November 3, 2005

Peak Oil True Believers Are Going Through a Rough Patch

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:02 pm

It’s been a rough week or so for Peak Oil true believers.

First, there’s the news that there is enough oil from sands (shale) to last a long, long time (somewhere between 90 and 500 years, depending on your assumptions).

Then there’s the the exciting information (HT Porkopolis) that Exxon Mobil has developed technology that reduces time required to drill oil and gas wells by up to 35%.

Could it get worse for them? Yup. Congress has for years been prevented from passing legislation enabling drilling to begin in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) because of worries about having the 60 votes needed to break promised Senate filibusters. No more (HT Ace):

Until now, Democrats and a small number of Republicans have blocked the measure on Capitol Hill by threatening to filibuster. Now, proponents of drilling in ANWR are attaching such measures to federal budget bills, which may not be filibustered. This means those who want to keep the wildlife refuge free of oil rigs, roads, and heavy equipment need 51 votes in the Senate (not just 41) to block it.

That sets the bar much higher for environmentalists and their champions among lawmakers – especially at a time of sticker shock at the gas pump, hurricane- damaged refineries and drilling platforms along the Gulf Coast, and a White House headed by two former oilmen rather than President Clinton who threatened to veto such measures.


Finally, Peak Oilers who think energy prices should be much higher than those determined by market forces must be pulling their hair out over the steep drop in gasoline prices at the pump. I saw $2.11 per gallon at Sam’s Club today, down over 30% from the post-Katrina peak of over $3. (UPDATE–Cincinnati-area prices as low as $2.05 have been reported as of 6:30 PM on November 3; MORE–There’s one station at $2.00 [really $2.009 according to a station attendant] as of 7:30 PM)

At this rate, it won’t be long before Peak Oilers will be forced to search for a different sky-is-falling scenario to sneak past us.

It almost seems like bad sportsmanship to pile on with a theory relating to where oil comes from that is gaining wider credence. If (emphasis: IF) this theory, which claims that the earth’s inner layers are generating oil through chemical and biological reactions even as we speak, and in sufficient quantities to support ongoing usage at current rates by humanity, the debate is totally over. Since Peak Oilers have shown no restraint in piling on rubbish, I’ll throw in a link to an article about the book based on this unproven but interesting, and promising, theory.

UPDATE: One reason I feel the need to hit at the Peak Oilers hard is their depressive extremism. These people have views that can be seen as outlandishly funny when they have no power or influence, but they would be horribly dangerous if they ever achieved any kind of real power. Don’t think so? Check out these posts at the forums:
— “Die-Off” – Necessary or Avoidable?
— (Two unprintable words) back to the Stone Age?
— What will post Peak Oil conditions be like?

UPDATE 2: Hot diggity dog–”Senate endorses oil drilling in Alaska wildlife refuge”

Previous Posts:
More Real-World Evidence of “Peak Oil” Nonsense
– I’m Tired of the Oil-Price and Oil-Supply Obsessions

Clare Luce Democrats and the “Bush Lied” Lie

Filed under: Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:01 am delivers some informative history along with its editorial on the “Bush lied” lie (link requires registration but not subscription):

What Mr. Reid’s pose is “really all about” is the emergence of the Clare Boothe Luce Democrats. We’re referring to the 20th-century playwright, and wife of Time magazine founder Henry Luce, who was most famous for declaring that Franklin D. Roosevelt had “lied us into war” with the Nazis and Tojo. So intense was the hatred of FDR among some Republicans that they held fast to this slander for years, with many taking their paranoia to their graves.

We are now seeing the spectacle of Bush-hating Democrats adopting a similar slander against the current President regarding the Iraq War.

But, the editorial continues, no one who has looked at it has reached a “Bush lied” conclusion, including the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan 500-page report (July 2004); the Butler Report, published by the British in July 2004; the Robb-Silberman report on WMD intelligence (March 2005); and finally, by inference since there was no underlying crime, Special Prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald.

So, the editorial continues:

In short, everyone who has looked into the question of whether the Bush Administration lied about intelligence, distorted intelligence, or pressured intelligence agencies to produce assessments that would support a supposedly pre-baked decision to invade Iraq has come up with the same answer: No, no, no and no.

Everyone, that is, except Joseph Wilson IV.

Obviously, we should believe him. (/sarcasm)

No one who has seriously studied the matter believes him, and in some cases they have essentially called him a liar to his face. But some still desperately cling to the notion that Joe Wilson is in sole possession of the real truth. As with the Clare Luce Republicans of the World War II era, some will surely “take their paranoia to their graves.”

UPDATE: Porkopolis makes an excellent point worth the read about the politics of total amnesia involved in this sordid scam. There are really two kinds of “Bush Lied” proponents. First, there are those who really do believe he “lied” and just need to figure out how to “prove it” to the world. Second, there are those who don’t actually believe “Bush lied” but are posturing as if they do to score political points inside the Beltway, or to keep their moonbat base of true believers in their home districts off their backs. Two points about this: 1) I don’t know what percentage of “Bush Lied” proponents are in each group; if I had to guess, I would say it’s 50-50. 2) There was almost no one in the runup to World War II that was faking their “Clare Luce” belief that FDR lied to get us in to war just to score political points with the press or their constituents.

Positivity: A Complete Rosa Parks Resource

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:11 am

This link is to a 2-paragraph profile of Ms. Parks, which is reproduced below. At the link you will also find tabs for her biography, an interview, and a photo gallery.


In Ohio, Voting Down Issue 2 Won’t Be Enough (HB 234 Must Be Repealed to Prevent Future Vote Fraud)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:01 am

The latest weekly Ohio CPAs’ e-mail tells me that the Legislature and our Governor have virtually abandoned efforts (really, forsaken their respective duties) to ensure the integrity of the voting process, even when Issue 2 is, as expected, rejected by the voters next Tuesday.

Absentee Voting Bill Heads to Taft for Signature

The Ohio General assembly last week passed no-fault absentee voting legislation. Gov. Taft is expected to sign HB 234 into law although the bill will not take effect until after next month’s election.

The legislation is similar to State Issue 2, a proposed constitutional amendment that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. Both measures would allow registered voters to vote absentee for any reason up to 35 days prior to an election. However, HB 234 requires absentee voters to provide election officials with some form of identification while Issue 2 has no identification requirement.

While both political parties have stated support of no-fault absentee voting, the hotly debated legislation was passed largely on partisan lines due to the identification requirement. Senate Republicans stated the identification should be required to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats argued the requirement would dissuade some Ohioans from voting.

If approved by voters, Issue 2 would override HB 234.

The identification requirement of HB 234, even for absentees, is only somewhat reassuring, especially since, according to a reliable source I exchanged e-mails with, it does not have to be a photo ID.

The biggest problems with absentee voting, irrespective of the initial ID requirement, are:

  • The possibility that the absentee voter might be coerced or under duress when completing their ballot.
  • The chance that someone else might obtain or intercept the ballot and complete it for them without their knowledge or consent.
  • The chance that mail-in absentee ballots will be mishandled or mismanaged between the time they are received in the mail and tabulated.

Washington state has the most lenient voting standards in the nation. It is no coincidence that a gubernatorial election fiasco of epic proportions occurred there last year, with the above absentee ballot problems and many others to boot. Election officials kept “finding” ballots; nine counties ended up with more votes counted than voters credited with voting; mentally incompetent and deceased persons “voted;” hundreds, if not thousands, of felons illegally voted; and one county (King, the largest) could not explain nearly 4,000 discrepancies between the number of votes counted and earlier tallies of ballots or people recorded as voting at the polls. In June, a full seven months after Election Day, the contest was “decided” by a judge. The “loser,” Dino Rossi, decided not to appeal the judge’s ruling to the state Supreme Court because he felt that its other-party majority would not rule in his favor no matter how strong the actual merits of his case were. Topping it all off, the “winning” party’s Governors Association insulted the intelligence of everyone who followed the election charade by issuing this pack-of-lies announcement.

If what you just read in the previous paragraph doesn’t convince you that choosing the same degree of absentee ballot permissiveness the state of Washington has would be a big mistake, I don’t know what will.

Even the ultraliberal Toledo Blade recognizes that no-excuse-needed absentee balloting is an open invitation to widespread fraud and abuse. In fact, The Blade deserves a great deal of credit for very persuasively articulating the anti-Issue 2 and vote-in-person arguments:

Absentee voting has been long established for one basic reason only – to protect the voting privilege for those citizens who knew in advance that they would be out of their home county on Election Day.

Over the years, of course, it has become something more than that, as Ohioans who don’t wish to be bothered to go to the polls simply fib about their Election Day plans, receive an absentee ballot, and vote early by mail.

Ohio law already makes that easy for them by providing a host of excuses – 16 in all – for voting absentee: military service, health and disability issues, work-related conflicts, and age (62 or older), among them.

Issue 2, in our view, would lead to a troubling extension of that phenomenon.

Something profoundly important is lost when citizens stop voting at the polls. Stepping into the voting booth is a personal and private act, a moment in time when each voter is free to make up his or her own mind without interference from anyone else. All the lobbying, all the campaigning, all the commercials are over. It is time to decide, and nobody else is privy to the decision that is made.

Citizenship should require a certain amount of effort by the citizens who profess to value it. Maybe for some people convenience trumps the overt act of going to the polls, but we would hate to see the precious privacy afforded at the neighborhood precinct diminished further.

Absentee voting, which I believe is already a bit too generous in Ohio, should be limited to situations where the voter either will truly be absent and signs off that such is the case (e.g., someone in out-of-county or overseas military service, on a business trip, etc.), or where the voter will face truly undue hardship if required to visit the polls on Election Day.

Not only should Issue 2 be rejected, but HB 234 should also be repealed well in advance of the state’s 2006 primary. The fact that both parties are so irresponsible about protecting the integrity of Ohio’s elections is a scandal.