Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Follow-up to Kroger in Royal Oak

Remember my promise from June?
I have a lot more to write about this issue, including coverage from Royal Oak Patch that follows up on the meetings and the provides more detail and my personal opinion of this (it's a very local issue for me, as the site in question is within walking distance of where my wife and I live--she has an opinion, too), but I have to run an errand and go to work. Stay tuned!
I never got around to doing that until now. I do have a good excuse, which was that I got distracted by Julie Bass and her fight with Oak Park over her vegetable garden, but it's still an excuse. In the spirit of better late than never, here are the highlights of what I missed during the past two months.

First, there was another hearing on July 12th, as WXYZ reported.

Debate over Kroger in Royal Oak

That didn't go so well. As the Royal Oak Daily Tribune reported, there will not be a Kroger on Main Street in Royal Oak.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stuart Staniford on the value of education

I surfed over to Early Warning because one of his posts was featured in a Mother Jones article about energy constraints on the U.S. economy, but that's not what I inspired me to post this entry. Instead, Stuart posted Returns to Education, which included this graph of the average lifetime earnings of Americans based on their level of educational achievement.

I'm going to add it to my lecture on economics as an example of how society converts social capital, namely the skills, knowledge, and social connections from education, into economic capital, the students' earning power. The graph will join the latest version of this one from Calculated Risk, which displays the historical relationship between educational level and unemployment in the U.S.

Both graphs show the value of education in economic terms, whether in earning power or protection from unemployment. The one from Calculated Risk definitely grabs the students' attention.  I hope Stuart's does as well.

Stuart has many more very interesting graphs showing how the lifetime earnings estimates in the first graph were derived. If you like numbers and graphs and believe in the power of education, I highly recommend reading Returns to Education.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meta: More meditations on sustainability

I've decided to replace the sustainability logo that I've been using for my posts...

...with this one.


Yes, it's busier,* but it has its advantages.

First, it clearly describes which activities and goals belong where. In particular, it very clearly places research and development, which I've been listing under environment, as being part of economy. I'll be doing that from now on, although I'll keep basic research into environmental issues under environment.**

Second, it can be posted to sites like Daily Kos, which only allows images from a short list of approved hosts. This image is already hosted on Flickr, one of the approved sites.*** In fact, I found this image so that I could use it when I crossposted Silly Sustainability Saturday for August 27, 2011 to Daily Kos for the tip jar.****

Third, it is a reminder that sustainability is about more than the environment. As I told the readers of the Daily Kos mirror of my post, "All of us here on Daily Kos are involved in the fight for sustainability, whether we know it or not--and that's not silly!"

Footnotes beneath the jump.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene news linkspam 1

Here are the Hurricane Irene and related stories from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Hurricanes and earthquakes and floods, oh my! edition) on Daily Kos.

This week's featured articles come from Discovery News on YouTube, Our Amazing Planet via MSNBC, and the L.A. Times.

First, the weird news.

A hurricane, an earthquake -- it's been a wild week here on the East Coast. And it's happened twice before in history -- but never before in the same place.
Now, the good news.

Why Hurricane Irene not worst-case for NYC
By Brett Israel
updated 8/27/2011 3:12:26 PM ET
Irene is predicted to be the latest in 2011's string of billion-dollar weather disasters. But for New York City, Irene is not shaping up to be the worst-case scenario it could be.

Forecasts show Irene hitting central Long Island, N.Y., sometime Sunday (Aug. 28), leaving New York City with the "clean side" of the hurricane and without the major storm surge. The city will mostly see "blustery rains and strong winds," said Eugene McCaul, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecast around 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain for New York City from Irene.
Interactive infographic showing location and windspeed of Irene at the link.

Finally, the bad news.

Hurricane Irene churns its way north; 8 dead
August 27, 2011
Hurricane Irene, a ferocious and slow-moving storm, smashed into North Carolina on Saturday morning, then slowly swirled its way up the Eastern Seaboard, flooding low-lying areas, knocking out power to as many as 1 million customers and forcing the densely populated regions of Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City to take unprecedented steps as they braced for impact.

At least eight people are known to have died as a result of the storm in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida.

Irene is expected to continue its northward path through New England before weakening early Sunday morning. The youngest victim, an 11-year-old boy, was killed when a tree crashed through his apartment building in Newport News, Va.
More over the jump.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Silly Sustainability Saturday for August 27, 2011

It's common for Silly Sustainability Saturday to spawn follow-ups, such as Why do Tea Partiers hate high-speed rail?, a post inspired by a reaction to a story covered in Silly Sustainability Saturday: Carmageddon, Tea Partiers against manatees, and Butterbeer. In fact, that happened this week with Narb's comment to Silly Sustainability Saturday for August 20, 2011 inspiring For Narb: Paul Krugman and fake alien invasions. Tonight, inspiration comes full circle, as Dr. Krugman takes his turn in the spotlight for Silly Sustainability Saturday because of something he didn't say.
Well, this is interesting. I hear that the not-so-good people at National Review are attacking me over something I said on my Google+ page. Except, I don’t have a Google+ page.
Dave Weigel at Slate has the faux Krugman quote.
Yesterday, a Google+ account belonging to "Paul Krugman" posted this thought experiment about the earthquake.
People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.
The reactions were swift after Tim Carney -- who'd just joked that Krugman might think this -- spread the message around on Twitter.
Weigel has more reactions from conservatives who bit on the troll's hook. He also found the hoaxer.
The Google+ account was a hoax created by 2010 college grad Carlos Graterol, to make fun of the "many misguided beliefs that Paul Krugman holds, defends, and espouses on a daily basis."
Both Weigel and the snarky Dan Amira at N.Y. Magazine's Daily Intel Blog repeated Professor Krugman's reaction.
This is really cute, not. Apparently some people can’t find enough things to attack in what I actually say, so they’re busy creating fake quotes. And I have enough on my plate without trying to chase all this stuff down.

So if you see me quoted as saying something really stupid or outrageous, and it didn’t come from the Times or some other verifiable site, you should probably assume it was a fake.
Krugman became even more annoyed in his next post.
Actually, this thing ties in with what I just wrote about anti-Keynesian switcheroos: the hoaxer was trying to make my (correct) assertions in the past that even useless spending can be expansionary sound as if I revel in disaster. Those who can’t argue rationally, resort to fakery.

Also, the gullibility on display was impressive. All these right-wing hacks knew it must be a genuine quote, because they all knew that I’m a terrible person — based on past distortions!

And I’d be willing to bet that this fake quote will continue to pop up on right-wing blogs and talk radio for years to come.
Yes, Dr. Krugman, I'm sure it will. There is a reason why the opposition to the policies of the current incarnation of the Republican Party is called "the reality-based community," to which the Republican Party as a whole no longer belongs.

Earthquakes and hurricanes and floods, oh my!

These topics deserve a long thoughtful post. That isn't happening tonight. As I posted to my Facebook wall, "Screw that; I'm going to drink rum and play video games tonight." Instead, I'll leave you with these two songs by Florence and the Machine and hope that they can express in music what I don't have it in me tonight to say in words.

Hurricane Drunk

Dog Days are Over

Stay safe, all of you on the east coast. See you after the sun rises!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who watches Cable News? (Teaser)

Yes, Prime Minister had a deservedly famous scene about Briitish newspapers.* Here it is.

PM Jim Hacker: "Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country, The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country, The Times is read by people who actually do run the country, The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country, The Financial Times is read by people who own the country, The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is."
Sir Humphrey: "Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?"
Bernard Wooley: "Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits."
— Yes, Prime Minister
There are versions of this for American newspapers, including this one, which mocked the previous President (say what you will about President Obama, but at least he reads the papers).  There aren't good versions of it for cable news channels, at least, not yet. The closest I've found is this one at the TVTropes link, which manages to mix newpapers and cable.
President Bob: Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads and watches what. CNN is watched by people who think they run the country, The New York Times is read by people who think they ought to run the country, The Washington Post is read by the people who actually do run the country, USA Today is read by the wives of the people who run the country, CNBC is watched by people who think they own the country, The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who actually do own the country, MSNBC is watched by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and Fox News is watched by people who think it is.
Smarmy Civil Servant Alice: Mr. President, what about people who read The National Enquirer?
President's Body Man Charlie: National Enquirer readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.
A wild hare** has hopped into my brain to create a list that just has cable news channels, as I find that list inadequate, but I don't have the time to do it right now.*** Instead, I'll just drop a couple of the intermediate punch lines.

Bloomberg is owned by someone who thinks he should run the country. Current is owned by someone who should have been running the country for eight of the past ten years.

UPDATE: Bloomberg Television is owned by someone who thinks he should run the country. Current TV is watched by people who think its owner should have been running the country for eight of the past ten years.

More later.

Yes, I'm watching a lot of cable TV while I'm grading papers. Speaking of which, back to work!

*I really did link to TVTropes throughout. You have been warned.
**I spelled it properly. Fanfiction writers will understand.
***Double entendre--I really should be doing something else, namely grading, so I don't have the time, and if I took the time now, I wouldn't do it right. I'm just posting this to feed the plot bunny so that it will stop running around in my brain while I'm working.

ETA: I've posted my own version of this scene for American newspapers here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gawker on Michigan

Gawker has been running a series on the worst 50 states in America this week. Here is what they had to say about Michigan.

35. Michigan
The mitten-shaped land of miseries is a scenic and scenically troubled place to call home.

The Good: Boy oh boy is Michigan pretty. What with all them lakes they got up there and all that crazy snow and stuff. Did you ever watch this beautiful show? That covers the UP pretty well.
If you click on the link to the Sundance Channel, the theme to "Nimrod Nation" autoplays, which would be annoying if the tune weren't so pretty.
And say what you will about Detroit, but there's a kind of hard-boned, old-school urbanness to that city that is a rare commodity in 2011.
That didn't make Model D Media's Buzz section. To see why, keep reading.
The Bad: "Hard-boned, old-school urbanness" is a polite way of saying that Detroit is an absolute hellhole, the kind of place that you think about and wish that we could allocate some funds to just airlift everyone the fuck out of there. Flint and Grand Rapids aren't doing much better. Michigan can sometimes feel like a scary totem of what's to come for the rest of this fading super-nation, so it's kind of annoying to constantly have that reminder, ever teasing us.
Gawker is deliberately being a bunch of snarky clowns, but they could have ranked the state much lower higher. Honestly, I was expecting worse.

As for the passage in bold, I prefer to see a glass half full. To paraphrase:
Welcome to Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future. Great things are going to happen here, and they're going to happen here first. Whatever Detroit devises as the solutions for North America's problems will be exported to the rest of the continent. It's an exciting time to live here, and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Lisa Hymas of Grist expounds on the A in I=P*A*T

I Am the Population Problem
Both local and broad scale environmental problems often are linked to population growth, which in turn tends to get blamed on other people: folks in Africa and Asia who have "more kids than they can feed," immigrants in our own country with their "excessively large families," even single mothers in the "inner city."

But actually the population problem is all about me: white, middle-class, American me.

Steer that blame right over here.

Population isn't just about counting heads, although by this October we will be counting 7 billion of them worldwide. The impact of humanity on the environment is not determined solely by how many of us are around, but by how much stuff we use and how much room we take up. And as a financially comfortable American, I use a lot of stuff and take up a lot of room. My carbon footprint is more than 200 times bigger than that of an average Ethiopian, more than 12 times bigger than an average Indian's, and twice as big as an average Brit's.

Well-meaning people have told me that I'm "just the sort of person who should have kids." Au contraire. I'm just the sort of person who should not have kids.
I teach my environmental science students the following equation to describe environmental impact: I=P*A*T, where I is impact, P is population, A is affluence, and T is technology. It's the A and inefficient T that is multiplying the impact of the effect of the relatively small P in the developed world, especially in North America. Read the rest of the article, as the excerpt above is just the start of Lisa Hymas's explanation complete with supporting details of how this happens. It also explains why her environmental views have shaped her decision to be child-free.

If people in the developed world, but especially in North America, want to maintain anywhere near the current levels of affluence, they'd better hope that more efficient technologies can reduce the T to less than one (there is some evidence this is possible) before the resources run out, or everyone will be TSOL. Unfortunately, technology inadequate to the task is one of the barriers to sustainability, along with change resistance--but that's another lesson.

Hat/tip to unusualmusic on Dreamwidth.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meta: Social Media Status update


On August 1st, I made the following promise on Dreamwidth.
That concludes this irregular status update. Next one whenever I pass 500 on Twitter, 450 on Facebook, 150 on Daily Kos or LiveJournal, 50 on Dreamwidth, or 25 on any of the other services, whichever comes first. If it's Crazy Eddie's Motie News passing 25, I'll crosspost it there, too.
As you can tell both from the bolding and that you're either reading it on Crazy Eddie's Motie News or you're seeing the "crossposted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News" notice while reading it on Dreamwidth or LiveJournal, my Blogspot/Blogger followers hit 25. I'm actually a bit late, as the event happened late last week (thank you John Henry for being the 25th follower), but I had a good excuse--it's final exam time. Notice that my posting rate slowed down early this week, as I was grading. Final exams are now graded, so it's time to post the next update.

Twitter: 478
Facebook: 423 (was as high as 424)
Daily Kos: 140 (still down from 141)
Livejournal: 124
(down from 125, although the person who defriended me is now subscribed to me on Dreamwidth)
Huffington Post: 107 fans and 106 friends
(I've had this account for a while, but never got around to including it until now)
Dreamwidth: 41
Crazy Eddie's Motie News: 25
YouTube: 18 friends and 12 subscribers
(I could have more, but I'm not impressed by the people who try to friend me on YouTube)
Journalfen: 8 (no movement for months here)
Google+: 5 (New!)
Flickr: 1
Posterous: 1

Now I'm wondering if I should get a Tumblr account. The coolest kids seem to be on that service.

That concludes this irregular update. Next one whenever I pass 500 on Twitter, 450 on Facebook, 150 on Daily Kos or LiveJournal, 50 on Dreamwidth or Blogspot/Blogger, or 25 on any of the other services, whichever comes first.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For Narb: Paul Krugman and fake alien invasions

Earlier this week, my best friend Narb* left a pair of his trademarked comments that look silly on the surface but are really quite thought-provoking when examined in depth. Today, I'll be responding to his first remark, a reply to Silly Sustainability Saturday for August 20, 2011. A couple of paragraphs of this weekly feature were devoted to a Huffington Post article "Fighting Global Warming Could Stave Off Alien Invasion: Report," which linked to an article in The Guardian. The gist of both articles was "[r]ising greenhouse emissions could tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat." Narb pointed out that the point of the original study was the Aliens are going to destroy us because of Global Warming. I responded that it gets even crazier.

Not only did six times as many Fox News viewers think we should prepare for an alien invasion than research climate change, which I mentioned in the Silly Sustainability post, but the week before, Paul Krugman postulated that preparing for a fake alien invasion would bring us out of recession.

No, I'm not kidding. Here's the video.

The only difference between the Fox News viewers and Paul Krugman is that Dr. Krugman knows the invasion would be a fake.  I'm not so sure about the people who responded to the Fox News poll.

The science fiction site Blastr wrote about it under the headline Nobel Prize-winning economist: We need Watchmen's alien invasion and cast Krugman as Adrian Veidt AKA Ozymandius. The author then posed the question, if Krugman is Veidt, then who is our Rorschach? None of the commenters answered the question in three screens of responses, but one did come up with an appropriate moniker for the strategy, Wag the Dalek. Yes, that's a link to a Krugman blog post; he rather liked the turn of phrase.

Personally, I think that the Daleks would be too nasty a set of aliens. I'd much prefer the intelligent elephant analogues from Footfall, which also happens to be a Niven and Pournelle collaboration. They're just advanced enough to get here, but not so advanced that they are undefeatable. When I first read the book 25 years ago, I thought they were at the exact level for an alien invasion. They'd be a lot better than dealing with the Kzinti!

If you think this post was weird, remember that this blog is about sustainability with a science fiction slant, written from a Detroit perspective. Consequently, it fits right in. You should be asking why there aren't more of them. Second, also remember that truth is stranger than fiction. If you don't believe that, just look at the times we live in.

Open Book

*I'm not kidding about this, either. I've known Narb for 33 years. It just took me a while to figure that out. After all, on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog unless you post your picture on Facebook a competitor of Flickr's, even your best friend.

For Dusty: Woodward Dream Cruise is dopamine returned on gasoline invested

In the comments to Final day and night of 2011 Woodward Dream Cruise, Dusty and I had a pretty lively discussion about how we both enjoy classic American cars, even though they really aren't good for the environment. At the end of that conversation, I told Dusty that I recalled a post from The Oil Drum that describes the justification for events like the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Dopamine Returned on Energy Invested (DREI)?

Dopamine, as my wife the psychologist can tell you, is involved in the perception of pleasure. For a lot of people, including me, classic cars in general and the Woodward Dream Cruise in particular give a high return of pleasure for the energy invested.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Final day and night of 2011 Woodward Dream Cruise

Welcome to the the last day of the Woodward Dream Cruise, featuring clips from WXYZ-TV's YouTube Channel.

The festivities began before dawn with Kim Russell interviewing the hot rod and classic car enthusiasts at Memorial Park in Royal Oak.

Hot Rods at Memorial Park

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More from Friday night at the 2011 Woodward Dream Cruise

Part one of yesterday's coverage (or part two of Friday's, if you will) of the Woodward Dream Cruise, featuring clips from WXYZ-TV's YouTube Channel. These clips were all taped and shown on-air on Friday, but not posted to YouTube until after midnight.

First, Cheryl Chodun wrapping up the action from the first official evening of Dream Cruise. Never mind that it began unofficially last Saturday.

On the eve of the 2011 Woodward Dream Cruise we speak to cruisers about their favorite spots.
The next clip picks up right where the last one ended, as Julie Bonovitch describes the party action, both along Woodward and in the adjoining neighborhoods, such as mine.

What do you do if your house is right on the edge of the Woodward Dream Cruise route? You throw a party!
I said Dream Cruise had become a major cultural event, and what do people do at major cultural events? Throw parties!

Finally, here is a clip that didn't make it into the report for Thursday. It's raw, unnarrated footage from WXYZ's helicopter showing all the cars involved in Chevrolet's 100th birthday celebration before they rolled down Woodward from Bloomfield Hills. The first group of automobiles shown are the 60+ Volts. I've never seen so many Volts in one place! Also, if you're not as sustainability-minded as I am, there are the hundreds of Corvettes in the shot as well.

Chevy kicks off the Dream Cruise with the Centennial Parade.

That's it for the pre-Saturday action. There will be a part two containing clips from Saturday later tonight.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Silly Sustainability Saturday for August 20, 2011

Another brief tour through the lighter side of sustainability this week. Some of the links will be funny, others will be just fun, or at least positive.

First, Huffington Post has cribbed a list from the Sierra Club: The Greenest Colleges: Sierra Magazine List. The Sierra Club's Top Ten are here. California schools compose half the list. Two colleges each from Washington and Vermont and one from North Carolina fill out the rest. No surprise, the North Carolina school is in Asheville, and it isn't Western Carolina University--it's Warren Wilson College. The complete rankings are here.

Huffington Post has two other stories in this week's edition, both of which reflect HuffPo's politics as entertainment focus, thus qualifying as silly. PETA Plans A Porn Site--yes, you read that correctly. If nothing else, PETA knows how to get attention, even if it isn't always constructive. This is nothing new for the organization.
PETA has done ad campaigns with adult film stars Sasha Grey, Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson. In 2008, the organization's YouTube account was temporarily shut down after posting racy videos of celebrities and others posing nude.
In Fighting Global Warming Could Stave Off Alien Invasion: Report, HuffPo links to an article in The Guardian. The gist of the article was "Rising greenhouse emissions could tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat." Well, that certainly fits the sustainablity with a science fiction slant of this blog!

Speaking of alien invasions, climate change, and science fiction, Think Progress has the following gem describing the response of Fox News and its viewers to the study quoted by The Guardian: Fox Viewers Overwhelmingly Think We Should Prepare For Alien Invasion Before Fighting Climate Change. Watch the video.

Yes, the majority of people responding to the poll said scientists should focus their efforts on increasing jobs (never mind that green technology will increase jobs) but more than six times as many viewers said that scientists should work on weapons to kill aliens than should work on climate change. I don't think there are that many people with the kind of sense of humor that would think that was funny watching Fox; I'm afraid they were serious. Not everything that is silly is really funny.

Finally, Grist is featuring a game from UbiSoft in Cool new game is like SimCity for the whole environment. Here's the video.

Master new technologies and build your empire in Anno 2070. Check out this new trailer for the futuristic strategy game coming to PC.
That looks like educational fun, and I might just buy it.

That's it for Silly Sustainabilty Saturday!

Friday at the 2011 Woodward Dream Cruise

Yesterday's coverage of the Woodward Dream Cruise, featuring clips from WXYZ-TV's YouTube Channel.

WXYZ kicked off its coverage with the Val Clark at Hot Rod Alley (really Memorial Park at the corner of 13 Mile and Woodward in Royal Oak).

Woodward Dream Cruise - Hot Rod Alley

Val is demonstrating that Mary Conway isn't the only reporter having the time of her life at the Dream Cruise.

Speaking of Mary Conway, here she is enjoying the muscle cars.

Muscle cars are making their presence known on Woodward during this Dream Cruise weekend.

Mary comes right out and says she's having a blast. She also mentions Cheryl Chodun, who reports in the next segment. Let's see if she's having a good time, too.

Organizers are getting ready to kick off the Dream Cruise with the official ribbon cutting.
Yes, she is. Cheryl usually ends up covering the grim news on WXYZ, particularly violent crime and accidents, so I'm sure she's glad to cover something that makes people happy instead.

So far, Royal Oak has had the lion's share of the spotlight, with Ferndale making only its second appearance in the previous clip (the first being the Green Cruise on Saturday). What about Berkley? Glenda Lewis reports.

Berkley is set to kick off the Dream Cruise with their annual cruise-fest classic car parade.
They're right down the street from me. The tent is on the grounds of the cemetary, so even the dead are part of the celebration. As for Glenda, she's having a great time, too, and she gets to do so in an official capacity, as Grand Marshal of Berkley's classic car parade.

Now back to Mary Conway, who has been the star of WXYZ's coverage of Dream Cruise.

People attending the Dream Cruise are talking about their favorite cars.

Finally, WXYZ has a gallery of more viewer favorites and they are also streaming two hours of the Dream Cruise live as I type this.

Happy viewing!

Sinkhole in Detroit-what happens when infrastructure is neglected

Before I summarize yesterday's Woodward Dream Cruise, I'm sharing the following that caught my eye last night.

Car into sinkhole in Detroit

The car was still stuck in the sinkhole that night.

SUV into sinkhole in Detroit

As soon as I saw those clips, I told my wife that this had to be the result of a water main break. WLNS confirmed my suspicions.

Detroit Water Main Break Causes Sink Hole
Some residents in Detroit are still without water as crews work to repair a water main break.

The break happened Thursday and it's not clear when water will be restored.
I've written before about Detroit's water system, which services at least four million people in eight counties. It's probably the most prized asset of the City of Detroit, which is why the suburbs are trying to get at least partial control of it. However, it won't be worth nearly as much if the water mains aren't maintained. When they're neglected, incidents like this happen. Now, both the water main and the street have to be replaced at great inconvenience to all involved. Regular maintenance and willingness to budget for it would go a long way to prevent sinkholes, lost water service, and blocked roads.

Besides, not only is investment in infrastructure necessary, it's sexy.

UPDATE: WXYZ added the following video yesterday in addition to the ones I posted above.

Crews are repairing a massive sinkhole that swallowed an SUV on Thursday.

It turned out that three parts of the infrastructure failed. Not only did a water main break, but the initial failure was a leak in the sewer line that caused the road to collapse. It also wasn't a complete surprise, either, as residents had been calling the city to tell them to check out the problem.

Remember what I wrote about the millage elections?
I think Inkster will be sorry they didn't fix the sewers. That's a disaster waiting to happen.
This is exactly the kind of disaster waiting for Inkster and what happens when citizens and governments choose austerity over sustainability.

Bachmann on $2 gas and Kunstler on maniac politicians

Here's a clip that's been making the rounds lately.

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann says, if elected, gas prices will fall under $2 a gallon.
CNN Money has more: Bachmann: I'll bring back $2 gas
President Michele Bachmann has a promise: $2 gas.

"Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again," Bachmann told a crowd Tuesday in South Carolina. "That will happen."

Sure, politicians promise all kinds of things on the campaign trail. But Bachmann, a leading contender for the 2012 Republican nomination, is wading into truly tricky territory.
After hearing the above, I was reminded of one of James Howard Kunstler's favorite memes, which I first heard in "The End of Suburbia." Here it is from a speech to the second Vermont Republic.
There will be a great battle to preserve the supposed entitlements to suburbia and it will be an epochal act of futility, a huge waste of effort and resources that might have been much better spent in finding new ways to carry on an American civilization.
In the service of defending suburbia, the American public may turn to political maniacs, who will promise to make the country just like it was in 1997, before we started having all these problems.
The Fog City Journal quoted a more elegant version of that second paragraph.
Americans will elect maniacs who promise to allow them to keep their McMansions and their commutes and that’s going to produce a lot of political friction, probably a lot of violence, probably a threat to our democratic institutions.
$2/gallon gasoline would go a long way to keeping suburbia viable, I'll grant Bachmann that. Even so, it's just not realistic. The last time we had gas that cheap was during the first half of 2009, during the worst part (so far) of the Great Recession. Maybe Bachmann is promising a recession on her watch. She could certainly keep that promise, which prevents her claim from being complete fiction.

Open Book

Friday, August 19, 2011

Woodward Dream Cruise video roundup for August 18, 2011

I present continuing coverage of the Woodward Dream Cruise, featuring more clips from WXYZ-TV's YouTube Channel.

First up the before and after of the Chevrolet Centennial Parade down Woodward on Thursday.

Dream Cruise - Chevy parade

That's the best Volt commericial I've seen yet--and it was a free-publicity testimonial packaged as news! It's also something that makes me feel less guilty about blogging Dream Cruise every day this week, as featuring the Volt makes this a more sustainable event instead of celebration of gas-guzzlers.

Now the after.

Chevy kicks off the Dream Cruise with the Chevrolet Centennial Parade

Sixty Volts--w00t!

The last report of the day detailed the economic impact of the Dream Cruise. Saturday alone is projected to pump $50 million into the local economy. It needs it.

The Dream Cruise brings in people and money from all over the country.

The Volt owner from Arizona is right; this is an immense celebration of the automobile. The participant from California is also right, California, which used to pride itself as a home of cruising (Van Nuys Boulevard used to be a great crusing strip during the 1950s), would never put up with this. While both southern California and Detroit share car culture, I can say that the Dream Cruise is the greatest celebration of car culture I've ever seen. It's the Rose Parade for car enthusiasts, and anyone with a good-looking car can participate.

Speaking of "anyone with a good-looking car," here are some snapshots of people's classic cars from the morning show.

Woodward Dream Cruise Classic Car Garage

And that's tonight's video roundup.

LOL, Robert Morrow

Open Book

Here is another post in the vein of Christine O'Donnell's "Troublemaker" living down to its name, which isn't about sustainability in Detroit, but does fit the Nablopomo theme of Fiction and the listing of this blog under politics on the Nablopomo blogroll. Also, it's about an intra-Tea-Party spat. Since I see the Tea Partiers as obstacles to achieving sustainability, it's not as off-topic as one might first think.

Go over the jump to see why I labeled this one "Fiction." Believe me, it deserves it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Woodward Dream Cruise update for August 17, 2011

For the 200th post of this blog, I present continuing coverage of the Woodward Dream Cruise, featuring more clips from WXYZ-TV's YouTube Channel.

Mary Conway talks with people already crusing up and down Woodward.

As you can see, people are coming from all over the Midwest both to ride down Woodward and to watch the passing parade. Dream Cruise really is a major cultural and economic event. With the squadron of 50 Chevy Volts, it will also be an environmental one. Now, all three spheres of sustainability will be present.

Also, I was so impressed with Mary Conway's performance that I left the following comment to this video.
I've been watching Mary Conway on WXYZ for 22 years, ever since I moved here from Los Angeles. I have to say that this is the happiest and most sincerely enthusiastic I've ever seen her in all this time. It looks like she's having the time of her life covering this year's Woodward Dream Cruise.
I'm looking forward to seeing if she can keep this up all week.

As for the Corvette in the clip, the Detroit Free Press reported that it had plenty of company today.

A march for Narb

In Gas prices now falling as oil rises, Narb Xorbian concluded his comment with "The Templars told me so." I just happened to stumble across the perfect piece of music in response--the Knight Templar March by George Augustus Allen. Happy listening!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Christine O'Donnell's "Troublemaker" living down to its name

I know this doesn't fit the theme of sustainability in Detroit. It does fit the Nablopomo theme of Fiction and the listing of this blog under politics on the Nablopomo blogroll. Besides, I see the Tea Partiers as obstacles to achieving sustainability. so it's not as off-topic as one might first think.

Open Book

First, the e-book version of her book says it's a work of fiction, hence the Nablopomo badge.

Huffington Post: Christine O'Donnell Memoir's E-Version Called 'Work Of Fiction' By E-Publisher

Failed U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell is out with her new book "Troublemaker," which she describes in the introduction as "a political memoir slash campaign diary slash position paper slash rallying cry, with an emphasis on the slash." In an email to supporters, she promised the book would offer "the real, raw story of my life.

But the e-version of her book says she's making it all up.

The copyright page of her book in both the Kindle and iTunes versions state that O'Donnell's memoir is, in fact, a novel.

"This is a work of fiction," reads the disclaimer. "All of the characters, organizations and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously."

"Emphasis on the slash," LOL.

Next, the trolls are having a field day mocking her through the tagging and recommendation functions of Amazon.

The Daily Beast: Christine O’Donnell Gets Punked

Just in time for her book’s release, the former Senate candidate’s Amazon page is the target of cyberpranksters—who won’t let shoppers forget the Tea Partier’s past comments about witches, masturbation, and abstinence.

Many of the recommended products are NSFW.

Woodward Dream Cruise update for August 16, 2011

Take it away, WXYZ-TV!

Business benefiting from Dream Cruise

As I mentioned last night, the Woodward Dream Cruise has become a major cultural event. It's also a great tourist attraction that is good for local business. I know it's not sustainable, but it's great fun. It reminds me of the Rose Parade, except anyone with a good-looking car can join in.

There are also the personal stories of the individual car owners, such as the following.

Alton Seay bought the car new in 1971. He courted his wife Charlotte in it. They raised their three children in it and have now restored it to pristine condition.
I'll be looking for Alton and Charlotte cruising along the northbound side of Woodward this coming Friday and Saturday.

Also, I've been watching WXYZ since I moved here in 1989 and Mary Conway had already been working there for at least a year, so I've been watching her this entire time. I swear this is the happiest I've ever seen her. She must really like cars, the Woodward Dream Cruise, or both.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This is the song that played on the radio just before I heard that Elvis died

The DJ himself remarked on the uncanny aptness of the music.

Amazing what one remembers 37 years later.

Gas prices now falling as oil rises

On Sunday, I observed:
[R]etail regular gasoline should be no more than $3.25 a gallon when WTI is $85 a barrel. Let's see if gas prices get there, including in Grand Rapids, where they shouldn't be so high right now.
It looks like the prices of gasoline and crude oil are equilibrating, both nationally and locally. From Reuters yesterday.

U.S. gasoline prices drop for second week in a row
Oil prices, which account for about 65 percent of the cost of making gasoline, traded up $2.50 on the New York Mercantile Exchange to settle at $87.88 a barrel on Monday.
According to the handy graph of the relationship between crude prices and retail regular gas prices that Stuart Staniford at Early Warning has provided, a price of about $88/barrel for oil should translate into a $3.40/gallon at the pump for unleaded regular.

So what are gas prices doing?
U.S. retail gasoline prices fell 7 cents over the last week to $3.60 a gallon as of Monday, the second consecutive drop this month, the U.S. Energy Department said.
Still a bit high, but they're falling as oil prices rise. I wouldn't be surprised if oil rises to the low 90s and gas falls to just below $3.50. I could live with that, and so could the U.S. economy.

As for what's happening locally, ask the Detroit Free Press.

Gas prices down 5 cents in state
AAA Michigan said gasoline prices are down 5 cents per gallon over the last week, to a statewide average of $3.69.

The auto club said Monday that the average is about 92 cents per gallon higher than last year at this time.
Still high, but that was last week. Sunday, the price at the corner station was $3.65. When I filled up last night (Monday evening), it had dropped to $3.59/gallon. Good thing I waited. If these lower prices hold up, then AAA Michigan will have another price drop to report next week.

News isn't quite as good if one drives a diesel vehicle. From the Reuters article.
Diesel prices fell 6.2 cents week-on-week to $3.84 a gallon, though that was still up 85.6 cents from a year ago, the department said.
Diesel demand is much less price-elastic than gasoline demand, so expect it to remain more expensive than gasoline. Also, higher prices of diesel are more likely to be passed on to consumer goods as part of the cost of transportation. As for what diesel should cost at the pump for a given oil price, I may have to ask Stuart Staniford that one. He does respond to his commenters.

There was also a Green Cruise on Saturday

Now I find out about this!

Detroit Free Press: Sierra Club's Green Cruise draws cyclists, health enthusiasts to Ferndale
August 14, 2011
Hundreds of people turned out for the Sierra Club's Green Cruise in downtown Ferndale on Saturday, the precursor to next weekend's Woodward Dream Cruise.

The seventh annual event included a human-powered parade on West 9 Mile from Woodward to Planavon -- a parade renowned for its unabashed geek value, with its horde of cyclists on every conceivable style of two- and three-wheeler.
Dozens of displays were set up at the event to highlight organic foods, climate change, wind power and more.
Virtually everything was free -- even food, beverages and bike maps.
I'm sorry that I missed this event; it looks like exactly the kind of thing someone like me, who is interested in sustainable actions in Metro Detroit, and who really likes Fabulous Ferndale (I was just there this evening), should be attending. Besides, it will make me feel less guilty about enjoying the Woodward Dream Cruise as a spectator.

Speaking of being a spectator, here's what last year's parade looked like from the sidewalk.

And here's the perspective from a participant in that same parade.

Looks like great fun. My goal now is to own a bike and get back in shape so that I can ride in the Green Cruise next year. Failing that, I can always walk. I love to walk, especially in a walkable neighborhood like West 9 Mile in Ferndale. Doing so as part of an event promoting a good cause would be a bonus.

Speaking of good causes, here's the Sierra Club page for the Green Cruise.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off for 2011

WXYZ is promoting this event morning, noon, and night. I mean that quite literally, as they posted one clip from their morning show and two from their afternoon and evening newscasts today, in addition to the one from last week I posted Saturday. Here they are.

Dream Cruise Breakfast

People are talking about their Dream Cruise dream cars as we ramp up the preparations for Saturday's Woodward Dream Cruise.
As you can see, this has become a major cultural event, even if it's one that celebrates a pre-sustainability ideal. I'm not going to burn any extra fossil fuel as part of the celebration of automobiles, as Woodward Dream Cruise passes within walking distance of where I live. I should know; I walked to it last year. I'll be walking to it again.

Dream Cruise is not only a tribute to the era of cheap oil and American manufacturing dominance, but also to American ingenuity. Following is a video that exemplifies local inventiveness in motor vehicles. Too bad it won't be on display on Woodward this year.

Commerce Twp man wants to put the world on one wheel.

It's not at all practical, but it sure is cool.

I'll have more about Dream Cruise all this week. If nothing else, it's more fun than reading and writing about the Satan Sandwich. Hey, I can't be all doom all the time!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Roundup for August 7th through 13th, 2011

It was another busy week here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News. I posted 13 entries, readers left 18 comments, a record, and the blog received 939 unique views. That's not as impressive as the week before, with a record 16 entries, ten comments, and 1006 page views, but considering that the two weeks before that averaged 768 page views, I'm pleased.

The main theme of this past week's posts was the ongoing coverage of the Satan Sandwich with only one post of the thirteen having nothing to do with it, although the reader has to strain to see its connection to two of the other posts.

Oil down worldwide, gas prices up in Grand Rapids

Go figure. From WOOD-TV.

The wild ride on Wall Street - the Dow finished up more than 100 points on Friday - affected the price of oil, which fell to around $86 per barrel.
Strictly speaking, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) didn't fall directly to $86 from over $90. On Tuesday, WTI closed at a ten-month low of $79.30 after hitting an intraday low of $75.71. Friday, WTI closed at $85.38 a barrel. While this was down $0.34 (0.4%) from the day before, this is still a rise of more than $5.00 since Wednesday's close and $10.00 from the Wednesday intraday low.

On the other hand, it is a drop from Friday to Friday, as WTI dropped $1.50 (1.73%) from its $86.88 close on August 5, making it the third consecutive week of dropping weekly prices.

As for the price here, when I last checked on Thursday, the corner gas station was selling unleaded regular at $3.49. I'll go look after I post this entry to see if it has risen since then.

UPDATE: Unleaded regular is $3.65 at the corner station. Looks like I should have filled up Thursday.

Finally, Stuart Staniford at Early Warning has this very handy graph up of the relationship between crude prices and retail regular gas prices.

According to this graph, retail regular gasoline should be no more than $3.25 a gallon when WTI is $85 a barrel. Let's see if gas prices get there, including in Grand Rapids, where they shouldn't be so high right now.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Silly Sustainability Saturday: Another just links edition

Repeating the format of last week's Silly Sustainability Saturday--pretty much a quick collection of links about the lighter side of sustainablity.

From WXYZ on YouTube:

The Dream Cruise is by no means a sustainable event, but I'm all in favor of GM's Chevrolet division using it to highlight the Volt, with a squadron of 50 of them driving down Woodward.

From Think Progress Green:

Colbert Mocks Right-Wing ‘Heatsteria’

Go, Colbert!

Fox News Responds To Record Heat Waves By Predicting Global Cooling

This would be a lot funnier if people didn't take it seriously.

Santorum Blames Caribou For Nation’s Health Insurance Failures

This would be a lot funnier if Santorum hadn't come in fourth in the Iowa Straw Poll. For an antidote, just Google Santorum.

Doonesbury Gets Cool Roofs Wrong

Garry Trudeau should know better.

From Grist:

The EV-hater’s guide to hating electric cars

A handy debunking guide.

Are these eco-friendly sandals worth $18,000?

As sandals, no. My wife said she'd pay $20 for them. As a fundraiser for a good cause? We'll see.

Add this foldable canoe to your climate change survival plan

When it becomes available, it will probably be a better value than the sandals.

How to tell if your city is going places

Cool infographic, reproduced below.

And that's it for the lighter side of sustainability this week.

President Obama in Holland, Michigan

Here is my pick for sustainability story of the week in Michigan.

Following a tour of an advanced manufacturing facility, the President says his goal is to see more products that are Made in America sold around the world. August 11, 2010.
This isn't just an "advanced manufacturing facility," specifically, it's a factory where Johnson Controls builds Lithium-Ion batteries that will power an Azure Balance™ Hybrid Electric commercial vehicle. The plant was launched and is now shipping hybrid batteries 10 months after receiving a $299 million grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This shows the intersection among environment, in the form of a more sustainable technology than oil-powered internal combustion engines, economy, in the form of job creation, and society, in the form of politics. It's a perfect example of a general sustainability story.

This is not the first time President Obama has handed me a general sustainability story. As I've mentioned before, "President Obama...really likes the idea of sustainable development packaged as making America competitive." I've taken advantage of this trait of his at least twice before. So, when he came to Michigan to promote sustainable development as a way of making America competitive, of course I was going to cover it. It was only a matter of time.

That he pointed out that the deal he got in the Satan Sandwich, along with the people who insisted on it, is standing in the way of sustainable development, is a pure bonus.

This one's for Narb

In the comments to A dead cat bouncing on a rubber floor, I praised new commenter Narb Xorbian for his constructive criticism. He responded with "Narb likes pretty pictures. And jello." My comeback was "How about pretty pictures of Jell-O?"

Friday, August 12, 2011

A dead cat bouncing on a rubber floor

That's what my wife called the stock market today. Let's see if she's right.

Before the market opened yesterday.
We'll find out if NDD and I are right tomorrow at the close of the U.S. trading day.
What NND predicted was that the intraday low on Tuesday would be the low for the week, so the bottom of the current correction had already been created. I agreed with him. The proof of the pudding would be weather the markets continued to rise on Thursday and Friday. They did.

Stocks have soared again after dropping yesterday.

That was yesterday. Reuters has today's news.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 107.74 points, or 0.97 percent, at 11,251.05, according to the latest available figures. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 4.43 points, or 0.38 percent, at 1,177.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 13.36 points, or 0.54 percent, at 2,506.04.
Two days up in a row works for vindicating NDD. Even so, the Dow was down 1.5% for the week.

Also, Tuesday up and Wednesday down does look like a dead cat bounce.

Hat/tip to cieldumort on LiveJournal for this image.

The past two days up, though, looks like the start of what I expect to be the right shoulder of a head-and-shoulders formation, indicating that the high in late April was indeed the top of a two-year bull market. First, the classic head-and-shoulders formation from Investopedia

Next, the S&P 500 since 2000. Pay attention to the far right of the graph. The left shoulder formed in early 2010 when the index couldn't break through the 1200 level, then declined below 1100. The head formed early this year when the S&P 500 rose above 1300, then declined gradually at first, then precipitously.

If this is the start of the formation of a long-term head-and-shoulders pattern, then the S&P should rise to about 1200 this year before declining to 1100. After that, I make no guesses. After all, I'm just an amateur.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The mother of all dead cat bounces?

Sometimes, I don't like being right.
When I told you to "hang on tight, it will be a bumpy ride," I had no idea how high some of those bumps might be. Let's just hope yesterday isn't just the mother of all dead cat bounces.
The cat went *THUD* as the market gave away all of Tuesday's gains and then some. WXYZ reports.

Reuters has the details.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Dylan Ratigan's turn to be mad as Hell and not take it anymore

First, Keith Olbermann is mad as Hell and won't take it anymore; now it's Dylan Ratigan's turn.

More from Ratigan's website:

Dylan Ratigan, Mad as Hell: His Epic “Network” Moment

I’m Mad As Hell. How About You?

America’s Mad as Hell Moment

His most recent entry has been mirrored at Huffington Post.

I suggest you watch and read.

Next Media Animation on Black Tea Monday

Barackalypse Now: Rise of the Bears

The US credit rating has recently dropped from an AAA to AA+ rating, leaving the investors and the world economy in a state of panic.

With the rising of the bear market, how would president Barack Obama fight it off?
Of course, as soon as they posted that video, the market bounced back, as Reuters reports.

Wall Street roars back in wild trade after Fed meet
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK | Tue Aug 9, 2011 7:04pm EDT
Stocks rallied on Tuesday in a volatile session as investors struggled to decipher the Fed's signals on the economy after a dizzying two-week slide.

Buying accelerated into the close and the S&P 500 posted its best day in more than two years, following a drop of nearly 17 percent over the past weeks.

The market reversed direction six times after a Fed statement that pledged two more years of near-zero interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 429.92 points, or 3.98 percent, to end at 11,239.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 53.07 points, or 4.74 percent, to 1,172.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 124.83 points, or 5.29 percent, to 2,482.52.
When I told you to "hang on tight, it will be a bumpy ride," I had no idea how high some of those bumps might be. Let's just hope yesterday isn't just the mother of all dead cat bounces.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Black Tea Monday's Satan Sandwich News from WXYZ

Sunday night, Gotta Laff over at Political Carnival called yesterday Black Tea Monday in anticipation of the the stock market tanking yet again. Today proved her right: Going DOWn: Dow closes at -632. That's the big picture view. I'll let WXYZ show how it looked here in metro Detroit, beginning with their coverage of President Obama's address.

President Obama address the downgrade of the United States from AAA to AA+.

Before the President addressed the country, WXYZ began its coverage of how people reacted. Here are the clips, arranged from the top to the bottom of the income scale.

Good news on the Woodward Light Rail line

The aftermath of the Satan Sandwich is still going on, but it's not the only thing happening. Here's some good news from WXYZ.

The city of Detroit is hoping the M1 rail project will spur development in the city.

Detroit City Council President Pugh makes a cameo in this story from the Detroit Free Press as well.
Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh expressed concern that Mayor Dave Bing's administration has been heavy-handed with wealthy private investors and civic and philanthropic groups that have pledged $100 million in seed money for the Woodward project.

"My concern is that they're going to walk away because they don't feel like they're being heard," Pugh said after the meeting. "I want to make sure that doesn't happen."

Pugh said Bing and the region's elected officials need to meet to sort out the rail plans.
That's what the representative of the Obama Adminstration said as well.
Metro Detroit leaders need to settle differences over funding and managing regional transit, the Obama administration's transit chief told a gathering of civic and business leaders Monday.

Acknowledging the region's chronic inability to cooperate on public transportation, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff sounded an optimistic tone, saying other cities have overcome similar obstacles to building regional transit.

Rogoff said President Barack Obama is committed to helping Detroit reinvent itself, in part through the $550-million Woodward Light Rail line between downtown and 8 Mile, envisioned as the first leg of a regional transit system.
It looks like that might actually be happening, as the municipalities in my neck of the woods, the suburbs along Woodward in southeast Oakland County, are interested in extending the Woodward Light Rail Line all the way up to downtown Birmingham. The Detroit Free Press reports.
Southern Oakland County communities are looking for a game changer to spur redevelopment.

And they are looking to Detroit.

The idea: expand the Motor City's planned light rail line north to encourage redevelopment along Woodward into the suburbs. The move, they say, could create better transit for the 120,000 residents of cities from Ferndale to Birmingham and generate wider regional support for modernized rail and bus transit to boost metro Detroit's economy.

The group, under the auspices of Royal Oak-based economic and community development group Woodward Avenue Action Association, is preparing to apply for a federal grant of perhaps $2.5 million for a study of expanded transit options in six Oakland cities: Ferndale, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Berkley and Birmingham.
I think this is a great idea, not only as an advocate of public transportation in general, but as a potential user. If this extention goes through and I am still living in one of these six cities, which I plan on doing until I retire, I'll be able to walk to the route and catch a train that could take me anywhere along Woodward I'm likely to want to go. YAY!

Even better, this project might finally start the integration of the local bus transit systems, which badly need coordination. That might lead to better coordination between Detroit and its suburbs, particularly those in Oakland County. The conflict among local governments has been an ongoing stumbling block for solving the region's sustainable development needs, as shown by this paragraph.
The region's political leaders have yet to agree on how to manage a regional transit network that could involve merging the Detroit Department of Transportation and suburban SMART bus systems. Nor have they determined how to pay to build and operate a system that would almost certainly require a regional tax subsidy. Most major U.S. metropolitan areas levy such a tax.
One of the worst offenders has been Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. It looks like he's getting on board with this idea as well.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said he would support expanded transit if voters are willing to pay to subsidize the system through a regional tax.

"My question all along has been: How much is it going to cost, and who's going to pay for it?" Patterson said. "If it comes, it will come with the will of the people."
In this conflict between sustainability and austerity, it looks like the will of the people in Detroit and its near Oakland County suburbs is starting to come down on the side of sustainability. I'll be leading the cheering for this welcome development.

Monday, August 8, 2011

WOOD-TV reacts to the Satan Sandwich from Grand Rapids

WXYZ has had its turn; now it's time for WOOD-TV to weigh in.

Rick Albin explains the recent Stock Market chaos.

Rick's take on things didn't impress the commenters on YouTube.

yeah right everyone is soley concerned about europe lol nice spin guys.?
Exactly. It isn't only the progressives who think the debt ceiling deal is a Satan Sandwich, it's also the markets and the ratings agencies. No one really likes it.
Too bad, as this was otherwise a good report.

Let's see how they fared with the S&P downgrade.

Rep. Huizenga on the Credit Rating Downgrade

The anchor isn't spinning this as a result of foreign influences, but Huizenga sure is. He's trying to direct the attention as far away from the Satan Sandwich as he can. He'd better; he voted for it.

As for the commenters, they aren't impressed with either side. See for yourself; there are 46 comments! You can thank, mirrored at YouTubes' blog for that.

So, what does WOOD-TV say it means for the average citizen?

More local reaction to Friday's fallout from the Satan Sandwich

WXYZ on the stock market's jitters and the downgrading of U.S. debt.

U.S. loses AAA credit rating

My wife listened to the guest and thought he was an idiot. No, he's just a shill.

At least there was a silver lining in all this--lower gas prices.

Gas prices falling

Enjoy your Satan Sandwich, everyone!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekly Roundup for July 31st through August 6th, 2011

This past week was probably the second busiest week for this blog so far. It surpassed last week in all categories, as I posted 16 entries, a record, readers left ten comments, and the blog received 1006 page views, only the second time that has happened. In contrast, the previous week saw 12 entries, five comments, and 783 page views. This week is off to a good start already, as two people have already left comments. You all keep reading and commenting, and I'll keep posting.


Sunday was the last day of NaBloPoMo's July Swim theme, but the only real "Swim" post that day was Weekly Roundup for July 24th through 30th, 2011 in which I recapped all of the previous week's Swim posts. It turned out that the big theme of the rest of the week wasn't the August NaBloPoMo theme, Fiction, but a continuing breaking news story, the Debt Ceiling Hostage Crisis, the resolution of which became the Satan Sandwich.

Keith Olbermann is mad as Hell and won't take it anymore

Countdown with Keith Olbermann 08-01-2011 5 - Special Comment - Our Broken System

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Silly Sustainability Saturday: Just Links edition

No commentary tonight, just links.

From Think Progress Green.

Donald Trump Opposes Offshore Wind Farm, Says It Will Ruin View From His Golf Course

BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ Ran Down Electric Car To Push Right-Wing Agenda

#KeystoneXL #Astroturf: Tar Sands Supporters Now Polluting Twitter

I've seen this before. From Gawker: Most of Newt Gingrich’s Twitter Followers Are Fake

Fox And Friends: Spongebob Squarepants Is ‘Pushing A Global Warming Agenda’

Chesapeake Charlie, The Fracking Beagle

From Grist.

Barbie Dream House has solar panels, low-flow toilets, four stories, giraffe

Michele Bachmann seriously believes in a lightbulb conspiracy

Let them eat dandelions

Happy reading!

Fiction vs. Fact for the Tea Party Patriots

Open Book

I'm going to take advantage of this month's NaBloPoMo theme to talk a little smack about the Tea Party Patriots, the closest analog in the Tea Party Movement to Coffee Party USA. However, I won't be alone. Take it away Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones!
The Washington media was buzzing Wednesday after the leaders of the Tea Party Patriots came to town and announced that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) deserved a primary challenge, along with any other Republican who voted to raise the debt ceiling. Mark Meckler, a national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, told the Daily Beast that Boehner's deficit plan was "an embarrassment." At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Meckler declared Boehner's numbers "fake" and "phantom."

It was an interesting choice of words, since they might also describe the number of tea partiers Meckler and his co-coordinator, Jenny Beth Martin, claim to represent. In the news coverage, Tea Party Patriots has been consistently identified has having at least 3,500 local chapters, making it one of the largest tea party organizations in the country. But many of those chapters are, to use Meckler's term, phantom, which raises the question of whether the GOP House leadership should really be paying quite so much attention to the noise coming from the tea party leaders working the media circuit right now.
That would have been good advice, considering that listening to it resulted in a stock market crash and S&P downgrading the U.S. credit rating.
Last fall, the Washington Post’s Amy Gardner tried to verify the TPP’s numbers. She attempted to run down every one of its local chapters. Out of the 2,300 chapters TPP then claimed to have, Gardner could only identify 1,400; of those, she was only able to make contact with 647. Most had fewer than 50 members, and some consisted of a single person. That's a fraction of the 15 million people TPP's leaders often claim to represent when they're on the Hill demanding that Republicans refuse to increase the debt ceiling. Which raises the question of why, exactly, Republicans are taking them so seriously.
About the most generous hard number one could use for the membership of the Tea Party Patriots would be the 831,887 accounts who "like" their page on Facebook. Even that would be overly generous, as those accounts could include both legitimate fan pages of other organizations and fan pages of public figures that are separate from the public figures' personal pages, as well as users' sockpuppets they create to be their own neighbors on Farmville. Even taken at face value, that number would overstate their support, as a lot of those people are "slacktivists" who are perfectly happy to read, like, and share the posts on Facebook, but don't contribute any money or even show up at rallies. A better source of the organization's strength would be the number of people on their email list. Good luck getting that out of them short of inducing them to brag about it. Mind you, with this group, that might be easier than one might think.
There are other reasons to question the wisdom of Republicans taking economic advice from national leaders of the Tea Party Patriots and other top tea partiers in the news this week. Consider the fact that before riding the tea party movement to national fame, Meckler was a high-ranking distributor for Herbalife, a company considered by many consumer groups and regulatory agencies to be a pyramid scheme. After that, he got into "affiliate marketing," an industry responsible for all of those "tiny belly" ads haunting the Internet that the FTC says are a scam. His colleague, Jenny Beth Martin, also doesn't have a great track financial record. In 2007, she and husband lost their house and ended up owing the IRS more than $500,000 in back taxes.
I posted this paragraph in a comment to Fiscally Irresponsible at Hysterical Raisins, introducing it with "the financial rot extends down to the grass roots" and concluding it with "As I wrote, rotten down to the grass roots." At the time, I hadn't read the article at the last link in the paragraph. I should have; things are worse than I thought!