GREEN HOME SHOW #39: More on Green Finance: Part 2 Skits and Thumbs up and Thumbs down
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The following content is from THE GREAT GREEN HOME SHOW #39.
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Overall Segment #2 – 12:00
Welcome back to the GGHS
NEWS FLASH – 2:00 This News Flash is sponsored by: Energy Services Group
WALTER KRANKTITE: Hello, this is Walter Kranktite coming to you this evening on the Green Fox Radio Network. We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you this special bulletin. To keep the citizens completely up to date on Solar Legislature, here is a progress report on what Congress is currently attempting to accomplish.
When Congress returns from the President's day recess, the house will be voting on HR5351..... The renewable energy and energy conservation tax act of 2008. This includes much of what was dropped from last year's congressional energy bill and this month's economic stimulus package. Specifically:
- Long-term extension of renewable energy production credits
- Long-term extension of solar energy and fuel cell investment tax credits
- New, clean renewable energy bonds
- Long-term extension of residential energy-efficient property credits
- Plug-in hybrid vehicle credits - and
- Increased production of renewable fuels (we need to keep an eye on that one as it has become painfully obvious to this reporter that Agro-based renewable fuels – read ethanol - are turning out to be a bad thing for us all)
Congressional Democrats still hope to pay for all of the above by subtracting from oil and gas industry tax credits... a tactic that has already failed twice in the last two months. But with the recent record profits posted by oil and gas companies, there is the chance that this may turn public opinion in support of this form of revenue raising and perhaps, percolate to the Senate.
So, in short, I’m recommending that our listeners write their Senators and Congressmen to let them know that you are in support of this bill and that you wish it passed, in no uncertain terms. And then send them an e-mail, and then call them at home, and then sky write, and then go protest.... anything and everything you can conjure up to help them realize that it is just a matter of time before we run out of options and they’ll wish they had passed these bills decades ago.
The preceding was been a totally biased, highly opinionated and urgent message from the Green Fox Radio “non-neutral” Broadcasting Company. We now return you to your regularly scheduled life.
Mission Possible – 5:00 Sponsored by: CMI Electric
Mission Impossible music
Voice: As always Mr. Hunt, should you or any of you PM force be killed or captured, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds...
DH: Wait, wait, wait.... what’s the mission?
Voice: Oh yeah, sorry. You must find the Secret New Energy and Renewable Strategies report, which as you know, has the capability of saving the world. Apparently it’s fallen into enemy hands…
DH: You mean…?
Voice: Yes, I mean…
DH: SNIEED - Stupid Nincompoops Insistent on Energy Efficiency Destruction
Voice: Yes, SNIEED. We suspect they’ve stolen the SNERS Report... and they aren’t giving it up. As you know SNIEED has been after the SNERS for several months and has failed to obtain it… until now. You and your PMF team must retrieve the report or the world will melt.
DH: Hey... I thought you were going to self-destruct in 5 seconds...
Voice: Dude I’ve been self-destructing every thirty minutes somewhere in the world for over 30 years… (under the breath grumbling) damn re-runs. Do you really think a few extra seconds is gonna make a huge difference? But if it makes you happy, here goes.
Narrator: The following morning, secret agent Doug Hunt, the smarter, younger, faster, and prettier brother of former Mission Possible agent Ethan Hunt begins to put together a plan to retrieve the SNERS Report. Older brother, Ethan Hunt has been re-assigned to organize a new START (Super Tricky Agents for Retrieving Technology) team to try and steal the SNARK back from SNISTLE. We don’t really know what any of that means, so listen now as Agent Hunt tries to put together his team.
DH: Yuck!!! Who made this coffee? The grind is way too coarse, the water was obviously not at 208 degrees when it was brewing, it tastes like someone left the beans exposed to air for at least 6 to 8 hours, and is this… powdered creamer?!!! Are you kidding me?!!! Oh well… to the task at hand. I’ve got to pick a team, but who? Let’s look through the ol’ ECO-Agent profiles here.
First, I need someone who's strong, clever, technically proficient, excellent with computer logarithms and most importantly, looks just like Heidi Clume. That way she can distract the SNIEED agents and create a diversion when we need one so we can get back the SNERS. I think this agent will do. I’ve worked with her before… She’s excellent, she’s exactly three inches taller than I am, and she has a face that could stop traffic. Her name is Anita… Anita Reason... and now I have one.
Secondly, we need someone who can mess with the electrical stuff and the computers and junk and generally hack into anything so that we can pull this mission off. He needs to be good-looking, well-built, great under pressure, yet disposable, so that we can have him killed off somewhere in the first two episodes, while still giving us the opportunity to move on to an action-packed series of 25 episodes if we can get the studio to give us a deal. He also needs to be interested in environmental causes... very interested… super, duper interested… obsessed! He needs to be obsessed! And he can't be too shallow. Well, he can be kinda shallow, I mean, if he’s only gonna to last for a couple o’ episodes... let's see… No, he’s no good. Nope, not this one. Naaaah. Well, well, well… what do we have here? I think I got him... yup, this looks like the guy… Bad Pritt. <Interesting name> Yeah! He's got a great resume and it says right here that he’s interested in many global causes... wow concerned and good-looking, might have to keep him past two episodes... hope he works cheap....
Finally we need someone to break into almost any secure impenetrable fortress... someone so clever and so artful that he never gets caught.... it’s a shame I can’t do it myself. Unfortunately, I’d get caught trying to sneak into a Doug Hunt look-alike contest. Nope. There’s only one man for this job and actually he's a Fox... I know that sounds strange, because normally it's “she's a Fox”. But this is a different kind of Fox... this is a creature so clever, so cunning, that no one is actually ever seen his face... he's known simply as the “Green Fox”, and all who do not recycle, who pollute, who are wasteful, and who do not properly dispose of used motor oil and other toxic substances, are wrought with fear, just at the mention of his name.
Yeah… this is my team. This is the team that’s gonna make this mission possible.
Next day at Start Headquarters:
DH: Okay team, now that everyone’s here, I want to lay out the mission...
Anita: Ummm Doug, I know you said were all here, but I only see you, me and Bad here. I don't think Mr. Fox is here yet.
DH: Actually Anita, the green Fox is in the room. It’s just that he’s so good at hiding himself... it seems he does it all the time... got this thing about nobody actually seeing him.
Bad: I’ve been here since two hours before the meeting started and I’m pretty sure he’s not here.
Green Fox: Rest assured my good and brave PMF teammates… I am here... and here... and here (move around from Mic to Mic to give the effect).
Doug: Well with that settled, let me lay out the mission.... it seems that members of the evil SNIEED has stolen the SNERS Report. This report contains all of the energy-saving strategies which when employed by the good citizens of this country (with minimal sacrifice to themselves) will save the planet from overheating and cooking us like one of my Mother’s hockey-puck hamburgers at a 4th of July barbeque.
Doug: We just need to figure out a way to get the SNERS back from SNIEED before my brother and his START team get the SNARK back from SNISTLE. I just feel like I’ve always been in his shadow. Kinda like Eli and Peyton, ya know?
Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down – 5:00 Sponsored by: Option Insurance Group
Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down
Only in America!
A California Couple is facing criminal charges because the eight redwoods in their backyard cast a shadow on a neighbor’s solar panels. The owners of the property with the redwoods are super-green, hybrid driving environmentalists, and “were like, totally shocked man” when the court ruled them in violation of a California State environmental law that says the solar panels have priority over the redwoods and ordered the trees be removed. To date they have refused, and have already spent in excess of $25,000 on legal fees. “We support solar power,” said redwood owner Carolyn Bissett. “But we thought common sense would prevail.”
How do deal with that one?
Finland: Europe's technology leader.
Although it's on the fringe of Europe geographically, for years Finland has been at the center of the continent's tech industry.
The country gave birth to cell phone leader Nokia has emerged as a place where multinationals like to recruit and erect labs. The government and local entrepreneurs are now moving into clean technology.
Prime Minister Matthew Vanhaten says that back in the 80’s, the country saw the dawning of globalization and realized it would have to dig out a high-end niche in the industry. “Because we cannot compete with Asian companies with low wages, our only possibility has been to stay a few steps forward. Of course”, he said, “we also invested in education.”
And here's the key part; as a nation, funding for research and development has also consistently remained fairly high. Finland invests around 3.5% of its gross domestic product into R&D. “There are only two or three other nations that spend that much” he said. The Eastern European bloc as a whole wants to raise the figure for member states to 3%.
A thumbs up to Finland for finding a way to keep their economy going and growing. Well, globalization continues to level the playing field here in the US. Perhaps our government should be watching and listening.
Super Bowl Slavery
Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, the world's largest seller of tires, spent more than $10 million as "official tire sponsor" of the Super Bowl halftime show in Phoenix, and will likely spend that much and more to sponsor the event in 2009. But the entertainment and advertising images beamed into American living rooms during the most-watched sporting event of the year stand in sharp contrast to the harsh working conditions, child labor and exposure to toxic chemicals at the company's rubber plantations in Liberia.
The company is using the Super Bowl as a public relations platform to cleanse its image as it faces a class-action lawsuit in US District Court in Indiana, filed by the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington-based advocacy organization. The ILRF and several plaintiffs accuse the company of committing human rights abuses for its use of child labor in Liberia.
In exchange for $3.19 in daily wages, Firestone Natural Rubber Company, a Bridgestone subsidiary, expects a typical Liberian worker to tap 650 trees a day, carrying seventy-pound buckets of latex for miles. A single laborer would have to work twenty-one hours per day to meet this quota, a near-impossible task. Which is why Firestone gives workers an extra incentive: tap 650 trees per day or see their daily wages slashed in half.
In a country whose economy has been ravaged by fourteen years of civil war, Firestone's employees don't have a choice but to comply. With Liberia's 85 percent unemployment rate, there will always be someone desperate enough to take their place.
The 650-tree daily quota policy has led many of Firestone's more than 4,000 employees to enlist their children and wives as workers to ensure that they meet their target. But these extra workers aren't paid any extra. And the children whose families depend on their labor for survival never have the opportunity to go to school.
Firestone, which is owned by Bridgestone, a Japanese company, but has headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, also has been accused by the Liberian Environmental Protection Agency of dumping toxic waste into the river that feeds into the community's water supply. The workers, including children, are also exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides in the production of rubber, which is hazardous to their health. But since the medical services Firestone offers are not accessible to those without birth certificates and clinic hours are limited, employees often do not receive the medical attention they need.
Emira Woods, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, blames not only Bridgestone Firestone but the National Football League for giving the company the platform of a pinnacle event in American sports from which to reach the hearts and pocketbooks of the American people. "It is irresponsible for the NFL to use their marquee event to create a showcase for a company that for eighty-two years has exploited the people of Liberia," she said. "Bridgestone Firestone has based their profits on child labor and the destruction of the environment. They should be reprimanded not elevated."
But Peter Murray, the NFL's senior vice president of partnership marketing and sales, disagrees. In a statement, Murray said he's "pleased" with the company's sponsorship of the halftime show and involvement in the NFL Experience and Pro Bowl events. "By teaming with a global leader like Bridgestone, we can make America's favorite event even more powerful."
What Murray and many Americans might not know is that this "global leader" won the "Public Eye Global Award" in 2007 for worst global corporation for its use of child labor and abuse of the environment. The award was given by Pro Natura, the Swiss branch of Friends of the Earth and another Swiss group, the Berne Declaration, at a ceremony that coincided with last year's World Economic Forum in Davos.
Yet to say that Murray was unaware of the abuses committed by Bridgestone Firestone would be inaccurate. In fact, Bama Athreya, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, sent Murray a letter in October outlining the company's practices. Murray responded in a letter to Athreya that Bridgestone "assured" the NFL "that it remains committed to improving the lives of its workers and their communities in Liberia."
But if Bridgestone Firestone is so committed to improving the lives of Liberian workers, why did it take three strikes over the course of eleven months, new elections for union leaders and pressure from African and US organizations like the United Steelworkers for the company to make changes? Even after workers held the first free election in the plantation's history, Firestone refused to negotiate with the union until Liberia's Supreme Court ruled December 21 that the elections were legitimate.
Instead of using Super Bowl marketing tactics to clean up its image, Woods, of the Institute for Policy Studies, said that Bridgestone Firestone could be doing the right thing on the ground in Liberia: "Cleaning up the riverways from toxic-waste dumping, paying adequate wages, removing the quota system--all of these things can be done for a whole lot less than the millions they're spending on the halftime show."
For more information on the advocacy campaign for Bridgestone Firestone workers in Liberia, go to www.stopfirestone.org