Friday, May 04, 2007

Alternative Energy Daily News - May 4, 2007

  • Silda Wall Spitzer, wife of New York's Democratic Governor Elliot Spitzer, wants to turn the governor's mansion built in 1875 into a modern model of energy efficiency.

  • The U.S. Senate may vote this month on legislation that aims to drive down gasoline demand by boosting the fuel economy of cars and trucks and increasing the use of nonpetroleum fuels like ethanol.

  • By early 2009, but perhaps in less than a year, the American business community will have reached a tipping point in sustainable practices, according to a study by Siemens and McGraw-Hill Construction.

  • The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $200 million over five years (FY’07-’11) to support the development of small-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the United States.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bush Hates Our Troops, Wants to Protect Others Who Hate

The President has issued a veto threat against legislation that would expand federal hate crime law to include attacks motivated by the victims' gender or sexual orientation, which (predictably) has also met outspoken resistance from conservative groups and their Republican allies in Congress.

So, Bush has vetoed a whopping two bills in his 6+ years in office. One that would have expanded stem cell research, and the bill he vetoed yesterday that would have not only funded the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but also brought them home by 2008. Now he's threatening to veto legislation that simply expands the definition of a "hate crime" to include attacks motivated by the victims' gender or sexual orientation. He's also recently threatened to veto legislation that would give the District of Columbia its first full seat in Congress. Oh by the way, citizens of D.C. pay federal taxes and fight in the military, in case you were wondering why they might deserve representation in Congress.

So I have two questions:

1) Why does Bush only veto legislation that promotes medical progress, brings our troops home, protects people from hate crimes, and gives U.S. citizens representation?


2) Why are conservative always so concerned with protecting hatred?

Thursday Links

  • The House approved more money for the popular Head Start program Wednesday after rejecting a GOP-led attempt to allow religious groups participating in the program to hire and fire staffers based on religious grounds.

  • All hospitals in Connecticut will be required to provide rape victims with emergency contraception under legislation approved overwhelmingly Wednesday by the state’s General Assembly. The legislation was adopted by wide margins despite the strong resistance of the Roman Catholic Church, which has said Catholic hospitals should not be expected to prescribe the drug.

  • Oregon will become the seventh state to grant same-sex couples full marriage-style benefits allowed by state law, after the Oregon Senate approved a landmark “domestic partnerships” bill today. And in Massachusetts, gay rights advocates and state Democratic leaders are lobbying the national party to help them pressure a handful of state legislators to change their position and vote to kill a proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.

  • Lawmakers of both parties are making a new effort to pass a federal shield law to protect reporters from being forced to reveal their sources. The bill would write into federal law the protection for reporters now granted by 32 states and D.C., and would give government whistle-blowers more reason to reveal corruption when they know that reporters will be shielded in most cases from prosecutors' efforts to reveal information.

Angry Progressives at Anti-Veto Rally

Yesterday afternoon we attended the New York rally, sponsored by, to protest W's veto of the Democrats spending bill that would have begun the end of the war in Iraq. It was one of over 300 across the country, and we met some really interesting people there.

Here are some pictures from the rally:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Again We Say It: Impeach Gonzalez

The more I think about the fact that Alberto Gonzales remains the U.S. Attorney General, the angrier I get. It's been almost two months since we, and others, began calling for Congress to impeach Gonzales. His pathetic performance in front of the Senate Juduiary Commitee a few weeks ago bizarrely appears to have given the president more confidence in him (although maybe it's not so bizarre under Jon Stewart's theory that his bumbling was exactly what Bush wanted him to do), and Gonzales seems to be trying to slip off of the radar screen and keep his job. However, one week ago Roll Call reported that Senate Democrats were considering holding a vote of no confidence on Gonzales, which would be non-binding but would at least put all GOP Senators on record as either being for this corrupt figurehead or against him.

That would be a start, but as this scandal goes ever deeper, including today's story from Murray Waas about Gonzales signing a highly confidential order that delegated to two of his top aides extraordinary authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department, it remains absolutely vital that Congressional Democrats keep the heat on Gonzales and the White House. They think that they can lie, and stonewall, and lie some more until these stories go away. And they think that they can ignore Congressional subpoenas.

So fine, here's a solution: Just impeach the Attorney General. There's nothing Bush can do to stop that, and it would be quick and it would work. AG the A.G. would be gone, and it would send a signal to the White House that they're playing a new game now. A game in which the other side has power, and is willing to use it to stand up for what is right. AG should have already either been fired or stepped down himself, and everyone knows that. But if Bush and AG are going to play this game, then the Democrats, with their newfound power, owe it to the country to play it too.

Tuesday Links

  • Do yourself a favor and watch this 33-minute interview with Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers on PBS's Bill Moyers Journal. Stewart is obviously one of the most gifted political and social commentators of our time, and when he's not busy trying to be self-deprecating he's incredibly thoughtful and insightful. Here's hoping that Stewart continues on the path he seems to have taken recently, in which he gets a little more serious while remaining hilariously biting in his commentary on the tragedy that has been the Bush Administration and the debacle in Iraq.

  • Wisconsin is rolling out the nation's most expansive guarantee of higher education to students in hopes of raising aspirations and improving preparedness. The program is similar to those in Indiana, Oklahoma and at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill that educators say have helped keep college affordable. All three target low-income students.

  • The number of people killed around the world in terror attacks rose by 40% last year to more than 20,000, the US State Department has said. The increase is mostly due to greater violence in Iraq. So, repeat after me: The war in Iraq has made the world less safe. The war in Iraq has made the world less safe. The war in Iraq has made the world less safe.

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a measure Monday to force the Pentagon to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and move the trials of Al Qaeda suspects to the United States.

  • The Senate homeland security committee plans to hold hearings this summer on the Bush administration's handling of offers of foreign aid after Hurricane Katrina, senators. Of $854 million offered after the storm -- in cash and oil that was to be sold for cash -- only $44 million has gone to disaster victims or reconstruction so far.

Alternative Energy Daily News - May 1, 2007

  • A new study ordered by the Pentagon warns that the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil will make the U.S. military’s ability to respond to hot spots around the world “unsustainable in the long term.”

  • An international research project has begun that could help bring to mass-market organic light emitting devices, which could have far reaching technological implications and profoundly cut the cost of lighting.

  • The hot topic in venture-capital circles these days is "cleantech," and a Minnesota start-up founded by a pair of Russian chemists with big ideas and some impressive Silicon Valley backers is hoping to become a leader in the field.

  • PepsiCo Inc. said Monday it is now one of the top 25 green-power buyers in the country, having made the largest purchase so far of renewable energy certificates.

  • Every dollar spent for construction of new transmission lines to support the development of wind resources in Texas will result in a $5 to $7 reduction in energy costs.

  • Kansas is among a dozen north central states in the U.S. with the potential to produce up to two-thirds of the nation's perennial bioenergy crops and crop residues.

May 1: A Day That W Wishes He Could Erase From the Calendar

Ah, May 1. May Day. A good day. A day when you're just starting to get the feeling that summer's around the corner. Alas, for George W. Bush, May 1 is a day for both embarassment and irony.

Embarassment , because W and May 1 will forever be linked by two fateful words on a gigantic banner: Mission Accomplished. Yes folks, it was four years ago today that Mr. Combat Fighter braved the treacherous skies above San Diego Bay and landed his jet on the USS Abraham Lincoln to declare that "major combat operations have ended" in Iraq. This handy little chart from Think Progress details how much has changed since May 1, 2003, none of it for the good of either this country and its soldiers in Iraq or for the clown who sent them there on a lie.

And irony, because May 1 also happens to be Law Day. Unfortunately, as the New York Times notes, despite having sworn to uphold the Constitution, Bush isn't much for obeying the law or respecting the other branches of government. In his quest for complete power and Republican dominance over the United States, Bush has shown utter contempt for both the laws of this country and for anyone who dares to challenge him.

So like many things that Bush and his administration have attempted to erase from history, I'm sure that the president would love to see the calendar skip from April 30 to May 2 every year from now on. Maybe he can issue another signing statement to make just such a thing happen.

Happy May Day everybody.