As humans seek the middle of what Ralph Waldo Emerson described as the polar states of "insanity or fat dullness," citizens search for the most effective news. Just as no student could pass a test without access to the materials that will be covered on the test, citizens need to be exposed to adequate information to formulate ideas and opinions in their democracy.
On the al-Jazeera English show Empire, in an episode entitled "Information Wars," host and moderator Marwan Bishara stated, "Today, the free flow of information is overturning autocrats across the Arab World. Who knows where the next domino will fall?"
A new report released late last week shows that US power plants increased their emissions of climate change causing, carbon dioxide by 5.56 percent in 2010 over that released in 2009.
The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) study, titled Getting Warmer, showed that Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky ranked fourth, fifth and seventh nationally in the release of the greenhouse gas and that all three significantly increased those releases in 2010.
Sierra Student Coalition, Coal Free IU
On Feb. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a modest air quality standard to protect Americans from life-threatening air pollution from industrial boilers, which emit toxic pollutants such as mercury, acid gases and arsenic. College students around the country are affected by toxic air pollution from on-campus boilers. This particular EPA safeguard is often called the “Boiler MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology).”
In response, Coal Free IU representative Lauren Kastner and Sierra Student Coalition organizer Alexis Boxer issued the following statement: “This long overdue and relatively modest air quality update by Administrator Lisa Jackson and the EPA will save lives, prevent disease and help college students avoid costly hospitalizations and missed schooldays."
Citizens Action Coalition, AARP Indiana, Save the Valley, Valley Watch Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club
On Feb. 23, 2011, a coalition of consumer and environmental organizations blasted Senate Bill 251, contending that it is a utility wish list inimical to consumer interests and economic stability. S.B. 251 was approved on Tuesday, Feb. 22 by a vote of 32-17 and will now to be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Grant Smith, Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition (CAC), said, “SB 251 does three things: First, the legislation is designed to enable utilities to pursue financially high-risk investments, like nuclear power, that they would otherwise avoid. Secondly, it is designed to deregulate large portions of utility revenue over time. Finally, SB 251 all but eliminates the possibility of a robust, homegrown renewable energy sector for Indiana."
Coal is the No. 1 single cause of global warming, and a student environmental movement has arisen around it. IU students have their own vigorous IU Coal-Free Campaign, which targets the university’s coal-fired power plant. Lauren Kastner, an IU sophomore and Ernie Pyle Scholar in the IU School of Journalism, is the president of Coal-Free IU and talks about the campaign below.
LG: Tell me what the IU Coal-Free IU Campaign is about.
LK: Coal-free IU is a Sierra Club-sponsored campaign. The Sierra Club is the largest environmental organization in the country. In 2009 the Sierra Club and the Sierra Students Coalition launched a campaign called “Beyond Coal.” It’s a national campaign that’s taking place in communities and on college campuses, and Coal-Free IU is one of those campuses.
IU’s dependent on electricity that’s generated by coal that we purchase off the grid from Duke Energy. We want to see the university switch from this outdated and dirty technology to clean, renewable technology, like experiments with biomass or solar or wind or another renewable that will sustain our campus, and of course conservation is a huge part of our effort as well.
Last week's Grammy Awards certainly generated plenty of chatter, what with all of the surprising winners (Esperanza Spalding, Lady Antebellum), veteran performances (Bob Dylan, Sir Mick Jagger) and more than a few upsets (Justin Bieber, Eminem).
Then there was Lady Gaga's egg-regious entrance.
Meanwhile, across the pond the British Academy Film Awards (a.k.a. the BAFTAS) made it clear that The King’s Speech was the favorite going into the upcoming Academy Awards.
Food Works for Middle Way House sits opposite of the Boys and Girls Club across Third Street Park in the former Coca-Cola building. Blueberry and melon plants fill the patches of land around the recently opened kitchen. A rooftop garden with solar cells rests atop the childcare center next door.
The area exudes a sense of growth -- from the locally grown produce used in the kitchen’s recipes to the women working inside the store.
“My goal is to work with a woman and get her regular and stable hours,” said Donna Storm, the kitchen’s business and operations manager.
Citizens Action Coalition
On Feb. 16, the Citizens Action Coalition called on the Daniels administration to release e-mails and documents that CAC requested months ago. The e-mails pertain to the recently signed contract between the Indiana Finance Authority and Leucadia Corporation to force construction of a substitute natural gas (SNG) plant in Rockport, Ind.
Kerwin Olson, program director for CAC, said, "The Daniels administration continues to deny or sit on information requests that intend to shed light on this questionable contract. Transparency of this transaction is essential as Hoosier homes and businesses are being coerced by the power of the state to become involuntary investors in a highly speculative venture. The reality is that this deal requires the public to invest for 30 years in unregistered, derivative securities to enable the production of overpriced SNG."
The U.S. military, especially the CIA, is relying increasingly on unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones,” to conduct both surveillance and bombing in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Indiana is home to multiple sites of manufacturing, testing and support of drones and drone technology. Purdue University is involved, as are several Indiana companies.
In Bloomington at 7 p.m. on March 2, Quigley will outline those Indiana connections and the legal and moral concerns over aerial robotic attacks. He will also discuss the growing resistance to drone warfare. The talk will take place in room 1B of the public library, and its title is, “Indiana Drones: Robotic Warfare in the Heartland.”
Having read a few of Peter Dale Scott’s earlier books, I was looking forward to his new work, American War Machine. I was not disappointed. Published by Roman & Littlefield in late 2010, this book examines a wide-ranging number of covert U.S. operations since World War II and, among other things, demonstrates that many of these operations were intimately connected with, and dependent on, illicit drug trafficking.
Scott previously defined concepts such as deep events, deep politics and the deep state to refer to covert mechanisms that facilitate the strategies of the politically minded rich, a group otherwise referred to as the overworld. Deep events, which Scott defines as those that are “systematically ignored or falsified in the mainstream media and public consciousness,” can be seen as sharing certain features, such as cover-up of evidence and irresoluble controversy over what happened.