Short Takes: News From All Over

March 15, 2007

| March 2007

Cambodia Welcomes its Oil Wealth, But Will it Do More Harm than Good?
By Ian MacKinnon, the Guardian
A 'black gold' rush has begun in Cambodia, where Chevron has discovered what could amount to an estimated 400-500 million barrels of oil off the country's coast. Diplomats worry, however, that this newfound oil wealth could push the corruption-plagued government into what the Guardian calls 'a full-blown kleptocracy.' Chinese oil firms, for example, already have begun vying for a stake in the oil by giving $600 million in 'no strings' gifts to the country last year. -- Natalie Hudson,,2026497,00.html

I Am Sullied - No More
By Robert Bryce, the Texas Observer
On June 5, 2005, Ted Westhusing committed suicide inside his Baghdad barracks. A West Point professor and Army colonel, Westhusing was eloquent, educated, and respected by many in the armed forces, including General David Petraeus -- the current head of US forces in Iraq. In his suicide note, Westhusing wrote of the rampant corruption and human rights abuses he saw in Iraq as motivations for taking his own life. A fellow Army officer concluded, 'It's because he believed in duty, honor, country that he's dead.' -- Bennett Gordon

Homeless Para Dumping
By New Mobility
For many people, the best part about a trip to the emergency room is going home. What happens, though, when you don't have a home to return to? One recently discharged patient couldn't leave on his own from a Los Angeles hospital because of his paraplegia and homelessness. In what New Mobility identifies as one case in an alarming trend, the man was 'dumped' on the street after area shelters wouldn't accept him from ambulance attendants. -- Jenna Fisher

Catalog of Social Change
By Aiden Enns, Geez
Despite the gloomy environmental and political forecasts peddled at us from all angles, Geez insists that a pivotal social change movement is taking place and having a greater impact than we realize. To prove the point, the magazine has put together an inspiring catalog of who's who in social change. Included are the hard-core 'vanguardists' who fight the good fight with 'high principles, lots of sacrifice and noble aims,' independent media rising above the din of corporate conglomerates, and 'disruptives' seeking to unsettle complacency by 'impeding business as usual.' -- Jenna Fisher

More Rubber Bullets and Gas at Tacoma Port Protests
By Indybay Media
Last week, antiwar protesters gathered at the Tacoma Port to demonstrate as a naval ship prepared for deployment to Iraq. Police in riot gear marked out a zone where backpacks were not allowed for security reasons, and when one protester ignored the prohibition he was arrested. Indybay Media has posted an article describing the mayhem that followed -- tear gas and rubber bullets -- and links to videos of the demonstration, one of which captures protesters singing about peace before being blasted with gas. -- Jenna Fisher

Shutdown Day
By Denis Bystrov and Michael Taylor
In an effort to raise awareness about computers' pervasive impact on our lives, two Canadians are asking digitally tethered folks if they can survive without them for 24 hours on Shutdown Day. More than 44,000 folks are on board to disconnect March 24, citing alternate plans such as drinking, sleeping, and watching Star Trek. The following day, participants are encouraged to log back on to the website to reflect on how they coped with their unplugged experience -- perhaps as a global group therapy session of sorts. (Thanks, WorldChanging .) -- Elizabeth Ryan

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