Archive for May, 2006

Gallows humor

Friday, May 19th, 2006

Iraq: The Musical

Mission Rejected in the news

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Word’s starting to get out…

Author Gives Voice to Soldiers Who Rejected Iraq War

The Press Democrat
by Sara Peyton
May 14, 2006

Years ago, during the Vietnam War, there was an authentic, popular, anti-war movement. Many young men dodged the draft, fled to Canada, went AWOL or to prison. Others became conscientious objectors. They were supported by their boomer generation, with many demonstrating and marching, staging hunger strikes and student boycotts to protest the war. Although 30-odd years later we’re once again engaged again in an unpopular war, the political climate has undergone a seismic shift. In today’s passive culture, it would be a big stretch to say we have an effective anti-war movement. But even without the support of their generation, some young American soldiers have decided they can no longer support the war or fight in Iraq.

Sonoma Coast author and Vietnam War resister Peter Laufer’s newest book gives voice to soldiers wrestling with the most profound moral dilemma of their young lives — whether or not to quit the military service. In “Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq” (Chelsea Green Publishing; $14), American soldiers tell why they feel betrayed by the American government that sent them to Iraq.


Mission accomplished

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Firedoglake says that the CTG Capitol project is sold out. Thanks all!

The Senate Proposes an Ambitious Plan for Energy Independence

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

An email release from the Apollo Alliance


Today, Senate Democrats unveiled the Clean EDGE Act of 2006, a broad framework for energy independence and development of the domestic clean energy industry, and proposed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 40%. Key provisions in the bill would create good jobs, control gas prices, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and help curb global warming pollution. Jerome Ringo, president of the Apollo Alliance said that today’s proposal sets a high standard and evokes the “same ‘can do’ spirit that inspired the original Apollo Program to send a man to the moon.” The new legislation would also establish a nationwide renewable power standard while creating a new Clean Energy Investment Administration. Modeled on the Small Business Administration, the new agency would channel billions in federal loan guarantees to renewable power infrastructure and related manufacturing.

It’s a start

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Ruth Page commented on VPR the other night on growing algae on power plant smoke stacks. The algae absorb lots of CO2 out of the stack’s emissions, and then can be turned into various useful things, like biodiesel, ethanol, or solid fuel.

Green algae
Ruth Page
LISTEN (Windows Media)
SHELBURNE, VT (2006-05-16)

(HOST) Some of our greatest discoveries involve the humblest of materials – like bread mold and penicillin – and commentator Ruth Page says that the green film you sometimes see on the surface of water may help reduce air pollution.

(PAGE) More than once I’ve had to wade through pond scum to get to the deeper, clear water for a swim. The scum feels nasty and looks messy. Useless and annoying stuff, I think.

But as with so many things in nature, looks can deceive. The imagination of an MIT engineer has found a way to make use of the icky stuff and hopes to see his work expanded as a way to sequester carbon emissions and help slow the Earth’s rising fever.

All for naught

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

By Paul Rogat Loeb

“I didn’t want to die for Nixon,” said a man I met recently in a Seattle park. He’d served on military bases in a half dozen states, then had a car accident just before being shipped to Vietnam. “The accident was lucky,” he said. “It was a worthless war and I didn’t want to go.”

I agreed. I admired those who fought in World War II, I said. We owe them the debt of our freedom. But to die for Nixon’s love of power, fear of losing face, deception and vindictiveness—to die for him was obscene. Nixon’s war, the man said, had nothing noble about it. And neither did Iraq.

What does it mean to die in a war so founded on lies? Bush may lack Nixon’s scowl, but he’s equally insulated from the consequences of profoundly destructive actions. He came to power riding on the success of Nixon’s racially divisive “Southern Strategy,” which enshrined the Republicans as the party of backlash. He won reelection by similarly manipulating polarization and fear. Like Nixon, he’s flouted America’s laws while demonizing political opponents. His insistence that withdrawing from Iraq would create a world where terrorists reign echoes Nixon’s claim that defeat in Vietnam would leave the U.S. ”a pitiful, helpless giant.”

Offering a helping hand

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Crashing the Gate is meant to wake up the Democratic Party hierarchy, show how the party can function again, function and win. It helps if the Party line folks read it. You can help them get the help they need.

Action Alert: Let’s Make Sure They ‘Get It’

Partisan Neutrality

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

All your base are belong to us.

One more reason why books shouldn’t be ditched for digital just yet.

More industrial organics

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

There’s some zeitgeist in the air apparently. Not only did the NYTimes have that story on Wal Mart and organics, but the New Yorker has one on the growing organic juggernaut of Whole Foods. Like making potted meat food product, it ain’t all that pretty. Local! Local! Local!

What are you buying when you buy organic?
Issue of 2006-05-15
Posted 2006-05-08

The share price of the Whole Foods Market, Inc., now stands at $62.49. Adjusting for stock splits and dividends, one share would have cost you $2.92 when the company opened on Nasdaq, in January of 1992, so it has done extremely well. Last year, its total revenue was more than $5 billion and its gross profit was more than $1.6 billion. In 2004, according to the Financial Times, Whole Foods was “the fastest-growing mass retailer in the US, with same-store sales rising 17.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter.” Having opened in 1978 with a single countercultural vegetarian establishment in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods now has a hundred and eighty-one natural-food supermarkets, including many acquired in purchases of smaller chains: among them, Wellspring Grocery, in 1991; Bread & Circus, in 1992; Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Foods, in 1993; and Fresh Fields, in 1996. In 2004, Whole Foods opened a fifty-eight-thousand-square-foot mega-mart in the new Time Warner Center, at Columbus Circle, with forty-two cash registers, a two-hundred-and-forty-eight-seat café, and three hundred and ninety employees. “Our goal is to provide New Yorkers with an engaging shopping experience and to become an integral part of this truly unique community,” a company executive said. And in 2004 Whole Foods crossed the Atlantic, acquiring six Fresh & Wild stores in London and making plans to open others there under its own name. Its ambitions are global.

Speaking of taxes, pt. 2

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

So I like the idea of feebates to promote fuel efficiency in cars. I also think a similar idea could be implemented in cities facing problems of limited parking availability. NYC is one brutal example, and the city has a reputation for making life as miserable for car owners as possible in order to try to convince people not to add more cars to the auto-overpopulation on the streets. New Yorkers often pay hundreds of dollars per month for a guaranteed parking spot.

This isn’t a solution, but it could help a little bit: use a feebate system based on the length of the vehicle. NYC chooses a base registration fee, say for example $100, and charges that for the shortest vehicle currently on sale (probably the Mini Cooper, right?). For every inch that a vehicle is longer than the Mini, registration costs more. The increase could be linear, like just an extra $10 per inch, or nonlinear, like my father-in-law suggested a formula of (inches^2)x$0.01. [So a 100 inch long car would cost
100^2 = 10,000 x $0.01 = $100 ;
a 110 inch car would cost
110^2 = 12,100 x $0.01 = $121 ;
a 120 inch car would cost
120^2 = 14,400 x $0.01 = $144 ;

If someone can put me in touch with Mayor Bloomberg, I’m sure I can convince him to adopt this plan.

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