February 1, 2006

"He's wrong, but I don't know what we should do, either!"

Hillary Clinton Trashes Bush Address
I think the biggest reason I have to object to Mrs. Bill Clinton's remarks about the State of the Union Address is because she offers reasons for why the President is wrong without saying why, or what should be done about it.

I don't think the government should be responsible for the public's healthcare needs. People who can't afford healthcare should be taken care of, of course, and that I don't disagree with. However, Mrs. Bill wants everyone's healthcare subsidized by the taxpayers, regardless of income... That is, unless they are independently wealthy, in which case "You're on your own".

Also, I do think we as a nation should work towards ridding ourselves of foreign sources of energy, but criticizing the President's energy policy, which demands we do exactly that, and also standing against technology and exploration which would allow us to eliminate our reliance on foreign energy seems just a little counter-productive.

Mrs. Bill, I would suggest if you're going to open your mouth, next time have something truly constructive exit instead of your foot enter.


Agroblogger said...

What is striking about this entire debate is the propagandist's stone-faced determination to avoid, at all costs, touching the other variables in the energy equation. Massive reductions in energy consumption are well within our technological and methodological reach.

Such reductions need not drastically affect our quality of life nor inhibit income generating opportunities. Yet the key to energy conservation remains in the revitalization of local economies and community autonomy.


The JimP said...

Conservation of resources is a wonderful idea, but actually following through with a massive, nationwide reduction of energy usage is not realistic in the extreme. People in this nation have grown up with the assurance from their families, friends, local and federal government that they will always HAVE because someone will make sure of it. Asking everyone in this country to give that up now just because it costs a little bit more, or because these resources we use are becoming less attainable isn't going to actually make them give up the advantages of using them. What needs to happen, instead is more research into safe, renewable, high density energy sources which are also domestically attainable. Hydrogen isn't viable, yet, but nuclear energy which is impossible to use in weapons form has been developed. For instance, an block of hafnium (which can not sustain a nuclear chain-reaction due to it's reactive halflife) bombarded with microwaves gives off gama-rays at a 60:1 energy transfer ratio. These gama-rays can be contained safely and passed through a heat exchanger/steam turbine generator to generate a huge amount of electricity with a relatively low energy input. This was covered in a Popular Mechanics issue a while back and mentioned as a possible way to power a UAV to allow for station keeping on the order of months at a time without refueling. Imagine if an electric car was powered by this?

However, these solutions aren't going to come about tomorrow, or next year, or even by the end of the decade. Drilling in ANWAR is possible and environmentally safe today, and the development of safer and more efficient nuclear power generation plants would allow for a significant decrease in our need for foreign sources of energy. The reasons for why these things haven't happened yet can be blamed on blind environmentalism to the exclusion of all else, as well as little to no public knowlege of the actual benefits of new possible sources of energy (which might change voting trends for consituents when choosing legislators) and the lack of reliable representation by legislators for research and development of new or existing domestic energy sources.

Until the government and the legislators come together to carry out a worthwhile plan collectively nothing that is suggested will every come to fruition because of politics as usual.

The JimP said...

I have to correct myself. The isotope is "hafnium", and although not nucleicly reactive (unable to sustain a cascading chain reaction, or nuclear explosion), hafnium will release large amounts of gamma radiation when excited by x-rays (I said it was microwaves in my previous comment). Weapons scientists have speculated that a hafnium based Induced Gamma Emission weapon could be created which would irradiate large areas very quickly. Wiki hafnium and quantum nucleonics to read more about proposed applicates for a hafnium reactor and IGE bomb.

Maybe hafnium won't be the answer, but ethanol is promising, and so is bio diesel. There's more out there than just oil.

Agroblogger said...

This is basically the argument of "Manifest Destiny" applied to energy consumption. It may or may not be possible to convince people of the value of conservation, but rampant consumption of anything has consequences that can only be mitigated for so long.

Of course, in many ways you are missing the point. Conservation need not be a single-faceted objective, that single facet being sacrifice. Yes, sacrifice will be required, but along with sacrifice there will also be the generation of enormous economic and social opportunity.

Trying to fix things solely with technological innovation will inevitably lead to more problems down the road. Technology has a crucial role to play, but so does heightened awareness of community and the consequences of behavior.

The JimP said...

Of course in many ways I'm missing the point, huh? It's always nice to be insulted. You've basically said people should learn sacrifice their standing and convenience in life for conservation (which will not happen), and then in the same sentence said that technology shouldn't leveraged to it's highest capacity to be able to mitigate that sacrifice. There is no way an industrialized country will just swallow that tripe. For every adult American there are nearly two automobiles used primarily for commuting or pleasure. This doesn't include the cargo and trucking industry, which just multiplies the number. The only way to get America to want to conserve is to offer an incentive that doesn't require them to give up their lifestyles at present. I'm sorry to say, my friend, you do not get the point. I realize things aren't going as well as they can be, but it isn't because of the lack of sacrifice and already existing conserving. The reason things won't work out the way you say they should is simple human nature coupled with misrepresentation of the constituency by elected officials who do nothing except work to keep their jobs once they've managed to get them to the exclusion of their actual job.

tammo21 said...

Leave it to the private sector. We don't need the government getting involved with fuel efficiency or "pioneering the hydrogen highway." The government has always been at odds with the economy, and conservation and/or alternative fuels are not going to be popular until they're economically viable. The government is like a grizzly bear in the winter, big, fat, and slow. Let the private sector do the research with no regulation, and economical alternatives will emerge.

Also, real quick it's not manifest destiny, agro. It's the market at work. They supply it, we demand it. Simple as that.

Agroblogger said...

Apologies if my words were viewed as insulting. It was not my intent to insult anyone; I was just using rhetoric to make my point.

Aside from that, I feel the debate and dialogue is interesting. As Gandhi said, strong disagreement is often a healthy sign of progress.

I believe strongly that local institutions, whether they be private or public, stand a better chance of being responsive to local problems and local needs. At the same time, they are more capable of using local resources in the form of both labor and materials. I'm not as optimistic about "market forces" or big government as viable institutional catalysts for change. I'm hedging my bets on communities, families, and small businesses.

Regarding Manifest Destiny: http://www.agroblogger.com/2006/02/02/manifest-destiny/