24 Jun 2007 08:19 am
Anti-BGE Rally Finds Support in Annapolis
Maryland Green Party members were well represented in yesterdays rally in Annapolis clling for a special session of the state legislature re-regulate the energy industry and place rate caps back on.
Greens from Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Montgomery County were among the Maryland Coalition to Stop the BGE Rate Hikes witch gathered several hundered people to Lawyer’s Mall opposite the Governor’s mansion.
Perhaps the most moving speaker at the rally was LaLydia Stokes, a Meter Reader who was fired in retaliation for whistleblowing on BGE’s meter falsifications, said that the BGE meters were often defective, giving false readings, and that, as a result, residential ratepayers were being overcharged; also, Stokes informed the audience that she was aware of a number of other Meter Readers who were giving false readings- a big reason for this is the Meter Readers are heavily overworked, and their numbers are not large enough for the massive quantities of meters to be read. Stokes indicated that she has documents and digital photographs to back up her claims.
A LaLydia Stokes Legal Defense Fundis being established for her to continue her work against BGE, with the first donation coming from an out of state tourist who heard her speak and was moved to donate.
Green Party candidate for Baltimore City Council, Maria Allwine, gave a rousing speech, citing public ownership of electricity utilities, chiding Constellation/ BGE for making cheap electricity at 3-5 ckwh, then selling it to us at 13 ckwh; Allwine castigated BGE’s bogus comments that blaming ancillary costs like advertising, employee salaries.
Annapolis City Councilman Sam Shropshire also spoke, saying that the Council had been lied to by BGE before deregulation passed and that he supported legislation that would Re-Regulate Constellation/ BGE.
Also speaking was Rita Collins, candidate in the Democrtic primary for the 11th District, BaltimoreCity Council.
The crowd, numbering several hundred, then marched through the downtown district, receiving many honks and waves and quite a few comments from people angry over the rate increases.
Politics & News
21 Jun 2007 09:08 pm
CIA to Declassify “Family Jewels”
The National Security Archive has announced that the CIA will declassify in full a 693-page file amassed on CIA’s illegal activities during the 1960s and 1970s. The file had been compiled on the order of CIA director James Schlesinger in 1973, and had been dubbed “the family jewels.”
The file had been compiled under Schlesinger’s orders after it became public knowledge that Watergate burglars E. Howard Hunt and James McCord (both veteran CIA officers) had cooperation from the Agency as they carried out “dirty tricks” for President Nixon. The story was originally broken by Seymour Hersh in the New York Times in December, 1974, but until now, only a few dozen heavily censored pages of the file have been released.
The National Security Archives has posted a 1975 summary of the file, revealing 18 specific areas covered including:
1. Confinement of a Russian defector that “might be regarded as a violation of the kidnapping laws.”
2. Wiretapping of two syndicated columnists, Robert Allen and Paul Scott.
3. Physical surveillance of muckraker Jack Anderson and his associates, including current Fox News anchor Britt Hume.
4. Physical surveillance of then Washington Post reporter Michael Getler.
5. Break-in at the home of a former CIA employee.
6. Break-in at the office of a former defector.
7. Warrantless entry into the apartment of a former CIA employee.
8. Mail opening from 1953 to 1973 of letters to and from the Soviet Union.
9. Mail opening from 1969 to 1972 of letters to and from China.
10. Behavior modification experiments on “unwitting” U.S. citizens.
11. Assassination plots against Castro, Lumumba, and Trujillo (on the latter, “no active part” but a “faint connection” to the killers).
12. Surveillance of dissident groups between 1967 and 1971.
13. Surveillance of a particular Latin American female and U.S. citizens in Detroit.
14. Surveillance of a CIA critic and former officer, Victor Marchetti.
15. Amassing of files on 9,900-plus Americans related to the antiwar movement.
16. Polygraph experiments with the San Mateo, California, sheriff.
17. Fake CIA identification documents that might violate state laws.
18. Testing of electronic equipment on US telephone circuits.
The file should make for interesting reading when it is finally released.
19 Jun 2007 11:25 am
Companies hoping to build power plants in the USA
by Professor Matt
Electricity companies in the US are asking the Government to change the rules of the loan guarantees being offered so that 100% of the loan is covered, instead of 90%, as currently proposed. The electricity companies are being advised by finance experts that the 90% loan scheme won’t work well, as it would create “two tier” risk in any finance package to fund the construction of a new nuclear power plant.
The load guarantees are meant to protect companies from the possibility that they start to build a new nuclear power plant and then have a new government policy on nuclear power emerge that might jeopardise the success of that new build project.
click below for the full story
Dominion Power Retreats on Coal Power Plants
Co-op America reports that Dominion Power has canceled three of four planned coal fired power plants, including two in Virginia. This comes after a campaign that gathered at least 20,000 signatures opposing the plants.
Co-op America’s Climate Change Program Director Todd Larsen had warned:
Dominion’s plans for our future are a giant step backwards for America. At a time when energy companies are increasingly recognizing climate change, and even calling for federal regulation of carbon, Dominion is moving forward with three polluting plants that will pump enormous amounts of carbon into our skies. Dominion has refused calls to report out on its climate emissions and how it can curb them, despite growing interest from their own shareholders. Dominion is also pushing for nuclear power - touting it as a safe, environmentally sound energy solution - and ignoring local opposition and real concerns around safety and proliferation.
Now Dominion and the US Department of Energy have reported that three of four new coal-fired power plants are no longer scheduled to be built. Now they pledge to triple wind power investments in West Virginia over the course of this year, and also, at this year’s shareholder meeting, Dominion finally recognized the reality of climate change.
Activist pressure combined with the steady drumbeat of news confirming global warming fears can make a difference. This sort of pressure should be extended to other major utilities as well.
GP Maryland & GP USA
04 Jun 2007 06:35 am
Join The Groundswell! Switch2Green
Switch2Green! A new website has been set up for Democrats (and Republicans) fed up with the two war parties: switch2green.org complete with registration help for all states where it is possible to register Green and with a computer generated letter that you can send to your congressperson, informing her that you have switched.
Switch2Green.org has already been mentioned on the Mike Malloy radio show.
Here in Maryland, the move has already begun. In April alone, the party received 500 new registered voters, its biggest growth spurt in years.
Politics & News & Iraq
03 Jun 2007 09:13 am
Bush Administration Warns Turkey Not To Invade Iraq
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday cautioned Turkey against sending troops into northern Iraq as it has threatened, to hunt down Kurdish rebels it accuses of carrying out terrorist raids inside Turkey.
“We hope there would not be a unilateral military action across the border into Iraq,” Gates told a news conference after meetings here with Asian government officials.
Yes, I know it sounds like a Jon Stewart straight line, but then unilaterally invading Iraq is something the administration knows a good deal about. Who better to give advice?
Politics & News
01 Jun 2007 07:51 am
Bush is Losing His Marbles
Bush is ever more convinced of his own righteousness, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, and his pronouncements are beginning to scare even old friends:
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.”
Somebody cue the Twilight Zone theme …..