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

Clean Coal; Bloody Hands



Mine Explosion Survivor Interview

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Citizens heard the news.  In West Virginia, twenty-five people perished.  Hard-working miners left their homes and loved ones, never to return again.  Upper Big Branch, a colliery owned and operated by the Massey Energy Company exploded from within.  The cavern, filled with gas, was often thought to be a death trap.  Family, friends, and familiars knew this, as did government officials.  Actually, any American who cares to be cognizant of the countless considerations associated with coal mining could have predicted what occurred only days ago.  Yet, most choose not to think of their own culpability in the most recent deaths.  Nor do our countrymen and women contemplate the constant infirmity and harm they do to our fellow humans.  We are busy.

Nonetheless, that does not negate that we have blood on our hands.  Every person who resides in this country is partially responsible for this blast and the loss of bodies who will forever lie still.  We, the people, love our luxuries and all the energy these consume. We allow ourselves to be appeased, and say nothing of our dependence on coal.  We only wish to free ourselves from foreign fossil fuels. Hence, we declare, coal is clean.  

Indeed, it is a dirty black rock and does many dastardly deeds when mined and burned.  We cannot wash our hands of the climate we change when we cut mountaintops and strip the land. Our intentional use of coal causes injury and illness.  Intellectually we know this; yet, we think ourselves innocent.  In truth, the American people cannot absolve themselves; the many tragedies we accept, over and over again. The supposed accidents are what we create!

Mine Operator Escaped Added Oversight After Warning,

By Michael Cooper and Ian Urbina.

The New York Times.

April 8, 2010

The operator of the West Virginia mine that exploded on Monday, killing at least 25 people, was warned by federal officials just over two years ago that it could be cited for having a “pattern of violations,” which would have allowed far stricter federal oversight of the mine. But the mine escaped the stepped-up enforcement even though it continued to amass violations, federal records show.

Why, after such a long history of injury and death, does coal mining remain so dangerous?

The mine, known as the Upper Big Branch and operated by the Massey Energy Company, was warned that it had a “potential pattern of violations” in a Dec. 6, 2007 letter from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The letter noted that the mine had received 204 violations that were deemed serious and significant over the previous two years, well above average.

But six months later, the safety agency announced that the Upper Big Branch mine, and 19 others that were warned that December, had all instituted plans to fix their problems, and had received fewer violations. They all escaped the added oversight, which would have allowed the federal government to close down the mines every time they found a significant violation.

Sources of Energy and Explosive Truisms . . .

Car Manufacturers Con



Automakers Return With A Plan

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Weeks ago House Representatives refused to award the auto industry a blanket bailout or even a bridge loan.  Policymakers insisted they must see a reasonable plan to revamp a business near bankruptcy.  The legislators set a deadline for delivery of the proposal, December 2, 2008.  This same date was reserved for another auto review; in Florida a delayed vote on emission regulations would finally be realized.  The two tales may seem separate; certainly, the cities where Congresspersons will meet are far apart.  Nonetheless, the sagas are inexorably connected.

As automobile manufacturers submit plans that advocate an eagerness to adjust to a new reality, at the same time they lobby the automobile sector, as they know it.

Consumers, taxpayers, may have already been critical of the industry; yet the question is, will fear of widespread job loss cause common citizens and Congress not to inquire as they might.  Is an anxious America too anxious to ask; have we not seen this house of cards, or cars, once before.  Did the car corporations not deal from the bottom of the deck in the past and might they again do us in?  The American people need only consider the dichotomy of two news stories.  On December 2, 2008, Big Three automakers try again for a bailout, and (Florida) State panel ponders stiff rules on car emissions.  

In Washington, this Tuesday, with hat in hands the automobile manufacturers submitted their plan to Congress.  The plea was as a cry of “mea culpa.”  In Florida, the Big Three forge ahead with a contradictory strategy.  They endeavor to delay a green development.

The car corporations Chief Executives prepare to sit on the Hill.  The perhaps duplicitous tycoons hope  to beseech lawmakers in the next few days.  Please forgive us they may whimper.  As requested, we have spent weeks away from the world of Washington.  The Big Three might tear as they proclaim the error of their ways and ask for forgiveness.  Corporate tycoons have been humbled.  Automakers state they will change their ways.  If the trio can obtain a bridge loan, they promise to be good, penny wise, and not pound foolish, if only given a second chance.

Admittedly, the triad say, our first attempt to explain the dilemma was a lemon.  They understand the reason the House of Representatives asked General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler to provide lawmakers with detailed plans on how they might use federal money to ensure their long-term survival.  For General Motors, Rick Wagoner, Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally, and Chrysler’s Robert Nardelli resigned themselves to the reality, twenty-five billion would not be forthcoming if the dole was used only to avoid an immediate collapse.  Today, December 2, 2008, the three declared would be a new dawn.  

The automobile moguls have abandoned the use of private jets.  The significance of what had became a symbol of corporate greed was not lost on the entrepreneurs who now pledge to be frugal.

For the return trip to Washington, Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally will drive to the scheduled Thursday hearing in a in a gas-electric hybrid vehicle.  General Motors and Chrysler Corporations released reports that their CEOs would not fly in personal planes.  The implication is business class was just fine.  Word is the auto-industry Senior Administrators agreed to a substantial pay cut.  The public is told two of the executives would work for a salary of one dollar a year.  A paltry one hundred pennies would suffice.  Sources do not mention the millions that these three might have spent, saved, and stashed away for years.  Likely, they have plenty of money, individually to survive.

Instead, talk is of strategies to sell off lines that do not do well or are no longer viable sources of income.  General Motors has arranged to put it Hummer division on the market.  Granted, that was done six long months ago.  Now, the car company considers the sale of Saab, or even Pontiac, and perhaps Saturn.

Ford’s management was able to secure a buyer for Jaguar and Land Rover.  Indian carmaker Tata Motors purchased the products earlier.  Alan Mulally, on Monday, mentioned he would acquire funds from the sale of another luxury line, Volvo.  The magnate also stated Ford Motor Company could survive if the recession were not as long and deep as some fear.  Deflation or Depression could wipe his company out, as could the connection to a failed General Motors or Chrysler.

What was not offered of on the federal Hill was that which occurred concurrently in the flatlands of Florida.  On the same day that the automakers expressed their woe, and willingness to be different, to the Congressional leaders in Washington, they attempted to thwart progress in The Everglade State.  As the manufacturers plead their case earlier in the District of Columbia, in Florida, the industry tycoons stood firm in their decision to maintain the status quo.  

The nation’s most important industry is putting its best effort into lobbying Washington and Tallahassee instead of designing and building cars and light trucks that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The Big Three showed reckless disdain for the idea of new designs and the development of vehicles that used renewable energy.  Despite the concerns expressed by Florida Governor Charlie Crist and the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the automakers have actively worked against the adoption of clean car standards in the South East.

Thirteen [13] other States have thankfully assumed the same stricter California standards.  It is increasingly obvious that the people prefer to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tail pipes.  Yet, lobbyists for the car manufacturers knowingly choose to defy the desires of the public.  The Big Three do as they have done for decades.  As they attest to their guilt, they work to undermine actual progress.

General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler turn to the federal government whenever they can.  In Florida, the trio requests, the people be patient.  The automobile-makers avow the citizens “should wait a few weeks longer.”  Industry leaders decisively declare Washington will impose stringent standards soon.  Again the words not uttered by the Big Three are the ones most worthy.

The federal standards the car companies are still waiting for, known as CAFE, have yet to be enacted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Instead, the headlines have all been about the car companies being rebuffed in Washington as they’ve sought taxpayer funds to cover years of bad business decisions . . .

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) conducted a study of the proposed rules affect in Florida and found that consumers who purchase vehicles that are compliant with the standard spend less on gasoline on a monthly basis than the increase in their monthly auto loan payment.  This direct, short-term consumer pocketbook test alone justifies ERC ratification of the standard.

The CFA report also found that the clean car standard serves the long-term consumer interest because reduced gasoline consumption reduces the vulnerability of the economy to price shocks, enhances national security and improves public health and the environment

Perchance the automobile moguls are not as dishonest they appear to be.  They may be but blinded by a desire to recover from losses too deep to imagine.  Reports also released today, December 2, 2008, reveal November, sales fell drastically.  General Motors sold 41 percent fewer vehicles although they began a year-end clearance sale several weeks early.  The former industry leader sees the writing on the walls.  

The triumphant vehicle producer Toyota also suffered a 33.9 percent fall from grace.  The Japanese company that had long claimed glorious sales offered phenomenal incentives to purchase their wares.  Yet, still they were virtually crippled by an economic crisis.  Honda’s sales also declined, 31.6 percent.  Ford Motor Company fared only slightly better.  The corporation with “a better idea” lost 30.6 percent in sales.  Even the esteemed BMW [Bavarian Motor Works] said its sales dwindled.  The numbers were a startling 26.8 percent below what they has been in previous months.

While there is abundant reason to worry, and fear for the future, if Americans lose sight of what the Big Three truly do, consumers will again be duped as we were decades ago.  No cry or intent to change, can cast a new course.  Citizens and Congress could choose to invite a crucial conversation.  The people and policymakers might explain; had General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler come to the Chambers and said, we have decided to work with Florida lawmakers and secure stricter standards, perchance lawmakers and laymen would believe the trio intended to retool.  

Were the car companies to state and relate  a need to impose stiff regulations on the industry that had served them well, Americans might trust the sincerity of those who now beg for a financial advance.  Had the Big Three done more than ask for more dough, and sell-off the securities that tie them down, then, maybe the American consumer, taxpayers, could believe as the Chief Executives claim, there is a need to be benevolent.  Such assurances have not materialized.  Obstinate actions have.

It is said, the Almightily helps those who help themselves.  Perhaps, the public and policymakers might do the same.

Sources of sorrow, sales, and auto industry realities . . .

Palin discusses potential plans for America.



CNN/Palin Interview “you gave Biden a pass

Sarah Palin one-on-one

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Sarah Palin speaks and America listens.  This evening, on October 21, 2008, the Vice Presidential aspirant shared what she believes are her strengths in an interview with Cable News Network Drew Griffin.

Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin vowed on Tuesday to use her executive experience to tackle government reform and energy independence if she and Sen. John McCain win this year’s presidential election.

“It’s going to be government reform because that, that is what I’ve been able to do as a mayor and as a governor, you, you take on the special interests and the self-dealings.  Yep, you ruffle feathers and you have the scars to prove it,” Palin said Tuesday in an interview with CNN’s Drew Griffin.

“You have to take that on to give the American people that faith back in their own government.  This is their government and we’ve got to put it back on their side,” she said.

The American people are the allies Palin seeks in her pursuit of the Vice Presidency.  However, she realized, belatedly, earlier in this month she offended a few.  Sarah Palin expressed her sincere sorrow.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin apologized yesterday for implying that some parts of the country are more American than others . . .

The Chief Executive from Alaska, Palin proclaimed, surely, her words were misconstrued.  She never meant to imply that the patriotic values of some are evident in “the real America,” the “pro-America areas of this great nation.”  

Perchance her words were not interpreted accurately.  The potential Vice President proposed that Democrats and the press demonize her.  The lovely lady Governor Palin prodded the Journalist who sat before her.

Drew, you need to ask your colleagues and I guess your bosses or whoever is — whoever is in charge of all of this, why does Joe Biden get a pass on such a thing?

Can you imagine if I would have said such a thing?  No, I think that we would be hounded and held accountable for, what in the world did you mean by that, V.P., presidential candidate?  

The former Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin denied that was her intention to divide the citizenry.  She did not wish to incite a culture clash.  “I don’t want that misunderstood,” Governor Palin said.  “If that’s the way it came across, I apologize.”

In a desire to advance a more authentic sense of what Sarah Palin meant to state, she explained.  “I do not want that misunderstood.

When I go to these rallies, and we see the patriotism just shining through these people’s faces and the Vietnam veterans wearing their hats so proudly, and they have tears in their eyes as we sing our national anthem, and it is so inspiring.  And I say that this is true America.  You get it.  You understand how important it is that, in the next four years, we have a leader who will fight for you.

I certainly don’t want that interpreted as one area being more patriotic or more American than another.”  Yet, the words might still worry some that do not feel they fit the definition Governor Palin provides.  Some may wonder what of those who are not veterans, do not attend a McCain Palin jamboree.  If an individual does not sing the sacred American song and cry in Palin’s presence do they not love this country.  

Please view the video; ponder the interview.  Then decide for yourself, did the press give Sarah Palin a pass or did the Governor garner praise for what was less than laudable.

References for a Sarah Palin Reality. . .

My Hair; His Energy Policy



Bush Oil Dancing!

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

“Drill baby, drill,” is the now ever-present and popular battle-cry for many Americans.  From Presidential candidates to everyday people, those who wish to consume sweet light crude as they have for a more than a century remind me of my hair, and the current President’s energy policy.  I ponder the parallels and invite you to consider . . .

During a recent press conference, as I gazed upon the President of the United States, noticeably aged after years in the Oval Office, I thought of my hair and my history.  His wavy gray locks are not as the strands that fall from my head.  Nor did the diminutive curl that danced on his brow remind me of my own tresses.  The style the Chief Executive donned did not resemble the permanent waves, pompadours, or ponytails I once wore.  As George W. Bush spoke of his energy policy, I pondered.  His approach to petroleum and power were as the methodology I embraced when I colored my hair.  

For years, I addressed the truth of my tresses just as the President assesses the paradox of propulsion.  In speech after speech, George W. Bush proposes, as he did on this occasion; America needs to end its addiction to oil.  In the past, I proclaimed, I need to bring to a halt the habit of dying my hair.  I, as President Bush, postured and yet, I did next to nothing to truly take me closer to my stated objective.

My progression towards a chemical free treatment of my hair was, as it seems Mister Bush’s advancement is.  I avoided more authentic change than I approached.  My evolution was perhaps slowed by love.  The tale of transformation began oh, so long ago.

Decades ago, I met a man who felt like family.  Indeed, emotionally Eugene was part of my intimate circle.  Gene did much with my Mom, Dad, brother, and I.  As a pair, Eugene and I often ventured off together.  We chatted on the telephone, spent time in each other’s home.  We were close.  This fine fellow was influential in many aspects of my life.  I respected his opinion.  I valued his friendship.  His wisdom often wowed me.  

Thus, when my good friend Gene, who was also my hairdresser, told me the tint would brighten my face, I thought he must have reason to think this sage advice.  At first, I protested.  As insecure as I was about my appearance, I was confident that my natural hair color was perfect.  Still, I considered the source.  Therefore, I trusted the recommendation.

Possibly, George W. Bush could share a similar story.  A loved one might have said, “Your future will be bright if you dabble in petroleum.  extraction”  “Build an oil well, my boy, and become a billionaire, or at least a multi-millionaire with substantial influence.”  “Taste the Texas Tea, and your life will be wondrous,” could have been the claim Papa George Herbert or Momma Barbara uttered.

“Oil,” family or friends may have opined, will improve the quality of the your existence.  Perchance George felt as I did.  He had no cause to distrust those he was close to.  Indeed, relatives of the heir apparent could avow, with knowledge, to refine sweet crude would put money in a person’s pocket.  Black gold had helped to grow profits for the Bush brood for generations.  As evidence, any of those related to George W. might have offered the family history.

Oil:. The Bushes’ ties to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil go back 100 years, when Rockefeller made Buckeye Steel Castings wildly successful by convincing railroads that carried their oil to buy heavy equipment from Buckeye.  George H. Walker helped refurbish the Soviet oil industry in the 1920s, and Prescott Bush acquired experience in the international oil business as a 22-year director of Dresser Industries.  George H.W. Bush, in turn, worked for Dresser and ran his own offshore oil-drilling business, Zapata Offshore.

Frequently a boy child will follow a father’s path.  Fondness can fashion a future.  On land and in the seas sweet light crude secured the Bush family’s future.  Young George W. Bush looked at evidence.  His ancestral past, and his present circumstances even at an early age, helped establish a proven record.  Investments in petroleum equate to prosperity.  After a scant assessment, the youthful Bush likely decided, drill, drill, drill.  That would be the life for him.  Silver platters can be persuasive.  The opinions of friends and family can also be extremely influential.

Through our personal acquaintance, Gene taught me to trust him and to have faith in his beliefs.  Eugene had experience with hair dye.  He felt the practice was safe, sane, and offered a sensational opportunity to liven up a face and an existence.  Although initially hesitant, I concluded I would at least “try” what quickly became my habit.  However, what I did not realize was once you begin on a path, it is a challenge to change course.  Dark roots appeared in no time, as did my demand for more hair-dye.  

George too may have approached his novel exploration cautiously.  Many offspring resolve, they do not wish to be in the family business.  The son of the senior Bush might have thought to play at this prospect until he found something better.  However, George W. may have quickly discovered just as I did; it is easy to become hooked on a habit, newly acquired or tried and true.  

When a career choice yields great wealth and greater opportunity, it is difficult to resist the temptation to continue on a prosperous path.  Once the journey begins, an oilman such as George W. Bush realized, empty gas tanks require more fuel.  Electrical equipment must be charged.  The demand is endless.  The people, such as the Bush band, who earn income from the supply, are happy to serve.  Thus, the dissonance thrives.  

The provider of power or the person caught in a mad pursuit for peroxide journeys deeper into an endless downward spiral.  However, neither is aware of the consequences.  Gene might not have considered that his chosen career shaded his truth.  Nor did I ponder that a professional hair-styler has a singular perspective.

When first introduced to the idea of hair-dye,  I pondered; who was the person who presented the proposition.  However, I did not think of the veracity, or what later was so clear.  Eugene was trained to trust in toxic dyes.  When a person sees tinted hair all day, and into the evening, shades of stain on strands of hair seem sensible.  The individual that takes the time to apply the colors, surely must think the work wise.  

Perhaps, a young George W. Bush also concerned himself with the credibility of those who counseled him.  He too found reason to have faith.  The future President of the United States might not have pondered further.  He may not have investigated the possible hazards associated with oil production or petroleum use.  Often, when presented with a choice, we cannot imagine the infinite unknown possibilities, probabilities, or the perils.  

My friend not only shaded my hair; his beliefs tainted my own.  The hair on my head, and the thoughts in my gray matter were tinted.  The Bush family may have colored the consciousness of the youthful George and persuaded a future President to forget what he could have known.  Petroleum pollutes.  Refined crude contaminates the air and seas.  The fumes from Texas Tea in an engine cause temperatures on the terrain and in the troposphere to rise.

Granted, I understood how chemical treatments harmed my tresses and dulled the tint.  Aware of the damage done beneath the surface of a follicle, I persuaded myself it was slight and worth the sacrifice.  Possibly, the Bush family thought the same of their endeavors.  Certainly, George W. Bush still does.  He offers plans for renewable energy as he continues to pursue petroleum.  Ah, the dynamics of a decision are vast and deep.

Only now, as the globe warms, the climate changes, and the weather whips people and their property into oblivion, does Mister Bush face the true cost of his earlier decision.  Only recently did the  President recognize the harmful influence of fossil fuels on the environment.  Today, he finally acknowledges the immediate need for a commitment to cleaner energy.  Just as I slowly understood, the damage chemicals did to my hair, George W.  now touts his mindfulness.  There is a problem.  The planet is in peril.

As death and destruction beckon for attention, George sees as I did when I looked into the mirror.  Life, or the look, was out of balance.  The natural beauty was gone.  The breaks were bad.  Chemicals had stripped the surface . . . of the land or my locks.

However, while Mister Bush sees a need for transformation, it seems he is, as I was, reluctant to recognize the seriousness of the situation.  His does not act decisively to change what has become his [and our nations’] practice.  

President Bush advised Americans to ponder alterative renewable sources for power.  This country’s Commander touted; viable resolutions for our energy crisis are easily accessible.  “Biodiesel refineries can produce fuel from soybeans, and vegetable oils, and recycled cooking grease, from waste materials.”  The President proposed Americans could invest in clean energy.  Indeed, he exclaimed; we must go green.  However, for Mister Bush an emerald endeavor is black as oil or golden as bullion.  This oilman has reaped many a reward from America’s addiction, as have we all.  Convenience is but one benefit cheap energy bestows upon the United States public.  Profits have been more profound, more colorful for Chief Executive Bush.

Possibly, for the President charcoal is a fine hue.  “George,” if I might speak in the familiar, seems to think as I once did.  One shade can be substituted for another.  Only the more transparent tones cause George W. Bush much angst.  Who will or how might moguls who have invested lifetimes of worth, as this oil magnate has, harness, the sun, the wind, and water.  Mister Bush is unable to imagine a future so different from the life he and his family have long known.  Thus, he avoids the option he says he appreciates, just as I eschewed the thought of using no tint at all on my mane.  The untried did not ring true.

Attempts to transform what has been an American tradition are preferred by this President (and perhaps, the public.)  George W. Bush speaks of clean coal, as though there is such a substance.  Coal is a recognizable source of energy; yet, not a renewable or alternative choice.  Coal generates 54% of the electricity used in the United States. Whilst he ran for President, candidate Bush pledged that he would commit $2 billion over 10 years to advance clean coal technology.  Indeed, as promised, the National Energy Policy and budget requests to Congress demonstrated the President’s dedication to this cause.

Few fear what they do not wish to accept.  The Chief Executive favors an element that is essentially filthy.  The President might muse clean coal is the change.  Yet, he ignores that the hard black sedimentary rock is a health hazard to all it serves.  This “plentiful” element pollutes when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned.  This combustible material destroys life throughout the global community.  Many species cannot survive as well as man believes he might when nature is out of balance.

Equilibrium is the gracious essence that helps us to thrive.  I too sought to sustain symmetry.  I pondered the many ways in which my mane might maintain its sheen and still be enhanced.  I hoped to find energy in color.  When confronted with the notion that a tint could damage my tresses, I also contemplated other options.  Clean dye; that was my criteria.

I assessed what I thought would be safe.  With a similar pious conviction, I concluded henna could perhaps be a practical possibility . . . that is if I wanted to enhance the natural hue of my hair.  At the time, this substitute seemed sensible to me.  I thought only of what I believed true, just as George W. Bush does today.  Plants are pure, plentiful, and will provide what I need . . . or want, perchance.

I had not authentically considered the possible predicament a product could cause.  At first blush, I was content with what seemed an ideal and equal opportunity.  Then, later, after I acknowledged my error, I was easily satisfied with what I trusted to be an indigenous replacement.

Now, cognizant of the connection between my hair and his history, I wonder; what concerns did George W. Bush weigh.  Did he study the consequences of his choices?  Did he hear or think to heed any of the cautions?  Might President Bush have ruminated on the probable ruin of the land and lives?  Could he have predicted what might happen if we raped the land to gratify our need for energy?  

One never knows what is in the heart or mind of another.  Nonetheless, as I reflect upon times gone by in my own life, I trust the President did not imagine, and perchance, still, he has no idea of what he reaped and sowed.  I surely did not.

For me, awareness arrived slowly.  As I processed my hair, I did not have the opportunity to notice the subtle changes.  I was too close to the situation.  I could not see what I did not wish to acknowledge.  I suspect George W. Bush [and Americans absorbed in what feels, oh, so fine] do not realize what harm unhealthy dependence causes.  

To dye or to die.  To drive vehicles powered with fossil fuels or to authentically preserve the planet, which is now in peril.  These might be the questions George and I avoided, or only addressed half-heartedly.

When I thought tinted hair was desirable, each alternative possibility required me to treat my hair with color.  Upon reflection, I realize I had not known to think of how the texture or tone of my mane might change if I ingested a more nutritious diet.  That is another story for another time.  Today, I wonder.  Was George open enough to evaluate horizons he had yet to explore?

As I gazed upon the President speaking of energy, I could not help but think of how Mister Bush said we must work to improve technology.  He confidently confirmed, we can wean ourselves away from fossil fuels.  In his own words the President espoused , “(A)t the same time” we must find “oil and gas here at home.”  The mantra is very familiar.  It was mine.  I believe this rationalization is reflected in the adage ‘You can have your cake and eat it too.’

Indeed, for a very long time, I indulged in similar silly logic.  As the blonde stain grew out, I said, I could refresh the look and limit my use of artificial satin all at the same time.  Oh, if only that was possible.  As long as dye is applied, the harmful effects of the treatment will not fade away.  The problem was, and is, whether we speak of fossil fuels or human hair, the more you invest in the unhealthy habits you claim to condemn the less likely it is that change will come.

Much to our detriment, individuals such as George and I are, and mankind is, comfortable with the familiar.  Humans are content to engage as they have for so long, regardless of whether a practice nourishes the body, soul, or the planet.

People may plan for or posit a change.  George W. Bush emphatically pronounced, “(N)ow is the time to get it done.”  He or I might suggest a slow move towards purity.  However, as my hair taught me, as long as I [or we] do as we have done, nothing will be different.  

As long as I stained my mane, there was more reason to stain my mane.  As long as America satisfies its addiction to oil, there is more reason to continue to gratify the love of gasoline.  When manufacturers build more machines reliant on petroleum, they encourage a greater dependence on fossil fuels.  An obsession for oil is as a mania for a colored mane.  Each, initially, captivates an individual and then controls the person.

Most of us learn to love what we later determine may be detrimental.  

George W. Bush, just as many Americans seem to be, is as I was.  The President is caught in a horrific, harmful, spiral, and yet comfortable with what he knows and does.  While the cost, to the environment, and to personal pocketbooks, may encourage a desire for change, convenience and expediency are enormously more persuasive.  Oh, how well, I know this to be true.  

I was once victim to a viability that made sense.  The President and the American people are caught up in the same conundrum.  If he, or we, fails to eliminate our physical and psychological, dependence on oil now there may not be a later.

To transform our reality we need to recognize the delicate dance for what it is.  Just as less dye was an unwise compromise for me, limited selective, additional drilling is a concession with consequences.  Partial progression will not alter our habituation.  It is time to stop!  To rethink, reinvent, to re-power our plants and public opinion is to truly care for our selves and for generations to come.

Resources or Reflections on Refinery . . .

Build a Green Economy; Jobs Will Come



Green Jobs Now (by Free Range Studios)

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

The skeptics snickered; if man was meant to roam far and wide, he would have been born with wheels on his heels.  They said it could not be done.  Yet, circular tubes were made to ease travel on the ground.   Cynics sneered when someone said we might travel on water.  People would be born with buoyant blubber if they were intended to float and move with the flow of the current.  Rudders would protrude from our behinds if we were supposed to navigate the seas.  They said it could not be done; still someone invented a boat.  If people were meant to fly, disbeliever declared, humans would have wings.  Orville and Wilbur Wright did not accept that logic.  Travel to the moon; how absurd an idea.  Surely, the skeptics thought, if he was destined to soar to such heights, he would be physically able to propel himself far above the atmosphere.  Then, John Fitzgerald Kennedy set a goal and devised a mission.  Neil Armstrong took a giant leap for mankind.  Currently there is a cry for green energy.  However, doubters think the job cannot be done.

The costs are too great.  The technology too primitive.  Our conveniences would be lost and what of jobs.  If America or the world were to invest in other, more expensive industries, people would be put out of work.  Critics continually counter, we cannot endow renewable energy propositions.  There is no need.   Those who love life as it is believe there is an endless supply of fossil fuels.  Countless rely on the hope that conveniences will be preserved.  Humans know what they know.  People prefer familiar creature comforts.

Improvement is beyond a collective imagination, just as it was centuries ago, or in the more immediate past.  The prospect for progress is frequently limited.   Even scientists can be technicians.  Experts, often only explore within a realm of possibility.  Few feel a need to change.  Less see beyond the horizons.  

Certainly, the Earth is the center of the universe.  The planet is flat.  Electrical energy cannot be captured.  People cannot communicate through wires or even the air.

UN: Millions of green jobs to be created by 2030

By David Beard

Boston Globe

September 25, 2008 05:49 AM

Alternative energy technologies will create millions of new jobs in the next two decades, including 11 million alone in biofuels, according to a UN report.

Climate change and the efforts to reduce it already have created new jobs and investment — a process that will accelerate with the inevitable shift from fossil fuels to wind, solar, and geothermal power, said the UN Environment Program. Click here to see the agency’s summation of findings.

Among the findings:

  • Clean technologies are already the third largest sector for venture capital after information and biotechnology in the United States, while green venture capital in China more than doubled to 19 per cent of total investment in recent years.
  • About 2.3 million people have in recent years found new jobs in the renewable energy sector alone, and the potential for job growth in the sector is huge. Employment in alternative energies may rise to 2.1 million in wind and 6.3 million in solar power by 2030.
  • Renewable energy generates more jobs than employment in fossil fuels. Projected investments of $630 billion by 2030 would translate into at least 20 million additional jobs in the renewable energy sector.
  • Investments in improved energy efficiency in buildings could generate an additional 2 million-3.5 million green jobs in Europe and the United States alone, with the potential much higher in developing countries.

The BBC quoted the agency’s director, Achim Steiner, as saying a delay in transforming to a low-carbon economy it would “miss a major opportunity for the fast tracking of millions of new jobs.”

Granted, life as people know it to be today, might be different.  Recognizable employment opportunities may not be realized, or these may not be as is customary.  However, the careers created  will more than compensate  for what was, and the newer job scene will be clean.  The terminology, technology will be perhaps, a bit tidier, neat, and even keen.  There is a Silver Lining to Climate Change – Green Jobs.  In the United States alone, while slow to travel the path towards pure energy, in 2005, the environmental industry generated more than 5.3 million jobs.  This number is  ten times greater than the US pharmaceutical industry produced.  In this nation, it is well-known people desire more drugs.  Doctors prescribed and the public pours millions into miracles cures, at least those ingested into their bodies.  Yet,  imagine;  a less  traditional task creates a more significant need for people power.  Perhaps, if we build this field the financial rewards, the environmentally friendly effects, and employment will come.

If people believe, they may wish to encourage a bequest.  Write to a Representative.  Submit a statement to those who have power of a political sort.  Use the computer that did not exist only decades ago to do a deed that would have been impossible to achieve tens of years ago.  Click and communicate with Members of Congress.

Dear Elected Officials . . .

I’m ready for Green Jobs Now.

I urge our elected officials to invest in creating millions of green jobs by repowering America with 100% clean and renewable electricity within 10 years. We can create new pathways out of poverty and curb global warming at the same time. We will do this by retooling our factories, rebuilding our communities, and repowering America with clean energy. ??

Signed,

Please remember the words of Spanish Philosopher and Writer, Miguel de Unamuno.

“Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.”

Renewable Sources for Energy and Information . . .

Full of Gas

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

People may wish that the fuel tanks on the automobile they drive were full of gas.  Yet, recently, due to the rising price of petroleum, many crude containers are empty.  American citizens feel the crunch, the energy, and economic crunch.  They have cried.  They clamored.  The public craves attention for what they think is issue number one, the cost of Texas Tea, Alaskan oil, and fossil fuels from foreign sources.  John McCain hears the call.  His Vice Presidential pick, Sarah Palin feels the pain of the poor persons, of all Americans, who scream for relief at the pump.  Even Barack Obama has proposed a compromise on a previously held position.

Politicians, sensitive to the pleas hope to provide more petroleum to the people of the United States.  They offer plan after plan.  Nuclear power will ease the pain at the pump.  Offshore oil drilling will end a dependence on oil from overseas.  Each energy initiative is an attempt to appease an anxious electorate.

What is not said is that fission produces electricity.  It does not drive our cars.  Domestic resources for electrical power are abundant.  The supply Americans rely on could be cleaner; however, that topic will wait for another time and treatise.  

Today, while the evidence suggests, Americans will not reap an instantaneous reprieve from the crude crisis, or any real relief at all if the Outer Continental Shelf is probed for petroleum, the public, politicians, and the press continue to focus on what each hopes is the cherished find.  None seem to reflect upon the fragile balance of Mother Earth.

As the cost of oil climbs and affordable creature comforts fall from view, the environment has become less of a consideration.  Americans who grapple with what is of greater importance to them, economics, or the cash that helps create a cozy lifestyle conclude consumption is preferred to conservation.  

Perchance that is why the press is able to alter the conversation.

To care for the planet’s preservation seems beyond the scope of human nature.  Indeed, to think that a single human might affect the milieu seems silly to those who are besieged with the business of everyday survival.  People claim to have bigger problems.  

Can they pay for health care.  Might someone find a cure for a husband’s cancer.  Will employers ship jobs overseas?  Could a son or daughter be called off to war?  The mortgage payment is due and there is no money in the bank.  Foreclosure may be unavoidable.  In the United States, there is much angst.  The ecosystem  and its balance are the least of the average citizens’ worries.

Daily deeds are the priority.  Most activities involve an automobile.  In this industrialized nation, people are expected to drive to school, to work, to the mall, and to town hall.  Once of age, individuals steer to the store.  They visit those they adore.  Most every movement is made from within a vehicle.  The American people pride themselves on their mobility.  

For more than a century fuel was cheap and the possibility for travel endless.  Thus, today, people ask why did this change.  Most Americans are certain ethanol need not be so expensive.  They care not of the climate crisis.  They are convinced such a conjecture is but a hoax.

The press promotes the view politicians control the cost of petrol.  The public is persuaded.  Polls pass for “demonstrable facts.”  Then, the media draws an artificial analogy.  The message is massaged.

David Fiderer, a Huffington Post Journalist, and an Energy Banker, explains;, the media manages the gaseous discussion.  Correspondents carry the communication as calculated.  Science is not stressed in the search for solutions to the propulsion problem.  Minds are maneuvered to the advantage of a political Party.  The press is the source of a less than productive  discussion of the energy policy.  Might Americans inquire, who manipulates the media or owns the message.

In an American Public Radio broadcast of On the Media, aired August 29, 2008, this expert on the effect of energy economics helps to provide perspective.  

Please listen to David Fiderer as he opens a window into the world of fuel and finances.

Dear reader, you may also wish to read the article the author, David Fiderer, refers to . . .

Energy for Dummies: The GOP’s Secret Weapon Is A Clueless Media, By David Fiderer.  Huffington Post. August 25, 2008

Resources Refined . . .

Petroleum and My Prayer



Bush to Visit Iowa Flood Site

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Dearest Mister George Walker Bush . . .

This morning as I sat in what I would wish to think of as my safe little sanctuary from danger, I watched you mount the stairs and ascend into Air Force One.  The television announcer spoke of your impending trip to the Midwest.  As one with family in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois, I was grateful for your travel.  I am certain the people in these regions will be comforted by your presence.  Most will feel they have reason to hope that you will offer help.  I truly appreciate you “swift” response to their needs.  I am gratified that you have decided to fly high above the flooded terrain, and perhaps spend a moment with an individual or two.  Perchance, you will speak to my sister or my Dad.

As I observed the day’s news break on screen, I perused the printed page and realized the American people may have another reason to thank you.  The New York Times reported Bush Calls for End to Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling.  I am confident those on dry land, still able to drive through the streets are pleased.  Your grand gesture will gratify them, belatedly if at all.  The United States House Committee on Natural Resources thinks the move will not improve circumstances.   I sigh.

There is no reason to let little details such as well-researched assessment get in the way of the glorious work you do Mister Bush.  As you well know, the public cares not what the future might bring.  The people prefer to be catered to in the immediate.  I know you understand this Mister President.  You felt the repercussions of a delayed action.  I remember your late response to Katrina, and even to the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center Towers.  

Woe, to the politician who does not take measures to calm the citizens quickly.  Mister Bush, I am consoled as I witness all you have learned.  Indeed, today, you quieted fears and felt the people’s pain.  You did as is necessary.

In this nation, an elected official who bows to the will of his or her constituency will be judged well.  After all, as you are aware Mister Bush, the people are the power.  The populace casts a ballot at the poll.  Even for those such as you, an individual who cannot hold the office of the President again, that is as long as the Constitution remains unchanged, legacies are the legends of history.  

Mister Bush, I applaud your heroism, your ability to reach out and to touch the common folk.  Yet, while I might admire the actions you took on this 19th day of June, I only wish that consolations would clean the mess you created.  

I fear each of the events of the day is the result of earlier enactments.  What occurred in the Midwest is as much that the world has seen recently.  Granted Mister President, you only preside over a portion of a North American continent; nonetheless, what is in our air travels overseas.  Water also journeys to shores far beyond our horizon.

Contaminants and toxins permissible in the United States will be found in the heavens above foreign soil.  Oceans, far from our homeland, will contain elements hurled into American waterways.

I know you might muse Mister Bush, as you did for near a decade ago, humans have little effect on the environment.  Ah, but President Bush, as you now relent, we do alter the balance of nature.  Decisions you made in our name, accelerated the cycle of unwelcome warmth on a globe too fragile to fight off the effects of a fever.

You, Mister Bush may have learned the laws of motion in your studies.  As Sir Isaac Newton discovered in an Earthly environment, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  Perchance, as a Chief Executive and one who received a Master’s degree in Business Administration, you are more familiar with a similar premise, economic in nature, “You scrub my back, and I will cleanse yours.”  

In the financial world, the policies you endorsed illustrate that you embrace this “theoretical” truth.  I recall your first hundred days in the Oval Office.  Much to the benefit of business buds, who supported your rise, you chose to initiate practices that filled your friends’ purses.  . . . and oh, yes, these very guidelines damaged the milieu.  Ooops.

  • Bush administration marks 100 days in office (04/29/01)
  • EPA drops objections to Florida rule that undermines Clean Water Act protections (04/26/01)
  • Gale Norton nominates William G. Myers III as solicitor for Department of the Interior (04/24/01)
  • Yellowstone snowmobile ban goes into effect, but perhaps not for long (04/23/01)
  • Bush seeks to relax requirements of Endangered Species Act (04/09/01)
  • Bush administration delays hard-rock mining regulations that protect watersheds (03/21/01)
  • Bush withdraws new arsenic-in-drinking-water standard (03/20/01)
  • Bush appoints industry apologist as regulatory gatekeeper (03/06/01)
  • EPA upholds Clinton decision to clean up diesel pollution (02/28/01)
  • EPA delays, then upholds, new rule protecting wetlands (02/15/01)
  • White House announces regulatory freeze (01/20/01)

Indeed, you were a busy man Mister Bush, just as you have been today, and throughout your terms.  You entered the White House and released the latch on barn doors throughout the nation.  Domesticated animals, Americans, did not rush out, for they had long felt as though they were not in harm’s way.  Centuries of relative calm encouraged citizens, beasts of few burdens, to believe they were sheltered from storms.  However, once the portals were open, predators, or was it you Mister President, ran in.  

Marauders came though back gateways, side entries, windows, and slats in the ceiling.  Perhaps these too were but friends of the fellow we all know as George, you, Mister Bush.

Oh, Sir, you must know, corporations, intent on earnings, ignored the warnings of environmentalists.  Scientists could not be heard above the hum of oil drills.  The clang of change as it fell into deep pockets muffled the melodious mantra of the few concerned citizens.  This circumstances Mister Bush caused the globe to warm.  Now the water falls from the sky without end.  Levees poorly maintained or engineered break.

My Dad hopes his sump pump will not fail.  My sister prays that her home will remain on a hill.  My best friend fears for his roof.  A friend in Racine, Wisconsin I hope is well.  No one has been able to reach him.

Mister Bush, when you first arrived in Washington District of Columbia you changed the fabric of the land.  You did not steward the territory we each occupy.  Economic favors flourished as did environmental hazards.  The rich grew richer; the poor did not prosper.  Those who had wealth garnered dividends.  Those with few resources received less.  Now, we all suffer.

Wind and water does not discriminate.  Homes, bought and paid for wash away in a torrid tempest just as shacks do.

Oh my dear Mister Bush, you promised to be the Compassionate Conservative.  If only you had chosen to be the Consummate Conservationist.

Each day Mother Nature cries out.  She weeps and the terrain floods.  Her heart breaks, and tectonic plates move.  Cyclones are the swell of tears her eyes cannot hold.  Mother Earth pounds us with hail; she means no harm.  Her children, under the tutelage of an oil moneyed man are out of control.  She knows not what to do to get their attention.  She throws what she has at hand, and hopes, perhaps, her brood will stop the insanity.

Mister Bush, please I plead, do not pander, or patronize.  My Dad does not need cheaper fuel.  He is a patient man and willing to wait for alternatives that do not leave him soaked and sorrowful in the next five-hundred year flood, which may occur only a month from now.

My sister would be content, if she could tell he son with certainty, she will leave him a world better than the one she grew up in.  Sensitive as she is, my sibling hopes to bequeath her grandchildren with a glorious existence.  However, as you fly to her home with promises too late, and replete of a skewed reality, she fears a dependency on fossil fuels will never end.  

She too, just as Daddy, does not concern herself with what cannot be salvaged.  Each requests that we secure the future, clean the environment, and do not drill for more oil, offshore or anywhere.

Mister Bush, the time is now.  For as much as any American would wish to believe they are safe in their now dry homes, as long as we continue to rape the few resources we have left, as long as we waste, and want more and more “conveniences” no one will be secure.  

As you peruse the cities and crops destroyed by rains and runoff, you might realize climate change is evidence of what you sowed.  No promises will repair broken hearts.  No policies that allow for more petroleum usage will produce calm or clean seas.  We now reap the rewards of gluttony and gratification.  It is not a pretty picture.

Mister Bush, tomorrow does come.  Our actions today will be the cause.  The effects of your past performances are what you see today in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri . . .  Let us no longer wash the back of a egocentric executive, at the expense of the environment.  Instead, kiss my sister, hug my Dad, and if you can find my friend, lost in the tragedy, please tell him I love him.

Resources, No More Oil . . .

The State of the Union is Strong?



The Real State of the Union… Call Bush’s Bluff

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

In 2007, the State of the Union was not as we were told it was; nor is it as we were told it would be.  Each year, and for eight long years, George W. Bush promised to unite us, and perhaps he has more so than most other Presidents.  Collectively, Republicans and Democrats alike understand that as a nation we are not strong.  

We have not been judicious with our capital.  The President has not provided financial security as promised.

To extend this nation’s prosperity; to spend the people’s money wisely; to solve problems, not leave them to future generations; to guard America against all evil; and to keep faith with those we have sent forth to defend us. (Applause.)

A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, believes Americans will not recover economically from a George W. Bush presidency for at least a generation.  The next President, the person who follows that individual into the Oval Office, and even those who enter the White House later will be part of a struggle to recover from the economic catastrophe this President created.

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush

By Joseph E. Stiglitz

Vanity Fair

December 2007

When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris-or even the Yukon-becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands-or so he says-that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.

Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle “worst president” when it comes to stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with, and struggling with, the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.

Nonetheless, a man who reminds us that his legacy is not important to him, a President who frequently states, history will decide how well he did, performed miserably.  Some believe we are in a recession.  Others claim the economy is decidedly depressed.  So too are the people.  The common folk are perhaps in greater need of mental health care services.  Daily stresses in America have taken a toil.  Physically, we fare no better.  The expense of medical insurance and the cost of services to aid in our well being cripple our citizenry.  When ill or injured, millions delay before they see a physician.  The expense is thought more painful than a cure.  In the last state of the Union, President Bush addressed this issue.

A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our citizens have affordable and available health care. (Applause.) When it comes to health care, government has an obligation to care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children. And we will meet those responsibilities. For all other Americans, private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs. (Applause.) But many Americans cannot afford a health insurance policy.

Our offspring can least afford Health Care Services.  The babies are dependent on Mom and Dad for medical coverage.  Parents can no longer provide as they did years ago.  Jobs no longer last for life.  Benefits are not a given.  Employers, who feel the impact of an economy gone wrong, also understand the problem with the current Health Care system.  Numerous corporations and institutions have dropped insurance plans from personnel contracts. Our little ones are in dire straits.  While the Federal government once helped to ensure that, at least the children would be cared for, since the Compassionate Conservative concluded he was the ultimate decider, our progeny suffer in silence.

Bush Vetoes Children’s Health Bill

By David Stout

The New York Times

October 3, 2007

President Bush vetoed the children’s health insurance bill today, as he had pledged to do, setting the stage for more negotiations between the White House and Congress and sparking unusual dismay from some prominent Republicans.

Mr. Bush wielded his pen with no fanfare just before leaving for a visit to Lancaster, Pa. The veto was only the fourth of Mr. Bush’s presidency, and it may have spawned the most anger, not just from Democrats but also from some members of Mr. Bush’s own party.

To cause confusion among colleagues once was not enough.  To hinder parents whose only desire was to provide for their progeny did not seem Presidential.  To repeat the practice would be unthinkable.  America wept for her children and will the stroke of a pen continues to cry.  

As Expected, Bush Vetoes SCHIP Bill Again

By Martin Kady II

CBS News

December 12, 2007

(The Politico) For the second time, President Bush has vetoed a major expansion of the children’s health insurance program, making it clear that the debate will linger as a political issue throughout 2008.

In 2008, and far beyond this New Year, Americans will feel the pain of policies invoked by the Bush Administration.  We may recall, that in 2000, two oil men entered the White House.  With the Blessings of oil magnate Bush, Vice President Cheney met with other industry leaders and devised an energy policy for the benefit of friends and family.  The White House did not seek to invest in alternative fuels.  The profits from petroleum were great.  There was no reason for change. Corporations prospered and the people need only line the pockets of those in power.  While the President’s words were wondrous . . .

On Oil Prices Topping $100 a Barrel

By Speaker Pelosi

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

It is unfortunate that President Bush opposed our legislation to repeal multi-billion dollar subsidies given to Big Oil companies. We will again seek to repeal these subsidies and to enact strong legislation to stop price gouging at the pump and pursue anti-trust actions against OPEC entities that fix the price of oil.

Perchance oil has always been the main issue.  Originally, for George W. Bush, crude would certainly help America to remain on the road to prosperity, or at least the United States citizens who own petroleum pumps would do well.  Indeed, for those at the top, times are good.

This economy is on the move, and our job is to keep it that way.

Indeed, it is Mister President.  Economically, America spirals downward.  There is no stability in the  market or market place.  Our scant dollars are in decline.  Our hopes and dreams have been all but destroyed.  The average citizen cannot be certain from day-to-day whether they will have a job.   If an individual is privileged enough to work, will their income remain the same.  Some workers are asked to labor for less.  New hires are offered a lower wage.  More Americans live without a job, and without hope.  This tumble downward began early in the Bush Years.

Poverty rate in U.S. rises as median income falls

Weak economy trimming middle class earnings, too

By Robert Pear

?New York Times

September 25, 2002

Washington – The proportion of Americans living in poverty rose significantly last year, increasing for the first time in eight years, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

At the same time, the bureau said that the income of middle-class households fell for the first time since the last recession ended in 1991.

The Census Bureau’s annual report on income and poverty provided evidence that the weakening economy had begun to affect large segments of the population, regardless of race, region, or class. Daniel Weinberg, chief of income and poverty statistics at the Census Bureau, said the recession that began in March 2001 had reduced the earnings of millions of Americans.

The report also suggested that the gap between rich and poor continued to grow.

All regions except the Northeast experienced a decline in household income, the bureau reported. For blacks, it was the first significant decline in two decades; non-Hispanic whites saw a slight decline. Even the incomes of Asian and Pacific Islanders, a group that achieved high levels of prosperity in the 1990s, went down significantly last year.

The Census Bureau said the number of poor Americans rose last year to 32.9 million, an increase of 1.3 million, while the proportion living in poverty rose to 11.7%, from 11.3% in 2000. Median household income fell to $42,228 in 2001, a decline of $934, or 2.2%, from the prior year. The number of households with income above the median is the same as the number below it.

We continue to bleed.  Americans can no longer find shelter from the storm of Bush, his policies, and the ploys now in place, each of which favors big business, banks, and balloon payments.  Citizens of this country find themselves out on the streets, or in homes that are not worth what they once were.

America’s Hardest-Hit Foreclosure Spots

Matt Woolsey

Forbes

January 28, 2008

What could be worse than getting behind on mortgage payments? Owing your lender more than your home is worth.

That’s what’s happening to homeowners across the country, many of whom just a couple of years ago opted for interest-only or adjustable-rate mortgages. For them, just as their loans reset and interest rates rose, home values began to plummet, leaving them with negative equity; this is where their mortgage is greater than the value of their home.

Of course, some homeowners started off walking a shakier tightrope than others. Many subprime borrowers acquired piggyback mortgages, where a second mortgage covered the downpayment, leaving them with negative equity from the beginning. Congress’s Joint Economic Committee estimates that 2 million Americans will lose their home over the next two years, a figure in line with most research firms and rating agencies.

Who is most feeling the crunch? Using data from RealtyTrac, a national firm that tracks foreclosures using data from multiple listing services, bank-owned property records, bankruptcy records, loan histories, tax liens and lender information, we evaluated which of the nation’s counties had the most negative equity loans, by examining all loans currently in foreclosure.

Our President failed us economically.  He failed to ensure our energy independence.  Mister Bush did not provide adequate Health Care for our children or us.  George W. Bush moved us closer to poverty and kicked Americans to the curb.  We need not delve into the subject of war or Iraq.  There is enough pain without that discussion.  The President of the United States, George W. Bush has failed us, or perchance we, the people have caused our own demise.

America, we have done nothing to prevent this President from acting as though he has absolute power.  We have but a year left in this term.  Will we, the people continue to watch George W. Bush destroy the nation and shred the Constitution.  Citizens of this once great country, you have a choice.  Move to impeach this Administration, or watch as we wane further.  The future is in your hands.

The State of the Union, The Slide, The Sources . . .