Citizens Advisory Board/Dept of Energy/Piketon:S.O.N.G.

April 7, 2008
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Dear Friends of SONG,

The Department of Energy has set an April 11 deadline for applications for the Citizens Advisory Board. We do not understand this deadline and have asked DOE to explain it, without response. But there it is. DOE has also not explained why there is no on-line application procedure, or why the agency has not contacted various important segments of the community like Indian Tribes with historic ties to the Piketon site.

Given the situation, we urge all of you to apply for membership. We fear an attempt to stack the CAB with representatives of development interests. Therefore, the more citizens without conflicts of interest apply, the less defense the agency will have for placing individuals on the board who do have a conflict of interest.

Ask family members to apply. Ask friends to apply. Even if you live far away and have questions about service, apply. However we decide to challenge the CAB process in the future, your application is important.

Applications can be downloaded from   www.LPPORTS.com. They must then be mailed to:

Citizens Advisory Board

PO Box 700

Piketon, OH  45661

Fed Cuts Key Interest Rate as Global Markets Drop for Second Day

January 22, 2008
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By Howard Schneider, Neil Irwin and Ariana Eunjung Cha

Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 22, 2008; 10:33 AM

The Federal Reserve cut a key U.S. interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point this morning as a global stock sell-off continued on Wall Street today, with the Dow Jones industrial average dropping more than 400 points in its opening minutes.

The surprise rate cut, made via an emergency videoconference last night, responds to a growing sense of crisis in world financial markets, which have been buffeted by problems that began in the U.S. mortgage markets but have now spread well beyond it.

It is the largest single rate cut since 1984, beyond even the initial half-point reduction that the Fed made following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The new federal funds rate of 3.5 percent will lead to lower rates for credit cards, auto loans and home equity lines of credit. That, in turn, can encourage economic growth by prompting consumers and businesses to spend more. (more…)

CHICKEN LITTLE REPORTS:Stocks Fall Sharply on Economic Woes

January 15, 2008
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AP Business Writer

4:49 PM CST, January 15, 2008


A growing conviction that the U.S. is headed toward recession sent Wall Street plunging Tuesday, with weak retail sales figures and disappointing results from Citigroup Inc. exacerbating investors’ pessimistic mood. The Dow Jones industrials tumbled nearly 280 points.

Investors backed away from stocks amid growing concerns that consumer spending will wane and contribute to an economic downturn. The latest evidence that consumers are retrenching came from the Commerce Department, which said retail sales fell in December while it also revised its November figures lower. Spending by consumers, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, has been key to staving off economic slowdowns in recent years. (more…)


December 18, 2007
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Congressional Directories
Recent Senate Votes
CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 – Vote Agreed to (86-8, 6 Not Voting)

The Senate passed a pared-down version of the energy bill that the House passed last week.

Sen. George Voinovich voted YES……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

FHA Modernization Act of 2007 – Vote Passed (93-1, 6 Not Voting)

The Senate passed legislation to ease the burden of mushrooming interest rates on homeowners by allowing them to transfer their finances into federally insured loans.

Sen. George Voinovich voted YES……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

National Defense Authorization Act, FY2008 – Vote Agreed to (90-3, 7 Not Voting)

On Friday, the Senate gave final approval to this bill authorizing defense spending for fiscal year 2008.

Sen. George Voinovich voted YES……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 – Vote Passed (79-14, 7 Not Voting)

The Senate approved this $288 billion, five-year bill that sets agricultural policy and authorizes funding for agricultural related programs such as commodity support, conservation, and nutrition.

Sen. George Voinovich voted NO……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Recent House Votes
Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act – Vote Passed (303-116, 12 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill that would help the insurance industry cover costs in the event of a terrorist attack, after making slight revisions to the Senate version that passed last month.

Rep. Michael Turner voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

National Defense Authorization Act, FY2008 – Vote Passed (370-49, 12 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill to authorize defense appropriations.

Rep. Michael Turner voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

AMT Relief Act – Vote Passed (226-193, 13 Not Voting)

The House passed this measure to patch the alternative minimum tax that would be financed by a pay-as-you-go plan.

Rep. Michael Turner voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Intelligence Authorization Act, FY2008 – Vote Passed (222-199, 10 Not Voting)

This bill authorizing intelligence spending would also ban waterboarding, mock executions, and other severe methods of interrogation.

Rep. Michael Turner voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Making further continuing appropriations for FY2008 – Vote Passed (385-27, 21 Not Voting)

On Thursday the House passed this continuing resolution to fund government programs through Friday, December 21.

Rep. Michael Turner voted YES……send e-mail or see bio




December 13, 2007
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It’s another cold day in December

Will Iraq’s Great Awakening Lead to a Nightmare?

Washington Dispatch: U.S. casualties are down in Iraq. But a retired Army Colonel argues that the surge and American payoffs to Sunni tribal leaders may eventually backfire—producing more instability and possibly a regional war.



Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize By Al Gore December 10, 2007





Huffington Post: Lawrence O’Donnell was Right About Mormonism


Dennis Kucinich Hoping forUpset in New Hampshire Primary

December 2, 2007
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Posted by Sabrina Eaton Cleveland Plain Dealer Politics Blog

December 01, 2007 19:27PM

Categories: Democratic Party


After shaking Kucinich’s hand outside Brewbakers coffee shop in Keene, Jane Morgan of Hancock said she’ll definitely support him in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary. “He says what he thinks is right and he doesn’t mind saying things that will turn people off.”

Kucinich kicks off a fourteen hour day of presidential campaigning in the Keene, New Hampshire area by greeting campaign volunteers Bill Hay of Keene (center) and Donnell Graves of Cambridge, Mass. Bagel Works cafe.

Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth, enter a house party at the Keene, New Hampshire home of dentist Paul Krautmann, where the candidate told Democratic primary voters: “If people want a winner, I can win.”

Kucinich supporter asks: Will I waste my vote? An audio report:
Dennis Kucinich talks about his New Hampshire campaign: An audio report:
Plain Dealer book review of “The Courage to Survive” by Dennis Kucinich
A Plain Dealer graphic on the New Hampshire primary:.

By Sabrina Eaton/Plain Dealer Washington Bureau

Keene, N.H. — “Moose Crossing” warnings still outnumber political signs along the snow-dusted byways of New Hampshire, home of the nation’s first presidential primary and the place where underdog Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich has pinned his presidential hopes.

Although Kucinich trails his party’s front-runners in campaign money and polls, the Cleveland congressman says he hopes to pull off an upset in New Hampshire’s Jan. 8 primary through the kind of hard work and grass-roots networking he has employed in Northeast Ohio for decades.

With that in mind, he recently wrapped up a 10-day campaign trip to rustic New Hampshire, where he spent 16-hour days shaking hands and delivering speeches in whitewashed town halls, cozy living rooms, local eateries and country club ballrooms.

“New Hampshire seems to be ready for a real change,” Kucinich said between a book signing and town hall meeting last weekend in Keene, a picturesque college town that calls itself the “Currier and Ives” corner of New Hampshire. “Every town hall meeting has been a solid turnout. What it tells me is that this election is not over. People are listening carefully to what I have to say, and when they hear what I have to say, they seem to like it.” (more…)

SHADOWS ON HIGH: Tuesday’s Vote Tells The Nation A Lot About Ohio ‘08

November 8, 2007
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Congratulations go out to Ohio Democrats and Progressives where big-city Mayors changed hands in Lorain and Canton (long held by the GOP) and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and his well-run coordinated campaign cruised to a third term in a landslide.

There were few misfires down at blue headquarters on State Street, but there are trends that give a glimpse into November 2008.  Lest progressives start high-fiving, Ohio is not going to be a cakewalk in a Presidential race. Just a sobering reminder: the Quinnipiac Poll has the two Presidential front-runners in an Ohio dead heat with Rudy up two points over Hillary in their latest Ohio head-to-head poll. (more…)


November 6, 2007
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In this interview with  Truthout.org Senator Sanders discusses the Democratic Party, energy issues and the role of “Big Money” in influencing politicians and controlling mainstream media. His solution: Its not going to change overnight so American people need to get more deeply involved in grass roots organizing and organizations.

Video link http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/110507J.shtml

Watch Your Wallets Ohioans; It’s Electric Re-reg Time!

October 19, 2007
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Post from Brian Rothenberg’s Blog:


We invented it. Edison was from us. Brush lived among us. And we seldom think much about what the energy in that little light bulb has wrought unless we take a drive into Amish country in Ohio.

We take it for granted that it will power our appliances, chill our food, keep us cool and allow us to watch the Cleveland Indians, OSU Buckeyes (when the powers that be let us — but that’s another story) or the Daily Show’s daily dose of sarcasm.

If we’re in the hospital, everything from the bed to the equipment can’t work if the power doesn’t.
Each passing generation becomes more reliant on it – especially in our computer age. Without it, life would be much different.

And the fact is that if the price of electricity goes way up, it has probably more impact than George W’s rant on taxes, as most of our monthly bottom lines would be much different and the spiral of spending constraints could make a real impact on Ohio’s economy.

Which is a long way of saying that Senate Bill 221 deserves your attention, especially the part that explains what leeway legislators want to give the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to set the rates we all pay for electricity.
SB 221, as introduced, was largely the work of Gov. Ted Strickland, who joined with business leaders, labor leaders and municipal electricity companies and in expressing concern for Ohio’s bottom line.

The seeds for SB 221 were planted in 1999 after Ohio and 17 other states rushed to the finish line like 49ers to the gold rush to deregulate their electricity services and let the open market set the prices. This was after all the height of the free market Reaganomics in all its glory: Dereg of utilities, dereg of phones, dereg of airlines and yes NAFTA – a gold rush of profits many of which have lost their luster.

(By the way, anyone notice we deregulated phone companies, sliced them and diced them from the old Baby Bells and now they are put back in large part as supergiant AT&T? Makes you wonder who made all that money through corporate mergers on the way back to a monopoly, doesn’t it. And gee, who pays for phone service – why all of us of course. Dereg is a great thing.)
Now back to electricity.
The goals of deregulation were lofty: The market would result in competition, causing prices to go down and consumers to benefit. On the floor of the Statehouse, it was discussed as if the savings in our wallets were a foregone conclusion.
The problem: No competitive market actually emerged, so the market began setting prices as high as the market would tolerate. In Maryland, where the phase-in has already ended, prices spiked up 72 percent in one year.

And quality began to suffer as power companies traded the unseen commodity of electrical energy in a fluctuating market much like gasoline deregulated into OPEC oversight in the 1970s.

Just in the years since we’ve begun to phase in deregulation, we’ve watched Enron go bust from the diversification and accounting games that accompanied a non-transparent utility, we’ve seen a major blackout that began in Northern Ohio and blacked out electricity from New York to Montreal, and of course, who can forget the revelation of a rusted cap at the top of an Ohio nuclear power plant.

So here we are, at the end of the phase-in of deregulation that was supposed to lower our costs and make utilities more efficient and the market was supposed to demand increased quality; and at the end of next year, the market will begin setting the prices in Ohio, causing fears that our prices will skyrocket, much like Maryland’s did.

Other than a handful of self-serving utilities, nobody really is arguing that there really is a competitive market but the Governor gave it a nod by allowing one to exist if someone can prove it exists, and most experts are convinced that unless Ohio does something before the end of next year, we really will end up like Maryland.

Given the general agreement that deregulation was a failure, the arguments over ending our flirtation with deregulation center largely on how much leeway the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) should have — if and when Ohio returns to a system of regulating electricity prices. And how much you and I and the other ratepayers should know about what goes into the PUCO’s pricing calculation. Transparency. We should have the right to know what fees and charges are being levied for the electric energy we are using.
In Ohio, there is a strong case to be made for the public’s right to know – not only given our recent political history, but given the experts who oversee our utilities. If you don’t believe me, you should believe the Lehman Brothers (well-regarded bean counters from Wall Street.)
Lehman does an annual ranking of state utility regulators and the PUCO in Ohio is routinely ranked about the most utility-friendly in the nation. And why would we not expect that after 16-years of cow-towing to corporate leaders who know how to play the political system in Ohio. After all, we are a company town as a state. We host industry giants First Energy and AEP that are behemoths of the industry and have much greater territory than just the Buckeye State.

It’s clear from things the Commission has done – and not done – that average consumers are left to battle for their pocketbooks. And it’s clear from utilities’ annual reports that electricity stockholders are doing quite nicely.
The consumer/utility balance is so out of whack that large industrial companies like Ford, and GM, and AK Steel, and Worthington Industries have banded together to gang up on the PUCO and demand that if it’s given the power to set utility rates, those of us who pay the rates should be allowed to peek in the utilities’ books. That’s the only way we’ll know if the prices the commission is setting (and the prices we’re paying) are fair, just and reasonable.

Back in pre-deregulation days, we all got to peek in the books – it was considered part of the progressive agenda of Teddy Roosevelt’s Republicans that the monopoly of large utility companies could only be balanced by the transparency of an open corporate set of books.

Back before they fixed electricity to help our pocket books, when a utility company wanted to raise rates, they had to go before the PUCO to justify the higher costs. All parties viewed this arrangement as part of the compact between the utility companies and the customers:

The state guaranteed each utility a base of customers, the regulators guaranteed the utilities a profit, the utilities guaranteed the state that it would provide electricity to those customers for a fair, just and reasonable price. To prove the prices were fair, the PUCO demanded a peek into the utilities’ books.
All that changed in deregulation – in the name of protecting your wallet – irony of ironies.
David Boehm, a lawyer who is working for some of Ohio’s largest employers, testified in favor or SB 221 and explained why open books are necessary – and how the process should work:

    “Witnesses would be heard and subject to cross-examination and all interested parties would be represented.
    Utilities could put on whatever other evidence they think relevant including evidence of market rates. If, thereafter, negotiations are entered into with the utilities, the basic data underlying those negotiations is open and transparent and known to everyone.
    We do not see how anyone in an open society could oppose such a provision. While flexibility is an obvious goal of S.B. 221, it must not be at the expense of due process or transparency.
    A federal appeals court judge, Damon Keith said in 2002 ‘Democracies’ die behind closed doors. The Framers of the First Amendment did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us.”

Although Mr. Boehm might not know how anyone in an open society could oppose it, Ohio’s utilities found a way to oppose it.

With the ever increasing throng of lobbyists, consultants and employees, the utilities offered a string of audacious amendments. The bottom line: The want to continue to have a guaranteed set of customers and a guaranteed profit – but they want authority to veto any PUCO decisions they don’t like.
And they don’t want us to peek in their books.

That’s right. Let’s get this straight, they want guaranteed customers, they want guaranteed profits and want veto authority over a board appointed to protect the public’s interest.

See a problem here? Why have a PUCO?

And that’s what makes this issue so fascinating. For a company whose mission is to illuminate our lives, they sure seem to be angling for some reason to protect their profits, while shielding their costs.

And in Ohio, when you see the shadowy deal making in the Statehouse start to move away from transparency into darkness, you better grab your wallet and run.
So, here’s hoping our legislature finds the light switch or else we all need to padlock our wallets. After all the last time they tried to save us money – it created this mess to begin with.

What’s that definition of insanity again?

Alan Greenspan Backpedals on “Iraq Was All About the Oil”

September 18, 2007

In an odd moment of lucidity former Federal reserve chairman Alan Greenspan did the unthinkable to the Busheviks…he spoke truth. In his new book, The Age of Turbulence Greenspan states: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”. Well hello Alan, thanks for the wakeup call. Unfortunately it will not do much to undo your miserable history as the master mumbler at the Federal Reserve.

Over at Faux News Neil Cavuto prattles on that ” Trust me, if we wanted just oil, we’d position all our troops around just oil facilities.We didn’t. We haven’t. And we aren’t. It’s the same reason we don’t accept oil from Iran. We could. And God knows energy prices for us would be lower if we did.But we don’t.Look, there is much we do wrong in this country. Falling into the grassy knoll theory that everything we do is about oil, misses the fact that sometimes a lot of what we do is about principle.

I guess Neil can’t figure out that, with Iraq having the 2nd largest proven oil reserves in the World, it was simpler for Bush to surround the ENTIRE country rather than just a few oil wells. And has he read the proposed “Oil Law” being shoved down the Iraqi’s throat by the Bush administration and its allies…the one that essentially removes control over the oil fields from the state of Iraq and turns it over to the multinational oil companies?? Cleveland area Congressman and Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich got it right when , in a letter to fellow Members of Congress, he wrote:

“The primary function of the oil law currently being considered by the Iraqi government will be to open Iraqi oil fields to private foreign companies, depriving the Iraqi people of a necessary source of national income.”

Since his book came out Uncle Al has tried to play down the oil quote:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Clarifying a controversial comment in his new memoir, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he told the White House before the Iraq war that removing Saddam Hussein was “essential” to secure world oil supplies, according to an interview published on Monday.

Duh! If that isn’t a blatant confirmation of the widely held view that, in fact, the war in Iraq is all about the oil, I don’t know what does.

None so blind as those who will not see….

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