Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Requests blog

One of my long-time readers expressed interest in my opinion on several specific issues, and that compelled me to remember that most popular bloggers do “requests for topics” occasionally and then write about the issues they receive in request form. So to answer a couple of the aforementioned topics:

“I think you are missing Cap and Trade being rushed through? KCPL has said expect at least a 50% increase in your bill if it passes.”

I believe the commenter is referring to this article, or its facsimile elsewhere, where Chuck Caisley, Director of Public Affairs for Kansas City Power and Light, expressed his believe that rates will go up 50% by 2012 to cover the cost of buying carbon offsets.

The problem I have with this, and the reason I have not posted on it, is because I do not see any victims here. I’ve only been on this earth for a few decades, but during that time, numerous attempts were made to increase the number of nuclear plants providing electricity to Kansas City. And time and time again, voters defeated those attempts.
I am not aware of all the subtle nuances of cap-and-trade and I do not have specific information about what kinds of standards are put on nuclear power. However, I am aware that Kansas City has gradually increased its coal-fired power plant population over the last 30 years, and the voting residents of Kansas City have made it patently clear that they oppose clean(er) nuclear energy.
So as far as I’m concerned, the rate hike will suck for KC residents…but it is their bathwater…they can soak in it.
Anyone interested in the counterintuitive and hypocritical arguments for and against nuclear power should read this article on NIMBY.

Next topic:
“Obama wants to have forced vaccines for flu rolled out. Yes, mandatory vaccines here we go.”

I have been a long-time proponent of vaccinations. All my readers know this. I’ve argued that the human “herd” is weakened by those who voluntarily pass up on vaccinations. I’ve argued time and time again that paranoia about thimerosal is misguided at best, delusional at worst. I’ve argued that vaccinations save lives, countless lives, while a tiny, statistically insignificant group of people may or may not have had side effects from chemicals in shots. Flu shots especially protect the elderly and the young (like my 2 year old daughter), and are relatively benign. You do not have a sore injection point like a tetanus shot (a shot which has saved an estimated 100 million people).
Although I understand that people are concerned this is a “slippery slope” issue, that “if Obama forces vaccinations, what will he force next?” But on the other hand, to me this is like speed limits on streets, we shouldn’t need speed limits, because people should be smart enough to drive at a reasonable pace without the government defining safe speed. But if people continue to drive recklessly, then we continue to need speed limits.


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1 comment:

Benjamin Dueholm said...

I'd like to see a cite for that mandatory flu vaccine thing. I found the WaPo article that I think the paranoid types are going off of, and it doesn't say anything about mandatory vaccinations. And in fact, it would be very, very difficult to do such a thing even if the president wanted to. What would be good to see, since I agree with you on the merits of vaccinations, is a more aggressive outreach to people. It's like the 'Nudge' principle: if you have to opt-in, people will make the less rational choice in many cases. If people have to opt-out of being vaccinated, however, because they're being offered in malls and airports and DMVs and whatnot, people will be likelier to participate.