Archive for June, 2005

A Liquified Natural Gas Terminal Near You!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

There is a phenomenon I call “civic Novocain.” I experience this numbing when faced with local newspaper articles about the raging internal debate over my town’s purchase of the hydroelectric dam. I want to know about it, and certainly I should be conversant in the details, but the most I’ve gleaned is that there is a raging internal debate over my town’s purchase of the hydroelectric dam. It is a feeling reminiscent of returning home from having a tooth filled: I am standing in front of the open refrigerator door, milk carton to my lips, poised to enjoy a cold swallow, but my mouth flatly rejects the offer. This is never attractive.

So it has been with federal energy policy and the debate over liquefied natural gas (LNG). I don’t believe that I’m alone in having read the article about Tucker Carlson’s ongoing bow-tie saga in Sunday’s New York Times over the many articles which dealt head-on with the urgency of energy policies. China’s growing energy appetite, for example, includes a pretty strong taste for natural gas, a commodity that it has preliminarily agreed to buy in conjunction with oil from Iran for a trifling $70 billion. Ignorance in the face of such numbers is exceedingly unattractive, more so, for sure, than milk dripping off my shirt and onto the floor.

The United States has a pretty healthy appetite for LNG, too, which is only growing in the name of diversification, and, oddly, non-reliance on foreign sources of energy (the largest reserves of natural gas can be found in Qatar, Iran, Russia, Angola, Yemen, and Algeria). On June 15 the Senate voted to give federal regulators authority over the location of LNG terminals (as opposed to the states that will host them), fearing that lengthy approval processes by individual states would trip-up the economy. There is a lot of time, money, and political muscle being invested in an extremely finite resource. Why? Read the excellent reports on this byThe Los Angeles Times, andThe Environmental News Network. Check out Julian Darley’s book High Noon for Natural Gas for the whole story.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

My father once told me of a college teacher of his (in the Post World War II era) who shocked his new students with his startling pronouncement about Communism. “Communism,” he’d say to the initial horror of his students, “isn’t such a bad idea. It just doesn’t work.”

What he meant by that, of course, is that communism, with its supposed dedication to egalitarian societies — where all prosper regardless of their status — is without exception derailed by a powerful leader and ruling elite, usually a military leader and his fervent followers, who suppress the people’s rights as they exalt the virtues of their so-called egalitarian socialistic government. In addition, the oppressors live posh, privileged lives, while the masses suffer in poverty and under the extreme tyranny of an authoritarian police state.

Basically, his message was that communism doesn’t practice what it preaches.

You have to say the same thing about the new Republican Party.

Evergreen Commencement

Friday, June 10th, 2005

This afternoon Chelsea Green author Derrick Jensen will give the commencement address at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. If you’ve never heard Derrick before, check out today’s talk, which is streaming live from the Evergreen site starting at 1pm PST. While I’m not sure what Derrick plans to talk about specifically, I’m pretty certain no graduate will leave without plenty of ideas about what to do in life.

The Foreign Language of Choice

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

George Lakoff’s latest piece “The Foreign Language of Choice” appeared on Alternet today. In it he addresses the debate over unwanted pregnancies in our country and the various ways frames are used to distort the truth. He offers a very helpful set of frames that give voice the progressive moral position of valuing life.

The emphasis on framing and language is not a covert attempt to push women’s issues that are controversial — be it abortion or contraception — off the progressive agenda. Quite to the contrary, it is a refusal to accept the conservative definition of the issues involved, and put forward a positive vision, based on deeply progressive values and moral perspective.

Read the whole article

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