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On the 29th of February, 2012, President Obama used a waiver to extract the nation out of the nastier part of last December's controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill: the enshrining of Bush era policy of indefinite military detention for terrorism suspects in law.

OK. This was not legally a "veto" - presidents do not have the line item veto that this would have taken. It was a policy directive as required under Section 1022.

But legal experts agree that the waiver rules that President Obama has just issued will effectively end military detentions for non-citizen terrorism suspects:

"Yesterday evening, the Obama Administration issued a policy directive that effectively negates much of the NDAA’s section 1022, the section that purports to require that non-citizens suspected of strong links to terrorism be held in military, rather than civilian, custody.

Using a national security rationale, the directive reverses the presumption of military detention that section 1022 had established." says Joanne Mariner, director of Hunter College’s Human Rights Program at her blog Verdict.

What Obama has done is to return terrorism cases to civil courts as the default - reversing the Cheney era practice of indefinite military detentions.
"The President has–rightly in my view–read this law virtually out of existence." says the terrorism-focused legal blog Lawfare.

Human rights defenders agree:

“This is essentially a 3,450-word line-item veto, rendering the mandatory military detention provision mostly moot,” said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch.
So can all those low-info voters threatening to give up their vote, because NDAA!!! can come home again?
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With two years of the Obama administration, almost four times as much clean energy has been approved on public lands as in all the previous 40 years.

All the renewable energy ever permitted on public lands totaled 1,800 MW by the end of 2008. In the last two years, the Department of the Interior has approved 6,600 MW of new projects.

This marks a real change in course. Public lands have traditionally been approved for oil and gas leases, not solar or wind. Why did this administration make this radical departure from tradition?

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In nearly four decades since the Clean Water Act was passed, the Environmental Protection  Agency has never vetoed any mining permit retroactively. That changed this morning.

Word is just coming down via Coal Tattoo that the Obama administration EPA has just vetoed the largest single mountaintop removal permit in West  Virginia history. The permit was initially awarded during the previous very fossil-friendly Bush administration, after a fractious decades-long court battle.

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Image: GOP organizer Rush Limbaugh, who stands to make $2.6 million a year from the Republican tax bill.

This week, Republican Senator George LeMieux joined Democrats in a  letter to Senate  leaders asking that the Recovery Act provisions for  renewable energy -  due to sunset this month - be extended in the  revised tax deal to be voted on this week.

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Did you know that now you can put solar on your roof in New Jersey, and earn actual cash  for 15 years for doing so? Even though you'll also get to use that clean power you make  - because you can stop paying electric utility bills (that average 17 cents a kWh in the state) yet simultaneously: your solar home actually earns money for producing electricity, too. You get to have your cake and eat it too.

The money you can earn comes through legislation akin to the remarkable Feed-in Tariffs that shot Germany and  Spain to solar leadership. You earn the money for sending clean sunshine power to the grid with Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)that utilities have to buy.

The money you can make can be staggering. As much as $100,000 over 15 years.

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One thing I did right, at the beginning of this year was to finally go solar with a residential solar PPA and to sign up to be in the ASES Nationwide Solar Tour which is tomorrow, Saturday Oct 2nd.

If you are in the SF Bay Area, come on by to my house and see how easy it is in California now to do the right thing and send clean power to green-up the grid for the next 30-40 years.

And if you are too far away to come by our house, find the American Solar Energy Association Solar Home Tourin your neighborhood!

In nine states now, solar in some utility districts is free or cheaper than utility energy, thanks to The Recovery Act, in combination with laws in some states that now allow solar companies that offer solar leases or solar PPAs that compete directly with utilities, by selling power by the kilowatt-hour.

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The recently much touted alternative energy-only bill would not cost fossil industries, but instead would cost taxpayers $13.9 billion a year,according to the CBO a score that has been gathering dust since September.

Not only is this bill touted by the -NYT, the WSJ, and NPR- the fossil energy industry as the only likely bill to pass - it's failing grade from the CBO has received no publicity at all. I simply can't imagine why, can you?

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From cleantechnica:news I covered in November

South Carolina To Lead US With $98 Million World-Class Wind Center

In its largest single award ever; Clemson University has received a $45 million grant from the Department of Energy (and an additional $53 million in matching funds) to construct and operate a large-scale facility that will test wind energy drive train components at the research campus; placing one of the most important sites for US wind energy research and development in South Carolina...

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Sign up before noon today to take a bus ride on Wednesday out to the desert, where Abengoa Solar (the company that was picked by Desertec to supply Europe with solar from the Sahara) is hoping to build a 250MW solar thermal plant for PG&E.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, its about a 2 hour drive out to Barstow. The tour buses leave at 1 p.m. Wednesday from Barstow City Hall at 220 East Mountain View Street. The public hearing will be at 3 p.m. at City Hall.

The deadline to reserve a spot is noon today.

To reserve a spot on the site tour, call the energy commission public adviser’s office at 800-822-6228 or e-mail the office at

From my other interviews with PG&E I found out that while PG&E has signed contracts for 10 GW of renewable energy,they are all these solar contracts held up. Because they MUST PASS these local reviews.  

And powerful forces make sure they don't

Do people spread lies about how much water solar uses? People do..  So 25 GW of gas plants have been put in work instead.

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Only after I snoozed my way through high school science class did science become more compelling than science fiction.

Back then, there was just no compelling reason to pay attention. Just a browzy fly buzzing in a smelly boring lab full of long agreed-upon dull principles that were really neither here nor there. In those days there were no colliding continents or hydrothermal vents or extremophile lifeforms. We looked to sci-fi for that.

Who knew that our planet would soon be busting at the seams with 7 billion of us. That our fossil fuel use would threaten our survival with climate changes -- on a level unseen on the planet since Cyanobacteria made it safe it for oxygen-breathers 4 billion years ago.

Or that we would not only discover vast strange heat sources under the ocean but that we'd actually consider mining these hydrothermal vents for renewable energy: That was the sort of story you'd only find in science fiction back then.


Should hydrothermal tube worms die to save us from climate change?

76%20 votes
23%6 votes

| 26 votes | Vote | Results

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Remember the joy when renewable energy finally got tax credits passed last October; the production tax credit and the investment tax credit.

But then the CheneyBush Gilded Age crashed under its own weight, brutally crushing little eco startups and renewable energy companies.

So, nobody could use those marvelous 30% investment tax credits, because nobody could afford to invest, or had the secure income to benefit from a tax credit.

This afternoon the House Ways & Means Committee passed the energy tax portions of the new stimulus package, including:

Investment Tax Credit Refundability. For alternative energy property put into service in 2009 and 2010, companies may apply for a cash grant equal to the value of the investment tax credit from the Department of Energy.

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Finally, Obama has given up on that dinner date he'd been emailing me about all through the primary, but he still emails me constantly with this and that - as he no doubt does you too. Today's email is about what green energy legislation ideas I want to see in the stimulus package.

So, Obama; there's one I want:

It is hard for us credit-poor peasants in today's shattered Gilded-Age economy to try and find solar financing. I have an idea for legislation so that if you want to put up a solar roof, you can - without applying for financing...

My idea would work so you don't pay to put solar on your roof, nor does your utility. Nor does the government. And yet the solar company gets paid to do the work. How?  

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