Wednesday Reads — The (Windy) One

Today, President Obama makes his first Iowa visit since taking office, on Earth Day.

I was so excited this morning to run downstairs and see whether Al Gore came down my my composter and left me some candy in my carbon footprint. But he didn’t. He just left me a bag of clean coal. Rats.

Anyway, Obama will be in Newton at a wind turbine plant talking, what else, renewable energy. The Register notes that he’s asking Congress for $15 billion annually to boost the renewable energy industry. That, the administration argues, will create green collar jobs in places like Newton, which lost blue collar jobs when Maytag moved out.

AP’s Mike Glover writes that Obama’s famous Iowa field organization, which delivered him a game-changing caucus night win in 2008, is already  getting ready for 2012. The perpetual campaign. I heard someplace that it never ends.

I’ll be in Newton and we’ll have live coverage at gazetteonline starting sometime after 1o a.m.

So what’s up at that crazy Statehouse? The Legislature’s just about to wrap up the 2009 session, right? Well, not exactly.

Seems our best and brightest 150 are sort of at a standstill. Democrats who run the House say they can’t do much until Gov. Chet Culver sits down and negotiates. There is still no agreement on Culver’s signature agenda item — a $750 million infrastructure bonding/stimulus bill. That’s “I-Jobs” to you and me.

But Culver, Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports, says he’s not budging. The governor said he’s already moved lawmakers’ way by reducing what he wants to spend on roads and bridges.

So how long will this immovable Lug resist the irresistible force of adjournment fever? You’ve got me, but during shutdown season, gridlock can break without warning.

In the meantime, lawmakers have other important stuff to argue about, like booze in convenience stores, the Pledge of Allegiance etc. The Gazette/Covering Iowa Politics’ Rod Boshart has a great account of Senate budget debates that featured those issues and much, much more. Now how much would you pay?

Also, delayed adjournment is giving Sen. Merlin Bartz, R-Grafton, the time he needs to urge county recorders to defy gay marriage when it becomes all nice and legal Monday. But one man’s civil disobedience is another guy’s reckless disregard for an oath of office.

This is one more thing that can be filed under the curious slogan “We oppose the pursuit of happiness, stability and family. We’re Republicans.” Oh, you guys are a shoe-in come 2010.

Besides legislative chaos, what are some other signs of spring?

Glad I asked. The Sioux City Journal fronts exciting news of a bison calf born on an Iowa prairie preserve near Westfield. The big news:

The calf’s birth last weekend is the first at Broken Kettle and the first in more than 150 years to a conservation herd on a native prairie in Iowa, according to The Nature Conservancy, which owns the preserve just south of Westfield in the Loess Hills.

On that happy note, enjoy your Earth Day.


1 Comment

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One response to “Wednesday Reads — The (Windy) One

  1. I’m so tired of wasting money on wind projects. when the technology is ready, business’s will figure it out without spending my tax dollars.

    for example here in Iowa – HF 810, provides credits for “small wind innovation zones,” passed the Senate unanimously. It’s already cleared the House, so now it goes to the Governor. This way you can pay for people to build windmills, whether or not they make economic sense, and whether or not there is transmission and storage capacity in place for the power generated.

    meanwhile”A real-world test by the Dutch province of Zeeland (a very windy place) demonstrates that small windmills are a fundamentally flawed technology (PDF of tests results in Dutch, English summary). Twelve much-hyped micro wind turbines were placed in a row on an open plain. Their energy yield was measured over a period of one year (April 1, 2008 — March 31, 2009), the average wind velocity during these 12 months was 3.8 meters per second, slightly higher than average. Three windmills broke. The others recorded ridiculously low yields, in spite of the optimal conditions. It would take up to 141 small windmills to power an average American household entirely using wind energy, for a total cost of 780,000 dollars.

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