Archive for December, 2009

Eleanor Roosevelt and her New Deal

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

I read an article in the New York Times about a lady named Marlane from the town of Eleanor West Virginia.  The town was named after Eleanor Roosevelt.  In the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency the government created towns with jobs for folks that lost their jobs and couldn’t feed their children. The government project was called the New Deal.  Obviously there was immense opposition to this blatantly socialist endeavor.  Some  commended the government for stepping up to the plate and addressing the needs of hungry Americans whose children had never tasted milk or flushed a toilet.

These are the initiating paragraphs of the article…

Early spring, in the Depression year of 1935. A poor girl from coal-mine country, a dark-haired girl of 4, rocks beside her mother and two sisters in a car moving through the rain-swept night. Soon they will join her father, a Great War veteran who pads his shoes with cardboard. He has been working for months on some distant government relief project.

When the car finally stops, the sleepy girl can see only a blur of mud and midnight. Not until morning does she take in this government project: a new American town, raised from a field by her father and other men with families caught in the stalled gears of a broken economy.

The girl is told: You’re home now, Marlane.

I had to read on and as I did I thought about how this would turn ugly in today’s America.   The Chicago Tribune and the New York Times were 1935 versions of Fox and MSNBC.  Then, like now, a lot of people didn’t like government interventions but there wasn’t a television to throw it in their face.  So the New Deal carried on and enriched some lives during the Roosevelt administration.

Some of it was disturbing.  The creation of all white communities, cod liver oil for all children, toys brought in government trucks for Christmas, and you could be evicted for not complying with the rules. According to Marlane, the rules were easy, and the home, the job, the milk, the indoor plumbing and the toys were gifts from the Roosevelts.

Jobless folks like Marlane’s parents probably did not vote, they were busy looking for a job.  Yet, the Roosevelts did everything they could think of in the time they had to create a better life for the jobless.  This upset many of the Americans who did vote.  They did not want to pay for what may have been considered the lazy and the uneducated.

There are politicians who really do want to help people.  Hard to know which  politicians are really trying to do good things for not-so-fortunate Americans.  If the the not-so-fortunate Americans get a job, a home, breath clean air, and obtain some health care,  the fortunate will not lose their fortunes?

Lately I’m thinking all political sides are ruled by corporations.  I think corporations love money and their money God creates hate and fear, which also happen to be the two key ingredients of war.

Television, which is a huge corporation, provides information.  TV is paid for by huge corporations that tell them what to tell us.  These same corporations have caused us to lose our jobs.   They told us to buy American, now they tell us it is a global economy.  I tried to buy American made products for Christmas.  I had to give everyone money — that is the only thing I could find that it is made here.  They tell us what to buy — and we do what we’re told.  Are we losing our drive, our moxy, our innovation?  Don’t be afraid of government, be afraid of corporations and television.

When I finished reading the article I wanted to comment on how well Dan Berry captured the town and Marlane’s frustrations.   Marlane loves her town and it’s history and the innovation it’s very existence represents.   I learned from the history that Dan Berry covered so well in his article.  I learned to care. Half the country cares Marlane.  The other half is watching TV and doing as they’re told.

To read the NYTimes article go to

Net Metering

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
The only way folks are going to change the way they do things is if it creates jobs and saves money and makes money.  Net metering seems to be the answer in my mind.  We need to get our state legislatures to make it possible for factories, stores and private homes to create their own energy with solar and wind and contribute to a central grid through net metering.

solar and wind

Manufacturers may actually come back to the USA if it is more cost effective through net metering.  Jobs will be created through installation of these systems, and hopefully job opportunities returning to the USA.  Manufacturers love saving money, their profits improve so then their stock holders are happy too.  Making money is the central purpose to life on this planet.  With net metering we can save the planet and make money.  Everybody is happy.


Here is the easiest explanation I could find regarding Net Metering.

Imagine the simplest possible metering arrangement: a single, 1960s-standard electromechanical meter. Now imagine that a residential customer, Ray McSolar, added a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system (also known as a solar-electric system) to his home, on his side of this meter. Ray wakes up early for his job; on most days, he is out of the house before sunrise. In these dark morning hours, Ray makes his coffee and breakfast while watching the morning news on TV. The electric meter spins forward as Ray is consuming electricity from the grid.

Determined not to waste a bit of electricity, Ray shuts off all of his appliances as he heads off to work. Ray’s solar panels now start churning out electricity as the sun rises—electricity Ray sends back to the overstressed grid. His meter now spins in reverse.

When Ray returns at night to cook dinner and relax in front of the TV, the meter spins forward again as he consumes more electricity than his system generates. The result? Ray’s bill will show only his net consumption of electricity from the grid. Should it be a hot sunny month (when the grid needs the most help), or a month in which Ray’s electricity use is low, any excess electricity his system generates is rolled over to his next bill, just as he might rollover excess cell phone minutes.

Utilities should not have a divine right to charge for electricity that customers can otherwise generate more efficiently and more cleanly on their own.

Congress realized the vast potential of net metering when it mandated in the 2005 Energy Bill that every state consider adopting or expanding net metering programs by the end of 2007.

Participation in New Jersey has skyrocketed by over 30,000 percent since 2002. It’s amazing. The state utility commission is literally drowning in new applications. Because they embraced the net-metering concept and new business applications soared because of the savings on their bottom line from providing their own energy. What New Jersey and other states (like Montana, and Oregon) prove is that Americans are willing to invest in their own energy independence if state regulations would only let them.


Why don’t legislators in the south like it?  Any ideas?


Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
This our coffee creamer.  Every time I pour cream through his little beak it appears as though he is regurgitating krill into my coffee cup.  He is an endearing tradition for me at Christmas time and I love finding him every year when I unpack the Christmas boxes from the attic.

 Christmas and it’s traditions of bell ringers, lights, gatherings, parades, fundraisers, midnight mass, and the exchanging of delicious foods are all endearing.  My mother loves her traditional smoked Salmon,  just as much as she did the year before.  Traditions can be fun and so can trying new stuff like the time we went to Busch Gardens on Christmas Day and practically had the place to ourselves.  Well there was us and several Jewish people from Boca.

I love aging because it causes us to transition from gaudy and useless gifts.   We’re moving on to fresh caught trout, dinners with friends, ballets,  and less googahs to store in my garage for a few months till I give it to the home for battered women.  My daughter and her husband are giving us a gift of sailing at sunset with snacks and champagne.  Memories make the best gifts.

I always lose my point.  Getting back to my point…

My take on Jesus and the celebration of his birth
to teach us to love one another.
The power is in the love
and the lesson is to embrace peace.


are we exaggerating global warming?

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Polar bears exaggerating claims of global warming

Ok, so are we exaggerating global warming?

No one would have followed Martin Luther King if he had said “I have a nightmare”, as mentioned by energy secretary Ed Miliband.

We need to unite in being good to this earth.  It has been so good to all of us.  I am  hopeful that the decision makers representing the world in Copenhagen are uniting in the dream — and not denying the nightmare.

We all know the nightmare –> So many pictures of people riding bikes in China through polluted air with face masks.  Stories of asthmatic children in the Bronx breathing diesel fumes.  Photos of decapitated mountains in West Virginia and the subsequent coal muck escaping in to small towns.  Growth was so big and so fast that sewage spilled in to drinking water in Florida.  Many fists pound many tables when you suggest that economic gains can be achieved through sustainable living that preserves this rare jewel we call Earth.

Polluters love muddling the facts, and making fun of the nightmarish scenarios.  Some scientists  actually feed the machine that is profiting currently.  The collaborative machine of industry, shipping, air flights, hospitals, manufacturers, and on and on are horrified by the idea of changing energy production and usage. We have evolved to need cheap stuff, more than we need liberty, freedom, water, food, shelter and coffee.






So lets describe the dream Andrew Gilligan wrote an article for the… Copenhagen is a city filled entirely with bicycles, stuffed with retrofitted, energy-efficient old buildings, and seems to embody the civilized pleasures of low-carbon living without any of the puritanism”.

Costa Rica produces 99% of its energy from renewable sources, reversed deforestation and is aiming to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021 by combining its ministries of energy and environment, and abolishing its army. Abolishing armies will probably never happen world wide, there will always be bad guys to fight.  We can dream though.  Other small island nations such as the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are also fairing well in levels of health and a very low footprint.

A Gristy guide to the COP15 climate talks
We need to stop being so full of ourselves because we are hanging our clothes on the line and carrying our water in a glass jar.  We need to help young smart people get in to colleges that promote environmental engineering and require environmental awareness in their curriculum.  Industry and manufacturing can make products sustainably.  It can be done and is being done. Lets study how they’re doing it.  Lets study the countries that are successfully achieving sustainability.

There is a little island country — the Maldives?  They have successfully figured out how to keep their sea turtles and their tourists happy.

There are many nightmares to learn from.  Bhopal is a nightmare to remember.  Do you remember?  A cloud of poison gas leaked from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in the middle of the night and drifted over the Bhopal slums killing thousands.

Union Carbide convinced India that the big new plant they were going to build in Bhopal was going to make their lives better, improve the economy and they’d be happier.  We need to be careful when companies and the politicians they pay for claim to care about our happiness and well being.


Subscribe to RSS feed