A look into
During the '50s and '60s we had drive-in movies outside almost every town across America. With the advent of television, bigger and better movie theaters, the drive-in movies went the way of the Pony Express.
Most of the land was soon used to build homes for our growing population.
Last week on our way to Silver Springs I was surprised to see this lone survivor in the middle of the desert.
Time has not been kind to that old warrior. Tumbleweeds have taken over most of the area, where once hundreds of automobiles were parked.
The winds almost brought down the old movie screen, but she is still standing there, looking at all the cars on the highway passing by at record speeds.
She is leaning a little bit, but who wouldn't after standing in the desert wind for more than 60 years?
I wonder what she thinks when we drive past her without even giving her a respectful glance.
I bet she is proud that once upon a time she was powerful enough to attract all those automobiles, and to give them a night of good entertainment.
Oh yes, she brought happiness from coast to coast, and isn't that what we miss most?
Nuclear energy clean alternative
Both parties have been dancing about the issue of energy independence for many years, but there have been no seriously sustained proposals. So let's review some bidding. The USA developed nuclear power for generating electricity and has more than 100 operating nuclear power reactors - as many as the rest of the world combined, but has not built any new power reactors to address its growing electrical demand. Nearly 20 percent of USA's electricity is generated by nuclear energy, whereas France, for example (using mainly USA-developed technology) generates more than 75 percent.
Using nuclear energy, which does not produce "greenhouse gasses," rather than coal or oil to fulfill our demands for increased electrical energy would preclude additional impacts upon our environment. Opponents of nuclear-generated power in the USA cite that there are no viable solutions to the "waste" problem and oppose continued development of Yucca Mountain as a solution to that problem.
Let's be very clear on the Yucca Mountain issue Ð It was to be the national repository for spent nuclear fuel elements that contain not only fission products, but also uranium and plutonium that can be recovered and reused in fuel for power reactors [Never for "nuclear waste" storage contrary to the implication of the pictures shown in 2004 during Sen. Harry Reid's campaign for reelection and Sen. John Kerry's quest for the presidency Ð this paper has been supplied copies Ð ask for them].
Commercial reprocessing of nuclear fuel as is presently done in England, France and Japan was proposed in the USA and a facility constructed in Barnwell, S.C.; however President Jimmy Carter, citing concerns about plutonium proliferation, made an executive decision not to allow reprocessing of power reactor fuel, thereby requiring an alternative option for the spent fuel. If operating as intended, Yucca Mountain could be a virtual mine for subsequent commercial recovery and utilization of plutonium.
Reprocessing generates a smaller volume of highly radioactive, but shorter half-life, waste material requiring storage than the volume of stored spent fuel from which it was derived. Oil- and coal-fired electrical generating plants may be required to incur additional production costs, leading to additional increased energy costs, to remove carbon dioxide from their emissions, whereas existing nuclear electrical generating plant production costs are already competitive.
Continued escalation in the cost of oil will further shift production costs to favor nuclear energy. Newer proposed nuclear plant designs will operate more safely and more efficiently Ð resulting in further reductions in production costs. Nuclear energy should be strongly endorsed for supplying future sources of electrical energy; however, there is no single solution to energy independence Ð all options must be considered for application Ð realistically assessing their costs of production per kilowatt-hour, i.e., recognizing that neither solar nor wind - at their present state of practice - can produce the quantities of energy required to meet our country's increased needs.
It's time for naysayers to get out of the way of economic progress and leaders to lead us back into the technological excellence that provides prosperity to our country.
Carleton Bingham, PhD
Editor's Note: Dr. Bingham attached a 2004 campaign flier with his letter.
Ethanol not viable
as alternative fuel
Ethanol is going to ruin us. Not only are Brazilians and Argentines cutting down the rainforests to grow crops for ethanol, which is one of the worst practices sure to drive up global warming, but also soon they will be planting wheat for us to import to eat. Did you know the price of wheat has gone up by 50 percent in just two months this year? Have you bought a loaf of bread lately?
For the first time since 1948 the U.S. may have to import wheat because we don't grow enough.
Farmers now plant corn to make ethanol instead of wheat for our food because there is a sure market for the ethanol corn, and it's heavily subsidized. The farmer doesn't care that it takes 1.29 gallons of gasoline to produce one gallon of ethanol if he is assured he can sell his corn.
Like any other business, the farmer has to consider the bottom line. A sure sale is better than an iffy one on the horizon. And thanks to politics, it's not based on a market economy, which made this nation great, it's based on government subsidies.
There is a domino affect to all this. Soon the shortage of food grown in the U.S. will drive up the price of grain so high that growers will move to the southern hemisphere, out of the country. We will become dependent upon food staples grown in South America. So will our sources of milk and meat because we won't be producing enough feed for our cattle. We will not only be at the mercy of the growers outside the U.S., but also prices will go up substantially.
If those prices go up, our revenues will go down. Meanwhile, the price of ethanol will go even higher Ð as we wonder how we're going to fuel our economy, our vehicles, and our electric power, while our purchasing power suffers. We'll be more dependent upon the rest of the world not only for our oil, but also for our food.
How will we survive economically well enough to be able to feed ourselves and defend ourselves? Our standard of living will drop considerably.
If we have another bad drought such as that in 1998, we'll be in lots of trouble. If we don't start finding new oil sources as well as alternatives, we'll be in lots of trouble. It's time to wake up, get the government out of business.
It's time to take advantage of non-invasive drilling of our own oil, allow new refineries, take advantage of modern clean methods to make use of all our coal resources, and crank up steam, solar and wind power.
For example, look at the bank mess, thanks to government interference in the mortgage market. Our government "leaders" wanted to feel good by finding a method for everyone to own a home, no matter what their financial situations. Well, I don't feel very good, knowing that so many of those new, overextended homeowners are going to lose their homes because they got in over their heads. Nor do I feel good knowing that major banks are in financial trouble because of those loans and will continue to be in trouble while the government tries foolish ways to get us out of this mess. Now my retirement funds are in trouble, losing value.
Government interference is the problem. For 200 years we did pretty well under a market economy. For the past few decades we've been learning that the more the government tries to manage the economy, the worse it gets. There is no free lunch. Somebody pays, and soon we will all pay dearly.
Wake up, America.
A reluctant vote for McCain
I have to vote for McCain for president. He isn't the candidate I hoped to vote for, but he is obviously the best of the remaining candidates. America needs McCain for the war against terrorists. Clinton and Obama have promised to concede the war to the terrorists to bring our troops home. McCain is the most fiscally responsible when compared to Clinton and Obama, since he doesn't promise a number of new government programs and agencies. None of the candidates will do anything to resolve the illegal immigration problem.
McCain would appoint good Supreme Court justices, whereas Clinton and Obama would appoint liberal activists. I doubt if any of the candidates would help the economy.
My problem must be the problem of every voter who isn't looking for a government handout. We want a strong economy. We want to win in Iraq and Afghanistan. We want to solve the illegal immigrant problem. Most of all, we want to restore our faith in America and its values. None of the candidates provide the assurance that they can lead us in these crucial times.
More important than baseball?
In an Associated Press article in the Reno Gazette-Journal of Feb. 15, in the sports section, I read an article titled "Baseball divide: Clemens hearing has partisan bickering."
Here we are, engaged in the war on terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and faced with difficulties all over the Middle East.
We have very serious economic difficulties here in the United States and our politicians are taking partisan sides in the baseball steroid scandal.
Each party is backing one liar or the other. Our men are getting killed overseas and our politicians are engaged in petty partisan bickering over a sports scandal.
I'm an avid sports fan and I think the use of steroids in sports is a sad commentary on the state of sports today. In my opinion, the United States, is the greatest country in the world, and our politicians should put things in perspective and show more respect to our country and the people they represent than to participate in party bickering over such a comparative minor affair.