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Archive for July, 2008

COMMENTARY: GREEN ENERGY’S LATEST FAIR WEATHER FRIEND

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, News Brief on July 24th, 2008

OILMAN, T. BOONE PICKENS, ISSUES TEN YEAR PLAN TO PROMOTE WIND ENERGY AND REDUCE AMERICA’S DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

180px-turbine_aalborg.jpgLifelong oilman and deep pockets Republican money guy, T. Boone Pickens, has a new Beltway posse, and for once, there is hardly a Republican in sight.

To better understand the strange turn of events which has made Pickens a pariah among his one-time friends, one needs only to look at the Texas entrepreneur’s latest business venture promoting wind energy as a replacement for oil, and his controversial plans to build sufficient wind turbines throughout the country so that we will be able to draw as much as 20% of our power needs from wind by 2018. According to Pickens, reaching this goal would have the added benefit of reducing our dependence on foreign oil by at least a third in the same time frame.

To promote his plan, the outspoken Texas oil billionaire has launched a 58 million dollar, self-funded television and radio advertising campaign, the goal of which is to make Americans aware that not only is our energy situation critical, but contrary to Bush Administration and oil industry assurances, this is “one crisis that we cannot drill our way out of”.

It is this statement more than anything else that has caused Pickens’s the most grief from onetime friends and allies in big oil and on the political right. Of course, intelligent people can make the case that Pickens is better off without this bunch, as we all would be, for that matter.

Speaking of that which would make America better, seeing Pickens’s old friends being forced to “perp walk” for their part in the trashing of the American dream would definitely bring a smile to my face. Though the the pragmatist in me is forced to acknowledge that it is unlikely that the Democrats currently serving in Congress have what it takes to make this, or anything else relevant happen. This saddens me to no end, as so much about our country does these days.


BEWARE OF THE OILMAN BEARING GIFTS

One needs to remember that T. Pickens is an oil man used to buying and selling politicians and everything else in pursuit of the golden ring. In other words, beware of the billionaire bearing gifts. He is not your friend and will only appear to be so as long as you are doing his bidding.

In their rush to embrace Pickens, I can only hope that Democrats stand back for a moment and remember that the very same guy who is their hero of the moment, – Mr. Wind Energy – was the cash behind 2004’s infamous Swift Boat attack ads that attempted – with a certain degree of success – to destroy the hero status and character of Democratic Presidential Candidate, John Kerry, by lying over and over again about Kerry’s war record, sometimes going so far as to label the Vietnam war hero a coward and to insist that he fraudulently received his battlefield medals.

Much as he did at the time of the Swift Boat incident, Pickens claims his motives for promoting wind energy “are patriotic”, telling Vimal Patel of the Los Angeles Times that “I only have one enemy, and that’s foreign oil, I’m first an American, and second an oilman.”

I am sure that the people who authorized the internment of Japanese American citizens in the California desert during World War II had similar opinions about themselves.

- Denis


Read More about T. Boone Pickens’s, Pickens Plan

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HOW TO GREEN YOUR WORK SPACE

Posted in News Brief on July 21st, 2008

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR GREENING YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT

a5bb51c7288bc1d456e1d7aaf6f05e181.jpgHere are some suggstions for greening your work environment. Many of these were inspired by Greening Your Office: From Cupboard to Corporation: an A-Z Guide by Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert. The rest and most of the comments are my own. This list is subject to expansion as more information is available. Consider contributing to this list via the comments section.

- Denis

OFFICE WASTE

Establish recycling bins. – Find out what your area trash carrier is equipped to recycle and break up your office waste accordingly. Separate soda cans, water bottles, discarded office paper, junk mail, food waste, etc. into individual containers.

Utilize reusable garbage pails whenever possible. These are far better for the environment than one-use plastic garbage bags.

Reduce office paper consumption. – Ask yourself? Do you really need to print numerous drafts of a document as it is in the creative process? Do others who need to monitor a work in progress need hard copies? Train yourself and your co-workers to view your work via e-mail rather than in hourly printed updates. Also, learn to edit on the screen and not by marking -up excessive numbers of hard copies.

Use recycled paper whenever possible in the office.

Recycle ink cartridges. – Many office superstores now pay a bounty for returned spent cartridges. Take advantage of this whenever possible. Or the technically proficient may consider using one of the many kits available to refill printer cartridges.

Convert sales materials, newsletters, product announcements etc., to email newsletters. If you want to get fancy, consider imbedding links in the email that will take the reader to a specific area of your company website.

In the rare instance when a client needs a hard copy, send a fax (yes, they still exist) or an email attachment rather than an overnight letter.

Organize your office team to Stomp Out junk mail, whatever form it may take. Consider listing your company with directmail.com.

FOOD WASTE

Establish a compost bucket for coffee grounds, food scraps, etc.

Arrange for bulk water delivery from one of the many available companies. These recyclable five gallon bottles provide clean, fresh tasting drinking water and do not clutter the landfill with individual water bottles. But the best part is that the water service will pick up and deliver to your office, and many of the water machines that they provide offer hot, cold and room temperature water options. Merely, arrange for each team member to provide his or her own water glass and coffee cup.

Purchase an inexpensive set of forks, knives and spoons for the office to replace the disposable plastic ones.

Replace paper towels with cloth towels, whenever possible. There are services in most parts of the country, which will pick up, launder and deliver towels at a reasonable price.

ELECTRONICS

Switch off computers and monitors when not in use or at the end of the day. While this is less convenient, it saves electricity, and as an added perk, makes it damn hard to hack into your system when you are not around.

Consider purchasing those new outlet strips, which allow you to cut-off all power going into computers and peripherals when they are not in use. Many people are unaware that even when most electronic devices are switched off, they are still using and storing electricity.

LIGHTING

Use natural (sun) light, whenever possible.

Train staff to turn off all unnecessary lights.

Replace incandescent lights with the new soft light compact fluorescent lights.

HEAT & AIR CONDITIONING

Open the windows for natural air, whenever possible.

Consider using shades, blinds and awnings on the windows to block direct sun light on warm summer days.

Install ceiling fans. A decent ceiling fan can go a long way toward making a room a pleasant temperature, and it does this at a cost efficient price.

Better control your company’s use of Air Conditioning and heat. The best way to do this is to install a thermostat that can be set to provide minimum heart and air conditioning during the hours when the office is unoccupied.

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COMMENTARY: ON AL GORE’S PROPOSAL TO TAX WHAT WE BURN, NOT (ON) WHAT WE EARN.

Posted in Clean Energy, Consciousness, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy on July 18th, 2008

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CHALLENGES NATION TO PHASE OUT ALL NON-RENEWABLE, CARBON BASED SOURCES OF ENERGY GENERATION WITHIN TEN YEARS

AlGorerecent.jpgLess than a day after our nation’s poor excuse for a president taunted our equally lackluster Congress for failing to open up pristine costal areas and sacred animal sanctuaries for oil exploration, the man who should have been president, Al Gore, issued a challenge to the nation to phase out all non-renewable, carbon based sources of energy generation within ten years.

Mr. Gore made his pitch for the adoption of a new energy paradigm, yesterday, in a speech before a packed audience at Washington’s historic Constitution Hall. It was during this speech that Mr. Gore noted that eliminating fossil fuels would not only solve our nation’s ongoing problem with global warming, but would also eliminate the economic and national security crises that result from our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Additionally, Mr. Gore stated that America’s switch to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources would boost the country’s economic position because, as it turns out, the “real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices.”

At present, renewable resources – specifically wind and solar power – generate about 8.6 percent of America’s power needs, currently in the area of 3.7 billion kilowatt hours, annually. A drop in the bucket by any standard.

Most of our power, better than fifty percent, still comes from coal, a highly toxic substance known to be responsible for more than a third of the United States’ carbon dioxide pollution.

What’s worse, if the carbon fuel companies are allowed to continue unregulated – and if Pappy McCain wins the White House, this will surely happen – it is estimated that coal’s share of the eclectic generation pie will continue to grow, particularly if the coal companies succeed in selling Congress on the fantasy of clean coal, something that at the present does not exist, and it is doubtful, ever will.

While Mr. Gore places the cost for such a radical transition in how we generate our power in the area of $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion dollars over thirty years, he believes that this is an obtainable goal. To that end he encouraged Republicans and Democrats to “overcome their partisanship” and to institute a policy change to where citizens and corporations are “taxed on what they burn, not (on) what they earn.”

I happen to agree with him on the need to take drastic action and feel that the money that he estimates such a transition will cost, would be money well spent. This is particularly true when you consider that by the time that the last shot has been fired, the last soldier brought home, and we have rebuilt all that we have destroyed and prepaid for the education and long term care for our people who fought in the conflict, we will have spent practically as much making the region safe for Texaco, Shell, Exxon and British Petroleum to do business, as it will cost us to guarantee the heath and wellbeing of future generations, with one major difference: No one, not a soul outside of the war profiteers and the aforementioned oil companies, and the corrupt politicians and lobbyists that they support will have anything to show for Mr. Bush’s illegal, immoral little war.

In a perfect world there would be repercussions for Mr. Bush and the men and women who lied us into war; repercussions including trials and prison sentences, and, perhaps, even extradition to the international court in the Hague for prosecution for their crimes against the Geneva Accord.

But my friends, unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. This being the case, I would settle for our nation never again trusting ANY leader, regardless of ideology, political party or theological belief, coming to us, armed with mountains of unsustainable aka confidential data, with the goal of convincing our proud, honorable nation to go to war.

In my lifetime, we as a nation have misled along these lines two times: now and in Vietnam. I do not think that we could sustain another such instance, and retain our identity as a nation.

-Denis

Watch Al Gore’s speech on YouTube

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HOW TO GREEN YOUR DIET

Posted in Health Watch on July 18th, 2008

LOW FAT V. LOW CARB: WHICH DIET IS THE WAY TO GO?

ornish.jpgA new study comparing the Atkins diet, a Mediterranean diet and a low-fat diet published on July 17 in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), is likely to inspire headlines saying that the Atkins diet is better for your waistline and your health than a low-fat diet.

But according to Dr Dean Ornish, pioneer of the Body, Mind and Spirit therapy for “reversing heart disease” and author of numerous health related books, “the study is extremely flawed”.

Find out Dr. Ornish’s reasons…

Learn more about Dr. Ornish’s Lifestyle Approach to treating Heart Disease

Welcome to the Preventive Medicine Research Institute

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HEALTH WATCH! SKIN CANCER ON THE RISE AMONG YOUNGER WOMEN

Posted in Global Warming, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, News Brief on July 12th, 2008

DESPITE PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN, DANGEROUS MELANOMAS UP 50% SINCE 1980. EXCESSIVE TANNING BLAMED

operatingroom.JPEGMore bad news for sun lovers, particuarly for younger females. A just released analysis of government cancer statistics from 1973 to 2004 revealed that the rate of new melanoma cases – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – in younger women has jumped 50 percent since 1980 going from 5.5 cases per 100,000 per year at the start of the survey period to 13.9 per 100,000 per year in 2004, while the number of cases among men of similar ages remained static.

Though the aforementioned survey did not officially take into account the reasons for the increase and for the fact that the cancer rates did not increase in men of the same age group, scientists believe that the discrepancy can be attributed to two distinct lifestyle choices: the tendency among younger women to spend more time outdoors, and their habit of more frequently pursuing artificial tanning than men of the same age group.

In the area of 62,000 melanoma cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, with more than 8,400 people annually dying of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society

The findings are significant because they point to the failure of public education campaigns to educate Americans about the risks of skin cancer from sun tanning.

Read more.

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HEALTH WATCH! NEW EVIDENCE LINKS POPULAR HPV DRUG TO DEATH, PARALYSIS AND OTHER MEDICAL WOES

Posted in Ethical Business, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, News Brief on July 10th, 2008

WATCHDOG GROUP’S FOIA INVESTIGATION UNEARTHS GARDASIL’S DANGEROUS SIDE EFFECTS

2007-08-10-smartteen2.jpgJudicial Watch is one of those self-appointed, self-righteous, allegedly non-partisan – though clearly conservative – beltway groups that I often find myself disagreeing with, sometimes vehemently so. This has been the case ever since they were at the forefront of conservative billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife’s, amply funded attempt to discredit former President, Bill Clinton. History buffs will remember that Judicial Watch under its previous president, Larry Clayman, initiated no less than 18 separate lawsuits against the President Clinton, his administration and specific members of his administration.

Equally offensive to progressives, myself included, are Judicial Watch’s positions against day laborers; their labeling as murder the death of Terri Schiavo; and their calls for the Naval Inspector General to investigate the “legitimacy and propriety” of the awards John Kerry received for his service in Vietnam.

The group, however, redeemed itself somewhat when they sued the Bush administration for access to the minutes of Vice President Cheney’s Energy Task Force; again when they sued Cheney and Halliburton for allegedly “fraudulent accounting practices” and when they sued the Secret Service to “force the release of logs detailing corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s visits to the White House”. Now this is speculation on my part, but it’s probably a safe bet that these latter efforts WERE NOT underwritten by Scaife.

This is a good thing because prior to 2002, DC insiders had known Judicial Watch as “essentially Richard Mellon Scaife’s tool” (Source: MediaTransparency), the group between 1997 and 2002 having received over 7 million dollars from various Scaife controlled foundations.

Jumping ahead to the present, Judicial Watch has apparently found a new – perhaps even higher calling – which is keeping America safe from the questionable business practices and greed of Big Pharma. In this context, the recent report from Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, concerning the potentially fatal side effects of the HPV (human papilloma) vaccine, Gardasil, deserves mention.

According to Judicial Watch, at least ten deaths have been linked to Gardasil, since September, 2007, while the total number of those believed to have died after taking the controversial new drug could number as many as twenty. Per group president Fitton, the FDA also produced 140 “serious” reports (27 of which were categorized as “life threatening”), 10 spontaneous abortions and six cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome – all since January 2008. Judicial Watch discovered this and other damning information in confidential FDA documents obtained via recent Freedom of Information Act filings.

Among the cases cited by Judicial Watch is that of a 20-year-old female with no medical history who after receiving the drug on April 1, 2008, died four days later. An autopsy was unsuccessful at determining the cause of the young woman’s death. Another tells the story of a 14-year-old female who after receiving the vaccine, took 6 steps, fell to the ground unconscious and had a 60 second grand mal (Epileptic) seizure. Then there was the case of the woman, who following vaccination with Gardasil, lapsed into a coma and is now paralyzed. Follow this link to Judicial Watch for the rest of this report.

Now my friends, this is serious business, not only for the women already negatively affected by the drug, but also because Merck’s aggressive marketing plan includes lobbying to have the vaccine mandated for all young girls as part of their school vaccination programs. To this end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already recommended that 11 and 12-year-old girls begin receiving the controversial new treatment.

Not content with merely injecting young women, Merck is allegedly also about to begin lobbying the FDA to approve the vaccination for young boys as well, and for women older than the 9 to 26 year old group for which Gardasil is currently approved.

Needless to say, the mainstream media has largely ignored this story, dependent as they are on drug company advertising. So it is up to you and I to pass the word and to warn friends and family about this latest example of drug company potentially marketing a product – in this case a critically needed product – that is not as safe as they would like us to believe.

But to be fair here, one should also consider Judicial Watch’s previous financial pedigree, specifically their close ties to ultra conservative, Scaife, and the fact that it is possible that Judicial Watch is blowing this entire matter way out of context to support the conservative position, which insanely considers Gardasil evil as it allows young women to be sexually permissive without potential consequences. How anyone could wish HPV on anyone as punishment for having sex outside of marriage shows how sick in the head many of these so-called conservatives really are.

To put this matter to rest, Merck should come clean with their research and address Judicial Watch’s concerns and not hide behind the FDA as Drug Company’s usually do when they are found to be at fault. Transparency here would go a long way to regaining the public’s confidence.

In the interim, I will be telling all of my friends to hold off on inoculating their loved ones with Gardasil, which is a shame because the drug serves an important purpose protecting the young people of America and the world from this horrible disease.

- Denis

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NEWS WATCH! CHENEY REPORTEDLY TAKES KNIFE TO CLIMATE TESTIMONY

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Corruption Watch, Eco Thugs, Government Shenanigans on July 8th, 2008

ALLEGEDLY SHREDS THE SECTION LINKING CLIMATE CHANGE AND PUBLIC HEALTH

cheneycowboyhat.jpgEver the oilman, Vice President Dick Cheney stands accused, today, of pushing for major deletions in congressional testimony linking the health of the general public to climate change. Per a former EPA official quoted by the Associated Press in their posting on the matter, earlier today, the ‘Dark Lord’ was concerned that the presentation of the data “might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases”.

Continue reading

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HEALTH WATCH! PHYSICIANS FIGURE OUT HOW MEDITATION AFFECTS THE BODY

Posted in Conscious Actions, Consciousness, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, Spirituality on July 2nd, 2008

A PRELIMINARY STUDY SHOWS MEDITATING TURNS OFF STRESS-RELATED GENES

meditation2.jpgAs one who lives daily with ADHD and a wicked type A personality, and who, over the years, has failed miserably in all attempts to chemically manage these conditions, the study of meditation has been godsend. Now there are many reasons for this – reasons that I must add are surely different person to person – but perhaps the most important is that it allows me to control my anxieties and manage my mind far better than drug therapy or self-medication with Gran Mariner ever did. Plus as an added benefit, meditation offers even the greenest newbie practitioner a sensation of wellness and inner peace, and it does this without any side effects, other then, perhaps, the annoying (to some) tendency to smile more and get less worked up about the snags that are so much a part of day to day life.

Because we are fans of smiling people here at Libsearthwatch.com, we try to keep abreast of the latest meditation news and developments. The following posting from Lauren Cox of ABC News is an example of that.

- Denis

SAY OM: DOCTORS FIND MEDITATION AFFECTS YOUR BODY

By LAUREN COX -ABC News Medical Unit

July 2, 2008—It turns out peaceful thoughts really can influence our bodies, right down to the instructions we receive from our DNA, according to a new study.

Researchers for the study, published in the Public Library of Science, took blood samples from a group of 19 people who habitually meditated or prayed for years, and 19 others who never meditated.

The researchers ran genomic analyses of the blood and found that the meditating group suppressed more than twice the number of stress-related genes — about 1,000 of them — than the nonmeditating group.

The more these stress-related genes are expressed, the more the body will have a stress response like high blood pressure or inflammation. Over long periods of time, these stress responses can worsen high blood pressure, pain syndromes and other conditions.

Continue reading this posting.

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NEWS WATCH! GREEN CAR UPDATE

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Corporate Responsibility, Global Warming, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living on July 1st, 2008

GLOBAL AUTO INDUSTRY RUSHES TO MARKET ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES

vwtwindriveunderhood.jpgAfter years of stalling hoping to wait out the Environmental fringe’s calls for cleaner, less-toxic automobiles, the global auto industry – well, most of it, anyway – appears to have gotten the message that the public is serious in its desire for greener vehicles.

The result of the automakers newfound environmental evangelism is that rarely a week goes by without one announcement or another from a former proud polluter – oops, I mean conscientious, environmentally responsible auto manufacturer – about their latest green product either in development or about to be released to an impatiently waiting world.

These new products take many forms from tiny two passenger run-abouts all the way through larger 8 passenger SUV’s. Variety is the name of the game where power sources are involved as well with some of the new vehicles being designed to run on biodiesel, while others derive their power from electricity or from hydrogen fuel cell technology. Then there are the hybrids with gasoline electric, diesel/electric and hydrogen/electric the most popular.

Here at Libsearthwatch.com, we have made it a priority to keep you up to date on the latest products headed to your driveway in the months and years to come. Prior to now, this was an easy task to accomplish as the product announcements were few and far between. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case. Information announcing new products now floods our in-box on a consistent basis. To attempt to accommodate this wealth of new info, we are debuting the GREEN CAR UPDATE as a regular feature of the site. Hope you enjoy it.

-Denis

BATTERY COMPANIES READY TO ROLL OUT KITS TO CONVERT HYBRDS INTO PLUG-IN ELECTRIC CARS

For those hybrid owners longing to take the next step and make their cars totally electric comes the news that several battery manufacturers are preparing to roll out conversion kits that in some instances will make it possible for their hybrid to get upwards of 100 miles on a gallon of gas.

Read more about this great new development

Speaking of Plug-In Hybrids…

VW TO ROLL OUT PLUG-IN HYBRID NEXT YEAR

Veritable German auto maker, VW, has announced that it too will have a plug-in hybrid rolling off the assembly lines sometime in 2010. Helping VW fund this new entry is
the German government, which has agreed to kick in 15 million euros. The new VW will have an estimated all-electric range of 31 miles. Power supplies include an 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

Let’s not forget fuel cell cars…

HONDA ROLLS OUT ZERO EMISSION CAR

hondafcxx-large.jpgAlways a leader in alternative technology, Honda motors has announced that it has shipped the first of their new zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell cars which should be showing up at out local dealers in the not too distant future.

The FCX Clarity, which runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water and none of the noxious fumes believed to induce global warming. It is also two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times that of a standard gasoline-powered car, the company says.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

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