Airplane Noise Pollution at SUNY Purchase College

This is a news video I just finished with two other journalism students for a journalism class, Multiple Platform Writing. It’s about noise pollution at my school, SUNY Purchase College, coming from the nearby airport.

I’d heard many students complain about the constant sound of planes flying over the campus, and have noticed my own frustration with it, as well, especially when trying to shoot video projects outside. A college campus being built so close to an airport is a little wacky, but we find a way to deal with it. The Westchester County Airport opened in 1945. Construction of the college began in 1967 and the first students were admitted in 1968. Smart.

We told them so: Democrats are searching for their soul… belatedly

Originally posted on The Secular Jurist:

By Robert A. Vella

Well over a year ago, The Secular Jurist began to repeatedly warn Democrats they would lose the crucial 2014 election and seriously divide the party going forward if they didn’t coalesce around a core set of principles (see here, here, and here).  In A Blueprint for the Left, we proposed the following political platform:

  • Economic fairness through the concern for workers and for human prosperity.
  • Social justice as a principled commitment to civil rights and equal application of the law.
  • Public education as the instrument of knowledge and for developing productive citizens.
  • Secular government to ensure both freedom of, and freedom from religion.
  • Political equality via open democracy and restricting the corrupting influence of money.
  • Self-determination through the preclusion of transnational and supranational authorities.

Now, after the November debacle, some Democrats are warming-up to our idea… belatedly.  From Richard Eskow of Campaign…

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The American Welfare Myth: Who Gets It and Why (You’ll Be Surprised)


Courtesy of

See video here

Here is a short documentary made by a professor at the University of California-Berkley about welfare and poverty. The idea for it came after the professor heard her students discussing welfare and government’s role in society. She was shocked to learn that these college-educated students, some of whom were on welfare themselves, harbored deep-seated, negative stereotypical attitudes and beliefs about welfare recipients. It was then that she realized that today’s young people have inherited the harsh Reagan-era ideology of how society should deal with the poor- mainly that welfare programs, like food stamps (now called SNAP), actually reinforce poverty by creating dependence on government assistance. After all, these programs are supposed to be temporary aid, so why should the poor get to live off them, right? Why can’t they just get up and work, right?

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Teacher Sends Hungry First Graders Home With Backpacks Full Of Food


Tanya’s comments: This is truly sharing the wealth. Despite what Conservatives say, is it really a bad thing?

Originally posted on Kindness Blog:

Marvin Callahan, a first grade teacher at public school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has started a program to send backpacks full of food home with some of his students on the weekends after witnessing widespread hunger. Teacher Sends Hungry First Graders Home With Backpacks Full Of Food

When he started the job 21 years ago, he said he had no idea how many families were struggling to feed their children or keep a roof over their heads.

New Mexico has the highest rate of child hunger in the country, with nearly a third of children going to bed hungry, although the problem is widespread enough that three-quarters of the country’s teachers say students routinely show up to school hungry.

In response to the problem, Callahan and other members of the community send 37 children home with backpacks full of food each weekend: two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners. As Carolyn Gregoire of the Huffington Post reports, “Retired teachers come in…

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Sometime ago ….

Originally posted on Herman van Bon Photography:

…. I wrote that I wouldn’t photograph more Arum Lilies this year ….

I just couldn’t resist the refined lines with the opposing sun..

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PBS Gives Us the Facts About GMOs

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


There is a lot of information, and misinformation, about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This video from cuts through the myths about GMOs spread by the corporations who create these “Frankenfoods,” foods which have never been scientifically confirmed to be safe for consumption, despite what these corporations are telling consumers.

Abusive Acid Attacks Against Women & Children, and an Organization Trying To Help

A beautiful blog called recently posted an article and pictures of a mother and daughter from Iran who were attacked with acid by the mother’s abusive husband.

I decided to blog about the article because despite suffering a cruel attack in which acid was poured on their faces, hands and bodies, leading to severe pain and disfigurement, the daughter and mother are clearly glad to still have each other. This is captured through one of the pictures in which the daughter kisses her mother. They are survivors, and that is inspiring.

Also inspiring is an organization called Acid Survivors Trust International. Here’s a bit about them from their website:

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Our Communities Are Not War Zones!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


I recently received this message, and an accompanying petition, in an email from the ACLU:

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Tanya’s Comment: Unfortunately, some of these photos got a bit distorted when I reblogged this post. To see them in their original form, click on the link below. Thanks!

Originally posted on through the luminary lens:

Red Squirrel - Charles Brandt photo

Cougar  @ hermitage June 8, 2010 Charles Brandt photo

Comox Glacier - Charles Brandt photo

Gulls feeding on Herring spawn- Charles Brandt photo

Charles Brandt photo original

Salmon run, summer 2014 - Charles Brandt photo

tsolum river under a bright blue sky - by Charles Brandt]

Twins @ the Hermitage June 11. 2014 - Charles Brandt photo

Black Bear @ the Hermitage, Black Creek - Charles Brandt photo

Dunlins - Charles Brandt photo

Dunlins Feeding at OysterBay, BC - by Charles A.E. Brandt

Dunlins 2 - Charles Brandt photo

Dogwood at Northy Lake - May 17 - photo by Charles Brandt

Skunk Cabbage - May 2 2014 Charles Brandt photo

Hardhock - Charles Brandt photo

Saskatoon, Saslatchewan - Bruce Witzel photo

United States Mexico Border - Bruce Witzel photo

Montreal at sunrise - Bruce Witzel photo

Headwaters of the Missouri - 3 forks, Montana - Bruce witzel photo

Mt. St. Helen's - Bruce Witzel photo

TrumpeterSwans - Charles Brandt photo

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 6.56.20 AM

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Native Advertising: Ads Masquerading As News

TV host and comedian Jon Oliver of “Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver” had an interesting segment on his show about the rise of native advertising. The term is defined by as “ads that mimic editorial content.” Oliver points out how such advertising is blurring the once hallowed distinction between news and marketing.

If you still aren’t clear on what native advertising is, it’s probably because you’ve actually encountered it and didn’t even know you were reading an ad. It’s no wonder that the Federal Trade Commission has been hesitant to sign off on it.

So have ethics gone out the window in news? As consumers, we’ll be the judge of that. News organizations will have to answer to us when we say they’ve lost our trust. In times like these of such enormous social unrest, we depend on the news to provide us with honest reporting on events. And it’s especially in times like these that journalists need to serve the public, not corporations or government.

When the news becomes controlled by advertisers, it ceases to be of any use to us.