Jul 30 2008

I'm not bragging or anything….

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

Seriously, I’m not sure I agree with this at all, but here goes…

blog readability test

ht goldeni

Jul 28 2008

Systemic in Nature

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

The DOJ has just released it’s findings in the US Attorney firing investigation. For those of you who don’t remember Monica Goodling, she was the DOJ official who testified to Congress that political considerations were made in hiring non-political attorneys in the DOJ.

You may also remember Ms. Goodling from this exchange with our Congressman, Steve Cohen.

I haven’t read the entire 100+ pages, but on page 115, the verdict:

The evidence detailed above demonstrates that Kyle Sampson, Jan Williams, and Monica Goodling each violated Department of Justice policy and federal law by considering political or ideological affiliations in soliciting and evaluating candidates for IJs, which are Schedule A career positions, not political appointments. Further, the evidence demonstrates that their violations were not isolated instances but were systematic in nature.

Thanks for making my day kiddos!

Jul 28 2008

Panning the Pyramid Sale

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

Last week I wrote this post advocating for the sale of the Pyramid to an interested local church. This morning, I found this post in my rss feed from Smart City Memphis panning the idea of selling the Pyramid.

We’re all entitled to our own opinions. Certainly, selling an icon of the city skyline shouldn’t be the first option, but in the absence of any other concrete plan, selling the building, or a long term lease, ought to be considered, lest the building remain a powerful reminder of just how poorly City and County management has fared.

Why is Smart City so opposed to the proposed sale? What future does Smart City see in the Pyramid? What is Smart City’s prescription for making the Pyramid a vital and useful part of Memphis? Is it Bass Pro Shops…the suitor who keeps making us do their homework, but won’t take us to the prom? What about the mythical park that won’t ever happen? Or even that old people flea market idea that some idiot proposed in last year’s election? Maybe they just want to blow it up a magnificent, though fleeting demonstration of the ultimate failure.

The truth of the matter is that:

1. No one thought about what would happen to the Pyramid when the Forum was proposed.
2. Memphis has a history of building things it has no idea what to do with, and won’t look to outside help to make successful, choosing cronies over competence.
3. The Pyramid stands as a continual reminder of just how much, we as Memphians love candy more than we hate being fat. (If you don’t understand that, think consequences)
4. If there is some plan out there that will make the Pyramid bring positive economic impact to the Pinch area it should be put front and center so if can be considered.

I’ve proposed all kinds of things for the Pyramid to become, from convention space to an aquarium, to an expansion to the county jail (just kidding). There is one idea that I haven’t put forward though, and that’s a museum. The theme; Poor City Management Through the Ages. Memphis is a prime candidate, and just think of how many exhibits could come from local resources. Now that would spur the economy! /snark

Jul 25 2008

Pickin' apart the Pickens Plan

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

Over the past few days I’ve been seeing a lot of ads featuring Swift Boat financier/apologist T. Boone Pickens. Here’s the ad:

His site and the plan that he lays out, is an interesting, though hardly comprehensive, take on energy independence. The long and the short of it is, lets build a bunch of wind capacity to displace the role of Natural Gas in electricity generation, then take that natural gas and make it the primary fuel for transportation. It is by far, the most concrete, and doable plan I’ve seen put forth by any conservative in the US.

Pickens has been investing in wind. He’s in the process of building a 4000 turbine wind farm in Texas that should start going on line in 2010. But Pickens is known as an oil man. He currently sits on the board of two natural gas outfits, Exco Resources and Clean Energy Fuels Corp., so it’s not as if he doesn’t stand to gain something by moving Natural Gas from electricity production to transportation. He has been mostly selling his Natural gas holdings, as reflected in his insider trading profile, but I’m still suspicious.

I’m suspicious because of a lot of things, but mostly because of his Swift Boat activities. Why would any Democrat embrace anything this guy has to say, when he’s engaged in once of the most reckless smear jobs of the new century? Is this an attempt at redemption, or seizing an opportunity to drive the debate in a direction that benefits his bottom line at the exclusion of other emerging plans?

According to the DOE (Source), 25% of all US Natural Gas consumption is used for electricity generation, 22% for home heating, and a paltry .1% for vehicle fuel. Natural Gas for vehicle fuel just happens to be Clean Energy Fuels Corp.’s main business.

The US imports 20% of it’s annual Natural Gas consumption. 83% of that is imported from Canada and Mexico. Displacing the role of Natural Gas in energy consumption may free up enough to put a dent in our current foreign oil consumption, but it would hardly replace it. Further, converting existing vehicles to Natural Gas, and building the infrastructure to support those vehicles would be an expensive enterprise. That’s not a reason to dismiss Natural Gas as an option, it just shouldn’t be the only option.

The Pickens plan isn’t totally off the mark, but it’s not a real solution either. Despite reports to the contrary, Natural Gas won’t last forever. Natural Gas prices fluctuate wildly as winter comes around. On the other hand, Natural Gas engines are currently in service, and available in some areas of the country, but it’s not as if you can just hook your car up to your home gas service and refill. Natural Gas for automobiles need about 3000 psi to work in converted engines.

Natural Gas is part of the solution, but like corn, increasing demand for Natural Gas will ultimately hurt poor people in states with longer winters than we have here in the south by increasing prices to keep their homes heated. The real solution is a lot more complicated than replacing one fossil fuel for another. It’s a multi-tiered approach that includes Natural Gas, electrics, hybrids, oil, and emerging technologies all at once. The first step is reducing consumption through promoting efficiency, increasing the availability of public transportation, and changing public perceptions of energy use.

The biggest problem with the Pickens Plan is that it does nothing to address the prevalence of coal in electricity generation (50% of all electricity is generated by coal), another resource that is currently abundant, but hardly renewable. In short, the Pickens Plan is a transitional strategy more than a long term solution. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be part of the dialogue, but we should consider the source before hitching our wagon to another oil man’s plan, who seems to be more invested in his own interests than a comprehensive solution.

Jul 25 2008

Just Something Funny

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

I Stumbled Upon this clip this morning….