Short Takes: News From All Over

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Willie Nelson: On the Road Again with Biodiesel
By Staff, Biodiesel
While self-proclaimed patriot Toby Keith may be tooling around in giant, oil guzzling trucks, fellow country musician Willie Nelson is practicing his own form of automotive patriotism by endorsing Biodiesel, a renewable fuel made from recycled vegetable fat. The redheaded stranger is no stranger to environmental activism, having previously endorsed Farm Aid, Ralph Nader, and NORML. — Brendan Themes

The Living Room Candidate
By Staff, American Museum of the Moving Image
Addicted to political advertising? Or just horrified and fascinated by it? Either way, you’ll be entertained and repelled in equal measure by the blistering ads of yesteryear at the Living Room Candidate. An open directory of presidential TV spots from 1952 to the present, the site catalogs TV’s torrid ongoing tryst with politics, from Eisenhower’s heartwarming ‘Taxi Driver and Dog’ in 1956 to Nixon’s eerie ‘Reach Out’ in 1968. Be sure to check out Lyndon B. Johnson’s infamous 1964 ad, ‘Peace Little Girl (Daisy),’ to experience the gold standard in negative advertising. — Brendan Themes

Books for Soldiers
By Staff, Books For Soldiers
American soldiers in Iraq are hot, tired, and in constant danger. While we can’t do much about the inhospitable Iraqi climate, we can at least alleviate the boredom that comes with desert duty by honoring American soldiers’ requests for good reading material. That old copy of Catch 22 in your basement can return to duty halfway around the world, proving that while the pen is mightier than the sword, it is also just as mobile. — Brendan Themes

Fearing Our Sick Friends
By William D. Webber, BeliefNet
Having a sick friend can be intimidating; the fear of saying or doing something wrong can prevent one from saying or doing anything at all. Fear not, says author and pastor William D. Webber. More than anything, your friend just wants to have you around, regardless of what you do while you visit. It’s not just your words that help heal — it’s your very presence. — Brendan Themes

Sustainable Africa: Resource for Strategic Sustainable Development
By Staff,
Sustainable Africa, a digital commons website of the AllAfrica project, features a wide array of research on sustainable initiatives in water, health, energy, agriculture, and biodiversity. Its resources include reports on the media situation in Angola, and strategies for how to prevent the ‘brain drain’ in Africa’s health systems. The website, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York, has an ambivalent relationship to U.S. foreign policy. A business-friendly article such as ‘Six More Foreign Oil Workers Kidnapped’ in Nigeria appears beside another headline demanding that the U.S. must ‘Walk the Walk in Africa.’ — Elizabeth Dwoskin

San Francisco Art Gallery Owner Beaten Up for Exhibiting Anti-Torture Painting
By Matthew Rothschild,
According to‘s ‘McCarthyism Watch,’ America is rife with a ‘New McCarthyism.’ On May 16, Lori Haigh, a San Francisco gallery owner, installed a painting entitled ‘Abuse’ by the artist Guy Colwell in her window. The painting features the grinning faces of two U.S. soldiers, one holding a cattle prod and the other, electrical wires. Attached to the wires are hooded Iraqi detainees on metal blocks, an elaboration of a torture scene at Abu Ghraib prison. Only days later, eggs were thrown at the gallery doors, and Haigh received over 200 angry voicemails, e-mails, and death threats. By the time she was punched in the face, she decided to close the gallery. Since then, the traumatized Haigh has received community support on her behalf. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

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