Tag Archives: Renewable Energy

Jottings and Questions V

Catholic & Lutheran Bishops have urged Governor Dayton and the Legislature to preserve access to basic needs for the state’s poor.  It’s funny how GOP wants the poor, disabled, elderly, mentally ill, public school districts, colleges and universities and middle class workers to sacrifice for this 5 billion dollar deficit, but they don’t think the wealthiest Minnesotans should sacrifice a little with a small tax increase?  …no, I guess it isn’t funny.

If free-market or trickledown economics work, why are there 50 million people living under the poverty line?

When I was asked as a candidate about nuclear power, and the nuclear power moratorium, I stated I was not a fan of nuclear power, nor would I support lifting the moratorium.  My reasoning was that in the first place, we still don’t have a way to recycle or store the used nuclear waste, but my main reason was that it just takes one disaster, one terrorism action or poor design to harm innocent people.  I was told how many good union jobs it would create, how much the technology has improved, how many safety backups there were, and that it was possibly the safest energy America can produce.  The problem is that we cannot predict everything that can happen.  We can keep learning and improving, but a single disaster every 20-30 years impacts communities, including children and families around it.  It isn’t just worker’s taking a risk, neighborhoods are at risk.  Maybe instead of spending so much on nuclear power, the government should stop subsidizing nuclear power and begin investing more money in new, clean and safe energy technologies.

Farmington and Lakeville both have senior centers.  In fact, in Farmington the Rambling River Center was moved and updated recently, and in Lakeville the Senior Center is at capacity and the council has discussed moves.  Senior centers are a good thing, but why don’t we have teen or rec centers in Farmington or Lakeville?

When I was a kid growing up in South Minneapolis, the Foshay Tower and the IDS were the two buildings that poked up over the trees.  The IDS and the Foshay were the Minneapolis skyline.  The other day I was sitting by a window looking at the Foshay Tower in the not too far distance.  It is a great building, and worth noting a little of its history and a couple facts.  It was the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi and was finished just before the start of the Great Depression in 1929.  It stood as Minnesota’s tallest building until the IDS passed it during construction in 1972.  It is still the second tallest concrete skyscraper, second only to the Empire State Building in NY.  When I was working on the senior paper for my history degree, I and one other student did concentrations on Minnesota history.  My senior paper was on the history and disappearance of local breweries in Minnesota, hers was on Wilbur Foshay and the lawsuits that followed his financial ruin due to the Great Depression and Ponzi schemes.  It is an interesting story, worth learning more about, and it is a great looking building.

Pollution billionaire David Koch sees the heating up of the planet as good news. From a New York Magazine interview: “The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food.” Yeah, that’s the ticket…

As tax season winds down, I want to remind people to fill in the box on your Minnesota income tax forms for the State Elections Campaign Fund.  It doesn’t reduce your tax refund or increase your tax payment if you owe, it simply is used to determine how much public funding goes to state candidates in your district.  In district 36, more Republicans checked the box than DFLers, resulting in the Republican candidate receiving $2087 more dollars to use for the 2010 election.  $2000 is a mailer!  The southern Senate districts of 33, 34, 35 and 36 have the largest ratio of Republican checkoffs.  It is hard for progressives to win if they can’t compete from a money standpoint.  Fill in the box, the DFL code is 13!


Way to go Norm Coleman, who needs renewable energy?

This is one of three blog headline Featured on the front page of Norm Coleman’s website

“Norm Coleman: Fighting To End Our Addiction To Foreign Oil”

Of course yesterday, he voted to block the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 in order to protect a tax loophole for hedge fund managers and a tax break for multi-national corporations. That doesn’t sound like he wants to end our addiction to oil.

That bill would have encouraged investment in renewable energy technology, extended the research and development tax credit, and provided middle-class families with some much-needed tax relief.

Way to go Norm!

What do you get when you cross a truck with a hybrid? Not much.

A friend of mine told me to register for the HGTV Dream Home in the Florida Keys. The prize is a 2.2 million dollar home with furnishings and a new GMC Yukon Hybrid. There is no way I could pay the property taxes, let alone the income tax on receiving that home, but I was very intrigued by the GMC Yukon Hybrid.

A hybrid truck! That sounds great! It was until I saw the MPG is 20 city, and 21 highway. That sucks! A regular Yukon gets 14 city, and 21 highway. I realize it is an improvement, and better than nothing, but nobody can tell me that the auto industry is unable to do better.

We have heard all of the statistics that cars actually have worse gas mileage now than they did in the 70s. We’ve heard Exxon made 40 billion dollars last year. It is practically conspiratorial – cars use more gas, oil companies charge more and it cripples the middle and working class.

This lack of innovation could lead to worse things. Wants rather than innovation lead to war. One of Japan’s goals in starting WWII was to acquire natural resources. Sudan’s recent war turned into a war over oil. And the US has been militarily involved in the Middle East for more than a half a century because of oil. We have fought two wars in Iraq, on top of spending trillions of dollars throughout the Middle East to support governments considered “favorable” to us.

Oil Obsolescence is the path to world peace, at least temporarily. I say temporarily because it probably won’t be long before wars over other natural resources, like water, take over.

Without the innovation, we are risking economic security. Since OPEC cut oil production in the 1970s creating the oil crisis what have we done? Nothing!

Politicians only care about now, and risk our health, security and freedoms in the future rather than planning for the future. America is not a corporation. We aren’t stockholders looking for a big dividend. We need long term security, and forward thinkers.

St. Paul Ford Plant – Buy American!

My Grandpa worked at the St. Paul Ford Plant for over 30 years. That Ford Plant was an example of the greatness of America.

That plant, and the other manufacturing facilities like it across the United States, provided good paying jobs for Americans and products that Americans wanted. During the 1950s, almost all the cars sold in America were made in America. I would guess, although I do not know for sure, that most of the shiny new refrigerators, dishwashers, toasters and blenders that graced the kitchens of the 1950s middle class home were made in America too. When somebody bought a toaster made in America, they not only got a tasty piece of toast, they supported the 50 people in the toaster plant who spent their money in America on more American products.

What happened to America then? The economy boomed. Now it is true that half of the rest of the world was recovering from the war, but it cannot be a coincidence that a country that was 5% of the world’s population, produced their own items, bought their own items, and maintained a wealth greater than the rest of the world combined.

Everything has changed. Like so many other manufacturing plants in America, my Grandpa’s Ford Plant is closing. My telephone is made in Malaysia, my “American” car is made in Canada, the keyboard I’m typing on was made in Thailand, my watch was made in Japan and practically everything else around me was made in China. I want to buy American, but even Levi’s aren’t made in America anymore!

We need to support American production. Al Franken has talked about my Grandpa’s Ford Plant. He thinks our state needs it, and maybe wind energy could be the answer. Southern Minnesota’s farm horizons are broken by giant wind turbines, producing clean energy for us and additional income for the farmers. But those turbines are imported from Germany, Spain, Japan and Denmark. There are no manufacturing plants in the United States yet, the first one will open in Iowa this year or next.

Minnesota has a good plant in Saint Paul, why not try to return to the boom of the 1950s by manufacturing our own products and buying our own goods. We can start with the Ford Plant and wind. We can sell million dollar wind turbines, we can employee 100 people making good wages, and we can even help clean up the environment. If we could get all those new plant workers to buy American made products, it would be perfect.

Buy American!

Hillary, Barack and the Energy Issue

“I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use our natural resources, but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

It is very early right now, but I am excited about the competition between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and the prospect that one of them will likely be the next President.

One thing that I am paying attention to is their stances on energy issues. While the war is the overriding hot issue right now, it can be stopped in a day. The impending energy crisis can’t. I believe both candidates will be very progressive when it comes to energy issues, but I am waiting to see what sort of energy issues they will campaign on.

Barack Obama’s website list some bills he has introduced to increase energy independence, but he doesn’t have the plans Dennis Kucinich has, and Hillary Clinton doesn’t even have an issues section on her website yet.

What I think we need to recognize is that when we talk about energy policy, we are talking about environmental issues and global warming issues too. Everything is intertwined, but the energy issue is number one.

Right now, expert scientists, energy advocates and pastors are speaking out about global warming on a daily basis. While I believe that needs to be done, we need to begin by talking about the energy policy issues and potential crisis the nation is facing. If energy policy is the key phrase, Republicans who refuse to accept the idea of global warming cannot reject the fact that we need to reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East. Wording is important.

When we begin concentrating on creating renewable, cleaner energy, we will create a better environment.