Saturday, March 28, 2009

AETA 4

If you don't know about the AETA 4, look the case up. It's infuriating. The criminal complaint against these four people gives the following as reasons for their arrest:
1. They wore bandannas and protested at a vivesector's house, trespassed on his lawn, and chanted slogans.
2. They protested at some more researchers' homes, "dressed generally in all black clothing and wearing bandannas over their nose and mouth, marched, chanted, and chalked defamatory comments on the public sidewalks in front of the residences."
3. They were present at a protest where allegedly someone tried to break into a researcher's house and hit the researcher's husband with a "dark, firm object". But the complaint never actually accuses these four people of trying to break in. It just says they were present when it occurred. It's guilt by association.
4. They left fliers at a cafe with the names and addresses of researchers.
5. They used the internet to find the above information.

You all are smart enough to know that other than trespassing on someone's lawn, all that stuff is legal. You'd think none of this would hold up in court. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. They were indicted on March 12 of animal enterprise terrorism.

I don't agree on all issues with the animal rights movement. I would have no problem eating something I killed myself or wearing leather I killed and tanned myself. Humans are animals, too. We consume. That's life. But the AETA 4 are just one group of many people who are being targeted by the government for "radical" activity in the name of protecting people from "terrorism," but really to protect corporate profits and silence dissent. The animal rights movement and the radical environmental movement are pretty out there, as far as leftist groups go. They're easy picking for the government because mainstream liberals don't want to support crazy radicals who sit in trees. So the government can squash their 1st Amendment rights without repercussions because most people don't want to hear that message anyway. But then the FBI can move on the next group that's not quite as "out there" and take away their 1st Amendment rights as well. They can say, "this is perfectly legal. We did it to those crazy radicals, and no one raised any objections." Then you've got the chilling effect, where people don't voice their opinions because they're afraid they'll be next.

Belief systems that don't support capitalism are being criminalized. The criminal complaint against Eric McDavid gives information on anarchism and Crimethinc, then talks about how Eric McDavid is an anarchist. That's irrelevant information! Someone's political beliefs are not basis for arrest! (Being an anarchist isn't the only complaint. The biggest issue is that he allegedly conspired to blow up a tree genetic engineering operation. But the only conspiring done was with "Anna", a paid FBI informant, who supplied bomb-making recipes, financed transportation, provided a cabin in the woods, and pushed the group into action. It's a classic case of entrapment.)

These aren't isolated incidents. Stuff like this is happening all over the place, you just have to look for it. It's called the green scare.

Err sorry for the rant?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

deja vu

I'm pretty sure Mitch, our farm manager, is Woody's long lost twin. The following conversation illustrates why.

Mitch, looking shifty: "I'm incognito."
Kate: "Uhh, how are you incognito, Mitch?"
Mitch: "I'm wearing a black hoodie with the hood up."

He was indeed. Plus! Plus he was wearing a camouflage baseball cap. But there's more - then he put on Bonnie's giant sunglasses! They both have an incredible wealth of knowledge of random trivia, they both have a tendency to jump around in conversations, and they both have very rural personalities. I'm pretty sure they're the same person.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

the nerdiness comes out

I'm the TA for the intro-level chemistry and physics class here. As such, I am teaching a unit on projectile motion next week. I was working on a basic lesson plan - solving for change in time using the equation for vertical displacement, then solving for horizontal displacement. I practiced the derivation of the formula delta x = v(i)radical(2h/g). Then I said to myself, "Ooo... I'm going to derive a formula for what v(i) needs to be to make the vertical displacement equal to the horizontal displacement." So then I did. (v(i) = 1/2 g radical(2h/g), where h=delta x.) And then I realized that I'm a really big nerd.

The end.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm still alive, by the way.

In the last two weeks, I suddenly got super busy. Between looking for internships and a general increase in work load, I've been leaving my room at 7:15 in the morning and not getting back there until 9 or 10 at night. I'm going to enjoy spring break.

Speaking of which, I'll be back in Oregon for spring break! That's April 4-11. I'll be traveling all over looking at some internship positions on farms for the summer, but I should also have some time to just hang out in Portland. I'm looking forward to a much-needed reunion with my bike.

Monday, March 16, 2009

it's so easy

Guns N Roses: So offensive. So good.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

call these cracks in the system a revolution

This past weekend I went to Washington DC for Power Shift, a climate change conference. Hannah, Andy, Hannah, Joe, and I left Craftsbury Thursday morning. (Ha: Andy, two Hannahs, and two Joes.) We stopped for the night in New Jersey and went for a walk in the only old growth in the state. I found a turtle shell with some bones inside and Andy found a skull. The car was making funny noises all day. In the morning we stopped at an auto shop to get the car checked out and there were about 10 things wrong with it, making it unsafe to drive. So we backtracked about an hour, dropped Andy and his car off at his parents' house, and took the train into New York City. HOLY CRAP NYC was overwhelming. You have to understand, the entire week before I left VT, I was on February break and I was on campus with about 10 other people.



Then we got on a bus for 5 hours and arrived in DC at 9 pm. The next day, I went to workshops on direct action, false solutions to climate change, and creative activism. I was kind of freaked out by the 12,000+ people.

The false solutions and creative activism workshops were somewhat disappointing. While they talked about the danger of nuclear energy and the myth of clean coal, wind and solar were hailed the whole weekend as real solutions. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Solar panels and wind towers don't happen in a vacuum! You have to mine for the metals and that means you have to have an entire industrial infrastructure for mining and manufacturing and you have to get people off the land that the metal is located under and whoop-dee-doo there we go again. Displacement of indigenous people for slightly less toxic energy production is still displacement of indigenous people. Capitalism for slightly less toxic energy production is still capitalism. One of the speakers on the creative activism panel was a women who's a race car driver, but get this: she's also an environmentalist because she's greening the racing circuit! Aaah that frustrated me so much. During the Q and A session I asked her how she can ethically justify driving a race car. Her response was that football pollutes a lot more than auto racing, she's reaching an audience that wouldn't normally be reached, and her car runs on biofuels or something. Aaah. OK: we can do garbage things like "green" (coughgreenwashcough) auto racing, or we can realize that auto racing has no right to exist because it is inherently destructive and wasteful.

Here's a nice picture of most of the Sterling group:



Then the next morning there was a nice surprise: Ralph Nader! Apparently he's awful to work for, and he's a hypocrite in that he used to tell people he lived in this little boarding house when really he lived in a giant place with his brother, but he's such a good speaker and he's got a lot of great things to say. Here's what's ironic, though: the only way to find out that Ralph Nader was speaking was if you had signed up for text message updates from the conference. And in his speech, Nader talked about the need to get out of cyberspace and off our electronic devices, and live real life.

Ralph Nader: "Who here has never been in a Wal-Mart?"
Me: "Oooh me me me!"
Ralph Nader: "Wow, you must be new here."



5 of us left after that. We got lost and finally made it out of the city around 11:30, and back to school at 11 pm.


Then I got a stomach bug, but I'm pretty sure it's gone now.