Libertarians and hardcore conservatives! Rejoice in a vacation destination that has been government-free since 1991….Somalia! This is the kind of regulation-free paradise you’ve been fighting for!
I lived in South Florida without air conditioning for 8 years, in houses that were built to have good cross-ventilation. Ceiling fans are essential. We had hot and sticky weather 9 months a year…we drank a lot of iced tea, or went swimming on really hot days. I don’t remember it ever being a big problem, but I do remember FREEZING and having to bring a sweater whenever we went to the supermarket.
Here in Northern CA, we only have a few days a year that are over 100F. But even in hottest summer, we almost never turn on AC at our house. We turn on fans. We sit under trees. We drink cold drinks. We are lucky to have two big sycamore trees in our yard to shade the house, but over the last 5 years that I have lived here, I have planted a lot of tall shrubs and bamboo that give us almost complete shade in the front yard on summer afternoons. It’s lovely. I don’t understand people that live with AC turned on 9 months a year and never think about planting a shade tree or two to cool their house.
We are renting a cottage on Maui in July for our vacation, and one of the reasons that I chose it was the structure of the house. It has excellent tropical architecture…big screened windows on all sides for maximum airflow, ceiling fans in every room, large eaves to keep the interior shady. No carpet, no air conditioning.
The alternatives were all so depressing. Seriously, I’m not going to Maui to sit in a concrete tower 10 stories up with the air conditioning blasting. I want to feel those tropical breezes and pretend that I’m actually living there. I’m *going* to Hawaii to be warm.
It’s completely true that a house with the windows closed and no air moving can be 80F and feel stiflingly, nauseatingly hot. Open the windows, turn on a fan, and 84F can feel just perfect.
This spring we stayed at Spin & Margie’s Desert Hideaway in Joshua Tree, where average summertime temperatures are well over 100F. No air conditioning there, despite being extremely luxurious. Instead, they have evaporative coolers, aka swamp coolers. I have never seen a house with one though. Why not?
Here’s an LA Times review of “Losing Our Cool”:
Air conditioning, he writes, generates more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This is the same amount of CO2 that would be “produced if every household in the country bought an
additional vehicle and drove it an average 7,000 miles a year.”
“Air conditioning displaced a culture of social solutions to hot weather,” said Gail Cooper, author of “Air-Conditioning America: Engineers and the Controlled Environment, 1900 to 1960″ and a professor
at Lehigh University. “We used to get out of the hot house into the garden. We would sit in the shade and be lazy instead of productive. We would drink ice-cold drinks to cool our bodies instead of cooling our
houses. We would wear light-colored — and very little — clothing to cool down. There was a whole hot weather strategy of social solutions that air conditioning displaced.”
Well, here it is. Last week, President Obama unveiled his budget—his blueprint for America—and it’s ambitious, amazing, and unapologetically progressive. As Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist said, it will set America on a “fundamentally new course.” 1
President Obama called his budget “a threat to the status quo,” and trust me, the status quo noticed. Oil companies, big banks and insurance companies are already mobilizing to stop it. 2
Unfortunately, most folks don’t realize how far-reaching and progressive the plan is—that’s where we all come in.
Here are 15 really incredible things about Obama’s plan. Check them out and then send them on to your friends and family so that millions of people will have the information they need to fight to make this vision a reality.
1. Makes a $634 billion down payment on fixing health care that will go a long way toward paying for a more efficient, more affordable health care system that covers every single American. 3
2. Reduces taxes for 95% of working Americans. And if your family makes less than $250,000, your taxes won’t go up one dime. 4
3. Invests more than $100 billion in clean energy technology, creating millions of green jobs that can never be outsourced. 5
4. Brings our troops home from Iraq on a firm timetable, finally bringing the war to a close—and freeing up almost ten billion dollars a month for domestic priorities. 6
5. Reverses growing income inequality. The plan lets the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire and focuses on strengthening the middle class. 7
6. Closes multi-billion-dollar tax loopholes for big oil companies. 8
7. Increases grants to help families pay for college—the largest increase ever. 9
8. Halves the deficit by 2013. President Obama inherited a legacy of huge deficits and an economy in shambles, but his plan brings the deficit under control as soon as the economy begins to recover. 10
9. Dramatically increases funding for the SEC and the CFTC—the agencies that police Wall Street. 11
10. Tells it straight. For years, budgets have used accounting tricks to hide the real costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts, and too many other programs. Obama’s budget gets rid of the smokescreens and lays out what America’s priorities are, what they cost, and how we’re going to pay for them. 12
11. Stops unnecessary government subsidies to big banks, health insurance companies and big agribusinesses. 13,14,15
12. Expands access to early childhood education and improves schools by investing in programs that make sure every child has a qualified, strong teacher. 16
13. Negotiates for better prescription drug prices using Medicaid’s tremendous bargaining power. 17
14. Expands access to family planning for low-income women. 18
15. Caps the pollution that causes global warming, and makes polluters pay to support clean energy innovation.19
1. “Climate of Change,” The New York Times, February 27, 2009
2. “Obama Calls His Budget Sweeping, Needed Change,” The New York Times, February 28, 2009
3. “Obama Offers Broad Plan to Revamp Health Care,” The New York Times, February 26, 2009
4. “Obama Expects Fight Over $3.55 Trillion Budget Plan” Bloomberg News, February 28, 2009
5. “Energy Budget Is Sunlight After Eight Years of Darkness” Center for American Progress, February 26, 2009
6. “The Economic Cost of War in Iraq and Afghanistan” The New York Times, March 1, 2009
7. “Tax Cuts” The New York Times, February 26, 2009
8. “Energy Budget Is Sunlight After Eight Years of Darkness” Center for American Progress, February 26, 2009
9. “Student Loans” The New York Times, February 26, 2009
10. “Obama unveils budget blueprint” CNN, February 26, 2009
11. “Obama budget would boost SEC, CFTC, FBI” Reuters, February 26, 2009
12. “Obama’s budget” Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2009
13. “Student Loans,” The New York Times, February 26, 2009
14. “Health Insurance Stocks Dive on Medicare Advantage Cuts” The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2009
15. “Agriculture” The New York Times, February 26, 2009
16. “Investing Wisely in Our Children” Center for American Progress, February 26, 2009
17. “Obama Offers Broad Plan to Revamp Health Care” The New York Times, February 26, 2009
18. “Setting ‘Green’ Goals” The New York Times, February 26, 2009