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April 29, 2008

Higher Energy Costs? Yes, Controllable? YES!

Higher Energy costs from Climate bills
April 29, 2008 - 7:06pm

By H. JOSEF HEBERT Associated Press Writer

"WASHINGTON (AP) - People will be paying higher energy prices under a Senate bill to limit greenhouse gases, but how much will depend on how well the country can shift away from burning fossil fuels, an Energy Department analysis said Tuesday.
Energy Information Administration said annual energy costs could increase on average of as little as $30 or as much as 10 times that much by 2020. The projected cost increases per household ranged from $76 a year more to as much as $723 a year more by 2030.
The agency said the difference depends on how successful the country will be in replacing significant amounts of energy production from coal and oil to nuclear power as well as solar and wind energy, and how successfully it adopts conservation measures.

Overall, the report said the
U.S. economy will continue to grow, but at a lower pace.""

Of course energy prices are going to go up, when was the last time they went down? Things are uncertain enough, ixnay on the aresca actictsta eh? I've seen the price of oil in my lifetime go from about $15 to what we see today, with some pretty big swings noted, but the price of the end product really never seems to go down all that much for all that long. Everything goes up in price over time, now that we've resigned ourselves to that, it's time to move on to 'Controlling' the increase.

The first best way, in my opinion, is for people to own the energy plants. Energy is just something that shouldn't be speculated on, and subject to the corporate "what is best for the shareholders" credo, it's far too integral and important to the big picture for that, as Enron and various other energy scams have taught us recently. States, counties, cities and towns should be the owners of the energy plants. Private homeowners and commercial building owners should adopt forms of energy productions, probably passive, and source the extra back into the system for credits. With local public funding and oversight, fundamental energy sources can be implemented with a focus on efficient, sustainable, dependable practices.

Local governments already have the inter-communication necessary to share pertinent project information, especially important in keeping costs down when developing new technologies. Local governments are 'Tops' when it comes to any grant available for local energy projects, especially alternative energy projects. Local governments employ local people, returning the monies we pay out in taxes to the project back to the community (back to US). Local governments that set up public utilities are mandated to act in the communities good, and would not be profit driven, keeping cost increases level with the economy, not the whim of the market (or of a couple of guys on the phone in a foul mood).

Here are some examples of local success in alternative energy:

Wind Power Produces 123% of Residential Energy Demand in Rock Port, Missouri

"Small Wind" power plants blowing strong

Searsburg Wind Power facility A limited success story, but invaluable research and experience have come from this project as well as some unexpected benefits.

Nevada's Solar One Plant

Sacramento Municipal Utility Districts Photovoltaic program. Participating customers to pay an additional $4 per month to have SMUD install a 2-4 kilowatt (kW) solar array on their rooftops. This additional cost covered only a portion of the cost of the PV systems. The remaining costs were spread across the entire customer base of SMUD.

Now imagine instead of foreign or mega-corporation ownership, that you and your neighbors own these new plants.

April 26, 2008

$1 Million for Fake Meat - $0 Dollars from Donors

Who knew I'd ever have to remove PETA from my list of organizations to help. There are so many things wrong with this, I don't even really know where to begin. I'm going to skip over all of the normal stuff people are going to cover ad nauseum and get straight to the less obvious.

There are lots and lots of nerve endings in the digestive tract. We know what a lot of them do, some react and cause hormone release or other chemical releases, others stimulate various muscles. We do not know what MOST of them do. We do not know what they are detecting, and how the responses effect us as humans. We don't have a clue what the chemicals that make up the meat we eat mean to us really, and we don't know what the lack of any single one will mean to us as a species, much less what the addition of other alien chemicals will do. Many vegans (of which I am not one) and defenders of life believe even the chemicals released into an animal before death due to fear effects them, if that is only a little bit true.... I'll tell you what I'm pretty sure I do know about each and every one of those nerve endings, and that is that they have only ever been subjected to relatively natural meat. Injected, infected, modified and manipulated sure, but once alive, on the planet breathing the air, recognizable defecating animals.

We don't seem to have the wherewithal to monitor lead in products arriving en masse on our shores, or the forethought to see what turning corn into fuel would do to the world food market, but you think that somehow we have what it takes to 'Create Meat' from nothing?! You have convinced yourself that now, NOW? is the time to even be considering such a thing? You couldn't perhaps put your money behind cheap solar power, for well pumps and other electric items to make margin farming easier? Throw your money behind the research of the 'tera preta' so crops can be grown everywhere? How about simply funding the teaching of the sustainable methods we already have. Isn't there ANYTHING else you can think of but this?

April 24, 2008

PolitiFact | A service of the Obama Campaign

A few weeks ago I added the Politifact gadgety thingy to my homepage, as I had come across an interesting article and took a few moments to look over a few of their headlines and thought it might be interesting. And in fact they are interesting, the site itself is well laid out, newsy and not extravagant. I've bookmarked a few of their articles, referred to them for info etc. It began to occur to me recently however, that the frequency of the name Obama over Clinton in the 6-7 headlines that come across the little reader was, well, getting more frequent. Over the next few days I kept my eye on those headlines and also began to notice they were leaning a bit to the Obama not Clinton. Questions and controversies from the headlines sure, but picked and parceled so the Clinton questions whether they turn out to be true or half or pants on fire, always seem to end up with Clinton looking bad, and Obama but not Clinton looking put out and wronged. Today I clicked on a headline from the RSS feed, Focus on the Facts I think, another article letting us know someone had maligned Obama, not Mrs Clinton. So I decided to head to their front page to see what that was like.

Obama word count 20
Clinton word count 9

Obama Pictures 7
Clinton Pictures 3

Rezko - 0

Needless to say, I am deleting the gadgety thingy as I don't need this sort of "Truth".

April 26, 2008 Update:

A couple of links to similar stories:

MediaMatters March 08 Why Politifact Really Emerged

Nader Mckinney Gravel Paul Nader Mckinney Gravel Paul Nader Mckinney Gravel Paul

April 23, 2008

Rep. Leonard Boswell Forced to State the Obvious

Leonard Today Rep. Leonard Boswell of Iowa was forced to state the obvious in response to a statement from Rep. Don Young of Alaska, who complains that proposed changes to the small business innovative research (SBIR) and the small business technology transfer (SBTT) programs will make meaningful research into drilling for oil on American soil tougher for the multi billion dollar oil companies. Mr. Young goes on to say that not enough power is produced by alternative energies to handle demand, and that if they'd had the backing they needed they would have the systems in place so that OPEC couldn't raise the rates as they are doing now. He admits that people want wind and solar power, and agrees he wants them too, but immediately moves back to our dependence on fossil fuels (oil) and says small business can only go forth by abandoning 'pie in the sky' ideas (alternative energy, presumably) because 'the oil is there'. According to him, the power to run small business will not be available because 'we have not kept up the power in other areas'. He blames this on our not developing nuclear, which he advocates. We haven't developed hydro (which he also advocates). He also mentions in a small voice 'a little wind and a little solar' but says we have to address reasonable price power and calls on representatives from both sides of the isle (oil) wherever there are fossil fuels to end the restrictions and begin processing cheap energy.
Rep Nydia Velazquez returns for a moment to comment on Mr. Young's statements, taking the time to remind him that when he had the opportunity to vote against price gouging he voted no, and when he had a chance to vote about long term alternative energy and conservation he also voted no. After refocusing our attention on the matter, HR5819, and thanking the members who contributed to it's efforts Rep. Velazquez yields back her remaining time on the floor.
Rep. Boswell rises to address issues related to his proposed amendment with Rep. Sutton of Ohio. This amendment will steer monies from the SBIR and SBBT programs to areas that have (or will) lose jobs from closing factories and manufacturing plants. "These programs will help small business in these areas create new, high quality jobs in areas hard hit by pressures of globalization and current trade policies." He cites Maytag as an example, while the Newton economy has not yet recovered from this blow, part of the former Maytag building is in the process of being occupied by a new company that makes components for wind turbines, he says.

"This is a step toward more energy, in response to the gentleman from Alaska. This amendment will help revitalize economies of communities like Newton and thousands of others across the United States."

The point I think, and it may be too 'un-political' to state it quite so obviously, Is that A) The oil and other major fossil fuel companies have known of our predicament for quite some time, have known the direction the country and in fact the world has been taking over the past 2 decades with regards to oil and fossil fuel and alternative energies and have chosen to not move themselves in our direction. B) The time to defend the subsidies, special tax designations and research & development grants is long over. The public funding opportunities to these giant corporations, NOW to try and fund oil friendly technology, is very definitely over.
If a free market is what you want, then you have your answer. We want wind, solar, bio-diesel from non-food crops and anything else you can think of besides oil. We were willing to fund your research for new, clean technologies to locate, pump, refine and deliver oil. In 20 years and countless millions (billions?) of public dollars there is still not a clean ,safe enough plan to convince us that destroying a unique and priceless wilderness is worth it. We are no longer willing to hear your pleas in this area, there are companies waiting in line to take our money for a product we approve of. They will provide new jobs for our workers, new power for our cities and a new pride for our country.

I'd like to provide another example to the Representative from Alaska:
Wind Power Produces 123% of Residential Energy Demand in Rock Port, Missouri

Yes, that means the town produces ALL of it's required power AND sells 23% of it back at a profit.

April 21, 2008

Earthday (WEEK)

Earthday is upon us, and I am happy to find that it has grown in many many places to 'EarthWeek'. About a month ago I decided to track the goings on via YouTube, so subscribed to a search term simply "Earthday" 2008. My hope was to gather PSA's about city's and towns and their scheduled events. What I found were thousands of videos from hundreds of different types of outlets. Schools not only advertising their earthday events, but whole school and district wide challenges ranging from litter disposal to energy efficiency. Vineyards planning events with no motor vehicle traffic allowed (carts, bicycles and horsedrawn carriage available). Mom's doing clever voice overs with babies in carriages asking us to consider her future. Hundreds of kids taking it upon themselves to put something on video to express their thoughts about earthday and the situation they find themselves in, some quite elaborate productions, some simple but thought provoking and honest. I was less than 10 years old when the first earthday event was held, and I remember thinking when I was a kid that nature and the animals and plants were important and that I would do what I could to keep them all safe. Since then I've watch each year as the effort has slowly grown into what we see today. It's one of the childhood ideals I have been able to hold onto all of these years, which makes it seem all that more real for me. I have the benefit of the long view with me now, and with that I can see some of the good our efforts have brought to us. The eagles and hawks have returned to the skies around the urban and suburban areas of the pacific northwest, the hare's and the coyotes also seem to have found their balance in and around our suburbs. There is much for us to do, and a new way of thinking and acting is on the horizon. I try to look to the success stories to remind me why these changes are needed, change is hard for me as it is for most. A little reward goes a long way in easing the transition so please, take the time to seek out the success stories and think what more wonderful things will happen if we keep working at it.

We love these guys! Click to hear Kevin Bacon, Questlove and Zach Braff's Call for Climate. (OH! Don't forget Chevy! He's up there^)

Above is the collected Earthday Videos discussed, below is an article from

The US's Earth Day (22 April 2008) now include unlikely champions such as JCPenney. Banana Republic, Macy's, Clorox, and even NBC's The Biggest Loser. While you can put no price on raising awareness, one question remains: Does turning Earth Day into a marketing blitz promote the cause or contribute to green fatigue? We ask the question: Is Earth Day the New Christmas?.

National Hanging Out Day

Forget about Earth Day; a much bigger deal is National Hanging Out Day, celebrating the humble clothesline (Saturday April 19th) Why dry your clothing with coal, using six percent of the nation's electricity, when you can tell your friends that you have installed solar and wind power in your home, for the price of a clothesline? In celebration of this great day we present the party line on clotheslines. Be they indoors, for apartments or yards, decorative, low tech or high tech, they are integral to our future. ::More

The Pleasures of the Flesh

George Monbiot points out that the world produced 2.1 billion tonnes of grain last year, the biggest harvest in history. "If hunger can strike now, what will happen if harvests decline?" Yet only about 1.1 billion tonnes of it goes to feed people. While diverting 100 million tonnes to feed cars is a "crime against humanity", the real problem is that "760m tonnes will be snatched from the mouths of humans to feed animals. This could cover the global food deficit 14 times. If you care about hunger, eat less meat. ::More

This Little Piggy Went to Market

RecycleBank, the company who brought us an innovative recycling program that pays you to throw less stuff away (by throwing more in the recycling bin), is taking their game across the Atlantic Ocean, to Europe. Fresh off raising $30 million, the company will expand services here in the States and will expand into Europe. (As their truck collects the recycling it scans the barcode on the container and translates the value of the recycled items into a dollar amount -- up to $35 RecycleBank Dollars a month.) ::More

Tailpipes vs. Smokestacks

This post references a chart which shows CO2 emissions by gas-electric plug-in hybrids depending on their electricity source. Plug-ins beat the conventional gasoline-powered vehicle at the top in all situations, but the comparison with a regular hybrid vehicle is more complex. Depending on the power source, it can go from slightly worse than the hybrid, to about twice as good (and three times as good as the conventional car). Not surprisingly, coal without carbon capture is the worst power source. ::More

Ecoffins Biodegradable Caskets

Our guide on How to Green Your Funeral already offers a huge array of resources for those looking for more environmentally sustainable end-of-life options, from a conversation the Green Burial Council to some very funky green casket suppliers. But even that guide is by no means exhaustive - our inboxes are constantly filling up with information about products and services for green burial or cremation. Such as Ecoffins, makers of biodegradable coffins crafted from bamboo, willow, banana, etc. ::More

Experts Ask Schools for Help

When an acclaimed expert on rare diseases arrived on the scene, 19 schools in 10 U.S. states had reason to hope he might be aware of a cure for the strange, contagious disease striking school photocopiers during The Great Copy Machine Epidemic. But even he was stumped by the symptoms. According to Dr. K, "They just keep chewing up trees and contributing to global warming. It's impossible to suggest a cure when we simply don't know the cause." Teachers and students are the solution, he said. ::More

a. Potato chips (crisps), smoothies, honeys, jams and shortbread are just some the foods to be :climate impact labelled in the UK.b. Greenpeace asked an ad agency to raise awareness about genetically-modified organisms.c. Your fave eco-organic-fairtrade snack might be owned by on of the Top 30 food processors in North America.

a. Retired NYC subway cars are controversially being dropped off the coast of Delaware to create a reef.b. LA's new Bus Rapid Transit lines, is a step towards light rail, and a wider transit strategy involving bikeways.c. San Francisco tries out improved public transit by offering a Connected Bus with high speed internet!

a. Past. Bill Clinton is the head liner celebrity at Toronto's upcoming 400 eco exhibitor Green Living Show.b. Present. Is George W Bush really turning over a new leaf and contemplating "new climate change proposals"?c. Almost. Al Gore has a brand new, rousing, call-to-arms slide show, "New Thinking on the Climate Crisis".


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Thanks Treehugger!

April 20, 2008

Government Authority Is Crossing a Line

"Last week, Eloisa Tamez, 73, lost the latest round in her ongoing fight with the U.S. government. A judge ordered her to let Washington survey her land near Brownsville, Texas. It lies in the path of a proposed border fence. Now Tamez, heir to an original Spanish land grant dating to the 1700s, fears that her property will be seized and with good reason.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff recently waived more than 30 laws in order to expedite construction of the border fence. He did so with little regard for the concerns of residents, local officials and environmentalists.

And though the proposed path would cut through the properties of many citizens, it would bypass land owned by the wealthy and politically connected. The Texas Observer reported that the fence would detour around the River Bend Resort and golf course, as well as developments owned by the Hunt family, whose members are major supporters of President Bush. The fence would also cause irreparable damage to wildlife; two Texas nature preserves would wind up in Mexico. They'd likely have to close."

I simply do not know what to say about this. Like a cartoon, an image of Cheney appears within a bubble repeating over and over "So?"

April 15, 2008

Nader Advocates Tools of Democracy

"You have to have a thirst for justice" Ralph Nader, author, attorney and presidential candidate, said while addressing students, faculty and community members on Monday evening.
"You have to have a sense that you matter, that you count," Nader continued, advocating the importance of being an engaged citizen."

How do you know your Independent run is having an impact? Major party candidates pick up one your primary platform issues.
Unfortunately for this candidate however, he's 2 strikes and a foul down on the count. He's been caught saying one thing to the American people about his stand on NAFTA, and reassuring Canadians it's all just campaign talk. Now he's been caught saying one thing to endear himself to a special interest group while trying to tell the American people of "what he really meant". Nothing new here, politician willing to say anything to anyone to get the ticket. I'm considering the Wright deal the foul ball, in case your keeping tally.
There are many people living in big white houses on the hill that have bet their future against impeachment. If this were any other period in time, they might have been right. But these people have caused the deterioration of our country's good name. We as a people are kind, generous, compassionate, hopeful and forgiving. They have set in motion actions that are counter to that which we hold dear and the hope we have in our hearts for the future of our country and our ideals. They have compromised the Constitution of these United States, breaching a trust that touches the heart of every single person living in America today. Politics are one thing, if poor judgement were the only issue here they would be safe in their assumptions. But the situation they find themselves in today, the situation they thought they would never see, which no doubt gave them their courage, is nothing so petty as that. The lines that have been crossed need to be addressed.

Our reputation MUST be restored for us to proceed interacting with the world outside our door. Our confidence must be restored for us to once again begin doing the great things this country is capable of. Our constitution must be restored to the liberty ensuring document that has MADE this country the leader it has been in the past and the leader it will be, MUST be, in the future.

EPA Missing in Action - and FEC and FHA and ...

By Margaret Kriz The National Journal
Monday 14 April 2008

"The Environmental Protection Agency is failing to live up to its name these days, its legions of critics agree. At a time when the nation's top environmental regulators face increasingly complex pollution problems, President Bush is pushing for dramatic cuts in EPA's budget, his administration's strained, pro-industry interpretations of environmental laws have repeatedly been laughed out of court, and the White House is widely perceived to be running roughshod over agency scientists and lawyers.

Environmental experts charge that the agency's vanishing act is undercutting environmental statutes and delaying much-needed new efforts to clean up the nation's air, water, and land as well as aggressively tackle global warming. "There has been a steady drumbeat of actions that this administration has taken to weaken clean-air protections in this country," says S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which represents state and local pollution control officials. "Their actions have had very serious and substantial adverse impacts on our ability to provide health protection in this country." "

Democrats Sue FEC over Mccain Finances

by Peter Overby
Morning Edition, April 15, 2008 · "The Democratic National Committee has sued the Federal Election Commission, saying the commission failed in its obligation to investigate Republican John McCain's campaign finances. It's another consequence of the FEC's being nonfunctional in the midst of the biggest fundraising season in history — unable to act because it lacks the necessary number of commissioners. "

"Here's the legal part of the case: Democrats say McCain has violated campaign finance law and that he's getting away with it because the enforcement agency, the FEC, has not been able to function. The panel needs four commissioners to make decisions, but it only has two, thanks to a standoff between Senate Democrats and the White House over confirmation of three nominees. "

"Meanwhile, as if to emphasize the plight of the FEC, former chairman Robert Lenhard has asked that the White House withdraw his name from nomination to one of those empty seats on the commission. While he was waiting to be confirmed, he was hired by one of Washington's top law firms. "

"FEC watchers say that if the stalemate isn't broken before the Senate's July recess, the commission will be out of business for the rest of this election year. "

What do these scenarios have in common? 8 years of republican leadership. Less government, let the 'free market' take care of things. Well, there you go. Take away the money for government agencies and things will go downhill, FAST. We all complain about paying taxes, but we aren't really against taxes and the things they provide, we are just against all of the waste, overspending and abuse. We all like the sewer and water systems, decent roads to drive our cars on, police to show up when something goes wrong, firemen when things catch on fire and yes, election commissions to keep us informed and candidates honest, environmental protection agencies to ensure our home is safe and thriving for us and our children, a housing agency to keep home ownership, one of the best investments for people and communities a fair and accessible thing for everyone. How is it that we find ourselves railing against taxes, and then when the taxes go down we rail that our government agencies aren't working? The facts are that if we didn't all pay for these services, the cost for them would be MUCH higher. Don't fool yourself into thinking you won't still need these services because you will, but now the cost will be on you alone. YOU hire an attorney before every transaction to secure your interests, YOU hire a security guard for your home, YOU install and maintain fire fighting equipment on your property and hire someone to stand around in case a fire breaks out. You hire teachers for your children, be sure to buy a good solid off road vehicle as the roads will likely go to hell pretty quickly. I wonder how much satellite access will jump to for your cell phone use...getting the picture? So if you are feeling that 'big government' shouldn't be getting in your way, there are 2 things that could be happening. A) You are not participating in your government. You are not studying the issues, talking with people, attending meetings, supporting candidates that speak for you, voting for candidates that speak for you, running for local office so your voice is heard. If you find yourself saying "who has time for that?" then you need to quit complaining, you have placed other things higher on the list. By this I mean that if you are paying for a 3000sf house for 3 people, have 2-3 cars and a garage for each, a summer home, several $200 purses or a $3000 suit, or maybe you have full home phone service and full cell phone service and full satellite service and high speed internet service.... and you go to work early, stay late, you both work....well then you have chosen to have those things over making your voice heard in the community. It only takes a couple hours a day to keep yourself informed, to write letters to your officials, to attend meetings. B) You have something to hide. Since WE (Americans) make up our government, vote on our laws and regulations and our leaders to represent us, if you are concerned about one of US going over your business practices then that raises a red flag for me. If our rules are in place to make people safe, to safeguard our economy, our rights, our ideals and our soil and if there is something that you are doing that might jeopardize any of those things, then YOU are the reason our laws are in place and you should reconsider your plans. The idea is not to proceed until you get caught, and try to change the rules that might tangle you up along the way.

What we need and what I think we all want is a massive "SURGE" of audits and revamps, putting new technology into play, to overhaul the systems and programs we have in place to make them more efficient. Make a final accounting and restructure that will retain all of the excellent work we have done so far in building a network of support for our public that allows all of us to benefit from safety and security in our homes, schools and places of business - that allows us to eat foods from all over without fear of harm - all of the things we have set in motion over the last 200 years, much of which none of us would be able to supply for ourselves alone. With our dollars used more efficiently, and more people put to work in these endeavors, tax increases would slow yet services would remain and quality of life for everyone gets better.

April 11, 2008

Nader behind in fund-raising - 2008 Presidential Campaign Blog - Political Intelligence -

"The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported this afternoon that he had raised $321,700 by the end of February, including $40,200 from his own pocket and a quarter of his total take from California residents."

Seems like prudent planning to me as, the real fight isn't likely to get under way for a few months. It also is a useful statement that speaks to the OUTRAGEOUS amounts of money being spent by the R & D parties at a time when we are all looking to tighten our belts if not being forced to do so. One shouldn't need to spend that kind of money to be a part of the process. Speaking of that, one certainly shouldn't be required to prove voter support based on dollars raised. The fact that the word democracy has become somehow interchangeable with capitalism is perverse. How is it that people who can't afford to send money to a campaign no longer have the right to support a candidate and have it count? (speaking of minimum donations per state to qualify for matching funds)

I went
here for information on public funding of presidential elections, this is where the disappointment began. First is the fact that the only instances in which the word 'Independent' is used is when referring to expenditures not candidates. Each section stated time and again 'party candidate', 'major party candidates' as well a 'minor' and 'new' party candidates. No where is there a section for or direct information on 'Independent Candidates'. One small section titled 'Eligibility for Public Funds' finds itself parked fully halfway down this page titled 'Public Funding of Presidential Elections Brochure', carefully placed after 7 other sections that only refer to parties, committees and conventions. No where on this official government site for information does it make clear the standards and requirements for independent candidates. It does note that this page is intended for students, public information and reporters not candidates or committees, and that those groups should consult chapter 11 campaign laws. (no handy link provided)
This same government provided site finds
a page titled 'Chapter 1: Primary Matching Funds' that notes "18. The requirement that candidates be affiliated with a political party has raised constitutional questions. Some have argued that it discriminates against independent candidates. For a discussion of this issue, see Chapter 2." Again, this is the only remark on independent candidates.

This 'Chapter 2' finds that "eligible candidates" are, by definition, the nominees "of a political party for President and Vice President."11 and that '11' is noted as 26 U.S.C. Sec.9002(4). It goes on:

Thus, on its face, the statute would appear to preclude public funding for independent candidates. On the other hand, Title 26 does not define the term "political party." Consequently, the Commission has relied on the definition found at 2 U.S.C. Sec.431(16): a political party is "an association, committee, or organization which nominates a candidate for election to any Federal office whose name appears on the election ballot as the candidate of such association, committee, or organization."
Applying this definition in Advisory Opinion (AO) 1980-3, the Commission determined that the Citizens Party would qualify as a political party once it received verification from any state that a candidate would appear on the ballot as a nominee of the party. Subsequently, in AO 1980-56, the Commission concluded that Barry Commoner, the Citizens Party's Presidential nominee, could qualify for post-election funding as a new party candidate even if he was not listed as the party's nominee on some states' ballots. The Commission noted that Mr. Commoner was registered with the FEC as a candidate of the Citizens Party, and that the statute required only that the candidate (not the party) receive five percent of the vote to qualify for public funds. Similarly, in AO 1980-96, the Commission confirmed that the various organizations sponsoring John Anderson's candidacy would qualify as political parties for purposes of the public funding rules. Therefore, Mr. Anderson, as the nominee of these parties, could qualify for post-general election funding if he received more than five percent of the vote.12
Although the Anderson opinion did not address the issue, some Commissioners felt that he should have been declared eligible for funding as an independent candidate. Commissioners John Warren McGarry and Frank P. Reiche filed separate statements supporting such a finding. Mr. Reiche argued that the Anderson campaign was "dedicated to the election of an independent candidate" and should not have been required to "cloak [itself] with the appearance of political party formality" to qualify for public funding. Both Commissioners cited legislative history and the U.S. Circuit Court's opinion in Buckley v. Valeo to support their case. The Circuit Court stated that independent candidates should be subject to the same eligibility requirements as other candidates:
If these provisions would in fact operate to prevent independents from obtaining public funding, no matter what their showing, or if they would require that independents go to the trouble of creating election party machinery in order to obtain public funding, then they would raise serious constitutional questions. . . . But the statute does not command that interpretation.13

In 1981, the Commission formally asked Congress to consider clarifying whether an independent candidate could qualify for general election funding.14 In trying to find the verdict, opinion or decision I did find more questions :

3. In Buckley v. Valeo, the circuit court opinion suggested that failure to fund independent candidates could raise constitutional questions. 519 F.2d 821, 887 (D.C. Cir. 1975). The Supreme Court, in its subsequent decision, did not explicitly rule on this issue.
4. Title 26 does not define the term "political party." Consequently, the Commission has relied on the definition found at 2 U.S.C. Sec.431(16).

Lets see if I can find more... Should it BE his hard????

The above article refers to "(The Commission's 1993 legislative recommendations are included in this report as Appendix 2.)" as a "more complete discussion", no where on that page does the word independent appear. On the public info page it was noted that they fall back to the definition of candidate found in 26 U..SC Sec.9002(4) please note this is different than the definition cite noted just above as 4.

H.R. 2817 in it's current incarnation's summary in part says "6/21/2007--Introduced.
Let the People Decide Clean Campaign Act - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to set forth specified expenditure limitations for House of Representatives general elections.
Permits additional expenditures by eligible major party, third party, and independent candidates."

Here are the details pertaining to independent candidates from the bill detail page:

`(A) IN GENERAL- In this section, an `eligible candidate' is a major party, third party, or independent candidate in a House of Representatives general election who presents to the Commission petitions containing the signatures of individuals eligible to vote in the election (as verified by the Commission), except that the highest funded candidate in the election may not be an eligible candidate for purposes of this section.

But this page really only refers to 'house of representatives general election' and only eludes to presidential elections when discussing numbers of backers compared to previous elections excluding presidential elections. This bill is still active, but I am not sure if it is pertinent to my search.

I've been working on this for hours now, with no real results. I'm going to give it a break now... if anyone can end my misery and send me a link to pertinent information regarding the current congressionally acceptable definition of "Independent Candidate" as it pertains to public campaign funding well....I'll visit your site three times a day until the elections are over.

April 10, 2008

What Independent Voters Want

  • We’re tired of two parties whose priority is acquiring and maintaining power rather than serving the people who voted them into office.
  • We have no problem voting for someone who has no chance of winning.
  • We vote for the person and not the party.
  • We seldom vote a straight, major-party ticket.
  • We are not undecided. We have decided to be independent.
  • We believe that a diversity of opinions stimulates healthy debate.
  • We want dialogue, not diatribes.
  • We want a government that follows the will of the people instead of one that manipulates it.
  • We care as much about what happens on every other day as on Election Day.
  • We want Ralph Nader to keep on running, even if we don’t vote for him. We probably need to apologize for that.
  • We are anti-party, and yet we welcome third-party voters and candidates to join us under the independent umbrella, because they’re also outsiders.
  • We believe the United States is better than this.

A pretty big whopper on it's own:

mw Says: "While people may actually like to think of themselves as “Independent”, what they do in a voting booth is one hell of a lot more important than what they tell pollsters about how how they label themselves."

When the parties take the measures they have to keep people off the ballot, leaving no other names there but their own we have little choice as to what we do in the voting booth save not voting at all. Looking at the falling numbers of voters, I'd say they have made one hell of a loud statement!


mw Says: "The way to read this, is that when an “independent” tells a pollster which way they “lean”, they are actually saying “this is how I vote”. "

What part of the writers statement didn't you understand? "nor are we “party-leaning.” The polls you are referring to do not have real questions and a real category for people who are not of one party or the other, in order to give indication of our issues we answer in the manner which will get our points across. It is the pollsters and people like you that push us into a lean, that force us into your mold of leaners.

So here is OUR definition, every person on your census that hasn't registered yet to vote, every person who has registered and hasn't recently voted, every person who recently removed themselves from the R or the D party and every single person who votes on issues not party affiliation, THOSE people are your Independents. That is how many, exactly, you need to consider Independent Voters.

Conservative Bias Alleged in Textbook

Winston Churchill said that "History is written by the victors". Now it seems, history is also written by the losers.

The AP reports - "A high-school senior has raised questions about political bias in a popular textbook on U.S. government, and legal scholars and top scientists say the teen's criticism is well-founded."

"Both authors are considered conservative. Dilulio, a University of Pennsylvania professor, formerly worked for the Bush administration as director of faith-based initiatives. Wilson is the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University."

"James Hansen, the director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, sent Houghton Mifflin a letter stating that the book's discussion on global warming contained "a large number of clearly erroneous statements" that give students "the mistaken impression that the scientific evidence of global warming is doubtful and uncertain."

The authors kept a phrase stating that global warming is "enmeshed in scientific uncertainty."

While there are still some scientists who downplay global warming and the role of burning fossil fuels, the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and peer-reviewed scientific research say human activity is causing climate change. Last year an international collection of hundreds of scientists and government officials unanimously approved wording that said the scientific community had "very high confidence," meaning more than 90 percent likelihood, that global warming is caused by humans. (Keep in mind that these scientists originally wrote that they were 99 percent certain, but that the Chinese objected to this and would only proceed in discussions if the number were lowered, they settled on 90%)

LaClair also was concerned about the textbook's treatment of U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding prayer in school. The book shows a picture of kids praying in front of a Virginia high school and states, "The Supreme Court will not let this happen inside a public school." Blake said the photo was cut out of the most recent edition.
The textbook goes on to state that the court has ruled as "unconstitutional every effort to have any form of prayer in public schools, even if it is nonsectarian, voluntary or limited to reading a passage of the Bible."

Those examples are not correct, says Charles Haynes, a religious liberties expert at the First Amendment Center in Washington.
"Students can pray inside a public school in many different ways," Haynes said, adding they can pray alone or in groups before lunch or in religious clubs, for example.
Haynes said students can't disrupt the school or interfere with the rights of others. The court has said the prayer can't be state-sponsored, so a teacher can't lead a prayer and a school can't require it, Haynes said."

Between the winners and the losers editing history I may never open a text book again, and I will now take very much more seriously Mr. Franklin's suggestion:

Benjamin Franklin said: "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see"

April 8, 2008

I agree with a Republican today

I don't say this often, but I'm in agreement with a republican today. Senator Judd Gregg spoke today on the Mortgage Crisis package. He is against helping out the lenders who targeted consumers for adjustable rate loans, who looked the other way when appraisers fudged the value of the homes they backed. He is against helping builders and investors who speculated on the bubble and lost. The homes are still there, they will be purchased and loans will be issued. Business will go on, take your losses. The party that cannot help themselves in this situation, the foundation of the economy, (I hate saying this) is the consumer. You know, the people. His concern with who will be buying the debt (you know, our new creditors) is my concern as well.

Conclusion on Searching for Oil, Corporations and Subsidies

I think it is a conclusion that we are not ever going to find enough oil outside of the middle east to avoid buying from the region. It is also a conclusion that Americans, even the world, are ready for and demanding alternative energy. It makes sense to me in light of these conclusions that all monies currently being spent on locating and retrieving new sources of oil by companies with - A) shareholders {in that shareholders are Americans or stakeholders in America, either as corporation or individual, and if a thing is of benefit or detriment to Americans it is of benefit or detriment to shareholders} B) Special US tax status OR receives US subsidies - should immediately be shifted away from these endeavors and either moved to alternative energy systems and production or to other non-oil related endeavors. In the case of subsidies, special tax status' and such these will be reworded to exclude oil, and cease to be assigned or assessed to any company continuing work in new oil fields location or recovery methods on any level.

As we get closer to filling our oil needs outside the middle east, the higher oil prices from these countries become as they will try to get in their perceived 'final profits'. As Venezuela is teaching us, no other country is going to allow us to plunder and pillage their lands and resources without a price, and there is no reason to believe they would settle for any less a price than their competitors are charging. I liken the strategy of the US oil companies to that of the electronic gadget market. They hold many new technologies back, releasing small improvements in 'versions' once or twice a year to maximize the sales on any given new item.

I will be very happy for the day (soon to come) when ALL subsidies to the big oil companies are dismissed. I pray for the day major corporations such as these with huge effects on our economy as a whole are by law restructured and regulated to operate in the public good. Further I believe that if utilities, energy suppliers and producers are allowed to become publicly traded they need special rules, instructions and designations to operate under the presumption that these are not 'profit' driven corporations, they are public driven and since shareholders are Americans or stakeholders in America, either as corporation or individual, and if a thing is of benefit or detriment to Americans it is of benefit or detriment to shareholders. Utility share investments should be considered stable ones moving up and down with the US economy, not one to be speculated on or manipulated.

Here is a fine example of the craziness of which I speak

" The companies aim to spend $600 million to hold an open season, or solicitation for customers to make long-term commitments to use the pipeline, before the end of 2010. After that, the companies would seek certification from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Canada's National Energy Board and then begin construction on the project, estimated to cost $20 billion to $40 billion."

Yes, you read that right. They are planning on spending $600 million dollars BEFORE even seeking certification from the Regulatory Commission or the National Energy Board. This is exactly the sort of clumsy speculation that must be addressed.

Mccain Closer to Bush than Democrats

"On the other hand, McCain has failed to release any clear global warming policy, and his economic and health care plans are designed for the benefit of millionaires and giant corporations at the expense of everyone else. However, McCain's people have made it clear he does have one bedrock principle when it comes to global warming policy: 'He wants to see the use of nukes.'"

April 6, 2008

New Anti-Evolution Film Stirs Controversy | LiveScience

"Some scientists, however, are outraged about the conduct of the filmmaker during production and screening as well as the film's effort to tie Darwin's ideas to Hitler. One prominent scientist who is in the movie has since called it shoddy and sinister. "

I am altogether dumbfounded, disappointed and outraged at the published numbers for people claiming to still believe ONLY in creation of man by God within the time frame laid out in the old testament!

I think that it must be (for the sake of my sanity and continued courage to leave the safety of my house) that the only people sponsoring these polls/numbers are the creation backers, targeting other creationists. Possibly adding to the numbers would be the fact that if you do believe in evolution, the stark obviousness, the shear factiness makes it so impossible to imagine that someone else does not understand it's truth. In fact the thought so NEVER enters our minds we stop the discussions, don't bother clicking on the few articles about teaching creation in public schools, and apparently don't fill out polls or surveys.

So, do my sanity the favor of speaking about evolution to your friends, blog about it, investigate it, ANSWER POLLS about it! Below are some sites with polling information (that I cannot vouch for, you check it out) on the subject, have a seat and then take a look. You'll be glad you were sitting.

CBS News '04 survey
Gallup's '07 findings

Ok, so keeping the picture to the left in mind, God created man in His own image. So.... God decided later to try again? (since on their timeline homosapien came first) Or God looked just like some creatures that were already here except wanted a bigger brain? (for those that have begun to accept the timeline) Or you could believe, as the folks at the site the picture links to ponder, that neanderthal are possibly nephilim . Note also that this site extols the virtues of carbon dating technology.

Please, keep your faith, I would not wish anyone to lose their faith. Please have faith that these truths have been brought to light for a reason, as with everything. For every new doubt uttered, another piece of proof is found. Piece after piece, in an ever clearer painting you a picture kind of way. Has there ever been such signs to support your faith?

Ok, just to look through: Berkeley's take ,Some other info .

April 4, 2008

Microsoft, I tried to tell you...

"Verizon Wireless won the largest single block of nationwide airwaves offered in the Federal Communications Commission auction, paying $4.74 billion for the portion of spectrum known as the 'C' block."

Several months ago I blogged that microsoft could better spend it's money by picking up some of the nationwide airwaves coming on the auction block, due to the move over to digital of the networks later next year, rather than tossing it over for yahoo. Looks like Verizon picked up a huge bit of what was available, and just LOOK at the deal they got! I can't wait to see what things they put together to take advantage of the purchase.

April 2, 2008

Oil Executives Defend Profits to Congress : NPR

"Don't blame us," oil industry chiefs told a skeptical Congress.
Top executives of the country's five biggest oil companies said Tuesday they know record fuel prices are hurting people, but they argued it's not their fault and their huge profits are in line with other industries.

This is right up there with Mccain's "I don't care about the people and I don't know much about the economy but have Mr Greenspan's book", and Cheney's 'who care's what the American people think'.... Huh, I wonder how THAT Happened?!

The Center for Public Integrity

The 380,000-plus-word database presented here allows, for the first time, the Iraq-related public pronouncements of top Bush administration officials to be tracked on a day-by-day basis against their private assessments and the actual “ground truth” as it is now known. Throughout the database, passages containing false statements by the top Bush administration officials are highlighted in yellow. The 935 false statements in the database may also be accessed by selecting the “False Statements” option from the “Subject” pull-down menu and may be displayed within selected date ranges using the selection tool below. Searches may also be limited by person or subject, or both, by using the appropriate selections from the pull-down menus.