Here’s further proof that anyone can (and should) cosplay their hearts out. Seattle-based photographer David “DTJAAAAM” Ngo took this awesome portrait during the recent 2014 Emerald City Comicon:

"Olive Oyl and Popeye prove that it’s okay to cosplay at any age."

Click here to check out more of DTJAAAAM’s ECCC cosplay portraits.

[via Super Punch]

Earlier today, I met with several students at Addis Ababa University to discuss the opportunities and challenges they face in their academic and professional lives. 

One of the biggest challenges we have here on the Internet is hearing marginalized and underrepresented voices, especially those across the digital divide. You can’t amplify voices online that aren’t online.

While all of the young people I talked to used the Internet and most had regular access via a tablet, smartphone, or laptop, none had blogs or tumblrs or YouTube channels, and none had social network interactions with people outside their IRL social networks. I’m sure there are English-language tumblrs from Ethiopian students (although I haven’t been able to find any today), but almost all voices—even highly educated and privileged ones—from the world’s poorest countries go completely unheard online.

(And when we do hear them, it’s usually through an intermediary: videos edited by someone else, transcripts of interviews, etc. It’s not direct participation in the conversation by, for instance, posting to tumblr or reblogging HIMYM gifs. [The students I spoke to agreed that HIMYM is the best American show they have on TV, although a couple said that watching TV was a waste of time and a distraction from studying, to which I said HAVE YOU SEEN PHINEAS AND FERB BECAUSE IT IS TOTALLY EDUCATIONAL.])

Anyway, all of this is a long preamble to say: Earlier today I met with a 20-year-old law student who helped found an organization in Ethiopia devoted to empowering women and ending gender-based violence. (I’ll include her talking about her work in a video soon.)

The organization does fundraisers so the poorest women at the university can have access to contraception, and every year they have a Blood Drive for Mothers, where many students donate blood to combat maternal death. (Post-partum hemorrhaging is a too-common cause of death among Ethiopian women.)

We often think of global charity as people from rich countries giving money to people from poor countries. But the real story is much more complicated (and much more exciting!); we just don’t hear those stories often, because organizations like the one founded by the young woman I met don’t have YouTube videos or tumblrs.

youtube

Kenya’s first mockumentary takes on the NGO world

Finally, a new TV show exists to highlight some of the absurdities of the international aid sector. The slyly named The Samaritans is a comedy about the perils – and pleasures – of the “NGO world”. Created by a Kenya-based production company, it chronicles the work of Aid for Aid – an NGO that, in the words of its creator, “does nothing”

Poverty too…is often framed as an identity problem. As though the poor have not been created by injustice but are a lost tribe who just happen to exist, and can be rescued in the short term by a system of grievance redressal (administered by NGOs on an individual, person to person basis), and whose long-term resurrection will come from Good Governance. Under the regime of Global Corporate Capitalism, it goes without saying.
—  Arundhati Roy
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Richard Berman: if you see this man in public, please spit on him. If you serve him food ever in any restaurant, please do the people of the world a favor and defecate in it. 
April 29, 2013

Yesterday we reblogged something from HumaneWatch.org, which was criticizing (& representing straight-up lies) against the humane society. One reader was kind enough to inform us that HumaneWatch is one of the many misinformation projects of Richard Berman’s. All of the above organizations are various projects run by Berman and Company, paid for by the ruling class, intended to spread misinformation & lies for the benefit of the ruling class.

Richard Berman is a Washington, D.C.-based hired propagandist who uses front groups to defend his corporate clients against the public interest. Using his lobbying and consulting firm, Berman and Company, as a revenue vehicle for his activities, Berman runs at least 23 industry-funded projects, such as the Center for Union Facts, and holds 24 “positions” within these various entities. 

Make a mental note of the above organizations and keep in mind these brands. Never reblog (like I did) Berman and Company’s propaganda. 

It was suggested to me that Charity Navigator is an honest & useful tool for actually evaluating how charities are spending their money. Here’s their information on The Humane Society of the United States. They have a 4 star rating.

The information in that post against the humane society was wrong, but it got 800+ notes (and we contributed to that count in a big way). Please reblog this & do some more reading/post your own posts about the propaganda campaigns Richard Berman is running to combat the misinformation.

I’m sorry we posted the original post, but let’s not allow this opportunity to expose this terrible organization go to waste.

http://bermanexposed.org/

"To live under neoliberalism also means to accept or submit to that bundle of rights necessary for capital accumulation. We live, therefore, in a society in which the inalienable rights of individuals (and, recall, corporations are defined as individuals before the law) to private property and the profit rate trump any other conception of inalienable rights you can think of.

The rise of advocacy groups and NGOs has, like rights discourses more generally, accompanied the neoliberal turn and increased spectacularly since the 1980s or so. The NGOs have in many instances stepped into the vacuum in social provision left by the withdrawal of the state. this amounts to privatization by NGO. NGOs thereby function as ‘Trojan horses for global neoliberalism.’ They tend to be elitist, unaccountable (except to their donors) and by definition distant from those they seek to protect or help, no matter how well-meaning they may be.

The universality presupposed in ‘rights talk’ and the dedication of the NGOs and advocacy groups to universal principles sits uneasily with the local particularities and daily practices of political and economic contexts.

This appeal to the universalism of rights is a double-edged sword. It may and can be used with progressive aims in mind. But the limited objectives of many rights discourses makes it all too easy to absorb them within the neoliberal frame. Universalism seems to work particularly well with global issues such as climate change and other such issues. But its results in the human rights field are more problematic, given the diversity of political-economic circumstances and cultural practices to be found in the world. Furthermore it has been all too easy to co-opt human rights issues as ‘swords of empire.’

—  David Harvey, ‘A Brief History of Neoliberalism.’
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Let’s Look out for Each Other, Land a hand at Surf Rider - Surfrider Foundation Ad Campaign

Agency: Saatchi, USA

Very cute cartoony ad from Surfrider Foundation.  The print ad focuses on animals helping each other out, trying to create sympathy from human perspective to look after the animals.  My favorite one being polar bear sitting on top of the whale.

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DARK SOULS AT EMERALD CITY COMIC CON 2014!! ECCC was a blast!

Just so everyone can see how awesome my group was have some photos of our cosplay!

Various photos from photographers I appreciate your photography! Some are from my phone.
Photo credit:
David Ngo - @dtjaaaam.tumblr.com
Nick Myers
James Franzen

Lautrec - blatsuura
Artorias - caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamravioli

Ciaran - Sujun Choe
Priscilla - Marie Turner
Dusk - Michelle - @shelldragon.tumblr.com

These are really awesome people!