A conservative you could love to hate..

Jim Inhofe is a very conservative Republican senator from Oklahoma. He voted against McCain's bill which would ban torture. He is also a global warming denier with a terrible environmental voting record from the league of conservation voters. He invited Michael Crichton to testify before the senate as the star witness for the climate change skeptics. James Inhofe is kind of like a mini George W. Bush running around the senate...

But, Inhofe is up for re-election this year...

Currently, a DFA endorsed candidate Andrew Rice is running against him. Andrew lost his brother in the September 11th attacks. He is now running for the Senate because he feels that the federal government is not really using common sense in its policies when it comes to protecting our nation.

I decided to donate some money to help Andrew Rice with his campaign. If you also feel he is a worthy candidate, I would encourage you to send a small contribution his way...

Why should you give money to someone in Oklahoma? Because if you don't, folks in the oil and gas and coal industries will...

Drinking the green kool-aid?


I've been off reading No Impact Man's blog for the past 9 months or so. I've been reading books and articles on climate change to try to understand the science and to be able to tell when a skeptic is blowing smoke up my ass and when a skeptic may have a fair point. Of the things I've read, I think that this article by James Hansen from Scientific American seems reasonably accessible and reputable.

I've been trying to incorporate a regime of lifestyle changes to lower my carbon footprint - taking the bus, biking, buying carbon offsets for the rest. The problem of global warming is so much larger than me and my individual actions, though. I feel that any lifestyles change that I make will be completely overwhelmed by China's plans to build 150 new 1000 Megawatt coal plants (or their generating equivalent) by 2020.

I worry that maybe James Hansen (head of NASA's Goddard Institute) is right - again. He did see this coming back in the 80's, after all. Plus, he has more precise climate models than I do (not to mention wayy cooler satellite-based sensors). I worry that he's right again because he's saying that maybe we only have 20 years (maybe less) before we start making irreversible changes to the climate system.

I feel like I should be doing something more. I've written my Senators and have talked to Congressman Doyle about this. By the way, when I talked to Doyle about global warming, he seemed more worried than I am. In particular, when the subject of the American West and the increased probability of droughts was brought up, there was a bit of fear in his eyes. He mentioned that we saw it coming with New Orleans but we failed to take to take action to improve the levees there - no one wanted to spend the money.... I feel like I should be doing more. But, I am not quite sure what that should be just yet. I figured I would just think out loud here a bit... Maybe I will try to post more often to give some context while I'm trying to figure out how to make a difference. And, if you've got any ideas, feel free to share..

If you feel inclined to do a little something now, I recommend joining the Sierra Club and Penn Future. The Sierra Club is pushing Congress to pass legislation to cut CO2 emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. Also, Penn Future has been working in Pennsylvannia to get renewable energy legislation passed. Also, on the agenda is a moratorium on new coal plants until we can get carbon capture and storage worked out. Also, if you haven't heard, Al Gore has started a new initiative to educate Americans on global warming.

  • Current Mood
    nervous nervous


Would anyone out there be interested in playing some music with me? I've been practicing the guitar of late. Nothing spectacular, but at least Mr. Tut doesn't run away.. Perhaps, just some jamming on the porch to pass the warm summer nights? Maybe you have some words and a tune in your head?
  • Current Music
    Franz Ferdinand - Matinee

I've had bad dreams... So bad, I threw my pillow away...

I had a dream the other night... I dreamt I was at work. We had a new employee who worked on the other side of the cubicle wall. This new person was very difficult to get along with. If you brought him a question that he deemed beneath him, he would chew you out. Yell, really yell at you. I'm talking Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet kind of Rage. I guess some of the co-workers started complaining about this behavior. He went into my boss's office and came back out. He was placid. No yelling came from the other side of the cube wall. Nothing. Not a peep. Then, one day, there were rumors floating around the office that our CEO left. Others in upper management started to leave one by one... There was that feeling that no one knew who was really running things anymore. A dark cloud of organizational anarchy started to hang in the air. People still went to the cube across the wall with questions still trying to get things done despite the vacuum of purpose. Every now and then, I would overhear a question being asked which wasn't very well thought out. I started to notice that people who asked the not so thought out questions wouldn't come back out of the row of cubes again. But, there was no yelling. Nothing but silence. Then, curiosity got the better of me. I peeked my head around the corner to see where everyone had gone.. There was a pile of dead bodies at the end of the cube row. I saw an unwitting questioner with a bullet hole through his head.
  • Current Music
    Belly - Angel

To scam or not to scam?

Tonight, a woman came to my door and gave me her pitch. She said that she was an R.N. at Children's Hospital. She was raising money as part of a walkathon for SIDS. The doctor that she worked with was working on a cure for SIDS. He has a patent for a sleep apnea drug. I asked her a few questions. She was able to produce the names of different medicines, and she even spelled one for me (phenylthiazines) which she said that her hospital was trying to get Bayer to pull from one of its children's fever reducers.. Also, she claimed that she came to my house last year, and I had donated money. This part I distinctly do not remember. Her name was Dawn. I tried to clarify, perhaps it was one of my neighbor's houses that she had visited and was confused. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt on the past sponsorship because maybe either I had forgotten or she was confused. So, then she asked me which level of money I wanted to give. Gold ($36), Silver ($24), or Bronze ($12). I said, ok, I'll do the Bronze (since that seemed like a lower risk option). Let me go get my check book. At this, she hesitated and insisted she needed a cash donation because previous donors had written bad checks which bounced. I said, ok. give me the address, and I'll look into some other way of sending in my donation. She hesitated again. She told me she needed the cash tonight so that she would have it by the time the walkathon was over. So, I decided I had better just avoid the whole situation, and I gracefully declined to donate anything.

Anyway. This smelled distinctly like a scam to me. The part about only accepting cash seemed odd to me. Up until the end, her execution was pretty good, though. Of course, maybe I'm just too gullible, and other people wouldn't have even answered the door.
  • Current Mood

Respecting the Pope...

In his passing, I have come to respect Pope John Paul II. John Paul was a Pole in occupied Poland who had Jewish friends. Friends who went to the gas chamber. He did what he could do. Forged documents. Hid friends from the Nazis. He saw the Nazis burn the Jewish ghetto. After the war. After the communists took over Poland, he sewed of resistance seeds in Poland. As Pope, he visited communist Poland. He encouraged his people. His fellow Poles to resist. People rallied around him as a symbol of their national identity, and then through solidarity, his people overthrew the repressive communists.

With all the death and destruction that he witnessed firsthand at the beginning of the 20th century. I understand why he so fervently opposes abortion. He sees it as a holocaust of innocent children. He projects the sounds of their silent screams and thinks of his friends who he couldn't save from the Nazis.

However, I am still deeply confounded by John Paul's assertion that using contraception is fundamentally an evil act which is part of the "Culture of Death". I don't understand how I am disrespecting life by not choosing to put my body in the position of cranking out babies one after the next. I'm not killing anything by using contraception. I don't understand how a man using a condom to protect himself and his partner from AIDS is not part of the "Culture of Death". How does using a condom to prevent the spread of a dreadful disease offend God?

While I disagree with John Paul about the contraception (and women's place in society), I repect his striving against the biggest moral problems of this century. He used his position as the head of the Catholic church to change the church's teaching on anti-semitism. He taught that anti-semitism is a sin. He has tried to lead us away from the worst aspects of hatred and inhumanity within us.
  • Current Music
    Egmont Overture

Meet the Candidates Tonight...

MoveOnPgh February Meetup-Candidate Forum

See the happenings website forMORE INFO.
EVENT TYPE: Politics

This month's meetup will serve as an opportunity to hear at least two judicial candidates (Kathryn Hens-Greco & Jon Pushinsky) and one mayoral hopeful (Bill Peduto) speak.

WHEN: Mon Feb 7: 7PM

WHERE: St. Andrew's Lutheran Church

AGES: all ages

Bill Peduto
Kathryn Hens-Greco
Jon Pushinsky


My Own Editorial Note: Kathryn Hens-Greco is an inspiring candidate. She's a very intelligent candidate who is running for judge for all the right reasons. She started out as a social worker, but she saw that she could make a bigger difference as a lawyer. Now, she feels she can help people even more as a judge. This is a great opportunity to hear the all of the candidates without the filter of the media.

Balmy January

I washed my car in the rain tonight. Headlights caught the spray of the water blowing back into my face. Those who walked past seemed to understand. No stares. It's just the way things are done around here.
  • Current Music
    Tires on wet roads.

All Politics is Local

Tonight, Anukul and I attended the DFA meetup on the South Side. Possible mayoral candidates Bill Peduto and Mike Lamb addressed our group. Currently, Bob O'Connor seems to be the candidate who has the backing of the party machine.

What does it mean to have the backing of the machine? Well, from what I can tell this means that the candidate gets the endorsement of all the ward bosses which brings with it money and a mass mailing from party headquarters which says that candidate X is the guy you should vote for in the primary. From what I understand, O'Connor represents the old boys network of the party. I've never met O'Connor. I really don't know much about him, but the folks I talked to at the Meetup didn't have anything positive to say about him.

So, Bill Peduto and Mike Lamb were there to try to grow some grass roots support. Bill Peduto is currently a member of city council. Mike Lamb is the Allegheny County Prothonotary.

Bill Peduto spoke first. Bill was very animated as he spoke. "The fiscal state of the city has put it into a box. However, we get to decide what color to paint that box." He understands that we need to balance our city budget, but the mayor needs to have a vision to do more with less. Bill is strongly in favor of community involvement in planning and development. City planners should look to communities first and then figure out how to serve the community - not the other way around. He is a true believer in new urbanism. He is a supporter of a multi-modal transit. He took initiative in studying the idea of providing free wireless access in the city. He seems genuinely interested in policy and in improving the city. He has worked with Ground Zero to help Flux events happen. He is against Mon-Fayette expressway. He thinks we have too many roads. We can't fix them all. Bill also advocates using GIS technology for planning how many and where fire departments should be located. Bill Peduto also thinks that city should not dissolve into the county government, but resources should be consolidated where it makes sense to do so.

Mike Lamb was more rooted in county politics. He had modernized the prothonotary's office. He took it out of the age of paper and ballpoint pens and into the electronic age. He cut the size of the office through attrition and transferring employees to other offices. Mike Lamb's message was rooted in efficiency and consolidation of redundant jobs. He would like to see more police departments in the county merge or contract their policing from the county or other municipalities. He thinks the city needs a leader who is willing to walk away from their turf. He wants row office reform. 25,000 houses in the city are abandoned. Act 47 gives city the leeway to re-sell these vacant properties. As part of balancing the budget, the city had to cut the amount of money it spends on demolition crews. When Lamb was asked about how to fix the city's finances, he talked about getting efficiency gains at the county level. This is all well and good, but he's running for mayor.

Overall, I found that Bill Peduto was a more charismatic and visionary candidate than Mike Lamb. Mike Lamb seemed to have answers based more on consolidation at the county level. He didn't talk as much about his vision for what the city would be like. I think I'm going to enlist with Peduto's campaign - assuming he decides to run...
  • Current Music
    The Clash - London Calling