Showing posts from December, 2014

The year in content: cartoons

Once upon a time, I worked in the music biz, where December meant "end of year" lists. People who listened to hundreds of albums that year would write up their top 10s, while I would scan it for the stuff I'd missed. I seem to share a lot of content online these days, so here's my first end-of-year list. 
Warning: some of the comics may be NSFW, depending on where you work, the risk of getting caught, and whether you care if you do.

Ooof, starting out with a political cartoon. Don't worry, there will be drawings of a dude pooping later on! Below is just the first image from a strip that details what the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement is, why it's super scary, and what can be done about it. It's a rather complicated issue, so I really appreciated the robots and other silly things that the artist included in order to keep me interested. The way that economics is (traditionally)…

Incinerators 101

The MD Department of Environment has released a "Zero Waste" plan that includes waste-to-energy incineration as an essential part of the state's waste management portfolio. Zero waste was developed in European countries as an alternative to / transition away from incineration. "Zero Waste" refers to an explicit commitment to reduce landfill AND incinerator use to zero. Study after study shows that incinerators reduce recycling rates, and we already know that incinerators are costly (in terms of public finance and public health), dirty, inefficient, and more ghg-intensive per megawatt than coal.  

I've copied below a point-by-point summary that I wrote about a year ago on incinerators, public policy, controversy, and energy democracy.
There’s a strong tendency to take a serious and complicated socio-technological problem (and waste management is a classic example of this), condense it into a generalized statement and to look to technology and infrastructure fo…

On O'Malley's new poultry regulations

So much discussion of this just comes across to me as blaming it on ignorant farmers who hate the environment, rather than looking at them as strictly controlled franchise operators who get very little money but all the liability. This is a systemic issue of bosses passing on operational costs to workers, the environment, and local residents.

O'Malley refuses to tax the industry itself and threatened to veto the Poultry Fair Share Act, which would make the industry pay its own stormwater fee (it currently doesn't). The endorsement for the Iowa caucus. If big poultry wasn't secretly on board with all this, it wouldn't be happening. Because making it all about farmers vs. the environment sows division and mistrust. The liability for poultry waste was passed on to farmers on purpose, because the industry leaders knew that holding individual farmers accountable for this wake makes environmentalism on the Eastern Shore a class issue, with white collar families, wealthy reti…

A distinction between white privilege and willful ignorance

In the last couple of weeks, white friends of mine keep sharing expressions of their shock at the no longer avoidable reality of systemic state [police] violence. The buzzphrase response to this feeling of shock on social media seems to be "wow, that must be my privilege".

It's not your privilege. It's willful ignorance, facilitated by privilege.

We just saw the 15th anniversary of the WTO protests in Seattle, when police put an entire city under siege. Norm Stamper, the former Seattle police chief who has been doing penance for his actions ever since, has repeatedly expressed his frustration and dismay that in spite of the "lessons learned" from 1999, the militariziation of police forces across the so-called United States* continues. I think that a lot of what Stamper says is crocodile tears, and his vision of what community policing should look like is hugely problematic, but he does raise a fair point - why  have we - not just the police, but Americans i…