Democrats & Liberals Archives

Butterfly Nets Need to Be Put on Order.

If there’s one thing that invokes gratitude and concern among Liberals at the same time, it’s Republicans and the Right putting themselves on camera. The most recent right-wing frenzies have dealt with the gifts and gestures involved in the Obama’s visits to the Queen of England.
These people got all worked up about Obama giving her an iPod. Said it was a major faux pas. Turns out, though she had one already, she asked him for the new one. Says the liberals: We are very much amused!

The Right Wing almost makes it too easy for us.

No, correction: They do make it too easy for us. Watch out Glen: There's a Bernanke-saurus behind you! And a Geithner-ceratops!

Glen Beck, in fact is getting so bad that even Joe Scarborough couldn't keep a straight face.

And this guy is the second highest rated fellow on FOXNews. Right Behind O'Reilly. These are people who fulminate about how liberal conspiracies, fascism, and the rest, and the only thing that keeps people like me from laughing any harder is the thought that folks might actually be taking this BS seriously.

The paranoia is so thick on the ground that a thoroughly debunked canard about Obama appointee Harold Koh and Sharia law makes its rounds around the Right Wing before the truth even gets it's socks on.

Or maybe it's a completely erroneous interpretation of the projected costs of cap and trade for your average family. There's a difference of two orders of magnitude between the figure the Republicans are circulating, a $1300 dollar nightmare, and the average figure for your family, which would be less than a hundred dollars, when everything was said and done.

You have a self described "entertainer" able to demand abject apologies out of voter-described "elected officials" and party bosses. You have the party chairman, Michael Steele, trying to make the claim that his embarrassing foot-in-mouth episodes are (cue the Joker from Dark Knight) all part of the plan, including the one where he kneels and kisses the ring of a talk show pundit well past his prime. You have Michele Bachmann asking a couple of economists to explain the constitutionality of their department while asking questions about a supposed global conspiracy.

These people lambast the Democrats for a budget they say explodes the deficit, then proposes a plan to cut taxes for the rich to levels they haven't been at since the roaring twenties, and the first few years of the Great Depression (Yeah, they were a big help, then, too.) Word is, such tax cuts will lose the budget about 300 billion dollars in revenue in 2011 alone. Then they project out their budget seventy years. You know, the CBO budget, which they love to reference, has an uncertainty of about 900 billion just five years out. Just what the hell, beside thin air, do you base economic figures for that distant a point in the future on?

Am I trying to portray the Republican Party as insane or foolish?

Better question: is the Republican party trying to do that?

The only consistency here is contrarianism. The only goal seems to be to cast doubt and aspersions on Obama and his administration any chance they get. They're not even having the decency or presence of mind here to base their objections on things Obama's actually done, which were actually failures. Instead, all we get is a stream of invective, paranoia, and mindless nitpicking which seems aimed essentially at portraying the Democrats and Obama as not only wrong on every issue, but evil to boot.

Oh yes, I know Republicans are going to bring Bush out, and say, you Democrats did this to him!

Well here's the thing: we maintained consistent points. We also made our criticisms of actions already taken. Additionally, there was genuine scariness concerning an administration that thought it was within its rights to take a US citizen prisoner and keep him incommunicado with no lawyer, and no charges. It was genuinely frightening to learn about the warrantless wiretapping. It was genuinely shocking to see America's leaders not only engaging in torture of detainees, but defending and rationalizing the very behaviors we sent Nazis and other war criminals to their death for.

We saw people stranded in the worst conditions, and thereafter neglected once rescued in New Orleans. We saw a market that had been riding high since Reagan was in office fundamentally crippled. And we saw what should have been a few weeks' fighting and a few years reconstruction turn into an bloody, enervating quagmire that's gone on longer than any other war we've fought since Vietnam, and for a cause that was revealed not long after our invasion to be completely worthless and discredited. Folks can talk about Bush Derangement Syndrome, but we can say Bush actually did things to drive Americans out of their minds with their dislike of him.

Obama only had to show up, before Republicans began this countdown to the apocalypse, before they decided to shower the media and the public with this rain of complete BS and borderline insanity. In a time in which Republicans could at least do us the favor of being a useful, practical, critical thought-based opposition to the Democrats, the brains of the operation in GOP's Washington has instead decided to go Galt, apparently.

But I guess, in Ayn Rand's terms, if your party decides to forgo rational discourse, to wallow in nonsense and trivialize the skills and talents of those who actually work and think productively, if defending the crooks and thieves took top priority, you too would split and perhaps flip burgers somewhere, just to show them.

Seriously, though, when folks are expecting folks to miss the Wall Street folk's beautiful expertise and original thought right after a catastrophic crash, they've lost touch.

The Republicans have sealed themselves off in their own reality. We'd be happy to let them stay, but unfortunately, their actions have consequences, consequences that are now and will later be visited on the rest of us. Democrats like myself were wanting to go the easier route of reconciliation (not the budget but the social kind), wanting to put these tiring years of political war behind us.

The Republicans, not discouraged by two consecutive elections of net losses have decided not to admit that people dislike them a bit nowadays, but worse than that, they've decided to just go all out and try and sell the worst kind of paranoia and negativism about their oppoonents in order to get back in charge. There seems to be this shockingly abrasive wellspring of hatred for Democrats and their policies coming out of the Right, to the point where most people like myself just wonder where its all going to lead. When I saw the same things as this out of the right the last time, the environment that came of it encouraged a wave of right wing Nihilism that culminated in the attack on the Murrah building. Tragedy can come of the relentless pushing of hatred and alienation. For all our emotions, we Democrats emphasized a reconnection, a listening to what the rest of America had to say. We weren't to burn vehicles or run riot. We weren't to buy guns and prepare for the apocalypse. We were to lift others up and calm others down, to take our anger and turn it towards righting the balance of power between those with great power and wealth, and those who had less.

For some, only the destruction of the other side will suffice, their permanent loss of the game. But in the real world, in the world of politics within a government and a country, such efforts often cause the kind of civil discord and corruption that ultimately brings down societies and nations. We must look to our nation's redemption, not with blood, not with force, not with an agenda that tries to kneecap the political power of those who disagree with us, but one which invites peace and workable compromise.

Unfortunately, the Republican party as it stands now is not interested in sharing power, nor cooperating. It's been raised to accept no compromise, to see any step short of a complete purification as insufficient and unworthy.

But to maintain such a heightened, uncompromising political stance, the Republican Party has had to stoke its energies up. to do that, though, the party has turned itself into a closed loop of positive feedback- not positive in terms of good, but positive in terms of perpetually heightening itself with each new iteration.

As such, it's gotten to the point where behavior like that which I showed you all in the first parts of this post is actually acceptable, normal, even expected. The Republicans have been addicted to the stimulant of partisan righteousness and purity for so long, that they've developed a tolerance for it. Like any addict, that means they force higher and higher doses on themselves. And like any addict, they've abandoned just about every other side of their party to keep on stoking the holy mission against the liberals.

The Republican party is now in the grips of a stimulant psychosis, so committed to continuing the political fight that they don't even recognize how bad they have lost it, and how much they're continuing to lose. None of the polls shows that Obama and the Democrats are losing much in the way of popularity. Majorities support their agenda, even as the Republicans turn their hatred on full blast.

Simply put, the only thing the Republicans current political efforts have succeeded in doing is convincing others that this is not the minority to make deals with. This is the minority to do your best to circumvent. With a full set of real problems out there that the voters expect progress on, most Democrats are in no mood to answer the Republican's calls to slow down, much less their calls to do things their way.

If the Republicans out there, the voters, want their party to recover anytime soon, now's the time to bring your people back to having both feet on the ground. Now's the time to realize that beyond the party's confines, few people credit the Republican's views, but instead find them frighteningly inappropriate. Your party is becoming a laughing stock, as the leaders and the pundits that support it in the media become increasingly tone-deaf about what America wants out of its government. When Bobby Jindal carps about volcano monitoring, only to have one go off near Alaska's most populous city, you know God's trying to tell you something's wrong with the GOP's approach.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2009 12:46 PM
Comment #279460

Thanks M. Daugherty for the link. I then followed the link within the article and finally found what was described to be in error as follows;

“Apparently from this M.I.T. study, which found that a cap-and-trade plan along the lines of the one envisioned by the Obama administration would raise $366 billion a year at the outset. In reality, many of those costs will be passed on to consumers, but those costs will be offset by rebates and conservation and efficiency measures and the transition to other fuel sources and so on. In fact, the exact same study concluded that the actual costs to consumers would begin at $31 a year—or $79 per family.”

The author does agree on the annual onset price tag of $366 billion. And, the Republican arithmetic is not challenged at $1300 per household. Now, the author clarifies that those costs will be offset by:

1) rebates. My understanding of a rebate in this sense is that some will receive a partial return of cost at the expense of some other. Could Daugherty please share this rebate plan with us?

2) conservation. Well, that makes a lot of sense. If we use less we pay less. Is this not a round-robin argument? If we use less how will government continue to collect the $366 billion projected cost? Oh wait, I know…government will just increase the tax, give bigger rebates to some and charge others even more. Yeah…that’s reasonable.

3) Efficiency Measures. I love this one. Unfortunately, the article didn’t explain how this would happen…just a magical savings hovering somewhere in the ether along with number…

4) Transition to other fuel sources. The author relies on the hunch that at sometime in the unknown future we will have new energy sources that cost less than fossil fuel and nuclear energy.

Don’t worry Mr. and Mrs. America, if you’re poor enough you will get a rebate that comes from that magical, never empty, government treasure chest and since government will employ energy police monitoring to make certain you comply, you will pay less in tax because you’ll be forced to use less energy. PO and congress are going to find “efficiency” and “cheap new energy sources” some day and we know that’s true because they said so. That they don’t know when or what it will cost is just a minor consideration. Trust me, I am from the government.

So, the author, using data about efficiency and cheap new energy sources that don’t exist, combines these imaginary savings with forced conservation to arrive at the much more sensible cost to the average American of $79 per year per family. Whew…why was I concerned?

Posted by: Jim M at April 2, 2009 4:07 PM
Comment #279463

Jim M-
The man says that most of the Cap and Trade programs under consideration by Congress and the Administration work to offset costs at the consumer level, and so calculating the burden like you do is misleading.

I think he’s telling you folks that you got the market dynamics all wrong. See, here’s the deal: the higher energy costs will encourage businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint by seeking alternative energy sources and more efficient technology. Businesses who work more efficiently than they are permitted will save money, even make money from the deal. Consumer prices, if they’re still high after whatever efficiencies they’ve taken on, can be offset by essentially handing them a tax or allowance rebate on the proceeds.

On your questions:
1) The government rebated money from ordinary taxes under previous plans. It seems like it’s suddenly scary and new for you when the purpose isn’t explicitly tax relief.

2)There will be increases. That’s the point of cap and trade: drive down emissions by gradually driving up the costs, making alternatives more economical, making conservation a plus, rather than a minus in the business column. If Businesses do their part, they can make money off the deal. At some point, I suppose, the cap and trade system will essentially make itself obsolete. And that will be a good thing.

3) I read an MIT article back in 2002 that said that an SUV could be given a huge boost in MPG simply by using a different voltage in the engine. The means to create greater efficiencies exist. The Business world just hasn’t gotten the right motivation.

4) First, let’s establish something right now: Fossil Fuels are on a path to rarity, and therefore greater expense. Assuming that, even without cap and trade, the costs of oil and natural gas will remain the same (even if the GOP gets its wish and we drill), is simply wrong.

The technologies to raise efficiency and create alternative fuels exist NOW. We can take several of these solutions off the shelf immediately, including wind, solar, and other energy generation technologies. Additionally, as nanotechnological advances are made, solar cells and other kinds of energy technology will come on line. We’re already making advances in fuel cells based on replacing platinum catalysts with cheaper metals and even exotic forms of carbon.

But don’t worry, America, we can just scrabble after that last drop of oil and choke ourself on coal fumes, rather than accept a little bit of sacrifice now to run cleaner and more efficient later.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2009 4:44 PM
Comment #279464

Move on folks.

Nothing to see here.

Please disperse.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2009 4:53 PM
Comment #279466

I said we could be LED to greater efficiencies by that technology we’ve got now. I wasn’t lying!

This wasn’t even the catalyst I was referring to before, but this breakthrough should tell you where we’re going.

Conservation measures are not just the stuff of eco-fantasy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2009 5:08 PM
Comment #279467

Stephen: The reason politicans like cap and trade is that it allows them to favor their political allies and contributors through tax policy. Much more elegant is a straight carbon tax, as previously promoted by WB’s debating editor Jack. Perhaps more people would be on board if a carbon tax on petroleum was promoted as being necessary for geo-political reasons (with possible side benefit for potential climate change reasons), with the proceeds dedicated solely for reduction of the national debt to some reasonable and sustainable level. I won’t hold my breath.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at April 2, 2009 5:22 PM
Comment #279468

Is Nuclear Power cost effective for solving our energy problems?
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2009 04:58 PM

Well isn’t that an interesting article. Summed up it says that government regulation and cost stand in the way of nuclear energy becoming more available. Gosh…who would have thought it. That government regulation makes it nearly impossible to build new plants is such a revelation. As for costs, I quoted a link that indicates we could be energy exporters thru nuclear plants with an expenditure of around $1 trillion.

PO and congress has a set aside for national health care of around $650 billion and add in the $350 or so billion for cap and trade liberals wish to extract from our pockets and we can build 500 or so new nuclear plants and become energy exporters.

Practical solutions using today’s technology and resources is just too simple for some. They prefer huge, ongoing, never ending debt chasing some elusive dream of green energy that may or may not ever occur and if it does, at what cost?

Liberals dream up some new scheme for separating us from our money every day. I wonder when they sleep?

Posted by: Jim M at April 2, 2009 5:27 PM
Comment #279469

Jim M, The Transition to other fuel sources does not rely on some unknown future energy source, it relies on the existing technologies we have today to obtain energy from renewable sources. We have many choices to pick from, including nuclear fission, hydroelectric, solar and wind. Nuclear and solar will probably make up the bulk of these energy sources.

Regarding efficiency measures, this isn’t some magical cost reducing measure, its doing things to cut out the wasteful inefficiencies rampant throughout the private sector that amount to several quadrillion BTUs each year. In a related matter, conservation can also go a long way towards decreasing our fossil fuel usage, so this study assumes many people will find cheaper ways to do things. For example, maybe people won’t waste gasoline driving to work and instead ride a bicycle or take mass transit. Instead of flying, maybe people will take the train to get to their travel destinations, thereby saving money.

Mike in Tampa, I agree that a direct Carbon Tax would be much more effective; just as Jack used to advocate. Cap-and-Trade is the next best thing and we need to take what we get.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 2, 2009 5:29 PM
Comment #279470

M. Daugherty links; “I said we could be LED to greater efficiencies by that technology we’ve got now. I wasn’t lying!”

You bet…let’s bring big government right into our homes. Allowing electric generation companies to charge much more during peak use is just a grand idea. In the middle of July and August in Texas when peak demand from air conditioning is required we can all pay the suggested price of 75 cents per KWH versus 9 cents we are now paying.

Folks, this is what is meant by efficiencies and conservation talked about in Daugherty’s previous link. Wow…what an idea, use less when you need it most and pay less. This is the true meaning of “sweat equity”.

Is that not similar to telling Americans to only use their cars after the rush hour has ended. Brilliant! Only a liberal could appreciate the logic of that.

Posted by: Jim M at April 2, 2009 5:42 PM
Comment #279473

I’m sure nuclear power will work out well for the Iranians. After all, there is no possible downside.

Posted by: phx8 at April 2, 2009 6:05 PM
Comment #279474

Gingrich says that reduction of tax deduction for charitable giving is a “war against churches”.

Just to clarify on that that display of affection the Right-Wing media was hyperventilating about…

And adding to the cognitive dissonance, the Republicans are employing a man kicked out of his own company after it had to pay 1.7 billion dollars to the government for chronic overcharging to sell their position on healthcare.

Jim M-
Regulation is one side to it, but it’s not the dominant factor, actually.

Bottlenecks in the nuclear supply chain, weak infrastructure in developing countries and tighter credit risk management strategies in the wake of the economic crises will severely limit all countries’ capabilities to significantly expand their nuclear fleet, while the current fleet of reactors is likely to be retired by 2030, the report said.

The earliest the first new U.S. reactor could be finished is 2015, but the report notes that it takes about 10 years to put a new plant in service, from licensing to connection to the grid. In two dozen countries that are interested in obtaining civil nuclear energy but have not previously built a reactor, it will take even longer, the report says.

“The exigencies of energy security and climate change do not warrant racing ahead before institutional frameworks can ensure that any expansion makes sense, not just for energy needs, but for world security,” the report says.

There are only a few countries in control of nuclear fuel, which is itself a limited commodity, at least if we’re up near the Earth’s crust.

The question about regulation, is what regulations you would wish to do away with, and what risks would come of that. One bottleneck, as I understand it, is that reactor vessels tend to be made in one piece, to avoid the kind of metal defects that radiation might attack to create containment links. The big trouble with nuclear power is that nuclear energy generation is not very forgiving of errors.

I think you wouldn’t get very far suggesting to people that they compromise on the safety of the reactors in order to speed up the process.

Yukon Jake-
Being contrarian is not merely about having a contradictory view on principle. It’s about essentially staking your position as being essentially the opposite of your opponent, regardless of principle. So, when we propose and enact middle class tax cuts, guess what the Republicans, who talked about putting money in people’s pockets and everything do? They oppose it. They rationalize deficit spending as necessary when they double the debt and triple what we owe to overseas creditors, and then drop on us like a ton of bricks when we propose new spending and emergency stimulus packages… Not unlike the stimulus package they okayed to send people out all the nice treasury checks.

Oh, did I mention they criticized our fiscal discipline, and then turned around and offered a ten percent cut on the top rate for the rich, which folks are estimating will cost 300 billion dollars of revenue in 2011 ALONE?

That’s contrarianism: kiss up when it’s your party doing it, kick down when it’s somebody else.

We’re not running the deficits because Obama suddenly decided to go on a spending spree. In fact, most of the money on this years bill came from Obama’s predecessor, and the collapse of the economy on Bush’s watch.

As for the iPod? Note how you point out things about the contents. Now what happens if somebody says “the Queen said she wanted some media from Obama’s campaign”. Also reported, though, on the iPod was a video of her own visit to the US.

The question here becomes, why is there this assumption of negative motives and vices so automatically here? This isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, this is the pot trying to push the kettle off the stove. The Republicans are looking for things to be righteously indignant about, but are so hasty and nitpicky about it, that they’re coming up with examples that are either embarrassingly off-base, or just plain mystifying to the rest of us as a source of outrage.

As for the “one world currency” I suggest you get your facts straight. The conversations were about China’s reserve currency, that is the bonds and other debt they buy up to support themselves. Namely that several hundred billion we keep bitching about. The actual issue is whether they pick another currency to bank on, the Euro or something else.

Trouble is, even with our economic problems, our currency is still one of the most liquid and traded currencies in the world. So they aren’t switching for some time now.

The World Currency is essentially an embarrassingly ill-informed group of conservatives overhearing those discussions and then concluding, according to their pre-existing paranoia about the end of days, or the takeover by the Illuminati that the Obama administration is clearing the way for our nation to be taken over financially. That’s why it was spectacularly easy for Bernanke and Geithner to flat out deny the allegation when Michele Bachmann made it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2009 6:19 PM
Comment #279480


The U.S. has no problem with Iranians having nuclear power within the context of the usual international safeguards, so - yes - that could be a good idea.


The cap & trade is supposed to raise almost $700 billion in revenue. That is what the Obama folks tell us. A more honest approach would be a simple carbon tax, but that would put it out in the open.

It is also true that Dems did it to Bush and with a lot more meanness. You felt it was justified then.Others disagree.

Finally, the Democratic idea of bipartisan cooperation is to allow Republicans to agree with them. It is similar to what the Republicans did a few years ago when they enjoyed similar numbers.

This is politics as usual. It really is not very different now than it was then. The new boss is the same as the old boss. The only difference is in your interpretation.

Just imagine what MSNBC or the NYT would have said if Bush had given the Queen an I-Pod or if Rice had given the Russians a reset button with the wrong translation. Or if Bush had given the British PM a set of DVDs that didn’t work on the UK system. This are not major mistakes. They would not have been big mistakes four years ago either. Where you stand often depends on where you sit.

Posted by: Christine at April 2, 2009 8:32 PM
Comment #279482

The way you rag on republicans is going to backfire on you. Congress’ polls are still lower than whale crap and DEMOCRATS are in control. I really don’t care what BHO gave the Queen and most normal people don’t. Like Christine wrote, I can imagine what you and the rest of the liberals would say would be worse than Beck or O’Riely if it was Bush who did the same.

Posted by: KAP at April 2, 2009 10:18 PM
Comment #279489

KAP, congressional approval ratings are a bit higher nowadays.

Also, Congressional Democrats have achieved a 57% approval rating.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 3, 2009 12:08 AM
Comment #279491

CBS poll gives Democrats in Congress a fifty percent job approval. Same poll give Republican 29%. Pelosi and Reid have poll numbers in the 30’s, but Boehner and McConnell have ratings of 14% and 20% respectively.

A February poll said that Americans believe that Democrats will handle the problems facing America by almost a two to one margin.

As for what Christine said?

We were too busy complaining about important things like the economy, the war in Iraq, and Global Warming to care about such petty crap. As far as Global Faux Pas? Least of our worries. Bush’s surprise shoulder rub for Prime Minister Merkel brought comic relief more than it did outrage and high dudgeon. We cared more about the fact that Bush was taking a torch to about half a century of carefully set up Diplomatic relations, and doing charming things like setting up a man who had fantasized out loud about destroying multiple floors of the UN building in New York as our ambassador to that institution.

And an iPod is what your people dwell on.

As for Beck or O’Reilly? Don’t get me started. People only started to call Bush a fascist after he started doing things fascists are known for: arrests and detainments without habeas corpus, torture, eavesdropping on folks without a valid warrant… You know, the stuff that got rationalized in the conservative press as necessary.

I would Recommend that the Republicans reading this consider what their people’s actions look like to the rest of the world.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2009 12:23 AM
Comment #279501

Jim M said: “Allowing electric generation companies to charge much more during peak use is just a grand idea. “

Yes, actually, it could be. Then consumers and voters will complain, and America will be more likely to move away from trying to jam the majority of workers and students onto our highways and back into their homes during the same 3 rush hours that waste vast amounts of energy waiting in congested traffic, and vast amounts of unproductive hours of workers lives. And then peak electric usage with the majority trying to cook dinner at home, iron and wash clothes, shower, and shave, and charge their future electric cars, all at the same time, will be vastly reduced, eliminating some of the need for expensive and vast peak load infrastructures to accommodate such herd like behavior.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2009 10:00 AM
Comment #279506

David R. Remer-
There’s just one small issue with that: The day is constructed a certain way, and people live in it a certain way. Deviating from that doesn’t necessarily improve productivity- it can in fact harm it, as people fight their own bodily rhythms. It’s not a coincidence that many of the worst industrial accidents occur on the Graveyard shift.

The electric meters mentioned in the article I linked to are one element of a possible solution to the peak energy problem; if you know how you’re using energy, you can do things to conserve it more effectively. When it comes to conservation of anything by human beings, the axiom “out of sight, out of mind” holds.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2009 10:56 AM
Comment #279512

How about a well insulated and efficient dwelling and place of business I drive by 200 year old houses every day with no more than a piece of plaster board on the inside and a thin piece of siding on the outside and nothing in between and they the state is installing 96 plus heaters and BTW they cost twice as much as a 94 plus heater for a 2% savings on gas usage and that is in a well insulated house and i see 200 year old windows open in the dead of winter meanwhile natural gas has gone from 15 a unit to 3.50 and my bill and almost everyone else’s is more expensive this year is that being practical.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 3, 2009 12:12 PM
Comment #279513

Rodney Brown-
We should keep an eye on such things, and make sure the results are fitting the goals.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2009 12:30 PM
Comment #279514

I appreciate that Stephen, and that’s what we’re trying to do here is either making them efficient and safe and Tight and eye appealing or knock them down and start over The amount of energy waste in ? years in one of those monsters you could build new.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 3, 2009 1:05 PM
Comment #279527

Natural Gas or Propane Furnace AFUE >= 95
30% of cost, up to $1,500.. check with Manufacturers on AFUE ratings my 94 Plus has a 95 AFUE.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 3, 2009 3:13 PM
Comment #279549

Jim M
If you take any left over beer in that refrigerator in garage and put it in the house . Then unplug the garage refer until you have friends over. Leave the door open a bit to let it stay dry.You will probably not have to pay much of the cap and trade cost. You might also want to replace some light bulbs,weather strip etc. Save a buck and avoid paying some liberal tax.

As for government regulations and nuclear plants,sure thing. If the operators did not have to follow all those rules they could make a killing. Oop, poor choice of words. If they could just dump their spent fuel or sell it to whatever country wanted to buy it and not worry about long term storage or keeping track of it, it would be a lot cheaper. And heck,why even monitor reactors 24/7. That overtime gets expensive,damned government. And all that security! Whats wrong with a couple of rent a cops?The government insist on having an inspector check EVERY weld, for crying out load! No wonder it takes so long to build a plant. Just because if a weld breaks we might have to abandon an area the size of Colorado for ten thousand years shouldn’t give the government the right to impinge on the freedom of big companies to make piles of money.The owners are forced to have every employee wear a rad badge to monitor their exposure level. If they have recieved too much they get time off WITH PAY! What to heck, they are getting paid plenty AND they expect to live forever?The damned government won’t even let plants be built on active earthquake faults and insist that people living nearby be notified if there is even the slightest leak. Outrageous!How are you supposed to make a buck when you can’t even put millions of peoples lives at risk. After all,if it wasn’t for those people using electricity for that garage refridgerater you wouldn’t need a plant at all so its their fault. The liberals will just never see that.

Posted by: bills at April 4, 2009 11:18 AM
Comment #279576

S.D. said: “It’s not a coincidence that many of the worst industrial accidents occur on the Graveyard shift.”

If that is true, that statistic does not speak to causation. Midnight shift accidents can potentially be attributed to myriad factors other than bio-rhythm. Skeletal crews being chief among them, given the shift premiums paid for night shift.

You will have to show me empirical research attributing 2nd and 3rd shift accidents to bio-rhythms as a causal factor, before I will entertain that possibility. My environmental psychology education demonstrated that a great many work environments have no access to daylight at all, or so little, as to have no effect on worker perception of time of day. Foundries for example, or auto manufacturing facilities for another. Windows in such facilities affording workers any sense of daytime or nighttime, are distant and elevated near the ceilings to release heat, and therefore not even in the view of a worker on the floor.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 4, 2009 9:08 PM
Comment #279582

As a student of neuroscience, both formally and informally, I ran into this a long time ago. You would have to go to great lengths to shut out light cues to the point where you could manipulate people’s circadian rhythms. From what I know, the two periods that the body tends to try and shut us down most are in the afternoon, and at night.

But you forgot something critical here: if we’re trying to be energy efficient here, we should recall that both work (meaning being in the office at a computer, or working machinery and artificial lighting at these times of the day also count towards energy usage, especially if you’re attempting the near constant sort of condition required to get people keyed into working the night shift all the time.

The better answer may be increased public transportation and reliance on plug-in hybrids and electrics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 4, 2009 10:47 PM
Comment #279637

S. D.

As well as work from-home-strategies and transition incentives. The congestive herd paradigm for massive urban center work hour transportation is simply no longer functioning as any sane person would have intended upon designing such urban centers.

Something as simple as dividing a city into 3rds, with each third starting work an hour a part from each other, would work veritable wonders for major urban centers. Staggering the work week across weekends would also contribute to a more sane urban-suburban transportation design.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 6, 2009 2:17 AM
Comment #279730

One problem with the system as it is now is that suburban development has taken a model that used to work, that is coming into the city from the suburbs, and created the outlaying communities as if that were the model.

In reality, it would be better if we distributed more of the jobs and even administrative centers outwards, taking a fractal approach to outward growth. This way, we obviate the need for long commutes.

I think, in terms of policy, finding ways to deal with the system that cause the results to emerge from natural behavioral tendencies is the best way to go about things. All too often, when we are unobservant or uncaring about these things, they work against us, impeding our efforts.

After all, you could try telling people when to go to work, but how would you ensure that? People might just cheat, find ways around it if they find the imposed limits too constricting.

I saw an article sometime ago, which I will post the link for, if I find it, which talked about how sometimes when you engineer something to seem reassuringly safe, you actually encourage more reckless driving, because people don’t pay attention. So, doing something like putting a traffic circle in makes people pay attention, and therefore drive better.

You can sometimes, paradoxically enough, relieve congestion by putting an obstacle in people’s way. Put a poll in the right place in people’s path, and as they file around it, they’ll end up walking in a more orderly manner, as they negotiate their way around it.

It’s better to be subtle unless you don’t have a lot of choice. Exploit something of people’s natural tendencies, rather than fight them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 7, 2009 10:40 PM
Comment #280028

Butterfly nets! I love it! Here in California there was an anti-Obama demonstration put on by a couple of local right wing talk show hosts. Fifteen thousand showed up. Let’s have more tea parties!
What they forget is there was also another demonstration. Pro immigration. You know: the kind of people who believe in social and economic justice. Five hundred thousand. Let me think about this. Arithmetic, hmmm. 500 verses 15. Makes me wonder.

Posted by: Stephen Hines at April 11, 2009 3:20 PM
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