December 26th, 2010

Obama and Hillary love

A feel-good story that has nothing to do with Christmas

In Kenya, Huts Far Off The Grid Harness the Sun


KIPTUSURI, Kenya — For Sara Ruto, the desperate yearning for electricity began last year with the purchase of her first cellphone, a lifeline for receiving small money transfers, contacting relatives in the city or checking chicken prices at the nearest market.

Charging the phone was no simple matter in this farming village far from Kenya’s electric grid.

Every week, Ms. Ruto walked two miles to hire a motorcycle taxi for the three-hour ride to Mogotio, the nearest town with electricity. There, she dropped off her cellphone at a store that recharges phones for 30 cents. Yet the service was in such demand that she had to leave it behind for three full days before returning.

That wearying routine ended in February when the family sold some animals to buy a small Chinese-made solar power system for about $80. Now balanced precariously atop their tin roof, a lone solar panel provides enough electricity to charge the phone and run four bright overhead lights with switches.

“My main motivation was the phone, but this has changed so many other things,” Ms. Ruto said on a recent evening as she relaxed on a bench in the mud-walled shack she shares with her husband and six children.

As small-scale renewable energy becomes cheaper, more reliable and more efficient, it is providing the first drops of modern power to people who live far from slow-growing electricity grids and fuel pipelines in developing countries. Although dwarfed by the big renewable energy projects that many industrialized countries are embracing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, these tiny systems are playing an epic, transformative role. Collapse )


No Enbridge
  • romp

The Green Hawks Are Coming

One of these days, Ottawa's oil patch salesmen might want to sit down with the U.S. military and have a real "man-up" talk.

By any standard, the guys and gals in uniform now make Greenpeace look like the Boy Scouts.

In fact admirals, generals and colonels have seen the enemy, and it's oil. They don't care if the stuff is bloody or dirty; they just want to get off pricey crude, asap.

They also believe that climate change, another byproduct of the Oil Age, poses a serious security threat to civilization, as we know it. Not surprisingly, people call these tough hombres, "the Green Hawks."

Around the same time Canada's political elites started to dunk their donuts in bitumen, the U.S. military experienced an energy epiphany in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blood will do that.

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Seems too good to be true but the US military is hemorrhaging money and lives to protect oil. Maybe they simply can't afford to continue? (And I thought the internet came from an intranet created between universities?)
stock | Brown Paper Packages...♪♫

ONTD_Political's PotD: December 25, 2010.

In many places around the world, it is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Santas are making appearances from Beijing to Beirut, and the traditions of the season can be seen all over - the trees, the lights, the shoppers, the devout and more. Collected here are a handful of recent photographs of people enjoying and celebrating this year's Christmas Season as it hits full swing. [Editor's note: This year, I'll be inviting you to submit your own Christmas 2010 photos, starting December 26th.
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Full galleries:

Hope yours was a Merry one. ♥
turkey dance

End-of-life counseling through Medicare begins Jan. 1

WASHINGTON — When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

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People don't seem to understand that end-of-life care includes living wills (or advanced directives) and DNR orders. The problem is that the debate on end-of-life counseling was when Sarah Palin poisoned the waters with her incompetence. This is simply a coding issue that allows doctors to be reimbursed by Medicare for the service of going over the patient's medical options with them and their family. I personally feel this should be covered by not only Medicare but Medicaid and private insurance and all states should recognize living wills/advanced directives or else we'd end up with another situation like that of Terri Schiavo.
Q // La revolución

School outed teen to parents, said it was ‘legally obligated’: lawsuit

Two softball coaches at a Texas high school are being sued after allegedly confining a teenaged girl in a locked room, forcing her to confirm her sexual orientation, then outing her to her parents before ejecting her from the softball team.

The lawsuit states that the school district defended the actions by saying the teachers were "legally obligated" to inform the parents of the child's sexuality.

According to the suit (PDF) filed in an east Texas federal court, in March of 2009 a junior at Kilgore High School -- identified only as "SW" -- was ordered to a meeting of the softball team. The coaches, named in the lawsuit as Rhonda Fletcher and Cassandra Newell, then dismissed everyone but SW, ordered her into an empty locker room, locked the door and confronted the teen about her sexuality.

"Fletcher asked SW if she was gay, and accused her of having a sexual relationship with another girl.
She also claimed that SW was spreading gossip about this other girl being 'Coach Newell’s girlfriend," the lawsuit states.

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I hope they win their lawsuit. It can be dangerous to out these kids. I shudder to think what would've happened if some of my friends had been outed in high school. I wish this was surprising, but it isn't. My ex-girlfriend's high school outed her to her parents, both of whom are ordained ministers from small town Americana. It lead to... many, many Bad Things for her. Fuck this bullshit.

Why men act out against women

It's time for those of us who are good men to start acknowledging the role that male socialization plays in domestic and sexual violence. As good men, we must begin to acknowledge and own our responsibility to be part of the solution to ending violence against women and girls.

What is a good man?

A good man is a man who believes women should be respected. A good man would not assault a woman. A good man believes in equality for women. A good man honors the women in his life. A good man, for all practical purposes, is a nice guy. We believe this to be the majority of men.

There is a minority of men who perpetuate a tremendous amount of violence against women. These men are counting on good men to stay true to rules -- the rules that actually allow them to be who they are in the presence of good men. These rules are what we call the ingredients in the "man box." These rules are also the foundation of how we as men collectively define manhood.

The man box teaches us as men that we must be tough, strong, aggressive and dominating. We are taught not to show feelings and emotions. We are taught that we should be in charge, leaders and protectors. And if we fall short we lose our status and are placed outside the box.

Outside the box is reserved for women, and for men defined as being less than fully male, or "woman-like". The man box at times can be hypermasculine and extremely homophobic. With that being said, "outside the man box" is a place most men don't want to be. So we find ourselves staying true to the rules of the man box, many times operating from a subconscious place, just on remote control, doing what's natural to us.

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Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

I Grace All Of Thee With Thine Offensive Kwanzaa Cake!

Just how offensive is Sandra Lee's crazy Kwanzaa cake?

A recent mea culpa from the creator of this Internet sensation raises the question: What is Kwanzaa food?


It was the cultural mash-up that was destined for the Viral Video Hall of Fame: Sandra "Queen of QVC, First Lady of New York" Lee going all-out for African America with her Kwanzaa Cake.

In the clip, the very perky -- and it must be said, white -- Lee takes her Semi-Homemade philosophy (yes, she refers to it as a "philosophy," and yes, it's trademarked) to new heights, using an array of store-bought cake, frosting, canned pie filling and corn nuts to "celebrate" the African-American holiday. As you might guess, the video takes pride of place in the pantheon of hilarious culinary disaster videos.

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Woman responsibile for Sandra's Kwanzaa confectionary abonimation fesses up.
Thanks, hinoema

I'm having a horrible day, so can we just talk about how hideous the cake is? That's clearly the most offensive thing about it.