Stewart Udall And The Growing Environmental Movement

I knew Stewart Udall and grew up knowing his family for he was very much involved in many of my father’s projects in Arizona and both he and my dad were advisors to President Kennedy.  Stewart died this week and it is time to remember that there are good politicians out there even if one might dispute this or that policy, some politicians are not corrupt or lazy.  Stewart was honest, fair and openminded.  And he introduced me to the book, ‘Silent Spring‘ by Rachael Carson.  

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Stewart Udall, Kennedy, Johnson Interior Chief, Dies (Update2) – BusinessWeek

“I was taught that a person may aspire to nothing higher than to be a public servant,” Stewart Udall told the Saturday Evening Post in 1961. Udall attended Eastern Arizona (formerly Gila) Junior College in 1937, transferring to the University of Arizona in 1938. As expected of a Mormon son, he dedicated two years to an evangelical mission in 1940 to New York and Pennsylvania before traveling to Europe and joining the U.S. Air Force as a B-24 tail gunner during World War II.

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After the war, he returned to school and played for the University of Arizona’s first basketball team in 1946. He graduated in 1948 with a law degree and, two years later, opened a firm with brother Mo in Tucson. He won election to the U.S. House as a Democrat in 1954 and served until his appointment as Interior secretary in January 1961.

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ΩΩBack when Udall was first becoming an environmentalist activist, the state of Arizona used to leave poisoned carcasses all over the place to kill coyotes.  This also killed many, many bird species for many birds, not just vultures, were also scavengers.  Not to mention the hosts of other scavengers like bobcats or smaller mammals, even mice ate carcasses.  I remember finding these things in the desert, luring animals to a painful death and this disgusted me greatly.

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ΩΩThe Udall kids, like myself, loved to roam the desert foothills of Mt. Lemmon, too.  And we all discussed how things were going, how the birds of the desert such as the roadrunners (who are meat eaters!) and cactus wrens were vanishing.  Stewart and Mo both worked hard to stop this.  They expanded public lands to the great fury of people who want to simply take out of the earth all riches and leave it barren and hopeless.

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ΩΩHe worked on ending overgrazing. Death stalks the frozen land of Genghis Khan – Telegraph is the story of Mongol overgrazing.  After the fall of the communist collectives that controlled herd sizes and provided social services, it was every herder for himself and they all tripled the size of their herds and stripped the land of all living things and now are suffering terribly in severe COLD (please note this, everyone) and the droughts that now plague them are similar to the droughts that lashed the US back when overgrazing and overfarming was the norm.

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ΩΩAll things have natural limits and encouraging a varied and ‘natural’ environment is wonderful and helps us survive.  We can’t just do as we please.  We have to keep an eye on Nature.  And yes, there is too much CO2 and no, pushing for carbon trading will do nothing to fix this problem as I will speak about later in this article, yet again.

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ΩΩSteward supported 100% my father’s solar energy research and helped get funding for it and he introduced my dad to Jimmy Carter and Carter chose my dad to head the Alternative Energy Panel, and the Chinese did likewise.  And we still struggle with what to do with solar energy.  Both Steward and my dad and incidentally, certainly myself, we believe that all houses in southern balmy to hot climates should be required, by law, to have solar panels on their roofs!

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ΩΩYou don’t need any international bankers with CO2 trading to get a law passed that will force builders and developers to do this!  The costs are less than 10% of the cost of building a house and house values are entirely dependent on outside market forces, not the cost of building.  Many things like toilets and proper waste disposal are covered by laws, so can solar energy.  I hope that we look to the future the same way Stewart did all his very long life and choose wisely.  And choosing to have everyone use renewable energy instead of coal, is a splendid goal!

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Alcoa’s New Technology May Lower the Cost of Solar Energy — Seeking Alpha

The aluminum manufacturer Alcoa (AA) has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to test a new type of solar technology that it believes will lower the cost of renewable energy. The project is being partially funded by a U.S. $2.1 million Department of Energy (DoE) grant.

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Currently, solar troughs use parabola-shaped glass mirrors that are attached to a support structure made of aluminum or steel in order to concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect the solar energy and convert it to heat.

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Alcoa has replaced the glass mirrors in parabolic troughs with highly-reflective aluminum ones – integrating the mirror into a single structure in order to create a new CSP parabolic trough system.

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All-aluminum parabolic troughs are estimated to reduce the price of a solar field by 20%, due to lower installation costs.

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ΩΩSolar energy developments continue and the systems improve each generation at a very high rate.  But alas, PRODUCTION of all of these things the US scientists, engineers and inventors devise, move nearly instantly to China!  And so another opportunity for us to produce at home and service domestic needs, will slip away, one by one.  This is why  I chide our government and economists over the issue of tariffs on ALL trade partners, not just China!  As the technology improves, the need to get people involved in this is hyper important.

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ΩΩWhen we had that stupid ‘clunker program’, we lost a golden opportunity to change many dynamics such as taking care of the global warming issue (if this is very important, the car clunker thing was totally insane) by funding the buying of solar panels.  I would have gotten some!  But instead, we had a ‘feed the status quo system’ deal instead.

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Scousers could save us from the Russians – Telegraph

The long-abandoned coal seams that stretch from the Pennines to the Irish Sea are also rich in methane gas and this could be tapped to produce electricity for the national grid. CBM is rapidly being developed all over the world as countries attempt to cut reliance on Middle Eastern oil and Russian gas. The UK needs to catch up – and all eyes are on Liverpool as it leads the way in the UK’s newest source of energy.

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ΩΩSo, England is now dropping the CO2 worries and is embracing using more coal-based energy just like….China!  And the US, of course.  The whole business is political: England can’t be rude to Russia or Muslims if the country needs energy from both.  So political expediency trumps all that bellowing about global warming.  Global warming won’t get any traction using scare tactics.  Getting people to use saner systems requires being positive and grasping for opportunities such as encouraging the US to have a protected market for alternative energy production, not import the systems we need to install.

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ΩΩNow onwards to one last story from Forbes.  Forbes always amuses me because the staff there is so touchingly naive.  I noticed yesterday that Blockbuster is holding an ‘out of business’ sale.  Looks like technological and systems changes in the video markets has doomed Blockbuster’s business.  No surprise to me.  The next thing that is changing fast is how we get movies and TV: via the internet.  Netflix killed Blockbusters but Hulu and others are rapidly going to kill Netflix over time.  Not to mention Apple selling movies directly to iPad users, etc. in the future.

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What Blockbuster Video Can Teach Us About Economics – Forbes.com

The essential role of short-sellers is most apparent when we consider what exactly “capital” is. To most, capital is money, but in truth capital merely represents access to human, physical and mechanical inputs that are limited in nature. In this case, painful as Blockbuster’s decline will no doubt be for some, it will ultimately redound to the broad economy.

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Laws forbidding monopolies and cartels is what moves ‘capitalism’ along.  Monopolies and cartels suck down profits and incomes while locking everyone in destructive systems (ahem).  The main thing that prevents this are….rules and regulations!  Again: ahem!  Blockbuster Video and Hollywood video both were in competition with each other but more: were out to destroy via cheaper prices, local, privately owned, small rental outfits!

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And the profit margin for these big outfits was…people who forgot to return their videos in time or even lost them.  They got hammered just like people who overrun their bank accounts, using their debit or credit cards get hammered.  The big money was in luring in as many goofs and careless people as possible.

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But a system that doesn’t punish heavily people who are lazy or careless can undermine systems that are based on mining these people for profits!  Thus, all good things come to an end.  Netflix requires people returning stuff and I know people who have lost or broken their Netflix movies and then go through agony because of this.  I don’t worry about this when I watch stuff online, of course.  Nothing to order, wait for or return!  Sheesh!  Even more fun, NO COSTS!  I get this FREE and nothing beats free.

. Indeed tomorrow’s disruptive business concepts will almost certainly require employees. This is more difficult to suggest now given the high rates of U.S. unemployment, but Blockbuster’s difficulties and potential bankruptcy will surely free up executives and retail workers at a potentially good price that will be better utilized by managers possessing a stated objective to deploy capital more wisely.

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Most systems, as they evolve, evolve AWAY from labor and buildings rather than the reverse.  This is why the computer revolution has been so….revolutionary.  It has changed labor markets very heavily which is why office jobs are streaming away from the US and to cheaper labor pools, for example. I doubt even one executive or retail worker is happy about losing their jobs.  Good gods!  Unemployment is very high!  This is a death knell, not a golden opportunity to be ‘free’.

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Considering the myriad Blockbuster stores that dot the retail landscape, the firm’s bankruptcy in no way means they will disappear. Instead, with Blockbuster’s creditors quite eager to retrieve money lent to the firm as quickly as possible, its retail stores will either be sold at a good price or leased to new tenants. Ideally, the new owners or lessees will offer services that the broad consumer base desires.

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ΩΩThis last paragraph is totally demented!  NONE of Blockbuster’s creditors will get their money back 100%!  They will be lucky to get 20% back.  They do NOT want these stores and certainly don’t want the leases.  Stores are closing all over the place.  Finding a new tenant is nearly impossible. When Hollywood videos closed in my community, the store stood empty for over a year.  They copied small businesses and knocked out all the little guys and now are gone with the wind.

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ΩΩFilling these gaps in the real estate portion of these retailers is nearly impossible in the present climate.  Fantasy beliefs that all is always well when things shift and change is just silly. Real people are hurt, take losses and lose their livelihoods.  This may be good overall but it is still very painful for all who get whacked.  We are still in a very dynamic situation with technology climbing, not falling.  There are many things we can learn which can make us richer or smarter but it is awfully easy to go off a cliff, too.  Nothing is obvious except in retrospect.

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ΩΩI never ever liked those stupid mega-box stores that rented videos.  My local video guy carried stuff he and I both liked to watch.  For example, I like old movies from Japan and Europe. He also liked these so he collected them and I rented them.  When he saw I loved opera, he started an opera section.  Whatever I wanted, he wanted.  We would watch some things together in the back of his store!

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ΩΩStuff my kids loved, the same thing: he looked for these and even told them about oddball stuff he found!  They changed their tastes for entertainment based on his suggestions and encouragements.  The big box stores, on the other hand, had only block buster movies.  Lots and lots of the same old garbage and the customers wanted a very, very limited selection so the selection was very narrowly focused only on the biggest selling movies.  And alas, my beloved local owned business lost too many customers to stay around.  I still am pissed about this.  So bigger isn’t better.  And I don’t care that all of these big guys went bankrupt.  Poo on them.

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15 Comments

Filed under evolution, Free Trade, nature, Politics

15 responses to “Stewart Udall And The Growing Environmental Movement

  1. DeVaul

    I stopped using Blockbuster after they fraudulently extorted late fees from me for a movie I had returned on time. When I asked the sales lady to explain why the movie was in the store before the date on the card they sent me (as shown on her computer screen), she claimed it did not matter. If I did not pay, she would call the police. I lost 18 dollars and my wife told me to never go there again, and we didn’t.

    Even though I am poor, I do not feel sorry for the big box montrosities either. They wrecked local businesses that paid taxes and salaries that stayed local, and left behind huge eye-sores that the local governments have no money to remove.

  2. Van B.

    “I watch stuff online… I get this FREE and nothing beats free” or better said …
    “If it’s Free, it’s for Me!”
    Back in the early 2000′s when my nephew told me he watched “Fast and Furious” movie on line for FREE I knew my “Video Paradise” store run of 20 years was over…and it was. (it was a great neighborhood friendly, news gossip, guitar playing video store–my store was a lot like “Clerks” the movie, really)
    “If it’s Free, it’s for me!”–I couldn’t compete, plus the movie studios were more than happy to relieve the small stores from any profits.
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    ELAINE: Technology changes always do this. American TV was free and competed with movies but movies didn’t move to TV until years after being released to theaters. This was due to theaters being owned by movie companies. Since then, the video markets wrecked this so movie theaters can only run movies for a relatively short while before it goes to video. Now, it is moving online much more rapidly. But if you nephew saw a movie online in the early 2000′s, he was watching a PIRATE version.

  3. flipspiceland

    Whatever their contributions to american politics and public service, the Udalls do not convince me that term limits are not now and forever, more urgently needed than ever.

    We’ll just have to foresake the good dynastic families and individuals to root out the greater evil that other more pernicious dynasties have already done to us.

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    ELAINE: Term limits alone fix nothing. Campaign finance reforms fix a lot more stuff which is why Congress refuses to fix this.

  4. nah

    Man the ‘New’ Strip mall off the highway is getting masacred… the pizza store, starbucks, and now the hollywood video…
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    i get my hair cut there and the joint says that it slowed down when the pizza join closed and fell off a cliff with the star bucks… kinda wonder how long there gunna be around
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    AND with all the vacancies guess what… WalMart is opening up a super center accross the street… thats 3 supermarkets in less than 1/2 mile… i think the strip mall is going to get clobbered… the local mall has been at 1/2 steam since i can remember
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    man this place is feeling overbuilt
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    as for coal chinese environmentalism and poison… well theres more wealth in sustainability and real trade…
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    was reading a piece about healthcare legislation and how Fannie and Freddie shared the same premice at the outset… a private market for government policy
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    and government mandates of corporate profits ruined that story…. free junk for everyone so banks can underwrite bonuses on bad credit on a ever expanding market of fraudulent ‘standards’ and ‘McMansions’
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    dont see why healthcare needs to be any different
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    http://www.cahrecords.com
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    be the ball

  5. RobG

    The irony:

    (Reuters) – In a bizarre twist to the Greek debt crisis, France and Germany are pressing Greece to buy their gunboats and warplanes, even as they urge it to cut public spending and curb its deficit.

    Indeed, some Greek officials privately say Paris and Berlin are using the crisis as leverage to advance arms contracts or settle payment disputes, just when the Greeks are trying to reduce defense spending.

  6. zip

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/world/europe/24britain.html

    …Mr. Byers, the former transportation minister, told the interviewer that he was like a “cab for hire” and charged $7,500 a day for using his contacts to secure advantage for private companies. ….

  7. flipspiceland

    @ELAINE

    Sorry, but you’re wrong about term limits not wrong about campaign finance reform, but good luck with having them decide to stop being bribed for their vote.

    The change has to come from outside their influence. And term limits exercised by an informed citizenry, that willingly votes them out after 1 term for the senate, and 3 terms for a representative, no matter what their record would put an end to the sinecure that these jobs have become, the fetid swamp that now substitutes for governance.

    Incentives are what it’s all about and once a candidate realizes that she cannot occupy a position that she can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year at, a Cayman’s bank account, and a lucrative retirement plan and free benefits for life, she will decide to do something else.

    That eliminates the entire Duddy Kravitz opportunistic class from the running. There is then only one incentive to running: doing the job she was elected to do and only for a reasonable period of time.

    If it’s ok for the POTUS to be restricted, it should also be so for the Senate that has become our de facto Royalty, who think they live in the clouds, in chariots as gods.

    The job would become a whole lot less attractive to the criminal class that now occupies these critical positions, with no talent for anything but corruption.

    An entirely new species of human being would be attracted to the job. And amen for that.

  8. emsnews

    Only problem is, power will be concentrated in the PARTY HEADQUARTERS as they ‘churn’ party members through the government.

  9. ron_o

    It’s more efficient to put solar water heaters on houses than solar panels on houses. At least every house that’s in a viable location should be required to have their water heated by the sun and not by electricity or gas. A household could save at least 25% of their electricity bill by doing this alone.

  10. emsnews

    I use on demand computer regulated water which is the best of them all. The solar panels for all houses that mainly use air conditioning in summer is the main savior of our atmosphere…the air gets VERY polluted and toxic during heat waves!

  11. Steve Murgaski

    from RobG’s article: ” – In a bizarre twist to the Greek debt crisis, France and Germany are pressing Greece to buy their gunboats and warplanes, even as they urge it to cut public spending and curb its deficit.”

    I’m really glad somebody at Reuters noticed that it’s bizarre to talk about cutting government spending while increasing ‘defense’ spending. We need a lot more people yelling “That’s bizarre”.

  12. emsnews

    The US is talking about cutting the deficit while increasing spending on the military and wars.

  13. larry, dfh

    It may just be that campaign finance can be brought in on a state level. The states have at least some authority over their national representatives, and the states control what happens during an election.

  14. emsnews

    First step: states should forbid money raised in campaigns coming from other states! I have a relative who ran in Texas for the Senate. She raised much of her loot in the Northeast tapping into the AIPAC/Jewish financial community. She is Jewish.

    Of course, this was invading Texas politics! And is going on all over the place: this is how AIPAC got so much power.

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