I have decided to retire Pragmatic Revolt in favor of my new blog, “The Road Less Traveled”. I will leave this site up for archive purposes, but it is now officially dead and I won’t be posting anymore to this site.
Thanks for your readership.
Of all the inane, asinine and idiotic political attacks I have seen in the five years plus that I have been following local, state and federal political blogs, I have found what has to be, hands down, the worst.
I used to read Left in the West religiously a few years back. Unfortunately, the level of thier writing and the content of thier “diaries” has sharply declined over the last couple of years. Now we find ourselves in an election year and Blammo… true idiocy rears it’s ugly head.
It seems a Blogger over there seems incensed that a Montana State Senator from Kalispell, Bruce Tutvedt, has a facebook page, and on that facebook page, he has indicated that he likes Victoria Secret. Further, it appears that Montana Cowgirl that by doing so, Mr. Tutvedt has proven that he is not “family oriented” and is “politically tone deaf” (whatever the hell that means).
Let’s try to wrap our minds around this for a minute. Mr Tutdedt has indicated that he appreciates one of the most successful women’s clothing outlets in the US. Victoria Secret is a national distributor with hundreds of retail outlets, and Millions of millions of sales per year. Thier catalog can be found in homes all over the US from almost every demographic. So by saying he “likes” Victoria Secret he is what.. a perv?
Let’s be clear here. Victoria Secret sell some of the best women’s undergarments in the US. Many well endowed women (like my wife) have real trouble finding comfortable, affordable undergarments and Victoria Secret has a proven reputation for providing that. Further, they have a full line of women’s clothing including pants, shirts, coats, dresses, shoes, boots, workout and athletic clothing and even carry cosmetics and accessories.
If you look in our home, you are sure to find at least five catalogs at any given time - The Harbour Frieght tool catalog, The Parks Seed catalog, The Brownells Gunsmithing Catalog, The Kovel knifemaking supply catalog and a Victoria Secret Catalog. My wife orders from them at least every couple of months. I guess I am a perv too since I like what she wears and I am a fan of Victoria Secret.
Montana Cowgirl needs to get a life and the credibility of Left In The West has taken a serious turn for the worse. Mr. Tutvedt gets a hat tip from me for his fine taste in women’s clothing suppliers and if he can bring that discerning taste to the Montana Senate, all the better.
Over a Electric City Weblog, Travis put up a post about Britain raising Carbon Taxes to provide an incentive for Nuclear Power Development. This post once again spurred a bunch of comments about Nuclear Power in the US. Given my background in Nuclear Power, I thought I would present a some of my thoughts on the subject and I decided to do it here - on my own dime.
My son, who currently serves on a Naval Nuclear Submarine, was once asked to explain how a nuclear reactor works to a new shipmate and he gave probably the best low level explanation of a nuclear reactor I have ever heard …
Hot Rock make pressurized water hot. Pressurized hot water make other water steam. Steam turns turbine roundy roundy.
It really is that simple. Nuclear material is allowed to fission at a controlled rate, making pressurized water hot. This pressurized hot water is then used to make unpressurized water steam. The steam is used to turn a turbine. There is a lot of physics involved as well as a lot of other disciplines, but it really can be simplified to that simple statement.
Where it gets complicated is when money and political influence is involved. The Civilian Nuclear Industry doesn’t work - and it doesn’t work, but it is designed to make a small handful of people rich and politicians get re-elected instead of the mission which should be to provide cheap, clean power.
In 1954, the first Naval Nuclear Powered Submarine was launched and since then, the US Navy has logged over 5,400 “reactor years” of accident free operation - that is more than all the civilian reactor in the world combined. This can be solely attributed to a single individual -Admiral Hymie Rickover.
Admiral Rickover was able to establish a seperate regulatory body (Naval Reactors) seperate from the politically volatile Nuclear Regulatory Commision. By doing so, he was able to institute policies, regulations and a training program that resulted in a nuclear operation force so efficent that it has the record it has. Safety design requirements are not bypassed, training and development is always mission based and the results speak for themselves.
Unfortunately, the Civilian Nuclear industry can’t make the claims that the Naval Nuclear Industry does. They are fraught with accidents ranging from safety violations causing accidents to things as simple as operators not believing thier readings - leading to the worst nuclear accident in American Civilian Nuclear Power history. The accidents that have occurred in the civilian world simply cannot occur in the Naval Nuclear world - by design, by construction and by training.
So what can we do to make Nuclear Power Viable as an alternative to Fossil Fuels? -
The answer to that is very simple but unlikely to happen. In short, the Government has to take over the Nuclear Power Program and run it like the Navy. Remove the political and financial vagarities of the current system by operating it like the current naval program. Disband the Nuclear Regulatory Commision (or rework it) by adopting the same structure and job as Naval Reactors. You can even go so far as to make Nuclear Power Generation a branch of the Service (like the Coast Guard), providing for National Security by providing power that is “home grown” rather than bought from oil producing countries.
The reason this is unlikely to happen is that there is too much money in maintaing the status quo (reliance on Big Energy Companies) and there is too much political capital involved with Big Energy. This kind of bold, public sector move would also raise the ire of every hardcore wingnut. The screams of “Socialism” would dwarf the screams that followed the passage of the HCR bill. Further, the Environmental Wingnuts would also come out of the closet with all their tales of “China Syndrom” and “Chernobyl”.
Sadly, the means, technology and materials exist for the US to produce 90% of it’s electrical needs by means of nuclear power well into the next century. Further, it would give incentives and time for us to work on reliable, safer and cheaper forms of energy without the side effects of burning fossil fuels. If the damn environmentalists would actually learn something about nuclear power, they would see that nuclear power is thier ticket to killing the dependance on fossil fuels - but that would require them to actually stop screaming long enough to actually crack a book (or do a websearch).
What are the downsides to using Nuclear Power?
No method of energy production is perfect and nuclear power is not exception. The byproduct of fission is some rather nasty and long lived isotopes that are highly dangerous. To date, we don’t have an effective way to nuetralizing those isotopes so the only option is to store/bury them where they won’t do any harm. While some rather unique methods have been discussed on how to get rid of them, it still remains the largest downside to using nuclear power.
I will briefly touch of on TMI/Chernobyl to say that, if nuclear power generation is run on a Naval model, neither of these accident could occur. It is as simple as that. A power plant can be designed and run is such a way that a nuclear accident (especially a big one like Chernobyl or TMI) can not only be prevented, it can be an effectively designed impossibility. Without going into the details of exactly what happened at TMI (many of which are still classified), that accident simply can’t happen on a properly designed, maintained and operated reactor.
Everytime nuclear power is brought up, some wingnut brings up a scenario of a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility. My answer is simple.. Have you ever been to the Naval Nuclear Prototype site in Idaho? I have. Those guys guarding that facility are Marines and they don’t have a sense of humor when it comes to security. I would stake my bets on the Marines anyday.
Unfortunately, the largest single factor in the way of developing a workable nuclear program is the financial and political machine in place to prevent it. It would take a complete reworking of how we operate our energy production in the US and that simply isn’t going to happen. As long as profit is king and political influence can be bought, a public nuclear program simply won’t happen.
What are the upsides? -
First and foremost - jobs.. lots and lots of jobs. Besides the operators that this kind of endevour would require, you need machinists, welders, chemists, metalergists, physists, electricians, construction workers, hydrologists.. the list goes on. Further, these would all be higher paying jobs (even if they were for the government). The beauty of the system is that it would pay for itself. You sell the power, just like we are now, and the money collected pays for the construction and operation of the plants.
Second, and just as important, a release on our dependancy on foriegn (and domestic) fossil fuels. Nuclear Power Generation is cheap, effective, efficient and materials exist right here at home.
Could this work? Certainly. The Navy has proven it can work and continues to prove it everyday. The only thing stopping us from developing a program like this is the will to do so.
There are two basic principles that I believe alway apply to legislation coming out of Washington today. The first is the “Law of Unintended Consequences” and the second is that any legislation from Wasthington will include changes to create more government jobs and further complicate tax law.
Already, there have been a number of issues with the massive Health Care Reform bill to come to light. Another one hit CNN today - a small change to the way businesses report taxes that will create mountains of new paperwork for business.
In short, the new HCR bill requires that businesses use the 1099 form to document ANY purchase made by the company in excess of $600. Until this change, the 1099 form was used to document contract work done by individuals outside the company. Now, a company has to document purchases as well. Buy a computer from Cosco? Send them a 1099 form so you can include it in your tax paperwork. Take some business clients to lunch a couple of times, send the resteraunt a 1099 form so you can include it in your tax paperwork.
This constitutes a massive change in how the 1099 form is to be used by business. It also complicates the tax paperwork burden of small businesses that do not have large accounting departments. The Cato institute calls it a “costly, anti business nightmare”.
While the change is aimed at tightening up loopholes in tax reporting in effort to generate more revenue to pay for this massive HCR bill, the impact to businesses - both large and small - has yet to be determined. At the very least, it will require literally millions of new 1099 forms to be sent out and included business tax paperwork, further complicating the tax reporting burden of business.
This law is set to take effect in 2012 and there has already been an amendment proposed to the HCR removing this change. The IRS has yet to issue it’s regulations on this new legal requirement either so it is difficult to determine how this new requirement will be implimented.
The only concrete outcome of this new regulation is that it will require more government employees to go through this mountain of paperwork to make sure businesses are complying with whatever regulations the IRS set to meet the law. Once again, Government shows that is it a jobs program for governmental employees.
One of the hot topics in the wake of the passage of the Health Care Bill has been how to address illegal Immigration in the US. This topic was kind of put on the back burner for a while while Congress Critters fought over whether to address Finance Reform or some other issue, but Arizona decided to light a fire that only Congress can answer.
Arizona passed a very controversial and sweeping law to address the illegal immigration issue in thier state. As it was originally written, it required law enforcement officers to ask for documentation when there was reasonable suspicion that the person was an illegal. Since “reasonable suspicion” could mean a lot of things when talking about deciding whether a person was an illegal, it was feared by many people that this law would lead to racial profiling and be a violation of a person constitutional rights.
Arizona has since modified the law to only require a law enforcement officer to ask for documentation when the person is being questioned in relation to something else - a traffic stop, another possible violation of the law, or even a noise complaint in violation of a city or local ordinance.
Protest for this law has been wide and varied across the US. A couple of city mayors have put a “ban” on visiting Arizona for thier employees, many groups are calling for boycott of the state and even the Arizona Pro Basketball team is wearing jerseys with the team name in Spanish to show support for the state’s latino population in protest to the new law.
Those that support the new law are almost universal in thier criticism of the lack of movement on this issue at the Federal Level. Arizona has seen a lot of violence at the border in recent months and many in Arizona are angry at what they perceive to be an “epic” problem with illegals in thier state. Many have expressed a deep contempt that the current (and previous) Administration and Congresses haven’t already addressed the issue.
With midterm elections coming up this year, a number of Congress Critters have expressed a reluctance to address the issue of Illegal immigration. President Obama made the statement that he felt there wasn’t the “will” to address the issue in light of the elections and the contentions over the Health Care Bill.
At a celebration being held at the White House today, President Obama called upon Congress “to work on comprehensive immigration reform this year”. The question will be whether Congress will rise to the task.
It is no surprise that Illegal immigration and immigration reform are scary issues for Congress. The majority of American Voters see the Illegal immigration as an important issue (at least in every poll taken over the last six years) but they are divided in what they think should be done about it. Further, in the wake of the massive Health Care Reform Bill passed earlier this year, Congress has to step very lightly in passing anything that will cost the American Taxpayers any more money. If there is an issue even more universally consistant right now than the desire for immigration reform, it would be that Americans are concerned that the Federal Government is spending too much money.
Many lawmakers see immigration reform as a “no win” situation. If they work for stronger penalties for illegal caught in the country (mass deportation being the strongest), they piss off the minority communities and given that the latin vote is the single fastest growing voting block in the US, many are not willing to take that route. On the other hand, if they vote to give illegals a route to citizenship (amnesty), they end up pissing off the many conservatives that believe that all illegals should be deported.
About the only things the majority seems to agree on is that the borders into the US have to be secured before anything can be done about the illegal already in the country. Unfortunately, that will not be cheap or easy to do.
Montana’s Junior Senator, Jon Tester, is scheduled to appear at the University of Montana - Western in Dillon to give the Commencement address for the 209 students graduating on Saturday, May 8th. While no details of the address are available yet, I doubt Sen Tester will remain in Dillon long after the rather cold and hostile “welcome” he recieved last time he visited Dillon to discuss his proposed Forestry Plan. If plans change, and I find out about some kind of public meet and greet, I will post it here.
Since I am in the process of re-designing my primary website (moorcat.com), I have decided to remove the political content from Montana Bullets and Blades and bring it back here. Pragmatic Revolt was started as a place to discuss political subjects that are important to me and it seems proper to seperate those subjects from the Montana Bullets and Blades site - a site primarily devoted to crafting, knifemaking, gunsmithing/gun topics and Montana life.
I should be posting soon about some of the local political issues here (we are currently involved in a very contested mayorial race in Dillon) as well as some of the state and national issues that catch my attention. Posting may be somewhat sporatic - at least at first - but feel free to visit often and comment if you feel so inclined.
Montana Bullets and Blades is now up and running.
As promised, the new Blog is up and running. It is pretty spare at this point (little more than the structure and a couple of pages set up) but it will flesh out over the next couple of weeks. I really hope the readers that have enjoyed this blog will continue to read the new one….
Pragmatic Revolt will remain up for now (for both sentimental reasons and because I may, at some point return to it). The information is still timely and I stand by what I have written here. It is simply time I take a different direction with my writing.
I invite you all to check out the new blog and thanks for reading this one…
It is official…. Pragmatic Revolt is going away - sort of. I will be starting a new blog - Montana Bullets and Blades - in the next couple of weeks.
The new blog will deal primarily with knifemaking and gunsmithing. There will also be articles on hiking in Montana, Montana life, gardening and the usual general stuff I tend to post about.
For those that have followed Pragmatic Revolt’s look into Dillon Politics, never fear, there will probably still be a few posts about the joke that is Dillon Politics. The upcoming elections just beg for a few articles… especially given the Straugh is running for Mayor (can anyone say “Malesich, light”). I can see a lot of his statements made during Council Meetings (and captured on video for posterity….) coming back to bite him in the backside…
As soon as the new blog is tweaked the way I want it, I will annouce the addy here. I haven’t decided whether I am going to leave this blog up or just archive it and put up a static page to redirect people to the new blog.
See you all soon….
P.S. To those that have missed me in town, no, I am not dead. I had a pretty serious back injury at the end of November and I am just now getting to the point that I can move around again. Since I am determined to be ready for hiking season this year, you will probably see me soon - i will be doing a LOT of walking to get back in shape.
I haven’t posted for a while and though it is due to a number of circumstances, the primary one is that I am burnt out on following the idiocy of the Dillon City Government. It seems that nothing ever changes and while I know there are people making an effort - my wife being one of them - there simply aren’t enough citizens in this town willing to step up and help to correct the problems. Recently, a number of things were done by the Dillon City Government that, in any other town, would have had the citizens screaming for heads or preparing to tar and feather the people responcible. Things like -
1) The City Council just voted to increase Gilbert’s salary to $110.00 an hour retroactive to Jan 1, 2008. This is an increase of almost 17% in his wages. No other City Employee got a raise that big. In fact, they only got the 3.3% increase dictated by PERS. Why did Gilbert get a 17% raise? How is it even possible to allocate money for a previous fiscal year (the fiscal year ended the first of July)? Is it because Gilbert appears to be Malesich’s attack attorney? What the hell were the Councilmen thinking? The ONLY councilperson that went on record as voting against this contract was Councilwoman Kailey. Where the hell is the fiscal responcibility of the other 7 councilmen?
2) When the City Council decided to forward the issue of Councilman Riley’s parking request to Committee, Councilman Riley left the meeting in a huff. He has since sent out snotty and condescending resignation letters to the Councilmen. This really doesn’t come as a great surprise. He didn’t finish his term as County Attorney either.
3) The Dillon City Council has once again failed to move forward to solve the Police Retirement Fund. They have found a new and interesting way to put it off - they are spending tens of thousands of dollars on having a private actuary look at the State’s Assessment. It has been pointed out to them on multiple occations and by multiple people that, by statute, the only actuary report that matters is the State’s, but they will do anything to put this off. The Mayor is even allegedly saying that he will actively campaign to keep the Police Retirement fund OUT of the State Police Retirement Fund. Big Surprise there.
There is more but the petty childish pissing contest nature of Dillon City Politics is simply too much for me to deal with. I am adult, and I do not have the time or patience to deal with supposed adults that behave like 6 year olds.
I am not sure at this point whether I am going to close this blog and start another (focused on the things I WANT to write about) or whether I will simply change the focus of this blog back to the things I enjoy being involved with. If I do start another blog, I will let people know…
« Previous entries