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blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain sleeps unaware of the clarion call.
On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves washes the grave with silvery tears,
a soldier cleans and polishes a gun.
War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions, generals order their soldiers to kill
and to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Linkee-poo of one, because it is awesome

The Rolling Stone article on Climate of Denial. (Grokked from Jay Lake) There's a lot in there about the ongoing political struggles regard climate change and the deniers. Also a lot about modern politics and news coverage. Some will mark it off as it's by Al Gore.

I've heard people knock Al Gore because, "with his investments he stands to gain" by this argument. They say this as if it were deep wisdom, and a crushing insult to his character. Really? Let me see, a person sees a trend coming and positions his investments to profit by future events. Sounds like smart investing to me. Isn't that what we all try to do? As to the subtext of, "He'll make money", let's see, just how much profit did Exxon-Mobil, BP, Massey, and all the rest post last year? Who has the most to gain from this discussion?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haven't had a chance to read the Rolling Stone article yet, but saw this posted last week. Agenda-driven media, all of it.

Anonymous Cassie

Steve Buchheit said...

Well, in this case (global climate change) Cassie, one or the other side is correct.

And I don't believe in an "agenda-driven" media (I'll make an exception for Fox News, because they do have an investment in the outcome). Do I think the "news" is doing it's real job? Not in the least. They tend to be repeater stations for whatever someone says instead of arbiters of facts (when things can actually be verified).

And, strangely enough, that's the middle part of the article.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't commenting (this time) on the media in general, but on the two articles - yours and mine - in this post. Mea culpa, I was unclear.

Did you see the Jon Stewart interview on Fox with Chris Wallace? I agreed with Stewart: the majority of the mainstream media is lazy and is primarily focuses on selling news - so therefore it is agenda-driven: profit for the producers. Wallace pulled out at least one example that Stewart had to agree was an egregious failing of Diane Sawyer's.

It's blind to think that the major news sources, including the networks such as CBS, NBC et al are any different than FOX - they all have investments in their news divisions.

AC

Steve Buchheit said...

Cassie, I did catch part of that. And I agree with Jon Stewart. The media, in general, is exceptionally lazy these days. However, I disagree with "they're all like Fox."

Fox is heavily invested in political outcomes (hiring strategies and corporate gifts, not to mention the stated goals of Roger Ailes). At best you could say network news is compromised by their need to be profit centers. I don't see how that makes them "agenda driven." Maybe more mercenary (going to the highest bidder). They may want to "block" bad news for their advertisers.

I'll also point out Jon's comments about how Chris Wallace's show was an isolated island which tries to lend credibility to the other 21+ hours of programming. Which is a statement I also agree with (although Chris does have his own agenda, as he stated in his book that came out after he left the other network news organizations and joined Fox, he does try to be fair).

Just calling out (criticizing) members of one's own party, mostly because they've fallen from the faith, isn't journalistic integrity. After all, Jon also bagged on Obama during that interview, as he also does on the Daily Show.

Anonymous said...

Is there a post or two in your queue from me? I'm sure I sent a link to you at least twice and it's still not showing up in this discussion...

Steve Buchheit said...

Cassie, just checked both the moderation and spam folders. No comments awaiting in either.

Usually I do get an email about if there is a comment there (although the one time I didn't). But went through both places they could be and there's no comments waiting for approval.

Heck, there isn't any Russian Viagra or Chinese Fish Farm ads either. Might need to check the other logs to see if they're still hitting my blog or if I can take off captcha.

Anonymous said...

Ok, third time's a charm:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/06/24/the-failure-of-al-gore-part-one/

Part two is linked.

I haven't read all of part 2 yet, but I found part 1 compelling reading.

AC

Steve Buchheit said...

Wow, a two part ad hominem attack on Al Gore. While the author is certainly eriditer-than-thou, he offers nothing to support his bubble think and only rolls out the tired, idiotic criticisms. I'll give him due, at least he didn't bring out the sex-scandal (probably because the case was dropped once the police actually started researching it, after they were convinced by conservative press that they should).

Why won't Al Gore hobble himself and make himself the caricature if the tree-hugging greens we all thing he is? And by doing so lose his influence and position to actually change anything and just becomes another long haired hippy that we can ignore.

That seems to be the basic theme of the article.

Really, Cassie, our discussions are better than this.

Or do I need to deconstruct the whole thing for you? First hint, he criticized Al Gore for not "walking the walk" but then discounts that he does utilizes "expensive, exotic technology", purchases offsets, and does walk the walk - seriously, when I can defeat the article for internal inconsistency, before I get to things that the US is now seriously behind the curve in Green Tech - Brazil is now exporting all their oil they don't use for plastics, because internally they use ethanol, and Germany is progressing even farther into distributed solar (more installed base than all of US), and China is now selling us wind turbines. Only the US lags behind because of 8 years of an anti-science president.

The author is a denialist, anti-science, and is attempting to throw sand to confuse the masses. "Pay no attention to him, he's a kook," is what he's saying.

Anonymous said...

No, no, no, I didn't post that as an example or an argument that I would make. Go back to my first post - "Agenda-driven media" - both the RS and this article aren't about facts so much as driving their POV.

(I am willing to concede that I forgot the link in the first post, but I know that I posted it here at least 2ce before it came up. BloggerFail.)

I was absolutely fascinated at the way the author twisted Al Gore. Analysis of that article would lead into some kind of bizarre double helix.

The whole offset industry? investment? looks like one giant ponzi scheme to me. I have yet to see or hear a single explanation of how this is supposed to work that isn't based on hand-waving magic worthy of J.K. Rowling. If someone is serious about reducing their impact on the environment, then they have to change how they live.

(This is my biggest issue with electric cars. Essentially, I'm fueling my car with energy that pollutes someone else's environment and calling it "environmental." This doesn't strike me as ethical or environmental. Same with fluorescent lightbulbs. CFL are built in China without adequate health procautions for those who are constantly exposed to mercury. But we're banned from making or even importing a safe alternative in the name of "environmentalism." The lack of ethics in this infuriates me. Ok, rant over.)

If Brazil is selling oil to us (didn't Obama pay something like $2B for their off shore oil development while shutting down our gulf oil fields - see rant above again.) it's because they're razing the rainforests to grow corn. Enviormentalists ok with that, are they?

As for the turbines - I do recall that there was a great deal of hype about Obama visiting a Cleveland-based turbine company a couple of years back. Green investment, new jobs, that sort of thing? If Bush hindered it - why was that company there? I'm missing some evidence that we're behind due to Bush. If you've got some proof that Bush prevented the growth of this industry, I'd like to see it. But if you're going to claim that by failing to support the development it's impeded the industry, you're on quicksand.

AC

Steve Buchheit said...

Carbon offsets dealt with their own post.

CFLs, I don't know what you mean by a more efficient technology that we can't make hear. We're making LED lights (which is the next step, understand that CFLs were considered a 10 year stop gap measure, I actually have a lot of insight into this issue with the work I did for GE Lighting, back when they called them Helix Lights, CFLs not being the swirly things they are now). Unfortunately it's another technology that was off-shored to China, and they're now making them more than we are. There is a company down in GA (IIRC) that figured out how to make a LED 60w replacement A-line bulb for $20. But really, we haven't made a lot of consumer light bulbs in this country since the early 90s (most are made in Europe, but all CFLs are made in China, I could explain why, but that's another whole post).

Link please for that $2B payment to Brazil. I don't remember that.

And Brazil is making their ethanol from sugar cain (the waste from sugar production). The land they're growing it on was cleared a long time ago. No, it's not a great solution, but it's impossible to replant a rain forest. And the politics around the moritorium and it's real economic impact on oil production (exceptionally minor) is another whole post.

China's turbines are a decade ahead of ours, and we're importing their technology to try and catch up (gear box, engineering, and the carbon-fiber manufacturing process). Actually during the 00s the US fell behind in several technology categories (we can say we're better, but when S. Korea has faster broadband, and in a greater percentage to their population, something is wrong... let us not even discuss cell/smart phone technology compared to the rest of the world).

As for Bush hindering Green technology development, that's a masters of poli sci paper. We could start with his failure to recognize global climate change, even though his serial request to the NSI (4 reports in the first 3 years of his presidency) all said that yes, Global Warming is happening, an the last one said that we're pretty positive it's also human cause. He didn't believe it. He also appointed press secretaries to government agencies (Energy, NASA, NWS, and NIS) who changed the reports on climate change (all four of those departments were scandals, which resulted in the resignations of the press secretary, including two who I believe faked their education credentials). He gutted funding for alternative energy research in the DoE. He tanked Kyoto and ignored other climate summits (including some that the rest of the world was happy that the US didn't show up with and disrupt their proceedings like they did at others). He eliminated Pres. Clinton's hybrid car initiative (which would have had more of us driving hybrid cars by now) and replaced it with his fuel cell initiative (which won't finish until the end of the decade).

California is buying a lot of their turbines from China. China is installing them over the Pacific Rim. It was only when demand outstripped foreign supply that we started building them ourselves. Licensing some of the tech and reinventing the wheel on the others. Other energy tech start up received both tax credits as well as government investment and research. Wind and Solar don't have them (but we still have the Oil and Gas programs/tax credits).

Do I need to go on?

Steve Buchheit said...

Sorry, NIS and NSI should be NSF (National Science Foundation). Too much word salad at work.

Anonymous said...

$2B to Brazil for offshore oil drilling here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203863204574346610120524166.html

The drawback to Sirius Radio is I can't remember what program I was listening to regarding new rainforest logging for farmers. Google is failing me! IIRC, the corn harvest this year was (so good/so bad?) that they are increasing the acreage planted next year. The new farm land is currently forested and will be logged and converted to farmland.

Lightbulbs: have you actually seen an LED lightbulb designed for a standard household lamp? I got more light from an old flashlight bulb than we got from the LED light. It was useless. I couldn't read by it, much less do anything else. This is the future of home lighting?

Looking at our incandescents, all of them say "Made in USA."

But the fact remains that in our quest to be environmentally friendly, the results are far more severe in other places. We use CFLs, China is poisoned. We use electric cars and power plants in WV and OH burn coal hundreds of miles away, polluting the environment of those people, not us.

AC

Steve Buchheit said...

Cassie, sorry, this post is now old enough that all comments automatically go to moderation.

I'll have to read that article tonight. Things are very busy at the moment.

Also, you need to get better LED lighting. Look at the Lumens ratings (there is no real regulation here, and companies can say there bulb is a 60W replacement, when really it's a 30W). Same was true when CFLs first came out. I have one LED A19 bulb, there was a sale, and it works just fine for me. The lumens for a 60W replacement should be around 800. Right now they mostly retail for $40. I keep looking for that other company's bulbs, but can't find them.

Brazil's corn fields go to feed cattle, which feeds our McD's. Like I said, the use sugar cane for their ethanol (it had a higher yield, corn was selected in the US because we had tons of surplus at the time, and the corn lobby was big, not for any real scientific reason). And yes, they continue to cut down the rainforest for new corn (because rainforest soil is actually quite poor) and soon will be flooding a large area for a new hydro damn. It's not like the environmentalists are happy about it.

Also, just because something is labeled "Made in the USA" doesn't mean it actually was (thanks to Republican law makers who loosened those regulations). Made in the USA now only requires something like 20% of parts or labor. Depending on content, that might mean the cardboard sleeve.

And, again, it's about percentages. To live is to have impact. How can we have less impact? If driving electrical cars reduces out CO2 output to 10% over what an internal combustion engine outputs, electrical cars are a better solution. Not perfect. But you can also get electricity from Green sources. You can make a gas engine only so efficient.

Steve Buchheit said...

just loaded the WSJ article to see how long it was. Was fortunately brief enough.

1) this was 2009 (1 year before the spill and moratorium)

2) this was loans or loan guarantees, not direct cash

3) that year Obama made a big point of offshore drilling here in the US. You might remember he actually made a big speech about how he was going to enhance and open up ever more waters for drilling than GW Bush had. The paperwork was in the pipeline when the Macando well went kablooie.

4) the moratorium was because it became obvious that our minimal safety requirements weren't in place. Once they were, off shore drilliing was reopened (about half a year early IIRC).

5) Brazil's offshore reserves dwarf the US reserves. And it's US companies that are typically hired to run the operations (so consider it a jobs program)