If you’re not a subscriber, I guess you’ll have to pay for access to this recent New Yorker piece, but it is well worth it. Evan Osnos took a look at Japan and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown seven months after the terrible tsunami destroyed so many lives and very nearly killed many more.
This is compelling writing and reminds me of something I’d forgotten—hadn’t we all agreed that nuclear disaster was a real and legitimate fear again, and change was needed? What happened?
The article raises a theory that resonates. In a long section in the middle of the piece detailing the history of nuclear power in Japan, Osnos notes that post-Chernobyl Japanese officials actually became less safe and at the same time more assertive of the safety of nuclear power.
The idea was to defend the industry against attacks by distinguishing the practices in Japan from those in the USSR,
By now it’s obvious that Occupy Wall Street’s sophomore month is spawning a spin-off sideshow – a kind of reality TV moment in which conservative media apologists for the “one percent” alight from taxis and wade into crowds of protesters who are wearing hoodies and black bandanas. Into the belly of the collectivist beast, as it were. The pundits then vigorously articulate their grievances against the 20thCentury to the Occupiers and the merely curious who have gathered round.
The trail for these adventurers was blazed by Fox News eminence grise Geraldo Rivera, whose tumultuous forays into Ziccotti Park have made him a martyr to tax-paying “53 Percenters” from Montauk Point to Santa Clarita.
Last week Reason TV, an arm of the libertarian magazine Reason, produced a video in which radical free-marketeer Peter Schiff made a similar pilgrimage into the lion’s den.
Named one of UTNE Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World,” Dave Zirin is among the few journalists who approach sports from a progressive perspective. He’s a prolific author and commentator, and his writing for The Nation offers a welcome respite from the drone mentality of mainstream sports coverage.
Most recently, Zirin has co-authored The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World (Haymarket Books). The book revolves around Carlos’ black-gloved salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, an historic moment executed in conjunction with gold-medal winner Tommie Smith. With Zirin joining Carlos on an extensive book tour, the Frying Pan caught up with Zirin by email to ask about his book and what it’s like to write about sports for The Nation.
Frying Pan (David Davis): Why do the upraised black-gloved fists of Carlos and Smith still resonate more than 40 years after the 1968 Mexico City Olympics?
A Notch on Our Bedpost: NCAA “Non-Employees” Make Progress
Through their union, the National College Players Association, some players have been demanding reform, seeking modest changes in the ridiculous NCAA rules. Their list includes allowing schools to cover books and other expenses as part of scholarship offers (something non-sports scholarships can include), and allowing schools to offer multi-year scholarships, rather than have to renew each year—a rule that is particularly onerous, since if a player transfers, he generally must sit out a year.
Apparently the NCAP (and Taylor Branch and, of course, the Frying Pan) is making headway, because yesterday the NCAA announced several rule changes, addressing both of those points.
Hollywood’s luxurious W Hotel was struck and picketed early this morning by more than 100 union members. The housekeepers, bellmen and servers, who belong to Unite Here Local 11, walked off their jobs at 6 a.m. to protest what they say is management’s refusal to let them take scheduled breaks.
“We are on strike today to show the W Hollywood that we deserve the right to take breaks,” Mildred Velasquez, a W housekeeper, was quoted in a statement prepared by the union. “The W Hollywood Hotel needs to respect the limits of our bodies. Managers put too much pressure on us. I hurt my back deep cleaning-rooms at the W. Now I take prescription and over-the-counter pain medicine every day.”
When contacted by the Frying Pan, a management spokesman for the hotel, who requested anonymity, claimed no hotel employees were participating in the walkout.
The one-day action,
I’ve recently found myself fascinated (and a little obsessed) with the lives of three superstar women who aren’t afraid to expose their weaknesses to a world that is only familiar with their strengths.
Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda were each interviewed on TV in the same week that a DVD arrived from Netflix, Eleanor Roosevelt—An American Experience.
Of the many traits they have in common, the one that struck my interest was that they each developed such a late-career sense of self-esteem. Each acknowledged that she didn’t come into her personal comfort zones until she was in her 70s.
“Me too,” I kept mumbling, “me too.,”
Now in my 80s, I am convinced that these may be the most fulfilling years for some of us.
Each of these remarkable women speak about childhood wounds.
A couple of weeks ago, at a community meeting with other members of the Alliance for Healthy and Responsible Grocery Stores, I got to hear some testimony about working conditions at Walmart from a group of women who work at the retail giant’s stores around Los Angeles County. Our alliance is dedicated to making sure that grocery stores have the best impact they can on our city. After Walmart’s announcement that they were expanding into urban markets with smaller-scale grocery stores, we invited some workers to tell us about life as Walmart “Associates.” I will respect their anonymity here, so as not to cause them problems on the job.
I didn’t expect to hear much that was shocking, but what I heard that day threw me for a loop. I couldn’t stop talking about it to my wife when I got home.
As someone who works on food justice and economic issues,
I recently received an invitation to my 10-year high school reunion, and let’s just say I have absolutely no intention of going. First of all, every day on Facebook is a high school reunion. But second, for me, as well as many others, high school was brutal. And for anyone who forgets that and is filled with a silly nostalgia for yesteryear, I encourage a viewing of the movie Heathers or even a recent episode of Glee – both of which are full of popularity contests, cliques, and the compulsion to “look good” at all costs. After high school, everyone tells you that the days of “trying to fit in” and being “cool” are over.
“The real world,” they say, “is about succeeding at college, getting a career, etc., and has nothing to do with being the captain of the football team.” But after my 10 years in this so-called “real world,”
I’ll call him Alex. We work together at the RH restaurant at the Hyatt Andaz hotel on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. We are uneasy around each other now, since the strike. He chose one side. I chose another.
For the better part of a week in September, I watched him from outside the window. I held my Unite Here picket sign and wailed on the drum as he poured drinks for distraught customers. My blood boiled when I found out he crossed the picket line, and I’m sure he wasn’t happy that I was at least partially responsible for his lack of business in the restaurant. We made uncomfortable eye contact through the window far too many times.
Going on a strike and living its aftermath are like going through a divorce, where the children are told to pick a side. Some of us journey all the way through with one parent,
It’s been a while since the postman rang twice, but he won’t even be ringing once on Saturdays, if new proposals to downsize the U.S. Postal Service go into effect. Like so many of the economic wars being waged today, the attack against the post office doesn’t make financial sense. The USPS is immensely profitable and it is not a department of the federal government, nor are its operations paid for with tax money. It also remains one of the most efficient and popular services — putting a movie DVD in your mailbox may have been Netflix’s neat idea, but that company isn’t the outfit whose employees deliver those movies to your home.
And yet closing down the post office and parceling out its services (or at least, the profitable ones) to private companies occupies a special place in the ether dreams of anti-government radicals and free-market privateers.
“We’re off-budget,” Larry Brown recently told the Frying Pan,