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Carol Overland - Legalectric
Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 1 hour 46 min ago
This post is for all my Catholic in/out-laws and friends, and the world. If you’re breathing, and even marginally listening, you’ve been hearing a lot about Pope Francis lately. He’s standing up, speaking out, and sounding like a “Christian” expressing moral and ethical positions that go to the crux of what’s wrong with the world these days. WOW! This is SO refreshing, what with all the wingnut CINO’s trying to shove their belief system on the rest of us. Pope Francis, I’m pleasantly stunned…
Let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about, the real thing — SIT DOWN AND READ THIS:
204. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.
And how is the media is handling this? In the Wall Street Journal, reporting on a Pope holding up the mirror to the capitalists:
In Washington Post:
USA Today, with a headline that tells it like it is:
And the New York Times, toning down the message:
CNBC distances itself by putting ‘quotes’ around it:
A couple of the economic based tidbits from the Evangelii Gaudium:
35. Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed
38. It is important to draw out the pastoral consequences of the Council’s teaching, which reflects an ancient conviction of the Church. First, it needs to be said that in preaching the Gospel a fitting sense of proportion has to be maintained. This would be seen in the frequency with which certain themes are brought up and in the emphasis given to them in preaching. For example, if in the course of the liturgical year a parish priest speaks about temperance ten times but only mentions charity or justice two or three times, an imbalance results, and precisely those virtues which ought to be most present in preaching and catechesis are overlooked
48. If the whole Church takes up this missionary impulse, she has to go forth to everyone without exception. But to whom should she go first? When we read the Gospel we find a clear indication: not so much our friends and wealthy neighbours, but above all the poor and the sick, those who are usually despised and overlooked, “those who cannot repay you” (Lk 14:14). There can be no room for doubt or for explanations which weaken so clear a message. Today and always, “the poor are the privileged recipients of the Gospel”, and the fact that it is freely preached to them is a sign of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish. We have to state, without mincing words, that “there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor”. May we never abandon them.
49. Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door peole are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37).
53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.
55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.
56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.
No to a financial system which rules rather than serves
57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.
58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.
No to the inequality which spawns violence59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.
60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.
202. The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.204. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.
206. Economy, as the very word indicates, should be the art of achieving a fitting management of our common home, which is the world as a whole. Each meaningful economic decision made in one part of the world has repercussions everywhere else; consequently, no government can act without regard for shared responsibility. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find local solutions for enormous global problems which overwhelm local politics with difficulties to resolve. If we really want to achieve a healthy world economy, what is needed at this juncture of history is a more efficient way of interacting which, with due regard for the sovereignty of each nation, ensures the economic well-being of all countries, not just of a few.
Now, this one, in 104, is another matter:
The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion, but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.
DATE: Wednesday, December 4, 2013
TIME: Open House: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (CST)
Meeting: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (CST)
LOCATION: Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
5801 Opus Parkway
Minnetonka, Minnesota 55343
Lake of the Woods Meeting Room
SUBJECT: PUBLIC MEETING TO RECEIVE COMMENTS ON THE WASTE CONFIDENCE DRAFT GENERIC ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT AND PROPOSED RULE
That’s an old photo of Prairie Island, appropriate for an early winter day. There is nuclear waste from the plant stored in casks just outside of the plant, and this whole nuclear compound is right next to the Mississippi River and the Prairie Island Indian Community. Great… just great. It’s just a couple miles upriver from us here in Red Wing, and it’s been incorporated into the City so the City could get utility personal property tax revenues, but that’s another can of worms for another day…
Nuclear Waste isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s allowed to keep piling up, and the nuclear reactors are allowed to continue to generate electricity and waste, based on the “Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision,” which was first issued in 1984, and then revisited since, and it’s essentially myopia in action:
A federal court didn’t buy the NRC’s policy:
So now they’re getting more public input into the rule.
What’s at issue now is the proposed Rule and the Environmental Impact Statement, and they’re soliciting comments on that EIS with the final due out about a year from now. Here it is, and the EIS is BIG, 585 pages — yup, that’s what you’ve got to comment about (anything else will be tossed out and disregarded):
From the NRC’s page, the important documents/info:
- NRC Documents Related to Waste Confidence
- Waste Confidence Update Schedule
- Public Involvement in Waste Confidence
- GEIS and Waste Confidence Rule References
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact Us About Waste Confidence
So now it’s up to us to sort through all of this and explain why this is utterly insane policy… New York managed to get through to the federal court, so it isn’t hopeless. But the NRC’s persistence in its “Nuclear Waste Confidence” is inexplicable.
Getting caught up on some stuff, like recycling an entire van of electronics (thank you Best Buy) and getting speakers, 3 amps and a tuner in for repair, but of all the “normal” stuff, the best of all is getting the “new” buffet into the dining room, what a thrill. Soon it will be up on the wall, and there’s a window behind it, behind the plaster … why plaster over a window? Probably because it went into the attached garage that was added some time ago. And it looks from that window like there was a buffet there. I mean, this is a 4 square, it has the archway with the cabinets on the sides, and there’s no buffet! What gives? Well, folks, there is one now! Soon it will be on the wall up to the ceiling, and we’ll have a “new” 12 foot long countertop, oak or marble, and we’re good to go! The window… well, we’re pretending with the picture frame. I’m not convinced we need to see the top of the van in the garage, but the jury is out…
The packet for this meeting wasn’t posted as of Friday, so county staff sent it right away. Their system needs help, not only was the packet not on the county site, but on the “Events Calendar” it said the meeting time was 7 p.m. NOT GOOD.
But on the other hand, the packet has some glimmers of hope. It’s a hearing on the Save the Bluffs application for a Overlay District to protect natural resources. Here’s the packet:
What’s on the table is EVERYTHING and then some:
- The original Application: Save the Bluffs’ Application for Zoning Ordinance Amendment
- The “Four Points” as presented in the Aug. 11, 2013 PAC Packet:
The MSC met on September 4, 2013 to discuss these requests. The Save the Bluffs representatives provided the following four items instead of the ones provided to the PAC: [Alan's emphasis added]
1. 1 mile setback from high population areas, such as cities, hamlets, and residential subdivisions;
2. 1 mile [setback?] from the high water mark of the Mississippi – which protects the Great River Road and related tourism;
3. Prohibit the use of flocculants (or better yet, permit only dry processing); and
4. Set harsh penalties (such as canceling the permit) for violations.” [The Staff Report uses the above language.]
The items called out in the PAC agenda (“public hearing”) for Monday are different still:
a. No frac-sand operations (mining, processing, washing, trans-loading) within 1 mile of cities, R1 zoned districts, and campgrounds;
b. No frac-sand operations (mining, processing, washing, trans-loading) within a mile of the high water mark of the Mississippi;
c. Prohibit the use of flocculants in the washing and processing of frac-sand.(permit only dry processing so chemicals won’t get into surface or ground water and far less water is used), and;
d. Set harsh penalties for mining, processing and trans-loading violations (such as canceling the permit). The means of these different version seem similar but not identical and some of the differences could be important.
- The MSC’s Recommendation (remember, they’re merely ADVISORY, as is the PAC):
- Any combination you like, one from Column A, one from Column B… it’s wide open.
And I’m rather attached to that “Any combination you like, one from Column A, one from Column B…” option. First, the map, above. And there are more in the MSC Report. Here’s a map showing Setbacks, but it’s only PART of Goodhue County, we need the whole County mapped:
Here’s a map with the StB “four points” 1 mile buffers (why is this map such poor quality?):
So “Any combination you like, one from Column A, one from Column B…” to me means to take these maps, put them together, and what do you get? Pretty good protections of the natural resources of our County!
This is a good start on the request of the original application. Not the be-all and end-all, but a good start!
What’s up with Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary in Georgetown, Delaware?
Here’s a youtube before the shelter opened up:
State police were there today, animals carted off to who knows where. The SPCA took it over, they were going down, down, down, but people were coming in to adopt animals prior to the December 1 closing and were turned away, locked out, and the police called! Is this any way to run a rescue?
I first learned of the problems there about a year ago, and problems exacerbated last summer:
Other things online:
On change.org there’s a 10 month old Petition to US Senate, Delaware A.G., IRS and Department of Agriculture to Investigate Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary for abuse/neglect of animals, misappropriation of funds and donations and prevent recurrence of prior wrongdoings.
This place is one of those weird stories that doesn’t add up. The 2009-2011 IRS 990s are on file, and in 2009 they had a $300k+ bank note, same for 2010, and in 2011, a $2,300,000 million loan from USDA ostensibly to build their building. And now they’re closed? How does that happen? Is there any plausible explanation? What of the Board’s fiduciary duty?
More to be posted as this develops, after today’s police presence, there will probably be more in the news tomorrow…
DOH! It’s worth it just for this sentence:Markets do not automatically provide competitive and efficient outcomes.
Here it is, with the full all-in-one option or separate sections:
Here’s the full version: 2013 3Q PJM State of the Market Report
And the short version, oh, how I love it when this happens:
The market design should permit market prices to reflect underlying supply and demand fundamentals. Significant factors that result in capacity market prices failing to reflect fundamentals should be addressed, including better LDA definitions, the effectiveness of the transmission interconnection queueprocess, the 2.5 percent reduction in demand that suppresses market prices, the continued inclusion of inferior demand side products that also suppress market prices and the role of imports.
Got that: … the 2.5 percent reduction in demand that suppresses market prices…- 2.5%
Gee, sounds like we ought to pay to build some more power plants and transmission lines…
A-ROOOOOOOOO! Today is Give to the Max day, and the Humane Society of Goodhue County is participating. Join this effort and multiply your dollars! Help dogs like me find our forever homes, and pay for our stays while we’re waiting for you! Help finance spays and neuters, and vet attention for our incoming animals!
Today’s the day!Donate online to HUMANE SOCIETY OF GOODHUE COUNTY at Razoo
Today we had a very well attended public hearing on the Hollydale Transmission Project. This is important because it’s a project proposed, end to end, to ram through a residential area, precisely where transmission doesn’t belong. Worse, this is a Certificate of Need proceeding, and there is no need, only desire. What do I mean by that? In transmission, there’s this legally congnizable thing called “need” where the utility has to demonstrate a specific need for the project, say 500 MW of transfer capacity, or a 500 MW line to handle an outage on Line X, or to interconnect 500 MW of big honkin’ coal plant generation. This project, on the other hand, has demonstrated need only for some measure of distribution expansion, and that’s it. N-O-T-H-I-N-G about ransmission, they just say they “need” it, and folks, that ain’t good enough. There are many ways to handle the claimed “need” for distribution, both demand side and supply side:
Commerce wanted an extension of time to file testimony (why?), and wanted to have “discussions.” OK, fine… the evidentiary hearing scheduled for November 12-15 was postponed, with scheduling to be worked out. Then we met on Wednesday. Oh my… Commerce had said they wanted discussions, and that they wanted to see if there were settlement options, alternatives. Nope, none of that, there were not discussions, no settlement options discussed, in fact, Commerce didn’t discuss as much as cross examine us, looking for “differences of opinion.” Never talked of settlement options, though we did show them that there are areas of agreement that they’d not expected. It was also distressing the way that Commerce’s Santo Cruz (how long has he been there? Not long!) was framing the discussion, there’s green showing, and I don’t mean in a conservationist sense:
Why was Cruz, someone with what, maybe a week with Commerce, chosen to lead the discussion? He’d clearly not looked at how PUC dockets that go to a statutory interpretation proceeding work, or more accurately, don’t work! When Commerce calls a meeting because they have issues with “interpretation” (so it was said), why instead of discussing “issues,” would he cross-examine us instead? The point?
Why was Bill Grant there? To execute on the Gov’s orders? Which are??? He has no experience with transmission other than to cave to utility dreams and accept money for Wind on the Wires, coordinate lobbying efforts for transmission Remember Grant’s transmission Settlement Agreement PUC Docket -2-2152 and his cohort saying about the 2005 Chapter 97 – Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell, “it’s a deal, it’s a package deal, and it’s a good deal.” I wasn’t there at the House caucus meeting but I got two separate reports… and anyone supporting something like that bill has no business being in the position he is in at Commerce, over both “need” and “routing” of transmission. There’s no excuse, Dayton might as well directly appoint a key Xcel Energy lobbyist.
Oh well. Sen. Bonoff was at that meeting to “clarify” intent, which is pretty clear, the language is not complicated:
Sec. 2. TRANSMISSION LINE; CERTIFICATE OF NEED REQUIRED AND
(a) A high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 100 kilovolts or more proposed to be located within a city in the metropolitan area as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 473.121, subdivision 2, for which a route permit application was filed between June 2011 and August 2011, and a certificate of need application was filed between June
2012 and August 2012, to rebuild approximately eight miles of 69 kilovolt transmission with a high-voltage transmission line to meet local area distribution needs, must be approved in a certificate of need proceeding conducted under Minnesota Statutes, section 216B.243. The certificate of need may be approved only if the commission finds by clear and convincing evidence that there is no feasible and available distribution level alternative
to the transmission line. In making its findings the commission shall consider the factors provided in applicable law and rules including, without limitation, cost-effectiveness, energy conservation, and the protection or enhancement of environmental quality.
(b) Further proceedings regarding the routing of a high-voltage transmission line
described in this section shall be suspended until the Public Utilities Commission has
made a determination that the transmission line is needed.
EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment and
applies to route permits and certificate of need applications pending on or after that date.
Presented to the governor May 9, 2013
Signed by the governor May 13, 2013, 2:57 p.m.
At Thursday’s public hearing, both Sen. Bonoff and Rep. Anderson, the Plymouth area legislators, made it very clear the intent of the law…
And just before the hearing, while in transit, Commerce sent the following missive, in pertinent part:
The Department at this point has decided that it will not seek certification of remaining statutory questions, but recommends that a trial date and accompanying testimony schedule be established. Setting a January trial date, as proposed this morning by Ms. Maccabee, makes sense although the Department would request that the date be moved to the week of January 20th or the week of January 27th, in that the CenterPoint general rate case will take place on January 14-17, 2014. In this manner, the uncertainty that remains will be fleshed out in the record, to provide more information for decision-makers to determine how best to address the issues in this proceeding.
The evidentiary hearing on Hollydale is postponed, and now has been rescheduled for the week of January 6, 2014. Here we go!
Fill out an Adoption Application
Sponsor: Click here to sponsor
Age: 8 years
Color: Black & Tan
Current Size: 78 lbs.
Potential/Ideal Size: 70 lbs.
House Broken: Yes
Obedience Trained: Some
Living With: Foster
Good With Kids: Yes
Good with Cats: Yes
Other Dogs OK: Yes
DESCRIPTION: Sadly Summer’s former family decided they no longer had time for her. This is truly sad as Summer gave them many years of happiness, love and devotion, but now that she is a senior they dump her. Pets are not disposable and should not be treated as such, they should be treated as family members and provided for, for their life time. Summer is a sweet girl, that still has a lot of life in her and tons of love to give to the right family. If you are looking for a girl that is over the puppy antics, enjoys going for leisurely walks and just being by your side, please ask to meet Summer.
Years ago, five years ago now, Rep. Bill Hilty, chair of the House Energy Committee, and practitioner of the “Hilty Jilty” when he didn’t want me to testify, started out the legislative session not with testimony of agency heads about their view of what was needed, but with a presentation, a several meetings long LONG presentation, that things were different, and we needed to be clear about the distinction between “growth” and “prosperity.” Hilty also promoted a series of meetings across the state about “Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty.” It was a great concept, really looking at what we mean with all this talk of “expansion.” This was back in 2008… during the crash. He was on top of this, but it never went further than those meetings.
Yeah, that’s a good idea to be addressing these issues… whatever happened? How were we distracted?
The concept isn’t as dead as the discussion, and today, a Commentary in the STrib:Head in sand, you can’t tell that the air is foul
… with a focus of “Grow-or-die is the only way forward.” They’re trying to prop up the notion that up, up, up is where we have to go. It’s so contrary to obvious experience. Have we learned nothing?
I’ve been reading this book that looks at the origin of that “grow or die” concept, how growth became accepted as necessary, with little concern or awareness of the impacts of that growth. Here I thought back in 2008 that Rep. Hilty was going to bring some sanity to the legislature and shift the focus to “prosperity” and not “growth,” recognizing the difference, but nooooooooo… it didn’t take hold. Now here we are, the crash wasn’t a little temporary blip, it’s the “new normal,” and we’re spinning our wheels. Thus this little treasure found in someone’s free pile at a garage sale is just what the doctor ordered!
It’s a cute little book, and takes a bit too long going in circles telling the story, but it’s a good read, a reassuring read, tracing the notion of “economic growth” as a necessity, and the belief that the world is ours to take and strip of its resources forever, all the way back to Hegel and focusing on the utopian John Adolphus Etzler, whose “fantasy has become our reality and that we continue to live by some of the same economic assumptions that he embraced,” … “that the transfer of matter from the earth’s environments into the economy is not bounded by any limitation of those environments and that energy for powering our cars and iPods will always exist,” conflating growth with progress, doing what Hilty attempted back in 2008, to get us off the “growth” kick into something more sustainable.
The obsolete world view, per Stoll:
From that time forward, economic growth became conflated with American influence abroad and the capacity of politicians to maintain affluence at home…
The result was an oddly plausible utopia: cheap energy and a land regime that traced indelible patterns across the continent by removing American Indians and eradicating wildlife, leading to a soaring human population that would soon live by consuming manufactured products, all financed by joint-stock companies and protected by a government that encouraged growth.
… (and citing and quoting Thomas Ewbank):
“Who can inform us where the terminus is to be?” he asked. “No one; for there is nothing in ourselves, nor in the earth’s resources, to point out there the last step is to land us … It is a rational belief that there are no limits to [man's] advancement, as there appear to be one to the agents of it nor to his power over them.” Coal got him even more excited: “A first element of progress for all time, it is preposterous to suppose the supplies of coal can ever be exhausted or even become scarce.” Preposterous, he said, because it formed continually in “the depths of our oceans,” faster than people can burn it. … “The proposition is, that unlimited amounts of force are to be drawn out of inert matter.”
Oh my… Yup, that pretty much sums up this mess we’re in. We cannot go on… What are we going to do about it? In a very concrete example, I’m thinking about Xcel Energy’s forecasts on which the CapX 2020 transmission buildout is based, 2.49% annually, and it’s nothing close, far enough off that those forecasters should be fired, at best. The 2013 demand for Xcel Energy is now forecast at about -1.2%. That’s a 3.62% decrease from the earlier forecast. Jobs, jobs, jobs, grow, grow, grow, we cannot keep doing this forever, we cannot keep up this “Great Delusion,” and folks, worse, we’re clearly NOT doing it.
Let’s start focusing on prosperity. Because if we can’t get a handle on that, and refocus our efforts, we’re going to keep headed south. We’ve had how many years of a rude awakening?
NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING NOTICE
FOR THE PROPOSED 2014 RECONSTRUCTION OF
WEST AVENUE – West 7th Street to Maple Street
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2013 @ 7 P.M.
CITY HALL – 315 4TH STREET WEST
RED WING, MINNESOTA
City of Red Wing wants to tear up our road and rebuild it. After they’re done with that one, they’ll move on to the next. I can feel the assessments approaching. But true, the street needs work. West Ave. is a pretty busy street, and people do go too fast, particularly near the top of the bluff which has such limited visibility either way. I’d like a speed sensor, and if they’re going too fast, fling a little pea gravel at them! It’s the main drag to a school, and kids are walking past here all the time (need to put up a Little Free Library on the corner, and a bench for the woman who waits for her ride every day).
At that Ped Xing sign on the right there was a wreck not too long ago where a red SUV t-boned a dump truck pulling a trailer, the truck turned to avoid the crash and ended up partly in the front yard of the house on the right (truck may have been going too fast, but the SUV had to have pulled out of the driveway into its path, no other way says this accident reconstruction expert. After that, it had to be pulled out from under of the back of the dump truck. Everyone walked away, could have been a lot worse.)
They’re looking at narrowing the part near our house from 40 to 32 feet, which is good, that should slow people down, though I can see problems because even with the street wide as it is, people heading south near our house, up the hill, tend to cross over the line, and if it’s narrower, there will be no where for the northbound people to go when the crest that hill and find someone in their land, well, no where but up onto the new sidewalk on the east side. And that brings up another interesting factor. First I’d heard they were going to rebuild the big retaining wall across the street:
See that van up there? I keep waiting for it to go over the edge… The driveway is behind it, parallel to the street for maybe 30 feet, there are two perpendicular driveways behind the van going east a bit to those properties’ garages, and then further off to the right the driveway goes down to the street just below the crest of the bluff. Imagine getting out of there on a busy morning, or getting up there in the winter! Under that brush growing, there’s a retaining wall 15-20 feet tall, and that’s what I’d heard they were going to rebuild. Now I hear not. So gotta go and find out, that would be a serious expense. Anyway, here they’re going to narrow it, and put a sidewalk on the other side of the street. There’s a reasonable argument it’s necessary for the kids going to school. Oh, and see that tree right behind the “Save the Bluffs” sign? That one is scarred from people crashing into it, if you go straight up the hill, well, you go straight into the tree, and they do. BUT DON’T YOU EVEN THINK OF TAKING THAT TREE OUT!!! I want it for the shade, and if they don’t hit the tree, they’ll hit the house, so NO! We lost our other boulevard tree in the big snowstorm, so no, no, no, no, don’t even think about it!
Meeting, next Monday. Be there or be square!