Archive for April, 2010


Ruppert Tour

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Vermonters Confronting Collapse

Featuring a series of talks by the author of Confronting Collapse and the subject of the 2009 documentary Collapse.

 

 

 

 

Vermont Tour May 13 – 16

  • May 13 – Burlington:
    Contois Auditorium, City Hall 7:30 p.m.
  • May 14 – Montpelier:
    Unitarian Church, 7:30 p.m.
  • May 15 – Brattleboro :
    Brattleboro Union High School, 7:30 p.m.
  • May 16 – Woodstock:
    Woodstock Town Hall Theater, 7:00 p.m.
    Features screening of film and Q&A with Michael Ruppert afterward

About Michael C. Ruppert

Author Michael C. Ruppert details the intricate connections between money and energy, including the ways in which oil shortages and price spikes triggered the economic crisis that began in September 2008.

Ruppert outlines a 25-point plan of action, including the creation of a second strategic petroleum reserve for the use of state and local governments, a thorough assessment of soil conditions nationwide, and an emergency action plan for soil restoration and sustainable agriculture.

If ever there was a need for a particular book at a particular time, it’s this book now.
—Jenna Orkin, World Trade Center Environmental Organization


STATEWIDE TOUR SPONSORS

Chelsea Green Publishing (www.chelseagreen.com) Vermont Commons (www.vtcommons.org)

The Candidates for Vermont Independence (www.vermont30.net) Free Vermont Radio (www.freevermontradio.com)

Visit http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/ruppert-tour for more information.

Burlington sponsors: Peace & Justice Center – http://www.pjcvt.org/, Transition Town Charlotte – http://transitionvermont.ning.com/group/charlotte, Transition Town Shelburne – http://greenshelburne.wordpress.com/, UVM Environmental Program – http://www.uvm.edu/~envprog/, and Burlington WILPF – http://www.wilpfburlington.org/

Montpelier sponsors: Transition Town Montpelier – http://transitionvermont.ning.com/group/TTM, Food Works at Two Rivers Center – http://foodworksvermont.org/, The Bridge – http://www.montpelierbridge.com/, Post-Carbon Sustainability Network – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PoCSuN/, Peak Oil Awareness, and Rural Vermont – http://www.ruralvermont.org/

Brattleboro sponsors: Post Oil Solutions – http://www.postoilsolutions.org/, Save the Corporations from Themselves – http://www.savethecorporations.com/main.html, and Marlboro College MBA in Managing for Sustainability – https://gradschool.marlboro.edu/academics/mba/

Woodstock/Upper Valley sponsors: Pentangle Arts Council, groSolar – http://www.grosolar.com, Transition Town WRJ – http://www.ttwrj.org/, Transition Town Hartland – http://sites.google.com/site/transitiontownhartland/, Sustainable Woodstock – http://www.sustainablewoodstock.com/, Pompanoosuc Agricultural Society – http://forage.ning.com/, and Sustainable Energy Resource Group – http://www.serg-info.org/

Happy 4/20! NORML Pot Arrests Billboard Debuts in Times Square

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Though society’s attitudes have changed in a big, big way over the last 20 years, with more people than ever saying we should legalize marijuana, law enforcement doesn’t seem to have received that particular memo. New York City alone has seen an increase in possession arrests skyrocket from 1,000 in 1990 to 46,000 in 2009—and NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) wants everyone to know it.

From The Huffington Post:

Just in time for 4/20, the official/unofficial marijuana holiday, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws will debut their new digital ad highlighting the sharp, sharp increase in New York City’s rate of marijuana possession arrests over the last two decades.

Read the whole article here.

 
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Marijuana Is Safer Coauthor Steve Fox on The O’Reilly Factor

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? co-author Steve Fox makes the conservative case for the regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana use for adults—and invites Sarah Palin to support the cause—in this appearance on The O’Reilly Factor.

From The O’Reilly Factor:

Steve Fox on OReilly

 
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Happy 4/21: Marijuana Is Safer Promotion

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

*UPDATE (Again!)* The promotion on Scribd has concluded with a whopping 92,000+ reads! Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word. The response was nothing short of amazing!

Weak Medicine: Obama’s Flawed Plan for Reforming the Banks

Monday, April 19th, 2010

AlterNet is running a timely excerpt from A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama’s Promise, Wall Street’s Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future by Robert Kuttner.

When Barack Obama entered office, the housing crisis required very strong remedies. Government needed to use a mix of public funds and concessions on the part of the bankers and investors, who held the mortgage paper, to reduce the principal and interest to a monthly payment low enough to allow distressed borrowers to keep their homes. Otherwise, the foreclosure crisis would keep feeding on itself, glutting the market with vacant homes, driving housing values still lower, and triggering still more foreclosures. But this course would require banks and holders of mortgage-backed securities to take losses, and it was rejected by both the Bush and Obama administrations. Instead, both Bush and Obama relied on a series of voluntary programs, jawboning bankers to reduce monthly payments. Not surprisingly, this approach failed.

Back in 2007, looking over the brink of this precipice, the Bush administration had worked with the banking industry to develop the first voluntary program, called the HOPE NOW Alliance. The group claimed that member banks participated in 2,911,609 “workouts” (reductions of monthly payments) between July 2007 and November 2008, but that number turned out to be grossly inflated. Only 37 percent of the workouts resulted in modification of the loan terms, and of these only 49 percent actually cut monthly payments. Most of the reductions were modest.

Read the whole excerpt on AlterNet.

Anya Kamenetz: New York Times Discovers Open Courseware

Monday, April 19th, 2010

By Anya Kamenetz

I was so excited to open the Education Life section and see a whole article about free and open courseware, including reviews of individual courses and online, a sampler of popular lectures from MIT, Berkeley, and Yale.

The piece covers the news that broke at the Hewlett OER conference at Yale where I spoke last week. Hewlett has been instrumental in funding the open courseware movement to date. Now they are tightening their purse strings and also tightening their focus. They want to fund projects that focus on “deeper learning”, that improve teaching and learning practices, that track who participates and how they benefit, and that create “proof points” that can be taken to Washington, DC and to state legislatures and used to inform bigger policy programs.

Ultimately the vision is for publicly funded, evidence based education that is far more affordable and accessible than we see today.

The parallel movement of course as I talk about in the book is for self-learners and, even more exciting, self-organizing communities of learners to be able to take advantage of these resources to educate themselves, for free, outside the auspices of institutions.

This post originally appeared on DIYUBook.com.

 
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WATCH: Carlo Petrini: The Earth Is Not an Infinite Resource, Part 2

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Factory farming is taking a terrible toll on our planet and our health. Humans have been clever enough to figure out how to squeeze the maximum yield out of every square inch of earth for maximum profit—regardless of nutrition or environmental safety. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of people go hungry every day.

Carlo Petrini, author of Terra Madre: Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities, knows that we can—and must—change our ways.

From Cooking Up a Story:

Agriculture has by its very nature a system of built-in limitations. But according to Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food International, we have figured out how to bypass many of those limits, and as a result, society pays a terrible cost.

Read the whole article here.

 
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Is the iPad the Future of Higher Education? CMTY Interviews DIY U Author Anya Kamenetz

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

We’re just beginning to see the democratization of higher education. That is, a model of higher education that doesn’t involve throwing obscene amounts of money at a “prestigious” (i.e., very old) institution that refuses to keep pace with changing times. Author Anya Kamenetz (DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education) wants education to be open to all, regardless of income, and she’s explored the different avenues available to the modern student in 2010—including replacing that $1,000 stack of textbooks with a device like the iPad.

From CMTY (Connecting Me to You):

What got you so interested in this subject?

Right after college I started writing about young people and the economics of the young. I did this book called Generation Debt (Amazon link) which was a lot about student loans and the diseases of being a young person in America. I really started to see that the whole system is broken. You have almost half of the people who aren’t graduating. People that start and don’t finish. The people that do finish, they don’t always feel that their degree connects them to jobs that are going to be relevant or fulfilling.

What are some of the things specifically, that you’d like to see changing in higher education?

Institutions do need to do things differently. I’m really interested in protecting the student. What I’d like to see is students being more empowered to make decisions and make choices through their own personal learning paths. So they have the freedom to more easily combine courses from different areas, different institutions, different subjects, online courses and more experiential learning.

There’s a very interesting quote used in your book about how the student has to fill out all this information that reveals their financial status and the institution doesn’t have to reveal their financial status or what they’re going to use the money for.

They don’t even do the accounting. That’s what is so crazy about it. There is no real accounting in higher education — they do cost setting accounting. I’ve heard this from college leaders, it’s not just a made up thing. However much money they get, is how much they spend. And they cannot tell you what individual things cost because they just don’t break it up.

Read the whole article here.

 
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Is This Factory Farming’s Tobacco Moment?

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

With so much information known about the dangers of factory-farming, from producing 35–50% of greenhouse gas emissions to poisoning us slowly with pesticide residue to creating frankenfood GMOs, isn’t it time the government stepped up and started turning up the heat on Big Agribusiness? Will Allen, author of The War on Bugs, certainly thinks so. He co-wrote this essay with Ronnie Cummins for Counterpunch:

As the co-author of this essay, Will Allen, concluded in his 2008 book The War on Bugs, it is time to conduct a full-scale offensive against factory farming and industrial agriculture. It is time for consumers to stop buying chemical food and using poisonous chemicals on their lawns, gardens, and in their houses. It is time for executives and workers on factory farms to become whistle blowers. It is time for chemically assaulted farmworkers and farmers to sue these killers. It is time for chemical and food industry employees and feedlot cowboys to expose factory farming’s dirty secrets, just as high-level tobacco executives and tobacco workers did in the 1990s. It is time for courageous magazines or Internet sites to refuse farm and home chemical advertisements.  

In 1905, Colliers magazine refused to publish any more patent medicine ads. Almost immediately, the Saturday Evening Post, and the Ladies Home Journal joined the boycott. This didn’t solve the problem of useless patent medicines, but it provoked a public dialogue and the rejection of thousands of dangerous potions. The public exposure of these “snake oil” remedies saved countless lives.

Similar bold moves need to be taken to protect us all from the ravages of Food Inc. Time magazine’s recent expose in August of 2009 of our dangerous and costly food system may be a signal that at least some reporters in the media are willing to expose the hazards of factory farms and chemical agriculture. Sadly, other media outlets continue to serve as cheerleaders for GMOs and industrial food. The New Yorker magazine and National Public Radio continue to carry Monsanto’s ads claiming that GMO crops use less pesticides and can feed the world’s population, when in fact recent research has shown that GMO crops actually increase pesticide use. Other studies have demonstrated that yields of both GMO corn and soy are actually lower than non-GMO varieties. 8  

Read the whole article here.

 
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Clip from Karl Rove/Howard Dean Debate at U Albany

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Via AllOverAlbany.com, here’s a short video clip from a debate between Karl Rove and Howard Dean:

 
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