Lincoln rolling in the grave

So sometimes it seems that small little things really make me mad. So Abe Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. He didn’t do all that much, you know just freed the slaves, won the civil war, all this while making managing to rock that hat. By all accounts he was an all right guy.

Weather he personally believed in all the stuff he came to stand for is unimportant because his actions were such that the slaves were freed and the nation began the long road to integration and freedom for all (a road we are still on). He showed that it didn’t matter what you say it’s what you do.

A lesson that our current president would do well to learn. Your actions are what you will be judged by, not your words. So you can call it the clean skies act, or the healthy forest act, the future will judge you a polluter of skies and a destroyer of forests. So what does all this have to do with Abe? Well it seems that good old Bushy and his buddies want to do a little revamp of the Lincoln Memorial. Seems there is too much in there about gays and anti-war and anti-gun protestors. See this for more details.

The National Park Service has bought footage of President George W. Bush, his father, pro-Iraq War demonstrations and anti-gun control rallies from news organizations for inclusion in a video to be displayed at the Lincoln Memorial, according to documents obtained by People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The two groups obtained hundreds of pages of records through a lawsuit they filed this past January under the Freedom of Information Act. The surrendered records contain thousands of redactions; in many cases whole pages are blacked out. While the groups are negotiating for additional disclosures as part of an ongoing suit, the excerpts released so far paint a compelling picture of how much time and energy the Bush administration has expended in an effort to censor brief clips of footage depicting gay rights, reproductive rights and anti-war demonstrations at the Lincoln Memorial from an educational eight-minute video that has been shown at the memorial since 1994.

The groups filed their FOIA request in October 2003 after being alerted that Park Service officials planned to develop a “more balanced” version of the videotape to satisfy the objections of right wing organizations. The right wing organizations reportedly complained that brief segments of footage showing gay rights, reproductive rights, and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations implied that “Lincoln would have supported homosexual and abortion ‘rights’ as well as feminism.”

The documents show that the Bush administration has acted on their demands, having authorized over $200,000 for video acquisition, editing, and production. In one email, a Park Service official writes “the Director just stopped in to relay that Judge Manson [the Assistant Interior Secretary] wanted to move quickly on the recommendations in the Video paper.” In another email from this January, an official writes that he has been ordered to “fast track” work on the Lincoln Memorial, causing other scheduled projects to be delayed.

In order to revise the video, the Park Service paid thousands to purchase additional footage. Though the agency redacted much of the identifying information, the un-redacted portions indicate that the footage includes conservative events and both President Bush and his father. The Park Service has not disclosed the content of the new video, the instructions given for the revisions or who approved the final product.

“I had not realized the extent to which the Lincoln Memorial exhibits had turned into a vanity project for the Bush administration,” added PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that high school students from around the country put the current video together with no input by political appointees. “No expense is being spared to erase even fleeting images of feminists, war protestors and gays from display as part of our nation’s history.”

Shameful really. I guess we should be asking ourselves W.W.L.D. What Would Lincoln Do. Now the man who freed the slaves and fought a civil war so that all men could be created equal, would enjoy a robust and full expression of equal rights for all. And he was no warmonger; he would have supported the anti-war sentiment of the Vietnam generation. I think his own words speak for themselves. “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves…”

When is rain drizzle?

I have not been sleeping well as of late. I am a bit concerned that I may be sleeping in my car at the end of August. As of right now I have applied to numerous jobs, and you guessed it, not a one has responded. I am keeping up hope. Perhaps they are under heavy workloads, or um, they have lots of applicants, or they are trying to figure out how they can possibly NOT afford to hire me. Continue reading When is rain drizzle?

Energy(less) Bill

If you have ever purchased a box of cereal you know that certain things run out. You eat enough bowls of crunchy-sugar-bombs and its time to buy a new box. Now imagine for a second that all the oil in the world is represented by that box of sugar-bombs (except in this case you cant go to the store for more). We are getting down to that nasty powder stuff at the end. Oil is running out. Most people will concede that if it doesn’t run out now, it will run out eventually. The supply of oil (particularly cheap oil) is finite. Continue reading Energy(less) Bill

Solar for the masses

Californians are a trend-setting bunch. The Hollywood elite set the stage for fashion, there automobiles set the stage for soon to be national standards in cleanliness, and now they are trying to be the front runners in solar energy. SB1 the “million solar roofs bill” aims to create just that, 1 million solar roofs by 2017.

Co-authored by Senators Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) and John Campbell (R-Orange County) and endorsed by Governor Schwarzenegger, this bill continues it’s way though the legislator. “Momentum for establishing the nation’s biggest solar power program is on our side,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment California, a leading supporter of the bill. “The California Senate has demonstrated tremendous bi-partisan leadership over the past two months by advancing a commonsense policy that will give Californians cleaner air and greater energy independence.”

The bill will do more than just save electricity (at completion it will offset 12 power plants running full tilt), it will also change the way solar works in America. With large numbers of users comes economy of scale. Computers used to cost millions of dollars; you can now buy one for under $500. Solar panels themselves have come down over 50% in the last ten years; with 1 million more users the demand will push prices even lower. At the same time the cost of oil and natural gas will only be going up. Economic modeling by Environment California Research & Policy Center show this kind of sustained growth could be enough to cut the cost of installing solar panels, currently around $8-9/watt, in half by 2015.

The bill will also include provisions to increase the amount of money available to homeowners. These rebates have been shown to increase market activity. At the same time the bill will force construction firms to offer the choice of solar panels for all new single-family homes. This is could continue to spur the industry as studies have shown that about 1% of people will install panels if they are offered. In addition to this the bill will ad a 15% carve-out in the rebate funds for affordable housing and low-income homes. With this bill, we are no longer talking about solar power being only for the backwoods hippy or the Malibu millionaire. Rather, building a million solar roofs will make this common-sense technology mainstream and cost-effective in a decade.” Said Del Chiaro.

Opposition to the Million Solar Roofs bill has come primarily from the electric utilities concerned about the impact a million more independent customers, with net metering options, will have on their business. Opposition has also come from labor unions pushing for the inclusion of prevailing wage requirements as well as a requirement that all future solar installations are overseen by a California licensed C-10 electrician instead of a C46 licensed installer.

The Million Solar Roofs bill will be heard in two committees in the Assembly – Utilities and Commerce and Appropriations – before heading to the Assembly floor later this summer. A special hearing on the bill will be held on Monday, June 27th in Assembly Utilities and Commerce with a vote scheduled on July 6th. Should SB 1 make it out of this committee – last year’s version of the same bill died in Assembly Utilities and Commerce – it will have until August 26th to pass Assembly Appropriations and then until September 9th to pass off the Assembly floor.

SB 1 received two previous hearings and three votes in the state Senate. The first was in Senate Energy Utilities and Communications on April 26th where it passed by a vote of 10-0. The second was in Senate Appropriations on May 26th where it passed by a vote of 8 to 4. SB 1 passed the state Senate on June 1st by a vote of 30-5.

The voice of The Sietch community