Clean Coal is the most dangerous oxymoron. Obama strongly promoted it during his campaign. Learn about it. It’s about as unrealistic a scientific scheme as Reagan’s Star Wars defense system. This spill has nothing to do with pumping CO2 into the earth crust, but shows how much garbage coal production produces and how little room there is left on the planet to hide it.
This sums up pretty well the eyes wide shut attitude going on right now by people not really trying to make a calculated decision about who to vote for U.S. President
[Cartoon by Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle]
Since 2004 American households have been putting away less than $400 a year in savings. That’s almost identical to the saving registered during the depression. How can such a rich country have so little to save? (That’s a rhetorical one. Okay? ‘Kay.)
The NYTimes has done yet another no-holds-barred data analysis of how indebted our country is and rightfully places most of the blame on changes in the banking, lending and leasing policies that turned payment facilitation methods meant to make consumer purchasing more fluid into pure profit centers.
“Today the focus for lenders is not so much on consumer loans being repaid, but on the loan as a perpetual earning asset,” said Julie L. Williams, chief counsel of the Comptroller of the Currency, in a March 2005 speech that received little notice at the time.
Today, 40% of all U.S. households carry a credit card balance (up from 6% in 1970) and the average family has 13(!) credit cards. Two thirds of college students now have assumed loan debts, up from 50% of students in the ’90s. (Don’t even get me started on how good loan rates were subverted by the student loan scandal which finally broke this spring.)
For more painfully obvious indicators of the depth of this national problem don’t miss the Times interactive 90 year time line.
While every person is their own rock and needs to make smart decisions based upon their own abilities, the free market ‘uber alles’ mentality of the last 30 years has allowed for profit motive to drive the heavy marketing of products that even the presiding CEO would never recommend their friends or family avail themselves of. Though free markets always correct themselves eventually, there’s far to many well meaning citizens getting run through the mill by the marketing and sales departments of the too-be-corrected businesses on the wrong side of the markets.
[All photo, images, quotes and facts liberally taken from the NYTimes]
California votes again. There are plenty of races and ballots that I have little or no opinion on. There are, however, a couple critical items that there is only one way to vote on. For those I offering guidance on how to cast your vote.
CALIFORNIA STATE BALLOT MEASURES
Prop. 98 : NO
By allowing eminent domain you allow for the end of rent control. Rent control is half the reason why San Francisco is San Francisco and Oakland is Oakland. Even landlords want rent control as though they may lose out on some peak revenue during frothy times, it means they are much more likely to not be vacant when things turn bad … and they always do. This is an attempt to modify the California constitution to abolish rent control, not a local initiative. Do not be misled.
Prop. 99 : Yes
99 would mean developers and landlords will no longer be able to use eminent domain to take control of properties and land.
SAN FRANCISCO PROPOSITIONS
Prop. D: Yes
Diversity is important. Require the city to appoint more women, minorities, and people with disabilities to city boards and commissions.
Prop. F: YES
Rebuild Hunters Point the way the community has come together and decided it should be done.
Prop. G: NO
The wording in this prop, also designed to rebuild the Hunter’s Point district sounds idyllic as they come, but it’s all promise without firm commitments based upon the efforts of an out-of-state developer. This is a junk proposition. Do not be fooled.
The salmon population in the Pacific of the Wester U. S. is so decimated the Pacific Fishery Management Council has enacted a complete ban on all commercial and recreational chinook fishing.
This is not something that has happened before, ever. Since humans have lived in North America there have always been massive populations of chinook salmon. Now it’s in danger of collapsing altogether.
In September 1996 I was in Forks of Salmon at the confluence of the North and South branch of the Salmon River which dumps into the Klamath 100 miles south of the Oregon boarder. The 25 foot wide river was full of spawning and dying salmon. I just did some Googling and 2005 was the lowest salmon count to date (325 salmon came up the river vs. 6,000 the year I was last there) and in 2006 salmon fishing was halted in the entire Klamath system.
View Larger Map
There are only a handful of non-dammed rivers on the West Coast and the inland water ways, such as the Sacramento Delta is “a sewer.” Have you ever been to Los Baños off the I-5 near Fresno? It’s a dusty dry agri-business of seeming no redemption. I recently learned the San Joaquin River, the mighty river that roars out of the Souther Sierra supported huge salmon fishing operations all the down in Los Baños, now you wouldn’t even want to swim in the San Joaquin, it’s full of fertilizer/chemical runoff. Below is why the population of salmon on the San Joaquin is zero:
Today, the journey for that same fish is an impossibility. To reach its native spawning grounds, it must navigate a gauntlet of dams and reservoirs, pass by 11 power plants and circumvent 500 miles of canals. In two sections of the river that account for approximately 60 miles between Fresno and the San Joaquin River Delta, there is no water at all.
Here’s the state of the water quality as it approached Stockton, CA
A trip to Stockton, 40 miles east of San Francisco, reveals the seriousness of the San Joaquin’s “secondary” problems. The river here is a brew of fertilizer, algae, pesticides and sewage. In late October, the water is the color of chocolate milk.
It should come as no surprise to any person that we have harvested fish like they were buffalo while we concurrently pollute, dilute and reduce their habitats. We all know we’re changing our world to benefit our lives in other ways. It’s just very important that we know the real cost/benefit equation and not delude ourselves to the real expense our existence is almost certainly costing the fragile little lifesource that is the planet earth.
The Democratic primaries have shown me that both Obama and Clinton would be Presidents that would make me proud. So no matter who gets the nomination or who get the VP nod, there is only one thing to focus on, the Republican candidate.
All that matters right now is to beat McCain.
So I’ll say it again. Beat McCain.
The Bay Guardian just
ran an article about my old friend Tom Price. The article was supposed to be about the free solar grid he worked to install in Gerlach, Nevada and his new solar endeavor, but since Tom has literally done A METRIC F*CK TON of really deep, purposeful stuff in the last 5 years, the article ended up being about him.
As I started to learn, Price was an accomplished idealist for whom “doing it” means working to save the world.
“We’re taking fiscal capital and social capital and combining them in a way that’s really never been done before,” Price said.
If you don’t know Tom Price (aka Thumper) or haven’t caught up with him lately,
Here’s a picture of Tom from a hike he, I and his 8 week old daughter did New Years Eve Day.
Last week I wrote a congratulatory entry praising the music industry to start allowing their customers to buy song downloads that are not crippled by software that chains it to a single device. My desire is that I can buy a song and listen to it on whatever devices I have at that point and any point in the future.
Within 24 hours I heard from two trusted audiophiles (Bay Taper, and Tim Prattwho are frustrated by the low quality of the DRM-free downloads. They are right. DRM-free tracks are about the same quality as good mp3 files, which are nothing like the originals Why, they ask, can’t we buy and download lossless file format without any compression, especially as we’re paying more then the crippled track we buy at the same quality.
To be honest, now that I know that, it seems like the publishers are up to their same old tricks of selling you a copy locked to a format that may become outdated in 5 years. Just as a cassette is pretty much useless today, perhaps in 5 years music players will be so good, having anything but a lossless file format will be useless?
So from here on out, I’m not going to praise the inudstry’s DRM-free options. I will buy them when it’s convenient but I’ll prefer the CD as it offer higher quality options and cheaper. The absurd thing is selling digital downloads has got to be one of the cheapest distribution options capitalism has ever witnessed. Zero inventory, zero transportation, zero packaging. But still, the industry does not trust me with the same files it sells me on a CD.
The time for baby steps by the music industry is well over. They have to meet their customers half way. If they want to sell us the song, sell us the song. If they want to cripple it, cripple, but if they want me to buy the song, I’ll want to buy the whole thing, not just the parts they think I won’t miss.
Last week I posted the above photo I took of an ‘IMPEACH’ banner unfurled at AT&T Park (Giant’s Stadium) during the National Anthem . The entry was heavily cited.
One of the people responsible for the banner posted a comment on my entry saying they were part of a Bay Area group of CodePink. CodePink is a very active nation-wide organization of women dedicated to ending the war in Iraq.
CodePink is a gutty group that has got some serious chutzpah I tell ya. Honestly, if our previous President had an impeachment process begun for lying about personal activities done in the White House, I think the same process could be started for a president that appears to have knowingly used fabricated evidence to lead our country into a 4+ year war with no end in sight.
Somehow, I got to play my part. My crappy 2Mb phonecam snapped the only picture they have of it.
Scotter Libby walks on his 30 month prison term for obstruction of justice. Talk about obstruction of justice.
You read Frank Rich’s opinion piece in the Sunday Times where he starts gathering the clues pinning this leak and much more back to Vice Commandant Cheney, right?
Regardless of how he spend it, justice has spoken and found Libby was found to have broken the law. This
pardon commuting of sentence does not negate that, it just means he doesn’t have to go to prison.
Thanks for serving our president. Maybe later in your life you can do something for our country.
I made an image to commemorate this high water mark in our country.