Stephen Frye and Jordan Peterson on Political Correctness

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The Brilliant, Transcendent Clarity of Chauncey DeVega Applying Cone, Baudrillard, Adorno, Gordon and Postman in his Nuanced Argument about the “Kanye West.”

[The eclipse of serious journalism by punchy soundbites and outraged tweets, and the polarized, standardized reflection of opinion into forms of humor and theatricalized outrage within narrow niche-markets makes the category of individual thought increasingly unreal. This is true on the left as well as the right, and it is especially noteworthy once we countenance what passes for political discourses today. … The new media forms have devolved into entertainment, and instead of critical discourse we see the spectacle of a commentariat, across the ideological spectrum, that prefers outrage over complexity and dismisses dialectical uncertainty for the narcissistic affirmation of self-consistent ideologies each of which is parceled out to its own private cable network.

I am reminded of a lecture I attended some years ago where the late James Cone, an intellectual titan and the father of black liberation theology, observed that some of the most difficult students to teach on questions of the color line were those who happened not to be white. Why? Because black and brown students often believe that because they were born into a certain body at a certain point in time, they have special knowledge and wisdom that makes it unnecessary for them to engage in serious study of the color line….

We see this in an America which in many ways has lost the ability to determine what is “true” and what is “fake,” and where lies are now labeled as mere “untruths” or “disagreements.” As with Trump, Kanye West is the human distillation of America’s social pathologies of greed, narcissism and a celebrity-driven culture of distraction and emptiness. Hyperreality is the state of being where these social pathologies exist, and through which they are mediated.

Ultimately, Kanye West is just one more character caught up in the orbit of the human black hole Donald Trump, in a malignant reality where the absurd is now the quotidian….]

Full article here: I love Kanye West | Chancey DeVega for SALON

 

Foster Care System and Child Sex Trafficking

[Human trafficking is thought to generate over $30 billion worldwide. In the U.S., the FBI estimates that over 100,000 children are victims of sex trafficking. Foster children are particularly vulnerable to falling victim to sex trafficking and other forms of human trafficking.

60% of all child sex trafficking victims have histories in the child welfare system.

Homelessness is a key contributor to trafficking of youth. Foster children who have runaway, aged out of the system, or otherwise find themselves on the streets are a greater risk of being trafficked, particularly in the commercial sex trade. Entry into human trafficking often begins with trading sex for essential items such as food and/or shelter, but can quickly evolve to victimization by organized trafficking operations. In a study conducted in the U.S. and Canada one-fifth of homeless youth were victims of sex trafficking. The issue is compounded by the fact that states do not always report when a foster child is missing, despite provisions in federal law that mandate it. LGBTQ+ youth in the foster system are particularly prone to homelessness due to added stigma and discrimination.]

The Foster Care – Human Trafficking Nexus | HUMAN TRAFFICKING SEARCH

Also, Sex and human trafficking in the U.S. disproportionately affects foster youth | NFYI

http://humantraffickingsearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Foster-Care-Report.pdf

AMERICA’S FOSTER CARE SYSTEM IS THE PIPELINE FOR CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING | Waking Times

 

How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language

[Why does it matter whether we judge morality in our native language or a foreign one? According to one explanation, such judgments involve two separate and competing modes of thinking—one of these, a quick, gut-level “feeling,” and the other, careful deliberation about the greatest good for the greatest number. When we use a foreign language, we unconsciously sink into the more deliberate mode simply because the effort of operating in our non-native language cues our cognitive system to prepare for strenuous activity. This may seem paradoxical, but is in line with findings that reading math problems in a hard-to-read font makes people less likely to make careless mistakes.]

Read the full story | Scientific American

 

The Truth Hurts only the First Time, they Say. Here is One Inconvenient Truth

During the Holocaust, many Lithuanian Jews were not killed in Nazi death camps, but by their neighbors, usually shot or even beaten to death. In all, 90 percent of an estimated 250,000 Jews perished, wiping out a community that had been part of Lithuanian life for five centuries.

So it may come as a surprise that in Vilnius, the country’s capital, there is a thriving Jewish community center (including a cafe serving bagels), an expanded new Jewish Museum and fully functioning synagogue — beneficiaries of a Western-looking government that encourages Litvak Jews to return and has proposed to declare 2019 “The Year of the Jew.”

Long before Poland aroused controversy this year with a law making it a crime to blame Poles for complicity in the Holocaust, Lithuania has had an even broader such law on its books. Since 2010 Lithuania has criminalized “denial or gross trivializing” of either Soviet or Nazi genocide or crimes against humanity.

Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, said that the center had the names of 20,000 Lithuanians who participated in the Holocaust but that only three were ever prosecuted and convicted — and of those, none ever served jail time. “It’s a joke,” he said.

“Until recently, Lithuania was really the locomotive pulling this whole train of Holocaust distortion in Eastern Europe,” he said. Now Poland, Hungary and Ukraine all have engaged in trying to minimize the Holocaust, he said.

“If everyone’s guilty, no one’s guilty,” he added….

Read the full article here:

Onis “Tray” Glen, EPA Administrator of Region 4, Alabama, New York Biosolids, Colorado Farmers | And Another Pile of yet the Same.

[Thirty years ago, the treated remnants of a city’s sewage—known as “biosolids” to those in the industry—usually went into the ocean. But in 1988, the government realized this wasn’t the best idea and gave municipalities three years to figure out where else their sludge could go. In addition to finding a new place to put it, the EPA ruled a portion of the biosolids had to be used in a way that would benefit the environment.

New York City, which already had a population over 7 million, had been dumping its sewage 106 miles out in the ocean. (This was an improvement on the 12 miles out it was dumping sewage in 1987, but still not ideal.) A solution needed to be found, and fast.

So the city decided to turn the sludge into fertilizer. The EPA ruled that, after treatment, biosolids are perfectly safe to use on plants, and often, are better for the plants than chemical fertilizers. They are rich in nutrients that help plants grow, and the application of biosolids to the soil has been known to stimulate root growth and help the soil better retain water.

Although they accepted sludge from other locations, states feared the material from New York City would be disease-ridden and toxic. Alabama outright rejected the biosolids, and in Oklahoma, even after farmers begged for the material, a plan to ship 1150 tons of biosolids to the state was defeated due to public outcry. “No part of Oklahoma will be sacred,” wrote Tim Cagg, the chairman of Concerned Citizens for a Clean Environment. “These profit seekers will not be around when we must clean up the damage in years to come.”

Eventually, some farmers in Colorado said they would try it. Just before before Earth Day 1992, 17 train cars filled with several thousand tons of big city biosolids left the station and headed to a new life on Lamar, Co. farms. “At first people wanted to flee the land when they found out New York’s sewage was on the way,” farmer Douglas Tallman said at the time. Tallman’s enthusiasm for the product got him nicknamed “Sludge Judge” in local politics.

Initially, only three or four farms volunteered to take the waste. But then the farmers started to notice some changes. One farmer’s wheat crop yield increased by a third after using biosolids. The sludge also appeared to keep away aphids, prairie dogs, and other pests. Soon, there was a waiting list for farmers who wanted to get their hands on New York biosolids.

New York kept producing, and the farmers kept buying. Trains were now running twice a month to Colorado. The longest train the state received was 153 cars of the stuff. At its peak, 10,000 acres a year were being covered with sludge from the big city, but the demand was so great, 50,000 to 75,000 acres could have been covered if there had been enough product.

The one problem, though, was the cost. Shipping waste on a rail line wasn’t cheap, and the city started looking for other options. Despite demand, in 2012, the train stopped running….] New York City’s Poop Train | Mental Floss

So, how is this connected to Alabama? Because the New York Poop train started transporting biosolids once again. Last year.

[The treated sewage – euphemistically known in the industry as “biosolids” – has plagued residents with a terrible stench, flies and concerns that spilled sludge has leaked into waterways.

“On a hot day, the odor and flies are horrific,” said Charles Nix, mayor of West Jefferson, a town near the landfill that accepts the waste. “It’s better in winter time but if the wind blows in the wrong direction you get the smell. It’s like dead, rotting animals.

Last year, Big Sky Environmental, a landfill west of Birmingham, got permissionfrom Alabama authorities to accept sewage waste, despite objections from residents. Initially, the waste was taken down from New York and New Jersey to a rail spur near West Jefferson, where it was loaded on to trucks that rumbled through the town toward the landfill…. Jefferson county, where West Jefferson sits, decided the use of the rail spur was a violation of zoning laws, so the transport operation shifted the the nearby town of Parrish, which in turn sought to eject the malodorous cargo. Amid the squabble, the sewage sludge backed up in railcars in Birmingham, causing the mayor’s office to complain about the “death smell”.

The outsourcing of New York and New Jersey’s waste to Alabama revived memories of the “poop train” that ferried New York’s waste to farmers in Colorado until 2012. Since the Environmental Protection Agency decided in 1988 that it was not a great idea to simply pump it into the ocean, where to put New York’s fecal matter has become a constant challenge – the city creates around 1,200 tons of sewage every day.

Billions of gallons of raw sewage still spills into New York harbor each year but the waters around the largest US cities are significantly cleaner than in the 1980s and the metropolis has touted its water treatment processes. Last year, it quietly decided Alabama should be the resting point for some of its waste.

Stung by the outcry, New York has severed its links to Big Sky Environmental, although city officials failed to answer questions on how much sewage was still being transported to other states…. Around 7% of New York City’s treated sewage went to the Alabama landfill, according to a city spokesman, adding that a recent inspection by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management found “no odor or leaks”.] Alabama Kicks up a Stink Over Shipments of New York Poo | The Guardian

Now, let’s bring Onis Trey Glenn into the picture.

[The guy who oversees the whole Southeastern arm of the Environmental Protection Agency – the man charged with making sure your water is clean enough to drink and your air doesn’t smell like the caboose of a North Birmingham poop train – is on the job.

Oh, man. I’m kidding. You need to worry. You sooo need to worry.] EPA Director Paid by “Poop Train” Conductor | Alabama.com

[Back in August 2017, Onis “Trey” Glenn was appointed as EPA Region 4 administrator, which oversees the agency’s mission in eight states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. You may recall that Glenn was the director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management from 2005–2009.

While he was pushing for the job as director of ADEM, Glenn approved invoices for engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie (which has since changed its named to Arcadis). It just so happened that at the time, Malcolm Pirnie executive Scott Phillips was chair of the Environmental Management Commission and therefore responsible for selecting the next ADEM director. In 2007, the Alabama Ethics Commission unanimously concluded that Glenn violated state ethics laws in order to get the job at ADEM, though he ultimately escaped criminal charges.

Glenn also billed his family’s private plane trip to Disney World to a PR firm — which he said he eventually paid back. It was so bad that former ADEM attorney David Ludder (who now represents Gasp on several legal matters) urged the EMC to pass a rule banning Glenn from receiving gifts from companies regulated by the agency.] Who Does Trey Glenn Work For | GASPGROUP.com

More coverage: Alabamians Are Sick of New York’s Crap | New York Magazine