Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Joe

It's not official yet, but at about 11pm Pacific,
numerous news media are reporting that
Senator Joe Biden of Delaware will be named
as Barack Obama's choice for Vice-President.
The official email confirmation is expected
Saturday morning, and Obama and Biden
are expected to appear together Saturday
afternoon in Springfield, Illinois. Check
American Dash for more.Posted by Picasa

On the Road to Denver

Obama in New Mexico and North Carolina.
Posted by Picasa

Don't Forget Darfur

Refugees from Darfur. Reuters photo.Posted by Picasa

The Forgotten Genocide

While American politicians obsess about Russia and promote billions in relief for the country of Georgia, the genocide in Darfur goes on. While billions watch the Olympic Games in China, that nation remains the chief enabler of the Sudanese-sponsored rapes and murders.

The politics of the situation are complex, but limited attention span is mostly evidence, if we needed any more, that African peoples living in a drought-stricken land aren't as important as Europeans with oil. The International Criminal Court has accused the president of Sudan of crimes against humanity, and the UN peacekeeping force has been renewed for another year, although their numbers needed to be increased for them to be effective. Earlier this month, Doctors Without Borders had to withdraw staff from several areas because of persistent attacks on them, affecting the medical care of at least 65,000 refugees.

One small hope is the tactic that helped to end apartheid in South Africa: economic boycott. Today the California State Senate will consider a bill to ban any company that does business linked to supporting genocide from receiving state contracts. As the Save Darfur Coalition put it, "It will force companies to make a choice: they can either work with the genocidal government of Sudan or they can work with the state of California."

Readers in California should contact their State Senators and urge them to vote for this bill (the Darfur Contracting Act). Readers in other states should urge their legislators to consider and pass similar legislation. And candidates for Congress in this year's election should answer this question: what are you prepared to do to stop the genocide in Darfur?

Update: Although Barack Obama mentions stopping genocide in Darfur as he campaigns, it was Joe Biden--now his Vice Presidential candidate--who brought it up most passionately in the debates. That's encouraging.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The United States

“If we think that we can secure our country by just talking tough without acting tough and smart, then we will misunderstand this moment and miss its opportunities,” Mr. Obama said. “If we think that we can use the same partisan politics where we just challenge our opponent’s patriotism to win an election, then the American people will lose. The times are too serious for this kind of politics. The calamity left behind by the last eight years is too great.”

"These are the judgments I’ve made and the policies that we have to debate, because we do have differences in this election. But one of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can’t disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism. I have never suggested and never will that Senator McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America’s national interest. Now, it’s time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same.”

“Let me be clear. I will let no one question my love of this country. I love America, so do you, and so does John McCain. When I look out at this audience, I see people of different political views. You are Democrats and Republicans and Independents. But you all served together, and fought together, and bled together under the same proud flag. You did not serve a Red America or a Blue America, you served the United States of America.”

Barack Obama to a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday.Posted by Picasa

Real Things

All this political talk and arguing are important to the future, but so is what's happening right now, the real things:

Update Thursday: Mayor Bloomberg of New York City proposes using skyscrapers and bridges to site wind turbines as part of his alternative energy plan.

At the national Clean Energy Summit, announced it will invest $10 million to develop Enhanced Geothermal Systems, to tap energy from the heated granite deep in the earth, which exists pretty much everywhere.

Companies will build two new solar plants in California which together will produce twelve times as much electricity as any solar power plant today. MIT researchers say they have discovered a way to use solar energy cheaply even after the sun goes down, which could make it a mainstream source of power within the next decade.

Toyota is adding solar panels to its third generation design for the Prius hybrid, while plug-in hybrids that get their juice from a household electrical outlet will start rolling into showrooms within in 18 months. Dubbed the next step in the evolution of the car, experts say plug-in hybrids could account for about 20 percent of vehicle sales within a decade, and half of all sales by 2050.

Facing economic hardship and contraction, the town of Rock Port, Missouri stopped tilting at windmills and started building them. Today the town is entirely powered by wind--and on most days, exports energy. Now the town is starting to grow jobs."Did I ever think this would happen? Naw, not in a million years. ... This is beyond my imagination."

High energy prices and environmental concerns are prompting seven in 10 Americans saying they're trying to reduce their "carbon footprint," chiefly by driving less, using less electricity and recycling.

Tech industries are devising ways for household PCs as well as corporate tech infrastructure to conserve energy.

And yet...

While the EPA finds that global heating will cause substantial threats to human health, and humanity must prepare for a potential catastrophic increase in temperatures, a major program to help poor countries cope has been shut down for lack of funding.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Dreaming Up Daily Image

Siamese Twin Galaxies. In ten million years or
so, they'll become one galaxy.Posted by Picasa

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

"Let me tell you a story about a revelation.
It's not the colour of a nation that holds a nation's pride
It's imagination.
It's imagination inside."

Andrea Menard