Archive for June, 2010

Another first – not from the United States. Julia Gillard was voted in as the first woman  Prime Minister of Australia today. She stood unopposed after Kevin Rudd was dumped.

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In time for the Anniversary of Title IX, The National Women’s Law Center has put out a new Guide entitled: “It’s Your Education: How Title IX Protections Can Help You”. It’s going to be on my reading list for this week. What we don’t know is what can hurt us.

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Want to reform the Democratic Texas Two Step? changethecaucus.org has announced a meeting for 9-11 AM Friday, June 25, 2010, at the State Convention in Room 225 D-E, American Bank Center.

Check HERE for the full notice.

Several precincts have be able to get resolutions passed in their March conventions proposing changes to the rules, which in turn then made it through then the process approval at senatorial district, or county conventions.   They are to be considered next by the Rules Committee at the State Convention.

Change the Caucus Org needs volunteers to collect signatures on a petition, to persuade folks to get the party rules changed.

They are also looking for folks to run for election to the Rules Committee who are interested in changing the Party Rules.

If you have questions or you can help collect signatures on Friday or Saturday, please contact Scott Cobb by email at scottcobb99@gmail.com. You can also call Scott at 512 552 4743 or Linda Burgess at 512 529 7235.

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Tiny newborn kittens.

Feed them every two hours, and

wipe their tiny bottoms,

rub their tiny backs.

Diarrhea and claws and  urgent demands.


The world’s irresponsibility, and


begets a penitent’s ritual.

As they sleep,

attuned to the possibilities,

I write of the world’s catastrophes, and


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Bradford Plummer has an interesting blog today over at TNR. He notes that our reaction to the oils spill terrifies him. Well, I’m terrified too.

I do understand the urgent need to reimburse losses for humans and companies who have been affected by this spill. In that respect the Government’s agreement with BP to supply $20 billion to the escrow fund is a start. Yet here we sit, 56 days into the spill, watching in agony, a spectacle of Harvard lawyers, engaged in a dance of legalese over exactly what, why, who, when and how anything should be actually done.

Our Chief of State has become an ambulance chaser.

Perhaps because we did so much to promulgate it, we are not acknowledging what it is, an intended culpable chemical attack on our country, and possibly several others. That is the nature of “risk”.

As local jurisdictions attempt their own rescues and the Coast Guard flails about, groups from locations like ours, from the Solano County’s International Bird Rescue Research Center, have gone to help. (See their page HERE on who else is involved and how you can help.)

Too, the President has announced the last appointees of the “National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling”. It includes several well-regarded souls known in the environmental movement.

However, I’m terrified that our government will not learn the lesson of opportunity in crisis. This is the opportunity to be the world leaders we can be, and end deep water drilling TODAY. Put a permanent cap on imported oils to our current recession reduced use and incorporate a schedule for permanent yearly reduction. Take some of the BP money and use it to retrain oil workers who would have, in the next twenty years, lost their jobs to obsolescence.

Most of all, I’m terrified that we will again undervalue and ignore the true loss of our natural resources. Left brained legal thinking presumes that a list of items damaged is a true quantifier of all that is lost. Yet no matter how extensive the list, it will not be inclusive. In political terms, two years more of presidential place holding will be a long time. In terms of compilation of damages to the Gulf, a two-year evaluation will be a flyspeck.

The current problem is conflict of interest. Despite his global warming pontifications, President Obama is not first an environmentalist. (One wonders how Teddy Roosevelt would have handled this mess.) He is a lawyer, a manager of assets and people-especially as they relate to energy and big business. As such, he needs to be convinced of his course, before he will take it.

In the mean time, as the Presidential ponderings continue, I see no evidence in the news that the BP spill would have failed to happen under a Republican President. I see plenty to suggest Republican culpability and general ennui from the previous terms.  Will the USA demand retribution for the loss of natural resources? Will we sue the government as co-conspirators on the attack of the peoples’ properties and natural resources? Will we provide the Brown Pelicans’ and their cohorts counsel?

Does anyone really envision that in two years the Democrats would replace the current bench sitter with another candidate? Do we seriously want another Republican right now? While these are head-splitting thoughts, they are political questions that are really irrelevant to the fundamental problem.  What is needed is to speak for the environment first, let our natural resource live in it’s most natural and originally native way. Then, develop a truly green energy policy from that, rather then the other way around. This mess underscores the need to make our voices known now. Our environment was ruthlessly and greedily attacked. If we don’t speak for the environment today, while we are angry, a short two years from now we will look back in shame.

Stop the Drilling!! We don’t need it. Make the Deep Water Moratorium Permanent!!

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BP Pledges $20 billion to Escrow fund:

[DEAL REACHED: BP has agreed to finance a $20 billion escrow fund to pay claims to people who lost income in the Gulf Coast oil spill, an administration source tells POLITICO. Kenneth Feinberg, who was in charge of payments to families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, will oversee the fund.]


I note that this agreement appears to be only for lost income claims. There is NOTHING in this agreement on the attack to the environment.

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On my way over to the WH to download this evening’s Presidential address re: the Gulf oil spill, I noticed that Dandelion already had. So, here is that blog’s  transcript link with just about the same two word comment I would make were I able to be that polite right now:


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We had a simply smashing day last week – one that I am still trying to digest. It started late, around 11:00 PM, when I, while half asleep at the blinking TV set, startled to the sound of grinding, tearing, screeching metal, and the rain of broken glass outside my front door. Then came the hurried cacophony of panicked voices.

I raced to open my door just in time to see the backside of some man sprinting off down the street, while a woman coolly opened the trunk of a car, and took out a backpack. As I yelled for them to stay there, she loped off after the first man.  A second man was at the driver’s side of the same car.

Several things happened pretty rapidly.  I woke my husband, and told him to grab his camera.  I called the police and three squad cars arrived, the first, while I was on the phone. Shortly after that a fire truck and ambulance arrived. Amazingly, though he was probably not the driver, the second man did stay at the scene, eventually to be handcuffed, then sent in the ambulance for observation, and though not his, did provide insurance to the police.  Considering the vehicular carnage that had been committed, it was even more amazing that no one was hurt.

We live in the middle of a suburban block. Yet somehow, after turning onto our street, the driver had managed to, in the distance of approximately 75 feet, gather enough acceleration to:

submarine his car into and under my husband’s company owned, parked, half ton Chevy truck and demolish his 1995 Acura Integra right up to the windshield;

break his windshield, as no airbags deployed;

destroy the bumper, one panel on the bed, one taillight, at least one shock and attachment of the truck, push the truck bed into the cab and possibly tweak the chassis, (we will know more after it gets towed to the garage for an estimate.)

push the aforementioned truck into our parked 1998 Eagle Talon, thereby destroying the truck’s front bumper, grill and a headlight;

decimate the back end and side panel of our Talon;

push the front end of the Talon into our parked Tioga RV smashing the Talon bumper;

push the RV trailer hitch through the same bumper of the Talon (we haven’t pulled them apart yet, so we don’t know what horrors might be inside.), and;

dent the RV bumper, (possibly tweaking the hitch and attachment.)

In sum, one drunk totaled two and possibly three vehicles, including his/her own and damaged another.  Based on the skid marks we saw the next day, it appeared as though the driver had actually aimed for and hit the curb, just before hitting the truck. Absent the parked vehicles, the driver would have hit a 50-year-old street tree, with probable worse personal consequences.

It turns out that the Acura did have valid insurance. So, now we are working our way through three different insurance companies, claims, assessments, and soon, estimates. Probably the Talon is totaled. Though we had kept it maintained and just put in a new timing belt and installed new tires, it is a twelve-year-old car. The 2007 company truck might be totaled, depending on whether they find chassis damage.

It looks as though the RV might be my errand vehicle for a while- not the greenest, or most gas efficient way to grocery shop. My husband found that all the fleet vehicles but his were insured for rental car coverage. It took some argument to get his company to give him another fleet vehicle. Since a fleet car is promised as part of his benefit, he wasn’t about to rent a car on his own.

I find myself bemused over my response to this turn of events.  I am sad, but removed over the loss of the Talon. It was a nice vintage car with relatively low mileage, and I was thinking of giving it to my granddaughter for her graduation next year. The policewoman at the scene commented over how calm my husband and I were.  I too think I ought to be angry, especially in light of the alcohol involved, and yet I find I am not.

Instead, I am grateful that the police came, that there was insurance, that no one was hurt. I am also grateful that California mandates valid insurance as part of their vehicle registration process. I think the State’s mandate increased the likelihood that this accident would be insured, even if it turns out not to cover everything.

A smash up like this is a financial injury. An accident like this steals time in coordination and calls, etc. I suspect something is wrong when I treat this accident just another event in the day, and when I am grateful that some things, like insurance processes, appear to be working, rather than expecting that they will. It’s a blasé response, an implied personal acceptance of less.

Our little trouble is a grain of sand compared to the death and destruction happening in the Gulf right now. I am daily easily enraged and saddened by floating acres of poison in the water.  I wonder though, if in becoming desensitized to those little troubles, I don’t participate in a different lowering of the bar.  Maybe I ought to actually do something, like get all my neighbors, who came out to see the mangled metal that night, involved in petitioning for a road bump. Or two.

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