I really, really, really hope this:
“AmerenUE CEO Tom Voss said the company is suspending its efforts to build a second nuclear plant in Missouri because of the failure of legislation it was pushing in the General Assembly,”
is true. And by true, I mean that I hope this is a long term decision. So long in fact, that solar and wind energy have supplanted the dirty “nastinest” that currently powers America. Down with nuclear, down with coal!
There’s some chatter that Ameren is just regrouping and will be on the attack again. I trust the good guys will snuff out any efforts before they gain momentum. For those of you who haven’t been following this issue, the main point of contention hasn’t been nuclear power as the source of new energy in Missouri, but how the consumers would be affected by the construction of a new nuclear plant. In summary:
“At a news conference at Ameren’s St. Louis headquarters this morning, Voss said he had asked lawmakers to withdraw from consideration the bill the company had been pushing to repeal the state’s construction work in progress law. If passed, the bill would have allowed the utility to charge consumers for some costs of the proposed $6 billion-plus facility before it were up and running. Critics, including consumer groups and large industrial companies, said the bill would have led to huge price hikes and would have gutted the consumer protections available to the Public Service Commission.”
It’s the construction work in progress law, commonly known as CWIP, that’s the issue. AmerenUE embarked on a pretty expensive public relations campaign to convince the public that they wouldn’t get royally screwed by the company’s endeavor. Fortunately, for once, most of our elected officials weren’t fooled.
What’s next, clean coal?! Ha.
Stuff. Things. Trinkets. Widgets. Doohickeys. Our economy is based on the consumption of the aforementioned. That’s not a good thing, but that’s reality. I would love to live in a world where “things” lasted longer than they do now and money was spent on, and people were employed providing, services to enhance our overall quality of life. A new enlightenment if you will, but structured around experience, health, awareness, etc . . . Dream over. The issue at hand is how can the economy be “righted” by spending money on stuff. Infrastructure aside, the debate revolves around whether people should be put to work directly through government spending or by giving taxpayers money back to spend how they see fit . . . in theory at least. This is where the problem in logic arises.
How can conservatives think increasing tax cuts will more quickly recover the economy? Seriously. I’m all for more money in my pocket but that’s exactly where it will stay. In this conservative La La Land of economic thinking, those who need money the most will get the least. Further, some conservatives don’t want to give any relief to those who don’t pay taxes. Ignoring for a moment that these are the people who have been most marginalized by society and need the most help, isn’t the idea here to help those who need help, not give a pro rata share of money back to those who paid it in? It’s one thing to hold this thinking as a philosophy, it’s entirely another to think it will stimulate the economy.
There are items in the latest stimulus bill which give me pause but spending money on infrastructure and creating a domino effect of spending through job creation seem like the most effective and speedy ways of invigorating the economy. Tax cuts and/or rebates will go into consumer spending or savings. The former doesn’t create jobs in the short term because everything being bought has already been made, and once the stimulus money is exhausted, spending will stop. Companies will not hire more people or ramp up production in anticipation of this and because they all the need extra money to shore up losses or pay people who are owed money. The latter may catalyze markets but most of this money will just sit in cash accounts until something worth investing in comes along, which will be a while if we’re not investing in anything substantial.
The vote along party lines for the stimulus bill doesn’t bode well for Obama’s dream of putting partisan politics aside and working together to help “one America”. Fortunately my team has the majority of votes. Unfortunately that doesn’t necessarily mean wise decisions. Hopefully the new transparency professed by Obama’s adminstration will shed light on waste and eliminate it. I’m happy to see the philosophical basis of majority of our elected officials in Washington move toward compassion and selflessness but we must all remain aware that wasting money is arguably worse than being efficient but selfish with it.
Ohhhh ‘bama, what have you done? Offshore drilling? Really?
Our cancer isn’t the dependency on foreign oil, it’s the dependency on oil period, and other fossil fuels, from wherever they hail. Oil taken from our backyards, or coal from our stripped lands, is still a cancer. If we’re choosing to die, just by our own hands, then let’s drill the hell out of our coastlines and natural preserves. The oil won’t be here for 10 years, and by that time we may be on an irreversible path toward a little town called self-destruction.
But, if want to free ourselves of the cancer itself, we must abandon fossil fuels as a source of energy and turn to technology that already exists. Wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass are the future, and the future is now.
My wife and I were recently watching an episode of Eco-Tech on The Science Channel. The show was mind-blowing.
- Did you know that all the energy every used by mankind in the history of existence is delivered to the earth by the sun in only 30 days?
- Did you know that solar technology that already exists and is used to make Seville, Spain almost entirely powered by the sun could be used to power the entire planet? According to some scientists, covering just 1% of the Saharan desert with solar reflectors, which would be used to heat water into steam, could supply the entire earth’s energy needs?
- Did you know that wave technology nearly perfected could power all of Florida’s energy needs?
- Did you know a guy in Chicago has developed an urban wind turbine (looks like a big drill bit) that captures wind energy from all directions (I’m going to see this on Friday!)
- Did you know that scientists have almost perfected a solar technology that allows photovoltaic solar cells to be printed in the form of ink onto thin, bendable film? These can be produced 10 to 20 times cheaper than solar panels currently available on any market and can be shaped to contour any surface.
That’s not even the half of it. In ten years we can be free of our dependence on all oil, not just foreign oil. Our skies and rivers will be clean, the needless wars will be over, and we can all start focusing on other problems that have been left untreated or exacerbated by our addiction.
I feel like I’ve been apologizing quite a bit recently for posting sparsely. Well, apologies for all the apologies, and once again for the original apology’s catalyst. The much more steady communicator, Sierra Club’s Carl Pope, sent me (and thousands, if not millions, of others) this email a few hours ago:
The Curious Senator John McCain
June 9, 2008
Richmond, VA — It’s getting harder and harder to understand where John McCain stands on energy. Here’s his story, just this year:
First he was against all subsidies. Then his policy staff told us that solar and wind did, after all, need tax credits even through McCain had voted against these. Then he was against subsidies again, except that there weren’t enough of them for nuclear in the Warner-Lieberman climate change bill, so he couldn’t support it. But he was definitely for renewables, efficiency, and for serious action on global warming.
Then, today in Richmond, a donor offered him an entirely new version of his position, which McCain promptly embraced. McCain was gung-ho about nuclear power and expanded domestic drilling for oil and natural gas. When a donor in Richmond summed up his advice as “nuclear, and drill wherever we’ve got it,” McCain responded: “You just gave my speech. Thank you, my friend.”
This new position contradicts all previous versions of McCain’s stated energy goals, makes doing anything meaningful about global warming impossible, and puts McCain solidly in the “all-oil, 24/7″ Bush wing of American politics.
What’s clear is that John McCain is not only John “McSame” in regards to the Bush Administration’s economic policies, he is also completely mercurial in regards to effective environmental policy. What’s most frightening is that McCain’s inability to advance a concrete set of ideas related to the environment will hurt not just the planet, but the economy as well. If smart environmental policies are not devised and implemented, America’s energy and economic future will continue to hinge on the decisions of other countries, only some of which are friendly towards the U.S.
I think I’m finally over the high caused by Obama’s yet-to-be-made-final triumph. The real work starts now, and the biggest part of repairing the harm done to this country over the last eight years is to raise the overall awareness of Americans. If the facts can be communicated to the average voter, Obama will win by double digits.
So Mike Huckabee thinks we should quarantine people with AIDS and allow our children to mutilate and murder household pets with no consequence. Sounds like a winner to me. Given people with AIDS are lesser than those without (please sense the sarcasm) and animal abuse as a child is absolutely no indicator of violence in adulthood (Ibid.) we should probably address more pressing issues . . . like trees. So where do Huckabee and the other candidates on both sides of the “which one is the lesser of two evils” aisle stand on green issues. For that I point you to a lovely chart prepared by Grist.
In regards to other candidates, The Atlantic has published two wonderful articles on Barack Obama in their December issue. I’ve been mostly in the Edwards camp thus far, but I’ve tread lightly. The first of the two links below really got me charged up about Obama, though I’m still pessimistic that either a woman (ah!) or a black man can be elected president in our general election. If all goes as it has lately the Democratic candidate will win the popular vote as in 2000 but still lose. At least the Supreme Court is fair and balanced. Yuck.
You shouldn’t need a subscriber ID for either article but if you do for some reason all I can tell you is to fork over the money for a subscription ’cause it’s the one of the best magazines currently in print.
For the sake of continuity in the subject matter of this post I should mention that I’m not a fan of Obama’s stance on coal, which is a heinous, dirty source of energy. Here are the stances of Edwards and Obama, as taken from the Grist chart:
- Edwards – Calls for a ban on new coal power plants unless they’re compatible with carbon-capture and -storage technology. Opposes government investment in coal-to-liquid technologies.
- Obama – Supports “clean coal.” Supports coal-to-liquid fuels, but has qualified that support, saying they must emit 20% less carbon over their lifecycle than conventional fuels.
See how that all came around? Politics to energy to politics. Booya.
Josh Dorner has written a great piece on how infectious the coal industry is trying to become. I’ve already seen numerous extremely deceptive advertisements on television about “clean” coal, which to me is the equivalent of a “soothing” kick to the groin. According to Dorner’s article, both Democrats and Republicans are whores of the industry, though some are standing up to the fight:
First, the coal front group sponsored the most recent Democratic debate, held in Las Vegas. As a sponsor it was given special access to the site and was actively leafleting those assembled in secure areas off limits to the Sierra Club and other groups. Not coincidentally, Nevada happens to be the site one of the biggest fights in the ongoing battle to stop the coal rush. Fortunately Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not only taken an outspoken stance against the coal plants slated to be in his home state, but also has called for a moratorium on new coal plants worldwide.
And now to the greater of two evils:
Leaving no lung unblackened, this week the industry turned its attention to the Sunshine State. Its latest quarry was the Republican YouTube debate on CNN — a debate that featured not a single question about global warming or the negative impacts of the coal industry. Again, surely without coincidence, Florida is home to Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican who is on a much publicized, and highly successful (with some help from the Sierra Club) “crusade against coal.” Half a dozen polluting projects have already been cancelled just in Florida this year.
The light at the end of tunnel:
Google, the owner of YouTube, was quick to run for the exits when asked about the industry’s backing of the debate. Just this week Google itself announced it would commit hundreds of millions of dollars to making renewables cheaper than coal. When questioned about the odd timing of the two events, Google immediately shifted the blame to CNN.
If brown power keeps getting the boot, which I hope it will, renewables will be in line to fill the energy demand in the coming years. And the more wind, solar, biomass and the like we use, the cheaper it will become. Then politicians can become whores of decent, earth-loving pimps, and that’s a world we can all live in.
So, Karl Rove is resigning. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing . . . honestly. While he was acting “the architect” in the White House he still had to deal with the bureaucracy of government, even when he circumvented it, to accomplish his evil. Now, in the private sector, he could do untold harm at what would be lightening-fast speed in comparison. I really hope he burned out and needs some time at home with his family. Maybe being around human beings will make him think about what he’s done. The integrity of our government will no doubt rise after Rove’s departure. The degree and pace of lunacy transpiring on Pennsylvania Avenue was unsustainable. This was made extremely clear by the Bush Administration’s constant failures, though Rove’s time at the White House was no doubt impressive. He manipulated a country and a president while breaking an uncountable number of laws, for which he will never pay the price. And while he can’t undo it, even an ounce of regret conjured during a few months of meditation would go a long way in negating the evil spells he cast on America. And as long as Bush doesn’t replace Rove with a Rumsfeld/Rove lovechild, the world will surely be a better place some September 1, 2007.
This is an aside to my normal posts regarding the greening of us all, but sustainability is an issue here too – the sustainability of the United States government. Unless you’ve been living in a hole you’ve heard that Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s 30-month sentence was recently commuted down to the IQ of our president. This, and other extremely egregious violations of trust, law and human decency by the Bush Administration, are the topics of two very good articles.
First is the brilliantly titled, “How Dick Cheney Broke My Mind,” by William Rivers Pitt. How this man produces so much quality work each week befuddles me. The article discusses Pitt’s very emotional reaction to Cheney’s behavior, and ends with this: ” I actually owe Cheney a bit of gratitude. I was worried that his actions, and the actions of his crew, had abused the fabric of my capacity for surprise beyond the limit, had worn down one of the better human emotions by just being Cheney. I was wrong. He proved I am still capable of awe.”
Second is Frank Rich’s piece, “When the Vice President Does It, That Means It’s Not Illegal“. A more fact-rich article than Pitt’s, Rich’s piece details the trail of stupidity evidencing Bush and Cheney’s disregard for the Constitution.
Together, these two piece provide the reason and the reaction to the unacceptable actions of a rogue administration. Bush and his trolls have hijacked the executive branch, of which Cheney may or may not be a part, and run amok. I’ve said this to both liberals and conservatives many a time, but the judgment of Bush isn’t about politics anymore, but rather his character. Left or right, blue or red, the American people should agree on one thing – the man leading this country is a despicable human being.
I don’t understand how these silhouettes of decent people fool hardworking Americans. Reasonable people can be either pro-choice or pro-life but reasonable people can not support someone who lies, cheats and steals, no matter their political affiliation. Every Republican would be smart to distance himself from this man, who somehow managed to get up off the operating table half way through a lobotomy and assume the presidency of the United States.
If only the Supreme Court wasn’t stacked with a bunch of partisan back scratchers and Florida had sunk into the Atlantic in the early 90s . . . the world would surely be a different place. What if you could turn back time, kind of? Well, you can. DRAFT GORE! Go ahead, I dare you to sign it. Doubtful Gore is watching this particular petition as the people signing it are problem the ones that led him to a resounding popular victory / electoral defeat in 2000, but there’s always hope. A Democrat in office, regardless of whom (with some exceptions), will be a welcomed change. But, why not do it right!
Last night, I was one of the fortunate Americans who had something better to do than listen to George Bush’s tiny little brain spew out ignorant, poorly thought out ideas. Instead, I went to see The Hitcher, a mediocre but entertaining movie in which a different, much hotter, Bush (Sophia) actually [SPOILER] kicks the ass of her intended target. And since I didn’t watch the speech I thought I’d refer people to Robert L. Borosage’s great piece, State of Delusion, on TomPaine.com. Here’s hoping Bush runs into a messed up Sean Bean sometime in the near future!