Gifts

Simplicity.
Three leaves, three petals.
“See me, I live!”

Father, son;
walking, learning, loving;
Life.

Brothers — Twins.
So close.
See us, We live!

Sea and setting sun.
Beauty in and all around;
Living.

Solar Power Trends — depends on the State

Pshaw! California. It's just a state full of liberal treehuggers! - source: New York Times, 1/25/12

The graph is part of an article on solar trends in the U.S. talking mainly about California.  Pshaw! California. It’s just a state full of liberal treehuggers!

I recommend the entire web report.  On page 20, Appendix C, there is state by state data for ’09, ’10 and Cumulative Installed Capacity.  I want to do some comparison with political data — just for fun, of course, because I really loved my statistics class (fyi, that’s a joke).

Some questions for discussion:

  1. What state do you live in and what are your thoughts on your state and solar?
  2. What do you think I’ll find with my political comparison?  Shall we take bets (Do I hear $10,000 anyone?)? 

Keystone Pipeline and John Boehner: Surprise! There’s money involved.

No wonder John Boehner is all over President Obama’s decision regarding the Keystone XL pipeline!  He put money into the Canadian companies involved!

. . . according to Boehner’s financial disclosure forms, he invested $10,000 to $50,000 each in seven firms that had a stake in Canada’s oil sands, the region that produces the oil the pipeline would transport. The firms include six oil companies — BP, Canadian Natural Resources, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Devon Energy and Exxon — along with Emerson Electric, which has a contract to provide the digital automation for the first phase of a $9.4 billion Horizon Oil Sands Project in Canada.

Bill McKibben, a climate activist and co-founder of the group 350.org, wrote in an e-mail that Boehner has received more than $1 million from fossil-fuel companies, “and now we find out that he’s got extensive personal investments in companies dependent on tarsands oil.”

“He was willing to shut down the government in part to prevent enough time for serious environmental review,” McKibben added. “In any other facet of our public life . . . this whole list taken together would be seen for the gross conflict of interest that it is.”

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an interview that an investment adviser chooses Boehner’s financial investments. “He doesn’t have any control over day-to-day trades, so there’s no conflict of interest on this or any other investment,” Steel said of the speaker, adding that when it comes to the upcoming decision on Keystone XL, “We hope the president will do the right thing and approve the permit, and create American jobs.” — source:  Washington Post

Mr. Steel’s statement that there’s no conflict of interest because he doesn’t have control over day-to-day trades is an unbelievable rationalization of insider trading.  Tell me, who believes that Boehner didn’t know about the upcoming expansion proposal of the Keystone?  How many bridges do these believers want to buy???

Isn’t this a conflict of interest?  How about ethics violation?  How about an investigation into all this?  Someone?  Anyone?

Just one more example of corporate buying of influence, money in government.

Ocean Conservancy’s Marine Wildlife and Seascape Photo Contest

Incoming Tide, photo entry; © Tiffany Smith

Ocean Conservancy is having a photo contest and both my daughter Tiffany and my son Jonathan have entered! We would be SO happy if you would check all the photos and vote for their photos if you would like, but donations go, 100%, to Ocean Conservancy! It is a lovely thing!

Low Tide at Second Beach; © Jonathan Smith

Ocean Conservancy’s Marine Wildlife and Seascape Photo Contest.

Thanks, I love you friends!

Dear Mitt Romney, “It’s All Gone”

To commemorate the South Carolina primary, I’m dedicating this lovely music video to Mitt Romney.  Somehow I have a hard time imagining Mitt in all his mannequin-likeness being able to get a groove on, but that’s okay.  The rest of us have enough to share.  I’m guessing that Mittens doesn’t even know Chris Rea let alone considers him to be in the 1% (who knows, maybe he is!) but if not, then you know what Mitt says,  “. . .those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent….”

Enjoy possibly the greatest slide guitar solo ever!  (I actually stole that comment from a fan comment on YouTube — I happen to agree)   If this doesn’t make you want to dance, there’s just no hope for you.

( Youtube source bob19520)

Lyrics:

A careless heart ain’t no good to no-one
I was going back my friends to see
Of what became of my childhood daydreams
Of all the things that used to be
To my surprise I stood alone
I walked a river of a waking dream
My father say ‘Know what you’re thinking’
I guess this old town seen better days

It’s all gone
Ain’t nothing for you here now
Sail on

You talk of change, something better
Cutting down that big old tree
There’s flesh and blood in there somewhere
But no matter what you just don’t seem to see
I walk your chambers, your empty halls
I see you talking behind the doors
My father say ‘Know what you’re thinking’
I guess this old town seen better days

It’s all gone
Ain’t nothing for you here now
Sail on

I’m sailing on, I’m running faster
Than I ever run before
My father say ‘Know what you’re thinking’
I guess this old town seen better days
Sail on

Peace!

Lovely Family Photo

From Mother Nature Network, a story of species rediscovery, a story of renewal.

Borneo monkey thought to be extinct caught on camera | MNN – Mother Nature Network.

A small group of Miller's grizzled langurs
HI THERE: A small group of Miller’s grizzled langurs, including a juvenile. These rare monkeys had been feared extinct. (Photo: Eric Fell)

I love stories like this.

Obama’s Keystone XL Decision – A Triumph of Good Sense

Jennifer Rubin, on her “Right Turn” opinion page at the Washington Post says that “Keystone XL decision hands the GOP a gift.”  She must be in a lot of pain to be so detached from reality.

I won’t get into everything that she says, suffice it to say that I think she is wrong for SO many reasons.  First and foremost, job numbers, the primary focus of proponents of this monstrosity, would be minimal, (approximately 6,000) most of them short-term construction jobs, not the “hundreds of thousands” of jobs that John Boehner seems to dream of.

Laughable. Talking jobs benefits Obama, not Republicans (see graphs below). Solyndra, mentioned by both Rubin and Boehner, is also not an Obama problem as Solyndra was approved under Bush and was less than 2% of the energy loans from 2005 and the only one that has gone bad. Solyndra’s guaranteed loan was for ~$500 million, not the billions that went into later bailouts of both auto and finance. The stimulus was not a failure; without it the recession would have been a depression. The debt accumulation, well that will be argued until the end of time — when did it start, who increased it, etc. Needless to say, we went from a debt surplus at the beginning of Bush to a record deficit at the end of Bush, largely to his putting two wars on the country credit card, and it took a whole lot of congressional enabling from both sides of the aisle to make that happen.

Rubin also brings up entitlement reform but I assume she is referring to the favorite conservative buzzwords of social entitlements such as health care, food stamps, social security, unemployment, etc. If not, please forgive me for making such assumptions, I’ve been conditioned by the Republican debates. If you are talking inclusively about all entitlements, you include such things as corporate and individual tax loopholes (see today’s news about Mitt Romney’s offshore tax havens), corporate subsidies, forgiven FDIC loans in addition to social entitlement. I’m not so sure Romney is going to look like such a pretty boy when you examine him through that lens.

Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, again leads the way in good sense. From Politicusa:

In December, Senator Sanders urged Obama to call the Republicans bluff on Keystone XL. President Obama did more than call their bluff. He let the Republicans kill Keystone XL for him.

Republicans set themselves up for this one when they demanded that the 60 day deadline be included in the payroll tax/unemployment benefits extension. Republicans are already trying to spin Obama’s decision as a refusal to create jobs, but the truth is that Keystone XL project would only create 6,000 or so jobs. Most of the full time jobs would not be filled by locals, and the other jobs would be temporary construction.

The Keystone XL project is not a job creator, or a path to energy independence. The oil that would come from the project was destined to be sold on the global market. If anything, Keystone would open up all US production to the international market. A point that Republicans never seem to understand is that oil drilled in the United States [belongs] to the oil company, not the country where it was extracted from.

Incidentally, the US would not have received any tax revenues for the Canadian oil.  We would be merely a conduit for their dirty oil and the revenues produced without keeping either.  The oil would go to the Houston refineries to be processed then shipped out to international markets.  All tax revenues would bypass the U.S. because we are in no way a partner in the sale of the oil.  Refineries would be paid for cleaning up and refining the extremely dirty oil but otherwise we just take the risk of a pipeline spill right in our heartland and get the refinery pollution.

Finally, if John Boehner, Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to talk about jobs,I bring you JOBS, JOBS, JOBS (“The Progress Report,” Jan. 6, 2012, Think Progress) with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

2…the number of years of consecutive employment growth in manufacturing, after not one single year of growth between 1997 and 2010.

8.5 percent…the unemployment rate, the lowest since February 2009 just after President Obama took office.

22…the number of consecutive months of private sector job growth.

12,000…the number of public sector jobs lost in December of 2011 alone.

212,000…the number of private sector jobs created in December of 2011 alone.

280,000…the number of public sector jobs lost in 2011.

315,000…the number of health care jobs created in 2011.

673,000…the number of private sector jobs lost during the entirety of the eight-year Bush presidency.

1,080,000…the number of net jobs created during the entirety of the eight-year Bush presidency.

1,600,000…the net number of jobs created during 2011, after accounting for job losses in the public sector.

1,900,000…the number of private sector jobs created during 2011.

IN TWO  SENTENCES: In either of the past two years alone, President Obama created more private sector jobs than President Bush did during the entirety of his eight-year presidency.  While today’s jobs numbers are a promising sign, it’s no time to get complacent when 14 MILLION Americans are still out of work.