamoring for inauthentic representations of the lived experience of disability—or networks are angling for their own diversity cookies al la Glee.
Syria is in dire need of a humanitarian—not military—intervention.
Before there were allegations of chemical weapons—and breaking news that Bashar al-Assad had gassed 426 children—Bashar al-Assad and his regime had already killed 100,000 of his own people over the past two and a half years.
Far right parties aren’t going to become major parties any time soon, or, but that they could have any influence at all is a terrifying prospect.
Australia faces a federal election on 7 September, and the rise of the right wing is troubling I don’t mean to predict a win by the right wing Liberal Party over the centre-left Labor Party, which is currently in power. Nor do I point to how both parties’ refugee policies have undergone a rightward shift that has prompted an outcry from the United Nations. The disconcerting thing is the rise of minor right wing parties. If this sounds a strange thing to be concerned about under a two party system, kindly sit for your Australian civics lesson. I do not promise a pleasant ride.
Global Comment © 2012 | Design & Developed by : Slate