I take pictures
8/31/2005 08:31:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Sometimes just seeing it, makes it more real than typing or talking about it.

On the way to work this a.m.

In a rural town, near Rte. 81:

$3.19 - $2.59 (yesterday's price) = $0.60 mark up in one day.


NYCO said...

No gas available at Citgo in Fairmount this morning.

Wow, that was quick.

comment verification turned on
8/31/2005 07:40:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
sorry for the inconvenience. There are just too many annoying spam comments today.
Over/Under Bets for $3.00/gal national average for regular unleaded
8/31/2005 07:49:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
The date and time line is Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. Over = is after that date/time, Under = is before that date/time.

Any takers? My bet is on the under right now.


[addendum: this is a factitious bet of course...]
My response to CAFE standard hikes vs. Gas tax increases
8/30/2005 03:59:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
From my comment at Sustainablog:
gasoline jumped $0.16 in 1 hour today in upstate NY. I think that talk of increased CAFE standards and increased gas tax is going to get lost in the shuffle of the current gas spike.

I hate to say it, but it seems that economics will be the greatest factor slowing the previously exponential growth of gas/diesel usage in the US.

I heard today that GM's analyst board is meeting tomorrow, and will be "assessing" the 30% fall in SUV purchase rates this year, and the fact that GM lost $1,500 per vehicle sold this year. They will soon adapt or die off.

As the coming price hikes in gasoline are (IMHO) will be up by nearly 30 cents by next week. We will see the effects on the economy of an imposed hike in the cost of gas. Then all the greens and economists can sit back and see what negative incentives to the use of gasoline will do to the economy. I think that the tipping point will be reached soon, and I can finally stop hearing on TV how resilient the consumers are being in the face of higher oil prices. (IE draining more equity out of their homes, and ringing up higher credit card bills). Note GE's, walmart's and other retailers falls today on the stock market. You can keep saying that this "suprisingly isn't hurting the economy" until you are blue in the face, but it doesn't make it true, and sooner or later we'll have to face up to that fact.

Back to my original rant, and the topic of this post: I think that economic forces will push manufacturers to build more efficient cars in order to survive in this market, and the high prices of gasoline/diesel will push down consumption. Perhaps when the prices begin to recede, there can be talk of adding a gas tax.

(shit I sound like a conservative...)

Next topic... Inflation: its not just in the 70's anymore...
A "3" appears on the gas sign in Upstate NY
8/30/2005 03:54:00 PM | Author: baloghblog

Getting there...

There it is...

For you upstaters. Gas up $0.16 in one hour today. Bought gas at $2.59, returned after appointment, and was up to $2.75. Expect more hikes this week. Keep your tanks full.
Prediction: Increased prices by weeks end
8/29/2005 08:15:00 PM | Author: baloghblog

(NJ Turnpike 8/27/05 - my pics - 40+ cars in line)

I think that the shit will hit the fan on Thursday and Friday, as the true realization of damage to Port Fourchon and the oil rigs/refineries comes in. Gas stations will begin their mark up.

There will only be "talk" or "discussion" of opening the SPR, unless there are actual shortages.

(sorry posts have been few and far between - I've been a busy traveler/consumer)
Watching the news like everyone else
8/29/2005 07:58:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Katrina is pounding N'orleans right now. Will be following through theoildrum.com, weather.com, bloomberg.com, etc.


Comments later.
Deja Vu
8/26/2005 09:25:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Didn't I see this on fX?

Will it lead to this?

Pushed back up to the top (from July) - Observation
8/26/2005 07:02:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Original here.

Why it was pushed up? Gas Station Workers Face Angry Customers (via Drudge)

My wife and I stopped at a gas station off of Rte 81 in Pennsylvania on the way home from a weekend trip. Gas was at a low price of $2.19 there. ($2.41 in my hometown) There was an unbelievable line of cars waiting to get to the pumps and a chaotic scene once we got to pump area. There was no order to the line, b/c of a tight turning radius, and several large SUV's and V8 trucks positioning themselves. People we're getting frustrated quickly, and we could feel a sense of unease quickly come over us. We got our gas and got out unscathed, but the line had grown considerably by the time we left.

I was a twinkle in my father's eye during the oil shortage in the early 70's, so I have no history with the long lines that formed during the shortage. I have to believe though, with the "road rage" that is rampant now, there would quickly become a phrase "gas station rage" that would enter the country's vocabulary.

It was easy to see how tempers were rising today - even with ample gasoline available at a "cheap price". I can't imagine a scene with even more stressed out people paying $5+/gallon, with limited supply.

I think that I have been a peak oil optimist, preferring to live in a sort of denial, thinking utopian thoughts about a future without oil - surviving on our "skills", and our preparation, adapting to a new way of life. The glimpse of the future that I got today was ugly, with nothing utopian about it.
A product no Green should be without:
8/26/2005 06:37:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Eat your heart out Treehugger...
A hamster powered cell phone! (found by rawstory)

I can't believe that this kid only got a C?!?
Hamster-powered phone charger

A 16-year-old boy invented a hamster-powered mobile phone charger as part of his GCSE science project.

Peter Ash, 16 with his hamster powered mobile phone cat his home in Lawford, Somerset /Empics

Peter Ash, of Lawford, Somerset, attached a generator to his hamster's exercise wheel and connected it to his phone charger.

Elvis does the legwork while Peter charges his phone in an economically and environmentally friendly way.

He came up with the idea after his sister Sarah complained that Elvis was keeping her awake at night by playing for hours on his exercise wheel.

"I thought the wheel could be made to do something useful so I connected a system of gears and a turbine," he said.

"Every two minutes Elvis spends on his wheel gives me about thirty minutes talk time on my phone."

The teenage inventor was given a C for his project and has been awarded a D overall for the course.

Quick someone buy the rights to this thing!
P.S. If I see this one more time...
8/26/2005 06:35:00 AM | Author: baloghblog

I am going to kill myself. It is so not funny, and more stale than an open package of saltines from 1988.
Monster Veggies!
8/24/2005 10:35:00 PM | Author: baloghblog

This is what a "baby carrot's" baby would look like, along with a mini-potato that rose to the surface on its own. Too funny.
Fall Already??? - AHHHHHhhhhh!
8/24/2005 07:41:00 AM | Author: baloghblog

Syracuse.com front page this a.m. as I sit in my chilly house: Autumntime Guide
Moment of Serenity today on County Rte 45 in Oswego County
8/23/2005 11:11:00 PM | Author: baloghblog

Beautiful blue skies and green fields after some much needed rain.
Nausea - Big Brother in action in Utah
8/23/2005 07:45:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Here is a diary at Kos that made me sick. The video hosted here, even more nauseousness. This is America people. These are kids at a dance party (rave).

The video shows an unbelieveable truth. Camoflauged assault squad attacks innocent youth to shut down a rave. Assault weapons in hand, dogs attacking rave-goers. Watch for yourself.
Paper or Drastic: Environmental Tips from Grist
8/23/2005 07:31:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Dear Umbra,

What are some everyday things I could do to protect the environment? Like choosing plastic or paper, that kind of thing.

Spokane, Wash.
Umbra gives a thoughful answer, different than you'd think for an enviromental site. I still think that we should reduce our waste however possible, but she reminds us that there are bigger fish to fry out there. She provides a link to a previous Consumption Manifesto as well.
There are two items on which all agree: buy the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible, and use it as little as possible. Instead, use mass transit, your feet, your bicycle, etc. You know this, but do you do it every day? The only people who do are those who don't own cars -- and even they sometimes borrow mine. So we all can improve here.

Two other areas of harmony: light bulbs and letter writing. Compact fluorescent bulbs should be at the top of your shopping list until you run out of sockets. Then, under their soothing (and long-lasting) glow, sit and write your representatives (you can find their addresses online or in your phone book).
Glad to see that I have started to work on the above items. I do believe that the CFL bulbs make a difference in the energy bill. I hope to get involved in more letter writing in the colder months when there is less daylight and a whole lot more free time.

Other tips:
I think that is plenty to keep you busy, what with licking stamps and caulking windows. But in case your home is already weatherproofed and your hand is cramped, here are the things vying to round out the lists: Plant trees in your neighborhood, yard, or vicinity. Choose clean power if it is available in your community. Reduce your water usage. Have a meat-free day once a week, and buy locally produced foods. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Have a small family and teach them to tend the planet. And, finally, get involved by joining, supporting, or starting an environmental organization.
Go have a read and let me know your thoughts.
First Attempt at Tomato (Marinara) Sauce from the garden
8/21/2005 05:31:00 PM | Author: baloghblog

Peeling the tomatoes

Chopping garlic (yes I have a Miracle blade set, and yes it does kick ass)

Crushing tomatoes in with garlic, onion, and olive oil that had been sauteed.

Meatballs and simmering sauce

Marinara sauce 3 hours from finish with fresh basil, meatballs, and salt, pepper added to taste (finished in the crock pot)

All the tomatoes came from my small garden, and were of the Roma variety. Next time we'll quarter the tomatoes before crushing to allow some juice to escape - it took a while for the sauce to thicken. Also we'll be able to remove many of the seeds. Looks, and smells, delicious! Can't wait to try it!
Another Great Mention in the Post-Standard!
8/21/2005 08:06:00 AM | Author: baloghblog

Thank you to Brian Cubbison at Newstracker/Post-Standard for the nod!

Look for a follow up to my original post soon.
Jake Roberts Rally
8/20/2005 11:02:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
First off, I would like to say that there is a dedicated bunch of close friends and new associates that care deeply about getting Jake on the ballot in November. They stayed late into the night, trying to drum up support and signatures for Jake.

There were a great breakdancing duo that brought me back to Electric Bugaloo days, and brought an old breaker out of retirement for a few moves. There was a great local rapper and DJ that performed a few cuts, and a ska band out of Syracuse called Razbari Sumthing which were really entertaining. I hope to have some of the video taken up on my blog, if I can figure out how to get it on there.

The happy hour rally was, in a sense, deserted. Not for any fault of the volunteer staff, but for the fault of no one being out on an friday night after work. We did get a steady (slow) stream of supporters, petition signers and well wishers that got to meet Jake, hear what he had to say, and ask him questions personally.

I hit the streets with clipboard in hand, and Jake Roberts for Mayor badge (homemade) on my shirt. I talked to a few interesting people. Anyone who met the criteria of being a Syracuse resident, and being registered to vote was happy to sign the petition. Most of the "crowds" walking the street, consisted of parents from far away locales, touring the city with their son or daughter as they dropped them off for the beginning of school at SU.

There is a lot of work to be done, and the deadline approaches. If you are in the Syracuse area, read my blog, or have found it through a google or yahoo or dogpile search, please click on yesjake.org or the button below, and help volunteer to get the signatures we need to get on the ballot - and get these great ideas in to the public forum.

Jacob Roberts for Mayor of Syracuse
Jake Roberts is the Real Deal
8/18/2005 11:03:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
My support for him has only cemented after meeting with his campaign staff tonight.

The bottom line? He needs signatures to get on the ballot.

Go here tomorrow if you live in the city of Syracuse:

More tomorrow. I am exhausted.

Jacob Roberts for Mayor of Syracuse
Action to back up my words
8/18/2005 03:42:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
I will be attending a meeting at Jake Roberts campaign tonight, and will post on what my experience was either tonight or tomorrow.

There is a good spot on him on News10Now (like NY1 in NYC).

Video link at bottom of story worth watching. Spoke well, needs a little polishing, IMHO.
Tug Hill Wind Power - Update
8/17/2005 09:39:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
I was on Route 104 near Oswego, NY and was passed by a large procession of wide load lead cars, and then 2 huge flatbed trucks with the 3 major pieces to a windmill that is to be erected on the Tug Hill Plateau in upstate NY.

There was an article here about how the pieces were shipped via the Erie Canal to Oswego. Looks like they are making the final leg of the journey by truck.

Amazing to see how large the pieces are up close. I couldn't turn on my digital camera quickly enough to capture a pic as they drove by.

(stolen from estesnet.com for illustrative purposes only)
Blog update - I wish that there were more Syracuse bloggers/readers
8/16/2005 10:45:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Let me start by saying I am very pleased with the number of hits that my blog receives every day. It is shocking the number of people that happen upon my blog thru google, dogpile and yahoo! searches, and the real icing on the cake, are the ones that come back for another look. I started out with 1 loyal reader, then 4 more, now I am up to an average of 17 returning visitors a day. However only 4 of them are in a 40 mile radius.

I have tried to become a "Syracuse.com" blogger, but after several submissions and no responses I have given up on them. Sad too, b/c the people that they have writing for them update their blogs once a full moon. I wrote several letters to the editor of the Post-Standard. One of them must have inspired a mention in the tech section. Unfortunately for me, it linked to my geocities site where my essay was stored on-line.

Sometimes I like the fact that I can write without boundaries, grammar checks, and with an occasional curse. Having only a few people read what you have to say allows that. Other times though, I would love to write that breakthrough piece, the one that would get my blog exposed to more Syracusans. I thought about writing small articles for the local papers, or submitting them as free-lance to the Post-Standard.

Who knows.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Thanks to all who stop by and read. Especially those back for another look.

Are there enough Syracusans to start a Peak Oil club?
8/16/2005 10:37:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
From Peak Oil NYC blog:
Peak Oil 101: Live Session Tomorrow

I went to the NYC peak oil awareness meeting last week and they have started to break out the various threads of interest into separate meetings. Tomorrow they are having a Peak Oil 101 session that will be facilitated by one of the veterans of the group who is steeped in all the relevant issues. If you are just wondering about peak oil, what it means or have critical question to ask, I highly recommend you attend this session.

Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 at 7:00 PM

Where: Wai Cafe 6th avenue between 16th and 17th New York, NY

1. Peak Oil 101: Where we are, where we’re going. This will be an introductory but wide ranging seminar exploring many possible future scenarios, considering not only fossil fuel supplies, but how energy issues could affect the economy, the real estate market, and jobs. Facilitator: Bill BurkeFirst meeting: Wed., August 17, 7 – 8 PM, Wai Café.

2. Personal Preparations for a Reduced Energy Future: A forum in which we can acknowledge and discuss feelings about the situation, and learn about practical actions to take. At first the focus will be on financial planning.Facilitator: Simon Whelan.First meeting: Wed., August 17, 8 – 9 PM, Wai Café. Directly following one hour of PO 101.
I wonder if there are enough people that are aware of Peak Oil in the Syracuse area, and if they would be willing to meet up. I look it to it, and see if there are any existing clubs, and if not I will consider starting one up in the fall.

Let me know if you are aware of any, or if there is info out there regarding starting an Peak Oil awareness group.
A-la-Atrios: Energy WANKER of the week - Joel Naroff
8/16/2005 09:50:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
“Energy is a killer, but if you don’t use it, you’re not seeing a whole lot of inflation,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, a consulting firm in Holland, Pa.
This article was trying to put on the front that the large jump in inflation for last month (0.5%) wasn't really bad, because, if you took out the "volatile" energy prices, inflation remained in check.

Greaaat. Yeah that makes sense. Who the hell doesn't use energy???

"Those without homes, cars, heating or cooling bills, lights, TV, were amazingly unaffected by the rise in inflation, because they don't use energy." - paraphrased for Joel Naroff.
Thinking Outside the Box on "Big Box" stores in the Future
8/16/2005 08:43:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Another great post on future planning today: From Walmart to Sustainability

Unplanner takes a look at what the empty big box store could be turned into to support the local community in the future.

A snippet:
At this point, some of you are undoubtedly wondering why? Why go through the hassle, why worry about retrofitting a Walmart or Target. To this, I’d respond that it would be a relatively easy way to squeeze a small but respectable amount of food production on what would have previously been wasted land. Even if the eventual number of people fed by such a setup remains small, it would be better than nothing at all. It would also allow those in more northern latitudes to maintain access to a supply of warmer climate crops that may not be accessible to them in the future. Unlike the creation of a greenhouse system from scratch, this setup would utilize a wealth of previously available building materials without being dependent of imported products or goods.
Another benefit originates out the fact that big box establishments are located in suburban locations, closest to the residents in need of food supplies. Instead of traveling across the country via airplane and truck, that head of lettuce will travel at most, across town probably by foot. Thus, big box farming would potentially introduce some modicum of food security (and variety) to a local population without being dependent on outside inputs.
Finally, this form of farming would depend far more on human labor rather than on the use of machines to succeed. With such a variety of crops being cultivated in as complex of an arrangement as has been described here, more people would inevitably be required to farm this arrangement. This is a good thing. With the collapse of the oil-driven economy, there will be a lot of individuals with time on their hands.
Exurbs vs. Suburbs Discussion
8/16/2005 08:39:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Over at NYCO's blog: Pimp My Burb

Head on over and throw in your $0.02. Here's mine:

"mature" suburbs, also could be improved with the installation of sidewalks. Giving up 3 feet of lawn to have a curb installed with a sidewalk seems like an easy way to me to protect pedestrians, children on bikes and walking. It would also encourage on-street parking, which would in turn slow driving speeds.

Zoning laws could be relaxed to revive the "corner market" which I loved growing up. Walking a few blocks to get milk, bread or other staples. Kids could get their quarter (no longer penny) candy. Other small businesses could be encouraged to do the same: shoe repair, computer repair, small clothing and consignment shops. We could start doing business with our neighbors again. Many homes have the potential to be adapted into these businesses. Many of the stores "back in the day" were just that.

I like your separation of suburbia from exurbia. I feel like I have the best of both worlds where I live. I am 3-4 miles from the city center(even less from the "city limits"), and have within within walking distance: A food store, a clothing and home goods store, a butcher, an italian imports store (gotta have your good olive oil!), dry cleaners, auto parts store, and many others that might be less helpful (or even IN EXISTENCE) in the future. If you're relatively "young", have escaped lower body injury, and are ambulatory... you'd be surprised how "far" you can walk. That walk to the store, sure it takes a bit longer, but all of a sudden, you're there - and it didn't seem that bad. I encourage others to give it a shot.

D'oh! --> Ahhhh...
8/15/2005 09:04:00 PM | Author: baloghblog

D'Oh! (10:30 a.m. at work)

Ahhhh.... (Beautiful sunset on my evening walk 8:20 p.m.)
Plug-In Hybrids make the Syracuse Post-Standard news feed
8/13/2005 06:33:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Not sure if this made the paper yet, but found it online tonight.

The Associated Press:

Experimental hybrid cars get up to 250 mpg:

Politicians and automakers say a car that can both reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away. Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage.

It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid, but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret — a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.

Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car.

Like all hybrids, his Prius increases fuel efficiency by harnessing small amounts of electricity generated during braking and coasting. The extra batteries let him store extra power by plugging the car into a wall outlet at his home in this San Francisco suburb — all for about a quarter.

He's part of a small but growing movement. "Plug-in" hybrids aren't yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg.


The extra batteries let Gremban drive for 20 miles with a 50-50 mix of gas and electricity. Even after the car runs out of power from the batteries and switches to the standard hybrid mode, it gets the typical Prius fuel efficiency of around 45 mpg. As long as Gremban doesn't drive too far in a day, he says, he gets 80 mpg.

Others are doing the same, and giving a choice word or two for politicians:

University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank built a plug-in hybrid from the ground up in 1972 and has since built seven others, one of which gets up to 250 mpg. They were converted from non-hybrids, including a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Suburban.

Frank has spent $150,000 to $250,000 in research costs on each car, but believes automakers could mass-produce them by adding just $6,000 to each vehicle's price tag.

Instead, Frank said, automakers promise hydrogen-powered vehicles hailed by President Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though hydrogen's backers acknowledge the cars won't be widely available for years and would require a vast infrastructure of new fueling stations.

"They'd rather work on something that won't be in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff," Frank said. "They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially."

Great article, worth a read. It seems to me that when the first generation of Toyota Priuses and Honda Insights are due to go in for battery maintainence in a couple of years, this would be a perfect time to snatch one up and convert it to plug-in status. Save a buck or two, probably too.


Grist dampers my enthusiasm with a reality-based post. I am still enthusiastic about a future balance between a car powered by renewable electricity and a hybrid engine.

In other words, for his $3000 he will get 80 miles per gallon for 20 miles before his carriage turns back into a pumpkin. For the rest of the day he will carry a hundred pounds of bricks around in his now-useless trunk, which by the way will degrade his gas mileage. For the first 20 miles he drives each day he will save 0.25 gallons, thus recouping his $3000 in about twenty years, assuming his batteries last that long. The more miles he drives after the batteries go dead, the worse things get because of the extra weight of the dead batteries in his trunk. Which leads me to ask: If his commute is only ten miles each way, why not just ride a bike, get a little exercise, and save $3000? You can also get 80 mpg out of a 40-mpg car by carpooling with one passenger, or get 120 mpg with two passengers, or 160-mpg with three passengers.
post peak oil daydream...
8/13/2005 05:44:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
I wake up early with the dew still on the vines, perusing this years cab franc grapes, which are 2 weeks early with the hot sun and dry weather. I head back to the barn, load two cases of wine onto my wheel barrow, and head next door to the neighbor's to trade for the weeks worth of veggies and 4 quarts of goats milk and a small container of blueberries. It's almost time to start hiring pickers for the fall harvest, so I pass the word on to the neighbor that soon there will be work available, and to find some able hands to get the job done. Work (for money) has been scarce, so the word spreads quickly into town, and I am confident that I will have the 30 people I need to get the grapes in within days. The work is manual and backbreaking, but pays in wine and coins, more than most see in a month. I know that the brandy and wine will fetch a decent price in town at the CSA market, so I can afford to pay well, and can expect hard work in return.

During the afternoon heat, I treat patients in my home - on the barter system. Trading treatment for favors, fresh eggs, wool, and non-rusted scrap metal to fashion into barrel straps. I ease their pain, and that is a better reward than the favors and bartered goods. The nearest doctor is 10 miles away in then next town. Fine for check up visits, but a world away with a bad knee or back.

I grab a quick glass of 'grape-aid' and pine for a single sour lemon.

When the weather cools in the evening, I chop and stack wood that has been weathering since the spring, getting ready for winter. I realize how much life has changed, and instead of days filled with living for the moment, so much time is dedicated planning and preparing for future days.

Exhausted, I take a luke warm solar shower, and soak my aching bones. Dinner's on the table when I get back, fresh corn chowder, a multitude of veggies, and blueberry cobbler for desert. I savor every fresh bite, thinking of the leaner winter months last year with the endless sweet potatoe recipies, and canned preserves. Quickly banishing the unpleasent thought from my head, my thoughts move to next week and the harvest, and the long nights with shotgun in hand, and bells on the vines, making sure that drifters take no more than a few grapes.

I sit on the front porch, watching a sailboat pass up the lake, while a barge is being pushed the opposite direction. I sip on a stiff grappa, soaking in the stars. (dreaming of air conditioning...)

Under the category - Who the hell knew?
8/13/2005 10:27:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Rochester, NY at one point had a subway, and still has a tunnel that runs along the course of the Erie Canal.

Of course, learning this knowledge is a moot point, and they want to fill it in with dirt and permanently seal it up.

Not, say, put in a light rail. Or, open it up, fill it with water and reconnect the canal.

Syracuse Post-Standard:

The subway tunnel, which runs east and west beneath Broad Street, lies on the original bed of the Erie Canal, and some residents even advocate flooding the channel and bringing the canal back to the heart of the city.

"We were the smallest city in the country to have a subway," said Sandee Lyman, one of a few dozen residents who wear "Chill the Fill" T-shirts around town. "It's beautiful and it's historic. So why fill it in with dirt?"

The tunnel's supporters began circulating petitions and attending City Council meetings this spring. They started talking about how cities like Creede, Colo., and Hutchison, Kan., were converting their old mine shafts into museums. They organized flashlight tours through the Rochester subway until the city found out and put up "no trespassing" signs.

Supporters saidrefurbishing the tunnel could draw tourists, money and prestige to a city desperate for all three.

But the planhas enraged some residents and preservationists. They have started a campaign to stop the fill and force the City Council to consider preserving the tunnel and turning it into a museum, art gallery or a light-rail line.
8/13/2005 09:47:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
I got hit with it for the first time yesterday. I slightly feel honored enough that my blog should receive that sort of attention, but then again pissed b/c I may have to do something about it if it persists.

I will watch and if it happens again will have to go to OK'ing comments before posting.


I just completed all of my bloglines set-up. I wonder if that is just coincidence.
Picture is worth 1000 words - Gas Prices
8/12/2005 03:37:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
This was the price going to my appointment:

This was the price after I left 45 min later:

More random shots from a day of driving:

Highest price of the day:

Middleman has a good post on renewable energy...
8/12/2005 07:26:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
His thoughts here. Hygridder article here. Sterling solar-powered engines? Here.
Roberts Website Located - Please click and have a look!
8/11/2005 07:41:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
http://yesjake.org is where information on Jake Roberts mission, platform, campaign information and volunteering information can be found.

I have just found the site myself, but wanted to pass it on to anyone that might be interested. I will post more in detail later, after digesting his platform. Here is just a taste though, found in his Energy section of his platform

Create a municipal power authority to secure cost effective renewable energy for our future

As a partnership between the city, its businesses and institutions, resident investors and area farmers, I propose a not-for-profit Municipal Power Authority that will channel private and public development funds into creating wind and bio-diesel electrical infrastructure for all city neighborhoods. The venture would create power only for use within the city of Syracuse, thus creating a long term advantage to locating a business in, or living within the city borders. Part of my overall development vision is to make Syracuse so desirable as a place to live, that suburban families and businesses will move back into the city to take advantage of its amenities and conveniences. Abundant, cheap, environmentally responsible electricity is one of those amenities, which will become more of an advantage to the city as energy prices rise over the next 5 years.

Re-design neighborhoods to reduce automobile dependency

The re-design of existing neighborhoods to accommodate more population clustered around transit nodes, connected by bicycle ways, and interlinked with publicly maintained pedestrian thoroughfares will reduce the need to own and operate cars to live our daily lives. My proposal for neighborhood design, besides providing increased live-ability, is integral to an overall energy policy of demand reduction.

Reduce energy demand with a Syracuse Energy Code, doubling the requirements of the State Code.

In the very near future, energy costs will be the largest cost associated with owning a home. I am proposing that all new construction and remodeling within the city borders achieve double the efficiency of the state energy code, so that homes in the city will be viewed as a wiser investment than less efficient homes in the suburbs, and thus retain high value. My administration will create a program to channel all available power industry, state and federal assistance funds for energy improvements to all qualified city home owners. This measure will make providing alternative energy to all city residents by the Municipal Power Authority much easier, with less capital investment in generating equipment and less cost to taxpayers. A program to promote and assist home owners in creating their own alternative energy systems, or to assist neighborhoods to create energy cooperatives will be aggressively pursued by city hall.

Impressive ideas. Fits right in to all of our sustainable ideas that we've been blogging about. Those in far away places like CA, MO, and the south east might like alot of what he has to say. (as well as those currently in MX)

Jacob Roberts for Mayor of Syracuse
xoxo and 40 Below by valleysue, 8/11/05 10:27 ET
These posts are a riot. Heartyou....I do.I'll be visiting more often now that I know there is real substance thrown around in here-pretty messy indeed. The obvious is the obvious though...

Drisoll is what he is and has been and isn't changing.

As are the people that work for him.

Joanie-I don't know much about her, except that she has four children. I have one child, and it's hard.

There are many issues that I'm looking forward to hearing...

Truth is - Syracuse's young population has been growing, I've been growing with it...Syracuse needs change.

I did read Jacob Roberts' platform. It's beautiful. It makes sense. He has a lot of great ideas that seem to be his own. I'm an artist, and I've seen him-from the sidelines- do a lot with so little-for little return except bringing local art into spotlight. I know I read somewhere that he was the idea man behind the 40 Below gathering.

Imagine what he could do with a city budget of 400 million dollars.He seems to have a huge heart, and a brilliant mind.

A mayors job should be just that-to care about his/or her city.

A mayor should be able to speak from that place-a place of deepest concern and care...

From their heart.

I've met Howie Hawkins-JR's politics come from a more conscious place-but he's definatly not a green.

Howie Hawkins is hard, and jaded, tired and worn.

Syracuse needs new youthful energy. Imagine Syracuse as a thriving hot city-a small boston...All of our old industrial buildings utilized as artspace...I've been following all of Jacobs ideas as he was director of ThINC. See the programs on ThINC.org All of them are his....and are ready to be put into effect.

Downtown looks dead, except for when there's one of those festivals every weekend, with the same flippin' bands, and the same drunk crowd....yippeee.. Poor Salina St.

I look very forward to hearing more from Jacob Roberts.

The others bore the daylights out of me.

Jacob Roberts for Mayor of Syracuse
China to test conversion of rooftops to solar power in Shanghai
8/10/2005 07:59:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Via the Alex Bennett Show this morning, link to story via Emptywells:
If the project becomes operational, 100,000 of the 6 million roofs in Shanghai, a city plagued by chronic power shortages, will be used to supply solar energy to local residents, revealed Professor Cui Rongqiang, director of the Institute of Solar Energy at Shanghai Jiaotong University and the head of the project, over the weekend.

According to Cui, the selected roofs will be equipped with a system that is able to convert sunlight into electricity by the end of 2015,

Crystalline silicon solar cells inset onto large boards, that turn sunlight into solar energy, will be linked to the buildings' cables, which will then transmit electricity to the power grid.

It is estimated that the 100,000 roofs will be able to generate at least 430 million kilowatt hours (kwhs) of electricity every year, enough to supply the city for nearly two days.
The cost is what is sited as prohibited:
However, the financial cost is high.

It costs at least 150,000 yuan (US$18,496) just to set up one roof.
So lets do the math:

100,000 roofs x $18,500 = $1,850,000,000

This will generate 430million kwh / year x 35 years = 15,050,000,000 kwh

$1.85 billion / 15.05 billion kwh = $0.123/kwh

Off of my energy bill:

Cost of delivery per kwh = $0.0421
Cost of supply perkwh = $0.0751

Total cost per kwh = $0.1172 - a difference of 6/10th of 1 cent per kwh.

Yes I understand that this is a big initial investment. But won't inflation and increased cost of energy supply go up in the next 35 years? Won't that make the cost of the project even more worth it?

Hmm, let's see, where did our tax money go in the new Energy Bill?
What's this, some community reaction to high diesel prices?
8/10/2005 07:47:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Via Eschaton:

NBC6 in Florida is running a story about independent truckers who staged a protest on the highways of Miami today, asking officials for fuel surcharge break for independent truckers, who are feeling the pinch of high fuel costs and cannot pass the cost on to the local shippers. (pic from NBC6)
An aside to Candidate Roberts
8/09/2005 11:03:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Where is your internet presence? How do people who are interested in helping with your campaign contact you, and the YES! party to help out? I will do my humble bit to help your run for the mayor on my lowly blog, but don't you need immediate assistance in the form of people to get signatures to get you on the ballot?

A google search for "Jacob Roberts Syracuse Mayor" comes up with the 3 articles that have mentioned you in the Post-Standard and the New Times, a link to my endorsement, and to your work with the ThINC.

I would be more than willing to help distribute information to potential campaign workers, but I think that you should try to get in the New Times or Post-Standard with a press release on how to contact you.

Anyone with information please contact me at baloghblog [at] yahoo [dot] com and I will do whatever I can to help.
Another Roberts Mention in the Post-Standard, again in a good light
8/09/2005 10:55:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
From the Sunday Op-Ed section:

6. Jacob Roberts joined the field of mayoral hopefuls in Syracuse, passing petitions to be listed on the Youth Empowered Sustainability Party line. Which of his platform issues would be a giant step forward for the city?

a) Reinvigorate Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today groups.

b) Design vibrant, urban places.

c) Center new development around improved public transportation.

d) Create SyraCorps, a youth corps of high school students who perform community service.

Their answer?

6) What's not to like?

Somebody at the Post-Standard likes our man. I hope the message can keep getting out there.

Jacob Roberts for Mayor of Syracuse


Susan Cartner:

The next mayor needs to provide more funding for home renovation, said Susan Cartner, 45, of 610 Gifford St. "When we ask about grants, they say there’s no grants for the West Side. They separate us out," Cartner said. "If you look at all the houses around here, they all need work. At this point, it’s nothing we can afford to do."

Jacob Robert's response:
"I’d lead with social innovation. Renovating homes is an opportunity to nurture community cooperation, volunteer, provide skills training to youth using education funds, partner with business for materials and creatively focus human resources and generosity we do have, to replace the money we don’t have."
Why I agree:

The Syracuse community needs to stop waiting for a magical solution to come down the Thruway from Albany, and needs to stop relying on Jim Walsh to "bring home the bacon" for Syracuse. We need to stop blaming everyone else for our problems, and start to take care of our own challenges. Fostering a community effort to renovate homes, with local corporate and small business backing would be a start. Encouraging the residents of that community to volunteer time and energy would increase the local resident's personal investment in the West Side. Encouraging those who live in the suburbs to help out would help remind the middle class residents that surround the city, that we are all a community together, and we shouldn't just segregate the West Side as an area that lacks the ability to improve.

If funds are available, I believe that Roberts had it right when he said that we should "provide skills training to youth using education funds". Paying people to train local youths in general carpentry, landscaping, and other renovations would provide them with a life skill could lead to entrepreneurial efforts, or employment in other renovation or construction work. (After all there is supposed to be a large building project "coming soon" to the Hiawatha Blvd area, which will need experienced construction workers.)

What else needs to be done:

Other voices

Edith Brown, 52, of 513 Gifford St., said: "Tell them to clean up the drug dealers. They hang on the street. They sell it like it was candy. You call the police, they chase them away, and they come right back again." The police would have more luck busting dealers, she said, if officers patrolled in unmarked cars. "I've seen kids a young as 12 years old selling that stuff. It's disgusting."

I agree, along with an effort to get residents more invested in their community, the next mayor needs to provide an immediate return on their investment, in the form of increased police patrols, increased man power to deal with the gang and drug issues that keep the West Side down. More undercover work, more narcotics agents. The city has begun to make progress in this area, but our efforts should be doubled.

The other candidates responses: (Including one from Howie Hawkins, who I incorrectly said was running for councilor at large, and apparently is running for mayor. My apologies.)

Mayor Matt Driscoll

, (D): "From 1999 to 2005, millions of dollars have been dedicated to grants and low-cost loans on the city’s Near West Side. Additional grants (from federal sources) are available to homeowners yearly through... housing agencies.... Unfortunately, we see a decrease in available funds each year. We will continue to advocate for our fair share."

Joanie Mahoney

, (R-C-Ind): "Congressman Walsh has brought millions of federal dollars back to Syracuse for this purpose but, unfortunately, City Hall struggles to figure out how to spend it. As mayor, I’ll act quickly to make sure that these home improvement funds get into the hands of homeowners wishing to further invest in Syracuse."

Howie Hawkins

, (Green): "I’d create a municipal bank, capitalized in part by city and resident deposits, which would make home loans without the discrimination experienced by neighborhoods like the Near West Side. I’d also stop corporate welfare loans from Community Development Block Grants that reduce funds for housing grants when those businesses fail."
Americans have their heads in the sand
8/09/2005 05:13:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Now, it's my personal opinion that we really are headed for crash central this fall. The price of oil is entering uncharted territory. Natural gas has virtually tripled in price since 2003. People are beginning to fear that the heating season will be brutal for those in the employ of WalMart and worse for those in the employ of nobody. Magical as this phony-baloney over-leveraged economy has seemed, whatever remains of real life will be affected by higher gasoline prices. I know it sounds absurd to say that, because so far Americans have seemed to absorb a one year price doubling without complaint. But we're hostages to motoring, whether we like it or not, and when the price of gasoline goes north of $3 a gallon (coming very soon) yowls will be heard even in the soundproofed sanctums of Karl Rove's west wing headquarters.
WASHINGTON - The economy is holding up well despite high energy prices. Economic activity expanded at an energetic 3.4 percent clip in the second quarter as consumers and businesses showed they were still in the mood to spend.

Ed Mortimer, director of congressional and public affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the group is pleasantly surprised that travel and tourism seem to be holding up so well in light of the high energy costs.

"From everything we've seen at this point, people are just swallowing the increased energy costs and finding a way to travel and vacation," he said.


But Oregonians, like other Americans, have not given up on using their cars, Eki said. Vacation travel is showing no signs of slowing down, and consumers continue to buy larger cars, despite the amount of gas it takes to run them.

"It may be because the economy is turning around," Eki said. "They figure they can economize elsewhere."

I don't know what will begin to focus our collective attention on the tough choices that many Americans will need to face this winter.

Will it be $3.00/gal gas?

I don't see why that would make much of a difference. Other than the working classes starting to feel the pinch, and the unemployment rate starting to tick up a notch, will we even notice? Will news reports begin to offer any solutions, rather than treating the news as an oddity?

Will it be the heating bills that are 40% higher than last year?

More noticeable for the Average Joe. A heating bill that goes from $300/mo to $420/mo is noticeable, but again enough for anyone to begin taking action? Maybe so.

Will it be the increasing loss of life related to difficulty heating homes?

Again, I think that the MSM would treat the upcoming rise in deaths due to lack of heating, or heating by unsafe/unconventional means as an oddity. 'Oooh, look. There are people dying from the cold in our country.' Coverage [like the latest train derailment or plane crash], coming up after the break.

Interesting info on
"fuel poverty", from the BBC.

There should be a full blown deluge of information from the federal and state governments on how citizens can make upgrades to their home to increase energy efficiency in regards to home heating, tax incentives beyond the paltry $500 tax break in the Energy Bill (one energy efficient window costs approximately $500 installed), and information for those renting or unable to make major renovations to help prepare for a cold winter and high energy costs, including how to seal windows and eliminate drafts around doors.

Yes, I know it's August. Yes, I know that it will be 90+ degrees this week. But, mark my words, it's going to be a long cold winter this year.

Romehater had his thoughts about the situation this past weekend, and compared the cost of gas increase to the lack of increase in the minimum wage. Although, I think that prices have gone up more dramatically than he thought. The price is up 66% over the past 3 years alone.

Chart from syracusegasprices.com:

Big Gav adds in 2 more cents and agrees that the way to go is:
for the British giovernment (and those of other cold countries) to strongly encourage the take up of insulation and other efficiency measures by homeowners and landlords (ie. don't try to solve the problem by subsidising fuel use, though this may be necessary in some limited circumstances, solve the cause of the problem).

To all the trolls in the CNY Politics Forum of Syracuse.com
8/08/2005 10:31:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Here is my post to the CNY politics forum of Syracuse.com:

Jacob Roberts by backtocuse, 8/5/05 16:15 ET
I am curious to know what the fine upstanding posters of this forum think of Jacob Roberts bid for mayor.

Snark will be accepted, but try to add in a statement or two about what you think of the issues that he raises...

post standard

I think that the article skips over one of the more important aspects of his platform, that he would attempt to have Syracuse become a municipal power authority (as in Solvay) to lower energy costs to residents and businesses.

The new times have a better article on his ideas: newtimes

Here is snark #1 response:

I think he should be by JBstartJR, 8/5/05 17:22 ET
Re: Jacob Roberts by backtocuse, 8/5/05

running for Mayor of the City of Ithica.

Snark #2:

i think by LoSqualo, 8/6/05 7:34 ET
Re: Jacob Roberts by backtocuse, 8/6/05

he stole that idea from Howie Hawkins who has been arguing for such a power authority since mister roberts was still suckling at his mommy's breast
My response:
It doesn't matter, Howie isn't running for mayor, he's running for Councilor-at-large.

Why isn't that a viable idea? People seem to write anyone off that isn't in the pockets of the Republicans or Democrats, yet this board is 99% complaining about the other candidate, not about providing solutions to the same issues that have been affecting the city negatively over the past 30 years.

Doubling the population of the city, encouraging a vibrant arts community, and increasing youth participation in government are real and reasonable goals. Phantom hotel deals, and vacant buildings will not revitalize this community.

Imagine the downtown area with 40,000 residents, a walkable and safe community. Grocery stores, local businesses, and the arts community thriving. Energy costs that are 40% less than in the suburbs. Increasing tax receipts providing new funding to improve downtown schools, and add programs to them instead of finding new ones to cut. SU migrating and expanding from it's perch on top of the hill. Public transportation increased, revitalization of empty office and retail buildings in the downtown corridor. These things can be accomplished.

Don't underestimate Robert's effect on this mayoral contest.

As part of my backing of Jacob Roberts, I will be spending much more time among the trolls in the CNY forum, trying to win some people over.

Wish me luck!

Challenge of the Week: I "Green'ed Up" with Niagara Mohawk
8/08/2005 07:50:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
I dusted off the "Challenge of the Week" feature of this blog to see if I could convert some of the energy swirling around the blogosphere in the form of complaints about rising energy costs and the price of gasoline, as well as the increasing public disdain for the war in Iraq.

Well this post will not help you save a lot on your car gasoline bill, (nor your car insurance for that matter) it will help reduce CO2 emmisions, and help you feel less badly about leaving your light on, or your computer on overnight (tsk tsk)...

My challenge to you is to "Green-up" your electricity bill. It is a simple process, and will only increase your energy bill by $7-15/month on average. There are a few options out there. I chose to have my energy supplied by the Green Mountain Energy Company. My TV and computer will now be powered by 50% wind power, and 50% small hydro power. The increase in my cost will be 1.3 cents per kilowatt hour. What does that translate to? I average about 450-600 kilowatt hours per month, although my usage continues to decline as I become more energy efficient and more energy aware. The unusual heat of the summer has pushed up the bill, as the fan ceases to cut it on the cooling side and the central air comes on to keep the house at a balmy 77 degrees. In any case that will equal an additional $5.85-$7.80 per month, which turns out to be approximately 7% increase in my energy cost.

From the AskPSC campaign on Green Power:
If just 10% of New York's households choose Green Power for their electricity supply, it would prevent nearly 3 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, 10 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, and nearly 4 million pounds of nitrogen oxides from getting into our air each year. Green Power helps us all breathe a little easier.
I know I am preaching to the choir in many cases, so if you have already chosen a renewable energy supplier for your electricity, Bravo! Your challenge will be to convince your friend, or your co-worker, or your Mom and Dad to switch as well. If you've already done that, then your challenge is to donate to those less fortunate than you in Niger.
What sa matter with BlogRolling?
8/08/2005 05:08:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
None of my links are appearing, hope it's just a short term glitch.

UPDATE 6:20 no prob now, back to normal.
Feebates, hmm I like the sound of that...
8/08/2005 07:32:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
From MSNBC/Newsweek, via odograph, etc.

Everyone seems to be commenting on this MSNBC/Newsweek article, so I'll throw $0.02 in now, and maybe come back for another comment or two on it. Here is the sentence that jumped out at me at the end of the article:
The most important would be to offer "feebates"— a charge on inefficient vehicles that would be rebated to buyers of efficient ones, within each size class.
Sounds great to me. Toyota, can you hear this? Jump ahead of the bandwagon again, and beat the US government to the punch as well, and consider this practice.
Calling all blog nerds out there - invent something for me:
8/04/2005 10:10:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
I have a good idea for a blog tool, but have neither the time nor experience to program it. I would love to have a blogging tool that allows you to tag and track comments that you make on other people's blogs.

I am just getting the hang of the RSS thing, but think that it would be great to have a way to check back in to comment threads that you've made a comment on to see what the replies are.

I am exhausted, so I am sure there is a much more succinct way of describing what I am talking about. But, if you have any idea how to go about such a thing let me know. Who knows, maybe someone already invented it.
Rising Oil prices lead to a second look at the Erie Canal
8/04/2005 07:11:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
AP/WSTM: As a pair of large turbines made by General Electric make their way across the Erie Canal, state officials are hoping to see more commercial shipping on New York's canal system. A 90-foot tug is pushing a 300-foot barge carrying the two G-E turbines, one of them built in Schenectady. The cargo left the Port of Albany yesterday and is scheduled to reach Oswego by tomorrow. From there, a Canadian tug will take the load to a nuclear plant in Ontario, Canada. Other turbines are scheduled to be moved through the canal system in September and October.

The state Canal Corporation wants to encourage more commercial traffic with loads such as sand and hay. The agency says with rising oil costs, companies may opt to transport large cargo loads via the waterway because of the fuel efficiency.

UPDATED to include a Erie Canal FAQ.

The newest candidate for Syracuse mayor wants to double the city's population in eight years, abolish the Common Council in favor of a neighborhood Congress and hire a city manager to handle administrative duties.

"The idea is to decentralize city government, and bring it into the neighborhoods," says Jacob Roberts, a Syracuse University graduate who will turn 32 next week and has just announced he's running for mayor.
New Times:
A quick scan of Roberts' preliminary platform outline, however, reveals myriad echoes of that agenda. Neighborhood governing councils, neighborhood city halls with decentralized public services, an expanded common council, a municipal power authority and a priority on environmentalism have been Green Party cornerstones since it began organizing locally in 1989.

Getting together with friends, Roberts said, he'd always bring the newspaper and point to issues like the sewage treatment plant and downtown development. His friends urged him to run for office because he had such passion for the city.

After resigning as executive director of ThINC, Roberts said, he decided to make his full-time job running for mayor. He's not worried about money, just helping Syracuse "become the pioneer city it's perfectly situated to become."

The problems in Syracuse today center around city management, public appeal and getting citizens engaged, Roberts said. He wants the mayor to be the listener and the thinker, gathering ideas from citizens and other communities.

New Times:
"This {campaign} is a continuation of a movement from my efforts in Syracuse, mostly through ThINC over the past decade. I want to create a bustling city with a small-town atmosphere with mom-and-pop stores. I think this campaign will resonate with 40 Below. I'm definitely carrying a torch for the 40-Belowers in this community; 40 Below was my baby, in response to the Richard Florida initiative.

By making communities more vital, people will want to live here and the population will grow, Roberts said. He also wants to establish a youth council that would have a voice in government, promote entrepreneurialism, give youngsters opportunities and turn the arts into an industry. That way young people aren't trained to be secretaries and factory workers, he said.

Roberts said he thinks Mayor Matt Driscoll got elected because people wanted a young, fresh voice. Now, he said, he's that person.

"I'm a catalyst," he said. "I've always been good at taking ideas, concepts and desires and turning them into something tangible. I love bringing people together, and that's what people in Syracuse need to heal."

Roberts is running on the yet to be heard from YES! (Youth Empowered Sustainability) party line, and needs to get 1,500 signatures to be on the ballot. He advocates the city partnering with the Destiny development.

I hope to contact him soon, and learn more about his plans and platform for the city. I will surely post more on this in the future, and urge all city residents to sign his ballot petition and add a new voice, and breath of fresh air to the Syracuse political arena.

Jacob Roberts for Mayor of Syracuse
8/02/2005 10:40:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
UPDATED and pushed up to top:

Bush to set record vacation for sitting president:
WACO, Tex., Aug. 2 -- President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of -- 33 days away from the office, loaded with vacation time.


Until now, probably no modern president was a more famous vacationer than Ronald Reagan, who loved spending time at his ranch in Santa Barbara, Calif. According to an Associated Press count, Reagan spent all or part of 335 days in Santa Barbara over his eight-year presidency -- a total that Bush will surpass this month in Crawford with 3 1/2 years left in his second term.
(emphasis mine)

What the fuck is it with these Repub presidents and their time off? It's hard work, that's all...

From Arianna:
Actually, I’m glad the president is able to get out of Washington and recharge his batteries so frequently… unlike most Americans, who only get an average of 12 days of vacation a year. Compare that with workers in Germany who get around four weeks off a year.
According to Scott McClellan, Bush will use part of his August vacation encouraging Americans to become more physically active. That’s great. But how about the president encouraging employers to give employees more time off -- or even just encourage them to take the vacation time they are owed -- so they can both get physically active and spend more time with their families?
Making matters worse, Americans don’t even use all the time off they have coming to them. A poll commissioned by Expedia found that U.S. workers will fail to use more than 421 million vacation days this year -- in no small part because they feel they have “too much work” and can’t afford the time away. Which is not to say that Americans couldn’t care less about taking vacations. Indeed, a Salary.com poll found that, if given the choice, 39 percent of U.S. workers pick more time off instead of a $5,000 raise.
(emphasis mine)

I feel fortunate to have a job (first of all), and secondly a job that allows for adequate time off. My wife has found, however, that 1 week vaca seems to be the norm for her field in Upstate NY. 1 WEEK? That is ridiculous. What kind of life is that? Luckily her employers to date have been flexible and allowed her to take more time off - without pay.

With the unions breaking up. I fear that the balance of power will continue to swing towards the profit mongers and wall street and away from the American worker.

And before anyone posts about high unemployment in Europe, and how American's are so better off, etc. There are a lot of people out of work here as well, and some of those who work here work multiple jobs to make ends meet. These people get no time off. Krugman has more thoughts. Please read, I have been meaning to post on this since I read his op-ed this weekend.
Blog updated
8/02/2005 08:19:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
let me know what you think. The orange and blue (SU colors) were getting a bit stale.
A good cause
8/02/2005 07:25:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
I heard the story of two women walking miles and miles to try and find food and milk for their babies and family today, and it broke my heart.
"There are, I think, dozens of children dying every day under the age of five," says Jean Zeigler of the United Nations. "There are many, many hundreds of thousands of victims; nobody knows where they are dying, because it is so immense."

Officials estimate that there are some 800,000 children in Niger who need food urgently.

Every third infant there is underfed.
Click here for information on the famine in Niger.

Where to donate.
NYPD's finest
8/01/2005 10:16:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
"Flava Flav and (undercover) company" thought that my partaking in a cold beverage on a hot summer day prior to a concert was worthy of a fine. I don't have to remind you how old I am, but I am of a legal age, let's just say. Meanwhile, back at the dude ranch, Johnny Moon-eyes and his coked out girl friend are playing beer-pong in the next aisle over.

25 bucks.

Then they told us we could keep drinking, just put it in a plastic cup.

Didn't ruin my night though. Had a great time in NYC as always. Thanks Kerry.