August 20th, 2009


Zero Waste

I'm encouraged by this community's profound effort to avoid filling landfills. At all.

Elderly Turn Town into Zero Waste Community
Japan's rapidly aging population is leading the way in one town to create a zero-waste community, recycling everything, including
valuable gold from old phones. In this town there is no trash collection and no landfill, just people sorting their own trash
into 34 categories and dropping it off at the local recycling facility.

Politics By Beast

I found this blog today, Politics By Beast, which aims for a moderate position examining the ups and downs of both political parties. It seems to be relatively level-headed, which is hard to find these days.

I was particularly interested in "Public Option or Bust" which points out the math of the public option (supported by liberal Democrats, opposed by some conservative Democrats and almost all Republicans) vs. the coop plan (supported by some conservative Democrats, opposed by liberal Democrats and almost all Republicans). The coop doesn't have the numbers to succeed. Since the Republicans have opposed pretty much all proposals for health care reform, they can be largely discounted: a voting block that doesn't shift is not very useful in making decisions between similar options. In order to pass something, it needs to collect all the Democrats as supporters. There's just no point trying to collect votes from a bunch of people who refuse to play. We should be focusing on the people who are playing, and try to come up with something usable they can vote into action.

The author is also keeping an eye out for politicians of both parties who seem to have some kind of clue. "Pawlenty: Stop the World...I Want to Get On!" explores the potential of one such Republican candidate. Gosh, this guy sounds like old conservative stock, the kind I found not to my personal taste but didn't think they would, you know, destroy the world. The question now is whether Pawlenty can come up with some of those genuine Republican policy ideas that he says the party needs. Howbout "Let's not pour money down a rathole" ...?

So if you still have the stomach for politics, definitely give this blog a look. This is more rational than most of the competition, and more variable too. I haven't read it enough yet to see if there's a long-term slant towards liberal or conservative, but so far there seems to be some of each -- and some posts touch on aspects of both. I am pleased.