Mon May 29th, 2017 at 09:48:31 PM EST
In my political fantasy life (no resemblance to persons living or dead), I like to play with the idea of deep conspiracies wondering, "What if?" from different directions, a variation of umpteeump dimensional chess. I don't believe any of it but just like to consider the possibilities.
What if Ivana Zelníčková Trmp was the original Russian/Soviet/espionage honeypot?
What if the Trmp's are actually "The Americans," deep cover sleeper agents like the ones in that show?
What if Ivanka and her siblings are the second generation of the operation? (Hello, Jared.)
That's one thread.
What if Fred Kch, father of the Kch Bros, who made his first millions with Stalin back in the 1930s, cooked up a long-term Fifth Column operation from the Right at some desk in the Kremlin back in those bad old days? What if the Jhn Brch Socity was funded to destabilize American democracy (such as it is) as much as the Communist Party USA, a Rightwing/Leftwing combination?
Fact of the matter is, with the 2016 Rpblcn Party, the "Eisenhower is a Commie" and "Impeach Earl Warren" Jhn Brch Socity of the 1950s won. It is the Rpblcn Party today, with a healthy helping of Christianist Dominionism added, all those preaching theocrats who are happy to ignore President Trmp's public behavior. This religious strain (take that any way you want) hearkens back and forward to Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here and Robert Heinlein's Revolt in 2100 as well as Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale.
And that's a whole nother group of conspiracies to play. Lotsa conspiracies and dystopias to go around.
Wed Mar 15th, 2017 at 01:43:56 AM EST
To Earth [also known as Gaia], Mother of All
I shall sing of well-formed Earth, mother of all
and oldest of all, who nourishes all things living on land.
Her beauty nurtures all creatures that walk upon the land,
and all that move in the deep or fly in the air.
O mighty one, you are the source of fair children and goodly fruit,
and on you it depends to give life to, or take it away from,
mortal men. Blessed is the man you favor
with willing heart, for he will have everything in abundance.
His life-giving land teems with crops, and on his fields
his flocks thrive while his house is filled with goods.
Such men with just laws rule a city
of beautiful women, while much prosperity and wealth attend them.
Their sons glory in youthful glee
and their daughters with cheerful hearts in flower-dances.
from The Homeric Hymns
Apostolos N Athanassakis, translator
Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press, 1976
Sat Dec 24th, 2016 at 06:16:15 PM EST
Notes from China's National Cap-and-Trade Program: The Promise and the Reality Wednesday, November 9
3:30PM TO 4:45PM
Harvard, 100F Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge
Wang Pu, Fellow at the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, HKS.
Co-sponsored by the China Project, SEAS, and the Environment and Natural Resources Program, HKS.
China Project Seminar Series
Contact Name: Tiffany Chan firstname.lastname@example.org
China started 7 different pilot programs with local administration of carbon trading in 2013, covering electricity and heavy industry but also including buildings in the Shenzhen pilot program. The average carbon price was $4-5 per ton. Problems included lack of consistency and transparency, weak legal enforcement, and lack of accurate emission data, but there was very high compliance, up to 98% participation by the entities covered.
The national program has no specified emission reduction goals, projections, or trajectory for carbon reduction. It is a bottom up approach with the national cap to be based on the sum of facility data. The national carbon trading administration identifies industry sectors and thresholds while the regions identify the covered facilities: steel, electricity, petrochemical, cement, nonferrous metal, paper mills and aviation. Around 10,000 firms are included, covering 30-40% of national carbon emissions. The allowance allocation is similarly two tiered with provincial authorities allocating allowances based upon the national allowances using a combination of benchmarking, grandfathering, and auctions.
State-owned enterprises control 50% of electricity capacity and much of heavy industry. The electricity sector has generation quotas and prices set by the government so market mechanisms don't necessarily work. Steel, cement and glass production are decreasing but becoming more efficient. The electricity and petrochemical industries may buy up their allowances to create inequities and reduce emission effects. Climate policy is thus being used to force manufacturing to upgrade technology and improve energy efficiency to reduce air pollution, a pressing political issue around the country. (And one becoming increasingly urgent given the most recent news in December 2016.)
CO2 is not categorized as a pollutant and the trading is supported only by administrative documents, with the climate department outranked by many state-owned enterprises and a very small staff, about 30 people in the NDRC (National Development and Research Commission). Emission data is very weak, a problem of credibility more than technology, with self-reporting, third party verification and emission data checked against production data for consistency. As China has strong regional differences in emissions and economic benefits - high emission/middle income (North), low emission/high income (South coast) and low emission/low income sectors (Western provinces), the calculations for each province of air pollution co-benefits range from $2 to $200 per unit of carbon capped, extremely unequally across the country.
This cap and trade program may simply be symbolic, a gesture to the international community, but it can also serve as an experiment to build institutional capacity, and a market based policy for reform. It's the only policy control on CO2, more flexible than command and control, and can help toward an economic soft landing by driving the less efficient businesses out without a big shock. It also certainly builds the public awareness of climate change. However, the speaker, Wang Pu, believes the program will not provide all the advertised benefits.
If Alex Steffen is right in this article Trump, Putin, and the Pipelines to Nowhere (https:medium.com@AlexSteffen/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd#.k2tuyyh7g ), and I believe he is correct in identifying what is happening as a global carbon coup to monetize as much fossil fuel as possible before climate change becomes undeniable, then I suspect the Trumpian USA and Putin's Russia will try to distract China from its own climate change activities like this national cap and trade program. Might be good to keep that in mind as we descend into the depths of the fossil fools.
More information on the current cost of carbon at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/8/16/1412568/-The-Current-Cost-of-Carbon
Sat Dec 17th, 2016 at 12:20:52 AM EST
Guizhou - Mountain Forest Hotel: a vertical forest hotel so green that it may also purify the surrounding air
Paris "Mille Arbres" or Thousand Trees building with an urban park on the ground and a forest in the sky
Vertical farming and urban ag tech article
Living wall in London for construction site
Amsterdam - redesigning Amsterdam for urban agriculture and more
Artisan Moss - moss for green walls - I wonder if they are doing edible mosses too
Mississauga Food Bank starts an aquaponics food farm
Living Food Bank - their first is in Haiti at the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission in St. Louis Du Nord
Agora Gardens in Taipei - a green building that absorbs CO2
Michigan Urban Farming Initiative - America's First Sustainable Urban Agrihood is "two-acre urban garden, a 200-tree fruit orchard, a children's sensory garden, and more. Annually, the urban garden provides fresh, free produce to about 2,000 households within two square miles of the farm."
Mobile greenhouse for urban farming
Tue Dec 6th, 2016 at 10:49:57 PM EST
On November 21, 2016 Scott Nyquist of McKinsey & Company (http://www.mckinsey.com) spoke to the public at MIT's Sloan School (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeTLrGhwLlrx3wx3eTYcnTX6pIS6iziw4RTLiYNL9uP0dWmVQ/viewform
Over the next 20 years, there are projections for 80% more demand on resources as a result of growing populations and growing economic production. However, higher energy intensity, efficiency, and slower GDP growth leads McKinsey and Company to consider a less than base case view.
McKinsey sees 74% of our energy still coming from fossil fuels by 2050, with an energy related CO2 peak by 2035, and a similar peak in transportation by 2025. COP 21, the Paris Agreement, has businesses going ahead and beyond waiting for negotiation, regulations and governments. Nyquist pointed us toward not only the Energy Transitions Commission (http://www.energy-transitions.org), 28 leaders from business who recognize that COP21 is not enough and are setting zero carbon as a planning goal but also the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (http://www.oilandgasclimateinitiative.com), 10 companies with 20% of global oil and gas production, which has pledged $1 billion for low carbon technology.
Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 02:34:16 AM EST
I like to watch/listen to CSPAN while I write and search the Web, especially the weekend Book TV. Around midnight, as September 17 slid into 18 this year (2016), Alan Taylor was talking about his book, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804. He referenced John Adams' 1815 letter which introduced the rule of thirds for the American Revolution "I should say that full one third were averse to the revolution.... An opposite third... gave themselves up to an enthusiastic gratitude to France. The middle third,... always averse to war, were rather lukewarm both to England and France;...." (although he was writing about American views on the French Revolution instead of our own Revolutionary War).
Alan Taylor, based on his research, believes that the Colonists were one fifth loyalists, two fifth Revolutionaries, and two fifths in the middle. At the time, Colonist population was 2.5 million, a fifth of whom, 500,000, or 20%, were slaves.
The day before, Bill Clinton on the September 15, 2016 The Daily show mentioned a 40% Democrats, 40% Republicans, 20% independent breakdown, at least historically. "...For most of my life, each political party has a 40% base and then there were 20% that were genuinely were up for grabs. By the time the 2000 race came along, Between Al Gore and President George W Bush, it was probably down to 10%. It may be down to less now because we're getting siloed."
Some other numbers which may be revealing.
"According to polls on February 27, 2006, two weeks after the accident [shooting Harry Whittington], Dick Cheney's approval rating had dropped 5 percentage points to 18%.
To the end of the Watergate scandal, 24% of Americans supported Nixon.
In the 2016 election about 117 million eligible voters didn't vote. Of the 241 million people eligible to vote only 200 million registered. 51 to 52%, a bare majority of voters voted this time. By Thursday, Clinton had 59,938,290 votes nationally to Trump's 59,704,886, or 233,404 more, the fifth time a candidate won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. Neither candidate got 50%: around 47.7% for Clinton and 47.5% for Trump.
Half of the eligible voters didn't vote and those that did vote are split about equally just shy of a majority. Less than a quarter of the electorate are for Trump, less than a quarter are for Clinton, and half didn't vote.
These are some of the patterns of American political demographics I see.
Tue Sep 27th, 2016 at 12:36:49 AM EST
I've always liked JG Ballard. Some know him as the author of the novel about being a British child in an intermit camp in Shanghai during WWII, Empire of the Sun, the source of the Spielberg movie which gave us Christian Bale. Others know his more quintessentially Ballardian books of "dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments."
I took the DVD version of the recent movie of Ballard's novel High-Rise with Tom HIddleston and Sienna Miller out of the library the other day. I had read the book long ago and originally wanted to see the movie in the theater but it came and went too fast. Watching the film, it reminded me of the other novels of Ballard which followed the same theme of the balance between modernity and savagery from high rise apartment blocks like High-Rise to a Spanish resort community (Cocaine Nights) to the all-in-one business park of Eden-Olympia (Super-Cannes) to an environmental conservation project in the South Pacific that goes terribly wrong (Rushing to Paradise) to middle class rebellion in a gated community (MIllennium People).
Kingdom Come (NY: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2006 ISBN 978-0-87140-403-9), the last novel Ballard published during his lifetime, is about the confluence of consumerism and fascism. Digging into my archives, I came across my notes from when I read the book a few years ago. Looking over the quotes, I found it to be quite an apt commentary on the current political climate, not just in the United States of America but all around the world (see this article on the relationship between Brexit, Trump, and authoritarian movements in Europe and other countries (http://www.vox.com/2016/9/19/12933072/far-right-white-riot-trump-brexit). Don't tell anybody but there's an Asian contingent too with Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, and Shinzo Abe's moves toward the re-militarization of Japan.
The links between consumerism and fascism are becoming commonplace with late stage capitalism in a world ecosystem collapsing under the thoughtless appetites of the human population as we see political violence and 24/7/365 mediated lone wolf and small group criminally insane terrorism. In this book Ballard combines the mall with mob politics. He does not really provide any answers but JG Ballard does have a detailed definition of the problem.
Sun Sep 25th, 2016 at 11:44:00 PM EST
NYC Farm condo for the High Line?
NYC World's Fair NY State Pavilion reimagined as greenhouse bubble
LEED for vertical farms
Tulsa, OK's urban farming to reduce food desertswww.theguardian.com/cities/2016/aug/25/tulsa-oklahoma-community-garden-urban-farming-oasis-f
Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Planning for Parks and Urban Forests in Los Angeles County
hat tip Gil Friend
Editorial Comment: My observation from years of listening to major journalists talk at Harvard's Shorenstein is that sometimes there are also people who can't see the forest for the leaves.
Mobile green living room touring Europe
3 "forests" for London Design Festival
Fruit walls and urban farming in the 1600s
Proposal for Brussels Botanic Center renovation as plant-covered and smog fighting building
Spherical Growroom to demonstrate urban farming in Copenhagenwww.space10.io/journal/growing-sphere-exploring-how-cities-can-feed-themselves-through-advan
Agro Food Park for the "Silicon Valley of Agriculture" in Aarhus, Denmark
The Hanging Gardens now being built in Copenhagen will allow residents to grow, buy, and sell their own vegetables without leaving the building
Editorial Comment: Do these three links mean an eyewitness report from Denmark is necessary?
Williamsburg Brooklyn's 15,000-square-foot public rooftop park atop the new William Vale Hotel.
Local food can go too far
Sun Sep 11th, 2016 at 02:16:12 AM EST
Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum was not only a show business producer and early mass marketeer but also a politician. He was elected to two terms in the Connecticut state legislature (1865 and 1866) representing the town of Fairfield as a member of the Republican Party. A decade later, he was elected by acclamation as mayor of Bridgeport, CT. His political career was very different from the candidate he is being compared to this 2016 Presidential season.
At the end of the Civil War, Barnum ran for the state legislature expressly to ratify the 14th Amendment to the USA Constitution and extend Connecticut state voting rights to African-American men as he stated in his speech to the legislature on May 26, 1865:
Mr. Speaker: I am no politician, I came to this Legislature simply because I wished to have the honor of voting for the two constitutional amendments--one for driving slavery entirely out of the country; the other to allow men of education and good moral character to vote, regardless of the color of their skins. To give my voice for these two philanthropic, just, and Christian measures is all the glory I ask legislativewise. I care nothing whatever for any sect or party under heaven, as such. I have no axes to grind, no logs to roll, no favors to ask. All I desire is to do what is right, and prevent what is wrong. I believe in no "expediency" that is not predicated of justice, for in all things--politics, as well as everything else -- "I know that honesty is the best policy." A retributive Providence will unerringly and speedily search out all wrong doing; hence, right is always the best in the long run. Certainly, in the light of the great American spirit of liberty and equal rights which is sweeping over this country, and making the thrones of tyrants totter in the old world, no party can afford to carry slavery, either of body or of mind. Take down the blinds from his intellect, and let in the light of education and Christian culture. When this is done you have developed a man. Give him the responsibility of a man and the self-respect of a man, by granting him the right of suffrage. Let universal education, and the universal franchise be the motto of free America, and the toiling millions of Europe, who are watching you with such intense interest, will hail us as their saviors. Let us loyally sink "party" on this question, and go for "God and our Country." Let no man attach an eternal stigma to his name by shutting his eyes to the great lesson of the hour, and voting against permitting the people to express their opinion on this important subject. Let us unanimously grant this truly democratic boon. Then, when our laws of franchise are settled on a just basis, let future parties divide where they honestly differ on State or national questions which do not trench upon the claims of manhood or American citizenship.
Barnum was also instrumental during that session in keeping the "railroad ring" from selecting the Speaker of the Connecticut House and appointing the head of the railroad commission, fighting against Commodore Vanderbilt who had raised the price of tickets on the Hudson River and Harlem railroads from 200 - 400% and was about to do the same with the New York and New Haven road in which he was also a major stockholder. The fight lasted all through the legislative session and was so bitter that the railroad interests' main proponent on the commission took to his bed "sick" ten days before the close of session and stayed there until the legislature adjourned.
"Through Barnum's efforts a law was passed that no person in the employ of any railroad in the State, should serve as railroad commissioner."
"In March, 1875, the nomination for Mayor of Bridgeport was offered Barnum, but he refused it, until assured that the nomination was intended as a compliment, and that both parties would sustain it." The city of Bridgeport usually voted Democratic but Barnum ran on the Republican ticket and was easily elected. He campaigned against public intoxication, closed the bars on Sunday, and crusaded to lower utility rates, improve water supplies, and eliminate the city's houses of prostitution.
During 1875, he was also on the lecture circuit with a talk titled "The World and How to Live in It," that he gave 30 times around the eastern United States and traveled to Niagara Falls and Akron, OH to visit his Hippodrome which was on tour as far east as Thomaston, Maine and west to Leavenworth, Kansas that season.
When he was 81, he grew ill. At his request, the New York Evening Sun newspaper published his obituary in advance so he could enjoy it. Two weeks later, April 7, 1891, PT Barnum was dead.
There seems to have been a lot more to Phineas Taylor Barnum than we usually remember.
Fri Aug 5th, 2016 at 09:52:46 PM EST
I'm noticing a cross-over now between zero net energy building and city agriculture, two subjects I follow and publish links lists on. The archive of the city agriculture links list is at cityag.blogspot.com
Net Zero Plus
The NetZero Plus Electric Training Institute (NZP-ETI), opened recently in Los Angeles, and is the largest net-zero plus commercial building retrofit in USA which "will function as a living laboratory, educational facility and demonstration center for advanced and emerging clean energy technologies."
I've built a version of this for myself and it seems to work although mine is just a small test model
All terrain off the grid survival vehicle
New home construction moving towards net zero
Retrofit home in Whatcom County, Washington produces twice the energy it now consumes (in an area with solar insolation of 3.5 - 3.0 kWh/square meter/day)
Virginia Beach,VA 10,500-square-foot Brock Environmental Center turns rainwater into drinking water, produces 83% more energy than it uses
Net Zero Energy Vermont - blog focusing on making Vermont the first zero energy state
Net zero energy feasibility study for Vermont buildings (and beyond)
Net zero downtown Montpelier design competition
Siemens new Munich headquarters, using 90% less electricity and 75% less water than the building it replaced
Los Angeles net zero solar powered 20 unit apartment building: Hanover Olympic
Nanjing China zero net energy Green Light House
Net Zero community in Salt Lake City
Telus Gardens in Vancouver, LEED Platinum with indoor gardens
LIAR Living Architecture
"This project will develop blocks able to extract resources from sunlight, waste water and air. The bricks are able to fit together and create `bioreactor walls' which could then be incorporated in housing, public buildings and office spaces."
Floating House - 100 sqm residential unit, 12 m in diameter and 4 m high, made entirely of recycled laminated timber on a recycled aluminium hull.
Fri Jul 29th, 2016 at 03:20:13 AM EST
I like direct action, positive protest that has immediate, practical, social and economic use.
That's why I say, Solar IS Civil Defense - light, phone, battery can be supplied by a few square inches of solar electric panel. The solar bike lights on my backpack over the last decade have proven the concept to my satisfaction (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/6/30/352476/-).
Light, phone, battery are also entry level electricity for the 1.4 billion or so of us around the world who don't yet have access to reliable electric power. Emergency preparedness at home, entry level solar power to the people who've never had it is essentially the same thing.
Bare minimum solar electricity for all, as long as the sun shines and the batteries hold out, is technically and practically feasible now.
It is rapidly becoming affordable too.
I know of one company that is reaching the price point of $1 per unit production costs for solar rechargeable lights (http://www.thriveenergy.co.in) and believe that there are others that are doing the same or better. That's $1.4 in production costs (or less, given economies of scale) to supply everyone among the presently powerless or $200 million if we start with one solar lighting system per family at a global average of 7 people per family.
How much more for delivery and setting up the infrastructure? The Dominican Light Project (http://www.esencialessrl.com) is beginning to provide solar lights for every family in the Dominican Republic at a proposed cost of $5 each to the customer's door. They raised some of their money through crowdfunding (https:/www.indiegogo.com/projects/dominican-light-project-by-esenciales-j-s-srl--2#)
Bare minimum solar electricity for all, as long as the sun shines and the batteries hold out, is not only technically feasible but also affordable and practical now.
in 2015, the world's military forces spent $1,676.0 billion or $4.59 billion per day
2016 USA Presidential election spending to July 22, 2016:
Amount raised by candidates: $904 million
Amount raised by Super PACS supporting them: $492
Just for reference.
Conceivably, there could be an ad hoc popular movement for crowd funding the end of electrical energy poverty within the next 3 to 5 years. A day of what we spend on warfare or a US Presidential campaign could give everybody who needed a light, light.
This is solar electric power to the people.
Now, add a bicycle or a hand-crank and you have two reliable sources of electricity day or night, by sunlight or muscle power.
Thu Jul 28th, 2016 at 03:22:51 AM EST
Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
NY: The Library of America, 1990
Sherman went to West Point in 1836 and graduated in 1840, 4th in his class academically. He served in Florida, South Carolina, and California, and was at Sutter's Mill as the Gold Rush began. He resigned his commission in 1853 and became a banker in San Francisco and later a lawyer in St Louis before teaching engineering at the Louisiana Seminary of Learning and Military Academy in 1860, from which he resigned in January 1861 to accept a commission in the US Army in May.
After his memoirs were first published, he included a long appendix in the second edition consisting of letters from interested parties correcting mistakes and offering different recollections of the events he covered.
The first time he was in battle was the first Bull Run and he remembered
"...the whole scene of the affair at Blackburn's Ford, when for the first time in my life I saw cannonballs strike men and crash through the trees and saplings above and around us, and realized the always sickening confusion as one approaches a fight from the rear; then the night-march from Centreville, on the Warrenton road, standing for hours wondering what was meant; the deployment along the edge of the field that sloped down to Bull Run, and waiting for Hunter's approach on the other side from the direction of Sudley Springs, away off to our right; the terrible scare of a poor negro who was caught between our lines; the crossing of Bull Run, and the fear lest we shoudl be fired on by our own men; the killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, which occurred in plain sight; and the first scenes of a field strewed with dead men and horses."
General Sherman knew that "Generally war is destruction and nothing else."
His letter to the mayor of Atlanta is remarkable and may be read at
Along with all my other notes from the book.
Fri Jul 15th, 2016 at 09:54:31 PM EST
We have all these wars and conflicts happening now. When do we practice peace?
As the great bluesman Willy Dixon, a conscientious objector in WWII, sings
It Don't Make Sense If You Can't Make Peace
List of Ongoing Conflicts Around the World as of July 3, 2016
67 countries at war
715 groups involved
A map of current world conflict with "impact on U.S Interests" from USA Council on Foreign Relations
(29 Countries and 209 between militias-guerrillas, terrorist-separatist-anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Central African Republic (often there are armed clashes between muslims and christians), Democrati Republic of Congo (war against rebel groups), Egypt (war against islamic militants of Islamic State branch), Libya (civil war), Mali (clashes between army and rebel groups), Mozambique (clashes with RENAMO rebels) Nigeria (war against islamist militants), Somalia (war against al-Shabaab islamist militants), Sudan (war against rebel groups in Darfur), South Sudan (clashes with rebel groups)
(16 Countries and 165 between militias-guerrillas, terrorist-separatist-anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Afghanistan (war against islamist militants), Burma-Myanmar (war against rebel groups), Pakistan (war against islamist militants), Philippines (war against islamist militants), Thailand (coup d'etat by army May 2014)
(10 Countries and 80 between militias-guerrillas, separatist groups and anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Chechnya (war against islamist militants), Dagestan (war against islamist militants), Ukraine (Secession of self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic), Nagorno-Karabakh (clashes between Azerbaijan army against Armenian army and Nagorno-Karabakh army)
(7 Countries and 236 between militias-guerrillas, terrorist-separatist-anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Iraq (war against Islamic State islamist militants), Israel (war against islamist militants in Gaza Strip), Syria (civil war), Yemen (war against and between islamist militants)
(5 Countries and 25 between drug cartels, terrorist-separatist-anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Colombia (war against rebel groups), Mexico (war against narcotraffic groups)
Wed Jun 15th, 2016 at 12:03:26 AM EST
Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be by Simone Signoret
NY: Penguin Books, 1978
(31) At about that time [1933-34], she noticed one day that a toothbrush she had just bought herself said "made in Japan." We returned to the store and there faced the owner, who wore a Basque beret and was probably a Croix de Feu militant [French neo-fascist movement]. Very politely, my mother said, "I would like to exchange this toothbrush. You see, it's made in Japan." "So?" "Well, you see, monsieur, the Japanese have just signed an agreement with the Germans and Italians so any Japanese merchandise, even a little toothbrush, becomes armaments for Japan, Italy, and Germany. Fascist countries." I wished the ground would open and swallow me up. The man replied, "So you want a French toothbrush, is that it?" "No, I'm not a chauvinist. No, all I want is a toothbrush that is not German, Italian or Japanese.' We went home with a toothbrush that was made in England. My mother considered her day to have been well spent, and today I agree with her. But at twelve or thirteen one gets terribly embarrassed.
(94) So that was the end of that. It has taken a long time to tell it all, 1940-44. It seemed like twenty years.
That was the end of it for us. But it wasn't finished for those who were in the camps. And it wasn't finished for the soldiers. And it was just beginning for the collaborators. And it had been finished a long time for those who had died.
Sun May 15th, 2016 at 11:15:58 AM EST
On May 2, 2016, Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics spoke at Harvard:
The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change
Monday, May 2
Harvard, CGIS-S020, Belfer Case Study Room, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
The Energy History Project hosts Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics, who will discuss "The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change."
These are some of the numbers for the greenhouse gas context he laid out:
We are at 450 CO2 equivalent [CO2e] now [400 ppm CO2 and another 50ppm equivalent in warming potential in other greenhouse gases like methane]
The rate of increase is increasing. It was
.5 ppm per year from 1930-1950
1 ppm per year from 1950-1970
2 ppm per year from 1970-1990
and is 2.5 ppm per year increase now.
We are at the edge of the temperature range in our present geologic era, the Holocene, with about 1º C of heat cooked into the atmosphere from our industrial greenhouse gas emissions already. The 2015 Paris agreement is designed to keep the globe below 2º C, and 1.5 º if possible. Paris anticipates and tries to avert a looming catastrophe.
Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger
Thu Apr 28th, 2016 at 10:57:32 PM EST
I read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals (published 1971) in the 1990s and wanted to remind myself of what my thought was then of what Alinsky wrote long before his name became a conservative slur.
Alinsky was a successful organizer and a seasoned tactician. Alinsky, however, was not a strategist. The difference between strategy and tactics is often confused: Tactics are the means used to gain an objective and strategy is the general campaign plan or goal.
Here are some of the tactically radical rules of Saul Alinsky that I noted then and now note again:
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
Never go outside the experience of your people.
Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
Keep the pressure on.
The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
The real action is in the enemy's reaction.
The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction is your major strength.
Tactics, like organization, like life, require that you move with the action.
For a different take on community organizing, my notes on Grace Lee Bogg's The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century are at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-next-american-revolution.html
Tue Mar 29th, 2016 at 01:40:59 PM EST
Found this while going through my archives and thought that it stood the test of time and, unfortunately, might be useful again after Paris and Brussels and Baghdad and Lahore, especially evil with its targeting of children and women, and on and on and on and....
Augury of Two Towers
Now I know what we must do.
We must be as united in our humanity
as we were when we watched
our brothers and sisters falling, dying, burning,
recognizing our own mortality and the Hell
at the heart of those who would do such a thing.
We must be as stern and courageous as the firemen were
in those first moments, running up the stairs
to get the people out before the towers fell.
We must be as gentle with each other
as we were in our first grief and unbelief,
strangers sharing sorrow and tears
until we were strangers no longer.
We must not forget
We must not forget
We must not forget that we are all together.
Now we are united in horror at the terror
a few have wreaked upon us.
They used their own deaths as the fuse
to our destruction.
We must be at least as smart as they were.
We must be at least as determined as they were.
We must never be what they were,
in love with
hate and death.
September 26, 2001