Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09
A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09
Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson - 05-21-09
Upsets Even Liberals - 03-26-09
‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real - 01-15-09
This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty - 12-18-08
Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So - 12-11-08
Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit? - 7-24-08
Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage - 7-02-08
Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08
"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" - 2-27-08
"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls" - 10-26-07
"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL" - 10-12-07
"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07
A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)
And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.
August 14, 2008
Boone Pickens and Al Gore to the contrary notwithstanding, wind and solar power cannot play major roles in addressing America’s energy problems and the world’s global warming pattern.
Pickens’ well-intentioned proposal to free America from dependence on foreign oil by building thousands of electricity-producing windmills would not reduce the need for coal-fired or natural gas-fired electricity-producing plants. As a recent Midlands Voice article by Roger K. Nunley of Hastings, Nebraska, a former petroleum geologist, pointed out, wind turbines are an unreliable source of electric power.
Nunley wrote: “Wind energy is intermittent and unpredictable. The wind blows on some days and doesn’t on others. The hottest days in America’s heartland, when electricity is needed most, there’s usually not enough of a breeze to stir a leaf.”
The reality, Nunley pointed out, is that “back-up from fossil fuels is needed on those days, as demonstrated by the fact that business and industries in Texas and California, the two states with the most wind energy, have had to shut down on hot summer days when wind generation is lacking.”
Nor, Nunley indicated, will solar power contribute significantly to American independence from use of fossil fuels. He cited a U.S. Energy Information Administration report which said wind turbines on average produce electricity only 30% of the time and solar power panels on average reliably produce electricity only 19% of the time. And even when producing, the wind and solar production would be miniscule in comparison to the nation’s overall energy needs.
A more practical and reliable path seems clear, including greater emphasis on “clean” coal-burning plants and, very importantly, more nuclear power plants. (If Jane Fonda will allow it.) In France, more than 80% of electricity production for years has come from nuclear power plants.
As to reducing or eliminating our dependence on foreign oil—an essential priority, as Boone Pickens maintains—hybrid cars of the type already coming on the market could be part of the solution. Utilizing electrically-powered batteries as well as a gasoline engine, such vehicles lessen dependence on foreign oil and reduce exhaust pipe pollution.
There is also a considerable potential for energy conservation—more efficient electrical appliances, better insulated buildings, for just two examples.
America should get on with these sensible energy policies. To date a Democratic Congress has initiated virtually no energy programs of any significance. (Incidentally, can you think of anything significant that has been passed by our Congress headed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada?)
One of the important issues which American voters will have to decide in November is whether they feel America has the best chance for moving, quickly, into an aggressive national policy to conserve energy and reduce dependence on foreign oil under the leadership of President Barack Obama or of President John McCain.
One difference: McCain has consistently been for developing more nuclear energy. Obama has come around to saying he would consider more nuclear energy plants if there was assurance they would be safe.
Obama has talked of levying an “excess profits” tax on oil companies and giving Americans $1,000 checks to help pay for high gasoline costs. He hasn’t been clear about the details: Which Americans would each get $1,000? How would he assure the money goes to help pay higher gasoline costs? And how can you justify such payments as part of a carefully-crafted, comprehensive energy program?
* * *
From 60 miles away, it’s quite easy for The Lincoln Journal Star to advocate a gambling casino operated by the Ponca Indian Tribe on Omaha’s doorstep in Carter Lake, Iowa.
All the problems associated with casino gambling would be primarily Omaha’s, not Lincoln’s.
Weirdest of the reasoning (?) in the Lincoln newspaper’s editorial was an assertion that “a sense of justice” says the Ponca tribe should get “their casino.”
A sense of justice? Where is the justice in the Ponca’s acquiring the five-acre tract in Carter Lake for the stated purpose that it was intended to be the site of a health clinic and now asserting that the tribe has the right to change its mind and use the land to promote the social evil of legalized gambling?
* * *
How sad it is that so frequently—as has been the case down through the centuries—the world is offered fresh evidence of the tragedies spawned by conflict, frequently rising to the level of hatred, between various religious groups. Recent example, reflected in a headline in The New York Times:
“Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir
Face Off Over Land Near Shrine”
The story began:
“A dispute over 98 acres high in the Himalayas has ignited violent protest in Indian-controlled Kashmir for more than a month and pitted its Hindu and Muslim populations against each other.
“The Indian army has sent thousands of soldiers into the streets of Jammu to prevent the disturbances from inflaming Hindus and Muslims throughout India. An estimated 15 people have died in clashes with the security forces.”
Death, once again, in the name of religion.
* * *
Amidst all the attention that is being given to the Boy Scouts who courageously reacted to that death-dealing tornado which struck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Northwest Iowa, this question seems appropriate:
Do the plans for rehabilitating the camp—including replacement of the building which collapsed, killing four Scouts—include construction of a storm shelter?
Early stories about the Little Sioux tragedy pointed out that Girl Scout camps in this area have storm shelters, as do some Boy Scout camps.
Certainly, going forward, a storm shelter ought to be part of the program to rebuild the Little Sioux camp.
In the meantime, let the Scouts who reacted courageously at the Little Sioux camp the night of the tragedy enjoy the attention which they received at a White House meeting with President Bush. But keep in mind that such a White House visit wouldn’t have been made if the facilities at the Little Sioux Camp had included a storm shelter.
What a travesty of justice.
I can’t think of any other description for the verdict of a Cass County jury finding Travis Meisinger guilty only of misdemeanor in his baseball bat-wielding injury of Tony Premo, Sr. as Premo opened his front door in Plattsmouth.
Meisinger, 19, and two friends had gone to Premo’s house when a fight between gangs from Weeping Water and Plattsmouth had spilled over onto the Premo family property.
Meisinger used a baseball bat to smash the Premo house’s screen door. When Premo, 49, emerged from the house with his fist raised, one teen hit him in the arm with a bat and Meisinger hit him in the face with a wooden bat. Premo suffered a skull fracture and disfigured face. He spent several weeks in a medically-induced coma at an Omaha hospital. His medical bills have surpassed $600,000, according the family attorney.
Convicted only of a misdemeanor, Meisinger faces up to a year in jail. He had been charged with first-degree felony assault and use of a deadly weapon. Both carried potential sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
Meisinger’s testimony included a statement that he “never wanted to hurt no one, I was swinging to stop whatever was coming out the front door. I was trying to hit somebody in the stomach. I knew that that would stop them immediately…That would block everyone coming outside and that would give us enough time to get away.
“I wasn’t trying to hit nobody in the face. That was not my intention.”
So the jury hears testimony, obviously self-serving, that the defendant was only trying to hit someone in the stomach with a baseball bat. And then the jury decided that this did not constitute either a first-degree felony assault nor assault with a deadly weapon.
Perhaps after Meisinger has served no more than a year in prison, he can sharpen his batting techniques so that the next time he has to “defend” himself with a baseball bat, he has better aim.
# # #