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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 75,811

Journal Archives

Seattle's Pronto Cycle Share puts rental bikes around town at swipe, go stations

By Terry Richard | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Visitors who ride public transit to Seattle have a new option for getting around the city: bike share.

The Seattle city government teamed with a non-profit to open Pronto Cycle Share last year, with major corporate support from Alaska Airlines.

The program has brought 500 bikes to 50 parking stations in the city. I encountered them at King Street Station, where Amtrak comes and goes in the city; at Occidental Park, in the Pioneer Square historic district; and on Third Avenue and Pike Street, not far from the Westlake transit hub downtown, where the Seattle Monorail, South Lake Union Streetcar, the Central Link light rail and many bus lines come together.

Use a touch screen to put in your request, swipe a credit card to unlock the bike, then pedal off. It's that easy. You will eventually need to return it to another Pronto Cycle Share parking station, which are found in the early roll out of the program in downtown, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill and in the University District. The program is expected to grow to 220 stations with 2,200 bikes throughout King County. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2015/01/seattles_pronto_cycle_share_pu.html

Downtown Living Doesn't Stop for Storms

CT: Downtown Living Doesn't Stop for Storms


When planners promote what is known as transit-oriented development, it's situations like Tuesday's winter storm they have in mind.

In some Bridgeport neighborhoods, where a growing number of people are able to live a life less dependent on cars, events that severely limit options for everyone else can be more or less shrugged off.

"With the bodegas and small grocers every couple of blocks, it's easy to bundle up and head down the street if your fridge needs replenishing," Becca Bryan, who lives in the South End and works downtown, said in an email. "The colder the weather, the cozier the neighborhood becomes."

As described by the Regional Plan Association, transit-oriented development "is a strategy for growth that produces less traffic and lessens impact on roads and highways. Households located within walking distance of transit own fewer cars, drive less and pay a smaller share of their income on transportation-related expenses."

With roads out of the city not an option during the height of the storm, most people not living in a dense neighborhood were stuck. The state told people not to drive after 9 p.m. and bus and rail service were suspended. But that didn't mean downtown was closed. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11819809/downtown-living-doesnt-stop-for-storms

Thom Hartmann: Why the TPP Will Sink the Middle Class

Published on Jan 26, 2015

In tonight’s show, Thom talks Greece elections and the future of the Eurozone with Dr. Richard Wolff, economist and author Democracy at Work.

Tyson Slocum, Director of Public Citizen Energy Project talks about the 3 million gallon N. Dakota oil drilling waste spill, Montana leak, and the Keystone XL pipeline.

Normon Solomon, Co-founder of RootsAction.org and Executive Director at the Institute for Public Accuracy talks to Thom about former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling’s espionage conviction. Author Mike Farrell talks about the Supreme Court taking up Oklahoma’s lethal injection case. Frank Schaeffer, author of Why I am An Atheist Who Believes in God, talks about homeschooling and its future in American education.

Thom concludes with his daily take on the proposed Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) Why it will sink the middle class.

I'm reminded of this scene from the film "The International" as ........

..... I listen to analysis of the Greek vote, and how they've basically been spending all of their resources paying off debts to banks and the EU, rather than on things that will actually improve their economy and build society.

Thom Hartmann: Is someone who opposes crippling austerity measures...a radical...or a realist?

Noam Chomsky's take on 'American Sniper' (He's not a fan)

In 10 Years, No One In Helsinki Will Even Want to Own a Car: 3 Simple Ideas That Are Making ........

.......Cities Sustainable

from YES! Magazine:

1. A Bus That Will Pick You Up Anywhere in the City With the Use of a Smartphone App.

in: Helsinki

By 2025, public transportation in Helsinki will be so good that no one living in the city will have any reason to own a car.

That’s the goal the city announced earlier this year, and Helsinki is serious about it. The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority is piloting an on-call minibus service called Kutsuplus. The service uses an algorithm and a smartphone app to combine the affordability of ride sharing with the on-call service of a taxi.

Riders hail buses on a smartphone; an automated system routes and reroutes the fleet to create the most efficient service for patrons heading in the same direction. It’s cheaper than a taxi and more convenient than a bus.

Free wi-fi and storage for bikes or strollers are included, too. Compared with traffic jams, parking fees, and car maintenance, on-demand public transit in Helsinki is looking pretty good. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/cities-are-now/in-10-years-no-one-in-helsinki-will-even-want-to-own-a-car

Can Bolivia Shatter the Vise of Capitalism?

Can Bolivia Shatter the Vise of Capitalism?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 10:04
By Chris Williams and Marcela Olivera, Truthout | News Analysis

As through so much of its history, the small Andean nation of Bolivia sits at the center of a whirlwind of political, social and climatological questions. Arguably, no other country thus far in the 21st century raises the question of an "exit strategy" from neoliberal capitalism more concretely, and with greater possibility and hope, than Bolivia. That hope is expressed specifically in the ruling party, MAS, or Movement Toward Socialism. The country's leader, former coca farmer and union organizer Evo Morales - South America's first indigenous leader since pre-colonial times - was overwhelmingly elected to his third term of office in 2014. Morales has broadly popularized the Quechua term pachamama, which denotes a full commitment to ecological sustainability, and public hopes remain high that he'll guide the country toward realizing that principle.

Bolivia has seen impressive and consistent economic growth since Morales' first election victory in 2006, including the establishment of government programs to alleviate poverty and attain the social equity goals promised in his campaign. However, this growth has primarily rested on an expanded and intensified exploitation of the country's natural resources, principally from fossil fuel production, mining, and the growth of large-scale, mono-crop agriculture and manufacturing.

This economic growth has also created what the Bolivian non-governmental organization CEDLA (Centro de Estudios Para el Desarrollo Laboral y Agrario) calls the rise of a new bourgeoisie comprised of Santa Cruz agriculture producers, traders from the west of the country and small mining producers. The Bolivian government also believes that a new class is emerging, and will become Bolivia's new dominant group. Carlos Arce, researcher from CEDLA, says in an article in the Bolivian press:

A new type of entrepreneur has emerged from the popular classes. These emerging strata are mostly traders and are also present in the cooperative sectors, especially in mining. This new type of entrepreneur saves more and has a more austere mentality, in the classical Weberian sense. Within the state, representatives of this strata interface with middle-class intellectuals and other sectors of society, seeking to build alliances with small urban and rural producers that respond to the prerogatives of the market.

The so-called "plural economy" institutionalized by the government recognizes the state, communitarian, private and cooperative forms of economic organization. It also puts the state in direct control of the plans for economic development. In other words, the Bolivian people are the owners of the natural resources, but it is the state that administers and industrializes these natural resources. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/28778-can-bolivia-shatter-the-vise-of-capitalism

New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won’t Change

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –

President Obama cut short his India trip to head off to Riyadh in the wake of the death last Thursday of King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. Some 30 members of the Washington elite came along, of both parties, including Sen. John McCain and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. This love fest underlined the close relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, which are nearly as important for US Middle East policy as Washington’s special relationship to Israel.

Saudi Arabia gets special treatment from the US, with its arbitrary, absolute monarchy and extensive human rights abuses never being openly condemned by the US government. Iran, which for all the extensive faults of its theocratic government, is substantially freer than Saudi Arabia, is constantly hectored about its authoritarianism and attempt to export a radical form of Islam. But Saudi Arabia is held harmless in D.C. simply by never being brought up in this context. When asked by Fareed Zakaria about this issue of Saudi human rights, Obama took refuge in the close security cooperation between the two countries. He also maintained that the US does pressure Riyadh behind the scenes. But the US routinely complains about invidious policies pursued by European allies out in the open. That Saudi Arabia is treated with kid gloves only has one explanation: It pumps over 10 percent of the petroleum produced daily in the world.

One issue they discussed was the plummeting of oil prices, which is badly hurting North Dakota, where expensive hydraulically fractured petroleum may not be viable at $50 a barrel or less. US oil companies sent stock prices down in the US today by declining to buy new equipment from companies like Caterpillar, which took a hit. Saudi Arabia could put at least some upward pressure on prices by simply pumping a bit less petroleum daily. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.juancole.com/2015/01/obama-policy-change.html

Swedish Swimming Pool Opens Gender Neutral Changing Room


A public swimming pool outside the Swedish capital is reopening this weekend after building a third changing room, for people with a "neutral gender identity."

The city of Sundbyberg, a suburb of Stockholm, says it's the first LGBT-certified swimming pool in Sweden, a country known for its tolerance toward lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

Officials say the new changing room, which is designed for one person at the time, can also be used by people with disabilities or those who prefer to get changed in private because of their religious beliefs.

In Sweden, where people tend to have relaxed attitudes about nudity, public swimming pools typically have communal changing rooms and showers without private stalls.

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