|Progressive Calendar 08.03.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 00:12:52 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 08.03.07 1. Private $$ war 8.04 10:15am 2. Peace stroll 8.04 11am Hudson WI 3. Bush at 35W TV op 8.04 time? 4. Bridges not bombs 8.04 11am 5. Bridges not bombers 8.04 12noon 6. Cuba/sustain/film 8.04 3pm 7. Salon 8.04 7pm 8. KFAI IndianUprising 8.05 7pm 9. Richard Broderick - Bridge to failure 10. Michael Wood - Mpls Communists on Bridge collapse 11. Jon - Ethanol scam 12. Jeff Goodell - Ethanol scam: political boondoggle 13. Nicholas Hollis - Hidden cracks in US infrastructure 14. Russ Hanson - 35W bridge 15. Sheldon Gitis - Transportation engineering 16. Sharon Cohen - MN bridge problems uncovered in 1990 17. ed - river bridges falling down (slightly altered song) --------1 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Private $$ war 8.04 10:15am Saturday, 8/4, 10:15 to noon, Critical Thinking Club presents "Coalition of the Billing: How Private Contractors are Changing How (and Why) America Fights" by Erin Campbell, Augsburg Park Library, 7100 Nicollet Ave S, Richfield. RSVP Stu 952-736-1222. --------2 of 17-------- From: Ken Friberg <ken [at] ratracestudios.com> Subject: Peace stroll 8.04 11am Hudson WI A Stroll for Peace Come walk the dike road of Hudson WI for change. Saturday August 4th from 11am-2pm Local Musicians, Activities, Informational Booths Organizations please feel free to come and table. contact: colin courtney, event organizer cel 715-220-7951 c/o ken friberg 255 east kellogg blvd suite 505 saint paul, mn 55101 tel +1 651 227 5473 cel +1 651 767 2739 --------3 of 17-------- From: ed Subject: Bush at 35W TV op 8.04 time? His Imperial Majesty George Busherootie-Tootietutu appears here at 35W to get his imperially majestic mug on TV. "We died for your TV appearance." Time unknown. Look for traffic to be messed up for hours for the divine one's security. --------4 of 17------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Bridges not bombs 8.04 11am Saturday, 8/4, 11 am, emergency demonstration "Bridges Not Bombs!" against wars that kill others while the expense robs our own infrastructure, Lake/Marshall bridge over the Mississippi River. www.worldwidewamm.org or 651-245-2741. From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Emergency Demonstration: "Bridges Not Bombs!" Saturday, August 4, 11:00 a.m. Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge, spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Like the I-35 bridge, the empire is falling and failing. Instead of destroying the infrastructure of Iraq, waging a secret war against Somalia, supplying weaponry to isolate and destroy Gaza in Palestine, and threatening Iran with bombs, we want the infrastructure of the U.S. maintained and reparations made to those here and abroad for damage done. Sponsored by: WAMM. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364 or Connie Fuller, 651-245-2741. --------5 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Bridges not bombers 8.04 12noon Saturday, 8/4, noon, demonstration "Build Bridges, Not Bombers" outside the Guthrie Theater, 818 S 2nd St, Meet at the walkway between the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie, where George W will be speaking. Mpls. Jennifer 612-414-7859. From: Jennifer Umolac <<mailto:jumolac [at] yahoo.com>jumolac [at] yahoo.com> Subject: "A bridge in America just shouldn't fall down." "A BRIDGE IN AMERICA JUST SHOULDN'T FALL DOWN." Yes, Senator Klobuchar, it's true. So... why are our bridges falling down? Where is our money going and why aren't we investing in the things that truly provide for our security? Isn't it time for a national dialogue on our priorities? Shouldn't "we the people" decide where our tax dollars go? Why is there always enough money for the military and not enough for education...or bridge repair? or health insurance for all? Where did our Social Security really go, and how are those folks in New Orleans doing anyway? We need to organize a PRESENCE tomorrow, SATURDAY, AUGUST 4TH, 2007, George W. is going to be in town, and so are ALL the national (& international) news folks. Let's dress up, have fun, get some attention and talk about how if we weren't spending half of every tax dollar on military expenditures and instead were investing in our infrastructure we wouldn't have to rebuild collapsed bridges. Make signs that say "BUILD BRIDGES, NOT BOMBERS", Invest in REAL security...BRIDGES! MAKE NECESSARY BRIDGE REPAIRS, NOT WAR. or anything that catches your sentiments and hopefully some attention. We will meet Saturday outside of the Gutherie theater, 818 South 2nd Street, where Chicago avenue ends near the river. There is a big walkway that runs between the Gutherie and the Mill City Museum, which on Saturday hosts a fine farmers market (where yours truly will be selling up until the rallying hour!), just beyond the patio are stairs that lead down to the river...this is where we'll meet. Traffic all over Minneapolis is, and will be for a long time to come, very congested so carpooling, parking in NE and walking across the Central Avenue bridge to the downtown side of the river or riding your bike are strongly encouraged. At this moment, I have not heard WHEN the president will be speaking, but perhaps we can keep each other posted on this. I'm thinking, regardless really of when the Prez will be there, we can set a time...somehow noon to about 1:30-2pm seems to be a good time. I started out envisioning this as an impeachment rally, but upon further thought feel that if we stick to some talking points that have to deal with investing in infrastructure and changing our national priorities it will be more effective. Really, the point here is to get some media attention so that we can pass on a message and to also talk with other Minnesotans about our shared values. We should plan a weekly event in the downtown area, on routes that will be highly congested where we can distribute literature and draw attention to the fact that we are flushing both our security and our future down the drain by this endless military madness. It would be great to know how much repairing the damage already known to have been evident on the bridge would have been and compare it to the 10 billion dollars we spend a month in Iraq. I will have a sheet of actions to take that we can hand out to folks so that we can leave everyone empowered and connected. In light of the current tragedy that has happened in our city, Minneapolis has been thrust into the national and international spotlight, and given us a blessing in disguise. As our hearts and prayers go out to those who were affected by the collapsing of the bridge spanning the Mississippi river, an opportunity has been given for us to speak truth to power. Let's show the whole country how to rebuild broken bridges. I'll leave you with a George quote that goes something as follows: "It doesn't work to raise taxes on the rich anyway. They just find a way out of paying them." Peace. Jennifer (612) 414-7859 -- From: Jacabrooke [at] aol.com To ALL: contact everyone you know about this event... I am writing to Anderson Cooper to let him know we are massing against this failed administration. Others should also contact the media and if they dare to say it is not the time or Minnesotans must come together and respect the victims, we must respond by saying any one of us could be sitting on the bottom of the Mississippi River right now, bloating. OUR government FAILED to keep us SAFE! Anh: I don't have the address for anyone else at the Antiwar Committee, so I hope you can send this along... The Peace Bridge is the perfect place to invite national media to see what Minnesota really thinks about Bu*sh** and his disastrous leadership. Bu**sh** minion Pawlenty should pay for this crime against the people. We can't let them do to us what was done to the Katrina victims. National media is reporting on infrastructure failure in America and we MUST take a stand and let Americans know we are not only SAD but we are ANGRY too! Speak out now or the likes of KRB will get the contract to rebuild! Also, this is the message I am trying to get to WAMM: (The national media is here and they should see the angry faces of the people in the heartland!) I am SO angry about Bush coming for his photo op!!! Yesterday on CNN he actually had the audacity to blame the Dems for the bridge failure! I watched with mouth agape as he told America that the Dems had failed to send him the budget bills, this when he was supposed to be sending condolences to people in MN. ANYWAY-- Remember in the run up to the Iraq war and it was announced that the BBC was coming to the Peace Bridge to film footage? A huge amount of people came out for the event! We must contact CNN and other media outlets that are here covering the story that WE are going to be there! And then spread the word to activist. I'm writing Anderson Cooper right now! --------6 of 17-------- From: Corey Mattson <coreymattson [at] maydaybookstore.org> Subject: Cuba/sustain/film 8.04 3pm TWIN CITIES SOCIALIST ACTION FORUM: The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil Local environmental activist Christine Frank will present a video chronicling Cuba's remarkable and inspiring transition to sustainable organic agriculture. Adam Ritscher, Douglas County Board Supervisor, will lead a short discussion on Cuba following the video. Part of a four-part series on the left in Latin America. Free and open to the public! Saturday, August 4th, 2007, at 3pm Mayday Bookstore 301 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls, MN 55454 (612) 333-4719 Sponsored by: Socialist Action --------7 of 17-------- From: Annie Young <anniey [at] visi.com> Subject: Salon 8.04 7pm Spread the word far and wide Former Mayor of Santa Monica, California, Mike Feinstein Councilmember Cam Gordon Park Commissioner Annie Young Invite YOU to A SALON (gathering) private and public, of intellectuals to meet, discuss ideas about the future of the Green Party and strategies for 2008 Saturday, August 4th 7-9pm at 1925 Penn Ave. S. next to Lake of the Isles BYOBSS: bring your own beverage, snacks and self This is a non-official Minnesota Green Party Fundraiser A $25 donation will be accepted (no one turned away) --------8 of 17-------- From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org> Subject: KFAI Indian uprising 8.05 7pm KFAI¹s Indian uprising for August 5, 2007 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT RETURN OF THE NATIVE RAVE: With More than a Hope and a Prayer, a festival of spiritual performance, where the sacred and the imagination meet in profound conversation playing at the Foss TV Studio Theater, Riverside Ave. S. between 22nd and 23rd Avenue, Augsburg College Campus, Minneapolis, August 3 - 12th. Flyer attached. http://www.augsburg.edu/mannafest/show_title.html#native_rave Marcie Rendon (Ojibwe), Writer/Poet & Curator, Raving Native Productions Rosy Simas (Seneca) with Jon Davis, dance/music improvisation Mark Erickson (Ojibwe), singer & storytelling Bobby Wilson (Sisseton-Wahpeton), spoken word Simone Rendon (Ojibwe), hostess with the mostest Marcie explains that she likes to write stories about Native people and women that the mainstream press doesn¹t even hear about or consider covering. She writes to represent an Indian perspective, or as she puts it, at least her Indian perspective. One of her main endeavors as a writer is to create "mirrors" for her audience so that they can see current reflections of themselves. She explains mirrors in the following passage (Carolyn Steeves): We were kept in their mindset as "vanished peoples." Or as workers, not creators. And what does this erasing of individual identity do to us? Can you believe you exist if you look in a mirror and see no reflection? And what happens when one group controls the mirror market? As Native people, we have known that in order to survive we had to create, re-create, produce, re-produce. The effect of the denial of our existence is that many of us have become invisible. The systematic disruption of our families by the removal of our children was effective for silencing our voices. However, not everyone can still that desire, that up-welling inside that says sing, write, draw, move, be. We can sing our hearts out, tell our stories, paint our visions. We are in a position to create a more human reality. In order to live we have to make our own mirrors. -- Nitaawichige * * * * Indian Uprising a one-hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and by Native Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CDT on KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Producer and host is volunteer Chris Spotted Eagle. KFAI Fresh Air Radio is located at 1808 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454, 612-341-3144. For internet listening, go to www.kfai.org <http://www.kfai.org> and for live listening, click Play under ON AIR NOW or for later listening via the archives, click PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE > Indian Uprising > STREAM. Programs are archived for two weeks. --------9 of 17-------- From: Richard Broderick <richb [at] lakecast.com> www.tcdailyplanet.net Bridge to Failure Already this morning, I've read some posts holding Tim Pawlenty responsible for the 35W bridge collapse. While it's tempting to lay blame for the disaster at the feet of the Pawlenty Administration, it's important to keep in mind that he is just a bit player in this tragedy. With his "no new taxes" scam, he bears responsibility for promoting the prevailing conservative/neoliberal critique of government, which at heart constitutes a rejection of the idea that there should be any non-privatized space in America, no aspect of life not fully governed by "free" market forces. But the truth is that, beginning with the Reagan Administration, this country has failed to maintain its public infrastructure, a bi-partisan neglect of government's most basic responsibility in which the Clinton Administration was just as guilty as the Reagan and Bush Administrations. Things have reached a point where it would now take the equivalent of a domestic Marshall Plan just to get all of our bridges, highways, schools and other public structures up to code. The 35W disaster, like the much greater disaster that befell New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, is ultimately the result of a larger rot besetting the country's leadership class. The erosion of the idea that there can or should be an American commonwealth may have been cultivated by Corporate America, the principle beneficiary of privatization, but it has been enthusiastically embraced by both parties at the national level, the beneficiaries of Corporate America's campaign funding largesse. The outpouring of concern and private charity that followed in the wake of Katrina, and that we are already witnessing in Minneapolis where, for example, blood banks have been overwhelmed with calls, shows that the American people have not necessarily lost faith in the idea of the common good, even when its entails sacrifice. But certainly leaders in both the Democratic and Republican parties have, by and large, turned away from such "quaint" notions. In short, unless we find a way to redress the growing sway corporations hold over our political system - by overhauling tax codes designed to transfer wealth upward, ending the corporate welfare system, overturning the absurd legal protection of corporations as "persons" under the 14th amendment, and requiring broadcast licensees to provide free air time to candidates for office from all political parties, not just Republican or Democrat - things are only going to get worse. Which means that the 35W bridge collapse, like the failure of New Orleans levees, is just a portent of things to come. --------10 of 17-------- From: Michael Wood <mwood42092 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Mpls Communists on Bridge Collapse STATEMENT BY THE MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA CLUB OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY USA ON THE COLLAPSE OF THE BRIDGE: We extend our deepest sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims who died or suffered because of the collapse of the I-35-W bridge here in Minneapolis. We recognize these victims as our working-class brothers and sisters. The Bush White House says that now is not the time to point fingers. We disagree. Gus Hall, our former Communist presidential candidate, once said that "we can not both have guns and butter." Under the Pawlenty administration, and in light of this recent tragedy, these words ring strikingly true. In Minnesota, we have seen a poor economy worsening, budgetary cutbacks on the state's infrastructure and attacks on vital social services. There has been no attempt by Pawlenty to stop St. Paul's Ford Plant from closing and save the union jobs of those employed there. Meanwhile, Governor Pawlenty supports and continues to use Minnesota taxpayer's money to fund the continuing war against Iraq. Pawlenty has supported tax breaks to the state's wealthiest individuals and corporations and thus shifted the costly burden of the war unto the shoulders of working class Minnesotans. The collapse of the bridge resulting in the unnecessary deaths and suffering also reveals a national crisis, with George Bush at the center, of prioritizing guns instead of butter. Aircraft carriers instead of the rights of union workers. Rifles instead of universal health care. Missiles instead of full and guaranteed employment. Bombs instead of books. The Bush agenda is an agenda of war, economic insecurity, poverty and racism. Now more than ever, working class people need state and national leaders that fund human needs instead of war and corporate greed. We need a movement that values people and bridge repair not maximum corporate profit and military invasions of other countries. Michael Wood Minneapolis club of the Communist Party USA MN Communist Party's website: http://csminn.cpusa.org --------11 of 17-------- From: Nancy Doyle Brown <nancyjdoyle [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Ethanol scam Response from my friend Jon, who's a peak oil expert: Yeah, if a person wanted proof that corporations are the real voters in the US, then ethanol would be the perfect example. It does nothing to solve our problems but costs billions. That 3.5% gasoline replacement does not even take into account all the fuel needed to grow the corn. If you do that, it drops to 2.4%. And we have gotten a 12% rise in overall food prices. With much larger rises in dairy and meat products. What is really sad? Sad is the fact that we could have all the benefits of ethanol for free. Not one penny spent. By raising fuel mileage standards by 0.5 MPG for the US automotive fleet, we could cut fuel usage by more than current ethanol production. By raising the mileage standard up 2 MPG (back to where it was in the 80's) we would save the same amount of ethanol as we could produce by converting the whole US corn crop into fuel. And it is hard to claim that Americans suffered driving in the 80's. Ah, well. Not one penny spent means not one penny earned. It looks like the auto companies have blocked mileage standards increases in this years energy legislation. There is no way a politician can stop ethanol now. So much advertising has been spent that no political campaign can match it. No scientific study can get enough press coverage to blot out the ads. I hear ethanol ads on the radio at night. GM runs them on TV in the day. I have been reading up on computer simulations done in the 70's predicting the future. They never expected that we would deliberately cut food production to increase consumer spending on luxury goods (large cars). All the simulations try to preserve human life, and things still go badly. This is just crazy. It just amazes me that these are the "responsible" people. Sigh. And to further the tragedy, most of these biofuel plants are natural gas powered. NG peaked several years back. Prices are low now because the plastics and chemical industries were destroyed in the last price run up (they closed 300 plants and moved the rest over seas). DOW chemical is now Saudi ARAMCO. Next cold winter and those plants are history. No, as GrayZone, a well written poster on The Oil Drum frequently comments, we won't fail because we didn't know how to succeed. We will fail because we chose failure. This country is dying. Move to Europe, they still have a brain or two among the leadership. It is like being on the sinking Titanic and the orders come down to burn the lifeboats because the passengers are feeling cold on deck. --------12 of 17-------- From: lhowell [at] visi.com Subject: Ethanol scam Ethanol Scam: Ethanol Hurts the Environment And Is One of America's Biggest Political Boondoggles From Issue 1032 JEFF GOODELL Posted Jul 24, 2007 1:36 PM http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/15635751/ethanol_scam_ethanol_hurts_the_environment_and_is_one_of_americas_biggest_political_boondoggles/1 The great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn't that we will sit on our collective asses and do nothing while civilization collapses, but that we will plunge after "solutions" that will make our problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn. Ethanol, of course, is nothing new. American refiners will produce nearly 6 billion gallons of corn ethanol this year, mostly for use as a gasoline additive to make engines burn cleaner. But in June, the Senate all but announced that America's future is going to be powered by biofuels, mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. According to ethanol boosters, this is the beginning of a much larger revolution that could entirely replace our 21-million-barrel-a-day oil addiction. Midwest farmers will get rich, the air will be cleaner, the planet will be cooler, and, best of all, we can tell those greedy sheiks to fuck off. As the king of ethanol hype, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, put it recently, "Everything about ethanol is good, good, good." This is not just hype - it's dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption - yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming. So why bother? Because the whole point of corn ethanol is not to solve America's energy crisis, but to generate one of the great political boondoggles of our time. Corn is already the most subsidized crop in America, raking in a total of $51 billion in federal handouts between 1995 and 2005 - twice as much as wheat subsidies and four times as much as soybeans. Ethanol itself is propped up by hefty subsidies, including a fifty-one-cent-per-gallon tax allowance for refiners. And a study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development found that ethanol subsidies amount to as much as $1.38 per gallon - about half of ethanol's wholesale market price. Three factors are driving the ethanol hype. The first is panic: Many energy experts believe that the world's oil supplies have already peaked or will peak within the next decade. The second is election-year politics. With the first vote to be held in Iowa, the largest corn-producing state in the nation, former skeptics like Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain now pay tribute to the wonders of ethanol. Earlier this year, Sen. Barack Obama pleased his agricultural backers in Illinois by co-authoring legislation to raise production of biofuels to 60 billion gallons by 2030. A few weeks later, rival Democrat John Edwards, who is staking his campaign on a victory in the Iowa caucus, upped the ante to 65 billion gallons by 2025. The third factor stoking the ethanol frenzy is the war in Iraq, which has made energy independence a universal political slogan. Unlike coal, another heavily subsidized energy source, ethanol has the added political benefit of elevating the American farmer to national hero. As former CIA director James Woolsey, an outspoken ethanol evangelist, puts it, "American farmers, by making the commitment to grow more corn for ethanol, are at the top of the spear on the war against terrorism." If you love America, how can you not love ethanol? Ethanol is nothing more than 180-proof grain alcohol. To avoid the prospect of drunks sucking on gas pumps, fuel ethanol is "denatured" with chemical additives (if you drink it, you'll end up dead or, at best, in the hospital). It can be distilled from a variety of plants, including sugar cane and switch- grass. Most vehicles can't run on pure ethanol, but E85, a mix of eighty-five percent ethanol and fifteen percent gasoline, requires only slight engine modifications. But as a gasoline substitute, ethanol has big problems: Its energy density is one-third less than gasoline, which means you have to burn more of it to get the same amount of power. It also has a nasty tendency to absorb water, so it can't be transported in existing pipelines and must be distributed by truck or rail, which is tremendously inefficient. Nor is all ethanol created equal. In Brazil, ethanol made from sugar cane has an energy balance of 8-to-1 - that is, when you add up the fossil fuels used to irrigate, fertilize, grow, transport and refine sugar cane into ethanol, the energy output is eight times higher than the energy inputs. That's a better deal than gasoline, which has an energy balance of 5-to-1. In contrast, the energy balance of corn ethanol is only 1.3-to-1 - making it practically worthless as an energy source. "Corn ethanol is essentially a way of recycling natural gas," says Robert Rapier, an oil-industry engineer who runs the R-Squared Energy Blog. The ethanol boondoggle is largely a tribute to the political muscle of a single company: agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland. In the 1970s, looking for new ways to profit from corn, ADM began pushing ethanol as a fuel additive. By the early 1980s, ADM was producing 175 million gallons of ethanol a year. The company's then-chairman, Dwayne Andreas, struck up a close relationship with Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, a.k.a. "Senator Ethanol." During the 1992 election, ADM gave $1 million to Dole and his friends in the GOP (compared with $455,000 to the Democrats). In return, Dole helped the company secure billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks. In 1995, the conservative Cato Institute, estimating that nearly half of ADM's profits came from products either subsidized or protected by the federal government, called the company "the most prominent recipient of corporate welfare in recent U.S. history." Today, ADM is the leading producer of ethanol, supplying more than 1 billion gallons of the fuel additive last year. Ethanol is propped up by more than 200 tax breaks and subsidies worth at least $5.5 billion a year. And ADM continues to give back: Since 2000, the company has contributed $3.7 million to state and federal politicians. The Iraq War has also been a boon for ADM and other ethanol producers. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was pushed by Corn Belt politicians, mandated the consumption of 7.5 billion gallons of biofuels by 2012. After Democrats took over Congress last year, they too vowed to "do something" about America's addiction to foreign oil. By the time Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chair of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, proposed new energy legislation this spring, the only real question was how big the ethanol mandate would be. According to one lobbyist, 36 billion gallons became "the Goldilocks number - not too big to be impractical, not too small to satisfy corn growers." Under the Senate bill, only 15 billion gallons of ethanol will come from corn, in part because even corn growers admit that turning more grain into fuel would disrupt global food supplies. The remaining 21 billion gallons will have to come from advanced biofuels, most of which are currently brewed only in small-scale lab experiments. "It's like trying to solve a traffic problem by mandating hovercraft," says Dave Juday, an independent commodities consultant. "Except we don't have hovercraft." The most seductive myth about ethanol is that it will free us from our dependence on foreign oil. But even if ethanol producers manage to hit the mandate of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022, that will replace a paltry 1.5 million barrels of oil per day - only seven percent of current oil needs. Even if the entire U.S. corn crop were used to make ethanol, the fuel would replace only twelve percent of current gasoline use. Another misconception is that ethanol is green. In fact, corn production depends on huge amounts of fossil fuel - not just the diesel needed to plow fields and transport crops, but also the vast quantities of natural gas used to produce fertilizers. Runoff from industrial-scale cornfields also silts up the Mississippi River and creates a vast dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico every summer. What's more, when corn ethanol is burned in vehicles, it is as dirty as conventional gasoline and does little to solve global warming: E85 reduces carbon dioxide emissions by a modest fifteen percent at best, while fueling the destruction of tropical forests. But the biggest problem with ethanol is that it steals vast swaths of land that might be better used for growing food. In a recent article in Foreign Affairs titled "How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor," University of Minnesota economists C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer point out that filling the gas tank of an SUV with pure ethanol requires more than 450 pounds of corn - roughly enough calories to feed one person for a year. Thanks in large part to the ethanol craze, the price of beef, poultry and pork in the United States rose more than three percent during the first five months of this year. In some parts of the country, hog farmers now find it cheaper to fatten their animals on trail mix, french fries and chocolate bars. And since America provides two-thirds of all global corn exports, the impact is being felt around the world. In Mexico, tortilla prices have jumped sixty percent, leading to food riots. In Europe, butter prices have spiked forty percent, and pork prices in China are up twenty percent. By 2025, according to Runge and Senauer, rising food prices caused by the demand for ethanol and other biofuels could cause as many as 600 million more people to go hungry worldwide. Despite the serious drawbacks of ethanol, some technological visionaries believe that the fuel can be done right. "Corn ethanol is just a platform, the first step in a much larger transition we are undergoing from a hydrocarbon-based economy to a carbohydrate-based economy," says Vinod Khosla, a pioneering venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Next-generation corn- ethanol plants, he argues, will be much more efficient and environmentally friendly. He points to a company called E3 BioFuels that just opened an ethanol plant in Mead, Nebraska. The facility runs largely on biogas made from cow manure, and feeds leftover grain back to the cows, making it a "closed-loop system" - one that requires very few fossil fuels to create ethanol. Khosla is even higher on the prospects for cellulosic ethanol, a biofuel that can be made from almost any plant matter, including wood waste and perennial grasses like miscanthus and switchgrass. Like other high-tech ethanol evangelists, Khosla imagines a future in which such so-called "energy crops" are fed into giant refineries that use genetically engineered enzymes to break down the cellulose in plants and create fuel for a fraction of the cost of today's gasoline. Among other virtues, cellulosic ethanol would not cut into the global food supply (nobody eats miscanthus or switchgrass), and it could significantly cut global-warming pollution. Even more important, it could provide a gateway to a much larger biotech revolution, including synthetic microbes that could one day be engineered to gobble up carbon dioxide or other pollutants. Unfortunately, no commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants exist today. In one venture backed by Khosla, a $225 million plant in central Georgia is currently being built to make ethanol out of wood chips. Mitch Mandich, a former Apple Computer executive who is now the CEO of the operation, calls it "the beginning of a real transformation in the way we think about energy in America." Maybe. But oil-industry engineer Robert Rapier, who has spent years studying cellulosic ethanol, says that the difference between ethanol from corn and ethanol from cellulose is "like the difference between traveling to the moon and traveling to Mars." And even if the engineering hurdles can be overcome, there's still the problem of land use: According to Rapier, replacing fifty percent of our current gasoline consumption with cellulosic ethanol would consume thirteen percent of the land in the United States - about seven times the land currently utilized for corn production. Increasing the production of cellulosic ethanol will also require solving huge logistical problems, including delivering vast quantities of feedstock to production plants. According to one plant manager in the Midwest, fueling an ethanol plant with switchgrass would require delivering a semi-truckload of the grass every six minutes, twenty-four hours a day. Finally, there is the challenge of wrestling the future away from Big Corn. "It's pretty clear to me that the corn guys will use all their lobbying muscle and political power to stall, thwart and sidetrack this revolution," says economist C. Ford Runge. In the end, the ethanol boom is another manifestation of America's blind faith that technology will solve all our problems. Thirty years ago, nuclear power was the answer. Then it was hydrogen. Biofuels may work out better, especially if mandates are coupled with tough caps on greenhouse-gas emissions. Still, biofuels are, at best, a huge gamble. They may help cushion the fall when cheap oil vanishes, but if we rely on ethanol to save the day, we could soon find ourselves forced to make a choice between feeding our SUVs and feeding children in the Third World. And we all know how that decision will go. --------13 of 17-------- From: <AGENERGY [at] aol.com> Nicholas E. Hollis Agribusiness Council (ABC) Subject: Hidden Cracks in U.S. Infrastructure: Bridge Disaster at Twin Cities In the aftermath of yesterday's tragic bridge collapse over the Mississippi at the Twin Cities there will be plenty of investigations and evaluations. But who will point the finger at one of the primary reasons for the infrastructure disaster - which has developed over many years of neglect and fund-diversion? Democracy and its institutions - like the republic's infrastructure, requires daily maintenance and vigilance. Yet for more than a quarter century the growing ethanol subsidy was funded by a tax credit which siphoned billions from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Money that should have gone to state/federal government for road and bridge maintenance/construction was instead diverted to ethanol producers - primarily Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). And because this quiet hijacking did not technically impact the federal budget - no one squawked too loud in Washington - after all it was "off the radar". Once this sneaky raid on the HTF was spotlighted five years ago (by one of our recognition projects) - the ethanol juggernaut was strong enough to force a legislative shift enabling a direct subsidy from the US Treasury (Energy Policy Act of 2005, combined with the so called "Volumetric Tax Credit" provisions passed in late 2004, as a rider on the "Jobs Bill" ) - Yet a fair question remains - shouldn't recipients of earlier subsidies drawn at the expense of the Nation's infrastructure - be obligated in some way for payback? One look at the Ethanol lobby's current agenda will dispel any such notion. Instead, shamelessly, they are forging ahead with new pressures on Congress to provide huge, new subsidies for massive "ethanol friendly" infrastructure projects (i.e. dedicated pipelines, railroads, major lock/river dredging, highways). Despite regular reports of ethanol tanker and hopper car explosions on the highways and on the rails - ethanol advocates want Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to accelerate procedures to certify the extremely volatile E-85 blend of ethanol and force gas station owners to install dedicated tanks and pumps to sell the bogus fuel. Once again, politics is trumping value for human life and safety. The Creed of Greed rolls on, and the bureaucrats charged with oversight responsibility for public infrastructure play "duck and cover" between yawns and long naps. - But judicial accountability and the wrath of a fed-up citizenry is on the horizon. Nicholas E. Hollis Agribusiness Council (ABC) --------14 of 17-------- Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 23:59:28 -0000 From: popman6969 <popman6969 [at] yahoo.com> To: mn-politics-discuss [at] yahoogroups.com Subject: MPD: 35W Bridge. They say that this tragedy wasn't a terrorist attack. It perhaps wasn't from a military point of view however it was a terrorist attack from a political and ideological point of view. They say that criminals always return to scene of their crime. I don't know if that is always true but in this case it is true. The terrorist was one man. Tim Pawlenty. He was aided and abetted by his band of republican thugs in the legislature that continually denied the much needed funding in the numerous transportation and infrastructure bills that were vetoed and obstructed by the republican contingent. He has a lot of gall showing his face at the scene of his crime. The Norquist ideology was clearly at work and this time it got caught in its own trap. Just cut and cut until we cut the muscles and the bones so that government cannot function and then blame it for its inefficiency. Then we can just drown the dam thing in the bath tub. This bridge is a major artery to and from Minneapolis. It should have had a structural deficiency rating of nine, or perfect working condition. The official rating was only at four. Pawlenty knew this and so did other republicans in the transportation committee. They didn't care and, apparently, adopted a wait and see or a "if it ain't broke, don't raise the taxes to fix it" mentality. The collapse is the results of that type of thinking and it's a helluva price to pay just to have a low tax rated state. It would be interesting to know that among the people who went down with the bridge voted for Pawlenty. I wonder if those republican voters involved still support the idea of not raising the tax revenue to insure the safety of bridges and other infrastructure in the state just to have a low state tax rating. For my money, the rescuers should just LEAVE those republican voters down in the river and let private enterprise get them out. No doubt some capitalist will try so long as the survivor has the money on them for the ride back to the top - and it's a long way up. This bridge collapse is just another example of the evil of republicanism and the people who practice it and vote for it. The bodies of the dead should be laid at the doorstep of Tim Pawlenty along with a sign that says: "Your ideological motivated veto pen did this to me. Take a good look at my dead face, twisted in horror and agony, then turn yourself in to the authorities and plead guilty." You murdered me. Governor Tim Pawlenty, you are a murderer! Rowdy Russ Hanson. The Truth in St. Paul. --------15 of 17-------- From: Sheldon Gitis <sgitis [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Transportation Engineering Prior to the collapse, I think I heard the bridge was carrying 140,000 vehicles daily. After 40 years, the bridge wore out and collapsed. Parking at the University of Minnesota has expanded enormously over the past 20 or 30 years, while the size of the student body has not. Downtown Minneapolis boasts that it has more parking spaces than Downtown Chicago. Proper inspection and maintenance could have possibly delayed or prevented the collapse. Feeding the excessive and misplaced parking at the University of Minnesota and in Downtown Minneapolis probably accelerated the collapse. Sheldon Gitis --------16 of 17-------- Minn. Bridge Problems Uncovered in 1990 Minn. Officials Warned About Bridge Problems as Early as 1990; State Relied on Patchwork Fixes By SHARON COHEN The Associated Press http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=3442381 MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota officials were warned as early as 1990 that the bridge that collapsed into the Mississippi River was "structurally deficient," yet they relied on a strategy of patchwork fixes and stepped-up inspections. "We thought we had done all we could," state bridge engineer Dan Dorgan told reporters not far from the mangled remains of the span. "Obviously something went terribly wrong." Questions about the cause of the collapse and whether it could have been prevented arose Thursday as authorities shifted from rescue efforts to a grim recovery operation, searching for bodies that may be hidden beneath the river's swirling currents. The official death count from Wednesday's rush-hour collapse stood at four, with another 79 injuries. But police said the death count would surely grow because bodies had been spotted in the water and as many as 30 people were still reported missing. The Army Corps of Engineers lowered the river level a foot to help recovery efforts, said agency spokeswoman Shannon Bauer. In 1990, the federal government gave the I-35W bridge a rating of "structurally deficient," citing significant corrosion in its bearings. The bridge is one of about 77,000 bridges in that category nationwide, 1,160 in Minnesota alone. The designation means some portions of the bridge needed to be scheduled for repair or replacement, and it was on a schedule for inspection every two years. Dorgan said the bearings could not have been repaired without jacking up the entire deck of the bridge. Because the bearings were not sliding, inspectors concluded the corrosion was not a major issue. During the 1990s, later inspections found fatigue cracks and corrosion in the steel around the bridge's joints. Those problems were repaired. Starting in 1993, the state said, the bridge was inspected annually instead of every other year. A 2005 federal inspection also rated the bridge structurally deficient, giving it a 50 on a scale of 100 for structural stability. White House press secretary Tony Snow said while the inspection didn't indicate the bridge was at risk of failing, "if an inspection report identifies deficiencies, the state is responsible for taking corrective actions." Gov. Tim Pawlenty responded Thursday by ordering an immediate inspection of all bridges in the state with similar designs, but said the state was never warned that the bridge needed to be closed or immediately repaired. "There was a view that the bridge was ultimately and eventually going to need to be replaced," he said. "But it appears from the information that we have available that a timeline for that was not immediate or imminent, but more in the future." Federal officials alerted states to immediately inspect all bridges similar to the one that collapsed. The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge was Minnesota's busiest bridge, carrying 141,000 vehicles a day. It was in the midst of mostly repaving repairs when it buckled during the evening rush hour. Dozens of cars plummeted more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River, some falling on top one of another. A school bus sat on the angled concrete. Engineers wondered whether heavy traffic might have contributed to the collapse. Studies of the bridge have raised concern about cracks caused by metal fatigue. "I think everybody is looking at fatigue right now," said Kent Harries, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Engineering. "This is an interstate bridge that sees a lot of truck traffic." After a study raised concern about cracks, the state was given two alternatives: Add steel plates to reinforce critical parts or conduct a thorough inspection of certain areas to see if there were additional cracks. They chose the inspection route, beginning that examination in May. Dorgan said officials considered the cracks on parts of the bridge to be stable and not expanding. When conducting inspections, Dorgan said, inspectors get within an arm's length of various components of a bridge. If they spot cracks, that leads to more hands-on testing to determine the depth and extent of the fissures. Although concern was raised about cracks, some experts theorized it's no coincidence the collapse happened when workers and heavy equipment was on the bridge. The construction work involved resurfacing and maintenance on guardrails and lights, among other repairs. "I would be stunned if this didn't have something to do with the construction project," said David Schulz, director of the Infrastrucure Tecchnology Institute at Northwestern University. "I think it's a major factor." The collapsed bridge's last full inspection was completed June 15, 2006. The report shows previous inspectors' notations of fatigue cracks in the spans approaching the river, including one 4 feet long that was reinforced with bolted plates. A 1993 entry noted 3,000 feet of cracks in the surface of the bridge; they were later sealed. That inspection and one a year earlier raised no immediate concerns about the bridge, which wasn't a candidate for replacement until 2020. In a 2001 report from the University of Minnesota's Department of Civil Engineering, inspectors found some girders had become distorted. Engineers also saw evidence of fatigue on trusses and said the bridge might collapse if part of the truss gave way under the eight-lane freeway. "A bridge of that vintage you always have to be concerned about that," said Richard Sause, director of the Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems Center at Lehigh University. "In a steel bridge of that age, sure you'd be concerned about those kind of things and be diligent about looking after it. And it seems like they were." It takes time for a fatigue crack to develop, but a crack can then expand rapidly to become a fracture, said James Garrett, co-director of the Center for Sensed Critical Infrastructure Research at Carnegie Mellon University. "If you get a crack that goes undetected it would be something that appears to happen more rapidly." At the scene, about 15 divers and a dozen boats were in the water, but the search was proceeding slowly because of strong currents and low visibility. By mid-afternoon, they had located four submerged cars besides the dozen or so visible from the surface. "We have a number of vehicles that are underneath big pieces of concrete, and we do know we have some people in those vehicles," Police Chief Tim Dolan said. "We know we do have more casualties at the scene." Meanwhile, relatives who couldn't find their loved ones at hospitals gathered in a hotel ballroom for any news, hoping for the best. Ronald Engebretsen, 57, spent the day searching for his wife, Sherry. His daughter last heard from her when she left work Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis. Afterward, her cell phone picked up only with voice mail. By Thursday evening, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office announced that Sherry Engebretsen was confirmed dead. The other three were Julia Blackhawk, 32, of Savage; Patrick Holmes, 36, of Moundsview; and Artemio Trinidad-Mena, 29, of Minneapolis. In brief telephone interview, Ronald Engebretsen said he and his family had huddled to try to come to grips with his wife's death. "She's a great person. She's a person of great conviction, great integrity, great honesty and great faith in her God," he said. "We're just hoping and praying here." Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein, Martiga Lohn, Ryan Foley and Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report. Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures --------17 of 17-------- river bridges falling down falling down, falling down river bridges falling down cheap and shady put them be-hind iron bars iron bars, iron bars put them be-hind iron bars who's the lady ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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