Wednesday Open Thread

“When everything is easy one quickly gets stupid.”

–Maxim Gorky

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66 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Another "bomb cyclone" on its way to dump a blizzard on northeast Colorado….or not.

  2. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    The Democrats!

    Congress Is About to Ban the Government From Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax.

    In one of its provisions, the bill makes it illegal for the IRS to create its own online system of tax filing. Companies like Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block have lobbied for years to block the IRS from creating such a system. If the tax agency created its own program, which would be similar to programs other developed countries have, it would threaten the industry’s profits.

    “This could be a disaster. It could be the final nail in the coffin of the idea of the IRS ever being able to create its own program,” said Mandi Matlock, a tax attorney who does work for the National Consumer Law Center.

    Experts have long argued that the IRS has failed to make filing taxes as easy and cheap as it could be. In addition to a free system of online tax preparation and filing, the agency could provide people with pre-filled tax forms containing the salary data the agency already has, as ProPublica first reported on in 2013.

  3. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Scientist have released the first ever photo of a black hole.  It is 6.5 billion times more massive than the sun.  It is utterly devoid of intelligent life.

    And it is Orange!

    You just can't make this stuff up!

  4. Powerful PearPowerful Pear says:

    Now that the Muller inquisition has turned up evidence of spying by the Obama Administration against Trump, Colorado Pols talks about the weather. Trump is President today, tomorrow and will be in 2020. 

    Two years of being played by the media that each week the President would be arrested, Pols have no questions of leftist Democrats and Media cohorts.

    • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

      What are "signs that you might be having a QAnon-related stroke," Alex.

    • unnamed says:

      "LOCK HER UP!!!  LOCK HER UP!!!"  Said by people who are now locked up.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      Of course, Trump will still be president in 2020, Pear.

      Why impeach a draft-dodging stumblebum whose sheer incompetence keeps him from destroying American values and replace him with a competent hard-right placeholder like Mike Pence?

      When the new president is sworn in in 2021, however, the draft-dodging stumblebum will be replaced by a real American.  I'm hoping for Amy Klobuchar but there is a long list of able patriots now auditioning for the job.  

      And not a draft dodger among them!

       

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      I have a question, Pfruit, . . . 

      . . . how’d you get to be such a blithering mindless simpleton?

      (Seriously, I can’t understand how anyone could be born as willfully ignorant as you are now? . . .)

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      You did see Barr once making a series of statements, right? He started with a blunt accusation of “spying did occur” to “unauthorized surveillance” to ““I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying that I am concerned about it and I’m looking into it.” And that a member of the Gang of Eight immediately said “These comments directly contradict what DOJ previously told us.”

      So, I guess if what Barr says is true, the previous DoJ officials who testified — AG Jeff Sessions and his team — should be brought up to explain their contradictory testimony?

  5. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Netanyahu appears likely to continue as Israel's leader.  With the full encouragement of the Trump regime, he seems committed to solidifying Israel as an apartheid state.

    This is nothing less than a historical tragedy.  Israel has gone from a light among the nations to a racist redoubt.

     

  6. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Well, time to curl up on the couch with my wife and dog and enjoy my high efficiency (96 percent) gas furnance with a gla ss of cabernet and watch the Ruth Bader Ginsburg movie.  My th anks to the hard working men and women of the natural gas industry who make it easy to laugh at these blizzards.

     

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      . . . They are doing a great job of warming the entire planet!

      Here’s to laughing while we can, I spose?!

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        So, you are just sticking to burning cowchips in your yurt?  

        Good for you.  You'd be a hypocrite to burn natural gas.  And, of course, that electric heater you bought is really coal-fired.

         

        • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

          Actually V, 6 out of 10 electrons in the Xcel system disagree with you 🙂 

          • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

            D is for Dipshit Donald

            Don't be a Donald. 

             

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            That's an all-time record that lasted for one hour!    

            of more consequence, worldcwide, coal sales hit an all-time high last year.   Coal still dominates electricity and "clean" electric heat is thus often dirty, mercury spewing, coal.  Bring on the wind and even solar.  But gas is still much cleaner than coal and the onl y practical bridge to an all renewable and nuclear network in 2045.  

            Besides, the alternative vision of cowchips burning in a yurt overlooks the massive amount of methane cows burp while producing those cow chips!

            • Curmudgeon says:

              V is counting China and India in his claims, naturally. 

              But, in the U.S., things aren't as lopsided as he'd have you believe.

              https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

              Natural Gas               35.1%  

              Coal                            27.4%

              Nuclear                      19.3%   

              Renewables (total)    17.1%

               

              Dunno why V is so against cow chips.  Bullshit is his stock-in-trade.

            • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

              It was also six years ago, and we've probably added a Gigawatt or two to the system since then 🙂  Today, in the Xcel system, at least 3 in 10 electrons (and growing) would have an issue with you!  

              Meanwhile in Germany.

              • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                Of course, France is light years ahead of Germany, because of the wise use of nuclear.  Even MJ, amazingly, just called for a future using solar /wind with gas as the backup.   That's my goal.  Solar works about a third of the time, wind about a third and gas has only half the carbon of coal, so a solar/wind / gas system has only one sixth of the carbon of coal.   

                That is a future we could live with.  

                Add Cabin creek style pumped storage for the wind and it gets even better.  But solving five sixths of the problem ain't shabby.

                Sweden, with a combination of hydro and nuclear, is also near carbon free in its electric grid. But I don’t think we can get much more hydro in this country. I would like to see dams on the Colorado River and else retrofitted as pumped storage systems similar to Cabin Creek to move solar and wind into less intermittent status.

                But Duke, bless his heart, is smoking dope to push his fantasy that coal will save us. The Union of Concerned Scientists confirms that efficient gas plants produce 50 to 60 percent less carbon than coal. They also fire up much faster than coal, making them the ideal backups for wind/solar.

                Your ideas are spot on except for your belief that we can be all wind/solar tomorrow morning 8 a.m. The road shead is much longer and harder. The greatest enemy is coal, the ideal is nuclear/wind/solar and existing hydro. The practical l bridge to that future is natural gas.

                • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                  The more practical bridge to the future (now) is cheap storage. How about hemp-lignin super capacitors?  Grown on your farm in Phillips County?  

                  To quote Maya – "Do the best with what you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better."

                  We know better.  Let's do better. 

                  • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                    The hemp capacitors sound great — but where are they?  How much will it cost excel to buy 50 100 mw units and when can you deliver them?

                    Yes, we should be pouring research into this.  But we also need more pumped storage like Cabin Creek — which has worked faultlessly for 50 years.

                    Until these become practically available, it's just more tomorrow morning, 8 a.m.–ism.

                    By the way, check out the solar arrays that super heat salts and use that heat to make energy when we need it.  Another slice of the answer?  I think so, if we can get the cost in range.  But right now, turning hoover dam into a giant pumpedstorage project and filling the adjacent desert with solar arrays looks cheaper and more practical.

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      I have a hunch we'll have plentiful, cheap, hemp-based capacitors long before we'll have a single, new, pumped-storage installation anywhere in the west (if I was a betting man).

                      In the last ten years we've driven the costs of wind and solar to a point where "cheap" coal can't compete with hybrid systems (that today use natural gas to fill the gaps); natural gas has gone from mostly 'peaker' operations, to a combination baseload/firming,  to what will likely be just firming in the next decade.  It did play an important role in weaning us off coal, but that bridge was meant to be something more like the bridge on Main Street in Wray that spans the (once) mighty Republican River, not the Golden Gate bridge. 

                • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                  You wouldn't have to be so "amazed" at what I, Duke,or others say if you would read our actual words and not what you think we say or believe.

                  I, for example, have never called for an immediate ban on hydraulic fracturing, and  I do see us burning natural gas for at least the next decade – but less and less, as we phase in wind, solar and other renewables. Michael's hemp fiber battery technology and new biofuels could help transition the transportation and freight industries to less destructive options. I don't want to live in a world without commercial air travel or speedy package delivery services.

                  The problem with "someday" transitioning to renewable energy is that it removes the political will to move forward today. SB181, for example, makes some pretty modest changes in terms of requiring the energy industry to take measures  to pollute less; but COGA, API, and their flacks like to melodramatically claim that it will be the end of the natural gas industry in Colorado.

                  Chris Hansen's bill 19-037, the Energy Impact Assistance Act, would mitigate the costs of retiring coal-fired plants like Pawnee  by issuing bonds to pay for the transition. It's a practical step to move forward. Rochelle Galindo and a host of other Democrats co-sponsored it. It's under consideration in the House now. But again, the Republicans consider it to be DOOM for the oil and gas industry.

                  All of these small steps are what the Green New Deal sets intention for. The GND says that "Someday" will never come, and we need to be moving towards a sustainable future now. 

                  • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                    Actually, I'm amazed any day you don't have a stroke from singing "Ride of the Valkyries" and yukking it up with the girls in the teacher's lounge about how funny it is to call our African American mayor "Hand on cock."

                     Yes, even for you, that's pretty low.  And you fought for Stalinist 112 with all your might.

                    So, don't go pretending now about how moderate you really are.

                    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                      Same shit different day, V. Like  most sane people on here, I'll have to give up on the idea of ever having a reasonable argument with you, and ignore your invitation to pig wrestling. (You both get dirty, and the pig likes it).

                      Btw, "yukking it up with the girls in the teacher's lounge" is pretty offensive and sexist. Not that you care, I'm sure.

                      I never said davebarnes quip about "Hand on Cock"was funny – I wrote that it's juvenile and in poor taste, but fits in with the boys-club norms around here, if you ever bothered to actually read what I write.

                      I did, however, point out that you are a hypocrite for criticizing davebarnes post, since you engage in cheap attacks every single day – as you just did with me.

                      For a smart guy and a good writer, your lack of self awareness is stunning.

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      You mean you couldn't resist the chance to take a cheap shot at me, so you rushed to vilify me for asking Dave to remove the offensive, and in the circumstances, racist, "hand on cock" joke.

                      Your “criticism” of the hand on cock joke was like the old lady who went on and on about the details of the fisting she allegedly denounced… Of course, I read what you wrote. I just did not — and do not — think you were sincere.

                      Again, I ask: When are you going to do your blackface routine?

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          More of a hypocrite than someone cheering on the demise of his grandchildren’s planet from the carbonaceous warmth of his comfortable gas-fired laughing room? . . . 

          🤔 blush

          (. . . a bridge really ain’t a bridge if all you do is stand and point and yap about it, but never start moving across, and beyond, it . . .
          . . . or, isn’t that just another one of those “it’s just too soon” to start getting serious about the problem here now, ploys?)

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            And how did you stay warm, Dio?  Gas?  Or propane?  I hear Curmy's cowchip thing went awry because he didn't know they were supposed to be dried out first.

          • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

            Our beloved V. is as willfully ignorant on the subject of natural gas as he can be. One of the foundations of his devotion to methane is the lie that natural gas is cleaner than coal. That is true ONLY at the point of combustion. In every other phase of its production, it is worse.

            Numerous studies have borne out the truth. When considered from "cradle to grave", natural gas is NOT cleaner than coal or oil. Never has been…never will be.

            All the "bridge fuel" nonsense is just that…nonsense. It is predicated on a lie.

            • VoyageurVoyageur says:

              So, all those coal miners who died of black lung, Duke?  You are saying it was the clean air that did them in?  And the mer cury from coal never happened?  And the fact that gas makes one molecule of water vapor for each co2 while coal is just two CO2 doesn't count?

              Are you sure you aren't working for Trump's energy department.  They also love coal.

              • Curmudgeon says:

                So, you're equating the health hazards of extracting coal with the health hazards of using natural gas?  You really have drunk the fracking fluid. 

                You're not even trying anymore, are you? 

              • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

                Nothing you said is relevant to my point, V. 

                You are obfuscating by misdirection.

                We were talking specifically about climate change and its impact…not black lung. My family was populated with coal miners. I know the industry and its poisonous nature all too well.

                And your molecular science is irrelevant as well. I recommend you call Syracuse University…or Duke…or CSU and try to convince them they don't understand their data. This is a subject I have studied for over a decade, V. You also know that when I am shown to be wrong, I will admit it.

                I am not wrong here.

                • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                  Duke, I think you would cut off your right hand before you would admit you were wrong.

                  You have an irrational hatred for the oil and gas industry.  Or "oily boyz" as you sneer at them.

                  But facts iz facts.  Per megawatt, gas produces 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide than coal.

                  Thus sayeth the union of concerned scientists, a very liberal group.

                  You are wrong.  Coal is the enemy.  And worldwide, we mined record amounts of it last year.

                  Curmy, the poor fool, wrote it didn't matter how much India and China burned because, you know, separate atmospheres.

                  No.  One world.

                  One atmosphere.

                  And coal is destroying us all.

                  • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                    V – leaking methane at the well head often erases all of the environmental gains from switching to natural gas.  I'm not against natural gas, but science is science.  Where do you think the ozone problems we have on the Front Range come from? It's also created a situation where we're demonstrably reducing corn and wheat yields by 10%.  The industry needs to clean up its act. 

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      Within reason, of course.  Leaking methane is lost profit and of course we should require best practices.  But chemistry is still chemistry and nothing excuses killer coal and its mercury cloud

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      Here's a good report on the 'state of methane' in the US.  They talk about the Denver-Julesburg Basin in point #10 (and all the reasons 181 is the right step forward):

                      Methane research series: 16 studies

                      Researchers with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and University of Colorado at Boulder measured methane emissions from Colorado’s most active oil and gas field using data gathered by aircrafts and compared the differences in atmospheric concentrations of hydrocarbons upwind and downwind of production areas.

                      The study estimated methane emissions that were three times higher than estimates derived from EPA data. The study also found that levels of smog-forming volatile organic compounds were twice as high as EPA estimates, and benzene levels were seven times higher than previously estimated.

                       

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      181 would have been a much better law if it focused on such best practices issues and less on fostering the NIMBY wars in Longmont and Fort Collins.  Do you know, Mike, if the EPA estimates cited are from the old, Free World, EPA or the new House of Orange regime?

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      (V – this is a reply to your coal response – I can't reply directly)

                      It takes a sewer to float a turd. 

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      V – the initial report was released in June, 2018.  I can't find when the data gathering started.  I could well have been started under Obama. 

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            I'm enjoying my warm apartment, too, Dio. Looking out at the snow piling up outside and feeling smug, while I enjoy my Snow Day. And we're 100% coal-fired energy around here – so,unfortunately, it's all dirty power.

            We also had high rates of juvenile asthma until they installed scrubbers on the stacks – now we have high rates of neurological problems from exposure to coal ash in the water that scrubs the emissions.

            Would natural gas be better? Heck, yes. Would a combination of wind, solar, with gas only as a backup be better yet? Absolutely.

             Are people around here fighting that idea?Yes, tooth and nail. For the over-30 folks, fossil fuels are sort of a religion. Not so much for the younger ones, who don't see any future past a couple of summer jobs making good money working in Wyoming or North Dakota.

            Those fossil fuel jobs are going away – not because we mean old environmentalists are killing them with regulations, but because the industry is not profitable and can't compete. According to Valerie Jones on Rigzone,

            Fifty-two percent of Rigzone’s respondents with more than 20 years of industry experience are currently unemployed, having most recently worked in oil and gas. Almost half of these people were the victim of a layoff within their company. Yet 83 percent of them are still actively looking for employment in the oil and gas industry.

            Fracking gas, pumping oil, mining coal are all terrible investments with low rates of return right now – and that's without counting any of the external costs of all of the damage to people and the environment. 

            So all of this melodramatic posturing about how proponents of SB181 hate oil workers and want everyone to freeze in the dark , the bajillions of jobs we are wasting – these are all the big final aria, the boppo finish before the curtain call.

            Rep. Chris Hansen, from around here in NE Colorado, has a plan to help communities like mine transition to renewables. I don't know if that bill is coming up again this session, but it should. 

            Then I could enjoy the warm toes without the guilty conscience.

             

             

  7. MADCO says:

    “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying that I am concerned about it and I’m looking into it."

    I am not saying it happened, I am saying it would be bad if it did

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      It doesn't fucking matter what Barr says in his effort to clear T***p and his mob. One can only imagine the private conversations that go on in the Whitest House. 

      These are criminals. Barr is looking at a very well funded and luxurious retirement, knowing full well that Baby Jesus will be happy with him for doing his part to hasten the rapture. Never forget that we are dealing with zealots here. The only thing worse than a zealot is a greedy zealot (read: Trumplican©).

      You can never trust them.

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