To The Daily Sun,
Last week I wrote a letter floating the idea that we should modify the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and turn it into a commercial power generating station. A nutty idea perhaps and admittedly fraught with all kinds of political problems. However the problems with this are only political and not technical. I have spent my working career in the power plant industry, mostly nuclear, and this is what I believe can be done.
The "Big E" as her crew fondly calls her has eight Westinghouse A2W reactors, combined they can turn generators built on her 4.5 acre flight deck and produce as much power (if not more) than Seabrook, that is 1,200 meggawatts, and be up and running within 2-3 years. The cost of this project I estimate to be less than 10 percent of the $6 billion it cost to build Seabrook, and because these are military naval reactors they can run without refueling for many years. Add to this that no greenhouse gasses are produced and the cost of the power could be one cent per killowatt hour! Far cheaper than anything else. The Northern Pass project would be priced out of existence before it gets off the ground. She could be anchored off-shore, out-of-sight and provide some rate relief to the Northeast which has the highest cost of electricity in the country. Evacuation plan? No problem. In the extremely unlikely case of emergency tow her out to sea away from population centers and deal with it out there.
I guess the point I am trying to make here is how our elected officials think. The taxpayers paid to build the "The Big E". She performed her function beautiful as did those who served on her. But now that she can no longer fulfill that role, why on earth are we throwing her away like an old beer can? A 93,000 ton beer can. She can still perform useful and meaningful service far into the future.
Another idea is that she could be turned into a disaster relief vessel that can produce electrical power, thousands of gallons of fresh water, and her cavernous interior turned into a hospital and staging for supplies, etc.
At a time when we are all struggling to figure out how we are going to fund our government, and all it does, we need to think better. So the Big E can't be used as an instrument of war any more, wouldn't it be fitting to give her new life as an instrument of peace. But as it stands right now she is going to the scrap heap and be turned into the ultimate symbol of the throw away mentality of our society.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 October 2013 09:06
To The Daily Sun,
Ever get tired of hearing the same old mantras by government haters? That is: "Government holds back American capitalism"; "Big government intrusion in our lives"; "Government control hurts those struggling to achieve the American Dream"; "government is remarkably inefficient compared to the private sector". It's like listening to "It's a Rainy Night" over and over again sort of like watching EWTN. People actually believe this stuff but then again you can fool some of the people all the time.
Take the core technologies that make the iPhone work, the Internet, GPS, touchscreens and cellular communication — that's right, all because of direct government investments in research and development (R&D). Companies such as Apple, Compaq and Intel? That's right. Early financing via the Small Business Innovative Research program. Government haters often cite the fact that tech giants like Facebook, Apple, and Google thrive in this country because the state sector in European countries is much larger than in the U.S. That's right. It's always been government investments in R&D that venture capital firms generally consider too risky to undertake that has given the U.S. an edge in tech firms.
Take another sector — pharmaceuticals. That's right, 75 percent of the innovative drugs brought to market by Big Pharma were discovered in national laboratories funded by the state. They then claim that they have to charge exorbitant prices for their drugs to cover the high cost of ahem R&D? That's right. They spend two and a half times as much on marketing and administration than they do on research.
According to Physicians for a National Health Program, single payer health care is actually more efficient than private for profit health care for a whole host of reasons. One third of health care dollars goes to administration and paper work. That's right. The potential savings on paperwork — 400 billion dollars per year could provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying anymore than we do now. The song and dance routine goes on and on: charter schools, private prisons, privatized public infrastructure. That's right, substandard and/ or inefficiencies or both.
These myths have been fueled by a neoliberal orthodoxy for the past 30 years. Privatization, deregulation, and lower taxes were touted as the solution for societies' ills. Even before this neoliberal onslaught the most conservative economists had accepted the need for the state to intervene in order to "solve" market failures. They didn't like it but they still believe this way!
Here's another reality check for you. The political elite, the rich and corporations only dislike government spending when they aren't the beneficiaries — which explains their disdain for welfare spending that benefits the poor. They love to jump in and make massive profits after the government has taken the risks. That's right. Socialize the risks and privatize the profits.
Both parties love to spend the big bucks on defense while at the same time "ending welfare as we know it" (Clinton). That's right. The War on Poverty has become the War on the Poor. I have no problem with people dependent on Big Government but I do with people who complain about Big Government. To continue to function properly, capitalism will always need the intervention of the state to save the system from itself.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 October 2013 08:57
To The Daily Sun:
A couple of weeks of playground turmoil over debt and governance drove home a scary observation. America is losing its way in a leadership vacuum, and a leader has emerged.
The battle over shutdown and debt was Democrats and Republicans, the entrenched and bought against Ted Cruz. Conventional wisdom is Senator Cruz lost. Yet that one man forged a coalition of feisty rebels, forced the House of Representatives to the sidelines and sent the men of the Senate scampering to their woman to show them an exit.
Now, in the immediate aftermath, self-serving narrations are attempting to portray chaos as diplomacy. These narratives will rapidly evolve to sound bites as the portrayals are poll-tested and refined.
Ted Cruz will be at the heart of the narration. Having sought and begun to don the mantle of leadership, he will be formidable. He has the brains to manipulate the elected as well as the masses, the moxie to try, the ego to think he can recover from anything and the wherewithal to succeed at everything.
By all accounts, Cruz is off the charts brilliant. He was a top-of-his-class graduate from Princeton and Harvard as well as an award-winning debater. "Mother Jones," a politically left-leaning magazine, has called him the Republican Barack Obama for his smarts and minority status. He was born Rafael Edward (Ted) Cruz in Alberta, Canada, to a Cuban father and American mother.
While the old guard in his party blames him for beseeching the Republican brand and calls him a kook, others postulate he is the future of Republicanism. His underlying message (the federal government is too big and too powerful) has broad support within his party and registers favorably with a majority of the American people. With Tea Party adherents, his favorability is 74 percent.
Demeaning comments from moderates and liberals only endure him to the committed. After two presidential elections where the Republican candidate pandered right in the primaries, pivoted center in the campaign and flamed out on election night, fidelity to principle as preferred strategy over pretentious moderation is gaining respectability among the affluent and influential.
"Who leads Republicans?" has been an ongoing question. John Boehner, speaker of the House, has been an especially ineffectual leader. His refusal to exercise the power of his office in the latest fiasco enabled it. Ironically, following Cruz, offering tacit support to his gambit, made Boehner a better leader in the eyes of the Tea Party.
The other inside government Republican leader is Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. The old guard is lauding his work with the majority leader (Harry Reid) to finalize and implement the woman-led design to end the shutdown and extend borrowing authority. Back home in Kentucky, however, many in his party view it as betrayal. That view may offer Cruz an opportunity to enhance his leadership persona.
Matt Bevin, a Tea Party type, is challenging McConnell in the Republican primary. Independent polling data for that primary race are not yet available. Nonetheless, there are signs McConnell is vulnerable.
Influential conservative organizations are endorsing Bevin. Sarah Palin is hinting (no so subtly) she intends to intervene on Bevin's behalf. Independent voters are turning on McConnell. His Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, has a slight lead in the most recent general election poll.
Two of the three top contenders for the Republican presidential nod (Cruz and Rand Paul) have significant disagreements on policy, but both are avid proponents of smaller, less intrusive government. Both have personal reasons to dislike McConnell.
McConnell actively opposed Paul's bid for the Senate in 2011. In doing so, he made some nasty comments. McConnell has been in the fore of the effort to demean Cruz and lead the intraparty effort to marginalize him.
A coordinated Cruz-Paul effort aided by Palin, conservative organizations and wealthy Tea Party backers could be the fat lady singing for McConnell. Moreover, it would put the fear of God into Cruz's Republican detractors.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 October 2013 08:46
To The Daily Sun,
Dick Devens, Jon Hoyt, Kate Miller, James Veverka, Ed Allard, and other radical leftists who believe politicians should control how you live and spend your hard earned money are rejoicing. The "adults", President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, other elected Democrats and Republicans who forgot their campaign promises, have "won" and can force Obamacare down our throats.
But not everyone has to comply with Obamacare. President Obama exempts groups, like Congress, when it is politically expedient. Big business is exempted to delay the massive layoffs and/or losses of employee health insurance that get nation-wide publicity.
Senators Cruz and Lee, the "wacko birds", and conservative House Republicans were unsuccessful in saving Americans from Obamacare.
Did you, a family member, or friend lose your/their health insurance? Did premiums increase? Have you lost access to, or insurance for, your doctor or hospital? Thank the adults!
Have your work hours, or those of a family member or friend been cut below 30 hours to avoid Obamacare requirements? Has anyone lost a job? Thank the adults!
Have you wasted hours unsuccessfully trying to sign-up on the Obamcare exchange? Millions of people can thank the adults!
Did you enjoy giving so much personal information to "navigators" knowing that some aren't fully trained and some have criminal histories? Are you concerned that your personal information will be in a government database, accessible by many thousands of people, and very susceptible to public disclosure, identity theft, or misuse? Thank the adults!
Obamacare costs three times what was promised. It will raise, not lower, health care costs. We will pay for Obamacare in higher taxes, in poorer quality care, or both. Thank the adults!
Obamacare taxes and regulations are eliminating low value medical services, drugs, and devices and reducing investments to create new treatments that you might need sometime. Thank the adults!
Your health care is now in the hands of the adults who can't balance the budget, who won't stop $125 billion in fraud and waste annually, who created our $17+ trillion national debt, who promised $90 trillion more future benefits than they funded, and let 11 million illegal aliens roam our country, victimizing Americans, increasing our taxes, and harming American workers by taking scarce jobs and depressing wages.
Considering the record of the "adults", our country would be better off in the hands of the "wacko birds" and others who oppose what the "adults" have been doing.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 11:51
To The Daily Sun,
To express concern as to our nation's need for the Navy we have — saying it isn't needed is really far out, such expression actually lends a bit of humor to the days thought on reading it. No humor is found in the letter published October 11 of G. Maloof, "With all due respect for the victims of 9/11, fewer than five hundred Americans have been killed by terrorism in the past 40 years." Can this person even count or read; perhaps he was on that another planet for a time or toeing that edge referenced by our old friend Sandy. Total number killed in 9/11 terrorist attack 2,996 — add to that the +/- 500 and others not tallied.
But he finds them to be incidental, it is the number of diseases (he doesn't mention deaths) "suspected" to be caused by genetically modified organisms (GMO's) from the U.S. corporation Monsanto/DuPont. Surprise is the one thing he has to endure as Monsanto isn't the only entity in the business and food isn't the only object of GMO. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/business/whats-that-smell-exotic-scents-made-from-re-engineered-yeast.html?hp) This article may drive him to a cave somewhere, as the realization that there is a world of nations moving the alteration of sourcing our needs and desires (aromas & tastes et-al).
Additionally, one might consider that the Russians are in a fast forward mode to cover the planet with nuclear power plants (remember Chernobyl). While the leftist anti-nuke groups effectively ended the nuclear power industry in the U.S., the rest of the world was unaffected by the "chicken little" stance.
He might also consider the 6.4 million children given the diagnoses of A.D.H.D, which it has been found erroneous. (Ref:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/magazine/the-not-so-hidden-cause-behind-the-adhd-epidemic.html?ref=magazine&pagewanted=print) "Today many sociologists and neuroscientists believe that regardless of A.D.H.D.'s biological basis, the explosion in rates of diagnosis is caused by sociological factors — especially ones related to education and the changing expectations we have for kids."
Drugging this many of our school age children all for the sake of better test scores, federal aid, and less work for the educational establishment, I would consider to be of far greater importance than GMOs or terrorists.
Another article may awaken the fallacy of Obama's Common Core Education Standards and the Kennedy/Bush No Child Left Behind Program. (http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/)
To those whom see themselves standing at the leading edge of thought, think again. There is a revolution in the works which is far ahead of any one or group. Back in the late 40s, one man's machine freed the cotton fields of manual labors, the cotton picking machine was responsible for the migration of tens of thousands of them finding jobs in the north and a life inconceivable to them.
Bar-code readers and computers changing the food distribution system and the labor and energy required, all without government.
To the Maloofs, there is a world out there which you can't control, you might focus on how to not let it control you.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 11:46