Saturday, September 30, 2006


I had read about this.

But today, I not only got to see the actual sign,

I got to drive this fast legally.

Even a little bit over it.

I made 165 miles in two hours.

Now before you go all green on me

and judge the above sign to be the obscene

action of a legislative body without conscience

or intelligence, (which it is)

What if instead of speed limits,

We had vehicle limits?

And a good, safe, efficient vehicle

would be allowed to travel even faster than I did today.

Then, instead of buying sex, or snobbery, or paramilitary,

you could buy safety, and efficiency, and speed.

If you then collect the insurance costs

and the social costs of the medical expenses

as you purchase the fuel or electricity,

You have a reasonably equitable system

that promotes high fuel efficiency, (high cafe standards)

and well built cars that can travel safely at high


Speed doesn't just sell in the truck stops,

Going faster would make any "red stater"

drop his "hummer dummer" for a hybrid.

Why do you think they say,

God Speed.


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Friday, September 29, 2006

Stay the Same


I marvel at how we take in the almost daily news about climate change

and then shove it down into some compartment in the forgetting side

of our brains.

But sometimes, it bothers me that practically none of my friends

act like we actually need to do something to avoid a calamity.

Most of them just go on with their lives, hoping I guess,

that it will go away like Y 2 K.

Apparently, it's beginning to bother some smart people at MIT too.

Here's the story thanks to the Energy Bulletin.

A Dangerous Energy Climate

Panelists at the Emerging Technologies Conference voiced an urgent need for aggressive policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable power sources, and carbon sequestration.

Friday, September 29, 2006
Technology Review
By David Talbot

"The world's exploding energy demand--coupled with the growing risk of catastrophic rises in sea levels and climate change driven by greenhouse gases--create a singular challenge that demands urgent policy action, energy experts said at an MIT conference yesterday.

"If we don't throw everything we have at energy efficiency right now, and start to do things we know how to do right now [in fossil-fuel alternatives], we don't have a chance" of halting drastic planetary changes, said Nathan Lewis, a chemist at Caltech whose research interests include new solar-power materials. Lewis spoke yesterday as part of a panel on energy at the Emerging Technologies Conference.

Robert Armstrong, an MIT chemical engineer and associate director of the MIT Energy Initiative, said meeting a projected doubling of global energy demand in 50 years, while maintaining greenhouse-gas levels below twice preindustrial levels, would require adding another global energy infrastructure of today's scale--but with zero carbon-dioxide emissions.

Considering that, right now, around 86 percent of energy consumed by humans comes from fossil fuels, "certainly these are grand challenges," he said.

As a result, the world needs to massively implement conservation and efficiency measures, install renewable power sources, build new nuclear power plants, and sequester carbon dioxide underground, where possible, said Joseph Romm, a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy and founder of the Center for Energy & Climate Solutions.

"Global warming is going to transform the lives of every single person in this room," he said.

"Within 20 years, if not 5 years, it will become the issue, the only issue.

It will require a massive redirection of capital."

Caltech's Lewis said the question has become one of risk management.

"If we don't cure cancer, the world will stay the same.

If we don't cure AIDS, the world will stay the same.

But if we don't solve this problem in the next 20 years,

from a scientific viewpoint,

the world is not ever going to be the same," he said. " more

Truth is, I don't want our world to stay the same.

I just wish we didn't have to change the outside world

just so we can change the insides of ourselves.

Perhaps it is just part of the necessary paradox,

If we stay the same,

it won't ever be the same.


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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Road Rules


I'm on the road.

Not looking for oil.


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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shaking Branches


While the POTUS has all eyes on his shaking branch, his administration has once again censored climate change science.

Here is the story.

Article contends officials blocked hurricane report
Link to global warming cited, Nature says
By Randolph E. Schmid
The Associated Press
Posted September 27 2006

WASHINGTON · The Bush administration blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature said Tuesday.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disputed the Nature article, saying there was not a report but a two-page fact sheet about the topic. The information was to be included in a press kit to be distributed in May as the annual hurricane season approached but wasn't ready.

"The document wasn't done in time for the rollout," NOAA spokesman Jordan St. John said in responding to the Nature article. "The White House never saw it, so they didn't block it."The possibility that warming conditions may cause storms to become stronger has generated debate among climate and weather analysts, particularly after the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In the new case, Nature said weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- part of the Commerce Department -- in February set up a seven-member panel to prepare a consensus report on the views of agency scientists about global warming and hurricanes.

According to Nature, a draft of the statement said that warming may be having an effect.In May, when the report was expected to be released, panel chair Ants Leetmaa received an e-mail from a Commerce official saying the report needed to be made less technical and was not to be released, Nature said." more

This led Dr Glen Barry of the Climate Change Blog to offer these words:

"There is no appreciable scientific evidence that suggests that humanity's use of fossil fuel is not the primary cause of global heating.

Essentially all climate scientists are in agreement and remaining skeptics that climate change is human caused are comprised of President Bush and others on the oil industry payroll. This does not mean that there are not many areas of uncertainty - for example whether hurricanes are more frequent and strengthened by oceans warmed through climate change. There is good scientific debate that is peer reviewed and meticulous, the way science works.

Who does Bush think he is to censor the latest round of scientific inquiry from the U.S.'s own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which suggests global warming is indeed contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes.

Some leaders would rather lie, kill and obstruct than lead, provide vision and save the Planet."

That thought leads to me another somehow related subject.

Apparently not quite half of the respondents to a recent poll think that oil prices are being manipulated to help the "R"s as we cruise into the last full month before the midterm elections. I heard some talking heads say this was entirely impossible due to the complexity of the oil markets.

I didn't hear them say that the US Military was the biggest buyer of crude in the world.

And I didn't hear anyone ask if the Military had taken a little buying vacation due to the fact that for the previous year, they had been on a little buying spree. (for a war maybe?)

Never underestimate the ability of a industry to manipulate its price,

or to act in its own short term interests,

or to do what it takes to keep its boys in power.

And don't be confused by the shaking branch.

Watch for the Cool Hand in the Bushes.


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art courtesy of Richard Richter

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stop Your Engines

Imagine a bustling economy with super fast transportation appliances that run on a new age of energy storage devices powered by a vast array of renewable energy production coming from advanced wind turbines that provide reliable economical electric power, soon coupled with a mass deployment of third generation photon to electron materials that cover our highways, roofs, and parking lots.

Imagine pollution free cities with electric powered trolleys and light rail and elevated skyways for pedestrians, bicycles, and other light weight transportation devices.

Imagine filling up with electric fuel while you wait at the red light and paying for it at the end of the month as you pay your electric bill.

Imagine completely forgetting about the idea of fuel.

Imagine fuel being as necessary to your day

as hay.

Here are two stories which could be important steps to a clean, sustainable, unified energy future.

US boffins build paper-thin plastic battery
Hybrid device combines advantages of capacitors and alkaline batteries
Shaun Nichols
20 Sep 2006

Researchers at Brown University in the US have created a prototype rechargeable battery that is as thin as a plastic transparency and as powerful as 100 alkaline batteries.

The plastic battery, created by engineers Tayhas Palmore and Hyun-Kon Song, has been described as a "hybrid" that delivers the energy output of an electrical capacitor with the longevity of an alkaline battery.

Traditional alkaline batteries use electrical current generated from a chemical reaction within the battery to generate a small amount of energy for a long period of time.

Electric capacitors use a pair of oppositely charged plates to store a large amount of energy for a short period of time.

Palmore and Song's plastic battery allows for the power of a capacitor and the extended output of an alkaline battery.

The key component is a chemical compound called polypyrrole which conducts electrical current.

Song and Palmore applied the polypyrrole to a pair of gold-coated plastic strips that were then given opposite charges and stuck together, separated by a thin membrane to prevent a short-circuit.

The result is a super-thin plastic battery roughly 3.5in long that is rechargeable and extremely powerful.

One problem at this stage is that the battery tends to lose capacity with repeated charges. But if this can be overcome, the possible applications are numerous.

And here is the ultra cap EESTOR technology making news on CNN

Gentlemen, stop your engines
EEStor's new automotive power source could eliminate the need for the combustion engine - and for oil.

By Erick Schonfeld and Jeanette Borzo,
Business 2.0
September 20 2006

The Innovation: A ceramic power source for electric cars that could blow away the combustion engine.

The Disrupted: Oil companies and carmakers that don't climb aboard

Forget hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles. EEStor, a stealth company in Cedar Park, Texas, is working on an "energy storage" device that could finally give the internal combustion engine a run for its money -- and begin saving us from our oil addiction. "To call it a battery discredits it," says Ian Clifford, the CEO of Toronto-based electric car company Feel Good Cars, which plans to incorporate EEStor's technology in vehicles by 2008.

EEStor's device is not technically a battery because no chemicals are involved. In fact, it contains no hazardous materials whatsoever. Yet it acts like a battery in that it stores electricity. If it works as it's supposed to, it will charge up in five minutes and provide enough energy to drive 500 miles on about $9 worth of electricity. At today's gas prices, covering that distance can cost $60 or more; the EEStor device would power a car for the equivalent of about 45 cents a gallon.

And we mean power a car. "A four-passenger sedan will drive like a Ferrari," Clifford predicts. In contrast, his first electric car, the Zenn, which debuted in August and is powered by a more conventional battery, can't go much faster than a moped and takes hours to charge.


EEStor is tight-lipped about its device and how it manages to pack such a punch. According to a patent issued in April, the device is made of a ceramic powder coated with aluminum oxide and glass. A bank of these ceramic batteries could be used at "electrical energy stations" where people on the road could charge up.

EEStor is backed by VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the company's founders are engineers Richard Weir and Carl Nelson. CEO Weir, a former IBM-er, won't comment, but his son, Tom, an EEStor VP, acknowledges, "That is pretty much why we are here today, to compete with the internal combustion engine." (more )

From the perspective of the Solid State Utility executive, ultra caps will also compete with combustion turbines and natural gas, as well as base load fuels. Large deployments of ultra caps on the utility grid will allow for plant maximization, transmission line deferments, and large renewable energy fractions.

Large deployments of ultra caps or new generation plastic batteries will also allow us to quit invading oil rich countries to capture their most precious resources, so that we don't have to squander our most precious resource at home.

The Truth

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. Albert Einstein


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Monday, September 25, 2006

Tar Sands

Geological Time

I daily search for ways to interpret reality
that afford a positive or even possible
future for life on earth.

Meanwhile, on the surface, millions of cubic metres of river water, thick with toxic by-products like naphthenic acid, bubble and build in the ponds, never to be returned. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Syncrude's dam, which holds back nearly three decades of waste water, is the second-largest on Earth after the Three Gorges Dam in China. (Toronto Star, 9/25/06)

My father said you had to think
in terms of geological time be an optimist,
worked for Pure Oil, produced color, cross-sectional
charts of oil pools beneath the surface of the earth
between layers of shale, salt water and natural gas,
wrote poetry on graph paper that said PURE.

He brought home a salve dispenser in the 50s
with an oil based product Pure Oil maintained would
lubricate squeaky doors, help arthritis or heal skin tears.
I saw it the last time we moved but don’t remember
anyone using it, ever.

Every time I asked my Father
what it was for he invented a different answer.

In the 50s oil companies were looking for industrial
uses for petroleum and quickly moved past the Pure Oil Salve,
to everything —

plastic, paint, keyboards, styrofoam mulch,

cups, plates, baggies, cutlery, furniture, PVC pipes —
so today if petroleum products disappeared, or rather, when
they disappear, reality will be a huge trash pile
and the plumbing won’t work.

So naturally, this not being geologic time, but Monday,
September, 2006, morning, the lights are on
and neo cons own the world —
instead of rushing as if our lives depended on it, which
they do, into solar and wind energy, we are going to
squeeze oil out of grains of sand.

Never mind the "mining" process has produced
the third largest reservoir in the world for water full
of toxins held back by – Syncrudes Dam.

Naturally, since dams aren’t permanent, it's cool
to fill the reservoirs behind them with poison.

You have to hand it to the folks who named
the dam – Sin Crude’s Damn.

To see the world in a grain of sand
And Heaven in a wild flower.
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

(William Blake)

The joke is hard to miss,
the trick is to find some hope.

* William Blake, Nebuchadnezzar

Read about Nebuchadnezzar here.

Tar Sands: At What Price Progress, Murray Whyte
Thanks for Tim Jones for sending us this.

©Susan Bright, 2006

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.


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Sunday, September 24, 2006



What is it they don't?


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Saturday, September 23, 2006

El Diablo

Who is El Diablo?

Several decades ago I was invited
to do a poetry residency in San Antonio
featuring the work of a local
group of folk players who act out
a traveling morality play every autumn,
culminating on the saints day
of the Virgin of Guadalupe,
December 10.

It was, for this Midwestern girl,
a time of learning. The Los Pastores
player families had for generations
acted out a Medieval play which
had never been written down,
an oral tradition, an indigenous
pageant, the star of which is El Diablo,
whose costume has been passed
from generation to generation,
whose demise is always met with
cheering crowds, in school playgrounds,
in parking lots, in people's back yards.

The residency took place in the school
district that was the center of the
underworld in San Antonio,
and UNESCO awarded the king
pin's son with a prize for
poetry. It was funded by a group
of incredibly wealthy locals who traced
their Spanish heritage back to the
middle ages, and acted like
feudal lords.

I am convinced the reason I was selected
to do the job was that I had no idea
what was going on.

No local would have considered taking
those players into that school system
funded by those people under
international eyes. Even the local
arts group which sort of hosted
a Los Pastores performance had little
idea who these curanderos were,
offered to help them with "blocking"
to make the presentation more
stage worthy —

El Diablo usually delivered his
lines in a rumbling mumble
with his back to the audience.

El Diablo's family was the original
owner of the land Guadalupe Church
sits on today, and roles in the play
are passed from generation
to generation in this old
and venerated family.

It isn't a theatrical production,
it is an iconic cultural portrait
of good versus evil —
both of which are portrayed
with slapstick humor,
goofy costumes and the playfulness
we see in Mexican folk art —
Las Calaveras, the dancing skeletons
that appear on El Dia de Los Muertos.

El Diablo is not Satan.

Chavez was invoking a joke —
the joke George Bush has made out of
US foreign policy.

World leaders laughed and applauded,
having apparently a bit of cultural awareness
lacking in the American media, along with
a good deal of pent up frustration
about geopolitical realities.

But listen to the whole speech.

When Hugo Chavez called George W. Bush
El Diablo, he was kidding, but the people

of the south are not.

I don't suppose Chavez much liked
it when the Bush administration ran a coup
against him a few years ago, backed by
multi-national oil moguls.

The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales,
on Amy Goodman this week doesn't
think George Bush owns the world.

We are going to hear from
the People of the South.
They have some good ideas — like
cheap heating oil for poor people,
for instance, economic justice,
respect, equality and the democratization
of the United Nations.

* art: Stories from Around the World

©Susan Bright, 2006

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.


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Friday, September 22, 2006

The Equality of Light

Sometime late this evening is the Equinox.

The sun will rise due East and it will set due West.

It is the time that the sun passes over the equator.

It's also a time for all kinds of so called Pagan rites.

We think of this day as the day that the day and the night are equal.

According to Wikipedia, not quite.

"An equinox in astronomy is the moment when the Sun is located right over the equator. The event occurs twice a year, around March 20 and September 23. More technically, the equinox happens when the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator and ecliptic intersect. In a wider sense, the equinoxes are the two days each year when the center of the Sun spends an equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on Earth. The word equinox derives from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night).

In practice, at the equinox, the day is longer than the night. Commonly the day is defined as the period that sunlight reaches the ground in the absence of local obstacles. This is firstly because the Sun is not a single point of light, but appears to be a disc. So when the center of the Sun is still below the horizon, the upper limb is already visible and emits light.

Furthermore, the atmosphere refracts light downwards, so even when the upper limb of the Sun is still below the horizon, its rays already reach around the horizon to the ground. These effects together make the day about 14 minutes longer than the night (at the equator, and more towards the poles).

The real equality of day and night happens a few days towards the winter side of the equinox."

The more we understand our spaceship,

and the way it moves through space and time

and around the sun, as we spiral through the galaxy,

The more we understand at a very deep level, our sublime craft.

It is truly a marvel that our little 23.5 degree tilt causes

our seasons, our change of light, and acts as a signal

for so many natural processes and organic systems.

The geese prepare to make their lovely Vs in the sky.

The butterflies are vibing where their grandparents came from.

Many of the bats under the bridge will go to another home in Mexico.

The snow birds will move down to the coast for a while.

And the young will play drums and trumpets on Friday Night,

and march around in military uniforms with fuzzy hats on,

while their companions dress up in pads and motorcycle helmets.

There is so much beauty and grace during this time of year.

It's a shame we have to spoil it with elections,

and the rampant politics of fear.

In the old days,

Our leaders would promise us prosperity and hope.

Today, they only threaten our freedoms in the name of security

from a foe they have created with their own hands.

Meanwhile, the real threat to our survival continues its march

Through the hinterlands of our consciousness,

passing the equator of understanding,

into the hemisphere of the immoral night


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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Birth


It's hard not to be impressed with the depravity of the debate.

The Congress is going to retroactively allow our War Criminals


They are not going to allow defendents the right to see

the evidence held against them.

They want to hold them indefinitely and perhaps never bring them

to trial.

This is dialogue straight from Kafka.

Meanwhile, the US threatens sovereign nations from the World Body,

as if the delegates and representatives present have no ability to think.

And the press follows the shaking branch

wherever it leads them.

All the while, a few true leaders urge us to see the real problems

that face our race. (human)

What a strange turn of events.

When we need clear and bright leadership the most,

We must suffer the most onerous and unenlightened leadership

in our history.

As the time for all world leaders to talk and to listen grows critical,

Our leaders can only bark and offend.

When this time for greatness comes,

and a once great nation become callous and greedy,

We must see with eyes that are true and unvarnished.

And it is not the picture we have fashioned of ourselves.

It is a picture of wanton disregard for truth and well being.

It is a picture of a civilization on the verge of the abyss.

It is not the fault of the right

or the left.

Nor is it the fault of our fundamentalist churches

or the Church of Peter in Rome,

Nor is it the fault of the one who cleaned out the Holy Kaaba.

It is not the fault of the modestly well to do,

and it is certainly not the fault of the poor and the underprivileged.

It is not the fault of the Mexicans or the Jews or some other


It is not the fault of our media or of our journalists,

or even their owners.

It is not the fault of our parents or of our children.

It is not the fault of our education system.

As the Buddhist once said,

"There is plenty of blame in the World,

So don't worry about it so much

We are witnessing the Birth of the World.

And with that birth comes the death of the Nations, (Tribalism)

And the death of Capitalism, (the worship of money)

And the death of the pseudo-democracies that support it.

We are witnessing the change that had to come.

Be centered.

And be caring.

And be careful.

With your words

your deeds.

As Ann Richards said to her granddaughter,

"This is the only life you are given".

Use it Wisely.

I was born by a river in a little tent,
And just like this river,
I've been running ever since.
It's been a too long,
too long-time a-coming,
But I know a change gonna come,
Oh, yes, it is. (Sam Cooke)


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Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of a New Man

Laurie Williams Wajima

Into the Light, Laurie Wajima

Train Show

for Laurie Williams Wajima
(9/14/68 — 9/12/06)

Going someplace vast and fast,
a place I don't know, a place not here

Green Shadow, Laurie Wajima

I can jump through the door and leave everything behind

Happens, Laurie Wajima

No longer still, propelled with fury

Train One, Laurie Wajima

If I want to be still, I claim a space, close my eyes and vanish

Blue Bridge, Laurie Wajima

Each train is full of stories

The Yamamote Line on a Saturday
night amazes me
... the world's greatest "pick-up" destination

Barton Springs, Laurie Wajima

In Japan they always wake at "their stop"....

I have slept through mine enough!!!!!

W, Laure Wajima

The heart does beat constantly.

Many millions of people every day run and walk

through Shinjuku Station in Tokyo...

moving to through that "arterial system"
that will help them find their work, home or destiny.

It is exciting to watch. Are they the veins?

Odettes Christmas Train, Laurie Wajima

I don't stand in front of the train

I ride and ride forever

Share, Laurie Wajima

I have spent hours looking down at the big Shinkansen
(Bullet Train) station in!!!

Yes a major artery....big and fast and efficient!

Art in motion!

*Art and words © Laurie Wajima, 2006

Laurie stories, remembrances, blessings welcome, use
post comment button or email

A memorial service in Austin is scheduled for Monday,
Sept 25, 6:30 pm at one of the Zilker Pavillions. Details will be
posted when they are available. Look for an obit in the American
Statesman in the next day or so.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Denial is a River

Here is a an edited extract from Heat, by George Monbiot, published by Allen Lane.

In HEAT, George Monbiot, one of the world's leading environmental activists proves, with passion and rigorous analysis, that there is a way. It now seems certain that we need a 90% cut in our emissions within 25 years if we are to stop ourselves reaching the point where the "climate feedback" becomes unstoppable, and our world becomes largely uninhabitable.

HEAT shows us that real change can be effected now by putting pressure on those in a position to really make a difference. Radical, pragmatic and totally surprising, this book reveals how we can reconcile our demands for comfort, prosperity and peace with the increasingly pressing need to prevent us destroying our future.

The Denial Industry

For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is inconclusive. They set back action on climate change by a decade. But who funded them? Exxon's involvement is well known, but not the strange role of Big Tobacco. In the first of three extracts from his new book, George Monbiot tells a bizarre and shocking new story

Tuesday September 19, 2006
The Guardian

ExxonMobil is the world's most profitable corporation. Its sales now amount to more than $1bn a day. It makes most of this money from oil, and has more to lose than any other company from efforts to tackle climate change.

To safeguard its profits, ExxonMobil needs to sow doubt about whether serious action needs to be taken on climate change. But there are difficulties: it must confront a scientific consensus as strong as that which maintains that smoking causes lung cancer or that HIV causes Aids.

So what's its strategy?

The website, using data found in the company's official documents, lists 124 organisations that have taken money from the company or work closely with those that have.

These organisations take a consistent line on climate change: that the science is contradictory, the scientists are split, environmentalists are charlatans, liars or lunatics, and if governments took action to prevent global warming, they would be endangering the global economy for no good reason.

The findings these organisations dislike are labelled "junk science".

The findings they welcome are labelled "sound science".


By funding a large number of organisations, Exxon helps to create the impression that doubt about climate change is widespread. For those who do not understand that scientific findings cannot be trusted if they have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals, the names of these institutes help to suggest that serious researchers are challenging the consensus.

This is not to claim that all the science these groups champion is bogus. On the whole, they use selection, not invention. They will find one contradictory study - such as the discovery of tropospheric cooling, which, in a garbled form, has been used by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday - and promote it relentlessly.

They will continue to do so long after it has been disproved by further work.


But what I have discovered while researching this issue is that the corporate funding of lobby groups denying that manmade climate change is taking place was initiated not by Exxon, or by any other firm directly involved in the fossil fuel industry.

It was started by the tobacco company Philip Morris.


There are clear similarities between the language used and the approaches adopted by Philip Morris and by the organisations funded by Exxon.

The two lobbies use the same terms, which appear to have been invented by Philip Morris's consultants. "Junk science" meant peer-reviewed studies showing that smoking was linked to cancer and other diseases.

"Sound science" meant studies sponsored by the tobacco industry suggesting that the link was inconclusive. Both lobbies recognised that their best chance of avoiding regulation was to challenge the scientific consensus.

As a memo from the tobacco company Brown and Williamson noted, "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy."

Both industries also sought to distance themselves from their own campaigns, creating the impression that they were spontaneous movements of professionals or ordinary citizens: the "grassroots".


While they have been most effective in the United States, the impacts of the climate-change deniers sponsored by Exxon and Philip Morris have been felt all over the world.

I have seen their arguments endlessly repeated in Australia, Canada, India, Russia and the UK. By dominating the media debate on climate change during seven or eight critical years in which urgent international talks should have been taking place, by constantly seeding doubt about the science just as it should have been most persuasive, they have justified the money their sponsors have spent on them many times over.

It is fair to say that the professional denial industry has delayed effective global action on climate change by years, just as it helped to delay action against the tobacco companies."

It is said that a major about face is coming from the POTUS on Climate Change, perhaps because Gore is taking the issue away. (read Gore's speech) Meanwhile, Clinton is now working on Climate Change through the great cities of the world in the Clinton Global Initiative.

When it comes to the Corporatcracy

and their protection of profits,

whether about War, or about our Health, or about our Climate,

Denial is a River.

A River of Lies.

Corporate Capital Punishment is the answer.


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Monday, September 18, 2006

Gimmie More Torture!

Gimmie More!

Naked men with black bags over their heads
strapped to cell walls, bed posts, piles
of naked bodies butts out, cameras clicking,
human beings smeared with excrement,
dogs snarling, rapes, water boarding —

Gimmie more!
More of this stuff
because we need to run our programs
reasons the President –
of what country?

Our country? The United States?
A president of the United States is
asking Congress to grant him the right
to torture prisoners?
Wants Congress to legislate
authorization to torture
in violation of the Geneva Conventions?
You’ve got to be kidding.

Isn’t this the President who didn’t
know about Abu Ghraib until
someone told him it was in the papers.
Isn't this the President who said
Abu Ghraib was the work of a few bad apples,
and a woman commander.
The orders didn’t come from his

Now he says the Geneva Conventions
are unclear.

He says he doesn’t understand
what the words
Outrages against personal dignity

We noticed this when he was Governor
of Texas —

when he presided over so many executions
we called him Governor Death, more executions
than any governor in history, more prison outrages,
prisoners attacked with cattle prods, gang rapes.

It's like his mother would say —
These people are mostly underprivileged
so anyplace they get three culturally
sensitive meals a day is a good deal for them.

This was the Governor who famously quipped,
Texas didn’t sign the Geneva Conventions.

Now he want’s more torture —
says GOP leaders opposing him are
putting our Nation at risk.

He’s been a bit testy even.

Why not?
Torture is good for America.

Gimmie more! he tells us,
more torture, right now, or I’ll
shut down the programs
that keep us safe.

©Susan Bright, 2006

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

* photo by Kyle

And here are some bumper stickers
we've seen in Austin, send in by Wolf Dilworth.

The Emperor has no clue

Call the village, I found their idiot

Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam

Don't punish Palestine for engaging in democracy

Your Silence will not protect you

Be Nice to America OR we'll bring democracy to your country!

Terrorists Make Bombs.
Bush Makes Terrorists

Bush is Listening. Use BIG Words

The Religious Right is NEITHER

Why do we kill people
who kill people to show
that killing people is wrong?

Don't believe anything until
it has been officially denied

Dissent is the highest form
of patriotism (Thomas Jefferson)

No one died when Clinton Lied

How many Iraqi children did we kill today?

Support our troops: BRING THEM HOME ALIVE

After we rebuild Iraq, can we rebuild America?

THINK! Before it becomes illegal.

Regime change starts at home

God please save me from your followers

God is too big to fit into one Religion

Smile! Your government is watching you!


The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans

The TEN Commandments are NOT Multiple Choice


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Sunday, September 17, 2006


It's practically impossible to listen to or watch the gibberish on our mainstream suck boxes these days.

Here are a few exceptions.

Gloria Steinem pretty much nails it with this comment.

And this documentary on rendition and torture pretty much
nails any faith you might have had in the morality of the US Govt.

And here is the CEO of Halliburton saying it like it should be said.

And here is the POTUS putting his hand on his heart,

While Bill Maher pretty much puts the nail on the head. "A President should know where his heart is.

"Most people don't clutch the wrong organ, but then again most people don't invade the wrong country.""

And here is Jonathan Tureley raising an obvious, yet seldom mentioned point: Is the Bush administration trying to retroactively legalize crimes it very well may have already committed?

War Criminals.


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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Weekend Energy

This weekend, perhaps 150 thousand or more music lovers

will come to the shores of our town lake

and they will brave heat, humidity, and difficulties in transportation,

and they will sit in their chairs that they haul, or lounge on blankets,

or just stand, as they move to the rhythms and flow

offered by six gigantic stages, and a hot tent.

This is no normal flow of folks.

These are gigantic waves of people like you see at a football stadium,

but there is no stadium.

This is the fifth year of this thing, and thank goodness,

the temperatures this year will not even get close

to the brain numbing, dust creating 108 degrees of last year.

This is Pop Music on Steroids.

The Stages are simply huge.

The lights and the sound are power pounders.

As you walk from the sound range of one into the next,

there is a remarkably small area of "no mans land" cacophony.

It all works pretty well.

Years ago, I promoted some rock and roll shows.

At one, someone got bit by a Rattlesnake.

We didn't have enough portapotties, or enough cover, or enough anything.

But we had soul. (at least we thought we did)

But that was early in the maturity cycle of pop music,

and these are most definitely different times.

I guess we could have asked AT & T to sponsor

our stage back then, but they probably would have asked us

what we were smoking. (none of their business)

Last night, the soul was in the hot tent.

We danced and moved as the African band played their style

flawlessly and soulfully,

as if they were in it for the art or perhaps for the pure joy of it.

The sweat, the dust, the slight wiff of pot reminded me of years before.

I wondered how many of these people know about the realities

of Resource Depletion and Climate Change.

I wondered how many of these people understand

that their culture is married to an unsavory, lie to your face

oil junkie,

who won't stop hitting up and who won't stop stealing.

If we could take this human energy, this weekend energy

and the emotional energy of last weeks football extravanganza,

and direct it towards the real problems that face us,

We would be on the road to a sustainable and prosperous future

by Tuesday

There is a sustainable fair next weekend.

And it will be large for such things.

Perhaps 10,000 will come to it.

It's a start, for a beginning, to an end.


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Friday, September 15, 2006

Born to Be

state archives

It was a Sunday morning, somewhere back in the mid-late eighties.

The phone rang.

And it was Ann Richards.

She wanted to talk about a business investment.

I had known Ann since the early 70s when I knew her husband better.

At the time, I really needed another investor in this project, and having the Treasurer of the State of Texas as one of your partners seemed like a really good idea. Plus, most of us knew or at least hoped that Ann might get the nod to address the Democratic National Convention that coming year.

After discussing numbers and returns, I had to offer the truth about the deal as I saw it.

"Ann, I would love to have you as a partner, but I don't see how it will help you in your run for Governor, and it could become a problem."

"That's what my finance chairman said", she said.

And so my chance to raise some badly needed capital through a stellar partner went into that big blue book of untold stories that generally stays put on that dusty shelf of memory.

Just in the last month or so, Texas surpassed California in the amount of installed windpower. And make no mistake about it, Ann Richards is a big reason. She allowed the creation of the State of Texas Energy Partnership which ultimately recommended a Sustainable Energy Development Council to be created. She appointed one of the most progressive and forward thinking Public Utility Commissioners in the history of such things to be a co-chair of the newly formed SEDC.

It was this SEDC, along with the help and urging of her long time confidant at the Land Office, who gave windpower and renewables in general a place at the table with oil, and gas, and coal, and utility companies.

And now Texas has more windpower than any other state, and there is a lot more to come.

Once, while we were dealing with a particularly uncomfortable issue on the Texas Energy Planning Partnership, the Governor's Energy Advisor shared Ann's response with me to his discussion of the challenges inherent in the issue. Ann, who was well aware of the problem said,

"Yes, this is certainly becoming a dent in my tranquility."

When I heard of Ann's passing yesterday on NPR, I remembered those words.

As the day wore on, I grew weary of the same old "Poor George quote" that ran on the networks, generally after 6 or 7 other leads. But Amy Goodman at Democracy Now ran an excerpt from Ann's dinner speech at the 50th anniversary of the Texas Observer a couple of years ago, and it caught the essense of the humour and wit and intelligence of this First Woman of Texas.

Ann Richards probably had 5,000 maybe 100,000 people that she knew better than she knew me, so there are at least that many more personal stories out there. But Molly Ivins was probably one of her closest, and her piece today shows it.

But yesterday, as I did my run, I found a tear falling down my cheek.

As it dropped down to the rushing rubber of the turning treadmill,

I couldn't help but think that this could well be the last time that

I shed a tear for an elected leader.

All of us are born to be something.

Ann was born to be Governor.


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