Saturday, November 24, 2007

Furnace Efficiency Gets Meager Increase

The Bush Administration released new efficiency standards for home furnaces and boilers. After 6 years of development on the new national standard, the Department of Energy will increase furnace efficiency from 78% to 80%. In addition, this modest increase will not take effect for another 8 years, in 2015.
CS Monitor Article

Friday, November 16, 2007

Obama in the International Context

Here's an Op-Ed piece from the New York Times that looks at Obama's presidency in the greater context of the international world and America's changing role in it. It also references The Atlantic article from the previous post. The author, Roger Cohen, has a long career in international journalism dating back to the 1970's and has also co-written a biography of General Norman Schwartzkopf.
New York Times Op-Ed

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Bridge

Tonight is the eve of many elections across America. It also signals that 1 year from right now, we will be electing our next president. America continues to be polarized and divided on many issues, and the issues at stake are coming to a critical mass of dangerous proportions. The specifics of these issues and nuances of the candidate's policies can really become irrelevant to the larger picture of what is going on. This article from The Atlantic provides a step back from the divisive politics of today and looks at America in the context of what has truly defined it for the past 40 years: the baby boomer generation. The divisions of today's America are rooted in the 1960's, and the events that divided that generation have defined modern culture and politics today. The need for a bridge over these divisions cries out for a voice that simply can not come from the entrenched values and symbols of the baby boomers. The voice needs to come from someone who transcends the two sides that have been created and does not represent a continuation of the internal struggle America has faced the past 40 years.
This voice could be Barack Obama.

This is a long article, but is an extremely compelling take on where our country is right now. I encourage you to read all of it. Maybe not today, but someday... soon...

The Atlantic Article

thanks to brandon "the screen" pass

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Left, Right and Center

I received some good feedback on the MoveOn post. The Petraeus ad and recent Rush Limbaugh verbal diarrhea about "fake soldiers" brings up an interesting question: what is the role of our current political extremes? Some say that we must have one extreme to balance out the other. The self righteous liberal activist yelling on a sidewalk is a counter weight to the self righteous conservative talk show host. If you lose one, the whole scale becomes tilted. Some feel the scale is already severely tilted (from both sides of course).

An even bigger question might be, where is the center? With all the polarizing issues out there like abortion, immigration, war and civil liberties, it becomes difficult to see much common ground sometimes. Can we resolve these issues through compromise from the center or would the center only provide watered down ineffectual policy, and still not represent the majority of Americans? Here's a centrist blog from last year that discusses the need for a central party to emerge:

View From The Center Blog

A 3rd party would most likely form from the center, thereby pushing both current major parties to the extremes. Are the Democrats too progressive or are they already too big of a compromise? The dems could move closer to the center and make room for a legit green or progressive party, but that could push the government farther right altogether.

So where does that leave us, the general citizens and semi-conscious voters? Are the extremists on both sides hurting the political process or are their voices necessary to avoid ineffective politicians? How does the media's spin affect our perception of our values compared to our actual beliefs and is our perception of our values really accurate? (remember the political compass)

Should we all move to the center?

Monday, September 24, 2007

MoveOn Backlash

When General Petraeus gave his Iraq report, MoveOn ran a full page ad in the New York Times questioning the bizarre calculations of violence and calling him "General Betray Us". Since then, Republicans and Fox News have blasted MoveOn as anti-American for questioning the accuracy of his report. Senator McCain said the organization "ought to be thrown out of this country."

A few days later, Republicans blocked a bill giving soldiers more leave time between tours and instead decided it needed to react to a newspaper ad and passed a resolution condemning personal attacks on General Petraeus by a vote of 72 to 25. While I do not always agree with MoveOn's statements, I certainly believe they have the right to condemn or question anyone they want to. If you agree, please add your name to a statement from MoveOn:
Sign the MoveOn Statement

The most interesting part of this story is the solidarity the 3 million MoveOn members have formed since the congressional resolution. Within 1 day, MoveOn exceeded their goal of $500,000 in donations for their next ad campaign, more than any day this year. A few days later, the goal of $1 million was exceeded, and now a few days later, the amount is at a staggering $1.7 million. The ad is highlighting the Republican leaders that blocked the bipartisan bill to give troops more leave time, but it represents something much greater. It's an opportunity to show congress we will not quietly sit back any longer, nor will we let them stifle the voice of questioning and dissent. I try to avoid asking folks for donations, but consider joining me in making a donation to MoveOn's next ad campaign:
Donate to Ad Campaign

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Petraeus Report on Iraq

General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. The general stated major progress was being made, that the surge has worked and we need to stay the course. According to several news reports, Petraeus and the Pentagon are using a bizarre formula for measuring violence and therefore progress in the country.

- The Los Angeles Times reports that people killed in car bombings don't count.
- The Washington Post reports that victims shot in the face don't count.
- The Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that Shi'a vs. Shi'a and Sunni vs. Sunni violence doesn't count
Petraeus Numbers:

Associated Press:

In addition, a comprehensive Government Accountability Office report ordered by Congress found that the "average number of daily attacks against civilians have remained unchanged from February to July 2007." In August, civilian casualties actually increased according to the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times. More U.S. troops died every month this year compared to the same month last year.

Unfortunately, it appears that some of the main stream media has missed these facts. On CBS, Katie Couric echoes the White House almost verbatim:
YouTube Video from MoveOn
And for you locals, WNC's Representative Heath Shuler has given a formal response to the Petraeus report:
Citizen-Times Article

Friday, August 31, 2007

Mountaintop Removal Aerial Photos

To follow up the mountaintop removal article, here are some photos of such a technique for a coal mine outside of Grundy, Virginia.

Mt Grundy Flickr Photos

The photos are courtesy of South Wings, a non-profit conservation organization that provides skilled pilots and aerial education to enhance conservation efforts across the Southeast.

South Wings

thanks to robin "the rabbit" raines

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mountain Top Coal Mining to Expand

The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal. The technique involves blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams.

All mining generates huge volumes of waste, known as excess spoil or overburden, and it has to go somewhere. For years, it has been trucked away and dumped in remote hollows of Appalachia. The regulation would explicitly state that the stream buffer zone rule does not apply for hundreds of miles of streams and valleys.

From 1985 to 2001, 724 miles of streams were buried under mining waste, according to the environmental impact statement accompanying the new rule. If current practices continue, another 724 river miles will be buried by 2018.

New York Times Article

Friday, August 24, 2007

AT&T Censors Pearl Jam

When Pearl Jam was performing the song "Daughter" during the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, the band broke into a version of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall." Reworking the lyrics of the classic rock song, Vedder sang, "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush, find yourself another home."

The lyrics that criticized Bush were muted in the webcast. AT&T admits that the censorship occurred and describes the muting as "a mistake by a webcast vendor." Article

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spader Courtroom Speech

Here's a dramatic yet difficult look in the mirror at what America as a whole has condoned through apathy.

You Tube Video

Thanks to Boone "The Butcher" Guyton

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cheney on Why America Should NOT Invade Iraq

On April 15, 1994 Dick Cheney was interviewed at the American Enterprise Institute, where he broke down all the reason why America should not try to over throw Saddam's regime. Dick has never been more right in his life. You have to watch this to believe it.

thanks to brandon "the gas man" pass

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fox News on CFLs and Mercury

I don't mean to pick on Fox News, but it has become so easy. Here's an article about compact fluorescents light bulbs and mercury that is filled with misinformation and just straight up poor journalism. Articles like these only contribute to ignorance about emerging technology.
Fox News CFL Article

And here is a well researched response to the Fox article from the Sierra Club.
Sierra Club Response

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bush Needs Gonzales

This dead on Time article breaks down why the White House needs Gonzales to remain Attorney General. Despite multiple corruption scandals and faltering testimony, Gonzales is the only shield Bush has to avoid special prosecutors that could investigate into prewar intelligence and a host of other controversy.

Time Article

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

O'Reilly on Lesbian Gangs

Watch the video, then read the article. I'm not sure what else to say.

Southern Poverty Law Center

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bush's Broken Record

Reacting to calls from congress to end the war in Iraq, President Bush on Thursday employed a familiar response. “The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq,” he said, “were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th, and that’s why what happens in Iraq matters to the security here at home.”

This is an argument Mr. Bush has been making with frequency in the past few months and on Thursday alone, he referred at least 30 times to Al Qaeda or its presence in Iraq. Bush's references to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and assertions that it is the same group that attacked the United States in 2001, are greatly over simplified.

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia did not exist before the Sept. 11 attacks. The Sunni group thrived as a magnet for recruiting and a force for violence largely because of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, which brought an American occupying force of more than 100,000 troops to the heart of the Middle East, and led to a Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

NY Times Article

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fox Warming

Here is a great video of Fox News sound bites that are an example of the "fair and balanced" reporting Fox has done on global warming.

Fox Attacks Movie

Friday, July 6, 2007

A New Beginning

Greetings folks,

As we celebrate America and all the freedoms we often take for granted, it is appropriate if not ironic that the Progressive Posse blog is born. Recently, many of the fine people on my Progressive Posse email list have been blocked from receiving my emails because of spam filters. As a result, my email address has been black listed by several email servers. Is this technology doing it's job of protecting us from ourselves, or just another right wing conspiracy?

This has happened in the past, and I have found various ways to avoid it, but I think a new approach may be necessary, hence the Progressive Posse blog is born.

How they gonna stop us now?