Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Dreaming Up Daily Image

Map of the Internet. Thanks to Kevin Hoover for
sending it.
Posted by Picasa

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

"The nub of the problem now is how to flip over, as in jujitsu, the magnificent growth energy of modern civilization into a noacquisitive search for deeper knowledge of self and nature. Self-nature. Mother Nature. If people come to realize that there are many nonmaterial, nondestructive paths of growth--of the highest and most fascinating order--it would help dampen the fear that a steady state economy would mean deadly stagnation."

Gary Snyder
"Energy is Eternal Delight"

Climate Action Day

Manchester, New HampshirePosted by Picasa

Climate Action Day

Update: Many of these events were in heartland areas previously immune or hostile to environmentalist initiatives. But the American West is changing, as evidenced in part by this: For Al Gore's presentation on the Climate Crisis in Boise, Idaho, organizers hoped for an audience of about 1,000. Instead they had to move the event to the basketball stadium, and sold 10,000 tickets in 5 hours. Mcjoan at Daily Kos puts this in historical and political perspective.

A version of what follows was front-paged at E Pluribus Media , on the recommended list at European Tribune, and on the Eco-Diary Rescue at Daily Kos.

The National Day of Climate Action today was the definition of a grassroots event. With practically no media coverage, or mention on even climate-related internet sites, thousands of people gathered in places large and small across the U.S., in large groups and small, for events associated with the Step It Up campaign for action on the Climate Crisis.

Though seniors were conspicuously present at many events, this is basically a youth movement, and though officeholders like Senator John Kerry attended events, the main speaker at one was eleven years old. These are young people addressing their future.

In the photos that follow, you might notice that some people look kind of cold. Despite storms along the East Coast generated by Hurricane Noel, they turned out earlier today. These photos were sent in by participants to the Step It Up site, and more of them can be viewed there.

Also today, the Youth Climate Movement Power Shift convention began in DC. Here's their latest dispatch. Their activities continue through the weekend, climaxing in a "lobby day" on Monday, when they will attend hearings on pending climate bills and lobby members of Congress. (Here's the schedule.)

The Power Shift and Step It Up movements are coalescing around an agenda called 1Sky: 1. Mobilize America: 5 million green jobs conserving 20% of our energy by 2015. 2. Secure Our Future: freeze climate pollution levels now and cut at least 80% by 2050 and 30% by 2020. 3. Transform Our Energy Priorities: No new coal plants until they can safely dispose of climate pollution.

This common agenda has won some impressive endorsements, including well-known Climate Crisis voices like Bill McKibben and James Hansen but also Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Rev. Sally Bingham of the Regeneration Project and Inuit representative Sheila Watts-Cloutier. Organizations on board include the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Climate Crisis Coalition and National Resources Defense Council, as well as Physicians for Social Responsibility and several religious groups.

Photos from Climate Action Day

Milford, Connecticut
Posted by Picasa

Des Moines, Iowa.
Posted by Picasa

Valley Forge, PA
Posted by Picasa

Concord, MA. Senator John Kerry and Rep. Nicki
Tsongas are in the photo.
Posted by Picasa

The main speaker at Whitefish, Montana: 11
year old Rebecca.
Posted by Picasa

The crowd at Whitefish, Montana
Posted by Picasa

Moscow, Idaho
Posted by Picasa

Hillsboro, OR
Posted by Picasa

Athens, Texas
Posted by Picasa

"Plugheads" invade the Santa Fe Market, NM
Posted by Picasa

Stowe, VT
Posted by Picasa

A message in Baltimore, MD
Posted by Picasa

Chillicothe, Ohio
Posted by Picasa

Stanford, CA
Posted by Picasa

Charlotte, North Carolina
Posted by Picasa

Burlington, Vermont
Posted by Picasa

Mercer Island, Washington
Posted by Picasa

Mayor Rocky Anderson rocks out
in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Posted by Picasa

Braving the storm in Fairhaven, MA to send a
Posted by Picasa

Sarasota, FLA
Posted by Picasa

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Posted by Picasa

Poison Your Kid for Christmas: Hollow Government, Continued

If you needed an illustration for Hollow Government and how it connects to the unsafe toys that are at the very least complicating Christmas shopping for many Americans, we've got Exhibit A: Nancy Nord, acting Chairman of the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Since Reaganism struck the first blow against too much gubment, this Commission, charged with insuring the safety of consumer products (yes, they actually have the responsibility spelled out in their name), has seen what the New York Times calls a "steady decline" in funding and in staff, so that today it's about half the size it was in 1980. So even though the importing of consumer goods has exploded to become a $614 billion business, the Commission polices those imports with all of fifteen inspectors.

Now Congress, alarmed by the killer pet food, contaminated toothpaste and leaded toys, wants to double the Commission's funding and greatly increase its staff. But Nancy just says no.

Says the Times: Ms. Nord opposes provisions that would increase the maximum penalties for safety violations and make it easier for the government to make public reports of faulty products, protect industry whistleblowers and prosecute executives of companies that willfully violate laws.

She argues that stricter regulations and more people to enforce them would create an unnecessary burden on the toy industry, for example, and anyway, making lead-free toys is "impractical."

Here is Hollow Government at its most naked. It isn't just Nancy--the Times quoted a White House spokesperson as saying the top Bush economic advisor "was preparing to send a letter to Congress 'that is probably even more forceful than Ms. Nord’s.'” So the ideological framework is clear. According to the Bushites, as Jon Carroll put it in his column on the subject, "the only problem currently faced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission is the continued existence of the Consumer Product Safety Commission."

So according to them, it's up to the corporations--the Hollow Corporations who subcontract the actual manufacture to the lowest bidder in China, India and elsewhere.

And as we've seen in the past, this kind of relationship of the deathly hollows leads not only to lead in toys, but to blatant corruption. The Washington Post has detailed some of the 30 or so free trips taken by Chairman Nancy and her Bushite predecessor, paid for by Hollow Corporations she is supposed to be regulating.

One such trip was an 11 day junket to China and Hong Kong taken by the previous chairman--not a factfinding mission or perish the thought an inspection tour, but "gift travel"--paid for by a Hollow Corporation with offices in suburban DC but nothing else in the U.S.--its products all made in Asia.

In the Clinton administration, the story says, this just didn't happen--no trips were paid for by regulated corporations and most were paid for by the agency itself.

In calling for Nancy Nord to resign, Senator Sherrod Brown stated, " Parents have the right to trust that their children's toys are safe. Every American has the right to trust that their government is doing its job to keep us all safe."

Those "rights" simply aren't recognized as such by the far right and the Bushite Hollow Government. The functional Bushite philosophy is that the role of government is to funnel tax money to crony corporations, and if that's not possible at the moment, to let corporations do whatever the hell they want as long as they are buying the drinks, and greasing the right palms.

Yesterday parents had to worry about not knowing whether particular toys have been recalled or not. Today they have to worry that not only doesn't the government have enough people to check these toys out, they don't really want to. And even if Congress feels it is representing the people's interest in safe toys by appropriating more money so the government can do its job, the Bushites won't do it.

So now it may not matter if a toy is made in China or India or in Indiana. You're taking your chances on poisoning your child for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Dreaming Up Daily Image

photo (and pumpkin, presumably) courtesy of
Alix Metcalfe.
Posted by Picasa

Dreaming Up Late Night

Senator Joseph Biden got the one reaction the university crowd at the Democratic debate couldn't hold back when he referred to the frontrunning Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani as unqualified to be President, and that all of Giuliani’s sentences consist of “a noun, a verb and 9/11.”

But Senator Christopher Dodd also brought up the question of whether Hillary was "electable" against Giuliani, who polls the highest among the GOP candidates. Polls earlier this year showed Clinton with high negatives, approaching 50% of the electorate who said they would not vote for her, ever.

As I say in the earlier (in time) and following (in space) post, right now Hillary is not my candidate, but recent polls have shown those negatives going down, and now a thorough Pew study shows that Hillary would not only defeat Rudy in the general election, she would do so by a large margin, and in nearly every geographical area and category of voter. In perhaps another reversal, this study finds Hillary's supporters more positive about her than Rudy's are about him.

A final Hollow-een note: Supporting P.W. Singer's contention, quoted in the posts below, that "As it has been planned and conducted to date, the war in Iraq would not be possible without private military contractors," there's a report that the Army needs a personnel increase of 1400 to offset losses in military contractors, simply to deal with supplying combat troops. Update: And an independent panel called for overhauling the Army's system for contracting in Iraq, because it is rife with fraud and abuse.

Speaking of personnel problems, tomorrow's Washington Post has a story about envoys resisting the State Department attempts to fire diplomats who don't accept postings in Iraq. Meanwhile, tomorrow's New York Times reports that Blackwater is hiring high powered lawyers and lobbyists in an aggressive fight to avoid prosecutions and/or being fired from Iraq.

Tomorrow's Washington Post also has a Robin Wright story about Donald Rumsfeld's attempt to manage the PR war as well as the war itself, calling for his staff to develop bumper-sticker slogans to support the war, and to "elevate the threat" and "link Iraq and Iran."

Hollow-een Media Men

by Howard Penning
Posted by Picasa