Tag Archives: ethics

Friday Linkage 4/26/2019

Steve King, the white supremacist representative from northwest Iowa, is not a man of faith.  He uses his so-called faith as a shield for his vile beliefs and his lack of a record in Congress.  He is not like Jesus Christ, but he will waste no time in making the comparison if he thinks it will help him get elected.

This is the same strain of “faith” that allows people like Michele Bachmann to claim that Donald Trump is “godly.”

It is the same strain of “faith” that allows hucksters like Jerry Falwell Jr. to claim that Donald Trump can do no wrong in his eyes.

It is not faith.  It is naked lust for power.

On to the links…

Interior Department Watchdog Opens Ethics Probe Into 6 Agency Officials—Repeat after me, “This is the most corrupt administration in the history of the United States.”

This GIF Captures Just How Gigantic the U.S. Carbon Footprint Is—It’s kind of alarming to see this play out.

There’s an Amazingly Simple, Beautiful Way to Fix Midwestern Farmlands—This is the most impactful potential change I have seen proposed and it makes so much sense.  For too long the modus operandi has been to encourage farmers, at their own economic risk, to plant as much acreage as possible. What if the solution is to maximize the efficiency of capital relative to planted acreage?

10 Ways to Accelerate Progress Against Climate Change—We know what we can do in the near term to accelerate the fight against climate change.  None of these actions require breakthroughs in technology.  It just requires political will.

7 Things We’ve Learned about Earth since the Last Earth Day—Knowledge is power.

How America’s ‘Tree-to-Toilet Pipeline’ is Destroying Forests—We are literally wiping our asses with boreal forest.  There is a better way.

Eco-Friendly Solid Could Replace Conventional Refrigerants—No one talks about the damage refrigerants can cause because we think we beat this beast in the 1990s with bans on certain CFCs.  Nope and in a world where air conditioning becomes more prevalent the damage will be greater.

Could Hawaii Be Paradise For Hydrogen-Powered Public Transit?—Hawaii is our energy laboratory.  The hydrogen economy never really got off the ground because it was just a better idea to feed renewable energy into the grid instead of converting it to hydrogen and dealing with the attendant losses.  However, what if you have too much renewable energy at certain times?  Now it makes sense to think about hydrogen as a chemical battery of sorts.

The Problem with Online Shopping—I think the article could have stopped at the “problem with online” and answered a lot of questions.  The most frightening passage in the article is this:

Consumption has reached an all-time high in the United States. In 2017, people spent $240 billion on random stuff like clothes, shoes, phones, books, and toys – double what was spent in 2002, despite the population growing by only 13 percent.

What the hell?

Why You Should Join the ‘Do Nothing’ Club—Maybe we should all aspire to be Peter Gibbons.

Back to Earth: Washington Set to Allow ‘Human Composting’—Ashes to ashes and dust to dust…yeah, this is the way I want my family to deal with my mortal remains in the end.

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Running Rod Blum

Rod Blum is running.

Rod Blum is running for reelection in Iowa’s 1st District.  Congressman Blum is considered one of the more vulnerable Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.   The 1st district went heavily for Barack Obama in 2012, but swung Trump’s way in 2016.  In 2018 the district is likely to snap back and smack Rod Blum in the teeth.

Rod Blum is running from his unethical behavior.  In true Trumpian fashion Congressman Blum has declared any investigation into his unethical behavior to be a witch hunt.

Rod Blum is running from hard questions.  Just like the time Congressman Blum ran out of an interview rather than answer a question, he has gone silent on any number of issues that pertain to the ethical and/or criminal activities of the Trump administration.

Rod Blum is running from his own record in Congress.  Rod Blum has a 100% score from Americans for Prosperity.  You know those guys because the organization is basically a front for the Koch’s to spend millions of dollars of dark money in the hopes of influencing elections and getting legislation passed that allows them to profit off the people of America.  Rod Blum has a 93% score from the National Rifle Association.  Yes, the same National Rifle Association that clings to ridiculous rhetoric in the face of changing public opinion and scores of school shootings.  Heck, Rod Blum as a 70% rating from the freaking John Birch Society.

Rod Blum is running and hopefully in January he is running home to Dubuque from Washington D.C.

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:

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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:

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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.

5/4/2018 Friday Linkage

May the Fourth…you get it right?  Somewhere along the line May 4th became a Star Wars related day as if we lacked for moments when Star Wars did not saturate our cultural landscape.  Seriously, between Disney princesses, Marvel superheroes, and Star Wars the Walt Disney corporation probably controls a plurality of our cultural touchstones for anyone under the age of fifteen or over the age of forty.

On to the links…

Two Top Officials Close to Pruitt Resign in EPA ‘Exodus’—The level of corruption and stink coming from Scott Pruitt’s office is so high that I could post several entries a week just about the comings and goings of America’s top pollution enabler.  Instead, I will just lead with more evidence of the chaos of the Trump administration.

Pruitt is Facing at Least 10 Ethics Investigations as EPA Watchdog Announces New Probe—Will there ever be a more ethically compromised presidency?  People thought that it would be hard to top the likes of Warren G. Harding, but Trump’s people are really giving it a go.

The EPA Is Acting Like Big Tobacco—This is what you get when you put someone in charge of an agency that they had spent a career trying to damage.  It’s like Rick Perry in charge of the Department of Energy or Mick Mulvaney in charge of anything.

EPA Chief Pruitt Overrules Staff, Gives Wisconsin’s Walker, Foxconn Big Break on Smog—I have to imagine that this is heading for court.  The deal for the Foxconn plant is just turning out to be one of the biggest corporate giveaways and inside deals ever.  Nothing says Republican governance quite like giving away the store in return for the promise of a few crumbs.

Proof that the Clean Power Plan’s Strategy for Cutting Carbon Pollution is the Industry Standard—The Clean Power Plan is probably dead, but that does not mean the Clean Power Plan cannot live again.  It is a market based approach that lets individual states decide how best to meet targets.  It is essentially an old school Republican ideal that has somehow become a bugaboo for today’s Tea Party right wing whackos.

It’s Time to Think Seriously about Cutting off the Supply of Fossil Fuels—If we can come at this problem from both the demand and the supply side progress will be much quicker.

A Zero-Carbon Economy is Within Reach, Thanks to Strong Public Policy—It will not necessarily be easy or cheap, but it is possible and that is they key.  We have the solutions, we know how to deploy them, and there is a general acceptance of the urgency.

California Sets New Solar & Renewable Records At End Of April—The amount of energy generated is one thing, but the more critical part of this story is that the power authority is getting better at regulating the supply of renewables and the demands from consumers.  This disparity has always been the great bugaboo when it comes to renewable energy.

A Renewable Energy Future In Hawaii, Faster Than We Thought—The time has come for Hawaii to embrace renewables even more so than in the past because the cost of doing so is now cheaper than the cost of doing nothing further.   Imagine 84% renewable energy in 2030?  Talk about living aloha!

The Stunningly Lopsided Growth of Wind Power in the US, in 4 Maps—Is anyone surprised that the southeast has very little wind power?  Sure, the wind resources—excluding offshore wind—are not ideal but I have a feeling something else is going on.

Brooklyn SolarWorks can Turn Almost any Rooftop into a Sun-Powered Oasis—I like the idea of putting these over rooftop patios so that hipsters can have a shade generating solar canopy.  However, imagine this type of system being placed on the top floor of every parking garage in the United States.  Just in my mid-sized town there are acres of top floors of parking garages that could be generating amazing solar photovoltaic electricity.

Building on the Promise of Solar+EV Charging—The technology is not quite there yet, but as we deploy more and more solar along with more and more EVs there is an opportunity to combine the two into a powerhouse solution to intermittency.  An EV is really just a portable battery that sits idle a lot of the time.  Plugging that into a grid that can decide when to charge based on power availability and demand would be huge.  Yuge!

Costco Sold a Million “Bleeding” Vegan Burgers in 60 Days—I knew about the Impossible burger and the Beyond burger, but I have never heard of Don Lee Farms or their version of a “bleeding vegan” plant based burger.  Too bad it does not look like something that will be in a Costco near me.

Budweiser’s New Beer is Based on George Washington’s Hand-Written Recipe—Why did they not just call it ‘Merica and put this picture on the label:

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A Very Special Scott Pruitt Linkage 4/7/2018

I wanted to take a moment a post a special Scott Pruitt themed linkage because I doubt that the single most corrupt person in the Trump administration is going to last much longer.

On to the links…

Scott Pruitt’s Week in Numbers: Cheap Rooms, Expensive Flights and a Bulletproof Desk—A bulletproof desk?  Really?  Oh wait, it was two bulletproof desks to protect the appointee who also feels the need to have an around the clock security staff because of secret threats.  This guy is a hog gorging at the buffet of our money.

Lobbyist’s Name Scratched Out On Pruitt’s Condo Lease, Replaced With Wife’s Name—Why not just sign it David Dennison?

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Automakers Went to Incredible Lengths to Convince the EPA to Roll Back Fuel Standards—These are the same automakers who have fought every safety regulation possible and who took government money to bail them out of bad business practices.  Of course Scott Pruitt is going to find that well thought out regulations using data provided by the automakers themselves was government overreach because…reasons?

The New York Times Just Reported That 5 EPA Employees Were Sidelined After Questioning Scott Pruitt—Why wouldn’t they challenge this no talent a$$ clown?  Everything he is doing is based on corruption and the principle of “I’m gonna’ get me some.”

Scott Pruitt Reportedly Lied About Knowledge Of Staff Raises—Remember Trump’s claim about draining the swamp?  Perhaps he was actually talking about draining states’ swamps by bringing their most corrupt officials into the White House.  See, he was looking out for the United States.

Fox News (Yes, Fox News) Just Exposed Scott Pruitt as the Ultimate Swamp Creature—You know it is bad when the propaganda organ of the right wing is piling on poor Scott Pruitt.

Friday Linkage 4/13/2012

Friday the 13th always seemed scarier when I was a kid.  Maybe it was too many movies featuring a hockey mask wearing psychopath, scantily clad teenagers of both genders, rusty garden tools, and some kind of cabin in the woods.

I still get a little unnerved turning onto Elm Street though…

On to the links…

9 States Get More than 10 Percent of Power from Renewables–I love stories like these because it shows the progress that renewables have made regardless of the opposition from fossil fuels.  It also shows how much work there is to be done in transitioning from dirty power to clean renewables.

How We Subsidize the Energy Giants to Wreck the Planet–Bill McKibben has recognized the enemy and he is…us!  Okay, we may not really know how we subsidize the burning of our planet.  See how.

What Happens to Coal if We Don’t Burn It–Brad Plumer really pisses in my Cheerios when he shows how a reduction in coal use by the Western world may not matter because China and India cannot get enough.  Joy.

Americans Throw Away Enough Trash in a Year to Cover Texas–This is the first time I have seen Texas’ size used in a context that I agree with.  Usually it’s “Texas is so big….” fill in the blank with something about being the sixth largest something or the fifth largest other thing.  The idea of a trash covered Texas is slightly humorous and disturbing.  But it is an infographic.

Is an Egg Worth It?–In the name of efficiency we have dehumanized the production of our food so much that it resembles a scene from Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Nothing was funny about that book and nothing is funny about the way our food is commonly produced.

Worst Farm Bill Ever?–Probably not when you consider what some of the farm bills looked like through the 1960s and 1970s.  Earl Butz anyone? Still, the current bill is pretty bad.  Another example of how our farm policies warp our food supply, endanger our lives, and cost us money.

Science Reveals Agriculture’s True Impact–What we grow and how we grow have a huge impact on the planet.  Duh?  Any climate change solutions, therefore, must  include agriculture as part of the problem and solution.

Organic, All-Natural Faux Blueberries–Yep, those little sugar nuggets posing as blueberries in so many box mixes and baked goods can be organic and all-natural.  What’s not to love?  Oh yeah, it’s garbage.

Joel Salatin Rocks–When you get depressed about the current state of food production in the United States take a moment to consider that there are people out there doing the right things.  Joel Salatin, a hero to the food movement, is one of those people. Take a look at his thoughts on the concept of elitism in the food movement.

The “Dark Lord” of Nutrition–It’s short and sweet.  This little video lays out the debate around high fructose corn syrup in an easy to understand way.  Dig it.

Heritage Field Opens Near Yankee Stadium–In what I consider to be one of the greatest scams, the New York Yankees were allowed to build on parkland in the Bronx for their new cathedral to overpriced infielders awaiting roles as DH.  You have to love a country where a private company–the New York Yankees–are allowed to take over a public resource using financing that is tax exempt.  Consider all of this in light of the fact that our children do not get enough time outside to play.  Seems like a good deal.

Don’t Buy a Volt if You Value Your Money–It’s a good chart that shows the relative fuel and dollar savings of a hybrid/electric/high efficiency car over its more traditional counterpart.  I would quibble with the comparison of a Prius and a Camry because it favor the Prius.  A Prius versus a Corolla perhaps.