Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama: the Content-free candidate

Presidential Race #7

I had written McCain off.

His campaign has seemed dismal to me and not much of a message. Obama has been a rockstar campaigner (note Euro love fest tour).

However, the Democrats' stubborn clinging to an anti-oil, anti-anything practical concerning energy, policy may just be backfiring. We aren't so stupid as to believe drilling in Anwar and on the continental shelf means cheap gas forever; but it does mean we don't have to return to an agrarian society until clean coal, biomass, wind, and solar have critical mass. (I want to scream build nuclear power plants here but I'll likely be dead before the court cases would be settled).

The Obama campaign has been Marshall McLuhan based (the medium is the message) and therefor content-free. This may sound critical but it's not: content-free has prevailed over Biden, Clinton, Edwards, Dodd, etc. But it isn't so clear that it will continue to work against a real platform presented clearly and concisely.

McCain is slowly awakening to the fact that this is a real campaign issue. Obama is being too cute on nuclear - "I'll support it when the disposal of nuclear waste is resolved" - that means: "I'll vote for nuclear power right after Barney Frank is named the Pope".

So this obstinacy by the Democrats to facing the first of a string of Republic-threatening issues (Islamic jihad, Social Security bankruptcy, unrivaled deficits, failed public education, etc.) may just be breathing some life into McCain and the Republican Party's lungs.
Of course, the Republicans have plenty of chances yet to blow it....

A platform of (1)real energy programs (not just drilling), (2)win in Iraq, combined with a (3)no-earmarks-pledge might just turn the tide...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Energy independence part 2

Beware the argument tactic of false choices. While it is really transparent, it is being used so frequently that someone must be convinced it is working. Example: Senator Shumer et al gave a press conference where they said they are going to continue to oppose offshore drilling because it detracts from real solutions like renewable energy.

No it doesn't

This is a false choice. We should pursue all the energy options. There are a number of solar companies, they've raised capital and generally on their way (although note environmental obstacles in previous post). I'm all for them. There are numerous investments in clean coal technology, some backed by the most successful venture capitalists ever. I hope they make it work. There are utilities that are seeking approval to build nuclear plants. They should be approved, and with legislation that restricts lawsuits so that plants can actually be built. Boone Pickens and others are building windmill farms. Good. Some of the large biotech firms are solving for ethanol generation from something other than corn for human consumption. I'm pulling for them. And we should drill offshore. No limits! We are going to need all the energy from all these sources to kick our collective addiction.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Energy independence - it's hopeless

For a brief moment, I deluded myself into believing that our elected officials might take action and help make the U.S. more self-sufficient for energy. But recent developments have snapped me back to reality.

Environmentalism is the new religion, and it has either co-opted or swept all the old Western religions aside. (The Muslim world has yet to be converted). While Christianity has been banned from the U.S. classroom (as well as a large portion of Europe) young minds can be proselytized endlessly on preserving the environment - it is actually a core curriculum topic. Rachel Carson would be shocked to learn she created a movement that is likely to eclipse communism. And in what - a mere 46 years? It took hundreds of years for Christianity to spread across Europe.
The degree that organized Christian churches have been co-opted by this movement is equally impressive: note the propaganda, er...public service message by Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson (is it me, or does Robertson seem strange - like his head is too big for his body?)
The cause of my capitulation? First, the report that environmentalists plan to prevent construction of large scale solar power installations in the Mohave desert, because the solar panels could interfere with the habitat of the kit fox and some kind of rabbit. I thought that solar was the perfection, the Holy Grail of the environmental movement. Obviously I was mistaken.
Second, while Virginia apparently has one of the largest deposits of uranium ever found, VA has a law preventing uranium mining. Efforts so far to overturn that law have been unsuccessful, and environmentalists are now portraying a uranium mine as an apocalyptic landscape; akin to the surface of planet Mercury as it orbits dangerously close to the the sun, with bubbling magma spewing toxic clouds of sulfuric acid as it bakes and cooks in an endless wave of solar flares and x-rays.
And third, Democratic Senators, lead by Chuck Shumer, proudly announced that they would continue to oppose more drilling for oil and instead support renewable sources of energy. Thus, the circle is complete: nothing gets supported unless it is renewable, but then the New Religion prevents renewables from actually being developed to preserve the little desert creatures or prevent private property owners in VA from developing their own land.
So, my advice to everyone is to purchase some land and plant trees. It will become your preferred source of fuel to heat your home. Harvest some wood at least annually and store it away, because it is only a matter of time when you won't be permitted to cut down a tree...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tony Snow RIP

I was a fan of Fox News Sunday from its earliest days. In part because there were real thinking conservatives on the panel, but equally important because it was civil discussion.

In a world of gotcha and wolfpack journalism, Tony Snow was the opposite. It was thoughtful civil discourse. I have nothing but admiration for the man: he always had a smile, he was never mean or nasty, and he wasn't ashamed of his faith.

May God bless his family.

RIP.