Thursday, February 25, 2010

This is how all of these meetings should be held.

Not going to talk too much about this, but the Health Care Summit live broadcast is amazing. I really hope this is a real conversation that will make things better, or at least better understanding.

Note at 9:26 am PST - Ok McCain, you lost the election, get over it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mission Dolores Meeting Follow Up and PROTESTS!!!!!

If you will recall in my last post I had voiced concerns over this March 3rd Meeting on the future of Dolores Park and its effects on Dufty's mayoral bid.

First of all, the meeting was not the overflowing crowd of angry "hipsters" (a word that was thrown around a lot at the meeting itself) but a fairly calm and collected meeting consistent with the community meetings I had been to in the past.

I had forgotten that the internet is a place for individuals to vet their anger and what many people post that they will do, like show up to a public meeting in volume, isn't always what they actually do. All in all it was a very lovely evening with poignant questions, specific and informative answers and amazing presence by Supervisor Dufty. I was really impressed by how he handled the meeting and the input. He showed class and grace and poise. The city staff gave a great presentation and answered questions in a way that was both personal and impressive. Even the popular local Ritual Coffee Roasters donated some coffee for the event (apparently half pay and half donate still counts as donate). If you want to learn more there are some rather amazing and comprehensive notes here.

There are, however various protests around California that were supposed to be enormous and attention getting. In SF people were warned that traffic would be disrupted, but the actual protest is supposed to happen at five so no real details about the effectiveness until then, odds are I will try to put something a little more comprehensive up tomorrow. Apparently "organizers hoped to spur events in 30 other states..." These protests are regarding the huge cuts made to the UC, STATE and Community College systems including cutting massive amounts of students. Assemblymember Torrico has a tax proposal to hopefully help rectify it; "... [he] has proposed a new 12.5 percent tax on revenue from oil and gas production in California, a measure that he says could raise $2 billion for higher education" and hopefully these protests will give the legislature the push they need to get things done. More later.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Resurgence of Nuclear Power

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the Recovery and Reinvestment act.

It is an amazing time, this is our generation's "New Deal" and, according to the official graph (shown above), it is working. The Administration has been working hard to promote the plan whose main goal is to create jobs. An equally important aspect of this is the promotion of American industry, specifically the "green economy." Currently there is a huge effort to get the message out there;

In fact, a new aspect of the "War on the Economy" Campaign is that the Department of Energy, with the blessing/instruction of Obama, the DOE is to announce a new loan program that would guarantee the funds for the building of new Nuclear Energy sites in the south. While some "Critics of the loan guarantee program called the award another industry "bailout..."and "The last thing Americans want is another government bailout for a failing industry, but that's exactly what they're getting from the Obama administration," (said by Ben Schreiber, an analyst for Friends of the Earth, in a statement) it is hardly a "failing industry." The fact of the matter is that the Nuclear Power industry suffered a horrible public image blast after various melt downs and problems with managing the waste. While those problems still exist, they are no where as harmful as they were. If one looks back as far as 2002, there is a report by M. Saito and T. Sawada entitled; Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems Toward Zero Release of Radioactive Wastes, discussing the endeavors of the 2000 scientific summits. The point is, there have already been huge strides in the market and it could be a reusable safe energy source if we put the funding and effort into it. Keep in mind, Nuclear power releases no Carbon. Still retractors abound; (from previously mentioned article)

Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, said the loan program is a subsidy for nuclear power.

"This would be a repudiation of Obama's own campaign statements against subsidies for nuclear power, and the implementation of the worst energy policy excesses of the Bush administration and failed presidential candidate Senator John McCain," Mariotte said.

We have to remember that the power needs of America are not going to be met by the current technologies of geothermal, wind, biomass, or solar combined. Even each of those technologies have their own environmental downsides. Nuclear appears to be aiding Obama's Climate change efforts and actually furthering the goals of the reinvestment act;

Carol Browner, Obama's top energy and climate adviser, said she was hopeful about progress on energy and climate legislation that is currently stalled in the U.S. Senate.

"I'm always optimistic, as is the president," Browner told Reuters Insider in an interview.

"We're working hard, and we're encouraged by the conversations that are going on. Obviously this is very important legislation and we're going to do everything we can to make it happen," she said.

Mr. Obama said, “Make no mistake: whether it is nuclear energy, or solar or wind energy, if we fail to invest in these technologies today, we’ll be importing them tomorrow.”

And that is accurate. We either are going to have to "drill baby drill" or utilize one of the dirtiest yet most abundant and still dangerous of energy technologies; coal. For now, nuclear power appears to be a reasonable alternative to Oil and Coal to offset our "Dirty" energy technologies while still supplying America with the energy it craves. Hopefully new and innovative technologies that are truly green and renewable will come soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Obama Gallup, Democratic Factionilization, Tea Party, Sara Palin

A few days ago there was a rather excellent article in on It mirrored a few frustrations I have been having with the American public as a whole. The impatience that many in the middle class have with the pace of the stimulus and the nature of their demands on the government;

"[America is] a country that simultaneously demands and rejects action on unemployment, deficits, health care, climate change, and a whole host of other major problems...We want Washington and the states to fix all of our problems now. At the same time, we want government to shrink, spend less, and reduce our taxes."

We want our cake and we not only want to eat it, but we want it for free too. We as a people need to remember, as I have said before, that real and lasting change takes time and hard work. We need to move away from this collective sense of entitlement. We need to run away from the idea that we should each be given an i-pod for us to be happy. The story of the American dream used to come after a hero's quest of sweat and hard work. In the past few generations, from the "greed is good" antics of the 80's and the "dot com successes" of the 90's the 2000's only re-enforced the get rich quick mentality of our nation. We need to remember that we as a people were reminded that we were going to make sacrifices and that this was going to be a long haul. Unfortunately in this world we have an America that only want our problems solved for free. They forget that we need to fix this broken system we have to one better suited for our people. They, we, forget that that takes capital, time and hard work. We as a people need to stop being swayed by the small, meaningless things an look at the larger picture. We need to move beyond the way the world is and evolve into what it could be. The driving force can no longer be wealth building, it must be something better, something greater. Until that change, it is still business as usual.

One incident that irked me as a rational individual, a supporter of free speech and as
comic book fan was that this image was recently pulled from a Captain America comic and changed because of protest.

As explained in the blog "Palin's Q&A Fun;" "
In issue No. 602 of Captain America, the hero and his ally the Falcon find themselves at a rally where protesters hold signs that read “Tea Bag the Libs Before They Tea Bag You!” and “Stop the Socialists!” Captain America remarks that the assembly appears to be an “anti-tax thing,” and the Falcon, who is black, says he probably would not fit in with “a bunch of angry white folks.” The tea party leadership voiced their concerns at the depiction and said that it was unfair to claim that their demographics are solely "angry white folk," however it is hard to actually see individuals that are outside this descriptions at their rallies. Listening to their recent convention has provided even more frightening depictions that have been suggested at their recent rally. For example; a suggestion of "Jim-Crow"-esque laws and more fears of Tancaedo's such as his fear of non-english speakers a six-figured speech filled with poison and no real solutions, just the same old republican rhetoric. This type of behavior should not be surprising to me or anyone else in the slightest looking at what Palin has been doing.

This is not about the whole issue over her palm notes and her hypocrisy regarding Obama's teleprompters. This is about her calling out Rahm Emanuel to resign. She feels he should resign for calling liberal democrats "F-ing retarded" for attacking moderate democrats. Yet when Rush Limbaugh Did it, it was considered all fine.

A recent poll has come out that says that over
70% of Americans think Palin is unqualified and she keeps getting hits from all areas, including the White House; "Poking fun at Palin's much-mocked method for remembering her lines at a Tea Party convention last weekend - notes scribbled on her palm - [White House Spokesman Robert] Gibbs flashed his own ink-stained mitt at reporters yesterday."

And, of course, Stephen Colbert.

Comedy Central funnyman Stephen Colbert put Sarah Palin's "satire" defense over the word "retard" to the test Monday night - and used it to describe the former Alaska governor.

"We should all come to her defense and say that Sarah Palin is a f---ing retard," Colbert said.

"It's satire."

What the dems really need right now is to stop this fractionalization of the democratic party and come together to get stuff done, What we need is a new Unruh or for Obama to put his foot down like he did when he met with the GOP leadership.

Green Valentines for Earth

In a few days it will be Valentines Day, a holiday of chocolate, love and cards. I woke this morning to find a very interesting video from Vote Solar, a California organization that is attempting to push the solar agenda for clean, renewable energy. This video was a Valentine to the environment. I have to admit it sort of got me in the holiday spirit.

It is interesting to look at the Silicon Valley, San Jose area California and compare it to where experts were believing the next Silicon revolution to happen; Austin, Texas. I had heard whispers and rumors of Austin becoming the next Silicon Valley as far back as 2001, but if the recent push for Austin and Texas as a whole to become the driving force behind a new Solar explosion comes to be, then it may leave San Jose in the dust. This is especially true since San Jose's Silicon Valley is "filled with uncertainty."

But back to Valentines Day. It seems like holidays are a great way to advance the green agenda. Just by slightly spinning the message of the season we are able to tweak it green. The movie Valentines Day is attempting to have a "green opening" though I doubt it will make it a better movie it is rather interesting how certain industries have begun to self enforce an unspoken "green law."

Major holidays and worldwide events are being utilized to advance environmental awareness. Even the Olympics are keeping to the sustainable track which is rather amazing. If you will recall, the most recent Olympics in China had the effect of forcing the Chinese government to take a serious look at the environment. At least the environment around Beijing. According to the Council on Foreign Relations;

What impact has the 2008 Olympics had on China's environmental policy?

As part of Beijing's bid to host the summer games, China promised a "green" Olympics. Since then, Beijing has witnessed some improvements, with air quality improving each year since 2001. From 1998 to 2007, Beijing spent $15.7 billion on environmental initiatives. According to the Chinese government, the city saw only 100 days with good air quality in 1998, while there were 241 such days in 2007. To cut down pollution, Beijing temporarily moved or shut down factories (AP), decided to take more than 1.5 million cars off the road during the Games, revamped its mass transit system, and built new wastewater treatment plants, among many other things.

An October 2007 report by the United Nations Environment Programme said China achieved many of its bid commitments (PDF). Another report by the NGO Greenpeace lists key achievements to improve Beijing's environmental standards before the Games, but says they need to be broadly applied to other cities (PDF) in China beyond 2008.

The fact remains that China's environmental record is continuously slipping. A "pollution census" recently found that China's environment is worse than ever. So what can we, as the international community do to help with China's and our own problems? Should the "green police" as seen in the recent super bowl adds be established and spread world wide? (By the way the Huffington Post had a great article on that recently).

I feel that we need to send our leaders; Local, State, National and even International a Valentine from the environment. We need to push renewable industry and demand a real change. We should give the environment "love coupons." For those who never did this for friends, family or loved ones, a "love coupon" book is a book filled with coupons redeemable for chores and favors like back rubs. We should each write one for the environment; 30 things that are redeemable at any time in the year that we can do to make the world a greener, safer place. Lists can be found everywhere but lets use the Holiday to motivate action.

Good luck and give the Earth a back rub for me.