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August 2016

Dear Mayor Emanuel: I Resign As Principal Of #1 Neighborhood School

By Troy LaRaviere for Troy LaRaviere's Blog - In 2010 Chicago Magazine ranked Blaine Elementary School as the 16th best elementary school in Chicago, and the 6th best neighborhood school. After being hired to lead Blaine in the fall of 2011, I told my Local School Council (LSC) I had a “six-year plan” to turn Blaine into the #1 neighborhood school in Chicago. I have the pleasure of informing you that I lived up to my promise to the Blaine LSC, and I did so a year earlier than promised.

Internet Wins! EU Regulators Publish Guidelines Protecting Net Neutrality

By Staff of Access Now - Brussels, Belgium – This afternoon, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC) released the final version of its implementation guidelines for the Telecoms Single Market Regulation (TSM). The TSM, a law with provisions for Net Neutrality in the European Union, was adopted last October, but BEREC was charged with clarifying how it should be implemented and closing loopholes that could be exploited to harm internet users.

The Billion Dollar Ultimatum

By Chris Hamby for BuzzFeed News - In a remote tropical forest in Indonesia’s Spice Islands, villagers planned their last stand. A foreign gold-mining company was preparing to gouge out a massive pit from the mountain that had sustained these farmers and fishermen for generations. To protect their way of life, the villagers planned to hike to the summit and refuse to leave.

Romancing The Activist

By Farzana Versey for Counter Punch - As a new bunch of young followers lend hashtag support and start a social media campaign in her name, the process of moving on, of forgetting begins. But she needs to remember, for in that memory alone is lodged her identity. Irom Sharmila Chanu, known to the world as “the longest hunger striker in the world” and a prisoner of conscience, broke her 16-year-long fast with a drop of honey.

Star-Spangled Bigotry: Hidden Racist History Of National Anthem

By Jason Johnson for The Root - Americans generally get a failing grade when it comes to knowing our “patriotic songs.” I know more people who can recite “America, F–k Yeah” from Team America than “America the Beautiful.” “Yankee Doodle”? No one older than a fifth-grader in chorus class remembers the full song. “God Bless America”? More people know the Rev. Jeremiah Wright remix than the actual full lyrics of the song. Most black folks don’t even know “the black national anthem.”

Union Decline Lowers Wages Of Nonunion Workers

By Jake Rosenfeld, Patrick Denice, and Jennifer Laird for Economic Policy Institute - Pay for private-sector workers has barely budged over the past three and a half decades. In fact, for men in the private sector who lack a college degree and do not belong to a labor union, real wages today are substantially lowerthan they were in the late 1970s. In the debates over the causes of wage stagnation, the decline in union power has not received nearly as much attention as globalization, technological change, and the slowdown in Americans’ educational attainment.

Massive Insurance Giants Call For End To Fossil Fuel Subsidies

By Karl Mathiesen for Climate Home News - The G20 has already committed to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” over the “medium term”. In May, the G7 nations pledged to achieve this by 2025. When the leaders of the 20 largest economies on earth meet in Hangzhou on Thursday and Friday, they must go further, said a joint statement from multinational insurers Aviva, Aegon and Amlin, and commit to an end to assistance for fossil fuel companies within four years.

‘Won’t Accept Destruction’: Global Communities Line Up To Ban Fracking

By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams - Around the world, resistance is growing to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as more and more communities line up to ban the controversial fossil fuel extraction method from their lands. On Tuesday, Victoria, Australia's Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the state is set to introduce a permanent ban on all onshore unconventional gas exploration, including fracking and other methods like gas mining, making it the first state in the nation to do so.

Colorado Anti-Fracking Activists Fall Short In Ballot Efforts

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News - Two anti-fracking initiatives did not get enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot, Colorado officials announced on Monday, giving the oil and gas industry its latest victory over communities seeking to exert local control over fracking. This was the second time Coloradans concerned about the environmental, public health and economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing and related oil and gas activity have tried to restrict the industry through ballot initiatives.

Dakota Access Pipeline Tribal Liaison Conflict Of Interest

By Steve Horn for Desmog - The Standing Rock tribe has filed a lawsuit against the U.S Army Corps of Engineers for using the controversial Nationwide Permit 12 to fast-track authorization of the hotly contested Dakota Access pipeline. Slated to carry oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin to Patoka, Illinois, the plaintiffs say not only was the Army Corps' permitting of the Energy Transfer Partners and Enbridge Corporation jointly owned pipeline a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Clean Water Act, but also a violation of the National Historic Preservation Act's (NHPA) Section 106.

After Protests, South African School Ends Anti-Afro Policy

By Staff of Tele Sur - Government officials struck down the school’s dress codes that many complained “pandered to whiteness. A South African school was ordered Tuesday to suspend hairstyle regulations after Black students complained that the restrictions singled them out and that they had been called monkeys by teachers for wearing banned "afros." Local education authorities in the Gauteng province gave Pretoria High School for Girls 21 days to re-assess its rules after protests by students triggered a public dispute over the racist policies.

When Boats Brought Hope To Gaza

By Ann Wright for Consortium News - Israel continues to cut off the 1.8 million people of Gaza from receiving relief supplies from sea, an illegal blockade that will be challenged again this year by the Women’s Boat to Gaza, writes retired Col. Ann Wright. For years, Israel has blocked international ships from reaching the isolated people of Gaza, thus denying the 1.8 million embattled Palestinians maritime contact with the rest of the world and the hope that comes from knowing that they have the support of many people across the globe.

How Environmental Contamination Targets People Of Color

By Larry Buhl for Desmog - With about 42,000 active wells, Kern County, California is home to three-quarters of California's oil drilling and 95 percent of the state’s hydraulic fracturing (fracking) activity. This mainly rural region is the largest oil-producing county in the U.S. The influence of oil and gas is so great here that in late 2015 the county board of supervisors approved a new ordinance to allow drilling permits for tens of thousands of new wells to be fast tracked.

Overwhelming Evidence That A Guaranteed Income Will Work

By Paul Buchheit for Common Dreams - We'll have to do something drastically different to employ people in the future. Our jobs are disappearing. The driverless vehicle is here, destined to eliminate millions of transport and taxi-driving positions. Car manufacturing is being done by 3-D printing. An entire building was erected in Dubai with a 3-D printer. Restaurants are being designed with no waitstaff or busboys, hotels with no desk clerks, bellhops, and porters. Robot teachers are interacting with students in Japan and the UK.

France Demands An End To TTIP Talks

By Sean Farrell for The Guardian - France has been sceptical about TTIP from the start and has threatened to block the deal, arguing the US has offered little in return for concessions made by Europe. All 28 EU member states and the European parliament will have to ratify TTIP before it comes into force. Fekl’s statement follows similarly gloomy comments from the German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel. He said on Sunday: “The negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it.”
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