Amnesty International on Thursday issued a series of recommendations to newly elected Honduran President Porfirio Lobo to repair the damage done to human rights since the June 2009 coup d'état, which left hundreds seeking justice. The 13 recommendations include issues relating to investigations into the human rights abuses committed by security forces, rejecting amnesty laws for those responsible for the crimes, training judges on international human rights legislation and setting up an effective witness protection programme....
The president of Southern Poverty Law Center made a statement today on the heels of the SOTU address, in which Pres. Obama pledged a renewed commitment to prosecution of civil rights violations. Richard Cohen said that we need to be sure not to neglect the needs of our nation's youth, some of whom are the subjects of draconian laws (such as zero-tolerance policies) that result in their detention in dangerous facilities. You can read his entire statement here.
Pirates are people too... um, OK. A group calling itself the Somali Pirates wants to contribute its booty to the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Here's my favorite [in English] quote:
"The humanitarian aid to Haiti could not be addressed by the United States and European countries have no moral authority to do so. They are the ones pirating mankind for many years, "said the spokesman Somali.
Wow, good thing the moral pirates are on their way in to right the situation.
On a note of higher value, The Root magazine highlighted an interesting new site, Media Make Change, Inc. Their purpose is to "to support and empower under-served communities through SNEW (SOCIAL + NEW) media technology, literacy, and advocacy". One of their major projects at present is Project Haiti Speaks. They are sending digital equipment to Haiti so that people who are actually affected by the tragedy can get their stories out to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It may seem to some frivolous to consider social media rather than food and water but I think it is important to get unfiltered news out of Haiti, rather than as much filtering as we are subject to and this could actually be very beneficial in the long run.
Not saying here that Hugo Chavez is in line for sainthood or anything but... It looks like Venezuela is about to cancel $167 million in debt owed to it by Haiti. I hope this is for real and that other nations/institutions will follow suit.
John Morton, Asst. Secretary of ICE, gave quite an interesting address at the Migration Policy Institute. He discussed reform of detention centers, including making sure there are federal employees as, essentially, wardens. (This, as opposed to privately run detention centers.) He did make a distinction between criminal detainees and detainees who are just undocumented aliens and said that non-criminal detainees should not be in centers that are jails-like. The entire presentation, including questions and answers is 88 minutes in length but well worth the watch: https://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/291598-1.
Gallup posted an opinion piece on Latin America that indicates people consider themselves socialists but don't necessarily identify with the type of socialism portrayed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: "in most Latin American nations, residents are far more likely to agree that their country is heading toward "a better democracy" than to say it is heading toward "a socialist revolution.". Gallup also says that there is little evidence to suggest that Chavez has poisoned the image of US among Latin Americans. Very interesting article: Opinion Briefing: Latin America’s Leftists: U.S. should respect region’s political leanings, promote accountability.
Because I can:
So, I was trying find a way to subtly give props to my blogging Twitter friend, Will Reichard of Crosscut Communications. He is the author of Technoagita, a blog you should be reading on a regular basis. I could make some vain attempt at literary flattery but it's 10:30 p.m. EST and I'm feeling punchy, so I shall instead dedicate this link to Will's and my shared love of coffee:
A year ago at Christmas, my spousal unit bought me a Keurig K-cup coffeemaker, which I will rave about at some point. I quickly tired of the inventory of K-cups we could acquire at Bed Bath & Beyond and was thrilled to find a company called Coffee for Less, that has every imaginable sort of coffee. They need to stock Chai Latte K-cups, so if someone's reading this, please and thank you. Not only are they great coffee purveyors but savvy with social media and can be found via e-mail, Twitter, and on Facebook. So enamoured am I with them, that their blog is in my RSS feed.
This week, they ran an article on Weasel Coffee (NO reflection on Will - it was the coffee, NOT the weasel, that made me think of him!). The official name of the coffee is Kopi Luwak coffee and it's made from coffee berries that have been ingested and er.. output by an Asian Palm Civet, which is a raccoon-like creature of Southeast Asia. The coffee farmers pick these particular beans because the Civets apparently have a taste for the sweetest ones, thus producing a very high quality coffee. The beans pass through undigested, thank goodness. So, you can read about weasel coffee here (and perhaps buy some yourself - if you are extremely wealthy): https://www.coffeeforlessblog.com/531/kopi-luwak/