Russia Preparing for More War

Thursday, March 26, 2015

But whose? If you answer that question, I will pay you scads of money. Honest.

It’s Always Someone Else’s Fault

Joshua Komisarjevsky
Joshua Komisarjevsky
Joshua Komisarjevsky was charged along with Steven Hayes in the horrific 2007 home invasion, robbery, assault, rape and murder of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, 17 year-old Hayley and 11 year-old Michaela, in Cheshire, Connecticut. Husband and father Dr. William Petit was severely beaten but survived his wounds. In separate trials, both Komisarjevsky and Hayes were found guilty and sentenced to death. We have weighed in on this case previously. But here’s the new wrinkle:
Now, Mr. Komisarjevsky is appealing his sentence and seeking a new trial.
Here’s why this move makes us sick.
First, let us state that there is absolutely no question that these two monsters did the things with which they were charged. They were apprehended while fleeing the scene when they crashed into two police cruisers. Police had surrounded the house and were preparing for a rescue. Before they could – or did – react, the offenders had raped and assaulted Jennifer, tied the two girls to their beds and set the house on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence. Prior to this, they had forced Jennifer to go to her bank and withdraw money for them. Jennifer was able to whisper a message to the teller and the bank manager immediately alerted the police.
The testimony in Mr. Hayes’s trial was so harrowing that jury members were counseled afterward for PTSD!
What is the basis for Mr. Komisarjevsky’s plea for a new trial?
According to the Associated Press, “The motion filed by Komisarjevsky’s lawyers said police failed to stop Hayes and Hawke-Petit as they returned to the Petits’ home from the bank.”
“Upon their arrival at the Petit residence, police did not approach the house but instead spent precious minutes setting up perimeters.”
In other words, the police failed to stop the two thugs from committing their unspeakable crimes, and therefore it is the cops’ fault.
The Petit family and others have been critical of the police response, saying officers waited too long and should have stormed the house. This is a complicated and delicate situation. SWAT operations always try to balance the risk of going in right away with the risk of waiting until they feel the hostages are in imminent danger. There is no easy or universally applicable guideline and whatever the Cheshire Police did or did not do is being evaluated on its own.
But that has nothing to do with Komisarjevsky’s stomach-turning claim. It reminds us of so many other cases. In a book we are writing now about the workings of the criminal mind, we review the case of Joseph Kondro, the rapist murderer of young girls, who blamed the authorities for not stopping him, claiming he was acting on impulses that were genetically inherent in his brain.
Minnesota Vikings football player Adrian Peterson and others justify his brutal whipping of his four year-old son because it’s “part of their culture.” That is to say, he didn’t come up with this form of punishment; he just followed the established custom.
Many fans claim to understand Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice’s knocking out his fiancé and then dragging her from the elevator like a sack of potatoes because she must have provoked him. And anyway, she stayed with him, so it’s all okay, right? After all, beating up your wife is part of some cultures, isn’t it?
One way or another, it’s always someone else’s fault.
Among the fundamental signs of maturity is taking responsibility for one’s own actions. So when, as a society, are we going to grow up?
(Editor's Note: Maybe when the Polish weather forecast changes? It's rather dark.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wicked Witchcraft. Be careful whom you work for - they might wish your pay away.

Help Rescue Them from Blame

“It is impossible that a child has made a pact with the devil.”
So says Father José Luis de la Fuente, SDB, director of the Don Bosco Center in Kara, Togo. Here, he works hard to counter the deeply rooted cultural beliefs that routinely demonize children -- and blame them for illnesses, deaths and other misfortunes that are more accurately the outcome of overwhelming poverty.
These children are not witches. Yet every day, innocent little girls and boys like Georgette and Rosalie -- whom you may have already read about -- are accused of sorcery, and subjected to heinous physical and psychological abuse. Many are outright murdered in the name of “justice.”
Fortunately for Georgette and Rosalie, they not only survived their ordeals but -- thanks to the intercession of Fr. José and the Don Bosco staff -- they are thriving in school and dreaming of brighter futures free of stigma and blame.
Sadly, others are not so lucky. But YOU can be their savior!
In Togo, and elsewhere in Africa and Asia where poverty is endemic and tribal traditions run deep, tens of thousands of children are routinely victimized by customs that devalue their unique humanity.
This is why we are committed to addressing the root causes and conditions that lead to accusations of witchcraft … and the resulting violations of children’s basic rights.
The Don Bosco Center offers a loving home where youth can recover from their physical and emotional wounds. The Center provides pathways out of despair and hopelessness through education and training. Our Salesian missionaries are there for these children, advocating on their behalf for lasting societal change.
Your gift today helps victimized girls and boys discover the self-confidence and dignity that allows them to proclaim, “I am not a witch!” Thank you for your caring and compassionate support!

Monday, March 23, 2015

I'm not a redhead. It's about 1% of my body, less than that at most. More like .003% or less.

Wimps 'really do feel more pain'

Yes, what is turning me into something deep seated that feels so much pain? I'm not even a redhead, I had somewhat bright red hair at certain points in my life. Not even more than about 20% of the time. Now something is making me feel way too much pain, for someone who mostly has brown hair (going grey, yet) and not exactly anything remotely approaching mostly white skin. Mostly, white-looking skin.

There is something underneath it that is downright creepy looking, that comes out at the slightest sun-directed opportunity. Tons and tons of small layers of something brown mixed with black...and areas of no color whatsoever, like the skin under a dog or cat's coat of fur...making me resemble nothing so much as a piece of cheesecloth, shot through with a weird mix of things.

My body has tended at certain points of time to generate the thing called melanin. It was supposed to be a form of protection against the sunlight, but it has also from time to time seemingly turned into the thing called cancer, or melanoma. And yet who knows what turns into melanoma, what protects from it, perhaps the interaction itself between the different, conflicting substances? What if these interactions cause various positive, negative and unknown consequential events...Like sugar is different from protein, etc.? I hate how the various dots and blobs look like wormholes. Like someday, worms shall begin wiggling out of them, in droves. Probably not, at least it isn't a case of "connect the dots."

My skin gets very dark under light. Then it gets very light under without. Like its trying to generate something, something that sadly is not PRETTY. The something might be healthy, something good, but it is not something beautiful. It makes me look muddy, and I keep thinking that if it got too dark, then it would fade away, the bad effect where it was so "not pretty," but unfortunately the road to such a thing remains untaken. It's not a road I was ever able to take, due to Skin Cancer, so I guess it remains a road Untaken.

It would definitely involved my being turned into a Black person. A rather dark, patchy-looking Black person, who would be better looking that way, if it worked. I would have been more attractive...perhaps. Perhaps not. Apparently, the attractive skin truly is the creamy, smooth type. I'm chunky peanut butter forever, and never will be the creamy kind. My hands will never be creamy smooth, white/brown/dark brown.

I am rather fornicated with, it would seem. Earmarked for failure from the beginning. I "sunned," it would seem. And the rest is supposed to be my attitude, or generated by me...I feel a bit alone to be this God person they keep talking about, that causes all my problems, or all the Evil in the Universe that "everyone else" is telling me all about...

...I'm not quite sure who you people are anymore. And I'm not able to turn myself all white, all racially pure, and the makeup is spectacularly missing. I don't feel up to smearing myself all over my body with it, either, I'm afraid. Say, can you understand that? Without being the same all alike groupie woupie at me? For a change? Could you, say, split up into each an individual person at me, without letting me know about your invisible union? Without being a member of that undetectable outside groupie woupie at me? The one that "knows Jews are a racial group," that knows "Indians live on reservations," that sort of thing? That stands there waiting for me to join your group, and then moves on, letting me know you're not able to let me join I know I never will?

I'm not good at joining teeny tiny little wolf packs. Do you suppose someday I will? Join a group of millions of people, without ever knowing I'm stuck now being a member of it? A group a little too disparate, with each person in it an overly unique individual? Who isn't a member of any group at all, and who has to see every person outside of itself as nothing unique anymore, and as something stuck far too much living for me? Instead of each of it having its own individual life, doing its own individual thing............

An unlikely event. Meanwhile, I must hover forever in an Unpretty Zone. Folks, it's just as unpretty out there as it is over here. I would suggest minding your own business. If that's possible. Overblowing mine is exactly what I have been complaining about. Also "underblowing it." I am not sure about what is causing that last effect, either. A nasty joke, and that shouldn't be the entire ongoing matter. Unless sex is all, and all is sex. That would require something odd...something that I'm not quite aware of, anymore.

There should be some rather sex-free rocks, dirt, and stones. I have noticed that some rocks are round, and some are square. This could file sex under it, instead of it being filed under sex, for a change. But maybe something needs to reverse things. I can't see using rape as a "teaching tool," for example, because something is insisting that it is sexless. Rape isn't all that sexless. Rocks, maybe, not thrown ones...I'm getting more and more confused. Thrown rocks seem pretty sexless. Rape seems so either, so why is it so popular, when thrown rocks are...bullets. Well, why don't you try reading the below. The bullets hit me, gee, now I can't go on any further.


  • By Tim Utton Science Reporter

It might explain why some people are more Private Pike than Charles Bronson.
And why even the thought of a little pain can bring out the wimp in us.

It appears some people really do feel pain more sharply than others.

How we cope with it, say scientists, is all in the genes.

They have discovered a 'pain gene' which dictates how much discomfort, stress and pain we can take before raising the white flag.

Tiny variations are directly linked to the pain threshold.

The discovery could lead to advances in painkilling medicines.

The scientists, led by Dr Jon-Kar Zubieta at the University of Michigan, found that everyone carries two copies of the 'pain gene' - one inherited from each parent.

The gene comes in two forms, 'val' and 'met', and makes a chemical that helps control the brain signals involved in pain response.

Some people carrying matching pairs; others carry one of each.

The study involved injecting saltwater into volunteers' jaw muscles.

Brain scans were used to trace pain responses. Subjects also rated their pain every 15 seconds and filled out questionnaires about how they felt.

Dr Zubieta's team found that people with two copies of the 'met' were extremely sensitive to pain. Those with two copies of the 'val' gene felt much less pain and suffered less stress as a result.

People with one copy of each gene variation had a pain response somewhere between the two.

Dr Zubieta said: 'This common genetic variation appears to influence individuals' pain response quite noticeably.

'All of this work is helping tell us how important individual differences are in the experience of pain and other significant stressors.'

The findings are published in the journal Science.

The two gene forms make versions of an enzyme called catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) which differ only by one amino acid chemical building block, either valine or methionine - hence the abbreviations 'val' and 'met'.

The COMT enzyme mops up a brain chemical called dopamine.

Individuals with two copies of the 'val' gene make powerful COMT that mops up dopamine rapidly and clears the way for production of the brain's natural painkillers.

But those with two copies of the 'met' gene suffered the opposite effect - production of the natural painkillers was hindered, exposing the individual to more pain.

Freeways or Highways being taken down, mainly replaced by Newer Freeways. And what else?

The first generation of freeways is approaching the end of its lifespan.
New York's West Side Highway began construction during 1920s and crumbled during the 1970s.  The freeways built during the freeway building boom of the 1950s and 1960s have begun to obsolesce: many already need rebuilding and many more will need rebuilding during the next few decades. In general, the cost of rebuilding them will be more expensive than new freeway construction.  As John Norquist has said, "governments around the country can't afford to rebuild the highway infrastructure without bankrupting their economy." 
As freeways obsolesce, there will be political battles to decide what to do with each one - to rebuild it or to remove it. 

Removing Freeways

By now, it should be clear that removal is the best alternative - and the only alternative that helps us deal with looming environmental problems such as global warming. We have seen that traffic engineers were wrong when to predict that freeway removals would lead to gridlock. We have seen that even in cities where there was strong political opposition, freeway removals turned out to be successful and popular after they were completed.
When we look at freeway spurs, parts of larger freeway plans that were never completed, it is obvious that removal is best.  There is no significant impact on capacity of the total freeway network, and there are obvious benefits, because tearing down the freeway reclaims land for new development or parks and helps revive adjacent neighborhoods.
When these freeways run through downtowns, there are huge economic benefits to tearing them down.  For example, we have seen that:
  • Milwaukee spent $25 million to demolish the 1-mile-long Park East freeway, while it would have cost $100 million to rebuild that 30-year-old freeway.  Removing the freeway opened 26 acres of land for new development, including the freeway right of way and surface parking lots around it, which have already attracted over $300 investment in new development, in addition to stimulating development in surrounding areas.
  • San Francisco increased nearby property values by 300 percent by tearing down the Embarcadero Freeway and opening up the waterfront was opened up, stimulating the development of entire new neighborhoods.
Of course, it is more radical to tear down mainline freeways rather than just freeway spurs, because this reduces capacity on the entire freeway system. Nevertheless, cities are beginning to remove mainline freeways: 
  • Niagara Falls is removing the Robert Moses Parkway in order to slow people down and encourage them not to drive as far.  Just as building this parkway encouraged tourists to take longer trips and drive right through to Niagara Falls, Canada, removing this parkway is meant to encourage tourists to take shorter trips and stop in Niagara Falls, New York.
  • Paris is considering closing the Pompidou Expressway as one element of a larger plan to reduce automobile use by reclaiming land from the automobile.  It is also converting traffic lanes on major streets to bus lanes, as part of the same plan.
  • Seoul has removed the Cheonggye freeway and restored the river that it covered in order to stimulate the economic revival of central Seoul's Dongdaemun district.  It has built busways to replace the freeway capacity, and it the goal of this plan is to reduce automobile use from 27.5 percent to 12 percent of all trips.
In the 21st century, it should become common to tear down mainline freeways to reduce automobile dependency, because this will be necessary to deal with global warming and other environmental challenges of the coming century..

Induced Demand

It should be cleaar by now that it was a mistake to build urban freeways. Because they blighted the older neighborhoods that they sliced through and made it easier to commute from remote new suburbs, the freeways encouraged suburban sprawl - so they generated more traffic, which quickly filled the freeways beyond capacity. Freeways that were supposed to handle projected demand for decades became congested in just a few years, because of the traffic that they themselves generated.
This is what transportation planners call "induced demand." Building freeways encourages people to drive longer distances: in the short run, people begin to drive to regional malls rather than local stores, and in the longer run, they move to lower density neighborhoods where they have to drive further for all their trips.
One study found that, within five years after a major freeway is built in California, 95 percent of the new road capacity  fills up with traffic that would not have existed if the freeway had not been built.1Other studies in different places show different levels of induced demand, but they generally agree that, within a few years, more than half of the new capacity fills with traffic that would not have existed if the road had not been built.   
In Great Britain, where there is a very active anti-freeway movement, transportation planners are no longer allowed to count reduced travel time as a benefit of building a new freeway. The Department of Transport has adopted a guidance document saying that cost-benefit studies on new freeways must assume that elasticity of demand may be as high as 1.0 with respect to speed - which means that average trip length increases as much as speed increases, so building freeways and increasing speeds just lengthen trips and does not save any time.2     
When post-war American freeways generated sprawl and longer trips, transportation planners began to theorize that the average person budgets a constant amount of time for transportation, so that higher speeds just make people travel longer distances.  This idea was first advanced by Yacov Zahavi of the U.S.  Department of Transportation, who studied changed in travel patterns between 1958 and 1970 and found that people did not spend any less time traveling, though all the freeways built during that period let people travel faster.3   
Follow-up research confirmed his conclusions.  It showed that the amount of time that Americans spend commuting to work has remained constant since the 1840s, when the move to the suburbs began as a reaction against the industrial revolution, though there have been vast changes in technology since then.4  The total amount of time that Americans budget to transportation also tends to remain constant, about 1.1 hours per day.5   As speeds have increased, suburbs have sprawled over more land, the malls have gotten bigger, and people have driven further to get to their jobs or go
Per Capita Vehicle Miles Traveled in the United States
The distance that the average American travels has doubled since the 1960s.
source: Census Bureau, Statitsical Abstract of the United States 

Reduced Demand

If people have a constant time budget for transportation, we should expect that tearing down freeways and reducing speeds will reduce the distances that people travel.  Just as building freeways and increasing speeds causes induced demand, removing freeways should cause reduced demand.   This is sometimes called "traffic evaporation."
Studies have shown that reducing road capacity does reduce traffic - but not as dramatically as increasing capacity increases traffic.
In 1998, a comprehensive study of the issue was published.  With funding from the city of London and British government, a team of researchers at University College, London, examined 60 cases where road capacity was taken away from cars, with examples from the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, the USA, Canada, Tasmania and Japan.  Often, there were predictions that reducing capacity would cause gridlock, but the researchers found that, though there was sometimes short-term disruption, there were no cases of long-term gridlock.  Most drivers moved to parallel streets or changed their travel time to avoid congestion.  Some drivers changed their mode of travel, changed where they carried out activities, or changed where they lived to avoid congestion.  Overall, 14 to 25 percent of the traffic that had used the removed capacity simply disappeared, on the average.6
In some cases, reductions were more dramatic than this average.  In 1973, when New York city's West Side Highway collapsed, 53 percent of the traffic that had used that freeway simply disappeared.7  Presumably, traffic was reduced by such a large amount because people in the center of New York city have good transit alternatives and shopping within walking distance of their homes.
If only about 20 percent of traffic disappears on the average when we reduce road capacity, it is best to taking a more comprehensive approach to reducing traffic at the same time that we remove mainline freeways. 
Two policies that can reduce traffic immediately, at the same time that freeways are removed, are:
  • Parking Cash-Out: Businesses could be required to give employees commute allowances instead of free parking.  Employees could use the allowance to pay for the parking they used to get for free, could use it to pay for transit, could keep part of the allowance if they car-pooled to work, or could keep the entire allowance if they walked or bicycled to work. It is estimated that this policy could reduce commuter traffic (and peak demand for road space) by about 20% immediately and by even more as better transit service is provided.
  • Congestion Pricing: As in London and Stockholm, drivers could be charged a fee for driving into the central business district at times when roads are congested.  The revenues could be used to pay for better public transportation.  This policy has been very successful where it has been tried, and the fee can be set at the level needed to reduce congestion to a manageable level.  San Francisco is currently studying congestion pricing for its central business district.

Rebuilding Our Cities

In the long term, we need to rebuild our cities to make them less auto-dependent by promoting:
  • Public Transportation: Though states have had some flexibility to spend federal funding on either highways or transit since 1992, they still spend far more on new freeway capacity than on public transit: between 1992 and 2001, states spend 29% of federal highway funds on new freeway capacity and only 5% of these funds on public transit (with the bulk of the funding going to maintain existing roads).8  At the same time that we reduce freeway capacity, we need to provide transit alternatives - particularly transit on exclusive rights-of-way, which gives people a way to avoid traffic congestion.
  • Smart Zoning and Smart Growth:  Today, most zoning requires developers to build at suburban densities, which are so low that they cannot support decent transit service or local shopping, so people have no choice but to drive.  The new urbanists have developed zoning codes that allow developers to build more compact neighborhoods of single-family houses, with transit and shopping streets within walking distance.  We need smart growth policies to these walkable neighborhood of single homes and denser neighborhoods of apartment buildings around transit nodes and corridors. In this way, we would gradually rebuild our freeway-oriented cities as transit- and pedestrian-oriented cities.
It is plausible that building freeways has such a strong effect in inducing traffic precisely because it has been supported by other public policies. Zoning has required low densities, separate land uses, and abundant parking. Suburbanization was also jump-started by FHA loans, which initially were available only to buyers of only low-density suburban housing.  Businesses virtually all provide free parking for customers and employees who drive, and nothing for people who use public transpotration or walk.  These have been the policies during the era of freeway building, and they help to explain why freeways generated so much traffic. 
Likewise, it is plausible that removing freeways has less effect in reducing traffic because it is not supported by other  public policies.  To make freeway removal more effective, we should zone to allow more compact neighborhoods, we should give federal loan guarantees to apartment buildings and mixed-use projects with housing above shopping as well as to single-family houses, and we should shift funding from new freeway capacity to new transit systems. 

Beyond the Conventional Wisdom

Today, the conventional wisdom among environmentalists focuses on two of the three things that we must do to rebuild our cities: shifting funding from new freeways to public transportation and zoning for pedestrian and transit-oriented development.  But the conventional wisdom shies away from the third thing that we must do: reducing freeway capacity and slowing traffic. 
Apparently, we still intimidated by the traffic engineers who say that reducing capacity will cause gridlock, though they have been proven wrong by the recent British study of cases where capacity actually has been reduced.

Instead, the conventional wisdom seems to be that we should underground mainline freeways when they obsolesce, so they do less damage to the surrounding neighborhood.  Yet undergrounding freeways is tremendously expensive.  The "big dig" in Boston cost $14.6 billion to underground just two miles of freeways - far more than the initial projection of $4 billiion.
The usual argument for undergrounding is that we cannot simply eliminate existing mainline freeways, because removing them would cause congestion and drivers would waste many hours in traffic.  But this is no different from the traffic engineers' argument that building new freeways will save drivers time.  In reality, because people have a constant time budget that they devote to transportation, they will eventually change their patterns of activity to accommodate lower speeds.  We can deal with congestion in the short term using parking cash-out, congestion pricing, and other forms of transportation demand management. And we can make it possible for people to change their patterns of activity in the long term by promoting public transportation and smart growth.
The conventional wisdom - that we should build pubilc transportation and pedestrian and transit-oriented development - is not enough in itself.. As long as people can travel at 60 or 70 miles per hour on the freeways, they will drive to do their shopping at big-box stores and drive to work at jobs in Edge Cities, just as often as they shop at the stores near their homes and take transit to jobs in city centers. 
This is what has happened in the past: in the 1930s, American cities were all pedestrian and transit oriented, but much of this transit and local shopping has vanished because of competetion from freeways and freeway-oriented shopping.
The same thing continues to happen today. New York City has plenty of local shopping, but it loses sales tax revenues to suburban counties because people drive there to shop at big-box stores. To recover these tax revenues, it is under pressure to allow more big-box shopping within city limits, though these new big-box stores would obviously draw even more people from neighborhood shopping streets.
To build environmentally sustainable cities, in addition to promoting public transportation and smart growth, we need to remove mainline freeways and, in most cases, to replace them with boulevards.  Boulevards can carry a substantial amount of traffic - but at a lower speed than freeways.  Boulevards allow cross-traffic, so they do not slice apart neighborhoods like freeways. In fact, with a service and parking lane on each side, separated from the main traffic flow by landscaped medians, they can provide an attraction that helps pull the neighborhood together.  Boulevards can also include light rail in a separate right of way. 
The idea of removing mainline freeways sounds radical today, but it will prove to be necessary during the twenty-first century, in order to deal with global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels. 
After all, the changes that we need in the twenty-first century are no more radical than the changes that occured during the twentieth century, when we transformed our traditional pedestrian- and transit-oriented cities into automobile-oriented sprawl by building freeways and by zoning for low-density suburban style development.  During the twenty-first century, we need to transform the sprawl back into something more like traditional cities by building public transportation, promoting smart growth, and removing freeways.
The twentieth century's freeways and suburban zoning gave us more traffic, gave us an ugly landscape of strip malls and sprawl, gave us neighborhoods where it is impossible to go anywhere without driving, and are now giving us global warming.
By contrast, freeway removal, transit, and smart growth would give us less traffic, would give us neighborhoods that are attractive enough that we would enjoy walking, and would leave a healthier global environment to our children and grandchildren.


1. Mark Hansen and Yuanlin Huang, "Road Supply and Traffic in Californian Urban Areas."Transportation Research A, Volume 31, No 3, 1997, pp. 205-218.
2. UK Department of Transport, Report of the Standing Committee on Trunk Road Assessment, December 1994 and Guidance document 24 L, based on this report.

3. Yacov Zahavi, Travel Over Time, Report PL-79-004 (FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1979).  Yacov Zahavi and Antti Talvitie, "Regularities in Travel Time and Money Expenditures," Transportation Research Record 750 (TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. 1980) pp. 13-19.  Yacov Zahavi and J. M. Ryan, "Stability of Travel Components Over Time," Transportation Research Record 750 (TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 1980) pp. 19-26.  A later study updated Zahavi's analysis using data through 1990 and concluded that he was right to say that people have a constant time budget that they devote to traveling: Gary Barnes and Gary Davis, Land Use and Travel Choices in the Twin Cities, 1958-1990, Report No. 6 in the series Transportation and Regional Growth (Minneapolis: Center for Transportation Studies, 2001)
4. J. M. McLynn and Spielberg, "Procedures for Demand Forecasting Subject to Household Budget Constraints" in Directions to Improve Travel Demand Forecasting: Conference Summary and White Papers, HHP-22 (Washington DC, Federal Highway Administration, 1978) pp. 115-197.
5. J. M. Ryan and B. D. Spear, "Directions toward the Better Understanding of Transportation and Urban Structure," in ibid., pp. 199-247.
6. Cairns, Hass-Klau and Goodwin, Traffic Impact of Highway Capacity Reductions: Assessment of the Evidence (Landor Publishing, London, 1998)
7. Jill Kruse, "Remove It and They Will Disappear" Progress, published by Surface Transportation Policy Project, March 1998.  
8. Table 2 (insert) in Progress, published by Surface Transportation Policy Project, February, 2003.

copyright 2007 by Charles Siegel

The World Health Organization’s cancer agency

Paris Will Dramatically Reduce Car Traffic To Fight Air Pollution Emergency

The mayor of Paris, City of Lights, announced Saturday that starting Monday morning, the number of cars permitted to drive in the city would be reduced by half in an effort to fight a “pollution emergency.”
Cars with plates ending in odd numbers, hybrid or electric vehicles, cars with more than three passengers, and public transportation — now free in the city and surrounding towns — would be the only ways to move around in Paris. Electric vehicle and bicycle sharing programs would also cost nothing while the ban stayed in place.
The pollution began to spike on Wednesday, and Paris saw its air quality become the worst in the world for a time according to Plume Labs, surpassing even China and India’s heavily-polluted cities. Plume Labs categorized Paris’ air pollution levels as near “critical” on Wednesday and again on Saturday, which means that the impacts will be rapidly felt and concerning to all.
A similar pollution emergency last March caused the French capital to make all public transportation free.
The Eiffel Tower, where technicians recently installed vertical axis wind turbinesto power the commercial areas of its first floor, was not visible to many Parisians last week.
Paris is also looking to ban the most heavy-polluting vehicles in the long term, in an attempt to avoid future incidents.
“We’re already investing heavily in improving public transport and the most polluting cars [diesel cars made before 2001] will be banned starting in July,” a spokesperson for Paris’s transport commissioner, said. The mayor opposes a congestion charge in the style of London or New York because she feels it is unjust.
Concern about the extreme air pollution extended to Britain, where smog levels hit nine out of ten in parts of the Isles.
“Winds bringing in pollution from the continent, combined with locally generated pollution and still weather conditions, have led to some high pollution measurements across the U.K.,” said a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman said on Thursday.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo asked residents to commit to carpooling (“covoiturage”) on Twitter, with the hashtag #urgencepollution, or “pollution emergency.”
Hidalgo also tweeted that “I am delighted the state has agreed to put in place a partial driving ban on Monday, which I have been requesting for several days.”
The World Health Organization’s cancer agency announced it had sufficient evidence to classify outdoor air pollution as “carcinogenic to humans.” Particulate matter is a major component of outdoor air pollution and is also known to cause cancer — mainly lung cancer but also bladder cancer.
In December of this year, Paris will play host to the critical U.N. climate summit, which many hope will commit the world to reining in carbon pollution, of which burning fossil fuel is the main source. In October, the EU committed to cutting emissions 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Citizens United the Movie - Long Term Project Finally Coming Through for Them

Mar 19 (3 days ago)

Dear Friends and Activists,

It already looks like Citizens United, The Movie, is shaping up to be
one seriously controversial film, and all we've done so far is start
to send the advance DVDs out to our initial supporters.

If you have seen the movie already, the whole movie, we'd love to
hear from you. Otherwise, if you are curious about what the fuss is
all about, there is still time for you to request your own review

Supporter Only Advance DVDs (Secret Surprise Reward):

But we can only do this until we get our first film festival
acceptance, which could happen any time.

We promised you an almost unprecedented production, and we believe we
delivered. Citizens United, The Movie, is an expansive narrative
story, bringing in many references to issues we care about (gay
lifestyles, veganism, war crimes, etc.) as progressive policy
activists, but ultimately about the necessity of amending the
constitution now, and the irresistable power of citizen activism.

Since this is not a documentary, like the other movies progressives
are supposed to make, we need to tell a story. There must be good
"guys" (in this case actually mostly good gals) and bad guys. We need
to have characters experience trials and be in jeopardy, and show the
badness of the bad guys (not always a pretty picture). But when you
watch the movie to the end, you will see how all the pieces of this
initiative come together. People are saying the ending of the movie
in particular is one of the most inspirational scenes ever filmed.

The French translation of the entire script is done and the
submission to the Cannes Film Festival is already in consideration.
For any French language buffs out there, here is the closing line of
the film, expressing certainty that when the people really come
together for a political cause, we cannot be defeated.

"Il y a une chose dont je suis certain . . . il n'y a rien qui ne
peut pas etre fait . . Si seulement les citoyens sont vraiment unis."

With that spirit, we present Citizens United, The Movie. If you want
a version with the French subtitles, we'll burn one for you custom.
Otherwise everyone gets the regular advance DVD we already have in

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Gay Rights in Russia, where they fear you being Gay


Putin's state has allowed violence against the Russian LGBT community to spike.
March 22, 2015

Moscow’s first gay pride parade was held in May 2006, thirteen years after homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia. It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, the beginning of a new era of openness for the LGBT community.

It didn't quite work out that way. LGBT marchers that day clashed with riot police, who tried to stop the event. “We disturbed something very deeply rooted in Russian society, some very evil power of intolerance and violence,” says Nikolai Baev, a prominent LGBT rights activist who attended the march.

Only a few months later, Russia saw its first regional anti-gay law passed in Ryazan, 200 miles east of Moscow. It was the first official sign that the Russian authorities would resist the LGBT movement—a resistance that has grown and become increasingly violent as LGBT activism has grown over the last decade.

That violence hit Dmitry Chizhevsky in November 2013 when he attended a weekly meeting for the LGBT community and friends called the Rainbow Tea Party in Saint Petersburg. “It was a place to socialize, drink some tea and play some games,” Chizhevsky says. It wasn’t a political event, and Chizhevsky wasn’t much for protests. 

The old town had a hectic feeling that weekend as the 10th Annual March Against Hatred took place in the city’s gracious main streets. The next day, on November 3, the tea party was more crowded than usual.

“I saw two guys next to the door wearing masks,” Chizhevsky recalls. “After that I heard shots. The first one hit my eye. They yelled, ‘Where will you run, faggot?’ and one hit me several times with a baseball bat. Then the attackers ran away. One of the small balls [from a pneumatic pistol] stayed behind my eye.” The police ran a rather lackluster investigation and no one was ever arrested.

He became an unsolved statistic—just one of a growing number in Russia’s LGBT community who’ve been attacked or harassed in what has become an unprecedented crackdown. In most of the West, gay rights has seen startling breakthroughs in the last decade. Russia has not just been left behind, but has become demonstrably worse and more dangerous, according to more than two dozen individuals we spoke with in five Russian cities over six weeks of reporting. On the local and national level, a series of so-called anti-gay propaganda laws were passed that made it illegal to discuss LGBT themes with minors or to distribute such information to them, even if it dealt with health issues.

In a country that increasingly punishes the “other” and where violence against select groups and individuals is often tolerated—and even encouraged—by the state, there’s become no greater target than being LGBT. A community that was just beginning to organize found itself under assault, the target of a deep-seated Russian homophobia that had now been embedded in law.

And for Chizhevsky, although he thought about staying in his native land, the price of being gay in Russia was ultimately just too high. Like more and more gays and lesbians over the last two years, Chizhevsky had had enough of Russia, a place where his sexual orientation alone seemed to make him an enemy of the state.

“Sometimes I don’t know how I feel about it,” Chizhevsky says about the trauma of that day. “I feel that I have gotten used to it over the past year. I am thinking more about the opportunities ahead and the future I want to build” in the United States. In July 2014, a little more than six months after the attack, Chizhevsky arrived in New York.

A self-educated software developer, Chizhevsky made his way to Washington, D.C., where he discovered an LGBT community that was out and open and living without fear. Chizhevsky decided to try to make a life here and to seek political asylum in the United States.

He was one of many Russian gays and lesbians to make that trek. U.S. asylum applications from Russians rose 15 percent overall in 2014, when there were 969 new cases. The U.S. government does not release the reasons people seek asylum, but asylum seekers like Chizhevsky say the spike is at least in part a result of the crackdown on the LGBT community.

“Everyone says that my case is not very difficult because it has been so well documented,” Chizhevsky says over coffee at Busboys and Poets on 14th Street in Northwest D.C. “Even the United Nations asked Russia about my case”—a fairly typical part of the process since asylum seekers need to prove that they are in danger at home.

Despite the trauma, Chizhevsky is one of the lucky ones. LGBT activists interviewed in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan and Archangelsk say there is a pitched level of anxiety for those who stay behind. “All of a sudden, people started calling us Sodomites,” says Tatiana Vinnitchenko, 41, a lesbian activist with a group called “Rakurs” (Perspective). Rakurs is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provided legal advice and community centers for the LGBT community in Arkhangelsk, which lies some 600 miles from Moscow and is the site of Russia’s first major seaport.

Vinnitchenko says she expects to be fired this month from her job as a professor at Northern Arctic Federal University because of her activism. A Russian language instructor, Vinnitchenko says she’s been given an ultimatum: “I had to leave my job or stop my activities in Rakurs.” Leonid Shestakov, the acting rector at the university, says there have been “conversations of a personal nature held with Vinnitchenko,” but focused only on the performance of her duties.

Nora FitzGerald, currently a freelance writer and editor, wrote for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribuneand the International Herald Tribune from Moscow, Berlin and Warsaw.