Scientists, Poets, Changemakers and Heroes (Volunteer Opportunities & Action Alerts)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

There are several “actionable items” – not quite action alerts, but rather opportunities for participation, if that makes sense – I’ve been meaning to share, but just haven’t had the time to blog about in depth. Rather than neglect these projects altogether, here’s a handy-dandy roundup. Please scan through each item and help out where you can; these virtual volunteer opportunities are perfect for activists who have more extra time than they do money!

1. Science

It really chaps my rotund hide when speciesists claim that animal advocates are “anti-science.” Being all diverse and stuff, I’m sure the animal rights and welfare movements are home to a fair share of science-averse humans, but for the most part, we’re hardly anti-science. On the contrary: many of us harness the power of scientific research to demonstrate that veganism is a healthier alternative to “meat” and dairy consumption; that nonhuman animals can experience complex thoughts and emotions; that our exploitation of nonhumans animals is both unnecessary and harmful; etc., etc., etc. (you get the idea). On the whole, I don’t think we’re any more anti-science than our omni counterparts.

Personally, I love science; once upon a time, I wanted to be a clinical psychologist, specializing in anthrozoology and world vegan (then vegetarian, but wev) domination. I still peruse research articles and scientific journals (of a social nature) on occasion, just for the fun of it. No, it’s not science per se that I take issue with. Rather, I object to the imprisonment, torture, killing and exploitation of sentient, non-consenting animals, usually for redundant and frivolous research.

So I’ve become increasingly interested in “vegan” science, particularly in supporting such endeavors whenever possible. For example, I would love to donate my body to science when I die. The thought of spending my “afterlife” rotting away on a body farm somewhere brings a smile to my face; doubly so if my remains can save a nonhuman animal from being birthed, tortured and killed in the name of science. Oooh, Dr. Brennan, pick me, pick me!

Anyhow, when I saw an ad for research volunteers in the latest issue of Best Friends magazine, I immediately fired off an email to Dr. Frank McMillan to see how I might help. He pointed me to five open surveys, all of which are related to studies he’s conducting at Best Friends (as described here):

Dr. Franklin McMillan has been the director of well-being studies at Best Friends since October 2007. As director of well-being studies, Dr. Frank assesses and studies the mental health and emotional well-being of animals who have endured hardship, adversity and psychological trauma. Through these studies, he hopes to learn what the effects of trauma are – the psychological injuries and scars – and how best to treat them in order to restore to these animals a life of enjoyment rather than one of fear and emotional distress.

He is currently conducting such studies on cats from the Great Kitty Rescue in Pahrump, Nevada – an institutionalized hoarding situation – and the fighting dogs taken from the estate of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

(More below the fold…)

In which CNN lowers itself to TMZ’s level.

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Yesterday, when reporting on the LAPD’s leaking of photos of a battered Rihanna to paparazzi site TMZ, CNN acted honorably and chose not to run the photo(s) in question.

KYRA PHILLIPS: It’s a chilling photo involving a story that’s getting tons of buzz and reflecting a growing crisis. But we’re not going to show it to you. And I’ll tell you why in just a moment. LA police are trying to find out who leaked a picture that apparently shows singer Rihanna bruised and battered after an alleged attack by her boyfriend, the singer Chris Brown. It showed up on a celebrity website and you can choose to see the photo at any time. We’re just choosing not to show it to you. And here’s why.

The face on that photo is one of millions of battered faces. Men and women, all races, all classes, all victims. We can’t show you all their faces, but we can push this story forward and try to help you heal the scars. Let’s get past the headlines and straight to the heart of domestic abuse. At the bottom of the screen we’re showing numbers for the National Domestic Violence Hotline where you can report abuse or get help. Also here to help, our guest, Sheryl Cates, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline which has taken millions of calls. Good to see you, Cheryl.*

Oh, what a difference a day makes! Today, during the 1 o’clock hour,** CNN backtracked and aired the photo – while explaining that law enforcement policy usually precludes releasing the identities of (alleged) victims of domestic violence, let alone releasing photos of their injuries. They go on to speculate that the paparazzi must have bribed someone in the department in order to illegally obtain the photo(s)…as a photo of an obviously bruised Rihanna occupies the top 1/6th of their video screen!

No fucking shame.***

(More below the fold…)

SSDD

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

During their one o’clock hour, CNN highlighted these top three “most popular” stories:

2009-02-17 - CNN Top Stories - 0008

From top to bottom, the screenshot reads

1. Islamic TV Founder Accused of Beheading;

2. Teen Girl Found Dead in Army Barracks; and

3. Chinese Mistress Contest Turns Tragic

Here we have three cases of violence against women; most, if not all, of which involve some degree of sexualized violence, as well.

Upping the ante, the ticker simultaneously reads “Slain actress found dark side of Hollywood dream.”

Sigh. Same shit, different day.

The only shocking aspect of CNN’s “most popular story” roll call is that Tony Harris was able to report on it without cracking a joke about sexual assault.

CNN Heroes: Nominate a Hero for the Animals in 2009

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

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Okay, okay, last contest for today – promise!

I’ve blogged about the CNN Heroes project in years past. Whereas I was under the impression that it was a one-time contest (with a one-time sequel in ’08), it appears that CNN plans on holding the Heroes contest annually. You can nominate a Hero any time throughout the year; at least, until CNN selects the year’s finalists and opens up viewer voting. I was unable to find a definitive timeline on the Heroes website, but nominations for 2009 are now open.

The process is rather straightforward: simply fill out this form and submit it online. You’ll need to know your Hero personally, at least well enough to provide full contact info. There are a few essay-type questions as well, with a cumulative 500 word maximum.

Your Hero must belong to one of seven categories:

1. Championing Children — Commitment to the welfare of young people.
2. Community Crusader — Creating solutions to a local program or social issue.
3. Defending the Planet — Innovative efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
4. Everyday Superhero — Spontaneous acts of courage in the face of danger by members of the public.
5. Medical Marvel — Dedication to the enhancement of human health.
6. Protecting the Powerless — Advancing the cause of human or equal rights.
7. Young Wonder — Outstanding achievement by a person 25 and under.

An animal advocate might “fit” in several of these groups. For example, someone working to trap, neuter and release feral cats may be a “community crusader,” inasmuch as she is finding non-traditional solutions to a community problem (e.g., companion animal overpopulation and feral cats). Activists who focus on whale protection are “defending the planet.” “Medical Marvels” could include scientists or activists who use (or encourage the use of) humane research methods. And so on.

If you know someone who is working to better the world for non-human (and human) animals in 2009, share their story with CNN today. It’d be great to see one or more animal advocates make the cut in 2009! And keep checking back for updates – I’ll let y’all know when voting’s open for the 2009 finalists.

If you do nominate a Hero, drop us a line in the comments – I’d love to hear about him or her!

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iReport your Veg*n Journey to Change

Friday, December 5th, 2008

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CNN wants your iReports about healthy lifestyle changes in 2009:

CNN is looking for iReporters who want to make a journey to change.

Are you contemplating making a healthy change to your life in 2009? Whether you’d like to lose weight, eat healthier, stop smoking or reduce stress, we want to hear from you.

Put your New Year’s resolution on video and tell us why it’s an important goal. Your story could be featured on CNN.

Why not vlog about the joys of veg*nism? Veg*nism is good for your health, good for the animals, good for the environment – and even good for the health of others, as it uses far fewer resources than diets consisting of animal flesh and secretions.

Even if your iReport isn’t featured on-air, it lets the folks at CNN know that veg*ns are out there, watching and participating.

And if your video is aired on CNN – bonus!

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Condoleezza Rice, Powerpuff Girl

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Or perhaps she’s more of a Pussycat Doll, what with her sexxxay black knee-highs?

No matter. CNN’s prepubescent headline writers are at it again:

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That’s U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, meeting with The Women Leaders’ Working Group in NYC last Thursday.

The headline CNN chose for its coverage?

“GIRL POWER!” With, like, an exclamation point and everything. POW!

As described on the U.S. Department of State’s website,

The Women Leaders’ Working Group was created in 2006 to ensure issues such as women’s political and economic empowerment, education and access to justice are international priorities. The group’s strategic objective is to institutionalize high-level dialogue and action on women’s empowerment activities, highlight U.S. progress on the Working Group’s priorities, and showcase precise ways in which women leaders have actually made a difference. […]

Participants in the meeting include: President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet; President of the Republic of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; President of the Republic of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen; United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Senior Advisor for Women’s Empowerment, Shrin Tahir-Kheli. Many other women Foreign Ministers will participate, including representatives from: Afghanistan; Iraq; Gabon; Greece; Yemen; and Pakistan.

Bravo, CNN. Way to infantalize and dismiss some the world’s most powerful women, who were in NY to discuss such “trivial” matters as combating the epidemic of violence against women. Nice. Fucking. Job.

And I have to say, anchor Kyra Phillips and correspondent Zain Verjee didn’t do much better than Prepubescent Headline Writer, what with all their chatter about fashion, clothing and cutesy empowerful nicknames such as “diplo-babe.” I doubt that they would have been trading designers had they been covering an all-male or mixed-gender conference. Yeesh.

Transcript after the jump.

(More below the fold…)

So that makes the hymen a child-proof cap?

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Just when I start thinking that Larry King couldn’t possibly get any denser…well, just check it:

KING: OK. A strange story.

We begin here in Los Angeles with Davida Kelley, a former member of the Children of God. It’s now called Family International. She was raised in the household of that sect’s now dead leader, David Berg, whom she says sexually abused her.

Also here is Amy Bril, a former member of the Children of God. She was summoned to the household of David Berg as a young child and married to him at age 13. […]

KING: At what age were you first tampered with?

Yes, “tampered with”. Because the human body is like a Tylenol bottle, and sexual assault is similar to fiddling with the safety packaging on an unopened package of aspirin.

King returns to this clumsy euphemism for “rape” several times throughout the interview:

KING: And Ricky, Davida, he killed, what, the person who was his nanny?

KELLEY: Yes. She was one of many nannies who…

KING: Tampered with him.

KELLEY: Yes, when he was a child.

Remember, we’re talking about child rape and sexual exploitation. “Tampering” doesn’t even begin to describe the horror of what these children (now adults) endured. You “tamper” with a toilet and a roll of Saran Wrap on April Fool’s Day in order to pull a prank on your younger sibling. To refer to ritualized, lifelong sexual abuse and exploitation as “tampering” is to minimize, deny and obscure the realities of what actually took place.

FYI, though King does use the terms “sexual assault” and “sexual abuse” several times throughout the interview, the word “rape” does not appear once – not once! – in the entire, hour-long transcript. Go figure.

Wherein CNN equates sexual assault with lust.

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Dear CNN Misogynist Douchebags Clueless Fuckwits, including but not limited to Tony Harris –

I cannot say why you saw fit to change your description of a sexual assault, perpetrated by six douchebag cops on a seemingly drunk and vulnerable woman, from SLINKY BABE + 6 COPS = TROUBLE” to “BEHAVING BADLY: POLICE STATION’S LUSTFUL LOBBY”, however, I have no illusions that you did so because this uppity cunt “fired off” a complaint to you last night. I don’t get the impression that you much care what your female viewership thinks about your “reporting” and “journalism.” Cunty 4 Hills, am I right bitchez?

2008-02-08 - CNN LOLZ Sexual Assault - 0002

Either way, you are a bunch of clueless fuckwits, particularly if you think that this morning’s headline is any better than last night’s. They both make an LOL out of a sexual assault situation, and while “SLINKY BABE + 6 COPS = TROUBLE” clearly blames the victim for her assault, “BEHAVING BADLY: POLICE STATION’S LUSTFUL LOBBY” implies that the assault was a simple case of horndogs behaving badly, rather than abusing their power by violating someone whom they’re supposed to be protecting. Wrong, wrong, fuck you, wrong, and did I say fuck you?

And are we sure that Tony Harris isn’t a closet MRA? Here he is, laughing after the segment aired on the CNN “Newsroom” this morning.

2008-02-08 - CNN LOLZ Sexual Assault - 0004

I mean holy shit, he can Barely! Hold! It! In!

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ROTFL!!!1!!111!!!

Normal people don’t usually see sexual assault and gross abuses of power as occasions for a good tee-hee!. At least Heidi Collins looked sufficiently pissed off. Next time call him on his misogyny, sister.

With even lower regards than last night,

– Some sour cunt

PS – Liberal media my ass. CNN = Faux News Lite.

Drunk Slut + 6 Coppers = Wacky Rape Hijinx! LOLXXX!

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Dear CNN Misogynist Douchebags –

On today’s edition of CNN Headline News’ Prime News, anchor Richelle Carey reported on an incident in which an apparently inebriated woman was sexually assaulted by six police officers. From the report, I gather that the woman sought refuge in the police station while waiting for a ride in the wee hours of the morning. I guess she didn’t want to be manhandled by some creep on the street. (Ha! The joke is on her, am I right!?) The “headline” that graced the screen during the entire segment read “SLINKY BABE + 6 COPS = TROUBLE”.

No, really. See:

2008-02-07 - In Which CNN Victim Blames - 0006

Do I really need to explain to you how incredibly vile it is to refer to a sexual assault victim as a “SLINKY BABE”, not to mention, sexual assault itself as “TROUBLE”? RLY!?

As a police officer is yanking this whore who was clearly asking for it poor woman’s skirt “up to her waist” (in yer own words), you are literally screaming (LITERALLY! SCREAMING!) “SLINKY BABE + 6 COPS = TROUBLE” at the victim and the audience.

The headline may as well have read, “Drunk Slut + 6 Cops = Wacky Rape Hijinx! LOLZ!”

Anywho, after firing off a complaint letter to Prime News, I clicked through your site in search of further details on the story. Prior to this, I thought – hoped – that the insensitive, victim-blaming, assault-denying headline was the work of a lone closet MRA intern at CNN. However, when I located the story – appropriately filed in the “crime” section of CNN’s news stories – I was aghast at the story’s online headline:

cnn-primenews-2008-02-07

Cop shop hanky panky caught on camera.

Even the URL got in on the action: cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/02/07/sexy.pics.at.police.station.wndu

Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck. Those crazy coppers, fondling drunken hotties down at the station! What will they think of next? Forced tag team anal/oral/vaginal penetration? Maybe a six-spouted golden shower? Who knows! Sure to be plenty o’ LOLZ, though!

You. Make. Me. Sick.

Lowest regards.

– Women everywhere

“Do you know who I am?”

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Ouch. Almost painful as when Larry asked Jon Stewart if he preferred the devastation wrought by the Bushies…because, ya know, it’s great fodder for TDS skits.

Do YOU Know a Hero?

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

If so, CNN invites you to nominate him or her for their Hero Awards:

Do you know someone who should receive a CNN Hero Award? Click on the link below, tell us a bit about yourself and your Hero, pick a category, and tell us why your Hero should win. The most outstanding entries will be revealed at The CNN Hero Awards, a December broadcast hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Among the listed categories is one that’s well-suited for readers of this blog: Defending the Planet. Hello, greenies! On the flip side, I’m not sure whether animal advocacy would mesh with this obviously environmental grouping…but there do seem to be some opportunities for slipping animal activists into some of the other categories. For example, crusaders against animal abuse would be perfect for “Fighting for Justice”, and younger activists of any stripe can be nominated as a “Young Wonder”. Plus, we all know what an animal lover the Silver Fox ™ is – let’s just hope he’ll be helping judge the entries. So get creative already!

And if you’re super-creative (and, um, geeky), here’s an extra credit assignment:

Tell us: What does it take to be a hero?

What are the qualities that make someone a hero? Send us a video telling us what you think. Start with the words: “A hero is…” The rest is up to you!

Right now I’m totally loving me some Sgt. Carri Lucas, Senator Sheila Kuehl, and activist pattrice jones. Problem is, I don’t actually know any of them personally. So if on the off-chance you do, do me a favor and give ’em a shout out for me.

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Media Matters: Global Warming – CNN has crossed the line…

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Via Media Matters:

Global Warming – CNN has crossed the line…

On May 2, CNN Headline News aired the special Exposed: The Climate of Fear. The program was hosted by Glenn Beck, whose long history of factual distortions on global warming has been well documented by Media Matters. (Read more about the special.)

Use the following contact information to tell CNN that this issue is too important to get the facts wrong and mislead the American people.

CNN
One CNN Center
Box 105366
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-827-1500
Fax: 404-827-1906

Read more…

Beck’s global warming special dominated by industry-funded “experts,” serial misinformers

CNN’s Beck: A Climate of Smear

CNN host channeled Beck on global warming: “[T]he cause and how we can help is something that is up for debate”

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DawnWatch: Anderson Cooper on animals — 3/19 — 3/21/07 Please send thanks.

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Mar 21, 2007 2:01 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Anderson Cooper on animals — 3/19 — 3/21/07 Please send thanks.

Photo via jvoves

Thank heavens for CNN’s Anderson Cooper. As he covered the Tsunami, he included the plight of the animals. He covers the effect of war on animals. And after Katrina hit, more than any other reporter, he kept us abreast of the animal situation. This week, as he covers the horror of trafficking in Thailand, naturally he has not forgotten the animals.

His website promo for tonight’s show, Wednesday, March 21, is:

“See the soft underbelly of an ugly black market where endangered animals and animal parts are illegally purchased. A shocking look through the lens of our hidden camera. We’re live from Southeast Asia tonight, 10 ET.”

He already started to explore the issue on Monday. Here is some of the transcript from that coverage:

“On the weekend, in Bangkok’s Jatujak Market, you can find every kind of animal for sale. Most of the trade is legal. But, among these shops and stalls, there is a far more sinister trade as well: wildlife traffickers buying and selling endangered and threatened species. Using an undercover camera, we discover in one store endangered tortoises smuggled in from Madagascar. Here are rare marmosets and lemurs, in this cage, a slow loris, a primate nearly drive to extinction in Thailand.

(More below the fold…)

DawnWatch: Heather Mills (McCartney) on Larry King Live tonight 3/20/07

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Mar 20, 2007 2:14 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Heather Mills (McCartney) on Larry King Live tonight 3/20/07

Thanks to David Sickles for the heads up that Heather Mills (previously McCartney) will be on CNN’s Larry King Live tonight, Tuesday March 20, 9pm ET (6pm PT live, repeating at 9pm PT). As Heather has stayed actively involved in animal rights issues, it is likely that they will come up on the show. She has been working with the group Viva, in the UK, to publicize the housing of pigs in gestation crates. (See UK Daily Mail story at http://tinyurl.com/2kno4f.)

As Larry King Live takes viewer questions via both the phone and email, the chances of animal issues being discussed on the show are greatly improved if many of us email Heather questions on those issues — and call if we can get through. (I believe the call in number is 1-800-676-2100)

(More below the fold…)

DawnWatch: CNN covers ASPCA’s "Mission Orange" to end killing of adoptable animals 1/15/07

Monday, January 15th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Jan 15, 2007 12:15 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: CNN covers ASPCA’s “Mission Orange” to end killing of adoptable animals 1/15/07

On Sunday, January 14, CNN ran a story on the ASPCA’s new campaign, “Mission Orange.”

The ASPCA describes the campaign as follows:

“In a nutshell, ASPCA Mission: Orange is a focused effort to create a country of humane communities, one community at a time. As we enter our 141st year, the ASPCA is proud to partner with target animal welfare and community organizations around the country to launch this effort, where animals receive the compassion and respect due to them as sentient beings, and where there is no more unnecessary euthanasia of adoptable animals simply because of a lack of resources or awareness.”

You can learn more about the campaign here.

You can watch the CNN story, reported by Ali Velshi, on line at http://tinyurl.com/umvyx.

Please take just a moment to thank CNN, thereby letting the station know that stories on animal protection issues are of interest to their viewers and appreciated. Positive feedback will encourage similar coverage in the future.

CNN takes comments at: http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form1.html?39.

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited — leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line.)

To discontinue DawnWatch alerts go to http://www.DawnWatch.com/nothanks.php

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