The Making of a Sex Slave
(NY Times; reg. req) The next time you seek comfort in the arms of a working girl, ask yourself if she's lying down with you because she likes the money or sex, of if she's doing it because she's been kidnapped, beaten, raped, taken to a foreign country where she doesn't speak the language, and told that the corrupt local police will murder a member of her family if she tries to escape. Prostitution might be victimless crime
, but the horrors described here certainly aren't; the problem is, how's a john with a conscience going to tell the difference? A (much) longer report, terrifying in its thoroughness, on a topic lightly touched on
posted by hhc5
on Jan 23, 2004 -
...According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following are among the occupations with the largest projected job growth from 2000 to 2010: combined food-preparation and serving, including fast food; customer-service representative; registered nurse; retail salesperson; computer-support specialist; cashier, except gaming; office clerk; security guard; computer-software engineer, applications; waiter; general or operations manager; truck driver, heavy and tractor-trailer; nursing aide, orderly, or attendant; janitor or cleaner, except maid or housekeeping cleaner; postsecondary teacher; teacher assistant; home health aide; laborer or freight, stock, and material mover, hand; computer-software engineer, systems software; landscaping or groundskeeping.
Are We Still a Middle-Class Nation?
comes from The State Of The Union
section in The Atlantic
. Compare and contrast A Poor Cousin Of The Middle Class
posted by y2karl
on Jan 21, 2004 -
Hollywood? Old. Bollywood? That's soooo 2003. Make room for Nollywood
, Nigeria's own film industry which is growing by leaps and bounds every year, and is currently worth about $45 million dollars
. About 400 Nollywood films are produced every year many on a budget of around $15000 and are distributed almost entirely by VHS and VCD. The stories are very much simplistic
and pulpy (check out 419 Stalk Exchange. Yes, 419 as in the email scam) but are much preferred
by local residents and emigre's than the usual arthouse fair one often thinks of when talking about African cinema. Now if you'll excuse me there's a bucket of popcorn and a copy of GSM Connection
waiting for me in the living room.
posted by PenDevil
on Jan 19, 2004 -
I.M.F. Report Says U.S. Deficits Threaten World Economy
With its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, the United States is running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy, according to a report released Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund. Prepared by a team of I.M.F. economists, the report sounded a loud alarm about the shaky fiscal foundation of the United States, questioning the wisdom of the Bush administration's tax cuts and warning that large budget deficits pose "significant risks" not just for the United States but for the rest of the world. The report warns that the United States' net financial obligations to the rest of the world could be equal to 40 percent of its total economy within a few years--"an unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country," according to the fund, that could play havoc with the value of the dollar and international exchange rates.
From The Brookings Institute: Sustained Budget Deficits: Longer-Run U.S. Economic Performance and the Risk of Financial and Fiscal Disarray
(Full Report PDF
posted by y2karl
on Jan 8, 2004 -
Libya has pledged to dismantle its atomic weapons program. That is obviously good news, in addition to being a victory for George W. Bush's aggressive foreign policy. But what, exactly, is Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi giving up? Not much... Libya may be closing down its nuclear program because it wasn't working anyway. This points to an important reality about nuclear weapons: they are extremely difficult to make. Claims that bomb plans can be downloaded from the Internet, or that fissile material is easily obtained on the black market and slapped together into an ultimate weapon, seem little more than talk-radio jabber. Nations like Libya that have made determined attempts to obtain atomic munitions have not even come close. If the Bomb Is So Easy to Make, Why Don't More Nations Have It?
posted by y2karl
on Jan 4, 2004 -
The Greatest Car Ever Built
O mighty Slant-6 engine, most magnificent creation of the coal-steel industrial heart of America at the zenith of her manufacturing genius! (NY Times, req required).
posted by jamsterdam
on Dec 18, 2003 -
The fabulous ruins of Detroit:
"After decades of blight, large swathes of Detroit are being reclaimed by nature. Roughly a third of this 139-square-mile city consists of weed-choked lots and dilapidated buildings . . . rather than fight this return to nature, urban farmers have embraced it, gradually converting 15 acres of idle land into more than 40 community gardens and microfarms — some consuming entire blocks." [note: NY Times link]
posted by ryanshepard
on Dec 9, 2003 -
The value of disobedience. [note: nytimes]
"Ignoring the reactionary policies of the Vatican, some local priests and nuns quietly do what they can to save parishioners from AIDS." So: when and why do people choose to quietly disobey, rather than leave and promote change from outside their social institutions...or vice versa? Should dissenters just leave, or stay and fight? Anecdotes from Republicans and NRA members are especially welcome ;-)
posted by stonerose
on Nov 26, 2003 -
Tom DeLay thinks of the children.
The GOP House Leader is attempting to create a charity fund for abused and neglected children. Oh, the fund also pays for "late-night convention parties, a luxury suite during President Bush's speech at Madison Square Garden and yacht cruises" during the 2004 GOP convention. Unlike election funds now restricted by Campaign Finance law, donations to DeLay's semi-charity will be tax-exempt, and of course completely unreported to election officials. (NYT Link)
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Nov 14, 2003 -
Science Times: 25th Anniversary
The first issue of Science Times[weekly section of N.Y. Times
] appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14, 1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are provisional. [free reg req'd]
posted by Postroad
on Nov 11, 2003 -
Today's big bombshell: Private Jessica Lynch reports that she was raped.
But here's the kicker. In the biography, she confesses that she has no memory of the incident. The citation comes from "medical records." But even author Rick Bragg notes
that the records "do not tell whether her captors assaulted her almost lifeless, broken body after she was lifted from the wreckage, or if they assaulted her and then broke her bones into splinters until she was almost dead." Serious allegations against her captors or trumped up charges that fail to pinpoint the perpetrator? (It's also worth noting that Bragg was suspended from the New York Times
when he relied on the work of stringers and interns. Is it possible that a similar approach was utilized with these medical records?)
posted by ed
on Nov 6, 2003 -
Friedman quotes a former Swedish prime minister.
"Our defining date is now 1989 and yours is 2001," I find this to be true. For most of the 90's, the US struggled to find a new purpose for its power. A few peace-keeping missions, a skirmish in Iraq (the first time), but for the most part, no real global strategy. Europe, on the other hand, has made significant progress with developing the EU, the euro (which no one believed would ever come about so quickly), and a semi-unified policy concerning the rest of the world (GB being the notable exception). NY Times
posted by BlueTrain
on Nov 2, 2003 -
Europe's not-too-modest anti-piracy proposal.
If accepted, it means that "not only could a teenager who downloaded a music file be sent to jail under it; so too could managers of the Internet service provider that the teenager happened to use, whether they knew what the teenager was doing or not." The proposal is being spearheaded by French parliamentarian Janelly Fourtou. Coincidentally enough, her husband is the chief executive of Vivendi Universal
posted by Ljubljana
on Oct 19, 2003 -
You are fat because there is too much corn. [NYT, forfeit of first-born son required]
I love good old-fashioned materialism, and Michael Pollan (author of The Botany of Desire
) scores one for the team with this article on the economics of corn production. Are we fat because New Deal agricultural policy was overturned in the 70s by Rusty Butz? Now there's a trailing question we can all enjoy.
posted by condour75
on Oct 11, 2003 -
Krugman on Iraq
"The direct military cost of the occupation is $4 billion a month, and there's no end in sight. But that's only part of the bill.
This week Paul Bremer suddenly admitted that Iraq would need "several tens of billions" in aid next year. That remark was probably aimed not at the public but at his masters in Washington; he apparently needed to get their attention."
posted by skallas
on Aug 30, 2003 -
The Forest Brothers
spent years hiding in the woods of Estonia and Latvia. They lived alone, carefully covering their tracks, sleeping in clammy bunkers, no bigger than walk-in closets. Then things got less comfortable. (warning: nytimesfilter.)
posted by alms
on Aug 25, 2003 -
Hidden Sides, Hushed Ideals of a Civil Rights Strategist
Bayard Rustin - Quaker
, former Young Communist cum anti-communist socialist, advocate of non-violence, ''known homosexual''
, architect of the March on Washington and, it goes without saying, great American. A critical socialist take
on Rustin. Here, for our resident Malcolm X man
, a debate between Rustin and X
in 1960--do note the latter's views evolved greatly between then and his assassination--and here is Nat Hentoff
on Rustin. A recent P.O.V. fim on Rustin - Brother Outsider
posted by y2karl
on Aug 25, 2003 -
This community is filled with bloggers and I wondered if anyone had seen Maureen O'Dowd's take on how the Presidential Candidates are starting to use, for better or worse, "blogging" as a method to get their "message" across. ( Registration required )
posted by RubberHen
on Aug 13, 2003 -
Steve Martin's take on WMD
With a little stab to the left and a little stab to the right, it's good to read something funny. It's a NYT article but there's a Metafilter login I recall. Someone can tell us what that is?
I think that this sort of entertainment is a better use for the hollywood set than this
posted by Red58
on Aug 8, 2003 -
From the NYT (reg req.'d)
This is the saddest story I can imagine.
"It was only a week ago that the tiny body of Stephanie Ramos was found in a plastic bag in a garbage truck in the Bronx, discarded by a foster mother who told the police that she panicked when the severely disabled girl died.
It was an ugly ending by any measure, but particularly cruel in this case because the little girl's life began the same way: wrapped in a plastic bag and discarded on a New York City byway."
Has anyone ever been a foster parent? A foster child? Are things often this bad - and this good? (That'll make sense when you read the story.)
posted by Jos Bleau
on Jul 18, 2003 -
White House admits fudging
Niger documents. The administration today admitted
that forged evidence of Iraq's attempts to buy nuclear material should not have been presented as valid. This came about as a result of an atypically harsh period of questioning from the press following the publication of this editorial
over the weekend... [more inside]
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly
on Jul 8, 2003 -
writes that the Bush administration will fight a "khaki election" next year, taking advantage of the general good feeling after the Iraq war. The original khaki election was the British election of 1900, contested during the Boer War. Our armed forces don't really wear khaki so much anymore and I think we need a new term. I suggest calling 2004 the "Camo Election." Any better suggestions?
posted by Mekon
on Jun 3, 2003 -
The Shallowing of American Taste
First tastebuds and palates fall to McDonalds, now the eyes, ears, and minds fall to Wal-Mart, according to this NY Times article (free registration required)...
"The growing clout of Wal-Mart and the other big discount chains ? they now often account for more than 50 percent of the sales of a best-selling album, more than 40 percent for a best-selling book, and more than 60 percent for a best-selling DVD -- has bent American popular culture toward the tastes of their relatively traditionalist customers...But with the chains' power has come criticism from authors, musicians and civil liberties groups who argue that the stores are in effect censoring and homogenizing popular culture. The discounters and price clubs typically carry an assortment of fewer than a thousand books, videos and albums, and they are far more ruthless than specialized stores about returning goods if they fail to meet a minimum threshold of weekly sales."
Add in Clear Channel Radio and sanitized text books, and all I can say is that the internet has come along at the time it's needed. With the fingers of big commerce all over our culture, the web can serve to reverse an old mega-trend to "high-touch, high-tech." With Wal-Mart, et al, touching our minds, we need to resort to tech to add some depth and breath to their narrow and shallow offerings.
posted by fpatrick
on May 17, 2003 -
Hey, It's Not Enough We Die Of Obesity
without having to go to Hell too? Some enlightened Frenchmen are bending the Pope's ear, trying to spring Gluttony from the Deadly Sins
blacklist. Well, even clever old Thomas Aquinas
did his damnedest to narrow the seven buggers down. So: which sins would you
excuse today's poor sufferers from and which ones would you insist
on keeping, if any? [Something tells me MetaFilter is ideally suited to put in a good word for Sloth. I wonder why? Speaking of which, NYT reg. is required but you can read about it here instead. Via Arts and Letters Daily.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Mar 12, 2003 -
Coming to America!
Rejected by several countries, this relatively small tribe that has been living in slavery and in violent refugee camps is coming to the US. NY Times reg. req.
posted by Plunge
on Mar 10, 2003 -
Spinning the Environment One section of the memorandum, "Winning the Global Warming Debate," asserts that many voters believe there is a lack of consensus about global warming among scientists. "Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly," it says. "Therefore you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue."
Among the ways to "challenge the science," the memorandum says, is to "be even more active in recruiting experts who are sympathetic to your view and much more active in making them part of your message" because "people are more willing to trust scientists than politicians."
So much for science based decisions regarding the fouling of our nest. Sounds Green = Is Green in the bizarro world of spin.
posted by nofundy
on Mar 4, 2003 -
Twins Reunite After 20 Years
You need free registration to get this story but it is well worth the slight effort. Twins, adopted, born in Mexico, one becomes Catholic and the other Jewish. Both register at same college and meet up. A story that will warm your heart and, at the same time, perhaps tell us a bit about Nature and Nurture.
posted by Postroad
on Mar 3, 2003 -
We all must do our civic duty.
But how many of us can fill in President of the United States on the questionnaire when it asks for former jobs held? A bit of mirth for today. NY Times req. required.
posted by Plunge
on Mar 1, 2003 -
in today's NYTDirect/CIRCUITS: "Wouldn't it be great if you could look up a person and read the real scoop about what he or she is really like? Think how many weeks of dating you'd be able to avoid if you had capsule summaries available: "Comes across great on a first date, but beware — runs out of stories by Day 2." Or, "A bit unkempt, but you'll never meet a more loving, loyal mate." Or, "Sharp dresser, warped mind."
"Of course, a Web site where you could review friends and coworkers probably wouldn't work. I'm kind of kidding about this whole thing."
(Rate-A-Mate.biz still available.)
posted by azul
on Feb 20, 2003 -
Ambient Information (NYT reg. required)
Ambient information can be defined as material objects, such as computers, watches or furniture, which interact with digital information and react in certain ways such as sound, color, or light. Apple has filed an intriguing patent
for a computer that could change color when you get an e-mail, for example. So, is this concept the next “new thing” or the next pet rock?
posted by jeremias
on Jan 13, 2003 -
MeFiers have gotten into this before, in terms of forced sterilization.
Although it has been around in California for some time, the idea of optional, paid sterilization or long-term birth control is presenting itself in New York City.
(NYT reg.req) The founder of the organization
that sponsors this paid sterilization/LT birth control has her experience with drug-addicted children, seeing as she adopted four.
The FAQ is certainly interesting, but equally as compelling is the 'natural response'
to this organization. This
is a fact sheet presented by Communities Against Rape and Abuse (Acrobat), and more links here
, and here
posted by oflinkey
on Jan 6, 2003 -