Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tribal Resilience Plans in an Age of Sea Level Rise

What If the Water Can’t be Stopped?
Tribal Resilience Plans in an Age of Sea Level Rise

Monday, April 20, 2015
3:00 – 4:30 PM
628 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Please RSVP to expedite check-in:

 Live webcast (connection permitting) will be streamed at:

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing during Earth Week examining the impacts of sea level rise and oil and gas extraction on Native American communities. Across the United States, in Alaska, the Mississippi delta, the Northern Plains and the Great Lakes, land degradation presents challenges to indigenous peoples’ homes and livelihoods. As many Native American communities contemplate their potential displacement, one tribe is already preparing to move – the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, who make their home in southern Louisiana. Join our speakers as they discuss the tribe’s ambitious strategy to become one of the first coastal indigenous groups to relocate as a community in modern times, and why they feel it is necessary.

Experiences such as the Isle de Jean Charles Tribe’s inspired the White House to convene a State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which met from 2013 to 2014. Last November, the Task Force published a report of 35 recommendations on how the federal government can assist local climate resilience efforts. This briefing will examine some of the recommendations from tribal communities, such as encouraging the incorporation of climate resilience into land use development and management practices. Speakers include:
  • Chief Albert Naquin, Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana
  • Bob Gough, Secretary, Intertribal Council on Utility Policy
  • Julie Maldonado, anthropologist and climate justice expert
The Isle de Jean Charles Tribe, which has made its home for 170 years on the Isle de Jean Charles in the bayous of southern Louisiana, has seen decades of oil and gas extraction operations, restrictive levees, and salt water intrusion from sea level rise severely diminish the freshwater marsh around its island. The dwindling marsh can no longer protect the island from ocean tides, which will eventually destroy it. Chief Albert Naquin is leading the Isle de Jean Charles Tribe as they preserve their community and culture by moving together to a new home. The tribe’s vision for their new community will emphasize agricultural sustainability, healthy living, and pride in the culture and tribal identity of the group.

The briefing will include a 10-minute screening of Can’t Stop the Water, a short film examining the struggle and optimism of the Isle de Jean Charles Tribe. The tribe hopes its story and innovative relocation plan can serve as a model for other tribal communities facing displacement due to land loss.

Chief Albert Naquin, Bob Gough and Dr. Julie Maldonado are visiting Washington, DC as part of an East Coast tour to build awareness of tribal relocation issues. Other stops include New York and Philadelphia.

This briefing is the second in a two-part series examining local resilience efforts across the country. The first event was held April 1, 2015, and can be viewed at

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Laura Small at or (202) 662-1892.

Yoko Ono On John Lennon's Forgotten First Love -- Drawing

He had a habit of just giving his art away to people," Yoko Ono softly explained, in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. "He was pretty generous about that."

Yes, that humble "he" refers to John Lennon, the legendary singer, songwriter, musician and artist who inspired the world to imagine peace. As such, it's not a huge shock that he enjoyed giving away his drawings.

"We had a big lawyers meeting and the whole time they were talking he was just scribbling something," Ono said. "The lawyers would come to John and say, 'What are you doing?' And he was making this beautiful, beautiful artwork. And the lawyer said, 'Well, can I have it?' And he said, 'Sure, sure.' That's just how John was."


Fast Track to what?‏

Legislators have introduced Fast Track legislation in Congress to force through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The worst part is, Fast Track was introduced the same week that Congress renewed its attacks on net neutrality — which means that right now, we're fighting for Internet freedom on multiple fronts in Congress. That makes it critical that we strike as quickly as possible to make it clear that this kind of anti-democratic, anti-Internet deal can’t go forward.
If you already signed up, help spread the word:
Let’s stop the TPP.

Fast Track Introduced, Opposition Grows Against Rigged Trade

[On Thursday], Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced a fast track bill that they will be pushing hard to get through the legislative process as quickly as possible. A hearing is planned for next Thursday [April 23] in the Senate Finance Committee to mark-up the bill and perhaps vote on it. Hatch and Wyden spoke in flowery terms about the bill at a hearing on April 16, 2015 but when all the flowers are removed, not much has changed. The bill is a transfer of constitutional responsibility for trade to the president. The statements were misleading at best and at the announcement people working with Popular Resistance decided we needed to show our opposition. We stood up and turned our back on the committee as US Trade Representative Michael Froman was testifying. We also protested outside of the Dirksen Senate Office building showing our opposition to fast track for rigged corporate trade. One of their talking points is there are nearly 150 congressional objectives in the bill implying this gives Congress a role in setting the direction of the bill. But, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been negotiated in secret by the Obama administration since 2009 and is nearly complete so how are these 150 objectives going to be met?


Civil Society Asks World Bank Three Questions

Oakland, CA - As the World Bank prepares for its annual Spring Meetings, members of Our Land Our Business, a campaign of over 260 NGOs, farmer groups and trade unions from around the world, are publically posing three questions about the Bank’s role in land grabbing, climate destruction and the corporatization of agriculture. These questions penetrate to the heart of the World Bank’s development model and throw its loudly and expensively self-promoted claim to serve the interests of the world’s poor into stark relief. Why have you not spoken to farmers before promoting massive agriculture-reform programs? Your flagship agricultural reform initiative – “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” (EBA), formerly known as “Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture” (BBA) – is due to be rolled out across 40 countries this year. At no point in your decision to create the EBA have you consulted farmers or farmer groups.


Review of Comcast Deal Is Said to Raise Concerns

The staff lawyers at the Justice Department reviewing Comcast’s proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable have raised concerns about the merger and are leaning toward recommending that it be blocked, according to a person with knowledge of the deliberations.
The development represents only a preliminary step, and senior Justice Department officials could overrule any recommendation from their staff lawyers.
Announced in February 2014, the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable would unite the two largest cable operators in the United States, controlling just under 30 percent of the country’s pay television subscribers. It also would control an estimated 35 to 50 percent of the nation’s broadband Internet service, depending on how regulators defined the market.

Why We Let Prison Rape Go On

ORANGE, Conn. — IT’S been called “America’s most ‘open’ secret”: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, around 80,000 women and men a year are sexually abused in American correctional facilities. That number is almost certainly subject to underreporting, through shame or a victim’s fear of retaliation. Overall, only 35 percent of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to the police in 2010, and the rate of reporting in prisons is undoubtedly lower still.
To tackle the problem, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003. The way to eliminate sexual assault, lawmakers determined, was to make Department of Justice funding for correctional facilities conditional on states’ adoption of zero-tolerance policies toward sexual abuse of inmates.

Friday, April 17, 2015

SATURDAY: 2015 #GlobalCitizenEarthDay - LIVESTREAM - National Mall, DC

Remember, you don't even need tickets!

2015 #GlobalCitizenEarthDay - LIVESTREAM - National Mall, DC
TOMORROW from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., EST.
No Doubt, Usher, Fall Out Boy, Mary J Blige, Train, My Morning Jacket, Common, D'Banj, Fally Ipupa, Vixx, Roy Kim, and 250,000 people like you and me will converge on the National Mall to take a stand for the planet and its people.

Apple Made the Right Call on Fair-Hiring Practices. Uncle Sam Should Follow Its Lead.

Last week, faster than you can say, “Your software needs to be updated to iOS 8.3,” Apple defended its policy of barring people with felony records from working construction on its new Cupertino campus, and then rescinded it after an outpouring of public criticism.

 Apple made the right call. As a multinational corporation, its support for fair-chance hiring carries huge symbolic value, as well as positively affecting the lives of real people who have done their time and seek to rebuild their lives as productive neighbors, fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters. And in big business, Apple is not alone. Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and Bed, Bath & Beyond have removed the question about convictions from their initial job applications. Meanwhile, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), 15 states and more than 100 cities and counties, plus the District of Columbia, have adopted fair-chance hiring policies.

It’s long past time for the federal government to step up.

The ACLU has joined the call of NELP, All of Us or None, the PICO National Network, and almost 200 other organizations and individuals to President Obama to issue an executive order and presidential memorandum directing federal agencies and federal contractors to adopt fair-hiring practices. The federal government employs more than 2 million civilians, and approximately 22 percent of U.S. workers are employed by federal and federally funded contractors or subcontractors. Adoption of fair-chance hiring throughout the federal workforce would not only demonstrate powerful leadership; it would also impact millions of people.
To be clear, fair-chance hiring policies don’t guarantee jobs for people with criminal records. They simply help ensure that those individuals are considered for employment on their merits, typically by postponing a criminal background check till later in the hiring process and incorporating guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that require employers to consider whether a particular criminal conviction is “job related and consistent with business necessity.” The EEOC has stated that “criminal record exclusions have a disparate impact based on race and national origin” – not surprising given that the U.S. criminal justice system disproportionately impacts African-Americans and Latinos.

In his recent interview with David Simon, creator of “The Wire,” President Obama acknowledged that individuals with felony histories are often prevented from entering the job market. He called it “counter-productive.”

Yes, Mr. President – it is counter-productive.

And you can help make it right. Make the federal government a model for the rest of the nation by requiring federal agencies and contractors to give people with criminal records a second chance.


Debate: Should We Abolish the Death Penalty?

A recent Gallup poll found that Americans are still largely supportive of the death penalty, with 6 in 10 in favor as punishment for murder. Legal in 32 states, it has come under renewed scrutiny in light of several botched executions in 2014. At the heart of the debate are many complicated questions. Within a flawed criminal justice system, is it possible to know every person’s guilt with a sufficient degree of certainty? Does the fear of death reduce crime? Are there race and class biases in sentencing? Are some crimes so heinous in nature that punishment by death is the only appropriate measure, or is capital punishment always immoral? Should we abolish the death penalty?