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Climate Dogma Killed Biden’s “Build Back Better”

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by Michael Shellenberger

A half trillion dollars to subsidize renewables would have raised energy prices, worsened inflation, and undermined decarbonization. But what do we do now?

The centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda is dead. Senator Joe Manchin today announced that he could not support Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation which consisted of $1.7 trillion in new spending and would have added $158 billion to the national debt over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The largest component of spending, $570 billion, was for renewables, electric cars, and other climate change investments.

Progressives, environmentalists, and Democrats are furious with Sen. Manchin, but it was their own climate and renewables dogmatism that doomed the legislation. Democratic Senators could have written legislation that expanded nuclear energy and natural gas, the two main drivers of decarbonization, which are strongly supported by Manchin, and Republicans, but instead investments went overwhelmingly to solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars.

It’s true that there were good things in Build Back Better, and that one of the worst climate provisions, the Clean Energy Performance Program, was already removed. Build Back Better included a tax credit for existing nuclear power plants, funding for advanced nuclear fuels, funding for fusion R&D, and financial support for communities hurt by the transition to renewables.

But the money for nuclear would not have made much if any difference to the operating of nuclear plans. Nuclear plants in California, Massachusetts and New York are being shut down, despite already being profitable, for ideological reasons. Legislatures in less anti-nuclear states like Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticult step in to save their plants when they need to. And higher electricity prices due to natural gas shortages are making nuclear plants in other states even more profitable.

Of Build Back Better’s $550 billion for climate and energy, the vast majority of it was for weather-dependent renewables and their enabling infrastructure, including $29 billion for a “green bank” program to finance renewables and $10 billion for rural electric cooperatives to switch to renewables. Such subsidies were being offered despite years of false claims by many of the legislation’s sponsors and advocates that solar and wind were already cheaper than grid electricity.

Most dangerously, Build Back Better would have undermined electricity reliability, raised energy prices, and made the U.S. more dependent on foreign energy imports. Over-reliance on weather-dependent renewables in Texas and California, and under-investment in reliable, weather-independent nuclear and natural gas plants, led directly to deadly blackouts in those states.

I testified as much to this problem to Manchin’s Senate Commitee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Sen. Manchin made clear today that the role of renewables in making electricity expensive and unreliable was one of his top concerns. “The main thing that we need is dependability and reliability,” he said this morning. “If not, you’ll have what happened in Texas and California.” In his statement, Manchin said, “If enacted, the bill will also risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains.”

Adding weather-dependent energy sources can only make grids more resilient if significantly more money is spent maintaining reliable power sources to make up for their lost revenue and lost operation hours. That’s what Germany has done, deciding to burn more coal rather than continue operating its nuclear plants, which it’s shutting down, or rely too heavily on imported natural gas.

Manchin is also right that Build Back Better would increase dependence on energy imports. Over 80% of the world’s solar panels are made in China by incarcerated Uighyr Muslims living in concentration camps and against whom the Chinese government is committing “genocide,” according to the U.S. State Department.

Build Back Better contained incentives for the return of solar manufacturing to the U.S., but they were far too small to compete with solar panels made by incarcerated people in China’s already-built and heavily-subsidized mega-factories. Nor did they deal with the coming solar panel waste crisis.

“We have been energy independent for the first time for the first time in 60, 70 years or more,” noted Manchin, “and we should not have to depend on other parts of the world to give us the energy, or be able to hold us hostage for the energy, or the foreign supply chains that we need for the products we need every day.”

Everywhere in the world that solar and wind are deployed at scale they increase electricity prices dramatically. California increased its electricity prices seven times more than the rest of the U.S. over the last decade. Germany has the highest electricity prices in Europe, and is breaking new records with the energy shortage caused by lack of adequate natural gas supplies globally.

And now the entire world is paying the price of climate alarmism and renewables dogmatism. Climate shareholder activism and the ESG “sustainable” investment movement caused governments and private sector actors to underinvest in oil and gas production and over-invest in weather-dependent renewables. The result is historic shortages of natural gas and oil.

For the last several weeks Europen and Asian nations have been breaking records for the cost of electricity, due to shortages of natural gas supplies. Oil prices are set to rise to $125 per barrel next year and $150 in 2023, and U.S. winter natural gas prices will be 30% higher this year. Even nuclear-heavy France, which became over-invested in renewables and natural gas, and under-invested in nuclear, is seeing record electricity prices.

But what then, does it mean for climate change? And what should be done to safeguard American energy supplies going forward?

Harley-Davidson XL Sportster 1957 & the OHV Engine

By General Posts

The XL commonly known as the Sportster.

The original XL Sportster used a lot of parts from the previous K Model, but the real revelation was its new OHV engine. Harley-Davidson was aware of the interest of buyers in customizing.

While the humble XL Sportster had made an impact of sorts upon its initial release in 1957, it was the continual evolution of this lighter-weight V-twin engine that cemented it as a staple in the Harley-Davidson range.

It has truly helped instill the Harley-Davidson name in motorcycle history.

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Zero FXE launched: Review and Details

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by Andrew Cherney from https://www.cycleworld.com

The brand’s sleekest and most fun ebike yet. The lightweight, agile FXE is a new addition to Zero’s 2022 lineup.

  • In a segment full of either high-priced, tech-heavy options or cheap flimsy junk, the FXE is a step in the right direction, especially for commuters not too concerned with range. It’s also a ton of fun.
  • The design adds a minimal, supermoto style onto the existing FX platform for a more modern, updated feel.
  • Steel frame holds the tried-and-true ZF 75-5 air-cooled motor in the FXE, rated at 46 hp. The 7.2kWh battery is not removable.
  • Certain design elements like the front headlight design (an LED) and “beak” got carried over directly from the Huge Design concept bike.
  • The bike’s light weight and short wheelbase make it easy to work turns, with good lean angle and sticky Pirelli tires aiding in your attack. You can drag the kickstand if you’re super aggressive though.
  • The relaxed, commuter-friendly riding position is even more upright than the SR/F’s but it makes for a comfy perch (except at higher speeds).
  • You’ll find the Cypher II operating system on the FXE displayed on a new 5-inch TFT screen, giving various ride modes and bike data. Pair your phone with the app to tailor them and get more detailed info.
  • Stylish cast wheels hold grippy Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires, which upped our confidence in deeper high-speed turns.
  • The rear Showa monoshock delivers nearly 8 inches of travel for an impressively stable ride.
  • Inverted Showa fork is adjustable. J.Juan brakes offer excellent feel and good stopping power, and ABS can be turned off.

2022 Zero FXE Specifications
MSRP: $11,795
Motor: ZF 75-5 air-cooled IPM motor
Battery: 7.2kWh (max capacity) lithium-ion integrated battery
Charger type: 650W integrated
Charge time: 9.7 hours to 100% w/ standard 110V or 220V input
Claimed Range: 60 miles highway, 100 miles city, 75 miles combined
Claimed Peak power: 46 hp @ 3,500 rpm
Claimed Peak torque: 78 lb.-ft.
Top speed: 85 mph
Transmission: Clutchless direct drive
Final Drive: Carbon belt
Frame: Steel trellis
Front Suspension: 41mm inverted Showa fork, spring preload, compression and rebound damping adjustable; 7.0 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Showa 40mm piston monoshock, spring preload, compression and rebound damping adjustable; 8.9 in. travel
Front Brake: 1-piston J.Juan floating caliper, 320mm disc w/ Bosch Gen 9 ABS
Rear Brake: 1-piston J.Juan floating caliper, 240mm disc w/ Bosch Gen 9 ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast alloy; 17 x 3 in. / 17 x 3.5 in.
Tires, Front/Rear: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II; 110/70-17 / 140/70-17
Rake/Trail: 24.4°/2.8 in.
Wheelbase: 56.0 in.
Seat Height: 32.9 in.
Claimed Curb Weight: 299 lb.
Standard warranty: 2 years
Contact: zeromotorcycles.com

Conventional wisdom says there will be more EVs on the street within the next five to 10 years, and our urban roadscape will look a lot different than it does now. But conventional wisdom usually skips over the equally important notion that attracting riders means you have to innovate while also being sensitive to price, particularly in the electric space. Zero seems to be tackling those talking points, at least partially, with the reveal of the new 2022 FXE, a compact and affordable supermoto-styled commuter machine it’s billing as “the motorcycle of tomorrow, available today.”

Building the bike of tomorrow is a tall order, even for an electric motorcycle manufacturer, but when Zero took the wraps off its new machine last month near the firm’s HQ in Santa Cruz, California, our group of assorted moto scribes nodded. Here indeed was a very different looking electric bike—especially for the sometimes dowdy two-wheel electric space. And yet a mind-blowing revelation it was not, especially if you’re looking at the spec sheet alone. From a design standpoint, the slim, starkly modern supermoto-styled machine felt instantly appealing—even if it looked an awful lot like a deconstructed riff on the WR450, or more accurately, a close cousin of the brand’s already supermoto-y FXS model. But how would it hold up on the street?

n the FXE’s case, form did not have to follow function—or not as rigorously as previous models, which adopted more familiar shapes to make them appealing to the general public, according to Zero. But now, says VP of Product Development Brian Wismann, the consumer is ready for updated designs, which explains why the FXE, a model based on a concept collaboration with Huge Design back in 2019, is here. Although it’s built on the brand’s existing FX platform, the partnership with Huge introduced a completely new design language, informed mainly by stripped-down panels of bodywork. (The concept bike was in fact built on an FXS model, and you can see the similarities.) On the FXE, the so-called essential surfaces—seats, body panels, touch points—are intended to look like they’re floating over the chassis. The distinctive styling radiates modern industrial design aesthetics, while “celebrating the electric drivetrain” says Wismann.

When we sidled up to the FXE at a secret staging location outside of town—Zero shrewdly had us ride older SR/Fs and SR/Ss to where the new bikes were stashed—we were struck by just how approachable the profile was. A sane seat height welcomed even the shorties in the bunch, with the 32.9-inch perch making for easy access and a riding position similar to that of a dirt bike, not super aggressive but sitting atop the slightly dished, mostly flat seat, with a fairly short reach to the tallish bars. Mid-mounted pegs were ideally located, not too far forward or rearward, providing an upright stance in the saddle—even more than the SR/F I had just gotten off of. The compact body panels make for a clean look, though they did splay outward from below the faux fuel tank, pushing my knees out into the wind. They basically made it impossible to grip the tank as you normally might, but it was more minor inconvenience than any real annoyance.

With the ergonomics checking out, I put the FXE into Sport mode and let ‘er rip. Even though I sort of knew what to expect, the instant torque pop of an electric motor never fails to put a big grin on your face. Yes, 46 horses might not sound like much, but the eerily silent power pulse from the air-cooled ZF 75-5 motor is more than enough to turn your head, especially in its immediacy; the throttle felt far more responsive than the SR/F we had just ridden, possibly because the FXE’s substantially smaller mass and less unsprung weight made for quicker power transfer. With its narrow waist and short wheelbase, I found I could easily push the FXE into and through even the harshest decreasing-radius turns we tackled among the Santa Cruz redwoods. The bike did not fight me on quick transitions as much as expected, with the sticky Pirellis giving me all kinds of confidence throughout a half-day stint in mountain twisties. And with no need to worry about shifting, you’re free to focus on the next apex. Or to just blast to the 85-mph top speed, which I did whenever we hit a straight stretch of road. Why not, right?

Zero also outfitted the FXE with its now-familiar J.Juan brakes and bolstered by a Bosch ABS system, so stops were also a stress-free affair, with easy lever pull giving a strong bite and solid stopping power and almost no fade. (ABS can be turned off as well.) With 7 inches of travel, the inverted, adjustable Showa fork soaked up almost every road deformity we came across (except for one unexpected curb hop) staying composed even in truly harsh divots. Holding the line out back is an equally resilient—and adjustable—Showa monoshock that tracked solidly throughout our short ride.

As with the FX, the FXE also leverages Zero’s Cypher II operating system, which here is married to a new 5-inch optically bonded TFT display that proved bright and easy to read. You can access ride modes—it comes preprogrammed with Eco and Sport—and tailor torque, speed, and brake regeneration from the free Zero app, which also gives you insight to battery status. We can’t speak to range, given our short ride day—Zero claims 100 miles of city riding from the 7.2kWh (peak) battery, with 60 miles of range claimed on the highway, at 55 mph. The display screen showed less than 20 percent of charge remaining after our 50-mile stint, which was a mix of high- and low-speed scenarios, and that feels fairly close to the claim. According to Zero, the onboard 650W charger will top off the battery in 9.7 hours off a standard household socket; a rapid charger available for additional cost will do the job in a little more than 3 hours.

In sum, we’re not entirely buying the “bike of tomorrow” tagline, but the FXE does manage to serve up a grin-inducing blend of instant acceleration, flickability, and easy steering. Perhaps even more tantalizing is the sub-$10K price tag; yes, you’re getting a somewhat short range bike, but at least that obstacle is being somewhat addressed. Of course that sub-10K number rings true only once you tally in the federal and California EV tax credits, but hey, $10K is $10K.

Considering H-D’s lowest priced electric offering, the just-released LiveWire One, runs upward of $20K, and any bike called Lightning, Energica, Tarform, or Damon is well north of there, you’ve gotta hand it to Zero for compiling a portfolio of four models priced under $12K, all coming with a warranty and dealer support.

The dual sport FX sits at $11,595, the entry-level FXS is at $11,295, the naked S is priced at $10,995, and now the FXE at $11,795. All four either are or can be configured with the ZF 7.2 powertrain, which, granted, is not the fastest or most top-of-the-line offering, but it does help make the FXE one of the most affordable models in the Zero line.

You can check it out yourself at some of the upcoming stops of the IMS tour (starting with Sonoma Raceway on July 16) and bikes should be in dealers later this month as well.

No masks required as 250,000 expected at 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Here’s what to know.

By General Posts

by Joel Shannon from https://news.yahoo.com

One of the largest events since the beginning of the pandemic has begun in South Dakota: More than 250,000 people are expected at the iconic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

That’s scaled down from previous years, where about half-a-million people have descended on the city of about 7,000 for an event that has developed a reputation as an anything-goes festival.

While the 80-year tradition isn’t as raucous as it once was, festivalgoers will be largely free of social distancing restrictions common elsewhere in the country during this year’s 10-day festival.

Bikers flocking to the small town from around the country won’t face quarantining requirements if they are from a coronavirus hot spot.

And masks? They’re encouraged – not required.

So far, few people are heeding that encouragement, according to an Associated Press reporter at the event.

Many who rode their bikes into Sturgis on Friday expressed defiance at the rules and restrictions that have marked life in much of the world during the pandemic.

“Screw COVID,” read the design on one T-shirt being hawked. “I went to Sturgis.”

Local officials have made efforts to scale down the event, but some expect restriction-weary bikers to flock to Sturgis in large numbers.

“It’s the biggest single event that’s going on in the United States that didn’t get canceled,” said Rod Woodruff, who operates the largest campground and concert venue that lies outside the bounds of the city.

“A lot of people think it’s going to be bigger than ever.”

In addition to normal concerns about crime, many locals are worried the huge crowds and lack of social distancing rules will lead to an unmanageable outbreak of COVID-19.

What is Sturgis?

The rally may be known for rowdy, drunken and naked shenanigans, but in recent years longtime attendees complain it has lost its edge.

First-time visitors might be excused for thinking the rally isn’t much more than an excuse to create one of the world’s largest open-air shopping malls. There’s usually corporate sponsorships, licensed T-shirt vendors, insurance companies and lawyers.

Most attendees in recent years are professionals with too much to lose if they get arrested. The top three professions at Sturgis are doctors, lawyers and accountants, city officials have said in previous years.

That’s translated to big money for the local economy. Last year, the rally brought in about $1.3 million in tax revenue for South Dakota, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Is the event risky during a pandemic?

While outdoor events are widely believed to be lower risk than indoor ones, the unprecedented size of the gathering is prompting serious concerns.

“You’re just adding fuel to a fire,” epidemiologist Dr. John Brownstein, told ABC News. “South Dakota is already experiencing increases in transmission. COVID is not under control in South Dakota; it’s just not.”

Among Brownstein’s worries: That attendees could become infected at the event and spread it across the nation as they return home – and that the rural health care system doesn’t have the ability to handle a possible local surge in cases.

Many locals seem to share in the concern. When asked earlier this year whether the iconic motorcycle rally should be held, their answer was an overwhelming “no.”

More than half of the community expressed their feelings in a survey. A sizable majority of 62% asked city officials to postpone the rally.

Several steps have been taken to reduce risk, local media reports: The Community Center will not be hosting vendors inside as in the past, according to NewsCenter 1. And Sturgis High School will not offer shower services nor host the annual pancake breakfast as in the past.

Mayor Mark Carstensen on Thursday told CNN the city is setting up sanitation stations and giving out masks, although they aren’t mandated.

Why are local leaders allowing the event to go on?

Businesses pressured the City Council to proceed and Sturgis officials say the rally would happen whether they wanted it or not. So they opted to try to scale it back, canceling city-hosted events and slashing advertising for the rally.

Daniel Ainslie, Sturgis’ city manager, said the city received a letter sent by attorneys for an outside business containing threats of litigation unless the rally moved forward. It suggested the city did not have the right to cancel the rally because previous court rulings found that the rally is not produced by a single organizer.

For his part, Woodruff said he felt he had little choice but to proceed with the rally. He employs hundreds of people in August and a smaller full-time staff.

“We spend money for 355 days of the year without any return on it, hoping people show up for nine days,” he said. “We’re a nine-day business.”

What are the rules in South Dakota about masks, social distancing?

Gov. Kristi Noem has taken a relaxed approach to the pandemic. Even as Republican governors in states like Texas have moved to require people to wear masks, Noem didn’t require physical distancing or masks at the July 3 celebration at Mount Rushmore, which President Donald Trump attended.

She supported holding the Sturgis rally, tweeting Thursday: “I trusted my people, they trusted me, and South Dakota is in a good spot in our fight against COVID-19. The #Sturgis motorcycle rally starts this weekend, and we’re excited for visitors to see what our great state has to offer!”

Facing financial crunch, UK based Norton Motorcycle goes into administration; India roll out hit

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by Ketan Thakkar from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Norton had set up an equally owned joint venture with Pune-based Kinetic Motoroyale in 2017 to start making mid-size motorcycles for India and Southeast Asian Markets by 2018. The project got delayed due to financial crunch at the UK-based entity.

UK-based premium bike maker Norton Motorcycle’s India roll out may be hit, as the company has gone into administration after failing to pay outstanding dues to the UK authorities.

According to a news report, the company is struggling to pay a tax bill and faces a winding-up order under the UK’s insolvency law.

Norton had set up an equally owned joint venture with Pune-based Kinetic Motoroyale in 2017 to start making mid-size motorcycles for India and Southeast Asian Markets by 2018. The project got delayed due to financial crunch at the UK-based entity.

When contacted, Kinetic Motoroyale managing director Ajinkya Firodia told ET that Norton was looking to raise funds. Firodia said he would be travelling shortly to the UK to understand the situation better and seek clarity.

“Norton Motoroyale (the joint venture) is a separate company and continues to exist and hold its rights in its territories of India and Asean countries. After our visit, we shall understand the extent of impact, if any. The India-side development of all parts is nearly complete for the 650 Atlas. For some parts developed in the UK or Europe for Norton, I shall seek clarity from the administrator,” Firodia added.

When queried if the 650cc bike would get further delayed, he said it was “difficult to predict” now.

Kinetic Motoroyale had set up a 30,000-unit capacity plant in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. A range of Norton bikes were expected to be made at this plant for Indian and Southeast Asian markets.

According to media reports, Norton, which was rescued by property developer Stuart Garner in 2008, said the company owed tax authorities 300,000 pounds and could be liquidated if it was not given more time to pay.

The report added that two of Garner’s other companies were also in administration.

Founded in Birmingham, Norton began making motorbikes in 1902 and soon became associated with races such as the Isle of Man TT.

Models like the Dominator and the Commando are well renowned and some of the bikes have even been featured in films including the Bond movies. The Norton Interpol was used by the UK Police in the 1980s for patrolling.

Weed revenue in Colorado tops $1 billion

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Colorado has generated more than $1 billion by selling marijuana.

The state legalized weed in 2014. Since then, total sales have exceeded $6.56 billion, according to the state’s department of revenue.

“Today’s report continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement on Wednesday. “We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition. We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation and development for this growing economic sector.”

The marijuana industry is creating jobs in the state, with 2,917 licensed businesses and 41,076 individuals licensed to do such work, according to the department of revenue.

“We are committed to facilitating responsible innovation within this dynamic industry through continued engagement with our diverse group of stakeholders,” Jim Burack, director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, said in a statement. “Colorado will continue to be known for its regulatory leadership.”