Tag Archives: corrupt

Friday Linkage 11/16/2018

California is on fire.  Venice is under water.  Glaciers in South America have retreated.  Famine in Yemen is accelerating.  It seems like this week has brought out the apocalyptic news.

On to the links…

The Zinke Effect: How the US Interior Department became a Tool of Big Business—Ryan Zinke is the robber baron that we deserve.

Interior Department Whistleblower: Ryan Zinke Hollowed Out the Agency—Rebuilding the federal government after the tragedy of the Trump administration is going to be a long, hard road.  This is what you get when you elect people to run government who happen to claim to hate government.  It is also what you get when you elect a serial philanderer who cannot stay out of bankruptcy court.

Trump Campaign Paid Millions to Trump Businesses During Midterms—This is what grift looks like in an era when there is no accountability.  Imagine if Barack Obama had paid himself for the use of a plane he owned from campaign funds?  Mitch McConnell would still be crowing about it and clutching his pearls.

In New Mexico, Public Lands Turned an Election Blue—It turns out that people like the idea of public lands being available for use by the public and not just a land trust for the use of fossil fuel interests.  Republicans will never understand this fact because it runs counter to their deeply held beliefs that oil and gas companies can do no wrong.

Why Nevada Upped its Renewable Energy Standards (and Arizona didn’t)—It was really a mixed bag for climate change related policies on the ballot during the midterm election.  Some states came through while others just toed the line.  Arizona has always struck me as the Florida of the west.  The state will act against its own self-interest time and time again in some misguided defense of “principles.”

Scotland’s Wind Turbines Generated ‘98% of Electricity Demand’ Last Month—It was not really 98% of electricity in a linear fashion all month.  Sometimes it was “only” ~65% of electricity demand while other times it was well over 200% of electricity demand.  Remember when people opposed to renewables said that the maximum would only ever amount to 5% or so of total demand?

Global Coal Use May have Peaked in 2014, Says Latest IEA World Energy Outlook—Despite what the orange despot in the White House says on the campaign trail, coal is not coming back.  Coal is not beautiful.  Coal is dead.

BNEF Confirms US Coal On Track For Record Capacity Decline—Every wind turbine and solar panel that we can deploy is another brick in the wall.

Big Oil’s Death by a Thousand Small Cuts—Every Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt or Nissan Leaf represents demand destruction for oil that is not coming back.

10% Of New Vehicles Purchased in California Are EVs—If I am an oil company or a car company without an EV this trend would scare the living crap out of me.

Spain to Ban the Sale of All Gas-Powered Cars by 2040—The Spanish plan is part of a larger initiative to break free from fossil fuels in our lifetime.  Now, imagine you are an international auto exec watching an entire country ban the sale of gas cars.

The Wheels on These Buses Go Round and Round With Zero Emissions—If I am in Congress the first bill I propose—ok, maybe not the first—is a program to help subsidize the purchase of electric school buses across the country.  Along with electric city buses, garbage trucks, and delivery vehicles.

Electric Tuk-Tuks Power EV Revolution In India—Sometimes the best conversion from fossil fuels to EV is a low tech swap.  Replace hundreds of thousands of two stroke tuk tuks in India with EV versions and you have made a real dent in air pollution.

Heat-Rejecting Film could Reduce Air Conditioning Costs—Anything that can reduce our demand for air conditioning, thus reducing our demand for the electricity to cool the air, is something worth pursuing.  Particularly, if the solutions do not require retrofitting buildings in expensive and labor intensive ways.

Impossible Foods Will Finally Sell Plant-Based Burger Meat in Grocery Stores—I have yet to try one of these burgers, but maybe if I can find a package in the grocery store I will take it home to compare with an actual ground beef burger.

Plot Twist! Elephants come up with a Foolproof Way to Survive Ivory Poachers—I have linked to similar stories in the past, but it really gives me a chance to post one of my favorite lines from blockbuster movies of the past:

goldblum

Advertisements

Is Rod Blum America’s Most Useless Congressman?

Some people would write the headline “Is Rod Blum America’s Worst Congressman?”  However, that is not possible because he cannot even be the worst Congressman from Iowa.  Steve King takes that title every day running away.

Rod Blum is fairly useless.  Take this mailer that I get for some inexplicable reason:

IMG_1486

As a registered Democrat who participates in most primary elections I would have thought my name was crossed off of any mailing list promoting Rod Blum’s “accomplishments.”  Alas, that is not the case.

Rod Blum is “draining the swamp?”  Did Rob Blum call for the resignation of a single member of Trump’s cabinet who has been shown to have misspent the public’s money and abused our public trust?  Nope.  Did Rod Blum ever once call for Scott Pruitt, the single most corrupt member of a cabinet in a hundred years, to resign?  Nope.  Everything on the list above is a load of crap.

My favorite is “End the use of taxpayer funded ‘slush-fund’ that was being used to settle accusations of misconduct by Members of Congress.”  You mean like former Representative Blake Farenthold?  The same Blake Farenthold who eventually resigned from Congress and promised to return the $84,000 payment made to settle a sexual harassment complaint?  The same Blake Farenthold who, after leaving Congress, finally admitted he has no intention actually repaying that money?  If Rod Blum cannot keep a member of his own political party in line how is he ever going to “drain the swamp?”

Here’s the thing: Rod Blum is a swamp creature himself.  He “failed to disclose” his position or financial interest with an internet company, Tin Moon Corp, that promised, among other things, to ensure negative search results for things like FDA warning letters were buried below more positive search results.  Disregarding the weak excuse of “failing to disclose” his interest, Tin Moon Corp is literally offering to manipulate search results to bury health and safety information.  I know that companies are engaged in this practice all the time, but not with a sitting member of Congress as a board member.  Drain the swamp, huh?

Remember, Rod Blum is the same man who could not handle being asked questions about holding an actual town hall meeting, threw a hissy fit, and stormed out of an interview.  Thankfully, the internet remembers everything for posterity’s sake.

Apparently the House of Representatives has passed 973 bills this session.  Now, the caveat is that a lot of those will not become law because it requires passage by the Senate, a conference committee if there are differences in the bills, and eventual signature by the head cheese puff.  So, Rod Blum is taking credit for passing bills that will probably not become law.  Does he also take credit for repealing the Affordable Care Act multiple times?  The House of Representatives loved to pass repeal bills all the time to burnish their right wing bona fides.

Hey, what about that “historic tax cut” that Congress passed:

IMG_1487

Yeah, how is that playing out back home in the district?  Never mind that certified rich person and corrupt member of Congress Rod Blum probably made out like a bandit.  You might get an extra $1.50 in your paycheck. 

Rod Blum is the perfect illustration of what is wrong with the government as run by Republicans.  There are little if any accomplishments, save for tax cuts, because there is no ideology beyond making sure that rich donors pay less in taxes.  Everything else is a battle royale between special interests and the Republicans love them some special interests.

This mailer is a piece of propaganda meant to gin up a declining base in a competitive district this fall.  He needs every Trump supporter to pull the lever for Rod Blum because that is his only hope of winning.

Rod Blum is useless as a representative for the 1st district of Iowa.  He knows it and I am guessing that a majority of the electorate in the district knows it.  In November Rod Blum needs to go.

Friday Linkage 6/8/2018

Can we begin to say the words “dictatorial” when speaking about Donald Trump?  He is not a dictator, but he sure would like to be one.  It’s not surprising given his personality, his history, or the sycophants who surround him.  The man believes that winning an election through the technicality of the Electoral College has given him the mandate to reshape America in his orange image.

However, every vote can be an opportunity to offer rebuke.  The midterm elections coming in November offer the best opportunity to gut punch the efforts to gut our democracy.  I may not like Nancy Pelosi, but can you imagine Trump having to deal with a woman on daily basis to get anything through Congress.  The steam is already coming out his ears and his thumbs are ready for a tweet.

On to the links…

New Disclosures Contradict Pruitt’s Claims about Lobbyist Connected to his Fancy Condo—Scott Pruitt is the whack-a-rat of political scandals and corruption.  He just keeps on popping up no matter how many times he gets smacked in his smug face.

Noted Competent Man Scott Pruitt’s Latest Scandal Involves Chick-fil-A—Nothing says “drain the swamp” like trying to use your position as Trump’s poisoner in chief to strong arm a religious extremist chicken chain into giving your wife a franchise despite her lack of experience in the industry.

How Does Scott Pruitt Survive?—I will give you one reason: his actions enrich corporate America at the expense of the American people.  It’s not too hard to figure out.

Rick Perry’s Premium Class Travel Cost Taxpayers $63,500 Last Year in First 7 Months Alone—This administration is giving out a master class in grift, if not outright theft.  The corruption is so pervasive that garden variety corruption just does not cut it as headline making news anymore.

Trump orders Department of Energy to look into propping up failing coal plants—This is the beach that the Trump administration wants to die on.  In an effort to line the pockets of coal barons who backed Trump early and often the administration is going to go against the advice of everyone except Rick Perry and the coal barons.  Good luck with this.

All Of US Could Be Powered By Solar Alone?—This does not even beg the question of do we need to produce as much power as we use today.  What if we used dramatically less power at home and at work?

Nevada Utility Is Putting $2 Billion into Solar Power and Storage—$2 billion is a lot of money.  The better part is that energy storage is part of the equation.  Nevada should be a great test case for solar plus storage because the state gets a good amount of sunshine, the population is relatively concentrated, and utilities finally seem ready to embrace the future.

How California is Bringing Solar Energy to Low-Income Renters—Unfortunately, solar photovoltaic systems are generally something deployed by the affluent on homes that they own.  Renters or low income households have not been able to take advantage.

What Does it Mean to be Frugal?—No word in our lexicon has a more troubled meaning than frugal.  Something that should be celebrated is generally regarded as a bad thing.  Frugal is more often than not associated with being cheap.  It is not, however, a synonym for cheap.

How to Use Less Plastic Without Fully Going “Zero Waste”—No one ever comes out and says the best way to make less waste is to buy less stuff?  Oh right, advertisers are not down with that message.

Bangkok’s Hidden Train Repair Yard Keeps Thailand on its Rails—The transformation of these rail cars from dilapidated to functional is amazing.  It makes me wonder how much usable life we leave in the things we junk.

In Our Overworked Society, Take Time to Do Nothing—We work too much and relax too little.  Is it a wonder that our brains are fried, our focus gone, and our sleep is troubled?

This Weed-Killing AI Robot can Tell Crops Apart—What if you could deploy a similar technology that does not use herbicides at all?  Imagine a solar powered robot running along the rows of plants with an armature using a pair of snips or cutting wheel to trim weeds.

Not Everyone Loves the Museum of Ice Cream and Its Instagram-Famous Sprinkle Pool—Who would have thought that having people frolic in a pool of plastic sprinkles would be a problem when those sprinkles inevitably ended up outside?  Oh wait, anyone with half a brain.  Do we really need a pool of faux ice cream sprinkles in a faux museum dedicated to ice cream that really only serves as a backdrop for people’s Instagram photos?

Friday Linkage 5/18/2018

I had contemplated making this a special “Scott Pruitt Destroys the World” edition of Friday Linkage, but thought better of it when I realized that might just depress people even more.

The question I have now that the primaries for the 2018 mid-terms are mostly done is how can Republicans defend their record?  Seriously, on what issue is the country a better place unless you are really rich?  If I am Democrat running for Congress I am hammering home that point over and over again.

On to the links…

EPA Hides Scott Pruitt’s Appearance at Mining Industry Group Meeting—I am beginning to think that Trump keeps Pruitt around because he is the only person who is in the headlines for bad stuff more than him and Trump does not care about the environment anyway.  So what is the loss?

EPA Hid Scott Pruitt’s Dinner With Climate Denier Accused Of Child Sex Abuse—How many more times are we going to have to read articles that start with “EPA hid Scott Pruitt’s…”?

Letters Reveal how Pruitt Hired an Unqualified Lobbyist to Head one of EPA’s Most Important Offices—But, what about the job creators?

Pruitt’s EPA Apparently Blocked ‘Nightmare’ Study About Water Contamination—And the hits just keep on coming.

Sulfur Dioxide Damages Lungs, and Scott Pruitt Is Letting More of It in Our Air—It does not matter how bad this schmuck behaves because he is doing the bidding of the people who are lining the Trump administration’s pockets.

Minnesota’s Top Health, Environment Officials Blast EPA Science Rule—“The proposed rule was clearly designed to undermine and disparage the important epidemiological studies that support public health protection from all pollutants, be they in the air, water, or soil.”  Well there is that.

GOP Senators Want to Exempt Giant Solar Farm Panels From Tariffs—Another genius Trump move that even the hard liners in his own party do not like for various reasons.

How to Save the Failing Nuclear Power Plants that Generate Half of America’s Clean Electricity—Natural gas is not the bridge to a clean energy future, nuclear power is the bridge.  We need to figure out a way—zero emissions credits (ZECs) just might be the ticket—to keep the existing fleet of nuclear plants in operation until rapidly deploying renewables can truly replace carbon spewing fossil fuels.

The Scientist still Fighting for the Clean Fuel the World Forgot—In an era of cheap gas—although the price is going up as I type—we have forgotten the fervor over second generation biofuels that seemed to grip the nation during the presidency of George W. Bush.  There are still some people out there trying to figure out a way to make these biofuels economical.

California will Require Solar Panels on all New Homes. That’s not Necessarily a Good Thing.—It might be better to take a more integrated approach to deploying renewables, but I do not want to argue with more solar.

California is Turning Farms into Carbon-Sucking Factories—The soil might be able to save us.

A Revolution in Hydropower makes Waves in Rural Colorado—What is great about this concept is that it is using existing manmade infrastructure to generate clean power.  No one is damning rivers or streams.

Ground Zero of Amphibian ‘Apocalypse’ Finally Found—Amphibians have been dying at spectacular rates for decades now and a source of this massacre may finally have been found.

This is the Worst Way to Become Vegetarian—This is the first time I have heard anything about the Lone Star tick or the possibility that it spreads an allergy to certain types of meat.  Is this the harbinger of our climate change dystopia?

Democracy Dies in Materialism and the U.S. is at Risk—I do not agree with everything that the author of this opinion piece said, but I do agree with the general premise that our society’s current focus on material wealth as a marker of success or fulfillment is dangerous.

Your Stoke Won’t Save Us—What if we are part of the problem and not part of the solution?

5/11/2018 Friday Linkage

The world is full of bad news.  However, a beacon of hope was shining this week when it was announced the Wyld Stallyns would be returning for a third installment of most excellent adventures.

San Dimas high school football rules!

On to the links…

What Genuine, No-Bullshit Ambition on Climate Change would Look Like—Here is the deal: We have the tools necessary to make a serious effort to combat the causes of climate change.  We understand the risks of climate change and we can estimate the costs.  We have no excuses.

Winter Athletes Aren’t Going to Let Snow Vanish Without a Fight—I am a member of Protect Our Winters, but if you are a skier or a snowboarder or anyone who just likes winter you should be a supporter.

695,000 Winter Sports Jobs at Risk Due to Climate Change—Those million dollar houses are not going to be worth very much when the ski slopes are abandoned for lack of snow:

BLOGS18APR-3-NEW

EPA Clamping Down on Public Records Requests Related to Scott Pruitt—Take a moment to remember that Donald Trump was the political outsider who was going to “drain the swamp.” Too bad he just found the worst creatures to repopulate his swamp.

Passengers ‘Lashing Out’ At Scott Pruitt Justify First-Class Travel, New EPA Memo Says—People were going to be mean to Scott Pruitt so he had to fly first class.  That is the logic of these people.  It is also just corruption and thievery.

EPA “Head” Scott Pruitt Discounts The Value Of Human Life—This is dynamic scoring for the pollution set.  Your health and well-being does not matter one bit compared to the profits to be gained by soiling the air, ground, and water.  This is the world of Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt.

Rick Perry Suggests Using ‘National Security’ to Override Opposition to Pipelines—If “national security” were really the goal, would it not be a better solution to produce power as locally as possible so it was not reliant on an exposed infrastructure?

Sun And Solar Power Cut Electricity Demand From New England Grid To Lowest Ever—Demand for baseload power dropped to a level lower than when the sun is not shining.  Solar works.

For First Time Ever, Solar Dominates UK Power Supply—This is the United Kingdom, famous for its notoriously gray weather, not Spain, famous for its sun.

US Wind Development Surges As Pipeline Exceeds 30 Gigawatts—The pipeline is critical because these are the projects that will keep the industry humming along until we can vote out the fossil fuel soaked members of Congress and the sitting President.

U.S. Added 2,000 Wind Turbines in 2017—AI Would Add 2,200 More Today—It’s not about adding more wind turbines, but wringing more power out of the wind turbines that we have already installed.  Combined with replacing the oldest and least efficient wind turbines there is a huge opportunity to expand power production.

The Puerto Rican Families Who’ve Gone Off the Grid—Puerto Rico is the unintentional laboratory for renewable energy and resilient microgrids.  What this community has learned the hard way will be good lessons in our rapidly changing climate.

The Miracle of Finland: What a Tiny Northern Minnesota Town can Teach America—In a less industrialized and less carbon intensive world I think that things will begin to look a lot more like Finland, Minnesota.

Cheap Tires Are Costing You Money and Probably Also Killing the Planet—I have a car enthusiast friend who always says, “People will spend five bucks a day on a cup of coffee, but want to save a few dollars on tires which are the only thing between you and the road.”  I have the same feeling about bicycle tires as well.

The Last (Hopefully) Scott Pruitt Linkage 4/12/2018

Now that Trump is on to firing missiles at Syria after he fired his mouth off on Twitter—because nothing says surprise like broadcasting military action on a social media platform—we are probably stuck with Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA through the weekend.

On the other hand, the great cheese puff may decide to alleviate some of the pressure in Washington D.C. by jettisoning Pruitt.  When everything is a dumpster fire I am not sure that firing the most corrupt official in your administration qualifies as progress, but I digress.

On to the Scott Pruitt themed links…

Why Trump Has Scott Pruitt’s Back—Trump likes Pruitt because he is like mini-me at the EPA.  Once Pruitt begins to take any spotlight from the head cantaloupe than heads will roll.

Scott Pruitt is the Face of America’s Big Problem—The uber rich have corrupted our government by buying and paying for soulless toadies like Scott Pruitt to plunder America for the gain of a few.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Has Met With Dozens Of Campaign Donors—Do you need proof about who “owns” Scott Pruitt?  Just peruse the list of campaign donors he has met with and tie that to specific actions taken by the prince of payola.

Did Scott Pruitt’s EPA Lie About Death Threats Against Him?—The justification for the first class travel, bulletproof desks, and around the clock security detail was that Scott Pruitt received death threats.  Was that a lie all along?  Sure looks like it.

Scott Pruitt’s Lie about Pay Raises Unravels, Emails Reveal he was Behind Scheme All Along—Is anyone really surprised that Scott Pruitt lied about the pay raises for his cronies?

EPA Chief Of Staff Takes Fall For Raises, Claims Pruitt Unaware Despite Emails—There is always a fall guy or gal if you are powerful enough to have top cover.  Too bad the scandals are deeper than just pay raises.

Even the EPA Can’t Defend Scott Pruitt’s Expensive Travel and Security—You know it’s bad when staffers just sort of shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t know, reasons?”

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s Sleaze is Pitiful and Disgusting, but his Lies on Climate Change are Lethal—There are real consequences of just the past year or so of Scott Pruitt’s reign as America’s fossil fuel toady in chief.  Pruitt lied and people will die.

Administrator Pruitt Opened the Door to Making Houston’s Air Toxics Problem Worse—If you pollute the air and water you have no better friend in the world right now than Scott Pruitt.  He does not even care about making it appear like he is trying to protect anything other than his paymasters’ pocketbooks.

Scott Pruitt’s Guiding Philosophy is ‘Cooperative Corporatism,’ Per Senator—The idea here is simple.  Push enforcement down to the state level because states like Oklahoma and Louisiana will do little to actually police industry.  Unless, of course, the state might have an adversarial relationship with industry, like say California—which in that case calls for federal primacy of enforcement.

If Scott Pruitt Gets Fired From the EPA, This Coal Lobbyist Will Take His Place—Could Andrew Wheeler be worse than Scott Pruitt?  Sure, but he probably does not have the lifelong boner to gut the EPA quite like the corrupt Pruitt does.  On the other hand, what are the odds that he is more incompetent and/or corrupt than Pruitt?  This is the Trump administration after all.

Right back at ya’ buddy!

Buddy Pruitt.jpg

A Very Special Scott Pruitt Edition Linkage 4/9/2018

I am surprised, not shocked as some are, that Scott Pruitt still has a job.  I thought the axe might come over the weekend with him announcing that he was resigning to make more time for his family or some such bullshit.  Instead, we get the vote of confidence from the head cheese puff. 

What is going on over the past few days in Scott Pruitt’s land of never ending corruption…

Under Pruitt, EPA’s Sloppy Effort to Gut Eco-Rules gets Headlines, but is Faring Poorly in Court—Basically, the upside of the Trump presidency has been that the relative incompetence and lack of understanding about how government works means that a lot of the actions taken will not stand up to any kind of formal legal challenge.  Big daddy Donny likes headlines, but he is light on actual results.

Scott Pruitt’s Level of Corruption is so High, it Even Shocks the Lobbyists Paying Him Off—Even the lobbyists who are paying him off are shocked by the level of greed and flat out corruption this man is capable of.

Tribalism put Scott Pruitt in Power. It May not be Enough to Save Him.—Pruitt is a creature of the swamp, but even his antics may make it expedient for Trump to dump him thus claiming some measure of ethical responsibility.

5 Lies Scott Pruitt Told this Week about his Mounting Scandals—It is obvious that no one in the Trump administration understands the microscope of the office.  These people cannot shut up to save themselves.

Scott Pruitt, Fan of Taxpayer-Funded First Class Travel, Flies Coach When he has to Pay for It—He is in such mortal danger that on the few times that he has to actually pay for his own travel he flies coach.  Wait a second…

Pruitt Faces Renewed Questions Over Cost of Security Detail—Let this sink in for a bit—19 agents on a 24 hour security detail and a fleet of 19 vehicles.  This is for the head of the EPA.

Pruitt’s Revealing View on Lights and Sirens—Big boy Pruitt likes to think he is so important and in danger that he needs to run around Washington D.C. with the lights and sirens blazing even if he is just late to dinner.  This is what passes for leadership in Trump’s America.

Scott Pruitt Hasn’t Saved Taxpayers Anything—The logic of Pruitt’s defenders here is amazing.  They are trying to justify his corruption by claiming that he has saved money through his deregulation.  WTF?

And, just so you remember that Scott Pruitt is not the only horrible person in Washington D.C. remember this guy:

b4fa79f7dd39cf1e8a74e4fd6e68b44e55634545-620x323.jpeg

Rep. Blake Farenthold is the one in the ducky pajamas.

Rep. Blake Farenthold Resigns from Congress. He Still Owes Us $84K.