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Archive for May, 2008

NEWS WATCH! LA METRO AREA EMITS LESS CARBON PER CAPITA THAN ANY BIG CITY EXCEPT HONOLULU

Posted in Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Eco -Chic, Health Watch, News Brief on May 31st, 2008

UNFORTUNATELY, THESE NUMBERS DO NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT MUCH OF LA’S ELECTRICITY IS FROM COAL-FIRED PLANTS

hollywoodsign_1.jpgThe good news is that the Los Angeles metropolitan area emits less planet-warming carbon per capita than any big city except Honolulu. This is according to a new study from the Brookings Institution, a prestigious Beltway think tank.

Per the Booking’s people, Los Angeles is “greener than New York”, with its network of ecowise subways; “more virtuous than Portland, Ore., with its smartgrowth greenbelt”, and, yes, even better than San Francisco, “its eco-vain rival.”

Balancing all of this good news is the little fact that LA draws most of it’s electricity from horribly polluting coal-fired power plants, which essentially zero out all of the good that it’s citizens do conserving energy and reducing their carbon footprint.

But what do you expect, it is a Beltway study, after all, and we all know how horribly skewed those things can be.

To all of my California neighbors, forget Washington’s numbers and continue to do the work to make this place the stunning jewel of a city that it once was and always should be.

-LIB

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HEALTH WATCH! ASTHMA AND OTHER BREATHING DISORDERS PLAGUE KATRINA SURVIVORS

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Corporate Responsibility, Eco Thugs, Government Shenanigans, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Living, Toxin Alert! on May 27th, 2008

FORMALDEHYDE FUMES IN LEVELS UP TO FIVE TIMES ABOVE THAT WHICH IS CONSIDERED SAFE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION, DETECTED IN MANY OF THE 143,000 FEMA TRAILERS SENT TO THE GULF COAST
fematrailer.jpgAs if the trauma, indignity and economic hard times that the residents of New Orleans have suffered since Hurricane Katrina was not sufficient aggravation for one lifetime, many area residents are now being diagnosed with cases of asthma and other breathing disorders, at numbers and levels higher than what is considered normal for the area.

According to an AP wire story published earlier today, formaldehyde fumes, many times at levels up to five times above what is considered safe for humans to breathe, have, as early as 2006, been found to be present in many of the 143,000 trailers sent to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. But for some reason, this news is only now being shared with those affected.

This is particularly upsetting because it is just the latest example of what can happen to innocent people when the government to whom they turn for aid in emergencies such as this – and who is supposed to be looking our for their well-being – doesn’t care enough to inspect the trailers before declaring them safe for habitation

But then, much of the devastation present in New Orleans and the surrounding areas could have been avoided if only the Bush administration had heeded the warnings of the Army Corps of Engineers and fortified New Orleans’s levees when the need first became apparent.

But then, this is the Bush administration we are talking about and the money that should have been used to protect the citizens of New Orleans apparently was needed elsewhere, perhaps to finance tax breaks for the wealthy or maybe it was to continue Mr. Bush’s ridiculous little war.

But this is just my opinion, What do you think? Please share in the comments section.

-LIB

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NEWS WATCH! RAISE A GLASS AS THE PEACE SIGN TURNS 50

Posted in Cool Products, News Brief on May 21st, 2008

POPULAR WORLD-WIDE SYMBOL FOR NON-VIOLENCE WAS CREATED IN 1958

250px-peace_signsvg.pngBesides your’s truly, also celebrating a landmark birthday this year is the ever-popular peace symbol.

This international icon was designed in the early part of 1958 by WWII conscientious objector, Gerald Holtom, at the time a professional designer and artist residing in Great Britain. It was commissioned by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and intended for use at the groups April 4 march from London’s Trafalgar Square, to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston.

The icon went on to be adopted by counterculture of the time and became the symbol of the 1960s anti-war movement.

According to Wikipedia, the symbol is a combination of the semaphoric signals for the letters “N” and “D,” as in Nuclear Disarmament. In semaphore the letter “N” is formed by a person holding two flags in an upside-down “V,” and the letter “D” is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. These two signals imposed over each other form the shape of the peace symbol.

Join us not only in wishing this important icon a Happy Birthday, but also inour hope that the day may come, in our life time, when this symbol becomes less important because man has found a way to shed his warrior impulses and live in peace.

-LIB

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NEWS WATCH! BUSH VETO’S FARM BILL

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, News Brief on May 21st, 2008

PASSED EARLIER THIS MONTH WITH VETO-PROOF MAJORITIES, THE BILL INCLUDES INCREASED SUBSIDIES FOR FARMERS AND FOOD STAMPS FOR THE POOR

farmers_mkt_02_o_large.jpgPresident Bush exercised his veto pen, again today, when he rejected Congress’s $300 billion farm bill, calling it bloated and a “tax increase on regular Americans at a time of high food prices.”

Thankfully, this latest veto is almost certain to be overturned by Congress who, when the bill was initially submitted to them, passed it with veto proof majorities.

The bill includes increased subsidies for farmers and food stamps for the poor.

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HEALTH WATCH! MORE BAD BEEF RECALLED

Posted in Health Watch, News Brief, Toxin Alert! on May 21st, 2008

THIS TIME THE MEAT COMES FROM JSM MEAT HOLDINGS OF CHICAGO

2007-10-05-meat_patties1.jpg

From the another reason to become a vegetarian file, please be advised that JSM Meat Holdings Company of Chicago is recalling certain beef products allegedly because of risk of E. coli contamination. The good news, as if there is ever any in these situations , is that, according to the USDA, there have been no reported illnesses connected with this latest recall. For all of our internal organs, let’s hope it stays that way.

Products to look out for include: 30-pound, 60-pound boxes, combo boxes, or 47-gallon gallon barrels of “MORREALE MEAT” beef products labeled as “Boneless Chucks,” “Boneless Clods,” “Flat Rounds,” “Gooseneck Rounds,” “Knuckle,” “Heel Meat,” “Scotties,” “Trimmings 50,” “Trimmings 60,” “Trimmings 65,” “Trimmings 70,” “Trimmings 75,” “Trimmings 80,” “Trimmings 85,” or “Trimmings 90.”

The recalled beef products bear the establishment number “EST. 6872″ inside the USDA mark of inspection and were reportedly sent to companies in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

If you think that you may have purchased one of the affected products contact JSM Meat Holdings Company at 312-421-3664.

-LIB

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BUSH ADMIN BUCKLES AND GRANTS PROTECTED SPECIES STATUS TO THE ALASKAN POLAR BEAR

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Corruption Watch, Eco Thugs, Endangered Species, Government Shenanigans, News Brief, Presidential Crimes & Misdemeanors on May 20th, 2008

BUT DID THE RULING COME IN TIME TO SAVE THE POLAR BEAR?

polarbearice_djc.jpgWell, the good news, if you can call it that, is that the polar bear got finally some protection from the Bush Administration last week. The bad news is that in typical George Bush fashion, the ruling granting endangered species protection to the polar bear is chocked so full of loopholes favoring the oil companies and other corporate polluters that many, including Natural Resources Defense Council President, Frances Beinecke, believe that it will be years and a number of successful court battles before the legislation “offers any real protections”.

Sadly this should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the workings of the Bush administration, particularly when it comes to protecting the environment. Specifically speaking, one can only wonder if the polar bears, already living on borrowed time, will even be around by the time the Bush Administration’s ruling works its way through our court system, and is challenged by every two-bit polluter and oil company despot who ever bribed a congressman, or funneled undeclared money to a lobbyist?

The facts in this matter are indisputable; as I write this, the polar bears natural habitat is melting out from underneath them far more rapidly than even the most aggressive predictions had foreseen. Now I might be paranoid in making this observation, but as I see it, the only reason that the Bush administration finally went ahead and granted endangered species protection to the polar bears, after years of stonewalling, was because they knew that by the time that the ruling had withstood all challenges, Global Warming would have destroyed most of the Polar bears remaining habitat and the matter would become moot. Either way, with less than a year remaining on George Bush’s term, this matter would be someone else’s problem.

As angry as this sort of political gamesmanship makes me, I have to keep reminding myself that we are talking about a species of animal here, and in the Bush administration and corporate America’s worldview – an all too prevalent worldview in America today – the plight of animals means little when weighed against the potential for profit.

It is no secret that the oil companies have been maneuvering for some time now to get the right to drill in the Alaskan Wilderness preserve. Millions of dollars have been spent to sell this to the American people as the only viable way to end our nation’s dependence on middle eastern oil, and by extension the problems that come along with doing business in that region

The only problem with this contention is that it is not true. Granted it sounds plausible and to a nation of people concerned for their and their family’s future, sounding plausible is often all that it takes.

For the record, the only way to break our dependence on foreign oil is for this country to get behind cleaner, more modern power technologies such as wind, solar, hydrogen and cellulosic ethanol. Corn based ethanol, the standard in this country, is a fine example of what happens when corporations are allowed to dictate policy to politicians. Not only has this movement created worldwide food shortages, but the little publicized fact is that it takes more than a gallon of fossil fuels to make a gallon of corn based ethanol. More importantly, a gallon of corn based ethanol is only about 70% as effective as a gallon of the fossil fuels that it aims to replace.

So who benefits from this exercise, other than the corporations making the ethanol and receiving generous federal subsidies to do so? Certainly not you and me, that’s for sure! But this is a matter for another posting, so we won’t dwell on it here.

Returning to the protected species ruling, the oil companies’ official position is that it will prevent them from drilling in much of the wilderness. They further note that the ruling will force the establishment of buffer zones to protect nursing mother bears and their cubs from the deafening seismic testing, frequent spills, and other distractions so much a part of modern energy exploration.

Now in a better world, this ruling would be a catalyst for change, a reason to begin aggressively developing new sources of energy. But not here! Here it is just a cause for law suits pitting well heeled hired guns against an already overworked and underpaid infrastructure, bled to the bone by a president concerned for little other than that which benefits his rich friends. Sharing the blame for this is a corporate structure that would rather exploit existing technologies regardless of their potential harm to mankind then to spend the money required to make any of the newer technologies commercially viable.

To change this will take leadership the likes of which this country has not seen in seventy years, not since the days of Franklyn Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. To change this will take great courage, courage of the sort exemplified by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and the previously noted FDR, but which we have not seen lately in this country.

One thing is certain, we cannot continue for much longer on the path on which we are heading, not and retain the essence of what is great about this country.

So my friends, it is up to each and every one of us to make this happen. The alternative is just too horrible to consider.

-LIB

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NEWS WATCH! WORLD BIODIVERSITY DOWN A THIRD IN THE PAST 35 YEARS

Posted in Eco Thugs, News Brief on May 17th, 2008

HABITAT LOSS AND THE WILDLIFE TRADE CREDITED FOR THE DOWNTURN

articwolf3.jpgTHE WWF’s (World Wildlife Fund) Living Planet Index tracks over 4,000 species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. For the thirty plus years between 1970 and 2007 their stats reveal that land-based species fell by 25 percent, marine species by 28 percent, and freshwater species by 29 percent. Additionally, WWF tells us that marine bird species have fallen 30 percent since the mid-1990s.

Per the fund, some scientists see the loss of plants, animals and insects as the start of the sixth great species wipe out in the Earth’s history, the last being in the age of the dinosaurs which disappeared 130 million years ago.

Scientists point out that most of the world’s food and medicines come initially from nature, and note that dwindling species put human survival at risk.

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NEWS WATCH! BUSH EASES CLEAN-AIR PROTECTIONS FOR NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDERNESS AREAS

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Eco Thugs, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, Health Watch, News Brief, Presidential Crimes & Misdemeanors, Toxin Alert! on May 17th, 2008

THIS LATEST GIFT TO POLLUTERS WILL MAKE IT EASIER TO BUILD POLLUTING POWER PLANTS NEAR PROTECTED AREAS

coalfiredpowerplant.jpgThe administration’s war against clean air and water scored another victory today with the announcement that Corporate America’s man in the White House is putting the finishing touches on a plan, which would make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas.

The new regulations, expected to be finalized this summer, rewrite a key provision of the Clean Air Act as it applies to “Class 1 areas,”, Beltway shorthand for these precious natural resources.

This initiative is the latest in a series of administration efforts to weaken air quality protections at national parks.

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NEWS WATCH! PERENNIAL ARCTIC ICE COVER DOWN BY HALF SINCE 2005

Posted in New Scientific Data, News Brief on May 13th, 2008

WWF WARNS THAT ARCTIC ICE MAY BE MELTING FASTER THAN MOST CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE HAS CONCLUDED.

_40423755_larsen_b2031.jpgArctic ice is melting fast and the area covered by ice sheets in ocean could shrink this summer to the smallest since 1978 when satellite observation first started, Japanese scientists warned in a report.

Ice sheets in the Arctic Ocean shrank to the smallest area on record in late summer in 2007, researchers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said in a report on the website (http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/imgdata/topics/2008/tp080430.html).

“The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has continued to shrink since the beginning of April in such momentum to approach last year’s levels,” they said in the report based on an analysis of satellite images.

The area covered with perennial ice in the Arctic Ocean has receded “drastically” in recent years, falling to nearly half the area observed in 2005, they said.

“The reduction of areas covered with perennial ice means the overall ice in the Arctic Ocean is thinner and thinner year after year,” the report added.

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NEWS WATCH! RENAULT – NISSAN TO INVEST OVER HALF BIL. IN SWAPPABLE-BATTERY ELECTRIC CARS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, News Brief on May 13th, 2008

PARTNERS WITH ISRAELI-BACKED ELECTRIC CAR PROJECT

2007-09-19-national_debt.jpgThe head of an Israeli-backed electric car project estimated on Sunday that its partner, the Renault-Nissan alliance, would likely invest $500 million to $1 billion in the swappable-battery electric cars.

“This is the cost for a three-year car program,” Shai Agassi, the founder and chief executive of California-based Project Better Place, said on the sidelines of a news conference to introduce the electric car prototype.

Renault and Nissan signed a deal with Better Place in January to begin mass producing electric cars as a part of a project to develop alternative energy sources and slash oil dependency.

Better Place will build the first electric grids in Israel and Denmark, with initial deployment slated for 2010.

Denmark’s DONG Energy recently signed a letter of intent with Better Place to introduce the electric cars to the Scandinavian country, where the batteries will be charged using wind power.

DONG Energy is the world’s largest offshore wind power operator, with several wind farms in Denmark and Britain.

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