Thursday Reads: Guerrilla Knitting, Scarf Bombing, and Other NewsPosted: February 26, 2015
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.
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!”
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.
Isn’t that a nice story?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.”
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.
- 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.
Here’s today’s follow-up story from Spencer Ackerman, Zach Stafford, Mark Guarino, and Oliver Laughland:
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.
In other news . . .
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.
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.
Blue Nation Review, Barbara Boxer Hands the GOP Their Butts on A Platter.
Scary stuff on the Supreme Court and the ACA:
Bloomberg View, How the Supreme Court Could Save Obamacare Again.
Odds and ends:
CNN, Groan with the wind: South gets hit with another winter storm
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?