CB’s Green Report: Stop Crying Detroit & Build Greener Cars

gmc_yukon_denalifront_left_view2007 Toyota Prius Touring Edition

GMC Yukon Denali vs. Toyota Prius Hybrid

Waaah Waaah Waaah Detroit
. Automobile makers are crying the blues at President Obama’s interest in imposing stricter emission standards on their vehicles. The president recently “ordered the government to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions to help control greenhouse gas emissions, a reversal of a position taken by the Bush administration.” (At the moment, automakers say only the Toyota Prius hybrid and similar vehicles would meet those standards.)

In true Obama form, he emphasized his willingness to work with the carmakers to meet his administration’s goals: energy independence and stopping global warming.

“Let me be clear: Our goal is not to further burden an already struggling industry,” Obama said at the White House according to MSNBC. “It is to help America’s automakers prepare for the future.”

American automakers claim the emission modifications could potentially put them out of business because they would have to stop producing the larger, gas-guzzlers (read: more profitable vehicles). Although GM and Chrysler just borrowed billions of dollars from the federal government, it appears they were counting on the fat price tags of their less fuel-efficient and not low greenhouse gas emission vehicles like Cadillac Escalade (MSRP mid $60,000′s), Hummer truck (MSRP $60,000-70,000′s), and even the Saab 9-5 (MSRP $40,000′s).

“I think this is the pathway to their survival,” David Doniger of the National Resources Defense Council said to the New York Times. “If carmakers are going to survive in a world of volatile oil prices and global warming, they have to be making more efficient vehicles. When the economy comes back and people start buying cars again, they’re going to expect that gas prices are going to go up, and they’re not going to want the gas hogs that they used to want. Consumers’ tastes have changed in terms of what’s cool.”

Hey Detroit, you proved that you could make a hybrid Escalade. Surely, you can get to work on updating the technology for the rest of the cars, which gives options for larger families and is better for the environment. After all, Americans are paying for it – to the tune of $17.4 billion.

In other news…


Former Vice President Al Gore is urging Congress to support legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions. In his recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gore warned the government to not get so blindsided by the economic crisis that they forget to work on international global warming initiatives. In fact, he reminds them that “the economy, terrorism and the Iraq and Afghan wars are linked by a common thread – our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.” In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions cap, there is another solution that both Obama and Gore agree on: the President’s economic stimulus plan. Obama’s proposal includes investments in clean energy and green jobs that Gore and others think will help the U.S. economy. Green thinking could add up to more green..dollars that is.

Check out Gore’s recent testimony before Congress on greenhouse gases.




CB’s Green Report: Post Turkey Day News

Free veggies anyone? More than 40,000 people showed up to pick free vegetables left over from the harvest at a Colorado farm about 37 miles north of Denver. The farm owners expected about 5,000 to 10,000 people to pick a few carrots and potatoes last Saturday. Instead, more than 11,000 cars showed up and the people picked the fields clean. Owner, Ms. Miller, told the Denver Post, “Overwhelmed is putting it mildly. People obviously need food.”

And in Los Angeles recently, Mayor Villaraigosa revealed his long-range plan to generate “enough solar power to meet one-tenth of the city’s energy needs by 2020.” His goal could be achieved if solar panels are installed on public and private energy generating facilities as well as on residents’ homes. This initiative will also help the city’s Department of Water and Power reduce its use of fossil fuels, like natural gas and coal, and benefit global warming reduction efforts. If the Mayor’s plan were successful, Los Angeles would become the “hub of the solar-energy industry.”

The White House may become a “green” house. In the recent Barbara Walters interview with President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, Obama said that he wants to make the White House green. He plans to work with the chief usher for house and evaluate his new home’s energy efficiency. When asked why the focus on greening the house, Obama said, “Part of what I want to do is to show the American people that it’s not that hard.”

Global warming is a global concern. Although the global economy is in the pits right now, HSBC bank’s second annual global poll found that 43 percent think climate change is a bigger problem than the financial crisis. And 78 percent of those polled want their countries to do their “fair share” of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although the global citizens polled want their governments to fight global warming, invest in renewable energy (55 percent), and participate in climate talks (27 percent), as individuals, these people are less willing to change their own lifestyle than last year (47 percent in 2008 vs. 58 percent in 2007). Have they ever heard the expression that change begins with YOU?

So if you are a big greenie, where can you meet like-minded individuals? Funny you should ask. There is a new social networking site called Greenwala. The site is designed to help people learn more about being green, brag about their green works with family and friends.




WASSUP Obama

With a week before the presidential election, Dookie and the “WASSUP” boys are back after spending 8 years in hibernation with a new comedy. Only this time, they aren’t just pushing a beer but have jumped on the pro-Obama bus. Their latest video critiques the current state of the economy, the Iraq war, the Hurricane Katrina disaster and gives a big shout-out to Obama.




CB Thoughts on the First Presidential Debate: Obama Wins on Foreign Policy, Economy & National Security

According to most national polls and surveys, Democratic presidential nominee Obama is the assumptive winner of Friday’s 2008 presidential debate, the first in the series of three. The Republican nominee John McCain and Obama debated foreign policy, national security and spent half the time discussing the current economic crisis.

This debate clarified three keys issues for Americans to consider in this presidential selection process.

First, the discussion revealed that McCain’s policy and thinking is rooted in the past. And Obama’s orientation is towards the future. McCain wanted the American viewers to remember his record on national security, and foreign policy and service. The problem is that Americans already know his record because that’s what his two decades in the Senate reflect. And his Vietnam P.O.W. experience is undisputed. However, what McCain seemed to forget is that Americans want to know what he is going to do for them in the future. Obama was smart to spend most of his two minutes detailing the components of his economic plan and simultaneously overcame criticisms of him being too vague or gives lofty speeches.

Obama: What I do is I close corporate loopholes, stop providing tax cuts to corporations that are shipping jobs overseas so that we’re giving tax breaks to companies that are investing here in the United States. I make sure that we have a health care system that allows for everyone to have basic coverage.

(more…)




Bad Economy = Big Book Bucks

Perhaps there is one silver lining on the Wall Street financial crisis. According to a recent Associated Press story, books about America’s big money troubles are making the big bucks.

Nancy Sheppard, the vice president of marketing at Viking publishing told AP: ”When the world seems to be ending, people still turn to books for help.”

Viking published the Amazon best selling Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips. Like the title implies, the book discusses a new phenomenon called “bad money” in which the U.S. is dependent on the global economy and makes a series of risk miscalculations with financial products. Does this sound familiar?

Another Amazon best-seller is Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Her book talks about the economic policy decisions that politicians were able to pull off because of natural disasters, wars or other catastrophic events. Hmmm….

(more…)




Reality TV Star, Omarosa, talks presidential politics with the Caramel Bella

She’s no Sarah Palin, but in the reality television world Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth can also be described as tough, dogged and a fearsome competitor. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Omarosa, who first appeared on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” show. Some of you may remember her from season one, in which many viewers felt she stabbed fellow African-American competitor, Kwame Jackson, in the back during the final round. Omarosa, who has appeared on two seasons of “The Apprentice,” VH1’s “Surreal Life” and on “I Love New York” was very clear with me about the three most important issues to consider in this presidential election. Let’s listen to her dish.

Interview: Brooke-Sidney Gavins
Multimedia Producer: Sharifa Johka
Video editing: Brooke-Sidney Gavins




High Fuel Costs + Lots of Travelers = Unhappy Airline Travels

If you want to feel the effects of the economy without driving your car, try flying the friendly skies.

The increasing fuel costs have hit America’s airlines pretty hard. Yesterday morning, on my way to Denver for the Democratic National Convention, I experienced the airline woes and U.S. economic troubles firsthand. The storm began upon my arrival at Los Angeles International Airport around 7:15 a.m. for an 8:45 a.m. flight. I was following the standard time allowances – 1 hour and ½ for domestic flights. My arrival was met with a snake-like line that emptied out of the United Airlines check-in area into the street, where passengers were getting dropped off. I immediately sensed trouble. I was up against the 45-minute cut-off for getting your bags checked-in. So, I stood and stood and stood. And I watched the clock tick away my entire 45 minutes before the 8:00 a.m. time limit to check my bags.

At first I couldn’t understand why United’s check-in lines were so long and their agents were so unhelpful. Where did the customer service go? Why didn’t any of the agents care if I was going to miss my flight? For that matter, why didn’t any of the agents worry about the mile long line of passengers about to miss their flights?

Why? The current economics of airline travel created this entire monster. The high fuel charges faced by the airline industry have been passed on to the customer in a very inefficient way.

To begin with, United Airlines now requires $15 for the first checked bag and $25 for the second bag. (I stopped looking at the prices after the second bag.) And if your dear bag or bags should weigh over 50 pounds, you, my fellow passenger, are looking at another $125 charge for an overweight bag. Yikes. These new costs, created to help United offset their increasing fuel expenses, were the cause of most passengers missing their flights and standing in long check-in lines. Each customer, even those with an electronic ticket, were forced to stand in lengthy lines to pay for their baggage at the counter. Several passengers were seen transferring packed items to additional luggage or trash bags to avoid overweight charges. In short, it was an inefficient zoo!

The long wait to check-in led to many customers missing their flights and lost baggage. Due to my bag missing the cut-off window, I was placed on standby for the next flight. My plight was a shared one. More than 50 people were on standby for the following flight. Some less fortunate travelers were still on standby from flights on Sunday.

Although I arrived in Denver yesterday, the process getting there wasn’t a pleasant one. I endured long lines, baggage costs, sub par customer service, and spending more time at the airport waiting to fly standby than on the plane.

But I’m here in Denver now and off to cover and explore the Democratic National Convention 2008 activities. And I am looking forward to hearing the Dems’ approach to the economic problems, especially oil troubles, we are facing.

Smooches,

a weary Caramel Bella




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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