Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Banned from Kos ... again!
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, I was troll-rated into oblivion at the Daily Kos political chat site and lost access to participating at the site.
This has occurred twice before: Once during the famous primary wars of 2003, for defending Ralph Nader repeatedly and criticizing Gen. Wesley Clark and former Gov. Howard Dean, who I ended up voting for; and then again, in late 2004, when I stated early one Sunday morning that an "SNL" skit showing John Kerry to be a flip-flopper was funny and factual correct.
After the second banning, I took a break from the site for almost a year, although I did continue to glance at it now and again for news stories and other political nuggets.
But after talking to some folks via email who had participated in the site and missed some of my interaction, I decided to participate again. I also made it a personal policy that I wouldn't get into too much controversy, as to not anger those true believers which would get me troll-rated again into oblivion and start the whole process over again.
Well, I failed.
For the most part, it was a safe strategy and it seemed to work. My contributions were part of what I thought was a healthy discussion about politics in general, strategy, and other things that would empower people to be more involved in the process. The thought was that if you can get people to shut off their computers and learn how to run field campaigns, for example, they would be able to create more change than bitching at a blog site. Bitching on a blog site doesn't create change; it is just bitching.
Of course, anyone involved in campaigns in the past knows this to be true; field is everything. Information is everything. But anyone involved in campaigns in the past also knows that progressives and liberals, generalizing, have an adversarial relationship with the hard work that goes into producing winning electoral campaigns. They do a lot of pontificating about "movement building," but they rarely follow through with the work that needs to get accomplished.
It was hilarious when I was involved in the early days of the Massachusetts Green Party - after volunteering for Ralph Nader's presidential campaign in 1996 - and would talk about purging voter's lists to find the good voting residents. "Activists" would look at me and say, "What's a voter's list?" They were too busy Marching for Mumia to realize that the only way to influence voters was to actually find out who they were and talk to them. It was only until activist Iowa Karen Kubby put the process into a cartoon format and passed it around on the Web that folks inside the MGP and other places took the process of purging seriously. Later, in some of the smaller campaigns, Greens were able to take this process onto near wins - like Jesse Perrier's Selectman's campaign in Winthrop, Mass., in which he got 40-plus percent of the vote. Another candidate, Paul Lachelier, challenged long-time state Rep. Tim Toomey, a double-dipping Democrat layabout, and received 37 percent of the vote, in Cambridge and Somerville. Other Greens in super liberal areas of Western Massachusetts were able to garner similar numbers by actually going out and talking to voters. Statewide candidates - not really using the purging process but still significant - were able to garner decent vote returns too. James O'Keefe, who ran for Treasurer in Massachusetts as a Green, won more than 9 percent of the vote in 2002 in a climate where the state Dems were pounding Green gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Jill Stein. President Bill Clinton even visited the state telling voters not to be "Nadered" by Stein who was clearly more qualified to be governor than Mitt Romney or Shannon O'Brien. O'Keefe managed to skirt most of the damage from Democrats which was squarely aimed at Stein. But he didn't get much help from the mainstream media. Despite having a Masters degree in Economics and a background in computer software engineering, they didn't feel he was qualified. The major daily newspapers ignored his campaign, with the Boston Globe even editing O'Keefe out of a three candidate picture. The picture had all three candidates extending their hands jointly together in a sports metaphor with the Globe editing O'Keefe completely out of the picture ... except, of course, his hands! Some television stations were kinder; allowing O'Keefe to participate in some of the debates, probably because the Republican Dan Grabauskus had no chance of beating eventual winner "Tim for Treasurer" Cahill.
My discussions on Kos weren't about anything more than empowering people and chatting up political gossip, something I don't do at work very much and prefer to do online, during downtime.
But then, the blogosphere started to really let loose after the Alito nomination follies. Some of the more popular posters on Daily Kos started to openly talk about rebellion within the Democrat Party and even leaving the party to punish Senators who were supporting Alito. They'd had enough, especially after some Senate Dems smartly abandoned John Kerry's seemingly clueless filibuster attempt against Alito. In fact, some of the more popular posters, like MaryScott O'Connor, a former actress in California who also runs the My Left Wing site, called for a re-registration to "Independent" in an effort to influence the party [O'Connor is a super liberal poster who I happen to respect because of her thoughtfulness and deep convictions even if I may disagree with her rage]. She was particularly infuriated by southern and western Dems ignoring the dangers Alito might bring to Roe v. Wade. Kos himself seemed to stay out of this fray and allowed people to argue back and forth about it, although he did sympathize with the rebellious poster's anger at the lack of action against Alito. Kos even went so far as to brag that the netroots were organized in this fight. He mightily roared that now, Senate Democrats would take them seriously, even if they had little to no effect on the process.
While Kos has openly stated that he has little tolerance for indie voters or indie liberal parties, he has openly called on his followers to target Sen. Joe Lieberman - advocating and encouraging anyone, independent or otherwise - to run against him! This, historically, as anyone involved in the party knows, is a no-no. You don't eat your own, no matter what.
But with Kos and his posters, there is a bit of hypocrisy on this. Lieberman is a Republican with a big-D label by his name, they say, so it is different than a guy like Nader trying to bring truth and honesty to the political arena. Kossacks correctly think the same of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, labeling him: "Sen. Joe Biden, D-MBNA," after the big financial company from his state which he seems to serve so well - much to the detriment of credit card holders everywhere.
A lot of excuses were posted for this strange change in philosophy between no tolerance for indies and tolerance for them when they are against someone we dislike or someone who Kos targets. But, whatever.
Having worked in both Dem and indie arenas and have voted for Republicans against Democrat candidates I couldn't stand, I commended O'Connor and others, and encouraged them to think about the idea of abandoning the Dems. I didn't advocate for the idea; I just said folks should think about it. I shared some of my own experiences trying to reform the Democrat Party in the late 1980s when I was an active member of Ward Committee meetings in Boston, as well as my experiences with the Greens during the mid- to late-1990s. I stated that it was nearly impossible to reform the Dems and I did openly advocate not joining the Greens because of their unrealistic illusions and propensity to be totally disorganized [Sorry my Green buds still out there reading my stuff, this is the reality of the situation].

Sidebar: This dynamic of rebellion in the wake of the Alito nomination from within the ranks of this ragtag collection of people talking amongst themselves online has virtually received no attention from the press - despite the popular sentiment online. O'Connor did manage to get on John Gibson's Fox radio program after she posted a rant entitled "We are fucked." The audio is posted somewhere but I have yet to listen to it. There was little else in the way of press about this very interesting dynamic in the country right now. In fact, it is a testament to the lack of a political press interested in covering anything deeper within the party structures, something they always used to do in the 1960s and 1970s. Whole sections of books have been written about the intra-party struggles, like the move to diversify the Dems in the 1970s after U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s populist campaign for the presidency found itself completely shut out of the political process [Check out "Marathon: The pursuit of the Presidency, 1972-1976," by Jules Witcover, a fascinating read about this era of Democratic politics].

Unfortunately, during this very enlightening phrase of interaction at Daily Kos, I got into a side argument about Al Gore Sr., a southern Democrat who had a pretty bad civil rights record. Everyone knows this and it has been covered by editorialists from the left and right. Everyone knows that southern Democrats attempted to kill the Civil Rights Act and Gore Sr. was one of the leaders in that movement. Everyone knows that it wasn't until after years and years of fighting integrating that Gore Sr. finally came around, not unlike Alabama Gov. George Wallace and others later on. Everyone knows that when Vice President Al Gore in 2000 was talking about his father's legacy of civil rights advocacy that he was rewriting the history about his father [While the Bible does say, Respect thy mother and father, it doesn't say Fib about thy mother and father to rewrite history and cover your political ass]. Everyone knows that if it weren't for northeastern Republicans, blacks still wouldn't have civil rights today. All this information is in the Congressional Record. There are voting records and comments by other Democrats, like then-President Lyndon Johnson, who openly thanked Senate Republicans for their assistance in passing the Civil Rights Act. Going back a bit further, everyone knows that if it weren't for Republicans in the late 1800s, blacks would still be slaves today. It is fact. There is no argument about it ... unless you currently hate Republicans and are a part of the "liberal blogosphere" in 2006. You're drinking the Kool-Aid, like Jim Jones' followers did, as the saying goes. A cryptic metaphor but accurate nonetheless. The Dems can do no wrong, even after you are targeting Lieberman and others from your desktop.
Well, my comments didn't sit right with some folks and wham, troll-rated into oblivion again. This is what happens when you don't know your history - you are condemned to repeat it, as the saying goes. This is what happens when you hate so much that you can't look at the bright side of anything.
Personally, I'm not happy with the Republicans in Washington. I think the current bunch are corrupt as the day is long. They are a disgrace to their forefathers and Republicanism. It is nothing more than a political label now. But I'm not happy with the Democrats either. I see no difference in the hiding of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy plan and the crap that went on when Hilary Clinton - not an elected official, but the wife of the president - was meeting in secret to scheme up a supposed insurance policy for Americans. I won't even get into the alleged pharm market manipulation or other things from that era.
But this is what happens when you are so worried about political labels and less about political integrity that you are scarfing down that Kool-Aid. Any mindless following of political labels is a train ride to fascism and tyranny. Needless to say, I am going to probably give up on the educational dialogue of the blogosphere and will instead, spend time doing more fruitful endeavors. I will probably still cross-post at MyDD and have also been invited to cross-post at My Left Wing, despite my online debates with O'Connor, a class act in the blogosphere [She rages sometimes, it's OK though. She has come around].
But at some point, you have to give up and stop wasting your time trying to help people empower themselves. You can't make people see the truth. No matter how important speaking truth to power and "teaching" people the tools to change their lives, you can't force people to do it. You can't teach people common sense. It can be a lost cause.
I have always believed that lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for. But for now, more important writing deserves to be written.
I just thought my regular readers, many who were Kossacks and starting coming back to Politizine after I started posting again, should know why I'm no longer there.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The people who control the world?
It isn't often that I post entire articles here which aren't written by me. But this piece just says it all, doesn't it? And people think there isn't a conspiracy to run the world ... they aren't hiding, are they?

["Partying at Davos"]
By Jeff Faux
The world’s rich and powerful are heading this week to their annual meeting in the plush mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland. Hosted by the great global corporations (Citigroup, Siemans, Microsoft, Nestles, etc.), some 2000 CEO’s, prominent politicians, pundits and international bureaucrats will network over great food, fine wine, good skiing and cozy evenings by the fire contemplating the world’s future.
This is not a secret cabal; journalists will issue daily reports to the rest of us on the wit and informal charm of our financial betters. Rather it is like the political convention of those who manage the global economy. Call it the Party of Davos.
All markets are systems of rules that determine what sort of people are winners and what sort are losers. Politics is largely conflict among the different sorts – or classes – over who gets what. In stable societies, a social contract provides for enough wealth to trickle down to keep the lower orders from rebelling. Thus, in the 1950s, when Dwight Eisenhower’s secretary of defense said that what was good for General Motors was good for America, most Americans – including the United Auto Workers – agreed. Within the boundaries of the US economy, capital and labor needed each other.
But as corporations went global, the mutual dependence weakened. And in the absence of global democracy, their owners and top managers seized the opportunity to set the new rules without social constraints. The first head of the World Trade Organization called these new rules a “constitution for the global economy.” It’s a constitution that protects just one world citizen – the corporate investor. It prohibits effective protections for the workers, consumers and the environment.
In America, as in most places, the party of Davos is bipartisan. It includes Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney, Robert Rubin and Don Rumsfeld, Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice. (George Bush is also a member, but he doesn’t like to travel). John Kerry is quoted as having called himself a “Davos” man.
Indeed, without reference to economic class it is impossible to explain why Democratic elites championed NAFTA, the WTO and the other instruments of corporate protectionism, which traded away the interests of its blue-collar industrial base in favor of the GOP constituencies in Wall Street and red-state agri-business. Nor is it possible to explain why Washington is indifferent to a relentlessly rising trade deficit, and the resulting foreign debt that has put the country’s future in the hands of the central bank of China, while the Pentagon simulates war games with China as the enemy.
The media language we use to talk to each other about globalization hides its class structure. The press consistently talks about national “interest” without defining who exactly is getting what. Thus, American workers are told that the “Chinese” are taking their jobs. But the China threat is in fact another global business partnership – this one between commissars who supply the cheap labor and the United States and other foreign capitalists who supply the technology and two-thirds of the capital used to finance China’s exports. The rest of the world calls this “neo-liberalism,” a term unknown among America’s media “internationalists.”
The politics of the global marketplace are a one- party system. The opposition to Davos is unorganized globally. What might be called the Party of Porto Alegre – the NGOs who meet at the same time in Brazil – is politically marginal. The trade union movement’s effort to organize the workers of the world is at best at a very early stage.
Still, there may be some bad new ahead for Davos. After a quarter of a century, the world is beginning to resist policies that have shifted wealth and power away from people who work for a living to those who invest. Scarcely a day goes by without a major riot somewhere in China, Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia. In South America, anti-neoliberal parties have come to power in Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Argentina – and already have slowed down the effort to extend NAFTA to the rest of the hemisphere. Very close to home, a leftist candidate is leading in the campaign for Mexico’s next president.
But perhaps more important, Davos’ chief champion – the U.S. governing class – is in trouble. The opposition to the War in Iraq has demonstrated the limits of America’s willingness to send its children to die in order to force the world’s cultures into one vast shopping mall. And the looming crisis of America’s foreign debt will cramp the ability of our elites to use the countries’ economic power to support their global corporate backers. The erosion of the American social contract – already being reflected in stagnant wages, financial insecurity and collapsing health care system – could soon force the governing class to pay more attention to Bloomington, Illinois than to Baghdad, Iraq.
Globalization will not go away. Improvements in communications and transportation will continue to make the world smaller for as far into the future as we can see. Nor will economic classes soon disappear. The question is, as always, who sets the rules and in whose interests? So although the parties at Davos may not be over, the rest of the world seems less willing to pay for them.

Jeff Faux, the founder and former president of the Economic Policy Institute, is the author of the new book The Global Class War, a study of the impact of globalization abroad and on U.S. living standards and politics. He is a contributing editor to The American Prospect, and a member of the editorial board of Dissent. His articles and commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, Foreign Affairs en EspaƱol, The Nation, The Columbia Journalism Review, and many other popular and professional publications.

Christopher Lee blasted some of the so-called actors involved in films these days recently:
["Lee laments Hollywood 'stars'"]. However great Lee is, let's be honest: He has been in some clunkers over the years. Gremlins 2, Howling 2, 1941, Meatcleaver Massacre, and a ton of cheesy Dracula movies.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

'08 is lookin' like a lot of fun ...

While the date of the New Hampshire primary and what the DNC plans on doing with it is on every political junkie's mind up here, things seem to be heating up out in the blogosphere. The hilarious Molly Ivins posted this column earlier this week: ["Not. backing. Hillary."]:
"Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges."
Boy, doesn't that say it all? Over at DailyKos, this column was a hot topic, with a slew of posters agreeing with Ivins, a few stating that Ivins voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 so why should anyone listen to her, and a whole bunch more drinking the "I'll vote for any Democrat" Kool-Aid Jim Jones style. Oh, they'll never learn. While she isn't a very powerful pundit, her column is a good wake up call for the Dems. If the Republicans nominate a moderate in 2008 and the Dems some war-monger pain-in-the-ass like Hillary, it could be 2000 all over again.

Down in Massachusetts, there is a bit of trouble for Gov. Mitt "Guy Smiley" Romney ... he's losing his consultant: ["Romney political strategist quits"]. He's breaking ties with Mike Murphy - the star consultant for Sen. John McCain in 2000 and numerous other campaigns. Murphy claims he is going to stay neutral if both Romney and McCain are in the primary:
"The deal is there's no reelect committee to work for, and I've made it clear all along that if there is a presidential primary campaign Mitt Romney and (Senator) John McCain, I'd have to be neutral in it."
Eh, yeah, right. I'll believe that when I see it. It is difficult for these guys to stay out of the fray when they don't have to. He would just have to pick one or the other. Of course, this is assuming that McCain is running and there is no guarantee of that.
As an aside, Murphy will make an interesting chapter in a book I may eventually finish writing some day. I can talk about how he sneaked into the 2002 Democratic convention on a press pass and how I tipped off a press aide for a treasurer's candidate to his presence. He was quickly booted from the auditorium - but not before I got some good information from him. Sorry Mike. I can also talk about his role in getting Romney to run for governor in 2002 after Guy Smiley promised he wouldn't run for governor. And how the town of Belmont used public funds for a Welcome Home i.e. political, rally. Trust me, it will be worth the read when the book gets done. I'm also waiting on a guy I know to do a document dump on Romney. We'll see if he actually ever gets around to doing it.

Then, there is Al Gore, who has truly become his own man: ["'We the People' Must Save Our Constitution"].
"Don't misunderstand me: the threat of additional terror strikes is all too real and their concerted efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction does create a real imperative to exercise the powers of the Executive Branch with swiftness and agility. Moreover, there is in fact an inherent power that is conferred by the Constitution to the President to take unilateral action to protect the nation from a sudden and immediate threat, but it is simply not possible to precisely define in legalistic terms exactly when that power is appropriate and when it is not.
But the existence of that inherent power cannot be used to justify a gross and excessive power grab lasting for years that produces a serious imbalance in the relationship between the executive and the other two branches of government."

Americans who were polled after the speech believe Bush should be impeached: ["Americans Support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping"]. The problem here is that this is the same Al Gore who was a member of the Clinton Adminstration during the passage of the domestic anti-terrorism bill, the precursor to the Patriot Act. This is the same Gore who stood by Bubba when he bombed the Sudan to get Monica and her stained dress off the front page of the papers. The same Gore who didn't speak up when Sandy Berger, Bill Cohen, and Madeline "Not So" Bright were advocating regime change in Iraq on a pathetic college tour where they were summarily blasted and booed by the crowd. Creek, creek, creek ... that was Gore. No outrage at that time - when he was the vice president and had the power to influence policy. Still, I'm intrigued by Gore and what his motives are beyond getting time on C-Span. Maybe he has changed.

Will there be a Nader "factor" in '08? Probably not. Nader was shellacked in 2004 for no other reason than existing. He is aging; half his face is paralyzed; he still owes money from the 2004 race. But Nader may have a last hurrah, especially if this film, "An Unreasonable Man," picks up steam: ["indieWIRE"] and ["Ralph Nader to Attend Sundance Film Festival"]:

"I was so sick of people (mostly whiny Democrats) yelling at me about Ralph without having all the information. When discussing him, I too was conflicted. But most of all I wanted to tell the story of Ralph Nader's entire life and career so at least when people judged him, they would understand more about this American icon."
It is a wonder what would have happened in 2004 had the Democrats spent the millions of dollars they spent keeping Nader off ballots on their own general election campaign. Sure, Kerry probably would have lost anyway because he was - and is - a soulless yuppie. But Kerry didn't lose by that much when you look at the numbers. Sure, he gained New Hampshire; but he lost Iowa and New Mexico, states Gore won. There was also [silly] speculation that Kerry might win Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, and West Virginia, states where he probably was never going to win. But what if Kerry had spent that last $15 million in his bank account in those states? What if the Democrats had spent the $6 million they spent keeping Nader off the ballot in Pennsylvania in neighboring Iowa?

In a sort of political related note, check out this car: ["A 330 mpg car for everyone"]. The only problem with this is that I doubt it will be safe enough to take on the highway. Can you imagine getting front-ended by a Mac truck in that thing? They'll be lucky to find anything left of you!

Friday, January 20, 2006

February 2006 Noise Chart
Reporting stations: WAAF, WBCN, WMBR, WMFO, WTCC, WZBC

1. Aberdeen City – The Freezing Atlantic
2. Hilken Mancini/Chris Colburn – Hilken Mancini/Chris Colburn
3. The Rudds – Get the Femuline Hang On
4. The Hidden – Church & War EP
5. Popgun – Trigger
6. Reverend Glasseye – Our Lady of the Broken Spins
7. The Pixies – Sell Out 2004 Reunion Tour
8. Galaxie 500 – Peel Sessions
9. The Glass Set – The Glass Set
10. Apollo Sunshine – Apollo Sunshine
11. Burning Babylong – Roots Heavy
12. Cracktorch – Tonight the City
13. Cyanide Valentine – Let it Rot
14. The Irreverends – The Irreverends
15. Harris – The Light is Seeping Through the Cracks
16. Don Lennon – Routine
17. Piebald – Killa Bros & Killa Bees
18. The Product – The Makeout Song EP
19. Swinging Steaks – Sunday Best
20. Anushka Pop – Akatthena
21. Rick Berlin – Me and Van Gogh
22. The Blind King – ‘til You’re Gone
23. Chris Brokaw – Incredible Love
24. The Curtain Society – Every Corner of the Room
25. Damn Personals – “Little Armor”
26. Damone – Out Here All Night EP
27. Electric Sugar – Prescription Only
28. Dr. Nancy Mroczek, PhD – Dr. Nancy Mroczek PhD EP
29. The Scissormen – Jinx Breakers EP
30. Scamper w/Kay Hanley – “Barcelona

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Thought for the day
You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

411: An old pal from Winchester forwarded this information to me today:
"Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 or more for 411 informationcalls when they don't have to. (They are plainly and simply greedy.)Here's how to beat them. If you need to use the 411 information option:Dial 1-800-FREE 411 (1-800-373-3411) without incurring a charge at all, except for whatever minutes are required to make the call.It works on home "land line" phone too.This is information people don't mind receiving. Pass it on."

I will have to check it out and see if it works.

Speaking of phones: Did you know that your phone records were for sale? ["Your phone records are for sale"].

New Orleans, Post Katrina: Well, it looks like the powers that be are finally letting folks know how New Orleans will be rebuilt. And, as many suspected, it looks like a land grab - with the working class folks of New Orleans being left out of the big plans: ["N.O. residents angry about rebuilding ideas"]. So, who is this Joseph Canizaro guy anyway? Well, do a Google: ["Mother Jones 400"]:
In 1997, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development chided Canizaro for heading a local housing authority that ignored lower bids and awarded a contract to a board member of First Bank and Trust, where Canizaro happens to be chairman.
Hmm. OK. What else can we find? A lot of stuff about donations to Bush and then, this: ["The city's future may depend on a mogul with Bush's ear"]. Why is it that these folks are always put in charge of "the rebuilding" or "the rezoning" or "the restructuring." How come it is never any regular folks who just want their homes back. Let's see if the Sean Hannitys of the world expose this fraud like they go after Democratic mayors in small towns who are taking property for small economic revitalization projects. And yeah, don't get me wrong, that's bad too.

Oh Ana Marie: Wonkette! has a book out. And another book coming ... with a six figure advance! I'm in the wrong business. But then again, I don't really like to blog by making sexual references and sodomy jokes all the time. And, I don't live in D.C. ... I live in New Hampshire. But now, she has decided not to blog and, in fact, her blog is getting a sex change: ["Wonkette's Sex Change"].
I think I will wait until it ends up in the cut-out bin.

I think I may try this: ["TerraPass"].

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tax, Don't Trade Pollution
Guest Perspective/Roy Morrison

The Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs against the Cinncinati Bengals called their trick play Fake 38 Direct Throwback. My son Sam and I call ours Chicago Lateral 2 Yellow. There's a pitch to the end who throws a lateral across the field to the quarterback who fires to the streaking end. TD.
Sometimes there's a correspondence between your backyard and the bigs, pro football or sandlot, an e-mail across town or to a friend's son serving in Iraq.
Then there are things that just aren't quite right.
A brand new pickup from Public Service Company pulls up to read the meter. If I can send e-mail and data around the world, why can't my electric meter be another smart control node of a 21st century network?
And I drive into Concord on I-89 while a huge plume of sulfurous smoke pours from the Public Service Company coal fired power plant in Bow and a brown mist heads south toward Manchester along the Merrimack River. Why are we told that the coal burned in Bow meets all environmental regulations and is a money-saving bargain as if its toxic mercury and particulate emissions and climate changing carbon dioxide are without costs?
For us to be both prosperous and healthy in the 21st century, we must get the prices right. It's time to let our market system work. It's time for poison power to charge its true costs and not have the rest of us be forced to pay its way.
By taxing polluters from the first gram of toxins and harmful emissions, we would decisively help put sustainable power on a fair and even footing with poison power. The market, not regulators, if we get the prices right, can take care of much of the pollution problem not just at Bow's Merrimack Station, but with sustainability in general.
The current regulatory system that allows a set amount of pollution without charge is fundamentally flawed. To permit "free" pollution is to pollute not only the air and water, but also the marketplace.
Poison is regulated only on the margin. Polluters only pay for exceeding their free poison allowance.
This is the basic problem behind the admirable Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative pollution cap and trade system adopted by Northeast Governors attempting to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that drive global climatic change. The governors are to be applauded for their initiative in the face of Bush administration intransigence.
Slashing carbon dioxide emissions is essential. But the modest RGGI plan, which will most strongly impact coal plants such as Merrimack Station, is already running into trouble. Massachusetts and Rhode Island have pulled out.
Some businesses worry about further increases in electric rates in a year where electric prices have soared after Hurricane Katrina. Public Service Company and other powerful polluters who want to keep operating coal plants as a "bargain" for ratepayers are less than enthusiastic.
Pollution taxes, not the sale of artificial pollution allowances ultimately are the way to solve our problems. Environmentally, if we had State sales taxes on emissions from electricity from the first gram, we would help the market send signals for sustainability. The more polluting the power, the higher the price. Buy cheap. Save the planet.
Economically, the income from the pollution taxes should all be recycled as rebates or efficiency retrofit grants to businesses and to low income people. The tax would help our businesses be competitive, protect the health of our kids, help low-income people to pay their bills, and advance prosperity and sustainability.
Pollution taxes are the way forward.
This is the concept. Next, I'll provide details.

Roy Morrison is an energy consultant and writer. His next book, forthcoming, is Eco-Civilization 2140. His Web site is www.rmaenergy.net.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Tai ... found
Anyone remember "That Guy Tai"? Well, I do. Tai used to be a pretty funny morning drive host on WFNX in Boston and then he decided to take a stab at talk radio. He moved over to WRKO - first doing mornings with the abhorrent Marjorie Clapprood and then later, moved to evenings at WRKO. I appeared on his show a couple of times in 1998 and Tai was pretty good to me and produced a very good show on the air. He later got bumped and moved back to DJing at classic rocker WROR, and later, I lost track of him.
Well, he is back out there, doing a blog for the Boston Herald called TaiRade: ["TaiRade"] and subbing some shows around the area. Interestingly, when I wrote a blog entry about the Herald blogging, I didn't even know that Tai was doing it. He has been blogging for them since August. 2005. You would think that if the Herald was going to bother to put these folks on the site, they would try and give them a bit more of a push. Tai is a celeb in Boston. People probably still remember him. Why not highlight his blog site?

Thursday, January 5, 2006

My 'punk rock' son
I have a son, about 17-months old, and he is the cutest little thing. Yesterday, when I got home from work, I saw the most fascinating thing happen. My wife was listening to the "Retro-Active" Music Choice channel on TV [Music Choice is streaming music service offered by Comcast. It is basically music without the commercials. Retro-Active formats new wave, punk, post-punk and what was once called modern rock, which is what we both grew up listening to]. Just before entering the house, there was my son, doing a baby pogo, to Black Flag's hilarious "T.V. Party"! His baby pogo consisted of him doing slight knee bends and waving his arms around. I just about started crying it was so cool - my son, the 17-month old punk rocker! :-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Hell hath no fury ...
... like a woman scorned: ["How they got caught: After lobbyist broke off engagement, ex-fiancee told of illicit dealings to FBI"].
Guys, let this be a lesson to you all. If you are cheating on girlf or wife, they will find out, so don't do it. Decide early on in the relationship as to whether or you are going to tell her about your crooked dealings or not. Or, just don't do the crooked dealings. Don't ever - ever - dump your attractive and smart "thirty-something" fiancee for some Twinkie manicurist especially when your fiancee knows every sleazy detail about your public life. Don't be such a moron.

Monday, January 2, 2006

Happy New Year
Here's hoping you all have a very Happy New Year. It looks like 2006 is going to be a good one. There are a few things you may have missed of late.

Predictions: This link was posted on DailyKos earlier today: ["Informed Comment"]. If you think about the petroleum profits for a moment, that is quite a bit of money. Not only that, when you think about the $230 Billion spent on the Iraqi invasion, the nation could almost retrofit every building in the country to be more energy efficient with that money. There have also been some news stories floating around the foreign press that the United States is preparing to launch a military strike against Iran: ["US planning strike against Iran"]. Why, I ask, why?

Oddsmakers: What is it about oddsmakers. How do they figure things out? Is it just a hunch or do they have crystal balls? Trade Sport Traders has posted some of the odds for the Democratic nomination in 2008: ["2008DEM.NOM"]. Hillary Clinton is at 2.25 to 1 odds, the favorite. Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is 4.9 to 1 odds, or a close second. It goes pretty long from there. Former VP Al Gore is getting 20.4 to 1 odds. John Edwards is getting 21.7 to 1 odds. My personal fave at this point, Sen. Russ Feingold, is getting 23.3 to 1 odds for the nomination, ahead of whole lotta other folks who should be getting better odds, like Sen. Evan Bayh and Gov. Bill Richardson.

Spying: I'm glad the whole spying story seems to have legs. It has been fascinating to watch. I guess President Bush and VP Cheney are lucky that the Congress is out of session or else there would be hearings pretty fast, don'tcha think? Even Republican Sen. Richard Lugar believes there should be hearings into what Bush authorized and why: ["Lugar Supports Investigation Of Bush's Spying Program"]. The ACLU is calling for hearings too: ["No President Is Above the Law "]. Then, there is this story about the military shutting down the blogs of troops overseas: ["U.S. military 'shuts down' soldiers' blogs"]. And, what are they fighting for again? How do cave-dwellers manage to get laptops and Internet service - in the middle of nowhere - to look at these blogs? That's ridiculous.

Long-awaited: Worcester's The Curtain Society finally has a new CD out: ["Society raises the curtains on the long-awaited album"]. It's only been like what, nine years or something? And you can't really count the "Volume Tone Tempo" EP. The four songs from that EP are included on "Every Corner of the Room." I ordered a copy of the CD so I'll let you know how it sounds. If it is as good as the EP, it should be a winner.

Monica: I was pretty surprised to see this column on CommonDreams.org forwarded from the National Catholic Reporter: ["Monica, We Need You Now"]. Another Web site, CommonTimes.org has some interesting links too, which are posted by readers. Here is a little story about their success: ["Bush Protest Poster Puts CommonTimes on the Internet Map"].

Celebrity worship: I'm beginning to wonder if maybe those people who allow the process of celebrity worship could be considered terrorists. If they lead to the destruction of the nation, wouldn't they be considered terrorists? I was flipping by one of the stations and saw Britney Spears and her husband on a beach, hanging out. All of a sudden, there was one cameraman, then another, then yet another. Before you knew it, there were 12 guys surrounding them with movie cameras and the couple decided to try and leave. But they couldn't - because they were surrounded by these people with cameras! If that wasn't terror, I don't know what is. And why is it this way? Maybe the lowest common denom: ["2005: Boob tube at its worst"].