Facebook Slider
Optional Member Code
Get News Alerts!
Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary (4755)


Paris 1012wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)Earlier this summer, Paris quietly passed a new law encouraging residents to help green the City of Light by planting their own urban gardens.

Although the measure was adopted on July 1, the news has only recently made headlines in France and on U.S. sites such as Inhabitat and Condé Nast Traveler.

The initiative, "permis de végétaliser" (or "license to vegetate"), is part of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo's 2020 target of adding 100 hectares (247 acres) of vegetation on the city's walls and roofs, with a third dedicated to urban agriculture.

To encourage citizens to become "gardeners of the Parisian public space," any resident can now apply for a renewable three-year permit to start their own urban garden project. Participants can green the capital in various ways, from planting fruit trees to creating living walls to a rooftop garden. Upon request, the city will also provide a planting kit that includes topsoil and seeds.


Woodley 1012wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)Shailene Woodley, star of The Fault in Our Stars and the Divergent series, was arrested Monday morning while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in Sioux County, North Dakota.

Woodley was streaming live on her Facebook page Monday during a peaceful protest at Standing Rock. The protest was in response to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on Monday that lifted a temporary injunction on the pipeline, allowing construction to resume.

The actress and environmental activist was trying to head back to her RV to go back to camp, when she noticed it was surrounded by police and a riot vehicle. As she approached her RV, she was stopped by police dressed in riot and military gear. After speaking with them, she was told on camera that she was being arrested for criminal trespassing. A spokesman for the Morton County Sheriff's Department said she was also arrested for engaging in a riot. Her mother was with her at the time.

When she asked why she was being arrested and no one else, and whether it was because people know who she is, the officer who appeared to be in charge said it was because she was identified.


With a month left before the November general election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are trash-talking each other in a financial race to the White House.

According to the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Clinton has raised about $516.8 million for her campaign. Total spending by outside groups and SuperPacs supporting her was an additional $31.7 million; the total spent opposing her was about $40.2 million.

Trump has raised about $205.9 million. About 45 percent of his income is from individual contributors; one-third is from Trump himself. Total spending by outside groups and superPACs supporting Trump is about $69 million; opposition spending is about $139.7 million.

Both Clinton and Trump are spending heavy on TV ads. Clinton and pro-Clinton outside groups have spent about $190 million, and Trump and pro-Trump outside groups have spent about $50 million, according to data compiled by Advertising Analytics. However, Trump has mitigated the difference by a barrage of Tweets to 12 million followers, and by constant calls to TV stations. In Pennsylvania, one of nine "swing states," Clinton has outspent Trump, $17 million to $6 million.

2016.11.10 BF Berkowitz(Photo: Gage Skidmore)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

With one salacious video, Donald Trump filled up his deplorable basket to the brim. The latest Trump revelations, regarding his predatory and sexual attacks claims toward, and vulgar thoughts about women, raise numerous questions, one of them being: Will white conservative Christian evangelicals continue to support him? The answer, as of this writing, is that evangelical Christian leaders that have supported him are not backing away.

Kermit Zarley, writing for patheos.com, described the scene: "In this conversation, Trump is very lewd in the characterization of himself as a philanderer. He uses sexual language in his narrative of attempting to have sex with a named married woman. It is not only a tape recording, but a video showing the bus traveling along with Trump and [Billy] Bush [host of "Access Hollywood"] in it while they were having this conversation.

In a short video, Trump issued a classic non-apology saying, "I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize," before quickly pivoting to Bill and Hillary Clinton, claiming Bill's actions were much worse, and that Hillary "bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims."


Mush 1008wrp opt(Photo: United States Department of Energy)A hard rain is falling on the tin roof of Trump Tower this morning, and many across the land call it a joyful noise. Paul Ryan has kicked Donald to the curb, an ever-increasing number of Republicans are calling on him to drop out, and if he actually summons the courage to show his face at the Town Hall on Sunday, he will know the trials of Sisyphus before he reaches the far shore.

I can summon no smiles today, however. While I am pleased this dangerous man's campaign has absorbed what appears to be a mortal blow, it does not change the fact that he happened, he happened to all of us, and nothing will ever be the same again. "Do what you want to them" and "Grab them by the pussy" have entered the political lexicon. Our children will read those lines in their History textbooks someday. My daughter will see that and rightly ask, "Why?"

Why? The phenomenon of the angry Tea Party voter is only a partial, facile explanation. The truth is harder: The media did this, with our help. They knew who this guy really was - everyone in the industry knew - and still they protected and coddled him for a year because he makes for good television. Geraldo Rivera is on Fox News at this moment tsk-tsking about how unsettling this must be for the Trump family. His concern is as ersatz as fake rain on a movie set. This recording did not fall out of the sky; someone has been safeguarding it as their retirement fund for 11 years, and someone else knew, which means everyone knew.

He was who the industry wanted, and they arranged to get him, and get him they did with our active assistance. Their ratings have never been higher, because we are the yeast that makes this rotten bread rise. Admit it: At some point you tuned in with the thought in your head, "I wonder what he said today." Millions and millions have done just that. I sure did, and I accept my portion of responsibility. If a Trump falls in the forest and no one watches, does it tweet? The media gambled on people watching, they won, and here we are.

Friday, 07 October 2016 07:48

Is the Media to Blame for Climate Inaction?


Heat 1007wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)For years climate reporting had two strands: climate science got more alarming as we got closer and closer to exceeding various warming thresholds, and climate diplomacy and public policy were a relatively unbroken saga of disappointment and delay.

The media flocks to bad news, conflict, grid-lock, failure. Both strands of the pre-2014 climate story nourished this appetite. Since 2014, however, the climate story grew more complex, hopeful—but harder for the media to summarize. Greenhouse gas concentrations continue to grow at an alarming rate; projections of the risks of these concentrations become steadily graver, more bad news. So this week we were told that the planet was hotter than it has been in the last 100,000 years.

Current climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to avoid catastrophe—which causes concerned observers to argue that the world is not taking the problem seriously.

But on the solutions front, progress is accelerating. Climate diplomacy and public policy are not only galloping ahead at an unprecedented speed, their pace is increasing. We are in danger of not realizing that.

The media doesn't know how to cover a story that is headed in two directions, so it's unlikely that this week will be reported as a huge turning point in the fight for climate protection—but it was.


Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

About 95 metric tons of oil leaked into the North Sea on Sunday from BP's Clair platform, and it will be left in the ocean. BP says the oil is moving away from land and dispersing naturally, but the spill is a reminder that accidents happen as more oil development is eyed for the Arctic.

In what BP called a "technical issue," oil was released into the North Sea, located about 46 miles, west of the Shetland Islands. BP shut down the oil rig and said it is investigating the accident.

The oil company said it had conducted five aerial surveys with three more planned for Tuesday to monitor the oil slick.

"It is considered that the most appropriate response remains to allow the oil to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action have been prepared and are available, if required," BP said.


Racism may well be the biggest crime in the criminal legal system. If present trends continue, 1 of every 4 African American males born this decade can expect to go to prison in his lifetime despite the fact that the Census Bureau reports that the US is 13 percent Black, 61 percent white and 17 percent Latino.  

When Brown v Board of Education was decided in 1954 about 100,000 African Americans were in prison. Now there are about 800,000 African Americans in jails and prisons: 538,000 in prisons and over 263,000 in local jails. Black men are nearly six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Hispanic men are 2.3 times as likely, according to the Sentencing Project.

Why? Because our country has dramatically expanded our jails and prisons and there is deep racism built into every step of the criminal legal system. Some think the criminal legal system has big problems that need to be reformed. Others think the racism in the criminal legal system is helping it operate exactly as it has been designed to incarcerate as many black and brown people as possible.

Here are 18 examples of racism in parts of different stages of the system. Taken together, the racism in each of these steps accelerates the process of incarceration of African American and Latino males.


praying in hell 1 opt(Photo: Courtesy of Rev. Billy Talen)Last summer, in Prospect Park near our Brooklyn home – two park workers sprayed a fire hydrant near a playground where our daughter Lena climbs monkey-bars for hours on end.   I walked up to the truck and saw Monsanto boxes ripped open in the back of their pickup.  One of the workers was pouring RoundUp into a white plastic barrel. That was the one who talked to me. His voice had a raw, low sound like he was saying confession. He began to recite a list of the organic herbicides that he wished he was using but wasn't.

The nano-commons around and within our bodies and our children's bodies is a dumping ground for corporate poison.  Some of us are vaguely aware of this molecular-level world. We have read a few summary sentences at the top studies that link Monsanto's RoundUp to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other cancers, endocrine and immunity disruptions and birth defects.

The pollution that we cannot touch, see or smell does show itself this way: illness in ever-younger victims.  We have found from our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed with dozens of cities and towns – that the location of spraying is frequently near ball-fields, schools and park playground. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to glyphosates and the "inert" chemicals in the RoundUp mix, which help the toxin bind to target plants. Target plants!

The Glyphosates of Monsanto are banned throughout much of the world, like Bayer's Neonicotinoids. The mass-killing of beloved honeybees and songbirds by that powerful neuropath, a more lethal version of nicotine – has aroused a nightmare in the public mind. And now here comes Neonicotinoid and Glyphosate, the Big Merger. The communities that make these two famous toxins are joining up, the older company buying the newer one, in the biggest cash buy-out in history. Bernie Sanders called the merger, "A marriage made in Hell."


TrumpSimper 0921wrp opt(Photo: Gage Skidmore)There was a time – and it wasn’t all that long ago -- when “compassionate conservatism” was a bellwether term for conservatives. While some conservatives argued that they were always compassionate, Team George W. Bush made a special effort to emphasize the meme in the 2000 presidential election, going so far as to use it as a campaign slogan. In reality, however, “compassionate conservatism” never really translated itself into public policy – save for a deeply flawed faith-based initiative -- as such issues as income inequality, poverty, gay rights, and racial inequities, never rose to preeminence in the eight years of Bush – and fact were the subject of regressive policies. Nevertheless, in the late nineties, and early two thousands, “compassionate conservatism” was on the table as a political slogan. This of course was before the Obama administration, the Tea Party, the alt-right, and Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party. In 2016, “compassionate conservatism” has morphed into “cutthroat conservatism.”

Over the past several decades, especially since the founding of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, and its subsequent rise as a powerful political force, conservative Christian evangelicals have played a significant role in presidential elections. While many on the Religious Right were less than satisfied with either Senator John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012 and stayed home, those that did turn out to vote, basically closed ranks around both candidates.

The Pew Research Center pegs the number of born-again evangelical Christian American at around the 60 million mark.

This year, however, has witnessed a sort of breaking of the ranks amongst conservative evangelical leaders over whether to support Trump, and concomitantly encourage the troops to work for his election. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, the nation’s most high-profile evangelical college, was an early and enthusiastic Trump supporter. Popular evangelist Paula White and James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family are also on board the Trump train. On the other side, Michael Farris, a longtime conservative activist and home schooling advocate, isn’t convinced, and has steadfastly refused to endorse Trump, despite receiving a personal visit from Pence.

Page 8 of 340