American Elephants

Porkulus narrowly passes test vote in Senate. by The Elephant's Child
February 9, 2009, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Education, Energy, Environment, Socialism | Tags: , ,

The “Stimulus” bill will be voted on by the Senate tomorrow, and if today’s test vote counts, will probably pass.  This will be a tragedy for the country. It is payback to Democrat donors and supporters, earmarks for friends and associates and a Democrat wish list with billions and billions of dollars attached at random. If you talk about millions and billions long enough, a trillion doesn’t seem like a big deal.

• Deep in the heart of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are a number of flawed assumptions  That is, aside from the basic assumption that “spending”  in itself is stimulus, which I dealt with here.

• President Obama has spoken at length about crumbling roads, bridges and schools.  Popular Mechanics explains why the 90-day restriction by Congress stipulates “shovel ready” projects, which amount to road resurfacing.  In the 1930s this was shovel work, but today it is skilled blue-collar work. There is an assumption that construction workers are interchangeable from one kind of project to another, but this is no longer the case.

• $142,000,000,000 is allocated in the bill for schools.  This nearly doubles the total outlays of the Department of Education in 2007.  The Milwaukee Public Schools would receive $88,900,000 over 2 years for new construction projects under the House version of the bill — even though the district has 15 currently vacant school buildings. Enrollment is declining, and is projected to continue declining.  The district also has a large school voucher program which provides public funds for children to attend private school.  Families in the means-tested voucher program receive $6,700 per pupil, while the city spends more than $13,000 per student.

Obama said to the Democratic caucus “Well, you know, you want to replace the federal fleet with hybrid cars.  Well, why wouldn’t we want to do that? (Laughter) That creates jobs for people who build those cars.  it saves the federal government energy.  It saves the taxpayers energy.”

• The federal government over the past 16 years has invested billions of dollars in building a fleet of 112,000 alternative-fuel vehicles to serve as a model for the country’s benighted citizens.  The expensive effort to put more workers into vehicles powered by ethanol and other alternate fuels, ran into the minor problem that there were not fuel stations in place to support them.  Waivers were required by law if vehicles were more than 5 miles or 15 minutes from a flex-fuel station. The program ended up increasing gasoline consumption and emission rates.

• President Obama has just signed an executive order demanding that Detroit must produce automobiles that meet California’s state 45 mpg standards, something that the car companies say is simply not possible. This is inflicted on car companies already in dire straits.

• A new study shows corn ethanol is worse for the environment than gasoline. And creates mass hunger in developing countries as well.

• Heavy use of biofuels would simply move us from depending on foreign oil to depending on foreign food. A 2007 study from MIT estimated that as much as 500 million acres of land would be required, which would displace so much cropland that the US would have to become a significant agricultural importer.

• Green opposition to nuclear power and the decline in nuclear  infrastructure suggest that the optimistic case is that we could perhaps build as many as 30 new reactors by 2030 — the pessimistic view from the Congressional Research Service is that we aren’t likely to see a serious increase in nuclear power for 15 or 20 years.

• Some scientists expect the current cooling trend to last for at least 30 years.  A government that refuses to drill for oil and natural gas may have an energy gap when increasing cold and increasing population require more energy for heat.  Far more people die from cold than from hot weather.

“Homes served” is not a valid concept when referring to wind turbines and wind farms.  Wind turbines produce electricity only when wind speeds are in the right speed range.  Homes using electricity from wind must always have a reliable energy source to supply energy when the wind isn’t blowing at the right speed.  Electricity from wind farms is seldom available when most needed.  There are few job or economic benefits.  It does not reduce dependence on imported oil, and when all true costs are counted it is not competitive in cost.

• Noted in an previous post, $4.5 billion has been budgeted for a bigger, smarter and more energy-efficient electric grid, but industry estimates from 2004 put the price tag at $165 billion.  The industry noted that the grid is not particularly job intensive, but rather technology intensive , and much of the technology has not yet been invented.

• The goal of the green-collar vision is ending our “addiction” to fossil fuels and mandating “sustainable,” hydrocarbon-free lifestyles.  Fossil fuels provide 85% of all the energy Americans use; nuclear power 8%, hydroelectric 3%.  Wind and solar produce  .05% of total US energy.  Conservation, efficiency and renewables will not bridge this enormous energy gap in one decade and probably not in four decades.

• The justification for all the billions of dollars of investment in “green” energy and “green” jobs is a belief in catastrophic climate change.  The “catastrophe” occurs only in computerized climate models that bear little resemblance to Earth’s actual climate.  Hundreds of climate scientists reject the false “consensus” on climate disaster.  Observed science notes that the earth has not warmed for the last ten years, and has actually been cooling for the last five years.

A Much-Needed Reminder. by The Elephant's Child
February 9, 2009, 2:55 am
Filed under: Economy, Socialism | Tags: , ,

(h/t: PowerLine)

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