The New Green Deal: Moving Beyond the Hype



A couple of weeks ago we saw the unveiling of the New Green Deal. In the spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with a second from Senator Ed Markey from Delaware, stood in front of the media and laid down an ultimatum to the American public and political elite alike.

The New Green Deal makes a compelling case that we have to act now on carbon emissions or face the consequences of climate Armageddon. I agree with this. In fact I’ve been saying it for years. Ocasio-Cortez and Markey’s plan outlines several broad objectives. Among them; our electric grid must be powered entirely by alternative energy by 2030, and by 2050 our nation’s automotive fleet is to be converted to electric power. There are several other ambitious environmental goals, including retrofitting buildings for conservation. You can dig deeper here for the details.

GND-PRThe New…

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Week 4: Identity – E-Learning 3.0 MOOC #el30


…aspects of digital identity and/or our identities as online users: tracked, mapped, decentralized — but still us or (fractal) reflections thereof

learning reflections

This post is part of my reflections on week 4 topic, Identity, on Stephen Downes’ E-Learning 3.0 MOOC   #el30. Though the topic got to an end some days ago, I found writing my first blog post a bit daunting, (!). As things are, I am now ready to join in the online conversation.

 Initial thoughts

This topic reminded me of a recent visit to a portrait exhibition at a nearby museum. After the visit, I kept on thinking about what our faces told us (and others) about ourselves, about how our uniqueness and sameness interweave in creating who we are, and what made us “us”: similar to others, though unique. To use the concept on this course, I was thinking about what defines our identity.

In E-Learning 3.0 MOOC the focus narrows down to online identity. Here, the questions related to whom I am are still valid but…

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Utopia and climate change


occasional links & commentary


The warnings about the consequences of global warming are becoming increasingly dire. And with good reason.


Just last month, a report by a multidisciplinary research team published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences made the case that even fairly modest future carbon dioxide emissions could set off a cascade of catastrophic effects, with melting permafrost releasing methane to ratchet up global temperatures enough to drive much of the Amazon to die off, and so on in a chain reaction around the world that pushes Earth into a terrifying new hothouse state from which there is no return. Civilization as we know it would surely not survive.

Climate change during the Capitalocene (in its last stage?) has also spawned a new genre of science fiction novels—the so called cli-fi (climate change fiction) genre. It includes Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Kim Stanley Robinson’s…

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A Writer’s Astrology




Writing takes imagination. It goes without saying that writers are magical thinkers. This means that we tend to be superstitious. We may love haunted houses and wild speculations, antiques and termite-hollowed logs. Many of us like astrology almost as much as we love gossip and the luxurious smell of new paperbacks. Unfortunately, most astrological sources do not gear their standard sign descriptions to the particularities of the novelist or poet. Everybody knows about the stubbornness of the Taurus. But how does that play out in terms of the writer’s life? What happens to the sexual energies of the Scorpio when translated into poetry? These are questions writers want answered, but there aren’t many places to go for the astrological skinny on the writing zodiac. Until now. Herewith, a writer’s astrology to satisfy all of your star-crossed curiosities.

(also, if you appreciate this article, please Check out my handmade oil paintings …

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If Only Your Stare Meant You Actually See Disabled People

If Only Your Stare Meant You Actually See Disabled People

Crutches and Spice

I can feel your gaze. If you think you’re being slick, you’re not. I don’t even have to look in your direction, I caught your head on a swivel from the moment you heard me coming. Am I odd to you? What is the story you’re concocting in your head about me? What will you take from me? What assumptions are you making? Are you using my body to pull yourself out of your mediocrity? Did you get the motivation you needed? Is this when you’ll get to know my name? Will you even ask? Or will you demand even more? Will you demand to know what’s “wrong” with me? Will you yell at me; tell me I’m faking? Will you pull out your camera? How many likes do you think you’ll get? Followers? Words of encouragement? Will you pray over me? In front of all these strangers? I wonder…

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A Seat At The Table

A Seat At The Table

A View from the Curve

Photo by on Unsplash

I found myself actually asking for “a seat at the table” this week (in a conversation about a potential job).  I guess this post by Simon Ensor resonated so much in my mind that it came out in my speaking.

Simon asks us to consider what it means to have a seat at the table.  Whose table?  Who gets to sit there?  Who has the power?  Does everyone have power when they get a seat at the table?  Who is not invited to sit at the table? He examines all sorts of metaphorical and actual tables–the dinner table, the boardroom table, the inner sanctums of the seats of power and the moneylenders’ tables.

Here are a few examinations of my own.

The Experts’ Table

On Saturday, I sat at a table in a room full of tables.  I was happy to sit at that table…

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“Smile! You look tired!”


Behind on #npm18 #poetrybombing and #sol18 commenting. Follow GirlGriot’s blog for more about writing poetry and more poems

if you want kin, you must plant kin ...

My friend Lisa had a great opinion piece in the Times over the weekend that I just discovered this morning. How could I not try to find today’s poem in her words?

Today I was told not to look judgmental. Told this by a complete stranger on the subway platform. This, of course, is part and parcel of the “Smile!” nonsense that gets thrown at women. Feh.

“Smile! You look tired!”
(An erasure of Lisa Ko’s Times piece about quitting smiling.)

Women are often expected to smile,
make others comfortable.
Unnecessarily cheerful bluster,
Americans smile –
larger, toothier, intense –
a universal sign of the 20th century.
Smiling about a desire
for appeasement and artifice.
Nonverbal communication
is unpredictable, uncertain, suspicious.
The appearance of happiness
takes away our right to our feelings.
Appear happy,

It’s National Poetry Month! Every year, I choose a specific form and try…

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#Facebook still wants your #data


…according to today‘s MIT @TechReview newsletter The Download, “Facebook still wants to gobble up your data” (and more from today’s most important stories in emerging technology)

The company says it’s improving the way it handles your privacy—but with a business model centered on personal data gorges, don’t expect a total U-turn.

Backstory: Every Facebook user, except those in America and Canada, signs up to terms of service agreed with the firm’s HQ in Ireland. That makes every one of them eligible for increased protection under the EU’s new GDPR data rules.

The news: Reuters says Facebook will change that, so only European users are eligible. Users elsewhere would then be governed by (weaker) US privacy laws.

Facebook saysIt will extend new privacy measures to comply with the EU rules “to everyone, no matter where you live.” First in Europe, then the rest of the world.

But: Changing terms-of-service regions would give Facebook room to handle data differently for 1.5B users, and mean non-EU users have reduced legal recourse.

Plus: Sandy Parakilas, an ex-Facebook staffer who warned the firm about privacy issues, tells Wired that the company’s new privacy setting pages to comply with EU rules “manipulate you into doing the thing they want.” Which is, handing over data.

Bottom line: Facebook depends on data. It won’t be rolling over to give it all up.

Utopia and populism


occasional links & commentary


Much has been made of the rise of populism in recent years and the threat it poses to liberal democracy.

My view is that liberal critics of populism, standing on their heads, get it wrong. If made to stand on their feet, they’d have to admit that populism actually represents the failure of liberal democracy.

Populism has experienced a resurgence of late—in Hungary, Britain, France, Turkey, the United States, and elsewhere—especially the form of populism variously characterized as right-wing, nationalist, or authoritarian. It has attracted increasing support and achieved notable political victories within the institutions and procedures of liberal democracy.

The problem is that liberal democracy has failed to confront, much less solve, the problems that have led to the rise of populism in the first place.



Consider, for example, the history of populism in the United States. The three notable periods—in the late nineteenth century (with the rise…

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