Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama's First Week

Let's go down memory lane and capture the highlights from Obama's first week:

Jan. 21st, 2009 (Day 1):

(Courtesy of the Guardian)

*120 day suspension of military commissions in Guantanamo Bay. This means that all pending cases are now suspended, which is amazing because the way in which military commissions were trying these cases were unethical and nontransparent. 120 days will give the new executive office sufficient time to review the cases up for trial (Yay!).
*Administration aides cannot leave their position as aides and then lobby for an issue to an executive agency for the full duration of Obama's presidency. Prior to this, an aide was able to leave his/her position and start lobbying an executive agency after a year (Yay!).

*Lobbyists who take up position within executive agencies cannot participate in an issue that they lobbied for until 2 years have passed (Yay!).

*3 rules of transparency (Yay!):
-- 1. Only the current president is allowed to block the release of documents, rather than what Bush had done before which was allow the current and past presidents to block documents.
-- 2. Reinvigorated Freedom of Information Act. Previously, documents that were requested for release were delayed from being released- this was actually encouraged by former Att. General John Ashcroft.
--3. Memo to Executive Branch officials: Be more open and transparent.

*Pay freezes for top white house officials who make $100,000 or more (Yay!) .

Jan 22nd, 2009 (Day 2):

(Thanks to

*Ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year (Yay!).

* The U.S. will no longer torture and now, under this administration, water-boarding will be defined as torture (Yay!).

* Elected George Mitchell as special envoy in the Middle East. George Mitchell was the Senate Majority Leader for 16 years, helped negotiate the Northern Ireland peace process and in 2000, led American investigation to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict (conclusion: Israel needs to stop settlements in Palestinian territory and Palestine needs to establish a rule of law).

* Elected Richard Holbrooke as special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Holbrooke was a former U.S. Ambassador in the U.N., brokered the Dayton Peace Accords (peace agreement between warring factions in Bosnia) and was the Peace Corps' director in Morocco. He also was a senior advisor at Lehman Brothers on Wall St. from 1981-1993.

Jan 23rd, 2009 (Day 3):

(Thank you

* Lifts the abortion "gag rule", which barred family clinics in international countries from receiving U.S. aide if they performed abortions or even referred, educated or counseled patients about abortions (Yay!).

Damages from the air strikes in Pakistan
(Courtesy of AFP: Mahmud Hams)

* Obama continues Bush's poor judgment in regards to Pakistan- the air strikes in Pakistan. Since Obama's continuation, which happened on the 23rd and has persisted, 23 have been killed 3 of which have been children. These air strikes began last summer. Pakistani government states that it was not notified that these air strikes were going to continue under the new administration. Pakistani citizens, once hopeful about the new president, are now outraged (Boo!).
My 2 cents: Obama's continuing the air strikes and the administration says its to target only Al Qaeda. And yes, they have killed 8 Al Qaeda militants of the 20 suspected but doesn't the new administration think that if it acts with such hostility against a region (Pakistan), its citizens are going to be outraged and that emotion might compel some to join anti-American groups like Al Qaeda.

* Nominated William Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Lynn lobbied the government on behalf of Raytheon, a major defense contractor for the U.S. who supplies Bunker Buster bombs and missiles. This nomination has been criticized for it has been expressed that Raytheon and thus, Lynn greatly benefited from the Iraq war due to it being a chief supplier of military weapons (Boo!).

Jan 24th, 2009 (Day 4):

* Nothing really spectacular. Speeches about foreign diplomacy, the actions needed to stimulate our receding economy and increasing financial regulations were given.

Jan 25th, 2009 (Day 5):

*Ehhh... maybe he needed a break from all the work? I would've been pooped by day 1 hour 2. If anyone knows what Obama did, if anything, that was of great importance, let me know!

Jan 26th, 2009 (Day 6):

* The U.S. will have direct diplomacy with Iran, which has not occurred since 1977 (Yay!).

Al Aribiya Interview
(Courtesy of Munashik on

* Obama's first formal interview as President was given to an Arab news station, Al Aribiya. No president has ever given an interview to an Arab news station as his first formal interview. Highlights from the interview (Overall Yay!):
--"American's are not your enemies"
-- Stating that some of his family members are Muslims and he has lived in Muslim countries.
-- In regards to the Gaza Attacks and U.S.' role, he stated that the U.S. has a tendency to command/dictate what needs to be done prior to completely understanding the facts from all sides.
-- Consistently separated terrorist groups like Al Queda and Islam.
-- Obviously, strongly reaffirmed the U.S. and Israel's partnership (Boo!).
My 2 cents: Such a great strategic move in showing the Muslim world and the international community that there has been a shift in how America will interact with communities abroad. This interview translates into respect in the eyes of many Muslims around the world, a characteristic that was lacking under the former administration. However, these words, even though well spoken and courageous, will not trump actions taken by this administration. Muslim countries and its people will await the outcomes of the attacks on Gaza, the war in Iraq and the air strikes in Pakistan.

Jan 27th, 2009 (Day 7):

(Thanks Solar Kismet)

* Signed an executive order to increases fuel-efficiency standards of all cars and trucks by 2011 (Yay!).

* Signed an executive order that would authorize California and other state governments to set their own fuel-efficiency standards. This a great move because it works so that these states can only toughen (not weaken) fuel-efficiency standards (Yay!).

I think from now on, I'm going to do them daily rather than sum it up in a week- this was way too time consuming. Check the time pumpkins, I did it for you...on a Friday! (Round of applause)

Night :)
Read more!

Monday, January 26, 2009

1st Installment of Eco Action- Water

I'm taking a Sustainable Works workshop- workshops to show you how to decrease your carbon footprint. We all know that sharing is caring, so with that, below are some tidbits and tips to become a more earth-loving person.

This week we discussed water (2 weeks ago). Global water supplies are shrinking and it is our obligation to impede or halt this shrinkage.

(Thanks to James Neeley on
--The Tidbits-- - 1/3 of consumed energy is for pumping water, so if we decrease our water usage, we decrease our energy usage.

- Mississippi and its dead zone: lots of herbicides and fertilizers used in this area--> these chemicals polluted Mississippi's water--> increase in algae (suck in oxygen)--> water with very little oxygen--> decrease in water-life.

- Urban runoff (largest unregulated source of water pollution): water from excess watering (gardens, driveways, etc.) mix with heavy metals and other harmful materials, which then go into the oceans. This pollutes our oceans and their inhabitants.

- Our creeks and wetlands are constantly being paved over by real estate developers. Creeks and wetlands are both natural means to curb urban runoff and cleanse out pollutants.

- When water warms--> water volume increases--> rising sea levels.

- Animal factory farming uses more water than all other industries combined. If you were to refrain from 1 pound of beef that be equivalent to not showering for a year (14 min showers)!

- To make a cotton t-shirt: 10,000 literss of water.
To make an organic cotton t-shirt: 5,000 gallons of water.

- On average, a single family consumes 69.3 gallons of water/day only for indoor usage. If you include outdoor usage, it skyrockets to 350 gallons/day.

- 30% of the water consumed is flushed down the toilet.

The (cheap) Tips:

- Fix leaks. A steady drip can waste 20 gallons of water/day. A toilet leak can waste up to 200 gallons/day.
-- To detect leaks in toilets: add food coloring to the tank--> wait 15 mins--> if color water appears, there's a leak.

- Install a low flow showerhead (2.5 gallons/minute or less). Normal showerheads use 5 gallons/min or more! It decreases water used but increases water pressure. It'll also save you $$ on your monthly water bill.

- Install aerators on faucets. Same as showerheads: decreases water used but increases water pressure.

- Eat less beef and other water consuming foods (from Food Reveolution by John Robbins & according to Soil and Water Specialists from University of CA Agricultural Extension):
-- 1 pound of chicken= 815 gallons
-- 1 pound of pork= 1,630 gallons
-- 1 pound of beef= 5,214 gallons

- If you turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth, you can save up to 1000 gallons/month.

- Take shorter showers and try to not take baths- saves up to 20 gallons/time.

-Turn off water while soaping or shampooing. You can also get Lowest Flow Showerhead- 1.2-1.4 gallons/min without really compromising pressure. If you turn it off, it'll stay warm for you when you turn it back on to rinse. Best of all- $12!

- Decrease water flow in sink so it's no thicker than a pencil's width.

- Wash fruits and veggies all at once rather than individually.

- Allow frozen foods to thaw in refrigerator overnight rather than running water over it.

- Only do full loads of laundry and dishes. Using a dishwasher is more water-friendly than handwashing a full load.

- Plant native and/or drought tolerant plants.

- Refrain from dumping hazardous chemicals down the sink. By doing this, it could worsen urban runoff.


*Much of the information expressed here comes from the Sustainable Works workshops and its handbook.
Read more!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"We will extend our hand, if you unclench your fists."
- Inaugural speech.

Exquisite. Read more!

What a beautiful day.

Get ready, get set... GO!

Time for progress. Time to do what's right. Time to say peace out to Bush!

Have a memorable day :)

<3 <3 <3 Read more!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We need someone special.

Quick and Urgent!!!!

Vote by 5:00 PM EST, to make the issue of obtaining a special prosecutor to investigate the crimes that the Bush Administration committed (torture, domestic surveillance, etc.) a part of the top 10 (which it currently is). If it maintains its top 10 status, it will be presented to the Obama administration January 16th. The top three ideas will partner with nonprofit organizations to make it into policy.

VOTE NOW! We need Bush and his admin to be investigated and tried.
Read more!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best Buddies with Barack!

Mister Obama is about to become president and people are questioning whether their voices will be muffled through the status he's about to acquire. Worry not, he has got it covered.

The Citizen's Briefing Book is an outlet that lets you share the issues that you deem important and the ones that you feel need to be addressed by the federal government with Mr. President-to-Be. The issues that are best-rated will rise into the president's foreground and ideally, be addressed by him and the federal government. I absolutely love this idea! It turns our democracy, where we hope that the people we vote for keep his/her stance on political/social/environmental issues, into more of a social democracy where citizen's ideas and issues can be directly heard. Although, only a select few citizen's thoughts are heard, it is us who control who's the best rated and thereby, who is heard.

I don't really know how much effect the issues presented in this forum will have on public policy but hey, at least it's worth a shot. I guess in time we will be able to see whether the issues that matter most to us are addressed, both in the form of words and actions.

Fingers Crossed!

<3 href="">
Citizen's Briefing Book

Sorry for the disappearance. I was chasing time for a few days.

Isn't it strange that the action of crossing one's fingers can translate to good luck or to nullify a promise? A little weird.
Read more!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Continuous destruction and terrorism in Gaza.

With more than 700 Palestinians dead and 3,000 seriously wounded, we cannot be silent.

A national march and rally is occurring
Saturday, January 10th, 2008.

It starts at 12 Noon
@ the Westwood Federal Building
11000 Wilshire Blvd., LA (@ Veteran)

The Plan:

Noon- performers, speakers and music.
1 PM- Mass march through Westwood
2 PM and on- Rally

For more info:
Answer LA

Come and join the fight! Speak out against genocide! Show your support for Gaza!

Read more!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rent-a-text save some green!

A while back a friend, Jazz, and I conjured up a business idea that dealt with renting textbooks rather than buying, so it would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly. After getting into the nitty gritty of the proposal, we dropped it and the idea quickly withered away.

Apparently, when it withered from our minds, the idea traveled to the people behind the website is a textbook rental website that has over a million textbooks that you can rent for an allotted time- semester, quarter, or intersession. The shorter the session is, the cheaper it is. Chegg gives you ample time to return books and it covers shipping when returning them. You can also sell or donate books!

The most splendid part of this whole idea is that for every text you rent, sell or donate, Chegg will plant a tree! So not only are you reusing textbooks, which decreases their demand, so less texts are printed but you're also planting a tree simulatenously. Granted, you do waste material on packaging BUT most of us buy our books using or amazon anyway, so wastage already occurs. At least with Chegg, books come from the same place rather than different locations, so all the books rented are packaged in one box.

We are and have been in an age when forests are infinitely stripped down and their slaughtered bodies aren't even fully utilized. Chegg is an efficient way to decrease your contribution in this cycle of greed.

All-in-all, Chegg is economical + environmentally friendly= SuperGreen!

Read more!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Your energy can electrify the world.

(Courtesy of Sharons Web on Flickr)

Don't you sometimes feel that you could light up the world with the energy inside of you? Many days, I feel as though I have so much energy but not enough outlets. To rid myself of some of this energy I dance, wander and do silly movements, but I always have so much left to spare. Tokyo has come up with a solution in how to consume my unused energy:

Piezoelectric Flooring.
(Courtesy Tinou Bao)

Piezoelectric flooring is flooring that essentially absorbs the kinetic energy produced by the movement of people and transforms it into energy that can be used to power objects. The Tokyo subway systems have used this flooring to generate energy to power its display systems and ticket gates. With the amount of people that frequent these subway systems (busiest in the world), their floors are able produce 1400kw/day, which is more than what is necessary.

How it works
(courtesy tech-on)

How amazing would it be to know that every movement you make contributes to your communities energy?

Dance and save the world- What a beautiful notion.
Read more!