07/01/2012 archive

The Cooperative Movement and the “Big Tent” Approach by GeminiJen

As I entered the reception for the opening evening of the 5th National Worker Cooperative Conference (as compared to consumer cooperatives which most of us are more familiar with) I experienced a kind of euphoria.  

After all, we had just finished the keynote speech by Congressman Chaka Fattah, a nine-term progressive leader from Pennsylvania, who introduced The National Cooperative Development Act into Congress. When passed, the bill will considerably improve government support for developing a cooperative economy here in the States and bring us more in line with Europe. Moreover, the Small Business Administration had just agreed to provide some funding for cooperatives and –wait for it — the UN had declared this the UN Year of the Coop!  We had arrived! No longer were we a little side note of Utopian idealist organic food coops — we had gone mainstream!

The creation of a society based on democratic, grassroots cooperatives as an antidote to capitalism has been a dream many of us have worked toward.   The cooperative movement began with the 1844 Rochdale cooperative experiment in England, continued through the anarcho-syndicalist cooperative movement beginning in the 1880s (frequently associated with Emma Goldman and the IWW), was energized by the farmer’s populist rebellion in the 1930s in the United States, and in recent years the Mondragon model formed in Spain in the 50s (100,000 workers and 12 billion in assets) and the industrias recuparadas in Argentina in the 1990s.   But for the first time– perhaps more through objective necessity as we globalize and shift from an industrial economy to a digital economy–it seems to be a vision whose time has come and is actually within our grasp.

So I was prepared to enjoy the kind of movement simpatico and joie de vivre that revitalizes all us activists when we get away for the weekend with like minded souls when we are in a period of radicalization– and, to manage, of course, to gather new information and contacts to bring back to the struggle.

After Rep. Fattah’s presentation — which he finished by noting that both he and his wife were active supporters of REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated which is a world famous consumer cooperative geared to hikers, runners, and other outdoor types) —  I sat down with a plate full of delicious organic and vegetarian food.  Next to me sat an enthusiastic young blonde who just happened to be the treasurer of the finances at the Occupy Wall Street site. She was discussing an educational cooperative venture that she and her boyfriend were planning to establish on their farm in New Hampshire. They would bring inner city kids out for an educational experience combined with a practicum in farming to help counteract  the decaying educational system in New York City. How wonderful I thought.

But be careful what you wish for. It was just at that point that the discussion started to get tricky. The first group of kids for their cooperative project, it turns out,  were going to be from a charter school in New York City.  The school was given $250,000 by Walmart.  When I and another community organizer sitting next to me seemed taken aback that they would partner with the charter schools and Walmart, the woman  acknowledged the problem but noted that they would not be in any way beholden to Walmart and they hadn’t been able to find any other way of funding the project.


Forget the fact that one of Walmart’s primary goals is to privatize education while still ripping off public resources (private charter schools, which have no accountability or oversight,  are frequently housed in public school buildings at public cost, leaving less room and resources for the “less fortunate” who did not get into a “charter” school). Forget that this mirrors Walmart’s modus operandi in their stores where Walmart bad mouths unions as it accumulates its billions, yet pays it’s employees so little that the employees  must apply for Medicaid and Food Stamps to survive (government programs which Walmart also bad mouths).

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

The Word – Silver Maligning

Bad economic news is great news for Mitt Romney, so conservatives must drag everyone down in the dumps to get America back on track.

Euro Cup 2012: Spain/Italy

ESPN 2:30 pm.

Spain plays ball control with short passes which pisses some people off.

They’re also the favorites.

I don’t understand football at all.

2012 America’s Cup World Series: Newport

When last we visited our heros, Billionaire by the Bay Ralph Ellison of Oracle and his rag tag team of highly compensated ex-patriot New Zealand mercenary dock rats, they had emerged triumphant from their titanic struggle to retrive the Royal Yacht Squadron £100 Cup from the shiftless, coastless, and mysterious Swiss bankers.

These villains had used the wide open rights the Deed of Gift gives the cup holder to set the terms of the next match in ways that make a successful challenge impossible and yes, yes it is much more reprehensible when a foreigner does it, no matter how many times you’ve done it to him.

Sadly this titanic struggle between evil and slightly lesser evil went almost entirely unnoticed by United States audiences despite its lopsidedness, perhaps because it was only available as a live simulcast from Valencia.  Because Billionaires crave celebrity with the searing secret lust of any random reality ‘star’ this situation must be corrected.

And so America’s Cup 2.0, re-imagined for the new century.

Now there are some things that are very good about this, the return of the Louis Vuitton Cup for one, but there are others that invite consideration.

A goal (not the only one) is to make the sport more like Formula One.  As a way to expand their schedule they’ve instituted a second series of more frequent races which is purported to acclimate crews and managers to the capabilities of the new equipment.  Because they use smaller boats support staff and crew are greatly reduced making it somewhat less expensive.

These contests are held in the traditional picturesque watering holes, this week in Newport R.I., and so far have been quite exciting (though hard to find) because of the wide variety of wind conditions and ‘Regatta’ races with all the boats out on course bashing into each other.

As you might imagine the Oracle crews dominate like 2011 Red Bulls.

But this article in The New York Times describes some of the other ways they’re working to make it more telegenic-

America’s Cup Updates As It Trawls for Viewers

By JOSHUA BRUSTEIN, The New York Times

Published: June 27, 2012

The task of changing this belongs to Stan Honey, whom the America’s Cup hired as its director of technology last year. Honey has made a career out of creating augmented reality for sports broadcasts. He is best known for the glowing first-down line in football telecasts, and he has also developed glowing hockey pucks for N.H.L. games, the illuminated strike zone for baseball and various graphics for Nascar races.

Sailing is in more dire need of augmented reality than perhaps any other sport, said Honey, a former professional sailor. Boats tack back and forth, trying to catch pockets of wind that will propel them through a race’s various legs. It can be difficult to determine who is ahead, or what strategy is being employed to remain there.

“If you don’t put the graphics on the water, you end up with people saying, O.K., white triangles on a blue background,” Honey said.

So Honey has developed the LiveLine system, a virtual playing field that lies on top of the telecast. On television, boats fly flags identifying themselves. White lines appear at regular intervals, and blue lines mark the boundaries of the pitch, turning a patch of open water into something resembling a nautical football field. Yellow circles surround the motorboats that mark the end of each leg, identifying the areas where the changes in which a boat has the right of way can come into play.

Honey’s team has ended up changing how the races operate. Race officials now watch the sailing on monitors from a control room on the shore, and any decision that relies on the objective knowledge of a boat’s position is made using the same positional data used to create the graphics.

The new approach has also inspired some new rules. Until recently, the penalty for certain fouls required a team to stop its boat and spin it in a circle. Now, a virtual line appears two boat lengths behind the offender, which must move behind the line to pay off the penalty. For 10 seconds, that line moves at the same speed as the boat. After that, the line slows to three-quarters of the boat’s speed.

The America’s Cup has also begun using computerized data analysis to change the course of the race while the race is in progress, to make sure that the event fits easily into broadcast time slots.

You can see the results starting at 2:30 pm on NBC.

On This Day In History July 1

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

July 1 is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 183 days remaining until the end of the year. The end of this day marks the halfway point of a leap year. It also falls on the same day of the week as New Year’s Day in a leap year.

On this day in 1997, Hong Kong returned to China.

At midnight on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. A few thousand Hong Kongers protested the turnover, which was otherwise celebratory and peaceful.

Hong Kong is one of two special administrative regions (SARs) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China’s south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. With a land mass of 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Hong Kong’s population is 95 percent ethnic Chinese and 5 percent from other groups. Hong Kong’s Han Chinese majority originate mainly from the cities of Guangzhou and Taishan in the neighbouring Guangdong province.

Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the First Opium War (1839-42). Originally confined to Hong Kong Island, the colony’s boundaries were extended in stages to the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories by 1898. It was occupied by Japan during the Pacific War, after which the British resumed control until 1997, when the PRC acquired sovereignty. The region espoused minimum government intervention under the ethos of positive non-interventionism during the colonial era. The time period greatly influenced the current culture of Hong Kong, often described as “East meets West”, and the educational system, which used to loosely follow the system in England until reforms implemented in 2009.

Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong has a different political system from mainland China. Hong Kong’s independent judiciary functions under the common law framework. The Basic Law of Hong Kong, its constitutional document, which stipulates that Hong Kong shall have a “high degree of autonomy” in all matters except foreign relations and military defence, governs its political system. Although it has a burgeoning multi-party system, a small-circle electorate controls half of its legislature. An 800-person Election Committee selects the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the head of government.

As one of the world’s leading international financial centres, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade, and the currency, Hong Kong dollar, is the ninth most traded currency in the world. The lack of space caused demand for denser constructions, which developed the city to a centre for modern architecture and the world’s most vertical city. The dense space also led to a highly developed transportation network with public transport travelling rate exceeding 90 percent, the highest in the world. Hong Kong has numerous high international rankings in various aspects. For instance, its economic freedom, financial and economic competitiveness, quality of life, corruption perception, Human Development Index, etc., are all ranked highly.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: Joining Chris at 8AM ET will be: Gov. Brian Schweitzer (@brianschweitzer), Democrat of Montana; Rep. Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont and member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Republican and co-architect of Arizona’s controversial immigration statute, SB 1070; Heather McGhee (@hmcghee), vice president of policy and research at the progressive think tank Demos; Maria Hinojosa (@Maria_Hinojosa), anchor of NPR’s Latino USA and president of Futuro Media Group; and Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald), former Constitutional and civil rights litigator, contributor at Salon.com.

The Melissa Harris-Perry Show: The guest list was not announced.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: This Week’s guests are Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy; White House chief of staff Jack Lew and House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The roundtable debates the Supreme Court’s key health care and immigration decisions and all the week’s politics, with Keith Olbermann, ABC News’ George Will, Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile, former Rep. Artur Davis, and “Nightline” co-anchor Terry Moran, who covers the Supreme Court for ABC News.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; , Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., and Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc.

The roundtable breaks down the political and legal implications of this week’s Supreme Court decisions: POLITICO‘s John Harris, National Journal‘s Major Garrett, CBS News’ John Dickerson and Jan Crawford.

The Chris Matthews Show: This Week’s Guests Joan Biskupic, Reuters Supreme Court Correspondent; John Heilemann, New York Magazine National Political Correspondent; Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent; and Pete Williams, NBC News Justice Correspondent.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: MTP’s guests are House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Obama supporter former Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) and Romney Supporter Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA).

The roundtable guests are NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd; Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson; and the National Review‘s Rich Lowry.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: The SoU’s guests this Sunday are Jack Lew, President Obama’s Chief of Staff; Jennifer Granholm, the former Michigan Governor; Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO; CNN”s White House Correspondent Dan Lothian, and USA Today‘s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page; and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

2012 Le Tour – Stage 1

Liege – Seraing (123 miles)

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Four miles in is a little early to despair.  Wiggins didn’t win but he didn’t have to.  Evans is outside the top ten but by just a bit.  You can’t read too much into this, the entire field is separated by a mere 1:06 at this point with 95 riders within :30 of the lead.

What happens for the next several days traditionally is that we wait for breakdowns and crashes to thin the field and drop a few contenders.  This year the course is so flat that it may tempt a team (I sure would be) to put on a Tiger Woods early round charge and pile up some Vettel like deltas.  Run each stage as a team time trial, courtesy and tradition be damned.

We’re not likely to see anything that decisive but you pay a penalty for early inattention and end up trying to force results in less favorable circumstances.  This stage has 5 category 4 climbs and 2 point awards.

General Classification

Place Rider Team Time/Delta

Coverage is customarily on Vs. (NBC Sports) starting at 8 am with repeats at noon, 2, 8, and 10 pm as well as 1 am.  NBC recap at 4 pm.  There will be some streaming evidently, but not all of it is free.

Also today coverage of the America’s Cup World Series from Newport and the European Cup Final.

Sites of Interest-

The Stars Hollow Gazette Tags-

Pretty tables-

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

1st nuclear reactor to go online since Japan disaster meets with protests despite power crunch


By Associated Press, Updated: Sunday, July 1, 3:42 PM

Dozens of protesters shouted and danced at the gate of a nuclear power plant set to restart Sunday, the first to go back online since all of Japan’s reactors were shut down for safety checks following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Ohi nuclear plant’s reactor No. 3 is returning to operation despite a deep divide in public opinion. Last month, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the restarts of reactors No. 3 and nearby No. 4, saying people’s living standards can’t be maintained without nuclear energy. Many citizens are against a return to nuclear power because of safety fears after Fukushima.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Hong Kong’s new leader sworn in amid protests

10,000 still missing in Gaddafi’s killing fields

Race for equality in the Middle East

Search for kidnapped aid workers in Somalia intensifies

Australia introduces controversial carbon tax

2012 Le Tour – Prologue

Liege – Liege (4 miles)

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Le Tour kind of kicks off the third year of The Stars Hollow Gazette.  The Prologue of 2010 is the very first public diary.  This is the 99th Tour.

Sports live blogging demonstrates many desirable characteristics for a ‘community’ diary- the experience is scheduled, it is shared in real time, it has a built in duration, and the result is unknown so it has the virtue of novelty.  While partiality and encouragement may be shown to sentimental favorites there is no argument about the situation once the play is called.

Participation is encouraged, all you have to do is register.  My opinion on the subject is not very deep, I’m a casual fan since a little before Armstrong.

Conventional wisdom will not allow for more than two contenders overall.  Cadell Evans, last year’s winner who spent his off-season adopting an Ethiopean; and Bradley Wiggins who has side burns and would be the first Brit to ever win.

Now there are other outlets that broaden the range of possibilities-

These are some opinions on the dates of importance-

The significance of today’s little 4 mile time trial is that just as in Formula One you want to get a good start and clean air and see if you can pull out to a substantial enough advantage (tens of seconds is a start) so that you can weather some bad luck.  Many of the initial stages will be along the coast which is picturesque but slippery and windy and contenders will be trying to avoid early washouts.  There are those who contend the course more time trial than mountain and the truth is that there are as many trials as up hill finishes and only 5 days of high mountains which represents a considerable shift in emphasis.


So there are fewer teams featuring hill climbing anchors and more with sprinting  contenders. Goss predicts sprint battle royal on Tour de France.  Perhaps, it’s hard to keep track of.

Coverage is customarily on Vs. (NBC Sports) starting at 8 am with repeats at noon, 2:30, and 8 pm.  There will be some streaming evidently, but not all of it is free.

Sites of Interest-

The Stars Hollow Gazette Tags-

Hey, what do you know?

We’re up.

As it turns out our servers are connected to the Amazon cloud in Virgina that went down last night.

Le Tour will post shortly before the last re-broadcast at 8 pm.