Rosanne Cash: Country Musicians, Stand Up to the N.R.A.

Rosanne Cash

I’ve been a gun-control activist for 20 years. Every time I speak out on the need for stricter gun laws, I get a new profusion of threats. There’s always plenty of the garden-variety “your dad would be ashamed of you” sexist nonsense, along with the much more menacing threats to my family and personal safety.

Last year, I performed at the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence with Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder, Marc Cohn and the Harlem Gospel Choir, and we got death threats. People wanted to kill us because we wanted to end gun violence. That’s where we are: America, 2017.

For the past few decades, the National Rifle Association has increasingly nurtured an alliance with country music artists and their fans. You can see it in “N.R.A. Country,” which promotes the artists who support the philosophical, and perhaps economic, thrall of the N.R.A., with the pernicious tag line “Celebrate the Lifestyle.”

That wholesome public relations veneer masks something deeply sinister and profoundly destructive. There is no other way to say this: The N.R.A. funds domestic terrorism.

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Ry Cooder: 'Mitt Romney is a Dangerous Man, A Cruel Man'

by Caspar Llewellyn Smith

The veteran guitarist on his new album of protest songs, Election Special, and how the Republican party is out to destroy America and Barack Obama's presidency.

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A Defiant Dude

by James Lantz and Eat More Kale guy

A t-shirt artist defies Chick-fil-a, a multi-billion dollar fast food chain, when they lay claim to his art and website.

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Fighting Talk: The New Propaganda

The Independent

Journalism has become a linguistic battleground and when reporters use terms such as spike in violence or surge or settler, they are playing along with a pernicious game, argues Robert Fisk.

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Here Comes The Sun

The New York Times - Paul Krugman

For decades the story of technology has been dominated, in the popular mind and to a large extent in reality, by computing and the things you can do with it. Moore's Law - in which the price of computing power falls roughly 50 percent every 18 months - has powered an ever-expanding range of applications, from faxes to Facebook.

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Jackson Browne: We Are the Spill

by Jackson Browne

I was struck the other day by a comparison made on 5 Gyres, the blog site of scientists and activists who are working to draw attention to the growing concentration of plastic pollution in the world's oceans.

According to the scientists' and activists' estimate, the amount of oil used to produce plastic every day is the same amount as the oil that is spilling into the Gulf of Mexico every day from the damaged Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

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New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer

NY Times - By Nicholas D. Kristof

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No new nukes -- plants, that is

Los Angeles Times

Nuclear power plants are being pushed as part of climate-change legislation. But the focus should be on renewable power sources, which are getting cheaper and don't produce radioactive waste.

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Designs for new UK nuclear reactors are unsafe, claims watchdog

The Guardian - By Terry Macalister

Major setback for energy plans as report finds flaws in US and French models.

Britain's main safety regulator threw the government's energy plans into chaos tonight by damning the nuclear industry's leading designs for new plants. The Health and Safety Executive said it could not recommend plans for new reactors because of wide-ranging concerns about their safety.

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A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030

Scientific American Magazine - By Mark Z. Jacobson & Mark A. Delucchi

In December leaders from around the world will meet in Copenhagen to try to agree on cutting back greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come. The most effective step to implement that goal would be a massive shift away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources. If leaders can have confidence that such a transformation is possible, they might commit to an historic agreement. We think they can.

A year ago former vice president Al Gore threw down a gauntlet: to repower America with 100 percent carbon-free electricity within 10 years. As the two of us started to evaluate the feasibility of such a change, we took on an even larger challenge: to determine how 100 percent of the world's energy, for all purposes, could be supplied by wind, water and solar resources, by as early as 2030. Our plan is presented here.

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Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle

Mother Jones - By Anna Lenzer

Obama sips it. Paris Hilton loves it. Mary J. Blige won't sing without it. How did a plastic water bottle, imported from a military dictatorship thousands of miles away, become the epitome of cool?

THE INTERNET CAF in the Fijian capital, Suva, was usually open all night long. Dimly lit, with rows of sleek, modern terminals, the place was packed at all hours with teenage boys playing boisterous rounds of video games. But one day soon after I arrived, the staff told me they now had to shut down by 5 p.m. Police orders, they shrugged: The country's military junta had declared martial law a few days before, and things were a bit tense.

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Chemicals in Our Food, and Bodies

The New York Times - By Nicholas D. Kristof

Your body is probably home to a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. Its a synthetic estrogen that United States factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies to the tune of six pounds per American per year. Thats a lot of estrogen.

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Obtaining the Playlist from Guantanamo

The Huffington Post - By Lawrence Iser

The rock duo Heart, Ann and Nancy Wilson, were upset last fall when the GOP borrowed their '70s hit Barracuda as the theme for VP candidate Sarah Palin, and used it without their permission. So were John Mellencamp, the band ABBA and a host of other artists, who complained about the use of their songs during McCain-Palin campaign appearances.

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It's a Nuclear Retreat, not Renaissance

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Another Major Setback for "Nuclear Renaissance": Industry Goes 0-6 in 2009 Efforts to Overturn State Bans on New Nuclear Reactors.

More Lobbying Expected in 2010 in Even Tougher Environment After Yucca Mountain and Soaring Cost Estimates; Outside of Bans, Industry Falters on CWIP in Missouri and Key Fights in Other States.

WASHINGTON, D.C.///August 27, 2009/// The so-called "nuclear renaissance" is finding few friends among state lawmakers in the United States. The nuclear power industry has been shut out across the board in 2009 in its efforts in all six states ranging across the nation from Kentucky to Minnesota to Hawaii -- where it sought to overturn what are either explicit or effectively bans on construction of new reactors, according to the nonprofit Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS). Efforts to overturn bans also have failed to advance in Illinois and West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Our Plastic Legacy Afloat

The New York Times - Editorial

Until recently, the earth had seven continents. To that number, humans have added an eighth an amorphous, floating mass of waste plastic trapped in a gyre of currents in the north Pacific, between Hawaii and Japan. Researchers have estimated that this garbage patch may contain as much as 100 million tons of plastic debris and is perhaps twice the size of Texas, if not larger.

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Readings, June 2009

  1. The Kill Company by Raffi Khatchadourian in the New Yorker, July 6 & 13, 2009
  2. The Sheikh Down by Shane Bauer in Mother Jones, September + October 2009
  3. A Just Cause (Does not Equal) A Just War by Howard Zinn in The Progressive, July 2009

Readings, April 2009

  1. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid (a novel)
  2. From A to X A Story In Letters by John Berger (a novel)
  3. A Perfect Storm - The Economic Crisis Slams The Non-Profit World by Eyal Press (an article from The Nation Magazine)
  4. Hell On Earth by Pico Iyer (an article from The New York Review of Books)