Archive for December 17th, 2011
Lester Brown reports on the proliferation of solar rooftop water heaters at Sustainablog:
The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these “solar thermal collectors” use the sun’s energy to heat water, space, or both.
Source: sustainablog (http://s.tt/14T9R)
Cherokee song with a simple challenge:
Advocates of a tiny but lucrative tax on financial transactions are increasingly hopeful that President Barack Obama’s need to more firmly establish himself as the Main Street candidate in 2012 will lead him to back the measure.
The tax — though nearly inconsequential on a per-trade basis — would reap billions in revenue from Wall Street’s most rapacious institutions while also cutting down on their incentive to engage in the high-stakes, lightning-fast gambling that has proven particularly lucrative for them, at the expense of others.
If Barack Obama fails to vigorously support this tax, he should change his campaign slogan to “No Hope. No Change.”
Recently deceased Christopher Hitchens is about as difficult to categorize as they come. At Big Think, Adam Lee offers a well-written mixed-bag tribute.
For those unfamiliar with Hitchens’ in-your-face style of iconoclastic writing, consider his article at Slate, “Mommie Dearest: The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.”
MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?
The rich world has a poor conscience, and many people liked to alleviate their own unease by sending money to a woman who seemed like an activist for “the poorest of the poor.” People do not like to admit that they have been gulled or conned, so a vested interest in the myth was permitted to arise, and a lazy media never bothered to ask any follow-up questions. Many volunteers who went to Calcutta came back abruptly disillusioned by the stern ideology and poverty-loving practice of the “Missionaries of Charity,” but they had no audience for their story. George Orwell’s admonition in his essay on Gandhi—that saints should always be presumed guilty until proved innocent—was drowned in a Niagara of soft-hearted, soft-headed, and uninquiring propaganda.