Remember Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the January chemical leak that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 people across West Virginia? Everyone in the media was all over the story, vilifying Freedom and calling for their head. The news media acted like they actually CARED! Cut to a few months later, and everyone seems to have forgotten about Freedom Industries.
But guess what? They just spilled again. TWICE, in two days! At the site where they’re supposed to be cleaning up their mess, they have a collection ditch for rainwater that overflowed for two days straight, which sent runoff right back into the Elk River. AGAIN, putting thousands of residents’ drinking water at risk for toxic contaminants. But this time, news coverage is MIA.
Warning: this story contains immense amounts of stupidity.
America has gone warning-label crazy, and in doing so, is contributing to a rampant lack of corporate accountability. These labels miss the point entirely.
Berkeley wants warning labels on gas pumps.
I’m not kidding: the city of Berkeley, California, wants to put warning labels on GAS PUMPS. The labels would warn people that burning gas releases carbon dioxide and that the state has determined that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming, which poses a serious threat to the state’s economic wellbeing, public health, natural resources, and environment. They say it’s a great way to increase awareness at point of sale. I say it’s a tub filled with horseshit.
This story is either about how people love to aid terrorists or about how asleep they are. Either way, it’s a doozy! A few months ago, California Senator Leland Yee was arrested for trying to sell rocket launchers and missiles from a radical Muslim group in the Philippines to an undercover FBI agent in exchange for campaign funds. He accepted about $40,000 from federal agents, and in return, he was going to put them in contact with terrorists who could get them weapons, because apparently, he knows how to get in touch with them personally.
Since we’re relying on digitally-written words more, our communication is breaking down more. That could be because studies show that only 7% of communication is based on the written or verbal word. A whopping 93% is based on nonverbal body language. NONE of that gets communicated in a Tweet, or a text, or an email. And that’s how we do most of our communication these days. And somewhere in us, we can feel that disconnection happening. And that is turning us into waffling assholes who are no longer dependable.
Music is integral to our humanity. It is the outward expression of our very souls. We use it to express love, to inspire, to soothe, to groove. And we use it to express dissent. Or at least, we used to.
Our freedom fighters used to pick up guitars – their battle axes – and rip sweet, organic, powerful riffs to inspire movements. Now, our dissenters just pick away at keyboards. And that might be why we’re losing the fight today. So.
A teacher in Michigan was suspended for teaching his eighth-grade history class about the Jim Crow laws and blackface. You remember the Jim Crow laws – enacted at state and local levels, they were ACTUAL LAWS that segregated blacks from whites in various, heinously stupid ways all across our not-at-all racist country. Nope, no racism to see here! Just 100 years of segregation in our recent history!
During the lesson, the teacher, Alan Barron, showed the kids a video that depicted blackface. You know, the ACTUAL PRACTICE of whites painting their faces black in the most ridiculous way for entertainment purposes. This actually happened, often, all across our country. White folks just thought it was soooo hilarious to paint their faces black, look ridiculous, and make fun of black people. For kicks!
I’ve never understood “lawns.” People go to great lengths to get them just perfect, like a green carpet. Folks spend heaps of time and money on their lawns, they get competitive and angry about them, and the lawns themselves don’t do a damn thing except sit there. Sit there and be green. And the people with the lawns will sit and look at their grass right back while drinking some alcohol, probably, and they will be happy, because their lawns are so perfect. All that time, all that energy, all that money and water and chemical spray, just so people can sit there and look at the green carpet in front of their house that does nothing. And never once do these people think to themselves, why the fuck do I want a green carpet in front of my house in the first place?
We all know the First-World Problems meme, which showcases all the lame, stupid shit we complain about. The idea behind it is to make fun of how upset we get at trivial things when meanwhile people in other places on the planet have devastating, terrible problems. I fully support the idea behind the meme, even if it’s often delivered with annoying, condescending snark. We would do well to remember not to complain about dumb shit when people in the world have horrible problems. Like this Cambodian family.
A few things just happened in the news that raise the question of whether or not protests work, and to me, questioning the efficacy of exercising your right to free speech is very dangerous.
Anytime someone comes along and tells a truth that society doesn’t like, society shows them the door. Whether it’s through deportation, jail time, censorship, or smear campaigns, society finds a way to besmirch the reputation – or far worse – of its truthsayers. We’re doing it now with Edward Snowden. We’ve done it a million times before, and we’ll do it a million times again. Which sucks. Because the only way to really grow is to be uncomfortable, and that’s what inconvenient truths make us feel.
So when one of those cast-out truthsayers gets a chance at vindication, it’s pretty awesome. And that just happened with John H. Mercer.