Watching Newsweek's Eleanor Clift confront the question "Are most political reporters simply insiders?" is a discomfiting experience. Her struggle to defend the indefensible unavoidably inspires compassion for her uneasy predicament. But the case she makes so proves the point that any sympathy engendered morphs quickly into cynicism.
The political reporter appeared on a Dec. 29, 2011, panel discussion on Al Jazeera, subtitled the question du jour. Joining her were Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and Justice Party presidential candidate Rocky Anderson, of whose candidacy Clift knew nothing. Al Jazeera devoted a third of the half-hour program's opinions to the former Salt Lake City mayor. Clift apparently had never heard of him.
"I think Rocky Anderson is running probably to get his issues out there, more than from an expectation that he might necessarily win," she awkwardly speculated aloud, unsure about the Justice Party's name, no less.
Coal Free IU, Sierra Club
Student leaders with Coal Free IU weren’t deterred by frigid temperatures when they delivered stacks of more than 5,000 petitions to IU President Michael McRobbie on Jan. 13. The action is part of the ongoing student-led campaign demanding action to retire the dirty, outdated and polluting coal plant on campus and replace it with cleaner, healthier energy sources.
The university’s Central Heating Plant on campus burns around 68,000 tons of coal each year and is the largest single source of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide pollution in Monroe County. Burning coal also releases other dangerous pollutants including mercury, lead and arsenic and can cause cancer, heart disease and trigger more severe asthma attacks.
“I always knew I wanted to go to school at Indiana University, but I didn’t know that doing so would mean having to deal with a dirty, polluting coal plant right on campus that poses a threat to students’ health,” said IU senior and Coal Free IU President Megan Anderson. "Instead, IU should be investing in innovative, 21st century clean-energy solutions that will mean cleaner air for everyone in Bloomington."
Mercury released from Ohio River Valley industries is damaging the brains of children around the world.
That's a conclusion that can be drawn from a University of Washington (UW) study published online Dec. 19 in the journal Nature Geoscience, which concludes mercury in the upper atmosphere can circulate for "long periods of time" before falling back to the Earth's surface.
“Much of emitted mercury is deposited far from its original sources,” the paper's lead author Seth Lyman said in a UW news release. “Mercury emitted on the other side of the globe could be deposited right at our back door, depending on where and how it is transported, chemically transformed and deposited.”
Two years ago, the idea of picking fresh fruit from a public tree without paying in Bloomington was unheard of. Now, thanks to Amy Countryman, an entire orchard is dedicated just to that cause.
“This is food, and it’s free,” the 35-year-old force behind the Bloomington Community Orchard said. “You should be able to come in and pick apples and take them home just because you can, and because we care about each other like that.”
Seven weeks before Jill Stein declared her candidacy for president, the Lexington, Mass., physician outlined her priorities in a plan she called the "Green New Deal" – jobs, climate change, universal health care and peace. When she announced her bid for the Green Party nomination on Oct. 24, 2011, the Chicago native presented herself as an alternative to the two "Wall Street parties.”
“They’re privatizing education, rolling back civil liberties and racial justice, plundering the environment and driving us towards the calamity of climate change,” she said in a news release accompanying her announcement. "… We need people in Washington who refuse to be bought by lobbyist money and for whom change is not just a slogan.”
Americans who feel betrayed by timid, capitulatory leadership from Democrats like President Barack Obama and Indiana Senate candidate Joe Donnelly now have a candidate to consider at the presidential level. On Dec. 12, 2011, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced his candidacy on the Justice Party ticket and the next day laid out a cogent progressive agenda on Democracy Now!
"Although hailing from a solidly red state, Anderson has been known as one of the most progressive mayors of any major U.S. city in recent years," host Amy Goodman said in her introduction to the report. "During his two mayoral terms from 2000 to 2008, Anderson was an outspoken champion of LGBT rights, environmental sustainability and the antiwar movement in opposition to the Iraq War."
Watching the world's youth combat the rapacious oligarchy that has poisoned their futures reminds me of a student who told me in the early 2000s that he was graduating with a $40,000 debt. That young man was born at the dawn of the Reagan Revolution. Those in the streets today were born at the end of its namesake's eight years in office. They are all Ron Reagan's kids. And their futures have been stolen.
They've been biologically contaminated since they were zygotes and psychically assaulted since the first reverberations of corporate media penetrated their developing auditory canals. Their parents ignored the clear and present dangers posed by the totalitarian-capitalist economic system Reaganism spawned and embraced it wholeheartedly. As a consequence, they have now lost, or are at risk of losing, their incomes, homes, retirements and children.
INDIANAPOLIS - The Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) and the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation (LEAF) today announced that the two not-for-profits have merged and will continue operations as the Hoosier Environmental Council. Melding the strengths of the two groups, the merger will further advance finding solutions that will improve Indiana’s economy, quality of life for Hoosiers, and the environment.
HEC’s strength in environmental policy development and advocacy will be combined with LEAF’s expertise in providing legal representation and assistance to communities trying to balance economic development and environmental protection. The merger will also enhance HEC’s reach in Northwest and North-Central Indiana, where LEAF predominantly works.
ASHEVILLE – Following up on the White House demonstrations to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, is already hard at work on the next stage of the movement to rein in reliance on fossil fuels.
On a three-state speaking tour, he is calling for a constitutional amendment to undo the damage the Supreme Court did when it declared corporations as persons and campaign contributions as speech. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more money last election cycle than the Democratic and Republican national committees combined – and 97 percent of that went to climate deniers, he told an audience in Asheville on Nov. 30. The climate change movement has to figure out how to break “the corporate power dominating our political lives.”
After years of writing histories and biographies for young readers, Tricia Shapiro found herself in the summer of 2005 in the thick of a direct action campaign against mountaintop removal. She tells that story in Mountain Justice, a compelling close-to-the-ground account of how an unlikely coalition of anarchists and people who live in the Appalachian coal country came together to try to protect these mountains. She lives now on a small farm in the mountains west of Asheville, N.C., and we talked in Asheville one morning in late fall. – cp
So how did you get involved with the Mountain Justice Summer campaign?
Before that campaign began, back in 2004 for something else I was writing I had come across the topic of mountaintop removal and was going to write a small piece about that in another book. And what I was reading about, I could just not quite make sense of, because I grew up in Appalachia – in the northern end of the coalfields in Pennsylvania, and the mountains aren’t huge – and I was reading about these huge mine sites, so I just went down to see if I could make sense of it.