Wednesday, April 4, 2012

YES Mag and more

A DIY Civilization
Can we create the machines of modern life sustainably, cheaply, and close to home?
posted Mar 26, 2012
life track tractor by sean church 220x165
The LifeTrack Multi-Purpose Tractor is designed to accept many attachments making it many tractors in one.
Photo by Sean Church
A baker’s oven, a backhoe, a well drilling rig. According to social entrepreneur Marcin Jakubowski, these are a few of the 50 machines essential for any society to sustain a modern, comfortable lifestyle.
But these machines are not only essential, explains Leifur Thor, they’re also expensive, hard to repair and designed to be obsolete in a few years. Thor volunteers with Open Source Ecology, a non-profit Jakubowski founded to develop the Global Village Construction Set. The set will comprise durable, modular machines that people can build and maintain themselves with sustainable, locally available materials—often scrap metal. OSE will give the plans away to anyone who wants them. The money a farmer would have sent to a large corporation to buy a hay cutter will stay in the community. The environmental impact of shipping heavy equipment long distances will disappear. These machines are designed to cost roughly a fifth of what factory-produced models do.

I just returned from the White House, where President Obama signed the STOCK Act, a new law requiring the government to post public officials' financial transactions online so that the public can see if the officials are personally benefiting from inside information they may obtain due to the positions they hold. This is an important step forward for open government and for lifting ethical standards.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, requires proactive online disclosure of public officials’ financial dealings. This is the first time that much of this information will be available online, and it should help prevent questionable ethical activities by public officials and the staff that serve them and the public.
A commitment to putting the public’s interest above personal gain should be a core value of any public servant, and the belief that public officials do so is what builds trust in government. We’re pleased that our elected officials made it a priority to pass this historic legislation. Now, to ensure real accountability, they need to get the information posted.
The STOCK Act creates a spotlight to search out insider trading. Please urge the president and Congress to turn it on. Right away. The government should post the required disclosures as soon as possible, preferably on a website that allows the public to quickly find the information in a form that is easy to understand. We’d like to see a website with quality search tools and data that can be downloaded and shared.
The American people have been left in the dark for far too long. Turn on the STOCK Act now. Create the website.
Thank you again for standing up for integrity and accountability in government.
KM1 cropped color.jpg
Warm Regards,
Katherine Signature
Katherine McFate
For years, the right wing has been trying to stop people of color, young people, and seniors from voting in order to help Republicans get elected — and now some of America's biggest companies are helping them do it.1
These companies have helped pass discriminatory voter ID legislation by funding a rightwing policy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Voter ID bills linked to ALEC have already passed in seven states, and similar voter ID bills have been introduced in 27 other states.
That's why we're joining our friends at Color of Change and calling on "ALEC corporations" to remove their support of this rightwing organization.
Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud (individuals voting illegally, or voting twice). But such fraud almost never actually occurs, and never in amounts large enough to affect the result of elections. What is clear is that voter ID laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot, and could disenfranchise up to 5 million people.
ALEC's voter ID laws are undemocratic, unjust and part of a longstanding right wing agenda to weaken the voting blocs that historically oppose Republican candidates. We have to expose the major companies who are helping ALEC suppress the votes of millions of Americans before it's too late.
Thank you for standing up against voter suppression.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
When I started writing my new book, "Rebuild the Dream," I was thinking about you and the millions of Americans like you who voted for hope and change in 2008. We found out that change was a lot harder than we thought.
As a grassroots outsider who became a White House insider, I have a special perspective on the challenges, which I want to share with you.
In the book I write about a lot of things:
·  For the first time, I share my experiences working in the Obama White House—and reveal the seven biggest mistakes that grassroots progressives and the president made before the 2010 midterm elections.
·  I give my perspective on the tea party—and detail the many things it does well.
·  I explain how we can create jobs for millions of Americans—including veterans coming home, debt-burdened students, and our public employees (such as teachers, cops, and firefighters) who are being thrown under the bus.
·  Most importantly, I talk about what we must do during Obama's second term to have many, many more victory parties.
The book officially launches tomorrow, but it's available for pre-sale today. You can order the book for yourself, your friends, and your family by clicking here:

Ultimately, this book is just the prologue to what comes next, and that is why I wrote it for you. America is not broke. We are a rich nation, and we can do much better than we are doing.
We need a game plan for victories now and in the years to come. To win, we need to build a grassroots movement as big as anything we've ever seen—on scale with the historic civil rights movement. This book offers my best thinking about how we can get there.
Today's the first day the book is for sale. I hope you will order the book for yourself, your friends, and your family. Our movement for hope and change is just getting started, and I look forward to building it with you.
–Van Jones
"Van Jones" <>

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