Thursday, January 15, 2009

Carrying coals to Newcastle, Duluth edition 

The very last item on Duluth's list of I-wanna's from Santa Obama: "Spirit Mountain snowmaking and maintenance facility, $6,000,000, 70 jobs." That comes out to $83,000 a job. To make snow in Duluth, which averages over 80 inches a year. Tell you what. For half that, you can have all the snow in my back yard. Buttercup would like to have her yard back, guys. Help yourself. (h/t: Kristina Rasmussen.)

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In lieu of any real blogging 

Reader KT thought the new "about" link to the right needs a Buttercup picture. We'll do you one better, sir.

This is Buttercup in training for basketball. Video courtesy of Littlest Scholar, creator of Buttercupland. Littlest loves the linkage.


Monday, February 11, 2008

But she's a SMALL dog! 

It's been a while since we've done any Buttercup blogging, and while I'm waiting for Littlest to post the latest pictorial, I now have to worry about my dog's carbon footprint.
Which do you think takes a bigger toll on the environment, owning a dog, or owning an SUV? My bet would be on the dog. I'm thinking of all of the resources that go into dog food.
Sad to say, I own both. I have a rather high bill for gasoline for the Touareg, and it just had a brake job that set me back half a day's pay. I pay a fair amount of taxes for the use of the roads, and presumably one has priced in the pollution in no small part by the restriction on building any additional refining capacity. Contra Mike Moffatt, dog food and gasoline do not play on a level playing field. Dog food competes with other uses of meat remains, and the land on which the cattle graze compete with other uses, like the ethanol some people want me to burn in my SUV.

On the other hand, Buttercup is a Boston Terrier. When she's not posing for Littlest or cheering the fortunes of the team that adopts her as a mascot, she eats relatively little food, takes up only a small portion of the bed or couch, and emits a relatively small amount of waste. This is important since I live in a city. I'd love a big dog that rode in my SUV, but I don't live in a place that can conveniently hold one (and because I live where it was -12 when I woke up this morning, the morning and evening walks hold no joy.) Oh yes, you say, there is Jasperwood! But that caters to a peculiar man's taste, and not this one's.

Cats cost less than dogs to feed (one site suggests $4./wk for a cat vs. $25./wk for a large dog.) Buttercup eats little more than a cat. Does $20./wk plus all the additional time in walking the larger animal correct for its imposition on the environment?

The point being, we value dogs and pay what they are worth, and Russ Roberts is right that there are tradeoffs. If there are externalities to dogs or SUVs they might be over or underprovided, but the prices we see in the market already capture these in some ways, and it isn't always obvious. Peter Gordon observes that using Atlantans behavior in urban and suburban settings doesn't tell us if the suburbanite has a greater carbon footprint because
...the Atlanta economy performs the way it does as a result of the interaction of all of its parts. Some analysts are fond of approvingly citing commuting habits of Manhattanites. So what? Manhattan is what it is because it is served by a vast hinterland and the aggregate accounts for the longest (solo auto) commutes in the U.S. This simple fact severely undermines what it is that Greens want to take away from the story.
Likewise, the price of the SUV and the price of the dog and the dog's food are the result of the places that support the production of large vehicles and dog food. And those prices are already influenced and infected, if you will, by the government.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Buttercup's eggnog woes 

Miss Buttercup had a very good holiday. Too good, reports Littlest Scholar. As a service to our readers, we present "Buttercup's Eggnog Woes."


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Behold the power of dog 

We are enjoying an early lead in the runoff for Mayor of the MOB. The power of dog has been upon us, and no sense breaking this streak. Debbie writes in comments: "I don't give a hoot who is mayor of whatever this organizaion is, but the posts of Buttercup won me over. " Buttercup humbly beseeches your vote.

"In your paw, you know she's right."

UPDATE: Victory!!!

It is a long and distinguished line of mayors before me, and I hope to be able to carry on their examples. Congratulations to Atomizer on a well-fought campaign; as a Twins fan I'm sure he'll appreciate the specialness of making the playoffs. On behalf of Buttercup and the entire Scholar family, thank you for your support. A full Buttercup pictorial will be forthcoming shortly, as soon as Littlest assembles it. A new and improved, multi-city MOB Road Show will be forthcoming.

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