I get so tired of hype from corporate ad agencies I’ve come to view those who create the ads as disposable oxygen wasters who do nothing fopositive for the planet and only contribute to the looming disaster of climate change.
Essentials for summer?
Well, air conditioning has become one, thanks to climate change.
Adequate food is another. Health care. A place to live.
There are lots of things I can think of that are “essential” for the summer.
BTW the headline come from an Eddie Bauer e-mail spam ad.
I actually like Eddie Bauer and so maybe it is unfair of me to pick this particular spam ad to go off on.
Perhaps I should go off on the spam phone caller who tried to run a con job on me this morning selling computer services because my computer had been compromised. Actually this scum bag, who sounded as though he was from somewhere in South Asia, may well have been on a phishing expedition. I know he got flustered when I took the phone from Tina and identified myself as “Tech Support”.
Buy! Consume! Bigger is Better!
Without all the worthless, value free consumption Capitalism crashes.
You see we have reached end stage capitalism. The end of growth.
We are physically obese with more possessions than we can house in a 1950s or 1960s home of generous proportions.
End stage capitalism requires us to buy even more and put it in credit cards too. This allows the bloated population of people reduced to the role of con artist and thief by the new service economy to keep on enriching the obscenely wealthy.
E-mail has turned into this gushing of crap that looks straight from an ad mill. Now I have to have folders for e-mail from friends and e-mail lists. That means I can mass delete the spam ads.
Every waking moment of the day I am bombarded by messages of buy, eat, consume. Bill board, TV ads, magazines that used to have articles are now little more than platforms for conveying advertising. The same is true of newspapers, which no longer offer news that might offend the advertisers.
In the mean time this massive level of consumption is destroying our planet thereby depriving us of the things that are really essential to our continuing to live.
—By Josh Harkinson
Thu Jun. 6, 2013
In April, the FBI quietly raided the home of the hacker known as KYAnonymous in connection with his role in the Steubenville rape case. Today he spoke out for the first time about the raid, his true identity, and his motivations for pursuing the Steubenville rapists, in an extensive interview with Mother Jones.
“The goal of the media interviews is to get the entire nation to say ‘fuck you’ to these guys,” said KYAnonymous, whose real name is Deric Lostutter. He was referring to the federal agents who raided his home in Winchester, Kentucky, and carted off his computers and XBox.
Lostutter may deserve more credit than anyone for turning Steubenville into a national outrage. After a 16-year-old girl was raped by two members of the Steubenville High football team last year, he obtained and published tweets and Instagram photos in which other team members had joked about the incident and belittled the victim. He now admits to being the man behind the mask in a video posted by another hacker on the team’s fan page, RollRedRoll.com, where he threatened action against the players unless they apologized to the girl. (The rapists were convicted in March.)
A 26-year-old corporate cybersecurity consultant, Lostutter lives on a farm with his pit bull, Thor, and hunts turkeys, goes fishing, and rides motorcycles in his free time. He considers himself to be a patriotic American; he flies an American flag and enjoys Bud Light. He’s also a rapper with the stage name Shadow, and recently released a solo album under the aegis of his own label, Nightshade Records. The name dovetails with that of his Anonymous faction, KnightSec.
Lostutter first got involved in Anonymous about a year ago, after watching the documentary We Are Legion. “This is me,” he thought as he learned about the group’s commitment to government accountability and transparency. “It was everything that I’d ever preached, and now there’s this group of people getting off the couch and doing something about it. I wanted to be part of the movement.”
He’d read about the Steubenville rape in the New York Times, but didn’t get involved until receiving a message on Twitter from Michelle McKee, a friend of an Ohio blogger who’d written about the case. (You can read about her story here.) McKee gave Lostutter the players’ tweets and Instagram photos, which he then decided to publicize because, as he put it, “I was always raised to stick up for people who are getting bullied.”
From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/labor/part-time-jobs-and-economy
By Lynn Stuart Parramore
June 7, 2013
Why is a whole job getting harder to find every day in America?
Ever since the financial crash, a growing number of people have been forced to take part-time gigs when what they really want is something increasingly out of reach: solid, full-time employment. Between late 2007 and May 2013, the number of part-timers jumped from 24.7 million to 27.5 million. A 2013 Gallup poll shows that one in every five workers is now part-time. Some folks, like students, may work part-time because they want to. Nothing wrong with that. But involuntary part-time employment is not a choice, it’s a burden. Often it means substandard jobs with crazy schedules that don’t pay nearly enough. According to the Labor Department, as many as a third of all part-timers fall into the involuntary category.
There are signs that their ranks are likely to swell.
Employers have found a new excuse to drop full-time employees to part-time status: the Affordable Care Act. Diane Stafford of the Kansas City Star looks at a trend called the “Obamadodge,” in which bosses around the country, including Regal Entertainment Group, franchise owners of Five Guys, Applebee’s and Denny’s, and the owner of Papa John’s pizza chain, have announced plans to side-step new requirements that businesses with over 50 full-time-equivalent employees offer their full-time workers access to a qualified healthcare plan or pay a penalty.
The healthcare law defines a full-time employee as anyone working more than 30 hours a week, so the boss simply cuts workers’ hours and hires additional part-time staff to make up the difference. Stafford notes that as many as 2.3 million workers across the country are at high risk of having their hours slashed to below the 30-hour mark.
Another rising trend is employers changing part-time workers’ schedules from week to week. According to a New York Times report, this manuever is becoming commonplace in the American retail and hospitality industries. Bosses use sophisticated software to track the flow of customers and purchasing patterns in stores, which allows managers to assign just enough employees to handle the anticipated demand. Instead of five- or six-hour shifts, workers get two- or three-hour shifts. They are often called in at the last minute, and have no way of predicting which days they’ll be working.
Continue reading at: http://www.alternet.org/labor/part-time-jobs-and-economy
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/08/climate-change-challenge
“The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere just hit 400ppm,” I told Alex, my 23-year-old son, as we were catching up on news.
“So that’s it, huh?” he asked.
I couldn’t think what to say. Alex had just returned from college, a new graduate, ready to start his life as an adult. Like many members of his age group, Alex knows that 350ppm is the threshold for safe levels of carbon in the atmosphere. Pass that level and, climate scientists tell us, things get dicey: soils dry out, damaging food production. There is more frequent and more intense flooding, coastlines get inundated, species go extinct. Farming, which relies on predictable weather patterns, is disrupted, and dry land farming areas turn to desert. Forests die from new infestations and drought, and become more prone to monster fires.
Young people like Alex are coming of age in a world that’s changing much faster than was predicted just a few years ago. Already, scenes of wildfires, floods, drought, and storms border on apocalyptic. And so far, temperatures have risen less than one degree centigrade.
So what does a young person do when confronted with a global climate crisis? What does anyone do?
Based on a roundtable discussion with young leaders and informal conversations with others of all ages, I’ve come to believe that these three steps are essential:
First, let this reality sink in. This is not the future we thought we would have. Young people, especially, have the right to be disappointed, angry, and fearful. It will take courage to face this new normal, especially when so many others remain disconnected from what’s happening. By being mindful of your own emotions, you can experience fear or grief without being overwhelmed by those feelings. And by remaining alert to the way the climate crisis may show up in your life, you can be better prepared and more resilient.
There’s controversy among some environmental leaders about whether to downplay the dangers for fear of frightening people or fostering nihilism. But if we are counting on the unique human genius for creative solutions, we need to be honest about the task at hand, and the consequences of inaction.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/08/climate-change-challenge
By Joe Romm
on Jun 4, 2013
Edward Davey is the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy & Climate. On Monday he gave a blistering speech at a Met Office Climate Services event held at London’s Institute of Physics.
He slammed the climate science deniers and those in the media who enable them:
Of course there will always be uncertainties within climate science and the need for research to continue….
We make progress by building on what we know, and questioning what we don’t.
But some sections of the press are giving an uncritical campaigning platform to individuals and lobby groups who reject outright the fact that climate change is a result of human activity.
Some who even deny the reality of climate change itself.
This is not the serious science of challenging, checking and probing.
This is destructive and loudly clamouring scepticism born of vested interest, nimbyism, publicity seeking contraversialism or sheer blinkered, dogmatic, political bloody-mindedness.
This tendency will seize upon the normal expression of scientific uncertainty and portray it as proof that all climate change policy is all hopelessly misguided – from pursuing renewable energy to emissions targets themselves.
By selectively misreading the evidence, they seek to suggest that climate change has stopped so we can all relax and burn all the dirty fuel we want without a care.
This is a superficially seductive message, but it is absolutely wrong and really quite dangerous.
The whole speech is worth reading, but the part on the science bears repeating:
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/05-1
by Carey L. Biron
Published on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Inter Press Service
– The U.S. government announced Tuesday that it would be going forward with long-discussed plans to auction federal leases off the Atlantic Ocean coast for the development of offshore wind energy.
The sales, to take place in late July, will be the first time that federal lands have been offered on a competitive basis for the United States’ nascent offshore wind business. Proponents say the industry has significant potential, but for decades it has lagged far behind the country’s onshore wind sector – even as offshore usage has strengthened significantly in other countries.
“Today’s announcement is an important milestone in efforts to launch the offshore wind industry in the United States,” Chris Long, manager of offshore wind and siting policy for the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group, told IPS. “Offshore wind energy represents a significant opportunity for our country, and developing this industry will help to create thousands of new jobs.”
Currently, the Interior Department has approved nine companies to take part in the auction, which will offer around 165,000 acres in two blocks off the coast of the eastern states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A third area off the coast of Virginia could be offered for lease later this year.
According to recent analysis by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the initial two blocks will be able to produce a regular supply of around 3,500 megawatts, enough to power around a million U.S. homes.
Overall, the United States is thought to have around 4,000 gigawatts (or four million megawatts) of offshore wind potential. That’s almost four times the country’s current electricity production of all types.
“This leasing announcement is a big deal, a significant move forward on what has been an extensive process to identify appropriate sites and give access to try to build in the water,” Dave Hamilton, the director for clean energy with the Sierra Club, a conservation group, told IPS.
“These are important steps, but now getting equipment in the water, finding communities or entities to buy the power at the price producers can make it – that’s all still ahead of this project.”
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/05-1
From In These Times: http://inthesetimes.com/article/15081/out_of_the_pen_and_unrepentant/
BY Rebecca Burns
June 4, 2013
When climate activist Tim DeChristopher was released from federal prison on April 21, he emerged to find a movement transformed. The action that landed DeChristopher in prison—posing as a bidder in order to disrupt an oil and gas lease auction in 2008—came at a time when the environmental movement typically shied away from such acts of civil disobedience.
Then a college student at the University of Utah, DeChristopher went on to found the group Peaceful Uprising, a climate-justice group that trains volunteers in nonviolent direct action.
The auction that DeChristopher interrupted—which would have seen the drilling rights to thousands of acres of Utah wilderness sold off to corporations—was eventually invalidated by the Obama administration. But that didn’t stop the U.S. attorney’s office from pressing charges against DeChristopher. In March 2011, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced that July to two years in prison. But far from dampening the spirits of other activists, DeChristopher’s example helped create a groundswell of popular resistance to the fossil fuel industry. Now that he’s a free man, DeChristopher, 31, has rejoined the movement and resumed his work to help embolden others “to take the actions we know need to be taken.” He spoke to In These Times from his home in Salt Lake City.
Before you went to prison, you gave a speech where you said that we’re being pushed closer to climate catastrophe not only by the fossil fuel lobbies, but by “the cowardice of the environmental movement.” Do you feel this way now?
We’re moving in the right direction now. Grassroots climate-justice groups have grown to the point where they’re no longer waiting for the Big Green groups to take action. As a result, we’re also starting to see some of those big groups start to move a little bit—the Sierra Club engaging in civil disobedience [for the first time in its history] during a February demonstration against the Keystone XL pipeline, for example.
What’s next in the battle against Keystone?
The Keystone fight could prove to be a defining moment politically for the climate movement. Typically, we see a big divide between those who are doing grassroots organizing in frontline communities and those who are trying to work for political change in Washington. The Keystone fight has combined those elements, and I think we’ve seen a stronger result because of it.
Continue reading at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/15081/out_of_the_pen_and_unrepentant/