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Rebuilding the Centre County Pa Green Party

I've talked about the potential of the Green Party here at Voices before, especially a Green Democrat alliance.

The Greens have been out of business here in Centre County and State College for quite a while, which is really kind of crazy when you think about it.

If there is any lesson at all to be drawn from the last 7 years, it is that leaving politics to the politicals is a disaster. They are corrupt. They are incompetent. And they have no vision.

There has never been a better time to rebuild the greens. Climate change news is coming on stronger every day, and, if the scientists are right, it is likely to be top news for decades to come. Experts say average oil prices will be higher in 2008 than ever before. And the economy is shaky at best, and possibly riddled with rot and staggering into a recession.

The Green message has never had a better chance of being heard.

So, I plan to start talking up the idea of starting a new Green Party presence in Centre County and Central Pa.

If you have any interest at all in the idea, get a voices account, or use your voices account, and join the conversation.

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Here are some Green Party Voices links

Green Party of Pennsylvania Seems A Bit Subdued

Well, it doesn't look like there is much of a green centre region presence on the net... http://pagreenparty.org/ This ... http://www.greenpartypa.org/ This is now the offical Green Party Pa page, I believe. An article about the pennsylvania greens, Did ...

blog entry - Bill - 2006-03-10 17:37 - 8 comments

Green Party Candidate for Congressional 5th District in 2008

... to see what kind of support an alterntive to the two major party's candidates might have in the area. I have a basic website up. ... I wonder how that sound-byte would work as a Green Party Promise for the 5th district Pa voters? Boy, I'd like to test ...

blog entry - donald wilson - 2007-12-13 07:28 - 6 comments

Romanelli Tossed Off of PA ballot

... , It's over. A judge has just ruled that Green Senate candidate Carl Romanelli is off the ballot in the Pennsylvania ... is a good idea. If we could ever get the democrat party leadership to stop sucking corporate teat. The ten point green party ...

blog entry - veblen - 2006-09-25 10:24 - 1 comment

Greens Strong Elsewhere in Pa., Not Centre County

... Article body: In a groundbreaking year, the Green Party of Pennsylvania continues to build and strengthen a new generation of ...

Voices Article - voicesweb - 2006-11-17 13:27 - 0 comments

Republicans secretly fund ALL (but $30) of the PA Greens Sen. Budget

... that Santorum supporters funded all but $30 of this years Green senate campaign budget in Pennsylvania. I'm still thinking that a ... down: Every single contributor to the Pennsylvania Green Party Senate candidate is actually a conservative – except for the candidate ...

blog entry - Bill - 2006-08-03 17:53 - 0 comments

Dearth of Bloggers Plagues Region

... to the tent. --- Hey, does anybody know who the Green Party peeps are in this area? I'd like to hear whatever ideas are cooking ...

blog entry - Bill - 2006-03-09 18:03 - 0 comments

I exchanged letters with the Pa Green Party Board Secretary

Wanting to make sure I didn't accidentally step on any toes, I wrote the Pennsylvania Greens Secretary, Blyden Potts - I'm hoping to be able to publish the exchange of letters soon.

http://www.gpofpa.org/index.php?module=htmlpages&func=display&pid=2

He immediately checked my voters registration (which is libertarian - a lot of internet people are libertarian), which I thought was a good sign - that they are aware of the mathematics of politics, and the numbers of registered greens in this area.

I'm not planning on changing my registration yet - I'm interested in the political potential of the gren party, but I'm not convinced yet it has the organization and the message that can really influence people in these times.

I'm a little concerned that the greens might be stuck back in the 20th century, and not really capable of doing the internet grassroots thing. The future of politics is online.

overwhelming response

The response is pretty disappointing, what do you think can be done about it? Is there really no Green Party in central Pa or even at Penn State?

it's always disappointed me lol

I hear that!

if there is a green party presence anyhere around here it hides better than a mink near a muskrat stream.

I pretty often contemplate trying to start one here, but I'm not necessarily the best person to spearhead such a project.

I exchanged some emails with official green party types near philly - when they learned I was registered libertarian and wasn't necessarily ready to change that, and only wanted to help greens organize here, they seemed to lose interest.

Eco-Action, the psu club, might be greens, I don't know.

You got any thoughts on how to organize? I think greens will have a much bigger role to play in the near future. Right now we have the PRO-pro-corporate party, (the republicans), and the Pro-corporate party (the democrats) - and neither party has policies that make any sense.

 

 

Greens in Centre County

I lived in State College growing up and just moved back, so don't know much about the political landscape here. The Eco-Action people I used to know were pretty Green friendly, however, I can't say that I currently know anyone there. A good method of organizing might be to run a weekly potluck somewhere but I have done very little political work other than handing out flyers and answering questions for a long time now. It may be possible that any candidates will have to be recruited but there needs to be a base first or nobody will want to accept any kind of nomination.

we'll see if any more interest happens this time around

well, if anything starts to happen I'll donate a web presence to the cause. It'd be easy for me to set up and manage a centralpagreens webs site.

meetings are harder for me, as I imagine they might be for nearly anyone. but, one does what one must when the devil drives - so I'd even try to get to meetings.

Here's the green party's main website:

http://www.gp.org/index.php

They are planning on updating the platform, which has been much the same since 2004:

http://www.gp.org/platform.shtml

I think their platform is way too long - a condensed verion is needed, a one page or less summary.

Their "Ten Key Values" comes closest to a summary I figure:

10 KEY VALUES

1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY

Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect his or her life and should not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
3. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM

Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature.
We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
4. NON-VIOLENCE

It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society's current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments.
We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.
5. DECENTRALIZATION

Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.
6. COMMUNITY BASED ECONOMICS

Redesign our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy. Develop new economic activities and institutions that will allow us to use our new technologies in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological and accountable, and responsive to communities.
Establish some form of basic economic security, open to all.
Move beyond the narrow "job ethic" to new definitions of "work," jobs" and "income" that reflect the changing economy.
Restructure our patterns of income distribution to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal monetary economy: those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardens, community volunteer work, etc.
Restrict the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation.
7. FEMINISM AND GENDER EQUITY

We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.
8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines.
We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.
9. PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY

We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
10. FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY

Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or "unmaking" all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.
Make the quality of life, rather than open-ended economic growth, the focus of future thinking.

All well and good

The platform is just like any other major party platform except for a very few things. It is all well and good to have these nice sounding goals but it is quite another to actually have a plan to bring any of them about. Environmental sustainability has been an interest of mine for a very long time now and I have thought of the automobile as being one of the worst environmental hazards for a long time so the past couple of years I have been researching and writing about automating the highways and powering the whole system with wind and solar energy. Doing this would convert 1/4 of our national energy use and almost 2/3 of the petroleum use to sustainable sources. (Coincidentally, that amount of petroleum is about equal to our annual trade deficit as well). In addition to saving tens of thousands of lives every year and being usable by anyone, it would create millions of jobs and should over time actually make money for the government (like a toll road). Something like this will never happen if left to "private enterprise" since no private corporation has enough resources for it. The more I study automation, the more I can't believe our system has been so co-opted by entrenched interests that it isn't already being done. Maybe there is some other plan out there that I am not aware of but I think any voter will give more consideration to a party with a clear plan for accomplishing what they are talking about. I am not an expert in many of those fields but I do know about energy production and environmental matters. I don't think the problem with the platform is that it is too long but that it is too long for what it actually says. All of those things could be condensed to a sentence or two at most and expanded on in an addendum that explains what is being talked about and how that goal is to be accomplished.

one can make the argument that politics is useless now

Our political system is so broken these days that one can make the argument that involvement in politics is close to useless now. We are effectively limited to holding our nose and giving our vote to the pro-corporate party merely to vote against the PRO-pro-corporate party - OR we can symbolically throw away our vote in various ways.

I'd lioke to think that americans were still capable of grand transformations and innovations, but the evidence for that is shallow and evaporating as we type.

However, spreading ideas for a transition to an "electricity economy" (my keyphrase for the desirable altenative to a "decline economy") sounds like a good plan to me - so, hey man, start a blog or something and write out your ideas, here or elsewhere, so they can become part of the conversation.

I figure a green party political effort is kind of a "get something ready to take action as the existing system crumbles under the perfect storm of climate change, resource depletion, and economic rot" hail mary play. It won't work yet, because we have not yet come to grips with what is happening to us. But, at some point in the next few decades pain and shock will (or at least might) flip the current system into a new state.

Because of Penn State, we all live here in a kind of artificial bubble, an economic terrarium - and I'm not sure if that will make it easier or harder to do political and economic experiments here.

Harder, I suspect, but I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised.

Anyways, model out your automation scheme - I think you'll find I'm fairly well informed about such things, and should have some intelligent things to say about it.

Too Much

I am writing a book about automating the transportation system and incorporating all of the utility grids into it. It would take a lot of space to transfer even a small part of what I have written here but I am in the process of transferring much of it to the National Personal Transit page on Facebook. It is very hard to get good numbers for much of what I am writing about since there is a lot of proprietary information and much of the technology has never been used on the kind of scale a national transit system would require. Having said that, some parameters I have come up with are The system should go most (90%+) places roads go today. Top speeds should exceed 200 mph thus requiring the system to be enclosed. The system should be able to handle at least double the volume of traffic of any road now in place and should at least equal the best mass transit models for volume.  Accidents should be extremely rare. Anyone who is mobile enough to use a credit card or buy a transit card will be able to use the system. The entire system will contain a new electric grid so that wind doesn't need back-up and solar can be used for daytime peak use. The system will be powered entirely from wind and solar energy. It will cost about $1.5 trillion a year for 20 years to substantially complete but we are already spending more than that for the antiquated system we have. I have just begun esitmating the job potential but it seems like 8-10 million is not an unresonable number, a lot more than any other plan I have seen even if the real number only turns out to be half of that. There is more but I think those are the basics.

so basically an enhanced smart grid road

So, basically an enhanced smart road with a built in smart grid. Sounds cool, very science fictiony. I wish I could believe we were capable of such feats.

I've been saying for years (as have many) that if we took the trillions we spend on maintaining our military empire and spent it on infrastructure we would all be vastly richer and more secure right now.

One builds a new type of large road, and in it or under it or alongside it build data and electrical main lines, and multiply redundant computers to provide guidance presumably, given that you are emphasizing automated movement.

Lol, in my ideal version of such a thing, it would be built over a superconducting electrical trunk line, with something like compressed gas electrical power storage resovoirs every so often. A whole new generation of city to city infrastructure.

Since I do not believe we are politically or economically capable, in our current state of decline, of building such a thing the way it should be built, I tend to look at it and ask, "well, what smaller scale things can you do that work together to accomplish a similar goal?".

But assuming it could be done politically, I think the first few cities that band together and connect themselves with such smart roads would become economic powerhouses.

As content for a book it sounds quite good.

Until about 15 years ago we

Until about 15 years ago we didn't have computers with enough processing power to control tens of millions of vehicles at a time. Now the main obstacle is the political will to do it. There has been a rudimentary system operating in Morgantown WV since the mid 70's and systems at Heathrow Airport in London and Masdar City in Abu Dubai are either already or about to become operative this year. These systems are just stepping stones to the one I would like to see because their basic designs are already decades old. Retrofitting for a superconducting grid will probably be necessary since it doesn't look like that is quite ready for prime time yet but should be implemented once the bugs are worked out. You seem to have a fair grasp of the potential for a system like this but unless enough people know about the idea, entrenched interests will see to it that it doesn't happen until after the Chinese or someone else does it first. Then America will truly no longer be a global leader. Again, I am not saying this has to be THE PLAN but is A PLAN and the kind of thing that Greens ought to be supporting and incorporating into a plan for America. The kind of thing that you don't see Democrats and Republicans doing.

So what type of vehicles are you imagining?

So, what goes on this super smart road? What types of vehicles, and how do they access the electric current?

Do you have any sense of precursors to a fully idealized version?

Because, like I said, we americans have lost the will to think big, and such a concept would have to go thru practical tests first, so what's the smaller politically possible version?

And where would it be built?

Thinking about it, I think we'd have much more success focusing on refurbishing the train infrastructure - altho even something as humble as that is beyond we americans now.

I personally tend to want to move to the direction of moving people less and moving things and information more. So, maybe fleets of computerized semi-automated buses and delivery trucks, fueled on natural gas or methane or butane, or electric if the battery problem can be solved?

Automation

You have asked enough questions to carry on a rather lengthy discussion but I will try to answer them in as succinct manner as possible. The problem with railroads is that they are the most expensive form of transportation to build and for about the same price you could build almost any of the systems I am talking about. Not only that you have to build and maintain roads, too, a well-designed automated system would combine the two. Most of the rest of your questions have more than one answer depending on a multitude of variables like cost, availability of resources (like lithium for batteries if that is a choice), control system used, maximum speeds desired, etc. There are multiple ways to achieve almost everything required for automation. Unfortunately, I haven't found anyone interested in collaborating on this so am having to do all of the research and writing on my own and am still learning but the more I learn, the more I can't believe we are not already doing it given the known problems with today's system.

The technological hurdles that existed with the first automated system in Morgantown, W Va when building it in the 70's have been overcome and the systems at Heathrow Airport and Masdar City in Abu Dubai open this year and will be an improvement. There are literally dozens of companies that have built models or even test tracks for many different kinds of automated systems so there is no shortage of choices. The usual downfalls of most of these systems are cost and volume of traffic they are able to handle. Those are what I have focussed on overcoming. The vehicles would be specially made for the system but there is no reason a person couldn't own one if they wanted to buy one. The idea, though, is that vehicles are supposed to self monitor so that they automatically go to the shop at the first sign of sub-par performance.

The politically possible version is, none in America at the moment, but there are some places like Ithaca, New York talking about automating the downtown and banning cars altogether. If it is only Ithaca, they will never need a system that a major city needs and are unlikely to invest on their own in that kind of high volume transit but we will have to begin somewhere. The problem (or good thing depending on your point of view) with continuing as we are and just switching to other forms of gas is that you still require the same production and distribution infrastructure subsidies and I don't see the costs for those things ever declining substantially, unlike either solar or wind. Batteries would be a good solution already if we had the electric grid to support them but we are already straining it now. That is one reason why a new grid should be integrated into new roadway infrastructure. You should read my essays on the National Personal Transit page on facebook since I expand further on many of the things you have inquired about.

What makes trains such an expensive infrastructure?

So, what is it that makes trains so expensive to build? Can you put up a few links to information about this? Is that purely initial cost or lifetime use cost? What elements in the process are expensive?

Lets say it is expensive - tho, modeling it out in my head I'm not sure I see why it should be - but lets stipulate that it is. Do you happen to know any sources that discuss optimizing the train system we have already installed? I was reading something recently - darn wish I'd saved that link now - that said that trains use 1/20th of the energy of tricks to transport goods. 

Here's what the wiki says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiency_in_transportation#Trains

You can put up links to your various writings, you know. This website accepts them, usually.

So, what do you figure would have to happen in the united states for a big revolutionary infrastructure project like you propose would be possible?

We are probably going to turn to the rightwing as a nation, they by definition will not be amenable to such projects, which would require considerable tax increases, or a ending of the military empire, which of course they won't do. So, lets say the next ten years are pretty much off the table.

I can barely model out in my imagination what would have to happen before we americans would be ready to build on such scales again. Please try to convince me it might happen!

note that I said "refurbish"

I wanted to point out that I had said "Thinking about it, I think we'd have much more success focusing on refurbishing the train infrastructure - altho even something as humble as that is beyond we americans now."

So I did say refurbish, rather than building new.

However, I am a big believer in a variation of the copenhagen consensus model of "welfare economics" - that is, judging the benefits of a project by examing the amount of good done per dollar spent.

So, as far as I'm concerned, whatever projects are attempted should be comparitively judged by that standard - "How much good is done per dollar spent.".

So, if building smart roads for private cars powered by (X energy source + Y technology) turns out to have the biggest bang for the buck over its projected life (or, being realistic, within the profit horizon of whatever giant corporation seizes the project), then thats what should be done.

The first thing that has to

The first thing that has to happen for anything like this to come about is that people have to realize it is even possible. I had a link for transportation infrastructure cost comparison but lost my previous reply somehwere in the ether. If you google it there are quite a few sites that show the costs and rail is always the most expensive option but I am not quite sure why. Railroads are by far the most efficient means of moving things on land provided you run nearly full trains and go where the goods or passengers need to go. One of the problems is that you can only go on their schedule and where they go, something which it seems the vast majority of Americans seem to have rejected in favor of cars. I wonder how long we can continue to have both public and private transit? Trains are great for efficiency but that should not be a big problem in a system that is powered with completely sustainable sources. The bigger problem is cost. I agree that cost/benefit should be one of the biggest deciding factors and am still wrestling with the can of worms that is the economics for this project but it looks pretty certain to me that automating everywhere interstates and many other main routes go, over 20 years will cost no more and probably less than what we are spending on transportation right now. Not only that but once it is actually in operation, the automated system should be much less expensive to operate than todays systems.

Solar Roads - an end to asphault?

It's a shame this video has no transcript - it includes an appearance from a PSU materials science prof - and is about making roadways an energy production system.

http://www.wimp.com/solarhighways/

here's more - google had a surprising amount on this idea, apparently it's getting a fair amount of support.

http://www.autoevolution.com/news/solar-highways-23741.html

PROTOTYPE

Any big endeavor has to start somewhere and so does this one. The team behind the project has already finished a prototype in February, the first part, if you like, of the solar highway. The team covered a 12-ft by 12-ft surface (3.66 m by 3.66 m) with polycarbonate. The prototype has been built and tested indoors and was only meant to showcase how different components work together. It worked and gave birth to the first numbers which will back the project. Those numbers, a whole bunch of them actually, can be found at this link.

The prototype has been built to resemble the future solar highway surface. Of course, when we heard of this concept, we too asked ourselves a lot of questions, but the first one which popped to mind was: how would the road cope with the weight of the traffic. Here's how.



Each solar panel will be made of three separate layers, each with its own characteristics and purpose. The first layer, the one we see and on which cars travel on is called Road Surface Layer. It is made of high-strength materials, making it capable of withstanding the weight of the traffic. Because it is translucent, it allows sunlight to pass and reach the solar collector cells. The first layer is also fitted with LEDs and is water proof.

The second layer is called Electronics Layer and it's made of a microprocessor board with support circuitry. It supports lighting, communications, monitoring and just about everything the road needs to perform the amazing tasks we mentioned above.

The last layer is the Base Plate Layer, the one which distributes the energy collected by the Road Surface Layer. It is also waterproof to prevent water from getting in from underneath.

HOW WOULD A SOLAR HIGHWAY REALLY LOOK LIKE

The stated goal of Solar Roadways is to cover the entire road network in the US with solar panels, but we shouldn't take this literally. There are about a gazillion reasons which such a solution will not work, so imagining a network of roads covered in solar panels might be a bit of a stretch. Truth be told, the solar roads described above, despite being the goal of this entire project, has applications which may be well beyond the century we live in, given it's scale, requirements and vision.

Solar Roadways has however another solution at its disposal. It can fit just about every rest stop, gas station, roadside store and such with solar panels in the parking lots. The millions of EVs which are expected to hit American roads in the future would only have to be left in the parking lot and charge for themselves while the owner is out doing whatever.

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