May 31, 2011

Quick replies re recent pro-wind articles

Wind Farms Mean Money for Sherman County, Ore., New York Times

The article says that Oregon spent $11 million in tax credits per project. Federal tax credits amount to even more. What the people of Sherman County are getting is crumbs. Taxpayer funds could have been much more efficiently spent if the goal is to help rural communities.

Support windfarms? It would be less controversial to argue for blackouts (George Monbiot), Guardian

The ridiculous thing about wind - and the needless cost - is that you still have to have a complete grid besides to generate power when the wind isn't blowing just right. Wind is an additional cost. Wind is an additional impact.

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Coal versus wind or nuclear

"Global warming is a huge threat," Walter said, ... "but it's still not as bad as radioactive waste. It turns out that species can adapt a lot faster than we used to think. If you've got climate change spread over a hundred years, a fragile ecosystem has a fighting chance. But when the reactor blows up, everything's fucked immediately and stays fucked for the next five thousand years."

"So yay coal. Let's burn more coal. Rah, rah."

"It's complicated, Patty. The picture gets complicated when you consider the alternatives. Nuclear's a disaster waiting to happen overnight. There's zero chance of ecosystems recovering from an overnight disaster. Everybody's talking about wind energy, but wind's not so great, either. This idiot Jocelyn Zorn's got a brochure that shows the two choices — the only two choices, presumably. Picture A shows this devastated post-MTR[*] desertscape, Picture B shows ten windmills in a pristine mountain landscape. And what's wrong with this picture? What's wrong is there are only ten windmills in it. Where what you actually need is ten thousand windmills You need every mountaintop in West Virginia to be covered with turbines. Imagine being a migratory bird trying to fly through that. And if you blanket the state with windmills, you think it's still going to be a tourist attraction? And plus, to compete with coal, those windmills have to operate forever. A hundred years from now, you're still going to have the same old piss-ugly eyesore, mowing down whatever wildlife is left. Whereas the mountaintop-removal site, in a hundred years, if you reclaim it properly, it may not be perfect, but it's going to be a a valuable mature forest."

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010, p. 323-324)

*MTR, mountaintop removal.

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May 27, 2011

Leonora Carrington, 1917-2011

(click title)

Khmer rock 'n roll CD

Click the title to download a CD's worth of Cambodian Rock 'n Roll hits from the 1960s and '70s.

Ros Sereysothea CD

Click the title to download a CD's worth of Cambodian Rock 'n Roll hits by singer Ros Sereysothea.

May 19, 2011

The Lily of Killarney

Romantic opera in three acts: Text by [John] Oxenford and [Dion] Boucicault, founded on the latter's romantic drama, "The Colleen Bawn." Music by Sir Julius Benedict. First production at Covent Garden, London, February 8, 1862.

Sir Julius Benedict, one of the most accomplished musicians of his time, and an intimate friend of the great Webster [Carl Maria von Weber?], is now chiefly remembered by his Lily of Killarney, popular thirty years ago, but now almost forgotten.

The best known number is the famous duet, "The Moon Has Raised Her Lamp Above," sung by Danny and Hardress in Act I as they are about to cross the lake to the Colleen Bawn.

The Moon Has Raised Her Lamp Above, sung by John McCormack and Reinald Werrenrath:

Victor 3024, recorded April 9, 1914, Camden, New Jersey

Eily O'Connor, the Colleen Bawn (soprano)
Anne Chute, an heiress (soprano)
Mrs. Cregan, a widow (contralto)
Hardress Cregan, her son (tenor)
Myles na Coppaleen (tenor)
Corrigan (bass)
Father Tom (bass)
Danny Mann, Cregan's boatman (baritone)

Time and Place: Killarney, Ireland; nineteenth century

The rise of the curtain reveals a party of Hardress Cregan's friends enjoying the hospitality of the hall at Torc Cregan. The Cregan estates are heavily encumbered, Corrigan, a "middle-man," holding the mortgage. Corrigan calls upon Mrs. Cregan while her son and his friends are absent, and suggests, with an eye to the settlement of his own account, that the family fortunes might be improved by marrying young Cregan to the heiress, Anne Chute. As an alternative, he hints that he would be willing to accept Mrs. Cregan's hand, but his proposal is scornfully refused by the still attractive widow. Corrigan then informs Mrs. Cregan that her son has an affair with Eily, the Colleen Bawn. The widow is much distressed to hear that her son is associating with a peasant girl, and promises to turn his affections toward the heiress.

The next scene shows the cottage of Eily O'Connor, who lives there under the protection of the good old priest, Father Tom. Hardress, who has been convinced by his mother that it would be to his advantage to marry Anne, enters and tries to persuade Eily to surrender her marriage certificate — for the couple are already married — but the girl refuses, having promised Father Tom never to part with her "marriage lines." Hardress leaves in a fury, swearing never to see her again.

In Act II Cregan, though filled with remorse because of his cruel desertion of the Colleen Bawn, is nevertheless paying suit to Anne. Corrigan is meanwhile pressing his unwelcome attentions upon Mrs. Cregan. Danny Mann, devoted to Hardress, and hoping to help him in his troubles, persuades Mrs. Cregan to give him one of her son's gloves. Danny gives the glove to Eily and tells her that Hardress has sent it as a sign that he needs her. Danny then takes her to a water cave and demands the certificate of her marriage. When she refuses to give it up, he throws her into the water. Myles, however, happens to be in the cave, and mistaking Danny for an otter in the twilight, shoots him, then perceiving the Colleen Bawn in the water, dives in and rescues her.

In the last act Hardress is about to marry the heiress, when Corrigan, angry because of the slights he has received from Cregan and his mothr, causes the young man's arrest on a charge of murdering Eily. Myles, however, appears with the living Eily, and a deathbed confession from Danny that he had attempted the murder. When Hardress sees Eily he realizes that he loves his wife, and the young couple are reconciled, while the heiress good-naturedly steps aside and even bestows a fortune on the happy pair! At least so the libretto says, and who should doubt it?

The Victrola Book of the Opera, by Samuel Holland Rous, 1919 (5th revised edition; first published 1912), Victor Talking Machine Company, Camden, New Jersey.

May 11, 2011

Green Death

The banality of evil ...

Ontario Environmental Registry Number: 011-3181

Description: Gilead Power Corporation has applied for a permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) to kill, harm and harass Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will as well as damage and destroy the habitat of Whip-poor-will for the purpose of the development and operation of Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park in the Township of South Marysburgh. The proposed Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park would consist of 9 wind turbines, up to 22.5 MW installed capacity, and is expected to produce enough electricity for approximately 6,000 homes. The project is proposed on 324 hectares of Crown land, along the shores of Lake Ontario, in Prince Edward County.

Other Information: Both Whip-poor-will (Caprimlugus vociferous) and Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), are listed as threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario List in Ontario Regulation 230/08 (O. Reg. 230/08) of the ESA. Clause 9 (1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take a living member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as extirpated, endangered or threatened.

Whip-poor-will currently has general habitat protection under the ESA. Clause 10(1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall damage or destroy the habitat of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario list as an endangered or threatened species. ...

Reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect both species and the best alternative was chosen in considering six different site layouts to eliminate or reduce adverse impacts to Whip-poor-will and its habitat and Blanding’s Turtle. The best alternative to balance the development plans and achieve overall benefit for Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s Turtle was selected. Construction windows were adjusted to avoid adverse impacts to species during the active season. ...

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, animal rights

Single-Payer Medicare-for-All Legislation Introduced

WASHINGTON, May 10 -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that he introduced legislation to provide health care for every American through a Medicare-for-all type single-payer system.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) filed a companion bill in the House to provide better care for more patients at less cost by eliminating the middle-man role played by private insurance companies that rake off billions of dollars in profits.

The twin measures, both called the American Health Security Act of 2011, would provide federal guidelines and strong minimum standards for states to administer single-payer health care programs.

"The United States is the only major nation in the industrialized world that does not guarantee health care as a right to its people," Sanders said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "Meanwhile, we spend about twice as much per capita on health care with worse results than others that spend far less. It is time that we bring about a fundamental transformation of the American health care system. It is time for us to end private, for-profit participation in delivering basic coverage. It is time for the United States to provide a Medicare-for-all single-payer health coverage program."

McDermott said, "The new health care law made big progress towards covering many more people and finding ways to lower cost. However, I think the best way to reduce costs and guarantee coverage for all is through a Single-payer system like Medicare. This bill does just that - it builds on the new health care law by giving states the flexibility they need to go to a single-payer system of their own. It will also reduce costs, and Americans will be healthier."

Sanders and McDermott were joined at the press conference by leaders of organizations supporting the measure, including Arlene Baker-Holt, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO; Jean Ross, co-president of the National Nurses United; and Greg Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.

While making the case for a single-payer system nationwide, Sanders applauded the Vermont Legislature which earlier this month voted to put the state on the path toward a single-payer system. Vermont, Sanders said, could become a model for the nation. ...

human rights, Vermont

May 9, 2011

The 1% (or rather less) solution

It is commonly stated by the wind industry and their enablers that wind energy represented 35% of all new generating capacity in the U.S. in the past 4 years, or since 2007. This claim comes from the American Wind Energy Association's annual market report for 2010, which was released last month. It costs $550, so the only information publicly available is from the April 7 press statement.

The only relevant figure provided is that 5,116 MW of wind added in 2010 represented 26% of all new electric capacity that year. A small graph in the press release shows that coal also represented almost exactly the same percentage, whereas about 40% of new capacity was for natural gas.

Is this meaningful? According to the Energy Information Administration, total summer generating capacity increased from 2007 to 2009 (the last summary figures available) by 3.3%. So wind capacity added barely 1% to the country's electric capacity.

But wind capacity is very unlike conventional capacity. The latter can be called on at almost any time for its full capacity. Wind turbines, in contrast, produce only at the whims of the wind. Their average generation over a year is between 20% and 35% of their capacity. And for the grid, their capacity is effectively nil, because they can not be called on to provide power in response to demand.

Meanwhile, electricity consumption actually decreased slightly (about 0.5%) from 2007 to 2010.

So why the push (let alone the boasting) to industrialize ever more rural and wild places?

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism