Friday :: Jul 30, 2010

Yearning for the Electron Dream


by paradox

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones noted recently with acute astuteness that even if liberals accepted the Obama administration accomplishment list at full face value (we don’t), it was nothing that liberals have dreamed of accomplishing after all those years in the wilderness anyway. Prop up the failed finance industry, tax cuts, bail out GM, oh baby do me don’t lose it. Yeah.

It would do well to remember often, I think, for those weary liberals like myself (hell, even the famously mellow Kevin Drum snarled yesterday that if he wanted Dick Cheney in 2010 he would have voted for him) that in the first term after the heinous Bush no dream—liberal or otherwise—was going to be started or accomplished, everything is still far too much a flaming, reeking mess. It was never going to be a happy time, Hillary or Barrack, Medicare buy in or not, HAMP success or not.

In this fetid window of urgent cleanup in American history politically it would be extremely well if war were not so casually taken on (destroyers are not good dream-builders) and the opposition who smashed us into this ditch were not ludicrously given a free pass by an absurd insulting paradigm of not getting into fights of the past.

[raises palms] All right, all right. Dreams and accomplishment, one of my greatest is still so agonizingly right before us in real breakthrough threshold, there will still be plenty of time in Obama’s second term to truly start, and very exciting news came in last week.

Electrons, amperes, volts, oh my Lord electricity be with us, be our new deity of everythang, everywhere and all the time, oh yes, please.

The United States desperately needs a complete electricity grid overhaul that removes every low-volt pole for underground lines (a great dream of Andy Rooney), lays the foundation for a national electric train network (Atrios sighs wistfully), and fully integrates positive solar inputs (Jerome a Paris happily nods). When we’re finally done over all the roads and freeways there are no mufflers, exhaust or oil slicks, anywhere, millions of cars whisper along in rolling tire noise only—even the motorcycles—for they’re all electric drive.

The skies are always a deep pearly blue—one that all humans on our earth have lived until the last 300 years—and now our children get it back, finally ridding ourselves of the terrible guilt and fear we’ve ruined the planet atmospherics by so absurdly, stupidly burning fossil fuels. We don’t war over oil in the middle east anymore, we don’t need to. When it costs fifty cents to charge up for 150 miles and hundreds of billions don’t smash our current account annually blissful economic benefits we can’t even imagine will so soothe our daily lives.

It’s a good dream, yes. We’re very close.

Via Lawrence Lewis, one of the new writers in the big slot at Daily Kos (go, brother man, go!) came news that the fastest legal street car in America is now electric with the name of White Zombie, not exactly how I would name a holy grail of my dreams, but whatever, when the tens of millions of fanatic American car men and women realize the real speed is in volts electric cars are so on their way to mass acceptance.

The GM Volt is finally almost here, too expensive at 40k but still very exciting, the extra 10k over a Prius could still easily be paid for by gas savings over a 10 year ownership span. Nissan is almost ready to release an electric-only car, the Leaf, for 30k and a 100 mile range on a charge. Tesla has that ridiculously expensive roadster, but they’re public now and apparently getting ready for a cheaper model soon.

None of them have a clutch or gears, the supremely efficient electric motors just spin faster. Not only was burning oil really stupid on multiple urgent levels, internal combustion was truly a jackass engineering energy conversion model.

If you don’t have dreams, all you end up with is nightmares, Mickey O’Rourke said in the classic movie Diner. So very true, and even if my electron dream isn’t chosen something eventually will, we as a country—just like all of us—have to be happily building something for the future or we’ll wither. A few more years after the hellish Bush to right ourselves and I’m quite confident something will be chosen, we’re far too good a people not to see it and act accordingly.

The market and technology and the earth are rushing toward my electron dream anyway, yes, but man it would be good to show the world what we can do with an electrification policy and program. Just get through this first after-Bush term, then we can start to dream and build again.

paradox :: 7:12 AM :: Comments (9) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!