Speech on Environment

 Posted by at 23:12  Election 2004
Jul 312003
 

Dean calls for stronger environmental protection in S.F. speech

SAN FRANCISCO, July 31 — Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean on Thursday unveiled an environmental plan that would increase use of renewable resources, push automakers to improve fuel efficiency and strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency.

Two days after presenting his economic plan in Iowa, the former Vermont governor delivered the first major environmental address of his campaign and criticized President Bush’s record during a speech in San Francisco.

“We can take America back from those who care more about returning a favor to a friend than about creating a sensible environmental and energy policy,” Dean told an audience of about 400 supporters and environmental activists. He denounced Bush Administration programs such as the “Clear Skies” and “Healthy Forests” initiatives as “Orwellian doublespeak.”

Under Dean’s plan, 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply would have to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2020. He would create incentives to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles, design more energy-efficient SUV’s and increase use of ethanol, a renewable fuel produced from agricultural waste.

“Conservation, principally through efficiency improvements, has to be a centerpiece of our national energy policy,” Dean said.

But in a proposal certain to upset automakers in key electoral states such as Michigan, Dean suggested requiring automakers to establish a fuel efficiency standard of 40 miles per gallon by 2015. The current requirement is 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 20.7 for trucks.

During his nearly 12 years as governor, Dean had a sometimes strained relationship with environmental leaders because he frequently sided with the business community in development disputes.

In his speech, Dean said he would elevate the Environmental Protection Agency to Cabinet level, tighten controls on air pollution and provide more funding for enforcement of environmental laws.

“We’ll ensure that the agencies created to oversee our precious environmental and natural resources aren’t co-opted by the very forces they’re supposed to be guarding against,” Dean said.

Dean called for “livable communities” by strengthening downtowns while protecting wild and open spaces. As governor of Vermont, he signed a law that targeted incentives and a variety of grants to developments that were established in the state’s downtowns and village centers.

Dean said would insist that the United States participate in international environmental agreements, such as the Kyoto global warming treaty. He said environmental standards should become a key element of the country’s foreign trade agreements.

“The United States must lead the world in addressing the serious long-term challenges facing the planet,” Dean said.

Environmental activists who listened to the speech were encouraged by Dean’s views on key environmental issues.

“We’re thrilled the governor came out strong on the environment,” said Larry Fahn, president of the Sierra Club, which is still deciding which candidate to endorse. “We’re thrilled that all the candidates are starting to realize that the Bush Administration is vulnerable on this issue.”

“He gets the environmental issues most important to me as a mother and a Californian,” said Betsy Rosenberg, co-founder of San Francisco-based Don’t Be Fueled, which advocates for cleaner and safer vehicles. “I think Howard Dean really walks the eco-talk. I think he really gets it.”

The full text of Governor Dean’s speech can be found here.

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Beyond the headlines

 Posted by at 16:43  Lifestyle
Jul 312003
 

Let’s face it, most people get their news and form their opinions from reading the headlines. That’s why, when this headline appeared — “First public gay high school to open in NYC” — you started hearing and reading things like “There’s those homos again, demanding special treatment” and “They say want equal rights, but what they really want is special rights.”

Sometimes, you have to make time to get beyond the headline.

“The Harvey Milk High School will enroll about 100 students and open in a newly renovated building in the fall. It is named after San Francisco’s first openly gay city supervisor, who was assassinated in 1978.”

I can flat out guarantee you that there are a lot more than 100 gay students in New York City’s public school system. So why are only 100 kids going to be attending classes at Harvey Milk?

“I think everybody feels that it’s a good idea because some of the kids who are gays and lesbians have been constantly harassed and beaten in other schools,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday. “It lets them get an education without having to worry.”

The kids who will be attending classes at Harvey Milk are the kids who, without this opportunity, would probably have not completed high school. They are the kids who were bullied, harassed and beaten in their former schools. These kids deserve a chance at an education in an environment where they are not constantly in fear for their safety. Unfortunately, our public schools do not have the funds or personnel (and in some cases, the desire) to provide that environment.

One third of all teen suicides are gay kids. Given that gay people comprise 10% (a liberal estimate) of the population, that’s a fairly disproportionate ratio.

So when people say things like this — “Is there a different way to teach homosexuals? Is there gay math? This is wrong,” Long said. “There’s no reason these children should be treated separately.” — they really need to take a few minutes and read beyond the headlines.

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All Hat, No Cattle

 Posted by at 08:50  Election 2004
Jul 312003
 

“As they say in Texas, the President is all hat and no cattle.”

Howard Dean used that line in his speech yesterday before the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union in Des Moines, IA.

I’ve lived in Texas now going on 30 years, and I have never heard that line before. Guess maybe I need to get out more! Great line, though, and it couldn’t be more fitting.

In his speech, Governor Dean laid out his vision for economic growth and job creation. The full text of the speech can be found here.

Today, Governor Dean is in San Francisco, where he will give a speech outlining his plan for the environment. I posted a preview of that speech in one of yesterday’s entries.

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Cool Canada

 Posted by at 07:07  Lifestyle
Jul 312003
 

It’s not just the weather that’s cooler in Canada

by Samantha Bennett

You live next door to a clean-cut, quiet guy. He never plays loud music or throws raucous parties. He doesn’t gossip over the fence, just smiles politely and offers you some tomatoes. His lawn is cared-for, his house is neat as a pin and you get the feeling he doesn’t always lock his front door. He wears Dockers. You hardly know he’s there.

And then one day you discover that he has pot in his basement, spends his weekends at peace marches and that guy you’ve seen mowing the yard is his spouse.

Allow me to introduce Canada.

The Canadians are so quiet that you may have forgotten they’re up there, but they’ve been busy doing some surprising things. It’s like discovering that the mice you are dimly aware of in your attic have been building an espresso machine.

(Click on the headline to read the rest of the article.)

Know what else is cool about Canada? No George Bush. No Tom DeLay. No Rush Limbaugh. No Michael Savage. Shall I go on?

Surely Americans will not be stupid enough to elect George Bush next year, but in the unlikely event that they are, Canada will experience a sudden surge in immigration.

I hope they’re ready for us!

There are no WMD

 Posted by at 04:41  Politics
Jul 312003
 

Scientists Still Deny Iraqi Arms Programs

Despite vigorous efforts, the U.S. government has been unsuccessful so far in finding key senior Iraqi scientists to support its prewar claims that former president Saddam Hussein was pursuing an aggressive program to develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, according to senior administration officials and members of Congress who have been briefed recently on the subject.

The sources said four senior scientists and more than a dozen at lower levels who worked for the Iraqi government have been interviewed by U.S. officials under the direction of the CIA. Some scientists have been arrested and held for months, others have made deals in return for information and at least one has agreed to be interviewed outside Iraq.

No matter the circumstances, all of the scientists interviewed have denied that Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program or developed and hidden chemical or biological weapons since United Nations inspectors left in 1998. Several key Iraqi officials questioned the significance of evidence cited by the Bush administration to suggest that Hussein was stepping up efforts to develop new weapons of mass destruction programs.

There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Yet Mr. Bush is still determined that he will find some…

Bush indicated yesterday that he still expects evidence of weapons of mass destruction to surface in Iraq. He said Kay described a complex process that includes the need to “analyze the mounds of evidence, literally the miles of documents that we have uncovered.”

“It’s going to take awhile, and I’m confident the truth will come out,” Bush said.

Why? Because he knows that when he admits the truth, he is also going to have to admit that he caused the deaths of hundreds of America’s young men and women and thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians for a lie. He knows that he is going to have to live with that for the rest of his life, and he also knows that it will be the end of his presidency.

Mr. Bush is not the most intelligent man in the world, but even he is going to have to acknowledge the truth eventually.

Be sure to click on the headline and read the entire article. I am amazed at how we are treating the former Iraqi officials who have come forward to help us find the truth. My country just is not supposed to do things like that.

This is no longer the country in which I grew up. This is no longer the country I was taught to love. I hope it’s not too late to get my country back.

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All true

 Posted by at 01:42  Politics
Jul 312003
 

The Kingness of Mad George

The Founding Fathers wanted this democracy to last forever because they understood that mere empires come and go.

To that end, they established an intricate system of historic checks and balances to make sure the sort of tyranny they’d just fought to defeat never rose up again. They gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to guarantee our freedoms.

Americans would never have a king, but instead a popularly elected President, and they’d always be free to openly express their opinions, especially about the government and its policies. The people would be the master of their own rulers. It was a unique experiment in liberty which evolved and endured for more than two centuries, until one day in November 2000.

The Founding Fathers never figured on the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush, and his court-appointed “Government of the neo-cons, by the neo-cons, and for the neo-cons.” A self-righteous minority of ruthless profiteering ideological extremists was never supposed to dominate all three independent branches of the American Democracy. It’s in your old high school civics book. Look it up.

(snip)

Let’s face it. It’s becoming very clear that Dick Cheney and his ilk are really running the show. To be charitable, Mr. Bush, were he the son of anyone other than George Herbert Walker Bush of Midland, Texas, who got him a legacy admission to Yale, would be lucky to rise to middle management at Wal-Mart.

As more of the blood of our brave, believing, faithful kids irrigates the fields of Babylon, a lot of folks are starting to ask some very untidy questions. We’ve sent our best young people to fight and die for oil in Iraq, while many of their young families at home subsisted on food stamps, and got screwed out of a child income tax credit that Mr. Bush gladly gave other Americans.

We now have the best Government corporate money can buy, and that’s the problem. The people behind Enron and WorldCom and Halliburton are encamped along the Potomac and fully in charge. It’s good the folks who fought for and set up this country are all dead. An hour watching America today as reported by Fox News would kill them anyhow.

If any of this bothers you, the solution is available 66 weeks from now. Get organized. The people who don’t care and never bother to vote must be motivated to go to the polls. If we give the neo-cons four more years, the Canadians will have to fortify the border to keep all of the impoverished refugees out.

This is no longer about liberal or conservative, or party, or ideology. If the American people want a country to come home to, they’d better take it back for themselves.

You know it’s all true. Click on the headline to read the full article. The little bit I’ve quoted above is just a preview.

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Dean on Environment

 Posted by at 18:23  Election 2004
Jul 302003
 

Democratic candidate offers environmental plan

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is proposing an environmental policy that would push automakers to improve fuel efficiency standards and require that part of the nation’s electricity supply come from renewable sources.

One day after presenting his economic plan in Iowa, the former Vermont governor planned to lay out his 100-year vision for the environment and criticize President Bush’s record in a speech Thursday in San Francisco. The Associated Press obtained excerpts and the broad outlines.

“We have a president who seems to regard public resources as gifts to be handed out to special interests,” Dean said in prepared remarks.

Under Dean’s plan, 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply would have to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2020. He also would elevate the Environmental Protection Administration to Cabinet level and would insist that the United States participate in international environmental agreements, such as the Kyoto global warming treaty.

But in a proposal certain to upset automakers in key electoral states such as Michigan, Dean suggested requiring automakers to establish a fuel efficiency standard of 40 miles per gallon by 2015. The current requirement is 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 20.7 for trucks.

During his nearly 12 years as governor, Dean had a sometimes strained relationship with environmental leaders because he frequently sided with the business community in development disputes.

In his speech, Dean called for livable communities, something he pushed while Vermont governor. He signed a law that targeted incentives and a variety of grants to developments that were established in the state’s downtowns and village centers.

“Doing so will help protect our wild and open spaces and will help reduce energy consumption,” Dean said.

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Confession

 Posted by at 16:54  Politics
Jul 302003
 

On foreign affairs, the president for the first time accepted full responsibility for his now discredited claim in January’s State of the Union speech that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.

“I take personal responsibility for everything I say, of course. Absolutely,” he said. (link)

He finally confessed. Let the trial begin!

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Bush Against Civil Rights

 Posted by at 16:38  Lifestyle
Jul 302003
 

Bush wants marriage reserved for heterosexuals

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush indicated Wednesday he opposes extending marriage rights to homosexuals, saying he believes marriage “is between a man and a woman.”

Bush said it is “important for society to welcome each individual,” but administration lawyers are looking for some way to legally limit marriage to heterosexuals.

“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or another,” Bush told reporters at a White House news conference. “And we’ve got lawyers looking at the best way to do that.”

Earlier this month, Bush said a constitutional amendment to block gay marriages might not be necessary, although the proposal has the support of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee.

The question of gay marriage has moved to the foreground of American politics after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that struck down state laws banning sodomy. Canada courts also have recently recognized gay marriages. In addition, the Massachusetts high court is expected to issue a ruling soon on whether the state can allow gay marriages.

The prospect has outraged religious conservatives, an important voting bloc in the Republican Party. And a recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll suggest the Supreme Court ruling has prompted a backlash: The number of people who have endorsed the idea that homosexual relations should be legal has dropped from 60 percent to 48 percent since the ruling, and only 40 percent of Americans say they now would support civil unions for homosexuals.

Even as he made it clear that he did not support the idea of gay marriage, Bush appeared to issue a call for tolerance.

“Yes, I am mindful that we’re all sinners,” the president said Wednesday when asked for his views on homosexuality. “And I caution those who may try to take the speck out of the neighbor’s eye when they’ve got a log in their own.”

“I think it’s very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country,” Bush added. “On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage.”

A number of states have passed laws forbidding gays from marrying or barring the recognition of a same-sex marriage performed in another state. The federal government’s 1996 Defense of Marriage Act affirms that states are not required to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state.

The act also defines marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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Dean on Economy

 Posted by at 16:30  Election 2004
Jul 302003
 

Dean Outlines Strategy for Economic Growth and Job Creation

DES MOINES, July 30 — In a speech here before the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, Governor Howard Dean, M.D., attacked the dismal economic record of the Bush administration and outlined his strategy for job creation and for addressing the concerns of America’s working families.

“[The Bush administration] has created a crisis for American workers and brought financial disaster to more and more American families. They are the victims of an unfair, misguided economic policy,” Dean said. “Never has a president talked so much about jobs while doing so much to destroy them.”

“We need a fresh start, a new beginning with a new administration and a new economic plan–a program that opens up opportunity, creates more good jobs, and saves the ones we have,” the former Vermont governor explained.

In promising to reverse the downward trend in the country’s economic situation–which has seen nearly three million jobs lost under President Bush and the highest unemployment in a decade–Dean outlined a six-point plan for stimulating growth and creating jobs:

  • Raising the minimum wage to put more money in the hands of working Americans
  • Expand unemployment insurance to cover more full and part-time workers
  • Expand aid to state and local government for homeland security and through doubling the Community Development Block Grant
  • Invest in job-creating infrastructure programs like school construction and increasing rural broadband access
  • A health care plan that reduce costs to employers and frees up additional private money for investment and job creation
  • A trade policy that ensures that strong and enforceable labor provisions are included in all trade agreements–to ensure that trade helps both us and our trading partners shore up middle class jobs.

Commenting on the administration’s “Jobs and Growth” tour, where cabinet secretaries are traveling through the Midwest to tout the Bush administration’s record and promote their tax cutting agenda, Dean said, “With the record this administration has on jobs and growth, this must be one mighty short tour.”

Dean also highlighted the concerted attack that the administration has launched basic American safeguards like social security and workers’ rights, as well as on organized labor–stripping federal workers of union protections, seeking to privatize parts of the federal workforce, ignoring worker concerns in airline bailouts, locking out longshoremen and reversing ergonomic standards.

The governor credited labor unions with always leading the fights against industry-backed politicians who threatened America’s democratic principles. “All Americans, not just union members, owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women of America’s labor movement,” Dean said. As president, Dean promised that he would “defend, support and expand the rights of American unions to organize as an essential prerequisite to the prosperity of our nation.”

Today’s remarks is one element of a comprehensive economic plan that Governor Dean will lay out later this fall.

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