Developing: Earthquake Hits Japan Amid Fukushima Fuel Rod Removal

From Common Dreams:

The U.S. Geological Survey says earthquake has 5.7 magnitude, with details still unfolding

Common Dreams staff


A strong earthquake has struck Japan’s coast south of the Fukushima nuclear plant currently undergoing a dangerous removal of highly radioactive Unit 4 fuel rods, according to online reports.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a 5.7 magnitude earthquake has struck Japan 25 kilometers southeast of Toba, releasing the following tweet:

MSN reports

The quake struck at around 04:10am local time (0610 AEDT) on Tuesday off the eastern Honshu coastline, 25km from the city of Toba and 37km from the city of Ise, according to the US Geological Survey which monitors earthquakes worldwide.

The tremor struck far down at a depth of 332km, USGS added. There are no initial reports of damage.

Reports of the earthquake are still emerging. The following Twitter feed has news and updates.

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We Missed ths Year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance: Trans Murder in South Side Not Being Investigated as a Hate Crime

We work on the weekends and so we miss going to weekend concerts and events like Pride Day and TDOR.

Our loss, but we need to work to keep our lives together.

Yet we are saddened by the numbers of murders of TS/TG people, the attacks on the those who are often sex worker or otherwise living on the margins of society.

Our own safety protected by various layers of privilege including being white and in the lower middle/upper lower class.

As ethical and moral people we should not dismiss these murders, these attacks, simply because we are unlikely to become victims ourselves.

Yet all the TDOR events leave me feeling we need to do more to prevent these murders than simply pass laws.

The organization I was part of in the early 1970s wasn’t political in the sense of being a lobbying organization.  Our organization was about survival.  We helped each other find housing, jobs and medical care.

Now we live in an era of “Activism” where all the emphasis seems to be aimed at passing laws and little emphasis seems aimed at helping those most in need of help.

Today I read of yet another murder.

Yet another matter of of gender confusion on the part of the press, who can’t even find a modicum of respect for the victim when it comes to pronoun usage.

Trans Murder in South Side Not Being Investigated as a Hate Crime

From Gay RVA:

“I think he she was killed probably because of his sexuality. By him her being gay transgender. That’s the only thing I can see. I feel like it’s a hate crime,” Hawkes said.


GayRVA Staff
November 18, 2013

Richmond Police have given a few details related to the murder of trans-woman Amari Hill.

Major Oddeta Johnson said the victim was NOT shot in the groin area and, due to the relationship between the current suspect and the victim, the crime is not being investigated as a hate crime.

It could not be confirmed if Hill was found in women’s clothes.

This was the extent of the information provided as the investigation is on-going, but Maj. Johnson said when more information was made available it would be shared.

Below is the original story from last week- 11/15 – it has been amended to reflect information provided by RPD. 

Amari S Hill, a Baltimore native now residing in Richmond, was found shot dead in a Richmond’s South Side alley way last Sunday.

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McDonald’s bogus charity image: Who’s really funding the Ronald McDonald Houses?

From Salon:

Ordinary McDonald’s customers actually give more to the charity than the fast food giant does, says a new report

Monday, Nov 18, 2013

Corporations have long used philanthropy as a public relations vehicle, an easy, non-controversial way to deflect attention from bad practices. Accused of systemic racial discrimination? NBD. Just follow Coors’ lead and repent with a donation to the offended minority group. Worried that your product’s reputation is being tarnished by its toxicity? No problem. Take a page from the Philip Morris playbook and distract your consumers with expensive television commercials about all the philanthropy you’ve been doing – feel free to spend more on advertisements about it than on the charity itself. But even in a world where this kind of corporate giving has become the norm, McDonald’s has, as usual, gone the extra mile to be totally, completely, and brazenly shitty. In “Clowning Around with Charity,” a recently released report from Eat Drink Politics, Corporate Accountability International and Small Planet Fund, Michele Simon details the myriad ways McDonald’s uses its so-called philanthropy programs to paint itself as an ally to children’s health and education, all while widening its customer base on the cheap and doing relatively little actual good.

Most of us are familiar with the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), the branded, franchised charity with the unquestionably noble cause of providing housing to families traveling to get treatment for sick children. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit is huge, with 290 chapters in 58 countries, and has been described by former McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner as “the heart and soul of McDonald’s.” But there’s one little problem with this description: McDonald’s does relatively little to support its “heart and soul.” According to the report, the charity gets only about 20 percent of its revenue from McDonald’s. Other major sponsors like Coca-Cola, USA Today and Southwest Airlines also make hefty donations (Coke gives over $500,000 and RMHC lists 24 additional $100,000+ sponsors), but get none of the accompanying glory.

And for those wondering if this is all relative and that 20 percent number actually translates into a big share of McDonald’s profits, the answer is no, it does not. In 2011, the Golden Arches reported giving $34 million in cash and in-kind contributions to charity, which may sound like a lot, but in reality means that McDonald’s donates only 0.32% of its pre-tax profits. That’s 33% lower than leading corporations like Coca-Cola and Yum! Brands – hardly model corporate citizens themselves – which on average give 1.01%. Even the average American household donates 4.7% — 14 times more, in terms of percentage of income, than what McDonald’s gives.

Unfortunately for RMHC, this perception can mean a loss of outside donors because would-be givers assume Ronald has it covered. When asked if the name “Ronald McDonald House” makes people believe that McDonald’s sponsors the organization 100 percent, RMHC of the Ozarks responded, “Yes, it’s a common misperception.” RMHC of Southwest Florida echoed that sentiment, saying, “It’s absolutely confusing.” The report found that local Ronald McDonald Houses commonly use disclaimers pointing out how little McDonald’s actually donates to encourage contribution from the community. “Most of the disclaimers we examined explain McDonald’s small financial contributions to the operating budget and emphasize the need for local donations to make up the difference,” the report says.

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