Sunday, February 11, 2007

Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism

Addicted to War by Joel Andreas is a compelling comic book showing the history of U.S. foreign policy and its effects on our society. It offers insight into the alternative, the things kids aren't taught in school. Until now. Yes, the book is going to be used in some San Francisco public schools.

Frank Dorrel, Publisher of "Addicted to War": "We're really glad that the San Francisco School District, which is apparently against the war in Iraq, well not apparently, obviously is, has chosen to do this."

According to ABC 7, "Frank Dorrel is now helping to supply the San Francisco Unified School District with 4,000 copies of the book for use in high school social studies and history classes. The books are being donated by a local anti-war activist."

From the 'Addicted to War' site: "With 77, hard-hitting, carefully documented pages, including 161 reference notes, this book reveals why the U.S. has been involved in more wars in recent years than any other country.

Packed with historical photographs and quotes from people in the military, the government, and big buisness, Addicted to War explains who benefits from these military adventures, who pays and who dies.

Addicted to War is being used as a history textbook in hundreds of high schools and colleges."

Paul Gigot says "No one ever claimed a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda"

Today on Fox News, Wall Street Journal editor Paul Gigot claimed, “We didn’t go to war because of al Qaeda links.” What an asshole.

Apparently, Paul Gigot didn't read what the White House resolution authorizing force against Iraq said:

"Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq."

What bothers me is that this guy was on the Fox News show with millions of people watching. Bad Fox News, bad. (watch video here)

Escalation: a 1968 anti-war short film by Disney animator [video]

This was created by Academy Award-winning Disney animator Ward Kimball (1914 –2002). The 1968 film protests then-president Lyndon B. Johnson's escalation of the Vietnam war.

via Boing Boing

Jailing Pot Smokers Costs U.S. Taxpayers $1 Billion a Year. Treating Nearly Half of All Americans as Criminals: Priceless

According to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," 12.7 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for drug violations are serving time for marijuana offenses. This turns into it costing U.S. taxpayers more than $1 billion a year to keep pot heads locked up. That can be turned into 1 out of 8 American drug prisoners are locked up for marijuana.

Paul Armentado (AlterNet) reports that according to the most recent figures available from the FBI, police arrested an estimated 786,545 people on marijuana charges in 2005 -- more than twice the number of Americans arrested just 12 years ago. Among those arrested, about 88 percent -- some 696,074 Americans -- were charged with possession only. The remaining 90,471 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses, even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use. These totals are the highest ever recorded by the FBI, and make up 42.6 percent of all drug arrests in the United States.

Marijuana isn't a harmless substance, and those who argue for a change in the drug's legal status do not claim it to be. However, pot's relative risks to the user and society are arguably fewer than those of alcohol and tobacco, and they do not warrant the expenses associated with targeting, arresting and prosecuting hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

New Technology for Mind Reading Raises Ethical Debates

The London Guardian reports that scientists have now learned to use high resolution brain scans to translate brain activity patterns into meaningful thoughts about a person's intention.

"Using the scanner, we could look around the brain for this information and read out something that from the outside there's no way you could possibly tell is in there. It's like shining a torch around, looking for writing on a wall," said John-Dylan Haynes at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany, who led the study with colleagues at University College London and Oxford University.

There is talk of refining this method in the hopes that judgment will be passed before any laws have been broken. Currently, the software used to spot the subtle differences in brain activity, is only about 70% accurate with predicting a person's intentions.

Barbara Sahakian, a professor of neuro-psychology at Cambridge University, said "A lot of neuroscientists in the field are very cautious and say we can't talk about reading individuals' minds, and right now that is very true, but we're moving ahead so rapidly, it's not going to be that long before we will be able to tell whether someone's making up a story, or whether someone intended to do a crime with a certain degree of certainty."