April 15, 2017 in 5,733 words

Here and there: Part 3
Deportation is only the beginning of the story

Editor’s note — We first met and reported on the Guerrero family in January 2015. Luis was being held in detention while his wife Sofia and their four children — Andy, Jenny, Melody and Lucy — struggled to get by in his absence. Shortly thereafter we reported that Luis had been suddenly deported to Mexico without any prior notice to his family. That is where our previous reporting stopped.

Eventually, Sofia had little choice but to take her three youngest children, all U.S. citizens, to Mexico in an effort to keep the family together. Her oldest child, Andy, remained in the U.S. to finish high school and hopefully attend college. Needless to say, it’s been a very difficult transition for them.

Last year, we sent Angela K. Evans to a small town north of Mexico City to reconnect with the Guerrero family. She has also stayed in touch with Andy, who still lives in Colorado.

This is the conclusion of our three part series. Read the first two installments here (part 1) and here (part 2).

I meet Andy in downtown Denver at a Starbucks close to the bus station. It’s a brisk fall day and we’re both eager to get out of the wind. He’s just arrived after traveling all day via Greyhound from Grand Junction, where he recently started attending Colorado Mesa University.

He asks about his parents and younger sisters, immediately tearing up when I show him photos of my recent visit to see them in Ixmiquilpan, Mexico. Taking off his glasses to wipe his eyes, he chuckles, embarrassed by his own emotion. It’s the first of many pauses he takes to compose himself during our conversation.

Andy hasn’t seen his family in person for more than a year. Since returning from summer break in Mexico in August 2015, he doesn’t trust himself to visit them. He’s afraid he won’t want to leave them again and all the hard work he’s put into school will be lost.

He returned to Aurora that August to finish high school and moved into a spare room in a friend’s house. The family was supportive, encouraging him in school, not asking for rent. But Andy remained on edge, constantly afraid it wasn’t going to work out, like it hadn’t so many times before.

“That was a fear that I had everyday,” he says.

Andy finally had a comfortable place to live, but it didn’t mean it felt like home.

Jeff Sessions, Unleashed at the Border

Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to the border in Arizona on Tuesday and declared it a hellscape, a “ground zero” of death and violence where Americans must “take our stand” against a tide of evil flooding up from Mexico.

It was familiar Sessions-speak, about drug cartels and “transnational gangs” poisoning and raping and chopping off heads, things he said for years on the Senate floor as the gentleman from Alabama. But with a big difference: Now he controls the machinery of federal law enforcement, and his gonzo-apocalypto vision of immigration suddenly has force and weight behind it, from the officers and prosecutors and judges who answer to him.

When Mr. Sessions got to the part about the “criminal aliens and the coyotes and the document forgers” overthrowing our immigration system, the American flag behind him had clearly heard enough — it leaned back and fell over as if in a stupor. An agent rushed to rescue it, and stood there for the rest of the speech: a human flag stand and metaphor. A guy with a uniform and gun, wrapped in Old Glory, helping to give the Trump administration’s nativist policies a patriotic sheen.

It was in the details of Mr. Sessions’s oratory that his game was exposed. He talked of cities and suburbs as immigrant-afflicted “war zones,” but the crackdown he seeks focuses overwhelmingly on nonviolent offenses, the document fraud and unauthorized entry and other misdeeds that implicate many people who fit no sane definition of brutal criminal or threat to the homeland.

The problem with Mr. Sessions’s turbocharging of the Justice Department’s efforts against what he paints as machete-wielding “depravity” is how grossly it distorts the bigger picture. It reflects his long fixation — shared by his boss, President Trump — on immigration not as an often unruly, essentially salutary force in American history, but as a dire threat. It denies the existence of millions of people who are a force for good, economic mainstays and community assets, less prone to crime than the native-born — workers, parents, children, neighbors and, above all, human beings deserving of dignity and fair treatment under the law.

Hold My Beer: Barely Uninteresting Edition

1. “I’m gonna jump it… hold my beer.”

2. “This will be easy… hold my beer.”

United’s passenger-dragging scandal is a rallying cry for flyers fed up with an unjust system

“Hold My Beer”

It’s Day Two of “re-accommodation-gate,” and the world’s fury at United Airlines shows no signs of abating.

The video of a man who refused to give up his seat on an overbooked United plane being violently removed by airport security has quickly gone from viral video to comedic meme. In China, where United has a major presence, social media users accused the airline of racism in its treatment of the Asian-American passenger. (He has since been identified as a Vietnamese-American doctor named David Dao.)

Some have posted photos of cut-up United credit cards. And check out the new reviews for the airline’s recently updated app:

But the debate about the incident has gone far beyond United’s culpability in Dao’s violent deplaning, and has many people taking a harsh look at the airline industry itself.

Trump on North Korea: “After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy”

“Hold My Beer”

President Donald Trump recounted an absolutely astounding detail about one of his conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping in comments published by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday afternoon. Apparently, Trump came into his first meeting with the Chinese leader, in early April, convinced that China could simply eliminate the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program. Xi then patiently explained Chinese-Korean history to Trump — who then promptly changed his mind.

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” the president told the Journal. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over] North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.”

Four quick observations about this:

  1. Trump thought China could fix North Korea until the Chinese president politely informed him that North Korea is in fact complicated.
  2. Trump seems to have required the leader of China to explain basic facts to him that he could have Googled, or at least asked one of the many US government North Korea experts about.
  3. Trump came to a profound realization about one of the most dangerous conflicts on earth after a 10-minute conversation.
  4. Trump is getting his information about East Asian affairs from the leader of America’s largest rival in the region.

Top 10 True Stories Of Animals Running For Political Office

Politics might feel like a zoo, especially during election season and the years’ worth of media coverage leading up to it. But in the end, the candidates are still people . . . typically. A number of animals have run for political office over the years—or more accurately were run by enterprising humans. In some cases, these campaigns are publicity stunts or forms of protest. Other times, they promote causes. Sometimes, the animal wins.

10. Colossus

If you want to run for president of the United States, New Hampshire has the least stringent requirements of any state to get your name on the ballot for the primary. It was perhaps with that in mind that the staff of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm tried to enter their candidate, a 215-kilogram (475 lb) gorilla named Colossus, in 1980. The zoo argued that the US Constitution never specifically stated that a presidential candidate must be human. It is not clear what, if any, political party “Colossus G. Benson” was affiliated with.

As much as Colossus’s candidacy was a publicity stunt through and through, the zookeepers knew he was too unpredictable to be taken to the New Hampshire State House to sign the necessary forms. They kept the gorilla in a trailer outside and sent a chimpanzee wearing a white tuxedo in his stead, bearing a note declaring Colossus’s intent to run. The chimp ended up climbing a pipe and swinging from a light fixture.

Trump promised an ‘unpredictable’ foreign policy. To allies, it looks incoherent.

“Hold My Beer”

President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel participate in a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on March. 17

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump summed up his approach to foreign policy this way: “We must as a nation be more unpredictable.”

But now that he is commander in chief, anxious allies say that unpredictability might be better described as incoherence — a dangerous tendency at a moment of high tension with Russia and Syria, and with U.S. warships heading toward the Korean Peninsula.

In recent weeks, the president has held meetings with his counterparts from other countries. But in some cases, those sessions have only heightened doubts that Trump has a clear sense of what direction he intends to take U.S. foreign policy.

Few if any world leaders, for example, have had as much experience in dealing with U.S. presidents as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on her third.

During their White House meeting last month, Merkel tried to pin down Trump on one of the top concerns of U.S. trading partners: a proposed “border adjustment tax” to be imposed on imported goods. Publicly, Trump has signaled an openness to the idea, but he also said it has drawbacks.

Paul Krugman Explains How Trump Operates Like A Glorified Mobster

The New York Times columnist sounds off on the president’s new scheme to extort the Democratic Party.

During his previous life as a real estate developer and casino magnate, Donald Trump reportedly had ties to prominent members of the mafia, including Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano. Judging from Trump’s first few months in office, their negotiating tactics appear to have left quite the impression on him. That’s the basic thesis of Paul Krugman, whose Friday column dismantles the president’s latest scheme to extort the Democratic Party into repealing Obamacare.

As the New York Times columnist explains, the Affordable Care Act is dependent on cost-sharing subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for working-class families and to keep insurance companies in the system for those with higher incomes. But on the heels of the American Health Care Act’s embarrassing defeat, Trump appears determined to punish his political enemies, even if that means millions of people suffer needlessly. Here’s how Krugman translates for the president:

“I don’t want people to get hurt.” (Nice shop you’ve got here, shame if something were to happen to it.) “What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.” (I’m making them an offer they can’t refuse.)”

This gambit isn’t just callous and cruel, it’s also remarkably stupid, as Democrats have “no incentive whatsoever” to bend to the president’s political will.

Top 10 Disgraced Captains Who Abandoned Ship

Tradition holds that in the unfortunate event of a maritime disaster, the captain is the last to leave, if not going down with the ship. At what point, however, does their survival instinct defy an implicit custom that, albeit honorable, seldom ends well? The following ten captains broke from tradition, leaving not only their reputation forever tarnished, but countless passengers to fend for themselves amidst unforgiving, deadly waters.

10. The Birkenhead Drill

In July 1852, the HMS Birkenhead sank off the coast of South Africa killing hundreds of British soldiers from the 78th Highlanders regiment. After colliding with an underwater obstruction, the men aboard saw to it that all women and children were the first to be placed into the three lifeboats available. Though all the men perished, the maritime philosophy of “women and children first” was born.

Sadly for the passengers aboard the SS Jeddah, their captain, Joseph Clark, did not abide by the noble “Birkenhead Drill.” After encountering unremitting, turbulent weather, Capt. Clark and his crew left nearly 1,000 passengers to fend for themselves aboard the doomed vessel. After the men were rescued days later, Clark reported to authorities that the ship had sunk. Unbeknownst to Clark, the Jeddah remained afloat and was ultimately towed to port by another vessel.

Obamacare repeal bill is the zombie GOP can’t kill — or bring back to life

Republicans seem trapped between the reality of their failed effort and Trump’s pledge to repeal the law before doing tax reform.

Rep. Joe Barton was confronted at a town hall meeting Tuesday for not repealing all of Obamacare on “Day One of the Trump administration.”

Republicans in Congress for the first time are lowering expectations for how much of Obamacare they can repeal and how quickly they can do it.

As they meet constituents back home, GOP lawmakers seem trapped between the reality of their failed repeal effort and President Donald Trump’s renewed promises this week to finish off Obamacare before taking on tax reform. Vice President Mike Pence is also still trying to keep the repeal dream alive, working with conservatives on new tweaks to the stalled House bill. But even if the ultra-conservatives come on board, there’s no sign that the moderate Republicans needed to pass a bill are ready to sign on.

Those dynamics mean the Obamacare repeal effort that has helped define the Republican Party for seven years may live on in a sort of political purgatory — with no one willing to pull the plug even though there are few signs of life. The uncertainty created by that zombie state could compel health insurers to stop offering coverage in the exchanges next year, paralyze action on other legislative priorities on Capitol Hill and come back to haunt Republicans at the polls in 2018.

Lawmakers back in their districts during their first recess since the collapse of the House effort are downplaying the repeal agenda as if the rallying cry to eliminate the law “root and branch” has been pared down to some leaves. Some constituents are conveying their displeasure.

The Evangelical Roots of Our Post-Truth Society

THE arrival of the “post-truth” political climate came as a shock to many Americans. But to the Christian writer Rachel Held Evans, charges of “fake news” are nothing new. “The deep distrust of the media, of scientific consensus — those were prevalent narratives growing up,” she told me.

Although Ms. Evans, 35, no longer calls herself an evangelical, she attended Bryan College, an evangelical school in Dayton, Tenn. She was taught to distrust information coming from the scientific or media elite because these sources did not hold a “biblical worldview.”

“It was presented as a cohesive worldview that you could maintain if you studied the Bible,” she told me. “Part of that was that climate change isn’t real, that evolution is a myth made up by scientists who hate God, and capitalism is God’s ideal for society.”

Conservative evangelicals are not the only ones who think that an authority trusted by the other side is probably lying. But they believe that their own authority — the inerrant Bible — is both supernatural and scientifically sound, and this conviction gives that natural human aversion to unwelcome facts a special power on the right. This religious tradition of fact denial long predates the rise of the culture wars, social media or President Trump, but it has provoked deep conflict among evangelicals themselves.


For major league pitchers, getting a grip on a baseball can get a bit muddy. That’s because, at least for now (this may well be changing in the next few years), every single baseball used in a major league game is coated with a little bit of actual mud, known as Lena Blackburne Original Baseball Rubbing Mud, which comes from a secret location on a tributary of the Delaware River in southern New Jersey.

Why do they rub the balls down in mud? Baseballs fresh out of the box are glossy and slippery as a byproduct of the manufacturing process, reducing the chance that the ball will actually go where the pitcher wants. In a nutshell, the mud in question functions to make the baseball slightly easier to grip.

This now leads us to the question of why exactly do they use this this particular mud?

Yes, You Can Measure White Privilege

Whenever anyone slips the words “white privilege” into a conversation, it immediately builds an impenetrable wall. For some white people, the words elicit an uneasy feeling because, for them, the term is accusatory without being specific. It is a nebulous concept that seemingly reduces the complex mishmash of history, racism and social phenomena to a nonspecific groupthink phrase.

But white privilege is real.

Instead of using it as a touchy-feely phrase that gives white people the heebie-jeebies because it conjures up images of Caucasians sitting on plantation porches drinking mint juleps while they watch the Negroes toil in the Southern sun, we should use it as a proper noun, with a clear definition. White privilege does not mean that any white person who achieved anything didn’t work hard for it. It is an irrefutable, concrete phenomenon that manifests itself in real, measurable values, and we should use it as such.

Imagine the entire history of the United States as a 500-year-old relay race, where whites began running as soon as the gun sounded, but blacks had to stay in the starting blocks until they were allowed to run. If the finish line is the same for everyone, then the time and distance advantage between the two runners is white privilege. Not only can we see it, but we can actually measure it. If we begin viewing it as an economic term—the same way we use “trickle-down economics”—then it might be debatable, but it becomes a real, definable thing that we can acknowledge, explain and work toward eliminating. Race might be a social construct, but white privilege is an economic theory that we should define as such:

White privilege: n. The quantitative advantage of whiteness

Here are four examples that explain white privilege in economic terms.

The rise of left-wing, anti-Trump fake news

Since the US election presidential race, fact checking websites report what seems like an increase in anti-Trump, ‘liberal fake news’.

The fact-checking site Snopes told BBC Trending radio that in the past week, for example, they have debunked many more anti-Republican party stories than pro-Republican ones.

One example of an incorrect story is the unflattering, digitally-manipulated image, which suggested that US President Donald Trump had diarrhoea during a recent golf outing. Another falsely suggested that President Trump profited from the US missile strikes in Syria.

It’s hard to gather definitive data on the political bias in fake news stories, so the evidence for a rise in ‘liberal fake news’ is essentially anecdotal. But a recent study did effectively debunk the stereotype that fake news tends to be shared more by uneducated people or those with right-leaning politics, as compared to other groups.

How Legally Changing My Name To ‘Spider Mann’ Ruined My Life

“Hi, my name is Spider Mann.”

That’s how Mr. Mann introduces himself. Yes, it is his legal name (we checked his ID). No, his parents did not give it to him.

“They weren’t that creative or cool,” Spider says. “I was almost named Elijah Blue” — after Gregg Allman and Cher’s son, because they were, in fact, a little cool — “but instead was saddled with a severe amount of hand-me-down family names, none of which fit me in any way. As I went through life, I garnered the nickname ‘Spider,’ and when I graduated high school, that is who everyone knew me as. Eventually, I decided to make it official.”

Spider found out that it is possibly too easy to legally change your name.

“$114.95, two pages filed, a judge signed off, posted it at the courthouse for two weeks, and boom, new name. I changed the whole thing, thinking to myself ‘I’m gonna have some fun with this. Why NOT go full bore Spider-Man? This is gonna be great!'”

Spoiler: It wasn’t great.

The first bump in the road: online dating. To Spider’s surprise, once he got to real-life introductions, not many dates were down to get it on with a Spider.

“The ones that didn’t immediately block me … wouldn’t believe me no matter what I said,” he says. “The ones who decided it might be a fun little game I was playing would go on a date where I would get to show them both my driver’s license and my employee ID from the branch of state government I worked for. Many still didn’t believe it.”

Here’s a Horrifying Story from a Gay Man Who Survived Imprisonment in Chechnya

In recent weeks, a humanitarian crisis in the Russian republic of Chechnya, where authorities are reportedly rounding up gay men to torture and kill them, has been a subject of increasing media scrutiny. Earlier this week, after an April 4 story in the Russian paper Novaya Gazeta detailing the prison camps in which the gay men were held made the internet rounds (which almost invariably referred to the captivity as “concentration camps”), celebs like Ellen DeGeneres, Matt Bomer, and Billy Eichner spoke out against the human rights violations.

Now, The Guardian has published the clearest English-language account of life inside of one of those camps. “Adam” (not his real name) was held for more than 10 days, after being set up by another gay friend who asked to meet him (those in charge of imprisoning and torturing the gay men are said to go through their phones, demanding to know which of their contacts is also gay). According to The Guardian:

At least once a day, Adam’s captors attached metal clamps to his fingers and toes. One of the men then cranked a handle on a machine to which the clamps were linked with wires, and sent powerful electric shocks through his body. If he managed not to scream, others would join in, beating him with wooden sticks or metal rods.

As they tortured him, the men shouted verbal abuse at him for being gay, and demanded to know the names of other gay men he knew in Chechnya. “Sometimes they were trying to get information from me; other times they were just amusing themselves,” he said, speaking about the ordeal he underwent just a month ago with some difficulty.

Adam says he was returned to his family eventually, with the authorities telling them, “Your son is a faggot. Do what you need to with him.” His father stopped talking to him. He soon fled the country.

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.

Last year, a strange self-driving car was released onto the quiet roads of Monmouth County, New Jersey. The experimental vehicle, developed by researchers at the chip maker Nvidia, didn’t look different from other autonomous cars, but it was unlike anything demonstrated by Google, Tesla, or General Motors, and it showed the rising power of artificial intelligence. The car didn’t follow a single instruction provided by an engineer or programmer. Instead, it relied entirely on an algorithm that had taught itself to drive by watching a human do it.

Getting a car to drive this way was an impressive feat. But it’s also a bit unsettling, since it isn’t completely clear how the car makes its decisions. Information from the vehicle’s sensors goes straight into a huge network of artificial neurons that process the data and then deliver the commands required to operate the steering wheel, the brakes, and other systems. The result seems to match the responses you’d expect from a human driver. But what if one day it did something unexpected—crashed into a tree, or sat at a green light? As things stand now, it might be difficult to find out why. The system is so complicated that even the engineers who designed it may struggle to isolate the reason for any single action. And you can’t ask it: there is no obvious way to design such a system so that it could always explain why it did what it did.

The mysterious mind of this vehicle points to a looming issue with artificial intelligence. The car’s underlying AI technology, known as deep learning, has proved very powerful at solving problems in recent years, and it has been widely deployed for tasks like image captioning, voice recognition, and language translation. There is now hope that the same techniques will be able to diagnose deadly diseases, make million-dollar trading decisions, and do countless other things to transform whole industries.

Top 10 Greatest Scientific Feats In The Past Decade

A lot has happened in the world of science in the past 10 years. From water on Mars to memory manipulation to a crazy thing called “dark matter,” everything on this list proves that if the next decade is anywhere near as important for science as the last, we are truly living in exciting times.

10. The Reprogramming Of Stem Cells

Stem cells are pretty cool. They are just like any other cell in your body—except they possess the innate ability to change into any kind of cell they like at will. This means they can turn into, for example, a red blood cell if that’s what your body lacks right now. Or a white blood cell. Or a muscle cell. Or a nerve cell. Or a . . . you get the idea. Anything.

This is a cool thing already, but we’ve known about stem cells since 1981. What we didn’t know until 2006, however, is that any cell in your body can be reprogrammed and turned into a stem cell. And it’s pretty simple to do, too. A guy called Shinya Yamanaka was the first to do it by adding four specific genes into a skin cell. Within two to three weeks, that skin cell was a stem cell that could then turn into any other kind of cell found in our bodies. This is a huge deal for regenerative medicine, since this is a single source that can provide cells needed to repair damage done to your body by disease.

No one is prepared to stop the robot onslaught. So what will we do when it arrives?

Rise Up

You’ve heard about the robots—how they are on their way to vaporize the jobs of tens of thousands of bankers and brokers on Wall Street, in the City of London, and in trading hubs around the world. How they are bent on inflicting similar mayhem in law and accounting firms, and in computer-programming pools.

How, if you wear a white collar, male or female, watch your back.

And how all that’s just for starters. Advances in supercomputers and the understanding of neural networks are combining to create a revolution in robotics, and companies eager for more profitability and cheaper production are ruthlessly grabbing the new technology to automate rote jobs.

Blue-collar workers—forget about it. The robots will kill off the positions of half a million oil-rig hands, up to half the industry’s workforce around the world, along with hundreds of thousands of warehouse employees, Amazon-ized by automated forklifts and other machines. Then there are the drivers—the navigators of taxis and long-haul trucks, who make up some 17% of the adult US work force, adding up to about 7 million people, to be replaced by robot cars if competition from Uber’s roster of of 1.5 million drivers doesn’t put them out of business first. Fast-food workers—the hard-working teens, first-generation immigrants, and return-to-work moms who are the bedrock of burger joints everywhere—are also on the firing line as ordering kiosks begin to take the place of human cashiers.

The Great Japan Potato-Chip Crisis: Panic Buying, $12 Bags

• Companies halt sales of some chip brands after bad potato crop
• Calbee says it doesn’t know when chips supply will be restored

Demand for potato chips has surged in Japan this week, with products on offer for 6 times their retail price online after Japanese snack company Calbee Inc. halted the sale of some of its most popular chip brands.

Calbee’s pizza-flavored chips were going for about 1,250 yen ($12) on Yahoo Japan Corp.’s auction website Friday. One bag usually sells for less than 200 yen. Photos of near-empty shelves at their local supermarkets were trending on Twitter.

The crunch came after Calbee warned on Monday that it will temporarily halt the sale of 15 types of potato chips due to a bad crop in Hokkaido, a key potato-producing region. The northern island was hit by a record number of typhoons last year. Calbee, which has a market value of 507.9 billion yen and is 20 percent-owned by PepsiCo Inc., has a 73 percent market share of potato chips.

Potato chips are a big deal in Japan, a country also known for its senbei rice crackers and Pocky sticks. Calbee’s potato-snack products were the most and second-most popular snacks in a TV Asahi poll of 10,000 people and 13 confectionery makers last year, and the subject of a primetime show that lasted more than two hours.


The business side of music can be a world of cutthroat legal practices and endless litigation. Here’s the story of one of the biggest music legal battles of all time.


In 1969 George Harrison was on a break from the Beatles and was doing some concerts in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the group Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. One day he slipped out of a press conference, grabbed his guitar, and started playing some guitar chords that were in his head. Then he added in two religious chants: the Christian “hallelujah” and the Hindu “hare krishna.” Later he played it for the band, who joined in with four-part vocal harmony. Harrison fleshed out some verses about yearning to be closer to God, and titled it “My Sweet Lord.”

A week later, Harrison flew to London to help produce an album by singer/keyboardist Billy Preston and gave him “My Sweet Lord” to record. The song went nowhere, but Harrison decided to record it himself for his first post-Beatles album, All Things Must Pass. Released as a single, “My Sweet Lord” became a number-one hit in January 1971.

At the time of the song’s birth, Harrison thought elements of the song just popped into his head. He later figured out that subconsciously he’d been inspired by an old gospel song called “Oh Happy Day.” Harrison insisted he hadn’t “stolen” the song, he just used it as a starting point. And even if he had copied it directly, there were no legal ramifications—“Oh Happy Day” was in the public domain.

But as it would later turn out, another song did “pop” into Harrison’s head and subconsciously inspire him. And that one had serious legal ramifications.

Video Goodnesses
and not-so-goodnesses

Manu Chao: Seeds of Freedom / TRIBUNAL MONSANTO

This song is dedicated to the struggle for peasant and seed freedom and against Monsanto, Bayer and destructive agriculture.

This type of agriculture destroys peasant systems and violates their rights to seeds, land and natural resources.
Chemical intensive forms of production pollute the environment, accelerate biodiversity loss and massively contribute to global warming.


Esta canción está dedicada a la lucha a favor de las semillas libres y contra Monsanto, Bayer y la agricultura destructiva.

Este tipo de agricultura destruye los sistemas campesinos y viola sus derechos a las semillas, la tierra y los recursos naturales.

Las formas de producción intensiva de sustancias químicas contaminan el medio ambiente, aceleran la pérdida de biodiversidad y contribuyen masivamente al calentamiento global.



Steve Bannon reportedly called Jared Kushner a “Democrat” but now Ivanka Trump, Kushner, and two former Goldman Sachs execs are reportedly growing their influence ahead of Steve Bannon. Betsey Woodruff, David Horsey and Charlie Pierce join Ari Melber.

THANKS to MSNBC and The Last Word for making this program available on YouTube.

Saturday is North Korea’s most important national holiday: the birthday of the Eternal President, Kim Jong-Un’s late grandfather Kim Il-Sung. It’s traditionally an occasion for a big test launch or detonation—and today, the North Korean government announced a, quote, “Big Event.” It turned out not to be so big. VICE News Tonight correspondent Charlet Duboc went to North Korea for the reveal.

Some Cole & Marmalade Easter themed fun! … Do you like the crocheted catnip carrots and peeps? – Jess made them.

Max was enjoying a small piece of my toast with some margarine on it to help hold him over till I could get his food ready.


Roots and Shoots

A unique program at Boulder County Jail has inmates learning from nature

Marc Bekoff, as my grandmother would say, is a card. He’s the definition of good-natured with an easy smile. He’s quick to lovingly tease, has gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, a silver cuff around the cartilage of his left ear, socks with the PETA logo barely visible above his Converse high-tops. An original hippie to be sure.

We’re stuffing backpacks and saddlebags into shabby blue lockers in the waiting room at the Boulder County Jail.

“Remember to leave your knives and brass knuckles in the locker,” he cracks — but seriously. Leave those here.

He’s done this hundreds of times over the last 16 years — more than 700, he guesses. Marc’s retired after 32 years at CU as a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. Not one to let his zeal fade into oblivion, he comes here once a week to teach an animal behavior class to inmates in the jail’s educational and life skills programming. His is the only class of its kind for inmates anywhere in the world, save for one class in Italy — and that one’s modeled off of Marc’s class.

Our driver’s licenses come out at the check-in window. My belt keeps setting off the metal detector.

“It’s the knife. I told you. Let me get mine out of this bag.” Marc gives me a wink.