November 2012, Week 2


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Tue, 13 Nov 2012 22:45:38 -0500
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Dispatches from the Culture Wars - Post- Election Fall Out 
Edition, November 13, 2012 

Published by Portside

 #  #  #

 Quote of the Day: America's Billionaires are Pissed Off at
 Karl Rove

 By Kevin Drum

 November 7, 2012 
 Mother Jones

 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/11/quote-day- americas-billionaires-are-pissed-karl-rove

 "The billionaire donors I hear are livid," one Republican
 operative told The Huffington Post. "There is some holy hell
 to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do ... I don't
 know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and
 got nothing."....If conservative billionaires are looking
 for something else to be mad about, I'd recommend the Romney
 campaign's apparent habit of paying about 50 percent more
 for TV spots than the Obama campaign. That helped line the
 pockets of their media consultants and buyers, but it didn't
 do much to win the election.

 #  #  #

 Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped
 Obama Win

 By Michael Scherer

 November 7, 2012 
 Swampland - Time Magazine


 After a successful campaign to raise money for Obama
 included a contest to have dinner with Obama and George
 Clooney, Obama's top campaign aides sought out an East Coast
 celebrity with similar appeal among the same demographic,
 and the next Dinner with Barack contest was born: a chance
 to eat at Sarah Jessica Parker's West Village brownstone.

 The idea for the Parker contest had come from a data-mining
 discovery about some supporters: affection for contests,
 small dinners and celebrity.  Throughout the campaign, such
 data- driven decision making played a huge role in creating
 a second term for the 44th President and will be one of the
 more closely studied elements of the 2012 cycle. In
 politics, the era of big data has arrived.

 #  #  #

 Missing Out: Political Ads, Spanish-Language TV and the
 Latino Vote

 By Joseph Torres and Josh Stearns

 November 5, 2012 
 New America Media


 Latino voters will play a critical role in the 2012
 presidential race, making up a significant portion of the
 electorate in swing states like Colorado, Florida and
 Nevada. Yet while analysts project that more than $3 billion
 will be spent on political ads this year, a relatively
 paltry amount has been spent on Spanish-language ads. This
 is particularly the case when it comes to ad spending by
 Super PACs and other third-party groups.

 Given the nation's changing demographics, it's hard to
 imagine that political campaigns and third-party groups
 won't ultimately devote more financial resources to winning
 the Latino vote. While many Latino leaders believe more
 Spanish- language ads are critical to engaging Latino
 voters, some may have second thoughts once viewers are
 inundated with political ads.

 #  #  #

 For the Radical Right, Obama Victory Brings Fury and Fear

 By Mark Potok

 November 7, 2012 
 Hatewatch - Southern Poverty Law Center


 The reaction to the re-election of our first black president
 from the radical right ranged from sputtering rage and name-
 calling to calls for a new Southern secession, mass
 emigration to Europe, or even the break-up of the United
 States. The loss of a white majority in the United States
 has helped drive a truly explosive growth of the radical
 right in the last three years, and now that Obama has been
 re-elected, the radical right may grow more dangerous still.
 Summed up on Fox News, Bill O'Reilly said: "The white
 establishment is now the minority. It's not a traditional
 America anymore."

 #  #  #

 Charles Darwin gets 4,000 write-in votes in Georgia By David

 November 9, 2012 


 In a September speech, Paul Broun, a GA member of the U.S.
 House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology
 Committee, called evolution and the Big Bang Theory, "lies
 straight from the pit of hell."

 Broun, a Republican, had no opposition in the general
 election.  So Jim Leebens-Mack, a University of Georgia
 biology professor, started the write-in campaign for Darwin
 who attracted 4,000 write-in ballots.  But the votes will
 not count officially since Darwin was never certified as a
 write- in candidate.

 #  #  #

 Occupy Sandy Emerges As Relief Organization for 21st
 Century, Mastering Social Networks

 By Lucas Kavner

 November 5, 2012 
 Huffington Post


 As local leaders and citizens complain of FEMA and the Red
 Cross and general government absences in their own
 neighborhoods, independent and local volunteer relief
 organizations have sprung up in droves, organized almost
 entirely through word of mouth and extensive social media
 campaigns.  And Occupy Sandy, an off-shoot of Occupy Wall
 Street, has been a leader in spreading the word about local
 volunteer and donation efforts.

 Though certainly not a well-oiled machine by any means, the
 group's Twitter and Facebook accounts have posted up-to-date
 information about exactly what is needed and where. Occupy
 Sandy's #Medics hashtag on Twitter found doctors for their
 hubs in Brooklyn and Queens. Hot meals are being prepared
 with volunteers in makeshift food kitchens in the Rockaways,
 Coney Island and Sunset Park. And the network has even set
 up a wedding registry, via Amazon, so anyone who wants to
 send blankets, flashlights, dry goods, and toiletries from
 anywhere in the United States or around the world can easily
 do so.

 Occupy is able to act fast and quickly, without worrying
 about a lot of bureaucratic red tape,  and Occupy Sandy has
 shown that collectively they can be a modern relief
 organization, both online and on the ground.

 #  #  #

 Occupy Wall Street Camps at Amazon, Wal-Mart Sandy Aid

 By Ryan Faughnder

 November 5, 2012 
 Bloomberg .com


 Occupy Wall Street has set up camp online at Amazon.com Inc.
 and Wal-Mart Stores websites, using wedding registries to
 solicit gifts for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

 The group has been among the volunteers helping with
 disaster relief efforts since Sandy made landfall on Oct.
 29. One volunteer at a church in Brooklyn decided to use an
 Amazon registry, promoted by posts on Twitter Inc.'s
 microblogging service, to speed aid to those in need.  There
 is also an Occupy Sandy registry on Amazon that is shipping
 purchases to a distribution center in Jersey City, New
 Jersey, and another registry on Wal-Mart's website lists a
 delivery address in Brooklyn. So far, the Brooklyn registry
 on Amazon has received orders for items including
 flashlights, mini refrigerators, diapers, toothpaste,
 blankets and bleach, according to the company's website. The
 so-called couple describes their style as "warm, non-
 perishable" and requests items be sent without gift wrap.

 #  #  #

 Occupy Wall Street campaigners buy-up debt to abolish it

 By Matthew Sparkes

 November 9, 2012 
 Telegraph (UK)


 A group of campaigners linked to the Occupy Wall Street
 movement is buying-up distressed loans for pennies in the
 pound and cancelling them to "liberate debtors at random".
 The Rolling Jubilee project is seeking donations to help it
 buy-up distressed debts, including student loans and
 outstanding medical bills, and then wipe the slate clean by
 writing them off.

 Individuals or companies can buy distressed debt from
 lenders at knock-down prices if it the borrower is in
 default or behind with payments and are then free to do with
 it as they see fit, including cancelling it free of charge.
 As a test run the group spent $500 on distressed debt,
 buying $14,000 worth of outstanding loans and pardoning the
 debtors. David Rees, one of the organisers, writes "This is
 a simple, powerful way to help folks in need - to free them
 from heavy debt loads. Now, we are ready to buy debt in
 communities across the country that have been struggling
 during the recession."

 #  #  #

 Party's Over After Sandy

 By Mike Vilensky

 November 6, 2012 
 Wall Street Journal On-Line


 It is high season for Manhattan's society events circuit,
 when wealthy people attend glamorous parties in the city's
 gilded halls to raise money for charity and cultural
 institutions. Then came Sandy, a devastating storm that laid
 bare for the world the city's stark wealth gap.  Suddenly,
 many of these events have been toned down or cancelled
 altogether, and many of the social scene's regulars -  among
 Manhattan's financial and social elite -  have begun having
 frank conversations about income inequality.

 Rarely has an event before Sandy so shaken the close co-
 existence of New York's extremely wealthy and its most
 impoverished: Wealthy New Yorkers were generally safe during
 the storm, while neighborhoods with high poverty rates such
 as Brooklyn's Red Hook and Queens' Far Rockaway are still
 without food or heat.  The scenes of devastation in poor
 city neighborhoods such as Brooklyn's Coney Island appear to
 have had an effect.

 #  #  #

 Two Chicago stations pick up Smiley & West after WBEZ
 cancels show

 By Dru Sefton

 October 31, 2012 


 The Smiley & West show is being picked up by two Chicago
 radio outlets, after public radio station WBEZ dropped the
 program. Tavis Smiley and his co-host, author and activist
 Cornel West, will be heard on progressive talk WCPT-AM and
 urban news/talk WVON-AM.

 Thirteen stations have dropped the show since June 2011,
 with several taking issue with the co-hosts' political
 opinionating or citing complaints from listeners. WBEZ's
 cancellation and related comments from Torey Malatia,
 station president, triggered an angry letter from Smiley
 that sparked a widely reported controversy in Chicago. The
 program is distributed by Public Radio International.

 #  #  #

 The Fight Over PBS Should Be to Broaden Its Scope, Not to
 Threaten It

 By Vincent Stehle

 October 28, 2012 
 The Chronicle of Philanthropy


 In our closely divided partisan election cycle, public
 broadcasting has once again become a sign of divided
 government. By injecting it into the 2012 campaign,
 politicians have brought into view just how paltry a sum the
 federal Treasury provides to public television and radio
 stations. The 2012 budget for the Corporation for Public
 Broadcasting, the principal source of federal dollars for
 public media, was just $445-million, roughly 0.01 percent of
 the federal budget, although in a CNN poll, Americans said
 they thought public broadcasting got 5 percent of the
 federal budget, a figure that would translate into about

 As valuable as the flagship NPR and PBS services are, CPB
 and other agencies should support a broader array of
 institutions providing news and information, such as
 community-access television services, low-power and
 community radio stations, and the growing field of nonprofit
 online news organizations that are replacing the rapidly
 declining daily newspaper industry.  This broader concept of
 public broadcasting actually reflects the original purpose
 expressed by President Lyndon Johnson when he signed the
 Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, declaring his intention to
 build "not just a broadcast system but one that employs
 every means of sending and storing information that the
 individual can use."

 #  #  #

 Climate Change Threatens Legacy Coffee

 By Christopher Intagliata

 November 9, 2012 
 Scientific American


 Rising seas and severe storms are the most talked-about
 threats of climate change. But here's another: no more
 coffee, because rising temperatures may cripple wild
 populations of Arabica coffee -  the most cultivated species
 in the world - according to  a study which used climate
 models to forecast the effects of warming on Arabica coffee
 trees in Ethiopia, their native range. Under the best-case
 scenario, only a third of today's range would still be
 suitable for coffee by 2080. And the worst case? Wild
 arabica could be nearly wiped out in the region.  That's
 because coffee trees are sensitive to temperature and may
 not be able to colonize new areas fast enough to beat
 climate change.

 [Text taken from a transcript of this podcast.]

 #  #  #

 Oh, this? Just some teenage girls from Africa who invented a
 urine-powered generator.

 By Robert T. Gonzalez

 November 8, 2012 
 I09.com - We Come from the Future


 How's this for an innovative startup: four African girls  -
 the eldest of which is just fifteen years old  -   have
 worked together to invent a generator that's powered by
 urine. The group presented their creation at this year's
 Maker Faire Africa, and it's freaking brilliant.  Here's how
 it works:
 *  Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the
 urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen. 
 *  The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, 
 which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder. 
 *  The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of 
 liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas. 
 *  This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator. 
 *  1 Liter of urine gives you 6 hours of electricity. 
 Here's hoping these girls can get the funding they need to
 take this idea to new heights. Even if they don't, we've got
 a feeling they're going places.

 #  #  #


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