Tag Archives: Rick Perry

Friday Linkage 7/21/2017

Can we just have someone organize a “touch a truck” event every week on the White House lawn so that our dear leader can have some fun:

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Can you imagine the crude jokes he is making with this bat in his hands:

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All hat, no cattle…never were truer words spoken:

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On to the links…

Bill Nye on the Terrifying Ascendancy of American ‘dingbatitude’—When did it become ok for people to basically act like an idiot, claim that they were an idiot as a defense for the behavior, and then go on their merry way to keep being an idiot?

The Best Way to Reduce your Personal Carbon Emissions: Don’t be Rich—Right wingers will never like to hear this, but the richest members of society are the ones who are causing the most damage to the environment:

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Scott Pruitt Desperately Wants to Be Loved—During the 2016 election we got to know alt-right terms like snowflake all too well.  It looks like the actual snowflakes are the people working for Donald Trump up to and including the dear leader himself.  These people have created an echo chamber of praise so that they do not have to deal with the reality that their only true defining characteristic is historic incompetence.

Callista Gingrich: Trump Wants US To Be Environmental Leader—The surrogates are getting more surreal as anyone with a pulse and hopes for a future in Washington D.C. head for cover.  Callista Gingrich saying that Trump wants to lead on the environment is laughable on so many levels.  Soak in the insanity.

Coal and Nuclear are Uneconomic — More Bombshells from Perry’s Draft Grid Study—Be careful what you wish for Rick Perry.

A Texas Company Wants to Spread Wind Power Across the U.S.—Wind energy is big business in Texas and big business usually wins in Texas.  What happens when renewable energy becomes big energy?  We are about to find out as established players with viable business models spread their wings.

States Can Recharge Rooftop Solar—Solar needs rules stability.  At the current prices rooftop solar can be competitive without heavy government incentives but a chaotic rules and regulations environment is hurting long term planning.

A Pipeline that Would Cut through the Iconic Appalachian Trail Sparks a Fight over Natural Gas Expansion—Pipelines are everywhere and the government is just a rubber stamp for industry regardless of who sits in the White House or controls Congress.

$2 Billion Energy Investment goes Bust in Rare Complete Failure of Private Equity Fund—This failure might not be an indictment of an entire sector or it may be a harbinger of hard times to come for fossil fuel investors.

Coal Baron Don Blankenship Jumping Straight From Jail To Senate Race?—First Kid Rock and now Don Blankenship…the right wing is going to be loving their candidates over the next couple of years as the Trump influence on the party metastasizes.

Flip-Flops: Fun in the Sun, but Tough on Feet—Can we just kill flip-flops for anything other than a quick jaunt to the beach or trip through the locker room?  The sound of cheap flip-flops dragging and slapping is the official sound that summer has begun.

Denver Startup To Install Flatscreens In Chairlift Safety Bars and Advertise—God help us.  Now Vail Resorts can advertise to us on the chairlift, which was one of the few screen free places left anywhere.

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Friday Linkage 7/14/2017

The only thing saving our democracy right now is the pure incompetence of everyone surrounding the president.  If the people in the White House were even decent at doing their job we would be in a world of hurt.  However, given that the governing style flows from the “leadership” style of one Donald J. Trump there is a stunning lack of effectiveness.

This should not be surprising.  Governing is hard work.  Crafting legislation is jokingly referred to as sausage making, but it is an apt metaphor for something that can take unappetizing laws and make the palatable for enough members of Congress to actually vote in the affirmative.  Trump and his coterie are under the impression that legislation flows from the pen of the executive branch while everyone else is just a cadet branch of government.

Maybe is someone could explain how modern government works on Fox & Friends so that our dear leader might get the message in a format more to his liking.

On to the links…

Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks are Hitting Major Roadblocks—See what I mean about competence.  His administration believes that government is just like one of his golf courses or buildings.  If the dear leader does not like something they can just change it.  Yeah, sorry about that guys but there are rules for a reason.

The End Goal of Trump’s War on Science—Trump and people like Trump, e.g. the Republican Party writ large, do not like science because science tells them no.  No, the Earth is not a few thousand years old.  No, it’s not fluctuations in the sun’s output that is changing our planet’s climate.  These people are acting like nothing short of toddlers plugging their ears and screaming “Not gonna’ listen to you!”

EPA Chief wants Scientists to Debate Climate on TV—Ok, may I suggest that he invite Michael Mann, James Hansen, and Paul Hawken to debate his hacks.

Rick Perry Tries to Make the Economic Case for Coal, Screws up the Economics Part—The best part is that Rick Perry is basically admitting the market for coal is thin and getting thinner.  The hope is that by putting a cheap fuel on the market that someone will choose to consume it.  That’s less a free market and more of a planned economy move folks.

Utilities Fighting against Rooftop Solar are Only Hastening their Own Doom—It is permanent demand destruction coupled with a death spiral. The utilities are trying to fight a battle where people have the option to flip them the bird and say, “Screw you guys, I am going it alone.”

Nearly 1/4 Of All Australian Homes Now Have Solar—I am just in awe of some of these numbers for rooftop solar penetration:

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Depending upon what numbers you believe Australia now gets ~3% of its power from these arrays, which seems small given the penetration rate.  More research to be done.

It’s Not Easy, But Aspen Moves Toward 100 Percent Renewable Energy—It’s not easy, as the headline says, but it is possible.

It’s Time To Move On From Notion Of Baseload Power, Says New South Wales Coalition—Renewable energy was able to fill the gap left by the departure of traditional fossil fuel generation options during a wicked heat wave.  This is almost the definition of baseload power.

Solar + Battery Storage Will Power Coal Mine Museum In Victoria—Why don’t we just leave coal in a museum where it belongs?

Do Electric Cars Squander their Juice?—The answer is yes, but not really given the impact to the overall system’s level of electrical power.  It’s like worry about the paint color of a room in a house when there are structural deficiencies.  Yeah, it’s a part of the decision making process but it is not what really swings the deal.

New Plan could Double $2.5 Billion Energy Efficiency Success in Illinois—Efficiency is the vegetables of the modern environmental movement.  It’s the good for you thing that makes everything better and easier but no one really wants to talk about it because you sound like a schoolmarm.

These Coloradans say Earth is Flat. And Gravity’s a Hoax. Now, They’re being Persecuted.—I just sat there kind of dumbfounded when I read the headline and the subsequent article.  Gravity is a hoax?  WTF?  This is the natural conclusion of allowing people to let faith guide beliefs despite actual scientific and empirical evidence.

The Uninhabitable Earth—This is just some scary stuff.

Friday Linkage 6/30/2017

This is going to be a little light since I am in Colorado prepping for my first 14er.

On to the links…

Rick Perry Loses his Cool When Confronted by Sen. Franken on Climate Science—Who would have guessed that when Al Franken won his election years ago that he would turn into one of the most reasoned and well informed voices in the entire Senate?

New Database Shows Trump is Filling the Government with Fossil Fuel Lobbyists—Drain the swamp?  Trump just covered the swamp in oil and coal ash before pouring it back out onto America

World’s Largest Coal Company Will Shut 37 Coal Mines That Are Not Economically Viable—Coal is not economically viable.  This is the fundamental problem with El Trumpo and his allies arguments about saving coal.  Progress killed the economic argument for coal in the U.S., India, and other countries.

First-of-Its-Kind Clean Coal Plant May Not Burn Coal at All—There is no such thing as clean coal.  Less dirty at the point of combustion perhaps, but considering the impact of the entire process—mining, waste disposal, etc.—there is no way that coal could ever be considered clean.

Mayors Could Shift Nearly 42 Percent Of U.S. Electricity To Renewables By 2035—Cities, where most of our economic activity happens, will be the locus of change when it comes to climate change.

Friday Linkage 6/23/2017

Rick Perry is not a scientist.  Just ask him, but he apparently “knows” that carbon dioxide emissions are not the main driver behind climate change.  Okay, but what does the former Dancing with the Stars contestant and multiple time presidential candidate failure actually think is driving the climate to change?  Good luck deciphering that opinion.

The part about the “debate” over climate change is that no one asks no-talent ass clowns like James Inhofe what his thoughts are about the issue when it is too hot for planes to take off in Phoenix or the temperatures reach 90 degrees in Siberia.  Sure enough the media is ready to put him on television holding a snowball in the freaking winter—like the presence of snow in winter is proof of anything other than it being winter.

On to the links…

Renewable Energy Just Passed a Major Milestone in the United States—10 percent of the electricity in the United States was generated by renewables in March.  Wind power is now the fourth largest source of power in the United States behind coal, natural gas, and nuclear.

Solar Power Will Kill Coal Sooner Than You Think—We have reached the tipping point where the costs of choosing solar power are the same or better than coal.  Why tether yourself to an outdated fuel?

Forget Coal, Solar will Soon be Cheaper than Natural Gas Power—When this happens a lot of people are going to be gagging on their ribeye steaks across the natural gas basins of the United States.

This Case Could Upend America’s $29 Billion Solar Industry—Everyone loves the free market right up until the moment it impacts their own business.  It’s the same in automobiles, agriculture, and even solar panels.  The reason solar is so cheap right now is that China is selling panels extra cheap.  Each time I get an estimate for a solar PV system on my house the cost has gone down, which is directly attributable to reduced panel cost.

LED Lights are Taking over Households at a Meteoric Rate, but Some are Slow to Make the Switch—Prices for LED bulbs are down 90% since 2008.  LED bulbs are having a measureable impact on electricity consumption.  Even with these crazy numbers there are still a lot of households holding on to inefficient incandescent bulbs and horrible CFLs.

Nevada Boosts Solar Power, Reversing Course—It’s a little bit of good news coming out of the Silver State.  Eighteen months ago Nevada killed net metering which slaughtered its solar industry.  Now it is back.

Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Make Money—Am I supposed to feel bad for fossil fuel companies that built business plans under the assumption that they would have control over their markets into the forever future?

California Invested Heavily in Solar Power. Now There’s So Much that Other States are Sometimes Paid to Take It—The LA Times has done some great reporting on the growth and development of California’s entire electrical grid, including the construction of unnecessary power plants to the tune of billions of dollars.  Now it looks like they cannot contain the solar either.

Tesla is Changing the Electric Grid—It’s all part of Elon Musk’s plan.  Sell you a car that is really just a giant battery on wheels and sell you a house covered in solar panels with a Powerwall to tie it all together.  Suddenly Tesla is the company that can help the electric grid manage its peaks and valleys in demand and generation.  Talk about power.

Scientists Sharply Rebut Influential Renewable-Energy Plan—So if we cannot get to 100% renewables—which is a debatable assertion given that much depends upon the timeline and technology developed during that time—what is the number we can get to economically and technically?  I remember a time when a lot of influential people were saying that 10% seemed out of reach.  Well…

Rick Perry Just got Scooped: New Report Shows Cleaner Grid Provides Reliable Power—Is there a bigger knucklehead in government than Rick Perry?  Trump is a bully and I fully believe that Steve King is some kind of demon sent from hell to torture anyone with good sense.  But Rick Perry?  What a knucklehead.

Interior Chief Ryan Zinke Wants to Shed 4,000 Staffers in Budget Cuts—Your government is going to look a lot different in four years and it is going to take a long time to rebuild the expertise that is going to be lost in these purges.  It is intentional to degrade the service and capability because it allows people like Paul Ryan to say, “See, government does not know what it is doing.”  No shit Sherlock.  When you staff it with incompetent toadies it is no wonder government does not work.

Friday Linkage 11/29/2013

I hope that everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving Day holiday and is spending today with family as opposed to braving the post-apocalyptic training ground that is Black Friday shopping.  Seriously, if there is ever a zombie outbreak I am going to ally myself with the people who swarm WalMart for $99 flat screen televisions.  Those people are straight up loco.

On to the links…

Your Shopping Guide To Stores That Won’t Ruin Their Workers’ Thanksgivings—I hope that people respected Thanksgiving and stayed home rather than look for that one great deal.  Moving forward, I hope that people punish these companies for opening on the holiday:

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Why We Don’t Eat Beef for Thanksgiving—For those of you wondering, there is a seasonality to animals just as there is a season for fruits and vegetables.

Amid Canned Food Drives, U.S. Food Banks Take Up Farming—The lowly can of corn or green beans is a symbol of the food drive here in the Midwest.  Children dutifully pack cans onto a table in their classrooms before piling everything onto pallets for donation.  Maybe everyone should just pick up a hoe and get dirty.  Wait a second, that sounded wrong.

Rake the Leaves? Some Towns Say Mow Them—Bagging up your leaves and having someone cart them away is like giving away your soil’s fertility.  For years I have just mowed over them with a standard mulching mower to no ill effect on my yard.  Granted, I do not have towering trees dumping piles of leaves yet.

Tackling the Climate Crisis With the Reality of Renewable Energy—For every person who does not think that renewable energy can be a viable source of baseload power, I give you the state of Iowa.  Currently, we generate approximately 25% of our total power from wind.  This is expected to rise to nearly 35% in the next few years as some massive projects come on line.  If we can do it…

Wind Energy In Iowa Cuts 8.4 Million Tons Of Carbon Pollution Per Year—Oh wait, here’s some numbers on the massive size of Iowa’s wind energy.  Dig it.

A Norwegian Oil Company Will Build Largest Floating Wind Farm Off The Coast Of Scotland—I am really interested to see how this whole floating wind turbine thing plays out.  There is a big test underway off the coast of Fukushima, Japan—yes, the same place with all the nuke troubles—and Europe is really pushing the envelope as well.  As usual, the U.S. is lagging behind but maybe we will get a second mover advantage as the technology matures.

Your New House In Texas Could Come With Free Solar Panels—Now, solar PV is part of the OEM or builder market.  Has solar reached a mainstream tipping point in the U.S.?  Did I mention that these homes are being built in Rick Perry’s Texas?

World’s Largest Landfill Will Soon Be NYC’s Biggest Solar Plant—Forget building giant plants out in the desert, what about all of the brownfields and industrial rooftops in the U.S. that could accommodate solar?  In this case, it’s a freaking landfill that is being turned into a park and solar generating park.  Awesome.

Emissions of Methane in U.S. Exceed Estimates, Study Finds—All was not rosy this week as a study found we may be underestimating our level of methane emissions.  This is bad because methane is about twenty time worse as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  Happy holidays!

Toxic Flame Retardants may be on the Way Out—Soon, thanks to the efforts of tireless reporters and California’s legislators, your couch may no longer be a soup of toxic nightmares.  Seriously, why did we let this farce about safety continue?

Maui Signs Agreement With Monsanto Regarding Pesticide Use—It’s amazing the resistance that GMOs and the attendant pesticide use is getting on the islands of Hawaii.  Most people are stunned to learn how much GMO testing is done on Hawaii to begin with—just spend some time on the southern shore of Kauai—so this is coming as a shock to those of us on the mainland not familiar with the islands.

Wisconsin has Grown into Hotbed of Organic Farming—On the way to the Wisconsin Dells to meet my brother for our annual pilgrimage to an indoor water park in the depths of winter we drive through the Driftless Region.  Until you actually drive through here you do not get a sense of the pervasiveness of organic farming and its associated social norms.

Peecycling will Fertilize Green Roofs in Amsterdam—Does Amsterdam have some of the best public urinals in the world?  I remember seeing one in the middle of an intersection of about five streets and a pair of streetcar lines.  Talk about stage fright.

Republicans versus Pink Slime

Notionally, Governors Rick Perry of Texas, Sam Brownback of Kansas, and our own Terry Branstad of Iowa are conservatives and Republicans.  I separate the terms conservative and Republican because on certain issues Republicans do not behave like conservatives.

Recently, the three aforementioned governors stood proudly in support of Beef Products International and its pink slime…err lean finely textured beef.  The entire charade struck me as odd because here were bastions of the right wing defending pink slime by saying that the USDA had deemed the product safe.  It was as if these normally “government is evil” politicians had suddenly had a come to regulation moment.

The comedic display also perturbed Craig Robinson at the Iowa Republican.  Normally, I do not see eye to eye with Mr. Robinson on any issue, particularly his support of candidates who I abhor but a friend of mine who was a high school acquaintance of his pointed me to his thoughts on pink slime.  However, we agree on the political response to pink slime.  In his post entitled “What Ever Happened to Free Market Conservatives?” he posits:

Last time I checked, most Republicans believed in something called the free market.  If people don’t want their kids eating products that contain finely textured beef, that’s their prerogative.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the pro-pink slime crowd is going beyond just saying the product is safe.  Governor Branstad is encouraging schools to continue to use the product.  His actions might have also convinced the folks at Hy-Vee to reconsider pulling the product.   I understand why Branstad and others feel like this is a smear campaign, but at the end of the day, it’s the consumer who dictates to the market not the other way around.

This is what I have been trying to say for the past couple of weeks.  It is not the safety of pink slime that is in question.  It is the presence of pink slime in ground meat that was believed to be 100% ground beef and not Dr. Frankenstein’s ground meat product that is angering people.

What we are asking for is transparent choice.  In a perfect competition—something that free market conservatives used to believe in—consumers have total transparency to the products that they are buying and thus can make rational decisions.  Any degree of opacity benefits the corporations selling products because it retards the ability of the consumer to make a rational, fully informed choice.

Granted, the Iowa Republican turns around and goes back to the standard tripe in a “lessons learned” post later:

And finally, Republicans need to stand united with other agricultural groups and business and find common ways to assure the safety and stability of our food and our economy.

In the end, what is being said here is the principles do not matter when the paymaster comes calling.  The agricultural industrial complex is a huge political donation machine.  Terry Branstad alone received ~$150,000 from people tied to Beef Products International, the infamous maker of pink slime, but he assures us it has nothing to do with his full throated defense of the product.  He is just looking out for his constituents.  Whatever.

Check out the contributions of BPI owners and employees to political candidates as compiled by the Des Moines Register.  Lest people think I am piling on the Republicans, of the over $800K donated to state and federal campaigns less than 4% went to Democrats.

I do, however, question the ultimate wisdom of BPI owners Eldon and Regina Roth.  As you can see in the database linked to above, both are listed as frequent donors to serial candidate, election loser, and general bigot Bob “I really want to win elected office before I die” Vander Plaats.  This is the guy who led a campaign to recall the Iowa Supreme Court justices who sided with civil rights and equality in deciding to allow gay marriage.

Terry Branstad Does Not Get It

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, along with Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Texas Governor Rick Perry, toured a production facility where pink slime…er finely textured lean beef is made.

Check out the short video story.

What really struck me was the comment made by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad at approximately 1:50 in the story.  In response to a question from the media about pink slime he said, in short, that the questioner did not “get it.”  Get what Governor Braindead?

The controversy about pink slime is not about the safety of the product in its end state?  The controversy is about the fact that when a person buys ground beef it may contain a product that does not in any way resemble what we perceive to be ground beef.

Like the Taco Bell taco meat filling controversy, people are upset that there is an adjunct in their ground beef.  Furthermore, the fact that the adjunct is like some kind of food product from the sequel to Soylent Green.  No one would be surprised if a guy came running out of a BPI facility yelling “Pink slime is people!!!”

In 1906, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was released and led to a movement for increased food standards.  Sinclair himself said that the leading issue for people was not the treatment of the workers, which was the focus of the book, but the fact that people did not want to eat bad beef.

The controversy is the same.  People do not want to eat pink slime regardless of its safety.

People like Terry Branstad should stop trying to sell people on the merits of the product and stand up for the citizens of his state who are upset over the adulteration of their ground beef.  Too bad it won’t happen because he is in the pocket of the meat packers.

How much is Terry Branstad in the tank for the beef industry?  Let us see…

In 201o, when Branstad’s comeback bid for the governor’s office was successful, he received $150,000 in contributions from the founder of BPI–the company at the center of the pink slime controversy.  He does say that those contributions had nothing to do with his decision to defend pink slime.  Really?