Entries tagged with “Green Collar Jobs”.


And so ends the very short chapter of Van Jones in the White House

(editors note: this was written very quickly, in the heat of the moment on hearing what I consider very very bad news.  Now, not so angry, I really only feel sad.  Still, read on!)

Van Jones resigned today from his position of Green Jobs Czar at the White House.  He had been there a little over six months before a mob of crazed republican attackers focused on him.  It only took folks calling him names: a communist that once called the Republicans a bad word, and poof: he gets run out of town on a rail.

“On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me,” Jones wrote. “They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”

Jones said that he had ”been inundated with calls – from across the political spectrum – urging me to “stay and fight. But I came here to fight for others, not for myself.  I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past.  We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.”

This man has as much power as you give him

This man has as much power as you give him

I would love to say a few words here that would make me unfit to be a Czar, (for those of you who don’t know, one of the reasons Van is unfit to serve is because he called republicans assholes in a speech) but that seems like playing at their game.  Instead, I’d like to say a few other things.

Van Jones was, and still is, a hero of mine.  As many of you who read this space know, I think the world of his ideas.  I love his inclusive, hands on, leave-no-person-behind vision for the future of America.  His book spoke to me of economic justice without having anyone suffer, and of a freedom from the worry of Global Warming.  Having read his book, listened to his speeches, and received his emails for years, I can say he is in no way a communist, or a socialist.  At all.  In fact, I often felt he went too far toward the free market — perhaps to make his ideas palatable to an America that turns green in fear at either of those words being turned against them.  50 years later, this McCarthyism hackjobbary has got to end.

The Party that just crucified Van Jones for saying the word asshole and for associating with a know “Truther” in the 9/11 crazytimes movement is the same party that had the second most powerful member tell someone to “Go F*&% Yourself” on the floor of the Senate.  This is the same party where many MANY elected officials still to this day are considering lawsuits against Obama for not being born in this country.  Glenn Beck, who led the charge against Jones, alternates his time between grimly prognosticating about and encouraging armed rebellion, and calling Obama a racist.

Why was Jones, a generally well liked dude, even on Glenn Beck’s radar?  Because Jones was associated with a group called ColorofChange.  ColorofChange called Beck on calling the president a racist, and Beck — in full personal vendetta style — took Van Jones down and forced his resignation.  What alternative universe do we live in where he has so much power?

The hypocrisy runs so thick, and so complete, that I am forced to wonder at the delusion to make it through a day believing what Beck professes to believe.  The Green Collar Economy was condemned as a socialist plot before anyone even bothered to figure out what it was, and what it meant.  Instead of taking the time to figure out why it might be a win-win to go green, people would rather throw stones at every new idea then allow someone who is not their own to gain any semblance of power.

But the Obama White House sure stuck to their guns!  I’m so proud of the way they defended their man, of the way they went to bat for a supporter and loyal ideas man.  I love how they called out this rank hypocrisy for what it was, and at least fired a warning shot that the people in the White House can not be controlled by a hate spewing insano pundit.

Oh, wait.  They did none of those things.  They made a craven political calculus, and sold Jones out faster then you can say “Communist Sympathizer”.  We’ve seen the wackjobs on the right get more and more wack-jobby of late, calling Obama a brain washer for the age old  tradition of talking to kids on the first day of school, and painting every single human left of William F. Buckley as some sort of deranged socialist.  I just wonder: why does this stuff stick?  Why don’t people stand up against this sort of thing?  It’s completely absurd that Jones was forced to resign, but it’s even MORE absurd that anyone has the ability to “force” anything!

America seems to really like the idea of Death before Dishonor.  They love people who don’t change course, even when the course is fundamentally wrong.  I don’t need my leaders to be stupid and unable to compromise, but this makes them look like the spineless cowards that the Republicans have always said they were.

The most frustrating part of the process is that Van’s ideas are now being repudiated because he once knew a communist and once said a bad word.  All of his amazing thinking, all of his plans and his charisma and his strength are now worse then useless.  The entire (extremely capitalist) green collar movement has been tarred and feathered on the national stage.  It’s amazing that all my hope for real fundamental change in this country was crushed after six months, and its even MORE amazing that it was done by the party that was so completely repudiated at the polls.

The entire movement took a step back today, not because the things that Van suggested didn’t work, but because some holier then thou fucks decided to crush him and the rest of us let them.

The only reason that I can’t quit this whole process is that doing so would mean that these people were allowed to be right.  Well, it won’t happen.  I’m going to work longer, work harder, then ever before.  I am going to make sure that everyone – EVERYone – who called for Van’s head does not get any more chance to hold elected office.

My question is this: Does Glenn Beck speak for you?  If so, why?  What vision does he put forward that you find attractive?  What version of America does Beck and the folks that give him a platform to spew his nonsense actually espouse?

If not, why are you letting him change who the President of the United States chooses to advise him?

A few people I have spoken with recently are pretty staunchly against the new energy and climate change bill that squeaked by the house last night.  The bill is too weak, it has too many riders, and passing a bad bill is worse then passing no bill at all — these are the things that some on the environmental side of things are saying.  (I don’t get to talk to the “Global Warming is a myth and this is an excuse to tax the American worker into obsolescence because the Dem’s hate America people” all that much, so I don’t feel the need to argue with them.)  Another objection, expressed by CheriRobertson on my last not-very-well-thought-out post is that no one has read the damn thing and that its criminal to vote on legislation that you don’t understand.

Ok, lots of fair points here.  I still support the Waxman-Markey bill, and here is why:

It fundamentally changes the way the American Government deals with the problems of Climate Change and our effect on the planet.  My beef from the beginning has been that there is no system for me to be protected if someone wants to endanger me and mine by pumping bad things into the air.  A cap and trade system creates a method – however flawed – to allow the gummit to get insist that people don’t get to endanger me and make money off it free and clear.  They at least have to pay for screwing my world up.

From a fundamentally Libertarian perspective, I think that is the job of Government: to protect me from very real and very prominent threats that the Free Market brings to bear on my world.

Now, would I rather the original bill passed?  Sure.  I would much rather have the EPA be the body that regulates which gases are a danger to us.  I would much rather not have the hat tips that are plugged into the bill for the rust belt, for the oil producing companies, for “clean coal”.  But at the end of the day, this bill really IS a new legislative way of thinking about the environment, and for it to pass means that there are a lot of people on board who feel the necessity of action.

I think that it’s a republican talking point that “no one in either party has read the bill”.  That is simply not the case.  First of all, someone had to write the damn thing, so there are at least a few folks who know whats in there.  Secondly, though, and much more importantly, a vast vast majority of the changes are going to be softening and definitions and clarifications on what was left out of the original draft.  Was the thing perfect?  No.  But it’s also disingenuous to say that you need to read it all to understand it: the law makers had plenty of time to read the first 1200 pages, and not many of them did.  The 300 pages of provisions and changes will now be poured over by anyone who cares, and the Senate will draft a new bill that puts the pieces of the house bill that don’t make sense to the test.  The gist of the bill, that companies who pollute the earth will be held fundamentally accountable in the only way that matters to them (financially) remains strong — regardless of the number of pages, and the fact that John Bohner can take an hour to read rhetorical loops in the writing.   A defeat of this bill, even it’s watered down form, is a defeat for the concept, and that’s not something we can afford to allow to happen.

There was a lot of political wrangling to get this bill to pass to be a law. (and yes, I AM amused that Nanci Pelosi thought Dove Bars would help.  You don’t think that’s funny?  Come on… you don’t think it’s amusing to think that congresspeople vote with their tastebuds?  Oh… ok, yes it’s a little scary… but if we can’t laugh at it, then the world gets awful depressing.)   Lots of Dems voted against it because they were scared to tag their name to something and take the political risk, only to have it fail in the Senate.  And lots of people still view this thing as a big ball of taxes designed to hurt their way of life.  But I think that the political climate isn’t going to be this forgiving for many many years to come, and if we don’t do this now, we may miss our chance for this scale of change.  I feel the same way about health care: it’s now or not for a long time.

It may be that, 20 years from now, I will be cursing this thing for being too weak and watered down.  But there are some really amazing parts of this bill and I love it even despite it’s flaws.  Plus, there are, like, 800 Million dollars for green jobs training and stuff in there.  I’m working in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn these days: trust me when I say that there aren’t a lot more jobs places like that can loose, so it’s only going to help out.  I wish the Republicans had come up with a counter solution to get the job market back on line: their idea of more capitalism – providing a series of grants to people who come up with good ideas – is so small potatoes that it boggles the mind.  The Republican party’s stance of Nothing is Happening, lets all Stick Our Heads in the Sand and Invoke the American Worker isn’t valid anymore.  They have done nothing for the American Worker for enough years that suddenly raising the middle class and the small business owner as “at risk” rings hollow and even pathetic.

ethanol_corncobEthanol production

It’s tricky to get a handle on.  Many forward looking environmentalist types have decided that it’s a past fad; that essentially Corn Ethanol production was a dead end given it’s land and water use, and the amount of energy that goes into it.  People who were very excited about the potential of corn as alternative fuel in the 90’s can’t BELIEVE that people haven’t moved past it in the 2000’s.   More nuance: we might not have DQ’ed things like production of Ethanol fuel from Algae, so over-all reaction against it seems like a bad idea.

However, like everything else, there is a huge lobby for Corn Ethanol, (which has some valid points!) and many Midwestern Democrats are completely unwilling to hear about anything that might touch the status quo of cash for that cause.  It doesn’t matter if it’s good green policy (and evidence suggests that it is not) — it matters if it is good pork.

It’s a mess, to be sure… but a mess worth sinking the Waxman-Markey environmental bill over?

Yup.

Once again, Congress is the place that great ideas go to die.  Look, I realize that the Cap and Trade program is going to be hard on some folks.  But this quibbling, this exempting and counter exempting, this hijacking of the debate over things that are not central to the discussion — this is why the tax code is millions of lines long.  This is why you need a PHD in stupid to begin to track the reasoning that suggests that a bill designed to get this country on track to start combating global climate change issues is getting nickled and dimed into irrelevance by stupid riders and past gripes.

Peterson and the 26 Democrats on his committee say they will vote against climate change legislation passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week unless it better addresses several concerns raised by farmers, including reversing the EPA decision.

(more…)

obamachiapet1__optSounds like someone has been suckling at the sweet teat of Van Jones’ vision for the next wave of environmentalism, one which embraces and transformes the economy rather than raging against it. The quote here isn’t anything new, but I hope it proves emblematic of an approach that is becoming more and more mainstream, more and more well-recognized as basic economic good sense rather than a wingnut effort.

(P.S. The link above takes you to a really solid source for international news related to renewable energy and the economy. They’re based in England and keep their fingers on the pulses of both the innovator and the investor communities.)

A few words, Mr. President?

“Now, the choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy. The choice we face is between prosperity and decline. We can remain the world’s leading importer of oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of clean energy. We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc across the landscape, or we can create jobs working to prevent its worst effects. We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can confront what countries in Europe and Asia have already recognized as both a challenge and an opportunity: The nation that leads the world in creating new energy sources will be the nation that leads the 21st-century global economy.”

Al Gore puts the whole Global Warming thing under a lens that everyone can love: Get on Board with Electric Cars, or the Chinese win.  And yo don’t want the Chinese to win, do ya?  Come on.  Come oooooonnnn…

“Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses after that.”

“The goal, which radiates from the very top of the Chinese government, suggests that Detroit’s Big Three, already struggling to stay alive, will face even stiffer foreign competition on the next field of automotive technology than they do today.”

Our security crisis, our economic crisis and our climate crisis are all connected. By leading the world in the creation of renewable technology, we will not only put America back to work, but we can also reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help solve the climate crisis.

If, instead, we allow other nations to take the lead in developing the technologies of the future, we would put our entire economy at risk for the next generation. Repowering America is not only about solving the climate crisis; it’s about leading the world. If we don’t, others are sure to take our place.

And I ask you:  Where is the down side?  What is the PROBLEM with being a world leader in automobiles (which — need I mind you — we invented)?

Do you HATE AMERICA, Republicans?  You must.  Jerks.

Eight years of that has still left me feeling bitter.  I wonder if anyone can tell? (more…)

Global Warming skeptics, climate change deniers, whack jobs, or lonely prophets in the desert, call them what you will.

LtAG is here to try and walk the line ‘twixt outright dismissal and over acceptance.  To this end, lets compare two of the more prominent and visible doubters out there.  One the one hand, you’ve got Freeman Dyson, who I wrote about at length after his profile in the Times.   Here’s a dude who does exactly what I would want the opposition to do every time they don’t agree with me: rationally explain why they have a problem with the science behind global warming, and back it up with a lifetime of good science and following his own scientific creed.

Marc Morano, from the New York Times profile.

Marc Morano, from the New York Times profile.

In contrast, lets look at Marc Morano, someone I’ve written about before, who was also profiled in the New York Times today.  Morano is the sort of political operative who gives wing-nuts a bad name.  There is no nuance and no discussion for him: he discards some science and supports others based on a political agenda.  In point of fact, he does exactly what he is constantly accusing Al Gore of: ignoring the stuff that doesn’t fit his conception of a giant left-wing science conspiracy/hoax.   Take a look at his site, ClimateDepot, for a sense of how this dude roles.   I like how he takes his subtly and style clues straight from the Drudge Report (minus the Siren).  (more…)

Solar + Ninja = SOLJA. Defending the Arctic, the Ice Shelf, the Polar Bea... wait a second...

Solar + Ninja = SOLJA. Defending the Arctic, the Ice Shelf, the Polar Bea... wait a second...

Still geeked from the the first episode of the (totally un-green) amazing new Spike TV show Deadliest Warrior, I was intrigued to see a cultural observation on our comments page.  Mark notes that we might not be able to wait for people to get in on the DIY Solar bandwagon, nor wait for them to pony up the cash to get someone else to come and build.  This leaves us with the obvious option of people who surreptitiously come in the night, build solar panels, then vanish into the mists.  Vandalism in reverse, Mark coined this new home owner scourge solarrillas – but I think that my Deadliest Warrior thoughts push me more toward the deadly and invisible Ninja.  Let’s call them Ninlars.  Solinjas.  Or… Soljas.  That’s right: you can be a Solja for the cause!

To this end: the newest in solar technology that will dramatically assist in the Silent Ninja’s work:  Check out this Solar Paint.  It’s a panel minus the panel, electricity gain that you can roll on to your roof.  Eventually, who knows?  This stuff could cover just about everything.  Plus, for all those Solja attacks, the soldering and other ironwork was going to be a pretty serious noise issue.  Now, it is back to the code of the Solja: Silent, but Green.

Now, I wonder if we can get Stimulus money for creating Green Collar Jobs to train our deadly warrior army…

Normally the telemarketing calls I receive are automated services that try to scam you into taking a cash advance loan that gets paid back through credit card transactions at like 33% interest or something ridiculous, but a few months ago I actually got a USEFUL telemarketing call. It was a real person who informed me that as a Delaware business owner, who had been buying power from the public utility Delmarva for over two years, that I qualified to search for my own supplier of energy out there in the big wide world of the free market. I felt like a fish that had been living in captivity and was now free to swim in the oceans of competitive bidding…ok so it was nothing so exciting as that, but I was interested to get a bid.
In Delaware we can choose from over 20 suppliers. Each gets their energy through a slightly different mix of energy sources. Delmarva provides their customers with a breakdown of their energy mix that is as follows:

Coal             55.9%
Gas             7.3%
Nuclear            34.2%
Oil            0.5%
Captured Methane*    0.2%
Hydroelectric        0.9%
Solid Waste        0.6%
Wind            0.2%
Wood or other biomass    0.2%

I haven’t yet called all of the other providers to see what their energy mix is, but I have received quotes from two of them. One called Integrys Energy quoted 10.1 cents per KWH and another, which claimed to be a “green” energy provider said they could lock our company in for 8.5 cents a KWH (although when I faxed them a copy of our usage history I never heard back from them). Currently Delmarva charges somewhere around 10.5 cents per KWH I believe, but it varies from month to month. Our monthly electricity bill is around 800 dollars. This isn’t really the kind of usage that will get you a significant discount, but maybe if I shop around I will get a good deal. I am also interested to see if the companies that have a high renewable energy percentage to their mix are more expensive. Keep an eye here for posts as I get more quotes!!

*Chickens outnumber people in Delaware by about 3:1…that’s a lot of chicken shit!!

-Also, I used to telemarket for Bank of America in college and let me tell you, it sucks…

First off, consider this an official challenge to my collegues to come up with a longer post title.

Second, is it just me, or are people spending WAY too much time talking about Michelle Obama’s arms?

michelle-obama-arms

Third, let’s look at what this is actually about: Michelle making it a priority of her agenda to change the way we think about health food. Not a scolding, top-down imperative from the health saints to the McIgnoramuses but rather an embrace of communities’ efforts to produce food or collaborate with producers of food that has the three magic characteristics: nutrition, freshness, locality. I know there are plenty of goofballs ready to leap on Ms. Obama for her supposed elitism, but on this front it’s anything but. Why exactly should healthy food be considered a “luxury,” some plaything of the upper classes? If the answer is “its cost,” then isn’t there something dramatically wrong with the stocks and flows of food production in the country? 

If the answer is “arugula is a pinko anti-american homosexual aphrodesiac,” then I really can’t help you.

(more…)

You know what’s scary/exciting?  The world is suddenly listening to me.

Ok, no.  They aren’t.  In fact, they are still ignoring LtAG on apace.  But doesn’t it feel, regular reader, that I wrote the following press release?  (excerpted at length cause it’s so damn exciting):

From: Van Jones

Re: Generally being awesome:

Great news! I’m going to the White House! And Green For All has an amazing new leader!

Special Advisor For Green Jobs: Me

I will be at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. My job will be to help shape the administration’s energy and climate policy, so that climate solutions produce jobs and justice for all Americans.

I am going to be the Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Dispelling Some Rumors

If you’ve had your ear to the blogosphere in the past few days, you may have heard some rumors. The most prevalent call me the new “Green Jobs Czar.”

But I am not going to be any kind of  “Czar.”  If anyone were to be the “Green Jobs Czar” (a position that does not exist), it would and should be Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. She was an original sponsor of the Green Jobs Act of 2007. Obama appointed her as the first Latina – and first green leader – to head the Department of Labor. Can anyone say “Green Jobs Czarina”?

Also, rumors that I will be handing out big piles of Recovery Act cash are utterly false. Unfortunately. :)

Yup. That’s right. Main man Van is going to hang out with Main man Obama.  With all this going my way, now the exciting part happens: we get to see if all this talking was actually right.  If there were to be one hand picked person who I would say “got” the “correct” version of environmentalism, this is my dude.  Awful hard to stay cynical… fighting to retain… righteous anger…

And just think!  Now, when all this turns out to be wrong wrong wrong, and we end up a socialist state taking handouts from the Japanese and Germans, you all will know that it was my bad.

Also exciting: Green For All, the progressive and environmentally justice minded organization that Van was the head of until today, is still going strong.  I don’t yet know the name Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, but I hope I type it as often and as orgasmicly as I’ve come to type Van Jones.