Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I'm finally making some progress with this healthy living-gym freak business. I can feel and see the difference. And how do the forces that be decide to repay me?

1. Today is 31 cent scoop night at Baskin Robbins, and it's for a good cause!

2. The Panera I study at several times a week is celebrating it's one year anniversary today. I was here the day they opened, doing the same thing I'm doing today, "studying" or not. They're celebrating with free cookies! No limit -the cashier gave me a paper bag to take some home with me!

If this isn't a test in self-control that I'm going to fail, I don't know what is.

At the same time, I can't complain: discounted ice cream and free cookies!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

There is Palestinian Blood on Our Motorola Cell Phones

To whom it may concern:

I am deeply disappointed in Motorola’s response to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s invitation to respond to the US Campaign to End the [Apartheid] Israeli Occupation allegations that Motorola’s products and services to Israel are in breach of international law and violate human rights.

Rather than refute any of their carefully documented allegations, outlined in a letter to CEO, Greg Brown (dated February 26, 2008), of your corporation’s profiteering from [apartheid] Israeli military occupation and human rights abuses, you choose to shroud yourself in empty, moralistic pieties of “ethical business conduct”. A corporation which is truly committed to human rights and ethical business conduct would take these allegations seriously, not sweep them under the rug as you did in your letter. You have made clear that your corporation has chosen to continue its morally bankrupt position of profiteering from and supporting Israel’s illegal military occupation and human rights abuses rather than acting to prevent future ill-gotten profits. Failure to act once a corporation becomes aware of immoral corporate practices and behavior in this case at the very least constitutes support for violence and at worst, complicity in practices of apartheid and military occupation, collective punishment of an entire group of people, and the destruction of any viable attempt for a sustained peace in Palestine.

I ask Motorola to respond to the allegations outlined below:

Fuses for aerial devices and munitions-Motorola [apartheid] Israel:
a fully-owned subsidiary of Motorola Incorporated—produces the 980 Low Altitude Proximity Fuse for the MK-80 series of high explosive bombs. On July 30, 2006, during its war on Lebanon, the [apartheid] Israeli Air Force dropped an MK-84 high-explosive bomb on an apartment building in Qana, Lebanon killing at least 28 civilians, many of whom were children.

Can you explain how this does not violate Motorola’s Human Rights policy?

Communication devices for military occupation:
The $100 million contract used to develop and supply the ‘Mountain Rose’ secure cell phone communication system to the [apartheid] Israeli military directly enhances the coordination and monitoring capabilities of the occupying forces in their illegal military operations in the Palestinian territories. [Apartheid] Israel routinely engages in gross patters of human rights violations in its military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, including but not limited to the killing and injuring of civilians, torture, extra-judicial assassinations, the deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, acts of collective punishment and economic warfare.

Can you clarify how this does not violate Motorola’s own Code of Business Conduct

Radar detection devices for [apartheid] Israel’s illegal Wall:
Motorola Israel supplies Israel with the Wide Area Surveillance System (WAAS) to monitor and maintain the illegal wall/fence barrier it has constructed in violation of the July 2004 International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion.

How does this honor the spirit of Motorola’s own Human Rights Policy policy?

Radar Detection devices for [apartheid] Israel’s Illegal Settlements:
Motorola Incorporated set up advanced radar detection devices and thermal cameras in 47 [apartheid] Israeli settlements. According to the Fourth Geneva Conventions, Article 49, it is considered a war crime for an Occupying Power to transfer its civilian population into an Occupied Territory. Motorola Incorporated provision of these systems helps to entrench Israel’s illegal settlements on expropriated Palestinian territory, in direct violation of international law.

Finally, can you describe how Motorola’s Code of Business Conduct Expectations for Suppliers Policy is not being violated?

It is clear from the US Campaign’s research and findings that Motorola [apartheid] Israel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Motorola Inc, profits from human rights violations. And although we welcome Motorola’s proactive efforts to review policies for corporate responsibility and accountability, your company’s support for Israel’s human rights abuses negates attempts to establishing a just and lasting peace.

If Motorola is serious about serving as a responsible corporate citizen, then all of Motorola’s activities both in the United States and abroad, including [apartheid] Israel/Palestine, must adhere to a human rights policy that promotes human rights and international law, not contribute to their violations.

In your response, Motorola stated that your Code of Business Conduct is currently under review and the process includes studying internationally recognized human rights standards. Can you give us a specific date as to when you plan to complete your review?

Furthermore, how does your corporation plan to change your practices should your internal investigation reveal that your corporate practices enable the violation of internationally recognized human rights standards?

I request that Motorola respond substantively to allegations of war profiteering and financially benefiting from [apartheid] Israel’s illegal military occupation.

I look forward to your response.

Zahra Billoo

Send your own letter ASAP: Democracy in Action

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

4,000 Students March on Sacramento

Miles J Nevin, CSSA Director of University Affairs
Cell: 562-761-4109

March for Higher Education Brings 4,000 to the State Capital

Sacramento, CA, April 22, 2008 – On Monday the California State Student Association organized a major protest in response to the Governor’s proposed $386 million cut to the CSU system. CSSA was joined by students, parents, and teachers from the CSU, UC, and Community Colleges in marching from West Sacramento to the steps of the State Capitol. Over 4,000 protesters, mostly students, supported the historic March for Higher Education. A press conference on the capitol steps culminated the march.

As the passionate chants of over 4,000 people permeated the capitol building, many legislators were present to show their support. Lt. Governor Garamendi, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, Assembly Members Anthony Portantino and Julia Brownley, Senator Pro Tem Don Perata and Senator Pro Tem-elect Darrel Steinberg all spoke on behalf of the students’ message.

That message is simple, according to Dina Cervantes, chair of the California State Student Association and organizer of Monday’s March for Higher Education. “Slashing the budgets of California’s colleges and universities will deny access to qualified students, result in increased fees and greatly limit the state’s ability to maintain an educated workforce – a critical component in ensuring a healthy economy.” Cervantes noted that raising fees amounts to nothing more than taxing students, a tool used to balance the budget on the backs of those who can afford it the least. Cervantes continued that “our state is increasingly funding the corrections system and decreasingly funding higher education; we are on our way to having world class prisons and second class universities.”

For every $1 invested in a CSU student there is a $4.41 return to the state economy. The purpose of CSSA’s March for Higher Education is to send a message to the Governor and Legislature that funding higher education is not a wasted expense, but an investment in the future of California.

Additional Coverage: Golden Gate Press

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

21 Things You Didn't Know You Could Recycle

Recycling bottles and cans, is important but old news. Saving the world is going to require taking it to the next level. Check out the list below to see what else you can recycle.

1. Appliances: Goodwill accepts working appliances, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them.

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use at Battery Solutions

3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they can use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local Freecycle listserv or on Craigslist for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, Used Cardboard Boxes accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new.

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. Donate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs. Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling.

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won’t be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them to at Find a Composter.

8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers, local and national, at

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at Video Fitness.

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses are reground and given to people in need.

11. Foam packing: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers.

12. Ink/toner cartridges: Recycle Place pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local Free Cycle or Craig's List listserv, or try giving them away at Throw Place or giving or selling them at iReuse. iReuse will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state by calling 202/682-8000.

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell it to someone in a developing country.. Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims. Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere.
16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet.

17. “Technotrash”: Project KOPEG offers an e-waste recycling program that can help you raise funds for your organization. Use Project KOPEG to recycle iPods, MP3 players, cell phones and chargers, digital cameras, PDAs, palm pilots, and more. Also, easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk’s Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees.

18. Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from Recycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms’ yogurt cups.

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can’t recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.

Source: Co-Op America

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Questionable Priorities

(The subtitles are poorly done, but you'll get the picture.)

Aren't confused Muslims the best?

National Petition to End Sweatshops & Slavery in the Fields

WHEREAS, there is an ongoing human rights crisis in Florida's fields, including:

  • poverty wages, rooted in an antiquated piece-rate pay system that hasn’t changed significantly in nearly 30 years;
  • long hours without overtime pay when work is available, unemployment and transience when it is not;
  • physical abuse and wage fraud by crew leaders, supervisors, and growers;
  • damage to body and soul from back-breaking labor, with no employment benefits such as sick days, paid leave, health insurance, or pensions;
  • retaliation against workers who protest or organize to alleviate these inhuman conditions;
  • and, most shamefully, modern-day slavery, with six successful federal prosecutions of farm labor operations for servitude in Florida over the past decade, and a seventh just initiated, involving well over 1,000 workers and more than a dozen farm employers;
WHEREAS, by leveraging their high-volume purchasing power to extract the lowest prices possible, Burger King and other food industry leaders profit from and play an active role in creating the miserable conditions in Florida’s fields;

WHEREAS, Burger King and other food industry leaders have not only refused to join Yum! Brands and McDonald's in working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to improve farm labor conditions, but have actually sought to reverse gains made by workers in agreements with those corporations;

WHEREAS, private equity firms including Goldman Sachs, Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and others, which are principal shareholders in Burger King and other food industry leaders, have made significant investments in the restaurant industry over the past decade, and have ignored calls by farmworkers and consumers for farm labor reform, while continuing to draw billions of dollars in private profits from their investments;

THEREFORE, I add my name and voice to those of countless consumers calling upon Burger King and other food industry leaders to immediately join with the CIW in efforts to end exploitation in the fields and modern-day slavery in the 21st century. I am also prepared to stop patronizing Burger King now, and other food industry leaders in the future, should they fail to do so.

Specifically, I call on Burger King and other food industry leaders to:
  1. Pay a penny more per pound for tomatoes and ensure that the increase is passed on to tomato pickers in the form of increased wages; and
  2. Work with the CIW to establish and enforce a human rights-based code of conduct, including zero tolerance for forced labor, to ensure fair and safe working conditions.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Customer Appreciation

It's Customer Appreciation Week at Coffee Bean!

There's a different cool deal everyday,
starting today and going thru Friday!

Monday's bargain: $1 off any large drink.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Laptop Update


It came back from the shop, and there is good news and bad news:

The bad news is it seems the mother board just died or went kabloowy. It's still under warranty (Alhamdulillah) and so insha'Allah HP will take care of it.

The good news is all of my data was recovered. So it's three weeks before finals and I DO have my notes from this semester.

Jazaka'Allah khair to all of you who expressed sympathy, listened to me vent, and made dua this week!

WooHoo: California Supreme Court & Living Wages!

The California Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal aimed at overturning a city ordinance requiring hotels near Los Angeles International Airport to pay workers a so-called living wage.

The court announced Thursday that it won't consider the appeal by a group of hotel owners, effectively clearing the way for the ordinance to take effect within 30 days.

The ordinance requires 13 hotels to pay employees $9.39 an hour with health insurance, or $10.64 an hour without the benefits.

Ruben Gonzalez, executive director of the Hotel Association of Los Angeles, said the association was considering its options but declined to provide further details.

Los Angeles Alliance of a New Economy spokesman Danny Finegold said he hoped the hotels will abide by the ordinance but acknowledges they could seek a ballot referendum.
Source: SF Chronicle

Yay for living wages. Though it never surprises me, it does still sadden me that 1. any decent human being would fight for the right to pay another human being POVERTY wages and 2. that hundreds of people continue to patronize these abodes of oppression.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Random Update

Blogging is slow because I'm having some major laptop drama (it randomly died on me and won't even turn on!), amongst other things.

Please make dua.

No really, please take 20 seconds and make some dua.

Jazaka'Allah khair!