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February 15, 2019

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I would say that neither the US model of reactively rolling out safeguards against what the terrorists did last time, and the Euro model of military guys walking around with guns, are optimal.

The people who have airport security dialed in are the Israelis.

I would say that neither the US model of reactively rolling out safeguards against what the terrorists did last time, and the Euro model of military guys walking around with guns, are optimal.

The people who have airport security dialed in are the Israelis.

The Israelis have the advantage of only having to guard a small number of flights. No way to duplicate that in the US, IMHO.

We could probably do w/o taking our shoes off in the US, as I've been on many flights from Europe to the US w/o ever having to do that, even tho the original shoe bomber was on a flight from Europe (I mean, WTF?).

That said, I don't think soldiers with weapons provide any additional security - unless we're talking about some kind of coordinated assault against an airport with small arms.

My 2 cents.

Fortified cockpits and the passengers' reaction on flight 93 has probably done more for security than the billions spent security theater.

What has made a difference:

  1. Reinforced cockpit doors,
  2. passengers knowing that just sitting won't work,
  3. armed air marshals on random flights
Otherwise, as Charles says, just billions wasted on theater.

unless we're talking about some kind of coordinated assault against an airport with small arms.

It is more than likely that - Europe has experienced several such attacks, and airports with their massed queues are tempting targets.

I still have to empty my pockets and take off my shoes* and belt at the airport (wrist-watch and glasses optional). My last flights were in November last year (Berlin-Malta and back). Still, it's far less paranoid than after 9/11.
My impression is that it is done mainly to skip the hands-on search for everyone when the gate does not beep. Thus doing the partial striptease actually speeds things up.

*In my case there is an actual reason because there is metal in them but that does not apply to other people who still have to take them off.

The Israelis (used to, and probably still) have two armed undercover marshals on every El Al flight, but I don't know about other airlines in and out of Israel, probably not.

I heard a programme on BBC Radio a year or two ago about the preponderance of women in coding in the past, although it concentrated more on the situation in the UK. So I was very glad to see this in today's New York Times, particularly in the aftermath of the Google/Damore case, although understandably it concentrates more on the same phenomenon in the States.

3/8 of the programmers on my team are women.

one is Indian, one is SE_Asian and the other is Hispanic.

Looking back over the decades, it seems to me that at least in my technical field, there was a point where computing went from something that was done in support of engineering to being part of the engineering itself (eg, real-time control software). At that point, the engineering fraternity basically kicked the women out.

I confess to being somewhat baffled by the obsession on the far right with ACO.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/02/16/conservatives-cant-stop-obsessing-over-ocasio-cortez-their-latest-target-her-boyfriend/
Sure, she’s more liberal than they are. But so are pretty much all Democrats.

I can at least see some rationale behind demonizing Pelosi; but what does ACO actually threaten? She’s a freshman Congressman, for heaven’s sake.

She makes rookie mistakes, which pretty much everyone does. (Fewer, for those who were previously state legislators. But still.) I would number among her rookie mistakes the Green New Deal as written. Not because we don’t need to address climate change, because we do. (Although I may disagree with some of the details on that.) But because larding it up with a lot of unrelated wishes is a political error. It makes it far harder to pass than just laying out a half dozen focused bills.

But why the hysteria?

It's not hysteria, an unacceptable sexist term in the first place,its opportunity taken. She is a perfect foil to point to the leftward race of the party as a whole.

C'mon, wj. She's cheeky. She's joyful. She's young and unafraid of making the mistakes of the young. She's doesn't cower. She gives as good as she gets in spaces like Twitter.

She's by god having a great time.

The sour pinheads getting hysterical over it can't stand any of that. How dare people live out loud and refuse to cower before them?

I'd suggest that her utter refusal to play their game feels (and probably is) more dangerous to them than any policy disagreement you could name.

It's like the emperor's new clothes, with dancing.

It makes it far harder to pass than just laying out a half dozen focused bills.

Yes, all other considerations would seem to be excluded if the world really was going to end in twelve years.

And here's another young politician, Mayor Pete of South Bend, refusing to play the game as it has been laid it out for him. Completely different style from AOC, but my lord it's so much fun to hear someone who can talk in complete sentences to express complex thought trains in understandable ways.

Joe Scarborough tries insistently to make Buttigeig talk in kindergarten-level terms about "left/right" politics, no nuance, gotcha questions, and Pete ain't playing. Another talking head has a go late in the clip, and he doesn't get his way either.

I hope Pete goes far, though I don't see how exactly that's going to happen.

Disclaimer: I saw this clip because my younger-generation Pete-fan friends sent it. It's probably a deficit in my ongoing education, but I can't stand to watch "TV," and there's more than enough -- several lifetimes' worth of enough -- to read. So for the most part I stick with that.

Buttigeig just landed a Daily Show interview. that's gotta help.

But because larding it up with a lot of unrelated wishes is a political error.

My reaction after I read through the resolution went like this. The US national labs have a ton of talented people who have been studying low- and no-carbon energy plans in (sometimes painful) detail for decades. They've published it all. The resolution reads like the authors didn't talk to a single one of them. I am fearful that the politicians are going to approach this like a couple of projects I was unfortunate to be caught up in over my career: "We don't talk to the engineers, they just tell us that we can't have ponies."

And I'm saying that as someone who believes we're at a crisis point and need to radically overhaul our energy production and consumption.

we should keep in mind that the GND is a non-binding resolution that doesn't even need the President's signature. it's not a proposed law. it's not a bill about implementation. at best it's a statement of priorities.

What clerk said.

Mayor Pete is indeed impressive.

I can at least see some rationale behind demonizing Pelosi; but what does ACO actually threaten?

Someone’s Twitter supremacy ?

I'm curious to see where the whole "OMG IT'S SOCIALISM" thing goes.

My Trumpie niece put something on FB about the closing of the last Panera Cares "pay what you want" restaurant. That demonstrates, the post said, why socialism doesn't work.

People are really unclear about what this stuff actually means. Or how the world works, for that matter.

I keep waiting for folks to wake the f up. Lotta folks won't, I suppose.

The Green New Deal looks like a lot of stuff that's been kicking around for a while. Even the phrase is not that new. It's great that some of these ideas are getting some endorsement by legislators, I wish them well with it.

AOC's representing the Bronx, where the dozens is an art form. I welcome the attempts of her (R) detractors to get the better of her.

I'm curious to see where the whole "OMG IT'S SOCIALISM" thing goes.

Our generation tends to be pretty vague about what socialism actually entails. But they know they're against it. (Not that those our age who say they're in favor, e.g. Sanders, seem much better informed about what the term means.)

The younger (i.e. under 40 or so) generation is similarly vague about what it entails. But they don't have any particular negative reaction to the word. Although the Trumpies ranting about it is probably inclining them to consider it favorably.

My opinion, which is mine, and not particularly well-informed, is that AOC causes such an unhinged reaction because:
(a) she's an unapologetic smart lefty, and
(b) she's incredibly CUTE.

Desire+hate = cognitive dissonance.

I don't think Israel is a very good example of how to deal with security, e.g.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/world/israeli-airport-detention-of-prominent-us-jew-prompts-uproar.html

An insightful analysis of the Green New Deal, from our friends at Fox.

It's like a Weekly Reader for angry frightened white people.

If we can't do better than this were f'd.

russell, The question is which of those points is inaccurate. The underlying economic assumptions are based on bobbyp's ridiculous MMT, if for no other reason that makes it untenable.

We do need to get to the point we dont call out every group in the country except for white males as beneficiaries of government largesse, which this does, or lots of white males are going to object. I dont understand why that's hard to understand. It's not paranoia when they put it in writing.

We do need to get to the point we dont call out every group in the country except for white males as beneficiaries of government largesse, which this does, or lots of white males are going to object

This is especially funny, Marty. (although it's gotten a bit better now): From an article published in 2014:

•71 percent of elected officials are men, 90 percent are white, and 65 percent are white men.

•White men are 31 percent of the U.S. population but hold 65 percent of all elected offices.

• White men have eight times as much political power as women of color.

I don't recall reading your complaints about that situation.

The problem with those stats is they include an incredibly small percentage of white men. There has been a political class made up of primarily white men, less so all the time. Same is true with corporate CEOs, also a very small number.

But we are now going to spend trillions on fundamentally changing everything about our society and white males dont even get a seat at the table. Who could object?

I think the most effective response to OMG SOCIALISM! is "Baloney Let's make our mixed economy work for everyone, not just the rich." Its to hard to explain what socialism is and isn't.

Why does AOC get under conservative skins? They are scared of her.

WHite people , especially red state white people, are the primary beneficiaries of government largesse. They just don't think of it that way because they feel entitled to it. Largesse, a term that implies over-generosity or waste--is how they view government expenditures for people other than themselves.

Entitlement is the primary conservative value. All of their actions beliefs and other values come from that belief in their inherent superiority to all other Americans.

That includes the attitude toward the wall. They are entitled to get a wall because they voted for Trump to get one therefore it is an emergency if they are not getting their way.

As for the green new deal, it will benefit whites just as much as anyone else. Heck it will save white asses just as much as anyone else's. It is true that the economy will change and probably change the most in red states and that change will have short term negative affects on people many of them white, and there should be a plan for how to help those folks transition. And given that those folks are over represented in government, I am sure that will happen. After a l they have been getting government largesse for decades already so why would it stop?

Russell, that opinion piece (I can't see characterizing it as an "analysis") is an illustration of why life is hard these days for writers for the Onion. How do you parody something like that?

As for the green new deal, it will benefit whites just as much as anyone else. Heck it will save white asses just as much as anyone else's.

I'm not sure I'd subscribe to the idea that college should be totally free.* I think there's something to be said for a nominal charge -- even if mostly covered by scholarships. But there's no real question that a substantial majority of those saddled with enormous education loans these days are white.

The economic questions about paying for this (and the rest of the GND) are real, and do need to be addressed. But I note that we managed, not that long ago, to provide higher education to much of the population at a nominal cost -- "nominal" meaning that it was entirely possible to work your way thru college. While undertaking a variety of rather expensive projects, from the space program to the Vietnam War. Without financing it all via massive inflation. And the economy did just fine.

The question, to my mind, is are we willing to admit that stuff costs money, which has to come from somewhere? And are we willing to pay for it? Not (just) the rich, for all that they are undertaxed currently**, but all of us.

* As noted earlier, I don't think the issue belongs in a "Green New Deal". But that's a different discussion.

** If anyone doubts that the current tax system needs a serious overhaul, consider this.
http://fortune.com/2019/02/14/amazon-doesnt-pay-federal-taxes-2019/
A tax rate of -1%. That's minus one percent. On $11 billion in profits. Heartbreaking.

Compared to many European countries, the US already has a very progressive taxing structure. In those countries, everyone pays high taxes regardless of their economic status.

The groups named as deserving a seat at the table in the GND stuff:

indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (“frontline and vulnerable communities”)

I think there are some white men in there.

The question, to my mind, is are we willing to admit that stuff costs money, which has to come from somewhere? And are we willing to pay for it?

no and no

wj: The economic questions about paying for this (and the rest of the GND) are real, and do need to be addressed.

The economic questions about paying for fighting Japan (and the rest of the Axis) were real, and they were addressed.

And BTW, the US had still not completely recovered from the Great Depression at the time.

Money is a renewable resource, unlike the atmosphere's dumping capacity for CO2, or the Earth's supply of fossil fuels. The view of "money" as a commodity (like pork bellies or frozen concentrated orange juice) which can be used up somehow, is a lingering vestige of the gold fetish.

--TP

The economic questions about paying for fighting Japan (and the rest of the Axis) were real, and they were addressed.

True. But that was then and this is now. The question isn't Can they be addressed? It's are we willing to do so in anything resembling a realistic manner?

no and no

I basically agree, because I'm old and jaded and people have been talking about this stuff for over half my lifetime and nobody's stepping to it. And because there's too much money on the table pointing the other way, and the folks whosee money it is don't give a flying fuck if the rest of the world burns down as long as they got theirs. And because Americans are in thrall to the idea that we all sink or swim based on our own personal virtue, so if you're at the bottom of the food chain that's probably exactly where you belong. And because Americans believe that they are entitled to and richly deserve every advantage and convenience that our history and good fortune have made available to us, and in general we don't much care what that means for everyone else on the planet.

IGMFU. it's a way of life.

The issues raised by the GND are not likely to be tractable by any means other than the kind of widespread common purpose public effort that it calls for. We've pulled stuff like that off once or twice in our history, but I don't see it happening now.

I wish AOC and Markey all the best with it. That level of imagination and enthusiasm is kind of beyond me at this point, I'm glad somebody is out there trying to make it happen.

May the wind fill their sails.

The US national labs have a ton of talented people who have been studying low- and no-carbon energy plans in (sometimes painful) detail for decades. They've published it all. The resolution reads like the authors didn't talk to a single one of them

my guess is that this is exactly right.

And all of those down in the weeds engineers now have two members of Congress who appear to at least share their goals, if not their expertise.

So, an opportunity.

wj: ... are we willing to do so in anything resembling a realistic manner?

"Realistic" is an interesting concept. I think we can agree that "realistic" is less well defined than "real".

Does "realistic" mean what my aged mother means by "Fix it, but don't change anything"?

The Pearl Harbor attack was real, not "realistic". Hurricanes, droughts, coastal flooding -- these are real, not "realistic". Reality has a way of changing people's minds about what's "realistic". Even when it comes to tax policy, infrastructure policy, or Free Market worship.

Is it "realistic" to expect that the Dow Jones Industrials Average will be higher 30 or 40 years from now if we do NOT adopt something like the Green New Deal than if we DO? If yes, then how about in 100 years? Not that I personally care very much about the Dow in 2119, but those who (pretend to) care about it in 2019 might feel strongly enough to answer the question.

The fundamental danger to humanity is not "climate change" or "wealth inequality". It is the mulish stupidity of a certain segment of the American electorate. In particular, that segment of the American electorate which looks at the list of "groups named as deserving a seat at the table" that russell quoted from the Fox piece, and sees no "white men" there.

That article was of course designed to fool the Martys of the world, not the russells. Read carefully, the list seems to amount to "everybody deserves a seat at the table except billionaires" -- who admittedly tend to be older white men. I think, myself, that older white billionaires are god's creatures too, and deserve "a seat at the table". But in proportion to their number, not their wealth.

--TP

Great comment @ 2:56, TP.

This is so good I want to repeat it: It is the mulish stupidity of a certain segment of the American electorate. In particular, that segment of the American electorate which looks at the list of "groups named as deserving a seat at the table" that russell quoted from the Fox piece, and sees no "white men" there....Read carefully, the list seems to amount to "everybody deserves a seat at the table except billionaires" -- who admittedly tend to be older white men. I think, myself, that older white billionaires are god's creatures too, and deserve "a seat at the table". But in proportion to their number, not their wealth.

I interpret the list as emphasizing groups of people who do *not* have a seat at the table right now, or not proportionately so. The list is inclusive, not exclusive: add more seats around the table. It's kind of like what I used to say about the quest for so-called gay rights and gay marrige: I'm not saying "It's my world." I'm saying "It's my world too."

Mulish stupidity coupled with sneering begrudgery: a planet-killing, life-destroying poison.

I note that we managed, not that long ago, to provide higher education to much of the population at a nominal cost -- "nominal" meaning that it was entirely possible to work your way thru college. While undertaking a variety of rather expensive projects, from the space program to the Vietnam War. Without financing it all via massive inflation. And the economy did just fine.

I was a freshman at Vanderbilt in 1963. Tuition was $1000/year, increasing to $1200 the next year. At the time the minimum wage was $1.25/hour, so 800, later 960, hours of minimum wage work would pay for tuition.

Today tuition is $48,600, with a minimum wage of $7.25. That's over 6700 hours. Even if the percentage of financial aid has gone up dramatically, which it probably has, the disparity is huge. The University claims 60% of undergraduates get financial aid. Even if that covers half of tuition, on average across all students, you're still at 3350 hours. And of course there was financial aid in 1963 also.

And, from a broader perspective, state schools in those days really did have only nominal costs. In 1963 it cost $312/year to attend UMass. A student could earn about twice that in a summer minimum wage job .

And, from a broader perspective, state schools in those days really did have only nominal costs. In 1963 it cost $312/year to attend UMass. A student could earn about twice that in a summer minimum wage job.

When I worked on my state's legislative budget staff, I had to do a variety of special projects in the summer that involved digging through the history of our own state budget as well as some other states'. The conclusions I came to had four parts in a typical state. (1) There's a political limit on state/local tax revenues in the range of 9-12% of state GDP, higher in rich states and lower in poor ones. (2) Starting in 1965, Medicaid has grown from zero to about 25% of state government general fund spending. (3) Starting a few years later, a large shift in K-12 education funding from local to state sources started, initially to equalize poor districts but ultimately affecting all districts, and accounts for about 40% of GF spending. (3) Baumol's cost disease is a real thing, and a primary reason that Medicaid and K-12 will continue to grow faster than revenues now that the limit in (1) is binding. (4) Higher ed and transportation are being squeezed out.

I got no answers, just depressing questions and projections.

But there's no real question that a substantial majority of those saddled with enormous education loans these days are white.

I can't find the quote, perhaps by George Wallace, but maybe Theodore Bilbo or one of a parade of white supremacist politicians from the deep South, but it was something about it didn't really matter how low poor whites were as long as they had someone else to look down on. So saddled with enormous debt ain't a problem as long as they can retain their sense of self-worth that there are other people out there lower than them.

And, from a broader perspective, state schools in those days really did have only nominal costs. In 1963 it cost $312/year to attend UMass. A student could earn about twice that in a summer minimum wage job.

Similarly, the University of California in the late 1960s was $98/quarter (i.e. under $300 per year). Tuition inflation has massively outpaced inflation overall. Of course, today we have lower taxes. (And more lavish facilities for the football teams. /snark)

wj:
...and UC has massively increased the percentage of administrators on the payroll.

Went past 50% a couple of decades back, and still growing.

You mean 50% above what it was, or 50% of total university staffing?

I can't find the quote, perhaps by George Wallace, but maybe Theodore Bilbo or one of a parade of white supremacist politicians from the deep South, but it was something about it didn't really matter how low poor whites were as long as they had someone else to look down on

"I'll tell you what's at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."

-- Attributed to LBJ by Bill Moyers

“The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of whom will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.”

--Attributed to internet commentator Davis X. Machina

Gracias!

Heh. I saw that Davis X. Machina quote cited somewhere else recently, probably BJ, and it irritated me because that's not the way I remember it. The version I remember was pithier, and posted right here at Obsidian Wings. Maybe DXM scattered versions of it all around the internet, which is fine, but I like ours better:

The salient fact of American politics is that there are, at any given time, enough people to elect a president who would also volunteer to live with their family in a cardboard box under a bridge, and eat sparrows toasted on an old curtain rod, if you only promise them that the black-gay-foreign-liberal-Mexican in the next box over doesn't even get the sparrow.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina | September 04, 2008 at 12:32 AM

Just now, I happened across a YouTube video titled Chris Wallace calls Rush Limbaugh a hypocrite. It's a copy of this morning's Fox News Sunday interview of Limbaugh. I found it fascinating, because the portion of it between 4:43 and 6:20 could accurately be titled "Rush Limbaugh says Mike Pence is either a liar or a dupe". I mention it because I don't think I've ever agreed with El Rushbo before.

--TP

The question isn't Can they be addressed? It's are we willing to do so in anything resembling a realistic manner?

Pardon the edit, wj, but TonyP raised a valid point. "Realistic" may well be in the eye of the beholder, and taking on an existential crisis is a matter of resources and political will, not "finding money" (as russell pointed out).

Doing what it may well take to effectively mitigate global warming is a political question, not an economic one. Furthermore, we may be beyond the point of simple implementation of "market" incentives, and in fact, those who put all their plans and hopes into such mechanisms may well be the folks who are indulging in pure fantasy, not those who are being "unrealistic".

The challenge of man-made climate change is the mother of all collective action problems. Similar to the challenge of 20th century fascism, standard "free market" solutions are wholly inadequate.

I may be mistaken, but I would opine human extinction is a serious matter.

TonyP raised a valid point. "Realistic" may well be in the eye of the beholder, and taking on an existential crisis is a matter of resources and political will.

I really, really need to work on my clarity.

By "realistic" I meant "will actually work in the real world." And fix the problem -- in this case global climate change. Political realism never actually crossed my (narrow) mind.

It's difficult to take people seriously when they assert that the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is creating an existential climate crisis. And then they assert that one of the most effective ways of reducing CO2, nuclear power, can't be used.

Regarding college costs: when I went to college, about 40 years ago, the states funded about 70% of the cost, with students needing to come up with the other 30% (which could include grants, loans, scholarships, etc.)

Ever since Reagan kicked the legs out from under states and cities by ending the Federal Aid to Cities programs, states have had to scramble to make up the difference.

Among the ways state legislatures came up with was to reduce the amount they budgeted for higher education. Ever year the state share of the cost has decreased and the student share of the cost has increased.

Now it's the mirror image of what it was: states fund maybe 30% of higher education costs, and students need to come up with the other 70%. And a lot of grants no longer exist or have been greatly reduced.

I'd like to comment on "jungle camo". That is not really "jungle" camouflage per sé. Europe is in the temperate zone, and our forests and fields are usually a mixture of green and brown. And if you look carefully, the camo colours of different European nations actually reflect this.

For example, Finland and Sweden don't use light brown, because that colour is relatively rare in the coniferous forests. (The Finnish "cold weather" camouflage substitutes the light green colour with light grey because there is no light grey in the Finnish nature during the cold months, while light grey helps to blend in wintery landscape, even if there is no snow. And if there is snow, you wear snow camouflage, or at least snow camouflage trousers, if there is no snow in the trees.)

For Americans, this greenish camouflage is usually thought of as "jungle" because it works also very well in tropical forests, but for Europeans, it is the "homeland" pattern. Usually, there is also a separate desert pattern for deployments to Middle East and Northern Africa.

On the other hand, the military uniforms nowadays are made mainly either for ceremonial and office use or for field service. The office clothing is not very suitable for carrying combat equipment or even for active moving, because it is tailored for attractiveness, not for sporting. And any clothing for field service is in camouflage colours.

And in fact, the use of forest camouflage in urban environments is also a political message. It signifies that these combat troops are in place temporarily. They are not wearing a specifically-designed urban pattern, which would imply the permanency of the patrolling. (Such urban patterns were really popular in Balkan wars of 1990's, and are used by Russian paramilitary forces. They are often identified with war crimes and repression, so that is another reason to avoid them.) Truth to be told, the number of military personnel on European streets and airports seems to be diminishing, based on my personal observations. At least in Brussels, most locations where there were soldiers deployed even before Paris attacks are now empty.

By "realistic" I meant "will actually work in the real world."

You're not helping your cause. Just what do you mean by this?

speaking of camo...

this video on the ways different countries handle face camo is pretty interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpzUr3twW4Q

John: >50% of the total.

As the state support of higher-ed has cratered, so has public higher-ed been behaving more like private higher-ed: tuition increases are limited only by 'what you can get away with'. It's supply/demand, and there's still a strong demand that will drive up the cost until it consumes the very last extra dollar earned from having that education.

Yustabee, state subsidized schools had a board (with many political appointees) to set tuition rates, and a mandate of 'make higher ed affordable for kids in this state, plus improve this state economically'. It recognized that an educated workforce was a public good, and provided a 'public option' to compete with private higher-ed.

No longer. They're off the leash, and tuition was following the same inflationary trajectory as health-care costs pre-Obamacare. For the same reason: market prices for a good with limited competition and large demand.

The resolution reads like the authors didn't talk to a single one of them

I would say you are missing the point. Then again, I am curious about these studies you hint at, but you leave us hanging without a citation.

Thanks.

A quote from Bill McKibben, from bobbyp's cite:

We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate

The reason there has not been forward motion on climate change is not primarily technological. The engineering problems involved are not trivial, neither are they insurmountable.

Resistance to change is likewise not the biggest obstacle. People resist change, then they change, then they forget they ever did things any other way. When's the last time you wrote a letter? Or traveled on horseback?

The greatest impediment is the book value of all of the stuff we need to leave in the ground, if we're not going to continue to pump CO2 into the air.

Leaving it in the ground means writing off a big slice of the world's equity markets. It means cutting a significant source of sovereign revenue for countries like Russia, and Nigeria, and Venezuela, and Iran, and most of the Arab middle east. It means taking a big bite out of the portfolios of institutional investors and individual 401ks.

It means leaving a great big pile of money on the table. Money in quantities that nations go to war over.

It's also worth noting that most if not all of the world's national defense infrastructure currently depends on oil.

It's fabulous that somebody is laying out bold goals for taking this on, and I applaud AOC and Markey.

But we also need plans for managing (a) a very serious financial haircut - by 'serious' I mean 'ruinous' for some significant actors - and (b) the geopolitical fallout of leaving all of that stuff in the ground.

We're junkies. Withdrawal ain't pretty. We had the option of weaning ourselves off fossil, now it looks like we've left it too late and something more like cold turkey is needed.

If we take it on, it's gonna be a very difficult process. If we don't take it on, and what the models say is more or less right, even more so.

Making this kind of change intentionally requires the kind of vision, trust, and common effort that is hard to find and even harder to sustain. I'm skeptical. I don't think we're utterly fucked, but I think we may be in for generations of turmoil. Like, world-historical. I don't know what the world will look like in 100 or 200 years.

It's going to be a really, really bumpy ride, with a lot of damage. No matter what. This kind of thing is not something humans handle gracefully.

Selfishly, I'm glad I'm old.

More on this theme.

And in fact, the use of forest camouflage in urban environments is also a political message.

A message that many US police departments are unintentionally/intentionally sending.

It's going to be a really, really bumpy ride, with a lot of damage. No matter what. This kind of thing is not something humans handle gracefully.

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." —Shakespere

Adding to the picture in Snarki's comment -- a lot of the ever-rising "whatever tuition you can get away with" is now paid with student loans. It's a sweet interlocking system. Lenders make their profits; for-profit colleges make their profits; colleges in general get vast amounts of cash that they can use to hire yet more highly paid administrators.

Meanwhile, students are in debt slavery for a lot of their adult lives (often without having gotten much in return from the crappy colleges that game this system; not that quality colleges don't also game it).

And the federal loan guarantees are underwritten, of course, by us, the taxpayers. Now, I'm a well-known raging socialist, and I'm more than happy to pay taxes that fund collective goods like the sort of direct support of higher education that made state universities in the old days not only affordable but in some cases of very high quality: the UC system, the Michigans, Wisconsin....

This system? Not so much.

And then they assert that one of the most effective ways of reducing CO2, nuclear power, can't be used.

The resolution was written -- had to be written -- to play well in the regions from which the Democrats draw their strength. As I've pointed out before, look at the 13-state West, the 12-state NE urban corridor, and the 25-state Rest. In 2016 those regions' EC votes for Clinton were 98, 104, and 30 respectively. In 2018 Dem gains in the US Senate were 2, 0, and -4 seats respectively. For large majorities in the West and the NE urban corridor, "nuclear" is a four-letter word.

bobbyp: By "realistic" I meant "will actually work in the real world."

You're not helping your cause. Just what do you mean by this?

Just to take the most obvious flight of unreality:

  • In terms of transportation, the plan calls for 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and 100 percent fossil-fuel-free transportation by 2050. It may come as a surprise to someone from NYC, or the BosWash corridor generally, but in most of the country you simply cannot replace cars (and trucks) with public transit. You'd have to rebuild virtually the entire housing infrastructure with something far denser. Which is, quite simply, not doable in the time frame given -- even by 2050. For that matter, I don't see the manufacturing infrastructure to build electric vehicles for all in the time frame given. It's not that it's political impossible; it's physically impossible.
To pick off some other obvious low-hanging fruit:
  • Free college for all may be a good idea. But impact carbon dioxide emissions, or global warming generally? Not that I can see.
  • Guaranteed minimum incomes may (or may not) be a good idea. But do anything to address global warming? Again, not that I can see.
Does all that give you an idea of what I mean by realistic and unrealistic goals?

You set the goals at what they should be and then when you don't meet them, you have postponed the inevitable ecological catastrophe. People keep talking about this like it was just another political issue. It's not. You don't get consolation prizes for being politically pragmatic. We should have been doing the incremental things decades back and now we are screwed.

Free tuition is, I agree, silly in this context, but guaranteed jobs or incomes (not the same) are not. There is going to be immense disruption from any serious attempt at dealing with global warming and if you don't ensure that the losers will be taken care of in some way it's not going to work. You really do need it to be both Green and New Dealish. I think political pragmatism as it is usually defined is going to get us all killed, frankly.

Then again, I am curious about these studies you hint at, but you leave us hanging without a citation.

As starting points, here's a link to the home page for the renewable energy futures work at NREL:
https://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re-futures.html

Here's a link (PDF) to the documentation for NREL's ReEDS model, which gives some idea of the depth of details the national labs' work covers:
https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/67067.pdf

Here's a link to the energy page at Sandia, who do lots of work on the details of grid integration:
https://energy.sandia.gov/energy/ssrei/gridmod/renewable-energy-integration/

A link to the page at the Idaho National Labs announcing a new series of reports on integrating nuclear and renewable:
https://inl.gov/article/nuclear-renewable-hybrid-energy-systems-can-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-industry-and-support-the-power-system/

INL is almost exclusively a nuclear lab. Idaho has mixed feelings about them. The state has reached a legal settlement that precludes INL from bringing in additional nuclear wastes, or creating new wastes on site, until the existing mess is cleaned up. Most recent estimates on the cleanup time are >30 years.

When you start digging through the references for the the documents like the renewable energy futures and the ReEDS model, you find a bunch of contributions from other national labs as well.

Janie: Now, I'm a well-known raging socialist, and I'm more than happy to pay taxes that fund collective goods like the sort of direct support of higher education that made state universities in the old days not only affordable but in some cases of very high quality: the UC system, the Michigans, Wisconsin....

Hey, you can be pretty darn conservative and still support government spending which is an investment. Which education certainly is, every bit as much as highways are. (There's a reason why Silicon Valley is where it is. You need a well-educated workforce. Which is what cheep higher education gets you.)

Which is what cheep higher education gets you.

Did a little bird tell you this?

You set the goals at what they should be and then when you don't meet them, you have postponed the inevitable ecological catastrophe.

Yep.

Arguing about whether the GND proposals are feasible in a pragmatic sense kind of misses the point. Put the issue on the table, set and *commit to* ambitious goals, and then figure out how to get there.

My current place of work has a goal to make the performance of our core system 50% faster in fiscal 2019. That is nucking futz on its face, because we don't even have a way to measure how fast it is now, or even a sufficiently crisp definition of what "fast" means.

Is our director of development out of his freaking mind? No. The point is to light a fire under everybody's @ss.

AOC and Markey are trying to light a fire under everybody's @ss. It's a good thing to do.

Did a little bird tell you this?

Autocorrect is definitely for the birds.

For that matter, I don't see the manufacturing infrastructure to build electric vehicles for all in the time frame given. It's not that it's political impossible; it's physically impossible.

It's not physically impossible; just very difficult.
Bulk electric car manufacturing is evidently a great deal easier to scale up than that for the old ICE models, as the example of a company completely ignorant of bulk car manufacturing before it started demonstrates.

And it would happen a great deal closer to 2030 if the federal government legislated accordingly.

It's not physically impossible; just very difficult.
Bulk electric car manufacturing is evidently a great deal easier to scale up than that for the old ICE models, as the example of a company completely ignorant of bulk car manufacturing before it started demonstrates.

You might want to look at global manufacturing capacity for electric car batteries. And what it would take to scale up to what would be required.

And it would happen a great deal closer to 2030 if the federal government legislated accordingly.

Passing laws doesn't guarantee when or even if something will happen. After all, California passed a law in 1970 that all internal combustion engines would be banned in five years. :)

Just here noting that state tax subsidies actually cover less than 10% of the actual operating costs of most R1 public universities in the US. And the growth of the administrative university is in large part a response to this abdication of public support. Universities turned to business school types to find more money and those new administrators remade the university in their own corporate image, chasing prestige and reputation by building their brands to compete with the collegiate equivalent of the 1%.

Meanwhile, we adjuncts keep the lights on while the money goes to capital projects rather than to educational goals.

FWIW, the resolution.

And a pony.

But, seriously,as a sense of the House it is great, I dont even object to the most egregious parts, where the government guarantees every person a job with living wage for example, being a sense of the House.

In fact, I dont know many people who would object to many of the goals.

I dont know anyone who believes that most of that can be accomplished by our government.

I guess if everyone is guaranteed a job, health care and adequate housing the concept of a safety net changes.

My feeling is "isnt that special", Now let's go back to actually trying to govern

Passing laws doesn't guarantee when or even if something will happen.

Of course not - but it can substantially change the environment for investment.

As for practicality, Amazon seems down with the program already...
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/430474-amazon-aims-to-halve-carbon-footprint-by-2030

You might want to look at global manufacturing capacity for electric car batteries. And what it would take to scale up to what would be required.

I have a bit.
As have, rather more importantly, the manufacturers themselves. Here's some Chinese projections, for example:
https://www.bcg.com/en-gb/publications/2018/future-battery-production-electric-vehicles.aspx
100% is not impossible even on current technology (which will, of course, improve*). It just requires the political imperative.

(*Cf Tesla's recent acquisition of Maxwell Technologies - their new cathode alone will increase battery cost-efficiency by around 20%)

everybody likes a pony

Nigel, I may be misreading the article. But it appears to me that they are talking about having plenty of capacity based on the assumption that EVs are close to competing on price and have up-take accordingly.

Supplying the entire US domestic market, including replacing all existing internal combustion vehicles, would be a whole different situation.

The executive summary from the first of Michael Cain's links:

Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.

Increased electric system flexibility, needed to enable electricity supply and demand balance with high levels of renewable generation, can come from a portfolio of supply- and demand-side options, including flexible conventional generation, grid storage, new transmission, more responsive loads, and changes in power system operations.

The abundance and diversity of U.S. renewable energy resources can support multiple combinations of renewable technologies that result in deep reductions in electric sector greenhouse gas emissions and water use.

Brought to you by... the government. Your tax dollars at work.

Seriously, let's just get our asses in gear and get going on this.

I don't care if the govenment does it, or if somebody else does it, or if 17 different actors do it in various combinations of private industry, federal state and local government, and non-profit. Most likely, that's what it would look like, because that's what it looks like now.

I can tell you that, absent some public initiative, it ain't gonna happen, because the financial payback on doing stuff like this is too long term for private actors to take it on. Nobody's going to bet private money on stuff that has 20 and 30 and 50 year payback timelines. It's amazing if folks make 10 year bets. The end of the century might as well be the freaking eschaton.

So some level of government involvement is necessary.

But the idea that it's going to be possible to address stuff like this *while everything else about how we live stays exactly the same* is a non-starter. The idea that we can ignore stuff like this, and have everything about how we live stay exactly the same, is also a non-starter.

We can't live the way we live in perpetuity. Or, apparently, for even more than another 20 or 30 or 50 years.

So either we make deliberate choices about the changes we want, or we have our decisions made for us.

Up to us.

Michael Cain @ 11:32...many thanks. I shall do some reading. I'd recommend that ChasWT look into it as well. I have nothing against mixing nuclear and renewables as a way out. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

But the idea that it's going to be possible to address stuff like this *while everything else about how we live stays exactly the same* is a non-starter. The idea that we can ignore stuff like this, and have everything about how we live stay exactly the same, is also a non-starter.

This has been another chapter in WRS.

More from LGM here.

Does all that give you an idea of what I mean by realistic and unrealistic goals?

Well, yes. But I am totally unimpressed. Our current GNP is nearly $20Trillion/year. Just for a guess, if we threw $10Trillion a year at this effort we could maybe achieve such goals....who knows? Where would these resources (notice I did not say that word "money") come from? Well, WWII offers a bit of an example: Rationing; price controls, government takeover of some industries....etc. If you had told somebody in 1938 that we could churn out that huge pile of military hardware that we did in merely 4-5 years they most like would have thought you utterly mad.

You gotta' do what you gotta' do.

I would reply that YOU are the one who is being "unrealistic", not me.

You gotta' do what you gotta' do.

Again:

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." —Shakespere

Otherwise, the proposals being made will be tied up in the courts for many decades to come.

Bobbyp linked to a post at LGM which was discussing David Wallace-Well's book and piece.

You can get a firsthand excerpt here--

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/opinion/sunday/fear-panic-climate-change-warming.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

All of us are going to have to give up something and stop treating climate change as something we need to get serious about in another thirty years or so. What I see from conservatives, of course, is still just straight denialism, but even some liberals (not all, of course) still seem stuck back in the 1980's when we first starting seeing stories about this on TV. I remember them. Hell, as a child I was reading about how fossil fuel use might lead to the melting of the icecaps in, I think, Isaac Asimov science essays written in the 60's or 70's.

We have wasted decade after decade and now time is up. We can't be slow and incremental about it anymore. That is the point of the AOC-Murphy Green New Deal proposal and not whether this or that proposal will upset conservatives or centrists or even liberals. If there is a good case to be made for nuclear power as an important part of the solution, then make it.

Will go look for the David Roberts piece at Vox a week or two ago, which was a reasoned look at the GND.

No problem killing all the lawyers. Desperate times call for popular measures. I kid.

Here is the Vox piece I meant--

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/2/7/18211709/green-new-deal-resolution-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-markey

Also it was AOC and Markey, not Murphy.

Actually this is another chapter in the Democrats standard"a crisis is a terrible thing to waste". Let's pretend that there is no solution to climate change unless we do everything to society, organizationally and economically, that we've been wanting to do for 50 years.

It's ok as a sense of the house, but it's not true. The part russell quotes above makes it clear that we have made huge progress in both generation and storage that allows us to upgrade the grid. No guaranteed jobs required.

I'm not sure the part I quoted above refers to stuff that is already in place. So, work to do.

Quite a lot of CO2 generation comes from transportation, not electricity generation. So, work to do.

As far as (D) bad faith, I don't see (R)'s doing fuck-all about warming. The last suggestion I heard from them was "drill baby drill". Same goes for every other issue raised in the GND stuff.

Cut taxes, deregulate, and privatize. That is the (R) program. For everything. That is not going to fix any of the issues raised in the GND. So, advantage (D)'s.

Time for people to quit bitching about the government, cause nobody else is going to get this stuff done.

Desperate times call for popular measures.

Of course. You can justify any means necessary if you can frame the ends as avoiding an existential threat.

Of course. You can justify any means necessary if you can frame the ends as avoiding an existential threat.

Pretty much SOP for just about any past or present society you can name. What's your point?

CharlesWT, upthread: It's difficult to take people seriously when they assert that the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is creating an existential climate crisis. And then they assert that one of the most effective ways of reducing CO2, nuclear power, can't be used.

CharlesWT,

If you want to be taken seriously, please explain what level of CO2 would cause an "existential climate crisis". Feel free to clarify what "existential" means while you're at it.

Let me give you some parameters on that last bit. Nobody is claiming the Earth will cease to exist; the planet will continue to spin merrily along just like it did over the 4 billion years before humans showed up. Nobody is claiming that humans will cease to exist; if our small rat-like mammal ancestors managed to survive whatever killed off the dinosaurs, surely some fraction of the human race will eke out a living despite any change in climate. Maybe civilization itself would survive a drastic change in climate, after all the fuss and bother of large-scale migrations and the consequent wars and riots.

So it's a question of how much fuss and bother we (Libertarians included) are willing to undergo before we agree to call it an existential crisis.

But I'm actually more interested in your scientific theory. Do you claim that CO2 concentration is NOT related to global temperature, or that global temperature is NOT related to climate change, or what? Believe it or not, the Nobel Prize committees -- let alone Exxon and the Kochs -- would shower you with honors if you could demonstrate that climate science has been wrong for a century or so.

As for nuclear power: think of your cable company with waste disposal problems and the risk of catastrophic accidents thrown in. I say that because nuclear plants are so big and expensive that they can never be mom-and-pop "small businesses" competing in a Free Market to offer lower cost to The Consumer. Nuclear generation and monopoly go together like silicon and software.

BTW, spare us from claims about novel reactors small enough to fit in your back yard. If these were already engineered and ready to deploy, you'd think the Free Market would be advertising them by now. If you think they need a lot more development, maybe you'd accept support for it from The Government? Or not?

I had this discussion with Brett Bellmore long ago, for there is nothing new under the Libertarian sun. Nuclear plants built on behalf of The Government (aka us) and operated as a public service (aka not-for-profit) are certainly worth considering. But would Libertarians tolerate that?

--TP

“Desperate times call for popular measures.”

I was riffing off your lawyer joke.

Actually, much of a GND clearly won’t be popular. Different parts would be unpopular with different people. I think lefties should be open to nuclear power as part of a possible solution, for example.

But sure, if the entire problem can be solved without much of a political fuss, great. I doubt it will happen. Truthfully, I think we will screw around until much of the world looks like Syria circa 2016 in terms of refugee flows. And then we will probably react in the ugliest possible ways— people freak out about immigrants when the problem is comparatively trivial. Wait until hundreds of millions start to move because parts of the world become uninhabitable and some of them blame us for their plight.

Anyway, supposing we do try to do something, the New Deal part seems necessary. The coal industry needs to die. The petroleum industry needs to die. People in those industries will need jobs.

Seriously, let's just get our asses in gear and get going on this.

Quietly, California is doing/has done an impressive number of things on the electricity front. Mandate solar panels on most new residential construction aimed at large demand reduction. Expanding their imbalance market to include other states so that more existing renewable power can be dispatched. Prioritizing renewable power on their 500-mile HVDC line from Utah. All-renewable by 2045 mandate.

Based on their size, they're probably going to drag the states in the Western Interconnect along with them, willingly or not.

Good to see that Michael. The real rub will come if the developing world does not show really drastic carbon reducing effort(s) or the developing world will have no incentive (crap....there's that word) to do the same....well, unless they, too, can internalize the existential need for "do or die" effort.

But good for California. It's a start.*

Really? Mandates? Have all the libertarians fled the state?

If you want to be taken seriously, please explain what level of CO2 would cause an "existential climate crisis".

I have no idea what level of CO2 would create an existential crisis. In isolation, the impact of CO2 tapers off with increasing levels. But, in the real world, there can be knock-on effects, tipping points, positive feedbacks and who knows what else.

But it's easy for some of us to get the impression that people are taking the most extreme, least likely scenarios and framing them as inevitable.


Feel free to clarify what "existential" means while you're at it.

I haven't characterized the threat of climate change as existential.


But I'm actually more interested in your scientific theory.

I have no scientific theory.


As for nuclear power: think of your cable company with waste disposal problems and the risk of catastrophic accidents thrown in.

So far nuclear power has been very safe causing far fewer deaths than other sources of energy. New designs, if they prove out, will be even safer. But nuclear power isn't a slam dunk. Even France, with smaller, repeatable designs, has had its problems.

There are still libertarians in CA, but legalization has put a big dent in both their motivation and their recruitment efforts.

But it's easy for some of us to get the impression that people are taking the most extreme, least likely scenarios and framing them as inevitable.

Of perhaps just worth insuring against?

In any case, I'd say the most extreme scenarios have a higher probability of proving accurate than the claims of the denialists.

But good for California. It's a start.*

Really? Mandates? Have all the libertarians fled the state?

Libertarians had clout when what really mattered was cutting, or at least restricting, property taxes. But since the culture wars took off, they haven't got much in the way of allies.

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