The Dernogalizer

February 25, 2009

Iran’s New Nuclear Plant

Filed under: National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 11:40 am
Tags: ,

So Iran’s construction of its nuclear power plant is done, and expected to produce power before the end of the year.  Obviously this will have implications on relations between countries in the middle east and the US.  The one thing i did notice from the article is that this plant is a “light water reactor” which means its harder to use the spent fuel for nuclear weapons.  The article link is posted below.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/25/AR2009022500392.html?hpid=topnews

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February 24, 2009

Column by me on Hillock

Filed under: Dernoga,University of Maryland — Matt Dernoga @ 9:23 pm
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fighhht!

fighhht!

So today was one of my more aggressive columns.  Pretty good reviews though(or so it seems).  Enjoy

http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2009/02/24/Opinion/Sustainability.Plan.To.Talk.Or.Plan.For.A.Fight-3644514.shtml

I also want to link another column that was in the paper regarding the Hillock issue:

http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2009/02/24/Opinion/Sga-When.The.Going.Gets.Tough.Get.Tough-3644665.shtml?reffeature=recentlycommentedstoriestab

Sustainability: Plan to talk or plan for a fight

Matt Dernoga

I was planning on writing about why the university shouldn’t develop on the 11 acres of woodlands behind the greenhouses near Comcast Center. Kind of a bland argument, though. Trees are good. We shouldn’t knock them down for the sake of relocating buildings. Apparently the university can rationalize any destructive expansion by planting a few trees in Costa Rica to make up the difference.

What’s disturbing is the rhetoric coming from university officials. Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Frank Brewer describes the situation as a balancing act and claims the university weighed the issue of the environment. What were we weighing, a feather? Interim Vice President for Administrative Affairs Ann Wylie says she “thinks” sustainability is something the university strongly believes in, but … we can’t stop growing. So we think it’s important, but we’re not quite sure because we decided the best place to develop was the only 11 acres of forest on the campus? I think if a lie detector had been within a mile of these two, it would’ve exploded.

Equally amusing is this idea that the decision is a done deal. As if the university has broken ground. Not even close. The powerful Facilities Management Committee hath spoken. But no one heard until now? There’s this entity called the Prince George’s County Council. They still have to approve the East Campus development period. Having spoken with a couple county councilmen, our state senator, a delegate, a city councilwoman, and local environmental groups, no one is too pleased about the lack of transparency. How much of a headache does the University want to have over East Campus because of these 11 acres?

Ultimately, this isn’t so much about 11 acres as the kind of precedent this reckless expansion without any serious consideration of the environmental impact sets. The university signed the President’s Climate Commitment, and its Facilities Master Plan conflicts with the Hillock relocation project. If you don’t stamp out bad behavior the moment it manifests itself, it will resurface later on down the road. Next time it might be more than 11 acres of trees. The university shouldn’t be stepping over these plans for the convenience of development. Instead, it needs to adapt the manner of its growth in line with these plans.

This doesn’t have to be about students versus the university. Those opposed to the Hillock development are more than willing to sit down, discuss ideas and concerns and work out a compromise if necessary. This agreement could result in a different location. If that’s absolutely impossible, then the planned facilities should be as energy-efficient as possible, have solar panels on them and have strategically placed rainwater gardens in the parking lots to trap runoff. That is how you grow. That is a balance. Everything about Hillock is out of balance.

However, a stern warning must be issued. If sitting down and talking is not acceptable; if compromises cannot be made; if students are shut out of this process all the way through, there will be consequences. The environmental movement on this campus, in this county and in this state is extraordinarily powerful. It would be a huge mistake to presume you are beyond our sphere of influence because you are a part of the university’s administration. Meet us at least halfway, or we will meet you head on.

Matt Dernoga is a junior government and politics major. He can be reached at mdernoga@umd.edu

February 22, 2009

Climate Bill Coming This Year

Filed under: Climate Change,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 11:38 am
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There have been a lot of conflicting pieces of information about when a climate bill is going to be coming to a vote in each chamber of Congress.   Earlier reports seemed to indicate that the consensus coming from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Chair of the Environmental and Public Works Committee Barbara Boxer that we would have to wait until early 2010 for such a bill.  Regardless of the politics, it’s of my opinion that the US needs to take a whack at this legislation this year, and I had my rationale in a column last semester: here

However, over the past couple weeks, this seems to have turned on it’s head thanks to the new chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House, Henry Waxman has been very vocal about having a bill marked up and out of committee before Memorial Day.  Pelosi appears to have
followed his lead(or maybe it was the other way around?) and is promising the first vote ever on the floor of the house for a climate bill this year.  On the Senate side, Barbara Boxer said at first she didn’t think there would be a bill this year, but deferred to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Reid appears to have trumped Boxer: here, planning for Senate action by the end of the summer.

So there is a very high chance there will be a vote on a climate bill this year by both chambers of Congress.   At a later date I have a post on my recommendations for how environmental groups do the seemingly impossible.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

February 20, 2009

War over Wooded Hillock

Filed under: University of Maryland — Matt Dernoga @ 12:30 pm
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So there’s a war beginning to brew on my campus in regards to a part of the campus called the Wooded Hillock.  It’s an 11 acre forest that the University secretly decided would be developed at the end of 2007.  They have decided to relocate some buildings from East Campus where there will be new development, and move these buildings in place of the forest.  Students and professors are not happy about this, and are raising hell.  The Student Government Association recently passed a unamimous resolution asking the University of consider other alternatives.  Below are the two recent articles regarding the Wooded Hillock destruction, as well the text of the resolution that the SGA passed.  If this is something you are concerned about, I suggest you give the University of Maryland a piece of your mind.  I will in my column this upcoming Tuesday.

http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2009/02/13/News/University.Plans.To.Develop.Woodlands-3629101.shtml

http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2009/02/19/News/Legislation.To.Push.Hillock.Alternatives.Passes.Sga.With.Unanimous.Support-3637574.shtml

A Resolution Supporting Alternatives to the Wooded Hillock East Campus Redevelopment Project

S 09-02-02 A

1. WHEREAS, the University of Maryland’s 2001-2020 Facilities Master Plan outlines land-use strategies for the institution to be followed over the next several years as the demand for buildings and facilities increases; and,

  1. WHEREAS, the Wooded Hillock is an area of woodlands located behind the greenhouses near Comcast Stadium; and,

  1. WHEREAS, the East Campus Development project on Route 1, anticipated to begin construction in 2010, will require the relocation of several University facilities including Shuttle UM Parking and Maintenance, University Police, Building and Landscape Services, and University Mail Distribution; and,

  1. WHEREAS, 11 acres of the Wooded Hillock were chosen by the Facilities Council in 2007 to serve as the relocation site for the aforementioned facilities; and,

  2. WHEREAS, the Wooded Hillock is a rare space, not only from an academic and environmental standpoint, but from a land-use standpoint; and,

  1. WHEREAS, the Wooded Hillock is one of the few remaining green spaces on campus and the vegetation, soils, and wildlife habitat that exist in these woods are unique to the campus and to the region; and,

  1. WHEREAS, faculty and students in several departments including Plant Sciences, Landscape Architecture, Biology, and Environmental Science and Technology, frequently visit the Wooded Hillock and use it as a “living classroom”, exploring the unique diversity of the site; and,

  1. WHEREAS, the Wooded Hillock relocation project conflicts with every guiding principle in the Master plan which outlines environmental preservation, careful development, and automobile reduction as major goals; and,

  1. WHEREAS, the removal of trees from the Wooded Hillock also conflicts with the University’s Climate Action Plan which supports sustainable development as a strategy for becoming carbon neutral by 2050; and,

10. Therefore BE IT RESOVED SGA strongly recommends Facilities Management and Administrative Leadership conduct feasibility studies for alternative sites to include cost estimates and environment impact statements in addition to the studies for the Wooded Hillock Site.

11. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Student Government Association will work with the Provost to establish student representation on the Facilities Council to address student concerns related to the changes of the campus layout and facilities.

Sponsor: Steven Glickman, Outlying Commuter Legislator

Co-Sponsor:

Committee: Campus Affairs Committee

Vote: In Favor _____ Opposed _____ Abstentions _____

Therefore, the bill: PASSES FAILS

Speaker: ___________________________

Matt Lyons

President: ___________________________

Jonathan Sachs

Summary:

How the Wooded Hillock East Campus Redevelopment Project violates the guiding principles of the 2001-2020 Facilities Master Plan:

1. Planning the built and natural environment of the University in a way that preserves the beauty of the campus and protects the environment

The Wooded Hillock Redevelopment Project would eliminate 11 acres of aesthetically pleasing wooded area on campus. The project includes parking lots and ground-level warehouses and office facilities which consume a larger amount of land than multi-level buildings or parking garages. If Facilities were to consider developing on an alternative site such as an existing parking lot and/or constructing multi-level buildings or parking garages, the project would consume considerably less space and thus destroy less of the undisturbed environment.

2. Reducing the number of automobiles on campus and eliminate vehicular congestion to the extent possible while promoting unimpeded movement across the campus.

Development on the Wooded Hillock site will maintain the same amount of—if not more—space for parking on campus. By instead choosing an existing parking lot as the site for redevelopment, the University would be achieving its Master Plan of reducing the number of automobiles on campus.

3. Reinforcing the campus’s role as a good neighbor in the larger community by the careful development of sites on the campus periphery or in outlying areas that link us to the community

The Wooded Hillock is located on the periphery of campus near the intersection of Route 193 and Paint Branch road. This project has not been made transparent to nearby organizations and businesses or local government who may have stake in the decision. For example, organizations such as the College Park Committee for a Better Environment and the College Park Sierra Club who have worked to preserve green space in the local community have not been made aware of the project.

4. Preserving the architectural heritage of the campus and enhance it through open spaces, gathering places, vistas of green lawn and trees, and groupings of buildings that promote a sense of community.

The Wooded Hillock is a vista of trees that if developed on, will be destroyed.

February 18, 2009

NY Post Chimp Cartoon

Filed under: National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 3:05 pm

Normally, I give outlets and politicians the benefit of the doubt when they say something controversial.  I often think people overreact to these sorts of things.  However, I do not buy the NY Post’s explanation for this cartoon.  Regardless of how they try and spin this, I think they were referring to Obama.  I honestly don’t know how this got by the editor.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090218/ap_en_ot/ny_post_cartoon

February 17, 2009

Second part of Diversity Column

Filed under: Dernoga,Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 11:59 pm
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So last week, I wrote the first part in a 2 part series on the need for more diversity and inclusion in the environmental movement. My second part is this week. In case you haven’t read the first part or would like to re-read it, go here: https://madrad2002.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/column-on-lack-of-minorities-in-environmental-groups/

For this weeks column, link is here: http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2009/02/17/Opinion/Green.Diversity.Cross.Cultures.Save.The.World-3632931.shtml?reffeature=recentlycommentedstoriestab

Green diversity : Cross cultures, save the world

Issue date: 2/17/09 Section: Opinion

I met with a black state delegate about a bill a few weeks ago and made sure to ask him what the environmental community was doing wrong in reaching out to minorities. In his response to me, he made a good point. It’s difficult to tell someone they need to put a solar panel on their roof or to get the roof insulated when they’re working hard just to keep that roof over their head. He also stated the situation was unfortunate, because minority groups are most affected by global warming, rising energy costs and pollution. They also stand the most to gain from a clean energy economy if they’re involved in creating it. How do we stress that linkage? He didn’t have an answer. I have ideas.

Communication isn’t what it should be. We hear about “green jobs,” but I doubt most people can tell me what those are. I rarely hear about health. The kinds of respiratory ailments that someone can get from living near a coal plant, a toxic waste dump or an incinerator cost families and our health care system a lot of money.

Rather than going into a community and telling people how to change their lives, we need to first listen. We have to understand what kinds of challenges a particular community faces before finding a genuine linkage between their problems and our problems. We can’t create a linkage for our convenience.

The messenger matters. The state delegate I mentioned earlier understood the linkages. But do his constituents? There is a responsibility for political, civic and religious leaders to connect the economic and health concerns of people to the quality of their environment. Environmental groups must make a genuine attempt to extend their hand, but someone has to take it. Recall the outcry to Don Imus’ comments on the radio or to the noose hung outside the Nyumburu Cultural Center. They are both legitimate issues, but every day, far more minorities are exploited by coal plants and toxic waste dumps in their backyards than those instances of bigotry. The reaction to this has been scarce. It should be overwhelming.

This isn’t to say there aren’t minority leaders doing amazing things. Van Jones founded Green For All and has been fiercely advocating for millions of green jobs to lift people out of poverty. Majora Carter formed a non-profit called The Sustainable South Bronx and helped her community fight off multiple waste dumps, spearheaded restoration projects and created green job training centers. A couple of weeks ago, I heard the Rev. Lennox Yearwood, the president of the Hip Hop Caucus, talk about the need for global warming solutions, green jobs and greater participation from the minority community in the two.

I recently discovered a new group on the campus called Project Humyn. They’re working to lobby local politicians for green jobs while helping kids in a Washington homeless shelter learn about sustainability. They meet every Tuesday in room 0205 of Jimenez Hall at 6:30 p.m. I’ve attended a Community Roots meeting, held in room 1101 of Tydings Hall on Thursdays at 6 p.m., where social justice issues are discussed by diverse groups of people. There should be greater efforts by green and cultural groups to collaborate.

Having been to both, I feel we share the same dream. I fear that divided, that’s all it can be. Pinch me.

Matt Dernoga is a junior government and politics major. He can be reached at mdernoga@umd.edu

February 13, 2009

New Biofuels Policy Needed

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 11:02 pm
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A bunch of environmental groups have proposed a platform for how the country’s biofuels policy should be structured and changed. Biofuels have always been an interesting topic since our current experiences with them(ethanol anyone?) have been quite unfavorable. However, they possess enormous potential depending on their source and how they are created. Link is below, and I’m cross-posting the platform below as well.

http://action.foe.org/t/3869/content.jsp?content_KEY=5299

CLEAN AIR TASK FORCE * ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP * FRIENDS OF THE EARTH * NETWORK FOR NEW ENERGY CHOICES

Finding ways to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions while producing enough energy to support economic development worldwide is this century’s preeminent challenge. We must meet this challenge while simultaneously reducing environmental degradation, poverty and hunger. The United States must make a sustained commitment to invest in and develop renewable energy sources that contribute to meeting these challenges.

Support for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and other biofuel subsidies has been based on the premise that biofuels will: decrease greenhouse gas emissions and thus the devastating effects of global warming; decrease our reliance on foreign oil; decrease the price of gasoline; and bolster US agriculture. US biofuels policy is not achieving these goals, nor is it rationally designed to so do. Instead, we are spending billions of dollars in tax credits and infrastructure development for biofuels that: increase greenhouse gas emissions and exacerbate other serious environmental and public health challenges; contribute to the global food crisis; insignificantly impact oil consumption and do little or nothing to lower transportation costs; and favor some parts of the farm sector at the direct expense of others.

New scientific evidence indicates that biofuel production and use results in a net increase of greenhouse gas emissions when compared to petroleum-based fuels. When full life-cycle effects are taken into account, such as the nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer used to grow corn and the massive amounts of carbon released as forest and grassland are directly or indirectly converted for biofuel feedstock production, biofuels (including corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass, and soy biodiesel) have been found to exacerbate global warming.

In addition, global stocks of food grains and edible oils are at historic lows, threatening the world’s most vulnerable people, including the poor and hungry in the United States. Conventional biofuel production also exacerbates soil degradation, water and air pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Also, conventional biofuels have a miniscule effect on fossil fuel use and practically no effect on the cost of driving. Meanwhile, US taxpayers pay billions of dollars annually in tax credits for biofuels, and our imports of foreign crude oil have remained nearly level at approximately 3.7 billion barrels annually. Although existing law requires biofuels comprise a rising percentage of the nation’s gasoline supply, there is little research demonstrating that some of these fuel mixes will not cause an unacceptable increase in operational problems, safety hazards and air pollution emissions from many on-road and non-road engines in use today.

Biofuel proponents claim that the next generation of “advanced biofuels” will eliminate the problems associated with conventional biofuels and create an economically feasible and environmentally sound solution to reducing dependence on fossil fuels for transportation. Realizing these aspirations will require solving intractable technical and infrastructure challenges, as these “advanced biofuels” can cause the same adverse environmental impacts as conventional ones while also presenting new dangers, such as those associated with synthetic biology. Mandating the use and production of these fuels without fully understanding their effect on the environment and food systems — as current US biofuel policy does — is irresponsible and dangerous.

In order to develop truly renewable fuels that accomplish our goals and do not have unintended adverse impacts, concrete steps must be taken.

1. Ensure that all policy incentives for renewable fuels, including mandates and subsidies, require attainment of minimum environmental performance standards for production and use, to ensure that publicly supported “renewable fuels” do not degrade our natural resources. Such standards would: certify net life-cycle greenhouse gas emission reductions through 2050, taking into account direct and indirect land use change; and do not cause or contribute to increased damage to soil quality, air quality, water quality, habitat protection, and biodiversity loss. Compliance with these standards must be verified regularly.

2. Restrict the RFS to fuel options that do not cause environmental harm, adverse human health impacts or economic disruption.

a. Cap the RFS at current levels and gradually phase out the mandate for biofuels, unless it is clearly demonstrated that such fuels can meet minimum environment, health, and consumer protection standards.
b. Establish feedstock- and technology-neutral fuel and environmental performance standards for all biofuels and let the market devise ways of reaching them.
c. Periodically reevaluate the sustainability and performance of renewable fuels.
d. Provide a mechanism and requirement to mitigate unintended adverse effects, including authority to adjust any mandate downward.

3. Tie the biofuels tax credits to the performance standards.

a. Phase out the biofuels tax credit to blenders while phasing in tax credits or subsidies for renewable fuels that are scaled in accordance to the fuels’ relative environmental, health, and consumer protection merits.

4. Rebalance the U.S. renewable energy and energy conservation portfolio to reflect the relative contribution these options can make to reducing fossil fuel use, enhancing the environment, spurring economic development, and increasing energy security.

a. Subsidies to renewable energy and conservation should be distributed more evenly between alternative energy sources, and should be allocated in a manner that is fuel – and feedstock -neutral; biofuels, particularly corn ethanol, must no longer receive the lion’s share of federal renewable energy subsidies.
b. New policy must:
i. Emphasize energy conservation; we cannot drill or grow our way out of the energy crisis.
ii. Create a level playing field among renewable energy options; set fuel-, feedstock- and technology-neutral standards, so as to reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, improve environmental quality and biodiversity, and reduce pressure on agricultural markets.

5. Support research to improve the analysis of net climate impacts, net non-climate environmental impacts, commodity price impacts, and other social factors that are substantially affected by policies that promote biofuels. All of the previous policy asks must be based on better research on the impacts from biofuels; understanding these impacts are crucial to developing sound policies.

February 11, 2009

Students Lobbying Annapolis

So I’m cross-posting this from a blog post I made on the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s blog site: http://www.chesapeakeclimate.org/blog/?p=691

So this post is a little overdue, I organized a couple of lobby meetings with Delegate Michael Vaughn, and after many attempts to reach him, State Senator Nathaniel Exum. The meeting with Delegate Vaughn went well, we talked with him about the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Act which he hadn’t seen yet, gave him a copy, and told him what was different about the bill this year, and how we thought he could help sheppard it through the Economic Matters Committee. In the end, he ended up becoming a co-sponsor.

The meeting with State Senator Exum was not successful, although we did talk with him for about 45 minutes about the bill, and the issues surrounding it. Exum’s main issue was that Maryland Dept. of Env. had taken longer than it should have to get him a permit for his business, and he felt that they were too incompetent to administer a greenhouse gas reductions plan. The one thing we did learn that was useful was that he planned to introduce an amendment similar to the one he introduced last year, where MDE has to report its plan and proposed programs back to the legislature every year. He said he might “compromise” on 2 years. Obviously this wasn’t acceptable to us, and we do not see eye to eye with Exum. Despite our differences, he was very respectful, and we’re thankful he was kind enough to sit down with us for so long considering we weren’t his constituents and his relationship with the environmental community hasn’t been all flowers and sunshine.

Pictures below

Environmentalists Within 3 feet of Exum!  and hes smiling!

Environmentalists Within 3 feet of Exum! and hes smiling!

February 10, 2009

Column on Lack of Minorities in Environmental Groups

Filed under: Dernoga,Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 7:10 pm
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So I realized after about 15 minutes of trying to write 550 words about this that I needed twice as many to do it justice and not have it be very broad about everything. So this is the first part. There is one error the editors made, which is for the heat wave statistic, black mortality rates are 50% higher, not 5% as is below.

http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2009/02/10/Opinion/Environmentalism.Whys.The.Green.So.White-3620649.shtml

Environmentalism: Why’s the green so white?

Matt Dernoga

Issue date: 2/10/09 Section: Opinion

[To fully address the issue of minority participation in environmental initiatives, this column is the first in a two-part series.]

The environmental movement has a big problem. In every environmental group I’ve met or seen, the overwhelming majority of the members and meeting attendees are white. Why? Outdated communication on seemingly far-off problems that people cannot immediately see or feel.

Take people in polar bear suits. The polar ice caps are melting thousands of miles away. The planet is going to warm by a few degrees over the next 50 years! Support clean energy, and there will be green jobs for you. Nature and wildlife must be protected because it’s beautiful. It might cost money to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, but we need to protect our ecosystems. The only way all of this could sound less compelling is if it were followed by a wink.

There’s often a recognition by environmentalists that there needs to be more diversity in the movement. One of the first ideas that people excitedly bring up in practically every brainstorming session for a campaign is “Let’s reach out to the black churches, the cultural student groups, the minority communities!” This is usually about as far as things go. The message stays the same. The outreach is poor at best and usually nonexistent.

Then the opposition to a green initiative stands up and says, “This bill being pushed by the latte-drinking hippies will make [blank] more expensive.” The progressive community is split in two, and the bill stalls. Minorities are told they will be on the losing end of legislation sought by green groups. The tragedy is they are predominantly the casualties of environmental degradation and pollution.

Pollution sources are often conveniently placed in low income areas, where people stand the least chance of successfully opposing the project. Sixty-eight percent of black people live within 30 miles of a coal plant. Seventy-one percent live in counties that violate federal air pollution standards. In all 44 metropolitan areas in the country, blacks are more likely than whites to be exposed to higher concentrations of toxins in the air. Hispanic and black children have far higher rates of asthma-related emergency room visits than whites.

Hartford, Conn., a city with a large minority community, has the most trash incineration in the state, as well as eight waste facilities and four power plants. There are also the highest asthma rates in the country, with 41 percent of children and 48 percent of Latino children having the condition. In the entire country, children with asthma missed 12.8 million school days in 2003. Consider that minorities also have less access to health care, and it’s clear pollution damages these communities.

I’ll barely touch on global warming. More frequent heat waves and stronger storms cause greater spread of disease. Data from past heat waves show black heat-related mortality rates to be 50 percent higher than whites. Poor access to health care makes the spread of malaria and dengue fever into southern states a major issue. Anyone who witnessed Hurricane Katrina knows that lower income people have a much harder time getting out of the way of a disaster. I could draw dots all day for you to connect.

Catch your breath – if you’re fortunate enough to live in a community where the specter of asthma isn’t a constant worry. Read part two next Tuesday for how I think we should move forward.

Matt Dernoga is a junior government and politics major. He can be reached at mdernoga@umd.edu

February 9, 2009

Perspective on Stimulus Debate

Filed under: MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:19 pm
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Let it Rain!

Let it Rain!

So I know the stimulus bill is likely to squeak by the US Senate soon since 3 Republicans have decided to cross party lines because of 100 billion dollars of cuts.  However, I just have to add my thoughts to the mess that is taking place in Washington.  I’m going to do it in a 1,2,3 fashion to try and lay out what what I’m thinking.

1.  The world’s leading economists have said that there needs to be a massive stimulus spending bill of around or over 1 trillion dollars.

2.  Barack Obama has been saying since he was elected that he is going to want to pass a giant stimulus spending bill.

3.  Barack Obama reaches across to Republicans in the opening weeks on the stimulus bill, welcoming ideas.  Republican majority leaders appear outside on the white house lawn saying that are impressed with him extending his hand, and are willing to work with him.

TIMEOUT…..at this point, is there anyone out there that thinks there isn’t going to be a bill with a lot of government spending?

4.  The Democrats and Obama compromise with Republicans and make the bill about 60% spending and 40% tax cuts.  Republicans LOVE tax cuts.  Democrats..not so much.  I would see this as a big “reach across the isle” and “here’s enough tax cuts to appease you” gesture.

5.  Republicans seem to think that THEY WON THE ELECTION, and that THEY CONTROL THE CONGRESS.  They suddenly complain out of nowhere that there is spending(shocker!) in the bill.

6.  Republicans offer ridiculous amendments that make the bill 0% spending and 100% tax cuts.  Democrats say no.  Republicans cry out that the crazy liberal democrats are refusing to be bi-partisan, that Obama is failing to live up to his promise to reach across the isle, and that this spending bill will not stimulate the economy.

7.  They all vote against the bill in the House.  Just about all are opposed in the Senate.

Hello?  You are not in the majority.  The “my way or the highway” approach is completely idiotic.

Sorry, but the fact that anyone out there is buying the crap these guys are shoveling is ridiculous.  They like to cite small dumb projects that are in the stimulus bill that cost a few million dollars here and there, which really I agree shouldn’t be in the bill.  Whoever is adding these small stupid projects onto the bill should have to explain themselves on prime-time.  However, the fact remains that these small stupid projects don’t add up to more than 1% of the entire stimulus bill.  Quit nitpicking for crying out loud.  Quit being anti-investment.  Quit proving time and time again you don’t have a clue about the economy.  Pass the damn stimulus bill.

If you really think EVERYTHING in the bill is wasteful, then how about you volunteer that your district won’t take a dime from the stimulus bill since it won’t have any benefit.  That will cut the spending side of things real fast.

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