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    France Administrator Hervé's Avatar
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    Default Now, that's encouraging...

    The 'tuned out' Canadians who don't pay for TV
    http://tech.ca.msn.com/the-tuned-out...t-pay-for-tv-2

    TORONTO - The number of "tuned out" Canadians, those who don't subscribe to conventional TV, has doubled in recent years and now represents eight per cent of the population, suggests a new report.



    A customer looks at televisions at a Best Buy store, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Franklin, Tenn. The number of "tuned out" Canadians, those who don't subscribe to conventional TV, has doubled in recent years and now represents eight per cent of the population, suggests a new report. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Humphrey


    TORONTO - The number of "tuned out" Canadians, those who don't subscribe to conventional TV, has doubled in recent years and now represents eight per cent of the population, suggests a new report.

    Since 2007, a steady four per cent of Canadians surveyed by the Media Technology Monitor, which regularly polls Canadians about tech trends, reported they were tuned out.

    Tuned out Canadians either didn't have a TV set, only used it to watch VHS tapes, DVDs or Blu-rays, or streamed digital content rather than paying for a TV plan. They tended to be younger and highly educated and major users of the Internet, says MTM.

    In the recent fall survey, about 49 per cent were between 18 and 34, and 51 per cent had a university education. Tuned out Canadians spent 20 hours a week surfing the web compared to the 15.4 hours TV subscribers were online.

    MTM noted the numbers of tuned out Canadians started to rise in 2011, after those who were receiving analog over-the-air signals for free TV were forced to transition to a digital signal or lose access to the limited number of channels they were picking up by antenna.

    According to MTM, many decided they were fine without TV, as the number of tuned out Canadians nearly doubled to seven per cent of the population.

    In 2012, the number of tuned out Canadians rose another percentage point, which MTM attributed to the growing availability of video content available to stream online, via TV network websites and services such as Netflix.

    MTM's most-recent numbers on tuned out Canadians are based on polling of 8,011 adults conducted between October and December of last year and are considered accurate within plus or minus 1.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

    Another report, released Tuesday by the Convergence Consulting Group, suggested about 2.1 per cent of Canadian TV customers, totalling about 250,000, cancelled their subscriptions between 2011 and 2012. The report predicted the figure would rise to 3.2 per cent, or about 380,000 households, by the end of 2013.

    Rogers says their company is paying attention to tuned out Canadians and exploring ways to turn them into customers.

    "There's definitely thinking going on about what kind of model would make sense — to university students (for example) who perhaps don't have a cable, satellite or IPTV subscription — how do you create a product that's relevant for them?" said David Purdy, senior vice-president of content for Rogers.

    "You've got to be customer-centric and innovate and recognize there's a certain number of people out there that today don't subscribe to (a TV package). But you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot with pricing that's not smart."

    Rogers already sells digital access to its Sportsnet World programming, including international soccer, rugby and cricket matches, for between $99 to $275 a year, to view within a web browser. Curling fans can also pay $25 to stream one of the Grand Slam of Curling tournaments or $80 for the whole package.

    ****************************

    I don't have a TV anymore and sure don't miss it, not even for VHS or DVDs.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    I'm one of the "tuned out"...

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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    Lamestream TV titans lose US viewers over slanted stories
    http://www.sott.net/article/261397-L...lanted-stories
    YouTube, Sat, 27 Apr 2013 00:00 CDT

    The major TV news networks in the US are losing viewers tired of opinionated coverage and carefully selected stories, according to a recent study by an American nonpartisan thinktank. RT's Gayane Chichakyan looks into the phenomenon.


    Source: RT
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    I do not have any TV either, even though I am aware that "they" can probably broadcast whatever "they" want directly into my brain by other means.

    In Sweden, since the year 2011, the amount of time people spend watching TV are gradually declining. Especially the young people choose other ways of entertain themselves. On the other hand, the use of other media plattform are going up, so the total time spent in the "media landscape" are actually increasing. In average 6 hours a day in Sweden, according to latest statistic.

    Source
    (The publication is in Swedish)

    Hopefully will people be "tuned in" to other things than pure entertainment in the near future.
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    neither do I always think what I believe

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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    It could be people turning to the internet & video game is a lot of cases, but the actual quality of TV programs; documentaries, soaps, comedies, dramas, & news are ALL getting worse & worse, the writing is appalling, on the british police drama "New Tricks" most of the cast left because they got sick & tired of having to re-write the script them selves it was so bad.

    The modern documentary goes into no depth & repeats every thing as if talking to people with learning difficulties & the news is no longer news, even when they are actually reporting an event, it was most likely on the internet days before...

    Hollywood films are also getting worse, being dictated to by accountants chasing the American teenage demographic its not hard to see why...

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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    We disconnected the dish satellite network. Hooked up apple tv boxes to each tv and stream our programs over the internet. Using the Apple Ipad you can take any you tube video or internet video and send it to any tv in the house. You can also use the IPad to send messages to the teenagers on their tv screens.

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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    Colorado: Entire police force quits; town does not descend into chaos

    Matt Agorist The Free Thought Project Sat, 23 Apr 2016 18:52 UTC




    Without giving any reason whatsoever, the entire Green Mountain Police department in Colorado has quit.

    The chief of police announced his resignation on Tuesday and he was quickly followed by all the other officers. It has now been 4 days and, remarkably, the town of Green Mountain Falls does not look like a scene out of Mad Max.

    "In an election year there's always some people who choose to stay and some people who choose to go, and I think that happens at every level of government," Green Mountain Falls Mayor Jane Newberry said.

    Despite giving no reason, it is likely that the department disagreed with the local politics and reacted by abandoning their duty as public servants — thereby illustrating the irrelevance of their job in the first place.

    Unfortunately, the town of Green Mountain Falls will likely seek out a new group of armed enforcers to ticket them for petty offenses, but in the meantime, this is a perfect example of how societies can function peacefully without the threat of state violence.

    The idea that police protect you is a misconception as well, as they will seldom prevent violence. They normally show up after the violence or crime has been committed and then try and find a culprit, or not.

    The average response time to a 9-1-1 call is 10 minutes nationwide; for poor areas that time quadruples. In some cases, the dispatchers do not even take the caller seriously and the victim ends up dead, when a crime could have actually been prevented.

    The reality is that police act as revenue collectors for the state and solely exist to enforce the law only.

    In a perfect world, police would show up prior to a crime and stop it, or at least during a crime, but this is simply not a reality.

    Police in America also do not "protect and serve." If you doubt this claim simply refer to Warren v. District of Columbia, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm.

    Sure, Green Mountain Falls is a small town and the likelihood of a crime wave bursting on to the scenes is rare regardless of police presence. However, we've seen similar situations involving millions. At the end of 2014, for example, the NYPD stopped doing its job after the murder of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu and something amazing happened — crime went down.

    The Post reported that arrests were down 66% in the week following the deaths of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, compared to the same period in 2013.

    For certain offenses, the arrest levels are staggeringly low, according to the numbers put out by the Post.
    Quote Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.

    Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300.

    Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.

    Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD's Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.
    It wasn't a slowdown — it was a virtual work stoppage. And, in spite of police not writing tickets for jaywalking, arresting people for marijuana possession, and failing to wear their seatbelts, the city of New York did not descend into chaos either.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    A miniature town with a miniscule amount of residents -

    Green Mountain Falls, Colorado
    The Town of Green Mountain Falls is north of Pikes Peak and is 11 miles west of Colorado Springs just off U.S. Highway 24. At an altitude of 7,800 feet, the Town is set in a picturesque narrow mountain valley surrounded on three sides by Pike National Forest. The El Paso County/Teller County line goes North – South through Green Mountain Falls. Sixty two percent (62%) of the town is in El Paso County. Thirty eight percent (38%) is in Teller County. Natural assets include three creeks, waterfalls, a lake, rugged cliffs, forests, wildflowers, and abundant wildlife.

    Green Mountain Falls is a quiet and peaceful mountain town with a year-round population of approximately 676. The number of people in Town increases significantly in the summer as people from other states arrives to use their family cabins. These people are commonly called “summer residents” and they bring a sense of tradition and a love for the community.

    Architecturally, the Town has a variety of rustic summer log cabins and Victorian houses mixed with newer homes. The Town’s character is reflected in the preservation of historic structures including the original land office building, hotels, and the Church in the Wildwood. The Town’s focal point is an 1890 Victorian gazebo on an island in a small lake.

    The Town location supports a unique life style by providing a beautiful natural setting for a mountain home close to the employment opportunities, services, and culture of a nearby large city.

    They are lucky they have even 1 officer it seems to me. Politics maybe? I think it is encouraging that they have kept the community SMALL, and tight with each other.

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    Canada Avalon Member DeDukshyn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    I was raised in a very rural area outside of a small town. We did have an RCMP detachment - a small force, maybe 8 members or so. The town has a population of under 2000, I think, but services about 20,000 people spread out in the surrounding areas. In such a place, crime is super easy; and relatively easy to get away with - it's all foresty-hills with thousands of roads, and millions of square miles of forested crown land.

    One would think crime here would be horrendous! It's not at all. In fact, during my whole raising (to 18) I think there was one murder. Most of the crime was things like marijuana related offenses, drunk in public, fighting / brawls (between willing parties almost always), Tires too big on your truck, partying in public places, stuff like that. Not too many violent crimes it seemed at all.

    I think, perhaps with a strong boost from the media, we have almost become accustomed to fear an imagined lack of policing. Crime overall, particularly has been on decent downslope since 1990. Our minds though would tell us the opposite is real ... interesting.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    While waiting for a bus at the airport I got to talking to a young woman who had just returned from Mexico City after visiting her family. She commented that she was apprehensive about the visit, after listening to all the news media here in the USA for the past 3 years. But, she said, much to her relief, EVERYTHING WAS NORMAL.
    Perhaps much of the data we get here is unfounded.

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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    2 Years After Raising Taxes on the Rich, Here's the Hellscape Minnesota Has Become

    By Zeeshan Aleem March 02, 2015


    Since 2011, Minnesota has been doing quite well for itself. The state has created more than 170,000 jobs, according to the Huffington Post. Its unemployment rate stands at 3.6% — the fifth-lowest in the country, and far below the nationwide rate of 5.7% — and the state government boasts a budget surplus of $1 billion. Forbes considers Minnesota one of the top 10 in the country for business.

    Given that Minnesota's governor is a well-connected millionaire whose family controls the Target fortune, one could be forgiven for thinking this was the result of embracing the corporate world. But in fact, over the past four years, the state has undergone a series of policy reforms that most of the corporate world decries: It has imposed higher taxes on the wealthy and raised the minimum wage.

    When each of these progressive policies was initially proposed, Minnesota Republicans made dire predictions about their effects on the economy, and argued that bleeding-heart concerns about economic fairness would stifle growth. Despite all the warnings, Minnesota's economy hasn't tanked. Instead, it's sailing with greater force than it has in years.

    How Minnesota did it:
    The progressive economic policies in the North Star State came into being after the election of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. In 2010, Dayton surprised many political observers in Minnesota when he managed to win the governor's mansion, the first Democrat to seize it in more than two decades. His political career up until that point was mainly defined by failure, despite the fact that he was a billionaire heir with countless resources.

    Dayton's margin of victory wasn't impressive, but he was eventually able to make a dramatic mark on the direction of the state's public policies. He instituted a wide variety of progressive policies that rendered him the "most liberal governor in the country in terms of his willingness to raise taxes and to spend," University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs told Mother Jones.

    In the last few years, Minnesota took a number of measures to make its taxation and wages more progressive. Mother Jones reports that Dayton targeted the top 2% with a tax raise — "one of the largest hikes in state history." Corporate taxes increased. The state income tax on the highest earners increased to 9.85% in 2013, making it the fourth highest in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.


    Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton smiles at a question as he addressed a news conference after state officials presented the upcoming 2016-17 Minnesota budget forecast, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in St. Paul, Minn. Source: Jim Mone/AP

    The state's minimum wage is set to increase to $9.50 by 2016, and last year Dayton signed a sweeping bill strengthening protections for women in the workplace and guaranteeing equal pay. Other progressive measures have included a tuition freeze at public universities and two-year colleges, increased spending on public education and increased unionization, according to Mother Jones.

    The critics who feared Dayton's campaign to have the top 2% pay their fair share would ruin growth and cause business interests to flee appear to have been crying wolf. Minnesota's labor market is healthy. Minnesota was ranked one of the fastest-growing economies in the country by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2013. Gallup found economic confidence in the state to be the highest in the nation.

    A tale of two states:
    As Minnesota has enjoyed economic success, observers have often compared the state's situation to that of its neighbor Wisconsin. Republican Scott Walker also won the governor's mansion in Wisconsin in 2010, but pursued a deeply conservative agenda for managing the economy. He made huge spending cuts to vital services ranging from education to health care. He reduced taxes on the wealthy, and got rid of tax credits for low-wage earners.


    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the winter meeting of the free market Club for Growth winter economic conference at the Breakers Hotel Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Palm Beach, Fla. Source: Joe Skipper/AP

    By a number of measures, Wisconsin hasn't fared as well as Minnesota. As the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reports, Wisconsin's job growth has been among the worst in the region, and income growth is one of the worst in the country. It has a higher unemployment rate than Minnesota. And the budget is in bad shape:
    Quote Our transportation budget has a $750 million hole in it, our health care budget is $760 million in the red, and that's all on top of a $1.8 billion general budget deficit. Add it up and Walker has essentially taken a balanced budget and turned it into a deficit nearly as large as the one created by the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.
    Now, no political leader can take full credit or blame for the economic health of the state they oversee — the economy is shaped by a number of structural factors and historic trends that any one politician has little control over. Consider, for example, that Minnesota's economy was outperforming Wisconsin by a number of measures beginning earlier than the recession.

    But here's what we can say: Dayton's progressive vision for Minnesota has not ruined the economy, and has likely helped it. Walker's conservative vision has clearly not ushered in the free market paradise he envisioned. And it's noteworthy that since the Great Recession and the implementation of their divergent philosophies, Minnesota's economy has pulled further ahead of Wisconsin in several areas.

    What's next?
    While Walker spends time running for president and making ill-advised comparisons between fighting organized labor and battling the Islamic State group, Dayton is busy thinking about how to invest in the ordinary people who make up Minnesota's economy.

    Dayton began his second term in January and is already gunning to take advantage of his budget surplus. His new budget plan aims to boost spending on education from kindergarten through college, and he's angling to invest in public transit, paid sick time for workers and child care tax credits for middle-class families, according to Mother Jones. History suggests the investments will pay off.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    Quote Posted by fourty-two (here)

    EVERYTHING WAS NORMAL.
    Perhaps much of the data we get here is unfounded.
    I experienced this in my last visit to the US, in 2012. There was a (thin!) veneer of normality everywhere.

    The shopping malls were all right there. In a city, one only needed to drive a few blocks to find just about anything one might ever need, right off the shelf.

    If not, one could order anything online and get it within a couple of days.

    There were $$s in the ATMs. Bank tellers were friendly and efficient. People looked normal. The freeways were busy. TVs in hotel rooms showed exactly the same programs. Planes in airports were on time.

    None of that counts for anything much. It was just a veneer. If one looked carefully, one could FEEL things were not right. And everything I saw was social theater. Everyone was MEANT to feel that everything was normal... until it's not.

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    Quote Posted by fourty-two (here)

    EVERYTHING WAS NORMAL.
    Perhaps much of the data we get here is unfounded.
    I experienced this in my last visit to the US, in 2012. There was a (thin!) veneer of normality everywhere.

    The shopping malls were all right there. In a city, one only needed to drive a few blocks to find just about anything one might ever need, right off the shelf.

    If not, one could order anything online and get it within a couple of days.

    There were $$s in the ATMs. Bank tellers were friendly and efficient. People looked normal. The freeways were busy. TVs in hotel rooms showed exactly the same programs. Planes in airports were on time.

    None of that counts for anything much. It was just a veneer. If one looked carefully, one could FEEL things were not right. And everything I saw was social theater. Everyone was MEANT to feel that everything was normal... until it's not.

    Something strange must be going on - even with my atrocious credit, ive recently been approved for 3 credit cards. one of them, after i'd paid my balance faithfully for a mere 3 months, raised my credit limit by $2000.

    Huh?


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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    I took fourty two's comment to be based from the family living in Mexico City, and that their actual life was normal.

    And then I think Mike explains the "veneer of normal appearance" in the States that Bill noticed: all the well stocked stuff and things running right, is just a reflection of some investor's credit. Which is neither "deserved", nor going to bear out as a solution for very long. I'd bet three dollars and fifteen cents that a substantial portion of stuff that looked new in 2012 has already collapsed, or is still running on credit instead of making money. Sure, there's some places that are doing well, but it's kind of like a fully staffed ghost town.

    Did I mention that these brilliant investors are going to colonize the woods with 50,000 people right down the street from me?

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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    We ‘Slayed the Dragon’: Community Wins as Nestle Drops Water Extraction Plans

    Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams The Free Thought Project June 11, 2016

    Community Wins Fight for Their Water — Nestle Drops Plans to Suck Town Dry After Long Battle


    Victory for Monroe County, Penn. community comes on heels of another loss of bottled water giant in Oregon.

    After facing community resistance, bottled beverage giant Nestlé Waters North America this week ditched its plans to extract water from a Monroe County, Penn. spring.

    The plan would have seen Nestlé take 200,000 gallons of water per day from the source in Kunkletown, located in Eldred Township, and truck it away daily to a nearby plant where it would have been bottled under its Deer Park brand.

    The plans for the water grab, helped by the municipality, which may have improperly adopted a corporate-friendly ordinance, had drawn the ire of many local residents, who celebrated the development.

    “This entire village of Kunkletown came together and slayed the dragon, and it’s something to be proud of,” Eldred Township resident Donna Deihl told the Allentown Morning Call.

    The change in plans was announced at a township supervisors meeting Wednesday, during which Eric Andreus, a hydrogeologist for Nestlé, said (pdf) the company faced “logistical and design challenges.”

    He also acknowledged local opposition, adding, “it is clear to us that the community in Eldred Township does not believe the process around this project worked the way it was intended and that many of you have concerns about this project,” adding, “We have not been successful in gaining the same acceptance here in Eldred Township as we have in other communities that host our operations.”

    When the announcement came, “The room went crazy,” Deihl said. “We clapped, we applauded, standing ovation. We cried.”

    The news comes less than a month after voters in Hood River County, Ore. stopped a years-long attempt by Nestlé to extract up to 100 million gallons a year of Oxbow Springs water and bottle it under the Arrowhead brand.

    Indeed, as Alexis Bonogofsky previously reported, “Kunkletown residents’ effort to keep Nestlé out of their community is not an isolated or parochial fight. Nestlé, which has the largest share of the bottled water market in the United States, is looking to secure and privatize water resources in the U.S. and around the world.”

    One such place the corporation is taking water is in drought-stricken California.

    Activists are gearing up for a rally outside a federal courthouse in Riverside, Calif. where a judge will consider a challenge to Nestlé’s water-bottling pipeline in the San Bernardino National Forest. “Why should Nestlé — the largest food and beverage company in the U.S. — get to operate a huge bottled water operation on a permit that’s been expired for 30 years during a historic drought when it’s causing what used to be a perennial stream that wildlife use to go dry?” said Ileene Anderson, senior scientist and public lands deserts director at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups behind the legal challenge.

    Addressing such battles, Charles Pierce wrote at Esquire last month, ” If there is one element that cannot be turned over to whatever people believe market forces to be, it’s water. It should never be commodified or sold off to make some investor wealthy far from the people who need it. That this ever needs to be argued is a measure of how far we’ve allowed corporate power to change us as a nation,” he wrote.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    Montana town wins back municipal water supply from private company

    Published time: 3 Aug, 2016 18:25
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    The city of Missoula, Montana won a state Supreme Court case to exercise eminent domain powers to seize water from private utility companies, ending a lengthy and expensive legal battle.

    On Tuesday, the Montana Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in favor of Missoula to turn over control of the municipal Mountain Water Company’s water infrastructure from a private company.

    The high court upheld the Missoula District Court, which ruled last spring that the ownership of the water system by the city was “more necessary” than its use by a private company. The lower court’s opinion cited $48,000 that goes to "travel and entertainment," a $103,000 "board of directors fee,” and $1.3 million for salaries of staff in California that it said made the cost of water the highest of any municipality in the state. Missoula was the only city in the state where a private company controlled the water supply.

    The Supreme Court said this decision was based on “detailed factual findings.”

    “The city desired to own the water system that serves its residents because city officials believe a community's water system is a public asset best owned and operated by the public,” the justices wrote in their decision.

    Water commissioners set the value of the Montana Water Company’s water utilities at $88.6 million. However, because Montana Water Company’s former parent company, Carlyle Group, sold it to another owner during the legal proceedings, it’s unclear how exactly the transfer will take place.

    The decision is also a reversal of a 1980's Montana Supreme Court ruling which had blocked an earlier effort by the city to wrest control of the water supply.

    Mayor John Engen had waged a two-year legal battle that costed the city government nearly $6.2 million.

    “I know that it has felt risky and expensive and long, but I’ve been convinced from day one that it was my responsibility to work with the community to figure this out and that the courts would help us get there,” Engen said, according to the Missoulian. “We have placed our trust in the system, and my sense is that the system has worked."

    Justices Jim Rice and Laurie McKinnon gave minority opinions against the decision. Rice claimed the District Court had deprived Mountain Water of a constitutional right to due process, and McKinnon argued that the District Court had undermined policy issues surrounding public and private ownership.

    Missoula is the largest city in Western Montana, with a population of more than 70,000.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    An elementary school has kids meditate instead of punishing them and the results are profound

    John Vibes Free Thought Project Sun, 18 Sep 2016 20:49 UTC



    It was recently reported that Robert W. Coleman Elementary in West Baltimore will be taking a new and holistic approach to disciplining students. Instead of punishing them or sending them to the principal's office, administrators will now be sending children to "the mindful moment room" where they will be able to meditate and wind down.

    The new policy has been in place for over a year, and in the time that the meditation room has been set up, there has actually been no suspensions throughout the entire year.

    The program is an initiative organized by the Holistic Life Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities.

    Andres Gonzalez, one of the organizers of the project, says that children are even bringing home what they are learning to their families.
    "That's how you stop the trickle-down effect, when Mom or Pops has a hard day and yells at the kids, and then the kids go to school and yell at their friends," he says. "We've had parents tell us, 'I came home the other day stressed out, and my daughter said, Hey, Mom, you need to sit down. I need to teach you how to breathe,'" Gonzalez said.
    There are many advantages to meditation, which are now being confirmed by scientific studies. We have learned through scientific research that meditation can relieve pain, enhance creativity, relieve stress and boost immune systems. In 1998, a breakthrough study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, by a DR. Dean Ornish showed that meditation can actually reverse heart disease. This study lasted for over 5 years and involved various control groups that all had coronary artery disease, and only one of these groups practiced meditation. Amazingly the group that practiced meditation had actually managed to reverse the effects of the illness.

    The consistent application of bringing one's attention to the present moment is key to any form of meditation. This means that nearly any experience can be meditative. A bike ride, a walk under the stars, writing poetry, or any practice that offers individual quiet time within your own heart and mind can be considered a form of meditation.

    Over time, various teachers organized their specific meditation practices into cohesive styles and philosophies, each with its own instructions and insights. Around the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, Confucian and Taoist meditations appear in China, and Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist meditations developed in India.

    These various schools of meditation taught different methods for remaining in the present moment, some involving the counting of breaths, contemplative thought, or repeating sacred words and sounds known as Mantras.

    There are also different types of meditation positions. Some schools practice sitting cross-legged ("lotus" or "half lotus"), walking, or lying down meditation. You also may have noticed that certain traditions will feature symbolic hand gestures and positions during their meditation. These are known as mudras and are found in Hindu and Buddhist practices. People also meditate for different reasons. Most people would say that meditation can be a religious or spiritual experience, while others find it to be a helpful relaxation and anger management tool.

    In this one Baltimore school, the powers of living in the present are coming to fruition.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    Canada: Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project protest declared a victory

    Alexa Erickson Collective Evolution Sun, 06 Nov 2016 15:38 UTC


    The protest site at the multibillion-dollar hydroelectric project in Labrador is finally coming to a close.

    This marks an important victory for the Inuit, who protested and went on hunger strikes in the wake of Harvard University studies that warned the project at Muskrat Falls would poison their food sources. They urged the government to wake up and step in to help keep methylmercury from making its way into their waterways.

    "The decisions that will be made, going forward, will not be at the whim of government," announced Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council. "They will be made by science and it will incorporate the traditional knowledge of our people. This is a huge step forward."

    People took the protesting to extremes, like Labrador Inuk artist and activist Billy Gauthier, who vowed he would die if that's what it took to ensure the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project was done right."I know this is for a good reason, for a good cause, and I will stand for as long as I can," he said.

    Ossie Michelin, another protestor, had reported not eating for nearly two weeks, and had lost 21 pounds.

    In Muskrat Falls, protesters had breached the gates at the project site, which is run by Nalcor Energy. The protestors explained that they weren't opposed to the project moving forward, but wanted to make sure it was done the right way, and that involves eliminating methylmercury.

    Methylmercury occurs in nature when bacteria react with mercury in water, soil, or plants. As it moves up the food chain, its levels increase.

    "You could drink a swimming pool of this water every day and it would not affect your health," explained Trevor Bell, a Memorial University of Newfoundland geographer and project leader on a study of methylmercury risks with the Muskrat Falls project. "When you get to the top of [the food chain], the fish and the seals, that's 10 million times the concentration as in the water."

    The U.S. National Library of Medicine calls methylmercury a poison that causes severe brain and spinal cord damage. It can lead to blindness, growth problems, and birth defects, and hinder mental functioning. It may also lead to cerebral palsy.

    Mainstream media has been overwhelmingly quiet on this protest, as they seem to be with many important issues globally, but when the facts are presented, when people are risking their lives to stop others' lives from being harmed, something must, and needs, to be said.

    Michelin noted that the flooding, if the project went the way it was initially supposed to, would contaminate "our fish, our seals, our game, our way of life."

    He continued on to say, "This isn't just our food source because we also have issues around food security, but our whole culture is is based upon hunting and fishing and gathering from the land. It's who we are."

    Much like the water protectors at DAPL, Michelin says people did not come to the site to cause trouble. "We're not activists. We're just normal people fighting for our home."

    Initially, Nalcor Energy wanted to flood the Muskrat Falls reservoir to build its dam. The biggest problem with this plan is that it could cause the already-present mercury at the site to turn into methylmercury, since it would release carbon from the soil and plant life, triggering the process of methylation. This reservoir is just upstream from the Lake Melville marine estuary, which is the Inuit's main source of fishing and hunting. Studies even concluded that the flooding could spike levels of methylmercury in Lake Melville far beyond what naturally occurs.

    And thanks to the plentiful information the protestors brought with them when occupying the reservoir to block the flooding, they were able to reach an agreement that will ensure scientists analyze ways to reduce methylmercury contamination, and hopefully reveal the potential to clear the reservoir.

    Bell called the agreement a win for grassroots democracy and science-based policy.

    "The agreement is important for Labradorians and for Muskrat Falls, but has an impact beyond Labrador and nationwide on hydroelectric developments and evidence-base decision-making," he said.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    After Govt Ignored Him, this Man Turned a Dying River of Human Waste into Paradise — by Himself

    Matt Agorist
    The Free Thought Project
    Sat, 09 Apr 2016 00:00 UTC


    © Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal

    In the year 2000, Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal decided that it was time to clean up a sacred part of the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, the Kali Bein river.

    For centuries, city governments along the river had been dumping their human waste and garbage into this sacred Sikh waterway. After unsuccessfully attempting to convince the governments to stop dumping waste into the river, Seechewal drew on the Sikh tradition of kar sewa (free voluntary service).

    That's when Sant Sichewal (also spelled Sancherwal, Sabarwahl, and Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal) jumped in for a cleansing bath of a different kind: one designed to awaken the people. He began cleaning the river single-handedly until his example, and his many narrations on the history and value of the Bein to Sikh history drew hundreds of followers to the task.


    © Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal

    Seechewal built a small team of recruits who would, in turn, teach the local people along the Kali Bein why they should clean their river. Their successful campaign raised funds for equipment, enlisted countless volunteers to provide physical work, and more than two dozen villages began helping in the efforts.

    Through kar seva, he and thousands have, in a labor of love of untold hours, cleaned the river.


    © Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal

    According to the SikhiWiki, the scale of the task was gigantic — volunteers cleared the entire riverbed of water hyacinth and silt, and built riverbanks and roads alongside the river. When appeals to government and municipal bodies failed to stop dirty water flowing into the river, Seechewal launched a public-awareness campaign to encourage villagers to dispose of their sewage elsewhere.


    © Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal

    Some villages revived traditional methods of waste disposal and treatment, and farmers lined up for a share of the treated water. After they could no longer deny the astonishing effects of Seechewal's efforts, a government order to divert water from a nearby canal was finally obtained. As the riverbed was cleared, natural springs revived and the river began to fill up.


    Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, also known as 'Eco Baba'

    According to the India Times, not only did they clean it up and rejuvenate some parts of the river which had been dry for many years, but the team also worked hard to beautify the banks by planting trees.

    With the restoration of its water flow, thousands of hectares of land have been reclaimed from water-logging in Tehsil Dasuya of Hoshiarpur District, from desertification in the Kapurthala district, and from floods in the Mand area of confluence of Beas and Satluj rivers.


    © Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal

    After a 400-year long period of neglect and pollution, today, this once revolting river now teems with life and is a beautiful sight for all who live near it.

    Seechewal's mission teaches humanity a lesson of how to incite meaningful change — without the use of government force. For decades, people attempted to petition the government to halt the pollution of the Bein, but this was pointless. No action was ever taken.

    Even if the government had "mandated" through the threat of force that the river not be polluted, many people would have ignored this as they had no other means or knowledge to act otherwise.

    The only thing that saved this sacred river from becoming a flowing pit of toxic death was one man's ability to lead by example, and the seeking of a lesser ignorance.

    Instead of using force to make the residents along the Bein stop polluting, Seechewal and his team spread knowledge.

    According to the India Times, Sant Seechewal's works don't stop there. He has also been involved in setting up schools, technical centers and degree colleges, and also works toward eradicating poverty, ignorance, superstition, and atrocities against women.


    Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal

    A crusader for the environment, Sant Seechewal has established plant nurseries at Seechewal and Sultanpur Lodhi where one lakh plants are distributed annually, free of cost.
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    Default Re: Now, that's encouraging...

    ADHD solved when Texas schools increase recess time

    Vic Bishop Waking Times
    Tue, 28 Feb 2017 16:58 UTC



    Public education is more stressful than ever for our children, as standardized testing requirements increase and programs like art, music and physical education are being phased out. The result of this type of environment is predictable, and the medical establishment and big pharma are making a killing by drugging active children with ADHD medications and other psychotropic drugs in order to ensure conformity.

    There are better solutions. Meditation in schools is highly effective at reducing school violence and increasing concentration for learning. Higher quality nutritious and organic foods, rather than processed snack foods and fast foods, when served in school cafeterias are another part of creating an environment more conducive to the needs of children.

    The most common sense, natural solution to inattentive behavior in school children, however, may be the basic idea of giving children more time to free play and to engage their bodies in physical activity. It's such a simple notion in such unusual times that it actually sounds revolutionary, and several schools in Texas are being hailed for trying a new program which solves behavioral problems by doing nothing more than allowing children to play outside more often during the school day.

    Simple ideas like this have been proven to work well in places like Finland, where students' test scores improved along with increased play time, a case which serves as the inspiration for a program in Texas schools which have quadrupled the amount of outdoor recreational time, seeing amazing results in terms of overall increase in focus and decreases in distraction and behavioral interruptions.
    "According to Today, the Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, has been giving kindergarten and first-grade students two 15-minute recess breaks every morning and two 15-minute breaks every afternoon to go play outside. At first teachers were worried about losing the classroom time and being able to cover all the material they needed with what was left, but now that the experiment has been going on for about five months, teachers say the kids are actually learning more because they're better able to focus in class and pay attention without fidgeting." [Source]
    The key to the success of the program is 'unstructured play' four times a day to break up the physical and mental monotony of the classroom, allowing developing minds and bodies to constructively use their energies, so that their may be more effectively applied in learning.

    While administrators in schools trying the program initially thought it would negatively affect testing results, the results have proven that the opposite is in fact true, which is in line with how the American Academy of Pediatrics sees playtime.
    "The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, calling recess "a crucial and necessary component of a child's development." Studies show it offers important cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits, yet many schools are cutting down on breaks to squeeze in more lessons, which may be counterproductive, it warns." [Source]
    Medicating restless children for them to better fit in to a dumbed down education system is a grave mistake, criminal even. Programs like these desperately need to be implemented nation wide.
    "You start putting 15 minutes of what I call 'reboot' into these kids every so often and... it gives the platform for them to be able to function at their best level." ~ Dr. Debbie Rhea, creator and director of the Liink Program

    Related:

    See post # 17, above.
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