Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the most powerful right-wing lobbying groups in Washington. They're spending over $300,000 a day to kill health reform, clean energy, financial reform—you name it.1
But now the Chamber has a big problem. A reporter recently discovered that they've been lying about how many members they have. For years, under Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, they've falsely claimed to have three million members, when the real number is closer to 200,000.2
When they exaggerate their membership, it exaggerates their power. So let's set the record straight. Everywhere we see the Chamber repeat the "3 million member" lie, we're going to call them out—starting with their Facebook page.
Go to the U.S. Chamber's Facebook page today and post a comment on their wall like this: "Stop lying about your members. The Chamber doesn't represent anywhere near 3 million businesses." Click here to post your comment:
To post a comment on the Chamber page, you first have to click "Become a fan" near the top of the page. Then, just type your comment into the box that says "Write something..." and click "Share." If you want, you can "un-fan" the Chamber immediately by clicking "Remove me from Fans" (towards the bottom of the left column, under the photos box).
The amazing thing about this controversy is that, after getting called on it, the Chamber admitted that the three million number is totally false.3
But that hasn't stopped Donohue from repeating the made-up number in press releases, on the official Chamber website, and even on their Facebook page.4
A lot of the Chamber's power comes from the false perception that they represent so many businesses. But in fact, they represent no more than about 1 percent of all businesses in America.5 This isn't a small, meaningless lie—it's a big, important lie that needs to be corrected.
Thanks for all you do.
–Steven, Noah, Stephen, Anna, and the rest of the team
1. "U.S. Chamber Spent a Record $34.7 Million on Lobbying in Past 3 Months," The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2009
2. "The Chamber's Numbers Game," Mother Jones, October 13, 2009
3. "Chamber Rejects Use of Term '3 Million Members,'" Mother Jones, October 23, 2009
4. "U.S Chamber of Commerce: About Us," U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, accessed October 30, 2009
5. "Survey of Business Owners," U.S. Census Bureau, accessed October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Sacramento Bee has an article today from the Associated Press on Bill Gates and school reform.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
CONTACT: Mara Lee
Rep. Matsui Announces $127 Million Recovery Dollars for Sacramento Smart Grid
Money Sets Sacramento Ahead of National Investment in Smart Grid Technology
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) announced $127 million in stimulus funding for a local smart grid energy project, a joint venture between the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), California Department of General Services, and the Los Rios Community College District to expand Sacramento's comprehensive regional smart grid implementation. The grants have been made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), supported by Congresswoman Matsui earlier this year, and are an integral part of a national effort announced by President Obama today to build a nationwide smart electricity grid that will reduce costs for consumers, make the electricity grid more efficient and reliable, and increase accessibility to clean, low-cost renewable energy sources.
"Today's announcement could not come at a more timely point in recent history," said Rep. Matsui. "SMUD's work in the Sacramento region has brought our community to the forefront of alternative energy and these stimulus dollars will serve to propel that momentum. This project is a result of a wonderful partnership between SMUD, Sac State, the California Department of General Services, and the Los Rios Community College District, and will provide our local business with the additional funds they need to ensure we are continuing on the path to energy efficiency and cleaner, lower emissions."
The $127,506,261 million announced today will allow SMUD to install a comprehensive regional smart grid system to serve the Sacramento community from transmission to the customer. The updates to be completed include 600,000 smart meters as well as 50,000 demand response controls including; programmable smart thermostats, home energy management systems to allow homes and businesses to monitor their usage more closely and engage in energy saving techniques. SMUD will also be able to install 100 electric vehicle charging stations in the Sacramento region as part of this grant.
"We are very excited about this opportunity," said SMUD General Manager and CEO John DiStasio. "The fact that the Department of Energy plans to fully fund our request is the strongest possible validation of the proposal we put together with our partners in this project. The whole Sacramento region will benefit from these funds as we move toward a more intelligent and more efficient energy future."
"Sacramento State is home to the California Smart Grid Center and a proud partner with Rep. Matsui and SMUD to spark innovation and educate the next generation of workers in the clean energy sector," stated Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez. "This grant will help make Sacramento State a truly 'smart campus' by modernizing approximately 50 of our buildings. It will also leverage the talents of our University's students and faculty and strengthen the Sacramento region's position at the cutting edge of technology."
Congresswoman Matsui submitted a on July 24, 2009 to the Department of Energy expressing her support for SMUD to win this grant, and highlighted their history of pursuing green alternatives to traditional energy sources. She wrote, "Provisions of the [ARRA] would help SMUD and its partners install automated meters and reduce the demand for electricity, particularly during peak hours of usage."
Rep. Matsui has advocated on behalf of smart grid technology on both the House floor and with her work on the Energy and Commerce Committee, specifically during the recent mark-up of H.R. 2454, America's Clean and Secure Energy Act. This morning she in a Energy and Environment Subcommittee hearing advocating for additional protections of the electric grid, where Mr. DiStatsio also testified.
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Bill Moyers, Truthout: "You can learn more of the truth about Washington and the world from one week of Amy Goodman's 'Democracy Now!' than from a month of Sunday morning talk shows. Make that a year of Sunday morning talk shows. That's because Amy, as you will discover on every page of her new book, 'Breaking the Sound Barrier,' knows the critical question for journalists is how close they are to the truth, not how close they are to power."
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NEW YORK, 27 October (BWNS) – The Baha'i International Community today announced that it has become a partner in a United Nations-sponsored program to promote "generational change" to address climate change and environmental sustainability.
The program, which is co-sponsored by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), seeks to promote lifestyle changes that will help slow global warming and other environmental problems during a seven-year period from 2010 to 2017.
"We are very pleased to join with other world religions and with the United Nations in this inspiring initiative to promote lasting change in the way people interact with the environment," said Tahirih Naylor, a representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.
"The significance of this effort is the manner in which it capitalizes on the strengths of faith communities – such as their strong grassroots network and the transformative power of religious belief – to address environmental problems at their foundation, which is human behavior.
"One of the long-term goals of the Baha'i Faith is to promote the positive transformation of individuals and communities, and to this end we already sponsor thousands of study circles, children's classes, devotional gatherings, and youth groups in more than 180 countries.
"We look forward to learning more about the efforts of other faith communities and are confident that we can make a useful contribution to this exciting program," she said.
Ms. Naylor will join representatives of the world's other religions next week at Windsor Castle when the ARC/UNDP program is formally launched. The event, scheduled for 2-4 November, will feature a keynote speech by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and will be hosted by HRH The Prince Philip.
More than 200 faith and secular leaders are expected to be present, and many faith groups will announce commitments to practical initiatives, like the Baha'i plan, to meet global environmental challenges. Joining Ms. Naylor as a Baha'i representative to the event will be Arthur Lyon Dahl, a former deputy assistant executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, an author, and a well-known specialist on coral reefs and biodiversity.
Ms. Naylor noted that the BIC has been a member of ARC since its founding, and has consistently sought to support its program of interfaith conservation efforts.
"The worldwide Baha'i community has long been involved in promoting sustainable development and in creating small-scale projects that include environmental conservation," she said. "And so this initiative is especially exciting because of the way it concretely addresses the underlying attitudes and values that are at the root of many of humanity's environmental problems."
Specifically, said Ms. Naylor, Baha'is around the world will be encouraged to explore the relationship of humans to the environment as articulated in the Baha'i sacred writings and to take action at the individual and community level.
"In our experience, connecting the hearts of people to sacred writings is the best way to provide the motivation for social change and action," she said. "As well, Baha'is will be encouraged to engage in acts of service related to environmental sustainability."
At the present time, Ms. Naylor said, many thousands of Baha'is in virtually every country are engaged in a coherent framework of action that promotes the spiritual development of the individual and channels the collective energies of its members towards service to humanity.
These activities include the systematic study of the Baha'i writings in small groups in order to build capacity for service; devotional gatherings aimed at connecting the hearts of participants with the Creator; neighborhood children's classes that offer lessons aimed at laying the foundations of a noble and upright character; and groups that strive to assist young teens to navigate a crucial stage of their lives and become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization.
The Baha'i International Community is an international nongovernmental organization that represents the worldwide Baha'i community, which has some five million members in 100,000 localities spread through virtually every country. Its members come from nearly every ethnic group, culture, profession, and social or economic background.
ARC is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programs, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices. It was founded in 1995 by Prince Philip. Its members include 11 major world religions.
For the Baha’i World News Service home page, go to: