Posted in C-Haze, Change, Current Events, Dating, Hope, News, Policy, Politics, Relationships, Religion, Science, Sex, Single Mom

AIDS, Andino, and The Diva

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the AIDS epidemic- both in the U.S. and abroad.

I’ve blogged about it myself on more than one occassion.

It’s been my stance, since day one, that one of the keys to curbing what is fast becoming a plague is education.

The abstinence-only approach isn’t just unrealistic- it is dangerous.

It simply isn’t enough.

Some people may take well to a lesson on abstinence, but many others will ignore it entirely.

Too often, parents use abstinence as a cop-out. It’s an excuse not to have to talk about things we do not feel comfortable discussing.

As parents, we need to get over it.

We must educate our children. We must remove the stigma that is currently attached to having open, candid conversations with them.

AIDS will kill our babies if we don’t.

My oldest daughter, The Diva (she’s 10), was trying to make some money by doing extra chores the other day.

She decided to clean out The Hippie Andino’s car- he’s my 25 year-old baby brother.

I thought this was a wonderful idea.

When she was done with the job, she came back inside, and I immediately noticed the look of horror on her face. She was holding something in her hand, though I couldn’t tell what it was.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

She answers, in an accusing tone, “Look what I found in The Hippie Andino’s trunk…”, and shoves the contents of her hand in my face.

When I saw what she was holding, I could immediately feel the heat in my cheeks. Though I really had no reason to be, I found myself embarrassed for her.

She was holding a tattered box of condoms.

Oops.

I was confused by her tone… why is she being accusatory? Why is she acting as my brother is doing something wrong by having safe sex?

I decided to take this opportunity to speak candidly with my child- and hopefully turn this into a teaching moment.

So I asked her, “Why would you be upset?”

She responded, “Because- they’re condoms. Gross.”

I said to her, “He is being responsible. He’s having safe sex. He isn’t getting anyone pregnant, and he is protecting himself and his partner from sexually transmitted diseases.”

I explained that while condoms may seem “gross” to her right now, they are important.

They save lives.

The Diva’s world opened up just a little at that moment.

She didn’t view those condoms in disgust or contempt any longer, and with great relief I realized, she gets it.

It isn’t necessary to constantly harp on our children, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week about the horrors of sex and AIDS.

This particular exchange took less than five minutes, from start to finish.

We can educate our babies a step at a time- provided we start the process early enough. By the time they find themselves old enough to be faced with these grave decisions, they will have already had all the information they need to make the right choices.

Hopefully, by then, it will be second nature.

With absolutely no bombarding whatsoever- by taking advantage of the little teaching moments life throws our way- we can raise our kids to be responsible adults…

… One educational opportunity at a time.

Posted in C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, News, Policy, Politics, Race, Relationships, Religion, Science

The Pope, AIDS and Abstinence

The Pope has spoken.

Unfortunately, I spend more time wishing the man would shut up than anything else… but…

Still.

Most recently, Pope Benedict XVI has decided to weigh in on the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

What a hoot.

It seems the Vatican considers itself in the forefront of the battle against HIV/AIDS and as such, the Pope felt the need to express his opinion on the issue.

The epidemic, he claims, can’t be “resolved with the distribution of condoms”…

… And he believes condoms actually increase the problem.

While I tend to agree that condoms will not resolve the AIDS epidemic- at least not by themselves- I cannot imagine, for the life of me how their use actually makes things worse.

The Pope, as you might have guessed, has a solution… an idea that, like so many of his other thoughts, is at best narrow and unrealistic.

At worst, it’s dangerous.

What is it, you ask?

Why it’s the catch-all, of course… the ol’ standby!

He wants to fix this problem the same way he wants to fix all problems even remotely related to sex- be it teen pregnancy, out of wedlock pregnancy, abortion- and now AIDS.

The answer is abstinence, of course.

It’s the only way.

Tell those damn African heathens to stop fornicatin’ and…

…POOF!

No more epidemic.

Damn.

I’m certain the entire world… all the scientists, medical professionals, world powers, human rights organizations… everyone who has been working diligently to try and curb this epidemic…

… All wish they had thought of that.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Change, Current Events, Economy, Hope, News, Policy, Politics, President, Race, Science, War on Terror

Beyond War: A New Economy Is Possible- Part III- Militarism

By Andrew Heaslet, guest Author, Coordinator, Peace Economy Project

Militarism

 

“I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation… I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Address, Dec.10 1964

 

 

Out of Iraq and Afghanistan

 

A 16  Month Plan for Iraq is 16 Months Too Long

 

Reuters reported last December, “Obama said a new security pact between Iraq and the United States already put the United States on a “glide path” to pulling out of Iraq. He also noted that a “residual” U.S. force may need to remain in Iraq longer than combat troops.”

 

16 months does not fulfill our demand for “Troops Out Now,” and we will not be satisfied until every American serviceman and woman is back on US soil.  “Residual” forces existing in Iraq is unacceptable.  John McCain mused about being in Iraq for 50 to 100 years – if the American people wanted that, he, not Obama, would have been elected president.

 

End, Don’t Escalate the Occupation of Afghanistan.

There is No “Good War”

 

For all of his flaws, former president Bill Clinton has sagely said, “you cannot kill, occupy or imprison all your actual or potential adversaries… You have to try to build a world with more friends and fewer terrorists.”

 

The spouse of the current secretary of state’s words should be heeded, especially considering Foreign Policy in Focus’s Conn Hallinan words: “As the United States steps up its air war, civilian casualties have climbed steadily over the past two years. Nearly 700 were killed in the first three months of 2008, a major increase over last year. In a recent incident, 47 members of a wedding party were killed in Helmand Province. In a society where clan, tribe, and blood feuds are a part of daily life, that single act sowed a generation of enmity.”

 

Hallinan continues, “According to U.S. counter insurgency doctrine… Afghanistan would require at least 400,000 troops to even have a chance of “winning” the war. Adding another 10,000 [or 30,000] U.S. troops will have virtually no effect.”

 

Furthermore, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, “Britain‘s most senior military commander in [Afghanistan]” has said “We’re not going to win this war,” and, according to the Telegraph.co.uk, “said the goal should be to find a non-violent resolution.”

 

Finally, the FY 2008 supplemental spending bill already pinned the cost of the war in Afghanistan at $173 billion.  At a time when our economy needs a boost to the tune of a trillion dollars, increasing spending on an unwinnable war is not only a strategic mistake, but also a cost we simply cannot afford.

  

Nuclear Weapons

The United States should make nuclear disarmament the leading edge of a global trend towards demilitarization and redirection of military expenditures to meet human and environmental needs. (Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security?)

 

In 1995 testimony before the International Court of Justice, Hiroshima Mayor Takashi Hiraoka told the Court: “History is written by the victors.  Thus, the heinous massacre that was Hiroshima has been handed down to us as a perfectly justified act of war.  As a result, for over 50 years we have never directly confronted the full implications of this terrifying act for the future of the human race.”

 

The Nuclear Information Project has estimated that there are still more than 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world. The United States and Russia have by far the largest nuclear arsenals, with thousands of deployed weapons, capable of destroying any country and killing tens of millions.  The United Kingdom, France and China each have hundreds of modern nuclear weapons and long-range missiles capable of carrying them. All of these countries promised the world, decades ago, when they signed onto the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), that they would negotiate to get rid of their nuclear arsenals. There are no such negotiations underway. 

 

Remaining outside the NPT are India and Pakistan, believed to have fewer than 100 nuclear weapons each and engaged in an unpredictable new arms race; Israel, the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, believed to have several hundred nuclear weapons that can be delivered by plane or missile; and North Korea, which claims to have conducted a single nuclear test in 2006 and which has not tested successfully any missiles that could carry a nuclear weapon to the United States. (Western States Legal Foundation Information Report, Fall 2006)

 

The United States is the only country that has used nuclear weapons in war.  And it is the only country with nuclear weapons deployed on foreign soil. Nuclear weapons continue to play a central role in U.S. “national security” policy. Today the U.S. possesses approximately 9,400 nuclear warheads.  Of these, some 2,200 strategic (long range) warheads are actively deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles and at long range bomber bases.  Another 500 or so tactical (short range) nuclear weapons are actively deployed, about 200 of them in Europe. (Federation of American Scientists, Strategic Security Blog)

 

But it’s not just about the numbers. A September 2008 Department of Defense report on the Air Force’s nuclear mission describes “the importance of nuclear deterrence” this way: “Though our consistent goal has been to avoid actual weapons use, the nuclear deterrence is ‘used’ every day by assuring friends and allies, dissuading opponents from seeking peer capability to the United States, deterring attacks on the United States and its allies from potential adversaries, and providing the potential to defeat adversaries if deterrence fails.”

The Pentagon’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) expanded the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy, including the possible use of nuclear weapons in “immediate, potential, or unexpected contingencies” and called for indefinite retention of a large, modern, and diverse nuclear force.  The NPR has served as the primary justification for each subsequent annual nuclear weapons budget request as well as the current “Complex Transformation” plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories and manufacturing plants for decades to come. (Western States Legal Foundation, Information Brief, Spring 2008)

According to a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report entitled, Nuclear Security Spending: Assessing Costs, Examining Priorities ,in fiscal year 2008, the United States spent $52.4 billion on nuclear weapons programs alone.  This staggering amount is a drop in the bucket compared to overall U.S. military spending ($711 billion), but it exceeds the entire military budgets of nearly every other country. In 2006, the last year for which figures are available, only China ($121.9 billion), Russia ($70 billion), the United Kingdom ($55.4 billion) and France ($54 billion) spent more on their militaries than the U.S. spent on its nuclear weapons. (CACNP)

 

Atomic Audit, a study by the Brookings Institution completed in 1998, found, as a conservative estimate, that the United States spent $5.5 trillion dollars on nuclear weapons from 1940–1996 (in constant 1996 dollars). The Brookings study found that nuclear weapons spending during the 56 year period it examined exceeded the combined total federal spending for education; training, employment, and social services; agriculture; natural resources and the environment; general science, space, and technology; community and regional development, including disaster relief; law enforcement; and energy production and regulation.

 

 

Foreign Bases

Bring all troops, everywhere, home.  Now.

 

Former Cold War hawk and CIA analyst, Chalmers Johnson, has written: “As distinct from other peoples, most Americans do not recognize — or do not want to recognize — that the United States dominates the world through its military power.  Due to government secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons encircle the planet. This vast network of American bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire — an empire of bases with its own geography not likely to be taught in any high school geography class.” Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling Baseworld, one can’t begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations or the degree to which a new kind of militarism is undermining our constitutional order.”

 

Noting that “official records on these subjects are misleading,” Johnson in 2004 estimated that the Pentagon maintains more than 700 overseas bases in about 130 countries, with an additional 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories. “These numbers,” he concluded, “although staggeringly large, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally…. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases in other people’s countries, but no one — possibly not even the Pentagon — knows the exact number for sure, although it has been distinctly on the rise in recent years.”  According to Johnson, “Pentagon bureaucrats calculate that it would require at least $113.2 billion to replace just the foreign bases – surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic product of most countries. . . .”

 

When establishment of the new United States Northern Command was announced in April 2002, the official press release declared: “For the first time, commanders’ areas of operations cover the entire Earth.” (DefenseLink.mil)

 

Military Industrial Complex

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. 

            Dwight D Eisenhower, Jan 17, 1961

 

James Quinn’s article entitled “The Economic Cost of the Military Industrial Complex” summarizes the current status of this nexus well: “The top five U.S. defense contractors generated almost $129 billion in revenues and $8 billion in profits in 2006, double the revenue and profits in 2000 when George Bush became President. The War on Terror has been a windfall for the defense industry and their shareholders. These companies have intertwined themselves into the fabric of our government and defense department. They contribute tremendous amounts of money to Congressional candidates and have thousands of lobbyists pushing for more defense contracts.”  Boeing, for example, reported spending $16.6 million on lobbying in 2008 (opensecrets.org).

 

There is also the issue of the “revolving door,” where politicians cycle between governmental positions and private sector companies posing serious questions about conflict of interest.  Famous examples are Dick Cheney, who went from the government to CEO of Halliburton, back to the government.  In the new administration, Obama’s national security advisor, Gen James Jones (Ret.) sat on the board of major military contractor, Boeing as well as oil giant Chevron (TheHill.com).  Additionally, a former Raytheon senior vice president now sits as the nation’s deputy defense secretary (Bloomberg.com).

 

B.R. Reece recently summarized some of the Economic Conversion guru, Seymour Melman’s arguments against the power of the Military Industrial Complex in a book review for The Peace Economy Project. “The defense industry profits through inefficiency at the expense of the general population,” she writes. “The difference is that consumers are free to purchase vehicles that are price competitive, efficient, have high technical standards and low failure rates, and so the inability of domestic automakers to produce competitive vehicles has resulted in lost sales. No such situation exists in defense contracting: inefficiencies and losses are absorbed by the taxpayer, not by the producer. The contractors thus have an incentive not only to ignore the hemorrhaging created by inefficiencies, but to build in greater inefficiencies in the form of huge bureaucracies, inefficient production and innovation practices, and pricing methods designed to maximize cost to the final purchaser (a practice that would be impossible to sustain if the company had to compete for buyers).”  Melman’s commentary, though 35 years old, still describe the waste we encounter today; a 2005 NY Times article notes, “The Pentagon has more than 80 major new weapons systems under development…  Their combined cost, already $300 billion over budget [emphasis added], is $1.47 trillion and climbing.”

 

 The Pentagon is NOT a Jobs Engine

Jobs should never be used as a justification to produce instruments of war.

 

31 year veteran of the defense analysis field, Winslow Wheeler has written extensively against the idea that Pentagon should be used as a jobs program: “With its huge overhead costs, glacial payout rates and ultra-high costs of materials, I believe the Pentagon can generate jobs by spending but neither as many nor as soon as is suggested.

 

“…even if Congress appropriated today the USD11 billion needed for [60 new F-22s], the work would not start until 2010: too late for the stimulus everyone agrees is needed now.

 

“…if employment is the aim, it makes more sense to cut defence spending and use the money in programmes that do it better. As for the defence budget, less money offers the opportunity for reform – just what the doctor ordered. Despite high levels of spending, the combat formations of the services are smaller than at any point since 1946. Major equipment is, on average, older, and, according to key measurables, our forces are less ready to fight.”

 

The Center for Economic and Policy Research released a report in mid 2007 noting the following: “It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy… In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.”

 

A 2007 University of Massachusetts, Amherst study wrote that dollars invested in alternatives to defense spending such as education, healthcare, mass transit, or even tax cuts “create more jobs and,” potentially, provide “both an overall higher level of compensation… and a better average quality of jobs.”

 

An honest look at the defense industry does show that millions of jobs are related to massive military contracts but it does not have to remain this way.  As the above comments demonstrate, creating jobs in other sectors would be a more effective means of widespread employment.  The workers who design, build, and maintain these elaborate, high priced machines are incredibly skilled workers whom could relatively easily be retrained to produce goods that create and maintain higher levels of capital.

 

Our current military philosophy and actions are unnecessarily dragging our nation to the poorhouse.  If we actively confront the threats of illness, disease, poverty, racism, unemployment, and the environmental crisis, our dollars will create more jobs and capital and will finally honor the words of one of our nation’s greatest heroes, Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

 

*              It should be noted that increasing reliance on biofuel is controversial.  A Sustainable  Energy Future is Possible Now, a report by Abolition 2000, warns that “unconstrained industrial biofuel production will produce dire consequences for the natural environment.” Concerns range from biofuel feedstock taking priority over food crops due to limited arable land, to use of pesticides, to widespread deforestation.  The report makes the case that solar, wind, and geothermal power, tidal and smaller scale hydro-electric energy, and hydrogen fuel are good choices for the economy, citing a University of California finding that sustainable energy sources provide more jobs “per MW of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar investment than the fossil fuel-based energy sector.” The report concludes that “switching to sustainable energy would have an added benefit of promoting democratic values and the international aspirations embodied in the United Nations.”

 

A “renaissance” in nuclear energy is being promoted as part of the solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  But nuclear power is fraught with problems including the potential for proliferation of nuclear weapons by virtue of the connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons materials and technologies; the potential for catastrophic accidents; the unsolved problem of nuclear waste storage and disposition; and the very high financial costs associated with all aspects of nuclear power production.

 

The United States can and should implement energy production, distribution, and use policies that will phase out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power by the year 2050. A recent book, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, by the Institute for Environmnetal and Energy Research and the Nuclear Policy Reseach Institute, provides a detailed analysis that shows that this goal is technically and economically feasible. The Roadmap lays out how we can get from a 4 percent reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy (as of 2005) to none by mid-century. Oil imports would be completely eliminated along the way.

  

Document compiled and organized by:

Andy Heaslet, Coordinator of the St Louis based Peace Economy Project

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Change, Current Events, Economy, Elections, Hope, News, Policy, Politics, Race, Science, War on Terror

Beyond War: A New Economy Is Possible- Part I- Poverty

Send America to Work, Not War

Someone who I thoroughly respect is a man by the name of Andrew Heaslet. He is the Coordinator for the Peace Economy Project, a non-profit organization that advocates the reduction of military spending in favor of social and infrastructure needs. He has written some very interesting talking points, which I will be presenting over the next three days, in three parts- focusing on poverty, racism and Militarism. Both Andrew and I welcome all comments, provided they are respectful. Enjoy!

In his 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Dr Martin Luther King Jr declared, “We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”  He also warned, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

 

It is in that spirit that United For Peace and Justice has created a new campaign borrowing part of its title from Dr King’s famous 1967 speech.  We are attempting to fulfill Dr King’s call for “declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism,” noting that these “triplets” do not exist in a vacuum and, indeed, are intrinsically inter-related.

 

This is detailed, paint by numbers, if you will, approach to illustrating how Poverty, Racism, and Militarism are still very prevalent in America today.  In sharing Dr King’s vision of conquering these ills, it may be difficult to draw on all of the data contained within this document.  Feel free to find and use the information that applies best to you and your peers.

 

Poverty

 

Speaking in 1961 to the AFL-CIO, Dr King advocated for economic rights when he said, “[Negro] needs are identical with labor’s needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old-age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community.

 

41 years after his death, millions of Americans still suffer the economic hardships Dr King fought against in his time.

 

The Military Budget is Costing Us All

We should cut military spending and fund human needs.

 

Defense plus Homeland Security expenditures make up 60% of our total discretionary spending. (Federal Budget)

 

United States spends more than the next 45 highest spending countries in the world combined. (Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation [CACNP])

 

The United States accounts for 48 percent of the world’s total military spending. (CACNP)

The United States spends on its military 5.8 times more than China, 10.2 times more than Russia, and 98.6 times more than Iran. (CACNP)

The United States and its strongest allies (the NATO countries, Japan, South Korea and Australia) spend $1.1 trillion on their militaries combined, representing 72 percent of the world’s total. (CACNP)

 

The preceding figures are astounding and frustrating on their own, but when compared to the needs of American citizens, as described by the following information, they become unconscionable.

 

POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES (2007 Census data, pg 12)

“Highlights:“

• The official poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5 percent

• In 2007, 37.3 million people were in poverty, up from 36.5 million in 2006.

• Poverty rates in 2007:

         non-Hispanic Whites (8.2 percent)

         Blacks (24.5 percent)

         Asians (10.2 percent)

         Hispanics (21.5 percent in 2007, up from 20.6 percent in 2006).

• The poverty rate increased for children under 18 years old (18.0 percent in 2007, up from 17.4 percent in 2006)

 

Race and Hispanic Origin

 

“At 8.2 percent, the 2007 poverty rate for non-Hispanic Whites was lower than the rate for Blacks and Asians – 24.5 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively. In 2007, non-Hispanic Whites accounted for 43.0 percent of people in poverty while representing 65.8 percent of the total population.

 

Among Hispanics, 21.5 percent (9.9 million) were in poverty in 2007, higher than the 20.6 percent (9.2 million) in 2006. (2007 Census data, pg 12)

 

Home Foreclosures

Bailout Homeowners, Not Bankers

 

The Tulsa World reports “More than 2.3 million American homeowners faced foreclosure proceedings last year, an 81 percent increase from 2007, with the worst yet to come as consumers grapple with layoffs, shrinking investment portfolios and falling home prices.

 

“Nationwide, more than 860,000 properties were actually repossessed by lenders, more than double the 2007 level, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm based in Irvine, Calif., which compiled the figures.

 

“Moody’s Economy.com, a research firm, predicts the number of homes lost to foreclosure is likely to rise by another 18 percent this year before tapering off slightly through 2011.”

 

 

Healthcare

Citizens of the United States want healthcare not warfare.

 

In 2007, there were 45.7million uninsured citizens in the US. In 2007, the uninsured rate for non-hispanic whites was 10.4% whereas the uninsured rate for Blacks was 19.5%, Hispanics, 32.1%. (2007 Census data, pg 19-21)

 

The Massachusetts Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care website summarizes our nation’s health insurance woes very succinctly:

“The way we currently organize health insurance:

– “Is Expensive: The United States spends more per person than any other country on health care.

– “Is Financially Ruinous for Many Households, Businesses, and Government Budgets:  These catastrophic costs are paid disproportionately by low-income people and small businesses.

– “Leads to Very Poor Health Outcomes: Under this system we actually live shorter lives, and receive much less of the care we need.

– “Is Highly Discriminatory: Health Care disparities along lines of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and age are unmatched in the developed world.”

 

 

Green Jobs and the right to join the Union

            In short, we should Send America to Work, Not to War

 

Americans Need Quality Jobs Now

“The Labor Department said that almost 600,000 jobs disappeared in January and that a total of 3.6 million jobs had been lost since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, rose to 7.6 percent, from 7.2 percent a month earlier.” (2/7/09, NYTimes)

 

Employee Free Choice Act

Supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress and millions of workers around the country, the Employee Free Choice Act would level the playing field and put the power to choose a union back where it belongs—in the hands of workers. It will restore workers’ power to bargain for a better life, rebuilding the middle class and strengthening the economy for the long term. (AFL-CIO)

 

Get Rid of Ineffective “Trickle Down” Economics

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said, “that ‘trickle-down’ economics does not work and has never worked.” He has gone further, “stating that markets alone produce neither efficient nor socially desirable outcomes but instead provoke periodic crises that erase the gains of growth and hit the poor the hardest.”(Upside Down World)

 

The Gravity of Climate Crisis

According to the BBC, former president Bill Clinton “said that the most profound threat to the way of life in the UK and US was not terrorism but global warming.”

 

Why then are we spending more than half of our discretionary federal funds preparing for cold war era theoretical attacks while avoiding and ignoring the very real and present threat that climate change represents?

 

 

We Should Invest in Green

The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst recently released a report on the benefits of a proposed, government-initiated $100 billion, two-year “green economic recovery program.” This price tag seems staggering at first glance, but when compared to the cost of corporate bailouts, Congress’ springtime economic stimulus package and the Iraq war spending bills, the numbers do not seem so outrageous — especially considering the value that would be generated by such an investment and the longer-term costs of not investing immediately in environmental sustainability.

 

The study recommends investments in:

— Retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency.

— Expanding mass transit and freight rail.

— Constructing “smart” electrical grid transmission systems.

— Wind power.

— Solar power.

— Next-generation biofuels.*

 

These investments would create some 2 million new jobs, stabilize oil costs by reducing overall demand, reduce energy costs for homeowners, increase energy security and provide a sustainable boost to our nation’s economy and infrastructure.

 

In addition to human, environmental and community benefits, there’s also a lot of profit potential in going green. In 2008, the research firm Clean Edge projected revenue growth in wind, solar, biofuels* and fuel cells of “$55.4 billion in 2006 and expanded 40 percent to $77.3 billion in 2007 to grow to $254.5 billion within a decade.” *[There are some concerns with biofuels and please note the absence of recommendations for nuclear power in the preceding comments – for further details about these issues, see the addendum at the bottom of this document.]

 

Some of the skilled professionals required to make this ambitious program work are electricians, welders, machinists, sheet metal workers and mechanics — not to mention civil, environmental, electrical, and chemical engineers.  Many of these skilled professionals are prevalent in the ailing labor sector.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Current Events, Evolution, News, Religion, Science

Darwin, Evolution and the Battle of the Bible

Charles Darwin- the evolution guy- has a birthday comin’ up.

He’ll be 200.

In light of this fact, Gallup has done a survey of American adults, trying to determine just how many of us buy into Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

The results were depressing.

Currently, only 4 out of 10 Americans believe in evolution.

Forget depressing.

This shit is downright scary.

Gallup polled just over a thousand adults, and the strongest correlation between answers is education level.

Those with a high school education or less are much less likely to believe in evolution…

… while a whopping 74 percent of those with graduate and post-graduate degrees strongly believe in it.

That’s pretty telling.

I don’t know if I have any readers that do not believe in evolution, but if I do, I would love to hear their thoughts on this topic.

We see things evolve- in some cases, drastically- in our own lifetime… what makes people think even bigger changes haven’t occured over thousands, or millions of years?

Eggs evolve into full-fledged babies… babies evolve into grown men and women… tiny seeds evolve into huge trees… itty bitty buds evolve into beautiful flowers…

These changes occur quickly, sometimes in a matter of days, weeks, or a few short years.

We can see all this… some forms of evolution occur almost in front of our very eyes… leaves seem to change to their fall colors over night…

… And yet something this simple is still the subject of major controversy.

Beyond what we can physically see, the evidence for evolution grows stronger and stronger as we advance scientifically.

Is it a coincidence that we, as humans, share more than 96% of our DNA with chimps?

Is it a coincidence that alligators and crocodiles can be traced back millions of years… giving credence to Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory?

Those nasty creatures are ferocious!

I guess the question on the minds of many is whether science trumps religion.

I personally don’t understand why we have to choose one over the other.

The Bible, if not taken literally, if instead read for its interpretive value, can certainly be used in conjunction with Science.

Certainly one can be a devout Christian and still believe in Evolution, survival of the fittest, and even the Big Bang Theory.

The understanding that my species, as well as all others, evolved over time, culminating in the universe as we now know it, does not make me the slightest bit uncomfortable, nor does it counter my personal spiritual beliefs in any way.

God has a plan…

… an ever-changing, ever evolving, absolutely magnificent plan.

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin.