Letters to the editor

Dear editor,

In last week’s letters to the editor section in the International, Rex Redden opined on the current controversy about Virginia’s governor who wore blackface to a party when he was 25 years old.

As a son of the Jim Crow South, Mr. Redden cannot understand the continuing calls for the governor’s resignation over an incident that occurred many years ago, despite the governor’s apologies.

To Redden, wearing blackface as a form of entertainment is not mocking humor about blacks, but a flattering imitation of black culture as perfectly acceptable as Michael Jackson’s wishing to appear white. It stuns me that anyone in this country could be so flat-footed in his thinking on the subject of race in America or so unsympathetic to African Americans’ long resentment of blackface humor.

Mr. Redden would like to make the current brouhaha over Governor Northam’s dilemma a simple case of political correctness run amok. He cites a 1930s comment by the English political philosopher Bertrand Russell to make his point.

I wonder if the “humanist” philosopher had a comment about lynching in the South that continued well into the 1930s when he visited this country.

To fully understand the context of the current debate in Virginia, one needs to review the history of race relations in Virginia, the seat of the Old Confederacy. The state’s resistance to civil rights existed well into the 1960s. Democratic Senator Harry F. Bird of Virginia was a racial segregationist and white supremacist who led a campaign of massive resistance to the desegregation of schools.

As late as 1967, the Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, struck down Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law which had prohibited interracial marriage. Many Virginians who lived through that dark period in the state’s history are calling for Northam’s resignation today.

In previous letters to this newspaper, Mr. Redden has made a number of disparaging remarks about black Americans, including Barack and Michele Obama. He has said also that he has no “white guilt.” Would I be wrong in assuming that, given his past remarks, he supported those protesters with tiki torches in Charlottesville?

Mr. Redden finished up his letter by posing a number of questions, so I have a question for him: Is it possible he could write a letter to the editor without including either a pointed or oblique reference to race?

Joel Gormley Alpine

Dear editor,

There’s a new issue being raised under the name of the “Green New Deal,” where the government would actively central-plan the energy infrastructure of the US. Apparently, this was raised to counter the widespread support on the other side of the political fence for the Wall and restricted immigration.

Both endeavors would strongly affect us locally. Parts of this New Deal appear to exclude cattle (greenhouse gas) and to include a push for electrification of everything, among other things. Electrification of cars sounds enticing, but is very similar to the Wall proposal in that most of the appeal is based on emotion with no facts.

Consider that the current generating capacity of the US is about 436 Gigawatts (Gwatt). How much of that would be needed to replace all the current consumers of gasoline?

The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) has lots of information on this. For example, for 2015, the EIA reveals that 385 million gallons of gasoline are consumed each day. They also state that a gallon of gasoline contains 124,000 BTUs of energy. If you assume these vehicles run at about 30% efficiency, you can estimate an effective work of 4.23 X 106 watt-hr each day, where a BTU is 0.293 watt-hr. If the same work is done by replacement electric vehicles at 60% efficiency, that gives 7.05 X 106 watt-hr each day, or in terms of power, 294 Gwatt. That is more than half the existing US power output!

On a personal level, an average car running 12,000 miles a year, at 25 mpg, $2.50/ gallon, costs $1,200 a year in fuel. Using the concept of equivalent work seen above, an electric car running the same number of miles would cost, at 12 cents per kW-hr, $1,055. Pretty modest savings, for such inconvenience. And it’s guaranteed a dramatic increase in demand on the now more expensive power source would surely double that rate in just a few years, so all your electric power will then cost you more, a lot more.

There is about 27 Gwatt of wind power (6% of total) now available, so that would have to be increased at the least eleven-fold to power all those vehicles, as it is not a continuous power supply. (Solar is not very practical on that scale evidently, since it is less than 2% of the current total and goes off at night, and hydro and nukes are now on the environmentally “bad” list.) But to make this proposal “green”, it also means at the least 63% of the existing 436 Gigawatts needs to be replaced, since that is the proportion powered by fossil fuels currently. (The other part of the New Deal, hoping to decrease that last amount by having improved HVAC efficiency, is a proposal to insulate or re-insulate every building in the US) An astronomical endeavor, it appears. For us in West Texas, the practicality of an electric vehicle that can make at tops 300 miles between charges (less than that when running heating or air conditioning, or lights) seems daunting. The actual benefit, recognizing the gargantuan effort necessary as a result of what I described above, seems hardly worth it, very similar to the poor cost/benefit of the cockamamie Wall idea. I am getting the feeling that the people coming up with these proposals have no idea of their impact on us, nor care. The danger is this will all get legislated per the wishes of the central planners, and for the profits of the electric vehicle makers, who no doubt are now lobbying hard for this.

Dave Leet Alpine

• •