Friday, July 14, 2006

Where are we now? The debate intensifies over new nuclear plants

George Monbiot has just written what I consider the best piece on why the world doesn't need more new nuclear power plants that I have read to date. Mr. Monbiot's prose remains as eloquent as always, and as always it is an eloquency that smacks you upside the head with it's directness and well researched, highly cogent argument.

George, I hope you don't mind if you I quote you. I'm putting a pretty picture of trees next to your quotes here so that they look even better.

How on earth can we say what nuclear power stations will cost if we don't even know what their decommissioning entails? The government will assure us today that there will be no subsidies and no guaranteed prices for the nuclear industry. This should allow us to forget about the cost, and leave the market to determine whether nuclear power stations should be built. But in order to guarantee public safety, the government must be ready to rescue our power stations or their waste piles if the nuclear operators are in danger of going bankrupt. To ensure that the operators don’t fudge their figures, the government must make it clear that it is NOT prepared to rescue them. It is a paradox that cannot be resolved.

And how does any system - political or technological - cope with the timescales involved? If, as a result of slow leakage into the groundwater, radioactive materials from a burial site kill an average of only one person a year for one million years, those who made the decision to bury them will – through their infinitesimal and unrecorded impacts - be responsible for the deaths of a million people.

Well said, George.

Here's where you can read the rest:

Personally, I've been doing a little soul searching lately, 'cause I'm spending far too much time wandering through the woods every morning. Here's what I've come up with... basically a lot of questions...

1. Sometimes I feel like I'm shouting into the wind, a billion voices drowning my own, my throat closes overwhelmed,the cacophony resounds from every direction.

2. How do you get disparate voices to follow your own? A wise man would say "Lead by Example. Set the tone. Define the argument. Challenge your opponents indefinitely." A wise man?

Unfortunately, these two thoughts seem to apply to every aspect of my life. I have this urge to be a leader, a decision maker, a consensus builder. And maybe, in some small fashion, I have a few of these skills. Most likely though, I dwell on this because I desire to have those skills in abundance. Am I a power hungry madman bent on imposing my will on the world? Hmmm... yes, these types of questions do pop up in my head when I've had too much coffee on a hot summer Saturday. And I would imagine that Homeland Security is evaluating me and at this very moment. You see, I'm also highly paranoid about my government.

Thomas Jefferson wrote - I'm paraphrasing: "When the people begin to fear their government, that is tyranny. When the government again fears its people, that is liberty."

Well, Tom, maybe I shouldn't work for the government then. Either way, I'm fucking screwed. Either I'm an asshole power hungry government employee gobbling at the public trough, or I'm an imcompetent power hungry government employee attempting to gobble at the public trough while being investigated by a grand jury.

Think to yourself current federal employee, please think this thought: "I'm way past-due for a little introspective self-assessment, and I welcome your participation and guidance. At what point am I now?" I'll be glad to help you answer that question.

"What does any of this have to do with nuclear power?" you ask. Well, I think there's more than a few people currently running the United States government that are trying to find their own answer to the above question. We've got a bunch of assholes and incompetents running this country... our country. The assholes are running our foreign policy, and the incompetents are running the Department of Energy.

And why do we have a Department of Energy anyway? If solar panels were required on all new home and retail construction in the United States, most of these buildings would power themselves. Screw nuclear power, let's make solar panel installation a zoning requirement nationwide. Konarka's new plastic roll solar panels will eventually change construction methods throughout the world. The technology is available to mass produce a lightweight easily installable solar energy system on every home in the US. It's here, now! And it's cheap.

Look, a 50 year or more investment in nuclear energy means hundreds of thousands if not millions of years of investment in clean-up of radioactive waste. That's just bullshit, my friends. We can't afford to give millions more cancer, millions that haven't even been born yet, millions that won't even be born in this century or the next. This stupidity will deeply affect hundreds of generations after us. It's is absolute folly in it's purest form.

G8 Plans for massive global nuclear energy domination

World leaders are planning a massive expansion of nuclear power in their own countries and across the developing world, according to documents drawn up for the G8 summit and leaked to the Sunday Herald.

An action plan for "global energy security" to be agreed in St Petersburg next weekend envisages a network of nuclear fuel plants in G8 countries combined with the widespread sale of reactors to developing countries, as long as they promise not to use them for making nuclear bombs.

Read More Here

"Is nuclear energy the best way to solve climate change and give every country on Earth the ability to develop nuclear weapons a good idea?" I guess that question seems to have been answered affimatively.

You can sort of see that logic, however thin, whirling through neo-con minds. "Who would start a war if their opponent had the ability to nuke them? We're killing two birds with one stone!"

Fools! I need to start slapping me some fools.
image from

Friday, July 07, 2006

Congressman Ehlers votes against latest offshore drilling bill

The Deep Ocean Energy Resources (DOER) Act (H.R. 4761) was recently passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 232-187. The DOER Act would end a moratorium on exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf, which is under the domain of the federal government. However, the DOER Act is much more comprehensive than just removing this 25-year moratorium on drilling. My representative, Congressman Vernon Ehlers, voted against it.

Congressman Ehler's comments:

"One of my main concerns with the Act was a provision allowing oil and gas development to supersede any other type of activity deemed "incompatible" that may take place in the outer continental shelf. I was also concerned by language related to the cessation of state revenue-sharing due to the impact of any future federal laws that might alter or restrict drilling. These sections have the potential to imperil other marine industries such as shipping and fishing and I was very troubled by the breadth of the language."

"The Act also included a provision allowing coastal states that agree to allow drilling off their coasts to receive a large and increasing percentage of revenues from the leases in an area that typically has benefited the entire nation instead of a few number of states. While I am not opposed to states being involved in their coastal management, early estimates of the budget ramifications of the proposal suggest that we would lose $69 billion of federal revenues in the next 14 years. Furthermore, there are no reporting requirements governing how revenues to the states are spent. I believe very strongly that a substantial portion of both the federal and state revenues from this bill should be directed in a manner that seeks to reduce the high cost of fuel and our dependence on foreign oil through significant investment in the development of non-traditional energy sources and types of fuel. These funds should be devoted toward investing in research and development of energy efficient, renewable, and alternative energy sources that have the potential to reduce energy costs and international dependence. While I recognize a fossil-fuel energy supply system is necessary today, I believe that we have to provide resource opportunities for our kids and grandkids and prepare for the day when neither the OCS nor domestic or foreign sources can supply the fuel needs of our nation."

Yeah, thanks Congressman for voting against this bill. We need folks in congress who will vote against more oil spills and further global warming. We need folks in congress who see that our future is wind and solar, not petroleum. But apparently in the short term the assholes in the oil industry are going to get their way. Well, maybe it's time to send packing anyone who thinks in the old way. Maybe it's high time we throw out every member of Congress who is leading this country down the wrong path. Yeah, that's the ticket. There's 232 of them for certain, and we know who they are. So don't forget to vote!

Wanna support the destruction of the Outer Continental Shelf ecosystem?
Here's the government's new propaganda website telling you how wonderful it's going to be: Pure Bullshit

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Robert Dean for State Legislature

This year's 4th of July passed without incident. Heck, I don't even remember putting on pants. I spent the day in front of the plasma with a never-ending supply of Bell's Kalamazoo Stout at hand (Think Global, Drink Local!). Then I grilled some steak, 'cause it seemed like a patriotic thing to do. A man should have a steak in honor of his country, and he should smother that steak in garlic. If he's really loving his country, he would dip that steak in some mango-papaya salsa and share part of it with his dog. We do have the best dogs in the world afterall... USA! USA! Ah, if only everyday could be the 4th of July. I love this country.

So that's why I'm personally endorsing Robert Dean for the Michigan legislature. If you live on the northeast side of Grand Rapids, you have the chance to make a difference by electing a man who truly deserves your vote. Most of you won't recognize that name, but he's on his way up to the top and I'm going to jump on his gravy train. Dean is a Democrat, a father, and has been on the school board in Grand Rapids for several years. Most importantly to me, Mr. Dean has expressed in his campaign literature the importance of moving Michigan toward alternative energy and he opposes the sale of our water to giant bottling companies who are basically stealing it and selling it back to us at a buck and a half a liter.

My friends, if you're paying a buck fifty for a bottle of water from Mecosta County, Michigan, your a freakin' idiot. You need to seriously ask yourself why you're so damn stupid. It's water. It falls out of the sky.

Now, the wind and solar industries are Michigan's future, and I want a man in office who understands that. If you feel that stopping decent hard working gay men from getting married is more important than your children's future, you can vote for the Republican. But you would be making a serious mistake. That's a bit short-sighted, don't you think?

Mr. Dean is a man who works hard for his family, works hard for his kid's schools and who believes the future can be better for everyone if we turn toward wind power in Michigan. I want to shake Mr. Dean's hand when he wins. Hell, I want to run his campaign for Governor after he gets done in Congress.

I recently signed up to volunteer with Clean Water Action in Grand Rapids to assist in canvassing for Mr. Dean. You should too, it will do your heart good. Support someone who will actually make a difference.

Where to vote in Kent County, Michigan

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Black Bear Speaks staff writers escape from NYPD drug task force lockup

Whew, that was close one! It appears that getting caught driving under the influence in New York is almost as dangerous as driving anywhere under any condition in Michigan.

Michigan's new anti-marijuana driving regulations are severe. Having any trace of pot in your bloodstream, even if you smoked a month ago, is now punishable by a severe beating by a Michigan State Police trooper. Young black men beware, the Republicans are out to get you.

You see, Republicans in the Michigan legislature just passed the most oppressive marijuana law anywhere. You don't even have to be high. In fact, not only can you go to jail for possession of a narcotic - even if you don't have any - you're going to do serious prison time just for smoking a joint several weeks previous to your being pulled over by the cops. If it's in your pee, you're gonna be bent over grabbing your ankles at the Jackson State Pen. And now that they have their so-called traffic "enforcement zones" you can be pulled over for any reason at any time. So, if you're a young pot-smoking black man, rest assured that you will do prison time if you live in Michigan. The cops here are vicious racial profilers.

Just more proof that Michigan Republicans suck ass, are in the pocket of the prison industry, and that they hate the poor and minorities.

Thank goodness the Black Bear Speaks Smart Car - recently dubbed "SmartBear1" - came fully equipped with the James-Bond-Superspy-Evasive-Manuvers Action Kit. It's definitely one of the extras I would advise you to have installed at the dealership. I can't tell you about all the features, you have to buy one and find out for yourself like we did. Let's just say we were able to get out of Mahattan in minutes by driving our teeny Chrysler Smart Car on the sidewalks and through an empty subway tunnel.

There are several street people we'd like to thank, especially that lovable and scruffy dude who goes by the name Delmont. Now I know I shouldn't be thankin' folk for helping us elude our NYC appointed captors, but we don't know how else to thank them except publicly, blasting it out to the internet universe so to speak. God Bless to those we left behind in our Escape from New York!

Movtivational thoughts to fire up the activist in your life...

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes a blow against injustice, he sends out a tiny ripple of hope... Those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest wall oppression and resistance. Robert F. Kennedy

Dear Lord, in this time of war against Osama Bin Laden and the oppressive Taliban regime, we are thankful that OUR leader isn't the spoiled son of a powerful politician from a wealthy family who is supported by religious fundamentalists, operates through clandestine organizations, has no respect for the democratic electoral process, bombs innocents, and uses war to deny people their civil liberties. Amen."
Huey Freeman

Do you want fries with that?