The video above is of the University of California police spraying pepper spray on students at UC Davis this week. I can’t even watch the video all the way through. This follows last week’s clubbing of UC Berkeley students, not to mention the scenes of police violence from Oakland, New York, Portland and other cities. There have been thousands more photos and videos of police brutalizing protesters who are just standing or sitting there, who aren’t threatening police in any way. After the UC Berkeley incident, the Chancellor’s letter basically said that the police were “forced” to use their batons and that linking arms is “not non-violent civil disobedience.” Huh?
If you think those are isolated, check out Joshua Holland’s “Caught on Camera: 10 Shockingly Violent Police Assaults on Occupy Protesters” in Alternet yesterday. I couldn’t watch them.
I can’t believe that anyone thinks that raiding camps in the middle of the night, or using batons, tear gas, and rubber bullets is acceptable. I literally just can’t believe that someone somewhere gave the go ahead to any of it. And the rest of us can’t pretend it’s not happening. Regardless of how you feel about the Occupy movement, this is not OK.
Here are some links to other police-related stories that I’ve been following
- Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street – The Nation
- Occupy Movement’s “Day Of Action” in Pictures – The Guardian (check out #2 and 4 in particular)
- Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis Arrested at OWS, Calls NYPD Rationale ‘a Farce’ – Death and Taxes
- The cop group coordinating the Occupy crackdowns – SF Bay Guardian
- Police Response to Occupy Wall Street is Absurd – Forbes
The caveats being, of course, that there are communities that are brutalized by police every day and no one pays attention. Plus, similar tactics were used to suppress the civil rights movement, except then it was water cannons and attack dogs.
My friend Arun Gupta wrote an article for Alternet called “How TV Superchef Jamie Oliver’s ‘Food Revolution’ Flunked Out.” and because I love food and because I read pretty much everything that Arun writes, I figured I better watch Jamie Oliver’s show so I could have an informed opinion on it. You can watch full episodes at ABC.com.
The show follows Jamie as he goes to Huntington, West Virginia, the so-called “unhealthiest town in America,” and tries to change what the kids are eating in schools. The show airs in prime-time on network TV and this is how the network describes the show:
The impassioned chef is taking on obesity, heart disease and diabetes in the USA, where our nation’s children are the first generation NOT expected to live as long as their parents. [...] Jamie is inviting viewers to take a stand and change the way America eats, in our home kitchens, schools and workplaces with the thought-provoking new series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. [...] In the six-part series, Jamie heads to Huntington, West Virginia. Why? Well, Huntington has been called the unhealthiest city in America. Jamie wants to do something about that. Through his efforts in this one town, he hopes to start a chain reaction of positive change across the country.
Lots of my friends have been talking about the show. I mean, food issues are nothing new to my activist friends, and a lot of people are familiar with books like Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food or Raj Patel’s Stuffed and Starved. And what do people think about Jamie Oliver? Well, like Arun, some people hate his show. Personally, while I’m not in love with the show, I think it is very exciting, and I hope it continues.
Why do I like it? Well, let’s start by giving you some context. Here’s Jamie Oliver’s TED talk where he explains the show (it also includes a lot of clips from the show’s season):
OK, I will first like to point out that I think all of the criticisms of the show that I have heard are totally legitimate.
OK, Apparently, I am too inept to imbed a video into this blog. But, here’s the link to the MSNBC story I want you to watch.
Yes, I know that Shane, Sarah, and Josh’s detention in Iran is really upsetting. I don’t really know them and don’t know what they were doing there, but my thoughts are with them and the people that care about them right now. You know, a very obvious comment on the problems with borders.
But what I really want to talk about right now is the news story I posted above from MSNBC. I’ve been going back and forth with a few friends about Facebook and whether it’s a good thing or not, why some people choose to use it and some people don’t, and all of the arguments center around whether it’s a good idea to have so much personal information out there where you can’t control it, or you have no idea who is seeing it.
In this story, the reporters show the Facebook page of one of the people, reading aloud their status updates. I think most people believe that only your “friends” (approved people) can see these status updates, but really, not, if they are being broadcast on national TV. How is this possible with Facebook’s privacy settings? Well, all it takes is one of your approved “friends” to show your page to the news. Or, who knows. Maybe Facebook isn’t all that private. Of course, the story also showed and read from the individuals’ personal and professional websites.
After my post the other day on disposability, I really loved visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium and seeing all of the things they do to raise awareness about consumption, like these signs in the bathroom, or the dual flush toilets, the signs in the vending area saying to consider not using a straw or a plastic lid for your drink. They even had real plates and silverware there. Of course, next to the hand towels they could have put a dryer, but you know, at least they are trying.
This is a photo of my dad. His name is John. This photo was taken when my parents visited me in California last December.
My dad died on November 19. He was 66 years old.
My dad died unexpectedly, from complications related to pneumonia. He had been in the hospital for about a month.
We have a small family, and we decided not have a formal funeral. But, I want to tell the story of his life, and the story of his death, as a way of processing and dealing with it. Our culture has a way of denying death, and we often don’t talk openly with friends and acquaintances about what is happening with us or our families or our lives. I’ve always been a very open person, and I want to start with a story about my dad and his service in Vietnam.
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