Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year

As I sit here and contemplate the "New Year" and just exactly how deceitful the world is and can be I'm still hopeful. As Dick Cheney's files burn in the Eisenhower building where his records are stored and his secret meetings with the Energy Cartel were held (on his first day in office) I'm still hopeful. Where the music industry has devolved and just markets the most awful instrument free and hideous noise appealing to our lowest common denominator I am still hopeful. Where the Environmental Protection Agency is actively preventing, thwarting, and stopping the curbing of pollution and State's Rights I am still hopeful. There are a lot of things wrong in this world from waging wars for resources (see Cheney's first day in office) and the pillaging of God's wondrous planet for profits, poppies, and oil, but somehow I am still stubbornly, persistently hopeful.

Why? Because I choose to be and will not let their sacrilege and their petulant behavior do anything but make me stronger. Too often we are obscured by the anguish and confusion in trying to understand why the toxic people among us are the way they are, elected and armed, greedy and heartless, lazy and stupid, cunning and wanting. But because of these men who kill, lie and spend their lives on destruction and hate there are forever more opportunities crying out in our lives to make this a better world. The need is great, it is beyond huge, and the whistle is screaming, the time is now. The time has always been now. So what can we do so fragmented and divided? We are not powerless and so simply in your corner of the world the time too is now, and the opportunity is present to find something you love to do and share it with others. Do something, anything but do not buy into the story that one person can not make a difference. Every moment, every second with every action the choice is there to either create or destroy in all of our lives constantly, persistently and decisively we make either one way or another headway.

In this moment of reflection as the New Year approaches and the calendar starts a new, as we reach out to old friends and remember those who have gone before us, as the Winter Solstice has passed and the days are getting longer so to must we inevitably, persistently, lovingly change. Change is the only constant I can see and so too must change come to those who spend a lifetime destroying our lands, our rights, our health, our economy, our education, our liberties, our loves by their stealing, lying and killing for themselves and their selves only and alone.

In 1963 they blew John Kennedy's head to bits and claimed it was one deranged man who traveled the world freely, got the secret service to stand down, lived in the USA, and the Soviet Union, and all this with only one bullet, so are we surprised that the stupidity, and ignorance of arrogance continues today. Has it gotten better? Always there will be the unenlightened to operate on a level below comprehension to all but the selfish. Somehow we must take the sword of ignorance and destruction from their hands and raise our voices, our vibration brighter, stronger, louder and higher than theirs.

In this day and age it is long past due where apathy and a shrug of the shoulders can be our passive answer. I know beyond certainty that if each and everyone of us took up the vote, took up the cause, took up the pen, took up the protest, took up the song, and took up the action that we would prevail simply and easily.

So as it drizzles rain (much needed rain) on this gloomy morning I can still see the bright, beautiful, future as it has weaved it's way through time filled with infinite possibilities. I can hear on the wind the hopeful song of life everywhere and the efforts (far greater than mine) of people all over this beautiful, sacred planet, and their persistent vision as they tend their gardens and loosen the shackles of the Status Quo. It is a beautiful world, magnificent in it's intricacies fragile in its relationships and holy in it's being. We can build and live and create better societies more worthy of existence and live in harmony with creation.

And so change ever present reveals the deceivers and their small-minded tricks their propaganda and their contempt of the righteous. We clearly see the deceit and how beholden they are to it to achieve self worth. We see the smug sneer of those who think they are fooling us, but merely themselves and we know the bile that fills their bellies because they know they are wrong as they age horribly before our very eyes.

It is with change that I am hopeful guaranteed of it's coming and the natural beauty that unfolds every morning. Be at peace with yourself and so it shall be for the rest of all that is, Happy New Year indeed.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


This is a repost from the good people at




December 21, 2007: You have to give Detroit credit where credit is due. They may not know how to build high-MPG cars the way every other automaker in the world has figured out how to do ... but they sure know how to run rings around a Democratic Congress. First, Congress passes a pathetically weak and elongated MPG improvement target and then the Bush Environmental Protection Agency responds by using the new law as the primary justification for striking down California's attempt to tighten up on tailpipe emissions. Talk about adding insult to injury! Of course, it's nice to know that Congress is up in arms and that Washington state and The Terminator want to sue The Decider to overturn the EPA decision. But this was a totally predictable and entirely self-inflicted wound for Democrats who controlled the energy legislation. By caving into Detroit by pushing the 35 MPG standard out much farther into the future than is technologically necessary, Congress made it possible for the Bush Administration to kill a much more serious-minded state-level initiative to control wasteful energy consumption by autos. The EPA may have pulled the trigger, but Congress handed them the bullet ...

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Freedom of Choice = The Right to Choose

Why is there a war on freedom of choice? This country was founded on religious freedom and an "individual liberty concept" that should be guaranteed, and taken into consideration with every act this government takes. The right to manage one's own life within the tenants and arc of one's own experience should never be impinged. It is not a one size fits all world but a tapestry of experiences and awareness that runs from the enlightened to the obsessive and power hungry. Sacrificing the bedrock foundations of this Country to the whims of fanaticism in order to gain power jeopardizes the very freedoms and virtues that make this country the land of freedom, opportunity, and great in every sense of the word.

A womans right to choose and to govern her very existence should not be dictated by anyone save her own mind, heart and soul. If we do a good job with education, including sex ed, and have easy access to birth control then we are fulfilling the "planned parenthood" mission. If we impart the wisdom that there is a difference between having a child and raising a child, and the life long commitment that entails then we will achieve responsible parenting.

If you believe every sperm is sacred and your 14 year old daughter gets pregnant what does she do? Is it up to the 14 year old? Should the parent give guidance? It could be argued that your 14 year old didn't receive good guidance in the first place, or she wouldn't have become pregnant. So you can see this is a very tricky issue based on the specifics of the situation and blanket rules, assumptions and attitudes do not apply.

That the government provides for safe medical procedures is its duty not only for staph infections in hospitals but abortions as well. That the government tell each and everyone of us what to believe or not believe is most definitely the largest affront on individual liberty that man can come up with short of the holocaust.

Take Action

Paul Burke

Author - Journey Home

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Senate SUCKS!

W. sucks too - he said he "couldn't" sign the energy bill - why not is his hand broken? What he is really saying is he "wouldn't" sign the energy bill because Big Oil owns him - owns his soul, his every thought, his career his house, his kids education - owns him - his daddy, his mommy and all his friends.

What right does the Senate have caving into special interest when it's OUR TAX PAYER MONEY! We gave them the right by OUR vote to act in OUR interest. Big money comes in and says we aren't going to fund your campaigns anymore, and they fold like a house of cards. Where are the real men and women the leaders who have a vision for the future? Read this NY Times article below and in the Mercury News link in the title above and weep people. In an era that cries out for bold action we limp along and now we are going to be subsidizing the unprofitable nuclear industry. I am so disgusted with the Status Quo. What a bunch of vision less wimps. We are on a tiny rock with a wisp of air and a spit of water and we continue to champion dirty energy solutions. I wanna puke all over the keyboard. My resolve is more hardened we need to toss the Senate out on it's ear and get a REAL representative government of independents and realists.

Industry Flexes Muscle, Weaker Energy Bill Passes

Published: December 14, 2007

WASHINGTON — Pared-down energy legislation cleared the Senate on Thursday by a wide margin after the oil industry and utilities succeeded in stripping out provisions that would have cost them billions of dollars.

The legislation still contains a landmark increase in fuel-economy standards for vehicles and a huge boost for alternative fuels. But a $13 billion tax increase on oil companies and a requirement that utilities nationwide produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources were left on the floor to secure Republican votes for the package.

The tax measure and the renewable electricity mandate were included in an energy bill that easily passed the House last week. But industry lobbyists focused their attention on Republican members of the Senate and on the White House, which repeatedly threatened to veto the bill if the offending sections were not removed.

Earlier in the week, Senate leaders agreed to drop the renewable electricity section. And on Thursday, after a failed effort to cut off debate on the bill, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said he would reluctantly remove the tax provisions as well, clearing the way for passage in the early evening.

The slimmed-down bill passed 86-8.

The Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned electric utilities, led the opposition to the renewable electricity mandate. Along with its member companies in the Midwest and Southeast, the group carried out an extensive lobbying campaign warning that the bill would cause sharp increases in electric rates.

The institute was joined by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce and groups representing the paper, mining, petrochemical and refining industries.

Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for the institute, said that a federal mandate would conflict with mandates for renewable power in place in more than half the states and that this could possibly complicate efforts to pass a nationwide program to combat climate change.

“The federal government jumping in now and second-guessing the states and enacting a fuel mandate in advance of economy-wide greenhouse gas regulation just wasn’t going to make it out of Congress,” Mr. Riedinger said.

The bill now returns to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted that it would pass overwhelmingly early next week. A White House spokesman said President Bush was pleased that the bill was “moving in the right direction” and that he would sign it when it reached his desk.

The oil industry conducted its own campaign of opposition to the tax provisions, arguing that it would impose burdens on the industry when it needed all the resources it had to find and develop new sources of energy.

“We made sure that everybody knew our point of view — the White House, the House, the Senate,” said James Ford, director of government affairs at the American Petroleum Institute. “We told our story and told it thoroughly.” (READ that as the THREAT it was intended to be people)

Mr. Ford said that even with the tax provisions removed, the oil industry had concerns about meeting the bill’s requirement that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be blended into gasoline by 2022. He said the bill was far too specific about how much of certain kinds of fuels must be produced, whether from corn, various other plant fibers or animal fats.

“With all these boutique biofuels, we need an ability to adjust the mandate if technological advances aren’t made,” Mr. Ford said.

Environmental advocates were generally pleased with passage of the new vehicle fuel-economy standards and the biofuel provision. Dan Becker, an environmental consultant who has been working on auto efficiency issues for nearly 20 years, called passage of the bill the biggest environmental victory since enactment of the Clean Air Act of 1990.

But some environmentalists said they were unhappy that the bill would not provide large incentives for expansion of renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biothermal.

Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth Action, accused Senate Democrats of “capitulating” to Senate Republicans and the White House.

“When the Republican leadership and the polluter lobby have blocked important legislation, Senate Democrats have been all too willing to move in their direction,” Mr. Blackwelder said in a statement. “The result is that the two most positive provisions of the energy bill — a clean energy mandate and a tax package reining in handouts for fossil fuels and promoting clean energy — are being removed, while detrimental provisions, such as a radical five-fold increase in unsustainable biofuel use, remain.”

Separately, Congress reached a tentative agreement on a major energy package that it plans to enact outside the energy bill, according to a Senate Democratic staff member. The agreement, to be included in a broad government spending bill, would authorize the Energy Department to guarantee loans for various energy projects, making financing far easier.

The agreement would guarantee loans of up to $25 billion for new nuclear plants and $2 billion for a uranium enrichment plant, something those industries had been avidly seeking. It would also provide guarantees of up to $10 billion for renewable energy projects, $10 billion for plants to turn coal into liquid vehicle fuel and $2 billion to turn coal into natural gas.


Paul Burke

Author - Journey Home

Friday, December 07, 2007


We did not make this world or even ourselves, we did not make the universe or the stars in the sky, we did not make the plains or the mountains, or animals that dwell in them. We did not make the oceans or the sky. We did not make the weather, the rain or the apples that grow from the trees. We did not make anything accept destruction and war, and consumption. How arrogant are we to hold this magnificent creation in disdain as we slash and pollute, burn and kill, destroy and extinguish all that has been given to us. It should be revered, used sparingly and manged with care. We have been given the free will and intelligence to accomplish great things. We have been given the consciousness to know the difference between right and wrong. Mankind needs to evolve and quickly to a forward thinking less self absorbed being and realize his/her true place in the universe on a tiny rock in a distant solar system with a wisp of air and sea to sustain us.

Boycott Exxon

Paul Burke
Author Journey Home

Friday, November 30, 2007

Internal Combustion Engine Obsolete!

I am reprinting this article from a major publisher. The internal combustion engine is obsolete. You wouldn't use a computer that was five years old why are you driving a car based on a technology developed 100 years ago? The only reason there haven't been any advances in car and oil technology is because the status quo has gotten insanely rich on this outdated mode of transportation and the fuel that drives it. Why plow the money back into innovation when your current business is making money hand over fist? Because the country deserves better from the status quo who rely on our troops, banking system, form of government and labor to keep them swimming in cash.

America take back your country from the dinosaurs of the antiquated industrial revolution from over 100 years ago, and take back your health, environment and independence while you are at it. We don't need Bush's Oil War - we don't need all that oil. The status quo does and will fight until the bitter end to keep selling us cars and trucks that get 20 miles to the gallon while moving oil prices up so high that they cripple the overall economy. Take it back America all of it - and the free market economy too!

Author - Journey Home

Putting the zoom into electric cars

Watch out, Detroit. A new crop of electric-vehicle startups aims to put a dent in the Big Three by applying the latest in high-technology engineering and design.

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Aptera: This hybrid gets 300 mpg.
Tesla: This racy electric roadster goes 245 miles on one charge.

Steve Fambro didn't get into the car business to save the world. He did it to go faster on freeways.

Fambro was driving 36 miles a day, during rush hour, to and from his biotech job in La Jolla, Calif. As traffic slowed to a crawl, motorcycles whizzed past in the carpool lane. He wanted to do the same, and after trying a motorbike and becoming worried about his safety, he decided he wanted to do the same in an enclosed vehicle. He bought a hybrid, but as an engineer he still yearned for a vehicle that got even better fuel economy.

That left electric cars. The selection was discouraging: tiny, boxy vehicles with a short range that took a long time to charge. "Anything you could buy looked as if it was designed in the 1970s," says Fambro.

So he decided to start his own car company. In November 2008, Fambro will begin selling the Aptera. That means "wingless" in Greek, but don't think this car won't fly. It's a sleek two-seat, three-wheel electric vehicle with a top speed of 95 miles an hour, and it comes in two versions: all electric and hybrid.

Made of a Space Age composite material, the hybrid gets 300 miles per gallon, while the electric goes 100 miles on a single three- to six-hour charge. And it looks great in the carpool lane.

For the first time since the early 20th century, America is seeing a flowering of entrepreneurship in the auto industry. Today at least 11 new electric car companies, each working on a wide range of technologies, have launched or plan to launch models. Several of the startups are clustered around Silicon Valley, drawing on the brainpower and pocketbooks of high-tech engineers and venture capitalists. These upstarts are not modest. They believe they can do what major automakers have failed to do: bring an electric car to the mass market.

Electric cars, to be sure, are not new. About a century ago Thomas Edison joined forces with Henry Ford to develop an electric car that would be as affordable as the Model T. In those early days of the automobile, hundreds of manufacturers all over the country tried to compete making both electric and gasoline-powered cars. But economies of scale were not on their side, and small shops - some 415 of them in 1914, each of which produced a few handmade cars a year - eventually gave way to the Big Three.

The internal-combustion engine could be refueled more conveniently than a battery could be recharged, especially on long trips, and that advantage all but killed electric auto technology. Over the years entrepreneurs would occasionally emerge with a new design to challenge the Big Three, yet all failed. The two most memorable flameouts: Preston Tucker in 1948 with his Tucker Torpedo and John De Lorean, with his silver gull-winged sports car in the 1970s - both of which used internal-combustion engines.

So why does today's new breed of small, renegade car company think it can succeed where so many other auto startups have failed? The entrepreneurs and investors behind the firms point to four factors: consumer desire for measures to address global warming, an abundance of investment capital, new breakthroughs in fiber composite body material, and the availability of cheap computing power and software that help simulate design challenges long before new cars hit the road.

By taking aim at many markets, the electric auto makers are multiplying their chances of success. Tesla Motors of San Carlos, Calif., will sell in early 2008 a speedy $98,000 electric roadster for the Hollywood and hedge fund set (George Clooney and the Google guys have mailed in their down payments).

Entrepreneur Ian Wright, based in Burlingame, Calif., is also aiming at the sports market with the Wrightspeed X1, which he hopes to sell in about two years for about $100,000. The X1 prototype's three-second acceleration from zero to 60 mph makes it one of the fastest autos in the world - second only to the French-made Bugatti Veyron, a 16-cylinder gas-gulping beast that is just half-a-second faster and goes for $1.25 million.

If the Tesla and Wrightspeed give you sticker shock, don't worry. Phoenix Motorcars of Ontario, Calif., is aiming at businesses, and in early 2008 plans to sell a $47,000 electric pickup truck that can be recharged in ten minutes. For those looking for an affordable commuter car, Aptera's gas hybrid will be available in 2008 for $27,000, with an all-electric version for $30,000 (you'll have to plug it into a regular household socket for a few hours after driving 100 miles).

A Toronto company called Zenn sells an electric car and is counting on a radical new kind of power pack from a Cedar Park, Texas, startup called EEStor to next build an Aptera rival. And in 2006 a Norwegian investment firm bought Think, an electric car company once owned by Ford. It plans to launch the Think City commuter car in Europe in 2008 and in the U.S. market in 2009.

Dean Kamen, the Manchester, N.H.-based inventor of the Segway scooter, is working with Think to adapt his Stirling engine to the car, which would extend its 110 mile range. GM has hired A123, a Watertown, Mass., startup to supply lithium batteries for its Volt hybrid, due to launch in 2010. Former SAP executive Shai Agassi has raised $200 million for Project Better Place, a firm that plans to build a network of stations to recharge all these electric cars.

Driving this global network of entrepreneurs is a very global problem. In the U.S., cars and trucks are responsible for some 20% of humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide. Switching from internal-combustion engines to electric-powered vehicles will seriously mitigate the effects of global warming.

Skeptics point out that the juice for electric cars must be generated by power plants, most of which are fired by natural gas or coal and spew their own carbon dioxide. But 30% of the electricity on the national grid comes from clean sources such as nuclear, solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. According to a study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, using electric vehicles actually results in as much as a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases, depending on the location.

Few of these new car companies are aiming to grow to the size of Toyota or GM. Most will be satisfied if they can become profitable niche players; others hope to sell or license their technology to the big guys. Says Bill Green, a partner at Vantage-Point Venture Partners, which has invested in Tesla Motors: "No one argues today that the Tesla will serve anything but a small subset of the market. But it has changed the conversation. It is a historic and dramatic increase in performance. The big car companies will look at Tesla and say, 'Hey, maybe I can use that technology in my cars.' "

Venture capital firms are betting big on that outcome too. Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, used part of the fortune he made selling his company to eBay (Charts, Fortune 500) to help bankroll Tesla Motors. Besides Vantagepoint, investors include Google (Charts, Fortune 500) founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Silicon Valley VC firm Draper Jurvetson. Tesla has raised more than $100 million. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer, along with other investors, has put $7 million into EEStor.

What has these investors excited is that technology is helping small companies rethink the dynamics of car design. Take the Aptera: This aerodynamic, low-slung commuter car has a composite body, made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and Kevlar, that looks like the cockpit of a jet yet can fit two adult passengers and a child in a baby seat. It weighs 1,500 pounds, compared with the U.S. industry average of 3,455 pounds. Because it has only three wheels, the Aptera will be classified as a motorcycle in most states. But it's beefier than it looks. One inch shorter than a Toyota Prius, the Aptera can still fit a surfboard in the trunk after folding down the passenger seat. The vehicle has passed slalom tests for stability and handling.

Odd, delightful features abound. A solar-assisted air-conditioning system will run on sunny days even when the car is turned off, keeping the interior cool for the driver's return. The covered wheels hang on the ends of protruding axles, leading one auto industry wag to remark that the vehicle looks like "Batman's girlfriend's car." Fambro makes no apologies: "Most auto designs put styling first and function second," he says. "The way cars are designed, half the energy they need is just to push the air out of the way."

Fambro's aim was to change the styling to reduce the drag of the car as much as possible. He succeeded: The Aptera will have a drag one-third that of a today's average car and less than half that of the Prius, the industry champion of low wind resistance.

Fambro created his groundbreaking design on a budget. It would have cost him $10,000 a day to test the car's aerodynamics in a wind tunnel, so Fambro found some software - the same that NASA uses to test the drag of its space vehicles - for just $50,000.

The simulation lets him make a change in the style of the car and see the effect on drag very quickly. One result: The car has no side-view mirrors. Instead the driver has 180-degree rear visibility on a videoscreen with the help of cameras mounted on the back of the car. "Ten years ago we couldn't do that kind of testing. And five years ago we couldn't afford it," says Fambro.

His engineers can also use the computer to simulate 50,000 miles of driving, including over potholes, and test the stress on the vehicle parts. (A prototype of the car has been pushed to its limits on an actual test track.) Because the body is made of a composite, capital costs are low compared with those required to build a typical steel car. It can take as much as $1 billion to set up the facilities for the die stamping, welding, and assembly of a new vehicle, but Aptera can make composite parts with a tolerance of 0.001 of an inch quickly and cheaply. "It's an entirely new way of making structural products," says Fambro. He estimates that today's computing power is so fast that he can do with three employees "what a big company such as Boeing ten years ago took a few hundred people to do."

It's one thing to build a prototype; it's another to manufacture complex products in large numbers on time and on budget. Toyota (Charts), with some of the best auto engineers in the world, took years to work the kinks out of the Prius. Aptera must also build or piggyback onto a dealer network to sell and service the cars. That takes capital, skilled manpower, and time. Aptera's all-electric model should at least be very easy to maintain. It has no transmission, and its electric motor has only one moving part, compared with about 400 for regular engines. Its mechanics may need software degrees, but at least they'll have clean hands.

Even if Fambro succeeds in building an affordable, energy-efficient commuter car, the impact on the market, at least in the short run, will be minimal. He hopes to sell around 3,000 to 4,000 Apteras in the first year of production, marketing mostly to buyers in California, Arizona, and Nevada, and then ramp up to about 10,000 cars a year soon after that. Meanwhile, GM (Charts, Fortune 500) alone churns out about 300,000 cars a month. Fambro says he plans to build Aptera into a major car company, but like many entrepreneurs, he is willing to be flexible. "If Toyota or Hyundai offered to buy us," he says slyly, "we would certainly consider it."



- Aptera Motors, Carlsbad, Calif.
- Think Global, Palo Alto*
- Zenn, Toronto
- Zap, Santa Rosa, Calif.
- Commuter Cars, Spokane
- A.C. Propulsion, San Dimas, Calif.


- Tesla Motors, San Carlos, Calif.
- Wrightspeed, Burlingame, Calif.
- Universal Electric Vehicle, Thousand Oaks, Calif.


- Azure Dynamics, Oak Park, Mich.
- Phoenix Motorcars, Ontario, Calif.


- A123Systems, Watertown, Mass.
- Altairnano, Reno
- EEStor, Cedar Park, Texas
- Valence Technology, Austin
- Odyne, Hauppauge, N.Y.

* U.S. office of Norwegian parent. To top of page

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Oath

Well the feasting has come and gone and the parades and the football, and what are we left with? Is it just back into the routine? The "holidaze" can actually be a time of significant spiritual rejuvenation. The candle light services to come on Christmas Eve, the remembrance of days and years gone by truly the holidays can be a fulfilling and rewarding time. Keeping it all in perspective maybe really isn't the thing to do here. I don't mean go out and over spend. In fact I would put forth that you don't need to buy anything to achieve the holiday buzz. Well it's not really a buzz. It's an insight gained through familiar and family gatherings. It's a soaking of the roots of self through memory and gathering. Laughing at cherished moments some painful now hysterical through time. The retelling of old stories and the synchronicity of strange events, timing, moon glow, sunrise, names, loves and what the heck is that tree doing in my house.

Lights go up, the gravy is passed and old family and friends pull together to rejuvenate. So don't loose sight of the fact of how lucky we are. Lucky to be alive, lucky to be healthy, lucky to have those around who really do care and remember. Swear an oath of remembrance to those struggling, infirmed and oppressed never to forget, and re-energize yourself to help, anyway you can. For that is surely what we are here for and any actions, concentrations or directions other than that lead us astray. There's gold in them thar hills but not the kind you might think. Real substance, real rewards and so rejuvenate and rejoice at those opportunities. Make a joyful noise, love, hug and laugh (at yourself especially) and know that each day can be like this. The holiday spirit could be, should be year round. It's time to up our expectations of each other, lay down our weapons and extend to each other a helping hand.

Have faith in what you know is right. Walk lighter upon the Earth in many ways. We have more to be thankful for than we can even dream and work to do a plenty. Which is a blessing in itself.


Author - Journey Home

Friday, November 16, 2007

Profit, Taxes, Warren Buffet, and The Global Survival of Mankind

The idea that profit is the end all be all number one priority misses the mark by a landslide. Profit has to come down on the list of priorities to number five somewhere below sustainability (yes the environment) health, education and security. We need sustainability to live on this our one and only planet everything else comes second, and therefore manage our resources in a sustainable fashion. Clear cutting, slash and burn short term profit making is good when it's pet rocks but devastating when it is the actual environment, food chain/food source, that sustains us. That being said money is a tool not a lover or friend or companion or neighbor, or something that fulfills us. That void inside you if it exists can not be filled up with money. Helping one another is the only way to fill that void no amount of booze or broads, good score cards, seats, or wide screen televisions or fine cigars or country club memberships or visits with celebrities will achieve that goal. So as to why we are here that should be obvious by anyone past 50 years old - to help each other.

In order to foster a more equitable society we need to quite frankly spread the wealth. If the wealth is concentrated in a few hands you will have war, and civil unrest. An uneducated population is treacherous. The war in the mid east is the haves versus the have nots - who else would be willing to blow themselves up unless they felt what's the difference my existence is subhuman anyway.

The estate tax and Buffet's opinion about it speak directly to those concerns. Those manipulating the tax code behind the veil of the beltway do so at their own demise, miss the big picture, are looking for short term gains and forget who and where they are.

Paul Burke
Author - Journey Home

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bill Richardson and the Media

Voters - give Bill Richardson a good long look.

I despise the media for their lack of coverage. Who decided this was a two person race: Mitt and Rudy in one corner and Hilary and Obama in the other. What's with the herd mentality? How is reporting on the candidates that get ALL the press coverage NEWS? Let's talk about the definition of NEWS. To understand a words true definition one must understand the root of the word and how it came into being. The root of the word NEWS is as follows Origin: 1425–75; late ME newis, pl. of newe new thing, novelty (see new); on the model of MF noveles (pl. of novele), or ML nova (pl. of novum); see novel2].

What is new about Hilary or Rudy or Romney or Obama. The press in over covering these four are attempting to crown them before anyone votes. They want to shape your opinion. What would be NEWS would be coverage on the lesser known candidates like Joe Bidden, Chris Dodd, Ron Paul, Bill Richardson.

Or do we just live in a time of blatant media manipulation by the powers that be?

Rudy if elected will be horribly in over his head. Who cares if he's a good guy on the golf course or at a cocktail party? Running the country takes strong managerial skills. Managerial skills require building consensus, putting your people in the right place to be the most effective, and having a clear vision. Rudy can't get all the walkie talkies working in NY between his firehouses and police stations. What's that say about his organizational and leadership skills?

Hilary is too toxic. Sorry Hilary electing you would be like tossing the Republicans red meat. I'm not interested in another eight years of partisan howling. We need to get some work done here in this Country. Obama has zero experience. He's an articulate guy but I'm afraid too much of a newbie. He'll get eaten up and spit out by the special interest forces. Mitt is a flat out fraud pretty boy like Edwards. Both of them strike me as phonies who are more interested in themselves and will run with whatever policy will get them elected. Ron Paul is an interesting choice and I am not writing him off. So research the man. He has some very important views that are also not getting covered by our alleged news agencies. Joe Bidden is a smart, experienced viable candidate who has been touting a great plan for Iraq since the war started. Again no press coverage. I recommend you learn what Joe is saying.

However, Bill Richardson is the best overall candidate running. He has a proven track record, strongest managerial talent with more experience than the rest of the field except Bidden and Dodd plus he has been a very successful governor.

As an independent I love this guy. Bill Richardson is our best hope to quiet the partisan b.s. and get everybody back to work doing the peoples business. He is a proven consensus builder and Americas best hope to have a great executive branch that will put their own self interest on the back burner and work with congress. It's time we elected a pragmatic leader.

And, it's time the media started thinking and reporting independently of their individual career interest and inform the public about ALL the candidates. A recent article championing Ron Paul while touting his policy positions wrote he's unelectable. Why? No one has voted yet, and if the media championed him the way they champion Rudy then he would be electable.

My message to the media is just the facts. All we want are the facts and not the same old opinions rehashed. I don't care what the writer thinks. I'm trying to make up my mind out here. I rely on the news to dig up FACTS and boil down position papers. So when they write Ron Paul is not electable they are reinforcing the same old, same old. We desperately need to get away from that in the reporting and news coverage that takes place in this country.

This is not sports prognostics. The medias job is to dig for the facts, not recite vested interest talking points. Ron Paul would be electable if the NYT and FOX news said he was. The power of the press should be treated with respect and understood by those who make their living in that field. We need more information on the other candidates enough on Mitt, Hilary, Rudy and Obama. We are saturated with them. Hopefully the links provide here will be useful since the main stream media is just whoring their own careers.

Paul Burke
Author - Journey Home
Related Article

Monday, November 12, 2007

Old Dark House

I'm still getting a few more Halloween movies trickling in from Net Flix. Our marathon month long horror fest is just about over. I think the third installment of Evil Dead is still due to arrive but last night it was time for a classic. We were totally surprised by "Old Dark House" what a beautifully shot and acted movie from 1932. I just love the old classics. James Whale the director of 1931's Frankenstein takes another turn with Boris Karloff. Quite frankly the rest of the cast is top notch including Charles Laughton, and Lillian Bond who just bumped Rachel McAdams off my number one heart throb list. This movie is shot very creepily, big shadows, Karloff on a drunk rampage, spooky, crazy characters, dark and stormy nights, candle light, large cutlery, crackling fires, and quippy dialogue. I love the 30's and 40's for their smart, faced paced dialogue. Today nothing seems so subtle and no one has time for double entendres. I highly recommend this movie. Four **** stars for film buffs, lovers of the genre, black and white movie fans, and budding writers, photographers, lighting engineers, and directors. James Whale shoots the hell out of this movie. Every shot is a still life photographic masterpiece. He really knew how to create atmosphere and suspense. Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man are on this guy's wild resume. Turn the lights out, fire up the big screen, throw another log on the fire and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Clear Channel Won't Play Springsteen's New Album!

Using excuses Clear Channel has banned it's station from playing Bruce's new album. They want this quiet very quiet and not to have a Dixie Chick back lash reaction when they banned the Dixie Chicks for exercising their rights. It's important to remember the airways belong to the Public. I was on the bubble about buying Bruce's new album but now I'm buying it out of spite!

The serious issue here is the consolidation of media (across the board TV & Print) and the control of information to the vast majority too busy to dig for it. What gets played on the radio is what is being marketed. The commercial radio stations are just marketing arms and the cycle for marketing is a short one. I was psyched for a promo copy of one artist a while back but because it was thirty days after the release the record label didn't want to send me a promotional copy. Talk about short sighted but they have very clear marketing strategies.

Back to the main issue - if there is money to be made they'll play anything - artistic quality has zero, zilch, nada, absolutely nothing to do with what you are hearing on radio - it's about unit sales and target markets. So what's with banning Bruce? His album is selling well. Clear Channel's strategy runs counter to their typical business model?

A Free Press was singled out in the Constitution as being essential to our democracy.

"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom...of the press."

If media across the board is consolidated into the hands of the few because of laws made by this government cleared the way then rights and freedoms are restricted by the whims of the few and the political leanings of the few. In essence the vast liberty that freedom requires and leans on has been SOLD OUT by the establishment, and those wide ranging freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution become the dictate of the few.

The essence of this issue is freedom, dissemination, availability and variety. As the public we not only own the air ways but the public lands they are mining for next to nothing. Some of the worst deals of all time have been foisted onto the American public concerning mining rights and the lost revenue that could /should be plowed back into our public institutions and needs.

Back to Freedom of the Press: Without those broad parameters of freedom of information, and broad dissemination in place and available we more than risk we guarantee that the powerful who wish to remain powerful will restrict pertinent information when it runs counter to their special, specific and highly individualized wants and needs.

Unfortunately, those needs may and often do run counter to what is best for the majority. Including being able to pollute the Delaware and Chesapeake because a company would sell less of something.

Paper back ups for voting machines is a great example although essential for voting integrity they cut into the profit margin of the manufactures. Whats more important here - obviously voting count integrity, but because we have a warped sense of the importance of profit margins trumping all other concerns we have a fight on our hands to get paper back ups for our new electronic voting machines - so much for defending the Constitution.

We shoot ourselves in the foot time and time again even to the point of the destruction of the actual air we breath, water we drink and land and oceans we harvest. It's mind boggling and devoid of common sense.

In order to fix this mess profit has to be dropped from the number one priority of all time and considered only after the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the health and welfare of our society as a whole is taken into account. Unbridled profit for profits sake is not a panacea or cure all for what ails us. Never has been never will be! In fact unbriddled profiteering is the quickest way to destroying our planet, each other, and ourselves.

I hope we learn this lesson before it is too late.

Did you know there were cars already in production that run on compressed air? This should be front page news. The big boys don't have their hands around it (yet) so we don't hear about it.

Just think how peaceful and clean the world would be today if the guys that make the most off of oil weren't in control of the White House and Congress for the past 60 years. Don't get fooled or roped into a phony fight Republicans versus Democrats. It's the have mores (that's W.'s quote) versus the rest of us.

It's time to put the oil monopoly and their minions their dirty oil money, politics and schemes out to pasture and reclaim our country of the people, by the people, for the people!

Paul Burke
Author - Journey Home

Source Blog

Take Action with Media Matters

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zeitgeist Movie Review

A friend of mine sent me the link below (or click on the title) to this two hour documentary. I'm happy to report that it is compelling viewing and worth the time. Even if some of the conclusions or predictions might not stand up to other points of view this is still worth watching. The first ten minutes if historically correct offer a very fascinating overview of world religions that will give you more than a pause in your assumptions. It's a very well put together montage and the whole documentary is split into three parts. I watched a part then took a break freshened up my apple juice and then hunkered down for the next part. So take the time to review this feature. The worst thing that can happen is that you get another point of view to assess or are spurned on to do some of your own research and fact checking, and always, always, question authority.

Author - Journey Home
Zeitgeist Movie Link

Friday, October 26, 2007

Finding Neverland

It's movie review time! Yet again I am famously behind the times but Net Flix is such a wonderful company I'm actually catching up on some movies. I'm a huge fan of Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman both are strong as ever. As usual it's Johnny's show and he doesn't disappoint as this tale is ripe for his strong acting chops. Emotion runs rampant as the lives of two families intersect and the creative muse of Depp's character is allowed full range in conjunction with the children. Kate Winslet's character is aptly swept along in the process. I loved all the backstage and theatrical scenes as they lent a palpable taste of costuming and stage makeup right at your feet. I want to go into more detail but let's just say it's hard to judge a movie by it's cover. This is a semi-fictional account of the author of Peter Pan and the road traveled in "Finding Neverland". Despite it's historical inaccuracies and the rather tragic adult lives of the fictionalized yet real life inspired children this is the type of movie that restores faith in humanity even when stepping outside of our alleged boundaries of approved behavior. If you have any room in your heart for joy, fear of regret or sense of wonder you will love this movie!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Children's Health Care

Let me get this straight

We don't support Child Health Care but we give uber tax breaks to the richest 1%, subsidies to the super profitable oil companies, promote nuclear energy that piles up radioactive waste both a threat to national security and our health in a very real and serious way, we underfund the inner city public schools and pretend the lack of sex ed doesn't lead to teen pregnancy and more poverty, we stuff our seniors into cold and sad nursing homes to wait out their deaths in loneliness and despair and we wage war and devastate the landscape and all of god's creation to prop up dying industries and outdated modes of transportation.

We overtax the middle class and dump mountain tops into valleys and streams destroying communities because big coal doesn't want to pay actual people to mine for their dirty fuel source. We politicize the Justice Department and strengthen the Executive Branch in direct contradiction of the Constitution and the laws governing this land - and to reconfirm we are against Health Care for Children.

What a ridiculously, absurd and ugly country we have become. The Bush family, their cohorts and their legacy are a bunch of frauds and self promoting thieves who cloak themselves in the Flag and the Bible while they violate every principle those two icons represent. Bush can't figure out away for his family, cronies and funders to profit from the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) so he is against it - plain and simple!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Family Stone - Movie Review

I finally saw this movie the other night. If you are sitting on the fence on this one - rent it. I'm not a big SJP fan but she does a good job. Even though she is the central character to the story line there are plenty of other actors and story lines to follow. It's a heartfelt movie with a ridiculously strong cast including Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, Dermot Mulrooney and Claire Danes. There's some real acting chops going on here by both the name and not so famous actors. It's a top flight cast and they have great material to work with. This is not a gun, murder, rape, drug movie and that's another reason I love it! Nothing blows up and there are no car chases but what you get is a slice of life and that's real enough without all the usual Hollywood embellishments and trappings.

Now I hail from a big family and I gotta tell you there's a lot of truth ringing here. So if you have a few years of "real" life experience under your belt and you have been grist for the mill you will love this movie. Bitter sweet and over the top but still wonderfully shot and directed. I've seen Rachel McAdams in a few movies but her cereal eating comfy clothes turn in this role stole my heart and Claire Danes always delivers the goods. If you see some bad reviews out at Net Flix ignore them. I immediately went back and watched the movie again and tuned into the family dynamics on the peripheral of the main story line. The extras are worth watching. They will help you pick up on some subtleties that are bound to be missed because there is a lot there. The comfy, cluttered, home really took me back and will put you in the homecoming holiday mood. Now move over on the sofa and pass the popcorn! This is a good human movie my friends!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Human Dignity - Amnesty International

Is it any wonder that Human dignity has all but evaporated. From the willingness to blow up people in a market getting their daily bread to the visceral, violent and ugly words and images from our entertainment industry the idea of human dignity has all but disappeared. Somewhere along the time that it became hip to be stupid we have trended downwards. Look at the talking heads screaming at each other on television (pathetic, immature, irrational and stupid) or the trash that is sensationalized and paraded on daily television for what we have become. It's not funny it's sad. Decorum, respect, dignity, class, education, elite, excellence, work, awareness, sharing, kindness, tolerance, peace, patience, understanding and love these have become the dirty words. How about our politicians and the examples they set with lying and corruption justified as the norm and how much one can get away with the goal. That's the petulant behavior of a five year old and not very wise. You can only lead by example. We show up on foreign soil with Christianity in one hand and an empty basket to fill up in the other pathetic hypocrites.

No Human dignity is a thing of the past. It's hip to be an aggressive punk. Throwing trash in the street and crying about being dis-respected we don't see that our actions are what actually earn respect. Religious bigotry, intolerance forgetting to live and let live or simply ignoring the golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) are all symptoms of an immature world petty and futile with no real vision beyond greed and ego. The world is flipped out. I guess an era of uncivilized behavior is necessary to re-educate man that ignorance is self and globally annihilating.

Well World in order to survive the word we must relearn is civilization. Without it we reduce ourselves and our neighbors to less than nothing defecating in our water, poisoning our food, polluting our air and waging war all for profit. A respect for all humanity (including yourself) is the cornerstone of success. Jefferson called it the obligation of the good citizen. I call it common sense.

Author - Journey Home
Amnesty International

"when Ghandi was asked what he thought of Western civilization he said he thought it would be a good idea"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Air Powered Car vs. Mid East Oil and Texas

It's here already cars that run on air. You didn't expect the oil whores in the White House to tell you about it or the press Corporate America controls? They know. They are keeping it quiet to make the very last penny off of the remaining oil in the ground. If Texas has it's way not until the oil completely dries up will big energy in this Country give up the ghost. To hell with the Polar Bears were trying to get oil to a $100.00 dollars a barrel. While that attitude serves the limited interest of less than 1% of the worlds population the rest of us are moving ahead. The race is on India, and France both have cars that run on AIR! That's right compressed air!

Check out the links below and then start calling your representatives. It's time to break the log jam of control of our Nation's power. It's time to have a more representative government that thinks outside the box, and stops hoarding all of everything for themselves. It would be nice to get our environment and health back along with a booming economy based on innovation and a real free market as opposed to this limp wristed economy of tax breaks for the super rich and their trickle down propaganda. We need the flood gates open. A trickle down economy is just that a trickle to protect the greedy from sharing!

Air Car Videos
Wikipedia reference (lots of links)
Popular Mechanics Article
How Stuff Works Web Site Article
Business Week Article

Look this isn't bull - dust off your imaginations and accept that we have to make another leap forward to leave the ignorant past behind. Business Week and Popular Mechanics are the bastion of Conservative Media. There's a problem out there and the big oil companies will fight this tooth and nail. Do you want change? Find out where your representatives get their funding. Don't let big oil stack the legislative deck. A rule of thumb...anyone from Texas running for office is a BAD idea!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bill Richardson is OUR MAN - Barak Obama is a Phony (tax increases and liquid coal)

Bill Richardson For President!

Barak is just another phony - sorry I know he's the hip flavor but get those Hollywood stars out of your eyes and just listen to what he is saying.

Good god the man wants to RAISE the payroll taxes - that's buying power and saving power taken directly out of YOUR PAYCHECK.

NO. no, no, no!

No way can I in any way shape or form accept more taxes going to Washington D.C. The federal government is awash in our money. They must learn to make do with what they have got, prioritize and make spending cuts where necessary. The amount of money given in subsidies correctly called "Corporate Welfare" is huge. The amount of money going to outdated weapon systems is over half the budget. There is plenty of money in Washington. These idiots have the nerve to suggest obtaining more revenue by increasing the amount of money deducted from our paychecks? Have you looked at your paycheck? They are already grabbing the first third off the top.

The payroll tax should be eliminated completely. It would be a boon to the market place and increase savings by giving us our damn money back to invest or spend as we see fit.

You want to fix social security? Eliminate Congress's special retirement package which sends millions of our tax money dollars to the political hacks and cronies and their widows and families in excess of six figures a year. That's everyone who has ever served or been elected and still living and their heirs. Wake up people they are ripping us off and feel entitled to it! It's our money. It's time we vote for the right candidate and not who the media tells us to vote for.

In last nights debate ONLY BILL RICHARDSON said he would bring all of the troops home by the end of the "FIRST YEAR" of his term and he was the only candidate to say unequivocally that he WOULD NOT raise the PAYROLL tax.

Barak's position on raising taxes, his failure to commit to bring the troops home and his absurd position on promoting the production of liquid coal (more of our money funneled to the super rich on a dubious extremely catastrophic dirty energy source)- make this alleged maverick just another corporate shill (puppet, hack) afraid to take on and fix the real problems in government. Like the rest of us the government has to prioritize and redistribute the money THEY ALREADY HAVE.

Sorry for the capital letters but I'm completely pissed off. Is anybody actually listening to these people? If you are the only choice for President is Bill Richardson

Case Closed.

From the link above:

"Richardson said he would make sure that the troops were home by the end of his first year in office."

"Richardson said he wouldn’t, (raise the payroll tax)"

Richardson Proposed Military Plan

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Print Your Own Solar Cells!

This is a repost from the fantastic Earth & Sky Blog!

The Sun, the source of our solar energy.

Someday you’ll be able to print out solar cells on your home printer.

Conventional solar cells that are used on buildings and satellites are made from purified silicon. But, over the past decade, scientists have been exploring the potential of a polymer material that can be easily coated, or painted on, to surfaces like laptops, appliances or cars.

They’re called “organic” solar cells. Earth & Sky spoke to Somenath Mitra at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His recent contribution is a type of organic solar cell that combines fullerenes – or buckyballs – with carbon nanotubes. The buckyballs trap electrons from light, and the tiny nanotubes act like wires to conduct the electric current.

Mitra told Earth & Sky that organic solar cell technology should lead to solar cells you can print from a home computer in about five to 10 years. Organic solar cells still have a way to go, though, before they’re as efficient as conventional solar cells.

Meanwhile, Mitra told Earth & Sky that much of the promise of solar energy depends on cost. The pace of development will pick up even more, he said, when solar panels become much cheaper – or when our power bills become much higher.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

John Stewart, Petreaus, and Bin Laden - Duck Soup

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that since the 1920’s Western Europe and the United States have been trying to control that Mid East Oil. Being in Iraq to get Bin Laden is like O.J. looking for Nicole’s real killers (complete and utter bullshit). Anyone who denies that is delusional and doesn’t have the guts to realize their beloved country has been hijacked by a bunch of liars.

Thou shall not lie is one of the ten commandments. How is it that the war liars got the support of the religious right and the good god fearing people of middle America? Because they lied and continue to lie to them. Why is Al Gore vilified and treated like the enemy? He’s an American citizen. Anyone who turns Americans against one another is the problem. A house divided can not stand. The simple truths born out through history proved again and again are completely ignored by our media talking heads who will say anything to get on Television and grab a pay check.

The good of the Country isn’t on their radar. Profit is the false god we worship (oops another commandment we aren’t following). When profit and money trump all other concerns we can’t even manage our plentiful resources successfully. If we did we would have the highest fuel efficiency standards in the world. As it stands we are way down on the list with Canada, Europe and China selling vehicles with better fuel efficiency. Why (?) Because…..drum roll please….it’s about profit and the more oil we consume the more the big boys sell. But in the end it’s a house of cards and when it comes down we better all pray it’s not horrible. Nuclear weapons make this little game of sacrificing the poor as soldiers to do the big boys profiteering is dicey for all of us. There is no hiding in the Caymans from nuclear warheads.

A targeted, elite special op’s operation to get Bin Laden (who’s parents do business with Bush, James Baker and the Carlyle group) would have been the honest way to go - unless Bin Laden himself (who received arms and covert contact from the Americans when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan) is really a CIA operative, a double agent, a god damn independent run amok, or a red herring.

Isn’t anyone struck by the timing of Bin Laden’s press and video releases being counter productive and counter intuitive towards what Bin Laden says he wants? They just “happen” to coincide with our elections and this bogus dog and pony show (report) by Petraeus.

Bin Laden is supposed to be so smart orchestrating a world wide terror ring - so he opens his mouth right before an election to help elect the “one party” that can defeat him? Bin Laden pops up after months and years of silence right before the reading of this report? For what…to remind us we have something to fear and should stay at war?

Bin Ladern wants our bases off Saudi soil. The last thing he would do is use his terror shtick to scare us into staying at war with our bases in the Mid-East. This evil overlord who successfully hides from all of our efforts to find him and slips away at Torra Bora when we have him surrounded (and then pull back) is so savvy that he throws himself out there to re-elect Republicans and pump up support for Petraeus’s report and our continued war presence?

Dear lord people get a clue. Up is down in the world of politics, espionage and war profiteering. The so called “Clear Sky Act” actually weakened environmental standards and on and on. Don’t be such unthinking dupes.

As for comedians being unable to have insight and pierce the smoke and mirrors with a lightening bolt of truth just because they are comedians - that’s completely bogus - everyone from Groucho Marx, George Carlin, Carlos Mencia, Lewis Black, to Mark Twain and Ben Franklin were able to elicit in a few words, “truth,” that the powers that be would rather we not see or deal with.

For another brilliant comedian watch Robert Newman’s History of Oil

It’s been out for a while but deserves another look unless of course your mind is closed.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Quiet Voice Within

There’s a lot of things going wrong in the world; peak oil which claims in 40 years all the oil reserves will be gone, our arrogant cowboy diplomacy, polluted water, polluted air, polluted food, melting ice caps, massive daily species extinction, unaffordable health care, a devastated and destroyed public educational system, corporate monopoly over the political system, media and commerce, mountain top mining, slaughtering wolves from helicopters, dog fighting, rape, murder, depleted over fished ocean resources used as a sewage dump, theft of the public treasury by private corporations, an unrepresentative government spewing out ideological non-sense to divide and conquer, religious organization that kill, hate and destroy themselves and each other, music that spews vial and disgusting attitudes, the erosion of civil liberties, greed, hatred, jealousy, fear, indifference, apathy, diet, 5% of the worlds population consuming 25% of the energy. We are a decidedly out of balance, corrupt, disingenuous, angry, selfish, ignorant, lacking knowledge of history and culture, blundering nation. Like a huge headless colossal buffoon blindly in the night we trip over ourselves, exploiting and hustling the angles and the angels until we come apart at the seams. We need to get right. Our pool of candidates and politicians are a vapid, self indulged, corrupt, hypocritical, dangerous bunch of loonies because of the culture from which they come. A society which puts profit above even survival is indeed ludicrous.

Mutts Comics

As individuals in each of our tiny little corners of life in every moment, every day and in every way we make a difference creative or destructive. Hope is a living thing and there is nothing we can not do or accomplish. Make the world around you a better place. You know what to do and the difference between right and wrong. Listen to that small quiet voice within and be the change you seek.

American Farmland Trust

Bio Gems

Earth Justice

Green Mountain Coffee

Mountain Top Removal

Natural Defense Council

Oil Change International

Peak Oil

Union of Concerned Scientists

World WildLife Action


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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

BIOFUEL Realities - Not so fast big guys!

Spread the word biofuels the way big agri-business sees it will ruin the environment and raise food prices. Have you bought an ear of corn lately? There are alternatives. The chart attached to this Sierra Club article is very concise. Print it out get informed and tell others. The link in the title above takes you to a very good Wikipedia entry that has a lot of information and discusses the downside. In short breaking down corn into fuel is a bad idea.

But harvesting our landfills solves several problems. Trash for fuel. It looks like the "Back to the Future" movie and "Mr. Fusion" wasn't that far out after all!


Sierra Magazine

click here to print this article!click here to tell a friend

Bio-Hope, Bio-Hype
A users' guide to biofuels
By Frances Cerra Whittelsey
September/October 2007

Chart: Comparing Biofuels

IN OUR BEAUTIFUL BIOFUEL FUTURE, cars and trucks are powered by wood chips, prairie grass, wheat straw, fast-food grease, garbage, and even algae--whichever material is most plentiful locally and least damaging environmentally. With cars getting 40 miles a gallon or better, greenhouse-gas emissions plummet. The biofuel revolution sparks an economic boom by keeping U.S. dollars at home instead of sending them to Middle Eastern sheikhs.

Biofuels can be made from nearly any organic material. By essentially recycling carbon from living things (as opposed to the ancient biomass in coal and petroleum), biofuels help fight global warming. But some could also add to our environmental problems: In an equally possible but less rosy future, governments and agribusiness clear rainforests and wetlands for vast plantations of biofuel crops like oil palms. With arable land increasingly devoted to fuel production, food prices push higher. The roads clog with biofuel SUVs that still get lousy mileage. Global warming slows insignificantly, if at all.

Which future is ours? It depends on choices being made today. At present, for example, corn is the source of 95 percent of the United States' ethanol. Although politically popular in farm states, corn is a problematic source of fuel: It requires good land and petroleum-intensive cultivation and fertilization, and it can also readily feed both humans and livestock. (Food prices are already increasing because of competition with ethanol.) If the mill processing the corn is powered by coal, ethanol produces more net greenhouse gases than gasoline does. "It's easier to do bad than good in this area," warns Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. "But there's also potential to make the production of fuel more decentralized and more democratic." The chart below lays out the pros and cons of the major biofuels; now it's up to us to get the right mix.

Virtue Rewarded
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has boosted bioenergy by ordering that the carbon content of all fuels sold in the state be cut by 10 percent by 2020. Each fuel will get a life-cycle carbon analysis, showing how much greenhouse gas it emits from origin to tailpipe. Fuel suppliers will need to blend ingredients to meet their reduction targets, which should increase demand for cleaner options like cellulosic ethanol.

The Urge to Splurge
Putting a dent in global warming requires conservation as well as biofuels. A 3 percent increase in fuel-economy standards for vehicles, for example, would save more gas than the entire 2006 production of corn ethanol. Sadly, we've been driving in reverse: For the past five years, U.S. gasoline consumption has increased by 1.4 percent annually, and diesel by 3.6 percent.

Conserving Critters Too
The rush to biofuels is putting the squeeze on wildlife. Nearly 40 million acres of farmland are currently idled under the federal Conservation Reserve Program, which seeks to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and provide habitat. The Bush administration has proposed that land set aside under the program be converted to fuel production. The proposal is part of the 2007 Farm Bill, which is likely to be voted on this fall.

Best-Case Scenario
The best sources of biomass for fuel are waste products and native perennial grasses, which provide more usable energy per acre than corn ethanol or soybean diesel. In fact, says a report by the University of Minnesota, fuels made from native plants can actually be "carbon negative," because they store excess carbon dioxide in their roots and the surrounding soil, reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Crying in Your Biodiesel
Here's where some get off the biofuel bus: It's raising the price of beer. In Germany, subsidies for corn and rapeseed production are squeezing production of barley--an important ingredient in the national beverage. The effects of higher barley prices are starting to appear at the tap. The price of a liter mug of beer at this year's Oktoberfest, for example, will be up by 5.5 percent.

Illustrations (see chart) by Peter Hoey; used with permission.