Did you like the ideas the President proposed for our economy during the address?

copyright © 2012 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

Dearest Representative . . .

My answer to your survey question, “Did you like the ideas the President proposed for our economy during the address?” is No.  In truth, for me it is not that simple.   I know from our conversations and abundant experiences, the query is not meant to close doors; nor will you draw erroneous conclusions from the “data” collected.  I understand that you wish to hear from your constituency.  Therefore, I write.  I will present support for my opinion.  The Economic Policy Institute, CaRDI, a Multidisciplinary Social Sciences Institute of Cornell University, and Michael Winerip, Education Journalist for the New York Times will serve as my surrogates. I understand that the immediate opinion polls show broad support for the President’s speech.  However, I suspect a more nuanced look may reveal that more feel as I do.  Perhaps, my words will also speak for the people who merely marked “Yes,” “No,” or “I do not have an opinion” on your and other surveys.  I can only hope that you might take a moment to ponder.

The President proposed many ideas that I believe relate to our economic health.    He spoke of taxes, the energy policy that has taxed our nation.  As a father, he addressed what I know concerns you too, education.  Indeed, I thank you once again Congressman for your active support of public education.   Enrolling your children in our local community schools speak volumes.  I believe to be one with the people is to live amongst us.  Sadly, few in Congress chose the life of the common man.  

In regards to health care, which Mister Obama also touched on in the State of the Union speech, last evening, the Congress’s separation from society-at-large is evident in policies passed and again in the President’s speech.  Possibly, he too has forgotten how the real people live.  

The President did propose one plan I endorse I think The Buffet Rule enacted would be beautiful.  I believe this might help to more fully embody an actual Democratic Progressive tax structure.

Indeed, I actually think an increased tax rate for all is the ultimate in wisdom.  Even Conservatives such as Commentator-Columnist Ben Stein and former Reagan Economic Advisor, David Stockman are in favor of this more realistic plan. President Eisenhower too would applaud this way of doing taxes.  You likely recall under Ike, the tax rate for wealthiest Americans was ninety-one percent.  Republicans are not alone in their support of a Buffet Rule.  Progressive policy wonks, such as Robert Reich, advocate for higher taxes over all.  Right, Left, and Middle, we might have a consensus.  I sincerely endorse such mutual sagacity.  

Many Economists regardless of political affiliation see the correlation…Services require salaries, supplies, and a tax structure that supports all that are needed to sustain the health of a nation.

However, this aspect of the State of the Union speech was, for the most part, the only point I applauded.  The Buffet Rule aside, overall the ways in which the President proposes we build a nation, for me, only furthers the folly.

I have long been troubled by the belief that we can eat cake endlessly; yet never buy the ingredients to make it let alone bake it.  Some may ask, “Where is the beef?” I yearn to learn where are the eggs needed to bring the cake into being.  For that matter, do we have any butter, flour, or milk?  As the President does, I ponder what is spilled.   It seems all our society thinks it takes to make batter, is sugar.

We want gas to power our cars.  However, we want the price to be low.  I loathe the idea that we might invest in more fossil fuels!  The process is quick for it is familiar.  Nevertheless, it is extremely dirty.  Quick and dirty is not as I desire.  Mother Nature tells us daily that she believes as I do.  Climate change costs us dearly; still, the President’s energy related positions push for more oil and gas.  Please allow me to offer a portion of a comprehensive Cornell University study.

The Economic Consequences of Shale Gas Extraction

The Boom-Bust Cycle of Shale Gas Extraction Economies. The extraction of non-renewable natural resources such as natural gas is characterized by a “boom-bust” cycle, in which a rapid increase in economic activity is followed by a rapid decrease. The rapid increase occurs when drilling crews and other gas-related businesses move into a region to extract the resource. During this period, the local population grows and jobs in construction, retail and services increase, though because the natural gas extraction industry is capital rather than labor intensive, drilling activity itself will produce relatively few jobs for locals. Costs to communities also rise significantly, for everything from road maintenance and public safety to schools. When drilling ceases because the commercially recoverable resource is depleted, there is an economic “bust” — population and jobs depart the region, and fewer people are left to support the boomtown infrastructure.

Congressman, as I listened to and read the State of the Union text, I cringed.  George W. Bush was all I saw and heard.  Mister Obama spoke of our energy policy and how investments in “clean power” would improve our economy.  I believe our continued investment in fossil fuels, foreign and/or domestic hurts us.  Be it income distribution, equal access to goods and services, or more importantly to me, the harm done to the planet, our continued commitments to natural gas, petroleum, “Clean coal,” and nuclear energy are anathema, as is the President’s education agenda.  

As energy does, education relates to the economy.  You may recall this an issue near and dear to me.  For as long as he has been in office, in respect to schools and learning Barack Obama baffles me.  He speaks of the need for creativity and curiosity in the classroom, and then quashes the possibility!  Often, Mister Obama refers to how teaching to the test is counterproductive to learning.  Yet, all that he and the DOE put in place are Race to the Top and Waivers. Programs.  Each encourages more and more examinations and commercialization!  

While the public is led to belief that the President understands why programs established under President Bush failed, it seems, in deed, this Head of State has only furthered the stress felt in schools.

In truth, I never understood why President Obama appointed Arne Duncan, a man whose work the business community and the Grand Old Party admired.  Again I think of George W. Bush and Jeb!  Economically we move further away from a Democratic Progressive system and closer to the regressive realities of privatization.  Public Schools are closed in favor of “Choice” Learning Centers.  Charters, while labeled public, more often drain dollars from the more egalitarian school system.  These institutions rarely provide the performance statistics promised.  Many, in reality, are privately run management firms.   Education is not their mission; earnings are!

We need only look at who is invited to the White House Education Round Tables.  Pedagogues are not welcome.  Their voices are intentionally absent from the conversation.  Influential “investors” sit with the President and his Secretary of Education.  These same persons now occupy our public schools.  Thus, economically speaking, education is now a growth industry!  

The President said in his speech, “For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning, the first time that’s happened in a generation.”  I inquire Congressman, how do we evaluate the minimal cost to the federal government and the so-called rise?   Hmm?

In Obama’s Race to the Top, Work and Expense Lie With States:

By adding just one-third of one percent to state coffers, the feds get to implement their version of education reform.

That includes rating teachers and principals by their students’ scores on state tests; using those ratings to dismiss teachers with low scores and to pay bonuses to high scorers; and reducing local control of education.

Second, the secretary of education, Arne Duncan, and his education scientists do not have to do the dirty work. For teachers in subject areas and grades that do not have state tests (music, art, technology, kindergarten through third grade) or do not have enough state tests to measure growth (every high school subject), it is the state’s responsibility to create a system of alternative ratings.

In New York, that will have to cover 79 percent of all teachers, a total of 175,000 people. The only state tests for assessing teachers are for English and math, from fourth grade to eighth.

Yet, the President and Arne Duncan have persuaded the public and policymakers that the invisibles, learning and the effect a mentor has on our offspring, can be measured in a day, an hour, or on one single assessment.   I know not of you; however, in my life, even when I scored well on a test, the results did not reflect my learning.  Guesstimates, short-term memory, the fluke that is a coincidence, these are not calculated in our high-stakes assessments.  However if it were possible to accurately evaluate these, then perhaps the reliance on test scores might make some sense, although still very little.

I am reminded of a statement President Obama made in his speech last evening that I do agree with. “Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.” I think every individual outside the Hall can also point to a Professor or Academic who transformed what would be. Yet, we punish our mentors when their students do not perform on command.

I cry for the young and the old.  In truth, tears flow for every American.  The reason, in a society such as ours, there is no reverence for humanity, nay-human health.  Congressman, please indulge me as I reflect on health care coverage.  President Obama stated, “That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program.”

Oh, my.  Once more regression is our nation’s reality.  May I present a bit to ponder…This quote is taken from an Economic Policy Institute Report.

Medicare Privatization: A Cautionary Tale

The private plans are only competitive because they play on a tilted playing field. When that is not enough, they resort to hard-sell tactics that take advantage of vulnerable seniors-practices that prompted an ongoing congressional investigation. They also create road blocks and traps that prevent seniors from being fully reimbursed for care.

Medicare privatizers spend a lot of taxpayer money lobbying Congress, and their story keeps changing. The original rationale for private plans was that competition would lower costs, so payments were capped at 95% of the average Medicare cost for each county. The plans still prospered by cherry-picking healthy seniors, a problem that was only partly abated through risk adjusting. Since it is now established that these plans are actually less efficient than the public one, the current claim is that they help minorities and other underserved groups, an argument that also has little merit, according to research by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”

Oh Representative, I lived in California when Proposition 13 and the “No New Taxes” hymn were born.  Today, I realize through President Obama’s speech, this tune grows louder.  The nation, and our democracy die.  Free Enterprise thrives.

Having read to the end, I hope you will understand.  All the information I offer in my missive to you and so much more influenced my answer to your survey question Congressman.  “Did you like the ideas the President proposed for our economy during the address?” No, I did not.  I wonder; did you?

I look forward to future conversations.  May we discuss what for me is the greatest dilemma; The State of the Union divides us as do the plans the President proposed.

Sincerely . . .

Betsy L. Angert

January 25, 2012

The Preamble; Fix it or Nix It?



Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

At present, oil saturates the Gulf Stream.  An official six-month cessation of permits for new drilling did not actually affect the industry or government decisions.  Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead.  To explain such an authorization and waiver, the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Services Division which regulates drilling, pointed to public statements by Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.  He did not intend to forbid all first cuts in the Earth’s crust.  Absolutely not.  The Federal Government approved wells off the coast of Louisiana in June. Regardless of the day, or realities that are anathema to our citizenry, little has truly changed.  Today, just as in yesteryear, we, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union, polish policies to appear as though our civilization would wish to protect and defend all beings, equally.  

In an earlier era, and now, the electorate embraces practices that establish justice, while we unreasonably raze the planet.  As a devoted citizenry, we insure domestic tranquility through appeasement. Furthermore, for the sake of homeland harmony, we adopt practices that encourage petroleum production, excessive oil and coal profits, whilst we also rob crops of their inherent dignity.  We, the countrymen, commit to the promise that we will provide for the common defense. In accordance with the demands of the public, policymakers further endorse perilous practices.  

These pursuits are realized in the form of perpetual war.  Blood for oil, minerals, or any resource that makes more money for the few, is what we, believe brings security to the native soil.   Our energy plans, or was it the profound Preamble to the United States Constitution, afforded us world prominence.  Globally, America is seen as powerful, so much so other countries chose to emulate us.  

Our governance and Preamble now belong to many a proud nation.  Collectively, in this country and the next, people clamor, “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Over the years, there have been many opportunities to consider our constitution, our commitment to country, and our love of power.  Before this country was born, we could have seized on the chance to harness energy in a way that did not cause harm.  In 1766, British Scientist Henry Cavendish identified the energetic element, hydrogen.  By 1838, Swiss Chemist Christian Friedrich Schoenbein stumbled upon the “fuel cell.”  Only seven years later, Sir William Grove, an English Scientist and Judge, demonstrated the practicality of the discovery.  Mister Grove created a “gas battery.”  For this feat, he acquired the title “Father of the Fuel Cell.”

Most recall the Franklin kite experiment, which, while not the first appearance of an electrical consciousness certainly was one that gave us a jolt.  That event occurred in 1752.  Then, people began to realize that electricity, not produced from coal or dependent on fossil fuels, could make a meaningful difference in the society.  Initially, there were struggles.  Some people were afraid of an incomprehensible current.  A few did not wish to succumb to a change in lifestyle.  Convenience at a nominal cost convinced the citizenry to change their conventional ways, and of course, modify the meaning of the Constitution.

By 1769, with the advent of the first automobile, people began to ponder inexpensive means for mobility.  The invention of engines and the Industrial Revolution completed the conversion. Steamships and steam-powered railroads became the foremost forms of transportation.  These vessels used coal to fuel their boilers. Still, it was not until the 1880s that “coal was first used to generate electricity for homes and factories.”  Since then, there seemed no desire to turn back.  Way back when, our constitution, or at least the Preamble as practiced today, was set in stone.  

Give it to us cheap and dirty is the American credo.  We guzzle gas, burn through barrels of oil, and belch out endorsements for big businesses that earn billions on our backs.  Americans strip the countryside in search of more and more coal.  We savage the seas and shores whilst we annihilate all the creatures dependent on these.  Indeed, we ignore that we too are reliant on the chain of life to survive.  We disregard what science teaches us; each species and specimen plays a part in the planet’s endurance.  Instead, we loudly state, “We the people commit to cheap fossil fuels and biomass consumption that we have become accustomed to.”  Damn the damage to the planet, and ultimately to humans and all other populations.  We travel on, full speed ahead!

As the Gulf Bay puncture wound bleeds, present and former Governors, Jurists, and citizens clamor, Drill Baby Drill!  In June 2020, be it in Alaska, in the Gulf, anywhere, almost anywhere, regardless of known risks, we are ready!  We want our fix.  Fossil fuels and biomass flow through our blood.  Petroleum, or the reliance on this and other hazardous forms of energy, run our boats, cars, trains, planes, and our lives.  Even if a pipe, mineshaft, or the food chain are broken, the people say, Let it be!”

“Fix It or Nix It” defines the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity campaign. This statement is not an endorsement for renewable energy policies. Nor does it address the altered Preamble, No. This group does advocate for further advancements in fossil fuel usage.“ACCCE.cannot support the Kerry-Lieberman draft bill.”  This all-“powerful” organization considers these two Senators dissenters, or their proposed legislation a threat to the American way.  Reflective of past policies and practices, those who rebel are often forced into submission.  Popular opinion can suppress opposition.

Peers, polls, any pressure, can sway the people.  Promotional pieces are abundantly persuasive.  Ample advertisements feed the public and influence actions. Perhaps this explains why millions of people are easily fooled, or more likely just want to believe as we all do, that what we do now is wise.  

Factoids from associations such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity offer us food for thought.  Statements that support what we yearn for speak to our heart, head, and soul. These satisfy the American appetite for energy and satiate the anthem.  “We the people commit to inexpensive energy and welcome any reassurance that all is well, just as it is.”  

  • Coal costs less than any other major fossil fuel source.
  • According to an electric power industry journal, 23 of the 25 power plants in the U.S. that have the lowest operating costs (and therefore provide power to their consumers at the lowest prices) are powered by coal.
  • Thanks, in part, to $90 billion invested in new technologies, the environmental footprint of coal-based electricity generation has been significantly reduced.
  • Since 1970, the use of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. has nearly tripled in response to growing electricity demand.
  • Using coal to generate electricity is less than a 1/3 of the cost of other fuels.

Corporations that profit from the use of coal, petroleum, and biomass fuels flood the airwaves with anti alternative and renewable energy oratory.  Lobbyists and Legislators who like the status quo are also hard at work.

Commentaries, commercials, Congressional concessions, and common clichés do not negate the reality that whenever we invest in naturally replenished resources, environmentally friendly green energy, we ultimately provide jobs, as well as preserve the planet.  Research abounds.  studies confirm.  Pew Charitable Trusts asserts Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth.

Nonetheless, the well-established Preamble persists.  We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”  Nations that did not accept our programs, sooner or later, were “willingly” brought into the fold. Money and might can move mountains, petroleum fields, and large quantities of botanical mass. Indeed, the production and use of any fossil fuel is encouraged.  Promised earnings offer a profound argument to dissenters.  

Some followers of the more modern Preamble, an altered petroleum policy, were brought onboard reluctantly. The bid for biofuels proved profitable.  Influential Advisors and Advertisers offered a rationalization. Plants can be grown.  Vegetation is renewable.  This thought removed a sense of guilt.  The public purchased the argument.  For most ethanol is envisioned as euphoria.

Some were less relieved by this opportune “reality.”  However, in time, they too do as the devotees do.  They drive hither and yon.  Petroleum and plants fill their gas tanks.  These persons call themselves environmentalists.  Yet, they know that they too, myself among them, consume gargantuan quantities of fossil fuels and biomass energy. To participate in present day life, we, the people, must pump petro and pledge allegiance to the American way, or else . . . For the sake of convenience, expediency, pragmatism and the Preamble, in a Twenty-First century culture, even conservationists surrender.  

Perchance, as gas and oil fill the Gulf Stream, and travel North, South, East and West, as microbes, mammals, and all other creatures in its path perish, we, the people, will think it is time to reflect.  Let us ponder our proud past.  Perhaps, through the plumes, we will unearth what the petroleum, coal, and biofuels Preamble has hidden, the history of hydrogen and how we abandoned this truly renewable and reliable source of energy.  

1920s German engineer, Rudolf Erren, converted the internal combustion engines of trucks, buses, and submarines to use hydrogen or hydrogen mixtures. British scientist and Marxist writer, J.B.S. Haldane, introduced the concept of renewable hydrogen in his paper Science and the Future by proposing that “there will be great power stations where during windy weather the surplus power will be used for the electrolytic decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen.”

1937 After ten successful trans-Atlantic flights from Germany to the United States, the Hindenburg, a dirigible inflated with hydrogen gas, crashed upon landing in Lake- wood, New Jersey. The mystery of the crash was solved in 1997. A study concluded that the explosion was not due to the hydrogen gas, but rather to a weather-related static electric discharge which ignited the airships’ silver-colored, canvas exterior covering…

1958 The United States formed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s space program currently uses the most liquid hydrogen worldwide, primarily for rocket propulsion and as a fuel for fuel cells.

It would seem that we, the people, could have endowed and empowered the energy that was first recognized before our forefathers penned what was the United States Constitution.  We might realize that great strides have been made in endlessly renewable hydrogen energy.  However, we, the people, never stopped to consider what we accepted as our manifest destiny.   What we defined as divine intervention or intervention by design was our chosen well-deserved deliverance.  As independent Americans, free spirits, mavericks, we would not be bound by physical boundaries.  Petroleum, coal, and biofuels, we decided, would set us free.  We would drive as if we were driven, deliberately.  

We did. Whilst barrels of oil flood from the ocean floor, we still do.  Nary a person proclaims; it is time to stop the madness, completely.  Hardly an American truly thinks he or she will reinstate the Preamble in its original form.  No, the “better life” has been fashioned. Yet, in Louisiana and elsewhere in the South there is reason to question what had been our truth. “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Possibly, now we will acknowledge belatedly, the better question would have been why did we rely on reports released by the International Oil Spill Conference.,  This organization offers studies sponsored by those who are the worst offenders, who are most dependent on petroleum, and who gain greater power and prowess when oil flows. After the fact, will we abandon the Advisors who brought us our present burdens, our blunders, and our oddly converted Preamble?

Will humans resume operations and disregard reality?  Will we proceed on a false premise that biomass is the better source for fuel? Will we look beyond the boundaries of our desires or will humans, not BP, Exxon, the company of your choice, nay the Governments of, the United States, Britain, Nigeria, or . . . rape the land, place food in the mouths of machines rather than man?  Might we finally admit, that we need not concede to consumption, crave petroleum products, and biofuels?  Will we choose to see that people, and the planet, will not survive if we rely on what has been our folly, our friend, and our funeral march, our converted constitution, and a corrupted Preamble?   Only we can decide.  Fix it or Nix it?  Perhaps, we must do both.

Written with thanks to By Larry Hartweg Zero Energy Design® for a visual presentation that inspires and investigates, Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

This is Our Moment! Clean Energy and Climate Change Legislation



The Fix: Robert Redford Reflects on the Gulf Oil Disaster

On behalf of all people, planet-wide, I wish to present this powerful and thoughtful possibility.  With thanks to Robert Redford, The Natural Resources Defense Council, and even BP, without which we, at least in America and hopefully internationally, might never have seized an opportunity to truly reflect on the damage we have caused.

Copyright © 2010.  Natural Resources Defense Council

Comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation could create 2 million jobs, cut 2 billion tons of pollution and save 2 trillion dollars.

A bill can create two million American jobsthat can’t be shipped overseas and build a domestic clean energy market that will allow U.S. firms to compete in the rapidly expanding global clean tech industry. The money saved comes from cutting our oil imports in half. And by reducing our pollution, we simultaneously address the most pressing environmental challenge of our time — climate change.

We cannot wait any longer to put our nation on a path to clean energy.

Americans support these goals. To achieve them, comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation must do four things:

  • Promote investment in energy efficiency as well as wind, solar and other renewable sources of power.
  • Set a cap on the carbon pollution that is contributing to climate change.
  • Complement, not discard, existing state and federal efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. And governments in a number of states have taken action already to protect their citizens from rising levels of carbon. Federal legislation should complement these efforts, not compromise them.
  • Provide the leadership we need to support international efforts to deal with climate change — real carbon reductions, preserving forests around the world and aid for the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth in coping with the ravages of climate change.
  • These are the cornerstones of a successful bill that will make our economy stronger and our country more secure.  Oil and coal companies are expected to spend millions lobbying to protect their profits and keep the United States dependent on polluting energy sources. The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexicographically demonstrates the dangers of our dependence on fossil fuels.

    Rising global temperatures, even at the lower end of predicted ranges, could cause extensive melting of sea ice and glaciers, widening desertification, sea level rise and other changes that could be potentially devastating for the United States, our economy and people around the world. This year alone, smokestacks and tailpipes worldwide will pump a record 33 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air, most from the burning of coal, oil and gas. The United States can’t wait any longer to curb emissions, reduce our dependence on oil and develop clean energy technologies.

    References for The Fix . . .

    BP; Texas Tea or Gulf Coast Coffee



    BP Spills Coffee

    copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

    For more than a century, in unison, the planets’ population proclaimed, thankfully petroleum flows.  Oil powers our machines.  The refined product has helped us manufacture massive quantities of clothing, aluminum sheet, and photovoltaic (PV) solar cells.  “Plastics.”  As was professed in a popular film decades ago, “There’s a great future in plastics.” Presently, and in the past, BP understood this and much more.  The company’s Executives knew petroleum could and would provide endless profits, power, and a perpetual presence.

    Mother Earth’s Coffee was BPs Cream


    One need only consider the pretty penny made ($9 Billion) on the sale of Innovene, or the big bucks BPs SPORT Polymer Cracking technology is expected to yield.  Black Gold, Texas Teas, and Gulf Coast Coffee, arguably, have fostered the good life for Americans.  Nothing has changed that truth; yet, recent events  have tweaked perceptions.  

    Talk began in April, on the 20th to be exact. On that fateful day people began to recognize a shift in the wind, or more correctly in the seas.   Waterways in the Gulf of Mexico filled with fuel.  The flow seemed endless. Months later, the stream of crude has barely subsided.  Many mused as the corporate slogan states, BP is “Beyond Petroleum.”

    Today, millions, perchance billions, believe this company has operated beyond the reach of what were presumed to be regulations.  Documents reveal that on countless occasions the oil giant violated government set standards .  With “willful neglect of safety rules, and penalties for manipulating energy markets” British Petroleum moved forward with an unmistakable mission, profits at any price.  Human and environmental tragedies were thought the cost of doing business. “Accidents” happen. People perish. Either or each is as milk spilled.  A company, as conventional wisdom taught British Petroleum, cannot cry over spilled milk, coffee, or oil.

    BP never has.  Throughout their more than century long existence cruelty has characterized the corporations policies and practices. BP is not only Beyond Petroleum.  This business is Beyond Belief.  

    Cravings Cut to Mother Earth’s Core


    In 2010, as America and the world watches and waits for the calamity of an oil well gone awry to end, most wonder why, how, when, and where did BP go wrong?  In actuality, the question is how, when, where, and why did people throughout the planet allow this to happen, over and over again until the scale of the calamity could not be controlled?  Perchance, people on this planet collectively decided not to cry over earlier “spills.”  For more than a century, we were satisfied with satiated gas tanks, and all the other products petroleum provides.

    Try as we might to justify our shared gluttony, it is difficult to imagine that anyone could truly deny the human thirst for fossil fuels has led us down the path of destruction.  We wanted Texas Tea, and what we now have is Gulf Coast Coffee.  

    People may wish to call what occurred a spill, and from what is read and heard in the Press, we do.  Yet, no object dropped.  No cup of oil can be turned upright.  Indeed, the only splash or spatter seen was blood.  We can safely say that life sustaining red fluid from human bodies was spilled.  However, the oil that rushes from the ocean’s ground is another sort of bleed.  The gusher from below is a hemorrhage.  It is an uncontrollable surge of fluid.  The oil that now fills the sea and covers the shores is the result of a puncture wound.  Pierce an artery and the effect is the same.

    Humans have purposely, physically hurt their Mother Earth and ultimately, themselves.  We have done anything and everything to feed our addiction.  People in the “civilized” world might be compared with any individual who desperately craves food, drink, or drugs.  We will do what we must to satisfy our desires, regardless of the fact that our folly will injure another.

    Thus, we drill hole after hole into our planet’s body.  Not long ago, actually days before the Deepwater Horizon rig was ablaze, citizens in this country chanted, in chorus with the Obama Administration, “Drill Baby Drill.”  

    Even two months after the catastrophe, as a nation we advanced the theme, and happily arranged to act on “Drill Baby Drill.”  The difference is, today, we express a bit of concern for what might be, but only a bit.

    To Clean, Wean, or Glean Greater Gulps of Coffee


    Americans have begun to recognize the hazards of oil consumption.  Still, very few think to immediately turn away from fossil fuels.  Only some consider an authentic overall investment in renewable energy.  The mantra of most is this must be a slow transition.  President Obama speaks to the people’s preference.  Gulf drilling only if we can ensure no more spills.  Keep the coffee coming.  Texas tea is more than a temptation.  It is America’s source of elation.  “Spills” can be sopped up.  Well, sort of.

    Conveniently, as addicts do, we rationalize.  Several say we have begun to wean ourselves. Besides, in the past, we controlled the Earth’s hemorrhages,  . . .or pretended to. Now we opportunely take no blame and call what has occurred a spill.  

    For so long we, just as British Petroleum, immersed ourselves in the “bliss” of ignorance.  The “spilled milk” adage has been our aide.  Thus, at present, we proudly search for solutions.  BP too has embraced this tradition, although the company’s attempts to answer the call might be considered clumsy , comical., and call into question the term “sweet crude.”

    Absolutely.  Something must be done.  We must find a way to stop the bleed.  Bandages have proven to be inadequate.  It has been confirmed; crafts and chemicals are calculated risks.  Numerous persons recall their childhood.  Mom’s tried and true traditional healing techniques were often the better cure to what ailed them.  Yes.  Scientists, Doctor Riki Ott among them, avow, there are natural common sense ways to clean and contain the flow that gushes from the Gulf floor.  However, as is often observed, BP has adopted not one of these.  In truth, the company dismissed all but four of the more than 35,000 ideas it received in the month of May.  These scant treasures were only “tested.”

    Also in May, a frantic Public Offered Ideas to Stop Oil Flow to the Government.  These too were rejected.  At the time, an Official said the US cannot take over cleanup duty. Let the coffee flow as we klatch, offered company Executives..

    Small communities adopted some natural alternatives.  The Obama Administration, which had relied solely on the vaunted wizardry of British Petroleum, has begun to be, ever so slightly, more engaged,  However, spokespersons say the government is reliant on the company’s tools, technology and expert talent.   Surely, it is evident; clean remediation is not BP’s standard.  The petroleum profiteer prefers the use of toxic chemical solutions, even those banned by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA].

    People are frustrated, as  the oil comes ashore.  BPs Chief Executive Officer offers absurd analysis and silly statements.  The beleaguered boss admits his job is on the line; however, he assesses the oil gusher and the gallons released into the wild as, “relatively tiny” compared with the “very big ocean”.

    Many have wondered why we do not use hay, hair, and other natural fibers to, at least, capture some of the oil as it spouts.  Limited supplies of one, fragility of  the other, does not negate the truth as stated by Myron Sullivan II, founder of Global Response Group (GRG), a well known industry expert on oil spill responses.  In an electronic mail message, he professed hay could be a good complement for other novel systems.  Indeed, the GRG prospectus emphasizes that many existing oil spill response solutions could be used in combination with its technology to contain and remove oil spills. Indeed, hay, hair, or other natural forms for cleanup could compliment and harmonize with any safe and sane system.

    While Mister Sullivan and his organization could realize capital gains if his own technological triumph was embraced, at least, for now, the creator of the AEROS system understands that biology works to benefit an ecosystem.  Surely, any organic alternative would be better than the various poisonous, preposterous, BP funded fumbles and follies the public has seen.

    At this moment in time, even a system such as AEROS is not an option.  No tested technique, hair and hay amongst these, has been incorporated into the cleanup and containment.   BP thinks it best to go it alone, to persuasively advertise, and advance only the message the company hopes will move the masses.

    Dollars are not doled out to those whose lives have been destroyed. Almost none of the billions from profits have been spent to hasten the prospect of Gulf water purification.   Nor has this cash and crude ravenous company donated dollars to other more sound endeavors.  British Petroleum is too busy ravaging the environment and destroying economic stability.

    Why?  The answer is perhaps as illogical as the attempts to cap the huge hole BP bored into Mother Earth’s flesh.  No matter what BP or other companies do, profits are the priority.  BP only wishes to capture and resell the crude. Critters, communities . . . These are as spilled coffee. . . only a concern to the degree they might create a problem for BP.

    References for a refinement of natural resources . . .

    Mother Earth to Millions, We Have a Problem



    Oil Booms & Bird Habitat – NWF visits important bird rookery

    copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

    Americans acknowledge there is a problem.  Petroleum pours out from a broken pipe.  Thousands of barrels of fuel flow freely through the Gulf of Mexico, just as they have for more than a month.  Plants, animals, and people are affected.  People express distress.  Millions are dismayed. What can BP do. Indeed what can any company or citizens do? Most call upon the President. Mister Obama, the electorate pleads, please, protect us.  These same citizens ignore that the protection we need is from ourselves.  Our present circumstances are a reflection of our past.  Many Americans have forgotten an earlier time, when another of this country’s Chief Executives attempted to avoid the nightmare we experience today.

    In 2010, people, plants and animals cry out in pain.  In 1977,  Americans laughed at Jimmy Carter when he appeared on television donned in a sweater.  President Carter had only been in Office for two weeks.  Decades ago, Mister Carter warned Americans.  The nation’s leader explained, if we continued to be as dependent on oil as we were, and are today, terrestrial doom would be our future.  Yet, few heeded the call.  Most did not take the President’s proclamation seriously.  Then, and now, citizens prefer to guzzle petroleum and plunge further into what we think of as the good life.  Our gluttonous ways have threatened the planet for a very long time.

    As we gaze upon oil-soaked birds on our Gulf Stream beaches, or listen to the words of British Petroleum’s President, people ponder only the present.   However, our history haunts us.  Our choices in the last century have created what comes ashore in this millennium.  Tarballs.  Dead animals including dolphins, and pelicans,  have perished.  So many species affected, all unable to survive the sludge.

    This is not a novel reality.  Americans, indeed, those in worldwide-civilized countries, have experienced similar catastrophes.  Nonetheless, humans persist.  People do as they desire to do.  Today, after the rig ruptured, man-“kind” engages in preventable hazardous activities, just as we have done before.  

    E.O. Wilson, a noted Harvard Professor and Researcher observes, “(F)or every animal celebrity that vanishes, biologists can point to thousands of species of plants and smaller animals either recently extinct or on the brink.”  The numbers can only be estimated. However, Professor Wilson believes that those gone from an Earthly existence are in the many thousands.  Regardless of the exact calculation, scientists agree; Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve.  

    “Measuring the rate at which new species evolve is difficult, but there’s no question that the current extinction rates are faster  . . . I think it’s inevitable,” said Simon Stuart, Chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.  The organization which officially declares species threatened and extinct cautions, as other conservation experts have.  The world is in the grip of the “sixth great extinction” of species.

    Humans have undone the natural balance.  People drive destruction.  Our craving for crude oil and coal kills natural habitats.  We hunt in ways that hurt the ecosystem, spread alien predators and promote disease.  The cruelty of climate change cannot be measured.

    Even so, two-legged mortals carry on without care for their Mother, Nature.  

    We allow what we cannot control or comprehend.  For a barrel full of petroleum, Mother Earth’s blood perhaps, or the baby she held safely in her womb. For centuries, man-“kind” drills deep into her skin, the Earth’s surface. Oh, of course scientists and the common folks surmise that man can do so without peril, regardless of “spills” or the effect of these on the environment.   People wish to profess; we understand the relationship between Mother Nature and Texas Tea, or Louisiana Sea crude.  Yet, might we consider what is evident?

    Today’s Americans are as people in the past were.  We are good at believing what we want to think true.  We criticize and ridicule anyone or action that place our personal comfort in jeopardy.  We chuckle when someone says we need to change!  We worry only about our cash flow.  A crippled economy concerns us more than birds, fish, fowl, flora, and the coral reef.

    A Governor’s decree in support of sustaining the oil industry while his wetlands and workers struggle to survive only serves to solidify what animals, mammals, and amphibian creatures already knew.  Mankind is crueler than any other critter; and yet, he or she calls him or herself humane.

    Please may we acknowledge that we are part of the planet? We need not be the perpetual problem.  Let us act as the Mother Earth’s Shepherd would and be the solution.

    References for a reality known long ago, realized, and ignored . . ..

    Meet the Meatrix





    copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

    As you gobble that fine food, be it steak, a frankfurter, roasted chicken, or an omelet, please, sit back relax. Put your feet up and stay a while.  I will furnish the entertainment in the form of a film. Meatrix is fun, fascinating, and far from folly.  This presentation is playful; the message profound.  

    You may recall the fairy tales you loved as a child.  The plots varied, although all had elements of mystery.  Adventures were abundant.  Tots were often so engrossed in the tales, they barely noticed that the themes taught a life lesson.  Meatrix is as the fables you once anxiously awaited and even asked others to read aloud to you.

    The main characters move you through the story.  Moopheus leads Leo through the world of rolling hills, the family farm, and into . . . Well, I do not wish to tell you the ending.  Please travel with the pair as they stroll along.  Follow them into the meadows and fields.  Allow yourself to suspend disbelief, or embrace mistrust.  Just as Leo, you and I, and the person who shares a meal with you, have a choice.  We can take the blue pill or the red one.  Fantasy or reality; either may be hard to swallow.  Nonetheless, let us indulge. The travel could be delicious . .  . or dreadful.  Are you ready to explore?  If so, let us go.  Let us meet Meatrix.  He will show you the way.  The decision to travel is yours.

    If you choose, to meet The Meatrix and Learn About the Issues, you may want to Take Action.  What can you do?  If you wish to, Spread the word.  At least, consider what you eat, where it came from, and what sacrifices were made for your breakfast, lunch, snack(s), or dinner.  Perchance, the “Happy Meal” is not such a bargain or worth the price we pay.

    15 Minutes




    Watch CBS News Videos Online

    copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

    Today, Americans are engrossed in earthquake coverage.  The tremor in Haiti bought unimaginable death and destruction just south of our borders.  Events related to the recovery and rescues emerge as banner headlines.  Haitians Seek Solace Amid the Ruins. For a week now, the struggle to survive, revive the injured, and retrieve the bodies strewn on the streets of Port-au-Prince was also the central theme of most every broadcast.  In the midst of the misery, many Americans, felt desperate for a reprieve from the devastation that emotionally drained them. Millions took time to escape in a welcome distraction.  Sassy, former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin Made Her Debut appearance on Fox.  Tomorrow another reality will replace these stories, just as each superseded the hoopla over Harry Reid’s reference to race.  Metaphorically, the tales provide persons, policies, and, or practices fifteen minutes of fame.  In actuality, these  fade from our mind quickly.  

    One narrative can and will replace another instantaneously.  Americans need only an inspiration, a titillation, a temptation, or a tease to turn their thoughts from one subject to another.  Over the next months and years, a myriad of yarns will receive quick and ample consideration.  Populist positions, presented with flare could captivate the country again and then again.

    A prominent person fallen from grace might be the nation’s next amusement.  A young boy, or girl, might seem to be in imminent danger.  Another sexy blonde accompanied by her husband could crash the White House gates.  People want “the dirt,” that is, as long as it is not toxic waste, or pollution news.

    Ability moves Americans.  We are attracted to appealing personalities, presentations, and performances.  Authority impresses us. We will tune in if, perchance, the President of United States makes an appearance.  The prospect of a sensational speech draws international attention.   This truth is not lost on regular people, politicians, or the President.  Any or each of these individuals might use this “reality” to their advantage.

    Mister Obama might, once again, plan to further his own fifteen minutes of renown.  On an issue as important as environmental imbalance, the nation’s Chief Executive did just that.   Mister Obama scheduled “about nine hours” to actively engage in climate change policy negotiations..  This might be considered a colossal amount of time.  After all, President Obama is, as many Americans are, busy.  

    Whilst true; people have much to do, perchance, the Chief Executive and citizens have become thrill seekers.  In this country countless wish to be the provocateur.  Others only crave the provocative.  Scientists who study climate change would want to be amongst those who roust the people. Their research, while they believe it to be racy, for most is nothing but mundane.

    The veracity is for most environmental explorations are as reality, mundane.  On Monday, it is snowy. Tuesday brings rain.   Wednesday will be sunny.  “Wait five minutes and the weather will change.”  What appears outside the window is merely a matter of natural conditions.  Excitement lies elsewhere. Enter animated images that move quickly across the screen.  Exit purported facts and figures.  Data does not deliver delightful moments.  Decoration, declarations, drama, any distraction, these are the diversions the Western Press provides, and the people demand.  

    Possibly, that is why most of us missed previous reports.  In September 1998, headlines heralded, what we experience in modern times is the Fastest mass extinction in Earth history.  While fascinating, this discovery was nowhere near as delicious as Bill Clinton’s testimony about his relationship with a young female assistant.  That little tidbit could easily occupy more than the measured fifteen minutes.

    Months earlier, the esteemed Washington Post, also examined the issue.  Mass Extinction Underway, Majority of Biologists Say.   However, for most humans, that morsel was nothing in contrast to the news that a Conservative Group Buys Reagan Ranch.

    That the research reveals humans may be the reason for this horrific destruction is nothing since our day of doom cannot be foreseen in the visible future.  The 680-acre Reagan spread being bought by Young America’s Foundation, a 29-year-old group that teaches patriotism, limited government, and other values espoused by the former President, surely that will have an affect on all of society.

    Of course, there was the article published late last August; Study Finds Big Storms on a 1,000-Year Rise.  Certainly, this is troublesome for those who  understand How Storms Can Trigger Earthquakes,   Unfortunately, few appreciate what they likely did not read, let alone realize.  No time to waste on climate change, report declares.

    Americans are preoccupied with the abrupt, instant, urgent, today and perchance tomorrow, the earthquake in Haiti.   What traditionally garners our attention is massive, murderous, moments that miss those of us in the States by mere miles.  In times such as these, Americans come out en masse.  We donate millions of dollars to a cause.  We cry for what has clearly been a crisis for years.  

    Yet, even as we attend to the plight inflicted upon those in Port-au-Prince, and throughout the Haitian terrain, we do not address the notion that man and womankind have an affect on what for eons ago was the natural balance.  In the midst of the mad rush to assist those who were injured during the seismic activity, most overlook what the majority of scientists thought obvious.  Research reveals Point to ‘Carbon Starvation’ as a Cause for Tree Mortality.

    It might be said that Americans were consumed with the current circumstances.  There was no time, not even fifteen minutes to contemplate columns that appeared alongside news of the trembler.  The truth might be that dry statistics do not sway people.  

    Prowess. Performance. Presence.  Power.  Pretty.  Americans are captivated by what they think cool.  Even corny tales can tempt people, or convince them of what is true.  Persons who are believed to be capable can also be a source of stimulation.  However, nothing compares to the person who falls from grace.  In a world full of individuals who watch television, endlessly, the trivial has replaced principled, profound, practical, and all that is pertinent.   A planet in peril, for citizens who pine for sizzle, is but a distant possibility.  Indeed, most muse; “In my lifetime, I have seen meteorological conditions change.”  The climate offers no warning.  The situation is not critical.

    Some in the Press choose to substantiate that sentiment.  Man-made CO2 has minimal effect on climate change, claim global-warming skeptics. Distraction, and the attempt to diminish the deluge of discoveries, is far more electrifying than what appears in scientific archives; Humans Linked to Climate Change.  NASA Study Links Earth Impacts to Human-Caused Climate Change   Perhaps, President Obama said it best long ago, when he was amongst the masses  In 2006, the Senator penned . . ..

    It’s hard to deny that all the sound and fury, magnified through television and the internet, coarsens the political culture. It makes tempers flare, helps breed distrust. And whether we politicians like to admit it or not, the constant vitriol can wear on the spirit.

    The spin works precisely because the media itself is hospitable to spin. Every reporter in Washington is working under pressure imposed by editors and producers, who in turn are answering to publishers or network executives, who in turn are pouring over last week’s ratings or last year’s circulation figures and trying to survive the growing preference for PlayStation and reality TV. The spin, the amplification of conflict, the indiscriminate search for scandal and miscues – the cumulative impact of all this is to erode any agreed-upon standards for judging the truth.

    Sadly, Mister Obama too can get caught up in the cult of culture of personalities, pandemics, Party politics, and a performance.  Given the chance to change the climate in a curative manner, an opportunity to transform policies, and amend practices that harm Mother Earth, Mister Obama faltered.   He fell into the habit that is all-too American.  Follow the favored fifteen minutes of fame rather than do the work necessary to understand, and bring about authentic change.

    It seems that Mister Obama did, as citizens do; he chose the path of least resistance.  President Obama  performed in a manner that maintains his celebrity status.  Originally, the Chief Executive expected his travel to Oslo to be ceremonial.   Initially, he wondered whether he would even go to the Summit.  Indeed, it was not until late in November 2009, the White House announced that Mister Obama, who previously had not committed to an appearance at the summit, decided he would deliver a speech.

    Extensive pressure from other world leaders and environmental advocates influenced America’s Chief Executive’s decision.  Most thought it vital that Mister Obama make the trip as a statement of American dedication to the climate change discussions. Heads of State from 190 nations, were expected to talk, and produce a definitive, albeit incomplete political declaration.  Surely, fame would be fleeting, if the possibility existed at all at the end of the twelve-day meeting.  A short, and less than fully constructive, Summit could not hope to strike a chord with viewers of reality television.

    Pass the cookies and milk.  American Idol is on the telly.  In a country once proud to be the most educated, people perceive airtime is the ultimate achievement.  If an individual has yet to appear on the screen, they gaze longingly at those who have.  People dream of the day when fame is theirs.

    Countless wish to be a star.  Be it Barack Obama who flies in solely for the show of an accord on climate change, only to offer none.  or the Golden Globe winners gone wild.  Fifteen minutes of fame is not nearly enough.    Vast numbers of individuals hope to create the video that will go viral, or a tweet that will be picked up by the press.  Perhaps, a facebook message will move the media to cover me, or as meteorological , biological, and experts in Climate Change say, our shared predicament  

    The statement the planet is in peril evokes but a small amount of excitement if that.  Indeed, those who see no visible sign of climate change say where is the evidence.  One day it is cold.  The next morning the weather report says it will be warm.  Tales that tell of a dramatic rise and fall of the temperature seem unreal to those who think all is well.  It is as it always was, millions cry, at least in my world.  For billions of beings, life is dull and dreary, that is until fifteen minutes of fame comes their way.  With climate change, a constant, legendary recognition could arrive sooner than later.

    Citizens could find themselves caught in a historic blizzard.  However, for the man in the Oval Office, just as for average American Jane’s and Joes, is a not big enough to make an impression on men, women, the President, Premiers,  who prefer to deny the abundance of documentation or answers to the question, does man, or do.Large Dams Alter Extreme Weather Patterns?

    As an attractive television meteorologist, a glorious good-looking girl [or gent] with a pointer demonstrates. We watch the visionaries who prance and dance on the screen.  Surely, a physically appealing person can predict the future with flare and finesse.  Scientists may know much, but do not entertain, titillate, or show us what we want, reality in the form of fun, folly, and fulfillment.  Perhaps, the planet in peril will furnish what environmental experts cannot.

    Reference Reality . .

    On The Issues

    Iss

    copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

    Wherever Americans turn, they are asked the same question; what issue is most important to you.  If you could, what would you tell the President of the United States to do?  What do you think must be his priority, or the country’s greatest concern.  Television commentators turn microphones on citizens.  Radio announcers inquire; what does the audience think.  Newspapers poll.  Organizations count survey ballots.  Legislators look for constituent answers in electronic mailboxes.  Each attempts to usher in a new era.  They want the common people to help shape the discussion.  

    Is the war in Iraq or Afghanistan the subject you believe he, or we should address first.  Do you have faith that Universal, Single Payer, Not for Profit Health Care would cure this nation’s ill?  Could education, or an equal opportunity to compete be the solution to our problems?  Must Congress restore the Constitution with the support of our Commander-In-Chief?  Might it be that Climate Change is our most pressing problem?  Civil Rights afforded to gays, straights, Blacks, Browns, persons, no matter their race, color, or creed certainly needs to be a serious consideration, as does the oft-identified issue number one, the economy.

    Democrats say they will deliver solutions.  Republicans repeat the contention, they know what we should do first and last.  Independents insist neither political Party addresses their anxieties.  The apathetic feel there is no reason to participate.  Partisan politics polarize the nation’s ability to act.  

    A few might muse; pragmatism may be the most powerful position.  Surely, the stream of replies to this issue-oriented inquiry will vary.  Each will test reason.  Yet, no lone logic will satisfy everyone within the electorate.  Thus, I submit  an inclusively that is more true for me.

    Were I able to speak to the President of the United States of America, if I could stand before Congress and address what matters most to me, I would say there is no interest of greatest import.

    For me, all issues are interrelated.  None can be considered more important than another.  Perhaps if people acknowledge that no man is an island we will become better as a world, as a country within a whole.  A lack of green technology starves the people and the planet.  Inadequate health care and education exacerbate the emptiness felt by any or all.  A hungry globe spawns war for dominance.  People want what they need.  Too frequently, individuals and nations are willing to fight for what they think is right, whatever will ensure their own existence.

    Mother Nature is no exception.  As she struggles for survival, she does all she can to sustain balance.  Her cries unheeded cause greater harm.  Wounds, left unattended bleed.  The pus from these lesions spills out on Earthy beings.  If we the people allow any of our ills to thrive, surely, no one will survive.  

    Please Mister President, do not ignore that we are one.  United we will stand.  If we divide the issues, we all will ultimately fall.

    Sources for surveys . . .

    I Have a Dream





    Obama’s Hopeful Economic Speech

    copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

    I have a dream.  I dream of a day when Americans will separate themselves from a difficult past.  I dream of a time when partisan politics will not divide us.  In my dream, I see a nation united; one in which Black children, white, Brown, yellow, and red offspring, people of any race, color, or creed will rise above their own imagined limits.  It is more than my hope, it is my vision that together, we as a nation can give birth to what others think unbelievable.  I have faith that my fellow man and I can give birth to what was not thought possible.  

    We can restore what was once good, and build what will be better.  Old habits need not challenge us.  These can be the catalyst for deep and authentic change.  We need only begin.

    I have a dream.  We will come together to construct the country our forefathers conceived of.  The time for internal strife has passed.  We must join as one to create a culture that cares.  

    In a twenty-first century, we must not repeat the errors of the past.  We must recognize there are jobs to expand, an infrastructure to install and strengthen, a fiscal system to fix, a health care structure to heal, and most importantly children to teach well.  

    I have a dream.  If we employ thoughtful policies, we will all be empowered.

    I aspire to be one among many in a community respectful of our environment.  I yearn to green our homes, and clean our streets.  I trust, if we invest in our infrastructure, stable careers will come.  Jobs will continue into perpetuity if we do as we desire.

    I have a dream.  Collectively, we can ensure that we will thrive on a planet, safe and sane.  We can grow enough crops to feed our people, preserve an abundant water supply.  We need not rape the land as we have, and eliminate species carelessly as we do.  We can survive if we come together with intent to do no harm; that is my dream.  Indeed, our physical, emotional and homeland security, depend on what we do now.

    I have a dream, that in a country, one known for the best, we can be the best.  We need not remain mired in our differences.  These distinctions can bury us in unnecessary documentation or debate.  Disputes will assure our shared doom.  Diversity, indeed, can bring us together if we choose to unite as one people with one mission, to be strong.

    We, as a country, as a people, as individuals, are more alike than dissimilar.  Each of us yearns for economic stability and success, separately, and for all.  Inside us, we understand, if my brother is hungry, I too will suffer.  We need only act on that veracity.

    If you doubt this as your truth, please ponder what we have lived in recent years.  We have seen the evidence of our connectedness in the foreclosure crisis.  Most of us have come to acknowledge that my monetary value is dependent on my neighbors.

    The fossil fuel predicament furthered the understanding of this truth.  My fellow citizen’s pain is mine, even at the pump.

    The health care crisis also offers an apt analogy, and we, as Americans must take this to heart.  If any of us think only of ourselves, and act in accordance, then we will adopt principles that ultimately, bring us down, slowly, one at a time, until the system crumbles.  Thus, is the tale of two cities, the Wall Street and Main Street debacle.  It is time for a shift.  There is a fierce urgency to now.

    I have a dream.  One day, we will recognize that the millions without adequate health care deplete our resources.  The persons whose education is inadequate hinder our own state of affairs.

    I envision a world in which my brethren believe we are all connected and act as though we are.   I have a dream, that we as a country, will ponder and produce a prophecy once thought impossible.

    Our President-Elect.  Barack Obama, also dreams.  He aspires, inspires, and gives us much to contemplate.

    Please peruse, the Transcript of the Speech on the Economy delivered today, January 8, 2009.  Share your thoughts for a future fulfilled.


    January 8, 2009

    Obama’s Speech on the Economy

    The following is a transcript of President-Elect Barack Obama’s speech on the economy, as prepared by Federal News Service.

    President-Elect Barack Obama: (Cheers, applause.)  Thank you. Everybody be seated. Thank you very much. (Applause continues.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause continues.) Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Please be seated. Thank you so much.

    Let me begin by thanking George Mason University for their extraordinary hospitality and to thank all the great friends, the governors, the mayors, who are in attendance here today.

    Throughout America’s history, there have been some years that simply rolled into the next without much notice or fanfare, and then there are the years that come along once in a generation, the kind that mark a clean break from a troubled past and set a new course for our nation. This is one of those years.

    We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime, a crisis that has only deepened over the last few weeks. Nearly 2 million jobs have been now lost, and on Friday we’re likely to learn that we lost more jobs last year than at any time since World War II. Just in the past year, another 2.8 million Americans who want and need full-time work have had to settle for part-time jobs. Manufacturing has hit a 28-year low. Many businesses cannot borrow or make payroll. Many families cannot pay their bills or their mortgage. Many workers are watching their life savings disappear. And many, many Americans are both anxious and uncertain of what the future will hold.

    Now, I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible. If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future. And our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and our standing in the world.

    In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.

    This crisis did not happen solely by some accident of history or normal turn of the business cycle, and we won’t get out of it by simply waiting for a better day to come or relying on the worn-out dogmas of the past. We arrived at this point due to an era of profound irresponsibility that stretched from corporate boardrooms to the halls of power in Washington, D.C.

    For years, too many Wall Street executives made imprudent and dangerous decisions, seeking profits with too little regard for risk, too little regulatory scrutiny, and too little accountability. Banks made loans without concern for whether borrowers could repay them, and some borrowers took advantage of cheap credit to take on debt they couldn’t afford. Politicians spent taxpayer money without wisdom or discipline and too often focused on scoring political points instead of problems they were sent here to solve. The result has been a devastating loss of trust and confidence in our economy, our financial markets and our government.

    Now, the very fact that this crisis is largely of our own making means that it’s not beyond our ability to solve. Our problems are rooted in past mistakes, not our capacity for future greatness. It will take time, perhaps many years, but we can rebuild that lost trust and confidence. We can restore opportunity and prosperity.

    We should never forget that our workers are still more productive than any on Earth. Our universities are still the envy of the world. We are still home to the most brilliant minds, the most creative entrepreneurs and the most advanced technology and innovation that history has ever known. And we are still the nation that has overcome great fears and improbable odds.

    If we act with the urgency and seriousness that this moment requires, I know that we can do it again. That is why I have moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jump- start job creation and long-term growth. It’s a plan that represents not just new policy, but a whole new approach to meeting our most urgent challenges. For if we hope to end this crisis, we must end the culture of “anything goes” that helped create it. And this change must begin in Washington. It’s time to trade old habits for a new spirit of responsibility. It is time to finally change the ways of Washington so that we can set a new and better course for America.

    There is no doubt that the cost of this plan will be considerable. It will certainly add to the budget deficit in the short term. But equally certain are the consequences of doing too little or nothing at all, for that will lead to an even greater deficit of jobs, incomes and confidence in our economy.

    It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe.

    Only government can break the cycle that are crippling our economy — where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending; where an inability to lend and borrow stops growth and leads to even less credit.

    That’s why we need to act boldly and act now to reverse these cycles. That’s why we need to put money in the pockets of the American people, create new jobs, and invest in our future. That’s why we need to restart the flow of credit and restore the rules of the road that will ensure a crisis like this never happens again.

    And this plan begins with — this plan must begin today, a plan I am confident will save or create at least 3 million jobs over the next few years. It is not just another public-works program; it’s a plan that recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment — the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all around the country, there’s so much work to be done. And that’s why we’ll invest in priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century. That’s why the overwhelming majority of the jobs created will be in the private sector, while our plan will save the public sector jobs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and others who provide vital services.

    To finally spark the creation of a clean-energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75 percent of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of 2 million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills. In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced — jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings, and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.

    To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its cost, we will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years all of America’s medical records are computerized. This will cut waste, eliminate red tape, and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests. But it just won’t save billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, it will save lives by reducing the deadly but preventable medical errors that pervade our health care system.

    To give our children the chance to live out their dreams in a world that’s never been more competitive, we will equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges and public universities with 21st-century classrooms, labs and libraries. We’ll provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers so that students in Chicago and Boston can compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future.

    To build an economy that can lead this future, we will begin to rebuild America. Yes, we’ll put people to work repairing crumbling roads, bridges and schools by eliminating the backlog of well-planned, worthy and needed infrastructure projects, but we’ll also do more to retrofit America for a global economy. That means updating the way we get our electricity by starting to build a new smart grid that will save us money, protect our power sources from blackout or attack, and deliver clean, alternative forms of energy to every corner of our nation. It means expanding broadband lines across America so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world. And it means investing in the science, research and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.

    And finally, this recovery and reinvestment plan will provide immediate relief to states, workers and families who are bearing the brunt of this recession. To get people spending again, 95 percent of working families will receive a thousand-dollar tax cut, the first stage of a middle-class tax cut that I promised during the campaign and will include in our next budget. To help Americans who have lost their jobs and can’t find new ones, we’ll continue the bipartisan extension of unemployment insurance and health-care coverage to help them through this crisis. Government at every level will have to tighten its belt, but we’ll help struggling states avoid harmful budget cuts, as long as they take responsibility and use the money to maintain essential services like police, fire, education and health care.

    Now, I understand that some might be skeptical of this plan. Our government has already spent a good deal of money, but we haven’t yet seen that translate into more jobs or higher incomes or renewed confidence in our economy. And that’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan won’t just throw money at our problems; we’ll invest in what works. The true test of the policies we’ll pursue won’t be whether they’re Democratic or Republican ideas, whether they’re conservative or liberal ideas, but whether they create jobs, grow our economy, and put the American Dream within reach of the American people.

    Instead of politicians doling out money behind a veil of secrecy, decisions about where we invest will be made transparently, and informed by independent experts wherever possible. Every American will be able to hold Washington accountable for these decisions by going online to see how and where their taxpayer dollars are being spent. And as I announced yesterday, we will launch an unprecedented effort to eliminate unwise and unnecessary spending that has never been more unaffordable for our nation and our children’s future than it is right now.

    We have to make tough choices and smart investments today so that as the economy recovers, the deficits start coming down. We cannot have a solid recovery if our people and our businesses don’t have confidence that we’re getting our fiscal house in order. And that’s why our goal is not to create a slew of new government programs, but a foundation for long-term economic growth.

    That also means an economic recovery plan that is free from earmarks and pet projects. I understand that every member of Congress has ideas about how to spend money, and many of these projects are worthy. They benefit local communities. But this emergency legislation must not be the vehicle for those aspirations. This must be a time when leaders in both parties put the urgent needs of our nation above our own narrow interests.

    Now, this recovery plan alone will not solve all the problems that led us into this crisis. We must also work with the same sense of urgency to stabilize and repair the financial system we all depend on. That means using our full arsenal of tools to get credit flowing again to families and business, while restoring confidence in our markets. It means launching a sweeping effort to address the foreclosure crisis so that we can keep responsible families in their homes.

    It means preventing the catastrophic failure of financial institutions whose collapse could endanger the entire economy, but only with maximum protections for taxpayers and a clear understanding that government support for any company is an extraordinary action that must come with significant restrictions on the firms that receive support. And it means reforming a weak and outdated regulatory system so that we can better withstand financial shocks and better protect consumers, investors and businesses from the reckless greed and risk- taking that must never endanger our prosperity again.

    No longer can we allow Wall Street wrongdoers to slip through regulatory cracks. No longer can we allow special interests to put their thumbs on the economic scales. No longer can we allow the unscrupulous lending and borrowing that leads only to destructive cycles of bubble and bust.

    It is time to set a new course for this economy, and that change must begin now. We should have an open and honest discussion about this recovery plan in the days ahead, but I urge Congress to move as quickly as possible on behalf of the American people. For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs; more families will lose their savings; more dreams will be deferred and denied; and our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

    That is not the country I know. It is not a future I accept as president of the United States. A world that depends on the strength of our economy is now watching and waiting for America to lead once more, and that is what we will do.

    It will not come easy or happen overnight, and it is altogether likely that things may get worse before they get better. But that is all the more reason for Congress to act without delay. I know the scale of this plan is unprecedented, but so is the severity of our situation. We have already tried the wait-and-see approach to our problems, and it is the same approach that helped lead us to this day of reckoning.

    And that is why the time has come to build a 21st-century economy in which hard work and responsibility are once again rewarded. That’s why I’m asking Congress to work with me and my team day and night, on weekends if necessary, to get the plan passed in the next few weeks. That’s why I’m calling on all Americans — Democrats and Republicans and independents — to put — to put good ideas ahead of the old ideological battles, a sense of common purpose above the same narrow partisanship, and insist that the first question each of us asks isn’t “What’s good for me?” but “What’s good for the country my children will inherit?”

    More than any program or policy, it is this spirit that will enable us to confront these challenges with the same spirit that has led previous generations to face down war and depression and fear itself. And if we do — if we are able to summon that spirit again; if are able to look out for one another and listen to one another, and do our part for our nation and for posterity — then I have no doubt that, years from now, we will look back on 2009 as one of those years that marked another new and hopeful beginning for the United States of America.

    Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.)

    Reference a referendum on change we can believe in . . .

    Clean Coal and the Clause

    (Today it is oil.  Just as President Bush, Mister Obama is concerned only with the use of “foreign” oil, or fossil fuels brought to our shores from abroad.  Domestic fuels, fossil or otherwise, for him, are fine.

    Obama’s Oil Drilling Plan Draws Critics From Both Sides

    The plan, which Mr. Obama said would balance the need to produce more domestic energy while protecting natural resources, would allow drilling along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska. It would end a longstanding moratorium on exploration from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

    – promoted by Betsy L. Angert)



    Barack Obama Supports Developing Clean Coal Technology

    copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

    You better watch out!

    Better not cry!

    Better not pout!

    I’m telling you why,

    Santa Claus is comin’ to town.

    He’s making a list

    and checking it twice.

    He’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice.

    Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town.

    We better watch out.  We better not cry.  While Santa checks his list twice, so too might you and I.  The ebony chunks Old Saint Nick might place in our stocking, contrary to what coal corporation sponsored commercials might claim, are not clean.  Nor is this source of energy cheap.  When used as a resource for power, this sedimentary rock is dirty, deadly, and digs deep into the pocketbooks, and personal lives, of those the industry touches.  In America, that may be you and me.

    • Millions of acres across 36 states have been dynamited, torn, and churned into bits by strip mining in the last 150 years.
    • More than 60 percent of all coal mined in the United States today, in fact, comes from strip mines.
    • In the “United States of Coal,” Appalachia has become the poster child for strip mining’s worst depravations, which come in the form of mountaintop removal.
    • An estimated 750,000 to 1 million acres of hardwood forests, a thousand miles of waterways and more than 470 mountains and their surrounding communities — an area the size of Delaware — have been erased from the southeastern mountain range in the last two decades.
    • Thousands of tons of explosives — the equivalent of several Hiroshima atomic bombs — are set off in Appalachian communities every year.
    • More than 104,000 miners in America have died in coal mines since 1900.
    • Twice as many have died from black lung disease.
    • Dangerous pollutants, including mercury, filter into our air and water (through mining practices.)
    • The injuries and deaths caused by overburdened coal trucks are innumerable.
    • A recent report reveals that in the last six years the Mine Safety and Health Administration decided not to assess fines for more than 4,000 violations.

    Source . . . Washington Post.  Jeff Biggers is the author of “The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightenment to America.”

    Mister Claus; however, will not ignore the signs or signals.  He knows when we are sleeping.  He knows when we are awake.  Jolly Old Saint Nick also knows we have been bad or good; thus, he shrugs as he says, ‘for heavens sake.’  

    The man in the red suit, from his North Pole residence, feels the effect of Americans who have been naughty, not nice, to the planet.  He wonders why, after all these centuries, citizens of the United States do not grasp the notion he has thought to teach for all these years.  Coal is not a gift.  The petroleum product is placed in the stockings of children who have been cruel, adults too.  Old Saint Nick sighs for he sees that his message has been long lost.  

    Yes, tis true; just as people sing; Santa Claus is comin’ to town.  However, while his sleigh is weighted down with packages, his heart is heavy with woe.  Will the reindeer soon be extinct?  Might the air be too contaminated for his herd and him to breathe?  Could it be children will no longer be snug in their beds. Might the visions that dance in little ones heads be horrific reminders of what has aired on the news.  The ice shelves collapsed and seawaters rose.

    As the 2008, Presidential election came to a close Mrs Claus told her husband, Santa, to hope.  She said, on January 21, 2009, President Elect Obama’s first full day in office, certainly, there would be a change.  However, Saint Nick saw reason to think otherwise.  He has listened to Barack Obama for quite some time.  Mister Claus has looked at the soon-to-be Chief Executive’s record, and he realizes there has been little for him to believe in.

    Kriss Kringle is optimistic as he contemplates the recent energy appointments.  Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and proclaims to be on a “mission” to ensure the United States is “the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy,” was selected to be the next Energy Secretary.  

    Carol M. Browner, an Administrator from the Environmental Protection Agency under Bill Clinton, who worked vehemently for stringent air pollution standards, will direct a new White House position.  She might be considered the Czar of Energy, Environmental, and Climate Policies.

    Lisa P. Jackson, former head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and a fervent advocate for green energy, has been asked to head the Obama Environmental Protection Agency.  Nancy Sutley, a Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles for Energy and Environment, with a long record on environmental and natural resources policy, will Chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality.   Santa says, that is all good.  Yet, he still feels great concern.  Can Barack Obama change his ways.  Aware of the fact that Americans are comfortable with coal, will the President Elect continue to pacify the people who selected him to serve?

    Mister Claus is less buoyant when he considers Congress, which has, for so long strengthened the hold the industry has on energy policies.  Coal lobbyists, Kriss Kringle muses, are a powerful bunch.  All of those who support the status quo, which includes the use of fossil fuels are as children coddled and content, even when given a gift of coal.

    Hence, Santa is apprehensive.  Will policies change?  Climate certainly has.  For decades, Mister Claus has pretended to be happy when in the presence of little ones.  In public, he bellowed a blissful “Ho, ho, ho.”  However, when at home, alone with the Missus, the man in the red flannels and furs spoke of his truer trepidation.  Santa, quotes, Stanford University biologist Terry Root; “We’re out of time.  Things are going extinct.”

    The once jolly man reads the gloomy reports in the press.  He peruses the United States Enviornmental Protection Agency literature in his desire to verify the conclusions.  Unlike the skies and seas, it seems clear.   Climate change, he contends, is real.

    “U.S. emissions have increased by 20 percent since 1992.  China has more than doubled its carbon dioxide pollution in that time.  World carbon dioxide emissions have grown faster than scientists’ worst-case scenarios.  Methane, the next most potent greenhouse gas, suddenly is on the rise again and scientists fear that vast amounts of the trapped gas will escape from thawing Arctic permafrost.

    The amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has already pushed past what some scientists say is the safe level.”

    Santa wonders of what the future might bring.  Missus Claus again avows, there is reason to hope.  However, Saint Nick reflects on what he thinks an apt comparison.  A proud parent will ignore obvious impish behaviors.  A mother or father will consider imprudent actions acceptable.  Papa or Mama will tell themselves a child has potential.  A devoted Mommy or Daddy will declare their progeny are decidedly different.  He, or she, will be unlike any other offspring who might misbehave.  

    Caregivers will do as Barack Obama has done in the past, posit policies that while profound do not alter behaviors.  Indeed, strategies that lack the substance that sustains a transition encourage greater mischief.  Mister Claus cannot forget what remains on Barack Obama’s webpage even after he announced a change in energy consultants; Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology

    President Elect Obama has said we can grow clean coal expertise.  Americans, reluctant to authentically change agree.  Santa pleads, “Please!”

    Days ago, is a moment of deep despair Kriss Kringle turned to the television.  He endeavored to lose himself as Americans have, in thoughts of whimsy.  Yet, as he tuned in, he is horrified to see what reminds him of the power of persuasion.  Misinfomercials market; coal is clean.  Little lumps of black carbon sing.

    Frosty the Coal Man, is a jolly happy soul.

    He’s abundant here in America and he helps our economy roll.

    Frosty the Coal Man, is getting cleaner every day.

    He’s affordable and adorable and helps workers keep their pay.

    There must have been some magic in clean coal technology,

    For when they looked for pollutants there was nearly none to see.

    Santa grimaced and cringed.  While he welcomed the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity decision to suspend the spirited campaign intended to convince Americans that coal is clean and good, Saint Nick surmised, the people and perchance the nation’s newer Chief Executive will continue to ignore obvious, and intentionally invisible behavior.  

    Santa ponders; the past has long been prologue, regardless of what is experts, said to former Presidents and the one soon-to-be.  Chief Executives were told just as Barack Obama is today.  There is ‘little time left to curb’ the crisis.  ‘(T)he world has just a few years to make deep cuts in emissions.’ If few or no changes are made, worldwide people and creatures will perish.  

    Other Officers of the people postured as the President Elect did, after a conference with former Vice President Al Gore, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming.   The President Elect stated, “The time for delay is over; the time for denial is over.”  

    However, Kriss Kringle contends, this suggested commitment to transformation could be challenged and Santa Claus offers his arguments.  He checked his list.  He reviewed it twice.  After a through assessment, Mister Claus is hesitant to believe that Barack Obama will be the clean, the green, change the globe needs.  

    Santa knows what records reveal.  As a Senator, and as a Presidential candidate, Obama supported clean coal.  The American people had been persuaded to depend on the fossil fuel.  Congress was convinced coal was clean, cheap, and worth the investment.  Indeed, Saint Nick knows, Congress loves coal.  That, the man in the red suit says, as he mounts his sleigh, and heads for hills whose tops have been removed for coal excavation, is naughty not nice.

    Overwhelmed with woe and wonder, as Old Saint Nick flew through the sky he pondered the many lumps of coal he had planned to deliver.  He wondered.  Might there be a better way to communicate his concern for behavior that is bad.  Could he part the seas, pummel the terrain with snow, sleet, and hail?  Might he move mountains, melt the frozen masses at the poles?  Would wind gusts be the best way to warn the American people, Congress, coal corporation campaigners, and the President Elect?  No, he concluded; Mother Nature tried each of these.

    So Santa surmised, all he could do was to shout; “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, a Cherished Chanukah, a Joyous Kwanzaa, a Cheery Ramadan to all, and to all, if you prolong a confidence in coal for power, this may be our last night.”

    Resources for coal; clean and dirty . . .