Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Time For A Comprehensive Climate Bill Is Now

Amidst the terrible tragedy in the Gulf and the (so far) failed attempts at stopping the flow of oil, some good things have happened. Unfortunately there have been idiotic governmental decisions as well, so the good points cannot overshadow the fact that we do not a have a holistic way of trying to shape our environment for the better. What we need is a climate bill that will make sure we protect our environment and at the same time meet our demand for energy. Not only does it have to be done now, it has to be done like any other proactive piece of legislation, in spite of Republican attempts to kill it outright.

From RawStory:

Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) announced on Friday that they would press ahead next week with an energy and climate change bill despite losing the support of Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC).

Graham had called on his colleagues earlier on Friday to freeze their efforts on the legislation, citing a feud over immigration and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

"I believe it would be wise to pause the process and reassess where we stand," Graham said, pouring cold water on predictions that he would eventually support the bill.

According to Graham's failed logic, because our lack of a bill to address energy and the environment helped to cause this disaster (e.g.) we must now not do anything for an undetermined amount of time. Of course, Republicans love to block everything from this to all of that and energy concerns in the 21st century are certainly within that range. Democrats in Congress must follow Senator Kerry and yes, Senator Lieberman (he's not 100% bad) so that we do not set ourselves up for another Exxon Valdez, BP spill, Three Mile Island or any other named man-made disaster you can think of.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Lieberman Slides Further Down The Authoritarian Scale

It's absolutely nuts that this idea has raised its ugly head in our supposedly democratic society. Yet Joe Lieberman and other freedom-hating politicians have it in their head that arbitrarily stripping people of their citizenship if it is deemed they are "terrorists" by an unknown person or persons.

Rachel has more on this

N.Y. City Council Progressive Caucus Proposes Another Way To Budget

Speaker Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg had no trouble berating Albany for failing to deliver an on time budget yesterday, without owning up to their mess right here at home. While Bloomberg and the Council cannot pass the city's budget until the state finishes their business, a blueprint for how the New York City treats its people is developed beforehand. Unfortunately being the out of touch billionaire that Bloomberg is, the burden of spending cuts are being planned to placed on the working and middle classes. The newly created Progressive Caucus within the Council however, is proposing a different way.

From The Daily Politics:

Ten of the 12 members of the City Council’s new Progressive Caucus held a tax-the-rich press conference shortly after Mayor Bloomberg gave his private budget briefing this morning to elected officials.

Their theme: Everybody’s being asked to sacrifice -- except the fat cats of Wall Street and well-off New Yorkers. They called for higher tax hikes on Wall Street profits and on New Yorkers earning above $500,000 a year.[...]

Lander said the speaker was aware of the press conference, but deflected a question on whether she approved: “You’d have to ask her,” he said.

I think we know the answer to that question. When faced with a decision to favor the upper class or the rest of us, she always goes with the upper crust. Even when she does talk about something promising, nothing ever gets done in the end. In fact, these are the types that generally get her assistance. Many residents noticed this last year, as the powerful speaker, thought to have a crushing re-election effort, barely took half the votes and came away weak in the process.

What needs to happen in order for this caucus to make real reform and good progressive to elect more of them that will endorse a platform that takes the very wealthy off the pedestal that Bloomberg and Quinn have placed them on.

Note: I served as Yetta Kurland's Field Director in 2009.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

And Joe Bruno's Sentence Is....

It is late in the afternoon in Albany (though I am typing this from Brooklyn) and ex-State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has finally been sentenced for his crimes against the people of New York. Bruno was making jokes shortly before the sentencing, saying that he knows he did nothing wrong among other things. Unfortunately for the 81 year old boxer, two years in the slammer (in addition to a $280,000 fine) is no laughing matter.

From The Times-Union:

“I know that you don’t believe that you did anything wrong,” Sharpe told the Brunswick Republican, “which is why I didn’t hear one word of contrition here.”

Sharpe said that the federal government’s recommendation of eight years or more in prison would have been too harsh for an 81-year-old, but a sentence that involved no jail time would have sent the wrong message about the severity of Bruno’s offense.

Bruno and all those that received the benefits of having an alliance with a powerful corrupt politician proclaimed Joe's good name. However, independent observers and most importantly the presiding judge realized the seriousness of this matter. Eight years in federal prison is a long time for an octogenarian, but the jail time was meant to show the ex-Senator and all current and future politicians that there is a price to pay if you defraud the people you are elected to serve.

At the moment Bruno continues to proclaim his innocence and generosity for New Yorkers, hoping that the Supreme Court strikes down the law that he was convicted on. Whether or not that happens, the fact remains that he was a corrupt politician that used his office for personal gain to the detriment of our state.

P.S.: Exactly!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Phoenix Suns Show Off Their "Los Suns" To Protest Racist AZ Law

As far as professional basketball goes, my blood bleeds purple and gold for the Lakers (congrats on another win last night against the Jazz btw!). I do however, have to tip my hat to the Phoenix Suns, for sticking it to the bigoted state legislature and governor that approved SB 1070 and made racial profiling legit and the Copper State a little more totalitarian. Tonight as they go up against San Antonio Spurs their jerseys will look a little bit different to the crowd.

Cenk Uyugr from the Young Turks explains:

"Experts" Claim 2010 In The Bag For G.O.P...Not The Case In NY However

Everything from providing health care to millions, reining in Wall Street (soon) and jump-starting the economy at the beginning of Obama's term is supposed to make Democrats go down in flames this year at the ballot box. Despite all that talk (coming mostly from the right) the situation on the ground, at least here in New York clearly paints a different picture. As much as the Republican party likes to boast about their intransigence to participating in important national debates and cautiously coax their hypocritical Tea Party brethren, the reality is that the swing voters see nothing of a value in the G.O.P. Furthermore, the apparatus that is crucial to winning elections is broken, at least in the Empire State.

From The NY Times:

With the Republican State Convention approaching, the party is plagued by infighting, short of money and struggling to assemble a competitive slate of statewide candidates for the fall, leaving many party leaders worried that they are poorly positioned to exploit what might be the most favorable political climate for New York Republicans in years.

The national party is so concerned that Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, traveled to Manhattan recently for an emergency meeting with Mr. Cox.

The party’s problems begin at the top of the ticket.

The Republican candidate for governor with the deepest pockets, Carl P. Paladino, a Buffalo real estate developer, was widely denounced by fellow Republicans and others last month after a left-leaning Web site reported that he had forwarded to friends many racist and pornographic e-mail messages.

The candidate with the broadest support among local party leaders, former Representative Rick Lazio, has been running since September yet remains invisible to most voters.

And that is just a small snippet of the problems our local Republican party faces. Lack of funds, a Democratic heavyweight at the top of the ticket named Cuomo, no credible candidate for Attorney General...and all of that pales in comparison to the specter of New York-style redistricting for the next cycle, even if the Democratic Assembly and State Senate are humble enough to go the non-partisan route.

For the last few decades Republicans worked hard to ensure they had as many seats in the State Senate as possible (and yet they lost their majority anyway in 2008). Now G.O.P.-favored gerrymandering is dead and their chances of winning anything is far diminished.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Gene Taylor Needs To Know Oil And Chocolate Milk Do Not Mix

Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) might represent an area near the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but he certainly isn't qualified to talk about oil in any regard. The Mississippian was given a helicopter tour of the area surrounding the sunken rig this past Saturday, and he gave one of the wackiest observations of a man-made catastrophe that I've ever heard.

From The Sun Herald:

Taylor flew over the site of the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig Saturday along with Department of Marine Resources Director Bill Walker and Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama. [...]

"At the moment, it's not as bad as I thought it would be," he said, shortly after returning from the three-hour tour. [...]

What I want people to know is this isn't Katrina. This is not Armageddon. I did this for the Coast Guard many years ago. Yeah, it's bad. And it's terrible that there's a spill out there. But I would remind people that the oil is twenty miles from any marsh. [...]

That chocolate milk looking spill starts breaking up in smaller pieces... It is tending to break up naturally.

I don't know if Gene has ever tried to drink crude oil, but I doubt it would taste the same as chocolate flavored milk. And unlike milk, oil does not just 'break up naturally.' Introducing chemicals to break up oil, siphoning it and wiping it off from the surfaces it touches is how deal with a scenario like that is being dealt with in the Gulf.

Either Congressman Taylor needs to learn the fundamentals of chocolate milk and oil, be pulled away from the oil lobbyists that control part of his brain or be forced out of office by the people he supposedly serves.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Protesting Against Arizona's Unethical Laws, And For A Common Sense Solution

The first weekend of May brought heat and humidity up to N.Y.C., but it also brought out thousands of protesters across the nation who demanded that the U.S. government protect immigrants. Not only must radical, bigoted and totalitarian legislation such as that from Arizona be eliminated, but a comprehensive policy that comprehends the reality of immigration in the United States has to be instituted.

Here are few of the people who went out and marched this past May Day, care of "The Real News":

Disastrous Oil Slick Must Stir A Mighty Wind

For anyone trying to minimize the effects of the spill British Petroleum and Halliburton are responsible for, try this one on for size. Or this. Or that. Seriously, it's huge.

Now imagine that instead of having these impossible events occurring every few years (actually every month or so), we could fuel our planet from the wind that naturally blows across the surface of the ocean. A meteorlogist can explain it better than I, but basically at the coasts the temperatures differ between a moderate ocean and a warmer or cooler landmass, which propagates wind. The question is, why do some of us scream "Drill, Baby, Drill!" when we could have something much better.

From The NY Times:

The United States does not have a single offshore wind turbine, though there are more than 800 off the coast of nine European countries. So what do the wind gauges outside New York Harbor tell us?

“There is a lot of power out there,” said Brian A. Colle, a professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at Stony Brook University. “We are in a pretty nice location for the winter and for the warm seasons.”

The city and Long Island are now speaking to manufacturers and developers about building a wind park in the ocean about 13 miles from Rockaway, producing enough energy to power 250,000 homes.

This tragic event might just contain a silver lining to jump start an off-shore wind industry in America. The problem up until now is that the oil industry has dominated and the federal government has done next to nothing for decades to change our nation's energy equation. Critics will contend, and rightly so, that wind is erratic and never blows at a consistent rate, even in the best locations. However, with a system advocated for within the article referenced above that places turbines up and down the coast, the wind will be harnessed on a level that has never been seen before. On top of that, oil boosters conveniently leave out the fact that the price of oil is far greater than what the New York Stock Exchange claims it to be. Not only will there tab in the tens of billions for this one oil spill, but the U.S. taxpayer pays in more ways than they are generally aware.

The reality is, it is time for a new direction and President Obama should switch gears by letting go of trying to love oil and wholeheartedly embrace renewable energy.....bipartisanship be damned.