Shocking Choice by John McCain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2008

Shocking Choice by John McCain

WASHINGTON– Senator John McCain just announced his choice for running mate:  Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.  To follow is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

“Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

“Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

“This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.”

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The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund (www.defendersactionfund.org) provides a powerful voice in Washington to Americans who value our conservation heritage. Through grassroots lobbying, issue advocacy and political campaigns, the Action Fund champions those laws and lawmakers that protect wildlife and wild places while working against those that do them harm.

A Body at War with Itself

Michael Phelps is probably the most famous 23-year-old on the planet today.

With a body that did not fail him, Michael Phelps achieved a personal goal that has now surpassed all athletes in the history of the Olympic games — 8 gold medals won at one Olympic competition.

This is more than achieving a personal goal — this is creating history! Amazing!

While every athlete’s achievements are the result of years of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work, the pay off of when their bodies perform at their very best is a reward of tremendous glory and well-deserved recognition.

But

For me personally, those that live in bodies that are at war within themselves every single second of every single day, are also true athletes of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work, if not even more accomplished than those that win medals or large advertising contracts.

Let me introduce to you Tyler Boshae.

Like Michael Phelps, Tyler is 23-years-old.

From the age of 9, Tyler has been dedicated to a physical, mental, and spiritual regime that may astound even the most accomplished of athletes.

From the age of 9, Tyler has climbed a mountain called Tourette’s Syndrome every single second of every single day of his life.

The type of Tourette’s Syndrome experienced by Tyler not only creates great physical pain within Tyler’s body, but the mental and emotional fatigue are beyond any I’ve ever seen experienced by medaled athlete.

Tyler Boshae is a true fighter, a true athlete, a true winner.

And

He is in need of your help.

Tyler has been approved to be evaluated to receive a special brain surgery to implant electrodes to help reduce the tics. The surgery is called DBS — Deep Brain Stimulation. Approximately $200,000 will be needed for this surgery to take place — and that’s with the reduced fees from his medical team.

Please meet Tyler through the video and visit his website at www.clubtwitch.com.

Any and all help you can give is greatly appreciated. Even if you can only afford to pass this message along , please do!

Thank you!

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Net neutrality: Why you should give a damn

Guest author and friend, Michael Janover, contributes an interesting and thought provoking blog today on Net Neutrality. You may also find Mike’s article published in the Rocky Mountain News.

Net neutrality: Why you should give a damnBy Michael Janover

OK, I’m old. I was around when Channel 2 went on the air in Denver in the early 50’s and brought us Blinky the Clown. It was exciting. Television. In Colorado!

In the mid-60s, cable TV and the dish staked their claims, and folks in the mountains could finally see Star Trek and Mary Tyler Moore. A whole new world was opening, no longer limited by four or five basic channels. Cable and satellite promised real choice. Hundreds of channels! Wow! You could see anything!

So what happened to all the choices?

Why is it that TV and the movies are always the same old, same old?

For one thing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made it possible to merge control of the television and film industries into fewer and fewer networks. What started out as infinite possibilities gradually became three super networks. These entities gobbled up the studio system and the cable channels. Creative decisions were gradually assumed by corporate boards that prefer safe, tested and bland to innovative, daring and dramatic. It’s one of the reasons hard news became infotainment, and rich, life-changing drama is now “reality” programming.

Too much creative control is in the hands of too few people who aren’t creative.

The beginning of the 80s was the start of the Computer Age. I went out and bought a Kaypro, a clunky box, with black screen and glowing green text. It was great. Totally cutting edge.

Computers became more wonderful with color graphics and the mouse thingy, but the most amazing and subversive change was INTERNET. In a few short years, it turned the planet into one big neighborhood; and with broadband access, it also offered interactivity.

We are no longer simple couch potatoes in front of the living room TV. Today, we’re interactive potatoes and use computers to communicate, shop, or read and comment about everything from elections to Dancing With the Stars. We converse with people around the country and world as if they lived across the street. How quaint and microscopic those “hundreds of channels” seem now.

Blogs and YouTube are the new political language. They were vital in the Writer’s Guild’s recent successful struggle with management – the very people who own the mainstream media. Truth is, the Internet does more to democratize the world than any of the wars currently being waged. It truly offers an infinity of choices that TV can’t deliver, and freedom of interactivity that telephones only dream of.

Something this massive and good just begs for someone to control it, don’t you think?

Well, that group has surfaced. It’s not the Chinese government, not even your government. No, it’s the telecommunications companies. The same folks who offer you three-tiered packages of programming instead of just charging you for the shows you want to see; the same people who offer expensive long distance packages when you can do better for next to nothing over the Internet; and the same people who want immunity from prosecution for accidentally illegally wiretapping millions of our phone conversations.

Since the telecoms deliver the Internet to you, they think the government should grant them the power to control how you use it. They want to make more money and put limits on what you see and how you see it. In their world, websites should be charged for the privilege of being seen by their customers. And sites should pay extra for making it possible for consumers to download their material faster (– by removing the telecom’s artificial restraints). Failure to pay these tolls results in your site not being seen, or in ultra-lengthy download times that drive impatient users elsewhere.

Imagine going online to CNN or to download music or watch an old TV show, but the feed is so slow that it no longer works properly. The grass on your lawn is growing faster. Why? Because someone didn’t pay tacked-on fees to the local cable or phone company, and the feed was restricted.

The Telecoms are spending millions to convince Congressional candidates that giving them control makes for a less expensive, better Internet. As you read this, they’re donating money like there’s no tomorrow, because after this election, the new Congress will be forced to decide if Telecoms should be given this power.

“Net Neutrality” basically means “Leave the Internet alone,” and it’s the battle cry for those who think handing over management and control of information to a few mega-corporations is the worst possible idea.

Net Neutrality isn’t another “nutty left wing crusade.” Internet giants like Google and Microsoft, consumer advocates such as Consumer Reports, small businesses who might be relegated to the slow lane, and iPod users who might find it harder to download tunes — all want to maintain Net Neutrality.

“Maintain” is the magic word. Net Neutrality doesn’t ask for new regulations; it only wants to be sure that the freedom we already have is preserved. If you believe in a true open market and don’t want to give your freedom of choice to some corporate Big Brother, if you don’t want your Internet experience censored or restricted, if you enjoy watching YouTube or visiting Facebook without limitations – you probably support Net Neutrality without even realizing it.

It’s time for you to speak up and ask a few questions. Now is when you have the clout. Does your Senate candidate support maintaining freedom of the Internet – or increasing profits for the Telecoms? If you don’t know, find out.

For more detailed information on the fight to save the Internet, please check out http://www.freepress.net/files/nn_fact_v_fiction_final.pdf, a fact sheet put together by Free Press, the Consumers Union, and Consumer Federation of America.

Michael Janover grew up in Denver and went to school and graduated from CU in Boulder in 1967. He’s been a WGA writer since 1978, worked for HAWAII 5-O, Wide World of Disney and wrote THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT while in Hollywood. He also helped start the Colorado Film School in Aurora.

I am Martin Luther King, Jr.

From Amnesty International USA (click on Defending Rights tab):

Celebrate Human Rights Defenders

Celebrate the work of human rights defenders around the world by taking our quiz to find out what kind of activism you embody.

Are you focused on domestic issues like Cesar Chavez? Do you value peace above all things like Gandhi? Maybe, like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr., your faith inspires your dedication to human rights.

Whatever your style, remember that everything you do makes a difference.

» Find out which human rights defender you are

Vital Ground: A Partner in History-Making Conservation Deal in Canada

As a member of the Board of Advisors for The Vital Ground Foundation, I am happy to promote the following news item out of Missoula, Montana:

Vital Ground is proud to announce that it is a fundraising partner in the largest single private land conservation acquisition in Canadian history.

The effort is being lead by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), which has made the bold commitment to protect 212 square miles of remote valleys, mountains and lakes in an area known as Darkwoods in south-central British Columbia.

Vital Ground has entered into a memorandum of understanding with NCC, and will be providing a grant and other fundraising assistance over the next two years.

“This is a unique and immediate opportunity to conserve a landscape roughly the size of the entire Island of Montreal,” says John Lounds, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “Darkwoods is a conservation initiative of global significance. It’s part of a greater vision that will set new standards for conservation success.”

Darkwoods is situated between the towns of Nelson, Salmo and Creston in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. The previous owners, the Pluto Darkwoods Forestr y Corporation, had owned and operated the land since 1967. The property connects a network of protected lands and wilderness management areas to create a vast tract covering more than 250,000 acres—enough for wide-ranging animals such as grizzly bear and caribou to roam freely.

The project cost is more than $125-million, which includes not only the purchase of the land but the endowment funds needed to ensure Darkwoods will be cared for in generations to come.

Darkwoods supports a tremendous range of biologically rich habitats: rare old-growth forests, sub-alpine meadows, serene valley bottoms, productive creeks and lakefront lands. These habitats are home to 29 provincially-listed species at risk, such as bull trout, red-tailed chipmunk, western screech owl and a streamside orchid called giant helleborine.

“Conserving Darkwoods is essential to the recovery of the South Selkirk caribou population,” says biologist Trevor Kinley. “It could also significantly affect the viability of the local grizzly population, and it will definitely influence the retention of natural biodiversity.”

Because of its great scale and topographical diversity, Darkwoods offers sensitive plants and animals a chance to adapt in the face of global climate change. Species will be able to migrate to different latitudes or elevations as temperatures fluctuate.

The Darkwoods announcement comes on the heels of an announcement by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) of a landmark agreement to purchase approximately 320,000 acres (500 square miles) of western Montana forestland from Plum Creek Timber Company for $510 million.

Dubbed the Montana Legacy Project, the effort will keep forests in productive timber management and protect the area’s clean water and abundant fish and wildlife habitat, while promoting continued public access to these lands for fishing, hiking, hunting and other recreational pursuits.

The lands to be purchased also offer habitat for wide-ranging big game animals, grizzly bears, lynx, wolverine, bull trout and numerous other wildlife. These lands are also some of the most popular recreation areas in the western United States.

The plan is for the purchased lands to be transferred into a mixture of private, state and federal ownership. The lands sold into private ownership will be subject to conservation easements that will restrict subdivision and home development.

Vital Ground is working closely with TNC and TPL and other stakeholders as the project unfolds.

“This has been an incredible month for conservation,” says Vital Ground’s executive director, Gary Wolfe. “Darkwoods is the largest private land conservation transaction in

Canada’s history, and the Plum Creek deal is the largest private land conservation project in

U.S. history. It’s exciting that Vital Ground is aligned with both of these efforts.”