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Friday, April 27, 2007

So, La Crosse is one of the greenest cities?


Stopping global warming

Good lord! It's worse than I thought! Apparently, the people judging the cities didn't notice the 85 to 90 percent Single Occupant Vehicle rate (at least that's what I've observed on several different occasions.)

I don't know ... if La Crosse is one of the greenest cities, we're really screwed.

We, the undersigned

[Sign on by contacting Katie Nekola, 608-251-7020 ext. 14)

RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

We the undersigned strongly support increasing our use of homegrown renewable resources like wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass to 20 percent of America’s electricity by 2020. Increasing our use of renewable energy is critical to reducing global warming pollution, protecting our environment, and strengthening the economy.

More than twenty states and the District of Columbia have already enacted Renewable Electricity Standards (RES) and are reaping the benefits. In addition, ten states have increased or accelerated their standards. This policy has proven to be an effective, efficient, and popular driver of expanded renewable energy development. It is time to bring those benefits to the rest of the nation.
Developing our renewable energy resources will create jobs, save consumers money and bolster rural economies. Recent analyses by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that a requiring 20 percent of electric generation from renewable energy sources by the year 2020 would create over 355,000 new high-paying jobs and save consumers at least $49 billion on their electric and natural gas bills.

In addition, by shifting away from fossil fuels, we can diversify and secure our energy supply while reducing global warming pollution. A 2006 analysis by U.S. PIRG found that by obtaining 20 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, we could cut global warming pollution over 500 million tons, the equivalent of taking approximately 89 million cars off the road. Similarly, a report released last month by the renewable energy scientists of the American Solar Energy Society indicates that renewable energy alone can help us reduce our global warming emissions 26-34 percent by 2050. The recently released U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report underscores the urgent need for these reductions.

In time of rising energy costs and the threat of global warming impacts such as sea level rise, increased droughts and more intense tropical storms, we need a new energy future. Increasing our use of renewable energy is a critical step toward a cleaner, more secure energy future. That’s why we strongly support increasing our use of renewable energy to 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

This is NOT a drill

Really, I don't have much hope. I was just thinking about the reports that say we have about ten years TOPS before the Earth starts to melt and that we have to cut greenhouse gases by 80 percent or else.

I mean, look around our own little bubble. Already, the La Crosse Speedway's season of nightly races has started. My friends' neighbors will haul out their gas powered leaf blower to blow that one leaf down the driveway and into the street (and don't forget the bug zapper). Across the city, people who live less than five miles from work will hop in their 8 passenger vans to drive to work, then drive home to lunch, then drive back to work, then drive to the gym, then drive home. And, coming this Christmas, another humongo Rotary Lights "gift" will pump the equivalent of three houses' worth of annual pollution so people can drive their cars around Riverside Park and donate a can of corn to the poor (who, scientists note, will suffer the most from the effects of global warming.) [Read More below.]

And how many parents or hobbyists are going to be hopping into the car every weekend to follow their kids or their passions all around the region (and don't get me started on the folks who have to drag a trailer (horse, go-kart, ATV ...) behind their giant truck.)

Me, I'd love to get a new car. The Zap Xebra is a cute little 100% electric city/commuter car (top speed somewhere under 45 mph). I'd love one of those, but my farm is in Chaseburg and electric cars in winter require a nice warm garage and quite some babying.

I'd love to have a Zap, or even a Zap Xebra TRUCK (three wheels, two seats, flexible bed with quarter-ton carrying capacity (on the flat).

And, I'd love to have a Honda Fit - versatile, qualiity and 40+ mpg. Even better, I'd hold off for the coming (rumor has it) Honda Fit Hybrid - same versatility and maybe 60 to 80 mpg. And both are low-cost, another major factor for me.

There are problems with all electric and problems with hybrids. Electric puts out far less pollution that hybrids (even if all the power to charge comes from a coal burner) BUT to be affordable, most use lead acid batteries which are only good for three to five years and have to be replaced and recycled.

I DO ride my bike when I can (less than I used to, but still quite a bit) but there are some days when I just cannot ride the bike and be the taxi and the go-fer.

Well, that's just cars. Just the tip.

We are trying to help by growing food for local consumption, but getting the word out is a full-time job and I already have one of those! In the meantime, the average food item travels about 1,500 miles before hitting your plate. How much crap does that pump into the air?

If you are more optimistic than I am, do this experiement. For the next 24 hours ask everyone you know what they are personally willing to do to stop global warming.

I don't have a lot of time right now, but I really don't see how this is going to happen barring some major guv'mint interference in our lives. During the blitz (the bombing of Great Britain - especially London and other major cities - during world war 2), the British people had blackouts - no streetlights, no car lights, no house lights (heavy curtains required) at night so targets couldn't be easily identified from the air. But that took a war and a government decree and neighborhood blackout wardens to strictly enforce things AND there weren't big political cronies spending millions to convince the people that the blackouts were a waste of time and the Blitz was just a theory.

Are we ready for neighborhood CO2 wardens? Should we get a carbon ration card at the beginning of the year and have to have it punched whenever we participate in a carbon-emitting activity? What about the guy who has to truck his demolition derby car all over the state (now, multiply by millions).

[Shakes head sadly.] I don't think this is going to work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Universal Health Care

Aesculapian Staff
UPDATED 4/20/07 - Corrected number of children without health care in the U.S. according to the National Coalition on Health Care. Thanks, Obbie!

[From Maureen Freedland of the Great Northern River States Health Care Initiative]

La Crosse County has 7,700 residents without health insurance.

Uninsured children are twice as likely to not get needed medical care.

46 million Americans -- one out of every seven, including 8.3 million children -- do not have health care coverage.

Many of us believe we need to have a major overhaul of how medical care is covered in this country. There's an event planned in La Crescent, for Wisconsin and Minnesota people, to be part of Cover the Uninsured Week -- a national effort.

That event is planned for 1:00 p.m., Sunday, April 22 in at the La Cresent High School. Please click READ MORE below for more details.
The local Wisconsin group helping to plan this is the Great Northern River States Health Care Initiative, a group of folks from both sides of the Mississippi who have come together for the purpose of advocacy for a better health care system. The event is also sponsored by the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition.

Let's hurry up and help us get to the point where the public recognizes that "single payer" health insurance is the system we could adopt that would be most fair, affordable, universal, and comprehensive. It will give us the most choices in our medical cares. Health Savings Accounts, which hopefully we won't get instead, are at best a partial solution, for those wealthy and healthy enough to afford them.

Health care is a human right and it should not be treated as a privilege or a commodity. Please come to this Community Conversation on April 22 at 1:00 at the La Crescent High School.

Here's the news release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Craig Brooks 507-459-0237
A Community Conversation on Universal Health Care
La Crescent forum to discuss how to overhaul the medical care system

Citizens of Minnesota and Wisconsin are invited to a conversation about single-payer health care and what state legislation is currently being considered, as lawmakers participate in “A Forum on Single Payer—The Solution with NO Fine Print,” Sunday April 22 at La Crescent High School, 1301 Lancer Blvd. from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Dr. James Hart, a member of Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (MUHCC) and Physicians for a National Health Program, will give an introduction to Single Payer health care to open the conversation. Participants will then share stories about their personal challenges with our health care system, after which elected officials, including Sen. Sharon Ropes and Rep. Ken Tschumper, will describe pending legislative proposals. A question and answer session will conclude the forum.

"We need to educate ourselves and make our voices heard," said Craig Brooks, an organizer of the event. "If we don’t let them know what citizens want, the lobbyists will control the outcome. We hope to raise awareness as to the benefits of a single-payer health care system."

The event is co-sponsored by the Great Northern States Health Care Initiative, citizens from Wisconsin and Minnesota who are advocating for better health care systems in our states and the nation, and MUHCC. Interested persons are invited to contact Craig Brooks at 507-459-0237 for further information.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

STEP IT UP!

Saturday, April 14 is National "Step it up" day. We can't wait another five or ten years for politicians to go around and around about whether global warming is "real" or not. It's time to step it up!

The La Crosse Earth Week Coalition and La Crosse Clean Energy Coalition have a whole week of events, speakers and workshops planned. Today's alternative energy workshop at UW-L kicks things off. Click Read More below for the whole schedule!

Click on the image below for the full schedule of Earth Week activities:

Earth Week Schedule







Tuesday, April 10, 2007

STOP!

[Recycling an email sent earlier] Remember, April 11, Ron Kind at La Crosse Public Library. Be there at 9:30 a.m.

The other day I listened to Kathleen Dunn's WPR program. She interviewed two investigative reporters about their latest article in Vanity Fair about a private contractor, SAIC, which raked in 8 BILLION of tax dollars last year, much of it related to Bush's adventure in Iraq. Please listen to it!

One quote, "If your listeners make less than $100,000 dollars, chances are most of the federal taxes they pay this year will go to SAIC."

SAIC's most visible face a few months ago, was David Kay, the guy who spent years scaring people about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and then months searching for (and never finding) them (at taxpayers' expense). SAIC is all over Iraq, claiming marvelous technology and never delivering.

SAIC, Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater - this is the another face of the continuing occupation of Iraq. (Here's a DailyKos diary about cronyism and BODY ARMOR ) Read more rant below.
Recently, we closed last year's Bring Them Home LaX website. After that successful referendum, I moved most of the files to this site.

When that site was closed, about 2250 U.S. service men and women had died conquering and occupying Iraq. That number this morning is 3292 - more than 1,000 additional U.S. troop deaths since we voted last year to end the occupation and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths.

There are about four MILLION Iraqi civilian refugees (half internally displaced and 2 million now outside of Iraq.) This has been called the biggest refugee crisis since 1948.

The Iraq civilian casualty (650,000+) figure, poo-poohed by the Bush administration, has been shown to be accurate.

Mercenaries are the second largest military contingent in Iraq (see this new article about "Military Contractor Wants to Build Mercenary Camp" - and this one about the slave laborers being used to build the new Empire Embassy in Iraq - )

The question is, why doesn't anyone just say STOP!? Why did the Dems agree to fund one more year of slaughter. Do they think something is going to change? Or are they just using the death and destruction to win political points in next year's elections?

STOP.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Miles to go


If you haven't seen the PBS program about the Antarctic expedition by Ernest Shackleton in 1914, watch it. And imagine yourself at the top of the first mountain, expecting to see a town below and instead seeing nothing but ragged, ice covered mountains. Do you stop or go on?

We did have one victory Tuesday, Elliot, but the rest? Ziegler? This shows you what $743,000 of Republican business money can buy. We assume there will still be an investigation of her ethics, but where will that go? Bjerke? Horne?

Bleh! We have fire - they have money (and churches that motivated Ziegler/"Right to Life" voters)

Notes on La Crosse Clean Energy Coalition

[from Bill]

The third gathering of the La Crosse Clean Energy Coalition was on Thursday, March 29, in the basement of the Ho-Chunk Building. We had a fine presentation by Anne Morse, from Winona, who shared with us some of the promises and bumps in the road of their group that, in short order, will begin constrution of a 2.0 megawatt wind turbine. Our own task group on wind energy was educated and inspired; perhaps serious deliberations will begin locally about La Crosse's own possibilities for wind energy generation.

The downside of the meeting was the absence of several of our key players, which slows the progress of deliberations for a few of our task groups. The task groups that met: fluorescent light bulbs, green building construction, home energy conservation, wind energy, and political affairs. Read more below.

Glen Jenkins will spearhead the group's efforts to author an "action agenda." This will be a pamphlet to inform the public about future directions that a regional plan for clean energy could take.

Kudos to Barb Frank, who has done the ground work for organizing the visit of Mary Rehwald to our community. Mary, a long time member of Ashland's City Council, has been instrumental in her city's "eco-municipality" work. La Crosse's City Council recently took first step in that same direction.

So mark the dates: Mary will speak at the Reinhart Building of Viterbo University on Tuesday, April 17, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and again from 7 to 9 p. m. and at Viterbo's Murphy Center on Wednesday, 18 April at 9:00 a.m.

Keep the calendar out: mark the date of our next CEC meeting: Thursday, April 26, at 7:00 p.m. in the basement of the Ho-Chunk Building. The first half of the meeting will feature Guy Wolf, who will educate us about the grave perils awaiting the Midwest (and the world) as energy and agricultural resources here are redirected toward the production of ethanol. There are better alternatives! As usual, the second half of the meeting will be dedicated to the meetings of the separate task groups.

New members are always welcome. Email Bill or call him at 785-2031 for more info.

VOTE

City Clerk Teri Lehrke expects voter turnout to be around 15%.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Supreme Court for Sale

David and GoliathOf course, the supreme court race is but one in a series of super high dollar struggles between rich Republicans and the rest of us. But the gloves and masks are obviously off and it seems that this race may be, or maybe MUST be, the last stand of the people against the cronies. LINDA CLIFFORD NEEDS YOUR HELP!

Marcia just passed along this cheery news: "We just found out that the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce has dropped another $730,000 in TV commercials for Annette Ziegler the last 4 days before the election."

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has documented Republican "third party" issue ads and extraordinary spending in this race and that pits Madison attorney, Linda Clifford, against Republican Ziegler who has violated the Judicial Code of Conduct dozens of times during her tenure as a state circuit judge. Please read more below!

Please email Marcia if you can help make phone calls for the good candidate.

Right now many believe the Wisconsin Supreme Court is evenly split between Republican/Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce/Wisconsin "Right to Life" judges and, on the other (our) side, human judges who actually believe that the constitution is meant to protect the rights of the people.

If the Republic/WMC/"Right to Life" candidate is elected, we are not going to be happy.

Do what you can to get the word out.