Thursday Reads: Guerrilla Knitting, Scarf Bombing, and Other News

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Good Morning!!

There is quite a bit of interesting news today, so this will basically be a link dump; but first I want to share a feel-good story my mother tipped me off to. It’s about something called “yarn bombing” or more recently “scarf bombing.” I guess this has been going on for a few years, but I had never heard about it before. Here’s an article from last year

Yarn bombing is a form of urban graffiti or street art that uses colorful knitted or crocheted work instead of chalk or paint. To give you an idea of what this form of street art is all about, here’s a piece from a site called “Restore My Faith”: 32 Examples of Guerrilla Knitting. More recently charitable groups and individuals have modified this idea to help needy or homeless people deal with cold weather–by creating “scarf bombs” that they leave tied to trees and other public objects anonymously for anyone who needs them.

Yarn bomb INdy

My mom saw this story on the Indianapolis ABC News channel: Scarf Bomb: Anonymous group leaves warm gear with warm notes around the Circle in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS – Dozens of knitted scarves were ready for the taking Monday on Monument Circle after an anonymous “scarf bombing.”

No one seems to know who left the roughly 40 scarves hanging on poles and parking meters, but there were notes that said they were free to anyone who needed to stay warm….

Knit bombing, or in this case, scarf bombing, has been going on for a couple years now in Indianapolis, and this is one of the first times we’re seeing it as a way to help the homeless and other people in need.

After RTV6 broke this story, a group from LifeJourney Church (located at 56th Street and Keystone Avenue) reached out and let us know earlier this month, it did the same thing.

The group hung scarves and hats it had collected all around Veterans Memorial Plaza. They had notes on them, reading: “These are not lost. If you are cold, and in need of some warmth, please take. God bless you!”

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I found articles about scarf bombing–and sock and glove bombing all over the country and in Canada. I took it as proof that there really is hope for humanity, I hope it will make you feel good too. I’m going to illustrate this post with examples of knitting bombs.

More links about scarf/sock/glove bombing:

Ft. Wayne, IN: Food Not Bombs Organization Holds First “Scarf Bombing” Event.

Lancaster, PA: Wrap Up Lancaster spreads the warmth through scarf-bombing.

Jacksonville, FL: Local woman leaves free winter gear around Jacksonville.

Detroit: Detroit ‘yarn-bombed’ with knit hats and scarves.

Isn’t that a nice story?

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Now for some “real” news.

Net Neutrality Vote

Today is a big day for anyone who wants to keep the internet free instead of allowing cable companies to make maximum profits by letting giant corporations control it. From USA Today: At last, FCC to vote Thursday on net neutrality rules.

After nearly a year-long process, the Federal Communications Commission casts its all-important vote Thursday on the divisive issue of net neutrality.

The five-member board is expected to approve FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s new rules that aim to preserve an open Internet and prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against content makers. But regardless what happens Thursday, the agency’s action won’t be the last word.

“It is a defining moment, but it will be redefined by the courts, Congress and other entities including the marketplace going forward,” said Gary Arlen, a Bethesda, Md., research analyst. “But whatever they decide is going to be a benchmark.”

Net neutrality has become a politicized and polarizing issue in the roughly 10 months since the commission began crafting new rules. The agency’s previous regulations were tossed out by a federal court in January 2014.

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Here’s a good background article from Fusion: The winners and losers of Washington’s vote on net neutrality.

Commissioner Tom Wheeler is proposing that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be regulated in the same way as other common carrier utility services, meaning they won’t be able to give the privilege of a faster Internet to customers and websites that can pay for it.

Earlier this month, Wheeler proposed the new regulations and wrote an op-ed for Wired that translated the bureaucrat-ese into human-speak. He wants to make a fundamental change to how ISPs and Internet traffic are regulated, governing them under Title II of The Communications Act of 1934, and not under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This change would give the government the ability to penalize ISPs for making “any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.” The vote comes down to the decision of five people, two Republicans and three Democrats. If this vote passes (which it’s expected to), it would redefine and incorporate broadband service providers in the same grouping as the telecommunication giants. This would cause Internet providers, including wireless ones, to be regulated the same way cable companies are governed.

This digital tug-of-war on Capitol Hill over net neutrality has been going on for a decade. Whether or not consumers and companies should be charged for a “fast lane” (or condemned to a cost-free slow lane) has caused cable/internet providers and major tech companies to stand on opposite sides of the hill.

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Verizon and Comcast, two of the biggest spenders on lobbyists, both hate the idea of a common carrier utility Internet. Which makes perfect sense, given that these communication providers would be missing a golden opportunity to charge for premium Internet service.

On the other side are companies like Tumblr, which has an ongoing campaign to get people to share their stance on the matter at hand. There’s also Twitter, which released a statement Monday in support of free-flowing information without economic hierarchy.

The main proposals for FCC regulation of the internet:

–  No blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

–  No throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

–  No paid prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration – in other words, no “fast lanes.” This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates under the “commercial reasonableness” part of Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

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Read more at Fusion to get the details on “some big name tech companies, communication providers and politicians’ stances on the topic.”

A few more links:

WaPo, The Switchboard: With net neutrality, the FCC is about to make Internet history.

ProPublica, Net Neutrality May Face an Uphill Battle If History Tells Us Anything.

HuffPo, How We Won Net Neutrality.

Politicio, Keep the Internet Free (by David Karp, founder of Tumblr, “I couldn’t have created Tumblr without net neutrality.”

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In case you missed it, the Guardian broke a big story yesterday by Spencer Ackerman: The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’.

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.

“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

Scary stuff. That is a must-read.

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Here’s today’s follow-up story from Spencer Ackerman, Zach Stafford, Mark Guarino, and Oliver Laughland:

‘Gestapo’ tactics at US police ‘black site’ ring alarm from Chicago to Washington.

The US Department of Justice and embattled mayor Rahm Emanuel are under mounting pressure to investigate allegations of what one politician called “CIA or Gestapo tactics” at a secretive Chicago police facility exposed by the Guardian.

Politicians and civil-rights groups across the US expressed shock upon hearing descriptions of off-the-books interrogation at Homan Square, the Chicago warehouse that multiple lawyers and one shackled-up protester likened to a US counter-terrorist black site in a Guardian investigation published this week.

As a second person came forward to the Guardian detailing her own story of being “held hostage” inside Homan Square without access to an attorney or an official public record of her detention by Chicago police, officials and activists said the allegations merited further inquiry and risked aggravating wounds over community policing and race that have reached as high as the White House.

Caught in the swirl of questions around the complex – still active on Wednesday – was Emanuel, the former chief of staff to Barack Obama who is suddenly facing a mayoral runoff election after failing to win a majority in a contest that has seen debate over police tactics take a central role.

Emanuel’s office refused multiple requests for comment from the Guardian on Wednesday, referring a reporter to an unspecific denial from the Chicago police.

More on Emmanuel’s problems from John Nichols at The Nation: Rahm Emanuel Seemed Unstoppable—Until He Ticked Off Chicago’s Teachers.

Scarf bombing in Winnipeg

Scarf bombing in Winnipeg

In other news . . .

Foreign Policy

The man referred to as Jihadi John has been identified. Reuters UK repoerts, ‘Jihadi John’ from Islamic State beheading videos unmasked as Londoner.

USA Today, Islamic State fighters destroy Iraq antiquities.

Bloomberg Business on the Ukraine crisis, Ukraine Says Truce Takes Hold as Army Begins Weapons Pullback.

Republican Politics

Don’t miss this one from Tim Shorrock at The Nation, Giuliani’s Love for His Country Is Equal to the Money He Makes.

MSNBC.com, CPAC tests GOP 2016 field at a two-day conference in Maryland.

Have you noticed how well Scott Walker seems to be doing in the GOP race? Here’s a must read from John Cassidy at the New Yorker, The Dangerous Candidacy of Scott Walker.

The Daily Beast, Chris Christie Needs a Billion and a Half Bucks.

Gawker, Imagine Chris Christie Falling Out of a Chair, Forever.

Blue Nation Review, Barbara Boxer Hands the GOP Their Butts on A Platter.

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Scary stuff on the Supreme Court and the ACA: 

Politico, Supreme Court ruling could upturn Obamacare politics.

Bloomberg, Is Washington Ready for the Death of Obamacare?

Bloomberg View, How the Supreme Court Could Save Obamacare Again.

Odds and ends:

AP, New round of winter weather dumps more snow on the South.

NBC News, Atlanta, Georgia, Weather: City Tries Orderly Approach to Avoid Repeat of Snow Paralysis.

CNN, Groan with the wind: South gets hit with another winter storm

USA Today, I-95 in Maine partially reopened after 75-vehicle pileup.

Just for MA Sky Dancers, from CBS Boston: David Ortiz Says He And Tom Brady Age Like A Fine Wine.

What stories are you following today?

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24 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Guerrilla Knitting, Scarf Bombing, and Other News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a terrific Thursday everyone!

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Georgia GOP Congressman: My Children Weren’t Vaccinated And They’re Fine

    Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) said at a town hall meeting last week that “most” of his children were not vaccinated yet remained healthy, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper reported Tuesday.

    Loudermilk, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, was hosting a meeting in Cartersville, Georgia, when a constituent claimed that scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had “falsified data” about vaccination safety.

    “I believe it’s a parent’s decision whether to immunize or not,” Loudermilk responded. “Most of our children, we didn’t immunize.”

    “They’re healthy,” he added. (Loudermilk’s campaign website noted he has three grown children.)

    • gregoryp says:

      These people…..these people just need to pick up a book and get some information that is pertinent to this story. Back in the 1800’s how many children made it to adulthood? According to one source I just looked up it is said that 57 out of 100 children died in Victorian England BEFORE their 5th birthday. All I can ask of these people is just to please vaccinate your children for their own protection. No need to have your child die from something fully preventable.

  4. gregoryp says:

    The scarf bombing is a nice gesture but we need much, much more. No excuse for the supposed richest country on the planet to have people walking around hungry, homeless or without medical attention when they need it. No excuse, really. It is just like a significant number of people in this country don’t understand the function of a community, state and country.

  5. Sweet Sue says:

    Great Roundup; thanks, BB.
    So that awful TV show, “Chicago PD” is based on fact. Rahm Emanuel has a lot to answer for.

  6. Beata says:

    I love the scarf bombing. It may seem like just a nice gesture but it also calls public attention to the fact that there are people in these United States who lack basic necessities to keep warm. There have been winters in my life when I was without a hat, gloves, scarf, boots, or warm coat. But kind people helped me to get the clothing I needed. I will always remember that and be grateful. I can crochet and knit so I’m going to start making scarves to give away. A little can mean a lot to someone who has nothing.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Beata. I agree. I think it’s a good thing for efforts like this to get publicity. It shows that not everyone is a selfish, narcissistic libertarian.

      My brother has been working on a documentary about homeless people in Indianapolis. I’ve been helping him with it a little bit–transcribing the script–and I know for a fact there are plenty of homeless people in Indy. The city doesn’t even spend any money on shelters. They depend on private religious and charity organizations to do the heavy lifting. City efforts are mostly focused on harassment from law enforcement.

      • gregoryp says:

        I shudder to think of what is happening to the homeless people where you live. If this winter has been a nightmare for everybody it really must be the worst thing imaginable for people who don’t have anything. Just makes me ill thinking about it.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Boston has a lot of shelters and social workers. I haven’t heard of anyone freezing to death, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s a disgrace that people are homeless in this wealthy country.

        • Beata says:

          We have 2 feet of snow on the ground. Temps are at record-breaking lows. It has been like this for the last few weeks. The snow isn’t melting soon because our temps won’t get above freezing. Ice is expected over the weekend. Volunteers at the homeless shelters are working like crazy to help people stay warm. God bless them.

      • Beata says:

        The homeless problem is terrible in my town. People come here thinking it is a good place to find work only to realize that if jobs are available, they are usually part-time, minimum wage, with no benefits. Add to that, rents are very high here so renting is nearly impossible with a minimum wage job. Area churches have joined together to create winter homeless shelters but the city government does next to nothing. And we are considered a liberal town!

  7. bostonboomer says:

    The FCC vote went as expected!

    Net Neutrality Prevails In Historic FCC Vote

    The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to approve strong net neutrality rules in a stunning decision that defies vocal, months-long opposition by telecom and cable companies and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

    Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn joined Chairman Tom Wheeler to approve a rule that reclassifies consumer broadband as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act.

    The FCC intends to use this new authority to ban “paid prioritization,” a practice whereby Internet service providers can charge content producers a premium for giving users more reliable access to that content. The FCC also intends to ban blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. These regulations also apply to mobile access. More details about the plan are expected after vote.

    • bostonboomer says:

      A few months ago, such rules were considered a pipe dream of net neutrality advocates. Last fall, Wheeler was reportedly still considering a “hybrid” approach to net neutrality that would have made major concessions to telecom and cable companies, who contend that strong regulations will hinder investment and innovation.

      But President Barack Obama came out in support of Title II and tough net neutrality rules in November, and Wheeler had to contend with that position as well as millions of comments from the general public in support of net neutrality. Tech start-ups like Tumblr, as well as Silicon Valley giants like Google, also advocated for strong net neutrality rules.

      The FCC decision is a major loss for Verizon, the company that initially sued the FCC in 2011 over rules that were considerably weaker than the new regulations. The new rules are also likely to be challenged in court.

    • Fannie says:

      Good, Hillary Clinton supported this 110%. Issa is calling for investigation because the democrats have had influence and should be investigated. Asshole, guess he didn’t get the memo, the commission has 5 members, and the President gets to appoint 3 of them.