Stories by contributor

By Contributor on March 01, 2006

The disaster in Mexico last month that took the lives of 65 miners should renew a push for global labor standards. While hope for survivors has long vanished, the search for answers has just begun.

Mexican government officials and representatives of the Unidad Pasta de los Conchos mine in the town of San Juan de Sabinas have insisted that the country's mining regulations met international standards. They said that the mine had passed inspection earlier in February with only minor infractions, and all of those had been addressed.

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By Contributor on February 28, 2006

Blogressive February 24, 2006

 

Nobody with brains...

You have to hand it to the wingnuts. They stick to their ridiculous theories. A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee should know better.

On Saturday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) revived the Saddam/Al-Qaida myth:

"And, more importantly, we've stopped a mass murderer in Saddam Hussein. Nobody denies that he was supporting al-Qaida. Well, I shouldn't say nobody. Nobody with brains."

Sen. Hatch backpeddled on Tuesday:

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By Contributor on February 28, 2006

The education president's education project is failing.

President Bush's No Child Left Behind law has generated increasing bipartisan resistance among legislators and at the grassroots levels.

Passed in 2001, the act was supposed to launch uniform national standards to measure the performance of U.S. public schools and determine whether they were failing.

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By Contributor on February 28, 2006

Lt. Laurel Hester, a 49-year-old police officer from New Jersey, died of cancer in February after 23 years on the job. Cancer was not her only battle. She waged a long legal fight to pass $13,000 worth of pension benefits to her surviving partner. Without it, she feared her partner could lose the home they shared.

Hester won her case at the eleventh hour. County officials with the power to let her do it finally gave in after a deathbed plea and the publicity it brought.

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By Contributor on February 28, 2006

'I HAVEN'T HAD A GLASS OF WATER IN 20 YEARS...'



Drinking tons of water is great...if you want to raise your stroke risk, bring on kidney failure, and encourage early Alzheimer's.



SURPRISED? But this is just one example of how MASS MEDIA MEDICINE is ruining our health. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, YOU CAN LIVE LONG and LOVE every minute of IT!



* If you'd rather enjoy a beer than force down 8 glasses of water...

* If you can't start the day without caffeine...

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By Contributor on February 27, 2006

The first time I asked a U.S. military commander about the young cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, in Najaf, the response from the Marine was: "We think he's on drugs." This was in September 2003, a few days after Sadr, who is the son of a famous cleric slain by Saddam, announced he was forming a militia. The following August, Sadr's militia clashed openly with the U.S. military. Since then, his power has only grown.

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By Contributor on February 27, 2006

March 1 marks the 45th anniversary of the Peace Corps. And as a recently returning Peace Corps volunteer, I believe we need more organizations like this one.

Six months ago, I was boarding a plane in Turkmenistan, heading home to the United States. I had finished two years of work as a Peace Corps volunteer in a tiny village in an unknown corner of the world. I remembered the tear-streaked faces of my local friends, the little library we had built and filled with Shel Silverstein and Judy Blume and the essays my students had written about Rosa Parks and global warming.

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By Contributor on February 26, 2006

Muqtada al-Sadr wants to become "the third martyr," if he is not already by the time you read this. His great-uncle, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, is known as "the first martyr." A leader of the Shiite movement, Baqir al-Sadr wrote books about Islamic politics and economics to prove that Islam provided solutions to all social questions. He was killed in 1980 for opposing the regime of Saddam Hussein.

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By Contributor on February 23, 2006

In 1949, I loved the shining ideal of the new State of Israel, a brand new democracy, a spark of hope in the developing darkness of the Cold War. My folksinging partners and I, the Weavers, sang the joy of the fledgling country in Hebrew: Tzena, Tzena, habanot urena. Come out, come out, girls, join the dancing, greet the soldiers.

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By Contributor on February 22, 2006

Ray Barretto, who died Feb. 17 at the age of 76, may be remembered best for giving jazz a Latin beat. But he made an even greater contribution, largely unacknowledged, to American culture: composing a soundtrack for social transformation.

Barretto's name may be unfamiliar to most non-Latinos in the United States, even to many of those who have a passing acquaintance with late salsa greats such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz.

But the bandleader, known as "Hard Hands" for the punishing style of his playing, was influential in that most original American music form: jazz.

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A plea to United States citizens to work for peace

An Indian journalist globally renowned as an advocate for the poor, Palagummi Sainath detailed the detrimental...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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