Links for the Week – September 9, 2006

Politics & Economics:

Mexico’s Fraudulent Election: James Galbraith says unwillingness to conduct a full recount indicates that Mexico’s recent presidential election, like the US elections in 2000 and 2004, was subverted by fraud and other illegal activities that changed the result.

Bush’s Pathetic Legacy: Writing in the New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg, IMO the most articulate essayist alive today, looks back at how Bush squandered the good will that we all felt for America after 9/11, and then went on to destroy America’s reputation.

Canada’s Conservatives’ Anti-Kyoto Dirty Tricks: DeSmogBlog blows the whistle on the Canadian Conservative Party’s Craig Smith’s anonymous planting of videos by the right-wing corporatist-sponsored global warming deniers ‘Friends of Science’ on YouTube. Ends-justify-the-means sleaze comes to Canada.

ABC/Disney Becomes Propaganda Arm of US Extreme Right: The fraudulent propaganda piece “The Path to 9/11” will still be presented on ABC after frantic last-minute editing of its most egregious untruths. The fact that government propaganda will be shown at all as a supposedly factual drama shows how much pull the US extreme right has on the corporate-owned media. Time to turn off this network for good.

Wall Street’s Schadenfreude: Andrew Leonard at Salon’s HTWW explains why bad employment news is greeted with joy on Wall Street.

Just Say No to Colonialism & Imperialism: Also from Andrew, a review of why Botswana, which fiercely resisted European colonialism and Europe’s imposed imperial models, is Africa’s success story and a model for all struggling nations.

Environment:

Our Lost Connection to Animate Earth: Ecologist Stephan Harding eloquently argues that our disconnection from Gaia lies at the root of many of our culture’s destructive and unsustainable behaviours.

Portal to Green Products and Services: Fivelimes plans to be a global portal and peer rating service for all things green.

BP Forced to Confess Environmental Negligence: Facing bipartisan hearings on the spills, cracks, lack of maintenance and lack of inspection of its Alaskan pipeline operations, BP dodged and weaved, but this notorious greenwasher came out covered in slime. “Representative Joe L. Barton, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the full committee and who has sponsored many measures favorable to oil interests, was not mollified. Mr. Barton said that if ‘one of the world’Äôs most successful oil companies can’Äôt do simple basic maintenance needed to keep the Prudhoe Bay field operating safely without interruption, maybe it shouldn’Äôt operate the pipeline…I am even more concerned about BP’Äôs corporate culture of seeming indifference to safety and environmental issues‘ Mr. Barton said. ‘And this comes from a company that prides itself in their ads on protecting the environment. Shame, shame, shame.’ ’Ä� This from a Texas Republican.

Why the Peak Oil Survivalists Have It All Wrong: Permaculturist Rob Hopkins assails neo-survivalists for going it alone in their preparations for The End of Oil, instead of helping and working with others. Right on. Thanks to David Parkinson for the link and the two that follow.

…and a Wiki for Preparing Together: An Ohio group has started a wiki for all things related to relocalization (“bioregionalism, permaculture, renewable energy, sustainable family farms, local economies, personal and family preparation, nonviolent social action, self-defense, appropriate technologies, green building and community currencies, as alternatives to the destructiveness of the status quo”).

Advice on Reforming Our Unhealthy and Unsustainable Food Production System: From The Nation, from 12 people with the credentials and experience to know a better way.

Technology:

The Challenge of Finding People Online: HBS researchers and the MIT Media Lab are trying out ‘virtual dating’ as a means of increasing the success rates of online social networking tools. “In the process of using Virtual Dates, couples may pick up more cues about each other than they would through a standard, one-dimensional chat client. Is my date responsive or funny? Are they on time? How do they relate in real time? How does it feel to sit (virtually) across from them?” This has application to finding business partners, too. Thanks to Innovation Weekly for this link and the one that follows.

Over-Engineered Products Get Returned: Niall Murphy reveals that half of all electronic product returns are due not to defects, but due to the user not being able to figure out how to use the product. He then goes on to advocate more customer-producer collaboration in product design.

Human Nature:

Why We Do Dumb Things: Guy Kawasaki reviews the book Why Smart People Do Dumb Things (like not backing up their computers until it’s too late). In a nutshell, say the authors, it’s hubris, arrogance, narcissism and the unconscious need to fail. I’m not sure there isn’t a more fundamental reason: unwarranted optimism. We do what we must, and only when we must. Until then, we convince ourselves, it won’t happen to us. Thanksto Craig De Ruisseau for the link.

Online Stress-Reduction Exercises: Georgia Southern U. offers audios, workshops and games to get your stress under control. Thanks to Andrew Sidwell for the link.

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