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Colorado is seeing a weird outbreak of velophobia. Some folks have a Sibby-Ellis-tinged idea that promoting Denver as a bicycle city is part of the United Nations' sinister agenda to enslave us all. The tiny casino town of Black Hawk, Colorado has banned bicycles: a new Colorado law requires motorists to give bicycles at least three feet when passing, and Black Hawk reasons that complying with that law would be just too hard for the big tour buses bringing gamblers to town. Riding your bike through town now gets you a $68 fine (to make up for cyclists not spending as much on booze, I guess).
Green power is ugly. Or so goes the thinking, apparently, in Hanover Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Township supervisors there have imposed restrictions on solar panels: tucking panels away beside or behind the house is fine, but if you happen to have a south-facing abode and want to place your panel out front where it will do the most good, you need to get a conditional permit, which will take $800, two months, and all sorts of paperwork. Says a state township association official, "A lot of people have a problem with placing solar panels on the front of their homes for the simple reason...solar panels are distracting and take away from the value of [their] house.... Elected officials are hearing that and they're taking that into consideration." Once again, obsession with appearance trumps environmental sense and property rights.
Solar power is making progress in California. Regulators there have approved the first solar thermal plant in the U.S. in two decades. Ah, good old American innovation... maybe we'll catch up with Portugal after all.
But not if boneheads like Don Kopp stay in office. One of South Dakota's most embarassing legislators provides a teabaggers' splinter group in Rapid City with a slideshow assortment of decontextualized quotes—prooftexting at its finest (and a popular pastime among the non-thinkers in the Tea "Party"). The slides flog the U.N.-evil meme and insisting environmentalists are out to lynch America (yes, slide #10 includes a noose). I'm sure Kopp et al. consider this Kansas City artist's work on sustainable buildings an effort to destroy America, too.
But think positive: Lester R. Brown sees renewable energy booming worldwide and thinks we can "replace all coal- and oil-fired electricity generation with renewable sources." There is life after oil and coal, people. The sooner we get serious about making it happen, the easier it will be... unless of course you think living like Mad Max would be cool.
Watching the undecideds - There is a general rule that existed since at least the 1980s regarding South Dakota pre-election polling. The undecideds, in the final days, will tend to ...
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