Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pocket Review of “This Town” by Mark Leibovich

I enjoyed reading This Town by Mark Leibovich very much.  He amusingly paints a picture of a Washington, D.C., called “this town” by its denizens, inhabited by a coterie of self-seeking ego-maniacs interested in their own branding and completely disinterested in, and disdainful of, the plight of the people of the United States

In This Town, everyone important knows everyone else, and mostly they look out for each other, while hypocritically claiming to be serving the public good.  Colin Powell comes out looking OK, though, and so does Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee.

It’s entertaining and informative, and I highly recommend it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Harvard Alumni for Divestment rally in the Yard/crowdsourcing divestment

            According to Divest Harvard via its Facebook page, “over 100” people attended the Harvard Alumni for Divestment rally this afternoon (Monday, September 16, 2013). 

            So far the only footage from today’s Harvard Alumni for Divestment rally in front of Massachusetts Hall in Harvard Yard is still footage, available online, here: 

            Calls have arisen for public access to audio and video coverage of the day’s events, and for a text transcript of the presentations, a package of media that could be produced with funding from Kickstarter, if someone would just organize that connection.

            In fact, a continuing fund for the digital documentation of the divestment movement should garner even more support than one just committed to the production of content dealing solely with today’s Harvard Alumni for Divestment rally.

            Crowdsourced investment in divestment could underwrite a fund dedicated to the production of high-quality, multi-media materials dealing with divestment.

            A Divestment Investment Fund fueling a diverse and powerful movement for divestment.

Harvard reiterates its presumption against divestment

In an e-mail message sent to Etopia News today by the Harvard Public Affairs & Communications office, the University has reiterated its “strong presumption” against divestment of its fossil fuel holdings.

This as the University community prepared for a demonstration at 5:30 pm EDT this afternoon outside Massachusetts Hall in Harvard Yard by Harvard Alumni for Divestment calling upon the University to sell off its stocks and other negotiable financial instruments implicated in the oil, coal, and gas industries.

In an e-mail from Kevin Galvin, Harvard’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications, the University’s position is explicitly spelled out, as well as the justification for its stand:

The University has traditionally maintained a strong presumption against divesting stock for reasons unrelated to investment purposes. Harvard is first and foremost an academic institution, and the endowment's primary purpose is to support the research and educational activities through which institutions of higher education make their distinctive contributions to society.”

Questions about the details of the University’s planned meeting with representatives of the alumni haven’t been forthcoming yet, but further efforts may avail.