Some months back I interviewed Glenn Greenwald to appear on both ZNet and New Left Project – just as this article is appearing on both. The interview was substantive instead of an interviewer attacking and Greenwald parrying. The goal was for it to spur constructive discussion about journalism and the First Look project and Intercept component of it. It didn’t happen.
Greenwald is as quick, succinct, and clear in conversation as he appears in videos. He stuck me as likeable and certainly not the harsh fellow he is often made out to be. But some of his interview answers were troubling.
Greenwald understands the coercive possibilities of capitalist owners or the state curtailing adversarial journalism from above. That is the danger Greenwald believes will not overtake First Look/Intercept because he feels the owner, Pierre Omidyar, is sincerely committed to never imposing restrictions and, more positively, to actively establishing a journalism-friendly workplace. Keep reading article INTERCEPT?
Times are hard for all media, and particularly for alternative media. This is due to a combination of factors including but not limited to a growing audience disinclination to pay for information. If you couple that with alternative media being unable, in many cases, to get foundation or large donor funding, and with its commitment to not selling its audience to advertisers, which would likely yield little revenue in any event, the situation becomes dire.
In the face of such trends, only a few avenues, other than surrender and dissolution, exist.
A project can seek to generate new income from new channels, to pay its bills.
A project can severely reduce its costs.
A project can convince its audiences that support is desirable and worth their attention.
Petitioner Sean Clerkin told MSPs he believed Atos were “contract killers” who were “not fit” to sponsor the 2014 Commonwealth Games, on 18 March 2014. Mr Clerkin’s petition calls for the Scottish Parliament to urge the 2014 Commonwealth Games’ organising committee to drop IT company Atos as a sponsor. Continue reading →
Ian McHarg died this day in 2001 (NY Times obituary). He was a Scottish landscape architect who made his name in the University of Pennsylvania where he founded the world famous Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning in1955.
He was born in Clydebank in 1920 and (for those with an interest in the history of mountaineering in Scotland), was one of the Craigallian Fire men.
Arguably his most famous legacy is his 1969 book, Design with Nature. One of his pupils and collaborators in the project was the Scottish landscape architect, Mark Turnbull, who is still practising in Scotland today. His book sat on the shelves of my Dad’s study when I was growing up. He was an architect and, as a student, I thought it would make an interesting contribution to the forestry course I was doing at Aberdeen University. However, so dismal was the outlook of the staff there (there were a few honourable exceptions), that the notion of even reading such a book was regarded as too radical. I read it though and recommend it to anyone with an interest in environmental and spatial planning (McHarg invented the sieve mapping technique now standard in GIS – the European Geosciences Union awards a medal in his honour). Keep reading article Ian McHarg 1920-2001 Scottish landscape architect Design with nature
What would it mean to extend solidarity to the eco-system? That’s the question at the heart of this conversation with union activist and environmentalist, Sean Sweeney. The conservative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that fifty years will be more than sufficient to witness the worst impacts of climate change and if past is prologue, poor and working class communities will be hit doubly hard. Climate change is a class issue, and yet the trade union movement continues to drag its feet. In the US today, while trade unions that aggressively back dirty-energy projects are in a minority, big labor is not exactly in the leadership of the movement for a sustainable, fair, energy future. The US is lagging, says Sweeney, “In Germany now, there are seven hundred renewable energy cooperatives. Up to 25% of its power generation is renewable. It has installed as much solar energy last year as the entire installed capacity of solar in the United States.”
What would it take to make change? First things first: “For unions to get away from playing defense onto offense, they first of all have to tell the truth; they have to be aware of the urgency and seize the opportunities,” says Sweeney. In a word, “They need to extend solidarity to the ecosystem itself.”
Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill Consultation
Transparency of Common Good Land
Common good land belongs to local authorities and only occurs in former burghs. Accordingly this theme is only relevant to groups either currently using or with ambitions to use Council land within a historic burgh. Establishing whether or not a given parcel of land or building is common good land is very difficult. If an area of land or a building is a common good asset, there are two practical consequences. The first is that in administering it, the Council must have regard to the interests of the inhabitants of the area to which the common good related. The second is that in some cases there may be barriers to the Council selling or leasing the land on a long term lease. These are factors which may be relevant where a community group is already on, or has its sights on, such an area of land.
“No one knows who will live this cage in the future, or whether at the end of this tremendous development, entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals, or, if neither, mechanized petrification, embellished with a sort of convulsive self-importance. For of the fast stage of this cultural development, it might well be truly said: ‘Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved.” Max Weber, 1905
On November 12 Facebook, Inc. filed its 178th patent application for a consumer profiling technique the company calls “inferring household income for users of a social networking system.” Continue reading →