Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Starve the beast, redux

In a NY Times article, "Republicans’ Deficit-Cut Pledge Lacks Specifics," David Leonhardt provides a level headed assessment of various Republican deficit cutting schemes. Some of which include phasing out Social Security, or raising the eligibility age, and modifying Medicare to become a voucher program with caps on benefits. All include tax cuts for rich people, and increased health care, transportation, energy expenses -- effectively, tax increases -- for middle-class and poor people.

The Republican Party does not have middle-class interests at heart. They are bought and paid for by corporations who seek fewer regulations that limit financial exploitation of the middle class and poor, and destruction of public land, water, and air for private profit. If you consider yourself middle-class or impoverished, the Republican Party is playing you for a fool.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A bunch of chumps...

photo: LA Times

An article in the NY Times this morning, "Hidden Under Tax-Exempt Cloak, Political Dollars Flow" (September 23, 2010) outlines the machinations of political organizations created by Republican Party hacks on behalf of their corporate puppeteers. It's pretty much what you would expect: these guys work for corporations that rip us off with overpriced health care and drugs, ship our manufacturing jobs overseas with their private equity fund leveraged buyouts, and rape our public lands for cheap coal that they resell to us as toxic energy. It's easy money for these capitalized rich guys, and they want to keep it flowing. To do that, they put misleading ads on TV that cater to the fear and anxiety of an ignorant, poor and middle-class electorate who think because these guys can talk the talk (guns, abortion, prayer in school -- family values), they must be OK. These voters are chumps, and they are being played as fools. Below are some choice bits from the article in the Times (which, of course, these same voters have been convinced is the mouthpiece of the Devil). Here you go:

So, a bunch of rich guys get together and form this "business league," which collects "membership dues" and then produces TV attack ads that are meant to ruin Democratic candidates with false accusations and slander. A fine use for their money, since these "business"-"men" can't ever seem to run a business without favorable Congressional legislation to crush their competition, or give them access to a captive pool of customers -- think "Payday Loans" or riverboat casinos.

So, they start up this organization called "Americans for Prosperity" that is really only interested in the prosperity of those few Americans that give them money, and happen to have the same investments in common -- not interests, but investments. These guys don't give a damn about the interests of wage earning Americans at large. And, it turns out, "Americans for Prosperity" is a front for Karl Rove's American Crossroads, and a subsidiary (once removed -- Karl is careful not leave fingerprints) of Crossroads media, "whose other clients include the national Republican Party, the Republican Governors Association and American Crossroads."
Crossroads Media is run by Michael Dubke and David Carney, who along with several business groups helped start Americans for Job Security in 1997. Mr. Carney had been political director for President George Bush, and Mr. Dubke was the first executive director and then president of Americans for Job Security until April 2008, when Mr. DeMaura, recruited by Mr. Carney, took over.
“I work with them closely on a day-to-day basis, but we don’t discuss our work or coordinate anything,” he said. “It’s firewalled off.”
Mr. Dubke, too, denied that the agenda of Americans for Job Security was driven by the political interests of his firms.
“Nothing is ever done in coordination with another campaign,” he said. “I’m always trying to follow the letter of the law.”
It's all good, and then along comes a rich guy with a fishing lodge in Alaska. You know, out there in the unspoiled wilderness, which Republicans are always trying to spoil if they can make an easy buck doing it. Unless of course, their fishing lodge happens to be in the midst of the spoiling. In that case... (BTW, Pebble Mine would trash the environment, but that's another story.)
The group (Americans for Prosperity) ended up in Alaska through Mr. Dubke’s work for opponents of the proposed Pebble Mine, led by an Alaska financier, Robert Gillam, whose private fishing lodge could be affected. The opponents said the mine would endanger commercial fishing and pushed a ballot initiative aimed at imposing clean-water restrictions on it; its backers said the mine would create jobs.
Mr. Dubke’s work for Mr. Gillam was called Operation Trenchcoat, documents show, and involved finding out who was behind a pro-mine Web site called Bob Gillam Can’t Buy Alaska. Mr. Gillam testified that he spoke with Mr. Dubke about Americans for Job Security, and decided to join by giving $2 million in “membership fees,” and that he “had high hopes” the money would be used to oppose the mine. (The ballot initiative ultimately failed.)
Americans for Job Security eventually paid a $20,000 settlement without admitting guilt and agreed not to help anyone make anonymous contributions in an election in Alaska — with the condition that its pledge “does not apply to any other jurisdiction which may have laws dissimilar to the state.”
None of the above corruption by dissolute rich people disappoints me as much as the gullibility of the poor and middle-class chumps who support these guys by voting for their candidates, and then have their jobs, health care, and healthy environment snatched away. Happy elections!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hot F*cking Tuna!


So, after receiving a petition from The Center for Biological Diversity, the National Marine Fisheries Service were persuaded to consider listing the Bluefin Tuna as an endangered species. Hoo-rah! Somebody thinkin' And not a moment too soon. Folks who know have been saying these things are in peril for years and years. Anyway, here's the story from the New Orleans Times Picayune: Atlantic bluefin tuna may become endangered, thanks to Gulf oil spill

Now, don't go out and celebrate with a sushi dinner, alright?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Keep Alaska's Landscape Clean

Tundra wetlands along the Nigu River -- NPR-A

Earthjustice sent me an e-mail asking me to send a comment to the Bureau of Land Management on its new management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPR-A).

American Geological Institute

Earthjustice provides lots of sample text, but theirs seems a little too verbose for me. Here's what I wrote:
As the Bureau of Land Management develops a new management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, I urge the BLM to consider the notion that the value of wildlife, wilderness, subsistence and recreation might exceed the value of the oil and gas in this region.

Why trash it? And it will be trashed. Habitats will be destroyed, the soil and water will be marred and polluted. The place will never be the same again. And you have the power to prevent this needless desecration. Use it. Stop oil and gas development in the NPR-A before it starts.

Think beyond short term profits for oil and gas companies. This is more important than that. This region's health is more important than anyone's personal enrichment.

We don't need this oil and gas. Improved efficiency and renewables can take their place, using existing, proven technology.

Utukok Uplands -- NPR-A, Richard Kahn

Now, you should pop over to Earthjustice and send a comment ( to the BLM, too.

Otherwise, their gonna do what the oil and gas companies tell 'em to do. And you know how that'll end. Like BP's perfectly safe drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tea Party Express -- Supporters Do Well While Doing "Good"

"Mr. Russo’s group, based in California, is now the single biggest independent supporter of Tea Party candidates, raising more than $5.2 million in donations since January 2009, according to federal records. But at least $3 million of that total has since been paid to Mr. Russo’s political consulting firm or to one controlled by his wife, according to federal records."
"But the campaign finance records for the Tea Party Express also showed payments totaling more than $10,000 for stays at casino hotels, as well as bills for meals at expensive restaurants near Mr. Russo’s offices, including nearly $5,000 at Chops Steak House, which former staff members said the Tea Party Express frequented after work."
Mr. Russo disputes that there was any lavish spending. 'There have been a lot of cheap shots taken,' he said. 'This has not been a profitable activity for us. We have plowed every penny back into this thing.'"
"G.O.P. Insider Fuels Tea Party and Suspicion," NY Times, September 19, 2010
The Tea Party Patriots movement sure has some fine folks bankrolling it, like proud mobster parents buying new uniforms for the little league team their kid plays for. Like Mr. Russo, who gathers up contributions from guileless followers, and pockets 57%. That's Republican grassroots if I ever saw it, even if it goes by the Tea Party nickname. And then there's the grassroots Koch brothers, of oil refinery and formaldehyde fame, and all the other upstanding, patriotic millionaires who stood up to defend the working man with wads of cash:
"Reports indicate that the Tea Party Movement benefits from millions of dollars from conservative foundations that are derived from wealthy U.S. families and their business interests. Is appears that money to organize and implement the Movement flows primarily through two conservative groups: Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks."
"Tea Party movement funding,"
It seems all those rabid, enraged, citizens who take to the streets in the name of liberty and justice for all under the banner of the Tea Party Patriots are dupes for a bunch of overfed, cigar-smoking, back-room deal-cutters. Sleazy back-room dirty-dealers who scheme for an easy buck gutting our manufacturing sector with their private equity funds, and sending our jobs to overseas sweat shops; or extracting and selling resources from public land, and leaving behind oceans of pollution for taxpayers to clean up; and then dodging  corporate taxes on their record profits in Cayman Island phantom headquarters. All this while dropping the bill for national defense, education, highways, and Medicare on working stiffs. The same working stiffs who take to the streets in the name of liberty and justice for all... and rich, tax-dodging, crooks.

God love 'em, as VP Biden likes to say.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sarah Palin's Advice To Christine O'Donnell: 'Speak Through Fox News' (VIDEO)

Fine advice, Ms. Palin. Better yet, Ms. Donnell, don't go anywhere, or say anything. Let the hacks at Fox speak for you. That'll save us all some time.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

It sounded to good to be true...

The latest Palin-endorsed, Tea Party hacks to hit the right-wing scene, Ms. O'Donnell, Mr. Paladino, Mr. Lamontagne, and Mr. Miller are natural products of our collective ignorance of, and apathy toward policy making in the US. For the last thirty years, Republican voters bought the party's line that promised quick economic fixes with tax cuts, or blamed the "other" for job losses with anti-immigration and "culture war," and "family-value" rhetoric.

Republicans, mostly, have appealed to voters' basest instincts with their "starve the beast" regressive tax policies(Reagan, GW Bush), sweat-shop free-trade (George H.W. Bush promoted and fast-tracked NAFTA through Congress, Clinton signed it into law), and pro Wall Street de-regulation (Phil Gramm, et al). All of this supply-side rhetoric implicitly promised followers that if the rich got richer, the middle class would gain, too. It was a get rich quick scheme that had great appeal to rural Republicans, and urban blue-collar "Reagan" Democrats who felt whip-lashed by the high inflation of the 70's. They never got the message that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So, we watched as hard-won union gains were ground into dust with threats of foreign competition, our manufacturing sector was sold off for pennies on the dollar by Wall Street private equity funds, health care costs and imported oil needlessly consumed huge chunks of our GNP, and the middle class descended into oblivion. And still, the rich got richer. And so did the the rhetoric, with the televangelist, Christian right getting in on the act.

Now, after years of being sheltered from reality by a veil of deliberate ignorance and stubborn petulance, those same wage earning Republicans who selected representatives based on the appeal of promised tax cuts, and anti-immigration, anti-welfare, pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-religion planks feel like they've been had. Republican politicians exploited their naivete, and sold them up the river: they cut deals that favored deep-pocketed energy, finance, and pharmaceutical corporations, at the expense of these wage-earning voters, in exchange for campaign contributions and the promise of lucrative, revolving-door, lobbying jobs.

Now, played as fools, those same un-capitalized Republicans who lack corporate lobbying jobs, express rage. They want to fix things by electing goons who promise even simpler, reactionary, answers to our collective problems -- like Mr. Paladino's baseball bat. A quick fix.

Quick fixes got us in this mess, and they're gonna make it worse if we elect these people.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Efficient / Smart / Efficient / Cheap / Smart...

Amory and Judy Lovins’ Response to Jeffrey Ball’s article in The Wall Street Journal, “The Homely Costs of Energy Conservation

Note: Amory and Judy Lovins wrote this response to Jeffrey Ball’s August, 2009 article about the design,construction, and renovation of the Lovins’ home. This response was posted in the Comments section of the online article.

The Lovins’ comments draw economic conclusions opposite to Mr. Ball’s. The original article, along with a video and interactive drawing of the house, can be found at

Our super-efficient house demonstrates the opposite of Jeff Ball's conclusions that its radical energy efficiency bore a "hefty upfront cost" and that its wide replication would need "huge investment and sweeping changes to governmental policy." Lest those claims confuse some readers, let's ensure that the original 1982–84 house doesn't get muddled with its major 2007–09 renovation.

The original house saved about 90% of household electricity and 99% of space- and water-heating energy (not 90% of total energy as reported) at an extra 1983 cost of just$6,000 ($1.50/sq ft), counting all donated or discounted elements at fair market value.The total construction cost on that basis equaled the local median for custom houses atthat time. The $6,000 (1%) cost premium was repaid from total energy savings (not just"heating and cooling" savings) in ten months.

What had a "hefty...cost" is not that original construction but instead the recent renovation, which commingled mainly deferred maintenance, upgraded aesthetics, and an elaborate energy monitoring system with modestly increased energy efficiency. We upgraded to today's state-of-the-art not to save money—little energy was left to save,and retrofitting an existing masonry building is especially difficult —- but to measure and demonstrate 25 years' remarkable advances and flip the house's carbon footprint from tiny to negative.

Jeff's article rightly says we make no economic claims for these custom"bleeding-edge" items. But they're costly only because they're handmade; normal production scaling should make them market winners too. Thus inferring that super-efficiency is costly would be as wrong for 2009 technologies in later mature markets as it was for their 1983 versions in our original house.

The house's biggest, but unmentioned, lesson is integrative design ( Insulating to twice "cost-effective" levels—which are normally but wrongly compared only with saved energy cost, not also with avoidable capital cost—lowered construction cost $1,100 by eliminating the even costlier heating system, so that important part of the initial energy savings bore a negative cost premium. Throughout the building, most components do many jobs for one expenditure:the atrium, for example, collects energy in five different ways (heat, hot air, hot water,light, and photosynthesis), and the arch supporting it has twelve functions but only one cost.

Please see the detailed description of the original building at and the virtual tour at's+Private+Residence. These will be updated online as we get data and time to write up the performance of the renovation. We'll also try to draw some conclusions about costs, although it will be very hard and may be impossible to disentangle energy from other purposes.

If all houses—of whatever style, size, and climate—were designed in the same integrative way ours was, they'd save upwards of 80% of their energy at comparable or lower capital cost. Over 20,000 "passive houses" in Europe do that today, requiring no heating but costing the same (or sometimes a bit less) to build, because their super insulation, better glazings, and ventilation heat recovery are offset by the avoided capital cost of the eliminated heating system ( innovations are promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany ( its US offshoot ( The first such house, by Dr. Wolfgang Feist in Darmstadt in 1990–91, was much influenced by ours, although we had the advantage of super-windows that weren't available in Germany.

Such opportunities apply to hot climates too. The Davis and Stanford Ranch tract houses in PG&E's ACT2 experiment in the '90s ( see “Related Links” on right sidebar) had original design savings of~80% of what the strictest US code allowed (or ~90% vs. the US average) but, in reasonable quantities, would cost less than normal to build. Or in steamy Bangkok,Professor Suntoorn Boonyatikarn applied our house's integrative design principles to save ~90% of his home's air-conditioning energy at no extra construction cost.In short, a new house needn't look like ours, use our materials, or be in our severely cold-and-dry climate in order to work like ours and yield compelling overall economics.Similar principles and technologies are partly applicable to retrofits (e.g. see ACT^2Walnut Creek house), though performance and economics will vary widely. Large savings are available even in historically listed buildings, such as half-timbered Elizabethan houses retrofitted with super-insulation in Europe, or the Greening of the White House (which converted historic glass into the outer lites of superwindows), though this takes special skills and can be costly.

Integrative design isn't just for houses. It has demonstrated expanding, not diminishing,returns to efficiency investments—very big energy savings cheaper than small or no savings—in thousands of buildings, various vehicles, and over $30 billion of diverse industrial plants that RMI has helped redesign. This revolution, less in technologies than in how they're combined, will make global climate and oil solutions not costly but profitable (

Let's also take this opportunity to clear up a few other points of possible confusion:

• Our ~4,000-sq-ft multipurpose building is only about a 1,910 sq ft "house": ~474 sq ft for two bedrooms and a bathroom, ~1,166 sq ft in the entryway/kitchen/pantry/living/dining area, and ~270 sq ft in the laundry/utility room. The building also includes ~930sq ft of banana jungle (with two crops currently ripening), fishponds, and circulation through them. Most importantly, the whole east wing is a ~1,000–1,200-sq-ft office,donated for use by as many as 30+ employees of Rocky Mountain Institute for its first~25 years (it was RMI's original headquarters) and now containing Amory's ~10-person RMI office.

• The office uses the great bulk of the building's electricity. When last measured in the1980s, the household used only ~$5 a month worth of electricity (~110–120 average watts). Thus the article's statement that our 9.7-kW photovoltaic array is "enough for the house's needs" might lead some to suppose that "house" means "household" when in fact it includes a smaller-than-normal house, a big jungle/aquaculture system, an industrial-strength monitoring system, and (most importantly) a sizable office. The current consumption split is unknown—many things have changed, in both directions—but we're commissioning a ~200-point Johnson Controls monitoring  system that will show what each area and system is now using. We expect the household use still to be very small, needing well under 1 kW of PV's. Once the monitoring system is commissioned, we intend to post real-time data on the Web.

• As shown in Jeff's nice online illustrations, the 16" walls are not solid stone, but sandwich a 4" foam core with an aged insulation rating of R-33. The effective performance of the sandwich wall, averaged over orientations, is ~R-40, and the roof is~R-80.

• The recently upgraded "multiple-pane windows" have two lites of ordinary glass, two double-sided Heat Mirror(R) films, and xenon fill, for a center-of-glass R-12.5 (vs. ~9–10for the previous units). The operable sashes are pultruded fiberglass, often with nanogelfill. The three best glazing units (in the north loft and east "Frostcork" door) have low-Eglass too, for a center-of-glass R-20.

• The Swiss cooktop, from, uses a new conduction design, integrated with very innovative pots and digital controls, so it uses ~60% less energy than a good induction cooktop.

• The building's fifth lighting retrofit now uses nearly all LED' s of exceptional color quality and efficiency, often in luminaires with unusual optical properties optimized to the building's unique architectural requirements. Both the sources and the fixtures are naturally expensive, but their combination of nice color and high luminous efficacy (often~5x halogen or better) should become commoditized within a few years. Some LED lamps are already at Wal-Mart, and in due course others as pretty as ours will be too.But for now, this technology changes weekly. Some of Jeff's photos showed certain vacant areas as unlit because they were turned off while he was photographing otherareas, but the whole house can now be beautifully lit with very little energy.

• The house was earth-sheltered for aesthetic and microclimatic reasons peculiar to the site. Earth-sheltering does temper the north wall's heat loss somewhat, but earth is good at storing heat, not at insulating against its flow. The construction materials (e.g.,~200 tons of Dakota sandstone retrieved from the adjacent hillside) and style were likewise matched to the site, local style and culture, and owners' aesthetic preferences. If you prefer a New England saltbox, that's fine too.

• The flat roof collects snow that helps insulate. The roof was designed for ultimateearth-sheltering (250 lb/sq ft), so it easily supports the snow load. In our high-desertclimate at 7100', snow seldom overtops the bottom of the solar heat and PV panels, and generally slides off them soon after a storm.

• The original house had no controls except light-switches, operable vents and windows in the atrium (opened and closed once a day in the short summer), and one humidistat (controlling the main air-to-air heat exchanger). The renovated version adds six zonal thermostats to control active solar heat distribution to 11 radiant coils that were cast intothe floor slabs in 1983 but first activated only in 2009. They are meant to provide thelast 1% of the space heating, thereby displacing the two wood stoves; the other 99%remains passive, gained from the windows, people, lights, and appliances, and formerly a 50-watt dog. Running the house does not require tweaking controls, althoughcurrently we're doing that to complete the commissioning of the new systems, check everything is working right, and set up the automatic monitoring system to support our and others' research.

• Our original water-heating system was 99% active-and-passive solar, with a ~1500-gallon stratified quasi-seasonal-storage water tank. The renovation doubled the solarinput and added a second secondary heat exchanger to run the slab coils. We changedthe 1% backup from a modulating solar-backup Aquastar (now Bosch) propane demand heater to an electric boiler in order to minimize carbon footprint.

• If the new boiler ever turns on (which we hope it won't), it won't release carbon,because the building runs on 100+% solar electricity in the daytime and 100% additional purchased wind power at night. We tweaked the expanded photovoltaic system to maximize carbon savings on the grid, and do not store solar electricity for nighttime use(as one of Jeff's labels might imply) because we'd rather displace coal-fired electricity than lose energy going in and out of the batteries. The new PV system is also"islandable"—it works with or without the grid. Part of the old system could do that too,enabling us to offer battery-recharging to local emergency services when the grid went down in a flood a few years ago.

• My comment that "If it looks pretty, it probably doesn't save energy" referred only to piping layout—not to the house, which most people consider beautiful. We see no conflict whatever between efficiency and aesthetics; quite the contrary. We want and get both.

• Jeff's belief that "adopting some of the house's innovations on a wide scale would require huge investment and sweeping changes to governmental policy" is his, not ours.We think it refers to the current cost of bleeding-edge, tiny-volume, handmade technologies, but does not describe what is necessary to move those technologies to volume, nor is it the approach we would recommend for innovative public policy.Specifically, we do not agree that superefficiency requires technology subsidies or government mandates. We got neither. RMI advocates neither. And whatever your income, a ten-month payback is about the highest riskless return in the whole economy.Today, the economics of a design like the original (especially with today's even better technologies) would be even better: the ten-month payback could well be less than zero.

• For those unfamiliar with Rocky Mountain Institute (which Amory co founded in 1982),it's an independent, entrepreneurial, public-benefit (i.e., nonprofit) think-and-do tank that creates abundance by design. Its mission is to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources. It works chiefly with the private sector, gets 30–70% of its $13 million annual revenue from private-sector consulting, is very technology- and market-oriented, andhas spun off five for-profit firms. We, not RMI, paid for the house and nearly all its energy retrofits; some firms, wishing to partner in the building's continuous improvement, kindly donated equipment.

• The building contains much cement and rebar, but was built extremely durably and designed for low maintenance. We haven't calculated its embodied energy, but also saved a good deal of that by materials-conscious design, especially in the retrofit. (ABL is well aware of these issues from having co-developed the "generally accepted accounting principles" for net energy in the 1970s.)

• Our building has had over 100,000 visitors in 27 years and far more online visitors, so we suspect it has had significant outreach influence, although we can't tell how much.Over a decade ago, the Department of Energy put the building on its poster of the most energy-efficient buildings in the United States.

Amory B. Lovins and Judy Hill Lovins

$50 Billion Worth Spending

Here's a letter I sent to the editor of Detroit's Free Press, September 15, 2010. I was encouraged to do so by Transportation for America

You should write one, too. We need better transportation in the U.S., for everyone, not just rich suburbanites. Otherwise, we'll end up with more third world problems than we already have: impoverished cities; a permanent, underemployed underclass; intolerable air pollution; expensive, unhealthy sprawl; billions of petro-dollars sent to other countries; and overwhelmingly expensive effects of global warming.
Your September 6th article, "Obama: Pour $50B into roads, rail to boost hiring," quoted Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., "Americans are rightly skeptical about Washington Democrats asking for more of their money and their patience.”

Considering the contempt Mr. McConnell bestows on any spending that serves the general good, such as health care and renewable energy that would cut consumers cost and create or retain domestic jobs, I think readers should be skeptical when Mr. McConnell claims to speak for them.

Our transportation sector is dilapidated, and $50 billion is only a drop in the bucket, as Mike Thompson pointed out in his enlightening op-ed piece "Help is welcome, but stimulus funds fall far short of state's needs." At best, Michigan will see $1.5 billion of that. And sadly, you can't build, or re-build, too many bridges with $1.5 billion these days.

But, much of the money for the proposed investment will be spent right away, creating badly needed jobs and stimulating our struggling economy. And, we need to stop sending billions to other countries to purchase oil, a large proportion of which is wasted on inefficient vehicles idling in traffic. We need better vehicles, and more important, we need rails, like every other industrialized country, if we want to save some of those oil billions, and live safer, healthier lives.

And, the truth is (according to polls), Americans are in favor of spending money on transportation -- but only when we know what that money will accomplish.

It’s been almost a year since the last transportation law expired, leaving the country with a decades-old broken, oil-dependent, unaccountable system.

Let’s spend some money at home instead of on overseas wars and tax breaks for millionaires as Mr. McConnell favors, and help everyone, including future generations, for a change.
Visit Transportation for America, and send a letter to your local newspaper editor.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Karl Rove Knows Nutty When He Sees It

When Karl Rove says something is nutty, people stand up and take notice. Karl Rove should know nutty when he sees it. He's the original recipe for nutty. He puts the nuts in nut cake. He's cultivated and nurtured an entire generation of nuts. All varieties, all nuts.

Now, the formidable Christine O'Donnell, founder and former president of the Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT), and candidate extraordinaire -- thrice defeated in U.S. Senate Republican primaries and general elections, 2006, 2008, 2010 -- is taking a shot, once again at the U.S. Senate, for which she deems herself eminently qualified: according to Wikipedia, she handled some issue advocacy for the Republican National Committee, founded SALT, "which focused on advocating chastity and other Christian values in the college-age generation," and "also served as a spokesperson for Concerned Women for America, a Conservative Christian political action group which seeks to apply biblical principles to issues of public policy." Chastity? Christian values? Biblical principles? These are all things that would surely benefit the weighty deliberations of the U.S. Senate. She has had some trouble managing her personal and campaign finances, but surely she can make the right decisions to manage finances of the United States.

(Another blog, the Delaware Republican Record, offers more in-depth details of her career, if you need it.)

With the endorsements of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Senator Mitch McConnel, and Senator Jim DeMint, and the Tea Party nut brigade at large, how could she be anything but fair-minded and fiscally responsible, as her sponsors have so reliably been?

Still, Karl Rove says:
Party strategists said on Tuesday evening that they would assess the race this week, but that they would likely direct their money elsewhere — a sign that they believed that Ms. O’Donnell could not prevail in a general election. The Democratic nominee for the seat is Chris Coons, the county executive in New Castle County.
“There’s just a lot of nutty things she’s been saying that just simply don’t add up,” Karl Rove, the Republican strategist, said in a television interview on Fox News. “I’m for the Republican, but I’ve got to tell you, we were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We’re now looking at seven to eight. In my opinion, this is not a race we’re going to be able to win.” 
And if Karl Rove says that, and she gives the Republican party shivers, maybe her sponsors should have second thoughts. But, namby-pamby, introspective, deliberative, second thoughts never served the Republican party before, why would they now?

Friday, September 10, 2010

UCS Fact Checks Wing Nuts

Here's a fun page. The Union of Concerned Scientists fact checks dopey, un-scientific, claims made by conservative wing nuts: UCS Fact Checker

By "un-scientific,"  I mean ignorant, illogical, unreasonable, or plain old deceptive.


Ariana Huffington Shoots the Messenger

In her article,"Obama Insists He Made 'The Right Decisions' on the Economy -- The Struggling Middle Class Begs to Differ," Ariana Huffington argues that President Obama "still doesn't get it," and hasn't done enough to stimulate the economy. OK, lots of economists said the stimulus should have been's my comment on the article:

So, a $1.2 trillion stimulus might have smoothed this crash a bit more. And, maybe unemployment would be 7% now? Or, 8%?

I think it is more constructive if we advocate policies to fix this mess we've been three decades getting ourselves into, instead of slapping Mr. Obama around.

#1: Let the Bush tax cuts expire. A report on NPR indicated that doing so would rein in the deficit in five years. Enough of Republican "Starve the Beast" tactics. We can't run the world's greatest democracy without $$$. I think we've proven that. (

#2: Impose a Value Added Tax to discourage imports, encourage exports, and force corporations to pay their fair share of income tax instead of the measly 3% they average now. Imports cost more, we import less. (

#3: Rebuild our energy infrastructure to exploit renewable energy. Let's not send hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign governments for oil we don't need. We have better alternatives. We also shouldn't spend billions of dollars of public money cleaning up the mess created by the coal industry. We have cheap, clean alternatives. (

#4: Nationalize health care and stop enriching a few execs at the expense of millions of sick and dying citizens. Health care should NOT be a for-profit business.(

#5: Educate our children. All of them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

go beyond oil :: greenpeace

So, here's one of those bleeding-heart liberal, socialists that Republicans love to mock in their special adolescent way. I'll say this: the woman in this video, Anais, has more courage in her little finger than all of the Fox News blowhards combined.

Let's all find a little courage, and change the world before it's too late.

Check out:

And asking Orrin Hatch to prognosticate on the source of our economic woes is like asking Pee Wee Herman for wardrobe advice...just don't.

I didn't just compare Orrin to Pee Wee, did I?

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The Chamber of Commerce: Without Shame or Sense

Well said. What amazes me is that the Chamber doesn't even bother to be objective. If they did, they wouldn't shill for companies pitching antiquated, planet wrecking technologies. They'd shill for renewable energy, public transportation, unions (and not free trade), and nationalized health care. All things that would expand our economy by expanding prosperity to more of us, rather than fewer, as entrenched, capitalized conservatives would have it.

Let's start living in the 21st century. Let's build stuff here, pay people decently to do it, and give them the health care they need to live. We can't afford not to.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

4 States Prepare Legal Assault On California's Climate Law

"We are going to test the limits of how much you can constrain interstate commerce in the name of climate change," Stenehjem said.

So, in this brilliant attorney's addled mind, interstate commerce trumps public health and safety? What if I live in California and want to sell some pot in North Dakota? Can I do that? If this guy Stenehjem says no, he's constraining interstate commerce in the name of whatever values Mr. Stenehjem would cite to justify his anti-pot attitude.

No, this isn't about interstate commerce at all. It's about easy money for coal company executives, and free-flowing campaign contributions for lap dog politicians.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Does praying help when you got no job, you're flat broke, and you got one foot in the gutter?

I really hope so, because if you lack the capital to feed at the hedge fund trough, prayer seems to be the only remedy offered to the impoverished by overfed, conservative lawmakers these days.

And, the Republican, pro-tax cut, me-first, tea-party patriots amongst us sure seem to think prayer is the answer... here's a tribute to the genuine piety they offer every day for the rest of us to take inspiration from. I'm thinking of pure, upstanding guys like Rep. John Boehner, here. Take it, Janis...

"Mercedes Benz"

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ?

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town ?
I'm counting on you, Lord, please don't let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town ?

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

That's it!