Monday, May 18, 2015

Sugar: The Bitter Truth -- a powerful must-see video

Check out this video on YouTube:

If you're a person who cares whether your kid smokes cigarettes or if there is a gun or two kept laying around when your kid or grandkids goes to play at a friend's house, or if you have tried following a diet of any description in the last 35 years, this is a must-see video about why your diet failed and the real threat to your kid's future health.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Let's make sure we the person winning the presidency first wins the most votes

Dear Friends,

The National Popular Vote plan just passed the Oregon House 37-21!

HB 3475 passed on the House floor by a big 37-21 margin, with votes from both Democrats and Republicans. Your emails and call have made a difference, along with those of the more than 2,300 Oregonians who signed my petition in support of the national popular vote for president and allied groups like Common Cause, League of Women Voters and Natoinal Popular Vote
It's time to shift gears to the Senate. To build support, I have a favor. Please share the news of this big win on social media and by email with your friends. Let's keep growing our petition signers so we have a bigger community of Oregonians ready to take action as the bill moves in the senate.
Please share news of the big win today and give people my petition link to sign.
Thank you!

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

This is the best explanation of gerrymandering you will ever see - The Washington Post [feedly]

We finally have people waking up to the gerrymandering problem, but they have not yet realized that it's inherent in creating single-member districts, and that the wrong problem to work on is how to gerrymander less--the right problem is how to overcome centuries of primitive democratic tradition and move to full representation by electing from multi-member districts, so that the majority rules but minorities are guaranteed a voice, regardless of where they live. 

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

More on trains: Dead Nation Walking [feedly]

Dead Nation Walking

Anyway, even if Americans seem to prefer for the present moment to drive or fly, it may not always be the case that they will be able to. Several surprising forces are gathering to take down the Happy Motoring matrix. Peak oil is actually not playing out in the form of too-high gasoline prices, but rather a race between a bankrupt middle class unable to pay the total costs of motoring and an oil industry that can't make a profit drilling for hard-to-get oil. That scenario is plain to see in the rapid rise and now fall of shale oil.

Nowhere on earth is there passenger rail that pays for itself. But, of course, you don't hear anyone complain about the public subsidies for driving or air travel. Who do you think pays for the interstate highway system? What major airport is privately owned and operated?


America is going to need trains more than it thinks right now, despite what the "free market" says. The condition of our trains is symptomatic of the shape of the nation. The really sad part is we missed the window of opportunity to build a high-speed system. Capital will soon be too scarce for that. But we still have a conventional network that not so many decades ago was the envy of the world, and we know exactly how to fix it. We just don't want to. No will left. Apparently we'd rather just turn into the walking dead.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Why we'll never get decent passenger train service

A sharp-eyed LOVESalem foreign correspondent sends this.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

The more I read about our railroad history, the more disgustingly brutal it seems.  But this article articulates the basic systemic reasons we'll never get anything like the passenger train service that even '2nd class' countries enjoy.  High speed, high-tech rail service will NOT happen in a country hell-bent on maintaining its empire rather than getting ready for the real 21st century.  A political system dedicated to burning the last drops of unconventional fossil fuel dregs will instead focus on reliable (slow) rail service for getting isolated coal and oil deposits to remote customers; and since Amtrak uses these same rails throughout the system, it too is slow.  U.S. environmentalists who tout high-speed electric and/or maglev trains to cope with declining fossil fuels and/or climate change have drunk the kool-aid, but the sugar content has fattened their brain to the point they are in fantasy land.

Out here on the west side of the Cascades, an Amtrak line shares the rails with coal and oil trains that are becoming more and more frequent, to the point that Amtrak schedules are more and more problematic.  And I don't think our Amtrak train EVER travels faster than 60 mph, and never has.  I've been on trains in Japan and Germany; in both those places the things went at least twice as fast, and the ride was smooth - a huge contrast with our Amtrak that sways like a camel-ride.  On our Amtrak train, walking the aisles to get to the food car is more demanding than walking a wire.  I'm pretty sure the owners of our NW rails (BNSF) regard Amtrak as a nuisance customer, one BNSF would drop like a hot skillet if it weren't for the political requirement not to.

Down with corporate dynasties.  Write in Elizabeth Warren for president and vice-president in 2016.

Krugman on refusing to join the Iraq War amnesia

Utah Phillips used to say that the most radical thing you can have in America is a long memory.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."