Archive for November 16, 2011

OBAMA LEADS POLL SURVEY, POLICY COMPASS AT STAKE

November 16, 2011

OBAMA LEADS POLL SURVEY, POLICY COMPASS AT STAKE

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Where points the policy compass of the USA? This seems to be indicated somehow by the latest survey poll in the states that showed incumbent president Obama leading his GOP rivals by huge margins.

Simpletons across the ideological spectrum, notably the conservatives or Right, have been demonizing Obama as going socialist. Lacking analytical sophistication, the simpletons tend to associate to policy initiatives that fail as ‘socialist’. The fundamentalist Evangelicals, neo-Nazis and Tea Party demagogues equate ‘socialist’ with the Devil, a nauseating contention that only mars the reality as it is.

Obama has shown a populist bent, from his domestic to foreign policy initiatives, and so the unsophisticated voters better do their homework to know what populism is. Populism as of late has tended to blend well with liberalism to which the Democrat Party has leaned on.

In its original sense, populism’s visionaries were inclined to highlight the oppressive living conditions of the marginal farmers, urban poor and petty artisans. Those classes are referred to as the ‘people down there’, people who supposedly were forgotten by policy agenda that favored the wealthy gentry class (oligarchs), middle class and workingmen (skilled).

In its more recent form as neo-populism, there has been the stress on concern for ‘marginal sectors’ at large. Popular Democracy or PopDem is among the recent morphs in PH, which jibed well with former president Estrada’s urban poor populist bias. The hard-line Maoists do have their variant of populism, which was demonstrated during the Gang of Four’s ‘great proletarian cultural revolution’.

Below is a report from the Time concerning the poll survey.

[Philippines, 13 November 2011]

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/time-poll-obama-still-ahead-gop-rivals-voters-081010901.html
TIME Poll: Obama Still Ahead of GOP Rivals, Voters Side With Dems on Taxes
By ALEX ALTMAN | Time.com – Fri, Oct 14, 2011
Despite sweeping pessimism about the nation’s fortunes and his own sliding approval ratings, President Obama leads potential Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in hypothetical general-election match-ups, according to a new TIME poll.
Obama leads Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who sits atop the GOP presidential field, 46% to 43% among likely voters. The President has opened a double-digit lead over Perry, 50% to 38%, highlighting concerns percolating through the GOP that the Texas governor would face a steep uphill climb should he capture the nomination. Obama also boasts a 49% to 37% edge over businessman Herman Cain, whose strong Tea Party support has propelled him toward the top of Republican ranks in recent weeks. In each case, the President was buoyed by his performance among female voters. Women prefer Obama over Romney by eight percentage points (49% to 41%), by 17 points over Perry (53% to 36%) and by 21 points over Cain (53% to 32%). (See photos of Republicans taking over New Hampshire.)
Obama’s strength in head-to-head match-ups with potential Republican rivals belies his own shaky footing with a weary electorate. Just 44% of voters approve of the President’s performance, a slip of four points since a similar poll was conducted in June. Four out of five respondents say the U.S. has veered off track, and 71% think the country’s clout in the world is waning. A scant 5% report feeling positive or unconcerned about the state of the nation.
The President’s positive personal qualities have cushioned voters’ frustration with the sagging U.S. economy, the exodus of capital to overseas markets and the declining value of the dollar. Most voters see Obama as tough enough to shepherd the U.S. through this rough patch (50% to 44%), and empathetic (59% to 37%) to the concerns of Americans like themselves. By a 48% to 37% margin, respondents consider him a better President than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who won a hard-fought battle for a second term amid falling approval ratings and an opposition galvanized by the war in Iraq.
For Democrats, the silver lining in a gloomy series of electoral rebukes and legislative setbacks is that voters remain partial to their chief economic principles, at least compared to the alternatives. Forty-two percent of respondents say they place greater trust in the Democratic Party to deal with the nation’s problems, compared to the 31% who side with Republicans. In particular, some two-thirds of those surveyed say they prefer the Democrats’ blueprint for trimming the federal deficit — a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes — to the GOP prescription, which would solely slash spending. At the same time, more voters think reducing spending is a better way to juice the moribund economy than an additional round of stimulus, the approach advocated by liberal economists. (See “Obama’s Tax Plan: ‘Fair Share’ vs. ‘Class Warfare.'”)
The survey also revealed that respondents have a better impression of the left-leaning protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street than they do of the Tea Party movement. Fifty-four percent of respondents harbor a positive view of the burgeoning protest movement, well above the 23% with a negative opinion. By contrast, just 27% of those surveyed have favorable views of the Tea Party, while 65% say its impact on U.S. politics since its inception in 2009 has been negative or negligible.
Those results reflect a strain of economic populism common to the new movement’s backers. Among those respondents familiar with Occupy Wall Street, nearly 80% argue the wealth disparity in the U.S. has grown too large and 68% say the rich should pay more taxes. Even so, this cohort is aware of the challenges facing the movement. Fifty-six percent predict Occupy Wall Street will have little impact on American politics, and another 9% say its effect will be negative.
The poll, conducted for TIME by Abt SRBI, surveyed 1,001 adults — 83% of whom described themselves as likely voters — between Oct. 9-10.
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COOKSTOVES KILL 2 MILLIONS ANNUALLY, WHAT SAYETH COOSTOVE REVOLUTIONARIES?

November 16, 2011

COOKSTOVES KILL 2 MILLIONS ANNUALLY, WHAT SAYETH COOSTOVE REVOLUTIONARIES?

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Cookstove-related deaths now quantify to 2 millions of dead victims every year. It seems the figure is still rising inspite of the cookstove revolution going on, a revolution led by wiz kids and eager problem solvers.

Supposedly clean-air inducing stoves have been mass produced and disseminated to developing countries over the past few decades. Yet it now turns out that the same stoves have become sources of air pollution and couples of toxins right inside domiciles.

How impactful has cookstove revolution been? A special report on the subject is attached below.

[Philippines, 11 November 2011]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/air-pollution/news/cookstove-revolutionaries-failing-to-measure-their-impact.html

Cookstove revolutionaries failing to measure their impact
Gozde Zorlu
14 October 2011 | EN
[See: cleancookstoves.org]
Millions of clean cookstoves have been deployed in the developing world, but there is very little research measuring the effectiveness of this intervention — and how it could be improved, say researchers.
Burning biomass such as charcoal, crop residues and wood for cooking and heating causes indoor air pollution, which affects three billion people worldwide. Air pollution is a leading environmental cause of death, with an estimated two million deaths occurring every year — most of them from acute lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer — according to the WHO.
But, although the health risks associated with indoor air pollution are clear, the amount by which emissions need to be reduced to cut those risks and improve health is still unknown, researchers said in an article published in Science today (14 October).
To date, there has been just one study into the impact of reduced exposure to indoor air pollution, said the researchers. This considered child pneumonia in Guatemala and found that as much as 90 per cent emissions reduction is required to decrease risk. It remains unclear whether other health risks required an equally drastic reduction, the authors said.
“We need to measure the levels of exposure to smoke in the homes when these new stoves are used. It is not good enough to rely on what works in the laboratory setting,” William Martin, co-author of the article and associate director for disease prevention and health promotion at the US National Institutes of Health, told SciDev.Net.
“We need to be certain that the stoves really reduce smoke to such a degree that health is improved, we need to assess a large enough population and measure the health impacts directly.”
He added: “There is no shortcut to research. We need to verify that similar results occur in different settings and using different health outcomes.”
The authors say that around US$150–200 million would be required for research into health risks associated with indoor air pollution.
Initiatives to roll out new improved and efficient cooking stoves provide a “great opportunity” to determine whether this intervention works, said the researchers, citing the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, launched by the UN Foundation, which aims to distribute clean and efficient stoves and fuels to 100 million homes by 2020.
Indoor air pollution is also linked to low birth weight, burn injuries, eye cataracts, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and tuberculosis. And burning biomass contributes to environmental degradation and deforestation. Improved and efficient stoves could help reduce fuel use and decrease black carbon (a key component of soot) emissions.
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