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Big Oil's War on Earth

Today on the list: The places that make the Gulf spill look like a national park, Elizabeth Warren (yay) vs. Timothy Geithner (boo), Syria bans the veil, and the strange things men pay prostitutes to do (as if you don’t already know).

Note: Larry has been away on summer holiday, but he’s back, rested and ready to flood our browsers with links. And now for the usual business:

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

Big Oil Makes War on the Earth
If you live on the Gulf Coast, welcome to the real world of oil — and just know that you’re not alone. In the Niger Delta and the Ecuadorian Amazon, among other places, your emerging hell has been the living hell of local populations for decades.

Syria bans full Islamic face veils at universities
Syria has forbidden the country’s students and teachers from wearing the niqab — the full Islamic veil that reveals only a woman’s eyes — taking aim at a garment many see as political.

The Strange Things Men Pay Prostitutes To Do
When I worked as a street prostitute, men paid me to do things you’d never imagine — like pretend to be their girlfriend and take me on all-expense paid trips.

Elizabeth Warren vs. Timothy Geithner
A lot of people have rightfully scolded Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for attempting to block Elizabeth Warren’s nomination to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How the Self-Help Industry Tied Spiritual Salvation to Spending Lots of Money
Consumption-based models of spiritual salvation, often directed at women, offer an elitist and ineffective road to self-improvement.

It’s my Party and I’ll lie if I want to
U.S. District judge Robert E. Blackburn dismissed a case against Rick Standlof, aka Rick Duncan, for lying about receiving a Purple Heart and a Silver Star and serving in combat in Iraq.

The Real Scandal at Illinois?
If you want to study Buddhist or Methodist or Jewish thought at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, there are relevant courses in religious studies — courses where the instructors have been selected by a department of scholars, through standard academic procedures. But if you want to study Roman Catholicism, your instructors have been through different vetting … .

One-Quarter of America’s Bridges Declared Unsafe or Obsolete
Scholars & Rogues blog has a nice overview of the crumbling US bridges issue. In a phrase, upgrades and repairs are not keeping up with wear and tear. Fixing the bad bridges is anticipated to cost “$650 billion over 50 years.” Not good news for the ‘less government, reduced taxes’ crowd. But let’s focus on the environmental dimensions. There is good news and bad.

Palin: Shakespeare Made Up Words, Too
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin defended her newly-created word today, then compared herself to Shakespeare in the realm of coining new terminology.

Calling All Future-Eaters
The human species during its brief time on Earth has exhibited a remarkable capacity to kill itself off.

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