Repeat Offender Behind California Oil Spill

Repeat Offender Behind California Oil Spill feature image
May 23, 2015
As the investigation continues into the oil spill along the California coast, new details emerged about the pipeline operator's long history of wreaking environmental damage. Plains All American operates the pipeline that burst near Refugio State Beach on the Gaviota Coast and dumped more than 105,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean. Plains All American has been responsible for 175 spill incidents nationwide since 2006, including 11 in California.
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#WacoThugs, Bikers, and White-on-White Crime

#WacoThugs, Bikers, and White-on-White Crime feature image
May 23, 2015
Last Sunday’s broad daylight shoot-out between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas left nine dead and eighteen others hospitalized, and shocked the nation. However, the Waco shootout also served to graphically underscore how drastically different the police and media treatment of violent incidents is when those involved are white. This racial disparity was intensely explored on Twitter this week by commentators and critics on hashtag#WacoThugs.
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Qatar’s World Cup: 62 Dead Workers Per Game

 62 Dead Workers Per Game feature image
May 23, 2015
Qatar will host the 2022 Soccer World Cup, and this week the International Trade Union Confederation, Play Fair Qatar, and NewFifaNow launched a campaign to force sponsors of the Fédération Internationale de Football (FIFA) to demand a change in the slave-like conditions endured by migrant laborers building Qatar’s tournament infrastructure. According to Play Fair Qatar, “As things stand, more than 62 workers will die for each game played during the 2022 tournament.”
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Whose Behind the “Re-Engineering” of the NYPD

Whose Behind the “Re-Engineering” of the NYPD feature image
May 23, 2015
The New York City Police Foundation (NYCPF), a private body funded by the city’s largest finance, real estate, tourism and private prison interests, has bankrolled another proposal to overhaul the New York Police Department. This “re-engineering” is underwritten by the NYCPF, overseen by consultant John Linder and supported by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the triad responsible for the 1994 NYPD reorganization that introduced the “broken windows” theory of policing.
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Israel Defense Minister’s Threat to Nuke Iran

Israel Defense Minister’s Threat to Nuke Iran feature image
May 23, 2015
Earlier this month, the Israeli Defense Minister both admitted Israel has nuclear weapons, and discussed the possibility of using them against Iran, citing the U.S. nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as moral justification. Yet, the U.S. media has completely blacked out these incendiary remarks. Had the Iranian Defense Minister referenced Hiroshima in a discussion about Israel, it would have been front page news.
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Friday Nite Videos -- May 22, 2015

Friday Nite Videos -- May 22, 2015 feature image
May 22, 2015
Roy Zimmerman -- 'Defenders of Marriage.' Killer T Cell: The Cancer Assassin. Oscar Peterson's Piano Lesson. Ensnaring Kids in 'Advertising Empire.' LA Minimum Wage: $15 by 2020.
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Bernie Sanders: 'Yes,' 'Not Now' or 'Never'?

 'Yes,' 'Not Now' or 'Never'? feature image
May 22, 2015
The fundamental problem with both the “not now, maybe later” and the “not on your life” rejections of electoral politics is their small mindedness, their view that political activity is a zero sum game where a Sanders candidacy inevitably diminishes some other truly valuable activities because there are only a limited number of potential activists out there.
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NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store

NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store feature image
May 22, 2015
The NSA wanted to do use Google's app store as a launching pad to infect phones with spyware. They were also keen to hijack them as a way of sending “selective misinformation to the targets’ handsets” to spread propaganda or confuse adversaries. Moreover, the agency wanted to gain access to companies’ app store servers so they could secretly use them for “harvesting” information about phone users.
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Obama’s Debut @POTUS Attracts Hate Posts

Obama’s Debut @POTUS Attracts Hate Posts feature image
May 22, 2015
It took only a few minutes for Mr. Obama’s account to attract racist, hate-filled posts and replies. They addressed him with racial slurs and called him a monkey. One had an image of the president with his neck in a noose. But they appeared to be a small number in what was an otherwise social-media-fueled show of love for Mr. Obama, who was drawing followers at a rapid pace — nearly 2.3 million by Thursday afternoon.
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New Stone Tool Discoveries Predate Humans

New Stone Tool Discoveries Predate Humans feature image
May 22, 2015
Stone tools unearthed at a site in Kenya predate any identified human ancestors -- previously thought to be the first makers of stone tools -- by hundreds of thousands of years. These finds "will force us [to rethink] what makes us humans ... Increasing knowledge of our remote past is casting doubts on previous certainties and is showing that the process of becoming what we are now is far more gradual than what we previously thought."
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Portside Culture


Erica Goss
New Verse News
California poet Erica Goss raises the question, knowing the reader will have an answer: Is one child's life worth more than another's?

Native American Artists of the Plains: A Tale of Woe and Glory

Thomas Powers
The New York Review of Books
The compendious catalogue of a recent exhibit offers representations of art as practiced by numerous Plains tribes from first encounter with Europeans to their near decimation not only from military conquest and rough frontier justice but from European-spawned disease. Much of the work is likened to that of Italian painters of religious scenes during the Renaissance, which might be defined as the depiction of social life sustained by a sacred sacrifice of blood.

Hijacking Public Housing

Rhonda Y. Williams
Southern Spaces
The history of public housing in the United States can be read, in part, as a history of the modern impoverishment of racial minorities, in particular, of the African American population. As reviewer Rhonda Y. Williams notes, Edward G. Goetz has written a "multi-layered analysis of housing policy and redevelopment," in a book that "explicitly examines black removal from urban spaces and the perpetuation of racialized poverty."

‘Forbidden Films’ Exhumes Nazi Poison From the Movie Vaults

J. Hoberman
New York Times
The Third Reich produced 1,200 films, 300 of which were banned after WWII as dangerous propaganda. Forbidden Films examines the 40 that remain effectively banned to this day, locked inside a German federal film archive and only made availavle to researchers. Are they historical evidence, incitements to murder, fascist pornography, evergreen entertainments, toxic waste or passé kitsch? Are these films better shown and discussed rather than repressed and forgotten?

Looking at Food Fraud

Christina Rice
Food Safety News
Common foods like olive oil, fish, honey and fruit juices may not contain the food ingredients you think they do. This is an issue not only of food fraud but of food safety.

'Peaky Blinders' Should Be Your Next Netflix Binge

Maureen Ryan
Huffington Post
The pubs and factories are full of Communist agitators and IRA operatives; the corrupt and brutal police are regarded as just another gang that has to be dealt with. The black lanes, the grimy house fronts, the noisy pubs, the furnaces running hot 24-7: These backdrops continually reinforce the idea that toughness is necessary for every character in Small Heath.

Two Poems by Eleanor Lerman

Eleanor Lerman
The Poet
The poet explains the transition between these two poems and reveals a mordant humor.: "That Sure is My Little Dog," written some years ago, arose from what I felt at the time was a lack of political outrage on the left, particularly among younger people, but by the time of Occupy Wall Street, I was feeling more hopeful about my generation (the Woodstock era folks) passing the banner on to the next.generation.

Portside Labor

The Wreck of AMTRAK 188 -Talking Points From RWU

Railroad Workers United
If we are serious about preventing future catastrophes of this nature, we must equip railroad workers with the necessary tools - including but not limited to those outlined below -- to enable them to perform the job safely. Railroad Workers United believes it is time we learn from these terrible tragedies and get serious about implementing the necessary measures to ensure safe railroad operations.

How Unite Took on the Fast Food Companies Over Zero Hour Contracts and Won!

Mike Treen
Unite News
After a decade long campaign led by Unite union, fast food chains have committed to ending zero hour contracts in New Zealand. Tens of thousands of workers in the fast food industry will now have secure hours of employment. This victory in New Zealand -- supported by workers in Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong and elsewhere represents a fundamental shift in the employment relationship of the most vulnerable workers in the country

Justice for Janitors: A Misunderstood Success

Peter Olney and Rand Wilson
The Stansbury Forum
Part two of a series looking back on the 20th anniversary the AFL-CIO’s New Voice movement. Most successful organizing is not done in a vacuum, existing members have to be front line apostles

Long-time UNITE HERE Local 2 President Mike Casey Stepping Down

Marc Norton and Jeff Myers
San Francisco Bay View
Mike Casey, who has led San Francisco’s UNITE HERE Local 2 for over 20 years, is stepping down. Casey was first elected president of Local 2 in 1994, after a tumultuous period in the 1970s and 1980s that resulted in large membership losses. He has presided over a period of stabilization, consolidation and growth. Local 2, once known as the Culinary Union for its many restaurant contracts that have long since disappeared, is now better known as the Hotel Union.

Where Do We Go Now?

Keith Ewing
The People's Daily Morning Star
In the bleak political landscape following the British elections, trade unionism faces a huge challenge -- a challenge of leadership, a challenge of purpose and a challenge of survival. We need a new, clear vision to lead the movement not for the next five years but for the next generation — a vision that questions organisational activity, as well as industrial and political strategies.

Friday Nite Videos

Posted by Portside on May 22, 2015

In honor of Ireland's first-ever national referendum enshrining the right of marriage, we present the inimitable Roy Zimmerman's satirical take on 'Defenders of Marriage.'

Posted by Portside on May 22, 2015

How does a Killer T Cell Kill its target? A new film captures the behavior of cytotoxic T cells – the body’s ‘serial killers’ – as they hunt down and eliminate cancer cells.
Posted by Portside on May 22, 2015

Piano virtuoso Oscar Peterson shows how to assume the piano personas of famous musicians. His explanation is simple, his delivery is magical.

Posted by Portside on May 23, 2015

Child advocates charge that Google's YouTube Kids app, marketed as family-friendly and child-appropriate, is in fact neither, featuring "disturbing" and "potentially harmful" content.

Posted by Portside on May 22, 2015

Los Angeles joins a growing list of cities where the $15 minimum wage movement has scored victories. How big an impact will it have on workers' lives and the country's politics?

Posted by Portside on May 15, 2015

BB King (1993), a world-reknowned musician and blues ambassador, performing his biggest hit at the Montreux, Switzerland, jazz festival.

Posted by Portside on May 15, 2015

A young BB King performs for a prison audience, who he came to 'swap some blues with.'