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Iraq Looks to Solar Energy To Help Rebuild its Economy

By Jane Burgermeister,

Off-grid solar panels could soon be installed in Iraq in a push to supply electricity to people across the country, many of whom have no access to the national grid.

"They'll be able to go back to Baghdad and teach other colleagues how to build solar-powered street lamps and other systems. That way crucial know-how can spread quickly." -- Matthias Kaiser, Phaesun

Six thousand solar-powered street lamps already light up the streets of Baghdad, where electricity from conventional sources is available on average for only two hours a day as the country struggles to recover from years of war.

Thousands more solar street lamps have been ordered this year from the German off-grid specialist company Phaesun by the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity.

Rachel Maddow Interviews Duke Energy's Jim Rogers

Rachel Maddow Interviews Duke Energy's Jim Rogers

Starts around 3:33 mins.; total run time 11:09 mins.

Scenes from the "Climate Justice" Rally in D.C. Held March 2, 2009

Scenes from the "Climate Justice" Rally in D.C. Held March 2, 2009

A huge and spirited rally demanding “Climate Justice,” was held in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2009. This video reflects some of the crowd scenes from that event; interviews with activists Anne Havemann of Chesapeake Climate Action; and Kate Lally of Baltimore’s Rising Tide; and a speech from Washington, D.C. Council Member, the Hon. Tom Wells (Ward 6).

The Weirdest New Source of Alternative Energy: Underwater Vibrations

The Weirdest New Source of Alternative Energy: Underwater Vibrations
Researchers say this longtime bane of offshore drilling is more cost-efficient than wind and solar.
By Andrew Grant | Discover

Kucinich: New Beginning for Cleveland and the Ford Motor Company

Kucinich: New Beginning for Cleveland and the Ford Motor Company | Press Release

~Chip's note: Ford Motor Company refused government bailout funds.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement after the Ford Motor Company announced that the Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 will resume production and become the first Ford manufacturing site in the world to produce EcoBoost engines:

“This is a new beginning for Cleveland and the Ford Motor Company. I thank Ford management and the members of the United Auto Workers who have made this possible.

Sources: Obama Cuts Funds for US Nuclear Dump

Sources: Obama cuts funds for US nuclear dump | Jakarta Post

President Barack Obama is taking the first step toward blocking a proposed repository for U.S. nuclear waste, by slashing money for the program in his first budget, according to congressional sources.

Obama's budget to be announced Thursday (Friday in Jakarta) will eliminate virtually all funding for the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada with the exception of money needed for license applications submitted last year to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the document had not been made public.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who has fought the Yucca Mountain dump for years, said Obama's decision to cut funding "represents our most significant victory to date in our battle to protect Nevada from becoming the country's toxic wasteland."

Tomgram: Chip Ward, The Department of Homegrown Security

Tomgram: Chip Ward, The Department of Homegrown Security | Tom

Now to the day's post: All forms are made to be broken. It's been an unbroken form at TomDispatch for me to introduce each post. Sometimes, when no introductory comments spring to mind (particularly on subjects I know less about), I'll ask an author if he or she has come across a relevant news clipping or has any passing thoughts about what to write. When I asked Chip Ward the other day, he responded with an introduction so striking that I decided to turn the space over to him. And so here he is, in a site first, introducing himself. Tom]

Obama's Address: Smooth? Yes. Transformative? No.

By Dave Lindorff

Barack Obama’s first address to Congress provided Americans with yet another example of competent speechmaking, and I suppose, given that we’ve just endured eight painful years of oratorical farce, being able to listen to your president without wincing is something.

The problem is that the way forward proposed by the president as laid out in this address was almost always half-hearted, wrong-headed or doomed.

Obama declared at the outset of his address that the economic crisis was the major issue confronting the country, and while one could argue that this crisis is merely a symptom of much bigger issues, like the nearly completed deindustrialization of the nation, the death grip of militarism, and the growing political power of corporations, one could also concede that there is an urgent need to deal with the deepening recession.

EV1 - Was It Really a Battery Problem?

EV1 - Was it really a battery problem?

8:05 mins.

Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, recorded $45.22 billion in annual profits in 2008, as oil prices soared. In 2007, the company posted annual profits of $40.61 billion.

GM is a major recipient of TARP funds, received $13.4 billion taxpayer dollars, and faces a March 31st deadline to submit a restructuring plan to keep the funds. Hey! Here's a thought: how about using TARP funds to retool and start producing the EV1 again? Maybe the Car Czar should get on it.

Leaping into the Crocodile Cage

Leaping into the Crocodile Cage
by James G. Abourezk | Media Monitors

"I tend to think Obama is up to the task of repairing all the destruction brought about in a mere eight years by George Bush. But, as we always must ask, does he have the political will to do so?"

One wonders, looking at America after eight years of George W. Bush's destructive policies and actions, why anyone would want to go through the struggle to win the presidency. A quick survey of the United States among the world's nations should be enough to discourage anyone from wanting to wade through the cesspool of a presidential campaign only to find a congregation of crocodiles waiting at its end.

From its high point shortly after the 9/11 attacks, when the sympathy of the civilized world was with us, America's image around the world has been systematically shredded by Bush and his cabal of neocons, along with other assorted right-wing policymakers.

Code Pinker Medea Benjamin at the Obama Inauguration Describes Re-Directions to Solutions

Code Pinker Medea Benjamin at the Obama Inauguration - Re-Directions to Solutions

4:53 mins.

The Hijacking of Gaza

Venezuela, CITGO Ensure Continuity of Heating Oil Program

Venezuela, CITGO Ensure Continuity of Heating Oil Program | Submitted by Michael Munk |

Michael Munk reports: Media reports, which barely acknowledged this program when it began in 2004, seemed happy to claim that lower oil prices forced Venezuela to cancel it. For example, NYTimes' "Venezuela Suspends Heating Aid to the U.S" by the dedicated critic of Venezuela, Simon Romero, begins: "Venezuela’s national oil company is suspending a program that provides discounted heating oil to poor communities in the United States, as officials here struggle to find ways of preserving hard currency reserves amid a plunge in oil revenues."

Tomgram: Michael T. Klare, The Problem with Cheap Oil

Tomgram: Michael T. Klare, The Problem with Cheap Oil |

Thought of a certain way, for better or worse, the last century and a half of history -- of human beings on this planet -- comes down to oil rigs, pipelines, and tankers. Like it or not, we're in an oily world where the most essential bets, large and small, are regularly energy ones. Just recently, oil prices plunged as low as $33 a barrel amid a global economic meltdown that offered relief to some consumers, but left others suffering. Think, for instance, in a winter when it's generally going to be far cheaper to heat your home, of those who, fearing that the soaring oil prices of the first half of 2008 would never end, locked in their heating oil for this winter at $4 a gallon.

40 Years is Enough - Let Town Meetings Weigh in on Vermont's Energy Future

By Dan DeWalt

“Shall the voters of the town of ___________request the Vermont legislature to:

1. Recognize that the 2% of our New England region's power grid supply that is
provided by Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant can be replaced with a
combination of local, renewable electricity and efficiency measures, along with the
purchase of hydro generated electricity, and excess power already in the New
England electricity market;

2. Given the viable alternatives and the risks posed by continued operation, ensure
that Vermont Yankee will cease operation in March 2012, after having completed its
40 year design life by not granting approval for operation of the plant after that date
and by not determining that further operation will promote the general welfare;

3. Hold the Entergy Corporation, which purchased Vermont Yankee in 2002,
responsible to fully fund the plant's clean-up and decommissioning when the reactor

ABC Refused to Air Clean Energy Ad - Speak Out!

Watch the ad and sign the petition HERE.

At Last, A Date

By George Monbiot
George Monbiot's ZSpace Page / ZSpace

Can you think of a major threat for which the British government does not prepare? It employs an army of civil servants, spooks and consultants to assess the chances of terrorist attacks, financial collapse, floods, epidemics, even asteroid strikes, and to work out what it should do if they happen. But there is one hazard about which it appears intensely relaxed. It has never conducted its own assessment of the state of global oil supplies and the possibility that one day they might peak and then go into decline.

Federal Reserve Sets Stage for Weimar-style Hyperinflation

Federal Reserve sets stage for Weimar-style Hyperinflation
By F. William Engdahl | GlobalResearch.CA

The Federal Reserve has bluntly refused a request by a major US financial news service to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from US taxpayers and to reveal the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral. Their lawyers resorted to the bizarre argument that they did so to protect 'trade secrets.' Is the secret that the US financial system is de facto bankrupt? The latest Fed move is further indication of the degree of panic and lack of clear strategy within the highest ranks of the US financial institutions. Unprecedented Federal Reserve expansion of the Monetary Base in recent weeks sets the stage for a future Weimar-style hyperinflation perhaps before 2010.

The Half-Life of the Lesser Evil

The Half-Life of the Lesser Evil
Dr. Chu's Nuclear Prescription
By Karl Grossman |

The reaction from safe-energy advocates is mixed to the proposed appointment of Steven Chu as U.S. energy secretary by President-Elect Barak Obama. Mixed is a charitable response to the prospects of Chu being in charge of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Although he has a keen interest in energy efficiency and solar power and other clean forms of renewable energy, Chu is a staunch advocate of nuclear power.

“Nuclear has to be a necessary part of the portfolio,” declared Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, at an economic gathering last March in Palo Alto, California organized by Stanford University.”

James L. Jones' energy views worry some environmentalists

James L. Jones is Obama's new national security advisor. But he leads an institute that has challenged global warming.
By Tom Hamburger, LA Times

Reporting from Washington — When President-elect Barack Obama introduced James L. Jones Jr. as his national security advisor Monday, he emphasized the retired Marine general's understanding of "the connection between energy and national security."

Obama sees that as a plus, but some environmental groups and global warming activists view Jones' environmental record with suspicion.

Jones will not be responsible for environmental policy, but he has said energy is a vital national security issue. It affects domestic economic stability and international geopolitical relationships, particularly in the oil-rich Middle East.

Ocean Currents Can Power the World, Say Scientists

Ocean currents can power the world, say scientists
A revolutionary device that can harness energy from slow-moving rivers and ocean currents could provide enough power for the entire world, scientists claim.
By Jasper Copping |

The technology can generate electricity in water flowing at a rate of less than one knot - about one mile an hour - meaning it could operate on most waterways and sea beds around the globe.

Does Anybody Else Think Getting America Shopping Again is Crazy Talk?

By Dave Lindorff

I was listening to Robert Reich, once the left end of the spectrum in the Clinton cabinet, talking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer a few days ago, and Reich, who has in the past sometimes made sense, was talking about how Americans’ incomes had fallen over the last eight years of the Bush/Cheney administration and that it was necessary to get their incomes back on an upward trend, so that they could “start shopping again.”

Now I understand Reich was trying to make the case that the bailout so far has been focused on the banks and the insurance industry, and that none of this will help unless ordinary people start getting some relief, but still, there’s something completely twisted and out of whack when the best we can come up with is that we need to get Americans back into the malls.

In fact, that is a good part of what’s wrong with the US economy: Fully 75 percent of GDP in America is consumer spending.

Idiots and Bailouts

By Dave Lindorff

It’s a safe bet that within the next several months, Congress will vote to bail out General Motors. It will be a colossal boondoggle involving, probably, upwards of $50 billion when it’s through, and it will fail in the end.

The reason is before our eyes. This bloated megacorporation is being run by idiots.

For years, as it became evident to everyone that oil prices were going to soar because demand has been exceeding both production and supply and will continue to do so, it has been obvious that to succeed, a car company had to offer well-made cars that could demonstrate high gas mileage. GM, perhaps more than any other company, ignored that reality and has been paying the price, watching its share of the car market wither.


By Paul Rogat Loeb

Remember when the McCain campaign accused Barack Obama of "already measuring the White House drapes." It was more false populism, suggesting that it was the bi-racial son of a single mother who embodied a sense of entitlement, instead of the admiral's son who couldn't remember how many houses he had. But let's take McCain's challenge literally, and ask whether Obama needs to change the White House drapes at all. Or the White House rug or furniture or décor, all of which new presidents traditionally replace when they move in. Obama could replace all this as expected, and no one would deem it exceptional. But suppose instead that he took the opportunity to break with tradition, and make a powerful symbolic stand by instead using the already allocated money to bring back additional solar panels (Bush actually brought back some in 2002 but more could be added), and make the White House more energy efficient.

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