Shared posts

13 Oct 16:02

the broccoli roast

by deb

the broccoli roast

One of my probably most annoying insistences in the 15 years that I didn’t eat meat was that I suspected people didn’t really like it as much as they thought they did. Take bacon, no doubt the first thing that comes to mind when some leaf-horfing former vegetarian has the audacity to suggest that you could live without flesh. You love the way it’s smoky and salty and crispy and fatty, right? But how much of that has to do with the actual taste of pork belly, versus the way we’ve treated it to make it even more amazing? How much of Korean short ribs are about the unseemly delicious marinade, how much of Southern fried chicken is about that shattering crust, comprise mostly buttermilk, flour and grandma love? How much of barbecued ribs is about the gloriousness of the meat on the bone versus the long tenderizing, smoking and the sweet-salty-spicy stuff we mop or crust on top? [Sorry, I have to stop this paragraph right here so I can eat it.]

what you'll need
make a little rub

And while it pretty much only took me one pregnancy, the one where I craved burgers nonstop to understand that yes, there is perhaps more to meat than the sum of its seasonings and cooking methods, I still get more excited about vegetables being treated like big ol’ slabs of meat than I do about that what they’ve mimicked. Any restaurant should know how to cook a rib-eye medium-rare; but can they make broccoli steaks?

peel knobby stems

... Read the rest of the broccoli roast on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to the broccoli roast | 25 comments to date | see more: Broccoli, Budget, Fall, Photo, Quick, Vegetarian

13 Oct 12:21

The untenable situation of guns in America

by PZ Myers

In South Carolina, a two-year-old found a gun in his car and shot his grandmother.

Bollinger noted that investigators had already determined that the child was not in a car seat at the time of the shooting, enabling him to reach the .357 that was hanging in a pouch on the back of the passenger seat.

“We’re still trying to figure out how the child pulled the trigger,” he said. “We’re encouraging folks as always, keep your weapons secured, especially around small children.”

I have to ask…why did this person need or want a deadly weapon hanging off of their car seat while they were running routine errands? Did it make them feel more safe than putting their child in a car seat, because that also seems irresponsible and dangerous?

In Tennessee, an 11-year-old got a shotgun and killed another child, because she wouldn’t let him play with her puppy.

His parents had a shotgun and ammo easily available in a closet. Why? Did they think a flock of partridges might suddenly take wing in their living room? What was wrong with that kid that he thought using a shotgun was a reasonable response to having his feelings hurt?

We’re swimming in guns. We have so many guns that children are stumbling over them, and shooting people by accident or intent.

The United States has only 4.5% of the world’s population but has 41.5% of its civilian-owned guns. The U.S. has by far the highest gun ownership rate on Earth — nearly 90 firearms for every 100 people.

And no other developed nation comes close to us in firearms fatalities. We’re at 10-plus per 100,000 people. One third are homicides, two thirds are suicides.

These guns are everywhere. This interactive map gives a different meaning to the red/blue divide.

To some degree the split is urban vs. rural. But it is also northern California vs. southern. Northern Utah versus southern. Border counties in Texas had few gun deaths; other parts of the state had a lot.

New England and the Midwest were relatively low on the scale of gun deaths. Vast, vast sections of the South experience very high rates of death by gun. Rural Oregon and other major swaths of the non-urbanized West were disproportionately hit by firearm fatalities.

We’re talking pure unadulterated madness. We don’t need to be awash in guns, they are not making people safer, and coupled to the irrational entitlement of obsessed gun fondlers, they are creating all kinds of new dangerous situations. It’s also getting personal, when a raft of idiots think the solution to campus gun violence is to hand guns to more students.

An emeritus professor, Daniel Hamermesh, has resigned because of the open carry laws on the University of Texas at Austin campus. He’s the smart one.

“With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law,” Hamermesh, 72, wrote. He announced his resignation in a letter sent to university president Gregory Fenves on October 4, explaining that he would not be fulfilling his contract to teach fall economics classes through 2017 “out of self-protection.”

“Having a gun in his or her pocket, not with any plan in mind, just as an impulse, to pull it out and shoot at me,” Hamermesh explained to Daily Intelligencer, “that’s the real worry.”

Hamermesh says it’s not uncommon for some students to act irrationally about grades and schoolwork. “I’ve taught some 20,000 students over the years, and I’ve had enough students come to the office complaining, and some of them get pretty riled up.”

Remember, one of the dead in the Umpqua shooting was a professor, Lawrence Levine, and his previous interaction with his killer was to correct him on a vocabulary word. These are not situations where anyone needs to be armed, and having a mob of armed students respond to a threat with a hail of gunfire does not ever improve a situation.

It’s a good thing I don’t own or carry a weapon. I’d be tempted to blast away at the next person who mentioned the second amendment to me, because they’re all fucking morons, and they apparently consider shooting a reasonable reaction. Can we please change that thing? The founding fathers done screwed up big time with that one (and with their timidity and greed in dealing with slavery), and it’s long past time that we recognized their failure and FIXED IT.

13 Oct 00:08

Peacocks have descended upon this quiet, suburban neighborhood...

Peacocks have descended upon this quiet, suburban neighborhood and nothing was ever the same.

12 Oct 14:53

Facebook UK made £105M in 2014, paid £35M in bonuses, and will pay £4,327 in tax

by Cory Doctorow

7306916002_d50edfa721_b (1)

Facebook UK made £105M in 2014, paid £35M in bonuses, and will pay £4,327 in tax.

This is a notable improvement on its tax bill for 2013, which was £0 on earnings of £223m. (more…)

11 Oct 17:00

How Feminists Can Do More to Fight Toxic Masculinity

by Julia Burke

Tweet from @absurdistwords says, "Sexual rejection is existential rejection. Women hold the keys to our masculinity. Hence the fear and resentment."

@AbsurdistWords had some powerful things to say on Twitter on Thursday about toxic masculinity and the ways we rob men of healthy tools for processing and expressing emotion. (I highly encourage everyone to read his TL for some great insights; the conversation was storified here.) While he’s right to say that men need to fight this cultural norm from within, I have been thinking for awhile about how feminists inadvertently perpetuate some of the very toxic ideas we despise.

When the “men’s rights activists” came out with their #NoHymenNoDiamond campaign and the “Men Going Their Own Way” (MRAs who have sworn off women due to their disgust with feminism) got another wave of attention recently, I was troubled by many of the social media comments I saw from women who I know consider themselves feminists:

  • Derisive comments about the appearance of the men in the articles (“Look at that guy! He’s a real loss to women everywhere. /sarcasm”)
  • Penis jokes or jokes about sexual inexperience (implying sexual incompetence or outright accusing the MRAs of having small penises)
  • Fatphobic statements about any men who don’t fit the conventional body-size attractiveness standard

I see this stuff on Twitter all the time, too, as women respond to trolls with things like “I bet you have a one-inch penis” and “I bet you’ve never actually met a woman.” And so on.

Let me be absolutely clear: This is not a post about how women can prevent harassment or make things better for ourselves online. Harassment is wrong. It’s inexcusable. No comment from a woman justifies a rape threat or death threat or other abuse. It is not our job to protect ourselves from a system designed to oppress us; it is the job of the oppressors to change. But we can only strengthen our fight by applying our values consistently, and this is one hell of an inconsistency.

When we say that a man who claims to hate women is hardly a loss because he’s unattractive, we’re saying that unattractive people are worth less than attractive people, and we’re saying that if the man was attractive, we would be more inclined to be sympathetic to his bigotry.

When we say something similar about a fat man, we negate the work we’ve done (and undermine the work still to be done) to fight fatphobia and promote body positivity. If the worst thing you can say about an anti-feminist or troll is that he is fat, your critical thinking skills need some work.

My biggest pet peeve of all is the penis jokes and snarking about lack of sexual experience. A male friend said to me recently that from his perspective, women seem to claim to not care about penis size, but then turn around and make jokes with their friends that imply the opposite. I suspect it’s much like the experience women have with body positivity: men claim to like women of all body types, but the cultural narrative sets a very specific beauty standard, and the men in our lives often support it without thinking when they comment on a woman’s weight gain or make “thin” the ultimate compliment or imply that fat women are inherently unhealthy.

Studies show that penis size is far less important to women’s sexual satisfaction than men believe it to be. Furthermore, we all know that bodies vary and not all vaginas are the same; bigger is not always better and sex is more than just penetration. And we know that equating sexual experience with men’s value promotes the idea that women are conquests, even property—the cornerstone of toxic masculinity. So let’s show it, and swear off these horrible implications that large penis equals value equals the right to harass women.

If we want to support men in moving beyond toxic masculinity—and we should, since it is the engine of the patriarchy and it comes from a fear and hatred of femininity—we need to stop reinforcing the messages we hate. Attractiveness is not value. Body size is not value. Sexual ability is not value. No one, conventionally attractive or unattractive, has the right to be a bigot. And for Furiosa’s sake, no more penis jokes.


Featured image: Tumblr

11 Oct 18:00

The NFL and the Pinkification of Breast Cancer

by Courtney Caldwell

Are you aware that breast cancer is a thing? If not, then it’s possible that you haven’t seen any NFL games this month (or you might live under a rock?). October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means during every October game we get to see the NFL pretend they give a single solitary fuck about people with breasts.

Pink shoes! Pink coaches hats! Outrageously-overpriced pink merchandise! Aren’t you so aware now?

Of course, it’s worth noting that estimates show only five to eight percent of sales generated by the NFL’s pink merchandise go to cancer research. So maybe instead of buying that heinous $80 hoodie (which puts between $4 and $7 into the hands of cancer researchers), just donate $20 to an organization like the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, where nearly 92% of your donation goes toward actual research and breast cancer programs. You’ve saved yourself $60, your donation is roughly 157% more effective, and your friends don’t have to be seen in public with you wearing that dreadful hoodie.*

“But Courtney,” I already hear you saying, “The NFL has donated $7 million to the American Cancer Society since 2009! That’s better than nothing!”

Oh my dear, sweet, summer child. The NFL has generated $55 billion in revenue for that same time frame (earning between $8-$11B annually), and has plans to become a $25 billion entity by 2027. So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not clamoring to worship at the NFL’s giant pink schlong for that paltry 0.01% of their revenue.

Of course, there are other problems with the pink-ification of issues like breast cancer – problems that don’t stop with the NFL. First, it’s no coincidence that pink is the breast cancer awareness color. After all, women love pink, right? And this is a women’s issue! But not only is that factually inaccurate (men get breast cancer too), it’s incredibly cissexist to assume that only women have breasts. And don’t get me started on the “Save the Boobies” focus of breast cancer awareness. Save the people, and stop sexualizing cancer of all damn things.

“Awareness” is a vague term that companies use to generate good feelings and positive PR while doing relatively little to actually help their cause du jour. If you want to benefit a particular cause, use skepticism about the organization you’re supporting. You can use a site like Charity Navigator, which does a great job outlining where your money goes when you donate. You can use inclusive language when you talk about an issue.

Just please don’t buy that atrocity of a hoodie.

*That hoodie isn’t ugly because it’s pink/”feminine.” It’s just ugly. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pink, or anything else traditionally feminine. 

Featured Image by Marianne O’Leary

11 Oct 16:42

U of Texas students protest open carry gun law with open carry dildos

by Matthew Williams


Students at the University of Texas at Austin will protest a new law that will allow more guns on campus.

Instead of signs, the students are protesting by "strapping gigantic swinging dildos to our backpacks," which is in violation of the campus' obscenity policy.

Jessica Jin, who set up the Campus (DILDO) Carry event on Facebook, invokes the argument that allowing more guns on campus will make students safe is a fallacy. She's urging students to send campus leaders that message by strapping on the plastic phalluses.

"You're carrying a gun to class? Yeah well I'm carrying a HUGE DILDO," Jin says in the group's description. "Just about as effective at protecting us from sociopathic shooters, but much safer for recreational play."


11 Oct 11:51

Funny because it's true: "Tories to build thousands of affordable second homes"

by Cory Doctorow


The UK humour site Daily Mash nails the UK's transformation into a Torified, bank-centric place where the need for shelter is a vulnerability to exploit in order to enrich yourself at the expense of the people around you with a brilliant short piece: "Tories to build thousands of affordable second homes." (more…)

10 Oct 13:35

Everyone has these sexist jerks

by PZ Myers

I remember when I learned that the skeptic/atheist movement was full of harassing jerks — I was shocked. And then these people started getting exposed in every discipline, from literature and philosophy to physics, and it started to sink in that the entire world is a playground for assholes, which might have been a relief (whew, it’s not just my communities!) but is incredibly depressing instead.

Now add astronomy to the list. One of their most prominent representatives, Geoff Marcy, has been revealed to be a serial sexual harasser, someone who has wrecked women’s careers in astronomy. And it’s a familiar story: the women in that community all knew of his reputation, and it was an open secret.

“He’s had a long history of behaving inappropriately, especially with undergraduates,” said Kirkpatrick, who at the time was a graduate student at Berkeley studying astrophysics. “Women discouraged other women from working with him as a research advisor. It was just something that was talked about pretty frankly among the women in the department.”

Kirkpatrick, who has since left academia, continues to run the Women in Astronomy blog, through which she says three other women have approached her with accounts of their experiences with Marcy.

A blog post by a former student of Marcy’s reveals the same thing.

This should be surprising to very few researchers in the exoplanets community, particularly those of my generation or younger. Geoff’s inappropriate actions toward and around women in astronomy is one of the biggest “open secrets” at any exoplanets or AAS meeting. “Underground” networks of women pass information about Geoff to junior scientists in an attempt to keep them safe. Sometimes it works. Other times it hasn’t, and cognizant members of the community receive additional emails, phone calls and Facebook messages from new victims.

How can this kind of behavior persist? Everyone knows about it, everyone whispers to each other about it, but no one does anything about it…because he has power and prestige, and everyone also knows that if you challenge the Big Man all the other Big Men will close ranks and make your life hell, and shut down your career, and there will be the usual apologists for the status quo who will start whispering about you.

Everyone knows this, too, and they know where power’s bias lies. After the big reveal, in which an investigation exposed exactly how awful he had been for years, Marcy’s department head sent out this memo.

Dear Colleagues – this has been a day of drama and difficulty for many of us, each in our own way and with our own context. It is hard to process for those who know Geoff well. It is hard to process in relation to our colleagues here and elsewhere. And it is difficult for the department as a community. For those for whom these issues are triggering or raise strong passions, please seek support. This is very strong and emotional stuff, and it would not be surprising if more is yet to come, given its very public nature.

I have called a faculty meeting for next Monday at 1pm, and am willing to work to have some representatives of students and postdocs present for part of it (I know that some of you are talking to them). There is a need for our community to process this in a number of ways and forums over time. Clearly folks are organizing some of these already and I’ll try to help when such help is welcome. Mostly, everyone will need support from others and should offer support to others.

Of course, this is hardest for Geoff in this moment. For those who are willing and able, he certainly can use any understanding or support they can offer (this wouldn’t include endorsement of the mistakes he acknowledges in an open letter on his website). I ask that those who have the room for it (now or later), hear him out and judge whether there is room for redemption in all that will transpire.

The emphasis in that last paragraph is mine. I think this long drawn out event has been hardest for the women whose careers he derailed; I don’t have any sympathy for Marcy at all, especially not after reading his ‘apology’.

As some of you may be aware, concerns were raised with UC Berkeley regarding my conduct some years ago involving some women in our field. These complaints, which were raised last year, led to an official investigation by the University, which concluded three months ago. While I do not agree with each complaint that was made, it is clear that my behavior was unwelcomed by some women. I take full responsibility and hold myself completely accountable for my actions and the impact they had. For that and to the women affected, I sincerely apologize.

It is difficult to express how painful it is for me to realize that I was a source of distress for any of my women colleagues, however unintentional. Through deep and lengthy consultations, I have reflected carefully on my actions as well as issues of gender inequality, power, and privilege in our society. I was unaware of how these factors created unforeseen contexts and how my actions and position have affected others in ways that were far from what I intended. Through hard work, I have changed in major ways for the better.

Note the tells. He doesn’t agree with each complaint; so there are some instance of harassment he thinks are justifiable? His behavior was unwelcome; yeah, that’s an understatement. But hey, it was unintentional! You have to forgive him, he didn’t really mean to stroke that student’s thigh. He was unaware.

It’s all a lie. I don’t believe he was unaware; he knew every step of the way that his desire for sexual gratification was being expressed inappropriately, to students.

If he were honest, he would have said he didn’t care. He was preying on students, without concern for their careers, and conscious that his status in his field would protect him from any repercussions. He knew this.

I wouldn’t accept an apology that didn’t fully acknowledge the depth of Marcy’s willful violation of his students’ working lives.

I think we also have to recognize that our communities have been complicit in this kind of behavior. It takes more than just finding the predatory individuals in our ranks and tagging them with a warning label — we also have to change the social structures that permit this kind of behavior to fester for decades, and only rarely penalizes the perpetrators.

Some smart words:

As such, defeating sexual harassment goes well beyond expunging people like Marcy from our ranks. It will require a fundamental restructuring of the way we do business, and a reeducation of our field—all of us—in matters related to the culture of science and academe. This will not be easy because our culture fosters a deep distrust and even hostility toward the “soft sciences” such as sociology and psychology that provide us with the best tools for addressing our pervasive inequities. But if we are truly interested in a meritocratic scientific community that makes full use of its talent pool to understand the Universe, we’ll see this as a worthwhile investment. Until we do, there will be more stories filling more inboxes as we collectively shoot ourselves in the feet.

Now if only sociology and psychology were also free of this taint…

10 Oct 11:27

The only reasonable response

by PZ Myers
10 Oct 00:08

Miniature astronomy camera as pretty as the stars

by Rob Beschizza


Tiny1 is a bit of a cosmic mystery: a pocket-size camera dedicated to astronomy. There's little information about it other than it shoots low-light 2.5k timelapses and long exposures, and will come with various high-zoom lenses. A crowdfunding campaign is in the works and set to launch by year's end. [via Uncrate]

Here's a photo of the moon taken with a prototype.Unknown-1

09 Oct 22:38

bitch-media: lianamaris: Things that cannot screen for breast...



Things that cannot screen for breast cancer and things that can.

And for those who are yelling about PP not doing mammograms, “screenings” are not just mammograms.  "Screenings" are also breast exams, which are the first line of defense. Those breast exams are done every time a woman has a pelvic exam, which she needs in order to get birth control or STI testing. Get it together. Semantics do not change the facts. 

For more information on supporting REAL pro-women organizations, check out this great article by Kaili Joy Gray.  

Love this. We recently wrote about The Problems With Pinktober if y’all want to read more! 

09 Oct 04:01


by Robot Hugs

New comic!

There’s a national election coming up in Canada, which is exciting, but it does mean that the various players have upped their rhetoric somewhat, which can be a little draining.

I happen to live in one of the more diverse neighbourhoods in Toronto, which is really nice, so my riding doesn’t have a lot of support for the Conservatives. That said, I get some of the weirdest, most racist campaign materials delivered – weird, deeply insulting stuff about immigration, terrorists, and Muslim and Jewish folks, that obviously doesn’t quite cross the line into hate speech, because it’s still being delivered through the mail. My friends in areas that have a lot more white people don’t seem to get this stuff, though. I just wonder why these groups think that my area is the best area to spread their message. It’s probably because they’re garbage people.

Anyways, fuck’em.


09 Oct 20:54

Misspelled signs written by people who love English

by Mark Frauenfelder


As Boing Boing's King of Typos, I enjoyed this gallery of misspelled signs written by people who love English. Here are a few samples: (more…)

09 Oct 22:05

Leaked (final?) TPP Intellectual Property chapter spells doom for free speech online

by Cory Doctorow

14525503480_8f5a0a0576_b (1)

Wikileaks has published a leaked draft -- dated Oct, 5, and thus possibly the final text -- of the "Intellectual Property Chapter" of the Trans Pacific Partnership, and it's grim reading. (more…)

09 Oct 18:46

justinejoli: theartofanimation: Krystian Biskup     -    ...

09 Oct 10:33

Unicorn poop and squatty potties: the greatest viral ad in Internet history

by Cory Doctorow

Squatty Potty is a $28 footstool that slides away under your toilet; you use it to bring your knees up to a squatting position while you poop, which makes pooping much, much easier. (more…)

08 Oct 13:28

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Kids


Hovertext: No more syntax for you. Only precious gurgling noises.

New comic!
Today's News:

You're coming to see me and The Oatmeal and Abby Howard this weekend, right?!


07 Oct 23:34

This video proves China has the most insane traffic jams on Earth

by Xeni Jardin

This is why China is not being planned as a setting for the next Euro / American Truck Simulator series.


“This is what happens when people come back from vacation in China and try to get into Beijing. And you thought your puny traffic jams were crazy.” (more…)

06 Oct 19:31

Porsche Refuses Android Auto Privacy Terms

by John Gruber

Number 5 on Jonny Lieberman’s list of “13 Cool Facts About the 2017 Porsche 911” for Motortrend:

So much for “Do No Evil.” There’s no technological reason the 991/2 doesn’t have Android Auto playing through its massively upgraded PCM system. But there is an ethical one. As part of the agreement an automaker would have to enter with Google, certain pieces of data must be collected and mailed back to Mountain View, California. Stuff like vehicle speed, throttle position, coolant and oil temp, engine revs — basically Google wants a complete OBD2 dump whenever someone activates Android Auto. Not kosher, says Porsche. Obviously, this is “off the record,” but Porsche feels info like that is the secret sauce that makes its cars special. Moreover, giving such data to a multi-billion dollar corporation that’s actively building a car, well, that ain’t good, either. Apple, by way of stark contrast, only wants to know if the car is moving while Apple Play is in use. Makes you wonder about all the other OEMs who have agreed to Google’s requests/demands, no?

Yes, it does.

Update: Google responds. I would call it a non-denial denial, but you be the judge.

06 Oct 17:26

Reputation Economy Dystopia: China's new "Citizen Scores" will rate every person in the country

by Cory Doctorow


The Chinese government has announced a new universal reputation score, tied to every person in the country's nation ID number and based on such factors as political compliance, hobbies, shopping, and whether you play videogames. (more…)

07 Oct 00:43

NYPD steal black woman banker's BMW, commit her when she asks for it back

by Cory Doctorow


Another Kevin writes, "Last September, the NYPD pulled Kamilah Brock, a black woman, over on suspicion of DUI marijuana. They found nothing but seized her BMW anyway. When she claimed it, they decided she was delusional, no black woman could be a banker and own a BMW, so they threw her in the psych ward for eight days. She's now out over $13k for the hospital bill. All for DWB. #blacklivesmatter" (more…)

07 Oct 12:13

A useful paper for conversations with those obsessed with health trends

by PZ Myers

Definitely worth clicking through to the study. It's one of the most approachable and easy to read journal articles I've come across in recent times. And as the blog post says, very comprehensive despite its brevity.

Last year, Nature Chemistry published an article by Alexander F. G. Goldberg and CJ Chemjobber titled “A comprehensive overview of chemical-free consumer products“. Everyone should read it. It’s a thorough description of all chemical-free products, and the paper itself is a free download. Here’s the introduction.

Manufacturers of consumer products, in particular edibles and cosmetics, have broadly employed the term ‘Chemical free’ in marketing campaigns and on product labels. Such characterization is often incorrectly used to imply — and interpreted to mean — that the product in question is healthy, derived from natural sources, or otherwise free from synthetic components. We have examined and subjected to rudimentary analysis an exhaustive number of such products, including but not limited to lotions and cosmetics, herbal supplements, household cleaners, food items, and beverages. Herein are described all those consumer products, to our knowledge, that are appropriately labelled as ‘Chemical free’.

It really is complete. But don’t worry, it won’t take you long to read it.

07 Oct 21:46

Tree trimming samurai in action!

by David Pescovitz

Edward Scissorhands has got nothing on Chuck Berry's two-handed Christmas tree trimming at Berry's Christmas Tree Farm in Covington, Georgia. (via Digg)

07 Oct 11:18


by Author


Tip of the hat to WEIT.

Congratulations to Patreon supporter WW from London, the winner of this month’s raffle prize (a signed J&M book).

06 Oct 14:46

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Most American Movie


Hovertext: The most American ballet is PRO WRESTLING.

New comic!
Today's News:

Oh GOD Seattle is almost upon us. There are only about 90 general admin tickets left, so buy soon to lock a spot!


05 Oct 19:25

Now that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is finalized, the real fight starts

by Cory Doctorow


For most of a decade, government negotiators from around the Pacific Rim have met in utmost secrecy to negotiate a "trade deal" that was kept secret from legislatures, though executives from the world's biggest corporations were allowed in the room and even got to draft parts of the treaty. (more…)

05 Oct 14:05

UK Chancellor: I must cut tax benefits for working poor to help them

by Cory Doctorow

ca. 1870 --- An illustration from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

George Osborne, born to a titled millionaire, has explained that he is cutting the tax-credits that let the working poor survive, despite the Tory party's election promise not to do any such thing -- because it will reduce the deficit and therefore save them from the cuts that the country would have to pay in the future in order to pay down those debts. (more…)

05 Oct 13:52

UK top government official: human rights no longer a "top priority"

by Cory Doctorow


Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office -- the country's most senior Foreign Office official -- told MPs that his department had sidelined human rights work in favour of global trade agreements (the same agreements that allow sovereign wealth funds from the world's most brutal, oppressive states to buy huge swathes of the UK's public institutions at knock-down prices in the Tories' great sell-off of public assets). (more…)

04 Oct 14:07

Car accidents aren't accidents

by Cory Doctorow


The use of the term "accident" gives cops and courts the cover to excuse murder. In a brutal editorial, Hsi-Pei Liao talks about his daughter, who was killed by a driver when she was three. The driver got a ticket for failure to yeild and failure to use due care, and those tickets were eventually thrown out by a DMV judge who considered the case for 47 seconds. (more…)