Archive for the ‘Politics – The Right Way’ Category

070410 – Tuesday – A great example of local activism

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

I’ve added a new website, G.R.I.T., to the list of websites that I like and support on this Blog. You will find the list of these websites along the right side of your browser screen if you scroll down.

G.R.I.T. stands for Governmental Responsibility, Integrity and Truth. It is a website focused on issues having to do with local government here in the Western Washington Sky Valley area.

For those of you who follow this Blog from a distance, this may seem to be of remote interest but I encourage you to have a look. Local governments in any and all parts of the world could be much improved if their local citizens focused on and tracked the behavior, decisions and rational of their elected representatives with the same fervor and passion that these folks do. I guarantee you that very little happens in the town of Sultan, Washington, that is not closely examined, discussed and debated thanks to these people and the entire area is much the better for it.

New Drive Afoot to Pass Equal Rights Amendment

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Federal and state lawmakers have launched a new drive to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, reviving a feminist goal that faltered a quarter-century ago when the measure did not gain the approval of three-quarters of the state legislatures.

The amendment, which came three states short of enactment in 1982, has been introduced in five state legislatures since January. Yesterday, House and Senate Democrats reintroduced the measure under a new name — the Women’s Equality Amendment — and vowed to bring it to a vote in both chambers by the end of the session.

The renewed push to pass the ERA, which passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly in 1972 and was ratified by 35 states before skidding to a halt, highlights liberals’ renewed sense of power since November’s midterm elections. From Capitol Hill to Arkansas, legislators said they are seizing a political opportunity to enshrine women’s rights in the Constitution.

“Elections have consequences, and isn’t it true those consequences are good right now?” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) asked a mostly female crowd yesterday at a news conference, as the audience cheered. “We are turning this country around, bit by bit, to put it in a more progressive direction.”

The amendment consists of 52 words and has one key line: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” That sentence would subject legal claims of gender discrimination to the same strict scrutiny given by courts to allegations of racial discrimination.


B.C. premier stuns critics with plans to go green

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The premier of British Columbia wanted to bring coal-burning plants and offshore oil rigs to this lush province, so environmental groups were ready for a fight as he prepared his government’s annual policy speech last month.

They were stunned when Premier Gordon Campbell delivered a list of green promises that surpassed their most ambitious dreams.

He would not only stop the growth in greenhouse gases in the province, he said, but also slash them by one-third. He would gut the coal-plant plans. Embrace wind power. Lease hybrid cars for the government. Squelch environmental pollution by the powerful oil and gas industry. Toughen car-emission regulations.

His plans would make British Columbia what The Globe and Mail newspaper called “the continent’s greenest spot.” Campbell also proposed an enterprising alliance with California to create a Pacific Coast bloc of states and provinces to tackle climate change without waiting for action from their federal governments.


Australia: Government to subsidise rural broadband

Friday, March 9th, 2007

– this just in from New Zealand…


Australia has adopted what looks to be a sensible way of ensuring that everyone can get access to broadband – the Australian broadband guarantee. It’s aimed at rural users, and includes private citizens and small businesses.

It works like this: if you can’t find a broadband supplier to a reasonable price and quality where you live, you can apply for a subsidised service. Then, one of a pool of ISPs who the government has signed up, will provide service to you at a reasonable price to you and at a quality the government has stipulated, with the government picking up the difference in cost as a subsidy. The government notes that the service may be delivered by satellite or wire depending on what is practical in each case, but the citizen or small business pays the same. The scheme gets going from this April. It sounds simple and should help Australians living in rural areas get a good standard of service, at least as good as those who live in Australian cities do.

The government has allocated A$165m to this, as part of a wider A$2billion investment in broadband. It’s a model New Zealand should be looking at hard, so that people who live outside our cities don’t miss out.

To the original post…

Wave farms show energy potential

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

Proponents of clean energy have long seen the oceans as a great hope for the future. Ocean waves carry tremendous power, and could, in theory at least, provide much of the world’s electricity.

But while other sources of renewable energy – such as wind and solar – have been widely adopted in recent years, wave energy has been slow to take off.

But that’s changing. Scottish engineers will soon deploy an offshore “wave farm” in Portugal.

They have also signed a deal to build an even larger farm in Scottish waters.

Click here to see how the wave power system works

Construction of the wave farm in Portugal has been underway for the past year in a busy shipyard in the Portuguese coastal town of Peniche.


NZ women close the gap

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

– As most of you will know, New Zealand is one of my favorite countries in the world.   Here’s a piece about the advances women are making in New Zealand in terms of gender equality.


New Zealand is among the top 10 countries in narrowing the gender gap, says a major new report. But we’re still some way off true equality of the sexes.

The Gender Gap Index 2006, a collaboration between Harvard University, London Business School and World Economics Forum, said New Zealand had the seventh-smallest gap between men and women out of 115 countries.

The index measured gaps in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.

Our overall score was 0.714, where 1 represented total equality.

We were particularly strong in political empowerment and education, and had relatively more women in high-skilled professions than any other country.

Predictably, Scandinavian countries dominated the top five, with Sweden coming first with a score of 0.813. The United Kingdom came ninth, Australia 15th and the United States 23rd. No country scored a perfect one.


Women in power

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

– The oppression of women’s human rights, of their freedom to make their own reproductive decisions and of their education all lead to problems. One of these problems is overpopulation which drives many of the other elements of the Perfect Storm Hypothesis. So, it is encouraging to see that women are making gains in some of the world’s nations. This article is from New Zealand, which was the first nation to give women the vote.

– In 1952, the UN opened The Convention for the Political Rights of Women for signatures by its member nations. It took the US until 8 Apr 1976 to join this treaty by accession.

– In 1980, a more comprehensive treaty called The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was opened for signatures and ratification by the UN member states. To date, the United States is the only industrial nation which has not signed ths treaty.


The proportion of female politicians around the world has increased with countries such as New Zealand leading the way.

New Zealand’s Parliament is 33.05 per cent female (40 out of 121 MPs) compared with a global figure of 17 per cent – up nearly 6 percentage points in the past decade.

Original story:

Related: , , ,

5 governors agree to work on climate

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — Governors from five Western states agreed Monday to work together to reduce greenhouse gases, saying their region has suffered some of the worst of global warming with recent droughts and bad fire seasons.

The governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington state agreed that they would develop a regional target to lower greenhouse gases and create a program aimed at helping businesses reach the still-undecided goals.

“In the absence of meaningful federal action, it is up to the states to take action to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this country,” said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat. “Western states are being particularly hard-hit by the effects of climate change.”



Companies Lay Out Global Framework to Fight Climate Change

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

– This, on the surface, seems very good news. A large group of major companies from around the world signing onto an agreement endorsing the fact that we should do something about climate change.

– But let’s remember that corporations are entities which exist to make profit. Once they’ve grown beyond the mom and pop Ben and Jerry’s stage, they become single-minded in this pursuit. Indeed, it is their very reason for existing. Note at the end of the opening sentence, in the article below, the following phrase, “creating sustainable energy systems necessary for achieving economic growth“. The implication is that they are on-board – so long as continued growth is part of the solution.

– Unfortunately, increasing growth is central to the problems we’re facing. Our foot-print on the earth now is far larger than it can sustain without serious and increasing instabilities in the global climate. We can make more efficient cars, we can change to energy efficient light bulbs, we can recycle our waste more intelligently – we can do all of that and if we continue to grow in population and consumption, we will have only delayed the inevitable.

– Perhaps, if we push it all off to our grandchildren rather than to our children, it will be more palatable?

-I’m suspicious and cynical about these ‘business alliances’. They live for growth. They understand PR. They know there are years and years of good stock reports ahead if they can deflect the social forces which might try to throttle back our runaway growth – if they can give the appearance of action so the concerned will be lulled back to sleep.

– Like the article I posted on the Brazilian Rainforest earlier , we need real action, not more talk.


February 20, 2007 — As a significant step toward tackling climate change, an unprecedented group of companies and organizations from around the world have endorsed a bold post-Kyoto framework for affecting change at the levels of policy and industry, particularly in regard to creating sustainable energy systems necessary for achieving economic growth.

Signatories of The Path to Climate Sustainability: A Joint Statement by the Global Roundtable on Climate Change hail from a range of sectors and industries, including air transport, energy, technology, insurance, banking, and many others, from across the globe.

The statement — endorsed by Allianz, Bayer, Citigroup, DuPont, General Electric, Volvo, and many others — calls on governments to set scientifically informed targets for greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The agreement also urges governments to place a price on carbon emissions and to set forth policies aimed at addressing energy efficiency and de-carbonization in all sectors. Calling climate change “an urgent problem,” the statement lays out a proactive framework for global action to mitigate risks and impacts while also meeting the global need for energy, economic growth and sustainable development. It outlines cost-effective technologies that exist today and others that could be developed and deployed to improve energy efficiency and help reduce CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases in major sectors of the global economy.

“Leaders from key economic sectors and regions of the world have reached a consensus on the path forward to reduce human-made climate change,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, Chair of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. “This initiative points the way to an urgently needed global framework for action. I congratulate the Roundtable signatories, and thank them for their bold leadership and contribution to global progress on this critical issue.”

The Climate Change Statement released today has received endorsements from critical stakeholders and independent experts including leading corporations from all economic sectors; smaller firms with very different perspectives and concerns; an array of civil, religious, environmental, research and educational institutions; and a distinguished list of world-leading experts from the fields of climate science, engineering, economics and policy studies.



Standard light bulbs to be switched off

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

New Zealand and Australia are about to turn off the incandescent lights that have illuminated them since the bulb was invented more than 120 years ago.

Australian Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday announced that traditional light bulbs would be phased out within three years – a move he said would be a world first.

Under law, the super-cheap lighting will vanish from supermarket shelves by 2010, replaced by energy-efficient alternatives such as compact fluorescent bulbs.

Mr Turnbull estimated the move would slash Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 8000 tonnes a year in the five years to 2012.