Friday Linkage 7/29/2011

The current debate on the debt ceiling in the United States and the attendant debate on deficit reduction is sucking all of the air out of the room in terms of political talk.  At least the National Football League was able to avoid missing any games.  If there was no football there might have been a revolution.  Give them beer and football, which is the modern day equivalent of bread and circus.

Why China is Kicking Our A$$ in Clean Energy—My love of infographics is nothing new.  This infographic from One Block Off the Grid is surprising, shameful, and sad.

REN21 Renewables 2011 Global Status Report—It’s not as easy to understand as a single infographic, but this report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century is filled with a lot of information.  Surprising is the growth in absolute renewable capacity across the globe considering how much more could be done.

Grand Old Pollution: Grand Canyon as Uranium Mine—Because enough damage has not yet been done by the mining industry in the western United States or across the globe by the nuclear industry, the GOP has decided to make uranium mining near the Grand Canyon a cause worth fighting for.  Of course, this is the same group of people who want the U.S. to default on its debt because the solutions proposed thus far only give them 90% of what they want.  Clowns.

One More Down—On October 15th, 2011 Portland, Oregon will join a growing list of communities across the globe banning single use plastic bags.  I was surprised to learn that Portland had not already taken this step given the city’s green reputation, but maybe personal behavioral changes were already eliminating the scourge of single use plastic bags.  I see a scene in Portlandia coming.

Going Green or Going Wild—The fine line between weed and decorative plant is blurred forever in this yard.  At least the owner is not being threatened with jail time for doing something different with her yard or having her work torn up by municipal authorities.

Tax Soda, Subsidize Vegetables—Mark Bittman’s writing in the New York Times on food and food policy is very informative and accessible.  This article is filled with ideas that would never pass muster in a world where Tea Party activists would wage a jihad to preserve a flawed system.  The average American consumes 44.7 gallons of soft drinks a year? Wow!

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