Monday, November 21, 2011

Dutch Disillusioned With Windmills

No, we are not talking about the picturesque old kind. We are talking about the kind that give the environmentalists the warm fuzzies, but cost way too much relative to the electricity they generate.

From Reuters:
When the Netherlands built its first sea-based wind turbines in 2006, they were seen as symbols of a greener future.

Towering over the waves of the North Sea like an army of giants, blades whipping through the wind, the turbines were the country’s best hope to curb carbon emissions and meet growing demand for electricity.

The 36 turbines — each one the height of a 30-storey building — produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 households each year.

But five years later the green future looks a long way off. Faced with the need to cut its budget deficit, the Dutch government says offshore wind power is too expensive and that it cannot afford to subsidize the entire cost of 18 cents per kilowatt hour — some 4.5 billion euros last year.

The government now plans to transfer the financial burden to households and industrial consumers in order to secure the funds for wind power and try to attract private sector investment.

It will start billing consumers and companies in January 2013 and simultaneously launch a system under which investors will be able to apply to participate in renewable energy projects.

But the new billing system will reap only a third of what was previously available to the industry in subsidies — the government forecasts 1.5 billion euros every year — while the pricing scale of the investment plan makes it more likely that interested parties will choose less expensive technologies than wind.

The outlook for Dutch wind projects seems bleak.
U.S. liberals and leftists like Europe for all the wrong reasons, seeing it as the home of secular views, the welfare state and (although they won’t admit this) the dominance of people who think like them.

But of course there are some policy lessons to be learned from Europe. Their system of tort liability is much more rational than ours — which is maintained by liberals and Democrats because it benefits a key element of the Democratic coalition, the trial lawyers.

And Sweden has the most extensive system of school choice in the industrialized world.

But if liberals don’t want to learn these lessons from Europe, they probably won’t learn anything from the failure of wind power either.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Is the Wisconsin Public Radio Audience Ideologically Balanced?

The stereotype of public radio is that the audience skews left, and a fair amount of reputable polling supports that view.

Which is why it surprised us, when we just checked the web page of the Joy Cardin show to find two polls on the union issues that have roiled Wisconsin for months. One asked respondents whether they would sign a petition to recall Scott Walker. The other asked whether the Ohio voters “got it right” when they rejected a package of union reforms similar to those of Scott Walker in Wisconsin.


Interestingly, both polls show quite a balanced outcome.

Of course, polls where people self-select into the sample aren’t scientific. But when they have a bias, the bias is usually to over represent the people who feel most intense.

Maybe the WPR audience is not so much “union left” as the “yuppie left,” and not knee jerk in it’s support of a labor agenda. Or maybe there is some conservative campaign to pile onto this poll (although we haven’t heard of such).

Let’s just say this is a data point that conflicts with the stereotype.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Marquette College Democrats Not Allowed to Call Their Recall Walker Table a “Recall Walker” Table

Just a couple of hours ago we were in the Union, and saw a table the College Democrats had set up to collect signatures on a petition to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

But no sign said “Recall Walker.” Marquette’s Student Affairs office won’t let the group call the table a “Recall Walker” table.

It has to be a “petition signing” table

Why? The College Democrats were a bit vague on the bureaucratic logic behind this, but we suspect it’s because Marquette, as an institution, can’t engage in “electioneering.” We have blogged about this, and how Marquette has taken an excessively narrow and risk averse position on the issue.

Of course, not calling the table a “Recall Walker” table doesn’t change the fact that that’s what it is.

And indeed, student organizations have often, on this campus, engaged in electioneering.

Ian Jamieson, the person at Student Affairs who is responsible for this restriction, was not immediately available to comment.

When he provides us with an explanation, we will post it here.

But we have a hard time seeing how any explanation will be plausible (other than from a very narrow bureaucratic perspective).

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hey Guys, Let’s Indoctrinate the Kids!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Sexual Assault at Occupy Wall Street

Colbert Sends Up Occupy Wall Street