Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Salem's own climate criminal!

Coal rail cars in Ashtabula, Ohio.The head of the "First University in the West" is on the board of Oregon's most destructive polluter, the one foreclosing any hope for survival for millions of the world's poorest people. Still, it is profitable, so there's that. Image via Wikipedia

Wow -- just checked out the list of PGE boardmembers for the first time and was shocked to find that the boss at Willamette, M. Lee Pelton, sits on it. How serving on the board of a coal-burning utility squares with educating young people for the future is hard to imagine. If we don't stop burning coal pronto the future for Willamette grads is going to be mighty grim indeed.

Do you think Willamette U. lets students loading up with huge debt for their education know that the head of their school is a leader in the fight to destroy their future prospects and to further impoverish and immiserate the world's poorest peoples? Or is this really just another example of how elites are trained today, carefully taught to keep moral concerns out of the way of serving the best-paying corporate masters?

UPDATE: There is ever less room for people to hide from responsibility by claiming "We didn't know." PGE knows what burning coal is doing to the world: radically destabilizing the climate and setting billions up for starvation, disease, pestilence, and war.

Your Chance to Comment on Oregon's Filthiest, Most Dangerous Power

Portland General ElectricThis is the logo of the company that wants to keep burning coal, thereby condemning your children to live in a world of climate chaos, floods, droughts, starvation and disease.

Go here to send this letter (which you can edit as you wish) to be submitted to PGE as part of its mandatory public comment on its integrated resource plan (the jargon for its long-range planning):
I am writing to comment on PGE’s Integrated Resource Plan and its failure to put an end to pollution from its coal-fired power plant in Boardman, Oregon. PGE's Boardman plant is the dirtiest power plant in the Northwest. Its emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions are polluting 12 national parks and wilderness areas in the Pacific Northwest – as well as the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Air quality studies have shown that up to 50% of the Gorge haze on smoggiest days comes from the Boardman power plant.

The Columbia Gorge is a national scenic treasure that deserves the strong air quality protections. In your vision for the future, please put an end to dirty coal and outdated technologies that are altering the global climate and polluting the Columbia Gorge.

Smarter solutions exist. Rather spending over $500 million to retrofit a dirty coal plant, I am asking that PGE prioritize energy efficiency and renewable energy investments that will reduce our reliance on dirty coal and will clean up air quality in the Columbia River Gorge.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on PGE's Integrated Resource Plan.

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Nice piece on Afghaninam (Obama's Vietnam)


Readings on Health Care

Hospital room (Denmark, 2005)Image via Wikipedia

If you want to really understand the sad -- deplorable, actually -- state of health care in Salem, Oregon, and the US, you need more than your own impressions and the messages the corporate media want to feed you. Here are a few of the best things out there:
  1. Dr. Atul Gawande's "The Cost Conundrum" New Yorker article

  2. Dr. Nortin Hadler's "The Last Well Person: How to stay well despite the health care system"

  3. Dr. Jerry Avorn's "Powerful Medicine: The benefits, risks and costs of prescription drugs" and, last but not least

  4. Shannon Brownlee's "Overtreated: Why too much medicine is making us sicker and poorer."
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