American Elephants

A Win for Political Courage and Good Governance! by The Elephant's Child

Imagine! A politically courageous Governor does what he promised, restores solvency to the Wisconsin budget, saves jobs, reins in out-of-control unions, and dramatically improves Wisconsin’s solvency.  And the people appreciate it. The Unions spent big money, screamed epithets, carried rude signs, beat drums and protested steadily. Wisconsin returned Governor Walker to office successfully along with his lieutenant governor, and the state senators facing recall as well. Congratulations to all.

Political courage pays off. Doing the right thing works. Balancing budgets works too.

ADDENDUM:Governor Walker’s Victory Spells Doom for Public Sector Unions

15% of Germans Threatened by Fuel Poverty: How About Us? by The Elephant's Child
June 5, 2012, 6:57 am
Filed under: Politics

The headline reads “Germany Faces Energy Disaster Next Winter” in Die Welt.

Last winter, on several occasions, Germany escaped only just large-scale power outages. Next winter the risk of large blackouts is even greater. The culprit for the looming crisis is the single most important instrument of German energy policy: the “Renewable Energy Law.”

The report from the Federal Network Agency (FNA) on the near blackouts last winter has a dramatic tone, but though the cold spell was short and mild, the situation in the German electricity network was “very serious” according to the Agency.

Germany is a Northern country and doesn’t get all that much sun except in the summer. Russia has plentiful supplies of natural gas, but Mr. Putin in inclined to use their supplies as a weapon to get what he wants. Nobody likes to be blackmailed. Chernobyl wasn’t all that far off, and frightened the Germans. They were really frightened by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the breakdown of the Japanese nuclear plants. Nevermind that Germany is not particularly subject to earthquake, and really doesn’t have to worry about tsunamis. We humans are not always rational.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has ordered German nuclear plants shut down sooner than planned due to German fears of the Japanese nukes. EU energy policies have created an unsustainable, publicly-subsidized market-skewing “green” energy bubble, rejecting a cheap fossil fuel policy and realistic alternatives to Russian gas imports. When times were good, political elites could make a case for high taxes and fashionable renewable fuels, but times have changed. Energy insiders and those who understand the laws of physics have long known that the density of wind and solar is no match for dependable (and cheap) fossil fuels.

In Germany domestic electricity bills are set to double in the next ten years, and German banks have been banned from financing offshore wind farms. 15% of Germans are threatened by fuel poverty. Ten to fifteen percent of Germans are struggling to pay their energy bills. Approximately 600,000 households have their electricity turned off every year because of outstanding bills. The reason is not entirely the promotion of renewable energy as is often claimed, but taxes have gone up sharply: state taxes, VAT, green energy levies, concession fees and electricity taxes. Cold is far more dangerous to life than heat.

Britain, too, is in dire straits with their energy supplies. They have been forced by law to retire many of their conventional power plants, and the romantic dreams of replacing conventional energy with wind and solar has been a fraud.

Why care about the Europeans? Because their coming energy disasters are exactly what the EPA and the Sierra Club and its cohorts are promoting for us. The Sierra Club has already managed to prevent new coal-fired plants from being built and are successfully shutting down hundreds of existing plants, in the illusion that will force us to accept the solar and wind energy that we are reluctant to adopt because it is more expensive. They simply do not get that their green fantasies don’t work.

Winters are getting colder, and we will see how many people die from fuel poverty because of ideologues’ ignorance of physics.

Morning Cute IV. by The Elephant's Child

This is Aldo, an orphaned black bear cub. At just a couple of months old, he weighed 4 pounds, about the same as a half-gallon of milk. He could, however, grow up to be 6 feet tall and weigh 600 pounds. The Oregon Zoo, already had four bears, but  found a  home for him at the NEW Zoo in Suamico, Wisconsin, home to an adult black bear named Winnie. There’s a video of Aldo at the Zoo Borns website and lots more pictures as well as more of his story.

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