Sep 29 2009
Living in lush green neighborhoods has provided the rich with a life-saving advantage over the poor who suffer from sweltering heat in concrete jungles. Transforming green open lands into a maze of buildings and roads of cities provided benefits to all of society, but it also creates urban heat islands that cause illness, death and misery that is disproportionately imposed on poor communities.
Urban heat islands were first described over 200 years ago. Concrete structures create both surface and air urban heat islands of double-digit temperature differentials between cities and rural areas.
For years, the rich bought their escape. A new study reveals it only costs $10,000 to decrease outside temperature by ½ degree Fahrenheit.
One inadvertent “benefit” of climate change is the growing awareness of this phenomenon of “cooking by day and night.” Fortunately, some are working to reduce the devastating impacts of urban heat islands.
Sep 25 2009
Last week, Sean Hannity broadcast live from San Joaquin Valley an astroturf rally designed to trigger water wars based on lies & transfer the health care memes to eco issues. The new CT is a whopper: President Obama, extremist environmentalists in his administration, and liberal radicals have planned for decades to turn California into a dust bowl so that the solar industry can use farmland, forcing us to buy our food from China!
The means to implement this CT is compliance with a federal law to provide instream flows to endangered or threatened fisheries. It was this temporary reduction in water availability that was characterized as an “act of domestic terror” by one of Hannity’s guests, Alan Autry (actor/former mayor):
If you would have told me that that water would have stopped, I would have believed maybe al Qaeda struck, not the federal government.
Sep 03 2009
The World Economic Forum (WEF) issued a report warning that the world may face in less than 20 years a huge and pervasive water bankruptcy of fresh water shortages. The problem is that water is a finite resource, yet management and policies are based on the erroneous assumption that a renewable resource is inexhaustible. We generally have the same quantity of water that was available for dinosaurs. However, water sustainability is not possible unless we address issues of population growth, increased irrigation for food, energy water needs, waste, mismanagement and pollution of water supplies. Another factor is water barons, hoarders and hunters who work to control and seize our diminishing water supplies for their own financial benefit. If we don’t wake up to our water crisis, we could end up just like the bird, looking for water.
Aug 17 2009
The GOP use angry mob rule to thwart & impede town hall meetings for health care & climate change. These are not isolated events. Since the Clinton years, the GOP has used thuggery to castrate a President, derail election recounts, succeed in midterm elections and impede legislative reforms.
In intimidation thuggery, the GOP encourage blindfaithers to disrupt democratic processes by intimidation & threatened violence. The current town hall thuggery is based on the Gore recount riots as precedent. Instead of public debate whether thuggery is a crime that should be investigated, the GOP win “immunity” by successfully framing thuggery as political rhetoric. Democrats are then forced to extinguish sham fires rather than move the debate forward.
In political thuggery, the GOP promote conspiracy theories used to pummel & weaken Clinton and now Obama is their target. This strategy was also effective for significant GOP success in the 1994 midterms, and may be the GOP’s desperate roadmap again.
If the rule of law is not enforced, thuggery can impede any legislative measures regardless of how many more and better Democrats sit in Congress or the White House.
Jul 16 2009
When companies can successfully pass the accountability buck to avoid responsibility, then the harm from their conduct is not remedied by a real solution. Rules developed by the large agri-business are being used to regulate small farms in a manner that is often contrary to science, organic standards and the natural benefits of ecosystems.
Scientists don’t know how the killer E. coli pathogen migrated from cattle to leafy greens like lettuce, but reforms are underway in California that may soon spread nationwide. The industry drafted rules not based on science to provide “food safety” from lethal and injurious food-borne bacteria. Instead of accountability for large factory farms and food processing companies, biologically diverse farming methods for organic crops are being dumped even though “evidence suggests that industrial agriculture may be the bigger culprit.”
All of this is done in the name of a quick fix to avoid losing more money rather than finding a sustainable solution that does not make things worse.
Jul 10 2009
The Obama administration is at least testing the waters of changing the name of mountaintop removal mining to “Appalachian surface coal mining” or ASCM. This name change, which neutralizes the horrific visuals of MTR mining, may help Obama gain support for a new policy to reduce the harmful environmental impacts of MTR mining.
The Obama administration is taking steps that are a “firm departure” from Bush who “failed to protect our communities, water, and wildlife in Appalachia.” For the first time the government is acknowledging the adverse impacts of MTR mining and will, for example, review the “cumulative impact of valley fill permits on water quality and look at entire watersheds instead of isolated streams.”
However, the question is whether MTR mining should be limited to a policy of environmental impact relativity or do we insist that MTR mining be stopped in obvious recognition that MTR mining by definition violates the environmental rules of law?
Jun 02 2009
When government officials agree to torture prisoners, issue sham legal opinions to “authorize” the torture contrary to law and then enact laws designed to prevent prosecution, the law calls that conspiracy. Evidence that started as a sporadic trickle and is now flowing steadily indicates that former administration officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney, conspired to commit torture.
Rep. John Olver (D-MA) has recognized the possibility that our “President, Vice President and other top officials conspired to create a policy” to sanction torture.
A 2008 executive summary of a Senate Armed Services Committee inquiry determined that senior officials sanctioned torture by “redefin[ing] the law to create the appearance” that Bush’s torture program was legal.
The engine of that conspiracy is the War Council of lawyers for Bush and Cheney.
May 29 2009
From day 1, the Bush cabal has relied upon the defense of legal advice of counsel to avoid prosecution. Step 1 was to obtain a legal opinion from OLC to “authorize” torture because its ops carry the force of law within the executive branch. Bush officials then maintained that torture was “authorized”. Step 2 was enacting a law that advice of legal counsel was a defense to torture charges. But, what happens if the OLC memos do not constitute legal advice of counsel because Bush Team and the torture lawyers rigged the OLC process to render fraudulent opinions? Then the main defense from torture prosecutions is bye bye.
May 10 2009
This is definitely not a good time to ask for donations for any reason. Many have lost their jobs. And, if you’re one of the lucky ones with a job, it’s still hard to make ends meet despite long work schedules. Not to mention that even if you have a job, you may need to be frugal with your budget to try to save some money just in case you lose your job next week.
Difficult times indeed.
May 06 2009
Sen. Feinstein and the Senate Intelligence Committee are presently conducting a secret investigation of Bush’s torture, rendition and imprisonment program to determine future US torture policies. Given the current climate favoring the investigation and prosecution of Bush officials, a lawyer would have to be crazy to advise clients to “interview” or testify even at a secret probe without immunity or a similar deal.
The problem is that if Feinstein provides immunity to any of the witnesses, then this Feinstein probe may interfere with any subsequent Congressional investigations (Leahy/Whitehouse or Conyers) and prevent prosecutions of wrongdoers because oftentimes immunity is dished out to the big cheese rather than the grunts. While some think of the Attorney General as being the decision maker in charge of who is provided immunity, it is the politicians who decide the fortunate ones entitled to this get-out-of-jail card of Congressional immunity.
May 04 2009
Sen. Feinstein’s ongoing, secret torture probe is ostensibly only a 1-year “review” or “study.” In reality, these proceedings are a functional equivalent of proposed public Congressional inquiries. The Feinstein probe covers the same substantive issues that would be investigated by Congressional probes that are still languishing in the debate stage. The Feinstein probe will review classified CIA documents and “interview” witnesses so that it can formulate US torture policy. CIA witnesses will be key to both the Feinstein probe and any Congressional hearings. Given the number of pressing issues and crises facing the US, will Congress be motivated to conduct a public investigation after Feinstein’s probe is completed? If not, then the Feinstein probe will be the only torture investigation. Moreover, the Feinstein probe will formulate US torture policy in secret without public knowledge or participation and a report from this probe may never be released to the public. In short, some in DC have may have decided to implement the move-forward policy whether you like it or not.
Apr 30 2009
Torture used against criminal suspects in the US is not new, but two cases illustrate that we can appoint a special prosecutor now to investigate the Bush gang and then move on, or we can ignore the rule of law to let it fester over decades before justice in any form is served.
The GOP love to fawn over President Reagan yet ignore that it was his DOJ that prosecuted a Texas sheriff and deputies for waterboarding prisoners to get confessions. Politicians can push the move-on meme for the Bush gang, but the appointment this week of a special prosecutor to investigate decades-old allegations of police torture against prisoners shows that justice may be slow, but tenacious advocates of human rights will not surrender.