PUBLIC ADVOCACY: What’s happening? Climate Change Solutions

June 26, 2013

1. Germany has made a conscious effort to stop it’s dependence on fossil fuels. They are concerned by the rising cases of child asthma. THEREFORE; I wasn’t surprised to read the following articles in the FINANCIAL TIMES 1st on 7/3 & then on 7/5/13. The first article by Pilita Clark in London: Pay Nations to shun coal, says expert, Mr Bard Harstad, who has just won an environmental economics prize is proposing this idea. His study shows that countries eager to tackle climate change , including much of the EU, would find it cheaper to pay other nations to keep their fossil fuels in the ground rather then cut their own carbon gas emissions with measures such as carbon markets or taxes. Why not a fossil fuel subsidy? A model for this program exists with timber; Non government agencies as well as Nations are purchasing land and paying countries to stop deforestation , thus preserving the forests and decreasing CO2 emissions.

The leading candidates for Mr. Harstad’s program would be regions experiencing high extraction costs; such as the Canadian Tar Sands or Arctic drilling, the owners would be compensated for conserving their resources on the world’s behalf. A thought and a choice?

2. Looking at Our Country’s problems ? The Country has much to debate? NY TIMES 7/6/13; Homes keep rising in West despite growing wildfire threat. About 16% of the wild-land urban interface has been developed. But, Ray Rasker, CEO of Headwaters Economics, a research group in Bozeman, Montana, maintains we should be having a National Conversation on the other 84% . He added that” the reason that local governments are not responding and restricting development is that they don’t bear much of the cost” of fighting the fires and cleaning up afterward . ” The bulk is borne by the federal taxpayer.” And I may add, our precious youth, those brave men fighting to save the lives of others. While, according to one resident, Becky Koon, in Ravalli County, she noted, ” for some of the landowners, this is summer property, they don’t do anything to preserve their land. Who’s responsible? We have choices.

3. RE-dacted.

4. LOL. FT 7/6/13 In a different mould: 3D printing has led to a revolution in furniture design. Additive manufacturing, popularly known as 3D printing is transforming the way designers create, produce and manufacture furniture . Paul Loebach, a Brooklyn based designer trained in traditional woodworking, argues that additive manufacturing allows for new ways to consider form. Janne Kattanen co- founder of the Dutch design studio, Freedom of Creation, agrees with this viewpoint , but states that the future of design rests with millions customizing designer pieces to their individual tastes. iMakr, based in London, provides a service to customers who don’t have a 3D printer, they will take your files, print them and send you a finished product within 48 hours! Progress! A choice.

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Education, Finance, Student Loans; Commentary

June 16, 2013

1. NY TIMES 6/16/13 Even pessimists feel optimistic over Economy: To quote the Times, Is the New Normal, high unemployment growing old and at long last we’re going to produce healthier more lasting growth? The evidence: the Times cites the rise of the stock market and predicts that innovation will over turn 50 years of depressed standards of living. A leap of faith? One week later, the US GDP was revised downward to less then 2%. Progress? Lasting growth? Where is the evidence? Today is JULY 2 nd, The sequester has begun, are we better off? Always a choice.

2. Last week I attended a Media Conference sponsored by an advertising company, catering to the health care and pharmaceutical industry. Their target audience was WBE (woman owned businesses) /Presidents of WBE media companies. An effort was made to explain to the educated creative audience the needs of the Advertising Firm. 75 women, sat listening, and eventually the group realized they would never meet the needs of the larger agency. Even doing pro bono work would not guarantee them a seat at the table. Though the ” large Ad Agency” admitted to having a lack of innovative creative, digitally savvy & empathetic talent, they were unwilling to take a risk and hire these independent contractors. We have choices. The status quo ? Or start moving forward with the talent that exists but remains untapped?

3. LOL The Financial Times, 6/19/13. A lone comment on the state of the UK banking industry. Philip Auger states: Reckless Banking Should be a criminal offense. Furthermore, he notes ” having laid the foundations for reform of a core industry, the government must not flinch. This is a unique opportunity to put right one of the UK’s most dysfunctional but strategically important industries.” Recently, topics covered on this blog have been in the fore front of Bloomberg News. Economists are stating what has been obvious for some time, Wall Street does not reflect the lack of business on Main Street due to the Fiscal Crisis of 2008. We have a choice and a voice. Change comes , if we care?

4. Student Loans: As expected, Congress recessed, letting student loan rates rise to 6.8%. Not a big deal for Congress since they are on vacation till next week and can revise the rates downward , at will. However, for the students carrying the 1+ Trillion in debt, this is a ‘ big” problem. I have a suggestion, “ask to be given a loan Re- payment grace period, one month perhaps”. Why should students assume more debt and angst, while Congress deliberates. Not being active in your destiny, has consequences. You have a choice and a voice.

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Financial Reform; when?

June 4, 2013

1. NY TIMES 6/4/13 WALL STREET BUYERS BEHIND THE RISE IN HOUSE PRICES: The last time the housing market peaked in Phoenix and Las Vegas, it was fueled by small investors, not this time. Wall Street firms are buying homes for their equity portfolios, investing billions of dollars in Real Estate . The Blackstone Group has purchased 26,000 homes, in 9 states, hit the hardest by the financial crisis. Nationwide , 68% of the” damaged ” homes have been purchased by investors pushing up the sale price for first time home buyers.

What happens to these homes, if ” The market corrects? ” An asset bubble, again? We have a choice: FINANCIAL REFORM.

2. Read in the NY Times 6/6/13 The SEC is deliberating on changing the rules on Money Market Funds, allowing the dollar to fluctuate rather then remaining fixed at a dollar of value. The Public has 3 months to comment on the proposed rule changes before A Formal Bill goes to the Senate. Money Market Funds are used to protect the small investor from market fluctuations, time to let your voices be heard? We have a choice .

3. NY TIMES 6/9/13 When lofty words from the President also led to swift action. In 1963, JFK was confronted with two realities; the Cold War and the moral obligation to enact Civil Right’s Legislation. Both speeches were eloquent, but more then that, they led to Congressional Action. Kennedy stated, A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation , is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all. Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right as well as reality.” ” This moral crisis cannot be met with repressive police action. It is a time to act in Congress, in your State and local legislative body and above all in our daily lives.”

We have problems today; rising unemployment, a need for a jobs program, food and proper medical assistance, a living wage, financial reform, immigration reform, legislation to ensure our Constitutional rights? Rhetoric is easy, when can we expect solutions to the Nation’s troubles? We have choices to make?

4. LOL. THE FINANCIAL TIMES 6/8/13. The UK has set up a commission , which includes the Arch Bishop of Canterbury , to determine rules for Bankers to live by! Under the heading, ” Bankers face 10 year delay on bonuses, ” the Commission’s report is expected to be uncompromising , with key sections on pay, professional standards and a new proposed sanction regime for miscreant’s. It is unclear whether these standards will be imposed on UK bankers only or any Banker doing business in the UK.

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