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Bretigne Shaffer's Blog

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Feb.22.2013
itty bitty bella 1.jpg
  I've been following the campaign on Indiegogo for "Itty Bitty Bella", a little girl with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI, or Brittle Bone Disease) who needs money for the medical treatments that can help her to stop breaking bones and hopefully help her to be able to...
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Feb.15.2013
From my paper comparing Hong Kong's minimal welfare state to America's bloated one: In the weeks leading up to Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese sovereignty, Hong Kong’s caged-home dwellers were in the spotlight. The city was flooded with foreign journalists, and the phenomenon of the city’s...
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Feb.14.2013
I am posting two of the papers I wrote under my Phillips Foundation Fellowship in 1997-1998, on the topic of Hong Kong.  This is the first, titled "Hong Kong As a Model for a Free Society."  The upshot: The irony is this: That even five months after becoming a part of the largest...
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Feb.08.2013
So I'm looking up more information related to the short story I'm working on and I come across this interesting fact.  It's something you'd expect any journalist writing about the infamous "suicide factories" in China where Apple's iPads and iPhones are made to mention, but surprisingly most...
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Feb.01.2013
I'm re-reading "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" for a short story I'm working on, and a couple of things strike me: 1.  As I'm reading it, I keep thinking that this translation just doesn't seem to be as good as the translation of "Human Action", which I remember as being...
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Jan.28.2013
I've been very happy to see a bunch of Arabic translation requests in my traffic logs for my earlier post "My Dream for Egypt."  So to make it a little easier for people, I'm posting the translation (it's from Google Translate, and I don't speak a word of Arabic myself, so obviously...
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Jan.25.2013
  A superhero who can't use violence - check out the first episode of my new comic "The Adventures of Urban Yogini"!    
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Jan.24.2013
This was one of my favorite books when I was a child.  I think I was around ten when I used to trace the illustrations in pencil, getting every detail before I had to return it to the library.  (I'm not even sure why I had to do that, since I was just going to borrow it again anyway...
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Jan.23.2013
  Last October, a group of lawyers, plaintiffs and activists involved in the lawsuit against the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and its indefinite detention provisions held a live chat on Reddit.  This group included Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg and...
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Jan.22.2013
I never knew my grandfather, he died long before I was born.  But I feel like I've known him through the stories my family has told about him.  I heard about how, as a young man he ran into a burning barn to save a neighbor's antique cars.  As thanks, the neighbor gave him enough...
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Jan.21.2013
Every Martin Luther King Day lately, I find myself thinking about how Dr. King would feel about today's America, and I find myself thinking that he wouldn't be too happy.  Post-Jim Crow, something like one out of every seven American black men has done prison time, and there are currently more...
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Jan.19.2013
The Online Terrorist Keywords Poetry Contest has a winner!   Here's why I couldn't vote for my own entry:   On the Day I Became a Terroristby benjamin haas On the day I became a terrorist there wasn’t a nuclear meltdown or pipe bombexplosion. There was a radioactive and...
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Jan.18.2013
In recognition of the "Top 347 keywords the U.S. government monitors", Meg McLain launched the "Online Terrorist Keywords" poetry contest last June.  This was my entry:   Hazmat Porky   ‘Twas AMTRAK and the agro sleet Did BART and Mysql in the plume All airplanes (and...
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Jan.17.2013
  This is the video I put together in honor of Daniel Rafferty, who died on January 10 at the age of seven.  Daniel had the same chromosomal anomaly our daughter has: IDIC(15), which can cause developmental and physical problems.  On Valentine's Day, members of Daniel'...
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Jan.16.2013
  This is something I wrote (gulp!) more than 20 years ago.  I'm re-posting it here because I think it is instructive regarding the financial problems we are facing here in the US 21 years later.  When I visited Vietnam in 1990, the country was suffering from sporadic bouts of...
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