Alternative remains on hold

June 22, 2013

It has been more than 10 months since I declared The Bloomington Alternative on hiatus. I write today to say it will remain there a while longer as I develop a new project called Natural Bloomington: Ecotours and More. The Alternative archive, which still attracts more than 3,000 pageviews a month, will remain online. Someday, I may revive it.

But after 10 months working overtime to pay off the money changers who run our wealth-care system – I am now a cancer survivor – I have decided to commit what creative energies I have to nature for awhile. Frankly, Natural Bloomington is a way to spend as much time in the wilds as I can, with as many people as I can.

It's also about sharing the journey with anyone who cares to accompany me, virtually or in person.

September 9, 2012

Friends and readers,

For a long list of personal and professional reasons, I am taking a break from publishing The Bloomington Alternative. The website and archive of our decade's worth of stories, columns, photographs, videos, etc. will remain active.

How long the hiatus will last will be determined by forces and events outside my control. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has read, contributed to and supported us these many years.

I leave you with three quotes that have been on my mind of late, since all speak to a fundamental theme we've focused on the entire time I have been publishing the Alternative – American democracy's 40-year devolution into a police-state plutocracy – and progressive America's pathetic response to it.

  • “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister
  • "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results." – Albert Einstein
  • "Where's the outrage?" – Bill Moyers (and many others)

Keep fighting.

Steven Higgs, editor and publisher

August 31, 2012

Peace & Justice News is a collection of news items collected by Bloomington Alternative contributor Linda Greene. Today's edition includes:

  • Hungry and homeless college students
  • Outer space adventures for the super-rich
  • School suspensions of African-American students
  • Justice for DHL workers in Turkey
  • Janitors demonstrate for health care benefits and wages
  • Scandinavian ship to challenge Israel’s Gaza blockade
  • The fight over labeling genetically modified foods
  • Perils of the for-profit higher-education industry

News media ultimately responsible for predicted, emerging catastrophes

August 26, 2012

An Aug. 23 segment on NPR's Morning Edition about the 2012 drought touched my sentimental side when a Kentucky farmer's voice quivered while he spoke to correspondent David Schaper. "My wife and I just look at each other every night, and we look at our children's faces before they go to sleep, and we wonder, will this be one of the last days?" he said. The piece was titled "Drought Extends Reach, Some Farmers Ready to Quit." I've spent a lot of time in Kentucky and writing about the place. I've met guys like this one.

Sadly but predictably, nowhere in the story did Schaper mention the drought's relation to climate change. Neither did the one that preceded it – "How Smokey the Bear Effect Led to Raging Wildfires" – nor any other segment on that morning's story list. Indeed, a search for "climate change" on the NPR website shows no Morning Edition stories the entire month of August. Talk of the Nation, yes. All things Considered, yes. But Morning Edition, no.

While I do sympathize with this family, especially the children, I'd have to advise the Logan County cattle farmer featured in the piece to look in the mirror. He's a victim of manmade climate change. And as a Kentuckian, he bears as much or more responsibility for his fate as anyone in the world. He and his bluegrass neighors, along with all the rest of us, brought the climate-induced 2012 tragedies of drought and wildfires upon ourselves. Payback is indeed a bitch. And we've only begun to pay.

August 17, 2012

The Greene Report is a compilation of environmental stories written by Linda Greene. This week's edition includes:

  • Great Lakes action on nuclear reactor risks
  • Activists halt operations at mountaintop removal coal mine
  • Dow requests approval for GE soy resistant to 2,4-D
  • EPA stalling on bee die-offs
  • Pennsylvania to shut down one of biggest U.S. coal ash ponds
  • Establishment of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge
  • U.S. clean-up of Agent Orange-contaminated Vietnam
  • Hazards of “green” household cleaners
  • Nigerian oil spill near Exxon operations
  • Ukrainian environmentalist murdered

Citizens pressure county for alternatives to jail

August 16, 2012

Though the U.S. contains less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it confines nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Furthermore, as of 2008 it had 2.3 million in jails and prisons, according to the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College, London.

Reducing the population in the Monroe County jail is the goal of a local, grassroots organization, Decarcerate Monroe County (DMC). In its own words, DMC “is a local coalition challenging the belief that cages, coercion and confinement keep our community safe. DMC believes people are safe when they have their basic needs met and when they feel empowered and free.”

August 14, 2012

News Release
Valley Watch

Last week, headlines in this region showed that Kentucky placed first and Indiana fourth in the release of toxic chemicals to our air from coal plants, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

None of the stories looked at the cross border figures like the region considered the “tri-state” of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Therefore Valley Watch decided to take this ominous study a step further and did its own analysis of those coal-fired power plants that currently operate within a 100 kilometer radius (62 miles) of Vanderburgh County.

Our analysis of EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory and EPA’s eGrid power plant data base reaffirms the shocking problem we have in this area which sports the largest concentration of coal plants in North America, if not the world, at 15,113 megawatt total capacity.

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee biased against environmental studies

August 11, 2012

The federal panel charged with allocating funds for autism research has squandered hundreds of millions in taxpayer money on ideological, nonscientific priorities. Its decisions have been financially irresponsible and practically ineffective. Its chairman should be fired and many board members replaced.

So says the Brooklyn-based Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA) in a stinging critique of autism policy under the Bush and Obama administrations titled "A Critical Review of the Performance of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee" (IACC).

"From the controversial appointment or retention of committee representatives, to the troublesome history of committee members themselves, to the lack of accountability for the few advances made in autism research, to the questionable direction of the Strategic Plan, it is fair to state that the IACC is not living up to Congress’ and the public’s expectations," the July 10, 2012, report says.

August 10, 2012

Peace & Justice News is a collection of news items collected by Bloomington Alternative contributor Linda Greene. Today's edition includes:

  • Global education strike planned for the fall
  • Surveillance of citizens with automatic license plate recognition cameras
  • Drone use inside the United States
  • Feminist punk band Pussy Riot on trial in Russia
  • Pfizer bribing foreign physicians to hike sales
  • Cutting funding for nuclear weapons
  • Cuba lifts ban on anti-Castro musicians on the radio
  • Women farm workers win sexual harassment case
  • British workers in solidarity with trade unionists in Turkey
  • Expulsion from school for pregnancy

Justice Party's Anderson derides Democrats in The Nation

August 5, 2012

While Mitt Romney trips over his tongue with hysterical predictability and Barack Obama persists in calling America's economic criminal class folks, the two leading progressive candidates for president are putting it on the line, in Dr. Jill Stein's case boldly crossing it.

Less than a month after securing the Green Party nomination, Stein emerged from a Philadelphia jail on Aug. 2 declaring that a night behind bars should be "a required experience for anyone in public office." Both she and running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested the day before for protesting foreclosure policies at a Fannie Mae office on the city's Banker's Row.

And in a lengthy Q&A with The Nation's Sasha Abramsky, Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson called the Democratic Party "irredeemable" and Obama a "phony" on the issue of gay marriage.

"His position on equality was evolving?" the former Democratic mayor of Salt Lake City asked incredulously.