Germany Way Ahead of US in Renewable Use

Germany Way Ahead of US in Renewable Use

In 2000 Germany and U.S. used virtually the same percentage of energy from renewable sources. But by 2040 when we’re projected to be using 16%, Germany will be at 65% renewable sources. That is amazing. And we can do it too.

Literally, the word Energiewende means “energy turn,” and it describes the country’s bold plan to shift from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

According to The Economist, the Energiewende was “dreamed up in the 1980s, became policy in 2000 and sped up after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011.”

Hm, in the 80s Germany was planning the future. In the 80s Reagan was dismantling the Carter energy policy which was a plan for the future. For that alone, Carter was underrrated and (trying to be nice here) Reagan a long term disaster for the country.

Got the Blues? Eat More Kale – Mother Jones

Got the Blues? Eat More Kale – Mother Jones

Nom, nom, nom. Love those sweet potato fries.

A new study (abstract) from Harvard researchers found a strong association between adults’ levels of optimism and the amount of carotenoid antioxidants in their blood. Carotenoids are found in richly colored green and orange vegetables, including kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, and collard greens. The more servings of carotenoid-containing vegetables you eat, the results suggest, the brighter your outlook.

Hey Cory Booker, C’mon Man

So NJ state Sen and ex-Gov. for a cup of coffee Richard Codey doesn’t want to run against Chris Christie.  I am very well rested but couldn’t squelch a condescending yawn.  Codey’s mother may be broken hearted about this but the rest of Garden State is as unmoved as a Springsteen fan at a One Direction concert. Gov. Chris Christie (R-Blimp) is a massive sitting target (joke intended) that is going to be able to slow walk back into the state house (which is a good thing because at his current planet-size stature he cannot possibly run).

Simply put, Christie, although he’s the mainstream media’s latest mancrush, is a paper tiger whose ridiculously well documented bullying demeanor, his increasing friction with the rest of his party and his actual freaking record (um, 9.8% unemployment, duh) would render him quite vulnerable to a well run and financed campaign toplined by a household name (cough, Cory Booker, cough).

But nooooooo!  Saint Cory decided to take the easy way out and go for the 2014 senate seat currently being kept moderately warm by 89 year old Senator Frank Lautenberg. That Lautenberg’s nose is out of joint over this, because he hasn’t decided whether he’s going to run for another term or not, would make for a heart-warming episode of the Golden Girls in which a delightfully spry octogenarian proves he’s still sharp just before a dramatic illness on the big day forces the character to step aside.  Point hilariously made, but sanity prevails.  Cut to Jamie Leigh Curtis Activia commercial.

Yo NJ Dem party.  There are very good names in the NJ Congressional delegation that can take 2014 to the house, um, senate. Congressman Rush Holt, (D-nuclear scientist), would be an awesome senator who could debate any GOP candidate under the table. Meanwhile back at the ranch if you’re looking at state Senator Barbara Buono to take on Christie you might as well sit the whole thing out at the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop.

Jersey Jazzman at Blue thinks Buono can win.

Chris Chrstie has a problem with women: he regularly insults and berates them, and he pushes policies that deny women adequate health care. His war on teachers is a proxy war on women. Pre-Sandy Christie had a big gender gap in his favorability ratings; it would be foolish to think the storm blew that gap away permanently.

Coming Soon – American History Blogging, the Past is Prologue

Working on some longer pieces about 18th and 19th century American political history. What makes it endlessly fascinating to me is how much of today’s politics mirrors the factions and issues of then. In many ways there is a continuum from the 1790s to today. And then there are the debates over slavery and finance that seem unthinkable today.

The thing I find most fascinating about the 1787-1789 period when the Constitution was written and adopted, is that it was, as we imagine, a kind of magic time. But not for why most of us think. The timing was intensely critical. Many of the signors signed off based on trust, handshake deals between men of good faith. Just a few years later politics had divided the founding fathers so badly that it would have been impossible to imagine the same result.

The key thing to remember is that the founding fathers were not some monolithic group, they did not necessarily like each other, or agree on issues, or even agree with themselves – they changed their minds, evolved on issues over time. They really did think of it as an experiment, and by no means did they consider the product of their deliberations finished or perfect. They knew they couldn’t have gotten it all right, and feared that they got some of it very wrong. The same men created the Articles of Confederation that preceded the Constitution and went back to the drawing board when it became apparent it was a failure.

They were fallible men, not gods. They were no better or worse than the radical politicians of any age. But make no mistake they were radicals, revolutionaries, liberals determined to upset the existing power structure. There was nothing conservative about anyone who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The only conservatives in this story wore red coats.

That some of them became more conservative over time as they contemplated and executed the experiment was a source of endless frustration to others of them and is the wellspring of many of today’s frustrations as well.

A Blackout-Proof, Solar-Powered Smart Grid Please

A Blackout-Proof, Solar-Powered Smart Grid Please

Living where I live, where we wandered a post-apocalyptic landscape without “the juice” for 7 days because of Superstorm Sandy, a blackout-proof, solar-powered smart grid sounds mighty friggin’ nice. The fact that the power lines are not buried, despite two straight years of losing power for significant periods of time, and there are no plans to do so is some fucked up shit. 

Question:  Why isn’t every new house and commercial facility in the country in the futuristic year of 2013 being built with solar panels on it?

I blame Reagan. Jimmy Carter placed solar panels on the WH in 1976 and one of Reagan’s first actions was to have them removed. Sounds like a dick move in and of itself, but the bigger picture is this: where would we be as a country if Reagan hadn’t shit on a legitimate 20th century energy policy in favor of a Saudi favored 19th century one.


The GOP Stupid Comments Can’t Stop if the Opinions Don’t Change – Forced and Unforced Errors

Haley Barbour and other semi-rational Republicans have repeatedly dunned their colleagues (major fail GOP Senate candidates Richard Mourdock  and Todd Akin, specifically) for saying “stupid” and “offensive” things.

“The comments they made were stupid comments, offensive comments and in today’s world when a candidate in one state says something, the negative effect of that can spill over to other candidates”

Yeah, other candidates who share those positions, duh!

Barbour acts as if these were unforced errors and Akin and Mourdock just blurted these things out inappropriately like they were unruly children with an autistic streak.  But these comments will keep coming as long as their position is that abortion, even in the case of rape, is immoral and should be illegal.  That’s the context in which these comments always pop up and send the political world into a tizzy.  The post-election GOP quality control people like Barbour (and where was he during the election?) act as if Anti-Choice men (and women by the way) have not been making these nonsensical statements forever!  Akin and Mourdock were asked questions and they answered them, honestly!  And then the GOP had to wear those answers because that’s the policy they espouse.  They are forced errors.

And they will continue to make them, so long as they espouse these positions.  The press will continue to ask them about it and they are almost duty bound to justify their positions by saying something stupid about rape, abortion, women’s sexuality, even how vaginas operate. 

That men shouldn’t be dictating women’s reproduction choices, no less talking about it authoritatively never occurs to them because they are misogynist moralists who believe that their religious/moral position is the only correct one, and that it is their place to protect women from themselves. And that thinking is an unforced error. It’s their right to think it, but people who think it shouldn’t be anywhere near the levers of power.

And speaking of stupid positions, denial of climate change, deregulation, blindly following the NRA are all just as demonstrably stupid as their lady parts positions. They just won’t own up to that yet and that is a huge unforced error.