Q&A w/ DANNY KENNEDY, ROOFTOP REVOLUTION: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy and the Planet from Dirty EnergyWritten on May 13th, 2013
Is there a revolution coming to your rooftop? While opponents claim solar is expensive, inefficient, and unreliable, in his book ROOFTOP REVOLUTION: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy And Our Planet From Dirty Energy, DANNY KENNEDY makes clear solar can save money, create jobs, and protect the environment if only politics and perception will get out of the way.
During the recent Presidential campaign, we heard a lot about Solyndra, the solar start-up that received a sizable government loan only to go belly up. Solar’s detractors claim the collapse of Solyndra proves solar is just a hippie pipe dream, but Danny Kennedy, says the truth is quite the opposite. Solyndra failed because it wasn’t able to compete in a red-hot industry, not because solar isn’t ready for prime time.
The industry employs 100,000 people in the United States, twice as many as in 2009 and twice the number of coal miners. In 2011, Warren Buffett invested $2 billion in a solar farm, and General Electric bought a start-up solar manufacturer, announcing, “By 2020 this is going to be at least a $1 billion product line.” Production of solar-generated electricity rose by 45% in the first three quarters of 2010, while electricity from natural gas rose only 1.6% and coal declined by 4.2%. Kennedy argues for a rooftop revolution to break the entrenched power of the coal, oil, nuclear, and natural gas industries and their progress-denying allies.
I haven’t done a lot about the election on this show. I’ve been talking more about the foundational issues that underlie the situation we find ourselves in — an age of very imperfect politics, government, finance, and business. Our democracy and our governance are dominated by a handful of billionaires, and a number of multimillionaires and their corporations who do not share the interests of the larger society.
But In early September I read a piece by Tom Hayden at Truthout.com. Over the next several days, it appeared all over the progressive blogosphere – Saving Obama, Saving Ourselves. I immediately contacted Tom to come on and talk about the election.
Among other things, he reminds us of the accomplishments of the first Obama administration in light of the actual political and economic circumstances he faced. He also looks at history of previous social movements. How did they interact with the political process in pursuit of their goals? And what did they gain and sacrifice in the process?
HAYDEN: “History will show that the first term was better than most progressives now think…By their nature, the achievements of social movements are lesser versions of original visions…If Obama loses, it will be unfair to blame the left, but they will be blamed nonetheless. As a consequence they will become more marginal, far less able to connect with the progressive constituencies and mass movements with vital stakes in Obama’s re-election.”
The Supreme Court’s been in the news a lot lately. Several of the nine justices claim to be originalists, assuming to know what the framers meant when they wrote it, and that they meant for us to follow it for the most part as written for the life of the republic. Well. No less an authority than Thomas Jefferson said the Constitution should be rewritten every 19 years.
And my next guest has taken him up on that. KEVIN BLEYER — who’s won Emmys writing for THE DAILY SHOW and has worked on President Obama’s speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinners – has done what he calls “a page one rewrite.” Bleyer joins me on Free Forum to talk about his new book, ME THE PEOPLE: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America.
VAN JONES is Co-Founder and President of REBUILD THE DREAM, and a co-founder of three other successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. Jones served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009, and is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress and a senior policy advisor at Green For All. He holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is the author of The Green Collar Economy.
JANE D'ARISTA writes and lectures on economics and finance and is a Research Associate at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She served as a staff economist for the Banking and Commerce Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives, as a principal analyst in the international division of the Congressional Budget Office and has lectured in graduate programs at Boston University School of Law, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Utah and the New School University. Her publications include a two-volume history of U.S. monetary policy and financial regulation.
Author, REBUILDING THE FRAMEWORK FOR FINANCIAL REGULATION
"...barely known among exalted policy-makers, ...progressive economists recognize the originality of her thinking..."
-- William Greider in "Fixing the Fed" (see below)
By William Greider, March 11, 2009, Nation
Congress and the Obama administration face an excruciating dilemma. To restore the crippled financial system, they are told, they must put up still more public money--hundreds of billions more--to rescue the largest banks and investment houses from failure. Even the dimmest politicians realize that this will further inflame the public's anger. People everywhere grasp that there is something morally wrong about bailing out the malefactors who caused this catastrophe. Yet we are told we have no choice. Unless taxpayers assume the losses for the largest financial institutions by buying their rotten assets, the banking industry will not resume normal lending and, therefore, the economy cannot recover.