Bread Substitute And Icky Wax

One of the problems with being me is I often make cultural references that nobody else gets, though because I’m such a charming fellow overall they wisely nod their heads and proclaim my genius, at least to my face, because I’ve stumped them. The Emperor must be clothed after all.

Among my favorite citations is the semi-obscure Jame Retief written by Keith Laumer which, like much science fiction of the period, was virulently misogynist, racist, Randian crap. It wasn’t the worst example I read, that would be the Gor or Horseclans novels and in my defense I read a lot of Lefty science fiction too because I read a lot of science fiction, literally libraries worth. Laumer was mainstream by comparison though he wasn’t the writer Poul Anderson was and Retief could easily be mistaken for a pale imitation of Dominic Flandry.

In the universe of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne the two main antagonists were #1, the bureaucracy, and in a distant second place the Groaci (meant to represent the Soviets). Make no mistake, it was a dismal place (though told with humor). Along with the ritual grimacing (24-w) was the fact that even the Concordiat (the United States analog Retief supposedly served) had stark inequality and rapacious capitalism run rampant with recycled (but fully functional) Tanks Continental Siege Units used as strip mining machines.

For ordinary people there was Bread Substitute and Icky Wax.

You see, they couldn’t afford real Bread, only Bread Substitute. Butter was an unimaginable luxury, even Margarine (useful only for certain very specific baking applications and you really ought to consider Lard instead) beyond aspiration.

And in this cut throat world of nature red in tooth and claw (Tennyson, not Hobbes) you have to know which side of the Bread Substitute your Icky Wax is on and not just because that’s the one ending up on the floor.

It has become my go to short hand for pragmatic lesser-evilism.

In this light I urge you to consider the following “good” news.

Why Pipeline Opponents Cheered Monday’s Keystone XL Approval
by Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch
Nov. 21, 2017

Yes, it’s true that the Nebraska Public Service Commission voted Monday to approve the long-gestating Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline. But don’t score it as a win for TransCanada—or as a “boost for Trump“—just yet.

That’s because the commission approved the “mainline alternative route,” and that’s not the route that the pipeline operator wants.

It could take years before the project finally gets off the ground (if it ever does), as the alternative route includes 63 miles of new pipeline not yet approved by the federal government and plenty of landowners could stand in the way.

Even TransCanada seemed lukewarm about the commission’s decision.

“As a result of today’s decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission’s ruling while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer.

Even though President Trump has issued a presidential permit for the KXL, it was based on an environmental analysis assuming that the pipeline would follow the route TransCanada preferred, The Hill reported.

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill that the agency “heard about a possible modified route, and we are in the process of gaining more precise information in order to determine if there will be any permitting impacts as a result of those changes.”

Mother Jones pointed out that TransCanada’s biggest challenge might come down to economics.

As ( co-founder Jamie) Henn noted: “Every bit of uncertainty and every day of delay makes Keystone XL less likely. The economics are already stacked against this project and it’s just a matter of time before the last few backers pull out leaving TransCanada all alone.”