Early one morning a dirty but originally silver oil tanker on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California, near the busiest traffic intersection in the world could be seen with this message painted on its oval back:
John 3:18: Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Minutes later,… Continue reading
In the middle of January, the legislature in North Dakota took an extraordinary move to confront those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). They tried to make it legal to injure or kill them! Included in the wording of House Bill 1203 [… Continue reading
Elections hold only a morbid fascination for anarchists, we know they achieve little. But when events like those of last November threaten to change the state of affairs in the most powerful country in the world as radically as they do, there are points to be noted.
In the first place of course, Trump’s opponent (hawkish Establishment figure Hillary Clinton) won something in the region of 3 million more… Continue reading
Documents continue to emerge from Edward Snowden, the former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA). Significant data was published in mid-August which detailed how telecommunications giant AT&T willingly gave the Agency access to literally billions of emails transmitted across the former’s domestic networks – conceivably every one. These included the headquarters of the United Nations for many years. By 2013, the NSA’s top-secret budget for this partnership… Continue reading
Louis Further rounds up news from the USA for the months of October and November.
Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old high school student from the Bronx when he was accused of stealing a Rucksack by a mistaken witness driving around in the back of a New York Police Department police patrol car. Although Browder did not take the Rucksack, indeed proved to the police at the time that he had none of the belongings of his accuser (who then changed his accusation to suggest the alleged theft was ‘attempted’), he spent nearly three years in solitary confinement at the notorious Rikers jail complex in New York City. Yes, Three years in solitary confinement! He was never convicted and maintained his innocence requesting a trial rather than accept a plea bargain for release, which would have given him a criminal record. Only at the end of September were matters successfully brought to the attention of a judge, who dismissed the case against Browder. Continue reading
No-one ever got taller by being measured. In schools, the only tests that help are the ones that
offer guidance on what’s next, not ‘summative’ ones that merely record children’s progress. Last month in Florida a kindergarten (5-year-old children) teacher took a stand by refusing to administer the state-mandated standardised test to her pupils. In Gainesville, Florida 59-year-old Susan Bowles explained how the FAIR assessment (computerised for the first time in 2014) is difficult to administer, unfairly tests 5-year-olds’ computer abilities, and eats up hours and hours of critical classroom time. Bowles wrote on her own FaceBook page content that was then copied elsewhere within her local and the wider educator communities:
“This assessment is given one-on-one. It is recommended that both teacher and child wear headphones during this test. Someone has forgotten there are other five year olds in our care. There is no provision from the state for money for additional staff to help with the other children in the classroom while this testing is going on. A certified teacher has to give the test. If you estimate that it takes approximately 45 minutes per child to give this test and we have 18 students, the time it takes to give this test is 13½ instructional hours. If you look at the schedule, a rough estimate would be that it requires about one full week of instructional time to test all of the children.” Continue reading
A review published in mid-June by the Associated Press found that the Obama administration does not inspect four out of every ten new high-risk oil and gas wells. It seems that The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been so overwhelmed by the current increase in fracking that it has not been able to keep up with the numbers of ‘regular’ oil wells still needing oversight; these include those near national forests and fragile watersheds. Even a former BLM field officer called the situation “a disaster waiting to happen”.
In mid July over a million gallons of saltwater from oil drilling operations in North Dakota leaked from a pipeline on a Native American reservation; the area covered is almost two miles. The leak by Crestwood Midstream Services has killed vegetation and may have reached a bay connected to a drinking water source for the Fort Berthold reservation. Continue reading