Friday, December 24, 2004
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
In the footsteps of Mandela and King: Two Vermont filmmakers chronicle the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner Maathai
Monday, December 20, 2004
The report also indicates that a person on Social Security Income (SSI),receiving $616 monthly could afford to pay $185 per month (30% of income) for a single bedroom apartment. The Fair Market Value of a single bedroom apartment is $568 a month. This individual would have to find $383 a month to pay for housing.
Clearly, the housing market and the wages are out of line. It gets worse. A Section 8 Housing Voucher allows low income Vermonters and the disabled to pay 30% of their income towards their housing whether it be in a housing facility or their apartment of choice. Recently, there has been a 36 month wait to get a Section 8 voucher. But now, the list has been discontinued indefinately because the vouchers are frozen.They are not even taking names.
Besides this attack on low income and disabled Vermonters being cruel, it also is fiscally foolish. How easy will it be for folks getting out of our institutions to find housing? What about housing for workers at our ski areas? What will it mean for families unable to pay the rent, more homelessness? What will the overall impact be on our community? The fix here folks is not in the free market as we are witnessing.
The competition for housing throughout the Northeast has driven up the costs of living beyond what wages can pay for. The free market is alive and well and active in the housing market, and this is the result. Yet, there is really no free market when it comes to wages. Why does Killington have to go overseas to find employees? Why do we have to fly agricultural workers from other countries to pick our crops? What has happened to the best paying jobs in our region? Payroll is simply a cost that must be managed like any other cost, and it is therefore kept as low as possible. An argument economists often make is that the minimum wage is not meant for working families, that it is for students, season workers, part time workers, etc. Well, increasingly here in Vermont, more and more families appear to be depending on these wages to get by.
The free market can be a powerful engine in providing customers with highest value at the lowest cost when there is competition. But it is not the answer in all situations as we see here in Rutland. Housing has got to be considered a basic human right. So, the person making minimum wage and looking for an apartment should be willing to work 77 hours per week for housing. We can and must do better than this.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
WorldChanging.com works from a simple premise: that the tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us. That plenty of people are working on tools for change, but the fields in which they work remain unconnected. That the motive, means and opportunity for profound positive change are already present. That another world is not just possible, it's here. We only need to put the pieces together.
It's a collaborative weblog with a lot of good content, news stories, and links to sustainability resources.
If you need more encouragement, Rosemary Woodruff provides an optimistic view of how the world is changing in "A Memo Designed to Cheer Up the Human Race."
Friday, December 17, 2004
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Friday, December 10, 2004
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
The most important, perhaps, was that success has been achieved even in the poorest of countries that are characterized by grinding poverty and weak or virtually non-existent health systems.
For 3 nights in October, the BBC electrified their viewers by showing a documentary exposing the goals of American Neoconservatives and Al Qaeda. This documentary is a deeply disturbing film as it shows how both the Neoconservatives and Al Qaeda have used fear as a tool in reaching their political goals. More detailed information about this film can be obtained at Commondreams. The film can actually be watched on streaming video at Information Clearinghouse.
The intro to the series begins: "In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this. But their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered to their people. Those dreams failed. And today, people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life. But now, they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism. A powerful and sinister network, with sleeper cells in countries across the world. A threat that needs to be fought by a war on terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It’s a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media."
If you have high speed internet access you can download this film in its entirety at
SILT3 You will need a bit torrent client to obtain this bit torrent file.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Sunday, December 05, 2004
On a similar note, PBS's Frontline ran a program called The Secret History of the Credit Card (available on line for viewing). This is yet another example of the unraveling of our governments responsibility at protecting its citizens from unscrupulous businesses and how embolden corporate America is now becoming. One of the most striking questions asked on this program is " Did you know that if you miss one payment for any bill that comes to your household, your Visa company can double your interest rate with only a 2 week notice?" This apparantly is true for many credit card companies. It's time for Americans to re-examine their relationship to debt and look at the cost of our credit cards. There's sharks in the water and they are hungry!
Saturday, December 04, 2004
On Thursday evening Jim Merkel spoke at Green Mountain College about his book "Radical Simplicity." A good size crowd showed at Withey Hall as Jim showed slides of his research in Kerala India and his exploits in living as simply as possible from California to British Columbia to East Corinth Vermont. Jim is an energetic soul with sparkle and enthusiasm that was infectious to those of us open to his message. After years as a electric engineer who designed weapons and travelled around the globe selling his systems to people "on both sides of the battle", Jim's conscience got the better of him. His book chronicles the challenges we face as a planet in regards to resource depletion. Jim actually presents solutions to these problems. Though I have several books I am working on right now, the pages are going to fly so I can get to Jim's book "Radical Simplicity.";>) mob