Toyota

Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon



Thursday, February 28, 2008

Corporate Tax Avoidance Proposals

MBPC released a comparison of the proposed corporate tax avoidance proposals:

February 28, 2008
Recently, both the Governor and the Speaker of the House have announced their support for tax policy reforms aimed at reducing corporate tax avoidance. Both have also proposed using revenue raised by reducing tax avoidance to pay for a corporate tax rate cut. The rate cut proposed by the Speaker would be significantly larger and would begin sooner than that proposed by the Governor. This MassBudget Brief describes these two proposals and some alternatives.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The cold truth about climate change

Excerpts of Salon's new article available below:

The cold truth about climate change
Deniers continue to insist there's no consensus on global warming.
Well, there's not. There's well-tested science and real-world observations.
By Joseph Romm
Feb. 27, 2008 The more I write about
global warming, the more I realize I share some things in common with the doubters and deniers who populate the blogosphere and the conservative movement. Like them, I am dubious about the process used by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to write its reports. Like them, I am skeptical of the so-called consensus on climate science as reflected in the IPCC reports. Like them, I disagree with people who say "the science is settled." But that's where the agreement ends.
The science isn't settled -- it's unsettling, and getting more so every year as the scientific community learns more about the catastrophic consequences of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.
.
In Conclusion:
.
The result, as a number of studies have shown, is that the sensitivity of the world's climate to human emissions of greenhouse gases is no doubt much higher than the sensitivity used in most IPCC models. NASA's Hansen argued in a paper last year that the climate ultimately has twice the sensitivity used in IPCC models.
.
The bottom line is that recent observations and research make clear the planet almost certainly faces a greater and more imminent threat than is laid out in the IPCC reports. That's why climate scientists are so desperate. That's why they keep begging for immediate action. And that's why the "consensus on global warming" is a phrase that should be forever retired from the climate debate.
.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crude Rallies.....

MarketWatch reports:
.
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Crude-oil futures rallied more than $2 on Tuesday to above $101 a barrel as cold weather in the U.S. continued. Heating oil surged to a new record high.
Crude for April delivery gained $2.34, or 2.4%, to a new high of $101.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in mid-afternoon trading. The intraday high surpasses crude's last record of $100.65 hit last week.
Other energy futures also surged. Heating-oil futures for March delivery surged to $2.8174 a gallon, the highest a front-month contract has ever seen, and natural-gas futures for March delivery gained 21.1 cents to $10.212 per million British thermal units, the highest since January 2006.
.
Also helping Tuesday's rally in oil prices was the weaker dollar. The index, which tracks the value of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, fell 0.6% to 75.08. See Currencies.
A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities, such as oil, less expensive for buyers holding other currencies. Those buyers are likely to bid up prices.
.
Since energy prices are again making news, the following is passed along for additional energy saving information.
.
The Middleborough Gas & Electric Department offers Saving Energy on their web site. The G&E newsletter, the Messenger, includes links to: Insulation Smart, and BUILDER Online.
.
Oak Ridge National Laboratories offers Building Technologies, including a great deal of information, beginning with the following comments:
ORNL research in building technologies supports the DOE goals of achieving zero energy homes by 2020 and zero energy buildings of all kinds by 2025.
.
Buildings account for 43% of the nation's carbon emissions and the consumption of 39% of our total primary energy, 71% of our electricity, and 55% of our natural gas.
.
Rather than feeling stressed, oppressed and enslaved by energy costs, household energy consumption CAN be reduced to reasonable levels.
.
UCS offers the following explanation on the pending Massachusetts legislation:
.
Support Clean Energy in Massachusetts
As the conference committee irons out differences between the Massachusetts Senate (
S. 2468) and House of Representatives (H.4373) (pdf) versions of the energy bill, the Union of Concerned Scientists is urging them to resolve several critical issues.....LINK
.
NRDC provides information about pending federal legislation:
.
Tell your representative to vote Yes for clean, renewable energy
The House of Representatives will vote soon on a bill to extend federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that have expired or will expire by the end of this year. Urge your representative to vote Yes on these important clean energy incentives right away.
.
H.R. 5351 would pay for the clean energy technology incentives, which cost about $1.7 billion per year, by rolling back subsidies to the oil industry. The profits of the big five oil companies were about $123 billion in 2007, and the price of oil is also hovering around $100 per barrel. LINK

Monday, February 25, 2008

Offending Comments Removed, No Apology

The following offensive blog that many commented on has been removed (spelling mistakes and grammatical errors left):
.
.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
.
The Racism Issue with Regard to the Casino: Fact or Fiction--Or Just Too Confusing To Tell
.
First, the blog about Bumpkin's sovereingty blog was not intended to suggest that he is a racist--although I can understand the sensitivity, just as he can understand my sensitivity to certain statements made about me on various blogs. He and I have settled up our differences, while others maintain their incessant level of pique.
.
That being said, the topic we are debating has--by its very nature--a racial focus. It is about indians and their sovereign rights and the fact that they choose to pursue those rights through the economic engine of a casino. You cannot separate one from the other.
.
What concerns me, and makes me comment in the way I do, is that the theory that is being presented--unwittingly by most--is the nation within a nation theory. This is a theory that was used by Hitler to irradicate millions of jews in Europe, including many of my ancestors. So when you start talking about how dangerous it is to have a sovereign nation in the midst of the Town, because they will be self serving and mistreat anyone who is not a part of their group, you begin to highlight for me a theory which has little merit--since they have already received sovereign status and that is not the fight in front of us.
.
So while you may be sensitive to the possibility of being called a racist, I am sensitive to the possibility of witnessing or experiencing racism. It os the farthest thing from my mind that Mark is a racist, and I do not believe he is. I just think that some theories bear more scrutiny based on their past use in other contexts, because those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.Mark.
.
I do not believe you are a racist.

.

.

The following comment was offered in its place:
.

Monday, February 25, 2008

In the Spirit Of Heightening and Furthering Discussion
I have removed the two blogs that apparently offended a number of individuals--no it wasn't because of you Jesse, and it wasn't the station. It simply is a matter of me not fanning that particular issue, and thinking the better of it from Mark's reaction. But notice...Gladys and some others...it is possible to remove what others may find offensive from your site...and the sky does not fall! Try it sometime. It feels good. Mark...as I said before, it is more important for the conversation to continue at a better pitch, and I am sure that different imagery could still have made my point. P.S.: I still detest the "nation within a nation" argument, and wholly disagree with the sovereignty argument. But we will leave that for another day.
Posted by AMB at
5:17 PM
.

.

Nowhere is there a suggestion that the analogy was inappropriate or anything resembling a recognition of an inappropriate choice of phraseology.

.

Readers are encouraged to save Mr. Bond's comments, along with numerous other public quotes for future use.

.

His comments will remain posted on this site.


NEW BLOG --- Coffee Not

Middleboro Selectman Adam Bond recently started a blog.

It was quickly noticed that Mr. Bond didn't accept those comments that just might be critical of him.

Then Mr. Bond began responding to comments that he had deleted in his blog which has been pretty bizzarre.

Mr. Bond solicits questions with the comment that he doesn't have time to answer, but it also appears he doesn't have time to carefully consider his thoughts prior to posting or to organize his posts for content or to review his posts for gramatical errors or even to use spellcheck.
.
If your comment has been deleted, consider commenting on the following blog:





Coffee Not
This blog was created in response to Adam Bond's Coffee Talk blog.
www.coffeeshoptalk-wxbr.blogspot.com Adam won't publish our comments - so we publish them here!

WXBR 1460 AM

Do you think that a radio station that has a local reputation to protect and is directly linked to Coffee Shop Talk wants to be connected to inflammatory comments linking the Holocaust to Casino Opponents?
.
.
They might appreciate it if you share your thoughts with them: 508 587-2400.
.
This is what Dan Kennedy had to say in MediaNation:
.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
He's just sayin', that's all
Adam Bond, the Middleborough selectman who led the effort to bring casino gambling to town, wants you to know that he would never, ever be so gross as to
compare casino opponents to Nazis. Just like the pro-casino folks at Casino-friend.com would never, ever stoop so low as to compare us to the Ku Klux Klan.

.

.

And consider what Bellicose Bumpkin had to say in Heil Bumpkin .


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Random Thoughts From A Shikseh

A shikseh, a Yiddish word, is defined as a non-Jewish girl or woman.
.
Having grown up in a predominately Jewish community that was filled with first- or second-generation Holocaust survivors, their histories and experiences were widely shared, as well as taught in schools.
.
Into the course of adulthood, I have read many accounts of the period of time to gain further understanding of the economic conditions that led to the rise of Nazism and the wartime reparations.
.
The manipulation of the populace was masterful in creating a fearful people after the Burning of the Reichstag by an arsonist who later confessed that Hitler had paid him.
.
Might one label it a terrorist act?
.
And the successful propaganda campaign convincing of the evil of THOSE OTHERS.
.
And the successful blaming of others to distract from failed internal policies.
.

.
One must divorce oneself from humanity to read accounts of the medical experiments conducted by Dr. Josef Mengele and others.
.
Reading accounts about the machinations of extermination with ever increasing efficiency, one must not allow recognition of humanity to intrude.
.
During the rampage through Europe, extermination included Catholic Priests, Gays, Mentally Retarded, Physically Handicapped, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Romani, and many other groups targeted.
.
.
wikipedia offers:
Medical experiments
A cold water immersion experiment at Dachau concentration camp presided over by Professor Holzlohner (left) and Dr. Rascher (right).
Romani children in Auschwitz, victims of medical experiments.
Further information: Nazi human experimentation
Another distinctive feature was the extensive use of human subjects in medical experiments. German physicians carried out such experiments at Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Ravensbrück, Sachsenhausen and Natzweiler concentration camps.[19]
The most notorious of these physicians was Dr. Josef Mengele, who worked in Auschwitz. His experiments included placing subjects in pressure chambers, testing drugs on them, freezing them, attempting to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children's eyes, and various amputations and other brutal surgeries.[20] The full extent of his work will never be known because the truckload of records he sent to Dr. Otmar von Verschuer at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute were destroyed by von Verschuer.[21] Subjects who survived Mengele's experiments were almost always killed and dissected after the experiments.
.
Victims
Killed
.
Soviet POWs
2–3 million
.
Politicals
1–1.5 million
.
Serbs
600,000
.
Poles
200,000+
.
Roma
220,000–500,000
.
Freemasons
80,000–200,000
.
Disabled
200,000–250,000
.
Spanish POWs
7,000–16,000
.
Jehovah'sWitnesses
2,500–5,000
.
South of Poland, between 500,000 and 1.2 million
.
Wikipedia offers the following list of Jews exterminated by country:
.
Country or territory
.
Poland
.
3,000,000
.
Baltic countries
.
228,000
.
Germany & Austria
.
210,000
.
Bohemia & Moravia
.
80,000
.
54,000
.
The Netherlands
.
105,000
.
Hungary
.
450,000
.
Byelorussian SSR
.
245,000
.
Ukrainian SSR
.
900,000
.
Belgium
.
40,000
.
Yugoslavia
.
26,000
.
Romania
.
300,000
.
Norway
.
900
.
France
.
90,000
.
Bulgaria
.
14,000
.
Italy
.
107,000
.
?
.
?
.
Total
.
5,933,900
.
In my life, I have spoken with Holocaust Survivors, as well as survivors of Japanese Concentration Camps, the Japanese Death March, those who fled Pol Pot, Kosovo, and South American dictators.
.
For some insight into Japanese conduct, check Wikipedia .
.
.
.
That being said, I was speechless, a truly rare event, when I discovered Mr. Bond's comments, as follows (emphasis mine, misspellings his):
.

What concerns me, and makes me comment in the way I do, is that the theory that is being presented--unwittingly by most--is the nation within a nation theory. This is a theory that was used by Hitler to irradicate [sic] millions of jews in Europe, including many of my ancestors. So when you start talking about how dangerous it is to have a sovereign nation in the midst of the Town, because they will be self serving and mistreat anyone who is not a part of their group, you begin to highlight for me a theory which has little merit--since they have already received sovereign status and that is not the fight in front of us.
.

In response to the issue of Sovereign Immunity, Mr. Bond chose to suggest RACISM, yet again.

.

Failing that, Mr. Bond instead raised the Holocaust as a sympathy issue.

.

History is replete with despicable acts. In context, they are man being savage, but fail to mandate reparations.

.

Europeans settlers may have committed offenses against long gone native peoples, but I fail to find medical experiments, labor camps, planned extermination or gas chambers that rise to the level of the Holocaust.

.

Mr. Bond:

.

This is about wealthy casino investors and not about the Holocaust.

.

You have lowered the tone of the discussion to the gutter and you need

.

to do better.

.

The following are previous posts about racism: Middleboro Recall

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vic Sylvia's Passing Will Leave A Void

Middleboro mourns loss of activist M. Victor Sylvia
Sylvia is credited with helping make Middleboro a better place to live.
By Alice C. Elwell
Enterprise correspondent
Posted Feb 23, 2008 @ 10:55 PM
MIDDLEBORO —
M. Victor Sylvia, known for local activism, speeches at town meeting, and simple homespun words to selectmen during their weekly meetings, died in his sleep Saturday morning. He was 78. Enterprise
.
Vic was one of those rare individuals with whom one could disagree and joke about the differences of opinion.
.
He willingly shared his extensive knowledge of town history, hazardous waste sites and ALS clusters. Without his dogged determination, it is doubtful the ALS registry would have come into existence. And he always reminded 'I'm not going to be around forever.' The attention that was focused on ALS in Middleboro will stand as part of his legacy to the Town.
.
And without his devoted partner, it would never have happened.
.
Peace be with you, Vic!

Farm to Fridge

With little public outrage, video was leaked about Westland/Hallmark Meat Company's treatment/mistreatment of cattle destined for the food supply.
.
Not to worry!
.
It was in California.
.
And the food went to school lunch programs.
.
But rest assured, the Department of Agriculture continues to assure that the food on your table is safe.
.
Breath a sigh of relief!
.
After all, aren't you glad that businesses aren't overburdened with inspections?
.
And those large tax cuts you received that reduced the size of government also reduced the bureaucracy of those inspectors.
.
Just too damn many government employees anyway!
.
Farm to Fridge
.
CSMonitor
Huge meat recall prods further reforms
From fast-food chains to Congress, moves are afoot to reduce animal suffering and ensure food safety

Other bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate would ban US Department of Agriculture inspectors from approving any meat from sick and injured cattle, sheep, pigs, and other animals, closing a regulation loophole critics say now exists. It also requires immediate humane euthanasia for farm animals unable to stand.
So-called "downer" cattle are at the heart of mad cow disease. Known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), it is believed to be carried by animal feed made from cattle brains or spinal cord. Because the inability to walk or get up is a sign of an advanced stage of mad cow disease, the USDA generally prohibits downer cattle from being used as food – either for human consumption or indirectly as feed for other animals that might become part of the human food chain.
.
Largest Recall of Ground Beef Is Ordered NYT
By ANDREW MARTIN
A California meat company on Sunday issued the largest beef recall in history, 143 million pounds, some of which was used in school lunch programs, Department of Agriculture officials announced.
The recall by the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company, based in Chino, Calif., comes after a widening animal-abuse scandal that started after the
Humane Society of the United States distributed an undercover video on Jan. 30 that showed workers kicking sick cows and using forklifts to force them to walk.
.
“The recall is obviously the big news,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society. “The longer-term problem is the inadequacies of the inspection system. How can so many downers have been mistreated day after day within a U.S.D.A. oversight system that was present at the plant?
.
To make you feel better:
.
Department of Agriculture inspectors conduct pre-slaughter inspections on all cattle on the day of slaughter. If an animal becomes unable to walk, before or at the time it is presented for slaughter, employees of the slaughterhouse are required to summon a Department of Agriculture veterinarian.
.
Aren't you glad you supported a policy that prevented your tax dollars from being used to unfairly regulate businesses?

More Wind Mills or Hot Air?

The facts are abundantly clear.
.
Scientists around the world are telling you that you've waited too long to address global warming and the changes will be catastrophic.
.
At best, it appears we can only HOPE to moderate the impacts to retain a planet fit for humans.
.
Climate Code Red - The New Denial And The Failure Of Democracy
By Bill Henderson
21 February, 2008
Countercurrents.org
A
new report based upon state of the art science argues convincingly that climate change is a much more serious and immediate problem than previously perceived by even informed publics - climate change is an emergency that requires urgent mitigation measures not presently possible in our political and economic systems.
No major media outlet acknowledges let alone critiques or comments upon or otherwise covers the report. None. Not AP nor Reuters; not either ABC nor BBC. Ditto the NY Times, Wash Post, Guardian, Le Monde, Asahi Shimbun or the South China Morning Post. Not one major news agency, paper, TV or radio outlet so much as acknowledges the existence of a report on a subject that is life and death for humanity and most of the species with which we presently share creation on this small blue planet.
.
Computer modeling was inaccurate at best and now has been proven to be extremely conservative about the rapidity of changes and effects.
.
CapeCodToday reports, curiously buried beneath an ESPN story:
.
UN report: Climate changes threatens vital fishing grounds
Overfishing, pollution and climate change are combining to create a deadly environment for commercial fish stocks, according to a new report from the United Nations. The
report (In Dead Water), released today from the U.N. Environment Program, found a grim confluence of events. The researchers found that climate change is compounding other problems, like pollution and overfishing, as rising temperatures lead to coral bleaching and shifts in ocean currents that harm the ocean habitat on which fish depend.
.
Other nations that have gotten the message are aggressively moving forward to address the issue:
.
Centrica mulls huge offshore windfarms investment
All UK homes could be wind powered by 2020: govt
Britain plans big move towards wind power: paper
Largest Ever Wind Turbine Deal Signed
Ireland gives support package for wind farm growth
By Pete Harrison
LONDON (Reuters) - British Gas parent company Centrica said on Thursday it was evaluating a potential multi-billion pound increase in investment in renewable energy, largely targeted at offshore turbines.
The move would help Britain achieve ambitious goals of producing 33 gigawatts of electricity from offshore wind by 2020, enough to power every UK home, at an overall cost of around 70 billion pounds ($136 billion).
.
Ponderous tomes have been written about Peak Oil, and some among us still convince ourselves the supply is endless. A google search provides endless information for those who doubt.
.
Exxon, while enjoying breathtaking profits, has yet to pay for damages caused by the Exxon Valdez and recent oil spills continued to create comparable environmental destruction that are largely ignored.
.
.
So it is with great puzzlement that opposition to Cape Wind or ANY wind farm is viewed as meaningful.
.
It certainly seems that the obstruction of the views of certain wealthy residents is carefully cloaked in a variety of issues.
.
Rep. Quinn had this to say (emphasis mine):
.
Quinn: Sneaky maneuvers could harm ocean sanctuaries
By John F. Quinn, Local columnist
The MetroWest Daily News
.
The Massachusetts Ocean Sanctuaries Act was designed to prevent development in Massachusetts state waters in order to avert destruction of environmental habitat and to protect natural resources. It also helps make Massachusetts one of the most attractive destinations for tourists from all over the country. From Newburyport to Cape Cod, Duxbury to Buzzards Bay, people are attracted to the beautiful coastline to boat, swim and spend quality time with their families.
.
Last week, however, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a version of the Ocean Management Act which I believe was a Trojan horse to slip through a massive change in the Ocean Sanctuaries Act without public input and without a public hearing. This change was opposed by the Conservation Law Foundation, the Audubon Society and the Coalition for Buzzards Bay, due to the devastation it may bring to the coastline. The change would allow large scale renewable energy facilities to be constructed in ocean sanctuaries in Massachusetts state waters.
.
.
CapeCodToday provided this (emphasis mine):
.
Currently only traditional energy facilities are allowed in state waters.
.
.
This appears to mean a DIRTY COAL-FIRED power plant can be constructed in coastal waters without restraint, but not wind.
.
One must wonder why the OPPOSITION isn't proclaiming TIDAL WAVE POWER to protect the view (lessons in physics aside).
.
To make the argument of a personal relationship betraying the House Speaker position leaves one to shrug and define the issue as 'Politics as usual in the Commonwealth.'
.
Were you asked your opinion about accepting the bonding burden for the BIG DIG and the long term repair and maintenance costs?
.
Is it truly any different to allow DIRTY ENERGY composed of multi-nationals to construct a plant?
.
UCS had this to say about DIRTY COAL:
.
Coal generates 54% of our electricity, and is the single biggest air polluter in the U.S.
.
A typical (500 megawatt) coal plant burns 1.4 million tons of coal each year. There are about 600 U.S. coal plants. Coal pollutes when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned. Click on the pictures above left to see more about the kinds of environmental damage caused by coal.
.
UCS had this to say of the pending ENERGY LEGISLATION:
.
Support Clean Energy in Massachusetts
.
Strong energy legislation can help reduce global warming pollution, save consumers money, increase our energy independence, and keep our air and water clean. The Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives have each passed comprehensive energy bills. Each bill contains provisions supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists and our allies—including good efficiency and renewable energy provisions. But neither bill contains all the best provisions. As a conference committee begins to reconcile the two versions of the bill, we are working to ensure that the final version is the strongest possible, and we need your help.
.
Please call and urge your senator and representative to contact the conferees about including the strongest provisions of the house and senate bills.
.
.
At a certain point, we all need to recognize where our priorities lie and to speak out.
.
Do you have an opinion?
.
Let it be known.
.

Rep. Thomas J. Calter
617 722-2305
.
Rep. Stephen R. Canessa
617 722-2460
.
Rep. William M. Straus
617 722-2320
.
Senator Marc R. Pacheco
Marc.Pacheco@state.ma.us
617 722-1551
.
.
And don't forget to ask the Middleboro Selectmen what they're doing about energy consumption and alternatives.
.
.
.
Peter Kenney had this to say about the Cape Cod Commission.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Coal is Dirty!

Shortly after one of the recent energy blogs, I was disappointed to read the uninformed posts in another venue about COAL GASSIFICATION and the widespread propaganda of BIG COAL.
.
AMERICAN PROGRESS had this to say (excerpts only, read the article in its entirety, emphasis mine):
.
Bad News For Big Coal
.
So far, 2008 has been a rough year for the coal industry.
Just 24 hours after Bush touted clean coal in his January State of the Union address, the Department of Energy pulled the plug on the ambitious FutureGen project, which aimed to build the first zero-emissions coal plant. Days later, major banks such as Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, stated their concern over coal's enormous carbon footprint with emissions caps on the horizon, a consideration that "make[s] it less likely the banks will finance other coal-fired plants." The next week, Bank of America agreed that coal plants were a bad investment. Soon after, the New York Times reported, "With opposition to coal plants rising across the country -- including a statement by three investment banks...saying they are wary of financing new ones," utilities "are turning to natural gas to meet expected growth in demand."
.
In response, Sunflower has tried to link its dirty coal with clean energy, in a TV spot promoting the "Holcomb expansion." The ad -- which never mentions the word "coal" -- insists the plant "will be one of the cleanest, most efficient power plants of its kind." In fact, even with the best available technology, the plant will emit massive amounts of mercury, sulfur dioxide, and ash wastes. Moreover, there are no standards to limit the amount of carbon dioxide pollution emitted, and the new plants are estimated to emit at least 11 millions tons of greenhouse gases ever year.
.
A search of the UCS site for information regarding coal produced this extensive list: Union of Concerned Scientists
.
Among the most egregious environmental destruction caused by COAL, is MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL.
.
American Progress offered the following:
Judge Robert Chambers of a federal court in West Virginia curbed the government's allowance of the controversial practice of mountaintop removal, a form of strip mining in which coal companies use explosives to essentially remove entire mountains, and "the resulting millions of tons of waste rock, dirt, and vegetation are then dumped into surrounding valleys." (See a satellite picture of mountaintop removal here). Chambers ruled that the U.S Army Corps of Engineers "violated the [Clean Water Act] by issuing mountaintop removal mining permits that allowed headwater streams to be permanently buried." In a "victory for environmentalists," Chambers ruled that "more thorough reviews of the mines’ potential impacts must be done before permits can be approved."
.
A search of GRIST for MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL produced: LINK
.
A search of the Sierra Club site produced 1210 articles: LINK
.
A google search of MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL produced +43,000 entries, including the following:
.
.
.
.
Appalachia Is Paying Price for White House Rule Change WP
.
Of the President's budget submission:
.
.
Bush's budget request Monday cut funding for renewable energy, but increased spending for science.
.
"Despite the president's more aggressive statements on fighting climate change, his budget request would reduce funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy – such as wind, solar, etc. The president gets much of that reduction by slashing funding – from $280 million to $60 million – for low-income households to 'weatherize' their homes with new windows, better insulation, and other efforts."
.
Said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, in a press release:
"The president called for continued US leadership in developing energy-efficiency technologies and in using energy efficiency to help reduce greenhouse gases, Yet [Bush's] budget request confounds the president's own rhetoric by reducing funding for key energy-efficiency and research and development programs...."
.
.
Energy technology is rapidly changing.
.
Those ideas you had 20 years ago or last year are long outdated.
.
A tidal wave power generation plant constructed off the coast of Australia for power and desalination was estimated to produce power for 3 cents/kw.
.
CPV is estimated to produce power for 3 cents/kw.
.
COAL produces ACID RAIN and MERCURY and ASH that destroys forests, sterilizes the soils, infiltrates the water supply, causes respiratory problems and causes known health risks including neurological damage.
.
COAL IS DIRTY. COAL IS ENVIRONMENTALLY EXPENSIVE IN ITS DESTRUCTION.
.
WE CAN'T AFFORD COAL AT ANY PRICE!
.
Before any of us promote ANY source of energy, please research the facts.
.
The first step in any viable energy policy is to reduce personal energy consumption.
.
That means: EACH OF US NEEDS TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONSERVATION.
.
Take a few minutes and watch:
A Film by Rebecca MacNeice
Larry Gibson's family roots on West Virginia's Kayford Mountain go back to the 1700s. In 1906, after being swindled by a land company representing coal mine owners (as happened to countless other mountaineers), his family found itself with only 50 acres of its original 500. Now, Gibson hangs onto his mountain and observes family traditions, despite the disappearance of landscape all around him - the result of total environmental destruction caused by mountaintop removal mining. Keeping to family and Appalachian traditions of annually visiting the family graveyard, Gibson this year took other locals, environmental activists and journalists along with him.
.
A Film by Rebecca MacNeice
.
Pennies of Promise is a newly formed citizen action group in West Virginia. On Tuesday, May 30, the group launched a national campaign at the foot of the State Capitol to raise awareness for the Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia. The school children are dealing with a host of medical issues they believe are connected to the recently constructed coal silo, which sits 150 feet away from the school, and the toxic slurry pond, which is approximately 300 feet away from the school. Retired school teacher Mary Porter brought $400 dollars in pennies collected from school children in Harlem as a donation to the state of West Virginia to aid in the construction of a school in another location.
.
A Film by Rebecca MacNeice
As the destruction of America's Appalachian Range accelerates in the mad rush for cheap energy, activist Doris "Granny D" Haddock and former congressman Ken Hechler act as our tour guides as we fly over regions of mind-boggling devastation. Truthout filmmaker Rebecca MacNeice is aboard a SouthWings flight. SouthWings provides fly-overs of mountain top removal sites to promote conservation through aviation.
.

Windmills to Web Sites

To initiate discussion and solicit ideas, the following committee was proposed on the
nemasket discussion forum:
.
A number of us have listened to town residents and town employees with some great ideas.
.
One of the possible ideas was a 'technology committee' that remains to be fully defined and fleshed out.
.
The definition is flexible, but allow me to toss out some ideas.
.
As you know, one of my concerns is the failure of the town to address or consider the environment, energy consumption and fuel efficiency.
.
A portion of the discussion, of course, directly relates to your tax dollars.
.
Why isn't the town considering purchasing LNG vehicles?
.
The issue of the 212 items appearing on the town's insurance list has previously been presented.
.
Those vehicles are not tracked.
.
The maintenance records are not on the town's computer.
.
The vehicle mileage, cost, MPG are not readily available for evaluation.
.
What if the town owns a vehicle that's a real gas guzzler?
.
What if the maintenance costs have exceeded what's reasonable?
.
We record our personal MPG as an indicator of a maintenance issue, but the town doesn't.
.
What if a department vehicle suddenly went from 20 MPG to 8 MPG? Who would know?
.
And the issue of a managed approach to vehicle purchase has previously been addressed with the disparity of vehicle use by departments.
.
Would it make sense to install GPS on town vehicles to track MPG?
.
It would seem to improve fuel economy and address environmental concerns.
.
It has the potential of reducing the town's liability, but it also has the potential of providing emergency information. Although it might be difficult to describe the precise emergency in which it would be necessary to locate a town vehicle, does it make sense?
.
The GPS technology has declined in cost and might be nominal compared to savings.
.
Consideration of municipal energy consumption per building might be considered. Potential savings and improvements could be evaluated.
.
What would storm windows on the Town Hall cost? What is the energy usage?
.
If Taunton's School Department saved $500K, what could Middleboro save?
.
If the G&E was involved as a partner, what could be accomplished?
.
The purpose of the committee might be written broadly enough to include ALL technologies and ideas.
.
It might begin with 5 members and 2 alternates appointed by the Town Moderator.
.
Other towns have moved forward and created greener towns. Why can't Middleboro?_________________

.
The expectation would not be that participants would possess the expertise in a wide range of fields, but rather that they could solicit input from experts, investigate the feasibility, pursue funding and be open to ideas that are currently ignored.
.
The DOR Report contained comments about the failure of Middleboro to employ technology.
.
The following offer some information:
.
MASSACHUSETTS TECHNOLOGY COLLABORATIVE

.

MMA Innovation Award winner:
Cambridge Energy Alliance seeks to reduce electricity usage
Monday, January 28, 2008
MMA Innovation Award winner - award presented on Jan. 12, 2008
Cambridge drew national attention last spring when it unveiled a wide-ranging partnership with the Henry P. Kendall Foundation designed to sharply reduce energy use and the production of greenhouse gases.
.
MMA MunEnergy
.
Why not Middleboro?
.

'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.' Margaret Mead

Thursday, February 21, 2008

MIDDLEBORO TOWN ELECTION REMINDER!

The last day to register to vote for the APRIL 5, 2008 TOWN ELECTION is


MARCH 14, 2008
.
.
.
ABSENTEE BALLOTS SHOULD BE AVAILABLE APPROXIMATELY MARCH 13, 2008.
If you have a vacation planned, business trip or something unexpected comes up, make sure your vote counts.
.
.
DEMOCRACY IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT!
REGISTER, ASK QUESTIONS, GET INVOLVED, PARTICIPATE, AND VOTE!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Prop 2 1/2 Override #1

The following questions were recently posed for candidates in Middleboro's April election to address on the nemasket forum:


.


At a recent Board of Selectmen meeting the School Department presented their budget. It looks like they are looking for a Prop 2½ override. What is your position? And why?


.


While the questions appear simple to answer, a consideration of Middleboro's fiscal history is appropriate.


.


When Prop 2 1/2 was passed overwhelmingly by voters, it alerted municipalities of their revenue limits. It set the cap at 2 1/2% plus new growth.


.


Each city and town had choices that were made to live within those limits.


.


A few made wise choices, lived within their budgets, stashed a little for emergencies, saved for known future projects and learned to say NO.


.


Middleboro instead employed the *Fuzzy Math method of juggle and spend, selling assets to pay current expenses, exhausting the piggy bank and spending next year's funds. The BOS and former Town Manager excluded the Finance Committee, denied them information, condemned their recommendations and created a hostile relationship.
(Credit to Middleboro Gazette Editor Jane Lopes for coining the phrase.)

.


Middleboro voters failed to attend Town Meeting. Those who did and attempted to opppose the quorum filled with Town Employees and Town Retirees were intimidated. No action has ever been taken to address or correct the intimidation on Town Meeting floor.


.


Budget information has never been made available to voters in a digestible fashion.


.


The BOS recently played a charade of transparency, holding public meetings to discuss departmental budgets that were not publicly revealed, except for the School Department.

.

School Superintendent Robert Sullivan offered commentary about the growth of General Government versus that of the School Department. Did anyone notice?

.


Those budgets presented at the BOS meetings are not included in the Selectmen's Meeting Minutes posted on the Town's Web Site, nor are they available elsewhere. To review the contents, one must submit a Public Records Request and pay the cost.


.


Why are we suddenly praising the BOS for their TRANSPARENCY when we don't have the detailed budgets to review? Do you, as a voter and taxpayer know what the line items are? Some are praising a selectman for pointing out the nominal cost savings of law books from the Town Clerk's budget. What if there are other items that just pop out at you?

.


But the surrounding issues go far deeper, some of which will be addressed in subsequent posts.


.


Recommendations were made in the last 2 auditors' reports presented to the BOS. Not one single recommendation has been implemented.
.
The BOS is charged with the duties of AUDITORS by Town Charter. Have you read it?


.


So what did the BOS do to resolve the issues?


.


They changed auditing firms.

.

The last available Auditors' Report is posted along with much else: LINK

.

While you might dismiss that issue as trivial, those reports are reviewed to determine the Town's Bond Rating, which in turn determines what interest rate your tax dollars will pay.

.

So, like your credit cards, max them out and ZIPPO! You're paying 30% and wondering why.

.

It's like a hidden cost on your tax bill based on the fiscal mismanagement of the Town.

.

Maybe you don't have the time to review the Auditors' Report, but the bond market does.
.



When the Finance Committee requested a Department of Revenue review (because the Town lacked the funds for other than a FREE service), the DOR informed that the BOS would have to request the service.


.


While Selectman Perkins would lead you to believe he championed the report, NOT SO!


.


The Finance Committee, to their credit, forced the BOS to initiate the report.


.


And the BOS has yet to implement the recommendations contained within that report.


.


Merely the basics were included in the report, but it's worthy of consideration because of the suggestions that were offered.

.

That report should be posted on the Town's Web Site, but is not.

.

Unless you printed a copy of the DOR Report, you just might be inclined to believe Selectman Perkins each time he tells you that ALL of the recommendations have been inplemented. He seems to believe it.


.


Middleboro voters have twice rejected Prop 2 1/2 Overrides. To their credit, when asked for a Debt Exclusion to construct the new Nichols Middle School, it was supported by voters.

.

This Debt Exclusion still remains on your tax bill.

.

Middleboro voters, in my opinion, are reasonable people willing to support what they believe makes sense, like a new school.

.

But until voters are convinced that the Town has exercised responsible fiscal management, any override attempt will be defeated much as the flawed Menu Override attempted in the spring 2007.

.

With fuel prices in excess of $3.00 for gas and home heating fuel, families already stressed are unlikely to continue to contribute additional funds.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Invisible Middleboro Finance Committee and Web Site

Congratulations are offered to the long invisible Middleboro Finance Committee that lacked an icon on the OFFICIAL TOWN WEB SITE!
.
Not only has the Finance Committee achieved OFFICIAL recognition, Town Charter aside, but meeting minutes have been posted.
.
This is the Committee we need to heed for their input on the BUDGET. It's their responsibility by law and Town Charter.
.
Check it out: LINK The Finance Committee is on the list on the left side of the site.
.
The Town Charter has also been listed. Impressive! Of course, it's in adobe format and nothing is offered to allow you to download the program like all other sites. Try Mr Middleboro for a usable format of the Charter -- link on the right of this screen.
.
Speakng of which, what happened to the Charter Commission that the BOS proposed? Remember the recommendations contained in the DOR Report? If that's posted on the Town Web Site, I haven't found it, but Mr Middleboro has. It's worth a review.
.
Not only were there Charter changes included in the DOR Report, but there were lengthy comments that addressed technology, which surely includes the Town's Web Site.
.
And your elected officials on the Town's Web Site: LINK Maybe someday, Selectman Spataro will even get a listed phone number. When you're in the Big Leagues, aren't you supposed to have one? Will someone please tell him that for $15 a month, you can get a phone?
.
The Board of Selectmen discussed the Zoning Regulations and the Planning Board Regulations in 2003.
.
They presently exist as the old regulations with a mishmash of approved amendments approved by Town Meeting and the State.
.
They're totally inappropriate, difficult to sort through and represent the Town as a Mickey Mouse organization.
.
Isn't it time to correct the mishmash and post it on the Town's web site as other towns do?
.
Maybe it would avoid confusion such as the 'sign' issues.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Politics, Energy and Why It Matters

That the US consumes 25% of the world's resources makes any consideration of energy crucial to begin at home with us as individuals and our municipality.

Even as the Middleboro Board of Selectmen are supporting a massive energy and resource glutton in the proposed casino, they have yet to address municipal energy consumption in a cash strapped budget. Other towns have done it. Why not Middleboro? Taunton saved $570,000.

The plight of endangered species represents ecosystems in distress. Those ecosystems no longer suitable for species that have evolved to survive over millions of years represent environmental destruction that is becoming less habitable for the human species. So while some dismiss the tree-huggers, they overlook that as a species, we are successfully destroying the environment that sustains our very survival.

.

Continuing to invade other nations, employ the US military as mercenaries for oil companies and drilling ourselves to destruction won't solve the problem.

.

The solutions begin with indiviuals understanding the issues and reducing household consumption in simple ways, beginning with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), and minor additional changes, like reducing Junk Mail. Although a personal annoyance, if 1,000 Middleboro households reduced their Junk Mail, that's 41,000 POUNDS that doesn't require disposal or recycling or transport.

.

Your individual commitment to empty your mailbox of unwanted solicitations might seem trivial until the magnitude of the potential is presented. That's more than 20 TONS when combined with others.

.

Information has previously been posted about stopping Junk Mail
Previous LINK

.

Household lighting accounts for ~ 15% of electric consumption. Local Middleboro stores offer an assortment of CFLs for ~ $1.00. Don't have the money to replace every bulb in the house at once? First replace those bulbs that are left on the most - for night lights, for safety like stairway illumination. But DO IT!

The following are some of the articles posted:

Wind Energy and Middleboro

Not in Middleboro! #2

Not in Middleboro!

Where is Middleboro?

Energy Resources

Energy Savings? Not in Middleboro

Politics, Energy, Vested Interests, Consumers Come Last

NESEA
.
The greatest acknowledgement by scientists today is that the problems of global warming were UNDERESTIMATED.

.

Below are an array of articles addressing the issue.

The American Denial of Global Warming
(#13459; 58 minutes; 12/12/2007)
Polls show that between one-third and one-half of Americans still believe that there is "no solid" evidence of global warming, or that if warming is happening it can be attributed to natural variability. Others believe that scientists are still debating the point. Join scientist and renowned historian Naomi Oreskes as she describes her investigation into the reasons for such widespread mistrust and misunderstanding of scientific consensus and probes the history of organized campaigns designed to create public doubt and confusion about science. YouTube
.
Cape Wind Energy Project Project Description and Status

The MMS Public Connect on-line commenting system may be used to submitted electronically. To navigate to the comments, from this page click Quick Search; type in Cape Wind. The MMS has received a request from Cape Wind Associates, LLC (CWA) for a lease, easement or right-of-way to construct and operate a wind park located in Federal waters 4.7 miles offshore Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Landfall for the transmission cable would be in Barnstable County.
The MMS will accept written comments from the public until March 20. In addition, MMS will receive comments at public hearings in Hyannis/Yarmouth, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Boston, Massachusetts.
MMS
.
A new energy future for MassachusettsWe may finally be at a breakthrough moment for energy policy in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Legislature has debated major changes to our energy policy in the past few months. And with growing alarm over global warming, energy security and skyrocketing oil prices, our leaders on Beacon Hill are making a change. Environment Massachusetts

.
From the
NYT:
February 10, 2008

Editorial Clean Power or Dirty Coal?

Opposition to new coal-fired power plants built without new technology — that is, without the capacity to capture greenhouse gas emissions — is rising on both Wall Street and Main Street. Citizen opposition has led companies to cancel some high-profile projects, including a proposed plant near the Florida Everglades. Pressure from environmental organizations has persuaded major banks to begin weighing the risks of global warming when deciding whether to finance new plants. This is good news. Coal-fired power plants are big contributors to global warming. In the United States alone, they generate half the country’s electricity and nearly a third of its emissions. Meanwhile, scientists have left no doubt that the world has just a few years to make deep cuts in emissions or begin to suffer the worst consequences of rising temperatures. This means that scientists will have to figure out a way to capture carbon dioxide from coal plants, or coal will have to be replaced with cleaner fuels.
.
John Kerry
.
MassAudubon
.
GreenPeace
.
Rural casinos leave a huge carbon footprint
By George Bachrach and Philip Warburg February 11, 2008 Globe
.
Court overturns mercury emissions plan February 09, 2008 6:00 AM WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court struck down a Bush administration policy exempting power plants from certain environmental regulations. The court said the policy was unlawful. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit negated a rule known as cap-and-trade. That policy allows power plants that fail to meet emission targets to buy credits from plants that did, rather than having to install their own mercury emissions controls. The rule was to go into effect in 2010.
ST
.
No climate for old men
Why John McCain is not the candidate to stop global warming.
By Joseph Romm Feb. 08, 2008
Sen. John McCain is the only GOP candidate who believes in the science of global warming and who has proposed specific legislation that mandates a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon dioxide. That said, a President McCain would not be the climate leader that America and the world requires. As increasingly desperate climate scientists have been telling us, the effects of global warming are occurring faster than anyone had thought possible. The next president must make reducing GHG emissions a central focus of his or her administration if we want to avoid the worst impacts of global warming: catastrophic sea level rise, widespread drought and desertification, and loss of up to 70 percent of all species. While McCain may understand the scale of the climate problem, he does not appear to understand the scale of the solution. He understands the country needs to put in place a mandatory cap on GHG emissions and a trading system to energize American innovation. But in a recent Republican debate, he denied that a cap and trade system is a mandate, even though it would arguably be the most far-reaching government mandate ever legislated. Salon
.
Global Climate Change Response Can Spur $7 Trillion in Clean Energy Investment by 2030: CERA Analysis
February 5, 2008 In “Launch Pad” scenario, Renewable Power & Biofuels Could Supply 16% of Global Electric & Transportation Fuel Needs by 2030. Press Release CAMBRIDGE, Mass.
Increasing public concerns about climate change -- and its potential economic and political security consequences -- are driving public policy and private investment to bring clean energy technologies from the fringes of the global energy industry to the center of activities as quickly as possible, a new analysis by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) has concluded.
CERA
.
Democrats Push "Green" Energy Tax Breaks
By Noam N. Levey
The Los Angeles Times Tuesday 05 February 2008 Their proposal is part of an effort to expand the multibillion-dollar economic stimulus package. Washington - As Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus talked up his proposal Monday to expand a multibillion-dollar economic stimulus package, he spoke of the need to help seniors, disabled veterans and the unemployed. There was just one industry the Montana Democrat singled out for special assistance: renewable energy. As Senate Democrats push ahead with legislation to blunt a possible recession, they are trying to get support for tax breaks for wind-farm developers, builders of more efficient appliances and businesses that install fuel cells.
TO
.
Scientists identify 'tipping points' of climate change
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Tuesday, 5 February 2008 Nine ways in which the Earth could be tipped into a potentially dangerous state that could last for many centuries have been identified by scientists investigating how quickly global warming could run out of control. A major international investigation by dozens of leading climate scientists has found that the "tipping points" for all nine scenarios – such as the melting of the Arctic sea ice or the disappearance of the Amazon rainforest – could occur within the next 100 years.
Independent
.
Is There a Plan for Life After Peak Oil?
The Last Straw Posted February 12, 2008 A new generation of biofuels turns out to be another environmental disaster
By George Monbiot.
Published in the Guardian
12th February 2008
Now they might start sitting up. They wouldn’t listen to the environmentalists or even the geologists. Can governments ignore the capitalists? A report published last week by Citibank, and so far unremarked by the media, proposes “genuine difficulties” in increasing the production of crude oil, “particularly after 2012.”(1) Though 175 big drilling projects will start in the next four years, “the fear remains that most of this supply will be offset by high levels of decline”. The oil industry has scoffed at the notion that oil supplies might peak, but “recent evidence of failed production growth would tend to shift the burden of proof onto the producers”, as they have been unable to respond to the massive rise in prices. “Total global liquid hydrocarbon production has essentially flatlined since mid 2005 at just north of 85 million barrels per day.”
.
Bracken Hendricks, author of Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy
Date: 2/20/2008 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Building 35 (Sloan Laboratory), Room 225, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg?selection=35&Buildings=go. Cost: Free

Bracken Hendricks will be in Boston for a reading & signing of the book he co-authored with U.S. Representative Jay Inslee, "Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy" (Island Press).
In the book, they argue that the kind of leadership that put men on the moon in 1969 is the kind of leadership we need today to free ourselves from our fossil fuel dependency. Following the reading will be a question and answer session and a book signing. Co-sponsoring environmental organizations will also briefly discuss the missions of their organizations and current projects. Nexus
.
The Center for Public Integrity
Here’s the report that top officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thought was too hot for the public to handle—and the story behind it.
.
Here’s the report that top officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thought was too hot for the public to handle—and the story behind it.

.

Published February 12th, 2008 in Articles
by Greg Palast

.
Or Kyrgyzstan. Or Turkmenistan. But as your kids will be fighting there among the oil pipes, you should kiss Ted Rall’s crazy ass for going there first - and getting it all down in a book of dead-on cartoons and reportage, Silk Road to Ruin.


.

....what Rall’s story is about is what everything’s all about: oil. The ‘Stans are drenched in it, floating on it, or in the way of it. Thus, the book’s sub-title, “Is Central Asia the New Middle East?”

.


.


Nobel Laureate Urges Oil Cos To Help Cut Emissions
US: February 14, 2008
HOUSTON - Rajendra Pachauri said he thought he was "walking into the lion's den" Tuesday when he told oil executives they need to take a lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in order to save the earth. PlanetArk

.

PublicCitizen

.

Improving Our Green Job Prospects

By Kelpie Wilson

t r u t h o u t Environment Editor
Friday 15 February 2008
On the one hand we have a deepening economic recession, a mortgage and debt crisis, and rising unemployment. On the other hand is the growing energy and climate crisis, shadowed by the specters of peak oil and planetary meltdown. Rising prices for energy, food and health care are hitting the poor and middle class hard. We have ourselves in quite a mess.

The Bush-Cheney record speaks for itself, as does the John McCain record. McCain played a linchpin role in the two most recent Republican filibusters of renewable energy programs. He failed to show up and vote for the strong version of the energy bill in December when the Democrats had 59 votes for the bill and McCain's vote for renewable energy would have ended the filibuster. On February 6, McCain did it again - went AWOL when the Democrats had 59 votes to add green jobs to the stimulus package. Not only that, but according to the Sierra Club, his office is lying about the vote, claiming that he voted for clean energy when he did not. TO

.

Let There Be (Fluorescent) Light UCSUSA

.

ENN