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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 66,217

Journal Archives

Cheaper real estate attracts art venue to Detroit

DETROIT - High rental costs in New York City are pushing a Brooklyn performance center to Detroit.

Galapagos Art Space Executive Director Robert Elmes writes on the center's website that it's moving to old buildings in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood and Highland Park.

Detroit has an overabundance of space, which helps keep rental and real estate prices down. Galapagos has bought 600,000 square feet of space.

Galapagos Art Space opened in Brooklyn in 1995. The venue says it has hosted about 7,500 programs since then.

Elmes writes that New York's "young artists and thinkers" are "talking about the next city they can land in once their current lease runs out." ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/cheaper-real-estate-attracts-art-venue-to-detroit/30129668

A Brief History of Happiness: How America Lost Track of the Good Life—and Where to Find It Now

from YES! Magazine:

A Brief History of Happiness: How America Lost Track of the Good Life—and Where to Find It Now
For decades, we've been taught that economic growth and buying more stuff will make us happy—while trashing the planet. The good news is, there’s a better kind of happy: It starts with meaningful work, loving relationships, and a thriving natural world.

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference, an anthology of work from YES! Magazine.

In the last 100 years, we got very confused about happiness. This is no small thing. The way we define happiness drives what we do, what we’re willing to sacrifice, and how we spend our money and our time.

This confusion didn’t just happen. Advertisers spend billions spreading the illusion that more stuff will bring us happiness. And policy wonks of all political stripes—but especially those connected to business interests—spread the message that economic growth leads to well-being. Both are false promises that have instead been undermining the very conditions that could lead to sustainable happiness.

Sustainable happiness is built on a healthy natural world and a vibrant and fair society. It is a form of happiness that endures, through good and bad times, because it starts with the fundamental requirements and aspirations of being human. You can’t obtain it with a quick fix; sustainable happiness cannot be achieved at the expense of others.

The good news is that sustainable happiness is achievable, it could be available to everyone, and it doesn’t have to cost the planet. It begins by assuring that everyone can obtain a basic level of material security. But beyond that, more stuff isn’t the key to happiness. ..................(more)


Washington Post Is Lost in Neocon Fantasyland

from Consortium News:

WPost Is Lost in Neocon Fantasyland
February 8, 2015

The neocons now control the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, a dangerous development for the American people and the world. Yet, the Post remains the more extreme of the two, pushing for more endless confrontations and wars, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

By Paul R. Pillar

James Carden and Jacob Heilbrunn provided in the current issue of The National Interest an extensively documented review of how the ever-more-neocon editorial page of the Washington Post “responds to dangerous and complex problems with simplistic prescriptions.”

The Post‘s most recent editorial about the nuclear negotiations with Iran is firmly in that same simplistic, destructive tradition. It is hard to know where to begin in pointing out the deficiencies in this effort by the Post‘s editorialists, but noting some of them can illustrate how the tendencies that Carden and Heilbrunn cataloged constitute, as the abstract for their article puts it, a crusade for doctrines “that have brought Washington to grief in the past.”

The current editorial offers a prescription that is so simplistic that it isn’t really a prescription at all. And that — the absence of any plausible proposed alternative — is its most basic shortcoming. Instead it is just a collection of ways of saying, “We don’t like where these negotiations are going.”

Even though the writers claim that “we have long supported negotiations with Iran,” the effect of their piece is to add to the negative background music to which those determined to defeat and derail any agreement with Iran — including Benjamin Netanyahu and confirmed deal-saboteurs in the U.S. Congress — dance and from which they derive energy. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/08/wpost-is-lost-in-neocon-fantasyland/

Convicting Sterling to Chill Whistleblowing

from Consortium News:

Convicting Sterling to Chill Whistleblowing
February 4, 2015

In the cause of protecting government secrets, the CIA and Justice Department made an example of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling by convicting him of exposing a dubious covert operation without presenting clear-cut evidence that he did, a chilling message to others, notes Norman Solomon.

By Norman Solomon

The leak trial of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling never got near a smoking gun, but the entire circumstantial case was a smokescreen. Prosecutors were hell-bent on torching the defendant to vindicate Operation Merlin, nine years after a book by James Risen reported that it “may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA.”

That bestselling book, State of War, seemed to leave an indelible stain on Operation Merlin while soiling the CIA’s image as a reasonably competent outfit. The prosecution of Sterling was a cleansing service for the Central Intelligence Agency, which joined with the Justice Department to depict the author and the whistleblower as scurrilous mud-throwers.

In the courtroom, where journalist Risen was beyond the reach of the law, the CIA’s long-smoldering rage vented at the defendant. Sterling had gone through channels in 2003 to warn Senate Intelligence Committee staffers about Operation Merlin, and he was later indicted for allegedly giving Risen classified information about it. For CIA officials, the prosecution wasn’t only to punish Sterling and frighten potential whistleblowers; it was also about payback, rewriting history and assisting with a PR comeback for the operation as well as the agency.

Last week, the jury — drawn from an area of Northern Virginia that is home to CIA headquarters, the Pentagon and a large number of contractors for the military-industrial-intelligence complex — came back with guilty verdicts on all counts. The jurors had heard from a succession of CIA witnesses as well as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, extolling Operation Merlin and deploring any effort to lift its veil of secrecy. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/04/convicting-sterling-to-chill-whistleblowing/

Robert Parry: When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News

from Consortium News:

When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News
February 7, 2015

Exclusive: The criminal case against ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern for “resisting arrest” when he was denied entry to a public speech by retired Gen. David Petraeus appears to be nearly over, but the image of police brutally shielding the mighty from a citizen’s question remains troubling, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

What if Martin Luther King Jr. had been arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, in April 1963 and the U.S. news media had decided that it wasn’t a story, just some troublemaker getting what he deserved for breaking the law? Would King have gone on to give his “I have a dream speech” in August, win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and change American history?

Some Americans would insist that suppressing news about King’s arrest during the Birmingham protests simply couldn’t happen here because we have a free press that – for all its faults – knows a good story when it sees one.

Sure, these people might acknowledge that there may have been a time before airplanes and television when significant events in fairly remote parts of the country were missed because they were harder to get to or because editors might not even have been aware of a newsworthy story, but not in 1963 and surely not today, in the Internet age when there’s Facebook and Twitter, which news organizations monitor regularly.

So, what if I told you that an internationally known American – a 75-year-old Army veteran and a longtime official at the Central Intelligence Agency, someone who had famously questioned the imperious Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about his Iraq War lies in a public event that led evening newscasts in 2006 – was recently denied entry to a public speech by another Iraq War icon, Gen. David Petraeus, and – despite having paid for a ticket – was brutally arrested by the police and jailed?

Wouldn’t that be a story? Wouldn’t that be something that the news media, especially the “liberal” news media, should jump all over? Wouldn’t a newspaper like the New York Times just love something like that? ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/07/when-silencing-dissent-isnt-news/

Ferndale's Complete Streets are No Small Feat

from WeAreModeShift:

Walking the streets of Ferndale offers a glimpse into what's possible when a community embraces multi-modal road design. The Odyssey crew got a good view of this during a Oct. 7 walking tour, the first official Odyssey stop.

Ferndale covers roughly four square miles due north of Detroit and is home to about 20,000 residents. Despite its modest size, the city’s big efforts on Complete Streets caught the eyes of MTO organizers.

Complete Streets is a philosophy of road design that takes all users into consideration, whether they be motorists, bicyclists, transit users, pedestrians or those using assistive devices like wheelchairs. It’s aimed at providing appropriate access to all these users as streetscapes are planned, built and renovated.

Ferndale adopted a Complete Streets ordinance in October 2010, shortly after Michigan’s legislature made it state-mandated policy. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://wearemodeshift.org/ferndale%E2%80%99s-complete-streets-are-no-small-feat-michigan-transportation-odyssey-2014

Will This Lawsuit Curb Extreme Air Pollution From Factory Farms?

from Civil Eats:

Will This Lawsuit Curb Extreme Air Pollution From Factory Farms?
Environmental groups are asking the EPA to step up regulations.

By Elizabeth Grossman on January 30, 2015

There are about 20,000 factory farms in the United States and together they produce more than 500 million tons—or 1 trillion pounds—of manure. These farms, also called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), altogether house billions of chickens, dairy cows, hogs, and other livestock. The waste from these animals adds up to more than three times the raw sewage produced by people in the U.S. and it emits significant amounts of harmful air pollutants that include ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

“I’m certain it’s affecting our health,” said Rosie Partridge, an Iowa farmer and member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, who describes a “choking smell of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia” emanating from the industrial hog farm that moved in across the road.

Partridge is one of many rural residents and farmers who say their health and quality of life are being adversely affected by these farms. Now, a coalition of environmental groups that includes the Environmental Integrity Project, Friends of the Earth, the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Food Safety, and the Sierra Club, has stepped in on their behalf.

As the groups (and the Congressional Research Service) explain, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not comprehensively regulate the air pollution coming from large livestock operations. But that’s what the groups are asking the EPA to do in two lawsuits filed Wednesday in federal court in Washington, DC. ..................(more)

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2015/01/30/environmental-groups-to-epa-curb-factory-farm-air-pollution/#sthash.RuY0H0gp.dpuf

Chicago: CTA Blue Line Upgrade Gets $120M Infusion From Feds


Feb. 05--The CTA's almost half-billion-dollar upgrade of the Blue Line's O'Hare branch is getting an infusion of new federal funding, officials said Thursday.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will announce that $120 million in additional federal funding is being provided for the $492 million project to modernize stations and tracks through 2018.

The funding breakdown to date is $136 million federal, $160 million state and $196 million local, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.

The project, which started last year, involves upgrading track, stations, signals and traction power and resolving water problems on the subway, elevated and Kennedy Expressway sections of the O'Hare branch.

Over the past year, the Damen, Western and California stations have been updated. Work remains on 10 stations. ..............(more)


Don’t Say He Didn’t Warn You: Ultra-Rich Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Spells Out Anti-Union Agenda

(In These Times) Private equity near-billionaire Bruce Rauner made no bones about his plans for Illinois as he ran for governor: unions, especially public employee unions, were the cause of most of the state’s problems. And when he took over, he would follow the lead shown in recent years by other Midwestern Republican governors, such as Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Scott Walker in Wisconsin, who decimated public sector labor rights and unions.

Now that Rauner has taken office, he is staying consistent in his attack on public workers but including more private sector workers as his target. His first “state of the state” address, delivered yesterday to a legislature with both houses controlled by Democrats, was strongly anti-union and catered to conservative business groups.

Public workers are still Rauner’s main nemesis; after all, they are paid more than private workers (in large part reflecting their higher average skill and education). Then again, it’s hard to blame them for all of what Rauner sees as the state’s competitive failings, since Illinois has the fourth lowest number of state employees per capita in the country.

Yet aren’t their pensions too generous, creating this huge deficit dragging down the state’s credit rating, as Rauner argues? Or are the state’s “precarious” finances a result of political leaders of both parties refusing to set aside needed funds for pensions they had approved, according to a new report on the state from Moody’s Analytics? ....................(more)


Saudi Funding of 9/11 Attacks Still Cloaked in Secrecy

(The Progressive) The revelation that Zacarias Moussaoui had “high-level” contacts with Saudi officials brought back attention to the Saudi role in the formation and financing of Al-Qaeda. It also revived the debate on whether the U.S. government should release Part 4 of the September 11 report, which deals with Saudi financing of terrorism.

The report remains classified and the U.S. government has been vigilant to protect the Saudi government in court and in Congress. The Saudi government, in typical fashion, dismissed the account of Moussaoui as the product of a deranged mind––just as it accuses all critics of its policies and repression of being deranged. But the American public can never understand the real circumstances of September 11 and the origins of Al-Qaeda without releasing the report and bringing more attention to the role of Saudi Arabia in funding (and arming, as in the case of Syria) of various militant Jihadi terrorist groups.

This is what we know. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. government launched a horrific campaign to recruit fanatical Muslims from around the world in order to form an anti-communist militia. It jointly ran the program through the CIA with the Saudi and Pakistani intelligence.

So the U.S. government is not only protecting the Saudi royal family from scrutiny, but also protecting its secret role in the campaign against the Soviet army in Afghanistan. We still don’t know the extent to which American intelligence officials in Pakistan had direct contacts with Osama Bin Laden when he was a chief organizer of the Arab volunteer effort against the Soviet Union (the gang of Jihads was technically a volunteer force, because the Saudi government picked up the tabs for those who came to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia). The Economist revealed after September 11 that American intelligence agents did have contacts with Bin Laden, at least prior to 1994. .............(more)

- See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/02/187990/saudi-funding-911-attacks-still-cloaked-secrecy#sthash.UNNK9kXz.dpuf

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