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The January 2013 Issue Of Empirical

Music: "Durch die Menge" by Frithjof Brauer Learn more about Empirical magazine at: http://www.empiricalmagazine.com/ Follow Empirical on Twitter: @Empirical...
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I am really delighted to be included in this dynamite lineup.

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Upsetment
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Saving coffee from extinction - BBC News

Saving coffee from extinction - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Two billion cups of coffee are drunk around the world every day but scientists says the most popular species, Arabica, is under threat - they are now working to save it from extinction.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I worry a lot about the environment and climate change, but nothing scares me more than this. My coffee, not my coffee? Argh! Without my morning coffee my mind goes numb.

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Cleveland officer acquitted in killing of unarmed pair amid barrage of gunfire

Cleveland officer acquitted in killing of unarmed pair amid barrage of gunfire | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Michael Brelo fired repeatedly on Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after their car’s backfire was mistaken for gunshots in 2012. In the wake of the ruling, the Justice Department said it would review the case.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The real crime is that we as a nation provide such poor care and supervision for our mentally ill and marginal citizens. These two "victims" were in need of care and supervision, but that is not and should not be the job of the police. Once the mindset of stopping them as potential gun-toting gangsters set in, the police could no more help themselves than could the two sad people in the car. It is time for us to ask how we can help the least among us with compassion, understanding, and effectiveness. It is not time to blame police officers for responding as they are trained to do. Of course, we also have to ask ourselves why Black Americans feel so threatened by the police and address the racism that definitely exists; but IMHO not every police reaction is based on race.

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Gaza economy 'on verge of collapse', with world's highest unemployment

Gaza economy 'on verge of collapse', with world's highest unemployment | Upsetment | Scoop.it
World Bank report says Israeli blockades, war and poor governance have left 43% of people out of work and the strip facing dangerous financial crisis
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Take Israel and Hamas, add International indifference and the despair of the people of Gaza, now throw in religion and a belief that suffering will be rewarded: what you have is a recipe for suicide. We are watching a small nation, Gaza, commit what amounts to just that, communal suicide. The question is whether that suicide will come from starvation or gunfire. Even if an NGO or even a government tries to intervene and halt the slide into poverty, between Hamas and Israel they will fail. If there is one thing to learn from this horror it is that God is not going to intervene, is not going to rescue these poor people from themselves and the forces surrounding their lives. Sorry, guys, but no parting of the sea, no fiery pillar, no plagues and burning bushes.

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White America’s Waco insanity: The shocking realities it ignores about racism & violence

White America’s Waco insanity: The shocking realities it ignores about racism & violence | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The response to the Twin Peaks shootout says everything you need to know about how white privilege really works
Kenneth Weene's insight:

While the police in Texas did a wonderful job of handling this explosive situation, the point Brittney Cooper makes about the way this extensive and explosive White criminal behavior was dealt with in comparison to the way police routinely respond to even a whiff of Black violence is damning of American law enforcement and reveals the extent of our racism as a country.

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Tomgram: William Astore, America's Mutant Military | TomDispatch

Tomgram: William Astore, America's Mutant Military | TomDispatch | Upsetment | Scoop.it

In September 2001, the Bush administration launched its “global war on terror,” to which its supporters later tried to attach names like “the long war” or “World War IV.” Their emphasis: that we were now engaged in nothing less than a multi-generational struggle without end.  (World War III had theoretically been the Cold War.)  In fact, only the “war on terror” would stick and, in 2009, even that would be tossed overboard when the Obama administration opted for a global war with no name at all.  Nonetheless, the idea that we were now in an eternal “wartime” became part of the post-9/11 atmosphere.  At the same time, George W. Bush famously called on Americans to act as if everything were normal -- to spend, vacation, and visit Disney World.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

A thought-provoking essay on the American government's journey into a state of perpetual war, a journey that makes this country a far greater threat to peace and stability than all the terrorist organizations in the world. Assuredly, the promise of a post-cold war world has been debased. The big question, which Mr. Astore has not answered, is "How do we right the situation and truly work to share the promise of freedom, human rights, and democratic processes with the rest of the world?" Assuredly, the answer is not at the control modules of drones.

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12 Years Later, a Mystery of Chemical Exposure in Iraq Clears Slightly

12 Years Later, a Mystery of Chemical Exposure in Iraq Clears Slightly | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Since moving abandoned barrels out of an Iraqi warehouse in 2003, a number of soldiers complained of health effects. But they found the Army evasive.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The Second Iraq War was not only unnecessary but badly managed. Obviously if you believe there are poisonous weapons of mass destruction around, you don't send plain troops without protective suits and with no special training to empty weapons depots and warehouses. Just one more example of the incompetency of the Bush administration, of the bureaucratic dysfunction of our military, and of how disconnected from the common people our government has become. Of course there are risks in the military, but our troops are not expendable pawns who should sent to die for political stupidity. 

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VA improperly spent $6 billion annually, senior official says

VA improperly spent $6 billion annually, senior official says | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An internal memo accuses agency leaders of leaving doors “wide open for fraud, waste and abuse.”
Kenneth Weene's insight:

For well over ten years it has been obvious that the VA is badly managed. For well over ten years it has been obvious that whistle blowers within the VA system have been either suppressed or ignored. For well over ten years, it has been clear that management of the system needs to be overhauled. What terrifies me is that now Congress is going to get involved. Seriously, instead of a real overhaul with clear new rules and mandates, the VA will get rhetoric and waste. Is it not time for our government to create commissions of competent professionals to provide administrative review of large programs like the VA or defense procurement? Perhaps we need to get ourselves some royal commissions from England. Seriously, included in my thinking is the use of experts not just from the States but from abroad. It might actually make a difference.

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10 members of Congress took trip secretly funded by foreign government

10 members of Congress took trip secretly funded by foreign government | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan paid for travel, rugs and other gifts for lawmakers, staffers.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The role of money in our government stinks like fish that have rotted and then are shoved into our noses. I don't know if these members of congress knew they were taking from a foreign government. I don't know if they knew the value of the gifts they were given. What I do know is that members of congress should either pay for their own trips or the trips should be exclusively paid for by the government.

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'Creeping Sharia' Howls Its Way Back Into The Spotlight

'Creeping Sharia' Howls Its Way Back Into The Spotlight | Upsetment | Scoop.it
It's been a few months since talk of Muslim "no-go zones" was all the rage among conservative politicians and pundits, but the people in that same circle are starting to gin up fears of "creeping Sharia" law again.

The uptick in concern about the threat of Sharia law to the United States came even as some prominent conservatives surprisingly refused to lionize Pamela Geller, the notoriously anti-Muslim blogger who organized the Mohammad cartoon-drawing contest where two gunmen opened fire earli
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I wonder if sharia law will be a topic tomorrow evening, Thursday, May 14, at 9 PM Eastern U.S. Time, as I discuss Islam and the Rab World with noted Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi on It Matters Radio. http://www.itmattersradio.com

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When Humans Declared War on Fish

When Humans Declared War on Fish | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Victory in 1945 meant a new era of violence against ocean life.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It isn't just war on animals but on the oceans themselves. Consider the dumping of sewage and garbage that has gone one, the discharge of oil from ships and from wells. We are such foolish animals we humans; our wanting knows no bound. Sadly, while we are able to find ways to take more we are often unable to see how our greed will affect the future. Well, isn't that the nature of "war."

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Students protest after teacher suspended for showing 1959 PSA about the dangers of homosexuality

Students protest after teacher suspended for showing 1959 PSA about the dangers of homosexuality | Upsetment | Scoop.it
One never knows when the homosexual is about!

Ken Simon wanted to give his students a lesson about how attitudes towards cultural subjects change over time. After showing a 50-year-old PSA on ...
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Americans no longer value the reality of history and its lessons only the mythology they create from it. Be it from the right or the left, there is a concerted effort to blot out truth in the service of political positions. Let us forget what we said and did yesterday; today's propaganda must be respected—at least until it is changed tomorrow. We will be a poorer country for the loss of our real past.

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Dante and David apply for the same job but only one gets an interview. Here's the rest of their day.

Dante and David apply for the same job but only one gets an interview. Here's the rest of their day. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
If you've ever wanted a side-by-side illustration of how racism seeps into everyday situations like job hunting, driving, and even going to the doctor, this video from Brave New Films breaks it down flawlessly.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This is the institutionalized racism that haunts America. For those who do not understand the concept of social justice, I suggest you imagine yourself being a black person and a white person in each of these situations. Can you allow yourself to feel the rising gorge in your throat as time after time you are treated differently in one skin as opposed to the other?

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U.S. Ranks Worst Developed Country for Maternal Health

U.S. Ranks Worst Developed Country for Maternal Health | Upsetment | Scoop.it
But there's plenty of room for improvement
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Is the U.S. slipping into the third world as the self-righteous and "christian-exclaiming" politicians yell, "We're Number One!" while ignoring the least among us?

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In Arlington’s ‘Old Guard,’ one soldier’s personal connection to valor and tragedy

In Arlington’s ‘Old Guard,’ one soldier’s personal connection to valor and tragedy | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Army Lt. Col. Michael B. Baka led an infantry company through combat in Iraq -- and nominated one of his fallen soldiers for the Medal of Honor.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I can think of no better way to recognize the men and women who have served and those who continue to serve our country than to share this moving article about one commander and his thoughts about his soldiers who died in combat. I considered then and still consider the war in Iraq incredibly stupid and wrong, but I still respect those who served there and hope you do too.

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Racist Letter Urges African-American Lindenhurst Family to Leave Town

Racist Letter Urges African-American Lindenhurst Family to Leave Town | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Police investigating incident as a hate crime.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I imagine that the bigots who sent this letter would say they aren't racists since they were polite, or at least didn't used "hateful words". Will America ever come to terms with itself? Oh, this is on Long Island, New York.

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Here's What a Massive 5-Year Study of Ocean Life Reveals

Here's What a Massive 5-Year Study of Ocean Life Reveals | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Scientists don't know how climate change may affect life in the ocean
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Plankton, oxygen and viruses: all are showing changing levels and reactions to the rise of global temperatures and therefore the rise in temperatures of the seas. While the oceans are under that attack, we humans continue to dump waste and contaminants into the water. Let us not forget that the oceans, our largest single bio-system may be vast but it is vulnerable.

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Iraqi Shiite Militias Move In To Take Ramadi From ISIS

Iraqi Shiite Militias Move In To Take Ramadi From ISIS | Upsetment | Scoop.it
BAGHDAD, May 18 (Reuters) - A column of 3,000 Shi'ite militia fighters arrived at a military base near Ramadi on Monday as Baghdad moved to retake the western Iraqi city that has fallen to Islamic Sta
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Has anybody else noticed that Sadam was right? We are now mired in an endless and horrible war just as he predicted. Thanks neo-cons for your contribution to the world.

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Why the Gulf States No Longer Trust America

Why the Gulf States No Longer Trust America | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Arab Gulf leaders meeting with President Barack Obama at Camp David this week are expected to seek big security guarantees from the United States. Some…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It is time that the United States stops trying to be the policeman of the world. It is not for us to provide security, especially not for theocracies and dictatorships. Neither is it up to the U.S. to stop terrorism. It is appropriate for us to help nations that are under attack and those facing not military style attack from within but rather barbaric attacks on civilians. But we have long since failed at being the beat cop. Besides which, the promise and possibility of democracy in the region will be greater if these countries must find loyalty among their own citizenry. Even as Tehran has expanded its disruptive role, it has been loosening the theocracy at home and reaching out to the U.S.. Why? Because it needs the support of its people. I am not saying disengage but rather engage more intelligently. By the way, did you listen to last night's It Matters Radio? We were discussing the Arab world and Islam. You can go to the show website and catch the podcast. www.itmattersradio.com

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UPDATE 1-McCain rejects Pentagon push for more Russian rocket engines

UPDATE 1-McCain rejects Pentagon push for more Russian rocket engines | Upsetment | Scoop.it
(Recasts and updates throughout with McCain statement)By Andrea ShalalWASHINGTON, May 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Armed ServicesCommittee Chairman John McCain on Wednesday rejected a requestby U.S.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

So these large private corporations are buying rocket engines from Russia to then sell services to the U.S. government. Somehow given the tensions that exist between the U.S. and Russia at this time and the possibilities for competition in space, this seems an ill-advised approach. Perhaps we should be encouraging the American rocket engine industry. Of course that might mean rethinking priorities, such as getting the cheapest equipment possible (except when Congress wants to force incredibly expensive programs on the military). It might mean that we actually have to look at the fact that our government is terribly underfunded because of the foolishly low tax rates on the very wealthy. Yes, a little rethinking here please.

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Despots stunned as UK electorate actually votes to get rid of human rights | NewsBiscuit

Despots stunned as UK electorate actually votes to get rid of human rights | NewsBiscuit | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Despots from around the world have expressed shock as the UK electorate vote for the one party that wishes to scrap their human rights in an open and free election. At their annual gathering, leaders from countries such as Uzbekistan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Zimbabwe and Kazakhstan all spoke of the difficulties they'd had in rigging elections so that they could continue to oppress their 'electorate', and how the British had now shown them a much simpler way.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Ordinarily I post satire in the "enjoy yourself" category, but given the way many Americans (and Europeans) talk about people who are "different," this seems more like a possible real news event than the satire that it is meant to be.

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Pakistan gunmen kill 45 on Karachi Ismaili Shia bus - BBC News

Pakistan gunmen kill 45 on Karachi Ismaili Shia bus - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Gunmen attack a bus in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, killing at least 45 Ismaili Shia Muslims.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The Ismaili are a peaceful sect. While once quite dominant in Islam, this sub-sect of the Shia who revere the Aga Khan as their spiritual leader. They are very much about the symbolic and allegorical meaning of the Quran  as opposed to the more literal approach of the larger body of the Shia.

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When 8 Adults And 3 Children Are A Family

When 8 Adults And 3 Children Are A Family | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Justice Alito used them as a scare tactic, but why doesn’t the law recognize unusual family configurations?
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The issue should be separated from what is a valid marriage. The idea of marriage is to create a simple legal solution to a basic pattern of relationship, one which involves property, tax status, and especially the raising of children (Yes, children in same-sex or hetro-sex marriages). When we get to intentional families, or even extended biological families, the issues of such civil rights would become muddied by making them all one concept. My cousins have no rights to what happens in my home nor I in theirs. The fact that we are family is irrelevant. If people live together as an intentional family, that doesn't create a legal status anymore than I would have legal status living in that cousin's home. I might be a lodger, even a loved and welcomed one, but still a lodger. While I agree that such a mutual agreement should be allowed bu the city of Hartford, I also recognize that the community has a right to limit the nature of such group dwellings. How to keep a religious commune or a fraternity house out when accepting such blended intentional-families becomes a tricky wicket, but the issue is not about marriage. Justice Alito was distorting the issues. Marriage is a contractual relationship between two people. That status is available to two people if they are of different races, religions, and obviously genders; so how does it change things to say that two people of that same gender can enter into the same class of contracts.

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10 Weird Things The Government Spent Money On - ODDEE

10 Weird Things The Government Spent Money On  - ODDEE | Upsetment | Scoop.it
From pumpkin donuts to Facebook likes, check out this list of unusual things the feds have funded.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Paying for Viagra and saying it's for "troop support". Getting monkeys drunk. Exercising shrimp. The government finds some amazing ways to spend money. While none of these were billion dollar boondoggles, the all boggle the mind. Much as I believe in government, I also believe in governing government.

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Four Black Officers Held At Gunpoint by Racist Cops Who Assumed They Were Criminals

Four Black Officers Held At Gunpoint by Racist Cops Who Assumed They Were Criminals | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Dashcam footage has emerged of the moment four African-American parole officers were stopped and held at gunpoint by local cops in upstate New York.

Two
Kenneth Weene's insight:

If they hadn't had badges and weren't in a clearly marked state car, this might seem like an understandable situation. After all an anonymous citizen was apparently frightened by seeing a state car with four uniformed Blacks in it. Yep, no racism here.

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Is Baltimore’s Prosecutor Wrong About Freddie Gray’s ‘Legal’ Knife?

Is Baltimore’s Prosecutor Wrong About Freddie Gray’s ‘Legal’ Knife? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The weapon police described is definitely illegal—so why did Marilyn Mosby say it wasn’t? Part of her case vs. the cops may be in jeopardy.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This case reminds me of Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. Dysfunctional people, hangers-on, seldom get proper justice. It's just too easy.

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