Short Takes: News From All Over: March 11, 2004

U.S. Gave Uranium to 43 Nations
By Staff, The Times of India
Proliferation? Who’s got the proliferation? Since the 1950s, the US has given weapons-grade plutonium away like candy, under the Atoms for Peace program. Now we’re trying, and failing, to get it back from embarrassing countries like Pakistan, Iran, Israel, and Jamaica. Jamaica? — Jacob Wheeler

Lessons From the Picket Line
By Kelly Candaele and Peter Dreier, Alternet
Why did the California grocery strike fizzle? Some 60,000 Von’s, Ralph’s and Albertson’s employees walked out for five months, only to settle for a weaker contract in terms of wages and benefits. ‘The UFCW’s (United Food and Commercial Workers) campaign should have been nationwide from the start,’ Candaele and Dreier suggest in the Los Angeles Times. ‘Through boycotts and picketing of stores nationwide and the involvement of the AFL-CIO, the union could have demonstrated early on that it had power beyond Southern California.’ — JW

Que Sierra, Sierra / Supersize America
By Michelle Nijhuis and Bill McKibben, Grist
The Sierra Club has been slinging mud lately, and not at loggers of old-growth forests. With board elections approaching, major players in the oldest and largest environmental organization have been arguing angrily about immigration. Some members assert that the creation of hundreds of millions of new Americans each year is environmentally destructive. But what about the Club’s reputation for democracy and fairness? — Andi McDaniel

Blogging Off
By Whitney Pastorek, Village Voice
Whitney has had it with blogs and blogging — the Blogosphere is ruining her life. Nobody comes to her parties anymore (‘Well, no, I didn’t show up, but I linked to you on my blog.’), the blog-savvy have formed a caste that excludes non-bloggers as if they were lepers, and to top it off, she’s so exhausted from blog-cruising that she can barely put out her (non-blog, non-cyber, ink-and-print) literary magazine.

Harry Smith Archives
He’s not a household name like Allen Ginsberg, but Harry Smith (1923-1991) may have been the archetypal bohemian of mid-twentieth-century America. He recorded Native American rituals, explored alternative spirituality, made groundbreaking underground films, collected folksongs, painted, wrote, and generally acted as a sparkplug of the San Francisco and New York bohemian scenes before, during, and after the Beat era. He donated his collection of paper airplanes (the world’s largest) to the Smithsonian, produced the first album by hippie pranksters the Fugs, and was considered an authority on Navajo textiles and Ukrainian Easter eggs. This site is a concise introduction to a true American original. — Jon Spayde

20 Questions on the Internet
There’s something compelling about a website that guesses what’s in your head. Try a few rounds of this spookily accurate online 20 Questions game. Think of anything, and the site will attempt to ‘guess’ it in 20 questions or less, asking gems like ‘is it heavier than a duck?’ — Eliza Thomas

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