links for 2011-02-08

  • "Tensions are rising between India and China over a variety of issues, including Tibet. Sophisticated hackers, traced to China, have penetrated computer systems in Dharamsala and at Indian government ministries. China has long blamed Tibetan exiles in India for fueling instability across the border in Tibet. But now India, too, seems more wary of Tibetan activities; the Indian police are investigating new Tibetan monasteries near the border for possible ties to China, a police official said….Indian suspicions about the Karmapa are a particular problem. He has a global following and, at 25 years old, he is viewed as a potential future leader of the movement — a possibility deeply compromised if Indian authorities consider him a foreign agent."
  • "One of the large exporters of agricultural products, which the national government is investigating for tax evasion, was exploiting the slave labor of adults and children brought in from norther provinces. It housed them in sheet-metal trailors, in which twenty would sleep crowded together. The work day was ten hours long, including Christmas day, under the sun, with no electric lights and no drinking water except what they carried in buckets. They could not leave the property they were working on nor did they know how much they would be paid. Pay was put off until the last day of the informal contract, since they were not registered. Meanwhile, money was subtracted for everything they consumed at such exorbitant rates that they never had any accrued salary left…[t]he provincial minister of labor, Óscar Cuartango, said the events uncovered approached crimes against humanity.
  • "For too many Egyptians, sub-Saharan Africa is a stereotypical exotic land of thick jungles and masses of poor, starving and black-skinned savages. Ironically, a little more than a generation ago, Cairo was the nerve center for the continent's liberation movement. Today the state-controlled media devote scant attention to the affairs of the continent below the Sahara. Even the occasional visit by a head of state from sub-Saharan Africa is greeted with smiles by snickering Egyptian government officials, especially when African visitors choose to wear their national dress."
  • "But in 1957, when this mezzo-soprano from a small East Texas town was cast opposite a white male student in a University of Texas, Austin, opera production, that was just as controversial. Suddenly Ms. Conrad was thrust into the drama of the larger struggle for civil rights. Her story is now the subject of 'When I Rise,' a documentary scheduled to have its national television premiere on PBS’s 'Independent Lens' on Tuesday night. (Check local listings.)"

    "Objecting to Ms. Conrad’s casting, segregationists in the Texas Legislature threatened to withhold state financing from the university. University officials yanked Ms. Conrad from the production — Henry Purcell’s 'Dido and Aeneas' — replacing her with a white student. After the incident made headlines, Harry Belafonte stepped in, promising to pay for Ms. Conrad’s music education anywhere in the world if she chose to leave Texas. Instead, she stayed."

  • "Did you see the Super Bowl commercial giving us the first glimpse of footage from the new Captain America movie? Marvel Comics' star-spangled, shield-slinging superhero hits the big screen this summer in Captain American: The First Avenger. It's kind of fun to see Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, and his transformation from short, scrawny recruit into full-fledged Super Soldier.

    "What I wasn't expecting was to see an Asian face. But wait a minute."

  • "When we think of Michelle Obama lately, we think of gardens, school lunch, 'Let’s Move!'… all that. The public assigns this 'she’s trying to convert us all to being healthy' halo to her, and therefore everything she aligns herself with therefore is assigned an 'surely this is healthy, otherwise Michelle Obama wouldn’t be associated with it' halo. To believe that Walmart isn’t benefitting from that right now would be naive. Aligning herself – personally – with Wal-mart in this fashion passes on a halo to a corporation that hasn’t even done anything yet… and what they offered up as ideal? Questionable at best."
  • "For so many women, the biggest faith struggle of their life has been 'believing God for a mate.' Year after year, these women serve, pray, and live chaste, believing that God just requires more faith, or alternately, that God is still working on them. And the Black church, in its refusal to consider the impact of over-incarceration, poor education, underemployent, violence, and AIDS, on Black families and heterosexual Black marriages, only makes it worse by reinforcing Black women’s feelings of personal and relational inadequacy. The Church’s parochial sexual politics and double standards have made it even harder for Black women to find the kinds of relationships they so desperately seek. My sister friends want dudes who are in church often, 'know the Word,' love God, and are willing to court them for as long as it takes with little to no physical contact…[o]ur churches rarely even preach celibacy to men. <Side Eye>"