Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This is funny...

Motor Trend schools Rush Limbaugh on the Chevy Volt.

Wormwood hasn't yet been tossed down a long flight of stone steps, (metaphorically speaking) but its coming.

5 years from now, no one will remember that they ever listened to this clown.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Northern Wisconsin needs an Open Pit mine

I am sure this would be a good idea: An open pit mine in Northern Wisconsin. I am sure that the company running this operation will do a better job protecting the environment, than, say, those dirty coal companies in Appalachia:

" The company is a subsidiary of the Cline Group, which controls large coal reserves in Illinois and parts of the Appalachian region."

Oh, well. Fortunately, there aren't any sensitive rivers in the area.

"The Penokee Range is the headwaters for the Bad River, including Copper Falls State Park, and Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay, said Matt Dallman, director of conservation in northern Wisconsin for the Nature Conservancy."

I am sure that everything a coal company tells us about the environment will be on the up and up, so I don't foresee any environmental problems with the project.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why we don't have to worry about global warming...

John Shimkus (R-Illinois)-the guy who might be in charge of the Energy and Commerce committee-just told us Man-Made Climate Change can't be happening because God told Shimkus He wouldn't let such a thing happen. So any hearings to prevent, mitigate, or prepare for any hypothetical devastation are unnecessary- though hearings investigating any Baal worshipers otherwise known as Scientists that do not accept the Representative's infallible theological interpretation might be valuable use of his committee's time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Waiting to Derail...

The Mayor of Watertown: Walker's turning down High Speed Rail would make Wisconsin the "Laughing-stock of the Nation."

I hope the next election features ads with the governors of New York and Illinois getting on high speed trains saying "Thanks, Wisconsin!"

What is a laughing-stock, anyway? Did laughing-stocks fare better than my retirement funds over the last few years?

David Roberts had a similar reaction to the James Fallows article on Clean Coal technology: Why does Fallows write as if environmentalists' hatred of coal were the problem? The whole thing is worth reading, but here is a taste:

If "clean coal" development isn't happening in the U.S., it's not because DFHs (Dirty F*#king Hippies) are against it, it's because nothing is happening in the U.S. A piece focused on that corrupt, criminal inaction might rattle a few cages. A piece reassuring Big Coal and its many backers that they'll always be in the driver's seat won't.

Dylan Matthews concurs:

But, as Roberts notes, climate hawks aren't in charge. Because of the filibuster, and now GOP control of the House, the balance of power rests with people who deny the need to take just about any action to stop climate change. So why is Fallows concerned with rebutting them, (Quietnorth note: "them" refers to climate hawks or "Dirty F*&king Hippies" as the case may be) rather than trying to win over people to his right, who are actually in a position to change things?

Oil addiction creates half of our trade deficit

Via Matt Yglesias: The need for oil makes up half of the United States trade deficit.

Another way that turning down high speed rail is economically foolish.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fallows Gets Played

I like James Fallows, but his article on Coal in the Atlantic is a very frustrating unforced error. (It seems the article is no longer available online-don't know if its temporary)

He could have written an article whose main point would be: "We really need strict Carbon Limits because that is the only way we are going to get cleaner technology, including maybe even a kind of coal extraction that doesn't screw up the land, destroy rivers and ruin the climate." He says as much in the article. It is a key point, and a point he probably thinks is a key point, but he chooses not to emphasize it.

Instead, we get an article that screams "WE NEED CLEAN COAL!" which will be further reduced in people's minds to "CLEAN COAL!". He throws in some very long shot ideas on a clean extraction process, and essentially, it becomes another unpaid-for Clean Coal ad whose purpose is to muddy the waters with a product that doesn't exist.

This may seem a bit cranky on my part. But I live in a state that is going to lose high speed rail because polluting industries helped elect an idiot for a governor who doesn't believe in addressing the climate as a problem. So for Fallows to criticize clean energy advocates by saying "We need all climate solutions, including clean coal", I wonder why he isn't directing that back at all the folks from Coal and Oil industries fighting climate legislation and clean energy transportation?

And why does he consider it "theological" to believe in wind and solar as tas answers, but not "theological" to think we are going to be saved by another version of the "clean coal" scam?

Set a strong cap on carbon emissions, and if that leads to a totally clean coal that doesn't screw up the land, no one will be happier than me. But Fallows' article just gives cover to more of the same.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Deep Thought

Bjorn Lomborg being repeatedly and thoroughly discredited is not enough for Andrew Sullivan to say his latest flip-flop is an "antidote to the fear behind climate change".

Personally, I am not interested in an antidote to fear about climate change, I would prefer an antidote to the actual climate change!

Bill Gates believes in Climate Change

Jeff Goodell interviews Bill Gates on his hope to find a technological solution to removing carbon from the energy equation.

I like this quote:

Energy innovation is not a nationalistic game. If tomorrow some other country invented cheap energy with no CO2 output, would that be a bad day or a good day? For anybody who's reasonable, that would be, like, the best day ever. If all you care about is America's relative position, every day since the end of World War II has really been bad for you. So when somebody says to me, "Oh, the Chinese are helping to lower the cost of it, or creating something that emits less CO2," I say, "Great." The Chinese are also working on new drugs. When your children get sick, they might be able to take those drugs.

Another required reading article by Jeff Goodell here. Rolling Stone: One of the last bastions of actual long form journalism.

Financial shortsightedness begins

In a bid to demonstrate his commitment to financial austerity , Wisconsin's Governor elect Scott Walker has said he will maintain his campaign promise to kill all highway and high speed rail projects and return the money to the federal government.

Oh. He isn't killing the expensive highway projects? Just the rail projects?

Walker knows what climate scientists and military experts don't know- we will always have an unlimited amount of cheap oil, and climate change doesn't exist. So, it won't cost us anything to continue ignoring these made up problems.

But having a high speed rail line foster an economic corridor between Chicago and Minneapolis built with federal dollars will impose an awful burden on Wisconsin.

I am sure the voters will thank him for it in the next election. I know that the States that take those federal dollars will thank him!

Friday, November 05, 2010

F.A. Hayek: There is no free market right to pollute the air

As Matt Yglesias notes, the current intellectual father of the modern Free Market, anti-government movement had no problem with government controlling air pollution. There is no inherent "right" under a free market to pollute the air.

People who opposed a carbon tax or cap and trade were actually opposing the most free market ways of dealing with air pollution. All that is left is something that looks much more like government regulation of the kind free market people don't like-mandating emission standards. But they only have themselves to blame. John McCain at one time actually understood this, but turned his back on it.