Friday, September 02, 2011


Let’s finish the week with some ‘ground truth’. Years ago- while working at the Fire Dept. every so often you would get a guy- either a new firefighter- or someone who has been around a while- but they operated primarily from ‘book truth’.

That is-you learn stuff in fire school- you read all the latest fads in the field- but at the end of the day- if the truth be known- some guys don’t do that well in emergency type situations.

So- you work with what you got- and in some more extreme cases- you have tell the person ‘look- we like you- we know you’re a smart guy- but this line of work is not what your cut out for’ and the best thing for him- and us- is he finds another line of work.

Okay- the fire dept that I worked at was in a city with about a population of 30 thousand people- we only had 2 fire stations and around 30 firefighters.

My dept functioned a lot differently than the one my dad retired from in N.J. Because of the limited resources [not a firehouse on every other block type of a thing] we developed a strategy where the frontline truck- the guy who got there first- would drop the attack lines and the booster truck [the truck that got there second] would supply the attack truck with water from the hydrant.

In principle [there goes that book knowledge] the fire truck that was stationed on the east side of town would usually get to their side first- and the same with the west side of town.

But on occasion- if some of the newer guys are talking too long to leave the station [which became a problem that I brought up quite often] then the fire truck from the opposite side of town would arrive at the fire first- and at that point you have to use ground truth to finish the job.

That means the first truck- even if he came from the other side of town- he has to drop the attack lines and the second truck has to boost water from the hydrant. On one occasion I arrived at the scene first- even though I was driving the truck from the other side of town [like I said- some guys were too slow at leaving the station] and I dropped my lines and the house was fully engulfed. So as the other truck got there- he stopped by my truck and just looked- I yelled ‘go hook up at the hydrant- fast!’ I was running low on water in the truck [the trucks hold about 1000 gallons of water- but that only lasts a minute or so at a working fire].

My friend said ‘no- you’re supposed to be the truck that hooks up’ now- this guy was not a new guy- he worked at the fire house for about as long as I did- yet he was the type that you really had problems with every now and then.

And this was one of those ‘thens’. I yelled a few times ‘look- go hook up the damn truck at the hydrant- I’m running out of water’ [and yes- I’m sure some other flowery speech came out]. The guy wouldn’t budge- I almost had to threaten him to hook the truck up- he finally did.

Okay- this is an example of well meaning people- people who have ‘head knowledge’ about stuff- yet they lack real world knowledge. This doesn’t mean they are bad people- they just don’t fit the job they are doing at the time.

Okay- said all that to say this. These last few weeks I have read lots of news articles on Texas- how Perry lied about Texas job growth. How he really took the federal money- and that’s why the jobs grew.

Or how he is a hypocrite because he [like other Repub governors] has complained about federal spending- and yet he took the money.

Let me say- I have lived in Texas since 1980- and just by me being familiar with the state- we have had lost of jobs come to the state- simply because the other states [Cal, etc.] had way too much regulation and taxes on business.

Now- whether you hold to a more liberal view or not- I’m’ just stating ‘ground truth’ right now. The job growth in Texas is not because we took fed money- all the states took money- and that hasn’t improved their economies one iota.

The facts are Texas is a business friendly state- and that’s why the jobs came.

Okay- I have also seen the fed govt do things that have hurt the jobs in Texas. One of the fights going on right now is over the EPA [environmental protection agency] and whether it has the right to regulate the co2 production in the state.

Basically the govt has been trying to pass laws saying co2 is a pollutant- and because of that- the EPA can shut down certain types of plants that over produce the levels of co2.

Now- remember- you have ‘book truth’ and ‘ground truth’. The ground truth is that the fed govt expects certain business to convert over to ‘clean energy’ in a time table that is unrealistic- and because they are trying to empower the EPA to be able to come in and regulate- well this has scared some business away from the state.

Now- what is co2? In this debate- you often hear the global warming side that says ‘co2 is a bad pollutant- we must rid the world of it before it’s too late!’ Yet there are real questions about whether or not co2 gas is truly a pollutant.

The present level of co2 in our atmosphere is around 390 ppm [parts per million]. Before the industrial age- around 150 years ago- the levels were around 270 ppm.

Co2 is produced naturally in our world. When you breathe out- your are producing co2. When forests burn- co2 is released. And yes- when we burn fossil fuels for business- co2 is released.

Why? Because co2 is in the things we burn- they make up the stuff of life. Humans are basically made of Carbon- and this material is in all sorts of life and plants and stuff.

Okay- what are the safe levels for co2? Both NASA and the U.S. Navy have done extensive studies on this- because the submariners and the astronauts deal with special situations that concern the mixing of gases in the blood- and the upper level for safe co2 is around 8000 ppm.

Geologists tell us that the planet used to function at about a 1000 ppm level- and that the planet did well at that time [millions of years ago- before we had any factories!]

What’s the lowest ‘safe level’ of co2? Humans and animals can survive without any co2 in the air- but plants need around 270 ppm to do okay- and if you go under 150 ppm- then they are in real trouble.

Studies have been done that show the orange groves in Cal. have a much higher production rate now [around 30 %] then before the industrial age- because the levels of co2 are at a higher rate.

Some greenhouses have an increased level [around 1000 ppm] because plants thrive at higher levels [have you choked on pollution at your local greenhouse lately?]

So- the safe low level would be around 200 ppm- at the high end of the scale- maybe around 5000 ppm. So where are we at today?- around 390 ppm.

The way the media talk about the thing- you would think we are in danger of hitting the top of the scale- if the truth be known-we are closer to the bottom than the top.

Okay- said all that to say this- being there are lots of real questions about dealing with these levels- should we be closing down businesses- at a TIME WHERE PEOLE ARE LITERALLY STARVING FOR JOBS- simply because of some supposed book knowledge truth- that as you look at it- it doesn’t even seem to be book knowledge.

As the president gives his speech this coming week on jobs- yes- let’s do our best to work together for the next year and see if we can help those who are hurting. But at the same time- you can’t keep making ‘head knowledge’ decisions- based on book truth- when those in the real world know what needs to be done.

Sometimes you have to yell ‘go hook up the damn truck!’ and I think we are at that time.

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