Monday, February 14, 2011

Germany´s Foibles? Egypts Artist Protesters

 Germany offers some important possibilities to understand the potential of a more co-operative society, as do some other societies.  Egypt´s recent events also offer other interesting points of discussion.  I found some provocative passages in today´s paper.
As Germany Rolls, All Isn't What It Seems
Published: February 14, 2011
Rating social justice in Germany — its assumed high level is an insistent argument in support of the country’s taking of command in Europe — the Bertelsmann Foundation has issued a survey that ranks Germany — gasp — in 15th place of the 31 prosperous and democratic countries surveyed. (The United States came in 26th.)
The foundation found inequality in German income distribution over the last two decades growing ‘’almost like no other” of the countries studied. Germany ranked next to last in long-term unemployment, it said, and reported that the effects of poverty there, particularly among children, were deeper than in Hungary or the Czech Republic.
As for economic growth following last year’s spurt, the Economy Ministry projects the pace will decline this year to 2.3 percent, and to 1.8 percent in 2012. The frequent argument that Germany is importing more and will serve as Europe’s locomotive is confronted by retail sales that have fallen in the last four of five months.

Egypt: The Cultural Revolution
Published: February 10, 2011
The festive protests that broke out on Jan. 25 in Cairo’s Tahrir Square have become a window into what Egypt might look and sound like without the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Tahrir’s troubadour collective has specialized in the invention of slogans that are witty, abusive and aimed directly at the president, e.g., “Mubarak, you rhinoceros (kharteet), / get out, get out, you pest (ghateet).” Sometimes, perhaps to signal a certain gravitas, they dispense with rhyme and say it straight: “The people want the fall of the regime.” Along with the chanting, there has been much baladi music — a catchy, popular style, heavy on hooks and reverb — as well as poetry recitations and effigy hanging. This is Egypt’s folk culture: profane, bawdy, politically sophisticated. It stands as a direct challenge to the version of culture propagated by the Mubarak regime and its predecessors.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Brazilian Caatinga-Cerrado Eco-Products Network

A Caatinga Cerrado – Comunidades Eco-Produtivas é um espaço de articulação das redes e empreendimentos da agricultura familiar para a promoção e comercialização de produtos da sociobiodiversidade desses dois biomas. Ela tem o objetivo de promover o aumento do acesso a mercados nacionais e internacionais dos empreendimentos que comercializam produtos da sociobiodiversidade da Caatinga e do Cerrado.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The U.S. Green Party platform has appealed to me, and I joined them as a member when I was still in the States, though more as a GP Democrat.  After Obama´s lack of independence from corporate influence became apparent in the mortgage derivatives financial crisis of 2008, I even stopped referring to myself as a Democrat.  What is the use, since the real issues of corporate influence were not being addressed by the Dems, and no less than the GOP?  Here are some selections from their response to Obama´s SOU in January.  Go GP.

Green Party leaders respond to Obama's State of the Union speech

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Greens on solving the deficit: end the wars, cut the military budget, tax the rich. Greens on solving the health care crisis: enact Medicare For All. Greens on jobs: a 'Green New Deal' with massive public investment in green jobs and clean energy.

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party leaders offered comments on President Obama's 2011 State of the Union speech to Congress and the nation, scheduled for Tuesday, January 25. The Green response covers major issues the President will discuss in his speech, as well as topics he won't address.

The Green Party will air an online livestream with party members discussing the State of the Union, beginning at 9 pm ET, 6 pm PT, and running concurrently with the speech. Viewers can watch and participate on the Green Party Livestream channel ( Call-in comments will be accepted on Skype after the speech ends.

"There’s a lot of talk about Democrats and Republicans 'reaching across the aisle' during the State of the Union. What about the gap between Washington and the rest of the country, much wider than the aisle between the two Titanic parties?" said Carl Romanelli, 2006 Green candidate for the US Senate in Pennsylvania.


Should the Democratic health care reform bill be repealed? Yes, say Greens, and replaced with a Medicare For All plan -- legislation for single-payer national health care, covering everyone regardless of ability to pay, age, or prior medical condition, while allowing freedom to choose one's physician and hospital. Medicare For All reduces costs dramatically by enabling price controls and because Medicare's overhead is only about 3%, while the for-profit health insurance bureaucracy -- the real "death panels" -- pad costs by up to 30% for administrative overhead, executive bonuses, and profits for investors. Medicare For All would help business and stimulate the economy by relieving employers of the burden of providing health benefits. ...


There are millions of jobs waiting to be created in alternative energy, retrofitting of buildings and other forms of conservation, and expansion of public transportation to reduce car traffic, say Greens, but this can only happen with a 'Green New Deal' with public investment in these ideas at national, state, and local levels. All of the Green New Deal proposals have become vitally necessary in the century of global warming. See "Fast Forward to Renewable Energy" by Cecile Lawrence (



On the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision upholding the legal status of corporations as person under the US Constitution, Green Party leader Sarah 'echo' Steiner announced that she intends to take the Supreme Court at its word and honor her marriage when she finds a suitable candidate. See "First Ever Marriage to a Corporation Contemplated by Single, Female, 39" (Jan. 18 press release,, as well as an interview and other links on the Green Party's home page (

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Power Plant Cancelled

I just received an email, 2/7/2011, from the NGO Green America and pasted below about a recent cancellation of a thermal power plant.  This is great news, and I want to celebrate it.

Last week plans for another proposed US coal plant got canceled, this time by Purdue University, the only university in the country that had been planning to build a new coal plant. This makes a total of 150 coal plants defeated or abandoned since 2001.
Big thanks to all of you who have joined our campaigns against coal plants over the years, and to our allies at Sierra Club and groups around the country who are keeping the pressure on. Together, we are making a difference for climate change, clean air, and healthier local communities.
It's time to harness this momentum and up the ante on closing the filthiest coal plants around the country. So stay tuned for coming Green America campaigns later this spring to clean up dirty-coal super-polluters Southern Company and AEP.
Phasing out coal is crucial for a clean-energy future in the US. Yet, kicking the coal habit isn't enough. We need to rapidly ramp up our energy-efficiency in this country to keep our energy needs in check, and at the same time we need to build the next generation of clean-energy systems – solar and wind power for every part of the country.
To meet those goals, Green America proposes:
1. Clean Energy Victory Bonds -- a way for all American citizens to invest in clean energy to bring us independence from fossil fuels (including foreign oil), healthier air and water, good US jobs that can't be outsourced, and mitigation against climate change. If you haven't already, tell Congress you'd love it if they'd make these bonds available. We're already working with members of Congress to make CEVBs a reality; your voice will make our case even stronger.
2. 50% Energy Reduction in 5 Years -- We can all do this. Please take our challenge to cut your home energy use in half over the next five years. Sound impossible? Our "10 Easy Ways" poster shows you how to get started, and our recent issue of the Green American takes you even more in depth on ways to slash your energy use (and save HALF on your energy bills!).
To make sure never to miss an issue

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Child Abuse Economics

 Ever since I diverged from sociology as an undergraduate and established my worldview through Biological Anthropology instead, I´ve paid attention to interdisciplinary issues.  Moreover, as any of us who have liked music from Santana, Tori Amos, or Pete Townsend to Creed, movies like Antwone Fisher or Precious, or even professional athletes like Mark McGwire, Theo Fleury, or Laveraneus Coles, sexual abuse of various kinds is a real issue in the real world. The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence has framed this in economic terms.

Child abuse and neglect cost our society, not only in terms of the trauma caused to the maltreated individuals, but also in economic terms. Economic costs include the funds spent each year on child welfare services for abused and neglected children (direct costs) as well as the large sums dedicated to addressing the short- and long-term consequences of abuse and neglect (indirect costs).

see more on the economics question at:

see more on personal accounts of child sexual abuse at:

Ozzy Osbourne:,,552210,00.html
Mark McGwire´s Foundation´s work:

Tori Amos:

Oprah Winfrey:

Male Survivors of Abuse:

Group of the Rich in favor of Higher Taxes

I found this 2009 post at another blog:
Rich Germans demand higher taxes

A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.

The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany's economic recovery. 

see link to the original article here: