April 4, 2018

Chart Subhead of the Day

Hey, it's a coveted award!

The WSJ News Pages publishes a story on sales slowdown in the rooftop solar industry, driven by less aggressive sales practices by the big players:

SolarCity grew with help from a hard-charging sales culture. Before being acquired by Tesla, the company, which was run by Lyndon Rive, the cousin of Tesla founder Elon Musk, tapped salespeople from the mortgage industry and Las Vegas casinos to sell solar panels, and gave them aggressive quotas, according to current and former managers and employees interviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

But you gotta have a chart:


Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2018

Otequay of the Ayday

With rising crude exports and already booming overseas sales of refined petroleum products such as gasoline, the U.S. net oil imports have plunged to below 3 million barrels a day, the lowest since data available starting 45 years ago, compared with more than 12 million barrels a day in 2006. The U.S. could become a net petroleum exporter by 2029, the EIA said this week.


Posted by JohnGalt at 5:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2018

Drill, Baby, Drill!

Spiking the football has its place and purpose. President Obama's smug interchange with Governor Romney (the Younger) over Russia's place as strategic threat should run three times a day and more on weekends.

As should -- the WSJ reminds -- "Drill, Baby, Drill!"

Readers of pre-millennial vintage may recall the 2008 presidential campaign when Republicans and especially Sarah Palin picked up the chant "drill, baby, drill" as a response to soaring oil prices. The theme was much derided, not least by Barack Obama, who as late as 2012 called it "a slogan, a gimmick, and a bumper sticker" but "not a strategy." Ten years later, who was right?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday that U.S. crude oil production exceeded 10 million barrels a day for the first time since 1970. That's double the five million barrels produced in 2008, thanks to the boom in, well, drilling, baby.

I recall an enjoyable beer night out with many friends of this blog and former-friend Lattesipper looked at me incredulaously when I suggested that oil prices could return to sub $100/bbl.

Me and Governor "Lipstick" was right.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:16 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:


There are other benefits too.

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2018 11:01 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Can't wait to take another fist-pump over this, and hopefully not make the associated verbal swipe too snarky when I ask the gentle question:

Is it that time in the decade for Nat'l Geographic to publish another End of Cheap Oil? edition?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 4, 2018 12:34 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JG: Yes, the article notes U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy... everything Obama did NOT want. Heh.

I still don't like Trump, but GD he gets results.... reminds me of Lincoln's statement about U.S. Grant's drinking "find out what it is he drinks and send a case to every general!"

Diet Coke for the entire GOP Congressional delegation!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 4, 2018 12:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

America really doesn't realize just how unimportant it is to have a POTUS you would like to have a beer with.

I love the Lincoln quote about Ulysses S. Grant! Very apropos.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2018 3:37 PM

November 16, 2017

For a Moment, I'm winning!

Last week I suggested a moratorium on fracking discussion in the Erie Facebook Group. I certainly tire of it and it tends to be very superficial "They're poisoning our Children!" vs. "$4/gallon gas!" The pushback was exemplary. The topic is of interest, nothing in the rules forbids, yadda yadda. I have to conclude they're right.

But. In that case, I vowed to introduce property rights. And today, I got just cheesed off enough. I told my darling bride "we'll probably have to move. They'll be here with pitchforks and torches soon." Yet -- what's this I see? -- The first replies are positive.


Posted by John Kranz at 4:09 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Woo hoo!

Fret not - the Fractivists will be around to call you names later, after their petty protest this afternoon at the site of the "Plug and Abandon" activity at the 1995 well site adjacent to my kids' school. [Yes, you read correctly: They are protesting the CLOSING of existing oil wells!!!]

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2017 4:25 PM

November 8, 2017

Alex Epstein, Line One!

If you were asked to name the most immoral thing going on in the world today, you would be hard pressed to come up with a better candidate than the campaign to keep the world's poor in poverty. This campaign usually goes under the banner of "saving the planet" or "sustainability" or something similar. There are times when it feels very lonely out here in the small group pointing out the deep immorality of this campaign. -- Francis Menton

Abstruse headline reference: Epstein wrote The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels [Review Corner]

Posted by John Kranz at 2:40 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

... some of it is actually adverstised under the "end poverty" banner. Google (well, OK, maybe Google is blocking this one, I use DuckDuckGo) "Stop the Aid!" where a western educated Kenyan says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. Ahh, it still exists, and I'm sure it's still true, 12 years later:

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 13, 2017 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the awesome linked article, nb:

Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need.

Good thing this doesn't happen with domestic aid! 'Mericans are so much smarter than Africans.

As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

Ditto for American functionaries (federal employees and their elected overlords.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2017 2:54 PM

November 7, 2017

A free-market detour on the electrified road to Nirvana?

When President Obama first took office and presided over the "Stimulus Bill" purportedly to kick-start economic growth and counter the nascent recession, one of the mountain of spending programs came in the form of an electric vehicle tax credit. Paid to EV buyers, it was really corporate welfare, designed to incentivize automakers into developing mainstream electric powered vehicles for a citizenry that was, at the time, yearning to be green in the face of a "looming climate change catastrophe."

Those heady days of wunderkind planet-saving schemes seem a distant memory today, as mainstream media barely mentions climate or CO2 any longer. But the EV tax credit is back in the news because, since Democrats insist that any reduction in tax rates imposed on Americans must "pay for itself" in spending reductions or tax hikes elsewhere, the draft tax plan is set to eliminate the credit altogether, in less than 2 months. (Ironically, there were no such demands for the aforementioned Stimulus Bill to be anywhere close to revenue neutral. Curious how that only applies to the bills that reduce government power.)

I'll get my Schadenfreude on with the Reason headline: Republicans' Tax Plan Crashes Jerry Brown's Electric Car Fantasies

If Republicans succeed in getting rid of the feds' $7,500 tax credit for ZEVs - which far outstrips California's additional $2,500 rebate for the same product - Brown will have to devote far more of the state's resources toward reaching 1.5 million ZEVs by 2025.

California is already spending $140 million a year on tax rebates for hybrid and electric vehicles, enough to provide 56,000 people with full-ZEV tax credits. If the federal tax credit were to go away, Brown would have to spend another $420 million to maintain the same subsidies for those 56,000 prospective buyers.

Electric car manufacturers, who sell about half of their electrical vehicle fleet in California, can see the writing on the wall, with many issuing statements urging Congress to reverse course on eliminating the tax credit.

It's hard to imagine Washington taking a principled stand on any issue, much less this popular sop to "protect the environment." But it could happen. Especially since the GOP might pass the bill with little or no Democrat support. But I'm putting down a marker that it won't be included in any final measure that might be signed into law. More likely, it will be spared in exchange for the ending of all state efforts to ban gasoline powered cars entirely.

But it is a fascinating issue to watch as it plays out.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Pile on the points, this game is not over.

The Republican Tax Bill Exacerbated Tesla's Drop Yesterday

As for the game's not being over, I need to change my news feed. Still plenty of CO2 & Climate in my sources.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2017 9:45 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You're sources must be on the fringe. Here's proof of my perceived change in coverage: https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2016/03/18/climate-change-gets-trumped/209392

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2017 3:01 PM

October 30, 2017

inside the energy industry

Just to give y'all an inside peak at the new DOE in action, in great detail.
Backdrop DOE is pushing via a rarely used obscure rule, FERC to issue a rule ("NOPR") to compensate coal & nuke plants for their on-site fuel storage capacity under the rubric of "resiliency." FERC can issue rules that change how power plants (or transmission lines, or utilities) are compensated.

Here is a very well argued article which sounds rational and balanced, but really is against the DOE effort (the author is a GreenTech consultant). He likes to say "Facts Do Matter" but ... well, I'll let others try to ID the bias... if any of you read it!

I'm inching closer to pushing my writing skills more widely on this topioc, against the knowledge that the green-weenies will tear into my realism, and perhaps cause collateral career damage.

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2017

Unicorns Are Awesome!

But, there are no unicorns.

CANBERRA, Australia--The Australian government returned coal to the heart of its energy policy, after blaming blackouts and rising power bills on a too-aggressive rollout of renewable sources and a surge in gas exports.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday junked a plan promoted by the country's chief scientist, Alan Finkel, to require power producers to generate a minimum portion of their energy from low-emission sources by 2020.

I wish they would not include the exports among reasons, but a bit of reality is good for the national soul.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

PL posts from a powerful: "Daring to Doubt" speech by Abbot.
First, he waxes philosophic:

There are laws of physics; there are objective facts; there are moral and ethical truths. But there is almost nothing important where no further enquiry is needed. What the “science is settled” brigade want is to close down investigation by equating questioning with superstition. It’s an aspect of the wider weakening of the Western mind which poses such dangers to the world’s future.
then gets down to it.
Palaeontology indicates that over millions of years there have been warmer periods and cooler periods that don’t correlate with carbon dioxide concentrations. The Jurassic warm period and the ice ages occurred without any human contribution at all. The medieval warm period when crops were grown in Greenland and the mini-ice age when the Thames froze over occurred well before industrial activities added to atmospheric carbon dioxide.
I'm still reading...

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 20, 2017 12:38 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Here's another winner:

There’s a veneer of rational calculation to emissions reduction but underneath it’s about “doing the right thing”. Environmentalism has managed to combine a post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause. Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods. We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 21, 2017 10:47 AM

October 3, 2017

Trump Revolution, Indeed

"Mister Fair," they call me: Mister Fair.

After grousing about the President's participation in the NFL contretemps, I will -- again -- praise one of his stellar picks. Blessed be this great nation to have Rick Perry as Energy Secretary. Ronald Bailey at Reason describes his rational evaluation of renewables::

As more subsidized renewable power has been added to electricity markets, along with power produced by burning cheap fracked natural gas, conventional power plants have been unable to pay for themselves and are increasingly being shuttered. Good riddance to fossil-fuel and nuclear dinosaurs, right? Not so fast. Renewable power is highly variable, so back-up generation is needed to ensure that power still gets to consumers. As conventional power plants close down, there is less capacity available to cover renewable power shortfalls. This could produce power outages and price spikes.

In his letter, Perry asks FERC to "issue rules to protect the American people from the threat of energy outages that could result from the loss of traditional baseload capacity."

Grown-ups looking at the energy grid. I like it.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:01 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Meanwhile, California runs the other way, as fast as it can:

If California were to enact a ban on sales of new vehicles with combustion engines, it would continue the state's leadership role in the U.S. climate resistance to the Trump Administration denial of climate science.

That's the editorial slant of 'Green Car Reports' for you, who end every article with the following directive:

Green Car Reports respectfully reminds its readers that the scientific validity of climate change is not a topic for debate in our comments. We ask that any comments by climate-change denialists be flagged for moderation. Thank you in advance for helping us keep our comments on topic, civil, respectful, family-friendly, and fact-based.

Unsurprisingly, my comment of "Censoring inconvenient facts? You should be ashamed." was censored: "[CLIMATE SCIENCE DENIAL REMOVED BY SITE MODERATORS]

I was scolded that "We do not permit claims that deny climate science just as we don't allow claims that the earth is flat."

When I replied that, "I did not deny anything. I criticized you for censorship." I was advised thusly:

A brief scan of your comment history indicates numerous comments elsewhere that deny the accepted scientific consensus. That's enough to get your comment on the topic moderated on this site. We censor comments that detract from fact-based discussion.

Based on your comment history elsewhere, I would suggest you probably shouldn't be commenting on this site.

This is me, knuckles dragging, skulking away...

Posted by: johngalt at October 3, 2017 2:35 PM
But jk thinks:

"I was banned by Green Car Reports dot Com!" 100% cotton T's available in Forest, Hunter, and Kelly Green, in a wide variety of sizes. Get 'em while they last!

Posted by: jk at October 3, 2017 2:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll take seven in XL - one for each day of the week. And I'll also need that bumper sticker to plaster on the back window of my plug-in hybrid electric minivan. [third comment]

Posted by: johngalt at October 3, 2017 3:12 PM

October 2, 2017

Makes You Appreciate Kneelers

In a Headline of the Day-worthy column: "Paying for Standing Rock:"

The Standing Rock protests ended seven months ago, but the saga is far from over. On Monday North Dakotas Department of Emergency Services announced that taxpayers will have to pay about $43 million in expenses accrued as the state struggled to respond to protesters.

Between 8,000 and 10,000 people camped out to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, many from outside the state. Locals frequently reported protesters who had trespassed on their land or stolen property. At state offices the phones rang off the hook; throughout the 233-day protests almost 90,000 people called to discuss the pipeline. A large portion of these calls were hostile or abusive, and state employees had to listen, screening for threats.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2017

A Salute to Renewable Energy

I have seen untold approbation for our good Australian friends' successes in implementing renewable energy. The lads down under may talk funny, but they're truly leading the way on environmentally responsible energy.

As shown in this graph . . . oh, wait, no . . . this graph shows energy costs:


Ronald Bailey at Reason seems to think they are somehow related.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | Comments (5)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've been quiet lately - lot going on - but this is a quiet reality being covered in typical fashion by the media: strongly, with a pillow!

I read an energy newsletter this little tidbit:

Another source, who asked not to be identified, attributed the growth to reasons other than tax credits — at least in those areas with vertically integrated utilities. "Utilities figured out a few years ago that they can put in high cost renewables and pass along price increases to customers because the commissions and enviros won't push back," the source said in an email Tuesday. "The more they spend, the more they make. If they put in lower cost traditional generation, they'll be fought tooth and nail. If they keep existing coal generation, they can’t raise rates. Shut down coal, add renewables and raise rates. ... Electric utility rates have gone up on average about 50% over the past decade ... and they'll continue to rise if renewables keep going in."

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 22, 2017 7:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I like this a lot -- thanks! Is this available online?

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2017 11:07 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

No, I doubt it; it's a pricey subscription model our company pays for called "Megawatt Daily" from Platts.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 24, 2017 11:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, I find it quite similar to how GE lobbied to make CFL's (and now, more "efficient" lights, aka LEDs) omnipresent. They get scant margin for the old standard lightbulbs, but very high prices for CFL's and LEDs....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 24, 2017 11:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I was guessing that -- thanks for sharing. Funny how these people never notice how much their good intentions benefit GE and Goldman Sachs, innit?

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2017 10:42 AM

September 7, 2017

Trump Revolution, Indeed

I'm nothing if not fair. James Freeman has some kind words for the President, on the WSJ Ed Page:

Former President Barack Obama sure seemed upset this week that his illegal gambit to avoid resolving Americas immigration argument now has an expiration date. So imagine how distraught Mr. Obama must have been over President Donald Trump's Wednesday speech in North Dakota.

In his typical rambling fashion, with various asides more or less related to the topic at hand, Mr. Trump nevertheless offered impressive coherence. In both style and substance, virtually every moment was a repudiation of Mr. Obama and his economics.

Mr. Trump never mentioned his predecessor by name. He also never mentioned biofuels or any other type of alternative energy. Proudly standing in front of the Andeavor Refinery outside Bismarck, he talked about unleashing restrictions on U.S. oil production, approving pipelines and dominating world markets. Come to think of it, this speech may have annoyed Vladimir Putin almost as much as Mr. Obama.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2017

Elecric Car + H20?

A Houstonian ponders an aspect of EVs:

What would it take to persuade you to buy an electric car?

An electric Jeep that can ford 2-3′ of water, with a 360 mile range and be rechargeable in less time than I might have to wait in a gas line in Houston next week... might be what it would take to persuade me to buy an EV... Only if it cost less than $40,000. But that's just me.. What about you?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:27 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2017

Stirring the Pot

I need some help before I infuriate thousands of my neighbors. Please look this over. First a bit of backstory:

My town of Erie Colorado has been invaded by a diaspora of suburbanites fleeing the city of Boulder and Boulder County (the town straddles the county line). Like me, they fled exorbitant housing costs and gridlocked traffic. Unlike me, most want to import the same political solutions which created them. To understand the politics: most residents wish they lived in Boulder.

Against this backdrop, a home exploded in the neighboring community of Firestone. It is a horrible tragedy, killing two and seriously wounding another. It was caused by negligence on the part of oil and gas extraction firms. The victims had zero responsibility, and the devastation was dramatic, obliterating the complete structure.

Today a huge portion of the new residents, who dislike oil and gas to begin with, have combined legitimate concern (one day, your home is there and one day it is a pile of boards) with some manufactured outrage (legal methods to usurp property rights have all failed -- let's use this tragedy as a cudgel). In response, Weld County is providing home testing machines. My Erie neighbors are making a beeline to get them and complaining on Facebook that the commissioners underestimated demand.

Here -- at long last -- is my point. And I am tempted to put it on the Erie Facebook page and attract the slings and arrows of outrageous local Moms.

Dear Erie Neighbors:

Might I suggest that you reevaluate risk profiles before driving up to Greeley to get your home methane test kits?

The explosion in Firestone is a horrific tragedy -- all the more so because it was caused by negligence of energy extractors.

But there were 57 traffic fatalities in the County last year. If you drive 32 miles each way to pick up and again to return your test equipment, you are not only driving more than 120 needless miles, you are participating in an activity that is more than 25 times more dangerous than living in your untested Weld County home.

There were 99,226 "housing units" in the 2010 Census (many more now). While the explosion in Firestone was tragic, a serious accident mitigating this minute risk would be worse. Stay home. Fix the rickety back step. Get that medical test you've been putting off. All better moves than testing for methane.

Am I wrong? If I am right, is it worth it?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | Comments (5)
But Terri thinks:

Not wrong. Though I would suggest that they also use Amazon services and purchase their own kit vs using a free one. Surely the children are worth the $150 asked. Saving the free ones for those who can least afford them.
Just be sure you yourself have your protective gear available from the slings and arrows!

Posted by: Terri at August 27, 2017 9:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Or you could just suggest that they read the entire Greeley Trib article:

"There is a limit of one monitor per household, and county officials will give them out as long as there is demand."

Now, if they are actually asking for more than one monitor per household, tell them to pound (fracking) sand.

And while we're on the subject, I wonder if BoCo is offering these to residents on the Boulder side of the county line?

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2017 2:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Boulder clearly doesn't care that <remy_voice>people will die!</remy_voice>

The complaint is that their are not sufficient units for the number of households that want exactly one. (Innumeracy is more rampant than appreciated.)

Thanks, but I don't think I'll doe on this hill. I feel I should make a stand against the anti-extractors, but it should be on property rights, not misplaced risk.

On that end I was working on:

"What about the majority? Well, a majority of your neighbors would like to your home razed and replaced with a Broncos Cheerleaders' training facility. But we don't put that up for a vote because you have been paying your mortgage and taxes. These mineral rights predate you, so the owners are not bound to win an election to exercise them."

Better? Worse?

Posted by: jk at August 28, 2017 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not sufficient units *where* for the number of households that want one? On Earth? Weld County has spent $1,901 to purchase monitors "to date." There is no cap on available units other than - "as long as there is demand."

Or is the Trib wrong?

On your "majority" argument, it's way too complicated. Modern suburbanites expect everything, for nothing, immediately and always. Capiche?

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2017 3:31 PM
But jk thinks:

You want to wait until a unit becomes available? When your house is about to explode? Have you no children?

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2017 11:28 AM

July 13, 2017

Did Someone Say "Government Boondoggle?"

Not our government this time, but that of South Australia (which should be thought of as "like Canada" because down under it gets colder as you go south, not warmer, and because they have a higher than average propensity for telling people what to do, and going along with what they're told.)

Elon Musk's Tesla has contracted to provide the "world's largest battery storage facility" for connection to South Australia's electrical grid. The 100 Megawatt, 129 Megawatt-hour array of thermally-managed rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs "will be able to power around 30,000 homes at max capacity, which Tesla says is equivalent to how many were without power during a storm that caused a state-wide blackout in South Australia in 2016. The real goal, however, is to help stabilize the South Australian electric power grid, by controlling power delivery according to peak demand."

Nevermind that the storm lasted for days, and the battery can power all of those homes for just a little more than an hour, the real necessity is grid stabilization. Not because loads fluctuate any more than they ever have, but because generation by wind is inherently variable and unreliable. And if wind speeds are either too low, or too high, for more than that hour-plus, the same problem would occur.

But why is SA in this situation?

South Australia needs this project because of decisions by its political leaders:

Over the last three years, South Australia has decided to shut down its coal-fired power stations and instead rely on wind, solar and gas.

I won't debate the merits of such policy here except to wonder whether building additional gas-fired electrical generation would be a far less costly and more reliable solution than relying on wind and batteries.

Fear not - they're doing that too:

The system will not solve South Australia's grid woes by itself.

The response plan also includes a new government funded, A$360 million, 250 MWe fast reacting gas turbine power plant, a bulk electricity purchase contract designed to encourage construction of a new privately owned power plant, a taxpayer financed exploration fund for additional natural gas supplies, special powers granted to the SA energy minister to order plants to operate, and a requirement for electricity retailers to purchase a fixed portion of their power from SA generators.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2017


George Ip has a great article in the WSJ today. It is even in the "Economy" section, not those wingnutty Ed pages.

He makes a superb point about Electric Cars. But starts with a pedestrian point, near and dear to ThreeSourcers' icy, lithium hearts:

Nonetheless, that means a 75 kwh battery (about what you need for 250 miles of range) still adds about $20,000 to a car's cost. So how do the cars sell? Public largess helps a lot.

The federal government offers a tax credit of up to $7,500 each for the first 200,000 electric or plug-in hybrid cars a manufacturer sells. Throw in state tax credits, subsidies for recharging infrastructure, relief from gasoline taxes, preferential lanes and parking spots and government fleet purchases, and taxpayers help pay for every electric car on the road.

What happens when the credits go away? When Hong Kong slashed a tax break worth roughly $55,000 for a Tesla in April, its sales ground to a halt. In Georgia, electric vehicle sales plummeted 80% the month after a $5,000 tax credit was repealed.

The even better point is that -- in the estimated eight years required for them to become price competitive -- the energy industry and developers of traditional vehicles will see incredible advances and innovation.

The parity estimations fail to take this in to account. The 2026 Volvo Gëfüülstenschteerën will not be compared to the 2017 Chevy.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:09 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Lessee, $7,500 times two-hundred-thousand adds up to, fifteen with eight trailing zeroes... $1.5 ba-ba-billion. Per automobile manufacturer. A car company would have to be nuts not to make some to collect their share of OPM*.

That said, I'm warming to the gasoline-hybrid tech. Electric motors can't be beat for torque, efficiency, quietness, simplicity and longevity. It's the electricity storage and replentishment that falls short - along with ability to create heat as needed. Both of these problems are easily solved with a petrol-powered generator. Clever folks have found a way to share this petrol power between charging and wheel turning. And at least one of government's declared intentions with this multi-billion dollar bonanza is coming true: Higher volumes of hybrid systems are bringing costs down and quality up.

Pure electric still has obstacles galore, but I'm convinced that hybrid will soon be as ubiquitous as unleaded gasoline, which was unimaginable in the days of "ethyl" gas. I hope I'm wrong, 'cause if I buy one I'll really enjoy being "better" than all the other single-occupant drivers who can't use the express lane and the front row parking.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2017 2:48 PM
But jk thinks:

I think we all agree with whatever tech that could win out in a non-subsidized field.

The manufacturers certainly share your enthusiasm for hybrid. I confess to two concerns, either or both might be unfounded:

-- Thanks to Penn & Teller's show on Hybrids, every tine we spot one the lovely bride and I yell "It's like having two extra lesbians in the trunk!" If you don't get the allusion, you should look up the program ("Nukes, Hybrids & Lesbians"), but the theory is that two engines and mechanisms to switch between them add quite a bit of weight. (At least ten years old, your reports of innovation might have obviated this -- though it is still funny.)

-- How much are the manufacturers counting on government back-pats and consumer halo effect? I see the (I am not a Lexus guy, but outrageously sexy) Lexus L500C advertised. in a conventional or hybrid. I'd love Clarkson, May and Hammond when he gets out of the hospital to evaluate them side by side and honestly.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2017 6:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't get the allusion. I did look up the program. It's on Prime! Now I'm almost guaranteed to watch all eight seasons, not needing a Showtime subscription or having to watch on my PC.

One of the points they made about "nuclear" is that you can say it without the word "bomb." Accordingly, you can say the word "hybrid" without the word "Prius."

P&T accurately concluded that the ugly Prius with non-remarkable fuel economy is "no good for a family of four." Yours truly is ogling a hybrid that is perfect for a family of six. It is the first ever hybrid minivan, and is also a plug-in hybrid. It gets 33 mpg instead of 22, and that's without plugging in. Charging at home regularly gives fuel economy equal to the Prius. Or better. (Mfr claims MPGe of 84.) And to top it off, it's Italian! Or maybe it's a Mopar. It's hard to tell these days but either way is fine by me.

Do I have concerns about the battery life? Yes. The fly-by-wire hardware and firmware? Naturally. But I also trust in Moore's law to bring battery costs down before the 100,000 mile (or 10 years, but mine will never take that long) warranty expires. To buy a replacement battery today is priced at $13k, but I'm told that is a "placeholder" price that will come down by the time they're actually available.

I've driven one of these and I liken it to driving a spaceship. It's so quiet that all you can hear is a fan sound from the engine compartment. But only from outside the car. Inside it's virtually noiseless.

On top of all this there is the significant fact that Chrysler is still a tax credit eligible manufacturer, so between Federal and State "hippie credits" it costs $12,500 less than the dealer price by the time I prepare my tax returns. Pass the patchouli bro!

But now I gotta go 'cause it's time for pre-race coverage of the New York ePrix, all electric Gran Prix race. (11:00 MDT today on Fox) Right on, dude!

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2017 12:47 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm going to cede to your "authoriteh." Any biases you might bring to the evaluation would run the other way. Ergo, if you have been won over with the technology, I am convinced.

Though I'd still like to see the subsidies disappear...

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2017 11:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

As would I. It irks me to see, as Jon Caldera describes it, "government subsidizing rich, white guys buying their vanity cars." But it exists whether I participate or not so, as long as it's there...

As Penn explained, its not about the "hybrid" (or the "nookulur") it's about what you do with the technology. Since it was born from the urge to be more efficient in the name of conservation, emissions reduction and all-around minimalism, it was natural that its first incarnations were the hair-shirts of the automotive specie. But eventually, some human or another will use it to create "bloody hell fire.

The world's first hybrid minivan is somewhere in between.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2017 2:59 PM

June 28, 2017

Solar Trash

I am not the only one who looks out on the City of Lafayette's solar farm and sees a field of trash. Julie Kelly at National Review Online calls it "Clean Energy's Dirty Little Secret."

This is one of the dirty little secrets behind the push for renewable energy. While consumers might view solar panels as harmless little windows made from glass and plastic, the reality is that they are intricately constructed from a variety of materials, making it difficult to disassemble and recycle them. Japan is already scrambling for ways to reuse its mounting inventory of solar-panel waste, which is expected to exceed 10,000 tons by 2020 and grow by 700,000 to 800,000 tons per year by 2040. Solutions are hard to find, due both to the labor-intensive process of breaking down the panels and to the low price of scrap.

Oh well, at least the batteries are easy to dispose of.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:23 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I just thought of a use for the hundreds of thousands of tons of solar-panel waste - road base, under the good intentions paving the road to hell.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 11:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:
Solar panels are considered a form of toxic, hazardous electronic or "e-waste," and according to EP researchers Jemin Desai and Mark Nelson, scavengers in developing countries like India and China often "burn the e-waste in order to salvage the valuable copper wires for resale. Since this process requires burning off plastic, the resulting smoke contains toxic fumes that are carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth defect-causing) when inhaled."

I can't debate someone into caring about what happens to their fellow human beings and their unborn children when government-subsidized solar panels are burned by the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the world.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 11:27 AM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I see what you did there.

The reason I cannot abandon Arthur Brooks [Review Corner] in spite of his insipid adherence to the Pope and the Dalai Lama, is that the story of Heart needs be told.

Ethanol! Let's burn food for no discernable good to anybody but ADM.

Tyler Cowen asks policy makers to give future citizens a seat at the table. That which impedes wealth creation and innovation steals from future people.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2017 11:56 AM

May 30, 2017

Quote of the Day

Mr. Trump should decline [signing on to the Paris climate accord] if he wants to fulfill his campaign promises to lift the U.S. economy. Mrs. Merkel's embrace of green-energy dogmas has done enormous harm to the German economy. She reacted to the Fukushima meltdown by phasing out nuclear power, and her government has force-fed hundreds of billions of dollars into solar and wind power that have raised energy costs. As Der Spiegel once put it, electricity is now a "luxury good" in Germany. -- WSJ Ed Page
Posted by John Kranz at 9:20 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

It would seem that WSJ joining the ranks of climate "deniers" is big news. Don't they understand that "climate change is undeniable?" And "climate action is unstoppable?"

When did Breitbart acquire the WSJ?

Posted by: johngalt at May 31, 2017 6:24 PM
But jk thinks:

At the risk of missing a touch of sarcasm, I'd point out that the WSJ News Pages are most certainly all-in for the risks of man-made climate change. The Editorial board, however, deserves awards for decades of reasonable skepticism. They've published a gooberload of guest editorials from Richard Lindzen of MIT, John Christy of UAH, and Bjorn Lomborg.

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2017 2:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair enough. And I willfully conjoined the two wings of that newsprint bird-of-prey. And they earn this disapprobation from me for being tools of the pre-Trump status quo once referred to as "RINO" or "Establishment." That they, and even the likes of Mitch McConnell, now endorse exiting the deal is evidence, to me at least, of their redeemability.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2017 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

But it's not a function of time. I assure you you will find consistent and stern opposition to the Paris Agreement. The differences I see between you and the Ed Page are issue by issue, not last administration versus this.

On a lighter note, I was thinking about prey-bird-wings today -- which I fairly-or-not ascribe to you and Mr. Pat Buchannan. My own biological brother was passionately commenting on an "Anonymous" meme with Guy Fawkes and "both parties are bought by the same Corporations" yadda-yadda. It was "a lie, repeated so often that it is thought true" and "the reason we got Trump."

Pragmatism -- maybe we are related after all.

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2017 3:42 PM

April 26, 2017

Well, I got an answer.

Do the Capital-S Science marchers accept overwhelming evidence on energy production safety?


One of the best consolation prizes about our Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, is that he is a trained geologist and has run interference on fracking. In the linked video, he is taken to task for his moderation.

The second best, I suppose, is the potential for clever rhymes with his polysyllabic sobriquet. "Hicken - Loop -Er, don't Frack our Fyoo - Ture!" Not bad for third graders..

Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2017

The pros and cons of carbon dioxide

Pros? Well then, now that I've "outed" myself as "anti-science"...

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (read: self-interested government bureaucracy) has concluded that carbon dioxide (CO2) is an atmospheric "pollutant" that is subject to regulation - by them - under the Clean Air Act. Their power grab has been deified by a SCOTUS ruling that such a policy is, somehow, not Unconstitutional. As a result of that, not to mention a relentless campaign to vilify CO2 and the "fossil" fuel consumption that emits it, the approval rating of this little molecule is in the toilet. Which is surprising because the biological process of photosynthesis is one of the few components of a classical education that has not been eliminated from our schools. Somehow a public perception exists that while plants are good, the primary contributor to plant life is bad. Recent congressional testimony sought to put a dent in this "science-based" belief:

There are many other byproducts of combustion that really are pollutants, in that they have measureable harms to many forms of life, from plants to humans. But those have been regulated nearly out of existence - a fact I am not sorry to acknowledge. But let's not ignore that CO2 is the opposite of a pollutant - it is an essential compound for cellular growth of plants, and therefore animals, and therefore all mankind.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:48 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

"our Luke-warming home planet [~0:40]"

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2017 4:27 PM
But Truth thinks:

I have met many climate change deniers and I am still baffled by their statist, uninformed commitment to partial truths and misinformation. The seem incapable of carrying the cognitive load required to comprehend the facts behind climate science. This article does a good job of combining the collection of poor arguments frequently regurgitated by the "denialists"


Posted by: Truth at July 24, 2017 9:33 AM

April 18, 2017

Standing Up!

Y'all might be proud of me. I let most of the nonsense about recycling and sustainability and such drivel pass on the Erie Facebook page. But this was too far:


UPDATE: Good old Weld County! Three of the next four are pro-energy, including:

Erie students are entitled to a school that has light, heat, and a/c, powered by clean, green natural gas energy from fracking. Hopefully, some scientifically literate teachers too, please.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:43 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Seriously, haven't the anti-frackers jumped the shark?

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2017 5:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Should have. I am not at all convinced that it has.

This is a big deal to all the Boulderites who have moved into Erie (missing the part about Weld's being the 8th County in the nation in energy production): "you can't frac around schools!"

But the pushback is much better than I expected.

Posted by: jk at April 18, 2017 5:39 PM

April 17, 2017

Calling the Market Top

I saw the future once. I did not act, but I bet it was a good stock pick.

It was clear to me in the early 00's that Hyundai Motor Corp was poised to climb a tier and become a serious competitor. I was rather impressed with their design, and the sequence of models they were rolling out seemed well-considered. Their extended warranty addressed uncertainty customers may have held about quality and reliability. "These guys have got it together," thought 2003 me. The 2007 price was 56.70 and it is 120 today. That's not bad but not Facebook.

I'm calling "hold" or "sell" today, though:

YONGIN, South Korea -- Hyundai Motor Group's plans for green cars are a costly array of hybrids, plug-ins, pure electrics and fuel-cell vehicles for both the Hyundai and Kia brands.

But the automaker's eco-car czar, Lee Ki-sang, expects a technological shakeout between 2020 and 2025 that will make it clearer whether a post-lithium ion battery breakthrough is on the horizon.

I fear they are over-committing to the eco-sector. At the risk of preaching to the choir, I'm rather impressed by the muscle sector. Those who've bet on abundance have beat those who bet on scarcity.

It could change. But I am not loading up on eco-car manufacturers.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:10 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Here's the thing about "eco-cars" - see if it affects your calculus:

The ones that add an electric motor to a petrol power plant are, often, more economical AND more powerful. There's a full collection of hybrid models from the top-end performance brands: Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, etc. When you compare a pure torque electric drive motor to a turbocharger, for example, the latter comes up short. There's no such thing as "EV lag."

And another data point for you is this: Fiat-Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne said that by 2025, 90 percent of all new FCA vehicles will be some sort of electric hybrid.

A funny thing happened on the way to government distorting the market to make hybrids more readily available - the tech and the economics made them market winners.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2017 7:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. That's not how I read the article, but if the company is as savvy as I thought, maybe that is where they're headed.

Posted by: jk at April 18, 2017 9:51 AM

April 14, 2017

Ethanol and Mohair

You'd think the left and right might come together to oppose ethanol subsidies. You'd -- of course -- be wrong, but you'd think...

Ethanol per se is not the problem, however; Washington's lack of common sense is the problem.

For decades now, ever since the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, U.S. policymakers have been preoccupied with oil scarcity. That, along with environmental concerns, is what led to the renewable fuels mandate, which triggered huge increases in corn production at the expense of other crops and prairie grasslands.

Currently, roughly half of the entire U.S. corn crop -- which topped more than 15 billion bushels last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- winds up in biofuels.
The trouble is this: When prairie is plowed under to grow corn it becomes a barren landscape. Without the grasses, the environment supports little wildlife. With the grasses, it is home to ducks, pheasants and some 800 other varieties of birds, as well as monarch butterflies and honey bees. -- IBD Politics

Well, if we're going to have multi-decadal global depression because of tariffs, we might as well have a Dust Bowl too.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:25 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I blame NASCAR. (Well, not really, but they have been duped along with the rest of the marketing public.)

Maybe it will take some special interest group accusing them of helping to "destroy the habitat of ducks, pheasants, and some 800 other varieties of birds, as well as monarch butterflies and honey bees." Then they can return to 100% petrol, instead of 85%.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2017 3:15 PM
But Jk thinks:

NASCAR Retards...

Posted by: Jk at April 15, 2017 5:09 PM

April 13, 2017

State Charging Stations for 'Lectriccars

Firstly, every Centennial Stater should follow Laurie Bratten on Facebook. She provides a daily rundown of the shenanigans going on in the State Capitol, ranked for frugality and liberty.

And I'll give her quote of the day for her droll opening:


Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

"Widespread adoption" of alternative fuel vehicles is necessary to "diversify the transportation fuel mix." If adoption is widespread enough, perhaps as much as proponents would like, then the transportation fuel mix will not be diverse at all - it will be all-ternative.

The upside is that if everyone drives 'lectric cars, free charging doesn't represent a redistribution anymore (from petrol-heads to pointy-heads.)

The downside is too voluminous to get in to here.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2017 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

But still a redistribution from telecommuters and transit riders, n'est ce pas?

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2017 3:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. All seventy-six of them. Perfect must not be the enemy of good enough.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2017 4:44 PM

March 30, 2017

Pollution "Costs"

Still on the theme of government getting everything wrong in energy policy, Investors Ed Page shares how President Obama's EPA fudged the spreadsheet in creating health cost savings to offset energy cost hikes.

In pushing the Clean Power Plan, the EPA claimed it would cost industry $9 billion a year, but produce up to $54 billion in annual health benefits, including "avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children."

Who could complain about that?

Turns out, the benefits of the Clean Power Plan will be closer to $0, while the costs would be far higher than the EPA claims.

Yes, fellow Americans, we've been played.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:38 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I read an energy newsletter in work downtime (decreasing soon, now that I've seen my 2017 goals), that has real baseball-insider level detail on the actions of FERC and the lawyers/lobbyists who quibble, sue and defend the edicts (technically, NOPR's) that drive the grid. Some authors are outing themselves as on the activist side (aka, citing "97% of scientists" as tacit truism). I'm collecting a string of stories on the cost of Renewables ("RE"), and found this bit interesting not the least b/c the "source" wished to stay hidden:

Another source, who asked not to be identified, attributed the {RE} growth to reasons other than tax credits — at least in those areas with vertically integrated utilities.
"Utilities figured out a few years ago that they can put in high cost renewables and pass along price increases to customers because the commissions and enviros won't push back," the source said in an email Tuesday. "The more they spend, the more they make. If they put in lower cost traditional generation, they'll be fought tooth and nail. If they keep existing coal generation, they can’t raise rates. Shut down coal, add renewables and raise rates. ... Electric utility rates have gone up on average about 50% over the past decade ... and they'll continue to rise if renewables keep going in."
"Prices will rise as more and more renewables are installed," the source said. "Renewables impose additional costs that are not normally included in their 'cost.'

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 1, 2017 9:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent point, and from an inside source that gives it more credibility than my personal observations, reading the news reports of ratepayer hikes approved by Colorado's highly politicized Public Utilities Commission. There is literally no limit to the places and ways that special interest mischief can be promulgated upon the public in our "advanced" society.

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2017 3:54 PM

March 29, 2017

Energy Costs

I was going to add this to a comment thread, below. But I'm going to exercise bloggers' prerogative and give it its own post.

Amy Oliver-Cooke brought a few handouts to the LOTR-F meeting I mentioned. One of the best was this bylined WaPo story, How Not to Shut Down Coal Plants [jg's PDF]

PUEBLO, Colo -- Sharon Garcia is stumbling around her dining room in the dark, trying to find Post-It notes.

As she has for years, Garcia wants to affix the notes, marked with dollar signs, to light switches all around her house. The message to her five kids: Light is expensive.

"Why do you need to turn the lights off?" she asks her son, Mariano.

"Because otherwise there's no money," he answers, dutifully.

"And when there's no money?"

"You can't feed us or take us anywhere."

Bingo, again.

Bingo, indeed. You're gonna wanna read the whole thing.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:16 AM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Paywall blues. Found this PDF though.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2017 2:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. Just, wow. Bills for reconnect charges in the hundreds of dollars to low income Coloradoans because electricity costs have risen 26% in seven years, while consumption has held steady and the fracking boom has massively increased supplies of natural gas. A better title for the article would be, not "How not" to shut down coal plants, but "Why not" to do so.

And for what? President Obama's misguided "Clean Power Plan" would, by their rosiest attempt at predicting the future, "prevent" 0.019 degrees (C) of warming EIGHTY THREE YEARS from now. Reason:

That's the amount of temperature change a person will experience in about every second of life. It is simply impossible to detect this change in any global temperature history.

I'm sure all of the homeless, energy-poor folks in Colorado will be really glad that their betters in Washington took this decision.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2017 4:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Paywall? I am not a WaPo subscriber and it likes me...

Now, if not for SB 252 driving up my electricity rates, perhaps I could afford to subscribe...

Property rights and freedom folk get on the "perceived as mean" side of issues so frequently. This is an excellent chance to whack all your progressive friends for their cruelty to the poor. #kiddingnotkidding

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2017 4:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think there's a 5 page view limit - per month or per year or per lifetime, I'm not sure. Apparently I'm more well-read than y'all.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2017 6:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm just halfway through my third.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2017 6:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Good news is the Trumpster is doing all the right things: killing the CPP and 'Waters of the US' rule, and his nominee slate for FERC look good. Still, even a full retract of the CPP won't save king coal, natural gas prices are driving nearly everything currently, which has an interesting dual effect of killing coal and boosting RE, b/c modern NG plants can ramp faster thereby lessening the strain on baseload generation which have to ramp up & down quickly due to the intermittent nature of RE plants. The fancy newsletter from Platts had this to say about the XO retracting the CPP:

the order had no noticeable impact on coal, natural gas or crude oil prices Tuesday; … and appears to roll back regulations already being unwound in courts.

For those not versed in history, the CPP has been "promulgated" (aka, approved as admin. law) but stayed by the courts, so is not actually in effect.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 1, 2017 10:31 AM

February 3, 2017

Fossil remains within "fossil" fuel?


If "fossil" fuels, like natural gas, crude oil and coal, are really the product of decomposing ancient plants and animals, how can they also fossilize ancient plants and animals as shown in the picture above? A blog entry at Unconventional Geology quotes a Dr. Thomas Gold:

"The coal we dig is hard, brittle stuff [but] it was once a liquid, because we find embedded in the middle of a six-foot seam of coal such things as a delicate wing of some animal or a leaf of a plant. They are undestroyed, absolutely preserved, with every cell in that fossil filled with exactly the same coal as all the coal on the outside... The fact that coal contains fossils does not prove that it is a fossil fuel; it proves exactly the opposite. Those fossils you find in coal prove that coal is not made from those fossils. How could you take a forest and much it all up so that it is a completely featureless big black substance and then find one leaf in it that is perfectly preserved? That is absolute nonsense."

According to the abiotic theory of geologic hydrocarbon fuels, occasionally mentioned 'round these parts, "fossil" fuels are, in actuality, renewable. And naturally so.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:17 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Brothers forever! Thanks.

I had the disadvantage of first hearing about this from an incredibly gifted and charismatic physicist. The former President of the College I was attending and I were dinner guests at the home of a PhD candidate and hippie guitar player bandmate.

Dr. Colgate explained this forcefully and lucidly and the 19-year-old me was forever convinced. I try to look back and see if I was perhaps bamboozled. Yet, once you accept it, the reigning, dead-dinosaur-guts theory seems the crazy one.

The heart is that every astronomical object of remotely similar makeup "outgasses" hydrocarbons. Earth would be very strange if I did not. It's not a great stretch to think the trip from core to crust could produce more complex organic molecules through heat and pressure.

I gave away my age. Jimmy Carter was President, Fitzpatrick Sale was selling books, and our world was at Peak Everything. Aside from the Rolling Stones output, things were bleak and Malthusian.

This was like discovering Rearden metal. "Wait a minute, you mean there might be all the oil we ever want just as a gift of our astronomical heritage?" It may have been the foundation of my optimism.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2017 6:45 PM

January 25, 2017

Go Home, Hippies!

FORT YATES -- The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council unanimously voted to support the district of Cannon Ball in asking all Dakota Access Pipeline protesters to leave the area and canceling plans for a nearby winter camp.

"All the individuals at all the camps in and around Cannon Ball need to leave the district," residents wrote in a 10-point resolution passed during an executive session of a district meeting Wednesday night. "The building of an alternative site for the camp(s) within the Cannon Ball District is not needed or wanted. If there is to be any kind of a 'site' for the commemoration of this historic event that took place with all the tribes, the people of Standing Rock need to vote on where, what and cost before any 'shanty town is built."

Posted by John Kranz at 6:54 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Ha! If it were only that easy.

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2017 7:44 PM

Two Steps Forward, One Back

Bully for the President! Approving Keystone XL and Dakota Pipelines. Way to go.

The WSJ Ed Page -- like me -- is quite enthusiastic. The rule of law was truly subverted on both of these to appease the environmentalist left.

Such carve outs for progressive constituencies are one reason voters rejected Democrats in November, and the pipelines promise broader prosperity. Keystone is predicted to spin off 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs, many of them to be filled by union workers, and add $3 billion to GDP. The pipeline could move 830,000 barrels a day along the route from Alberta to Nebraska; up to 100,000 would come from North Dakota, where a glut of crude has to travel by rail to reach refineries built to process it. The efficiencies will ripple across the oil and gas industry.

Pretty awesome huh? Boy, we sure like the cut of that Trump fellow's jib. Oh. Wait...
One danger here is President Trump's campaign promise to "renegotiate some of the terms" that included bromides about how "we'll build our own pipes, like we used to in the old days." He floated royalty payments during the campaign, and a separate order on Tuesday directed the Commerce Department to develop a plan to use U.S. steel and iron in all new pipelines. TransCanada has said in past months that it's "fully committed" to Keystone XL, but the company may not be eager for another politician to direct its investment decisions.

Ah yes, the good old days when we built our own pipes. Wow -- America was really great back then. I'm going back to bed -- call me on my mobile if you need anything...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:15 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. The WSJ Editorial Board has suggested that President Trump offers business a bargain: I'm going to lower your taxes and keep government regulators off your back; you're going to let me browbeat you and bias your investments toward domestic production.

As a great blue-eyed economist once said "That ain't love. But it will have to do until the real thing comes along." Much as I love trade, that's likely a better bargain than they saw over the previous eight years,

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2017 4:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm actually hopeful that Trump is more saavy than all of the principled free-market advocates realize. Yes, he is distorting markets with his browbeating. But perhaps he is doing it as a countermeasure against foreign currency manipulation. There is a direct way to counter such manipulation, which is "by far, the world’s most protectionist international economic policy in the 21st century" and there are indirect ways. Perhaps President Trump is engaging in one of these. Among other things, the browbeating has the advantages that it can be done quickly, by executive action, and it is not an obvious countermeasure to something else. It just looks like unbridled populism. It is that, of course, but a principled executive knows how far to take it before backing off.

We have admitted that Trump is smarter than most critics assume, haven't we?

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2017 7:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny told me I'm a hopeless, rationalizing, optimist.


Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2017 1:40 PM
But dagny thinks:

And he thinks the Rockies are going to be good this year.

Posted by: dagny at January 26, 2017 1:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I was going to comment on your optimism, but I would never have gone so far as Sister Dagny (though the brave black and purple are not without talent...)

On a serious note, optimism is good and I must admit that -- so far -- more of your rosy scenarios have materialized than my dark dystopian visions. But it is Day Four; I hope you'll be willing to hold him accountable.

And yes, he is well served by the compete insanity of his critics. Holy Cow, those people have left the rational plane. But they can be bonkers and he can still be wrong.

And the bullpen. Some steps up, but enough?

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2017 3:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I'll hold him accountable. I probably won't march on the capitol or cut off any parts of my anatomy, but I'll always be willing to condemn bad acts.

I haven't been following the Rox off-season moves but I did hear about the once great Royals reliever who's coming off some surgery or another. But a sports radio jock I know is predicting Rocktober already!

Hope springs eternal - if not this year, then next. Or the year after that. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2017 4:17 PM

December 8, 2016

Dakota Pipeline - Why do they stay?

As winter approaches, in the wake of an Army Corps of Engineers announcement that it is investigating alternative routes for the DAPL, and with tribal chairman Archambault imploring that they "head home" the agitators at the intended river crossing site are pledging to remain where they are. From a CNN article:

"The call to service and to help Mother Earth is a huge honor," Calderon says. And the Army Corps announcement about rerouting the pipeline doesn't change a thing.

"We're still sticking it out and hoping that what they say is true and that there's no sneaky business going on," Calderon says. "We'll stay here until we're told otherwise."

Which I take Mr. Calderon to mean "We'll stay here until we're sure that "there's no sneaky business going on." And by "sneaky business" he means, constructing a pipeline.

But what does it mean, exactly, to "help Mother Earth?" It means this:

But despite [Indian novelist Amitav] Ghosh's dark sense of realism about our political options, he still manages to find hope in surprising places. "The very speed with which the crisis is now unfolding," he notes, might save many parts of the world from the destructive social and cultural consequences of the Great Acceleration. Still more provocatively, Ghosh proposes that religious traditions might offer the most effective social basis for popular resistance. Ghosh observes that religious movements could "mobilize people in far greater numbers" than secular organizations. Religious belief reaches beyond the boundaries of nation states and embraces "intergenerational, long-term responsibilities" that "do not partake of economistic ways of thinking." Indeed, the "idea of the sacred" involves an "acceptance of limits and limitations" that strongly resembles the ethos of stewardship and simple living central to radical forms of climate justice. Could it be that religious belief, with its appreciation of "nonlinear change" (i.e., apocalypse and planetary disaster), might be our best resource in breaking the spell of Holocene thought?

Some translations are in order, to fully recognize what the author is saying.

The "Great Acceleration" propelled by "economistic ways of thinking" is what you and I might call... prosperity.

The "ethos of stewardship and simple living" is a monastic tendency, featuring an "acceptance of limits and limitations" on human beings. Essentially, the opposite of prosperity.

It has long been observed that environmental extremism has morphed into a cult-like religious pursuit. And it's no accident that the DAPL agitators chose "medicine man and spiritual leader" Leonard Crow Dog to participate in their staged guilt-building exercise on Monday.

Also this week, Donald Trump was named Time Magazine's "Man of the Year." They dubbed him the "President of the Divided States of America." To the extent that characterization is a fitting one, the division is between two competing moralities - Liberal economic prosperity and human rights, on the one side, and a zealous mobilization to impose the limits of "simple living" upon everyone. Between these two visions for mankind, President Elect Trump falls into the "liberal" camp.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (9)
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the Kevin Cramer editorial in WSJ is excellent. I had read it too. He channeled Three Sources:

The Obama administration has decided to build a political legacy rather than lead the country. It is facilitating an illegal occupation that has grown wildly out of control. That the economy depends on a consistent and predictable permitting regime seems never to have crossed the president's mind.
Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2016 11:37 AM
But jk thinks:

I too loved "Dances..." And I recently re-watched the splendiferously awesome Hatfields and McCoys miniseries. I remarked that it is inherently unfair -- whichever side Kevin Costner is cast into will be perceived as the heroic side and will get audience sympathy.

I just see my conservative friends #StandingWithBlackRock Addressing energy needs, rule-of-law, and public opinion will be fraught with peril.

Political archeologists will write dissertations on "Mocking the disabled reporter." It will outlast the "Daisy Ad." I am astonished at how central it was to the Clinton campaign. I saw several commercials specifically on it, and recently a Facebook that claimed "that was all you needed to know" to oppose Trump.

I -- a disabled-American -- found it a stretch all along. It was at worst a three second mistake. What makes me laugh is that the target was a powerful reporter who had attacked him.

We've elected a few "nice" Presidents, but a quick gander through a history book shows that lack is not disqualifying.

Posted by: jk at December 9, 2016 12:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

You've gone three levels down in the segue swamp. What reporter? Was he at the pipeline protests?

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 10, 2016 1:37 AM
But jk thinks:

Kids, don't try this at home -- these are professional dissemblers. :)

"Trump Mocks disabled reporter" provides 2,090,000 Hits on Bing® Here's a WaPo video.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2016 12:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And yet, I'll take 84-plus percent agreement every time. Thanks!

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2016 3:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's the explanation I read - Trump mocked the reporter, but not by mimicking his disability.

Conclusion: Media manipulation makes us believe things that aren't so. That Donald Trump hasn't been savaged worse than he was is miraculous. Maybe they held some punches because they didn't know the Russians were actually going to succeed in "stealing the election" for him.

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2016 3:31 PM

December 6, 2016

#DAPL Me This... Vol III?

Chairman David Archambault, of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, continues to maintain that the most meticulously engineered and constructed oil pipeline to be routed eighty-odd feet below the Missouri riverbed poses a threat to that community's water supply. This, despite said water supply inlet being moved fifty miles further down river and feeding a brand new $30 million water treatment complex exclusively for the Standing Rock Sioux community.

"Just because the new intake is 70 miles away doesn't mean our water is still not threatened," said David Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

The project, which has received little attention in the months-long fight over the Dakota Access pipeline, has been a goal for the Sioux for more than a decade. It was first funded in 2009.

The funding for the water works came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - that's "The Stimulus Bill" for those who remember it. It was part of a $500 million dollar investment in projects specifically for the benefit of America's native tribal descendent populations.

As for the "threat" to the water, one begins to suspect the only solution the chairman and the climate activists will be pleased with is the "keep it in the ground" solution - No pipeline... No fracking... No oil for thankful and prosperous human customers. A Hoover Institution senior fellow has dubbed this the "Indian Energy Wars."

But the biggest foe for the Standing Rock Sioux is the federal government itself, entrusted with protecting Indians since Chief Justice John Marshall declared Indians "wards" of the state in 1832. After the first Indian Wars, the federal government signed treaties setting aside 43,000 square miles as the Great Sioux Nation. That territory would include much of the DAPL route. However, in 1889, it "repossessed" much of the territory opening it for white settlement and creating the private lands on which the pipeline will be built. Since then, the federal government has nothing to give Native Americans confidence in their trustee.

A paper by 3 Texas A&M political scientists, forthcoming in the Policies Studies Journal, shows how "paternalistic control over Indian nations" has failed to protect tribal water quality under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act supposedly enforced by the EPA. Comparing regulatory compliance and enforcement on and off reservation, they find 125 percent more management violations and 57 percent more health violations for tribal water utilities under.

American Indians have a right to be fearful that projects such as the DAPL could violate their rights to land and water, but their fear would be better focused on the "Great White Father."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (0)

December 2, 2016

#DAPL me this...

An interesting piece in FEE: Josh Siegel wonders Are Environmentalists Hijacking the Concerns of Native Americans?

I'm too big a man to share spoilers, but

This is a very good opportunity for them because the best way to bankrupt fossil fuel companies is to target the supply chain--the modes of transportation. Some tribe members think their issues are being hijacked. For them, this is not a war on fossil fuel. It's a specific argument about not honoring the historical practices of Native Americans and about rerouting this particular pipeline.

I've been very strident on this topic. The "numinous Native American" shtick drives me mad. Siegel lays out facts, but is much more fair than I, willing to see the conflict as part of larger historical list of legitimate grievances.
Aseem Prakash, director of the Center for Environmental Politics at the University of Washington, contends that the Standing Rock tribe's stake in the conflict reflects deeper-seated grievances of Native Americans.

"The American Indian community, at least some sections of it, is aggrieved over the years about injustices, essentially the notion being--right or wrong--that their preferences are not taken into account seriously," Prakash told The Daily Signal in an interview. "The Dakota pipeline is epitomizing their perspective of injustice."

Though the pipeline goes through private land and not Native American property, the tribe contends this land was acquired improperly and actually belongs to them by the terms of a 1851 treaty with the U.S. government.

I highly recommend the article. Everything I have seen to date is completely one-sided: the protesters all are either Gandhi or Beelzebub. This is FEE, I don't think my lefty friends would accept it as unbiased, but it is one of the better accounts I have seen.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:27 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

But of course they are! "It's for the first Americans" is in third place, behind "it's for the children" and "it's for the animals" on the list of sympathetic social justice ploys.

Here's the real question: If mountains of state and federal regulations and permits do not grant a guarantee, or at least a reasonable assurance, that a $3.7Bn project can reach completion then why do we have such permits?

Energy Transfer Partners has property rights too. It is government's purpose to protect those rights.

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2016 2:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Just when I think I have inured to life in a banana republic... It felt like a kick in the stomach to hear that this has been stayed.

Carrier stays, the pipeline goes. And Francisco d'Anconia is proven correct.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2016 3:29 PM

November 26, 2016


The Dakota Pipeline protests pit everyone who has read Ludwig von Mises against those who have seen "Dances with Wolves."

We are so completely, totally screwed.

UPDATE: A ray of hope! This post was shared from an unexpected source, tagging his son! Maybe the truth is pulling its pants up after all.

Before traveling, [St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg] Champagne admitted he had the wrong impression about the pipeline based on what he called sensational news reports that the pipeline was to run directly through the Standing Rock Reservation and disturb ancient burial grounds.

"I quickly learned and saw for myself that this was untrue."

Posted by John Kranz at 8:03 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Yes, that is a problem. I feel that way about North Carolina's infamous transgender bathroom law. I've never felt I got a truly accurate appraisal of the law and ramifications. And I lack interest to take a week off work to clarify.

But, you almost have to hand it to the bad guys here. "Defiling Sacred Indian Burial Grounds!" "Poisoning the Water!" "Big Oil!" "Climate Change!" "The Infield Fly Rule!" They truly have all the emotional weapons on their side. Cue Eric Cartman: "You don't hate Native American Children, do you?"

Our side has property rights and rule of law. Yawn. But for those of us who prefer a heated condo with WiFi and hot showers to a buffalo skin by the fire -- and are willing to admit it, those are the difference. It is a difficult fight I have largely shrunken from.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2016 1:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not me! Emboldened by the election of Trump and the death of Political Correctness which that represents, I let my inner "Deplorable" show in comments to the same form-letter type FB post about "I know I've posted a lot about the Dakota Access Pipeline but..."

The lament was, "water cannons are being used against unarmed, peaceful protesters in winter! They are subject to death from hypothermia!" (No mention of death from hyperbole.)

I replied: "Maybe they should just go home."

Poster: "They are home."

I replied: "They are camping. They can be charged with trespassing if they don't leave. That's a strange definition of "home."

Then silence. Until last night, when another woman chimed in ... on MY side!

Posted by: johngalt at November 28, 2016 2:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I just went back with this, in as "undeplorable" a tone as I was able:

I agree with you Andrea that water should be protected from contamination, but I also believe we need to be reasonable. We can't eliminate all risk. And I disagree that a few get rich while the rest of us pay. All of civilization is richer, safer and more prosperous because of inexpensive, reliable energy and the many byproducts of oil and gas.

Some people and special interest groups want to reverse all of the gains from carbon-based energy. Even worse, they work to prevent...

Continue reading

third world countries and their people from ever having those gains. What about their children? I have compassion for them too.

Posted by: johngalt at November 28, 2016 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:


Typing this, I realized I was wrong to be pusillanimous. I have striven for a politics here, cute kittens on FB split. But I break it for "important" things where I feel I might offer perspective many of these people might not otherwise encounter.

This is the definition of that -- I just know that it will upset many.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2016 2:46 PM
But jk thinks:

The post I mentioned in my update attracted one meticulously-researched response:

Sorry, Xxxxx. But this is wholly untrue. Sacred burial grounds have already been disturbed by bulldozers and the Sioux are most concerned about their water supply being affected. The natural gas pipeline that exists already does not threaten water supply.

But when I went back to share this with y'all, I find yet another person has shared a couple links. In addition to mine.

Pulling up pants. Perhaps there was some value in letting them "own the space" for a couple of weeks.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2016 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here is a summary of the treaty disputes with native tribes in the Dakotas, much of which took place before the territories became states, and which was finally resolved in 1980 with a billion dollar payment to the tribes by federal taxpayers. It appears to be objective and unbiased.

While none can suggest that all of the historical dealings were fair, although the contemporary murders of white settlers are rarely spoken of with as much sturm and drung, it does appear that the tribes have been fairly compensated and the matter is resolved at the highest possible levels of our federal government.

The tribes do not own the land being crossed by the pipeline. That they once did is immaterial. What would the environmentalists have instead - dynamite the dams on the Mississippi, drain the ancestral lands "once hunted and fished" by generations long since gone, and let the entire central United States suffer seasonal catastrophic flooding once again? Please.

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2016 3:21 PM

November 16, 2016

If Elon Musk were in 'Atlas Shrugged'...

... he would be Oren Boyle.

It has been widely reported that among SolarCity, Tesla, and the rocket company SpaceX, Elon Musk's confederacy of interests has gotten at least $4.9 billion in taxpayer support over the past 10 years.

This is almost half of Musk's supposed net worth - taken from the pockets of American citizens and put into companies that can survive only by cannibalizing each other, spending without end, and promising that success is always just beyond the horizon and yet never arrives.

The American people are being taken on a ride by SolarCity, Tesla, and Musk. The ride is fueled by a cult of personality in Musk. And it costs billions of taxpayer dollars as he promises us not only the moon, but to harness the power of the sun and send us all to Mars.

In the cases of Enron and Bernie Madoff, in the end the cheated victims wished to have woken up sooner to the hubris that enabled such a downfall - or that at least regulators had pulled their heads out of the sand before the full impact of the collapse was realized.

We've seen this story before and we know how it ends.

But one of the good things about changing regimes in Washington D.C. is that cronies often get uprooted.

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have launched a probe into tax incentives paid to solar companies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The committee probes, led by their respective Republican chairmen, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, have found an appropriate and disturbing target to begin this work.

SolarCity, a solar installation company set to be purchased by Tesla Motors Inc., is one of the seven companies named in the initial investigation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2016

Debate Greatst Hits

We shall run out of "Oll" by 2011:

Hat-tip: Miss Liberty

Posted by John Kranz at 4:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2016

Dumbest Damn Thing Ever

Well, there's California's Train to Whenever, and Denver's very important train to the plane which has some issues. But I nominate the Ivanpah Power Plant as Dumbest Damn Thing Ever.

Not just because it is on fire. Not just because it has missed all expectations. Because -- like the gorram trains -- it has no flexibility:

Ivanpah's biggest problem, though, is hard economics. When the plant was just a proposal in 2007, the cost of electricity made using Ivanpah's concentrated solar power was roughly the same as that from photovoltaic solar panels. Since then, the cost of electricity from photovoltaic solar panels has plummeted to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour (compared to 15 to 20 cents for concentrated solar power) as materials have gotten cheaper. "You're not going to see the same thing with concentrated solar power plants because it's mostly just a big steel and glass project," says Schultz. It can only get so much cheaper.

Photovoltaic solar systems also have the advantage of scaling up or down easily. You can have one panel on your roof or the airport can have 100, and electricity can be made where it's used. But for concentrated solar power plants, you need a huge tract of empty land. Ivanpah has 173,500 garage door-sized sets of mirrors spread over 3,500 acres. Each mirror has a motor controlled by a computer, which angles the reflective surface to track the location of the sun.

Isn't Ivanpah the name of one of Donald Trump's smoking hot daughters?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Hayek vs. Keynes in a nutshell. Do you build the giant, expensive, and immovable object because you know what the world will look like in ten years, or do you put faith in spontaneous order and distributed knowledge organization?

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2016 5:21 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Emphasis on "smoking hot." I've driven past the Ivanpah plant many, many times, and it is a spectacle, a veritable sight to behold. I've never had the privilege of seeing a "streamer" -- a passing bird suddenly erupting into flames on the fly, leaving a smoke trail of burning feathers worthy of Michael Jackson's ill-fated soda commercial or Richard Pryor's infamous 1980 experiment with cognac and freebasing, and serving itself up medium-well on one of the mirrors -- but I'm told from those who have that it's a jaw-dropping sight.

Much more exciting to watch than your average wind-farm bird blender.

And at just $2.2 billion, it's a steal at half the price. I understand it's currently operating at just one-third capacity, due to a combination of the present conflagration, bad planning, and something called "scheduled maintenance."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 25, 2016 6:36 PM
But jk thinks:

As the man said: "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius."

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2016 6:42 PM

April 17, 2016

Brother Keith's Senator at Work!

The evil philosopher is Alex Epstein [Review Corner]

Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Unbelievable how philosophers can be so uppity. Doesn't he know that only scientists are credible on climate change, particularly those with a PhD?

Or maybe, in certain instances, his holiness the Pope.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2016 5:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm sure that KA is very proud!

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2016 8:00 PM
But Jk thinks:

It's a low blow to bring him into it. A good man wouldn't do it. I'm all right.

Posted by: Jk at April 17, 2016 9:23 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Not MY Senator. Not my circus. Not my monkey.

Funny thing is, I once that that Senate hearings were for obtaining facts and worthwhile information so as to be able to cast informed votes on important bills -- not for grandstanding, browbeating, or cheap shots. People like Boxer need to be reminded that they are the nation's servants, not our bosses or our overlords.

It's a dangerous job. I volunteer as tribute!

And by the way, bonus points are awarded for the Mal Reynolds reference, in case you had any trace of a thought that I'd overlook it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 18, 2016 2:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's SENATOR monkey to you, knave. She's quite sure she's earned it.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2016 3:32 PM

April 1, 2016

Fracking Causes Earthquakes, Not God

That is the implication made by this Denver Post story covering the Republican Women of Weld senate candidates forum in Fort Lupton Wednesday night (attended by dagny and me.) "Peg Littleton says God causes earthquakes, not fracking" blares the sub head.

"I say, 'Drill, baby, drill,' " said Littleton, an El Paso County Commissioner and member of Colorado's homeland security and hazards advisory committee.

Later, she took a step further as she attacked scientific reports showing links between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and earthquakes, suggesting God is the reason they occur.

"There have been earthquakes long before we ever did fracking," she said. "Let's be honest. You know God is kind of in control of those. And not by us drilling down in the ground and doing the fracking."

The implication is clear, and is reflected in comments on the story - that Republicans in general, or at least these seven candidates at the forum, or at least this Sarah Palin wannabe, are anti-science religious nut jobs.

Well what do the "scientific reports" say? That small earthquakes can indeed be induced by high-volume wastewater disposal into wells drilled specifically for that purpose. It is not caused by fracking. So Littleton's claim that the earthquakes are not caused by fracking is accurate.

And who is surprised by that finding? Fracking is done all over the country, and earthquake activity is localized in this area of Oklahoma within 30 kilometers of water disposal wells.

If we were so unfortunate that we had to rely on the Denver Post for all of our information about the world I could only exclaim, God help us.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)
But n thinks:

Keyser sounded most reasonable of all ... he's shaped up to be my pick, reminding me of Tom Cotton; if anyone's asking?

Posted by: n at April 4, 2016 11:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the comment, n!

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2016 6:16 PM

February 8, 2016

Coming to their senses?

Who says there's no good news in the papers anymore? Robert Bryce [Review Corner] has a guest editorial in the WSJ today Juxtaposing Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I - Venezuela) calls for renewal energy with opposition in his home state of Vermont.

If Green Mountain Staters have tired of windmills, I pronounce them dead.

Why are so many Vermonters opposed to wind energy? The Sanders presidential campaign did not respond to questions. But Sen. [John S.] Rodgers told me by email that the state must protect its tourism industry. "People come here from around the world for our scenic vistas and rural working landscape." Asked whether concerns about climate change should trump the concerns of rural communities, Mr. Rodgers was frank: "Destroying the natural environment in the name of climate change is moronic."

Bryce lists several wind projects which have been recently been rejected.
In July the town board of Somerset, N.Y., voted to oppose a proposed 200-megawatt project known as Lighthouse Wind. And the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a ban on large wind turbines in the county's unincorporated areas.

"Wind turbines create visual blight," said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Skyscraper-size turbines, he added, would "contradict the county's rural dark skies ordinance which aims to protect dark skies in areas like Antelope Valley and the Santa Monica Mountains."

I've considered them visual blight for years, but the world -- particularly near Boulder, Colorado -- is not ThreeSources. Bryce is not an impartial observer, but it's good too hear the opposition is rising.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2016

Never Gets Old

Bashing Elon Musk! An activity of which I will never tire.

The man is no doubt a genius. The Tesla cars are unquestionably works of aesthetic and engineering art. His past ventures include genuine entrepreneurship, most notably PayPal.

But the dude is an Ayn Rand villain -- and nobody but me and my friend Wendy notice.

Charles Lane of the Washington Post said: "Tesla owes its survival to subsidies from taxpayers, who are usually less well-heeled than its plutocratic customers." The average household income of Tesla owners is $320,000, according to Strategic Visions, a consumer research company.

Tesla buyers have also raked in $38 million in California government rebates (they receive a $2,500 rebate for each Tesla bought) and $284 million in federal tax incentives (they receive a $7,500 federal tax credit for each purchased Tesla).

The Los Angeles Times calculated that Elon Musk's three companies, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX, combined have received a staggering $4.9 billion in government support over the past decade. As Kerpen noted: "Every time a Tesla is sold . . . average Americans are on the hook for at least $30,000 in federal and state subsidies" that go to wealthy Tesla owners. This is crony capitalism at its worst.

I post items like this on Facebook, I get far worse pushback than any political post. "Dude's a genius!"

Well, so in his own way was Wesley Mouch.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2016

Those Damned Speculators!

Daniel Bier @ FEE suggests supply and demand might control oil prices, contra Trump & Sanders:

Fortunately, when he wrote that in 2012, Sen. Bernie Sanders was ahead of the game, having never read anything about supply and demand at all. Unencumbered by basic economics, he was able to see that Big Oil "gouging" and Wall Street "speculators" were to blame.

Remarkably, right around the time of the fracking revolution, the price of oil and gas started tumbling. I guess Wall Street's heart grew three sizes that day.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2016

Aren't we Supposed to Emulate Denmark?

Right? If Denmark does it, we should. If Facebook memes have any meaning at all, surely this is . . . oh, wait.

Denmark's new government will reduce the amount of money it spends on "green" energy by 67 percent, according to a Sunday New York Times article.

Denmark and other Nordic countries have long been viewed as environmental utopias, but the government plans to reduce spending on green energy to save money and lower the country's electricity rates, which are among the world's highest.

What was that thing about the high electricity rates again?
Denmark currently has some of the highest electricity prices in the world at 41 cents per kWh. Electricity in Denmark is almost four times more expensive than in the United States. Impoverished citizens in the lowest Danish income brackets spend about 8.9 percent of their total budget on electricity. The poorest citizens in neighboring Sweden, which doesnt subsidize green energy to the same extent, spend only 3.6 percent of their household budget on electricity. The lowest income brackets in the United States spend a mere 2.9 percent of their household budget on electricity.

Hate the poor, do they. I wonder why Sen. Sanders (NRA - VT) wants us to follow in their footsteps?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:11 PM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2016


That math thing again. There is actually another bad thing about ethanol which I had not considered. You smart guys, and Merrill Matthews at the WSJ Ed Page are likely way ahead.

Maybe even Iowans are having second thoughts about a law that has been a boon to corn growers but hardly anyone else. Before long, it may be politically safe to take a wise step and eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This would immediately and dramatically increase the demand for oil, help stabilize energy markets, boost the economy--and likely reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.

The RFS requires gasoline to contain a specified level of ethanol--renewable biofuels mostly from corn, but increasingly from other plant and animal substances. The law also requires the Environmental Protection Agency to periodically increase the amount of ethanol that must be used. But raising the amount of ethanol in gasoline past 10% could harm millions of car engines.

I had not considered that, as oil prices tumble, we are forcing refiners to use more expensive ethanol and in greater quantities. "You have to add caviar to that Mac'n'Cheese -- the First Lady says!"

Much as I love filling up the MR2 for $19 instead of $30, I worry about my property values in the country's eighth cranked county for energy production. I dig the idea of exports (Thanks, Speaker Ryan!) but it would be a start if we were allowed to, say, add it to gasoline.

Replacing the 18 billion gallons of ethanol under the EPA's 2016 RFS with roughly 18 billion gallons of gasoline would reduce the oil glut and improve the nation's carbon footprint. Sounds like a candidate for bipartisan agreement.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Full article here. Thanks Bing!

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2016 6:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Add to this that commercial fuel ethanol production has been (barely) profitable for only about two of the last four years and repeal of the RFS is a win-win-win proposition.

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2016 6:41 PM

December 15, 2015

Propsworthy: Western Oil Producers

When America's fracking-enabled shale oil revolution took off, OPEC leader Saudi Arabia was adversely affected by the drop in worldwide oil prices. Fashioning itself the 900 pound gorilla, the Saudis embarked on a sort of "WalMart strategy" whereby they hoped to put the upstart American companies out of business by driving the price of oil low enough to undermine fracking economics. But they made a big mistake in underestimating the competitive spirit of American businessmen. Guardian's Nils Pratley writes:

Investment in shale and conventional oil has plunged, it is true - the evidence is the slump in the number of rigs operating in the US. But investment and production are different things. Producers adapt. They squeeze their suppliers, they drill only their best prospects, and they cut costs. BHP Billiton, for example, has slashed spending on its US shale fields, but last month predicted that "improved recoveries and lower drilling costs will deliver stable production" this year at its Black Hawk and Permian onshore oilfields in Texas.

And where does that leave Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, and the bulk of the OPEC cartel?

In the end, of course, low oil prices will probably deliver production cuts, as the Saudis intended; it's just that the timescale is constantly being extended as oil inventories soar. Having persuaded its Opec co-travellers to sign up for a short campaign, the Saudis risk being dragged into a long battle by default. The low oil price is great news (at least for the time being) for oil-consuming countries. But when, like the Saudis, you require $100-a-barrel oil to balance your budget, you have a serious problem. Even foreign-exchange reserves of $640bn don't last for ever.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Nice. Although you may need to weave in the fracker's cute new puppy, or his child that was being bullied at school because Texas Sweet Crude futures for March were trading below $37 but then sang a song at the school show and nobody expected what would happen next...

A solid first effort, though!

Posted by: jk at December 15, 2015 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You're right, I slipped back into 3srcs mode there at the end. Replace the second excerpt with this:

"And as a result, everyone can afford to drive himself (sorry) herself, to the places she wants to go for the same price as bus fare! And she won't have to choose between buying ramen and birth control pills or keeping her apartment warm for Fluffy and Biscuit while she's gone.

'We are the world!

We are the children!'"

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2015 3:50 PM

December 13, 2015

Hard to Pick a Side

I hate Junk Science. It saddens me to see technology abjured for claims that lack credulity.

But, if it has gotta happen...

US town rejects solar panels amid fears they 'suck up all the energy from the sun'

Posted by John Kranz at 5:15 PM | Comments (4)
But nanobrewer thinks:

You gotta love the "retired science teacher" helping to uphold the ban.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 14, 2015 12:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Or perhaps there were other good reasons not to participate in this eco-boondoggle that didn't paint the desired portrait of backwards, inbred, hayseed American hicks "rejecting science." UK Independent wouldn't want to include those reasons, nosiree Robert.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2015 11:40 AM
But jk thinks:

But the Pope, cancer, and renewables!

I share your sentiment, but this does not push the dialectic in the proper direction -- just more flat earth deniers.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2015 12:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Of course it doesn't push in the right direction - it is propaganda designed to push in the wrong direction. By singling out two fringe voices, and omitting any others, they paint a distorted scenario of what really happened and why.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2015 2:57 PM

November 9, 2015

A Nation of Laws? Anybody?

Kurt Mix has his Harvey Silverglate moment

At 6:30 a.m. on April 24, 2012, federal agents, wearing Kevlar vests and with guns drawn, raided my home in Katy, Texas, with a warrant for my arrest. This was as shocking to me as it would be for any normal, law-abiding citizen.

I'm not a drug dealer, violent criminal or money launderer. I'm an engineer. In 2010 I helped stop the BP oil spill after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig left a damaged well spilling crude directly into the Gulf of Mexico.

They wanted to throw somebody in jail. Mister Mix had a pulse and had -- I hope you are sitting down -- deleted a couple text message threads.
Looking back now at the Justice Department's conduct, I realize that I made one egregious error: I naïvely believed that the task force simply wanted the truth. I was certain that once it had the full record of my actions, everything would be fine, and the trauma my family and I had gone through would end.

I was in for a rude awakening. Facts were not what the investigators wanted. They wanted a conviction. They wanted to prove to the public that their lengthy, expensive investigation was successful. And success meant conviction. I had banked on the truth saving me, but the truth was not enough.


I did my job with honor and professionalism. I served the public's best interests. For this, I was hounded for four years and threatened with up to four decades in a federal penitentiary.

Unlike a Harvey Silverglate story [Review Corner], Mix did not get 40 years in the calaboose. After just four years of ruinious litigation, he was offered a misdemeanor plea -- to something he didn't do of course, but he can go back to work.

I hate to mix outrages, but it is upsetting both from the Siverglate, three-felonies-a-day perspective and the unfavorable comparison to Sec. Clinton's treatment. If anybody wanted a "collar" (I watch TV, too!) it's there for the taking. Mix admitted readily to the deletions and cooperated extensively to recover them.

A nation of law. Riiiiiight.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:
It is a grave error to suppose that a dictatorship rules a nation by means of strict, rigid laws which are obeyed and enforced with rigorous, military precision. Such a rule would be evil, but almost bearable; men could endure the harshest edicts, provided these edicts were known, specific and stable; it is not the known that breaks men’s spirits, but the unpredictable. A dictatorship has to be capricious; it has to rule by means of the unexpected, the incomprehensible, the wantonly irrational; it has to deal not in death, but in sudden death; a state of chronic uncertainty is what men are psychologically unable to bear.

"Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason," The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1962, 5

From Law, Objective and Non-Objective at the Ayn Rand Lexicon

There is a memorable scene in Atlas Shrugged Part 2, in Hank Rearden's steel mill, when the government regulator blithely boasts to Mr. Rearden that, "A law is of no value whatsoever, until the right person violates it."

Posted by: johngalt at November 10, 2015 2:59 PM

October 12, 2015

Saudi Oil Manipulation in the Texas Briar Patch

Remember when Saudi Arabia announced that they were going to keep oil production high to depress prices and, by their calculation, undercut the U.S. oil boom?

What the Saudis and the naysayers closer to home seem to have forgotten is that the free market is the greatest incubator of technological innovation. Energy producers in this country have gauged the challenges of lower prices, are working to tackle them, and its paying off.

OPECs gamble to kill American innovation was a short-term strategy without an endgame, and no appreciation of how the strategy would spur greater efficiencies and innovation in the U.S. Call this a gentle reminder: It is never wise to bet against capitalism, especially in Texas.

Unfortunately for the Saudis, they don't understand the power of innovation and free markets. Perhaps that's because President Eisenhower gave them the innovation of American and British countries in the 1950's, and they haven't had to innovate for themselves since... ever.

The linked piece is another fine article brought to us by Opportunity Lives.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

October 2, 2015

Renewable Energy vs. Real Energy

Courtesy of the "Boulder Valley & Northern Colorado Economic Profile & Market Facts" glossy mailer just arrived from BizWest.

On the Energy page, we find that Oil & Gas provided more than 110,000 jobs (5 year averaged trend 6.7% growth) to northern Colorado, whereas the Renewable industry (aka, Vestas) provided 3000 (4.1% growth). One wonders why they didn't include all the various, crunchy solar installation companies... couldn't have hurt the numbers...

Real Energy for real shiny people....

Posted by nanobrewer at 2:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2015

And grow your own food, Weave own clothes

I thought we had a pejorative category for nonsense from Boulder already...

From the "too stupid to come from anyone without an advanced degree department:" new homes in Boulder will have to generate their own power.

Boulder County is eyeing changes to its building code that will require all new homes to produce as much energy as they consume by 2022, a move that could add $100,000 to $200,000 to the home's cost.

The proposal is being reviewed as part of the county's annual update of its building code and comes under the county's sustainability plan, adopted in 2013.

The rules, right now, apply to homes 6,000 square feet or larger.

If the county agrees to adopt this latest version, in 2016 it will apply to homes at or above 4,000 square feet with the goal of having all new homes meet the standard by 2022.

I'd ask if they had read their Adam Smith, but that would be insane.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

But God help you if you try to collect and store your own rainwater.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2015 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

With or without the proposed change, it is already worse than you think in Boulder County. Or at least, it's worse that I thought.

Rodwin believes that the proposed changes will have a small effect because of the already stringent nature of building codes in the county.

"For a typical house in Boulder County, you are required to build almost to net zero just to get a permit," he said.

[emphases mine]
Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 2:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Update: Boulder County staff recommends that only "homes 5000 square feet or greater" be required to include power plants.

Another public hearing is scheduled for September 22, with a County Commissioners vote expected in October.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 2:58 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I don't see how it's such a big deal. All that's necessary for my house to produce as much power as it uses would be for them to approve my permit request for that nuclear reactor in my basement.

No problemo, right?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2015 3:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HAHAHA! Yes, I can see it now: "Hello Sirs, Please find my attached mixed-use development plan for the Nuclear Acres subdivision NUPUD." Sincerely yours, Homer T. Simpson.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 4:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Y'all are so negative. I'm sure that if you promise to use GMO-free, organic, gluten-free plutonium...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2015 5:21 PM

June 19, 2015

Gotchyer Feel Good Story of the Day

Doubt this has received much play outside of Colorado, but liberty and pro-energy development sites have been having some fun.

Several bars and liquor stores in Craig, Colorado pulled New Belgium and Breckenridge beer off their shelves [Full disclosure: New Belgium's 1554 is nectar of the freaking Gods themselves, and Breckenridge's Nitro Vanilla Porter is what you order when they're out of 1554]. Both breweries tout their progressive bona fides at every opportunity, but their appearance on a website of business supporters for a group trying to shut down the Colowyo coal mine was too much for locals whose customers' livelihoods are tied to the mine.

Stockmen's Liquor pulled several brands of beer -- including New Belgium Brewery -- because they are listed as WildEarth Guardians supporters.

"We pulled those beers because their support of WildEarth Guardians... who said their ultimate goal is to shut down coal mines," said Lori Gillam, owner of Stockmen's. "Craig is a coal mine town."

Now, WildEarth Guardians has updated its website:
The Craig Daily Press published its first story about local liquor stores and restaurants pulling New Belgium and Breckenridge Brewery beer on June 8, and shortly thereafter, WildEarth Guardians staff deleted its webpage called "Businesses for Guardians."

The newspaper then published the cached webpage of supporters, and less than 24 hours later, the environmentalists republished the webpage.

On that page, a total of 605 businesses across Colorado and New Mexico were listed as supporters. As of June 18, that number shrunk to 151 businesses listed as supporters.

Atkins-boy does not consume enough to impact either brewery, but I'll buy something else the next few months.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | Comments (0)

June 5, 2015

Quote of the Day

EPA's conclusion really is remarkable. The agency has yearned for an excuse to take over fracking regulation from the states, which do the job well. So if there was so much as a sliver of evidence that fracking was dangerous, the EPA would have found it. Think of this as the Obama Administration's equivalent of the Bush Administration failing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. -- WSJ Ed Page
Posted by John Kranz at 9:59 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Obama lied. EPA tried. Fracking survived.

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2015 11:32 AM
But AndyN thinks:

If this was the Obama Administration's equivalent of the Bush Administration failing to find WMD in Iraq, the British army would have specialists in Pennsylvania helping local governments clean up fracking fluid in drinking water supplies.

Posted by: AndyN at June 5, 2015 12:07 PM

May 14, 2015

More on Elon Musk's Amazing Batt'ry

Peter Van Doren is not convinced it is a good idea even if viable:

Posted by John Kranz at 10:37 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"...other means of production are actually very low cost, much lower than solar, even if we had some sort of carbon tax that allegedly charged for the externalities created by traditional fossil fuel boilers."

Van Doren assumes a status quo ante that I think Musk simply ignores. He wants to REPLACE the grid. How very individualist of him! Except - since mass produced and distributed energy is cheaper than any form of source generation, anyone making an objective decision will choose the local power company. Unless, of course, government takes that option away, by one mean or another. And since "everyone knows" that mass produced energy is "destroying the earth," putting them out of business is something we "must do" according to Musk. His battery is the way he now suggests, "we can" do it.

Posted by: johngalt at May 14, 2015 2:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

He speaks clumsily - sounds young, as well - but his point is spot on. Musk has created a straw man that I think he hopes more like a Trojan Horse.

Mr. Van Doren is spot on: PV is lovely, but expensive - he cites, properly from what I can tell (and he's actually paid to know this) 17c/kWhr, vs. Nat. Gas which is close to 3 cents.

Note that the price of NG is at "the box" of the generator, which takes a while and more than a bit of infrastructure to get to OUR meters.

Techhie speak aside, the general idea is that Musk is making making a rutting scent with which he hopes to gather sympathy and more subsidies. The Gridwall will be as useful as EV's were in the 60's.

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 20, 2015 12:45 AM

May 4, 2015

Going from annoyance to extreme dislike

Of this preening, cronyist asshole:

UPDATE: I lashed out. I wish I had not posted a personal attack. If what he presents is true. it sounds great. Color me skeptical of his claims, and all too prepared for a Gazillion dollar subsidy required to launch his plan. Most worrisome is the closing line "We Can. We Must. We Will." I'd like to ask something about "should."

Posted by John Kranz at 5:00 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

I want this to work. Really I do. Forget about the #*&#ing CO2 for a moment - the idea of distributed standalone generation and storage is the holy grail for survivalist TEA Party redneck knuckledraggers more than anyone. And it's so, so... "not ugly." But. [I really don't know how this is going to turn out but let's figure it out together.]

The 10kW power wall is $3500. He doesn't put a price tag on the 100kW power pack but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it costs $35,000.

To power Boulder takes a "gigawatt hour class pack." 1,000,000,000 / 100,000 = 10,000 power packs. At $35,000 each that's a cool $350 million.

According to the Colorado Energy Fact Sheet, annual electricity use per capita is 10,200 kWh (10,200,000 Wh) and another source lists the Boulder service area population at 111,000. Using a calculator that's 1.1322 TWh (terawatt hours).

At 9.15 cents per kWh that's, with a calculator, $103.6 million. So the utility savings will pay for the gigabattery in about 3 and a third years. That's not as bad as I expected! But it doesn't include the cost of solar panels.

Going from the last rule of thumb I can remember, $1 per watt, and generously figuring 10 charging hours per day, the panels will cost 1.132 TWh/10h= 113.2 GW x $1/W =113.2 gigabucks.

If that's correct, and I admit to working fast and loose here just after midnight, the total cost of 113.55 billion dollars will be recouped in utility savings in 1096 years.

Unless they can bring down the cost of the panels (or unless I screwed up somewhere, and my glass of Tincup American Whiskey is nearly quaffed) it looks like only Elon Musk could afford this.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2015 2:37 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for your work. What I don't get on either side is time. The enthusiast could claim that you are using annual usage and -- as the sun famously shines 300 days in Colorado -- your figures could be divided by 300. Go Elon!

By the same token, how many days did he have to charge the wall packs for his little soiree? Was that a hotel -- the whole event powered by batteries charged by roof panels. That was impressive but hard to believe (it looked like they was using a bit of juice).

I share your distaste at skepticism. I'm an unabashed advocate for modernity and many things I champion are more far-fetched than solar power. I go back to "we must." He closes his speech with, and I have heard it before in an interview: "Can we get off fossil fuels?" he is asked. "We Must."

That's a religious argument, not economic or physics-based "Can we convert the whole world to Jihad?" "We Must!"

I'll close with a little Bastiat. It is tempting to say it is worthwhile to go his direction, but what is the opportunity cost? What better use of that capital? One 10kW for le condo d'Amour that does not seem so bad and I am protected from outage. But I could have bought a $600 generator to accomplish the same goal -- and had $2900 left over for guitars. If we spend petabucks over a cheaper alternative, we will forgo wealth elsewhere.

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2015 8:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Good catch mon frer, I left out the term for days per year. So 113.2 GW / 365 = 310 MW of charging capacity... $310 million.

$310 million for panels and $350 million for batteries is $660 million, which breaks even in 6.4 years - or about the lifespan of the laptop batteries these things are made with. So it might be on par with grid power (inflated grid power I should add here - it should cost less than 5 cents per kWh. And would, without government meddling.) But it has better optics and we all know what counts most these days.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2015 12:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Before you sign that check, is 1/365 too kind? We have a rare-but-not-unprecedented cloudy, overcast week ahead. We're going to need a few days' batteries or double the panels are we not? It looks like a 50% at best day out there today.

Glenn Reynolds fretted that, while we were wasting stimulus money anyhow, we should have got something out of it. He suggested a "Smart Grid" that would allow distributed generation, enable selling back surplus power, and price by demand hour.

Had they done that instead of shoveling it at unions to dig holes and fill them up, Mister Musk's attractive batteries would have an immediate market and value proposition.

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2015 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You caught me. Putting my finger on the scale for renewables again! ;)

My math didn't account for Colorado's 55 cloudy days per year. And 10 hours of peak generation per day is also too kind. When one factors in the loss from low-angle sunlight and off-axis incidence on the panels it would easily be reduced by half. So double the cost of the panels - the breakeven time is now 9-1/3 years for this 0.97 billion dollar "investment."

Are you happy now, you hater?

That does equate to an awful lot of guitars though, I must admit.

(And you forgot to include "turn off folks lights and air conditioning for them when they aren't looking" as one of your SmartGrid TM features. Hell, that's the most important one! Our betters call this "load shedding." I think it was one an element of society as depicted in the classic flick "Soylent Green." Or was it "Logan's Run?")

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2015 2:30 PM
But jk thinks:

I saw both on a triple feature; the third flick was "Silent Running." Now there's a piece of ThreeSources cinema... My massive crush on Jenny Agutter affected me more than the eco-agitprop.

Discounted non-peak power does not require infrastructure changes. The user could change the meter. I wonder if that sells enough of Mister Musk's widgets to keep him in ever younger film stars. It would add a lot of resilience to the grid and reduce peak capacity requirements.

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2015 6:39 PM

April 27, 2015

President Obama's Legacy

I now know what the eight years of the Barack Hussein Obama presidency will be remembered for, and our lefty friends aren't going to like it. Not because I'm about to bash Obama again - in fact, I will praise him (faintly.) Obama's legacy will not be national health care, wage equality, Mideast peace or even "stopping the rise of the oceans" although he will actually "do" this. (More later.) Instead, it will be the start of a new era of peace and prosperity across the globe.

The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe.

"We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we'll have a big impact," said the [sic] Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary. "We're going to influence the whole global LNG market."

Mr. Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments may begin before the end of this year or in early 2016 at the latest.

"We?" Yes, President Obama's energy secretary is attaching his boss to this effort. The faint praise I promised lies in the fact that he allowed the LNG export terminal permits to be issued. He is "responsible" for the coming 'copious carbon energy for a pittance' revolution to the extent that he didn't try to stand in its way. (Although it likely would have flattened him the way his EPA is attempting to flatten the coal industry.)

America's parallel drive for shale oil is equally breath-taking. Scott Sheffield, head of Pioneer Natural Resources, said his company has discovered huge reserves in the vast Permian Basin of West Texas.

"We think the Permian could produce 5-6m barrels a day (b/d) in the long-term," he said. It is a staggering claim. This would be more than Saudi Arabia's giant Ghawar field, the biggest in the world.

Ryan Lance, head of ConocoPhillips, said North American oil output could reach 15m b/d by 2020 and 25m b/d over the next quarter century, three times Saudi Arabia's current exports.

A vault forward on this scale would establish the US as the leading energy superpower in both oil and gas, a revival that almost nobody could have imagined seven years ago when the United States was in near panic over its exorbitant dependency of imported fuel. It would restore the US to its mid-20th Century position as a surplus trading nation, and perhaps ultimately as world's biggest external creditor once again.

So this revival, this oil and gas "renaissance" started "seven years ago." Circa June 4, 2008, i.e. "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." And as soon as the Global Warming Policy Center's "Blue Ribbon Panel" determines that global warming is a mirage of misguided scientific error corrections, President Obama can take credit for that too. But the accomplishment that will be remembered - the real change that makes real changes in the lives of real people - is cheap and abundant energy worldwide. And like the birth of liberty and prosperity that came in the 20th century, this one will also be a uniquely American creation.

Fracking is still an almost exclusive preserve of North America, and is likely to remain so into the early 2020s. China has large ambitions but the volumes are still tiny, and there is a shortage of water in key areas. Fracking remains mere talk in most other regions of the world.

Lukoil analysts say Russian extraction costs for shale are four times higher that those of US wildcat drillers. Sanctions currently prevent the Russians importing the know-how and technology to tap its vast Bazhenov basin at a viable cost.

John Hess, the founder of Hess Corporation, said it takes a unique confluence of circumstances to pull off a fracking revolution: landowner rights over sub-soil minerals, a pipeline infrastructure, the right taxes and regulations, and good rock. "We haven't seen those stars align yet," he said.

Above all it requires the acquiescence of the people. "It takes a thousand trucks going in and out to launch a (drilling) spud. Not every neighbourhood wants that," he said.

Certainly not in Sussex, Burgundy, or Bavaria.

Or in Erie, Colorado.

This is as unlikely a legacy as anyone could have imagined for a president who, as candidate, bragged that electricity costs would "necessarily skyrocket" as a result of his policy goals designed to promote alternatives to oil and gas. But given the bareness of the cupboard in his presidential library storeroom, I suspect he will gladly take it - deserved or not.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Firstly, this constant malignment of my home town has got to stop. We may have elected a bad mayor, but our council held firm against the encroaching Boulder loonies and rejected a moratorium. There's frackin' in them thar' plains. Trust me.

It borders on the humorous how the fracking boom has rescued the Obama Presidency against his wishes and actions. The economic stagnation of other sectors would likely have been a full blown recession. Energy saved his economy and Gov. Hickenlooper (Bloombergian - CO). But Hick has the smarts (he is a Geologist by training) not to stand athwart progress.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2015 9:53 AM

April 26, 2015

Problem, Meet Solution

News this week that the town of Erie, Colorado has embarked on a growth program in an effort to attract commercial activity and its concomitant tax revenue to fund city services.

[Erie Mayor Tina] Harris said that the commitments to so much water infrastructure and residential construction were made in order to attract the kind of commercial tax revenue for which the town is still starved.

"We wanted to be able to have commercial development in town, like King Soopers, like a Super Target in the future, hopefully -- just the amenities that our citizens would want to have in town," she said. "We had to have enough rooftops to get those amenities even interested in Erie, so previous boards made decisions to build so much residential to try to prove to the commercial industry that Erie had enough residents that would be their customers."

Well I have one suggestion: Stop trying to ban oil and gas development, and its concomitant tax revenue! Perhaps instead you might try negotiating a deal where they are given streamlined permitting in preferred areas in return for a municipal surtax. Wouldn't that prove something to commercial industry about Erie's priorities? Or does that make too much sense for you to consider, Ms. Mayor?

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2015

EV Superfund Alert

It is common knowledge that hybrid and EV cars are better for the earth than gas guzzling SUVs. Which of course means it is not true.

While conventional lead acid batteries used for starting internal combustion engines (ICE) are readily recyclable, state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries are not.

Given the extremely high metal value of used cobalt-based lithium batteries it seems strange that only one company in the world, Unicore of Belgium, has bothered to develop a recycling process. When you take the time to read and digest Umicore's process description, however, the reason becomes obvious. Recycling lithium-ion batteries is an incredibly complex and expensive undertaking that includes:
  • Collection and reception of batteries;
  • Burning of flammable electrolytes;
  • Neutralization of hazardous internal chemistry;
  • Smelting of metallic components;
  • Refining & purification of recovered high value metals; and
  • Disposal of non-recoverable waste metals like lithium and aluminum.
The process is economic when a ton of batteries contains up to 600 pounds of recoverable cobalt that's worth $40 a pound. The instant you take the cobalt out of the equation, the process becomes hopelessly uneconomic. Products that cannot be economically recycled can only end up in one place, your friendly neighborhood landfill.

Disposable diapers are less a scourge upon the earth.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:59 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Worth it to run your car on coal...

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2015 4:03 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm still holding out for a Delorean with the bolt-on Mr. Fusion on the rear deck.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2015 4:35 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

hybrid and EV cars are better for the earth than gas guzzling SUVs

It's not common knowledge, it's CONVENTIONAL WISDOM.. And (tsk-tsking the crude language on order) it's not 'untrue' it's about convention, not about wisdom.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 23, 2015 1:06 PM


My Facebook feed is full of Malthusian nonsense, and the Denver Post has a whiny, uneconomic article decrying "Lexus Lanes." Things is bad. As The Refugee would say "Mongo pawn in the game of life."

But I held out long enough for good news, and I found it:

Record Numbers Of Drivers Trading In Electric Cars For SUVs

President Barack Obama promised to put a million more hybrid and electric cars on the road during his tenure, but new research shows drivers are trading them in to buy sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

The auto-research group Edmunds.com found that 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and [electric vehicles] in 2015 bought a new SUV.

Happy Earth Day!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (7)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Sorry, left this link out. My bad. http://bit.ly/1K5uma6

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2015 1:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Crikey, three in a row. Meanwhile, in the Buffyverse: Joss Whedon says climate-change deniers should be barred from life-saving medicines. As or me, I aim to misbehave: http://bit.ly/1QkbDvQ

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2015 2:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Schadenfreude, schadenfreude, Earth Day morning you greet me.

Electric cars are also facing increased competition from more fuel-efficient vehicles. Aside from market forces, federal fuel efficiency standards have been forcing automakers to increase the miles per gallon of engines.

If POTUS wants to hawk more EVs he'll need to roll back federal CAFE laws. Even counting the entire membership of the Sierra club he doesn't have enough fingers to poke in the holes of his anti-gasoline political dike.

Electric cars also suffer from issues with battery life. Each hybrid or electric car battery can cost thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars, which only helps tip the economic scale in favor of traditional vehicles.

"It wouldn't make sense to replace a 12-year old battery with a new battery that's going to last 12 years, because chances are the car's not going to last that long," Eric Ibara with Kelley Blue Book told Detroit News.

And even if it did, what do you do with the old battery? "It's recycling!" No. No, it's not.

Posted by: johngalt at April 22, 2015 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Ah yes, The Man Who Invented Reavers.

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2015 3:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

George Carlin opines in classic foul-mouthed hilarity: the Earth is just fine, if humans are a pestilence, the earth will get rid of us!

It's also a fabulous slap-down of uppity, spoiled types obessed with white guilt that are preaching "We've got to save the [xyz]!!!..."

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 23, 2015 1:13 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Glad to see that "Bill Nye, the Lyin' Guy" is catching on. Of course he's not a science guy, he's a politician!

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 23, 2015 11:08 PM

April 8, 2015


The United States Postal Service is buying 180,000 new vehicles. Our government plans to spend $6 billion dollars on new trucks to deliver neighborhood mail, and they only make this big of a fleet purchase about every 25 years! In a moment when more and more companies and individuals are turning to sustainable energy, it is time our USPS does the same. President Obama recently announced the federal government will cut carbon emissions by 40% over the next 10 years. What better place to start than with the new fleet of postal vehicles?

Awesomest idea ever, huh? Sign here!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:15 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

But but but - 'lectric cars have a bigger carbon footprint than internal combustion vehicles, unless they're charged by the wind or the sun or a nuke or hydro plant.

ThreeSources segue-machine to the rescue: Require that they only be recharged at abandoned VA Hospital solar farms.

Where do I sign for that?

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 2:55 PM

April 7, 2015

Harvard Prof: My Former Student, President Obama, is "Misguided" on Climate Regulation

Mr. Tribe dismissed the criticism and said that his brief and comments reflect his views as a constitutional scholar, not as a paid advocate for the coal company. "I'm not for sale," he said. "I'll say what I believe."

Nevertheless, the highly respected left-leaning Harvard Law Professor Lawrence H. Tribe, has made himself a pariah. Or, looking at it from a different perspective, he's decided to stop being a rube.

"I feel very comfortable with my relationship with Peabody," he added. "Somebody wanted my help and it happened to coincide with what I believe."

But a number of legal scholars and current and former members of the Obama administration say that Mr. Tribe has eroded his credibility by using his platform as a scholar to promote a corporate agenda -- specifically, the mining and burning of coal.

So one must choose - he can be a scholar or he can defend commerce qua commerce - but not both.

Next week Mr. Tribe is to deliver oral arguments for Peabody in the first federal court case about Mr. Obama's climate change rules. Mr. Tribe argues in a brief for the case that in requiring states to cut carbon emissions, thus to change their energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable sources, the E.P.A. is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority under the Clean Air Act. At a House hearing last month, Mr. Tribe likened the climate change policies of Mr. Obama to "burning the Constitution."

Clearly this is stinging the Rube Movement, and more than just a little.

"Whether he intended it or not, Tribe has been weaponized by the Republican Party in an orchestrated takedown of the president's climate plan," said one former administration official.

Weaponized? If so, it is indisputably as a countermeasure to the president's climate plan for mass economic destruction.

It is widely expected that the fight over the E.P.A. regulations will eventually go before the Supreme Court. If it does, Mr. Tribe said that he expects he "may well" play a role in that case -- which would be argued before two other former students, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Elena Kagan.

Is it possible then that Tribe was retained by Peabody in a strategy to intimidate the high court in favor of "a corporate agenda -- specifically, the mining and burning of coal?" Sure, that's possible. And it's also possible that one branch of government strangling an entire economic sector against the will and without the complicity of other branches really is like "burning the Constitution."

UPDATE: Furthermore, strangling an entire economic sector, or a specific corporation, or even an individual, is the very thing that a "Republican form of government" guaranteed by the Constitution [Article IV, Section 4] was intended to prevent - by a single branch or even, indeed, by all three in concert! It was to be, a minimal state.

The minimal state treats us as inviolate individuals, who may not be used in certain ways by others as means or tools or instruments or resources; it treats us as persons having individual rights with the dignity this constitutes. Treating us with respect by respecting our rights, it allows us, individually or with whom we choose, to choose our life and to realize our ends and our conception of ourselves, insofar as we can, aided by the voluntary cooperation of other individuals possessing the same dignity. How dare any state or group of individuals do more. Or less.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (7)
But AndyN thinks:

I guess by the same logic (and I'm using that word charitably) every climate scientist who takes government money to continue pushing the AGW lie is eroding his credibility by promoting the agenda of his paymasters?

Posted by: AndyN at April 7, 2015 10:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I can be a pretty calm, equanimous guy. But the double standard AndyN points out drives me insane.

With all due respect, petroleum engineers and scientists would find good paying work irrespective of the effect CO2 has on climate. They'll eat.

Climate researchers likely have other options, but their funding is 100% predicated on climate concern. Should accurate risk assessment spread, these folks would all be crafting new grant applications to observe snails or leeches. Yet, a guy who works for Shell or once got a free AFP T-shirt is tainted.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2015 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't be silly Andy. Everyone knows that nobody "profits" by the spending of tax money by government. It is strictly for the "public good."

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 2:59 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I don't believe that everyone knows that, JG. I doubt that you could find a better real world example of a disused hole filled to the top with rubbish than most departments at a modern university. There must be at least a few people who believe there's profit to be made by burying bank notes in those holes.

Posted by: AndyN at April 8, 2015 8:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. But even though corrupt individuals do personally gain through the misapplication of government revenue, it is called power not profit. They don't seek personal gain so much as the ability to harm others - a power they wield with glee against anyone who they perceive as more powerful or successful than themselves. The term "profit" is dirty to them. They call their gains something else - "Social Justice."

So-called Social Justice is the wage of the bureaucrat. He spends it paying off debts in the ledger of his own self-esteem.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I should add that I did sense your complementary sarcasm, AndyN.

I also want to call attention to a timely example of a bureaucrat seeking personal gain through the harming of others - doing so through the tactic of "social justice" - for the advancement of her own dilapidated self-esteem. Her name is Starlight Glimmer, a.k.a. Ivy Starnes.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 2:46 PM

March 25, 2015


While my blog brother takes to ThreeSources to point out the dangerous racism of Tesla motor vehicles, Holman Jenkins lays down some obvious on the WSJ Ed Page. Tesla's whole business plan is to get bought out by an automaker to balance its efficiency portfolio for Federal regulation. Until then, it can limp along (at a high market cap, all admit) by treading water on the flood of subsidies and mandates.

And all the while, Libertarians will cheer Elon Musk. But this is not a rant. Put the caps lock key away, son... Besides, Jenkins takes some whacks on my behest:

In what way, then, is Tesla disruptive, the fanboy description of companies that come along and render obsolete what went before?

Good question. When a user leaves his driveway in a Tesla, he still wastes time staring out a windshield and gripping a wheel. He still sits in traffic. As with any other car, Tesla's electronics are long out of date before the car's useful life has expired. As with any other car, a Tesla owner ties up thousands of dollars in a piece of equipment that sits idle 95% of the time. Uber is disruptive. Tesla isn't. Tesla is disruptive mostly of a driver's confidence that he's going to reach his destination without needing a tow.

Tesla solves no problem of the automobile. It only creates a new problem.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Gotta break some eggs to make an omelet!

The Jenkins piece is a cry to short Tesla. One good Saskatchewanian report or -- NED freakin' forfend -- the election of a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul and their value could plumment.

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 1:42 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I know it's off topic, but I'm too cheap to pay for a subscription and read the whole thing to find out for myself. Does the column explain how, exactly, Uber is disruptive?

My understanding is that Uber just provides a minimal amount of screening of drivers and cars who can be hired directly by people in need of a ride. While conceptually it's a nice step away from the over-reaching regulatory state, functionally it looks to me like a modest compromise with the status quo ante cab system. The consumer can usually get a ride for a better price than by calling a cab, but in exchange puts his safety in the hands of someone whose only qualification was owning a relatively new car and being able to pass a test that every teenage boy in the country can pass.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think anybody should be stopping Uber from doing their thing, I think they should live or die on the strength of what the market thinks of them. I just doubt that they'll ever be anything close to disruptive of that market.

Posted by: AndyN at March 25, 2015 2:03 PM
But jk thinks:

@AndyN: I can send the article if you'd like, but it's really about Tesla's market cap being overly contingent on Federal subsidies and regulations.

Uber is just thrown out as a comparison, but I'll play.

Uber is not disruptive to cabs (well it is, but...) Uber is disruptive to car ownership. I even thought about it as I posted the excerpt. My love for my little MR2 is well known 'round these parts. But do I need a car?

I work from home. I have <60,000 miles on an eleven-year-old vehicle. I could scrap insurance and maintenance and just call Uber or Lyft when I want to go to Starbucks -- and probably come out spending less.

If that's not appealing -- and I confess it isn't to me, Uber replaces the second car of the exurban couple and the first car of the urban single millennial. As it becomes more popular or more automated, ride-sharing becomes a better substitute to car ownership. That disrupts parking, maintenance and all the cottage industries around private vehicle ownership.

You would not be the only doubter around ThreeSources (I may be the only believer) but you must admit that a move from ownership to sharing changes everything. Jenkins's point is that a move to EVs changes gas stations (and they probably just trade a row of pumps for chargers).

On the safety issue I will push back. I think that has been overblown, if not by big-Taxi, by luddites in general. There are some pretty horrific tales of very bad things from taxi drivers. The protection is not from Uber's comprehensive check -- it is from the rating. You only select a driver with a high and frequent ratings if you're a young woman coming home late from a bar. The safety is crowdsourced.

Every bad incident gets a lot of press -- I don't think that is a fair proxy for the relative safety.

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 2:35 PM
But AndyN thinks:

jk - I just spent too much time typing out a thorough response, previewed it, hit post and had it blow up. I'm taking that as a sign that I need to be less verbose and prolix, so I'll just summarize.

The only reason Uber jumped out at me here is because I just read a cabbie's take on it last night - http://taxicabdepressions.com/?p=1759. I think the most important point he raised is that even if a cabbie isn't inherently safer, an Uber driver who screws up doesn't have commercial insurance to make you whole.

I think Uber is even less of a threat to private car ownership than it is to traditional cab companies. Too few of us base our transportation budgets on strict cost/benefit analyses. This is still a nation where full-size pickups are consistently among the top selling vehicles. Before people embrace the (possible) practicality of ride sharing, I'd expect them to at least take the baby step of not buying a fuel-guzzling cargo vehicle to use as a passenger car.

Posted by: AndyN at March 25, 2015 4:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And they do AndyN, many of them, just not me or you. I think Holman's point of including Uber in this discussion was to illustrate just what it is to be "disruptive." It means a fundamental change in things, not just fueling your self-driven conveyance at a different "pump."

What you seem to be hung up on is the magnitude of Uber's disruption. I think we'd all agree that, for now, it is relatively small. But so was the horseless carriage in its infancy.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2015 5:29 PM
But jk thinks:

AndyN -- as ThreeSources' sysadmin, accept my sincerest apologies for technical failure.

Okay, let's put time scales on it and see if we cannot all get along. Short term, yes, Uber is much more of a threat to BigYellowTaxi; that is why they are fighting it tooth and nail. Long term, however -- and the reason for Mister Jenkins to call it disruptive -- is its potential to affect car ownership (disagree or not, there is potential).

Yes, they'll have to pry the steering wheel of brother jg's awesome 70 'Cuda from his cold dead fingers. I look at Lyft as Uber as transition to driverless cars. Yeah, we all like to read Kerouac, but commuting everyday, why not get driven and recapture the time you'd have spent. No parking, no insurance, no maintenance, no tipping the valet -- you get door to door service everywhere you go.

That is an appealing vision, and just the changes in parking qualify as disruptive. We can build bars on all those parking lots.

I get Uber and Lyft confused but at least one adds substantive insurance on top of what drivers are required to carry. There was a big contretemps over whether it is in effect on the way to pick up a client, but once the rider is onboard, he or she has that. I'm pretty skeptical of the cabdriver's word.

Lots of reasons for a truck, but I might turn your argument around. One buys for one's largest need. Maybe if truck-sharing becomes popular, you buy the Camry and call LyftGate when you need to go to Home Depot.

Oh, and 20,000 - 30,000 fewer people die every year. There's that. DUI, handicapped, 73-year old 60's icons...

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 5:35 PM

March 19, 2015

Maybe the World is not ThreeSources after all


UPDATE: That's one way to put it...


Posted by John Kranz at 6:35 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

In other news, Denver VA hospital $1 billion over budget

That's a thousand $millions.

That's 136% MORE than originally budgeted.
That's 236% of the originally budgeted cost.
That's 865% of the originally INTENDED cost.

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2015 7:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, I only have one question: When are we going to elect a president with the balls to increase it's "clean" energy use to 100 percent overall?

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2015 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

You act as if these two topics were somehow related...

Posted by: jk at March 19, 2015 7:15 PM

EV Math

In the fine tradition of this blog's 2009 gem "Oil Math" I'd like to paint a comparative portrait of two types of automobile: The gasoline fueled internal combustion engine and the battery fueled electric vehicle, or EV.

Oil Math shows us that a gallon of gasoline contains 131,760,000 Joules of energy, or 132 Megajoules for short. JB Straubel, the CTO of Tesla Motors in 2008 told us that the firm's Roadster battery has a capacity of 55kW-hours, and since 1 Watt equals 1 Joule per second, can be converted to Joules by multiplying kWh times 60 seconds per minute and times 60 minutes per hour.

55,000 * 60 * 60 = 198,000,000 Joules

Which seems like a lot until you divide by the number of Joules in a gallon of gas and find that a fully fueled Tesla Roadster has as much energy on board as

198 mJ / 132 mJ = 1.5 gallons of gasoline

That's about 1/10th the fuel capacity of an average internal combustion auto, and now you know why, a) EVs have such a short range between charges, and b) that range fluctuates wildly depending on such things as:

Single driver ~180lbs
Soft top or Hard top on vehicle (with windows up)
No air conditioning usage
No heat usage
No headlights or cabin air blower (large 12V loads)
Tires inflated to recommended efficiency setting 30/40 front/rear psi

At your next few fill ups, stop the pump at 1.5 gallons and see how much your range varies with the myriad changes in driving conditions.

So let's recap: An EV has, a 1.5 gallon fuel tank that weighs 900 pounds and takes 2-12 hours to refuel. That fuel tank also has, according to Jerry's posting on the Tesla Motors forum, a predicted useful lifetime of 10 years and costs $30,000 to replace. (Or the bargain price of $12,000 if you buy your first replacement battery up-front, at the time of purchasing the Roadster.) And all this on a $90,000 car?

The next time you get to speak to a Tesla owner, ask him, "How do you justify the horrible economy of your motor vehicle?" Sure fill-ups are free, if you can find a Tesla charging station on your Google Map, but how many gallons of gas could you buy for $30,000 over ten years? Keeping it simple, at $3 per gallon, 1000 gallons per year, or 20,000 plus miles of driving. That would require 67 full charges in your Tesla, if you never drive faster than 30 mph. But if you choose to drive the speed limit like everyone else does, double that. And if you use the heater, A/C and headlights too, triple it. 200 charges per year, or once every day or two. And remember it takes 2-12 hours depending on the charger.

Maybe he's not like regular folks though, but instead is more like "Roblab" from the forum:

I don't know about the rest of you, but long distance driving is a pain in the ... for any car. Who does roadtrips anymore? All you need to know is whether your car will make it to the airport.

UPDATE: Looking at the EV from the other direction, to carry as much energy as a typical auto with a 15 gallon fuel tank would require a battery ten times as big - 550 kW-h. Such a battery, if you could afford it, would weigh 9,000 pounds. Something tells me the efficiency metric just ticked down.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

"The next time you talk to a Tesla owner.." Huh. I don't consider myself either Goober Pyle or Mick Jagger, but I don't think I know a Tesla owner or even an aspiring Tesla owner.

I am a big fan of Peter Diamandis [Review Corner]. He challenges readers to see things on logarithmic scales. The EV might double specs twice in ten years; the gas car will be more linear. So give the tank a six gallon capacity that refills in 30 mins to three hours. Then the comparison is not so bad assuming affordable and plentiful electricity.

I think, knowing you, that you join me in saying "cool -- just don't give $7500 subsidies."

Posted by: jk at March 19, 2015 4:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I do not disparage the E or the V in EV. (I am an electrical engineer, after all.) Electric motors are on the order of 90% efficient, compared to 50% for internal combustion. The villain here - the *ahem* "900 pound" gorilla - is the electrochemical battery.

In ten years we may well have fuel cells that can be refilled at a gasoline pump (with gasoline) and give us the best of both worlds. Sadly, development of that spectacular solution is handicapped by the environmental religion that preaches: gasoline is evil.

By the way, those electrochemical batteries are Lithium Ion chemistry. The exact thing some suspect of crashing Malaysian Airlines flight 370.

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2015 6:18 PM

Because, Science!

"War is the continuation of politics by other means," said Carl von Clausewitz... and so is environmental "science."

She said the Bureau of Land Management study, known as the NTT Report, is "based on the best available science," while the Fish and Wildlife Service Conservation Objectives Team Final Report "would mean restrictions for the oil and gas industry in sage-grouse habitat."

"Any time there are any restrictions, whether it's for wildlife or health or safety, you hear the oil and gas industry complain," Ms. Spivak said.

The coalition's data challenges focus on three "highly influential" scientific reports, prepared by the BLM, FWS and U.S. Geological Survey, that rely on data from "an insular group of "scientist-advocates" who skew their research to advance "policies they personally support," according to the executive summary.

"The Reports were developed with unsound research methods resulting in a partial and biased presentation of information, and peer reviewers have found them to be inaccurate, unreliable, and biased," the summary says. "They contain substantial technical errors, including misleading use of authority and failure to address studies that do not support a federal, one-size-fits-all narrative."

For example, the coalition says the reports are quick to blame human activity for the bird's decline but fail to give proper weight to the impact of predators such as ravens, even though their population has increased by 300 percent and local raven-management efforts in states like Nevada have shown success in boosting grouse habitat.

The three reports "all fail to recognize predation as the single most important factor affecting the abundance of the Greater sage grouse," according to one of the coalition challenges.

"Restrictions" on industry based on the "best available science." Not irrefutable science, or even accurate science. Merely, "the best we have at the moment."

What would we do without scientist-advocates? Live long and prosper, that's what.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 4, 2015

Nice graphix can't help KOS-niacs understand economics of Nuke & Coal

An interesting series titled GETTING TO ZERO (CO2 emissions, that is), from which the nicely-done graphic comes.

(UPDATED... it worked!)


Higher graph = better. Good article and explanation of the buffered bit as well:

n this study, "unbuffered" is the raw generation without storage, while "buffered" includes the cost of pumped hydro storage where it is needed to buffer the difference in peaks between production and consumption

Now that I've read the comments: I see that even a well-written article which was not blasted in the Comments section, nevertheless did not make much headway (I only spend few min. in the comments section). Best summary:
OK Nukes might help, but I've got problems with waste...
One even cited her HS Chemistry teacher (still having her brain in a jar I suppose).

Others pattered about not being able to get CSP on their rooftops (DOPES: this is about massive amounts of energy...like quads and stuff).

Hat tip to PowerLine (once again)

Posted by nanobrewer at 3:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

My appreciation for Cato is well known 'round here. Their energy guys assure that "you can take a lefty's solar/biomass/wind proposal, do a global replace for "nuclear," and hand it to someone of the right.

The exact same levels of subsidies are required -- but the nuke plants need it for insurance, permitting, &c. I hear that as gub'mint protection from gub'mint, but some people I admire greatly say the current technology is not economically viable. They all wet?

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 4:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


say the current technology is not economically viable. They all wet?

Yes, the currently employed technology for nuclear power plants in today's (horribly overblown) regulatory environment is not viable.

Why? Because current technology employed are 40-50 year old designs! It's been a coon's age since I've looked into it - once professionally, once as a lurking/blogger - but the state of the art designs are very viable, or so says the PM with whom I interviewed (who would have no reason to lie to me)! There's a small cadre of companies, a few local, sitting on very nice designs and just waiting.... which is why I didn't get the job! Greenwood Village.... just as well, I suppose.

The regulatory environment is - well, let's just say it would be quite comfortably familiar to the architects of the ACA.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 4, 2015 6:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

CATO energy guy: is that Chip Knappenberger?

Btw, that same article I cited has a great explanation of how the energy storage in Norway & Sweden's copious dams is what makes Danish wind power close to viable: when the wind blows, the Danes send power north & the northern folks hold their water, when it doesn't the water & electrons flow south.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 5, 2015 4:20 PM

February 27, 2015

Move that State Line

I think we can safely say that Colorado's 51st State, secessionist movement has fizzled. A better metaphor is drowned -- 100 year floods both captured the media's attention and forced moderates to cling to existing security institutions.

Well, it was a good time and it highlighted the urban-rural divide in State politics. I had warm thoughts as I read a WSJ editorial reporting that 15 New York towns want to trade the Empire State for neighboring, fracking-friendly Pennsylvania.

That part of Pennsylvania is booming. Upstate New York, as anyone who drives through it can attest, is an economic bummer.

James Finch, town supervisor in Conklin, New York, described to a local TV station the difference in life on either side of the state line. "Everybody over the border has new cars, new four-wheelers, new snowmobiles," he said. "They have new roofs, new siding." Life in New York's Southern Tier towns is "desolate."

Governor Cuomo has created an American version of the Cold War's East Berlin--with economic life booming on one side of the divide, while an anti-economic ideology stifles it on the other.

We might have to update the photo:


Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2015

But, Vermont Does It

Not blessed with that Yankee Ingenuity like The Green Mountain State, the UK is struggling to heat homes with windmills.

UK demand hit 52.54 gigawatts (GW) between 5pm and 5.30pm on Monday, according to official data from the National Grid. But wind contributed just 0.573GW during the same time, just over 1pc of the total.

In stark contrast, gas accounted for 42pc, coal for 29pc, nuclear for 16pc, pumped storage and hydro for 5pc, and interconnector imports for 5pc (the total doesnt quite add up because of rounding).

It adds up plenty good for me -- commercial wind power is a complete waste, providing 1% of the energy needs at substantive cost.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

Congratulations, Burlington!

You'll save millions of gallons of gasoline as people no longer want to drive to view the fall foliage!


From US Uncut, shared by a Facebook Friend. And, yes, they are both serious.

UPDATE: PBS News Hour link

Posted by John Kranz at 12:07 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Dude -- it was on the Internet! Of course it is true! I added a link to a PBS video. "Climate Change is the biggest problem we face -- the biggest problem we've ever faced!" ~1:35

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 12:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Unlike Colorado, they include hydro as renewable. I think that means Las Vegas is there too.

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 12:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Residential? Is that a qualifier?

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 12:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Only if anyone wants to shop or hold a job.

It's not a lot windier here, or a lot more rivers here, and certainly not a lot sunnier here than lots of parts of the U.S. It was just a bunch of decisions made over ten years or more, to get towards renewable energy.

Tell that to the Boulder City Council, who doesn't have a Winooski river, or an underutilized [fish habitat destroying] hydroelectric dam in a neighboring state to leech 45% of their power from. But Boulder could build the same "renewable" power plant that Burlington did: Wood stoves, aka "biomass."
Biomass is just a fancy word for something that gets burned to produce energy -- in this case, they haul in scrap wood from across Vermont, use the heat to make steam, and thus generate electricity.

That smokestack up top? That's just water vapor being emitted.
Sure! Plus CO2.

I am just sick and tired of these Democrat voters who ignore science.

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2015 1:42 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 3:26 PM
But jk thinks:

The electric rates have not gone up -- anybody else guess they were sky high to begin?

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 4:27 PM

January 29, 2015

Three Cheers for Sen. Michael Bennett

My Democrat Senator joins my Republican Senator in supporting KeystoneXL!

No Republicans voted to block the legislation, and eight Democrats voted to approve it.

Well done, Senators.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:04 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Would you settle for one cheer? "A single cheer only, please."

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Huh? The quality of mercy is not jg?

-- One of eight D's voting yea (cheer the one!)
-- 20 months from election (cheer the two!)
-- Potentially pissing off Tom Steyer (cheer the three!)

If my math is incorrect, let me know.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 4:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm willing to suggest that the Senior Senator's strategery is as follows: Cheer the one will do him more good regarding cheer the two than would cheer the three.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 6:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. One of my gripes has been that he is a backbencher and 100% reliable vote for Team Blue. Just eight strikes me as borderline ballsy (well, on the Michael Bennett scale).

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 6:57 PM

"Selfishness" Rocks!

Economics Hoss Walter E. Williams: Gas-Price Demagogues Feed Off Economic Ignorance

Show me someone who doesn't want more of something, be it cars, houses, clothing, food, peace, admiration, love or war. The fact that people want more is responsible for most of the good things that get done.

You'll see Texas cattle ranchers this winter making the personal sacrifice of going out in blizzards to care for their herds. As a result of their sacrifice, New Yorkers will have beef on their grocery shelves.

Which do you think best explains cattlemen's behavior, concern about New Yorkers or their wanting more for themselves?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:17 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Dr. Williams can sneak both of our favorites into one short column.

Which worker receives the higher pay, a worker on a road construction project moving dirt with a shovel or a worker moving dirt atop a giant earthmover? If you said the guy on the earthmover, go to the head of the class. But why?

It's not because he's unionized or that employers just love earthmover operators. It's because he is more productive; he has more physical capital with which to work.

My lefty friends credit unions and regulations with the 40-hour work week and absence of child labor, when it is capital and capitalism.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2015 5:16 PM

January 28, 2015

And, It Fails!

They may have had numbers, but the withering rationality of Brother JG held the day!

Two weeks after the Erie Board of Trustees narrowly voted to delay its consideration of a one-year fracking moratorium, the town's elected leaders struck down the measure along the same 4-3 line Tuesday night.

The accompanying photo is of LOTR-F friend Brad.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Heh. I see this made it as an update below (thanks, jg!) but I am unrepentant -- victory deserves its own post!

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 11:52 AM

January 27, 2015


Enough Boulderites have polluted the freedom-loving polity of Weld County, that my home town of Erie is voting on a fracking ban. There was a hearing last week which I could not attend. Brother jg emails that it is continued or brought to a vote tonight. I will see whether I can attend.

But -- either way, there is a handy web page to email council members. Here is mine.

Thank you for your time. I write to urge a no vote on any bans or moratoria on fracking or energy development in Erie.

Weld County has practiced safe energy development for a long time. My wife and I moved into the county in 2008 and we love it here. I own no mineral rights nor directly profit in any way from energy production. All the same, I am a strong proponent of property rights and it is unfair of me to determine the disposition of others' property.

I do benefit indirectly from the economic activity, lower energy costs, and tax revenue from energy production.

I have no doubt that those who seek to restrict it have good intentions. But they are wrong on property rights, wrong on the externalities of energy production and wrong to oppose an important economic source of wealth for Weld County and the State of Colorado.

Please vote for property rights.

UPDATE: Rejected.

Two weeks after the Erie Board of Trustees narrowly voted to delay its consideration of a one-year fracking moratorium, the town's elected leaders struck down the measure along the same 4-3 line Tuesday night.

Click through for details, and for a picture of blog friend Brad Beck giving testimony.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:52 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 6:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have made plans to attend. And I have reprinted copies of this 2008 ThreeSources blog post, which I intend to share with council members.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I went. I saw, the teeming hoarded waiting to speak. I read, the agenda with "Oil and Gas" as item 9. I left, to go pick up my children. But not before handing a stack of "Oil Math" blog reprints to a staffer with assurance that she would make sure each Town Trustee receives a copy.

Have a good evening frackfriends and fracktards. I'm gonna go have dinner. And listen to Andy Peth , tonight's guest on Grassroots Radio Colorado!

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 9:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They even let me on the radio with them.

Scroll to 2:00, I come on around 4:20. Fun stuff!

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2015 1:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Well done on both counts.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 10:28 AM

January 19, 2015


Zen Koan of the day: "If a fracking well required the destruction of 500 acres of farmland in Minnesota, would Yoko Ono make a sound?"

The clever boys and girls and those who choose not to identify with a defined gender who sit up front have likely guessed that this is not about a fracking well at all.

Five hundred acres of farmland will be plowed under to make room for 200,000 to 275,000 photovoltaic panels that will generate 62 megawatts of solar powered electricity, Nextera Energy Resources revealed.

Man, that is going to be picturesque, ain't it? 500 acres of ugly black squares of toxic poison on the prairie! Where's Norman Freakin' Rockwell when you need him?

I'd love to discuss aesthetics with you Mister Muller, but the law is the law. And knowing Minnesotans -- you probably voted for it.

Facing a new state mandate to generate 1.5 percent of its power from solar energy, Xcel Energy picked Nextera from other competitive bids. Because of the size of the project, county and township officials have no local control over the approval process.

You know what they say:

Posted by John Kranz at 1:41 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

The irony of mandated solar PV above the 44th parallel is bad enough, but for Minnesotans to Quixotically tackle "global warming" is downright chilling.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2015 2:26 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

This is an interesting day for Minnesota - first this, and now the protestors in St. Paul, expressing their solidarity with... well, something, I'm pretty sure. Something they feel is more important than the commuters on the Interstate and on the light rail, anyway.

I have a solution for this, but apparently the City of St. Paul has run out of fire hoses.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 19, 2015 7:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Talk about "chilling," IYKWIMAITYD.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 19, 2015 7:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If You Keep What I Make ... umm ... I'll Take You Down?

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2015 2:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If You Know What I Mean, And I Think You Do

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 22, 2015 5:56 PM

January 8, 2015

President Carter was Simply Way Ahead of his Time

Super-insulated clothing could eliminate need for indoor heating

Phys.org -- By wearing clothes that have been dip-coated in a silver nanowire (AgNW) solution that is highly radiation-insulating, a person may stay so warm in the winter that they (sic) can greatly reduce or even eliminate their need for heating their (sic) home. Considering that 47% of global energy is spent on indoor heating, and 42% of that specifically for residential heating, such highly insulating clothing could potentially have huge cost savings.

I enjoy and recommend the PhysOrg Facebook Page. It is very interesting. But be warned they are 97% -- at the very least -- invested in catastrophic climate change.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Oy! This is Wrong in so many ways. Even with a suffix of "- in non-freezing climates" do they imagine swaddling our hands and feet in the stuff too, or simply adapting to frigid dishes, flatware, appliances and the like? And I don't even want to think about the shower room or the toilet seat!

Hey, PhysOrg, have you heard that elimination of commerce and industry would result in huge cost savings on transportation fuel and conveyances? Bark up that tree next, eh?

Posted by: johngalt at January 8, 2015 3:13 PM

December 1, 2014

That Supply and Demand Thingy Seems Promising

Two editorials in the WSJ page beg for treatment in the Internet Segue Machine™.

Tim Phillips of Americans For Prosperity ("Koch, cough, cough...") is not too keen on extending subsidies for wind power:

Thirty years and billions of dollars later, the wind industry is still saying it needs taxpayer support. Congress is currently hearing this argument as it debates whether to extend the 22-year-old "production tax credit" in the lame-duck session. The PTC, which gives wind producers a 2.3-cent tax credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity produced over 10 years, expired at the end of 2013. Now wind-industry lobbyists are roaming the halls of Congress, asking legislators to renew it as part of a tax-extenders package before adjourning on Dec. 15.
Over the past seven years, the PTC has cost taxpayers $7.3 billion, and it is expected to pay out $2.4 billion more in 2015. Combined with other subsidies and programs, wind generators received $56.29 in government subsidies per megawatt-hour in 2010, according to a 2012 report from the Institute for Energy Research. That's compared with 64 cents in subsidies for natural gas and $3.14 for nuclear power.

On the other hand, it kills birds.

Right there, on the same page, in juxtaposy-fervor, Dan Yergin (Kudlow's go-to expert on Oil prices) says it's supply that is driving oil process down.

Since 2008--when fear of "peak oil," after which global output would supposedly decline, was the dominant motif--U.S. oil production has risen 80%, to nine million barrels daily. The U.S. increase alone is greater than the output of every OPEC country except Saudi Arabia.

The world has experienced sudden supply gushers before. In the early 1930s, a flood of oil from East Texas drove prices down to 10 cents a barrel--and desperate gas station owners offered chickens as premiums to bring in customers. In the late 1950s, the rapidly swelling flow of Mideast oil led to price cuts that triggered the formation of OPEC.

And in the first half of the 1980s, a surge in oil from the North Sea, Alaska's North Slope and Mexico caused prices to plunge to $10 a barrel. That posed a much greater crisis for OPEC than today: Over those same years, global demand fell by more than two million barrels a day owing to a deep recession, greater conservation and the switch to coal from oil for electricity generation. This time world oil demand is still growing, but weakly.

For the past three years, oil prices hovered around $100 a barrel as disruptions in Libya, South Sudan and elsewhere, and sanctions on Iranian exports, eerily balanced out the production increases from the U.S. and Canada. But the slower global economic growth that became apparent a few months ago was accompanied by weaker demand for oil, just when Libya suddenly quadrupled output to almost a million barrels a day. The result: Prices weakened in September and then tumbled.

Yergin calculates the effect on oil producing states and concludes that those with capital reserves like Russia and Saudi Arabia will get through it okay, but marginal states like Venezuela, and new production scheduled for Africa will be in danger. The Keystone pipeline, specifically endangers Venezuela's workers' paradise as the heavier oil would replace theirs in the gulf refineries.

I read of a real, world market producing real energy at lower and lower process, and a graft machine propped up by subsidies.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | Comments (12)
But johngalt thinks:

Love it or loathe it, the mortgage interest deduction is still, in government speak, a subsidy - but - it can only "give back" a portion of what is taken from that same taxpayer in the first place.

So there's the distinction: Is the "subsidy" comprised of the receiver's own money, being rebated, or did it belong to someone else first? On the first hand it isn't fair to call it a subsidy. On the second it is redistribution, pure and simple.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2014 8:44 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm going to really offend you right now. I hope you're sitting down.

I like the EITC better than the mortgage deduction. For better or worse (probably worse) we have adopted a stance to help the poor and that is not going away. The EITC is transparent, only minimally-distortionary, and as a %-of-GDP, fairly affordable. The interest deduction meets none of those criteria.

Me and President Reagan and Rep. Paul Ryan believe that if we did not redistribute income to the wealthy and the middle class, we could afford a safety net for the poor.

I see your distinction. And I would join you in voting to return to private charity. But I don't think that is on the menu, whereas cutting subsidies for Ted Turner's ranch and Google's solar toys, and perhaps the economy-ruining distortions of the mortgage interest deduction . . . maybe . . . someday . . .

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2014 10:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You did offend me, but not for the reason you might think. Because you said, maybe "we could afford a safety net for the poor." That safety net cost $2,279,000,000,000 in 2013, or $7200 per American. Two-thirds of total government spending and 14% of GDP.

I don't think we're gonna overcome a spending leak that big by eliminating the mortgage deduction.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2014 1:19 PM
But jk thinks:

No, that's pretty much the reason I expected to offend you. It's philosophically dubious to accept wealth transfers as a function of government. I can hear Yaron Brook, chiding me in his mellifluous Israeli accent as I type. But I can accept that that ship has sailed.

You elbow back too hard to compare the complete cost of current poverty programs with the mortgage deduction. On the poverty side, I would like to reduce that figure. President Reagan talked about the "truly needy;" covering health insurance through 400% of poverty for SCHIP does not meet my definition of "truly needy." I bet I could find a few such programs to cut -- right in time from Christmas!

On the other side, indulge me in bucketing corporate welfare, middle class entitlements, Tesla credits for Hollywood stars, maybe property taxes for churches, all energy subsidies -- and the mortgage interest deduction. We gettin' closer?

The class of non-poverty transfers appeals to you more. Yes, we are actually manipulating and perhaps returning actual income. I am risking my neck by saying that if government is going to move income around, I'd prefer it be to help the poor and leave the productive economy to market forces.

Beyond altru -- umm, benevolence, public choice theory suggests that these programs would be under more scrutiny if they served only the poor. The interest deduction is untouchable because everybody gets it. The Democratic dream is that ObamaCare® subsidies quickly attain the same status.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2014 1:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I presupposed that you thought I would bristle at your endorsement of any social safety net. I do not. I agree that ship has sailed, but there is no defense for it costing $2.7T per year and growing.

Your basket of tax breaks is all fine with me, including the mortgage deduction. I also reject paying former workers a majority of their highest career wage just to sit on their ass in retirement - defined benefit pensions must GO. But where you suggest spending this new found "revenue" on the SoshSafetyNet I want it to be NOT TAKEN from earners in the first place. Then fewer workers need a SoshSafetyNet. Capisce? Moral hazard, and all that. But yes, still a small non-hammockey safety net for the truly needy.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2014 2:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Kumbaya -- looks like we've fixed another one!

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2014 2:41 PM

November 19, 2014

Correction: It Is Easy Being Green!

Don't believe everything you hear on live at the coffeehouse dot com. This story in the New York Times suggests that -- thanks to generous subsidies -- it can be quite easy Bein' Green.

"I have never seen anything that I have had to do in my 20 years in the power industry that involved less risk than these projects," [NRG's chief executive, David W. Crane] said in a recent interview. "It is just filling the desert with panels."

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that even some ThreeSourcers will be surprised by the cravenness.
The government support -- which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates -- largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG -- even Google.

A great deal of attention has been focused on Solyndra, a start-up that received $528 million in federal loans to develop cutting-edge solar technology before it went bankrupt, but nearly 90 percent of the $16 billion in clean-energy loans guaranteed by the federal government since 2009 went to subsidize these lower-risk power plants, which in many cases were backed by big companies with vast resources.

The NY Times includes this charming bit of understatement:
The windfall for the industry over the last three years raises questions of whether the Obama administration and state governments went too far in their support of solar and wind power projects, some of which would have been built anyway, according to the companies involved.

Ya Think? Just maybe? A hair too far?

Even if you are not surprised at the depths of cronyist depravity, I think you might want to bookmark this as an enumeration that you can share with friends. Considering the source, it is stunning.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:52 AM | Comments (5)
But AndyN thinks:

...some of which would have been built anyway...

This may not technically be a lie, but I suspect that the percentage of these projects that would have been built with the owners own money, and without government price guarantees is vanishingly small. The people running those companies didn't get rich by being stupid.

Posted by: AndyN at November 19, 2014 12:54 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Or by producing a lot of energy, either.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2014 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Energy companies would naturally have made some investments in new technology simply for the sake of innovation. But the key element behind "would have been done anyway" is "contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates."

"Subsidies and government support have been part of many key industries in U.S. history -- railroads, oil, gas and coal, aviation," said Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman.

So has slavery, Mr. LaVera. So has slavery.

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Advocates say these policies "create jobs" and "promote economic growth." Sure, it's a freakin' perpetual motion machine - just keep adding money and money will "come out."

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:57 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Old time TS'ers know my history with Green Energy (summary: a guarded optimism). That optimism been slipping b/c of just this type abuse, which I've been watching grow for over a decade. Yes, some of these projects would have been "built anyway" but far, far fewer.

It's a good time to review how Green Energy crazy programs have worked in other places:

Here's the Economist (summary: much more a fan of gov't programs than free market solutions) "The Cost del Sol"


Another report (Puffington Host, of all places!) notes: Spain's expensive green energy failure can serve as a lesson to Ontario. A recent study shows for every 'green job' created 2.2 real jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy due to the impacts on electricity pricing.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2014 2:28 PM

November 13, 2014

Don't Frack My Mother...


Health concerns about oil field fracking have been focused on the mixed brew of chemicals injected into wells. But it is another innocuous-sounding substance -- sand -- that poses a more serious danger to workers.

Government overseers of workplace safety first highlighted the problem three years ago and issued a hazard alert a year later warning that high levels of fine quartz sand around fracking operations could lead to silicosis and other lung illnesses.

Congressman Polis -- call your office!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And just in the nick of time too, since "Fracking Fluid No More Toxic Than Common Household Products." But that's only if you believe the big-oil shills at CU Boulder.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2014 12:18 PM

October 15, 2014


Any of our gifted engineering staff ready to call "shenanigans" on Lockheed Martin?

Lockheed's Skunk Works promises fusion power in four years

Posted by John Kranz at 3:47 PM | Comments (9)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Back in the '80s, The Refugee subscribed to a futuristic technology magazine of which he cannot recall the name. But he does recall the certainty with which a commercial passenger plane capable of Mach 6, making Denver-Tokyo in under two hours, was predicted by the mid-1990's. Supposedly, the hybrid jet/fan blade engines were in prototype testing. Still waitin'.

He has also seen predictions of these fusion devices small enough to power individual houses. Xcel gone forever! Yay! The Refugee is not optimistic that any commercial fusion device will be available in 2017, 2022 or at any point in his lifetime. It would be exciting, though, if it happened.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 16, 2014 12:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Omni magazine? That was fun stuff. Perhaps those aircraft developments were channeled into better fuel economy than higher speed?

There's still a sizable gorilla in the room, however, even if the Skunk Works really is on to something. Who believes government won't ruin it?

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2014 2:32 AM
But jk thinks:

And my flying car seems absent as well.

This was not a call to bet the farm on this, but I have long been intrigued by the Brussard fusion concept. Like that, I think this is the right size, offering Hayekian distribution.

They call it a moon shot and it is my favorite thing, At work I always quote General Eisenhower: "Enlarge the problem!" We are spending boogerloads of time and money on solutions that are not even sustainable, much less groundbreaking. I love the gamechanger, and this be one. Put a 50% beta on its happening at even twice the timescale and it is gamechanging. Surely, advances in lasers and materials will facilitate development.

I'll even offer balm on government intrusion. Many of the most interesting applications are probably bringing China, India, and Africa to OECD energy accessibility.

We could use ours for starships and keep burning that sweet, fracked Weld County natural gas.

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2014 9:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I hope you don't misunderestimate me. If they do achieve reliable, economical fusion power, even if only in 100mW chunks, I will welcome it. Just so long as it doesn't:

Create more single-occupant SUVs,
Encourage the building of larger homes,
Promote the Eating of Tasty Animals,
Ever get used to provide power to a church,
(Mosques are okay),
Undercut any market for alternative energy methods,
Make Republicans smile,
Or create even a single molecule of man-made pollution that would therefore poison every river, lake, ocean and breath of air on the entire Gaia, instantly and forever.

Then I'm fine with it.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2014 12:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I have no idea how they plan to extract the 120-150 MW of heat energy needed to get 100 MW of useful power from that small container, but I've been proven wrong before.

I'm not buying stocks, in skunks or werks.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 16, 2014 2:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Umm, e-mc2 I think...

How hard is Deuterium and Tritium to harvest? Is there enough? I saw 0.15% of the oceans. That sounds like a lot. Is it renewable?

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2014 4:19 PM

October 10, 2014

Keystone XL QOTD

The U.S. and Canada are in the midst of an historic boom of energy discovery and production. Mexico is on the cusp of exploiting its own vast energy resources. Unless the laws of economics have been repealed, the benefits of deepening the integration of these three neighboring economies in new jobs and per-capita wealth would be enormous. What's missing is the political leadership necessary to start assembling one of the world's most powerful economic regions.

That's not entirely fair. There is indeed active political leadership--in Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decided he can't wait for an American President who is still giving speeches about building his new economy around solar panels and windmill farms. -- Holman Jenkins

Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

THAT'S gonna leave a mark.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 10, 2014 5:20 PM

October 9, 2014

Latte-Sippin', Loft Dwellin' LoDo Dwellers!

Surprising data about the distribution of energy revenue and employment in the Denver Post:

About 9,800 people are working for the industry in Denver -- 60 percent more than in Weld County, according University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business study released Thursday.

"While oil and gas production is concentrated in a few counties we saw impacts across the state, but the benefits in Denver were really surprising," said Brian Lewandowski, a study co-author.

The study, commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, calculated that 31,900 people work in the industry, which had pumped $126.5 billion in the state's economy between 2008 and 2012.

Rep. Jared Polis (Don't Frack my Mother - CO2) was not reached for comment.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of Jared Polis, had you seen that the Fort Collins daily newspaper 'The Coloradoan' has endorsed his opponent? They said that Leing seemed genuinely interested in Northern Colorado issues, while Polis was detached.

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2014 3:18 PM

September 25, 2014

Prepare the Shocked Face...

Germany's, top down, dirigiste, energy policies actually hurt the environment. I know! I was surprised as well!

Berlin's "energy revolution" is going great--if you own a coal mine. The German shift to renewable power sources that started in 2000 has brought the green share of German electricity up to around 25%. But the rest of the energy mix has become more heavily concentrated on coal, which now accounts for some 45% of power generation and growing. Embarrassingly for such an eco-conscious country, Germany is on track to miss its carbon emissions reduction goal by 2020.

Greens profess horror at this result, but no one who knows anything about economics will be surprised. It's the result of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Energiewende, or energy revolution, a drive to thwart market forces and especially price signals, that might otherwise allocate energy resources. Now the market is striking back.

On the other hand, it did drive up energy costs, so it is not a total failure.
Ordinary Germans foot the bill for these market distortions, having ponied up an estimated €100 billion ($129 billion) extra on their electricity bills since 2000 to fund the renewable drive. The government estimates this revolution could cost a total of €1 trillion by 2040.

Berlin is scaling back some taxpayer subsidies for green power. But Germans still also pay for the energy revolution when job-creating investment goes to countries with lower power costs, as happened earlier this year when chemical company BASF said it would cut its investments in Germany to one-quarter of its global total from one-third, and when bad incentives skew generation toward dirtier coal instead of cleaner natural gas.

No fracking, decommissioning nukes... I feel much better about being American today -- ausgetzeichnet!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Begun in 2000, yes, but the real damage started in 2011 when Chancellor Merkel outlawed nuke plants.

None of this is what environmentalists promise voters when they plug the virtues of a low-carbon future. Germany's coal renaissance is a cautionary tale in what happens when you try to substitute green dreams for economic realities.

But remember, you heard it here first.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2014 2:05 PM

August 27, 2014

Well this sucks.

Cheap headline, but you get what you pay for.

I read a few good articles on Obama's backdoor, sidestep, pen-and-a-phone treaty to fight global warming. Last time advise and consent was sought, the Senate voted 95-0.

Yet without switching 62 of those nays and driving the other five in for a vote, how will we join the enlightened Europeans?

Consumers are only now noticing Regulation 666/2013, adopted by the European Commission last year and taking effect next month, which bans the manufacture or importing of vacuum motors whose power output exceeds 1,600 watts, with the limit dropping to 900 watts after Sept. 1, 2017. Thank the climate-change lobby for your dirty floor: The measure is intended to help the EU meet its energy savings target for 2020. Consumers are snapping up more powerful vacuums while they still can.

The regulation is classic Brussels. The 11-page, jargon-ridden text of the directive contains barely any cost-benefit analysis and fails to consider that consumers will simply use weaker vacuums for longer to achieve the same cleaning result.

Meanwhile, as consumer groups complain about less choice for no discernible benefit, the European Commission has persuaded itself that its regulation will be good for European vacuum manufacturers. "EU industry adapts quickly to higher requirements, which is often less the case of companies outside the EU," a spokeswoman wrote on an EU website recently.

Those plucky ee-you-vians! Bless their grit, spunk, and perseverance!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:35 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

666? You made this up, right? Onion?

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2014 7:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Ze Honion as you say is powerless against Brussels!

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2014 7:54 PM

August 20, 2014

Renewable Energy Idea

IVANPAH DRY LAKE, Calif. (AP) -- Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays -- "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.

Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.

I put on my engineer's hat and have come up with some improvements. (Granted, it is a software guy's hat, so I'll ask my hardware brothers to chime in.)

Solar plants torch birds and wind plants julienne them. Wouldn't it be better to cut out the middleman and just build large incinerators which burn birds for fuel? You could put bird seed and carrion around the edge, then have a fan that sucks them in: finches, hawks, eagles, condors, herons -- a clean and renewable fuel source.

First, I'm gonna need a government grant...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:13 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It's a feature, not a bug. Birds emit CO2 when they breathe. Killing a few hundred thousand of them a year will help to lower the Earth's greenhouse gas load.

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2014 5:53 PM

August 14, 2014

Don't Frack My Mother...

We're number eight!

In an annual report of the top 10 oil states put together by the financial website 24/7 Wall St., New Mexico supplanted Oklahoma with 965 million barrels of proven oil reserves.

Oklahoma actually saw its oil reserves increase by 55 million barrels in 2012, but it couldnt keep up with the increase New Mexico made.

Heres a look at the top 10:
2.North Dakota
5.New Mexico

Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2014

"Windy" the Wind Imaging Laser System

This amazing device was developed by some friends of mine. Check it out and please share it widely.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2014

Gotch'r Green Energy Policy Right Here...

I didn't get a lot of love for my support of algae (to recap, I want to breed organisms that eat dog poop and excrete diesel. I don't think it that far fetched and my Condo/subdivision stands at the ready to supply our country's energy needs). Look forward to a Review Corner of Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell by Dennis Bray. But I am ready to move on to my next transformative idea.

A Facebook link suggests Toyota is going to release fuel-cell cars in hopes it can build on its hybrid share. As long as I am not subsidizing it with taxes, I think it's a marvelous idea.

Where's the Hydrogen coming from? That's where I'm stepping in. And I'll even spend government money. How about a $10 Million X-Prize-ish award to develop a container-sized device to separate H2 and O2 from Fracking fluid or waste water using power from waste gas flares?

I'm not a knee-jerk environmentalist but I am a very frugal person. Perhaps canine feces is waste-able and lacks the KCals/Kg to be worthwhile. But how many wells and cracking towers are burning tons of waste gas, thus contributing CO2 without any net gain? Capturing something from that has attracted me for years but I suspect some sharp minds with good budgets have looked at it more deeply.

But a simple turbine could generate mounds of electricity. The Hydrogen would be a good storage mechanism, and the general infrastructure around wells and refinery would seem to facilitate storage and distribution.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2014

Randall O'Toole, Call Your Office!

They do love to push mass transit. Get rid of that unplanned, individualistic automobile driving and we'll both save the planet and inure the citizenry to further control. But, the plebes complain -- even in Canada! Canadians don't complain about anything!

A geyser of unrest from streetcar riders erupted Tuesday after the National Post published a columnist's account of his "horror show" streetcar commute. Readers from all over Ontario sent more than 50 emails and posted 500 comments online; our hashtag #streetcarnage trended Tuesday on Twitter. Travellers detailed their own streetcar nightmares and offered suggestions for improvement.

"I used to be a big supporter of the streetcar until I started riding it every day," said Steve Tartaglia, who regularly rides the streetcar from Liberty Village to King and Adelaide.

He called his commute an "absolute circus."

During one notable trip, the streetcar he was riding hit a garbage truck. During another, a man smoked in the back of the car, arguing he was allowed to because he held his cigarette out the window. The worst trip ended in injury when the driver of an over-capacity car slammed on the brakes, leaving our reader arriving at work with scratches on his face, and a woman screaming after a man dumped hot coffee on her.

#streetcarnage -- gotta love that! Hat-tip: Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:30 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've ridden jeepneys in Batangas and tricycles in Lipa. You want #streetcarnage? I can guarantee you Canada has nothing on this. At least Canadians will politely tell you they're sorry.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 16, 2014 8:16 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt! But I suggest that if Canada cannot pull it off, it cannot be done.

I joke about mass transit as a blow to freedom, but there is a permanent bureaucratic wing of government devoted to keeping people in high-density housing and using mass transit. Randall O'Toole has written extensively and eloquently about it for CATO.

The great takeaway is "I used to be a big supporter of the streetcar until I started riding it every day."

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2014 10:00 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"I used to be a big supporter of gun control until I got mugged."

"I used to be a big supporter of public health initiatives until I tried to buy a Big Gulp."

"I used to be a big supporter of single payer health care until I tried to see my doctor."

"I used to be a big supporter of government solutions until I tried them."

"I used to think snake oil actually worked."

"I used to believe in The Wizard."

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2014 12:09 PM

Pollution Research Reportage

In a cringe worthy article, KDVR Fox31's Shaul Turner informs readers that NCAR air pollution study is largest in Colorado.

Dr. Gabriele Pfister of the NCAR said pollution can affect more than the air.

"It also can damage plants (and) it can damage crop yields," Pfister said.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman Garry Kaufman said the project will also track pollution from wildfires.

"We see emissions from across the ocean coming to impact Colorado's air," Kaufman said.

Experts say this is just the beginning, results will be useful for decades to come.

Your intrepid blogger, however, first read the scientific description of the study, complete with a cool graphic, on a NASA webpage.

Two NASA aircraft are participating in field campaigns beginning this month in Colorado that will probe the factors leading to unhealthy air quality conditions and improve the ability to diagnose air quality conditions from space.

The NASA aircraft will be joined by a research aircraft from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for flights July 16 to Aug. 16 from the Research Aviation Facility maintained by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.

The main study area extends along the Northern Front Range from the Denver metropolitan area in the south to Fort Collins in the north extending eastward from the mountains as far as Greeley. This area contains a diverse mixture of air pollution sources that include transportation, power generation, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, natural vegetation and episodic wildfires.

The region being studied often experiences ozone levels in summer that exceed national health standards. Ground-level ozone is chemically produced from the combination of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon emissions in sunlight.

Did we mention oil and gas extraction?

I'm all for scientific research but please forgive me if I'm overly sensitive to the political application of such research results. Quite honestly, I looked into the story out of curiosity whether NASA's King Air and P-3b Orion or NSF's C-130 Hercules aircraft happen to comply with new EPA emission regulations for FAA-controlled aircraft. Since the planes are not new my guess is, not so much.

It was a bonus to discover a prime example of Word Crimes in the big-time media. Sorry Shaul but you gotta try harder wit da English.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

Gotta sting a bit.

A true revolution would be a new breed of climate activist who admitted what they didn't know and toned down their absurd pretense that they're going to ban or seriously curb fossil fuel by fiat. If they were smart, they would put all their effort into winning government funding for battery research. But there are reasons, quite apart from lack of imagination, which is the nicest explanation of Mr. Steyer's shrill imposture, that this doesn't happen.

Our political system is adept at making use of people like Mr. Steyer. Democrats will gladly spend his $100 million, then go back to their real environmental business, which is green cronyism. Happily Mr. Steyer's fate won't be that of the Hemingway character [in "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"] --who finally got to prove his merit while accidentally being shot in the head by his wife. But like Al Gore before him, Mr. Steyer will be able to say of his impact on the climate debate: I softened up the public to be milked for green handouts that did nothing for climate change. -- Homan Jenkins

Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | Comments (2)
But AndyN thinks:

I'm going to have a hard time taking a guy seriously if he thinks that Francis Macomber was shot accidentally.

Posted by: AndyN at July 9, 2014 4:37 PM
But jk thinks:

"But how is one to know about an American?"

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2014 5:00 PM

July 2, 2014

Jared Polis in Two Minuites

The entire show -- as usual -- is worth a watch.

But first. And then after. And then another time. Watch from 20:49 - 22:49. Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen and Jon Caldara destroy rich-kid Rep. Jared Polis ($$$ - CO) who wants to run the state because he has dough.

And, watch it again.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:46 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Littwin's a frequent guest and I like him well enough. But I really have to say he gets his clock cleaned on both fracking and climate change, which he brings up as a "gotcha" laugh line.

I'm not so naïve (stop laughing!) that I think property rights is a big sell to the low-info voter, but I think it can be positioned.

Laugesen makes a great start with the retired folks and middle-class investors; I have wanted to push the Willie Nelson Farm Aid angle. A lot of family farms can now continue to operate because of mineral revenue. A lot of families make $7,000 a year farming and get a $90,000 check from EnCana (peace be upon their holy name...) That lets them continue a tradition and lifestyle that is important to themselves and the community.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

You're out in the Weld hinterlands . . . am I wrong?

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My dirt-farming neighbor recently bricked over the exterior of his old farmhouse. He sure didn't get the money for such "extravagance" from selling hay, corn and barley. On a recent visit they seemed the happiest folks in the world. Not the kind of "we can't make ends meet" depression that is all to common in rural communities.

But that angle will have zero impact on the highly fertile Birth Control Voter. She might respond better to Laugesen's "billionaire on vacation wants to make blue collar guys stop working" angle. MIGHT.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 12:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I was thinking more low-info, not hopelessly-wrong-and-proud-of-it info.

For out-of-staters and in-state intellectuals: things are getting good on Colorado TV. Poor Ken Buck got slaughtered in 2010 by constant #WarOnWomen ads with little response. Those are starting against Cory Gardner (Too Extreme for Colorado, would you believe it?), but there are some very good outside ads in his favor. In my favorite, a Millennial-aged female looks into the camera and says her generation cannot get jobs because of Sen. Udall's spending. Boom: engaging, understandable and -- !!! -- factual!

The pro-fracking forces are also defining the issues well beyond "we're really not poisoning your kids too much."

Homey may not be playing that this year, I'm reluctantly optimistic.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Independence Institute has done the editing for you. Here is Wayne's 47 seconds on Polis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nuRE_DR66OM

"Out of touch." That's what comes to mind when I watch this.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 5:19 PM
But jk thinks:

SWEET! (Though I don't know that 50 seconds is enough). I posted it on the George Leing FB Page.


Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 5:40 PM

June 29, 2014

The new Eco-Incandescent light bulbs are here!

Just when you thought you'd never again see a good-old light bulb because that mean nasty government made them illegal, geniuses at GE and Philips have found a way to make them all over again. [Thomas Edison - call your office.] They're called "eco-incandescent."

This is news, because they just hit the market, but it isn't a surprise as I explained it in a January 2011 blog post comment after carefully reading the 2007 federal law that "banned the light bulb." Bulbs could only be sold if they were more efficient than standard bulbs by, if I remember correctly, at least 20 percent. The new eco-incandescents are (magically) 28% more efficient.


They are also (less magically) several hundred percent more expensive. Thanks mean, nasty government!

Back in 2011 I accused lamp makers of manipulating the market via regulation, so that "Competitors can no longer undercut each other's cheapest products and saturate the market with them." But Hank Rearden, or is it the Chinese, is not deterred. "Eco-Smart" brand bulbs undercut more expensive models by GE and Philips. Depending on wattage, they are one to two bucks each.

What a country!

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I hate to criticize my blog brothers on something as picayune as category choice, but. I think you left out We're from the government and we're here to help.

Who but gub'mint could bring us a 60 Watt bulb that uses only 43 Watts (and costs a buck and a quarter). The stupid! It hurts!

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2014 9:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair cop. I should have reflexively added "WFTGAWHTH" after typing the words "what a country!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2014 11:37 AM

June 18, 2014

David Harsanyi, Call Your Office

And Ben Franklin, and everybody who has even pointed out the evils of Democracy.

It seems their property rights can be stolen from under their feet by ballots while they are abroad defending ours by bullets. The Colorado Observer: Military Voters Won't Get Ballots in Loveland Fracking Fight


Posted by John Kranz at 1:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2014

GOP Policy on Energy and Climate

"We will address our energy needs and any externalities with science and innovation; they will use politics."
Maybe it is too late, or the media narrative too established, but I think Republicans could expose the lefties' anti-science predilection and possibly turn the tables.

I know Solyndra was about 11 scandals ago. But the Democrats (read The Mark Udall for Senate Campaign) have designs on playing up "denialism." How can you consider voting for a troglodyte, flat-earther who doesn't even believe in Climate Change?

To combat this, I offer, free of charge (excepting my normal Koch Brothers stipend), a GOP Energy and Climate Plan for 2014 & 2016:

Addressing Energy Needs and Climate Concerns with Science

1. Research
Offer a series of sizable "prizes" for substantive progress in raw R&D. Forgive me libertarians and strict Constitutionalists, but compared to the alternative, $10 Million for each of these is a bargain (and a prize is far less distortionary than subsidies or mandates):

  • Dime-a-watt Photovoltaics
  • CO2 Sequestration/Recovery for coal combustion
  • Flare capture/recovery
  • Direct algae production of usable fuel
  • Kudzu-diesel
  • Some wind metric...

The non-distortionary nature of a prize makes it harmless. The cost for any of these producing significant advancements would be good value. And you're supporting research institutions and American can-do-ism.

2. Defined metrics for regulation.
Why do we have Ethanol mandates, and Solyndra, and not the Keystone XL Pipleline? Some very large campaign contributors have more than a bit to do with it. EPA regs, LNG Exports, Pipelines, Hydraulic Fracturing, and the Designated Hitter will be evaluated -- in a ThreeSources' Administration -- on actual impact and cost/benefit projections: not campaign contributions.

3. Funding for Climate Science
Again, I apologize to Mister Madison, but continued grants to study not only "Global Warming" but ocean acidification, possible mitigation strategies, &c. are small compared to the current, devastating regulations.

We're not denying anything -- except that our opponents schemes have been more about science than rewarding political constituencies.

UPDATE: So, if I include a link, it is not "a Rant?"

The proposed EPA rules would cost approximately $51 billion a year and destroy 224,000 jobs each year through 2030. The poor and people on fixed incomes will be hurt the most. And all this pain will be for absolutely no gain: It will have no impact at all on the global climate, according to reports published by the libertarian Heartland Institute--based on peer-reviewed climate science.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Chuckle. Yer still good if your rant has a link to the Koch-Brothers (TM) Heartland Institute.

One question: Is there any room for safe, carbonless, nuclear power under the big energy tent?

Okay, two questions: How does this new spending on research prevent further and greater spending on subsidizing bad ideas - you know, the ones that can't sustainably survive in the market without subsidies?

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2014 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

SIDENOTE: As you can imagine, Robert Bryce's Book was pretty keen on noocyuler power from a density perspective -- hard to beat mc2

I'm in a trading mood. Applying rational, methodic, quantitative evaluation likely gets rid of all ethanol mandates and subsidy. Boom, baby! I just paid for my x-prizes ten times over.

The straight grants will fund some nonsense, no doubt. But if we are performing cost-benefit analysis before promoting bad ideas to policy, I'm in.

People lose their minds over "$3 million to give monkey's cocaine!" or "$600,000 to study parakeet flatulence!!" -- or whatever the outrage of the week is. You can bash science grants from a libertarian or Constitutional perspective, but you cannot tell me that's what is breaking us. I shrug pretty vocally at those.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2014 5:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't say it well enough - by "subsidizing bad ideas" I meant, handing out much greater grants, or mandates, or rules, or loans (you can pay us back when you are profitable, wink wink) for cronies to start businesses based on one or more of those bad ideas. Perhaps its unfair to expect you to fix everything, but I think those ventures must be off limits with gub'mint dough.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:46 AM

June 4, 2014

Family Guy Does Colorato Politics

Can't say I'm a fan of "Family Guy," but that may have to change:

Posted by John Kranz at 2:31 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Don't bring me down, bro'!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2014 4:34 PM

May 20, 2014

Falsus Libertario Delenda Est!

Having recently escaped Colorado's Second Congressional District, I consider myself well-informed about Rep. Jared Polis (Libertarian? - CO).

He is currently the darling of the big-L Libertarians who are certain to have discovered the elusive "Libertarian Democrat:" cryptozoology's greatest prize! Rep. Polis is a regular on "The Independents" on FOX Business Channel. He received positive coverage in Reason:

A conventional Democrat in some respects, he also supports many causes that matter to libertarians: legalizing marijuana and hemp, restraining NSA surveillance, reforming copyright and patent laws, and making space for the virtual currency Bitcoin.

"A conventional Democrat in some respects." Yes, the obligatory disclaimer for interviewer Scott Shackford. Let me help you, Scott. He is a conventional Democrat EVERY FREAKIN' PLACE AND EVERY GORRAM TIME THAT IT COUNTS. Minority Leader Pelosi does not have to worry about his vote (including yea on ObamaCare on March 21, 2010).

When he's on his own, he pens a Libertarian Editorial in the WSJ. And he accepts campaign contributions in Bitcoin! He's like Mises reincarnate!

If they looked a little deeper, they'd see not only "A conventional Democrat in some respects," but a wellspring of dirigisme. The Blueprint [Review Corner] chronicles Polis as one of four überfunders of statehouse races providing the Democratic legislative majorities in Colorado which brought us draconian gun laws and insane regulations on energy -- especially to rural Coloradans. Thanks, Jared! Or shall I call you Murray Rothbard?

Today, he is in the press for using his considerable funding to force his energy views on the entire state. (Remember when Hayek did that?)

DENVER -- Democratic Rep. Jared Polis reminded Coloradans Monday why it's tough to tangle with a rich guy, outraising his pro-business foes in the latest campaign-finance reporting period on his proposed statewide anti-fracking initiatives.

One Polis group, Coloradans for Local Control, donated $1.45 million to another Polis group, Coloradans for Clean and Safe Energy, which is running the campaign to place a slew of anti-fracking measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.

That one donation--the only contribution so far to the Polis-sponsored issue committee--exceeded the combined $900,000 raised by two energy-backed coalitions during the two-week reporting period ending May 14, although their overall fundraising tops the Polis campaign's at $3.77 million.

Those damned oil companies and the nefarious Koch Brothers outspent in one day! By a statist who is feted as a "Libertarian."

If that's what they're like, I definitely want out! Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Snap! This is a kick-ass takedown of Jared NIMBY-King Polis and his Reason puff piece. This should be tagged in the Rant category. I'm going to come back and read it regularly whenever I'm feeling down.

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2014 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

As I did lapse into all caps, it does indeed belong under "Rant" (added). I had self-visualized better self control when I started :) As the great philosopher Peter Green said, "Oh, well."

Thanks for the kind words.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2014 5:11 PM

April 21, 2014


Talmey-Drake Research and Strategy Inc. said in a written report to the county [Boulder, CO] that focus groups have shown that "support for alternative transportation efforts is driven not by what would get a person out of their own car, but by the hope those programs get others out of their cars so the roads are less congested for them as they continue to drive."

Wow, who saw that coming? Certainly not the people who wrote this:

By investing in such programs as those that support cycling, walking, car pooling and public transportation, "Boulder County strives to make it easier for people to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, while conserving natural resources and living an active, healthy lifestyle," the county said in a report detailing its sustainability programs.

But what if people don't want those things?

Here's my prediction: Boulder County residents will get the least popular "alternative-transportation program:" Making personal transportation advisers available to advise residents and businesses on how to shorten commutes and reduce car use. That'll get their heads right.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2014

In Boulder???

There's hope! I hate to share company stuff on ThreeSources -- trust me, my opinions do not represent those of the corporation with Boulder's 80301 zip code.

But, I gotta. Even the Tofu Crowd has better things:


Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Let's be precise: You're talking about the private sector Tofu Crowd. Government tofu munchers would show up, rain or shine, interest or non. After all, they do NOT have better things.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2014 2:27 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

What leads them to believe that interest will be greater later in the year?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 25, 2014 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

They're also offering discounted Denver Nuggets tickets, br; their optimism knows no bounds.

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2014 1:55 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

A better incentive this year would be, "If you participate, we won't make you go to a Nuggets game."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 26, 2014 4:29 PM

March 21, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

"A lot of people who were out of work during the recession are now working because of oil and gas, and energy in general," Hale said.

From Loveland (CO) Reporter-Herald - 'Oil and Gas Impact Loveland's Economy'

Last year, Hale counted up the number of jobs in Loveland directly tied to oil and gas in 2012.

She said 52 companies in Loveland employed 497 people who worked directly in the industry. The companies paid $37.4 million in gross wages, with an average salary of $75,232, according to Hale.

All this despite no drilling in city limits. All of this business is to support drilling in nearby Weld County.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:53 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2014

Other than that, not much

Hey there, who's for some progress? Maybe an 11-fold increase in average incomes, doubling global life expectancy, stuff like that? This IBD Editorial explains how Progressives ignore the real benefits when calculating government required cost-benefit analyses.

Hydrocarbons provide 81% of world energy. Most important, the positive relationship between fossil fuel, economic growth and CO2 emissions is strong supporting $70 trillion per year in gross domestic product.

Under accepted benefit-cost analyses, proposed regulations would pass muster if the rules' benefits exceed their cost by a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio. But employing the government's own carbon "cost" figures demonstrates that the ratios are dramatically reversed.

The benefits of using carbon-based fuel outweigh hypothesized "social carbon costs" by orders of magnitude: from 50-to-1 (using the inflated 2013 costs of carbon of $36/ton of CO2) to 500-to-1 (using the arbitrary 2010 $22/ton estimate). Any cost estimate is lost in the "statistical noise" of carbon and CO2 benefits.

If the world is serious about economic growth, living standards and affordable energy, fossil fuel is essential. Restrictions on hydrocarbon energy and faulty carbon cost analyses will only undermine progress in these areas.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:08 PM | Comments (0)

Otequay of the Ayday

"This issue is one of common sense and fairness - if a community decides to ignore all the science and all the facts and ban responsible energy development, those communities shouldnt be able to line up at the trough and benefit from responsible oil and gas development occurring in other parts of the State. It is the height of hypocrisy for the Boulders and Ft. Collins of the world to benefit from oil and gas taxes so long as they have an oil and gas ban in place." [the Peak emphasis]

FRAC YEAH! Where do I sign?

From Colorado Peak Politics - No Fracking Dollars for No Frack Communities Headed to Voters

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2014

Colorado Democrats' Anti-Frac Front is, well, Fracturing

Valerie Richardson in The Colorado Observer:

"You look at the kind of Democrats who have been elected in the last few election cycles, and they are to the left, way to the left of center in Colorado, and they'll support this fracking ban," said Wadhams.

The Democratic Party's ability to keep its far left in line and avoid fractious battles on issues has helped it win the support of the business community, which values political stability. That could change if business leaders suspect Democrats are aligned with the anti-fracking forces.

"So you're watching the fracturing of the base, but also as important, theyre going to alienate the business community and [even] the progressive business community," said Ciruli. "I don't think those people won't give to Hickenlooper, but they might not give to these Democratic Senate campaigns."

So Hick might still get donations but his base will not be behind him.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

Our Sad Addiction to Fossil Fuels

Don't tell blog friend JC, but SUVs for paramecia are on their way

Boffins demo FIVE MICRON internal combustion engine

Getting an engine that small isn't easy. As the researchers, led by the Netherlands' University of Twente's Vitaly Svetovoy, explain in their Nature paper, even the mechanism by which they've managed to get combustion happening is debatable.

"It is not obvious that the reaction in nanobubbles and performance of the microscopic actuator are related. Nevertheless, we speculate that the gas combustion in the chamber happens via combustion in transitional nanobubbles," they write.

The search for a Liliputian V8 might sound silly, but the researchers say "a fast and strong actuator ... can be applied in microfluidics, micro/nano positioning, or in compact sound/ultrasound emitters".

Posted by John Kranz at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2014

Post to Polis: Frack Off

Pinch me!

Still, the more gas is available worldwide, the less leverage Putin will have in bullying neighbors and in talks with European powers such as Germany, which also depends on Russian gas.

That's the Denver Post Editorial Board speaking. And if that doesn't sound enough like the words of Republicans Cory Gardner and Rand Paul [starting at 5:00], among many others, the Post continues:

Not everyone agrees, of course. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., was among 20 House Democrats last fall who wrote to the energy secretary expressing concern LNG exports "would lead to greater hydraulic fracturing activity," which is probably true. But we would hope most members of Congress appreciate that fracking can be done safely, and that America's new energy bounty offers a huge opportunity to assist pro-Western governments abroad.

Read more: Liquefied natural gas as a geopolitical tool - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/editorials/ci_25314888/liquefied-natural-gas-geopolitical-tool
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse
Follow us: @Denverpost on Twitter | Denverpost on Facebook

Take that, Democrat.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:18 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

What do you expect from a party that would nominate an "anti-civil rights, anti-choice, anti-marriage equality" troglodyte to the Federal Bench?

Polis was on "The Independants" last night (Libertario Delenda Est has its own TV show and it is Purdy good). The topic was Bitcoin and he gets a sympathetic audience on the show. He can point to great libertarian bona fides.

Yet he gets a pass on his reliable votes for dirigisme because he pens the occasional liberty-friendly OpEd.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2014 11:56 AM

March 3, 2014

The real reason Putin wants Ukraine

Much has been made of the Russian naval base in the Crimea region of Ukraine, which Russia has a long-term lease upon. Why send troops to protect other troops? So the cover story is "to protect ethnic Russians" an excuse at least as old as the start of World War II. Sudetenland, anyone?

But what hasn't been reported, until this morning, is the vast network of natural gas pipelines in Ukraine, where about 80% of her neighbors get their natural gas, sourced from Russia. But the stakes are even higher for Ukraine herself, as she gets 65% of her own natural gas from Russia, who has not been shy in reminding them who's boss. Consequently, Ukraine has been working toward construction of compressed natural gas (CNG) terminals in Odessa, Ukraine, for the purpose of free trade consumption on world markets. Perhaps this taste of freedom is something Putin can not stomach.

Commander Victor Vescovo, USN retired, writes in Real Clear Defense:

The key to Ukraines energy independence from Russia and, therefore, its ability to determine its own political future lies in Odessa -- the city, its port area and energy infrastructure, and the access to Black Sea it provides. Crimea is likely lost. But if Ukraine is to survive, all of its current focus should be on Odessa and preventing any Russian movements against this vital region from Crimea, Transnistria, or Russian territory.

Cdr. Vescovo outlines a fairly simple strategy to protect Odessa but also explains, with the help of a map, that Odessa, like Crimea and eastern Ukraine, is majority native Russian speaking.


UPDATE: From Investor's - Seven Energy Policies to Make Putin Pay Over Ukraine, Crimea

1. Start fracking in Europe
2. Expand fracking in the US
3. Promote LNG exports
4. Allow U.S. petroleum exports
5. OK Keystone XL
6. Expand, not contract, nuclear power in Ukraine
7. Unify Cypress and build a new pipeline

"Finally, smart energy policies also would undermine other energy autocrats around the world, including Venezuela." And Iran.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2014

Something of worth from the DAWG Crusade?


A hybrid aircraft, this goofy looking vehicle is capable of heavy lifting and long flight times thanks to the buoyancy of helium gas. The UK Telegraph article that describes it touts its "low carbon" and "green" attributes. I call it a possibly cost-effective vehicle for heavy transport and other specialized uses - provided it is economical in its use of the non-renewable commodity, helium gas.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Mmmmmkay, but am I alone in thinking all the "Green" accomplishments always harken back to centuries-old technology repurposed?

All the things we gave up are suddenly brand new. My buddy, JC, gets angry every time I bring up Karl Poppers "back to the caves," but green tech always seems more "Downton Abbey" than Star Trek TNG.

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2014 1:56 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If the whole heavy-haul thing doesn't pan out, they can always use it to drop promo coupons over arenas.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 3, 2014 10:22 AM
But AndyN thinks:

You have a point, JK, but it's also true that there are perfectly good uses for old technology that were set aside in favor of something more flashy but no more effective.

When I saw someone trying to push renewed use of lighter than air craft it reminded me that at least as recently as the mid-80s the British Army was teaching young paratroopers to fall out of the sky by putting them in a balloon tethered to a winch, unwinding a few hundred feet of cable, and ushering them out the door. At the same point in the training cycle, the US Army was fueling up a C-130 and flying new paratroopers from Georgia to Alabama, then loading them in deuce and a halfs and driving them back.

I don't think markets necessarily have the patience to wait for that new hybrid aircraft to make deliveries, but I'd be surprised if there weren't commercial uses for something that just needs to go more-or-less straight up and come straight back down. Does a local traffic reporter really need to burn helicopter fuel, or would sitting in a balloon with a big lens work? How close together would the border patrol have to put balloons to monitor the entire US/Mexico border (assuming an alternate universe where the US border patrol actually wanted to monitor the border)?

And of course, let's not forget that while they're pushing all sorts of centuries-old technology that doesn't really work all that well, but from which political contributions can be wrung, they're banning the centuries-old use of wood, coal and tungsten to effectively create heat, electricity and light.

Posted by: AndyN at March 3, 2014 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Good commentary all around. I liked it mostly as an engineering achievement. The application of hauling goods into Canada's Northern Territories and taking away some Ice Road Trucker business, I thought was a good one.

As long as its development is privately funded it is likely to meet market needs. To the extent it is government funded, it is doomed to be an expensive failure.

Posted by: johngalt at March 3, 2014 2:56 PM

February 28, 2014

Government CEO: "What's in it [Keystone XL] for us?"

That's my new favorite term for 'politician' - Government CEO - because each and every decision seems to be based on how much the government, and consequently he, can profit by it. Take FL9 Representative Alan Grayson who wrote,

Well, the Chinese have figured it out. They're going to get their energy from Canada, a stable country, and pass it through the United States, another stable country. They will pay the Canadians the world price for oil. They will pay us nothing, or next to nothing. So Uncle Sam is Uncle Sucker.

And there at last is the real issue. Since the oil originates outside the country, state and federal governments can't charge confiscatory excise taxes. And whatever is sold outside the country escapes any consumer fuel taxes. Grayson offers a possible solution, however:

All of the oil that passes through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has to be sold in the United States. Why not the same rule for the Keystone XL Pipeline? But instead, we allow a tax-free zone, to facilitate Chinese energy independence at the expense of our own. Why does Uncle Sam have to be Uncle Sucker?

Because increasing supply will drive down costs, Uncle Douchebag. No, you won't get any revenue to buy votes with but American consumers, whose transportation costs represent 17% of the average household budget, will get some pocketbook relief. Then again, you wouldn't want any of your constituents thinking they could be happy and prosperous without your beneficience, would you?


AP columnist and financial planner Richard Larsen writes in this week's column, 'America's Beleaguered Middle Class:'

Domestic energy prices have likewise increased dramatically. Over the past 10 years, energy prices have more than doubled as government energy policy has become increasingly ideological and counterintuitive. Increasing energy costs adversely affect the middle class disproportionately.

And this informative chart from the "17 percent" link above.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

Look, Obama administration, if you don't want to build the Keystone Pipeline, just come out and say so. Take the political lumps and get it over with. Enough of this perpetual "well, we just need to review it a few more months" limbo. To put the length of time of this review in perspective, when they first sought approval to build the pipeline, the fossils that make up the fossil fuel of the oil were still walking around. -- Jim Geraghty
(Pointing out even my-former-Senator-your-former-SecInterior Ken Salazar is for it.)
Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And, what, make these guys mad?

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2014 1:13 PM

February 6, 2014

Drill Baby Drill, Drill

I really need to visit Minnesotans for Global Warming more often. This is from 2011 but still as relevant as ever.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

California's project is one of several lingering on drawing boards since being promoted by President Obama's first-term stimulus bacchanal. To call these projects "high-speed rail" is to stretch a concept. They involve dollops of federal money dangled in return for states agreeing to talk about high-speed rail, draw up plans for high-speed rail, conduct studies of high-speed rail, pour concrete and move earth around in ways vaguely suggestive of high-speed rail at some point in the future. -- Holman Jenkins, Jr.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:27 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Heck, they may as well post a sign.

"Whistle, Piss and Argue." Learn somethin' new ev'ry day.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2014 2:52 PM

January 3, 2014

Another "dirty little secret" of renewable energy

I wonder if readers will be as surprised as I to learn that the energy required to produce a 1,000 watt solar panel is on the order of 20,000,000 watt hours? That is the gist of this 1997 Australian whitepaper - Can Solar Cells Ever Recapture the Energy Invested in their Manufacture?

It depends on the particular type of panel of course, and efficiencies may have improved but still, I wonder how many solar PV evangelists know that the energy produced in the first 2-10 years of their system's operation all goes to pay back the energy consumed to create the things in the first place? "Woo hoo, halfway through my solar PV warranty period I'm finally net energy positive! Feel the clean power baby!"

I heard this topic discussed on a local liberty-oriented radio show last night, where the claim was that the energy of manufacture exceeds the energy produced over a lifetime. While that may be true at extreme latitudes it's a credibility-destroying exaggeration.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:17 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

And the batteries in that plug-in Prius already have 40,000 miles of equivalent impact on them.

Talking with a friendly on FB (yeah, there's one -- I met him at LOTR-Flatirons), I'm concerned about something else photovoltaic: From Dr. Gray's Global Warming speech, the solar energy hitting earth is ~4W/m2 -- is that not a maximum? 5 x 5 m to light a 100W bulb? Good thing they're illegal.

Me missing something?

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2014 5:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, 4 watts is way low. Click the Atlantis Farm Weather widget on the sidebar any time to find a graph of real-time solar radiation in watts per square meter. In winter the peak is about 500 and in summer about 1000. Even averaged over a 24-hour period it is about 80 watts in winter and 160 in summer.

Which means, now that I think about it, a 1kW peak power panel can't produce that much year-round, which means the years to break even is higher than advertised.

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2014 6:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Very cool, thanks. Me need to read Dr. Gray again.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2014 6:13 PM

December 16, 2013

If I Drove a $100,000 Car, I'd wear Armani

Like some others on this blog, I am torn. The Tesla is a cool car and an engineering marvel. But this freedom lover is pretty tired of seeing it hailed as a "success story" of government involvement. If they sold a couple hundred to some rich Hollywood guys and had hopes of expansion I'd be a big booster. But the company exists only because of subsidies, and I have seen many a weasely exec or supporter dance around any such question.

Ergo, I have to withdraw support -- and giggle uncontrollably at the difficulties facing folks whose six-digit playthings do not have sufficient range in cold weather.

For now, drivers are looking for creative ways to cope with less heat, especially on long trips. On the Tesla forum, one Model S owner recommends buying heated jackets and gloves designed for wearing on motorcycles. Dahn says the solution is "snowmobile suits."

Hat-tip: Insty, who also has a link about global cooling. Better get a Thinsulate™ Snowmobile suit, Teslans! The link contains this embed; Weld County is Home Sweet Home to a few ThreeSourcers.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:32 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

May I respectfully suggest, a higher energy heater?

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2013 4:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh yeah! Musk should build one of those into the dash. My buddy had a Corvair with a catalytic heater. You could cook a roast on the front seat and not wait one second for anything to "heat up."

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2013 5:05 PM

December 12, 2013

Save the Eagles!

Blog Brother jg is on a campaign to protect our majestic national bird. He may have an ally in the do-nothing 113th Congress, if they can only dig deep and live up to the sobriquet:

The media are saying that the 113th Congress is on track to be "the least productive" on record--as if that's bad for the country. Let's hope gridlock lasts long enough to kill the crony capitalist special known as the wind production tax credit.

This subsidy that was supposed to be temporary is now 20 years old, providing a taxpayer gift to wind companies of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The handout would cost $18 billion over the next five years. The good news is that it is due to expire on December 31 unless Congress acts to extend it, so House Republicans can accomplish something for taxpayers by doing nothing.

The subsidy covers much of the cost of production, allowing the bird murderers to pay utilities to put their blood-soaked product on the grid. It's time we spoke up and did nothing!

Refrain from clicking Like to show your support!


Posted by John Kranz at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2013


A better word would be subsidy.

To summarize the CBS Denver 4 report:

Electric company establishes surcharge to customers to subsidize boutique power.
Initial kickback set at about 50 percent of installation cost.
Chinese "predatory pricing" and old fashioned competition drive costs down.
Electric company reduces surcharge.
Non-competitive boutique power installers whine that they "can't afford to pay employees."

Rilly? You were able to pay them when you paid half the cost to start with. What gives?

Oh, it's harder to sell your product to customers. I see.

Every morning you greet me.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:40 PM | Comments (0)

T-Shirt Meme of the Day




End the insanity - ban wind power!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:45 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It's telling that my first reaction was "They're playing the 3-9-1 Vikings this week, and Petersen is doubtful. How much more saving do they need?"

I wonder whether eagle paté tastes like chicken.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 11, 2013 4:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:


The eagle failed to make its saving throw versus Wind Farm.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 11, 2013 4:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't read the O-admin's jackass rule yet but it is entirely possible that they've made it legal, under federal law, to kill eagles but not to possess their feathers. Although if they did have enough forsight to exempt employees, the only persons in North America legally authorized to possess eagle feathers would be Native Americans and wind farm workers.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2013 6:05 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I stand corrected on my initial comment - the Vikings are now 4-9-1. The Eagles failed to make their saving throw versus Minnesota.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 16, 2013 1:22 AM
But dagny thinks:

The Eagles made their saving throw, it just came in an odd form called the Green Bay Packers. Just as the Broncos saving throw came from some guys in orange and blue with Dolphins on their shirts. :-)

Posted by: dagny at December 16, 2013 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Yaaaaay Dolphins!!!

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2013 1:26 PM

October 30, 2013

Meanwhile, in the Private Sector...

I hate to take my eye off the unfolding ObamaCare® debacle (really, I do, it is too much fun!) But we must wonder sometimes what magic might happen in areas where government left a modicum of opportunity for freedom and innovation.

Three stores in the Internet Segue Machine:

1. Energy fact of the day: Within months, the US will have three oil fields producing more than 1 million barrels per day

Recent U.S. production growth has centered largely in a few key regions and has been driven by advances in the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. Given the importance of drilling productivity trends as a driver for future domestic production, EIA has been developing new approaches to assess the productivity of drilling operations.

2, Natural Decarbonation U.S. carbon emissions fell in 2012, thanks to the oil and gas industry.

The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week, to too little media fanfare, that U.S. energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions declined 3.8% in 2012, bringing C02 emissions to their lowest level since 1994. The only year since 1990 with a steeper decline was 2009 amid an economic recession. The 2012 decline occurred even as the economy grew 2.8%

3. -- let me know if you'd like a copy mailed over the paywall -- The Coming Carbon Asset Bubble Fossil-fuel investments are destined to lose their economic value. Investors need to adjust now by Al Gore and David Blood

But when investors mislabel risk as uncertainty, they become vulnerable to the assumption that since it cannot be measured, they might as well ignore it.

That is exactly what is happening with the subprime carbon asset bubble: It is still growing because most market participants are mistakenly treating carbon risk as an uncertainty, and are thus failing to incorporate it in investment analyses. By overlooking a known material-risk factor, investors are exposing their portfolios to an externality that should be integrated into the capital allocation process.

Don't everybody get on E-Trade at once to dump their XOM! It's not ObamaCare, it was not designed to handle this kind of volume!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:29 PM | Comments (0)

October 8, 2013

Why not tax those who don't buy ethanol?

The WSJ Ed Page brings word of an disturbing escalation.

In its zeal to impose the ethanol boondoggle, Congress has mandated it, subsidized it, and protected it from competitors. Now some Senators are siccing prosecutors on those who still won't get on their ethanol cornwagon.

That's the gist of a recent letter from Iowa Republican Charles Grassley and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, demanding the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission investigate the oil industry for "anticompetitive practices aimed at blocking market access for renewable fuels." That's Senatorial Cornspeak for saying oil companies should have to put their gas stations in the service of Big Ethanol.

It seems a Phillips 66 service station in Kansas (you think you can make this stuff up) converted pumps to sell E85 and E15. Then The Man intervened:
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, Phillips 66 insisted that the franchisee use at least one of its tanks to sell Phillips' premium gasoline. Phillips 66 refused to comment on a private customer arrangement, though it "strenuously" denies it is trying to frustrate ethanol use.

They will not quit. "Access to Ethanol!" is the newest human right.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:05 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:


In that single word is summed up the entire situation and a multitude of wrongs committed.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2013 2:23 PM
But jk thinks:

& underpinning the unholy "Bootleggers and Baptists" coalition of ADM and Greenpeace.

This Reagan guy is pretty tired of hearing about the great old days of The Gipper & Tip O'Neill's bonhomie. That was then and I take nothing away from either.

But the nation cries out for compromise (I am told constantly) and our political class is letting them down. And Burger King has some new fries with less fat.

But compromise got us where we are. Republicans and Democrats can always find common ground to grow government: "I'll vote for your ethanol if you vote for my windmills and light rail." Senators Paul and Cruz do not have a natural partner in discussion to stop growth or (gasp!) pare back the Leviathan.

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2013 2:43 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Compromise? "There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction."

And Leviathan ought to check into those healthy fries; I hear tell the beast grows fat and its arteries clogged. If it doesn't cut back on the cholesterol of its own accord, it may come to its own end of natural causes, without the tree of liberty needing to be watered.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2013 4:59 PM
But jk thinks:

With the High-LDL blood of tyrants as Mister Jefferson told us...

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2013 5:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yes and yes. Great analysis of the perils of Sens. Paul and Cruz but I must insinuate you meant to say they have no natural partner in the government in discussion to (...) pare back the Leviathan. For they do have a natural partner in the governed.

One proposed strategy for destroying Obamacare is to just step back and let it collapse of its own gargantuan ineptitude. Curiously, this is the same strategy we are forced to follow for destroying Leviathan. I prefer a more proactive strategy against the ACA.

1) "Obamacare is a disaster. It will make most health insurance more expensive. It should be repealed."

2) Consumers find their healthcare costs skyrocketing.

3) "That's what we were trying to tell you."

4) Repeal Obamacare or you're fired!

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2013 2:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've got your proactive strategy right here:


Or, as Misha puts it more colorfully (language warning for the faint of heart):


Wanna stop the motor of the world?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 9, 2013 4:25 PM

October 2, 2013

So that's how the Obama campaign raised so much cash "on the internet"

This could be an "Otequay of the Ayday" post:

Were all familiar with the J-curve in private equity, said Joseph Dear chief investment officer at the California Public Employee Retirement System in March. Well, for CalPERS, clean-tech investing has got an L-curve for lose.

Our experience is this has been a noble way to lose money, Dear added.

From an article at thefederalist.com -- The Venture Corporatists - "Saving the planet" has made lot of investors richer. Taxpayers? Not so much, which concludes:

As long as green technology remains not simply an economic venture but a moral one, taxpayers will continue to nobly lose money as politically connected social entrepreneurs reap a windfall.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (0)

Who Says There's No Good News?

It takes a great man to admit he was wrong. And, as Captain Mal would say, "I'm allright." On July 30, I wrote:

Odds of Binz's not being confirmed? Zero? One in 100? Over-and-under anybody? Of course he we will be confirmed and the War on Coal will be escalated to Natural Gas.

Last evening I asked the President that my name be withdrawn from further consideration as his nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It appears that my nomination will not be reported favorably by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. I am withdrawing so that the President can move forward with another nominee, allowing the FERC to continue its important work with a full complement of commissioners.

I cannot remember the last time it felt this good to be wrong! Hallelujah!

Posted by John Kranz at 9:57 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Yesssss! #EnvironmentalismBacklash

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 12:24 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hugh Hewitt noticed today (or was it Rosen? I drove to H.Ranch today...) that M.Landreaux - from an oil state - and the senator from W.Wa (Shhh, coallll) were not swayed by his out'n out lies about his part in building up Ritter's renewable energy 'portfolio' but all-but demonizing coal & gas.

Yes, Colorado, there IS a Santa Claus !

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2013 11:34 PM

September 26, 2013


Energiewende means "energy revolution or transformation."

According to IBD, Energiewende has transformed electricity from a commodity to a "Third World Luxury."

Talk about turning back the clock.

Der Spiegel reports that German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier is asking his countrymen to live as if they are trapped in a backward Third World economy that can't keep the lights on. He has put together a list of energy-saving tips that surely makes the average German think he's living in Uganda rather than Europe.

Sounding a lot like Jimmy Carter, Altmaier suggests consumers avoid preheating ovens, fuzz their television pictures (because poor picture quality requires less energy), cook with lids on the pots and live with refrigerators that don't keep perishable items quite so cool. Sounds like East Germany all over again.

But this is what the Germans wanted -- in fact, it's what they almost rioted for.

Coming here soon! Matt Ridley, call your office.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:31 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

German energy retrograde presaged by Three Sources in 2011.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2013 3:35 PM

September 20, 2013

Tweet of the 13th and 21st Centiries

Hat-tip: Jonah Goldberg. [Matt Ridley Review Corner]

Posted by John Kranz at 3:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2013

Yes, Still Whining

American Automobile Association observes that Gas Prices Surpass $3.00 per Gallon for 1,000 Consecutive Days in Longest Streak Ever.

"Motorists took notice when gas prices crept past $3 per gallon," continued Darbelnet. "Spending more on gas concerns consumers because it reduces savings and spending for everything else we need. Our leaders can help alleviate this economic burden by encouraging a national policy that stimulates production, limits price volatility, ensures greater efficiency and promotes alternative energy."

I have argued that Stealthflation contributes to higher fuel costs, but regulation is probably the larger culprit. Mandates and limitations on production, refining, blending and distributing all make fuel more expensive and less plentiful. The author previously concluded "the reality is that expensive gas is here to stay, which is tough on millions of people who need a car to live their lives" but if "our leaders" were to alleviate this economic burden, as he later suggested, then the 62% of people who believe gas is too high when it reaches $3.50 per gallon wouldn't have to "stop their whining." After all, the average household pays only about 4 percent of pre-tax income on gasoline. That's less than the portion it spends on food prepared at home.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Some guys cannot declare victory and move on.

Fuel is the best example of my contention: even though oil is denominated in dollars, the monetary inflation component of gasoline prices is minimal.

I get your "sucks to pay $60 to fill the minivan" point, really I do. But as we select whether Janet Yellen, Matt Damon, or Maya Angelou is to be the next FOMC Chair, I suggest there is value in bifurcating monetary inflation versus the costs of regulation (and everything else).

If one separates the monetary component, one sees that monetary inflation is not a big problem at this time. Buying Gold and demanding immediate unwinding of the Fed's prodigious balance sheet will not ease gas process. Building the Keystone Pipeline, fracking in update New York, removing biofuels mandates and eliminating boutique fuels requirements, conversely, will have a huge impact.

Call things by their right name, attribute effects to their proper cause and we can all get along.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2013 3:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Your buddy, Prof. Mark J. Perry, has an interesting piece today comparing what a young person could buy with a summer's minimum wage wages.

Just interesting...

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2013 4:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yep and yeah. I agree. Maybe I wasn't dismissive enough of the Stealthflation component of fuel prices but I couldn't pass on tying in with Perfessor Perry's "quit your whining" dismissal.

(Still, the Stealthflation component IS non-zero.) Moving on is overrated. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2013 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

> 0 on purpose. I am "old school" enough that I accept a 1-2% inflation target because the risk of deflation is so much worse. Some people I respect say that fear is overrated, but when it happens it always seems to be bad -- I'll keep my caution.

It is hard on mattress-savers, but if it is predictable and stays < 2 an investor can plan around it. Plus, like the just-linked Perry piece, disinflationary pressure from trade, productivity and innovation should easily eclipse it.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2013 10:32 AM
But johngalt thinks:

A true Prosertarian wouldn't be so willing to let government absorb the lions share (okay, would you admit "a healthy portion?") of productivity and innovation gains, for any reason. Isn't a fear of deflation akin to buggy whip price supports? Wouldn't it be better to let the market creatively destruct some businesses and deliver greater prosperity to one and all in the process? The whole inflation targeting thing just seems so 1974 to me.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2013 3:36 PM

September 10, 2013

$1,200 in your pocket from Fracking

Given the unambiguous atmospheric benefits of fracking -- it produces far fewer greenhouse gases than coal or traditional petroleum products -- and the big savings it's producing across the economy, expect the attacks on it to become more heated and vitriolic. Because the only thing many environmentalists hate more than a cheaper, cleaner potential energy source is an actualized one.
So says Nick Gillespie on a study of the positive effects of hydraulic fracturing. It adds $1200 to the average household. So: more protests!
Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 6, 2013

EV Price War

Following Nissan's lead, manufacturers of electric or hybrid electric vehicles are slashing prices by the thousands as they all chase a wafer-thin 0.5% share of the new car and truck market. And one of them, Honda, has added a new sweetener - unlimited mileage leases! Which sounds good until you think about how far an EV can go on a charge, and how many hours it takes to recharge, and how many hours there are in a day.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:25 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

"Double your IQ or NO money back!" "I dunno, it sounds pretty good to me...." -- Gary Larson

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2013 3:20 PM

July 30, 2013

Today Colorado, Tomorrow the World!

Get ready for Ron Binz, America. His efficacy in raising our utility rates and regulating beyond the bounds of law has been recognized in high places and he is in line for a big promotion. The WSJ Ed Page does not seem to be a fan:

Yet that will seem minor if the next FERC chairman is Ron Binz--the most important and radical Obama nominee you've never heard of. An electric regulator in Colorado from 2007 to 2011, Mr. Binz is the latest Presidential nominee who doesn't understand the difference between making laws and enforcing them.

No, that's unfair. Mr. Binz doesn't care about the difference. In a recent interview with the Association for the Demand Response and Smart Grid trade group, reflecting on the lessons of his Colorado job, he nodded at the "judicial role" of regulators. But then he mused about their "legislative role" too: "I saw the commission not simply as an umpire calling balls and strikes, but also as a leader on policy implementation."

Oh boy. Binz will now be bringing those umpiring skills to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which used to be a quiet overseer of electric transmission and interstate pipelines
FERC was a sleepy regulator until the Obama Presidency, but it has statutory powers that could be turned into anticarbon weapons, such as the authority to impose fines of up $1 million per day for what it claims are violations. They also include the power to block energy mergers and the construction of terminals, pipelines and transmission.

You can bet that Mr. Binz will be creative and political, and don't be so sure his only target is coal. At an Edison Foundation panel this March, he called natural gas a "dead end" technology because "on the carbon basis, you hit the wall in 2035 or so." He added that "We have to do better on carbon than even natural gas will allow us to do." This is unusual in that the greens usually pretend to support gas to make outlawing coal seem more reasonable. Mr. Binz let the mask slip.

Mr. Binz is part of the White House's damn-the-voters strategy of imposing through regulation what Congress won't pass, and now he wants to glide into FERC without protest. But the Senate's advice-and-consent role is especially important because a FERC chairman has broad powers, much like a CEO's, even if other commissioners dissent--and the chairman is not supposed to carry Mr. Obama's banner. Mr. Binz's record and methods deserve far more scrutiny than they have received.

Odds of Binz's not being confirmed? Zero? One in 100? Over-and-under anybody? Of course he we will be confirmed and the War on Coal will be escalated to Natural Gas.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The gas industry is enjoying a "first they came for the coal and I said nothing" moment at present.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2013 11:57 AM

July 13, 2013

The "Producer's Pledge"

"I am proud of my company's product and the profit we make by selling it to others - freely, and to our mutual benefit. Since certain government entities have materially restricted my ability to produce and profit it is no longer beneficial for me to sell my product in the jurisdictions of those government entities. I therefore pledge that I will no longer sell my product through distribution channels that serve the state, county, or local governments that restrict or prohibit my ability to produce my product."

The idea here is that when the voters of, say, Boulder County, Colorado, find their gasoline prices spiking and supplies becoming scarce they will finally make the connection between their voting habits and the supply of daily conveniences that they have come to take for granted.

If you are interested in the supporting "rant" for this idea, read on below.

Ayn Rand said,

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational mans life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive workpride is the result."

Anyone who has ever felt the gratifying sense of an accomplishment after making or building something has a hint that this is true. But the central purpose? The central value? To answer those questions ask this one: What else, other than productiveness, gives man pride?

Just as the passage of the 2009 "Stimulus" Bill precipitated a civil uprising known as the TEA Party, the partisan overreach of Colorado's 2013 legislative session produced a movement advocating that many rural Colorado counties secede from the rest of the state. Practical problems with that idea spawned a call to rearrange Colorado's legislature such that every county is represented by its own state senator, regardless of population, as is the case regarding the several states in the United States Senate. But this too has a practical problem. The same problem that led to both the 2013 Colorado legislature and the 2009 United States legislature being controlled by a single political party. The problem is something Americans have long been taught to hold as a virtue. The problem is democracy.

Democracy is not the same thing as freedom. Democracy is the idea, not that people decide how to live their own lives, but that a large enough group of people can decide how everyone is to live his life. To understand if an idea is virtuous or not imagine its extreme. The extreme of democracy is ochlocracy. (Look it up.) The extreme of freedom is, liberty. And to understand just how mixed up and turned around political philosophy has become, consider the fact that those who once advocated for extreme freedom, whether from a monarch or from a religion, were called "liberals" but those known as liberals today are advocates of "social equality" and/or "environmental protection" via democracy - a decidedly anti-liberty prescription.

The men and women of rural Colorado have many reasons to seek separation from their neighbors in the urban counties but as one county commissioner said, "The mandate that tells us what kind of energy sources we may use was the last straw." And understandably so. In addition to producing food that feeds the urban county populations, many of the rural counties produce another valuable export product that results in billions of dollars in wealth creation and millions of dollars in tax revenues to state and local governments. That product, actually many products, is known as oil and natural gas.

For economic reasons the fastest growing process used today to extract oil and gas in the United States is hydraulic fracturing, or fracing. (Also spelled "fracking.") The only real difference between fracking and conventional drilling is that a water-based solution is pumped into the well after drilling and before pumping to create pathways through which the oil may escape to the well bore. That's it. It's not polluting and it's not sinister, although its detractors do everything possible to convince us, the people who vote, that it is both of those things. And many people are convinced. One such person is Washington County resident Steve Frey who said, "I don't want be [sic] in a 51st state. I don't want any part of their fracking that they're doing in Weld County."

I could not possibly agree more with Mr. Frey's contention that he has a right to be free from every aspect of the oil extraction process called "fracking" that he disagrees with, for whatever reason he chooses to do so. Industry must begin taking immediate steps, doing everything in its power, so that those who oppose its practices must not be forced to accept the severance tax revenues accorded to their local government by fracking. Unfortunately, government holds the reins on virtually every aspect of this unfair treatment of Mr. Frey and others similarly situated. Industry has but one thing it may control. Namely, to whom and to where it chooses to sell its product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Well said and well thought. But it strikes me as a very tough sale.

Trying to think of a producer who would eschew a sale, it would probably have to be more direct. Maybe I wouldn't sell to the Taliban, but withholding gas from a poor stupid Boulder guy's Subaru? It doesn't take many cycles to rationalize away that.

My employer sells bucketloads to gub'mint. I read your pledge first, as you presented and thought "we're not going to leave that money on the table" while he rest of your post loaded.

NED bless Magpul (though principled stands might be a plus in that industry) but while government seems pretty close to Atlas, I think business is light years away. And for every principled Galt, there are a dozen James Taggarts to patch things over. In fact, we probably make the Progressives' favorite error of conflating business-folk with Capitalists.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2013 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. Your very last point is key. And it is the only way we can convince producers to do this, as a moral issue.

"Do not conflate winning special favors from government with achievement. Cronyism and achievement are each other's mortal enemies."

(I quote because I just said it on Facebook.)

Just as peaceful Muslims lose credibility when they fail to denounce the crimes of Islamofascists perpetrated in the name of their faith, capitalists lose credibility when they fail to denounce and distinguish themselves from crony-capitalists.

I'm not thinking we would encourage individual gas stations to refuse fueling Subarus (while still selling to SUV owners) but for oil producers or refiners to stop selling to retailers who don't agree to temporarily padlock their pumps in those cities and counties. The producers will still have a world market to sell into. The retailers will be under public pressure to make a decision. If one agrees he will be the only one in the region to receive fuel shipments. This applies to all counties, even the ones that allow fracking.

There are details to be worked out, for sure, but to any extent such a plan is executed, especially just before an election, it will bring an important question into the public square: Do producers need consumers, or do consumers (and government) need producers?

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2013 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"We will rebuild America's system on the moral premise which had been its foundation, but which you treated as a guilty underground, in your frantic evasion of the conflict between that premise and your mystic morality: the premise that man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others, that man's life, his freedom, his happiness are his by inalienable right." | Atlas Shrugged
Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2013 11:01 AM

July 11, 2013

Some Rational Optimism for Thursday

Very much in the spirit of his "The Rational Optimist" [Review Corner]. Sadly very much not in the style of "saucily exhibiting Kelly Slater's package".

Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

How much would we have to pay Kelly to recite this speech for a promo video?

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Lies! All lies! Ridley is obviously a shill for Big Prosperity.

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:54 PM

July 10, 2013

Pipelines vs. Choo-choos

Rail tragedy in Canada underscores the reality that pipelines like Keystone XL are the safest way to transport oil

Railways suffer spills 2.7 times more often than pipelines. The State Department said trains spill 33 times more oil than pipelines. "The evidence is so overwhelming that railroads are far less safe than pipelines," says Charles Ebinger, director of the Brookings Institution's energy security initiative.

Hat-tip: @Mark_J_Perry

Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I love trains. I also love oil. In this case though, I gotta go with "pipeline."

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2013 10:10 PM

July 2, 2013

What are you smokin'?

I have been a big Willie Nelson fan for a long time. I have recently upgraded him from "great songwriter and troubadour" to "guitar hero." Do yourself a favor and buy his most recent "Let's Face the Music and Dance." He does the great American songbook -- which is awesome -- but most notably, he seems to say "I'm Willie Nelson -- and I'm doing a guitar album."

Buy the album, get a T-Shirt, celebrate a great American legend by all means. But DO NOT buy his economics. Here he is on Facebook:

We like to root for safe technology and the little guys. Tesla Motors has a mission to use technology in electric cars that will make them affordable and help lesson global dependence on petroleum-based transportation. State legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition. Sign this petition to help Tesla Motors defend their right to sell directly to consumers:

I went around this topic with my pal JC, and I agree that the dealers are rent-seeking. I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep on either side of this issue. But my new favorite guitarist -- like my most honest progressive buddy -- sees Tesla as this great victim. I see them as a great leech. They would not sell 11 of their $100000 'lectric cars with no accompanying government bribes.

Willie likes to "root for the little guys." Please, we are shoveling money at Tesla and its customers as fast as we can so they can provide $100000 sports cars to the 1%.

Note that this is not the first time Nelsonomics has been discussed. Bob McTeer had some suggestions:

Economics majors understand the nonintuitive reality that real progress comes from job destruction. It once took 90 percent of our population to grow our food. Now it takes less than 3 percent. Pardon me, Willie, but are we worse off because of the job losses in agriculture? The would-have-been farmers are now college professors and computer gurus or singing the country blues on Sixth Street.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2013

Quote of the Day

Mondo Heh:


Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2013


For alls of y'alls that missed it at Liberty on the Rocks -- looks like there's another chance. Stealing this from LOTR-F doyenne, Allison:

Have you heard conflicting stories about fracking? Have you heard rumors about how devastating it can be and are worried about the impact it will have on the earth? It can be super confusing, and knowing even the most basic facts can seem cumbersome. It can't just be me that feels this way.

Will you come with me to a free event tomorrow night at 6:30pm, at the Boulder Marriott (2660 Canyon Blvd, Boulder)? The creator of "Fracknation" will be screening his 1 hour documentary and answering questions about fracking. Did I mention it's free?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:39 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2013

Get your regulations off my wallet!

As the Colorado legislature considers SB 252, a Progressive's wet-dream of wind and solar energy company subsidies and payola - a bill that even the windmill lovin', Pigouvian tax endorsin', make people buy things they don't want advocatin' Denver Post says is "unnecessary and very likely unwise" - I've been over at the Keep Electricity Affordable FB page, picking fights.

I had plenty to say on plenty of threads but I just couldn't resist sharing this little gem here. A joke, that I made up all by myself.

Q: What did the windmill and the solar panel say to the hydroelectric dam? A: Nothing. It was a calm night.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 3, 2013

Hooray for Governor Hickenlooper!

Defender of our rights and freedom!

At least where fracking is concerned... Co Springs Gazette:

Thank you, Gov. John Hickenlooper, for standing up to the bullies who aim to control oil and gas deposits they do not own. By standing his ground, and defending private property rights, the governor protects the interests of a majority from a small community of extreme activists who use the environment as their cause.

Just don't frack with a 11-round magazine!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Yay. Colorado's governor is not COMPLETELY feckless. I really did give him serious credit for this. Then he signed the gun restriction bills, and tried to convince voters they are "reasonable." I will never forgive him.

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2013 1:30 AM
But jk thinks:

Agreed. The problem is that party matters -- and his party has Evie Hudak and Joe Salazar. I suspect Jon Caldera is right and that he was a happier Guv with a GOP legislature that wouldn't send him crazy crap like this one will.

If the geologist truly holds on fracking, that will be a win. That is hated worse than guns by his left flank, I will be interested to see if he holds up.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2013 9:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, predicts [about a minute in] that America will be energy independent "in the next five to seven years." Why? "Nonconventional energy in shale oil and gas" that is produced by ... fracking.

Oh, by the way, this energy independence will precipitate economic recovery, "particularly in the U.S."

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2013 11:31 AM
But jk thinks:

Not if my Facebook friends have a say.

This is Mommy against Big Oil. Mommy versus guns has the benefit of the 2nd Amendment and a hugely successful lobby. I'm actually quite concerned that this will not be developed.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2013 11:55 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the video. Though I am pessimistic that we will take advantage of energy technology, India makes me bullish for long term economic prospects and human innovation and progress. See the growth and prosperity that China facilitated last decade and imagine it repeating in a country with a strong foundation of British Rule of Law.

This guy will save us from the Stockman Scenario. His message is very tailored to the Indian palette. I don't think you'll sell many copies of Ayn Rand books on the sub-continent, but you might move a lot of Hayek and Milton Friedman.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2013 12:11 PM

March 5, 2013


Celebrity "fractivists" Conflicted:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The scene: a Manhattan art-house theater. The cause: a campaign against the gas drilling process known as fracking that's being led by more than 100 celebrities, including Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo and Mario Batali.

You guys can keep at it, but if Yoko is going to sing, I'm ready to quit fracking. And heat. And electricity.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2013

"Renewable" Electricity - Even More Expensive than we Thought

Being more expensive sources for electrical generation than just about every alternative, wind and solar generated electricity never became a sizable player in the electrical market until goverment made it illegal to not use them. Now that government's "Renewable Energy Mandates" have nearly achieved their goal of 33% of all domestic generation the irregularity of their supply (at night or on calm days) has become the gorilla in the room. IBD Editorial:

One is that people pay for power on the assumption that it's there when they need it, not when the weather pleases. Another is that unreliable sources have to be backed up by reliable ones.

And here's the most expensive truth: The more you spend to subsidize unreliable renewables, the more you need to spend on backup power as well.

Either that, or you learn to live with routine brownouts.

Given the premise that Americans will not settle for the same availability of electric power seen in postwar Iraq, this means that the "replaced" natural gas generating plants will have to be maintained, in service and on-line, as backup to the fickle and failure prone generators preferred by the Church of Human Sacrifice. But since those plants aren't selling power on a daily basis, their existence must be ... class, class, anyone, Buehler? Subsidized.

So one big subsidy for renewable energy may end up begetting another for backup energy made necessary by the over-reliance on renewables.

And both will come out of consumers' pockets, through either higher power bills, higher taxes or higher prices for goods and services charged by businesses saddled with higher rates and taxes of their own.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2013

Pollution-Free Coal Power

Detractors like to say "Clean Coal doesn't exist" but Dr. Liang-Shih Fan is one of many scientists laboring, and succeeding, in accomplishing it.

Liang-Shih Fan, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and director of the Clean Coal Lab, has just completed a 203 hour test of a radical new way of obtaining energy from coal. Typical coal-fired power plants burn coal to boil water, and run the resultant steam through turbines to produce electricity. Fan's process, a new technology called "coal-direct chemical looping," does not burn the coal. Instead, it chemically converts coal to heat in a sealed reactor chamber. Tiny iron oxide beads help to deliver oxygen to the coal particles, which are then cycled through an airflow chamber for re-oxygenation, then run back through the reaction chamber. This is the "looping" in the technology's name. The process gives off no air pollution, and the captured carbon dioxide is ninety-nine percent pure, enough to make it a valuable commodity.

The test, which was run on a lab-sized reactor, produced a continuous twenty-five kilowatts of power.

25 KW! That could power a house! Or a car! Oh wait - carbon dioxide? Hasn't the EPA decided that carbon dioxide, necessary for plant growth, is a pollutant? Never mind. Back to windmills and bicycles.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:38 PM | Comments (2)
But Alexc thinks:

I was pleased to see that there is a NASCAR stock car sponsored by "Clean Coal"

This is good news.

Posted by: Alexc at February 28, 2013 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought so too brother, but when I saw it wrecked last weekend I couldn't help wondering what kind of smear ad the Church of Human Sacrifice might make from it.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2013 11:59 AM

February 21, 2013

No Peak Oil, but who will refine it?

Vaclav Smil in the American wonders "Is it too much to hope that even some catastrophists and peak-oil cultists will find it impossible to ignore the latest numbers?"

Yes. But the numbers do look good:

The reversal has been impressive: from 2008 to 2011, extraction rose by nearly 50 Mt to just over 352 Mt, a level last seen in the year 2000; the increase over those three years was more than the total 2011 output of such oil powers as Indonesia or Azerbaijan. North Dakota (Bakken shale) has been the principal locus of this production renaissance. At the beginning of the year 2000 there were fewer than 200 oil wells producing from the Bakken deposits, averaging about 10 barrels a day per well; by October 2012, there were nearly 4,800 wells with average daily flow of about 140 barrels of oil per well. North Dakota's oil output was 37 percent ahead of Alaskas North Slope extraction and behind only Texas and the offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico.

A forecast by the U.S. Department of Energy sees a possible production increase of as much as 140 Mt/year by 2025, and the most recent review by the International Energy Agency (IEA) even sees the United States as the world's largest crude oil producer as early as 2017. That may be too much to expect but, in any case, U.S. oil output disproves any preordained and immutable validity of Hubbert's curves (which attempt to infallibly predict U.S. and world oil output for decades to come! No wonder that Leonardo Maugeri, the former senior executive vice president of strategies and development for Italy's largest oil and gas company, ENI, speaks about a genuine oil revolution).

So that's why gas is so cheap!

Kudlow and his panel have the answer. A million bbls. of refined capacity has been taken off the market over the last year.

Thirty years since we built a refinery, but we shut them down regularly (~2:00). What are the odds of building one -- can you imagine that's happening?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:48 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm going to come out in favor of government funded research into car and truck engines that can run on a new "alternative" fuel: crude oil.

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2013 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Statist! What's the matter with Brother JohnGalt's Home Cracking Tower? $299.95! Order before midninght and we'll include a barrel of WTI.

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2013 4:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just seein' if you are paying attention. :)

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2013 10:09 PM

February 6, 2013

Global Warming Solved!

By ThreeSources favorite, Jeremy Clarkson's innovative P-45

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Just days ago I witnessed an above average girthed gentleman piloting a "Smart" Car. He appeared to be painted to the inside of the glass. Dear Jeremy would now probably give the clothes off his back for the spacious cabin of a "Smart."

Any word yet from UK enviro-police about the gratutitous spill of 0.3 litres of petrol?

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2013 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

You would not expect it from an MR2 guy, but I loathe the smart car. It's more ostentatious than economical and lacks small car handling -- get a real one like a Mini Cooper or a Mister or a Beetle.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2013 4:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Innovative"? Puh-leeeeze. The Japanese had it twenty years ago - and called it Mobile Suit Gundam. Except they had more horsepower. And they flew. And had weapons.

My first glance at the license plate, I misread it as "R2D2."

Of course it's British. It's a Dalek, with a coat of white paint.

And for the record, the placement of the filler cap is mildly suggestive. Along the lines of "is that unleaded, or are you just happy to see me?"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 6, 2013 5:06 PM
But Mrs. Keith Arnold thinks:

Shades of Mr. Bean sans the Rowan Atkinson's hilarious facial expressions.

Who thinks up this stuff?

Posted by: Mrs. Keith Arnold at February 7, 2013 6:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The English, dear MKA, the English. They are right looney, the lot of them.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2013 7:48 PM

January 29, 2013


Except six years later, little has changed. The cellulosic ethanol industry produced zero gallons in 2011 and zero in 2012. But the EPA still required oil companies and refiners to buy 6.6 million gallons in 2011 and 8.7 million in 2012--and then to purchase millions of dollars of "waiver credits" for failing to comply with a mandate to buy a product that did not exist. This is the sort of thing that led to the Protestant Reformation. -- WSJ Ed Board
Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2013

Boulder's Respect for Differing Opinions

Weld County MILF (umm, that's Mothers In Love with Fracking) Amy Oliver talks to Jon Caldera. I embed because I have referenced this clip a couple times. The whole thing is worth a watch, but be sure to see how the sweet peaceful hippies of Boulder behave (7:00 - 10:00) when encountering a discussion of science.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for posting. This story can't be over exposed. I spent my college days in Boulder and it was similar to this when the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center organized traffic-blocking street demonstrations against nuclear weapons, nuclear power, pesticides, or any number of other things that have never produced the "child poisoning" these, ahem, 'science awareness advocates' then foretold. But this is worse. Perhaps they are emboldened by the growing acceptance of the tactics of al Qaeda, or the Weather Underground.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2013 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, I was wondering when Caldera's fond remembrance of Kumbaya peaceful discussion days occurred. I did not show up until 1988 -- the civility was long gone by then.

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2013 10:36 AM

November 28, 2012

A little shopping for myself on "75 Watt Wednesday"

Next-year's verboten lighting device:

"SYLVANIA 12510 75-Watt 130-Volt A19 Household Bulb, 24 Pack 75A CVP 24PK"
Tools & Home Improvement; $15.27
In Stock
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC

Contraband warm light and a possible currency in Second Term President Obama America.

Buy it through Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, they're down to $11.19 per 24 pack now! (from "Life and Home")

Posted by: johngalt at November 28, 2012 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeahr but -- no Prime® It's a racket I tell you.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2012 3:46 PM

November 26, 2012

'Lectric Cars! The Wave of the Future!

...for over 100 years now!

A pessimistic assessment by Vaclav Smil in the American is full of schadenfruedeny-goodness. But I was struck by the news that Toyota has elected not to dive into the briny deep:

Perhaps most tellingly, in September, just a few days before Toyota's mini-electric eQ city car was to make its debut at the Paris Motor Show, the company announced that it was cancelling its plans to mass produce the vehicle. According to Takeshi Uchiyamada, the company's vice-chairman, "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge." If a company that has been in the forefront of innovative design, high-quality production, and consumer satisfaction and that in 2012 reclaimed its title as the world's largest carmaker (lost in the wake of the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake) comes to such a conclusion, I do not see how other major competitors can succeed where Toyota refuses to even tread.

Surely there are some subsidies we could offer...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:15 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Obama dogma make bad Karma.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 26, 2012 8:42 PM

November 14, 2012

Ellis Wyatt, Call Your Office!

If I read this right, did the world's "proven oil reserves" just double?

Drillers in Utah and Colorado are poking into a massive shale deposit trying to find a way to unlock oil reserves that are so vast they would swamp OPEC.

A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that if half of the oil bound up in the rock of the Green River Formation could be recovered it would be "equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves."

Both the GAO and private industry estimate the amount of oil recoverable to be 3 trillion barrels.

How are we going to stop this?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:


"The amount of oil recoverable is estimated to be 3 trillion barrels -- three times more that the whole world has consumed in the past 100 years."

Drill, baby, drill.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 14, 2012 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"The technology for assessing oil reserves is pretty good," Rusco said. "I don't say there isn't a wide margin of error, but you can have great confidence that there is a very, very large amount of oil trapped down there that could be recovered. It's just that, so far, it can't be recovered at a profit."

That's not a problem. In this country the "new energy economy" is based on using taxpayer dollars to "stimulate" not-yet profitable technologies so they can then grow large enough to support themselves. Paging Dr. Steven Chu.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2012 3:40 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

"You have reached the voice mail of Ellis Wyatt. I'm sorry I can't take your call right now, but after the results of November 6, 2012 I will be vacationing in an undisclosed location until approximately the time your power goes off...for a couple of years. Feel free to leave a message. And if you think the Obama Administration will allow enough oil production to get you inexpensive gas, good luck."

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 14, 2012 4:10 PM

October 31, 2012

Obama's Solar Panel Cronyism: Move On, Nothing to See Here

"You better let him know that the WH wants to move Abound forward."
- Executive Director DOE Loan Programs, June 25, 2010

Composite video below from RevealingPolitics. Story based on DOE emails obtained by CompleteColorado.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Nice -- and further supported:

The new emails contradict claims by Obama and others in his administration that all decisions on the $20 billion DOE clean energy loans were made by career executives in the department.

Most recently, Obama told a Denver television news interviewer on Oct. 26, 2012, that the loan decisions are "decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics."

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2012 5:35 PM

October 11, 2012

or "Schadenfreude"

It's not like I didn't warn them. Germany's misguided effort to replace all nuclear power plants with "green" energy sources is already leading to higher costs, more taxes and frequent blackouts. Predictibly, the poor are the first to suffer as an estimated 200,000 households on government assistance had their power shut off due to unpaid bills.

Far from a well-conceived plan, and how could it be when reliable power sources are eschewed for wishful ones, the effort has led to chaos.

Merkel's Blackout - Energy Plan Plagued by Lack of Progress

Meanwhile, Germany's 16 federal states are developing their own concepts, some of which are at odds with each other. Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer says that his state plans to develop a self-sufficient energy supply. But David McAllister, the governor of the northern state of Lower Saxony, has a plan based on supplying Bavaria with large amounts of electricity from wind farms off the North Sea coast.

What some grid operators, power plant owners and scientists are doing today is nothing short of flabbergasting. There are power plants that are not connected to the grid, power masts without lines, and power lines leading to nowhere.

"There is still quite a lot to do here," Rösler said when he emerged from the boiler room in Hönow. Petra Röfke, the owner, nodded. Rösler added that he couldn't have imagined so much waste. "It's crazy, isn't it?"

Crazy indeed. The last of the 3-part series German Energy Revolution, of which the linked article is part 1, ends thus:

Despite all the criticism, the experts still believe that the energy turnaround is the right thing to do. It just has to be done correctly, says Löschel.

When Environment Minister Altmaier was traveling this summer, he was often asked about the nuclear phase-out. In these conversations, his English-speaking counterparts matter-of-factly used Energiewende, the German word for the energy turnaround. The term has apparently become established worldwide.

Altmaier was pleased. But it remains to be seen whether talk of Germany's Energiewende will be taken as a compliment in the future, just as kindergarten and autobahn have entered the English language as largely positive terms, or whether Energiewende will become more of a derisive term, like "German angst."

... or "Schadenfreude."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Sie haben keine Einhörner?

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2012 3:43 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

As a lover of the German language...remarkably applicable to power grids: Eine Kette ist nur so stark wie ihr schwächstes Glied!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 11, 2012 4:10 PM
But Steve D thinks:

Of course the poor suffer. That's the whole point of the exercise.

Posted by: Steve D at October 11, 2012 7:11 PM

October 4, 2012

America: Frack Yeah!

How many times have we heard the left make baseless claims that Big Oil uses its money and influence to stamp out competition wherever it can, and thereby maximize their own profits? Investors Business Daily printed an editorial yesterday that now, finally, substantiates that claim. But it's not what you might think. In this case "Big Oil" equals Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia's state-owned oil monopolies.

Venezuela's state Foundation National Cinematheque has been financially linked to "Gasland," a 2011 anti-fracking documentary whose aim was to paint fracking in the U.S. as dangerous.


This week, the Heritage Foundation's Lachlan Markey found that United Arab Emirates-owned "Image Media Abu Dhabi" financed "Promised Land," a Matt Damon film that shows U.S. oil and gas companies as greedy behemoths out to poison America's small towns.


Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been accused of financing radical environmentalist groups through foundations to undercut oil sands production in Canada, which is America's top supplier.

If you have to ask why they oppose American energy production, here is the answer:

All this signals something big is at stake in global power politics: fracking, which threatens petrotyrants as no nuclear weapon ever has. The Gulf states, Venezuela and Russia derive their power solely from their dominance in energy production, not by their economies.

If fracking and the combination of investment, high tech, expertise and geography enable the U.S. to produce natural gas at $3 a unit, while Russia can only do it at $10, the threat is obvious.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (3)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Yes, yes, YES. American inexpensive energy explosion coming even if Obama gets reelected...he'll try to stop it, of course, but I don't think he can. Private land still exists!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 4, 2012 3:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ah, the idealism of private property. Don't bet that he can't stop it. Private property owners don't own the air, don't own the underground water, don't own the snail darters and wooley amoebas.

Good NED man, have you not read the book? (He asks, knowingly.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 4, 2012 3:36 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I will revise and expand my remarks...I don't think Obama in his second term will have the political capital to kill the American energy revolution. Congress won't let him and a lot of union folks are counting on it. His theoretical Gaiaean Marxism will clash too much with reality. Objective reality!

Thankfully, I think we have a good chance of a different President who will be pushing the car DOWN the track instead of putting on the brakes as hard as possible. But as in "the book," there is the possibility that Wesley Mouch will be appointed "Czar" with the power to screw things up. I don't totally discount that.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 4, 2012 3:51 PM

September 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

I know that someone is thinking that gas prices are going up, and when they do, electric cars will prove to be a smart thing. I'm not so sure. The CBO provided a breakeven on this line of thinking. If gas prices go north of $6, electric starts to make sense. When gas goes to $10, all of the vehicles break even to conventional autos. The problem I have with this line of reasoning is that if gas were to go to $8, the US economy (and the rest of the world) would come to an economic halt. In that environment a fellow would be grinning if he had an electric car, but he would probably be out of work, and most of the stores he would want to drive to would be closed. What good does the electric car create for him if things go very bad? Not much. -- Bruce Krasting Business Insider
Hat-tip: Insty imposter Ed Driscoll
Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2012

One for Brother JG

I enjoyed this article, but I was disappointed because I knew I was not enjoying it as much as Johngalt would. I could be wrong, but there's a taste:

When it comes to energy, most discussions focus on narrow specifics: Should we use less oil? Should we use less coal? More nuclear? Wind power? Solar power? Should we use less power altogether? All of these questions are important, of course, but they are too often discussed in the complete absence of context. The bigger picture is that biology and anthropology tell us something very interesting about human beings: We are not simply beings that use energy, we are beings that exist only because we harnessed energy, and our use of energy has shaped our bodies and culture for millions of years.

Kenneth P. Green asks "Homo Sapiens or Homo Igniferens?" He answers that our use of energy drove our evolution, instead of some lucky break when these hairless large animals with the small teeth discovered fire.

It is easy for an engineer or economist to wax about our relationship with energy -- the biology and anthropology is interesting as well.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:47 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yes, we did build that fire. Us and our opposable thumbs.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 19, 2012 11:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, YES!

Politicians like to talk about how Americans are "addicted to oil" or "addicted to cheap energy." It would be more accurate to say that humans are biologically and culturally adapted to reliance on energy. Are we addicted or adapted? It makes a big difference in how one perceives the role of energy in our civilization.

After reading that article, and this excerpt from near the end, I need a cigarette.

Lemmie see, where was that comment again?

And finally, I can't help but credit cheap and abundant energy, together with means to use that energy to do work, for the standard of living that modern man has become not only accustomed to, but takes as a natural and automatic condition - one that will "always be that way." Let Hollywood live on the beach and make movies without electricity or fossil fuels for a few years and we'll likely see a shift Eastwood in their philsophy and politics.

Man produced enough to subsist on with the energy he liberated from burning wood, and later coal, and even began creating heavy machinery that used those fuels, but th date when petroleum was discovered marks the dawn of humanity's metoric advance in prosperity.

Thank you for linking this brother. I see it is part of a larger series.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2012 2:48 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"After reading that article, and this excerpt from near the end, I need a cigarette."

Yer killin' me, man!!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 20, 2012 4:54 PM

September 4, 2012

Idiot Quote of the Day

"The reason the economics fail in the US is not a failure of Wind, its a failure of greedy corporations to allocate costs in a manner that is for the common good. Energy is like air - it comes from God and should not be for-profit. COOPs are the most cost efficient way to deliver electricity. Remove the corporate overhead with multi-million dollar salaries for CEO's and the economics of wind are obvious."

Posted 3 hours ago as a comment on a blog post at one of my engineering trade magazines. The post itself is noteworthy, for it represents the first I can remember where the realities of alternative energy sources are given as much weight as the pollyanna political correctness.

And then there is the cost of wind per MW hr with the subsidy included. Without the subsidy - fuggedaboutit. And it looks like the forgetting will be happening soon. The tax credits for "alternative" (read unreliable) energy have not been renewed. What was that again? Renewables have not been renewed? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? There is a simple explanation.

Wind power does not succeed by capturing wind. It succeeds by capturing government.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:25 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... the economics of wind are obvious..."

I've got your "obvious" right here...


Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 4, 2012 3:43 PM

August 30, 2012

What Government Program Again?

Smith Dairy paid for the facility and trucks from its own corporate funds, executives said.
I don't normally open a post with an excerpt, but Dammit Jim, I'm a pundit, not a grammarian!

The quote is pulled from a story on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a motor fuel. Smith Dairy uses this in its [What has a horn and gives milk?"] delivery vehicles. They opened a station to both service their trucks and sell the fuel to the public.

The station currently sells CNG at the equivalent gasoline price of $1.95 per gallon. The station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and takes credit cards. The natural gas comes in via a normal gas pipeline buried under the street and is compressed on site using two made-in-Ohio Ariel Corp. gas compressors.

I hear every day that we need government to provide the infrastructure for a conversion (T. Boone Pickens and blog brother Silence Dogood) or that it must mandate fuel types to automakers (Bob Zubrin) to provide demand.

But here's a dairy company (ice cream cones at the grand opening) fueling its vehicles and others with $2 gas. It is clear from the article that it is done purely to save the planet. But I wonder if somebody might be able to somehow make a buck at that.

Hat-tip: @Mark_J_Perry

Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

Doesn't UPS do the same thing? Seems like a bunch of the UPS trucks I see say they are Natural Gas Fueled vehicles.

Posted by: dagny at August 30, 2012 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Fleets are using CNG -- the hook here is making refueling available to others and the public.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2012 4:19 PM

July 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

Capitalism is not, Monbiot is forced to admit, a fragile system that will easily be replaced. Bolstered by huge supplies of oil, it is here to stay. Industrial civilization is, as far as he can now see, unstoppable. Gaia, that treacherous slut, has made so much oil and gas that her faithful acolytes today cannot protect her from the consequences of her own folly. -- Walter Russell Mead
Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know about Fracking

And then a dozen more pages!

Kidding (sortof).

Independence Institute's Frack Attack: Cracking the Case Against Hydraulic Fracturing by Donovan D. Schafer looks very good. At 33 pages, I sent it to my Kindle for later consumption.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2012

CFLs Give You Cancer


Posted by John Kranz at 4:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2012

Better than Sand Millionaires!

Why oh why do leftists want to conscript poor children to poverty?

LORDI, India -- Sohan Singh's shoeless children have spent most of their lives hungry, dirty and hot. A farmer in a desert land, Mr. Singh could not afford anything better than a mud hut and a barely adequate diet for his family.

But it just so happens that when the hard little bean that Mr. Singh grows is ground up, it becomes an essential ingredient for mining oil and natural gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing.

The increase in guar prices is helping to transform this part of the state of Rajasthan in northwestern India, one of the world's poorest places. Tractor sales are soaring, land prices are increasing and weddings have grown even more colorful.

Hat-tip: @adamsbaldwin

Posted by John Kranz at 1:59 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

So enriching a few privileged children in rural India is important enough for you to risk a 0.000000001 percent chance of that guar contaminating the groundwater used by American children? That's why people like you and Mr. Romney should never be president. Unlike President Obama, you don't care enough. (/sarcasm)

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 6:19 PM

July 16, 2012

Dozens of "Sand Millionaires"

Not a phrase one expects to encounter. But that good fracking sand has to come from somewhere, don't it? Why not "America's Sandbox?" Prof. Mark J,. Perry:

I spent the weekend along the Mississippi River in Buffalo City, Wisconsin, about 120 miles south of Minneapolis-St. Paul (across the river from Winona, Minnesota), where there is a growing controversy in sand-rich southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin ("America's Sandbox") about mining for frac sand (the silica sand used for hydraulic fracturing). While starting my drive this morning to the Minneapolis airport, I took pictures of the two signs above that help tell the story of the controversy

Free markets make millionaires out of sand farmers.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:52 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

A challenge to the "fixed economic pie" crowd: Whom are the sand millionaires taking wealth away from in the process of their personal enrichment?

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 6:54 PM
But jk thinks:

You're just a shill for Big Sand!

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2012 7:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's a little more esprit de l'esclaier:

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "go pound sand."

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 6:06 PM

July 11, 2012

Under the President's Bold Leadership!

The Peace Garden State's oil production has surged.

All of this in spite of vigorous Republican opposition and obstructionism!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:54 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Another Obama "accomplishment." "See what can happen when we get those $#*&?#! Republicans out of the White House?"

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2012 3:28 PM

July 9, 2012

W. R. Mead on the Energy Revolution (Part I, the Losers)

We all seem to be WRM admirers here, more or less, so it was probably only a matter of time before one of the blog brothers posted this but...is it wrong of me to be so happy about these losers?:

If the US, Canada and Israel are the likeliest big winners, the biggest losers in the coming shift will be the Gulf petro-states and Russia. Their Gulf losses arent going to be economic; the Gulf will still have the worlds cheapest oil to produce and so its oilfields will be the most profitable at any given price point.

Russia, on the other hand, is going to have a harder time. Its oil and gas are more expensive to produce and so Russias profit margins are likely to fall.

But regardless of the simple economic impact, in different ways and different degrees the Gulf countries and Russia are going to lose a lot of the political advantages that their energy wealth now gives them. They will have less ability to restrict supply and to manipulate prices than they have had in the past. Oil and gas are going to be less special when supplies are more abundant and more broadly distributed.

The Whole Thing is here.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 4:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 6, 2012

Oh No, Mr. Bill!!! Noooooo!!!

George Monbiot is realy, really bummed that "We were [really, totally] wrong on peak oil. There's enough to fry us all."

Some of us made vague predictions, others were more specific. In all cases we were wrong. In 1975 MK Hubbert, a geoscientist working for Shell who had correctly predicted the decline in US oil production, suggested that global supplies could peak in 1995. In 1997 the petroleum geologist Colin Campbell estimated that it would happen before 2010. In 2003 the geophysicist Kenneth Deffeyes said he was "99% confident" that peak oil would occur in 2004. In 2004, the Texas tycoon T Boone Pickens predicted that "never again will we pump more than 82m barrels" per day of liquid fuels. (Average daily supply in May 2012 was 91m.) In 2005 the investment banker Matthew Simmons maintained that "Saudi Arabia cannot materially grow its oil production". (Since then its output has risen from 9m barrels a day to 10m, and it has another 1.5m in spare capacity.)

Peak oil hasn't happened, and it's unlikely to happen for a very long time.

The horror. The horror.

(Note, I am about to head out to the wilds for 24 hours or so, sorry but next 5 Best Song not quite ready...)

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 6:50 PM | Comments (0)

All Hail Harsanyi!

Herewith, this sixth day of July, Anno Domini 2012, I do coin Kranz's Law: "The token member of the opposition party in the cabinet will undoubtedly become the greatest embarrassment to both parties."

Videlicet: Secretary Ray LaHood:

It's not every day you hear a cabinet member praising authoritarians abroad. Then again, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood unleashes so many preposterous statements he makes Joe Biden look like a high priest of Vulcan.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2012

JK Links Rush

Mister Limbaugh that is -- not the Canadian, Objectivist Rockers. These are the end times. But when the man is right...

If youre in the DC area, are you happy you don't have an electric car? Yeah, with the power outages, are you happy you don't have an electric car? Because two million, five million, three schmillion, whatever. Aren't you glad you don't have an electric car? By the way, how are those windmills working out for you? How are the windmills and solar panels working out? Are they running your air-conditioning for you? As you sit there and sweat away, how are things doing in the nation's capital? All those windmills are really working out, huh? Solar panels, yeah, man, that's the future. There you are, sitting there, sweating, stinking like a stuck pig for three days, and it's gonna be this way for another week..."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Cheap shale gas will save us! Thank you to all my friends in the industry.

The watermelons will no doubt do their best to kill it (well, they're already trying) but see here, not only is the gas cheap, carbon dioxide emissions are probably down to 1990 levels!

How anyone could be against this would be a conundrum, unless you've read that little book Atlas Shrugged. They're people who worship pain.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 3, 2012 2:54 PM

June 28, 2012

Ellis Wyatt, New at Three Sources

"Ellis Wyatt" is the nom-de-blog of a man who has spent the last 14 years in politics and government. A great admirer of the works of Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein, his approach to life is perhaps best represented by the Neo-Victorian phyle in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.

He believes that his country, the United States of America, has been weakend spiritually, philosophically and educationally by Marxism and its branches: feminism, postmodernism and the quest for radical equality of outcome.

He has the desire and the Will to take action to return the culture to its former, higher level. However, he does not advocate government power as the means to this end. Instead, he advocates that leaders, and all citizens, speak and write and create art to convince individuals to perform the actions that lead to the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

He believes people should work for a living, take care with their appearance and possesions and contribute to their community through charity, volunteer work and mentoring, but knows damned well that the government can never force individuals to do these things. Neither can government save the irrational and the foolish from the consequences of their actions. Government is a powerful and dangerous tool, as the Founders of the United States well understood. It is suitable for a few big things: military defense of the nation, relations with other nations, protection of individual rights and the prevention and punishment of force and fraud.

Ellis is not nearly as much of an ultra-uptight, upright a****** as you might expect from the above blah-blah, and his activities and pursuits include firearms and hunting, archery, chess, history and biography, and the moderate but hearty consumption of martinis, good scotch and Sam Admas lager. He has a liberal arts degree from a modest but high-quality university, and truly loves producing oil and gas but believes that if things don't change, at some time in the futre he may set his wells on fire and move to Colorado.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 6:31 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
But Robert thinks:

Well "Ellis," you sound like a pretty fine fellow but have you actually read Aristotle? And for someone with such high standards, what's with all the typos?

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 8:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ha ha ha! Hey Robert, Down boy! :) As Heinlein would surely say in this situation, "Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naïve, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best." Not that I think you are any of young, naïve, or unsophisticated.

Welcome to the blog, brother ew. (Better than brother eeew.) If you have anything at all to do with oil production, even in spirit, you're already a friend of mine. We'll quibble about all of those capitalized words later but for now, a fine starting point.

And I couldn't tell - are you still in government? If so you are one brave sonofa-

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 10:00 PM
But Robert thinks:

Didn't mean to sound too harsh. Ellis seems like a fellow traveler, and if he likes RAH then he's already on my good side...and I've read only about half of Aristotle myself so humility might be in order.

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 10:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did I miss the original Aristotle reference? I've looked and looked and haven't found it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 11:42 PM
But Robert thinks:

I was taking the capitalized Good, True and Beautiful for Aristotle's Transcendentals.

Posted by: Robert at June 29, 2012 12:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My public school education fails me again. Look out brothers. The bar has been raised 'round here!

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 12:45 AM

June 27, 2012

Headline of the Day

Economists Without Calculators
Be wary of op-eds in the New York Times that tout an "environmental revolution."
Posted by John Kranz at 5:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2012

Innovation vs. Government Direction

Tempted to start a Facebook fight with this. It's been a while, and this speaks well to my point. Yet this is our third day of triple digit heat, I fear there are two new fires (le Condo d'Amour is covered in dense smoke), and it is unlikely that anybody is in the mood. Of course, that has not slowed down my reason-deficient interlocutors.

But Walter Russell Meade points out -- and Insty links -- that free market innovation is doing more for the environment than (don't laugh) the UN and top-down controls:

As activists in Rio and around the world mourned the failure of yet another useless summit to do anything about climate change, good news on the CO2 front was coming from the country greens love to hate: the US.

While Europe has adopted a plethora of expensive laws without any significant effect on CO2 emissions, the US is substantially reducing its emissions even as air pollution levels drop. As a CNN report puts it:

Right now, fracking is doing more to control carbon emissions than all the efforts of all the greens in the world. And by promoting American (and Chinese!) domestic energy production, it is doing more to lay the foundations of world peace than all the peace activists and disarmament campaigners in the world. And by creating more well paid blue collar jobs both in gas and oil extraction and in the manufacturing industries that will grow to exploit the new cheap energy sources, fracking strengthens the American economy and the tax base, providing revenues for both federal and state governments.

UPDATE: Well, I did put it on Facebook. Hang on...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Schumpeter/Hayek/Bastiat- 1
Pigou/Keynes/Gore- 0

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2012 2:19 PM

June 10, 2012

Denver Post Scolds Sierra Club

Last week I noted that Sierra Club is preparing a "Beyond Natural Gas" advocacy effort as part of its "none of the above" energy strategy. Today the reactionary big-oil shills at the Denver Post editorial board joined my disapprobation.

The executive director of the influential environmental group recently wrote: "It's time to stop thinking of natural gas as a 'kinder, gentler' energy source."

To be blunt, no, it is not time.

We are dismayed that this group is repositioning itself as an anti-gas group, going as far as to proclaim that it will lobby to stop all new gas-fueled power plants.

It seems to us that as market conditions and technological advances have led to a boom in availibility of cheap natural gas, the backtracking is born of fear fear that this nation will come to rely on this "transitional fuel" as a long-term solution.

Disapprobation of environmental extremism deserves approbation. I don't say this every day but ... bravo, Denver Post, bravo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:30 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Bravo, indeed!

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2012 1:38 PM

June 7, 2012

Beyond Magical Unicorn Farts

That is where the American environmental extremist group Sierra Club must intend to take American energy consumers.

On Monday I wrote about the use of natural gas as a political alternative to more prevalent and less costly coal as a source of electric power. That effort is supported by Sierra Club in their "Beyond Coal" campaign. But they aren't waiting for Phase I of Operation Nineteenth Century to be completed before launching Phase II: "Beyond Natural Gas." (Not "natural" enough?) Sierra's strategic coordination leaves much room for improvement.

Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. "Fracking," a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers cant extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas. [Emphasis mine.]

After the requisite "what do you mean 'we' Kemosabe" the next thing I notice is how this message is designed to appeal to the feeler-perceiver contingent of the public but offers no evidence for the thinker-judgers among us. Fear, uncertainty and doubt anyone? Showing a glass of drinking water doctored with contaminants so expertly as to make Don Draper proud, the campaign against the hydraulic fracturing process seems to revolve mostly around the shorthand name for the method containing letters "F" and "K".

Blogger Jay F. Marks explains that Sierra Club took millions in donations from natural gas corporations for the purpose of bashing coal, but new Sierra Club director Michael Brune opened a new chapter in the war on reliable and affordable energy.

The Sierra Club once had a cozy relationship with the natural gas industry, taking more than $25 million in contributions from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries to fund the fight against coal.

Brune ended that relationship when he took over as the environmental groups director in March 2010. He said the club originally worked with Chesapeake because staff and volunteers concluded natural gas might be a viable alternative to coal in electricity generation, but some local chapters developed increasing concerns about gas production.

Let's fast forward, shall we?

Incoming Sierra Club executive director Barnaby Owleton said today that building and maintaining thousands of acres of monstrously large industrial machines to convert wind to electricity is a thorougly discredited process and a clear danger to migratory birds across the nation. "Extinction of multiple species is not just a possibility, but a certainty, if we don't act immediately to move Beyond Wind."
One or two election cycles later...

Woody Weederstein, in his first official statement as new Sierra Club director, slammed the solar electric energy industry for the consequences imposed upon the areas of our planet that are permanently and unavoidably shaded by solar power conversion panels. "In the name of all that is green" he said, "we as Americans have no moral choice but to move Beyond Solar."

And after they succeed in eliminating energy produced by magical unicorn farts the only remaining strategy to "save the planet" will be energy efficiency, which is just another name for rationing. I have a better idea: Hey Sierra Club - Frack off.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2012

President Obama's War on Heat and Light

Last week I wrote about the Denver Post's utter bewilderment that presidential candidate Mitt Romney would give a stump speech in rural Craig, Colorado (after all, there haven't been any layoffs there ... yet) and countered with the news coverage of the event by Routt County's Steamboat Today.

Today that much more objective publication runs an editorial by Rob Douglas that delves deeper into the contrast that Governor Romney is offering.

Agree or disagree with Obamas goal, one fact is undeniable. When Obamas intent became public, every man and woman working in coal-related jobs realized that Obama had placed a bulls-eye on their livelihood. Many of those men and women call the Yampa Valley home.

So when Romney sought the perfect venue to confront Obamas claim of an all-of-the-above energy policy, Northwest Colorado was a natural choice. Romney is calculating that he can increase his odds in November by siding with folks employed in fossil fuel industries in states like Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania all battleground states this year.

After all, Romney has a point when he argues that Obama has continued his war against coal.

This spring, having watched his cap-and-trade legislation die in the U.S. Senate when Democrats abandoned the bill in 2010, Obama bypassed Congress and used the Environmental Protection Agency to start implementing mercury emission, cross-state pollution and greenhouse gas regulations that will kill the coal industry.

But Douglas articulates a much more important message - one I have recognized but as yet not really written about: Coal is not the target. Pragmatic politicians cannot merely "sacrifice" the coal industry conifident in the fact that lost jobs will be replaced by growth in the natural gas industry. If coal is ever defeated the next environmental villain will be natural gas.

Coincidentally, on the same day Romney was speaking to the crowd gathered at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig, the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to the International Energy Agency, global exploitation of shale gas reserves could transform the worlds energy supply by lowering prices, improving security and curbing carbon dioxide emissions, but the industry might be stopped in its tracks if it doesnt work harder to resolve environmental concerns.

Of course, everything after the but in that last sentence is where the battle lies. Because as can be witnessed even here in the Yampa Valley, there are some who will never accept fossil fuels as part of Americas energy policy. And just as coal is under attack, these individuals and organizations are mounting battles to prohibit the use of fracking to extract oil and gas the same oil and gas that Americans have been led to believe could replace coal as an energy source.

And hydraulic fracturing is only the first battlefront in the coming War on Natural Gas. That little "feature" of natural gas called "curbing carbon dioxide emissions" will be its undoing for natural gas is not without CO2 emissions, and once its use has been predicated on reducing that "pollutant" it can hardly remain a viable energy source since it can also be shown to be a "dirty" fuel.

"First they came for the coal, and I said nothing."

Not me. I *heart* coal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 1, 2012

Green Energy

In January, the Spanish government ended absurdly lavish subsidies for its renewable-energy industry, and the renewable-energy industry all but imploded. You could say it was never a renewable-energy industry at all. It was a government-subsidy industry where in exchange for creating conscience-soothing but otherwise inefficient windmills and solar panels, the government gave the makers piles of cash consumers never would have. -- Jonah Goldberg
Bloody spaniards! I'm glad we are so much more sophisticated over here.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2012

Move along, nothing to see here

Mitt Romney made a whistlestop visit to Craig, Colorado on Tuesday after seeing this video, which was sent to him by Frank and Kerrie Moe, the hotel-owning couple who star in it. The event was covered by the Denver Post and Steamboat Today, and one is left wondering if the Post's Sara Burnett was at the same rally as was Steamboat Today's Scott Franz.

In 'Routt County Republicans meet Mitt Romney' Franz opens, "Nancy Buchner said the sour economy motivated her to drive to Craig on Tuesday morning to see Mitt Romney." But in 'Mitt Romney in Colorado calls for government as "ally of business" Ms. Burnett implies that everything's just peachy.

Unemployment in Moffat County was about 8.3 percent in April higher than the state average, which increased slightly to 7.8 percent last month. But local miners and the mayor of Craig said the local coal industry has been stable, with no layoffs or reduced hours at the local mines or the power plant.

According to Franz, however, local resident Buchner sees life differently in the remote coal-mining and power generating town:

"We really believe Romney has the tools and the knowledge to get the economy going," Buchner said, adding that she only recently became politically active because of the economy. "When I talked to different people (at the rally), they were worried about money. People cannot get jobs. This is not an election to sit out." She said she doesnt think President Barack Obama can turn the economy around.

Not to worry though, Burnett says:

The Obama campaign counters that the president's "all of the above" energy approach includes clean coal, as well as wind, solar, natural gas and other sources renewable energy sources. They also note the president made one of the most significant investments in development of clean coal technologies with $3.4 billion in stimulus funding.

Now, one has to wonder if Burnett and "the Obama campaign" agree with Al Gore who says "clean" coal "doesn't exist." Clearly this administration will spend billions of taxpayer dollars on something while at the very same time regulating it out of legal existence.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Merciful freaking Zeus! FOX31 did this story -- together with the "Amercia" typo -- as a "The Wheels are coming off the Romney Campaign" story. It seems production is up and unemployment is less than surrounding areas. Ergo, yes, everything is fine and Governor Romney is insane to suggest there are any problems. They were astonished that the campaign would not retract this obvious "lie."

I weep.

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2012 4:25 PM

May 22, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

While Boulder County and the city of Boulder are developing a Climate Change Preparedness Plan, "we would never waste our money on something like that."

"We respect property rights in Weld County. I wouldn't say the same for the Boulder County commissioners." - Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Excellent. If things get too warm here, I can drive right over the line.

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2012 4:40 PM
But jc thinks:

Hardly worth commenting on but I couldn't resist! ;-)

Denial of the facts (burying your head in the ground) does not justify inaction or mockery. How the human race reacts and responds to change is the crucial element here. We may not agree with any of the actions or responses of Boulder or Weld county in this matter. However, we better get our collective butts in gear and start thinking outside the box if we intend to add another millennium to the clock of human history on planet earth.

Posted by: jc at May 25, 2012 9:51 AM
But jk thinks:

Your comments are always welcome around here.

But it is neither denial nor dismissal. To live long and prosper on this planet will require ingenuity and innovation. Weld sees a future of discovery, Boulder fearfully seeks to preserve an idea of a lost past.

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2012 11:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"We?" What do you mean, we, Kemosabe?

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2012 12:08 PM

May 9, 2012

Governor Romney visits Atlantis Farm

Sort of. Yesterday afternoon my dad emailed that "Mitt is speaking in Ft. Lupton tomorrow." I pressed him for more and he sent me a Denver Post press mention that sent me into search mode for an invitation. Having just exchanged emails with Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call the day before, I decided I'd try to ask him for an entree. Waiting nervously for his reply I also called my county commissioner with the same request. Both of them came through and before I knew it I was on the list. "We would love it if you could attend. Thanks for your support!" Turns out, it was set to happen in an oil field just a few miles away.

The setting was idyllic, considering it was one of those "environment destroying, wildlife maiming" oil wells. Governor Romney used the occasion to criticize President Obama's "all of the above" energy policy. "I've been trying to figure out what he means by that," Mitt said. "I've concluded that he supports any form of energy that is above the ground. He doesn't like those that happen to be under ground."

He also cited the President's statistic that America has just 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. "But this is old thinking" Romney said. "Recent discoveries and new technologies like horizontal drilling and fracking have created a new reality where the United States could become the world's leading producer of oil based energy." He extended this future vision to "an explosion in American industry and manufacturing, leading to greater prosperity for everyone." Of course, "Energy isn't the only factor in this equation, but it is a big factor."

Belated apologies to any local blog brothers who missed out on the opportunity. I would have posted the news and offered to share the RSVP info but had two other appointments that kept me busy.

I also captured the entire speech on video and might post some excerpts down the road.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (11)
But johngalt thinks:

It's a composite photo from the "panorama" function of my Windows phone. After putting it in that mode you push the button once then pan sideways along a guide line on the screen until a guide dot meets a reference circle and it automatically snaps another frame. Repeat once more in the same direction then it automatically stitches the three frames together. It works better with landscapes or when the people are further away.

I was trying to capture the spectacularly clear view of the front range. The weather was perfect!

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2012 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The panorama function is very cool but not quite perfected yet. I believe it's still evolving.

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2012 2:45 PM
But dagny thinks:

Update on the Shameless Self Promotion part: I have now had 2 acquaintances ask, "did you go to the Mitt Romney rally?" Apparently the TV news clips [0:21] included very recognizable shots of our oldest daughter and her electric red hair watching from Daddy's shoulders. In case there was any doubt, jg family political leanings have now been broadcast statewide to anyone watching network news.

Posted by: dagny at May 11, 2012 12:08 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Couldn't have been there in any case, JG. Been locked in 15 hour days with a client in Newark, NJ. Whomever dubbed it the Garden State certainly has a sense of humor. Make that a sick sense of humor.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 11, 2012 5:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did nobody see me at the Obama rally in Boulder last month?

Posted by: johngalt at May 11, 2012 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at May 11, 2012 6:11 PM

April 25, 2012

If I wanted America to Fail

Here we see that Francisco d'Anconia now has a contemporary counterpart with his own YouTube channel.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:49 PM | Comments (0)

The 110,000 Million-Dollar Plan

A favorite TV show growing up was Lee Majors starring as the "Six-Million Dollar Man." After crashing the test flight of an experimental aircraft, Steve Austin was fitted with "bionics" that made him "better, stronger, faster." President Obama has been trying the same thing in America's energy market, with less success. Investors Ed Page says Obama Fought Oil and Lost; Now it's Back to Reality.

In other words, even a fast-forward to 23 years from now doesn't reveal an energy economy substantially different from today's. Obama has run up quite a price tag trying to deny this reality.

By one recent estimate from analysts sympathetic to the green-economy agenda, the government spent $110.3 billion in tax credits, loans and grants to promote the green economy from 2009 to 2011.

The Obama administration also has leaned against oil and toward the environmental lobby whenever the two were in conflict -- most notably in his decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline. What do we have as a result? High gasoline prices, a bigger federal deficit and not-ready-for-prime-time electric cars.

Energy is bound to be one of the key issues in this year's presidential election, and for once the question won't be about managing scarcity. It will be about how to take advantage of the abundant resources under our feet. Barack Obama fought oil and lost, and the next president can learn from his mistake.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"So I'm supposed to be more upset by what Romney does with his own money than with what Obama is doing with mine."

That comment was one of two shared with me this morning in the aftermath of the GOP primary results from last night. It's a comment that probably ought to resonate with all of us here...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 25, 2012 5:03 PM

Quote of the Day

Come on. Sure, gas prices are high in Greece, but that's a country with enormous public debt, slow economic growth, excessive bureaucracy, no fiscal discipline in its lawmakers, an electorate of spoiled and entitled citizens who expect generous social-welfare programs and other people to pay for them, increasing economic activity on the black market, a ludicrously complicated tax code . . . they're nothing like us! -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2012

Defending those eeevil speculators!

All the cool kids are doing it!

James Hamilton:

Here I have a modest suggestion. If Representative [Joseph P. II] Kennedy knows a way to go out and produce another barrel of oil somewhere in the world for $11 a barrel, he would do a world of good if he would actually go out and do it himself, as opposed to simply asserting confidently in the pages of the New York Times that it can be done. People with far more modest fortunes than Kennedy inherited are out there using their resources to try to bring more of the physical product out of the ground.

And many, many more would be attempting the feat if it were remotely possible to produce a new barrel of oil for anywhere close to $11.

If you want to prove me wrong, Mr. Kennedy, then don't talk about how easy it is to produce more oil -- just go do it.

The whole piece is great. He asks the Kudlow question, viz., Whyizzit that speculation drives crude prices up but natgas prices down? Only one side is evil?

Some sense and clarity for your Monday -- Hat-tip: Mankiw.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2012

JK Agrees with Senator Murkowski

"Dogs and cats living together..."

But the good Senator (Pork -- AK) makes an excellent point in a guest editorial today. It is now ten years after we were told it would take ten years to get product from ANWR:

But the most blatant excuse is one that officially expires this week. Because oil might take up to 10 years to reach market, we were told that the nonwilderness portion of ANWR could not be part of the solution to our energy challenges. Nearly every senator who spoke against the amendment in 2002 listed this as a factor in his or her decision.

Now, 10 years later, it is plain to see that the argument was not just wrong, but backward. Instead of being a reason to oppose development in ANWR, the time it takes to develop the resource should be treated as a reason to approve it as quickly as possible.

Consider what would be different today had the Senate agreed to open those 2,000 acres a decade ago. If production were coming online right now as expected, it would be providing our nation with a number of much-needed benefits--including a lot more oil.

I'm wondering about sending that mortgage payment in this month. Man, it'll be 15 years before it is paid off...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

More like, "Stopped clock right twice-a-day."

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2012 4:21 PM

April 11, 2012

'Lectric Car Battery Explodes in Lab

Government General Motors researches new battery technology at its Alternative Energy Center in Warren, Michigan. They had a bit of an accident there last Wednesday.

Warren Mayor James Fouts described the injury to the hospitalized worker as being serious. Fouts was in his office when he received a call about the explosion.

"I just want to say how very fortunate we are that only one person was seriously injured," said Fouts, who toured the site after the fire was extinguished. "There were 80 people in that building, but only one person received a possible concussion and some chemical burns, from what I've been told."

According to Fouts, the building housing the research lab received considerable damage.

"It was significant structural damage. Three very large windows were blown out and thick, fortified doors were forced open by the blast," Fouts said. "Our fire commissioner said the blast went straight up in the area where they test lithium batteries. The building was stuffed with personnel and equipment, but it was designed very well."

Fouts said he noticed a chemical taste in his mouth when he was at the blast site.



Posted by JohnGalt at 3:08 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Clearly, this shows the effectiveness of the powerful Oil and Gas lobby using its leverage to expunge bad press. Cinch up the foil a little above the ears -- you'll get it.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2012 3:26 PM

April 6, 2012

Look for the Union Label

Maybe the President has more problems with Unions over the Coal issue than I suggested:

Posted by John Kranz at 4:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2012

Anti-Obama Union Boss!

It was only a matter of time...

While the United Mine Workers of America likely wont actively oppose President Obamas reelection bid, Roberts said the new EPA regulation could prevent the union from endorsing the president.

Thats something that we have not done yet and may not do because of this very reason. Our peoples jobs are on the line, Roberts said, adding that Obama has done a lot of great things for the country.

Roberts's [sic] comments underscore the vehement opposition to the new EPA regulations in coal states whose economies rely heavily on the fossil fuel.

I also really enjoyed this quote:

Roberts, in Tuesdays interview with host Hoppy Kercheval, took aim at the Sierra Club, arguing the environmental groups campaign to shut down coal plants is killing jobs.

This is a broader problem for me than it is for the Sierra Club or the EPA, Roberts said. And Im convinced, Hoppy, that if you give the Sierra Club enough money, they could shut your job down. I dont know how theyd do it, but theyd figure out a way.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Yet they will line up to reelect him. The rank and file might wander behind the closed curtain (Taranto Metaphor Alert!) but the leadership will do all they can to give him another term.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2012 4:38 PM

April 2, 2012

Great Volt News!

Thanks to record sales, GM may cancel the extra week's hiatus they added to "control inventory."

Spokeswoman Michelle Malcho said GM may cancel the additional summer shutdown week at the factory if sales continue to be strong as expected. "We're going to see what market demands are between now and then," she said today.
They shut down production for lack of sales. Then they extended the shutdown a week. Now, they might cancel the extra week's shutdown. I just wish I owned GM stock. Oh, wait a minute...

Orwell weeps.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I have two questions that come to mind. The first is, who's doing all this new buying of Volts - private buyers, or might it happen to be government agencies and Red China?

The second is, if it is private citizens doing the buying, then how many of them are buying them as a result of being motivated by the spiralling price of gasoline (primarily the result of Federal policies driving up the price of petrol), and how many of them would not choose the highly-priced Volt if it were not for the fact that taxpayers are picking up the tab for twenty percent of the sticker price?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 2, 2012 2:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

General Electric has pledged to buy 12,000 of them, amounting to 20% of the initial sales forecast and over a quarter of the revised target.

Not sure though which GE is closer to: private buyer or government agency?

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2012 3:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JG: given how friendly Jeff Immelt has been with this administration, I'd that the boundary between the two is somewhat porous.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 3, 2012 5:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

True enough, but Immelt's promise to buy Volts from Obama was clearly made during happier times.

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2012 5:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Here's a scary thought. What if the incentives have done nothing?

The purchases are made by people who have a special need, or don't completely care about the price. Maybe the 10-grand giveaways are not doing it.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2012 6:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Plus GE stands to benefit from wide acceptance by supplying charing stations. So the cronyism goes beyond politics.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2012 6:10 PM

Quote of the Day

Obamas "green" preferences have already done GM immense damage by politicizing the Volt--a genuine engineering achievement that was supposed to cast a "halo" over Chevrolet's entire car line, but whose failure to achieve sales goals has instead become a widely publicized embarrassment. It's now a reverse-halo car. ... If the President really wanted to boost GM sales to the sort of red-blooded Heartland types who still buy American carspeople who are probably not O.F.A. members--he should have said he plans to drive a Camry when he leaves office. -- Mickey Kaus
Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

April 1, 2012

A Rare Win?

My least favorite act of lefty nonsense passed with little fanfare this year.

In fact, the only reason I know that the "North Korea Hour of No Power" happened at all was that I saw several posts in opposition. Not even one of my beloved moonbat Facebook friends was talking it up this year.

On March 31, some people will be sitting in the dark to express their "vote" for action on global climate change. Instead, you can join CEI and the thousands of people around the world who will be celebrating Human Achievement Hour (HAH). Leave your lights on to express your appreciation for the inventions and innovations that make today the best time to be alive and the recognition that future solutions require individual freedom not government coercion.

Of course, there was one FB post about "not buying gas on April 15 this year." XOM trembles...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Jeeburz, anti-prosperity nonsense isn't quite as sustainable as the neo-statists had hoped, is it? They'll get another chance to try again, in about three weeks, on "Earth" Day.

(A special treat: Click through at the link for an old-timey Rick Santorum nugget.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2012 2:46 PM

March 29, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

There are lies, damned lies, and then there are Obama's charts. -- Investors Business Daily editorial
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Like squared.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2012 3:04 PM

March 13, 2012

It's the price of gas, stupid

Keep it up Mister President. IBD's Andrew Malcolm:

Showing his keen grasp of free market forces, Obama has ordered Justice officials to investigate oil speculation. Of course, there's oil speculation. It's called the futures market. And watching Obama's policies instead of his words, those experts see higher prices coming ahead, as do most Americans in the poll.

When taking office, Energy Secy. Stephen Chu expressed a desire to drive U.S. gas prices to the European levels of $8-$9 a gallon, much like taxation on cigarettes to discourage their use. This administration has achieved more than half that European goal already.

And voters are taking note:

A new Washington Post-ABC News Poll this week finds about two-out-of-three Americans now disapprove of the Chicago Democrat's job on gas prices, whatever that's been.

Maybe if he started reminding them he "killed bin Laden..."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The official Democratic talking point on this is "No Silver Bullet." The President said it in his speech and I heard two DNC representatives echo it.

Perhaps there's no single thing that would easily and immediately bring fuel prices down, but I can't help but feel if the administration stopped shooting them at every person or company that tries to produce energy, it would be a start.

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2012 4:05 PM
But jk thinks:

And never underestimate the timeless electoral appeal of "The Republicans are coming for your ladyparts!"

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2012 4:25 PM

March 9, 2012

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

James Taranto has forcefully and eloquently taken on the ridiculous "fact checker" sections of media. All any of them are is an extra opportunity to add bias. Piling on is probably not worth the ones and zeros, but...I am almost in tears over today's WaPo "Fact Check."

Obama's $8,000 in gas savings a year -- oops, over a car's life

It's a misstatement, so it gets the lightest sentence of "One Pinocchio." Fair enough, we all make mistakes. Asserting, in front of a cheering crowd, that the 20-26 year savings "over the life of the car" is annual savings seems like a large one, but I am all smiles and compassion today. The crowd was assured that there would be no math, but $8000 a year is $21.92 a day. What will you buy with your savings? If you bought five big SUVs, you could save $100 every day!

Okay, so I am more smiles than compassion. But assuming that is still a mono-pinocchial offense, the fact check goes on to show additional perfidy.

When Obama does say this talking point correctly, note the careful wording -- "$8,000 at the pump over time." He's talking about the savings on gasoline, the happy part of the story. But he has left out part of the total picture -- the costs of compliance with the new rules.

The standards are coming in two phases. The first, which affects cars in model years 2012-2016, will increase the average cost of model 2016 car about $950, while saving $4,000 in fuel, according to government estimates. So the net savings is about $3,000. The second set of standards, which affects cars in model years 2017-2025, will add $2,200 to the cost of a model 2025 car, while reducing fuel costs by $6,600, for a net lifetime savings of $4,400. (Gasoline is presumed to cost about $3.42 before taxes.)

There's "a complicated method" to get to $8,000 fuel savings:
  • If you disregard the cost
  • On a rule that kicks in in five years
  • That Kessler does not even document

Is anybody else's b******t detector going off? Glenn Kessler -- who does this for a living -- is prepared to forgive every sin except multiplying by 26?

Read the article six times, and you'll encounter no suggestion that the President nor his policies are not saving a gorram dime for nobody. You choose to buy the car you buy (unless he gets a second term) and factor in the mileage as part of your decision.

How many will put off buying a new, more efficient vehicle because of the $6600 addition to the sticker price? (Hey, if he can use 2017-2025 figures, so can I!) That's a side of CAFE that gets way too little attention.

MAD Magazine had a "What's wrong with this picture?" spoof where there were obviously many things amiss. The answer was "The headline: This was supposed to be the 'What 1,000 things are wrong with this picture?' picture." In reverse, there are a thousand things wrong with the President's claim to be saving his unquestioning minions eight grand a year. Kessler finds one.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:34 PM | Comments (0)

March 8, 2012

Condor Cuisinarts™

Piling on wind power...

The renewed focus on bird kills is coming at a bad time for the wind industry, which is being hammered by low natural-gas prices and a Congress unwilling to extend the 2.2 cents per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit that has fueled the industry's growth in recent years.

Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks--as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act--are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.

A pernicious double standard is at work here. And it riles Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who wrote the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He told me, "It's absolutely clear that there's been a mandate from the top" echelons of the federal government not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws.

I enjoy tormenting my Facebook friends with this. Their response? "More birds are killed by cats." I guess that is the new standard -- if your technology kills fewer wild animals than natural predators do, everything is copacetic.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:17 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

How many cats are killed by leaks from oil pipelines?

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2012 5:54 PM

March 7, 2012

A Bad Wind Blows this Way

Hope Brother nb is on the road this week, as we've been harshing on the mellow of wind power.

But the WSJ Ed Page reports that a 20 year old subsidy, designed to give the nascent industry some funding so that it could compete in the free market is up for renewal (I mean, really, what can you accomplish with technology in a mere twenty years?)

The most dishonest claim is that wind and solar deserve to be wards of the state because the oil and gas industry has also received federal support. That's the $4 billion a year in tax breaks for oil and gas (which all manufacturers receive), but the oil and gas industry still pays tens of billions in federal taxes every year.

Wind and solar companies are net tax beneficiaries. Taxpayers would save billions of dollars if wind and solar produced no energy at all. A July 2011 Energy Department study found that oil, natural gas and coal received an average of 64 cents of subsidy per megawatt hour in 2010. Wind power received nearly 100 times more, or $56.29 per megawatt hour.

Pigs at the government trough. Glad none of my brave Republicans are particip -- umm, wait a second.
Most Congressional Democrats will back anything with the green label. But Republican support for big wind is a pure corporate welfare play that violates free-market principles. Last week six Republican Senators--John Boozman of Arkansas, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Charles Grassley of Iowa, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jerry Moran of Kansas and John Thune of South Dakota--signed a letter urging their colleagues to extend the production tax credit.

"It is clear that the wind industry currently requires tax incentives" and that continuing that federal aid can help the industry "move towards a market-based system," said the letter. What's the "market-based" timetable--100 years? In the House 18 Republicans have joined the 70-Member wind pork caucus. Someone should remind them that in 2008 and 2010 the wind lobby gave 71% of its PAC money to Democrats.

Senator Chuck Grassley for an energy boondoggle? Mai Non! I refuse to believe it!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I love these opportunities to bad-mouth Republicans. What if?

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2012 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

That's it! I'm never saying "you were right" again.

No. Totally different. Admitting Chuck Grassley is a putz, and decrying the bad positions of others is -- repeat after me, kids -- "holding your party accountable."

Saying there is no difference between Ds and Rs in 2011, and that Governor Romney would be no better friend to liberty than President Obama is counter-productive. And false.

Posted by: jk at March 7, 2012 3:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Agreed. I don't endorse the Napolitano rant entirely, just the underlying theme.

Wasn't trying to "gotcha." Just integrating post themes.

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2012 4:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm here and I can take it. Been some personal drama lately... barely even back to lurking. Shewt, I had a good study from somewhere's about subsidies... but the DOE study is more clean: $/MWhr is the way to look at it.

Off to ID on Monday to climb 90 meters up into one of those spendy white boondoggles.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 8, 2012 1:25 AM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Hope you also saw the Volt thread where technology was appreciated in spite of subsidies. We've all got a streak. I'm an algae man even after the President used it as an excuse to not issue drilling permits or pipe oil from Saudi Oh Canada.

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2012 10:52 AM

March 6, 2012

Quote of the Day

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world's energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine -- despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide. -- Matt Ridley, via Kenneth P Green.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:41 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Is this the Hope that President Obama promised us? I'll take it!

Excellent article on the double click-through:

The subsidising of useless wind turbines was born of a deep intellectual error, one incubated by failure to challenge conventional wisdom.

It is precisely this consensus-worshipping, heretic-hunting environment where the greatest errors can be made.

And this was in the UK news magazine 'The Spectator' not Minnesotans for Global Warming.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2012 3:05 PM

Best Car of the Year!

Why, it's the Chevy Volt of course! It's won several prestigious awards. It's just that nobody wants to buy it... Joann Muller at Forbes, delivers the bad news. But she is painfully even-handed in her appraisal.

Critics quickly jumped on that news as evidence that the Volt is a wasteful folly and the federal government shouldn't be meddling in the auto industry. Never mind that the Volt was conceived long before GM's 2009 taxpayer-financed bankruptcy. As investors with a 32% stake in the world's largest carmaker, taxpayers ought to be pleased by GM's uncharacteristic discipline in matching its vehicle production to real demand. Instead of overproducing Volts, and then heavily discounting them to get people to buy, GM is protecting its investment.

Bursting with pride, Joann, I'm bursting with pride! But...
The Volt's hefty pricetag, $41,000, no doubt scared away some buyers. Even with a $7,500 federal tax credit, it's a lot to pay for a four-seat Chevrolet. The lease price isn't bad at all -- $350 a month, with $2,500 down -- but consumers have somehow missed that marketing pitch, and that's GM's fault. There have been other issues, too: a government investigation into post-crash test fires (much ado about nothing) and the challenge of making people understand the Volt's unique gas-and-electric technology.

You see, ThreeSourcers, you don't have to pony up 40K and wait for your tax refund -- you can lease a volt for $350 a month with $2500 down!

Those critics. What a bunch of losers, eh?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Her "painfully even-handed" sure sounds a lot like Mark Antony, coming not to praise the Volt, but to bury it. The noble Forbes has told us it is a worthy car, and it must be true, for the writers at Forbes are all honorable men.

After all, it's won several prestigious awards! Would you disparage the winner of a prestigious award? Does it not deserve the same respect that you would haved for the winners of other prestigious awards - such as Nobel Peace Prize winners Barack Obama, Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Al Gore, and the IPCC? Such as Rhodes scholars Richard Lugar, Paul Sarbanes, Kris Kristofferson, David Souter, Wesley Clark, Robert Reich, Bill Clinton, Michael Kingsley, EJ Dionne, Russ Feingold, and Rachel Madcow?

Perish the thought.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 6, 2012 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the best thing about buying the $41,000 (base) car, [$48,000 nicely equipped] is that you'll "save a crapload of money."

Speaking 100 percent objectively now, I love the technology in the Volt. It's not even half bad looking. And the apparent fact they can make it for less than $50K is something of a marvel in itself. As true bleeding-edge tech it's a slam dunk success.

But the subsidies and the mandates are what kills it, along with the crony capitalism that stole General Motors from its secured creditors and handed it over with a pretty bow to the UAW, at further taxpayer expense no less. It is a symbol for all that is wrong with 21st century American industry and commerce, and the government that bespoils them both. For this it must suffer the vicissitudes of the market. Consumers who can afford it are also the ones most likely to recoil at what it stands for.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2012 1:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother Keith: the twitter link I followed had me expecting a brutal takedown. Ms. Muller has more good things to say about the Volt than I am used to.

Brother jg: Much technically to like about the Volt, but -- and I'll admit to jaundice -- they missed on the promise of an all-electric drivetrain (likely a good idea, but how do you give twice the Federal Jack for it than a plug-in hybrid?) They missed as well on the date and the price point. Now they miss on sales.

If I wasn't a coerced 32% equity-stakeholder, I would not care, but if I may paraphrase Donne: "Everie abscense of Volt sales affekts me, for I am part of mankinde!"

A good and fair essay on the Volt -- with a nod to your points -- can be found here.

The basic problem with the Volt isn't that it's a bad car that nobody could ever want; it is, in fact, quite an engineering achievement and a rather impressive drive. And if GM had said all along that it would serve as an "anti-Corvette," selling in low volumes at a high price, nobody could now accuse it of failure. Instead, GM fueled totally unrealistic expectations for Volt, equating it with a symbol of its rebirth even before collapsing into bailout. The Obama administration simply took GM's hype at face value, and saw it as a way to protect against the (flawed) environmentalist argument that GM deserved to die because of "SUV addiction" alone.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2012 2:24 PM

March 2, 2012

Be Fearless!

"Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand," said GM spokesman Chris Lee.
Adding a shift? Doubling capacity? Oh, wait a minute, no...

Chevy Volt "Temporarily" Halts Production.

The late great Andrew Breitbart would not mince words and I will try my hand at courage: I hate that damn car! It is the symbol of crony capitalism and disrespect for property rights, the fifth amendment, and the capacity of capital markets to drive innovation. The President and captive cronies at GE cannot make up for the markets' disinterest. Good Good Good!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In California we call that "on hiatus." As in, "After airing thirteen episodes, the show went on hiatus."

In a perfect world, Firefly will resume production before the Volt.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 2, 2012 7:05 PM

I Wonder What Robert Redford Thinks?

Thanks to Facebook frineds, and MoveOn.org. I know.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

*sarcasm*Personally I think it's an outrage that Hollywood studios are free to just make new films whenever they believe a market demand exists for it!*/sarcasm*

Pipeline supporters use "Repeatedly and wildly exaggerated jobs numbers." You oughtta know.
"...voted down real jobs projects." Pedal-powered automobiles.

Keystone means enviros can no longer claim we must "reduce our 'dependence' on foreign oil." With North American oil bursting at the seams it's now all oil we must eschew.

"Energy security comes from reducing our dependence on oil." Classic static society theory.

"Pay close attention and search out the real facts." Good advice Bob.

And what's up with that CO2 and carcinogen spewing wood fire burning behind you? Is that still legal where you live? You and your boys cut and split all of that fuel wood by hand? Haul it around the woods by horse-drawn wagon?


Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2012 3:22 PM

February 27, 2012

Where's my White Leisure Suit?

I'm on record as being extremely interested in fuel from algae. You needn't bother searching for approbative remarks. But I differ with the President in thinking that it will be part of our fuel mix in the near future or that its promise justifies impeding petroleum production.

Ergo, I am not the least bit inconsistent in sharing a second Jim Treacher joke. To the tune of the Rolling Stones' "Angie:"

Algae, algae
When will those cars you run appear?
Algae, algae
The process still ain't too clear

To Obama we give thanks
As we're fillin' up our tanks
You can say he patronized
Algae, algae
His excuses: agonized

You're plentiful, yeah
But your worth is undefined
I slipped on ya
On that boulder at low tide

People think youre kinda gross
As you squish between their toes
Scrub you off, you reappear
Algae, algae
With our drains you interfere

Oh, algae, how you creep
In the shallows and the deeps
Can we use ya when we drive?
Algae, algae
Barry's hopes will you revive?

To Obama we give thanks
As we're fillin' up our tanks
You can say he patronized
But algae, we still love ya, baby
Some use for you we will devise
There ain't a fuel source that comes close to you
At least that's what we theorize

But algae, algae
You're called nori when you're dried
Algae, algae
Hey, at least Obama tried

Posted by John Kranz at 7:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2012

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)


Could this story possibly get any better?

[Soylendra] plans on paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up its own property in Fremont, Calif., but a separate leased property in nearby Milpitas sits vacant with barrels of unknown chemicals and lead-contaminated equipment, attorneys for the landlord, iStarCTL I L.P., said in recent bankruptcy court filings.

Okay, maybe barrels of goo with a picture of the Vice President on each...that would be better.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2012

There's Hope!

Heritage highlights a Rasmussen Poll. It seems Americans are not completely keen on paying ten grand for some rich ass****'s 'lectricar (and I'd love to see the results if they used my wording):

Just 29% of Likely U.S. Voters favor $10,000 government subsidies to encourage the purchase of electric cars, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifty-eight percent (58%) are opposed to such subsidies. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:23 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

29% of likely voters are in need of a trip back to school - or we should at least require an explanation from them as to why they think we all need to pay for a piece of someone else's car.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 21, 2012 5:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I caught a man-at-the-pump interview this morning wherein the subject, probably one of this 29 percent, said, "Gasoline is a precious resource but it is a dwindling resource and the only way to get us to use less of it is to make it more expensive." As though organic hydrocarbon molecular chains are some sort of "endangered specie" that must be preserved for posterity. If it is dwindling then we'll use less of it when we "run out."

If George W. Bush (or some other Republican) were in the White House the press would be screaming "Big Oil price gouging" and "profiteering." But while the same oil companies make the same higher profits on President Obama's watch the narrative is, "fossil fuels should cost more, in order to pay for their harm to society and nature." Note to "Big Oil:" Should Obama be granted a second term, prepare to be nationalized - either de-facto or "in"-facto.

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2012 6:50 PM

Yeah, but what about supply?

I'm pretty reluctant to argue with Richard Epstein. I might challenge Jeremy Lin to a game of one-on-one first. But, with all due respect, Professor Epstein...

Without question, the problem [high price of oil] can be traced back to a renegade Iran. For good and sufficient political reasons, the West has come to see that the Iranian nuclear threat is not just bluster. Indeed, it poses far greater risks to world peace and the political order than even a major disruption in oil supplies.

Hence an anxious West has now put into place a reasonably effective concerted effort to cut off Iran from the world's banking system, and to block the use of Iranian oil internationally, which has been made easier by the Saudis' willingness to expand their own shipments into the world markets. Nor have the Iranians sat back idly. They have cut off exports to the United Kingdom and France, a move that is largely symbolic. But the Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about one-third the world's oil supplies travel, is not symbolic. Nor is the movement of the U.S. aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, into the Strait of Hormuz, merely symbolic.

You are dead right that markets should set oil and gas prices. I'll also concur that both parties and most of the presidential candidates are prepared to use the issue stupidly (in Speaker Gingrich's case, profoundly and stupidly) wrong to attract votes.

But I read a great tweet last night. Sorry I have forgotten attribution, but some 140 character genius celebrated the tenth anniversary of the enviros rejecting ANWR drilling because "it would take ten years for any of that oil to come on line." In a just world, this would get a little press.

Oil futures would respond positively to not only the Keystone pipeline but also liberal permitting in the gulf, and a strong defense of fracking in the States which permit it.

UPDATE: Brother Keith's cartoon deserves an embed:

Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The tweet you reference brings to mind a cartoon done a few years ago by the great Michael Ramirez:


According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know...) drilling in ANWR has been a political hot topic since 1977. Even someone who attended the California public education system could tell you that was 35 years ago. Think of what the price of a gallon of gas might be today if we were pumping that today. Think of what state our economy might be in. Think of how much less important certain Middle Eastern nations might be if that were online today.

Of course, speaking of California, we have all these rich oil fields right offshore. Good thing we have all those resources that we could be leasing out to oil companies, keeping this state from bankruptcy...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 21, 2012 1:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Very good 'toon!

My understanding -- and know that I get all my info from FOX News or Koch Brothers-funded corporate shills -- is that the Santa Barbara oil of which you speak just leaches out into the sea and that drilling would likely relieve the pressure and clean things up. Am I listening to the wrong crowd on this?

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2012 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"... the Saudis' willingness to expand their own shipments into the world markets."

Does Epstein mean to say that, in Saudi Arabia, "big oil" can just arbitrarily adjust output to fit market conditions in real-time, without any restriction or limitation? Gosh, what if every oil producer in the world had such ... freedom?

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2012 2:23 PM

February 17, 2012

Craig Colorado vs. Renewable Energy mandates

A five minute (Embedding disabled by request, sorry) video that is well worth a watch.

"An attack on the very energy sources that have powered our economy, that have made this engine run."

Also love the display of output (~2:05) of the Craig coal plants and the Unicorn farms.

Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong

Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | Comments (0)

Not Taxed Enough, Yet

dagny shares a financial "article of the day" via email. "The interesting thing about this is the comments" she writes. "The majority of commenters seem to think that reducing business taxes (i.e. letting business keep the money they made) is a, 'handout,' or, 'corporate welfare.' Betcha they don't think that about refundable tax credits like the EIC."

And why wouldn't commenters such as Chicago's own "gsdfhdgjhfdhjjjjjkgkjgjks" believe that accelerated depreciation and an R&D tax credit are handouts to corporations. President Obama and groups like Clean Energy Works are turning the entire English language upside down:

A memo circulating from Clean Energy Works, an alliance of about 60 groups, outlines a strategy of framing tax benefits the industry receives as corporate welfare. The memo calls the messaging plan a "line of attack" to counteract the description of climate legislation as a national energy tax.


"What they don't want anyone to know is that the American people already have a national energy tax -- The Big Oil Welfare Tax -- in the form of billions of dollars in subsidies to the wildly profitable big oil companies," the memo adds.

So first, "subsidies" to specific corporations equate to a "tax" on individuals. Well, I can see the logic here if the effects of economic growth spurred by a larger (and cheaper) energy supply and continued government spending on unrelated programs are ignored. But this misses the real point that taxing something less than it might be taxed can not in any sense be considered a subsidy. The government is taking wealth from wealth-producing companies. In English this is known as "taxation."

But even if one believes, as I do, that "Big Oil" should be taxed just as much as any other industry it is erroneous to examine a few specific tax categories where rates may differ and proclaim preferential treatment.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the industry's effective federal income tax rate is more than two-thirds higher than the average for all manufacturing industries.

Furthermore, those throwing stones at the oil industry over corporate welfare would do well to first look in the mirror, for the vast majority of them are vocal proponents of so-called "renewable" energy.

Another EIA study shows renewable energy industries enjoy double the incentives of those for oil and natural gas."

But punitive taxation is nothing new in America or anywhere else where wealth is produced and standards of living have been raised. And despite taking one-quarter or more of the freely created wealth of for-profit corporations and individuals, they still manage to keep working and producing and, getting the shaft. Our commenter from Chicago put it succinctly in the comments to the original article. In reply to a previous sarcastic comment which read:

"Nice. kick businesses in the teeth--the ones who hire the most-- and increase gov spending and deficits. Now THAT'S the way to make jobs!"

gsdfhdgjhfdhjjjjjkgkjgjks wrote:

Still works so far
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, as long as our government is kicking job-producing business in the teeth:


The text from the bill now in Congress (or is that, "incongruous"?) includes the following text. Where have I read something like this again?

"(4) REASONABLE PROFIT.—The term ‘reasonable profit’ means the amount determined by the Reasonable Profits Board to be a reasonable profit on the sale."

And people think Rand wrote fiction...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 17, 2012 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Keep in mind, you'd be grouchy too if your parents had named you "gsdfhdgjhfdhjjjjjkgkjgjks"

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2012 5:32 PM

February 14, 2012

Thousand Words

Even Kenneth Green says so:

Posted by John Kranz at 3:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2012

Internet Segue Machine™

UT Knoxville: UT Researchers Find China's Pollution Related to E-Cars May Be More Harmful than Gasoline Cars

KNOXVILLE--Electric cars have been heralded as environmentally friendly, but findings from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researchers show that electric cars in China have an overall impact on pollution that could be more harmful to health than gasoline vehicles.

Chris Cherry, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, and graduate student Shuguang Ji, analyzed the emissions and environmental health impacts of five vehicle technologies in 34 major Chinese cities, focusing on dangerous fine particles. What Cherry and his team found defies conventional logic: electric cars cause much more overall harmful particulate matter pollution than gasoline cars.

Well, that's in a command-and-control top down economy. Here in the good old USA, surely the market will be able to sort this out. Right?

Daily Caller: Obama hikes subsidy to wealthy electric car buyers

The White House intends to boost government subsidies for wealthy buyers of the Chevy Volt and other new-technology vehicles -- to $10,000 per buyer.

That mammoth subsidy would cost taxpayers $100 million each year if it is approved by Congress, presuming only 10,000 new-technology autos are sold each year.

But the administration wants to get 1 million new-tech autos on the road by 2015. The subsidy cost of that goal could reach $10 billion.

The planned giveaway will likely prompt populist protests from GOP legislators, but it will likely also will be welcomed by auto-industry workers in the critical swing state of Michigan.

Stupid Chinese! Why don't they follow our example and adopt free-market principles?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:07 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2012

Keystone XL Pipeline Economic Impact is "Settled"

As luck would have it, President Obama actually saved US and Canadian energy companies billions of wasted dollars by using the power of the regulatory state to stop construction of their "disastrous" tar sands pipeline. How do I know this? Al Gore says so.

"The analysis from the final EIS, noted above, indicates that denying the permit at this time is unlikely to have a substantial impact on U.S. employment, economic activity, trade, energy security, or foreign policy over the longer term." Source: Climate Progress

This is an important win not only for the thousands of activists who risked arrestand for the hundreds who went to jail--but for all of us who want to try and role [sic] back the effects of the climate crisis, not magnify them.

And who could doubt the objective fiscal evaluations of Climate Progress?

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2012

I'm a Uniter -- Not a Divider!

We may support different candidates, but we'll all share revulsion with Cato's Patrick Michaels as he surveys the Gub'mint Motors Chevy Volt.

At the Detroit Auto Show this week, CEO Dan Akerson admitted that General Motors may have to cut back production of the Chevrolet Volt because the 4,600-plus Volts on the market now are about three times the monthly sales. Other figures put the GM hybrid cars inventory at an outrageous 120-plus days.

And, yet I read about their big month last month. It was great! They sold 1529! Man, things are really turning around. And all those naysaying bloggers are going to have to eat their... Umm, what?
More than a third of those were fleet sales to corporations. None of these were the traditional large-fleet purchasers, i.e. Hertz, Avis and the other big rental companies. They were more like Verizon and General Electric -- with GE having committed to buying 12,000 and having already purchased unspecified "hundreds," with continued "daily" deliveries, as The Wall Street Journal reported recently.

Then there are the direct taxpayer buys. Fifty to New York City. The city of Deland, Fla., brags about buying five with an Energy Department grant. The federal General Services Administration has bought 101 so far, but President Obama has ordered it to procure only hybrid or high-mileage vehicles by 2015. (The taxpayers buy about 60,000 cars a year for GSA.)

So, in addition to our taxpayer subsidy of $11,467,500 (no, that's not a lot in government speak -- but it's for fifteen hundred cars) we're buying the damn cars?

CATO suggests "Kill the car now. It's not cost-effective, and it's irritating taxpayers in an election year." But some folks might lose their jobs. And Speaker Gingrich and Governor Perry wouldn't like that.

(Ooops, I said I was gonna be nice...)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2012

Rainbows and Unicorn Sweat!

Starting with a more family-friendly -- if less poignant -- version of a favorite jg line, I give you Kenneth P. Green with a a classic of the genre. His short post encapsulates everything that is wrong with renewable fuels mandates. Nope, not gonna excerpt.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Awesome comment from the post:

Lew Schuerkamp says:
January 11, 2012 at 11:03 am
You left out the contradiction of requiring more ethanol in gasoline and at the same time imposing higher mpg requirements. Since all forms of Alcohol contain roughly 33% less energy per unit volume, immutable laws of physics dictate that mpg will drop at a rate commensurate with the portion on Alcohol in the gasoline.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 11, 2012 4:36 PM
But dagny thinks:

Since when do immutable laws of physics apply to Democrat ideas?

Posted by: dagny at January 11, 2012 4:51 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

When conquering generals returned to Rome in triumph, they were followed in the parade by a person who constantly reminded the general, "Memento mori! Remember that you a but a man, and must die!"

Democrat officeholders need to have a similar functionary - a Chief Engineering Czar, to remind them "I canna change the laws of physics! I'm giving her all she's got!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 11, 2012 5:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Politicians never really care if their policies work. All they care about is moving the money around under very large walnut shells, and sometimes some of it happens to fall out in fortuitous (for them) places.

Posted by: johngalt at January 11, 2012 6:01 PM

January 5, 2012

Big News!

IT'S NOT A "RECALL," IT'S A "CALL BACK:" GM to call back 8,000 Chevy Volts."General Motors will strengthen the structure around the batteries in its Volt electric cars to keep them safe during crashes, a person briefed on the matter said Thursday. GM will ask Volt owners to return the cars to dealers for structural modifications, said the person, who did not want to be identified because GM executives plan to announce the repairs later Thursday." -- Instapundit.
They sold 8,000 ????

UPDATE: GM Recalling Volts, White House Headed to Detroit to Celebrate?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2012

Short Bisquik®!

Chevy Volt "selling like hotcakes!" sez Democrat, Michigan, Superannuated Congressman.

Romney is the only fellow in the United States who appears to think that the Volt is an idea whose time has not come. Clearly it has not come to him. The Volt is selling like hotcakes. -- John Dingell (D - Dreamland)

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 5:56 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2011

Magnitudes of Bull****

Oh man! Or, as they say on ESPN, "C'mon Man!" I'll be the first to concede that the figure of 250,000-in-federal-jack-per-Volt is a salacious, audacious figure. It's a headline grabber, it's link bait. It's a bit high.

But now that I have read the defense, it's standing up firmly. Insty links to Sebastian Blanco at AutoBlogGreen. Blanco disputes the $250,000 figure, with a flourish:

Oh, how easy it is to go viral on the Internet. All you have to do is be really, really bad at math. Or have an agenda.

The folks propagating 250K had an agenda. But were they bad at math? They divided subsidies by the current production. Likely that is not fair. Investments -- coerced from the taxpayers or not -- should be amortized over a longer run or perhaps all of production,

The Street.com goes looking for the denominator:

Here is the point: Why divide whatever amount -- $1.5 billion or otherwise -- by the number of Chevrolet Volts sold to date? If he had done this study one year from now, when we could be looking at 60,000 Volts made, as GM repeatedly has promised, the headline number would be $25,000 per car -- not $250,000.
Thus, if you divide this $1.5 billion "investment" over 60 million cars over the next 25+ years instead of the 6,000 made over the last year, or the 60,000 to be made next year, the alleged government subsidy comes to $25 per car, or what you will pay for two movie tickets in Manhattan, popcorn excluded. That's very different from the nasty $250,000 per Volt headline floating all over the Internet in the last couple of days.

Less than two Manhattan movie tickets, you cheapskate! When you realize the government is designing the next 60 million cars! That's nuthin'!

I suggest the Street.com's stirring defense actually provides a realistic figure of $25,000 -- which I consider completely and totally insane. Twenty five K of tax money to build a $40,000 car for a buyer who makes (avg) $170,000 per annum. I trust ThreeSourcers would be upset at $25 (enumerated powers, anybody?) but the whole nation should be upset at $25,000.

Of course if you divide by everyone born in the next million years...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:33 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The fallacy is in the presuppositions. They presume GM will build, and sell, 60,000 Volts in the next year. Based on recent sales figures, that would be wildly optimistic, unless you presume that the guv'mint will either buy them all themselves, or put a gun to our heads and force us to buy them.

Which they might.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 27, 2011 5:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed, ka. And that is to get to the only $25,000/car figure.

Full of Christmas generosity, call that a few years' production, which will be that most influenced by our [cough!] investment. That is what causes me to take the 25K figure as accurate.

That's about what I paid for my MR2 in 2004...

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2011 5:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fans of government "investment" will retort, "$1.5B is far less than was spent on the moon program, and look at all the benefits that accrued humanity from that." But the real difference is not in the dollars, it's in the technology. NASA had to oversee the invention of hundreds of new technologies to go to the moon. Electric cars were invented in the 19th century.

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2011 2:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Plus, Tang®

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2011 2:30 PM

December 22, 2011

Colorado's First 'Lectricar!

Oh joy, the future has come to the Centennial State:

Passarelli said the sticker price on his [Nissan Leaf] was about $38,000 -- OK, so it isn't exactly a gift -- but with federal and local tax credits and rebates, the final price was about $26,000.

The other $12,000 will be provided my magic wands and faerie dust...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:57 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

... and Mary Katherine Ham, et. al.

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2011 5:19 PM

December 5, 2011

Addicted to Oil?

Take this shiny new "The World According to DP" category out for a spin...

Amy Oliver responds to a guest editorial:

The Denver Post gave Greg Wockner of Clean Water Action prime newspaper real estate in Sunday's perspective section. Wockner's guest editorial "Is Colorado Addicted to Oil?" was nothing more than a list of typical anti-fossil fuel questions that he tried to associate to Colorado's and Weld County's economic struggles as a result of the Great Recession.

Oliver's response is the jewel. Are you "addicted" to civilization?
Are we addicted oil? Only if you enjoy and are "addicted" to a modern lifestyle made possible by the discovery of fossil fuels. I'll revisit this question at the end of this series of blog posts.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2011


I usually use 60W bulbs and stocked up on those and 75s this summer.

But Instapundit's admonitions have sunk in, I don't want to be caught without access. And -- let's just say it's my way of sticking it to the man! I bought 24 100W incandescents.

Here's an insty-supporting link if you care to join me.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2011

A Colorado Soylendra

Amy Oliver pens an interesting column on "A Stupid Energy Policy." I hope my Facebook friends don't see it, it uses logic, reason, physics, and economics.

Narrowly Avoiding a Colorado 'Solyndra'

In early 2009, then newly appointed U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) touted the prospects of Ascent Solar, a Colorado solar panel manufacturer, and the plans for a new facility to add as many as 200 new jobs for the state's "New Energy Economy." Then-Governor Bill Ritter and U.S. Senator Mark Udall, joined their fellow Democrat in offering pleasant platitudes about the "green energy" panacea.

Ritter was effusive with his praise and optimistic about Ascent's future. "The New Energy Economy is leading Colorado forward and will be one of the keys to bringing us out of this recession. Colorado and Ascent Solar's success are a model for how America can and must re-tool our entire economy," declared Ritter. Even the local media couldn't help but promote such rosy projections.

Fast-forward less than two years. Ascent, perhaps recognizing the fragility of the market, or at the very least, an unprofitable business model, conducted a "market pivot" and a change in business strategy. That switch meant cutting staff--instead of growth of nearly 200 jobs Ascent pared its staff back by half, mostly in production.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:11 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2011

Hook this Baby up to some Soylendra Panels!

Actually, the Soylendra investment makes a lot of sense, when compared to the Fisker Karma. Obligatory picture of really cool car here:

Warren Meyer at Forbes points out that under Clinton-era EPA comparisons for electric vehicles, this "electric car for the 1%" gets worse mileage than an average SUV -- either in electric or gas mode. And, had I not already conferred QOTD:

Given the marketing pitch here that relies on the unseen vs. the seen, maybe we should rename it the Fisker Bastiat.

But, like I said, hook this baby up to your Soylendra panels and it is all go all of the time!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2011

Solar Panels Don't Work

That's not my headline. It was written by solar industry CEO Ray Burgess.

If you listen to the mostly-Chinese manufacturers, solar panels work great. They can be expected to degrade about 0.5% a year. So that is how we build the economic models to finance, insure and subsidize the larger solar systems.

In the real world, we are just starting to find out how bogus many of those predictions are. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that panels can degrade as much as 4.5% a year. Or more. Put that in your pro forma and see what your banker and insurance agent -- or Congressman -- say about that.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:17 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

The author sells PV monitoring equipment and doesn't cite an actual NREL study; he cites an AOL page that points back to his own article.

I think the jury is still out on this one....

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 2, 2011 12:29 AM

October 26, 2011

It comes from where?

Somehow, inexplicably, nobody has called to ask that their connection to coal fired power plants NOT be restored.

DENVER -- The October snowstorm is being blamed for numerous power outages.

More than 40,000 people from Fort Collins to Littleton were without power as of 5:30 a.m. By 9 a.m. that number had increased to more than 90,000 without power, according to Xcel's website.

Power outages forced the closure of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and the Boulder County Criminal Justice Center in Boulder.

In the Boulder area, Xcel is handling 157 outages affecting more than 13,000 people.

Boulder officials are treating the fast moving storm as a civil preparedness exercise, in the event that the Utility Municipalization ballot measure passes and city council takes over management of the power company. "The wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine," said Boulder's Mayor.*

* Quote is *ahem* non-attributable.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2011

Quote of the Day

In other words, this is just like Obamanomics in general. It provides a short-term gimmicky gain at incredible expense that is designed to do nothing except give politicians a headline and a photo op. It would be cheaper in the long run to buy politicians a camera and get them a blog. -- Ed Morrissey, Obama's green-jobs training program a flop
Posted by John Kranz at 4:59 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Most of you know I work with WindPower, although not as much as I used to. I don't believe in MMGW (and think the recent cooling has stopped), I just think Wind Power is cool. Damned geekiness apparently is still not out of my system.

I'm cognizant of the studies that show that 1 green job created = 1.6 (other) jobs lost. It's on my list to parse through them and issue a prognostication. But that's lagging behind real life and a post on energy subsidies.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 8, 2011 12:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I think wind power is cool too. I just want to see it compete. (Looking forward to your subsidies post.)

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2011 12:17 PM

September 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

As major Solyndra investor and Barack Obama donor George Kaiser told a crowd of his fellow Oklahomans not long after Obama's stimulus was announced in 2009, "There's never been more money shoved out of the government's door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish, parochial goal is to get as much of it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can." -- Matt Welch (a Reason guy, writing for CNN, is the space-time continuum safe?)

The linked article is "Why the $16 muffin matters." I must disagree a bit with my big-L Libertarian friend. Every word he says is true, but it propagates the lie that we can have all the government we want if we just elect candidate x who will clean things up. No need to stop developing programs for the poor and new middle class entitlements, we'll take it all out of pastry savings.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2011

Can I like both?

The new Fiat 500 commercial has me checking to see if I can fit the whole family in it.

The new Prius commercial? Not so much.


Apparently the 2010 version wasn't ghastly enough. I just can't shake the whole "one world, one people" commune thingy.

And another one, if you're into that sort of thing.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:08 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Saw the Fiat spot a bunch of times yesterday. It is a very good commercial.

Insty had a post that Toyota expects hybrids to be 20% of the market in 2020. It's an interesting bet, but I can see it coming up short. If they miss, I think they'll have a tough time holding share. I'm still a fan but I don't want to be way long.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2011 10:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Insty also links to this commercial under the caption of "The Worst Car Commercial of All Time?"


Just shows to go you that men of good will can agree to disagree...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 21, 2011 2:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow! The further you click, the more people hate it. I wouldn't buy JLo's music on a bet, but the whole thing seems very hip and fashionable.

A couple grizzled IT people once asked our HR manager why she had booked our bi-departmental Christmas Party in Downtown Denver. She said in her delightful Chilean accent "Eees Fashion!" And I added a phrase to my lexicon.

Why do I like this spot? Eees Fashion!

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2011 7:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They clearly haven't seen the Prius ads.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2011 12:00 AM
But jk thinks:

Saw the Prius ad last night (at the GOP debate on FOXNews, no less). Creepy.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2011 10:15 AM

Chavez-Obama and International Law

Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez, having looted all the private wealth in his country, moves to protect his wealth.

ExxonMobils shareholders can join Chryslers bondholders on Obamas enemies list. If that seems a tad harsh, consider this: When made to choose between millions of American shareholders and one South American dictator, the Obama Administration chose Chavez.

Why is the Obama Administration sitting in paralyzed silence while Chavez removes himself from international accountability? Is it perceived ideological comradeship, a loathing of investors, simple dereliction of duty or some other reason? Now that is a mystery.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

Headline of the Day

Mr. President! Tear Down These Loans!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2011

Whither Wind Power?

Unsightly bat-chomping eco-crucifixes rejected by environmentalists in the Green Mountain State.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 6:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2011

Wot Green Jobs?

Here I thought Insty's link would talk about California. Nope, it's James Delingpole at the Telegraph. Replete with Unicorn pictures, the article mentions green boondoggles in the UK and that "Obama's America" is just as bad.

There is one thing we share with the motherland:

Yep, it seems like theres one rule for the political class and its cronies -- and another one for the rest of us. If, say, you're Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt the father-in-law of the British prime minister you can make getting on for a £1000 a week from the wind farms on your estates; if youre the wife of the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg you can make hundreds of thousands of pounds as a legal adviser to the Spanish wind farm company whose unsightly bat-chomping eco-crucifixes are going to be wrecking the British countryside.

If on the other, hand you're an ordinary punter, youre expected to sit there and take it as the cost of your energy is doubled, your standard of living lowered, the countryside you love is ruined, and the destruction of your ailing economy is accelerated by the policies of a Government which no longer gives a damn what you think about anything.

"unsightly bat-chomping eco-crucifixes" I may have been born in the wrong country...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2011


Solyndra -- Obama's Enron?

The showcase firm is now filing for Chapter 11 in an embarrassing blow to the premises of Obamanomics. At least the Obama administration can't be accused of practicing industrial policy the old-fashioned way and picking winners. It is evidently quite ready to pick losers, too. -- Rich Lowry

Posted by John Kranz at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2011

Epic Fail

It is almost enough to make a person disbelieve in government's paying people to make things that nobody wants to buy. Almost. WaPo:

A company that served as a showcase for the Obama administration's effort to create jobs in clean technology shut down Wednesday, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans.

Solyndra, a California solar panel maker, had long been an administration favorite. Over the past two years, President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu each had made congratulatory visits to the company's Silicon Valley headquarters.

Although Wednesday's announcement came as a surprise, House Republicans and government auditors had questioned the wisdom of the administration's loan guarantees to the company, backed by capital from billionaire Democratic fundraiser George Kaiser. In July, a House subcommittee subpoenaed White House documents related to the guarantee, and after Wednesday's developments, Republican lawmakers vowed to continue investigating.

Lots more at Instapundit. Even the WaPo and NBC can't spin this as anything but an Administration failure. Can't wait for the "jobs speech."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

John Hinderocker had a nice line:

It would be interesting to know what Harrison meant by “regulatory and policy uncertainties.” Was he complaining about the same regulatory disaster that countless non-green CEOs have fingered as the enemy of job creation? Is it possible that the Obama administration can’t even do crony capitalism right?

He refers to Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison's complaint that, "Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion." What he's saying is 'Nobody will buy our crap, even when we slash the prices.' Why? Because government regulations and policies don't FORCE them to.

While I'm sure the O Admin. is so incompetent they can't even succeed at crony capitalism, even if the press doesn't make them do it in smoke filled rooms, what he's actually complaining about is a lack of regulation.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2011 3:16 AM

August 30, 2011

Bill Gates Jr. on Home Solar PV: "cool" and "cute"

It struck me as possible choir-preaching but since even my darling dagny, who's lived with my rantings for nearly a decade now, still needed to ask, "Do we want to put solar panels on our new house?"

To be fair her goal is self-sufficiency and not being "with it" or reducing the euphemistic "carbon footprint." That same morning (yesterday) the talk-radio segue machine came to my rescue with Mike Rosen reading from this interview with Bill Gates Jr.

Anderson: When you look at the big picture, where should we be focusing besides nuclear? On massive solar plants in the desert? On middle-size stuff for office roofs? Or is there a reinvention that could be done right in the home?

Gates: If youre going for cuteness, the stuff in the home is the place to go. Its really kind of cool to have solar panels on your roof. But if youre really interested in the energy problem, its those big things in the desert.


Anderson: Imagine a world where we have made a transition to electric cars, and we have a smart grid, and storage is distributed on some level. Can you imagine that microgeneration would make more sense in a world where we have the ability to use, say, electric car batteries as local storage and have a microgrid model?

Gates: No. We should all grow our own food and do our own waste processing, we really should. But scale has some significant advantages in terms of reliability, and electricity is something you want to be reliable. Also, this is dangerous stuff: For solar to work well, you have to generate very high temperatures. Do we want everybody to have that on their roof? No. Its just not going to happen.

Anderson: So suffice to say we will find no solar cells on the roof of the Gates residence?

Gates: Oh, we like to be cute like everyone. For rich people, this is OK. Rich people can do whatever they want.

We're not rich. We're going to stick with a diesel generator.

Click continue reading to see what he has to say about batteries and subsidies. I don't always agree with this rich tech genius but in this case, he's right.

You have to think of two types of batteries. One is a battery for a car, and it has to be light and crash-proof, but the total amount of energy it has to store is not all that large. Now, that doesnt give you an environmental benefit unless your grid has somehow changed. But at least it gives you a security benefit, because youre sourcing your coal for your grid locally. The harder battery problem is the second typethe grid battery. If youre getting, say, 50 percent of your energy from solar, and the sun only shines during the day, then you have to be storing enough energy for the night. And that is a mind-blowing problem. I mean, thats more demanding by a factor of a hundred than any other battery challenge we have today.

I think people deeply underestimate what a huge problem this day-night issue is if youre trying to design an energy system involving solar technology thats more than just a hobby. You know, the sun shines during the day, and people turn their air conditioners on during the day, so you can catch some of that peaking load, particularly if you get enough subsidies. Its cute, you know, its nice. But the economics are so, so far from making sense. And yet thats where subsidies are going now. Were putting 90 percent of the subsidies in deploymentthis is true in Europe and the United Statesnot in R&D. And so unfortunately you get technologies that, no matter how much of them you buy, theres no path to being economical. You need fundamental breakthroughs, which come more out of basic research.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The other entity on this planet with money confers:

Beijing appears to be rethinking its singular focus on electric vehicles as a way to reduce fuel consumption and seems ready to revise its alternative-energy vehicle estimates as it becomes increasingly evident that the city's electric vehicle targets were completely unrealistic.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2011 4:09 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Grow our own food? Sure, for the same reason I write my own operating systems and build my own PC hardware.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 1, 2011 12:18 AM

August 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

Make no mistake, many states are well positioned to realize the same energy production benefits as North Dakota and Texas. These include, at a minimum, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming -- each of which has ready access to abundant resources of the same shale oil and shale gas that is fueling economic growth in North Dakota and Texas. Energy production and economic strength in North Dakota and Texas are the results of wise and courageous policy decisions designed to encourage rather than stifle energy production (something that fellow Forbes columnist Joel Kotkin pointed out in his recent piece on Texas). Going forward, the question is which leaders in which states have the political courage to stand up to environmental activist groups and their media allies who routinely vilify energy production? -- James Taylor
Posted by John Kranz at 8:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2011

Hank Reardon, Call Your Office

Ken Salazar's Interior Department moves to prevent Exxon from developing a billion-barrel oil field it discovered in deep water Gulf of Mexico in 2007. Because of feared oil spills? No. Because it might impair the mating habits of the Gorite-dwelling shoestring eel? No.

Employing an extreme technicality, these regulators claimed that Exxon's request in 2008 for a short suspension of activity to upgrade and make safer its drilling operation amounted to an abandonment of three of its five permits, simply because Exxon hadn't signed a contract with another partner, Chevron, by the time the suspension was completed.

In the past, such glitches were no problem after all, it's obvious Exxon, which spent $300 million on exploratory wells, hasn't abandoned the operation.

But in the Obama era, which demonizes oil production in American waters by American companies, the bureaucrats came up with this permit technicality to effectively expropriate the entire operation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

I would say "unbelievable!!" but sadly nothing is anymore when it comes to this bullpucky.

Posted by: Terri at August 22, 2011 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

This was a day in the WSJ Ed Page's Week in the life of the Obama Recovery

Consider the headlines only from last week, a slow week by Washington standards, with Congress out of session and President Obama campaigning for three days before going on vacation. Even in the dog days of August, your government was hard at work undermining economic confidence.

Holler if you would like it mailed over the pay wall, it is devastating.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2011 3:54 PM
But Terri thinks:

Nope, I got it, and had read it first thinking you missed a ht to the WSJ, but then compared the quotes. Same song. Same, sad, sad, song.

Posted by: Terri at August 22, 2011 7:21 PM

August 19, 2011

jk Agrees with Rep. Maxine Waters

Write down the date. Cache the page. I may never admit it. But the gentle lady from California is right about "Green Jobs:"

"Of course, we want to be a part of the new innovation and the green jobs," Rep. Maxine Waters said on MSNBC Thursday. "But you know, the green jobs have been about a lot of talk and not a lot has been happening on that." A few hours later, also on MSNBC, Waters said flatly: "All of this talk about the green jobs never materialized."

Waters is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Last month, the chairman of that group, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, told the Huffington Post that green jobs had little meaning for his constituents. "African-Americans out there were saying, 'What do we have in common with this new, green technology?'" Cleaver told the website.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | Comments (3)
But Robert thinks:

Well, anyone who believed in the "Green Jobs" blather in the first place gets points taken off. I thought the Gentlelady from CA was a fool, but I never supsected she believed BHO's campaign trail talk was anything more than BS. I suppose they're not entirely imaginary: All it takes to create a $50k/year Green Job is $1.5 million in Fed subsidies.

Posted by: Robert at August 19, 2011 5:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HA! But if you think about it, that's a pretty efficient rate-of-return for government.

Welcome to the commentariat Alaska Robert.

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2011 8:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Likewise, Robert! Remind me not to challenge him to a game of chess. (Y'all should click "Robert" to see his blog).

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2011 11:36 AM

August 18, 2011

Ms. Bachmann's Turn

Earlier this week neophite presidential candidate Rick Perry garnered lots of pub by calling another round of quantitative easing by Ben Bernanke "almost treasonous." Today Michelle Bachmann rolled out her own red meat issue by promising,

"Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again," Bachmann told a crowd Tuesday in South Carolina. "That will happen."

Naturally the press thinks it's impossible, ably demonstrated by Charles Riley who penned the CNN Money article linked above. I searched other reports looking for any that weren't dismissive but struck out. Apparently nobody within reach of a keyboard knows how easy it would be. "I will then, said the little red hen." From the Three Sources Oil and Energy archives:

Pique Oil - February, 2011

Within five years, analysts and executives predict, the newly unlocked fields are expected to produce 1 million to 2 million barrels of oil per day, enough to boost U.S. production 20 percent to 40 percent.

Tightly Controlled Oil Supply Slips Into Surplus - November 2008

The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."

Casey at Bat - July 2008

Every few months some Democrat decides that oil companies are to blame for high prices.

Except they're not. It's Democrats who are at fault.

And I'm not even including the price hiking effect of regional fuel blends mandated by government, although I'm sure we have a piece on that somewhere.

So bringing prices way, way down is a relatively straightforward goal. But how far down they can go is affected more by the value of the dollar than by the supply/demand balance for oil and refined gasoline. We've been debating whether or not we're actually in an inflationary period but according to the divergence of the two lines here (computed from "CPI-All Urban Consumers for all items less energy") inflation has been gangbusters since about 2004. But with this huge caveat, what should be the market price for a gallon of gasoline without government "help?" About 60 cents.

A Market Price for Crude Oil - June 2008

But for nearly 20 years between the two "oil shock" periods noted the price was roughly half that - 60 cents per gallon in constant [1979] dollars.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:50 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Nicely done. I rolled my eyes when I first heard it. It concerned me because it plays into the narrative of how important government it. Blame it when things are bad and fete it when times are good.

I just hope that Rep. Bachmann can make the point as effectively as you. "Hey, we don't set gas prices but we can keep from driving them up." No, on second thought, the "Hey" is too Sarahpalainish...

Posted by: jk at August 18, 2011 5:23 PM

August 3, 2011

Quote of the Day

You see, they claim that the reason the Volt isn't selling is that they can't keep enough cars on the lot. A GM spokeswoman recently claimed that they are "virtually sold out." Which is virtually true. Mark Modica called around his local Chevy dealers and found plenty of Volts waiting for an environmentally conscious driver to bring them home. -- Jonathan V. Last
Posted by John Kranz at 6:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 2, 2011

The Refugee Apologizes

The Refugee has just learned that, in addition to fleecing his blog brothers, filling his truck with E85 has deprived a starving person of a year's worth of corn. From today's WSJ:

"The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will feed one person for a year." [renouned environmentalist Lester Brown] said.
So there we have it: the enviros want us to burn someone's dinner in our cars. How many meals are burned every day?

The same article also noted that it would take an area three times the size of the continental US to replace one third of our oil requirements with biofuels. Guess the enviros never did the math.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:03 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Enviros. Math. Heh. That's a good one.

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2011 10:16 AM

July 19, 2011

Green Jobs!

Quick Charge Trucks Will Save Your Stranded EV

Hat-tip: Instapundit

[Standard disclaimer: if people bought electric cars with no tax incentive, I would applaud the innovation of support infrastructure]

Posted by John Kranz at 6:13 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

...and a short eight hours later, he's ready to roll.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 19, 2011 10:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Hey buddy, can I give you a lift somewhere?

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2011 4:03 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It would be slightly more cost-effective if the truck simply used the charging cable to tow the copper-top home.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 20, 2011 7:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Proof of the level of comfort, security and prosperity we have reached in life on earth is the ability one has to spend his waking hours seeking a recharge for his overpriced car instead of having to toil every possible moment to secure his family's sustenance.

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2011 7:39 PM

NYTimes Rebuked by ... NYTimes

Jon Entine at The American, gives props to the NYTimes ombudsman:

The New York Times' public editor, Arthur Brisbane, weighed in on the much-criticized reporting on natural gas by Ian Urbina, issuing a sharp rebuke of the staff's reporting and editing.

I agree that "Thankfully it has the integrity to wash its dirty laundry in public." But I fear that the retraction will not create the buzz that the original piece did. Entine describes:
The Urbina "the sky-is-falling" express went off the rails completely on June 25 and 26 with two front-page stories asserting that shale gas reserves are being hyped by the natural gas industry. Urbina and the sources he quoted suggested parallels to Ponzi schemes, Enron, and the housing bubble.

Scientists at MIT and elsewhere, who have confirmed massive shale gas reserves but whose research was not referenced in the piece, immediately issued sharp rebukes of the Urbina narrative. As I noted in a critique for RealClearPolitics, the Times' article left out key editorial framing details, such as the dubious credibility of the only two identified sources. And as Michael Levi of the Council of Foreign Relations pointed out in his blog, this latest critique of shale gas consisted almost entirely of cherry-picked comments from anonymous sources.

I was pretty surprised by the original piece. Yes, it was the Times, but this was a serious anti-fracking hit piece on the News pages -- maybe I was in the tank for Big Gas after all. It successfully instilled doubt.

That's what I get for believing the New York Times.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2011

"Reality Hasn't Cooperated"

There's a phrase of the day for you: "Reality hasn't cooperated."

The 2007 energy bill vastly increased the volume of corn ethanol that must be blended into gasoline, though it also included mandates for cellulosic ethanol. These are the second-generation fuels made from stocks like switchgrass or the wood chips that George W. Bush invoked in his 2006 State of the Union. At the time, no such fuels were being produced on a commercial scale, but cellulosic producers and the green lobby assured Congress they were just about to turn the corner, and both the Bush and Obama Administration furnished handsome subsidies.

The EPA set the 2011 standard at six million gallons. Reality hasn't cooperated. Zero gallons have been produced in the last six months and the corner isn't visible over the next six months either. The EPA has only approved a single plant to sell the stuff, operated by Range Fuels near Soperton, Georgia. The company used to be a press corps favorite and has been lauded by the last two Presidents, but it shut down its cellulosic operations earlier this year to work through technical snafus.

The arrogance of our King Canutes in Congress mandating things they do not understand is high on the list of depressing affronts to liberty and dynamism. It is one thing to make the Soviet Five-year plan assertions that President Obama loves "242,000 vehicles with 16.5 inch tires by October 19th!" But it is worse to actually enact them legislatively.

Bonus Unicorn reference at the link (sans flatulence, sorry...)

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2011

Screw 'Em -- They can Stay Poor!

Stephen Hayward's Energy Fact of the Week (and you though ThreeSources was bad...):

The motion graphic below demonstrates the relationship between rising energy use and falling poverty from 1981 through 2009. The vertical axis represents the number of people living on less than $1 a day in China, while the horizontal axis plots China's total energy use.

Chinas total energy consumption during this period increased 406 percent. In concrete terms, it means that for every increase of 1 quadrillion BTUs, 8.2 million people were lifted out of poverty. Everyone likes to wring their hands over Chinas coal use, but these figures work out as follows: for every additional 4.5 million tons of coal used in China, or for every additional 450,000 barrels of oil consumed, 1 million people were lifted out of poverty.

My enviro friends refuse to accept this correlation when I suggest it. And, I'm certain that when I send this the next time it happens, they'll assert that it could be done with solar or wind or magic beans (jg's friend's "unicorn farts" remains the best shorthand). But it is clear that it is cheap and available (scalable) power which is lifting these people out of poverty.

VP Gore can invest in geothermal for his two mansions, that is not available to help these people move form <$1/day to the middle class,

Posted by John Kranz at 2:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2011

Yeah, This Is Going to Work...

Boulder is going to start its own environmentally friendly utility:

The prospect of Boulder turning out a major, investor-owned utility and creating a municipal operation is being watched across the country.

"If a large community like Boulder can do it, it sets an example for everyone," said Ursula Schryver, a vice president at the American Public Power Association, which represents the country's 2,000 municipal electric utilities.

This is not a joke, or at least a good enough one to fool The Denver Post

Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I think the phrase I am looking for is "What could possibly go wrong?"

Posted by: jk at July 11, 2011 7:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In an effort to keep Boulder's business Xcel has proposed building an extra 200 megawatts of wind power capacity to generate "renewable-energy credits" for Boulder. "Boulder would, however, be liable for costs associated with wind power - adding, by Xcel estimates, up to $4 a month, or 7 percent, to residential bills."

That sounds like a bargain. Why don't they take it? Longmont [Colorado's] municipal owned utility charges about 30% more per kwh for wind power than for coal generated watts.

Posted by: johngalt at July 12, 2011 1:42 AM

July 10, 2011

A Stirring Defense of Cynicism!

The ethanol lobby has filched taxpayers for so long that it's only natural that the Senate's move this week toward rationalizing the industry's subsidies would be described as a "momentous shift away from federal assistance," as the Des Moines Register put it. But please don't believe that the government is about to "drastically cut the financial support" for corn ethanol, as another newspaper reported.
Another newspaper that does not happen to rhyme with All Greet Myrna, that is.
It's delightful that the ethanol lobby has lost for once in Washington. Really it is. But the industry will still enjoy a mandate that consumers buy its product every time they pull up to the pump. The 2007 energy bill requires the sale of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. Meanwhile, both the Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Corn Growers Association came out cautiously in favor of the Senate deal. And might there be a reason that Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin are also in favor? Just asking.
Next time we go to coffee, br, you drive.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Dammit! Why are there no wooden stakes in Washington D.C.! The contention that only cockroaches will survive nuclear armageddon is specious. Rent-seeking political lobbyists will be right there with them.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2011 5:20 PM

July 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

I don't think of myself as a connoisseur of pretty much anything. I can, for instance, identify good bread or good gin or sheets with a high thread count, but I can also very easily tolerate the crummy stuff if that's what's available, because it's just me, right? I'm not a princess; I can deal. Then the CFL bulbs came out, and I discovered that I am the snob to end all snobs . . . when it comes to light. Fluorescent lighting makes me feel like I'm dead, and am just haunting whatever room I happen to be in. It makes me feel like the top of my head has been replaced with something clammy and toxic. It makes me feel like filling up my 15-passenger van with overpriced gas and barreling nonstop to Al Gore's house and smacking his silly, fat face around until he admits that his main goal is and always has been to make each and every day for the entire human race a little less bearable. -- Simcha Fisher
Hat-tip: Insty
Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | Comments (7)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It's not the St. Crispian's Day speech, nor is it V's introduction of himself to Evey, but 'tis poetic aplenty - plus, smacking Al Gore's silly, fat face definitely resonates with me, and that's not merely poetic, that's epic. It's positively inspiring.

As for the "overpriced gas," just think: Taco Bell, dollar menu.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 8, 2011 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Actually, "overpriced gas" makes me think of DeBeers. But in this case it's not a South African private corporation that is artificially restricting supply to inflate prices, it is the United States Department of the Interior. (Hmmm, that's in the Executive Branch, no?)

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2011 7:25 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

ThreeSourcers will have a vested interest in this part of the Dept. of Interior website: http://on.doi.gov/pST7Xm

"Climate change is affecting every corner of the American continent. It is making droughts drier and longer, floods more dangerous and hurricanes more severe... The glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park are melting so quickly, they're expected to disappear in the next two decades..."

Who writes this crap?

"... At the U.S. Department of the Interior, we manage one-fifth of the land in the country, 35,000 miles of coastline, and 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf..." And that's why, when you elect me President, my Secretary of the Interior will be tasked with exactly one job - to deed every possible square inch of America back to the states within six months, for them to do with as they and their citizens please - make them public parks, cut them down for timber, build suburbs and tract homes, drill them for oil, or strip-mine them. Thank you for your vote.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 9, 2011 9:09 PM
But jk thinks:


The Congressional Democrats keep demanding "more revenue" in the debt deal. I say we go all bipartisan on their ass and sell off a few national parks.

Got Prince Harry, but "V and Evey" forced me to Google. Damn, the allusions around here work me like a dog!

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2011 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The good brother asks, "Who writes this crap?"

He knows the answer but I'll spell it out: The same sort of dirty hippies who run and/or advise the other government agencies e.g. FDA. In that example it was charity leeches from Public Citizen, National Breast Cancer Coalition, New America Foundation... They are paid not for the soundness of their analysis, but for the evocative power of polar bear and baby seal images to elicit monthly donations from puppy lovers and cat people. Undoubtedly some know what their donations beget, but certainly the majority believe it is spent on Purina Panda Chow.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2011 5:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I know the V and Evey speech but not the other one. I guess that means between the two of us we're as literate as our Cali brother, though I concede you are the anchor on that rope.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2011 5:26 PM

July 7, 2011


Nanobrewer was celebrating this, but it has seemed too good to be true. Yes, Virginia, they may really cut the ethanol subsidy...

WASHINGTON--Key Senate lawmakers have reached a deal to end two ethanol subsidies by the end of the month, sooner than expected and a sign of how tax policy can change as attention focuses on the deficit.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, Calif.) said in a statement that she had reached an agreement with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D, Minn.) and John Thune (R, S.D.) under which a 45-cent-a-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline would expire on July 31. A 54-cent-a-gallon tax on imported ethanol would also expire at the end of the month.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:20 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Umm, me too.

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2011 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From the article:

"About 90% of the gasoline sold in the U.S. contains at least 10% ethanol, indeed the E-10 fuel blend is the most popular at the U.S. pump."


"The loss of the subsidy would be a blow to gasoline companies because they are the ones who received it for blending ethanol, said Joel Karlin, an analyst for Western Milling, but the effect on ethanol companies and corn farmers would be minimal."

Gosh, I wonder if the latter has any bearing on the former. (It's definitely not because consumers clamor for a fuel that carries them a shorter distance per gallon and ruins their engine in the process.) And they're now telling us that the ethanol subsidy benefitted not ethanol companies and corn farmers, but big oil? WTF! No more special tax breaks for big oil!!

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2011 7:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup, I am last in line to believe. I'm not generally cynical, but circumspection is warranted in the sport of government subsidy killing. Do you get up and leave the theatre the first time Freddy Krueger dies?

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2011 12:04 PM

June 24, 2011

The Future of the American Car

Friday Funnies from Reason:

Posted by John Kranz at 4:06 PM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Pixie dust will be opposed by the Big Flubber lobby and the enviros will sue for an environmental impact study on Neverland Island. During the study, they will find an endangered crocodile and will demand that the DNR halt production. No one will be able think enough happy thoughts to get anything off the ground.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 24, 2011 6:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

At first I thought it would be easier simply to mount a Mr. Fusion on the rear deck of all of our DeLoreans - until I realized that Big Tire, which doubtless has several Senators in their pockets, will pressure our legislators to block the production of flying automobiles.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 24, 2011 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'd have included Obama Administration as one of the tags for this entry.

Hope. Change. Pixie dust.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 2:23 PM

June 21, 2011

Bye-Bye E85

I think we've just learned how candidate Romney can afford to take a pass on calling for an end to the ethanol subsidy. Because Congress just took a giant step toward ending it before he might ever take office.

Ethanol subsidies have been a sacred cow in American politics since the late 1980s, and their demise came Friday not with a whimper but with a bang. By a vote of 73 to 27, the Senate declared an end to what Republican Senator John McCain called the "corporate welfare" that had gone on for far too long, and that had become enshrined in presidential politics as a ticket of admission to the Iowa caucuses. Now the legislation moves to the House, where deficit-conscious Tea Party conservatives could provide a similar winning margin.

Read the article to see how Sen. Tom Coburn (HOSS-OK) was the key figure in the watershed vote.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Dude. Out of politeness, you should warn when you link to Eleanor Clift. I suffered a bad batch of McLaughlin Group flashbacks...

I love how she positions it as a rebuke of Grover Norquist.

But I need me some elucidatin'... I heard that this was an amendment on a bill that will never pass and that any interruption to brother br's subsidized truck fuel was completely symbolic -- is this a different amendment or bill?

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought you would appreciate the effort to shore up our "we read everybody" cred.

However, in reliance on Ms. (if there ever was anyone to whom that salutation applied) Clift's term "demise" I took it as a completed bill on its way to the House. In fact, it was an amendment to S.782, Senator Feinstein's 'Economic Development Revitalization Act.'

But Dr. Senator Coburn hints at the potential fast-track process in his press release:

In light of today’s lopsided vote, I urge my colleagues in the House to eliminate this wasteful earmark and tariff at their earliest opportunity,” Dr. Coburn said.

So those wacky TEA Partiers in the GOP controlled House need to draft a bill on this, pass it, and forward it to the Senate where they will presumably vote in similar fashion.

(Hey, a guy can hope.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, by all means link. We should link to and read a variety of sources. I was just thinkling of a little in-line warning like [DANGER! LINK GOES TO ELEANOR CLIFT!] something simple.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2011 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I waited impatiently for someone to challenge my title. Maybe E85 won't go away. It has become quite entrenched with vested interests and a modicum of pious consumer's demand. But at the very least I want to see the demise of E10 (the 10 percent ethanol routinely blended with gasoline to create a false demand for ethanol reduce emissions (and corrode the insides of the fuel systems in our cars.)

And at the very, very least - get the crap out of NASCAR!

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:30 PM

Quote of the Year?

A good friend of this blog nominates Professor Althouse for quote of the year:

Does the NYT care about the carbon footprint of its wonderful pizza-cooking technique?
"Heat the oven and pizza stone at 500 degrees for one hour..."

Oh, hell! Shut up about my light bulbs. Just. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

If you people really believed in global warming in the form that you would like to foist that belief on the common folk, that quoted line above would have sounded to you as something on the moral level of first, torture a small, cute kitten....

I read it to myself, laughed out loud, then read it to the lovely bride. It's pretty good.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The Great State of Texas has thumbed their nose at Washington on this - and I give Misha extra credit for the Firefly reference: http://nicedoggie.net/?p=1716

Texas - God bless 'em - looks prettier every day.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 21, 2011 2:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen to that. I fear it will run afoul of Wickard v Filburn, but oral arguments would be fun if it got cert.

Segue-digression-alert: a good friend of the blog I have not heard from in a while emailed to ask if I am "on the Rick Perry bandwagon yet?" The Texas Miracle is lookin' pretty shiny.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 2:59 PM
But jk thinks:

...and no, it's not the same one. This blog has two "good friends." Kinda like Instapundit with a blue theme.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Still trying to reconcile the tone of this post with yesterday's. Those of us with a "Climate Change is a hoax" litmus test aren't demanding that the candidates tell the alarmists to "shut the F up." That's a bit, err, dogmatic.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2011 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Not at all inconsistent. I prefer the self-rising crust at home, but order thin-crust from Dominos, where they have the very hot ovens to properly bake the crust.

Oh, you meant attitude. I'll defend that as well. Prof Althouse forcefully and colorfully accuses a NYTimes journalist -- and indirectly the publication, and less directly the media monolith it represents -- of hypocrisy.

There is no assertion of whether DAWG is true or false as in yesterday's post, just a suggestion that she be allowed, in Hayekian spirit, to choose her methods of conserving versus sensual enjoyment, as the NYTimes reader is allowed.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:42 PM

June 14, 2011

EPA: "Employee salary is our highest budget priority"

On his radio show today Mike Rosen read a copy [2:00 to 4:55] of an internal memo from EPA Regional Administrator James Martin to all Region 8 EPA employees. Subject: Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Decisions.

I want to update you on the status of Region eight's budget. The most important thing to tell you is that we continue to protect salary for our on-board EPA employees. It is our highest budget priority and that has not and will not change.

Our OCFO has been able to provide us with some relief for our payroll shortfall. This will allow us to maintain our support services at the current levels as we work to meet our agency's mission. We are continuing to work with headquarters for additional relief. In the meantime, to meet the remaining payroll needs we'll be reducing our programmatic funds by 30 percent, as well as some regional support funds.

A distinct difference, to be sure, from EPA's stated policy on private sector jobs.

EPA: Jobs Aren't a factor when making new regs

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2011

Three Cheers for Black Gold

It seems the good folks at Exxon have drilled down in 7000 feet of water and found 700 million barrels of wind, solar, and geothermal Oil!

The great energy irony of recent years is that governments have thrown hundreds of billions of dollars at wind, solar, ethanol and other alternative fuels, yet the major breakthroughs have taken place in the traditional oil and natural gas business. Hydraulic fracturing in shale, horizontal drilling and new seismic techniques are only the best known examples.

Private companies must innovate to survive, and they have the profit incentive to do so, while government cash is usually steered to politically favored companies that may or may not know what they're doing. If you live off federal grants, you need to work the corridors of power more than the technology. Federal grants for cellulosic ethanol are rife with political earmarks, for example. This is why these columns have argued that the political fad of alternative energy has misallocated scarce capital when the economy can least afford it.

I was partially remonstrated (ouch! but better than defenestrated) on Facebook by blog brother jg for agreeing with a new energy proponent that I looked forward to oil's being replaced when a superior source was technologically appropriate and economically viable. I stick by the comment; something new will be cool someday. But my brother was right that I should not join the petro-apologia. Cheap, safe, easily transportable power from oil and natural gas is indeed swell.

Perhaps more interesting in the WSJ Editorial was this tasty nugget of anti-regulation:

Far more important for safety is the effort that the oil industry is taking to contain future deepwater spills. ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Shell and Chevron have led an effort, since joined by other companies, to form the Marine Well Containment Co. to build a spill containment system that will be permanently placed in the Gulf starting next year.

The companies are attempting to apply the lessons from the BP fiasco, and their expectation is that the system would be able to handle a blowout as if it were a contained well at depths of up to 10,000 feet. The companies have committed $1 billion to the project, and we're told the cost could reach $1.5 billion. If you believe Big Oil companies are inherently evil, you'll think this is one more confidence trick. But no rational company or CEO wants to endure the reputational damage that accompanied the BP spill.

Oil and financial services are among the most heavily regulated industries in the country. Yet all that government did not prevent the BP spill or the Panic of Oh-Eight. I suggest that the $1.5Billion consortium will prove a lot more effective.

I will mention this to a lefty friend or two. They put so much faith in regulation, when it is demonstrably insane. You get legislation written by guys who really do not understand the thing they are regulating, shaped by the firms being regulated, then subject to regulatory capture, graft, incompetence or all three. Versus the drillers putting up private capital to truly fix the problem or limit damage/losses.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:22 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:


At face value this story is a vindication of those who dared criticize the narratives of "peak oil" or "new energy economy." But unless more people follow the examples of David Horowitz and David Mamet the regulatory claws of the welfare state will eventually force even the "animal spirits" such as these in the U.S. energy industry to succomb to its suffocating will. That is the lesson of Atlas Shrugged: Dagny Taggart can repeatedly defeat both the challenges of her industry and the punitive power of the state, but if her customers continue to reward her punishers instead of her accomplishments she will, eventually, stop.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2011 3:45 PM

June 3, 2011

Germany *HEART* Coal!

As a wild-eyed capitalist I've bragged before about how I love coal as an energy source. Now, we can add PhD physicist and Prime Minster of Germany, Angela Merkel to my club. NY Times: Germany, in Reversal, Will Close Nuclear Plants by 2022

"If the government goes ahead with what it said it would do, then Germany will be a kind of laboratory for efforts worldwide to end nuclear power in an advanced economy," said Mark Hibbs, a senior associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "No other country in the world is taking those steps."

I would call it a laboratory for something else - economic self-destruction.

The powerful Federal Association for German Industry, known as B.D.I., sent a letter on Monday morning to the chancellery, warning her about the consequences for German business.

"How will the international competitiveness of German industry be guaranteed?" Hans-Peter Keitel, B.D.I.s president, wrote. "Industry last year accounted for two-thirds of Germanys economic upswing."

What could possibly go wrong?
Hat Tip: Wikipedia's "in the news" section. (I sure didn't read it first in the Times.)

UPDATE: The reader may wonder at my connecting this Times story to coal, since it never mentions that fuel which provides half of Germany's electricity. It was, however, mentioned in a reference cited in the Wiki entry. There's also a picture of the very down-to-earth Environment Minister who dismisses more cautious and practical energy strategies. Minister Tritten:

"Ten years ago people told us that there would never be enough capacity to have a relevant share produced by wind - now the same people tell me we have too much wind, and have to export electricity because we have such a huge share of wind energy," he stated.

"So I can't take these arguments seriously."

He stressed he was "convinced" Germany would reach its target.

And he dismissed Dr Pfaffenberger's concerns about cost out of hand.

"He is wrong - simple," he said.

"To hear such arguments from people who haven't learned anything in the last half century - I am very calm on that."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2011

End Subsidy Gifts to Big Oil!

Sarah Palin channels JohnGalt:

Palin: End All Energy Subsidies

"I think all our energy subsidies need to be re-looked at today and eliminated," Palin told Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics during a quick stop at a coffee shop. "And we need to make sure that we're investing and allowing our businesses to invest in reliable energy products right now that aren't going to necessitate subsidies because, bottom line, we can't afford it."
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)
But Kudzuisedible thinks:

Energy subsidies to alternate energy forms frequently take the form of outright transfers of money from the U. S. Treasury to private corporations that make solar cells, wind turbines, etc. or to utilities purchasing these products. Does "Big Oil" receive any such subsidies as those?

Big Energy (producers of oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy, and distributors of traditional energy products) pays Big Taxes. Frequently, what the left calls "subsidies" are standard tax breaks received by all or most corporations, like depreciation allowances on equipment and buildings or domestic tax deductions for taxes paid to foreign governments. The left wants to single out "Big Energy" for punitive taxation beyond that imposed on other large corporations. Shouldn't "Big Oil" in fairness get tax treatment at least as favorable as Microsoft or Walmart?

Since Big Energy pays Big Taxes, the net flow of revenue to the U. S. Treasury for most producers of traditional energy forms remains positive. They could be considered to be paying for the so-called subsidies from which they benefit. By contrast, most producers of "alternative energy" are engaged in economic activity which makes no sense unless massive government subsidies are in place. For many of these alternate energy producers, the Federal subsidy substantially exceeds the corporation's gross revenue from sales. Such folly obviously should be stopped at once. If alternate energy producers were trimmed to only those "subsidies" that benefit "Big Energy", most if not all of the alternative energy market would dry up and blow away.

The profit from corporations that is transferred to stockholders, or the profit from private businesses that is taken as income by the business owners, is personal income taxed by the Federal government. Is there a clear reason why businesses and corporations should pay any taxes at all, beyond the taxes paid by those who derive income from the businesses and corporations?

Sarah Palin should be looking at the option of repealing all taxes on the private sector other than individual income tax. After all, those corporate taxes are simply being passed on to the consumers of goods and services as higher prices, distorting our markets and unfairly taxing the citizens with lowest incomes disproportionally.

Posted by: Kudzuisedible at June 2, 2011 4:03 PM

May 27, 2011

Crazy Ass Conservatives

If you need to put together an example of smarmy journalism into a time capsule at your Memorial Day shindig this weekend, might I recommend this archetype from Penelope Green.

Last week, for example, in the middle of Lightfair, an annual trade show for the lighting industry, Philips unveiled a winged LED bulb with a promised life span of 25,000 hours and a price tag of $40 to $50. The Associated Press reported its cost as $50, and Fox News ran the story with the headline "As Government Bans Regular Light Bulbs, LED Replacements Will Cost $50 Each." Mr. Beck, Rush Limbaugh and conservative bloggers around the country gleefully pounced on the story, once again urging the stockpiling of light bulbs.

Fifty Dollar Light Bulbs! Can't those wingnuts read? The bulb could cost as little as $40!

Anyhow, the whole thing is a) Not a problem at all! and b) Is Completely George Bush's fault!

The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014.

GOT THAT THICKHEADS???? They can still make incandescents, they just have to make them conform to a government design AND STOP SNIGGERING IN THE BACK!!

Hat-tip: Incandescent-Insty, with a link to stock up that profits him directly. Capitalist Pig!

UPDATE: I emailed the Professor asking him how he could seek to profit from light bulb lies and he replied "I'm just a shill for Big Bulb." Heh.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:16 PM | Comments (7)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

A while back, I stocked up when my local Home Depot had Philips incandescent 4-packs for 99 cents.

Let's see, a 25-cent/1000-hour incandescent, or a $40/50000-hour LED -- which need tints unless you like bluish light. No wonder it takes several years to break even via lower electricity consumption, and that's if an LED really is reliable. Having used LEDs for the, uh, 27 years I've done electronics, I couldn't count how many I've burned out.

Better count on plugging your lamps into surge suppressors, because one lightning strike taking out incandescents isn't so bad, but how about a dozen LEDs throughout your house?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 28, 2011 3:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And when your 25-cent bulb burns out in 700 (or 200, or 10) hours instead of its rated 1000 you throw it out and possibly grumble about having to get the ladder out again. When a bulb costing as much as three 12-packs of microbrew burns out in 10,000 hours instead of its rated 50K you're looking for the warranty card and the 800 number and the pro-ration schedule and ...

Aren't these being touted by the same crowd that wants us to consume less and "simplify" our lives?

Posted by: johngalt at May 28, 2011 5:08 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The first CFCs I ever bought (which burned out in days) had to be mailed back for "free" replacements. It was years before I dared risk any more, and the only reason I bothered is because one circuit in our house has old wiring that supposedly can't handle more than 60 watts.

Let's also not forget the occasional $2000 mercury cleanup should a CFC break.

"it seems that Bridges was apparently given quite poor advice on this issue because she could have safely cleaned up the broken bulb herself."

I suppose every liberal in the world is ready to prove how safe these minute amounts of mercury are, by breaking CFCs in their homes and cleaning up themselves? These are the same goddamn wackos who warn us about mercury in fish.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 30, 2011 9:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Brother PE, was there meant to be a link in there somewhere? And it's CFL's. CFC's are what supposedly fried the ozone layer, since debunked if I'm not mistaken.

Oh, and brother Keith, I meant to give you credit for an awesome paraphrase of 'Anthem.' I was seriously prepared to search my electronic copy of that title for the passage that matched your comment.

Posted by: johngalt at May 31, 2011 1:52 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Err, yeah, CFLs. Pardon me while I release some hairspray into the atmosphere!

I can't find the link I had meant to include (did I forget to close the tag?), but here's a pro-freedom perspective on the woman who spent $2000 to clean up a broken CFL in her kid's room. There are environmentalists who say, "Oh, the mercury isn't THAT much," but are any of us going to take a chance with our families? I sure as hell wouldn't.


"Just gently clean the glass up, sprinkle with fine sulfur powder, and vacuum it up in a week or two. Or just vacuum it up straight away." Yes, I'm sure we all keep powdered sulfur around, and we can forego the use of a room for a week.

Environmentalists just don't deal with reality, and their goal is to take us with them.

I've only once broken a mercury thermometer, only because I was young and curious if this 1200-degree thermometer could withstand a gas flame. I've never experienced a broken mercury switch. But good lord, dealing with a CFL bulb is almost like handling toxic waste.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 31, 2011 10:27 PM
But jk thinks:

HTML tags fixed. Reasonable rates, top customer service.

It's a link worth fixing.

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2011 9:55 AM

May 23, 2011

More of them Green Jobs!

Somebody's got to rip out all of those ineffective, illegal wind turbines they put up.

Now, according to Watts, another miracle may happen: "A judge ordered the removal of 45 wind turbines on the grounds that planning laws were violated. There was no "general municipal plan" establishing a "reserva del suelo"--i.e., the land was not legally declared appropriate for the erection of wind turbines.

Of course, this will also be portrayed as green job creation, as the judge has ordered that the turbines be demolished, and that the vegetation in the area be restored. That'll be fun, since according to one domestic manufacturer, modern wind turbines are about as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and sit on concrete pads that weigh in the vicinity of 327 tons each and use 15 tons of steel reinforcement.
Kenneth Green suggests Don Quixote might need a little help on these...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Honestly, this seems like a travesty of justice. After wading through the intermediate links I found the translated original article from Spain.

"The tolerance in this matter leads to an unacceptable situation of fait accompli whereby, without any rules whatsoever and coverage under mere licenses and authorizations, is implemented, more or less, general systems like the one in question, the impact, at least that they behave landscape, "says the judge.

"Coverage under mere licenses and authorizations?" If one can't build something with licenses and authorizations how CAN he build it?

Further insight via Anthony Watts: According to another article going back to January 22nd, Spanish architects from the Autonomous Community (state) of Cantabria complained that windfarms will make it impossible to have the southern valleys declared World Heritage Area, despite the many romanesque churches and buildings making them worthy of that designation.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2011 3:45 PM

A Great Leap Backward!

I try to like the Nissan Leaf®. Sure, I have to subsidize its sale to preening Yuppies who make four times what I do, but -- unlike the garage-torching Volt -- the good folks at Nissan developed it with private capital, wagering their innovation resources against the cruel, Schumpeterian vicissitudes of the market. (Yeah, a market distorted by US subsidies, but...)

The Postrellian in me should applaud, but I cannot. My inner Popperian sees this as a trip back to the caves: providing, of course, the caves are within 40 miles, and the weather is good.

The previous day's usage had left me in a pickle. With the 12 miles left and only nine-and-a-half hours charging time at 120V. Of course if I constantly had to remind myself, if I had a 240V charging station at home this would be a non-issue as the Leaf would have been completely full. However, my situation as it was, the Leaf was perhaps a hair over 40% charged when I left for work with the range indicator displaying 59 miles, hopefully enough for my 57 mile drive.

Since I needed all the juice I could get to make it to Burlingame I decided to forgo the pre-heating and let the Leaf charge to the very last second. Fortunately this morning was a hair warmer than the day previous being a brisk 40 degrees. Unfortunately the temperatures and humidity conspired to fog the windscreen. Without sufficient power to make it to work and use the defogger, I chose to defog the old-fashioned way: windows open.

Maybe someday they'll develop transportation that can be quickly and safely refueled.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 10:18 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Or roadside hazard indicators that don't require electricity...

Posted by: johngalt at May 23, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I also like to remember that these are on brand new batteries, motors and drivetrains. Three years in the elements, I don't know this thing will make it out to buy beer.

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2011 1:29 PM

May 20, 2011

A Tagline for the Brochure

Of course, most battery-powered vehicles can be plugged into a conventional wall outlet, making it possible to recharge them -- slowly, at least -- almost anywhere.
You can recharge them slowly almost anywhere! Where do I sign?

Hat-tip: Insty, from an interesting post on buyers' being more influenced by savings than environmental factors. Yeah, I know, the lies these oil company shills print...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2011

Wind Power Blows

Scotland's John Muir Trust (yes, that John Muir) has supported a study which concludes that wind turbines "cannot be relied upon" to produce significant levels of power generation.

Statements made by the wind industry and government agencies commonly assert that wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year, it said.

But the research found wind generation was below 20% of capacity more than half the time and below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.

But industry [damn, it sure feels good to call these environmentalist loons "industry"] spokesmanperson Jenny Hogan, director of policy for Scottish Renewables, was quick to defend the shortcomings of wind power saying, "No form of electricity worked at 100% capacity, 100% of the time."

"It could be argued the trust is acting irresponsibly given their expertise lies in protecting our wild lands and yet they seem to be going to great lengths to undermine renewable energy which is widely recognised as one of the biggest solutions to tackling climate change - the single biggest threat to our natural heritage.

"We have yet to hear the trust bring forward a viable alternative to lower emissions and meet our growing demand for safe, secure energy."

Climate WHAT? Oh yeah, that.

Hat Tip: A side link from JK's UPDATE.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

You're just one of those troglodytes that has yet to accept that The days of permanently available electricity may be coming to an end, the head of the power network said yesterday.

Families would have to get used to only using power when it was available, rather than constantly, said Steve Holliday, chief executive of National Grid. Mr Holliday was challenged over how the country would "keep the lights on" when it relied more on wind turbines as supplies of gas dwindled. Electricity provided by wind farms will increase six-fold by 2020 but critics complain they only generate on windy days.
Mr Holliday told Radio 4's Today programme that people would have to "change their behaviour". "The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030," he said. "We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it. It is going to be much smarter than that.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 3:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Britons in this "smarter" world will no doubt have to learn to eat when there is food, drink when there is water and be warm when the sun is out.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 3:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Stop. Yer killin' me! I'm not supposed to laugh this hard.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 5:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On a more serious tangent, Britons will also soon learn to vote for politicians who promise power "all the time" over "smart" power that goes away when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 8:17 PM

April 23, 2011

Has the President been spending his leisure time with Marion Berry?

"President Obama's suggestions that "there's no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away" and that one of the "few things we can do" to ostensibly bring prices down is to "finally end the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies we give to the oil and gas companies each year" are both ludicrous.

To bring down gas prices right away simply suspend federal regulations dictating specific formulations for specific regions during specific seasons. Reducing the logistical requirement to just "regular, premium and mid-grade" nationwide would allow productivity gains that would flood the market with affordable petrol.

And how exactly is taking money away from oil companies going to bring gas prices down? Not that I oppose eliminating those and all corporate subsidies but please, are we idiots?

But the crown jewel of the President's cheap gasoline plan is "We need to invest in clean, renewable energy. In the long term, that's the answer. That's the key to helping families at the pump and reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

With as much respect as I can muster for the office of President of the United States, investing in so-called "renewable energy" to help families at the pump is like asking alchemists to replentish the kingdom's treasury after his highness has given all of the realm's treasures to China and Brazil.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:13 PM | Comments (0)

If this is true, I'm buying a Hummer®

AP -- President Barack Obama says one answer to high gasoline prices is to spend money developing renewable energy sources.
Walt Disney said one answer to higher gasoline prices is "Wishing will make it so."
Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Wild and Crazy Idea time:

I propose dividing the federal government into two competing divisions - The United States of Red America and The United States of Blue America.

Each will be established and governed exclusively by Republicans and Democrats, respectively.

Red America will be a Constitutional Republic and Blue America will be a Democratic People's Republic (if that's what they really want.)

Red America will repeal the 16th, 17th and 18th amendments, abolish two-thirds of executive branch departments, respect private property rights manage a reserve currency based on Friedmanite principles. Blue America will repeal the Constitution, institute single-payer national healthcare, guarantee a government job to every citizen and run the Fed the same way they do now.

Every American (and resident alien) can elect to live under the authority of one or the other but not both of these governments. On April 30 each year citizens will be able to switch to the other government at no charge, but will have to abide completely by the rules of that government for the entire year and will NEVER be able to vote.

Crimes will be adjudicated in the government of the victim.

Red America will provide for the national defense and Blue America can piggyback along for free. Why not - the rest of the western world has been doing it for centuries.

I'm probably missing a few details but I'm sure we can work them out.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2011 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, and to put into context for the post it comments to ... Red America will not infringe on private development of energy resources.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2011 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

On first read, I thought you were talking secession. The spirit of John C. Calhoun haunts these pages on occasion.

Reading it correctly, there's much to like. Hans Hermann-Hoppe talks about competing governments at the end of "Theory on Socialism and Capitalism."

I confess I cannot quite get my mind around the actual implementation. It sounds good on paper, but what keeps my (blue) neighbor from hauling my (red) ass into court for Section 3.4.981: Crimes again Gaia with an Incandescent bulb? (To be fair, the Red courts will incarcerate the blues for medicinal marijuana and sodomy.)

Hoppe is a protogee of Murray Rothbard. And while I appreciate the intellectual rigor, we wittingly carve out a slice of life where we allow a Lockean Police to protect us from real abuses by others. I appreciate that the force component is regularized and restrained by, in our case, the Constitution.

Having to evade the blue police (mandatory recycling) and the red (daily "Pledge of Allegiance") seems too much.

Beyond my flippant examples, there are real externalities. The energy extraction will have a non-zero pollution component, the strict wage equality laws will retard economic growth. Looking at Wisconsin, I find it hard to see the two living peacefully together for too long.

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2011 10:46 AM

April 20, 2011

Hybrid and Electric Cars Suck

My dad recently emailed us a column from an engineering trade rag that bore the same title as this post.

So I am not going green with a hybrid/electric. No offense to Prius owners who are doing their part. It is just not for me. I am sticking with a regular gasoline car that gets good mileage but also has good performance. My other car, a 2010 VW GTI is one of those. It is a blast to drive. The 0 to 60 time is sub-6 seconds and it gets 31/32 mpg on the highway. Cost only $25K too. A real winner.

My dear Hawaiian auntie asked, "Does anyone know how much it costs to "fill one of these cars up with electricity"? I've never seen a quote,only how far you can drive & how long it takes to charge them. I realize it depends on how much your electrictricy costs are,but I've never even seen any estimates. Also how many windmills is it going to take to make all this extra electricity. Just wondering."

She's right. The only time the "fill-up" cost is ever talked about they just say "a few dollars." So I did some calculating from data I found at Wikipedia for the Nissan LEAF. [Yes, I know it's a bit long winded but I think you'll enjoy this.]

The Nissan LEAF has a 24 kwh (kilowatt hour) battery. At 10 cents per kwh and assuming perfect conversion of line current to DC and then battery charge the cost to charge the battery from empty would be $2.40.

But it isn't just the cost of the charge that needs to be evaluated. There's also the TIME to recharge.

On 240VAC 30 amp circuit the charge time is 8 hours. On 115VAC 15 amp household outlet the charge time would be about 4 times as long, or 32 hours. They provide this type of charging for "convenience use when making stops or for emergency charging." They tell you to count on about 5 miles of range per HOUR of charge time by this method. Nissan has developed a fast charger that can fully refuel 80% of the 100-mile range of a LEAF in ... 30 minutes. You can buy one for $16,800. (Be careful though, because "Nissan warns that if fast charging is the primary way of recharging, then the normal and gradual battery capacity loss is about 10% more than regular 220-volt charging over a 10-year period.")


Enviros and 'Lectric car apologists will try to tell you that all of these limitations are just because the technology is "new" and it will improve rapidly as more people buy the things and by becoming mainstream the car companies will compete with each other and solve all the problems. But electric cars are NOT new. I rode in one in Denver that dad took from the University to Cinderella City to show off to normal people. That was about 40 years ago. FORTY!

Why can gasoline engines get the same range on a couple gallons of gasoline that 'Lectrics get on 32 hours worth of power into the biggest electric heater you can plug into your wall socket? Even though gasoline engines are less than a quarter as efficient as electric motors? Because gasoline has a TREMENDOUS energy content.

I'll quote from a blog post I wrote in July 2008:

"A single gallon of gasoline contains 131.76 megajoules of energy, compared to 2.1 megajoules in a stick of dynamite. 1 gallon of gas therefore equals 63 sticks of dynamite.
An average lightning bolt releases 500 megajoules, or 3.8 gallons of gasoline energy."

Now, going full circle back to the Nissan LEAF ... that 24 kwh battery pack it carries can hold 86 megajoules. That's 0.65 gallons of gasoline. (86 MEGAjoules sounded like a lot for a second there, didn't it!) Cost to fill up: $3.69 per gallon equivalent. Well, at least it's got that in common with gasoline powered cars.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:01 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I been thinkin' 'bout this...

1) You left Chevy Volt Catches Fire, Again out of an otherwise comprehensive post.

2) I just bought a battery for the mister2. Fossil that I am, I winced when AutoZone® said $102. Hybrid buyers are warned that they will have to replace the batteries in five-seven years. I don't think many internalize that and I suspect fewer consider that prices for replacement and disposal might escalate in that time.

I picture seven year old Prii being worth as much as my old HP inkjet printer with empty ink cartridges. A clever person might innovate a better third party replacement by then. But it is a Beta none include in calculations.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2011 9:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Part of my original email to auntie that was left on the 3Srcs cutting room floor was this from the Wiki page:

"It is estimated that each battery pack costs Nissan US$18,000 (as of May 2010[update]), and this cost is expected to be halved by mass production."
Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2011 12:13 PM
But jk thinks:

I think it will be halved -- but by Schumpeterian gales, not "mass production." Batteries? They don't mass-produce those?

I wonder if the new packs will retrofit, how much people will pay for scheduled maintenance on a five year old car, and whether disposal of the old packs might become pricey. (We're reaching a point where you pay as much to dispose of your old flat-screen TV than to buy the new one.)

These are the Bic® lighters of cars, are they not?

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2011 12:32 PM

April 4, 2011

New Energy's Failure to Launch

Some may know that Colorado's latest ex-governor has golden-parachuted into academia in Colorado State University's "Center for the New Energy Economy." Today I learned that ex-guv Ritter's salary as the director there is $300,000 per year. (No word on the pension details.) But the news here is not his ridiculous salary. Rather, it is his apparently complete lack of knowledge on the subject of his office. He recently attended an organized debate at NYU where he and a "new energy" partner attempted to persuade some of the 33 percent undecideds in the audience of the premise: "Clean energy can drive America's economic recovery." From Vince Carroll in the Denver Post:

Before the Oxford Union-style debate, 46 percent of the audience registered support for the proposition, 21 percent were opposed and 33 percent were undecided. Afterward, opinion had made a dramatic shift, to 43 percent in favor, 47 percent against and 10 percent undecided.

And no wonder. Ritter and his colleague, Kassia Yanosek of the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance, relied upon anecdote, personal experience and hopeful thinking more than hard data and seemed frustrated the other side kept rattling off facts.

So Ritter was so "persuasive" that over two-thirds of the undecideds left the debate agreeing with his opponents. He even managed to scare off one in twelve of those who came in already agreeing with him. I think Carroll closed this story best: "The New Energy Economy is a catchy slogan for a political campaign. But it leaves something to be desired as a substitute for substance."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2011

I can be succinct, providing the conditions are right and the meaning is not obscured and ...

President Obama's Energy Speech:

"Drilling should be safe, legal, and rare."

Longer and Better: Kenneth Green's Same Silliness, Different Day.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

So that line is a JK original? Awesome.

Ken Green's laundry list of energy policy conflicts with reality is fairly complete. One observation I'd intended to make yesterday relates to the ironically named Green's 6th bullet: With his "100 percent alternative fuel or electric vehicle" mandate for federal agencies, the president has announced his own plan for a government shutdown.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2011 2:12 PM

March 30, 2011

But None of the Others Was So Awesome!

President Obama will soon call for a one-third drop in oil imports. He never seems to tire of these soviet five year plans: "a 47% crunchier frozen pizza crust by 2041!"

On this, he and the WaPo admit that every president has failed:

In 1973, Nixon called for a "Project Independence," an effort he said should summon the spirit of the Apollo space missions or Manhattan Project and achieve self-sufficiency by 1980. Instead, the United States was importing more oil by that time.

In January 1975, President Gerald R. Ford said that "Americans are no longer in full control of their own destiny, when that destiny depends on uncertain foreign fuel at high prices fixed by others."

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter called the energy challenge "the moral equivalent of war" and proposed conservation, alternative energy, higher gasoline taxes, ethanol fuels and wider use of nuclear power. He too set a goal of reducing oil imports by a third, to 6 million barrels a day by 1985 from 9 million a day in 1977.

That target was surpassed by 1982, thanks to a rise in Alaskan oil production and the virtual end of the use of oil by electric utilities and manufacturers. But soon imports resumed their relentless climb as a share of U.S. oil needs. By 2006, Bush was calling on Americans to end their "addiction" to oil , warning of "danger and decline" if the country continued to rely on "unstable" countries. He urged a 75 percent reduction in U.S. oil imports by 2025.

But President Awesome is on the case now! Time to short the tanker stocks...

UPDATE: AFP's Phil Kerpen was less than impressed:

Obama also touted a so-called Clean Energy Standard, and by "clean energy" he means politically-favored, economically-questionable, and highly-unreliable windmills and solar panels. Of course, the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. You can't run a modern economy without affordable coal, oil, and natural gas. Countries that have tried -- like Spain, Germany, and the U.K. -- have ruined themselves economically. (And of course green groups will sue to block "clean energy" the same way they sue to block everything else.)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:58 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

President Awesome was obviously not so awesome in his science classes back in junior high school. I'm fine with reducing dependence on foreign oil. Alternative energy, though, is limited by the laws of physics - and I canna change the laws of physics, Captain:


Recent events in the news may have colored some opinions about the use of nuclear energy, and I totally understand. The only action, though, that can achieve that goal of energy independence is embodied in just four words: DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2011 2:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm sure JK will back me in declaring there is nothing wrong with importing oil, if that oil costs less than producing it domestically. What IS wrong is when government makes the cheapest sites for domestic production "off-limits" with regulations and restrictions.

This presidential "initiative" stands no serious chance of making any difference. It is just another sheet of paper in his re-election portfolio: "I've called for increased domestic oil production" he will boast, while his EPA, his DOE and his BLM do everything in their considerable power to stop it. What an asshole.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 2:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If only we had someone running the country who would eliminate the EPA, the DOE, and the BLM! Then we'll have all the gasoline we need!

No disagreement from me on importing. As for your closing comment: again - Spaceball One.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2011 3:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep, you had that one covered... The problem with Corporate saying "portray him as an 'asshole'" is that the term applies equally well to so, so many government officials.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I seem to have loosened the metaphorical sphincter...such a nice blog we used to have...

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2011 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It is important to maintain decorum and reasonableness. Also, dagny advises that "asshole" is not a descriptive term and conveys no information about what is wrong with the President's actions. Given all of this I must revise and extend my prior missive: What a duplicitous asshole.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 9:22 PM



Posted by JohnGalt at 11:59 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The geek-police may be around to reposess my propeller beanie for so gleefully posting this 'toon but it is clearly true more often than not. From the first link in JK's post above:

In addition to political obstacles, Obama faces technical ones. Legislation signed by President George W. Bush in 2007 called on oil refiners to use minimum amounts of biofuels, including 16 billion gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol by 2022. Though substantial amounts of venture capital — and government subsidies — have gone into pilot plants, commercial viability has remained elusive.
Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 2:54 PM

March 23, 2011

Green Jobs of the Future

Scooping up the dead birds after they're killed by wind turbines.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:34 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

We could become the Saudi Arabia of dead birds.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 5:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Two words: Bio mass.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2011 5:43 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Mulch for your organic arugula garden

Posted by: Lisa M at March 23, 2011 6:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

At some point, this becomes **soylent** green jobs of the future.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 23, 2011 7:29 PM

March 21, 2011

Not That Much Change

Forbes' Patrick Michaels called General Motors a liar for the claim that their Volt hybrid is an "all-electric vehicle" and the onboard generator is only to extend its range. That's a serious charge, considering the huge federal subsidy to buyers of the car is based on that dubious premise.

Motor Trend dishes the tech: [Last October, I should note]

"It's not a hybrid! It's an electric car with a range-extending, gas-powered generator onboard." That was the party line during most of the masterfully orchestrated press rollout of what we've been promised will be the most thoroughly new car since, what, the Chrysler Turbine? The Lunar Rover? Well, the cat is now out of the bag, and guess what? It is a hybrid, after all. Yes, Virginia, the Chevy Volts gas engine does turn the wheels. Sometimes.

The salient difference between the Volt and the Prius is that the Prius' gas engine turns on at 60 mph and the Volt's at 100 mph. Motor Trend explains this as a second electric motor giving the Volt its top-end boost but glosses over the fact that the second motor, called a motor-generator, doesn't appear to recharge the battery through regenerative braking as the Prius does. In their diagram they show only "power in" from the engine and motor-generator of the Volt.

So is the Volt better or worse than the Prius? Or even really that much different?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:31 PM | Comments (7)
But jc thinks:

Here's some change for you and your FFF brothers:


Posted by: jc at March 22, 2011 5:13 PM
But jk thinks:

You permanently misunderstand. Other than perhaps AlexC who works in Oil extraction, none of us has a great love of fossil fuels.

Ganos (in your link) suggests that "venture capitalists should have their checkbooks handy." I'm all for it and have annoyed a couple of my friends to no end with my belief in biomass -- specifically engineering microbes to consume dog poop and excrete biodiesel.

But Mister Ganos and I are content to wait for some bright kids to develop the ultracapacitor or superconnective cable, or lightning capture (or dogpooppower!) There's no shortcut. Throwing billions at ethanol or synfuels just delays and defunds what will be the real successor.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 5:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

For those not familiar with the acronym, FFF stands for "fossil-fuel freedom." It's a bit of an anachronism though since the discovery that geological hydrocarbon fuels don't come from dead dinosaurs. Nonetheless, I'm proud to be a proponent of FFF.

And you can count me with brother AC for our great love of conventional geologic fuels. Repeat after me: "CO2 is not a pollutant." Poof - filtered combustion of hydrocarbons is no longer a threat to earth-kind.

Of the three proposed energy dreams you may be surprised that I put the most faith in the harnessing of lightning. Super capacitors have an inherent problem with spontaneous instantaneous self-discharge (explosion) and even if and when room-temperature superconductors are developed we can waste loads of cheap energy before spending as much as those new materials will cost to replace aluminum conductors.

And by the way - I'm suspicious of the 70% loss claim. Let's see the data on that one. It's probably closer to 7%.

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2011 7:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Bussard fusion holds no special place in brother jg's oily heart?

I would like something that is cheaper and would not support Hugo Chavez. And if it is dog poop, my condo complex is the Saudi Arabia of dog poop...

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 7:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does it require a government subsidy? If so, its gotta go. Seriously.

Want something that is cheaper than oil or natural gas? Dream on. They're regulated and taxed to death and still can't be beat in the free market without subsidies to their competitors.

"Saudi Arabia of dog poop." Awesome line, but I think you had some competition in the Wisconsin state capitol rotunda for a few weeks last month.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 1:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Lest readers think I have no imagination, nor faith in technology, I must explain that I put great personal value on finding new ways to cheaply and safely power our abundantly prosperous lives. BUT - the incessant drumbeat of "oil is evil" must be opposed. Now. It is a column of communist tanks. I welcome any lover of liberty to stand with me in its path. With you or without you, I'll be here with my hand up.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 1:32 AM

Joe Biden Railroad

Sorry, Mister Stossel, I am lifting one of your posts in its entirety today:

It's amazing how modern politics resembles scenes of Ayn Rand's best-seller Atlas Shrugged.

Like the one in which a high-ranking government official pumps millions of dollars into a failing railroad company. The grateful railroad CEO rewards the government official by renovating his hometown train station and naming it after the government official. The renovation costs $5,700,000 more than expected.

Then comes the ribbon cutting ceremony. The CEO gets on one of his trains to go to the ceremony, but it breaks down. No surprise there: One out of every four trains his company runs is late. The CEO, chuckling at the irony, abandons the train and takes a car to the ceremony.

Unfortunately, that wasn't a scene in Atlas Shrugged. It happened this weekend.

The government official is Joe Biden.

By the way, the first of three Atlas Shrugged movies opens next month, appropriately on April 15th.

Taranto piles on:
In other Biden news, the Daily Caller reports that the Wilmington, Del., Amtrak station was rechristened the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station on Saturday. Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman was there, but no thanks to Amtrak. He was on a train from Washington that got stuck in Baltimore, so he got off and went by car. Sounds like something right out of "Atlas Shrugged," doesn't it?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:


Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 21, 2011 6:30 PM

March 17, 2011

Gub'mint Motors

Brother br emails with an emergency posting suggestion. "... you've gotta post this for JG:"

Agreed. Forbes:

The Chevrolet Volt is beginning to look like it was manufactured by Atlas Shrugged Motors, where the government mandates everything politically correct, rewards its cronies and produces junk steel.

This is the car that subsidies built. General Motors lobbied for a $7,500 tax refund for all buyers, under the shaky (if not false) promise that it was producing the first all-electric mass-production vehicle.
Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board. GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.

Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced. Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants. And this guy is the chair of Obama's Economic Advisory Board?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:24 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants..."

I appreciate the Atlas Shrugged reference, but a different book comes to mind. This sounds a lot more like Milo Minderbinder has gotten out of Egyptian cotton and into auto manufacturing.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2011 6:23 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

KA, this gives me an idea: I'll write a check to you for $1 million and you write one me for $1 million and we'll both be rich.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 17, 2011 6:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You first...

On second thought, I'm sure the guv'mint will insist of taxing both tranasctions. We'll each have paid a million, and received a million less the tax. Think about who profits on that deal, and who loses.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2011 11:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm very grateful for the post. It would have gone otherwise unnoticed.

One might wonder why there is no "one to a customer" restriction on the federal rebate. One might suspect a big corporate fleet buy such as this was GM's backstop from the start.

If I may be sarcastic for a moment, "There's no wonder why wind power has yet to be adopted widely in the United States with irresponsible corporate shills like Patrick Michaels writing inflammatory lies like, 'GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power."

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2011 12:18 PM

March 11, 2011


The repercussions of the 7th largest earthquake in recorded history are just being understood but there's still time to take a shot at the happiest city in America and one of her sacred cows - windpow .. pow .. poof.

Whilst driving my one-ton diesel pickup (by myself) to pick up a lunch burrito I happened to pass Boulder's swank new "multi-use" development that occupies the old Crossroads Mall site. It's called Twenty-Nineth Street. (No, not 29th Street, "Twenty-Nineth Street.") On the most prominent corner of the property, 28th and Arapahoe, they've installed one a them newfangled "wind turbines." "Free energy from the earf" I think they call it. And on a day when wind had whipped a "controlled burn" out of control in the mountains, the weather reports warn of "60 mile per hour gusts" and the average wind speed at Atlantis Farm has been 15 mph or higher all morning the wind turbine is - not spinning. It twists in the wind alright, and the blades aren't completely frozen but if it completes a full revolution in a minute I'd be surprised.

Could it be that these things require, not just subsidized installation but subsidized maintenance? Stop. Stop! You're killing me!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

More of them green jobs, man! Somebody's gotta fix those things!

I wonder if they lock in high winds. The one in front of the Lafayette library never spins when it's really whippin', yet I frequently see it spinning in a lighter breeze. Safety issue?

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2011 3:58 PM

March 7, 2011

Hey O, Hows About Dese Jobs Over Heah!?

Linked from Carpe Diem, who linked from WSJ: Time to Get Serious About American Oil

Even as the energy sector necessarily diversifies, oil will continue to be a key piece of our national energy profile for many decades. And yet Alaska and the Gulf states have been blocked from developing America's oil by politically driven federal policy, much of it aided by misinformation. If Americans wonder what our economic Achilles' heel is, they need look no further than the federal regulatory system that delays permits for domestic exploration and production.

As we watch fuel prices rise, inflation take hold, and government debt reach record levels, Alaskans and those in other oil-producing states are frustrated. We wonder why the Obama administration is openly hostile to a sector of our economy that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, kept the country on an even keel even during the recession, and produces a global commodity we depend on every day.

Authored by the Governor of Alaska
(No, not that one.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 5, 2011

Subsidy Folly

Facebook friend JC linked to a DOE report on energy subsidies in a comment to this post that is about to scroll off the page. I think he may have thought I'm a fan of oil subsidies, since I am an avowed supporter of oil and oil companies. But I want the market to decide, not my congressman. (Well, maybe if it was only my congressman without the other 434, but I digress.) The linked report offers this nugget on the ability of subsidies to produce more product.

Notwithstanding the doubling of Federal energy-related subsidies and support between 1999 and 2007, and a significant increase in most energy prices over that period, U.S. energy production is virtually unchanged since 1999 (Table ES2). Basic economic principles suggest that higher real energy prices together with the significant incentives provided to various production segments of the energy sector would tend to raise domestic energy production. A variety of factors unrelated to prices or subsidy programs such as State and Federal statutory limitations imposed on onshore and offshore oil and natural gas exploration in environmentally sensitive areas, uncertainty regarding future environmental policies possibly restricting future emissions of greenhouse gases, and declines in future production from previously developed domestic oil and natural gas resources may have impeded growth in energy production despite modest growth in consumption.

[Emphasis in original.]

Did anyone else notice that none of the regulatory restrictions affected wind, solar, ethanol or biogas? Yet energy production was unchanged. Go figure.

(Graph moved to "Continue Reading)


Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

The Right Conclusion

Victor Davis Hanson calls out President Obama for his "confused" foreign policy in the face of the Mideast unrest.

Until only recently this administration did not have a consistent policy of promoting nonviolent evolution to constitutional and secular government across the Mideast. Can't we oppose Iranian theocracy or Libyan thuggery with the zeal we showed in castigating the Mubarak dictatorship?

But despite the uncertainty we face as Middle East autocracy reshuffles the deck chairs, Hanson articulates the obvious path for America to take right now.

Meanwhile, to preserve our autonomy and options, we need to stop borrowing money and drill like crazy for oil and natural gas, as we fast-track coal and nuclear power. Anything less is near-criminal negligence.

Near criminal indeed. Those who call for the impeachment of President Obama over his birth certificate or the Defense of Marriage Act would better serve the future prosperity of the United States by refusing to stand by while oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy are throttled in the name of supposed economic viability for wind, solar, biogas, and sundry other "magical unicorn fart" energy make-believe.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2011

What's an EV Button?

Computer folk are the worst. And it is only a short blog post. But is it editorial failure or the Heartbreak of Old-Fogeydom?

The term "EV Button" is never defined in "Plug in Cars: Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid missing critical EV button" not Professor Reynolds's link. I suppose it gets an im-context definition:

[Plugin cars' reviewer Bard] Berman argues that the Prius' lack of an EV button that would "allow drivers to absolutely keep the gas engine off when they know it's not necessary" is a critical omission on behalf of Toyota.

I remain proud to motor fugally if exclusively on gas. But I hate to be caught so unhip on an acronym.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Thus proving that there's no satisfying the enviros. How about this Mister Birkenstock: Don't want your plug-in hybrid to use any gasoline? When the tank is empty, don't refill it. Voila - E friggin' V.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2011 2:47 PM

February 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

Been a while since I gave one to George Will. But spring training is in session:

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they--unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted--are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

Time was, the progressive cry was "Workers of the world unite!" or "Power to the people!" Now it is less resonant: "All aboard! -- George Will

Posted by John Kranz at 6:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2011

Silly Governor, Laws Don't Create Jobs

Yesterday I wrote about thousands of "clean energy" jobs that could be eliminated if Colorado's largest power company cuts its solar power subsidy in half (per installation). I suggested that those jobs probably wouldn't have existed without the subsidy, which distorted market signals to create economic activity for an economically unviable product.

Today our former Governor explains how these unsustainable jobs were created and still has the gall to suggest we do even more of it.

Building this new economy starts with understanding how clean energy legislation can create jobs. During my four-year term in Colorado, I signed 57 pieces of clean energy legislation. In 2007, for example, we doubled the proportion of energy in the state that is required to come from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2020. In 2010, we increased that to 30 percent for our biggest utility. As a result, Colorado now ranks fourth among the 50 states in its number of clean energy workers per capita, and 1,500 clean energy companies call our state home an 18 percent increase since 2004. Wind- and solar-energy companies that have built factories and opened offices in Colorado have brought in thousands of new jobs.

But governor, have you not heard that the American economy is no longer robust enough to support elective boutique energy "just in case" environmental scientists might be partially correct? It's about as popular with voters right now as free pensions and sweetheart health insurance for unionized Wisconsin teachers. Feel-good energy layoffs are happening now in the U.S. European plants are closing now. Why not just wait until the science and technology is sufficient for sustainable energy to be sustainable? It will save a lot of wasted money and effort building new plants and then closing them.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:35 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The answer to your most excellent yet rhetorical question is a review corner.

I'm a crazy mad fan of Virginia Postrel. I bought her "Substance and Style" for everyone who has ever worked for me since it came out. Yet, somehow I had missed her "The Future and its Enemies." With the title props to Dr. Popper, and my appreciation for the author, I cannot believe I let 12 years go by.

I got a hardcover as a freebie for a Reason donation (yes, and the T-shirt in the coffeehouse vid). I had left the Kindle® in the car yesterday and decided to read a real book.

Merciful Zeus! Just a couple chapters in, but she resurrects the famed "Baptists and Bootleggers" theory to bifurcate stasists and dynamists. The enviros want us living in caves so we don't spill a drop of oil, the Buchananite conservative wing wants us living in a tiny village so nobody can be divorced or gay, and the VP Gores of the world want to control every facet of life for everybody.

What Hayek calls the "Party of Life" and she "Dynamists" are thusly badly outnumbered.

She wrote it in 1998 with the full promise of the Internet in front of us. But if she had waited for the "Green Energy Economy," she would have a perfect example. With apologies to Swift and Toole, the dunces are truly arrayed in confederacy against us.

Posted by: jk at February 28, 2011 11:12 AM

February 26, 2011

"Sustainable" Energy Unsustainable

Live by the subsidy - die by the subsidy.

More than 200 supporters of solar energy rallied on the west steps of the state Capitol this afternoon to protest Xcel Energy's decision to cut incentives for solar system installations.

Had this been a "Teabaggers" rally the narrative would have been "Nearly 200 opponents of the Obama Administration rallied ..." But I digress.

"It has created a lot of fear in the industry. My job is on the line," said Gary Gantzer, a Boulder resident and installer for Namaste Solar who was at the rally with his two young children.

About 5,300 people work in the solar installation industry, and insiders estimate half those jobs could be at risk if the Public Utilities Commission lets the proposal stand.

So what you're saying is, those jobs might never have existed in the first place had those subsidies not been given. Given by whom, you may ask. Ratepayers.

A 2 percent charge on utility bills supports the program and other efforts to promote renewable energy development.

How much subsidy, you may ask.

Since 2006, the program has provided $274 million in incentives for 9,346 installations on homes and small businesses.

9,346 incentives over a 5-year period is about 1,870 subsidies per year. And the average cost of each subsidy: $29,317.

Just for fun - Number of years the average solar subsidy could pay the electric bill of an average American home? 306 (and 5 months.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:25 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Mike Rosen took on this subject in his third hour today. His first impression was the same as mine - Subsidies created those jobs in the first place!

He also did a good job exposing how this is average rate payers helping solar proponents put expensive power systems on their homes at little or no cost to themselves.

And many callers defended the program on the basis that "fossil fuels have huge subsidies too." Yet not a single one of them could give an example of said subsidies. To paraphrase multiple callers - "I just read that they're there, and they're numerous, and they're huge." (No word whether it was from an authoritaritive source, like the internets.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 28, 2011 3:00 PM
But JC thinks:

Here is an example of subsidies.
Please comment to let me know if this resource is acceptable to you.


Posted by: JC at March 4, 2011 1:35 PM
But JC thinks:

"Just for fun - Number of years the average solar subsidy could pay the electric bill of an average American home? ...306 [years] (and 5 months.)"

Just for MORE fun:
Estimated number of people on the planet = 6.9 billion

Estimated global subsidies for oil in 2008 = 312 billion

Estimated U.S. Energy Subsidies (tax expenditures (TE)) = 6.74 billion (subtracting TE subsidies for ALL renewables)
Hold that thought - this is for U.S. subsidies alone

How many years could these U.S. subsidies power a single, average American home if every person on the planet had an average American home? Well? How many?

Thought experiment: What kind of impact would there be on global energy markets if every person on the planet had an "average American home"? (frightening)

Subsidizing Big Oil:

Posted by: JC at March 5, 2011 10:22 AM
But jk thinks:

You asked if the DOE site was an acceptable source. To be fair, I was still thinking about it -- I place moderate faith in gub'mint statistics and the DOE is toward the bottom.

Then you link to far more partisan sources.

We don't agree on much around here, but I suspect all ThreeSourcers would agree that neither oil, ethanol, nor unicorn farts should be subsidized. Let them all compete in the free market.

However, what many opponents call subsidies are simply standard features in the tax code. I'd love to clean up the tax code, but in the meantime, the only way a large company can exist in the US is to take advantage of all the loopholes.

GE and Whirlpool use these to pay pretty much zero taxes, but because they're making Energy Star appliances -- and grease the right palms -- they get less flack than the big bad oil companies.

Real subsidies need to go bye-bye, no arguments 'round here. But do you think they just happened last week? You want to subsidize "green" energy? In decades, that will be what's keeping us from transitioning to something better.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2011 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for bringing the debate here from Facebook JC. When my online time is limited it will go to this page before any other.

If you have a point to make other than villification of American prosperity then you'll have to spell it out for me. That's a lot of info there.

But I think you may have mistaken the fun I poked at callers having no clue how government subsidizes oil for my personal approval of said subsidies, or denial that they exist. I want them ALL killed. All corporate welfare, whether for conventional, productive energy or for alternative, wishful energy companies - zeroed. We can argue about research later but I think we should agree on the corporate subsidy point. (Caveat: Namaste Solar and other small, local businesses fall under the heading of "corporation.")

It took until recently for me to realize it but when a Republican politician says he is for "all of the above" on energy policy he isn't just saying he is pro-drilling. Unless he says otherwise you must assume he is "pro-subsidy" for "all of the above." And if this can be verified, OFF WITH HIS HEAD! (Electorally, of course.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2011 11:23 AM

February 25, 2011

Come home, Bill, we need you!

President Clinton comes out against Ethanol:

America's political addiction to ethanol has consequences, from raising the price of food to lining the pockets of companies like Archer Daniels Midland. So we're delighted to see another prominent booster--Bill Clinton--see the fright.

"We have to become energy independent" but "we don't want to do it at the expense of food riots," the former President told an agriculture conference Thursday. He urged farmers to consider the needs of developing countries--the implication being that the diversion of corn to ethanol production limits food supplies and artificially raises prices.

Yes, he opens with the un-Ricardian sop to "energy independence," and one suspects an ADM donation to the library may have swayed #42 steely resolve. But I think we might be nearing a turning point.

Synfuels and Mohair are ancient history to people today. But the environmental movement watched ethanol, rooted for it, and supported its subsidies. Now it is a perfect poster child for all that is wrong with government intrusion: more expensive, worse for the environment, and now contributing to global famine! A trifecta!

Cui bono? Why Archer Daniels Midland, of course! You cloth-eared-gits have sold your soul to further the profits of a multinational corporation. It really doesn't get any better. Enviros can see what a sham it is and how difficult it is to dismantle. Of course, the ones I know still believe the next government energy pick will be good. But baby steps. Baby steps.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2011

Don't Want to Throw "the H word" around Lightly...

But Florida Gov. Rick Scott is having a Hoss moment, rejecting a high-speed rail boondoggle jobs-producin'-federal-stimulus project.

My decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:

-- First -- capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

-- Second -- ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (from $300 million $575 million over 10 years) Note: The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.

-- Finally --if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to D.C.

Brother Keith says he doubts rail, but here's one that brings in 16.25% of its operating budget from passenger revenue. Man, where can I get in on a deal like that?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2011


The WSJ Ed Page answers brother Keith's question.

Messrs. Obama and Biden argue that the U.S. has to invest in high-speed rail to stay competitive with the world. Only if we're competing in the Debt Bowl. Two high-speed railways in the world have broken even, and those are in densely populated areas of France and Japan where people drive less because gas prices are twice as high as in the U.S., and many foreign intercity highways levy tolls.

Two. And they didn't so much make money as break even.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Amtrak delenda est. QED.

Of course this is going to be another Big Dig, a hole into which money is poured. But when has that ever stopped our elected overlords from spending? Exhibit A: Obama's new proposed budget.

The only way high-speed rail loses money faster is if they put Gomez Addams in as the Rail Czar.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 14, 2011 2:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Love the Addams Family reference KA. I always wished they had more scenes with the trains.

Quoting David Harsanyi, The president "mentioned railroads six times, because how else are we going to win the 19th century back?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2011 3:29 PM

February 11, 2011

Fracking EPA

A companion story to BR's Pique Oil: The EPA shall let no low-cost oil go unpunished.

The EPA has proposed examining every aspect of hydraulic fracturing, from water withdrawals to waste disposal, according to a draft plan the agency released Tuesday.

Does this come as any surprise? With so much new oil becoming accessible through the new process the energy nazis at EPA have to find some way to put a halt to it.

The EPA proposal notes that 603 rigs were drilling horizontal wells in June 2010, more than twice as many as were operating a year earlier. Horizontal wells can require millions of gallons of water per well, a much greater volume than in conventional wells.

One point of contention is the breadth of the study.

Chris Tucker, a spokesman for Energy in Depth, said he understands the need to address any stage of the fracking that might affect drinking water, but he's skeptical that water withdrawals meet the criteria.

Hey EPA ... Frack off.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:47 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If the EPA ever had any usefulness - and I doubt it - then it has outlived it. We have a Department of Justice turning justice on its head, a State Department in a state of disarray, and now this. If ever you questioned whether government continues to serve the people of this nation, question it now.

On a highly related subject, let's watch a movie. I would value your thoughts on this trailer: http://tinyurl.com/64t8oe3

My only serious quibble so far it thier having updated it. I'm sure it will not seriously damage my reaction. I'm sure this will be a thread of it's own - on April 16.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 12, 2011 2:06 AM
But jk thinks:

That's the Samizdata rule. They have "Ministry of.." instead of "Department of," but they say Ministry of X is always the thing best poised to destroy X. As you enumerate, it is frighteningly accurate.

A beloved but misguided relative has devoted years to establishing a Department of Peace. I'm certain if such a thing ever transpired, the Shakers and the Amish would be shooting each other in the streets.

I thought the trailer looked purdy good!

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2011 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I was surprised that the movie has a contemporary setting, but not disappointed. The dialog in the trailer is not recognizable as Rand's. It has been modernized as well. This is probably a good thing. For devotees and neophites alike it will be more appealing, just as "Enterprise" could appeal to young and old Trek fans. And anyone who wants the original dialog can find it in one of about 7 million places.

I'm excited and looking forward to multiple viewings. That Dagny looks like a fireball, eh?

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2011 12:50 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

'Scuse me while I peel myself off the ceiling.

The reason that drillers started drilling horizontal wells - at higher cost - was because the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the EPA, Department of Interior, multiple state agencies and every "conservation" organization in the country were having little tiger kittens over the footprint and environmental impact of drilling platforms; they might interrupt with the copulation of Prebble's Tit Mouse. So, instead of drilling seven conventional wells on seven platforms, they drill seven horizontal wells from a single platform. These guys will shamelessly say and do anything to inhibit oil exploration merely for the sake of inhibiting it.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 12, 2011 9:40 PM

Pique Oil

"Peak oil" has been forecast for about as long a stingy-haired, berobed sandal-wearers have been holding signs on street corners warning that the end is near. Somehow, technological advances just keep proving the predictions wrong.

Yesterday, the AP carried a piece describing new drilling techniques that could open reserves in the mid-US that exceed the Gulf of Mexico. This is the Niobrara formation under Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.

This new drilling is expected to raise U.S. production by at least 20 percent over the next five years. And within 10 years, it could help reduce oil imports by more than half, advancing a goal that has long eluded policymakers.


Petroleum engineers first used the method in 2007 to unlock oil from a 25,000-square-mile formation under North Dakota and Montana known as the Bakken. Production there rose 50 percent in just the past year, to 458,000 barrels a day, according to Bentek Energy, an energy analysis firm.


In the Bakken formation, production is rising so fast there is no space in pipelines to bring the oil to market. Instead, it is being transported to refineries by rail and truck. Drilling companies have had to erect camps to house workers.

Unemployment in North Dakota has fallen to the lowest level in the nation, 3.8 percent less than half the national rate of 9 percent. The influx of mostly male workers to the region has left local men lamenting a lack of women. Convenience stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked with food.


Within five years, analysts and executives predict, the newly unlocked fields are expected to produce 1 million to 2 million barrels of oil per day, enough to boost U.S. production 20 percent to 40 percent. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates production will grow a more modest 500,000 barrels per day.

Of course, back during the ANWR debate, 1,000,000 barrels per day was "insignificant" and the 10 years-to-market was too far in the future to be meaningful. Never mind that such production would be online today and boost domestic production another 10 percent.

Hat tip: foxnew.com and denverpost.com

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:39 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

First: ten points for the headline.

Second: a speculative segue. I also saw a short piece that claimed communications exposed by WikiLeaks show that the Saudis are finding it difficult to maintain current production.

Twixt this find and the Canadian tar sands, what Joel Garreau called "The Empty Quarter" of North America might become "the Saudi Arabia" of oil.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2011 11:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Over the weekend I intended to write about how the increased exploration activity in the region is fueling economic development in my home town of Fort Lupton. Seems a big oil concern is enlarging their existing facility there. Anyone ever hear of an outfit called Halliburton?

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2011 4:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here is the story I was referring to from last weekend. The "energy corridor" between Fort Lupton on the north and Brighton on the south largely consists of Halliburton (in Lupton) and Vestas in Brighton. I'm now taking bets for which will outlast the other. Odds are currently 10:1 against the windmills.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2011 8:49 PM

February 1, 2011

The Greatest Automotive Review of All Time

And I only read the first page out of five. It gets a little dull. But Page One...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Fun article. As for the car, I'm waiting for what Jeremy Clarkson says!

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2011 3:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Br'er JG: as long as you're invoking the literary distinctives of your blog nom de plume (see above re: Rearden Metal), I'm shocked that you haven't commented that the Volt power plant is nothing compared to one that runs on ambient static electricity.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 1, 2011 4:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some things aren't for discussion outside of the valley.

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2011 7:34 PM

January 29, 2011

Energy Sadness

The revoltionary unrest in Egypt is bound to cause a spike in world oil prices, even if Egypt's 2 million barrels per day continue to flow. The reason is fear. Fear that any slight disruption in the flow of oil through the stages of refinement and distribution will cause shortages. And that fear is well founded. Recall the story I posted in Autumn '08 highlighting how tightly the world oil supply is controlled to match demand.

The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."

So what does "oilman" T. Boone Pickens tell us about the situation in Egypt? Speaking with FNC's Cavuto this morning-

Pickens: "What this is gonna do, let's go over to the United States. We have "resources" in America that we should be using. And we shouldn't be sittin' here when somethin' like this comes up, here we're all runnin' around sayin' what in the hell is gonna happen to us, ya know, how's this gonna affect America and everything else. When we should be getting on our own "resources." Uh, it's just, it's the saddest thing in the world that your leadership doesn't take you in the direction of independence."

Cavuto: "When the administration announced this past week that it's going to end oil subsidies, focus on some of these alternatives ... too little too late for you?" Not enough?"

Pickens: "Well, what was said was in 2035? We're gonna be over to renewables? My God, that's twenty-five years from now. We can do this much, much sooner. And we need to do it sooner. And, it's available to us. What I want the president to do is say look, all federal vehicles in the future will be on our own "resources." Domestic "resources." And we have 'em, we can go to it. It can be done. And it should be done. We're gonna do it now. I think this is gonna push us over the edge."

[Emphasis and scare quotes on "resources" mine.]

I scare-quoted resources because Pickens never explained what he meant by the word. Certainly he can't mean wind power, which he declared "dead as hell" early in the first year of the Obama administration. He might be thinking of natural gas, of which America does have huge a domestic supply.

But we also have massive domestic reserves of oil and coal. If everyone could be free to risk his own investment in developing the energy source he thinks best then the marketplace would enjoy a full supply of every known energy source and could pick and choose from them as needed at any time, accomodating any crisis. America does not need government "leadership" in this area. In fact, government leadership invariably goes in the wrong direction. What is needed for energy independence is economic and regulatory independence. That America doesn't have or demand this is what's really "the saddest thing in the world."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:27 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The saddest thing in the world is to have a successful oilman lose faith in free markets. Wind may be dead as hell but when I see him on Kudlow he's pushing to convert the federal fleet to natural gas to coerce manufacturers to support it.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2011 10:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That confirms it. When he said, "What I want the president to do is say look, all federal vehicles in the future will be on our own resources" he meant "natural gas."

Which is not surprising considering he owns a natural gas fueling station company.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2011 4:35 PM

January 21, 2011

Then We Can Subsidize Them

Great News, you'll soon be able -- through your tax dollars -- to help Wall Street Fat Cats® buy $70,000 automobiles:

Mercedes-Benz' AMG models pound the pavement. The AMG lineup consists of vehicles that can dash from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a flash and exceed legal speed limits with ease. In short, AMG models have always been, and will continue to be, focused on performance. However, it appears as though even they aren't immune from the drive to improve fuel efficiency that's sweeping the automotive industry.

Then they'll get the tax credit. Cool, huh?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2011

"Green Job" Flight

In President Obama's first year in office there was a major push to create "green jobs" in the U.S. In October of that year his Commerce Secretary said, "Building a green economy isn't going to be easy, but if government and businesses work together, America can and will be a world leader in clean energy."

Oops. Evergreen Solar to Shut Down U.S. Manufacturing, Move to China

CEO Michael El-Hillow commented: "While overall demand for solar may increase, we expect that significant capacity expansions in low cost manufacturing regions combined with potential adverse changes in government subsidies in several markets in Europe will likely result in continuing pressure on selling prices throughout 2011. Solar manufacturers in China have received considerable government and financial support and, together with their low manufacturing costs, have become price leaders within the industry. While the United States and other western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint."

"Low cost manufacturing regions..." and their "low manufacturing costs" put the U.S. at a "disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint." Perhaps there are forces at work here other than generous government subsidies for preferred sectors. Maybe it's just too damned expensive to hire employees in the U.S.

These new numbers show that even though global wage differentials are narrowing, policy-induced costs in the United States, especially corporate taxes, continue to undermine manufacturers ability to compete with our largest trading partners, Duesterberg said.
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

So, our government is borrowing massive amounts of money from China, which we're using to subsidize "green economy" jobs, and the companies offering those jobs are moving their production (and those job openings) to China. We're paying interest on the borrowed money to facilitate China expanding their own industrial base.

I'm not certain how this is supposed to work, but I've got a pretty good suspicion it ends with:

"3 - Profit!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 14, 2011 12:20 PM

January 12, 2011

Brown Energy

One for my brothers: 'Brown' Energy Brings Prosperity

Quick--which state produces more oil: Alaska or California? Thats easy. Alaska, du-uh. And that's wrong. California passed Alaska in daily oil production in June last year (561,000 bbls per day for CA; 533,000 bbls per day for AK).

But Alaska and California are both restricting extraction, sending the prosperity to...North Dakota.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Many thanks! I hadn't seen this. That mention of the "strangely" named 'National Petroleum Reserve' is inspiring:

"Gosh, I'm sure glad we've set aside a national reserve for petroleum. Imagine if our great-grandchildren were never able to know what wild crude oil was like in its native habitat!"

Posted by: johngalt at January 12, 2011 2:30 PM

January 4, 2011

Great Balls of Fire

Ausgetzeichnet! German genius businessman selling efficient, earth-friendly "Heat Balls®" to EU customers.

The problem is that people will buy Heat Balls primarily as a way around the ban on incandescent bulbs. Rotthaeuser's Heat Balls could end up really taking off in a market starved for the familiar warmth of the incandescent bulb.

Awesomest thing all year so far! Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I like this passage from the linked post:

"The problem is that people will buy Heat Balls primarily as a way around the ban on incandescent bulbs. Rotthaeuser's Heat Balls could end up taking off in a market starved for the familiar warmth of the incandescent bulb."

Not to worry. This "problem" can be resolved by outlawing "Heat Balls."

Seriously now, at least in the U.S., the "incandescent light bulb" has not been banned. Lamps lower than a specified lighting efficiency have. What is that efficiency threshold and who established it? It is the boundary between inexpensive "general purpose" lamps and more costly halogen type incandescent lamps, and it was lobbied for by - wait for it - lamp manufacturers. Competitors can no longer undercut each other's cheapest products and saturate the market with them. Consumers will be forced to purchase larger quantities of more expensive lamps. (Think of it as a sort of minimum-wage law for lightbulbs.)

Have no fear, the incandescent lamp is not going away (unless government jacks up the efficiency limit in a future law) they're just getting more expensive.

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2011 3:31 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not risking it. I am waiting for a family member with a larger car to visit, and I will buy lunch for a trip to Home Depot to stock up. I plan to put a few cases in the storage closet.

While it sounds black helicopterish, I don't see a downside: misallocation perhaps of a small amount of capital, some scarcity of storage...

But I get a protected supply of something I'll likely use anyway. Next year, when they're gone, I'll trade you for ammo.

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2011 4:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I suggest Target or WalMart instead. I love Home Despot but their lightbulb selection is putrid.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2011 2:15 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Or, buy 'em by the case! "(while supplies last)" Ya gotta love it!

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2011 2:23 AM
But jk thinks:

Good old Amazon comes out pretty well. Two cases of floods for traclights and two 24 count cases of 60 Watt Soft White Heat Balls for $57.14, Free Prime shipping. No lunch purchase required.

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2011 6:08 PM

December 23, 2010

The Free Market Can't Possibly...

Two very bright and well intentioned friends have assured me that gub'mint intervention is required to transition from fossil fuels because "the infrastructure is not in place" to support biofuels, electric, what have you.


Its the first McDonalds to have a Level 2 Electric Charger in the U.S., though Cracker Barrel is adding EV chargers to 24 restaurants in Tennessee. The idea of filling up your belly and your electric vehicle at seems to be catching on with Americans and American companies. The company that revolutionized fast food could have a dramatic impact on EV charging, should it so decide. Imagine if all of the more than 12,000 McDonalds restaurants in America had charging stations? Youd have a hard time arguing that the infrastructure for electric vehicles arent in place.

Now I happen to remain unconvinced that plug-in hybrids and electrics are the answer, but I love the idea of McDonalds and Cracker Barrel and Walmart* providing this elusive infrastructure as a way to secure customers. Instead of tax revenue.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:36 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2010

Sky Blue, Sun Rises in East

After some sunny days cheering Tea Party wins on tax and spending, the news-skies have turned a bit grey: net-neutrality (read John Fund's devastating look at the forces behind it), continuing ethanol subsidies, wind subsidies, executive power grabs under the auspices of ObamaCare®...

Permit me a moment of the famed jk understatement. We really have not won yet.

Not even rising to five worst list? "Obama's Electric Car Cult." Here's Charles Lane in the WaPo:

Last year the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council concluded: "Subsidies in the tens to hundreds of billions of dollars. . .will be needed if plug-ins are to achieve rapid penetration of the U.S. automotive market. Even with these efforts, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are not expected to significantly impact oil consumption or carbon emissions before 2030."

Yet, like a rural voter clinging to his guns, the Obama administration brushes aside the experts because - well, who knows why? Perhaps subsidizing electric cars helps a Democratic administration make corporate welfare and tax breaks for the wealthy seem progressive. It's possible President Obama feels bound by his grandiose campaign promise to put a million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

Did somebody say misallocation of capital? Bueller?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the dying breaths of the 111th really are quite noxious.

But really, he cites the National Academy of Sciences? Those ivory tower guys are such obvious shills for "Big Oil."

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2010 3:15 PM

December 20, 2010

Hybrid Chic

Q- What do you get if you build a car with two motors (a gasoline-electric "hybrid") and let the driver use both of them at the same time?

A- Honda's new CR-Z "sport hybrid."

So market forces can even conquer the hair-shirt principle of the eco-mobile. Young buyers value "green" cars but still care what they look like when cruisin' Main Street. No surprise there. How long until the modifier "hybrid" is as non-descript as "GT?"

Worth mentioning: Honda's commercial (bottom right corner of linked page) for the new kid-rod, which implies that fire and ice can coexist. "Complete opposites, in complete harmony."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2010

Told You So

Give me 40%. Discussing the Freddy Kruegeresque re-corporealization of the ethanol blending mandate, I said "Two words: Chuck Grassley."

The correct answer was "Five words: Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley."

Roll Call/Getty Images

The ethanol extension is the bipartisan handiwork of Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin, who both regularly abandon their professed principles (fiscal conservatism for the Republican and equity for the Democrat) in the service of agribusiness.

Discredit also goes to the environmental lobby and its running game of bait and switch. The greens have turned on ethanol because of its carbon emissions, but their tax bill support has also been purchased with extensions of such energy subsidies as a Treasury grant program for wind and other renewable projects that were part of the stimulus.

Brother jg and I are involved in a soon to be three-digit Facebook thread. It started with the brit PSA blowing up the children -- 'member that? Our interlocutor considers it essential that we stop burning fossil fuels immediately. While he admits that ethanol is a waste and a boondoggle, he still expects the government to choose the right one next time. (No, pig, breathe from your diaphragm! Rounded tones...Maaa-may-meee-moo-muuuuu...)

Posted by John Kranz at 5:30 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2010

"Addicted to Foreign Coal"

That's the future rallying cry of back-to-the-cave types in China, Japan and Korea. And the source of that "evil" "foreign" coal? Colorado.

The New Elk Mine was opened in 1951 by CF&I Steel Co. to provide metallurgical coking coal for its blast furnace iron and steel production plant in Pueblo. In 1981, Wyoming Fuels purchased the facility and operated it until 1989. The coal preparation plant continued operating with coal from other nearby mines until 1996.

The mine will produce metallurgical coal that will primarily be exported to Asian countries, including Japan, Korea and China.

No mention anywhere of a government subsidy or incentive. Just buyers and sellers. How quaint.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2010

The "Tax Bill" Christmas Tree

Blog patriarch JK thinks we "did not know what we got till it was gone" in the Obama/Boehner deal to not raise taxes on "the rich." For my part, I didn't make numerous treks to the capitol steps over the last two years and spend numerous weekends knocking on neighbors doors to sign up GOP absentee ballots just to keep taxes and spending at their 2010 levels.

And then, to make matters worse, there's this:

Despite opposition from academics, environmental organizations, libertarian organizations, editorial boards across the country, and dozens of other groups, the ethanol tax credit and resulting tariff is said to be locked into the tax bill that will be passed before the end of the year.

How many stakes must we drive through the hearts of Congressional Democrats to be rid of their Frankensteinian monsters?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:58 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Two words: Chuck. Grassley.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

I've been called out by name a couple times today. I still think that the Obama/Boehner deal would be good for the economy: avoid a new year's tax increase and year end tax selling. Offer a down payment on better policy in the 112th and, for NED's sake, send our 535 elves home for Christmas.

But Mutual Forbearance is me and Mister Van Buren. I offer to compromise on today's WSJ Ed Page position (that Brother br linked). This, but no more:

Republicans would be fools to give Democrats a single new concession, even a token one. They certainly shouldn't let Mrs. Pelosi think she can get away with such blackmail in the next Congress. If Democrats defeat the current deal in the House, Republicans can return as a majority in January and write a bill that is better tax policy and more popular with their voters. Democrats will have been responsible for the tax increase, and Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will have much less leverage. That's why we think the Pelosi Democrats are really hostage fakers and will fold if their bluster is called.

Apart from the near-term economic damage, the stakes in this debate are highest for Mr. Obama. In November voters repudiated the policies of his first two years, but the polls show a reservoir of respect for him as a leader. If he can be pounded into retreat by a soon-to-be-former Speaker whose approval rating is barely north of 10%, Mr. Obama is headed for the unhappy resting place for failed Presidencies known as Carterville.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 5:08 PM

December 6, 2010

Threatened Subsidy

The move not to renew ethanol mandates is chugging along like a John Deere on biodiesel. The WSJ page reports a broad right-left coalition:

Last week, no fewer than 17 Senators signed a letter calling ethanol "fiscally indefensible" and "environmentally unwise." Led by Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Jon Kyl, the group said Congress shouldn't extend certain subsidies that expire at the end of the year, including the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline and tariffs on cheaper imports. Conservatives like Tom Coburn dislike this costly industrial policy, while liberals like Barbara Boxer and Sheldon Whitehouse are turning against the hefty carbon emissions that come with corn fuels.

Even Energy Secretary Steven Chu seems to have found the anti-ethanol religion. Speaking at the National Press Club last Monday, Mr. Chu said that "ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel" and that the government's focus should be "on ways that we can actually go beyond ethanol." Like most greens, he still supports so-called advanced fuels that aren't made from corn and also aren't commercially viable, but we'll take his partial conversion.

The ethanol industry is responding by predicting disaster if it loses its taxpayer feeding tubes, with the Renewable Fuels Association evoking massive job losses and another Dust Bowl. But what kind of business can't survive without subsidies when government also mandates that consumers buy its products? As the Senators dryly noted, "Historically our government has helped a product compete in one of three ways: subsidize it, protect it from competition, or require its use. We understand that ethanol may be the only product receiving all three forms of support from the U.S. government at this time."

Hope. Change.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:53 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Rational news from D.C. on a Monday morning? Pinch me!

Posted by: johngalt at December 6, 2010 2:58 PM

December 4, 2010

Symbolic Vote

Like the pay freeze, this can be derided as small potatoes (corn, actually...), but I would see it as a new dawn of freedom!

At the stroke of midnight on December 31 of this year, the 45 per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), commonly known as the blenders credit, and the 54 per gallon tariff on imported ethanol, will expire.

A bipartisan group of 17 senators, led by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), say its time for these special-interest giveaways to go gently into the night. A broad coalition of environmental, taxpayer, hunger, free market, and food industry organizations are urging House and Senate leaders to let the VEETC meet its statutorily appointed fate.

An exciting prospect for the first time ever, Congress may decide to put the general welfare of consumers and taxpayers ahead of the corporate welfare of the ethanol lobby.

Of course, maybe if you mix ethanol with mohair, you might have a cure for cancer. All of us free market types would be pretty sheepish then...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2010

Literary Hour

Prof. Ann Althouse does a nice riff on incandescents and incandescence, including a line from Tennessee Williams:

Look, Mother, do you think I'm crazy about the warehouse? You think I'm in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that - - celotex interior! with -- fluorescent tubes?! Honest to God, I'd rather somebody picked up a crow-bar and battered out my brains -- than go back mornings! But I go! Every time you come in yelling that Rise and Shine! Rise and shine!! I think how lucky dead people are! But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!

Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams and the Laniers are the illustrious wing of my family, including Tennessee, the poet Sidney Lanier, and even Red Barber. And their great-great nephew is not going to live under CFL tyranny. I am going to fill the garage with incandescents before the calendar turns 2011.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Keep your laws off my lightbulbs!

(Bummer that they don't have a T-shirt version.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2010 11:32 AM

November 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

Popular Mechanics tries to explain the 99 MPG EPA fuel rating on the all 'lectric Nissan Leaf:

Or maybe they're claiming the number is infinite, but the spreadsheet they used will only display two-digit integers, so 99 was as high as they could list. (Programmers are funny that way: 99=infinity, but only for very large values of 99, and other stuff like that.) -- Mike Allen

That never gets old. Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2010

I *heart* Coal

I've been desirous of an "I love Coal" T-shirt for quite a while now, probably since Climategate hit the news - possibly in response to Colorado's legislature voting to subsidize coal's competition. I've been a denier since before it was cool, but now it's cool! I thought I would have to design and print my own. False.


Anyone who wants to join me can use this refer-a-friend link and reward me with a $10 Cafe Press credit (because you're so thoughtful.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

If Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is humming any tune these days, it might be: "I fought the law, and the law won." That sums up the Obama Administration's record trying to defend its response to the BP oil spill in court. -- WSJ Ed Page
And less poetic, but expository:
Federal Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans last week unceremoniously dumped the 10 safety regulations Mr. Salazar slapped on the drilling industry in June in the wake of the spill. The judge found Interior had ignored clear rule-making requirements. Public "notice and comment were required by law. The government did not comply," and so the rules are void, declared Judge Feldman, who is the same judge who previously threw out the Administration's deep water drilling moratorium as unjustified by either science or safety.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:39 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Wha-uh... can't the Administration get the case remanded to the Ninth Circuit? The judges in Louisiana are so obviously part of the "backward thinking" crowd.

Posted by: johngalt at October 25, 2010 3:46 PM

October 21, 2010

70 MPG Mazda

Lemme get this straight.

If I buy a Chevy Volt -- like any patriotic American would do -- that gets a bit under 50 MPG when not using electricity from 1920s-era coal-fired power plants, I will be gifted with a $7500 tax credit.

If I buy, however, the new Mazda2, that gets 70 MPG, does not require a $2500 charger, and does not use gigacoulombs of coal produced charged particles, I get, um, nothing.

Mazda, which has no hybrid engine systems of its own, has taken to vastly improving its line of gas and diesel engines to compete with hybrids. If these rumors are true, not only are they competing, but completely blowing the competition out of the water. A 70 mpg gas-only car would outdo every hybrid on the planet.

Sorry, Mazda, the US Senate has already decided how to make fuel efficient, earth-friendly vehicles. And it requires two power trains, lots of extra weight and complexity, and hundreds of pounds of batteries with toxic heavy metals. Your silly scheme of making cars more efficient is of no interest to us in the good old USA. Thanks for trying.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:23 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Apparently you don't understand, JK. </sarcasm> The $7500 of other people's money that hybrid buyers are awarded with serves to pay for that $2500 charger and a $5000 share of the unnecessarily complex powertrain's higher cost. (Of course this "incentive" award is only temporary, until the hybrid hipness hype fades away all cars are hybrids and high volume brings costs down to a par with current car prices.)

But then, the Mazda 2 still has things that hybrids don't: It gets 70 mpg and "it certainly is a cute car."

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2010 12:09 AM

October 19, 2010

More fallout from the Dr. Hal Lewis Resignation

One of the Update links at the linked article in the Dr. Hal Lewis resignation story was a copy of the APS's public response with rebuttal by Dr. Lewis and two others interspersed in context. While the resignation letter itself is scathing evidence of Global Warming as hoax, it doesn't directly address the issue of "well-funded people believing" and thus, it "not going away." This does: [First the APS' statement, then Lewis' rebuttal.]

Dr. Lewis specific charge that APS as an organization is benefitting financially from climate change funding is equally false. Neither the operating officers nor the elected leaders of the Society have a monetary stake in such funding.
The chair of the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) that re-endorsed the 2007 APS Statement on Climate Change sits on the science advisory board of a large international bank http://annualreport.deutsche-bank.com/2009/ar/supplementaryinformation/advisoryboards.html The bank has a $60+ billion Green portfolio, which it wishes to assure investors is safenot to mention their income from carbon trading. Other members of this board include current IPCC chief Pachauri and Lord Oxburgh, of Climategate exoneration fame. The viability of these banks activities depends on continued concern over CO2 emissions. Then there is the member of the Kleppner Committee (that reviewed the APS 2007 Statement prior to POPA) who served on that committee while under consideration for the position of Chief Scientist at BP. The position had been vacated when Steve Koonin left to take a post in the administration at DOE. Soon after the Kleppner Committee report in late 2009, this committee member took the BP job. BP had previously funded the new Energy Laboratory at Berkeley, which was headed by current Energy Secretary Steve Chu.

UPDATE: Reformatted for clarity and bolded text for emphasis.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2010

Global Warming takes another body blow -

- This time from a renowned nuclear scientist.

Last November 20 I posted this first news of Climategate, which included James Delingpole's headline: Climategate: The final nail in the coffin of 'antropogenic global warming?'

JK was more circumspect but by December 1 admitted that the scandal was a "game changer." Yet, he still hedged: "But it does not expose a hoax as some have claimed. The believers truly believe. As long as well funded people believe, it is not going away."

Today, or rather October 8, the hoax is exposed.

Harold Lewis - Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, Presidents Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board - resigned from the American Physical Society over events that have transpired since Climategate.

In discussing the publicly released resignation letter Anthony Watts says,

This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science.

From the letter:

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford's book organizes the facts very well.) I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

He then goes on to expose the calculated lengths that APS management went to defeat his efforts to establish a Topic Group on Climate Change within the APS. Sharp, smart and irretrievably damaging to APS and the Climate Change movement.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Put me down as still hedging, brother. The letter you link says "What I would really like to see though, is this public resignation letter given the same editorial space as Michael Mann in today’s Washington Post." I fear this sermon will be heard only by the choir.

It's "Green Week!" at work. Thankfully, as a remote worker, I am impervious to all but eye rolling. Onsite workers went without lights for some time today and were told to shut off and unplug computers overnight for baseline current measurements.

This is from a private company, headed by a CEO who doesn't generally buy in to such nonsense. I guess they are buying off the earnest young employees. Whatever the case, we ain't won yet.

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 6:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I included your complete original "hedge" on purpose, to show it's a step-by-step process.

The believers do still believe, and as long as well funded people believe it is not going to go away. BUT, this does expose a hoax.

Posted by: johngalt at October 19, 2010 2:44 PM
But JC thinks:

No hoaxes here just a bunch of horses blowing hot air out their tail pipes! I have been studying this issue for several years. Based on the recent increase in reputable scientific organizations that accept "antropogenic global warming" as fact, Harold Lewis' single resignation letter fails to provide "an important moment in science history". The one and only effect of his resignation letter is that of providing fuel for the bloggers and non-believers.

Posted by: JC at April 1, 2011 9:47 PM

More Trouble in Green Paradise

Jason Bieber Murphy! What are we gonna do with all this Ethanol?

There is so much of this unwanted crap, they've had to increase the amount that can be blended with gasoline -- to try and get rid of it.

So the EPA decided that more ethanol should be mixed with less gas, lifting the cap to 15% for model years 2007 and later, or about one out of seven cars and light trucks currently on the road. The decision came in the nick of time for the ethanol industry, which is at market saturation and producing a glut that the government is not requiring anyone to buy. "We have lots of gallons of ethanol chasing too few gallons of gasoline," Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen told the New York Times in May.

Mr. Dinneen was displeased by the EPA's ruling, even though it is an opening wedge for his larger demands. In a statement, he complained that "ethanol producers are hitting an artificial blend wall today." You've got to love that "artificial"--for a fuel that is more expensive than gas, gets worse mileage than gas, increases carbon emissions more than gas does, and that few consumers would willingly buy unless required by law.

This will require new pumps, and warning labels to ensure drivers do not harm their older vehicles (kinda glad to be driving the '04, now that you mention it).

In other news, "Shares in Archer Daniels Midland, the second largest U.S. ethanol maker, rose to a near 28-month high." Oh. No. Wait. That's in the same editorial.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Here are some suggestions for the economic planners to reduce nationwide stocks of ethanol:

1. Lower CAFE standards, thus increasing gasoline consumption and ethanol along with it.
2. Tax ethanol producers.
3. Get out of the fuel business and let the market take over.

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2010 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Are You Joking?

ADM stock would plummet!

Think, man. Think.

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Though number one would work...

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 3:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here are some suggestions of my own:

1. Eliminate CAFE standards; let the market forces drive what cars will be built and what fuels will be desired by the buying public.
2. Reduce taxes on fuel producers, and place gasoline, ethanol, and all other fuel producers on equal footing.
3. Eliminate the Department of Transportation, and deed all roads and highways back to the states in which they exist.
4. Eliminate economic planners.

I might also point out, brethren, that there is one very minor correction I'd like to point one in jg's comment: ethanol producers are quite heavily taxed - unless they're producing it for your gas tank. As the good folks at Jack Daniels how big a cut of the take the revenuers collect...

When I become President, my items 1-4 will be in my first hundred days' agenda. Count on it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 18, 2010 3:41 PM

Trouble in Green Paradise

Governor Ritter touted the benefits of the "new energy economy" as including not just new jobs, but clean jobs in clean energy. Alas, it seems that reality still exists. Fort Collins Coloradoan: Vestas Using Potentially Harmful Chemicals

A two-month investigation by the Coloradoan shows that a handful of employees working at the Vestas facility, 11140 Eastman Park Drive, have been injured by an epoxy resin used in the blade manufacturing process.


OSHA fined Vestas $1,500 and cited the company twice with eight separate violations for failure to train employees how to properly use respirators as well as a failure to complete incident report forms for injuries at the facility.

Vestas has had similar problems in Europe.

More than a year ago across the Atlantic, Vestas found itself in a similar situation. In June 2009, the Isle of Wight County Press newspaper in the U.K. reported that Vestas Blades Newport turbine factory, which has since closed, was fined almost $800,000 for health and safety violations pertaining to 13 employees who suffered dermatitis after exposure to epoxy resin between 2005 and 2007.
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahhahahahahahaha! That's the greatest thing I ever read. If only some children had contracted cancer working 15 hour days, it would be truly perfect.

The only thing close is Penn & Teller's show on Recycling. Everybody is touting "all the great jobs" created. P&T go to a sorting facility and stand in waste deep trash crying "why oh why do we have to be Las Vegas entertainers when there are great jobs like this?"

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 12:12 PM

October 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I did not have a mechanical connection with that drive wheel!" For an unconvincing pro-GM attempt to maintain the claim that the Volt isn't just another hybrid, see here. . . . -- Mickey Kaus
Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

From the link within the link: "That got me thinking: What exactly is the definition of a hybrid?"

A: Dual power sources in the same vehicle. If you want an electric car with the ability to get back home again you have to add an IC engine to recharge it. Hybrid.

Posted by: johngalt at October 15, 2010 2:45 PM

September 22, 2010

How Dare You Employ Logic on Me?

The WSJ Ed Page crucifies the Administrations new report which shows that job losses from the Deep Water Drilling Moratorium were not so bad.

For an Administration that loves to tout stimulus projects that create a handful jobs here or there, it takes some nerve to describe the loss of up to 12,000 high-paying Gulf jobs as a triumph. Also unmentioned in the report is that if the Administration had listened to its own outside experts--who insisted a moratorium was unnecessary--the jobs lost would have been near zero. It is the White House that handed the Gulf these pink slips--not the spill, or a poor economy.

But the best is to capture the Keynesians on stimulus. It seems the precious multiplier is less than unity when government destroys spending, yet greater when they artificially boosts it (you see, phlogiston in metals has negative mass...)
The report's numbers also violate the very logic the White House offered earlier on the stimulus spending. According to the authors of the stimulus, every $92,000 the government injected in the economy was supposed to create one job-year. Yet according to the moratorium report, pulling $92,000 out of the economy doesn't result in the reverse. Instead, the authors offer several imaginative explanations for why it is important to "discount" that $92,000 by 40% to 60% when estimating how many jobs will be lost because of the $1.8 billion decline in spending on Gulf drilling. Thus they arrive at 8,000 to 12,000 lost jobs. Louisiana State University Professor Joseph Mason, who has penned a rigorous critique of the report, notes that if the government had not engaged in such "ad hoc" discounting, the estimate of lost jobs would be about 20,000--in line with prior estimates.

Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2010

Let There Be Light!

Rep. Barton outlines plans not only to whack ObamaCare®, but to bring back light bulbs (OpinionJournal video).

Posted by John Kranz at 2:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 9, 2010

Colorado "Public Climate-Change Commission"

One week after publishing the story I linked about the Colorado PUC chairman colluding with Xcel Energy (to mandate the use of natural gas to replace coal for electrical generation) the author, Peter Blake, wrote this article about the same PUC chairman and another commissioner, which gives details on that collusion.

As early as last Dec. 8, Binz noted that the commissioners are being engaged by gas producers to examine the potential for replacing coal with gas in the dispatch order.... (fellow commissioner) Matt (Baker) and I have talked to reps from IPAMS, COGA, Noble and Chesapeake.

Engaged by the gas producers? Why would regulators, who are essentially jurists, be holding unilateral talks with just one side in the energy business?


Coal, though still the cheapest provider of 24/7 baseload energy, was never involved in discussions and didnt know the bill was coming. Ritter, in a moment of candor, explained why to a renewable energy conference in Aspen last Saturday. We didnt believe that coal was going to be really able to add to the conversation, he said, claiming its lobbyists would have pushed for a study instead.

Let me translate: "We hate coal."

There are state laws designed to prevent this sort of thing. From the 8/26 Blake piece:

But there is in fact a law requiring commissioners to disqualify themselves in any proceeding in which their impartiality may reasonably be questioned.

There is an even stronger law requiring their removal by the governor should they lend the prestige of their office to advance the private interests of others, or convey the impression that special influence can be brought to bear upon them.

But what if that special influence is being brought to bear upon the governor too?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2010

Unintended Consequences

Professor Mankiw links to an Economist article that suggests solid state lighting will not reduce energy use -- it will simply increase the demand for light.

The light perceived by the human eye is measured in units called lumen-hours. This is about the amount produced by burning a candle for an hour. In 1700 a typical Briton consumed 580 lumen-hours in the course of a year, from candles, wood and oil. Today, burning electric lights, he uses about 46 megalumen-hoursalmost 100,000 times as much. Better technology has stimulated demand, resulting in more energy being purchased for conversion into light.

That, at least, is the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics by Jeff Tsao of Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and his colleagues. They predict that the introduction of solid-state lighting could increase the consumption of light by a factor of ten within two decades.

Just as the efficient vehicle owner finds himself driving more miles, so these will increase consumption. This would be good news to me, but blog brother jg is more concerned about light pollution than I.

Either way we can agree that the ridiculous nannying toward adopting these devices will -- mirabile non freakin dictu -- not achieve the nannies' goals.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:11 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, an Anthem reference. Nice!

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2010 10:39 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The quote from Economist begged for it; that, or a reference to a petition from candlemakers and allied industries regarding sunlight, to protect advances in our lighting technology. Fidelity to Rand and Bastiat are both valued among the lot of us...

Seriously, though - if we humans are clever enough to create advances in any science, then why should we not enjoy the fruits of our labors? We don't invent more efficient lighting to stick to the antiquated consumption budget; we invent more efficient lighting to create more light. Were we to suddenly discover a new, plentiful fuel source for cars (be it massive oil reserves or an engine that ran on ambient static electricity), then why should we continue driving gutless, underpowered four-cylinder cars when we could savor the wind in our hair and the thrill of triple-digit speed?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 1, 2010 11:54 PM
But jk thinks:

To the pantheon of Rand and Bastiat, let me add my hero, Dr. Karl Popper (the only man by whom John Maynard Keynes ever admitted to be bested in debate).

Germane here because a footnote to a footnote in The Open Society and its Enemies talks about "those who would send us back to the caves." Working in Boulder County, that represents almost everybody I know. As we celebrate light, a beloved cousin pushes the whole family to establish a weekly candlelight dinner: not for romance mind you, for "the environment."

Humans, pace the late Discovery Channel Gunman, do not deserve heat and light -- and certainly not fun in transportation.

But, brother, please rethink your aversion to tetracylendrical automobiles.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 10:15 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Adjectives, my good jk, adjectives - my aversion is to *underpowered* four-bangers. Remember, the 1986 Mustang SVO also ran on just four... plus an intercooled turbo package. 'Twas a NICE four.

Having said all that, I'd almost be willing to wager serious money you didn't buy that MR2 solely for its mileage per gallon, and the reasoning in the original post still reigns supreme. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2010 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

@JK- To your cousin, doesn't he/she realize how much CO2 is emitted by candle flame? I think you should propose dinner in the dark. (If you REALLLLY want to be environmentally friendly...)

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2010 7:24 PM
But jk thinks:

What? You mean replacing all electric light with candles would not help the environment? Man, if only she had a cousin who cared enough to tell her these things...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 7:42 PM

August 24, 2010

Another Boulder Power Boondoggle

Perhaps you've heard about the "green" power initiative called "smart grid." According to Wikipedia, "A smart grid, is, in essence, an attempt to require consumers to change their behavior around variable electric rates or to pay vastly increased rates for the privilege of reliable electrical service during high-demand conditions." Well, who in their right mind wouldn't want THAT in their home?!

As it is often eager to do, the city of Boulder, Colorado wanted to be a pioneer in transforming the smart grid into reality so they colluded with utility company Xcel Energy to wire up 23,000 homes at a projected cost in the neighborhood of $20 million. Now that the experiment is over and the final price was $45 million Xcel says, "We would not do that again over the whole service area," But in bailing out on the added cost Boulder says, "There is not a clear consensus among the members of the Boulder City Council with regard to the value of SmartGridCity in its present state or the prudence of this investment."

What? Boulder City Council considering the "prudence" of "investing" residents' money based upon "value?" Pinch me!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've spotted the fallacy in your text. You have the phrase "... who in their right mind..." in a discussion of Boulder politics. That's like saying "... what thinking voter..." in a discussion of California politics. Sort of a sociological division by zero; logic fails, the fabric of the universe is rent asunder, Cthulhu awakens, and in the end, chaos.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 24, 2010 4:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not exactly a fallacy, merely sarcasm. For anyone who jumps up and says, "OOOh, pick me, pick me" to have his behavior dictated by the capricious pricing schemes of do-gooder utility bureaucrats (who couldn't explain a BTU with both hands) is most certainly not in his right mind.

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2010 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm just glad I saw "couldn't explain a BTU with both hands" before I drank my coffee, Five stars for that'n.

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2010 3:13 PM

August 19, 2010

"Public" Utilities Malfeasance

Colorado's HB 1365, which I railed against last March, directed electric utility company Xcel Energy to "study" the economic benefits of converting existing coal-fired plants to use natural gas. But don't confuse them with any facts.

Xcel now says building brand new gas fired plants and tearing down the coal units would be cheaper still. How? Well, there are some tax benefits, but there's also a new 10-year contract with natural gas provider Andarko Petroleum.

It almost sounds as though it were a fixed-price contract, but one that long would be most unusual. Historically gas contracts run only a year, said Stutz.

Wouldnt it be easier to make his case if the gas contract were made public? Perhaps, but he said the gas contract is proprietary information.

Hmmm. Proprietary information? Public utility?

But don't expect the Public Utilities Commission to look out for the public. Ron Binz, the chairman of the Colorado PUC, is an environmental activist.

Historically commissioners have not been involved in negotiating controversial legislation that they may end up implementing. A hands-off approach makes sense if youre supposed to be a neutral arbiter. You rarely hear of judges at any level participating in legislation.

But Binz was quite active in the negotiations involving HB 1365 before it was introduced, as e-mails uncovered in a court proceeding revealed.

Hes also an advocate for climate-change legislation at the national level, and heads the climate task force of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

To quote Mythbusters' Jamie Hyneman, "Well THERE'S your PROBLEM!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2010

The Chevy Volt Dance

Brother AlexC posted this on Facebook, but I wanted to make sure everybody saw it.

Now who can say that the bailout didn't work, huh?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:43 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Yikes. First the kiddies took over government and now the kiddies have taken over marketing at a major multinational corporation. What's next? Oh, I forgot: medicine.

Posted by: johngalt at August 4, 2010 3:22 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Hey, if the Volt at my local Chevy dealer came with one of these dancers, I would buy it too. ^_~

Posted by: T. Greer at August 4, 2010 5:38 PM
But jk thinks:

They're all government workers, tg, you'll be paying for their healtcare the rest of your life.

Posted by: jk at August 4, 2010 6:13 PM

July 30, 2010

Tweet of the Day

The Volt is the Emperor's new car. --@terraM

Posted by John Kranz at 7:35 PM | Comments (0)

Proud to be a Republican

We're the party of thought and ideas and ideals. And the ONLY thing that can mess it up is when we win majorities and have to govern.

Rep. Paul Ryan has superb plans for entitlements, Rep Tom Price has an excellent plan for budget and Federal discretionary spending.

Now Kim Strassel shares California Rep. Devin Nunes's Energy Roadmap. And it strikes me as a thing of beauty.

Mr. Nunes's interest is how to answer these concerns in a more free-market way. The Californian's road map is the product of years of work, most recently with Mr. Ryan and a handful of Republicans with energy expertiseIllinois's John Shimkus, Utah's Rob Bishop, and Idaho's Mike Simpson. It's a bill designed to produce energy, not restrict it. It returns government to the role of energy facilitator, not energy boss. It costs nothing and contains no freebies. It instead offers a competitive twist to government support of renewable energy.

Both Strassel and I would prefer that renewals "sink or swim" ("...and swim just left town...") but Nunes funds them with royalties from extraction and introduces a pricing mechanism, and -- gasp! -- competition and scoring.
It would divert all the federal resource royalties into a fund. Companies or individuals with proven renewable technology would take part in a reverse auction. They'd bid for government bucks; those that can produce the most megawatts for the least money win. Auction winners forego other federal handouts. And consider this: The more fossil fuel extraction, the more royalties (potentially hundreds of billions of dollars) available to boost alternative energy.

Noocyulur power would not be subsidized, but regulatory hurdles would be dealt with. Like the Green Lobby, it would be put up or shut up time for the denizens of deuterium:
Rather than throw federal loan guarantees at uncertain nuclear plants, the legislation attacks the true problem: bureaucratic roadblocks. It streamlines a creaky regulatory process, requires the timely up-or-down approval of 200 plants over 30 years, and offers new flexibility for dealing with nuclear waste. Mr. Nunes likes to point out that his nuclear provision alone would do more to reduce carbon emissions than any Democratic proposal in existence. And it would in fact create, ahem, green jobs. Imagine that.

Now if we can just do something to keep the GOP out of power for a few more years so that these great ideas keep coming.

UPDATE: And then there's Senator John Thune:

He is best known for being the man who retired Democratic Minority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004, but GOP Senator John Thune of South Dakota is now striving for some policy and political visibility. He's just made a sweeping proposal to reform the clearly broken Congressional budget process.

Last year, Mr. Thune became head of the Republican Policy Committee, a leadership post that puts him in charge of generating the party's position on key issues. He's also being talked about as a dark horse presidential candidate by Republican strategists who aren't enamored by any of the likely 2012 contenders.

Minus ten points for "line item veto." Conservatives have got to jump off that train if they want to keep any Constitutional cred. Love the idea of President Christie stripping pork but I'm less keen on President Obama stripping out the tax cuts and pocketing the spending increases.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:26 PM | Comments (0)

Yet Some Still Doubt Government's Investing Prowess

Below, the Wall Street Journal suggests that that the Feds might not make $1.1 Billion the CBO projected with their scheme to invest in banks and funnel loans to small businesses. Well that's the WSJ Ed Page -- whaddya expect?

Now their right-wing buddies at the New York Times Opinion page carry a guest editorial by Edward Neidermeyer which calls the Government Motors Chevy Volt "a vehicle that costs $41,000 but offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car."

Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volts Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for retooling its plants, and youve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.

In the end, making the bailout work whatever the cost is the only good reason for buying a Volt. The car is not just an environmental hair shirt (a charge leveled at the Prius early in its existence), it is an act of political self-denial as well.

If G.M. were honest, it would market the car as a personal donation for, and vote of confidence in, the auto bailout. Unfortunately, thats not the kind of cross-branding that will make the Volt a runaway success.

Effing Nascar Retards...

Hat-tip: Jonathan Last

Posted by John Kranz at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

How's this for great minds thinking alike? JK just got the category wrong.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 30, 2010 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

And six minutes late! It's nice of you guys to let me play with you.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2010 12:37 PM

July 16, 2010

BP Spill - Tale of the Tape

Over the previous 87 days of the oil spill "disaster" every attempt to plug the leak had the dominant liberal establishment mass media looking over BP's shoulder and then rushing out with breathless reports of "another failure." It's curious that now, with flow stopped for the moment, they all find it within themselves to counsel caution. Better late than never I suppose.

But what is the total damage done by the leak? The linked story cites a leaked volume of four million barrels of raw crude oil. Alright, let's put that in perspective. 4 million barrels is 22458333 cubic feet. From a well head located roughly 5,000 feet below the water's surface this amounts to a column of oil extending from the well to the surface that is about 23 meters (about 75 feet) in diameter. For a geological feature measured in nautical miles this really does amount to a "drop."

Dilution is the pollution solution.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2010

It's not Easy Being Green

If you've never cared for the song (or if you have) I recommend Sophie Milman's version. But I digress.

Two Insty posts deserve a reciprocal segue:

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS ABOUT THE PLUG-IN PRIUS: So far, the Inside Line team has racked up more than 500 miles in the plug-in Prius and the experience has to be considered somewhat of a let down. The team has averaged 62 miles per gallon, a good number for sure, but one that many drivers of the more conventional Prius have easily achieved on a regular basis. . . . Given the plug-ins slightly improved efficiency, one would have to drive 215,100 miles to make up for the additional cash laid out to start

ECO BOOST: Ford Mustang V6 Gets 48.5 MPG Around Bristol Race Track.

Okay, Tangerines and Tangelos. But Look at Gallons per 100 mile:
  • Super cool, fun, babe-magnet* Mustang: 2.06186

  • Doofy, expensive, pretentious Prius that has to be plugged in at night and which will require multi-thousand dollar battery replacements at regular intervals: 1.6129

So, every 100 miles, the Plug-in Prius owner saves almost a half a gallon of gas. Seventy five gallons in a 15,000 mile year.

*Granted, the women in Brother Ka's life require the V8, but lets race the V6 against the Prius...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:19 PM | Comments (9)
But Keith Arnold thinks:


The woman (singular, take special note) in Brother Ka's life is happy driving the 232 V-6, so long as it's the ragtop. Mrs. Ka felt at the time that the V-8 was a trifle peppy. And inasmuch as she drives just like I do, I'll put serious money on her behind the wheel of her Mustang - and she'd probably spot the sissy Prius a hundred yards in a quarter-mile dash to prove her point.

As for the Mustang's environmental impact:


Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 29, 2010 5:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the Prius' impact, on the other hand...

"To compare, the Toyota Prius involves $3.25 per mile in energy costs over its lifetime, according to CNW, while several full-size SUVs scored lower. A Dodge Viper involves only $2.18 in energy per mile over its lifetime. The Range Rover Sport costs $2.42, and the Cadillac Escalade costs $2.75."

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2010 5:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Not so loud, jg - or someone will cite you as proof positive that the Prius deserves a taxpayer-funded subsidy to put it on an equal footing. The'll demand eighty cents a mile in subsidy to make it competitive with the Range Rover.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 29, 2010 6:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

DUDE! Where've you been?

Federal Tax Incentives

(Thanks for the hanging curve ball.)

But seriously, yes they can always ask for another subsidy... because this one is clearly not big enough.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2010 7:46 PM
But jk thinks:

You guys makin' me laugh!

At the same time: Tesla Raises $226 Million in IPO, Stock Gains 40% on First Day

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2010 1:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

JG, I am definitely not, NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT clicking on that link.

Coulda been worse, I suppose. It could have been a Helen Thomas as an example of a liberal "babe"!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2010 2:00 PM

June 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

I stay out of the global warming dispute, and I mean completely. I don't argue that we need to do things because the world is coming to an end or going to shift because we have endangered ourselves. I mention global warming in the movie but don't focus on it, and the reason is because I think it's a red herring. If we focus on money, and the bottom line, and we look at what kind of cost savings and profits can be gained through energy efficiency, it makes the global warming argument look like people who just don't understand where the value is. We need to focus on value, because the major change for the green revolution has to happen at a business level.

If you don't provide businesses with value, they won't ever change. They don't care what's happening to the world. Corporations aren't run with a set of moral directives. They are run with one thing in mind, and that's profit. For me, for my work, even for the Fuel film, the question was always: How do we get away from these didactic arguments that just go around in circles and leave people with less understanding, less information, less ability to make informed decisions than they had when they began? How do we give them really clear, insightful information that they can use to actually better their lives? It's great that it betters the planet as a result. And it's great that it improves the air. Of course it's going to reduce carbon emissions. Because at the end of the day, it's an efficiency equation. -- Josh Tickell, the director and star of the award-winning documentary, Fuel

Posted by John Kranz at 1:38 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I call BS:

"Corporations aren't run with a set of moral directives. They are run with one thing in mind, and that's profit."

To the contrary - the profit motive IS a proper moral directive.

Do you see how even men who are favorably inclined to capitalism are defeated by the ideas of altruism without even knowing it? (Not that Mr. Tickell is necessarily or even slightly one of those men.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2010 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

MISTER TICKELL! I missed that. It sounds like a product VP Gore orders on the internet late at night from one of his lonely mansions...

Each can decide the credit he or she wants to extend Tick, but I was pretty impressed that a documentary filmmaker (I think about Spurlock and Michael Moore) would push profit motive and market value as the goal for alternative energy sources. You read it as anti-Rand, I read it as pro-Milton Friedman (a Corporation’s only goal is to provide value for its shareholders).

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2010 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Half-empty... half-full.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2010 12:42 AM
But Giggle T thinks:

I agree. You have to give businesses and corporatios financial incentives to go green. It has to be practical for them to really they their ways of doing things.

Posted by: Giggle T at June 27, 2010 6:55 PM

June 23, 2010

Smackdown Indeed

The WSJ Ed Page is impressed by the pointedness of Judge Feldman's (loved him in Young Frankenstein!) "legal rebuke" of the Obama moratorium on deep water oil drilling.

Oil-services companies brought the case, which is supported by the state of Louisiana, arguing that the White House ban was "arbitrary and capricious" in exceeding federal authority, and Judge Feldman agreed. He noted that even after reading Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's report on safety recommendations (which included the ban), and Mr. Salazar's memo ordering the ban, "the Court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the findings and the immense scope of the moratorium."

Quite the opposite, said the judge, "the Report makes no effort to explicitly justify the moratorium." It does "not discuss any irreparable harm that would warrant a suspension of operations" and doesn't provide a timeline for implementing proposed safety regulations. There is "no evidence" that Mr. Salazar "balanced the concern for environmental safety" with existing policy, and "no suggestion" that he "considered any alternatives." The feds couldn't even coherently define "deep water." Ouch.

Ouch indeed! Whole read the thing.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2010

Judicial Slap-Down

Not so fast, Barack: Judge Rules Against Obama Drilling Ban

Judge Feldman noted in his decision that the Supreme Court has explained an agency rule as being arbitrary and capricious "if the agency has relied on factors which Congress has not intended it to consider, entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem, offered an explanation for its decision that runs counter to the evidence before the agency, or is so implausible that it could not be ascribed to a difference in view or the product of agency expertise."

"That rationale resonates in this dispute," Judge Feldman wrote in his decision.

Translation: You did ALL of these things you jackasses!

The Republic strikes back.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:57 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Huzzah for Judge Feldman and huzzah for tripartite government!

Larry Kudlow mentioned the injunction last night but I was not at all optimistic.

Makes one proud.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2010 5:02 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Aw, you guys are missing the point on this one. The judge saved the Obama Administration from itself. Hizzoner took an ecological disaster and expanded it to an economic disaster as well. Had the judge not made this ruling, Obama & Co. would have held the bag for the whole catastrophe. Now, Obama has the political cover with his Leftist base, but won't suffer the consequences of the decision. Somewhere Barry and Michele are fist-bumping.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2010 7:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No. I think not. This Reagan-appointed judge made an objective reading of the law and concluded that the administrative branch can not "arbitrarily and capriciously" deem a legal business to be illegal, even temporarily.

Without rulings like this Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez would be fist-bumping.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2010 7:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Don't get me wrong, I think it was the right decision as a matter of law. But, I don't think that you can deny that the judge saved Obama from himself, politically.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2010 8:05 PM
But jk thinks:

President Obama has a plan: he's going to put fifteen judges on teh Fifth Ciruit in time for the appeal.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2010 11:03 AM

June 17, 2010

How Cap and Tax will be Passed ... THIS YEAR

For several months now I've taken scant comfort in the belief that "after the healthcare disaster there's no way that congress or the American people will allow the energy tax bill to pass." Then I read this analysis by RCP's Jay Cost:

The only reason to pass such a major piece of legislation during a lame duck session is because the proposal is unpopular. If Democrats could sell the bill to their constituents, they would pass it before the November elections then campaign on it. Party leaders must also expect that the political will for this bill will not exist in the 112th Congress after the voters have spoken in November. In other words, the new representatives coming in are not going to vote for it - so Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama had better get the representatives who were just fired to support it before they're forced into early retirement.

But Jay says the president would be wise to use caution, lest he hurt his own chances for re-election in '12:

Passing health care reform over howls of popular protest then jamming energy reform through a lame duck Congress might solidify the impression that this President is a bully who doesn't care what the people think. That would hand the Republicans a great valence issue for 2012. Nobody likes a bully, after all.

But if the president has already acquiesced to a belief that his re-election is doomed anyway...

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:29 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Obama's energy tyranny was legislatively stalled. The oil rig exploded when Obama needed such a thing the most, and the timing couldn't have been better if Obama's goons had planned it. As Rahm Emanuel said, never allow a crisis to go to waste.

Meanwhile, the American people are stupid enough to swallow the guff about "offshore drilling," when it's federal regulations that prevent them from safe, plentiful drilling on land and in shallow waters.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 17, 2010 3:52 PM

June 12, 2010

"Unfettered" Capitalism

JK recently invoked a long-standing theme put forth by Blog Brother Silence: That without government guidance a capitalist economy necessarily results in an extreme gentrification of society, or a "Dickensian" world if you will. I noted in the comments that "it is not only the wealthy who can create wealth. At every level of the economic ladder, when value is traded for value wealth is created." A more thorough explanation of this fact is offered in a Wendy Milling essay: 'No Thomas Friedman, Capitalism is Perfect.'

Some degree of economic malady exists and will continue to exist under any system, including capitalism. It is not the responsibility of capitalism to eliminate, and it is not a feature of capitalism, but of a special facet of reality: Man's free will.

Individuals must perform mental and physical work in order to attain material values, but this requires an act of free will. The existence of free will means that some people will choose to have a different value system, and some will choose not to have values at all. In a pure capitalist system, the opportunity to achieve whatever prosperity level desired is available to everyone.


It is not the proper purpose or function of a politico-economic system to override the free will of man, and any attempt to do so is immoral. It would be an attempt to violate the rights of the virtuous for the sake of those who reject virtue, because in reality, the only way to start equalizing results for people who have chosen to reject effort is to rob from those who have not. To insist that people who demonstrate no commitment to achieving material values, value the materials anyway-and then blame capitalism for their not having them-is to border on the psychotic.

Now, what Wendy has described is only valid in a special place we like to call "reality." Opponents of capitalism can't prevail in the face of these facts using reason. In fact, many deny that reason exists. Instead, as Wendy writes, "they rely on obfuscations, equivocations, and an attitude of militant evasion. One trick is to make inappropriate demands of capitalism, then stomp and pout and denounce capitalism when those demands are not met." She calls this approach "crybaby metaphysics." That is apt teminology, and the reacton to the BP oil leak by President Obama casts him as Crybaby in Chief. ("Just plug the damn hole!")

Milling concludes by answering Friedman's sneering taunt, "But what say the tea partiers today? Who will step forward now and demand that the energy market' be rescued from regulatory bondage?"

Observe that the government, beholden to an insane environmentalist ideology that views nature as an intrinsic value and superior to human beings, forbade oil companies to drill nearer to the coast line where there were shallow waters. In the shallow areas, an oil leak could be directly accessed. Instead, companies were only allowed to drill in areas too deep for current technology to address.

The liability risk in deep waters was too great for the oil companies to accept. This is an example of the inherent safety features in a free market. However, because we need the oil for our economy, politicians had to entice companies to drill there by capping liability limits on accidents, legally shielding them from the consequences of failure they would bear under a capitalist system. It is government that removes the safety controls and engenders unacceptably risky situations.

There is no regulation that can override the reality of a fundamentally flawed set-up like this, which is why the statists do not offer to explain why such regulations were not already in place in one of the most heavily regulated sectors of the economy.

It is also an open question what the actual economic damage will be, what it would be were the federal government not interfering with local authorities' attempts to mitigate the spill, and what adaptations the private sector will make to counter the new adversities.

Thus, if it were not for government interference, there might still have been an accident at some point, but there would have been no "disaster." Statism was the problem, and laissez-faire would have prevented this situation.

Capitalism is not to blame for the flaws of our mixed economy, the do-gooders' "fettering" is.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

June 7, 2010

One Two, Futility, Three, Four!

ThreeSourcers who wish to extract an I-told-you-so can search for posts in which I argued against the European ('nuff said?) method of measuring fuel economy by the reciprocal: liters per 100 kilometers. Just a different scale said I.

And a logarithm is just a number and an exponent is just like a factor and -- what did you say your major was in school? Mea Maxima Culpa, I was "wrong as pants on a trout" to quote Mister Quint.

If you really want to see the effect on fuel economy, the reciprocal form conveys more important information. Y'all may be way ahead, but I had to play with some numbers. Imagine vehicles that get 10, 20, 25, 33, 50 and 100 mpg. The jump from 33 to 50 looks pretty substantive, as when I trade my MR2 for my sanctimonious in-laws' Honda Hybrid. But trading your 20 mpg truck for a 25 mpg hybrid or minivan. why bother?

We don't have to use metric, but let's look at those in terms of gallons per 100 miles. This is a measure of how much gas you'll buy and burn. 10,20,25,33, 50, and 100 equal 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 gal/100mi.

Little different, n'est ce pas? Moving from 20 to 25 has the same fuel savings as from 33 to 100 or 50 to 100. Or even 100 to zero!

And that's the significance of this story, claiming that "over half of the 130,000 hand-raisers for the Nissan Leaf, currently own a Toyota Prius."

That's a pretty significant signal to us. It tells us that there is a segment of eco-friendly consumers who are interested in going to the next level. They own a hybrid vehicle. But if the next step is available, they want to take it.

Well <southparkvoice>Good for You!</southparkvoice> But you're saving a marginally small amount of fuel.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: On the other hand:

UPDATE II: And, for those interested, 100 / 7 = 14.28, as in Ashton Kutcher's New Ride:


If Ashton were to upgrade to a Hummer...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, a few too many typos there to keep up with, but the point is a good one. So I'd like to offer an attempt at clarification.

Gallons per mile -> miles per gallon

5 -> 20
4 -> 25
3 -> 33 (and a third, but who's countin'?)
2 -> 50
1 -> 100
0 -> infinity

So, for a troglodyte like my brother to trade in his 20 mpg SUV for a 25 mpg one saves as much fuel as when Ed Begley gives up his plug-in hybrid for sandals.

More importantly, moving from a 10 mpg vehicle to one that gets 100 mpg cuts fuel consumption by 90%, and any further reduction from there is, by comparison, negligible. You can be the government will still be mandating it though.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2010 8:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Fixed (one) typo. And by the way. I think you mean "Gallons per 100 miles."

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 9:54 AM
But jk thinks:

But I'm not gonna make a big deal of it...

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 9:56 AM
But jk thinks:

Oh, and was that "you can bet the government...?"

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, per 100 miles, and yes, "bet" the government. Gee, this blogging thing is complicated!

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, and I hear that Ashton drives his new ride when he goes to visit Al Gore's house.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 3:15 PM

June 3, 2010

"Fossil" Fuels: A Renewable Resource?

From a news article in Laser Focus World magazine:

Scientific evidence supports the origination of petroleum reserves from the decay of carbon matter such as ancient dinosaur and vegetation remains. However, researchers (...) have used laser heating in a diamond anvil cell (DAC) to demonstrate that high-temperature compression of natural elements in the upper mantle of the earth do indeed create hydrocarbons that could be transported through deep faults to shallower regions of the crust and contribute to petroleum reserves in an abiotic (having nothing to do with biology) process.

In other words, not coming from decayed dinosaurs or vegetation, hence the scare quotes in the title. (A more apt term would be geological, or geo-fuels.)

Naturally occuring subterranian gases, under extreme heat and pressure, appear to "partially reacts to form saturated hydrocarbons (ethane, propane, and butane), molecular hydrogen, and graphite. These hydrocarbons are a primary component of petroleum and were detected in the experiments using Raman spectroscopy."

I asked my PhD physicist friend, who sent me this article and told me that crude oil may well be a renewable resource, Would this mean that Peak Oil is a myth?


Update - June 09: A caller to Mike Rosen's show this morning asked Robert Bryce, author of 'Power Hungry - The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future' about the abiotic oil theory. He claimed that most of the oil company experts discount it, at least with regard to crude oil. Natural gas is apparently a better fit for the theory.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:30 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

A Dogma de Fide tenet of ThreeSources truth:

April 19, 2008

July 27, 2009

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2010 4:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And here JK proves that johngalt's memory isn't worth 4 bits, but allow me to summarize. The 2008 post discussed a theory. The 2009 post hailed experimental evidence (the same evidence I linked). Today's post linking a May, 2010 magazine article about it shows that Laser Focus World is slower than Eureka Alert.

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2010 7:20 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't expect anyone to remember much of the general nonsense I post, but this is a long time belief of mine (my conversion dinner would have been 1978 or 79).

It is just oddball enough that I am pretty sensitive. Watching a news clip on dispersion of the oil spill, the announcer said "Oil is biodegradable -- it is after all made from dinosaurs." My eyes rolled.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2010 10:07 AM

June 2, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill - The Real Threat

"Could we really take over BP?" Robert Reich is apparently serious.

Q: But why should we expect government to do any better job than BP?

A: BP would still be at the job -- and its expertise, equipment, and other assets would continue to be utilized. But the federal government would be in overall control of the operation -- weighing public risks and benefits, deciding what resources are necessary, getting accurate information and disseminating it to the public.

Yeah. That'd work.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:53 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

"weighing public risks and benefits, deciding what resources are necessary, getting accurate information and disseminating it to the public"

Yeah, the absolute sweet spot of government competence! You're re-reading Atlas, what page is this again?

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2010 4:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm in Chapter 6, 'The Non-commercial' which relates more to the MoDo column below. My guess is I'll get into more of this in chapter 7, 'The Exploiters and the Exploited.' Then of course there's chapter 12, 'The Aristocracy of Pull.'

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 4:22 PM

'lectricars! Green Jobs!

Our story (a story on loan from Holman Jenkins, Jr.) opens in Sunny California. And it has cool cars, high livin' entrepreneurs, dreams-a-plenty, and I'll work in some bikini-clad blonde women if you give me some time.

Everybody's favorite $100,000 'lectricar is coming into production! Huzzah!

Tesla is the dreamchild of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, but not even Mr. Musk's ample bank account is capable of providing financing on the scale required to bring a car to market. Especially not when it's already being drained to finance his unprofitable space-rocket company and now a divorce. In February, Mr. Musk told a judge he's "out of cash" and living off loans from "friends."

Among the friends he didn't enumerate is the federal government, which under a law Mr. Obama keeps bragging about has become Tesla's biggest supplier of working capital, in the form of $465 million in federal loan guarantees. But there's a wrinkle: This money can't be used directly to put Tesla's new "Model S" into production, but will be available only after Tesla raises the necessary funds from private investors.

Bottom line: Tesla needs an IPO, even in today's inhospitable market and despite its unpromising business plan. Mr. Musk himself especially needs an IPO to refloat his lifestyle by converting some of his Tesla stake to cash.

Huh, that didn't sound too good did it? Well, no doubt it is going to get better because 'lectricars are THE thing now, and everybody agrees that the $100,000 Tesla 'lectricar is the coolest!
What we have here is a political kludge of the murkiest order. Tesla reportedly was within hours of closing a deal for a plant site in Downey, Calif., when the Toyota offer materialized, thanks in part to undisclosed state incentives orchestrated by Mr. Lockyer. ("Downey is awesome," Mr. Musk wrote to city fathers apologizing for the last-minute jilting.)

Hardly was the deal announced before White House aide Jared Bernstein was on a conference call urging Tesla to rehire laid-off UAW workers. And already scheduled was Mr. Obama's campaign, er, presidential visit to Northern California, in which he was pleased to take credit for the deal.

Within days too, a bipartisan cabal of legislators introduced identical bills in the House and Senate to ladle out fresh subsidies for electric cars, including $5 billion to reward "deployment communities" or "corridors" (in California, say) that sponsor local schemes to spur sales of electric cars.

Kudlow fans will know Jared Bernstein as the sweet, loveable but highly misguided lefty foil who can be counted on to oppose anyone with reason. He entered the Administration early as VP Biden's Economic Advisor (Big Bird was unavailable?) I guess he's running GM now.

Jenkins suggests that California and the US could use some business that might, um, if I can broach the topic, generate revenue instead of mop up subsidies. But no, this calls for a victory lap. 'lectricars! Green Jobs! Bankruptcy!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

For an unvarnished review of the Tesla watch Jeremy Clarkson explain the obvious in his original style here. [Caution: advertising boondogle required for viewing.]

"...undisclosed state incentives organized by Orren Boyle, err, Mr Lockyer."

Question: Is "bikinied" a legitimate adjective?

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 3:08 PM

May 28, 2010

King Barack the Verbose

On the heels of Charles Krauthammer's King Canute reference, [third comment] Mark Steyn fills us in on the background.

In the age of kings, we were taught that kings were human, with human failings. Now, in the age of citizen-presidents, we are taught that government has unlimited powers over "heaven, earth and sea." Unlike Canute and Alfred, the vanity of Big Government knows no bounds.

You won't be sorry if you read it all. He even takes a whack at the Euro.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2010

Looks Like We'll Need Bigger Subsidies

Is The Electric Emperor Naked? asks American.com

Hondas R&D chief thinks he may at least be in his underwear.

What Honda knows about electric cars is considerable. But what Honda, as one of the worlds leading manufacturers, knows about the car business is even more considerable. And as to the electric part of that business, Kawanabe says We lack confidence in it.

We are definitely conducting research on electric cars, he recently told Bloomberg News, but I cant say I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Why? As a leading engineer for the builder of some of the worlds most popular cars, Kawanabes answer is right to the point. It is questionable whether consumers will accept the annoyances of limited driving range and having to spend time charging them.

Kawanabe is not saying anything new, but he is saying something that is either ignored or has yet to sink in with electric enthusiasts. EVsincluding the very best of themdont go very far. They go even less far if they go fast. They go even less far if they contain passengers or any significant cargo. Or if it is very cold. Or if it is very hot.

I think that Honda has a good gift for planning strategically and taking the long view. The electric car fanatics are developing a technology that is years away in popular availability and adoption. The article suggests that 10% of the market in ten years is optimistic.

I'd suggest that predicting as faddish a trend as 'letriccars five or ten years into the future is pretty difficult. A little caution looks wise. Tesla is sui generis, the Chevy Volt is appealing to the firm's political owners, Nissan is free to bet on the Leaf. But all of these will come out of other R&D, and the 2013 Honda line might show a company that made the right pick..

Posted by John Kranz at 7:06 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, but you know those engineers... always focusing on the possible. What a bunch of naysayers.

By the way, have I ever told you that all of us in Galt's Gulch drive electric SUVs with on-board electricity concentrators with as much horsepower capacity as you'd care to pay for at the time of order? Jus' sayin'.

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2010 8:14 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Silly people; using your brains and thinking the vox populai is anything but a quaint myth.

The California cognoscenti have spoken, and have told us how 2% of the cars on the road _shall be_ EV's as of.... oh, ten years ago?

Ooops. I think we're coming up on the anniversary of the mandate hitting 5%. Someone better speak up!!

Who remembers? I do....

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 25, 2010 1:39 AM

May 7, 2010

Quote of the Day

"[T]hink of what's happening in countries like Spain ... where theyre making real investments in renewable energy. They're surging ahead of us, poised to take the lead in these new industries," declared then-President-elect Barack Obama back in January 16, 2009. -- Ron Baily
A meta-QOTD today, the whole post is superb. (HT: Instapundit)
Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"And when the subsidies go, so, too, go the much-vaunted "green jobs" that depend on them. Climatewire reports that some 30,000 green jobs have evaporated in Spain. Earlier studies found that it cost nearly $750,000 to create each new green job in Spain's renewable energy sector."

Maybe they can "create" some more new jobs removing the solar panel eyesores.[first comment]

Then there's this: "Prices charged for solar power were 12 times higher than those for fossil fuel electricity." Strange that "free" energy costs so much, eh? I guess it's because of all those subsidies to oil and gas companies. Oh, wait...

Posted by: johngalt at May 9, 2010 9:58 AM

May 1, 2010

"Clean and Safe" alternative energy

Unless you're a bird. (Warning: Content may be disturbing to some viewers.) [No, I'm not kidding.]

Hat tip: M4GW

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:34 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I have been meaning to take and post a picture of the new Lafayette Solar Farm on Hwy 7 not too far from the "Condo of Love" that I call home.

I don't think I'll march or blow it up (though there's a big fertilizer store a mile away... Fifty Pounds of Ammonium Nitrate to a gallon of fuel oil if I recall from college...)

Nah, but I did have a Senator Kennedy moment. The flatland prairie around here is very attractive. Everybody loves the mountains, but the high plains are pretty to me. We have houses and farms and some commercial development that all seems to fit.

And now all of sudden there a few acres of black photovoltaic panels that are an absolute eyesore; nit huge but definitely ugly. I know all the denizens in Lafayette society are tickled pink that .0319% of their electricity is "renewable" but I gotta drive by this thing every time I go into town.

Posted by: jk at May 2, 2010 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of "Senator Kennedy moments"... Interior secretary approves nation's first offshore wind farm at Cape Cod

I'm all for bucking the NIMBY interests of the Kennedy family or specious "undersea indian burial grounds" claims but the federal subsidies being devoted to build these delicate engineeringing curiosities in the middle of the ocean really get me wee wee'd up.

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2010 1:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

WSJ has some numbers that put the (not likely to be built soon) offshore wind project in perspective.

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2010 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And finally, the Kansas City Star (my dad's old hometown paper) has a brief pro-con piece between Brian Merchant, Treehugger-dot-com, and the Boston Herald editorial staff. The latter says

Of course, there are those — and we count ourselves among them — who are huge fans of wind power but in the appropriate place and at a sustainable cost. Cape Wind fails on both of those scores.


While people may argue about the aesthetics of turbines on an ocean horizon, there can be no argument that this will be among the most expensive sources of energy ever devised by mankind. And that's not counting any possible public subsidy. [my emphasis]

Don't forget to vote in their online poll!

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2010 2:08 PM

April 1, 2010

I Could Not Have Decided for Myself

Don't worry, the AP suggests you're coming out okay:

WASHINGTON Drivers will have to pay more for cars and trucks, but they'll save at the pump under tough new federal rules aimed at boosting mileage, cutting emissions and hastening the next generation of fuel-stingy hybrids and electric cars.

The new standards, announced Thursday, call for a 35.5 miles-per-gallon average within six years, up nearly 10 mpg from now.

By setting national standards for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, the government hopes to squeeze out more miles per gallon whether you buy a tiny Smart fortwo micro car, a rugged Dodge Ram pickup truck or something in between.

Where do you start with the awfulness of this policy? First principles. Government does not create more fuel efficient cars -- like the minimum wage, it just makes some purchases illegal.

It seems that citizens could choose whether they wanted to pay more for a more fuel efficient car. But as subjects, we are told.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:41 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Read this post to my dad. He pointed out that those new government-approved cars aren't more fuel efficient they're merely more fuel economical as a result of being smaller and lighter. [And I add, less comfortable and more dangerous.]

Today Jason Lewis said, "Just when you thought the world hasn't gone completely insane..." as the lead in to a story.

I couldn't help wondering, "Who thinks that?"

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2010 9:20 PM

March 23, 2010

No Nukes!

Haw about a little energy scarecrow? I'm sick of health care.

I saw this on a Stossel clip on Hulu and meant to ask the ThreeSources' cognoscente about it. Stossel has a blog post about it today. Key 'graph:

I thought that nuclear power is a wonderful underutilized energy source, hampered only by idiots who believe the scaremongering pushed by the likes of Jane Fonda and The China Syndrome. After all, France gets 80% of its electricity from the atom, and they handle the nuclear waste without a problem.

But Cato Institute energy analyst Jerry Taylor set me straight. Yes, the waste is manageable, he says, but affordable nuclear power is a Republican energy myth: Take a Republican speech on energy and cross out nuclear, replace with wind and solarand youve got a Nancy Pelosi speech on energy. Exact same thing.

I won't say Cato is never wrong, but I am disinclined to say that he's nuts on this.


Posted by John Kranz at 4:54 PM | Comments (12)
But Lisa M thinks:

No jg, I meant efficient--the quote form the Cato guy seems to imply that nukes are as inefficient as wind and solar, which I don;t think is a fair comparision. Additionally, since I was distracted and in class, Perry makes a point I was going to make, which is that government regs artificially drive up the price of nukes, thereby making it less economical.

That all being said, I admit to being pretty ignorant to actually knowing how nukes compare to other forms of energy in the realmsof economics and efficiency. It would not surprise me at all that the French were using an inefficient power source for 80% of their supply.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 23, 2010 11:53 PM
But jk thinks:

<animalhousevoice>I'll not sit still while Perry runs down Cato!</animalhousevoice>

I think, to be fair, Cato's on your side, Perry. The comparison to wind and solar is that none competes well on a level playing field. Doofy Right Wingnuts like me have been assured that nuclear power would be competitive if gub'mint "got out of the way" but I fear he (and jg) may be right.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2010 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Lots of thoughts in as few words as possible:

Coal is less popular in the east because those sources are intrinsically higher in sulphur (read: "acid rain") than western coal.

I never found a reference by Cato guy to efficiency of generation, which is what I assumed Lisa meant. He touches on efficiency of greenhouse gas reduction but not really compared to wind and solar, that I could see.

The efficency of wind and solar is not their fatal flaw - availability is. Wind energy peaks at night and in the winter - solar is effectively limited to a 4-6 hour period mid-day. Peak electric usage is summer afternoons and evenings year-round.

The efficiency of nuclear isn't really an issue since the fuel source is so magnificently concentrated. Perry's government regs. and concommitant costs/risks are the problem. (So now, finally, I'm prepared to agree with Cato guy that NUKES ARE NOT THE ANSWER! though not for the flower children's reason.) If gub'mint got ALL the way out of the way then nookyuler would have a chance to compete - but that ain't gonna happen.

The major battle line in this country today is coal vs. natural gas. Production advancements in natural gas have massively increased supply, therefore lowering cost vs. coal. But it still costs more than coal, notwithstanding gas guy's claims on the Mike Rosen show yesterday.

Hey gas guy, if gas really is "as inexpensive as coal" then why do you need Colorado law to keep utilities from buying coal?

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2010 3:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I wasn't quite done.

My last point refered to Colorado outlawing coal. I just updated last week's blog on that issue here.

And in this link to the coal industry website you can see, state by state, average electric rates along with the breakdown of fuel sources. Compare CO to CA or TX on the high side and WA on the low side.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2010 4:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm not "running down" Cato, but I'm pointing out something that their analyst doesn't appear to have considered. There's no such thing as a truly private nuclear power plant in the United States: there are so many requirements and regulations that they're state-run, even if ownership is ostensibly in private hands. When I first started researching nuclear energy, ahem, 19 years ago, I was shocked to find that you can't build a new plant based on an existing working design. You still can't, as far as I know. Nuclear energy can never be viable while regulations prevent operators from "Xeroxing" a practical design. This adds millions before the site can be considered for approval.

Take Indian Point, in my home county. Its electricity is expensive not because nuclear energy itself is that expensive, but because the envirowackos have completely hamstrung the operations. There's always a lawsuit or near-lawsuit to shut down the place, and applying for a license renewal is an extremely long and costly process.

But remember that I'm a staunch believer in markets, so I'm only saying about the Cato analyst, "Maybe correct, but here's something to think about." It's one thing to say that an apple costing 50 cents should be cheaper than a pear costing 40 cents after a 20-cent subsidy. But you can't say that the pear is cheaper or more expensive in a free market when the government has made it more expensive for the pear grower.

If someone can make something work, let him. If he can't, failure will be a lesson to the next guy (whether it's not to try it, or to try a different way). Some people once thought dirigibles were the future, and that airplanes would be limited to mail routes and sma.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 24, 2010 4:06 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oops, trailed off at the end. Meant to say, "smaller passenger routes."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 25, 2010 10:05 AM

March 17, 2010

Colorado following California into Anti-Coal Stupidity

Watch out Pennysylvania, you're probably next. Yesterday Colorado's lame-duck governor announced a "Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act" that looks like it's on the fast track through the state legislature, having "bipartisan" sponsorship in both the house and the senate. The sponsoring GOP senator, in particular, draws my ire. It's been a while since I've felt the need to publish outside of the friendly confines of ThreeSources, but I wrote the editor of the Denver Post about it.

Re-thinking Josh Penry

Dear Editor,

Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry has been making a name for himself in conservative circles but it may be time to reconsider. The Post reported Tuesday that he co-sponsored Governor Ritter's new "Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act" that outlaws coal power in Colorado. Have we not learned from California's mistake? Electricity costs 40% more there, largely due to their coal ban. Why do it?

Penry isnt quoted but reasons given include anticipation of federal regulations that could lead to a 4 to 6 percent increase in rates. Thats still 34% less than California. Xcel Energy and natural gas companies support the plan. The latter because coal always wins in a free-market; the former because theyll get money for new plants and cover for raising rates. Its like light bulb manufacturers encouraging the ban on cheap light bulbs.

And then there are coals higher carbon emissions. As Curtis Hubbard alluded last month on his Post blog, if the events of the past year havent convinced us that the whole Climate Change issue was a fraud we have reason now to at least ask the question.

UPDATE - March 24, 2010:

Not long after my post I heard radio ads SUPPORTING this bill. They were paid for, if I'm not mistaken, by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a natural gas lobbying group. [No, I just heard it again. It's America's Natural Gas Association.] Jackasses.

Fortunately, the coal guys are fighting back. Today I heard the first ad against the bill deriding the mad rush to pass the bill "and raise electricity costs for Colorado residents for decades to come." The ad was paid for by American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal lobbying group.

Which to side with? The one that doesn't want to restrict the market - Coal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 5, 2010

I'm from 'Big Oil' And I'm Here to Help

I'm not quite ready to address the question of why the secular French and Russian revolutions "made such a hash of things, when the relatively devout American [revolution] succeeded." As a warm-up exercise I'll attempt to explain why America's elected leaders insist on cutting the nose off of America's energy policy. Hint: It is to spite America's face.

I remember wondering 20-odd years ago in my college days if environmentalists who lobbied government for ever greater restrictions on oil and gas development (and every other productive activity, it seemed) seriously believed that elected leaders would do something so obviously harmful to the American standard of living. Looking back now it clearly wasn't as obvious to our elected leaders as I had assumed. More importantly, however, it's also no longer obvious to a huge portion of the electorate. For decades the environmentalists and their minions, through vehicles such as global warming and Avatar movies, have lectured Americans that we are evil earth killers. For most of that time there was little in the way of self-defense on the part of "big oil." I'm pleased to say that has changed. "The US oil and natural gas industry is moving ahead with a long-term educational advocacy program to build understanding and appreciation of the role the industry and its products play in fueling the nations economy."

But just why has the industry felt the need to undertake such a program? Red Cavaney, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), provides some context. Like many industries, especially those with roots dating back a century or more, we have traditionally focused on just getting our job done, if you will, he says. To the extent we communicated externally, our companies have tended to focus on their brand.

Cavaney explains that on issues related to public policy, the industry has tried to be responsive to a policy-maker audience. The industry has not, however, engaged stakeholders and others more broadly about its irreplaceable role in fueling our nations overall economic growth or its contribution to an improved quality of life for the American consumer, he says.

As my high-school history professor Doc Ton used to say, "The pendulum always swings back."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Add to that Karl Popper's famous "those who would take us back to the caves." Boulder is full of folks who would like us all to be poor dirt farmers even if we could get clean abundant energy from kissing rocks.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2010 4:45 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

As a Boulder native, The Refugee will attempt to shed light on the average Boulder psyche. Most of them don't, in fact, want everyone to be dirt poor farmers. They want all of the 60" flat panel TVs, 6000 sq ft homes, three cars, iPods, etc. They want everyone else to be dirt poor farmers so that they can by organic produce and feel good about.

An interesting article appears in the WSJ on Feb 13: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704320104575015920992845334.html?KEYWORDS=boulder+green+energy. The point of the article was that even in an uber-environment outpost like Boulder, individuals valued convenience more than energy savings:

"Since 2006, Boulder has subsidized about 750 home energy audits. Even after the subsidy, the audits cost each homeowner up to $200, so only the most committed signed up. Still, follow-up surveys found half didn't implement even the simplest recommendations, despite incentives such as discounts on energy-efficient bulbs and rebates for attic insulation.

The City of Boulder prides itself on being an eco-conscious town. So how come it's been so hard to get residents to reduce their dependence of fossil fuels? WSJ's Stephanie Simon reports.
About 75 businesses got free audits; they made so few changes that they collectively saved just one-fifth of the energy auditors estimated they were wasting."

Once again, the Liberal Left shows it's true colors.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 5, 2010 10:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome link br. Thanks!

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 11:37 AM

Got Jobs?

The House of Representatives recently passed its own version of the largely symbolic, but very expensive, 15 ba-billion dollar jobs bill. What frustrates me most of all about this is how they ignore a simple and inexpensive way to create real, private-sector jobs, increase tax revenue, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. EnergyTomorrow.org sez:

Increasing access to oil and natural gas resources could generate nearly 160,000 new, well-paying jobs, $1.7 trillion in revenues to federal, state and local governments and greater energy security. And according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry already supports 9.2 million American jobs and contributes more than $1 trillion to the national economy, or 7.5 percent GDP.

Our nation has vast on-and-offshore oil and natural gas resources that could be produced safely to put this country's economy back on its feet.

But it's not just domestic oil and gas that will provide the jobs and energy our nation needs. Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north and top supplier of oil, will continue to play a vital role as we seek greater energy and economic security.

According to a recent CERI study, the economic impact of Canadian oil sands development is expected to lead to 342,000 U.S. jobs between 2011 and 2015, and an estimated $34 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015 and $42.2 billion in 2025.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Many answers to our economic woes are easy to find; if government hacks really intended to fix the economy they would do it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2010

America's Next Superfund Sites

It isn't enough that billions of dollars (and euros) have been wasted in the construction of wind energy "farms." Get ready to spend billions more tearing them down.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:38 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Jobs, jobs, jobs! Is there no end to the prosperity of the Green Revolution?

Posted by: jk at February 15, 2010 4:17 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Y'all are just too racist to recognize what Obama is doing. He's simply following FDR's programs of people digging holes and filling them up again, which averted economic disaster by creating aggregate demand.

Pardon me while I throw rocks through my windows to create jobs for the local glassmaker. And the feds can enact lots of new compliance regulations, requiring a separate report for each, to ensure employment for my boss and me.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 15, 2010 10:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Better yet - let's throw 'em through White House windows. I'm sure they'll be replaced with only the best.

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2010 11:32 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

OK, I'll take this one up, as the resident Libertarian-Wind-Phile.

I find the AT article slightly disingenuous, as I often do for the O/L pubs from the reaching Right (worst example was loosely linking Enron to EPact). Still, I don't disagree with it's main point: wind and solar have gotten a lot of subsidies. What is mainly lacking is a comparison with the subsidies wind gets (for production), to those gained by oil, coal & gas for land use and their own depreciation shell games. Even the greenie-weanies rarely draw this comparison. He also doesn't properly explore the shameless shell game that wind proponents play with need a new wind subsidy _title_ every 5-10 years (tax credit: discredited), they get the PTC, then they get a RPS, then they get the ITC, now... it's something else... I forgot which.

As such, I'm not such a firm believer as I once was that wind could complete on a truly level playing field, but I'd like to see a detailed subsidy comparison.

Prof. Calzada's presentation on Spain's Green-going-into-the-Red was very powerful.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2010 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A picture is worth 32,850 words (every year for fifty years.)

Those who rail against coal, oil and gas subsidies generally forget to consider the immense taxes those industries pay in return. But fine, eliminate ALL of the subsidies. Oil wins in a cakewalk.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 3:48 PM

December 23, 2009

Getting tired of asking for permission


Get yours here.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:35 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2009

Evolution to Extinction

Sanctimonious progressives ridicule social conservatives for refusing to acknowledge the validity of the theory of evolution. Too bad they are too dense to see the obvious parallel with their refusal to acknowledge the lessons of history. But IBD's Michael Ramirez sees it.


Posted by JohnGalt at 3:50 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith thinks:

I thought they all died in the Ice Age. These dinosaurs oughta stay away from the Gore Effect:


Posted by: Keith at December 17, 2009 6:11 PM

October 12, 2009

A Trike for Silence

This post Insty linked to made me think of ThreeSources's token left-of-center Silence Dogood. We may not vote alike but we frequently think alike.

One smart comment of his is that government regulation in fuel economy and transportation safety have stifled the development of hybrid vehicles -- not gas-electric hybrids, but scooter-motorcycle, cycle-car skateboard-bus vehicles which might find a market yet cannot be brought to market because of governments need to stratify and classify.


BMW's 120MPG hybrid motorcycle-car-stealth-bomber-thingy might make some sense but one finds it hard to see its coming to market.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

This MR2 owner could not agree more,

Posted by: jk at October 13, 2009 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Too complex and too many variables to predict every time, but the empirical evidence is conclusive.

I considered posting this link yesterday. It came in an email from my dear ol' dad last month. I refrained. But now I have to say you've asked for it.


Posted by: johngalt at October 13, 2009 1:49 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Johngalt you must have been confused by the name "Smart". Did they learn nothing from the vans of the early 70's? Namely, you need some crumple space between you and the front of your car. Has nothing to do with your size or weight. Speaking of weight, 1800 lbs for this thing? They saved a whole 500 lbs from a Honda Fit? And gas mileage of 33/41? Seriously, this thing doesn't get 80 mpg? The Smart Car is pure marketing.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at October 14, 2009 12:11 AM
But jk thinks:

Boulder lefties get mad when they see a Hummer; I get mad when I see a smart car. They are so completely lame -- just a hair better gas mileage than my Mister2. It's all about showing how much you care, I suppose.

BTW engineering section: another mea culpa. I've completely changed my tune on reciprocal gas mileage -- the Europeans do have a better idea there. Looking at gallons per 100 miles, the difference between the MR2 and StupidCar® look as negligible as they are.

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2009 10:07 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You're absolutely right Silence, the so-called Smart Car delivers all of the hazards and inconveniences with little of the intended advantages of a smaller, lighter car. Like hybrids, I consider them the automotive equivalent of a hair shirt. But don't crumple zones necessarily make any given car larger and heavier than it would otherwise have been?

On the stealth tryke, zero to sixty in ten seconds? That's one way to get high mpg - tall gears and/or a throttle limiter. I think concept vehicles like this are a very worthwhile endeavor, if only to demonstrate what has to be sacrificed for a few more miles per gallon (or fewer litres per meter.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2009 12:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On a related note, I just saw a commercial for the new 2010 Subaru Outback. They billed it as "the original SUV alternative" immediately followed with "now bigger and better."

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2009 11:45 AM

September 28, 2009

'Bout That Peak Oil...

BP announces `giant' oil find in Gulf of Mexico

LONDON (AP) -- BP PLC said Wednesday that it had made a "giant" oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico but had not yet determined the size and commercial potential of the find.

The well, in Keathley Canyon block 102 about 250 miles (400 kms) southeast of Houston, is in 4,132 feet (1,259 meters) of water, the company said.

The Tiber well was drilled to a total depth of 35,055 feet (10,685 meters), making it one of the deepest wells ever drilled by the oil and gas industry, BP said.

BP has a 62 percent interest in Tiber, while Petrobras holds 20 percent and ConocoPhillips has 18 percent

Hat-tip: Scrivener.net

UPDATE: A ThreeSources friend tells me that the wife of another ThreeSources reader played a large part in the find -- well done!

Posted by John Kranz at 7:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2009

Realistic technologies

The German automakers' laudable "go diesel" media blitz continues with a review of Audi's Q7 TDI and Mercedes' GL320 Bluetec. Reviewer James Schembari must be some sort of genius:

The diesel has become so seamless and the mileage so good that you cant help but wonder if the technology could become the most realistic high-mileage solution for large passenger vehicles until other technologies are perfected.

This observation isn't notable so much for it's brilliance as its obviousness, and its similarity to other such observations. For example:

- The automobile has become so comfortable and convenient that you can't help but wonder if the technology could replace the horse and buggy until other technologies are perfected.

- The electric lamp has become so safe and economical that you can't help but wonder if the technology could replace the kerosene lamp until other technologies are perfected.

- Centralized generation of electric power from fission fuels has become so clean and ubiquitous that you can't help but wonder if the technology could replace fossil fuel generation UNTIL OTHER TECHNOLOGIES ARE PERFECTED.

I wonder if the Germans will ever show us the way on that too.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

But realism implies reason, which the "green" community lacks. Don Surber has more on Save the planet, kill an eagle.

Diesel just doesn't "feel" as good as an electric vehicle full of heavy metals and toxic acids, powered by electricity from an old coal plant - now that's environmentalism!

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2009 1:42 PM

September 22, 2009

Citizens or Subjects?

Or, a better title might be "Gimme That Old Time Paternalism..."

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu "sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons." WSJ:

The American publicjust like your teenage kids, arent acting in a way that they should act, Dr. Chu said. The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is. (In that case, the Energy Department has a few renegade teens of its own.)

The administration aims to teach themliterally. The Environmental Protection Agency is focusing on real children. Partnering with the Parent Teacher Organization, the agency earlier this month launched a cross-country tour of 6,000 schools to teach students about climate change and energy efficiency.

Were showing people across the country how energy efficiency can be part of what they do every day, said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Confronting climate change, saving money on our utility bills, and reducing our use of heavily-polluting energy can be as easy as making a few small changes.

Don't. Know. What. To. Say. Anymore.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:33 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"... a few small changes."




Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2009 11:50 AM

September 17, 2009

Audi Preaches JG's Gospel of Petroleum

You may have seen the new Audi commercial with barrels of oil rolling through the streets and back onto the tankers that brought them here from overseas producers. "If 1/3 of us drove a TDI clean diesel vehicle, we could send back 1.5 million barrels of foreign oil every day."

Well, since I love oil, I went to Audi's website looking for a copy of the commercial and found their "Diesel - it's no longer a dirty word" flash presentation.

Some highlights:

A TDI engine is revved several times while a white hanky is held near the exhaust pipe. Spotless.

"One drop of diesel fuel has 12% more power than one drop of gasoline."

I'm ready to do my part to reduce global warming-
"If 1/3 of Americans switched from gasoline to diesel, it would be the equivalent of planting 2.2 billion trees."

"so if you take the combination of phenomenal performance with reduced emissions and the positive impact that has on the environment there can truly be no compelling argument against the adoption of clean diesel technology for use on the roads in the United States."

Well, except for the fact that it would obliterate all of the "crises" that environmentalists have concocted to take us back to the caves.

Hey Obama, stimulate THIS!

[UPDATED to add video of the commercial from YouTube.]

Also of interest, a history of diesel cars in America since 1979. Via AudiofAmerica on YouTube. They call it Audi TDI: TRUTH IN DIESEL

By the way, did I mention that I love oil?

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:33 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Our German bruderin who expected that? I would add the VW Commercial: How does your hybrid sound? Makes me laugh every time.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2009 12:58 PM
But Keith thinks:

What time is it? It's time to unpimp your Prius...

Posted by: Keith at September 17, 2009 2:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, now I'm really, really, ROFLMAO.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2009 3:44 PM

September 8, 2009

The Condor Cuisinart

You'd think the Audubon Society might be celebrating the Petrosesquicentennial. You would, of course, be wrong.

But as Brother JG and I seek to crowd more people into the petroleum evangelists' revival tent, some bird lovers might want to consider baptizin':

A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birdsnearly all protected by the migratory bird actare being whacked every year at Altamont.

Altamont's turbines, located about 30 miles east of Oakland, Calif., kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon's tanks, and they do so every year. But the Altamont Pass wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills at Altamont have been repeatedly documented by biologists since the mid-1990s.

The number of birds killed by wind turbines is highly variable. And biologists believe Altamont, which uses older turbine technology, may be the worst example. But that said, the carnage there likely represents only a fraction of the number of birds killed by windmills. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year. Yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against wind companies.

"Somebody has given the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card," Mr. Fry told me. "If there were even one prosecution," he added, the wind industry would be forced to take the issue seriously.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry's trade association, each megawatt of installed wind-power results in the killing of between one and six birds per year. At the end of 2008, the U.S. had about 25,000 megawatts of wind turbines.

This from a WSJ editorial decrying the double standard in enforcement, as oil and power companies have been levied with huge fines based on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Gotta love oil.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Understood Keith, but the Condor salad generated by your basic 400KW turbine takes away the subtleties of the endangered species's distinctive flavor.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2009 2:25 PM
But Keith thinks:

Frankly, I prefer my terrine with the beak and feathers removed, thank you...

Posted by: Keith at September 8, 2009 2:59 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The larger point is that none of these industries should be subject to enviro-harassment through the courts that the present system permits. Limits on environmental lawsuits and endless impact studies should be an essential part of tort reform. Unfortunately, that has less of a chance than a condor in a windmill blade collision.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 8, 2009 6:24 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I always wondered about that. I have seen the Altamont farm and it is huge, at one point there are windmills as far as the eye can see, up and down each hill. Double standard indeed. Don't forget that Hydro doesn't get a pass either, a couple of dams along the Sacramento river had to put in fish ladders for the spawning salmon.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at September 9, 2009 12:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And more than one dam has actually been demolished in the name of fish habitat. It's almost as if environmentalists don't want ANY energy sources. Hmmm.

This was long before the internet so any references are only on microfiche somewhere but I recall during my college days - it made an impression on me as an idealistic young electrical engineering student - the early days of wind turbine R&D led to howls of protest from environmental groups because of bird strikes. They were dubbed "bird blenders" at the time. If wind turbines should ever become a predominant source of electricity those same old voices, the very ones that now give wind power a pass, will rise in opposition once again. The good news is, there's virtually no chance of wind power becoming a major player in the energy market.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2009 12:56 PM
But Keith thinks:

Well, in that case, I highly recommend we appoint Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III to the position of Wind Farm Czar. Seems to me he has some experience with bird blenders, has the ability to keep his wits about him during a crisis, and may have a personal stake in seeing to it that no tern is left unstoned to protect the infrastructure. In fact, I might go so far as to presume he has a personal axe to grind...

Posted by: Keith at September 9, 2009 3:54 PM

September 7, 2009

I Love Oil

(And why everyone else should too.)

JK recently heralded America's Petrosesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the first American oil well. We are quite enamored of the "black gold" on these pages. And why not? 3.8 gallons of oil derived gasoline (you may have heard of it - it's been used as a primary motor fuel for nearly a hundred years) which can be purchased on any street corner for about ten bucks, produce as much energy as an average lightning bolt (about 500 megajoules.)

And the safety of this miracle fuel is such that anti-industrial zealots like those on Dateline NBC have had to use remotely detonated explosives to recreate accidental fuel tank explosions.

But there's more to oil than gasoline. Much more. Modern necessities made from oil include jet fuel, propane gas, plastics, asphalt, and dozens of petrochemicals essential to hundreds of industries we could hardly imagine living without. (Paints, fertilizers and textiles to name just a few.)

I went searching for the historical significance of the Petrosesquicentennial and found the following graph of world population and income since 1500. It shows a precipitous rise in population around the time of the Industrial Revolution. But the per capita world GDP rose only 31 percent in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution (1820 to about 1870). In the next 30 years however, inflation-adjusted individual incomes went up another 45%, and 20 years later nearly doubled from there. Finally, by the end of the 20th century, individuals earned a whopping SEVEN TIMES what their ancestors did at the time commercial oil production began.

(Click on graph to enlarge)

While the Industrial Revolution began in the early 1800's without oil it "centered on improvement in coal, iron and steam technologies." The truly modern developments "steel, electricity and chemicals" were hallmarks of the Second Industrial Revolution which, though not clearly delineated from the first, roughly coincided with the commercialization of oil in America.

So if you love iPods, cell phones, jet planes, mass transit, modern medicines, supermarkets, artificial light, white collar jobs ... and the income to pay for all of these and more ... you'd best come to grips with your closet love affair with oil.

UPDATE [10:43a EDT]: As often happens, I omitted a key argument in the thread. The point of all this was to set up the assertion that the advent of cheap and abundant oil was not only coincident with the Second Industrial Revolution, but catalyzed it. Try to imagine the course of the industrial age without it. Certainly a gallon of gas could have been replaced, say with 121 cubic feet of natural gas or 9 pounds of coal, but extracting and using a liquid fuel proved far more practical and economical than those gaseous or solid ones, at least for some uses. And I contend those uses were - and remain - important. Add to this the less obvious fact that many chemical uses of oil may be irreplaceable.

Oil has clearly fueled prosperity. Not only that, it did so for everyone.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
But jk thinks:

And let's not fail to celebrate John Rockefeller, who gave non-wealthy Americans the gifts of affordable heat and light. His nickel-a-gallon kerosene provided productive hours of reading and working to those who could not afford dollar-a-gallon whale oil.

For this generous gift to our nation's poor and his unprecedented philanthropy, we call him a "robber baron."

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2009 11:23 AM
But JC thinks:

"Enamored with oil"
The terms "ignorance is bliss" comes to mind with the mountains of scientific evidence pointing to the fact that we need to migrate away from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have served as a valuable resource and a sturdy bridge to where we are today. That bridge is about to collapse and if we fail to engage fully in the deployment of alternatives, we are going to be challenged with how quickly we can migrate to another planet! I have a poster on the wall that says "If you can't adapt, you get left behind." Those words are positioned strategically over the fossil remains of a plesiosaur.



NAVY responds to RAND report:


As the "sweet crude" (easy to refine) sources dwindle, we see the industry shifting to tar sands and shale. The added cost to extract usable fuels from these "hard" sources are being passed on to the consumer while the global oil giants amass huge profits in preparation for energy intensive extraction processes.

Time for a paradigm change!
Every single day our individual homes are awash in energy (wind and solar being the primary). What percentage of that energy did you capture today? Still dependent on the ever-increasing costs for fossil fuels? Still denying the advantages of migrating to alternatives? Prepare to become fossilized! :?

Posted by: JC at May 30, 2013 9:23 PM

August 28, 2009


Blog Brother Cyrano sent a link that I wish I had posted yesterday. I am claiming coinage for the title word, though I am not sure when it will be used again.

But August 27th was the 150th anniversary of the first American Oil well -- and if that's not a better cause for celebration than Labor Day, I'll drink a quart of 10W30. IBD Ed Page:

On that day in 1859, Edwin Drake struck black gold with the first commercial oil well creating an industry that would provide the lifeblood for modern civilization.

And yet no one seems to care.

In previous generations, the birth of the oil industry was celebrated, and deservedly so. Oil has sustained and enhanced billions of lives for more than 150 years by providing superior, affordable, ultraconvenient energy and is as vital today as ever.

I celebrate modernity today and link to an extended, director's cut of my favorite TV commercial (embedding disabled, sorry!): Putting the 'No' in Innovation!

Happy Petrosesquicentennial!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:18 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

Pennsylvania, ahem..... to be sure....
they were drilling near Oil Creek, so it was a sure thing. ;)

Posted by: AlexC at August 28, 2009 1:36 PM

July 27, 2009

My "Truther" Theory

I always wonder why my conspiracy theory accepting friends are never dissuaded by the number of opposing views if not by Occam's Razor. To be sure, truth is not a democracy, and I have been proud to stand for many minority positions. But when I see "9-11 Truthers" and a few friends who believe that five billionaire families meet in Germany once a year and plan everything that happens everytwhere, I wonder that the tidal forces don't affect them.

And yet, my favorite wacko belief got linked by Instapundit today: Hydrocarbons in the deep Earth? I heard it called "outgassing" and had the pleasure of a personal presentation by Dr. Sterling Colgate, who was a former President of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a good friend of a(nother) guitar player in my band.

His pitch was that almost every hunk of rock we see floating around kicks out low level hydrocarbons, when these comets and asteroids clearly did not have millions of decaying dinosaurs to create oil. Maybe, just maybe, Earth was no different and these small molecules were compressed into more complex organic structures as they came through the intense heat and pressure of the Earth's mantle.

This was in an apolitical part of my life and I had no dog in the fight. I admittedly got a pitch from a charismatic and obliviously brilliant physicist, but it has always made more sense to me.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:45 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

So experimental efforts to "sequester" carbon by burying it underground could actually promote the natural creation of more hydrocarbon fuel deposits? The irony is delectable!

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 3:14 PM

July 13, 2009

With Success Like This...

[Austin] Statesman.com:

Austin Energy officials say that times have changed and that the nation's most successful (by volume of sales) green-energy program, which offers the renewable energy only to those who select it, might no longer be the best way to carry out the city's goals. It now costs almost three times more than the standard electricity rate.

"I think it's time to sit back and look at the philosophy behind GreenChoice," said Roger Duncan, the head of Austin Energy and the chief architect of GreenChoice.

"It was our intent to use it to stimulate the market for renewables, which it did, and then eventually phase it out," Duncan said. "It was never intended to go on forever."

Duncan said part of the solution might just be adding new wind, solar and other renewable-energy projects into the bills of all Austin Energy customers, which could increase rates for everyone

A perfect blueprint for the nation! Create a bunch of green energy that is too expensive to find a buyer --- and then make everybody buy it.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 2:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2009

Don't Tell Blake Carrington!

Colorado ranked worst place for energy industry to do business

Surveys and magazine rankings routinely list parts of Colorado as the best places to live. But one survey says for oil and gas companies Colorado is the worst place in the country to do business.

The survey covered 143 locations worldwide. Colorado ranked last among the states and 81st in the world.

In 2007 Colorado was among the best places for oil and gas.

Some executives say Colorado has fallen out of favor because of new regulations.

Hat-tip: @RockyMtnRight

Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Don't you see what a good idea Obama's cap-and-trade is? The One will make Colorado equal with everywhere else...by bringing down everywhere else to Colorado's level.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 27, 2009 2:23 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

On the plus side, the Rockies have won 19 out of their last 22 and are just 7 1/2 games out. Who cares about economics when you have baseball?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 29, 2009 10:55 AM

June 26, 2009

"Balanced" and "sensible" climate change bill passes House

That's the spin thrown on the bill by President Obama yesterday. Surely it was far from either of those qualities at the time, but prior to passage another 300 pages were shoe-horned in ... at 3 am this morning! [What in the hell is the fixation that Washington politicians have with that time of day?] Minority Leader Boehner said the obvious:

And here are a few floor quotes:

Rep. Geoff Davis, a Republican from Kentucky, said the cap-and-trade bill represented the "economic colonization of the heartland" by New York and California.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) called the bill a scam that would do nothing but satisfy the twisted desires of radical environmentalists.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) called it a massive transfer of wealth from the United States to foreign countries.

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio countered that, without the bill, the United States would remain energy-dependent on people who want to fly planes into our buildings.

I'd hoped to insert a bulleted list of ways that this bill is a colonoscopy for America but then I realized, Who the hell knows what it does... it jumped from 1200 pages to 1500 overnight!

But it's far from law yet. Next stop: the Senate.

(Note that as the lions share of H.R. 2454 was written by the environmental lobby this post qualifies for the coveted "dirty hippies" category.)

And kudos to JK for naming the 8 RINOs who voted for this treasonous piece of crap. Just four of them switching sides would have spiked it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:55 PM | Comments (6)
But AlexC thinks:

That jagoff Kirk wants to run for Obama's former Senate seat.

Good luck with that.

Posted by: AlexC at June 26, 2009 11:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Of the 44 Democrats voting no, one is from Colorado and four are from PA. I'll tell you what - my respect for John Salazar (CO-3) just grew three sizes larger.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2009 10:06 AM
But jk thinks:

Well done, Mister Leader!

I tend to give up before trying on my representation, but Colorado's two freshman Democrat Senators could well feel a little heat on this issue.

To take up an Instapundit riff, having the next Tea Party outside of Senator Udall's or Bennett's office might be a better blow for freedom than a photo-op outside the Capitol.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2009 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If Mark Udall might face heat on this issue in 2010 he doesn't seem to feel it at the moment. One of the stories I read yesterday said a few senators were working the halls of congress twisting arms for a yes vote. Mark Udall (D-CO) was the one mentioned by name.

I'm in for a TEA (Taking Energy Away) party at one of Markey's offices. Instead of pitchforks we'll carry empty gas cans. (Shall we try to organize something for next week?)

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2009 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm thinking we'd have better luck with Bennett, but that it would be a good exercise to scare Senator Udall. He is used to catering to CO-2 collectivists and a reminder that Boulder is not the whole state, dude, might be a good lesson.

They're pushing on Twitter for GOP defectors (great Twitter tag #capandtr8tors) to change their vote as you suggest with Markey. Is that realistic? I cannot imagine that the same effort would not be better directed at the Senate, but I am open to discussion.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2009 6:29 PM
But HB thinks:

Best quote:

“I look forward to spending the next 100 years trying to fix this legislation,” said California Republican Brian Bilbray.

Posted by: HB at June 27, 2009 10:15 PM

May 15, 2009

For Sale: The Golden State

I really wanted to include a little graphic showing the state of California with a FOR SALE sign planted in it right about at Sacramento. Well, just use your imagination.

California's Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed selling a number of state landmarks (state ownership of which is in some doubt) to raise cash and balance the state budget. One-time proceeds are estimated at $1 billion. The budget shortfall is $15.4 billion, just for the next fiscal year. Obviously state officials need more stuff to put in their garage sale. Hmm, I wonder what California has that someone might be willing to pay cash for (other than federal bailout dollars, that is.) Gee, that's a tough one!

According to this handy interactive graphic the total government lease royalty revenue that would result from lifting current oil and gas production moratoria is $1695 billion and of that amount, $1386 billion of it comes from the outer continental shelf (Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf regions combined.) A summary report here provides numerous tables showing the breakdown by area but none were clear enough for me to cite specifically. Let it suffice to say the California budget shortfall, at $15.4 billion, is a bit over 1 percent of the possible OCS government windfall. If the Governator would simply work toward responsible development of his state's natural resources he could balance its budget overnight, and for decades to come.

As an added bonus, the productive half of America might even throw in legalization of pot!

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:46 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I'm just happy the Governator is listening to Reason TV as they point out some of the goodies that are available.

Great point on the revenues from energy production. If we could duct tape Senators Boxer and Feinstein in a box* for a couple of days and override the bans, would the Golden State's production be viable at current prices?

*ThreeSources does not recommend or condone violent behavior directed at legitimately elected officials. This was merely a dramatic device to suggest possible passage of legislation that the current Senatorial representation of California has long opposed.

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2009 11:42 AM
But Keith thinks:

California going bankrupt while refusing to pump all that nice, shiny, revenue-producing oil isn't far removed from half a billion people starving in India while porterhouses and top sirloins on four legs walk around unmolested and uneaten on their city streets.

THERE'S a worthy run-on sentence to make a well-deserved point. The picturesque tone of voice is just a fringe benefit.

All that being said, I must once again apologize to the whole nation for my state. Let's just face it: we're heap plenty stupid. We gave you Feinstein, Boxer, Schwarzenegger, Waters, and come next Tuesday, we'll see whether we're still stupid.

I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry.

Posted by: Keith at May 15, 2009 4:32 PM
But jk thinks:

A feller in the 2nd Congressional Colorado district is not going to cast any stones (not without a permit, Kieth).

The Reason video reminded me the hope I had for Ahnold. All humor of the video aside, it underscores just how bankrupt (philosophically) the system is. Watch those union folk -- those teachers "Ain't got none attention of giving nothing up!"

Schwarzenegger was a rare chance: he had the star power to get elected as an individualist in a collectivist-leaning state and he had toughness to stand up to the opposition. The California Public Union Sector trained him like a puppy. Is there another one left, Yoda?

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2009 5:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I see today evidence that the "sell Cahl-ee-fohrn-ya's state landmarks" proposal was little more than a campaign stunt. It was aimed at bolstering support for tomorrow's tax increase ballot measures (which Keith alluded to in his comment.) The half-dozen or so initiatives would raise taxes to collect, as I understand it, an additional $6 billion per year for 3 years from CA taxpayers (read: those "white people" who gathered on Capitol steps nationwide last month). If they fail, as the polls suggest most will, the supposed result will be "deep spending cuts."

Good NED, can we get some of those ballot measures in OUR state too??

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2009 1:36 PM
But Keith thinks:

johngalt: for more on tomorrow's wacky ballot measures in California, see here:


I did an update yesterday pointing my readers back here, and we have a lively conversation going among my readers in which you're always welcome to participate. Heaven knows a good lesson in free-market economics and the proper role of government is sorely needed by Californians, especially our elected overlords...

Posted by: Keith at May 18, 2009 1:55 PM

May 13, 2009

We'll Pick Winners, We're Just Not Good at It!

Scrivener.net has a little fun with the Obama Administrations abandoning funding for Hydrogen cars. He links to a WSJ blog with the sorry scoreboard:

Were very good at starting programs. Were not so good at delivering on the promises made by those programs, Mr.[Robert] Fri said. For example, President Nixon called for a low-emissions car in 1970. Jimmy Carter urged the reinvention of the car in 1977. The Clinton administration started the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles in 1993. President Bush launched the FreedomCar project in 2003. Meanwhile, General Motors only put Hummer up for sale this summer, when gasoline hit $4 a gallon.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2009

Fuel Economy Buffoonery

It was bound to happen: The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - "The most fuel efficient mid-sized sedan in America." EPA rated 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway.

You read that right, brother. It is supposedly MORE fuel efficient in town than on the open road. ("Smart" drivers will doubtless pull over and stop every mile or so to improve their highway mileage.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:39 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith thinks:

I'm assuming - more efficient in town than on the four-lane because in town, the carbon-based engine shares duty with the electric motor, while freeway speeds on the four-lane require full-time use of the gasoline burner, because battery power can't push you along at a speed needed for freeway driving?

Alternative cynical theory: getting out and pushing can be done on city streets only.

Posted by: Keith at May 11, 2009 4:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, more or less. And the salient point is this: What is the battery's state of charge at the beginning and end of the test?

Posted by: johngalt at May 11, 2009 5:17 PM

April 30, 2009

Shreveport is Forgiven

I got beat up very badly when my band was traveling outside Shreveport, LA. We were, as AlexC would point out, a bunch of dirty hippies, but still I have harbored some less than positive feelings about the place.

Now, however, Shreveport may deliver our country from shortages on Natural Gas -- and with any luck obviate some of the nonsensical subsidies for "Green" energy. Those who realize CO2 is not a pollutant must concede natural gas to be one of the cleanest fuel choices.

CADDO PARISH, La. -- A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation's energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas.

Even conservative estimates suggest the Louisiana discovery -- known as the Haynesville Shale, for the dense rock formation that contains the gas -- could hold some 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That's the equivalent of 33 billion barrels of oil, or 18 years' worth of current U.S. oil production. Some industry executives think the field could be several times that size.

"There's no dry hole here," says Joan Dunlap, vice president of Petrohawk Energy Corp., standing beside a drilling rig near a former Shreveport amusement park.

It's a little too far North, but I'll still extend them a heartfelt Lasseiz rouler les bon temps!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2009

More bad news for the wind power industry

Can the green power bubble really be popping already?

From the Guardian UK via American blogger Anthony Watts: 'Britain's Only Wind Turbine Plant to Close' A small excerpt:

"The UK has large wind resources and it's a priority for the government but the orders didn't move. That's why we're telling employees that we're not reinvesting there.

"We are waiting to see in the coming period if the government initiative announced last week will get the market to move again. At least it gives some hope but it's too early to tell."

Those pesky government-induced markets are a real bugger. Be sure to follow the link though and watch the impressive video of a wind turbine exploding. It's not described but appears to me as an overspeed condition. Too windy?

Found this while searching for the Governmentium joke. That old blog has been replaced by this new one by Anthony Watts - Watts up with that? Looks like good stuff.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2009

How Much CO2 is REALLY reduced by wind and solar? 30-40% at BEST

Here is more evidence for brother Nanobrewer that wind power doesn't work as well as advertised. This time, on environmental and not merely ("merely" - sheesh) economic terms.

Co-written by former Secretary of Energy James Schlesinger, under whose leadership the National Renewable Energy Laboratory was established in Golden, CO, this Washington Post article explains that "the sun doesn't always shine and that the wind doesn't always blow." (Stay with me here.)

The climate change benefits that accrue from solar and wind power with 100 percent fossil fuel backup are associated with the fossil fuels not used at the standby power plants. Because solar and wind have the capacity to deliver only 30 to 40 percent of their full power ratings in even the best locations, they provide a carbon dioxide reduction of less than 30 to 40 percent, considering the fossil fuels needed for the "spinning reserve." That's far less than the 100 percent that many people believe, and it all comes with a high cost premium.

The economic disadvantages are mentioned too, if you care to read the article, but I figured you're already tired of reading about those.

NB, I'd be happy to discuss if you care to. Either in the comments, in person or via email.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:09 PM | Comments (0)

Drill Baby, Drill

So why doesn't 'big oil' diversify and use some of its wealth and expertise to find [fill in your favorite cuddly adjective - clean, renewable, alternative, sustainable, holy] energy technologies to replace their "reprehensible" products? Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson says it's because if his company were to go into that field then congress would immediately cancel the tax subsidy. Actually what they would do is they would just cancel it for us," he said. He added: In reality, that is what I fear would happen. So we are not going to go into investments that are dependent on a government providing a tax system to make them viable.

By the way, Exxon said it was increasing its capital budget by 11% and will spend $29 billion next year on finding, drilling and refining fossil fuels and chemicals. So, theyre not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.
Posted by JohnGalt at 1:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2009

"Dead as hell"

That's how wind champion T. Boone Pickens describes the market for wind energy projects in the wake of the mortgage banking crisis.

Wind power developers have long relied on complex tax-equity financing to bring most of their projects to market, but that system, once hailed as innovative, has collapsed over the last year, leaving the wind sector flailing for the cash it needs to make generation projects a reality.

This ought to give some insight into the economics of "alternative" energy in general and wind power in particular. Nanobrewer recently said he was convinced that wind power "works" economically and I suspect these complex tax-equity financing schemes are the biggest reason for that belief. But nothing about the scheme that made it "work" was the result of a free market. There are myriad ways for the house of cards to crumble. And now, in the wake of AIG and investment banking failures, even last year's most popular wind champion has to admit defeat.

So how badly is the sector hurting? Oil tycoon turned wind speculator T. Boone Pickens recently described the wind market as "dead as hell" to the Wall Street Journal. Richard Saunders, director of project development at GreenHunter Renewable Power, said Pickens was not far off.

Saunders estimates that in 2009, about 4,000 megawatts in new wind capacity will come online. That would be down significantly from the 8,400 MW built last year. And much of the new capacity is "really just things that are carrying over" from permits already issued in 2008.

"They've slowed down their activities tremendously," Saunders said. "They can't get the money."

If wind power "worked" economically then none of this would be happening. Consumer demand for the stuff would bring investment capital in torrents.

I also enjoyed the following point-counterpoint between wind industry analyst Tyler Tringas and ARI's Yaron Brook: "He [Tringas] added that he does not believe in government meddling, but he does think lawmakers need to account somehow for the cost of carbon." Brook's reply - "I don't believe there's an externality cost to CO2," he told Tringas.

UPDATE: This may (or may not) be the WSJ piece where Pickens first made the "dead as hell" assessment. I can't tell since it's subscription only and I only get the preview. Nonetheless, it bears mention for this:

Hit hard by the recession, the clean-energy industry is on the ropes. Governments are injecting stimulus money in hopes of keeping it alive, but what the industry ultimately needs is a far bigger dose of private investment.

In the space of a few months, the recession has slammed the brakes on what had seemed a full-tilt push for new ways to power the planet while emitting less pollution.

Umm, wasn't government "investment" supposed to create millions of "new energy jobs" that would pull America out of recession? If the recession itself has "slammed the brakes" then how can ANY amount of government "stimulus" make any difference?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"If wind power "worked" economically then none of this would be happening. Consumer demand for the stuff would bring investment capital in torrents."

Exactamundo. I've meant to blog about this for a long time, ever since T. Boone started his hogwash.

He's looking at wind power because he sees a profit opportunity. If that were the end of it, I'd say "Power to him" and not blink an eye. However, he's seeking profit via government coercion: he's lobbying hard so government will skew markets in his favor, whether it's forcing energy producers to use more windmills or giving tax breaks to Pickens because he built more windmills early on.

He can go ____ himself up the tailpipe with one of those large windmills, and then go to hell.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 27, 2009 2:20 PM

April 21, 2009

Truth to Power

That whooshing sound you hear is the whole Upper West Side gasping for breath.

Science Editor John Tierney tells it like it is in the New York Times in Use Energy, Get Rich, and Save the Planet.

1. There will be no green revolution in energy or anything else. No leader or law or treaty will radically change the energy sources for people and industries in the United States or other countries. No recession or depression will make a lasting change in consumers passions to use energy, make money and buy new technology and that, believe it or not, is good news, because...

2. The richer everyone gets, the greener the planet will be in the long run.

A little choir preaching -- but ThreeSourcers should cherish every word, and then store the link to rebut their acquaintances.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:39 PM | Comments (4)
But T. Greer thinks:

I have always liked Tierny. He is a pragmatist first and foremost, and has never been afraid to tell environmental activist crowd when they are scare mongering. In addition, he has always been fair to the adaptation advocates, whom I count myself among.


I wish more science editors had his backbone.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 21, 2009 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen to both. Tierney is great.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2009 7:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I just noticed. That's, uh, Upper West Side. :)

And if it's the NY Times building, that's still midtown.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 23, 2009 1:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks to our NYC editor for keeping me honest. I have since corrected West Upper Side to Upper West Side (dang it, even I know that). And I was looking more for the true believing subscribers than the publisher.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2009 2:03 PM

April 13, 2009

We Should All Go

At the Boulder Theatre, tomorrow night:

Boulder Weekly Films & Center for ReSource Conservation:
Tuesday, April 14, 8:00 pm

FUEL is an insightful portrait of America?s addiction to oil and an uplifting testament to the immediacy of new energy solutions. From Rockefeller?s strategy to halt Ford?s first ethanol cars to Vice President Cheney's petrochemical company sponsored energy legislation to revealing available solutions to "repower America" ? from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel.

More Info

They forgot to say "No Moonbats Allowed!"

Posted by John Kranz at 6:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2009

Quote of the Day III

What kind of lazy-ass blogger posts three "QOTDs???"

Well, what could one possibly add to this?

No one at GM ever said that the first-gen Volts would make money, but Troy Clarke, president of GM's North American operations, recently told Automotive News that the second-generation vehicles might also be a red entry on the books. Of course, "as we get a chance to change the generations of technology, we'll lose less and less," he said, adding that, "It's not our intention to lose money forever." Well, that's something. -- autobloggreen.com
Posted by John Kranz at 1:50 PM | Comments (8)
But Keith thinks:

Crikey! It's like they brought Madman Muntz back from the dead to run GM. The Muntz Jet may actually resume production at last - complete with an in-dash four-track tape deck, for your listening pleasure...

Posted by: Keith at April 7, 2009 3:25 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

What'm I gonna do with all my old 8-tracks? Granted, the "Jesus Christ Superstar" tape is broken, but I've still got "Tommy"...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 8, 2009 11:24 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't heard this discussed anywhere yet but this seems like a good time and place: After Obama Motors cancels the "gas guzzling" but profitable SUV car models I'd like to see some enterprising billionaire spin them off into a new auto company - he could call it "Specific Motors" - and put the profitable models back into production. It would be interesting to see if consumer demand could defeat layer upon layer of government coercion as Obama Motors uses its power of force to "compete" with the desirable cars.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2009 11:28 AM
But Keith thinks:

jg: I like your idea, but it won't happen. Were GM/Obama Motors to do away with the popular models you describe, it would be done in the the name of the environment and in the name of fuel consumption. Being at the behest of government policy, your spin-off company won't be ALLOWED to manufacture the now-contraband autos, and if necessary, legislation will be enacted forbidding the popular gas-guzzlers.

It will probably be an amendment to Directive 10-289.

That being said, the gubmint can have my gas-guzzling V-8 Mustang GT when they pry the five-speed shifter out of my cold, dead right hand - if they can catch me first.

Second, "Specific Motors" is a name that needs improvement. It needs to be named after the founder, like "Taggart Transcontinental," "d'Anconia Copper," or "Wyatt Oil." A generic, faceless name like "Amalgamated Switch and Signal" or "Associated Steel" just won't do.

Wouldn't it just be sweetly ironic to see this happen under the banner of "Galt Motor Works"?

Posted by: Keith at April 8, 2009 1:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Lunching with ThreeSources friend Silence Dogood, I just suggested that the government could "fix" Chrysler and GM by saying the CAFE standards are forgotten, have a nice day. A little simplistic, but I'd love to see it tried.

Okay, Keith we need more data -- what year is the horse?

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2009 8:06 PM
But Keith thinks:

jk: 2004 (Fortieth Anniversary), dark gray - so I have no fear on highways where you see the sign "Patrolled By Aircraft." I'm the same color as the pavement. Low-tech stealth, and producing a CAFE-curdling 17-18 MPG - just a hair greener than the mileage I used to get on my 1986 Jeep CJ-7.

I like your idea of deep-sixing CAFE. I'll add one to counterbalance it, since we're also going to have to do something, throw a bone to the global warming crowd. I once proposed that here in California, they print the IQ of every licensed driver on their license, and allow them to drive at speeds up to their IQ rating. Here in California, that would keep the average down to Jimmeh Carter's gas-saving 55...

Posted by: Keith at April 8, 2009 9:20 PM

March 9, 2009

Why politicized economic development is dangerous

I recently wrote on the danger of politics driving scientific research. The obvious case of this now is all of the government "investments" being proposed in the name of "saving the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change."

But even if man-made climate change was real (sorry tg, is real) and even if "renewable" energy sources were beneficial to counter it, the least effective entity to make them a reality is - wait for it - government.

Consider the following essay on "One Reason Governments Spend So Much" from the 'Uncle Eric' book: Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?

Industries generally develop in three stages. First is scientific feasibility, second is engineering feasibility, and third is economic feasibility.

Using the airline industry as an example, the question in the 1800s was: "Is long-distance air travel possible?"

In the 1800s, balloons were already in use but were not practical. The problem to solve was the heavier-than-air machine.

The Wright Brothers in 1903 proved scientific feasibility. They risked their time, money and lives to show that a heavier-than-air machine could fly.

Lindbergh, in 1927, proved engineering feasibility. He risked time, money and his life to show that long-distance air travel was possible.

This gave investors enough confidence to risk their money in the aircraft industry. In 1935 the Douglas Company came out with the DC-3, which was the beginning of economic feasibility.

The modern airline industry resulted from all this risk-taking. Today, a middle-class American can go anywhere in the world much faster, and in much greater comfort, than a Roman emperor could. Travelers fly because the benefits are greater than the costs. This is economic feasibility.

This three-step model explains why governments are terrible at economic development. The "experts" who comprise the government gamble with other people's money, so they tend to confuse scientific and engineering feasibility with economic feasibility.

Once science and engineering prove something can be done, those who comprise the government will do it - even if the costs are greater than the benefits. [emphasis mine]

This economic development of the economically unfeasible is precisely the modern story of:

Wind power
Solar photovoltaic power
Ethanol (both glucosic AND celluosic)
Hydrogen fuel cells
Dual-mode hybrid cars
The list goes on...

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:38 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith thinks:

Just to add to the entertainment value: "But even if man-made climate change were real..." is the grammatically accurate construction. Heh.

JohnGalt: great post, and the model of three-stage development makes plain, even to a poor, dumb country boy like me, why government-run economic development doesn't work. And to boot, it's much more elegant than me just saying "a government that can't even balance its own checkbook has no business fiddling with the economy."

I'd only propose one small change to the quote rfrom the essay. Where the author wrote "Once science and engineering prove something can be done, those who comprise the government will do it - even if the costs are greater than the benefits" in the last paragraph, it seems to me that the last phrase should omit the word "even" and the hyphen, thusly: "... those who comprise the government will do it if the costs are greater than the benefits." If the benefits are greater than the costs, entrepreneurs and private industry will do it, without the necessity of government meddling. Profit motive being what it is, and all that.

Ergo, government will ONLY do it if its benefits do not justify its costs, and that applies to every item in your list. QED, yes?

Posted by: Keith at March 9, 2009 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Ahh, the punchline from a great old gag can be trotted out:

I congratulate Keith on his use of the subjunctive.
Posted by: jk at March 9, 2009 4:32 PM
But Keith thinks:

Thanks, jk...

Say, on the subject of government and the economy, I've been reading in the news today that Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying the U.S. economy "fell off a cliff." I've read that three times today, and every time, all that comes to mind is...

"It was pushed."

Posted by: Keith at March 9, 2009 5:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wellll, I was trying to have some fun with TG, saying "was" as in "past tense" ... before it was largely discredited, then replacing it with "is" as a sop to him since he's not yet comfortable with the "denier" badge of courage.

I admit - sometimes my jokes trip over their shoelaces.

Oh, and yes, I do fully agree with your improvement of the closing paragraph. Well done!

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2009 12:25 AM
But jk thinks:

Tough room, jg, you know that as well as anyone.

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2009 1:34 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Eh, I though the post was funny. I also think you have highlighted one of the biggest problems with the Eco-stimulus crowd. What they call progress is in actuality a retardation (word?) of Western civilization.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 11, 2009 12:19 PM

March 6, 2009

Why Politicized Science is Dangerous

Yesterday I commented that there's "another important dragon to be slain before" the next elections for congress and for president. That dragon is the myth of man-made global warming caused by our use of economical, safe and abundant energy sources. Many of us have long contended that the idea is founded upon pseudo-science. The late Michael Crighton agreed and in an appendix to his wonderfully entertaining and thought provoking novel 'State of Fear' he wrote "Why politicized science is dangerous."

Imagine that there is a new scientific theory that warns of an impending crisis, and points to a way out.

This theory quickly draws support from leading scientists, politicians and celebrities around the world. Research is funded by distinguished philanthropies, and carried out at prestigious universities. The crisis is reported frequently in the media. The science is taught in college and high-school classrooms.

I don't mean global warming. I'm talking about another theory, which rose to prominence a century ago.

Read on below-









Posted by JohnGalt at 12:10 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Careful, jg, TR has some strong followers around here. Sure he wanted to control capitalism from Washington, lock up his enemies and kill the enfeebled, but he displayed prodigious intellectual powers, looked good in casual clothes, and said "bully!" a lot.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2009 2:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One of Crighton's points is how, after the horrors perpetrated in the name of the theory became widely known, "nobody was a eugenicist and nobody had ever been a eugenicist."

You'll recall I suggested not long ago that we start a permanent record of Global Warmists today, for the historical record.

My favorite thing about TR was "speak softly, and carry a big stick."

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2009 3:47 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Jg: I read that book and thought it sucked. (Tidal waves=result of climate change?) On the other hand, I thought the appendix you link to was quite insightful. It is rather sad to me that one's views on AGW are determined by your political affiliation. These days it seems that if you believe in "protecting the environment" then AGW is a self-evident fact not worth examining, while if you are of the free-market crowd, there is no way the climate could ever be linked to man's activities on the Earth.

This is a false dichotomy. It is perfectly acceptable to hold that warming may be influenced bu man and that free markets should not be interfered with for the environment's sake. Indeed, this is the exact position I hold.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 6, 2009 5:30 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Jk: Hahahha. Enough already! I think we have covered this before- Roosevelt's views on eugenics never led to anything more than a desire to make immigration laws stricter. Vilifying him for politicizing science makes no sense. Everything else you have listed is irrelevant to the subject of this post and has been discussed already.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 6, 2009 5:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'll leave TR alone.

I enjoyed the Lomborg clip. He inspired the D in DAWG and I think his position is reasonable and defensible.

I hold that the debate was politicized by the left: those who Popper said would have us go back to the caves. Suddenly, the inefficacy of their ideas was meaningless: we had to take on the whole Nader-Kucinich platform or all of our children will die!

The DAWG advocates then claimed that "the science was settled" because a poll was taken. Popper, again, pointed out that science is not really done that way.

Yes, it is too bad that something important has devolved into childish bickering -- but, Mommy, they started it!!

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2009 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But it isn't called global warming anymore tg, it's "climate change." That way the charade can be continued whether the trend is warmer or cooler. Which is fortunate for them since now, it's cooling.

The market interference you allude to is the setting of arbitrary limits on emission of mammal breath. "First they came for the dioxins, then the beneficial pesticides, then the fluorocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur compounds, and when they came for carbon dioxide there were no pollutants left to say - you can't regulate non-pollutants!"

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2009 8:11 PM

December 19, 2008

Millions of Green Collar Jobs!

Candidate Obama promised his administration would create millions of "green collar jobs," and to most it was a successful platform. Myself, I heard "Wasted $Billions and stifled innovation from government intrusion" but I am a partisan hack.

I'd bore whoever would listen with "when the government picks winners in the energy sector we get Synfuels and Ethanol." Let the Senators decide what projects get funded and don't be surprised if we're all driving our cars on Iowa's major export. Had Senator Craig had not been busted, I suppose we'd be developing a potato-fuel infrastructure.

In addition to creating more greenhouse gases, costing more, and adding to volatility in world food markets -- how's that Ethanol decision panning out? Instapundit links to this story about the collapse of North Dakota's ethanol industry and the evaporation of subsidies promised to keep the economically unviable industry afloat:

North Dakota has an annual capacity of 333 million gallons of ethanol. Due to this years excessive commodity fluctuations, VeraSun, the states largest producer (which recently filed for bankruptcy), is itself eligible to claim a full $1.6 million from just one quarters worth of production. Over the past two months the price of corn has dropped sharply, leaving producers with very expensive inventories.

It remains to be seen if this fund is essential to North Dakotas ethanol producers and if they can weather the storm without it.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith thinks:

Denier? Pshaw. Think of him as that kid with enough nerve to point out that the emperor was out parading in the buff.

Being the only person in the house to see the truth and act on it does not make one wrong.

Posted by: Keith at December 19, 2008 6:59 PM

December 1, 2008

Never Saying You're Sorry...

I don't have to remind ThreeSourcers of my high esteem for Instapundit. Professor Reynolds gets the lion's share of my hat-tips and I find it hard to imagine his equal in effectively voicing a pragmatic, little-l libertarian philosophy.

We differ on immigration, but I accept that. I differ with many I respect on that topic.

But I remain muchly vexed with Reynolds's unequivocal support for flex-fuel mandates, specifically the Zubrin Plan. I join him in looking forward to powering our cars and trucks on kudzu. But I wholly reject the idea of government mandates in the name of "energy independence."

To his credit, he offers the flip side today, if without mea culpas:

For the 2008-2009 period, fully 61% of vehicles had exemptions to run on gasoline. The mandate resulted in flex-fuel vehicles purchased for Puerto Rico and Hawaii, where E85 pumps dont exist as its quite expensive to ship large quantities of ethanol. In some locations, said pumps are nearby but dont accept government credit cards. So, despite all good intentions, the result is an increase in government gasoline consumption. Not mentioned in the article was that the billions of dollars in purchases went almost, if not wholly to the Detroit 2.8, as import manufacturers (still) dont offer many flex-fuel cars or trucks.

Perhaps we could recoup the energy of Hayek spinning in his grave. Government does not have the information to dictate automotive design, nor would I trust them to make the right decision if they did. When those 0.99/gallon KudzuCo stations start opening up, consumers will demand flex-fuel vehicles where they are appropriate.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"a pragmatic, little-l libertarian philosophy."

If Reynolds were a real libertarian (capital L or not), then he wouldn't be supporting government mandates of any kind. Where is the liberty in forcing fuel standards on me or anyone else?

With that post today, he can't even admit the failure of his "pragmatism," can he? He can call himself a libertarian until the day he dies, but he's just another pseudo-libertarian who wants the government to regulate certain markets he thinks are failing/can fail. Real libertarians know that free markets work and can fix themselves better than any government bureaucrat can (Hayek, knowledge problem, Q.E.D.). Real libertarians don't want the government intervening, not just in things I like that don't harm others, but *especially* in things others do that I personally dislike but do no harm to others.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 1, 2008 4:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I wondered if he would relate that post of his to his ongoing support for the Zubrin Plan. I even sent him an email (there go my chances for a link in 2009, eh?)

To be fair, Perry, I think he would be the last one to stake a claim to being a "real" L|libertarian. And I think he does a great job advancing little-l philosophy. The race for the purest Libertarian fills the most comical pages of Brian Dougherty's Radicals for Capitalism: only the purest is allowed to stay in the room.

I still support the Iraq War -- excuse me, I mean "The Debacle in Iraq" -- so it's pretty clear from reading Gene Healy and David Boaz last week that I'm not invited to the party. I still believe in the importance of Deepak Lal's Liberal International Economic Order and will support blood and treasure to preserve it.

I do think the most trenchant description of libertarianism ever occurred on Instapundit when a reader said "I dream of an America where millions of happily married gay couples have closets full of assault weapons." That remains a good, quick definition for me.

Posted by: jk at December 1, 2008 4:54 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

And I think he does a great job advancing little-l philosophy. The race for the purest Libertarian fills the most comical pages of Brian Dougherty's Radicals for Capitalism: only the purest is allowed to stay in the room.

You don't have to be "pure," just not so diluted. Reynolds is to real libertarians what a light beer is to San Miguel. There are superficial similarities until you realize the difference in depth and complexity.

Sean Hannity has claimed "We're pretty libertarian on this show," and witness the emergence of "libertarian Democrats." It only goes to show the term is losing all meaning. It has to have clear definitions. It has to mean something.

I still support the Iraq War -- excuse me, I mean "The Debacle in Iraq" -- so it's pretty clear from reading Gene Healy and David Boaz last week that I'm not invited to the party.

It's a matter of why you supported the Iraq War. Do you believe in pre-emptive wars and nation-building? I felt Saddam was still a threat to the U.S. and have mixed feelings only because of how we handled the aftermath. By and large, we *were* welcomed as liberators. We just didn't know what to do once we toppled his government.

A libertarian can justify the action because Saddam had previously kidnapped Americans and was continually violating the cease-fire. If Saddam had not done those, then I couldn't have justified toppling him. But Ron Paul was right: we should have dropped all the political pretenses and had Congress formally declare war. If anything, it would have prevented the Kerryism of "I voted as a last resort, I didn't think we'd actually do it!"

Of course, all this would be irrelevant if Bush Sr. hadn't been a UN-heeding pansy, and Bubba was worse. There's nothing in libertarianism that says you can't retaliate in full force when your citizens are kidnapped, e.g. Jefferson's response to the Barbary pirates.

I still believe in the importance of Deepak Lal's Liberal International Economic Order and will support blood and treasure to preserve it.

Which isn't quite what Lal is talking about. The state can protect people, but the extent of what you're talking about is giving far too much credit to the state for protecting people. The danger is that people start relying on military protection of land and sea trade routes, much like Americans rely on police instead of themselves.

"I dream of an America where millions of happily married gay couples have closets full of assault weapons."

That's his own individual opinion, you see. The real libertarian way puts it more generally. I forget how Jefferson put it so wonderfully succinctly, but this is an expanded version: "I dream of an America where people have their unalienable rights to life, liberty and property: essentially, the freedom to do what they want -- including but not limited to forming legally enforceable contracts with homosexual partners, or owning whatever weapons they so desire -- so long as they do not infringe on the unalienable rights of others."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 2, 2008 10:25 PM

November 25, 2008

Tightly Controlled Oil Supply Slips Into Surplus

In June I posted a Cato Institute article "Get Ready for the Oil Price Drop." At the time I read (but never linked) a separate article on American.com that showed the careful balance between world supply and demand for oil that allows relatively small inventory changes to effect relatively large price changes.

The data available at the time was only through the end of 2007 and was still showing a supply deficit. The latest data, updated earlier this month, shows the first surplus since 2005 occurred in the second quarter of this year. It's not difficult to understand, then, how the predicted oil price drop materialized in the form of $1.70 gas replacing the $4 variety.


The graph above is my own, created from EIA's Excel data, to which I've added the "Total World Supply Balance" data line comprising supply minus demand. Note that I had to multiply the resulting data by 10 in order to see plus or minus movement on the same scale as the overall supply and demand. The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2008

Cheap Gas

I'm tired of hearing this, and I've only heard it twice. Here's GM doyen Bob Lutz:

"We may hate high fuel prices, but they've been driving us in the right direction when it comes to fuel economy. If we suddenly went to $1 or $1.50 a gallon, that would be really bad."

Rilly, rilly bad as Thomas Pynchon might say (Vineland -- five stars!) but I digress.

Larry Kudlow had a guest last night (not listed on the blog, sorry), an ostensibly conservative money manager, who was peddling this line. He wants $140 oil because he does not want to lose momentum in alternative energy. Kudlow suggested that it would have to drop to $50 or below to threaten that, but Mister Guest thought that the psychological value of oil had a huge influence.

'Scuse me fellas, but is anybody paying attention to what is happening? Three dollar gas will be a huge break for small business and the American consumer. It's one a few things that überoptimist Kudlow can seize onto.

I know Lutz has put all his chips on an electric car that will lose money at three times the price of a comparable combustion vehicle. I'm a Friedmanite and will support his defense of what's left of his shareholders' value. But for any responsible economist to root for more "back to the caves" (That would be Karl Popper, also five stars, but good luck finding it!) to prevent us from global warming has perhaps not noticed the correlation of per capita income and environmental concerns.

Bring back dollar gas, I'm in.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM | Comments (11)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The screed highlighted by tg is not news to The Refugee, either. However, it is usually followed by the line, "...and that's why we need higher gas taxes." The Refugee has no quarrel with the market driving up the price of gas and making alternative fuels economical. His problem is with governments stiffling production (supply) and increasing taxes to dampen demand.

Back to the original point, however: Lutz says,"We may hate high fuel prices, but they've been driving us in the right direction when it comes to fuel economy," as though he is powerless to make design decisions. If he wants to design a bunch of rubberband driven cars he can do it. The Refugee bridles at his attempt to used gas prices as an excuse for inaccurate market forecasting (to wit, Toyota got it right) and poor product design decisions. Those decisions were driven more by a union-based cost structure than "what Americans want." He was lucky it lasted as long as it did.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 14, 2008 10:13 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

And another thing: The Refugee is willing to bet that Kudlow's money manager has a lot of money riding on alternative fuel investments that would be jeopardized by lower gas prices.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 14, 2008 10:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

br (refreshingly) writes, "The Refugee has no quarrel with the market driving up the price of gas and making alternative fuels economical."

tr (curiously) writes, "T. Greer, confident in the future of democracy."

But what br's quote describes is democracy in action in the marketplace, while tg brings us the voices of America's enlightened youth claiming that high gas prices are "the solution."

As br and I have both asserted, high gas prices are an artificial result of authoritarian regulations and market interference on the part of government. (That the government was purportedly seated through democratic means does not innoculate it from the charge of authoritarianism.)

So what tg means is that he is, "confident in the future of democracy to force "the solution" upon ignorant rednecks who don't understand the urgency of wiping out the worlds most economical fuel source."

Democracy uber alles, except in the case of free markets. (Or any other instances when the majority wants the "wrong" thing.)

And while there's been nothing but the sound of crickets chirping on dagny's open letter to Obama supporters the ideas espoused in these comments from tg explain as well as I've seen how anyone could support Obama: For all their self-espoused enlightenment, Obama-tons just can't see how their beliefs are manipulated by the flowery rhetoric of statism.

Posted by: johngalt at October 15, 2008 3:27 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Jg: Almost correct. You forgot the phrase that ends the sentence:

I am confident in the future of democracy to force "the solution" upon ignorant rednecks who don't understand the urgency of wiping out the world’s most economical fuel source for that we may save humankind and Planet Earth.

The most curious thing about this is that many of the members of these high-gas-groups are Republicans. Furthermore, it has been my experience that most young Republicans use similar rhetoric and reasoning to defend current Republican planks.

~T. Greer, not quite sure that it is wise (or possible) to use statist means to accomplish libertarian goals.

Posted by: T. Greer at October 15, 2008 5:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, I didn't forget the phrase "so that we may save humankind and planet Earth." (I did forget the apostrophe in "world's" however.)

No, the phrase at issue is implicit in the title "ignorant rednecks" along with many other phrases like, "spreading the wealth around is good for everybody" and "the cause of radical Islamic terror is American exceptionalism." You see, we ignorant rednecks don't "know" that continued use of gasoline will wipe out the planet and all of humanity along with it. We still adhere to quaint notions such as proof, evidence, causality, logic, reason.

We don't turn into drooling zombies at every mention of the latest crackpot hypothesis out of post-modern ivory towers merely because someone, somewhere, has the temerity to call it "science."

In order to "know" that gasoline is the harbinger of the end-of-days one must have "faith" in the preachings of his particular clergy who bring this important message from his particular deity.

As for this "ignorant redneck" ... I'm not a theist, therefore I don't "know" how evil gasoline is.


I do agree with you that it is impossible to use statist means to accomplish libertarian goals. So what sort of goals do you suppose statists really have?

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2008 3:16 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Aye, point taken. Although I would note that things like "We need to stop giving those oil barons money they don't deserve" is often just as much a reason cited as any environmental concern there may be with the practice of consuming gasoline.

Before I answer your question, I think a distinction must be made.

There are statists who wish we would use statist methods to reach statist goals.

Then there are the folks who would balk at being called a statist, but who have been trained to think that the government can solve all of our problems, and as such, can't help but support statist methods to reach statist goals.

One who thinks that America should nationalize various industries so that the government can wield greater influence, provide greater security, or obtain a bigger budget is of the first sort.

One who thinks that it would be a good idea for the government to send a $200,000 check to every American family (see here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/issues/alert/?alertid=11976981&content_dir=ua_congressorg) in order to ease America's financial woes is of the second sort.

The goal of the second person is to strengthen America's economy. This is not a goal exclusive to statists. Yet the means of accomplishing the goal -redistributing income- are undeniably statist.

I find the second man much more frightening than the first. It is easy to rob a statist of his masks. It is quite a bit harder to break that Faustian bond of big government and great expectations.

~T. Greer

Posted by: T. Greer at October 16, 2008 5:23 PM

October 7, 2008

Flex Fuel

Professor Mankiw has his damned (pronounce two syllables) Pigou Club and Professor Reynolds has his Zubrin plan. I should let it rest, but every time they push it I wonder how those two can be so off.

Dr. Zubrin massacres the Obama Energy proposal today. It lacks any mercy at all and should be read in full, several times a day. The lone happy note at the very end of the piece is that -- like Zubrin -- the Obama plan calls for mandates to force automakers to produce "flex fuel" vehicles.

The best part of Obamas plan is his strong support of biofuels. In contrast to John McCain, Obama favors both the renewable fuel standard and ethanol production subsidies. These subsidies cost taxpayers $0.45 per gallon of ethanol produced but save the nation $3 in foreign oil purchases at the same time. Why John McCain prefers to send $3 to Saudi Arabia instead of $0.45 to Iowa is difficult to understand, especially given the strategic nature of the commodity in question, and the fact that the foreign oil money helps to finance acts of war and terror against the United States. Yet he does. So on this question Obama has it right and McCain has it badly wrong.

Moreover, there is one part of the Obama plan which is absolutely splendid, and that is his explicit promise to require flex fuel capability on all new cars sold in the USA by the end of his first term. This is indeed a potential real game changer, especially if the flex fuel standard is written to include not only automobile co