Saturday, July 31, 2010

Documents indicate heavy use of dispersants in gulf oil spill

Documents indicate heavy use of dispersants in gulf oil spill
Chemical dispersants speed the natural process of breaking up oil that waves and water eventually do anyway.
By David A. Fahrenthold and Steven Mufson
Washington Post
August 1, 2010

While the BP well was still gushing, the Obama administration issued an order that limited the spreading of controversial dispersant chemicals on the Gulf of Mexico's surface. Their use, officials said, should be restricted to "rare cases."

But in reality, federal documents show, the use of dispersants wasn't rare at all.

Despite the order -- and concerns about the environmental effects of the dispersants -- the Coast Guard granted requests to use them 74 times over 54 days, and to use them on the surface and deep underwater at the well site. The Coast Guard approved every request submitted by BP or local Coast Guard commanders in Houma, La., although in some cases it reduced the amount of the chemicals they could use, according to an analysis of the documents prepared by the office of Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

The documents indicate that "these exemptions are in no way a 'rare' occurrence, and have allowed surface application of the dispersant to occur virtually every day since the directive was issued," Markey wrote in a letter dated Aug. 1 to retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, the government's point man on the spill. Markey chairs the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming...

Arizona ruling may backfire for immigrants

Arizona ruling may backfire for immigrants

Like most civil rights supporters, I celebrated last week's news that a judge suspended the harshest portions of Arizona's xenophobic immigration law. But the more I think about it, the more I fear it will backfire in the near future.

The ruling suspends the Arizona law's provision that ask local police officers enforcing other laws to demand immigration papers from people they suspect are in the country illegally. That could have led to racially-motivated interrogations of both legal and undocumented Hispanics.

But contrary to conventional wisdom that the judge's decision was a victory for pro-immigrant forces, it could have a negative political impact in November's legislative elections and may end up hurting immigrants in the long run.

First, the ruling was the first step of what's likely to be a long legal battle. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a vocal supporter of the state law, has already said she has appealed the ruling and that she may take it all the way to the Supreme Court.


The legal battle over the Arizona law is far from over.

Backers of the state law and similar bills that have been introduced in 17 states say that in light of federal government inaction, states have to take measures on their own to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants. The Obama Administration and pro-immigrant groups say the law violates fundamental rights, and call for a more comprehensive immigration reform.

Second, the ruling may energize Republicans in the November election. It will be used by anti-immigrant groups as a rallying cry to get voters to elect a new Congress that is more sympathetic to Arizona-style measures.

``I fear that the unintended consequence of this ruling is that it will redouble restrictionists' efforts at the national level, which will be to the detriment of immigrants,'' Temple University law professor Peter Spiro said. ``They are hitting a brick wall at the state level, so they will step up their efforts in Washington.''

Third, and most important, the news that the judge's ruling knocked out the most pervasive traits of the Arizona law may drive many Hispanics to stay at home in November...

Unitarians have come a long way since anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant actions of their Puritan antecedents

Unitarians have come a long way since anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant actions of their Puritan antecedents.

See all posts on Arizona anti-immigrant law.

SB 1070 Day One
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix

As I write, my minister and friends are blocking Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail on this- the first day of SB 1070.

UU's are blocking traffic by staging a peaceful protest on the streets of Phoenix. The police and sheriff's deputies are out with riot gear.
Many UU's have been arrested so far -

* Mar Cardenas of UU San Diego, South Bay
* Rev. Ian Maher of Queens, NY
* Rev. Annette Marquis, Thomas Jefferson District Executive
* Rev. Peter Morales
* Rev. Susan Frederick Gray
* Rev. Melissa Carvil-Ziemer, Kent Ohio
* Rev. Wendy Von Zirpilo, Marblehead, MA and ARE
* Rev. Greg Ward, Carmel CA
* Rev. Colin Bossen, Cleveland
* Kat Crabtree, member of the UUCP
* Margy Angle, member of the UUCP's Immigration Task Force

I am sure many others will be next.

They are putting their personal liberty at risk to stand on the side of love.
I am worried but I have never been prouder of our minister, Rev. Susan, who said,
"In the face of fear that is assaulting our community,
we must not be silent,
we must make it clear which side we stand on.
We stand on the side of love."

As our DRE says: "Very proud to call Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray my boss, my friend and my minister."
I would add - and my heroine.

I am also so grateful to the 100+ UU's who have come here to help and organize and protest and get arrested.
We are all immigrants, we are all Arizona, we are all UU's.

Jimmy Leung

Friday, July 30, 2010

Joe Arpaio's Goons Grab Salvador Reza Off the Street and Arrest Him, Again

Joe Arpaio's Goons Grab Salvador Reza Off the Street and Arrest Him, Again
By Stephen Lemons
Jul. 30 2010

...[C]ivil rights leader Salvador Reza of the group Puente was arrested this afternoon by a contingent of MCSO goons, apparently on Arpaio's direct orders.

Reza was in a parking lot across the street from where Arpaio was giving a press conference at an MCSO command post near the Lower Buckeye Jail, according to several witnesses.

Eleven protesters blocked the entrance and exit to the driveway as one of Arpaio's anti-immigrant sweeps was resuming.

The demonstrators were arrested by deputies and Arpaio came out to the street to talk to the media. According to Puente's Carlos Garcia, Arpaio gestured in Reza's direction and eight MCSO thugs rushed across the street to nab Reza, who was getting into his car. They cuffed him and hustled him away.

"Sal was out here by his car, he wasn't one of the protesters," Garcia told me at the scene. "As far as we know, he's a political prisoner."

Chris Newman, a lawyer for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said he was briefly detained by Captain David Letourneau, the head of Arpaio's SWAT detail, but he also witnessed the arrest of Reza.

"I heard someone yell, `Salvador Reza's getting in his car, we get him,'" said Newman, who had been across the street observing the protesters' arrests. "They left across the street, this is while I was being detained. The next thing you know, he was in cuffs being walked across the jail."...

Arizona: Shawna Forde, Brisenia Flores, and the problem of taking the law into one's own hands
Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star
July 26, 2010

The FBI was told that Shawna Forde was planning a home invasion in the Arivaca area weeks before a man and his 9-year-old daughter were shot to death there.

According to documents filed this week in Pima County Superior Court, two confidential informants for the FBI say they told agents in April 2009 that Forde was recruiting people to raid a house she believed was filled with illicit drugs, money and guns.

Raul Flores, 29; his wife, Gina Gonzalez; and their daughter, Brisenia Flores, 9, were shot by one member of a group of people who claimed to be law enforcement officers and demanded to be let inside their house on May 30, 2009. Gonzalez was the only survivor.

The documents say Forde, 42, and others were on the verge of hitting additional targets when she, Jason Bush, 35, and Albert Gaxiola, 43, were arrested on June 12, 2009.

All three have been charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Sheriff's officials said at the time that Raul Flores was suspected of being a drug dealer, and the three suspects targeted the house with the intention of stealing money and drugs.

In a phone conversation taped by the FBI, Forde tells one of the informants that future jobs would be something of a test for a new recruit, saying: "Our hands are already dirty. We've got to know he can pull the trigger."

Earlier this week, Forde's defense attorney, Eric Larsen, filed a motion asking Judge John Leonardo to force prosecutors to hand over all FBI documents pertaining to the two confidential informants. The documents indicate neither was paid for his information, nor were they cooperating to avoid prosecution in any unrelated cases...

Who Killed Brisenia Flores?
America's Voice

A month ago, anti-immigrant activists brutally shot and killed nine-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father...

What does this have to do with the Minutemen and FAIR?

Shawna Forde, the alleged ringleader and one of three suspects arrested in the deadly home invasion, heads up a border "watchdog" group known as the Minuteman American Defense (MAD).

Forde is suspected of having plotted and executed the killing of nine-year-old Brisenia Flores in order to raise money for her vigilante group. According to the Associated Press:

Two of three people arrested in a southern Arizona home invasion that left a little girl and her father dead had connections to a Washington state anti-illegal immigration group that conducts border watch activities in Arizona.

Jason Eugene Bush, 34, Shawna Forde, 41, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges, said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz.

ShawnaIt turns out that Shawna has also been a representative of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization that regularly lobbies Washington and appears as an expert voice on mainstream news, despite its classification as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Scientists: New Study Affirms Climate Change Is 'Undeniable'

JULY 28, 2010
Scientists: New Study Affirms Climate Change Is 'Undeniable'

Scientists from around the world provided more evidence of global warming in the annual State of the Climate report Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

Compiled by more than 300 scientists from 48 countries, the report said analysis of 10 indicators that are "clearly and directly related to surface temperatures, all tell the same story: Global warming is undeniable."

The research was led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is based on new data that wasn't available to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its report for 2007, which has been attacked by skeptics.

Concern about rising temperatures has been growing in recent years as atmospheric scientists report rising temperatures associated with greenhouse gases released into the air by industrial and other human processes. At the same time, some skeptics have questioned the conclusions.

The report issued Wednesday focuses only on global warming and doesn't specify a cause.

Full story at

Friday, July 23, 2010

Texans: Did we execute an innocent man?

Texans: Did we execute an innocent man?

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 23, 2010
Todd Willingham said he was innocent but was executed in February 2004 for the arson murders of his three kids.

A Texas state board revisited questions surrounding a 2004 execution on Friday amid warnings from critics of the controversial execution that the panel is trying to bury its own critical review of the case.

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004, 13 years after a fire killed his three daughters. Prosecutors argued that Willingham deliberately set the 1991 blaze -- but three reviews of the evidence by outside experts have found the fire should not have been ruled arson.

The last of those reports was ordered by the Texas Forensic Sciences Commission, which has been looking into Willingham's execution since 2008. But a September 2009 shake-up by Texas Gov. Rick Perry has kept that panel from

reviewing the report, and the commission's new chairman has ordered a review of its operating rules. Critics say that may kill the probe.

"They are attempting permanently to keep the investigation from continuing and moving on, and I do believe it's because they don't like the direction the evidence is leading," Willingham's cousin, Pat Cox, said Thursday.

The Forensic Science Commission's chairman is now John Bradley, an Austin-area district attorney with a reputation as a staunch supporter of the death penalty...

Poll: Support for Arizona Immigration Law Hits 57 Percent

CBS video report on Arizona violence

Poll: Support for Arizona Immigration Law Hits 57 Percent
Posted by Stephanie Condon
CBS News
July 13, 2010

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Public support for Arizona's controversial new immigration law has increased slightly, a new CBS News poll shows, with 57 percent of Americans characterizing the law as "about right" in the way it addresses the issue of illegal immigration.

Support for the measure increased five points since May. Since then, the Justice Department has filed suit against the law, claiming that it usurps federal authority to enforce immigration laws.

The measure in question, signed into law in April and slated to go into effect later this month, makes it a state crime for a person to be in the country illegally. It also requires local law enforcement to question a person about his or her immigration status during all "lawful stops" if there is "reasonable suspicion" that person may be in the country illegally.

Twenty-three percent of Americans think the law goes too far, according to the poll, conducted July 9 - 12. That's down five points from the 28 percent who said in May that the measure goes too far. Another 17 percent said it doesn't go far enough...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Win Straube's Generic Education; Free speech; Suzette Peterz writings about race; South Fork Island counternarratives on racism; Arvid Fredborg

What is Generic Education
The concept of generic education was proposed by Win Straube in his book, "QGE=A, Quality Generic Education is the Answer". Generic Education means the identification and practice of objective, unarguable values. Generic Education can be taught and learned anywhere because it is free from cultural or political baggage, yet it is understood on all sides as a shared, generally accepted version. Generic Education is universally measurable, which means that learners’ proficiency in the studied subjects can be tested. It also means that the tests used are either identical or at least comparable in different locations and as administered at different times. In other words: The level of proficiency to pass a specific test needs to be as close to identical to every other such test as possible.

Generic Education means "proficiency in" a certain science, art, or other subject which is agreed on by all or almost all...

Those who have been prosecuted for ideas that challenged the social order have included some of the greatest minds in human history. Socrates was forced to drink poison for his words, Galileo was put under arrest for his words, James Joyce and Lenny Bruce were convicted of obscenity. And its not just artists and scientists; Jesus was brutally murdered for his words and ideas.

Freedom of speech is not just part of the right to enjoy yourself. It is the freedom to move society forward...
--Arvin Vohra

Our Most Highly Recommended Private Educational Service
Educational Consulting & Curriculum Design for Local and National School Systems ... Training Programs for Parents · Book Arvin Vohra as a Speaker ...

The Overrepresentation of Black Students in Special Education ...
in Special Education Classrooms Kimberly Suzette Peterz
Chicago, Illinois.

American Indian education: counternarratives in racism, struggle Matthew L. M. Fletcher - 2008 - Education - 223 pages... Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Michigan Land Use Institute to, inter alia, improve access to the cemetery on South Fox Island). ...

Who were the evangelicals? conservative and liberal identity in the Unitarian Controversy in Boston ...Universalists...UU... University of Minnesota

Arvid Fredborg, 80, a journalist and one of the first to...

Baltimore Sun
January 11, 1996

Arvid Fredborg, 80, a journalist and one of the first to report the scope and goals of the Nazi Holocaust, died of an apparent heart attack Thursday at his home outside Stockholm, Sweden.

His 1943 book "Behind the Steel Wall" detailed the systematic genocide at Nazi death camps and estimated that 2 million Jews had been killed. The book came out two years after the death camps were started, but before the killing reached its peak. The book caused a stir in Sweden and was published in English in 1944.

His biggest contribution was to publicize the extent of Nazi genocide and the goals of the Holocaust, rather than to expose it for the first time, Swedish historian Henrik Brackner said. Many governments, including Sweden's, knew about the death camps but kept silent.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Freedom of speech in Northern Ireland: Ireland's version of a KKK march is met with violence

I woke up yesterday morning and thought, "This is the twelfth of July, the day the Orangemen march in Northern Ireland to celebrate their conquest of the native Irish centuries ago. This won't be good."

Northern Ireland's Chief Constable has called for a major debate on the controversial parades.

Northern Ireland Riots: New Video Released

July 13, 2010
Sky News HD

Carole Erskine, Sky News Online
Dramatic footage of fresh violence in Northern Ireland has been released by police after a second night of riots in north Belfast.

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The video shows masked protestors throwing petrol bombs, bricks and bottles at police officers.

It also shows a police van being attacked by a large group carrying metal poles and weapons - at one point they try to turn the vehicle onto its side.

Officers fired 70 baton rounds and used water cannons to disperse the protestors.

The violent scenes at the flashpoint in the Ardoyne area are all too familiar as crowds targeted officers who had been trying to escort a planned Orange march past streets dividing loyalist and republican neighbourhoods.

Belfast violence

This was the second night of violence in the Ardoyne Road area of north Belfast

Police have also been attacked by rioters in violent clashes elsewhere in Belfast and in other areas across Northern Ireland, including Lurgan, Co Armagh and Armagh City.

Over two nights of trouble 82 police officers have been injured.

Northern Ireland's Chief Constable has called for a major debate on the controversial parades.

Climategate: no fudging, but a fear of openness

Climategate scientists cleared of manipulating data on global warming
Muir Russell report says scientists did not fudge data, but they should have been more open about their work
The Guardian
8 July 2010

Climate emails and climagate : Sir Muir Russell Muir Russell during the release of his report into the scandal of the hacked emails sent by climate scientists from University of East Anglia. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP

The climate scientists at the centre of a media storm over leaked emails were yesterday cleared of accusations that they fudged their results and silenced critics, but a review found they had failed to be open enough about their work.

Sir Muir Russell, the senior civil servant who led a six-month inquiry into the affair, said the "rigour and honesty" of the scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) were not in doubt. His investigation concluded they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism and that key data was freely available and could be used by any "competent" researcher.

But the panel said the scientists' responses to "reasonable requests for information" had been "unhelpful and defensive". The inquiry found "emails might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable should a subsequent request be made for them" and that there had been "a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness". Scientists also failed to appreciate the risk their lack of transparency posed to the university and "indeed to the credibility of UK climate science".

The controversy began when 13 years of emails from CRU scientists were released online last year...