by Clint Wilder, via Clean Edge
For two days in mid-July, 100 miles off the northern coast of Oahu in Hawaii, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz played host to the first large-scale demonstration of the Navy?s Great Green Fleet. More than 70 aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, E-2 Hawkeye early warning aircraft, and helicopters, as well as destroyers and other ships, participated in the biannual Rim of the Pacific naval exercises with sailors and pilots from 21 other nations. A 50-50 biofuel/petroleum blend powered virtually all of the Navy?s ships and aircraft.
?The military has done a lot of things that start a tidal wave throughout our culture, and I think this is one of those things,? Navy Lt. Commander Jason Fox, an E-2 Hawkeye pilot, told Forbes.
Meanwhile, stateside in the deserts of California, SunEdison is constructing the massive 350 MW Oro Verde solar PV plant in Kern County that will power part of Edwards Air Force Base where the plant is located. SunPower is preparing for the October opening of a 14.8 MW solar plant at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake. And SolarCity?s SolarStrong initiative for military residential PV installations across the U.S. continues to progress, with last month?s announcement of solar deployments on 850 Air Force Base residences in California and Colorado.
All these activities are part of the U.S. military?s major push into clean energy, a trend presented in this space earlier this year by Environmental Entrepreneurs co-founder Nicole Lederer. In a very bumpy year for the clean-tech industry, the Pentagon?s development of clean energy continues to be one of the brightest lights. It is creating markets and jobs, and seeding next-gen technology developments. At the same time, organizations like Veterans Green Jobs and Airstreams Renewables are promoting training and hiring of military veterans in the clean-tech sector.
The Pentagon has ambitious goals to reduce fossil-fuel use in both combat operations and on bases; the Navy and Air Force, for example, both aim to get half their fuel from non-petroleum sources by 2020. And with good reason: fuel convoys to supply infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven to be one of the most vulnerable aspects in the war theater. In an all-too-common example on July 18, a bomb planted by the Taliban destroyed 22 NATO tanker trucks in northern Afghanistan. This occurred in the same week as the Navy?s Great Green Fleet exercises occurred in Hawaii, showcasing a better way.
But now, in Congress, a great deal of this may be in jeopardy.
In various hearings over the past few months, Senators James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), among others, have opposed the military?s biofuels usage because of high costs. I?m skeptical that other aspects of defense spending are receiving the same fiscal scrutiny?these members of Congress are in the same party whose presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney is on record stating, ?I will not cut the military budget.?
The Congressional opponents argue that today?s next-generation biofuels, from algae, waste streams, and other feedstocks, are significantly more expensive than fossil fuels, and that is certainly true. But they also argue that it?s not the Pentagon?s role to pay a premium to help bring new technologies to commercial scale that would bring costs down, and that argument conveniently ignores, oh, about 150 years of U.S. military history. As Navy Secretary Ray Mabus often says, ?Since the 1850s, the Navy has moved from sail power to coal to oil to nuclear. And every time we changed, plenty of people said the new energy source was too expensive, too hard, and too unproven. But every time, we made a better Navy.?
Indeed, the Navy?s pioneering work on nuclear technology for energy rather than bombs after World War II arguably gave birth to a viable (albeit with sizable government subsidies) nuclear power industry. In a nice historical touch, it was a nuclear-powered ship, the Nimitz, that carried the biofuels-powered aircraft of the Great Green Fleet. And nuclear power is far from the only example. Scores of everyday commercial technologies, from semiconductors to lasers to the Internet, are the direct result of early development work by the Department of Defense.
An F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet is not a research lab; the military is proving that today?s next-gen biofuels perform in operational use, under high-stress conditions with no margin for error. Petroleum replacement fuels will create U.S.-based industries, make military operations safer and more effective, and help reduce our need for military action to defend access to petroleum sources in the first place. Seems to me that?s part of what national security is about. It?s a shame that some in Congress don?t seem to agree.
Clint Wilder is the senior editor of Clean Edge. This piece was originally published at Clean Edge and was reprinted with permission.
As you may recall, Race for the Cure got into trouble when they listened to the recommendations of Karen Handel, an anti-abortion wingnut and former Georgia state official who was their senior VP of public policy and wanted an excuse to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
Their head in the sand approach to the uproar must not have worked very well if the president, founder and two board members are resigning:
DALLAS ? What we have here is a failure to communicate, which is why Susan G. Komen for the Cure has yet to heal from its self-inflicted wounds.
On Wednesday, the Dallas-based breast-cancer charity announced that its president, Elizabeth Thompson, was resigning. Founder and chief executive Nancy Brinker said she would relinquish her post after a replacement is found, and two Komen board members also said they are leaving.
Brinker expects us to believe that she, the foundation?s president and two board members just happen to decide to move on at the same time? That?s what Komen told its affiliates Wednesday, in a perfect example of the kind of forethought that got them into this mess.
It?s disappointing that Brinker, once a brilliant marketing strategist, took so long to do even the most rudimentary damage control, which is still not enough.
Critics have been calling for Brinker?s resignation since January, when Komen said it would stop funding breast cancer screenings performed by Planned Parenthood. Brinker ignored the calls, instead releasing a wooden, video-taped statement which did little to stem the backlash against the nonprofit she founded in 1982.
The savage reaction on social media, in particular, forced Komen to reverse its policy for Planned Parenthood in just three days.
But Komen officials insisted they were misunderstood, not wrong-headed. They said the Planned Parenthood decision was the result of a Congressional investigation ? one which was initiated at the behest of
Whatever the case, the communications crisis did not end with the policy reversal.
Brinker?s failure, or inability, to take responsibility for the brouhaha over Planned Parenthood earned her a level of contempt usually reserved for, say, a BP executive who complained when a massive Gulf oil spill crimped his schedule.
The BP executive was given the boot shortly thereafter, but Brinker clung to her post in the organization she?d built, despite continuous signs of problems.
A Homeland Security Department analyst and a 2009 report he helped produce on right-wing extremism is receiving increased attention after Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old white supremacist and military veteran, shot and killed six worshipers and wounded[...]
Read The Full Article:
From the August 12 edition of Fox & Friends Sunday:
Even if the DCCC never saw it coming, Republicans have been growing increasingly worried that, Wisconsin's first congressional district, which voted for Obama in 2008 would probably swing back to the Democrats with Ryan running for vice president. Rob Zerban is a sincere and capable progressive and he will make a much better representative for Wisconsin working families than Ryan. As for Wall Street, they have plenty of representatives and losing Ryan won't be that big a catastrophe. Although... Ryan has been one of Wall Street's most devoted partisan's. We tend to mostly think of him as the "Kill Medicare guy" but let's go back a few years and look at the eye-popping, anti-Tea Party role he played in forcing through the Bush bankster bailout.
It's September 2008 and the GOP kleptocrats are winding up their last months in office. They wanted to deliver one more grand giveaway to Wall Street-- Henry Paulsen's bankster bailout. One problem: enough Republicans (133 of 'em) joined with Democrats to defeat it 205-228 when it was first brought up for a vote. Wall Street's best-paid shills, Boehner, Cantor and Paul Ryan, mobilized for battle. At the time Ryan, a relatively junior Member, had already taken $1,704,095 in legalistic bribes from Wall Street (a number that has now risen to $2,860,072). After the defeat in the House, Wall Street and the banksters went bonkers and pulled all Bush's strings and he and Paulsen easily got the monstrosity passed in the House of Lords and then went back to the House with a no less odious version of the bill that they had rejected a few days before. This time it passed 263-171 with not 65, but 91 Republicans joining in. Among the vote switchers who had had their arms twisted by Boehner, Cantor and Ryan plus the official registered Wall Street lobbyists:
Gresham Barrett (R-SC- $807,723)
Judy Biggert (R-IL- $1,675,717)
Charlie Dent (R-PA- $760,872)
Mary Fallin (R-OK- $336,576)
Jim Gerlach (R-PA- $1,670,352)
Pete Hoekstra (R-MI- $295,830)
Gary Miller (R-CA- $807,688)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL- $928,068)
Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH- $458,449)
John Shadegg (R-AZ- $1,218,261)
Lee Terry (R-NE- $1,246,007)
Patrick Tiberi (R-OH- $2,438,284)
In a section of the critically acclaimed examination of how Wall Street insiders diverted hundreds of billions of tax dollars into their accounts, Moore illustrates how the bailout happened. Democratic and Republican members of Congress who do the bidding of the bankers scared their colleagues and the American people into approving a massive bailout of the speculators whose misdeeds created the financial meltdown that shocked the nation in September 2008.
Ryan, the Republican congressman from southeast Wisconsin's hard-pressed 1st District, is shown playing the fear card by telling the House that it had to steer almost $800
millionBILLION to Wall Street's sleaziest players.
"If we fail to do the right thing, heaven help us-- if we fail to pass this I fear the worst is yet to come," claimed Ryan.
The statement from the Wisconsin Republican who has positioned himself as a budget specialist in the House played a significant role in securing support for a bailout bill that had not been adequately analyzed and that included few protections against fraud.
Had Ryan used his reputation and his role on key committees to aggressively oppose the bailout, he might have blocked the rush to judgment that economists now say could end up costing American taxpayers trillions of dollars-- and a big chunk of their country's future.
Instead, the GOP establishment's favored point man on fiscal issues claimed-- without benefit of facts, figures or any grounding in economic reality-- that a failure to give the bankers everything they were asking for could bring on a depression.
"This is a Herbert Hoover moment," Ryan told the House, as he reached a fear-mongering crescendo. "(Hoover) made mistakes during the Great Depression-- let's not make those mistakes."
It was a virtuoso performance. Moore was right to highlight it.
The filmmaker has given Wisconsin taxpayers a dramatic illustration of how it came to pass that we are bailing out bankers and billionaires at the same time that auto plants are closing in cities such as Janesville and Kenosha-- both of which are in the 1st District. More importantly, Moore has reminded the voters of southeastern Wisconsin how key members of Congress such as Paul Ryan determined to take care of the speculators on Wall Street rather than working families on Main Street.
The arrogance.Mitt Romney required Paul Ryan to provide "several years" of his tax returns in order to be vetted for the vice presidential slot.But in order to vet Mitt Romney for the presidential slot, he's only provided the public 1.5 years worth of tax returns.Putting aside the question of whether Romney didn't even pay taxes for ten years, as is rumored, how could he think to get...
Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity
Hard cover, 270 pages, $29.95
This study locates Obama's ideas within a broader and often contentious debate, more than two centuries old, over our self-understanding as a country and a people. Exactly who is considered worthy of full and equal membership in the American community has evolved over time; non-whites, Catholics, non-Christians, women, gays, and others were marginalized for centuries.Basic premise: Full acceptance into the American mosaic for many has proven elusive and difficult over the years since the country was founded. What Obama represents can be challenged and divided from what Sarah Palin famously called "real America." America's melting pot ideal fits in with the idea of shared citizenship and runs counter to the current Republican efforts at voter suppression, and encouragement of white working class resentment and charges of Obama not being a "real American" or "understanding America" or being a Kenyan by birth and a socialist by nature. This effort to characterize Obama as "other" is different than Obama's message of diversity as strength, and serves as a counterpoint to Obama's vision of a diversified yet united America.
Author: Ian Reifowitz is a historian and associate professor of History at Empire State College, SUNY. He has published opinion pieces at Daily Kos, Newsday and The New Republic.
Readability/quality: This is a good read without graphs and tables, and lends itself to a chapter a day read.
Who should read it: Political junkies (especially relevant because of the dark tone of the two campaigns against Obama), progressives, those interested in multiculturalism and nationalism, and those who want to look at this current election battle through a different lens.
Interview with Prof. Reifowitz (who will be available for comments this morning for a few hours):
Daily Kos: In your first chapter, you take us on a tour of national identity from the revolution through the 60s. Why is pre-1960s history important to understanding where we are now? Have the post-60s changes overwhelmed the past?
First and foremost, it?s because I?m a historian. In order to understand the context of Barack Obama?s conception of American national identity and the narrative of American history he presents, we have to look at multicultural thought, of which there are various forms. But multiculturalism didn?t come out of nowhere, it grew out of the Civil Rights movement and was a reaction against the then dominant concept of our identity, one that emphasized Anglo-conformism and centered on a historical narrative dominated by white, straight, male Protestants.
But even the concept of Americanness that stood essentially unopposed in the 1950s was different from what came before. I wanted to briefly sketch the changes by which groups earlier excluded from full membership the American community (Catholics, Irish, Jews, Italians, Slavs) won broad, if not universal, acceptance by the mid-20th century, so long as they publicly adopted an American-only identity (as opposed to a hyphenated one) and generally tried to ?fit in? in cultural terms. So, like I said, I?m a historian. But it?s a brief tour. I wanted to get to the 1960s so I could get to the 1990s so I could get to Obama.
(Continue reading below the fold.)
If he had settled for an attack puppy like Tim Pawlenty rather than controversial Paul Ryan, the GOP standard bearer would not be facing new questions about his wealth, taxes and social insensitivity.
?Instead of a referendum on his own performance,? political strategistspoint out, ?the president has an opening to turn the election into a referendum on the vision that Mr. Ryan has advanced and Mitt Romney has adopted.?
What was the usually cautious contender thinking?
?Romney, the turnaround artist, decided that he needed to turn around his own campaign,? suggests New York Times resident wonk Nate Silver, adding that the President ?will no longer have to stretch to evoke the specter of Congress and its 15 percent approval rating...he will be running against a flesh-and-blood embodiment of it.?
Under a Ryan budget, another critic snipes, underscoring the tax release controversy, Romney would have owed only 0.82 percent of his $21 million income in 2010 rather than the 13.9 he paid.
This VP choice may excite the foot-dragging Tea Party base Romney has been courting, but what will be the ultimate price among independent and undecided voters?
Like John McCain?s ?Game Change? choice in 2008, this year?s may also have surprisingly unintended consequences.
Read The Full Article:
According to Forbes:
“The California-based company signed a memorandum of understanding with Renault to work on the field trial and to figure out how to integrate the wireless charging technology into Renault?s cars. Qualcomm also announced on Tuesday that Delta Motorsport, an automotive engineering company in the United Kingdom, plans to put Qualcomm?s wireless technology into its electric cars, which will then be used for the same field trial in London later this year.”
The goal of the trial is to test both the commercial and technical viability of wireless electric vehicle charging. Qualcomm would also like to gain an understanding of the potential challenges of deploying and integrating wireless charging on a large scale.
The device, a pad that the company is calling Halo, is placed under a parked vehicle and communicates wirelessly with a corresponding receiver on the underside of a car. The Halo stays off until the receiver pad, which is unique to each vehicle, is in range. Once that happens the pads pass a current between them, charging the car’s batteries without the need for any sort of plug.
From EE Times:
“The technology is based on inductive charging across the air gap between a transmitting pad in the road surface and a receiving pad on the underside of a vehicle.It typically works at frequencies below 300-kHz but the final details are not yet decided and subject to standards negotiation. It is not yet clear whether the technology uses simple inductive magnetic coupling or resonant inductive coupling.”
Through the Halo, Qualcomm hopes to tackle one of the most significant challenges to the electric vehicle market: the lack of a suitable charging infrastructure. Currently EV charging stations are fairly major installations, requiring extensive wiring, and in many cases, EV drivers must take great pains to seek them out. (Though some cities are taking major steps to become more EV friendly.) The Halo, however, holds the promise of a small, potentially portable, low-maintenance, and infrastructure-free method of EV charging.
One of the most exciting things about this new technology is the potential for wireless, in-motion charging.
Currently, the biggest impediments to a major migration to electric vehicles are technological limitations from performance issues. EVs work best at certain, very specific temperatures, outside of which battery efficiency and life is severely limited. Thus, it makes little sense for someone in an extreme cold weather environment, for instance, to purchase an EV because the range of the car would be substantially reduced.
However, if we built electric roadways equipped with Halo-style charging pads, the range limitations of EVs could be addressed.
As EVs equipped with the proper receiving pads passed over electric roadways, they would constantly be charging, thereby eliminating the need to stop and refuel. This innovation would allow for the much more widespread and effective use of current EVs without any major advances in vehicle technology.
Lining America’s roadways with wireless electric vehicle chargers might not be as far fetched as it sounds. We already coat every single road in the nation with long strings of paint to denote lanes, why can’t small pads or cells be embedded in similar dashed roadway lines? Additionally, the pads wouldn’t need to be everywhere, they could be placed in short bursts, maybe a mile or two long, on stretches of road a few miles apart.
Thanks to new lithium-ion battery technology, overcharging the batteries on EVs and damaging them is no longer an issue.
Innovations like wireless EV charging are vital to moving toward a clean energy future. The Halo is great example of how creative thinking can help overcome major technical and structural obstacles to new technologies.
– Max Frankel
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow GazetteThis is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.Find the past "On This Day in History" here. Click on image to enlargeAugust 12 is the 224th day of the[...]
Read The Full Article: