maxomai: dog (Default)

March On Washington, 10/2.


This President has demanded that we hold him accountable, and now it’s time to do exactly that. Lately he’s been straying from his promise to focus on jobs, green technology and infrastructure; in fact, there’s now talk of a “second stimulus” consisting almost entirely of tax cuts. We cannot afford to let him do this: the economy is incontrovertibly in better shape now because of stimulus spending, and cutting back on that means that the economy will just get worse. Just holding back on unemployment benefits has been damaging enough. Furthermore, cutting back on green investment means that the United States will continue its slide into a technological backwater. We cannot afford to let that happen.


“But,” I hear you saying, “what about the deficit?” Look: right now, the deficit is huge. But it’s also cheap, and cheaper now than it’s been in decades, because interest rates are so low. And people are buying them like mad. This situation is temporary, don’t get me wrong, but its not going to change as long as the economy is hovering on the brink of another depression.


If you can’t make it in person (and I can’t), please consider a donation. And if you’re too broke to do either, then please consider writing a letter to the White House and your Congresscritters, every day, from now until election day, demanding that they fight for what they ran on in 2008.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

March On Washington, 10/2.


This President has demanded that we hold him accountable, and now it’s time to do exactly that. Lately he’s been straying from his promise to focus on jobs, green technology and infrastructure; in fact, there’s now talk of a “second stimulus” consisting almost entirely of tax cuts. We cannot afford to let him do this: the economy is incontrovertibly in better shape now because of stimulus spending, and cutting back on that means that the economy will just get worse. Just holding back on unemployment benefits has been damaging enough. Furthermore, cutting back on green investment means that the United States will continue its slide into a technological backwater. We cannot afford to let that happen.


“But,” I hear you saying, “what about the deficit?” Look: right now, the deficit is huge. But it’s also cheap, and cheaper now than it’s been in decades, because interest rates are so low. And people are buying them like mad. This situation is temporary, don’t get me wrong, but its not going to change as long as the economy is hovering on the brink of another depression.


If you can’t make it in person (and I can’t), please consider a donation. And if you’re too broke to do either, then please consider writing a letter to the White House and your Congresscritters, every day, from now until election day, demanding that they fight for what they ran on in 2008.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

The Republican Party has always prided itself as being the party of the small business entrepreneur. Which is, naturally, why today they filibustered a Senate bill intended to help small businesses stay afloat.


Olympia Snowe was especially embarrassing this morning. Her argument was that the Senate needs to act quickly to help small businesses — which is why she’s supporting the filibuster to prevent a vote on helping small businesses.


GOP complaints that Harry Reid didn’t provide enough time for amendments are plain and simple BS — the real agenda here is to run out the clock before the August recess to imperil the cap-and-trade bill.


And if they can put another bullet in the economy’s guts, well, that might just suit their agenda as well.








maxomai: dog (Default)

The Republican Party has always prided itself as being the party of the small business entrepreneur. Which is, naturally, why today they filibustered a Senate bill intended to help small businesses stay afloat.


Olympia Snowe was especially embarrassing this morning. Her argument was that the Senate needs to act quickly to help small businesses — which is why she’s supporting the filibuster to prevent a vote on helping small businesses.


GOP complaints that Harry Reid didn’t provide enough time for amendments are plain and simple BS — the real agenda here is to run out the clock before the August recess to imperil the cap-and-trade bill.


And if they can put another bullet in the economy’s guts, well, that might just suit their agenda as well.








maxomai: dog (Default)

Green Car Reports brings us news of a massive California FAIL:


California’s EV buyers had expected the Volt to qualify instead for a reduced rebate of roughly $3,000, says EV advocate Chelsea Sexton.


But that hope was quashed when the Volt didn’t qualify as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), a specific category of clean vehicle in the California’s complicated taxonomy of emissions classes.


Like the Prius or the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Volt sometimes burns gasoline to keep running; but the Volt can achieve highway speeds and run for 40 miles without burning gas, something that neither the Prius nor the Civic can do. Common sense dictates that it should be eligible for at least a partial rebate. The problem is one of regulations. Neither the State of California nor the EPA know how to measure fuel efficiency for plug-in vehicles like the Volt, and that makes it difficult for the Volt to qualify as a low-emissions vehicle.


The California Senate is considering a bill (SB-535) that would enable plug-ins such as the Chevy Volt to qualify for AT-PZEV status more easily. If you live in Cali, it might be a good idea to call your state Senator and tell them your thoughts on this matter.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Green Car Reports brings us news of a massive California FAIL:


California’s EV buyers had expected the Volt to qualify instead for a reduced rebate of roughly $3,000, says EV advocate Chelsea Sexton.


But that hope was quashed when the Volt didn’t qualify as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), a specific category of clean vehicle in the California’s complicated taxonomy of emissions classes.


Like the Prius or the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Volt sometimes burns gasoline to keep running; but the Volt can achieve highway speeds and run for 40 miles without burning gas, something that neither the Prius nor the Civic can do. Common sense dictates that it should be eligible for at least a partial rebate. The problem is one of regulations. Neither the State of California nor the EPA know how to measure fuel efficiency for plug-in vehicles like the Volt, and that makes it difficult for the Volt to qualify as a low-emissions vehicle.


The California Senate is considering a bill (SB-535) that would enable plug-ins such as the Chevy Volt to qualify for AT-PZEV status more easily. If you live in Cali, it might be a good idea to call your state Senator and tell them your thoughts on this matter.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

All the news that’s fit to print — and a lot that’s not! (Reminder: you can comment on maxomai.org with your LiveJournal, Google, Yahoo, FaceBook, Twitter or OpenID account. No kidding!)



  • The blockade of Gaza has been eased indefinitely. No, not Israel’s — Egypts.


  • The White House is backing a plan by the US House of Representatives to remove all economic damage liability caps on oil drilling. More here. Frankly, I think this is the most effective means at the government’s disposal to prevent another BP-style spill.

    Oh yeah, and the cleanup is expected to take years.


  • The era of cheap crap made in China is about to end. More here.

  • Two separate projects have built rocket vehicles that launch into mid-air, go up a considerable distance, halt their rockets, free-fall, and then re-start their rockets and land safely, right-side-up. Is that a cool hack or what? The commercial applications are nothing to sneeze at, either. Check out the videos here!

  • Speaking of cool hacks, check out the artificial cornea. No word on how well it handles corneal abrasions.

  • Speaking of commercial applications for space technology, check out this write-up of the state of space privitization. Maybe that Obama fella was on to something?




  • maxomai: dog (Default)

    All the news that’s fit to print — and a lot that’s not! (Reminder: you can comment on maxomai.org with your LiveJournal, Google, Yahoo, FaceBook, Twitter or OpenID account. No kidding!)



    • The blockade of Gaza has been eased indefinitely. No, not Israel’s — Egypts.


  • The White House is backing a plan by the US House of Representatives to remove all economic damage liability caps on oil drilling. More here. Frankly, I think this is the most effective means at the government’s disposal to prevent another BP-style spill.

    Oh yeah, and the cleanup is expected to take years.


  • The era of cheap crap made in China is about to end. More here.

  • Two separate projects have built rocket vehicles that launch into mid-air, go up a considerable distance, halt their rockets, free-fall, and then re-start their rockets and land safely, right-side-up. Is that a cool hack or what? The commercial applications are nothing to sneeze at, either. Check out the videos here!

  • Speaking of cool hacks, check out the artificial cornea. No word on how well it handles corneal abrasions.

  • Speaking of commercial applications for space technology, check out this write-up of the state of space privitization. Maybe that Obama fella was on to something?




  • maxomai: dog (Default)

    And now for the day’s miscellany!



    • Oil has hit Florida’s beaches. And what it’s doing to the Gulf wildlife is just depressing. No wonder BP and the Feds withheld the video footage. Think about this while you’re filling your gas tank.

    • UPDATE Rachel Maddow covers BP’s absolutely worthless spill containment efforts here.

    • “Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government.” So said Sec. of State Clinton, according to ABC News. So, why isn’t the State Department raking Israel over the coals for their navy’s execution-style killing of a 19-year-old American peace activist? Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo dives deeper into the implications of this here — I don’t completely agree with him, by the way, but it’s worth reading nonetheless.

    • Speaking of which, this week’s attack may have a silver lining (2) for those of us who are tired of the Likud party running Washington.

    • Are UAV attacks on Al Qaeda hurting Al Qaeda? Maybe not. In fact, it could very well be having the opposite effect. More here.

    • I agree with Michael Lind: if Texas schools want to teach kids more about the history of the Confederacy, they should stop cherry-picking the parts that go along with some idiot’s narrow conservative agenda, and dive into the rest of what the Confederacy was about, in all its ugly and bizarre detail. It really was about keeping black people as slaves, folks.

    • Bill Halter’s runoff race against conservadem Blanche Lincoln for the US Senate just got a little harder. His best county was Garland County, which had 42 polling places open for the primary election day. Now they have two (2). I know money is tight, but come on .. two?!?

    • How robots may help with autism therapy, here.

    • Clipart ruins everything. (Note: the fastest way for me to delete your email without reading it is to attach lots of clipart and pictures to them. Mailbox space doesn’t grow on trees.)




    Originally published at maxomai.org

    maxomai: dog (Default)

    And now for the day’s miscellany!



    • Oil has hit Florida’s beaches. And what it’s doing to the Gulf wildlife is just depressing. No wonder BP and the Feds withheld the video footage. Think about this while you’re filling your gas tank.

    • UPDATE Rachel Maddow covers BP’s absolutely worthless spill containment efforts here.

    • “Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government.” So said Sec. of State Clinton, according to ABC News. So, why isn’t the State Department raking Israel over the coals for their navy’s execution-style killing of a 19-year-old American peace activist? Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo dives deeper into the implications of this here — I don’t completely agree with him, by the way, but it’s worth reading nonetheless.

    • Speaking of which, this week’s attack may have a silver lining (2) for those of us who are tired of the Likud party running Washington.

    • Are UAV attacks on Al Qaeda hurting Al Qaeda? Maybe not. In fact, it could very well be having the opposite effect. More here.

    • I agree with Michael Lind: if Texas schools want to teach kids more about the history of the Confederacy, they should stop cherry-picking the parts that go along with some idiot’s narrow conservative agenda, and dive into the rest of what the Confederacy was about, in all its ugly and bizarre detail. It really was about keeping black people as slaves, folks.

    • Bill Halter’s runoff race against conservadem Blanche Lincoln for the US Senate just got a little harder. His best county was Garland County, which had 42 polling places open for the primary election day. Now they have two (2). I know money is tight, but come on .. two?!?

    • How robots may help with autism therapy, here.

    • Clipart ruins everything. (Note: the fastest way for me to delete your email without reading it is to attach lots of clipart and pictures to them. Mailbox space doesn’t grow on trees.)




    Originally published at maxomai.org

    maxomai: dog (Default)

    The NYT has the story; it appears that BP violated not only Federal safety standards, but their own safety standards, in assembling the Deepwater Horizon platform.


    On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.


    “This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”


    The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. BP documents released last week to The Times revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options.


    There’s no question why they did this. They wanted to save money by cutting corners and they thought they could get away with it. The questions that follow from this are more pressing: who made these decisions, were they legal, and what can we do to prevent this kind of corner-cutting in the future?


    I still say that undoing the liability cap is a necessary part of the answer to the third question, since it turns out that liability suits are a very effective means of regulation.




    Originally published at maxomai.org

    maxomai: dog (Default)

    The NYT has the story; it appears that BP violated not only Federal safety standards, but their own safety standards, in assembling the Deepwater Horizon platform.


    On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.


    “This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”


    The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. BP documents released last week to The Times revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options.


    There’s no question why they did this. They wanted to save money by cutting corners and they thought they could get away with it. The questions that follow from this are more pressing: who made these decisions, were they legal, and what can we do to prevent this kind of corner-cutting in the future?


    I still say that undoing the liability cap is a necessary part of the answer to the third question, since it turns out that liability suits are a very effective means of regulation.




    Originally published at maxomai.org

    maxomai: dog (Default)

    An oil rig collapses, sending 30,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. Attempts to shut down the well with direct injections of mud and junk only seem to slow it down a bit. Governments mobilize to handle the devastating environmental damage.


    The year is 1979, and the oil rig is owned by Pemex, the Mexican state oil company. And yes, this really happened — it’s called the Ixtoc I oil spill, and it kept going for ten months until two relief wells were finished and deep sea divers finally plugged the original hole. A study of this particular incident should teach us a few things about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s not a perfect comparison. The Deepwater spill is 20005000 feet deeper, which makes it much harder implement the Ixtoc fix. The oil from the Deepwater spill is spilling in lesser volume, but the oil may be more toxic. Finally, the Ixtoc spill hit Mexican and Texas coastlines; this one is probably going to coat the US coastline in oil from East Texas to DC.


    Nonetheless, there are two big lessons here, and I think they’re both well worth heeding.


    The first is that this really, honest to Pete, is not the end of the world. It’s really, really bad, but not the end of the world. We’ve already been through this, and come out worse for wear, but ultimately the Earth recovered and we moved on.


    The second is that corporations and governments didn’t learn from the Ixtoc spill thirty years ago. If they did, then there would have been thirty years of studying Ixtoc and taking meticulous care to make sure that it never happens again. And that’s not going to change unless we change and we force them to change.


    Getting rid of the liability cap would be a good start.




    Originally published at maxomai.org

    maxomai: dog (Default)

    An oil rig collapses, sending 30,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. Attempts to shut down the well with direct injections of mud and junk only seem to slow it down a bit. Governments mobilize to handle the devastating environmental damage.


    The year is 1979, and the oil rig is owned by Pemex, the Mexican state oil company. And yes, this really happened — it’s called the Ixtoc I oil spill, and it kept going for ten months until two relief wells were finished and deep sea divers finally plugged the original hole. A study of this particular incident should teach us a few things about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s not a perfect comparison. The Deepwater spill is 20005000 feet deeper, which makes it much harder implement the Ixtoc fix. The oil from the Deepwater spill is spilling in lesser volume, but the oil may be more toxic. Finally, the Ixtoc spill hit Mexican and Texas coastlines; this one is probably going to coat the US coastline in oil from East Texas to DC.


    Nonetheless, there are two big lessons here, and I think they’re both well worth heeding.


    The first is that this really, honest to Pete, is not the end of the world. It’s really, really bad, but not the end of the world. We’ve already been through this, and come out worse for wear, but ultimately the Earth recovered and we moved on.


    The second is that corporations and governments didn’t learn from the Ixtoc spill thirty years ago. If they did, then there would have been thirty years of studying Ixtoc and taking meticulous care to make sure that it never happens again. And that’s not going to change unless we change and we force them to change.


    Getting rid of the liability cap would be a good start.




    Originally published at maxomai.org

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