December 11, 2008 archive

Bush’s public lands legacy: half an acre

If you could suddenly find yourself standing atop the summit of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, the highest point in New England and home at times to some of the most bitter weather on earth, and you should happen to be there on a day that was unencumbered by clouds or haze or fog, and you were able to take in the landscape all around you for 50 or 100 miles in every direction – if you could, in other words, see the entire state of New Hampshire from the summit of Mount Washington, all the way north up U.S. 3 to Third Lake and all the way south on 3 to Nashua – if you could somehow make that happen, then you would be able to take in with your own eyes an area the same size as all the public land that Bill Clinton single-handedly protected during his term as President by invoking the Antiquities Act of 1906: that is to say, more than 6 million acres.

Now – if you could find yourself suddenly transported from the summit of Mount Washington all the way across the country and down to sea level, to the Walgreen’s drug store on Olympic Boulevard in west Los Angeles, and if you could have an opportunity to take a good look around – to walk up and down the aisles, past the magazines and the makeup, past the hair color and the headache remedies, past the one-hour photo counter and the pharmacy – and you could make sure you covered the entire store, not missing anything, including the storage warehouse and the employee lounge in the back – if you could do that, then you would be able to take in with your own eyes an area the same size as all the public land that George W. Bush has so far protected during his term as President by invoking the Antiquities Act of 1906: in other words, about 15,000 square feet, or less than half an acre.

Four at Four

  1. I’m just going to sit back for a moment and savor this headline from the Washington Post

    Nobel Physicist Chosen To Be Energy Secretary

    President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to be the next energy secretary…

    How cool is that? Could you even imagine a scientist being appointed to anything in the Bush administration?

    The appointments suggest that Obama plans to make a strong push for measures to combat global warming and programs to support energy innovation.

    What a hopeful change for our country’s future and I think it gets better.

    “Obama plans to name Carol M. Browner, Environmental Protection Agency administrator for eight years under President Bill Clinton, to fill a new White House post overseeing energy, environmental and climate policies” and he also has chosen “Lisa P. Jackson, recently appointed chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D) and former head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to head the EPA. Nancy Sutley, a deputy mayor of Los Angeles for energy and environment, will chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality.”

    The NY Times notes that Browner is “an acolyte of former Vice President Al Gore”. And Grist writes of the future EPA head, “Jackson went on to earn a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1986, where she became inspired to use her engineering skills to prevent pollution… If confirmed, Jackson would be the first African American to head the EPA.”

    The Dot Earth blog at NY Times reports Chu thinks greater technological advances are needed to move the world away from fossil fuels. “I think political will is absolutely necessary. But we need new technologies,” Chu said.

    So far the reaction from Europe seems positive. The Guardian reports Obama’s new team raises hope for U.S. environment. Obama “has raised expectations of a strong drive to roll back George Bush’s policies on climate change and environmental protection. The choice of those with strong science and regulatory backgrounds was broadly welcomed in the environmental community.”

    While Spiegel laments that now Europe puts hurdles in Obama’s climate path. “Just as the US gets a new president who promises to reverse years of climate change neglect, American environmental experts worry that Europe’s resolve on climate change is weakening. [Germany’s Angela] Merkel’s recent about-face is especially alarming.”

    While European leaders are backing away from their climate commitments, The Guardian reports “Mexico has become one of the first developing countries to set a specific carbon reduction target, with a pledge to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” Go team North America!

    Maybe Obama’s choices are a portent of positive changes to come. Even the Bush administration’s Effort to relax pollution limits is dropped, according to the NY Times. “The Bush administration said Wednesday that it was abandoning its pursuit of two proposed regulations relaxing air-pollution standards for power plants, surprising both industry and environmentalists by ending its pursuit of one of the last remaining goals set out by Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force in 2001.”

    I’ll believe it for real when Obama is sworn-in, but for now — yay!

Four at Four continues with Rumsfeld is responsible for abuse, oil demand down, and sabotaging a coal-burning power plant in the UK.


my friend sent me this in an e-mail today . . .

Who is really your best friend? Your dog or your spouse?

Ok, check this out….I tried this…and guess what? It really, REALLY


1. Lock your spouse and your dog in the trunk of your car.

2. Wait one hour.

3. Open up and see who is really happy to see you

Interlude….Strategy and Personal Stuff

A thought on the strategy of the Citizens Petition (for background, see here) had been nagging at my impaired brain (for more info, see below the fold!) for a while now….but I couldn’t put my finger on it. NLinStPaul’s excellent edit and a comment by fortschreitend helped clarify it. We are actually aiming for two different ‘audiences.’

We want the petition to be as effective as possible in appealing to Attorney General Designate (thanks dharmasyd!) to do his duty. But in order for the petition to be the MOST effective it needs to have as many signatories as possible. I touched on that in my last draft with the phrase “but as you no doubt well know Attorney general Holder, there are copious amounts of evidence just waiting to be developed. Developed by you.”

We are NOT trying to make the case for prosecution and against Bush to Holder. Any AG candidate worth his salt should know as much about the Bush crimes as we do, if not more, and we know that the Obama team is already aware that they are a huge issue.

So what we are really doing is trying to reach that first audience, we are trying to convince people to take the time to sign the petition, to get as many names behind it as possible. This means that we can put convincing supporting evidence etc. in the essays that present the petition, rather than in the petition itself. This, I think, changes the framing and presentation a bit. And while this may have been obvious to you guys, it has just become obvious to me! So for those reasons and the reasons I will outline below the fold, I want to put a hold on the project to rethink it.

Plus, with the Specter stuff (Oy, Arlen, ya Gonzo enabling putz you!) happening right now, I think it would be better to wait a bit for the manufactured controversy to die down. Otherwise the essays will turn into commentary on THAT and not on the petition itself. So I am going to let it percolate til Monday, but I do urge you to keep thinking on it too, and I will put up an input thread at some point over the weekend. Thanks to all those who have been helping, and keep it up! We have one shot at this and with y’alls help, we will get it right and hopefully make a real difference.

Should The President Even Talk To Them?

Another countries leaders are threatening your country and threatening your countries allies with very aggressive rhetoric of “annihilation” while they appear to be building nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and have a navy that can affect access to and shipping in the Persian Gulf and the flow of oil out of the gulf.

Should the President and/or his Foreign Policy designates sit down at the negotiating table and talk to them face to face like adults, or just dismiss them as terrorists?

Those are some of the questions on the minds of many Iranians these days, as they try to make sense of US Foreign Policy signals.

Charges dropped against the Hempstead 15!

This morning all charges were dropped against the Hempstead 15, members of Iraq Veterans Against The War and their supporters who were accused of disorderly conduct for an act of civil disobedience they engaged in on October 15th during the last Presidential debates at Hofstra University in NY.

Nick Morgan (center) was trampled by a mounted policeman’s horse, and there will be a lawsuit. The vets are very grateful for everyone’s support.

I am guessing there will be a more formal announcement made in the future, but for now those of you who really deserve it can contemplate the thousand words embodied in these happy smiling faces, and know that by REALLY being there to support these troops you helped get some justice done today.

Thank you.

The Bush Horror: An Elegy; A Letter

The following is a letter to my (infant) sons that I wrote in longhand in August, 2005 over a period of several days. It ends in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I am typewriting it here for archival purposes.   My intent in writing this was to preserve for them some sense of what occurred in this country as I don’t expect that the history books can or will do it justice.  My other intent was to capture my own emotions at the time, which were not good.

Cross-posted on the Great Orange Satan.

The Trust:

My dear _ and __:

   If you had told me five years ago that this country would have witnessed a contested Presidential election result, resolved only by a Supreme Court which effectively ordered a state to stop counting its votes (arguably in disregard of its own state laws), and exposing, as almost an afterthought, massive voter suppression, a near institutional campaign of racial intimidation, wanton disregard of legitimate ballots, and a manipulative smear campaign waged by the prevailing party culminating in political staffers flown to Florida to physically harass and threaten public officials, I would have thought–“that’s terrible enough, but somehow the nation will get past it, somehow common sense and reason will prevail.”


DoD approves more accompanied tours in Korea

OK, I got it, now someone needs to explain

1.) Why we’re staying?

2.) What’s all this about the North and Nukes?

3.) How long has it really been Over and why weren’t we, the Nation, so informed?

Coal’s Sacriligeous Caroling

In a time of year when it can be hard to go into public

without being overwhelmed by Christmas carols, the sound of jingling bells can sicken many of us. And, it is hard for many to associate this season and carols with any form of religiousity due to the mass commercialization of across the spectrum of holidays of Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, and …  

And, basically every single religious song has been parodied or spun off in multiple ways so that any idea of purity seems dead.  Thus, it surprised me that I was shocked at the latest parody of a set of Christmas Carols courtesy of the coal industry’s mouthpiece, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE): the “Clean Coal Carolers” with a set of lyrics that take their truthiness and deception to a whole new level of depravity.

This Time It’s Real!Republic Window Workers Win! Get $1.75 M and End Sit Down Strike

This time the Union has announced a settlement.  My diary the other day jumped the gun based on inccorect media reports.  But this time it’s real.  The workers won:

Many people have been following the Republic Window and Door Workers sit down strike.  The workers there refused to just accept illegal actions by the company and instead stood up for themselves.  They fought back and now they have won:

The workers are “very, very satisfied” with the agreement, said Mark Meinster of the United Electrical Workers union, which represents the employees.

Hopefully this is an example for workers across the country that when things like this happen, you can step up, you can speak out, and you can win,” he said.

More, after the fold.  

Open Thread


Step right up and get your thread here.

Republican Senators: Pretending to be Patriotic only works when WE are the Majority

When the Republicans are NOT in the majority in the Senate, being partisan hack obstructionists that give not one damn about what happens to the American people or the country of America as long as they can point to the Democrats in the majority and say “look, nothing is getting done” is what they are all about.

For the Republicans in the Senate, the entirety of the incredible amount of issues that our country is facing at this time is nothing more than another wonderful invitation to play politics with the country and continue to thumb their collective nose at the middle class and the needs of working families in America.  Considering they were the majority party in power when all, and I mean ALL of the foundation was set for the myriad destructive economical, societal, ecological and constitutional destructive policies that has been visited upon our country and its people were enacted, one might think they would be a bit more interested in assisting cleaning up those messes that we can now SEE with our own eyes and feel with each passing day weighing down on people like a ton of bricks.

Load more