172 results for author: Phil Anderson


THE SACRED COW IN A TIME OF PLAGUE

 We are finding out – very painfully – that there is much more to “national security” than weapons of war. The current pandemic sweeping the nation adds angst and urgency to the situation. We are seeing the results of excessive military preparedness and insufficient investment in all other government activities that actually make our lives secure. The U.S. military is the largest and most expensive in the world. It has been since WWII. We spend more on defense than the next eight top spenders combined. We have military bases in 140 other countries. More than any empire ever. We have 11 nuclear aircraft carrier battle groups ...

COMPARING THE CANDIDATES

 Northwest Wisconsin is having another election May 12th. This is a special election in the 7th Congressional district to select a new member for the House of Representatives. The contrast between the two candidates is huge. A look at each candidate's own words (from the “issues” page of their campaign websites) speaks volumes. Tricia Zunker, the Democratic candidate, identifies eight issues she thinks are important: “Healthcare, the Farm Crisis, Education and Children, Standing up for Working People and Protecting Equality, The Economy & Infrastructure, the Environment, Campaign Finance Reform, and ...

WE ALL MUST LEND A HAND

 We all know there is too much money in politics. Running for office has become outrageously expensive. Politicians, who are supposed to be “representing” us, spend all their time fund raising. Big donors have too much influence and elections are being bought by a few deep pockets. Obviously, the country needs serious campaign finance reforms. But this isn't likely to happen. So we, the people, must counter the corrupting influence of big money by supporting candidates that actually serve the public. Most people don't have deep pockets but collectively we have MANY POCKETS. We can overcome the power of money with people power. ...

FREEDOM FROM STUFF

Waste is a human invention. Nature has no waste. In nature everything is recycled. A fallen tree is shelter for animals and food for insects and fungi. Everything decomposes and becomes soil or nutrients for plants, bacteria, and fungi. Dead organisms become food for other organisms. All this material transfer happens in closed circular patterns called cycles. There is no garbage, landfills, or toxic Superfund sites. Humans are the only animal that fouls its own nest. We are the only ones creating toxic materials that do not exist in nature or cannot be broken down and reused. Many of the materials we make can last hundreds of years or ...

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

 “What is America’s newest leadership position? It’s energy waste.”  Eric Savitz in Forbes magazine, 2013“Energy efficiency is a powerful tool that has delivered greater economic growth, reduced emissions, and enhanced our quality of life on a massive scale.” The authors of the 2019 “Energy Efficiency Impact Report”Conservation and reducing energy consumption are more cost effective than building new power plants. Helping people use less energy is cheaper for utility companies than new power plants and transmission lines. More energy efficiency is better for everyone, including the environment. This is a well-known, ...

SOLAR GAIN IN WISCONSIN

 “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison in 1910.  “A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.”  President Jimmy Carter in 1979 dedicating 32 solar panels to provide hot water to the White House. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the value of solar energy. People have known ...

BUYING A JUDGE

A good work of fiction can contain a lot of truth. This is the case with a John Grisham novel I recently read. The Appeal tells a fictional, but very believable, story about the buying of a state supreme court justice. In Wisconsin a similar plot occurred in real life. Last year an unqualified, but politically connected conservative Supreme Court justice was purchased. The gist of the novel is that a chemical company loses a law suit over poisoning a small town's water supply and causing a cancer cluster. The billionaire CEO vows never to pay a dime to the victims and hires a shady “consulting” firm to get a compliant judge elected to ...

GROWING OLD FORESTS

Northern Wisconsin was once covered with extensive old growth forests. Before Europeans came into the area these forests were complex ecosystems of a variety of tree species of many sizes and ages. As we all know, the pioneer farmers, loggers, and robber barons destroyed 99% of these awesome treasures. Had our ancestors been wiser in their use of these natural resources we still could have old growth forests in abundance. We could still have all the ecological, economic, and aesthetic benefits of old growth forests. The biggest tragedy of all this is the loss of what could have been. It is easy to condemn our forefathers as shortsighted ...

WISCONSIN OLD GROWTH

"I always laugh that if we could have people lay down in the woods in a nice wind ...under some big pines and just listen to that hum that goes through those trees and watch those trees sway, that the peace that would be encountered would put a lot of psychiatrists out of work."  John Bates, naturalist and author When you sit on shore in the Boundary Waters soaking in the solitude, or view the Milky Way on a clear night, or listen to the hum of the wind in trees a thousand years old, you know how insignificant we really are. Nature has the ability to put our petty human lives in perspective and to renew one's spirit. My wife and I have ...

WISCONSIN SPECIAL ELECTION

Wisconsin will have a special election for the U.S. House of Representatives this spring. This election is important for many reasons. Democrats have an opportunity to take back the 7th Congressional District formerly held by Democratic Rep. Dave Obey for 40 years. The good news for Democrats is their candidate will not be facing Republican Rep. Sean Duffy. Duffy resigned his seat creating the need for the special election. Duffy had dominated the district since 2010 defeating five Democratic challengers. The bad news is many of the factors that led to Duffy's success (and are problems with our overall electoral process) are still in ...