Archive for the 'politics' Category

My Failure Trumped By Our Success

So I’ve messed up the every other day thing technically twice now, but this weekend was most egregious.  In my defense, the weather was so mind-blowingly gorgeous Saturday that I could not possibly sit inside long enough to blog.  Instead I picnic-ed up and art-ed out, then had a party.  And today, I had to sleep and start moving.  Yes, I am moving again,  but it’ll be great:  I’m moving in with my friends, Biking Person/EcoCheap and his wife, and we will live a happy green life together for several months until I have to move again.  I’m excited to blog about our household environmental efforts- they have a real compost pile, and a rain barrel! Think I’ll be able to convince them to try my AC-less summer?  (Actually I’m not sure I could convince me to do that again).

But I was not moving all day.  I spent tonight at the Capitol building, waiting to hear news on passing the health care reform.   The crowds of protestors were small (maybe a hundred?  but I am terrible at crowd estimation, and it was dark and they milled around), and supporters even smaller, but a friend and I found some nice people with a radio playing the CSPAN coverage and we listened to the speeches and chatted through the vote and rejoiced at the passage!  and caught the metro home.  It was a wonderful day, and I am sure you will excuse my posting lateness in your excitement at our first national efforts to protect our right to health care.

Photo is of our group gathered around the radio, waiting for the voting outcome.

Doesn’t the Capital look gorgeous tonight?

All purposeful for once.


Climate Bill Squeaks* Through The House

It passed by 7 votes!  212-219!  It almost sounds like Congress was exciting today, and not in the embarrassing way!

There’s been a huge lobbying push behind this bill– also known as Waxman-Markey, this is the cap-and-trade plan- and no one was sure they had the votes until today.  It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing, and it’s got the support of a lot of the environmental groups.  Not Greenpeace (not enough for them, which I can respect), but the Sierra Club supports it, and the League of Conservation Voters even said it won’t endorse anyone for reelection that doesn’t vote for the bill.  Now, on to the Senate, than hopefully committee, then the President?  It if can somehow make it through those hurdles without being watered (coaled?  nucleared?) down even more, I’ll be not dissatisfied.

*Forgot the ‘u’ the first time out.  One day I’ll learn my lesson about posting sleepily.

Climate Change Quantified For the US

The US government issued a report on the measured and projected effects of climate change in the United States- what we see, what we will see, and suggestions for how the worst impacts may be avoided or mitigated.  White House press release here, full report and summaries here.

It must be noted that this report has been compiled over a year and a half- that means that the Bush Administration was in charge during most of the research.  However, the report observations and conclusions vary from a report on a similar subject issued last year, during the that (adjectives, gerunds, and various expletives deleted to maintain semblance of journalistic objectivity) administration.  As reported by the HuffPo,

The new report differs from a similar draft issued with little fanfare or context by George W. Bush’s administration last year. It is paradoxically more dire about what’s happening and more optimistic about what can be done.

Might this report be helpful in strengthening the current climate change bill headed to Congress?  Resigned Baritone: Only Time Will Tell.

Democratic Primary on Tuesday

The winner will go up against Bob McDonnell (Republican, unopposed in the primary) in the VA Governor’s election later this year.  Both primaries are being held on Tuesday, actually, and you can pick which one you want to vote in- doesn’t matter if you’re registered for a party or not, since VA has open primaries. More boxes to pick from on the Democratic ballot, though, making that one more fun.

Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe, and Brian Moran are all running in the democratic primary.  I’ve linked there to their home pages (via their Energy and Environment platforms!  Creigh has both, Terry only has energy).  Read up, do some googling, and go vote, if only for the sticker.

My two cents:  I’ll be happy if McAuliffe loses.  The guy is the wrong kind of carpet-bagger.  I’ll be confident if Deeds wins, because I think he has the best shot against McDonnell in the statewide election, since he is the most suited for reassuring moderate Republicans it’s ok to go blue.  It’s the only reason he gets elected to anything in the first place- he comes from a very conservative area.  Also, both his names are awesome.

That said, Moran is the only candidate of the three to oppose offshore oil drilling and the new coal plant in Surrey, he’s got a 100% rating of environmental looooove from the League of Conservation voters, and his environment and energy policies are the best presented and most fleshed out of the three, on their websites.  He’s based in Northern VA, though, and I can very easily see the statewide race devolving into a continuation of the presidential election’s Real VA vs Fake VA mess.   Having had the good fortune to grow up in Real VA, I find it a nice place to be from, and I’d rather the politicians not have a particularly damaging arguement, pitting state against itself.  We know how the last war of northern agression civil war here ended.  ‘Course, Fake VA swung the state blue in Webb’s run, and Obama’s, and we’re a big part of the reason the last two governors have been Democrats, so I bet we could take them.  Bring it.

Check out more political analysis and some recent polls from DailyKos– Deeds is ahead in the primary, but about 30% of people are undecided and there’s probably going to be low voter turn-out- so yes, your vote does matter.

(Oh also there is a primary for Lieutenant Governor at the same time but I have no idea- you’re on your own.)

Inauguration Photos and the Aftermath

I’ve got an album of the night prior and the day of up here.  Photos are of the wandering around the streets we did the night before, scoping out some of the parade floats people had left around near 4th St (with keys in the ignition?).  The day of, we walked up from SW, hung out for the speech by the Monument, and then headed back around the tidal basin- you may recognize these places under thousands of people, which is what the pictures are mostly of.

The first picture is of the cookies our lovely host made us for the occasion.

Less than a week after all this coldness and swearing in and bunting, we’ve already got some promising environmental actions coming up!  I mean, I’m cool that President Obama spent last week renouncing torture and closing illegal prisons and refunding programs that offer full reproductive health care services to women, but I was starting to wonder where all the green was.  Today though, Pres O ordered the EPA to reconsider the rejection of California’s request to set their own stricter emissions standards, and asked the Department of Transportation to actually write up the rules to enact a 2007 law requiring a 40% emissions reduction in cars and light trucks.  We’ve had that law since 2007!?  Good grief, and good riddance.  (No use wasting energy on revisiting how much the previous administration made me angry, but I am tempted to add some OMG W SUX everytime I read something like this, for extra catharsis.)

But, oh, we’re getting a Climate Change envoy for the state department too!  I’m happy again.  Working internationally on international problems…it’s like a whole new world that we get to talk to!

About time we got started on that whole thing, too, since evidence is mounting that climate change is practically irreversible by now, and will affect our planet for hundreds of years even if we reduce emissions to almost nothing now.

P.S. Check out EcoCheap’s Inaug story and pictures of the WABA Bike Valet, too!

Inauguration Day

swearing in

Obama was getting sworn in on the tiny screen.  I was yelling under the Washington Monument.  It was a cold day.  More photos when I thaw.

What’s Left

I’ve made my feelings on Bush’s administration and environmental policy clear- as clear as incoherent rage can be- so on the his last day in office, I’ll let others sum it up for me.

The Guardian: The Worst of Times

Fox News: Bush’s Environmental Legacy Draws Mixed Reviews

National Resources Defense Council: The Bush Administration’s Dirty Legacy

PBS: The Bush Environmental Legacy: 9 Landmark Decisions

All the sources listed mention the last minute reprieve for huge tracts of ocean land Bush just ordered, and not surprisingly, only Fox News feels that catapults his record from “Disaster” to “Mixed”.  Other news organizations are careful to point out that without enforcement and dedicated resources which our lamest duck no longer has control of, the new ocean preservation areas are just a cynical gesture: all legacy, no responsibility.

But tomorrow, we get a new chance.  I’m staying in DC tonight for a celebration with some friends, then we’re headed to the Mall Tuesday to join in the Inauguration.  I’ll post my pictures- even if all I get are the backs of people’s heads- for everybody who can only join in spirit!

If you are coming, make sure to check the list of street closings and forbidden items, and consider biking in, since the WABA is offering two free bike valet services near the mall for you.

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