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Archive for October, 2009

Sound waves

I’ll talk some political & art bla bla bla on the radio, 2:30 EST/11:30 PT Monday 10/5. Tune in on kows.fm.

Hair of the Dog

For news on indigenous struggles:

From Intercontinental Cry:

Intercontinental Cry is dedicated to keeping you informed about the most pressing and under-reported struggles in the world today.

Intercontinental Cry is a free online magazine that provides news, videos, and urgent action alerts centered on Indigenous People and their struggles around the world to reclaim their lands, defend their traditions, enact their rights, and to quite literally survive.


Bad for Business

Big business will never admit that anything is wrong with their wealth-accumulation, ever, even with the waters rising and fires closing in.

Excerpt from the Wonk Room of the Center for American Progress:

Chamber Of Commerce Claims Global Warming Regulations Would ‘Strangle The Economy’

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced its economic agenda, continuing its hard stance against regulation of global warming pollution. In “The State of American Business 2009,” the chamber “agenda for recovery, jobs, and growth” says the nation should “address climate change.” However, they fear that President-elect Barack Obama may take immediate action to actually address the pollution:

“Congress should reassert its legislative authority over climate change policy and not leave it to EPA regulators to impose a top-down approach.”

In the press conference releasing this report, chamber president Thomas Donohue claimed carbon dioxide regulation by federal regulators would “strangle the economy.” In contrast, R. Bruce Josten, the chamber’s top lobbyist, praised the draft legislation of Reps. John Dingell (D-MI) and Rick Boucher (D-WV) as “being a very workable approach.”

Strangely enough, when Bush ran the White House, the chamber’s position was very different. The Chamber of Commerce tarred Congress’s attempt to address climate change — the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill — as “HillaryCare redux,” using shoddy economic analysis to spread fears of a world without electricity or automobiles.

In all likelihood, the Chamber of Commerce’s policy of obstruction and inaction will continue as long as its directors include the likes of rabid global warming denier Don Blankenship, the right-wing coal magnate. Stripped of platitudes, the chamber’s position on global warming and energy policy remains the same — a continued call for massive subsidies for the oil, coal, and nuclear power industries and the prevention of any regulation of their pollution.


Lighten the Load

One more bullshit green marketing scheme… the stupidest ever, maybe.

From Fast Company:

Airline Asks Passengers to Pee Before Flying to Save Energy
BY Ariel Schwartz
Tue Oct 6, 2009 at 8:23 PM

Osaka Airport Flight AttSure, one person’s deposits into an airplane toilet don’t weigh much, but what about the pee from 200 people? Japanese airline ANA thinks full bladders lead to airplanes being weighed down by excrement, so it is implementing a wacky new policy: pee before you fly.

The airline is putting up signs at airport gates asking passengers to go to the bathroom. So-called “loo attendants” stand guard as well, asking potential pee-ers if they need to take a trip to the restroom. Bathrooms will still be on the plane, of course, in case of emergency. But ANA hopes that its shaming tactics will cut down on passengers’ overall weight, in turn reducing the weight of the plane and lowering fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

If the bathroom policy’s four week trial is effective, ANA will continue it indefinitely. But if the airline really wants to discourage passengers from peeing, it may want to take a hint from RyanAir’s CEO, who recently proposed charging for bathroom use in the air.


Near Death Thrill

Excerpt from the New York Times:

Huge coal ash spills contaminating U.S. water
By Shaila Dewan

The coal ash pond that ruptured and sent a billion gallons of toxic sludge across 300 acres of East Tennessee last month was only one of more than 1,300 similar dumps across the United States – most of them unregulated and unmonitored – that contain billions more gallons of fly ash and other byproducts of burning coal.

Like the one in Tennessee, most of these dumps, which reach up to 1,500 acres, contain heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium, which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a threat to water supplies and human health. Yet they are not subject to any U.S. regulation, which experts say could have prevented the spill, which sent almost 4 billion liters over 120 hectares, and there is little monitoring of their effects on the surrounding environment.

In fact, coal ash is used throughout the United States for construction fill, mine reclamation and other “beneficial uses.” In 2007, according to a coal industry estimate, 50 tons of fly ash even went to agricultural uses, like improving soil’s ability to hold water, despite an agency warning in 1999 about high levels of arsenic. The industry has promoted the reuse of coal combustion products because of the growing amount of them being produced each year – 131 million tons in 2007, up from less than 90 million tons in 1990.

The amount of coal ash has ballooned in part because of increased demand for electricity, but more because air pollution controls have improved. Contaminants and waste products that once spewed through the coal plants’ smokestacks are increasingly captured in the form of solid waste, held in huge piles in 46 states, near cities like Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa, Florida, and on the shores of Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River.

Studies have shown that the ash can leach toxic substances that cause cancer, birth defects and other health problems in humans, and can decimate fish, bird and frog populations in and around ash dumps, causing developmental problems like tadpoles born without teeth, or fish with spinal deformities.