Daily Topics - Wednesday - March 3 2010

on the road imagesQuote: “The only questions worth asking today are whether humans are going to have any emotions tomorrow, and what the quality of life will be if the answer is no.” -- Lester Bangs (American Writer, 1948-1982)

Hour One -  Would you pay $7 a gallon for gas if it would save the planet? Dan Gainor www.businessandmedia.org

Plus....HCAN’s Citizen Posse plans mass citizens’arrest of health insurance companies Richard Kirsch http://citizensposse.com

Hour Two - Should suicide be a right or a crime? Mary Ewert Widow of Professor Craig Ewert, the suicide tourist http://tinyurl.com/yz9eb97

Hour Three  - How do you know when to know that you know that it’s time to walk away from your mortgage? Jon Maddux CEO “YouWalkAway.com” www.youwalkaway.com


Mugsy (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Thom, compared to a motorcycle, I would MUCH rather be in an accident in a SmartCar.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Note from author this article: Arguments are being made in the media that the use of nuclear power to generate electricity would emit clean water vapor to help solve global warming. However, it should be noted water vapor has long been considered a green-house gas. One among many references is Science News, (2010) Stratospheric Water Vapor Is a Global Warming Wild Card.

Read more at Suite101: Nuclear Power's Affect on Nation's Water Budget: Recirculation Saves More Water than 'Once-through Cooling' http://environmental-engineering.suite101.com/article.cfm/nuclear-powers...

Gene Savory (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

How much hidden costs are involved with US fuel? I refer to the costs involved with protecting the sources and transportation routes of oil that is subsidized by the US military. What does it cost for fuel when the military costs of protecting national and international acquisition of oil (and lots of other resources)?

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Results from Texas election:

95% favor lowering Fed. income tax
95% favor a statement expressing a belief in God
95% favor a mandatory pre-abortion sonogram

Welcome to the 19th century!

Gene Savory (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

re suicide: I heard that the penalty for attempted suicide in the UK was hanging. It makes sense in a Douglas Adams way.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

A New 'Never heard of Thom Hartmann Story'

Last night, believe it or not I participated in a push poll from the LEFT. In fact, I began chuckling three quarters through. The lady on the other end of the line turned out to be a very cool lefty as well. So we chatted. She prided herself on her political knowledge. So I asked her if she listenened to Thom Hartmann everyday like I did. She vaguely began to try to recall the name. "Oh no!" I said. "You cant be politically astute if you do not know who Thom Hartmann is!" So she jotted down his name, and the White Rose Society, and the green960.com link I gave her.

Can you beleive that? When I was in sales, the studies were that you had to approach and really work someone 7 times before they would even try your product or service. Recently, someone who is currently in sales and marketing told me this number is now 9 times.

Some of the best adviced I have ever been given was from a colleague in school who told me to go out and read a book on how to sell used cars. That surely has helped!

Dan (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago


Diesel is a great way to go. Diesel engines are inherently more efficient, so even discounting the roughly 20% more energy in diesel over gasoline, they still get better mileage. I have a 2006 Jetta TDI w/ 80K miles now that has a lifetime average of 42MPG. I routinely get 45+MPG with a car that is both roomy, safe, and relatively lively and fun to drive.

We need to get CARB to stop being so prejudiced against diesel engines and putting undue burdens on them. Economy is at least as important as emissions and the new ultra-low sulphur diesel is very clean burning w/ many fewer particulates and NOX.


MiddleClassGuy (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Smartcars are very safe. Here is a crash test video:

Bill (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

The Inflation Calculator

What cost $5.00 in 1973 would cost $23.88 in 2009.

Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2009 and 1973,
they would cost you $5.00 and $0.98 respectively.

Do you want to do another calculation?
This is according to the Consumer Price Index
Sorry I posted in the wrong spot earlier

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Two Santa Claus Theory - I have heard Norman Goldman use the term two santa claus theory. Randi Rhodes talks about it but she does not use that two Santa Claus name. She says that they spend like drunken sailors in office and then borrow at the same time to pay for it.

Gene Savory (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Re Bunning et al:
Someone commented that the art world was like high school with money. It appears that Congress is like grade school with money.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@Gene- are you serious? Do you have a link to an article. That just sounds NUTS.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Yeah- what's up with Obama and firing the teachers. I just hate him when I hear stuff like this coming out of him,,,,,just hate him.

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Thom, to your paying $5 per gallon of gas question to save the environment. I would have to say I would start taking the train instead of paying that much for gas (I'm already considering taking the train anyway, but that would put me over the edge).

So would I or would I not be helping the environment with that solution?

brian a.hayes (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

karl rove will be doing a book tour, it would be great to see people out there to protest and bring back awareness to rove's involvement in the don siegelman case. i will be there when he comes to chicago. you can see the book tour scdule on the internet.

Mark K (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

In regard to the discussion on health care systems, in the British system there was some effort to “improve” the quality of care by “rewarding” doctors with bonuses for meeting certain goals in achieving “positive” outcomes (based on a complicated point scheme). I don’t think what this implies requires further comment. Meanwhile, everywhere there seems to be problems controlling runaway health care costs. France may be slightly more ahead of the game because the government health ministry negotiates drug prices and fixes re-imbursement rates, although doctors in France technically can charge anything they want. It is interesting to note the more sick a person is, the less they have to pay out-of-pocket; for serious illnesses, there is no co-pay charged, and 100 percent of medical costs are paid for by the French system. Still, even where there is socialized medicine, private insurance is taking a growing percentage of the health care cost; in Canada, 30 percent of health care costs are paid for by private insurance.

Keeping on the issue of health care (in a fashion), I encountered a man walking his pit bull on the sidewalk. While he held tight to a very short chain, the dog looked at me as if it wanted to take a chunk out of my leg. I am actually more concerned about the people who own these dogs. Why would anyone own a dog bred to chew another of its breed to bits? It can’t be for the companionship; pit bulls have got to be the most uncompanionable breed known to man. Even a cat shows more appreciation for its care.

Mark K (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

As an addendum to the comment I posted yesterday in regard to “ethnic” relations in this country, “blue” states like Washington are clearly not immune from the effects of negative stereotyping. Take, for instance, a simple excursion on Seattle’s new light rail, which isn’t all that inspiring to me; yesterday I decided to try it out, and that was a big mistake. The thing practically crawls, and it took me a half-hour longer to get to where I wanted to go than if I had taken the bus. But that was only frustrating part. The annoying part was when two Seattle cops and a guy wearing a jacket with the letters “DHS” got on the train. The two cops pretended to checking passenger fare, one starting in front of where I was sitting, and the other behind me; the DHS guy was just hovering around, and for some reason kept gawking at me with this ridiculous smile on his mug.

I kept waiting for the cop behind me (where there were only ten seats) to pass by and look at my fare at any moment, but he never showed himself. The cop in front of me then started walking toward the back of the train, and the DHS guy followed him, still looking at me with that sht-eating grin, like we were best friends or something. I didn’t much care for this; I turned around to see what the other cop was doing, and there he was, standing there right behind me. Oh, I get it now, I thought to myself. I was supposed to be all nervous, or something, because maybe I was an illegal alien, and the cop behind me was supposed to make sure I didn’t try to jump off a moving train. Unfortunately for them, I had proper fare to show the cop in front of me (with the DHS guy blocking the aisle), so they didn’t have a rational excuse handy to detain me.

For some of us, this is what “America” is all about.

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Transition phase... good walking shoes or a nice bicycle.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Maybe we could create special inner city zones where we increase the price of a gallon of gas. But obviously, callers like the gal on the line now could not have this work for them, or truckers.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Transisition plan- would include the development of walkable cities.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

I was talking to a colon/rectal specialist and he said that colon cancer is phasing out with prevention, like colonoscopy procedures at fifty or sixty years of age. No one should be dying of colon cancer.

A guest on Thom’s show has said that a friend died of colon cancer. Preventive medicine is very important. Medicine cannot just be for crisis management. I believe that health insurance companies want people to die early in life so health costs can be eventually non-existence even with health plans being outrageously high.

A terrorist is a person who wants to kill other persons. The Republicans want to kill people by dropping people from health insurance plans. The killing of people is actually the goal of Republican terrorists.

As my health remains tenuous, I want to paraphrase Jesus as He was dying on the Cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken America and middle class Americans?”

Charles in OH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@KMH - Most inner city gas prices are already higher than in suburbs. That's been my observation in the Detroit to Cincinnati corridor

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

I want to see more people involved in politics who want to take back our country. I have for at least thirty years felt we need more women in charge and in leadership positions that includes every country on this planet. I want women who have two characteristics in charge of countries. These two characteristics are nurturing and sensitivity. I also want people involved in politics who have the same characteristics of nurturing and sensitivity. People with nurturing and sensitivity are people centered and they want the best for all Americans and not only for corp-o-persons and rich persons. When I heard the person with the Coffee Party, she has appeared to be a people person. We need more people persons involved in politics.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Sponsor Alert- (Commercial playing). Say, I have been partaking in the Right Sized Smoothie that advertizes a lot on progressive radio - I have lost 3 pounds now!

I see now there is a new weight loss sponsor - Acai Fresh 800-503-6673- hmmmm... Brad Blog tweeted something about that James o' whatever his name is that tried to frame ACORN and then Mary Landrews office. James whatever was trying to get people to buy yet another ACAI weight loss diet supplement, but it was at least said it was a different supplement than what I jsut heard on the commercial Does the company make one for lefties and another for righties?

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

American education is a disaster. We know that public schools have been a disaster for many years. Private and parochial schools are functioning close to public schools in being a disaster.

Students, especially teenagers, are into fairness and idealism not just for themselves but for friends and other persons.

The school dropout rare is at thirty percent. That percentage is too high and we are losing many students who are discouraged. Teenagers know that we are in a Great Depression. They know that unemployment will remain high for many years. They see the unfairness between the rich and the middle class. They also know that the return of jobs will take generations.

About twenty-years ago I read that some states have been hiring foreign students to teach math and science classes for high schools and middle schools. American students are avoiding math and science classes because they want to keep their Grade Point Average to remain high. When they are refused entry to certain colleges and universities, the reason will be that their transcripts have lacked completion of quality courses.

Our son has talked to his former college advisor and the advisor has not had an American born student to advise in the past twelve years.

Our K-12 schools systems face many problems to overcome. It will not happen in my lifetime and it will not happen in our sons’ lifetime.

America is a divided nation and she will not heal for generations. America is a disaster in many areas. Here are some of the areas – politics, economics and the economy, religions, social justice, education, environment, and the filth and garbage in our movies and on our televised programs.

I have not even discussed America’s murderous appetite and the killing of God’s children that delight most Americans.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Jesus was truly an amazing person. When Jesus walked among us, He was an inclusive person who excluded no one. He loved the harlots, the lepers, the maimed, the sinners, the outcasts, the forgotten, the blind, the deaf, and all the people. Jesus is a beautiful and wonderful role model for us to follow.

What Jesus desires for America and the world are peace and justice on our planet for all of His children. He also has a vision for the world.

Jesus’ vision for the world is social wholeness, a state of well being for all, where everyone has access to the goods of creation intended to meet the needs of all. Jesus offers us the substance of the biblical vision of one community embracing all creation where all enjoy the resources that make communal harmony joyous and effective.

Jesus’ intended vision of the world, a dream for Him that resists our tendencies for division, hostility, fear, lust, and misery. If there is to be well-being, it will not be just for the isolated and insulated individuals, it is security and prosperity granted to the whole community: the poor, the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, the tax collector and the sinner, the despised and the rejected, young and old, the powerful and the dependent. We are in it together. Together we stand before His blessings and together we receive the gift of life.

When it comes to vote in 2012, I cannot vote for a Republican to be president because I have contempt for Republicans. I cannot for a Democrat because Democrats disgust me. I am left with an Independent, a Green, or a Socialist candidate. I do not know where the Tea Bagger Party stands and the same goes for the Coffee Party candidate.

I would hope that a viable party in 2012 would be The Jesus Party. Jesus is the party’s founder. The central theme of The Jesus Party was given to us at the Last Supper. It is the Eleventh Commandment. LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.

The life of Jesus would be the party’s role model. We need only to read the New Testament in the Bible for our guide to a better world.

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@Gerald, a terrorist is some one who kills a member of a group of people in order to put fear in that same group. Basically I'd say a terrorist can be considered a serial killer with a political agenda. A killer can kill someone for no other reason then the desire to kill, regardless of how others react to it, it's more or less a feeling of personal empowerment. To that end I would agree with the rest of your comment to the point that Republicans are terrorists.

Gene Savory (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Re suicide:
Under the principle that labor is wealth, then suicide removes wealth from the ruling classes and is therefore a crime.

Gene Savory (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@KMH: high school with money:
http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/features/saltz/saltz9-5-01.asp among others.

DDay (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

For as long as I can remember the British have had prohibitions against hanging anyone with a wooden leg.

They use a rope. :-0

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Thom if I could choose how and when I shuffle off this mortal coil, right now I would choose in no way and never. If I had to choose though, I would choose naturally and in my sleep when I'm much older (and I reserve the right to say this when I'm 100 or 150) :-)

brian a.hayes (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

i feel that dick cheney and liz cheney are great recruitment tools for al-qaeda. someone needs to bring this up. are dick and liz cheney helping or hurting the war against al-qaeda.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Nels, thank you for the comment! If we followed the history of our culture of violence, we would have to conclude that America is a serial killing nation.

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Gerald, yes I agree... sociopathic terrorists too (at least since our war with Korea). America definitely attacks country's indiscriminately more so to keep other country's inline than to actually resolve any issue with the country we attacked.

At least that's my take on it. :-(

Jeremiah (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Here are some problems with $7 a gallon gas. In addition to people in rural areas being hurt, our delivery system for most of food and other products is done by tractor trailer. If we would apply this to the cost of diesel, we wouldn't be able to afford to buy anything. If we would go this route, we would need to alter our delivery system. We could use a program to build the rails and the necessary infrastructure as a way to create jobs.

For increasing the fuel efficiency in cars, can't we just go back to driving cars with standard transmission? I have a standard Toyota Echo that gets up to 45 miles per gallon, depending on weather, etc., and at least 30 miles per gallon under bad conditions. Echos are no longer made, but the Yaris, which succeeded it does just as well. My parents have one.

If we're going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, shouldn't we also try to reduce heating oil? How about we create a program that mirrors Cash for Clunkers with oil furnaces? Let's give a tax credit to those who want to replace their oil furnaces with electric heat, and while we're at it, convert our electricity to wind or solar power. If we did this, it would create jobs, save people money when the price of oil goes up, and save the planet. It seems like such a common sense thing to do that it will probably never be implemented.

Dusty Collings (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

I have paid 6.03 per gal here in the U..S. We fill an '81 Mercedes with bio diesel. At the height of the petroleum gouging in the Bush years that's what bio fuel cost. It wasn't easy but we did it. We adjusted how lived.
In '06 we decided that we would not purchase any more internal combustion engines. We hoped our 10 yr old van would get us through to the new transportation technologies. It didn't. So we found the diesel for sale on line. Even if you don't count saving the earth, it has been one of the best decisions our family ever made. The difference is that you know instantly you are not riding around on a reservoir of deadly toxic liquid. This is hard to describe because we have been desensitized to the smell. The first tank or bio fuel we knew instantly we were no longer riding around on poison.

I have been lucky. My family decided in 06 that we would hope that our 10yr old van would make til there were affordable alternative

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Nels, I agree with your take on our attacks toward other countries.

War is a waste of time and effort.

Wars do not resolve problems. Wars create more problems.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@Gene- Your link is to a beautiful art gallery, but I did not find even the word suicide on the page. Perhaps- as a literary dupid, what you are tryting to tell me is too sophisticated for my understanding (it wouldn't be the first time :)!)

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

I knew a fella whose father died and the parametics etc put together a major investigation as to why they were not called sooner. Then his mother died, and so he called soon, and she suffered 10 days in the hospital while they tried to keep this now very old woman alive who really just wanted to die. This 10 days in the hospital burned him all his inheritance, plus, there was yet more accusatory investigation again, despite the early call. Elder abuse?

This poor fella lived the last couple years as such a pauper lving on an empty mountain top 10s of miles from a single grocery store in a cold moldy trailer - so that one day- he shot himself.

DDay (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

My wife and I replace our conventional furnace with a geo-thermal system this past year. We received a 30% tax credit which amounted to $9,000. There are numerous other rebate and tax credits for all kinds of method to improve energy efficiency. What Obama has not done is take steps to modernize the "Grid" and streamline the process to make wind energy easier to utilize. It can take years to gain approvals and to be able to sell electricity back to the grid. The fact that the vast majority of steel and other component parts of wind turbines are imported is a real disappointment which the administration has not addressed adequately. Finally we need to figure out a way to utilize nuclear energy and deal with the waste in a responsible and safe way.

Charles in OH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@Jerimiah and DDay

The biggest inhibitor of wind and solar is the storage of energy. Currently, NGK (Japan) is the leading supplier of commercial battery storage systems. Again, the best intentions do not create jobs here.

Anthony (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Only in America Can you be "Pro-gun" "Pro-war" "Pro death penalty" and still be against a womans right to chose. but on the topic of suicide, I think the right to life is about the right to chose life. some people sadly don't make the choice to live and that should be respected. I feel they should be given support to make a different decision but ultimately it's up to them. Life isn't as easy for everybody. And it usually comes down to the same thing. Inequality. Economic inequality and bad economic times are when the most suicides happen in america. We have to change the conversation if we want to change the world.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@Charles- I am writing an article on making solar affordable. And while doing that research I learned of another solar company purchased by a foreign corporation. Eighty-five percent of Americans polled want clean, renewable energy. Currently total energy usage is just 7 percent. Solar usage is one percent (E. I. A., 2009). See link to podcast here: http://www.green960.com/cc-common/podcast/single_podcast.html?podcast=ne...

Yet, the total portion of the nation’s energy supply that is clean, renewable energy is just 7 percent; solar power plays only one percent. These figures are per the U.S. Energy Information Administration (2009) Annual Energy Review: The Role of Renewable Energy in the Nation’s Energy Supply, 2008.
The nation’s current energy supply is proportioned as follows: 23 percent coal, 24 percent natural gas, 37 percent petroleum, 8 percent nuclear and 7 percent renewable, of which only one percent is solar (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2009).

Solar thermal is closing in on the .12 cents per Kwh that the average American currently spends on electricity. One such company is Ausra in Mountain View, California. They were American based, but I see they have just been bought out by a French firm Areva.

Dusty Collings (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Two yrs ago my daughter, then 12, needed a topic for an essay. She was very taken with all the adds on TV about the digital conversion in broadcasting. We talked about other problems that could be addressed by a clear transition plan. She put together a great plan for transition to non petroleum transportation by using the TV plan as a template.
Young people don't struggle with how things have always been. They can be very matter of fact about changing the world without regard for the old "sacred cows" like oil.
If I can find the essay I will send it to you.

Charles in OH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@KHM - I would wager the bulk of the 7% is hydro. We have a long way to go before wind and solar take the lead. We as a country have a tremendous opportunity before us if we take the reigns from the capitalists that have no loyalty beyond tender.

DDay (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

@Charles in OH

I believe in fact that the biggest drawback is the "on demand" requirements and unpredictability of solar/wind systems. That's were nuclear could augment. Storage of electricity, (batteries) is one method of getting around the on demand needs. Wind power can be used to produce hydrogen when it's energy isn't needed to satisfy demand. Hydrogen prices are high presently and when combusted water is the only waste by-product. Building 3rd and 4th generation nuclear technology where spent fuel rods can be reused rather than discarded seems to make sense to me so long as regulation is thorough and enlightened. BTW My position on nuclear has only recently changed from being opposed to being in favor of. Growing concern over climate change issues, more information, and technological improvements have all contributed to this change for me.

KMH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Speaking of figuring out how to navigate in today's capitalistic society, has anyone here seen the documentary 'Maxed Out?' Here is a related review at Slate:


Charles in OH (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago


We are making the same argument. Resolving the storage issue negates the on demand issue. In real world application, the commercial battery storage systems have a faster reaction rate than coal-fired generators.

cheryle easter (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago

Question for John Maddox: For the Walk away strategy, what if you are double mortgaged? what are the repercussions for walking away and how do you deal with it?

"The Saddest Thing Is This Won't Be Breaking News"

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