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Event Calendar
August 2014
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Recent Diaries
MIT at Flood Level
by: gmoke - May 03
James Hansen at MIT
by: gmoke - Apr 20
Net Zero and Beyond
by: gmoke - Nov 19

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Green-Rainbow Party close to putting 3 statewide candidates on ballot

by: eli_beckerman

Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 21:00:00 PM EDT

For the first time since Jill Stein ran as the Massachusetts Green Party candidate for Governor in 2002, endorsed by the Rainbow Coalition Party, the merged Green-Rainbow Party is not running a candidate for the Corner Office.

But that doesn't mean that the party is sitting this election out. Instead, three candidates have put themselves forward for statewide office, receiving the party's endorsement and running as a slate. As we announced earlier, MK Merelice, Danny Factor, and  Ian Jackson are running for the constitutional positions of State Auditor, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and State Treasurer, respectively. Needing 5,000 certified signatures to get on the ballot, the slate had collected 6,646 raw signatures as of July 4, and is aiming for 9,000 by July 27th to protect against challenges by the Democrats and Republicans. For details on how to help ensure the slate makes it onto the ballot, see www.green-rainbow.org.

While Stein is the party's female co-chair, she opted to continue organizing at the national level, following up on her 2012 campaign as the Presidential candidate of the Green Party of the U.S. along with Vice Presidential running mate Cheri Honkala. The Green-Rainbow Party needs 3% of the vote in one of their statewide races in order to regain major party status in Massachusetts, which would result in ballot access for a Presidential ticket in 2016.

How do you, dear readers, feel about not having a Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate this year? How do you feel about the chance of having a slate of candidates for Auditor, Secretary and Treasurer instead?  What do you think any of this means for independent politics in Massachusetts?

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Let's Get Real With Pipeline Opposition Statements

by: scott_laugenour

Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:44:12 AM EDT

(The Green-Rainbow Party standing up and standing out compared to Governor "Chevron/Texaco" Patrick, who as recently as May called for "a future free of fossil fuels." If only he put his money (read: political capital) where his mouth is. - promoted by eli_beckerman)

It has been difficult for those of us fighting the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline, educating the public and lobbying policy-makers to get a clear message from our elected representatives and candidates on where they stand on the issue.  Will they publicly fight it, will they support it, or will they straddle?  At the top political leadership we know clearly where the governor stands; he's on the wrong side.  Governor Patrick adamantly and vocally supports this fossil fuel expansion that is a huge step in the wrong direction.

Local politicians like Ben Downing, Paul Mark, and Smitty Pignatelli make statements on the subject that are tempered and carefully parsed. They express no vision or resolve. They instill little confidence that they are willing to stick their political necks out in a very difficult fight.  They tell us they are 'torn' and that it's a 'difficult issue,' that it's the feds who are the authority, that the issue must be further 'studied,' and that they will follow the developments 'with interest and concern.'  They may suggest that the pipeline should be situated on a different route, but they do not use their leadership position to broadly address the real issue of our continuing dependence on fossil fuels or to challenge the governor or the fossil fuel energy interests who pump money into the coffers of the Democratic and Republican parties.

Candidate Martha Coakley's position statement is no better:

Martha is committed to building a clean energy future in Massachusetts and, while natural gas currently represents a critical piece of our energy mix, she continues to see it as a bridge to cleaner, renewable energy sources. She is also committed to doing everything possible to protect both homes and fragile environmental resources.

As you may be aware, the ultimate decision on this project rests with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and, like Governor Patrick, Martha believes FERC should ensure an open, substantive discussion with local residents before making a decision on the future of the project.

One gets the feeling that, once again, our political expectations are being managed down.

How refreshing, in this context, to hear clarity and firmness in a statement that was issued by an organized, growing, and feisty political opposition to establishment politics, the only political party in Massachusetts whose leaders and candidates neither solicit nor accept funding from private energy interests.  This opposition party is the Green-Rainbow Party.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 461 words in story)

MIT at Flood Level

by: gmoke

Sat May 03, 2014 at 16:45:02 PM EDT

(Irony, tragedy or farce? http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/... - promoted by eli_beckerman)

On Friday, May 2, 2014 FossilFreeMIT
( http://www.fossilfreemit.org ) declared a flood zone all around their campus at Hurricane Sandy strength plus projected 2050 sea level rise to publicize their divestment campaign.  It was also a good advertisement for the same weekend's annual Sustainability Conference focusing on resilience and coastal cities.  Here's how the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer looks under this climate change scenario.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

MK Merelice joins the Green-Rainbow Party mini-slate with big ideas

by: eli_beckerman

Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:30:00 AM EDT

The Green-Rainbow Party is fielding three statewide candidates for the November ballot in an effort to re-establish major party status in Massachusetts and to give voters a choice for badly needed reforms.

Since we last reported, MK Merelice has joined the statewide campaign as the GRP's candidate for State Auditor. She joins Danny Factor who is running for Secretary of the Commonwealth, and State Treasurer candidate Ian Jackson. Notably, Merelice's campaign team is bolstered by former State Representative and Rainbow Coalition founder Mel King as her campaign manager, and Nat Fortune, the 2010 Green-Rainbow Party candidate for State Auditor as her treasurer.

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Good news, bad news - drone strikes and The Intercept

by: eli_beckerman

Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 21:44:00 PM EST

First, the bad news: our government is assassinating people based loosely upon the whereabouts and history of their SIM cards. Without even confirming that their intended target is indeed in possession of this card, the United States government is targeting drone missile strikes based on this data.

Now, the good news: A new media organization, First Look Media has just launched its first "digital magazine" called The Intercept that is actually investigating and reporting on these crimes by our federal government. Read their welcome message here.

First Look is the media and technology venture started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar along with investigative reporters Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. Here are Greenwald and Scahill talking about it on Democracy Now!:

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 220 words in story)

Green-Rainbow Party running candidates for Secretary of the Commonwealth and State Treasurer

by: eli_beckerman

Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 22:52:47 PM EST

The Green-Rainbow Party nominated two candidates for statewide office at its January 11th State Committee meeting, and is looking for a candidate for State Auditor to join the slate.

From the Green-Rainbow Party website:

Two Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) candidates have stepped forward to run for statewide constitutional offices in 2014.  They are  Daniel Factor, running for Secretary of the Commonwealth,  and Ian T. Jackson, running for State Treasurer.  Daniel Factor is an attorney who lives in Acton.  He is currently the Secretary of the Green-Rainbow Party.   Ian T. Jackson is a software engineer who lives in Arlington and has been active in local affairs.   Both candidates received a party nomination at the January 11 State Committee meeting in Worcester.

Factor and Jackson will run as members of a party-coordinated slate that the party says will give the voters of the Commonwealth a truly progressive alternative to a perceived ineffective, corporate-dominated Democratic Party establishment.

And later on:

According to Green-Rainbow Party co-chair John Andrews "We would be particularly interested in an Auditor candidate who would bring gender or ethnic diversity to the slate.  We are looking for someone who can speak in support of our themes of economic justice,  real democracy, and a healthy environment.  The slate effort itself will provide a lot of team support to the candidates, so this is a good opportunity for a first-time candidate."

Apparently they are asking any potential Auditor candidates to submit an application by February 3rd.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Stand with the Philippines and Yeb Saño

by: eli_beckerman

Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 20:01:31 PM EST

Two powerful speeches from the Philippines' climate negotiators, Filipino climate chief Yeb Saño and executive director of the  Philippines Climate Change Commission, Mary Ann Lucille Sering, are not to be missed.

After watching them, please sign Yeb Saño's petition calling on governments to make meaningful steps toward climate justice, and help get it to 1,000,000 signatures.

Below is Saño's interview on Democracy Now!, and Sering's speech. You can watch Saño's floor speech here.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Net Zero and Beyond

by: gmoke

Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 14:47:51 PM EST

Cambridge, MA has been debating a net zero energy and/or emissions standard ( http://www.netzerocambridge.org ) for new buildings over 25,000 square feet since the Spring of 2013, partially because of an ecodistrict plan with MIT and others on a large parcel in East Cambridge (a plan MIT refused to make net zero even though they are rumored to be building a net zero project with some of the same partners in Basel, Switzerland).

The City Manager (Cambridge has a city manager form of municipal government, along with proportionate representation so city politics get weird fast) has established a "Getting to Net Zero" Task Force to study the issue.  Cambridge Community Development Department produced a fine overview of the state of the art in larger buildings for zero net emissions at (pdf alert) http://www.cambridgema.gov/~/m...

As the national Ecodistrict Summit was in town recently, the Community Development Department and Sustainable Performance Institute ( http://www.sustainable-perform... ) hosted experts from Integral Group ( http://www.integralgroup.com/ ), a deep green engineering firm to present lessons from the more than 40 net zero buildings they've worked on.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 680 words in story)

Lobbying with a power fist

by: eli_beckerman

Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 19:56:02 PM EST

I was glad to see Bill Moyers devote so much of his show this weekend to two powerful voices from the Green Shadow Cabinet, especially as it was framed as the politics of resistance.

Jill Stein summed it up best, "It's not lobbying on bended knee. It's lobbying with a power fist. You know, it's with the understanding that our survival depends on doing the right thing."

Watch the whole interview with Jill Stein and Margaret Flowers here:

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

2013 election results for Greens nationwide and locally

by: eli_beckerman

Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 22:30:00 PM EST

Across the country, there were some strong showings and nice victories for Green Party candidates running for local office.  Minneapolis City Councilor Cam Gordon, and Cleveland City Councilor Brian Cummins, were both re-elected. 16 California Greens won local office, which was a record for off-year elections. And in New England, Josh Plourde was elected to the Bangor City Council, Anna Trevorrow was elected to the Portland School Board, and Mirna Martinez was elected to the New London Board of Education.

In Massachusetts, Green-Rainbow Party candidates for local office included three first-time candidates. Joe Carvalho's bid for Mayor of Fall River saw him place second in a field of six to advance to yesterday's election, but fell short of ousting incumbent Mayor William Flanagan. Elie Yarden's campaign for Cambridge City Council saw him place 20th out of 25 candidates for 9 seats. And Francisco White's bid for Boston City Council At Large placed him 16th out of 19 candidates for 4 seats during September's preliminary election. Rick Purcell came in 12th out 13 candidates for Holyoke's eight At Large City Council seats. And Mark Miller, who came within 981 votes of Pittsfield's State Representative seat in 2010, came in 6th in a field of 7 for 4 at large Pittsfield City Council seats.

While some of the most exciting progress for the Green Party has been with municipally elected Greens, the party does not seem to be gaining much traction overall, after nearly three decades of running for local office. I think it's an important time to reflect on those three decades, and the experience we have developed  engaging with this admittedly rigged process. The times are a-changing, but I'm not sure our tactics are changing with them. I'm also not convinced they should change dramatically, but I'd like to see them add up to dramatic change. Unfortunately, I don't see it. I invite all Green and Green-Rainbow candidates and supporters, as well as all of our dear readers, to comment here with your reflections. And I am incredibly grateful, even though I haven't made that particularly clear, for the work, sweat, vision and courage that the brave few throwing their hats into the ring have brought to the table.  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Russell Brand and Jill Stein take to the intertubes to incite critical thought

by: eli_beckerman

Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 21:10:46 PM EDT

Though their messages are somewhat different, I was struck by the similarities by the passionate pleas put out this week by comedian Russell Brand and former Green Party Presidential nominee Jill Stein. Take a look at both:

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

What I Do and Why I Do It

by: gmoke

Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 19:16:38 PM EDT

(This would be a tremendous resource for bridging the academic worlds surrounding us with the communities within which they exist. - promoted by eli_beckerman)

I publish a weekly listing of Energy (and Other) Events at the colleges, universities, and in the community around Cambridge, MA ( http://hubevents.blogspot.com ) and have been doing it consistently since the end of January, 2010 ( http://hubevents.blogspot.com/... ).  This is the second iteration of the idea as I published a similar listings service plus reviews and articles from February, 1995 to February, 1998, "A List of Environmental and Telecommunications Events and Issues" or "AList...." for short ( http://world.std.com/~gmoke/AL... ) {The issues from April 1997 to February 1998 are available at http://world.std.com/~gmoke/AL... but you have to click on the weekly issue heading first before you can read any of the articles.}

My original idea was to have a searchable calendar of all the public lecture information at all the colleges and universities around the Boston area, something like 70 of them, so that anyone could take the opportunity to gather in all the free learning they want.  Imagine the resource for anyone from high school kids to retired people.  I'd been availing myself of the privilege for a number of years already, meeting in small seminar rooms with distinguished experts and famous names that normally you'd only see on TV.  And I even got to ask them questions.  What a gift!  As an experienced autodidact, I took notes at the events I went to, when something of actual note occurred, and thought that the next step would be to invite others to contribute their notes from the events they went to that I couldn't attend so that all that wealth of information could be captured, a community commonplace book.

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Resilience and Climate Change

by: gmoke

Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 17:48:13 PM EDT

(Sure feels like we're entering a new era, a true test of our resilience as a society, and as a species. - promoted by eli_beckerman)

Recently, I've noticed there has been a shift from talking about mitigation to adaptation to resilience when dealing with climate change.  From my perspective, this is not a bad development as resilience focuses on practical preparedness for immediate hazards.  This can partition change into small increments that are readily understandable and remove the polarized politics of climate change from the discussion.  If you're talking about measures to prevent system failure because of a weather emergency, it tends not to matter what your position is on greenhouse gases because everybody remembers the last hurricane, flood, or blizzard.  In addition, resilience measures can also be adaptation and, even in some cases, mitigation strategies for climate change as well.  At least, this is what I'm observing here in the Boston area and what I've heard out of post-Sandy New York and other areas.

This week I attended a discussion at the Boston Society of Architects about a new report, Building Resilience in Boston
pdf alert:  http://www.greenribboncommissi...  
Before the meeting, I spent some time scanning the document and found it to be superlative work, a great introduction to the concepts of urban design for resilience and emergency preparedness and, most especially, a fine literature search of the state of the art all around the world.  If you want to begin the process in your own city or town, this document will give you plenty of useful ideas and show you where to get more.  It is useful not only for cities like Boston, London, and New York but also towns like Chula Vista, CA and Keene, NH.

Another indication of growing seriousness on these issues I noticed is that the dangers from temperature extremes are entering the picture, especially since there has been a 2,300% increase in casualties from heat waves and 189% increase from cold snaps in the 2001 to 2010 decade (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/16/1224282/-World-Meteorological-Organization-Heatwave-Decade).

According to Christina Figueres of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, whom I also saw this week, there are over 300 cities around the world which are actively working on mitigation, adaptation, and resilience in the face of climate change.  So while international organizations are struggling to find actionable agreements and individual countries are fighting to avoid responsibility, municipalities around the world are taking practical steps.

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President Obama, Pardon Chelsea Manning!

by: eli_beckerman

Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 23:07:00 PM EDT

Everyone should watch this video and sign this petition.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

'Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to Live in a Free Society'

by: eli_beckerman

Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 19:31:11 PM EDT

From CommonDreams.org

The following is a rush transcript by Common Dreams of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday following the announcement of his 35-year prison sentence by a military court:

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war.  We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country.  It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing.  It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity.  We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians.  Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 280 words in story)
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