Weighty matters

peso-valdivia-dsc02545 Ever seen one of these?  When I was still driving every day, sometimes all day, I would pass a truck scale along the highway.  I haven’t driven very far in recent years and wondered if any of you long-distance drivers had seen a truck scale along the road? Quite frankly, when trucks began to resemble freight trains, I began to avoid the major highways and byways.

With some rare exceptions, the roads I knew many years ago, have been expanded and re-expanded from two lanes, to four lanes, to six lanes or eight lanes as more and more cars, vans and trucks hit the road, all of them over-sized.  Northern VA which consisted of abandoned farms when we moved here in 1961, has begun to look like New Jersey outside NYC.

Undoubtedly, many of the drivers of these vehicles have no sense of how much they contribute to the serious air quality issues that affect city dwellers.

On top of that, the crap from tall smokestacks at coal-fired plants in the Midwest lands on our homes in the east, and the acid rain, a hot issue in the 1960s, continues to affect the forests planted by the CCC.

And yet the petrochemical companies continue to lobby Congress for perks and breaks.

This week we read that the Gulf wetlands appear to be permanently damaged from the infamous oil spill during Bush’s term, for which the Giant petrochemical company BP bears a heavy responsibility ( the spill, not Bush).

Meanwhile, as it defends its right to issue restrictions under the Clean Air Act of the 1970s, the EPA is in court trying to fend off lawsuits from the oil giants. Note that petrochemical companies have armies of well-paid lawyers, and play the game of tying up federal agencies in court with lawsuits.  They know they can win because the federal agencies are underfunded by budget cuts imposed by the Republican led Congress which claims old people are tying up the available resources with their demands for Social Security payments and Medicare support.

Of course these same Republicans plan a huge tax break for the wealthy, including their pals the petrochemical companies, should their candidate suceed in tricking the poor beleaguered masses into supporting him.

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This is so depressing, I tell David as I read Robert Reich’s book Saving Capitalism for the many not the few.

Stop reading it, he says.

I’ve never been one to bury my head in the sand, I tell him.

The Reich book is great, however, I turn to another mystery by David Hewson, whose protagonist Nic Costa was last seen by me in the Blue Demon riding off to fight some vast right-wing conspiracy in Italy.

Swedish detective, Kurt Wallender? He’s having issues with an international businessman, reminiscent of Trump.

Good grief, the BBC reports the recovery of two Van Gogh paintings taken from a museum in the Netherlands by one of the clans in the Camorra organization.  Seems the some of the Italian gangsters have acquired taste.

Now that cheered me up.

 

17 thoughts on “Weighty matters

  1. I still use interstates occasionally, and a divided state highway often, but it is getting scarier all the time. What I marvel at is the lack of cops pulling those speeding big trucks over and ticketing them. In addition to the danger posed by speeding trucks, they are enlarging their carbon footprint considerably while breaking the law.

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    • Those trucks should be forced to pay a higher tax to offset their carbon footprint. We pay for the roads they travel on, as well as highway upkeep and repair, and they are rocking the environment. Trains get no comparable subsidy. Railroad maintenance is another huge issue. Time for more support for rail and less for highways.

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  2. It really is important to read things. With the way news and media events are presented, it is very difficult to analyze what is going on in a coherent fashion. So I’m glad you are being serious. I try to be, myself.

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    • Yes, its difficult to cut through the political chatter. Listening to the talking heads on TV is next to useless. Actually reading is better, although many writers also are a bit biased one way or another. Education and good common sense are important although I have found many educators can also be a bit close minded. Those who will argue their points, usually have a point to make.

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    • Depending on what you drive, you make a greater or lesser contribution to atmospheric conditions. The other variable is what else you do to offset your carbon footprint. Each of us can make a larger green contribution. For example, my son just bought a Prius. Of course CA where he lives has certain regulations to ensure everyone makes a better effort.

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      • That is true … we believe we do some offsetting because both our homes are small …. very very small. not much carbon footprint. And we do try to pre-cycle and recycle (it’s kind of in every Oregonian’s DNA … and somewhat surprisingly to us, our part of Florida has a good program for reducing waste stream.).

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  3. David and I watched the debate and were impressed with Hillary’s demeanor and poise. If she doesn’t bomb in the next two debates, we will vote for her. I have never watched her debate before. All this talk about her being brain damaged and weak is nonsense. How can that be? She is very articulate and logical.

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  4. We have the dreadful tar sands, such a mess but lots of jobs of course until oil prices fell and people were laid off. Renewable energy is a dirty phrase to many.

    As long as elected officials make decisions based on their chance of being elected again, we won’t get the tough decisions being made which are needed to save the planet.

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