Saturday, February 14, 2004

Slavery is alive and well in the world

In South Asia, children weave rugs, stitch soccer balls, gather salt and labor unpaid on farms, and are even trapped in brothels. Criaditas in Bolivia and restavecs in Haiti are sold to "rich" families to work as maids in return for food and lodging. Even here in the United States, men and women are smuggled into the country and forced to work 12-hour days with no hope of working off their "travel expenses".

This interactive map offers a (partial) listing of countries in which traffic of humans still takes place.

A very strong argument against Bush's guestworker program

Coalition of Immokalee Workers statement

Progressive activists may remember these folks from the movement to boycott Taco Bell. In the Immokalee Region, the US Justice Department has broken up three slavery rings, in which workers were threatened with beatings and death if they left the fields. The CIW fears that a guestworker program would lead to more exploitation of this sort.


Wednesday, February 11, 2004

More Mel

BNAT review

The Butt-Numb theater festival is a 24-hour movie marathon. Mel Gibson decided to place his film (The Passion of Jesus Christ) on the program, then came out for a 90-minute question-and-answer session with the attendees. Nordling's review was an uninhibited rave for the film, complete with statements defending Mel Gibson from charges against anti-Semitism.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

None Dare Call It Treason

This was the title of a book distributed by the John Birch Society shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. In it, John A. Stormer concocts a vast conspiracy claiming that the Communists controlled the country. It also includes a defense of McCarthy and his methods and arguments against fluoridation.

Perhaps the name applies to Haliburton subsidiary Kellog, Branch and Root. It's disappointing, since I've heard plaudits about how they set up Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. However, this article about a war supporter who went to work for KBR in Tikrit is most disturbing. She says that she was fired because she tried to maintain sanitary conditions in the kitchen that prepared the food served to our troops. KBR's subsidiary ESS also hired Indian and Pakistani nationals at $3.00/day. You might recall that Pakistan is riddled with Al-Qaeda.

Deliberately bringing on the death or injury of a US soldier in a war zone is, technically, treason. If done by a fellow soldier, it's known as fragging. In practice, my uninformed guess is that UCMJ Article 119(b)(1) would cover this, calling it involuntary manslaughter because the act would be more one of criminal negligence.

For shame, CBS, for shame!

Let's see: it's okay to show Janet Jackson's breasts during prime time. It's okay to show ads for "male enhancement" with thinly-veiled references to human copulation while the nation is watching. But it is forbidden to show an ad criticizing the Bush Administration.


Monday, February 02, 2004

Sex and the Super Bowl

Janet Jackson exposed her right breast on national television during the Super Bowl during a duet with Justin Timberlake. While the network says that the exposure was accidental, Matt Drudge says otherwise. I'd have to agree, since most women don't wear big solar sun symbols over their nipples in place of a bra.

During one of the commercials, Mike Ditka shilled for another impotency drug -- whose name I won't mention here because you get enough spam -- the commercial showed three quick clips of a ball going through a tire-swing. A nice way to clean one's sinuses with Diet Pepsi.


Sunday, February 01, 2004

Why English is Difficult: Part MMDCLXXIV

Eugene Volokh invited his bloggers to help him find all of the letters in the English language are silent in at least one word. He found 24 of them, though he allowed that "arfvedsonite" (silent f) is not exactly in common use.


By the way, according to Amethyst Galleries, arfvedsonite is a sort of rock. Its chemistry is Na3(Fe, Mg)4FeSi8O22(OH)2


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