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SOTU Antidote: Actual News (UPDATE)

5:32 pm in Uncategorized by Kit OConnell


Yes, our fearless leader spoke yesterday. Wasn’t that exciting?

Bottle-feeding a kitten from a syringe.

A necessary inoculation against political pablum.

But here’s some news you might have missed.

Protesters Arrested Outside Monsanto Shareholders’ Meeting

The video above, via St. Louis’ KSDK, claims 10 arrests. But both Democracy Now! and RT put the total number of Occupy Monsanto arrests at 11:

At least 11 protesters were arrested outside of Monsanto’s headquarters on Tuesday as they rallied in favor of shareholder resolutions that would require the company to alter its approach to genetically-modified organisms.

More than two-dozen protesters, one of which was a Monsanto shareholder himself, endured cold temperatures in Creve Coeur, Missouri as they pushed the biotech company to work with the federal government towards efforts to label food featuring genetically-modified organisms (GMO). Another resolution, meanwhile, would have required Monsanto to provide a contamination report on non-GMO crops.

Both measures failed with less than 10 percent support after Monsanto’s board recommended shooting down the proposals. When the results came in, the atmosphere surrounding the rally became much more aggressive, with protesters using five cars to block the entrance to Monsanto’s building. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, some locked and chained themselves to cars, while police spent about an hour clearing the area and making arrests.

UPDATE: KSDK reporter Farrah Fazal tweeted me to clarify the number of arrests:

War On Women Everywhere

As the House demonstrated to their constituents how much they hate women by passing an anti-abortion bill with no hope of becoming law, the war on women’s rights continued to spread to other states. Andrea Grimes at RH Reality Check was one of just a few media sources sounding the alarm on secretive new regulations restricting abortion in Louisiana. A sudden burst of social media sunshine forced officials to back down:

Monday night, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals told RH Reality Check that it will ‘be rescinding the language regarding the 30-day period for blood tests,’ and that it intends to ‘clarify’ the building requirements for abortion facilities, saying that ‘the intent of the language on square footage in the rule is to cover prospective facilities or facilities undergoing renovations.’ Despite the department’s passage of the rules without input from providers and without a previous public hearing, DHH says it ‘has already received several public comments regarding the rule.’ A public hearing on the new rules has been moved to February 4 at DHH in Baton Rouge at 1 p.m.

But the attempt proves how determined the conservative right has become to roll-back abortion rights nationwide, and how unscientific and ill-intentioned these policies have become in the name of “protecting” women and children:

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Watercooler: Crossroads

6:00 pm in Watercooler by Kit OConnell

Hi, y’all.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a global movement, connected “cells” all over North America and the world, communicating using modern technologies like social media and livestreaming.

It seems that when Occupy struggles, its problems are just as global. In recent weeks I’ve seen articles that startled me with how well they spoke to the local situation at Occupy Austin, while describing the movement as a whole at the same time.

One of those was Arun Gupta’s What happened to the Occupy movement? So today I was pleasantly surprised to see it highlighted by Adbusters as half of a Point / Counterpoint on the State of the Revolution. I’ve seen some hesitation about Adbusters among occupiers, some of whom lump them in with groups like MoveOn who seek to influence the movement while remaining separate from it. In this instance, though, they seem to have touched on a common feeling.

While occupations like Chicago seem incredibly vital, and the growing spread of the Casseroles is injecting fresh energy into some city’s activists, here on the ground the conversation is very much as described by the Canadian magazine. Some are abandoning the Occupy banner and moving into other activist communities while others are still doing hard, effective work within this particular movement. Talk of a physical reoccupation comes and goes here in Austin, with many supporting it while others just as keen on talking us out of it. Meanwhile, I was recently told of a guerrilla Occupy-inspired encampment somewhere in the city, where some of those who used to sleep on city hall steps now keep tents and have political discussions.

I feel like whatever its future, Occupy has put a new shape of activism in the 21st-century, and also shown some of the flaws of that form. For myself, I plan to go where I can find action — because that’s what activists do, right?

This is tonight’s open thread. What’s on your mind?