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.

National Hunger Awareness Day

Today is National Hunger Awareness Day, an effort to raise awareness of—and donations to help end—hunger in America.

There are 25 million Americans on food stamps. In a prosperous country like this, that number is ridiculous. Go to the Hunger Site to see what you can do every day to help.