You may have noticed that under the Cheney-Bush Administration, most federal agencies are almost out of a job, and exist only so that the industries they regulate can police themselves, hint hint, wink wink. We saw it with the group that was supposed to inspect coal mines, and with food safety and air safety and all safety. Well, check this out, especially they part they put in bold and the part I marked in red:
A new amendment, called Section 123, was quietly added to Title I of the 2007 Farm Bill a few weeks ago, and it is a huge step backwards on food safety. If passed, it would hamstring state and local food safety efforts by wiping out critical authority on meat, poultry and biotechnology.
The sweeping language of Section 123 would prevent states from prohibiting the sale of USDA-inspected products. This provision could prevent local health inspectors at a supermarket from condemning contaminated meat or spoiled poultry! Since 90% of food inspections are done at the state and local level, the impact could be severe.
Section 123 also prohibits states from passing laws that protect animal welfare, such as laws on horse slaughter and sale of horsemeat.
Finally, Section 123 prohibits state and local laws on biotechnology — such as laws to review whether or not to grow genetically-engineered rice in a state.
After recent problems with Melamine in pet and livestock feed, Listeria in chicken, and E. coli in spinach and ground beef, we should be strengthening our food safety system, not weakening it! Tell your Representative to stand up for food safety and oppose Section 123 in the Farm Bill.
There is a petition to sign and also a request to call Congress.
Political Teen Tidbits, written by frecklescassie (aka Snarkcassandra on FireDogLake) is “a liberal blog written by a teen with input from teens”. The content spans from silly (a photoshopped graphic of Bush with a pentagram on his forehead, a list of anti-Bush bumper stickers) to serious (commentary on news of a new research project in wind power), with a decided emphasis on national issues (Guantanamo Bay, corporate crime, money in elections, etc.) Frecklescassie appears to be doing more than just commenting on news stories: she’s also empowering other teens, regularly posting about issues affecting teens, and encouraging other teens to interact with her site via Facebook. This kind of teen activism is what makes me optimistic for our future.
Shai and others, please also check out YOUTHinkLEFT, the blog where I collaborate with 9 other teens.
Aryeh wrote yesterday at YouThinkLeft about how Obama supported liquefied coal, which is one of the most inefficient uses of fossil fuel yet invented, and about how this will cost him among environmentally-conscious voters.
There’s better news this week out of Texas. Yes, Texas. A $20 million dollar wind power research center will be built in Corpus
Christi in order to test longer wind turbine blades and other innovations in the area of wind power.
An article from yesterday’s Dallas Star-Telegram explains that:
Texas strengthened its position as the nation’s No. 1 wind-energy state Monday when the U.S. Department of Energy selected a site near Corpus Christi for one of two $20 million research centers for next-generation wind-turbine blades.
The Lone Star Wind Alliance, which includes universities in Texas and other states as well as state agencies, has pledged $18 million to design, build and operate the research center on 22 acres in Ingleside donated by BP. The Energy Department will contribute $2 million in test equipment.
A site in Boston also was selected with a similar financial arrangement.
The centers will test blades as long as 100 meters, or about 330 feet, about 50 percent larger than the longest blades currently produced and about twice as long as the blades commonly used in new installations. The larger blades are outgrowing the research capabilities of the government’s facility in Colorado.
“These two testing facilities represent an important next step in the expansion of the competitiveness of the U.S. wind-energy industry,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said in a statement. The government’s contributions are subject to congressional appropriations.
The same article also notes that the United States is far behind Europe in developing this technology, but also points out that this recent decision by the U.S. Department of energy helps Texas to strengthen “its position as the nation’s No. 1 wind-energy state“.
Some of these are funny! Some are old, but so what?
1. Bush: End of an Error
2. That’s OK, I Wasn’t Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
3. Let’s Fix Democracy in this Country First
4. If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
5. Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
6. If You Can Read This, You’re Not Our President.
7. Of Course It Hurts: You’re Getting Screwed by an Elephant
8. Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
9. George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
10. Impeachment: It’s Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore
11. America: One Nation, Under Surveillance
12. They Call Him “W”, So He Can Spell It
13 Whose God Do You Kill For?
14. Jail to the Chief!
15. No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?
16. Bush: God’s Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap.
17. Bad President! No Banana.
18. We Need a President Who’s Fluent In At Least One Language.
19. We’re Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them.
20 Is It Vietnam or Korea Yet?
21. Bush Doesn’t Care About White People, Either.
22. Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?
23. You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
24. Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too.
25. When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46.
26. Pray For Impeachment.
27. The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
28. What Part of “Bush Lied” Don’t You Understand?
29. One Nation Under Clod
30. 2004: Embarrassed 2005: Horrified 2006: Terrified 2007
31. Bush Never Exhaled
32. At Least Nixon Resigned
We high school and middle students in the United States lost a good chunk of our ability for free expression.
A former high school student has lost his case in what is the US Supreme Court’s first major ruling on students’ free speech rights in almost 20 years.
What should we do? Should we all post banners like mine on our websites and myspace and facebook? Should we make t-shirts and all wear them to school the first day? What’s best?
Please leave a comment.
6/26, 5:45 pm
UPDATE: some suggestions from my Facebook Friends:
Is there a larger issue you can tie into? I get that this isn’t about Joseph Frederick’s silly sign but a much deeper issue – how do you get at that? Or do you need to tie it in to larger issues about speech, privacy, human rights, the bill of rights, etc.?
I think if you tie it together, you have a better shot of mobilizing, IMHO.
Freedom of speech cases have had some extraordinary rulings, although probably not in this SCOTUS.
I would encourage you to dig – ask the many legal minds at FDL or your librarian – for guidance on this and write to show how more perverse cases have been ruled on differently.
When you run for office, I’m coming down to America to help your campaign !!!
Cassie … keep an eye on anything the ACLU might plan – when my son was in high school and the Communications Decency Act was in play, the ACLU sued and won … and they needed a few under 18’s to represent the people affected and Kit was one http://www.aclu.org/privacy/speech/15499prs19960318.html
I’d contact them and see if they are doing anything similar – of course, it is difficult to do anything once SCOTUS has decided.
What is the larger issue? Perhaps reading Talk Left (link: http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/6/25/132410/220) post on the issue will help ya find the way. The comments in the thread are interesting 🙂
Hey Cassie…I think you start small while you do research. Make black armbands with the number 1 stenciled in white but crossed out with international symbol for no in red over the top (mourning the death of the First Amendment for youth). Find folks who think like you do about this SCOTUS decision and ask them to wear armbands in solidarity.
I’d like to recommend a book, The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell; it will help you understand how to get an idea to catch on like wildfire. For instance you’ll need to identify the “connectors” in your school who think like you, along with “mavens” or early adopters. Once they are on board, you need to have enough armbands or whatever else you decide on short notice.
Go for it. I know I’d help my kids if they decided to do this.
But also, maybe turn it into a class project. Ask your social science teacher (You have one, don’t you?) or maybe the Speech coach on your debate team (does your school have one?) about your interest in First Amendment issues. Emphasize this as an educational issue, and you can probably get a sympathetic hearing. You can get the focus on things that your friends care about, exploring the boundaries of what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable.
Keep us informed about whatever you come up with!
Mime artist – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A mime artist is someone who uses mime as a theatrical medium or as a performance art. In earlier times, in English, such a performer was referred to as a mummer. Miming is to be distinguished from silent comedy, in which the artist is a seamless character in a film or sketch.
Cassie, In addition to Raynes “connectors” suggestion. May I ask if you know a few friends in your school who cross the lines of friendship… with jocks or preppies or drama /artist types etc…
Any of those folks who are interested in taking action would be who you could rally for support first and they will bring more into the fold quickly.. don’t be afraid to ask, remember its really not about you…but the ideas.. so don’t get stuck on new ideas you don’t like.. if they arent good they will most likely fall flat soon enough.. BTW I ran for office at the ripe old age of 19… so no more of that 2032 malarkey! 🙂
Also.. select one two or three causes at first and narrow it down for clearer focus as soon as your first few friends join your motivation…jmho I have watched groups spread thin quickly… marathon not a sprint etc etc
You go girl!
How about GNOB hits for Jesusa?
Maybe I should elaborate on my suggestion of Mime and street theater. Here’s an idea for a 2-person show:
*One person wears a banner saying “First Amendment”
*Second person is a mime wearing a banner saying either Supreme Court or SCOTUS or maybe “School Official”.
The First Amendment person starts off talking (making a speech) normally, while the Mime stands nearby, looking relaxed and unconcerned. But then the First Amendment student starts to say things that are a bit edgy but not over the line. At each edgy comment, the Mime perks up, listens carefully (exaggerated poses leaning an ear towards the speaker, open hand near ear to hear better, face perked up in wide-eyed attention), and then as speaker starts crossing the line, the Mime gets increasingly agitated, wagging a”no, no, no!” finger silently at the speaker. This climaxes with the First Amendment student holding up a “Boxx Hits for Jesus” sign, at which the mime throws a conniption, racing around,jumping up and down, trying to cover up the sign or trying (silently, of course) to get the First Amendment student to put his sign away.
Of course this can be dramatised further at the climax (when the sign “Boxx hits for Jesus” is held up, 1-2 people with suits come charging in, take the sign away and throw it face down on the ground, or tear it up.
It can be a lot of fun to stage this kind of street theater, and the “plot” can be ad libbed, stretched, or cycled, depending on the audience. “Stretched” means you flirt with confrontation multiple times to engage people’s interest before springing the climax.
This provides the students with an opportunity to explore the idea of “what can I actually say, or what kinds of signs can I display, in public?”