January 25th, 2013 ~ Okay, this is just a bit of fun after a terrifying election where GOP operatives did everything possible to disenfranchise American voters. Enjoy!
January 21st, 2013 ~ Today, the ceremonial inauguration of Barack Obama for his second term as President of the United States was held at our U.S. Capitol. Sen. Chuck Schumer masterfully kept things moving at a bracing clip up to our President's surprisingly comprehensive inaugural speech. Surprising because, as many of the attendant pundits noted, climate change and energy policy occupied an unexpectedly central position and our President left no doubt that both would hold equally central roles in his second term administration.
We've known from the beginning of his first term, that President Obama intended for green energy technologies to play a key role in America's energy future and rekindling of our technological preeminence. However, after last year's Western wildfires, two years of drought, and Hurricane Sandy's devastation of our Northeast coast, his goals have taken on a new urgency and vigor. Where no mention was made of climate change and passing mention of energy policy in his 2009 inaugural speech, they are now major themes expressed with passion and resolve.
Perhaps now is the time to rekindle my own advocacy for Fusion Energy. Current renewable energy systems are all dependent, to one degree or another, on the availability of external resources to provide industrial levels of electrical energy. Hydroelectric plants need water, yet ongoing droughts imperil water levels (not to mention greatly reducing carbon sequestration due to blighted corn and grain crops). Solar arrays need sunlight, yet massive storms can blot out the sun for days and hurricane-force winds are inarguably an even worse environment for wind turbines than no wind at all. So, that leaves only fossil fuels and nuclear fission. All provide industrial levels of power; all are dead ends for America and the world. Fusion energy can change all that.
Fusion powerplants will be fueled by an abundant element of sea water, Deuterium, and will have one and only one by-product: Helium. Think party balloons; funny voices. No carbon-dioxide, no methane, no radioactive waste to bury somewhere for 10,000 years. Fusion powerplants will provide day and night, 24x7, 365 days a year industrial levels of electricity to power steel mills, factories, and cities. Fusion will have no risks of massive spills, explosions, or radioactive nightmares. Fusion will have no WMD potential like fission powerplants and their transuranic byproducts. Fusion will be an entirely American energy solution with no foreign dependencies or entanglements. Fusion will create hundreds of thousands of new, good-paying, AMERICAN jobs; both directly and by way of spin-off technologies.
I don't know if our President was thinking of fusion power when he made his striking inaugural points about climate change and energy policy. I do know America needs our brightest and best engineers and scientists, focused like lasers, to design and build the first, commercially viable, pilot Fusion powerplant by 2025. If that seems an impossible task, I would note that we do not come new to this endeavor, nor are we alone among nations in pursuing the promise of limitless, clean, fusion energy.
I would also remind you of another President who, in 1962, challenged us at Rice University with these words...
"But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun--almost as hot as it is here today--and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out--then we must be bold."
"...We Must Be Bold."
Are we any less "Bold" today? Is America less capable of meeting such daunting technological challenges? Is America no longer the land of the brightest and the best? You and I KNOW, without reservation, the answer to those questions.
I believe our President is serious about reversing global climate change and leaving future generations with a world of breathable air, drinkable water, and edible food; a world where our natural heritage has not been stripped to bare rock by corporate greed. If, however, we are to embrace that bright future in an audacious and hopeful manner, Fusion Energy must finally receive the attention and funding it deserves. Our children and their children deserve no less.
January 11th, 2013 ~ I've been watching the MSM trying to report on America's heightened focus on guns in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shootings and as usual, our MSM has gone for cheap sensationalism at the expense of substance. I don't know whether they do this on purpose, or accidently, but the end result is a mess; focused, as usual, on the wrong things.
Certainly, background checks of ALL gun purchases is a good idea. Would our current background check procedures have prevented the Newtown travesty? No. The guns used in that butchery belonged to the killer's mother; not to him.
Would an assault weapons ban have prevented the 2006 West Nickel Mines Amish School massacre, the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, or the Binghampton New York killings? Would it have ameliorated the 2011 shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others at a Tucson supermarket or the Sikh Temple murders of 2012? Again, No. None of those shootings involved a so-called "assault weapon".
Many DID involve standard pistols, the kinds many lawful citizens own, fitted with large-capacity ammunition magazines. So what does that tell us about where we need to focus our attention? Might it be the magazines?
Still, while we may never be certain that enhanced enforcement of background checks or an assault weapons ban will be effective, we can be 100% certain that doing nothing will not be. If even one life is saved from a maniac's rampage as a result, that's certainly something.
January 8th, 2013 ~ On January Third, the 113th Congress was sworn in and began their business; ostensibly on behalf of the American People. As I write this, there are zero Independents in the House and only two in the Senate, so what I'm about to predict may sound pretty crazy. I predict that in the next four years, we are going to see an explosion of Senators and Representatives running and winning seats as Independents.
Let me explain...
I believe the Republican party is close to imploding. It may not shrink to a neutron star or singularity in the next four years, but it has already become an embarrassment and a political liability to the rational, TRULY Conservative Statesmen and Stateswomen one finds in the Northeast, Midwest, and even some Western states. The xenophobic, old, Southern, white male Kudzu is slowly and inexorably strangling the "Party of Lincoln" to death and nobody with any political aspirations wants to be tapped as a pallbearer.
In 2014, I predict we will see a number of former Republicans running for the U.S. House and perhaps the Senate as Independents. The smart ones will be incumbents who already have a ground game. The not-so-smart will be hard-right incumbents, suddenly confronted in primary challenges by former Republicans who see the Kudzu and know what it means. Great news for Democrats, right?
While rational, pragmatic, conservatives may be the Avant-Garde of an Independent movement, the frothing, gibbering, GOP lunatics of the Congress have had the side-effect of driving some Democratic legislators even further to the left. Certainly not to the pathological extremes we've seen with the GOP, but enough to make some just as intransigent in their "ideological purity" as any fringe Republican.
I predict by 2016, we will see moderates and centrists of BOTH the Republican and Democratic parties running as Independents. Ultimately, by 2020, the "Independent Block" will be a political force both parties will need to court if they hope to pass ANY legislation.
Some will say this can NEVER happen. Some will say the political machinery of bipartite government is so deeply entrenched that there is no financial or political support for such a movement. Some will cynically note the history of such third-party initiatives as the babies drowned in the bathwater of political expediency and replaced with less threatening changelings. Some are absolutely clueless about our national zeitgeist.
Americans are TRULY fed up with the Left/Right, Pseudo-liberal/Pseudo-conservative, ping-pong game where WE'RE the ping-pong ball. We're sick of the MSM reducing our complex political issues to banal sports metaphores and creating false equivalencies where none actually exist. We desperately need Statesmen and Stateswomen who respect our intelligence and are courageous enough to defend their positions with clear and logical arguments in the public square. Above all, we earnestly yearn for legislators whose fealty is first and foremost to The American People; not tools of their respective parties or their big-money donors.
Thinking Americans WILL support rational, reasonable, Independent candidates for office with our pennies, our dollars, our grassroots support, AND OUR VOTES. Crazy? Maybe. But if the full-blown insanity under our capitol dome these days is our ONLY option, how crazy can I be?
January 4th, 2013 ~ Happy New Year! It truly IS happy for hundreds of millions of lower and middle income Americans who won't see a tax hike or and end to their unemployment insurance benefits this year, thanks to the brilliant negotiating skills of our Vice President, Joe Biden. Of course, we're now hearing GOP rumblings about the normally unremarkable extension of our national debt ceiling.
A number of Congressional "Young Guns" feel that debt ceiling extension should be inextricably linked to ongoing budget negotiations. Certainly, both have something to do with government spending, but while the budget debate deals with what our government WILL SPEND (future tense), the debt ceiling relates solely to what our government HAS ALREADY SPENT (past tense).
The debt ceiling is, quite simply, the "bar tab" for spending our Congress has already incurred. If GOP legislators ran up that tab like a bunch of drunken sailors for their unfunded Iraq War, their unfunded Medicare Part D, their billions in subsidies and tax breaks to the fossil fuels industry, you and I are ALREADY on the hook for their profligacy.
In the next two to three months, some members of Congress will claim they're "morally opposed" to paying their bar tab. They will attempt to throw our 401K's, our national reputation, our entire economy onto the bonfire of their hypocrisy. They did it in 2011 and caused the first downgrade in America's AAA bond rating in history. That downgrade cost us BILLIONS in equity; as individuals and as a nation. They'll try it again in 2013.
We must call them on it. Call them, email them, write them over and over again; just like their "Too Big to Fail" banking collection agencies harass average Americans every day. Let them know they can and SHOULD negotiate the leanest federal budget possible without hurting America's elderly, studends, or those among us barely scraping by.
But let them also know extension of our debt ceiling is NON-NEGOTIABLE. It is NOT to be held hostage to some bullshit idealogy, which is insensate to a growing deficit under a Republican administration, yet vociferously takes umbrage when the bill comes due under a Democratic administration. I urge you to contact your Senators and your Congressional Representative to decouple their debt ceiling vote from all budget/sequestration negotiations. America ALWAYS pays its debts.