Thursday, August 26, 2010

Clean Energy Stimulus

Time magazine published an article, "How the Stimulus Is Changing America," about the positive effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and noted the success of its "green" components.

Here the article mentions an entrepreneur who benefited from the $787 billion stimulus package:
The green industrial revolution begins with gee-whiz companies like A123 Systems of Watertown, Mass. Founded in 2001 by MIT nanotechnology geeks who landed a $100,000 federal grant, A123 grew into a global player in the lithium-ion battery market, with 1,800 employees and five factories in China. It has won $249 million to build two plants in Michigan, where it will help supply the first generation of mass-market electric cars. At least four of A123's suppliers received stimulus money too. The Administration is also financing three of the world's first electric-car plants, including a $529 million loan to help Fisker Automotive reopen a shuttered General Motors factory in Delaware (Biden's home state) to build sedans powered by A123 batteries. Another A123 customer, Navistar, got cash to build electric trucks in Indiana. And since electric vehicles need juice, the stimulus will also boost the number of U.S. battery-charging stations by 3,200%.
"Without government, there's no way we would've done this in the U.S.," A123 chief technology officer Bart Riley told TIME. "But now you're going to see the industry reach critical mass here."
Note, Mr. Riley points out that his business depended on government assistance. Fine, but let's keep that in mind when Republicans tell us that all we need is a "free market," unfettered by the government.

The article goes on:
That's why the Recovery Act is funding dozens of smart-grid approaches. For instance, A123 is providing truckloads of batteries for a grid-storage project in California and recycled electric-car batteries for a similar effort in Detroit. "If we can show the utilities this stuff works," says Riley, "it will take off on its own."
Stimulus money is being used for other worthwhile purposes as well:
The Recovery Act is weatherizing 250,000 homes this year. It gave homeowners rebates for energy-efficient appliances, much as the Cash for Clunkers program subsidized fuel-efficient cars. It's retrofitting juice-sucking server farms, factories and power plants; financing research into superefficient lighting, windows and machinery; and funneling billions into state and local efficiency efforts. (See TIME's special report "Obama's Agenda: Get America Back on Track.")
It will also retrofit 3 in 4 federal buildings. The U.S. government is the nation's largest energy consumer, so this will save big money while boosting demand for geothermal heat pumps, LED lighting and other energy-saving products. "We're so huge, we make markets," says Bob Peck, the General Services Administration's public-buildings commissioner. GSA's 93-year-old headquarters, now featuring clunky window air conditioners and wires duct-taped to ceilings, will get energy optimized heating, cooling and lighting systems, glass facades with solar membranes and a green roof; the makeover should cut its energy use 55%. It might even beta-test stimulus-funded windows that harvest sunlight. "We'll be the proving ground for innovation in the building industry," Peck says. "It all starts with renovating the government."

With an open mind, and a little courage, we could transform this country into a place that offers broad prosperity, and a healthy future for the planet. But, it's the open mind and courage part that I worry about.

Read the whole article, maybe it'll inspire you. Or, maybe you're already too poisoned by toxic rhetoric from the frightened right...

How CO2 and Other Greenhouse Gases Trap Heat

Below is a really simple, elegant, brief explanation of the Greenhouse Effect:
It is true that there are several important greenhouse gasses. CO2 is one of them, but methane (CH4) and water vapor are also important. CO2 is the one that human activity may influence the most and therefore gets a lot of attention in the climate debate, while water vapor changes due to natural phenomena - and as a consequence of possible manmade heating.

The thing that makes these molecules important for the greenhouse effect is their ability to absorb infrared light. When sunlight enters the atmosphere it is turned into heat in the surfaces it strikes and these surfaces re-radiate the energy as infrared light. Therefore, if the atmsophere becomes less transparent to infrared light, the heat cannot get out into space as easily as before and temperatures will rise in order to reestablish the temperature gradient needed to drive the infrared heat out past the obstacles.

You may think of a mountain stream where water flows downhill. If you push a boulder into the stream you will cause the water to rise behind the boulder, but after a while the same amount of water will flow past the boulder and downstream. Same thing with more IR absorbtion in the atmosphere. It will get hotter behind the obstacle (the IR-absorbing molecules in the air) but eventually a balance will be found where the same amount of energy flows into space as comes down from there.

In terms of the molecules themselves, it is the electronic structure that causes IR light to be absorbed. Atoms and molecules absorb light at specific wavelengths. Most molecules absorb light in broad bands or wavelength ranges, while atoms tend to absorb light in narrow regions or lines. The molecules therefore absorb over a wider range of frequencies and block more light this way. The details as to why the light is absorbed at infrared wavelengths and not in the X-ray range or vissible light, is complex to explain. It has to do with the structure of the molecules - the strengths of the bonds inside the molecule and the masses of the atoms in the molecule.

Masses on springs tend to oscillate with frequencies that are determined by how stiff the spring is and by how large a mass is attached. The same goes for the bonds (or springs) inside molecules - the vibrational frequency of molecules is determined by the spring strengths and the masses attached to the springs. Because of the many electrons interacting in complex molecules you get many possible modes of vibration and therefore many possible wavelengths at which light can be absorbed. This gives you the light-absorbing bands typical for molecular spectra.

By the way, the phrase 'greenhouse' effect is missused for molecules, because the effect of the glass on a greenhouse is not chiefly to stop infrared light getting out, but to stop warm air from blowing away from the inside of the house.

Peter Thejll, Staff, Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Danish Meteorological Institute

This isn't wildly difficult to understand. It's like a two-way mirror: you can see through it in one direction, but not in the other. Sunlight (visible and ultraviolet) travels into the atmosphere in the direction you can see through, but once in, its on the mirror side and can't get back out (infrared). So, it hangs around as heat. Done.

If you can honestly say that you think global warming science is a hoax, then the next time you think about traveling, you should walk, because airplanes are part of the same hoax. So is all of modern medicine: lab tests, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics (x-rays!, MRI's, CAT scans) -- all a hoax, of course. Get in touch with a witch doctor if you get sick, or injured (by one of those hoax-ey cars or airplanes).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tell Your Senators To Do Something

The Union of Concerned Scientists wants you to personalize and then send a letter to your Senators asking them not to interfere with the EPA's efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses, and to pass a real energy bill.

Here's my personalized section of the letter:
I am disgusted and dismayed that the Senate failed, once again, to create and pass useful legislation to mitigate global warming, and promote renewable energy.

I guess we could all just pray for divine intervention, because scientific reason and logic seem to have no bearing on the Congressional agenda. It's a good thing Galileo is not around these days. We'd probably cry havoc, and burn him at the stake.

Sadly, I don't think much good will come of praying for a solution when the the folks we elect are actively working to undermine real efforts to prevent the catastrophic effects of global warming, not to mention the long list of other environmental catastrophes that have resulted from our dim-witted reliance on coal and oil.

So, barring any hope for real lawmaking going on these days, it's more important than ever that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can at least try to limit global warming emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA and the National Academy of Sciences confirm that global warming poses a significant threat to public health. Yet senators delay or block the EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate global warming emissions. That is gross malfeasance.
 Go ahead, click here to write to your Senators.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yeah, We Can Stop Global Warming and Still Make Piles of Money

The Union of Concerned Scientists offers three informative, simple solutions for U.S. energy production that don't trash the environment, or leave a big bill for taxpayers to pick up for nasty messes like the ones left behind by fossil and nuclear energy producers.

I know BP, Shell, Exxon/Mobil, and our benighted Republican lawmaker say it can't be done. I wonder why they say that? (Hint: $$$)

Anyway, here's some links to the UCS articles you should read to be better informed about this tricky issue:

Cut Oil Consumption In Half By 2030

The Union of Concerned Scientists, smart folks, have devised a plan that cuts U.S. oil consumption in half by 2030. This is a big deal.

They project we will consume over 25 million barrels a day in 2030.

Their plan saves 13.9 million barrels of oil per day.

So, let's say our import vs. domestic production ratio stays the same: 60/40

That means, with business as usual we will import 25 x 60%, or 15 million barrels a day.

And let's stipulate that the price of oil stays flat, which it won't, but we'll assume here that it does, at $80.

So, in 2030, with business a usual, we will spend $1.2 billion per day on imported oil.

If we cut consumption by 13.9 million barrels a day and keep the import ratio the same, we spend $533 million per day on imports, a savings of $667 million per day.

Or, $20 billion per month, or $244 billion per year. Saved in imports only.

We would also save $445 million per day on domestic production, or $13 billion per month, or $162 billion per year.

2030 Cost per barrel: $80

Barrels / day(x1M)

Business As Usual 25

Projected UCS Savings -13.9

Revised Consumption 11.1

Barrels / day(x1M) Cost / Day Cost / Month Cost / Year
15 $1,200,000,000 $36,000,000,000 $438,000,000,000
-8.34 ($667,200,000) ($20,016,000,000) ($243,528,000,000)
6.66 $532,800,000 $15,984,000,000 $194,472,000,000

Barrels / day(x1M) Cost / Day Cost / Month Cost / Year
10 $800,000,000 $24,000,000,000 $292,000,000,000
-5.56 ($444,800,000) ($13,344,000,000) ($162,352,000,000)
4.44 $355,200,000 $10,656,000,000 $129,648,000,000

And these are conservative estimates.

In reality, oil will surely be over $80 per barrel by 2030 -- by a lot. It hit $140 in June 2008.

Think about that: we create a bunch of jobs building the new infrastructure and vehicles required for this plan to work, and we pay for it with the $33 billion a month we save -- OK, we won't get the $33 billion a month up front, we have to do the work first, and it will come incrementally, but our investments will pay for themselves, and the savings will continue forever...let's repeat that, at least $33 billion a month (at $80 per barrel) saved, forever.

Can you think of something better we could do with $33 billion a month than give it to oil companies and other countries? I can. Education comes to mind...for our representatives who got us in this mess, and the people who voted for 'em. All those domestic jobs would be nice, too. And no more oil spills...ah, I'm just dreamin'.

See the plan at the UCS site: National Oil Savings Plan
and then sign the petition.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Keep Doing What We've Been Doing, Destroy the World...

Replace toxic coal and oil with renewable (non-nuclear) sources, and then dramatically increase energy efficiency (which dramatically decreases energy costs), and we end up with energy that: costs consumers little more than it does now, but it's less toxic to them; we get to keep the planet healthy; and we see 37 million new, well-paid jobs that can't be off-shored by 2030. Take into account fossil fuel jobs lost, we still see a net gain of 4.5 million jobs. And we generate $4.3 trillion in domestic revenue. That's domestic revenue, instead of cash sent to Canada, Mexico, Saudia Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Russia, Algeria, Colombia to purchase oil (about 80% of imported oil comes from these seven countries -- not what most people think), and we don't have to pay billions to clean up coal ash spills, and oil spills, and ruined mountains and streams in Appalachia, and dozens of other "externalities" that the fossil fuel industry, like an unwelcome guest, lets taxpayers pick up the tab for.

Which option do you think Congress will choose? That's easy: they choose business as usual, and destroy the planet. And that's because fossil fuel energy producers finances Congressional elections. How about not re-electing these lobbyist-puppets if they don't get their act together and do something real to stop global warming? Nah, global warming's a hoax, right?

Read the press-release from ASES, and then read the report: Tackling climate change nets 4.5 million jobs

Fee and Dividend for Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Dr. James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has long warned of the disastrous and irreversible climate change that will occur if fossil fuels, especially coal, continue to be our primary energy source.

For the last year or two he has argued vigorously against cap and trade as a viable CO2 emissions reduction scheme, instead proposing a fee and dividend approach that would be paid by energy suppliers at the source (the mine, or port of entry), and transferred directly to consumers to compensate them for increased energy cost. Further, nations that export products to the U.S., but do not reduce CO2 emissions, would see import tariffs imposed on their products, with that revenue forwarded directly to consumers as well.

Up until now, I've been pretty sure that cap and trade was the only viable option for carbon reduction, since fee and dividend would surely be condemned by lobbyist-puppet Congressmen as a "vicious new energy tax designed to bankrupt American business, and finance Obama's ambition to turn America into socialist state." Well, Republicans did that with cap and trade, they vilified a purely market based solution. They called it tax and trade. Plus, cap and trade will be so watered down by Congress (caps set to low, offsets given a away to deep pocketed energy companies who finance campaigns), and it will be administered by the likes of Goldman Sachs, and their ilk, with big fees going to them, and little of the revenue returned to consumers who will suffer energy price increases (Hansen breaks it down). So, I figure, Hansen is probably right. Fee and dividend offers Congress the fewest opportunities to screw up, and dividends go to consumers, not Goldman Sachs.

Read James Hansen's  December 6, 2009 Op-Ed in the New York Times, "Cap and Fade". And then tell your representatives to do something real. Now. Your grandchildren will thank you. Too late is coming soon to a climate near you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do Something Real, Mr. President

A letter to the President, as requested by the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Dear President Obama,

We can use American ingenuity to end our dangerous dependence on oil. The Union of Concerned Scientists has developed a strong, comprehensive, science-based plan that can cut our projected oil use in half by 2030. Taking this step would keep billions of dollars in our economy, cut pollution, and protect our coasts from devastating oil spills. You can see the full plan here:

You were elected by Democrats and Independents, Mr. President. People who have wage-earning Americans' interests at heart, not capitalized investors in gated communities. Do something for people who work for a living, and do something to save this planet from a scourge of mass extinctions and economic displacement that will render the lives of future generation much less joyful and much less hopeful.

You must persuade members of Congress to put American citizens, and the planet ahead of their own parochial desire for reelection, and actually do so something real to obtain our energy supply from sustainable, renewable, domestic sources. Stop saying nice things, and then delivering watered down Potemkin plans. Do something real! That's why we elected you.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Conversation With VP Biden on Trade

Senator Hollings, you nailed all the high notes with your commentary on the Huffington Post. Thanks for your insight and persistence. I wish voters could catch your drift and quit buying into this business about free-markets and free trade.

Since May, I've been working way too much (a blessing) to read your posts, but I'm catching up now.

I have to quote a few key sections of your post, so they appear on my blog...they need emphasis.

"After adopting a seal, the first bill to pass the Congress in its history on July 4, 1789, was a protectionist tariff. And we financed and built these United States into an industrial power with "protectionism." We didn't pass the income tax until 1913. In 1900 the colony was richer than the Mother Country by $25 billion and had a GDP double the GDP of Germany and Russia combined, causing Teddy Roosevelt to exclaim: 'Thank God I'm not a Free Trader.'"
"The Obama Administration says the solution for jobs is educate, educate. We in South Carolina need a lot more education, but we have enough to create jobs -- producing the "ultimate driving machine" for BMW and the most advanced aircraft, the "Dreamliner," for Boeing. It's Washington that needs education."

And yes, bring on the VAT to promote domestic industry and exports.

Now, they're blaming President Obama for being anti-business and for not paying down deficits. He should eliminate the corporate tax and replace it with a 2% VAT. This will make him pro-business; bring in more revenues to pay down deficits, and promote exports. The vote in the Senate against McCain's VAT was an increase in taxes. The corporate tax beginning at 39% averages at 27%. A 2% VAT cuts corporate taxes for production 25%. And please call it for a vote. Now! Don't worry about a filibuster. Any voting against a 2% VAT to replace the corporate tax will be voting against the major reason to off-shore jobs; be voting against jobs; against cutting taxes; against promoting exports, against paying down the deficit, and against business. 

All truth, as far as I can tell. Why can't truth ever get traction in the morass of our political and media environment?

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, August 14, 2010

While GM Brags About Its Comeback, Auto Workers Go Begging

Articles in the New York Times (Detroit Goes From Gloom to Economic Bright Spot), and the Economist (GM prepares its getaway), praise GM's recovery, but the truth is, GM chose to retreat, rather than to fight to recover lost ground in terms of market share, salaries, or wages. In other words, they favored shareholders and executives over hourly workers, the people who actually earn the profits GM is so eager to brag about.

The auto industry shed 330,000 US jobs since 2008. And how many did they shed back in the eighties and nineties? And how many supplier jobs were lost that aren’t counted here?. I live in the suburbs of Detroit, and I can drive for miles past shuttered tool and die shops, and manufacturing plants. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a guy who had a well paid, skilled union job, and now he’s retired at fifty, or swinging a hammer for a living with no benefits. And these are the guys who actually know how to build things. Their fathers and grandfathers built our manufacturing base, and without their skills we’ll never re-build it. And if we don’t rebuild it, we’ll never have a real rebound in our economy that yields broad prosperity. We’ll just continue to get what we’ve been getting, a narrowing band of wealth at the top, and vast legions of un- or under-employed, under-skilled poor.

And now the big three brag they trimmed wages (starting wage in an American UAW plant is around $14). Adjusted for inflation, I bet that's less than the $5 a day Henry Ford offered workers when he reasoned that employees won't be consumers if you don't pay them a decent, livable wage.

The new CEO, GM board member, Dan Akerson, has worked recently for the Carlyle Group, the bottom feeding private equity firm that has spent the last twenty years burying US manufacturing firms in debt, and then selling off the firm's assets (asset stripping) for pennies on the dollar, to yield healthy profits for Carlyle's well-heeled, capitalized investors, and a decimated manufacturing base for the rest of us. What sort of future for GM's domestic employment does that portend?

So what does the average, hourly-wage, taxpayer get for their bailout of GM? More competition for fewer jobs at a lower wage. And who gains besides shareholders and executives? A skeleton crew of engineering and management staff who glance over their shoulders every day, with the grim expectation that their job has been outsourced to someone in India earning 1/100 as much.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No, NAFTA Was Not President Clinton's Idea

(A reply to a comment on an article, "Rebuild America, Don't Sack It," by Robert L. Borosage, at the Huffington Post.)

Yes, Clinton signed NAFTA into law, but it was largely an initiative by Republican politicians, with George H.W. Bush out in front signing the initial draft. Republican politicians then positioned NAFTA as do or die for the American economy, and anyone who opposes it is an un-American, big government, anti-jobs, socialist.

I'll quote a bit of Wikipedia (
"In the U.S., Bush, who had worked to 'fast track' the signing prior to the end of his term, ran out of time and had to pass the required ratification and signing into law to incoming president Bill Clinton. Prior to sending it to the House of Representatives, Clinton introduced clauses to protect American workers and allay the concerns of many House members. It also required U.S. partners to adhere to environmental practices and regulations similar to its own."

And this was after the private equity, leveraged buyout, asset stripping frenzy of the tax and tariff-cutting Reagan years during which much of the U.S. industrial base was sold off for pennies on the dollar, and its jobs sent overseas by capitalized investors, who tend to vote Republican.

(And no, not everyone who votes Republican should be demonized, but it mostly Republican politicians who legislate in favor of a minority: capitalized investors; at the expense of the majority: hourly workers)
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bush Appointee Upholds Virginia's Challenge to Affordable Care Act

UPDATE, December 13, 2010: Here is Judge Hudson's (Federal District Court, Eastern District, VA) latest decision:

     Virginia's attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, behaving like crass, self-interest obsessed Republicans do, seeks to have the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill passed last year by Congress, ruled unconstitutional. He contends that the health care law is unconstitutional because it exceeds the established bounds of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and because it contradicts a recently passed Virginia law, Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, which makes it unlawful to require that Virginia citizens be covered by some form of health insurance...
2 Offered January 13, 2010
3 Prefiled December 7, 2009
4 A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 38.2-302.1, relating to a person's
5 participation in a health care system or plan; Virginia Health Care Freedom Act.
6 ––––––––––
Patrons––Marshall, R.G., O'Bannon, Athey, Carrico, Cole, Cox, J.A., Cox, M.K., Edmunds, Garrett,
Gear, Gilbert, Greason, Howell, W.J., Johnson, Jones, Landes, Lingamfelter, Miller, J.H., Morgan,
Nixon, Oder, Pogge, Tata and Wright; Senators: Martin and Stuart
7 ––––––––––
8 Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
9 ––––––––––
10 Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
11 1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 38.2-302.1 as follows:
12 § 38.2-302.1. Virginia Health Care Freedom Act.
13 No law shall restrict a person's natural right and power of contract to secure the blessings of liberty
14 to choose private health care systems or private plans. No law shall interfere with the right of a person
15 or entity to pay for lawful medical services to preserve life or health, nor shall any law impose a
16 penalty, tax, fee, or fine, of any type, to decline or to contract for health care coverage or to participate
17 in any particular health care system or plan, except as required by a court where an individual or entity
18 is a named party in a judicial dispute. Nothing herein shall be construed to expand, limit or otherwise
19 modify any determination of law regarding what constitutes lawful medical services within the
20 Commonwealth.
     This is just the sort of reactionary, obstructionist, big-business coddling, horseshit that Republican lawmakers have engaged in since the Democrats regained control of Congress. And it defies the best interests of the United States, especially the interests of its poorest citizens. You can be damn sure that Judge Hudson's and Ken T. Cuccinelli II's access to competent doctors, diagnoses, and care won't be obstructed, though. And you can be equally sure the Virginia Legislature did not pass their dumb ass act  because it would insure health care equity for all Virginia's citizens. No, Republicans don't give a damn about insuring that every citizen has access to competent health care, and they sure as hell don't give a damn about poor people. Republicans, the ones making laws anyway, don't even know what being poor feels like, or looks like, or smells like. Oh, they may have been poor once, but they've forgotten what being poor is all about, their words and deeds prove that. They think poor people are poor because they are lazy, self-indulgent, slobs who don't talk right, and don't dress right, and don't get their hair cut right, and that's why they are poor.

     But Republicans do manage to persuade impoverished and, astonishingly, middle-class citizens to support them. They do this with shameless appeals to primordial tribal instincts that dictate exclusion and destruction of outsiders who don’t share the tribe's dogma and rituals. Manipulative, self-serving leaders define the evil "other," and then blame the "other" for all the problems their deluded followers face. And these pompous, self-righteous, plutocrats maintain their followers delusions by preserving their ignorance: they insist that religious doctrine trumps facts, and that science and logic are the tools of godless infidels (isn't that the Taliban's argument, too?). Throughout, they contend that sacred principles are at stake, that it's not about the money. Well, if someone, especially a politician, tells you, “it's not about the money,” you can be absolutely damned sure it is.

     United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson, appointed by George W. Bush, wrote the following summary of his argument:
     In the complaint, the Commonwealth of Virginia (“the Commonwealth”) assails Section 1501 (or “Minimum Essential Coverage Provision”) on a number of fronts. First, the Commonwealth contends that requiring an otherwise unwilling individual to purchase a good or service from a private vendor is beyond the outer limits of the Commerce Clause. In the Commonwealth’s view, the failure -- or refusal -- of its citizens to elect to purchase health insurance is not “economic activity” and therefore is not subject to federal regulation under the Commerce Clause. Succinctly put, the Commonwealth defies the Secretary to point to any Commerce Clause jurisprudence extending its tentacles to an individual’s decision not to engage in economic activity. Furthermore, they argue that since Section 1501 exceeds this enumerated power, Congress cannot invoke either the Necessary and Proper Clause or its taxation powers to regulate such passive economic inactivity.
     I especially like the "tentacles" part. But I won't try to dissect the Judge's decision. That's been done much better by lots of qualified people. Here, for example, is a nice short article that does that: "Judge Preserves Constitutional Challenge to Individual Mandate." It's written by a professor at Yale Law School. Someone who will, no doubt, be filleted by the blowhards on Fox who will have nothing remotely substantive to say about the man's argument, but will surely malign his qualifications and character, and refer to him as an East Coast Liberal, which I suppose he is, or isn't, I don't know. Either way, tough shit, Fox.

     And here we go again. The big-business, Republican lapdogs in Congress couldn't defeat President Obama's health care reform via legislative maneuvers (though they did manage to water the bill down to the point of being nearly useless for the vast majority of middle-class Americans whom a little relief in the expenses column would benefit greatly), so they want to kill the bill with a thousand cuts. This will require the usual dimwitted, specious arguments about principal, and in defense of the sacred Constitution, and God himself -- Republicans always claim to be speaking for God -- and they will, with their chests puffed out, proudly stand in the way of children's lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness. They will make sure that poor, sick people who work three crummy, non-union, minimum-wage, no-benefit jobs do not visit doctors regularly, but instead put off medical care until it's too late, and then run to the hospital emergency room to die. And health insurance companies will continue to book record profits for their capitalized shareholders, because they will continue to deny lawful claims, and wear paying clients down with the perpetual run around, until -- sick and weary -- they quit pleading for help.

    That's what Republicans are talking about when they talk about principles.