Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reverend: Same Sex Adoption Could Lead To More Abortions | The New Civil Rights Movement

Reverend: Same Sex Adoption Could Lead To More Abortions | The New Civil Rights MovementPost image for Reverend: Same Sex Adoption Could Lead To More Abortions
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For Many, a New Job Means Lower Wages, Studies Find - NYTimes.com

For Many, a New Job Means Lower Wages, Studies Find - NYTimes.com

Paris Hilton's Top Five Excuses and Denials - E! Online

Paris Hilton's Top Five Excuses and Denials - E! Online

Arianna Huffington: Glenn Beck, President Obama, and the Hunger for Purpose in Times of Transition

Arianna Huffington: Glenn Beck, President Obama, and the Hunger for Purpose in Times of Transition2010-08-31-capt.79912f69062f4cb4bcb9b99d51d165e079912f69062f4cb4bcb9b99d51d165e00.jpg
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Elisabeth Hasselbeck Suffers Backlash From Anti Gay Groups For Supporting Gay Marriage | Queeried

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Suffers Backlash From Anti Gay Groups For Supporting Gay Marriage | Queeried

Poll: Majority Of GOP Believes Obama Sympathizes With Islamic Fundamentalism, Wants Worldwide Islamic Law

Poll: Majority Of GOP Believes Obama Sympathizes With Islamic Fundamentalism, Wants Worldwide Islamic Law

Glenn Beck's rally was large, vague, moist, and undirected—the Waterworld of white self-pity. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine

Glenn Beck's rally was large, vague, moist, and undirected—the Waterworld of white self-pity. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate MagazineGlenn Beck. Click image to expand.
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Conservative group: 'Anti-bullying' agenda is actually pro-gay (ChicagoPride.com : Denver News)

Conservative group: 'Anti-bullying' agenda is actually pro-gay (ChicagoPride.com : Denver News)

Glenn Beck's rally recap is one way to fill an hour

Glenn Beck's rally recap is one way to fill an hour

Glenn Beck Launches The Blaze, News And Opinion Website

Glenn Beck Launches The Blaze, News And Opinion Website

Terry Krepel: Ann Coulter Doesn't Hate Gays Enough for WorldNetDaily

Terry Krepel: Ann Coulter Doesn't Hate Gays Enough for WorldNetDaily

Hurricane Earl Takes Aim at East Coast - ABC News

Hurricane Earl Takes Aim at East Coast - ABC News

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beck's Scam

Photograph showing Attorney General Robert F. ...Image via Wikipedia
From Firedog Lake's Glenn W. Smith:  Glenn Beck's Sheep


Glenn Beck’s various endeavors are so superficial and insincere it’s difficult to understand those who fall for his scams. America, of course, has a long tradition of hucksterism. We are a credulous folk, ready to believe in any old snake oil despite the fact that they always fail.
One Millennial fool after another has promised that the end is nigh, but the world goes on. Never mind that. Just a detail.
Beck’s claim that he and his are responsible for the Civil Rights Movement is, of course, so ridiculous that if he uttered such a thing on Jeopardy he’d be laughed out of the studio. But, at his FoxNews home, it’s just the tea party ticket.
Even more troublesome are the anti-democratic billionaires and neo-medieval lords David and Charles Koch, Rupert Murdoch and others. They  finance an extremist agenda that would eliminate Social Security and virtually all government regulatory oversight, slash their taxes and leave the middle class and the poor to finance and fight their necessary wars for oil.
Until last week, when the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer shined the light on the Kochs, the media has let them have their way with the nation’s political psyche.
But Beck’s (and the Kochs’) unsuspecting followers might be even more troublesome still,  not least because they appear sincere in their willing conformity to the whims of their masters (all in the name of individualism). Reading the quotes from those in the crowd at Beck’s Lincoln Memorial celebration of historical heresy, I’m struck by a certain authenticity. They are true believers.
Leaps of logic and outright falsifications are common among all unquestioning believers. Consider this from Beck rally attendee Becky Benson:
Jesus, she said, would not have agreed with what she called the redistribution of wealth in the form of the economic stimulus package, bank bailouts and welfare. “You cannot sit and expect someone to hand out to you,” she said. “You don’t spend your way out of debt.”
The Beatitudes aside, I’m not certain what Jesus would do if he became Treasury Secretary or got a job at the Fed. If the Gospels are any indication, he’d probably smash some tables and invite the poor into dinner.
Anyway, it doesn’t get us very far to simply ridicule Beck’s sheep or point out their foolishness. We could do much the same to every follower of every true believer movement in history. I hesitated to refer to them as sheep, but sheep they are.
They present just the sort of danger the Framers tried to guard against. Of course, they probably think the same thing about me. But I’ve got the facts of history on my side. Religious fanaticism, which seemed much in view at Saturday’s D.C. Beckoning, is undemocratic by nature. Fanatics demand conformity. The democratic spirit is essentially non-conformist and pluralistic.
I am sorry for the sheep, but I condemn the Beckian herders who lead them over cliffs for pennies. It’s a dangerous gambit. It threatens the social fabric as it seeks to undo democratic institutions and values.
While speech must remain protected, our national political conversation has to be informed by the insight that some views have no legitimate place within a democracy. We can’t outlaw such speech by law, but we can contest it, smartly, emotionally, effectively. Demanding conformity to one particular religious tradition is one such view.
So, of course, is racism, and racism is unquestionably playing a part in the emotion frenzy we know as the tea party. Mainstream journalists are reluctant to face this obvious fact. They want to make it more legitimate by saying the tea partiers are motivated by economic uncertainty or other more acceptable causes.
The extremes of bigotry and religious fanaticism have been legitimized as mainstream. That is the great crime of today’s media. There are important exceptions, of course. But for the most part the media hasn’t met the right wing nut it won’t showcase.
As for Beck’s sincere followers, I can only hope they see the edge of the cliff before they fall off of it. Meanwhile, we have to speak our own values with great clarity and volume. We have to quit leaving voids in the conversation that can be filled by self-promoting rascals like Beck and billionaire thugs like the Kochs.
We have to insist upon reason and law, but we also have to recognize that humans are wired for emotional responses as well. Reason, believe it or not, is not always right. By that I mean it is not, cold and alone, enough to turn the mind of a true believer. If it was, there would be no true believers.
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From Digital Meeting Center: Glenn Beck DC Rally

Fans of Glenn Beck at the Taxpayer March on Wa...Image via WikipediaGlenn Beck  From Digital Meeting Center:


Glenn Beck & the Tea Party are in full throttle now after the 8/28 “restoring honor” rally captained by Glenn Beck, and most political pundits are calling the event a “message to  the democrats” about having to run a tighter ship if they want to stay in power after November.
However, according to some in the Tea Party movement, Glenn Beck surprisingly is diametrically opposed to their core beliefs on several critical issues that most Tea Party supporters may not realize.
Glenn Beck Belief # 1: The Banker Bailout was a necessary thing and in fact, we should have even given them more money and power as a result of the financial crisis (that some say they caused).
The Tea Party movement is opposed to the government intervention in business and believes in truly free markets (not big business and big government working together). They believe strongly in “Main Street” and NOT Wall Street as a means to develop a sound local business that supports the community and everyone in it.
Glenn Beck Belief # 2: Preemptive, illegal wars are necessary and should be implemented whenever we see fit (AKA “the Bush doctrine”).
The Tea Party movement believes in strong national defense at our borders while at the same time having a responsible fiscal policy which means we simply cannot afford to meddle in the Middle East or other countries throughout the world in an attempt to promote our empire and way of life internationally. The Tea Party believes by developing a strong national defense at our borders that they can create a “utopia” of sorts inside the borders of the USA politically and economically.
Glenn Beck Belief # 3: We should not only pay the bankers through the bailout, we should also pay them a “VAT tax” that is applied across the board in all stages of production from start to finish in the USA so as to support them even further.
Tea Party supporters actually believe in the end of government created debt through the nationalization/elimination of the FED, which would effectively dissolve any need to pay interest on money we can issue ourselves debt free. While this concept may seem confusing to some, it has a long history in our government and now at this critical time with such mounting debt, it is becoming more of a political hot potato given the situation.
Recently Tea Party folks promoted this film regarding the national debt on their wikipedia page:
Because Glenn Beck opposes the true grass roots party on these issues, many have accused him of trying to “co opt” the movement for the Republican party. At yesterday’s 8/28 rally, Tea Party supporter Geoff Green said “Glenn Beck is like venom- 95% of him is fine but 5% of what he says is poisonous and deadly.”
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Friday, August 27, 2010

"The secret is God":�Beck sees�divine influence�over his 8-28 rally | Media Matters for America

Oy vey. Beck is getting grandiose now....

"The secret is God":�Beck sees�divine influence�over his 8-28 rally | Media Matters for America

Glenn Beck's Non-Political Restoring Honor Rally Turns Political - ABC News

Glenn Beck's Non-Political Restoring Honor Rally Turns Political - ABC News

Nicole John, daughter of US ambassador to Thailand Eric John, dies after falling at high-rise party

Nicole John, daughter of US ambassador to Thailand Eric John, dies after falling at high-rise partyNicole John (far left) fell 25 floors to her death Friday morning at the Herald Square Towers in midtown Manhattan. John is the daughter of U.S. ambassador to Thailand, Eric John (below).
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Facebook Places rebuffed by eminent sociologist who inspired it | ZDNet

This is icon for social networking website. Th...Image via WikipediaFacebook Places rebuffed by eminent sociologist who inspired it | ZDNet
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The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Alaska Libertarians Courted in GOP Senate Fight

The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Alaska Libertarians Courted in GOP Senate Fight

Glenn Beck supporters head for Washington, D.C., rally - USATODAY.com

Arguing with Idiots was published by Simon and...Image via WikipediaGlenn Beck supporters head for Washington, D.C., rally - USATODAY.com
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News Analysis - Gay Bush Aide? No Bombshell in Age of Fiscal Cares - NYTimes.com

News Analysis - Gay Bush Aide? No Bombshell in Age of Fiscal Cares - NYTimes.com

Mehlman coming out raises questions about GOP's gay rights policy - Washington DC Political Buzz | Examiner.com

Mehlman coming out raises questions about GOP's gay rights policy - Washington DC Political Buzz | Examiner.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daniel Christopher June: The Virtues


 Virtues

Michelangelo - Tomb of Giuliano de' Medici (detail).JPG
June:  Focus creates.  

            Man feels, thinks about the feeling, speaks his thoughts, and enacts his words. The first feelings were instincts. 



The later feelings were programmed through thought. Therefore, the basis of virtue, the habit of seeking and gaining our values, begins with the thinking mind, with creative logic. Even an infant thinks a sort of logic that creates an edifice of mind that stands for life. As there are four types of habits – feelings, thinking, saying, and doing – so there are four types of virtue, and the virtue of unifying all of them together.
            The virtues of mind begin with activity. The mind must act and move, explore and expand, breath and leap, dance and fly. It must play over problems, force and sculpt them, unravel and unriddle them. Activity begins in children with imitation and ends in adults with independence. Mental activity seeks focus through inquiry. Through asking questions, one directs the mind towards goals.


 A child ought to be taught not just to read, listen, and watch, but to question, hypothesize, and to explore how to guide further attention. Questions resolve through sustained focus. Focus dismisses everything but its one object, abstains from every interest save one. Focus stays a problem until it is solved, and so directs activity toward effectiveness. Focus creates. All logic and reason is patterned creativity: we move from premises to create a solution. Aside from thinking logically, which makes mind obedient to form, we must think spontaneously, which makes form obedient to mind. We think of a problem, realize it is unique and unprecedented, and create a solution unique and unprecedented. We must answer child with child, man with man, sunrise with sunrise, and not refer to a manual of answers. In all a man creates, he prides in his integrity, the unity of attitude, belief, personality, and character. You must be brave enough and strong enough to never forfeit an iota of the truth you have earned, but cling to the truth of these convictions and principles in the face of all opposition. This implies not only self-honesty, the prerequisite for knowing the inner and outer world, but implies also the continual integrating of all knowledge into one system. Integrity is the honesty which accords belief and action. Thus five virtues of the mind: activity, inquiry, focus, creativity, integrity.
            The mind moves the body, and so creates four virtues of action. Work is the habit of producing goods, or producing what can be traded for goods. Work is the basic action by which all material and spiritual goods come to man; only by the sweat of your brow will you own anything. If you want it, deserve it. Effectiveness in work comes from strength and skill. Strength is the capacity to force one’s desires into the world. This creates health, competency, and pride. Through repeated production, one learns the skill of acting effectively, with the least effort for the most output. This implies economy of effort as well as wisdom of effort. One must also have the perseverance through physical endurance and dogged consistency to do the job till it is done. Thus four virtues of acting: productive work, strength, skill,  perseverance.
            These actions are inspired and rewarded by virtuous feelings. Sensitivity is experiencing appropriate feelings at their appropriate degree during their appropriate context. We must program our impulses to serve us best, loving the lovely, loathing the loathsome, fearing the frightening, despising the despicable, admiring the admirable, etc. Of special concern to seeking values, and so of goal setting and achieving, is the feeling of ambition. Ambition craves to accomplish greatness. Ambition must persist through confidence. Even if I am wrong, it is my ambition to do it until I am certain of that; and so I will not beg, apologize, or skulk, but will boldly gain my intent in the face of any opposition. If all the armies of heaven oppose me, still I will not flinch until I am thoroughly proven through valid argument to be wrong. To persist, we must cultivate the virtue of optimism, which enjoys sustaining long concentration, even in the hiss of discouragement and failure. Failure is merely one more encouragement and promise of success, for optimism is faith in our goals. Finally, when we have achieved our goals, we are rewarded with the feeling of pride, that we have succeeded, that we applaud our own power and effectiveness, that we esteem our own achievements. Thus five virtues of feeling: sensitivity, ambition, confidence, optimism, pride.
            In all these, there are three basic virtues: activity, skill, persistence. The essence of virtue is health the form of virtue is unity.
            Unity is the head of all virtues, and brings every element of man, every idiosyncrasy, into unity with his purpose. Unity is the virtue of virtues. A man must choose, define, and maintain his own unity. Unity sacrifices the vices that upset the singleness of the system, yes, and also the virtues that upset the singleness of the system. A perfect person strives for the excellence of a unified self, every part derived from the central principle. Every act, every whim, every feeling, every slip of the tongue, pours from and ornaments this principle. What beautifies man is that he sees the principle of his core, and that he gives it structure and visible order. For there are principles that spread fruit trees randomly throughout fields, but it is a conscious principle that grows an orchard. Even if all principles were once conscious in the mind of the child, the mature mind is better cultivating them. Man the artist makes his soul his canvas.
            Does this make morality relative? Morals aren't relative. And neither are men, you maintain? Yet there are followers and there are leaders. One law of lords and men is tyranny. Morals aren't relative. Yet they had better be relative to me or I have no use for them. Morals aren't relative. To what? Personal choice? Yet no other choice is moral. Morals aren't relative. Aren't relative to what? Whim? Yet whim isn't relative either. It too serves need. Thousands of different diets are healthy, are possible. Yet even diets differ in need from person to person. I need more calcium, you are allergic to peanuts. It is universal that all men must choose their standard, relative to personal needs and environment. We all need to execute justice. Yet each must execute justice according to his personal understanding, and with the power and procedure appropriate to his abilities. This is moral for him to do, for he is able to do it.
It is morally absolute that “If you believe an action is immoral, do not do it.” That would apply to everybody. For if they make an honest mistake, they are at least honest. Is there any other specific moral absolute that everyone ought to follow? Yes, self-honesty.
Yet much of morality is personal. I want to study carpentry. Should everyone? I want to eat as a vegetarian. Should everyone? I want to attend a symphony. Should everyone? Rather, what is the general principle behind each specific choice? It is this: Every man produces his moral code in accordance with his needs as he understands them. What is imperative? That a man is mindful enough to let this morality grow. Each man ought to cultivate a moral system that grows to better fulfill him. And ought means for life.
            Consider the principled man. His choice: "you may rescue these 500 innocent prisoners if you murder a single man." No. My principle is that you must never sacrifice an innocent. If you were to offer me the cure for cancer, if you were to rescue the entire human race, if you were to lasso the deity and pour him into every man's heart, whatever you could possibly deliver, offer, provide, or save is out of the question, for nothing can dominate a principle. No innocent man should be murdered for another’s well being.
Utility ethics is good for utility companies: those who make laws for the masses must assume them to be of the same stuff. On the other hand, no individual should consider other human beings as “majorities” or “the many” or “the greatest number.” We are individuals, some greater, some lesser.
            Morality is different than virtue. Morality is what you follow to fit with the group and avoid the alienation of being snubbed or imprisoned. This has little to do with virtue: virtue is increasing power. Virtue stands on courage.
            Family values and community solidarity are morals, not virtues. Virtues are those virile things like courage and honesty. Communities and families are often built on euphemisms, silence, if not downright deceits.
Virtue is in power. A virtuous woman is by no means a chaste woman. Christianity confused our terms. A virtuous woman would have mastered her sexuality, not subdued it.
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Populist backlash is related to economy | PennLive.com

Populist backlash is related to economy | PennLive.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Amendment Right or Non-Acceptable Speech? | Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com

The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments t...Image via WikipediaFirst Amendment Right or Non-Acceptable Speech? | Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com
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Obama Uses Recess Appointment for Gay Man | Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com

Obama Uses Recess Appointment for Gay Man | Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com

The next chapter in the culture war? - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com

The next chapter in the culture war? - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com

GOP Candidates Ignore Gay Marriage Queries | Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com

GOP Candidates Ignore Gay Marriage Queries | Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com

GOP Candidates Ignore Gay Marriage Queries

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blagojevich Guilty on 1 Corruption Count - Mistrial Declared on 23 Others - NYTimes.com

Blagojevich Guilty on 1 Corruption Count - Mistrial Declared on 23 Others - NYTimes.com
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Obama: No Regrets for Mosque Comments

Obama: No Regrets for Mosque Comments
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Pro-Gay, Anti-Target Facebook Fans outnumber those defending Target

Liberal groups try to exploit backlash against Target for helping anti-gay marriage candidate - 8/13/2010 8:32:57 AM | Newser

Calif. Gay Marriage On Hold During Appeal Process - TIME NewsFeed

Wedding cake of a same-sex marriage, photo tak...Image via WikipediaCalif. Gay Marriage On Hold During Appeal Process - TIME NewsFeed
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Donation from gay group adds issue to State Senate race - The Buffalo News

Donation from gay group adds issue to State Senate race - The Buffalo News

Jesse Tyler Ferguson - Ferguson Fights For Gay Marriage In New York - Contactmusic News

Actor Jesse Tyler FergusonImage via WikipediaJesse Tyler Ferguson - Ferguson Fights For Gay Marriage In New York - Contactmusic News
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The Freelance Writer’s Bookshelf : Freelance Writing

The Freelance Writer’s Bookshelf : Freelance Writing
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Medical treatment carries possible side effect of limiting homosexuality - Los Angeles Times

Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum. Illustration from ...Image via WikipediaMedical treatment carries possible side effect of limiting homosexuality - Los Angeles Times
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Gay marriage: the US supreme court's fateful call | James Antle | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Same-Sex Marriage Supporters In California Celebrate After Judge's RulingGay marriage: the US supreme court's fateful call | James Antle | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
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Who redefined marriage? Not Prop8 judge: Look in the mirror, experts say - Faith & Reason

Who redefined marriage? Not Prop8 judge: Look in the mirror, experts say - Faith & Reason

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Suburbia's Inevitable Demise


American Suburbia and Its Demise


If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst.
-Thomas Hardy, 1887
Thus begins an alarming and excellent documentary, "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream", which examines the origins and growth of suburbia in the United States. The film makes clear the extent to which this environmentally nonsensical way of life relies entirely upon reliable and affordable hydrocarbon-based energy sources (oil and natural gas), and how that lifestyle will be disrupted as the world's supply of petroleum declines, at the same time that the remnants are in greater demand, by the United States and other countries, especially China. As energy analyst and writer James Howard Kunstler points out, the Earth does not in fact have "a creamy nougat center of oil" — contrary to what may be assumed by the drivers of gas-guzzling cars in America.
U.S. politicians frequently remind us that home ownership is "the American dream". But these homes are typically not located within walking or biking distance of our workplaces, because most houses and apartments in the cities have been demolished to make way for corporate buildings, and to comply with increasingly homogenous zoning laws. As a result, homes and businesses have become much more dispersed, and people are typically forced to commute long distances, every workday. Compounding the problem, current mass transit options are of little value, being limited in coverage.
This unfortunate segregation got its biggest push during the 1920s, when mass motoring enabled the creation of the "automobile suburbs". After World War II, American farmlands were turned into subdivisions, and war veterans were given a suburb package, which lead to a housing boom — more than one million new homes per year. For the first time ever, the American middle class could afford a home away from the dirty city. But it was a false promise, because it was a "cartoon of country living", with a lawn that was an industrial artifact, along with awful traffic jams.
At the same time, the major auto manufacturers had the political muscle to promote cars as the future of mass transit. They bought up light rail systems only to destroy them, and replaced those energy-efficient systems with freeways. Moreover, Federal transportation programs heavily subsidized interstate highways, creating virtually continuous cities. In turn, this lowering of the population density made light rail uneconomic, thereby reducing the chances of reversing the trend.
Consequently, we have made ourselves extremely vulnerable to any disruptions in the supply of cheap petroleum used for heating our individual suburban structures, and for driving our cars to our work sites. In addition, we rely upon gasoline and diesel fuel to bring our food and other essential goods to nearby stores, epitomized by the "3000-mile Caesar salad", for which massive quantities of fossil fuels are burned just to transport produce from other continents — produce that oftentimes could be grown locally instead. But that's just for transportation. Growing those foods conventionally requires fertilizer (made from natural gas) and pesticides (from petroleum). We now consume a shocking 10 cal of hydrocarbon energy for every 1 cal of food that we eat, not counting transportation and cooking
When the current stream of oil and natural gas consumed by Americans, slows to a trickle, just how ugly could it get in the United States, as people scramble to abandon the suburbs, which would become the slums of the future? How will we get to work? Even if we could get there, how will those industries operate when natural gas is too expensive to burn for electricity? On the home front, are we willing to have multiple families living in our McMansions? How much food can we grow in our turf-covered backyards?
"The End of Suburbia" does, however, examine the potential advantages to these massive upheavals in America. More than likely, we will be forced back to more sensible civic organization. We will be obliged to develop local networks of economic interdependency, on a smaller and more ecologically responsible scale. We will have to rebuild the small businesses decimated by Wal-Mart and the other "big box" stores. Far more people will be employed creating local energy and food solutions.
There will be a resurgence of "new urbanism", a reform movement in civic planning and design started in the late 1980s by architects who realized that suburbanization is doomed, having been designed by traffic engineers. This profound shift would allow a return to more walkable communities, utilizing the classic mixed-use grid system, which works in Europe. We Americans could begin rebuilding our social and economic networks, which are pointedly absent from our suburbs.
Unfortunately, these reforms could not be made to existing suburbs, which are too dispersed, and cannot be adequately retrofitted. We could convert our oversized arterial lanes for mass transit, but where will we get the funding, material resources, and political will to do all that? Moreover, as energy resources dwindle, we will have less ability to invest in the future. Few Americans show interest in addressing the problems now, while we might still have a chance. It is projected that small communities will become lifeboats, as people learn to survive without the massive power grid.
The longer we wait, the more difficult and painful will be the inevitable upheavals, as our petroleum-based systems grind to a halt. Let us hope it leads not to suburban chaos, but to urban renaissance. We might not avoid getting a full look at the worst. But let us choose now to find a path to the better, while there is still time.
PristinePlanet.com News
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Under New Influence