Let's take back our land from Big Oil!

What do you do with the land that's been destroyed by the fossil fuel industry? Well, turn it in to a solar farm of course! The Maywood Solar Farm in Indiana is 43 acres, and it's made up of 36,000 solar panels. And, it sits on the site of a former coal tar refinery plant, which was designated as a Superfund site by the EPA. Back in the 1980s, environmental regulatory officials found that the groundwater beneath that plant was contaminated with dangerous chemicals, and ruled that the property could no longer be used.

However, thanks to the EPA's new Superfund Redevelopment Project, that land is now one of 85 renewable energy projects that together produce 507 megawatts of clean, renewable power. And, toxic sites in Georgia, North Carolina, and Massachusetts could soon be doing the same. It's nearly impossible to undo the damage that chemical plants and fossil fuel development does to our environment, but this is a great way to make use of the land that they've destroyed. We should be expanding this program all over the country and breathing new life into devastated land by building solar and wind plants in every area that these industries have destroyed.

Comments

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#1

Whatever happened to those solar-powered concept cars I remember from the 80s? I feel like I never hear anything about that anymore. And why don't they make electric family-size vehicles? I had to buy a minivan last year to accomodate our third child, but there were no electric options.

I think there is a real opportunity here for bipartisanship. Sell solar power to the lefties as environmentally-friendly (an easy sell), and sell it to us righties as a way to stop giving billions to the Middle Eastern countries. You could also, if you really wanted to appeal to the righties, make solar-powered electricity tax free, so you could stick it to the big evil government as well.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#2

I know that Toyota Prius hybrid has an option of a built in solar panel in the roof. I test drove one recently. I don't know how much electrical power it generates...probably not so much. Certainly not enough to fully power the vehicle. The problem with these hybrids or even the all electric vehicles is that they have to have large batteries that will eventually need to be replaced...and that will be a really big cost. Car's batteries, like the Prius, have a full warranty for 7 years in most states except California where they are warrantied for 10 years. But be prepared to pay at least $2500 to replace those batteries when the warranty expires. That is the current cost to replace them...what will it be in 7 or 10 years? I imagine that in fully electric vehicles they have even larger and more expensive batteries.

rickarcher's picture
rickarcher 5 years 32 weeks ago
#3

Good idea. And those who have destroyed the land should pay for the solar farms.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#4

Palindromedary ~ What a coincidence that Thom would mention solar projects the day after you tie solar projects to the Bundy standoff in... There I go chuckling again... "Bunkerville" Nevada. I have no problem with using unusable land to recreate Jimmy Carter's vision of a US solar bank. However, what about how this might tie into usable land that is already being used? It just seems strange to me that after you made that connection and Thom brought up that subject that he would elaborate without making the connection you did. What do you think about that?

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#5
And those who have destroyed the land should pay for the solar farms.

Wouldn't that be all of us? I mean, oil and gas companies don't drill for that stuff for fun - it's because we keep buying it.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 5 years 32 weeks ago
#6

I don't think the "righties" would allow solar panels. Okiehoma wants to tax them. The Cock Brothers wouldn't allow their shills in Congress to subsidize them. The Cock Brothers are doing their best to discourage electric cars. In the meantime we need to quit subsidizing oil companies to the tune of billions (corporate welfare). Remember when Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House? Saint Reagan took them off without hesitation. As for using less foreign oil, the last report I heard from the "lefties" was that, under the Obama administration, we are again self sufficient on oil. The Cock Brothers wouldn't allow their paid agents in Congress to stop the flow from the Middle East since it would interfere with their plan to build the pipeline from Canada and they wouldn't be able to sell the dirty oil to China at an obscene profit.

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#7

I once researched taking my house "off of the grid" with solar panels. The price (about $8000) wasn't actually all that bad for me. My electric bill is usually about $150 a month, so I wouldn't be doing it for the savings. It would be more of a stand on principal.

But then I found out that a huge portion of my basement would have to be used for the batteries, converters, and other things associated with the panels. And, since they have to be secured to your roof, solar panels frequently lead to leaks and water damage. And I would have to get ride of the one tree that is actually in my yard, not on the parkway. And even then, I would still need to be tied into city power, "just in case".

I wish I could live in the counry and get a windmill. They sell windmills that will power a small house. But, from what I can tell, you aren't allowed to have them in Chicago, because they have to be put on a tower that is too tall for the city, and they tend to squeak a lot.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#8
Quote ChicagoMatt:Wouldn't that be all of us? I mean, oil and gas companies don't drill for that stuff for fun - it's because we keep buying it.

ChicagoMatt ~ And why do we keep buying it? What choice do we have? Jimmy Carter created the first solar bank and put solar panels on the roof of the White House that were stripped down my Ronald Wilson (666) Reagan the first day he took office. All the result of the petroleum industry that intended to keep this country addicted to fossil fuels. Reagan was the petroleum industry lap dog--amongst other things.

Why has this country run stagnant on rapid transit technology? Why have we banned Hemp based fuels since 1938? Why did we convert the first internal combustion engines that were originally designed to run on natural grain alcohol to run on fossil fuels?

No, oil and gas companies don't drill that stuff for fun, they drill it for profit. And it is a historical certainty that they will let nothing stand in the way of their greed or their profit. It is that collusion that makes them uniquely responsible for the restoration of our environmental balance.

By the way, why is a middle school teacher so concerned about the profits and well being of the petroleum industry. Yesterday you said that aside of yourself, your family, and your neighborhood you could care less about the rest of the world. Or, is what you really mean that you could care less about the poor and unfortunate but are ready and eager to pucker up and kiss the a$$ of the extremely wealthy?

That says a whole lot about your character.

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#9

I was just pointing out that, at least for me, it seems hypocritical to bash an industry that provides something I use every single day. It'd be like me bashing Apple for their labor practices in China, while I type this out on a Macbook.

That being said, I'm all in favor of a carbon tax. I think companies should have to consider their airborne byproducts, just as they have to consider those byproducts that take up space on land.

Something else, since we're talking about environmentalism: for those of you who live in Chicago, I found out that you can call your alderman and request a second or third blue recycling bin for your house. You can have up to four bins in your alley, but one has to be for trash. Just an FYI. My recycling bin kept getting filled up a week before they emptied it, and when I told my alderman about it (he comes to my school a lot), he told me that secret.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#10

Matt, welcome to Corporate Monopoly 101! Here's how it works. Corporations have hijacked our government with their lobbyists, bribing politicians (our so-called "public servants") to toe the corporate line via a legislative process that once served We The People. And one of the consequences, for example, is how it gives the fossil fuel industry extraordinary power, more power than any corporation should be entitled to. They use that power to make sure any technological innovations that could potentially wean us off fossil fuel are stifled, before they can be made available to we the consumers. This is how progress gets thwarted, year after year after year. If not for this corporate hostile takeover of our government, we would have kicked the fossil fuel habit a long time ago.

I'd also like to remind you that in Europe, people buy cars with way better gas mileage than are available here in the U.S., even though these vehicles on both sides of the Atlantic all come from the same manufacturers! Why? The answer all boils down to one word: POLITICS.

The only reason we keep buying fossil fuel is because we have no choice but to buy it. Everyone has to drive to work, etc. etc. Our whole energy infrastructure revolves around fossil fuel. So it is ridiculous to blame the consumer for something the consumer has no control over. Again, it's all about politics. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#11

Mister Schoolteacher, you really need to wake up. These industries are forcing us to be dependent on them and their toxic shit. Like I said, they have way too much power. They are thwarting the kinds of progress and technological innovation the world desperately needs if life as we know it is to continue. At present, we are subject to a status quo that is simply unsustainable; that is, quite literally, killing us. It's killing us in a variety of ways: through cancer-causing carcinogens, poisoning our air and water; through the irreversible destruction of an environment our lives literally depend on; through the effects of global warming and the extreme weather conditions it generates; and also, through endless wars fought over fossil fuel in foreign lands. And it's not a lack of engineering talent or technological options that can be blamed for any of this.

I was a lot younger than you when I first connected the dots and figured this out. In the decades since then, I've seen no evidence to the contrary. It is not necessary for us to remain dependent on fossil fuel. We would not still be hooked on it were it not for corporate control of the political process and our media, the latter which has brainwashed people like you into thinking corporations are benevolent entities providing something we "need". What we really need is to move on and develop new ways of functioning that are not at odds with the laws of Mother Nature. Because in the end, that is who prevails; Mother Nature, with or without us.

You are expending an awful lot of effort defending those who don't give a damn about you, your kids or your future grandkids. For your information, Matt, scientists are already debating about humanity's prospects for survival into the next century. I don't know about you, but I find this rather frightening. - AIW

P.S. Read Noam Chomsky! That guy knows what time it is. He'll enlighten you to who's really in the driver's seat and what we're in for if we don't wake up.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#12

Aliceinwonderland: I'm glad you mentioned Noam Chomsky. He was one of the people who Bill Blunden and Violet Cheung dedicated their new book to. Another person they listed was John Young who has a web site called cryptome.org is also listed. John Young is actually pretty old...in his 80s, I think. But he's younger and more rebellious than most of us and has had the FBI and other agencies pestering him to tone his web site down.

Blunden and Cheung's new book "Behold A Pale Farce-Cyberwar, Threat Inflation, & the Malware Industrial Complex" describes how they were contacted by a San Francisco publisher to write a book about cyber warfare. But, after about 5 months, the editor and publisher did not like what the author and coauthor had to say in their book because it would result in "push back" from those in power. Blunden said: "We were sending a message that would directly challenge the narrative being spread by powerful interests, and there was a serious threat of retaliation." Rather than allow such radical editing of their book, Bill and Violet "developed a strategy of gentle resistance" and the publisher eventually pulled out of the contract. They found a new publisher that was willing to publish their book. The authors begin by mentioning how Woodrow Wilson had won his second election from the campaign slogan "He kept us out of war" and then after being reelected, he used propaganda from a group called The Creel Committee. Edward Bernays, who was also part of that committee, is known as the grandfather of modern propaganda. He also created the term "Public Relations" (PR) because the term "propaganda" had such negative connotations. Now, they are trying to change the term "public relations" to "perception management". The Creel Committee was created to propagandize Americans into accepting our participation in WWI. They told all kinds of lies about the Germans...lies that were really absurd like the "bloodthirsty Huns" were taking their dead soldiers and boiling them down to make explosives and pig food. Kind of sounds like the 15 year old daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador selling the US public on Papa Bush's war in Iraq by claiming the Iraqis bayoneted incubator babies in Kuwaiti Hospitals.

By the way, just try paying cash for such a book at a major chain bookstore. Persistent bastard of a cashier didn't look like he was going to sell me the book unless he somehow got my name by various ploys..."do you have a discount card from us?".."Do you want to apply for one?" he starts out..then, after repeatedly refusing several other offers all designed to get my name, I finally had to tell him, very forcefully: "look, just take the money and give me the receipt!!!" I usually buy my books on-line...they are a lot cheaper, but of course, they get my name and address...and credit card number.

I had the same problem when I went to a "styling salon" just to get a normal haircut. I went to that place just because I was in that area when I decided to get a haircut. They wanted to type into their computer a "customer profile" on me..so I can be "put on their mailing list". I told them I didn't want to be on their mailing list. And they continued to try to persuade me to give them my information. I refused to give them my name, phone number and address and they acted like I was committing a major crime. I know darn well these people sell that information to other people who will pester me for something or other some day. They cut my hair anyway, and I know that I won't get put on some mailing list which is the way I want it. These store owners have such nerve but I guess most people just, "zombie-like", dutifully comply. "Do you want to super-size that?" "Would you like to make that a large drink...it's only 10 cents more?" I want only what I ask for and nothing more! I know it's not the employee's fault...the employer is behind it.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 32 weeks ago
#13

You guys forgot to mention some early examples of the oil barons forcing us to use their products. In the late 1800's. Mr. Diesel came up with this great engine that would burn far less fuel. He showed his great invention to John D. Rockfeller on a cruise from the US to London. 10 days later Mr. Diesel was found floating face down and dead in the ocean.

Then in the 1920's, LA county had a street car line running from the city to Santa Monica Beach. The line was called the Red Line. General Motors and Standard Oil told the LA City they would take over the Red Line and the city would not have to pay for it anymore. Those carbon corps then ran the line such that driving a car to the beach seemed like the far better choice. To see how much it helped the carbon corps bottom, you should be driving on the 405 where it intersects Interstate 10 at 8:30 AM.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#14

DAnneMarc: Coincidence? I don't know, maybe.

Quote hartmann:The Maywood Solar Farm in Indiana is 43 acres, and it's made up of 36,000 solar panels...

That's puny compared to the 10,000 acres on Mormons Mesa near Bundy's ranch. Except, the technology is different. The Mormons Mesa solar farm will not be solar cells but will be an array of mirrors that direct the suns rays to a collector unit at the top of a tower.

Some tidbits of information about who's behind that Indiana solar farm....

Quote maywoodsolar.com:Hanwha Q CELLS USA – in concert with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), IPL and site owner Vertellus Specialties Incorporated – will construct the ground mounted solar array between August 2013-December 2013..

So, who is Hanwha Q Cells USA?

Quote Hanwha.com:Hanwha Q CELLS offers a wide range of photovoltaic solutions, from solar cells and modules to solar power plants. Its’ total annual cell production capacity is 1GW(200MW of cell production in Germany, 800MW of cell production in Malaysia).
Quote Hanwha Corporation:... the company is also developing its own weapon systems including ammunition, unmanned systems, and precision guided munitions as we establish ourselves as a leading player in the international defense market.

And so, while I'd much rather see these large companies manufacture solar cells than weapons of destruction, they will still tend to destroy anyone who gets in their way. They have the power to buy off politicians and to manipulate what people believe. Just like that solar farm they want to put on the BLM land where Bundy grazes his cattle, on the Mormon Mesa, those with all the money and power will get their way. That solar farm will be built by Bright Source Energy Solar Partners and they consist of these companies: Alstom, Google, Bechtel, Chevron, and NRG. And GE just bought the French company Alstom.

So, somehow, I don't think it is a solar energy against fossil fuel energy...as much as it is who controls it and who will end up paying for it. The oligarchs own it and we have to pay for it no matter whether it is solar or fossil fuels or nuclear. And, as Matt pointed out...it was going to cost him $8,000 plus take up a lot of room for the batteries and other equipment in his basement. And you have to add to that cost of insurance after initial warranties expire or risk having wind damage or hail destroy the solar cells and those batteries don't last forever either. You have to pay big bucks up front and hope that you come out ahead eventually vs paying the energy companies those relatively smaller amounts every month (that will continue to increase as well).

And just wait, someone will figure out how to tax us on the sun one day.

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#15
You are expending an awful lot of effort defending those who don't give a damn about you, your kids or your future grandkids.

I don't think I am really defending them - just pointing out a hypocracy. I know corporations don't give a damn about me. But I feel the same way about the government as well. Part of me wants to just drop out of both - stop buying gas, but also stop paying into Social Security and other government programs. Then the other part of me - the really right-wing part, thinks to itself, "I should invest in some Exxon stock..."

For your information, Matt, scientists are already debating about humanity's prospects for survival into the next century. I don't know about you, but I find this rather frightening.

Religion helps keep me positive about the future. I think I read in another one of your posts that you are Atheist. And we both know neither one of us are going to change the other one's mind, so let's not waste our cyber "breath". But, the thought that there is something much better waiting for me on the other side of this life helps me not worry so much about the future.

I can feel the collective condemnation of the nonreligious people who just read that. I know, "opiate of the masses" and all that Jazz.

Read Noam Chomsky!
I read some of his stuff in college. Couldn't get into it. But perhaps I should try it again, now that I have those extra 12 years of "real world" experience. A lot of things I read in the past mean different things to me now. "The Giving Tree", for example.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#16

Whoa, that's a close one. I managed to beat Matt on submitting a post by just a second. We both submitted at virtually the same time. I know, little things like that amuse me! ;-}

Matt, I don't think DAnneMarc considers himself an atheist..I'm the atheist...and damn proud of it too. ;-} But I'm too worn out from the last bout of discussions on that subject that I won't go any farther than that. But, you are correct...arguing religion or atheism is just not going to convince anyone, one way or the other, just spinning our wheels.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#17
Quote ChicagoMatt:Religion helps keep me positive about the future.

ChicagoMatt ~ Oh, really!! Maybe then you should ponder this little tidbit...

The Holy Bible: King James Version

Quote The Book Of Matthew, chapter 24:19 ¶Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#18

Apropos to #18 ~ The definition of "mammon" is as follows:

Quote Wikipedia:Mammon /ˈmæmən/, in the New Testament of the Bible, is material wealth or greed, most often personified as a deity, and sometimes included in the seven princes of Hell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammon

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#19

WOW Palin, that was pretty amazing what you experienced at the bookstore. That blows my mind! Thanks for sharing. From now on, I'll pay more attention to any situation where I'm being prodded for such information. Good for you, standing your ground like you did! You handled it very well. That little twerp picked the wrong guy to mess with. He had no right to harass you and his behavior was inappropriate. We can pay for our purchases any way we bloody choose to pay for them!

For a long time I have resented being coerced into submitting my social security number to medical clinics, banks and other businesses that have nothing whatsoever to do with the government. That was not the original purpose of these social security numbers. Whenever I can get away with it, I submit just the last four digits. With identity theft such a pervasive problem and on the rise, we might as well be giving these folks our house & car keys.

Anyway I've generally been pretty picky about where to disclose personal information. Your experience makes me want to get even pickier. The nerve of these people! Yeah it's the employer who's ultimately at fault… but that cashier didn't have to be so goddam pushy. Remember Baby Bush's policy of spying on everyone's reading preferences, requiring bookstores and libraries to take lists for that purpose? I bet that policy is still in effect. I suspect this may have been what was behind the bookstore's efforts to identify you as the purchaser of a politically controversial book. Maybe you should go back there sometime and buy an item less controversial, like The Joy Of Cooking or a book about gardening, just to see if they treat you differently. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#20

Thank you, Aliceinwonderland, for your kind words of support. Just after that incident at the book store, I was thinking about how the government had leaned on the librarians to give them lists of what people were reading and was wondering if they were doing the same thing at the book stores...not so far-fetched. If they are going to be so darn snoopy at book stores, I might as well buy all my books on-line like I normally do anyway. I bought this book at the bookstore because it wasn't that expensive and I wouldn't have saved much on it anyway had I ordered it on-line. They are so much cheaper..and waiting a few days for Fed Ex to deliver is not a problem. However, the threat that a FedEx truck follower will steal packages from my front door is always in my mind. I don't feel like I can go anywhere when I am expecting a delivery. And I watch for people approaching my front door through my surveillance cameras. I've already caught people trying to open my car doors at night and trying to steal out of my mail box.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#21

johnbest: Former President Jimmy Carter has said: "America has no functioning democracy."--quote from the book 'Behold A Pale Farce'.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#22

Palin, I'm certain that bookstores as well as libraries were pressured to keep records of what people were reading. I remember asking about this point-blank at a local bookstore I occasionally patronize. The woman I asked told me they were refusing to participate. She seemed sincere and I believed her. But my point is that if bookstores weren't being pressured, I would have gotten a different response. - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#23

That's what I call "the smoking tongue"! "..they were refusing to participate!" I know a lot of librarians were really ticked off over it as well.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#24

As well they should be, Palin! This is creepy, disgusting shit.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#25

It looks like the banks are getting fussy over who they allow to have accounts with them. More than a few porn stars have been shut out...bank accounts frozen...all because of the depositor's "unsavory" way of making money. Funny they should be so picky after all they launder dirty money from drug dealers. But then most of those banksters probably snort cocaine anyway and most likely watch those porn movies...how else would they know that their customer's real name equates to the fake porn names.

http://www.businessinsider.com/porn-star-chase-bank-accounts-2014-4

Maybe Chic-Fil-A members sit on the board of Chase?

But here is another possibility....have you ever heard of a government program called Operation Choke Point?

"...the latest is that this may be a part of the US Department of Justice's "Operation Choke Point" program, in which the government has apparently decided that some extremely legal businesses don't get to exist anymore, but since they can't just disappear companies and industries in good standing, they've decided to route around the whole "freedom" thing and get the financial industry to act as contract hitmen."

"Operation Choke Point is asking banks to identify customers who may be breaking the law or simply doing something government officials don't like," Keating wrote. "Banks must then "choke off" those customers' access to financial services, shutting down their accounts."

"Keating said the highly secretive operation was launched in early 2013. That's when porn stars started to complain to the media that their bank accounts were being shut down without explanation. "

"Let's not mince words: a program that was built upon the goals of stopping financial fraud has devolved into a massive government overreach into private businesses that are operating within the law. "

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140430/12191027079/chase-bank-slutsha...

Zman's picture
Zman 5 years 32 weeks ago
#26

I agree with Thom's original comment, but wonder if the groundwater contamination has been remediated as one would expect for a Superfund site. Or, does the solar facility serve as lipstick on this pig?

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#27

I totally agree, which is why I donate my time and money to the church. If given the choice, I would give all of the $70,000 or so I paid in taxes last year to the church, rather than the government. At least I know when I give money to the church, 100 percent of it goes to buy food, which is then given out to the needy. I know this because I volunteer in my church's food pantry. Most of the people we give food to are widows and new immigrants.

I agree with Progressives that helping the needy should be a priority. But, like most things, the execution of that priority is where we differ. Give money to my local church, or give money to Washington? I think that, when it comes to getting positive results for the needy, the smaller and more local the scale, the better.

As a disclaimer: I work at a parochial school, and the food pantry is downstairs. Volunteering my time there is just a matter of staying a little later than my contract says I should every day.

I would also point out that the Bible also says not to judge others, and to love your neighbor as you love God. For all of the grief Thom and the Progressives give millionaires and billionaires, they (if they chose to be Christians) should remember that those millionaires and billionaires are still people. We should still love them and not judge them.

I'd be curious to know from people of other religious their beliefs about judging people.

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#28
By the way, just try paying cash for such a book at a major chain bookstore. Persistent bastard of a cashier didn't look like he was going to sell me the book unless he somehow got my name by various ploys..."do you have a discount card from us?".."Do you want to apply for one?" he starts out..then, after repeatedly refusing several other offers all designed to get my name, I finally had to tell him, very forcefully: "look, just take the money and give me the receipt!!!" I usually buy my books on-line...they are a lot cheaper, but of course, they get my name and address...and credit card number.

Before I got into teaching, I was a manager for a retail chain. Our evaluations from the district manager included how many of those "loyalty cards" we were able to "activate", which meant how many people we signed up to be on the mailing list. I didn't think anything too sinister of it - they just wanted to know where to mail their flyers. When stores ask for your zip code, they just want to know where they should open new stores.

Here's an interesting anecdote: When I ask my students to use their Ipads to log on to the same website that I am on, the ads on the borders are all geared toward the individual student. The girls gets ads for make up and stuff like that, the boys get ads for video games, and I get ads for baldness cures. I am NOT going bald, but they know enough about me to know I am around that age.

Again, I don't think it's anything too sinister. Just clever marketers using the resources at their disposal. Then again, having been online my entire adult life, my expectations of privacy are less than my older friend's expectations.

We start teaching our students about internet safety in the fifth grade. Rule number one: NOTHING is truly anonymous. Anything you send online can be traced back to you. We do it mainly as a scare tactic, to keep the kids from sending inapproriate pictures or talking to perverts. It is true though. Privacy and anonymity seem a little anachronistic.

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#29
But, you are correct...arguing religion or atheism is just not going to convince anyone, one way or the other, just spinning our wheels.

Yep! Trying to describe the experience that solidified my faith would be like trying to describe an orgasm to someone who has never had one. Words don't do it justice. You have to experience it for yourself to understand. And, once you've done it, you just want to keep doing it.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#30

Chicago Matt complains that Thom and us progressives are giving millionaires & billionaires grief. Whatever "grief" we've given the pampered and privileged power elite is vastly outweighed by the damage they've inflicted on our democracy, our government, our environment and our livelihoods. Sorry, no apologies. - Alice IW

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#31
Whatever "grief" we've given the pampered and privileged power elite is vastly outweighed by the damage they've inflicted on our democracy, our government, our environment and our livelihoods.

That sounds an awfully lot like "Two wrongs make a right". Or, as I hear a lot from my students, "He/she did it to me first!"

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#32

Is it wrong, Matt, to criticize someone who's trashed your democracy, your government, your environment and your livelihood?! You seem to think we should all just suffer in silence while they eat our breakfast, lunch and dinner, steal our homes and bankrupt us. To this you respond with cliches and platitudes, from your comfortable little pedestal. - AIW

rpropst's picture
rpropst 5 years 32 weeks ago
#33

I think solar and wind farms are an excellent use of these sites, probably would not be suiteable for anything else. The governments of the world along with all industries have one thing in common, that is the rising population of around 7 billion people on this planet. I can only imagine that number will increase with time, how do we feed all these people. These industries are giving the people what they need or want, but most of them are destroying the enviroment in the process. How do we as a species work with nature to feed our growing population, or are we just going to keep using oil wars as a way of population control?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#34

Palindromedary ~ You might be right about book stores trying to gather information about what you read. However, I have noticed the same pitch from supermarkets, big box stores, and even hardware stores. I think all vendors are competing with each other for information for marketing rather than nefarious purposes. (Although I would never rule out nefarious purposes as well.) They really train their cashiers to be very insistent upon this. Yesterday I went to the grand opening of a discount hardware store near by. I was approached in the isle by a worker that wanted us to apply for their mailing list to receive coupons and a free gift. At the cash register we got hit up again. They wanted my phone number in order to check out. Then they told me my name to verify they had the right number, and then repeated my address to make sure all their info was correct. (You see I wanted to make sure they had it right, I love tools and love to get their catalogue.) Nevertheless, both employees were very pushy and annoying. Of course they are only selling tools. It just goes to show that when one store starts to use a successful marketing strategy, all the others simply have to follow suit just to stay in business.

That being said, I must agree that I would never give my ID to a bookstore. Not even to buy a cookbook. Anytime I go into one I go with cash as Sam Smith. If anyone wants to know what Sam cooks they are welcome to that info. (I'll never forget my buddy in the hardware store. When he paid with his debit card they asked to see his ID. He responded, "Which one?")

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#35

"rpropst" says "How do we as a species work with nature to feed our growing population, or are we just going to keep using oil wars as a way of population control?" That's the $50,000 question.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#36
Quote ChicageMatt:That sounds an awfully lot like "Two wrongs make a right". Or, as I hear a lot from my students, "He/she did it to me first!"

ChicagoMatt ~ That type of forgive and forget psychology might work fine on the schoolyard but means nothing with the ruling elite, multinational Corporations, and their political puppets. On the school yard tempers flare and are usually over trivial nonsense. The issues can be easily quelled and people can move on.

In the grand arena of our world where profit means the sacrifice of human life we cannot be forgiving. The reason is that once a criminal of this stature gets away with a crime they always come back and try to out do themselves. Our own history is proof of that. Just look at the crime of Vietnam. Thousands of families and innocent lives destroyed in both countries. Our President was shamed out of office. Did we prosecute him for any high crimes in office. No. Instead we allowed him to get a blanket pardon for all crimes in office. Fast forward to 911 and two illegal wars with nations who had done nothing to us. Countless war crimes against humanity, countless families and lives shattered, and the loss of our Bill of Rights. I say to you that if Nixon was tried, found guilty, and sent to prison where he belonged none of this--including 911--ever would have happened.

There is a time to look the other way. There is a time to turn the other cheek. There is a time to forgive and forget. However, when innocent life and our ecosphere are at stake, that is not the time!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#37

Marc, your compliance with the hardware store is understandable. But I would mightily resent being pursued for personal information, especially as aggressively as that bookstore lackey PD encountered...all for the "privilege" of receiving more junk mail or whatever. We are constantly bombarded with mountains of advertising and it gets so old. Annoying store employees who have to gall to pursue me with the sort of aggressiveness you & PD have described would run the risk of getting barked at or worse. I've no reluctance about causing a public scene when harassed. Fortunately I've not encountered too much of that in this area, except those membership cards you need to benefit from discounts offered in a few stores, like Safeway and Staples. Beyond that, I'll not tolerate harassment from store employees over personal info I'm under NO obligation to give out. - Aliceinwonderland

P.S. By the way, yesterday I caught a cashier at Fred Meyer (a local grocery store) overcharging me for an item. Happens all the time! If you're not adding up your prices at these stores, my friends, you're getting ripped off. Cashier errors are almost always in the store's favor, and I suspect much of it is deliberate. Don't let 'em get away with it! This is shoplifting in reverse.

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#38

I read an article in a science and engineering magazine that theorized on the possibility of giant, geosynchronous mirrors that could direct sunlight directly towards solar panels on Earth. It looked totally cool and feasible. As an added bonus, they could be redirected to aim sunlight into the ocean ahead of a Hurricane, diverting its track away from land.

I've also noticed, unfortunately, that the conversation has changed from preventing global warming, to adapting to it. (Or denying it. Even I don't believe that right-wing BS.) There are actually articles and websites that list the BENEFITS of global warming, like increased farmland in Siberia and Canada, and longer growing seasons. How long until we see a shooting war over resources that are now frozen but will soon be accessible?

My family grave plot is on the coast of NC, right in the flood zone when the ice caps melt. I think about that a lot - that 100 years from now, if my descendants want to do a little ancestry reseach and find my grave, they will need SCUBA gear.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#39

Aliceinwonderland ~ You are totally right about your assessment. Especially the overcharging. It pays to keep a running tally of your items before even getting into line. The scanning process at the checkout goes too fast to really catch anything. My wife is really good at checking the receipt on the way to the door and is the one who usually catches the mistakes. However, I prefer to have an idea of what the total cost will be before I get into line so that I have reason to stand by the door and read the receipt in detail. It's just easier that way for me.

One thing I differ with is giving the poor employee a bad time for collecting this info. They have no control over what their employer makes them do. Personally, I feel sorry for them. We can deny their requests in a polite way just to make their looooong day go by a little bit easier. I know that is what I would hope people would do for me. Remember, there but for the grace of god go I. Who knows, sometime in the future we may all have to--or know someone who has to--collect information in stores just to pay bills--especially the way the economy is going. Of course, if they keep pestering you after a couple of polite "no thank you's", then let them have it. (You could also tell them your name is Sam Smith. Works for me. They don't really care about the accuracy. They just want information. Do what our media does and spoon feed them misinformation. That way, you're happy, they're happy, and their boss is happy. Can't we all just get along?)

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#40

ChicagoMatt ~ I'm not sure if you get the point about that quote from Matthew. I is not talking about giving money to the Church--the Church didn't even exist back then. It was talking about the desire to serve God as opposed to the desire to just get rich (to be a servant of money). I know the Church feeds off that guilt that comes from the acquisition of riches in order to line their own pockets with their own riches. I'm not so sure it ALL goes to the mouths of the hungry. Most churches I see are decked out like palaces and the pastors drive luxury vehicles. Nice thought though. What really matters is what aspirations we all have in our own hearts. That's all up to us to decide for ourselves. No one else's business.

By the way, on a side note, I'm just curious. How does a teacher find the time to blog all Friday morning? Is today a holiday or something?

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#41
By the way, on a side note, I'm just curious. How does a teacher find the time to blog all Friday morning? Is today a holiday or something?

I wouldn't say I've been on here ALL morning, just during my lunch and twice during the morning classes. with classes of only 15 or 18 students, it's actually fairly easy to take five minute to read and respond to something on here. The rule I live by in teaching is that if I am talking to the students for more than 15 minutes, they aren't paying attention anymore. So I keep my actual "teaching" time short. Then I just make myself available for anyone who has any questions on the assignment. I see it as treating the students like the young adults that they are, and their results show that I am doing SOMETHING right. They do well on standardized tests, get into the high schools of their choice, and the parents (who are the real customers) are all pleased.

Over the summer I am going to record my lessons, so the students can watch them on their Ipads, pause them, re-watch them, etc. And I'll be available if they need more help. (Like Khan Academy)

I can talk about teaching all day. It's my passion. But my wife has informed me that, shockingly, no one cares. So I'll stop now.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 32 weeks ago
#42

Marc, I would never blast a store employee unless that person harassed me. Two polite "thank you's" is reasonable; beyond that, they're asking for it if they persist. Or if I'm in an especially good mood, I'll tell 'em my name is "Sam" just for laughs... or George. (tsk) My information is my information, to give or withhold as I choose. - Alice IW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 32 weeks ago
#43

Chi Matt -- I would find another science/engineering mag to read. Did you know a solar panel above the Van Allen belt is 15,000 times more efficient. The numbers are

solar panel energy: at sea level - 1 kw/m2, below van allen 1.6 Mw/m2, above van allen 15 Mw/m2

The best such idea I have heard (long ago) was to capture the suns energy in space and use microwave transmission to send it to earth.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#44
Quote chuckle8:Did you know a solar panel above the Van Allen belt is 15,000 times more efficient.

chuckle8 ~ Yeah. I read the same thing. As I understand it the technology has only a few bugs in it too. There are a couple of big companies in California I believe who are working on this technology and plan to have a working prototype in the near future. It is a shame though that our government isn't leading the research. It seems so wasteful to pour money into spy satellites and nothing into energy research. When you get down to it, energy is really a far greater concern for national security than violating the Constitution.

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#45
The best such idea I have heard (long ago) was to capture the suns energy in space and use microwave transmission to send it to earth.

That would be cool. If I knew a company that was doing that, I would contribute to it, either through a gift or stock purchase.

I remember seeing something on cable once about a company that was actually working on a prototype space elevator. The biggest obstacle to anything space-based is just getting it up there. So they designed a cable that could run several hundred miles into the atmosphere, with a counter-weight on the other end to keep it strung tight. Then these "elevators" could attach to the cable and pull themselves into space. The trip up would take about 30 minutes, and, once constructed, would save a FORTUNE in space flight costs. Something like that would make all other space-based technology much more realistic.

I hope I live to see that day.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#46

I agree that the practice of trying to get as much marketing data about people is pervasive. Perhaps, the next time a lowly employee badgers you for information, ask to see their supervisor and tell him/her that you don't appreciate being shaken down for personal information like that. If we all did this the merchants would fear that they would start losing customers.

But, the problem is, too many people are just not aware of what is being done, or perhaps, they just don't care. They are not thinking about the great likelihood that all of that pesky advertizing junk in their mail boxes, or the spam in their email accounts, or those pesky phone calls trying to sell you vacation time-share property or worse, was the result of being so carefree when merchants hit you up with their data collection schemes.

Google used to have a free reverse telephone number service...just type in the telephone number and it told you the name and address of the caller. They stopped that service a couple of years ago because, they claim, that too many people called them and wanted to be taken off of their data base in the name of privacy. But, I would imagine the people who complained the most were people who were running phone scams...or people who were trying to harass other people by phone but didn't like it that their victims could use Google reverse phone number service to see who was trying to harass or scam them.

You can still type in phone numbers into Google search but you always get scammer reverse phone lookup companies who want to charge you for it....and there are some claims that you don't always get much more information from these scammers than you would by doing some intelligent searches yourself.

These merchants are mining data from you that they sell to anyone who will pay them for it. Loose lips sink ships! And, all of those people who frivolously give out any kind of personal identifying information about themselves, on Twitter and Facebook, and blogs, are easy to pin down to where they live, where they work, family members, medical problems, and a lot more. The more you have said about yourself on these web sites, the more other people can find out about you. If you make it easy for them by giving your real name, or by using the same username and password on other web sites, other blogs perhaps, then you have to realize that anything you've said on any one of the web sites about yourself can be accessed by anyone who is creating a dossier of you.

If you know the address, you can use Google Earth and even Street View to virtually stand out in the street and look at the person's house. There are very dangerous people in this world who, if they get ticked off by what you say might, if they know who you are and where you live, try to do something very bad to you. Remember the crazy man in the movie "The Jerk" who picked out names from the phone book for people to shoot?

Then, there's the Government that does things like Operation Choke Point, that puts pressure on banks to close accounts of people who they believe are not morally correct...like Porn Stars. I thought that kind of thing only happened in Saudi Arabia where the religious police..the Mattawa, went around switching women's bare legs in public because their skirts were too short (like not all the way down to the ankles), or forcefully cutting off women's hair in public when they let it grow too long and let it fall naturally.

We have a government that tries to enforce a conservative morality on the people by getting banks to close customer's accounts if the customer has been found out to work as Porn Stars. What if, one day, the government decides that window washers, or wedding photographers, or field service engineers, or religious school teachers are morally reprehensible and they put pressure on the banks to close accounts of people with these kinds of jobs?

Is it any wonder the apparent chummy relations our government has with Saudi Arabia? Friendly relations with a country that is rated at the top for abusing their people....even King Abdullah's two daughters are being held as prisoners in Jeddah all because the girl's mother divorced the King and is living in London. Our own government is being controlled by moral bigots who, most likely, all watch porn movies themselves.

ChicagoMatt 5 years 32 weeks ago
#47
But, the problem is, too many people are just not aware of what is being done, or perhaps, they just don't care.

Or, they start caring too late. This has been going on for so long that I can't think of any information that ISN'T already out there.

If you make it easy for them by giving your real name, or by using the same username and password on other web sites, other blogs perhaps, then you have to realize that anything you've said on any one of the web sites about yourself can be accessed by anyone who is creating a dossier of you

Theoretically, yes. But there would have to be an army of people going through all of that information. Worrying that people are putting together a dossier on you (not you, personally, Palindromedary, but people in general), assuming you're not a drug kingpin or spy, seems a little "tin-foil-hat-in-the-basement" paranoid.

This reminds me of something I realized when I worked in retail before going into teaching. I managed a specialty chain store, and we had about 20 cameras in the place. There aren't 20 people watching those cameras. There isn't even one person watching those cameras. There was one person in a room somewhere in Tennesse who was watching all of the cameras for all of the stores West of the Mississippi. The cameras are only there to record things in case something happens, and they can go back and check out the tape.

If you know the address, you can use Google Earth and even Street View to virtually stand out in the street and look at the person's house.

If you really wanted to, you could use Google Sketchup to make a 3D rendering of the interior of your house and "place" it in Google Earth, so people could virtually walk through your house. Freaky.

or religious school teachers

Thanks for the shout-out!

Your worry about banks closing the accounts of different "unsavory" people is similar to my concern about Donald Sterling being banned/forced to sell his possession because of his "unsavory" views. To quote the famous poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

Just replace the words "Socialists", "Jews", etc... with whatever you happen to be.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#48

There's that P-word again...and I'm not referring to my user name. That's ok, though. In today's world, if you are not just a little bit paranoid then you haven't been paying attention. By the way, I too think that people go way overboard on being offended about some things. It is a way of bullying people that even seems to work on rich and powerful people...who have made big charitable donations to those same groups. And certain groups know that they can play it for all they can...not to mention the opportunism and exploitation by the quid nunc news services....of an old man's private conversation that was illegally procured. In a court of law, when evidence has been illegally attained, the judge is supposed to rule it inadmissible and the jurors are told to disregard it.

I think what is really, really important on the Don Sterling issue, yet is conveniently overlooked, is the breach of his privacy. No one seems to be concerned about that. And if you are not concerned about HIS privacy then you can forget about anyone caring about YOURS. His private call to his girl friend was being spied on and recorded. That's illegal, yet no one seems upset about that!

Once we're all herded down the chutes, put up by the moral minority who are spying on us, it won't be long before they are reading our minds with very sensitive electronic equipment. You know, they used to just have lie detectors that were never very reliable and are not always considered admissible in a court of law. But, they now have even better electronic means of detecting what you think about things.

Quote ACLU: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) allows researchers to look at neural activity in real-time by using powerful magnets to trace blood-flow changes in the brain.

Meanwhile, as CBS Seattle first reported, some scientists are claiming they can “hack” information out of a subject’s brain, and engage in lie detection, by using a simple “brain computer interface”—biofeedback brain-wave readers that are increasingly used to control computers and are available off the shelf for only $300. According to the scientists, a “guilty knowledge test” based on a particular brain wave, the P300, “has a promising use within interrogation protocols that enable detection of potential criminal details held by the suspect.”

Every parent should have one! ;-0 No?
I think I'll keep my tin-foil-hat-in-the-basement firmly planted on top of my head...it might just disrupt those fMRIs a bit longer. It might also help to obscure the facial recognition cameras planted all around the place.

https://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty/high-tech-mind-readers-...

By the way, nice avatar of Niccolo (sometimes spelled Nicolo) Machiavelli! What a Prince, eh? That avatar is popular with about 40+ others according to tineye.com

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 32 weeks ago
#49
Quote Palindromedary:By the way, nice avatar of Niccolo (sometimes spelled Nicolo) Machiavelli! What a Prince, eh? That avatar is popular with about 40+ others according to tineye.com

Palindromedary ~ I've said it before and I'll say it again... You rock, dude. YOU ROCK!!!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 32 weeks ago
#50

Thank you DAnneMarc! By the way I was wondering how much one's income would have to be in order to have to pay $70,000 in taxes. Unless, one's wife was making a whole lot more than the husband it just wouldn't make sense if ones salary was around $60,000 or less.

http://primaryschoolteachersalary.com/IL/Chicago/salary/Catholic-School-...

http://primaryschoolteachersalary.com/1/1/salary/Middle-School-Teacher-S...

I suppose a combined income of $200,000 and a 35% tax rate would make it $70,000 tax. But, what? No write offs to lower the effective tax rate? So, if one had write offs to bring the effective tax rate down to say...20%...that would make a $70000 tax have to have been on a combined income of $350,000. So, if one earned only $60,000 that would mean the wife would have to make $290,000. Yes, there could be other income...like investments, I suppose.

But then there is this:
http://www.isbe.net/research/pdfs/teacher_salary_12-13.pdf

and this (2005 data)
http://counciloakmontessori.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/0611ChicagoSc...

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