Friday Linkage 4/19/2013

I find it shameful that the Senate could not pass an expansion of background checks.  I did not have faith in the House passing such a bill because it is full of partisan ingrates who could not find the bathroom without the help of a paid lobbyist.  If you are a Republican member of the House there is probably a long line of lobbyists from Big Oil and the NRA waiting to show you the way every day.

How does an expansion of background checks to include gun show and online sales of firearms infringe on the rights of citizens to bear arms?  It is merely saying that people who cannot own firearms are prevented from doing so at more market channels.  Of course, this bill did not even address the private party sales loophole but that is another story.

This is not just a story about the failure to pass common sense and necessary gun control legislation.  It is about the complete ownership of our political process by special interests who only concern is making more money.

On to the links…

Is 70% Renewable Power Possible?  Portugal Just did it for 3 Months—Sure, hydropower was a part of the equation.  Why can’t it be part of the solution?  The key to this story is that it was a portfolio of solutions that provided the power, not one silver bullet, and it included conservation.  Could you imagine if the U.S. grid were 70% renewable?  No, I cannot imagine that scenario.

Solar Grows Up, Now What?—When utility companies are worried about a technology being disruptive and harming profit margins you know that technology’s time has arrived.  As the costs of a total solar PV system continue to fall the economics are only going to favor the technology more.  Get on the bus or get left behind.

Colorado Looks To Raise Renewable Energy Standard To 25 Percent For Rural Electric Co-Ops—States have really become the leaders in pushing for things like renewable standards and gun control and other progressive issues because the politics in Washington D.C. are so broken.

EPA Says US Air is Getting Cleaner—Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are dropping.  Yippee! Some people attribute the drop to the recession that began in 2008, but long term trends make it appear that this is something slightly more sustainable than a reaction to recession.

Messy US Climate Policy Somehow Working—To say that the US has a climate policy is something of an overstatement, even if you couch it in the terms of being messy or incoherent.  However, while CO2 emissions are expected to rise for the next few decades the peak will not exceed that of 2007.  This tells me that there is room to improve.

How Does Your Utility Rank on Solar Power—Solar is real and it is a growing piece of our energy choice quiver.  The thing that really got me about this article was the chart that shows the top 10 utilities by the amount of solar per customer.  What was good enough to be number 1 in 2011 only gets a utility to number 10 in 2012.  Damn!

Starving Sea Lion Pups Fill California Rescue Centers—No one can figure out why, but starving sea lion pups are washing ashore in vast numbers.  Some estimate that the rate is five times higher than what would be considered normal.  Climate change perhaps?

Lionfish Attack the Gulf of Mexico like a Living Oil Spill-Lionfish are just bad news.  This fish reminds me of Asian carp in freshwater rivers and lakes in the Midwest because it just seems like the ultimate scourge that eradicates all the native fish.  Can we eat these things fast enough?

Quaker Apple Walnut Oatmeal Has More Sugar Than a S’mores Pop Tart—And people wonder why I make oatmeal from scratch for my kids.

Food Fraud: 10 Commonly Counterfeited Foods we Consume—Basically, big food has created a system where counterfeit or ersatz foodstuffs are the norm, not the exception.  Trust no one.

As Communities Cheer New National Monuments, House GOP Attempts To Undercut Law Enabling Their Protection—Republicans are a sad, shameful bunch.  Is there anything that they will not oppose anymore?  The answer is no because they are grasping at straws in a vain attempt to maintain relevance in the face of demographic and societal change.  My guess is that the House voted on yet another repeal of Obamacare after these hearings.  Clowns.

Surly Brewing Buys Site for Destination Brewery—I am so stoked for Surly to build their new destination brewery so that I can enjoy Coffee Bender even more.  My hope is that production expands so that distribution can expand.  The only thing that makes me sad is that the location is on a site that I used to bike past every day when I lived in Minneapolis 15 years ago.  Sad…

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One response to “Friday Linkage 4/19/2013

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