For the next two days, the Boston area is experiencing extremely high pollen levels - 11.8 on a 12 point scale. And the pollen levels will continue above 10 points all week until it finally rains next weekend. This is highly unusual. Even for a city like Boston that often has fairly high pollen levels between spring and fall. Climate experts say it’s the result of the second warmest winter on record hereabouts - and the warmest March on record. Plants are growing earlier than normal and pollinating earlier than normal.
Whatever you think about the Trayvon Martin case, it's clear that a major travesty of justice occurred in Sanford, FL a few weeks back. So it's no surprise that a large spontaneous nationwide movement arose to see Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, brought to trial, and ideally to usher in a top-to-bottom housecleaning in the Sanford Police Department - and possibly in the Sanford city government itself for good measure.
And it's great to see such a movement grow so quickly. It gives me hope.
OK, I'm finally starting to feel better after over a week of a nasty cold. Which means it's time for our slightly delayed fourth anniversary editorial. But I suppose the whole "Jason has a cold" business illustrates where this publication is at after four years of continuous publication. There's still only one paid staff person. Me. And, don't get me wrong, that's a significant achievement (which I have to remind myself every time we get a grant or a donation).
Alas, your faithful Editor/Publisher is home sick with that cold that's been going around; so I'll be giving my regular editorial a miss this week. Stay tuned for my next installment (and a couple of short news pieces I was working on) in a few days - once I'm on the mend. But in the meantime, please enjoy the other articles we have up this week. [And I mean really. Doesn't it just figure that I've got to get a stupid cold during Open Media Boston's fourth anniversary week? Grumble grumble. Stupid imperfect existence. And still waiting for that "cold cure", MIT!
Since I'm out of town for part of this week, I thought it might be a good time to make a pitch for more volunteer reporters to consider working with us at Open Media Boston. Then I remembered that I had done a pretty solid job of that a couple of years back; so I decided to just run that editorial of February 16, 2010 this week - and quickly add that we're also always interested in running op-eds from Boston area progressives and progressive organizations for our Opinion section. So read on ... and hope to hear back from interested parties at their earliest convenience.
The Students Occupy Boston march last week was a bit small; so I thought I'd devote this week's Open Media Boston editorial to discussing it and making a couple of suggestions.
OK. So the weather was lousy. I know how it goes. But rain or no rain, the turnout was way low for a citywide action. Last fall, students in and around the Occupy Boston movement were turning out in their hundreds and thousands for actions of all kinds. Fast forward a few months, and a purpose-built student action calling for free public higher education for all couldn't even crack 100 attendees.
In less than a month, Open Media Boston will celebrate our fourth anniversary. Hard to believe that so much time has passed already. But I'll dwell on that more in my upcoming anniversary editorial. Today it's time for one of our periodic appeals for funds. And I think I'll be a little more blunt than usual this time around and say that the entire staff and I greatly appreciate all the support we get week to week from folks we meet while reporting in the field - and in online communications we regularly get across our social media presence.
There is no real crisis at the MBTA. There is, however, a major problem with the way public transportation is funded in Massachusetts. And particularly with the way the MBTA is funded. As long as the existing funding system remains in place, the public will be left with the current two bad choices on offer from MBTA leadership - either accept a big fare increase and some bad cuts to service, or accept a slightly less big fare increase and even worse cuts to service. Neither of which is acceptable or necessary. But to understand why, let's take a closer look at MBTA funding.
The winter has led to many new developments for the Occupy movement - some good, some bad. One positive thing is the fire the movement has lit under left-wing student organizing. And one interesting result of that new fire has been the call for an Occupy Boston Student Summit this weekend. Which looks like it could potentially result in the formation of a significant network of radical students with chapters all over the Northeast.
There is far too much for me to say about UMass Boston to fit in one editorial; so I'll restrain myself and keep this brief. Open Media Boston strongly supports the Occupy UMass Boston movement's decision to found an encampment at the UMB Campus Center on Monday. And supports the movement itself. For the first time in a long time, Boston's working class university - my alma mater - is home to a growing and vibrant network of progressive students who are organizing for radical and much needed changes to public higher education system in Massachusetts.