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If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.

But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.

So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.

Let’s Call Climate Change What It Really Is—Violence | Alternet (via guerrillamamamedicine)

Former Miss Kentucky comes out as queer



A former Miss Kentucky winner came forward as queer this past week as a response to a court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. She was Miss Kentucky in 2010 and finished in the top 10 in the Miss America pageant the next year. 

I can’t do justice to her words with a summary, so here’s the best of it:

“I am queer,” wrote Djuan Trent on in a recent post on her blog, Life in 27. She then reported hearing many antigay comments in the wake of the federal judge’s ruling.

“What has prompted my writing today has been my questioning people’s constant assumption that a) I am hetero and b) I concur with their views,” she said.

It’s obvious to people who meet her that she’s black and a woman, she commented, “but sometimes, I forget to put the ‘QUEER’ stamp on my forehead on my way out the door in the mornings. So, on the mornings that I forget my stamp, I have realized that there is really no way for people to know that I disagree with their views or, even more so, to know that they are talking about me, unless I actually open my mouth and say it.”

She went on, “Ideally, I would love to one day live in a society where coming out is no longer necessary because we don’t make assumptions about one another’s sexuality and homophobia is laid to rest.” But society is not there yet, so she calls on others to make their presence known: “People can’t know that their best friend, brother, sister, co-worker, neighbor, news anchor, favorite singer, or local coffee shop barista is being oppressed and denied the rights [of] their heterosexual counterparts … unless you open your mouth and say it.”

You know what my favorite part of this is? “I am queer.” How often does anyone say that so bravely in the public eye? Congratulations to her! 

Congrats on being true to yourself, Djuan!

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