A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
- Prairie Weather

“Protest works. Just look at the proof”

Free MP3 sites

Be your own program director. Venture off the beaten path. Live a little.

2dopeboyz: Hip hop. (RSS)

3hive: Sharing the sharing. Free and legal MP3s from over 600 underground and undiscovered artists — new ones added daily. (RSS)

Amazon MP3 Download - Frequency: Weekly. Get the latest on Amazon MP3 music downloads - new releases, freshly ripped hits, and special deals.

Audio Drums - A blog for rare, possibly overlooked, maybe forgotten gems of music with a slight emphasis on electronic and indie genres. (RSS)

Common Folk Music - A blog about music, not just folk music, but all music ranging from indie to alt-country to bluegrass, because music is for the “Common Folk”. (RSS)

Discobelle.net (RSS)

Fiddlefreak Folk Music Blog - Folk, bluegrass, Celtic, and other music of the people. (RSS)

Fingertips Music - Free and legal music. (RSS)

Gorilla Vs Bear (RSS)

Hillydilly: Simply Good Music. (RSS)

I Rock Cleveland: Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock. (RSS)

KEXP Song of the Day: KEXP 90.3 FM - where the music matters (RSS)

Kick Kick Snare (RSS)

Line Of Best Fit - TLOBF.COM | Music Reviews, News, Interviews & Downloads (RSS)

Lipstick Disco - Deep House & Disco music blog fronted by Females (RSS)

Minnesota Public Radio Song of the Day: Music lovers from 89.3 The Current share songs with you each weekday. (RSS)

Muruch (RSS)

Music Like Dirt: Music in all its many forms, mp3’s, live reviews and photography. (RSS)

My Old Kentucky Blog - a music blog that parties with unicorns. (RSS)

Nah Right. (RSS)

ninebullets.net. (RSS)

Rollo & Grady: Los Angeles Music Blog, LA Music Blog (RSS)

Said the Gramophone: a music weblog (RSS)

She Makes Music: She Makes Music focuses on the most exciting and impressive new music created by brilliant and talented female musicians. (RSS)


Sounds Better With Reverb (RSS)

Stereogum: All the MP3s on Stereogum.com (RSS)

their bated breath (RSS)

Women of Hip Hop (RSS)

YouKnowIGotSoul (RSS)

Mourn ya till I join ya

The Wheel’s Still In Spin: Focusing on new music releases and reviews of individual albums as original, fictional short stories (RSS)

A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz - This site is just a way for me to have a little fun and share a little music. I’ll highlight some of my favorite artists that I play on the radio and try to expound upon their music in ways I can’t always do on the air. (RSS)

Aminal Sound

Audiofile: Music Blog, Music Articles - Salon.com

Crossfade: The CNET music blog

Direct Current New Music - Adult pop, rock, singer/songwriters, folk, Americana, alt-country, adult alternative, soul, world music, crossover jazz and simply those artists that make us go “hmmm.”(RSS)

GarageBand.com Folk top tracks (RSS)

GarageBand.com Hip Hop top tracks (RSS)

Flawless Hustle: Urban culture blog featuring artist interviews, music reviews, legal music downloads, street art, graffiti and more! (RSS)



The Jon Swift principle: “I will add anyone to my blogroll who adds me to theirs.” Email or leave a comment to let me know.


The Hunting of the Snark

Sites participating in blogroll amnesty day

Jon Swift aka Al Weisel, may he rest in peace. Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day

skippy the bush kangaroo (Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day) (2012)

Vagabond Scholar (2012)
Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety. Keeper of the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup (The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)

Notes From Underground (2012)

Redeye’s Front Page (2012)

Wisdom of the West (2012)

Zen Comix (2012)

pygalgia (2012)

Mikeb302000 (2012)

The Agonist (2012)

Brilliant At Breakfast (2012)

Bacon and Eggs (2012)

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Away from energy independence, and towards energy freedom

Two of the more loaded words in contemporary politics are independence and freedom. Despite their similarities in meaning they get used in very different ways. Independence is used in a more national sense, which might be natural because of its prominence in what is arguably our founding document. It doesn’t seem like it is possible to disparage independence in our discourse. Even a word like patriotism, while generally well regarded, has qualifications. Independence is all good though, so anything you can attach to it is improved by the association.

This has played out for years now with the much-invoked phrase “energy independence.” The latest calls for it began in the wake of 9/11 as a way to argue for policies that would remove our need to import oil from abroad. It made sense on the face of it: We send our money to oil-rich states, states that in some cases fund groups hostile to America. Buy from them and you’re funding the terrorists, went the argument. (This is simply a description of what leaders put out for public consumption, not an endorsement of it.)

The initial prescriptions for energy independence were relatively full, or at least fuller than they would become. An increase in domestic production was the favored proposal, but was supplemented with calls to encourage conservation and discourage consumption. As late as the spring of 2008 it was possible for a conservative in good standing like Charles Krauthammer to call for a heavy tax on gasoline. But by that fall Michael Steele made the infamous call to drill baby drill, and from then on it was all about resource extraction.

The curiously elusive goal of energy independence is now being pursued through fracking, or so its proponents claim. There is lots of natural gas just waiting to be forced up to the surface of the earth, we are told. In fact, the Barnett Shale in Texas has enough reserves to supply Texas for the next 200 years. There’s also enough nationwide to supply America for the next 200 years. And 200 years for China! And India! The world! It’s the fossil fuel equivalent of Ulysses Everett McGill’s geographical oddity.

Of course, abundance does not mean independence - at least not long term. That only happens if we take some additional steps. For instance, any resource vital enough to merit a policy of independence is too precious to export. We should flat out ban the removal of any item that receives such an important designation. Selling it to foreigners is downright seditious, isn’t it? Doesn’t doing so hinder our quest for energy independence? We should be keeping it all here. Yet the industry is doing just the opposite - pushing for new ways to get it out of the country. Why does the oil and gas industry hate America?1

Similarly, we should create a substantial strategic reserve of any such resource. If natural gas truly is so important to America’s future then it is reckless to deprive ourselves of a great store of it in case of emergency. And of course there’s Krauthammer’s price floor proposal. We should just set a minimum price on it and levy whatever tax is necessary to reach that level.

The fact that none of the people making all the noise about energy independence are taking such a comprehensive view on the issue can only be explained a few ways, none of them flattering. Have they not thought the issue through? Are they uninterested in thinking about it beyond empty slogans? Or is the noble-sounding “energy independence” really just a cynical euphemism for catering to a favored political constituency? Those who trumpet energy independence should be expected to either address these issues or lose credibility.

From a citizen’s perspective, the current vision of energy independence might be a bit of a mixed blessing. What price should we be willing to pay to achieve this? Aside from the environmental impact of ongoing fossil fuel dependence(!), what good does it do the average person to give preferential treatment to wildly profitable industries?2 Or ones that cripple the democratic process? If you trade rule by a tyrannical king for rule by soulless plutocrats how much have you really gained? This might be a kind of independence we would be better off without.

Freedom, unlike independence, drags a little bit of freight behind it. Over the past few years it has become a rallying cry of the right, invoked in absurd ways (Fox link!) to decry just about anything conservatives don’t like. That has made it something of an object of ridicule on the left; this link should give you a decent look at whatever the outrage du jour is in the fever swamps.

The debasing of the word freedom is a shame, because it can be very useful to liberals in some cases - like energy. Energy independence may not be all it’s cracked up to be, but energy freedom could be very appealing. The idea of individuals enjoying energy freedom could draw primarily on distributed generating capacity. Household generation of electricity through wind and solar energy, aside from the environmental impact of ramping up the use of renewables(!), promises huge benefits.

The main one is reducing dependence on the grid. Our model has always worked on centralized generation, and the obvious flaw with that approach is that it has a single point of failure. If the power plant, and all the pieces connecting it to your house, are not up and running, you’ve got no electricity. The ability to supplement the grid with local generating capacity would not just save money, it would give families a form of backup - maybe compromised or lower scale but still usable - during outages.

That might be a modest convenience when a spring thunderstorm downs a line, but it could be much more than that in the aftermath of a major event. What if in the wake of a Katrina or Sandy people in the affected areas had some electricity during daylight hours? It’s not as good as being fully operational, but it could be the difference between remaining at home and being a refugee.

(A hurricane obviously might rip off solar panels or crash turbines, but any generating capacity retained is better than none. And maybe these local generators could be engineered with redundancy and durability in mind for just such an occasion.)

People who enjoy energy freedom, as opposed to energy independence, would see direct benefits. Instead of a long, convoluted and dubious process that somehow ends up enriching industry executives more than anyone else, we would see direct monetary benefits to ourselves. It would also serve the very national security that energy independence types love to trumpet: An electrical grid with distributed generation is far more robust than a centralized one - and incidentally is far better able to recover from the occasional whoopsie. We’ve had empty talk about energy independence for decades. It’s time for some substantive action on energy freedom.


1. See how patriotic I am?

2. By the way, shouldn’t the production of such a vital resource be done by the state and not private companies?

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