Half a million march in protest of HR4377 – Los Angeles, CA

A crowd estimated by police at more than 500,000 boisterously marched in Los Angeles on Saturday to protest federal legislation that would crack down on undocumented immigrants, penalize those who help them and build a security wall along the U.S.’ southern border.

Spirited but peaceful marchers — ordinary immigrants alongside labor, religious and civil rights groups — stretched more than 20 blocks along Spring Street, Broadway and Main Street to City Hall, tooting kazoos, waving American flags and chanting, “Sí se puede!” (Yes we can!).

Attendance at the demonstration far surpassed the number of people who protested against the Vietnam War and Proposition 187, a 1994 state initiative that sought to deny public benefits to undocumented migrants but was struck down by the courts. Police said there were no arrests or injuries except for a few cases of exhaustion.

-LA Times
Continue reading Half a million march in protest of HR4377 – Los Angeles, CA

Coverage of the march?

I somehow missed this posting on the 13th. I wish I had seen it as now it has dropped into obscurity. It does bring up a good question. Was the coverage adequate for the march? Is this part of some right-wing conspiracy as the poster alludes? I was surprised that Mike hadn’t heard about it in Detroit – but now that I read the comments to the post, I guess nobody really heard about it except Chicago. Is there a reason that main-stream national media didn’t pick up the story – or perhaps they just wrote a blurb about it? I would think that a 100,000 person march would make news everywhere. Perhaps protesting like this isn’t as effective as people would hope?

Immigrant Rights march Chicago

I left work a bit early today to meet Katty downtown at the Federal Plaza for the Immigrant Rights demonstration. I didn’t really know what to expect. As I was getting off of the “L” I could hear the crowd of people. As I turned the corner I was greeted by a huge amount of people as well as the mounted police, as seen in the picture above.

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Immigrant Justice Vigil – Batavia, IL

Vigil March

After getting my arse in gear and setting my GPS to Batavia I was on my way. I really didn’t know what to expect from this event. It was organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Katty, as part of her new job, had arranged for the media to show up. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see just a group of about 40 people gathered around. As I was getting my bearings (mind you, I still wasn’t feeling 100%) I realized that I was in the Minuteman group who were making their stand against the immigrants. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Minuteman – I will refer you to their “about us” webpage as well as this incredible radio spot that I heard on NPR. (real-audio only, sorry!) They were against this:

Join hundreds of youth and students, along with religious and community leaders as we call on our Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to support Immigration Reform and the DREAM Act (would allow the children of undocumented immigrants – brought to this country by their parents and by no fault of their own – a chance to attend college).

The idea was that each student carry a cross representing one of the 463 immigrants who died crossing the border in 2005. They were to lay the crosses at Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert’s office in Batavia. All while chanting “We are Americans, Diplomas not Deaths”. It was more moving that I could have possibly imagined.

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Speaking of cold…

In line with BJ’s post this morning about the cold weather… I got up this morning, went to my car to find this:


After the monsoon of rain yesterday, the ice pellets (the weather actually predicted “Ice Pellets 100% chance”), then the freeze overnight, the water that had flooded the street had encased my tires in ICE! The lock on my door was also frozen… luckily it would try to unlock all of the doors. The rear driver’s-side door would unlock, so I had to get in the car through the back. Fantastic. With the current temps hovering around 24F / -5C and tomorrow looking worse (13F / -11C)… I think I’m just going to stay in tonight and try to get over this chest cold

Hey, all you people in better shape than myself – is it a bad idea to work out when you are feeling sick? I mean, I can function at work etc… I just have a bad cough and conjestion. I don’t want to make it worse, nor do I want to get everybody at Bally’s sick either. Good idea or bad idea??
Paging Dr. Fitz!

31 days in Iraq


I saw this image on my parent’s computer at home and it really got to me. I know I haven’t really posted much about the political situation in the US – but after seeing this I just had to share. I had to keep on reminding myself that this was just from the past 31 days… I can’t imagine what this graphic would look like taking in account the 2260 that have died since 3/19/2003…

In January more than 800 people — soldiers, security officers and civilians — were killed as a result of the insurgency in Iraq. While the daily toll is noted in the newspapers and on TV, it is hard for many Americans to see these isolated reports in a broader context. The map, based on data from the American, British and Iraqi governments and news reports, shows the dates, locations and circumstances of deaths for the first month of the year.

Given the fog of war, the information may be incomplete. Nonetheless, it is our effort to visually depict the continuing human cost of the Iraq war.

Bringing space down to Earth

Forbes Article
Forbes published an article on what we do here at the Vislab. A good read! If anybody is in the Chicago vicinity and would like to check it out, just let me know!

NEW YORK – It’s the stuff of comic books. Using sophisticated imaging techniques–and some goofy glasses–the Earth-bound students of Northwestern University can sit back for a three dimensional guided tour of the actual surface of Mars.

Alcohol makes your brain grow


While searching for some links for my previous post I stumbled upon this BBC article.

Drinking alcohol boosts the growth of new nerve cells in the brain, research suggests.

But while this might sound good in theory, the Swedish team believe these new cells could contribute to the development of alcohol dependence.

Mice fed moderate quantities of alcohol grew extra brain cells, but also showed a preference for alcohol over water.

The Karolinska Institute research appears in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Brain growth

Lead researcher Professor Stefan Brene said: “We believe that the increased production of new nerve cells during moderate alcohol consumption can be important for the development of alcohol addiction and other long-term effects of alcohol on the brain.”

Alternatively, the extra cells might help with learning and memory, he said.

Another theory, according to the researchers, is that the tranquilising effect of alcohol triggers the growth.

All of the new cells developed normally.

A spokeswoman from the Campaign for Real Ale said: “It is well known that alcohol in moderation is good for your body so it’s no surprise it’s also good for your mind.

“Maybe that is why lots of pub quiz teams are so bright.”

A spokeswoman from Alcohol Concern said: “This type of study could prove useful in the long term to shed light on the relationship between alcohol intake and dependency.

“However, very little can be drawn from a single animal-based study at this stage.

“Much more research is needed to explore the relationship between drinking patterns and their effect on the human brain.”


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