Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 12th, 2008

Must see

Posted by Charles II on March 12, 2008

John Pilger has a very powerful documentary called The War on Democracy (via ICH). I clicked it on expecting to watch the first ten minutes, but could not turn it off. In Pilger’s understated style, it puts faces and places to crimes against humanity of which we read much too late and shows how completely our media have lied to us about the emergence of genuine (if erratic) democracy in Venezuela, Chile, and Bolivia.

Probably the most telling moment is his interview of Duane Clarridge, a CIA Station Chief telling us that no one died in Chile, that maybe 200 died in El Salvador, and that Amnesty and other human rights groups are simply lying. I guess one has to renounce one’s soul to be part of the murderous machine. But in a series of interviews, Pilger also captures the complete moral bankruptcy of the Latin American elites.

As much as I know of Latin America, which is some, this documentary was an education.

Posted in Latin America, propaganda | 2 Comments »

Green-Collar Jobs For The Farm Belt

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2008

This is just so cool I can hardly stand it (h/t Stranded Wind):

Graettinger, Iowa to get 250 greencollar jobs.

Submitted by SacredCowTipper on Tue, 03/11/2008 – 18:36. The Stranded Wind Initiative conducted a survey of the Iowa Lakes region last summer and have identified two locations that are suitable for a wind driven ammonia plant and the associated follow on businesses. The first one to be developed will be located in Graettinger, Iowa, producing over fifty full time professional, plant operations, and greenhouse/aquaculture management jobs along with several hundred hourly greenhouse and aquaculture production jobs.

Wind driven ammonia production requires a sizable wind farm, around a hundred turbines total, a small supply of clean, deionized water for hydrolysis, and a larger supply of lake or river water for cooling the operation. About half of the wind energy used in creating ammonia gets turned into heat and the amount available is sufficient to operate ten acres of hybrid greenhouse/aquaculture space. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in climate change, energy, environment, global warming, Good Things | 21 Comments »

Look! An Actual Crime!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2008

Too bad it won’t be prosecuted:

According to the NYT, the case began when Spitzer’s bank filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), which are forms that banks file with the IRS following certain supposedly suspicious activity by their customers. It’s illegal to leak the contents of SARs.

Ah, but don’t you see? It’s perfectly legal to leak them when it means taking out the Sheriff of Wall Street.

Posted in abuse of power, big money, corruption | Comments Off on Look! An Actual Crime!

A Green Air Conditioner?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2008

They’re working on it:

SolCool One, LLC and its manufacturing partner, Senergy Cooling Systems, delivered the first Millennia direct current air conditioning/heating system to AirCare, LLC Phoenix, Arizona.


The 1.5 ton, 18,000 BTU split version of the Millennia demonstrates how it uses solar or wind DC and or grid AC energy sources to charge on-board deep cell batteries that power its 24 or 48 volt internal system. The battery driven Millennia can cool or heat uninterrupted for hours without any charging from outside sources at more than 50% less power consumption than comparable conventional hardware.

“The Millennia will smart charge from solar, wind, hydro or any other direct current choice and if there isn’t any DC source it will automatically charge from a grid or generator source. If charging is interrupted, the Millennia System will continue to cool, heat, light and charge DC accessories such as cell phones and laptops from it’s own battery bank for hours or days”, said Cliff Sutton, V.P. Marketing & Sales at SolCool One, LLC.

Of course, having CFLs and now LEDs instead of incandescent lighting will help ease the cooling burden the A/C must shoulder. Yeah, the lead in the deep-cycle batteries is troubling, but considering that 97% of all battery lead gets recycled it’s not as bad as one might think.

Posted in energy, environment, Good Things | 1 Comment »

Stray Talk Excess?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2008


John McCain’s been busy fending off questions about his efforts to make sure that EADS got a $35 million air tanker contract, even as EADS lobbyists are high-level advisers to his campaign. Wonder if he’ll stop serving up those delicious ribs to naughty reporters who keep pestering him on this.

Posted in John McCain, McCain lobbyist scandal, media, Media machine, mediawhores | 1 Comment »

Wednesday Morning Good News Blogging

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2008

Investors are demanding a say on executive pay:

In 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted new executive pay rules that sought to improve disclosure of performance incentives, retirement benefits, severance arrangements, option grants and perks and to reveal the “why” behind pay decisions.

The SEC reviewed 350 proxy statements showing the new disclosure last year and essentially told the companies who drafted them, “Nice try, but try harder.” The SEC’s biggest beefs were that companies were still not clear about why they paid what they paid; that the presentation was too dense and obscured key data, and that some companies failed to disclose details about how performance pay was set and earned.

Key investor groups, such as one led by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees’ (AFCSME) Employee Pension Plan and Walden Asset Management, also are unsatisfied with company disclosure and with pay packages deemed too generous or not sufficiently aligned with company performance. Such activist groups have introduced pay-related shareholder proposals for vote at annual meetings.

Manufacturing jobs pay well and are plentiful, even in this crummy job market (at least in Minnesota):

Manufacturing is far from dead, but too many young people think they’ve already seen the obituary.

That’s the word from Gov. Tim Pawlenty and companies across the state who met late last week at a series of roundtables to brainstorm about how to attract and prepare reluctant young workers to what in many cases remains a high-paying field.

The governor, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and MnSCU hosted roundtables in Rochester, Brainerd and South St. Paul to discuss potential solutions to the widespread problem.

Manufacturers told Pawlenty that they have jobs to offer, but can’t find skilled workers or students interested in training.

Many young adults are passing up career opportunities with extensive training and salaries that begin at $50,000 a year, they said.

Augsburg college kids may wind up saving the world with a new biodiesel process:

Dubbed the “Mcgyan Process,” the technology, inspired by the work of Augsburg undergraduate Brian Krohn, converts most feedstocks into biodiesel fuel without using much water or producing lots of waste.

Ever Cat Fuels, a start-up co-founded by Augsburg alumnus Clayton McNeff, is building a $5 million plant in Isanti that eventually will produce 3 million gallons of biodiesel fuel a year.

Normally, companies make biodiesel fuel by mixing soybean oil with a sodium hydroxide “catalyst” in a tank that’s heated at a high temperature. But this “batch” process takes hours to complete and produces waste. The catalyst itself must be neutralized with either hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, two toxic chemicals.

The Mcgyan method employs a metal oxide catalyst that converts a mixture of alcohol and feedstock oils in a tubelike reactor to biodiesel fuel. This continuous or “flow” process makes it more efficient because it takes seconds to complete and produces little waste, McNeff said. Patents on the process are pending.

One of the feedstock oils can be algae oil, which can be produced in great quantities from wastewater. Xcel Energy Inc. has invested $4.5 million toward algae and other alternative energy work through the University of Minnesota’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.

Posted in big money, capitalism as cancer, climate change, doing the right thing, economy, education, energy, environment, Good Things, saving the earth | 4 Comments »

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