Tag: Energy Independence

A New Deal With the Big Three

Burning the Midnight Oil for Real World Economics

NB. New Oil links are now located at the Midnight Oil Blog

A while ago, as an off-shoot of the Beauty Platform, I set out a Beautiful Bail-Out plan.

Two key parts were: 50:50 on money going to help regular home buyers to extricate themselves from the mortgage meltdown, and on bailing out the finance sector from the mess they got themselves into …

… and having the finance sector bail out consisting of both unloading dubious assets and issue of Senior Preferred shares with heavy strings attached.

Now, the Administration did not, in fact, listen to me, but when Senator Dodd was complaining about what banks had done with their bail out money, waddya know … I got a perfect three out of three on what strings needed to be attached to the money:

  • Limits on Mergers and Acquisition
  • No payments of any other dividends
  • Limits on Executive Compensation

… until the Senior Preferred Dividend had been paid for four quarters straight … and kicking back in if the firm in the future ran into problems meeting the Senior Preferred Dividend.

But … does the Beautiful Bail Out model extend to the Big Three?

Occasional Bike Blogging: Getting Ready for Winter

Cross-posted from the new, improved, Burning the Midnight Oil blog and grill.

It is now well known around the place where I work that I not only, oddly enough, bike to work, but that I do not have a car at all. And so, one of the things that brings a smile to my face when I’m at work is the worried queries how I’ll get to work when winter sets in.

I smile because last December I was biking 14 miles up to the warehouse in snow, sometimes feeling like counting my toes when I arrived to make sure they were still there. Given that, a bit under three miles to work this winter is far from daunting. But it is far from the imagination of the small town / exurban Buckeye, who view bikes primarily as fair weather recreational kinds of things.

Now, having gone through it before does not mean that I laugh, LAUGH!, in the face of the Ohio Winter, but rather that I know enough to cope with it.

How do we take Appalachia for a Progressive Change Coalition?

Cross-posted from Burning the Midnight Oil

Well, Modular Pumped Hydro and Bio-Coal, I reckon.

And, yes, this is about winning friends and influencing people.

Bio-coal … the technology is just about ready for prime time, but we do not have the feedstock. Define soil-conserving and soil-building perennial production techniques, make sure that coppice production is in there, and establish strong soil husbandry income to entice Appalachia into coppice wood production.

Unlike subsidies on the product side, soil husbandry payments can explicitly discriminate in favor of production on degraded sites and against any production that involves breaking ground in old-growth forests. It is, indeed, mostly a matter of enforcing the common sense and defending it against nonsense modification.

And corresponding capital subsidies for the establishment of decentralized bio-coal production in areas with depressed labor markets and substantial perennial bio-mass production … that money will zero in on Appalachia like a laser beam.

Pressing for Landslide: Electric Rail as a Spoil of Victory

You have to be hiding under a rock to be unaware that at this point in the race, Senator Obama is leading.

What I cannot for the life of me understand, though, is complacency as a result of seeing, say, that FiveThirtyEight.com has a projection of a 94.9% chance for Obama versus 5.1% chance for McCain. Because the same site says that there’s less than a 50% chance of a Landslide win by Obama.

We gotta think about victory like Republicans (even as we refrain from acting like Republicans in pursuit of victory). After bare victory, with the substantial public good that John McCain is not President and had not right to come near to the “Nuclear Football”, comes a strong enough victory to be seen as claiming a mandate, and after that comes a landslide, driving the Republicans into a likely circular firing squad.

Consider the possible fruits of victory. Then go out there and fight for the landslide that we need.

Palin energy deception on national TV … again

During the Vice Presidential debate, Sarah “Energy Expert” Palin continued to demonstrate either her fundamental ignorance about energy realities or her fervent desire to mislead as many American voters as possible with half-truths and un-truths.  We’ll put aside the whole question of Sarah’s dealings with oil companies and the national gas pipeline and the problems of clean-coal discussion at the debate, but lets take a few moments to discuss the implications of Sarah’s various words about “energy independence”.   Remember, Sarah reminded us that energy is her subject:

“governor of an energy-producing state, and kind of undo in my own area of expertise, and that’s energy.”

Okay, what did Miss Energy Expert say about energy issues?

A Midnight Thought on Whether a Bit of Keynes can Fix This Mess

From Burning the Midnight Oil for a Green Keynesian Revolution (Midnight Thought First Draft posted on Agent Orange)

The thing about the New Deal … it provided a lot of “relief”(1) to a lot of people in desperate shape. But what cured the Great Depression was not the shock absorber of job guarantee programs like the two public works administrations and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

What cured the Great Depression was the massive Keynesian stimulus of World War II. Even before the US got into the war, armaments industries ramped up production in response to domestic re-armament and orders from overseas … including the gimmick of Lend-Lease to make sure that the UK had the money to buy the product of US arms factories.

We can do the exact same thing with the economic disruption that is coming, and if we learn the lessons of the Great Depression, we can do it again … with something far more useful than fighting another World War.

McCain Versus Sustainable Energy Independence

Crossposted to Agent Orange … please help make Susan Kraemer’s good work on this more visible. And click through to the article on the original site, vote it up and leave comments, so her boss knows that her hard work is appreciated.

I just read up on John McCain’s 50 Votes Against Clean Energy, on the MatteR Network(1).

The take home message is really straightforward. The only energy sector that John McCain supports is Nuclear Power. When a “clean”(2) vote comes up for any Sustainable Energy Source, McCain’s position is simple: He’s Agin It.

It seems that the claim at the DNC that McCain voted against Renewable Power 25 times has been attacked by a fact checking web site, so what Susan Kraemer has done is go through 50 votes, and the picture is that of one of the dirtiest Sustainable Energy voting records in the Senate:


McCain voted with Boxer 1 out of 50 times – against signing the Kyoto protocol (vote 14). McCain voted with Inhofe 42 out of 44 times unless Inhofe voted with Boxer (see votes 34 and 35). McCain voted with Republicans unless the majority voted with Democrats  (see votes 9, 10, 12, 15,16 and 36). I will similarly review Senator Obama’s voting record in a future post.

The full tally is 37 votes against, and, during his current run for the White House, Missing 13 times on bills where he has stated opposition.

The Take-Home message is: on Sustainable Energy, John McCain is Inhofe’s twin, and Boxer’s opposite.

Midnight Thought on Living Energy Independence

Excerpted from Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence (8 August 2008), in the Burning the Midnight Oil blog-within-a-blog, hosted by the EENR

Would California have HSR today if it had been settled by France? That’s what Michael Mahoney argued last Friday in the SFGate Open Forum.

The French, according to Mr. Mahoney, have a straightforward approach. The High Speed Rail train leaves the city on regular tracks running like an ordinary interurban express. When it gets out into the countryside, the HSR tracks start and it kicks up to full speed … 220mph and over, depending on the specific train. Then when it gets to into the urban area of its destination, it switches to regular tracks and back to running like an interurban express.

Most of the route is through the countryside, and that’s where its cheapest to build … both directly, and in terms of cutting down on the cost of overpasses.

SO … what did they do in California?

Casting the Beauty Platform: Peak Oil

Question: Peak Oil?

stable solid line | stable divided line | stable solid line

stable divided line | moving divided line | moving divided line

Earth over Fire evolving into Wind over Fire

36. Wounded Brightness

37. Family Members

Wounded brightness.

Beneficial is laborious persistence.

Being weakened. It is good to work diligently on the situation.

(The brightness is the light of consciousness, one’s aliveness, one’s energy. It being injured means that one’s aliveness is diminished, one is being weakened.)

Family members.

Beneficial is the women’s dedication.

People are there for each other.

Moving Line 5:

Viscount of Ji’s hidden brightness.

It is beneficial to persist.

Tactfully feigning ignorance, in order to avoid being hurt by someone. It is a good idea to persist doing that. (The viscount of Ji feigned madness, in order to escape the abuses of a king.)

Line 6:

Not brightness, but darkness.

At first ascending to heaven,

then going into the earth.

Things seemed so bright at the start, but are turning unlucky.

Liberty from Cars Day

This is a follow-up to Retrofit Suburbia Redux

At Ezra Klein, in a post about The Costs of Cap and Trade, a commentator, “Black Political Analysis” frames the Auto-Uber-Alles position as:

I intuitively agree with your logic, which is correct government policy can move the markets in any particular direction. The real matter is at what points will Americans see increased regulation as better than the status quo. For now, Americans seem quite willing, not content, but willing to pay $4/gallon. The American desire to have the most liberty possible (i.e. the government not telling the people what to do) is quite high; so economic circumstances must be quite severe before Americans embrace your ideas (even though they are good ideas).

July 4, 2008 12:03 PM

I answer:

Except when it comes to regulations preventing a lot near a suburban transport stop from being redeveloped to ground floor professional or retail space with townhouses stacked on top … sacrificing liberty in that situation is done without a moment’s thought.

Cars are liberating if you are the one with the car and not too many other people have them in any given area. Either take away your car, or establish a system of government subsidy and regulation that ensures that everyone must ride a car to get anywhere, and the liberty vanishes.

Indeed, a freedom that rests on the lack of freedom of others is not what I write down under the heading of “liberty”.

Saturday Bike Blogging, Midweek Edition

I’ve been so busy getting on top of this teaching gig that I’ve been letting the blogging slide.

OTOH, while I cycled an insane 14 miles to work (and then back) the second half of last year when I was lucky enough to get called in … now I am cycling a perfectly sane 3 miles.

So just some random observations on a special midweek edition of Saturday Bike Blogging.

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Excerpted from Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence, forthcoming], in the [Burning the Midnight Oil blog-within-a-blog, hosted by kos, though to the best of my knowledge he doesn’t know it.

I’ve been looking at Tiny Houses, and man, do they strike me as cool.

For example, these above are from The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Their smallest house is the 70 square foot Biensi … but, of course, some people would not consider that a house, since it has no bathroom or shower. To get that, you need to “supersize” to their second smallest floorplan, the XS-House, at 75 square feet.

Tumbleweed only sells the finished houses that can be towed as a trailer … for the very largest of their houses, like the 770 square foot monster the Ernesti (pictured above left, at the size that 770 sq. feet must seem in the age of McMansions), they only sell plans, as it must be built on site.

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