The Republican presidential primary is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s must see television every night. The dynamic has gone from Mitt “Corporations are people too my friend” Romney versus Newt “$500k credit line at Tiffany’s” Gingrich to a contest of Mitt “I am the 0.0001%” Romney versus Rick “Please do not Google me” Santorum.
It’s a parade of clowns on Fox News every night as the candidates and supporters contort themselves to an ever greater degree in order to curry favor with the various extreme elements of the modern day conservative movement. Granted, Rick “No really, please do not Google me” Santorum does not have to change his positions to be radical because he is already a whack job. The latest nugget is his warning about the tyranny of environmentalism. Really? Coming from someone who wants to legislate the nature of people’s sex lives there is little credibility on the nature of tyranny.
On to the links…
Ron Paul is an Ass—I did not want Ron Paul to think that I forgot about him in describing the circus that is the presidential primary season. However, I felt that his particular variety of ass bagness required his own link. Calling for the elimination of federal public lands is a new one for this scion of the high school libertarian movement. Too bad the ideas that sound so cool too affluent right wing bobbleheads just do not make any sense to anyone else with half a brain.
American Corporations are Asses Too—In 2011, the U.S. corporate effective tax rate, please note the difference between statutory and effective tax rates before the flames of right wing indignation begin, reached its lowest point in 40 years. How low? 12.1 percent on average. Yep, highly profitable American corporations pay an effective tax rate lower than anyone I know. How do you like them apples?
Imagine a World without Oil—It sounds like a lyric in John Lennon’s syrupy “Imagine.” But, it’s an infographic:
European Windpower Grew 11% in 2011—Maybe we will get to that world without oil and avoid all of the apocalyptic scenarios. Currently, wind power has the capacity to provide about 6.3% of the EU’s electricity and that capacity is growing. Why anyone would view this trend as anything other than a roaring success is beyond me.
Americans Gaining Independence as Top Producer—And then I am brought right back down to Earth by the news that the U.S. is producing more fossil fuels than ever led by the emergence of new natural gas supplies. Where we were told four years ago that the country was going to have to import liquefied natural gas now there are plans to export the same product. It makes me wonder how much these people really know. But, what are the true costs of these fuels?
Is California’s Solar Gold Rush Destined to Fail—Uh oh! Are we seeing another bubble developing, this time with it being clean energy from the sun. Many in the cleantech business are warning that an expiration of government support and a weak economy are looming as a one two punch that could KO their business models. Exxon would love nothing more.
Terry Thompson and the Zanesville Zoo Massacre—This story was depressing when the first bits of news started to come out of Ohio, but upon further review it seems even worse. The scary part about this story is that the trade in exotic animals is so pervasive and unregulated. Here are animals disappearing from the wild because of a panoply of reasons yet there seems to be a large population under private control in homes across the United States.
CREE LEDs Are Not Just More Efficiency, They Are Better—Every day seems to bring a report about the improved performance, increased efficiency, or reduced cost of LED lights, which are the next wave of technology to supplant the incandescent, halogen, and CFL bulbs of our past. CREE is leading the innovation, but others like Soraa are also pushing the boundaries of what is considered possible.
A Texas Developer Reimagines the American Subdivision—The whole concept of SOL Austin is pretty sweet. Smaller homes that are smart and livable. Taking advantage of an overlooked parcel of land within city limits rather than mindlessly expanding outward. Damn…
Exploding Hog Barns—Do you need another reason to swear off industrial meat? How about the phenomenon of exploding hog confinement operations because the manure lagoons develop a gas trapping foam crust. At least the University of Minnesota is researching solutions…oh wait, the solution is to not perpetuate this flawed food production regime.
The Frog of War–When presented with evidence that your product is nasty and could mess up the ecosystems of the world the corporate overlords have two choices: attempt to remedy the solution through research or attack the person making science based evaluations. Which one do you think the maker of these nasty chemicals chose? One guess.
Sugar May be Bad, but is the Alternative Worse—If you thought that companies that make dangerous herbicides and pesticides fight dirty, wait until you see the fight that sugar and sweetener makers are going to put up as the pressure mounts on their products. In the U.S. we eat too much sugar, we’re too fat, and we’re suffering from a crisis of diabetes but the sugar and sweetener makers will hear none of it. Clowns.
You Can’t Eat an Uppercut—The Edible Education series on UC Berkeley’s YouTube channel is great. I just finished watching one of the final lectures with Van Jones as a guest and it made me remember that at the core anger is only so good at accomplishing goals. As he said so simply, you can’t eat an uppercut. Just search on Edible Education and the lecture series will pop up. It’s real good.
Lawn Reform—It’s not too early to think about spring and the landscaping that comes with the change in seasons. The seed, bulb, and plant catalogs have started arriving. Perhaps this is the year I really go gangbusters and replace a good chunk of my lawn with something better.