SocraticGadfly: 1/29/06 - 2/5/06

February 04, 2006

Do NOT support the Vehicle and Fuel Choices for America's Security Act

Why not? Because of the loan guarantees it offers to the former “Big Three.”

The first Arab oil embargo was 30 years ago, and the Used to be Big Three have done nothing positive in the way of conservation measures since then. Rather, they have fought every attempt to impose new gas taxes, new CAFE standards or anything else that would cut our dependence on foreign oil.

Tom “The World is as Flat as My Head” Friedman undercuts his own arguments in favor of the act when he notes that the technology not just for hybrids, but flex-fuel hybrids, is already here. He didn’t mention diesel hybrids, which, with clean diesel after 2007, would take care of our immediate problems all by themselves. (Ford, for example, has a diesel hybrid prototype.)

So, why do Ford, and GM and DaimlerChrysler, need loan guarantees? It’s their own fault they’re behind the hybrid production curve. If they can’t get ahead of the hybrid marketing curve, that’s too damn bad. And it’s too damned hypocritical for the “apostle of globalization” to be spouting lines about loan guarantees.

February 03, 2006

BushCo: Censor yourself, Europress

So, now its semi-officially not OK, in BushCo’s eyes, to satirize religious beliefs.

BushCo. says that European newspapers need to practice self-censorship instead.
“These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims,” State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question. “We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”

Since BushCo has already indicated it expects political self censorship from American newspapers, this should be no surprise.

Nor, because of the fact that corporatist American media has largely accepted this idea, should it be any surprise that American newspapers have generally bought into this by refusing to reprint the cartoon.

Apparently, with the statement of Cooper, Bush thinks European newspapers should roll over and play dead in the same way. Fortunately, in a show of support for the original Danish newspaper, they have done exactly the opposite.

And, where’s the media in general’s) solidarity? A couple of years ago, with the change in Spanish governments and other things, everybody was decrying “old Europe” for backing down to Muslims. Now, “old Europe’s” press stands up to Muslim fanatics and is told to lie down.

It’s no wonder that, despite the different foibles of the media across the pond, most Americans wonder why most Europeans don't genuflect to the altar of American media and its alleged greatness. Well, now you know.

February 02, 2006

January shatters temperature record in Big D; second time in six months

Here in Dallas, we just set a record for the hottest January ever.

How hot was it? The January average high of 68.3 was 14 degrees above the normal January average of 54.

How hot was it? Officially at D/FW Airport, we got below freezing for all of one hour of one day in January.

Sadly, although not necessarily record-breaking, the National Weather Service predicts above-average temperatures into April.

Much more sadly with us at almost nine months of severe drought, below-average rain is predicted during that same stretch.

With Texas the nation’s fourth-largest agricultural state, look for rising beef, bread and wheat prices, above all. Many farmers in East Texas never even bothered to plant winter wheat this year.

Global warming may be a partial contributor, especially via the vector of increasing severe weather in general. That’s especially true of how the drought got started, and included the hottest September and one of the dozen or so hottest Octobers ever. A weak La Niña, then get established a few weeks ago and will be a prime contributory factor to the drought and heat predicted to run into mid-spring.

This could be Texas’ worse drought problem in nearly 50 years.

Yeah, right

President Doofus, in his State of the Union address, set the country a goal of reducing oil imports 75 percent by 2025.

Uh, sure. When Halliburton former CEOs have wings and fly. Besides, even if BushCo thinks his Energy Plan, Beta No. 6, will achieve that goal, he’s reached a new level of either lying or idiocy. (Or both. They’re not mutually exclusive.)

Meanwhile, his illicit love affair with hydrogen-based transportation continues, ignoring that it’s highly energy-intensive. That said, it, rather than conserving, inventing electric-electric hybrid cars, etc., is arguably the transportation future that is friendliest to … (drum roll) … Big Oil.

But that’s OK. Turns out Doofus was, in fact, lying again.
One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.
“This was purely an example,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.

Wow, now BushCo has a new excuse line for everything.

War in Iraq not going right? “This was just an example.”

Can’t find Osama? “This was just an example.”

Katrina relief mismanaged? “This was just an example.”

January 30, 2006

Bush energy speech to be full of hot air

As long as he continues to tout the hydrogen future as a magic cure-all, and by using this cure-all of the future to ignore today’s reality, he can’t be serious about a coherent energy policy.

Read my review of “The Hype About Hydrogen,” which says even Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute are all wet on the bountiful future of hydrogen, for details on why this is not the miracle fuel uninformed or deliberately deceptive boosters claim it is.