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By Timbre Wolf
In the past I taught a lot of private music lessons. One of my students was a man who was a little older than me. Why was he taking guitar lessons at forty (plus) years of age? During one guitar lesson I finally worked up the nerve to ask him what all of the lumps were that surrounded his neck.
"I used to haul medical waste," he said. Then he added, "Some of it contained radiation. The pay was good - I got a farm and a house - but I didn't think anything at all about what was going in the back of my truck." How many readers, I wonder, know that dead smack in the middle of Oklahoma (where I was teaching music lessons) there is a nuclear waste facility?
Why was he taking guitar lessons? He figured that he might as well do what he wanted to do before he died.
EV1 - Was it really a battery problem?
Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, recorded $45.22 billion in annual profits in 2008, as oil prices soared. In 2007, the company posted annual profits of $40.61 billion.
GM is a major recipient of TARP funds, received $13.4 billion taxpayer dollars, and faces a March 31st deadline to submit a restructuring plan to keep the funds. Hey! Here's a thought: how about using TARP funds to retool and start producing the EV1 again? Maybe the Car Czar should get on it.
1000+ Already Signed Up to Participate; Dr. James Hansen, Others to Protest Use of Coal
WASHINGTON— A national coalition of more than 40 environmental, public health, labor, social justice, faith-based and other advocacy groups today announce plans to engage in civil disobedience at the Capitol Power Plant in Washington D.C. on the afternoon of March 2, 2009. The Capitol Climate Action (CCA), the largest mass mobilization on global warming in the country’s history, reflects the growing public demand for bold action to address the climate and energy crises.
by Linda Milazzo
President Barack Obama of the Capitol of Washington, it is my most sincere honor to introduce you to Citizen Bob Alexander of the State of Washington, who by the standards you have set to 'give our all' has valiantly answered your call. In fact, Citizen Bob answered that call long before you were President. He seized his responsibilities gladly, not grudgingly, just as you asked at your inauguration. And now President Obama, Citizen Bob and millions more, would like you to hear THEIR call.
Before I tell you more about Citizen Bob, allow me to remind you of a few of the inspirational words you delivered at your inauguration. Here they are in a 31 second clip:
Obama moves to block Bush's "midnight" attempts to relax green rules
New administration moves quickly to undo "midnight regulations" designed to relax environmental rules
By Danny Bradbury | BusinessGreen
In a traditional game of political whack-a-mole, the Obama White House has moved quickly to freeze all pending regulations proposed by the former president's administration, including president Bush's attempts to roll back large swathes of environmental legislation.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility News Release (www.peer.org)
Committee Urged to Scrutinize Jackson’s Actions and Decisions in New Jersey
Washington, DC — Scientists, engineers and inspectors who worked under Lisa Jackson in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection raise troubling questions about her tenure, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is slated to consider the confirmation of Jackson, tabbed by President-elect Obama to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, next week, reportedly on January 14th.
PEER is asking committee members to critically examine actions, decisions and statements that Jackson made at New Jersey DEP which if repeated at EPA would undercut the Obama “change” agenda. Among the issues PEER highlights are her treatment of DEP employees, including –
By Sue Sturgis, Facing South
When Earthjustice Attorney Lisa Evans testified earlier this year before a congressional committee about the looming threat from coal combustion waste, she warned that the federal government's broken pledge to regulate disposal of the potentially dangerous material threatened the health and safety of communities across the country.
Speaking before a June 10 hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources titled "How Should the Federal Government Address the Health and Environmental Risks of Coal Combustion Waste?," Evans pointed out that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in its Regulatory Determination on Wastes from the Combustion of Fossil Fuels published in 2000 that federal standards for disposal of coal combustion waste were needed to protect public health and the environment.
More than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003, according to new NASA satellite data that show the latest signs of what scientists say is global warming.
More than half of the loss of landlocked ice in the past five years has occurred in Greenland, based on measurements of ice weight by NASA's GRACE satellite, said NASA geophysicist Scott Luthcke. The water melting from Greenland in the past five years would fill up about 11 Chesapeake Bays, he said, and the Greenland melt seems to be accelerating.
On the heels of a decision to allow factory farms to apply for permits to discharge waste into waterways, the Bush administration on Thursday exempted the industry from reporting hazardous air emissions to the federal government, prompting a consumer group to accuse the outgoing president of undoing years of environmental protections and "putting millions of Americans at risk."
Is it time to get arrested to send an urgent message about preserving the health and well-being of the next 50 generations to warm the planet? Two of America’s leading men of letters, Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben, have written an urgent open letter to all Americans saying “yes”: JOIN THEM.
Calls on Coal Industry to Live up to the Promise of So-Called "Clean Coal"
Menlo Park, CA (December 4, 2008) – Today, the Alliance for Climate Protection, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club launched the “Reality” Coalition, a national grassroots and advertising effort to tell a simple truth: in reality, there is no such thing as “clean coal.”
Environmental experts agree that coal is the dirtiest fuel America uses to produce electricity. The “Reality” Coalition, then, is challenging the coal industry to come clean – in its advertising andin its operations. Coal cannot be considered clean until its carbon dioxide emissions are captured and stored.
James L. Jones is Obama's new national security advisor. But he leads an institute that has challenged global warming.
By Tom Hamburger, LA Times
Reporting from Washington — When President-elect Barack Obama introduced James L. Jones Jr. as his national security advisor Monday, he emphasized the retired Marine general's understanding of "the connection between energy and national security."
Obama sees that as a plus, but some environmental groups and global warming activists view Jones' environmental record with suspicion.
Jones will not be responsible for environmental policy, but he has said energy is a vital national security issue. It affects domestic economic stability and international geopolitical relationships, particularly in the oil-rich Middle East.
By Louise Gray, the Telegraph/UK
Stephen Hockman QC is proposing a body similar to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment.
The first role of the new body would be to enforce international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions set to be agreed next year.
But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the "right to a healthy environment".
The innovative idea is being presented to an audience of politicians, scientists and public figures for the first time at a symposium at the British Library.
Mr Hockman, a deputy High Court judge, said that the threat of climate change means it is more important than ever for the law to protect the environment.
By Dave Lindorff
I was listening to Robert Reich, once the left end of the spectrum in the Clinton cabinet, talking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer a few days ago, and Reich, who has in the past sometimes made sense, was talking about how Americans’ incomes had fallen over the last eight years of the Bush/Cheney administration and that it was necessary to get their incomes back on an upward trend, so that they could “start shopping again.”
Now I understand Reich was trying to make the case that the bailout so far has been focused on the banks and the insurance industry, and that none of this will help unless ordinary people start getting some relief, but still, there’s something completely twisted and out of whack when the best we can come up with is that we need to get Americans back into the malls.
In fact, that is a good part of what’s wrong with the US economy: Fully 75 percent of GDP in America is consumer spending.
By Dave Lindorff
It’s a safe bet that within the next several months, Congress will vote to bail out General Motors. It will be a colossal boondoggle involving, probably, upwards of $50 billion when it’s through, and it will fail in the end.
The reason is before our eyes. This bloated megacorporation is being run by idiots.
For years, as it became evident to everyone that oil prices were going to soar because demand has been exceeding both production and supply and will continue to do so, it has been obvious that to succeed, a car company had to offer well-made cars that could demonstrate high gas mileage. GM, perhaps more than any other company, ignored that reality and has been paying the price, watching its share of the car market wither.
US President-Elect Obama Names Mexico Chemistry Nobel Laureate Molina to Oversee Climate Change: Ecologist will be part of the Executive Office of 21 key leaders of Obama team | Latin American Herald Tribune.com
Nobel Prize-winning Mexican chemist Mario Molina will be a part of the transition team of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, the scientist's assistant told Efe.
Lorena Ibarra confirmed that the scientist was invited to join Obama's work team, where he "is going to be managing everything to do with science and ecology," an offer she said he accepted by saying, "Yes, immediately."
Obama on Tuesday promised to give priority to the fight against climate change when he gets into the White House, making his commitment in a videotaped speech that was released at the Bi-Partisan Governors Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles.
President for 60 more days, Bush tearing apart protection for America's wilderness
By Suzanne Goldenberg | guardian.co.uk
George Bush is working at a breakneck pace to dismantle at least 10 major environmental safeguards protecting America's wildlife, national parks and rivers before he leaves office in January.
With barely 60 days to go until Bush hands over to Barack Obama, his White House is working methodically to weaken or reverse an array of regulations that protect America's wilderness from logging or mining operations, and compel factory farms to clean up dangerous waste.
By Dave Lindorff
The ongoing and deepening global economic crisis, to which Barack Obama owes his presidential election victory, is no small thing, to be sure. It also presents us on the left with a lot of openings to press for progressive change.
By Paul Rogat Loeb
Remember when the McCain campaign accused Barack Obama of "already measuring the White House drapes." It was more false populism, suggesting that it was the bi-racial son of a single mother who embodied a sense of entitlement, instead of the admiral's son who couldn't remember how many houses he had. But let's take McCain's challenge literally, and ask whether Obama needs to change the White House drapes at all. Or the White House rug or furniture or décor, all of which new presidents traditionally replace when they move in. Obama could replace all this as expected, and no one would deem it exceptional. But suppose instead that he took the opportunity to break with tradition, and make a powerful symbolic stand by instead using the already allocated money to bring back additional solar panels (Bush actually brought back some in 2002 but more could be added), and make the White House more energy efficient.
Al Gore group urges Obama to create U.S. power grid
By Deborah Zabarenko | Reuters.com
Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection has some environmental advice for the incoming Obama administration: focus on energy efficiency and renewable resources, and create a unified U.S. power grid.
On Thursday, the group Gore founded rolled out a new media campaign to push for immediate investments in three energy areas it maintains would help meet Gore's previously announced challenge to produce 100 percent clean electricity in the United States in a decade.
For the first time, the world's freshwater aquifers will soon be charted on a map, the United Nations announced Wednesday in New York.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's map of the world's underground water resources will be submitted to the U.N. General Assembly last week.
The UNESCO map will identify 273 aquifers shared by at least two countries, using data compiled since 2000 by its international hydrological program. It will include information about water quality and rate of replenishment.
Sixty-eight of the aquifers are on the American continent, 38 in Africa, 65 in eastern Europe, 90 in western Europe and 12 in Asia.
By Dave Lindorff
It’s going to be interesting to see how much longer the vicious decades-long US embargo of Cuba lasts, whichever person wins the White House this November.
The main reason the US has stubbornly refused to trade with Cuba, and has used sanctions to bully other nations into refusing to trade with Cuba, while enthusiastically trading with and investing in China, Vietnam and other communist regimes, is that Cuba has had little to offer the US, either in terms of products or markets.
That’s all about to change dramatically, with word that the Communist island just 90 miles to the south of Florida may possess oil reserves equal to or greater than all the oil reserves left in the United States.
By Dave Lindorff
Okay, I was going to vote for Ralph Nader this November 4.
It was an easy decision. I live in Pennsylvania, which is now, according to all the polls, reliably in the Obama column, with the Democratic candidate holding an insurmountable lead in the polls of 14 percent over Republican John McCain—enough to overcome even the most devious Republican vote suppression techniques and voting machine chicanery.