the american sector

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Ukraine: Anger as Neo-Nazis Display Confederate Flag in Kiev

This was the flag of slave holding states in the United States that seceded in 1861, causing the Civil War. Today the symbol is used by the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi groups, and other organizations who are hostile to African-Americans. For the last several decades, protests have continued, demanding that this flag not be displayed in public places.

Many people were greatly disturbed to see that the Confederate Flag is now being displayed, not in the United States, but in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine.

Larry Holmes, a civil rights activist in New York City, explained why the flag is so offensive. After Kiev was seized by US backed anti-Russia protesters, the confederate flag was displayed in city hall. Holmes says that this causes him to be very concerned about the new regime.

So I just saw Big Hero 6 and you have no ideahow attached I am to San Fransokyo. 

Being half Japanese and half American, like Hiro and Tadashi, I often find myself trying to explain to people how I don’t necessarily feel part J and part American, but rather a part of a hybrid culture of both.

Long story short, San Fransokyo is the city of my dreams.

It’s exactly what I imagine when I try to explain my American and Japanese hybridized culture. The city has enormous diversity in its population, it seems that people are bilingual (for example, most of the street signs are in Japanese while the entire movie is spoken in English), and most of all the city doesn’t have Japanese and American sectors, but rather a completely hybridized culture. It’s the city of my soul.

It also doesn’t help my sadness that this city doesn’t exist that I’m a total tech nerd, and would love to attend San Fransokyo Institute of Technology (T^T)

(Picture credit to Disney. Concept art of San Fransokyo)

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Colonel Gail S. “Hal” Halvorsen (born October 10, 1920) is a retired career officer and command pilot in the United States Air Force known as the original Candy Bomber or the “Rosinenbomber” in Germany. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is best known for piloting C-47s and C-54s during the Berlin airlift (also known as “Operation Vittles”) during 1948–1949.

Shortly before landing at the Berlin Tempelhof Airport in the American sector of Berlin, Halvorsen would drop candy attached to parachutes to children below. This action, which was dubbed Operation Little Vittles and sparked similar efforts by other crews, was the source of the popular name for the pilots — the candy bombers. Halvorsen wanted to help raise the morale of the children during the time of uncertainty and privation.

Halvorsen started by giving a few treats to children watching the planes from outside the Tempelhof base. Wanting to give more, he promised to drop more candy from his plane the next day. Because the planes would arrive nearly every three minutes, the children naturally couldn’t distinguish his aircraft from the others. However, Halvorsen promised to wiggle the wings to identify himself, which led to his nickname “Onkel Wackelflügel” (“Uncle Wiggle Wings”). The other American candy bombers became known as the Rosinenbomber (Raisin Bombers). 

The operation was soon noticed by the press and gained widespread attention. A wave of public support led to donations which enabled Halvorsen and his crew to drop 850 pounds of candy. By the end of the airlift, around 25 plane crews had dropped 23 tons of chocolate, chewing gum, and other candies over various places in Berlin. 

Halvorsen’s actions as the original candy bomber had a substantial impact on the postwar perception of Americans in Germany and are still pointed to as a symbol of German-American relations.

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Infographic: Why we need to raise minimum wage

Some people argue raising the minimum wage will only help a few million teenagers, but this is not true. One in four Americans in the private sector makes less than the $10.10 an hour proposed by President Obama. An increased minimum wage would benefit breadwinners, including more than 70% of government contract employees and 17 million total workers by 2016 according to the economic study.

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(images via The Huffington Post/Restaurant Opportunities Center United)

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Ich bin ein Berliner

Muse A and Muse B are a couple living in Berlin, Germany in 1961. They were very young when World War II ended in 1945, but they’ve been caught in The Cold War for most of their lives. While there were no battles, there continues to be extreme tension between the the Allies and the Soviets. 

Muse A lives in the American Sector, and Muse B the Soviet sector. It’s a strange life, to simply walk across town into an area dominated by a different country, but they hardly know any different. Life goes on, people adapt, and the young couple tries to ignore the fear and hate they feel in the air.

One August day, Muse A takes a walk to Muse B’s house, but finds barbed wire dividing the two sectors and a Soviet soldier telling them they cannot cross to the Soviet sector. They are upset, but decide it’s only a temporary issue and goes home. 

In the following weeks, Soviet guards, destroyed roads, obstacles, and landmines prevented interference in the building of two large walls, one on either sector, with a deadly No Man’s Land between them. Muse A and Muse B are separated by concrete and machine guns.

Option A: Muse A must think of a creative way to escape over the wall without being shot down by Soviet Guards to reunite with Muse B.

Option B: With limited visitation and letters, Muse A and Muse B’s relationship dwindles to memory. Twenty eight years later, the wall is opened and East and West Berliners can travel freely. Germans from both sides leap up onto the wall and greet each other in celebration. What happens when Muse A and Muse B accidentally reunite at the top of the wall? Will they even recognize each other? How will their lives have changed?

around the corner

Braxton Figueroa had a pretty good life. His family was pretty much the all-American dream (well, at least they were American, if not of the typical all-American Caucasian sector, his Cuban and Puerto Rican blood making him just noticeably different). His mother and father had been together all 22 years of his life, his 12 year old younger sister was annoying but amazing at the same time. Braxton had graduated high school fourth in his class, graduated college with some honors but not all, and he’d landed a job at a news studio rather easily, even if it wasn’t the job he thought he wanted. He had his best friends Oliver and Dean, somehow making it out of both high school and college without hating each other. 

So really, there wasn’t much Brax could ask for. Except… maybe… sometimes he couldn’t shake the small edge of loneliness that seemed to follow him lately. Dean had found someone who made him happier than he’d ever been, someone who let Dean be himself without question. And Oliver had been in a relationship for almost seven years; even if he hadn’t mentioned it, Brax knew his friend and knew that eventually, in about another year maybe, Ollie’d be popping the question. So Brax was essentially a fifth wheel lately, or no wheel at all.

The problem was that he wasn’t very good at going out and meeting people. Yeah, he was friendly and he was funny and he always had a good time. But then the time of the night came when someone wanted to go home with him and he… didn’t. The drive, the desire wasn’t there. And it had taken him a long time to figure out that there wasn’t something wrong with him, just that he didn’t respond the way to sex that other people did. Demisexual was the label but what it meant was that he had to feel connected to someone before he could be with them. And not that kind of frat-boy pick up line “we have a connection” but a deep, emotional, intellectual connection before any kind of desire built.

And no, it didn’t mean that he didn’t have physical attraction. Because he did. He walked around the same as everyone else and looked at people, any kind of person, and always had fleeting moments of “holy shit they’re hot”. But what usually happened, after the initial burst of attraction, it folded and disappeared. Usually for good.

Which was why he was so struck by the girl. 

She walked by him, her lips painted a deep red and long brown hair swinging gently from the ponytail she had on top of her head. She was smiling, laughing, and shaking the hand of the news station’s casting director. They’d been interviewing applicants all morning for an anchor position and Brax knew, instantly, she wouldn’t get it. She was too young to have any kind of experience, which they wanted. And he had a strange sensation of panic building in him at the thought of never seeing this girl again.

He shook his head, tying his shoe as he looked at the floor when she passed. It would go away, he knew it would. But it didn’t, the feeling that he needed to talk to her, to see her. To know her.

He probably looked like an idiot, running through the crowd outside the building until he found her waiting at the nearest crosswalk. And he bolted in front of her (the light was still red it’s not like she would have gone anywhere) and looked at her again. Big brown eyes with a sharp glint, a smile that seemed permanently set to twist at the corners just a little. 

“Hi,” he huffed, bending over slightly, his hands on his knees as he caught his breath. “Yeah… um… hi. Sorry. I don’t normally do this but I saw you in…. in the station… and I work there I’m not like, stalking you… except now it looks like I am-”

“And?”

“I um… was wondering if…” What did he want? What do people do when they do this? Worse, is this what people felt like when they wanted someone? Because he could feel it now, the burn of needing to know someone as much as he could. Did people feel like this all the time? What a fucking disaster. 

“Can I get your number?” he asked quickly the cringed. “No, your name. Sorry. I meant your name. I’m Braxton.”