Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wrong Questions

Maybe I'm crazy, certainly I've been accused of it more than once but it seems to me that we're usually focusing on the wrong aspects of most issues.

I detest Utah mine owner Bob Murray and everything he stands for (add CNN anchor Kyra Phillips to my crap list for making me want to vomit with that piece of drooling sentimentality she called an interview too) but he isn't really the issue. As long as we continue to do the things we do there will be Bob Murrays come along to take advantage of the situation. No way to prevent it.

Shouldn't we be looking at our use of coal and other natural resources and ways to put an end to or at least reduce the profitability of endeavors like his? Less demand for coal = fewer people risking their lives so we can run our hair dryer.

Here in Nevada, the land of over abundant wind and sunshine Harry Reid is fighting the plan to build three brand new coal-fired power plants. We don't need them.

The state of Nevada has been cited as a "highly favorable" state to develop renewable energy. It is blessed with natural energy resources. The numerous mountain ranges, bordered by underground faults, are sources for geothermal energy. The Department of Interior has listed 10 sites in Nevada that could produce geothermal energy in the next two years. Each of these sites is located near transportation lines, which could transmit energy to other markets. Geothermal power provides the nation with about 17 percent of the renewable energy, but is less than 0.75 percent of the nation's total energy supply.

Solar energy generated from the sunlight of Southern Nevada, on a 100-square-mile grid alone, could supply enough electricity to power the rest of the United States. Wind power has the potential to produce twice as much electricity as nuclear energy. Currently, not even counting solar power, Nevada could produce 27 percent more from renewable resources. This energy could be exported to other states, creating more jobs and economic benefit to Nevada. Floor Statement of Congresswoman Shelley Berkley

So worst case scenario: coal miners might have to move and work in the clean energy industry. Upside: can't recall many people being killed at windfarms. Bob Murray might have to get a job.

If we don't want people to die in coal mines, stop using so much coal. It's a nasty, dangerous job under the best of conditions and all the safety measures in the world will not change that. We need to stop kidding ourselves that we can make it safe.

I can think of a few dozen more recent events that fit the "wrong question" category:

Michael Vick: why do we deify people who are good at sports then act surprised when they act an ass? Dogfighting has been going on in this country since we've been a country, law enforcement never cared before because, doh, many of them were involved in it. It's our culture stupid. We still think men beating each other half to death is an acceptable sport.

The mortgage crises: we can blame predatory lenders, we can also blame people who made stupid financial choices but isn't the real problem that we turned homes into commodities and ran the costs up so far 50% of Americans may never be able to own their own?

Drop in retail earnings: if 80% of our population is employed for wages that don't allow them any purchasing power....who did we think we were going to sell all of our trinkets to? No problem, we'll just import cheaper trinkets then cry when China sends us defective ones.

We hate poor people, don't want to live around them and don't want them in our neighborhoods, we already know there is a definite correlation between poverty and crime, substance abuse and every other thing we claim to want to put an end to so why do we keep making more people poor?

Maybe I AM crazy but a whole lot of our troubles seem like no-brainers to me.


Vigilante said...

I have to feel dog-fighting is a step or more below prize-fighting on the moral food chain.

Vigilante said...

2nd & 3rd thoughts:

2. Bob Murray is just one more in a long list of under-regulated capitalists hitting the shitlist since 2000.

3. Murray's practice of 'retreat-mining' his coal mine strikes me as a fit allegory for the Bush-Cheney administration in general. As they are taking their leave, they are knocking off the pillars holding up our infrastucture at home and consuming our armed forces abroad. After them, they are thinking, the deluge. Miller thinks it is HIS mine; Cheney and Bush think it's THEIR country. But it's really OUR lives and livelihood.

TomCat said...

Sadly, too many of our politicians are bought and firmly in the pockets of the industries mentioned.

On the Vick issue, there's a lot of hypocrisy going on here. You're right. The only reason for the outrage is that Vick is (a) famous and (b) black. Dog fighting is despicable, but to focus attention, just because of the perpetrator's fame is infotainment.

Not Your Mama said...

It is a few steps lower but it's our mindset about things like this in general that keeps leading us lower.

I had a neighbor in CA once who was fighting dogs (and no he was not black). There wasn't a thing I could do about it legally because half our local police were involved.

TomCat said...

That does not surprise me at all.

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