Friday, June 04, 2004

The Other War

Arch-conservative media ho' Robert Novak has a pretty damning assessment of our other little foray in to the Middle East - Afghanistan. Here I quote:

The handful of valiant American warriors fighting the ''other'' war in Afghanistan is not a happy band of brothers. They are undermanned and feel neglected, lack confidence in their generals and are disgusted by Afghan political leadership. Most important, they are appalled by the immense but fruitless effort to find Osama bin Laden for purposes of U.S. politics.

This bleak picture goes unreported because journalists are rarely seen there. It was painted to me by hard U.S. fighters who are committed to the war against terrorism but have a heavy heart. They talked to me not to undermine policy but to reveal problems that should and can be corrected


Note from the RNC - Votes from non-WASP's shouldn't count

Josh Marshall points out something that is obvious to many of us - the Republicans really think that the vote should be reserved preferrably for white, male, landowners but mostly just for whites. Oh and the General puts his manly 2 cents in on this issue also.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Supply-siders Chime in on Oil Resources

Being the only real newspaper in the energy capital of the US (my hometown) the Houston Chronicle has decided to chime in on what is behind the runup in oil and gasoline prices. Despite what the wingnuts say, the Chronicle is really a model for other papers in the practice of attempting to bring balance to the discussion by inviting writers with dramatically different perspectives to write about these issues. However, Mr. H. Sterling Burnett who believes there is Enough Oil To Last to 500 Years has been playing fast and loose with his facts and figures, and his article brings to mind Mark Twain's famous comment "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

This guy is a true supply-side geek and writes for the National Center for Policy Analysis. As stated on their website, "The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental regulation."

Mr. Burnett is very effusive about our oil-based energy future. However, he makes some claims in his editorial that I find to stretch the truth a bit. In his article he writes the following:

The history of the petroleum industry is one of predictions of near-term depletion, followed by the discovery of new oil fields and the development of technologies for recovering additional supplies.

Though the statement above is true, the current problem is that there are just no more places to look for oil. As I have written about here before, the kinds of places that major oil companies are currently looking to find oil almost defies belief. Most of these companies are spending billions of dollars looking for oil underneath 1 to 2 miles of seawater hundreds of miles from any shoreline. There is almost no where on earth that at least one oil exploration well has not been drilled.

Looking for new opportunities to find and produce oil is what I do for a living. If you run into a geologist working for Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, or Saudi-Aramco ask them how much oil they think is left to be discovered in the world. I think you will be extremely surprised by the overall pessimism of this group.

Mr. Burnett also makes the following statement:

If world oil consumption continues to increase at an average rate of 1.4 percent a year, and no further resources are discovered and no improvements are made in the technology used to recover oil, the world's presently known supply will not be exhausted until 2056.

While I could quibble with his numbers and think they extrordinarily optimistic, the most egregious slight-of-hand that he engages in is pretending that the "world's presently known supply" can continue to be produced at a rate to meet the world's demand. My analogy is the following: Over a person's life, assuming he drinks a lot of Lone Star Beer, it is reasonable to assume that he could fill up a swimming pool with his urine. However, if his house is on fire he won't be able to put it out by pissing on it.

Though I am a pessimist here, the best work I have seen to predict when demand will outstrip supply predicts a date of 2008, or 4 years from now. This was a change from the previous estimate of 2010. 2008 may not be the right year, but it won't be 2030.

Now, I'm a liberal, but I'm all for making money, so my question is what is the best way to make money on this inevitable situation?


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

There's Slime in the RNC Machine

Hesiod at Counterspin (one of my favorite blogs) has a link to a must read article about and by the poor woman, Alexandra Polier, that was accused a few months ago of having an affair with Kerry.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

"More alarmingly, my Hotmail account had been broken into, and I couldn’t access my e-mail. Random people in my in-box whom I hadn’t spoken to in months suddenly started getting calls from reporters. My father called to tell me someone had tried the same thing with his account, but that his security software had intercepted them and tracked them back to a rogue computer address in Washington, D.C. When I finally got back into my account, assuming the hacker was a Republican, I changed my password to “Bushsucksdick.”

As Hesiod states - Indeed!


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Oil Prices Again

Oil prices jumped $2/barrel today. As a rule of thumb, assume every $1/barrel price rise will add $.05 to the price of a gallon of gas in the US.

Oil traders are scared shitless about terrorism in Saudi Arabia - the only country with perceived real spare capacity. For the most part I think that the futures market is the best indicator of future price - as these are people putting actual money down as bets on what they think the price of oil will be. Today NYMEX futures shows $40 oil though the end of 2004 and oil above $30 through the end of 2009.

My own opinion is that this view might be optimistic. But I can tell you that the BP's, Exxon's, Chevron's, and Shell's of the world are much more bearish about oil prices than the NYMEX traders. The big oil companies are investing like the price of oil is currently at $18/barrel and will never hit $25.


Monday, May 31, 2004

Republicans in the Whitehouse = More Unemployment

Abd al Azrad has some interesting statistics about job loss/gain in Republican and Democratic administrations. Worth checking out. So is the rest of his blog.


Definitely rated R

OK kids, cover your eyes. Now for you adults Rude One has some wisdom for y'all this Memorial Day.


Sunday, May 30, 2004

The Fog of War

I just finished watching the movie The Fog of War, 11 Lessons From the Life of Robert McNamara with my 14 year old son. This movie is definitely worth watching and a copy should be sent to every cabinet member of the Bush Administration.


Things I would like to know more about

If anyone really understands what is going on politically in Venezuela and why Chavez is hated so much please let me know. Any reasonably balanced resources to read would be appreciated.


I have met the enemy...

If you want to know what real, everyday right wingers are like and what they think about the Constitution and political expression, then read this.