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The best we can hope for is that we can change the political climate to make it harder for politicians to rule in the interests of the few.

Jack Copley, 20, a student at the University of Birmingham who was protesting in London. 

Occupy Wall Street Protests happening all around the world! nytimes, 15.10.11.

» Rabbit-Hole Economics

…It’s a terrible thing when an individual loses his or her grip on reality. But it’s much worse when the same thing happens to a whole political party, one that already has the power to block anything the president proposes — and which may soon control the whole government.

krugman, nytimes, 13.10.11.

(Source: thesmithian, via climateadaptation)

» Los Angeles has a plan, but is it enough ?


the current plan isn’t even scratching the surface of what is required to make it a reality.

The plan describes a proposal for “an ambitious 1,684 mile bikeway system”. This number is clearly important as it appears in particularly large print in the document. Apparently this will “build off the existing 334 miles that have been installed over the past thirty plus years”. Does that indicate that the rate of cycle path building over the last thirty years has been 10 miles per year ? Well, actually, no it doesn’t.

And what else does the document say ? Well, they make a point of dividing cyclists into three categories - Advanced / Experienced, Basic / less confident, Children with or without their parents. There is a suggestion that parallel facilities will be built for these different types of cyclists.

This is a fundamental error. To build down for inexperienced cyclists is a waste of time. Good cycling infrastructure suits all types of cyclists. Infrastructure which isn’t good enough for the experienced to use for efficient journeys without problems definitely is not good enough for the inexperienced to use either. This is doubly ridiculous when there clearly isn’t enough of a budget to build one good network, let along three.

The Netherlands, which remember only has a population slightly larger than the urban area of Los Angeles, now has 29000 km of high quality completely separate cycle path. In addition there is an unknown length of lesser quality touristic separated paths, 5000 km of on road cycle lane and many thousands of kilometres of road which have been prioritized for bikes.

—I know there are problems with money in L.A. but it’s a false economy to ignore cycling because of this. Cycling infrastructure is cheaper to build than not to build.—

read more: aviewfromthepath, 05.09.11.

FUCKING DISAPPOINTING, LOS ANGELES. But then, what should’ve I expected..

***I haven’t gotten around to reading San Diego’s Bike Plan yet, but now I know what sort of things to expect.. >__>;;

» Solar energy company collapse a worrisome sign for 'green-tech' hopes

The collapse of a once-promising Bay Area solar panel manufacturer may signal a shaky future for a green jobs sector targeted for government stimulus spending, experts said Wednesday.

Two main factors led to Solyndra’s bankruptcy: China exporting increasingly cheap solar panels and the company using a design that made sense only when costs of materials were high, said Severin Borenstein, professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and co-director at the school’s Energy Institute.

The collapse also exposed the folly of stimulus programs that venture too far downstream into areas where governments are trying to pick winners, he said. Solyndra had received a $535 million federal loan guarantee.

solyndra to shut down, laying off 1100 employees.
mercurynews, 31.08.11

As bureaucrats in Beijing like to say, “China is like an elephant riding a bicycle. If it slows down, it could fall off, and the earth might quake.”

China Saps Mozambique of Timber Resources.
fastcompany, 01.06.2008

"Personally, I think the Chinese are bad," says Alima Abdul Kadir Issufo, the head of Mozambique’s Forest Department, in her office in Maputo. "I’m not happy with the way they do things. They are — how can you say it? — thirsty?" She laughs. But then her tone turns grave: "To understand others, you have to understand you, America. If you stop buying Chinese products made from our wood, then we can conserve our timber more. You will make a difference. We are all part of the problem.”

» Special Report: China Storms Africa

Beijing declared 2006 the “Year of Africa,” and China’s leaders have made one Bono-like tour after another. No other major power has shown the same interest or muscle, or the sheer ability to cozy up to African leaders. And unlike America’s faltering effort in Iraq, the Chinese ain’t spreading democracy, folks. They’re there to get what they need to feed the machine. The phenomenon even has a name on the ground in the sub-Sahara: the Great Chinese Takeout.

With its resource-hungry push into the sub-Sahara, Beijing puts the planet to the test.
fastcompany, 01.06.2008.

reading for my Communities & the Environment class (poli125a). 

"Those most vulnerable to the health risks of climate change are also least responsible for causing the problem," says the University of Wisconsin’s Jonathan Patz, one of the leading experts on the human health effects of environmental change. "We are disseminating death and disease around the world from our energy-consumptive lifestyle. How’s that for a global ethical challenge?"

Tomorrow in Oakland: Jobs event with Rep. Pelosi, Rep. Lee and Rep. Grijalva

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) will be in Oakland tomorrow evening to hear from the Bay Area activists like you on what should be done to rebuild America’s economy.

Details:

WHAT: Nationwide listening tour with the Congressional Progressive Caucus 
WHEN: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 — 5:30PM to 8PM (doors at 5PM) 
WHERE: Acts Full Gospel Church of God in Christ, 1034 66th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94621 
WHO: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) 
WHY: Because we need to speak out for good jobs now!

The Congressional Progressive Caucus event will be held at a church near but not in close walking distance from the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station. g.maps

Thank you for everything you do to make your voice heard for a fair and just economy.

credo email

» USA och Grekland - lika som bär?

pagrotsky:

I en radiodebatt i samband med den amerikanska budgetkrisen häromdagen fick jag den överraskande frågan om det finns några paralleller mellan USA och Grekland, mellan världens enda supermakt och världens just nu mest utdömda slagpåse. Vid första anblicken tyckte jag frågan var korkad, men…

I set my twitter “trending now” location to Sweden (closest to Finland..), and right now, #pagrotskycitat and Leif Pagrotsky. What and who is this? A Swedish Social Democratic politician from Göteborg/Gothenburg. 

Interesting blog post about the parallels of the US and Greece. 

Swedish practice! (or just use g.translate.) Pretty easy to figure out if you know English plus basics of Swedish.

» Cameron Deploys 10,000 More Officers to Riots

Social unrest is always a corollary of increasing disparities in a society and a slow erosion of benefits to the poor.

I do fear the London riots are merely a precursor to the shape of things to come. In the US, even the word “poor” is banished from political dialogue, and there’s no discussion on about how to deal with poverty.

Everyone talks about “middle class” which is also ravaged by stagnating incomes, whose fringes are falling into poverty. The rich are called “job creators” who are seen to be in dire need of more tax breaks, tax shelters and havens, while employee rights are curtailed and there are repeated calls for the elimination of minimum wage and reduction in Medicare and SS.

US got out of the Great Depression by having massive programs for the poor and the highest marginal taxes to become the most prosperous nation in history. There was a time when US had marginal income tax rates above 70% AND a strong economy with job growth. 

There’s a lesson in that.

mauren (reader comment)
nytimes, 10.08.11

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