Saturday, June 26, 2004

George Will tries to write coherently about oil, and as usual, gets most of it wrong.

George Will, heir to the throne of most elitist, snobbish, country-club republican, (a title held for many years by William F. Buckley) tries to tell us: “Yes, the world is running low on oil supplies, but no worries as the omniscient and omnipotent free market will solve all of our problems.” Of course the man has no idea what he is talking about; but he uses lots of big words and likes to show off his vocabulary and convince you he must be right because gosh darn he sounds smart. Not only that but he looks like a Harvard professor with that bow tie and those wire-frame glasses.

As WHT at MOBJECTIVIST points out, Will has a lot of his facts screwed up (surprise!) but most of those don’t really matter. What is important is that this time, as opposed to the 1970’s and early 1980’s, we really are running out of oil. Yes, fields in Saudi Arabia will be producing oil for hundreds of years more. Yes, tar sand deposits in Canada will be producing oil for a long time. Yes, as the price goes up demand will decrease, consumers will use less, companies will get more efficient, and oil companies will find more. However, in the end (and the end is near) supply will not meet demand. Period! This will happen in the next 4 to 20 years.

Supply siders like to point out all of the interesting facts about how proved reserves continue to grow etc. etc.; but these statements belie an ignorance about what “proved reserves” are (which I won’t bore you with right now, but will save for a later post). The fact is that all of the really large accumulations of oil have been know about for a very long time. No really super giant fields have been discovered in many years (30 or more??). It’s these super-giant fields that provide the ability to meet the consumer’s demand for oil. And everyday, the world’s thirst for oil continues to grow.

In the end, the hydrocarbon era in human existence will be a mere blip in time – began in the 1860’s and ended sometime in the 21’st century. What happens in the great unraveling is worth some discussion, but I will also leave that for a later post. Suffice it to say, if you drive a Hummer, and live in a large house way out in the suburbs, and commute 2 hours every day, your property is going to be worth significantly less, and your commute is going to get very expensive. If you are under 30, I predict you will see the end of private internal combustion automobiles in your life time. Oil will become to valuable to burn.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

How to win an election - Get your brother to cheat for you

Greg Palast, self proclaimed Outlaw Journalist, is digging up more dirt on how the political elite of this country have gotten around the Voting Rights Act and other pieces of inconvenient legislation that give those uppity non-whites a chance to participate in the political process.

We couldn't have non-white people actually chosing the president now could we. Here's what Palast has to say:

In the 2000 presidential election, 1.9 million Americans cast ballots that no one counted. "Spoiled votes" is the technical term. The pile of ballots left to rot has a distinctly dark hue: About 1 million of them -- half of the rejected ballots -- were cast by African Americans although black voters make up only 12 percent of the electorate.

This year, it could get worse.

While investigating the 2000 ballot count in Florida for BBC Television, I saw firsthand how the spoilage game was played -- with black voters the predetermined losers.

Florida's Gadsden County has the highest percentage of black voters in the state -- and the highest spoilage rate. One in 8 votes cast there in 2000 was never counted. Many voters wrote in "Al Gore." Optical reading machines rejected these because "Al" is a "stray mark."

By contrast, in neighboring Tallahassee, the capital, vote spoilage was nearly zip; every vote counted. The difference? In Tallahassee's white- majority county, voters placed their ballots directly into optical scanners. If they added a stray mark, they received another ballot with instructions to correct it.

In other words, in the white county, make a mistake and get another ballot; in the black county, make a mistake, your ballot is tossed.

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission looked into the smelly pile of spoiled ballots and concluded that, of the 179,855 ballots invalidated by Florida officials, 53 percent were cast by black voters. In Florida, a black citizen was 10 times as likely to have a vote rejected as a white voter.

But let's not get smug about Florida's Jim Crow spoilage rate. Civil Rights Commissioner Christopher Edley, recently appointed dean of Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley, took the Florida study nationwide. His team discovered the uncomfortable fact that Florida is typical of the nation.


Sunday, June 20, 2004

The Infamous C Word

I don't know who turned me on to this. I'm sure it was somebody's blog, but I forgot who. Anyway, forgive me for not crediting who first picked this up.

From Clint Talbott at the Boulder Daily Camera

"Elizabeth Hoffman says the c-word can be endearing. Try calling her that. Watch how endeared she gets.

Hoffman is a staid, sober pillar of society. She is the president of the University of Colorado, a registered Republican and a hobnobber of the first order. Though she holds Ph.D.s in history and economics, she is a cut-the-bull CEO.

Yet in sworn testimony released Tuesday, Hoffman asserted that she has heard the "c-word" — the derogatory term for female genitalia — used "as a term of endearment." "

Yeah, I wonder what kind of kinky relationships she has. I'll bet she's into S&M, leathers, spikes and handcuffs. She probably hear's that word all the time while she's getting whipped.

A term of endearment - Jeebus Criminy


Chris Bell bitch slaps Tom DeLay

Chris Bell (D-Houston) lost his House seat due to Texas redistricting and then losing in the primary. So since he now has nothing else to lose, he has decided play David and take on the Antichrist Goliath himself, Tom "The Hammer" DeLay. Bell has filed formal ethics violation charges with the House ethics committee. Of course I don't expect that committee to do anything because everyone in the House is scared shitless of DeLay. Anyway, Chris has a good editorial today in the Houston Chronicle explaining to us all the documented felonies DeLay has committed while in office.