Rhonda Winter

Cheap Solar, Mutant Eggplants & Indefinite Detention: Network Link Party

Ecolocalizer is a member of a blog collective known as Important Media. Each week we share a list of featured articles from across our diverse network, including compelling posts from Eat Drink Better, Blue Living Ideas, Planetsave, Crafting a Green World, Feelgood Style and CleanTechnica. Please take a moment to read some of this week’s highlighted articles, and you might learn something new.

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Judge Rules Obama’s Indefinite Detention Violates Our Constitutional Rights

An Obama-appointed federal judge, Katherine Forrest, has just ruled that the administration’s indefinite detention provisions are indeed unconstitutional, and violate our Fifth Amendment right to due process. The NDAA statute was found to be so incredibly vague that it is nearly impossible to know what specific behavior could potentially subject one to indefinite secret military detention.

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Repair Cafes Build Community & Promote Locally Based Sustainability

At Amsterdam’s busy Repair Café crowds of different people come to the community center with various items that are not working properly — the broken objects will be repaired for free by volunteers who love to fix things, as well as teach others how to make simple repairs. The social environment the cafe creates not only enables individuals to divert waste, share their knowledge, develop skills and save resources, but also helps to strengthen local communities and foster meaningful connections among neighbors and strangers.

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Maddow & Krugman Explain Link between Wealth Disparity & Economic Disaster

Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winning economist and author of the new book, End This Depression Now!, spoke with Rachel Maddow about the direct correlation between expanding income inequality and the increasingly divisive political polarization present in the United States. The wealth disparity between the rich and poor has been historically shown to greatly increase just prior to a severe economic crisis, as it did before the Great Depression; and the wealth gap in our country has never been as extreme as it is right now.

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Off the Grid Book is Off the Mark

Periodically I am mailed books for review, such as Rachel Maddow’s well researched recent bestseller, Drift, or the excellent Beaver Manifesto, which analyzes the vital role played by that keystone species. Awhile ago I received Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America by Nick Rosen in the post. I have lived off the grid in many different situations at various locations over the course of my life, and I really wanted to like this book.

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Richest 1% Continue to Fuel Even Greater Income Inequality in U.S.

The United States is becoming an increasingly severely stratified plutocracy. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities just released a new study proving that the richest 1% are continuing to amass greater and greater amounts of wealth, while the rest of the population is still struggling financially.

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Greening the Food Deserts of East Los Angeles

Food insecurity is huge problem in our nation. More families are now in need of food stamps than ever before in the history of our country, and in many neighborhoods liquor stores far outnumber produce markets. However, in the barren food deserts of East Los Angeles, a few small oases of healthy food options are beginning to sprout.

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Coming Soon: “I was a Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator” Graphic Novel

The internationally acclaimed syndicated cartoonist, Keith Knight, recently launched a Kickstarter fundraiser in order to create a graphic novel chronicling his years performing as a teenage Michael Jackson impersonator. Mr. Knight is the creator of the popular daily comic, The Knight Life, as well as the semi-autobiographical cartoon strip, the K Chronicles.

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Is the U.S. Slowly Becoming an Extremist Theocracy?

With the increasing zealotry of religious extremists like Rick Santorum, who wants to outlaw all birth control, as well as various states across the country forcing invasive mandatory transvaginal probes upon women before the government will allow them to have an abortion, I wonder if the United States has lost its way? Are we now slowly becoming an intolerant religious theocracy?

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Student Loan Forgiveness Act Introduced into Congress by Hansen Clarke

This week Michigan Representative Hansen Clarke introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness Act, HR4170, into Congress. Hansen’s proposed bill will allow for all student loans to be forgiven if the borrower can make payments equivalent to 10% of their discretionary income for 10 years. After that point in time, the entire remaining balance of their federal student loan debt would then be expunged.

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Bob “Transvaginal Probe” McDonnell Signs Mandatory Ultrasound Bill in Virginia

Just when you thought the government was not going to continue to crawl up inside of your genitals, Governor Bob McDonnell has now signed legislation which requires the state to do just that. Virginia has now joined seven other states which mandate a medically unnecessary ultrasound before a woman is allowed to terminate her pregnancy. Twelve other states in the nation also have similar bills making their way through their legislature.

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Sacred Economics: Money is a Societal Construct with No Inherent Meaning

My sustainable economics reading group recently finished Charles Eisenstein’s seminal book, “Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition”. Everyone should read this amazing book. The text is very accessible, engrossing and compelling; the concepts that it raises may radically change how you perceive the concept of money, community, scarcity, the world that we live in, and your own personal identity.

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Asheville North Carolina Installs New Public Bike Repair Racks

While walking around the arts district in Asheville, North Carolina last week, I encountered a most ingenius piece of sustainable transportation infrastructure: a free public bicycle repair rack. In the past I have seen public bike air pumps before in other cities, but never one that was also integrated into a rack for hanging your bicycle, along with several accessible commonly used bike maintenance tools.

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