Friday, March 27, 2009

A Peek Into The (Your) Future

From Yahoo News:

Spokane Residents Smuggle Suds Over Green Brands

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press Writer

SPOKANE, Wash. – The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers. They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don't work as well. Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation's strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.

But it's not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.

Many people were shocked to find that products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joe's left their dishes encrusted with food, smeared with grease and too gross to use without rewashing them by hand. The culprit was hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap.

(Ed. - Shocked! Shocked!! I tell you ....)

As a result, there has been a quiet rush of Spokane-area shoppers heading east on Interstate 90 into Idaho in search of old-school suds.


Phosphates — the main cleaning agent in many detergents and household cleaners — break down grease and remove stains. However, the chemicals are difficult to remove in wastewater treatment plants and often wind up in rivers and lakes, where they promote the growth of algae. And algae gobble up oxygen in the water that fish need to survive.

While traditional detergents are up to 9 percent phosphate, those sold in Spokane County can contain no more than 0.5 percent.


Among other states that have banned or are banning phosphates in dishwasher detergent are Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York. A bill on Capitol Hill would impose a nationwide ban.

The Soap and Detergent Association, which represents manufacturers, initially fought the bans. But as the movement gained strength across the country, the association asked legislatures to delay bans until July 2010 to allow for a uniform rollout of products.

The industry has been working to develop better low-phosphate detergents, said Dennis Griesing, vice president of the manufacturers group.

"This is an irrevocable, nationwide commitment on the industry's part," he said.

For his part, Beck has taken to washing his dishes on his machine's pots-and-pans cycle, which takes longer and uses five gallons more water. Beck wonders if that isn't as tough on the environment as phosphates.

"How much is this really costing us?" Beck said. "Aren't we transferring the environmental consequences to something else?"

Ahhh, coming to Michigan ... I can hardly wait. "A bill on Capitol Hill would impose a nationwide ban." -- There's one o' them now for pretty much everything I can think of, isn't there? I went through 20+ years, 3 kids worth of hand dish-washing: Couldn't have a dishwasher, as there was no place big enough to put it. Moved and finally got one 2 years ago .... Arrrrgggh.

P.S. A certain Badger questions Brit environmental chimney rules (see comments).

UPDATE: Ace -- Spain's Experience Proves That Obama's "Green Jobs" Are In Fact Lost Jobs

This is a simple enough matter: If you make the cost of energy more dependent on manpower -- "more jobs" -- it inflates the cost of energy. This is not rocket science, here. If a shirt costs $4 to make when I have one guy making it, sure, I can have three guys making it in a less efficient manner, and sure, I'll have created two jobs. Trouble is -- the shirt now costs $10 to make and I can sell less of them.

The same thing happens with energy. These "green jobs" simply represent additions to the most serious cost of producing anything, namely, human labor. Yes, I can "add" green jobs by forcing energy producers to produce energy less efficiently and more expensively. Taking it to an extreme, I can simply pay ten million people to jog inside giant hamster-wheels 24 hours per day, producing electricity in that manner.

So sure, I'll have "created" ten million jobs.

Trouble is, now I am selling a kilowatt of energy for a thousand bucks, thus destroying all industry that relies on energy, which is to say, all of them.

Let's Just Make This Post A Leetle Bit Longer, 'K?: From (aptly-monikered) commenter George Orwell, at the Ace post link above:

23 I have seen the future. And it doesn't work.

This won't be a tyranny of jackboots and bayonets, it will be more like having every human interaction resemble a visit to the DMV. I sympathize with the common posts here, talking about buying ammo and guns, stocking up on gold and canned food. But it will never come to that. Modern industrial society will not take up arms in any sort of civil war when virtually everyone is guaranteed three squares, cable TV, and a few hundred square feet to call home. Taking up arms would be useless at any rate, in the modern West. The new soft tyranny will not consist of Khmer Rouge retreads herding people like cattle. It won't consist of bans, conscription and book-burnings. It will instead tax and regulate everything so extensively that you won't be able to flush the toilet without considering the extra penalty you will incur on your water/energy/air bill. They won't prohibit you from flushing. You will just have to pay an extra dollar or two when you exceed your water quota. Mulitply that by thirty days and you start to see your bills mount. Like smoking, your activities won't be proscribed. Just restricted to the nth degree. You can smoke, it's not illegal. Just not in a bar. Or in a public park. Or in your backyard. Or within 300 yards of a school or hospital. Or in your car if you have windows down. Or up, as the smoke has to leave the car eventually. Or if you get any medical care paid in any fraction by government managed bureaucracies like Medicare. They won't prohibit sale of tobacco, just raise the price of a pack to $35 dollars with taxes. See? No tyranny. Just intelligent management of public risks.

Why go on about smoking? Because the very tactics the anti-smoking fascists used on tobacco have been applied elsewhere and will apply to the future, whether we are talking about energy or cigars. Wanna see a glimpse of the Nation Below Canada in twenty years? Imagine every business treated like tobacco companies. Enjoy.

Posted by: George Orwell at March 27, 2009 05:03 PM

Oh Hell, Longer Still: Two more extremely worthy links.

Kevin Jackson/The Black Sphere: Obama Jobs Plan Calls For More Tea

White Lily At Home: “Joe the Dentist:” A Case Study in Marginal Wealth Taxation

What is this place, and why am I in this handbasket?

1 comment:

lemurking said...

If it is effective (or successful) the libs want to tax it or ban it. Capitalism is no good, making good money is no good, get rid of DDT, get rid of carbon-tet (ok bad example there), get rid of incandescent lighting entirely...

So why not get rid of soap that cleans, too?

I'm waiting for the Cheryl Crow crowd to drive up in their Priuses (Prius's?) get out and announce a new synthetic toilet paper made from hemp and dandelion leaves. Sure it doesn't clean as well and shi... uh... stuff just leaks through, but hey, it's GREEN!