Tuesday, February 17, 2009
What are those shovel-ready projects going to build? More highways to take up more cars to use up more gas to put us more in debt to oil-producing countries?
What we really need is more fast, efficient light rail transport. And more efficient buildings that use less energy.
It's not going to happen unless we make our voices heard locally. So write to your mayor, your governor, your state representatives. They are going to use the stimulus to get more votes, and yours is one of them.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Many Alaskans hunt moose and caribou for food. Shooting wolves is supposed to help those folks. But a wildlife biologist in Scientific American says Alaskans might be better off hunting bears. But here's the real rub, according to commenter "AlaskanLady":
Declarations that the program is for the benefit of subsistence hunters are shattered with documentation showing that sport and trophy hunters take up to 73% of prey in areas where aerial wolf hunting has taken place.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
A reader writes to the Anchorage Daily News on Palin's Esquire interview:
Palin insults Americans while she jockeys for the Republican nomination in 2012. If she learned everything from sports, no wonder she knows nothing of history, law, science, foreign policy -- the topics that national leaders must know. And these are not topics you can master in four years, especially if you have no intellectual curiosity.Palin has been pretty unsporting when it comes to back-stabbing her mentors, misusing public money, and changing her tune when it was convenient. From the days when she challenged critics on her use of $50,000 of the road budget to redecorate her office -- replying in effect, so SUE ME -- she has demonstrated a clear indifference to the standards of ethics and fiscal responsibility that Republicans (especially the evangelical ones) like to claim.
As for the media, television coverage during the campaign tiptoed around her most obvious defects: Ifill allowed her to refuse to anwer debate questions because Ifill was cowed. Bloggers are not cowed. Bloggers, anonymous or not, have a right to their opinions, and in the case of Baby Trig, while assertions he was really Bristol's child are pretty preposterous, there are plenty of questions Palin could have answered: why didn't the Mat-Su hospital post his birth announcement? why did she engage in behavior that risked the baby's life/health on a long flight from Texas?
And her flipflop on the Bridge to Nowhere is the prelude to the latest Palin double-speak on the stimulus. A Cato Institute report is keeping tabs on GOP governors:
In the “give me my pork” camp are governors Sarah Palin, Charlie Crist, and Tim Pawlenty. Palin, darling of many “movement” conservatives came all the way to Washington to lobby for the bill.So after saying said she'd take the money, Palin then announced she was opposed to the bill. Who said you couldn't have your pork and eat it too?
"It’s a long way to 2012, of course, but it looks like Republican voters will have some clear choices."Surely Cato's author is joking.
Make that UNclear.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Or removing unnecessary light bulbs. How about turning off all, or at least most, nighttime lighting in upper floors of office buildings? Cheap and effective.
How about installing electronic thermostats to raise and lower temperatures at scheduled times? And do we really need to light up every house roof during the holiday season? Maybe a Christmas tree and a few electric candles would give our houses that warm, old-fashioned-Christmas look.
Okay, what about bigger efforts? Let's change the subject to cars. According to Congressman John Dingell, Americans love big cars. Personally, I think they're hard to drive, harder still to park, and hardest of all to feed. But let's give the Congressman the benefit of the doubt and assume that you really, really need that big SUV in your driveway.
Back in 2002, MIT’s Technology Review asked the question, “Why Not a 40-MPG SUV?” The technologies already existed to make exactly that. By using control systems that minimize energy losses in the engine, by more efficient electrical components, by improving the power train, cutting weight, and reducing resistance, automotive engineers could have given the public a trendy, popular vehicle that saved gas and thus reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the authors, these technologies (of seven years ago) could move average fuel economy of cars from 27 to 46 mpg, and SUVs from 21 to 40 mpg. It sadly concluded,
What would these improvements have meant for America? A 30% decrease in greenhouse gases. And two million barrels of oil A DAY! That was 75% of what we imported then from the Middle East.
So let us not wait to start an energy revolution. Let's begin immediately. While we're planning on the next generation of lithium ion batteries, cheaper thin-film photovoltaics, and efficiently produced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol, let's take action. We'd do pretty well just adopting yesterday's energy solutions from our businesses and our government.