Monday, December 7, 2009

COP15 Copenhagen Summit has finally arrived: Are we still going to play ball?

In my past blog on August 29, 2009 on the current Copenhagen summit, I asked two poignant questions: Is America ready to play ball? Can we afford to continue to ignore the problem of climate change and global warming? Answers to these two questions would probably come to the surface in the current 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15), holding in the city center of Bella, Copenhagen, Denmark.

As we speak, delegates from 193 countries are talking over cups of coffee on the issue of carbon emission, rising sea levels in Island states and many parts of the poorest areas of the world. The concern in the following two weeks, December 6 -18th, was summarized in the opening speech of the United Nation’s Climate Chief, Yvo de Boer, that global warming does not discriminate against any nation, and it affects all of us. In his humble opinion, it is important that advanced countries and societies like United States establish emissions reduction targets and have a financial commitment to help many developing countries address the problem of climate change. This is hardly a high bar of expectation, considering that most countries that bear the greatest burden of carbon emissions, have a GDP that puts majority of their populace living on under $1 a day.

My rhetoric second question about three and a half months ago was answered this morning by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Ms. Linda Jackson, that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to the public’s health and welfare. This statement probably lays down the groundwork for an economy-wide carbon caps initiative, even if congress fails to enact a climate legislation that has been working its way through congress in the past ten months. With this proclamation, it is safe to believe that the US does not intend to continue ignoring the issue of climate change and global warming.

With the horrendous problems associated with climate change, including rising sea levels that is pushing people away from their only known residences, hotter than usual summers and warmer winters that has been speeding up the melting of glacier ice in the mountains, it is just not normal to continue to look away or deny the obvious. Whether it is true or not that scientists are not in unison with the concept of global warming, it is probably safe to default on the assumption that the problem exists and provide some possible answers to ameliorate the problem, before it becomes a disaster. Now, if in the long run, we were wrong, it is also safe to say, we would have reaped some benefits from learning how to cope with adverse weather condition(s) or curbing excessive carbon emission that could destroy our ozone layers.

The Associated Press reported that President Obama is likely going to commit the US to substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Although the Congress is worried about what this proclamation can do to production processes in our industries, hence business performance during this very trying economic time, activist environmentalists say, it is about time the US shows some leadership in the area of finding solution to the problem of global warming and curbing of carbon emissions and industrial pollutants.

The President, who has been careful in discussing the issue of climate change, and whose EPA has showed some spine in arranging two national conference or summits around the country has indicated some concurrence with the possible impact of excessive carbon waste emmissions and possible impact on global warming. To this effect, the President intends to attend the Copenhagen conference on his way from Oslo to collect his Noble Peace Prize. When he speaks at the conference on Tuesday, December 8, 2009, he is likely to make reference to the new order of choice which America may be coming to, to help combat global warming and carbon emissions. With this step, one can safely assume that the United States is ready to play ball. That despite all the relegation of the importance of this problem by the Bush’s administration, it is now probable that the environmentally conscious world is ready to hear from the big giant in the room, whose support and commitment to reduce carbon emission, is rather essential to the total effort around the globe.

One of the central questions of this conference is how to share responsibilities between developed and developing nation, regarding the cost of carbon emissions. The United States, European Union, China and India have all announced targets for reducing their emissions of carbon dioxide. It is estimated that if US can cut its carbon emissions by about one-sixth in the next ten years it may just be possible to cut down on the global warming experience. However the nation will have to confront other problems like increased cost of energy generation by utility companies, increased gasoline prices and increased cost of building more-fuel efficient automobiles if it totally subscribes to this notion.

While a country like the US is able to manage the challenges of its global contribution of carbon waste, many smaller countries around the world are not so privileged. Connie Hildegard, the Danish minister for the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen, has admonished countries as the US and European Union to pony up some money to help our poorer neighbors curbing global warming. Such money would be needed for “mitigation, adaptation, technology, and capacity-building in developing countries.” As surmised by Ms Hedegaard. Whether the richer countries are going to live up to this pledge is another issue entirely. Currently, there are some debates regarding how much the poorer countries will need to address these concerns. The European Union is said to have estimated $150 billion and have asked their member countries voluntarily contribute $10 billion annually from 2010 to 2012 on a fast-track basis. Potentially, if the European Union Countries are able to reach an agreement on this pledge, the US would probably have to pony up a similar size in amount for the goal of assisting the less privileged countries combat the problem of global warming in the next decade.

The intricate commitment of the US to this laudable effort may not be buttressed by the ultimate resolution that will come out of this conference. In the recent past, it had become rather obvious that the original goal of the conference, to produce a new global climate change treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol, may not be feasible. There are just too many “Ifs” and “buts” about the goal of the conference and it seems that the largest polluters are not willing to subscribe to curbing carbon emissions. Countries like China, Japan and some European countries, whose economy are now growing at exponential levels, are not willing to compromise to a larger degree to put a dent in the problem. Russia, which has a lot of carbon emission caps to sell, because it has not exceeded its carbon emissions limits under the Kyoto protocols, is probably going to be shopping for buyers of its unexpired caps. The toughest issue is building trust among the biggest polluters: China, USA and Japan, among others. The convolution of these problems and other issue that has to do with national interest as against collective international interest has made the goal of the current conference, probably unattainable during this two-week conference.

Thursday, November 26, 2009



------ Alice Williams Brotherton, The First Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


God the Father,
Have Mercy upon your Soldiers;
God the Son,
Have Mercy upon your Soldiers;
God the Holy Spirit,
Have Mercy upon your Soldiers.

For Soldiers who have served for our Freedom,
Have compassion on their Sins;
For your Soldiers who served in the course of your people,
Have compassion on their Sins;
For your Soldiers who have fallen in the heat of war,
Have compassion on their Sins;
For Soldiers you have called home,
Have compassion on their Sins;
For family members they left behind,
Have compassion on their Sins;
For Soldiers who have felt no gratitude from your children,
Have compassion on their Sins;
For the living who have benefitted from the sacrifice of life by your Soldiers,
Have compassion on their Sins.

For our political leaders who make decisions that take our children to war,
Look kindly upon their Sins;
For our youth who are about to be sent to war,
Look kindly upon their Sins;
For our middle-age who are about to be shipped to war,
Look kindly upon their Sins;
For our elderly who reminiscent about the challenges of war,
Look kindly upon their Sins;
For parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles who grief and never forget their loved ones who have gone yonder,
Look kindly upon their Sins;
For Wives, Sons, and daughters who bear the immediate burden of holding forth while our soldiers go to war,
Look kindly upon their Sins;
For those retired veteran who have served and occasionally romanticized about going to war again,
Look kindly upon their Sins.
For those honorable Heroes and Heroines who have come through this earth and remain in glory,
Look kindly upon their Sins.

Now to him that is able to do all things beyond the expectation of any man, be honor, glory and majesty. Amen.

If this will console any member of our nation who feels any grief tonight, let him or her remember the words of the book of First Thessalonians 4: 15-18. To my brothers and sister’s in Judaism: " Ha makom yinachem etchem btoch sh'ar avlei tzion v'yrushalayim." May the sheltering God comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. To my Muslim brothers and sister, recall Surah 21; 103-104 – The supreme Awesomeness of the day of Resurrection will cause them no grief, since angels will receive them with greeting, this is your day of triumph which you were promised. To all other people of faith, May the Peace of Almighty and Everlasting God be with you all. Amen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A NOBLE TO THE CHIEF: Humility at it’s best!

For full-disclosure purposes, everyone who know me can attest to my unflinching loyalty to the success of Obama’s Presidency. Next to my marriage and children, my dedication to the Presidency of Obama is probably the only other thing that has taken the better part of my life since January 8, 2009. It is not just a question of voting for him last November, it is even more of a ritual of all the wrongs that I have heard all my life about black men not amounting to nothing. For me, Obama is a gem of a man and President. I intend to call him out if he is wrong, but I am as loyal to him as one can get to another human being. He is not only our President, he is that type of leader that I believe this country deserves and any well meaning and reflective leader will appreciate.

Today, the Noble Peace Prize Committee saw the same qualities in this Black man and awarded him the 2009 Noble Peace Prize. The committee not only appreciated this man, they saw the hope and aspiration that his Presidency generates and say: This is a man worthy of appreciation. To them I say thank you. To Barack Obama, I say: Bro’ its all for good!

To those guys who sent the body of the following email to me on-behalf of the President, I say hail to the chief! The humility in the content of the email is appreciated.

A call to action
Friday, October 9, 2009 2:22 PM
"President Barack Obama"
Add sender to Contacts
"Christopher Adekoya"

Christopher --

This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.

That is why I've said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won't all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.

So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we've begun together. I'm grateful that you've stood with me thus far, and I'm honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Now, Mr. President, it is time we work harder to make sure that we can get this health care reform bill through Congress. It is perhaps time we call the Democratic Party members together and remind them of what is at stake. It is not a question of a needed reform, it is a matter of commitment to what will eradicate health care poverty in America. We cannot allow this opportunity to pass us by again.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hysteria over the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act

We live in a winner-take-all society, where the object of aspiration of everyone, is how to make extra money, grab more power and prestige, and stay close to an exit strategy with a golden parachute if the bottom falls out of the cash cows. The news that companies as Nike, Pacific Gas and Electric and others are resigning from the US Chamber of Commerce because of their opposition to the Clean Energy Jobs and America Power Act, introduced by Senator Kerry and Boxer today, should not come as a surprise to anyone. These companies depend on the burning of coal and carbon to oil the engine of their money maker.To introduce a bill in Congress that will restrict this opportunity, in any form or shape, or curtail the ability of these companies to continue to reap the benefit of burning more carbon, is obviously an affront. These companies will not sit back and watch their cash cows brutalized by mere men in Congress. They have taken their stand, with respect to the burning of carbon, whether the world likes it of not: They do not want to cut down on the green-house effect of carbon burning, and one of the ways to loose in the cut-throat competitive business market, is to adopt new business models or strategies that can cut into their profit. The companies believe, adopting new strategies to cut down on carbon burning , can only lead to them loosing money. If they loose money, they loose power and prestige, and if they loose these basic accolades of a winner-take-all society, they become relatively irrelevant. Knowing this fact is very discomforting to the Chief Executives at many of these Fortune 500 American Companies. They will pick their marbles and go home rather than share any of their profit in any shape or form with the public, even if it has to do with taking the initiative to reduce carbon emission in their vast industries spread over the globe.

To the multinational Corporations, the issue is not curbing the green-house effects of their operations or practices; rather, the issue is the requirement of being made responsible for the status of the environment, when similar corporations in nations as China and India are least required of this obligation. Corporations in the developing countries that flaunt the rules regarding green-house gas emission limits probably do not suffer financially as much as the American Multinationals. No amount of education or persuasion in the works in Copenhagen or Washington DC would encourage these die-hard corporations to buy into the clean energy job and power act. Adopting practices that will cut green-house emissions or create greener jobs, would not only greatly increase overhead cost of operations, it would probably not lead to a competitive edge in the process of manufacturing and delivering goods and services at a reasonable profit for these corporations. And, to the American Corporations’ Chief Executives in time of recession like ours, who wants to listen to the epistle of the green-house nuts? The endorsement by Congress of policies to encourage reduction in green house gas emission through the introduction of the Clean Energy Jobs and America Power Act is not looked upon very favorably. If you ask some of the multinational Corporations’ Chief Executives, their response probably will be: “Just not right now!”

So what exactly are these corporations disagreeable with? Senators Kerry and Boxer introduced the bill with a caveat that, the legislation will create clean energy jobs, reduce pollution and protect America security by enhancing domestic energy production and combating global climate change. They justify the essence of the bill with the following quotations:
• "This is a security bill that puts Americans back in charge of our energy future and makes it clear that we will combat global climate change with American ingenuity. It is our country's defense against the harms of pollution and the security risks of global climate change" - Senator Kerry
• "Our health, our security, our economy, our environment, all demands we reinvent the way America uses energy. Our addiction to foreign oil hurts our economy, helps our enemies and risks our security. By taking decisive action, we can and will stop climate change from becoming a ‘threat multiplier' that makes an already dangerous world staggeringly more so.” - Senator Kerry.
• "We know clean energy is the ticket to strong, stable economic growth -- it's right here in front of us, in the ingenuity of our workers and the vision of our entrepreneurs. We must seize this opportunity, or others will move ahead. This is our time. Global warming is our challenge. Economic recovery is our challenge. American leadership is our challenge. Let's step up right now. Let's not quit until we have fulfilled our responsibility to our children and our grandchildren.” – Senator Boxer

Here are the major highlights of the Clean Energy Jobs and America Power Act:
• Reduction in emission limits: reduction in greenhouse pollution limit is jerked up by 20% below the 2005 limits advanced previously in Waxman-Markey’s bill before congress;
• Green Transportation: push for green transportation, devoting a guaranteed share of revenues from carbon regulation to transit, bike paths, and other green modes of transport;
• Coal Plant Greenhouse Gas Regulation: environmental protection agency must be given the authority to regulate coal plants under the Clean Air Act.
• Ensuring National Security: there is need to redirect our oil expenditures, as much of our expenditures on gas goes to countries that do not like us. We also need to consider that carbon pollution threatens our children’s health and radically and irreversibly alter our climate for the worse.

Probably like other Multinational American Corporations who may not want to be identified yet, Nike believes US businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change legislation and that the United States needs to move rapidly into a sustainable economy to remain competitive and ensure continued economic growth. Be that as it may, these corporations are not ready to buy into the currency that climate change is an issue that needs urgent actions, in light of the economic condition we now have. Whether this is true or not, we shall explore this angle of argument this month in our succeeding blogs, barring any new development with the American Health Care Reform Bill.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Ted lived and enjoyed earthly happiness;
Ted loved so much to be our Senator from Massachusetts.

Ted Lived and loved;
Ted woke and slept;
Ted sung and danced;
Ted smiled, roared in the senate and wept;
Ted had lived, run the course fortune allotted him.

Ted was prayed for today;
Ted was eulogized by the President today;
Ted was blessed by the Catholic Church and his final service was gracious;
May for him, damned to poesy.

Ted says the work must go on, we believe;
Ted says the course must endure, we believe;
Ted says the hope still lives, we believe.
Ted says the dream shall never die, we believe.

To those saints that live in the hearts of many;
May our gracious God forgive them their sins and accept them to eternal glory.


Friday, August 28, 2009

The Mountain that was God: - Romanticizing about the Clean Air Act (Waxman-Markey)

The Mountain that was God, that is how the Indians describe the majesty of the Rainier Mountain in Washington State. The awesomeness of the glacier part of the mountain during the summer months of July through October makes you marvel about the beauty of nature; and, challenges you to ask everyone: why we don’t want to preserve our environment the way nature has offered it to us? Walking through the glacier view trail of the mountain gives you a feeling of grace and beauty. My children refer the feeling simply as “paradise”. Not only do you experience some serenity about the environment, you can literally feel the melting snow down the slopes turning to effortless clean water for you to drink.

I imagine if we all can work hard, to keep our water, air and environment clean, maybe we will not have to suffer too hard to the extent that some of us have to see our doctors often. And if you are contemplating where I am taking the blog to this night, I’ll say save your breath, it is not about passing the health care reform thing again! I am more interested in how far the support for Waxman-Markey bill is waning; and, if we actually need to shore it up to ensure that it passes in Senate, later this year or early next year.

Contrary to the position of some environmentalists who believe that the bill as a policy instrument is only full of symbolism, with little or no impact on the real world experience, I will say welcome to your premeditated illusion. To these people, many of the provisions of the bill, including the targets and timetables are unattainable. My position to this is that there is no one silver bullet to the problem of carbon vis-à-vis environmental pollution. What we have in Waxman-Markey, is not a magical solution to a problem that has taken several centuries to accumulate. Rather, it is an attempt for the first time to work steadily and constructively to undo the accumulated damage that we have done to the environment.

The ethos of Waxman-Markey is not to provide answers for all things that are impacting our environment; rather, it is exploring solutions to carbon emission level and its consequential impact on the environment, including the imbalance in the ozone layer, which in turn probably affects the degree of global warming. As a policy instrument, the bill leaves room for practical solutions to carbon emissions and some more. The bill attempts to include stronger carbon emissions targets, setting out attainable premium targets. And God forbids if we are unable to attain the goal, nothing prevents us from reviewing the bill and introducing a global climatic change index that would help us track global warming. The ultimate goal is to prevent further carbon emissions pollution and bring some balance to the environment.

When the authorizing legislation of the Clean Air Act was about to expire under the Bush Administration, there were so much apprehension from members of congress, environmentalists, academics and industry officials as to the necessity of its continuance. There were those in the debate who maintained that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had gone beyond the confines of its authority, the way it administered the act, and asked that the bill be rewritten to curtail the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, in enforcing its provisions. Others had called for congress to play a greater role in fashioning specific emissions targets and control mandates. My modest position is that an agency as the EPA ought to have all the necessary authority to accomplish the goals and tasks of maintaining a clean environment. The Congress however, still retains the power to do as it pleases. We must however appreciate that based on the information we now have out there regarding global warming, any instrument of government that calls the agency to question as to its overreaching effort to secure a clean environment would not be doing our environment any good. Those of us living in Western Washington could tell you about our experiences regarding pollution of our waters; and, a quick trip down the Puget Sound, would frankly tell you that the EPA needs more authority to make a difference considering the gravity of the problem of water, air and environmental pollution.

In the acrimonious environment that we find the debate on Waxman Markey, I would still like to default to the New York Times columnist Tom Friedman’s views on the
Waxman-Markey bill as it emerged from the House of Representative: “There is much in the House cap-and-trade energy bill that just passed that I absolutely hate. It is too weak in key areas and way too complicated in others. A simple, straightforward carbon tax would have made much more sense than this Rube Goldberg contraption. It is pathetic that we couldn’t do better. It is appalling that so much had to be given away to polluters. It stinks. It’s a mess. I detest it.” Despite his assessments though, I will still call on all our Senators to ensure that we move ahead, to please support the bill and let us pass it into the law of the land.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


It is written that a man dies only once and then it's judgment. In the annals of Ted Kennedy’s life are stories of courage, defeat, triumph, despondence, grief, exhilaration, faith and endurance. And when he died two days ago, no word could be enough to describe his contribution to life. Yes, life. Many of his colleagues in the Senate, even those who held a different political conviction, shared of his grief by writing gracious statements about this fiery lion of a liberal leaning. Some expressed the pain of his brother’s death, others mentioned his memorable public service, others yet talked about his family life, and a few about Chappaquiddick. Like the man in life, many were able to compartmentalize their views between his private and his public life. So, you could have read an array of opinions, but what is very important in all these semi-eulogies, is the respect and honor that every persons gave to this man. American Vice President Joseph Biden adduced this respect and honor for Teddy, to the type of life he led: Ted never made anyone feel small; he made everyone he met, either in politics or in his personal life, bigger. This is the type of man Edward Moore Kennedy was. Ted was a joiner of people, who had been in pain since an accident in 1961; but never talked about himself. He never made anything personal, nor held grudges, but cared so much about everyone. He was truly a fine man.

Today is a celebration of the 77 years he spent with us before he went home two days ago. He arrives for public viewing at the JFK Presidential library in Boston today under the watchful eye of his family, his immediate family and the people of Massachusetts, who are all grieving. Our hearts are with them. Ted once said there is no statement that I can make now, to express the pain and regret I felt for my behavior in that episode of Chappaquiddick. He agrees that he has not been a perfect person, but he has tried to do his best, in whatever circumstance he had found himself. Probably one other regret that he had accepted to in political life was his failure to accept universal health care proposal when pitched to him by President Richard Nixon. However, he worked ceaselessly to correct his latter error and left to men to make up their minds about forgiveness for the former. Ted was human, he was one of us, though frail in the latter days of his life due to his illness, he was still fighting hard to make sure that the lives of the ordinary man was better. When he got the message of his diagnosis of brain cancer last summer, he chose to live the rest of his life brilliantly, he did not crawl under a rock rather, stood firm with his wife and family to fight the tide of human fragility. He was able to compartmentalize his private life from his public life. He will be remembered for the generosity of spirit. Ted was a marvelous legislature.

To the living, let us now cherish the work of Senator Edward Kennedy, not by grieving too excessively, but by working so hard to fulfill his dream of a reformed health care system for America. Let us work ceaselessly, just like Ted did, so we can achieve a system, where men and women, Republicans, Independents and Democrats are able to afford care without the fear of loosing their home, marriage, family, bank account and the remaining respect they have after being knocked down by a disease. This is what Ted was passionate about. Let us honor him by completing his work. “Divine providence has granted us this man, that those things he cherish when he was with us, we are honest enough to achieve in his absence.” – Christopher Adekoya. Let us look very long at the benefits of a reformed system, where people are comfortable enough to approach their physician for care, without the fear of going bankrupt!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I hate writing obituaries, but I humbly write this one for the greatest of all men, at a moment of grief. Until his dying day, Ted Kennedy was at the fore front of some of the amazing moments in the history of American Politics. Ted did not win the Presidency for himself when he tried in 1980, but he stood firm legendarily behind Barack Obama, when he chose to run, even when the high and mighty in the Democratic Party were seating out on the fence. Edward M. Kennedy, the brother of the best known icons of American politics, Jack and Bobby, was a remarkable public figure who stood for justice, kindness and compassion. Who can ever forget the fight for the Medicare Prescription Drug benefits for seniors, as Ted led the fight dedicatedly. He fought for the elderly, the young and the disenfranchised not only as a politician, but as a dedicated brother, our friend and our better senator from Massachusetts and the Kennedy clan.

The greatest ally of President Obama in the fight for a reformed health care system has gone home to be with the good Lord. He went home yesterday night to be with the rest of the brotherhood only ten days after Eunice, his sister was laid to rest. This is one of us, one of the most beautiful of all men, the gold standard for public service, who dedicated his life to fighting for the underprivileged, who understood how and when to compromise on issues and bills. He died of a brain tumor yesterday night with his closest family members at his side. His inspiration, optimism and sacrifice will not only live on, but will serve as the barometer for measuring selflessness in the service to mankind. He was a model of public service. He served the the State of Massachussetts and this nation as a dedicated son of the soil, with a personal torch, for close to five decades.

Ted was a gentle man. Ted was a survivor, a friend of the poor, the greatest one of us, a liberal lion, a fire brand who stood firmly for reform in civil rights, voting rights, social security, social justice, education, immigration reform, and health care reform, among other uncounted points of public service. He loved to legislate and never shied away from moving across the political spectrum to reach compromises and to achieve the greatest number of good for the greatest number of people. By his death, we have lost a true and genuine diamond of all men in Washington D.C. Eunice, John, Bobby, Ted and their parents are back home with the good Lord, now. Edward Kennedy in the companion of great reformists of American political liberalism has run a great race for the past five decades. He made his mark and now it is time to rest. “The best thing which eternal law ever ordained was that it allowed us one entrance into life, but many exists” – the epistle ad Lucilium, Epis, 15.

With all reverence Ted, I will repeat what you once said in the service of mankind: the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die! Goodnight and God's Speed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Climate Conference in Copenhagen: Is America Ready to Play Ball?

In the world of climate change gurus, the up coming Copenhagen summit is probably going to be a turning point. If the conference goes on as scheduled and if members at the conference representing a mired of governments all over the world agree on some critical issues on the protocol, it may be possible to resuscitate this document or commitment by countries to help halt the problem of climate change and global warming. The protocol which is scheduled to expire if nothing is done by 2012, calls the attention of governments to the problem of climate change and global warming, and seeks commitment from signatories to the protocol to help advance the objectives of the protocol.

Since the USA was not a signatory to the protocol, you may ask why we should bother. Well, two major developments: 1) there is a new body of knowledge in America that somewhat recognizes the existence of the problem of climate change and global warming. I use the word somewhat here, because there are still some ragging debates regarding the true nature of the problem, and whether we are actually contributing to this problem as ascertained by some scientists, academics and environmentalists; 2) We now have in the White House, someone who understands the problem and has a team of experts who can guide us to better decisions regarding the issue of climate change and global warming. The two developments are important, since they shed some lights on our prior decisions not to join the protocol.

Prior till now America considered the problem of global warming as a fluke. We ignored past efforts in Europe and Asia to bring our attention to the problem. Since we had other interests in mind, we were least disposed to the protocol. With some new research findings, political debates (see contributions from folks at, and some enlightenment from former Vice President Al Gore’s movie, which yielded him and his team a Noble Laureate award, we are probably in a situation to entertain some discussion of a support for the Kyoto protocol and its extension beyond 2012.

Thus, come December when government representatives from 170 countries are expected to gather in the Copenhagen Congress Center to discuss a possible extension of the protocol, you may expect the US to send at least a team of observers, if not a contingent of American experts, who may interpret new discussions and relate our current position to the world or relate the present position of other governments deliberating on the extension of the protocol, to our government. No matter what happens in December, we may continue to remain neutral, or we may take a new position based on advisory from our government representatives at the conference. What is rather important though is that America starts to take a leadership role in combating the problem of climate change and global warming. Enough of the dismissal of the existence of the problem!

PS: The committee advancing the December 6th – 18th, 2009 Conference has included the following information on its website:

The conference in Copenhagen is the 15th conference of parties (COP15) in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The recent meeting in United Nations Climate Change Conferences was held in December 2007 in Bali. The address of the secretariat for the Climate Conference is:

The Climate Secretariat
The Prime Minister's Office
Prins Jørgens Gård 11
1218 København K
Tel (+45) 33 92 33 00, Fax (+45) 33 11 16 65
The Official secretariat of the 15th Climate Conference in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen Climate Network
Ehlersvej 11
2900 Hellerup
Tel (+45) 39 48 18 10, Fax (+45) 39 48 18 01
A Danish network that will underpin the Copenhagen Climate Summit, thus making the 2009 UN climate summit a success for the benefit of sustainable climate policy. The network will use the period before, under and after the Copenhagen Climate Summit to establish networks among businesses, individuals and organizations supporting a climate policy focusing on the environment.

Copenhagen Climate Council
c/ Mandag Morgen
Valkendorsgade 13
Box 1127
1009 Copenhagen K
Tel (+45) 33 93 93 23, Fax (+45) 33 14 13 94
An initiative founded in May 2007 by a group of business leaders and scientists with the aim of helping make the case for a new global climate treaty that will come into force when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end in 2012

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

National Politics: Solving Unemployment Problem in America.

Unemployment is naturally not a subject that this blog is known for. It is also not one area that I would like to spend much of my time. The only reason it got on this blog today is the alarming rate of house foreclosures in my State. National Foreclosure Listing informs me that Washington State is ranked 16th in the rate of foreclosures among the fifty states of the Federation. Most recent foreclosures I understand are as a result of people loosing their jobs not the dubious adjusted rate mortgage debacle that banks like Washington Mutual, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and other banks are accused of. Incidentally, many of these banks have been found in the throes of willing and dealing which are hardly acceptable in good bank and financial institutions management. The unusual nature of mortgage loans that were underwritten and the frantic pace at which many of these loans were closed or wrapped up, make one wonder?

Further, I hate to discuss unemployment, because it was one area of Macroeconomics that I never could get grips of while in graduate school. With unemployment climbing to 10% and some predictions saying it may rise as high as 16%, I could not just let the problem go untouched. Yes, I am a Keynesian economist, but I just didn’t fancy the relationships between unemployment and inflation. I felt some inconsistencies in the subject matter and my suspicion is borne out by the Phillips curve: When economists perceive inflation and unemployment in the short run, they see roughly an inverse correlation between both. When we have low inflation rate, unemployment is supposed to be high, and when unemployment rate is high, inflation rate is supposed to be low. The relationship between inflation and unemployment offers a difficult explanation, most policy makers find themselves in a quandary, when attempting to explain the concept to the everyday Jane Doe. Maybe that was why I never could comprehend the relationship while in graduate school; and if I did, I was never able to convince my undergraduate students, whom I taught for over 15 years, that I understood that aspect of macroeconomics, very well. Unfortunately today, I have to revert back to a bitter subject for the sake of millions of Americans out of a job and looking for answer to the question: Why me?

Discussions on Meet the Press on Sunday with its guest Dr. Larry Summers, Director of National Economic Council, did not make the subject matter any palatable for me to discuss. With his assessment of the job market as being a serious one that would not readily adjust to change very soon, I was tempted to ask him directly: Are you saying that unemployment is going to remain with us for a long time to come? Since I was watching him on the television, I considered this effort as fruitless. Not withstanding though, I am inclined to believe that this type of assertion would not sit very well with many Americans who have remained unemployed for a number of months. Unemployment and associated problems are often difficult and families who have their breadwinner out of a job are sometimes bewildered by the sudden nemesis of unemployment.

Many unemployed Americans probably want a job some would even consider positions that are not traditionally classified as white color job, even if only to put food on the table. The reality though, from Dr. Summer’s comment, is that this is not likely to happen very soon. Maybe that was why he repeated or horned on the following comments: the Obama’s administration will work with Congress to make sure that unemployment insurance continues to perform its basic function of protecting the unemployed. The unemployment insurance compensation will continue to ameliorate the pains of unemployment; however, it will not solve the problem of chronic unemployment. In one sentence: Suck it up America, no jobs for those of you who are unemployed for now, but you can continue to live on the bread crumbs! Incidentally, many Americans are not interested in a welfare check, they would rather like to have a job, some activities to occupy their precious day and time.

Here are some rather unconventional approaches to solving the current unemployment problems in America, without stressing the U.S treasury to its limits:

Unlike Classical economists, who view inflation as a problem of ever-increasing money supply, Keynesians economists concentrate on the institutional problems of companies increasing price they demand for their products. Keynesians argue that firms raise wages to keep their workers happy. Firms then have to pay for that wage increases and keep making a profit by subsequently raising product prices. This causes an increase in both wages and prices; and, subsequent pressure on treasury to increase money supply to keep the economy running. Government can then issue more and more money backed up by production of more goods and services to keep up with inflation. This of course, the classical economists disagree with.

Since the Federal Reserve Chairman, Dr. Ben S. Bernanke, seems to default on the part of the Keynesian economists, I would encourage the Feds to intertwine their money releases with the rate of unemployment, not inflation alone. Even if inflation is low, until unemployment declines to a very appreciable margin, money supply should be kept to a minimum. Encourage US government to quit fighting those nasty wars started by the Bush Administration, and divert saved money to boost employment, via more job creation. Re-evaluate public policies supporting the military industrial complex that seems to be bankrupting the nation, with everyone pretending all is well with us going to war and staying at war for so long without suffering the repercussions of extended war costs.

Ask those stock Analysts on Wall Street who are very sold on companies' annual reports from CEO's to stockholders to be a little bit more circumspect. Many of those firms that were rated triple A, went under during the real estate fiasco. Scrutinizing annual reports from CEO to stockholders for moral, ideological, and emotional characterization of future plans and past mistakes, would not be enough to guarantee the financial health or liquidity of a company. When companies are rated rather too proficient and they loose heavily from poor financial decisions, money is not the only thing lost, lives and way of life for many people also get trodden. When financial regulatory agencies look away from insider's trading and or, exempt appropriate scrutiny of back room deals going between financial institutions, then we end up with the type of mess that exacerbates unemployment. Unemployment from past mistakes of well rated companies has shown us the need to be a little more careful in our interpretations of business annual reports.

Using government college grants to tease back the unemployed to school may not be sufficient to solve the unemployment problem. I know a Ph.D without a job. What would you recommend him to do? Retrain and acquire another Ph.D that would get him unemployed all over again? We need to unveil new strategies to help those that are hard to place in employment, once they have a good education. Transfer payments for companies that employ or reemploy those hard to place workers may be a viable option for keeping unemployment low among Americans, but frankly, that would hardly solve the problem. We need new initiatives in public policy to help the private sector create jobs. We need new public sector infusion of money into public projects to help build our crumbling roads and schools. We need a combination of both private and public sectors job creation initiatives to really confront the problems of rising unemployment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Washington State Politics: Candidate Susan Hutchinson for the King County Executive Position

As I promised my readers a month ago, I will be bringing you my humble assessment of candidates for the King County Executive Position vacated by Rom Sims. If political polls are anything to base one’s judgment, then it seems that the likely successor to the Former King County Executive will be Susan Hutchinson. Or, maybe not! Well, King 5 News upfront Survey USA reported her as leading in the polls for the position at 39%. Others are Constantine (12%); Phillip (8%); Jarret (7%); Hunter (6%); Lobdell (2%); Goodspaceguy (2%); Lippmann (1%); and 22%, remain undecided. For many of us who appreciate what a month or week can do in the life of a politician, that is obviously a rather slim lead. However, you never call tell.

So who is Susan Hutchinson? According to reports from her campaign, she was formerly a KIRO Television News anchor woman with a BS from University of Florida. She has some great fortunes working for her, the first being that she is the only woman in the pack of eight candidates attempting to fill two non partisan spot that will enter the August 18th voting. She denies being a conservative Republican, recognizes that Transit spending may be justified but does not place any emphasis on commitment to further spending on the newly expanding transit network around the Puget Sound. She is committed to fighting divisiveness in the King County Politics and does not offer her firm affiliation with any of the two major parties in the state. There ends her fortune!

Ms. Hutchinson has not defined her party affiliation. She informs us that she takes a little bit of the Republican Party and a little bit of the Democratic Party. Are we talking about an bat here? This makes her look more of a flip-flopper. If she believes this is an unkind assessment, she must declare a party affiliation and let the citizens of King County assess her in completeness. She believes that the budget issue, the county’s 50 million dollars in the hole can be refilled through taxation. To that many under performing companies and unemployed King County residents say: No thanks, No, once again. You will need to be convincing and provide a much reliable and thought provoking decision that ensures that in reality, you can make an impact in refilling the gap in King County’s budget. When King 5 News Upfront plowed her further, she says she wants to cut spending and streamline the King County budget as an alternative to taxation. She wants the King County voters to decide if the ‘human stuff’ services that are hampered due to dwindling revenue to the county purse are worth raising taxes for. There she goes again: Avoiding confronting a huge budget problem and deferring the decision to those who actually are looking for someone to repose confidence in, someone who can take or make crucial decision when one is absolutely needed.

Maybe the greatest impending explosive in making is the unsealed record of a suit she brought against her former employer, the Cox Communications. No one knows what is in that unsealed record for now except those who were parties to the agreement. She indicated she will stop any effort to unseal the records of the case. This makes Voters wonder if it is a case of what you don’t know, won’t hurt you. Or, is the candidate for the highest office in King County administration attempting to hide something? This raises all flags and makes us reflect on the experience of Watergate or Clinton’s Ross Law debacle from Arkansas. Ms. Hutchinson, voters are tired of surprises. We live in a transparent world now. Like what President Nixon will rightly inform you, it not the crime that gets you, it is the cover-ups!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reflecting on the past : A credit to ACHSA School Song

If you read my profile, you'll probably miss the name of my high school. I ran into my high school yearbook yesterday and found this school song; the wordings still resonate with me today just as it did thirty-nine year's ago:

1. Land of our birth, we pledge to thee

our love and toil in the years to be,

when we are grown and take our place

as men and women with our race.

2. Father in heaven, who lovest all,

O help thy children when they call,

that they may build from age to age

an undefiled heritage.

3. Teach us to bear the yoke in youth,

with steadfastness and careful truth,

that, in our time, thy grace may give

the truth whereby the nations live.

4. Teach us to rule ourselves always,

controlled and cleanly night and day,

that we may bring, if need arise,

no maimed or worthless sacrifice.

5. Teach us to look in all our ends,

on thee for Judge, and not our friends,

that we, with thee, may walk uncowed

by fear or favor of the crowd.

6. Land of our birth, our faith, our pride,

for whose dear sake our fathers died;

O Motherland, we pledge to thee

head, heart and hand through the years to be.

Please crave my indulgence. This is just one of the songs that moulded my life and wanted to share it with my readers. I realy appreciate the effort of Dr. Adam Stanislaw Skapski, Formerly of USAID and Ford Foundation. Without his tireless efforts, people like me wouldn't have had a shot at life.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Today we will remember our independence with excerpts of a letter from President John Adams to his wife, a day before our independence in the year of the Lord, 1776:

• Yesterday, the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony that those United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.

• The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generation as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other from the time forward forevermore.

If I understand very well the two excerpts from President John Adams to his wife, it is not enough to celebrate July 4th we must celebrate July 2, 1776; for our independence was won two nights before we celebrate it in modern times. For this reason, All Americas deserve to take time off from July 2nd till July 5th, as long as time and the spirit of our independence persist.

Please pass on the pop corn, hot dogs, beer and all the good things that make pomp and circumstance worth it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Washington State Politics: What did we get for the outdoor burning provisions of the Clean Air Act?

Two interesting voting events happened in Washington State Legislature on April 7, 2009 and March 3, 2009. Both Washington Senate (48 yea, 0 Nay) and House of Representative (98 yea, 0 Nay) voted unanimously, to support and pass the nonsubstantive changes clarifying outdoor burning provisions of the Washington Clean Air Act. The Law which will take effect on July 26th, twenty-three days from today, clarified some difficult issues regarding outdoor burning and the clean air act.

The bill initiated as Senate bill 5767, was signed into Law on April 16, 2009 by Governor Gregoire. As signed, the Law says no person shall engage in any outdoor burning, including the combustion of material of any type in an open fire or in an outdoor container, without providing for emissions control from combustion. In other words, those of us heading for the mountains hide away, recluses or wherever you go to kill time during the summer months, must now be careful as we attempt to combust our lunch leftovers, unwanted bag pack pieces and probably, our hunting trophies on our summer camp fires. Incidentally, this include the combustion of garbage, dead animals, asphalt, petroleum products, paints, rubber products, plastics, or any substance other than natural vegetation that normally emits dense smoke or obnoxious odors.

The bill is one of our many state’s efforts to maintain some level of sanity in our state’s environment quality, especially considering the higher emitted pollutants in outdoor combustion to the ambient air quality. The question before us now is: did the bill reach far enough to address our concerns about pollution from outdoor burning? Were all state residents equally subjected to the provisions of the soon to become law? Will all Washingtonians deem it necessary to work within the boundaries of the law, knowing well that the agricultural communities around the state were cut some slacks with the way the law has been written?

Apart from the slack cut the agricultural communities on this law, what I noticed in the discussion leading up to the final voting on the bill was the unspoken and fundamental assumption that the bill limited the freedom of rural residents and disproportionately put them at a constraint with respect to their daily agricultural activities. The constraint on outdoor burning and combustion of materials was seen as an affront for some regular activities associated with rural living and agricultural activities; and, their constituents’ representatives actively campaigned against some of the provisions of the bill. While some provisions of the bill may have sought some restraints in the way agricultural activities are carried on after July 26th, at least with the combustion of materials in the outdoor, the effort of the bill was to address all the concerns of Washingtonians regarding ambient air quality. While outdoor burning as part of agricultural activities may be part of the problem, air quality pollution are caused by other human activities. For example, automobile driving and industrial activities, activities involving engine combustion and other industrial processes are known to equally, if not more disproportionately, contribute to ambient pollution. The combination of all human activities, including automobile driving, industrial processes, agricultural activities and other, all contribute to the problem of air pollution in the environment.

As we all know by now, Senate bill 5767 becomes the law of the State on July 26th, 2009. From my experience with this type of law, the willingness to abide by the law is only weighted against the potential punishment for its violation. The possible penalties of violators were not clearly stated in the body of the document that was approved by both senate and the house in the 61st legislative session. The repercussion of violating the law will need to be revisited and issue of penalty adequately addressed, if we are serious about dealing with the problem of air pollution under the Washington Clean Air Act. The visitation of the potential repercussions of violating the law may want to begin by the legislature addressing the extensive exclusion notice given to violators of outside burning for the purpose of managing storm or flood-related debris.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Washington Politics: Who is the greenest Candidate for King County Executive?

You have heard this before: there are no victimless crimes in politics. That is of course, if you have been listening to Bill Moyers on PBS radio or television. This is once again true if you have been inquisitive and talking to people in the know, regarding who is likely to replace Ron Sims as the King County Executive. For those of us who are not familiar with Washington State politics, let me bring you up to speed: The biggest county in terms of population and commerce in Washington State lost its county executive to the Obama’s administration. Rom Sims, the former chief executive of the county is now an Obama’s executive. His temporary replacement, who had worked in close proximity with Mr. Sims, is Ballard resident Kurt Triplett, who had worked with the county for 17 years. Immediately Mr. Triplett indicated in his acceptance of his interim position with the words: “The reason why I was chosen was I’ve been with King County in various levels of senior management,” the politics of permanent replacement for Sims began.

Debates were rife as regards why Mr. Triplett must never be a member of the class of people who should replace Sims permanently. Sims himself put the ‘buhaha’ to rest when he indicated in his outgoing or resignation speech that the caretaker or interim County Executive, should not be someone who is planning to run for the office permanently, as this will give him an unfair advantage. The statement irked many of his council members who had be canvassing behind to be the seat warmer, and probably gain an undue advantage when the election for the office comes to play. Here ends the up-to-date events.

Now to the issue proper, who is likely to replace Mr. Sims permanently? There are arrays of qualified persons in and out of the current council members. I got to meet one of them on TV the other day: Ross Hunter, who had in the past worked for Microsoft for 17 years, holds a Bachelor’s from Yale University and represents the Bellevue district in the State Legislature. According to Mr. Hunter in his interview with KING-TV, he will like to provide a functioning transit system for the county; he will advance a more compact transit system and wants to pursue a clean environment agenda. He understands the budget problem, which most of us in the county are worried about; we will all like to know when we are going to pay attention to the gorilla in house. The county is about 100 million dollars in the red. He will also like to work with other cities and county to solve the issue of annexation of unincorporated areas around the county. He wants to increase the county’s revenue base and guess what? Increase salaries of King County employees.

Much as I admire his enthusiasm, I wonder about his ability to make good judgment about our budget items. Here is an incoming executive, who is facing a gapping hole in the county pocket, proposing to increase county employees’ salaries. He is either disingenuous or playing dumb about the gravity of the county deficit. A county of about 2 million people, carrying a debt in excess of 100 million dollars, is not one that should be contemplating increasing salaries. The whole state and county economy is not doing well, and the county had just put in place a mandatory unpaid vacation days for its employees, and here comes a replacement to the county executive’s position, brandishing a golden stick of increasing salaries of county workers. This hardly sounds like someone who understands the implication of a budget shortfall in the order of challenges facing the county. The county had also cut several critical county services, including public health, safety and human services in light of the budget shortfall. This county does not seem like a financially healthy baby. Hello? The interesting thing as well is that those (Sims & Triplett) Mr. Hunter is trying to replace probably do not understand the same budgetary implication, considering their recent pronouncements. The interim County Executive recently indicated that, the challenge of the transit system is that everyone needs more not less. How the county is going to be able to maintain its triple A’s rating while committing to project(s) at a scale that empties its pocket, is still the catch 21 question. While I am not going to flog this issue any harder now, I am a little bit skeptical of the judgment of this potential Sim’s replacement. I appreciate and welcome his green politics, but I am weary of his sense of appreciation of the challenge the county is facing.

How is the new county executive going to deal with the traffic issue, when residents are already complaining about the burden of traffic congestion? Mr. Hunter was not really explicit on this question. Can we really continue to dumb down to use public transportation when possible, pay the real costs of driving on our roads and make changes in our lives that will cut down on the need to use our cars, as are pursued by the current king county executive? What exactly is Mr. Hunter’s solution to the traffic issue? Current agenda by the outgoing King County executive’s administration seems a likeable green solution to the traffic congestion problem, but many of us are not convinced, we want bolder initiatives that will help cut down on environmental pollution from automobile fumes and rebuild back the budget short-fall in King County.

I will come back in my future blogs to debate other candidates as they show up in the public arena. This will give every candidate an equal opportunity of being assessed as a replacement candidate for the King County Executive position.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The challenge ahead: Passing the Waxman-Markey Bill in the U.S. Senate

Passing the Clean Energy and Security legislation of 2009, the Waxman-Markey bill, may be a major turn around when it comes up for voting before U.S. Senate. If the closeness of the voting result in the U.S. House on the bill is any indication, one can safely assume that we have a clear challenge ahead of us. For those of us who are perturbed by the marginal result in the house, 219-212 vote, I’ll say, hold your breath, we have not lost it yet. We have tried to convince the world that we need this bill, it is important that we remain optimistic as the debate begins in the senate. We should never lose faith in our level of support; neither should we take anything for granted. We need 60 votes in the senate and we will fight for every one of them. We need support for a bill that will set our nation and people apart for the better, and this bill is the most likely candidate to change the way we treat our environment and ourselves. Waxman-Markey is set to change federal laws on energy, pollution and global warming. It is a bill designed to help curb the heat-trapping gases that contribute to climate change around the world.

A bill expected to help combat global warming and American dependence on fossil fuel, it is anticipated to bring about expansion of new technologies, one of which is the green technology. A bill anticipated to help advance the cap and trade system in the carbon market, a market hitherto considered rudimentary. It is anticipated that the bill will help scientists; engineers, environmentalist, and policy makers address issues of global warming, green technology, wind technology, wave power, coal plants maintenance and carbon sequestration. How we go ahead in making progress in expanding the new green technology depends on the upcoming senate debates and voting on the Waxman-Markey bill.

In light of our last appeal to the House of Representatives, we will like to implore the senators to appreciate the potential they can make in doing the following for Americans:
• Make America a leader in energy efficiency and technology;
• Begin America in a historic direction to change the way we look at the forces of human behavior that affect climate change and energy conservation; and,
• Establish renewable energy standards that allow electricity generation from renewable sources such as windmills, solar panels and geothermal technology, if only to 12% level.
Expectations are promises of what is anticipated. Whatever happens to the bill on the US senate floor, our progress so far in the house, would be counted as a clear gain on our anticipation, considering the challenge that we have faced so far in making sure that America makes progress on its climate change problem.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Seeking Congressional Support for Clean Energy Legislation: Waxman-Markey

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Congressman:

As you debate the climate change initiative and vote on the Clean Energy and Security Act (Waxman-Markey) today in that hallowed building of all, I, like most Americans will want you to consider the following 10 observations by experts, federal agencies, politicians and ordinary people:
• The energy efficiency provision of Waxman-Markey could save households approximately $1050 by 2020 and $4400 by 2030, according to an updated analysis by the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE);
• The legislation is expected to create 305,000 jobs and through the energy efficiency that could occur will help generate 770,000 jobs by the year 2030;
• The legislation will help cut down on green-house emissions, by gradually capping its emission level at seventeen percent below the 2005 level by 2020;
• The nonpartisan Congressional Budget office estimated that households may save $175 annually by 2020 and government sales of auction permits will help offset clean-energy research costs associated with the legislation;
• The legislation will help America cut down on carbon pollution and create economy-wide cap and trade corrective initiatives that will help America advance its national objectives;
• The bill will not only help in cutting down carbon pollution, introduce building construction with 30% more energy use efficiency by 2012 and 50% by 2016, but also create an economy-wide cap and trade system that reverts current pollution level;
• Although the Environmental Protection Agency estimated the bill will cost an average household a $100 a year, it has the potential of creating new innovations, revolutionizing engineering, manufacturing and energy industries with an added advantage of jobs creation for millions of Americans;
• The bill is a rule of the road legislation that helps America rebuild its tattering economy, create cost and energy saving technologies and put a price on carbon emission;
• The bill starts to guarantee that by 2020, 20 percent of electricity generated in the United States will come from renewable energy sources; and,
• The current compromises that has been made on the bill as it passed through the legislative process, has produced a legislation that not only put a cap on carbon emission but also introduces a national renewable electricity standard and energy efficiency requirements.

If the nation is to remain a world leader in fighting global warming, we will have to cut down on our green-house gas emission, hence contribution to global warming; and, this bill offers the nation the opportunity to do this and much more. The hysterical notion that the bill forces agriculture and other productive sectors of the nation’s economy into a severe competitive disadvantage with trading partners as China, India and Europe, is all a ruse. Many of the economies cited as being advantaged by our introduction of Waxman-Markey are battling more economic disequilibrium than we are; and, certainly do not gain any competitive advantage over America with our introduction of this bill.

Please vote to pass this bill because it matters very much to our energy independence from the tyranny of oil producing states that do not like America and our way of life.


Christopher Adekoya.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Assessing Washington State legislative debates: A look at the Climate Change leadership debate

Connecting to the House of Representative debates on Climate change leadership in Olympia, Washington State, during the wee hours of the night, could be very fascinating. While the average citizen attempts to connect to the legislators by watching their debates on TVW, more ardent believers call for transcripts on debate(s) before the house. Which ever way you get your legislative deliberations or fix, you are not very far from the reality of what goes on in the halls of power. Some of the debates you hear are so flabbergasting that you wonder why on earth a legislator advances a bill or proposed an amendment that seems very far in content and spirit of the actual bill. One of such experience was my incursion into listening to debates on several amendments to ESSB 5560, Clean Energy Initiative as late as 11:06 (Pacific Standard Time - PST), on April 16, 2009.

During the debates that led to the full house consideration of the bill, amendments were raised by legislators that seem, at best slightly related to the initial bill, and at worst, far from the spirit and content of the initial bill at first or second reading. The three amendments raised during the night’s debate included amendments 759, 729 and 715. While only one of these three amendments was approved, results of rejection of the remaining two by voice voting remained puzzling. One fails to appreciate the fact that not all the three proposed amendments went through the necessary litmus test of approval or rejection, in terms of voting. As feverish as the debates were, with comments like: “ we are all looking for energy efficiency and energy cleanliness, but we should rather be considering item as the menace caused by small engine pollutions/polluters”; “there is need to be flexible when considering pollution activities of residents of rural areas as against those in urban settings”; When talking about climate change, we need to fix the problem on the ground rather studying data”; We must be leaders rather than followers when it comes to climate change”; “If we have in place good forest management practices, we will be able cut down on the carbon dioxide pollution”; and Forest management issues impact the rate of forest fires, vis-à-vis carbon monoxide poisoning of the air. One would have appreciated the rejection or acceptance of any of the amendment by the same voting style. Voice voting as a way of determining consensus on an amendment or complete bill, is not the same as a roll call. The resemblance of a thing is not the thing itself, so goes the saying.

While due parliamentary procedure was followed during the debates of each amendment, the same cannot be offered on the voting style for acceptance or rejection of the amendment(s) to the bill. The speaker should have attempted to equalize the criteria for voting for all three amendments. The legislators themselves may have required it, or in some circumstances, should have weighed the support or dissension from the amendment by evaluating the parliamentary procedure used to articulate voting on the bill, hence subsequent rejection or amendment to the bill. As we assess the parliamentary process for evaluating the recommendations on the climate change initiative, one is apt to believe that the use of voice voting rather than roll call for consideration of the amendment(s), actually abridged the parliamentary process and jeopardize the credibility of the results of the voting. For now, I will like to believe that this is a problem of fatigue, an exception not the rule: the debate was being held at night, about 11:06 PM, when all souls and body were tired out. Sufficient unto the day, time to rest, so says the Psalmist.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Somewhere in the horizon is a health care system of the people, by the people and for the People.

An annonymous writer once said: “If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” In the spirit of this annonymous saying the greatest American President ever known, whom our current President touts as a role model, invested huge govenment expenditure to improve bridges, railroads, canals, college education and the lots of ordinary workers. I believe that President Lincoln, if confronted with the current Health Care System in his time, would have done the same, invested the state’s money, time and wisdom in seeing that ordinary Americans get a shot at the type of health care system that does not bankrupt them or their enterprises. Like a resourceful leader, Lincoln kept his eyes on the sparrow believing in a conviction that a good government must be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, including my friends of the skid rows in Los Angeles.

The answer to the question of whether President Obama should spend some of our tax income in restructuring our healthcare system would not have been complicated if we see health care for Americans as a matter of rights rather than priviledge. The question that surfaced again and again with Lincoln’s proclaimation is that the purpose of government is to attend to the welfare of the citizens. If this identification is true, President Obama must hold this to be self-evident that as in the reform of American Education System through the introduction of the land-grant University System, a concept percieved as radical in college education during Lincoln's years, the reform of our healthcare system is imperative, if we are to meet the needs of the people.This notion, which is percieved as radical at this time of economic depression, can only be construed as good governance. If Obama's administration is able to guide us through the rough waters of criticism to achieving affordable healthcare for Americans, he would have written his name in the annals of political reform and democratic excellence. Quality and affordable health care services must not remain the prerogative of the rich and privileged. The people, ordinary workers, whom President Lincoln was addressing in his pedigree are facing once again a challenge that requires a Messiah like him, to lead us out of the wilderness of deprivation of insurance companies who will like to continue to amass wealth from their annihilating insurance premiums; and, medical doctors who will like to continue to bill us for endless and unnecessary lab tests and medical procedures.

In the spirit of Lincoln assertion of what good government is, Americans require an healthcare system of the people, by the people and for the people. If our health care system is of the people, it will respond to our flexible healthcare needs. It will allow the people to recieve medical care from any provider of their choice, it will give them the freedom to carry their healthcare benefits when changing jobs, it will not allow the people to remain at the mercy of gluttonous insurance companies who will like to amass profits at the expense of the welfare of the people. Finally, if the healthcare system is for the people, it will attend to their immediate and long-term medical care needs, whether at a general practitioner’s clinic or at a specialist hospital. The system will not restrict treatment to the citizens because of pre-existing conditions or because the HMO has not given prior approval for treatment. The President must continue to see the necessary reform in our broken health care system as an obligation to good governance.

I will like to change the way people, especially critical Republicans, see the current President's effort to reform our health care system? Can you people please work with me?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Clarion Call to the faithfuls in support of reform in American Healthcare System

Public health insurance options that saves citizens money is what the Obama administration is shooting for, so goes the advert to drum up support for the health care reform initiative before lawmakers. Whether the Republican Party will allow him to do just that, is still subject to debate in light of the growing budget deficit. Many congressmen, who have waited several years to see reform in the health care system, are complaining that the brutal tactics being employed by opponents of the bill may still allow some citizens to remain uninsured, despite an extension of some reform in current healthcare packages that may make the complete overhaul, a little less challenging.

Opponents are already indicating that Obama has chosen the ‘borrow and spend’ strategy to advance the national health care reform. The probable One trillion dollars price tag associated with the reform by the Congressional Budget Office has not helped either. The nonperforming economy helps complicate issues further. With the level of unemployment and government deficit skyrocketing because of the added burden of fighting unnecessary and unwholesome wars, the associated trepidation of some law makers whom we could have counted on for wholesome support, and the political theatrics of republican lobbyists, all these are making the journey to the promised land, very daunting; and, escalating the fear of not being able to accomplish this essential and necessary strategic reform to the American health care system by the administration, on time.

As FDR once said, what we need to fear is fear itself. We must not be deterred or discouraged by the opposition to the bill working its way through the congressional process. We must expect some trepidation even among loyal democratic law makers. Further, we must not take lightly the criticism from much opposition out of fear of the unknown. We must come to expect to some degree resistance even from our progressive lawmakers as we make the good faith effort to reform the dilapidated American Healthcare system.

As we advance to redefine the structure of the healthcare system to accommodate many more of our citizens, we must see this effort as a duty to our nation and not to any special interest group. We cannot allow the nay Sayers to get us off the tracks of a balanced, durable and responsive law to the millions of yearning Americans who are holding on to the thread of hope in anticipation of an inclusive healthcare system that delivers appropriately priced healthcare service and finds the associated means to pay for it without getting us bankrupt.

Today, we have chosen to do what is essential not only for the people of America, but for many entrepreneurs who continue to complain that the rising cost of healthcare and the employer’s portion of providing health care insurance to many employees is eating dip into their profit; and for this reason, many employers have remained token healthcare provider to many of their staff, whom they understand, are probably not in the best position to take advantage of employer’s supplemented healthcare coverage because of the higher than usual employee’s co-pay. Even an effort to describe the current dispensation on the ground is very discouraging and tiring!

What do you think? Give me a feedback, people.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wither to: An Inclusive National Comprehensive Health Reform?

The intense level of debate in the congress with respect to a national comprehensive health reform was made possible by some elements of our democracy that make it imperative that issues are given first, second, third and probably many more looks before we reach a consensus. By the beginning of the century, congress had invented and perfected legislative processes, which projected a bill from the committee level deliberations, to first, second and probably third readings in the house; to fevering debates on house and senate floors; to the merging of preferences between voted agreement from the floor of the house to that of the consensus in senate; before a final accord is reached on a bill that is forwarded to the desk of the President to be signed into the law of the land. This arduous process looks like a long, challenging and sometimes frustrating approach to making a law. It is even more crushing or breathtaking, when the bill is a comprehensive health reform in the age of underperforming economy. The Obama Administration wants an open, inclusive, and transparent process where all ideas are encouraged and all parties work together to find a solution to the health care crisis.

Some of us are no doubt uncomfortable with the long democratic debate process for an issue as important as health care reform, while others are just right with the process. The use of filibuster to kill or delay a bill from passing on either floors of the congress has been known to give stomach ulcer to sponsors during the debates of the bill. Now, you understand why supporters of a bill as comprehensive health care reform, are apprehensive about it passing. No matter the frustration this time around though, we must not resort to sometimes unsavory tactics to get the bill passed. Here lies the beauty of patience. You all have to cultivate the noble quality of having patience when it comes to a debate on a national comprehensive health reform. We must not use infuriating language in our debates or resort to crafty tactics in railroading our opponents, or in challenging unwanted amendments to the bill that will come anyway. As they say, patience is a virtue that only a few disciplined souls can boast of in these days and time.

The Democratic Party and our leader want a comprehensive health reform that: 1) reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government; 2) protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health costs; 3) Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans; 4) Invest in prevention and wellness; 5) improve patient safety and quality of care; 6) assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans; 7) maintain coverage when Americans change or lose their jobs; and 9) end barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical condition. I wish I could find wisdom at this time to explain point by point what President Obama is trying to accomplish with the comprehensive health reform initiative. However, wisdom is very elusive, it comes only slowly and painfully, and it requires a lot of reflection to be able to address the wish list of the democrats on health reform. The following are probably the parameters from where the President’s point men and women are contemplating a comprehensive health reform: a) Just as we have attempted to protect the vulnerable children among us with the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), it is essential that we assist those adults that are about to fall through the crack because of lack of health insurance and current restrictions on portable health insurance system; b) How to create an inclusive atmosphere for stakeholders, congress, doctors and hospitals, businesses and unions, who are sometimes holding diverge views on what constitute health reform, to work together in putting in place a more responsive health law.

How do we go around the machination of congressmen who will like to add amendments to this bill when it is about to pass? Would we suffer the maneuvering tactics of some super Congressmen who serve the interest of the corporations when it comes to the Comprehensive Health Reform as was found with the case of Big Pharmaceutical Companies on the issue of Medicare prescription drug coverage? How do we enact a comprehensive health care reform without a bloody fight which may hamper cooperation on other bills in the workings? With close to a monopoly of power by the Democratic Party this time around, can we achieve this initiative that once failed under the last Democratic Party Governance? What exactly were the pitfalls of the last effort under President Clinton? How can we minimize the influence of the K Street buddies, yes the lobbying firms, when it comes to this very august bill? How do we prevent money from interfering in a good did: helping more Americans secure portable health care coverage at a humane and bearable cost? How do we play by the rule of democracy rather than the interest of a small group of lobbyist who are often bent on making their dreams come through rather than those of the masses? Can we protect the well being of all Americans through the health care reform and is this a morally right thing to do in this challenging economic climate? Answers to all these questions will help us determine if we will be able to get it done this second time around.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Delivering Voting Success for the Clean Energy & Security Act of 2009: the way forward.

Going forward, supporters of Waxman-Markey bill must learn to manage both the transactions (operational influence in peddling a bill through the committee deliberations stages to the House and Senate debate floors) with transformation (changing the way opponents perceive the goal of the bill), for there to be widespread support for the bill at the stage of final voting. In getting the bill passed, there is a need for operational influence that is dynamic, not changing the content of the message but addressing the concerns of potential critics and making sure that concerns are immediately and effectively countered: point for point. This proactive approach requires constant reflection(s) as we debate the merits of the bill. The approach to the debates on the floors of both houses must be peppered with communication effectiveness and efficiency, while staying grounded with the spirit of the content of the bill and the ethos of democratic values. We must understand that nothing can be achieved on the Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, through unnecessary bickering on both house floors. What is needed is leadership and strategic influence that transforms the position of our opponents to true believers, who will in turn influence others to be more receptive of the contents of the bill.

Further, we must tout our leadership and strategic influence, through a process of micro and mega influence in sub-debates that are often going around in the offices of congresswomen and men, outside the open floor debates. We will do this by aligning our message on the bill with the goal, objectives, and the spirit of other bills under construction in various staff offices of congressmen and women. We must listen to opponents’ opinions at each stage of the floor debates on the bill and attempt to integrate some of their preferences into the reworking of the bill without damaging the real message (goals and objectives) of the Waxman-Markey bill. Just as current committee deliberations had gone through a bull work of criticism, we must move our support of the bill with deliberate and innovative ideas that build ultimate support and consensus from a greater chunk of the voting members on the floors of both houses. We must work to cultivate support from voting members attuned and sometimes weary of our position, to help them gravitate towards the success of the bill at voting time. We must constantly perceive our opponents as people that love to work with us but want a reason to. Our leadership and strategy of communicating the benefits of the Clean Energy and Security Act must always remain positive to help bring critics around. In all our transaction and efforts to garner support for the bill, we must remain honest, always ready to deliver real value to our constituent and the nation.

Finally, although we do not know what the future holds, we obviously understand the need to manage our environment, such that industries pollute less, the air we breathe becomes cleaner and the water we drink, remain precinct. We appreciate the fact that factories must remain profitable in the process of manufacturing items for the country and making their tax bill that supports the whole economy. Yet, the paradoxes of producing goods and services while remaining ‘green’ are what have brought us to this bill. We therefore must call for support of the bill from a more open and reflective audience, conventional and non-conventional, using modern media and technology (blackberry, iphones, podcast, blogs, emails and more) to deliver the benefits of the bill during the congressional debate period. Efforts must be geared towards achieving dominant success at the first round of voting, by constantly, in real-time, communicating the benefits of the bill to all constituencies: supporters and adversaries.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Redeeming the promise of America through Universal Health Care

People of Federal Way, People of King County, People of Washington State, People of America, there is no more important thing on my mind than the health care initiative being debated in the corridors of our government nowadays. I am pausing today to talk about an issue that is as important as the environment: health care for the millions of Americans who are either under insured or uninsured. Finding the solution to the thorny issue of cost, if we ever get to the stratosphere of providing universal health care for all God’s children, Jews and Gentile, Protestants and Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Baha’i, Unorthodox and Orthodox (my apologies to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), will be a minor issue. Whenever there is a will there is a way, so goes the saying.

Listening to Governor Gregoire talk to KUOW/NPR yesterday in their ‘meet personalities in government’ program, gave me an eye opener: It will take us everything to get the universal health care initiative through the congress this second time around. She said she is about to visit the other Washington to confer with President Obama, to help move the initiative through the doors of the high and mighty. She says, we appreciate what the Clinton Administration did for health care, though not much, but it is now time to pull the bull by the horn and find solution to the ever rising cost of health care for all Americans. My deduction from her interview with KUOW/NPR is that the promise of America, at least with respect to health care, has not been realized for most Americans.

So where do we go from here? Tentatively, no one actually knows. However, we are going to need more conviction, courage and dedication to this course, if we are to win the current debate. We need a conviction in a health care system that does not discriminate on the basis of economic status of any American. As good as capitalism is, it often leaves behind the weak, the least privileged, and allows the winner to take all. As much as I love our capitalistic system, it has wrecked a structural crisis on the health care system. Apparently, the reality of life’s events is that death and dying happens to all. Without a healthy population, without patients receiving attention from doctors, nurses and all the medical personnel as soon as they need one, we all suffer ailment and death, whether poor or rich. That is the crust of this debate. We need a health care system that does not short-change anyone because of their employment status or bank statement.

Today, we need the courage to tell our congressmen and women that all Americans deserve and expect affordable healthcare coverage. Each American is an individual with one form of health status story or another. Some have lost their life savings, homes, and probably have filed for divorce and bankruptcy due to the unyielding cost of health care service. A healthy America is a productive America. We must inform those Americans who currently are against affordable health care for all, to put themselves in the shoes of a family that lost their homes or file for bankruptcy due to excessive health care cost and obligation.

The truth of the day is that we need affordable health care for all because it makes economic sense. Providing affordable health care for all Americans is not only a practical thing to do in light of current economic dispensation, it is probably the only thing that makes economic sense. Let us restructure our health care system and fund it with a conviction that we all reap the benefit of a healthy population. When people are healthy, they work hard and pay more taxes to the government to overcome whatever deficit that is so much the prerogative of those who would like the system to stay as it is.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Connect the Dots: National Health Care Insurance and Limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Efforts to introduce a National Health Care Insurance Policy for Americans has received criticism from opponents in the past on the basis of who was behind the first initiative at the executive wing; costs of such initiative; and, the fear that an initiative of this nature can only be construed as Health Socialism, since it will not allow for complete freedom of choice, including the: 1) freedom to pick one's doctor and treatment source; 2) freedom to move care to a provider of choice when there is an unsatisfactory performance in the care of loved ones by medical personnel; 3) freedom to allow pharmaceutical companies to conduct basic research that may dramatically improve production of revolutionary drugs and vaccines that will solve the challenge of cancer or similar ailment.

Here are a couple of reasons why the Clinton Administration’s stab at the first National Health Insurance initiative failed: 1) It’s goal of designing a comprehensive universal health care for all Americans was essentially too ambitious; 2) using the spouse of a sitting President to drive the objective of the plan opened it up for detractor’s criticism from both the right and the left, as this effort was unprecedented in the annals of public policy; 3) The voluminous (1000 pages) representation of the core element of the plan called for enforced mandate for employers to provide health insurance to their workers through competitive but closely regulated health maintenance organizations (HMOs), without defining the role of the HMO’s in relation to employers and government funding of the program; 4) the bill suffered from not having a bipartisan support and cooperation and failed to take care of the little intricate issues associated with bills development and canvassing; 5) the process and the plan of enacting a gigantic bill as this needed more backroom hobnobbing and cooperative understanding to be able to get the bill through; 6) Unwillingness of the political parties to confront the associated risk of using Health Management Organization to manage part of the plan; 7) Failure of the initiative to allow for some state as well as private market to control medical pricing services; and 8) Medical staff and institutions who were to become key players in the process, doctors, hospitals, clinics and pharmacy, were not properly informed about health services deliveries nor offered a better appreciation of how far we have come to passing a healthcare insurance bill in the last 2 decades. Just before the introduction of the bill on the Senate floor, the far right political groups started singing new tune. A tune essentially designed to scuttle the progress already made at the committee level. They taut the National Health Insurance Initiative as unworkable given the existing dispensation of Medicare and Social Security laws.

The Obama’s Administration staff must now cross their T’s and dot their I’s before bringing their new bill and proposal on health care insurance and control of the burning of fossil fuels (green house gas emissions control). Drafters of the health insurance and carbon control initiatives must endeavor to answer the following questions about either of the proposals:
1) What can the Senators and Congressmen do to support the bill so that the potential of it passing has a greater chance, either in the short-term or in the long-term;
2) What can be done to execute the process of facilitating and ushering the bills on the floors of the house and senate and ensuring that guaranteed promises will not be broken;
3) How best can we explain the added cost to national health care bill from the mining of coal and the associated pollution of fossil burning without sounding trite?
4) What are the components of the proposed health care insurance that needs to be explained to any potential opponents to the bill;
5) Where do we go from here if we once again fail to convince the congress to pass these bills?
In these questions we will not only find answers to concerns of the current nay Sayers to a national health insurance bill or green house emission standard, but also avoid the pitfalls of the Clinton Administration that led to the demise of the first effort in congress regarding National Healthcare Insurance Initiative.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

American hotels effort to Conserve Water and Energy

I have been away for a week at University of California, Los Angeles. One of my good friends invited me to the graduation ceremony of her daughter in Films and Television at that California premier flagship college in Films, Television and Theater. It was a good time to visit with some of my classmates at Oklahoma State University some of whom I saw last thirty years ago. I stayed for three days at Piccadilly Inn Hotels in Fresno, California, where I was treated to some decency in hospitality. That was however, half of the fun, the other, was seeing in the market place, what American hotels were doing in conserving water and energy. The hotel in collaboration with the Project Planet program ran campaign around their hotel rooms with fliers saying: We invite you to join with us to conserve water by using your linens and towels more than once. In addition to decreasing water and energy consumption, you help us use fewer environmentally harmful chemicals and reduce the amount of detergent waste water that must be recycled within our community. This campaign is estimated to help save thousand of gallons of water and hundreds of gallons of detergent. With a widespread campaign like this, the hotels are bringing to our consciousness the importance of this effort to conserve resources, especially those that we use frequently and occasionally, if not often, wastefully!

The Piccadilly Inn and Hotels in collaboration with the Project Planet want us to: 1) recycle paper, aluminum, cardboard and other items where possible; 2) look for opportunities to be more environmentally friendly; 3) change linens every three days or upon request and towels, only as needed when guest stay more than one night; and, 4) use more environmentally friendly cleansers and detergents, among other things. The American Hotels believe that they are helping change the world through these practices, and would probably save 70, 000 gallons of water and 500 gallons of detergent annually at each medium-sized participating member in this august campaign. This is very heart warming. The hotels, known for the drive to make profit are reflective in their practices, looking at how they do business and see how they can be an instrument of change by encouraging millions of summer travelers who visit their hotels all around the country, to help conserve water and energy.

The question now is what other industry out there is attempting to help us go greener? If you know of others, I would like to hear from you.