Umar Farouk Abdulmatullab—the young Nigerian who got on an airliner in Amsterdam with explosive material strapped to his crotch, intending to blow up the plane over Detroit. (Detroit! As if Detroit didn’t have enough trouble.)
And you thought Star Wars was just science fiction, right? Ha! Remember how the heroic insurgents were first ferreted out by a drone? Remember how the rulers of the universe were called “The Empire?” Remember their vast force of identical armor-clad soldiers? Remember Darth Vader, the Empire’s evil genius, sounding for all the world like Dick Cheney? But perhaps most of all, remember how the whole Battle Star community, pro-war and pro-peace alike, went up in flames?
Nationally, typical low-income neighborhoods have 30 percent fewer supermarkets than higher-income neighborhoods. The problem isn’t only in urban areas; food deserts are also common in many rural communities. Across the country, too many families are forced to do their food shopping in convenience stores stocked with overpriced, highly processed, fatty food with low nutritional value, often past its expiration date. In stores like these, staples such as milk can cost more than at supermarkets.
U.S. citizens have a choice: Accept an economic future dictated by the selfish interests of corporate managers and stockholders, encouraging extreme disparities of wealth and power with our environment destroyed around the world, or demand a strong democratic government dedicated more to the common good.
The Obama administration has failed to close the facility, where—by many accounts—inmates were harshly interrogated and even tortured, by its own deadline. Now there’s talk that the prison will remain open at least through 2010. And the proposal to move detainees to a maximum security prison in Illinois superficially retires Guantánamo as a symbol, while retaining the legal problems it embodies. Equally troubling is the administration’s expansion of detention facilities in Afghanistan that are almost impenetrable for lawyers and humanitarian groups.
It’s worth $11 billion-worth a year–our bottled-water industry, dominated by such giants as Nestlé and Coca-Cola. But wait, shriek industry PR flacks, our product is pure goodness, not pollution. What are you talking about?!
Exposing the human brain to these new devices creates both physical risks and political ones. Mind-reading by authorities or the private sector could easily mean a potential loss of freedom. There are then many questions to be resolved before the government or the marketplace adopts this technology. What kind of an informed consent should be granted? What kind of information would be divulged?
It’s a good thing my long-haired calico Hyacinth can’t read the newspaper. Otherwise I’m sure she’d be deeply offended by all the recent headlines about “fat cats.”