Demand Action

payments by nra to us senators (image: courtesy mayors against illegal guns)

payments by nra to us senators (image: courtesy mayors against illegal guns)

Demand Action.  Reblogged from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 2 May 2013

Will One World Trade Center really be the tallest building in the west? | Art and design |

Will One World Trade Center really be the tallest building in the west? | Art and design |

You Won’t Believe What’s in Your Turkey Burger | Mother Jones


effects of antibiotics in turkeys (image: courtesy mother jones)

effects of antibiotics in turkeys (image: courtesy mother jones)

You Won’t Believe What’s in Your Turkey Burger | Mother Jones.

George W’s $250 Million Can of Whitewash by Jim Hightower on – A Syndicate Of Talent

George W’s $250 Million Can of Whitewash by Jim Hightower on – A Syndicate Of Talent.

In which Jim Hightower, who should rank very high on everyone’s list of favourite Texans, launches an exocet at the Bush Presidential Library

What a piece of work it is: a $250 million, 226,000-square-foot edifice on 23 acres in Dallas. His brick-and-limestone structure is certainly imposing, but once inside, you quickly see that it’s a $250 million can of whitewash. Of course, all ex-presidents want libraries that show their good side, and Bush himself was organizer-in-chief of this temple to … well, to himself. What’s most striking is not what’s in it, but what’s not.

For example, where’s that “Mission Accomplished” banner that he used as a political prop in May 2003, when he strutted out so fatuously on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln wearing a flight suit to pretend like he had won the Iraq war? And how about a video loop of him finally showing up in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, cluelessly praising his infamously incompetent emergency management honcho with the now notorious shout-out: “Heck of a job, Brownie.”

Also, while there are 35 featured videos, a replica of W’s oval office, narrated presentations by top Bush officials and even statues of the family dogs — where’s Cheney? Shouldn’t there be an animated exhibit of the perpetually snarling veep in his dark chamber, scheming to shred our Constitution and set up an imperial presidency (or, more accurately, an imperial vice presidency)?

And there’s more to follow…

Of biomass and green roofs: US school slashes winter energy bill

hotchkiss school's green roof biomass & biomass converter (image: courtesy gizmag)

hotchkiss school’s green roof (image: courtesy gizmag)

Of biomass and green roofs: US school slashes winter energy bill.

BBC admits downplaying the scale of Israel’s occupation

BBC admits downplaying the scale of Israel’s occupation.

As this piece rightly notes, both Esler and Ware are far too experienced to have made an error.  It’s also true the UK government officially considers the occupation to be unlawful.  Fat lot of good that does the Palestinians as UK government policy does precious little to undermine the occupation, lest it upset the Israeli government or the United States.

Although Esler and Ware both prepared their work for domestic BBC channels, it’s also possible the report and documentary were both intended for use on the BBC’s overseas services, including, in part, on the World Service, which is paid for by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. If that should be the case, it may well be one factor in how the occupation is presented.

That Judge (wrote about yesterday) now SENTENCED to 28 YEARS in PRISON for “SELLING” KIDS to PRIVATE PRISONS

Critically important message here. It’s not only children forced into useless imprisonment. Widespread privatisation of prison services has resulted in contracts guaranteeing states will provide sufficient inmates to ensure individual facilities remain sufficiently profitable. People from minority backgrounds are disproportionately victims of this corruption. We must stop it.

The Flip Side of Globalisation

As usual, a thought provoking submission from ThePoliticalIdealist. A few minor points arise:

Perhaps we’d all benefit for some clarification of this product of apparently hasty publication:

“No individual country could opt out of the surging inequality that extreme tax and regulation competition.”

Our informant also makes the following claim:

“In conclusion, globalisation will either slow down, or it will reach its zenith in political union. Now is the time to ask ourselves difficult questions about the shape we want the world to take.”

Globalisation is not a new phenomenon, at least not within the historical timeline of capitalism. It was the last great impetus towards globalisation which drove the world into the first world war. That may sound contradictory, but consider that the drive for imperial domination of markets coincided with a vast expansion of global cartels and corporations which were already slipping the controls of national governments. Because of this, these economic forces had little interest in restraining national governments, rather more profit was to be acquired from their various subsidiaries encouraging their host countries to greater imperial exertions.

Nor did this phenomenon disappear in the carnage of that conflict. ITT Corporation was not the sole example of nominally US corporations, engaged in war work against the Axis powers, which also profited from war contracts in Germany from German subsidiaries controlled directly through their Swiss subsidiaries.

The difficult questions to which you refer acquire greater urgency with each passing day, but the path globalisation takes isn’t necessarily limited to the two alternative outcomes ThePoliticalIdealist mentions.

The Political Idealist

I dedicate this post to a friend who is taking part in a very important meeting today.

Earlier this week, I theorised that climate change and the scarcity of fossil fuel resources might, in the coming decades, encourage countries to move towards industrial self-sufficiency and reduce wage competition for lower-paid jobs. In fact, a sophisticated, modern form of protectionism might eventually replace economic globalisation- but the worldwide sharing of ideas is a positive phenomenon which is certain to continue. With the Internet facilitating the meeting of cultures; the decline of ‘casual’ and hardline xenophobia; and a growing appreciation of foreign media, there is a definite assimilation of lifestyles and ideas, particularly in the western world.

In many ways, we are witnessing unprecedented social progress. Undoubtedly there are rich traditions and practices that are being lost, though such is the direction of history. However, as long as language barriers and geographical…

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Are Cats Becoming self-Aware? 1 min video

This doesn’t demonstrate ‘self awareness’, rather it shows a cat which has recognised what is apparently another cat, is trying to make sense of the other’s presence, and shows submissive behaviour.

Chef Needed: Queen of England Looking for Chef

Ah, bless her, Her Maj… Her household has long had a reputation for its tight fisted approach to paying retainers. The idea appears to be that the kudos derived from royal service is worth a great deal on any curriculum vitae.

In mitigation, inclusion of accommodation probably brings remuneration for this position to that of the US sous chef average; hardly a princely sum for this particular position.

The Daily Thought


The queen of England is looking for a new sous chef for Buckingham Palace.  In an ad posted on theRoyal Household’s job site, the chef is required to have a catering certification and work 45 hours a week for $36,000 a year.

The royal salary range is low according to, which places the average sous chef salary in the U.S. at $47,000.

Accommodations are offered for the royal chef job but the candidate “Must be willing to spend approximately three months of the year away from London working at other UK residences. ”

How Will and Kate Are Spending Their Anniversary

“From state banquets for 200 to lunches for two; and from canapé receptions for 800 to staff restaurant meals; our chefs prepare it all to the same exceptional standards,” the ad reads.

In addition to traveling and preparing meals, the chef would also be required…

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