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Todd Hymas Samkara's Posts

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Obama lauds green jobs and clean tech in economy speech

Photo: Sam Graham-Felsen In a speech on Wednesday at a GM auto plant in Wisconsin, Barack Obama outlined his economic agenda for the country. He described his stimulus plan, promising to boost green jobs, help the middle class, dole out tax cuts, negotiate worker and environmental protections in upcoming free-trade agreements -- and, to help pay for much of it, end the costly war in Iraq. The environmental highlights of the speech are below (audio available here): Decades of trade deals like NAFTA and China have been signed with plenty of protections for corporations and their profits, but none for …

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Focus the Nation events to heat up campuses across the U.S.

Focus the Nation, a series of climate-change-focused educational events on over 1,000 campuses across the United States, is basically the student-centered cousin of Step It Up. And if you were one of the thousands who attended SIU (or SIU 2), you know that raising climate consciousness doesn't have to be a drab affair. It can be a colorful, creative, youth-infused party of a time. Enter Focus the Nation. Hoping to pick up where SIU left off, Focus the Nation is gathering together thousands of students and teachers for climate festivities, billing it as the largest teach-in in U.S. history. It …

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Watch out for that flaming bag of McNuggets

I'm so spoiled now that I live in bike-path-licious Boulder, Colorado. I hardly have to interact with cars anymore when cycling to most points in the city. But just a few weeks ago, before I moved here, I was out there with all the other Colorado cyclists in traffic getting assaulted. Sure, most assaults are verbal and harmless-ish, but then there are the ones that aren't. This article from today's Los Angeles Times leads with a list of one guy's experience in L.A.: Scott Sing has had a tire iron hurled at him, a water bottle thrown at his head …

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Knock that junk off

Washington state is one of a half dozen states considering legislation this year to create a "do not mail" list for residents, similar to the feds' popular "do not call" registry. And like the telemarketing industry's cries that it would be utterly destroyed and millions of contented telemarketers would be out of a job, similar forces are mobilizing against the "do not mail" bills, including the Direct Marketing Association, the mail carriers' union, and others who argue that junk mail is simultaneously essential, irreplaceable, and innocuous. Bollocks. Attempting to head off the bills before they pass, junk-mail defenders argue that, …

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A pedal-tastic roundup

On a personal new year's note, I can't help but mention the only-months-old but hopelessly addictive new habit I know I'll be nursing throughout the year: mountain biking at night. No idea why I only started doing this recently, and in the winter no less, but there you go. And since I splurged on a set of burly studded mountain-bike tires that should be arriving any day now, snow and ice riding on both trail and street at all hours are up next. That, and on snowmobile trails. Any others out there who want to join the ranks of proud …

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Will it propel cycle-happy legislation?

While not quite a full-on velorution (there must be silent throngs out there waiting to usher in a full-on velorution, I'm sure of it -- bike-guard party, wherefore art thou?), this month's midterm elections in the U.S. have apparently greased the gears of the otherwise petroleum- and highway-happy lawmaking machine in the House in favor of cycle-friendly reps for the 110th Congress. Or at least, it's offered cause for hope. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., who helped author the 1991 law that opened the door to federal funding for bike projects, is in line to become chairman of the House Transportation …

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Hope you weren’t planning a protest

If there's one creature that animal-rights activists should not try to save (and should instead attempt to quietly euthanize), it's a lame duck. The House of Representatives on Monday passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, extending current federal law to specifically criminalize not only interfering with "animal enterprises" -- a commercial or academic enterprise that uses or sells animals or animal products for profit, food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing -- but also interfering with organizations that do business with "animal enterprises," such as their lawyers or insurance companies. As AP says: Violators could be sentenced up to …

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Wacky and weird

The Schwinn-Shank Redemption While the use of prison labor is questionable in any context, about 20 inmates in a South Dakota state penitentiary are reportedly happy to be taking part in a program that puts them to work fixing up old bikes for disadvantaged kids. No word in the media on whether the program is voluntary or not, but given prison wages, there's probably not much difference in compensation. Now if only there were a program to teach the kids how to stay upright in all that wind. The other kind of bicycle flasher Police in Clinton Township, Pa., have …

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Move Thyself: “Kingdom of bicycles” experiencing identity crisis

So, in case you haven't heard, China's economy has been growing a wee bit. The boom has fueled growth in incomes and is largely responsible for the attendant explosive growth in auto sales and use. Huge growth. The number of cars has grown over 20 times since 1978 and is expected to balloon another five times still by 2020. Meanwhile, bicycle ridership has fallen at roughly the same rate as auto use has grown, and city planners and officials, eager to keep the boom booming, even at great public cost, have been planning to welcome the auto's continued growth and …

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Sorry, not really panda porn.

Given pandas' population difficulties, "getting it on" probably isn't something they engage in very often, but don't tell the world's eager panda-philes that. China has set up voyeur-friendly web cams that stream panda content live from the mountains of Sichuan in four 20-minute segments every day (except for weekends) so that, as Reuters says, "people around the world can spy on pandas doing what comes naturally to them."   If you're thinking "hot panda sex!," don't. Even when conditions in the "fog-shrouded mountains" permit, panda voyeurs can witness largely sedate bears munching on bamboo shoots, sleeping, (and slowly going extinct). …

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