170 results for author: Phil Anderson


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 ...

SOLUTIONS TO THE RETIREMENT CRISIS: PART 3

“...as soon as 2025, as many as 30 million Americans, many of them originally middle class, will find themselves either poor or “near-poor.” From “How to Solve the Retirement Crisis: A Politico Working Group Report” “The great lie is that the 401(k) was capable of replacing the old system of pensions,” Gerald Facciani former head of the American Society of Pension Actuaries (quoted in the Wall Street Journal) Continuing our look at the retirement crisis, this article discusses several proposals to provide secure pensions to all workers. As the Wisconsin retirement task force considers action on this issue, ...

FIXING RETIREMENT: PART 2

 “When tens of millions of people all have the same problem, it’s not a failure of individual initiative.” Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne L. Alstott, law professors and authors In our last issue, we looked at why many people are not going to have enough money to retire. Wisconsin treasurer Sarah Godlewski is establishing a task force to study and make recommendations on retirement. This effort will likely not address all possible solutions in order to make its recommendations more politically palatable to the Republican-controlled legislature. But the people of Wisconsin need a full examination of all possible solutions. ...