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Photo by Morning Calm Weekly New under a Creative Commons license

Pentagon Budget: Corruption Disguised as Patriotism

November 12, 2016 | By David Morris

In October 2015, when he was a very, very long shot for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump the businessman promised to make the military “much stronger than it is right now” without increasing military spending. “But you know what?” he declared,  “We can do it for less.”

Photo by Theresa Thompson under a Creative Commons license

America's Long (and Unfinished) Road to Democracy

November 12, 2016 | By David Morris

The founding fathers minced no words about their distrust of the masses.

Solutions for Inequality from a One-Percenter

November 12, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

Chuck Collins, a former OTC board member, has devoted most of his life to the cause of making the American economy more fair.  As co-founder of Wealth for the Common Good and co-author (with Bill Gates Sr.) of Wealth and Common Wealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes, he’s a leading advocate that people who have benefited so handsomely from America’s economic system owe the nation so

Jonathan Tasini with Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail.

Political Revolution Marches on in New Podcast

November 12, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

Jonathan Tasini—who was a national surrogate for  the Bernie Sanders campaign and author of the book The Essential Bernie Sanders—recently launched a new Podcast: The Working Life.  He describes it as,  “the political revolution delivered to you every week: politics, work, the economy, the voices of real workers (a segment devoted to workers and their jobs is going to be Studs Terkel-like…look it up if you don’t know the name), Robber Barons, corporate power, greed…you know, the light stuff. Plus, sports!”

Photo by Kathy under a Creative Commons license

Young People Sue US Over Climate Change

November 12, 2016

On November 10, the federal court in Eugene, Oregon decided in favor of 21 youth plaintiffs in their “groundbreaking” constitutional climate lawsuit against President Obama, numerous federal agencies, and the fossil fuel industry. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken completely rejected all arguments to dismiss raised by the federal government and fossil fuel industry, determining that the young plaintiffs’ constitutional and public trust claims could proceed.

How One Farm is Reinventing Agriculture for a Brighter Future

November 11, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

Old MacDonald of E-I-E-I-O fame would feel right at home on Essex Farm, a 600-acre spread in upstate New York where the future of American agriculture is being radically reconceived. 

For the past 60 years, farmers have been encouraged, seduced and coerced by agribusiness and federal policies to become ever more specialized.  So it’s surprising to walk through a modern farmyard and hear a moo-moo here and an oink-oink there, and see 50 different kinds of vegetables growing in the fields. 

Photo by Dan Burden/Blue Zones

Walking Picks Up Speed

November 11, 2016

As life grows ever more challenging, with concerns about health and the future nagging at us, one solution can be as simple as taking a walk.

Kids walking to school in Riceville, Iowa

America’s Walking Renaissance

November 11, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

Get a free pdf download of a new book detailing the best tips and strategies to help Americans walk more, and highlighting unexpected success stories across the country. The book chronicles how the walking movement is gaining ground all across the country—in suburbs and small towns as well as big cities and college towns:

By Victor Bautista under a Creative Commons license

First Step Toward Reconnecting a Fractured Country

November 11, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

The recent election spotlights how fractured America has become. Thankfully, walking offers one simple way to connect with one another.  Sidewalks, streets, trails and other places we travel on foot are common ground—literally, commons we all share.  They are among the few places where Americans of many backgrounds come together face-to-face, giving us the chance to smile, wave, talk and get to know someone different than ourselves. It is much harder to fear, hate, dismiss or ignore people you cross paths with every day.

By Victor Bautista under a Creative Commons license

First Step Toward Connecting a Fractured Country

November 11, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

The recent election spotlights how fractured America has become. Thankfully, walking offers one simple way to connect with one another.  Sidewalks, streets, trails and other places we travel on foot are common ground—literally, commons we all share.  They are among the few places where Americans of many backgrounds come together face-to-face, giving us the chance to smile, wave, talk and get to know someone different than ourselves. It is much harder to fear, hate, dismiss or ignore people you cross paths with every day.

A student skateboards to school on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail (By Sciondriver under a Creative Commons license)

Indy Rocks: An Overlooked City Bounces Back

September 28, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

Indianapolis is not yet a city people add to their bucket lists or dream about moving. It’s generally seen as a good town to raise a family or find a job—a sensible, comfortable, but not exactly exciting or exceptional place. But after a weeklong visit--where I sampled everything from world-class arts institutions to working-class taverns, I came away distinctly surprised and impressed.

By Michael Geminder under a Creative Commons licesne

The Greening of the Commons

September 28, 2016

The places we all share – the commons – vary in many ways.  Some are busy places; some are quiet.  Some are designed as pass-through places; others invite us to stay awhile.  They all are important to our lives. Now new research shows that green, natural spaces—including playgrounds, learning environments, neighborhoods, even exercise environments— offer particular health and well-being benefits. 

•Workplaces 

A Great Lakes Commons Journey

August 17, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

The Great Lakes Commons has launched Great Lakes Journeys, an initiative to celebrate this unparalleled commons through public performances and events.  They’ve just published a handbook, Great Lakes Commons Journey, to guide you on your own adventures. You can download a free PDF here.

Duluth is the next stop, August 20 through September 11.  Here’s what’s in store:

August 20:

There's One Overwhelming Issue in This Election

August 14, 2016 | By David Bollier

Many progressives disagree with Hillary Clinton on a number of issues, in some cases intensely.  But there is one overarching reason we should all be vigorously supporting her election:  The future of the Supreme Court is at stake.

We Were Born Right Now for a Reason

August 14, 2016

“It’s time to talk about the weather. We in trouble friends. Storm clouds are coming in,” chant poets and performers Alix Garcia and Naima Penniman in the opening of their video “When the Last Tree Stands Alone”.  Known collectively as Climbing PoeTree—a spoken-word, hip hop, multimedia duo—Garcia and Penniman eloquently activate an alarm about climate disruption, and then rouse us all to do something about it.

Photo by Dan Burden

America's Walking Renaissance

August 14, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

Imagine living in one the world's great walking communities.

Your day begins with a stroll—saying hi to neighbors, noticing blooming gardens and enticing shop windows, maybe stopping for a treat on your way to work. 

Weekends are even better.  You step out your door and join the hum of activity on the sidewalk en route to a coffeeshop, park, shopping district, friend’s home, recreation center or house of worship. 

Every American Deserves a Guaranteed Minimum Income

August 14, 2016

 

Rent isn't talked about much in polite society; it’s the 800-pound gorilla everyone pretends isn’t there. Economists in particular rarely mention it, not out of ignorance but because they find it awkward to offend those who collect it disproportionately. The time has come, though, to bring rent out of the closet, for it holds the key to saving both our middle class and planet.

Piada 52 is cooperative cafe in Forli, Italy, hiring unemployed kids, which has helped rivitalize a park once known for drug dealing.  

An Overlooked Element of the Good Life in Italy (and Everywhere)

August 14, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

There’s a big secret in the global economy, which the powers that be hope we continue to overlook: cooperatives. 

In most Americans’ minds, coops are an admirable but inconsequential business sector.  The place where idealistic shoppers go to score locally-brewed kombucha and fair-trade quinoa. Or maybe where their great-grandparents sold farm commodities during the hard times of the Depression. 

The Tanka staff are now co-owners of the company.  (Photo by Katie Hunter)

Healthy Snack Generates Hope & Income on Pine Ridge Reservation

August 14, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

The Pine Ridge Indian reservation is not the first place you’d look for good news about creating a new kind of economy that works for everyone. 

This corner of South Dakota includes several of the poorest counties in America, according to census figures. Ninety-seven percent of Pine Ridge’s Lakota Indian population lives below the federal poverty line, reports the American Indian Humanitarian Foundation.  The unemployment rate is well over 50 percent.

The farmer's market in New Rochelle, New York.  (Photo by Project for Public Spaces)

19 Ways to Make Your Community Great

August 14, 2016 | By Jay Walljasper

 

The disaster with Flint, Michigan’s drinking water, incited by political leaders more devoted to fiscal austerity than the common good, illuminates why it’s important to think of our communities as commons, which belong to all residents not just the wealthy and politically powerful. 

The commons means the many things we share together rather than own privately--a list that starts with air, water, parks and streets and expands to include more complex entities such as the Internet, civic organizations and entire communities.