Friday, July 31, 2009

The Vanishing of the Bees

"They're just that messenger that's saying 'Where is your food coming from?'"

What does life without bees mean? No bee pollination, no fruits, no vegetables. If the bees go away, get ready for rice, corn, and wheat.

Enter Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Last year, billions of bees died, and most of them just disappeared. Bees are dying faster than they can be replaced.

The cause? Unknown. But all fingers point to modern agriculture. Honey bees are severely stressed as they are shipped around the country, denied their natural habitat, and confronting genetically modified food and pesticides.

Dead bee bodies reveal pathogens and disease.

To learn more, check out the trailer of The Vanishing of the Bees

Thursday, July 30, 2009

the politics of cafeteria lunches

Take the 6 1/2 minutes to watch this.

There's more. The USDA's nutrition standards were developed before food science realized the dangers involved in saturated and trans fat, salt, and calories. Created in the 1970s, these standards are so behind that candy bars, french fries, sugary drinks, and snack cakes are not considered junk food.

Congress is currently considering legislation that can improve foods in school. Let your representatives know that the USDA should update its nutrition standard and bring schools up to speed. Take action here

what's lurking in school cafeterias

I really enjoyed playing with this interactive school cafeteria from Food Inc.

Pesticides, irradiation, artificial growth's all very delicious. Keep browsing for ways to get involved.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

check out the most amazing (and vegan) smore on earth

I pretty much reached a state of ecstasy when I sunk my chompers into a Sweet & Sara vegan smore. I had already gone nutso over the coconut covered marshmallows--but the smore just took it to a whole new level.

You can peruse other Sweet & Sarah scrum-diddly-umptious vegan delights and order them online here. (You can also buy oddly shaped ones that can't be sent to stores for a discounted price)

Or go to Whole Foods

It does pain me that these little slices of heaven are individually wrapped in plastic...but you can't win them all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


In a recent post, MY BODY IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, I described the way in which a man violated my boundaries through criticizing (and attempting to police) my body based on its physical appearance.

(Note: I normally avoid making descriptions of people sex/gender-specific, but since I believe that the sex/gender relationship of the violator in question contributed to his feelings of male privilege and subsequently granted him perceived permission to violate my boundaries, I do find "maleness" to be relevant in this post.)

However, due to recent events, I find it appropriate to continue this discussion. In the past week, I have been very alarmed to be the recipient of two unwarranted and aggressive verbal attacks, resulting in a concern for my own physical well-being. So now I must push the point: it is not just the physical appearance of my body that is none of your business, it is my body in the overall sense of my being.

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime (as compared to 1 in 33 men. I do not have statistics regarding non-sexual assault). I have had the fortune of never being scared for my physical safety.

Last week, a man forcefully followed me to my cab and pushed his head through the open window and violently yelled "You stank white bitch" after I politely dismissed myself from an invitation to call him so that he could have my number. I was shaken not only by his unabashed anger, but by the fact that he followed me and violated my personal space and sense of safety by putting a part of his body through the car.

Fast forward to earlier this evening. I had parked my car on a busy street (Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks), and was on a phone call while putting coins in the meter. I was then approached by a man whole loudly and rudely demanded to know with whom I was speaking (I'm not even embellishing. Perhaps this person was not all there). In response, I gave him the one-moment hand gesture and continued on what was an important phone call. This only fueled his anger; he proceeded to walk closer to me, become louder and more angry, and demanded to know what was wrong with me, why I had an attitude, and what was with my scowl. I was scared he was going to touch me or hit me in some way.

At this moment I ended my phone conversation, and though for a quick instant I wondered if I would be provoking more aggression, I walked up to this person and asked in an equally elevated tone sprinkled with hostility (I had previously been reserved and calm), "Sir, what is the problem? I am on an important phone call."

Although he was still vehemently yelling at me, he did so while walking away.

One of the issues at hand is the false sense of security people--particularly women--are prone to feel during the daylight and in busy areas. But let me tell you, nothing was scarier than the fact that on an empty sidewalk with cars driving by quickly, there was nothing in between a hostile man coming closer, and my own body.

I do not deny that women can be aggressive and violent. I only claim that aggression and violence in men are more systemic and institutionally reinforced. This dynamic, coupled with gendered relations of power, can create feelings of male entitlement and dominance that, in their unchecked forms, create the delusion of authority over women. Yes, may enter vicious territorial brawls and harm other men to prove a phallic point...but the interaction contains a completely different sexual politic when the other party is socialized to be more passive. Quite frankly, I think women have a problem articulating boundaries and are unable to realize when they are violated on a less severe scale (i.e. "flirting" that is actually sexual harassment).

Okay, I'm starting to ramble. The point is, as a woman, it seems like my being is automatically subjected to some heightened degree of commentary, observation, or interrogation. Let me introduce a small concept called "boundaries."

It doesn't matter if I never want to call you, or if I don't find it appropriate to report with whom I am speaking.

My body and my self are mine, not yours. I am none of your business. Do not violate me, my body, or my personal space.


Want a cold smoothie on a hot summer day? Need a quick wrap or salad? Haven't yet purchased a reusable aluminum water bottle?

I'm hosting an in-store fundraiser at Jamba Juice (Hayvenhurst & Venture location only) this Saturday, August 1st. 20% of your pre-tax sale will be donated to the Eating Disorders Coalition, the only advocacy organization seeking to advance eating disorders as a federal health priority.

You need this flyer for your purchase to count toward my fundraising goal so:

1) I can drop one off at your house
2) I can email you a copy to print
3) You can meet me at Jamba on Saturday! I'll be there at 1, and will be hanging around for the rest of the day (hit me up: 818-516-9532)

Let me know how many flyers you want to give to your friends

If you can't make it, you can also donate directly to my fundraising goal:

Want some more info?

Earlier this year, I joined the Junior Board of the Eating Disorders Coalition, the only advocacy organization seeking to advance eating disorders as a federal health priority. An estimated 9 million Americans suffer from bulimia, anorexia and binge eating disorder. I feel extremely fortunate for my recovery, and would like millions of other people to have this opportunity as well.

Studies have shown that more than 50% of factors that make one vulnerable to eating disorders are hereditary, yet research remains drastically underfunded-- leaving genetic predispositions to eating disorders largely unexplored. In the words of one doctor at a recent EDC congressional briefing, “put someone with an eating disorder on a desert island alone, that person will still have an eating disorder.” Regardless, the stigma surrounding this issue has kept the problem in the closet--hiding the fact that eating disorders have the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness.

This year, the EDC has worked with Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) to introduce the "Federal Response to Eliminating Eating Disorders Act." With co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle, FREED is a comprehensive bill that provides federal action for research, treatment, and education/prevention of eating disorders, and includes provisions to determine the prevalence, incidence and correlates of eating disorders, as well as more accurate mortality rates.

While eating disorders may be expensive to treat, the economic burden is even greater when these illnesses go under-treated or ignored. The lack of access to modern, science-based treatment means that thousands of families are spending thousands—and sometimes hundreds of thousands—of dollars on care models that simply do not work. The research portion of the FREED Act includes an economic analysis to determine years of productive life lost, missed days of work, reduced work productivity, costs of medical/psychiatric treatment, prescription medications, hospitalizations, other concurring behavioral disorders, and additional burdens to society and family.

This issue is very close to my heart, and if you would like to get involved, here are some ways you can help:

--Make a tax-deductible donation to my fundraising goal (
--Sign up for EDC updates and newsletters (
--Join us on our next lobby day (
--You can also contact me if you would like to collaborate on fund raising events. For example, you can ask your yoga or ballet studio to hold a donation class.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Thank you for your support.


California agriculture: dealing with drought

Now that the changing climate (regardless of why it's changing) means more frequent and serious droughts, California agriculture needs to cope.

The Pacific Institute recommends that California use water in smarter ways. Specifically, the use of drip irrigation or micro-irrigation (as opposed to the most commonly used flood irrigation) is the most efficient method to water crops and achieve "maximum crop yield from a unit of water."

How do we switch? Suggestions include:
devoting less land to rice, cotton, alfalfa and other field crops, which now get 80 percent of their water from flooding. They recommend giving more to vegetables, vineyards and orchards, crops for which micro-irrigation is more common.
Check out the full article from DOT EARTH

Monday, July 27, 2009

the ERA is back

Shout outs to Representative Carolyn Maloney for re-introducing the Equal Rights Amendment with fellow Republican Judy Biggert of Illinois. It's nice to see both sides of the aisle come together for the equal application of the Constitution to both men and women.

Not familiar with the history of the ERA? Check out my blog post The Equal Rights Amendment and the Three State Strategy.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

sandwich packers unite

My newest step in waste reduction is declaring myself Zip Lock free. I understand that can be a hard goal, so I thought I would focus this blog post on the lunch factor.

That's right. All you lunch-packing sandwich-eaters, I'm talking to you. If you pack 100 sandwiches a year, that is 100 non-biodegradable plastic baggies somewhere around the earth (not to mention, those baggies are not free...).

My solution? Let's go eco- and recession-friendly on lunch. You can make a one-time purchase of a reusable sandwich container for just a couple of bucks. Just check out your local grocery store. I'm sure Target has it as well.

Check out the one I just bought from Hello Kitty for $4.99

elephant neglect: a fiscal issue

As if putting a magnificent animal in solitary confinement at the Los Angeles Zoo isn't heartbreaking enough, the tab LA residents pick up for torture is additionally nauseating.

The LA Zoo is dumping $42 million tax dollars a year on an elephant exhibit that is far below standard (meanwhile, millions of dollars are taken away from state parks, with an estimated 50 parks threatened to the point of closure). It also costs an additional $1.1 million yearly to care for 10 elephants.

Free Billy! reports that "At least 13 elephants have died at LA Zoo since 1975. More than half did not live to age 20. Elephants have a natural lifespan of 60-70 years."

Billy is a 23-year-old Asian elephant that is suffering so severely from his confinement that he exhibits the neurotic behaviors of head bobbing and swaying--actions that are not seen in elephants in their natural habitat. You can watch a clip of this below.

Mayor Villaraigosa has expressed his belief that zoos are too small for elephants: "I've said for a long time that I think we need to take the elephants out of our zoos. I believe that."

Tell Mayor Villaraigosa to stand by his word. Remind him that elephants do not belong in zoos and to send Billy to a sanctuary now.

Call (213) 978-0600

Friday, July 24, 2009

the 350 Teach-In and INTERNATIONAL Day of Action

I've been involved in the environmental movement for 2 years, and I have to say that our actions just keep getting better and better and cooler and cooler.

The latest from 350 is a national teach-in held throughout thousands of campuses across the country. And you, yes you, can sign up to present in your campus community! After the speakers give it a go, there will be an hour for discussion.

Click here to sign up at your local teach-in

But it gets better. The teach-ins will be taking place on the 350 International Day of Action. It all goes down October 24th, before world leaders get together in Copenhagen to discuss the climate.

To get ideas and register an action, click here. I'm sure a list of registered actions will pop up in weeks to come.

So exciting!

rescue elephants from circus abuse

Undercover PETA footage reveals Ringling's abuse of circus elephants--and also reminds us that living creatures are not petty items in existence for our pleasure.

The most painful part of watching the video is that these elephants were not "acting out" or being rowdy. They were calmly standing, yet trainers still felt the need to hit them, even on their sensitive ears. One elephants even sways back and forth out of madness.

You can view the video and sign the PETA petition here. (Note: I have a lot of issues with PETA, but will get on board for an honorable goal of sending these elephants to a sanctuary)

You can also sign an online Facebook petition and invite your friends!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

more on No Impact Man

I found Colin Beaven aka No Impact Man's blog! Here is a great piece I wanted to share:

My wife Michelle and I decided, before jumping in at the deep end of this year-long project, to try no impact living as an experiment for a week. No garbage. No greenhouse gasses. No toxins. No water pollution. No air pollution. No electricity. No produce shipped from distant lands. No impact. Or so we naively hoped.

We started one Thursday night at 10:00 PM in the middle of the August, 2006 heat wave. Our sweat-soaked tempers frayed immediately. We argued about who would take our 18-month-old daughter, Isabella, to the babysitter since both our schedules now had to accommodate a lot of walking. We had tense discussions about who would be in charge of picking up Isabella’s milk from the only New York dairy farmer who uses reusable glass bottles. We both pretended not to notice the mounting pile of dirty dishes resulting from the dishwasher being out of bounds.

But then Michelle surprised herself by loving her walk to and from the office. It gave her back something she missed since becoming a mom: time alone. With no TV, we found ourselves playing with Isabella more, reading more, talking more and—hurray!—having more, well, you know. Having perennially struggled with finding time for the gym to wrestle off our middle-aged midriffs, a couple of pounds immediately dropped off us both. Who needs a gym when you’re riding bikes and refusing lifts in elevators and walking everywhere?

In that one week, we discovered that, without transportation to rush us around and junk-food media to steal our time, there is a different, calmer life to be had right here in Manhattan. No TV to oppress you with news of Britney’s failure as a mother. No concerns that charging another pair of Diesel jeans might be declined by Amex. No worrying that the bad cooking oil from the Chinese takeout is clogging your coronary artery. We developed a consciousness of our actions that that felt suspiciously akin to the living in the moment that the Dalai Lama keeps coming to New York to tell us about.

We got the glimpse of a life with an entirely different rhythm. We began to think that, by depriving us of our Madison Avenue addictions, the no impact experiment might actually make us happier. It was only a seven-day experiment, but it convinced us that living no impact can be done, it can be done pleasantly, and that we could conceivably end up happier rather than sadder--which is why, God help us, we're in it for a year. Read more

cannot wait to see this

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."--Ayn Rand

Saturday, July 18, 2009

children, bodies, and shame

The NY Times posted a great article regarding children who love being naked and mixed reviews as to how long this is acceptable.

It's a great question. When do we start teaching people to be ashamed and embarrassed of their naked bodies?

For those of us who believe the body is free, natural, and ought to be experienced comfortably, we (particularly women) are generally assigned the label (and intended insult) of promiscuous. Funny how philosophical beliefs about the body tend to be demeaned and misunderstood as sexual statements (which also raises questions about the roots of sexual anxieties...).

Yes, the body is sexual, but one can express body, freedom, and self through more than simply sexual means.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


After you call your councilmember and report your concern, try the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, as well as the only 2 female members of the Los Angeles City Council.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation (213-580-1177). You can press "0" to speak with an operator and have the opportunity to leave a voice mail.

Councilmember Jan Perry's office (213-473-7009) was extremely friendly and helpful. I strongly recommend that you additionally call this office.

Councilmember Janice Hahn's office (213-473-7015). After being put on hold, I was told that these signs are no longer used. After replying that these signs are up right now, I was told to talk to my own member. Obviously, I have done that, but I felt female councilmembers might care more about this issue.

Read about the Workers Ahead Campaign

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

take action for WORKERS AHEAD

Following up from my last post regarding sexist roadside construction signage, I am trying to figure out where is the best place for our complaints. So far, here are two ways you can help:

1) Call your Council Member and report the problem. Much of the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles is represented by my Council Member, Paul Koretz. You can call his office at (310) 289-0353.

2) Send an email to the Bureau of Street Services within the Los Angeles Department of Public Works. The email address is

Here is a copy of my email:

To Whom It May Concern, I am a resident of Encino, and am highly offended by roadside construction signs that say "Men Working Ahead."

I find these signs extremely sexist. Women work, and they work in construction at that. Such discriminatory signs have no place in my neighborhood or anywhere else. These signs must be modified or replaced to say "Workers Ahead."

Please let me know if there is a better source to contact regarding my concern. Thank you, and I look forward to your reply.


Keep checking in for more updates and ways to take action!

Click here for updated ways to take action

Monday, July 13, 2009

men working ahead: the politics of road signs

When I passed this sign driving down the hills of Lake Encino in the San Fernando Valley, I actually had to stop, reverse, turn on my hazard lights, get out and take a picture.

I just have so many questions. Who approved a sign that implies either women don't work, or that only men work in road construction? When was this sign first designed? How often are signs updated?

And most importantly, who am I going to have to call to get to the bottom of this?

I know there are some anti-equality mongers who violently hiss that "man" somewhere, somehow includes "woman." This same logic was in heavy circulation prior to 1920; women do not need to vote or hold office because men vote and hold office--and these men represent the interests of women. Hence, man comes to include woman.

Gendered relations of power aside, "Workers Ahead" would actually use less space and less paint. It makes more sense.

Come to find out, I'm not the only person angered by sexist roadside signage. In Atlanta, these signs were covered or replaced after a woman was nearly arrested for spray painting "wo" in front of "men," starting a grassroots campaign.

While some might criticize that a budget crisis is not the time to go on a crusade (signs cost money to replace), equality and dignity are priceless. Tomorrow I am calling the Department of Public Works to figure out against which office my campaign will begin. I'll keep you updated.

whale wars: more than just harpoons

When the Supreme Court ruled that military training trumps protecting whales in a dispute over the Navy's use of sonar in submarine-hunting exercises, it became clear that whales face more danger than harpoons.

While the use of sonar in the water causes bleeding around the brains and ears of the whale, it is also suspected to be a causal factor in the stranding of whales in areas where this testing is conducted.

But the problem is more than sonar. A whale stranding on the beaches of Isla San José occurred near a research ship that had been "dragging an array of powerful underwater air guns that were repeatedly set off the previous morning in the course of seismic tests of the region’s ocean floor."

While the causal relationship between certain underwater technologies and groups of whales that show up dead nearby is not quite an indisputable truth, the suspicion is warranted and logical. New York Times writer Charles Siebert writes:

It might sound like something out of a bad sci-fi film: whales sent into suicidal dashes toward the ocean’s surface to escape the madness-inducing echo chamber that we humans have made of their sound-sensitive habitat.

And let's not forget that they are massive and intelligent creatures:

Whales, we now know, teach and learn. They scheme. They cooperate, and they grieve. They recognize themselves and their friends. They know and fight back against their enemies. And perhaps most stunningly, given all of our transgressions against them, they may even, in certain circumstances, have learned to trust us again.

That's right. For all that humans devastate marine life and degrade essential ecosystems, whales seem to enjoy playing with us.

At precisely the time when you’d expect them to be the most defensive, they’re incredibly social. They’ll come right up to boats, let people touch their faces, give them massages, rub their mouths and tongues.

That really adds a sick, sad twist to the whale wars. Check out the full article

Friday, July 10, 2009

atheism: repping the cause

When a person identifies with a given group--especially any sort of minority--there is (whether it is "fair" or not) a double-burden of representing the whole. I was thinking about this recently when a friend of mine had a bad experience with anti-Prop 8 canvassers. The canvasser rudely refused a $1 donation, insisting that all donations must be made minimally with a symbolic $8. First off, that is just stupid. If every person gave that $1, the campaign would be in great shape. But worse, the cranky canvasser misrepresented a movement about inclusion, equality, and love as dismissive, condescending, and rude. Aside from being in poor taste, it is also in poor campaign strategy.

This brought me back to my own atheist dilemma. As a secular humanist, I encounter all sorts of religious people that feel an unrelenting need to preach to me--even strangers on planes. The problem is, I can't say what I really want to say, because the last thing I would ever want to do is affirm the idea that atheists "can't handle god" or are "close-minded" or "stubborn" or "extremists." In an effort to represent the cause, I have to put up with listening to so much banter. I don't want to go to your seminars "proving" god or read your "science-based" books--not because I am scared of the truth, but because to me, that would be the equivalent of reading objective support for the boogy monster or the tooth fairy or Santa Clause.

I'm a busy person. I have countless other interests. It literally pains me and is a waste of my life force to hear people rationalize god to me. But I feel this pressure and guilt to politely, respectfully, and rationally engage as an atheist and represent my peeps.

Humph. A double-burden and a double-bind.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

world powers have climate constipation

The world's most powerful industrial nations and emerging powers met and discussed the climate and reductions in emissions--but no consensus came out. Included in what didn't happen was a proposal dropping emissions 50% by 2050.

The New York Times reports:
The failure to establish specific targets on climate change underscored the difficulty in bridging longstanding divisions between the most developed countries like the United States and developing nations like China and India. In the end, people close to the talks said, the emerging powers refused to agree to the specific emissions limits because they wanted industrial countries to commit to midterm goals in 2020, and to follow through on promises of financial and technological help. full article
Luckily, American officials report that G-8 nations within the discussion have agreed to 2050 reductions, even thought developing countries would not jump on board.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Obama and DOMA: don't get it twisted.

I cross-post my blogs involving trans issues on another blog, where Obama wishy-washy on LGBT issues received criticism. My post negatively--and rightfully--focused on the Obama Administration filing a notice of a motion to dismiss the first same-sex case filed in federal court, thereby upholding DOMA.

While I responded by comment on my guest-post, I wanted to fully address this issue on my own blog with a brand new post. I would like to clarify that what is unacceptable is the reasoning included in the brief.

The Washington Post does a lovely job of summarizing the questionable way in which this matter was handled:

The department could have fulfilled its obligation to defend the nation's laws without repeating ugly reasoning rooted in ignorance.

The Justice Department could have stopped with its sound argument that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs did not "claim to have plans to seek recognition of their . . . California marriage in another state" and they "do not suggest that they have applied for any federal benefits, much less been denied any at this point." Thus, neither an "imminent injury" nor an "injury in fact" attributable to DOMA has been established. The plaintiffs lack standing. Case closed. That would have been fine with gay rights groups, which viewed Smelt-Hammer as an imperfect vehicle for challenging DOMA's constitutionality. "We had no problem with DOJ getting rid of this case," one legal expert told me. "The plaintiffs didn't tell a good story."

But Justice went further. It cited a 1961 case involving incest (a marriage of an uncle to a niece that was "valid in Italy under its laws") to show that states were not bound to honor "certain marriages performed elsewhere." Read the full article

White House appeal is a no-go

The White House will not appeal a federal court ruling of nearly $500,000 to a Library of Congress hiree who was discriminated against for transitioning.

When Diane--then David--Schroer informed the Library of Congress that she was undergoing surgery to become a female, the Library of Congress rescinded her job offer the next day.

While the Bush Administration argued that this is not an example of illegal discrimination according to the Civil Rights Act, the Obama Administration let the opportunity to appeal expire shortly after welcoming LGBT leaders to the White House and promising more action.

While this may win Obama more favor with the LGBT community, the DailyKos remarks how this victory has flown "under the radar" and is under-reported.

Clinton Climate Initiative

And here I thought it was only Al Gore fighting the good fight.

The Clinton Foundation has taken on a new project, the Clinton Climate Initiative--a business-oriented approach to helping cities reduce their emissions. This includes retrofitting private and public buildings with energy efficient technologies, developing waste management systems that include recycling, composting, and methane capture, as well as implementing optimal transportation systems and street/traffic lights.

Additionally, CCI works to pool purchasing power:

CCI is working to leverage the buying potential of cities throughout the world to achieve favorable pricing on – and thus faster adoption of – energy-efficient and clean energy products and technologies. CCI has negotiated discounted pricing agreements with more than 25 manufacturers of energy-efficient products, including lighting, chillers, solar control window films, and “cool” roofing that will help to lower the costs of building retrofits. CCI has also negotiated discounts on clean technology vehicles, energy efficient street and traffic lights, and other products that will be deployed in cities through CCI programs.

In my last post, I embedded an interview with BC on his project, but I'll embed it here again. My favorite part is when Bill explains:

Much of what we need to do is economical now if we can get organized and get after it. For example, you tell me which is more valuable—forget about climate change: a statement that says “We are going to reduce the AIDS death rate by 15% in the next 10 years.” A statement. Then you have all these meetings and figure out how you are going to do that. Or the establishment of a global fund on HIV and malaria which actually provides funding to keep people alive and reduce the death rate. So it’s fine to have these goals, but I’d like to see the international community focus on mechanisms. For example, if you look at what we did today arguably the most important thing was to get the 5 billion dollars in commitments from the financial institutions, which more than double the size of the market, and then get the commitment from the energy savers to offer performance guarantees, which then made it possible to finance repayment of the bank loans through energy savings lower utility bills every month. And doing that is really really important, and maybe a lot more important than just stating “we’re gunna have a goal here.” You gotta figure out how to get this stuff done. I’d like to get us back in the solutions business.

looking back on Clinton's 1993 energy tax

Andrew Revkin over at the DOT EARTH blog on the NY Times posted a nice throw back to the Clinton years and his attempt at an energy tax. He even included this nifty interview with Bill.

Revkin talks about the differences between the two initiatives:

The 1993 tax was pursued mainly as a source of revenue to cut the deficit, not a means of reducing American dependence on foreign oil and cutting risks of dangerous climate change. But there is one similarity. Democrats, particularly from coal states, helped set the stage for the failure of the 1993 tax, according to various experts, and according to Mr. Clinton. He touched on this in the interview. Democrats from states that produce or depend on fossil fuels have been slow to buy into the climate bill. Check out the article.

Thomas Friedman on ACES

In his article The cap-and-trade bill is a mess; here's why Congress must approve it, Thomas Friedman expresses his utter dislike for ACES (and calls American youth to action) but insists that it must pass in the Senate. Why?

Because, for all its flaws, this bill is the first comprehensive attempt by America to mitigate climate change by putting a price on carbon emissions.

The next step is to strengthen the bill--but at least not weaken it--in the Senate. And to do so, Friedman says we need the support of three parties: Republicans, Obama, and the people. On Republicans, Friedman asks,

Does the GOP want to be the party of sex scandals and polluters or does it want to be a partner in helping America dominate the next great global industry: ET -- energy technology?

The funny part is that the GOP has an eco-friendly past. T.F. recalls Teddy and the national park system, the Nixon Administration which created the Clean Air Act and the EPA, and the Rio Treaty of 1993 signed by George Bush to protect bio-diversity.

Friedman speculates on Obama (who holds secret meetings with coal companies and blatantly attempts to hide them cough cough):

I also hope we will hear more from Barack Obama. Something feels very calculating in how he has approached this bill, as if he doesn't quite want to get his hands dirty, as if he is ready to twist arms in private, but not so much that if the bill goes down he will get tarnished.

That is no way to fight this war. Mr. Obama is going to have to mobilize the whole country to pressure the Senate -- by educating Americans, with speech after speech, about the opportunities and necessities of a serious climate/energy bill. If he is not ready to risk failure by going all out, failure will be the most likely result.

And my favorite part, We the People:

Attention all young Americans: Your climate future is being decided right now in the cloakrooms of the Capitol, where the coal lobby holds huge sway. You want to make a difference? Then get out of Facebook and into somebody's face. Get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon. That will get the Senate's attention. Play hardball or don't play at all.
Read the full article. It's a good one.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

LA vegan restaurants not all so vegan

Thanks to Torey Van Oot for sending me this not-so-promising investigation into LA vegan restaurants.

Two vegan bloggers used their own money to test 17 restaurants, with only 10 passing as vegan.

Winners include Flore, Vinh Loi Tofu, Truly Vegan, Vegan Glory, Vegan Express, Vegan Plate, Real Food Daily, M Cafe, Native Foods and Leaf Raw Cuisine.

Vegan House, Lotus Vegan, California Vegan, LA Vegan and Green Leaves Vegan had either egg, casein, or both.

Check out the detailed report

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Call to action: keep the Capitol Visitor Center free of religious engravements

The Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy is launching a campaign against House Concurrent Resolution 131 (H. Con. Res. 131), which would engrave in the new Capitol Visitor Center the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the national motto "In God We Trust."

According to CFI:

The Pledge of Allegiance and the original national motto, E Pluribus Unum (“out of many, one”) were unnecessarily altered during the 1950s in an ill-conceived effort to make religious minorities feel like outsiders to the national community.

By the way, confusing church and state is not free. This project costs an estimated $100,000 taxpayer dollars, is unnecessary, and alienating to secular Americans.

Tell your representative this is a lame and offensive waste of money by clicking here, or calling the office.