Archive for April, 2010

Open Letter to David Brooks of The New York Times

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Mr. Brooks,

George W. Bush increased the size of government and increased government spending more than any previous president.

The Bush White House (January 2001 to January 2009) and the Republican majority Congress (2001-2006) pushed through a $1 Trillion Tax Cut for the superwealthy and started a false war in Iraq (launched on a false premise of Weapons of Mass Destruction) that cost $700 billion and counting.
But waiting in the wings was…THE BIG FINISH…the Bush Securities & Exchange Commission allowed self-regulation by the Wall Street banks concerning subprime-mortgage-backed securities, so that we had to shell out another $700 billion in bailout money. This was in September 2008 under the auspices of Hank Paulson, Bush Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs CEO just before his position in the Bush Cabinet.

Add all that up and you are looking at the majority of our country’s deficit.

On top of that we have:

-10% unemployment

-a frozen-to-starting-a-trickle credit market

-home values cut in half

-401ks obliterated

-the Dow is half way back to its high of 14,000 in October 2007 (so all stock portfolios have been negatively affected)

* During the last decade the average American’s wages were stagnant, but productivity went up. Meaning, Corporate America squeezed more hours out of workers without sharing the rewards with the workers.

Very simply, Mr. Brooks, President Obama and the Democratic-led Congress are cleaning up the messes (plural) left behind by George W. Bush and the Republicans.

It’s not about BIG GOVERNMENT or small government. It’s about taking care of the majority of Americans, making sure they have jobs and homes, they can take care of their families and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The American Dream just got stepped on by the greedy corporate crooks who took over the Bush White House and Wall Street (the Subprime Market during the 2000s). Didn’t you see the recent NY Times article, “Handing Out Money to Stave Off Homelessness”?

Sometimes I think you have tunnel vision, Mr. Brooks. You’re theoretical instead of practical a lot of the time when I hear you on the radio or read your column. We’re talking about blood, flesh, bones, bad breath, hair and skin, teeth that need braces and eyes that need glasses. We’re talking about moms and dads and their kids.

The Great Recession is the result of Republican Party Rule. We’re just going about the business of cleaning up the messes (plural) left behind by Bush and the Republicans.

Lead, follow or get out of the way, Mr. Brooks. Uh, you’re in the way Mr. Brooks, get out of the way.

Sincerely, your fellow American



April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Big Coal Booming on Earth Day


April 22, 2010, 3:40 pm


To gauge the pace of coal commerce, check the amazing tonnage ticker on Peabody’s Web site,

which by my estimate logs about 7 tons a second in sales. To gauge the climatic implications (from coal burning and other sources of carbon dioxide), watch the animation above, created by the environmental visualizer Adam Nieman. His video illustrates what carbon dioxide emissions from human activities would look like if you could watch the gas volume accumulate in front of you in real-time….

Here’s a section of Peabody Energy statement on global trends:

International markets remain outstanding in the Pacific Rim, with China and India coal import demand continuing at record rates and developed economies running at higher capacity factors as they recover from the global financial crisis. Global steel production is expected to increase more than 10 percent in 2010, and global seaborne metallurgical coal demand is expected to increase by more than 50 million tonnes….

These numbers, which are in line with projections by various independent energy analysts, vividly illustrate that the blazing growth in wind and solar manufacturing and deployment in Asia has to be considered against a backdrop of enduring growth in the use of fossil fuels (and resulting emissions).

The Story of Global Warming

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

The Earth will be here for millions more years. The thing is, depending on our actions and the eco-system repercussions, the Earth may not be inhabitable for us. Or…if we get a solar-electric system on every available rooftop powering the plug-in electric car in every garage, then we just might improve our economy, create energy independence, enhance national security. Oh, and the icing on the cake–we help our environment by not expelling any carbon emissions into the air while charging our homes and our cars.

That and continuing to improve energy efficiencies. We should start by “Changing the Source of our Energy”: eventually solar is 25%, oil is 25%, natural gas is 25% and all other renewables, like hydroelectric, wind and geothermal, make up the remaining 25%. No more coal; coal becomes our emergency stockpile. Natural Gas can be a transformational fuel for the next 25-50 years, because Natural Gas burns cleaner than coal.

We don’t need to build any more nuclear plants, because the radioactive waste from nuclear energy creates residual hazards, like cancer and unhealthy particulates seeping into our ground water.

The Story of Global Warming: THE END

Solar Electricity Public Awareness Campaign

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I grew up in California, and I have worked in the solar electricity industry since 2006.

When I was a kid growing up in San Diego and we had a water shortage due to drought, I remember the rhyme from the Public Awareness Campaign on the radio: “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” This little poem was to remind us Californians to abstain from flushing every time, in order to save our limited supply of water.

Well, in California, we have an overabundance of naturally occurring, CO2-free, renewable (for millions of years) energy from the Sun. Sit on a beach for an hour and you will feel the power of that nuclear reactor in the sky. That big, burning ball of fire generates a lot of wattage. All we have to do is to install solar-electric panels on every available roof to soak up the free-floating rays. Every day that we don’t absorb the Sun’s energy for electricity is a wasted opportunity.

* A solar-electric system on every available roof and a plug-in electric car in every garage, and Americans have just put a cap on the cost of running their homes and their passenger vehicles: reference the American-made Tesla or the new electric Mini Cooper by BMW. The electricity prices from the grid keep going up year after year, but by using solar electricity homeowners can stop those price increases. With a solar lease, homeowners can save money from day one! By buying a solar electric system, it takes roughly 5-7 years for the system to pay for itself…and then the Sun is providing free energy for 40-50 years (the solar modules have a 25-year warranty). The solar system increases the home’s value, according to the Appraisal Institute in Chicago, Illinois.


* From Wells Fargo Bank:

“When it comes to home value, a solar power system may be your best ‘remodel’ option. Based on a recent study
by ICF Consulting (funded by HUD and the EPA) energysaving measures such as solar can add $20 of home value for every $1 of yearly energy cost savings. That makes an already bright idea really shine.”


This is a total transformation concerning how Americans power their homes, offices and cars. Plenty of people are standing in the way with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda campaigns designed to deter people from using solar electricity. Unfortunately, there is no Public Awareness Campaign for solar electricity in California: no radio ads from the state government, no TV ads about the state rebate. There are no print ads or billboards from the Public Utilities Commission about the savings available through solar electricity. The same non-communication applies to the federal government and its 30% tax credit (which was knee-capped at $2,000 for residential solar until the Democratic-led Congress of 2008 leveled the playing field, so that homeowners could enjoy the same tax credit as commercial entities).

Ask 10 Californians you meet on the street about solar electricity and you might get some educated responses. Ask those same Californians about the state rebate and the federal tax credit, and you are likely to get 9 or 10 blank stares. Hardly anybody knows about the incentives for solar because there is no Public Awareness Campaign!!

What we need, very simply, is a rhyme for solar permeated on the radio and TV, in the newspapers and magazines, and in big letters on high-traffic-zone billboards. The Solar movement in California needs a Public Awareness Campaign to counter the demagoguery and sophistry of those who have a financial interest in solar electricity failing: namely the utilities like PG&E, SDG&E, Southern California Edison and LADWP.

(LADWP uses 44% coal to make its electricity; coal is dirty and cheap.)

2009 Power Content Label

Energy Resources
LADWP Power*
LADWP Green Power** (projected) 2007 CA Power Mix***(for comparison)
Eligible Renewable**** 14% 100% 10%
-Biomass & waste 1% <1%
-Geothermal 2% 2%
-Small hydroelectric 5% 25% 6%
-Solar <1% <1%
-Wind 6% 75% 2%
Coal 44% 32%
Large Hydroelectric 7% 24%
Natural Gas 26% 31%
Nuclear 9% 3%
Other <1% 0%
TOTAL 100% 100% 100%
* 100% of LADWP Power is specifically purchased from individual suppliers.** 100% of LADWP Green Poweris specifically purchased from individual suppliers.*** Percentages are estimated annually by the California Energy Commission based on the electricity sold to California consumers during the previous year.**** In accordance with Los Angeles City Council’s action on 10-5-04 for File No. 03-2688 (RPS).
For specific information about this electricity product, contact LADWP at 1-800-DIAL-DWP. For general information about the Power Content Label, contact the California Energy Commission at 1-800-555-7794 or

How about something like “The Sun can make your computer run. California is going solar-electric: half the system is paid for by incentives! You get a rebate from the state and a tax credit when you get it. “ And then a website or 800 number to call.

Solar electricity needs a Public Awareness Campaign. The utilities claim to support solar electricity, but they do everything they can behind the scenes to stymie increased use of Photovoltaics (Energy from the Sun). When it comes to Solar, the California Public Utilities Commission needs to start supporting the Public more than the Utilities: meaning get a Solar Electricity Public Awareness Campaign going pronto!

Remember, burning fossil fuels causes increased carbon emissions that can lead to icecaps melting, sea levels rising and coastal flooding. Solar electricity is CO2-free.


Solar Electricity makes the Utility Meter spin backward!

* Click for cartoon…

The Great Recession is the Result of Republican Party Rule

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Handing Out Money to Stave Off Homelessness

Published: April 19, 2010


He had lost his $75,000-a-year job as a mortgage consultant, his three-bedroom house with a Jacuzzi, his Lexus sedan. He could no longer pay even the rent on his cramped studio apartment — not on his $10-an-hour part-time job as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant.

Faced with eviction, he was staring last month at the imminent prospect of joining the teeming ranks of the homeless. His last hope was a new $1.5 billion federal program aimed at preventing that fate. Within days of applying, a check for $775 was on its way to Mr. Moore’s landlord, enabling him to stay — at least for now….

“We’re behind on January and February rent,” she says.

Ms. Martin is mortified to be asking for help. She grew up wealthy, with vacations spent on Caribbean cruises. “I had everything I ever wanted,” she says.

She and her husband run a house-painting business that has been in his family for three generations. (Martin is her maiden name. She declined to be identified by her married name for fear of embarrassing her husband’s family, whose name is emblazoned on his truck.)

They have three boys, a 12-year-old, and 9-year-old twins. At the house they have rented for seven years, on a street lined with well-tended lawns, the walls are covered with photos of her boys displaying their batting stances.

Until 2008, their painting business was pulling in $100,000 a year, which paid their $2,450-a-month rent and allowed them to buy a trailer on Clear Lake, where they took the boys water-skiing.

But last year, in a weak economy, they earned $38,000. They sold their trailer. They ran through $15,000 in savings. One day last winter, Ms. Martin noticed the refrigerator was nearly empty, and her checking account balance was down to $100. She drove to a county office and applied for food stamps.

“That just broke my heart,” she says.

Her father has money to help if it really comes down to it, she acknowledges.

“I don’t see him letting his grandkids land on the street,” she says, “but he’d hold it over our heads for a long time. That would lower me to a level that I wouldn’t want to go.”

So she is here, at Samaritan House, filling out the paperwork for the homeless prevention program.

Hope Not Hate

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment
Categories: self-sacrificing Tags: ,

C’est C’est C’est…La Vie

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment