Friday, December 14, 2007

Know What I Love About Wal-Mart?

12-year-old Chinese children working 15 hour days, 7 days a week, at $0.26 an hour to make Christmas ornaments for the Big-Box Monster. That's the holiday spirit!

From Mother Jones:
With the help of the National Labor Committee—the American outfit famed for shaming Kathy Lee Gifford for her line's exploitative labor practices—the teenagers have brought to light yet another scandal with big implications. Turns out the Guangzhou Huanya ornaments factory in Guangdong, where the high school students worked, employs children as young as 12, who are forced to work 15 hour days, 7 days a week to make Wal-Mart's Christmas ornaments in time for the holiday season. It might come as no surprise that the wages paid by the big box behemoth's manufacturers are paltry, but these kids earn only half of China's minimum wage—just 26 cents an hour.
Anyone else just want to throw up? If you haven't figured it out yet: It doesn't matter how good the deals are; stop shopping at Wal-Mart. If words won't do it for that shopping itch, the whistle-blowing teens were able to get some pictures:

Children Labor for Wal Mart

What is anyone still doing shopping there?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dennis Kucinich Axed in Iowa

It's starting to happen with more severity and urgency: The media is shutting down anyone who is not at the head of their personal popularity contest. The last two debates we were told that Mike Gravel was not important to be heard. Today, as noted by Kate, Dennis Kucinich was added to the ranks of the uninvited.

From the Kucinich campaign:
The highest polling Democratic Presidential candidate among the Party’s progressive, grassroots, activist base, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, has been excluded from the Des Moines Register-sponsored Presidential debate here on Thursday because his Iowa field director operates from a home office rather than a rented storefront.

Despite being the top-ranked Presidential candidate in polls conducted by Democracy for America (DFA), Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and one of the country’s leading progressive publications, The Nation, Kucinich was not invited to participate in the debate because “It was our determination that a person working out of his home did not meet our criteria for a campaign office and full-time paid staff in Iowa,” according to a statement from the newspaper’s top officials, including editor Carolyn Washburn.
What? Are you serious? A storefront? Who even ...what? I didn't watch the debate, but I also heard that CNN applauded the exclusionary move. This is the type of story that makes me sad and makes me angry and makes me lose faith in our system of government.

Who likes to make noise? Feel free to contact the Des Moines Register.

Editor Carolyn Washburn (515) 284-8502.
Laura Hollingsworth President and Publisher (515) 284-8041
Randy Brubaker Managing Editor (515) 284-8590
Randy Evans Assistant Managing Editor (515) 284-8118
Letters to the editor e-mail:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Blog

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, has a blog. It's been up since August of 2006 and it covers some Where in the World stuff, American meetings, and the "freedom and liberty" enjoyed by Iranians in a non-inflammatory and rather boring tone, especially with the "In the Name of Almighty God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate" heading off every entry. It would've been better if it were actually "frank" as is apparently his aim. And if he posted more than 5 times in the last year.

Fav excerpt? The "Hay GuyZ!1!" tone in defense of the time he is spending on the blog.
Since my last post on the blog, a few months have passed. But this doesn't ‎mean that I have not been keeping my promise of spending fifteen minutes per week ‎on it. As a matter of fact, I have spent more than the allocated time on the blog. The ‎magnitude of the reception and acclamation from the viewers was beyond ‎expectations.
Oh, quit your bitchin'!

At first I thought this was a Fake Steve Jobs kind of thing, but then I realized how absolutely lacking in creativity, humor, and content Mahmoud's site is.

Kudos to the first infidel who can trade blogroll links with Iran's President!

God Sends Gunman, Defender to Church?

On Sunday, December 9th, a man armed with "an assault rifle, two handguns and a backpack with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in clips" dropped a smoke grenade at one entrance to a Colorado Springs megachurch, circled around, and opened fire at the exiting crowd, killing two people. Twelve hours earlier, he had killed two others at a missionary training school in Arvada.

He then entered the church, took a couple of shots, and was gunned down by security guard Jeanne Assam. Jeanne's take on the situation? "It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God," she said.

I'm sorry, Jeanne, but God was not anywhere in the vicinity that day.

It was just you and a home-schooled kid who had become entrenched in the pseudo-religio-society that is megachurch Colorado Springs and was subsequently ostracized from his reality when he was booted from the Youth With A Mission school a few years ago (Space cadet check: Police said 3 years, the school said 5, and the church affiliated with the program? "Senior Pastor Brady Boyd of New Life Church said the gunman had no connection to the church.").

In the actual definition of "begging the question," God in the world of the extremely devout works something like this: Why does everything happen for a reason? Because God is infallible. What proof do you have that God is infallible? Everything happens for a reason.

He's got a pretty good racket going. Win the lottery? God's blessing is upon you! Have an addiction or horrid money problems or both? God's just challenging you to make you strong. Jump out of your burning apartment, break both your legs, and watch your mother die by immolation? God's blessing you survived and Jesus needed Mommy in Heaven.

And in this case, the security guard attributes her trained ability to fire a weapon at a target to God when the result of it was the taking of a human life in the house of God.

I understand the role of religion in people's lives, but blind, unquestioning faith and using God as a tool of rationalization is simply turning 'living a life' into absurdity.