Sunday, July 27, 2008

Letter of Thanks to Senators Mikulski and Cardin

I just felt the need to express my thanks to Senators Mikulski, Cardin, and all the others who respond in a personal way to all the emails and petitions I'm sure they are bombarded with every day. Form letters they may be, but each one expresses the Senators' thoughts on the subject at hand, explains their personal stance, and cites which legislature they oppose or support. Letters like these let us know that our elected representatives really are listening to what we are saying, and have our interests in mind. And if they don't agree with us, it explains why. So kudos to you, Senators.

And let this be a lesson to you Mr. Roscoe Bartlett of District 6, and the NEVER ENDING slew of identical form letters that say NOTHING other than a basic brush off of 'sorry I can't answer your email, I get tons of email everyday' and 'I can only help you if you live in my district'. Well I DO live in your district, Mr. Bartlett, as you would know if whoever screens your mail ever bothered to actually read it, although if I have any say in the matter it won't be your district for any longer than necessary. I've gotten better form letters from the President of the United States, whom I well know did not read my letter! It is disgraceful and unacceptable behavior to ignore the voice of your constituents in this way. For shame, Mr. Bartlett. For shame.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Huge Oil spill on Mississippi River

Ah F*ck.
That and a dozen other cusswords are about the first things that came out of my mouth when I saw this article.

Huge Oil Spill shuts Mississippi River

This is one of those times when I'm not going to bother to be polite and censor myself. For all you dumbshits who want to drill off the coast and in ANWR or anywhere else that is protected and not already under an unused or underused oil lease, look at this and consider the goddamn consequences. Yeah, sure, the environmental impact of drilling in ANWR will be contained within 2000 sq miles. MY ASS. The oil has to get OUT of ANWR doesn't it? Anywhere that oil goes from there is a potential disaster area! And don't give me any crap about how this was heating oil not motor oil or gasoline, its all the same thing when you get down to the bottom line.
After the devastation and pollution caused by Hurricane Katrina this is the very last thing the Mississippi River region needs. Gaia help us clean up this f*cking mess.

How Do You Spell Relief?

Email from the Center for American Progress Action Fund:

We need real energy solutions that address the real needs of the American people. Add your voice to our campaign to lower gas prices now and lower carbon emissions for the future. Don't let conservatives get away with filling the airwaves with lies that distract us from our goals. Don't let them put the needs of Big Oil ahead of the needs of American families.

When it comes to lowering gas prices now, the president and conservatives say we should drill for oil on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). They tell us that the way to lower oil prices now and reduce oil consumption is to sell our future to big oil companies with leases that won't have a significant impact on our needs until 2030. In other words,

President Bush spells relief: SELL OUR FUTURE

But we take a more realistic approach to lowering prices now.

We spell it: SELL OUR OIL

We need relief NOW! Under eight years of the Big Oil presidency, oil prices have gone up by more than 500 percent. But we can lower oil prices in 20 days by selling a small portion of our strategic oil reserves and reduce our oil consumption in the future by using the profits from the sale to invest in low carbon energy solutions, without affecting our energy security.

When the price of oil goes up who makes more money? Yeah, that's right, the president's Big Oil friends... So who do you trust to help bring down the price of oil? Do you trust those selling FANTASY or those selling REALITY?

So let's help Congress push President Bush to implement REAL ENERGY SOLUTIONS.

Write Congress today about releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves and using the profits to invest in creating a low carbon economy.

Take Action Now

Together we can solve all of our energy needs. This is the first step in our campaign for Real Energy Solutions, so keep your eyes open for more!

Alan and the CAPAF/I Am Progress Advocacy Team

You can read more about this plan on their website.
I think it sounds like a much better idea than drilling in ANWR and using that for funding (yeah, cause I'm sure they will right?) don't you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

'Green' lawns, not green?

Here is a fascinating article I found on which I discovered through the Sierra Club magazine. Its about how the American ideal of that perfect, crabgrass-free lawn is more unsustainable than first apparent.

Kill Your Lawn!

Personally, I lived in Arizona for many years and we never had any grass, and I never wanted any grass. I come from a family of farmers, gardeners, and landscapers, and both my Grandfather and my Mother managed golf courses at some point in their lives. I used to go to work with my mom on the golf course in AZ, and it was a little appalling to see all that water pouring out of sprinklers onto green green grass, when there was a dry river bed not 100 yards away. Here in Maryland, much of what I remember as crops and dairy farms as a kid is now part of a huge network of sod farms that covers Frederick and Montgomery counties. I have to wonder what good growing all that grass does for anyone, except the guy (Coughahem, Chuck Wade) who is selling all that sod. And the guys he pays to mow it, maybe.
Anyway, my mom's house in AZ is all native plants that were growing there before the house was built (you can't remove some of them anyway, because they are protected. Go Saguaros!) and a couple of really nice fruit trees, oranges, apricots, and a large garden. Of course in AZ, growing food requires actual watering more than it would here in MD, but still, its better than 2.5 acres of useless grass! I live in a townhouse and have a postage stamp sized lawn that never requires watering due to our geographic location, and I wouldn't water it anyway, even if it all shriveled up and died. I really would like a veggie garden, but the topography of my postage stamp would require a lot of leveling and terracing to make that work, and then there'd be no where for the dog to do her business. So I'll just stick with my low maintenance lawn care for now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Grey Wolves Re-listed!

A federal judge granted an injunction that will temporarily place Grey Wolves back on the endangered species list until research proves whether they need it or not.
This means planned hunts for the fall are now off! Unfortunately, I can sense a rise in poaching coming...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Continuing attack on Alaska

First it was the aerial gunning, and the continuing pressure to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Now the Bush administration is attacking Alaska's Tongass National Forest with plans to increase logging in areas of old growth on Kuiu and Admiralty islands, home of grizzly bears, bald eagles, and the rare coastal Marten of the Tongass, as well as the elusive Alexander Archipelago wolf.
The plan calls for up to a five time increase in the amount of logging in these areas, with new logging roads being forged into roadless areas, disrupting and destroying the habitat of animals like the Coastal Marten which can only live in very dense forests.
You can make a stand against this destructive plan by going to Defenders of Wildlife's Action Center and clicking on the link to "Speak out against logging that threatens Martens and other wildlife."

My letter to Senator Bartlette

Senator Bartlette,
I was alarmed to learn that you will be supporting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest and most amazing such refuges in our country. In a recent email you defended your decision by saying that 'bandaid fixes would not be fair to our children.' What I think would be unfair to our children is to see such important national treasures as ANWR desecrated by fossil fuel addiction and corporate greed. Using ANWR as the piggy bank for federal funding of cleaner energy research is not right-minded thinking. The only way to ensure energy conservation is to not horde it by stockpiling oil purged from our wild places. I, for one, do not believe that increased oil production will have any effect on oil prices. In fact, one of your fellow Representatives has said that 'oil prices must remain high in order to cut demand.'Is anyone in Congress on the same page?
2000 of 19 million acres is still too much to give up. I urge you to reconsider your stance on H.R. 6107.
Deborah Byrd

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Save energy, but drill for oil!

Congressman Roscoe Bartlette of Maryland's 6th District isn't making much sense lately. His policy for saving energy while promoting drilling in ANWR seems a little wishywashy to me. Check it out.

Congressman Bartlett to address energy issues at SMART Green Showcase

Congressman Bartlett will talk with homeowners and small business owners on strategies to save money and reduce energy consumption at the SMART Green Showcase on July 18th at 8:00am at the Francis Scott Key Holiday Inn, Frederick, Maryland. For more information about this speech and other energy information go to

Congressman Bartlett's ANWR Solution

Government solutions to our energy problems must provide immediate relief and meet future needs. Band-aid fixes would not be fair to our children.

Drilling in ANWR provides us with a great opportunity to take care of today’s demands and tomorrow’s needs. A new bill, H.R. 6107, would dedicate the entire federal share of revenues from leases, rents and royalties from ANWR to increase federal investments in energy efficiency, conservation, research and development and the production of cleaner domestic alternative and renewable energy sources. These revenues are estimated to be $3.5 billion to start, and eventually more than $200 billion would be dedicated to 18 renewable and alternative energy programs approved – but not funded – at zero cost to the taxpayers. Production from ANWR would also increase U.S. domestic oil production by 20%.

I have been to ANWR, and after careful observation and study, concluded that oil production in ANWR could be done in an environmentally responsible manner. H.R. 6107 would specifically limit the footprint of any oil and natural gas development to only 2000 acres of the 19 million-acre area, equivalent to a postage stamp on six football fields. It would require the most advanced, commercially-available technology and put in place the most strict environmental regulations and restrictions ever applied to a development project. I support H.R. 6107 because it guarantees my key requirements that federal energy policy promote a more secure energy future and prosperous economy for current and future generations of Americans.

Anyone else feeling slightly confused by this policy? How about a little betrayed? Sound hypocritical to anyone? "Homeowners, I'd like to help you conserve energy and save money, meanwhile I'm going to sign this bill to feed America's oil addiction and further pad the pockets of Big Oil Executives. Go me!"
As always, feel free to tell Senator Bartlette how you feel.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Say 'No!' to BLM's magic bullet

After last week?s shocking announcement that it was considering putting to death thousands of wild horses to address its budgetary shortfalls, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) went into damage-control mode, laying the groundwork for ugly compromises. Meanwhile, AWHPC Coalition members met with key congressional staffers today to assess the situation and formulate a plan of action. In addressing this crisis, our allies in Congress are counting on the American public?s vocal support.

Below is a list of action items for you to help in this fight:

Alert Oprah Winfrey to this tragedy. She needs to hear from thousands of us urging her to feature our wild horses, American icons, on her show.

CNN?s Anderson Cooper should be urged to investigate the matter.

Please also contact your US Representative, two US Senators, and Rep. Nick Rahall, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and long-time friend of the horses, using the following talking points:

- BLM is warning that the 29 thousand horses left on the range could cause an 'ecological disaster.' Three decades ago, when federal protection was enacted for the horses because they were 'fast disappearing from the range,' population levels were much higher. The horses were not posing a threat then, so how could they be now? How about the fact that 12.5 million acres allocated to wild horses under federal law have been taken away from them? How about the 6 million head of private livestock grazing the same public lands?

- The additional funding BLM is seeking, with our horses as bargaining chips, should only be granted subject to strict independent oversight and the following conditions: 1. A moratorium on round-ups until actual numbers of wild horses and burros on public lands have been independently assessed; 2. The review of scientific findings that contradict claims of wild horse overpopulation and negative impact on the range; and 3. Implementation of in-the-wild management, including non-invasive fertility control methods, which would save millions of our tax-dollars.

- Unrestricted sales and instant titling of adopted horses are not acceptable alternatives: slaughter is a worse fate than a bullet to the head.

- Members of the public have expressed an interest in contributing to the support of America?s wild horses. Please implement tax incentives for that purpose, ensuring monies are strictly allocated to in-the-wild management and to care for horses already in holding pens.

To locate your US Representative and two US Senators, visit and enter your zip code.

BLM has set up a web-page for the public to comment. While we are under no illusion that they have any interest in the American public?s wishes, you may give them a piece of your mind by calling 202-208-7351 or by following this link.

Remind them that we, the American people, entrusted them with our wild horses, living symbols of our freedom and spirit. After decades of lies and backroom deals, millions of acres lost to private livestock, and millions of our tax-dollars wasted on rounding up horses by the thousands, our precious herds are decimated and 30 thousand horses languish in government corrals. Now a bullet or slaughter are the only alternatives they can offer us for our wild horses?

BLM cannot say we did not warn them or plead with them; they cannot say we did not offer solutions. They have failed us and we will be asking our congressional representatives to hold them accountable for their wild horse management duties, duties so egregiously subordinated to special interests. Enough is enough.

It is time America stand up for its wild horses, a national treasure. Ask your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to speak out at this critical time. We are the horses? only voice.

For more suggestions on how to help, please click here. On behalf of the horses, thank you for your support,

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
Click here to join our email list and receive the latest updates.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day!

Today is the day to declare your independence. From the influence of Anti-Wolf smear campaigns, from the influence of Green as a 'trend' more than a necessity, and most of all from the lies of Representatives and Lobbyists of Big Oil.
Have you noticed that just recently even evil oil mogul ExxonMobile has jumped on the 'we're here to save the planet!' bandwagon? ExxonMobile, who never took responsibility for the Exxon Valdez disaster? That's because their PR (public relations) consultant probably told them they needed to change their image if they expected to get public support for new drilling operations off our coasts, and inside our National Parks and Refuges.
Here's the facts from Defenders of Wildlife about oil drilling off our coasts and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR. If you've heard people say "Ann-war" and had no idea what they were talking about, that's it.)

Fast Facts on Drilling and Gas Prices

Drilling will not lower gas prices today or solve our energy crisis.

  • Even the U.S. Energy Information Administration has said that massive exploitation of new oil deposits will not produce oil for nearly a decade -- and then will not lower gasoline prices by more than a few cents per gallon.
  • Under the Bush Administration, drilling permits have risen from 3,802 to 7,561 between 2002 and 2007. Eight years of increased oil leasing and production on America’s public lands has left us with nothing but high gas prices for consumers and record profits for Big Oil companies.
  • More drilling would not affect world oil prices. The US has less than 3% of the world's oil reserves, yet we consume almost 25% of the world's oil.

Expanded drilling threatens permanent damage to wildlife.

  • Offshore drilling threatens dolphins, whales, sea turtles and other imperiled wildlife. Drilling discharges mercury and other toxins into our fragile ecosystems. Such pollution can destroy beaches, and poison and kill the marine wildlife that we all care about. The noise from drilling is also incredibly disruptive to marine mammals. So while oil companies like ExxonMobil would continue to swim in record profits, dolphins and whales could become fatally disoriented, beach themselves and die.
  • Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge threatens polar bears and other Arctic wildlife. The noise and disturbance caused by drilling in the Arctic Refuge -- the most important onshore denning habitat for America’s struggling polar bears -- could cause polar bear mothers to abandon their cubs to die.
  • Expanded drilling perpetuates global warming. Such drilling would further extend America’s dependence on climate-changing fuel sources that are threatening the very survival of polar bears and other animals.

We need real solutions that will end our dependence on oil once and for all.

  • It’s time to take back the giveaways to Big Oil and secure our energy independence by investing that money in clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency, increased public transportation and the technologies needed to get our cars going further on a gallon of gas.
  • A bold national commitment to renewable energy will put our economy back on the right path by bringing energy costs under control, creating over 820,000 new jobs, and making us more energy independent.
  • Congress should stop giving tax breaks to Big Oil and start funding constructive alternatives that can make a difference in people’s lives NOW!

So, do you think you're ready to start declaring your independence from the ill-planned and thoughtless tactics of Big Oil? Then this independence day (and any other day you like!) I urge you to call your U.S. Senators and Representatives and ask them to oppose drilling on our public lands and off our coast. If you live in Maryland, these are your representatives:


Thursday, July 3, 2008

I heart Paul Begala

Wow, I must have too much time on my hands, posting like crazy. They're all still mostly copy-pastes, but its something, and I couldn't help but share this. Ya'll know by now that I mostly focus on the issues more than the political parties behind them, but I support the DCCC, and I just had to share this email.

Dear Deborah,
Apparently, it didn't take long for the "Grand Oil Party" to come unglued. After I called their fat-cat funders a bunch of dirtbags in my email to you on Sunday, they started squealing like a pig stuck under a gate.

House Republicans are crying so hard over my "dirtbag" comment, you'd think they just found out they were forced to spend the Fourth of July quail-hunting with Dick Cheney.

So I want to take a minute to do something I don't do often enough: apologize. I am very sorry for calling those fat-cat plutocrat Republicans "dirtbags." Doing so was grossly unfair. To bags of dirt. After all, dirt is good. Things grow from the dirt. I myself raise tomatoes and corn and pumpkins, jalapenos and cucumbers and lettuce - all from the good earth.

No, it was too kind, too generous to call them dirtbags. Probably better to call them oilbags or toxic-waste-bags or chemical-pollutant-bags. So I'm sorry.

Still, even though I used such a comparatively flattering term, the Republican whine machine was in full whimper. Yesterday, before their alligator tears even dried from crying about me calling them out, they mobilized their favorite shadowy attack squad and Karl Rove-backed Freedom's Watch to come after Democrats launching vicious attacks against 16 Democrats starting today - please help us hit back twice as hard with our own ads.

Contribute $35, $50, or more to our EXTENDED DEADLINE Matching Campaign before July 4th to fight back against the Rove-Freedom's Watch attacks - Democrats will still MATCH and TRIPLE your gift.

Of course the Republican hypocrites are launching their attacks today. Between my comment about their 'dirtbag' funders and my good friends at the DCCC hiring a 'W' impersonator to record radio ads against their Big Oil friends in Congress, we've clearly gotten under their skin. As we say back home in Texas, "a hit dog barks."

They don't know how to handle a Democratic Party that is ready, willing, and able to hit back when the right-wing slime machine kicks into gear. This is exactly how we're going to win this year - but we need your help to keep it up.

Contribute $35, $50, or more to our EXTENDED DEADLINE Matching Campaign before July 4th to fight back against the Rove-Freedom's Watch attacks - Democrats will still MATCH and TRIPLE your gift.

The days of Democrats quietly enduring Republican smears are over - as are the days of Republicans living by a double standard. The Bush Republicans questioned the courage of a war hero like former Senator Max Cleland. They besmirched the war heroism of John Kerry. They spend years smearing Bill Clinton, savaging Hillary Rodham Clinton, and viciously attacking Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid. Now they're attacking Barack and Michelle Obama. But the second I call their fat-cat funders "dirtbags," they turn into a bunch of blubbering cry babies.

This year, let's dry the crybabies' tears and celebrate Independence Day by giving Barack Obama the bigger, stronger Democratic Majority he'll need to declare our independence once and for all from the failed Bush-Cheney-Grand Oil Party policies for America.

Contribute $35, $50, or more to our EXTENDED DEADLINE Matching Campaign before July 4th to fight back against the Rove-Freedom's Watch attacks - Democrats will still MATCH and TRIPLE your gift.


Paul Begala
Paul Begala

Death Sentence for rounded-up mustangs

From the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign:

The Bureau of Land Management?s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board met on Monday. In our pre-meeting alert, we had expressed grave concerns over BLM?s plans, asking whether ?kill authority? was next on BLM's misguided agenda. Lo and behold, BLM came out and announced it is now considering simply putting to death 'excess' wild horses! How did it come to this?

In 2001, BLM obtained a 50% increase in annual budget for implementation of an aggressive removal campaign. 24,000 horses were slated for capture, with no long-term plan for their welfare. Now, predictably, the federal agency finds itself in the untenable positions of warehousing over 30,000 horses (more than remain in the wild); the funding it wants to save by euthanizing our wild horses was wasted on years of unnecessary round-ups to cater to special interests.

6 million head of private livestock graze our public lands and BLM wants us to believe that 25,000 wild horses are overpopulating the range? Removals are based on flawed and biased data; BLM itself admitted at Monday?s meeting that not even its censusing techniques are accurate. In 2005, while in the process of rounding up thousands of horses supposedly due to poor range conditions, BLM eased public land grazing restrictions for private cattle.

BLM?s irresponsible approach to wild horse management created the problem, and the agency is now asking the American public to swallow a very bitter pill, all the while continuing to round up horses by the thousands (2,000 are slated to come off the Nevada range in the coming weeks alone).

America cannot let this stand. Congress is in recess for Independence Day week, but stay tuned for a national action plan next week.

On behalf of America?s horses, thank you for your support at this critical time,

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
Click here to join our email list and receive the latest updates.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wild Weather in the forecast

In addition to sending this to five friends, I've also decided to share it with all of you.

According to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), climate change will likely lead to an increase in extreme weather in the United States. That means more droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes. Not good.

We hope to alert 100,000 people to this NOAA report within the next 48 hours. If each of us tells 5 people, that's within easy reach. Please use our tell-a-friend tool to help educate your friends and family about this critical issue.

The report projects:
  • Abnormally hot days and nights, along with heat waves, are very likely to become more common.
  • Droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe in some regions.
  • Hurricanes will likely have increased precipitation and wind.
We will need everyone's voices to solve the climate crisis, starting with yours. Start a conversation today.


Cathy Zoi

Save the wolves, don't elect Senator Pearce!

Ahh, the power of copy/paste. A letter from Defenders of Wildlife:

Dear Deborah,

Once extinct in the wild, wolves in the Southwest are struggling to survive. Just 52 wild Southwest wolves remain, making them the most endangered wolves in the world.

But for years, New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce has led efforts to eliminate these very wolves from the wild. Now, he wants to be the state’s newest Senator -- and gain even greater power in Washington.

We can’t let this wildlife villain win.

Donate now to help us go door to door in New Mexico and educate voters about Steve Pearce’s terrible voting record against wildlife and the habitat it needs to survive.

An overwhelming majority of New Mexicans -- 7 out of 10 -- support the recovery of highly endangered Southwest wolves.

But Rep. Steve Pearce has gone to extremes to eliminate these magnificent animals from the wild. He stooped to new lows last year, spreading lies and innuendo about Southwest wolves in a failed plan to kill recovery efforts for these struggling animals.

In a Congressional hearing, Rep. Pearce even went as far as to assert that “the most provocative thing to a wolf is a baby crying or laughing” -- an outrageous claim without a shred of truth or basis in fact.

Is this the kind of person that belongs in the U.S. Senate? Together, we can help ensure that this anti-wolf extremist won’t win.

Your secure, online contribution to Defenders Action Fund will support our grassroots outreach and public education campaign to win for our wolves -- and defeat Steve Pearce -- this fall.

Already, our campaign has knocked on the doors of more than 25,000 voters in New Mexico -- and with your help we can reach our goal of 75,000 by summer’s end.

Please help us win this crucial campaign. Your support of…

$25 buys 60 door hangers to be posted in key precincts throughout the state.
$52 represents one dollar for every wild wolf left in the Southwest.
$75 pays for a canvasser’s shift to reach 80 voters in New Mexico.
$150 helps secure airtime for our hard-hitting TV ads.
Another Amount can help us win for Southwest wolves in November.

Two years ago, thousands of Defenders Action Fund supporters helped defeat Rep. Richard Pombo, the powerful chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. It was one of the greatest victories for wildlife in decades and it sent shockwaves through Capitol Hill.

This year, you can help us do it again by defeating another wildlife villain.

Steve Pearce’s record is clear. He wants to eliminate the few remaining Southwest wolves in the wild -- and he’s willing to go to extremes to do it. But it's not just wolves threatened by Pearce's antics: his dismal votes on conservation issues earned him a 0% on Defenders Action Fund's Conservation Report Card.

Steve Pearce is wrong for New Mexico, wrong for our wildlife and wrong for the U.S. Senate.

With your help, we can expose the truth and stop Steve Pearce’s anti-wolf crusade.

Rodger Schlickeisen, PresidentSincerely,
Rodger Schlickeisen, President Signature
Rodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund