Here's a small measure of justice coming from the Iraq War: four Blackwater contractors get convicted of murder and manslaughter stemming from the 2007 Nisour Square massacre, which killed 14 Iraqis and wounded 18 others. But we still have work to do -- President Obama (in yet another broken promise!) still allows military contractors to do the work of our Armed Forces, which almost certainly ensures there'll be another Nisour Square in our future. Maybe not under Mr. Obama himself, but that'll be no consolation to the families of the dead.
Josh Scherer at TakePart describes teff, an Ethiopian grain that packs an astounding 26 grams of protein into a serving and which could help American farmers better manage drought conditions currently afflicting so much of America. Ethiopia prohibits its export -- which, given their recent history with famine, like, duh -- but Americans are starting to grow the stuff, so we wouldn't be depriving Ethiopians of a staple food by eating it. And yet I suspect the rise of teff as a staple food would somehow run afoul of the "investor-state tribunals" that corporations so desperately want in "free" trade agreements.
Four major chain stores announce they'll close on Thanksgiving, so that their workers can spend time with their families. None of those four chain stores are named Macy's, WalMart, KMart or Target (the first two have already announced they'll open on Thanksgiving, the latter two opened on Thanksgiving last year), but progress has to start somewhere. And if "progress" vaguely resembles "recovering the past" in this instance, I certainly won't grumble. If WalMart continues to lose money selling 32-inch flat panels for under a hundred bucks, I may, in fact, celebrate.
The New York Times finds that one-third of top 200 internet retailers use forced arbitration clauses or class action bans in their contracts. Those would be the ones you might or might not skim over a little before clicking the "I Accept" button. The good news? Two-thirds of the top 200 internet retailers don't use these clauses, so the free market could actually still work some magic here.
"The Future Will Be Online TV, But That Might Come with Online Blackouts," announces The Consumerist. Essentially, the channel from which you might get your TV -- which could be HBO, CBS, or Univision, all of which have announced they'll start subscription services, or, in time, any other channel -- might get in a spat with your internet service provider, which means you'll be blacked out from the content you've already paid for. Of course, if internet service providers didn't have a monopoly in most areas of the country, this wouldn't be so much of a problem.
Finally, former Reagan aide, obviously frustrated that anti-gay folks don't get their way about everything anymore, suggests that Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida secede from the Union and call their new country "Reagan." The fact that most right-wingers in those states would consider President Reagan insufficiently conservative if they honestly confronted his record seems lost on him, as does the fact that (contrary to how he describes North-South symbiosis right before the Civil War) the Southern states these days rely on Northern taxpayer largesse to a shall-we-say disproportionate degree. I suspect a lot of things are lost on Douglas McKinnon, actually, so let's never speak of him again.