Terrorism is obviously a national security issue... But so is our dependence on a region of the world controlled by dictators, tyrants and fundamentalist nut-cases.
In fact, our dependence on that region, and those regimes, is the real national security risk.
But our administration is not addressing that risk... at all. What have they done to help spur the American people onto the road of energy independence and self-sufficiency? NOTHING...
Leadership is all it would take... Leadership and time. American's are ready to innovate.
Here's an example:
We have another few years of vision-less leadership. Lets hope the American people can see past their own "nuke the bad guys 'til they glow" attitude and elect someone who will put us on the path to long term stability. A path that doesn't involve our military trying to remake the world in our image...
T.I. (Texas Instruments) always wanted to keep its newest wafer factory near Dallas so it would be near its design center and ideas could flow back and forth. But China, Taiwan and Singapore were all tempting alternatives, offering low wages, subsidies and tax breaks. So the T.I. leadership laid down a challenge: T.I. could locate its new wafer factory in Richardson, if the T.I. design team and community leaders could find a way to build it for $180 million less than its last Dallas factory, erected in the late 1990's. That would make its cost-per-wafer competitive with any overseas plant's.
Although the T.I. engineers initially thought it impossible, they pulled it off. Previous chip factories had three floors because of the complicated cooling and manufacturing process involved in making wafers. The T.I. design team came up with a way to build the Richardson factory with just two floors - a huge savings in mass and energy. T.I. also contacted Amory Lovins, the green designer who heads the Rocky Mountain Institute, and asked him to help it design other parts of the plant in a way that would lower its resource consumption, which, over the life of a plant, can exceed construction outlays.
Together, T.I. engineers and Mr. Lovins's team designed big water pipes with fewer elbows, which reduced friction loss and let them use smaller pumps that save energy. Various passive solar innovations were built in, including roofs that use a white reflective coating to reduce heat. These, together with innovations in how air is circulated, cooled and recovered naturally, reduced total heat so much that T.I. was able to get rid of one huge industrial air-conditioner. Almost all of the waste from the building construction is being recycled. The urinals are all waterless.
"Green building is not necessarily about producing your own power with windmills and solar panels. It's about addressing the consumption side with really creative design and engineering to eliminate waste and reduce energy usage - it's the next industrial revolution," said Paul Westbrook, who oversees sustainable design for T.I. and helped turn T.I. leaders on to green building by taking them to his solar-powered home. "Green building added some cost, but over all we built a green building for 30 percent less per square foot than our previous conventional facility." This is expected to cut utility costs by 20 percent and water usage by 35 percent.