Friday, June 27, 2008

Red Dirt Talk - Part 3, the Positions (2)

Health Policy


Quality, Affordable and Portable Coverage for All
Lower Costs by Modernizing The U.S. Health Care System

See Economic policy and advisors, above.

This one's been gone over so many times that everyone on the planet probably knows it by heart. Fact is, in May of 2007, HRC put out her plan, complete with all the lessons learned from the 1994 debacle (which I must remind everyone again - was torpedoed by Democrats). HRC's plan very cleverly included a roadmap to single-payer, the ultimate goal. Exactly one week later, just enough time to plagiarize and re-brand, BHO came out with his copycat plan. Except BHO's plan dispensed with the single-payer option and places the mandatory membership subscriptions firmly in the hands of the private insurance companies - who is this guy working for again?


Will Reform Health Care Making It Easier For Individuals And Families To Obtain Insurance
Will Reform The Tax Code To Offer More Choices Beyond Employer-Based Health Insurance Coverage
Making Insurance More Portable
Will Encourage And Expand The Benefits Of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) For Families
Cares For The Traditionally Uninsurable
Will Work With States To Establish A Guaranteed Access Plan

Bromides from the (R) side of the aisle. It's glaringly obvious that McCain doesn't give a rat's ass about health care except in the context of preventing any public poaching of private party property (alliteration anyone?).

Energy Policy


Next in the examination chamber is Energy Policy, below are the BHO talking points

Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
Invest in a Clean Energy Future
Support Next Generation Biofuels
Set America on Path to Oil Independence
Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change

More valueless drivel on a large scale. First, the chances of us reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050 are vanishingly small (except for the small possibility mentioned below). Even if we did, by 2050 China and India will be producing 2 to 3 times our present CEs. This is not a US problem it is a global problem and must be addressed in that context. BHO utterly fails to address this.

Second, biofuels is a counter-productive deadend as is already becoming painfully apparent: fill your tank, starve a neighbor. BHOs reliance on pop solutions to real problems is emblematic of his incompetence.

Another personal rant: We need to bite the bullet - it's time to dump petroleum. Take the $150 billion BHO proposes to enable the unsupportable biofuels economy and put it into nailing down hydrogen fuel cell technology. Find better, cheaper ways to crack seawater into its constituent parts. Hydrogen for clean burning fuel, oxygen gets liberated into the atmosphere and BTW we stop pumping thousands of tons of carbon into the sky. I could go on...


From his Lexington Project:
Expanding Domestic Oil Exploration and Use Domestic Supplies
Clean Car Challenge
Full Commercial Development Of Plug-In Hybrid And Fully Electric Automobiles Supports Flex fuel and Ethanol
Goes Green, Will Commit $2 Billion Annually To Advancing Clean Coal Technologies
Construct 45 New Nuclear Power Plants By 2030 With The Ultimate Goal Of Eventually Constructing 100 New Plants
Permanent Tax Credit Equal To 10 Percent Of Wages Spent On R&D
Will Encourage The Market For Alternative, Low Carbon Fuels Such As Wind, Hydro And Solar Power
Cap-And-Trade System That Would Set Limits On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Surprisingly, this looks to be a well thought out program combining accepted concepts such as Cap and Trade and Clean Coal initiatives. I like the tax credit idea and the emphasis on low carbon power. Not so much the expanded domestic oil stuff (can you say ANWAR?) but I want to talk for a moment about nuclear power.

It seems to be an article of faith in the leftie community that nuclear=bad. We need to stop engaging in knee-jerk responses to this. Yes, older nuclear designs were primitive and overly complex, some were even inherently dangerous, Chernobyl is the poster child for that. Yes, there is a problem with disposing of nuclear waste - but not an insoluble one. Yes, fission reactors are really only a way-station on the road to fusion. All stipulated. But. Let's look at nuclear power with our critical thinking caps on, this is the Red Dirt Talk after all...

Nuclear Myth #1: All those nuclear power plants are creating more and more radioactivity all the time.

No, Johnny, only a very few nuclear reactors actually create new fissile material - fast breeder reactors, and even then they create the plutonium from uranium as it transforms to lead (this transforming takes a very, very long time). Mostly what reactors do is just transfer radioactivity from one place to another (see Nuclear Myth # 2 for more on this) Bad point here, fast breeder reactors are what you want to build when you want to make weapons-grade radioactives. Extended point: there is radioactive material all over the planet with a high concentration in Africa (remember the Niger Yellowcake?). There is even some speculation that high radioactivity levels in Africa are responsible for mutations that led to the development of Homo Sapiens.

Nuclear Myth # 2: That nasty nuclear waste will just sit around forever making everything glow in the dark.

Well, yes and no... if you pick a remote place that is geologically stable (say Yucca Mountain) and sequester the waste in sealed glass containers and then store them several thousand feet underground in salt formations, you will get the glow in the dark scenario, but if you think critically about it there is a handy solution - take a deep breath here, assumptions are about to be challenged: go out into the middle of the ocean and build a floating launch facility, put your nuclear waste in a rocket and shoot it into the Sun. The Sun will know what to do with it. Yes, we've actually been sending nuclear materials into space for years. No, it's not inherently more dangerous than burying it in salt mines. Yes, rockets used to be famously unreliable and would blow up at the drop of a hat. No, that's no longer the case... did I mention that the launch takes place in the middle of the ocean?

Nuclear Myth # 3: All nuclear plants are unsafe.

They used to be exactly that, especially idiot designs like the open graphite reactors the USSR dotted all over the landscape. The fact is that many countries have relied on nuclear power for a substantial portion of their energy needs for decades (see France). They have developed new, simpler, inherently safe-by-design nuclear reactors, Pebble Bed reactors for instance. We in the US get about 14 percent of our energy from nuclear reactors. They're here, they're staying, they're getting safer all the time - get over it.

Nonetheless, there is a salient point here: fission is inherently dangerous by virtue of the fact that you have to gather relatively large amounts of radioactive material together in order to make it work at all.

So what's the solution? Glad you asked: fusion. This holy grail of energy production has been pursued by every capable agency on the planet for over fifty years. Why doesn't it work? Actually it does, the latest Tokamak reactor produces about 102% energy output from energy input - not very impressive. What is even more unimpressive (more unimpressive?) is the paucity of R+D spending on fusion research. In the decade of the '90s the total R+D investment by all the IEA members (the US, EU and Japan) totaled US $8.9 billion - total - for, essentially, all the countries of the world - combined - for ten years. Plainly we're not serious yet about energy independence, when we are, we'll know it because we'll be putting in about $100 billion per year into R+D and pilot production and ramping up to bringing fusion online to the grid.

Why should you be happy about this? Here's the interesting thing about fusion: if it breaks, it turns off; if you make a mistake, it turns off; if the bad guys get in and blow something up, it turns off. No muss, no fuss, no lingering evil cloud, no China Syndrome, no cancer down the line - no radioactivity.

It. Just. Turns. Off.

Did I mention that Exxon made US $40 Billion in profits... this year?



Create Secure Borders
Improve Our Immigration System
Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally
Bring People Out of the Shadows
Work with Mexico

Once again, BHO doesn't have strong positions on this, though I must say that cracking down on employers who hire illegals would go a long way to solving the problem outright.


Secure borders
Welcomes immigrants and guest workers

This is a McCain signature issue, he's been highly visible out front on this and has garnered the respect of Hispanics in Mexico as well as the US.

Space Program


Zero, zip, nada on his website, however his previous position (stated multiple times) was idiotic Go here for a deeper look at this)

Essentially BHO's opinion is that the Constellation program (our next generation space vehicle system) should take a break for, oh, say about 5 years so that he can funnel NASA funding into - education (paging Bill Ayers). Seriously, he's gonna bring the US$240 billion/year space industry to a grinding halt for 5 years... and then just flip the switch on 'em and crank it up again!?!


Strong supporter of NASA, the space industry, exploration, science, truth, justice and the American way - on this one anyway.

Supreme Court


Nothing on website, vaguely supports Roe v Wade and claims that: “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”

Apparently, BHO - the constitutional scholar, is off eating waffles somewhere.


Strict Constructionist
Supported Alito and Roberts

Well, he's a Republican. What you see is what you get here.

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