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marmar

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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: 66,157

Journal Archives

Boston-area public transit won't be back to normal for 'at least' another 30 days




Boston Herald, via Mass Transit Mag:



Feb. 17--The blizzard-battered commuter rail and subway will not be back to normal for "at least" another 30 days, the transit authority's embattled general manager admitted yesterday, forecasting a bleak month of long, expensive slogs for hundreds of thousands of commuters -- as another storm looms.

"The 8 feet of snow that has been dumped on our transit system over the past three weeks has very honestly crippled our infrastructure and our vehicle fleet -- not to mention the real toll that it has take on our workforce and that of our contractors," MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said yesterday. "These unprecedented storms have caused us both operational challenges -- which quite candidly everyone is feeling -- and in some instances some pretty severe damage that is going to take us some time to drag ourselves out of."

Despite vowing to implement what she called an "operating and service restoration and recovery Marshall plan" aimed at "strategically and methodically taking the system back line by line, vehicle by vehicle, station by station," Scott said riders can expect service cancellations and lengthy delays to continue for the foreseeable future.

"In order to be able to say we're back to normalcy, that's going to take probably at least about a good 30 days for us," Scott said, adding that "this is not something that we an just throw magic dust on and make it be all OK tomorrow." .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11843442/scott-says-at-least-30-days-needed-to-get-t-on-track



Boston: Scott Says 'at Least' 30 Days Needed to Get T on Track


Boston Herald, via Mass Transit Mag:



Feb. 17--The blizzard-battered commuter rail and subway will not be back to normal for "at least" another 30 days, the transit authority's embattled general manager admitted yesterday, forecasting a bleak month of long, expensive slogs for hundreds of thousands of commuters -- as another storm looms.

"The 8 feet of snow that has been dumped on our transit system over the past three weeks has very honestly crippled our infrastructure and our vehicle fleet -- not to mention the real toll that it has take on our workforce and that of our contractors," MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said yesterday. "These unprecedented storms have caused us both operational challenges -- which quite candidly everyone is feeling -- and in some instances some pretty severe damage that is going to take us some time to drag ourselves out of."

Despite vowing to implement what she called an "operating and service restoration and recovery Marshall plan" aimed at "strategically and methodically taking the system back line by line, vehicle by vehicle, station by station," Scott said riders can expect service cancellations and lengthy delays to continue for the foreseeable future.

"In order to be able to say we're back to normalcy, that's going to take probably at least about a good 30 days for us," Scott said, adding that "this is not something that we an just throw magic dust on and make it be all OK tomorrow." .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11843442/scott-says-at-least-30-days-needed-to-get-t-on-track



From Warrior Cop to Community Police: A Fmr Chief on How We Can Turn Back the Tide of Militarization


from YES! Magazine:


From Warrior Cops to Community Police: A Former Chief on How We Can Turn Back the Tide of Militarization
Police in America belong to the people—not the other way around. Former Seattle police Chief Norm Stamper on how we can turn war zone occupiers back into friendly neighborhood officers.

Norm Stamper posted Feb 09, 2015


You’re in the kitchen. It’s a Saturday morning, still dark outside. Your partner, three-year-old son, and the family dog are all sound asleep at the back of the house. You’ve put the coffee pot on, are making sandwiches—a trip to the lake is planned, your son’s first fishing trip.

Without warning, the pre-dawn quiet is shattered as your front door flies off its hinges, followed by back-to-back explosions and blinding light. Your local police department calling, decked out in cammies, ballistic helmets, and full-body armor, brandishing M4 and M16 rifles.

“Knife!” shouts a cop. “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” roar his nine fellow officers, each pointing a rifle or a pistol at your chest. The knife in question? A standard, dullbladed utensil you’d been using to slather mustard and mayo on the sandwiches.

........(snip)........

Finally comes Boomer, the family’s gentle seven-year-old Golden Retriever, bounding down the hall, voicing his own concern about the invasion. With a Glock semiautomatic, one of the cops silences Boomer: a .40 caliber shot to the head, another to the chest.

........(snip)........

But it is the routinization of police militarism that ought to concern us all. America’s police departments—aided and abetted by the federal government’s “1033” program, which allocates to local law enforcement military surplus, including armored vehicles, weapons, even aircraft—have gradually morphed from images of “Officer Friendly,” neighborhood-oriented cops to those of war zone occupiers. ....................(more)

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/together-with-earth/from-warrior-cops-to-community-police




Professor Richard Wolff: "The Game is Rigged"





ACLU SoCal, L.A. Progressive and Occidental College hosted Prof. Wolff for a discussion on economic rights and reform, on February 10, 2015 at Occidental College.


Robert Reich: How Trade Deals Boost the Top 1% and Bust the Rest


How Trade Deals Boost the Top 1% and Bust the Rest
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2015


Suppose that by enacting a particular law we’d increase the U.S.Gross Domestic Product. But almost all that growth would go to the richest 1percent. 


The rest of us could buy some products cheaper than before. But those gains would be offset by losses of jobs and wages.

This is pretty much what “free trade” has brought us over the last two decades.

I used to believe in trade agreements. That was before the wages of most Americans stagnated and a relative few at the top captured just about all the economic gains.

Recent trade agreements have been wins for big corporations and Wall Street, along with their executives and major shareholders. They get better access to foreign markets and billions of consumers. ...............(more)

http://robertreich.org/post/111210323485



Brew Detroit: New Tap Room is a Huge Boost For Detroit Beer

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2015/02/brew-detroit-new-taproom-is-a-small-part-a-massive-investment-in-detroits-beer-scene.php


from Curbed Detroit:



Yesterday's debut of the new tap room at Brew Detroit has received coverage from nearly every Detroit-area media outlet. That's what happens when you open a photogenic bar inside a former ball bearing factory in Corktown.
The tap room, however, is just a tiny piece of Brew Detroit's 61,000-square-foot automated brewing facility. Opened in 2013, the facility is capable of churning out a volume of beer unseen since the days of Stroh's, the fallen Detroit beer giant. Thankfully, the similarities between Brew Detroit and Stroh's stop there.

It's not worth diving deep into Stroh's history, but there's a reason that Detroit produced so little beer after they imploded. Stroh's was ruthless. During its long history, the company aggressively bought out a huge portion of Detroit's beer industry, often demolishing rival breweries simply to insure they'd never compete again.



Brew Detroit's facility will have the opposite effect. Think of it like a co-working space for brewers, where smaller companies (Like Atwater or Motor City Brewing Works) can access world-class equipment and scale up production without breaking the bank. Brew Detroit produces its own beer in small batches for the taproom, but the focus is on being a "collaborative brewery."

Point being, Brew Detroit is more than another trendy bar or a "Detroit"-branded boutique. It's a major piece of beer-producing infrastructure that will give Detroit's craft beer industry a leg up. Knowing all of that makes a visit to the tap room all the more satisfying.












Detroit: Construction Fires Up at M1 Rail's North End Headquarters

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2015/02/construction-fires-up-at-m1-rails-north-end-headquarters.php


from Curbed Detroit:



Behold! The Penske Tech Center, future headquarters to the M1 Rail streetcar system. The $6.9M facility—which includes a garage and an outdoor rail yard—recently began construction at a vacant lot at Woodward and Bethune, a couple blocks beyond M1's northernmost stop in New Center. The mid-century municipal architecture won't be winning any awards, but there are reasons to love this glorified garage.

The Setback: Before construction began, the big question was whether the rail yard or the building itself should face Woodward. Thankfully, M1 went with the latter. However bland the architecture might be, placing it snugly against Woodward is good urban design.

Goodbye, Grass: The new construction eats up one of the unsightly, litter-strewn fields lining Woodward as it passes through North End. Swapping a field for the tech center should be a positive for nearby residents, whose input went into the final design. At the same time, it would've been a much bigger win if North Enders could actually board there. Construction should be complete by the end of 2015.









Chicago: Study Says CTA Attracts More Haters on Twitter Than Other Transit Agencies





from RedEye, via Mass Transit Mag:


Feb. 12--The CTA tends to draw more trolls on Twitter than other major public transit systems possibly because the agency doesn't regularly respond to rider comments, which is key in tamping down critics on social media, according to a new university study that analyzed mean tweets toward public transit systems.

The CTA was the least popular public transit system on Twitter among the 10 systems that were part of the University of Southern California study, which was published in December in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

The six-year study also looked at Twitter commentary about transit systems compared with chatter about celebrities, police departments and social programs. There were more mean tweets about the CTA than the IRS and the Kardashians but the CTA but did fare better on Twitter than Osama bin Laden, Obamacare and the Westboro Baptist Church, an anti-gay group that pickets military funerals.

Lisa Schweitzer, a USC public policy professor who authored the report, found the CTA does not have much Twitter interaction with its riders compared with other public transit agencies, which could be why there is so much negative feedback on Twitter about the CTA. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11842544/study-says-cta-attracts-more-haters-on-twitter-than-other-transit-agencies



Sixty-four unions and community groups are demanding a banking public option—at the post office.


from In These Times:


Banking Goes Postal
Sixty-four unions and community groups are demanding a banking public option—at the post office.

BY DAVID MOBERG


American Postal Workers Union (APWU) president Mark Dimondstein has an offer that should be hard to refuse, especially for the 10 million American households, mostly low-income, that do not have a checking account or other basic banking services.

Through its network of 30,000 post offices and other outlets, the United States Postal Service (USPS) could readily and cheaply provide many banking services (just as it now provides money orders), no matter where you live or what you earn. This could save people without bank access from paying the exorbitant interest and fees at currency exchanges, payday lenders, rent-to-own dealers, pawn shops and other subprime financial institutions.

Postal workers would also win: Expanding postal services would create more jobs. Moreover, the additional revenue would strengthen USPS’s finances, bolstering the four major postal unions’ ongoing fight against management’s austerity measures. Although the postal service earned a surplus on operations in 2014, it ran a deficit overall because of perverse requirements Congress imposed in 2006 that retiree healthcare benefits for the next 75 years be fully pre-funded within a decade, a standard far more demanding than those required by any other retirement systems. Much more than the decline in first class mail, that manufactured budget crisis has fueled USPS management’s campaign of job cuts. The postal workforce dropped from about 700,000 in 2006 to less than 500,000 last year, and management hopes to reduce it by as many as 15,000 more this year. USPS management’s campaign of job cuts also involves service degradation, post office closings and privatization—such as delivering postal services at the office-supply store Staples, where jobs are low-wage and non-union. If postal unions can implement banking and roll back the retiree pre-pay requirement, they will return the postal service to solvency while expanding the public sector to address private market shortcomings.

When talks for a new APWU contract start in February, Dimondstein intends to make establishing postal banking a major demand, even though it falls outside the bread-and-butter issues unions typically bring up in bargaining. He plans to argue that creation of the bank would profoundly affect the mandatory bargaining issues of wages, hours and working conditions. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17633/banking_goes_postal



Portugal Cut Addiction Rates in Half by Connecting Users With Communities Instead of Jailing Them


from YES! Magazine:


Portugal Cut Addiction Rates in Half by Connecting Drug Users With Communities Instead of Jailing Them
Fifteen years ago, the Portuguese had one of the worst drug problems in Europe. So they decriminalized drugs, took money out of prisons, put it into holistic rehabilitation, and found that human connection is the antidote to addiction.


Johann Hari posted Feb 12, 2015


It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned—and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted: There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That’s what addiction means.

This theory was first established, in part, through rat experiments—ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advertisement by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The ad explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”



But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently?

.....(snip).....

This isn’t theoretical. It is happening. I have seen it. Nearly 15 years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with one percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse.

So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them—to their own feelings, and to the wider society. ................(more)

http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/portugal-cut-drug-addiction-rates-in-half-by-connecting-users-with-communities




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