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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Political: They Hate Obama, Really

See the prior two posts for some reasonably significant economic information. This is about Obama's chances, and the Democrats. Watch this vid of Harry Reid. "Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It's global warming. It's ruining our world." He looks senile and vague.

What does this say to the ranks of people who are literally choosing between eating good food and buying gas to get to work? Between buying medication and buying food and gas? What will this do to people who are not going to be able to heat their homes this winter? You try living in a home that averages 50 degrees for a winter, and wait until you get a bad cold! What will this sound like to truckers who can't make the loan payments on their rig?

Energy prices are making average people sick. I really wonder if these guys just hate Obama so much they are willing to sabotage him, or if they are so out of touch that they don't understand what daily life is like for people. Here's an article from a few days ago giving the viewpoints of some people at the Great West Truck Show:
"The reality is that those in D.C. have enough money to fill their tanks, or we the taxpayers fund it. They just don't care about the middle and lower classes," he said. "They really should try to live a day in our shoes to see what reality is like."
"The temporary solutions aren't any good," David Kilcoin, a truck owner-operator from Phoenix, Ariz., told WND at the Great West Truck Show going on now at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"We don't need a quick fix; what we need is to develop what we have offshore, in Alaska and from oil shale," he said.
If you read the whole article you see that these people aren't exactly high on Bush - they just want a sensible energy policy. If the Democrats are really going to try to make people lose their homes and jobs over some pollyanna quest for non-fossil fuel, the Democrats are going to kill themselves as a party. People are already switching to coal and wood to heat their homes in the north. It's not good for the environment, because they generate more pollution, but you do what you have to, and a lot of people will have to leave their homes if they can't heat them. How is that going to help the housing crisis?

Needless to say, solar is getting more marginal by the minute in large areas of the US. The sun is now weak. I don't know how long it will stay passive and slack, but what we have to worry about is whether the average people (especially retired people!) can eat and live in some sort of minimal comfort this season.

MOM, I hope you're right. The problem is Joe Sixpak (and I count myself as a member of the J.S. group) is drowned out by the MSM and the pundits in academia, who are all sure, sure I tell you, that all we need to do is conserve and develop alternative forms of energy. They just have no idea of the size and scope of the problem.

We may have to march on Washington with pitchforks and torches in hand before those slugs will get the message.
Remember, people like Reid live in a universe of words, not actions. They don't build trucks or airplane, or drive/fly them. They don't grow food or worry about the logistics of getting it to the grocery store. In their universe, a "solution" is a verbal formulation that sounds good.

Some of them, at least, really do believe that all we need to do is get eevil incumbent corporations out of the way and a new age of renewable energy will dawn. Any problems with these solutions can likewise be blamed on the eevil ones dragging their feet.

Other "progressives" are really, at one level or another, hoping for the apocalypse. A now-defunct Italian blogger put it very well:

"cupio dissolvi...These words have been going through my mind for quite a long time now. It's Latin. They mean "I (deeply) wish to be annihilated/to annihilate myself", the passive form signifying that the action can be carried out both by an external agent or by the subject himself...Cupio dissolvi... Through all the screaming and the shouting and the wailing and the waving of the rainbow cloth by those who invoke peace but want appeasement, I hear these terrible words ringing in my ears. These people have had this precious gift, this civilization, and they have got bored with it. They take all the advantages it offers them for granted, and despise the ideals that have powered it. They wish for annihilation, the next new thing, as if it was a wonderful party. Won't it be great, dancing on the ruins?"
Hunter S. Thompson once speculated that, by retaining Spiro Agnew as his running mate in 1972, Nixon effectively "threw" the '76 election - thereby inviting the Democratic old guard to throw the '72 election in order to rid themselves of McGovern-ites as the party leadership.

McCain as Pres may be a one-and-done because of his age, or because of the nearly certain recession/depression that will engulf the next administration, whoever it is - wonder if the Dems hate the Obama-ites enough to throw this election too, figuring they can get it back in 2012.

"Drill here and now" sure seems to be the next sensible move, along with some way to encourage conservation that doesn't kill people.
Seriously. Really? The answer to $4/gal gas is to drill someplaces where the oil won't be available for years? And won't even come close to filling needs?

That's the kind of knee jerk reaction I associate with politicians--let's do something, anything! (Open up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve! Dance with the Saudis! Subpoena the oil companies!)

The reality is that we (the USA) will never be able to have the share of energy resources that was available to us in the past, and that we built this suburban life upon. Why? Well, the rise of the middle class in China and India is a start, but the fact is that much of the oil in the past 60 years came from nations that were friendly to us (US, UK) or were dependent on us for security (Saudi Arabia, other gulf states).

Now the world is much more multi polar, reducing the security incentive, and friendly states have smaller reserves. The sooner Americans adjust (among other options: stop eating meat every day, live in smaller houses, drive smaller cars, carpool, live closer to work, stop thinking that we can have it all with the cherry on top if only someone [the gubmint, the fat cats] would just do something) the better.

That doesn't mean that I don't have compassion for the people who built their lives on $1/gal gas. It's the same as people in a floodplain that should move as soon as possible. In both cases, the most favorable possible situation is assumed, and when that situation changes, diaster ensues (I live in a floodplain, by the way--I pay for flood insurance).

The sooner we get used to this situation the better. Of course it won't be easy, but when was the last time the American people were truly challenged and failed?

The answer to $4/gal gas is to drill someplaces where the oil won't be available for years? And won't even come close to filling needs?

No, I doubt there is a solution for $4/gal gasoline right now, though a depression might do the job temporarily. And I don't think there is any way to avoid the need for conservation, long term, (and/or nuclear) - I think that oil is in any case a limited resource. But drilling here now might avoid $20/gal gas 5 or 10 years from now while we make the next move.
Dan - we need nuclear power, but we also desperately need to drill. You can't run shipping on electricity, solar's a limited resource, and always will be. The UK and Germany are in the process of proving the limits of wind power in the modern economy.

This situation will correct sooner than anyone believes - oil prices will bust by next year and be lower the year after that. The only question is whether we are now locking in a global recession or a depression.

But after that - in three or four years - we'll need those resources; we'll need them desperately.

And yes, the American people is going to rise to this challenge. We will start drilling again if we have to vote out every politician in DC to get it done, and lock the Supreme Court up on a modern Elba.

Because if we don't, people will STARVE. That's an economic bottom line.
MoM - I have a small quibble with an otherwise excellent post. The solar power output won't change much due to the sunspots. Y'see, we're only talking about a few percent change in solar output, even if we have another Maunder Minumum. A few percent won't affect the output of a photovoltaic cell or solar thermal power installation much. What will affect those (especially solar thermal) is a change in cloud formation.

The main problems with solar have always been (a) only available during the day and (b) very high capital costs per kilowatt-hour delivered. If we have problems affording fuel, we certainly can't afford having the electric bill triple.

I've also always been dubious that the Greens will allow the sort of largescale use of land needed for industrial solar plants, or that utilities will be amenable to having every roof turned into a tiny solar power plant. Without one of those two, you just don't get enough power to matter.

Wind is cheaper, but has its own special problems with balancing generation and demand. When summer finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest this year, the utilities had a terrible time trying to deal with surges from the wind farms. Normally they could have just balanced it by cutting back on hydroelectric output, but this year with the heavy snowmelt that wasn't an option.

I agree with your main points that we need to drill for more domestic supply in the short term (and we need to build more nuclear plants for electricity production in the medium term). The job creation in pursuing those options would be no bad thing either at a time when other economic sectors are hurting badly.
John - I think maybe I have not posted on this, but it appears quite clear that the missing CO2 heat (the ground level mechanical heat, not the H2O forcing) is due to low level cloud formation. The H20 forcing never showed up, but the real puzzle is that the full CO2 heat never showed up either.

During the satellite period, ground level precipitation has risen and humidity levels near to the ground have risen. This is a negative feedback which probably accounts for why CO2 has done so little. The low level clouds are capable of forming their own reflective barrier.

It would also explain the puzzle of why CO2 lagged temps after glaciations but then did not seem to have much of an effect on climate once it did rise, because in fact it should have, but apparently it was overridden by water vapor which has its own negative feedback.

Also there are the various oscillations, which may or may not be caused by temperature shifts, but are increasing rainfall in the continental US. Clouds aren't good for solar power at all.

So a quiet sun would have some effect on marginal areas, but what we know about climate from satellite data seems to show that some areas are going to get much less output.

This will probably drive you nearly mad, but I use the ag degree day records to figure out solar belts, and I think it works. Also soil temps in the spring and early summer are a good check.

A lot of different satellite data is available here.
he he

We hava fuzzy crappy video and we are supposed to determine an old geezer's health from that? Just remember that old geezer first off has made it further in life than you, MOM. Lots of folks that laughed at me for my sickly appearance are pushing up daises.

In any case, any good vid or photo of John McCain makes me want to take out life insurance on him.

Imagine for a moment you own a company and you have the task of picking two vendors. One had done a crappy job for the last 8 years, it was crappy the first 4 but you thought another chance for the last 4 would work but you were wrong. He has cost you money long and short term and screwed the reputation of your firm up. The second vendor talks a good talk, you are sure you are getting some sales pitches and you really prefer a white man with good hair but in the end you have to chose between a possible success and a vendor who has failed you.

Who do you choose.

2 points, only after labor day does anything count;
and when the choice is between a brand name that has the reputation of failure and one not. The latter wins.

As to energy and global warming.

Conservation and efficiency will solve that. Not promises of cheap energy if we tap out the last of our resources. Yea the market place will aid that. High gas prices are doing what regulation should have done to the SUV. Of course the GOP elites have made their profits and the losses will be joe 6 pack to suffer.
Vader - you are totally wrong. Conservation and efficiency won't solve energy, because the developed economies are already relatively efficient. The costs are going up because of a globally good thing - the increased development and wealth of a huge part of the world's population. However that means the pie is shrinking faster than it can be expanded. The US has to greatly increase the amount of energy it produces internally.

Do the Democrats really have a brand reputation for success? And aren't the Dem elitists making money while the bottom parts of the population are hurting?

Mind you, I WANT a strong Dem party. I think there has to be real competition in the government. Even diehard Republicans should want a strong Democratic party, because otherwise the GOP will become idiotic and out of touch.
I just love these articles on the pain and suffering of the middle class. Why some folks even have to clip coupons for their groceries!

I'm pretty familiar with the folks working in call centers. They make $7.50 to $8 an hour out here (minimum wage). They drive old beat up cars from the 80s. They can't car pool or use transit because they work screwy shifts which change every three months. They have to pay for rentals and somehow come up with money for utilities too. So you might think about them, when you are trying to envision how this all plays out. They were not responsible for the suburbs. They don't have options to reduce the fuel they use. They generally can't afford to replace the old car and have been using a fuel efficient car all during the SUV boom.

I'm running around $220-$250 a month in just gas costs right now. I'm not going to move into town. Did that before and didn't like it. I'm staying outside of the cities, where I can at least grow food. More cooperation out here too.

We can't talk about the problems in this country without talking about the deliberate attempt to deflate wages. GM dumps workers making $30 an hour so they can hire folks at $14 an hour. Those are workers that cannot afford to buy a GM product. Same thing with companies that do not give out raises. (Rachel Lucas said in a recent post that it's been 7 years since she got a raise!) Workers are consumers. If you push their wages down, they cannot afford your products. Push them down to the wages the Chinese make and you have just gotten rid of most of your market for your products. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Those high paid CEOs are not going to take up the slack. And yes, we are seeing a lot more cranky folks these days, including me. Giving me some stupid credit to buy a fuel efficient car won't do a damn bit of good if I can't afford to buy a car period.

As for these folks that love alternative, well how many of them own a single solar cell panel? Not many. They sure do love to talk about how that should work out for somebody else.
Here's a little good news that might not be that far away.
Jo6pac: Those hydrogen cars ignore two problems (aside from the fact that they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars): It costs energy to make hydrogen.

Serious energy. So whether the car is electric or hydrogen-powered, you need to have power plants to make the electricity.

You can do that with nuclear, coal or oil-fired plants, but obviously if you are using coal or oil you are just moving pollution around, and in fact you may be burning more total with electric cars because of transmission line losses. Hydrogen powered cars don't have any infrastructure for them either.

Nuclear plants don't have the same emissions problem, but of course they have regulatory problems.

The current US energy policy amounts to "We won't make any more", so we have a problem, Houston. It's not the average Joe who isn't interested in alternate strategies. It is our ditzoid leadership.
P.S. Hydrogen cars are not being sold to the common rabble -- they're frankly experimental, and much too expensive (think six figures & up).

Instead, they're being leased to Celebrities so said Celebrities can get their warm fuzzies from Saving The Planet (TM).

This is also called "People With Too Much Money..."
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