DoTheMath | 350.org | Bill McKibben | Global Climate Crisis | Washington D.C. |

Just attended and participated in the final day of Bill McKibben’s DoTheMath tour in Washington D.C.

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/dothemath-350-org-bill-mckibben-global-climate-crisis-washington-d-c/

link to Carol Keiter’s blog re: DoTheMath on digesthis”>

Notch Up the Government’s Role with “ObamaWorks” | A Version of Roosevelt’s WPA | Green New Deal

I originally proposed this in 2012. I decided to repost it presently in lieu of the proposal of the ‘Green New Deal‘. Prior to Obama’s win of the 2012 presidential nomination, on the 5th of October I submitted this query to a dozen American magazine publications, and waited for a response. I received only one, a rejection from The Nation. I continued to wait to see if anyone would wish to publish my ideas, which would preclude putting the information onto my blog, for free viewing. Presuming that none will respond, here it is:

Though Obama supporters surely commemorate his intention to employ the federal government to serve the American public, he could even crank it up a bit, by reenacting Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WPA – Works Progress Administration – under the guise of ObamaWorks. “Renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; the WPA was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.” Wow, is THAT ever fantastic to hear about! The recognition that the arts and literature are all about inspiring and creating the theatre for human evolution! What is that saying? ‘History repeats itself for those who are doomed to forget.’ A mere google away: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

In 1933, as the 32nd president of the United States, FDR orchestrated the “New Deal” in his first 100 days of office. His purpose was to transform a shattered economy, following the 1929 stock market crash. This consisted of a series of economic programs to establish “Relief”, “Recovery” and “Reform”, of which the WPA was a substantial mechanism; operating its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments. In the inception of his second term, Obama could emphatically authorize a series of programs needed to make improvements across America; delineating the jobs required to implement them, and build our economy and morale in the process, as had been achieved through Roosevelt’s WPA. The circumstances surrounding each of their administrations are parallel; both enmeshed in war and coming into power following a Wall Street engendered economic collapse. Whereas Obama’s 44th presidency coincided with a recession, FDR’s corresponded with the Great Depression. Since Obama has already demonstrated his audacity in confronting Wall Street with the Dodd-Frank Act, why not engage in another executive order or two, as were prerequisite for FDR to carry out his Works. Now is the critical time to launch an indispensable ObamaWorks plan; to facilitate the investment in a much needed overhaul throughout the country, prioritized according to national as well as regional and community needs.
 
Though it may seem implausible, given that we’re ensconced in an imbalanced Democracy in which Plutocratic powers often determine what the executive branch may or may not do, this is precisely the recipe to revitalize America! The WPA was one bold aspect of the New Deal, which Roosevelt legislated to put millions of unskilled Americans back to work, including the construction of buildings and roads. “Happy Days could be Here Again”, if instead of side-stepping issues, tip-toeing around egregious lobby groups and getting stalled in bipartisan gridlocks, Obama would simply administer a number of definitive projects, ObamaWorks, and set them into motion. These programs would respond to our need for energy independence, and result in the subsequent investment in renewable energy enterprises and environmentally sound ‘green’ building. America has been lagging in developing clean and efficient transportation infrastructures, as well as in education and efficient communication networks. We need to make decisions that will reflect viable options for the generations to come, without obliterating our environment and the delicate balance of the global ecosystem and economic interdependency. In our quest to achieve international standards in education, we have inadvertently started to impinge on creative teaching methods and the hands-on approach in our classrooms. Yet because Americans are innovative and industrious, as we pull our resources together and share our ‘best practices’, we can resolve road-blocks and work through ever evolving solutions to our problems. As ObamaCare can continually be adjusted according to new insights, so can we all work together, community by community, fused by the U.S. Government’s vision and financial backing; prioritizing our most needed investments and emboldening our spirits.

Congratulations Barack on Four More Years | Our Mission Has Just Begun

I’m sleepy and exhilarated. I’m sure that quite a number of people are exhausted after covering the presidential election countdown into the early morning hours, along with all of those on the East coast who stayed up waiting to listen to Obama’s acceptance speech at 1:30 in the morning.

Portrait of Obama made from many separate images – courtesy of Michael Moore’s website

There appeared to be a lot of obstacles towards people merely casting their votes, and I’m not talking about those whose homes had been washed away in the recent mega-storm. Some had to endure long lines, others, long distances to get to their poling places (on a Tuesday workday as opposed to a weekend), not to mention the new fleet of problems which naturally arose with the new legislation requiring people to have photo I.D.’s.

And yet Obama still won the hearts, and trust of enough of the population to bring him back in to finish what he has started. If not for the fact that the alternative, was so much dimmer. Romney‘s bumbled statements and stance switches pressed on people’s doubt. His large number of offspring and offshore money stashes made me nervous. Scary to think of how large his clan could become, taking over the White House for generations to come, if he were to assume the Mormon conventional role, populating more and more with multiple wives. I just watched for the first time a Moveon.org video (after the vote) regarding Romney’s double-sidedness, switching his views dramatically, depending on when he was talking.

And as the vote was being tallied I read in my inbox several of Michael Moore’s last desperate pleas to motivate people to go out and rock their vote towards giving Democracy a face. I had heard certain quite disappointing facts about Obama – through the movie Inside Job regarding the fact that Obama appointed some of the same culprits – investment bankers responsible for the financial scam of 2008 – into high posts within his administration, rather than prosecuting them. Hearing these details at the tail end of the documentary was not just disturbing, it was eerie. Here are the livid details elucidated in Michael Moore’s recent blog post ‘Tomorrow‘. I concur with Michael Moore’s words in a separate blog post imploring people to vote, ‘letter to a non-voter‘, that regardless of the mistakes Barack may have made and the mess that he stepped into – which was already severely tainted – like many people, I still ‘feel’ that he is genuine, and trust him. It would be very scary to have a man with 18 going on 46 Grandkids populating the U.S. Public Office with corporate domination; stripping peoples’ rights and toppling everything that so many people have worked for over the past 5 decades.

People need a leader who inspires and speaks poignantly about hope. Obama not only congratulated all Americans who went out to vote, regardless of who they voted for, but also spoke of the fact that the citizens of a Democracy have responsibilities that go along with their rights, to do what they can to help others and make concessions and compromises. They need to act with compassion and tolerance. You can see his acceptance speech here, if you missed it. Hurray! He also mentioned global warming, among innumerable other tasks that he (and we all) will have to deal with in the coming term. It’s up to all of us to recognize how our actions affect the climate, and to connect the dots regarding how climate change impacts extreme weather conditions.

As Tom Brokaw mentioned, Obama demonstrably spoke of inclusion (of all the different factions of people that make up the American people) as opposed to exclusion; in the fact that all people deserve the same rights to a brighter future, regardless of the color of their skin, race, age, sexual preference…

And as the newscasters mentioned, with the middle name Hussein, and in the grips of a recession, Barack Obama still came through to be the person that most of us chose to represent our voice. It’s also very interesting that Democrats won a majority in the Senate and several States chose to legalize marijuana. It’s up to all of us, to pressure him to live up to what we envision our government could provide. We all need to rally to implement positive change, in terms of healthcare, employment opportunities, transportation infrastructure, and to concentrate on peace-building rather than weapon building and defense. We still can choose to live up to those empowering American ideals that we have touted to the rest of the world.

Bicycles Rule | Healthier and Happier Riding Bikes | CycLAvia | Critical Mass

On a hopeful note, on Sunday, October 7th, 2012 100,000 people took to the streets of Los Angeles. Instead of whizzing by the city in a blur in their automobiles, or for that matter sitting in traffic jams with their annoyance levels rising, they were out in the streets on bicycles, en masse.

People claimed that they were seeing things they never saw before; checking things out for the first time that they never realized were there, just by slowing down and cruising around on bicycles. It was like a big street party, as the writer of this article Ari Bloomekatz describes in the Los Angeles Times. The CicLAvia bicycle festival, during which time bicycles rule downtown LA for a day, was inspired by a weekly
ciclovía festival that has been taking place once a week for the last three decades in Bogotá, Columbia.

Other cities in Latin American and the United States have had similar festivals. The ‘critical mass’ bike riding event was first initiated in San Francisco. The idea is that if enough people join in, the bicycle is no longer a dangerous extraneous potential victim in a ‘car-driven culture’, but that when many bicycles come together, they tip the scale to the critical mass, and ‘become traffic’. The San Francisco critical mass has been taking place the last Friday of every month from downtown San Francisco by the Embarcadero, for decades, since it started in 1992. Something similar to this was going on in Stoclkholm, Sweden in the early 1970‘s. The critical mass bike ride has basically swept across the country and sprung up in metropolitan areas all over the United States, for sure in various European cities as well. New York city has had a long established ‘critical mass’ of its own and plenty of other bicycle related activities, sponsored by a very heavily active organization for the cause Time’s Up. As they say on their home page: “TIME’S UP! is a New York City-based not-for-profit direct-action environmental group that uses events and educational programs to promote a more sustainable, less toxic city.”

I’ve personally ridden in dozen’s of the San Francisco critical mass as well as several when I lived in New York city. The Halloween Critical Mass has always been a great one. Well, Halloween itself and the Day of the Dead/ Dios de los Muertos for sure have been dampened by the recent storm, and my heart goes out to all of those families who have had their lives and homes robbed from them. I’ve heard that in light of the fact that the public transportation has been deluged with water, that there are plenty of people resorting to riding bicycles, which should be prioritized in many metropolitan areas anyway. People would be healthier and happier, if they resorted to riding bikes more often! One of the stunning sensations I had when riding bicycle among thousands of other people during a critical mass bike ride, was to see the streets clogged with people, and yet to predominantly have silence; the hushed sound of only a breeze of people going by – no noise pollution or loud motors whatsoever – fantastic!