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December 20, 2012


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An observation regarding Susan Rice: It's also true that the left had some serious problems with her - the arguably minor issue of her financial interests in fracking operations, moreso (for me) her toe-the-party-line testimony before the U.N. regarding Palestine (although, admittedly, doing the right thing there is probably too high a bar for the Modern American Politician).

I see no evidence, however, that this added to Obama's calculus, so your overall points regarding his disregard for a progressive electorate stand.

Wimps fight? It's like asking Kooks to think.

"What's at work is the superior ground game that allowed the Republicans to take unprecedented control of Arizona politics." -Rogue

Arizona's redistricting actually meant that Republicans lost their super-majorities in the State House. Statewide offices (Corporation Commission, Treasurer, etc) on the other hand, went all Republican in this election...which had nothing to do with districts and redistricting.

Public unions are the last strongly funded, strongly organized, largely Democratic support group: as of 2011, 37 percent of the public sector was unionized, versus just 6.9 percent of the private sector. Naturally, Republicans target them with "right to work" laws that eliminate their ability to negotiate benefits and require them to provide free services to all workers (not just union members) without being able to collect dues (no longer able to deduct them from paychecks, they become voluntary and collections drop by a third or more).

With unions unable to bring home the bacon as a result of negotiating restrictions, they'll have a difficult time maintaining membership, much less attracting new members; and this is quite aside from the new open shop ("right to work") conditions that further reduce their recruitment base.

With low funds on hand and fewer members to organize, political action becomes less effective, and there is even less of an offset to wealthy individual and corporate interests in the political process.

The leaders of the Democratic Party are living in a fool's paradise. If they had one ounce of brains they would have made card-check and NLRB reform/control an overarching goal while they had a majority in both houses as well as control of the executive. They would have used reconciliation, recess appointments, and other procedural tools to avoid Republican recalcitrance and filibusters. They would have kept their eyes on the prize and waged battle like street fighters in pre-war Berlin, not only against Republicans but to keep discipline within their own ranks (damn those "blue dogs" anyway).

As for school boards, they have the power to select textbooks. The power to select textbooks is, in the hands of radical Republicans, the power to rewrite history, economics, and politics, and the power to propagandize and inculcate an entire generation with their ideas and values.

Media ownership is another method of persuasion. Ask yourself how many liberal talk radio stations there are, if you don't already see who is going to win the media-money game. Two-thirds of registered Latinos identify themselves as Democrats, but deep pocketed moguls and media corporations with Republican loyalties are even now buying up Spanish-language newspapers, radio and television stations.

At present, Democrats depend strongly on policy contrasts with Republicans on immigration issues. If Republican Party leadership manages to narrow or eliminate this contrast, Democrats are going to have a difficult time competing for the votes of a largely Roman Catholic, socially conservative demographic that might also be open to the "lower taxes equals job creation" pitch.

Republican leaders are slow to make the shift on immigration, lest they lose as many White/Right votes as they gain among Latinos, to say nothing of the funding and organizational abilities which immigration fanatics bring to the game. However, once they realize that immigration conservatives have nowhere else to go -- they certainly aren't going to vote Democrat just because Republicans soften on immigration -- their calculus will change.

It might even be as simple as standing out of the way long enough for Democrats to push through comprehensive immigration reform. Once the issue is no longer relevant, Democrats will have to compete for Latino votes on other issues going forward, unless they can make the case that gratitude for past achievements should secure permanent loyalty.

As for feckless Democrats who regard preservation of past gains as the opening position of legislative negotiations, this tactic only insures that the subsequent, inevitable compromise involves the erosion of those gains. Starting a negotiation by asking MORE than you want is the way to do it, because then when your opponent whittles away, the concessions leave you with what you originally wanted, whereas your opponent is satisfied that he has beaten you down and avoided something substantially worse.

As Tip O'Niell said: "All politics are local."

The radical right wing of the Republican Party is committed to a revolutionary agenda which does not have widespread public support. Their misleading slogans of limited government and lower taxes may be appealing to many, but once the specifics of their agenda are disclosed popular support evaporates.

The radical right which controls the Republican Party today is not interested in a pluralistic, democratic society which requires negotiation and respect for reaching a political consensus.

Just as the radical right-wing Republican Party started two senseless wars to preempt an imagined worse conflict, the same radicals are willing to break inclusive democratic institutions to obtain an imagined paradise of limited government and lower taxes.

The radical right is well funded and not going away any time soon.

and excessively armed
and believe John Birch is alive and riding Paul Revere's horse.
your's truly
Amen and pass the Ammo
John Galt

Deaths by types. Interesting chart?

Republicans, Democrats and the NRA.

The Newtown murders were the situation the NRA and right wing religious extremists have been waiting (some might say praying)for to further implement their plans such as the following.

"LaPierre announced that former Rep. Asa Hutchison, R-Ark., will lead an NRA program that will develop a model security plan for schools that relies on armed volunteers."

The key word here is "volunteer" like in crossing guards but really "militia" like in Posse Comitatus.

Amen jmav.

Whenever you hear a Wimp refered to as a Commie, that's Bircher-speak.

My apologies for the brief hijack, but the thread is a little quiet and here is something which Mr. Talton and other Rogue readers may find of interest. Let's hope that it isn't just more hype. Excerpt:

Doty Energy is developing advanced processes to permit the production of fully carbon-neutral gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, ethanol, and plastics from exhaust CO2 and off-peak clean energy (wind and nuclear) at prices that can compete with fossil-derived products.

Converting CO2 into fuels will eliminate the need for CO2 sequestration, reduce global CO2 emissions by 40%, and provide a nearly insatiable market for off-peak wind.

It has long been known that it is theoretically possible to convert CO2 and water into standard liquid hydrocarbon fuels at high efficiency. However, the early proposals for doing this conversion had efficiencies of only 25% to 35%. That is, the chemical energy in the liquid fuels produced (gasoline, ethanol, etc.) would be about the 30% of the input energy required. The combination of the eight major technical advances made over the past two years should permit this conversion to be done at up to 60% efficiency.

Off-peak grid energy averaged only $16.4/MWhr in the Minnesota hub throughout all of 2009 (the cheapest 6 hours/day averaged only $7.1/MWh). At such prices, the synthesized standard liquid fuels (dubbed “WindFuels”) should compete even when petroleum is only $45/bbl.

A more scalable alternative for transportation fuels is needed than biofuels. It is in our economic and security interests to produce transportation fuels domestically at the scale of hundreds of billions of gallons per year. WindFuels can scale to this level, and as they are fully carbon-neutral they will dramatically reduce global CO2 emissions at the same time. Switching 70% of global transportation fuels from petroleum to WindFuels should be possible over the next 30 years.

WindFuels will insure extremely strong growth in wind energy for many decades by generating an enormous market for offpeak wind energy.

P.S. I was put on the trail of this by a book I've just started, called "When Oil Peaked" by Kenneth S. Deffeyes, a former Shell Oil Company researcher and Professor Emeritus of geology at Princeton.

The book, published in 2010, updates two earlier books, examining criticism of those works. The author is a "peak oil" adherent but (at least in this volume) seems less dogmatic than some advocates. His claim that oil production peaked in 2005 still strike me as premature, but the book examines a wide range of issues, including energy alternatives and possible other production "peaks" in vital substances.

It's a slim volume, coming in at just 140+ pages including the index, which suits me just fine, as the information is concentrated and the reader can always use the resources of the Internet to follow leads which are described in insufficient detail. I picked it up in hardcover for a buck from a dollar store.

Coal gassification, synthesis gas, and synthetic gasoline are known technologies going back to earlier eras, and are (somewhat favorably) reviewed, very briefly, in Chapter Six (pp. 67-69).

I started poking around on the Internet and, by far, the most interesting thing I found was a Wiki article on "carbon neutral fuel". That led to a footnote which provided the link to the ES Proceedings paper linked to above.

It's entirely possible that Doty Energy is hyping its concept, either inadvertently through genuine but misplaced optimism, or cynically in order to generate investment capital; so caveat emptor. Still, if their assessment is correct, it's a game changer.

Emil -

(I join in apologizing for the thread hijack, but readers of Rogue comments have become acclimated to the scroll bar, yes? :) Ahem.)

Very provocative, I'll admit, this Doty Energy proposal. Naturally, my own brand of myopia causes me to cast a jaundiced eye so caveat emptor applies to my opinion here as well.

The first observation I'd like to make is that at best, this is kicking the can down the road. Admittedly, it could very well be far enough down the road to allow modern civilization a huge collective sigh of relief. If we use the interim period to explore and attain the ultimate necessity of a sustainable zero-growth paradigm, it is indeed a game-changer, as you posit. I find this aspiration important, as I can discern no moral distinction between leaving it to our grandchildren, or our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren, to hit the energy "wall."

What "wall?" Even at current levels of energy exploitation, let alone those that are looming in the near future (assuming the world economy remains reasonably healthy - and this, in my view, is tautologically bound up with energy supply), then we are looking at a source that is dependant upon a net excess of atmospheric CO2.

Now this is an exciting and happy dream to have, this easy re-sequestration of carbon, but what happens when we hit the happy equilibrium? (Among other things, the ecologically-necessary plant population would prefer we didn't remove too much - again, a rather happy problem to have considering our current dire straights.) The first answer is that we could probably turn to more classical fuel sources, and we can engineer a happy loop of carbon emission/extraction, finely tuned and governed by vigilant overseers of such matters.

Anyone else see the that unicorn, the perpetual motion machine, rising up in this scenario? It seems to always show up, no matter the scheme. It is naive to think that there wouldn't be a net loss of energy, through each iteration of the "happy loop."

I sincerely hope that Doty Energy is on to something, but if it is, I hope that we do not squander whatever interim period of relief it supplies by unfettering, once again, our adolescent appetites for more, more.

Engineer This!

Hijack away. Rogue's smart readers always take the conversation in good directions.

Meanwhile, I am told the "domain mapping" is completed and correct. This way one can go to or

Please email me if you experience any problems.

I don't think that Joan Walsh's take was insightful.

Mr. Talton made a number of concrete points regarding state level trends that can only result in changes at the federal level if they continue.

Walsh cited two passing media blips (the failure of the House Speaker to allow a vote on a single piece of "fiscal cliff" legislation, and the NRA's proposal for armed guards in schools. Both of these are subject to various kinds of spin. Also, Romney won only slightly less than 50 percent of the popular vote. I don't think that either one is a coffin nail.

It is now 12/22 and (for me) time to pull the plug on the secular machine in favor of reflecting and celebrating my family's many blessings. My Mexican friends have tried for years to teach me the benefits of eating tamales, taking a break and giving thanks. For some in this family, the stack of medical bills is testimony to the oncologist's skill and the bullets we dodged. For my teacher daughter, there's the satisfaction of knowing that she's well-suited to being the Mama Bear for her high school kids, who she'd protect with her life.

And on and on . . this little detour is not a denial of reality or a la-di-da about our worsening global plight, but what is life if you can't celebrate it?

Best to all . . and catch you later in 2013.

The NYT reporter did a feature on tamales:

What she didn't mention was the "tamale women" who would go through Willo every season. Grandma, who did the cooking, would stay down on the walk, while the younger daughter came up and sold us a bad or two.

Paradise. And distinctively Phoenix. I hope the city hasn't driven them off.

The other Phoenix things I will miss this season are the luminarias on the sidewalks on every street in Willo, and the 11 p.m. service at Central Methodist Church.

The Tamale women are still here Jon.
They are working for Americas Taco Shop.
Looking for yesterday.
Try Old Mesillas NM

I like the Tamale Store tamales. If you can’t make it out to Cave Creek, they set up shop at various farmers markets around the valley year round.

Pardon my old guy hangups and prejudice but I get mine home made de las senoritas de Mexico. As Tilly once said to me, "you know why god made Mexican women?"

Petro, the idea of zero-growth has an intuitive appeal because living space and non-renewable resources are finite.

Zero growth in production without zero growth in population results in ever lower standards of living as a fixed pie is sliced ever thinner for ever more numerous consumers. This is about as sure a formula for revolution and war as I can think of. So, population control would be a prerequisite.

Zero growth in production is probably not consistent with capitalism. The lifeblood of capitalism is credit, but credit depends on economic growth, since the repayment of principal with interest depends on the expansion of the money supply over time: in addition to financing existing consumption, money must be available in future to pay interest (or other profitable return) to the lender. It's almost a kind of Ponzi scheme, where lenders finance growth in order to receive a larger income stream (interest payments) in future.

In a society without credit, all purchases -- including commercial buildings and equipment, residential homes, major household appliances, commercial air, trucking and shipping fleets, personal automobiles, payroll operations, and the repair/replacement of aging infrastructure from roads to utilities, would have to be financed from cash on hand. Production would collapse, not freeze.

So, zero growth would require both societies and their governments, on a global scale, to adopt population controls as well as a non-capitalist economic system (which would need to mesh internationally, as capitalist finances now do). Any politician proposing such a scheme would be kicked to the margins faster than yesterday's garbage.

Complicating matters is the fact that growth in production is not identical to growth in per capita resource usage. Through automation, procedural improvements in production techniques, more efficient use of resources (e.g., machines and electronics that require less water, less oil or gasoline, or less electricity to do the same thing), we have already been able to produce more goods and services with less per capita resource usage despite population growth. Innovations will continue.

Even if we could wave a magic wand and create a zero-growth society tomorrow, it would still continue to use non-renewable resources and to produce garbage and pollutants at high levels. The only earthbound civilization that is sustainable over the very long term is one which recycles waste outputs into production inputs and develops synthetic substitutes for non-renewables (e.g., naturally occurring fuels); these won't face depletion because they can be continuously (re)created.

Materials science, energy science, and medicine are in their infancy and will transform the way we live; but it will take time. Anything that has the potential to arrest climate change by vastly reducing atmospheric pollutants, while facilitating economic development by recycling emissions to synthesize gasoline and other transportation fuel hydrocarbons (thereby keeping energy costs under control), should be given high priority evaluation by both government and the private sector.

The Earth's own carbon cycle may also seem like "perpetual motion" until you realize that the Earth is not a closed system: it is powered by nuclear reactions in the Sun which produce the light and heat necessary for plant growth, the metabolism of plant-eating animals and human beings, as well as the wind itself (and wind-power). There is a vast supply of untapped solar energy (among others) waiting to be intelligently exploited.

Even drinking water is potentially abundant: what makes desalination of ocean water a pipe-dream at present is the expense, which derives from the energy required to remove high levels of salt, and the need for private desalination companies to pass along these energy costs to customers in the form of higher than market prices.

If the federal government should ever see fit to construct, on a non-profit basis and as a wholly publicly owned utility, solar photovoltaic plants spanning hundreds of square miles, the pumping and desalination of ocean water (both of which could be done during peak daylight hours) is but one task which can be performed, and unlike the urban electrical grid (which requires extensive infrastructure improvement to be able to handle large and fluctuating amounts of additional electricity), industrial solar applications can take their own power directly from the solar plants using simple dedicated power lines or cables that serve only themselves.

That the government must build solar plants of this sort rather than private industry, follows from basic business considerations: even if a private company had the vast amount of capital needed for up-front investment (and it doesn't), the need to recover that investment with a profit within a reasonable time-frame (from the investor's standpoint) would drive the kilowatt-hour price charged for its electricity into the stratosphere, thereby pricing itself out of the commercial, industrial, and residential markets. The project's finances are so absurd that the private investment capital needed to get the project off the ground wouldn't become available.

By contrast, for the same price as the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade ($1.4 trillion to date), and roughly over the same time period, the federal government could create one or more such solar plants. Because it has no shareholders demanding a return on investment on a business-profit timetable, the government could sell the electricity at the cost to produce it (i.e., the operating cost of the plant alone, instead of operating costs plus investment costs plus a timely profit, as in the case of a private business).

The many drawbacks of solar power (issues of portability, infrastructure, and contingency on sunny daytime operation) aren't nearly as problematic as commonly supposed, because energy is interconvertible and the electricity created from light can be used to power chemical reactions in industry and to synthesize portable chemical energy; what is needed is scalable, affordable solar, and the government can provide that. Energy is also fungible, which means that processes currently powered by other (non-solar) means, if subsequently powered by solar, free those other means of power generation for additional uses, including those which solar is ill-equipped to handle.

Living space is the one resource that cannot theoretically be synthesized or substituted for; but vast amounts of habitable land are currently undeveloped wilderness. The vast majority of the population is crammed into urban areas; but nighttime satellite photos show that urban areas are only a small fraction of continential land area (in the United States, China, and many other places).

So, that "wall" may be further away than you think, and its distance, rather than being fixed, recedes with technological development.

It could also be argued that a society which settles into zero-growth too early might be less motivated to innovate and so could miss many opportunities.

A world that missed the industrial revolution and still existed as scattered small farming communities using horse-plows and burning wood for fuel would not face the same sustainability issues that we do today: but what might their response have been to mutating disease organisms (of plants, animals, or people) that decimate crops or woodlands or populations? What would their response be to climate shifts that occur naturally but are radical and no less devastating? We may well face such shifts ourselves in future, even if we manage to get artificially caused climate change under control before the oceans acidify and kill off the plankton and the cloud cover becomes so thick that the sun is blocked out.

P.S. Christmas holiday closures will likely deprive me of Internet access over the 24th and the 25th.

One further comment on Walsh's take: I really don't see why armed guards in schools should be the end of the NRA. If any other interest group (e.g., mother-teacher associations) had called for something similar, would there be any controversy?

That modern urban schools should have a dedicated Office of Security is a no-brainer. A rent-a-cop paid $20 per hour costs about $30,000 a year in wages for a nine-month school year; add another $20,000 in wages and/or benefits and it's still reasonable at $50,000 a year. (State and/or federal governments could subsidize benefits for such employees by writing automatic qualification for public medical insurance programs (e.g., Medicaid or state/federal employee programs) into the law(s) as special exceptions.)

Three full-time officers per school working 40 hours over five days a week, vetted and bonded by reputable security companies, certified with renewable (or cancellable) annual firearms tests, given additional training specific to schools at nominal state expense, and using existing space as an office, would cost about $150,000. Surely that is not much within the context of a typical urban school budget.

Of course, 99 percent of the time, 99 percent of them would be dealing, not with deranged gunmen, but with the usual campus problems of alcohol and drugs, gang activities, and other common problems. That's fine, and would make them really worthwhile instead of merely a symbolic fix to a rare problem.

On those rare occasions when violence did occur, they would be available. Their side-arms could be kept concealed most of the time, and anything like an assault rifle or shotgun could be kept in a firearms safe securely on campus at the security office or at other locations scattered around campus.

P.S. Such guards could coordinate with actual police liaisons and departments. This would give the police eyes and ears at schools without needing to devote trained officers to security duty, while giving the campus security officers access to resources, advice and assistance that they otherwise would lack.

Republicans in retreat? U gotta wonder where in the future Boehner will land after his debacle with his fellow kooks. And U gotta wonder if per his son, Romney didn’t really want to be president? I felt sorry for George Bush Jr. as I thought he was just not very bright and in touch with the universe. Probably a good guy to know if you wanted to clear some brush from the river bottom and have a beer afterwards. Now comes Mitt and I really didn't want to be president of the US? All I can say to that is a quote from the movie "Three days of the Condor" when the CIA agent says to the anti hero, (Robert Redford)"you poor dumb son of a bitch"

and regarding the engineering of the planet, tell me something I do not know?

"'Meanwhile, the 'fiscal cliff' negotiations go on without end, with President Obama almost pleading that he has gone 'at least halfway' to give House Republicans "a fair deal.'"

For those of you who remember the spirited debates that we had regarding my announced decision to vote for a third-party presidential candidate in November (I changed my mind at the last minute and vote for Obama), Obama's lack of a backbone is the reason why I almost went for someone else. What is it with this guy? Every time the going gets tough, he gives in to the Republicans -- especially Boner. For Christ's sake. How is this any better than voting for the Green Party candidate?

Shifting gears, I thought I'd share a story about some shit that happened to my wife and I the other night. I was on duty at the station and Sarah was at work. She came home and noticed my mountain bike was stolen and the gate to the backyard was open. She looked around in the house and noticed doors inside the home that are usually closed were open. She found the window to the bedroom was cracked and the screen was ripped off. Spare keys to her car (she works so close to where we live that she walks to work) were gone. So was her car.
She lost her car, a 2007 Mazda 3 GT; I lost my bike, two watches, a ring and some valuable, rare coins and Treasury notes that my grandfather had passed down to me.
What in the hell is wrong with society? I am not a violent person -- I don't own a gun, although I have considered buying one to protect us from bears when we go camping -- but right now, I want to hunt the person down who did this and skin him or her alive. Forgive me.

Chris, sorry about your loss. Invasion of ones castle is like invasion of ones body.

Cal, my wife says she feels "violated." I understand that, and I feel that way, too. But I also feel disrespected. It's one thing to steal my bike from under the carport, where it was secured with three steel cables. It's something else to enter my dwelling, walk right past the dog (which we keep in a large, wire dog crate during the daytime when we're not home and take whatever the thief wanted. I take solace in the fact that "Fuego", an Australian Cattle Dog-Beagle mix that we rescued from the Ute Indian Rez 2 years ago, probably went ballistic and was ready to tear that intruder to shreds when she saw him in our house. The cop told us that this probably kept the intruder from pillaging the entire house.
Fuck Wayne LaPierre. Guns have no place in schools, nor should Americans have the right to own semi-automatic assault rifles. Handguns and rifles are best utilized to protect the home and for hunting. If I was home when this asshole entered our home, and if I owned a gun, I would have shot him dead. Then, I would have asked God for forgiveness.

CID - I share your outrage, and acknowledge and sympathize with the unfortunate, but entirely appropriate, emotions this act of violation has forced you to experience.

Petro, the idea of zero-growth has an intuitive appeal because living space and non-renewable resources are finite.
What an incredibly condescending "observation." Well, allow me to retort.

First of all, zero-growth is not an "idea," but an incontrovertible characteristic of reality in a closed system. You can beg the question, and bring up species-ist distinctions of growth in one population vs. another, but the net growth is always zero. With such distinctions in mind, one can live within the illusion of growth for generations, of course - perhaps that renders it moot for you, but I resist such sloth. The illusion is shattered when we hit the wall of the petri-dish.

Since the eventual decay of the Sun is on a timeline outside of the what would constitute reasonable discussion of the matter, I will stipulate that our eco-system is "open" to the extent that we can count on a fixed ration of energy input from Sol. I only argue that we have to live within that restriction, and we can agree that we've not been doing so well in that department, and that we will hit that wall.

Whether or not zero-growth is an "idea," however, I see nothing intuitively appealing about it. To the contrary, it's rather unwelcome. Even more so when one is framing the question from inside-the-box of current paradigms, so I'll excuse, with sympathy, the intellectual squirming that accompanies its contemplation.

To make this as short as possible, you present some hard "realities" to me (for example, production would "freeze") as though such revelations would move me to join in with your chorus of objections. That's unfair - you are speaking to our "audience," and of course it is up to them to decide which of us is being the more rational. Your "it is harder than you think" rationale, which sounds all the world like a "we'll never make it," or mine, in which I don't disagree, in substance, with you - however I am not a fan of such self-fulfilling negative prophesies, however intellectually superior they might make one appear.

I despise "productivity" and human ideas of progress, and have observed nothing good as having come of them. Spare me the human-centric celebrations of "advances" in medicine and technology - Nature's pushback against the former example would serve as a rich resource of rebuttal that I need not embark on here.

Lest I be impugned with accusations of nurturing my own brand of "negative self-fulfilling" prophesy, I will only point out that I discern a larger joy and beauty in sublimation to reality, than the cheap thrills we've extracted in our attempts to cheat it.

P.S. As I have exhaustively pointed out here and elsewhere - population is a symptom, not a cause, so naturally I find discussion of "population control" to be infantile. This makes me happy, because it is also morally reprehensible to go down that road anyway.

We have to discover equilibrium, not engineer it. This observation cuts to the very essence of this entire conversation.

Chris, being in the biz forever dogs are good but they have to be able to attack.

The one thing I have recommended for 18 years is hidden video cameras, transmitting live and recording to a place the intruder has no access to. You can probably do this yourself. You can even set it up so entry into your area sets off an alarm on your cell phone and given your phone you can visually hook into the system.

The last house I built, lived in and sold to my ex had wired in 11 camera ports 5 outside and 6 inside before they put the sheet rock up. I placed the time lapse recorder where it would not be found

For the average homeowner I do not recommend killing as it usually ends up not working in your favor.

Killing should be left to an outside contractor. Some of the worlds best live just south of the US. I do not recommend Brad Pitt (Killing them Softly) he is too sloppy and way to philosophical. But I did like his philosophy. Movie got horrible reviews, except from me.

For an up lift, My friend Charles Bowden sent this to me today.

If a [European] swift comes down to the ground, it finds it almost impossible to take off . . . . It sleeps in mid air . . . . When a swift, young or adult, leaves its nest in early August, bound for Africa, it may not touch down again until it returns to its nest site nine months later. An individual swift is known to have lived for as along as eighteen years. In its lifetime, it must have flown some four million miles.That is equivalent of flying to the moon and back eight times.
David Attenborough, The Life of Birds, P. 70.

Cal, that is one funny essay. I especially enjoyed your advice on getting the job done with a hired gun. Thank you, sir.

PS: If there are any misspellings or punctuation errors in my comments, it is because my friend the burglar stole my Rx glasses. I do have contacts, but you can't wear those all the time.

Petro wrote:

"What an incredibly condescending "observation.""

Nope. Just an expression of the fact that I found it appealing myself. I had seen similar posts by you previously, but didn't respond because I hadn't wrapped my head around what I considered to be an intriguing but unresolved open question that required further consideration.

Please stop being an insecure weenie. Instead of being pleased that someone thought enough of your post to think deeply about it and reply, and then respond in kind, you wasted my time and yours.

Petro wrote:

"I despise "productivity" and human ideas of progress, and have observed nothing good as having come of them."

An odd claim from someone who uses the Internet so regularly. If you lived in an isolated cabin in the deep woods catching and gutting your food, refusing all medical and dental care, making your own clothing from animal skins, spending your days without printed books or recorded music, and otherwise rejecting progress in a tangible fashion, I might be more inclined to believe you. Not that I would agree with you, but I would have to admit your apparent sincerity.

Incidentally, you haven't proven the universe to be a closed system: you've presumed it as a premise.

If the Republicans retreat will there be less bad air?

Chris, your welcome. Be glad you are in Denver.
Here it is time to put my mask on and go for a walk on this Phoenix, No burn day.

P.S. Petro, if " zero-growth is not an "idea," but an incontrovertible characteristic of reality in a closed system" then why did you PROPOSE a zero-growth economic system? Why did you talk about the "ultimate necessity" of such a system instead of saying that we already have one?

By changing the definition of "zero growth" in mid-discussion from an economic application to a scientific application, you've made it clear that you're not interested in a serious discussion, but only in playing games to avoid addressing frustrating objections to your economic zero-growth idea. OK.

Looks like “Nietzsche Reloaded” his superior guns for the Holidays.

Zarathustra , I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome.

In a previous comment, I suggested that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ($1.4 trillion to date) was enough to construct "one or more" photovoltaic solar plant hundreds of square miles.

This was an unfortunately conservative estimate that undersold the idea. I was running short on time and didn't want to overstate my case, but instead I understated it. I'm still short on time, but based on what I've seen so far, it appears that at least a dozen such plants could be built for $1.4 trillion, based on a figure of $100 billion for a 100 square mile photovoltaic plant. I suspect that with currently low solar cell prices and negotiating price breaks based on bulk purchasing agreements, the actual cost could be considerably lower.

Here's an interesting quote:

"A solar dish farm covering 11 square miles hypothetically could produce as much electricity per year as Hoover Dam, and a farm 100 miles by 100 miles in the southwestern U.S. could provide as much electricity as is needed to power the entire country."

Have to run now. One final thought: electrical power generation from fossil fuels (including coal) is the largest single contributor to climate change.

Back on the 26th, probably.

Well How Cool is that?
Highjacking the dragon and then slaying it with dull, boring confrontational words?

Please stop being an insecure weenie.
Haha! OK, I can see where I might have that coming a little bit.

I am indeed grateful that you found the time to think about and respond to my comment. In hindsight, I can see a defensive tone in my post, so I'll give you that one.

I know you can't be disqualifying me as a critic, though... because I've not yet gone completely feral...? Anyway - I've managed a substantive shift towards the spartan in my life, perhaps even enough to satisfy your credential needs. :)

I didn't mean to confuse science and economics on you there - I consider economics to be so intertwined with resources, and resources so tied to the simple laws of science (like thermodynamics) that I cannot think of one without consideration of the other. I promise I wasn't trying to change the discussion.

"Well How Cool is that? Highjacking the dragon and then slaying it with dull, boring confrontational words?"

Yeah, I agree. Petro, take note: if you are going to take part in topic hijacks, please be less "dull, boring and confrontational" per Cal.

If you want to know the difference between "dull" and "boring" ask Cal: he's real smart, which is probably why he gets bored so easily.

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