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Let’s see some bets under the sun

October 12th, 2009 · No Comments

The U.S. Congress is often the site of friendly (sometimes not so friendly) wagering, when rival teams meet each other in important events.

Virginia Tech: Lumenhaus

Virginia Tech: Lumenhaus

This occurs around University football games, World Series, the Superbowl, March Madness, and other competitions.  Right now, there is a 20-team competition underway almost literally in the shadow of the US Congress and, yet, there seems to be nearly zero attention from Members of Congress and, as far as can be told, no friendly (or less than friendly) wagering going.

The Decathletes from around the United States (and Spain, Germany, and Canada) are serious in their endeavors, creating top-notch products competing across 10 different categories from electrical power generation to architectural design.  This is an event attracted 100,000s of thousands of visitors, a number of on-scene people that easily rivals the sports events that generate that Capital Hill wagering.

In contrast to those  sports events (and despite mythic views of sports), The Solar Decathlon has the potential for truly changing lives and America’s future prospects.  It is an event meriting attention and focus from Members of Congress.

As we look to paths to confront the challenges and seize the opportunities created by Climate Change, and attempt to set a path forward where America is a leader and winner (rather than follower and economic loser) in the green energy revolution, The Solar Decathlon is the sort of event and environment that merits significant attention — attention that Members of Congress simply don’t seem to be giving it.

Multiple searches of the U.S. Senate website, for example, showed zero references to the 2009 Solar Decathlon.  In 2007, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), whose state did not (and does not this year) have a contesting team, visited the Decathlon.  (Nothing from Bernie yet this year, but it would be surprising if he didn’t take a stroll down to the Mall to do some house site seeing.  A question to ask: Who will join Bernie?)

Sticking with the Senate, there is serious discussion about climate legislation (with the introduction of the Kerry-Boxer >>>) with many (far too many) Senators sitting on the fence, evidently unconvinced that actions to mitigate climate change won’t only reduce risks but create new (and exciting) economic and social opportunities. P erhaps some attention to events on The National Mall might help them readjust their thinking.

Could Senator Kerry (Team Boston) ask Senator McCain (Arizona) to join him for a stroll on the Mall? (Perhaps making a wager as to having to wear the team t-shirt for a day dependent on which ends out ahead.)

Could Senator Boxer (Team California)  sent a Twitter note to Senator McCaskill (Team Missouri)  making a boast that California’s solar production will top Missouri’s this week?

Perhaps Senator Kerry (Team Boston) could challenge Senators Webb and Warner (Virginia Tech), wagering some clam chowder against crab soup.

There are teams from Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia, Louisiana, California, Missouri, Texas, Iowa State, Minnesota, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and New York. The range of betting pool opportunities, with ten different competitions, are pretty staggering in numbers.

To be honest, encouraging gambling habits isn’t a normal practice but this is a case where it would be great to see some heavy (and heavily publicized) betting going on.


Sadly, there are many excellent Decathletes whose Senators are essentially irrelevant to this conversation. David Vitter (R-LA) certainly won’t and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) likely won’t support meaningful action and ‘beautiful sun’ (’BeauSoleil‘) likely won’t affect them. (Though note that Senator Vitter visited BeauSoleil on Oct 8.) Does any truly expect John Cornyn or Kay Bailey Hutchison (Rs, TX) to stand up for the planet and humanity’s future prospects. Thus, Rice University’s excellent house might not get a Senatorial visit. Jim Bunning and Mitch McConell (R-KY) are even less likely to work for sensible energy policies, thus S*KY Blue won’t get the Senatorial attention it merits.

Dick Durbin visited the University of Illinois house. Thus, as far as is known, to date only two Senators have made the effort to stroll to the Mall and see the future. That is beyond a shame …

Additional posts on the 2009 Solar Decathlon:

Tags: Energy · Solar Energy · political symbols · politics · solar · solar decathlon · sports