I read in the Oakville Call last night that some residents of south Saint Louis County are so upset about a proposal to establish trash districts that they are considering breaking away from the county and forming a new county. The big fuss is that individuals will no longer have the ability to contract with any waste hauler they want. I’m not sure about you, but forming a new county over something like this seems a bit extreme to me.

I have never lived in an area where I was responsible for picking my own trash company which is why I don’t really see this as a big deal. Establishing trash districts in the unincorporated areas of Saint Louis County actually sounds like a great idea to me. The trash companies will have to adhere to standards of service and will have to bid for the business. The companies will compete with each other to get the business which will drive down prices. In the process, some mom and pop waste haulers may lose residential business because they cannot meet the demands of an entire district, but that does not mean they will go out of business. They will have to adjust and focus on other business that they can compete for and win. I know that in the Aurora, Illinois area where I grew up, there are a ton of successful small waste haulers even though the city contracts with a large firm to collect the residential waste from its 170,000 plus residents. There is no reason the same thing can’t happen here.

If the proposal does go through, I would like the County to institute some requirements for recycling, and those requirements are that the waste hauler will provide recycling bins for each house and that they will pick it up for free. The money they make from recycling will help offset the cost of collecting the materials, and it is the right thing to do for the environment. All the cities in which I have lived in Illinois and California have always had recycling programs, and Saint Louis County needs to do its fair share. Perhaps the County can also require that the waste haulers must provide standard trash and recycling bins for every house in each district. That way, they can use automated trucks to collect the waste. This works incredibly well in San Diego, and it made trash day so much easier.

My vote is for the trash districts to be established so we can all benefit from standards and economies of scale.

Going along with my Live Earth post a couple weeks ago, an article in the New York Times caught my eye regarding the melting glaciers in the Himalayas. Although there is not a lot of historical data to indicate whether or not the glaciers are retreating more than normal, the data that we do have is very scary. For example, the Chorabari glacier has retreated 860 feet since 1962. That’s almost 3 football fields! That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. Unfortunately, the same thing is happening to the other glaciers in the Himalayas.

My parents recently went to Alaska, and before they left, I kept saying that it’s a good thing they’re going up there because the glaciers might not be there during their next visit. I never really meant it, but now that I’ve learned more, I’m thinking I might not be too far from being right. At this rate, I may never have the chance to see a glacier, and my kids may not ever know that glaciers even existed. What I really want to know is what happens when all of this fresh water hits the ocean.

We all just need to do something to stop global warming. Even something as small as changing the light bulbs in your house can make a difference. It’s time for use to make a change.

I’ve been checking out the Live Earth website and all of the different video feeds from all over the world. Like they said on the Live Earth Blog, it’s almost impossible to choose which concert to watch. Everything is so good! I’ve been flipping back and forth between all of the different concerts and have been enjoying every minute. A couple bands that I’d never heard of really impressed me: Paolo Nutini at the UK show and Blues Nation at the DC show.

If you haven’t checked out the website or tuned in on television, you really need to see what you’re missing. This event is for all of us, and if we can all do something small to help the environment, it will add up to a lot.

Last night, on the eve of our Independence Day, Keith Olbermann wrote a wonderful article for MSNBC stating all of the ways President Bush has failed us all in the last six and a half years. The final straw for Olbermann was Bush’s recent commuting of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence. In his article, he calls on Bush and Cheney to help Americans to regain the trust of the government by resigning a la Richard Nixon.

When I first heard the news of what Bush had done, I was speechless. I just didn’t know what to say. It has been so hard to be hopeful since the day of the Coup of 2000, and Bush continued to disappoint me and most of the nation by making sure his buddy didn’t spend any time in prison. I know it is every President’s right to issue pardons, and I fully expect Bush to issue his fair share prior to leaving office, but the Libby case was still going through the appeals process. The case hadn’t even made it through the court system yet, and here was Bush completely overruling the judicial system by saying that he thought the sentence was too harsh. What a slap in the face of everyone involved, and when I say everyone, I mean every citizen of this country. Every citizen that performs jury duty because it’s an important part of being an American. Every citizen that follows the laws because it is the right thing to do, and every citizen that pays their fines or spends time in prison because they didn’t follow the laws. Bush just told all of us that following the rules is not all that important as long as you have friends in the right places.

I am seconding Olbermann’s call for Bush and Cheney to resign. We’ve all had enough, and I think the rest of the world will appreciate it as well.

From Digg

Unless you’ve been buried under a rock since the 2004 Democratic National Convention, you have known that this day was inevitable. Today, from Springfield, Illinois, Barack Obama will announce his campaign to become the President of the United States. I have not been this excited about a candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992. Obama evokes a feeling of hope and optimism for which I have been desparately searching.

Obama for America launched BarackObama.com earlier this morning, and I am very impressed by the website. There is an excellent section of the site called My.BarackObama.com that allows individuals and groups to meet and discuss the campaign. The 2004 campaign utilized the Internet more than ever before, and the 2008 campaign will be the first to be lost or won on the Internet. Today is the beginning, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

After a two-month hiatus, the Lazy Revolution is back with more wit and wisdom and pokes and prods towards the conservatives of the world. The latest rant takes on the annoying political email forwards we’ve all seen over the last few years. It also has a great picture of TB’s dog driving him home after a night of drunken debauchery. Check out the site when you have a chance. It’s entertaining to say the least.

So, I was in Atlanta a couple weeks ago for work, and I was there the week of the primary or runoff elections for Congress. I remembered some great comments my brother made several months ago regarding Congresswoman McKinney. Well, we can all celebrate her loss and hope that someone with more intelligence and class will represent that district and our country. Well, we can at least hope whoever ends up representing that district will bother to where his Congress pin when walking through security.

Okay, so I’ve been meaning to blog about this for quite some time. Being a relatively new California resident, I have noticed that the California State Legislature tends to push all of the tough political decisions back to the people of the state. I’m talking about the proposition process.

A large number of propositions have made it onto the ballots since we’ve moved out here. These propositions represent very difficult decisions that should be made by well informed, professional lawmakers.

Based on my observations of California politics so far, these propositions usually turn into huge advertising opportunities for the special interest groups that represent each side of the issue. The result of the proposition comes down to which side had the most effective advertising.

Average voters do not have the time or expertise to make educated decisions about these propositions. The lawmakers in Sacramento should do the job of the people and make the tough decisions that will determine the future of the state. Deferring to the advertising muscle of special interest groups is no way to run a state.