Sagebrush Rebellion II

Monday, April 21, AD 2014

federally-owned-land

A perennial issue in the West is the amount of land owned by the federal government and the Clive Bundy confrontation, go here to read all about it, has brought it to the fore:

 

There’s a modern tea party political element to it, but it goes much farther back to when many western territories achieved statehood in the 19th century, working out deals with Washington (as Mormon Utah did over what adherents at the time called “plural marriages”).

The map accompanying this article shows the difference between the West and the rest of the country. Here’s a list showing percentages of federal land by state, according to the Congressional Research Service. It includes the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, National Parks, and military bases: Nevada 81, Alaska 62, Utah 67, Oregon 53, Idaho 62, Arizona 42, California 48, Wyoming 48, New Mexico 35, Colorado 36.

State lawmakers say they’re better prepared to manage such lands, both for the environment and for regional economies.

“There is a distinct difference in the way federal agencies are managing the federal lands today,” Sen. Fielder said. “They used to do a good job, but they are hamstrung now with conflicting policies, politicized science, and an extreme financial crisis at the national level. It makes it impossible for these federal agencies to manage the lands responsibly anymore.”

Utah has led a legislative charge to demand relinquishment of title to certain lands that exclude national parks and wilderness study areas, reports the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.

The “Transfer of Public Lands Act,” signed into law by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012, set the stage for a formal showdown with the government by demanding action under threat of lawsuit, the newspaper reports. Other states are exploring similar options.

Often, the political fight centers on some hapless species of plant or animal threatened with extinction and protected under federal law – like the northern spotted owl in Oregon or the desert tortoise in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Sometimes federal agencies are caught in the middle, trying to apply the “multiple use” doctrine to lands in dispute.

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9 Responses to Sagebrush Rebellion II

  • I am not sure why the Federal government should own any of it, unless it is something like a military base, etc. Even the parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Isle Royal, etc. Surely they can be managed better by the State governments. (I am not sure they would do worse.)

  • Observation from the lower classman; It seems to me that the government can and has been used by shameful individuals to financially support their own agendas. F D A with Monsanto exec. (formerly) then posted as FDA czar. This lack of oversight relating to conflict of interest is a NORM in D.C.
    Could it be happening in this rancher case and the “China” interest?

  • Even the land that we do own is subject to so many Federal regulations that if that really want it, or want to keep you from using it the way you want, they can go after it and cause you all kinds of problems.

  • Government of the people, by the people and for the people is more than poetic allusion. Why does the government not pay taxes? Because the government constituted by the citizens operates at the will of the people, for the people, and by the people.The government, all government is created to serve the people as set forth in the Preamble to The Constitution for The United States.
    Preamble:
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    .
    “We, the people “provide for the common defence”. We, the people own the government , federal, state and local. We, the people own the military bases made up of our citizens, operated by American citizens and paid for by the people.
    However did the federal government, itself a creature of the people, create bureaucracy and laws that violate the real property of the people? And without the people’s consent?
    The real estate, as opposed to authority and/or sovereignty, belongs to the people. This fact ought to have been included in the by-laws of every bureau. Every function of the government proves this fact. Criminal prosecution must be done where the crime is committed, not only because the state must punish the wrongdoer but because the state and its people did not prevent the crime, therefore, the people of the state must prosecute the crime.
    If someone comes into one’s home and tells them how to operate their home, that person has transgressed himself and the home. The government and all of its created agencies operates at the will of the people.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” From The Declaration of Independence.
    The above citation is represented here for finer interpretation especially for those office holders in government who choose to abuse their elected office.
    The trouble with Gaia is that she, or it, or whatever, is not a real person, but the construction of another person’s imagination. Kind of like Mickey Mouse or Minnie or Zeus. It is important to recognize that our God is three Persons in one Supreme Sovereign Being. Jesus Christ is the Revelation of the Person of God.
    Gaia has no sovereignty. Any sovereignty over persons by Gaia is tyranny, pure and simple, akin to bank robbery. “You do what I tell you or I will hurt you…tyranny.”
    .
    Aren’t public officials forbidden to use their office for personal gain? Even one dollar of gain or influence? See Abscam.

  • Harry Reid is a person, a creation of God. Government is a creation of sovereign citizens, a creation of man. A person who cannot tell the difference between himself, as a person, and his office as his obligation and duty deserves neither.

  • *blink*

    Well, that explains a lot of the BS I get from friends that grew up back east– they have no idea what the stupid “unimportant” regulation stuff is about.

    Oh, and according to the Western Livestock Journal from April 14th, the BLM was trying to ship the cows to Utah to auction…without any of the required paperwork.

    Hope the Utah take back the land law works out.

  • A typical Washington bureaucrat would see it this way – that Washington should be controlling the land in the rest of the country like it does out West.

  • Pingback: It's Still Christian America - God & Caesar
  • I am told that in Communist countries, the “federal” government owns quite a bit of land.

The Leftist Mentality In A Nutshell

Wednesday, June 22, AD 2011

Cars is one of the few Pixar or Dreamworks movies that I have not seen (and with a two-year old, I’ve seen a lot).  Well it doesn’t look like I’ll be seeing the sequel either.

Debuting in theaters this Friday, the seemingly innocuous Disney-Pixar film ‘Cars 2’ has become a tool to wedge a fight against fossil fuels in favor of alternative forms of energy.

When John Lasseter moved from executive producer to executive director last year, he overhauled major portions of the plot into a good vs. evil story against big oil.

Here is the part of his interview that caught my attention.

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44 Responses to The Leftist Mentality In A Nutshell

  • This is vastly disappointing as Cars was a very good movie and I highly recommend it. So much of contemporary Leftism in this country boils down to a game of let’s pretend. Remember all those green jobs Obama was going to create?

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/56759.html

    Neither does he. When it comes to being out of touch with reality, the Bourbons just prior to the French Revolution had nothing on the forces of the Left in this country. Those who studiously ignore reality tend to end up being trampled by it.

  • No fan of greedy Big Oil here, but I still need gas to run my car and so do all the cars in the movies, which I haven’t seen. If Hollywood is so worried about fossil fuels, why not make a movie called “Trains” and push for high-speed rail. Here is WI, Gov. Walker turned down $800 million in federal aid for such a project. Last I heard, California took it.

  • Folks,

    I have worked in the nuclear energy field for 30+ years, including submarine pressurized water reactors, and commercial pressurized and boiling water reactors. Regardless of the sad events of Fukushima Daiichi, in general nuclear energy is the safest means of generating low cost, pollution-free electricity (I slept within the same container that held an operating nuclear reactor and I am still alive!).

    Now as for Fukushima Daiichi, these were BWR/3 and 4 designs with Mark I containments that had not undergone all the design chages made to similar reactors in the US. If those design changes had been made, then it is possible that the outcome of the earthquake / tsunami would have been different. Yet in spite of the fact that four of the six reactors have been utterly destroyed, there has been (to the best of my knowledge) ZERO loss of life among members of the general public due to the reactor mishaps, unlike a dam which burst due to the earthquake and drowned more than 1700 people in a nearby village (so much for green power) and unlike the oil refineries in the Chiba Prefecture which exploded and dumped their toxins to the ground and air, never to decay away.

    I don’t have time here to go into the non-issue of TMI (which proved that when the worst happens to a US PWR, containment works), or into Chernobyl (a graphite moderated light water cooled RBMK is an accident waiting to happen due to its positive void coefficient of reactivity at low power levels). But the new Generation III+ designs being put out by GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse employ passive cooling features that prevent or mitigate the impacts of Loss of Offsite Power (LOOP) events such as what doomed Fukushima Daiichi. The Economically Simplified BWR (ESBWR) and the AP1000 both use features that passively cool the reactor core in the event of a reactor coolant system leak or rupture with no outside electrical power available.

    Additionally there are Generation IV designs such as High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors (HTGCR), Molten Salt Reactors fueled with thorium (MSR), Liquid Metal Fast Breeder/Burner Reactors (LMFBR), Peeble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR – a form of HTGCR) etc., for which loss of coolant accidents are non-issues. These designs can generate electricity and produce hydrogen gas for fueling motor vehicles employing either with fuel cell technology or the standard internal combustion process.

    There is enough uranium and thorium in Earth’s crust to provide energy to every inhabitant of our planet at the same level as the average American consumes, and to do so for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years. We do NOT have an energy crisis. We have a greed crisis. It’s easier to stay reliant on mineral slime and mineral rock that pollutes the air and kills thousands of people annually from lung disease than it is to do the right thing.

    Will we have future reactor accidents? Yes. And the aftermath will still be a fraction of what coal pollution kills annually, or what a single hydro-electric dam break can cause. And as to the issue of spent nuclear fuel, using a fast burner such as GE-Hitachi’s PRISM or Carlo Rubbia’s Energy Amplifier makes that a non-issue. And as to nuclear weapons proliferation concerns, civilian reactors that breed plutonium-239 from uranium-238 generate too much non-fissile, non-separable plutonium-240 along the way that would make any bomb fizzle out (as North Korea’s bomb did) to make it a militarily useful weapon. Furthermore, the thorium-232 / uranium-233 cycle would obviate this concern (especially since thorium’s abundance is 30 times uranium’s).

    BTW, even though coal pollution kills 30000 annually, it’s still safer than having no electricity and thus being without refrigeration, lighting at night, air conditioning, hospital machines that work, etc. We need some realism here: wind and solar are a joke, coal and oil are bad but not the worst, and nuclear is the best choice. To all those who decry fossil fuel, let them stop using gasoline for their cars, and tell the electric company not to transmit any coal-generated electricity to their house.

    When I have time, then I can give web links to wwhat I wrote above. But right now my employer (whom we should call “Nukes ‘R Us”) expects some service from me, so I have my duties to attend to (and I am sure readers want me attending to my duties even though I am thankfully a boring desk-top engineer right now and rarely have to go into the field – seniority has some advantages!).

  • Thank you Paul. One of the good things about blogging is encountering readers who are experts in various fields.

  • BTW, even though coal pollution kills 30000 annually, it’s still safer than having no electricity and thus being without refrigeration, lighting at night, air conditioning, hospital machines that work, etc.

    Well said. After the TVA electrified the region where he lived, a Tennessee farmer was quoted as saying:

    “The greatest thing in life is to have the love of God in your heart. The second greatest thing is to have electricity in your house.”

  • While I don’t claim to be a history buff, wasn’t Chernobyl an “intentional” accident? I thought the Russians were trying to see how far they could go on with a coolant failure before they could restore everything to normal. I am under the impression that they had to actually bypass nearly all the safety features built into the reactors to do this experiment, am I wrong on that? And everyone totes around saying how terrible nuclear is because of what happened there (and when I inform those opposed to nuclear that it was an intentional accident, they shoot back with, “well we shouldn’t do it anyway 🙄 ).

    Geothermal energy is also fairly useful. It powers about 30% of Iceland’s power, similarly with the Philippines. We can extract about ~1E18 Joules of energy (from all the geothermal plants in the world) from earth’s core which has a heat content of ~1E31 Joules, so our extraction is nearly insignificant. There are ways to even send the used heat back down to the core to be recycled. The environmental effects are also very small compared to coal & gas plants currently used, so it’s a win-win situation (cheap energy and little pollution).

  • High-speed rail is a good idea if it’s implemented right. In the US, we typically install it along short, crowded routes. The Acela, one of the US’s better HSR’s, connects DC and Boston with four stops along the way. You simply can’t get to high speeds when you’re going through cities and making stops. Consider the proposed high-speed rail line between Iowa City and Chicago. It’s projected to travel at 45 mph, taking an hour longer than a bus. It’ll cost riders more than twice a bus ticket, and be less fuel-efficient.

    The problem with energy policy is that it gets politicized. The Right objects to anything but drilling, while the Left signs off on any untested technology. We need to be more rational. Residential solar panels are popular and provide a decent-enough output; we should be promoting them. Wind farms and nuclear power are successful in Europe; we should be promoting them here. We should be drilling for oil for the long term, not tapping our strategic reserves for a short-run fix.

    In Europe, the major airports have train stations in them. A person can wheel his luggage down a ramp and onto a local or inter-city train. In the US, most newer airports are being built on cheaper land far outside the city, with lousy public transportation options and big rental car lots. That’s stupid. HSR isn’t going to replace air travel (which is increasing in popularity), but it can be integrated into our transportation system. If it isn’t, it’s a waste of money.

  • Kyle – Yes! Here’s a good rule of thumb: don’t put nuclear plants where the ground is unstable. Use geothermal in earthquake and volcano zones.

  • Regarding Chernobyl, please see:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/fschernobyl.html

    http://www.nucleartourist.com/events/chernobl.htm

    http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/documentlibrary/safetyandsecurity/factsheet/chernobylconsequences/

    An experiment was being performed at Chernobyl when at low power. The engineers wanted to find out if after a reactor scram there would be enough steam to keep the turbine generator generating electricity until the the emergency diesel generators got on line. The problem is an RBMK’s positive void coefficient of reactivity. During the experiment, steam voids formed under the control rods. In an RBMK, because graphite is the neutron moderator, the moderation effect of water is exceeded by its macroscopic cross-section for absorbing neutrons. So when the steam voids form, stem (being less dense than water) absorbed less neutrons. So more were available for fission. The process sky-rocketed. An exacerbating factor is that the boron control rods had graphite tips so that as the rod is inserted to nullify the neutron chain reactor, a spike in thermal neutrons occurs before the boron can absorb. Thus, when the control rods were inserted, power went momentarily up. This accelerated the steam void formation.

    BTW, to do this experiment the operators had to over-ride safety systems and violate procedures. And on top of that, an RBMK is a natural uranium fueled weapons breeder. The Soviets were trying to kill two birds with one stone. Still, the number of direct deaths from Chernobyl are in the scores, and pale into insignificance when compared with other sources of energy (e.g., wind power when there’s no wind or solar power at night and your hospital machine keeping you alive needs electricity).

  • Hey guys, my response to the question about Chernobyl went into moderation. Is this because of the links I put in it to Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Energy Institute and Virtual Nuclear Tourist web sites?

  • Paul,

    Yes, if your comment has more than one link it will go into moderation. I approved it. And thanks for the info. I completely agree with you on nuclear energy. Honestly I think we should use all forms of energy that are available to us. If wind and/or solar is viable in a certain location, go for it. What’s insane is mandating a one size fits all for the entire country.

  • The US NRC has specific siting criteria for nuclear power plants. All this is a part of 10 CFR 50. See General Design Criteria at:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part050/part050-appa.html

    See also “License, Certifications and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants” at:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part052/

    You guys have no idea of all the analysis that goes into probabilities for worst case earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., here in the US. It literally fills volumes.

  • To be honest, I wasn’t all that crazy about the first Cars either, it was one of my least favorite Pixar movies (down there with Bugs Life) in part because of the “how heartless is it that the new highway caused this town to dry up” theme — which kind of ignored the issue that the town was portrayed as only having boomed in the first place because of the old highway.

    It sounds like the new film just takes the unthinking heartstrings pulling one step further.

  • Pinky, the lame “drill, baby, drill” argument from the right merits a response. First of all, the once Seven Sisters, now down to 3 or 4, that monopolize the oil industry continue to do so not only by maintaining one of the most influential lobbies in Wash, DC, but also by manipulating the markets through so-called speculators in the trading pits.

    The world is awash in oil, but turn down the spigot a bit and create an artificial demand and, thanks to the laws of economics, you’re able to keep the price up and pocket billions.

    Secondly, the idea that America can drill its way out of the “energy crisis” and become “less dependent on foreign oil” — two bromides that the corporate and state-controlled media have managed to thread successfully into the running narrative — is ludicrous on its face.

    Back in the 1980s I visited Alaska’s North Slope to cover the oil boom. Everybody back then was hailing the discovery of millions of barrels of oil in Prudhoe Bay, to be pipelined from Valdez down to Alaska southern ports for shipment throughout US. But Atlantic Richfield and its partners, in cohoots with Aramco and other Arab-linked groups, did what any good capitalist does: they sold the oil to the highest bidder, which turned out to be Japan.

    Thus, over a 20-year period, American oil was being sold almost exclusively to the Japanese. So much for solving the “energy crisis” and becoming “less dependent” on foreigners. Instead, U.S. oil companies were reaping obscene profits — as they still do to this day — by exporting precious assets overseas.

    One or two other points: The media like to headline the crude oil price every day to accustom the ignorant masses to the notion that if the price goes up or down a few dollars this will have a direct impact on what they pay at the pump. In fact, the refineries are making gasoline from oil stocks and inventories that were bought, for the most part, years ago at much cheaper prices. Yet the price of gasoline keeps going up. Why? First of all, as the spread between crude costs and gasoline widens, so do profits. This accounts for the typical 40 to 60% profit gains by ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and others. Meanwhile retired oil execs bail out of their golden parachutes with nine-figure payoffs and everyone is dumbfounded as to why it costs them $4 a gallon to fill up their tanks. Can anyone read a balance sheet anymore? Of course, the stockholders are happy but the taxpayers and consumers, get the short end as usual. Meanwhile Congress and the White House do everything they can to maintain the oil depletion allowance and cut tax breaks for Big Oil.

    In January 2007 crude was selling for $75 barrel and my corner station sold gasoline at $1.75 a gallon. Now crude is $100 and gas is $4. There is no correlation other than to note the obvious disparity. You can’t blame inflation, OPEC, the Arabs, gas-guzzling SUVs as much as you can Big Oil, which continues to gouge. As Gordon Gekko famously proclaimed “Greed is good, and for want of a better word, it’s the only thing that will save the United States of America.”

    Lastly, Obama, who has taking major campaign “contributions” from Big Oil does little except to unleash toy poodle Eric Holder to keep an eye on “speculators” to make sure they’re not violating the law, whatever the law is. Unlike JFK, who bully pulpited U.S. Steel after it raised steel prices and got them to back off and unlike LBJ, who called GM’s boss on the Oval Office for raising car prices, Obama has said nothing about gouging. And his scolding of Wall Street has been mere lip service to placate the dumb voters.

    There, I feel better now.

    Drive on!

  • Joe, I didn’t say “drill, baby, drill”. I definitely don’t believe that we can drill our way out of the energy crisis, although drilling will be part of the solution. The whole point of my post was that that sort of sloganeering doesn’t help anyone; we need to be looking at practical solutions.

    With that in mind, it’s got to be recognized that Alaskan oil increases the overall world supply of oil, thus decreasing the pressure on prices. The more we produce, wherever it’s sold, the more the world market is satisfied. Also, there is a bottleneck in the refining process, and any increase in our national refining capability would increase the worldwide capability.

  • Let me add to what Joe has so correctly described. Fossil fuel’s only credible competitor is nuclear. Fossil fuel loves renewable energy because renewable is so unreliable that utilities always have to have spinning reserve (i.e., generators spinning at low output) for when the sun gets hidden by clouds or the wind stops blowing. Renewable energy is big bucks for fossil energy.

    Now let’s have a few facts. Gregory Jaczo is the current US NRC Chairman. He used to work for Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey against the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in MA and against the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in the adjaceent state of VT. Then he went to work for Harry Reid against the Yucca Mountain spent fuel repository. When John Roberts waas nominated by Bush as Cheif Justice in SCOTUS, Reid said no, not unless his boy Jaackzo got appointed to the NRC as a Commissioner.. So Bush compromised. Then the Nuclear Energy Institute pitched a fit aand proposed Peter Lyons, a pro-nuke, to balance him out. Bush agree. Jackzo and Lyons were both recess appointments to the NRC when pro-nuke Dale Klein was Chairman. Then Obama got elected. He demoted Dale Klein to being a regular Commissioner and promoted Jackzo to Chairman. Then at the end of the 5 year terms of Klein and Lyons, he let them go. Now we have an anti-nuke as NRC Chairman and this guy has just recently killed NRC review of Yucca Mountain wiithout allowing it to go to a full vote by the five member Commission. GAO just did a report on this. He didn’t do anything criminal, but what he did was unethical. I can’t find the GAO report right now, but the fact of the matter is that Jackzo did an end run around the other 4 commissioners to serve his master Harry Reid..

    Now at the same time we don’t reprocess / recycle spent nuclear fuel to remove the long-lived actinides and burn them up in fast neutron reactors because Carter (another liberal Democrat – all these guys are liberal Democrats) killed reprocessing on false fears of nuclear weapons proliferation (and that isn’t feasible because PWRs and BWRs in the US make too much non-fissile plutonium-240 with the plutonium-239; not good for bombs but great for reactor fuel).

    So inn the meantime we use fossil fuel and continue our dependency on imported oil. While most of our imports are from Canada (Canadian shale oil), we make Europe moree dependent on Mid-East oil and that finances the terrorists. Who supports this? Obama’s renewable energy schemes. Sure, little electricity comes from oil, but all that coal (22 railroad car fulls every 2 weeks for a typical coal plant) has to be transported by diesel powered trains.

    A 1000 MW reactor is refueled once every 2 years by a truck load of fuel rods.

    We are so freakiing stupid.

  • Our failure to reprocess nuclear fuel is the most inexplicable thing in the whole energy story. And it was implemented by Carter, who should have been our most pro-nuclear president! But it wasn’t overturned by Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr., or our current President, and I’ve never heard a good reason why.

  • Pinky,

    The answer is the same as it has always been all throughout history when money is involved: greed. All those politicians on left and right who benefit from contributions from fossil fuel are beholden to fossil fuel. Nuclear is a threat to fossil fuel. Reprocessing / recycling is a threat. So the answer is to amp up the regulations to make building a new nuke too expensive, and then prevent life cycle management of used nuclear fuel. We only burn 5% of what’s in the fuel rods. Only 5%! Instead of recycling / reprocessing, we were going to throw the 95% away! That’s plain stupid.

    Using Carlo Rubbia Energy Amplifiers or fast neutron burner reactors we can consume the 95%. Indeed, even a Candu (Canadian Deuterium Uranium) reactor could burn what spent fuel a US PWR and BWR produces, but we don’t even do that.

    There’s big money involved here, and both political parties have dirt and blood on their hands.

  • I do NOT speak for any utility, NSSS company, or other organization, but I worked here for 18 years (not now – went to a different company for more $ and fewer off-hour call-ins – selfish of me I suppose).

    http://www.safesecurevital.com/about-us/photo-gallery.html

    Safe. Secure. Vital. And the best group of people I have ever worked with. That’s the truth.

  • Paul P: You have not addressed the problem of nuclear waste. As long as nuclear power creates deadly waste that will remain deadly for pretty much all of time, and we have no good way to store it, I don’t see how anyone can really be in favor of it. Otherwise, yes, I agree — nuclear energy is clean, safe to operate, and pretty much limitless. But nuclear waste is an awful big elephant in the room. However, maybe you have an answer and I’m not aware of and if there is one I’d be glad to hear it.

    I am so sorry to hear this about Cars 2. I really thought I would hate Cars 1 and I thought it was great. The part about the town being abandoned when they built the new highway may be uncomfortable for some, but that’s what really happened to towns on Route 66. The only Pixar movie I have disliked is Ratatouille. It had a fabulous end but getting to the end was so tedious! It was supposed to be a French rat, not a neurotic New York rat who ought to have been in therapy and so talked all the time as if he were talking to his therapist. Not to mention the “I am too artistic to fit in with my blue collar family” stuff (so boring) and the human hero being illegitimate. Yeah… didn’t like that one. Although, as I said, I do think the end is a classic. And I liked A Bug’s Life!

  • Yes, I have addressed nuclear waste. Compared to the millions of tons of toxins dumped into the environment by coal plants every year, nuclear waste for all the US reactors would fit into a foot ball field. Furthermore, we can recycle the “waste”, burning up the long lived actinides and rendering a million year repository like Yucca a moot point. I now have to go to a meeting, but I will have more to say on this later. BTW, a 1000 MW coal plant releases more radioactivity into the environment than a 1000 MW nuke because of the naturally occuring thorium, uranium and radium in coal. At Indian point Con Ed in the 1960s wanted to build a coal plant but couldn’t because the emissions from the coal plant would swamp our rad monitors. The whine about waste is a red herring. What are you going to do about the fly ash fields from coal plants that have toxic mercury that never every decays away. Millions of tons of it.

  • For more information about radioactivity in coal combustion, please see the following from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

    http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

    I have written several essays on this topic which I will post once I get access to my computer at home. Suffice it to say that I have stood above spent fuel pools with radioactive rods in them, I have been around dry casks that store spent fuel which has been outside the reactor for at least five years, I have been involved in programming PLCs that control massive refueling machines that move fuel rods from core to spent pool and back, I have stood but inches from fresh, non-irradiated fuel, I have calibrated radiation monitors for buildings containing spent fuel, and miraculously I am still alive.

    I’d rather work in a nuke plant any day of the week than a coal plant where black dust is everywhere and no one does anything to clean up messes. Look at those photos in the link I gave you to IPEC. Look at how the turbines and floors gleam. look at how clean everything is. That’s nuclear power. We manage our spent fuel the same way. In fact, if coal had to sequester its wastes the way we nukes do, there wouldn’t be a single coal plant running. But willy nilly they got to dump millions of tons of sewage into the atmosphere while some people whine about spent nuclear fuel that is really a resource, not a danger.

    BTW, 50% of US electricity is coal, 20% is nuclear and the rest is mostly natural gas with a sprinkling of renewables. Want to know why there aren’t more nukes? Because natural gas was marketed as cheap and clean in 1990s, and TMI and Chernobyl were marketed as the poster children of nuke power. Now we all pay through the nose for that mistake and who gets rich? Big natural gas suppliers like Russia. It ain’t about safety or spent fuel, folks. It’s about the money. Follow the money. Who benefits from fears over spent fuel?

    OK – more tonite when I have time – gotta go. After all, my job is “Nukes ‘R Us.” And I LOVE my job.

  • Gail,

    The only Pixar movie I have disliked is Ratatouille.

    Aw, come on, Ratatouille was the best one! 🙂

  • Folks,

    I promised more information on used nuclear fuel commonly called “waste”, and what a waste it would be to deposit it in a geologic repository for a million years, not using up all the valuable energy left within in. The Nuclear Energy Institute has lots of information at sub-links here:

    http://www.nei.org/keyissues/nuclearwastedisposal/

    So lets puts some things in perspective:

    A 1000 MWe PWR or BWR nuclear power plant annually produces 27 tons of used fuel that can be recycled and consumed in a fast neutron burner reactor, obviating the need for Yucca Mountain.

    A 1000 MWe coal fired power plant annually produces:
    400,000 tons of fly ash
    20,000 tons of SOx
    20,400 tons of NOx
    7,400,000 tons of CO2
    100 tons of small particulates
    1,440 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 7,841,940 tons of waste (compared to nuclear’s 27 tons that can be recyled)

    And the coal plant’s waste never ever decays away and cannot be recycled or otherwise reused.

    Let’s take a 1000 MWe natural gas plant:
    2 tons of SOx
    157 tons of NOx
    199,472 tons of CO2
    12 tons of small particulates
    68 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 199,711 tons of waste annually. So the next time Obama’s General Electric (yup, CEO Jeff Immelt is Obama’s jobs adviser – follow the money!) talks about clean natural gas turbines, they sure are clean – up to a whopping 199+ thousand tons! And the more GE wind turbines you buy, the more spining reserve you need, for which GE has a solution – its natural gas turbines. It’s all about the money.

    Here’s a 1000 MWe petroleum burner:
    2248 tons of SOx
    898 tons of NOx
    328,655 tons of CO2
    168 tons of small particulates
    66 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 332,036 tons of waste dumped into the atmosphere as if into a sewer.

    Now I didn’t even consider the tons of mercury, chromium, nickle and other heavy metal toxins that fossil fuel burning releases – toxins that never ever decay away. And I simply don’t have time to go into more detail.

    The nuke industry (under Carter’s non-proliferation act) has had to give the Federal Government a certain amount of money to store used fuel. Each nuke plant of the 104 in the US has to give so much money every year. Back when I was tracking this stuff in the early 2000s, the fund was 25 billion dollars +. Now Harry Reid and his hey boy Gregory Jackzo in the NRC has said: no Yucca Mountain. So the right thing to do is return all those billions of dollars to the reactor plant owners and tell them to take take of their own waste. But Dems won’t let them. Why? Reprocessing! The fools are afraid of weapons proloferation, but used commercial fuel is useless for bombs – too much Pu-240 with the Pu-239.

    Those billions of dollars for Yucca Mountain are probably up to 30+ by now. But we got cash for clunkers and a banking bailout and a bailout of Government – er, I mean, General – Motors! Follow the money, folks, follow the money.

    Is nuclear power 100% safe? Nope, never will be. Ain’t no such animal as 100% safety – never will be. But there are worse things than nuclear: coal. And then there are things even worse than coal: no electricity. Any complainers out there want to live with gas lanterns and no running water? You want your lights to turn on at night and your refrigerator to work? Then let us professionals do our job and stop tying our hands. (I speak rhetorically – not to anyone specifically on this blog site).

    Sorry, folks. I get so darn irritated. The public and the politicians haven’t a clue, Dem or Repub. Time to go to Adoration and get calmed down.

  • I am amazed at the level of expertise certain people can bring to a discussion such as this.

    Here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, specifically in Washington and Greene counties, there is a nearly 300 year supply of coal. The local leftist rag ran a series of articles about the “horrors” of burning coal for power generation.

    Most of Pennsylvania, except for the northwest corner and the southeast corner, sit atop the Marcellus shale formation, which contains more than a hundred year’s worth of natural gas. Once again, the leftist rag runs screeds demanding an extraction tax. People (I think most of these are bussed in and organized by some Soros backed group) protest against “fracking” and accuse it of fouling their water wells. Water wells go at most a few hundred feet deep. The shale formations are more than a mile deep.

    Westinghouse Electric is based in Pittsburgh, They build nuclear power plants all over the rest of the world – but not here.

    I’ll take my 3 year old to see Cars 2 anyway. He likes the characters. Lasseter makes good movies despite his lousy politics. I skipped Wall-E, which is about an overly polluted world.

  • I agree with Penguin Fans. The liberals don’t want any solution except the solution that doesn’t work. Can’t use nuke ’cause of spent fuel fears, meltdown fears, and weapons proliferation fears. Can’t use coal and gas ’cause of green house gas fears and ground water pollution fears. Gotta use wind and solar that don’t work when you most need them: at night and on hot windless summer days or snowy, cloudy winter days. Indeed, if wind power were so darn great as they claim, then why don’t we still ship cargo at sea using sailing ships?

    Even though I think nuke power is a magnitude of order better, there are things worse than a 300 year supply of coal and a 100 year supply of shale oil. It’s called no refrigeration, no lighting at night except for candles, no air conditioning, no TV, no radio, no computers, no running water, no in-house toilets (because of no sewage treatment plants run by electric motor-driven pumps), no electronic hospital machines, no anything that requires electricity which is virtually everything nowadays.

    This is but one of many reasons why I despise liberalism (though there are some pro-nuke bloggers who are liberals and I can’t fathom why – some people are simply suicidal).

  • PP, I’ve got nothing against nukes, but can’t help remembering the scary scenario in the 1979 thriller, The China Syndrome, in which a physicist says a meltdown would render “an area the size of Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable.” The movie, starring Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda, was released 12 days before the Three Mile Island accident, which, of course, helped box office sales.

    Fiction or not, the film raised disturbing questions about the safety of nuclear plants and while accidents have been rare if they do occur the possible outcomes are indeed frightening (Fukushima, e.g.), triggered by a 9.0 earthquake.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster

  • “I’ll take my 3 year old to see Cars 2 anyway. He likes the characters. Lasseter makes good movies despite his lousy politics. I skipped Wall-E, which is about an overly polluted world.”

    I’ll take my 9 year old also and like other movies explain how people can use movies and other venues (schools, churches) as political propaganda. He’s already become quite proficient at pointing out flaws in commercials and Obama speeches.

  • Joe,

    You can read about the TMI event here:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/3mile-isle.html

    TMI proved that when the worst thing happens to a US reactor, no one dies, no one gets injured, but the stockholders get hit in the pocket book and the regulations are amp’ed up. Yup, the operators screwed up: tagged out aux feed water, didn’t believe their indications when the PORVs stuck open and RCS press was low bur Pzr level was rising, failed to see that the steam bubble went into the core, etc. ad nauseam (I teach this stuff because my employer insists that our engineers follow the darn the procedure and believe in their indications and obey the stinking regs, and my employer is an evil capitalist who wants too make money and can’t do it without obeying the regs and being safe – imagine that!).

    Now as for Fukushima Daiichi, it was hit by a double whammy of an earthquake and a tsunami. Call it an “Act of God” or “Act of Nature” if you will – no one can protect against that. Maybe half a dozen people died directly. In the mean time, the same earthquake cause a dam failure that drowned 1700 people in a nearby village. Let’s see: less than dozen deaths from Fukishima (and all plant workers, NOT general public) vs 1700 villagers dead from green power – black death.

    By the way, why no mention of the petro fires in the Chiba Prefecture that burned out of control for 10+ days, spewing their never decaying chemical toxins into the atmosphere and soaking the nearby land with oil? Pictures of secondary containment roofs blowing off at Fukushima makes for good sensationalism, but not for accurate reporting of what really happened.

    And BTW, if the Fukushima plants had implemented the upgrades that US BWR/3’s and 4’s with Mark I containments had to implement, then the events would have been very different. The batteries for Reactor Core Isolation Cooling Turbines lost power because they didn’t have long enough lasting batteries for the valve controls. And no, I don’t like Mark I containment structures and I can’t go into all the technical reasons here. But the facts are less than a dozen deaths due to Fukushima and 30000 annually in the US from coal fired power plant air pollution.

    That magic word “radiation” makes nuclear so much more fearful. Did you know that wildlife has returned to the Chernobyl area and is thriving? Or how about the Oklo natural reactor in Africa a couple of billion years ago, and today Africa has among the widest diversities of life on the planet. See:

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/Files/Okloreactor.pdf

    As far as the China Syndrome movie goes, there is a reason why Jane Fonda is called Hanoi Jane.

    Next will be web links to the passive safety features of GE’s ESBWR and Westtinghouse’s AP1000 that obviate TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima events.

  • For an animation on the passive safety design of GE-Hitachi’s ESBWR, please see:

    http://www.ge-energy.com/products_and_services/products/nuclear_energy/esbwr_nuclear_reactor.jsp

    In the Media gallery on the right side of the page you will have to click the first arrow or triangle to get the video going, then just follow the on-screen instructions.

    For the Westinghouse AP1000 passive core cooling system, please see:

    http://ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/ap1000_psrs_pccs.html

    For the Westinghouse AP1000 passive containment cooling system, please see:

    http://ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/ap1000_psrs_pcs.html

    I can get the Mitshubishi APWR and the Areva EPR ones, too, if you want, but you get the idea. These designs are even safer than the current ones and are designed for a LOCA concurrent with a LOOP. And GE’s design doesn’t need any outside intervention or even external electrical power for up to 72 hours.

    Any more questions? Oh, one last thing: go here for the PRISM reactor. It obviates our spent nuclear fuel problem. Harry Reid can go jump in a toilet.

    http://local.ans.org/virginia/meetings/2007/2007RIC.GE.NRC.PRISM.pdf

    I used to teach training classes on basic nuclear technology with the guy who is in charge of this. But I went to a different (and better) employer. Can’t stand Jeff Immelt (GE’s CEO) sucking up to Obama.

  • Opps – sorry guys – you gotta approve another of my posts because I put too many web links in it to nuke specific info that will clear up a lot of mis-conceptions. Lots of animation, too.

  • I am sorry to post yet again, but Joe had mentioned the mishaps at Fukushima Daiichi. Please go here for info:

    US Nuclear Regulatory Commission – Japan Nuclear Accident – NRC Actions
    http://www.nrc.gov/japan/japan-info.html

    US Nuclear Energy Institute – Information on the Japan Earthquake and Reactors in That Region
    http://www.nei.org/newsandevents/information-on-the-japanese-earthquake-and-reactors-in-that-region/

    Do NOT listen to ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MS NBC, NBC, NPR, PBS, etc. Whenever one of the talking heads open their mouths with the word “nuclear”, you can be assurred it’s BS. News journalists (for all their liberal screeching that we Christians are so anti-science) are themselves without even the basics in knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology. The overwhelming majority wouldn’t know the difference between a centimeter and an inch (2.54 cm = 1 inch, BTW). So how can they possibly speak intelligently about neutrons and gammas, boron and hafnium, Pu-239 and U-235, rems and sieverts, etc.? Dumb, dumber, dumbest. Sorry – I have a low opinion of what passes for media in this country.

  • Paul, it’s easy to see why you get so annoyed at the politicians and the media. A half-truth works just as well as a lie and has a longer half-life.

    29 years ago I started my first year in college. In my first class (Speech) there was a character who was fervently anti-nuclear power. According to him, he knew all of the problems with nuclear power that no one else knew because of his father’s employment in the nuclear power field.

    Yeah, right, another 18 year old know it all. I did not like teenagers when I was a little kid. I didn’t like teenagers when I was a teenager. I don’t like teenagers now.

    There were some articles in the local libertarian rag, quoting a nuclear engineer, who was asked about what to do with the spent nuclear fuel. He pointed out how easy it is to reprocess the stuff, but Carter made it illegal and nobody has had the guts to overturn that stupid decision.

    When it comes to the “enviornment”, truth rarely gets out, but lies last forever. Rachel Carson was a total fool. Her contention that DDT caused the shells of wild birds to be too thin has been thoroughly discredited, but DDT is illegal almost everywhere. Had DDT still been in use, countless lives lost to malaria would have been saved, but the “enviornmentalists” don’t really care about human life.

    I pointed out earlier some facets about the Marcellus shale gas deposits in Pennsylvania. Our local school board was overwhelmed with a bunch of protesters whining about a proposed gas well on some vacant property owned by the school district. The usual platitudes about “the children” were thrown about, like my son throwing rocks in the street. It’s so much BS. Pennsylvania has had a boom in gas drilling because New York State and West Virginia (also part of the Marcellus shale gas field) either ban drilling (New York, no surprise) or an extraction tax (West Virginia). My cousin is a geologist and she said the complaints about fracking are all lies. The damage done, if any, is due to an unreputable company that damages roads by exceeding weight limits, or improperly treats the used fracking fluids.

  • Please do not let your little ones watch TV. Read books, play toys or just enjoy the day. TV dulls everyone. Thanks.

  • Penguins Fan,

    I agree with you 100%. BTW, President Jerry “lame duck” Ford was the one who started the nonsense about no spent fuel reprocessing and Jimmy “I am a liberal” Carter implemented it. Both Repubs and Dems have their hands dirty. And from his days at US Naval Nuclear Power School, Jimmy Carter (a former nuke sub officer) KNEW that spent fuel from a commercial PWR or BWR had too much Pu-240 in it to make a useful bomb. He KNEW. I know he knew because he went through the same US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Training that I went through. But as you pointed out, the facts don’t matter.

    When the lights go out and the refrigerator compressor motors stop, then they’ll ask where’s the coal, gas and uranium. Green power – black death.

    Hey, as an aside, what’s green on the outside and pink on the inside? Nope, not a watermelon, but a Demokratik Party operative hell bent on eco-justice and social justice. Think about it. I gotta stop. Time for my nightly meditation and Bible reading. I need some serenity. But thanks for the support, Penquins Fan!

  • I really Enjoy Wallie (probably my favorite), Monster inc., Monsters vs Aliens and the first Toys. I never seen Cars didn’t seem apealing. Paul P. Thanks for the information. I had to do research on Nukes when Japan problem hit because I knew hype would be overwhelming. I went to the MIT site and a site call ANS all things nuclear. I was waiting for someone in California to find some unfound uranium with all the gyger counters that were purchased.

  • Cars has to have been the worst Pixar film, and has become their merchandising movie, which I suspect may have been the intention. As an adolescent (I’m as ashamed of that fact as I should be) ’90s kid, I grew up on Pixar, consistently amazed – with the notable exception of the stupid sports movie where nothing happened to completely uninteresting characters. The sequel ( I am willing to bet hard money.) will be comparable to “Space Balls II: The Quest for More Money.”

  • I sounded so hard on Pixar in that post. Let me say for the record that I am a massive Pixar fan, and that I really think every movie with that one exception is both hilarious and beautiful, and that I have cried during at least four of their movies.

  • Well, I took the family to the drive-in (right next to the takeoff runway at the Pittsburgh Int’l Airport) last night. My son loves the Cars characters and, for being 3 1/2 years old, watched most of the movie.

    I saw countless kids with Cars clothes, Cars kid sized lawn chairs, etc.

    It wan’t bad, but the end of the movie was as convoluted as h-e-double hockey sticks and it definitely was not the best effort made by Pixar.

    As for the merchandising – people like me are as much to blame for it as the people who license and produce the stuff. My son has, as follows:
    – a Lightning McQueen tricycle, (I bought it and it was the cheapest trike in the store)
    – a Cars toybox (the only other one in the store was a Toy Story toybox)
    – a set of Cars sheets and pillowcase for a twin bed (I bought ’em)
    – several Cars characters t-shirts (all from my cousin, whose son outgrew them)
    – several Cars pajamas,
    – a Cars toddler bed he has since outgrown ( a present from Grandma),
    – a McQueen -shaped pillow,
    – Matchbox size toy cars of McQueen, Finn McMissile and another character, and
    – a Sheriff with a (formerly) loud siren my brother bought, in part to annoy me with the noise.

    When we were looking for a toybox, my son wandered off a few feet away, grabbed the set of Cars sheets, and dragged them over to my wife and me.

    I grew up with Loony Tunes, Speed Racer and the black and white Popeye cartoons. Those were better than anything made today – and a LOT more violent. Merchandising back then was unheard of

  • Fan, I haven’t seen a drive-in since I left NYC 40 years ago. Didn’t think there were any left in the country. Of course, in those days, nobody watched the movie. It was just the best place to take your girlfriend. 😆

  • I neglected to point out that Rachel Carson, she of the garbage book Silent Spring (the Dan Brown of her time), which propogated the lie about DDT, was from Pittsburgh and had a bridge named after her. I still call it the 7th Street Bridge. Carson’s garbage has cost an untold number of lives, in my wife’s native Colombia and elsewhere where malaria can be contracted.

    One more thing about the natural gas wells, and oil wells in particular – in parts of rural Northeastern Ohio, specifically eastern Portage County, northwestern Mahoning County (not far from Youngstown) and Columbiana County (about 60-65 miles northwest of Pittsburgh) there are countless oil derrick and gas wells to bee seen in farmers’ fields. Imagine that – food being grown near a gas well! Some fortunate folks there have gas wells that supply their homes with natural gas and they don’t have to buy natural gas or propane or heating oil.

  • Joe, I live near Pittsburgh.

    Pittsburgh is 25 years behind the rest of the country and is d_*n proud of it.
    Catholics are 50% of the population of Allegheny County and Allegheny county has among the highest rates of church attendance in the nation. This cuts across all Christian churches.

    As for who gets elected from here, that’s another discussion.

  • Pitt Fan, I just hope you don’t catch up to NY, which just passed “gay marriage” law and made me vow never to go back to the city that I once thought was the greatest in the world. Now it’s a cesspool.

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Buying A Car To Save Money

Friday, January 14, AD 2011

Cars that get over 40 miles per gallon in fuel efficiency are, reportedly, becoming all the rage, with more models from American and foreign car makers being introduced at the latest Detroit Auto Show.

So I got curious, having just started a 18-mile-each-way commute, what exactly are the savings one can achieve by buying a more fuel efficient car? I assumed a situation faily like mine: My car is paid for and costs me only minimal maintenance to keep up (a 14-year-old Toyota Camry) and a 20 mile each way commute.

Say you’re considering buying a new car which gets 40mpg for $20,000. That seems moderately standard for these cars. Assume a 40 mile daily round trip commute, and an additional 40 miles of weekend or additional driving. Assuming a current care actual efficiency of 20mpg. Assume the price of gas goes up to $4/gal. How long would it take for you to make up the cost of that new car in fuel savings?

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11 Responses to Buying A Car To Save Money

  • I also performed this calculation before I purchased my new car 5 years ago. I found that is was the same way. I didn’t really have a choice with my car at the time expiring at a quickening pace. Needless to say this calculation did figure into my purchase but was low on the priority list.

  • This applies to the environmental impact as well. Getting rid of an older, less efficient, car by replacing it with a newer one ignores the mountain of ore and coke, thousands of gallons of water, bauxite, thousands of Kwh of electricity, crude oil, etc., required to make the iron, smelt the aluminum, refine the plastics, etc., that go into that more efficient car.

    If anyone wants to conserve nature they’d do well to focus on durability and longevity as well as, or even more than, energy efficiency. Would be interested in this sort of an analysis regarding energy efficient light bulbs.

  • I agree that in general, it makes little sense to buy a new car just to improve your gas mileage… except maybe perhaps if you currently drive an original Hummer or other similar vehicle that barely gets double digit gas mileage.

    That being said, I would point out that the analysis is flawed in a couple of ways. The most basic flaw is that it assumes you would keep the Camry for another 16 years. Now, assuming you have owned the Camry since it was new, and that your driving habits have remained constant (probably a big if), your Camry should already have about 175,000 miles on it. By the end of 16 years it will have about 375,000 miles on it. Now toyota makes a decent car and engine, but after a car already hase 175,000 miles on it, you can be sure that some of the maintence over the next 200,000 is going to be more than minimal. If the alternator and fuel pump haven’t been replaced already, they will be soon, likewise you can expect at least one new or rebuilt transmission and maybe even need a rebuilt engine after say 250,000 miles. So, in order to keep the Camry running for another 16 years, I would expect that you will need to put at least $5,000 to $6,000 into it above and beyond basic maintenance (i.e., oil, tires, brakes). Of course on the bright side, a 14 year old Camry is going to loose a lot less value over the next 16 years than a new car will loose in its first two :).

    In any case, unless you are the sort to run a car completely into the ground (and you might be), the better analysis will be to look at how much longer you are likely to keep the car and balance those costs against buying X years early. In practice this means it probably never makes sense to trade in early just to get better gas mileage. In fact, it might well make sense to wait say two years when many of these 40 mpg cars will be hitting used car lots costing 40% less than the new cars of today :).

  • Bruce Williams, the talk radio finance advice guy (sort of an early Dave Ramsey, if I recall correctly), once said that you’ll never again own a car as cheap as the one you have right now, or words to that effect. In other words, buying a different car will almost always cost more in the long run, even if your current car needs a fair amount of work. There are cases where a car is really shot, of course, but they’re rarer than people think. The person who says a newer car will save in the long run on gas mileage or repairs is usually just kidding himself.

    That becomes even more true as licensing fees climb. I bought my current car for $150, and then immediately more than doubled the cost when I went to pay the state of Illinois for the privilege of owning it.

  • I’d be happy to get the tranny fixed on my 1996 Dodge van with 240,000 miles.

  • Aaron (and Bruce Williams) is right. There is nothing wrong with replacing a current car with a new one, but it usually cannot be justified on purely financial grounds. The notion that one should “trade in” a car after three or four years in order to save money on repair and maintenance expenses is really a myth, yet one believed and practiced by many Americans including many Americans who are otherwise financially savvy.

  • “you’ll never again own a car as cheap as the one you have right now”

    That is even more true since “Cash for Clunkers” took a lot of still-serviceable older cars off the market, thereby driving up the price of used cars and making them less viable as an alternative to buying a new car.

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  • All true as to milage. However, an older car with mechanical “issues” can rapidly become a money pit. My first car out of law school was a cherry red Thunder Bird with 37,000 miles on it, sold to me by a sweet little old lady who I suspect now probably rolled back the odometer. It was a superb vehicle until it hit “77,000” miles in early 1985 and then I had unending trouble with it, and easily pumped $3,000 into it in nine months, after having several different mechanics work on it. After it collapsed for a fourth time, and I was told it would cost another $1800.00 to get it back on the road, I sold it to a secretary’s husband for parts for $250.00. Since then I have never purchased a used vehicle, and I rarely keep a car much beyond 100k. With two vehicles for the family, I can normally get 8 years out of each car.

  • It seems that this shows that it’s silly to change a perfectly good car for a new car just for the fuel savings, and perhaps even for the additional repairs. What I’m not clear on is whether or not if you’re buying a new car anyway (old one too expensive to keep up, etc.) if it is worth it to invest the money into purchasing a car with better fuel efficiency.

  • Michael,

    I think the trick would probably to be compare the cost of the two cars you’re considering and figure out how long it would take up to make up the difference between the two (assuming the more efficient one is more expensive) via gas saving.

    For example, you might be deciding between buying a 2005 Civic which gets around 28mpg and a 2010 Civic which gets 40mpg. The cost difference might be about 10,000. You could plug those figures, and the respective fuel efficiencies, into the equation and come up with the break even point it.

    I was showing that given my commute and my current car, I’d save about $25/wk if I bought one of the new, highly fuel efficient cars that’s coming out. (Obviously, with a hybrid the savings might edge up to $30+.)

    That would be worth getting if you’re buying a new car anyway, but it’s not necessarily worth paying more than about $8k more for unless you have a much longer commute, are betting gas will get very expensive, or have a strong moral feeling that you need to conserve fuel regardless of cost.

The words of the Pope on "Earth Day"

Thursday, April 22, AD 2010

I don’t have much patience for “Earth Day” b/c it’s a made-up (holi?)day. I tried to avoid wearing green today and decided to take the day to announce that my wife & I are expecting to add to the environmentalists’ fear of overpopulation.

But environmentalism matters; we can’t be distracted by the sappy appeals to Mother Earth. Care for the environment is an important aspect of the faith as the Holy Father tells us:

51. The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa. This invites contemporary society to a serious review of its life-style, which, in many parts of the world, is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences[122]. What is needed is an effective shift in mentality which can lead to the adoption of new life-styles “in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments”[123]. Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment, just as environmental deterioration in turn upsets relations in society. Nature, especially in our time, is so integrated into the dynamics of society and culture that by now it hardly constitutes an independent variable. Desertification and the decline in productivity in some agricultural areas are also the result of impoverishment and underdevelopment among their inhabitants. When incentives are offered for their economic and cultural development, nature itself is protected. Moreover, how many natural resources are squandered by wars! Peace in and among peoples would also provide greater protection for nature. The hoarding of resources, especially water, can generate serious conflicts among the peoples involved. Peaceful agreement about the use of resources can protect nature and, at the same time, the well-being of the societies concerned.

The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction. There is need for what might be called a human ecology, correctly understood. The deterioration of nature is in fact closely connected to the culture that shapes human coexistence: when “human ecology”[124] is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits. Just as human virtues are interrelated, such that the weakening of one places others at risk, so the ecological system is based on respect for a plan that affects both the health of society and its good relationship with nature.

In order to protect nature, it is not enough to intervene with economic incentives or deterrents; not even an apposite education is sufficient. These are important steps, but the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society. If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology. It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational systems and laws do not help them to respect themselves. The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development. Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society.

Not wasting resources has nothing to do with saving “Mother Earth” but rather everything to do with forming ourselves to not be dependent on material things and preserving things for others (both the poor of our generation and the future generations). In this, we are better formed to protect human dignity.

This shows just how detrimental it is for environmentalists to be pushing abortion & contraception to solve overpopulation; by teaching lack of respect for human dignity and selfishness, they are promoting the very behaviors that contribute to environmental damage.

So on “Earth Day” let us as Catholics reaffirm the Church’s holistic and inseparable teachings on human dignity and the environment.

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17 Responses to The words of the Pope on "Earth Day"

  • Congratulations to you and your wife. May you upset environmentalists on many more occasions.

  • Congrats, Michael! That’s awesome news!

    May the pitter-patter of many little carbon footprints pollute your household for many years to come.

  • Not wasting resources has nothing to do with saving “Mother Earth” but rather everything to do with forming ourselves to not be dependent on material things and preserving things for others

    Well, what you said after the but is actually in union with what you said before it; by working to preserve things for others is to preserve Mother Earth, so she can nourish us in the future.

  • Congratulations Michael!

  • Congratulations, Michael.

  • Thanks everyone! I appreciate it!

    I don’t want the thread to entirely devolve into giving me congratulations; did anyone have any thoughts about the pope’s words?

  • HK:

    I disagree. I think “saving Mother Earth” suggests that the Earth is some end in itself (which is how the pagans view “Mother Earth;” see Avatar) whereas the popes see protecting the environment as means to promoting virtue and glorifying God. That’s an important distinction, as I think the idea of virtue is sorely lacking in the environmental approach today, which is more of a corporate sales pitch then a true desire to sacrifice ones desires for the good of others.

  • Michael Denton

    I am not surprised you disagree — but it is not because of a Christian sentiment, but through a post-Christian positivistic demythologized cultural criticism that you offer what you just said. Christendom knows Mother Earth. Positivism does not.

    Now, a few comments.

    The Church teaches about the salvation of the world, that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son for it. The world groaned for salvation. You would do well to stop promoting a Gnostic rejection of the world (it is a heresy) and to study Church teaching on the salvation of the earth.

    And this then goes to your “suggests that the Earth is some end in itself.” Well, what if it does? It is an end in itself in the same way as the salvation of the body means the body is an end in itself. In the same way. Which is again how your argument reads very Gnostic.

    Now, your claim about pagans — I will say, which pagans are you talking about? What exactly did the pagans say, what did they do? And what is it about what they did which is against Church teaching?

    It’s funny and sad to see how your response reads just like a Protestant speaking against the saints. They talk about how Catholics make the saints ends in themselves, and how they are just like the pagan gods and goddesses.

    Of course there are many problems with this argument. One: even if they are similar, so what? As C.S. Lewis pointed out, the pagan desires are manifested and fulfilled in Christianity, and so we should expect the similarities. Second, learn the difference between relative and absolute, because this will deal well with your “ends” argument and is related to worship of the saints, where there is absolute and relative worship, absolute to God, relative to the saints. Just as wit this worship, “There is here no confusion or danger of idolatry, for this worship is subordinate or dependent,” so there is no idolatry of the earth when we recognize Mother Earth’s good and salvation, its good, as all goods (including our own salvation) is subordinate and dependent upon the Good.

  • Michael- I just gave my class a Catholic Earth Day lecture- in essence I compared the 7 themes of Catholic social teaching to receiving 7 gifts at Christmas from your parents- the first gift is the biggest/most expensive and personally desired and you lavish thanks on your parents and you treat that gift so well and tenderly- this is like the first theme of pro-life respecting the life and dignity of all human persons. Now by the time you get to the 7th gift and you open it and it isn’t something nearly as exciting as the first and you decide to not even thank your parents, you may even just leave it without a thought- it isn’t all that expensive you think- so who cares? Now this gift to me is like the Care for God’s Creation- the birds, the trees, the waterways, the air- all of it is not even close to being as precious to me as the gift of any one of my children- but still.. this gift matters- it cost something- it comes from Someone who loves us- it is part of what is intended for us- how can I not show gratitude for the littlest of gifts- and I drew out another comparison-

    I told my class that you could offer me a trillion trillion dollars and I wouldn’t take it if the cost was giving one of my children away for some stranger to just take off with- in fact I wouldn’t take the money even if all someone wanted to do was punch one of my kids in the face. That’s love- God’s love flowing through me- but my kids also go outside they breathe the air, they play in the ocean, they eat food from the soil and eat animals from slaughter houses- do you think that I am so dense that I don’t have a lot of thoughts about what they are taking in via the Environment? You better believe I do- I don’t blow off environmental concerns- I don’t necessarily buy into every article of environmentalist alarmism, but I am very interested, I don’t blow these things off with flippant remarks- I am a pro-life, pro-environment Catholic- I cannot see how one cannot be even if the larger movements for such issues do not always pass the smell test for me- I am not swayed from involvement because of that.

  • I don’t think the Pope’s quote quite takes the same direction as the USCCB’s seven pillars approach. I think he sees them as interrelated as are the virtues. If one is lacking others are weakend. Though, as there is a hierarchy in the virtues, perhaps we can say there is one in CST. The environment is to be care for but it seems the Pope places an emphasis (appropriately from my perspective) that if repect for the fundamental right to life (being born, not being euthanized) and freedom from a contraceptive mentality are not established, then a true environmentalism will never occur.

  • I am not surprised you disagree — but it is not because of a Christian sentiment, but through a post-Christian positivistic demythologized cultural criticism that you offer what you just said. Christendom knows Mother Earth. Positivism does not.

    “post-Christian positivistic demythologized cultural criticism.”

    Yep. You’re a professor to have written that.

    Seriously, this comment is nothing but a bunch of labels thrown at me. I am, let’s see…post-Christian, a positivist, Gnostic, and Protestant. I would respond to each of those accusations, and may do so if I have time, but for now I’ll simply let that you think I am guilty of all of the above at the same time stand as enough of a rebuttal.

  • I believe in one God, the Father the Almighty…

  • Congratulations on the new life! I too believe that environmentalism matters, but we have to get our priorities straight – something I wrote back in March along the same lines: http://avoiceintothevoid.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/npr-doesnt-like-pro-abortion/

  • Susan,

    Good link.

    You wrote,

    ” The intellectual elites have become more and more pro-abortion, even while the mainstream public has become more pro-life. ”

    Don’t you see? The elites know better than we do, with our “angry populism” and irrationalism. They can string together long phrases comprised of esoteric terms to belittle us with. We ought to recognize that they know more than we do and defer to their benevolent wisdom in the ordering social affairs.

    They only care about our saaaafety and the common goooood. And we’re just so gosh darn mean to them!

  • Perhaps my take on it is that the key thread that holds together the entire “Seamless Garment” is the right for the innocent not to be directly killed (abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia.)

  • hey can u make with earth day

The New Paganism: Climate Change

Wednesday, January 6, AD 2010

The Pagans are coming out of the woodwork, or more properly named, coming out of the ice sculpture.

What is turning into an annual event in Fairbanks, Alaska, a frozen ice sculpture of Al Gore, or what the locals call “Frozen Gore”, was unveiled.

Steve Dean sculpted the two-ton ice block in tribute to Al Gore and his ‘theories’ of man-made Global Warming.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports with my emphases and comments in this truncated article:

This year’s version includes special effects, thanks to a system that pipes the exhaust from a Ford F-350 out of Gore’s open mouth. Compeau [who funded the ice sculpture] will fire up the truck periodically this winter to create the “hot air” effect.

50 years [ago]. The average temperature for 2009 was 27.8 degrees in Fairbanks, about one degree warmer than normal, said Rick Thoman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Last winter, however, was unusually cold in Fairbanks. Temperatures in the winter months of 2008-09 were about 4 degrees below normal, according to National Weather Service figures.

The mocking tribute of Al Gore and the pseudoscience that he uses is cause for concern.  We need to start a movement to begin the separation of science and state in order to protect Americans from environmentalist fanatics such as Al Gore.

Continue reading...

73 Responses to The New Paganism: Climate Change

  • Al Gore is hardly a fanatic. Environmental fanatics attack whaling boats, live in trees for a few years. Gore wrote a book, won a prize, and has speaking gigs. No different from any other celebrity.

    I’ll grant you that celebrity is never a good engine to drive an issue, modern media outlets aside. But if you want to whine about paganism, look to the movement that has taken over every Sunday and holiday: professional sport.

  • Todd,

    Fanatics is defined as a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.

    I think that fits Mr. Gore well.

    Don’t you know that we should listen to celebrities on how to vote? 😉

  • One who elevates the spotted owl over the needs of families, for instance, the loss of 30,000 logging jobs, is a fanatic. It is madness.

  • If I can put my excessive reasonability hat on:

    – I’d say that it’s not political programs based on “science” that are a problem, but rather programs which are based on fundamental mistakes about human dignity. Eugenics treated people as only being worth the sum of their traits, and treated humanity as an improveable commodity. It violated basic human dignity when it forced “defective” people to be sterilized. None of this has anything to do with the “science” of eugenics (which turned out to be wrong as well) but rather with not respecting human dignity. Similarly, environmentalists suffer from a poor understanding of human dignity when they get into thinking of humanity as a “cancer on the planet” or see human lives as worth the same or less than animal lives, or seek to violate human life in order to reduce the effects of humanity on the planet.

    – There are some interesting ways in which environmentalism can fit into the same slot which paganism appealed to in the human mind, but I don’t think it’s right to simply equate environmentalism and paganism.

    – Gore is a bozo in part because he gets the actual science involved wrong — and one of the big problems with a lot of environmental advocacy is that it proposes changes which would have very little measureable impact on the scientific metrics involved, yet would involve a lot of negative impacts on society.

    – I’m not jazzed about the idea of a “separation of science and state”. To the extent that science is a way of knowing about the universe, one doesn’t want to rule it out of influencing political thinking any more than one wants to rule religion out of political thinking. However, it’s important to understand that science does not and cannot make moral or policy prescriptions. It can’t say “We must pass this law”. It’s only predictive, as in “If we make this change, this will be the result.” Anyone who claims that science says more than that is selling something.

  • DC

    You are right, environmentalism is not paganism, though both pagans and Christians can be environmentalists. As Pope Benedict himself has made clear, environmentalism is intricately connected to Catholicism and its pro-life message. If there are non-pro-life environmentalists encouraging evil, as there are, that must not be used to judge environmentalism itself– rather, it should be used as an example of where some environmentalists need to come to grips as to why one should be an environmentalist- reasons which include the whole of the Gospel of Life.

    ” “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees’, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement?” Pope Benedict XVI.

    Don’t call him pagan!

  • However, it’s important to understand that science does not and cannot make moral or policy prescriptions.

    Good points in your comments, though in the past eugenicists were able to pass the Racial Integrity Act.

    And I’m sure environmentalists will be pushing for radical legislation to tax and control American lives following the Copenhagen Climate Conference.

  • Tito

    Just because someone makes a statue does not mean they are pagans; are you going to say all the artists in the world, unless they are making icons and statues of the saints, are making idols?

  • “I think that fits Mr. Gore well.”

    Disagree. Mr Gore has his post-political career. He’s far from exuding the qualities of the extremists of the environmental movement.

    Now, Mr Gore may be far away from denizens of the anti-science or anti-AGW wings, and certainly extremists on their side. Distance doesn’t equate with extremism.

    I’ll back up much of DC’s comment. Eugenics is a horrific, anti0life pseudo-science. I don’t see any reasonable connection with the green movement. It might be that some greens advocate population control as part of an uninformed strategy. I don’t see eugenics gaining traction in either the mainstream green movement or in society at large.

    Steering human beings away from hydrocarbon fuel makes great sense politically, economically, and scientifically.

  • HK,

    Of course not.

    Art can be used as a beautiful expression of God.

    From Michelangelo to Bach, art has been an integral part of enhancing our spirituality and worship of God.

    But I’m sure you knew that already just as much as you know I was referring to much of the “science” that is used to control peoples lives in the climate change movement.

  • I don’t see eugenics gaining traction….”

    I don’t know – seems China’s one child policy got kudos at Copenhagen. That may not be eugenics per se, but it certainly seems like some traction in that direction.

  • I don’t think explicitly means what you think it does. Watch this:

    The Ten Commandments explicitly refer to Wensleydale Cheese – “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s [including his Wensleydale, Stilton, Cheddar, or other cheeses].

    mmmm, mmmm, delicious!

  • Why thank you for clarifying that Inigo Montoya.

    Signed,

    Vizzini

  • Did you kill his father 15 years ago?

    Words have meaning, at least they used to. What does “environmentalism” mean? It seems to be an ideology and that makes it incompatible with Catholicity. That doesn’t mean aspects of it cannot be integrated into a Catholic worldview but environmentalism and Catholicity cannot go hand and in hand.

    Conservation, which may be part of environmentalism, is not only compatible with our faith, I am fairly confident that it is the first commandment from God, He told Adam to tend His Garden. Adam was not permitted to destroy or worship the garden, but he had to take care of it for God as His steward. Of course, Adam screwed up, so some of us, his children, worship the garden and others want to destroy the garden. Some of us, are sons of the Most High, if sons than heirs and we are not only heirs to His promise, but we are also heirs of His garden, our planet, and we want to tend His garden, conserve it, enjoy it, populate it with large Catholic families, use it to benefit others and glorify God. I don’t think that can be considered environmentalism.

    EnvironMENTALism is a mental disorder just like other ISMs including Communism, Socialism, Democratism, Mammomism, Liberation Theolgism, American Idolism, and yes, the cult of Al Goreism too. Heretics should be burned at the stake, or we can simply stake them and let the Anthropogenic Global Warming burn them eventually. 😉

  • One particular phrase grabbed my attention: “the science says…”

    One of the first principles of science is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.

    It’s often repeated: “but the science says…”

    It seems as though some of the scientists in the AGW debate (see the recent Climategate episode) have gotten caught up in being fooled themselves.

  • Big Tex,

    “the science says…” is the equivalent to what liberal extremists accuse Christians of saying “the Bible says…” when defending their position.

    It has become their religion, ie, science or what I call scientism, to use in place of God.

    Sad.

  • “It has become their religion, ie, science or what I call scientism, to use in place of God.”

    Another example of taking one’s own subjective situation and interpreting others’ actions,words, etc., as if they thought the same way you did.

    Scientists approach their vocation dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, and if they’re lucky, wisdom. As in most all professions, some fail at both. Some even let science become their life, and these folks may be right, but they err in the social or political application of their “life.”

    I can appreciate that scientists and others trained in science would get frustrated at the intentional ignorance tossed their way in an attempt to form a logical dissent.

    What’s undeniable is that world temperatures have been on the rise due to natural cycles since the Renaissance. Trends toward warmer temperatures have ticked up at greater rates over the past century, more than would seem to be explained by the post-Little Ice Age trend. The attempt at rationalizing: “No, the weather isn’t getting warmer …” followed by “Okay, it’s getting warmer, but it’s not our fault …” followed by ” Okay, maybe we contributed some, but we can’t do anything about it …” has been all over conservative faces for the past decade or more.

    Even if climate change weren’t a worry, it would seem to make sense for the US to unilaterally cut its use of hydrocarbons for political reasons, if nothing else. Why would loyal Americans want to continue to use West Asian oil if we could develop alternatives at home? Why wouldn’t oil companies embrace the creativity and ingenuity of their homeland, if not their science staffs? If we’re talking about religion or quasi-religion here, let’s not let Big Oil and its followers off the hook.

  • When scientists cannot agree on the global warming trends, if there are any or even affected by man, then why do we have to listen to celebrities such as Al Gore who doesn’t even have a science degree?

    Especially with scientists heavily in opposition to the theory that man is the primary cause of global warming by 100:1, how can we take any of the science at face value at all?

    And I haven’t thrown in the fact of the huge climate controversy that came out of East Anglia university of doctored and made-up numbers. Europe has accepted that these figures are wrong, why hasn’t the liberal elite here in America?

    Because it is their religion.

  • Tito

    Which scientists and in which fields? Secondly, does the lack of agreement of scientists make for truth or that we can ignore the issue? After all, it’s a classical argument against Christianity: Christians can’t agree with themselves, so why be Christian?

  • Henry K.,

    Both you and I know the answer to your question.

    As Catholics we have the three pillars that hold up the Church: 1) Sacred Scripture, 2) Sacred Tradition, 3) the Magisterium.

    😉

  • “Just because someone makes a statue does not mean they are pagans”

    I wonder if that applies to soldiers who wear insignias, or regular American families that fly a flag on the fourth of July.

  • “When scientists cannot agree on the global warming trends …”

    This is just fantasy. Every climatologist knows the temperature trends are rising. All accept that the increase in temperature has accelerated over the past century or so. Has human industry the cause?

    100%? You’ll find some. 90%? 70%? Probably more like these numbers.

    This is like your attempted “expertise” on liberation theology. If you want to be taken seriously, bring a few climatologists to the discussion to raise the bar and challenge you. If you prefer to repeat political talking points and cocktail talk, then we mark another AC topic under the label “ignorance here,” and move on.

    And let’s be clear: there’s no problem with a person not educating her or himself on climate change. The problem is when such folks pretend to be serious commentators.

  • Todd,

    Now you’re just trashing me with no evidence.

    Keep up your malicious comments Mr. Pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ voter. (irony eh?)

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  • The Montreal Protocol was a good example of science working with government for the common good. CFC’s were destroying the ozone and most countries, including the US, took the advice of scientists and regulated it. I don’t think you will find many today who will dispute the fact that we would have been in big trouble if they had remained unregulated.

  • Tito,

    I think you are a serious commentator and I like your observations. My only concern is how big is your carbon footprint? Mine is huge but not as big as Al Gore’s.

    The assertion that Global Warming, Climate Change or whatever convenient moniker they are giving it this week is a religion is a very valid point that needs to be discussed more often.

    I tend to confuse most people because I don’t fit the stereotype of a ‘conservative’ so when a ‘liberal’ meets me for the first time they tend to let their guard down. After I play with their heads as if they were a drunken kitten I ease them into exposing the fallacy of their own argument (if you let a liberal talk long enough they will refute their own position and then deny it). Once the argument has been destroyed I acknowledge that they are actually a logical human being who is in severe self-denial. Then they lash out at me.

    When it comes to this particular topic their emotional reaction (it has to be emotional because if they tried to react reasonably they would have to acknowledge that they propose and invalid position) is to yell at me, “How can you not believe in Global Warming!*&^%?”

    If it isn’t a religion, why do they want me to believe in it? If it is a fact then belief is not needed. If belief is required then it is either a religion or a lie or a religion of lies.

  • Brian,

    The evidence is still out on CFC and the Ozone hole. It seems that was a cyclical thing and not caused by man.

    The more plausible analysis is that CFC were a convenient tool to bring about totalitarianism through environmental concerns. It didn’t work. So they moved on to something that is so prevalent and necessary for life to function, impossible to control and concerns everyone: CO2. By making warming as a result of carbon emissions the neo-paganism of environmentalism will place us all under the yoke of the spirit of this world.

    The conflict between environmental neo-paganism and the Catholic Church is inevitable. My money is on Christ’s Church.

  • What if some of us see idolatry in the stubborn refusal of some Americans to consider the possibility of global warming because it will require making changes, even modest sacrifices, to their consumerist lifestyle?

    You can see idolatry in any movement, which is why the charge doesn’t have any bearing on the truth or untruth of human induced climate change.

  • “The evidence is still out on CFC and the Ozone hole.”

    Really?
    Odd since we’ve been able to verify most of it in laboratories. Not to mention that the ozone has been recovering now that CFCs have been regulated. But I guess you have your sources.

  • Every climatologist knows the temperature trends are rising.

    Aye, 0.6 C over more than a century. Bug me about somthing else.

  • I don’t dispute that the temperature of parts of the globe are increasing. I just haven’t seen any evidence that points the finger at man as the cause. I have also seen no evidence to indicate that any of the life-threatening measures proposed by enviro-fascist fanatics will do anything to reduce the temperature increases.

    I agree with you about certain aspects of ‘materialism’; however, other aspects of good stewardship of the material given have provided a rise in the standard of material well-being of God’s children. The wealthy man of 150 years ago had a lower standard of material well-being than a ‘poor’ American today.

    Someone please tell me why the same people running around screaming about global warming are the same ones always bitching and shivering because it is cold?

  • I think that given:

    a) the undemocratic nature of the massive, world-changing political program that the warming alarmists wish to impose upon the entire planet,

    b) the unfortunate existence of bona fide scientists who are skeptical of the contribution of human activity to global warming

    c) the pretty clear evidence that human civilization has survived historical periods considerably warmer than anything we may be facing in the near future,

    d) the climategate scandal that revealed dishonest attempts to alter and/or hide findings that ran against the ‘consensus’,

    and most importantly,

    e) the anti-life, population control, eugenicist ideology of many of the major players in the secular environmental movement,

    that

    We have every right to be skeptical of this movement, to question and even resist its attempts to take control of the global economy through carbon taxes and other regulations, and to give the skeptical scientists and others a fair hearing.

    If our choice is between a possibility that human activity might cause a slight rise in temperature and sea levels on the one hand, and shutting down all debate, levying massive taxes, and handing over more sovereignty to an international body that is vehemently opposed to Catholic teachings on sexual morality – I’ll take my chances with the C02.

  • “I’ll take my chances with CO2”.

    Heretic. Blasphemer. Burn him. Wait. No. Hargrave is made of carbon – if we burn him we’ll be contributing to global warming. What do we do? Mother Gaia save us. 😉

  • Some Copenhagen attendees saw it for what it was, a tool for the UN to establish a Marxist one-world government. Since this is all clearly anti-human and anti-Catholic (you know those evil breeders) it must be of the spirit of this world.

    Additionally, it seems that someone, probably the guy that designed the planet in the first place, set it up so that CO2 is absorbed in a stable ratio. It seems that since 1850 nature (no not Mother Gaia, just plain old planet Earth) has absorbed the CO2 that has been created, even the increased amount since man industrialized.

    As we face the worst winter in 25 years and global temperatures plummet, store shelves go bare over fears of being snowed in and ski addicts are in a frenzy we should re-think this whole global warming thingy.

    Let’s all say it together, “CO2 is our friend, Ohmmmmmm!” Televise that on C-SPAN.

  • “Now you’re just trashing me with no evidence.”

    Trashing you? Hardly. I had the course in climatology thirty years ago. I read the scientific literature. There is no discussion among scientists on warming trends. They’re happening.

    You’re also incorrect on my being pro-abortion. Been pro-life all my life. Another example of drawing illogical conclusions.

    “As we face the worst winter in 25 years and global temperatures plummet …”

    Another example of the dictatorship of relativism. Clearly AK doesn’t live in the southern hemisphere these days.

  • A few decades ago the EPA would have hesitated in classifying CO2 as a hazardous gas. By the time they are fourteen most youngsters would have learnt that for plants, CO2 + water + sunlight = oxygen + plant substance, and that CO2 is a byproduct of the respiration of almost all living things. The EPA are confident that the rot in the education system is so widespread that they fear no ridicule from the populace, they being too dumb to care.

  • Ivan,

    I fear that you might be right.

  • Todd,

    157 dead in India due to . . . extremely cold weather.

    Didn’t it snow in Saudi Arabia last year?

    NWS stated that we set 1200 cold temp records across the US last week, including Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Imagine the shock of all the yenta snowbirds; they wake up and think they’re back in Noo Yawlk.

    And, no I don’t live in the Southern Hemisphere. . I hail from North America by choice and the South by the Grace of God.

  • Sadly, Ivan is probably right, education has been so dumbed down intentionally by the designers of the god-state that most people wouldn’t know how to formulate a question. We have become a nation of parrots. Squak, poly want a cracker, squak, global warming.

    Nevertheless, to keep the remnant of thinkers quiet they will soon shift back to global cooling and the parrots will run around fearing a new ice age and calling for global taxes and population reduction (I think they are aiming for 500,000,000 according to the Georgia Guidestones).

    Warming, cooling, heck, just go with Global Climate Change. Nov. 2008 was proof that undefined ‘change’ works best on the Idiocracy generation that was born when slick willy became president, oh the horror, the horror!

    BTW – Todd, where I come from, you know the ignorant South, do you know what we call climate change? Seasons, you know, Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn – crazy, huh?

  • Brian, some of us also see the AGW scam as an excuse to further widen the scope of government and its’ control over the proles (Al Gore, aka Elmer Gantry, and the Beautiful People can of course, buy themselves out of the restrictions they wish to place on ordinary people by purchasing carbon credits. That the sale of carbon credits happens to enrich Al Gore, is, I am sure, just a concidence.)

    The very idea that “the science is settled, so shut up” is in and of itself profoundly unscientific. So is “hiding the decline” and jiggering data to come up with the results you want.

    It’s all utter rubbish. And I believe the snake-oil salesmen who have been peddling it know that very well. They want more power over human beings, that’s all. Unfortunately, the well-meaning and creduous are taken in, but fewer and fewer with each passing day (she typed, as she listened to winter storm warning reports on the radio predicting 10-12 inches and a bad commute tommorrow morning.)

    Brian, you are so quick to suspect corporate wrong-doing (and there are certainly corporate wrong-doers). Why do you frequently seem to assume that those who wish to expand the power of the state are driven by warm and fuzzy altruism? History says otherwise.

  • Hargrave,

    Yes it is sad. CO2 may or may not be a greenhouse gas working its effects according the Arrhenuis theory. That does not bother me, what struck me was the alactrity and insousiance with which the EPA made its pronouncement. There surely was someone there thinking “Hang on a minute, I myself am breathing out carbon dioxide every few seconds. Let us put this to the public in a different way.” No, they were bold enough to expect no contradiction from the public. It encapsulates for me what the bureaucrats really think about the proles.

  • Donna,

    History certainly states otherwise. Usually, the misanthropes that perpetrate government and corporate wrong-doing are the same ilk. Not just cut from the same cloth – they are the same ilk.

    Look at the Goldman Sachs-NY Fed-Treasury Dept incest that has been going on since the meltdown, actually since 1910 – but that’s another story. What about Imelt from GE, who stands to make trillions when we are forced to use crappy ‘green’ technology.

    Corporatism is alive and well in America. Funny how they pit the right against the left because of the left’s love of government, and the left against the right for the right’s love of big business – the enemy is the same. AGW is the perfect tool for the Big Government/Big Business club to rule us little people. Fools.

  • Donna,

    I’m sorry that I or others gave the impression that the “science is settled”. That seems to be a very misleading way of putting things. It is my understanding that science is never “settled” as a legal dispute might be. The way we look at things is constantly expanding or being revised by new discoveries, new data, and the way that the peer review process exposes ideas up to the critique of others.
    While we can talk about a “theory of global warming”, to be accepted or rejected, the reality is that there myriads of separate theories that attempt to explain climate data from various fields. When we speak of a consensus, we are not saying that somehow the majority of scientists have said “yea” in some kind of informal vote, if that were even possible. Consensus means that there some basic correlation between many different and independent attempts to explain the data. Kind of like Newman’s cumulation of probabilities. Some explanations are stronger than others, but the bigger picture, the paradigm, remains strong.

    Speaking of Newman, think of religious belief. When I ask you the reason why you or another believe in Christian revelation, the answer, I suspect, cannot be reduced to one idea. There are many ideas or reasons for why we believe what we do. Some, perhaps, are stronger than others.

    Many so called climate skeptic scientists question certain theories involved with global warming, but do not necessarily doubt the consensus, which seems quite strong.

  • “A few decades ago the EPA would have hesitated in classifying CO2 as a hazardous gas. By the time they are fourteen most youngsters would have learnt that for plants, CO2 + water + sunlight = oxygen + plant substance, and that CO2 is a byproduct of the respiration of almost all living things.”

    I’m not impressed with this argument. Nitric oxide is a hazardous waste and yet is essential to life. So what. It’s context that’s important. CO2, like anything else I suppose, become hazardous in the wrong context.

  • “… do you know what we call climate change?”

    AK, you’ve made the basic error in high school earth science, confusing weather with climate. Back to ninth grade, my friend.

  • Todd,

    I’m just curious – have you ever changed anyone’s mind about anything?

  • I had the course in climatology thirty years ago. I read the scientific literature. There is no discussion among scientists on warming trends. They’re happening.

    You missed this one:

    Sagan, Carl, Owen B. Toon and James B. Pollack
    “Anthropogenic Albedo Changes and the Earth’s Climate” Science, New Series, Vol. 206, No. 4425 (Dec. 21, 1979), pp. 1363-1368

    The money quote is on page 1367, second column:

    “All changes except for urbanization produce an increase in the Earth’s albedo and a cooling of the planet.”

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  • “All changes except for urbanization produce an increase in the Earth’s albedo and a cooling of the planet.”

    If only we had listened to science back in the 70s!

    We could have prevented this global ice age we are in the midst of, and worldwide famine that caused billions of deaths!

    When will people learn to trust the “settled science”!?

    Seriously, there were mainstream scientists calling for the building of CO2 FACTORIES to head off a coming ice age! Imagine if we had done it! Why should we ever listen to these people?

  • Back in the 60s and 70s there were papers that predicted cooling and papers that predicted warming (far more of the latter). The science behind cooling was weaker and was discredited by other scientists even before those predictions could play out. That is not inconsistency, that is how science works.

  • The inconsistency is in the alarmism. If they had just made their predictions quietly, that would be one thing. But with these predictions always come hysterical calls for drastic action.

    That is why this science is suspect. Because, as you rightly say, science is constantly being revised and updated. Yet if the science today is predicting a dangerous trend, then in the minds of some people, it is dangerous to wait and see if further developments will disprove today’s theory – we must “act now”, we must scare the children with stories of cute cuddly animals dying because of disaster X.

    Our “science czar”, hardly some backwater nobody, and his colleagues were among those who predicted the cooling and called for massive increases in CO2 emissions. Now they call for the opposite. The problem is with their alarmism and their draconian politics.

  • Joe, thanks for the question. Happy to respond: yes; I once talked a friend out of having an abortion. Amazing, but true, and apologies to my stalker who prefers to bring up my voting record.

    Art, the Sagan-Pollack paper addressed albedo, not atmosphere. Albedo is the reflectivity of planetary surfaces and cloud cover. The money quote basically says that except for small slivers of pavement and some buildings, human beings have no effect on the Earth’s albedo. Farms pretty much equal forests. The key piece here is that Sagan was an astronomer, not a climatologist.

    Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas. It prevents heat reflected from the earth’s surface from radiating out into space.

    Also, it might be that the result of climate change would be an ice age. Climatologists agree that atmospheric temperature trends will not gradually cool or heat the planet. At some point there seems to be a feedback mechanism to restore a certain equilibrium. If Greenland ice were to melt, for example, not only would shorelines be inundated around the world, but the infusion of cool, low salinity water in the North Atlantic might be enough to send the Gulf Stream to African instead of Europe. Nice for Algeria, Libya, and Egypt who might get grasslands to replace desert. Not so good for Europeans who might be crunched under glaciers.

    Most scientists are not alarmists. The alarmists I see are those like the bloggers on this site.

    Once the people in the discussion can concede the temperature trend is warming, and that human industry is the most likely reason for the accelerated uptick, then people can sit down and start getting serious about solutions.

    People who insist there is no warming or that it’s not their fault and we can’t change it anyway: these people have no place at the discussion. The tide (not to mention rising ocean levels) is against them.

  • Art, the Sagan-Pollack paper addressed albedo, not atmosphere. Albedo is the reflectivity of planetary surfaces and cloud cover. The money quote basically says that except for small slivers of pavement and some buildings, human beings have no effect on the Earth’s albedo. Farms pretty much equal forests. The key piece here is that Sagan was an astronomer, not a climatologist.

    Thanks for your explanation. The thing is, I know what albedo is. I read that paper 14 years ago and inspected it again last night. Sagan et al. were concerned with a number of factors which effect the earth’s albedo, most saliently the expansion of deserts, which they did attribute to anthropogenic factors. Dr. Sagan was an astronomer. He was also relentlessly topical, and the advance of deserts and global cooling were the anxieties du jour. A few years later, it was nuclear winter.

  • Thanks, Art.

    One important thing is that we need to separate the science from public policy. Scientists can bring facts, and some “relentlessly topical” scientists may decide they can suggest or promote solutions. I would say that the public policy addressing climate change will need to be carefully discerned with significant input from outside the scientific community.

    And nuclear winter, yes. I’d say that was a more likely outcome than a new ice age or melting ice caps on a few days in the 20th century.

  • Todd,

    “Once the people in the discussion can concede the temperature trend is warming, and that human industry is the most likely reason for the accelerated uptick, then people can sit down and start getting serious about solutions.”

    I will do no such thing, until the well-presented arguments of skeptical scientists are clearly and plainly, in a manner a layman such as myself can understand, are debunked. I want to see a serious engagement, a serious debate. I do not want to have a “consensus” rammed down my throat.

    You can scoff at this all you like; I don’t trust the institutions that are bringing me the “consensus.” They are human beings, not data-producing androids, with motivations and agendas, with careers and egos to protect.

    The secular environmentalists behind this movement have a vicious anti-life agenda. They are pro-abortion, pro-sterilization, and are now tying it all in with reducing carbon emissions. I’ve seen articles quoting scientists claiming that having children is bad for the planet, and the Chinese government claiming that its one-child policy has resulted in lower carbon emissions than it would have had – significantly lower.

    I don’t care how clearly the scientists see things – when the stakes are as high as they are politically, you are absolutely, completely wrong to say:

    “People who insist there is no warming or that it’s not their fault and we can’t change it anyway: these people have no place at the discussion. The tide (not to mention rising ocean levels) is against them.”

    The tide is not against them. In light of the climategate scandal, revelations of outright deceptions in Al Gore’s film, and other blunders by the global warming crowd, the skeptics have actually gained ground.

    A sound theory has nothing to fear from debate. The argument that the “science is settled” means nothing to me. How could I possibly know that? There are these people who say it isn’t, and who make convincing arguments in their own right.

    So, I mean, you can try as hard as you like to make people here feel stupid for not slobbering all over the mainstream scientists shoes as we kiss and venerate them, but its going to take a little more than ridicule from you to make the grade.

    I’ll make this offer: show me a good website or paper or something that takes on the main arguments of the skeptics from the standpoint of the mainstream, and I will diligently and happily read it.

  • Todd,

    my stalker who prefers to bring up my voting record.

    Interesting that I am the author of this article that I am now a stalker of your voting record.

    I enjoy pointing out that you are only a “self-identified” Catholic that is a Pro-Abortionist that voted for the most Pro-Abortion president in the history of America.

    Your points are pretty much mute since you’ve compromised your faith for the Democratic Party platform.

  • Joe,

    If you look, you will find plenty of material out there that addresses the skeptics point by point, as there is plenty of material that attempts to cast doubt on the idea of global warming. The question is, and I think you yourself brought this up on another post – how do we come to trust our sources?

    For me, methodology as much as content (of which I have a necessarily limited grasp) makes me tend to trust the findings of the IPCC or National Academy of Sciences for example, over some group or person that sets out with the sole purpose of trying to debunk global warming (or promote it!).

    Right off the bat, I would distinguish between scientists who have discovered flaws in the current understanding of some aspect of global warming and those who actively seek to present the strongest case against global warming. There is a big difference here, but unfortunately the two groups are confused. Scientists bring their findings under the critical review of others and try to make sense of their findings with the accumulated knowledge of their field and even beyond. Unfortunately, those with an agenda to promote or disprove the idea of global warming take specific findings out of their original context – that dialogue with the broader scientific community with its respective disciplines. That is not science.

    The IPCC on the other hand is very conservative (not necessarily always correct, btw) with its use of data. If a specific claim is in an IPCC report, you can almost guarantee that it is not simply one stand alone observation supporting it. This , in my view, puts the burden of proof on the skeptics to refute the massive case for global warming across many fields point by point. To this date, I have not seen this. Rather, you tend to get a list of what I mentioned above – random pieces of data taken out of their original context.

    That is why I will not recommend a site that takes on the augments of skeptics one by one..but rather point to one that looks at the bigger picture of what’s going on out there: http://www.realclimate.org/

  • Brian,
    The linked site doesn’t seem overly helpful. Doesn’t seem to present overwhelming evidence against what skeptics raise. Only slightly more scientific than this site:

    http://www.climategate.com/

  • Tito, you may be a blogger, but you’re still a stalker. Your last post also reveals you to be an untruthful stalker. Feh. It’s your site. You can behave however you want to I suppose.

    Joe, as long as the discussion about climate change stays informal, you’re absolutely okay taking the position you take. I have no problem with it. If, however, you expect to be part of a serious debate, your own insistence on conspiracy theories will sideline you, not to mention your unwillingness to engage the topic broadly and seriously.

    The bloggers on this site have already conceded their willingness to tackle a disputed topic (example: liberation theology) but without the requisite knowledge and background. That’s okay too. Like LT, we know that we can expect a lack of curiosity and expertise when it comes to climate issues on this site.

    If you want to e-mail me with a specific request of literature I could suggest, I’m happy to find something suitable. Last word, gents: you’ve earned it.

  • “Last word, gents: you’ve earned it.”

    Promises, promises Todd. You would be much more effective as a commenter on this site if you would contribute something more than your trademark sneer and condescension which are always a poor substitute for reasoned argument.

  • “The linked site doesn’t seem overly helpful. Doesn’t seem to present overwhelming evidence against what skeptics raise.”

    Fair enough. I have found the site helpful to keep up to speed on what’s going on in climate science right now, but it certainly won’t answer everyone’s questions. I can’t resist one more recommendation – that presents the evolution of climate science bruises and all – without getting partisan: The Discovery of Global Warming (2003) by Spencer Weart.

  • Todd,

    You are so unbelievably smug.

    I expect to be a part of serious debate – for serious debate to exist – because the political stakes are unimaginably high.

    “Like LT, we know that we can expect a lack of curiosity and expertise when it comes to climate issues on this site.”

    I see. So in Todd’s world of Newspeak, a request for literature reflects a lack of curiosity. I asked MI for literature on LT, and I asked you for literature on “climate change” – but we’re not curious. Ok.

    Why do I have to email you? Just drop a title or a link. Is that hard?

    And I do not “insist” upon conspiracy theories – I accept their reasonability, their plausibility, because of the human propensity for evil and the historical record of proven conspiracies. In the case of global warming, we have already seen scientists con-spi-ir-ing to conceal data they didn’t like, block skeptics from the debate, and even express a hope that their critics didn’t know that there was a Freedom of Information Act.

    How can you look at all that and wave it away? At what point is it more crazy not to believe that something fishy is going on than to believe that there is?

  • Exactly Brian.

  • Very well …

    “Why do I have to email you? Just drop a title or a link. Is that hard?”

    That something might be hard is irrelevant. I don’t mind putting extra effort out there for a friend or colleague–if that person is serious. Why would I bother making suggestions on one topic when you’ve pretty much dismissed input on another?

    I’d recommend the Weart book. He has a web site, and apparently a revised 2nd edition of the 2003 book I read. It’s a good place to start.

    “You are so unbelievably smug.”

    Well, I do know what I’m talking about. I had a science background before I studied theology. I still keep up with serious science reading, including climatology. I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to science, and I think I’m on safe ground in dismissing the so-called climategate.

    You think I’m smug? You’ll find very few serious scientists wasting their time even talking to doubters like yourselves. They would call me foolish for even wasting my time in the attempt.

    And to be serious, I can’t tell with some of you AC bloggers if you’re serious or not. You post on LT and you participate in very long threads. Same with climate. You say you’re willing to review information, but you treat a scientific discussion as if it were some kind of political event. Either global temperatures are warming faster than they should be or they’re not. Human beings contribute to all, some, or none of that. Once the determination is made that planetary climate change is a problem, the focus shifts to solutions. It seems pretty clear that the politicians are struggling with public policy solutions at this point, and scientists are back to monitoring conditions.

    Look, I’m not going to fill up your comboxes with the science of climatology. You want me to write up a “reasoned argument?” I’ll be happy to write a guest post for you.

    If you want to continue discussing with me; send an e-mail. It’s time to move on from this thread.

  • “You think I’m smug? You’ll find very few serious scientists wasting their time even talking to doubters like yourselves. They would call me foolish for even wasting my time in the attempt.”

    So we should all be grateful that you’ve decided to lower yourselves down into the pit and commune with us lesser beings?

    Yes, I think you’re smug. I think that I couldn’t imagine a better way to completely turn people off from a cause than to have you as its spokesman. And I think you are incredibly naive if you think science is immune to politics.

    You really, honestly think you are above having to explain yourself, that it is a “waste of time”, that we should all see that, because of your “science background” we should all just shut the hell up and accept what you have to say, and be grateful for the condescending insults that accompany it.

    Please, I beg you, do not waste another second on us. You haven’t moved anyone’s mind an inch, if anything, you’ve moved people in the opposite direction. You really are wasting your time.

  • As for this:

    “I don’t mind putting extra effort out there for a friend or colleague–if that person is serious. Why would I bother making suggestions on one topic when you’ve pretty much dismissed input on another?”

    When did I do that? I’ve never dismissed input on anything.

    And really, its “extra effort” to find me one thing to read? Two minutes of your precious time? Are you serious? Please, don’t bother. We’re done.

  • You think I’m smug? You’ll find very few serious scientists wasting their time even talking to doubters like yourselves. They would call me foolish for even wasting my time in the attempt.

    Among the doubters is Richard Lindzen of MIT. He is one of only about two dozen scholars in meteorology and climatology who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Realclimate? This Mann-Briffa-Jones outfit? You are surely kidding me.

  • Hahaha…Captain Todd strikes again…the guy who has a science background extending from embryology to climatology…

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What Virtue In False Promises?

Wednesday, December 30, AD 2009

One of the things that strikes me repeatedly watching the global warming debate (especially in the lead-up to and in the wake of the Copenhagen conference) is the incredible amount of excitement people have about trying to get countries to make commitments in regards to CO2 emissions which they obviously are not going to keep.

For instance, in discussing their hopes for Copenhagen, a number of environmentalists expressed hope that there would not be another “do nothing” commitment such as the Kyoto Accord — despite the fact that even those countries which did agree to Kyoto had not managed to keep those very modest commitments. The goals that environmentalists did very much want to see committed to (generally a 80-90% global drop in CO2 emissions within somewhere between 10 and 40 years) are far more aggressive, and thus far more unrealistic.

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7 Responses to What Virtue In False Promises?

  • Fantastic post, Darwin. And so true!

  • If committed environmentalists are only finding ways to decrease their household CO2 emissions by 25%, how in the world do they expect a whole country to drop its emissions by 80%?

    Households can reduce consumption but have to, more or less, accept the type of energy they consume. Governments can turn coal-fired plants into wind farms.

    Those who claim that carbon pricing will ruin our economy, overestimate the costs. They have the tendency to think of carbon emissions reductions as cuts in consumption alone. If we had to reduce our consumption 80%, we’d be in trouble. But most of the reductions would come from switching to alternative energy and make more efficient use of it. It’s possible to cut emissions by more than half without any change to our lifestyle.

  • The reason that none of these leaders are making firm commitments to reduce carbon emissions is because they don’t want their peoples to live in poverty. It’s well-established that the prosperity of a society is strongly correlated with its energy consumption. It so happens that presently the most effcient energy sources also produce a lot of carbon dioxide. Reducing carbon emissions therefore necessarily reduces one’s energy use, which necessarily reduces one’s propsperity. Their rhetoric otherwise, these leaders know this, which is why, for the time being, their talk about emissions cuts will remain a bunch of, uh, hot air.

  • Households can reduce consumption but have to, more or less, accept the type of energy they consume.

    Actually, households are in the same position as power producers and governments: they can reduce consumption, or they can make massive capital outlays in order to use the same amount of energy from some other source. I could, if I wanted to spend 20-40k on it, cover my roof with solar panels and massively reduce my carbon footprint. I don’t do so because I’m hesitant to turn a monthly bill of around $100 into an immediate outlay of 300x that amount, especially when that wouldn’t even totally cut my dependence on carbon-based electricity as I’d still need to get electricity from the power company on cloudy days (like the whole last week).

    If individuals are hesitant to make this kind of massive capital outlay for questionable benefits (the idea of powering most of the US by wind and solar is massively unrealistic — at best one could do so through lots more nuclear power), I don’t know why they should be surprised if the government is unwilling to make the same sacrifices on a larger scale.

  • Like you said, solar won’t eliminate your dependence on the grid. The vast majority of us need to use electricity generated from coal. Transitioning to wind and nuclear over the next few decades is not unrealistic. 80% by 2020 may be too optimistic but 2050 is doable.

  • Nuclear moreso than wind. Wind is good for supplementing whereas nuke power would be a solid backbone. Two problems: wind requires much real estate and has the “not in my backyard” issue to contend with. Nuke is a PR nightmare that also brings its “not in my backyard” issue.

  • I can see the concerns about promises that aren’t going to be kept, particularly as international law is so weak at holding anyone accountable to their commitment.

    However, I do want to say that your comment about activists reducing their emissions is a straw man argument. They are reducing their emissions 25% over the next year or two. They are asking the government to reduce emissions 80% by 2050, 40 years from now.

    McKinsey Consulting said that we can slash our emissions in half at net zero cost and in fact the first 40% of emissions reductions will make us money, more efficient, and more competitive internationally.

Obama Green Czar Van Jones Resigns Under Pressure

Sunday, September 6, AD 2009

Obama Adviser Resigns

Van Jones resigned under pressure from conservatives and Republicans as more information leaked out concerning the character of his person.

After insulting Republicans and being found out as a “Truther”, someone who believes President Bush allowed 9/11 to occur, his past transgressions and militant associations became to much for the Obama administration to bear.

Being a self-avowed Communist and a black nationalist also contributed to his downfall despite the mainstream medias blackout of reporting any news that may harm President Obama.  In the end the American people were able to relay their displeasure at another Obama mishap without ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post doing their best at doing a horrible job of journalism.

This says a lot about President Obama’s character and vetting process.  Especially after spending 20 years attending the racist Jeremiah Wright’s church and his ties to the Weatherman Underground terrorists, it is becoming troubling that our own president even associates with people of such poor character.

A bitter and disturbed Van Jones wrote in his resignation letter that ordinary Americans are “… using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”jimmy-carter

It not only looks like our president shows signs of incompetence, but he also makes some pretty poor choices when it comes to choosing members of his administration.  His vetting process is a lark and the rest of America is finally realizing the nightmare we have on our hands.

Jimmy Carters second term.

_._

To read more on Van Jone’s resignation go to the Washington Times article by Christina Bellantoni by clicking here.

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21 Responses to Obama Green Czar Van Jones Resigns Under Pressure

  • Van Jones definitely did not have the background or the socio-political character for a job in the administration, but as far as I know …

    1. All presidents have problems vetting especially below cabinet level staffers.
    2. CNN actually described some aspects of this guy two days ago, but I agree they have been slow to investigate farther. I saw Glenn Beck’s piece on him and though I don’t respect his opinions or his sophomoric style, he did show some video that we would not have seen on other networks.
    3. Obama will have to go a long way to equal the two presidents who had the worst appointee records (resignations plus indictments) – Reagan and Bush 43.
    4. Obama is finding that his policy of not hiring former lobbyists (except for 2 notable exceptions) has made filling job vacancies more difficult than he expected.
    5. It seems over the top to call this incompetence. Incompetence was installing the Shah of Iran, the Iran-Contra scandal, not being honest with the American public before invading Iraq and then doing so with half the needed number of troops. Those are examples of real incompetence and those examples have far more dire moral consequences than not adequately vetting Van Jones.

    Regarding Beck’s expose, even given the fact that his more militant background was a terrible choice for someone in the WH (and I haven’t really seen the proof yet), the video of Van Jones discussing the changes that have occurred in the environmental movement are actually quite well described. Beck did his smart-alleckey-6th-grader-who-knows-everything best at rolling his eyes in his little picture-in-picture box when Van Jones explained to some audience somewhere that the environmental movement has gone through three phases so far. The preservation phase, which was the initial Teddy Roosevelt / John Muir phase of sectioning off large areas of land to preserve landscapes and specific species. Then in the 1960’s was the war against toxics – with the clean air and water acts ( signed by Nixon of course), that was initiated by Rachel Carson (not “Carlson” like Beck kept mispronouncing).

    Both of these have ended up being pretty important and very popular phases, unless of course you just don’t believe the government has any role to play in anything other than the courts and the military. But at least 70% of the American public perennially supports these kinds of environmental laws and regulations because most people either feel a moral obligation to being responsible to the land or to people down wind, or they see the personal economic and health advantages in having a cleaner environment. Yet Beck twisted his face and rolled his eyes as if they were the dumbest things he had ever heard.

    The last phase that Van Jones mentioned was I’m sure the one that Beck and many objectivists probably thought was the most objectionable, that the big thing now is “environmental justice.” It certainly sounds forbiddingly academic and liberal, and that is probably how Beck interprets it, but it actually just means that people are just as important if not more so than the environment and that environmental degradation tends to most severely affect the poor and least powerful in society. This is far more interesting and important than it may seem at first.

    The idea is that environmentalists have spent so much time trying to protect mountains and regulate acid rain and save the whales, that people have been ignored. This is a pretty sophisticated and realistic blend of conservative and liberal values that is quite powerful. Van Jones’ background meant that he often (I guess, I only saw one clip, but that is obviously enough to condemn him in the minds of most people) saw this as rich white people putting chemical plants and mine tailings in communities of people of color. That is a dramatic overstatement, but it also happens to coincide with facts. It is of course more of a matter of poor communities of every race or ethnic group that ends up accepting the wastes of the affluent communities. And it is mostly the rural who have to have the coal plants or the wind turbines or the vast solid waste dumps that service the urban centers.

    Just think of THIS juxtaposition. It is often the more conservative rural communities that absorb the problems of the perhaps more liberal urban populace and the largely mixed suburban communities. This environmental ethic pushes back on the affluent Greenpeace model of environmentalism – the cadillac environmentalists – the kind that some feel Gore represents. This should be something that someone like Beck should learn about, rather than smirk at.

    This new phase in environmentalism is a far more compelling and based upon a more sophisticated morality than the early forms of environmentalism and I think would be a great thing for Catholics to investigate. There are the Native Americans, loggers and ranchers who sometimes get kicked off land rather than allowed to be stewards of the land. We see the poor in LA breathe the toxic fumes of chemical plants while the rich of LA preserve their beach front views. The list becomes incredibly long when we see both corporations and governments force indigenous peoples out of lands so that they can be clear cut and then ruined or turned into vast national parks, both of which are not sustainable without people living in them.

    As bad as Van Jones was, he did at least articulate this phase and it means there is at least a more sophisticated discussion of environmental policies in the White House than has been there before. I just hope that conservatives can learn about this and see the ethics and basic decency of it before merely seeing it as just another liberal means of government intrusion.

    Too bad that whole message gets lost in the political gotcha-ism that makes for more compelling TV.

  • Tomorrow’s news:

    Van Jones was pushed out because he’s black.

  • Not since Joe McCarthy shuffled off this mortal coil in 1957 has anyone made a career by accusing people of being communists. Glenn Beck has resurrected the practice. Not only has he found a cabal of secret communists, he has uncovered an entire communist corporation chock full of commies. The name of this company, you may ask?

    THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY!

    You heard me right, boys and girls. The network that gave us Uncle Miltie and Ma Perkins has apparently been secretly sending subliminal messages endorsing Marxist doctrine since it was formed in 1926. This would make perfect sense to me. Every time I watched the Rockford Files I had an unexplainable desire to read Das Kapital. But seriously, folks. Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, red baiting not only seems silly, it’s also kind of nuts. It’s not-at-all surprising that an organization would give this idiot a forum (after all, he’s on FOX Noise). What’s really stunning is the fact that his ratings are relatively high and that so many Americans take his word as gospel.

    All kidding aside, half-witted ideologues are a dime a dozen. What separates Glenn Beck from his peers is the fact that he is doing some serious damage to the country he professes to love so much. For all of the comparisons to the Nazis he likes to make with regard to Liberals, Beck’s program has much in common with Adolf Hitler’s 1923 screed, Mein Kampf. Eighty-six years ago, Hitler attempted to arouse the anger of his fellow Germans by spouting half truths and utter nonsense – exactly what Glenn Beck is doing in 2009. So much of the insane dialogue that has been spewed forth at these Town Hall meetings across the country in recent weeks might have been lifted straight from a transcript of any of Beck’s programs.

    Beck and his twisted ilk have done the seemingly impossible. They have deflected the blame for America’s current economic distress toward Barack Obama. An incredible feat when you take into consideration the fact that the President is one of the few people in government today whose guilt in the matter is almost nil. They have also let loose with a vengeance the very worst angels of the American nature. Opening this Pandora’s box was relatively easy. Closing it might prove to be a bit of a problem.

    Deep in their hearts
    They do believe
    That they shall undermine someday….

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  • So it’s Glenn Beck’s fault that Obama hired a 9/11 truther? Wow, the left really is a wreck today.

  • Methinks Mr. Degan is googling “Van Jones” and spamming this Beck Derangement Syndrome essay far and wide today. Appears very generically ranty and Kos talking-pointish.

    A bigger question is by what lights can the President can assign $30bn from the public fisc to someone who doesn’t have to be confirmed? The czar proliferation could use a legislative rollback or at the very least a court challenge.

  • Apparently “personal responsibility” is not in the vocabulary of liberal extremists.

    It’s always someone elses fault and not their own.

  • Tito — I suppose I’m infamous for pointing out intellectual double standards but that works both ways in the game of politics. You always blame the other side…

  • ‘You always blame the other side’ is a general statement, not an accusatory one.

  • I agree that the proliferation of “czars” is a problem and that this administration has obviously created more than any other. However I also think that there are real and obvious reasons behind it. The size and complexity of American society has grown at an alarming and almost unnatural rate. The government has grown in size, as seen in the budget, at a similar rate, but has not grown in terms of sophistication. This of course gives adequate fuel for some conservatives to say that the government is far bigger than in 1776 … well, yeah, but so has Wall Street and so has multi-national companies and so has the military and so has the media, etc. Everything is bigger and more complicated.

    Just think of this – even as the population has doubled over the last few decades, and the economy (GNP) has increased several fold, the number of senators, supreme court justices, presidents and cabinet officials have either not changed or changed relatively slowly. Thus when President Nixon saw energy issues as being of such importance and complexity that he did not think the bureaucracy was sufficient he appointed William Simon to be the first “czar” (Time magazine’s term) for a Federal Energy Administration. President Bush assigned William Bennet, the nations first “drug czar” for similar reasons – someone who could push an agenda, but was not stuck in the bureaucracy and thus more independent of the supervisory, management and budgetary responsibilities of the cabinet members.

    Thus liberal and conservative presidents have found “czars” to be useful tools for getting things done and circumventing the traditional territoriality of the more formal departments in government. It is the way presidents can fight bureaucratic gridlock and seem to be more effective, but unfortunately this means they also go without much oversight. Cheney was sort of his own personal national security “czar” when he felt that the State Dept., the CIA and the FBI were not doing the job – with obvious questionable results.

    So as a liberal who tries to be honest and consistent, I think Obama is trying to do too much and is using quicker means to get things done. This has the Van Jones effect of having people in some role of government without legislative oversight and without thorough vetting. I think he should stop creating any more czars, but I also believe that traditional government systems have not adequately evolved to properly keep up with the problems of our hugely diverse economy.

    Tito, “personal responsibility” is absent in the vocabulary of all extremists, that’s why they are called extremists. I’m not sure if you were targeting anyone in particular, but it is not unreasonable to view Glen Beck as an extremist.

    paul, I don’t see anyone as saying it was “Glenn Beck’s fault that Obama hired a 9/11 truther.” So I’m not sure what you mean. It is Glen Beck’s is personally responsible for the accuracy of his claims and the legitimacy of his arguments. My quarrel with Beck is that he is intellectually dishonest, blindly sees only his side of an argument as being moral and uses the tactics of a snarky 6th grader to mock people that he disagrees with.

  • Once again though politics gets in the way of the bigger issues. We need a reasonable, non-partisan way to make decisions on environmental issues and both Van Jones and Glen Beck’s radical politics and character have hurt the cause of honest debate.

  • BTW Andy, no one that I have heard or seen in any media outlet has said that Van Jones was ousted or targeted because of race. I hope we and you are now beyond those easy prejudices and one-liners.

  • MacGregor,

    I don’t believe Glenn Beck would fall under extremist.

    Unless of course he believes Obama isn’t a US citizen and referred to Democrats in a profane manner.

  • My quarrel with Beck is that he is intellectually dishonest, blindly sees only his side of an argument as being moral and uses the tactics of a snarky 6th grader to mock people that he disagrees with.

    Ummm, you just described yourself Mac. I’m not sure what your quarrel with Beck is then.

  • tomdegan’s first line made me laugh.

    Van Jones: I am a Communist.

    Glenn Beck: Van Jones is a Communist.

    The Left: Smears! Wingnut lies! McCarthyism!

  • Paul,

    Could you clarify where you think MacGregor was being ‘intellectually dishonest’? I wasn’t in agreement with all of his points, but they seemed honest enough to me.

  • I can only wonder how many others like Jones are quietly scattered throughout this administration.

    Odd, how President Obama once again finds himself linked to a radical leftist. I’m starting to think it may not be a coincidence.

    Mr. H
    http://www.allhands-ondeck.blogspot.com/

  • I’m sorry paul, but I have spent way too much time typing arguments and links to ideas that i feel have been honest and largely ignored by you already and so describing Beck’s inaccurate propositions/claims, slanted views, logically invalid arguments and juvenile debate techniques would take far too long.

    If you don’t see it for yourself, then I guess one of us is completely blind and I doubt you would question yourself, so thanks for the debate such as it was.

    Donna: There have been plenty of smears on both sides. Van Jones was/is? a communist. Communists can be decent people (they even can be Catholic) and are not a threat to the American way, but they are not good choices for office in the US govt. and so he is gone. Yay, maybe we can get oil company executives to run our energy policy again! ; )

    BTW T. Boone Pickens had a very good talk on energy on C-Span yesterday for anyone interested in a mega-capitalist who works well with Obama and Reid and found the Republicans of the last 8 years to be pretty useless. Other extremely wealthy and pro-business folks like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison and many others actually agree with Obama’s view of the economy and taxes, while the high priest of Reaganomics at the Fed for years, Alan Greenspan (student of Ayn Rand) admitted to the mistakes of his trickle-down, laissez faire, supply-side economic philosophy during his comments to congress last October.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27335454/

    Sorry that these are msnbc and nbc links, but couldn’t find any FOX video.

    Just a few examples of people who know far more about the economy and capitalism than Glenn Beck. Beck is really just a comic who has gotten a shtick.

    As for Beck’s extemism too many YouTube videos and so little time.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI_0Kt_e3Go

    Here is Beck’s juvenile snarkiness …

  • Sorry, somehow the last YouTube is not the one I thought I had put in for “snarkiness” because he wasn’t snarky there. Wow, I didn’t know these actually got imbedded in posts like that.

  • but I have spent way too much time typing arguments

    No kidding.

  • MacGregor: You’re much more charitable to the movement that murdered 100 million people in the last century than you are to Beck. Jones certainly doesn’t give Republicans (“***holes”) the benefit of the doubt.

    “Communists can be decent people.” Sorry, I take issue with that. If someone truly knows the history of Communism and the crimes committed by the followers of Marx and still calls him or herself a Communist, then no, that person is not decent. You might as well talk of decent Nazis.

    May I suggest reading “The Black Book of Communism?”

    Slurs on both sides, my foot. I am unfamiliar with Beck (I don’t have cable), but the “right wing slurs” in this case consisted of accurately quoting Jones.

Wasting Gas to Save the Planet

Thursday, June 18, AD 2009

This afternoon found me spending my lunch break (or being non-hourly, a period of time in the middle of the day) driving in circles for no reason other than to save the planet.

You see, I have been so unsporting as to own a 1996 Toyota Camry, which despite looking a bit dirty gets great mileage and has 118k miles on it. Most people would think this was a keeper — except, it seems, my state’s environmental regulations. You see, 1996 was the first year during which the current type of ODB II emissions monitoring system was required, and the one on my car, being a first year out attempt, is rather flaky. It doesn’t help that my car was originally manufactured for the California market, which has it’s own totally unique set of emissions monitoring requirements, which don’t match the rest of the country and which Texas mechanics don’t seem to be very good with.

So while my car invariably passes the actual tailpipe test, it frequently has a check engine light on, which constitutes an automatic fail on our emissions test here in Texas. Over the years I’ve spent plenty of money (indeed, almost all the money that I’ve ever had to spend on care repairs) on getting the car to pass emissions, though last time around I learned that since I always pass the tailpipe emissions anyway, I can just reset the computer sixty miles before going in for my state inspection, and I’ll usually be fine.

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12 Responses to Wasting Gas to Save the Planet

  • I think the Check Engine light exists solely to fatten the wallets of mechanics. In the history of the automobile, has the check engine light’s going on ever actually indicated an engine malfunction of any kind?

  • In my experience, on older cars the check engine light is only good for indicating two things: 1) the battery is working; 2) the check engine light hasn’t burnt out.

  • Agreed Paul and John. I drove a car with the check engine light on for two years. I asked my mechanic about it and he shrugged his shoulders and said that I would be surprised at how often it comes on in vehicles for no apparent reason.

  • We’ve been driving our ’02 minivan with the check engine light on for over a year now. We made the mistake of taking it in for a diagnostic test at one point over a year ago. They found nothing wrong. Reset the computer so the light would turn off. Within a week it was back on again.

    Needless to say, after driving with the light on for roughly a year-and-a-half with no problems, it’s safe to say there’s nothing wrong with our engine apart from being almost 8 years old and having over 150,000 miles on it.

    Fortunately, in Ohio, you aren’t required to get an annual inspection.

  • This is just the sort of thing that makes my blood boil. And frankly, I’m surprised Texas is doing it. We had something similar in Wayne County, Michigan 10-20 years ago, but they finally repealed it. Predictably, it was ineffective, a waste of resources, and as with so many efforts and regulations that exist to sooth the malformed consciences of the left, the poor pay the price.

    Who isn’t going to be able to get their car licensed due to failing the inspection? The guy making 100k a year and leasing a 2009 Accord or the guy scraping by at 15k with his $500 1987 Impala? Is the latter even equipped to fork out a few hundred dollars on the gamble that a mechanic can tweak enough to make it pass? All for what? So the state can raise taxes for a “good reason” and without calling it a tax? So a particularly industry can benefit due to the state demanding people use their services? So the state can keep the working poor off the roads? Oh how I hate this kind of shit!

  • Bravo Rick. It is amazing how often proponents of more government regulation are completely oblivious to the impact of said regulation on the poor.

  • First of all, I’m surprised by the idea of an emissions test for a inspection sticker (we call them brake tags in New Orleans; no idea why). All they do here is check the lights and horn and window tints. How does that even work? I would hope that the government bureaucrat would inhale the tailpipe to check the levels of CO2, but you probably aren’t that lucky 😉

    Second, these inspections are ludicrous. You get the luck of the draw with the inspector. My fiancee bought her car used, only to discover they had put on too dark window tint. She got passed twice, but now didn’t pass, and needs a doctor’s note that her eyes are sensitive to glare.

    Third, the check engine light is evil. When I was a new driver, I brought my car in when the check engine light came on to discover that the light came on b/c the 10,000 mile service hadn’t been done so they did it…except that the service HAD been done, and they just forgot to hit the reset button. Needless to say I will ignore it in the future.

  • Just a note. I am a mechanic. The check engine light does come on for legitimate reasons. Now, like every other system in the world there are the exceptions. However, most mechanics can turn wrenches but have no idea how to do electrical or computer diagnostics at any level of real competence. You really have to be a lucky person to actually find a good mechanic.
    I am glad that people can become mechanics with no college education. I think that there are a lot of careers that the college industry has hijacked with their “accreditations” and the automotive industry is one that has escaped the hands of academia. But there really is no way to differentiate a good mechanic from a bad one- this includes ASE certifications- other than the experience of dealing with that person.
    Just some thoughts.
    In all honesty it would prob. require a four year technology degree at a real college to get a firm grasp on automobiles. They are extremely complex machines, not what your father grew up with.
    Luckily you can find some people that do have degrees that are mechanics and, as in any industry, there are those that have a natural aptitude.
    Thank God I can work on my own vehicle- I save tons of cash and have that feeling of “that job was done right.” Any ways…

  • Yep, the check engine light is a mystery. I drive my wife’s 2002 Ford Escape. When the light came on a couple of years ago, I turned to the owner’s manual which recommended I run a tank or two of a better grade of gasoline from national distributor. Sure enough, the light went out. It then started coming on regardless of the brand of petrol and seemed to go out when it was tired of illuminating. The vehicle has since passed a California emissions test. It remains a mystery and possibly a clue to an impending malfunction, but it is now largely ignored.

  • I drove a 1996 Ford Windstar van with a “check engine” light that stayed on continuously for two years. I never knew exactly what was causing it, and didn’t care as long as the thing ran. I never took it to a mechanic unless there was some other clear sign of trouble. It did finally crap out and end up in the junkyard at 220,000 miles, after 3 years (we bought it used) of driving it 100+ miles per day to a job 50 miles out of town!

    Don, I hear ya completely on the impact of things like emissions testing and other car-related stuff on the poor. Mandatory insurance laws, while well-intentioned, often make it virtually impossible for very poor people to own cars (and thereby be able to travel to jobs where they could earn more money) even if they do manage to scrape up the cash for a beater. Not to mention the costs of transferring titles and registrations.

    In Illinois we currently pay $78 per year for license plate stickers (this may go up to $98 soon if the pols have their way). Coming up with the bux for that has caused me significant hardship at times. In other states the cost of registration/plates/stickers is even higher.

    I too am surprised that the low-tax paradise of Texas requires this sort of thing. Maybe THAT’s one place they get the money that enables them to survive without an income tax?

  • “It doesn’t help that my car was originally manufactured for the California market, which has its own totally unique set of emissions monitoring requirements, which don’t match the rest of the country… ”

    Is this why California is called La-la land?

  • The check engine light recently came on in our 2003 Honda, and it was probably caused by a loose gas tank cap (according to the manual). It *did* have an effect on performance — the car didn’t accelerate properly when the light was on. Maybe this is an instance of the emissions system (computer?) limiting acceleration for some reason? I don’t know, but not until we stopped and tightened the cap did the light go off and the car accelerate properly.