Friday, March 11, 2011

(Cigarrette in hand) "We will not walk in fear of one another..."

On a side note, Al Jazeera has become my new source for breaking news. The CNN live link was taking forever to load last night, I go to Al Jazeera English and I'm watching new footage and live information in a second. Even early this morning, CNN didn't seem to have half as many updates as Al Jazeera did. Just last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

"Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it's real news... You may not agree with it, but you feel like you're getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners."

One of the best documentaries I have ever seen has got to be "Control Room."
From wikipedia:
"Control Room is a 2004 documentary film about Al Jazeera and its relations with the US Central Command (CENTCOM), as well as the other news organizations that covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq."

Incredibly insightful to say the least. It's one of those films you want to see over and over again. And it's the one thing that always reminds why I wanted to be a journalist in the first place, even after that path didn't work out. Just thinking about it makes me want to get back into journalism like the spirit of Edward R. Murrow has invaded my body.

Good Night and Good Luck.

No destruction movies for me today

REUTERS/Amit Dave. Source

I love end-of-the-world movies, and it seems so ironic that I was so pumped to see Battle: LA, since it opens today. But after watching the news last night and throughout today, I'm not in the mood anymore. I've lived in Japan for 2 years and it was kind of emotional to see so many familiar places being completely swallowed by water and debris. Unfortunately we haven't been able to get in touch with all of our family and friends who live there. Fortunately I was able to get in touch with one childhood friend and he's ok.

My heart and prayers go out to all the people out there affected by the earthquake and the tsunamis. It's devastating, heart-breaking, heart-wrenching. I'm supposed to be writing a mini-mini-mini autobiography for class and I can't get a single word out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Please Sign This Petition

Twelve-year-old Christian is an expert on gold.

That's because for several hours a day, he extracts gold from the ground of the Peruvian Sierra region – something he's done every day since he was seven. Christian knows the dynamite he uses each day is dangerous. He knows the cyanide he's forced to handle makes him sick.

Christian was profiled in a recent Anti-Slavery International report, and there are thousands of children like him forced to work in the perilous and exploitative gold industry. And the gold he mines becomes jewelry for sale in Target stores across the United States.

Gold is mined by child and slave labor in 17 countries around the world. Children as young as five have been found working in gold mines, and children under 14 are regularly forced to handle dangerous chemicals and perform backbreaking labor. Much of this gold ends up in jewelry and consumer electronics sold in the U.S.

To fight child labor in the gold industry, more than 70 national and international jewelry retailers have signed onto Earthworks' “No Dirty Gold” campaign, which helps companies avoid sourcing gold from mines that exploit children, enslave adults, or do significant environmental harm. Target is one of the few major jewelry retailers who has failed to commit to a higher standard.

That means Target is financially supporting the people who are exploiting children like Christian. Tell the company to cease its bad behavior.

After months of campaigning and tens of thousands of letters from members, Target representatives have agreed to "consider" joining the "No Dirty Gold" campaign. They say they'll talk with Earthworks, but they can't commit to anything.

While Target execs drag their feet, Christian and thousands of other young people keep working in gold mines.

We need Target to join the “No Dirty Gold” campaign and agree to stop supporting a gold industry that exploits children and enslaves adults. And we need them to do it now.

Tell Target to stand against dirty gold and child labor, and for kids like Christian around the world:

Thanks for taking action,

- Patrick and the team

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crab Cakes

So I've been meaning to get back into the kitchen and fulfill one of my New Years resolution (not really), which was to cook and bake more. But with working Mon-Fri (getting thurs off here and there) and going to school Saturday and Sunday, cooking more went to the back burner and here I am, relying on eating out (my pocket is all kinds of sad) and my mom. And don't get me started on my resolution to get into watercolors again (Ha!).
Aaaanyway, I found this really simple recipe for crab cakes. I had some last night and it reminded me why I wanted to cook more in the first place. Come June, things may slow down only to speed up again in september, so hopefully I will make these at least before we all die in 2012.

Delmarva Crab Cakes
by Mrs. James Blizzard

1 pound lump crab meat
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon green pepper (chopped)
dash of nutmeg

1. Blend all ingredients together.
2. Shape into good size crab cakes.
3. Fry in butter or margarine in electric fry pan at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

This recipe for Delmarva Crab Cakes was originally conceived by Mrs. James Blizzard of Seafood, Delaware. It was the Crab Cake Winner in the 1965 National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, MD.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First Amendment Stands, Nobody Wins

In an expected but still hard-to-swallow decision, the U.S. Supreme court ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist “Church,” in a lawsuit brought up against them by the father of a fallen soldier, whose funeral was protested by WBC members. On March 10, 2006, WBC picketed the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder. Displaying signs that read: "God hates America," "Thank God for dead soldiers," and "Pray for more dead soldiers," WBC protested outside the funeral of a man who died defending their rights to harass his family and exercise their freedom of speech. On June 5, 2006, the Snyder family sued for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

In the 8-1 decision favoring the Westboro Baptist “Church,” U.S. Supreme Court justices said, “Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

It's heartbreaking, to say the least, to think there are people with so much hatred in their hearts, that they feel the need to picket soldiers funerals (including the funeral of a 9-year-old victim of the Jan. 2011 Arizona shooting, a 9/11 baby), to spread a message of hate, prejudice and revulsion. My heart goes out to the family of this fallen hero, who just wanted to bury their son in peace, with the dignity and respect he so unreservedly deserves.

However, WBC's First Amendment rights must be upheld. In the words of my favorite columnist/film critic, Richard Roeper:

We must defend Westboro's right to free speech, no matter how hurtful. Holding up signs that say, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates You" at a fallen Marine's service, despicable as it is, does not fit the definition of invasion of privacy (They picketed more than 1,000 feet from the church where the funeral was held, in accordance with municipal regulations). The Phelps family isn't making a mockery of our Constitution -- they're making a mockery of themselves with every breath they take. Let 'em rant and rave. But putting a government-imposed muzzle on them would set a dangerous precedent and would give them a thousand times more historical importance than they deserve.

And I expect the Supreme Court will uphold my rights when I protest the funerals of these morons.

"I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

The sad thing is, Matthew A. Snyder died doing exactly that.