Friday Linkage 6/13/2014

I watched the primary returns on Tuesday night with a disinterested eye that was more focused on drinking a glass of my latest House Pale Ale and figuring out the family’s upcoming trip to Colorado with my wife. When the news came in that Eric Cantor had been defeated in what was being described as a stunning defeat my ears perked up.

Is this the last gasp of the Republican Party as a national party? Think about it for a moment, Eric Cantor was considered too “moderate” to win a primary in a Congressional district where he was the incumbent. Never mind he outspent his opponent by a factor of 10 or more and his opponent was a virtual unknown to boot. If you thought the days of Todd Akin, Sharon Angle, and Christine O’Donnell were over…well, it’s mid-term election season baby!

On to the links…

In Some States, Emissions Cuts Defy Skeptics—Some states have already made the cuts in carbon emissions being rolled out by the EPA at the behest of the president. To complain vociferously is to prove that your elected leaders are in the pocket of special interests and not concerned with the long term viability of the planet.

Krugman: In The Real War On Coal, The Mining Industry Won And Workers Lost—The coal industry has a mythic hold on portions of this country, but it is ironic because the industry has been notoriously bad with regard to the treatment of its employees.

EPA Carbon Standards and Iowa: Breezing Past Proposed Goals—Sometimes, Iowa does not get the credit for being bad ass when it comes to renewables. As it stands today more than one quarter—27%–of our electricity is generated via wind and with new investments coming on line that numbers could approach as much as 40%. Now, if we can just get some solar rocking then Iowa will blow past whatever carbon goals are set at a national level.

In Response to President Obama’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations, Republicans Roll Out Their Usual Lies—At what point do people just stop believing these guys? It’s kind of silly at this juncture. Maybe that is why the only place the party is viable is in gerrymandered districts with voter suppression and a high viewership of Fox News.

Finland to Cut CO2 Emissions 80% by 2050, Legally Binding—Just when I think we are doing something grand in the U.S., some country in Europe goes and steals the thunder. Finland…way to go.

The Hot New Frontier of Energy Research Is Human Behavior—The way we act everyday can have a major impact on our energy usage. Just think about driving. You could take three drivers—one who drives normally, one who drives conservatively, and one who is a hypermiler—and get radically different mileage results with the same vehicle. Expand this to the rest of our daily interactions with energy.

It Took Until June, But The Great Lakes are Finally Ice Free—The summer has been a little cool in my neck of the woods, but it is nothing compared to seeing ice on the Great Lakes over Memorial Day. The last vestige of this very cold winter is finally gone.

St. Paul Makes a Bet on Revival with Green Line Light-Rail Train—It’s amazing how the residents along the Green Line LRT route are looking at the development as a way to really revitalize what has been a lagging area of the Twin Cities metro. I watch with interest as new light rail lines are installed in places because the development has been fascinating.

Illinois May Have Just Banned Your Favorite Face Wash—Thank god some state has finally taken action of getting these silly plastic microbeads out of the water supply. Do we really need to exfoliate with something that pollutes our waterways with even more plastic? Nope.

40 Maps that Explain Food in America—I have been a little light on infographics lately because nothing has really piqued my interest. This series of maps is interesting in a different way.

Farmers Markets Reaching more Consumers Who get Nutritional Benefits—These programs seem like one of those rare win-win type moments. People who need access to more fresh food are afforded access, farmers get access to a pool of money, and the community has better health as a result. Dig it.

Driving a Car Built in the ’90s? Join the Club—Now, think of all of these cars being retired in the coming years and replaced with vehicles meeting new mileage requirements. I am guessing this will be a driver, pun intended, of fleet mileage increases for years to come.

Japan Seeks to Squelch Its Tiny Cars—I have never owned or ridden in a kei car, but these little sprites just seem so Japanese. On my one visit to Japan these cars were part of the scenery that was unique to the country. I guess globalization will claim another victim in the inexorable drive toward a homogenized landscape.

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