Saturday, December 1, 2007

Energy plan pushes automakers on mpg

Everybody knows about the soaring oil prices and problem with global warming. To help deal with this, Congress passed a bill to raise mile-per-gallon standards. Auto industries had already been planning to do this (such as they did for the Prius), however this bill will compel them to make more fuel-efficient vehicles on a faster timeline. "The auto industry's fleet of new cars, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans will have to average 35 mpg by 2020, according to the agreement that congressional negotiators announced late Friday...It would be first increase ordered by Congress in three decades." ( Sen. Diane Feinstein said, "It is a major milestone and the first concrete legislation to address global warming." Unfortunately, the article holds that this bill "may face problems over requirements for nonpublic electric utilities to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable energy sources such as wind or solar."

I hope this bill (or perhaps a compromise of it) works. Everybody knows that things really need to get done to solve the oil and gas-emission problems, but not much progress has been made. This bill shows that people are starting to get serious about getting things done, instead of mostly talking about getting things done. Maybe we'll see some nice debates about this coming up in the primary debates, huh?

I'd also like to note something extra about this article. "Rick Wagoner, General Motors Corp.'s chairman and chief executive, said the new rules [in the bill] would 'pose a significant technical and economic challenge to the industry.' He said GM would tackle the changes 'with an array of engineering, research and development resources.'"
The article makes GM sound really supporting and into all this, however I encourage people to check out a 2006 documentary film titled "Who Killed the Electric Car?" General Moters had a line of battery electric vehicles (which they called EV-1's) in the 1990's. The film accounts that GM wrongly felt that there was no demand for their product and so took back every EV-1 and disposed of them. The films also explores a couple of other reasons for the destruction of EV-1's, such as: both the oil and auto industries were unhappy with this line because they were afraid of losing money. Again, I encourage people to watch the documentary or even just look it up online. For a small link to get you going, someone else posted a small blog entry about it here: Check it out.

More on Hostage Situation

New information has been released about the hostage situatio and I just wanted to clarify what i wrote earlier. It turns out that Eisenberg didn't have a bomb, but a bunch of road flares. Also, police discovered that he had been raped in the past by a priest, and then tried to commit suicide, which is why he was in a psychiatric facility. So, it seems like the whole situation was an overreaction to one man's cry for help.

Clinton, however, got some publicity from the situation, and even met with the hostages.

Don't ask don't tell

Yesterday marked the 14th anniversary of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The act passed under the Clinton administration requires any homosexual or bisexual person enrolled in the United States armed forces to keep their sexual orientation a secret. It also prohibits commanders from investigate their sexuality. If any members revel their sexuality they would be automatically discharged.
Military veterans and activists protested the act, arguing that the act forces citizens to lie, and discriminates against gays. The Human Rights Campaign estimates the policy is responsible for the discharge of 12,000 men and women in the military. This topic was brought up in the recent GOP CNN/ youtube debate. What do you think about this policy?
For more information go to

I agree with Bryan J. Scrafford's response ( that gays should be able to openly serve in the military without fear of discriminate or discharge. After all, with the Iraq war still in process, we're going to need all the able bodied we can find.

Huge beer heist

Someone stole 450 kegs from a Guinness Brewery on Thursday. The total cost of the stolen goods is calculated to be over €160,000 (US$235,000). For more information go to

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bald Eagles, the American Symbol

As you may or may not know, the blad eagle, the emblem of the United States, is no longer an endangered species. On June 28, 2007 the Interior Department took the American bald eagle off the endangered species list, however the eagle will still be protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act because they are still "threatened." The eagles have been in danger of extinction since the mid 1960s, mainly due to DDT's (a pesticide that is now banned) and overly aggressive hunting. For example, over 100,000 bald eagles were killed in Alaska from 1917 to 1953 because Alaskan salmon fisherman feared they were a threat to the salmon population. (

"Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we now have over 200 breeding pairs, and nationally we have nearly 10,000. This is up from the frighteningly small total number of fewer than 35 pairs America had in the 1970s, but is still only half the historical high of 400 pairs California had before the problems affected them. " ( Actually, most of the eagles for CA were bred at the SF zoo. One of my friends' father works there, and he said that the program was shut down there because it did so well it accomplished its goal. That puts a negative spin on it, but it did serve its purpose.

I decided to put this on the blog because of what the bald eagle represents to America and because many people do not know these things (myself included). We have eagles on the backs of our gold coins, the silver dollar, the half dollar and the quarter, and even on the Great Seal of the United States. I found an amazing site at which all of you should check out. It is really interesting and funny, and I learned a lot of things. For example, did you know how the bald eagle became the national symbol? Maude M. Grant said, " one of the first battles of the Revolution (which occurred early in the morning) the noise of the struggle awoke the sleeping eagles on the heights and they flew from their nests and circled about over the heads of the fighting men, all the while giving vent to their raucous cries. 'They are shrieking for Freedom,' said the patriots."

The website also says that Benjamin Franklin wished that the turkey, and not the bald eagle, had been chosen as the representative of our country because the eagle "is a bird of bad moral character, he does not get his living honestly..." (basically he steals fish that other birds hunted) and is not suited for the "brave and honest" America. I find this very ironic because today America seems to fit Franklin's description of an eagle extremely well (substitute fish for oil, for example).

Unicef to the Rescue

Cholera, picked up from contaminated water, is claiming innocent lives in a Baghdad orphanage due to a bad sewage system. So far there have been 24 deaths across the nation, but they are scared of an outbreak. Cholera can kill in a few hours if it is left untreated. Luckily, Unicef is doing all that it can to help clean the water. They are trying to get the Iraq government to clean the water storage tanks and providing tablets to cleanse the water.

I think we're pretty lucky to live in a place which demands the water be clean, and our health be protected. With these poor children in such a bad environment, it seems like everything we complain about is pretty pointless. Next time unicef is selling those candy bars, maybe we should all pick up a few with some extra tip.

Hostages held at the Clinton Office

Lee Eisenberg walked into Hillary Clinton's campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire with a bomb strapped to his chest and took members of Clinton's campaign staff hostage. He called CNN officials multiple times, speaking about a need for better health care coverage for average people who can't afford it.

Eventually he gave in, having made no threats and ending the hostage situation. It seems pretty trivial, but it reminds me of those small rebellions that we learned about in US history. I think it was Shay's rebellion in which the rebellion wasn't that large but it represented the desires of the people. Is he representing others like him who want better health care coverage?

Or, another possibility was taht he wasn't coherent becuase the article did say "He said he'd been to a local psychiatric hospital," although it didn't specify if he was a patient.

Either way, this is antoher wake up call about security and safety in our modern world.

Here are some articles about this story:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Layoffs in the Pentagon

President Bush plans to layoff workers in the Pentagon if he doesn't receive the funding he has requested for the war. He is demanding $196 billion extra funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush argues that this is hurting our chances of saving more American lives, while the democrats argue he should be supporting a plan to pull out the troops.

It seems to me this is an unfair and undemocratic way to accomplish his goals. He should not be threatening us to get what he wants, it should be supported by all with government power. Also, his plan so far hasn't been working, and I don't see how more money is going to help him succeed. If you want to read the full story, you can check it out here.

GOP youtube debate political cartoon

Donations from the graveyard

Top donations from deceased individuals

Below is the list of the top 30 recipients of political donations from individuals listed as deceased in federal campaign-finance records between 1999 and 2007.

Democratic National Committee
Republican National Committee
National Committee for an effective Congress
LaRouche in 2004
Green Party of the United States
Oklahoma Leadership Council
Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund
California Democratic Council
Colorado Democratic Party
Council For A Livable World
Democratic State Committee Delaware
North Carolina Republican Executive Committee
Women's Campaign Fund
Feinstein For Senate
John Kerry For President, Inc.
Lincoln Chafee U.S. Senate
Nita Lowey For Congress
Stenholm For Congress Committee
Lydon LaRouche Political Action Committee
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee, Inc.
Bob Filner For Congress
Chambliss For Congress
Sailors' Political Fund (FKA) Sailors' Union Of The Pacific Political Fund
Stevens For Congress
Sue Kelly For Congress
Texas Bankers Association-Bankers Political Action Committee
Friends Of John Barrow
Libertarian National Committee
Family-PAC Federal
People For English
Source: USA TODAY analysis of data compiled by the non-partisan CQ MoneyLine.

It hadn't even occured to me that people would be donating money in thier wills to thier favorite political organization. According to CQ MoneyLine's data, deceased gave almost $ 96,000 in federal donations between January 1 and September 30. I just thought this was an interesting way to contribute. Currently, donations from the dead are acceptable as long as they follow the legal limits and thier intentions are clear. Although donations from the deceased are minuature compared to the overall donations major parties, such as the Democratic and Republican Parties, receive, there is a possibility that this trend could grow larger and be exploited.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Republican Debate

The Republican debate took place today. During the debate, Romney and Giuliani got into an intense clash about immigration. Giulani was accused of protecting immigrants in a "sanctuary city" when he was mayor of New York City. Giuliani defended himself by stating that he did his best to enforce immigration laws. He also accused Romney of having many "sanctuary cities" and a "sanctuary mansion" when he was governor of Massachusetts. Romney replied that he can't confront any person with a "funny accent" to check his citizenship.

All of the candidates were concentrated on attacking each other, which I think really puts them under pressure and helps voters decide which candidate is the best. If you didn't get to see the debate, you should check it out here and decide which candidate you support.

Annapolis Conference political cartoons

This reminded me of Noelle's comment on Carter's attempts for peace in the Mideast. I thought this cartoon was very appropriate in showing how many of our past presidents have tried to reach this unsuccessfully to reach this huge goal.

I was looking around and I found this blog It just posted a ton of political cartoons regarding the Annapolis Conference and how the promise of peace just dosen't seem realistic at all. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Venezuelan Referendum

In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez hopes to be reelected at the upcoming referendum. If he wins this referendum, he will be allowed to rule for as long as he likes, if he can win the elections, and will be granted dictatorial powers. He will also have the power to cease oil production, giving the United States a major problem since we receive some oil from them.

CHavez wants to turn the state into a socialist state, much like Cuba. Because he is anti-U.S., it he would like to prove that capitalism does not work. And he has gained support. Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua already support him.

I think that we need to be careful with him before he gets out of hand. It may seem overly cautious, but considering past incidences with leaders gaining power, I think it is reasonable to be careful of possible dictators. What do you think? If he wins will we have a major problem on our hands?

If you want to find out more information, try this article or this opinion article.

peace in the middle east?

Today in a national conference in Annapolis, Israeli and Palestinian leaders resolved to restart peace talks. President Bush also pledged to help the two nations achieve peace. Bush read from a pre approved text on the behalf of the two leaders which gave a vague out line for future plans of peace. However, this goal is already threaten with the thousands of Hamas supporters protesting against the Annapolis Conference. For more information go to;_ylt=AmcH2sMJc4rnVLkgmLL7ENcUewgF .

Personally, it seems so depressing to see such anti-American rallies on the eve of a supposedly historic moment of peace negotiations. Even if Bush hopes to "devote himself to ending the six-decade conflict in the 14 months he has left in office", he barely even has the support of the American public. How can he muster up enough international respect to truly help these two nations gain peace?

Monday, November 26, 2007

A blushing bride in disguise

I thought this was pretty funny. Apparently a group of terrorists tried to drive into Baghdad disguised as a wedding convoy. One of the terrorist was even dressed in a dress and veil to play the part of the blushing bride. You can find the full article at Perhaps the terrorists thought that the guards at the checkpoint would have been more lenient when they saw a newlywed car passing by, or maybe they thought that they would have been given more privacy due to nature of such a sacred union, but to me this seems like such a ridiculous plan. The good news is we managed to catch the insurgents before they reached their destination and managed to carry out any more acts of terror.

Are you getting enough milk?

Rickets, a disease where bones become soft, has been appearing more and more. The reason is children now are not getting enough calcium in their diet as in the past. Lack of calcium, a lack of exercise, and a lack of sunshine has endangered adolescents of possibly getting osteoporosis later in life and has caused the increase in rickets.

Children now are busy staying inside, on their computers and not outside in the sunshine where they can be getting vitamin D to help them absorb calcium. In addition, they need to be drinking more milk and exercising so that they can increase their bone density. For example, the dominant arm of a tennis player has 35% more bone than the other arm. Clearly, exercise is an important factor.

So be sure to get some calcium in your diet, lots of exercise, and a little sunshine.