Thursday, June 28, 2007

Alternative Energy Daily News - June 28, 2007

  • Hotels now are rolling out all sorts of green programs, in part because their business guests in particular are demanding it, and in part because the hotels are finding that going green saves money.

  • Technology that allows truckers to run the air conditioning inside their cabs, keep soda cold or watch TV without idling their big rigs was introduced at a Bordentown truck stop Tuesday, the third New Jersey location to install diesel pollution-reducing devices.

  • The Pennsylvania Legislature is working on legislative action that would mandate a 1,250% increase in the solar requirements provided by electric utilities over the next 15 years.

  • Despite its government's slow action on the issue of climate change, the U.S. financial community has done what it has always done so well, and that is pour money at an opportunity, i.e., the renewable energy sector.

  • The EPA has offered tighter standards for ozone pollution for the first time since 1997 but critics say the proposal is more lax than what the EPA's own experts recommended.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Good News?

Two progressive ideas for the future are now launched:

1. Michael Bloomberg for President - can you say no politics in politics, just time to get sh*t done - I like his style.

2. Google to use its funds to challenge us (environmentally).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Alternative Energy Daily News - June 15, 2007

  • European low-budget airline EasyJet has urged plane manufacturers to produce greener planes after unveiling the prototype for an aircraft that could slash carbon dioxide emissions by half.

  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger notified the EPA that California will file a lawsuit against the federal government six months and one day after the required notice was originally sent on April 26, 2007.

  • Dallas oilman and investor Boone Pickens wants to build the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle, a project that would put as many as 2,000 turbines on nearly 200,000 acres in four counties.

  • The list of universities and colleges putting up green buildings, buying alternative energy and otherwise shelling out money to green their campuses gets longer every day.

  • Across the country, a sprinkling of economists, authors, bloggers, and pundits are making the case that there's a silver lining to high gasoline prices: less traffic, fewer accidents, reduced air pollution, better efficiency, more reliance on renewable fuels, and less dependence on foreign oil.

  • Japanese carmaker Toyota Motors, calling hybrid technology its core technology, said it looks to soon sell 1 million gasoline-electric vehicles a year.

  • Access to clean water is going to continue to grow as an issue around the world and in the U.S. Ultimately, it will become an issue of national security as much as it will be one of environmental concern. In Nevada, there's a battle of 'Crops vs. Craps' over water right now.

Friday Links

  • After Hurrican Katrina, FEMA may have told the insurance industry that it was OK to load up damages on the taxpayer-funded flood program while shorting people on their wind damage payments.

  • In recent years, the Bush administration has recast the federal government’s role in civil rights by aggressively pursuing religion-oriented cases while significantly diminishing its involvement in the traditional area of race. Why? Ask Kanye West.

  • Responding to shabby treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Democratically-controlled Senate moved on Wednesday to boost disability pay to those hurt in combat and improve care for brain injury.

  • In stunning victory for gay marriage advocates and a devastating blow to efforts to reverse a historic 2003 court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Massachusetts lawmakers blocked a proposed constitutional amendment Thursday that would have let voters decide whether to ban gay marriage in the only state in which same-sex marriages are legal.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday Links

  • Over the last six years, the Defense Department has spent more than $30 million trying to find an efficient way for American soldiers and civilians living abroad to vote in elections back home. Unfortunately, they haven't figured it out yet. “ 'A system should be in place, regardless of the cost, to make sure that the very defenders of our democracy have the opportunity to take part in it,' wrote Sgt. James Mowrer, an Iowa National Guardsman deployed in Iraq who helped organize voters in his unit in 2006."

  • GOP Congressman and lower-tier presidential candidate Duncan Hunter (CA) is having trouble defending his role in helping steer tens of millions of dollars to a La Jolla-based aerospace firm to develop a military jet the Pentagon did not want. Hunter aggressively supported the program over decades even though the Pentagon repeatedly questioned the jet's feasibility and lambasted the contractor's work.

  • The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the nation's one million home healthcare aides are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay under federal law, even if they work for private employers. The 9-0 decision, which keeps in place a long-standing rule that denies minimum wages and overtime pay to those who provide "companionship services" at home, could trigger a move in Congress to amend the law.

  • In another unanimous ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court strengthened a landmark anti-pollution program yesterday, enabling companies to recover costs when they voluntarily clean up hazardous material. The Bush administration, as one might imagine, had argued otherwise.

  • The Georgia Supreme Court threw out the latest challenge to the state's voter ID law, but sidestepped a decision on the whether the requirement is constitutional. With a federal challenge still pending, election officials will not require voters to show photo IDs for the special elections scheduled next week in the race to succeed the late Rep. Charlie Norwood in Congress. These voter ID laws are discriminatory, and the argument that they prevent "voter fraud" is bogus.

  • As motorists face near-record gasoline prices, the Senate took up an energy bill Tuesday that would raise vehicle fuel-economy standards for the first time in nearly 20 years and make oil-industry price gouging a federal crime.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Alternative Energy Daily News - June 12, 2007

  • Votes for shareholder resolutions that would force General Motors and ExxonMobil to take action on greenhouse gas emissions received record levels of support at the companies' annual meetings.

  • If people object to wind farms cluttering up the countryside, one answer might be to put them in the air instead.

  • U.S. CEOs want leadership from Washington on regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Europe's first regular passenger train service powered by bio-fuel set off on its maiden journey across Britain last Thursday with prime minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown hailing the launch for helping to combat global warming.

Goodbye to "The Sopranos"

As everyone in the country knows, this past Sunday's episode of HBO's "The Sopranos" was the series finale. And while we can all argue over whether we liked it or not (I thought it was amazing), we can all agree that the series itself was incredible.

In this article on, Gary Kamiya discusses how what he'll miss the most is the show's moral perversity, and how it reflects how many Americans feel about their country in the age of Bush.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Saturday Links

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee (at least the Democrats on the Committee and Arlen Specter (R-PA) ) took a step towards repairing the Constitution on Thursday, approving a bill that would restore the right of habeas corpus to this country. I can't wait to see Congressional Republicans argue against any person's right to not be sent into a black hole with no rights and no recourse.

  • Blue Jersey is reporting that a bill was released yesterday by the NJ Senate Health and Human Services Committee which would test pregnant women for HIV as part of routine prenatal care unless the woman refuses testing and requires testing for all newborns for HIV. Preventitive care, that's the way to go.

  • President Bush, who last July vetoed a bill permitting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, threatened within minutes of final congressional passage of a nearly identical bill Thursday to do it a second time. So once again, Bush will use his veto pen to go against the will of the people and a large bipartisan majority in Congress. More great leadership, which will ensure that stem cell research will be a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign. That's good news for Democrats, and you can be assured that if a Democrat is elected into the White House this measure will be signed post haste.

  • Hans A. von Spakovsky used every opportunity he had over four years in the Justice Department to make it difficult for voters -- poor, minority and Democratic -- to go to the polls. During his tenure, more than half of the career lawyers in the voting section left in protest. Von Spakovsky now serves as a temporary (because Bush used a recess appointment to circumvent Congress) commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, the bipartisan body that enforces campaign finance regulations. And a Senate Rules Committee hearing set for Wednesday on whether to confirm him for a six-year term could become a critical moment in the debate over political influence in the Justice Department.

  • Now that Democrats are in charge, international family planning groups cut off from aid because of their position on abortion could gain access to U.S.-donated contraceptives.

  • Legalizing gay marriage would add $142 million in economic benefits to New York City’s economy over three years, according to a report fromthe City Comptroller, Bill Thompson. Hey Republicans, it's more money! How can you vote against that?

  • The House passed a resolution calling on the government of the People’s Republic of China to use its unique influence and economic leverage to stop genocide and violence in Darfur.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Alternative Energy Daily News - June 7, 2007

  • In the past 30 years, while Americans on average have nearly doubled their per capita consumption of electricity, Californians have kept their consumption about the same.

  • Brazil eyes ethanol as fast track to power.

  • About 300 drivers of the dirtiest and oldest trucks serving the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex gathered in Wilmington on Tuesday to support a program that would impose stricter pollution standards on harbor vehicles.

  • Global concern about climate change has risen dramatically over the last six months and consumers increasingly expect their governments to act, according to a survey published by the Nielsen Company and Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute.

  • With its purchase of a Canadian hydroelectric plant and investments in two wind farms, General Electric's Energy Financial Services has begun a plan to double its investments to $4 billion by 2010.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tuesday Links

  • After looking pathetic in caving to Bush over funding for Iraq, Democrats and anti-war groups are planning to keep the heat on the President and GOP lawmakers.

  • A military panel recommended that an Iraq war veteran who wore his uniform during an anti-war demonstration lose his honorable discharge status, brushing away his claims that he was exercising his right to free speech.

  • Reversing its recent decision, the state says it will provide a pricey new vaccine that prevents cervical cancer free to all eligible Alaska girls.

  • With the April release of a congressionally authorized study showing that kids who took abstinence-only classes were just as likely to have premarital sex as those who weren’t in the classes, there has been a movement toward comprehensive sex-education that teaches about contraception along with abstinence.

  • The federal government is in the midst of an unprecedented intervention into the local criminal justice system in New Orleans, adding more than 40 agents and prosecutors to regain some basic daily operations lost to Hurricane Katrina nearly two years ago.

Conservatives Don't Care About Hunger

As we noted earlier, today is National Hunger Awareness Day. And a report entitled "The Economic Cost of Domestic Hunger", commissioned by the Sodexho Foundation, has found that hunger in America leads to $90 billion a year in societal costs, and that that boosting anti-hunger spending by an additional $10 billion to $12 billion a year is cost-effective and could even "virtually end hunger" in America.

Amazingly, in this same article, conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation claims that "there is no significant long-term hunger in this country." Read that again. These a-holes think that hunger is not a problem in America. Instead, they argue that obesity is a bigger problem for poor people.

This is classic conservative spin. Yes, we can all agree that obesity is a major health problem for all Americans, and that economically-disadvantaged people suffer worse from poor nutrition because they are forced to buy more unhealthy food to stretch their budgets. But what the Heritage Foundation is trying to do is act like hunger is not a problem simply because obesity is. Unfortunately, they are not mutually exclusive. And ironically, it's corporations like McDonalds and Coca-Cola, the same companies that peddle the unhealthy foods that are causing the obesity problem in this country, that are protected from government regulation by Heritage Foundation. If government ever tried to regulate those companies and attempt to correct this health epidemic, conservatives such as these would cry foul and say, "Let the free market work it out!"

When the leading conservative think tank comes out and says that hunger is not a problem in America, stricly to try and influence the government away from spending more money to actually fix the problem, it's yet another sign that conservatives (read, the GOP) do not give a crap about regular people.

Alternative Energy Daily News - June 5, 2007

  • California-based Solar Electrical Vehicles has created a solar power option for the Toyota Prius electric hybrid.

  • A major London-based executive chauffeur fleet operator is switching its cars to Lexus hybrids, saying that the emergence of the automaker's Hybrid Drive technology and the readiness of its customers to 'think green' has enabled it to start transforming its operations.