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Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Lots of arguments on both sides – but I think this essentially covers it. Just remember, Obama’s site at www.change.gov has a “suggestion box” link on almost every page. Whichever way you think this should go, that would be something to speak up on. – D.
Saturday 15 November 2008
by: Bob Herbert, The New York Times
The famous Daily News headline, "Ford to City: Drop Dead," ran on Oct. 30, 1975.
New York was on the verge of bankruptcy, and President Ford (who never actually said "drop dead") had made it clear, after listening to conservative hard-liners both inside and outside of his administration, that he planned to veto any federal rescue plan.
It was yet another case of the worshippers of abstract economic notions (let the markets run their infallible courses) ignoring the potential consequences of their smug certainties.
Felix Rohatyn, the financier who played such a large role in the city's economic recovery, has told me many times of the economic summit near Paris in November 1975 in which President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing of France and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of West Germany explained to Mr. Ford that allowing New York to go bankrupt might well light the fuse to an international financial crisis and would foster the idea that America itself was no longer creditworthy.
Mr. Ford was persuaded that the cascading effects of a bankruptcy were potentially catastrophic and could not be risked. He relented. Loan guarantees were made; the city went through the long ordeal of getting its financial house in order; the loans were repaid; and New York not only recovered but thrived.
The city's fiscal crisis of the 1970s was in no way comparable in scale to the myriad crises facing the country right now. But it's still instructive. The ideological hard-liners have now cast their collectively jaundiced eye on Detroit's automakers. Their response to the very real danger that General Motors might crumble into bankruptcy is: C'est la vie.
Unlike President Ford, Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican of Alabama - to cite just one example - is not troubled by thoughts of cascading effects, such as the toll of domino-like business failures and swelling unemployment moving like a toxic virus through an economy that is already ill.
"The financial situation facing the Big Three is not a national problem, but their own problem," he said.
I can agree that it's impossible to make a positive case for the backward, self-destructive practices of the auto industry over many years. (Just as it was difficult to defend the practices that led to New York's fiscal crisis.) But in the current environment, allowing one or more of the Big Three to go bankrupt would be like offering up your nose to Sweeney Todd to spite your face.
It's not just General Motors or Chrysler or Ford. The U.S. auto industry is the cornerstone of American manufacturing. It supports millions of jobs, directly or indirectly, in a vast array of businesses.
Start with the thousands of parts in each vehicle. They are produced by suppliers across the country, from one coast to the other. Those supplies have to be manufactured, packaged and transported. Truck drivers, railway systems and shipping companies are involved.
And, of course, there are dealers everywhere. And the auto repair industry. And the insurance industry. And vast systems of advertising supporting every kind of job you can imagine, from messengers to accountants to filmmakers and beyond. All of that advertising funnels absolutely crucial revenues to television, magazines, newspapers - you name it.
If G.M., which is on life support, or Ford or Chrysler were to go bankrupt, the reverberations would kill the jobs of entire armies of American workers. It would undermine the standard of living of hundreds of thousands of families and shutter the entrances of untold numbers of small and intermediate businesses.
Senator Shelby might want to do some homework before embarrassing himself again with the absurd comment that the crisis facing the Big Three is not a national problem.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, a state that is already writhing in pain from the auto industry's troubles, would tell Mr. Shelby that the industry "supports 1 in every 10 jobs in the country."
It's easy to demonize the American auto industry. It has behaved with the foresight of a crack addict for years. But even when people set their own houses on fire, we still dial 9-1-1, hoping to save lives, salvage what we can and protect the rest of the neighborhood.
This whole matter needs some intensive thought. At the moment, Washington has tremendous leverage over the failing auto industry. The government should craft a rescue plan that is both tough and very, very smart. That means dragging the industry (kicking and screaming, no doubt) into the 21st century by insisting on ironclad commitments to design and develop vehicles that make sense economically and that serve the nation's long-term energy security requirements.
What I would like to see is creative thinking on both ends of the bargain. Let the smartest minds design a bailout that sparks a creative revolution in the industry. Think of it as project synergy.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Great Lakes Directory Weekly News Headlines
Great Lakes Directory Weekly News Headlines________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Great Lakes Directory is a comprehensive online resource highlighting environmental issues around the Great Lakes basin. The Directory contains daily environmental articles, a network of over 1,000 environmental groups, funding resources, free environmental software, nonprofit management resources, and a massive library of online Great Lakes environmental information. Find more headlines, action alerts, resources, and free activist software at http://www.greatlakesdirectory.org.
Nov. 13, 2008 - Gott: Unused pills can be kept out of water and soil: Dear Dr. Gott: In a recent column, you stated that "outdated medications can be discarded by flushing them down the toilet."
Nov. 12, 2008 - Xcel looks to harness wind energy for use even when there's no wind: The project, which also includes the state and a tech firm, is installing a battery that is the first U.S. device that can store wind power.Next spring Xcel Energy Inc., the state of Minnesota and a Virginia- based technology firm will test the first battery in the country capable of storing wind energy.
Nov. 12, 2008 - Study: Separate Great Lakes, Mississippi basins: CHICAGO (AP) - Connections engineered more than a century ago between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed should be changed to block the advance of invasive species that can cause irreversible damage, an environmental advocacy group says
Nov. 12, 2008 - Study: Separate Great Lakes, Mississippi basins: CHICAGO (AP) - Connections engineered more than a century ago between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed should be changed to block the advance of invasive species that can cause irreversible damage, an environmental advocacy group says.
Nov. 11, 2008 - Outdoors fans glad amendment passed: A state constitutional amendment to bolster funding for the outdoors was warmly received by Minnesotans but also by residents in Freeborn County, where 57 percent voted in favor of it.
Nov. 07, 2008 - Green groups cheer Great Lakes advocate Rahm Emanuel's new post Emanuel introduced cleanup package: Environmental groups, already jazzed over Tuesday's landslide election of eco-friendly Barack Obama, celebrated again Thursday.
Nov. 07, 2008 - With Obama, hopes for Great Lakes rise: TRAVERSE CITY -- Barack Obama's election as president and his appointment of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff are hopeful signs for the struggle to heal the ailing Great Lakes ecosystem, advocates said Thursday.
Contact Information:E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: 218-726-1828Website: http://www.greatlakesdirectory.org
Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education (EAGLE) | 394 Lake Avenue South, #222 | Duluth | MN | 55802
Brown Clouds Threaten World Food Supply http://www.truthout.org/111408EA The Associated Press: "Thick brown clouds of soot, particles and chemicals stretching from the Persian Gulf to Asia threaten health and food supplies in the world, the UN reported Thursday, citing what it called the newest threat to the global environment."
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Nov 14, 2008
BANG FOR THE BITE
If 10,000 Biters replace their counters with recycled glass tiles instead of ones made from new glass, we'll "recycle" the glass equivalent of 25 skyscrapers.
In 1998, a house in TX that's made exclusively of plastic laminate became a U.S. National Landmark.
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Are you debating whether to replace your kitchen surfaces?
The BiteThe Benefits
Try rebutting this: Green countertops look great, have no known health risks (unlike granite's radiation), and incorporate eco-materials that are way better for the planet than your average topper. Pro.
- Exhibiting good aesthetic judgment. Recycled tile countertops come in every color of the rainbow, and paper-based varieties (yep - recycled paper) are available in many solid and mottled colors.
- Making your eco-counter point. Example: Every time we recycle a glass bottle (for recycled glass tiles, for example), we save enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours.
- Winning LEED accreditation. These countertops contribute to a new home's LEED points, upping its value.
- Kirei Board - reclaimed sorghum straw material ($15/square foot).
- Vetrazzo - you mighta seen 'em at Whole Foods or the Ritz Carlton (well, maybe not there) - created using salvaged glass pieces ($125-$150/square foot).
- Squak Mountain Stone - made from coarse (in a good way) cement, paper, and cement-strong coal fly ash left over from power plants ($50/square foot).
- Paperstone Certified Series - smooth, solid-color surface made from 100% postconsumer paper waste ($40/square foot).
- Terra Green - 55% recycled glass tiles in a few different textures ($20/square foot).
© IDEAL BITE, INC.
All above editorial suggestions are the result of testing and preference. No one can pay to be in a Daily Tip. Read more on our editorial policy.
North American Windpower
"Covering the world's fastest growing energy source in the world's most promising geographic market."
Report: Massive Investment Will Be Needed To Maintain Reliable Energy on 13 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff The U.S. utility industry will have to invest between $1.5 and $2 trillion between 2010 and 2030 to maintain current levels of reliable energy service for customers throughout the country, according to a new report issued today by the Brattle Group, which provides consulting and expert testimony in economics, finance and regulation. The findings are detailed in "Transforming America's Power Industry: The Investment Challenge 2010-2030." The report was presented by Peter Fox-Penner, a principal of the Brattle Group, at the [read more]
Report: Renewables Can Meet Baseload, Replace Old Reactors on 13 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff Canada's Energy Minister George Smitherman's goal of increasing the amount of green energy in the province's electricity plan can only be met by replacing aging nuclear stations with new green sources of energy over the next decade, according to a Pembina Institute report released by a coalition of environmental groups. The Pembina Institute is a Canadian environmental policy research group. In September, Smitherman directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to enhance its targets for renewable energy, conservation and distributed energy. [read more]
AWEA Applauds Passage Of Missouri Clean Energy Initiative on 13 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) applauds the recent passage of the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative, which requires that investor-owned utilities obtain 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2021. "The Clean Energy Initiative's wide margin of victory is a strong indication of the popularity of renewable energy sources including solar, wind, biomass (including ethanol) and hydropower, especially in America's heartland," says Randall Swisher, executive director of AWEA. "Coupling this victory with the Colorado and Washington ballot initiatives [read more]
SKF Announces Two New Energy-Efficient Bearing Types on 13 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff SKF, a global supplier of bearings, seals and lubrication systems, has developed spherical and cylindrical roller bearings. Extensive testing results verify significant friction reduction compared to SKF standard bearings. SKF energy-efficient spherical roller bearings exhibit at least 30% less friction and corresponding reduced energy consumption, considerably lower bearing temperature, extended grease life and extended relubrication intervals. Five sizes of open bearings are the first to be introduced for industrial ventilation fan applications as part of the total SKF energy-efficient [read more]
Jean Roche Named CFO At enXco on 13 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff Escondido, Calif.-based enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles company, has named Jean Roche chief financial officer (CFO). Roche brings to enXco 11 years of substantial experience overseeing and making strategic, cross-functional and operational decisions related to sales, production, supply chain and legal affairs. His most recent corporate experience was as CFO at LaCie in Hillsboro, Ore., where he directed the financial, tax and legal operations for five entities. "His experience with identifying business risks, and implementing and monitoring alternative business practices/concepts [read more]
EnergyConnect Launches 2009 Enrollment Campaign on 13 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff Lake Oswego, Ore.-based EnergyConnect, a provider of demand-response technologies, has begun enrolling electricity consumers in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest-based PJM market in its 2009 EventConnect interruptible load response (ILR) program. EventConnect ILR integrates into PJM's ILR, which is designed to help ease the pressure on the nation's largest electricity grid during times of peak demand. According to the company, enrollment is expected to grow substantially in 2009, as a steady rise in energy costs is making it essential for electricity [read more]
WEO Calls for Global Energy Revolution Despite Economic Crisis on 12 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff The International Energy Agency has released the World Energy Outlook 2008 (WEO-2008), which calls for a global energy revolution despite the economic crisis. The WEO-2008 provides analysis to help policy-makers around the world assess and address the challenges posed by worsening oil supply prospects, higher energy prices and rising emissions of greenhouse gases. In the WEO-2008 reference scenario - which assumes no new government policies - world primary energy demand will grow by 1.6% per year on average between 2006 [read more]
Black & Veatch Releases U.S. Electric Utilities Survey on 12 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff Overland Park, Kan.-based Black & Veatch, a global engineering, consulting and construction company, has released the results of its third annual "Strategic Directions in the Electric Utility Industry" survey showing system reliability, aging workforce and infrastructure among the top concerns. The 2008 report identifies issues and concerns on the minds of U.S. power industry leaders. Also, this year's survey includes a detailed look at the acceptance and implementation plans for demand-side management and energy-efficiency programs. This year, as [read more]
WhiteWave Foods Recognized For Renewable Energy Investment on 12 Nov 2008 by NAW Staff Broomfield, Colo.-based WhiteWave Foods Co. (WWFC) has been honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for investing in renewable energy. The annual awards recognize the country's leading green power purchasers for their commitment to helping advance the development and use of renewable energy. "Investing in renewable energy is critically important to our environment, our health and our quality of life - today and in the future," says Joe Scalzo, president and CEO of WWFC. "Our focus upon and investment [read more]
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