Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hands Across the Future

This is the Obama ad that will run during the Olympics, in a major ad buy. Called "Hands," it's about Obama's plan for America's energy future, the subject of several earlier posts here. This is further evidence of the Obama campaign's committment to this initiative.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hummers Return

They actually haven't been far away--I've seen them
fly by to another range the last few months, but they're
definitely hanging out back here now as well. There was
a recent diary at Kos filled with hummer photos, and
this is one of them. There are lots more by this photographer
at by Picasa

President of the Future

Barack Obama's energy plan outlined below is one of the most important proposals any presidential candidate has offered in a generation. It is essentially an outline for the American future.

Look at it closely. Not only does it respond in meaningful ways to the end of the oil age heralded in part by today's high prices (which have causes other than dwindling supply, but that's a factor.) Not only does it outline realistic ways of attaining energy independence and meeting future energy needs, but does so in ways that will not add to the Climate Crisis, and will reduce the causes of that crisis for the far future, avoiding catastrophe for our descendants. It provides a blueprint for combining development and use of clean energy technologies while recognizing the immense role that ending energy waste can play, not only in the future but right now.

But the brilliance of it is that it recognizes the federal government's role in leading the necessary and sweeping changes necessary for the American economy of the future. Just as Franklin D. Roosevelt fought the Depression by investing in infrastructure--in roads, bridges, parks, public buildings, as well as planting three billion trees--that enabled economic expansion; just as Dwight Eisenhower promoted the prosperity of the 50s and 60s by building the federal highway system; just as JFK invested in the new technology of the space program that supports today's high tech industries, so too does Barack Obama propose to create the energy infrastructure for the economy of the future.

Just his proposals for updating America's system of generating and distributing electricity will create jobs in the short term and will build infrastructure to enable economic growth, while increasing energy efficiency, so we can actually do more with less fuel.

Add to that proposals for weatherization and energy conservation, that will boost private as well as public spending in the short term, with almost immediate dividends.

And that's before you even get to the proposals to jump-start whole new clean energy technology enterprises, transforming the way we power everything in our lives, including our vehicles. There are vast new businesses here, and everyone in the industrialized world knows this is where we are heading, if we want to have a healthy economic and a healthy civilization in the rest of the 21st century and beyond.

This is an American vision, for America. Because we're going to be buying these technologies in the near future. Are we going to be buying them from China, like just about everything we're buying now? Or India? Or Europe? They are all moving in this direction. America has only a short time to mobilize its vast resources to seize global leadership in the new growth industries of the future: solar power, wind power, biofuels, generations of new and progressively cleaner and more efficient cars and other transportation systems. Plus energy, conservation and anti-global heating technologies beyond our current knowledge.

Look at these proposals. You could be looking at an outline of a bright and exciting future.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Obama on America's Energy Future

Barack Obama in Lansing, Michigan, presenting
a detailed energy policy for the American future.Posted by Picasa

For the Record: Obama on Our Energy Future

Lost in all of the McSmear's campaign's slurs and the TV hot air about it--which of course is part of the intent of it--was Barack Obama's actual energy plan for a future of renewable, sustainable, clean energy independence for America, as he talked about it the other day in Lansing, Michigan.

According to Mike Allen at Politico, his proposals included:

“If I am president, I will immediately direct the full resources of the federal government and the full energy of the private sector to a single, overarching goal — in 10 years, we will eliminate the need for oil from the entire Middle East and Venezuela,” Obama said. “To do this, we will invest $150 billion over the next 10 years and leverage billions more in private capital to build a new energy economy that harnesses American energy and creates 5 million new American jobs.”

— Get 1 million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on U.S. roads within six years. Provide a $7,000 tax incentive to drivers of advanced tech cars, $4 billion to automakers to build hybrids, and a pledge to convert the entire White House fleet of vehicles to plug-in hybrids in the first year of the Obama administration, to set an example.

— Require that 10 percent of U.S. energy comes from renewable sources by the end of his first term – more than double the current level.

—Reduce U.S. demand for electricity 15 percent by 2020, through efficiency.
— Weatherize 1 million homes annually.
— Increase the efficiency of new buildings by 50 percent in the next decade through energy-efficient roofs and better-quality windows and ventilation systems.
— Increase the efficiency of existing buildings by 25 percent over the next decade through retrofitting that includes improved insulation and ventilation systems.

What about McCain? Obama reportedly noted that McCain said that America's energy problems are thirty years in the making. "What Senator McCain neglected to mention was that during those thirty years, he was in Washington for twenty-six of them," said the Senator. "And in all that time, he did little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He voted against increased fuel efficiency standards and opposed legislation that included tax credits for more efficient cars. He voted against renewable sources of energy. Against clean biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind power. Against an energy bill that -- while far from perfect -- represented the largest investment in renewable sources of energy in the history of this country. So when Senator McCain talks about the failure of politicians in Washington to do anything about our energy crisis, it's important to remember that he's been a part of that failure."

"After years of inaction," said the presumptive Democratic nominee, "and in the face of public frustration over rising gas prices, the only energy proposal [McCain's] really promoting is more offshore drilling -- a position he recently adopted that has become the centerpiece of his plan, and one that will not make a real dent in current gas prices or meet the long-term challenge of energy independence."

No wonder McCain wanted to talk about tire inflation.

Environmentalist Joseph Romm praised Obama's proposals, especially from the perspective of the Climate Crisis. Here are parts of the plan he emphasizes:

"Increase Fuel Economy Standards: Obama will increase fuel economy standards 4 percent per each year while protecting the financial future of domestic automakers....

Invest in Developing Advanced Vehicles and Put 1 Million Plugin Electric Vehicles on the Road by 2015: As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama has led efforts to jumpstart federal investment in advanced vehicles, including combined plug‐in hybrid/flexible fuel vehicles, which can get over 150 miles per gallon of gas...

Partner with Domestic Automakers: Obama will also provide $4 billion retooling tax credits and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers, so that the new fuel‐efficient cars can be built in the U.S. by American workers rather than overseas.

Mandate All New Vehicles are Flexible Fuel Vehicles

Develop the Next Generation of Sustainable Biofuels and Infrastructure

Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard: ... The standard requires fuels suppliers in 2010 to begin to reduce the carbon of their fuel by 5 percent within 5 years and 10 percent within 10 years.

Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source--Energy Efficiency: Barack Obama will set an aggressive energy efficiency goal--to reduce electricity demand 15 percent from DOE's projected levels by 2020. Implementing this program will save consumers a total of $130 billion, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 5 billion tons through 2030, and create jobs. A portion of this goal would be met by setting annual demand reduction targets that utilities would need to meet.

Set National Building Efficiency Goals: Obama will establish a goal of making all new buildings carbon neutral, or produce zero emissions, by 2030. He'll also establish a national goal of improving new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade to help us meet the 2030 goal.

Overhaul Federal Efficiency Standards: The current Department of Energy has missed 34 deadlines for setting updated appliance efficiency standards....

Reduce Federal Energy Consumption: ... He will make the federal government a leader in the green building market, achieving a 40 percent increase in efficiency in all new federal buildings within five years and ensuring that all new federal buildings are zero‐emissions by 2025. He will invest in cost‐effective retrofits to achieve a 25 percent increase in efficiency of existing federal buildings within 5 years.

Invest in a Smart Grid: ... Obama will pursue a major investment in our national utility grid using smart metering, distributed storage and other advanced technologies to accommodate 21st century energy requirements: greatly improved electric grid reliability and security, a tremendous increase in renewable generation and greater customer choice and energy affordability.

Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities....

Flip Incentives to Energy Utilities: An Obama administration will "flip" incentives to utility companies by: requiring states to conduct proceedings to implement incentive changes; and offering them targeted technical assistance. These measures will benefit utilities for improving energy efficiency, rather than just from supporting higher energy consumption. This "regulatory equity" starts with the decoupling of profits from increased energy usage, which will incentivize utilities to partner with consumers and the federal and state governments to reduce monthly energy bills for families and businesses. The federal government under an Obama administration will play an important and positive role in flipping the profit model for the utility sector so that shareholder profit is based on reliability and performance as opposed to total production. "

Romm's conclusion: "This is an aggressive, achievable, and most important of all, a necessary energy plan." He notes that it spells out more details implicit in the climate and energy plan Obama presented previously, as summarized by Climate Progress. Gristmill does an even more detailed analysis.

The response by people who know these issues deeply has been very positive. But shouldn't these issues be at least debated? This is the future that is at stake. And this is another reason why McShame's slurs, racist suggestiveness and attempts at distraction are so destructive. There seems to be only one serious person running for President this year. And then there's McBush.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Inflate This

McSmear and His Racist Campaign

We've seen this all before, but that doesn't mean it's okay to see it again.

McCain and his campaign know that the only chance they have to win this year is by making voters cynical about Obama, while at the same time making enough people afraid of Obama because he's black.

John McCain's campaign is racist. It's all led by the ad campaign, which McCain himself reinforces on the stump.

To begin with, you must understand that McCain and his campaign advisors don't make the ads. McCain "approves" them, and those running his campaign
decide what they want the ads to say and do. But the ads are made by advertising professionals--the same people who make, for instance, those Cialis ads. They know exactly what they're doing.

I mention those ads because there are overt messages and subconscious messages in TV ads, and the Viagra and Cialis ads for products that increase male sexual potency have identifiable images supporting their message. You don't have to register the images consciously or even notice them for them to work--or that's the theory. The point is, those images aren't there by accident. Professional admakers put them there.

Sometimes they are made more obvious for fun, but most of the time, you aren't supposed to consciously notice them. For example, that Cialis ad that begins with the couple who would rather be having sex but must deal instead with a broken kitchen faucet. But this faucet doesn't leak. It gushes water high in the air. The phallic symbolism is almost too literal, but the ad quickly moves on to other homey scenes, all of which contain prominent if more traditional phallic and sexual symbols.

The McShame "celebrity" ad shows Obama, and then fleeting images of two famous blond white women, then Obama. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert points out that the ad also contains traditional phallic imagery as well. The message, as Eugene Robinson said on Countdown Monday, is one of the oldest in American history to instill fear of a black man: the slave is going to rape the white daughter of the plantation.

It may seem far-fetched, but these are advertising professionals, they are used to using this kind of imagery, and nothing--not a single frame of such a short commercial is there by accident.

It is not the only attempt to tap into the underground current of subconscious racism--much of McCain's campaign is following that line of attack. Bob Herbert in his column titled "Running While Black" writes: "Gee, I wonder why, if you have a black man running for high public office — say, Barack Obama or Harold Ford — the opposition feels compelled to run low-life political ads featuring tacky, sexually provocative white women who have no connection whatsoever to the black male candidates."

Herbert links this ad to the others, and to McCain smears on Obama's patriotism, and the attempts to paint him as essentially too dumb (and maybe shiftless and lazy) to be President: "The racial fantasy factor in this presidential campaign is out of control... It’s driving the idea that Barack Obama is somehow presumptuous, too arrogant, too big for his britches — a man who obviously does not know his place."

These code words and images are a toxic tradition, and even though African Americans like Herbert are likely to be the first to identify them, they're by now so obvious that white people can recognize them. As did the centrist, sometimes-Republican, sometimes Democrat David Gergen, who said this on TV Sunday:

"There has been a very intentional effort to paint him as somebody outside the mainstream, other, 'he's not one of us,'" said Gergen, who has worked with White Houses, both Republican and Democrat, from Nixon to Clinton. "I think the McCain campaign has been scrupulous about not directly saying it, but it's the subtext of this campaign. Everybody knows that. There are certain kinds of signals. As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, 'The One,' that's code for, 'he's uppity, he ought to stay in his place.' Everybody gets that who is from a southern background. We all understand that. When McCain comes out and starts talking about affirmative action, 'I'm against quotas,' we get what that's about."

John McCain, who rose to prominence as a different kind of Republican, has sold his soul to the forces of darkness, the Lee Atwater/Karl Rove school of haters and liars. He's John McSmear now. And on the basis of his campaign, I call him a racist.

Update: Additional perspective from KNBC in Los Angeles.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, Barack!

And, a little late, also to Mike.
A present to both: Washington Post poll finds
Obama leading McCain among low-wage workers--
overwhelmingly among African American and Latino
workers, but also by 10 points among white workers.
Take that, pundits! For more about what this means...Posted by Picasa

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

"Those parts of our being that extend beyond the individual ego cannot survive unless they can be constantly articulated."

Lewis Hyde
The Gift