Yesterday I was at The Humane Society of the United States – Arizona’s Lobby Day. It was organized by Kari Nienstedt the Arizona State Director of HSUS. My pals Joe Hernandez, Stacey Newlon, Christine Rose Weir, and a number of other new friends attended and talked with our state legislators.
My reps are Chad Campbell, Lela Alston, and Katie Hobbs and we talked with them about HB2242, HB2302, SB1036/HB2215, HB2022, and HB2020.
I made a video recap of what we did and how you can get involved. h/t Wes Novack
If you want to find out who your representative in Arizona is click here.
My stance: business owner, liberal, conservationist, vegan, and dog lover
I think society exists to help people cooperate with each other and government should be a tool that we use to make this happen. I don’t want government to tell me everything about my life but I do like having roads and helping people is the least fortunate positions with food and shelter. Greed is not good and a lassiez-faire approach to governing leads to situations where a few abuse the many. I don’t assume to have all of the answers but I know that not speaking up is the same as agreeing even when I disagree. I hope to discuss the real issues of the day and not fall into petty discussions of the day, lets see how long that lasts.
Many people ask me: Why even bother voting in a Republican dominated state?
I look at the newtonian principle that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So every time I vote against the ruling party I create some amount of effort that goes against the prevailing attitude of the day. I also hope to influence others to at least vote and perhaps change their mind about who they choose to elect to represent them.
On a propositional level Arizona did legalize medical marijuana with Prom203 in 2010. Thats a pretty liberal action for a republican state to make. Sure the republicans in office are making a good show of fighting the implementation of the law but its happening nonetheless.
Other view is that if I am going to effect more change then I should be where people have a difference of opinion from me rather than only with like minded people. We can be civil and have a conversation about our differences and at the end be adults and agree to disagree. Yes emotions are going to play a part inherently in these conversations since we are dealing with how we choose to live together. What’s important is that we educate ourselves about the issues with as much information as we can and not rely on one source of information.
Interesting blogs on Arizona politics with a left of center view:
Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion – http://www.rumromanismrebellion.net/
Interesting opinions from Tucson, Phoenix’s southern slightly more liberal city. Hosted by ‘Tedksi’ who has worked in some capacity on a number of Democratic campaigns and even served as the vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. His posting schedule over the last 60 days is sporadic but substantial with most posts going well over 500 words. Ramdom Musings – http://cpmazrandommusings.blogspot.com/
Craig McDermott posts a lot on this Blogspot hosted politics blog. He focused on Arizona politics but spent some time talking about the George Zimmerman trial last month. He gets really in depth about the mechanics of politics with a lengthily article on politicians facing term limits back on July 4th this year. Politics Uncuffed – http://politicsuncuffed.com/
Julie Erfle started Politics Uncuffed after her husband and Phoenix police officer Nick Erfle was shot and killed by an illegal alien with a felony record. When politicians and pundits began spinning the story Julie felt the need to speak up and started writing on the issues on March of 2011. She has posted a lot but seems to be slowing in the last 60 days with only one post in July. She also appears to be chair of the Protect Your Vote Committee though that is not pointed out on her website. Blog for Arizona – http://www.blogforarizona.com/blog/
The Huffington Post of Arizona politics with a multitude of writer supplying a lot of content. Democratic Diva – http://www.democraticdiva.com/
WIth a number of contributors listed on the site as :Krista, Donna, Katie, Naomi, and Tiffany” the Diva blog stays pretty busy with 21 posts in the last 60 days. it seems most posts are from Donna Gratehouse who has run for office in the Arizona State Senate and been a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Arizona Eagletarian – http://stevemuratore.blogspot.com/
With a nice play on words for his title bringing the virtues of egalitarianism together with the symbol of the bald eagle Steve Muratore creates a Arizona politics blog worth reading.
Current News and Issues:
City of Phoenix City Council Elections for even numbered districts – 2, 4, 6, and 8
Learn about the candidates in your district: http://phoenix.gov/cityclerk/services/electinfo/clist.html
Election Day is August 27th but you will be able to vote at centers on Saturday Aug 24th and Monday Aug 26th. Early voting started Aug 1st with mail in ballots appearing in mailboxes last Thursday.
The City Council members are elected to four year terms and may serve for three consecutive four year terms. They receive a salary of $61,610 and seem to spend a lot of time focused on the salary and benefits programs of city employees. It would be cool if they got rid of the suicide lanes on 7th St and 7th Ave, and added more bike lanes as well, just saying.
House Bill 2305
Making it more difficult to start citizen initiatives
Kicking people off the early voter rolls
Keeping third parties off the ballot
And making it a felony for volunteer groups to help elderly, homebound, disabled and economically disadvantaged voters get their early voting ballots to the polls.
On August 3rd 1993 Sheriff Joe created what will be one of the mainstays of his legacy in Arizona: Tent City. Rather than build a real jail to house his inmates Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio saved some money and just put up some tents in the middle of the desert. The 1.8 Million he saved has since been well spent and them some on the various lawsuits his office has incurred over the last 2 decades. Happy anniversary indeed.
Today I rant about the Arizona Home Solar System market. Kate and I are looking into adding Solar to our home to save some money and offset using fossil fuels to power our Air Conditioning. Along the way we have learned a whole lot about inverters and our power company’s, APS, attempt to mess everything up.
So there is a story going on about the Canadian Tar Sands, a pipeline, and environmentalists who want to stop it from happening. Sounds like more lefty liberal hippies trying to kill the American Dream and unicorns? Well if you don’t read further into the story this is a nice spoonfed way of looking at the situation, but what if you take some time to learn about Tar Sands and their impact on our world?
Faced with this question I turned to the mighty Google and found this page: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3839
Talk about an in depth article on Tar Sands! While I dont really understand most of the science speak (Rick Perry might say this is a Theory, except there are facts involved), but there are a few interesting segments:
The average production cost of one barrel of syncrude from the oil sand resources in Canada was approximately 32 USD in the year 2006. The mining process costs about 16 USD2006/barrel of oil equivalent (boe). The InSitu SAGD extraction costs about 14 USD2006/boe, and the upgrading process to syncrude costs about 16.5 USD2006/boe. Figure 2 shows the break down of the total costs that were incorporated in the EROI calculations above (Herweyer 2007). Mining costs appear to be decreasing according to some reports in early 2008.
Syncrude has approximately the same quality as conventional crude oil, and is therefore competitive. So long as the conventional crude oil price stays above 31.5 USD2006/boe (excluding profits) it is profitable to extract oil sands. The conventional crude oil prices in 2006 were 56 and in 2007 as much as $80 USD/boe (BP 2006). However at the same time the price of diesel, natural gas, steel and so forth used in generating the syncrude were increasing. Nevertheless it appears that tar sands will be a competitive source of oil for the indefinite future.
So from a business perspective it makes sense to get into the Tar Sands and get that oil out while the Middle East is in chaos and Oil Prices are inflated by the markets.
Then there is the tax implications:
The Alberta oil sands tax regime is such that it makes it very appealing for investors to put their money into oil sands business. The attractiveness in the fiscal regime is that until all original capital (plus a return) is recovered, only a production royalty of 1% of revenue is required. After the original capital is earned back by oil sand recovery, a royalty of 25% of net operating income is required. The tax regime is such that essentially no income tax has to be paid until all capital costs are recovered (TD Securities 2004).
Since the most expensive part of getting oil from Tar Sands is the capital expense it sure is nice that the politicians made it so that until those costs are recouped they dont have to pay any taxes at all.
Seems like a total win for businesses and consumers who get more profits and possibly lower costs. As Charlie would say this is #winning!
It turns out those crazy environmentalists are concerned about CO2 which is a direct cause of Global Warming. When we look at the CO2 production of Tar Sands refinement we get some really bad news:
The oil sand industry is one of the major GHG emitters in Canada and the entire process approximately doubles to triples the amount of CO2 released per barrel of petroleum used compared to conventional extraction. The mining process emits about 35 kg CO2 equivalent/barrel, and the upgrading process 45 kg CO2 equivalent/barrel, and the SAGD process 55 kg CO2 equivalent/barrel, (Bramley et al. 2005). In the business as usual scenario for the GHG emissions per barrel of bitumen, the total oil sand GHG emissions until 2020 are as follows: (Herweyer 2007).
At least the CEO’s who are working to pass this pipeline will be dead by 2020 so they wont have to live with the consequences. If you bothered to read that last quote it says that CO2 emissions are doulbled to TRIPLED in oil sands extraction. Thats like, a lot(insert valley girl voice for that last sentence).
What about tax payer costs? Apparently you have to use a lot of natural gas to extract oil sands oil. Apparently you have to use A LOT of natural gas:
According to the National Energy Board (2006), natural gas use will increase from 0.7 billion cubic feet per day in 2005 to 2.1 billion cubic feet per day in 2015. Although Canada has natural gas resources, this enormous rise in natural gas demand will be difficult to meet. The current capacity of the natural gas infrastructure and production will not be sufficient to keep up with these rises and might present a problem. In addition, the natural gas prices are coupled to the crude oil prices, and so they have risen as well. There is also the large issue of where the natural gas will come from â€“ Exxon is now saying they may not be able to build the necessary MacKenzie pipeline unless they receive significant monetary help from the government.
Sounds like capitalism at its finest!
Here is the conclusion:
In conclusion, tar sands are an economically and energetically viable, although hardly ideal, approach to maintaining liquid fuel supplies. The most severe problem is probably their local and global environmental impact, and they are already impacting Canadian CO2 releases significantly. But the tar sands are unlikely to make a large impact on overall supply of liquid fuels because their supply is likely to be rate, rather than total resource limited. If the maximum rate were to grow to about 2 billion barrels a year this would approximately meet Canadaâ€™s demand and could leave relatively little for export if Canadaâ€™s production of conventional oil continues to decline. Achieving even this rate of production from tar sands is uncertain because of growing concerns about environmental impacts downstream and insufficient hydrogen and water.
So the long term costs are horrendous and even at maximum capacity it won’t be enough oil to affect even the low oil using country of Canada of 2 billion barrels a day(the US consumes 18 Billion per day). However it is cheaper than traditional oil processes so lets aim short term and make some dough! Yeehaw!
Last week the O man dropped a proverbial bomb on the bither argument by releasing his long form birth certificate. I hear that people are upset that he stooped to this level of discussion and capitulated but to me its a very strategically done move which makes the republicans look more out of touch and racist than ever before.
The concern now is what will the birthers do now that their entire mission is over:
I try to participate in government by protesting and talking and speaking with my elected officials. In the last few years email has become a good way to communicate especially when groups that I participate in give me a quick and easy way to send emails with their messages. Recently Planned Parenthood has been pretty active with the recent passing of HB2443 which further chastises women who choose to have an abortion. So I took action and filled out the form and sent it to my Governor, Jan Brewer.
Look at what I got back:
Seriously? She is getting so many emails that she cannot accept anymore? Whats the threshold of how many emails she can handle? Is she getting more emails than the President of the United States?
Come on people of Arizona with brains and spines still in your body. Its time to get involved and active, or just move the fuck out of the state and give up. Which is it gonna be?
So is it “hopeless??” No. Goddard must work harder than he’s ever worked in his life to overcome the white-right. Hispanic turnout must be mobilized. The real enemies of the working class need to be identified. Arizonans need to understand how the “conservative” elected leaders have repeatedly failed them, how the policies of the right have been tried with disastrous consequences. Good luck finding penetrating, muckraking or balanced coverage from most of the local media, but maybe social networking can get some young people to offset the reliable senior and LDS vote. And start building that bottom-up infrastructure as the right did. Still, I know people such asÂ Kyrsten Sinema and Chad Campbell who have been working at this for years. I’m not telling them anything they don’t know.
The sad reality is that the left has nearly disappeared from America. Barack Obama holds down a center that is far to the right of historic American politics. But further right still are the ever more radical and dangerous cadres of reaction. More states will catch the Arizona syndrome. In November, we’ll see how badly.