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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Bureaucrats Squabble Over Oceanic Slaughter

May 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Bureaucrats Squabble Over Oceanic Slaughter

Two bodies of European diplomacy have squared off over proposed regulations on the fishing industry. Ministers of The European Parliament have been rebuffed by their legislative counterparts The Council of the European Union, the latter attempting to neuter a newly ratified ban on the practice of fish discards.

An overwhelming majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEP) voted in February to immediately end the dumping of viable catches at sea. National ministers who make up The Council are calling for a staggered implementation of the ban taking place between 2014 and 2017 depending on the species in question, as well as permanently allowing up to 7% of any given catch to be dumped as accidental by-catches.

Dumping perfectly good fish has been the fishing industry’s way around existing quotas on particular species. Ships laden with lower-priced catches routinely toss unwanted breeds to make way for more lucrative catches as they prepare to pull into harbor. Few fish can survive the trauma of being caught, stored and released, resulting in tons of carcasses wasted on the sea floor. Activists and scientists condemn the practice which has contributed to the depletion of fish stocks around the world. More than 1 million tons are discarded by European fleets annually. The European Commission estimates that 23% of all catches are tossed overboard while activists place that figure at closer to 40%. Read more…

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Inspiring Terrible Things

January 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Federal agents are fighting the greatest scourge since Bolsheviks infiltrated washrooms across America. Throughout the nation teams of local police and the FBI—Joint Terrorism Task Forces—are scrutinizing security footage and wiretaps while prosecutors issue grand jury subpoenas.

On December 26th, 2012, Matthew Pfeiffer reported for imprisonment to Seattle’s Federal Detention Center. He joins Katherine Olejnik and Matthew Duran, held in contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating anarchist collectives in the Pacific Northwest. The price of silence, for not offering circumstantial evidence against photographs and names presented during closed sessions without judge or legal representation, can amount to continued incarceration until March of 2014 when the grand jury dissolves.

None are charged with any further crime. None are suspected of wrongdoing. The US attorney in charge admits that this imprisonment is a form of coercion to compel testimony. Read more…

Tides Hit the New England Grid

October 3, 2012 Leave a comment

History was quietly made off the coast of Maine on September 13th when an underwater turbine, anchored on the floor of Cobscook Bay, came online. It’s the first time a commercially licensed tidal power project has generated electricity for the grid and signals the first step in exploiting a renewable resource that the Department of Energy (DOE) suggests can contribute up to 15% of the nation’s electrical power by 2030.

The Cobscook Bay project is administered by Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) who developed and implemented the TidGen Power System. TidGen is an array of metal foil sheets resembling a vacuum cleaner head mounted on struts, running roughly 100ft across and 30ft high. Currently in pilot phase, the project will eventually add two additional TidGen turbines, each with a peak output of 180kw. Upon completion the project is expected to generate enough power for a hundred homes.

Coastal Maine is a hotbed of kinetic energy. The project location enjoys regular 20ft tides and possibly serves as a laboratory to prepare future models for the neighboring Bay of Fundy, whose 50ft tides are the world’s highest. Read more…

Pussy Riot to Ai Weiwei: The Confused Crushing of Dissent

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Protesters in Times Square. Protesters in London. Protesters in France. Protesters in countries all around the world wearing masks and waving signs: Free Pussy Riot. Protesters safe from arrest and prosecution standing outside Russian consulates while new laws frighten Muscovites from becoming the next Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich.

Worldwide outcry is the expected end of the predictable soap opera that was the Pussy Riot trial and not even the brazen antics of a chainsaw wheeling Feman activist in Kyiv serves as a surprise twist before the credits roll. The moment a Youtube video of women violating the patriarchal order of the Orthodox Church, spiritual legitimacy for the return of Vladimir Putin and hungry for tax breaks and former properties, embarrassed powerful old men there was no question that an example would be made. Heavily armed security forces conducted raids and arrests, court proceedings so transparently scripted that even embittered Russian journalists became disruptive, Madonna risking nothing by making trite declarations from the stage, accusations of Western hypocrisy and paranoid allusions to foreign agents infiltrating Russian activist groups– each scene played out tired and stale. The only development more surprising than the accused not receiving the maximum sentence was that authorities orchestrating this pantomime bothered to frame their reactionary persecution as legally legitimate. Read more…

Whose Streets?

June 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Excitable boys and girls marched merrily along Broadway, destination unknown. They could have slipped under the radar but some hapless cop found a bullhorn thrust into his hand: Please stay on the sidewalk. A simple request, asked with all the defeat and fatigue of a broken father left alone with the kids for the weekend. The malcontents must have obeyed if the absence of scuffling and breaking glass was any indication. I couldn’t be bothered to leave the couch I was calling a bed for the week to peer out any windows.

Another first of May and another May Day march. Vegan anarchists used to invite me along. What do you do on May Day? Dance around the maypole and smash the state, they would reply. I always declined graciously, the same way I would whenever babysitting Food Not Bombs who, at the halfway mark of their meeting, would run through a rousing rendition of the Hokey Pokey.

Anarchists love to dance. Read more…

Will the Chinese Own Governor Gav?

April 25, 2009 5 comments

Hometown hero Gavin Newsom officially announced his candidacy for Governor of California on April 21st, flaunting his technical savvy by simultaneously championing his cause on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Not being as cybernetic as most of my peers I was forced to enjoy the video spectacle and was once again struck by how embarrassing it is when our supposed leaders pander to the people by utilizing shitty resolution for the sake of networking. Show a little class and stream your own videos.

There’s nothing particularly striking about his pep talk, aside from my being struck with uncontrollable laughter as soon as his well manicured mug appears. San Francisco is hailed as the nation’s leader in universal health care, ecological innovation and retaining teachers amidst grievous budget cuts. He repeatedly uses the term “we” instead of the political assertion of “I”, which has become something of a hallmark in all of his communiques. He is not running for governor so much as we are all being invited to run for governor. I guess this means I’ve been traveling the state with an SFPD escort all this time. The message is that San Francisco is doing better than California and the allusion is that it’s because we’ve had Gavin Newsom at the helm, single-handedly steering us into calmer waters as the rest of the world drowns in a fiscal tempest. The “green economy” is our guiding light, as evidenced by happy laborers installing solar paneling. Voters and the Board of Supervisors, advocates and PACs are not invited to share in the glory of our solar panels.

The elections won’t take place for another year but this never prevents pollsters from harassing the recluses and bored housewives who generate public opinion. If Jerry Brown and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who are both assumed to be entering the race, run then Newsom places third. If Senator Dianne Feinstein throws her hat into the ring he drops to fourth, but he has commented that if she does he will bow out– as long as she announces her candidacy early enough. In an effort to court less slick Democrats Newsom has been spotted meeting with under-enlightened prospective voters in traditional hicktowns San Diego and Stockton where he plans to replace their images of gay marriage with his successful chain of yuppie eateries and wine bars.

So will the San Francisco model work the length and breadth of a state as large and diverse as California, and more importantly can Newsom convince skeptics he can handle the responsibilities given his track record? Are solar panels the key to economic solvency and can his experience managing lifestyle businesses trump the fact that China owns our collective asses? Perhaps we should examine a little bit of recent history wherein out intrepid leader laid down and allowed a foreign government full reign of policing the streets of San Francisco. Read more…

The Gasman Cometh

March 10, 2009 Leave a comment

All eyes have been on the Senate’s budget wrangling which has allowed some interesting things to slip under the radar that may otherwise have received more cameras and klieg lights. Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada recently convened a clean energy summit in DC, inviting such political luminaries as Bill Clinton and Al Gore as well as words of wisdom from noted oil wildman T. Boone Pickens to discuss how to prepare America’s future as a sustainable energy producer. Most conversation has been focused on revamping the country’s electrical grid by renaming it a smart grid which is currently ill-equipped for handling wattage loads from wind and solar farms which factor largely into the overall scheme of things. However, Pickens takes things a step further as he pounds the pulpit pushing for natural gas to be diverted from electrical production to transportation.

California voters might recall Pickens backing Proposition 10, the Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds measure which proposed to fund rebates for the purchase of high-efficiency or alternative fuel vehicles, the latter being code for cars running on natural gas. There was also money dedicated to researching renewable energy solutions, but the crux of the initiative was to encourage the purchase of cars which would require natural gas to run. Pickens, it so happens, owns a large chain of natural gas stations called Clean Energy which explained why a Texas oil tycoon who achieved wealth through aggressive company purchases in the 1980’s would be shelling out massive amounts of cash to pass a proposition in another state. Voters rejected this by about a 60-40 margin. Read more…