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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 31, 2010



-- Super-insulated houses were in vogue for a while in the seventies and eighties in the US. But there were problems with indoor air quality, condensation, etc. (And the cost savings did not materialize.) A lot of these houses were retrofitted with expensive air exchangers. Having slightly leakier windows and doors would have been a cheaper, more elegant, solution.


-- If Congress had done this five years ago, I might still have my old job today.

If you were to go stand by my old Dilbert cube today, you'd hear a lot of New Zealand accented speech, but precious few American accents below the top executive ranks.

On the books it looks like an American high tech firm. Under the surface, more and more of the American employees are being kicked out the door.

And certainly in a country where unemployment keeps rising, it makes no sense at all to be bringing in foreign workers to take American jobs.


--The US uses about 20 million barrels per day, every day. 142 million is not very much. The claim that Haiti has more oil than Venezuela is a claim that is remarkably free of facts. If you look closer, you will find that there have been a couple test wells drilled, but no where near enough to establish how much, if any, oil is actually in Haiti. - Mark Robinowitz


-- I'm not disappointed by Obama and Biden.

Obama promised to escalate the wars on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Obama promised to promote health insurance companies instead of single payer.

Obama promised us clean coal and safe nuclear power. George Orwell wrote about that sort of language.

I am disappointed in the Obama fan club, but it's nice to see some of them getting buyer's remorse.


-- Most of the byproducts of nuclear reactors are extremely toxic to life and cannot be used in any type of reactor, whether fueled with thorium or uranium.

Integral Fast Reactors are a nice marketing campaign, but they're not something tested with experience.

Even a thorium reactor creates hundreds of new radioactive isotopes that are dangerous for long periods of time, some of them years, decades, centuries and millennia.

The only safe nuclear reactor has a 93 million mile evacuation zone -- the sun. It rises every morning and sets every evening. It cannot be used to make nuclear weapons ingredients, doesn't require a police state or a centralized corporate structure. . .

We are no closer to detoxifying nuclear wastes today than we were in 1945. Only time can make radioactive wastes non-radioactive.


-- Beer in bottles, absolutely. Only thing I like in a can is a soft drink since the cans are relatively small you can finish it before it gets warm.

-- The craft beer market has exploded since the 1980s. At least in Masachusetts, the number of types of beer sold in bottles far supersedes that sold in cans.

Can beer does not have to taste worse than glass. And some craft brewers are finding it more eco friendly to ship their brews in cans rather than glass due to reduced shipping weight. Oskar Blues and 21st Amendment are two brewers selling lots of great beer in cans:

-- In many states, bottle collection seems to be no longer happening. Most machines for redemption are automated bar code readers that crush the redeemables for recycling. The exception are breweries or small brewers that charge a large deposit for growlers to ensure return.

-- Keg beer is aluminum too, and highly reusable. I don't think anybody argues that flash-pasteurized, glass-bottled beer is better than unpasteurized keg draft beer. Most local brewers supply in this too.

I'm not opposed to beer in glass mind you; that's how I consume most of my beer at home. It's just fiction that the benefits of glass bottled beer are that much more superior to canned beer these days.


Anonymous You can trust your boss and your prez. said...

If Mark Robinowitz were to get his info someplace other than newsspeak, he'd be better in formed. The reason little news of Haiti's geological configuration is widely distributed is because that is the way corporate news works. Too many people in the US work for corporations that are full of shit. Read this, then start howling about conspiracy theorists: The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti

by F. William Engdahl

January 31, 2010 4:26 PM  
Anonymous wellbasically said...

Your essay is really a white flag of surrender. You claim that climate change is unpredictable. However if I accept you position then I can destroy the various charts and graphs which associate emissions levels over the 20th century and resulting weather conditions.

You make the original claim to escape the test of predicting what will happen based on today's emissions --- you just want us to give you the money, pay a global cap and trade tax, and stop having more fun than you.

February 1, 2010 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Engdahl's article, and others that made similar points. To establish that there is huge amounts of oil in Haiti there would have to have been a lot of oil drilling done to test the size of the reserve. Most oil fields in the world have been exaggerated in their size for political purposes, although some have been downplayed. Rhetoric, accusation, paranoia and name calling are poor substitutes for verifiable facts. And I can't stand Obama - he's not "my" prez either.

Some conspiracy claims have very good evidence for them, some are distractions, some are created by conspirators to distract their critics. The misrepresentation in Mr. Engdahl's article about the alleged non-existence of finite nature of natural resources suggests that some people still don't understand that the Earth is round and not getting any bigger. The sooner we all understand that, the better the chances we will have for having a socially just means of living together on Spaceship Earth.

It's hilarious reading the paranoid claims (mostly coming from ultra right wing sources) that pumping a hundred million years worth of fossil energy into the thin film of the atmosphere won't change the biosphere. Even more bizarre is the claim that if we recognize that we are changing the biosphere that therefore we must support ludicrous nonsense like cap and trade and similar Wall Street false solutions that make the problems worse. I guess decades of a dumbed down education system has led to a society that is unfamiliar with basic logic.

February 4, 2010 7:45 AM  

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