Monday, July 13, 2015

We Can Cut Down On Petrochemical Consumption Right Now

Did I hear that correctly on Chris Hayes' show last week -- you can get solar panels installed on your house for free and pay for them later out of the money you make selling surplus electricity back to the grid? Maybe I didn't hear that correctly, or maybe I did, and it was a bit of solar-energy-industry hype which doesn't apply to every potential home-solar customer. Much of Hayes' segment on solar consisted of businessmen saying this and that and Chris reacting: Really? Wow! without seeming to have done a lot of fact checking before putting it all on the air.

However, it does seem that if it's not true for every house right now, it will be pretty soon.

Hayes pointed out that utilities don't like this. One more reason for utilities to be publicly-owned and like what's good for the public. I did hear someone say -- again, this didn't seem to have been fact-checked -- that utilities had brought brought something like 40 lawsuits against people who dared to try to free themselves from them, and had won in only 2 cases. 2 cases in Oklahoma, where people with solar panels on their houses must pay a tax. (Environmentalists in Oklahoma, stay strong! It MEANS something to be an environmentalist there! Alaska too!)

[PS, 30. May 2016: I heard correctly. And the information is accurate in most of the 50 states. In some states the legislatures and utilities have combined to screw you out of such possibilities -- for the present time. For the love of Clarence Darrow, educate yourself about what's going on around you and vote in state and local elections!]

Alfred Doeblin's novel Berlin Alexanderplatz was published in 1929. Had I remembered correctly, were the passenger trains electric in Berlin in 1929? I had: on the 1st page of the 1st chapter, it reads: "Er ließ Elektrische auf Elektrische vorbeifahren[...]" ("He let electric after electric go by[...]") They called them "electrics," maybe because electric trains were still a novelty in 1929? Maybe not: London's Tube had electric trains in 1890, the Paris Métro had them in 1900, Cleveland and Denver in the 1880's. So why are some trains in the US, not just in the Punjab and Mexico, but also in the "Home of the Brave," still burning diesel oil in the year Two Thousand And For Crying Out Loud?

Actually, I think most of those trains are mostly diesel-electric hybrids by now. Big new ships are hybrids too.

You may've heard about that solar-powered plane circling the Earth recently. Did you know that there's still no passenger train service to or from Columbus or Phoenix? In Europe the trains stop at just about single little town -- and they're not hybrids, they're all-electric. And there are well-tended bicycle paths all over the place, riding a bike doesn't equal dodging cars and trucks.

I'm trying to make you angry. Angry at oil companies. BP. Exxon. Gazprom, which is basically just another name for Boris Putin. Angry at the politicians, mostly Republicans in the US, who keep the companies alive and their owners rich from continuing to endanger human life. Vote the bums out! Let's get those solar panels up. Help me and Chris Hayes shine more light on things like those Oklahoma utilities taxing people for daring to put solar panels on the roofs of their homes. Ask who killed the electric car in the 1990's and who's slowing it down today, and why you can't ride a train cross-country to Columbus or Phoenix, and why Amtrak isn't all-electric with all of its electricity coming from wind or solar, and why in most places in the US you can't walk or ride a bike separately from the motorized traffic, and other questions like that, and keep on asking and asking until you get something resembling intelligent answers. What do you say, how about if we attempt to stand up for ourselves and keep some anti-social billionaire creeps from wiping out the human species?

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