Populist movements don't build themselves ...

... It doesn't matter what the "horse race" outcome of the campaign is, if we fight the campaign. Fighting it, we learn how to fight. Learning how to fight political battles, we become citizens again. Becoming citizens again, we reclaim the Republic that lies dormant beneath the bread and circuses of modern American society.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Train: Rescuing the Exurb from its Design

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

crossposted from Voices on the Square

Back in April, Hope Yen was on the Huffington Post with Sprawling Suburbs Growth Falls To Historic Low Amid High Gas Prices

All across the U.S., residential exurbs that sprouted on the edge of metropolitan areas are seeing their growth fizzle, according to new 2011 census estimates released Thursday.
"The heyday of exurbs may well be behind us," Yale University economist Robert J. Shiller said. Shiller, co-creator of a Standard & Poor's housing index, is perhaps best known for identifying the risks of a U.S. housing bubble before it actually burst in 2006-2007. Examining the current market, he believes America is now at a turning point, shifting away from faraway suburbs to cities amid persistently high gasoline prices.
"Suburban housing prices may not recover in our lifetime," Shiller said, calling the development of suburbs since 1950 "unusual," enabled only by the rise of the automobile and the nation's highway system.

As it was originally designed, Outer Suburbia and Exurbia was designed to fail in an era where increasing energy efficiency will be a fundamental platform for ongoing growth. However, its possible to retrofit Outer Suburbia and Exurbia to a more sustainable design.


Voices on the Square

The Stars Hollow Gazette


Agent Orange

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Train: Trains, Buses, Bikes and Plan C

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

crossposted from Voices on the Square

So, you've got Plan A. And in case something goes awry with Plan A, you've got your fallback plan, Plan B.

But what if the fit really hits the shan? What if all the assumptions that lie behind your planning turn out to be false. Things are far worse than ever contemplated in Plan A and Plan B? That's when you turn to your Plan C, your Plan in case of Complete Catastrophe. In the event of a complete catastrophe, all of the polite fictions of the normal planning process go out the window. Which also means that Plan C is quite often the answer to, "Oh, now what do we do?, and the answer is, "Come up with something that will work "

So, we have a crisis. A serious crisis, affecting our current transport system, which means a crisis that at the very least interferes with our supply of gasoline. But we have the Petroleum Reserve, so ... assume its not a temporary emergency, but a crisis that threatens to last for years. Whether the Crisis hits next year or next decade, well, I don't know that, do I? But suppose that its coming sometime in the next decade.

What would we face in coming up with something that will work?

Voices on the Square (home blog)

Stars Hollow Gazette


Agent Orange

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Train: California Senate Approves High Speed Rail Construction

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Crossposted from its home station at Voices on the Square


Firedog Lake: California Legislature Passes High Speed Rail Bond Issue, Moving Project Forward ~ David Dayen


In a closely watched vote of the California state Senate, a bill to issue the first $5.8 billion in bonds for the construction of high speed rail lines passed 21-16. It needed all 21 votes to pass. Four Democrats voted no – including Allen Lowenthal, the Democratic candidate for Congress in CA-47, and Fran Pavley, the author of the state’s historic global warming law – but ultimately, just enough Democrats voted in favor of the bonds for them to pass. Joe Simitian and Mark DeSaulnier were the other Democrats who opposed the bill.


This does not end the battle for high speed rail. Between the bond issue and the federal money, that covers only about 1/5 of the total funding needed for the full project, which would connect Sacramento and San Diego and all points in between by high speed rail. But if this died today, you can be certain that nothing would ever get built. The federal government was prepared to take away the $3.2 billion in stimulus dollars earmarked for this stage of the project. And faith in the future of high speed rail in California – and indeed the nation – would have been sapped.

So ... what now? Join me at the home station or one of the stops along the way for a look to both the politics and transport policy ahead.


Crossposted from Voices on the Square to:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Train: Is State Sen. Simitian aiming to kill High Speed Rail in California?

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

This coming week is supposed to contain an important symbolic Independence Day: the day when the California State Senate votes whether or not to proceed with one strategic element of Energy Independent Transport for the State of California, or whether to gamble the state's future on petroleum.

It is, of course, a very sure thing as a gamble ~ on the losing side. They aren't making more, and the butane from natural gas liquids and energy inefficient production of ethanol from corn starch that has been used to juke the states on US "liquid fuel production" doesn't change the fact that we still depend on petroleum imports for over half of our petroleum consumption. We deplete more and more low production cost petroleum every year, shifting our consumption to higher cost petroleum.

And even if we had the petroleum that Pollyannas would like to wish into existence, we can't afford to burn it all at an accelerating rate, due to the CO2 emissions that will result.

State Senator Simitian does not seem to see it that way, as he appears set to vote kill the effort to allow the California High Speed Rail project to break ground next year.

Now, in an wonderful display of political pretzel logic, State Senator Simitian threatens to kill the HSR project will declaring his strong support of it: it will all be someone else's fault if he votes to refuse to break ground next year.


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