The Quick Slide From Hope to Despair As War Returns – If It Ever Went Away

On the Sunday, the world came together to demand climate justice with massive marches of solidarity and positivity.

South Bend Voice - 2014 People's Climate March crowd with banner.jpg

Photo: South Bend Voice (CC)

On the Monday, the UN prepared for its global climate summit with more than 100 Heads of State, some there as ornaments, others as advocates for changes in environmental conditions that threaten the survival of many nations and peoples.

On the Monday afternoon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called climate change Washington’s number number one priority.

On the Monday night, I was in New York with the visiting President of South Africa marking twenty years of freedom in that country after the overthrow of apartheid. I saw no American officials present.

Back home, later that evening, the news was out: the United States was then heavily bombing Syria for the first time with the support of a mélange of Arab dictators and theocracies, using planes we sold them, to make some point about western commitment to freedom.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Mitch Schultz (DMT: The Spirit Molecule) on Visionary Art

1551756_10153503464733475_4270224262676300867_nI recently had the distinct honor of speaking to one of my very favorite culture hacking heroes Mitch Schultz, director and producer of the forward thinking documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule and champion of a new project MYTHAPI. Below is a slightly abridged version of our original audio conversation.

BR: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, my friend. What inspired you to create DMT: The Spirit Molecule? It’s really a fantastic documentary—still ahead of it’s time in many ways—and I felt it sort of gave a professional face to the culture when it came out, which was much needed at the time. 

The documentary was inspired by my first smoked DMT experience, which happened a little over a decade ago now. Looking back it’s amazing how quick that has gone. But this inspiration has really been seated within me my entire life—it seems like there have been signposts leading me along this path (laughs) but, the moment I came back from that experience and sitting in my room I knew I was going to make a movie.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

CDC: Ebola Infections to Reach 1.4 Million By January

Plague Inc. app icon.png

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is projecting up to 1.4 million people infected with the ebola virus by January 2015 (per Reuters), which going by the conservative history of CDC projections is probably way too low. Plague players, what are you projecting?

Between 550,000 and 1.4 million people in West Africa could be infected with the Ebola virus by January 20, 2015, according to a report issued on Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The top range of the estimate, 1.4 million, assumes that the number of cases officially cited so far, 5,864 according to the count kept by the World Health Organization, is significantly underreported, and that it is likely that 2.5 times as many cases, or nearly 20,000, have in fact occurred.

CDC emphasized that the projections, based on an epidemiological model that takes into account how many people each Ebola patient eventually infects as well as other factors, is based on data available in August…

[continues at Reuters]

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Study: Media Fact-Checker Says Republicans Lie More

Republican Elephant by DonkeyHotey via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Republican Elephant by DonkeyHotey via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Keep in mind the three times zero would be zero, so this study does not exonerate the Democrats.  The idea that both parties are exactly the same is just as wrong as the idea that because one is bad the other must be good.  From the Center for Media and Public Affairs:

A leading media fact-checking organization rates Republicans as less trustworthy than Democrats, according to a new study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University. The study finds that PolitiFact.com has rated Republican claims as false three times as often as Democratic claims during President Obama’s second term. Republicans continue to get worse marks in recent weeks, despite controversies over Obama administration statements on Benghazi, the IRS and the AP.

According to CMPA President Dr Robert Lichter, “While Republicans see a credibility gap in the Obama administration, PolitiFact rates Republicans as the less credible party.”

The study examined 100 statements involving factual claims by Democrats (46 claims) and Republicans (54 claims), which were fact-checked by PolitiFact.com during the four month period from the start of President Obama’s second term on January 20 through May 22, 2013.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Capitalism vs. the Climate: Naomi Klein on Need for New Economic Model to Address Ecological Crisis

via Democracy Now:

As the United Nations prepares to hold one-day global summit on climate change, we speak to award-winning author Naomi Klein about her new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.”

In the book, Klein details how our neoliberal economic system and our planetary system are now at war. With global emissions at an all-time high, Klein says radical action is needed.

“We have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis,” Klein writes. “We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and would benefit the vast majority — are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.”

Continue reading.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Google Ditches ALEC

If you haven’t heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, generally referred to as ALEC, it’s a conservative group of American lawmakers who are trying to institute extreme right wing legislation throughout the states.

American Legislative Exchange Council (logo).gif

They’ve been remarkably successful in persuading large corporations to back them, but first Micrsoft and now Google are distancing themselves, reports the Chicago Tribune:

Google is breaking ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent network of conservative state legislators that, among other projects, works to roll back laws that promote solar and wind power, the company’s chairman said Monday.

The decision marks a major victory for a campaign by environmentalists, union activists and other liberal groups that have pushed companies to drop support for ALEC. Microsoft ended its ties to the group a few weeks ago.

“The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said, referring to the initial decision to support ALEC.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Man Young and Old

by Hartwig HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

by Hartwig HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

I First Love

THOUGH nurtured like the sailing moon
In beauty’s murderous brood,
She walked awhile and blushed awhile
And on my pathway stood
Until I thought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood.
But since I laid a hand thereon
And found a heart of stone
I have attempted many things
And not a thing is done,
For every hand is lunatic
That travels on the moon.
She smiled and that transfigured me
And left me but a lout,
Maundering here, and maundering there,
Emptier of thought
Than the heavenly circuit of its stars
When the moon sails out.

II Human Dignity

Like the moon her kindness is,
If kindness I may call
What has no comprehension in’t,
But is the same for all
As though my sorrow were a scene
Upon a painted wall.
So like a bit of stone I lie
Under a broken tree.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

It’s no bubble: insane dotcom valuations reveal how integral tech is to our lives

Dot Com Made Of Lego Bricks by Kiewic via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Dot Com Made Of Lego Bricks by Kiewic via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Gordon Fletcher, University of Salford

A recent flurry of business mergers and acquisitions and stock market flotations in the US has prompted some financial commentators to predict a new tech bubble.

The size of these buyouts and IPOs, and the businesses themselves, are so large they are almost beyond comprehension. The recent announcements about Alibaba and Line have had financial analysts in North America, Australia and Europe scratching their heads; the estimated values of their offerings are US$20 billion and US$10 billion respectively, for products that are relatively unknown beyond Asia.

Combined with a general lack of public knowledge about the biggest emerging techs and the various analyses by traders and advisers, the danger of a tech bubble bursting looks all too real.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

When Humans Lose Control of Government

By Sheila in Moonducks via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Sheila in Moonducks via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via The Atlantic:

The Veterans Affairs scandal of falsified waiting lists is the latest of a never-ending stream of government ineptitude. Every season brings a new headline of failures: the botched roll-out of Obamacare involved 55 uncoordinated IT vendors; a White House report in February found that barely 3 percent of the $800 billion stimulus plan went to rebuild transportation infrastructure; and a March Washington Post report describes how federal pensions are processed by hand in a deep cave in Pennsylvania.

The reflexive reaction is to demand detailed laws and rules to make sure things don’t go wrong again. But shackling public choices with ironclad rules, ironically, is a main cause of the problems. Dictating correctness in advance supplants the one factor that is indispensable to all successful endeavors—human responsibility. “Nothing that’s good works by itself,” as Thomas Edison put it.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

How Ayn Rand Brought You Kim Kardashian and the Cult of Self-Obsessed Celebrity

Ayn_Rand1

An interesting take on Ayn Rand’s obsession with individualism to the point of valuing selfishness. Do you think a Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton is what Rand had in mind? They certainly seem to value themselves more than anyone else. Would Rand endorse their rampant vanity and self-interested actions? Or did the author, Lynn Stuart Paramore, at AlterNet get it wrong?

via AlterNet:

Just about any philosopher or religious leader, not to mention nearly anyone you meet walking down the street, could tell you that selfishness is not a virtue. If you are old enough to apply for a driver’s license, you can probably work out that selfish behavior has detrimental effects on all of us. Even if you’re not quite ready to give it up.

But not Ayn Rand. The 20th-century doyenne of destructive capitalism, dear to self-centered college sophomores and those, likePaul Ryan, who have not yet grown out of their me-first phase, declared aloud what a lot of jerks tend to keep to themselves: the idea that selfishness is awesome.

Read the rest
Continue Reading