Category Archives: Education

learning in America

The Problem with Labels

The Problem with Labels

I have a problem with political labels. One common question I often get is: “Are you a “Conservative” or are you a “Liberal”?”. I have a real problem with the question. I know folks that consider themselves a “Conservative”, but who are very pro the environment (usually considered a more Liberal leaning). I know folks who others consider themselves to be a “Liberal”, but who are more fiscally conservative than many of my “Conservative” friends.

My experience is that most folks have opinions that vary regardless of their political affiliation. A Republican can recognize that climate change is a reality and a Democrat can espouse capitalism as a valuable approach to a stable and efficient economy. My point is that just because a person identifies with a label like Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal or Progressive it is a fallacy to believe that you know where they stand on a specific issue. Unlike our elected representatives, individuals have the freedom to call it like they see it and do not feel compelled to tow a “party line”.

I find it interesting that there is quite a difference in the number of registered voters by party when compared to the opinion polls. Altogether, there are 31 states (plus the District of Columbia) with party registration; in the others, such as Virginia, voters register without reference to party. In 19 states and the District, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans. In 12 states, there are more registered Republicans than Democrats. In aggregate, 40% of all voters in party registration states are Democrats, 29% are Republicans, and 28% are independents. Nationally, the Democratic advantage in the party registration states approaches 12 million.

Otherwise, an opinion poll indicates different results. As of December 2019, Gallup polling found that 28% of Americans identified as Democrat, 28% identified as Republican, and 41% as Independent. 

My opinion is that labels are dangerous and not helpful to our country. They tend to promote dissension and polarization. At a time when we need to come together to resolve important issues like Healthcare, the Budget, Infrastructure, and Climate Change we need to put aside labels and focus on Resurrecting Respect for our country.

Long Lives in History

Long Lives in History

There are several accounts of persons that lived very lengthy lives prior to the “great flood”.

The earliest is the Sumerian King List. The first fragment of this rare and unique text, a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet, was found in the early 1900s by German-American scholar Hermann Hilprecht at the site of ancient Nippur and published in 1906.  Since Hilprecht’s discovery, at least 18 other exemplars of the king’s list have been found, most of them dating from the second half of the Isin dynasty (c. 2017-1794 BCE.).  No two of these documents are identical. However, there is enough common material in all versions of the list to make it clear that they are derived from a single, “ideal” account of Sumerian history.

The Sumerian King List , records that eight kings reigned before a great flood. After the Flood, various city-states and their dynasties of kings temporarily gained power over the others. 

Some of the rulers mentioned in the early list, such as Etana, Lugal-banda and Gilgamesh, are mythical or legendary figures whose heroic feats are subjects of a series of Sumerian and Babylonian narrative compositions.

The early list names eight kings with a total of 241,200 years from the time when kingship “descended from heaven” to the time when “the Flood” swept over the land and once more “the kingship was lowered from heaven” after the Flood.

Over a thousand years later it is interesting that the bible also contains a “king list” that indicates significant longevity (a bit puny compared to the Sumerian’s) but still send the same message. Folks lived a long time prior to the flood, but lost that ability afterward.

How is our country doing, carbon footprint wise, on energy production?

How is our country doing, carbon footprint wise, on energy production?

Over the past 65 years we have made some progress, but not as much as many other countries. Even today almost 64% of our energy is based on petroleum-based products. There are now less than 25 countries that produce over 80% of their energy from renewable source while we only produce 17% via these same sources.

U.S. electricity generation by source, amount, and share of total in 2018 Energy

US Energy Information Administration (Source)

Total – all sources  100%

Fossil fuels (total)63.6%

Natural  35.2%       Coal  27.5%        Petroleum (total)  .6%   (Petroleum liquids.4%   Petroleum coke  .2%)                         Other gases   .3%

Nuclear  19.4%

Renewables (total)  16.9%

Hydropower  7%           Wind  6.5%           Biomass (total)  1.4%  (Wood  1.0%   Landfill gas  .3%                                                Municipal solid waste (biogenic)  .2%   Other biomass waste <0.1%)           Solar  1.5%   (Photovoltaic  1.4%                            Solar thermal  .1%)      Geothermal  .4%      Pumped storage hydropower3  .1%   Other sources   .3%