Monday, April 28, 2008

know and follow the rules of the road, for efficiency's sake

case in point,

I was driving in from Philomath Blvd. onto 35th and then Oetjen, and I had some oncoming traffic on 35th. They were going slow enough that I could make the turn onto Oetjen safely and not have to stop on 35th and block traffic. Because oncoming traffic was not speeding forward, I was more likely to safely make the turn without stopping. Clearly, stopping and starting is fuel inefficient, once you get that mass rolling, its most efficient not to have to stop and start every few seconds. That's why the timed stop lights and sensor pads are such a great thing. When everyone follows the rules of the road, everyone is more predictable and safe and efficient. and the price of gas and insurance goes down.

But undoubtedly there are ways to improve the rules, without compromising safety, to encourage people on the roads to anticipate their fellow travelers moves and minimize stops and starts. Signaling is very important. Let the people around you know what you're gonna do, is that really too much to ask?

Having said this as a driver, as a bicyclist, I have to say that bicycling as a mode of transport is qualitatively different than driving a motor vehicle and as such can be allowed some leeway in terms of riding on sidewalks and other rules of the road. Just as with drivers, there is no excuse for reckless behavior, however I know from miles of experience that I can safely ride on a sidewalk with a trailer amongst pedestrians and not be a risk to anybody.

speaking of sensor pads from the perspective of a bicyclist, sometimes they don't work for the bike which point I go over and press the pedestrian button.

And keeping the bigger perspective, when talking about efficiency and high gas prices, we really can't ignore the fact that many people still drive their gas guzzling SUVs and trucks SOLO sometimes in a reckless manner, and indeed don't really give a shit about high gas prices. These people are costing all of society by being wasteful and driving up gas prices and (sometimes) endangering their fellow citizens.
(we all know what happens when a Prius gets slammed by a Yukon XL.)

I'm sure speculation is a big part of the skyrocketing price of oil, but I also believe it to be supply driven, primarily, hence the speculation. Yeah yeah, peak oil, yadda yadda...we've all read up on this. We're at the peak of global oil production and the remaining half is the difficult half, the first half was sweet, duh. and now we have tar sands and oil shale. We have to pump water (spend energy) or some gas into the wells to force the remaining blobs out of the pump. Plus now China and India want their fair share and there isn't enough to go around.

Talk about a crossroads. But here we are everyone. What are we gonna do about it?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

do you know where this is?

Its the new boardwalk next to Sunset Park, through the floodplain of Dunawi Creek. Supposedly there's actual beavers there, though I haven't seen em yet. I did see some chewed through saplings way down the bike path by Ashbrook school. Have you seen real beavers in the wild in Oregon? We were checking out what may have been a beaver (probably a nutria) down close to Finley one day when a guy in a big pickup drove by. He asked if everything was okay since we stopped the car in the middle of the road and we told him we were checking out a beaver. He said, you wanna see a beaver? I got one in the back of the pickup. Sure enough, he had a 30+ pound beaver that apparently he killed earlier that day. Though it was sad to see it dead, it was still cool to see. Later I thought I should have said something like thanks for letting us see your beaver. But he had guns and that might've pissed him off...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday ramblins

I'm retiring the Nalgene bottle. Now that its old and used and all the bisphenol-A has already leached into my body, I'm switching to a glass jug. Maybe I'll wrap it in duct tape and include a loop/strap of sorts.

We need to spread the word about the upcoming vote on US farm policy. Chances are the farm lobby will win again, but perhaps we should at least send a message that their days are numbered. Check out Bill Moyers Journal from a couple weeks ago. No more subsidies for farmers who don't need them or even in some cases, feel right about taking them. Support small farms. support organic farms, not massive agricorporations that are fuel and fertilizer intensive not to mention pesticide and gmos. stop subsidizing ethanol production at the expense of food production.

I'm convinced that with the right leadership the US could stop occupying Iraq and bring our troops home and there wouldn't be a bloody bloodbath in our wake. I'm really feeling the tug towards Obamamania. The lure of unity and really working together. But I don't think we should try to work with people who agree with the Bush II administration. There comes a time when one's mistakes add up to and cause such suffering and misery that the credibility meter falls to zero. These people are so clearly wrong that anything else seems right. But its plain to see that the surge is a finger in the dike to buy a little time for a massive diplomatic effort to get some agreements made, which, of course is not forthcoming, because BushII wants permanent US bases and control of Iraqi oil. If you still doubt this please see the previous posting of the letter to John Murtha, in which it is abundantly clear that language to prevent permanent bases and control of Iraqi oil was struck by the White House.

Someone named Eileen commented at Crallspace that she needed help at a conservative blog (victoria taft, i think) debating some conservatives that the left is not responsible for the food shortage because we pushed for ethanol. some such nonsense. I find it difficult, to say the least, to imagine working with these people. I would fear for my life. But that seems to be the message from Obama. and he's right. We are all fellow citizens, equally worthy of existence and our convictions. How do you work with someone who wants to kill you? check out that blog if you want to read what I wrote.

I feel really lazy and don't want to bother creating links in the text.

There is a convergence afoot. Things are changing. I believe the people who insist that we are at a critical moment in time and space.

I went to a birthday party yesterday. It was fun. I was a little uncomfortable with the plastic lei's made in China, but whatev...I went with the flow.

Too much hail in April sucks.

If everyone panics and starts stocking up on food, prices will increase all the more. However, I am thinking about investing in some large, good containers to hold a significant amount of staple foods. I am also completely enthralled with the website, I want one of those woodgas stoves!

I wanted to say at the forum that the epiphany I had while studying biology here at OSU was that not only is all of life connected through our dna, but that it is a miracle of energy that we exist the way we do. that we are cognitive elements. and as such I felt a deep appreciation and love for everyone I encountered, especially while walking down the street. People looked beautiful to me not because of their specific shape, but because they were walking and presumably, thinking beings, full of infinitely complex interactions of minerals, elements, water and energy. Amazing! yeah, its hard to express in words.

I finished reading The Cultural Creatives. If you're interested in borrowing it, hit me up.

I won a cd from KBVR last week. I still have to go pick it up. I was really groovin to this reggae dj and he asked some question about a sample about which I had no clue, but apparently no one else was calling in so I won it! huzza for yo. KBVR airs some of the best tracks I've ever heard. 737-4962! yeah booyyyyy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

An open letter to John Murtha

To e-sign this letter click here

The Honorable John P. Murtha
Chairman, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
Room H-149 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Murtha,

As we enter the sixth year of the Iraq War, we urge you to draft a new supplemental appropriations bill that will direct the president to immediately begin the orderly removal of all U.S troops from Iraq and complete this process as quickly and safely as possible.

The Iraq War has taken the lives of more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers and caused the death and displacement of millions of Iraqis. Congress has already approved $500 billion for the war in direct costs. Our nation faces trillions in additional costs to care for veterans’ injuries suffered in the course of this conflict, not to mention the costs of financing the war. This waste of federal dollars comes at a time when our nation faces an economic recession. The war has hollowed out our military, diverted resources from the battle against al Qaeda and from homeland security, and deeply damaged our reputation abroad.

Despite clear mandates from your subcommittee and Congress to seek a change in course, Senate Republicans and President Bush have combined to veto measures calling for a sensible withdrawal from Iraq. In January, the President went even further, issuing a signing statement saying that his administration is not bound by the provision in the 2008 Defense Authorization Act that bars the use of appropriated funds in this Act for the construction of permanent American military bases and U. S. control over Iraqi oil resources. He also rejected language to establish an independent, bipartisan "Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan" to investigate allegations of waste, mismanagement, and excessive force by contractors.

Furthermore, at the end of last year, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki signed a “Declaration of Principles” providing an outline for negotiating an “enduring” U.S.-Iraq relationship for security, economic, political, diplomatic, and cultural relations. President Bush has rejected the notion that Congress has a role in these negotiations over the future U.S. presence in Iraq.

With these actions, the president has made clear his intention to stay the course in Iraq while deepening the U.S. military commitment for an indefinite time and attempting to tie the hands of the next president. Mr. Chairman, it is past time to bring the Iraq war to an end. The costs are too great to allow it to continue indefinitely. The best course of action in the upcoming supplemental appropriations bill is to provide funding only for the safe and timely redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq and end the occupation.

As part of a responsible redeployment, we support funding for a diplomatic offensive as suggested by the Iraq Study Group. Greater resources and resolve for diplomacy to end the Iraq War are needed for a comprehensive solution.

In addition, we strongly urge you to cease funding for military construction in Iraq and for U.S. military contractors in Iraq. Given the president’s use of signing statements on these issues, the only way to ensure compliance with Congress’ directives is to remove such funding.

Finally, we ask that it be made clear that no funds will be made available for any formal U.S.-Iraq agreement based upon the Bush-Maliki “Declaration of Principles” unless the agreement is approved by Congress and the Iraqi parliament.

Thank you for your continued leadership in the effort to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. Your courage and tenacity in the face of attacks and criticisms is most admirable. We are eager to work with you and your colleagues in the critical weeks and months ahead to end the debacle in Iraq and bring our men and women in uniform home.


The Win Without War Coalition

20/20 Vision
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities
Center for International Policy (CIP)
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Council for a Livable World
CREDO Mobile
Families USA
Feminist Majority
Fourth Freedom Forum
Global Exchange
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)
National Council of Churches
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Rainbow/Push Coalition
Shalom Center
Sierra Club
The Tikkun Community
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA)
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church: General Board of Church and Society
United for Peace and Justice
Us Foundation
US Labor Against War
Veterans For Peace
Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
Artists United to Win Without War
Musicians United to Win Without War

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Condoleeza Rice is unacceptable

Which one is more fitting, Condiskeeza or Condisleaza?

Perhaps in the next presidency, Constance (Connie) Rice, the honest and forthright civil rights lawyer/activist and cousin of the secretary of state, will have an opportunity to restore honor to the family name.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Switching the blog to Wordpress

I've been thinking about switching over to wordpress, mostly because I like the name and the concept of open source, etc. However, a brief investigation into the nuts and bolts showed that it might not be so simple.

Do you blog through Wordpress? Did you switch from Blogger? Should I make the switch?

Does it not really matter for an intermittent blogger like myself with a minimal audience?

I don't have anything against Blogger, perse. Its just something I've been mulling over.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

corvallis sustainability town hall meeting

What a thrill it was to attend and participate in the first of three town hall meetings on the topic of sustainability! I was blown away by the number of attendees. Over 400 people packed into the ch2m alumni center, even necessitating the use of an overflow room.

It was a watershed moment of collective visioning. It was a gathering of the tribe of Cultural Creatives, young and old, multi ethnic, and rich and poor. We are indeed creating the world we seek and this was a huge step. I feel very empowered to live in a community with so many like minded folks. Our stock of social capital just multiplied by a lot.

The format was well organized and thought out. Kudos to the organizers. After some introductory remarks, we went into brainstorming mode at each table of roughly 8-10 people first declaring goals then defining strategies in the next session. Salient points (goals then strategies) were written down and interesting strategies were voted on at each table.

Are you interested in creating a better world for ourselves and our children's children? Get involved cause we've gots lots of work to do!