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New July 2013

Mad Men Recap: I’m So Many People

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“I’m so many people,” Sally Draper tells her father in “A Day’s Work,” the kind of deeply uncomfortable Valentine’s Day episode you’d expect from Mad Men. She’s inadvertently summing up the show’s viewpoint on the human personality — few characters on Mad Men could be said to be one thing … More »

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True Blood Season 7 Trailer: ‘There’s No One Left’

The seventh and final season of HBO’s vampire drama airs June 22nd, and tonight we got our first look at the impending bloodbath. The 35-second teaser trailer had lots going on: Hep-V infected vampires, Bon Temps erupting into seeming civil war, and Sookie bleakly observing “there’s no one left.” It … More »

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Quentin Tarantino Hasn’t Given Up on The Hateful Eight After All

After the script for his The Hateful Eight leaked earlier this year, a “very, very depressed” Quentin Tarantino said he would not be moving forward with the project. He may have changed his mind: On Saturday night, Tarantino presented a three and a half–hour staged reading of the film at … More »

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Rich countries: Sure, climate change will screw poor countries, but what about us?

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The new report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights that we are already feeling the pain of global warming across the planet. Heat waves and drought are increasingly in rhythm in every major continent, including our own, while severe flooding is more frequently becoming the business in Africa. If you don’t want to read the IPCC’s 2,500-plus page report, here’s the shorter version: Climate fuckery is not futuristic; we have been fucking up the atmosphere; it is fucking us back. But, as I wrote recently, there are certain people — particularly those with large concentrations of melanin in their skin, and smaller concentrations of money in the bank — who are suffering more of that fuckery than their less-melanated, more-resourced counterparts. The IPCC’s latest makes note of this. Disturbingly, the report’s authors wanted to keep this critical information out of the much-shorter IPCC executive summary — the part that’s supposed to be the most accessible to the public and lawmakers. From New York Times reporter Justin Gillis: The poorest people in the world, who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming, will be high on the list of victims as climatic disruptions intensify, the report said. It cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries. The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders. It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during a days long editing session in Yokohama. The edit came after several rich countries, including the United States, raised questions about the language, according to several people who were in the room at the time but did not wish to be identified because the negotiations are private. The language is contentious because poor countries are expected to renew their demand for aid this September in New York at a summit meeting of world leaders, who will attempt to make headway on a new treaty to limit greenhouse gases. Many rich countries argue that $100 billion a year is an unrealistic demand; it would essentially require them to double their budgets for foreign aid, at a time of economic distress at home. That argument has fed a rising sense of outrage among the leaders of poor countries, who feel their people are paying the price for decades of profligate Western consumption. Those bolds are all mine. And before I elaborate, I have to add that it’s equally disturbing to me that this information came two-thirds of the way into Gillis’s article. Talk about burying the lede — this erasure is the story, but it was relegated to the story’s third act, meaning many people probably won’t read it. Back to the bolds, starting with the last one: Rich countries argue that $100 billion a year to shield poor countries from climate impacts is an “unrealistic demand.” I do not believe that if the World Bank said that Europe and U.S. will be destroyed without $100 billion in aid each year, that this would have been deleted from the IPCC summary. Arguing that they cannot afford to deal with the poor in the way that the world’s lead economists say they need to means rich countries do not truly understand what they’re up against. It means that they believe they will somehow be immunized from the kinds of violent uprisings over food, land, energy, and water that result when the poor — mostly people of color — are left out of the picture. It means they do not get what is already happening in Syria, the Ukraine, Taiwan, Mexico, and the Sudan, where forced massive migration and civil wars have already started over limited resources, arguably the result of climate change’s impacts. When rich countries can edit the poor out of the most important document on the gravest danger facing Earth, it means that they are not serious about addressing climate change. It means that climate mitigation funds will help protect millionaire beachfront condo owners in South Beach, but have yet to address how it will protect what’s left of Geechee families in South Carolina. Perhaps it even means that rich countries think their money is better spent on technology and “innovation” to shield themselves from climate catastrophe. And those tricks very well might shield some people from flooding, but it doesn’t shield the “poorest” from the kind of reckless capitalism that traps them in a perpetual state of vulnerability. This is an insult to nations who even with meager resources have already started making the difficult investments that their wealthier counterparts don’t have the courage to make. “Bangladesh has invested $10 billion of its own money to adapt to extreme climatic events,” said Dr. Camilla Toulmin, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development in a statement on the IPCC report. “Nepal is the first country to develop adaptation plans at the community level. It is time for the richer countries to pull their weight and do the right thing, by investing at home and abroad in actions that can reduce emissions and protect people and property from danger.” There is little today that says whiteness is supreme more than arguing that it is an “unrealistic demand” for nations with predominantly, if not exclusive, white leadership to pay what is necessary to protect the people of Africa, India, and South America from climate calamity they did not cause. The oppression, the bigotry, and the fuckery of that argument is that it allows rich countries to continue perpetuating unrealistic demands on the world’s “poorest” — those who “virtually have had nothing to do with” climate change. Chattel slavery was an unrealistic demand. Putting Latin American workers in the most dangerous farm and factory jobs, exposing them to pesticides, carcinogens, and other toxic elements so that Walmart can have “roll back” prices — these are unrealistic demands. Asking the poorest of communities to fend for themselves against unprecedented waves of heat, drought, and rising sea levels is an unrealistic demand. In my estimation, there are two things that will destroy us eventually if not resolved soon: white supremacy and climate change. These happen to both be things that the wealthy believe they can afford to ignore. It’s for this reason that the IPCC’s summary just may be their infamous last words.Filed under: Cities, Climate & Energy

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Syria’s Refugee Soccer Starlets

At the Zaatari refguee camp, where families try to piece their lives together after fleeing Syria’s civil war, a group of young women are showing that soccer may be the key to bridging violent divides.

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UN climate panel warns that global warming will complicate security issues

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying climate change will complicate and worsen global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Kidnapped journalists land back in Spain

<!– google_ad_section_start –> El Mundo correspondent Javier Espinosa, 49, and freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, 42, were “freed and handed over to the Turkish military”, the Spanish newspaper had said on its website earlier in the day. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Warmer temperatures can lead to warmer tempers, UN report to say

Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems

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More than 100,000 protesters rally in Taiwan against trade pact with China

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Protesters say deal was rushed through and could leave Taiwan beholden to China’s Communist party leadersMore than 100,000 protesters took to the streets of Taiwan’s capital on Sunday as a two-week-long campaign against a trade pact with China gathered steam, piling further pressure on the island’s leader.The rally in Taipei where many were dressed in black and some clutched sunflowers to symbolise hope was one of the largest in recent years in Taiwan, an island that split from China over six decades ago after a civil war.

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Fedor Burlatsky obituary

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Political scientist who sought reform from within the Soviet Communist party and was an early advocate of perestroikaBehind its facade of unity, the post-Stalin Soviet Communist party was nothing like as single-minded as its leaders pretended and as many in the outside world believed. It contained radically different undercurrents: among the reformers essential to Mikhail Gorbachev’s eventual programme of perestroika was Fedor Burlatsky, who has died aged 87.A vivid personality and at times an influential figure in intellectual and political life, he observed enough of the rules of the game to maintain a comfortable, although far from lavish, lifestyle. His political writings often pushed to the limits of the permissible: he was an eloquent representative of those party insiders who were critical both of the influence of the military-industrial complex and of Russian nationalist currents within the party.

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Thousands of Taiwanese protest China pact

Tens of thousands take to streets of Taipei to pressure president to retract controversial trade agreement with China.

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Taiwan stages mass anti-China trade pact rally

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Tens of thousands of Taiwanese protesters took to the streets in Taipei on Sunday in a bid to pressure embattled President Ma Ying-jeou to retract a controversial trade pact with China. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Climate change ‘complicates’ global security

Top scientists say climate change will complicate and worsen global security problems such as wars and refugees.

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Car bomb hits Lebanese army checkpoint

At least three soldiers killed in suicide car bomb attack on army checkpoint in border town of Arsal, officials say.

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

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New July 2013