Thu Jan 15th, 2015 at 11:17:47 PM EST
We are going into our fifth month of demonstrations and actions all over the USA about police violence and sanctioned summary judgment. Hearing, reading, seeing the news, it seems as if brutality, terror, and torture are breaking out worldwide, with beheadings and mass killings happening at, perhaps, a quickening rate. Violence meeting violence to make more violence, intertribal problems stuck on stupid, here and abroad.
Recently, I saw a DVD of "The Interrupters," (http://interrupters.kartemquin.com) on an open cart in the library and I took it home. It's a documentary about a group called Ceasefire which "interrupts" street violence between gangs and violent individuals in Chicago. CeaseFire's founder, Gary Slutkin, is an epidemiologist who believes that violence spreads like an infectious disease and uses a "medical" treatment: "go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source," to stop it. One part of that treatment is the "Violence Interrupters" program, created by Tio Hardiman, a group of street-credible, mostly former offenders who defuse conflict before it becomes violence. They can speak from experience about consequences and how "no matter what the additional violence is not going to be helpful."
About the same time, a friend wrote me about a radio interview (http://www.ttbook.org/book/reforming-lapd) with Constance Rice, a civil rights attorney and cousin to the former Secretary of State, who has trained 50 LA police officers over the last five years in "public trust policing" at Nickerson Gardens, an LA public housing project.
I picked up "The Interrupters" because I was wondering why we didn't hear about this group in relation to what has been happening with the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamar Rice and others. I listened to the interview with Constance Rice for the same reason. Why haven't I seen Ms Rice, Gary Slutkin, or Tio Hardiman on my TV screen and all over "social media"? They are doing some things which have proven to work in their own communities. How much of what they've done in Chicago and LA can apply to NYC and Boston and other places all around the world? Can they teach us all how to interrupt our own violence and to build a system of public trust policing? As Tio Hardiman says in the DVD: "We've been taught violence. Violence is learned behavior." Can these people and the others like them teach us how to unlearn our violent behavior?
We'll never know unless their voices are part of the conversation.
Mon Jan 5th, 2015 at 08:42:46 AM EST
Thomas Piketty is in the news for having refused the French decoration of Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur. Or, in other news, for a conversation with Bill Gates.
He's also a columnist at Libération. His latest offering starts by taking a swing at Juncker for his hypocrisy on the Luxleaks scandal, and goes on:
2015 : quels chocs pour faire bouger l'Europe ? - Libération
il est temps de reconnaître que ce sont les institutions européennes elles-mêmes qui sont en cause, et que seule une refondation démocratique de l'Europe permettrait de mener des politiques de progrès social.
it's time to recognize that the European institutions themselves are the problem, and that only a democratic refoundation of Europe would enable policies of social progress.
What gets in the way? Piketty singles out Germany and France.
Mon Jan 5th, 2015 at 04:13:22 AM EST
I have finally gotten around to reading the Autumn Statement from the UK's Office of Budget Responsibility. You can download the whole smash here, but for brevity's sake, I'll stick to the Overview and Executive Summary. I'll say up front that the Statement is a tour de force of alternately covering and kissing butt, but I believe the real importance of the Statement is the insight it provides to the "reality" the OBR is expected to manufacture to support the Coalition Government's policies.
Fri Jan 2nd, 2015 at 05:25:39 AM EST
Even among the many magnificent metre-gauge mountain railways of Switzerland, the Rhaetian Railway (Rhätische Bahn, RhB) is a special spectacle: a network spanning the upper valleys of three major rivers, climbing passes with innumerable bridges, tunnels, spiral and horseshoe curves, instead of rack sections. No wonder that riding the RhB is the one trip everyone with access to railway employee free tickets is advised to do. I had an inkling that I might soon lose that privilege in yet another company restructuring (though I didn't think I might lose my job along with it), so I "did the RhB" this year.
In one one-week holiday each in July and October, I travelled pretty much the entire network. Now that I had time to go through my photos (a bit over 1,850 of them), I start a mini-series portraying the RhB lines, roughly in the order of increasing spectacularity. In this first part, I show the line following the Anterior Rhine.
RhB Ge 4/4 II No. 613 "Domat/Ems" with an eastbound Glacier Express is about to reach Versam-Safien station in the Rhine Canyon
Thu Jan 1st, 2015 at 07:56:52 PM EST
I recently posted the second of two stories in 'Tehran Times' on the subject of the recent collapse in oil market prices, which I have been publicly forecasting consistently for over three years, initially at a major conference in Tehran in late 2011, and most recently on November 2nd when the oil price was still over $80/barrel.
Since it seems to have disappeared, I thought I might republish it at European Tribune.
Wed Dec 31st, 2014 at 08:04:33 AM EST
There is some technical stuff here beyond my parsing ability, so I offer this LQD as food for discussion.
Happy New Economic Year to everyone, maybe this coming year we can get the Euro to play nice in the face of so many voters who have lost faith in the whole European Project because of continuing bad faith exhibited by the Austerity-merchants of Death aka the ECB and the Banksters.
Beppe Grillo's Blog
After a third failed attempt to elect a new State President, Greece is now required to hold a general election on 25 January. The Greek share market responded by dropping 20% of its value in the past two weeks and the yield of their ten-year public bonds shot up to 10%, the highest level seen in the past two years.
What better occasion for our regime media to serve up some terrorism "a la matriciana" against Italy's exit from the Euro. After all, we too have to elect a new State President under conditions that are anything but simple.
Wed Dec 31st, 2014 at 07:23:09 AM EST
There's yet another "status quo in economic education is basically fine" piece penned by a fairly eminent educator:
In the interests of brevity (it's a long piece), I'll only quote the beginning and the end:
Thoughts on "Teaching Economics After the Crash" -- Medium
This is a long post on the state of economics and how it is taught to undergraduates. The world is not crying out for another such discussion, so blame Tony Yates, via whom I ended up listening to Aditya Chakrabortty's documentary "Teaching Economics After the Crash" for BBC Radio 4.
Like Tony, I viewed the programme as a hopelessly one-sided critique of the economics profession. Still, it was useful in the sense that it packed all the regular criticisms about economics into one short piece. I agree with most of what Tony wrote but I want to take a different approach because I think it's worth engaging a bit more positively with the criticisms raised.
front-paged by afew
Mon Dec 29th, 2014 at 06:15:18 AM EST
I have not much to say here. But just now the election of the new president of Greece in the Greek parliament failed for the third time. This means there will be a snap election.
Greek lawmakers failed to elect a new president in a final round of voting on Monday, leaving the country facing an early election that could derail the international bailout program it needs to keep paying its bills.
Can Syzra win? Should it win?
I do not want to bore people again with stuff about the ECB, but I found this quite weird (from an article in the Telegraph from shortly before the vote in the parliament)
Gikas Hardouvelis, the Greek finance minister, warned on Sunday that the election of an anti-austerity party could lead to punitive European Central Bank economic sanctions against Greece.
"The ECB holds the key," he told Greece's To Vima newspaper. "This key can easily and abruptly turn off bank funding and strangle the Greek economy in a split second."
Has it come to this? It is basically matter of fact that the ECB can impose its political will?
by A swedish kind of death
Sat Dec 27th, 2014 at 01:08:57 PM EST
The new elections in Sweden which were planned for March have been cancelled. So says the radio and all the papers.
Promoted by DoDo
by das monde
Sat Dec 27th, 2014 at 02:42:14 AM EST
As we got a little interested in the age distribution of readers of this blog, I follow the Swedish royal suggestion to bring up a poll. Please contribute in making this survey representative.
And let's discuss, whether we should take on a mission to attract a batch of younger readers, or expand all age groups.
Let's have more respondents - afew
Sun Dec 21st, 2014 at 11:00:51 AM EST
In this first train blog in a long time, I bring two disparate stories only connected by the theme of renewal and their closeness to me.
First, after more than two decades, there is a change at the helm of international trains between Prague and Budapest. Both the old and the new loco type was noteworthy for matching or exceeding the performance of contemporary Western products.
Czech Railways (ČD) 380 020 with an EC train to Budapest runs along the Danube on its last kilometres in Slovakia
by Democrats Ramshield
Sat Dec 20th, 2014 at 07:13:37 PM EST
(Cross posted by author from the Daily Kos.)
(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
Here's the answer that the American corporatist oligarchs in your face wealth machine wants to provide entertainment services for desperate, poor working class people to injure themselves by throwing themselves at their glass ceiling in futile attempts to shatter their glass and take the loot home which is they know impossible. So what winds up happening is these poor desperate people throwing themselves against their glass ceiling winds up creating advertising revenue along with entertainment for the corporatist banksters looking to profit from more audacious human misery and desperation. In any case they're absolutely going to be insured for any losses.
The bottom line is their business risks are socialized, and their profits are privatized. A third of all homes in America are in under water mortgages to the point of $1.2 trillion, and we have a student loan bubble building of approx another $1.2 trillion. So you see the Wall Street bankster suit and tie generation have put us in deep trouble. And now working class people when using public transport are being taunted by millions of dollars in a bullet proof impregnable glass case on public display.
So here are people who use public transport, not all but many of whom can't afford a car. At least some of whom are homeless and in pain, because they can't afford medical care. You know what the Wall Street corporatist suit and tie generation pigs who in 2008 nearly collapsed the American economy and therewith the world economy, because they stole more money than in all of the bank robberies in the history of the United States put together and now put millions of dollars of (guess what) your money in glass cases, taunting desperate people to smash up against it. So as to provide them with advertising, infotainment for their product. The reason I say it's your money and not their money they're putting on display is because they stole it from you in the oligarch's wage slave economy and if too much of it gets stolen as they're too big to fail, they're going to force you through the best government money can buy to bail them out yet once again. They expect to shove it down our throats again whether we like it or not. They don't care how many families they will destroy in the process, because they don't respect our humanity. To them we're just useful fools without human dignity.
Youtube link (The hippies were right)
Wed Dec 17th, 2014 at 11:34:19 PM EST
Solar Microgrids in Tanzania:
Maasai Stoves & Solar Project
81 Kirkland Street, Unit 2, Cambridge, MA 02138
Water biomonitoring in Costa Rica:
1120 Meadows Road, Franklin, North Carolina 28734
More about these programs below.
Wed Dec 17th, 2014 at 03:22:30 PM EST
Europe's energy sector is in the midst of a major transformation. Its gas and electricity sectors are moving from public monopolies into competitive private companies in liberalised markets and electricity generation is being decarbonised, with strong growth of wind and solar power in particular.
The cost of energy is rising, creating concern about the effect on vulnerable households, and prompting calls for government intervention.
As energy prices increase across the European Union (EU), consumers in some member states are paying considerably more for their energy than UK customers, according to a European Commission study.
Statistic 2014: Electricity prices by type of user
Europe cannot be treated as a single entity, for there are massive differences between individual countries in what households pay for their power.
Government taxes and subsidies have attracted controversy for driving up electricity and gas bills, in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
by Democrats Ramshield
Tue Dec 16th, 2014 at 06:34:12 AM EST
(Cross posted by author from the Daily Kos)
Written by an American MBA expat living in Germany.
I was privileged with the support of the Daily Kos community to have ordinarily publish this diary which went onto viral status, having received over 30,000 Facebook shares and 588 Tweets.
I have since received from members of the Daily Kos community large substantial numbers of requests to update and republish the diary at DKOS as the original diary can no longer be commented on and participated in. Therefore I republished this diary yesterday where in response to requests from readers for updated material, I unpublished this diary and am republishing it today substantially in rewritten form as a service to the community.
I am therefore impressed this is an important discussion that deserves our attention for a serious subject matter. Therefore as my reader, I would like to invite you to give this indepth report in the matter of this diary a close read. I'd also like to thank Meteor Blades and all of the original recommenders of that diary who are too numerous to repeat here. The recent events in Ferguson, MO and other such senseless tragedies perpetrated by the racist American police state have brought the crisis of our democracy into the international media spotlight.
Mon Dec 15th, 2014 at 01:51:18 AM EST
Will the Oil Collapse Kill Energy Junk Bonds? (Yves Smith on Illari's post from Automatic Earth)
(The PBS News Hour Friday, December 12, noted that US oil prices dropped below $60/bbl Friday, causing the lagest drop in US stock markets in three years.)
Some context, (via Ed Harrison):
front-paged by afew
Tue Dec 9th, 2014 at 06:48:03 PM EST
Just thought I'd pop in to say hello to all of my old friends of Eurotrib.
The old bod aint what it used to be and I don't get around as much on my feet in Paris as I used to; no more street demonstrations with camera for me. But the brain still seems OK; well enough to read Eurotrib and Daily Kos daily which makes it difficult to avoid depression. I really miss the annual meetups we used to have in Paris-one of the highlights of the year for me.
Many of you remember Raphael who came to the first Eurotrib meetup when he was 15 in 2006. He just started his Phd work in Physics at ENS in Lyon. Esther, who's 20 now, who also came to a meetup or two, finished two years of study as a sound technician and is now studying cinema at the Sorbonne.
I hope you are all doing well personally, especially AR Geezer who's having some health problems. If there is ever another Paris meetup count me in; even if I have to take a 40 euro taxi ride to get there.
Good holiday season to all!
Mon Dec 8th, 2014 at 01:34:25 AM EST
I want to note that I have been dealing with health issues lately. I was hospitalized in mid September and then again on the 2nd of December. All of this arises from an exquisitely ridiculous bit of prat-fall. I have been using a mobility cart at large stores for several years due to my knees. In early August I drove one out to my car, started to get off by placing my left foot off the cart, then decided to reposition the cart further left and proceeded to do so without putting my foot back on the cart - thus running the cart over the foot with my 270lbs and the cart's ~ 100 lbs resting on the side of my left ankle. Then I had to reverse the procedure.
Sun Dec 7th, 2014 at 10:42:02 PM EST
In 1983, a couple of years after the second of the 1970s oil shocks and at a time when petroleum prices were relatively low, in a village near Graz, Austria, in the province of Styria, a farmer and an engineer led a group of 32 people in building simple do it yourself solar heaters. They said, "Our primary aim was to build a collector that was inexpensive and easy to build for every one of us. Having become aware of the finiteness of natural resources, we also aimed at avoiding all material waste in constructing the collector. Other important aspects were the saving of energy, environmental protection, and community building. Everybody was expected to build their own collector in order to be sufficiently familiar with its function."
By the end of 1984, two more self-building groups with more than 100 participants were needed to meet the local demand for such solar heaters. By 1986, the do it yourself groups were producing more collector surface area than all the commercial suppliers in Austria. In 1987, the first build-it-yourself guide was published and in 1988 the Association for Renewable Energy (AEE) was founded to institutionalize the group build, self build, do it yourself solar movement which now included about 50 groups and more than 1,000 participants.
By the end of 1998 there were 360,000 m2 of solar collector area and about 30,000 household solar hot water heating systems built by the do it yourselfers, out of 100,000 private household solar systems with 1.3 million m2 of plate collector surface in all of Austria. For a decade and more, do it yourself, self-build groups dominated the Austrian solar industry and the model was exported to Switzerland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and Slovenia.
Thu Dec 4th, 2014 at 09:18:44 AM EST
From the Guardian live stream I found this:
[The ECB] has cut its inflation forecasts in 2014 to just 0.5%, from 0.6%.
The figure for 2015 has been slashed to just 0.7%, from 1.1%. In 2016, it rises to 1.3%, down from 1.4% in the previous staff forecasts.
Think about this: By its own forcast, the ECB will now miss its target for at least four years in row. And this while Eurozone unemployment is at 12%.
Draghi says the ECB's growth and inflation forecasts have been revised down substantially; and he admits that these forecasts do not include the latest slump in oil prices.
So probably inflation will be even lower, then the already terrible forecast predicts.
This is obviously fully in line with the overall behavior of the ECB. At the beginning of the year, when inflation was at 0.8% what did the ECB do: nothing! It took another 8 month or so, until the ECB started a program to extend its balance sheet.
And why: Because inflation expectations are well anchored. Already this was quite strange: The ECB has a Mandate to keep inflation at 2%, not 'inflation' expectations. Now, you could argue that inflation exceptions at 2% guarantee that in 'the medium term' inflation will run at 2%.
But how are you going to keep inflation exceptions anchored if, by your own forecast, you are going to miss the inflation target for 4 years in a row (this was already the case in the beginning of the year). And on top of this the ECB is in now way committed to overshooting. Such a asymmetric target guarantees inflation below the mandated 2%.
How is that not an issue yet! Are all Europeans so scared of inflation that nobody notices that the ECB is not doing its job?