Madness in Baltimore

I can not help but follow the events in Baltimore and am apalled.  Young black men may be angry, but they are sabotaging any good that could have come from the mistreatment and death of Freddie Gray.  The burning and looting simply hardens the hearts of those who believe they are part of the 47%.  Watching a young black man destroy a car because he could even makes me angry.  It is like a wild orgy of violence that simply exacerbates the problem.  That kind of wanton destructiveness simply alienates the nation.

Oh, I know I don’t understand their anger over generations of mistreatment.  There will be plenty today who will surely explain it to me, but I think of Palestein and the bad behavior on both sides no matter how justified, and they have gotten nowhere.  This lashing out, looting, and burning is everything Dr. Martin Luther King tried to teach his community this lashing out would not work.  Now I fear they may have set back their efforts many many years and hardened the hearts on both sides of the divide.

Finally, I saw the beginning of the blame the system defense which, while somewhat true, has failed over and over and will simply embolden those that hate them anyway.  While condeming the violence and looting, the story line went that these people are victims of a school system that has failed them, and of course, police brutality.  Okay, but like the rioting, it fails to accept some responsibility for the situation and do something about it other than rioting and destroying things.  As Martain Luther King preached, that was not the way forward.

I understand anger at inequality and mistreatment at the hands of the police.  I understand the rage they must feel at the injustice.  But like terrorism, that does not justify returning the favor in kind.  In both cases violence and destruction are brought on those that did not perpetuate their condition.  But it ensure that the cycle is repeated and it will be tit for tat into the future.

I am really heart broken that this was the reaction in Baltimore.  Blacks are calling for whites to hold those accountable for police brutality and they should, with the necessary reforms to turn this nation around.  But everyone should be calling on the black community to hold those accountable that started this cycle of violence again.  There is no excuse and making one perpetuates the problem.

  

What are They Thinking?

My posts may be irregular for the next couple of days.  I just got home from knee surgery (full knee replacement) and when I take the Oxycodone for pain, it makes me luppy.  Slows down my reasoning process which I am sure some of you think, could not possibly be any slower.  I will say one thing in regard to my medical procedure.  Kaiser Permanente has their shit together and my care was exceptional.  So much for the fear of socialized medicine because Kaiser is as close as we are going to get until we actually get the real Thing.

Okay, that was not my topic today, but conservatives that are gay or transgender are.  What the hell are they thinking?  I saw Bruce Jenner interviewed the other day and indicated he was a conservative.  Add to that Log Cabin Republicans, gay and lesbian Republicans that works within their Republican Party to advocate equal rights for gays and lesbians in the United States, and level of denial is just mind blowing.  Do they think Republicans will ever represent their interests?  Do they not get that the party has become mired in religious conservatism that will never accept their lifestyles?  What is it about Democrats (Progressives) are they so against?

Well I am not sure.  Are they economic conservatives and big government haters?  Do they get the hyprocrisy of this in that “big” government is the only tool for them to get their rights?  Do they think the 47% are really takers and not connect the dots between that false belief and the idea that gay lifestyles are a threat to traditional marriage?  Do they really think trickle down works and that the job creators (who are not creating jobs) deserve the massive flow of wealth from the rest of us to the few?

I guess I can understand this massive level of denial from Republicans who have theirs and want nothing to change, while getting all their news from Fox News.  But when quite possibly the most important thing in your life, your basic rights, are being wrongly denied by your party, wouldn’t you start questioning some of your other assumptions?  Yeah, I know.  They say the party is moving forward which is another sign of some kind of very deep seated denial as we see “religious freedom” laws being pushed by, who else, Republicans, which is just another attempt to deny them their rights.  All I can really say about any of this is that something is going on instead of logic and reason and may help explain why so many Americans vote against their own best interests.  I wish I could just figure out what it is.

  

Why is Religion Special?

In a country where religion is unquestioned and ubiquitous, that may seem like a stupid question, but I am talking about in the legal sense.  Why should religion be treated any different or any other belief system or ideology as say conservative or progressive?  Seem like a dumb question?  Why do religious organizations get treated differently than non-profits in the tax code?  Why do religious objections get preference over good public policy like exemptions for vaccines? Why do we “respect” religious beliefs that fly in the face of known facts?

Well, I think the answer is our history.  In order to establish our Constitution and government for all the people, we had to assure people that government would not interfere with their religious freedom and that the tyranny of the majority would not ostracize those with minority religious beliefs.  On the other hand the Founders did not want government that was religious in nature (whose religion?) so there is no religious test for office, and government is prohibited from making a “law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof”.

Ay,  there’s the rub. When does the free expression of religion impinge on the rights of others and when should that be limited? The problem with that question is the very reason for the Enlightenment and a government established by the Founders that tried to restrict religious interference and influence in its governing.  It’s not rational.  The problem is when deeply held religious views are challenged, in many cases they are not subject to logic, reason, or compromise.  When does your deeply held belief against abortion infringe upon my right to control my body (assuming I was a woman)?  When does my right to traffic in the public square supersede your religious intolerance of me?

The Founders and our solution has been to allow any silly or religious or superstitious belief you have until it crosses a line of infringing on others rights, and because religion has been such a controversal force in public affairs, we have tried to give it a great deal of sway.  But we have now seen Hobby-Lobby where an employer’s religious freedom can dictate how an employee is treated regarding medical benefits.  We have seen how states controlled by the religious right are trying to deny access to a perfectly legal abortion.  We have seen how once again religious conservatives have pushed laws that would allow them to discriminate when providing public services to those they choose on religious grounds.  And we have seen how religions, while given non-profit status, do not have to show how their money is spent for the betterment of their fellow-man like other non-profits.  I think it has gone too far.

It is time to recognize that religion has no special place in entitlement of intolerance.  The intent was to allow the free expression, but that expression when it tramples on others does not deserve special exemptions because it is a religion.  Note that Wicca (witchcraft) has been ruled by the courts to be a religion. If we go down this road, pretty soon nothing can be enforced because it violates someone’s religious beliefs.  We don’t think about this because religious tolerance is infused in our culture and we think only of mainstream religions.

This is going to be especially hard because instead of what Fox News has claimed is a war on Christianity, some elements of Christianity are waging a war on the rest of us.  We have to keep these policies of special exemptions out of the public sector.  We could start by treating religions just like we treat other non-profits under the law.  We need to understand that they are pushing a political agenda and where they do, remove their non-profit status.  And finally we mustn’t allow them, under the guise of religious freedom, to enslave the rest of us under the rule of their dogma.

Make no mistake, these types of antics by the religious right are multiplying and taking us back to a dark, dark time.  Ask the Republican candidates for President where they stand on evolution, gay marriage, religious freedom laws, and global warming and you will see the hand of religious intolerance reaching out from history not only enabling religious intolerance, but stifling science. It is not an accident, and if secular government is to survive, we must be clear about basic human rights and how religion cannot trump them.

 

  

Police and the Public

 

Police Abuse

You are probably tired of watching some police person shoot a fleeing suspect and wondering what is going on.  There was a news story where some young woman put a note of thank you for their service and risking their lives under the wiper of a parked patrol car.  She was white if you are wondering.  So am I so I know I do not have the perspective of a person of color when it comes to law enforcement.  I am a son of general and spent almost 12 years in the AF and I too want to respect those in uniform.  But we mustn’t forget that that respect is a two-way street.

We Americans give our police special powers, including carrying weapons and the right to use deadly force.  Of course, if the NRA has its way we will soon all have that right and I can’t wait for the shootouts.  But I get distracted.  If a policeman stops me on the street and asks for ID, I think nothing of it.  I think there may be an issue and I want to be a good citizen.  I want to help.  Contrast that with what we have seen in videos of innocent black people being treated horribly, and shot without a deadly force provocation.  It is a different world for them because some of our police have badly abused their authority.

I think two things are going on here.  First, we are not screening our police force carefully enough.  People who want power and will abuse it are attracted to the police force just as child molesters are attracted to professions that give them access to kids.  Screening is critical.  Second is training.  Police simply have not been trained properly about their role in the community.  We see pissing contests escalate into deadly consequences.  We see an attitude of us versus them and after a while that is exactly what it is.

Now I want you to look at the picture I posted at the start of this blog.  That is a U.S. Marshall taking  the phone of a bystander who was filming the police action and destroying it. There is so much wrong with this it just boggles the mind.  Let’s start with the fact that there is no law against filming them.  Second, it is a gross abuse of police power and indicates an arrogance that should never be tolerated.  Third, it indicates an attitude of being above the law and accountability.  If it were me, that cop would not be a cop anymore because there is a basic problem in his attitude that indicates he should never be entrusted with the public’s safety.  He can’t stand up to the public accountability.

Police have a vital role to play in our lives and we should respect them, not fear them.  Based upon all we have learned, it is clear that we have a national problem and it needs to be quickly addressed.  Respect for our policemen is the basis of a peaceful society.  When they lose that respect, chaos and law breaking will result.  Good policemen have to go the extra mile, take the abuse, deal with the dregs of our society, and do it with dignity and concern.  It really is a very hard job and we have turned some of it over to thugs.

  

Water Wars

For those of you out there who try to ignore news about California, you should be happy to hear we are in a major drought. To make a long story short this could be the worst in 1200 years and there is no end in sight.  Scientists cannot specifically link the drought to climate change but climate change, and in specific global warming will make the even much more severe.  That is just a fact.  You should be worried because about half your fruits and vegetables from the United States are grown here (See Food, Water, Free Speech, and Sustainability).

Okay, it even gets more interesting because most of the water in California comes from ground water, which is being pumped dry, and snow pack, which doesn’t exist this year in any great quantity.  Finally, to fully understand the politics, Southern California gets a large portion of its water from Northern California, sent down the California aqueduct system (Also from the Colorado river).  The governor has stepped in and placed mandatory reductions in water usage.  Now here is where you see the I got mine screw you mentality emerge.  From the Sacramento Bee:

Several suburban Sacramento water agencies on Wednesday challenged the state’s latest emergency water conservation plan, calling the proposed drought reductions an illegal water grab.

In letters delivered to the State Water Resources Control Board, local water officials argued that the board is misusing its authority to impose mandatory conservation, and took issue with the notion implicit in the state’s proposal that watering lawns is an unreasonable use of water.

Representatives of the Placer County Water Agency, San Juan Water District, city of Roseville and Sacramento County Water Agency, in a joint letter, took exception to being lumped in with communities that don’t have strong water rights under California law and largely import their water from other regions.

“The ‘tiers’ do not recognize water-right priorities, population density, climatic variation or any other facts particular to water use,” the agencies wrote.

A separate letter, from the Fair Oaks Water District, was equally blunt, calling the proposed state mandates illegal and unfair. In it, district General Manager Tom Gray said water users in his area should not be required to take on the burden of conservation for people who import their water, a reference to Southern California, which relies on Northern California and Colorado River water for basic needs.

So let the water wars begin.  Those with first claim on water flowing out of the mountains will want to take their full needs and you guys downstream that have secondary water rights, well, suck wind.  Oh, and my lawn is my castle.  Oh my brain hurts.  Now there is probably some truth is these claims, but the issues are not legal, who got here first.  It is how do we coordinate our water use in a smart way so both our agricultural and urban economies are not thrown into total disarray, and some real planning for the future (See California Water Politics).  But that is how an engineer thinks, not a politician who represents someone whose life is determined by how green there lawn is.

Stay tuned.  You thought ISIS was an ugly bunch, you have not seen anything yet.  As one of my conservative friends pointed out, if you thought wars over oil were bad, wait till you see the wars over water.
 

  

Democratic Presidential Candidates

So if Hillary doesn’t work out, who have we got left?  I wanted Bernie Sanders to run to push Hillary left, but I have no illusion he could win a general election.  Elizabeth Warren, who might give her a run, is not running.  Other potentials are Joe Bidden who might have a shot at it, but with the press presenting Joe as gaffe prone when he speaks the truth, I am not sure he could sustain a fight against Jeb Bush.  Then there is Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland, but no name recognition.  He does appear to want to take Hillary on from the left so that might be refreshing.  We have Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb, but probably too conservative.

So unless there is a sleeper out there, the only person with real name recognition are Hillary and Joe.  Unlike the Republican candidates, they have not been out there saying crazy things and building up their name recognition. And that makes me nervous.  Where are the young bright Democrats who can replace Barrack Obama and move the country in a Progressive direction?  O’Malley could be that person, but he is going to have to build up a head of steam.  As far as getting out there and getting recognized by saying stupid things like they might attend a gay friend’s reception, but not the wedding, Democrats seem fairly quiet.

And that is troubling because with Hillary as the bull’s eye and the 24/7 media salivating for scandal, well if it is not Benghazi or her emails, it is going to be the Foundation.  I am having a hard time connecting the dots to donations to a foundation to how she will run the country, but I am sure the Republicans will connect the dots for us with the help of ambulance chasing media, which it appears, is now being joined by the NYT in a race for ratings.  I wonder if we will ever just ask the candidates for the positions on different policies that affect the average American?

I hope I am wrong and will either be surprised by Hillary standing up to all this nonsense, or a new progressive champion will arise from the pack, but I don’t think the country has another Barrack Obama in them.  He ran on change and Democrats had real hope, and we got little.  Now you can argue this one way or another, but I think the real issue is perception and the country is not going to buy it again.  Right now I think the Democrats, with only Hillary in the race, are making a big mistake because all the news is going to be about the spear chucking Republicans, with very little return fire from the Democrats.  Have they learned nothing after all these years about not letting the Republicans control the conversation?  Apparently not.

  

TPP

That would be the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty that the Obama Administration is negotiating in secret.  Heard an informative debate on the subject?  More importantly why should you care, and most Americans don’t.  I would bet you could not find one out of ten who have heard of it.  But if you have been listening to the debate you probably heard something like this:

It will greatly facilitate our trade and level the playing field with China versus It will cost American jobs and give corporations more power than governments.  You don’t understand the agreement and are just flat wrong versus It will overrule environmental protection and local laws.

Okay, made up your mind?  I think most are making up their minds based upon whose side you are on.  Elizabeth Warren is against it and George Will is for it, so the usual suspects are lining up along those lines.  Mark Bittman has written a piece in the NYT about his interpretation of what it will do and that should scare you.  But what are the facts?  We don’t know because it is being negotiated in secret and President Obama wants fast track approval of this when it is complete.  That means just an up or down vote in the Senate, no amendments.

Now I understand why it is being negotiated in secret, after all the only way the Founders could arrive at our Constitution was to do a similar thing so that short-term politics could not derail the process.  But then the states got to add the Bill of Rights when the finished product was revealed. So why is the President asking for only an up or down vote?  It feels like a giant piston being rammed down our throats.  And on business and the banks, our President has shown himself to be too cozy with the status quo.

This really is a very important treaty and it needs to be looked at in the light of day.  Right now I have no idea who to believe other than George Will and the Republicans generally get just about everything wrong, and they are sure not interested in the middle class.  But that has to be put aside and not judge this on personalities, but on the actual terms of the agreement and what they might mean.  There is no way Congress should agree to fast track this thing until we know what is in it and all voices are heard.  Yes, politics is messy business and it is hard herding  cats, but trust me, you will like it won’t fly with something this important.

  

The Braindead Rule

It was my last round of golf before I will be laid up for a while with some elective surgery.  It wasn’t a good round and I had to quit after the front nine.  I had torn a muscle in my right leg (I am right-handed) and trying to hit a golf ball without driving with your back leg as you start your swing makes life very difficult.  We had a three-some and we were joined by a fourth, Larry.  Now unless you really know your golf mates, politics is really not appropriate on a beautiful day on the course, so I refrain.

So I was mentioning my upcoming knee surgery and Larry informs us that medical costs are out of sight because of illegal immigrants.  Now I know that is untrue.  Studies indicate that about 1% of Medicaid is used to treat undocumented workers, primarily women who come into the emergency room to have their babies.  First this is not driving up our healthcare costs, and secondly should we just throw them out, have them have their babies in the street?  And then there is the fact that most of them already do pay for these services as they almost all pay local, state, and federal taxes.  In other words any services they receive is more than compensated by what they pay in.

But I wasn’t going to go there on the golf course so I just said, “Well I appreciate the work they do for me in my vineyard.”  Note that I do not to my knowledge have any undocumented laborers working in my vineyard, but I just wanted to say something positive about undocumented immigrants who just want to work without pointing out his ignorance.  Larry said there is a process for immigration and they should follow it.  Oh my.  Yes there is a process and it is so broken as to be non functional.  Most of us in the farming business know the system is badly flawed.

But  I know there is no point.  Facts don’t matter and it was a nice day, so I said, “Nice shot Larry.”  Larry was a likeable guy, and I am sure he would go the extra mile to help you out.  But his political views which are rampant here where I live, are uninformed nonsense, and informing him would make no difference in his attitudes.  And there is an arrogance of their ignorance that makes them feel free to push them on the rest of us thinking everyone thinks that way.

Then I get home, I ice my knee and start reading the Daily Beast, and there is an article about how fundamentalist evangelical Christians are ostracizing those who want to ask real questions about their beliefs.  In this case Professor Tom Oord was dismissed after 13 years at Northwest Nazarene University for suggesting that evolution is true and was just God’s method of creation.  He was trying to bring science and reality into their religious beliefs and he was thrown out as a heretic.  How is that any different from Muslims who do not allow questioning of their faith?  Once again you are seeing how religious belief (as in concert with ideological belief above) blinds us to reality and making our religion/ideology relevant to today’s knowledge and facts.  I know what I know and don’t bother me with those pesky facts.

Oh, but it gets better.  Locally here in California the state government is trying take action to limit those who have opted out of vaccinations that are putting the rest of us at risk.  The Sacramento Bee let us know today that:

Senate Bill 277, a bitterly contested California bill eliminating the state’s personal belief exemption for vaccines, doesn’t apply just to parents who believe they are dangerous. It also would eliminate parents’ ability to skip vaccinations for religious reasons. 

In what Johansen described as an affirmation of his faith, his daughter has overcome severe medical issues. He considers her survival miraculous and warned SB 277 would harm devout Californians like him.

“When you’re saying healing power can only come from man, from man’s science, that takes away from what I believe: that God heals,” said Johansen, a Hayward resident who works in real estate. “I have seen God’s miracles, and when you ask me to choose that I put your beliefs above mine, that is a fundamental point where I cannot do that.”

It is ignorance of faith-based reasoning that is going to put your kids at risk in school. Does your religious freedom allow you to put other kids at risk of serious disease or death ignoring science and data? In my mind religious objections are no different than any other ideological objections, one based on faith-based ignorance, and the other on pseudo-science. 

I believe the state has a responsibility to protect and defend the public interest first. Religion should not be allowed to override good public policy based on superstition and ignorance. Most states are now denying an ideological exemption, and I have a hard time seeing why religion is some special category of ideology that should be allowed to put us all at risk.

UPDATE:  My friend Tom emailed me with the back nine revelation:  Larry told us that whenever you get a procedure done by Medicare that it would never be right because then you would have to return and that’s how they make money.  I rest my case.  The inmates have taken over the asylum.  I wonder who he thinks the Medicare doctors are?


  

Ah, Mr. Brooks

I am reading David Brooks this morning and I wonder if he ever listens to what he is writing.  Here is one:

The phrase “American exceptionalism” has become a rallying cry. There is a common feeling on the right that the American idea is losing force and focus, that the American dream is slipping out of reach, that America is stepping back from its traditional role in the world and that President Obama doesn’t forthrightly champion the American gospel.
Even more than normal, Republicans seem to want their candidate for president to be drenched in the red, white and blue.

Okay, but who is tarnishing American Exceptionalism, if it exists?  Who has blocked every big idea in the last 30 years?  Who is it that thinks small on America when it comes to investing in it?  That would be those that David tell us is aching for the fantasy of American exceptionalism.

I guess one has to define that phrase if it is going to have any meaning, and in the feel good political climate it means feeling good about yourself.  But if American exceptionalism exists, it is a government based upon the idea the reason will win the day and democracy will work.  It is the idea that our melting pot brings the best of all cultures to excel in a free society.  Ah, and there’s the rub.  Free society.

First they have stymied democracy.  Through the use of the filibuster and then with control of the House, democracy was thwarted.  Bills that had both majority support in the Congress and in the country were shelved.  Second, they hate immigrants.  They can’t even pass a sensible immigration reform bill because they are cowing to their white base.  Finally there is that free society thing.  Their interpretation is free to force my conservative ideas on everyone else, not what the Founders intended, tolerance of many views.  Hence we have the religious freedom laws which were thinly veiled attempts to use religion as a basis to limit someone else’s freedom.

Finally we have a nation that cannot even admit to science if it does not agree with their ideology.  We have these Republicans doing what they can to suppress the vote with voter ID laws, limiting voting, and in general making voting harder for the poor and disadvantaged.  And the conservatives who believe in American exceptionalism are armed to the teeth, and trying deny the less advantaged the help (food stamps, Medicaid) they need.  Looking at world rankings of social mobility, healthcare, competitiveness, education, you name it, we are not even in the top 10, and it is these conservatives that are driving us there.

So Mr. Brooks, instead of touting a candidate that makes them feel good (Marco Rubio), maybe you ought to exam what American exceptionalism is and ask what that candidate is offering to restore it.  Is he offering a drug to make you feel good, or is he offering real policies that will actually make us good again?

Oh, and in case I forgot, did Mr. Brooks talk about any big ideas Marco Rubio might have?  Nope it was horserace and charisma, blah, blah, blah.  Of course using big ideas and Republican in the same sentence is some kind of oxymoron.

  

Planning Ahead

It is the insane season with 18 months to come and while I will pay attention and try to point out when they are not making sense (most of the time), the real issues for America are not being discussed or even thought about.  Of course I am talking about the election in 2016, but our future is right now.  And instead of thinking about how to transition to our future, we have our heads in the sand.  What got me thinking about this was an article in the Daily Beast basically hammering California for their lack of planning in our present water crisis.

The article by Joel Kotkin is entitled The Big Idea:  California is so Over.  While I agree with Mr. Kotkins major premise that the water crisis has been in the making for many years and was being ignored by everyone, he kind of glosses over the complexity of the issue with a bombastic attack* on progressives and greens where the real complexity of the issue is better laid out in the classic, The Cadillac Desert.

But his point, that California is basically an arid region, transformed by major water projects to allow unfettered growth, and then not continuing to invest in their water infrastructure to support growing populations and agriculture is dead on. Political interests are short-term, and water policy is both hard and long-term.  And the bottom line is nobody wants to pay for dealing with reality, until reality makes you pay with a long-term drought.

But that is just one instance of failure to plan and respond rapidly to a changing world.  I was reading a separate article about solar power in Hawaii and basically the gist of the article was that the utility companies are not prepared for home generated power being dumped back into the grid**.  So they have power fluctuations they cannot manage and at times, overwhelms the system.  Additionally, building and maintaining the gird are expensive propositions and the loss of income from home generated power could substantially impact their ability to invest and improve their infrastructure.

One could go on and on, looking at our other infrastructure, the rapid rise of sea level and our sit on our hands attitude until disaster strikes.  It is America today.  It is, I am sad to say, a reflection of conservative policy of maintaining the status quo (that is what conservatism means), cutting all spending (failure to invest in tomorrow that will not look like today), and assuming the market place will solve all problems.  In a word, it is the attitude they have fostered on all of us that government is the problem, not the solution.  That attitude and its policy implications have left us with an America totally unprepared for tomorrow.

These problems don’t have local answers, and they require planning and foresight.  Remember the story of the Grasshopper and the Ants.  The ants are busy socking away food for winter and working hard while the grasshopper plays.  Then winter comes and the grasshopper is in deep doo doo. Well that is where we are in so many areas and why American life is degrading.  Government has a major role to play here in doing the long-term forecasting and planning that the market place won’t do with its fixation on the short-term gain (the Grasshopper).

Just as an example, in California there needs to be aggressive action taken now and yet politicians sit on their hands.  Not only do we need to get short-term water usage in check, we need a plan for our future using science and data about what nature could bring.  The grid problem is not just in Hawaii, but everywhere solar is expanding.  Local generation of power decreases our need for the grid (and susceptibility to terrorist or natural disruption), but we still need the grid and that is again the role of government to ensure that our national grid is properly financed.

The bottom line from this engineer, project manager, and as sometimes called, planning Nazi, is forecasting and planning for our future.  Leaving that to the market place is a road to ruin.  If we have not learned our lesson that once business has developed a cash cow, they block all change even though that cash cow will soon collapse and hurt our national interests, then shame on us.  We have to empower government to take on this role and then to act forcefully when change is required.  Right now we are seeing glacial movement in our political arena because they are controlled by the interests that will be most hurt by the needed change.  But in the real world the glaciers are melting and they had better melt in the political world too or we are doomed to reactive fixes after it is too late.

*Mr. Kotkins gives real environmental concerns short shrift, and he fails to take into account how the market place and the federal government played into easy cheap water paid for by the American public that drove many of the unsustainable growth patterns.  His primary focus is on water for the status quo, and that may not be sustainable either.

**Generally speaking, cost-effective home solar power is based upon local generation where the excess power generated is put back into the grid and the home owner is credited for that excess power. During hours of darkness and bad weather, power is delivered to the home through the grid. Local storage to make the home fully grid independent is not really cost-effective, but that is coming.