Swedish Case Of Age
Discrimination In Health Care A Warning About Obamacare - Michelle Obama: To The
Manner Born - Windfarm Plan Means Very Expensive Electricity - Renewable Energy
At Normal Prices 'Is A Myth'
Friday, July 24, 2009, 8:03 PM
Wesley J. Smith
Ezekiel Emanuel, one of President Obama’s premier health care advisers–and the brother of his chief of staff–insists that rationing based on age isn’t invidious discrimination. Oh no? Check out this story from Sweden that illustrates how wrong he is. From the story:
An 83-year-old woman from Östergötland in southern Sweden was forced to pay for back surgery out of her own pocket after doctors at her local public hospital told her she was too old for the treatment. “Without the operation, I might have lived another five years in incredible pain. But what kind of life is that?” Marianne Skogh told the Östgöta Correspondenten newspaper.
Skogh has suffered from pain and numbness in her legs since 2004. After waiting for more than a year to see a specialist in the public health system [my emphasis], Skogh was finally told that the pain was likely to do problems in her back. Doctors told her she suffered from spinal stenosis, a disease that involves a narrowing of one or more areas in the back. The narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord or on the nerves that branch out from the compressed areas, often causing cramping, pain or numbness. But despite the lengthy wait for the diagnosis, Skogh was then told that, even though the ailment was treatable [my emphasis, again], she was too old for the surgery.
It wasn’t that she was too frail to handle the surgery–obviously–it was because they thought she was too old to be worth the expended resources. In other words, she was denied optimal care by her own doctor who placed his or her loyalty to “society” over the medical needs of his own patients.
If this is how you think we should treat our senior citizens who have given their country so much over so many years–not to mention people with serious disabilities, expensive chronic and terminal illnesses, etc.–you will support Obamacare. If not, you won’t.
Socialists are always good for a laugh! They preach equality and take from the "rich" (anyone who makes over $250,000... or $150,000... or $100,000... or $50,000....) ostensibly to give to the poor, but more often to give to government bureaucrats -- especially themselves.
Now you would expect that the Obamas being so concerned about the average American, as they constantly tell us while they attack greedy white rich folks, would be ever so budget conscious and absolutely committed to economizing for the American people. (Warning: Nobody get mean here and talk about date nights to New York, fying in pizza chefs from St. Louis, taking European vacations with the girls, etc. or steps will be taken.) Unfortunately, their lovely rhetoric doesn't seem to be matched by their actions.
American Thinker has a fascinating piece by Ralph Alter on Michelle Obama's budget which is THREE TIMES higher than Laura Bush's was in 2004. What are the American people getting for their $1,448,500? Lots of secretaries and assistant secretaries and assistants to assistants. But read the article for yourself and laugh (or weep). And the next time you hear the president talk about protecting the little guy, remember just how much he cares about you -- like family -- but not like the first family. More like his half brother George in Kenya who's not worth bothering about.
Posted By Mary Ann Kreitzer to LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH at 7/25/2009 11:48:00 AM
SHOWDOWN: TEXAS MAY REJECT NATIONALIZED HEALTHCARE...
Gov. Rick Perry, raising the specter of a showdown with the Obama administration, suggested Thursday that he would consider invoking states’ rights protections under the 10th Amendment to resist the president’s healthcare plan, which he said would be "disastrous" for Texas.
Windfarm plan means very expensive electricity
Renewable energy at normal prices 'is a myth'
Windfarm Britain means (very) expensive electricity
Renewable energy at normal prices 'is a myth'
By Lewis Page
Posted in Environment, 22nd July 2009 10:00 GMT
A recent industry study into the UK energy sector of 2030 - which according to government plans will use a hugely increased amount of wind power - suggests that massive electricity price rises will be required, and some form of additional government action in order to avoid power cuts. This could have a negative impact on plans for electrification of transport and domestic energy use.
The study is called Impact of Intermittency, and was carried out by consulting group Pöyry for various industry players such as the National Grid and Centrica at a cost of more than £1m. Pöyry modelled the likely effects on the UK electricity market of a large windpower base of the sort needed to meet government carbon targets - assuming no major change in the amount of nuclear power available.
There's a summary of the report for the public available here in pdf (http://www.ilexenergy.com/pages/documents/reports/renewables/Intermittency%20Public%20Report%202_0.pdf
- probably quite detailed enough for most of us at 30 pages. It says that there's no particular problem for the National Grid as such - the actual electricity transmission network - with large amounts of wind in the 40+ gigawatt capacity range. But the introduction of so many wind turbines will spell disastrous problems for operators of "thermal" plant - that is fossil fuelled, and conceivably nuclear too.
According to James Cox, one of the report's authors: "Our worry at the outset of the study that the very dynamics of variable wind output would challenge the system operators, has moved to concern that the economic environment for thermal plant will be highly challenging.”
Massive unpredictable variations in the amount of energy coming from the wind would combine with the much more regular changes in demand and in possible tidal power projects (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/26/severn_tidal_scheme_shortlist/) to produce an energy market described in the study as "volatile". If there were enough thermal plants in existence to cope with rare (but nonetheless certain to occur) events such as nationwide calms during winter evenings, some of these plants would almost never be in use. They'd sometimes go years without running for more than a few hours.
In order for energy companies to build those thermal plants, necessary to avoid power cuts, they'd need to be sure that they could charge enormous, outrageous prices during the brief periods when they were actually in operation. According to the report's authors:
In our opinion, it is likely that the sort of price 'spikes' needed to reward the risks for such plant will stretch the market design to its utmost... Equally a market with spiky and volatile prices is one where the risk of operation is greatly increased: it is unlikely to send clear economic signals to new investors.
In other words, nobody would want to build and maintain a power station with no reliable idea how much it would get used from one year to the next (the report reveals that the UK's annual wind output could be expected to vary by no less than 13 per cent). A certainty of enormous rewards when the kit was finally needed would be required in investors' minds - but there could be no such certainty. The spot electricity price would need to soar to such levels as to introduce even more risk, in the form of government intervention to protect energy distributors from going bust and consumers suffering from vicious price surges.
As things stand, then, it will be more or less impossible to get the necessary contingency plants built - nobody would provide the capital for them. Thus, when the inevitable early-evening winter calms hit in the 2030s, the required amount of thermal backup power stations will simply not be there. Up to a certain point the National Grid can "manage demand" without causing power cuts by fiddling with the supply voltage, so delivering less power to users without cutting any of them off, but it has been known (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/29/blighty_leccy_crisis/) to crash right through this safety net even with the comparatively manageable power stations of today.
So we're talking power cuts on a fairly routine basis, if nothing else changes and the planned levels of wind farms appear.
Not just power cuts, but massive price rises too. Still want that electric car?
We're also, already, talking about very serious electricity price increases simply to make those wind farms happen: the only reason they ever get built is the government's Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROC) scheme. By cranking up the ROC system, the government can drive more wind into the market; this process is already underway, and set to continue for a long time. ROCs are often misleadingly described as a "subsidy", but they cost the Treasury nothing: their effect is to pay renewables plants a guaranteed minimum sum of extra money for every unit of power they put into the grid, on top of the market price, and pass the costs of this on to the consumer via the distributing companies.
This means that the seemingly-crazy idea of negative electricity prices actually becomes meaningful with ROCs and windfarms. At times of high wind and low demand the wind farms would have more electricity on hand than the grid wanted, and they would be competing to get their juice onto the grid: not so much for its price, but to obtain valuable ROCs.
It would become worth their while at such times, up to a certain point, for windfarmers to actually pay the distributing companies to take their electricity, in order to get ROCs. The spot electricity price could indeed go negative at times. Sadly this isn't good news for electricity bills; consumers pay for the ROCs too.
Obviously the thermal power stations would have been undercut off the grid well before the price reached zero, worsening their profitability. There wouldn't just be a few gas stations switching on and off on a fairly regular schedule as we see today: the entire thermal sector - perhaps even including nuclear - would be dropping in and out of play unpredictably, running their machinery perhaps for just a few hours at a time. This would not only result in lost revenue, but drive up maintenance and operating costs and increase breakdowns - so requiring more plants offline and under repair, at more expense. Again, prices would have to rise.
All in all, the whole thermal system - which would have to remain of a size to power the UK unaided by renewables - would be enormously more expensive for consumers than it is now. Added to the significant expense of the windfarms and other renewables, this would mean swingeing price rises.
Some have suggested that problems might be mitigated by "interconnector" power lines between national energy markets, bringing in power from places where the wind is blowing to places where it isn't and so smoothing out the troublesome surges. Pöyry are fairly blunt about this:
Interconnectors cannot be the 'golden bullet'... we note that if interconnectors remove price differentials between markets the commercial case for building them can be challenging.
"There's no such thing as cheap green power - that is a myth," Pöyry's Phil Hare told the BBC.
Politicians are reluctant to tell you all this. So is the BBC.
This notion of seriously increased electricity prices might cast some doubt on the desirability of electric cars and railways, with unfortunate consequences for low-carbon transport. (Perhaps not so much in the case of cars, owing to the enormous taxes on motor fuel.) Expensive electricity would also tend to make domestic users favour gas and heating oil over electricity even more than they do now. (A kilowatt-hour of gas is already much cheaper than one of 'leccy, which is why we tend do everything we can with it: hot water, heating, cooking. A normal home already uses significantly more kWh of gas or oil than of 'leccy as a result.)
Gas-powered fridges (http://www.obrienscamping.co.uk/freestanding_gas_fridges_rge.htm#RGE100), gas-powered air conditioning (http://www.modbs.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/128/VRF_air-conditioning_is_gas_powered.html), combined-heat-and-power microgen plants, increased industrial use of gas and other such things might come into vogue with a vengeance in the future Windfarm Britain, further worsening our national carbon burden and gas-supply problems.
It's also worthy of note that experts believe (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/03/wind_power_needs_dirty_pricey_gas_backup_report/) that the fossil sector would become significantly dirtier than is now projected under these circumstances, as fuel-efficient but capital-intensive combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) would be replaced by tougher, cheaper, carbon-spewing gear more able to stand being thrashed on and off all the time. That's why the Renewable Energy Foundation's Dr John Constable, commenting on the new report, told the Beeb:
"Less ambitious levels of wind would almost certainly result in a system which is not only just as clean but is also more robust and affordable."
A major obstacle to wind was demolished when a study from National Grid last week concluded that the electricity distribution grid could cope with on-off wind energy without spending a lot on back-up fossil fuel power stations. This conclusion countered a key argument used by opponents of wind power, who suggested that the UK would still need to build extra fossil fuel power stations in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply when the wind did not blow.
A study to be published next week, by consultants Poyry, will suggest that by 2030 wind will be the dominant source of electricity for the UK.
Actually the Pöyry study says no such thing - even in the Windfarm Britain scenario envisaged by the government, a majority of 'leccy would come from thermal sources rather than renewable (and part of the renewables would be tidal rather than wind, but pass on). The report also says, as we have seen, that massive extra costs over and above those of the windfarms themselves will hit the thermal sector if the lights are to be kept on.
But Harrabin of the BBC goes on undaunted:
The [Pöyry] study amplifies a recent paper from National Grid itself stating that a move towards wind power would not necessitate widespread investment in expensive back-up power plants fuelled by gas or coal. This is a key finding which helps remove one of the main barriers to the advance of wind...
Harrabin does eventually admit that Windfarm Britain is going to cost a lot, though it's hard to see where he thinks all the extra cash on the electricity bill - over and above that for the windfarms' ROC money - is going, if not to "expensive back-up power plants fuelled by gas or coal".
Anyway, it's all the government's fault, it seems.
Politicians are still reluctant to pass on this message to the public.
They are, as witness their ongoing pretence (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/23/darling_budget_offshore_wind_analysis/) that the ROC scheme is somehow a "subsidy" rather than a tax levied on electricity users.
But consider Harrabin's headline (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8127177.stm) - "Wind 'can revolutionise UK power'" (Who's he quoting? Himself?) and his opening lines:
Research from analysts Poyry says that the UK can massively expand wind power by 2030 without suffering power cuts or a melt-down of the National Grid.
No it doesn't. And then:
The cost of electricity would then be determined not by consumer demand, but by how hard the wind is blowing. When it is windy power will be so cheap that other forms of generation will be unable to compete, the report says.
But the power won't be cheap to users even when it's windy, thanks to the ROC system. And when it isn't windy, power will be so expensive it'll make your eyes water. Overall, your electricity bill will be a great deal higher than it now is.
It's not just politicians who are reluctant to tell the expensive truth about wind power, it seems. Perhaps Harrabin was afraid of another bitchslap (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/08/bbc_blog_bully/) from the orthodox greens if he reported the news himself. ®
Green with envy
Exclusive: Patrice Lewis asks, in response to study: Why don't we all live naked in caves?
Green with envy
Posted: July 25, 2009
1:00 am Eastern
So I hear India has been recognized by the National Geographic Society for being the greenest country in the world. Isn't that nice?
According to the international polling firm GlobeScan, India earned this distinction through its dedication to "environmentally sustainable behavior" such as eating locally grown foods, lack of meat consumption, scarcity of electricity and running water, and deficiency of motorized transportation (public or otherwise).
India scored first with a Greendex score of 59.5. (America scored an embarrassingly low 43.7.) I assume the National Geographic Society would be delighted if everyone scored 100 by living naked in caves.
The article does admit India scored this high "more out of compulsion than conviction." I'm sure if someone offered to provide all Indians with indoor toilets and clean running water, they would reject such amenities lest they disrupt their commitment to saving the planet (and imperil their chances for future awards).
Sadly, India's "greenness" is decreasing as portions of the country adopt modern amenities and pull themselves out of poverty. Shocking, I know. How could they be so thoughtless? "India is … the only country surveyed experiencing increased bottled water consumption," snarks the article, without perhaps considering that water in many parts of India isn't treated and is rife with disease. I'd drink bottled water, too.
Regarding the scores for other countries, GlobeScan gloats, "… economic troubles may have worked to the environment's advantage. … Among those who reported that they reduced energy consumption at home over the past year, some 80 percent say that cost was one of the top two reasons they did so." Translation: The poorer you are, the greener you are. Cave living, anyone?
Fortunately much of India is experiencing a severe drought, resulting in crop failures across the country. For many rural poor, this means potential starvation because electricity and irrigation (which might otherwise balance agriculture during a drought) are nonexistent. Isn't this great? It means India can keep its high Greendex score for the foreseeable future.
Take a look at the Greendex calculator quiz, designed to test
your personal Greendex score. Under the section 8, which surveys one's opinions
about the environment, there used to be a
statement along the lines of "Less developed countries should have their
standard of living raised closer to that of the United States." Agreeing with this statement dinged your "Greendex"
score. I notice the quiz no longer has that statement. Perhaps India
This strikes me as the cruelest expression of the green movement – to self-righteously condemn the bulk of the world's population to grinding poverty, then praise them for their commitment to saving the earth. Twisted, seriously twisted.
I understand the reason behind Greenies' venomous condemnation of Western Civilization, particularly America. We maintain a high standard of living through equally high resource consumption. Every time you get in your car, sleep in a bed, drink potable water or eat three square meals a day, you are more fortunate than a huge percentage of the globe's population. (That's why I find it so ticklishly cute when someone claims they're saving the earth by, oh, driving to a "save the whale" rally.)
But should I praise Third World countries for their generous assistance to Gaia by starving to death? Should I congratulate India for its widespread involuntary poverty as a means to save the earth? Should I discourage poor countries from improving their standard of living lest they use more resources and (gasp) maybe even have indoor plumbing?
I see hypocrisy all over this. Greenies praise poverty-stricken countries for their minimal use of resources while they themselves take hot showers, commute to their nonprofit office jobs (taking public transportation for granted) and self-righteously shop at farmer's markets for organic bean curd. If they're so hot to save the world's resources through poverty, they should be the first to reduce their wardrobe to a single outfit and live in a box. Think of the resources they'd save!
I'm not justifying excessive consumerism or a go-to-hell attitude toward wise stewardship of our resources. Far from it; that's why we ourselves live green. But I feel compelled to point out that it's usually someone wealthy enough to choose poverty and then proclaim their lofty and superior greenness, who yell the loudest when a Third World country starts to pull itself out of privation and by extension uses more resources.
I remember reading a comment by a returning Peace Corps worker who lamented the introduction of electricity into a poor African village, alleviating some of its hardship. Somehow the village managed to obtain a television set. Now the villagers all sat around in the evening watching TV instead of gathering in the town square.
I have no love for television (actually I hate it), but I'm disturbed by the implication that staying poorer was better; that poverty equals happiness. By this criterion, portions of India should be delirious with joy.
What the Peace Corps worker didn't want to admire (prior to electricity) was the life expectancy of 40 years, the babies lost to cholera and other water-borne illnesses, the swollen bellies and skeletal limbs. But hey, at least the villagers were living lightly upon Mother Earth! Isn't that swell?
And now the greenies are salivating at the thought of reducing America's standard of living toward that of India. Al "I-can't-be-bothered-to-turn-off-my-lights-during-Earth-hour" Gore cheered the idea of vast new taxes in response to cap-and-trade. "Those taxes are good," assured Gore. I can just see America's Greendex score rising in direct correlation to our lowering affluence. Yippee!
Obama's proposed "green jobs" created by carbon taxes, cap-and-trade legislation and other limits on traditional industry will result in higher unemployment, with as many as nine jobs lost for every four jobs created. This is great! It means fewer cars on the road and a diet of (locally grown) rice and beans for more people.
Now to all the nice folks at the National Geographic Society, please take a peek at Al's 9,000-square-foot, 20-room mansion. I think he needs a few lessons from India.