Saturday, March 29, 2014

we be screwed? up against it part 8

Started out today at a coffee/talk with my GOP state house rep and the senator of the district that starts a mile north.  They told me this week, the end of the session, we will see a rare maneuver, the GOP leadership will rename the dead bill (designed to kill wind energy in Kansas), and bundle it with a group of bills that have broad support and have to get passed.  They both predict Koch's will win before the week is out.
Also, the "religious freedom bill" that got the whole nation riled up, lets businesses refuse to serve gays, or government workers refuse to serve gays, that is coming back and will be flushed through the shit house that is Topeka.  The way it works is the last few days of the session they work 15 hour days and pass 35 or more bills a day, by the time they get notice on thier laptop of a vote, they scramble to find out what the hell is in it, the vote starts, debating things will turn it into a 24 hours session, the house leaders wear the bastards down till they just set there and vote, no time to see what page 15 of the bill might have hiding in it.
Democracy in Klansas, a wholly owned subsidiaries of Koch Industries.
It may be another week before I know, but me thinks we be screwed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kansas beat the Chamber, Kochs, ALEC, AFP, up against the wall, #7

I'm setting here sending emails to Kansas State Reps for tomorrows house vote to kill Wind Energy in Kansas, when I get an email from a Republican Rep, saying they got the bill a day early, and voted to kill the bill and save wind energy and clean jobs for vets.

I can hardly believe it, I needed to see it from a second source, I searched  a half hour before it showed up on the Topeka papers site.

As you can read in the posts below, the Senate passed it yesterday, but the pressure was too much for the house, they put it up against the wall and shot it dead.  A few days from now we fight net metering, next year, all of them again.    Tonight I will drink some Templeton Rye Whiskey from Iowa, one of the most advanced wind energy states.

Oh, I just got an invite to go to DC and meet people at Operation Free.  Thanks Sarge, I roped him into sending email to the Senate President.

Up against the wall Kansas, part 6

We lost in the KS Senate, 25 to 15.  Can't find a voting record on line.  News story say at least a couple of Republicans voted against the bill.  (voting no is a vote for wind and solar energy) Thursday the House votes, but through a senate slight of hand they can prevent debate in the house, are we in a democracy or not, honestly I don't understand why they don't do this all the time, WTF?  The house is so lopsided with GOP I can't imagine we can prevail.  Even my GOP pal that voted for me 2 times on this issue is dodging my calls and emails, pretty sure he turned on me.
At least one group I know of, Union of Concerned Scientist, are asking their members to start asking Gov. Brownback to veto the bill.  Brownback is as far up the ass of government by the rich and for the corps as it gets, but he has time after time supported and promoted wind energy.  Maybe, just maybe he would veto it.
Even public radio the last few days has fallen into the fair and balanced cop-out of reporting. He said, she said, one statement from each side, you wouldn't know what to believe if you didn't know the industry and the law, all they had to do was go to the state records to see wind has lowered our rates, but the GOP says they have raised our rates, and he said she said.  Are journalism students learning anything now, or are they just told, go ask that guy, now go ask the other, there it is the story is done, your a journalist.  WTF.
Not bummed out about what looks like will be a defeat.  A rose bush has more than one thorn on it, they can break off one, we got more.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kansas Utility commission works for Kochs, up against the wall part 5

Last week I testified at the utilities hearing, against a bill to kill wind energy in KS.   You can read about it in 4 different posting below.  Today the Lawrence Journal and Think Progress (climate section) is reporting the chairman, Senator Pat Apple was paid $4,148 from the Chamber, $3,400 from Koch, $19,000 oil and gas, and so on.  Now, I know why we dozen or so against the bill got half the time, and these 4 got the other half, rather than equal time for each speaker.  I emailed him a few minutes ago and ask is this true, if so shouldn't you vote "present" today?
Yesterday 800+ Kansas Military Veterans got an email from me via "Operation Free".  See that little shield to the left, click it to learn what it is, sign up if your a vet.  Today is the vote. I have gone to meet ups with legislators, visited their offices, testified, emailed 25 or more.  But I forgot to take a few thousand dollars with me to see these guys.
Late in the afternoon we will know if Senate passes it.  The leadership pulled a rarely used procedural  trick on this bill, if they pass it, the house cannot debate it, only vote on it.  ALEC and Koch have tried this in every state with a wind energy agreement or law, failed every time, last year failed in Kansas 2 times.  I fear their first victory after about 40 losses will be in Kansas, well they deserve it, they bought it.  But if we lose I have learned something from the Kochs, refight the same battle every fucking year, I will start looking for someone who will introduce a bill to bring wind energy back.
Get active, the Senator Apple's among us need to know even if they win, and taking corporate payment before a vote on their issue is "technically legal",  lots of us know how they did it and see it as corrupt.

Friday, March 21, 2014

pig shit for as far as the eye can see

Kansas legislature, almost in secret last week, no one seemed to know it was coming, OK'd one of if not the biggest factory hog farms in the nation.  340,000 swine.  In one place.  Producing more sewage than any city in the state.  Wichita with 315,000 is the biggest, and the application lists more tons and gallons of sewage than Wichita.
This giant stench is going to be located in the far southwest corner of the state, off highway US54.  It will be between hundreds of thousands of cattle standing knee deep in shit in the feed lots around Dodge City and Garden City Kansas, and just north of several hundred thousand more cattle in stock yards surrounding Dalhart Texas.  You can smell this area already, but now this, people on US 54 from New Mexico up into Kansas are going to need gas masks.
That area is in a drought, but this will spark even more drilling for water to grow the corn to burn in these poor caged animals bowels.  Kansas, especially southwest Kansas is not corn country, but they will do it, for a few years, till the heat kills it or the water runs out, and it will.  T Boon Pickens in Amarillo has been buying water rights in that corner of the state, the panhandle of Oklahoma and Texas.  He owns a lot of it now.  And as the water runs out, that shrinking resource will make having an oil well look like a stupid idea, water will be king.  He has made efforts for a contract to send it to Oklahoma City, even Dallas, one day they will buy it, we will use up all our water, for corn, meat.

I hardly ever eat meat.  I'm damn near a vegan.  I bet I haven't had a couple pounds of meat a year for the last 3, maybe longer.  You need to go stand out there in Dodge City and watch those beasts covered with shit and flies eating corn.  Corn is not a cattle food, it gives them stomach ulcers, in order to keep them healthy they give feed them drugs all the time.  Pigs, same shit, as far as the watery eye can see.

up against the wall part 4

The GOP the Kochs the Chamber got the bill out of committee, then........then.........and then they stripped it from it's bill number and inserted it into another bill on the floor of a different subject.  Now, the floor can't vote against it on it's own.  I am sure it will pass on the floor, then Governor Sam Brownback is unlikely to veto it.  He is actually very favorable to wind energy, and this might keep him from doing that.
In another committee, yesterday, they rolled out a bill to repeal tax exemption for wind energy turbines. In Kansas all electrical generation equipment is property tax exempt, coal fired plants don't pay property tax.  This, if it passes, will end wind farms in Kansas until their cost verses production ratio grows even stronger than it is now.  In fact this may make some of the old wind farms uncompetitive, they may have to come down. Which is what they want, they want to build a coal fired power plant, this damn wind energy is filling the gap.
Koch Industries owns Kansas lock stock and barrel.  They paid for this, and they dam well are going to get what they bought, a state where fossil fuel has artificial price advantages.  Fuck-it, I'm going to Home Depot before lunch and buy a couple more LED light bulb, I am determined to lower my electrical use again, I have lowered it every year the last 4 or 5 years, I'll do it again.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

up against the wall part 3

If you beat down all the arguments against wind, with the facts that every new generation of turbine makes more energy and is therefore a cheaper source, if you beat back the lies that wind caused the rates to go up, (state corporate commissions own records show they did not), when that and all the other crap is trampled down, some smart ass Senator smarts off: it's unreliable, you have to build over capacity, it can't be counted as baseload.  These are also common bar room arguments, they are bullshit.

All power sources are unreliable, somewhere in the nation a coal plant shuts down ever few days without notice.  Every few weeks a nuclear plant does to.  Wind energy however is made up of farms, scattered over miles, and more farms scattered here and there over much of the country.  Yes, a turbine might fail, but it's one when hundreds, thousands are running, not much impact there.  As for weather, as they are scattered over great geographic areas some can always run.

Yes, if you want a megawatt your build more.  Coal plants, all plants build 15%, even more into the system.  This is common in all forms of energy.

The baseload is the weakest argument, it was true 15 years ago, maybe 5, but not now.  The states, even great regions of the country now are formed into "power pools".  Together they alternately rest a power plant here while others run and feed the grid.  Base load is now shared and can be switched over great areas. Wind is counted now as baseload, a percent of its "global capacity within the grid" is relied on from time to time to let other sources rest.  Baseload is the overcapacity needed even at night to ensure power is in the line when you turn on the light, it's wasted, but needed for a reliable system.  The more wind sources we have, the more often a coal or gas burner can rest, save fuel, save wear and tear, it actually extends the life of those plants, not sure thats good news, but it does.

Rebutted by a contractor at the meeting who builds coal, gas plants and wind farms, the senator muttered "I don't believe it".  And there you are, republicans will not take information from any source but their own kind.  The fossil fuel is a long way from defeated.  In fact, they may succeed in turning the US into a Petro-state, exactly the kind of corrupt nation that we have had trouble with all over the world for 40 years, that may become us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

up against the wall, after action report

All prepared, get to the senate meeting room, and find out the committee will allow only 1 1/2 hours for the hearing.  First up the proponents for killing wind energy programs in Kansas, 4 speakers, they got almost half the 90 minutes, next a neutral speaker got 12 minutes, now 10 or 12 opponents get the remaining 40ish minutes.  Needless to say some of us a the end of the list had 2 minutes, blurt out 5% of what you came to say and sit down.  Well it was good that we had so many supporting wind, but the proponents got time to ramble on, hardly fair, but, there is only 2 democrats on the committee, so!

First speaker was Chamber of Commerce, followed by Koch's Americans for Prosperity then a KU professor then some guy called Kansas for Liberty.  The first guy said over and over they love wind, just don't want the state saying they love wind, Kochs boy was a rant of lies about wind, the professor was working for Koch, came with him, left with him, talked the same, the Liberty guy didn't make any more sense than I did when I got my turn, and he had 10 minutes more than me.

We had the President of Siemens wind energy, three Presidents of wind farm developers, articulate lobbyist, county commissioners and more, and me preaching about land owners and veteran jobs in wind energy.  It did not impress, that committee is passing that bill, 90% of the state wants them not to, but they will, it will come out of committee tomorrow and go to the floor.  I predict Kansas will pass it, and be the first state to cripple their own wind industry, in a state that has the 2nd best wind in the nation.  These bastards hate anything that don't smoke.  Kochs and the Chamber own this state.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Once more, up against the wall, smoke'm if ya got'm, here's yer blindfold.

Tomorrow I give testimony before the Kansas Senate on the Renewable Portfolio Standard, that's the term for wind and solar energy requirements made between the state and the utilities a few years ago.  ALEC is running round the country pushing states to toss any energy that don't make smoke.

I know this shit, armed with facts and patriotism, believe me on the patriotism, I have 30,000 military veterans on my side and that's one thing I'll be telling, why those vets want the US off fossil fuels of all kinds, and fast.  I won't be on my own, I think the Sierra Club will speak,  farmer/landowners, a variety of businesses, county commissioners, a coalition of churches, students, everyone wants wind and solar but some in the GOP, it'll be fun.  90% of the state is for it, really, it's true.  Still I think we might lose this fight.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Russia's Crimea grab spurs Europe's solar and wind growth.

Russia can cut off the gas to Germany, but every day it matters a little less.  Germany is getting 50% of their energy some days from wind and solar and still growing.  Now a new number is discovered, 1 in 6, about 16% companies/businesses have self owned solar, most get about  1/2 of their energy from solar.  In light of the Putin's Crimea adventure and threats another 23% of businesses said last week they will add solar panels this year.  This could be the biggest year yet for solar growth in Germany.  Suddenly energy independence has a real urgency for Germans, and the outcome will be a reduced cash flow to Russia.

One head line in Germany this week, Putin can't stop the wind.

This leads me to Operation Free.  The vet group working to defend and promote wind and solar to keep us out of oil wars, eliminate fuel supply lines (number one killer in Iraq and Afghan), and jobs for vets, make the US energy independent from clean sources. Vets are 6.7% of the workers but they top 9% of the wind and solar work force, one of the largest sectors they migrate to, and many of them see this as a "second service" by using our own renewables keeps our money at home and out of the hands of multinational companies and corrupt petro-states.  If you are a vet, go to and sign up, they ask only email and zip code, bang your a member.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Influence your elected officials, 101

Your mayor, governor, state senator, US senator, all the way up and down the line you could be guiding them, or at least applying pressure so they know they have some out there watching them.  Sure, I know, we all write snarky nasty grams, leave messages with the polite phone answering lady, you voice your opinion, your mostly wasting your time.   These guys are so busy and under pressure from committees, lobbyist, whips, they don't take your call, read your emails or look at the note the phone lady scrawled.     But, there is a way to get through.  I have started getting into the state house working most on clean energy.  It doesn't take a suit or a degree, but try to do as much of the following as possible.

1)  One issue at a time, OK maybe two but that's it.
2)  Staff.  Ask who is the staff member that handles the issue.  See, call, or write that staff member, some of these offices have lots of staff and some handle only certain items, and they are more likely to carry your concern to the elected one than the phone lady.  If you get answering machine, stick your name and number on it and a pleasant voice your subject and a fact in a couple of lines that's all.  You probably won't hear back, but a hum-drum or snotty voice will guarantee it.
3) Be prepared to refer to the bill by number if the item is already drawn up or in committee.  I made this mistake in meeting with state reps, they are sometimes more likely to know the issue by the bill number than the public/press label for it.
4) Homework, try to find out their position, build if you can on areas of agreement if there are some, and be specific what action you want taken.  Opinions don't count for much at this level, know some facts to use in support of your request.
5) Find out on line or from the phone lady what days people are most available, committee meetings and legislative sessions are often on certain days.
6) Unless your a mega-contributor you will be lucky to have 5 minutes with anyone.  Polite quick intro and get to saying what you came to say. Give your position, ask what for their's, use facts and go easy on opinions.  If they indicate they will not do your bidding find out the primary reason, try to counter it, ask what would change their minds.
7) Thank them, (if it didn't go your way) tell them you are going try harder than ever now with others to help change his mind.
8) Tenaciousness, get back to them in the next few days, sooner if the bill is moving in committee or on the floor.  Email, write, call, give your strongest facts over and over, more facts and reasons if you can find them.
9) Take partial or incremental victories, let things that don't matter go. (I found one senator who kept putting up false info as his reason he would not vote as I wanted him to, finally through facts he agreed I was right but then launched that the real problem was Obama's actions.  I repeated back to him that we now had agreement on the xyz of my argument, I ignored the Obama comment because this was a state bill with nothing to do with federal laws or Obama whether it was voted up or down, discussion of that could only offend him and waste time.
10) Tell someone what you did and learned, ask them for help.  Human nature is amazing, most people want to help, make it easy for them, give them the phone number or email, hell, write the letter for them, tell them what you would say if you were calling the first time.
11) 3 is a crowd.  In small population states 3 people calling or visiting a state house rep or a mayor on the same issue is a lot of pressure, in larger states 50 is a lot.  "Oh I want to be in that number, when the saint's go marching in".

up a dry creek

We people of the USA are the worst water wasters in the world.  380 gallons a day, thats how much we(you) use.  No other nation comes close, most developed nations are half that.  Poor nations are down to a less than a gallon a day, just what they drink.
Where is it going: we shit in clean water, 100 gallons is used to wash and process every killed beef, we take 10 even 20 minute showers, leaky pipes, car wash, fracking, steam in fossil fuel and nuke power plants, manufacturing waste, we irrigate corn to make ethanol just to burn that up, we pour tens of thousands of gallons on a lawn so we can cut it off every week, old dish and clothing washing machines, and drinking.
I was in a public rest room last week with a waterless urinal, worked fine, not sure how but it worked, a sign said a urinal in a busy public toilet uses 40,000 gallons of water a year.  Our washer and dishwasher pooped out last year, bought new ones with the lowest water usage we could get, our water bill has fallen significantly, electric bill too.  The water table is falling fast in my state.  If we don't cut back, we will be up a dry creek with no need for a paddle.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Another family member addicted to fox, lost to their drug.

I have been on a trip with family.  I am sad to report one loved member of the family is lost, lost to fox.  From shortly after breakfast till he passes out at 10pm he's on fox, a hard core user, addicted.  Lost to the family.  Replaced by an angry scared person, afraid of Obama, afraid of minorities (though he has some in the family), afraid of the debt which he isn't helping one iota (being on social security) to pay down, afraid we won't bomb Russia.

He set alone in front of a 50" TV, 100 watt bulb over his left shoulder the only light in a heavily shaded room.  I wandered in a couple times but for 3+ days he was glued to it, unable to come out to see us on our once every 3 year visit for more than a few minutes at a time.  Did I say Fox was turned up, oh boy, you could hear it anywhere in the house.    And, as I heard more, it got funny, I thought sometimes I was listening to the Daily Show.

One day last week the stock market was rocketing up, "what are investors doing" cried a female fox voice, "they don't get it, the economy is unstable, Obama is wrecking the country" whined another, pissed the market was going up.

One day they read the restaurant chain Chipoltle put out a statement if global warming accelerated they might be unable to sell guacamole.  "clearly this is a political statement" fox vixen blurted, one of the guys said, "It's not the only place you can get guacamole, I will be going elsewhere".  Another female voice, "It's sad to see this kind of politics".  Another said they contacted the restaurant chain who said it was a statement of future assets, if certain foods are unable to grow, they would not have this product to offer.

Then their stories about evil democrate lawyers running for judges who have gotten killers off at trial.  Wow, I thought it was the jury that decided that, not the lawyer, and the constitution says they should have representation and a trial.

He even takes a 100 watt bulb in his suitcase when he goes on the rare overnight.  In the hotel he removes the CFL or LED and puts in his 100 watter.  I won't use Obama's lights he explains.  Sure I know what your going to ask, didn't I tell him Bush and his congress mandated these lights, not Obama?  No, he went back into the dark to quickly.