Tag Archives: The Guardian

My Weaselometer Is About to Explode

And so we bid a fond farewell to the former Boy Wonder of Vermont politics, T.J. Donovan. He announced, on Friday afternoon (nothing suspicious there), that he would resign effective June 20ten days from now — to take an executive position with online gaming platform Roblox. His new job as director of public policy and U.S. state strategies, he said, “will allow me to continue to advance consumer protections.”

When I read that, my Weaselometer shrieked, its red lights flashed furiously, and a wisp of smoke wafted from the back of the machine. And that was before I read of the controversy surrounding Roblox. But I knewthat no one on God’s green earth has ever gone from public service to corporate executive “to advance consumer protections.”

Especially not if the new job appears to be Top In-House Lobbyist for Roblox, a publicly-traded corporation worth billions upon billions. I bet Donovan’s salary will let him afford the top-line custom-tailored suits you see in the Statehouse whenever a bigtime corporate lobbyist parachutes in to try to defeat a, ahem, “consumer protection measure.”

Now, I don’t begrudge Donovan cashing in on his legal expertise. He’s been living on public sector salaries for 16 years, and that’s a big sacrifice for a skilled attorney. But I am ticked off that he wants to have it both ways: rake in the big bucks and try to bullshit us about his reasons.

And that’s not the end of the bullshit, either.

Continue reading

So you say we can’t do it…

Well, this is timely.

No sooner do I write a post about Vermont’s leading climate change deniers, than here comes a real success story from an unlikely place:

In less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs, according to the country’s head of climate change policy, Ramón Méndez.

In fact, he says that now that renewables provide 94.5% of the country’s electricity, prices are lower than in the past relative to inflation. There are also fewer power cuts because a diverse energy mix means greater resilience to droughts.

Until recently, Uruguay was as fossil fuel dependent as the next country. But it developed a sane, balanced, not at all extremist policy that has reaped incredible benefits in a short amount of time: “…renewables account for 55% of the country’s overall energy mix (including transport fuel) compared with a global average share of 12%.”

And they’re meeting more than 90% of their electricity demand “without the back-up of coal or nuclear power plants.”

How did they do it? The sensible way.

There are no technological miracles involved, nuclear power is entirely absent from the mix, and no new hydroelectric power has been added for more than two decades. Instead, he says, the key to success is rather dull but encouragingly replicable: clear decision-making, a supportive regulatory environment and a strong partnership between the public and private sector.

I strongly recommend reading the whole article. It’ll put a smile on your face and a little bit of hope in your heart.

Of course, it’ll also make you wonder why in hell we can’t do it here.