Saturday, December 30, 2006

Al Sharpton, Global Warming & Nuclear Power

Rev Alfred Charles Sharpton, Jr. is serious about global warming and supports nuclear power as a major part of the solution for mitigating the problem.

Reverend Sharpton showed his knoweledge about environmental and energy issues during his 2004 campaign for president at the Legaue of Conservation Voters-spsonsored debate in Los Angeles. AAEA President Norris McDonald, left with Sharpton, briefed the candidate for the debate.

We assume Rev Sharpton will run for the presidency again in 2008. If he wins we can expect the implementation of dynamic and effective environmental policies.

John Edwards, Global Warming & Nuclear Power

The jury is out on presidential candidate John Edwards. Although he was a cosponsor of the McCain/Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, and the subsequent Climate Stewardship & Innovation Act, which included significant support for nuclear power, his specific position on nuclear power is unclear. He missed the vote on the bill - not that it would have made a difference. The ultimate vote was 43-55 against but every little bit helps. He was busy running as John Kerry's running mate for the presidency in 2003 at the time.

Al;though he was out of the Senate for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, he did not support previous versions of the legislation and considered it a giveaway to energy companies, saying that "Republicans wrote this energy bill in secret, and they wrote most of it simply to serve the energy companies, not the American people." This is not a good sign. The EPAct contained significant support for nuclear power. We are sure he will directly address this issue in the future and hopefully, if he is serious about mitigating the effects of global warming, he will support nuclear power because it does not emit any greenhouse gases and does not emit smog forming gases.

Update: On the Feb 4 broadcast of Meet the Press, John Edwards said he opposes Yucca Mountain and believes the waste should be stored at the power plants where it is produced. Edwards is quickly moving to the opposition column. Then again, Nevada, location of Yucca Mountain, is one of the earliest primaries. (More)

Be Aware

Friday, December 29, 2006

John McCain Is Great on Global Warming & Nuclear Power

We like Senator John McCain. John McCain is THE MAN. Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain gets it on energy, air quality and climate change. He has cosponsored climate change legislation with Senator Joe Lieberman (another visionary) and he is very approachable in the halls of the U.S. Senate. He cosponsored the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2005, which included significant support for nuclear power in addition to a cap and trade component.

Two years earlier, the Senate voted 43 to 55 to reject S.139, his previous bill, the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003, which would have required all U.S. power plants and industries to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG). McCain even bypassed Senator James Inhofe and the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee because he believes the GHG issue affects transportation, scientific research and other related issues and should be considered by his committee (Commerce, Science & Transportation).

The McCain-Lieberman legislation would establish a mandatory nationwide cap on emissions of carbon dioxide and other GHGs. Utilities, industries and transportation sources of the major greenhouse gases would have to limit their emissions to 2000 levels by 2010 and 1990 levels by 2016. The bill would establish a trading system allowing utilities and plants with excessive emissions to buy credits from more efficient companies that have reduced emissions beyond their targets. A similar system for sulfur dioxide has operated for years under the Clean Air Act to limit acid rain.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hillary Clinton & Rudy Giuliani on Nuclear Power

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), left, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), right, could be rivals for the presidency in 2008. They are on opposite sides of the nuclear power issue. Giuliani supports nuclear power and Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York. Clinton does not support nuclear power and cited it as one of her objections to voting for the final Conference Committee Report for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was heavily pro nuclear. She voted for the Energy Policy Act of 2005 initially but voted against the final conference report(she voted for it before she voted against it). She does not call for the shutdown of Indian Point but does not support it either. She will probably oppose relicensing the plant. Clinton wants the NRC to conduct an independent safety assessment of Indian Point and she promotes upgraded emergency and evacuation plans for the facility.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), another potential presidential contender, co-sponsored a bill with Clinton in 2006 requiring plant owners to notify the NRC and local governments whenever a leak is discovered.

Update: Here is what Hillary Clinton says about nuclear power in her new climate change plan published in Nov 2007:

Hillary believes that energy efficiency and renewables are better options for addressing global warming and meeting our future power needs, because of significant unresolved concerns about the cost of producing nuclear power, the safety of operating plants, waste disposal, and nuclear proliferation. Hillary opposes new subsidies for nuclear power, but believes that we need to take additional steps to deal with the problems facing nuclear power. She would strengthen the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and direct it to improve safety and security at nuclear power plants; terminate work at the flawed Yucca Mountain site and convene a panel of scientific experts to explore alternatives for disposing of nuclear waste; and continue research, with a focus on lower costs and improving safety.

Be Aware

Barack Obama and Nuclear Power (Groundwater Leaks)

Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) wants to require reporting of unplanned radioactive releases. He believes the current self-regulation initiative is inadequate and has allowed tritium leaks to occur with a delay in the public finding out about it. The Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI) "Groundwater Protection Initiative," describes the current voluntary policy, which aims to improve the handling of inadvertent releases of radioactive material into groundwater at the nation's 103 nuclear power plants. Under the initiative, all nuclear power companies will implement site-specific plans to ensure timely detection and responses when radioactive materials are released to groundwater starting in 2006.

The Nuclear Release Notice Act is backed in the Senate by Obama and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and in the House by Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.). It would require notification of federal, state and county officials when radioactive releases exceed federal limits or when two occur within a two-year span from the same source, process or equipment. It would "impose real penalties on plants" that fail to make notification. According to NEI, the voluntary initiative goes beyond the bill. The NEI initiative, approved unanimously by the trade group's membership, stems in part from Exelon Nuclear's acknowledgement that radioactive tritium spilled at Braidwood Generating Station in southwest Will County between 1996 and 2003, causing groundwater contamination. Exelon is being criticized for waiting years to tell the public about the spills. (Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility)

Barack Obama and Nuclear Power (Spent Fuel)


Groundwater Leaks


Be Aware

The Environment and Public Works Committee passed a provision in 2006 sponsored by U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) that requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to track unaccounted-for spent nuclear fuel rods used at power plants in the United States. Because spent nuclear fuel is periodically removed from reactors, Senator Obama believes all nuclear power plants should track their fuel better, and in the same way to keep these materials from falling into the wrong hands.

Obama's legislation was in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that showed the need for more adequate handling of spent fuel. The report showed that three plants - the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Connecticut, the Vermont Yankee plant in Vermont, and the Humboldt Bay Power Plant in California - have reported missing spent fuel. The missing nuclear material from Millstone was never found. The unaccounted-for material at Vermont Yankee was found three months later in a location other than the one indicated by inventory records, and officials are still investigating the Humboldt Bay plant's missing spent nuclear material.

Obama's provision would require the NRC to establish specific and uniform guidelines for tracking, controlling and accounting for individual spent fuel rods or segments at nuclear power plants, including procedures for conducting physical inventories. The legislation would also establish uniform inspection procedures to ensure plants put these procedures in place. Senator Obama's provision was attached to S. 864, a bill to update the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. The provision did not become law.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

President Gerald R. Ford 1913 - 2006

Excerpt from Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Report of the Council on Environmental Quality. February 27th, 1976

"We can be proud of the progress we have made in improving the Nation's environmental quality. Yet, we must meet additional challenges over the next few years. We must improve our understanding of the effects of pollutants and of the means and costs of reducing pollution. As we develop new energy sources and technologies we must assure that they meet environmental standards. We also must continue the job of cleaning up pollution from existing sources."

The White House

On Civil Rights: A Mixed Bag: Ford signed the extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, supported affirmative action programs at the University of Michigan, when he was nominated to be vice president by Nixon, all of the members of the CBC voted against him except Andrew Young of Georgia, he opposed busing, and did ot support the bill of Rep John Conyers to make Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. (The Washington Afro-American)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Word of the Year 2006: Carbon Neutral

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary the Word of the Year for 2006 is "Carbon Neutral." Okay. So it is two words, but you get the idea. Oxford University Press explains:

"Being carbon neutral involves calculating your total climate-damaging carbon emissions, reducing them where possible, and then balancing your remaining emissions, often by purchasing a carbon offset: paying to plant new trees orinvesting in 'green' technologies such as solar and wind power."

Of course we would add nuclear power to the offset mix.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Green Buildings

On December 5, 2006, the DC City Council unanimously passed the DC Green Building Act and the mayor is required to submit a comprehensive set of green building standards by no later than January 1, 2008. The GB Act requires private developers to apply standards that will make new buildings environmentally friendly, applies to buildings 50,000 square feet and larger and to all buildings that receive public financing of 20 percent or more.

The Washington, DC-based Green Building Council (GBC) certifies environmentally friendly buildings via its Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), above left. The Portland, Oregon-based Green Building Initiative (GBI) also issues green buildings certifications called Green Globes. The GBC standard was adopted in the DC bill is considered to be more stingent than the GBI standard.

Standards do not require specific features, but award credits in categories such as site selection, energy and water efficiency, and materials. A building must get a certain number of credits to be certified. Green buildings include natural light, windows that open, low-flow water fixtures or no-flush urinals, which use a chemical trap instead of water.

Washington, DC joins Pasadena, Calif., and Montgomery County, Md, which adopted the standards earlier this year. LEED standards have been adopted in 18 states and 11 federal agencies for their own projects.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Intercounty Connector Lawsuit Is 20th Century Thinking

Environmental Defense, the Sierra Club, Audubon Naturalist Society, Maryland Native Plant Society and a family on the Intercounty Connector (ICC) route filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court contending the air air quality anaylsis was inadequate and federal officials failed to consider reasonable alternives to the highway. This is a nuisance lawsuit that seeks to thwart the will of the people in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Fortunately, governor-elect Martin O'Malley is committed to completing the essential thoroughfare.

The two court challenges reperesnt the outdated thinking of environmental groups that oppose all development projects as a reflex action. Congestion will be relieved by the ICC, thus reducing additional smog production and reducing travel times. An outer beltway would go far in further enhancing the air and travel times in the region. AAEA supported the project during the public hearings. We are sure it will withstand legal scrutiny. We just wish these groups would spend their time and resources on real solutions to air pollution in the region instead of relying on anachronistic litigation to impose their faux-green views on the region. (AP, Wash Times, Wash Post)

Richest Black County Has Most Violent Schools in State

Prince George's County is the richest majority black county in the United States. It also leads the state of Maryland in students suspended for offenses. There were 13,598 students suspended during the 2005-2006 school year. This represents ten percent of the 133,000 students in the county. Offenses leading to suspensions range from carrying weapons, fighting and disrupting classes to areson and sex offenses.

There were 22,564 offenses in the 2005-2006 school year (exceeds suspensions because of multiple offenses by same student). Most offenses, 9,063, were for disrespect, insubordination or disruption. There were 6,073 attacks, threats or fighting, 492 weapons offenses, 358 dangerous substance offenses, 158 arson, fire or explosives offenses, 148 sex offenses and 6,272 offenses listed as "other."

Unfortunately, of the 6,073 attacks, 333 suspensions were for physical attacks on teachers or staff members and 339 suspensions for verbal or physical threats to teachers or staff members. One thing is clear, there needs to be more severe penalties for all acts of violence in the schools (Sources: Maryland State Department of Education, The Gazette: Clinton, Ft. Washington)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Black Duck in Decline in Mid-Atlantic Region

According to The Washington Times the black duck is in decline and scientists do not know why. The article states that the black duck is favored by hunters yet there are questions as to why the black duck is nowhere to be seen in hunting country. Scientists speculate that it could be waterfront development ruining the wetlands and fading duck foodstuff. Of course white mute swans are considered to be in overabundance and even pose a threat to submerged vegetation.

According to the article, Ducks Unlimited has begun a $1 million research project to better understand the decline of the black duck. Man, the inner city could use some of that money. No black ducks there either. Virginia wants to put satellite-tracking devices on some black ducks to see where they go. (Hopefully away from the hunting areas).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

13 States & DC Sue EPA Over Soot

EPA issued a rule in Sept 2006 to reduce the amount of soot in the air in a 24-hour perod from 65 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 35 micrograms. Blue states wanted a 13 microgram per cubic meter per day standard so they sued EPA, believing that thousands of additional premature deaths could be prevented: 1) New York 2) Vermont 3) Rhode Island 4) Pennsylvania 5) Oregon 6) New Mexico 7) New Jersey 8) New Hampshire 9) Maine 10) Illinois 11) Delaware 12) Conecticut 13) California & Wash DC.

Some industry groups believe the 35 microgram standard is too stringent and have sued to increase the starndard: Nat'l Cattlemen's Beef Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Farm Bureau Federation & Nat'l Pork Producers Council. (Wash Post)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pollution Even Finds Blacks in Outer Space

The Washington Post recently reported that black astronaut Robert L. Curbeam Jr, left, was exposed to highly toxic ammonia on a previous mission in 2001 and could be exposed again during a risky repair job on the current mission. Disproportionate levels of pollution being located in minority communites is well documented from the environmental justice movement, but we had no idea this extends into low Earth orbit.

In 2001 ammonia leaked from a cooling line and coated Captain Curbeam's spacesuit. His helmet and suit were covered with an inch of frozen ice crystal ammonia and he had to stay outside for an entire orbit so the Sun could evaporate the ammonia. Captain Cuream is replacing a cooling pump on the current space shuttle mission and could be exposed to ammonia again. Capt Curbeam's nickname is Beamer.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

CBC Says Hostile Minority Hiring Environment on Hill

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is complaining about the lack of minorites working on Capitol Hill. The CBC has sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting mitigation of the descrimination. It is estimated that there are less than 50 Blacks among the hundreds of committee staff positions. What else is new? The environmental movement is worse.

A rumor circulating around Capitol Hill is that Republicans have a better reputation for hiring minorities than Democrats. The Democrats 'talk' a better game though. Then there is that modern fake: "We had no idea." The running joke on Capitol Hill is, "The only people who hire Blacks and Hispanics around here are Blacks, Hispanics and Republicans."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Congressional Black Caucus Supports Tax Relief Act

The Congressional Black Caucus supported the Tax Relief and Health Care Act, H.R. 6111, which included the offshore oil drilling provisions it opposed 29-9 earlier in the year. The CBC voted in favor of the tax bill by 27-7 with opponents including: Conyers, Hastings, Jackson, Lee, Meek, McKinney, & Payne. Fattah, Ford and Watson did not vote.

Congress Includes Energy Measures In Tax Bill Then Adjourns

The final Senate vote was 79-9 and the final House vote was 367-45. The legislation included a provisions to open 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling, which has been off-limits to exploration. The new law also provides tax credits for alternative energy producers and purchases of solar energy equipment by homeowners and businesses.

The drilling measure provides 37.5 percent of the royalties from oil and natural gas produced from Lease Area 181 of the Gulf of Mexico to Gulf producing states. The stateside Land and Water Conservation Fund would receive 12.5 percent. The other 50 percent would go to the federal treasury.

The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act is part of a massive tax-trade-health care package measure, HR.6111. The energy tax provisions in the HR.6111 package include:

* Extending of credit for electricity produced from certain renewable resources. This extension for one year is critical to continued installation of commercial electricity generation projects from wind and solar sources. Extending the credit a full year before it was set to expire on December 31, 2007
* Extending a 30 percent tax credit for the purchase of residential solar water heating, photovoltaic equipment, and fuel cell property. Expires after December 31, 2008.
* Extending 30 percent business credit, established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, for the purchase of fuel cell power plants, solar energy property, and fiber-optic property used to illuminate the inside of a building. After December 31, 2008, the credit reverts to a permanent 10 percent level.
* Extending of tax credit to holders of clean renewable energy bonds.
* Modifying of the clean coal gasification tax credit by providing a technical fix to the 2005 Energy Policy Act by setting a different reduction target for sulfur dioxide emissions from sub-bituminous coal, which already is a low-sulfur coal, in order to qualify for investment tax credits for installing clean coal technology.
* Extension of deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings extending for one year a deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings that reduce annual energy and power consumption by 50 percent.
* Extension for one year of a business credit to eligible contractors for building energy efficient new homes.
* Extending for one year a residential credit of 30 percent for purchasing qualified photovoltaic property and solar water heating property, and for qualified fuel cell power plants.
* Extending for one year a 30 percent energy credit for the business installation of qualified fuel cells, stationary microturbine power plants, and solar equipment.
* Extending a reduced excise tax rate for qualified methanol or ethanol fuel produced from coal.
* New special depreciation allowance for cellulosic biomass ethanol plant property.
* Modification of the coke and coke gas production tax credit. (Source: Environment News Service)

Publishing Companies Want to be Carbon Neutral

Publishing companies such as Time Inc (division of Time Warner), Hearst Corporation, News Corporation want to become carbon neutral according to a Heinz Center Study. According to the Energy Insormation Administration (EIA) the paper industry is the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide after chemical, petroleum and coal industries. Electric utilities account for 40 percent and cars account for 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, according to Princeton Univ's Michael Oppenheimer. The paper industry includes magazines, newspapers, catalogs and writing paper. Paper production produces a lot of carbon dioxide.

The big question is how can paper producers reduce their carbon dioxide production. In addition to advertisers requesting more accountablity, companies can purchase carbon offsets - carbon reducing activities that make up for greenhouse emissions. For instance, Time estimates that an average copy of their magazine produces about 0.29 pound of greenhouse gas emissions. Newsweek, which is owned by the Washington Post, and the newspaper should consider utilizing such carbon offsets. AAEA is developing a carbon offset program. Source: NYT

Saturday, December 09, 2006

HIV & Malaria in Africa: Does the Mosquito Spread Both

It is estimated that 40 million Africans are infected with HIV (UNAIDS)) whereas 300 million to 500 million suffer from malaria each year (World Health Organization). HIV is spread from person to person mostly by sexual contact, whereas malaria is spread by infected mosquitoes. The severe symptoms of malaria are caused by the tiny parasite Plasmodium falciparum and bring death to about 15 to 25% of those infected, dying when large quantities of infected red blood cells are destroyed in a single burst. HIV infection depletes immunologically important white blood cells causing AIDS, which results in death for most untreated patients. Interactions between antimalarial drugs and antiretroviral drug therapy can lead to an excessive risk of toxicity.

But can mosquitoes spread HIV?

With malaria the organisms survive and multiply in the insect, whereas HIV does not survive outside the body for very long, and it does not replicate in insects. Mosquitoes transmit malaria when they inject saliva into the victim. HIV does not get into the insect's saliva much and mosquitoes do not inject blood into the victim. Blood that remains on the bug's mouth or other body parts after it bites an AIDS victim also does not pose much risk, because the amount of blood present is very small, and the insect usually does not go directly from one feeding to another. (iVillage Health & Well Being) (About).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Speculation Chemicals Having Hormonal Effects on Humans

Researchers fear that chemicals in the environment have created compounds with hormonelike effects that could have negative effects upon humans. Industry reps dispute the speculations. U.S. Reps James P. Moran (D-Md) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) are asking EPA to test chemicals for hormonelike effects. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is hosting a public forum on hormone disrupting pollution in the Spring of 2007.

Researchers believe the peculiar pollution could contribute to diabetes, birth defects, infertility, reproductive defects, immune system alterations and obesity. Some researchers believe intersex fish, pictured above left, may occur as a result of chemicals in the water that mimic or antagonize hormone levels. Three sources of concern being examined are: 1) Bisphenol A, 2) Phthalates and 3) Treated Sewage. (Wash Post) Photo courtesy FWS

Hugo Chavez Reelected & Sells Cheap Oil on USA Television

Hugo Chavez, right, is on a roll. He calls President Bush "the devil" at the United Nations headquarters and proceeds to partner with Joe Kennedy's Citizens Energy Corporation to air television commercials offering heating oil at 40% below market rates. Citgo is the Venezuelan government-owned oil company. The commercials are running in 16 states and folks can call 1-877-JOE-4-OIL.

Why didn't Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover and Cornel West try to negotiate some sort of African American ownership of energy infrastruture or oil when they met with Chavez earlier this year? Instead, they simply went to Venezuela and denounced President Bush. Joe Kennedy, left, has been operating CEC for over 20 years. You would think that black leadership or entrepreneurship could have negotiated the ownership of at least one oil tanker during that time. Where is the American Association of Blacks in Energy when you need them?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Maryland Senate Environmental Committee Chairwoman

Maryland Senate President Mike Miller has made an excellent selection in appointing Joan Carter Conway, right, as the new Chair of the Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee. AAEA President Norris McDonald served on the Maryland Advisory Council on Environmental Justice with Senator Conway and she distinguished herself on that panel. She is a visionary with a commitment to promoting practical solutions to problems. Senator Conway has vast experience and has held a number of important position during her career.

A selected list of her service and appointments include, member of Senate since January 8, 1997. Vice-Chair, Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, 2003- 2006. Wetlands and Waterways Funding Work Group, 2004; Agricultural Stewardship Commission, 2005-06; Senate Special Commission on Electric Utility Deregulation Implementation, 2005-06. Secretary, Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland (formerly Maryland Legislative Black Caucus), 1998- 2006. Member, Advisory Council on Environmental Justice, 1997-99; Task Force on Indoor Air Quality, 2001-02; Member, Israel Baptist Church. Married; one son; two grandchildren.

Friday, December 01, 2006

2 Blacks on Same Shuttle: There Goes the Neighborhood

When a critical mass of blacks move into a white neighborhood, all or most of the whites move out. The pattern was clearly established in virtually every city in the U.S. in the 20th Century. The environment in space will probably be no different. We figure soon there will be shuttles with all black crews on the dark side of the Earth and all white crews on the sun side. Just as on Earth, there can't be too much race mixing in outer space. Maybe NASA didn't get the memo.

Seriously, it is great that it has become common for blacks to travel in space. Special thanks to Booker Rising for pointing this out. Joan Higginbotham, above left, and Robert Curbeam Jr, above right, will blast off from Cape Kennedy on December 7 for 12 days in space.

Higginbotham, 42, is from Chicago and Curbeam, 44, is from Baltimore. Both will be working on the International Space Station. Curbeam will make a couple of spacewalks to help rewire the station. You had to know they would put the brother on a construction crew :) Two other black women have flown in space on the shuttle, Dr. Mae Jemison and Stephanie Wilson (earlier this year). Higginbotham has an electrical engineering degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Curbeam attended Top Gun flight school and has an aerospace engineering degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and an aeronautical engineering degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Guin Buford was the first Black male to fly in space in 1983. Ronald McNair died in the Challenger explosion shortly after liftoff and Michael Anderson was lost in 2003 when the space shuttle burned and exploded during reentry. (The Washington Afro American)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New Endangered Species Act Needed for Black Men?

Sometimes it appears that black men are threatened from all angles. From white racism to black-on-black crime, black males appear to be endangered. The recent execution of another unarmed black man in New York with 50 unanswered shots is the latest example of the threat. Two of the five men firing 50 shots at the car in New York were white. The Latino officer that started the shooting thought someone was reaching for a gun. Michael Richards shooting off his mouth with murderous epithets represented an old time response to 'uppity blacks.'

So maybe the 110th Congress controlled by the party that is 'supposed' to be more sympathetic to the concerns of black people should consider passing an Endangered Black Males Act. Of course, then white males might complain that they are outnumbered in the world and thus more threatened than historically abused black men. Who knows how an EBM Act could protect black men from hate anyway? We just know that a world without black men would be a miserable world.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Global Warming

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments for Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, which seeks to force EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. EPA does not believes the Clean Air Act covers carbon dioxide as an emission that can be regulated. There are also complex legal questions as to who has standing regarding injury.

The Clean Air Act states that the EPA Administrator "shall by regulation prescribe...standards applicable to the emission of any air pollution from any class or classes ofnew motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines, which in his judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution, which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare."

The New York Times reporter writing about this issue is actually named Linda Greenhouse. Go figure.

(Wash Post)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fight in Senate Environment & Public Works Committee

Senator John Warner (R-VA), left, decided to start a fight with former EP&W Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), right, over who will be the top Republican on the committee. Senator Warner declared his seniority for EP&W because he lost his chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee. Warner is the senior member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, but Inhofe is the immediate past chairman. GOP senators will make the decision on the ranking minority member of the EP& W Committee for the 110th Congress by Jan 3.

Warner probably wants to give the GOP a more user-friendly face on global warming. Senator Inhofe is very aggressive in promoting his view that climate warming is not a problem but simply a normal cycle in atmospheric conditions. Senator Barbara Boxer, the new EP&W Chairwoman, will loudly promote a proactive climate change agenda all the way up to the 2008 presidential elections. The voting public is seriously concerned about global warming as long as they do not have to make any personal sacrifices to prevent it. Voting is much easier than giving up that SUV for a Prius.

Friday, November 17, 2006

India Nuclear Power Deal Approved by U.S. Senate

On a vote of 82 to12 (Nov 16) the U.S. Senate approved a deal that will provide them with U.S. nuclear power technology without India being a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which bars such deals.

Harvard Just Improved its Environment

Harvard University has announced that from now on undergraduate students from low-income families will pay no tuition and will not require student loans. If you know of a family earning less than $60,000 a year with an honor student graduating from high school soon, Harvard University wants to pay the tuition.

In addition, Harvard announced reduced fees for students from families with incomesbetween $60,000 and $80,000. To find out more about Harvard offering free tuition for families making less than $60,000 a year visit Harvard's financial aid website.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Joe Lieberman: The Fox of the U.S. Senate

We like Senator Joe Lieberman because he helped in passing the "1st Civil Rights Legislation of the 21st Century - the NO FEAR Act," defends Israel, is reasonable about war, is good on global climate change, supports nuclear power and was a good VP nominee.

Now what about pulling off a victory after losing his primary and being deserted by his party? Being deserted by his party comrades did not distract the Senate Fox. Now an Independent, he still threw his support behind those that deserted him to help the Democrats take control of the U.S. Senate. Connecticut might be in a precarious position in meeting its electricity needs, but they produced real power by reelecting Desert Fox Joe Lieberman. Go get'em Joe.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Monkey Won the U.S. Senate for the Democrats

AAEA is delighted that racism lost in the Virginia senate race. Former Senator George Allen, right, was finally penalized for his sneaky brand of racism and we are glad he is out of the U.S. Senate and off the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. Modern sneaky racism is still toxic. George's pollution was finally caught on camera.

He knew S.R. Sidarth, left, and knew his name but called him "macaca or whatever his name is." Allen then tried to lie his way out of his videotaped racism. The lame "I had no idea" excuse is old with victims of racism. Fortunately, the U.S. Senate has one less (sneaky) bigot.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

African American President & CEO of Hitachi Canada

Howard Lincoln Shearer, right, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hitachi Canada Ltd (HCL). He joined Hitachi in October, 1984. He is also a member of HCL's Board of Directors, a position to which he was appointed in 1999. Prior to this, he served as Vice-President & General Manager of HCL's Semiconductor division.

Prior to joining Hitachi, Mr. Shearer was employed in the high-tech industry by Texas Instruments. Mr. Shearer holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario and is a member of the Energy Council of Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Association.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Oprah Winfrey & the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dedication

Oprah Winfrey, left, with AAEA President Norris McDonald, surprised attendees by walking through the crowd at the Ceremonial Groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial. She walked right up to our president and shared a moment (even though the crowd almost ruined the photo). The people rushed Oprah and she indulged them. Oprah shared herself with the people and they loved it.

The memorial will be located between the Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt memorials on the National Mall near the Potomac River facing the Tidal Basin. President Bush, former President Bill Clinton, The King Progeny, Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Walter Fauntroy, and many other dignitaries particupated in the event.

SOS To Oprah: If you ever see this, would you please take a better picture with Norris McDonald. Thanks. That shot is pretty desperate.

Asthma, Puerto Rico and Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer

The New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Caucus held its 2006 Winter Conference at the Intercontinental Hotel, Resort & Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico from November 9-14. AAEA President Norris McDonald was a speaker on the panel entitled, "A Public Health Crisis in the Hispanic Community in New York and Puerto Rico." McDonald is pictured at left with the New York governor-elect at the 'Evening Reception: An Evening with Eliot Spitzer.

The asthma panel included an examination of the status of asthma in Hispanic communities across NY and Puerto Rico. The discussion included the physical and psychological impact of asthma and practical solutions that government and health care must address. Panelists also included Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY 7th), Sharon Carpenillo, Commissioner of NYS Office of Mental Health, among others and Mark J. Weinstein was the workshop coordinator. McDonald suggested that Puerto Rico could become the Japan of plug-in, fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles. Combined with nuclear power, the U.S. and Puerto Rico could go far in cleaning the air.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Political Environment in America's Richest Black County

Michael Steele received 23% of the vote in Prince George's County in the general election and Kweisi Mfume received 71% of the vote in the primary against Senator-elect Benjamin Cardin. The percentages were similar for Baltimore City. Cardin beat Steele statewide by a margin of 55 to 44 percent.

Even though Blacks expressed more frutration with being neglected by the Democratic Party, they refused to translate that frustration into votes for a Black running as a Republican. Former County Executive Wayne Curry and all five of the Black members of the current county council endorsed Michael Steele.

Black voters in the richest majority black county in the country voted party over race. Another of the nation's richest counties, Montgomery County, elected a black man, Ike Leggett, as its county executive. Massachusetts also elected a black governor, Deval Patrick. Although race still matters in the U.S., it does not seem to matter as much as it used to. Imagine that.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Democrats Take Congress: CBC Heads Major Committees

Congressional Black Caucus members John Conyers (D-Mich) will be chair of the Judiciary Committee, Charles Rangel (D-NY) will chair the Wsys & Means Committee, Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) will chair the Homeland Security Committee, Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif) will chair the House Administration Committee and Alcee Hastins (D-Fl) will chair the House Intelligence Committee.

Senator Barack Obama is on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, where Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will replace James Inhofe (R-OK) as chairman. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) will chair Senate Energy & Natural Resources. John Dingell (D-Mich) will chair the House Energy & Commerce Committee and Nick Rahall (DWV) will chair the House Resources Committee.

The CBC lost the Harold Ford (D-TN) seat. New CBC members include: Hank Johnson (D-GA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Yvette Clark (D-NY). Johnson replaced Cynthia McKinney and Clark replaced Major Owens. With the loss of Ford and the gain of Clark, the total number of CBC members remains the same at 41. Keith Ellion is the nation's first Muslim member of Congress. (The Afro American Newspapers)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Intercounty Connector Lawsuit By Greens Counterproductive

Hope Babcock surely believes she is right about the Intercounty Connector causing more air pollution, but she is wrong. The pending lawsuit by her Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center represents an example of what is wrong with the 21st Century environmental movement. Although we do not expect much out of the Sierra Club in these matters, we are disappointed that Environmental Defense, one of the more sensible environmental groups., is party to this anachronistic litigation. The Intercounty Connector, along with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement and the improvements at the Mixing Bowl will improve environmental conditions in the Washington Metropolitan Area.

The greens are using the Clean Air Act nonattainment status of the Washington Metropolitan Area as the excuse for the litigation. Although the Clean Air Act does call for banning new highway construction for nonattainment areas, the provision is rarely enforced by EPA or Congress. Moreover, highways do not cause air pollution, cars cause air pollution. This flawed 'stick' in the law should be modified or eliminated because it does not work. Nuclear power plants combined with fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are real technological solutions to the air pollution and global warming problems. Litigating a dead horse will not help in winning any horse races. The environmental movement should move into the 21st Century.

Bill Gates Enters Energy Industry: Electricity & Ethanol

He revolutionized computers, left the revolution to pursue philanthropy, and is now entering the energy business. Cascade Investments LLC is Gates' investment vehicle and it has purchased PNM Resources Inc, a New Mexico utility. PNM and Cascade have formed a new company called EnergyCo Ltd to market electricity from unregulated power plants (called merchant generators). PNM is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Gates' Cascade invested almost $ 84 in Pacific Ethanol Inc earlier in 2006. (Wash Post)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Annual U.N. Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, Kenya

Approximately 5,000 delegates representing 189 countries are meeting in Nairobi, Kenya at the annual U.N. Climate Conference for the next two weeks to preview the latest scientific findings on a warming world. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an annex to the 1992 U.N. climate-change treaty, requires 35 industrialized countries to reduce those emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The conference will continue talks on what kind of emissions targets and timetables should follow 2012.

Signs of global warming are the dramatic ice meltings in the Arctic and Greenland's ice mass. Japan, Spain and other Kyoto signatories have registered emissions increases since 1990. A recent British government study predicts the damage from unabated climate change will eventually cost between 5 percent and 20 percent of global gross domestic product each year. A U.N. Environment Program report issued at the conference concluded that Africa' vulnerability to climate change was "even more acute" than prviously estimated.

Friday, November 03, 2006

AAEA Parent Opens Carbon Mercantile Exchange

The Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy (the Center) has opened an emissions trading service with carbon dioxide as the main commodity. The Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX) is a service that allows clients to trade carbon dioxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury. Customers can reduce their "emission footprint," the total emissions created by driving, flying, usnig electricity and other activities. CMX is easy to use and fully transparent. All transactions are open for public review. The CMX is a free on-line emissions offset clearinghouse service.

CMX can be used to complement other emissions offset programs. Our mission is to promote verifiable reductions in greenhouse and smog-forming gases. The service is open to everyone. It is a market-based system that will rely on the goodwill of the participants to conduct honest trades. The service is a dynamic portal that will serve as a gateway for innovative emissions reductions. CMX is one part of a global effort to reduce global climate change and smog in our cities.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Green Magazine: Green Golf Never Looked So Good

The Green Magazine, a golfing publication by Vision Media and Communications, LLC, has a goal of capturing a growing yet untapped market of affluent multicultural subscribers consisting primarily of African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans. The cover stories focus on the lifestyles of accomplished personalities, well-known entertainers, sports celebrities, or leading business figures who share the readers' passion for golf. Sections include travel, business, finance, dining, and equipment highlights.

The Green Magazine represents the good life well lived by people of every color. They represent the move beyond the typical multicultural paradigm by uncompromisingly developing content and imagery that is reflective of the African-American, Hispanic and Asian markets. The editorial content unapologetically affirms the burgeoning presence of the affluent multicultural market and anticipates its growth. Their language sounds great. Bottom line: this is one of the most polished and graphically appealing magazines we have ever seen anywhere by anyone.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

President's Corner ...................................... The Hamptons

By Norris McDonald. AAEA established a New York Office four years ago, but thanks to Danny Newman and Samara Swanston, I have been hanging out with Mother Nature in The Hamptons lately. Danny and Samara have a weekend home in Sag Harbor near East Hampton on the Atlantic Ocean side at the end of Long Island. Only Montauk is farther out. It is a two hour train ride from Penn Station or a three hour ride on the Hampton Jitney. Regardless, it is worth it when you get there. Beautiful ocean views, wetlands, geese, vineyards, old money and new money. I am pictured with Danny & Samara in the upper right photo.

Samara and Danny, fishing upper left, are a great couple, lawyers, musicians and nature lovers. There is a piano at the house and Danny tickles the ivories often. Samara is learning to play bass guitar. She could easily be a great club torch singer. We have been fishing, clamming site seeing, hanging at pubs, and bird watching in their back yard. A recent visit to a local winery (Wolffer Estate Vineyard) for a portfolio tasting left all of us with broad smiles on our faces upon leaving. The Atlantic Ocean was raging during a walk along the beach under high winds. Samara & Danny have provided me with a great treat after my many excursions to New York to work on pressing energy and environmental issues in the city and state.

New U.K. Report Says Climate Change Will Hurt Economy

Sir Nicholas Stern, left, Head of the Government Economics Service and Adviser to the Government on the economics of climate change and development, has presented his report on the Economics of Climate Change. The report examines the latest scientific evidence on climate change and how economic theory can help us analyse the relationship between climate change and the divergent paths for growth and development that will result from ‘business as usual’ approaches and from strong action to reduce emissions.

It explains the technical foundations necessary for the economics that the scientific analysis dictates. It addresses the complex issues involved in the comparison of alternative paths and their implications for individuals in different places and generations. It addresses ethical issues concerning the aggregation of the welfare of individuals across time, place and uncertain outcomes. Finally, it provides a technical explanation of the approach to discounting used throughout the Review and an analysis of the costs of climate-change impacts.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Washington Post Challenges Bush But Ignores Mirror

The Washington Post says President Bush should do something about global warming during his last two years in office. Yet the main newspaper for our nation's capital does not have a global warming program (at least that we are aware of). And aren't they killing trees like crazy to spew their partisan, left-wing coverage? In addition to changes The Post could make to reduce its carbon footprint, we would be happy to provide them with carbon offsets for additional savings. But we will not hold our breath (even though that would minutely reduce carbaon emissions).

President Bush authored and passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the best piece of global warming legislation in history because of the supports for electric vehicles and emission free production of electricity from new nuclear power plants. The Washington Post should look in its own backyard before it looks in Bush's. We agree with The Washington Post though, President Bush should provide even more incentives for plug-in fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles and new nuclear power plants.