Appreciating our natural world - In Living Color

Weisman Another one of my favorite radio shows is To The Best Of Our Knowledge, TTBOOK, which is an NPR show produced by Wisconsin Public Radio. On 04/13/08 TTBOOK broadcast a show entitled "In Living Color". Here is a brief description of the show from the TTBOOK web site:

Imagine the world as we know it, only without us. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a writer imagines a world reinventing itself without human beings. He sees the New York subway system returning to its watery origins. The re-absorption of carbon into the earth, and endangered wildlife coming back from the brink. Also, one man finds the extraordinary in encounters with birds. And, garbage island - the bobbing plastic wasteland that's plaguing the Pacific.

It is a fascinating show in three segments which lasts about 55 minutes. In the first segment Alan Weisman talks about his book, World Without Humans. I was so fascinated I went out yesterday and bought his book. What would happen if the earth suddenly had no humans?

In the second segment, Thomas Morton described the Pacific gyre. I didn't even know what the pacific gyre is. It is the place where the ocean currents coalesce way out in the pacific and fills up with garbage. Mr. Morton hires a boat to take him out to the gyre and he describes his experience. Also, Sam Keen describes his spiritual experience with nature through bird watching, and Erec Toso describes his experience of being bitten by a rattlesnake in his front yard in Arizona as he was walking home one night in the dark with his two little kids.

Overall, a very good radio show and I recommend it. You can listen on line by going to the TTBOOK web site by clicking on the link below.

Link: 080413A In Living Color.

Justice Talking Radio - FCC approves further media consolidation screwing American citizens

Fcc Justice Talking is a great radio show and on its program released on 01/21/08 Margot Adler the host talks with FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps and other guests about the new FCC rules on media consolidation.

Media Corporations have bought our politicians and now they want to increase their power by controlling not only radio and TV but newspapers. This is not a good thing for our democracy which is becoming increasingly fascistic under the Republican Bush Administration as the politicians and corporations get into bed together to manipulate and oppress citizens at the local level by keeping them in the dark and spinning the news in a direction that the polticians in power say is "Fair and Balanced".

This is a major campaign issue in the 2008 election. Do you know where your candidates stand?

It's a good show which lasts about 55 minutes. Every voting American should listen to it.

Link: Justice Talking.

It takes the Supreme Court to get the EPA to do its job under the Bush Administration

Back on April 2, 2007 the Associated Press report on the Supreme Court's ruling that the EPA does have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions was broadcast on CNN.

The Supreme Court rebuked the Bush administration Monday for its inaction on global warming in a decision that could encourage faster action in Congress on climate change and lead to more fuel-efficient cars as early as next year.

The court, in a 5-4 ruling in its first case on climate change, declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate those emissions from new cars and trucks under the landmark environment law, and the "laundry list" of reasons it has given for declining to do so are insufficient, the court said.

This is just one more example of how the Bush Administration is in bed with the corporations rather than looking out for the interests of the American People. Thank god the Supreme Court is standing up for the states who are trying to get the EPA to do its job. The conservative, right wing Republicans think the only legitimate purpose of government is to feed the corporate machine by fighting immoral, pre-emptive wars, and giving huge contracts to private security firms for international and domestic population control purposes. It seems strange that it takes a judicial court to get them to do their job to protect the environment which we all benefit from not only here at home but around the world.

This situation raises a number of important issues in the 08 election. What does the future President intend to do to protect the environment? What is the appropriate role of government in protecting the commons or is everything for sale to the highest bidder? What does the future President believe is the proper role of government in serving the welfare of the people? What is the proper role of government in its relationships with corporations and their profit making capitalistic motivations? What is the role of states in getting the Federal government to do its job?

Link: High Court Decision May Hasten Congressional Action on Global Warming - News -

Al Gore's Nobel prize speech

I have been growing increasingly disenchanted with the coporate media. Thank God there are shows like Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.

Democracy Now had a great show on December 11, 2007 featuring Al Gore's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and the acceptance speech of Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Amy also interviewed Ted Glick who is a 99 day fast to protest the Congress's failure to address climate change.

This hour long show is well worth listening to. I think every American should know what is going on with climate change and our corporate media, because of their vested interests, only pay the topic lip service. To listen or download the hour long show, click on the link to the show's web page below.

Link: Democracy Now! | December 11, 2007.

Corporate subversion of democracy

It seems unpatriotic to say this but corporations being treated as persons is undemocratic. Corporations are not people and they should not have the same rights as a person. There are values in a democratic society more important than money and corporations only value the bottom line - money. To learn more about this issue click on the link below which will take you to the Reclaim democracy web site.

The biggest issue in this upcoming national election is not gay marriage, or abortion as the conservatives would like to distract people to, but rather corporate crime and corporate subversion of our democracy by buying our representives and subverting our democratic processes.

Link: Reclaim Democracy! Revoke Corporate Corruption of American Democracy.

Protecting Our Commons

The Republicans hate government. They think the less of it the better. They have turned our great country and our democracy over to the corporations to run. The proper role of government is not only to protect our safety and security from external threats but from internal threats as well. The commons, that is the natural environment that we all share, is being stolen from us by corporations for profit of the few.

In the current issue of YES magazine, Fall 2007, there is a neat poster which simply and directly highlights this issue. Click on the link below to learn more.

Link: Protecting Our Commons :: YES! Magazine graphic.

191 countries on planet earth work together to heal the hole in the ozone layer

Ozone_layerWhile global warming is still a huge issue which needs immediate attention, it is reassuring to know that we humans can work together to improve the quality of life on our planet when we choose to. 191 countries came together 20 years ago to agree to the Montreal Protocol to discontinue the use of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer. It appears that the efforts are making a difference and the ozone hole is healing. A brief blurb from the 09/17/07 article on the web site says:

The Earth's ozone layer is on track to heal, thanks to the work of dozens of countries that signed a landmark international environmental agreement initiated 20 years ago.

Known as the "Montreal Protocol," this ambitious treaty requires countries to phase out production and use of compounds that deplete ozone in the stratosphere. Initially signed by 24 countries Sept.16, 1987 in Montreal, this treaty today covers 191 countries and is widely hailed as the most successful international environmental agreement to date.

"Twenty years ago, the community of nations came together to adopt a global strategy for the global challenge of ozone depletion. Today, we at EPA join our international partners in celebrating the anniversary of the Montreal Protocol - a shining example of how human ingenuity, leadership and determination can create a healthier, better world," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

Link: Sustainable Business, Green Business, Renewable Energy, Organic & Green Investing, Green Capital.

Space advertising - threat to the commons

The last few days I have been writing about "the commons" on this blog. "The commons" refers to those things and aspects of life on this planet that all human beings share and which should not be under the control of the market and commercialized in such a way as to allow the control by the profiteers and the exclusion of people who cannot afford to participate.

One of the clearest example of "the commons" is the sky, the air we breath, but the sky, "space", has been attempted to come under the commercial control of the marketers. Does this sound like science fiction? Read the article in the Wikipedia Encyclopedia about "Space Advertising".

The 1993 "Space Billboard" by the American company Space Marketing Inc. was a proposal for a 1 km2 illuminated billboard that would be launched into a low orbit and be visible from Earth. The advertisement would be roughly the same size and brightness as the moon and was to be made from sheets of mylar. It was estimated that it would be impacted by space debris around 10,000 times; this and the inability to attract adequate funding prevented the project from progressing.

The first commercial filmed in space was a milk commercial by the Israeli company Tnuva, which was filmed aboard the space station Mir in 1997 [1] [2].

In an unusual form of fast food advertising, two Pizza Hut marketing ploys have involved spaceflight. In 2001 they were the first to deliver pizzas to outer space when their vacuum-sealed food arrived at the International Space Station [3], just a year after signing a deal to have a 30-foot (9 m) Pizza Hut logo placed on the side of the unmanned Proton rocket that launched ISS Zvezda [4].


In 1993, faced with the Space Billboard project, U.S. Congressman Ed Markey introduced a bill that banned all advertising in space. This was amended by Section 70102 of title 49 of the United States Code to only cover obtrusive advertising, thus allow sponsorship deals where the logo is placed on the rocket or an astronaut's clothing. [5]

Link: Space advertising - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Product Placement Deals Make Leap From Film to Books

Motoko Rich has an article in the June 12, 2006 issue of the New York Times which says that book publishers are now cooking deals with companies for "product placement" in the novels and other books that they publish. Here is part of Motoko's article:

By now, television and movie viewers have become used to this kind of thing: when they see sneakers or cars on a show or in a film, they generally assume that these appearances have been paid for by the companies that make the brands.

But product placement in books is still relatively rare. The use of even the subtlest of sales pitches, particularly in a book aimed at adolescents, could raise questions about the vulnerability of the readers.

It is interesting to see how commercialism is taking over the arts such as music, movies, and now books. All the more reason why we need to teach our children "media literacy" so they can "read between the lines" and understand the mental pollution they are being subjected to by corporations who want to manipulate them into thinking they have a "need" for their products. It makes one wonder whether this commercialization of the culture is good for people's mental health and for the well being of the society in which we live together?

Link: Product Placement Deals Make Leap From Film to Books — Commercial Alert.

Corporate "mindshare" coming to a school bus for your kids?

Jonathan Rowe has an interesting article on his blog on 06/15/06 regarding the playing of commercials on school buses in Massachusettes. This is another example of the corporate take over of the commons for commerical purposes. Kids are a captive audience being compelled by the state to attend school even against their will and then subjected to corporate messages to manipulate their developing minds and identities.

Here is part of what Jonathan says in his article:

Corporations seek to dominate space. First it was physical space, and now it is mental space – what is called, in marketing argot, “mindshare.” The political Right seeks to cut taxes to shrink the public sphere, or “starve the beast” in Grover Norquist’s phrase. Put the two together and what do you get? You get corporations laying claim to common space, and to the minds of those who occupy it.

The latest example is BusRadio, a company in Massachusetts that is going to install special radio receivers in school buses, so it can fill the airspace in them with ads aimed at kids. School districts starved for funds will get a cut of the ad revenues. BusRadio will get a captive audience of impressionable kids that it can sell to corporate advertisers eager to get inside their minds. The compulsory school laws will become the means to corral these captive kids and deliver them to the sponsors.

If this does become a reality, it might be a reason for thinking parents to homeschool their kids to protect them from the corporate "mindshare".

Link: | A Captive Audience of Kids.