Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Nobel Prize for American Housing

Dear President Obama


I don’t know how often you hear this these days but I feel compelled to remind you of the fact that the vision you characterized for America on the campaign trail remains (in the midst of chaos) quite firmly intact. Let me also add congratulations on your Peace Prize Recognition.
As the Nobel is not given out at random, as it is given out to visionaries who upon living in our random world see clear rays of sunshine through seemingly random clouds, you most certainly see the sunshine.

As far as this author is concerned, the vision you see and are attempting to facilitate, is a remarkable extension of the vision other American Nobel Laureates’ had and still do have for our random world. Jimmy Carter is one of these folks whereas Al Gore is another.

During his presidency and during the energy crisis of the 1970s, Jimmy Carter warned America and the world of the emerging consequences of “empty gas cans”. As solutions to empty gas cans were during his presidency being toyed with, once the energy crisis of the seventies subsided, most of those who were toying with the concepts of solar energy and wind energy were more or less left abandoned along with their solar collectors and wind turbines. When Vice President Al Gore came along and layered a much more succinct argument of climate change over the vapors of the sometimes full and sometimes empty economic gas cans America and the world had been pestered by since the seventies, his vision just like Jimmy Carter’s was set aside by his fellow Americans as being both arbitrary and inconsequential. With the onset of the economic boom associated with the global spread of information technologies, much like in the 70s, the 90s represented to America just another opportunity to go on with business as usual without for a moment actually heeding the visionary warnings of these two remarkably visionary American Nobel Laureates.

Now, today in 2009 having entirely ignored the warnings and messages of both Mr. Gore and Mr. Carter, we are collectively sitting here as a nation pouting (how else can one define it?) over the fact that our economy sits idle. While this pouting is taking place, you come along inspiring our nation to embrace change once again. Winning the presidency as a result of your vision and of course winning the Nobel Prize for precisely the same reason as both Carter and Gore and while in theory everyone in America should be ecstatic over the fact that you have appeared to lead our nation, the fact that we did not wholly embrace the development of alternative technologies in the 1970s has left our nation and your leadership just as your two laureate predecessors’ in the unfortunate state of “perpetual pregnant pause” once again.

Just as in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day”, you Mr. President, much like Al Gore and Jimmy Carter remain visionary leaders of a nation locked wholeheartedly in redundant non-accomplishment. Unlike President Carter and Vice President Gore whose words in many ways went unheeded but whose ideas were never the less implanted in the minds of all Americans, those that overwhelmingly voted for you in 2008 are expecting something other than words from you the third generational recipient of the same repetitive alternative energy Nobel Prize. As Americans today want action not words on the subject of alternative energy and 21st century industrial economic development, the immediate creation of AMERICAN JOBS is at the core of our collective national wants.

Listening to your acceptance speech in Norway this morning, all I heard was the need for us to work together in a world filled with military conflict to once again come together to resolve that conflict. While of course this is a grand gesture, never once did you speak to the root cause of conflict. As the root cause of any social conflict is in this authors’ mind stemming from boredom, boredom comes from the fact that idle hands produce angry and idle minds. If a man or a woman has nothing whatsoever to do with him or herself other than talk about the need for change, aren’t they ultimately susceptible to armies that give them the tools of war as opposed to armies that give them the tools of peace?

As the tools of peace in our America today are the same as they have always been and these tools are industrial in nature, hands filled with solar collectors and wind turbines, hands filled with wrenches tweaking alternative energy powered vehicles, hands filled with organic produce grown in state of the art greenhouses, hands that have the potential to be busily rebuilding our nations’ infrastructure sit idle while their minds are filled with the psycho-babble of those who wander the world giving out dime store Nobel Prizes to overly educated environmental stewards.

Where are the jobs Mr. President?

Where is the broad spectrum national public education curriculum that will produce these jobs? Where is the anchor of a truly proactive national dialogue?

As it is absolutely disgusting that since you were elected, not a single Republican has participated in any form of constructive dialogue, my sense is that your ideas are not rooted in a very solid sense of common momentum. As they are not and as your democratic supporters remain locked into a rather obscure mindset of “global warming”, I fear that until all of you can get your act together and start producing legislation that creates jobs, the globe we all actually live on will die of industrial boredom, long before it succumbs to overheating.


As there are but just a few areas that need to be addressed in order to get things going, public utility restructuring and home building are at the core of our potential 21st century industrial growth. While I am fully aware of the work being done to restructure our national public utility grid, thus far the focus remains on the creation of new generation regional utility grids designed to connect all sources of energy production together. The belief here is that once we produce these grids, jobs will follow. The problem with this logic is of course that before we can finance the growth of these grids, people have to have jobs that will feed income into the funding structure needed to produce these grids to begin with. As no jobs are forthcoming and no new public utility grids are being massed produced, the housing sector that needs to be seriously upgraded in order to receive the alternative energy supplied power to run these homes, sits in an overinflated and underfinanced state of false financial value.

In other words, our American homes are worthless because our public utility infrastructure is worthless as our combined investment in all forms of energy are worthless because nobody has any jobs in the fields that ultimately make the whole thing work in the first place. This is kind of like living on a gold standard when virtually no one in the world is walking around wearing gold jewelry.

I am a master carpenter. I have been attempting to build sustainable residential architecture since the beginning of the energy crisis of the 1970s. In all of this time, one thing and one thing alone has consistently prevented me and many of my associates from realizing our collective dream. That one thing is an overwhelming lack of education as to the availability of energy management technologies and building products. As the single most determining factor in that lack of education is the failure to define a unifying national building code, whatever success I achieved when starting my business in Colorado, was entirely lost when I moved to Illinois. Viewed as a forward thinking architectural designer and builder that applied state of the art energy management principles to the homes and businesses out west, moving to the Midwest was met with confrontational dialogues with building code officials who basically stated that not only was I unprofessional, but anti-union and of course, un-American.

Forty years later, the building codes established in America’s west are now being adopted in the Midwest. The problem however, remains that adoption of such codes comes at the whims of municipalities governed by uneducated code officials whose personal ego is attached to the larger ego of the town. If the town is forward thinking, most likely the building official is as well just as the industries that make up that towns’ economic base reflect the collective forward thinking architectural knowledge of its’ inhabitants. If on the other hand the town is not, the economic growth that could come from acquiring such knowledge is not as well.

My point here is quite simple, focusing on the development of regional alternative energy grids cannot and will not be realized if the building trades that make up the hundreds of small communities that are supplied by that grid are stupid. As the promise of millions of new jobs in alternative energy fields is indeed a wonderful pipe dream, unless the pipes that come from individual houses are meeting the pipes coming from regional utility grids, who in the hell is ever going to benefit?

As the great failure of thinking within in the Republican Party in Washington is that the federal government should not be meddling in the affairs of free market growth of new industries, the great failure of the Democratic party is thinking that somehow the government should finance this growth. Within such narrowly defined parameters however, we remain a nation of zero growth and wholly unattached national industrial momentum. I think that once Washington gets a firm grip on its’ collective and historic role as national industrial policy making, not only will Americans once again be wearing gold jewelry, they will again have jobs created not by Nobel Laureates but by local building inspectors.

If every community in America had a highly trained residential and commercial building sector, would not those same communities have thriving 21st century industrial sectors?

M. Patrick Dahlke


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