Quote of the Day

When you come to a fork in the road, take it. -Yogi Berra

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Six-Word Memoirs

At Terminal 5 with Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band, I witnessed the greatest proposal ever, read by Josh on stage:

I want to wake up with you everyday til I don’t wake up no more.

It’s more than six words, but at SMITH Magazine – home for storytelling, for passion, and inspiration in words – the Six-Word Memoir Project is one of my favorite spaces to find inspiration.

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These Fashion Brands Are Detoxing the Catwalk

How green is your favorite clothing brand?

By Julia Westbrook

The clothing you wear has a larger price tag than what you see when it’s hanging on the rack—it comes with costs to the environment, too. Unsustainable dyeing and processing practices in the fashion industry have had a major impact on water pollution. So, as part of the Detox Catwalk campaign, Greenpeace spent three years cataloging which major fashion brands deliver on their green promises and which are doing the bare minimum.

The main types of chemicals Greenpeace is calling for clothing companies to stop using are alkylphenol etheoxylates (APEOs), phthalates, and PFCs. Many companies have set “acceptable limits” on APEOs, but because these harmful chemicals accumulate in nature, limits don’t fix the problem. Phthalates, used particularly in plastic printed images like those on printed T-shirts, have been linked to all sorts of health problems like asthma and lowered IQ. PFCs are used in stain-resistant clothing and have been tied to thyroid damage.

As a result of its analyses, Greenpeace assigned brands one of three rankings: Detox Leaders, Greenwashers, and Detox Losers:

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Exposing Abuse on the Factory Farm

by The Editorial Board


While most Americans enjoy eating meat, it is hard to stomach the often sadistic treatment of factory-farmed cows, pigs and chickens.

Farm operators know this, and they go to great lengths to hide these gruesome images from the public. A popular tactic pushed lately by the agriculture lobby is the so-called ag-gag law, which makes it a crime to secretly videotape industrial feedlots and slaughterhouses for the purpose of exposing animal mistreatment and abuse.

These laws, on the books in seven states, purport to be about the protection of private property, but they are nothing more than government-sanctioned censorship of a matter of public interest.

On Aug. 3, a federal judge struck down Idaho’s ag-gag law for violating the First Amendment — the first time a court has ruled on such a statute.

Idaho lawmakers passed the bill last year in response to the release of undercover videos taken by Mercy for Animals, an animal-welfare group, at local factory farms. According to the judge’s decision, one showed farm workers “using a moving tractor to drag a cow on the floor by a chain attached to her neck and workers repeatedly beating, kicking and jumping on cows.”

The law’s sponsor complained that the videos exposed the industry to “the court of public opinion,” as though that were a bad thing in a free-market society.

Under the law, a violator, whether a journalist or farm employee, faces up to a year in jail and fines of double the “economic loss” a farm suffers as a result of its abusive practices being made public.

But “food production is not a private matter,” Federal District Judge B. Lynn Winmill wrote in striking down the law. The activists’ undercover methods, he reasoned, “actually advance core First Amendment values by exposing misconduct to the public eye and facilitating dialogue on issues of considerable public interest.”

The judge pointed to the value of undercover investigations on programs like “60 Minutes,” and to one of the earliest and most famous examples of this sort of exposé: “The Jungle,” by Upton Sinclair, who lied to get a job at a Chicago meatpacking plant. The horrors he documented led to major federal food-safety legislation. Under Idaho’s law, Judge Winmill wrote, “Upton Sinclair’s conduct would expose him to criminal prosecution.” As for the state’s interest in protecting private property and business, the judge pointed to existing laws against trespass, fraud and defamation, which do not trample free speech.

In a country that lavishes love and legal protections on house pets, factory-farmed animals are left out in the cold, exempt from almost all animal-cruelty laws. As a result they suffer torture and other mistreatment to a degree that is hard to imagine. The only way to make it stop is to ensure that Americans can see for themselves what goes on behind the factory doors.

The New Times / Sunday Review / Published: August 8, 2015

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In Passing

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen, who play with their boats at sea – “cruising,” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Sterling Hayden // excerpt from autobiography Wanderer
[3.26.1916 – 5.23.1986]

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Whale Whisperers


Diving with a humpback whale and her newborn calf while they cruise around Roca Partida … in the Revillagigedo [Islands], Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life, so we need to accelerate the incorporation of the islands into UNESCO as [a] natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing illegal fishing corporations and big-game fishing. -Photo and caption by Anuar Patjane Floriuk / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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Your Daily Water Use

California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?

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