Bob's Links and Rants

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Something for everyone

We here at Bob's Links and Rants (and by "we" I mean "I") aim to please. So here's a hodgepodge of selections to suit nearly every taste.

For the optimist, from Home Power magazine:
According to the EPA, a total switch to energy-efficient lighting in the US would keep 202 million tons of carbon dioxide, and 600,000 tons of nitrogen oxides out of the atmosphere. Some experts suggest such a switch would reduce the US yearly energy bill by at least $30 billion.

If all US households replaced one incandescent bulb with one CF bulb, one nuclear power plant could be shut down. If US homes replaced all of their 500 million incandescent bulbs with CF ones, the US instantly would have untold energy wealth and surplus--no more shortages or brownouts.
For the pessimist, the ever-reliable James Howard Kunstler:
Take a good look at America around you now, because when we emerge from the winter of 2005-6, we're going to be another country. The reality-oblivious nation of mall hounds, bargain shoppers, happy motorists, Nascar fans, Red State war hawks, and born-again Krispy Kremers is headed into a werewolf-like transformation that will reveal to all the tragic monster we have become.
In this remarkable three weeks since New Orleans was shredded, no Democrat has stepped into the vacuum of leadership, either, with a different vision of what we might do now, and who we might become. This is the kind of medium that political maniacs spawn in. Something is out there right now, feeding on the astonishment and grievance of a whipsawed middle class, and it will have a lot more nourishment in the months ahead.

There are two things that the newspapers and TV Cable News outfits are not covering very well. One is that the Port of New Orleans is not functioning, with poor prospects for a quick recovery, and with it will go much of the Midwestern grain harvest. Another thing that has fallen off the radar screen is the damage done to the oil and gas infrastructure around the Gulf Coast, especially the onshore facilities for storing and transporting stuff, and for marshaling the crews and equipment to fix stuff. The US is going to run short of its customary supplies for a long time. The idea that these things will not affect an economy of ceaseless mobility is not realistic.
Meanwhile, does anybody remember a place called Iraq? A bomb that killed thirty people was reported on page 12 of the Sunday New York Times. That's how important Iraq has become. But, I guess, a nation can hardly pay attention to a bullet in the foot when it has a sucking chest wound.
For you gibberish fans, here's W himself:
And that can-do spirit is -- these county commissioners -- we call them county commissioners -- county supervisors and mayors who are dealing with unbelievable trauma, and, you know, they're right there on a front line of trying to comfort people who hurt. And, yet, amidst all that agony and pain they're going through was this comforting spirit. The can-do spirit is, you know, seeing progress being made. And inside this tent there's a can-do spirit of taking a horrible situation and making this part of the world better. And so I'm impressed.
And for blue-state gibberish fans, here's John Kerry:
[Ex-FEMA director Mike Brown] is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq, what George Tenet is to slam-dunk intelligence, what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad, what Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy, what Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning, what Tom DeLay is to ethics and what George Bush is to "Mission Accomplished" and "Wanted Dead or Alive."
For those who like to do the math, there's Paul Craig Roberts:
According to the September 1 Manufacturing & Technology News, the Government Accounting Office has reported that over the course of the cakewalk war, the US militaryís use of small caliber ammunition has risen to 1.8 billion rounds. Think about that number. If there are 20,000 insurgents, it means US troops have fired 90,000 rounds at each insurgent.

Very few have been hit. We donít know how many. To avoid the analogy with Vietnam, until last week the US military studiously avoided body counts. If 2,000 insurgents have been killed, each death required 900,000 rounds of ammunition.
And for those of you who think James Howard Kunstler is really an optimist, there's this from the Independent:
A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.

They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.

The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a "tipping point" beyond which nothing can reverse the continual loss of sea ice and with it the massive land glaciers of Greenland, which will raise sea levels dramatically.
"Born again Krispy Kremers." That's funny. Mmmm...donuts...