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First, let me begin this post by admitting that I had never heard of the term “slacktivism” until 10 minutes ago, when I decided to google “ice bucket challenge” because I had no idea why people all over the internet are voluntarily soaking themselves in a bucket of cold water.  Wikipedia explained that this self-induced torture was for a cause, and that soaking yourself is in lieu of donating to an ALS charity.   How is it that pouring water on yourself supports ALS?  Honestly, I have no idea, I suppose the ice bucket supporters believe they are giving ALS positive publicity.  My honest response is that this ice bucket thing is pretty slackerish.  The wikipedia article then proceeded to link all social media campaigns that remain in the digital realm as slacktivism and I had to admit to myself that this definition includes my facebook blog page and blog.  Although I concede that signing an online petition or posting political ideas to encourage discourse isn’t the same thing as maintaining a grassroots social or political movement, it does count for something, and it has the potential to impact others.  If we are all on social media the majority of the time, why not initiate or continue topics of discussion that shape our lives?  Personally, I would like to balance my random thoughts, pics of my son, family, and friends, selfies, and food posts with bigger societal issues.  It may not be appreciated by all, but it is a reflection of how my mind works and therefore a worthwhile endeavor, especially if it inspires collective action.  On the other hand, if I really want to affect change, it won’t be done while I sit on the couch.

Excerpt via Wikipedia

slacktivism (sometimes slactivism or slackervism) is a portmanteau of the words slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it take satisfaction from the feeling they have contributed. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. The underlying assumption being promoted by the term is that these low cost efforts substitute for more substantive actions rather than supplementing them, although this assumption has not been borne out by research.[1]

Slacktivist activities include signing Internet petitions,[2] joining a community organization without contributing to the organization’s efforts, copying and pasting of social network statuses or messages or altering one’s personal data or avatar on social network services. Research is beginning to explore the connection between the concept and modern activism/advocacy, as groups are increasingly using social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.[3]

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS describes the term “slacktivist”, saying it “posits that people who support a cause by performing simple measures are not truly engaged or devoted to making a change”.[4]

Despite the pejorative connotation of the term, a recent correlational study conducted by Georgetown University entitled “The Dynamics of Cause Engagement” determined that so-called slacktivists are indeed “more likely to take meaningful actions.”[9] Notably, “slacktivists participate in more than twice as many activities as people who don’t engage in slacktivism, and their actions “have a higher potential to influence others.”[9] Cited benefits of slacktivism in achieving clear objectives include creating a secure, low cost, effective means of organizing that is environmentally friendly.[10]These “social champions” have the ability to directly link social media engagement with responsiveness, leveraging their transparent dialogue into economic, social or political action.[1] Going along this mindset is Andrew Leonard, a staff writer at Salon, who published an article on the ethics of smartphones and how we use them. Though the means of producing these products go against ethical human rights standards, Leonard encourages the use of smartphones on the basis that the technology they provide can be utilized as a means of changing the problematic situation of their manufacture. The ability to communicate quickly and on a global scale enables the spread of knowledge, such as the conditions that corporations provide to the workers they employ, and the result their widespread manufacturing has on globalization. Leonard argues that phones and tablets can be effective tools in bringing about change through slacktivism, because they allow us to spread knowledge, donate money, and more effectively speak our opinions on important matters.[11]

Yet skepticism of slacktivism’s value certainly exists. Particularly, some argue that it entails an underlying assumption that all problems can be seamlessly fixed using social media, and while this may be true for local issues, slacktivism could prove ineffective for solving global predicaments.[12] A 2009 NPR piece by Morozov asked whether “the publicity gains gained through this greater reliance on new media [are] worth the organizational losses that traditional activist entities are likely to suffer, as ordinary people would begin to turn away from conventional (and proven) forms of activism.”[13]

Criticism of slacktivism often involves the idea that internet activities are ineffective, and/or that they prevent or lessen political participation in real life. However, as many studies on slacktivism relate only to a specific case or campaign, it is difficult to find an exact percentage of slacktivist actions that reach a stated goal. Furthermore, many studies also focus on such activism in democratic or open contexts, whereas the act of publicly liking, RSVPing or adopting an avatar or slogan as one’s profile picture can be a defiant act in authoritarian or repressive countries. The Western-centric nature of the critique of slacktivism discounts the impact it can have in authoritarian or repressive contexts.[14][15] Journalist Courtney C. Radsch argues that even such low level of engagement was an important form of activism for Arab youth before and during the Arab Spring because it was a form of free speech, and could successfully spark mainstream media coverage, such as when a hashtag becomes “a trending topic [it] helps generate media attention, even as it helps organize information. The power of social media to help shape the international news agenda is one of the ways in which they subvert state authority and power.”[16] In addition, studies suggest that “fears of Internet activities supplanting real life activity are unsubstantiated,” in that they do not cause a negative or positive effect on political participation.[17]

Malcolm Gladwell, in his October 2010 New Yorker article,[18] lambasted those who compare social media “revolutions” with actual activism that challenges the status quo ante. He argued that today’s social media campaigns can’t compare with activism that takes place on the ground, using the Greensboro sit-ins as an example of what real, high-risk activism looks like. “As the historianRobert Darnton has written, “The marvels of communication technology in the present have produced a false consciousness about the past—even a sense that communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television and the Internet.” But there is something else at work here, in the outsized enthusiasm for social media. Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social upheaval in American history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is.[19] In response to his criticism, Mirani argues that he might be right if activism is defined only as sit-ins, taking direct action, and confrontations on the streets. However, if activism is about arousing awareness of people, changing people’s minds, and influencing opinions across the world, then ‘the revolution will be indeed be tweeted’,[20] ‘hashtagged’,[21] and ‘YouTubed’.[22] In a March 2012 Financial Times article, referring to efforts to address the on-going violence related to the Lord’s Resistance Army, Matthew Green wrote that the slactivists behind the Kony 2012 video had “achieved more with their 30-minute video than battalions of diplomats, NGO workers and journalists have since the conflict began 26 years ago.”[23]

A study looking at college students found only a small positive correlation of those that engage online in politics on Facebook with those that engage off of it. Those who did engage only did so by posting comments and other low forms of political participation confirming the slacktavism theoretical model.[24]

Still, others keep a slightly optimistic outlook on the possibilities of slacktivism while still acknowledging the pitfalls that come with this digital form of protest. Zeynep Tufekci, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina and a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, analyzed the capacity of slacktivism to influence collective group action in a variety of different social movements in a segment of the Berkman Luncheon Series. She acknowledges that digital activism is a great enabler of rising social and political movements, and it is an effective means of enabling differential capacity building for protest. However, she argues that the enhanced ability to rally protest is accompanied by a weakened ability to actually impact, as slacktivism avoids building the protest to the next level needed in order to bring about change.[25]

In Western societies, where the means for real action-based activism may be openly available, slacktivism may seem annoying to more traditional activists who demean the perceived low-effort and ineffective actions taken by couch activists; people who themselves are neither activists nor slacktivists, and also do not claim to be, may perceive slacktivists as “do-gooders” who try to elevate themselves morally, while in reality achieving nothing more than the non-slacktivist.[


Hong Kong Suspect Meat

Excuse me governments of the world, big corporations, and regulatory agencies, how is serving the world over expired meats and lying about how the food is produced not considered criminal? I mean really. The human right to decent, quality food is quite basic and we, my friends, are being sold trash. Quite literally. The latest news that OSI is distributing expired meat supplied by Chinese manufacturer Shanghai Husi is beyond disturbing. Allegations of donkey and fox meat being mixed in with McDonald’s supposed beef patties have also arisen. Still craving Mickey D’s?? At this point, I’m convinced we all need to be growing our own food and at the least, hitting the local markets.

via the Guardian

The parent company of a scandal-hit Chinese food supplier said it is withdrawing all products made by the subsidiary.

Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, owned by Illinois-based OSI Group LLC, is at the centre of a major food safety scandal, which has spread from China to Hong Kong and Japan, over allegations it mixed fresh and expired meat.

In a statement posted on its website late Saturday, OSI Group said it would “withdraw from the marketplace” all products made by Shanghai Husi, and that it was conducting an internal investigation into current and former senior management.

It vowed to take “swift and decisive action” including legal measures against those responsible for the scandal, and said a new management team would be brought to China.

Han Zheng, Shanghai’s Communist Party boss, said on Sunday afternoon that regulators must toughen oversight, and that authorities would investigate both people and institutions responsible for the scandal.

“In Shanghai, no matter what company, if it breaks the law, they must be punished severely according to the law,” Han said, in remarks carried by state media.

Regulators in Shanghai said on Saturday that Husi had forged production dates on smoked beef patties and then sold them after they expired. OSI Group said it would fully cooperate with Chinese regulators.

Chinese police have detained five people as part of the investigation.

The scandal, which has dragged in global food brands including McDonald’s Corp, KFC-parent Yum Brands Inc and Starbucks Corp, was triggered by a local television report last week showing staff at Shanghai Husi using long-expired meat. The report also alleged the firm forged production dates.

Food safety has been a big concern for Chinese consumers after dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine sickened many thousands and led to the deaths of six infants in 2008.

Amazing piece. I only wish I knew what the thought process behind it was; colors are striking and shapes are juxtaposed. Could it be that the pink elephant replaces the white elephant in the room?!!

Matt on Not-WordPress, mostly photos


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The best pet I ever had was a pit bull.  Teko was my loyal protector and companion for 12+ years and had the sweetest disposition of any dog you could ever meet. He followed me from room to room, hung on  my every word, and was gentle with kids;  especially my infant son.  I trusted him completely. 

 In light of the sharp rise of deaths as a result of pitbull attacks in the past year, my sensibilities lead me to question if perhaps pitbulls are in fact more vicious than any other breed. My experience with my Teko is not unusual, I know plenty of sweet, docile, and loving pits, but the sad truth is that way too many ignorant people covet these dogs just because of their physical strength and intentionally train them to be killers.  I can’t tell you how many times Teko and I were approached by folks wanting me to sell him, stud him out, or fight him.  The sad truth is, there are far too many people out there that simply can’t be trusted with these animals.  Like so much in life, these animals are a reflection of their owners and environment, and sadly there are a lot of angry, disillusioned, and ignorant souls out there who pose a threat to everyone else. Image.


story below from Atlanta  local news

For the second time in less than a week, a loose pit bull in the Atlanta area has led to the death of a Georgia teen.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that last night, a 17-year-old teen from Riverdale was killed when he was struck by a car while attempting to flee from an unleashed pit bull.

Around 1 a.m. Saturday morning, the Fulton County Police Department said, Davon Juggetts exited a bus near Old National Highway and Hillside Road. He was immediately chased by a pit bull, which forced him to run into traffic. Both the teen and the pit bull were struck by oncoming vehicles, and both died at the scene.

Last week, 13-year-old Demonta Collins died when he was struck by a car while attempting to flee a pit bull. That dog’s owner, Robyn Gledhill, was issued a citation for violating the state’s leash law.

In neither case was the driver of the vehicle that struck the teen charged.

Fulton County, Georgia is a focal point in the effort to have pit bulls banned. In February, Angela Rutledge led a rally in favor of legislation that would ban the breed. In August of 2012, her own pit bull mauled her 2-year-old son, Beau, to death.

“You hear about dogs fighting, and you hear this dog is an aggressive breed, but a lot of people, me included, are like, ‘Well no, I’ve had this dog since she was a baby, She’s a sweetheart,’” Rutledge told WSB-TV at the rally.

Georgia State Rep. Keisha Waites is currently working up legislation that would ban the breed.

Watch video of the rally below.


Snowden has recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Do you think he is a deserving candidate? I’m on the fence. Edward Snowden has sprung to infamy since blowing the whistle on the NSA’s spying policies, and he has both strong critics and staunch supporters. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle, not sure if he is really a hero or criminal. One interesting report I heard asserted that he was a narcissist, primarily because his release of information to the media and public was reckless and failed to consider the impact on our country’s security. On the other hand, there is no question that Snowden’s revelations have informed us of overally aggressive spying policies that our country has been implementing. Phone taps and holding cellphone records of millions in the name of protecting our security id ludicrous, and more to the point, doesn’t our country have a responsibility to protect our civil liberties?

More about the nomination:

Mr Snowden has been nominated by two Norwegian MPs for the Nobel Peace Prize, a gong the President himself won in 2009.

Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen said on Wednesday the public debate and policy changes “in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

Mr Snowden, who had worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency, made global headlines beginning in June last year when he unleashed revelation after revelation about government snooping in various countries.

His releases sparked diplomatic grumbles aplenty. One of the more problematic was the revelation that US spies tapped the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal mobile phone.

In pictures: Most controversial Nobel Peace Prize nominees

Having fled the USA, initially for Hong Kong, he is currently in Russia under temporary asylum, though there have been hints that he could return to his native US, where the government deems him a criminal, under a plea bargain.

Late last year he was pipped to another august title – that of Time magazine’s Person of the Year, which Pope Francis won.

Does anyone else find it  disturbing that the preliminary coverage of the 2014 President Address spent minutes discussing the inane reality television show “Duck Dynasty”?  I do, and at the same moment, I’m equally thankful that President Obama began his speech discussing teachers, working parents, and small business owners! Now is the time to pay attention; our country is at a crossroads!!

I too, am guilty of not dedicting enough time to my blog and writing on a consistent basis. Taking time out to express myself is my Christmas present to myself! Anyone that actually takes the time to listen or support is an added bonus. 🙂