Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - October 19 Edition

“Discussion of green infrastructure blossomed a few years back. ALCOSAN had proposed dealing with combined-sewer overflows (CSOs) overwhelmingly with “gray infrastructure”: bigger sewer pipes and larger processing facilities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected that plan, and recent local efforts have concentrated on “green” projects that would keep rainwater where it falls, and out of the sewers. Many cities face similar problems, and green-infrastructure advocates say such solutions are ultimately cheaper and more effective, as well as more environmentally friendly. Green infrastructure mimics nature, engineering ways to manage rainwater that hark to when the land was forest and field. Techniques include green roofs, permeable paving and rain gardens. Green stormwater control is gaining popularity with private developers, too. “You see everyone doing it,” says Vivien Li, president and CEO of Pittsburgh-based nonprofit advocacy group Riverlife.”


“…protecting societies from violent conflict is not only a job for soldiers and police. Ordinary people in countries teetering on the edge of violent conflict can also tip the balance back toward peace. Their contribution to keeping or restoring the peace will not be the same as that of soldiers and police patrolling the streets, but it is no less important in the long term. 

Halting and reversing a slide toward civil war requires acting on four levels. One level is concrete: demonstrating, and if necessary using, the capacity to impose order through force. That’s a job for professional soldiers and armed police. Government policymakers and experts from international organizations usually operate on two other levels — the political and the institutional — reshaping constitutions and institutions. But there’s also a fourth level that often gets neglected: the personal and intercommunal level. That’s where ordinary citizens come in.

Ordinary citizens have to step up and reach out both to suspicious, angry majorities and to fearful minorities. This is not a soft option: it takes guts, determination, and planning. And it can have a significant cumulative impact: A million small steps taken locally can add up to a national transformation.”

Basic Income, Poverty

“Next year, a random sample of the 300,000 residents of Stockton, a port city in California’s Central Valley, will get $500 per month ($6,000 a year) with no strings attached.

It’s the latest test of a policy known as basic income, funded not out of city revenues but by individual and foundation philanthropy. The first $1 million in funding comes from the Economic Security Project, a pro-basic income advocacy and research group co-chaired by Facebook co-founder and former New Republic publisher Chris Hughes and activists Natalie Foster and Dorian Warren; Hughes provided the group’s initial funding. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs hopes to launch the basic income project as early as August 2018.

The project — known as the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) — will be, in a way, the purest expression to date of Silicon Valley’s passion for basic income proposals, which many tech entrepreneurs and investors see as a necessary way to support Americans if artificial intelligence and other automation advances lead to unemployment for vast swaths of the population.

To the tech world, basic income is a way to redistribute the vast wealth that Silicon Valley creates to poorer people and localities left behind. And what better place to start than by redirecting part of a Facebook fortune to Stockton, an overwhelmingly nonwhite exurb of the Bay Area that became the largest city in the US to declare bankruptcy during the financial crisis?”

Media, Girls

Fed up with the way women and girls were portrayed in music on the radio, a group of teenage girls on a Boston soccer team brought an idea to their coach. They wanted to start their own radio station that portrayed women positively and respectfully, they said. Through the help of their coach, in 2003 the girls presented their idea to then-Mayor Thomas Menino, who supported it. Later that year, GRLZradio went on the air.

Today, GRLZradio produces a girls-run radio show with programming that includes music and discussions. The Boston-based program is one of eight run by St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children. Annually, more than 100 girls—primarily girls of color—between ages 12 and 19 complete the nonprofit’s multi-month training in radio hosting, engineering, producing, and blogging. It’s more than just a job-training program, though. By giving them control over the airwaves—and supporting them when they’re off the air—GRLZradio is helping to uplift teen girls.

“It’s important to show them that they have a voice and that they can say what’s on their mind,” said GRLZradio broadcast manager Danielle Johnson. She added that the girls who participate in the program are “submerged in a culture” that sexually objectifies them in music and television.

Elections, Voter Registration

ATLANTA (AP) — “A federal judge says Georgia cannot close voter registration for any federal election, including runoff contests, more than 30 days before the election.

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law had filed a lawsuit in April challenging the state's registration deadline for voters wishing to participate in a June 20 special election runoff for an open U.S. House seat.

State election officials argued a runoff is a continuation of an initial election under Georgia law and that the registration deadline should, therefore, be 30 days before the initial election rather than 30 days before the runoff.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten in May ordered the registration deadline extended to 30 days before the June runoff election. The consent decree filed Tuesday applies that to all federal elections and runoffs.”

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