Saturday, September 18, 2021

Update. Words or terms that I wish I would have created or coined: Rainbow-washing

by Rod Williams - Below is a list of words or terms that I wish I would have created or coined.  Some of them you may be familiar with and others may be new.  These are terms I find useful to describe some situation or development that is currently prevalent in society.  When I come across a new one, I will add it to the list. 

Wishcycling: This is what people do when they throw something they think should be recyclable into the recyclable bin, such as a plastic frozen food tray when our recycling policy for plastic only accepts bottles and jars. The item has the universal plastic recycle symbol or says "recyclable," on it so even though it is technically possible to recycle the item, our system does not recycle it.  I guess people think that by putting it in the recycle bin, they will somehow force Metro to recycle it.  Or, maybe they have developed such an aversion to tossing something that is technically recyclable into the garbage container then putting it in the recycle bin causes them moral anguish so they put it in the recycle bin out of an irrational compulsion and to avoid pain. (Sorce link)

Crybully: A crybully is someone who tries to manipulate others into silence by displaying their anguish when someone disagrees with them.  This is how it might work. If you say to an environmentalist crybully that maybe fracking to produce natural gas so we can replace coal-fired power plants with cleaner natural gas-fired power plants is a good idea, the crybully does not engage you in a discussion and tell you why you are wrong. The crybully gets emotional and tells you how hurt they are that you want to destroy the earth.  This tactic can be used to shut up those who disagree with a progressive about healthcare, gun control, racial justice, or almost any topic. The crybully's sensitivity, fragility, and righteous certainty is used to make those with opposing views, keep those views to themselves.  I have seen it in action.

Greenwashing:  Greenwashing is taking public relations credit for a policy that is supposedly "green," when in fact the policy was simply an effort to improve productivity or profit or was simply complying with some mandate.  An example of "greenwashing" was Mayor Cooper touting his environmental record for simply adopting an updated mandatory building code to replace an obsolete building code. 

Rainbow-washing: Pandering to the LGBTQIA+ community by going out of your way to show your support for the community and also, usually, to make a buck.  An example is Burger King wrapping its Whopper in rainbow-colored foil. 

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Get real about Climate Change. Part 2 : So far what we are doing about climate change is ineffective, anemic, symbolic, or counterproductive.

by Rod Williams, Sept. 12, 2021 - In my last essay on the topic of climate change, I said that climate change was an established fact and that time was running out to do anything about it and that given the path we are on we are facing a climate disaster. I said very little real progress is being made and expressed pessimism that any real progress would be made unless something changes.   Companies and nations cook the books to show progress when progress is not really happening, political leaders and titans of industry engage in meaningless greenwashing, and while the world's advanced countries make some progress it is dwarfed by increased production of greenhouse gases from developing countries, primarily China and to a lesser extent India. 

So much of what we are doing about climate change is ineffective, anemic, wasted effort, simply symbolic, and counterproductive.

Take an example from California for instance.  Forrest fires rage across California with increased frequency.  A management tool to combat forest fires is to have prescribed burns in which managed fires are set to reduce the fuel load available for wildfires. This is a proven strategy for reducing wildfires. It works.  Wildfires are terribly destructive, displacing populations, costing billions of dollars of loss of property, and loss of human life.  In addition, wildfires produce an enormous amount of greenhouse gases.  

California is the most aggressive state in the union in attempting to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and it calculates the volume of greenhouse gases produced in the State. Under California's calculation of greenhouse gas emissions, a prescribed burn is considered a human-caused source of emissions and included in the calculation while greenhouse gas emissions from a wildfire are not.  Think about that.  Is that logical? Apparently, environmentalists and California politicians cannot see that this policy not only leads to the loss of property and lives and causes misery and economic loss, but it actually increases the emission of greenhouse gases. This is insanity. (link)

Another example of how environmental activism leads to policies that if successful would lead to the production of more greenhouse gasses is the opposition to fracking. The improvement in the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is primarily the result of coal having been supplanted by natural gas. Both coal and natural gas are fossil fuels and both produce greenhouse gases but natural gas produces far lower emissions than coal when used to produce electricity.  Power companies have been replacing aging coal-fired plants with natural gas plants, not because they have to but because it is profitable. In many cases, they are retiring coal-fired plants earlier than necessary to reap the benefits of cheaper and cleaner natural gas.  In 2016 natural gas passed coal as being the leading source of power plant fuel. 

The change that occurred to make this transition to natural gas possible is the result of fracking. Without fracking, natural gas would be too expensive and in too short of a supply to replace coal plants with natural gas.  Fracking, as readers probably know, is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks in order to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. Environmentalist activists have fought fracking from day one. I support reasonable safety precautions to ensure that fracking does not harm water tables, but any negative consequences of fracking have been minimal.  Any negative consequences from natural gas production by fracking are probably less than the environmental consequences of coal production. 

If it was up to the environmentalist community we would not see this transition to cleaner natural gas. This improvement in greenhouse gas emission came about in spite of environmentalists and was the result of good old fashion market forces or  "greed," as liberals like to call it. The effect of opposing fracking is to support a higher level of greenhouse gas emissions. While President Biden initially took action to ban fracking on public land, he has taken no action to ban all fracking, and since his initial action, his administration has allowed fracking on public lands to resume.  Thankfully. Biden has not kept his campaign promise.   

One of the most highly touted efforts to combat climate change has been the Paris Agreement. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has continued to rise. The goal of the agreement was to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2° above preindustrial levels and to reach global net-zero emissions by sometime in the second half of the current century. Under the agreement, each country is supposed to develop a carbon emissions reduction plan every five years and then evaluate its own progress. While this is a treaty, it has no mechanism to force a country to do anything and no penalties for not making progress.  It may be better than nothing, but not much better.  It amounts to not much more than a promise to do better.  

There are numerous other examples of the ineffective, anemic, wasteful, simply symbolic, and counterproductive measures adopted in the name of stopping global warming. The environmentalist's ten-year effort to stop the Keystone pipeline is one example.  For now, it is stopped but lawsuits are continuing that may start it back.  If it stays stopped, however, it will do nothing to reduce or slow the growth of climate change.  Some of the Canadian oil will still reach refineries but by the more environmentally dangerous trek by truck, rail, and ocean tanker.  What does not reach refineries will be replaced by oil imported from often unfriendly, mid-Eastern, authoritarian countries. Stopping Keystone was a feel-good symbolic victory that made no difference in the effort to combat climate change. 

A requirement that gasoline contains 10% ethanol is another primarily wasted effort that makes people feel good but accomplishes little. In fact, the growing of all of the corn necessary to produce ethanol has serious environmental harmful impacts. To learn much more about The Ethanol Fallacy,  see this link

A current misguided feel-good effort that will accomplish little is the development of plug-in hybrid cars. An article in the Wall Street Journal calls them "an Illusion of Eco-Consciousness." Real electric or electric-gas hybrids have their environmental problems and may not be as eco-friendly as they make the owner of such cars feel but they reduce carbon emissions.  The new generation of battery-powered cars, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) may do nothing to reduce emissions.  They are "compliance babies." They provide plenty of power but have the battery to either meet the fleet requirements of regulators or industry public promises or to make the purchaser of such cars feel righteous.  They may actually be harmful to the environment. This excerpt from the WSJ article explains:

PHEVs may yet have a bigger problem: NOX, or nitrous oxide, a hazardous smog-forming product of combustion. At a workshop in May, CARB officials raised concerns about PHEVs’ excessive NOX emissions during full-power cold starts, as when an IC engine kicks on after a period of electric driving. One probable explanation: Emission-scrubbing catalytic converters in exhaust systems only work after they are well heated by the exhaust stream, typically requiring 20 seconds or so. It’s most cars’ dirtiest seconds; PHEVs often spend them with wide-open throttles.

There is much more that illustrates that our effort to combat climate change so far has been characterized as wasted efforts on things that don't really address the issue, anemic policies, pure stupidity, and policies that make the problem worse.  In part three of this series, I will share my thoughts on why our efforts have been so feeble and misguided and what I think needs to change to put us on a track to really address this serious issue. 

To see the first essay in this series see, Get real about Climate Change. Part 1: Climate change is an established fact and time is running out to do anything about it. 

Update, 9/17/2021- This excerpt from a Spectator article, further explains how we are failing in the effort to combat climate change:

The first 20 years after the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change saw carbon dioxide emissions rise 60 percent. From 2012 to 2019, they rose a further 5.4 percent. However this is dressed up, it’s failure.

Meanwhile, the West’s energy emissions have been more or less flat for nearly three decades and on a downward trend since 2007. Emissions from the Rest of the World account for all the growth in global emissions, suddenly accelerating in 2002 from an average of around 1 percent a year to nearly 5 percent a year in the 12 years until 2014.

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Memphis Gave IKEA $9.5 Million While Several Smaller Furniture Stores Went Under

Memphis Gave IKEA $9.5 Million While Several Smaller Furniture Stores Went Under. by JOHN STOSSEL, Reason, 9.15.2021 - ...

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Republicans don't like telling businesses what to do ...

... unless it is telling them what kind of sign they must have on their bathrooms, or telling them they cannot prohibit their employees from bringing guns onto their property, or telling them they may not require their employees to have certain vaccinations. 

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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Republicans still snatching defeat from the jaws of victory; Lesson from California.

by Rod Williams, 9-16-2021 - I think there are lessons to be taken from the defeat of the Governor Gavin Newsom recall effort in California.  Some of these lessons should have already been learned but Republicans are slow learners.  We should have won the two Georgia senate seats that caused us to lose control of the Senate, but when Trump went to Georgia and made the election about Trump, when he attacked other elected Georgia Republican leaders, and when he spread doubts that one's vote was likely to be counted, he tamped down Republican turn-out and handed Georgia to the Democrats on a silver platter.

In California, It was an uphill battle to recall Newsom, but not impossible.  Republicans made sure it wasn't going to happen. I hope Republicans can learn some important lessons between now and the mid-term.  We should win the mid-term, but if we do things the way we have been doing them, we won't. The mid-terms need to be a referendum on Biden; not Trump. 

Here is what I take away from the California recall:

  • If we make the election about Donald Trump, we lose.  
  • We can't win with candidates that fire up the base but have no cross-over appeal.
  • The myth of the stolen election is toxic.
My friend Mark Rogers shared an insight about the California recall election yesterday on Facebook. While I may not express it so bluntly as Mr. Rogers, I generally concur.  I am reposting his Facebook comment below. 

This insightful analysis from Rich Lowery appears in Politico today and explores the same concerns. Opinion | The Stolen-Election Myth Has Become an Albatross for the GOP. It is well worth reading. 

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There is no reason three Republican House seats could not be carved out for Davidson County.

by Rod Williams, Aug. 23, 2021- At the last meeting of First Tuesday, First Tuesday host Tim Skow made a presentation and displayed the map shown on this page. What the map shows is that there are Republican voters in Davidson County and they are clustered in contiguous neighborhoods.  This should make it possible to create rational house districts that are winnable by Republicans. 

We know that Davidson County is a Democrat county.  Davidson County and Shelby County are the only two islands of blue in a red sea that is the state of Tennessee.  Davidson County, however, while predominantly Democrat, is not totally devoid of Republican voters. In the most recent presidential election, Trump got 32% of the vote in Davidson County.  In Hagerty's race for the U. S. Senate, he garnered 34% of the Davidson County vote and in the race for governor, Bill Lee won 36% of the Davidson County vote.

If Republicans represent about a third of the voters it seems reasonable that about a third of the statehouse seats should be held by Republicans. If these Republican votes were evenly dispersed throughout the county, it would be difficult to create districts winnable by Republicans, but they are not.  

There are parts of town, such as the Black districts of North Nashville, the areas around the college campuses, and East Nashville that are overwhelmingly Democrat districts. It is hard to find a Republican in some of these districts. It is a fact that people tend to live in neighborhoods with people like themselves.  So, while there are parts of the county, that are overwhelmingly Democrat, there are also parts of the county where Republicans dominate or where Democrats and Republicans are almost evenly split.

Look at the following map.  This map is a map of council districts and precincts.  Precincts are the subdivision of council districts.  They simply divide a district into convenient voting areas.  They are designed to designate clusters of voters who vote at the same location. There are 162 presents in the county.

This map shows precincts that Trump won and those where he came close to winning and the percentage of the vote Trump received. The number is red is the percentage of voters in that precinct who voted for Trump. 

Here is a close-up of part of the above.

This map shows the same as shown in the first map above with the Republican precincts or precincts where Republicans can be competitive colored in.  Don't hold me to the boundaries being exact, but it is a close enough approximation to show that there are contiguous areas of the county that could be carved out as Republican house districts. The districts may have to cross county lines in some cases and may represent voters in Davidson County and some voters from adjoining counties but there is nothing wrong with doing that.  There are many seats in the Statehouse and Senate where the districts cross county lines.

Nashville has had house seats and a senate seat held by Republicans in recent years.  Representative Beth Harwell, Senator Steve Dickerson, Representative Jim Gotto all represented parts of Davidson County. Now, however, there are no Republicans representing Davidson County.  By contrast, Shelby County has three Republicans in the Statehouse.  

There are ten house seats representing Davidson County in the State House of Representatives. Redistricting could carve out at least three seats winnable by Republicans.  It is doable. There is no reason it couldn't be done. I will be disappointed it is not. 

Also, see  the following: 

It would not be hard to dilute Democratic votes in Nashville by splitting them up among several districts.

 Metro Planning Readies for Redistricting, Launches Website and Survey

Bloomberg Law says Republicans could split Davidson County into four districts, endangering Cooper’s hold. I say, "Do it!"

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

About 300 Afghan refugees will be coming to Nashville, ...

 ... I say let us welcome them with an open heart and open arms. (For more on the story, see this link.)

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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Metro Council bill seeks to regulate, require permits for Nashville's party vehicles

Fox 17 -A new Metro Council bill seeks to regulate Nashville's party buses amid recent pushes to make Music City's streets safer. 

Anyone who's been to Lower Broadway has probably seen them: buses, mobile hot tubs, tractors and more, filled with partiers. Councilman Freddie O'Connell said his new bill would regulate transpotainment in the city with things like limiting open containers and requiring local permits for vehicles and drivers. (read more)

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