Sunday Roast, August 21st, 2011: Just Say “NO” to Oil

Amidst all of the beer, car, cell phone, erectile dysfunction and other pharmaceutical commercials, lately I’ve been seeing a lot more commercials for various oil and natural gas companies, touting all of the research they do or how ‘clean’ their product is. The latest push from Exxon/Mobil is for “oil sands” technology.

“Oil sands” or “tar sands” according to Wikipedia, are defined as “a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. The sands contain naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, water, and a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen (or colloquially “tar” due to its similar appearance, odour, and colour).” One of the largest deposits is located in Alberta, Canada, and a proposed pipeline, the Keystone XL, to run from Alberta to Texas, is currently the center of a whirlwind of controversy, involving the State Department, Congress, the EPA, ranchers and landowners, environmental activists, protests and arrests, and opposing labor unions.

Whooping Cranes

The Keystone XL, owned by the TransCanada company, starts in Alberta, Canada, home of the magnificently beautiful but endangered Whooping Crane, of which there are only about 400 left. The process by which the oil sands are accessed starts with bulldozing forests, then stripmining, then steam-heating the bitumen product. The proposed 36″ diameter pipeline would run through several states, and more importantly, would run through the Ogalalla Aquifer, the “largest underground reservoir on the planet”, part of which is located under the Sandhills of Nebraska. Existing pipelines from the Alberta oil sands facility to parts of the U.S. have already had a history of leaks, including last year’s spill into the Kalamazoo River. Why would anyone even entertain the notion that the 2000-mile-long proposed pipeline would be less likely to be plagued by the same problems? I seriously urge everyone to read the entire Incite article (also linked to above), as well as related articles in this month’s edition of the Audubon magazine, as this post cannot encompass all of the pertinent information, including the sleazy and despicable actions of TransCanada in their efforts to force affected landowners off their lands.

While billions upon billions of dollars are being poured into this proposed pipeline, estimates of U.S. jobs the project could purportedly create are only around 20,000 – a mere drop in the bucket considering the millions of unemployed right now. Are 20,000 jobs really worth the possibility of a slow leak or spill in such a varied and important range of ecosystems through which the pipeline would pass, and especially the possibility of a catastrophic leak into an underground reservoir which serves as a water supply to eight states? The Final Environmental Impact Statement is due out around now, and, once it is published, the Obama Administration has 90 days to review it and make a decision. I sincerely hope that they come to the conclusion that a mere 20,000 jobs is not worth the potentially disastrous risks, and give this proposed pipeline the thumbs down that it deserves.

This is our Sunday open thread — What do you think?

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111 thoughts on “Sunday Roast, August 21st, 2011: Just Say “NO” to Oil

  1. Even if the oil tar project would create a million jobs, the environmental destruction alone should be all the reason needed to halt the project in its tracks. Destroying forests and contaminating Alberta water in order to fuel America’s Big Oil industry is flat out fucking senseless.

    What’s next? “Mining” the gigantic oil shale deposits in the Colorado Rockies? Make the Rockies look like they belong in W.Virginia? Contaminate and/or WASTE one of the West’s remaining major water supplies in order to keep Big Oil happy? I have a better idea: draw from the receding waters in the well of human intellect and develop an alternative and non-polluting transportation energy alternative. And banish both coal and oil from the marketplace in the process.

    The other alternative is to continue the race to the bottom and extinct the human species (among tens of thousands of others) in the process. Sadly, there are times — such as right now — when it seems like maybe the self-extinction of the human species might be the long run’s most reasonable solution. How sad is that?

    • What’s next? “Mining” the gigantic oil shale deposits in the Colorado Rockies?

      Now don’t be giving them any ideas, although, they probably are thinking and planning about how do this.

      • When I lived in Denver in the late sixties, the topic was all the rage. The only problem standing in the way was the price per barrel was too low to make it a profitable venture. Today environmentalists and eco-freaks (like me) scream at the very mention of it as do those who understand that there just isn’t enough water in the whole state of Colorado to pull it all off. How about this: a high dam on the Yukon River and a giant water pipeline south to the Rockies? If that springs a leak, no problem, right? It’s only water after all (trying to think like an idiot here). Besides, any way you look at it, the Yukon is a complete waste of fresh water. Right Sarah? (Yay! Thinking like idiot!)

        Better idea: nationalize the oil and coal companies, then break them into pieces small enough to flush down the toilet (trying out a Grover Norquist-type metaphor here in order to help the GOP’s ability to grasp the concept).

        And then move on to a more rational, a renewable, source of power for vehicles.

  2. If the pipeline will cost “billions and billions” of dollars, why not just build or expand a refinery in Canada?

    • Not to mention all the jobs that would be created for truckers to bring the oil down here. And if they don’t want to do that, they could spend the money on rebuilding the rail lines and bring the oil down by train.

      But this is what I don’t like about “pure Capitalism.” People tend to think that the most economical means of doing something will always be “the best” because they believe that “the best” solutions are the ones that are the most profitable. And it’s one reason why Republicans and other right-wingers hate regulations on business – because doing things safely for humans and other living things costs more than saying “To Hell with the consequences.” And because Capitalism does not concern itself with the morality of doing anything, only the profitability, they like to argue that Capitalists are not immoral people. These people are delusional. There are more important things in life than money, and there are some things worth doing even if no one can make money from doing it.

    • That was one of my thoughts, but I had to limit the post or else I would have pulled an all-nighter.

      I guess that they just HAVE to get that crappy crude down to Tejas – I wonder just how deeply Rick Perry’s involved in this?

      One of the related articles in the Audubon issue is called “Monster Trucks.” Hope you check that one out, too.

    • What, and let a Canadian Company reap the refining profits? Perish the thought!

      Speaking of perish, they killed Kenny: INVADE CANADA!

  3. Just some notes:

    What Sustained Oil Prices are Required for
    Oil Shale Projects to be Economic?

    First of a kind mining and surface retorting plants
    may eventually be economic, providing a minimum
    15% rate of return, at sustained average world oil
    prices above $54.00 per barrel.

    [...]

    The minimum economic price is defined as the
    breakeven price assuming a return on capital of 15
    percent, and represents our best cost estimates for a
    mature industry.

    These cost estimates do not take into account
    research and development costs, permitting costs,
    land access issues, or production inefficiencies that
    are characteristic of first-of-a-kind plants.
    All of
    these other factors could add significantly to early
    development costs and have the potential to double
    production costs for the first plants.

    Source (from 2005) http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/reserves/npr/Oil_Shale_Economics_Fact_Sheet1.pdf

    Current WTI and Brent crude today is $82.89 and $109.47 per barrel
    WTI has not been below about $78 for the last 12 months.
    WTI Estimated average price per barrel for next 12 months is $95
    http://www.oil-price.net/

    Bernie Sanders has acquired and leaked (pun) documents demonstrating oil price manipulation.
    http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/sen-bernie-sanders-leaks-oil-trading-

    The 20,000 jobs being claimed? Well a bunch of those would be Canadian jobs, surely? Furthermore, the oil industry is not a sector where jobs need to be created, Whilst the end points can create jobs the fucking great pipeline in-between creates fuck all—we know oil companies hate spending on inspection and maintenance (which would be the only persistent job regarding the pipeline) ,

    Of course wind, wave and solar energy products would employ a hell of a lot more people, all over the country instead of just at the two end points in Canada and Texas(?) and have much lower environmental impact. Of course that would drop demand for oil energy, which would drop production profits and speculation profits.

  4. This sounds just as dirty if not more dirty and dangerous as fracking. And why do they need to transport the oil all the way to Texas? That makes no sense.

  5. Fascinating article in the Audubon magazine Jane. I thank you for sharing it. I did have trouble with the links, I think there’s an extra http:// at the end of them.
    Why doesn’t TransCanada just build a pipeline to the Pacific if they’re determined to mine this shit? It’s closer. I reckon they’d have to build a refinery there and it’s still not a good idea, but I’d rather they foul their own nest.

    • Sorry about the links, I was finishing this up at around 2:00am Eastern, My bad. I checked them now, and I think they’re all working properly.

      I picked up the August issue of Audubon while waiting at my doctor’s office – it was the only magazine there that I had any interest in – and brought it in to the exam room when it was my turn. I’m so glad that my doctor lets me take home any magazine that I want to read. :D

    • From an NY Times article from 2008, “Her [Palin's] intense pursuit of a pipeline to deliver natural gas from the North Slope of Alaska to market in the Lower 48 led to what her administration has claimed as a major triumph: the Legislature this summer approved her plan to give a $500 million subsidy to TransCanada, a Canadian company, to help build the project.”

  6. I think all the links are fixed. Thanks for mentioning that, Outstanding. I do encourage everyone to check them all out. I think Jane did a great job with this post, and it’s a vitally important issue for those of us who enjoy having our habitat be habitable.

  7. I have in direct view contemporary culture fouling it’s own nest.
    A typical weekend at a large desert southwest “lake” (impoundment, reservoir, silty wallow, whatever).
    Mere decades after the dam was built, the reservoir is now 50% filled with silt, while water levels are disastrously low.
    Weekenders pack the smelly mucky shoreline with RVs, tents, monster trucks and watercraft of all kinds, generators and boom boxes blasting.
    The lake itself is a constant buzz of jet skis, bass boats and the like, whizzing back and forth and around and around the diminishing area covered with algae, empty water bottles and Wal-Mart plastic bags, all congealing in an oily sheen.
    Traveling from metropolis’ 100 and more miles away, this is their idea of a good time.

    Oh well, whatever floats your boat.

    • Speaking of direct views…last week on the block opposite my apartment a solar panel (about 4′ x3′) was being put up on a utility pole. It took about 15 minutes to install.
      I asked one of the workmen what was going on, he said something about some kind of “initiative” –the panels would feed power into the Grid. The installers were a private company.
      At least 8 panels have been installed on that particular block, all done in less than a day—but nowhere else in my neighborhood, Maybe it’s a pilot program, but it seems to me such an effort doesn’t NEED a pilot program. There could be multiple panels on every damn roof, but there are presently just these eight which took just 15 minutes each to install.

      .

      • I’m running completely solar now, a small system on both the truck and the little camper trailer, each with it’s own battery pack and 40 watt panel.
        They run lights, camera, computer and printer, and phone charger.
        Not enough to run the Mr. Coffee or the hair dryer though… :)

      • Timely comment Jane…
        I just witnessed the turmoil of the young family at the campsite next door as a toddler did not make it to the closest bathroom.

  8. As I mentioned separately to parx24, I had so much research material that I had to narrow it down. I was planning to do a separate post using some of the other source material, but…

    Check out this link and see how little of the stimulus money is actually going into “renewable energy” – hover your cursor over the slices in the pie chart: http://energy.gov/recovery-act

  9. Good morning, everyone.

    Has anyone hear heard a sane reason why we don’t pay a whole bunch of roofers and contractors to install cheap or “free” rooftop solar plants? I’ve heard a couple proposals that could work at little to no cost to either the individual homeowners or the taxpayers. One can just buy the system outright and wait 20 years for the cost to be deferred but some guy on the radio was talking about a plan to, basically, have the government and utility companies subsidize the installation and they would collect the “extra” power as revenue. It would be cheapest to begin with new buildings or, at least, buildings that are having roof work done anyway. Even if a building is abandoned it can still generate power, and revenue, for the power companies while the reduced energy cost might prevent a couple foreclosures. Win, win, win. Sigh…

    Even if President Obama did nothing else I would like to hear him say that it’s his intention to draw up a plan that would place a solar plant, heat and/or electrical, on every roof before the end of this decade. The insane right-wing will bleat about him saying anything so why not give them something juicy that’s guaranteed to make the GOoPers look like bigger idiots?

    Due to the old supply and demand thing the Reichwhiners seem so fond of; there’s even some small hope that we could expand our alternative energy industry to supply the materials and the actual installation jobs should be very lucrative and impossible to outsource. but “they” won’t let it happen. Still, it would be fun to hear the Reichwhiners screech about how “free people can use any power source they want” while Batscat Bachmann does horrible things to a light bulb.

    Could you imagine the bulging teabagger eyes when faced by a “government worker” who shows up to install solar panels whether the teabagger wants them or not? Can you imagine the futility of trying to explain to the guy that, in essence, all that the electric company would do is lease roof space for a micro generating plant? All that “the government” would really do is guarantee those first loans until such time as the solar panels, in aggregate, start generating enough juice to show a profit.

    The single biggest expense for setting up a large scale solar plant is real estate. There aren’t many places with enough extra fallow land to make those plants. nor is it clear we should, but very few roof tops have other uses and can serve as a vast resource. It’s all about the marketing. Describe it as this:

    The power company leases the unused portion of your roof for a plant that, in turn, is leased to you for, lets say, $50.00 a month. If your roof generates more than $50.00 worth of electricity? One would share in the net as a automatic discount.

    • I’d like to see automobiles used as solar collectors too. I understand there’s solar collecting paint under development? Nice way to keep and electric car charged up out there on the open road, esp. if the solar paint could be made into as great a solar collector as my pale Swede skin is. Wouldn’t want it to burn, of course, but that should be an easy one to solve. More solar absorbing pigment … speaking of ways to piss off GOoPers! ;)

      • There’s a solar yacht trekking around the world at the moment:
        http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/05/solar-powered-super-yacht.php

        which of course is a lot of bollocks—-a pointless proof of concept exercise of a concept that;s been proven time and time again, apart from the particular proof of concept that the insanely rich can enjoy their insane luxury more economically and thus be just a little bit more insanely rich—whilst lobbying to prevent ordinary people from having access to the same technology for a modest improvement of THEIR financial situation.

        .

    • We have plenty of room in our backyard for a solar array, but, even if we could get the panels and installation either cheaply or for free, our house was so badly wired originally that we’d probably have to have the entire house re-wired. We DEFINITELY can’t afford that!

      • Well that doesn;t necessarily follow, as per Pete’s plan. The power goes to the grid, and then the grid feeds you as per normal. You get paid for the solar panel space, like it was a billboard or a cell-phone tower.

          • Also, a solar panel doesn;t have to power the whole house, it could just be used as a direct subsystem for specific appliances, as Raven’s example provides.
            The most obvious would perhaps be for air conditioners–sunny weather means maximum solar energy capture means hot days means air-conditioning.

    • Exactly so Pete.

      Of course the greater the adoption of solar, the lower goes the unit cost as per economics of scale.
      As i said, it took fifteen minutes to install each panel in the utility poles in my neighborhood:: All it is is a panel on a bracket and a lead that gets connected to the local power line,
      Anyone who can put up a shelf competently can install one of these.
      The only tools needed are a drill, bolts, whatever is needed for the grid connection, a compass and a map (not even a compass—the optimal direction for a fixed panel can be pre-marked) , Roof mounted panels could automatically track the sun for maximum efficiency., or be multiple panels arranged omnidirectionally.

      It’s so simple, and so stupid that it ISN’T being done, that it hurts

  10. G’day all. Not to be a nay sayer on the solar panel on every roof idea, it is a great idea, but to the best of my knowledge solar panels produce DC electricity. The stuff on the power poles is AC. The main reason the stuff currently in the grid is AC is it can be transmitted over longer distances without what they call line loss. It can also be multiphased for more efficient use in industrial environments with lower current consumption.

    For home solar panels to be able to sell back to the grid would require a DC/AC converter in every home much like the ones people use in their cars and RVs and such to run AC appliances. About the only things in the average home that still require AC are things with motors and heating elements. Not that they can’t be run on DC, they just tend to require more amps(current). Most electronics actually convert AC to DC internally so computer and TVs and such could actually lose some components if homes went DC.

  11. I’m hearing thunder so I went to weather.com. You’d think that they would be able to spell “lightning”, wouldn’t you? Not so…

    “Hail, wind gusts and dangerous lightening expected through Sunday evening…”

    Jebus!

    • Growing up in the relatively balmy south of England from 1960 to 1982, the most frequent description of the weather at any given time was “partly cloudy with scattered sunshine”, or “partly sunny with scattered cloud” –as though there was a difference between the two, and either way, always with “a chance of rain” as if there was some doubt that it might NOT rain whereas in fact where it wasn;t sunny, it was raining, all over the place, and as clouds move with the winds, it would rain everywhere at some point ( and sometimes three times a day). .

  12. My tablet has an app called “daily briefing”, which is mainly garbage but is convenient if I choose not to turn on the PC. The reason it’s crap is that the news is all from AP and suffers from their usual GOPerspective. Imagine my shock this morning to run across this:

    GOP may OK tax increase that Obama hopes to block

    By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press – 4 hours ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — News flash: Congressional Republicans want to raise your taxes.

    Impossible, right? GOP lawmakers are so virulently anti-tax, surely they will fight to prevent a payroll tax increase on virtually every wage-earner starting Jan. 1, right?

    Apparently not.

    Many of the same Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different “temporary” tax cut should end as planned. By their own definition, that amounts to a tax increase.

    The tax break extension they oppose is sought by President Barack Obama. Unlike proposed changes in the income tax, this policy helps the 46 percent of all Americans who owe no federal income taxes but who pay a “payroll tax” on practically every dime they earn.

    The article does a remarkably thorough job of pointing out Republican hypocrisy

    That worries Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, and a member of the House-Senate supercommittee tasked with finding new deficit cuts. Tax reductions, “no matter how well-intended,” will push the deficit higher, making the panel’s task that much harder, Camp’s office said.

    But Republican lawmakers haven’t always worried about tax cuts increasing the deficit. They led the fight to extend the life of a much bigger tax break: the major 2001 income tax reduction enacted under Bush. It was scheduled to expire at the start of this year. Obama campaigned on a pledge to end the tax break only for the richest Americans, but solid GOP opposition forced him to back down.

    • Shocking indeed.

      After this remarkably direct and honest article, Charles Babington might want to ponder his own payroll tax prospects in as much as if he keeps up this kind of reporting, he might not be on the AP payroll for much longer.

    • “Unlike proposed changes in the income tax, this policy helps the 46 percent of all Americans who owe no federal income taxes but who pay a “payroll tax” on practically every dime they earn.”

      There you have their reason to oppose this tax cut. It helps the poor and middle class.

  13. Rather interesting that the US is presently in about the same position the USSR was in about 1990. A country, on the verge of bankruptcy due to foreign interventions, telling the people to suck it up and listen to the party while an embattled leader attempts to dig their way out in the face of hardline conservative obstructionism. Various republics pushing for independence, A small group of reactionary extremists trying to over ride change in the name of patriotism for the country.

    Sux when history repeats itself in just 20 years.

    • Exactly, hoodathunk. When we went into Afghanistan, I already had the feeling that things would end up much this way after the former Soviet Union’s plain and obvious example.

    • .
      The same folks who brought us
      “Nothing will happen if we don’t raise the debt ceiling.”
      also bring us
      “What happened to the USSR can’t happen here.”

      Wearing blinders has consequences. We never learn from our mistakes…

  14. From the Weekly Miracle Department:

    RICK PERRY SPEAKS A TRUTH!!!

    Rick Perry recently spoke of climate change and said:

    “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. I don’t think, from my perspective, that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective, is more and more being put into question.”

    Finally I agree with him! He doesn’t “think” from my perspective either!

    • .
      I’m perplexed by the climate change deniers when they point out heating and cooling are natural, cyclical happenings – not man made.
      That being the case why didn’t Pervy see the drought coming as a ‘natural happening’ and be prepared? Calling for a prayer-o-thon
      seems a waste of time – isn’t god in charge? Perv shouldn’t be questioning god’s handiwork.

      • Perry is typical of fundies in his complete unwillingness to make conclusions based on evidence. Another great example was his stuttering and babbling in regard to abstinence “education” — when the interviewer pointed out that Texas had the third-highest percentage of teen pregnancies, Perry kept insisting that the approach worked and that, furthermore, that third-highest number was a good thing.

    • ““I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

      Actually, there’s some truth in this, too, depending on one’s “perspective”.’ Notice he didn’t mention that the “scientists who have manipulated data” were doing so in an effort to PROVE the climate change theory. I think that those “dollars rolling into their projects” are rolling into deniers’ projects; ergo, the premise in the second sentence is caused by the the premise in the first sentence.

    • Here’s the problem with the deniers’ “argument,” besides that they don’t really have one. Their main focus is on denying that man-made activities are causing the climate to change. But they never argue that pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere does not contribute to the greenhouse effect, or that there is no harm at all in pumping pollutants into the atmosphere. (I mean real pollutants, not simply carbon dioxide.) The prohibition on pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is not only because they linger in the air, causing temperatures to gradually rise over decades, but also because they don’t leave the atmosphere and float harmlessly into space. They stay on the planet and become part of the air that we breathe.

      So, even if you don’t believe in regulating greenhouse gases because they may or may not lead to global warming and climate change, you should regulate them because they are bad for humans to breathe. Or have I gotten something wrong with my argument? You can politely tell me I’m wrong. I’m used to it. :)

  15. I’m conflicted with the whole oil sands deal. I live in Alberta. I work for a facilities design and construction firm. I owe my whole working life to the oil and gas industry. I’m too lazy to find a job in an industry that is better for our future. I would rather we (Canada) build refineries ourselves instead of shipping off our unrefined resources. I would more rather that we (Canada) spend more money on solar and wind and geothermal energy.

    Oh, and we (Canada) have been courting the Chinese and this means the very real possibility of a new pipeline from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. This will be potentially very bad for the coastal rain forests.

    Life is good and life sucks.

    • I understand your feelings completely dycker. I did, and my husband still does, work for the MIC. It helps to remember that you are also uniquely placed to make sure that if these things are built, you can help to ensure that corners are not cut or safety ignored in favor of profit.

      • Thanks Outsanding. My work is more in the support realm. I deal mostly with the upper management and I am pleased with their overall manner in terms of safety and quality of work. I really like the workplace (even though I work 80% from home). The world is well represented. My favourite adversary/friend is a Russion. He’s arrogant (read confident with an attitude), has a short memory when he is wrong, is very well spoken, knows his world history and a nice guy if you can avoid work subjects.

  16. I’m in and out this afternoon so I’ll say thanks for all the kind replies here. It’s frustrating to deal with those who, unlike us, don’t realize that the future is here and, while the technologies may seem new, odd, or even alien, the solutions are simple.

    Well. They would be simple if certain parties were halfway reasonable. Rooftop solar is just one little part of it but it’s one where the payoffs would be pretty quick all around. And let’s not scoff at the fancy yacht.

    During the 1970’s “fuel crisis” Dad was running a small company that provided custom disk memory for supercomputers and mainframes. One of his clients was Scripps Oceanographic Institute and they were working on a solar/sail drive that could be added to any ship. They were semi-rigid sails, made of photovoltaic cells, and were controlled by computerized motors. Depending on the conditions of wind and sun they might be optimized for either wind power or solar power or even be safely folded away in storms. They could be used to charge batteries and/or have the wattage pumped directly into electric motors. As I recall, using the archaic materials of the time, they figured that a state of the art turbo-electric freighter could save from 3%-25% on their fuel costs which would pay for the installation in a portion of the projected lifetime of such a shipboard system. I have a feeling that a modern system would be much more capable.

    On a smaller scale; I’ve been studying applications of exhaust power for efficiency in cars. One could, fairly, easily construct a very efficient engine/generator/motor drive in a hybrid. The trick would be to use a very small but high speed engine with a turbo that, rather than boosting the fuel/air mixture for higher performance, would power a generator. In theory; one could use a small gas turbine but there are serious heat and noise issues. A small reciprocating engine, perhaps a turbo diesel, with the “turbo” going into electric generation rather than horsepower would be a close second for pure efficiency..

    One could plug in the batteries and run on them. Extend the batteries by just idling the engine (a turbine/generator can be designed to spin pretty danged fast on “waste exhaust”) or, for high stress applications, the engine’s whole horsepower could go directly to a high-output “performance mode”.

    • Sad part is that tech as been around for 30 years.. Back then it was a little crude. Today is a different story.

  17. I recently saw one of the old hand crank drill presses, with the big flywheel on the handle side. One hand to turn the crank, the other to hold the work.
    Renewable energy and industrious production, all in one.

    • .
      You’ll be putting the, enormously greedy, power companies out of business with that attitude young man/

    • I’ve got one of those, Raven. From my dad. Also have a hand crank record player with a box of old 78’s

      • I have a hand crank flashlight.
        It’s a lot of work so I just feel my way around after dark. ;)

  18. Greed plays a big part.

    Who Killed the Electric Car?

    [The EV1 was in production:
    1996-1999 (1,117 units)
    1997 Model Year: 660 Gen I units
    1999 Model Year: 457 Gen II units]

    We’d be so much further along if GM had a conscience (it is after all a person in the eyes of the SCOTUS).

    Now they tout the Volt.

  19. .
    House, thanks for the earworm re: Buckingham’s “Trouble”!
    No matter how I try to break the loop, for the time being, it appears to be never ending!
    [ I like the song - just seems every quiet moment it pops up on the 8track in my head ] ;>

    • Interesting Ebb.
      I have some obscure tune from Emerson Lake and Palmer that has become an endless feedback loop in my head.
      Time to go, treating myself to a movie tonight, Cowboys and Aliens.
      Have to see how ol’ Harrison Ford is holding up these days.
      May the forest be with you!

  20. They’re playing with that funny brown ball with the pointy ends! Summer’s over!

    I’ll watch that local kid Rivers chuck that thing for a while.

    • Yup, house, since the Mets’ season is as good as over, tonight we’re watching the Jets – currently ahead at half-time.

      But IMO it’s too early for football, I’m not in that mindset yet.

      • Jane, I have one more Saturday without college football, and I am definitely in that mindset. Ol’ Phil is doing ok so far. (Chargers-Cowboys on NBC here.)

    • The last football game — college, pro, or any other option — I watched was in, if memory serves, 1998. I aim to keep my record intact again this year. And yes, I will admit that it’s a lot easier to avoid when one doesn’t have cable, but even back when we were wired we managed to avoid, and have since graduated upward to no tv sports ever, pro or amateur, period. What really made me mad was that in Phoenix, we the taxpayers got stuck with most of the tab for two arenas, hockey and basketball, also two stadiums, one each for baseball and football. That was over a billion dollars wasted during a time when there was “no money” to maintain schools or fund education. Ridiculous the priorities of this country; so much money wasted on that which is totally and completely meaningless in any useful or productive context.

      • “What really made me mad was that in Phoenix, we the taxpayers got stuck with most of the tab for two arenas, hockey and basketball”

        Heh, Steve Ellman was a good friend of mine in high school.

  21. I don’t know if I’m yet buying the Karl Rove opposition to Rick Perry. Granted I haven’t heard all of what Rove has said about Perry, call me suspicious. Could it be that Rove is using reverse psychology on republican voters who may now hate republican elites like Rove, in order to get his man the voters support by making Perry appear as an anti Status Que candidate??

    • Grampy was saying this morning on Face the Nation that Khadafi was a day or two from defeat, if not hours.

    • Well, that scares me. Given McCain’s disconnect with reality, that might mean Qaddafi (I picked the spelling my spell-checker liked) is actually strengthening his hold on Libya.

      Fortunately, the Al-Jazeera reports I’ve been seeing say the people have taken over Tripoli and “captured” Qaddafi’s sons. You are right, 5th. It’s near the end game.

      BTW, does McCain ever do any work on Sundays, or does he just appear in the Sunday talk shows? And why does at least one network have him on every single goddamn week? He fucking LOST the election! He was rejected by the American people! We are not interested in what he has to say. He was given his chance and he lost, so let;s not hear from him anymore. Why do they give him relevance he doesn’t have? And why do they feel they need to hear from Republicans at all? Especially ones from the House of Congress where they don’t have the majority?

      • I never understood why his being a crappy pilot who spent most spent most of his active service in a foreign prison camp somehow qualified him as an ‘expert’ on the military and foreign affairs..

      • And why does at least one network have him on every single goddamn week?

        McCain is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. If they were to put the Chairman on, they would have to have a Democrat.

        • So? They have him on to discuss issues that have nothing to do with the Senate Armed Services Committee.

          Are there no other Republicans they could have on, assuming they have to have any of them on?

          What bothers me is the MSM’s fear of being labeled “liberal” because they don’t let Republicans (i.e. Conservatives) come on and tell their side of the issue, which is usually composed of lies and half-truths. The MSM has fallen into the Conservatives’ trap of making people believe that there are two equally valid sides to every argument, when there clearly isn’t. They don’t press the guests enough to explain fully their positions because that would take longer than the time they have allotted for that segment. So it usually ends with, “We’ll have to leave it at that,” knowing fully well that the real losers were the audience.

          If they would just press the right-wingers hard enough, they could get them to admit to the public that they simply do not believe in any kind of governance, and that businesses should not be regulated and people should be allowed to own any kind of guns they want without limits or restrictions. In fact, if they would just press them on their first response and stay with it, they could make the guest contradict himself or the Constitution quite easily. But whenever they close to doing that, the host decides to “move on to other issues.” I love it when rachel Maddow is on MTP, because she won;t let a RW guest tell a lie unchallenged, whereas David Gregory is more than happy to let it go and move on to another topic.

          • I made the remark over at C & L this morning that today was back-bencher day. That went for hosts as well as guests.

    • So why do the Sunday talk shows keep inviting him on? They should just sit across the table from him sporting the “L”-symbol on their foreheads.

      The very fact that he is a constant guest on any (and sometimes all ) the Sunday programs proves their irrelevance in American political discourse. If they were around in his time, I’m sure they would have had William Jennings Bryan on as a weekly guest.

      • McCain is going for Robert Q. Lewis’ record of appearances on To Tell The Truth

  22. V interesting post – wish I’d been around to discuss.

    Good news from Libya. Still waiting for the Libyan Mussolini’s last scene to be played out.

  23. Excellent post today, Jane, and excellent discussions from the Critters and Zoosters. :)

    I’m back, must have alcohol and sleep…

  24. Sadly many of those gritty rebels are also Al Qaida. I guess I have a problem when our CIA is working hand in hand with an organization who we are allegedly at war with in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe one of the real reasons we are trying to remove Khadaffi is so the international bankers could take control of Libya’s State bank.

    Khadaffi was also trying to unite Muslim nations in African and the Middle East to form a union with one currency which the West did not like. The guy may be a murderous nut job but who are we to tell another world leader he must step down or else.

    Libya will soon have a Western puppet selected as their new leader and their economy will be taken over by foreign multinational corporations, much like Iraq has after we invaded them.

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