Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Next Big Thing

In my last post I said that we can’t depend on the “next big thing” to save us from the race to the wage-bottom being brought about by worker outsourcing, because research labs all over the world are competing to get there first. However, if U.S. mounts a Manhattan-type project to achieve the “next big thing,” we are bound to achieve it and we most assuredly will boost American wages in the process.

What is the "next big thing"? Is it the hybrid car? Is it hydrogen-powered vehicles? Is it nanotechnology? Stem cell research? The new Internet? Cell phones? Nuclear powered plants? Clean coal technology? Fuel cells? Solar panels? Oil from corn? Communication among gadgets?

I don't know. Maybe one or some of these things may lead to the "next big thing," but no one knows. However, I am reasonably certain that the "next big thing" should be a new form of sustainable energy. Why? There are two big reasons: First, our dependence on fossil fuels is causing global warming and unhealthy pollution, which are playing havoc with the world. Second, every time we buy oil we are sending money to terrorists who have sworn to bury us. As Tom Friedman told Tim Russert:

"Green is the new red, white and blue."

We must launch a big American project to find the "next big energy thing." Most of us are upset when we go to the pump and pay over $3 for a gallon of gas. This is merely the beginning. The only way for gas prices to go in the future is up. The reason is simple: oil is harder to find and demand for it is zooming. As gas prices rise, conflicts among nations are bound to increase.

The Energy Project should take about 10 years, and its purpose should be to do R & D for the development of an energy system that can serve the needs of the Globe and at the same time develop an industry that is profitable and the source for permanent high-paying American jobs. The energy system should meet many requirements, among the most important being:

  • Sustainable
  • Clean
  • Portable - Specific energy devices should be portable
  • Safe
  • Globally friendly - Little pollution or other unhealthy conditions
  • Relatively cheap
I'm not talking about a purely technical project. A huge task like this requires people of many different types of skills. To get an idea of the complexity of the project, you should realize that today petroleum is used for heat, transportation, new materials, food, packaging, housing, roads ... It is hard to find an industry that does not depend in some way on petroleum or petroleum products. So, replacing petroleum with something else, requires us to consider all the interlocking relationships. This means that, in addition to
  • scientists and
  • engineers
we should include:
  • Economists
  • Transportation experts
  • Architects
  • Lawyers
  • Educators
  • Sociologists
  • Housing Experts
The project should be big and it will be expensive. I don't know how much money will be needed. But if we can spend several hundred billion dollars for a war in Iraq, surely we can afford a hundred billion to keep our country economically strong.

The "next big thing" must be sustainable energy. With a big investment, America can be the first to achieve and profit most from this "next big thing."

Posted by Paul Siegel at July 24, 2006 5:43 PM
Comments
Comment #170325

Such a plan, or any common-sense, no-brainer reforms are all futile as long as voters have forgotten the one simple thing they were supposed to be doing all along:

We do not have a lack of ideas.
We have a lack of will and education.
We are too lazy to stop pulling the party lever, voting straight ticket, wallowing in partisan warfare, and empowering the very same irresponsible incumbent politicians that refuse to do anything other than what their puppeteers want them to do.
90% of all elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money.
83% of $2.4 billion in federal campaign donations in year 2000 were from a mere 1% of the U.S. population. What chance do you and the 99% of Americans think they have against that?
The funny thing is, voters do have the method.
They can vote.
But repeatedly re-electing irresponsible candidates that lie the best ain’t ever gonna work.

Posted by: d.a.n at July 24, 2006 6:15 PM
Comment #170326

Paul,

I agree. However, your idea is so general it’s hard not to agree. It’s like going out on a limb and saying “Motherhood is good!”

But in a time where our leaders are dumping resources into unneccessary wars, bridges to nowhere, and boondoggles to Mars, perhaps we need to be reminded of the obvious.

Posted by: Jeff at July 24, 2006 6:17 PM
Comment #170330

—-Paul Siegel—-I believe the entire educational
system first an foremost must totally redesigned by
a large group of critical thinkers from all walks of
life an start from pre, school all the way, including
Grad-school. We need new concepts, in future design.
I believe involving some old timer would also be
of great service, since experience is sometimes a
good teacher. Keeps the critical thinkers on track.
I guess this statement sounds Corney, but since we can’t seem to get motivated where else but tear
it up an start over?

Posted by: DAVID at July 24, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #170332

—-Paul— I forgot, one thing, the most important part of teaching
will an must be discipline taught in schools that will be the hard part.

Posted by: DAVID at July 24, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #170337

I agree, this is an interesting article written abut matt simmons who has some very well researched theories.

http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=60&Itemid=1

we dont have much of a choice. and it has to start today

Posted by: lucas at July 24, 2006 7:20 PM
Comment #170338

“Green is the next red, white and blue.”

The Ecology Flag has been around for years. Pick up your standard!

Posted by: Ace Chaos at July 24, 2006 7:40 PM
Comment #170339

I can’t believe many all over this country aren’t already working on this. One of the major advantages to capitalism is entrepreneurship. The one thing you forgot to add(and I am sure this will stir up a hornets nest as big as Iraq)KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF IT! Innovation and our federal government don’t mix very well.

Posted by: BAWDYSCOT at July 24, 2006 7:43 PM
Comment #170345

All the alternatives to petroleum have problems, but we need to stop importing it, just export it, and figure it out from there. Smart people will figure out something better.

Clean coal is like saying clean dirt, and we already have corn oil, Mazola ia a popular brand here.

One of my favorite projects would be the removal of all above ground wiring from older urban areas. This would make it easier to move historic houses when redevelopment occurs, and improve the general appearance of the area. It could be done as a nationally subsidized program, and provide jobs as well.

Posted by: ohrealy at July 24, 2006 8:36 PM
Comment #170346

This should have been doen thirty years ago, and would have been, but there was too much money to be made.

Another next big thing: figure out how to deal with terrorist without creating more terrorists.

Posted by: mark at July 24, 2006 8:37 PM
Comment #170347
Innovation and our federal government don’t mix very well.
No kiddin’ !

And there are countless examples.

But, why does government continue to grow to nightmare proportions ?

Why do our problems continue to grow in number and severity?

Hmmmmm …
Because we keep re-electing the same incumbents ?

Posted by: d.a.n at July 24, 2006 8:39 PM
Comment #170348

I agree with David that the K-12 education system should be significantly reformed. There are few examples that are so important (to the children as well as the nation), or which use so much $$/resources (incl political), yet are so INCREDIBLY POOR compared to rival countries:
- how poorly educated are our graduating Seniors (how ‘good’ is the result)
- how much $$ our system uses, for such poor education (how ‘efficiently’ does K-12 use $$)

Why not re-vamp/organize/engineer education (AND OUR JUSTICE(ha!)) system?:
Autoworkers, Steelworkers, Midlevel managers, Aero/defense, Farmworkers, Dot.com’ers, and many other individuals/companies have had to justify their existence — why not educators and educational institutions??

Even moreso – isn’t the worst case an Enron, that results in 1000s of workers losing jobs and much of their retirement money (I cannot think of a penalty too harsh for Ken Lay types)? This means 2-6mo out of work, plus 2-10 years more work until retirement for adults who made their own decisions. BUT WHEN EDUCATION SCREWS UP, CHILDREN’S LIVES ARE SCREWED UP *FOREVER*. To me, this is worse.

DEMOCRATS — your help is not only needed here, YOU must lead the charge since the Democratic Party is in the pocket of the Teachers Union. As announced on ABC News, 1/9th which is 11% (or 1/11th, which is 9% — I forgot) of Delegates to the Democratic Convention for Al Gore were members of the Teachers Union. And the Teacher’s Union has been strongly ANTI-MERITOCRITY for teachers, ANTI-REFORM for anything that affects teachers and, as we all know, pushes for MORE teachers (student/teacher ratios) over BETTER teachers every time.

BTW, how come ~20 kids in a 12th grade class is considered *bad education*, but 400+ in college freshman courses (at good universities with good professors) is *great education*?? (Hint: I suspect this has to do with TEACHER QUALITY.)

I have my ideas of what is best (and I will bet these ideas are the best way to go). But we need a national discussion / debate (and critical mass pushing for) educational reform.

Hey, how about making this a 2008 platform? – please, more of a “plan” than just hiring more bad teachers and giving them more $$ and more tenure – if we come up with what is BEST FOR THE CHILDREN, I bet votes will follow.

Posted by: Brian at July 24, 2006 8:45 PM
Comment #170353

While I again agree with David that ALL education should be revamped, I will add only that I suspect we should focus on K-12 where the US has nearly the lowest performance among industrialized countries in ~every standardized test.

The University-Level also very much needs reform. However, with the difference of COMPETITION, US universities are generally considered the world’s best.

Open question: If no one who lived under Communist or other Totalitarian Rule liked this for the choices in what to wear/eat/buy/work/etc., why is this so good for education?
- no choice
- no competition
- virtually no input from parents/students (aren’t these the ‘Customers’ of the system — shouldn’t their needs be served?)

Posted by: Brian at July 24, 2006 8:58 PM
Comment #170354

My crystal ball says that whoever owns the next source of energy owns the future. We can either stay the big kid on the block (and eliminate the main source of terrorist’s funding, or we can stay the course and become the next greatest has-been.

Solar powered AC - duh! (Why is it so hot outside?)

Hydrogen/fuel cell powered cars? (Hybrid are only a bandaid.)

Water/wind/solar power on a large, community scale. (Look outside and figure out what might work best for you. It might take a bit to get use to the visuals, but I guarantee it’ll smell better.)

Is there a way to add in solar collectors within our parking lots? Our roofs? Our roads? If not directly solar powered - how about using the heat generated?

How much power can we generate from the methane gas generated in the nation’s capitol?

Posted by: tony at July 24, 2006 9:11 PM
Comment #170359

Paul
The problems with energy are not scientific they are political. We have all the energy we need and could possibly use. This company that I am linking to has already started exploratory work. Guess who it is for…the US Army. Apparently they have realized that in a war over oil it might be hard to get some. This system is currently being tested at Diego Garcia.

http://www.ocees.com/index.html

Several Middle Eastern companies are also interested. Unlike the American railroad companies who thougth they were in the train “bidness” until they lost huge market share to the truck, in the mideast they know they are in the energy “bidness” not the oil “bidness”.

Posted by: 037 at July 24, 2006 9:24 PM
Comment #170361

Re Energy:

1.) Yes, I totally agree we should wean ourselves from foreign oil. But rather than creating large gov’t bureaucracies, based on lawyers trying to evaluate markets and politicians trying to foresee technologies…

…how about the US Gov’t invests in private Venture Capital Funds specifically for Reducing Foreign Oil. To insure these funds can stand on their own, maybe specify 1/2 or 2/3 or ____ be private funds. This would allow Engineers, Entrepreneurs, and professional VCs be the drivers (not politico’s).

The Japanese tried the former, and were rather successful when they picked markets that don’t change so much (cameras and automobiles), but generally failed at future markets (robots, software, CPUs, PCs).


2.) The Free Market is GREAT, however, it does not account for Externalities. E.g., $1 spent on goods/services from the US vs. foreign (e.g., oil) have different effects on the US economy (even if not for the person spending the $1):
- if $$ stays in the US, the increase to GNP is 1/(savings rate). If the Savings Rate is 5%, then the increase to GNP is ~20x (a reason why Deficit Spending (by EITHER PARTY) helps the economy, and why repaying this hurts so much (except Clinton’s last couple years, when revenues increased faster than politicians expected it / could spend it).

- $$ staying in the US also means more employment here —> more tax revenue & less welfare spending —> lower deficit/taxes, …


IF our politicians could do their job (which is to define Rules / Laws so that he/she who does the most for Society is he/she gets the most), then such Externalities would be accounted for in individuals’ decisions. Since they are not (and are not about to be in the next few months), I do agree spending $$ to do what is otherwise in America’s best interest:
- keep ourselves wealthy
- enable us to stop relying (so much) on “unstable” parts of the world

Posted by: Brian at July 24, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #170364

It’s not an original idea, but it bears repeating.

If we want American businesses to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into research and development of alternative energy sources, we have to, one, make it profitable and, two, make the status quo (read “oil”) unprofitable.

David is on the right track in calling for a revamping of America’s education system.

It’s a national disgrace that 6 of 10 high school seniors can’t locate the nation’s capitol on a map. Or that 4 of 10 high school graduates can’t read and write beyond the 10th grade level.

We need to give our kids a solid foundation in the basics: reading, writing, math and science.

Posted by: ulysses at July 24, 2006 9:43 PM
Comment #170366

Paul,

The revolutuion in the semiconductor is taking place and the government has had very little role in the process.

Why do Americans have this obsession of turning to the goverment for everything? We have the resources, the knowledge and the money to take on such a task. Keep the government OUT of the loop and let industry tackle the problem. Of course, we need to break up the existing monopoly in the Oil industry for that to happen.(Tongue-in-cheek)

Posted by: curmudgeon-at-large at July 24, 2006 9:50 PM
Comment #170369

Ulysses,
please don’t tell us the answer is in No Child Left Behind. It was this type of basic education B.S.that got us to where we are today.

http://www.thememoryhole.org/edu/school-mission.htm

Posted by: 037 at July 24, 2006 9:58 PM
Comment #170373

Curmudgeon:
Look at my previous link to Ocees if you follow the link you will find that much of the technology was taken up by Lockheed Martin because they saw an economic advantage… brought on by regulation not deregulation. Spending for research and development in not new. We have been doing it through government grants to the Pharmaceutical companies for years.

The gov’ts role is to make our collective life better.

Not social engineering (gay marriage)
or protect our sensibilities (Flag burning)
or control what we learn (NCLB)
or develop our moral character (Faith based initiatives)

Posted by: 037 at July 24, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #170376

It’s really too bad that there’s so much popular resistance to nuclear power, actually, because with modern technology nuclear power plants could be made much more efficient, clean and safe than it is now.

We haven’t built new nuclear power plants in this country for almost 30 years, so any new ones could be built to very high standards.

The main problem I had with them before was not their safety. Modern technology and care could make them extremely safe compared to other power sources. Events like Three Mile Island and Cherynobl are extremely avoidable, and it’s not as if other kinds of energy plants don’t create hazards as well.

I was mostly concerned about what to with the spent fuel, which if not treated appropriately, could remain dangerous for thousands of years. Now, though, it would be possible to reprocess the waste so it would be dangerous for only 300 years.

That’s still a long time, but compared to other forms of energy, whose negative effects last much longer than that—if not forever—nuclear energy could be viable, sustainable, clean and safe.

I think that just because “nuclear” is in the name, a lot of people who aren’t very well educated on the topic have a knee-jerk reaction against it.

Posted by: M P at July 24, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #170378

MP I agree with most of your post. But there are several solution to the Waste problem, from reprocessing to “burial” in the oceanic deserts. But the public never hears about that. A great read is a book called Trashing The Planet:How Science Can Help Us Deal with Acid Rain, Depletion of the Ozone and Nuclear Waste (Among other Things). She was a former US Energy Commissioner. She points out that burning fossil fuels puts much more radiation into the atmosphere than nuclear plants.

Posted by: 037 at July 24, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #170388

D.A.N. So funny, I knew you were posting after reading the first line of your sentence (without looking at your name)…

Here are my thoughts on this subject from an evil conservative war monger ;)

I like that wave powered generator thing they are testing up in Oregon (Washington?). The US has a ton of coast line…imigine the possibilities.

Also, for the short term, why don’t we get our oil from Canada - or dig it up in our own backyard?

Also, just for thought, I read a book in college (long ago) on the sustainability of natural resources, and one of the premises in the book was that a resource that is considered of limited supply may become less so as our technology increases. For example, say a caveman uses a particular pool of water for drinking. That pool of water would over time become depleated as it is used. However, over time, man has learned how to obtain more water through drilling of wells, desalination, purification of waste water (toilet to tap)…etc.

Couldnt this same concept be applied to oil as well? Im not saying that oil is limitless, nor am I saying that effort should not be spent into other alternatives. I am merely offering the suggestion that the situation is not as dire as some would believe. I remember reading that Japan (who imports virtually 100% of its oil) was investing a lot of resources into harvesting frozen methane hydrates that lie deep in the ocean.

There are tons of other examples: Coalbed methane used to be a byproduct of coal mining now accounts for 5% of the US total amount of natural gas. In Siberia there are a million sq Km (about the size of France and Germany combined) of natural peat permafrost that is slowly melting - which will release billiones of tonnes methane into the atmosphere (western siberia alone is estimated to be about a quarter of all the methane stored on the land surface worldwide). Im sure if we are smart enough, we could figure out a way to capture this natural fuel source. Consequently, we really should figure out what to do about Siberia, as methane is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.


Here are a couple links…

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/earth/mg18725124.500
http://archives.cnn.com/2000/NATURE/04/17/toilet.to.tap.02/index.html
http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/unconvent_ng_resource.asp
http://www.gedwardcook.com/wave.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_power

Posted by: b0mbay at July 24, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #170399

Paul:

I agree with you but not for economic reasons.

Most of us are old enough to remember the last time we went through this. Of course the price of Crude peaked out at in todays dollars at about $90.00/barrel.

What made it decline? What happened to the terrible predictions? The answer is a complicated. The higher prices caused more exploration with more modern technology, which made supplies increase.

Also a little thing called fuel injection became the norm.

I think the same pattern is likely to happen today. If you look at cost per mile to operate a vechicle, my guess is that it remains fairly constant over time. Right now we are above trend line which gets our attention.

So what will happen in the future? I just read an article that showed that just with current technology (hybrid) going mainstream (right now it is too expensive), demand should stablize.

Watch the next ball. Even if oil does not decline, cost per mile to operate a vehicle does decline because of greater fuel economy. The consumer is comfortable again. Of course this takes time.

To refute your point of the need for a massive government program, I would offer that it will happen without the government program, even with China and the rest. My “proof” is that it has happened in the past, and there is not reason to think the past pattern will not repeat.

All that said, I would offer a political reason to follow your advice. One look at all of the countries we import crude from, they look like the bar scene from star wars. Non of us should want our children, grand children fighting and dying because of the the disfunctional people in power in these countries.

I think it is time to move on without these countries. Besides, George Bush has this noble idea of democracy and stability in the Middle East. If America were to become energy independent, and oil were to drop back to $20/barrel or so, I think they would get “religion” (democracy) real quick over there.

I am with you for political reasons, but disagree with you economically.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 24, 2006 11:47 PM
Comment #170405

Craig with all respect, This war is being faught in the slums of Bagdad. It rests in the vast difference between those who make laws and those who are subject to the laws. It is because the people are poor and ignorant. But the complaint of many Islamofascists is that they are being oppressed by a select few who are in power because the US props up dictators, kings, sultans, who use the countries resourses to supress the populace. They through in Isreal for good measure. The guy with the bomb vest is not getting rich off US dollars. He wanted lunch and the guy giving it to him just wanted a little Jihad in return.

Posted by: 037 at July 25, 2006 12:07 AM
Comment #170413

037:

Craig with all respect, This war is being faught in the slums of Bagdad. It rests in the vast difference between those who make laws and those who are subject to the laws. It is because the people are poor and ignorant. But the complaint of many Islamofascists is that they are being oppressed by a select few who are in power because the US props up dictators, kings, sultans, who use the countries resourses to supress the populace. They through in Isreal for good measure. The guy with the bomb vest is not getting rich off US dollars. He wanted lunch and the guy giving it to him just wanted a little Jihad in return.
You are making my point in a way. It is not in our best interest to be dependent on these countries.

It would be an interesting debate to try to figure out what the middle east would be like if it were not in the US vital interest to remain there. My assumption is that the price of oil would drop, but Europe and China would come in right behind us. We could watch the chinese struggle with the same problems we are!!

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 25, 2006 12:25 AM
Comment #170425

B0mbay,

“Here are my thoughts on this subject from an evil conservative war monger”

Your post was far from evil! (Did I actually say that to a republican? What have I done?) I think we need to consider all of our energy alternatives.

U.S. dependence on foreign oil is what leads to all wars in oil-producing countries. I’m pretty sure the U.S. would’ve ignored Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 if we had a viable alternative in place then.

You listed several untapped sources, and there are many more that our limited minds haven’t thought of yet.

The problem is that, with most Americans, oil is equivalent to heroin. There, I said it! We are energy junkies. We are addicted to the cars (and, unfortunately, SUV’s) that eat gas so we can go faster, look better (richer), and have more toys. Who really needs a DVD player facing the driver’s seat?

The world views Americans as the most arrogant, indulgent assholes on the planet. One look at a freeway and I can see why! Ever notice how many of these gas guzzlers are used to transport just *one* person?

I know I’m not the only one sickened by this; Every morning I see more and more “normal” people using city buses to get to work, school, stores, soccer practice, etc. No longer are buses the sole domain of freaks and bums.

I did fit in better when it was!

Posted by: ChristianLeft at July 25, 2006 1:09 AM
Comment #170439

I’ve read the entire thread, and I don’t don’t see any meaningful arguements.

The sum of the post is that we have a consensus for right and wrong, but the remedy is still ill-defined, in so far as what to do firstly. I think that it’s a matter of attitude and awareness. Our energy usage is, to the average person, a silent and impersonal affair. People just aren’t getting the idea that what they do is multiplied many thousands of times every minute of every day, and therefore still think that it’s a problem soon to be solved by ‘someone else’. In other words, we need to change the perception people have about their personal energy usage from “not me” to “me too”.

The alternative infrastructure industry will spring up as a direct effect of altered perception. People need to feel guilty about low mileage vehicles, our governments involvement with tyrannical oil cartels, and any over-usage of any fossil fuels. I can’t imagine a more abrasive word to replace ‘fossil’ - what is a fossil? It means it’s gone. It once existed but is no more. Proof of the end. Why does this not alarm us?

When a contractor is planning a new tract of homes, he should be including diesel generators and solar panel roofing just as nonchalantly as he does a hot water heater or a furnace. No new home should be built that cannot function on its own without being “plugged in” to a centralized grid. Why diesel generators? - Biodiesel. Every commercial resturant should be consigning it’s used oil to a biodiesel refinery. We are all urged to take used motor oil to a mechanic shop or other place to have it disposed of or recycled. The same effort needs to be pushed onto commercial resturants. Now all we need are entrepreneurs interested in the refinement of large quantities of cooking oil. Fueling stations will follow suit. The automobile industry will eventually take notice. Next thing you know, we’ll have entire strings of logistics built and operated by clean, renewable energy. Then it’s only a matter of time before the middle-east means alot less to the world.

Nowhere in this process does the government come in. Sure, they can put it into law that contractors have to do this, or that commercial resturants have to do that, but it is completely unnecessary. The citizens just need to get a firm grip on why we’re doing this, and they should feel guilty about not being a part of it. The only way the government should get involved is by way of rewarding innovators of solar panel roofing, biodiesel refineries, and safe domestic diesel generators by not taxing their profits. Make it an attractive business venture by ensuring freedom from corporate taxes, as long as they keep their production facilities here at home. As a matter of fact, don’t even tax the employees.

We’d have this thing off the ground in no time.

Posted by: Bill C. at July 25, 2006 1:47 AM
Comment #170442

Paul, what we need is exactly what you have outlined here. Except I would describe it as more of a race to the moon rather than Manhatten Project. This needs lots of publicity, not secrecy.

Bush feebly attempted this speech, but is so hobbled by his energy industry ties, that he cannot seriously broach the subject. Our next president will both understand the need for and the benefit of taking on this technical quest. A truly conservative democrat who respects the constitution, is fiscally conservative and socially liberal enough to take on the healthcare theives, as well.

Shhh!!! Don’t tell the Republicans that this is the Democrat plan… they are still running against Clinton and Kerry.

I think Bush knows its all over for him and his “compassionate conservatism” even Bill Buckley has recognized Bush’s blunder and fate.

Posted by: gergle at July 25, 2006 1:54 AM
Comment #170445
Our next president will both understand the need for and the benefit of taking on this technical quest.

I’d like to hear more about McCain’s or Guliani’s ideas about energy. Care to share?

Posted by: M P at July 25, 2006 2:10 AM
Comment #170452

ChristianLeft - HAH! Well, Im sure we’ll get it right on the next blog topic…

As far as our addiction goes, it really is just that - an addiction. But remember, we are addicted to our high tech lifestyle, which requires among other things - energy (lots of it). If its not fossil fuel based, it has to be something else (maybe the human/turned battery ala “Matrix”). On another note - this may suprise you (from a gas guzzling, spotted tree owl shooting, wife beater wearing republican), I havent owned a car in over two years! I have the muni schedule here in San Francisco down to a science (albeit not an exact one). My friends are amazed at how well I can get around using public transportation…

Bill C - I get the guilt thing, but dont you think greed works better (at least in our system)?

Posted by: b0mbay at July 25, 2006 3:13 AM
Comment #170457

—-037—Had you finished the article or post about
education, you would have seen”Change the entire
system, that would include reading your complete assignment, if you get my drift!

Posted by: DAVID at July 25, 2006 3:46 AM
Comment #170458

—-BillC—-When I graduated from High School, we had
no Federal controls to speak of, an our graduates
from High School had the knowledge of today’s Collage
graduates. We also had the most successful generation
in history, Because we called that our generation an
not the “ME” or “mine” Generation, we made mistakes,
yes. Our generation lasted until twenty years ago,
when some of got rich an lazy, an most of my friends
have worked them selves to Death in order to give
the world a better place to live! Younger people believe they can build a better mouse trap by
them selves, an as long as the younger generation
keeps believing it’s a me world you will progressively degenerate somewhat like the past 10 years have shown .Not meant to offend but you must
open your eyes an work together in order to reach
that higher plane.

Posted by: DAVID at July 25, 2006 4:34 AM
Comment #170459

—-Brian—Looks like a lot of research,good job!

Posted by: DAVID at July 25, 2006 4:48 AM
Comment #170475

Yes I read it all David. Would you agree then NCLB is part of the problem not the solution? That was all I was getting at, if you get my drift. Not the Teachers Union like so many conservatives/Republicans like to claim.

Posted by: 037 at July 25, 2006 8:38 AM
Comment #170479

good post! At least if people can’t agree on any one issue in particular, it has got everyone thinking out loud - I’m not really with you on a single big Manhattan-style project though - mainly because of just that, no consensus. Also with so much uncertainty about the right way forward even before the politics are factored in, covering all the bases with lots of independent free-market initiatives is the wisest approach in my opinion.
Mind you a big project might highlight the problems with getting enough good scientists and engineers to make such a thing even feasible - since you’d have to have at least some doubt about being able to clear that hurdle…

Regarding energy in general, first on oil have a quick read of this,
Why Not Import More Non-OPEC Oil?
… link is a few years old (the major change since then would be Russia’s relative power), but still basically valid, especially for b0mbay since you asked about oil from Canada - which is currently the major source of oil,
Current Oil Imports (you really want to be careful not to piss off Hugo too much, just be thankful he needs you just as much as you need him)
What I wanted to point out though is as far as energy sources are concerned there really are only three options as the basis for the electricity grid (transport is an additional issue, but the grid takes precedence - we’ll be running around in 40 mph tin boxes that get plugged in every night if it comes to that). These three are fossil fuel, hydro and nuclear. The other options will still have their place, but none of them by definition can provide the amount of energy required with a 99.99999% guarantee 24/7 like the three I’ve listed. Argue the merits for yourselves, but I’ve made up my mind and well… you can call me Homer.

On the topic of the “Next Big Thing”, I think a little reflection on what kind of assumptions you’re making is in order. I’ll put it to you that the Big Thing is obvious. It’s the 100s of millions of people in China, India and everywhere else that are becoming and will become middle class. And if you really want to address how to maintain (even improve) wages where you are, work out how you can benefit from this rather than fighting it (which would fail anyway). While I’m on the topic of using some long term thinking to enable a world with more consumers => more jobs for more people, things are not looking that great with the current Doha trade talks which if successful could transform world trade, but have now failed, at least in the short term. Talk about poking your own eye out to spite your enemy - forget about energy independence, even the crap that’s going on in the Middle East - this is what really makes the big changes happen and it’s bad right now, really bad. I’ll sign out with this one piece of the absurd,
Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People Who Don’t Farm

Posted by: loki at July 25, 2006 9:01 AM
Comment #170493

B0mbay

Could you clarify which part of the process would entail greed? I mentioned making the innovations more lucrative by adding the government incentive of no corporate taxes, but I don’t know if this is what you mean.

DAVID

You’ve lost me. I don’t know which generation you come from, nor do you know which I am from. What I do know, is that complacency is more prevalent today than it was twenty years ago. The kids growing up today may well be known as the “Apathetic generation”. I do see what you mean about the word “me” though; it seems like everywhere you look, the people you see are king of their own little island. I can see it in people of various ages. It doesn’t belong to a generation, it belongs to an industrial rift.

Posted by: Bill C. at July 25, 2006 9:40 AM
Comment #170519

037,

Do you really think this education problem was made worse by NCLB? In what way?

It has done one positive thing, it has re-identified and re-defined a huge problem. Our “solutions” for the past 40 years have made the problem worse, and yes the teachers unions are part of the problem (not all, but part).

Posted by: Cliff at July 25, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #170530

Cliff,
No I don’t think NCLB made the problem worse. It just reinforces the same theories that have made education what it is today. I will repost the link here. NCLB is more of the same stuff we have been trying all along, minus funding. You talk about the last forty years. The problem is teachers are teaching the same way that has been done for over 100 years. NCLB reinforces that way of teaching because it does not allow teacher flexibility in how they assess student perfomance, lack or resources limit the types of experiences children will have in school.
As David and Bill C pointed out it is not education that has changed it is the students and society.

Teachers provide a service. Just like Doctors and Dentists. Do we blame the dentist or the ADA when we have a cavity?

What happened to accountability on the part of students and parents. It is not the teacher who is not doing homework. It is not the teacher who lets kids stay up until midnight watching TV.
It is not the teacher who sent the child to school with out breakfast and no money for lunch.

Check out this link on the history of education:

http://www.thememoryhole.org/edu/school-mission.htm

Then this one on a teachers union:

http://www.nysut.org/

Now please explain the Teacher’s Union fault in education,as you see it, be specific if possible.

Posted by: 037 at July 25, 2006 12:15 PM
Comment #170565

I’m happy with the comments about my post. You are all thinking about how to improve our future.

Some of you think that the government should not be involved. I think that no other organization is capable of or willing to run such a big project. Remember, a new sustainable source of energy will radically transform society.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at July 25, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #170576

Have any of you read about what the mayor of salt lake city, utah has done? From what I have been reading, he decided to try to meet the standards of the Koyoto treaty in salt lake city within a certain number of years and has done it very early. The city gov’t replaced all light bulbs with florescence and LEDs, replaced their fleet of cars with either hybrids or flex fuels and began making methane from their water waste disposal system. They are looking for more ways to clean up the air, reduce all dependence on fossil fuels and reduce CO2.

Posted by: judye at July 25, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #170577

Hey Bill - I reread your post, and you are right -you did include the “greed factor”. Must have been a brain fart on my part.

Loki - thanks for the link. A bit outdated, but herer is a more currrent import list.
http://api-ec.api.org/filelibrary/AprilImports.pdf

Kind of interesting who we get our oil from. Canada still accounts for the largest US exporter (after OPEC), but only accounts for 17% of what we import. Over all, the US imports over 50% of our oil from non-OPEC countries.

Another interesting observation is that we only import roughly 4% of oil from Iraq. Hardly the open spigot that some had claimed was the reason we went to war with Iraq.

Posted by: b0mbay at July 25, 2006 2:44 PM
Comment #170579

some are making a difference—-go to:
http://tv.ksl.com/index.php?nid=5&sid=219309

Posted by: judye at July 25, 2006 2:54 PM
Comment #170586

Hey Paul: It looks like everyone knows what they SHOULD do, but it still is a matter of which foot to throw forward first to begin the journey. I disagree with you about the government being involved at any level beyond incentives and rewards, but perhaps you can articulate your position a bit?

It just looks to me that we already have corruption and mismanaged regulation beyond what we can get a handle on. Why add more of the same to such a critical change in society’s direction?

Posted by: Bill C. at July 25, 2006 3:56 PM
Comment #170589

BTW, I know that you started the post, and I’ve read it, but I don’t get why the government needs to be involved at the managment level. You talk about how we could spend the money allocated in Iraq for this major project, but I just cannot imagine a congressional committee of either party handling this vast undertaking. For one thing, we can’t even count on the government to control the borders of our sovereign country. How can we expect any government task force (or whatever clever name they’ll go by) to manage the direction of funds and resources necessary to bring an upstart to our energy independance? Remember that we have lost count of the tax dollars used, or rather, misused during the hurricane katrina relief efforts.

Posted by: Bill C. at July 25, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #170604

Congratulations Paul, you have written a post that has resulted in an intelligent debate of ideas rather than an emotional one which is seen so often. just wish discussions as this were the norm rather than the exception. again I congratulate you.

Posted by: The Griper at July 25, 2006 4:38 PM
Comment #170648

I am old enough to remember the 60’s and 70’s when anyone who was bold enough to suggest alternative energy sources and common sense in the building industry was referred to as an “Eco-Freak” Unfortunately, that attitude still exists. How can the US possibly lead the way when we allow a Texas “Village Idiot” to veto the stem cell bill, reinstate right-wing religious instruction into our schools, and give MASSIVE tax breaks to the oil industry. Gas prices will have to rise well over the $5 a gallon level before red-neck Americans will come to their senses. The US has taken a back seat to Europe and Asia in new technolgies and innovative approaches to alternative energy. Oh, well

Posted by: Betty Miller at July 25, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #170658

Hello b0mbay!
Good ideas.
We have lots of good ideas.
What we don’t have is government that is worth a crap, except … maybe … crappin’ in their own nest ?


I’ve read the entire thread, and I don’t don’t see any meaningful arguements.

The sum of the post is that we have a consensus for right and wrong, but the remedy is still ill-defined, in so far as what to do firstly.

Not at all.
Here’s what we must do first.

: )

  • Our government is FOR SALE. 83% of all $2.4 billion in federal campaign donations in 2000 were from a mere 1% of the U.S. population. What does that tell you? How can the remaining 99% of U.S. citizens compete with that? 90% of all elections are won by the candidate that spends them most money. Corruption in government is increasing. Too many bought-and-paid-for politicians are controlled by big-money-donors (corporations). Pork-barrel, graft, corporate welfare, and money in politics is rampant. Incumbents (who always outnumber newcomers) refuse many badly-needed, common-sense reforms.
  • Incumbent politicians refuse campaign finance reform, and many common-sense, no-brainer reforms that might reduce their power or the security of their cu$hy, coveted seats of abused power
  • Government continues to grow and grow ever larger to nightmare proporations
  • Irresponsible incumbent politicians fuel the petty partisan warfare to distract and fool voters; just today I got a letter from Senator Bill Frist telling me to “fight back against the Democrats and elect Republicans or live with the consequences of a Democrat Majority in Congress”. I am so sick and disgusted with incumbent politicians that fuel this type of petty partisan warfare. And, I used to be a Republican.
  • 62% of Americans believe the nation is not moving in the right direction, but those Americans keep re-electing the same incumbent politicians that use and abuse them. Go figure.
  • corrupt government, pork-barrel, waste, fraud, graft, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.
Posted by: d.a.n at July 25, 2006 9:41 PM
Comment #170661

Paul: You have an intuitive insite into the blantanly obvious. Good job. We should of course be farthur along. I I have said before,there needs be no wright brothers to invent some astounding new process. That may happen but the application and developement of already extant technologies,some very old, are sufficient to meet our energy needs.


BillC. and all. There are important areas where the government,federal,state and local needs to be involved.
Local government must be involved if for no other reason than they are big energy users. Metioned in this thread already is Salt Lake switching to diodes,generating energy at the dumps and wastewater facilities,more efficient vehicles. mass transit etc.. Portland is doing the same thing. Others will follow. It males economic sense.
State governments as well as persuing many of the same avenues as local governments to conserve power also have the power to set building standards,protect the public from energy scams. Another way states can help is what we have done already in Calif. The state has two utility monopolies. In exchange for their monopoly status they accept a degree of regulation. One of the rules says they have to buy power from small producers. An example of this is that people that install solar panels often in the summer months generate more power than the use. Their meters actually run backwards. This cuts down the amortization time on their equiptment.
The Federal government needs to do several things only they can do.Most importantly is to creat a business climate that fosters alternative energy developement. Some have already mentioned tax incentives etc. There is a more signicant task the feds need to do to that end. That is to provide price stability. The Saudis have hinted already that if alternate fuels start to take off they will just lower the price of oil to drive producers out of business. After all they are not manufacturing oil. They just dig it up with minamal processing. In order for an industry to attract capital and have an econmic design target. ie. What do we have to build to produce fuel at x amount,no industry of a large enough scale will ever be built privately. What the government can and should do is stablize oil prices by doing what they do best,taxing. When oildrop below a set amount a tax automatically kicks in so the cost although it can rise can never fall below a set amount. Whether this should be at the gas pump or by the barrel is subject to discussion.
Establishing an SBA type program would help start up businesses.
One of the most important things for the feds to do is esentially a PR campaign. Convincing people that energy conservation is patriotic(it is) would lead to dramatic cuts in consumption. Americans are willing to sacrifice. Americans are ingenious. We just need someone to ask us.

Posted by: BillS at July 25, 2006 9:47 PM
Comment #170663
BTW, I know that you started the post, and I’ve read it, but I don’t get why the government needs to be involved at the managment level. You talk about how we could spend the money allocated in Iraq for this major project, but I just cannot imagine a congressional committee of either party handling this vast undertaking. For one thing, we can’t even count on the government to control the borders of our sovereign country. How can we expect any government task force (or whatever clever name they’ll go by) to manage the direction of funds and resources necessary to bring an upstart to our energy independance? Remember that we have lost count of the tax dollars used, or rather, misused during the hurricane katrina relief efforts.

Well, I agree the current government is too corrupt to do practically anything right, but the solution is to vote out the current people, not assume government is unable to do anyting per se. Getting the US off of oil while there’s still time woule be a massive undertaking and would involve changing much of our entire country’s infrastructure.

Environmentalists and others have for years been trying to simply educate people about issues (“guilt-based” efforts you might say) and hope rising awareness will help. This almost never works. People and corporations need strong economic incentives to do what’s right. For example, cars became much more efficient during the 70s, but then after the price of oil went down, they became less efficient. As evidenced by SUV sales, most people will naturally chose what’s available, cheap, and convenient over some abstract principle such as the public good.

The government could start by initiating a carbon tax (and other disincentives for using oil), tax cuts for solar panels and wind turbines, RAISING VEHICLE EFFICIENCY STANDARDS (which Bush adamantly refuses to do), and take the massive subsidies we currently give to the oil industry and give it to the renewable energy industry.

Also, the government in the past has done some amazing things that turned out to help us all. Such as sending a man to the moon. Lots of technology was developed during this undertaking that eventually helped out the private sector. Or arguable perhaps the Manhattan project. Or inventing the internet (it started out as a government project). No, it’s not government itself that cannot do anything right, it’s the current government run by George W. Bush and the Republicans!

Posted by: mark at July 25, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #170665

Also, no progress will be made while we have people like Senator Inhofe of Oklohoma in our government. He’s taken lots of money from the oil indusry, and keeps declaring global warming is a hoax, and now he says that people who don’t deny it are like the Third Reich!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/07/24/gops-sen-inhofe-people_n_25714.html

Sadly, people like him are running our country.

Posted by: mark at July 25, 2006 10:04 PM
Comment #170680

OK that was my non-partisan post. Happy Stephan? Now the other one.
Big oil has for too long nearly run the forign policy of the US,often not in our interest. There is blame for both parties but this administration is by far the worst. A recent example: Equador. In order to help stop cocaine production the US waived agricultural tarrifs on produce from Equador. It worked. It made farmers there able to turn a good profit on exports like roses and atichokes. Occidental Petroleum violated the terms of an oil lease with Equador. Equador cancelled their lease because of it. The US canceled the ag trade agreement in retaliation almost immediately. Equador is no longer welcome at the regional trade talks either. Equadors farmers are going back to cocoa production to poison our youth.
Many on this blog ,including some of the more astute Bush supporters, realize we are in Iraq for oil. Not just to secure the oil for the US but to keep China from getting it in some global chess game. The game is destructive but the stakholders are very powerful. We will not see real change until this administration and their controllers are driven from power and BIG oil is brought under control. OK Republicans,where is your TR now that we need him.

Posted by: BillS at July 25, 2006 10:41 PM
Comment #170685

Willie: Sorry if I did not make it clear. Calif. has two private monopolies regulated by the state.

As to your other point,do you understand how important stable prices can be to an industry? Milk price support are a case in point. It takes time,capital and a lot of hard work to start and maintain a dairy. If the price falls to far people go out of business. When this happens there is less milk and the prices go sky high.Just a business cycle you might say. Sure but in the meantime real children go without milk.
What I am proposing is price protection for a flegling industry. This is of national importance. There are benefits to free markets certainly but oil is not a free market. Prices are manipulated by OPEC,a cartel that would be illegal in the US. For our industry to advance they need protection. The least painful way to do that is to set a floor price to prevent OPEC and others from “dumping”.

Posted by: BillS at July 25, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #170691
Weary Willie wrote: But then, What?

Then, implement some of the common-sense, no-brainer ideas many have recommended for years.

How will government reform if politicians never choose to pass reforms?
Stop re-electing them.
That’s all.

Posted by: d.a.n at July 25, 2006 11:37 PM
Comment #170720

d.a.n., mark, all:

That’s what I was missing - My position thus far has been not to engage government, but to disengage government. The current system is so corrupt that I have totally given up hope on any meaningful interaction with government. But you are right. The bottom line is that we have to attack the culture of misrepresentation, and take charge of our Houses of congress. Only then can any hope of a common sense governing doctrine be brought about. Should this dream come true, I can forsee swifter changes in our dead end infrastructure. You’ve correctly pointed out that the focus still needs to be on the biggest problem that we have.

Thanks.

Posted by: Bill C. at July 26, 2006 3:40 AM
Comment #170756

Bill C.
I agree with you, except that it is hopeless.
We may never see it in our lifetime, but progress is slow (2 steps forward, and 1.999 steps backward … it takes centuries).

Yes. First, disengage by voting out all irresponsible incumbent politicians first.
Then, as you say, watch lots of things begin to improve.

The problem is too many voters are brainwashed to vote straight ticket (i.e. pull the party lever).
Too many voters are too fond of wallowing in the petty partisan warfare, and politicians love to fuel it, because it is a great distraction from real issues.

That is why nobody can name 10, 20, 50, or even 268 (half of the 535 persons) in congress that are responsible.

But we keep re-electing them.
It’s our own fault.

Politicians will not allow common-sense reforms.
Only voters can change it now, but they are unfortunately (and this is not said with malice; it is simply true, and I used to be one of them), are too ignorant about the corruption of government, what causes it, and what is required to reduce the corruption. So, Education is the first step, to understand the importance of Education itself, Transparency, Accountability, and Power.

Responsibility = Power + Education + Transparency + Accountability

Corruption = Power - Education - Transparency - Accountability

How do you get Transparency?
Well, first, voters need Education to convince voters to stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians.
That will balance Power.
The next step is Transparency. For example, how about a no-brainer reform such as One-Purpose-Per-BILL.
The next step is Accountability.
Keep voting out any politicians that keep ignoring the voters.

It can work.
Maybe not in our lifetime.
But, think of your children and grandchildren.
Giving up is not a logical choice because that will not ever solve anything.

Already, our extremely greedy and irresponsible incumbent politicians are heaping astronomical debt onto future generations.

$8.4 trillion National Debt
$12.8 trillion Social Security Debt
$450 billion PBGC debt
$trillions of Medicare debt
________________________________
over $22 trillion of debt

That is 11 times annaul tax revenues.
And government continues to print and borrow money, increasing ever-present destabilizing inflation, eroding money and savings. Social Security surpluses are being plundered and replaced with worthless government bonds. The Federal Reserve is printing too much money. In 1950 there was only $150 billion dollars in circulation. By 2000, there were $6.9 trillion dollars in circulation. Where does that money come from? The Fed prints it. It’s a dishonest funny-money monetary system. It’s a ponzi-scheme, and so is the way Social Security is being mismanaged.

But, no problems can be resolved without first resolving the core problem, which is corrupt, FOR SALE, do-nothing, parasitic government.

Posted by: d.a.n at July 26, 2006 9:53 AM
Comment #170763

The Next Big Thing

  • Stop Repeat Offenders.
  • Don’t Re-Elect Them !

Not just one election.
Always.
That’s what we were always supposed to do.
Not blindly vote for any party.
Not blindly pull the straight-ticket level.

Keep the good politicians (if there are any; that may be an oxy-moron these days).
Vote out all irresponsible ones.

Time is running out as election fraud grows, and illegal aliens are also voting in our elections. With elections so close, it is no laughing matter.

Otherwise, our pressing problems will continue to grow in number and severity.

Recessions come and go every 2 to 11 years.
The last recession was about 5 years ago.
The following have the potential to change things drastically. These five main things could easily turn a recession into a depression:


  • FISCAL IRRESPONSIBITY: $8.4 trillion National Debt, $12.8 trillion of Social Security debt, $42 trillion of total nation-wide debt, decreasing options, lost opportunities, falling dollar (not backed up by real value), rampant borrowing and printing money that will follow, rising inflation, trade deficits, and the failure stop the debt from growing ever larger, and increasingly corrupt government too incompetent to deal with it;

  • GENERATIONAL STORM: 77 million aging baby boomers (that all vote), making less, spending less, pay less tax, expecting to draw from already troubled, mismanaged, and plundered Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare systems.

  • ENTITLEMENT SHORTFALLS: The looming Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare deficits and short falls, and decreasing number of tax-payers per entitlement recipient, baby boomers earning less, spending less, paying less taxes, and expecting to draw entitlements from already fiscally bankrupt systems (i.e. Social Security is $12.8 trillion in the hole, Medicare is many trillions in the hole, and the PBGC is $450 billion in the hole).

  • LIMITED GROWTH & INCREASING FOREIGN COMPETITION: The limited capacity for growth due to declining quality of education, a generally less educated population failing to develop new technologies, coupled with a steady increase of foreign competition.

  • ENERGY VULNERABILITY: Of all the responsible, insightful things government could have done, they failed miserably to research and foster alternate energy sources, more energy efficient homes, automobiles, etc.

And, global warming should probably be on that list. I’m not an expert in this area, but should we be gambling with the possibility that we are screwing up our environment? Is is possible that it may not be too long (and unavoidable?) before all coastal cities are underwater (as the ice caps melt, and the sea level rises)?

It’s up to voters.
If they keep re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians, they will only have themselves to thank for it, we will never break the vicious cycle, and we wil be doomed to keep learning the hard way, over and over.

Posted by: d.a.n at July 26, 2006 10:16 AM
Comment #170766

IMHO if you’re gonna vote out most or all incumbents, a majority of us need to become single-issue voters on an ad hoc basis for the next few elections, and our main consideration needs to be the effect of money on elections. If you’re going to see true innovation ala the space race on this energy issue , markets have to be free of the corporate welfare for contribution system we’ve allowed to grow and fester. There’s nothing wrong with involving the government via venture cap funds or working green like SLC - in fact, greener living should be at the fore of any platform to win the Presidency in 2008 - and anyone who figures out how to draw a straight line - from recycling, through energy conservation, alternative sources, and government oversight, and finally into patriotism - will hopefully generate enough interest in the election for the common man to hold sway against the interests of big money.

And primary education is going to be a main component of any drive to develop the next big thing and elevate American ideas and prosperity into the future. Again, d.a.n.’s arguments against incumbents seems fairly accurate when you consider the dismal amount of time and energy we spend fixing our schools versus waging war and handing out money and favors to corporations and the wealthy. Again, here we see the impact of having representatives in Washington bearing the burdens of the few instead of the many. Issues like teacher performance and salaries or nutrition improvements in school meals and snacks are never going to make it into the outbox with a government that is so appalingly up for sale. Talk about family values! If your brother or sister whored around like your representatives, you’d either hold an intervention or disown ‘em.


Posted by: macsonix at July 26, 2006 10:30 AM
Comment #170786
macsonix wrote: and our main consideration needs to be the effect of money on elections.

Good point.
Politicians won’t ever pass common-sense reforms on this.
Not on campaign finance, peddling influence, graft, bribes ($90K hidden in the fridge).
Voters will have to do it. Think about the one most important issue, because all else is futile until that is resolved.

Posted by: d.a.n at July 26, 2006 11:37 AM
Comment #170903

Bill C.,

The reason contractor’s don’t build houses with generators is because there isn’t a market for them. To build a modern house house with a generator large enough to operate all the appliances, would be about a $50,000 additional cost. There has been an increase in demand for these at the multi million dollar home level. You’re also looking at replacement/ maintenance costs associated with this equivalent to a car’s replacement/maintenance.

Fuel will continue to increase to a point where energy independence becomes cost effective.

Posted by: gergle at July 26, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #171371
Are we sure someone didn’t put it there? You know, to make the guy look guilty? Hmmm. And the justice department went to his office to get the information he and Murtha had collected to prove his innocense! That mean ol’ Bush, at it again.

Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) is on video tape receiving the $100K bribe in a briefcase, which he put in the trunk of his car. The audio contains William Jefferson joking “It’s not like this is being recorded” to the person giving him the briefcase. The money was then repackaged and hidden in his freezer, but he had already removed/spent $10K, because there was only $90K in the freezer. It will be most entertaining to hear the explanation for this.

Posted by: d.a.n at July 28, 2006 10:24 AM
Comment #171458

—- d.a.n —- I guess if were going to clean houses,
We really need to start with our own!

Posted by: DAVID at July 28, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #172160

It doesn’t matter where we get our oil from. If we were to buy it only from Canada and Mexico and other stable and democratic countries, there is still a world market. If Venezuela and Iran can’t sell to us, they will sell to China and India, who will have to buy it because we are buying up the Canadian, Mexican, etc. oil. Conversly, if O.P.E.C. decides to reduce supply to punish us, Canadian, Mexican, etc. oil will go up in price and 1973 type shortages will occur again.

We are funding our enemies by buying their oil. I like the bumper sticker that says “Biodiesel: No War Required.

I’m even willing to consider revisiting the nuclear power option. I agree with the Republicans, that this problem will eventually be solved by the market. Unfortunatelly, we don’t have that much time, because the people who own the oil live outside the market. I don’t care if it’s a Manhatan Project, a race to the moon, tax incentives, tax penalties or whatever, but we need to get off oil now.

A lot of the contradictions between our ideals and our actions are fueled by oil,like our support for certain dictators and our compromises with less than democratic goverments (like Russia).

I don’t understand why this is not obvious to both liberals and conservatives and if it is, why there isn’t a huge cry for it accross the nation. And please, don’t tell me the technology is pie in the sky for biodiesel, gasahol, cell, etc. Brazil has managed to go 100% oil free in their public and private motor vehicles. And yes, it was a goverment program.

Posted by: Rene at July 30, 2006 11:01 PM
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