Saturday, March 26, 2011

Schools and Public Relations

It is instructive that a public relations officer for a local school district has written the newspaper about how the schools just need more money to do their job. This is exactly the point of discussion. A public relations officer's job is supposed to be to favorably influence public opinion and behavior and is essentially a lobbyist for the company involved. This one is just doing her job. The but is why a public school district needs a public relations officer in the first place?

Soccer Moms and Rational Thought

A woman from Northport writes of her experiences getting into the Shoreham demonstrations 30 years ago. She especially notes her gasp while watching "China Syndrome" and even a quote from the moving about Pennsylvania becoming permanent uninhabitable forever? Wow! Real quotes from an actual movie to prove a scientific point. QED. What could be more solid? Good thing she didn't see "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and was too young for "The Twilight Zone". She would be busy saving us from everything.
Of course, nothing actually happened at 3 Mile Island. Thirty years later and there is no higher incidence of cancer or anything else. But that does not make any difference to the true disciples. The geology of Long Island is significantly different from the geology of the Pacific rim but, again, we have Jane Fonda's word for it against actually, like, science and the geological record.
Which is more likely: An Islamoterrorist dirty bomb going off in NYC, a tsunami overwhelming Long Island, an 8.9 earthquake on the eastern seaboard, or potential meltdown that might have a minor impact if it did happen? Right, a dirty bomb and she worries about the traffic jam that would have happened if Shoreham had opened. We live on an island, it is difficult to get off of it under normal circumstances.

And there is the Imagine part of her world view. Imagine if we just stopped using all these dangerous - her word- oil, coal and nuclear power technologies. Okay. Tomorrow, we could all jump in our death trap electric cars that can't make the round trip from Northport to Hicksville. Tomorrow night we could plug those cars in and recharge them with electricity that was magically delivered to those holes in our walls. Wonder how that gets there? It used to be from the oil, coal or nuclear powered plants that this genius imagines away. But it is not there any more. Guess we just have to walk the kids to soccer practice. And what of the batteries for these electric wonders. These things are environmental disasters waiting to happen as are those new mercury filled light bulbs light up that the EPA issued 3 pages of instruction for their disposal. No one mentions the downside of these great ideas. Anyone ever see a story about how many windmills it would take to replace the power we need and how one windmill needs an acre of land. No, just feel good stuff like this. Just think is a key statement.

Dopey Ideas

An article from a member of the Newsday editorial board proposes an energy tax that would be designed to reduce our dependence on the troubling energy sources that are currently available and be used to underwrite future sources. Last week, the same guy had a proposal to deal with the Somali pirates using water cannons and razor wire and the suggestion that the oil tankers go faster and out run the pirates.

First, this is surprising source for a tax idea that is so regressive. Further, the writer’s definition of this or any tax as something that we would “pay the money to ourselves” can only be considered as laughable.

People make the economic decision to conserve all the time. We allocate our available time and money as best we can to whatever we consider the highest priority. That’s life. It is also our decision and is based upon what is available to us. Clearly, these decisions should not be based upon the government’s desire that I ride around in a motorized death trap they think is a Smart car or their current definition of whether the heat or AC is too high. And, again, the less money people have, the more of a negative impact such a tax would have.

It was also a good try though to cavalierly eliminate all current sources of energy. Don’t drill anywhere; don’t tap natural gas; don’t build nuclear plants. The plan is the same. Make it as difficult as possible to get energy from places where it is easy to obtain; then complain when something goes wrong when drilling in 5000 feet of water. The same news sources that have equated the news from Japan with 3 Mile Island have neglected to actually recount what happened in Pennsylvania. The answer is nothing except media noise. Lots of buzz words like meltdown and radiation thrown around with no perspective. What actually is a melt down? How much milk would have to be consumed to equal an xray ? The same people that tell us every snow storm will be the worst blizzard in history seem to take over when there is a potential problem. They are mostly wrong and skip off to the next thing with no apology but never waste a crisis.

The positive is that we now have simeone to blame for the consistently dopey opinions that appear on the Newsday editorial page. If their aim is to fill the space, they have certainly achieved that goal. But not much else.