Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Deen to face Justice at Smithfield

Smithfield Justice

Heres a good chance to help workers achieve humane working conditions.

  Event: Justice at Smithfield Paula Deen Informational Demonstration
  Date: Saturday, June 2, 2007
  Where: CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, LA
  Time: Meet at 2:30 p.m.
  

Celebrity chef Paula Deen appears at CenturyTel Center Saturday with a show to promote her books, cooking show and other financial interests.

Deen endorses Smithfield Foods. She said she partnered with Smithfield because “it shared my family values and traditions.”

The truth about Smithfield is a little different.

Smithfield Foods is the largest pork producer and processor in the world, the fourth largest turkey processor and the fifth largest beef processor in the U.S. It is headquartered in the town of Smithfield, VA, but its operations stretch across the United States, Mexico, and much of Europe.

In the early 1990s, Smithfield opened its 975,000 square-foot pork slaughter plant in the town of Tar Heel, in Bladen County, North Carolina. This facility is now the single largest pork processing plant in the world.

Smithfield treats its Tar Heel plant workers worse than dogs.

They are forced to work under harsh circumstances. Fast line speeds, inadequate training, and improper safety procedures in the plant all lead to a dangerous workplace. As workers try to stand up to Smithfield and organize a union to fight for basic rights and dignities on the job, they are met with brutal force and harassment at the hands of Smithfield.

Smithfield has even been cited by Human Rights Watch for violating international human rights standards. Smithfield Packing has created an environment of intimidation, racial tension, and sometimes violence for workers who want a voice on the job.

But workers are fighting back.

When Deen comes to town, the UFCW, the union that represents many Smithfield workers, will be there, too.

UFCW organizer Nazey Gulech is here working with my union, SEIU Local 100, other unions and local religious and community organizations to organize an informational demonstration in front of CenturyTel the day of the show. We'll hand out flyers and hold up signs telling Deens fans the truth about the company she supports so whole-heartedly.

A worker from the Tar Heel plant will also be on hand to share her story. She and another person will enter the event and seek to ask Deen to accept a letter from the plants workers. The letter asks her to withdraw her endorsement of Smithfield.

Youll be able to hear Nazey on KSCL 91.3 at around 6:30 p.m. Shes also speaking at 7:00 Thursday evening at the West Edge Artists Co-Op. She may be featured on Red River Radio during Morning Edition Friday. And theres an article about the campaign in this week’s Shreveport Sun.

We need warm bodies at CenturyTel! It will be a peaceful event that supports justice for the workers at the Spring Heel plant. Please attend.

At the very least, dont buy products from the Tar Heel plant. Products from the Smithfield Tar Heel plant are coded 18079. Bacon is usually 79-C.

Here are some websites for more in-depth information:

http://www.smithfieldjustice.com/

http://www.ufcw.org/

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

ROCK FIGHT! KSCL 91.3 FM Friday, May 18, 2007, 6 to 8

ROCK FIGHT!

Hello, arbitrary anglers!

FRIDAY! Time for ROCK FIGHT! on KSCL 91.3 fm from 6 to 8.

People don’t live by loud rock alone. Everyone needs some downtime, a chance to reflect with soothing music designed to explore inner space. So, ROCK FIGHT! goes ambient this week.

There’s lots of mellow good stuff: Brian Eno, Steve Roach, Tetsu Inoue and more. It’s guaranteed to refresh your psyche or TRIPLE your money back!

Podcast to come later.

Here’s the cheat sheet:

Song                                            Artist
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Surreptitious Ritual                            Between Interval
People Are Friends                              Biosphere
1/1                                             Brian Eno
Six Marimbas                                    Steve Reich
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Mother    Pete Namlook/Klaus Schulze
Cloudscape                                      Philip Glass
In Form Of A Birdie I Meet My Creator           Ruxpin
The Other Side                                  Steve Roach
Inter Link                                      Tetsu Inoue
Later                                           Woob

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thoughts on Iraq for a Gannett Newspaper

Iraq Car Bomb

John Andrew Prime of The Times is working on a story about the Iraq War and asked me a few questions. The opportunity made me cohere my thoughts into something short and sweet.

Here’s what John asked:

  • Do you think the public’s opinion on the War on Terror and the War in Iraq have changed over the course of the past year or so, and why?
  • Have your views changed? Why or why not?
  • What do you think this nation should do with regard to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?
  • Will anything change under a new administration after the ‘08 election?

And here’s my response:

Over the past year, measured public opinion about the war has remained relatively constant. Only about 35 percent “approve” of the war. The rest express various degrees of “disapproval.” Locally, more people support the President’s policies than that, but his support is rapidly waning.

Essentially, what’s left is a hard core of supporters pitted against growing opposition. The rhetoric from both sides will get worse.

Regardless of our Iraq War opinions, we can all agree the war merits civil discussion. We can treat each other respectfully in disagreement, and rhetoric of the right-wing-talk-show or leftist-rant ilk only puts us further from a solution.

My personal opinion about Iraq has remained constant since it started. We should withdraw all of our forces, abandon plans for permanent bases, turn control over to the Iraqis assisted by a regionally-based coalition and begin reparations payments.

I don’t think a massive conflagration will erupt if we withdraw. The same prediction was made of Vietnam and proved to be gross exaggeration. Iraqis can manage their own country better than we can manage it for them.

Profiteering corporations should be booted from Iraq, particularly oil companies and mercenary armies like the Blackwater forces. The growing trend to use these mercenary armies is troubling.

In Afghanistan, we have a better prospect. Our conduct there, while not exemplary, has generated some goodwill to build on. The people there are ready for peace. There is ample opportunity for coalition building if we respect all interests. I think we can manage with our special forces aiding indigenous forces. We must settle the Osama Bin Laden problem finally and unequivocally.

The Democrats are just as much a war party as Republicans. Regardless of who wins the White House, the next president won’t withdraw from Iraq entirely. A Democrat might withdraw some forces, but the plan of opening permanent bases will continue, the oil companies will still get their due and mercenaries will still operate without oversight.

The main problems in ending the war comes from two areas. First, we spend so much money on the military that the war industry dominates our polity. And we've built a propaganda machine that constantly trumpets how great our nation is because of that military spending.

Anyone who challenges the war machine is either ignored or ridiculed. But I think soon we'll be discussing these issues seriously. I hope that’s the big change this election -- getting the nation to really look at industries supporting and profiting from war and what that means for our way of life.

I don’t know what of that, if anything, will make it to the final article, but I’m glad to have had the opportunity to comment. We’ll see what happens.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Inside Chinese Gold Farming

Here’s a look inside the world of Chinese gold farming.

Chinese laborers play many popular video games like World of Warcraft collecting gold and items or creating characters and leveling them up. They then sell the gold or characters to gamers in more affluent countries, especially the U.S. Typically, they make about $200.00 a month, though food and housing are provided.

Is it exploitation? I’m not so sure, because they say they have fun playing. But it is a tedious job with intense pressure to produce. It’s also explicitly against World of Warcraft’s terms of service, and thus it’s cheating.

Anyway, here’s the video:

Friday, May 11, 2007

ROCK FIGHT! May 11, 2007

ROCK FIGHT!

Hello again, yammering young yobs!

Friday -- time to get your ROCK FIGHT! on. Be sure to listen to KSCL 91.3 FM from 6 to 8.

This week, there’s a pair of tunes from the new Melt Banana album, “Bambi’s Dilemma.” I can’t say enough good things about this album. If you love Melt Banana, you won’t be disappointed, yet they still manage to branch off into new stylistic territory. There’s plenty of shred-it-up mania, but also more contemplative songs. This would also make a good intro to the band if you haven’t heard them yet, and it should definitely intrigue you into exploring their substantial back catalog.

Also, there’s a pair of songs from The Sugarcubes, the band that launched the superstar singer whose name sounds like a cat hurling up a hairball -- Bjork. I stayed away from the hit “Happy Birthday,” choosing instead two songs I like way more from their first album, “Life’s Too Good.” By the way, I hate Bjork’s new album, “Volta.”

There’s also two of my favorite Echo and the Bunnymen tunes, a classic from David Bowie, The Edge in a side project with some artsy types, a song about bouncing boobies, a little bit of country and a lot of rock and roll.

So tune in! It’ll be a gas!

Podcast to come later.

Here’s the FIGHT! card:

Song                            Artist
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Shake Your Head                 Adult
Spill                           Be Your Own Pet
Preparedness                    The Bird And The Bee
Italian Leather Sofa            Cake
Strangler                       Calla
Blackout                        David Bowie
Thing That Only Eats Hippies    The Dead Milkmen
Darker                          Doves
Climbing Up The Walls           Easystar All Stars
Heaven Up Here                  Echo & The Bunnymen
Porcupine                       Echo & The Bunnymen
Caught In My Eye                The Germs
Whatever                        Husker Du
Obstacle 1                      Interpol
All The Dark Rags               The Jacobites
Sleazy                          Jah Wobble/The Edge/Holger Czukay
La Verdad                       Juana Molina
Three                           Massive Attack
Cat Brain Land                  Melt Banana
Last Target On The Last Day     Melt Banana
Messages                        Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Minor Detail                    Sondre Lerche
Circuit Love                    Soviet
Split Endz-I Got You            Split Enz
I'm Still In Love With You      Steve Earle And The Del Mccoury Band
Motorcrash                      Sugarcubes
Coldsweat                       Sugarcubes
Listening Wind                  Talking Heads
Poison Plant                    USA Is A Monster
Animal Day                      Wall Of Voodoo

Thursday, May 3, 2007

ROCK FIGHT! KSCL 91.3 FM Friday, May 4, 2007, 6 to 8

ROCK FIGHT!

Hello again, magnanimous media mongers!

By now you know the drill: It’s Friday, so it’s time for another ROCK FIGHT! from 6 to 8 on KSCL 91.3 FM. Woooooohoooooo!

There’s a lot going on with this show, which is a hodgepodge of mostly old stuff mixed in with a smattering of new. I have no clue how it’s going to work out, so tune in to hear either massive brilliance or a horrible train wreck!

My favorites this week are Bobby Conn, Calla, Melt Banana and Sparks, but all the tunes are special in their own way. Everything is beautiful. And if you missed The Clorox Girls at Cooper Manor, there’s a pair of songs by them you can listen to while kicking yourself.

Here’s the podcast:

Here’s the ill behavior:

Song                                    Artist
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Side-Swiped (Extended Mix)              Adult
Atomic                                  Blondie
We Come In Peace                        Bobby Conn
Pendulum                                Broadcast
Monument                                Calla
Ghetto Defendent                        The Clash
Golden Boy                              Clorox Girls
Stuck In A Hole                         Clorox Girls
Is That All There Is?                   Cristina
Boys Don't Cry                          The Cure
Sonic Reducer                           Dead Boys
Sleepy Silver Door                      Dead Meadow
Do It!                                  Death From Above 1979
Definitely Clean                        Dream Syndicate
You're My Drug                          Dukes Of Stratosphear
Inductive Resonance                     Fripp, Robert & The League Of Gentlemen
Faith, Hope And Charity                 The Fun Boy Three
Carnival Kids                           The Futureheads
Ether                                   Gang Of Four
Fire Spirit                             The Gun Club
Contort Yourself                        James Chance & The Contortions
People Who Died                         Jim Carroll Band
The Empire Song                         Killing Joke
Like A White Bat In A Box...            Melt Banana
The Glory Of Man                        The Minutemen
Untitled                                Neutral Milk Hotel
Dancing With Myself (Feat. Phoebe)      Nouvelle Vague
Bunker Soldiers                         OMD
Low Life                                Public Image Ltd.
Came Without Warning                    Scream
Moustache                               Sparks
Margerine Melodie                       Stereolab
Slow Motion                             Ultravox
That's The Punch Line                   The Walkmen
Making Plans For Nigel                  XTC

CLOROX GIRLS

Pictures of The Clorox Girls and Kenny and The Flesh up at my FlickR site.

Eric Guillory

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What happened to the Marshall Fannin Blog?

Marshall Fannin

A few of you may have noticed that Monday one of Shreveport-Bossier’s most controversial blogs, The Marshall Fannin Blog, disappeared. Since then, traffic to this blog has more than doubled due to people searching on the term “Marshall Fannin.”

Before the blog went down, Marshall had posted that there would be a “major announcement” on the site at noon Monday. This also came after some really juicy posts about the state’s Democrat and Republican parties.

I e-mailed Marshall asking what was up, and he at first told me he wanted to bring it back, but then said that he wasn't gonna do it. So it goes.