Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Alternative Energy News - December 20, 2006

  • Massachusetts is dedicating $22.5 million to retrofit 8,400 public school and regional transit buses in the state by 2010 in a deal designed to offset pollution from the Big Dig project in Boston.

  • Salt Lake mayor sees green future for city.

  • Energy-efficent hybrid buses now on road in Edmonton.

  • Boston plans to amend its building code to require that all large-scale private construction be “green.”

Bush For Minimum Wage Increase - With a Catch, of Course

An increase in the minimum wage has been one of our top issues since our inception, and was one of the most popular planks of the Democrat's agenda going into the 2006 mideterm elections.

As the offical Democratic takeover comes ever closer, GWB is going to have to come around to some of the Democrat's stands on certain issues, right? Well, not exactly.

See, Bush can't just help out working Americans by giving them the first increase in the minimum wage in almost nine years. Bush wants to tie a minimum wage increase to "tax and regulatory relief." Translation: I'll throw you a bone, but I want more goodies for my real consituents- businesses and the elite. And I want even less government oversight and regulation.

Democrats are going to have to stand strong on their principles, flex their new legislative muscles, and tell Bush that the American people voted them in to help workers get a raise, not help businesses get more tax breaks and less oversight.

US Diplomacy since 1990 should be called what exactly?

If you look on the State Department's timeline of US Diplomacy, the period after 1990 until now is yet to be defined. We'll give Bush credit for at least trying to name the era as the "Spreading of Democracy," but we face a choice as to whether we sloppily or by no choice at all have to choose diplomacy over war or the reverse.

Iran, not Iraq, is the real test. A communist country like North Korea is in a world of its own and gives us little reason to work their inside to support internal change, but with the recent local Iranian elections (not to mention all Iranians born since 1980), we can see a glimpse of hope that maybe we can work internally (be it secretly) to overthrow the madman that rules them and promote the same (Mideast version) of Democracy we tried (unsuccessfully) in Iraq. However, if Iran's local elections only mean that a slightly nicer group of folks still hate the US and their head of state is still in power than we face no choice than to work hard diplomacy or fight. HOWEVER, the US may just have to sit back and use neither option if this happens.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Watch this video now and Save the Internet

Watch it, understand it and pass it along or you may never be able to watch it again (without having to pay for it).

Greatest Instability of 2006: America in the Information Age

My free subscription to TIME just sent me their best edition in a long, long time - it is full of socio-economic-political-technological stories of and from folks who were part of what was in, controversial, or rising in 06, or they just want to comment on it - such comments may disturb bloggers, like this one:
"Blogs often lead to such divisiveness that people end up caring more about clan membership than truth after a while."
While I hope comments made on this site are done in truth (as a true American liberal/progressive voice), I can't help but agree that the products we create and services we use to control the Information Age may cloud our ability to think rationally about the physical world we are building and protecting. It seems we create more ways to bicker and belong to a side or party than to an idea that we really think will work. We all end up being confused and not sure who or what is right or wrong. Our priorities become strange and our plans are put on hold.

Just think about open-source versus hacking.

Just think about what the Joint Chiefs of Staff think as compared to Bush.

Just think about how much data and money is transferred and made as a result of PayPal, Youtube, Google and Facebook, yet just as much data and money is transferred illegally.

Just think about how we want to support our military with the most high-tech weapons and "whatever it takes," but the Federal budget leaves no room for it.

Just think about the billions of dollars made by WalMart, hedge funds and Rupert Murdoch, and how it does not balance the growing crime and poverty in our communities.

Just think about all the citizen journalists out there and the rise of personal free speech thanks to the Internet, yet we still see the steady oppression of groups of people around the world.

Now quote this blog for once:
The Information Age has only proven to be entertainment - not a solution for our problems. I love the Internet, but it is not the only answer. We, without computers, offer much better solutions to our problems than signing up as a user to any site or member of a political party - if only everyone put as much energy and excitement into physical activism and change. Thanks TIME for a breather from the regular stuff - I was entertained, but now back to the regular programming.

Republican Racism Knows No Bounds

Virginia Republican Rep. Virgil Goode:

  • “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States,” if we do not adopt “strict immigration policies.”

  • Opposes the minimum wage because it would "be a magnet for illegal aliens to come to this country. We do not need a strong magnet to lure illegals here.”
Virgina Republicans like Goode and Macaca Allen are doing their best to push their state further and further away from being solidly "red" by showing their true colors. Americans, no matter what state they're from, showed in 2006 that they are no longer easy marks for politics of racism. The GOP is going to have to come up with some real ideas to make the country a better place before voters even think about trusting their government with Republicans again.

Alternative Energy News - December 19, 2006

  • 'Sustainability' gains status on US campuses.

  • Technology captures energy from warm restaurant exhaust.

  • A $590,000 federal grant will help pay for new ethanol and biodiesel pumps in the Charlotte region, expanding availability of the alternative fuels.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Book recommendations and why we believe them

Of course you should listen to any book recommendation from this site, but we haven't read this book yet. However, I did see the author on C-SPAN and the topic of his book ("Overblown") is great food for thought.

Who should we believe? The US relies on the ideology of certain civilian leadership to lead our armed forces and look where it puts us. The Media never helps the situation - do they even know what to cover and what it all means? Do they only care about frenzied reporting?

We could be making just as much of a stink about the War on Poverty, Drugs, Affordable Healthcare, etc., etc., etc., but we do not - that means someone, somewhere, is spinning reality and maybe even exaggerating (see overblown) the reality of our fears. Then again, maybe no one even knows the enormity of what we are up against and that might be the scariest part.

Alternative Energy News - December 18, 2006

  • The National Renewable Laboratory has recently published its final report on the GM-Allison hybrid electric buses in service in King County, WA, which found that the hybrid buses had a 27% higher fuel economy on average compared with that of diesel buses.
  • Facing federal pressure over worsening air pollution, a Colorado state air quality commission on Sunday approved its first-ever statewide emissions controls on the booming oil and gas industry.
  • Dominion Resources, one of the nation's largest energy producers, announced that it will acquire a 50% interest in a wind-turbine facility being developed by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc in Grant County, WV.

Money, Love and Change

As most Americans hit the malls now looking for gifts and create a surge in our economy, we should remember to keep in mind where all the money goes that we spend and question whether the gifts we give to society are as thoughtful as the ones we give to everyone on our gift lists.

Here is the MONEY piece and the "person" who seems to collect it all.

Here is what Americans fall in LOVE with and a description of the American (spending) Dream we all get involved in these days.

Here is the CHANGE piece or advocates of turning a system on its head and shaking it up in order to protect your rights as a member of society entitled to honest answers and a fair system of checks and balances (in the way your Fed and State govs run themselves).

p.s. The title of this post just happens to be a song by this guy (a rare APROGS musical name drop).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Links

  • Midwestern states leading the way on HPV vaccinations. First Michigan, now Ohio.
  • Roanoke, VA slowly turning green.
  • It appears imminent that former Senator and VP candidate John Edwards is going to launch his 2008 presidential campaign. We're certainly not ready to give out the coveted Angry Progressives endorsement, but we're pleased to see that his agenda appears to be "unabashedly progressive."