Monday, February 18, 2008

E 85, Climate Issues and Energy Security

Remember that bit Johnny Carson did on the Tonite Show, Carnac the Magnificent, where he played a psychic who would hold up a sealed envelope to his turban covered head, go into a trance and make a pronouncement. He would then rip one end of the envelope off, smirk as he blew into the now open end of the envelope and extracted an index card from which he read the question that his declaratory statement just answered.

You see, I came up with the idea last Friday as I was listening to MPR, while reading the paper and at the same time searching the internet for signs that the Republicans are gearing up their election cycle propaganda jukebox, you know the one that keeps spinning the same old tunes over and over and over every 2-4 years. I mean come on GOP guys and gals, even KQ has a more progressive and KDWB a less repetitive, playlist then your golden oldies about gays, guns and God. It's just too bad that the late great singer songwriter Steve Goodman isn't still with us so he could pen the perfect Republican election anthem like when he co-wrote the perfect country western song with David Allan Coe, you know the one that went something like "...she left me, the day momma got out of prison, just before she died when her pick-up truck got hit by a train.."

But I digress, like I was saying, as I was multi-tasking last Friday morning I hear this voice I recognize from my past on the radio, but I cannot immediately place it. The familiar voice had a strange accent, like a New Jersey version of Elmer Fudd and then it all comes back to me: its Ed Garvey. I think Ed is trying to sound like he knows something about energy, but what I'm not sure. Did he just say that Gov. Pawlenty wanted him to "...catcha da wabbit"?

Now don't get me wrong, I like Ed. He lived across the hall from me in Frontier Hall my freshman year at the U of M way back in 1979. As I recall, Ed was an out of state student from New Jersey and for some unknown reason was attending the U of M, a land grant public institution in the Midwest and which had virtually an open enrollment policy at the time, for political science. Since Ed was the son of a Princeton professor, I always got the impression, at the time, that he must have been the black sheep of his elitist-educated, Ivy League family. Although Ed and I did not have a lot in common or hang out much, his assigned roommate was a hedonist jazz musician from Racine Wisconsin whom I did share a lot with, much to Ed's consternation.

Our paths crossed again, somewhat to my surprise and certainly to his, when Ed showed up in my first year class at the U of M Law School. I was the third generation to attend from my immediate family and Ed, well, let's just say Princeton professors must have a lot of pull. Again, Ed and I did not have a lot in common or hang out much, I was still a hedonist and working three jobs while attending school and Ed, as much as I paid any attention, hung out with the geeky looking "gunners"(aka brown nosers) in their ironed, button down shirts.

This crowd included some guy named Pawlenty. You know the types, always prepared for class and had their hands up even though the professors used the Socratic method of ambush and embarrass. Not quite the intellectuals they imagined themselves to be, but long on ambition and loved the sound of their own voice, even when they had nothing important to say. This was the crowd you quietly resented if you were a student like me, (i.e. still behaving like an undergraduate which meant I was often unprepared, wore wrinkled t-shirts and still feeling the effects from the night before).

Before I know it, the segment is over and I still wasn't quite sure what the story with Ed's voice was all about, but now my curiosity was stirred.

I quickly googled “Ed Garvey and energy security" and came up with a link to a news release from the Governor announcing the creation of the Minnesota Office of Energy Security within the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The news release included excerpts from the Governor's statement, including the following:

“Clean energy and energy security is a critical issue to Minnesota’s future. This organizational change will keep Minnesota moving towards a better energy future.”

The Governor appointed Commerce Department Deputy Commissioner Edward Garvey to also become the director of the new office. Garvey will coordinate energy and climate issues throughout the administration. Creating a focused office on energy security will allow the public easier access to energy information and technical assistance.

The Office of Energy Security will be housed in and receive administrative support from the Department of Commerce and there is no fiscal impact from this change.
“This structural change will support Governor Pawlenty’s efforts to secure a clean energy future,” said Glenn Wilson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. “Edward Garvey is the right person to lead this new office because of the universal respect he enjoys from all sectors of the energy industry.”

“The right person for the position." Hmm. Let's see, last thing I remembered hearing about Ed was the infrequent paragraph in the self-importance column of legal and political rags, often accompanied by a photograph of the sell outs with a drink in their hand sucking up to someone or bragging how they made partner in some corporate law firm. I have to admit that I was always a little jealous every time I read that Ed had got himself appointed to some well paying position or another on some supposedly quasi-public board that is really just a front for the corporate and political powers that be (e.g. Department of Commerce, Public Utilities Commission, etc.). But what the hell, we all gotta make a living.

Anyway, I think the Governor's creation of a State Office of Energy Security makes perfect Pawlenty sense. After all, the current Republican Administration's national energy security plan in Iraq is going so well, why not create a state office too. I know, let's name as its head a political appointee who already holds down another position in your administration. Oh yeah, I forgot, that didn't work out so well over at MN DOT or at least former Republican Governor Arne Carlson doesn't think so.

Well Governor, I suppose it could have been worse. You could have called up Mike Hatch and asked if Judy Dutcher was available to serve on an E 85 Commission. Dutcher would fit right in, although now a Democrat, she use to be a Republican, has little if any formal education in the subject or qualifications and I also remember her from the U dorms, in my sophomore year, but that's for another story.

Oh, the question in Carnac's envelope was: Name 3 things Judy Dutcher and Ed Garvey know little about.

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