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TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING
Thanks for Jason Mark’s article [“Harvesting Chaos,” May 19] on global-warming threats to agriculture. Challenges, though, also present opportunities. We can curb global warming and promote economic development in rural Illinois by moving to clean, renewable energy like wind and bioenergy.
The Union of Concerned Scientists believes the U.S. has great opportunities to develop wind energy and biofuels. European nations are years ahead of us in developing renewable energy. In Denmark, for example, 20 percent of electric generation comes from renewable energy, principally wind.
UCS has analyzed the impact of a renewable-electricity standard requiring that 20 percent of the nation’s power come from renewable energy. In Illinois, a renewable standard would result in over a billion dollars in capital investment and thousands of new jobs, predominantly in rural Illinois. A renewable standard would dramatically reduce future global-warming pollution.
Several areas in Illinois have commercial wind resources. Wind projects are good for farmers because developers pay landowners $3,000 to $5,000 per turbine in annual lease payments. Local governments benefit because wind projects add millions of dollars in new property assessments. Wind energy also spurs economic development, requiring construction workers and skilled technicians.
Bioenergy, in which energy can be reaped from the crops farmers grow, has great potential. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that tripling the nation’s use of bioenergy would provide $20 billion in new income for farmers.
Nationally, the U.S. Senate has consistently supported an RES (HR 983), but the House remains opposed. Twenty states require some level of renewable energy, but Illinois does not. This could change, however; the Illinois Commerce Commission is considering an Illinois RES.
Climate change affects agriculture, and rural America can be part of the solution. You can help by expressing to state and federal officials your support for expanded use of renewable energy. We should stress that renewable energy produces both clean energy and jobs.
Senior Policy Advocate
Environmental Law and Policy Center
Editor’s note: Grosboll lives in Petersburg and works on renewable energy and energy-efficiency issues. Previously he served as senior advisor to former Gov. Jim Edgar and was responsible for natural resources, environment, and energy issues.
TO THE RIGHT ON PBS
Kenneth Y. Tomlinson became chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in September 2002, and, from the moment he took office, he has clashed with PBS executives around the country and pushed for a right-wing agenda.
Tomlinson particularly dislikes Bill Moyers and the program NOW, which Moyers started. Three months after he took office, Tomlinson sent the PBS president and chief executive officer a letter stating that NOW does not present a balanced point of view. Then, without telling anyone, he hired a consultant to review Moyer’s program at a cost of $10,000 for a three-month contract. Results showed a liberal bias. PBS had already acquiesced to conservative critics by cutting NOW by half and replacing the other half with a show hosted by Tucker Carlson. Another program, The McLaughlin Group, was already on the air and has a conservative slant. However, not content with that, Tomlinson succeeded in getting The Journal Editorial Report on the air, hosted by his friend, editor Paul Gigot of the conservative Wall Street Journal, by lining up $5 million in corporate funding and pushing PBS to distribute it.
Recently the Chicago Tribune said on its editorial page that the CPB will, in the future, insist that all new programming meet strict standards of balance within each new show. If this policy had already been in place, not only NOW but also the three other conservative shows would have been affected.
CUBS, CARDS FANS DON’T GET IT
A full-page article in a Springfield paper devoted to the White Sox — hooray for writer Doug Bybee [“Baseball and politics,” June 2]! As a kid growing up in Petersburg, I remember sneaking the huge transistor radio (the size of a boom box today) into my room so I could listen to the end of the Sox games on WMAQ (670 AM) with Bob Elston and Red Rush. Though Elston was probably one of the worst-ever baseball announcers, I came to love Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Bill Skowron, Jim Landis (still one of the best defensive centerfielders ever), Minnie Minoso, etc.
Nirvana came in the ’70s. After being literally run over in St. Louis and a year of exile with Charlie O, the great Harry Carey came to the South Side. Harry teamed with Jimmy Piersall to form what I still think was the greatest baseball announcing team ever. Anyone who ever attended a baseball game in old Comiskey during the ’70s knows what a wild, raucous place it was — especially on a Wednesday afternoon with Harry in the CF bleachers. Mr. Bybee is correct — Cub or Card fans just do not get it.
TRICKY DICK’S REVENGE
When Richard M. Nixon was being ousted from the White House, his advisors told him that Watergate was planned by the Jewish media, Democrats, and unions — and that the people doing the break-in were begging to be caught. So with revenge on his mind, Nixon went to China to sign peace and trade accords. He took many business people with him, including a fishing friend from Arkansas who owned a small five-and-dime. He was not even noticed by anybody. But he did sign a trade agreement with China in which he agreed to first tout his goods as “made in the U.S.A.,” then, as he grew bigger, to slowly but boldly change to Chinese-made goods and products. If he succeeded, business people would have to beg this company to buy their products at so low a price they would have to go nonunion and pay their help the minimum wage with no health plans. Unions would retreat to public-sector jobs. The only people who’d make big money would be doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, politicians, and cheating business people. The stock market would crash, and people would have to seek bankruptcy protection in record-breaking numbers.
By the way, I just now remembered the name of Nixon’s fishing buddy. It was Sam Walton. I have to go now, I’m off to Wal-Mart to cash my Social Security checks and get a loan on my next check.
BEWARE OF OPRAH
A recent Oprah Winfrey show highlighted women from different countries throughout the world — each one showcasing her respective culture. According to a woman from Iceland, people who make racist comments are arrested in her country. Not surprisingly, Oprah let out an enthusiastic cheer. “Good, good,” she said, as her audience clapped.
I in no way favor racist comments, but I think arresting someone for making them is extreme. I don’t believe we should arrest people for the dumb things they say. But am I to gather that Oprah’s audience would applaud if they heard that a Christian or a pastor was arrested when speaking out against homosexuality? Do we want to lose our pastors like they have in Canada and Sweden to the “thought police”? Do we want Oprah to set the tone for what’s right in this country? I hope not.
STILL LOCKED AND LOADED
I am provoked by the recent compromise on minority entitlement to filibuster. Allowing a Senate vote on several biased judicial candidates was the cost of the compromise. But what’s really been accomplished? One side is still saying, “We have the right and will filibuster if necessary,” and the other side is childishly responding, “If you do, we’ll change the rules.” We’ll be exactly at this impasse as soon as Bush nominates yet another unacceptable candidate. The fingers are off the triggers, but the guns are still on the table.