What Is the Common Good?

What Is the Common Good?
By Noam Chomsky
Posted February 9, 2016

common goodHumans are social beings, and the kind of creature that a person becomes depends crucially on the social, cultural and institutional circumstances of his life. We are therefore led to inquire into the social arrangements that are conducive to people’s rights and welfare, and to fulfilling their just aspirations – in brief, the common good.

For perspective I’d like to invoke what seem to me virtual truisms. They relate to an interesting category of ethical principles: those that are not only universal, in that they are virtually always professed, but also doubly universal, in that at the same time they are almost universally rejected in practice. More…

How Finland broke every rule — and created a top school system

How Finland broke every rule — and created a top school system
by William Doyle
Posted February 29, 2016

Finland offers model for real educational reformIt’s not just a “Nordic thing” Spend five minutes in Jussi Hietava’s fourth-grade math class in remote, rural Finland, and you may learn all you need to know about education reform – if you want results, try doing the opposite of what American “education reformers” think we should do in classrooms.

Instead of control, competition, stress, standardized testing, screen-based schools and loosened teacher qualifications, try warmth, collaboration, and highly professionalized, teacher-led encouragement and assessment.

Here, as in any other Finnish school, teachers are not strait-jacketed by bureaucrats, scripts or excessive regulations, but have the freedom to innovate and experiment as teams of trusted professionals. Here, in contrast to the atmosphere in American public schools, Hietava and his colleagues are encouraged to constantly experiment with new approaches to improve learning. More…

A Public Bank in Philadelphia

A Public Bank in Philadelphia
By Mike Krauss
Posted February 28, 2016

Wall Street or Main StreetA new idea, a big idea was set in motion on Monday for the City of Philadelphia. Following a unanimous vote by City Council on a resolution introduced by Council members Curtis Jones, Jr., Derek Green and Helen Gym, a hearing was held to begin the process of forming a public bank for the city, modeled on the hugely successful Bank of North Dakota (BND).

The City Council resolution said in part: “The creation of a public bank offers the possibility of achieving multiple policy objectives, including stimulating economic development, spurring job creation, reducing municipal debt service, and expanding the tax base, through direct, long-term local lending at below-market rates.”

Similar proposals are now being discussed in more than three dozen city councils, county commissions and state legislatures across the nation. Only weeks before, the city of Santa Fe, NM and an independent citizens committee each released a study affirming the benefits of such a bank and supporting its creation for that city. More…

Time is Money: Building Local Solidarity Through Time Banking

Time is Money: Building Local Solidarity Through Time Banking
By Derek Royden
Posted February 21, 2016

time banks workWe hear a lot about the “sharing economy” these days, with many mainstream political and economic thinkers touting it as a solution to the chronic under employment faced by workers in this ongoing Great Recession. Certain things that have been lumped into this new economic model, like open source software and crowd-sourced sites like Wikipedia, are indeed revolutionary, but these are treated as secondary to the somewhat more traditional businesses that get most of the hype.

The idea of time as currency is an easy one for most people to accept, considering that most of us are already paid an hourly wage for our labor. In North America this has been one of the keys to the success of time banking. It is both easy to understand in terms of the way we already work and, with a little enthusiasm, these programs are relatively uncomplicated to set up and manage. More…

This is how toxic Flint’s water really is

This is how toxic Flint’s water really is
By Christopher Ingraham
Posted January 17, 2016

Unelected manager poisons Flint waterThe city of Flint, Mich., is in the midst of a water crisis several years in the making.

With lead at 27 parts per billion, it’s five times as high as the level of concern, and nearly twice as high as the EPA’s already-generous guidelines. According to the researchers who ran these tests, the health effects of lead levels this high “can include high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, kidney damage and memory and neurological problems.”

Virginia Tech researchers took 30 different readings at various flow levels. What they found shocked them: The lowest reading they obtained was around 200 ppb, already ridiculously high. But more than half of the readings came in at more than 1,000 ppb. Some came in above 5,000 — the level at which EPA considers the water to be “toxic waste.” The highest reading registered at 13,000 ppb. More…

Aaron Swartz Died 3 Years Ago Today – In Remembrance of This Special Soul

Aaron Swartz Died 3 Years Ago Today – In Remembrance of This Special Soul
by Michael Krieger
Posted January 14, 2016

Arron Swartz - a gift to humanityThree years ago humanity lost a brave, brilliant and kindhearted individual named Aaron Swartz. On that day, I composed a post expressing my outrage and sadness. Once again, I have decided to repost that piece on the anniversary of his death.

I would like to add that if you haven’t seen the Aaron Swartz documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy, I highly recommend you do. It takes a person like Aaron Swartz to remind you how little you are actually doing to bring forth social, political and economic justice in this increasingly insane and sick world. I’m not exaggerating when I say his life was an inspiration. More…

Aaron Swartz was a gift to humanity who was unfortunately brought down by a system dominated by immoral people with small minds who were willing to sacrifice him for their own self-serving craving for power.

Recently Bought a Windows Computer? Microsoft Probably Has Your Encryption Key

Recently Bought a Windows Computer? Microsoft Probably Has Your Encryption Key
by Micah Lee
Posted January 6, 2016

Microsoft has your encryption keysOne of the excellent features of new Windows devices is that disk encryption is built-in and turned on by default, protecting your data in case your device is lost or stolen. But what is less well-known is that, if you are like most users and login to Windows 10 using your Microsoft account, your computer automatically uploaded a copy of your recovery key — which can be used to unlock your encrypted disk — to Microsoft’s servers, probably without your knowledge and without an option to opt out.

If you’re using a recent version of Windows, and your computer has the encryption chip, and if you have a Microsoft account, your disk will automatically get encrypted, and your recovery key will get sent to Microsoft. If you login to Windows using your company’s or university’s Windows domain, then your recovery key will get sent to a server controlled by your company or university instead of Microsoft — but still, you can’t prevent device encryption from sending your recovery key. More…

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Rev. Martin Luther King

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The Shocking Truth about Our Money System and How We Can Break Free!

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Great story on why we need to remove ALL of our elected government representatives

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