Watering Hole: November 13, 2012 – What is Your Request?

Now that Barack Obama has been re-elected to a second term, what issues would you like for him to address?

Here are some of mine listed in no particular order:

  1. Decriminalizing, legalizing, and taxing marijuana.
  2. Legalizing the growing and selling of hemp.
  3. Presenting to Congress the approved referendum from Puerto Rico for Statehood.
  4. Fixing Federal voting laws so that no one is disenfranchised by party politics.
  5. Working to create a law or make a change to the US Constitution whichever is needed to overturn “Citizens United”.
  6. Appoint progressive, young candidates to the courts, especially the Supreme Court of the United States.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

Watering Hole: Monday, March 12, 2012 – Designing for Generosity

A paradigm shift… “giftivism”.

UPDATE:  This link connects to information regarding the speaker, Nipun Mehta.  Check out the links that are provided on Mehta’s biography for more information regarding generosity.  The TEDx talk is basically a summary of the philosophy behind Service Space.

For those that can’t watch the video, here are the main progressive points:

  • Move from Consumption to Contribution = Appreciate what you receive and pay it forward.
  • Transition to Trust = Rely on our inner connectedness.
  • Isolation to Community = Cultivate network of gift ties.
  • Scarcity to Abundance = Experience generative power of gratitude.

“There is enough for everyone’s needs but not enough for everyone’s greed.”  Ghandi

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

We’ve Always Done It That Way

There is the 20-50-30 theory as presented by Price Prichett and Ron Pound in their book “High-Velocity Culture Change”. Translated, it means that 20% of people will buy into change immediately. Another 50%, will be undecided and the remaining 30% will always be anti-change. This piece is about anti-change.

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.

Why was this used?

Because that’s the way they built them in England and English expatriates built the US Railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did “they” use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Ready for this one? Continue reading

Change happens..

Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us. (Martin Luther King)

Early on in the Democratic Primary campaign, I said there was a longing for change in the American society. If I give you samples less than a year old, you may be as surprised as I am, at how many things have already manifestly changed since then.

The most obvious: Everybody including the White House and John McCain is now talking about a timetable for Iraq withdrawal.

President Bush in June (some six weeks ago):

“There should be no definitive timetable,” Bush was quoted as saying. “I am confident that (British Prime Minister Brown), like me, will listen to our commanders to make sure that the sacrifices that have gone forward won’t be unraveled by drawdowns that may not be warranted at this point in time.”

And now?

[…] the Decider says he is now amenable to a “time horizon,” which apparently is a whole different kind of time thing — not at all like the sensible course of action that Democrats and other critics of the Iraq occupation have been demanding.

John McCain’s 100 years if necessary have been widely reported. As recently as July 17th Reuters reported this:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Thursday ridiculed Democrat Barack Obama’s vow to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 16 months as a political tactic aimed at getting votes.

And now?

“I think it’s a pretty good timetable,”

Short and concise and what a change!

In July 2007 Hillary Clinton said according to the LA Times blog:

[But] I don’t want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing into meetings with the likes of Chavez and Castro and Ahmadinejad.”

and her minions:

Clinton forces pounced, saying it showed he was naive and unprepared to lead the country. In contrast, they said, Clinton’s answer demonstrated she had the strength and experience to be commander in chief. ( full story)

The GOP couldn’t have agreed more and argued similarly. On July 16, reports came in that a United States official was taking part in the Geneva talks with Iran on the latter’s nuclear ambitions.

A senior United States official is taking part for the first time in international talks with Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

The official, William Burns, is joining envoys from the EU and permanent members of the UN security council.

Their talks with top Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili were expected to focus on incentives for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment.

Mr Burns’ attendance is being seen as a major shift in US policy.(emphasis added)

I have never before seen a campaign, and I am old enough to have followed a few across the pond both ways, where a likely candidate has induced major policy shifts by a sitting lame duck administration.

But, that is only on the outside, the shift goes deeper. Again a very obvious one, Barack Obama is the first African American to be a candidate in a Presidential election, whom many people seriously consider to vote for. Moreover, groups in your society, who never before have actively taken part in the political process are still registering to vote, even after the first hype is over. A twelve months ago mostly unknown politician has managed to outraise and outspend all of the inside-the-beltway-old-washingtonian-lobbyist-financed political machinery of one of the most influential political families. Funded by people like you, not like Abramoff. This is a resounding slap in the face of the old ways. Furthermore, and this may be “small change” if you will, hasn’t Nancy Pelosi for the first time not stepped down on an impeachment hearing? True, without the tenacity of Dennis Kucinich this wouldn’t have happened, but there is a changed political atmosphere, too, which made that possible. Americans are not taking no for an answer anymore. Did you hear much talk about that gas-tax holiday, recently? And did the discussion about drilling in ANWR somehow ring hollow? Do all of those business-as-usual political spats sound well-rehearsed-going-through-the-motions soundbites?

It is the Americans, who have changed and Obama’s candidacy is the focal point for and the result of this change. The US are about to arrive in the 21st century. The candidacy of Barack Obama is not due to an irrational wish for a messianic figure, as some want to make believe for obvious reasons. It is the manifestation of the voter’s will to vote for a different kind of politics. A sizeable number of Americans have eschewed the old way politics were done and are prepared to risk something new. This is their change, not Obama’s, and they mean to pull this through and some.

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Opinion: The winds of change – Iowa’s message

This year’s campaign is going to be way different. People who never bothered before, are being interested in politics. The Iowa caucuses brought a record number of caucus-goers, never mind the chilly temperatures and the fould weather and what’s on the sports channel. People want change, that is definitely the message. The Washington elites better don warm clothing, Iowa’s chilly breeze may well blow them out of their offices.

The last mid-term elections were duped as elections for change. But what happened? The very people elected to bring about that change under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi have taken impeachment off the table, have authorized one spending bill after the other for the Iraq war, without any mandatory troop reductions. Have wriggled their way through the dark alleys of Washington politics. Have spent ages in oversight committee meetings in probes on the Administration’s failures and outright misdemeanors, without even intending the investigations to have any consequences.

Washington listen!  Iowa has news for you! Be it Republicans, be it Democrats, your people wants you to change. They want you to stop all the wars. The War on Terror, the war in Iraq and the war on the middle class, waged by corporate interests, without the interference of politicians they have comfortably in their pockets.

Hark Hillary Clinton, hark Rudy Giuliani. Neither your money and backing by influential interest groups, not your fear-mongering will help you anymore. Americans will bring about change this time. And it’s high time, they did!