'/> Uncommon Hours: October 2009
Blogging on culture, politics, and the environment since 2008.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A New Day Rising: An Interview with David Swanson

David Swanson recently visited Kansas City to promote his new book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.

I interviewed David for Rain Taxi Review of Books in a wide-ranging discussion of politics, history, and writing.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the interview:

Bob Sommer: While many would consider you politically on the far left, Daybreak, especially the first half of the book, espouses relatively conservative attitudes toward the Constitution and the Republic. You describe how far we have “strayed from adherence to the Constitution” and rather ominously state that “we are in unprecedented territory, far closer than ever before to losing our republic, and losing it in much the way that Rome lost hers.” Conservatives, in particular George W. Bush, have campaigned on the principle of strictly interpreting the Constitution. How do you reconcile that?

David Swanson: Well, I would need to see the evidence that many would consider me on the far left—I think what that would probably mean is that people have seen on television that advocacy for peace and justice and workers’ rights and healthcare constitute far left positions. It would mean that people have not looked at the opinion polls done by those same media outlets, which show that most positions I advocate for are strong majority positions in the United States. Most of us falsely believe we are in a fringe left minority because our televisions tell us that over and over again. But I think we have to constantly keep correcting that wrong understanding. Single-payer healthcare is seen as a crazy, commie, lefty, pinko position, except that a strong majority of Americans has favored it for decades—and down the line through most of the issues I talk about and care about.

Read the entire interview here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

350 Day in Kansas City

by Bob Sommer

350 parts per million! That’s the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere – safe for sustainable life.

Exceed 350 ppm and greenhouse gases accumulate, warming the planet, melting the ice caps, decreasing the reflective capacity of the Earth and so beginning a positive feedback loop that further accelerates the warming tendency. Floods, drought, species extinctions, extreme weather, and crop failures are some of the consequences of rising CO² levels, which have already reached 390 ppm and are increasing!

(all photos by Bob Sommer)
Activists gathered at Mill Creek Park in Kansas City as part of an International Day of Climate Action. Over 5,200 similar gatherings took place in 181 countries worldwide, serving as a virtual march on the world’s capitals to raise awareness and demand action.

John Kurmann addresses the gathering at Mill Creek Park in Kansas City.
“People in the industrialized countries throughout the world are primarily responsible for creating the climate crisis and we need to take the primary responsibility for solving it.”

Rep. Beth Low of the Missouri State House.
“These issues are pressing, critical, and must be addressed immediately.”

Kristin Riott
Bridging the Gap

Tom Bailey
Repower America

Following the rally, activitists marched peacefully through Kansas City's Country Club Plaza.

“We are going to send our message to the shoppers here in the Plaza, the symbolic heart of consumerism in Kansas City,” said John Kurmann.