Wednesday, July 15, 2009

She Just Won't Go Away!

We thought when Palin resigned after giving an incredibly weird and rambling speech she would just go away. At least for a while. At least until the memory of her extremely strange resignation (let alone her disastrous vice-presidential campaign) would fade. Not so. Now the unfortunate ex-governor of Alaska presents herself as an expert on the new energy plan. She feels she has so much to say on this subject that she even published an article in The Washington Post. The article is just as rambling and poorly organized as her resignation speech. It's the kind of a piece that you have to read and re-read and then re-read all over again in order to dig out the point she is trying to make from under the endless verbiage.

Just consider the following sentence: "Many states have abundant coal, whose technology is continuously making it into a cleaner energy source." Whose technology? The coal's? Then what does "it" refer to? Also the coal? Then again, cleaner than what? Which states have this clean coal? What kind of technology are we discussing? What is the word "continuously" doing here? No clarification from Palin. And not a single fact presented to support anything.

Obama's energy plan, she says, is very dangerous. Why? (Besides the fact that anything Obama does is inherently bad, dangerous, and ugly, of course). "Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over eight years. So much for creating jobs" says Palin. The people who will lose jobs under this plan will be provided with new employment. How can that be bad? Because the plan doesn't create new jobs, Palin claims. Well, this was never the plan's goal. It's a plan to cap emissions, it can't be expected to cure all of the world's evils. And since when does a Republican care about people losing jobs, anyways?

Now let's look at the next statement: "We have an important choice to make. Do we want to control our energy supply and its environmental impact? Or, do we want to outsource it to China, Russia and Saudi Arabia? Make no mistake: President Obama's plan will result in the latter." Sounds bad, doesn't it? Of course, nobody wants to outsource to other countries. The only problem: there is no evidence of how Obama's plan will do that. The cap and trade plan is aimed at reducing the emissions created by burning fossil fuel. The idea behind the plan is simply to burn less fuel. Not less domestic as opposed to imported fuel. But simply: less fuel. I must be stupid but I fail to understand how this plan will result in America losing control over anything. My only consolation is that Sarah Palin, the author of the statement, has no idea either. She never stops to explain how she arrived at her daring conclusion. Well, she isn't Sarah Palin for nothing.

Here is the conclusion to the article: "Can America produce more of its own energy through strategic investments that protect the environment, revive our economy and secure our nation? Yes, we can. Just not with Barack Obama's energy cap-and-tax plan." OK, the readers might think. Now we are getting to it. Obama's plan is bad but now Palin will give us the alternative, a plan of her own that will achieve all of these good things (protecting the environment, reviving the economy and "securing the nation", whatever that is). But wait, these are actually the last words of the article. After I read them, I kept sitting there, staring stupidly at the web-page. There must be a continuation to the article, I thought. You are saying that all these things can be done, just not with Obama's plan. Isn't this the point where you tell us what the alternative is?

I imagined what would happen if Sarah Palin were to walk into my apartment right now and observe me blogging. "The way you blog is silly and inefficient," she would say. "There is a way to blog faster, better, and more productively. I know how to do it." And then she would just walk out without ever revealing her new and improved blogging strategy to me.

I wonder why more people don't write articles for The Washington Post? It seems so easy. Here are some ideas for future articles:

1. The way heart surgeons operate on patients is wrong. I know a better, cheaper, healthier way to operate. End of article.

2. Writers are stupid. I know how to write more engaging, stylistically beautiful, and artistically valuable novels. End of article.

3. Teachers are all idiots. I know how to tach kids better and faster. End of article.

See how easy it is to become an expert on almost anything? Just tell people how stupid they are and that you know a better way. Remember, no proof of this better way will ever be required from you.


Natalee said...

You have to be completely oblivious to reality to not realize that we need to reduce the emissions. If anything, Obama's plan doesn't do enough to reduce them. Saying that we can do without these measures is beyond irresponsible.

Clarissa said...

Exactly! So much needs to be done and Obama's cap and trade is just aa drop in the bucket at this point.

Anonymous said...

That is completely ridiculous. As an expert in renewable energy field I know very well that Obama's plan involves reducing US dependency on foreign energy sources. Recently a truckload of money was dumped through NSF and DOE onto scientists exploring photosynthesis, solar cells, hydrogen production and other renewable sources of energy. Thus, even the statement about losing jobs may be untrue. Most likely is untrue... Of course, coal miners cannot easily switch into universities and high-tech companies... But it is not worse than with any other technological advance. Or "doing everything more effectively" according to Palin involves stopping the progress?

Clarissa said...

I didn't know you specialize in the renewable energy. That's so cool. I never ask my friends in sciences what it is they do because I always feel I'll never be able to understand anyways. :-)

As to progress, the Republicans hate any kind of progress, in my opinion.

Tom Carter said...

Well, Clarissa, I only read the Palin article once, and I understood what she was saying. Aside from the comment about liberals finally understanding supply-side economics, most of what she said made sense--depending on your point of view.

Depending on what you read, there's a lot of valid scientific argument about how much CO2 contributes to warming versus natural factors such as the Sun, whether or not the current relatively minimal long-term warming trend is a natural Earth climate cycle, etc. I don't know the answers to those questions, and neither does anyone else, Al Gore notwithstanding. I'll accept, though, that it would be a good thing to reduce all emissions related to fossil fuel burning, and it's a necessity to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of oil.

I see several very big problems with the cap-and-trade scheme. It costs way too much, and that cost will be paid by citizens--it's a very big tax, and a regressive one, no matter how you view it. It will force a downturn in U.S. economic activity, including in the energy production sector. There will be significant net job losses. And government bureaucracies that will manage the scheme will be expensive and counterproductive.

I'm not the first to suggest a better, multi-faceted approach. First is a new tax on fossil fuel use. Second is fuller exploitation of our own resources, like drilling for domestic oil and opening up ANWR, which really is a tiny piece of land, and building new refineries. Third is building more nuclear power plants because they're the cleanest and safest source of energy and they use technology that actually exists.

Most of what I've said is in Palin's argument somewhere, but I'll admit it's pretty hard to dig it out.

Clarissa said...

"I see several very big problems with the cap-and-trade scheme. It costs way too much"

-It''s one of those things that will cost much more if we don't do anything.

"Third is building more nuclear power plants because they're the cleanest and safest source of energy"

-I'm from Ukraine, the country of Chernobyl, so I have a panic attack every time I hear the words "nuclear plant."

"Most of what I've said is in Palin's argument somewhere, but I'll admit it's pretty hard to dig it out."

-You are too nice to her. :-)

Nadine said...

There is always a cost associated with pollution, Tom. The question here isn't how much the cost is, but whose responsibility it is to pay that cost. Right now, we're making innocent people pay that cost. People who live in areas with air pollution pay more in health care costs as well as possibly shortening their lives. People who depend on a good environment to make their living (fishermen come to mind) lose wages because there are just not as many fish to catch anymore. Future generations, our children and their children, will have to bear the brunt of this burden. Not only are they born and raised in a polluted, ugly world, they will have to pay the full cost to clean up after us. Or we could start acting like grownups. People who make messes should be the ones responsible for cleaning it up. I learned that in primary school. I guess some people were sick that day.

Okay, so we drill for oil. That's nice. What happens when it runs out? We won't have invested as much into research for more sustainable energy, so it won't be as viable an option when it really is needed, but maybe we'll be dead by then, so who cares about the future of our country amirite? What do you suggest we do with the animals in the wildlife refuge? Just let them die while we tear apart their homes? Believe it or not, wildlife refuges aren't established on a whim... they're there because there's some local wildlife that needs refuge, and as much as we like to pretend otherwise, species diversity is pretty essential for the overall health of the environment and therefore US. And of course, burning oil, whether it comes from here or there or anywhere, still creates air pollution. Nuclear plants, lovely, except that none of them seem as safe as they claim (but of course this time will be different, every time is different), and we have no real, safe way to dispose of the waste. This is some dangerous, nasty stuff that will stick around for millions of years, and we're burying it underground and sticking it in warehouses. The toxic waste we're making will probably be around longer than our civilization, do you realize that? Even when we stick it in warehouses that ARE buried underground, with cement walls several feet thick, we come back ten years later to see that nothing can grow around the area, that the soil is too contaminated. More ugly stuff for my kids and your kids to clean up or suffer with, I suppose.

But hey, as long as the cost of my consumer goods don't go up, it's awwwright, yeah!

Clarissa said...

People who say they don't "believe" in global warming remind me of little children who hide by closing their eyes and believe that this way nobody will be able to see them. It's as if saying "I don't believe in it" will somehow prevent ecological disasters from happening.

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