I’m Cutting Posts Short Tonight. Today’s Bombing Has Left Me Feeling Empty

When I heard about the bombing of yesterday’s Boston Marathon my first thought was of Hazel, a friend from high school who lives in the Boston area and runs marathons.

I was relieved when I learned that her work kept her from running, she is an accountant and yesterday was obviously a busy day.

I refuse to be rushed to anger against people who may have had nothing to do with this, and worse be lied into supporting a war on terror that deprives all of us of our basic rights and freedom.

Instead I’m posting a teaser for a piece in The Nation by Dave Zirin.

The Boston Marathon: All My Tears, All My Love

Dave Zirin
on April 15, 2013

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” – Kathrine Switzer

The dead. The injured. The anguish. All the result of bombs that were set to explode at the finish line just over four hours after the start of the Boston Marathon. Right now the sane among us will suggest caution. We’ll suggest restraint. We’ll suggest the giving of blood. There will be time to mourn. We will mourn the dead and injured. I also mourn the Boston Marathon and how it’s now been brutally disfigured.

The Boston Marathon matters in a way other sporting events simply do not. It started in 1897, inspired by the first modern marathon, which took place at the inaugural 1896 Olympics. It attracts 500,000 spectators and over 20,000 participants from ninety-six countries. Every year, on the big day, the Red Sox play a game that starts at the wacky hour of 11:05am so people leaving the game can empty onto Kenmore Square and cheer on the finishers. It’s not about celebrating stars but the ability to test your body against the 26.2 mile course, which covers eight separate Massachusetts towns and the infamous “Heartbreak Hill” in Newton. It’s as much New England in spring as the changing of the leaves in fall. It’s open and communitarian and utterly unique. And today it was altered forever. I spoke to my friend Jim Bullington who has ran in four Boston Marathons. He said,

For me and to any serious marathoner the Boston Marathon will always be the runner’s Holy Grail. Runners train and train and train for this race. If you qualify for the marathon you get the honor of running through all the beautiful outlying towns, you get to temporarily loose your hearing as you run by what seems to be thousands of deafening screaming women at Wellesley, you climb Heartbreak Hill, you run by all the college parties, you pass the CITGO sign and know you have one mile left, and finally when you make the final turn, you sprint by thousands of cheering people towards the finish line. Nothing is like it. Nothing. I just can’t imagine this. What is the most joyous occasion has turned into a tragedy of epic proportions.

Like a scar across someone’s face, the bombing will now be a part of the Boston Marathon, but also like a scar, we have to remember it’s only a part. If this bombing will always be a part of the Boston Marathon, then so is Kathrine Switzer. I want to tell the story of Kathrine Switzer because it’s about remembering the Boston Marathon as something more than the scene of a national tragedy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/173851/boston-marathon-all-my-tears-all-my-love#

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on I’m Cutting Posts Short Tonight. Today’s Bombing Has Left Me Feeling Empty

How America’s Corporate Overlords Cheat and Screw Us on Taxes

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/how-americas-corporate-overlords-cheat-and-screw-us-taxes

They make much of their revenue in the U.S., but claim billions of dollars in foreign profits and billions of dollars in U.S. losses, thereby evading their tax duty.

By Paul Buchheit
April 14, 2013

When Dante descended into the Inferno, guided by Virgil, he passed through Circles of Gluttony and Greed, and of Heresy and Fraud and Treachery.

The modern-day version is the corporate tax filing to the  Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Navigation through the hellish form is fraught with anguish and pain and bewilderment, causing the visitor to beg for release from its devilish grasp, to shudder when recalling the sign at the entrance: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

The Circle of Betrayal: Big Profits Overseas, Big Losses in the U.S. 

Bank of America, Citigroup, and Pfizer can be found here. In the  last two years each one of them made much of their revenue in the U.S., but they claimed billions of dollars in foreign profits and billions of dollars in U.S. losses.

Here are the sordid details:

Citigroup, whose 2005  “Plutonomy Memo” said that “the World is dividing into two blocs – the Plutonomy and the rest,” had 42% of its 2011-12 revenue in North America (almost all U.S.) but declared a $5 billion U.S. loss and a $28 billion foreign profit.

Pfizer had 40% of its 2011-12 revenues in the U.S., but declared almost $7 billion in U.S. losses to go along with $31 billion in foreign profits. After the SEC  questioned Pfizer in 2012 about four straight years of U.S. losses despite large worldwide incomes, the company went ahead and declared a fifth straight U.S. loss.

Bank of America may be the worst. CEO Brian Moynihan once lamented that nobody understood “how much good” his employees do. But his company, with a whopping 82% of its 2011-12 revenue in the U.S., declared $7 billion in U.S. losses and $10 billion in foreign profits.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/how-americas-corporate-overlords-cheat-and-screw-us-taxes

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on How America’s Corporate Overlords Cheat and Screw Us on Taxes

Industrial hazards force communities to consider relocation

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/04/15/industrial_hazards_force_communities_to_consider_relocation/

Sinkholes and severe pollution are forcing some communities to consider relocating. Part one of a two-part series

BELLE ROSE, La. – Tim Brown eases his john boat from his back yard dock into his daily therapy: The Bayou Corne that courses through this patch of southern Louisiana like a lifeline. Brown powers past the Tupelo Gum, Cypress Moss and Swamp Maple trees that drape the bayou in a frame, and steers to the spot where he reels catfish and collects thoughts.

“If I had to actually leave this place and go back to a house on dry land, I’d probably be dead in two years,” says Brown, 65 and retiring next year. “I guess you can say it’s a totally different life out here.”

But now that life, for Brown and 350 other residents in a neighborhood with “Crawfish Crossing” signs and roads named Gumbo, Jambalaya and Crawfish Stew Street, has been shattered by discovery of a 14-acre sinkhole that fractured the community’s calm and may bury its dreams.

The sinkhole, triggered by a collapsed cavern operated by salt mining operator Texas Brine Company LLC, swallowed trees and fouled the air when it appeared August 3. Its discovery sent the Bayou Corne community here in Belle Rose into a state of emergency: Assumption Parish and Louisiana officials ordered a still-in-effect evacuation as state officials scrambled to unearth what happened.

“Initially the concern was, that first day, you have a sinkhole … and you don’t know what caused it. All you know is a 400-by-400 section of marshland just got converted to a muddy pit. Trees were sinking into it and not coming back. It was like quicksand,” said Patrick Courreges, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

Natural gas filtered into the aquifer, and crude oil floated to the top of the sinkhole, about a third of a mile from the nearest homes anchored on each side of Highway 70. Louisiana officials feared explosion hazards and “potentially toxic constituents of crude oil and other hydrocarbons,” though the state said continuous monitoring has detected “no hazardous concentrations.” Yet earlier this month, sampling by Texas Brine found two homes with “concentrations of natural gas below the structure foundations that were above normal background levels,” Assumption Parish officials reported.

“That is just too close to the community to take any chances with what comes next,” Courreges said.

Continue reading at:   http://www.salon.com/2013/04/15/industrial_hazards_force_communities_to_consider_relocation/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Industrial hazards force communities to consider relocation

Small Farms Fight Back: Food and Community Self-Governance

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/15725-small-farms-fight-back-food-and-community-self-governance

By Tory Field and Beverly Bell
Sunday, 14 April 2013

Heather Retberg stood on the steps of the Blue Hill, Maine town hall surrounded by 200 people. “We are farmers,” she told the crowd, “who are supported by our friends and our neighbors who know us and trust us, and want to ensure that they maintain access to their chosen food supply.”

Blue Hill is one of a handful of small Maine towns that have been taking bold steps to protect their local food system. In 2011, they passed an ordinance exempting their local farmers and food producers from federal and state licensure requirements when these farmers sell directly to customers.

The federal government has stiffened national food-safety regulations in order to address the health risks associated with industrial-scale farming. Recent widespread recalls of contaminated ground turkey, cantaloupe, eggs, and a host of other foods illustrate the serious problems at hand. These outbreaks have been linked to industrial farms with overcrowded animals and unbalanced ecosystems. The significant distance between industrial farms and consumers creates a lack of accountability and difficulty tracing problems when they arise.

Small-scale farming, however, doesn’t spark the same safety risks. Small farmers who sell their food locally will tell you that the nature of their business, based on face-to face relationships with the people who eat their food, creates a built-in safety protection. They don’t need inspectors to make sure they are following good practices. Keeping their neighbors, families, and long-time customers in good health is an even better incentive. Customers are also more able to witness the farming practices firsthand.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/15725-small-farms-fight-back-food-and-community-self-governance

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Small Farms Fight Back: Food and Community Self-Governance