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Friday, March 28, 2014

I dare say I predicted this: Colbert is in trouble with #cancelcolbert

Just a little blip here flashing back to one of my older posts. Many disagreed with my article "A Commentary on Humor Complacency: Critiquing Colbert". But now Colbert and his show are in trouble for disrespecting the Asian community. 

Ironically, the bit that made me upset and write the first post was about the smog problem in China.

The tweet, reportedly made by whoever was running @ColbertReport, a Comedy Central twitter account, was a quote from a bit in his show for which Colbert himself, @ColbertAtHome, still needs to be held accountable. 

The tweet was a parody of the inappropriate and frankly ridiculous name of a foundation started by the Washington Redskins called the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. The name of the foundation is ridiculous because the Washington Redskins have yet to change their name which is an ethnic slur for Native Americans, and also the slur is included in the foundation's name. 

This is what I was saying about being careful of satire. Satire does not mean you can say whatever you want. Colbert could have pointed out the ridiculousness of the Washington Redskin's new foundation without making the comment that got him in trouble:

I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.

Do I think Colbert meant to harm anyone? No. But that does not excuse him and Comedy Central from taking responsibility for his actions.

Journalism is not a crime: why I like Snowden even more now.

So a TED talk hosted in Vancouver featuring Edward Snowden talking through a robot from an undisclosed location and interviewed by Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, succeeded in distracting me from my homework.

I was excited by the opportunity to see him speak, and I recommend everyone watch the 35 minute talk linked here:

In a nutshell, Snowden was talking about the programs the NSA has been using to monitor American citizens and why they are unconstitutional. He spoke about the problems with the concept of secret surveillance initiatives being reviewed by a secret court that has no one monitoring it because it is secret. I make no pretenses of being unbiased here.

Snowden also spoke about one of my favorite topics (favorite because it’s a serious problem and I care about it deeply), the criminalization of journalism and death of the free press.

“Journalism is not a crime, communication is not a crime, and we should not be monitored in our everyday activities,” Snowden said towards the end of the talk.

Truly, the public should be able to monitor the actions of the government without fear of being charged with treason or without the government hiding their actions to make them nearly impossible to monitor.

I’ve heard a lot of arguments that Snowden is being celebratized (not a word, I made it up), and that he has secret initiatives to do what he is doing besides helping the American people. I have high doubts for this allegation.

Snowden’s statement when asked how he was coping with fear in his precarious situation clarified to me what his aims are.

“The fact that [the government is] willing to completely ignore due process, the fact that they’re willing to declare guilt without ever seeing a trial; these are things we need to work against as a society and say, hey, this is not appropriate. We shouldn’t be threatening dissidents. We shouldn’t be criticizing journalism. What whatever part I can play to see that end, I’m happy to do despite the risks,” said Snowden.

I like him, and I think we really need to pay attention to this issue until it is resolved in a way that eradicates the unconstitutionality of the NSA, secures freedom of speech and privacy through electronic communication, and obliterates the FISA court for the sham it is.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Not-so-funny farm

Advertising spending by meat industry compared with advertising spending by animal rights groups.

So I went to the Animal Rights event, and I met some cool people. 

The organizations working to pass the Massachusetts Farm Animal Cruelty Act, Bill H.1456, are the Humane Society, the Humane League, Farm Sanctuary, and there was a representative from the MSPCA. 

Here is an excerpt from the proposed bill along with people speak to clarify them: 
(a) The purpose of this section, subject to exceptions, is to prohibit the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.
This passage would apply to gestation crates, battery cages and veal crates. 

Gestation crates are what hold mother pigs who are pregnant. They cannot stand, move or turn around. They are artificially inseminated, they sit in the same place for their entire pregnancy, and when the babies have been nursed to an age where they can enter the same process, the mothers are slaughtered for meat.

Battery cages are for egg laying hens. They cannot move or turn around. They eat and lay eggs for their entire lives, and then they die.

I think we all know what veal crates are. Baby cows are chained around their necks from birth and forced to remain still so the meat can be tender.

I'm guessing you can see why we want this legislation to pass. It needs to be passed by July of this year. 

Links to involved parties: