The recent reports about a “restricted” Facebook page which featured pictures of female marines, clothed and unclothed, frequently with salacious or worse comments attached, is disgusting or depressing. If I were a female Marine, I would be infuriated. As a male military veteran of another service (airborne infantry and special forces) I am merely horrified.
As soon as Rick Perry is confirmed as the new Secretary of Energy and finds out where his office is, he will be deluged with requests—for policy changes or new policies, requests to hire somebody’s friend, to have a meeting with every interest group in town, to make speeches at conventions, to testify before various House and Senate committees, and on and on. He will be very surprised at how many new good friends he has, people he may never even have met. Mostly he will get requests to spend money, the government’s money, really your money and my money. Everyone loves you when you spend money. It’s the easiest thing in the government to do. And everyone who asks for money will have a justification that’s not laughable as to why spending this particular amount of money on this particular worthy cause is in fact worthy. Nobody comes to you and says, “Please spend money on this, even though it’s really worthless, and benefits no one but me.” Continue reading
In November of 1973, as a consequence of the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur war, OPEC, the association of Arab oil providers in the middle east, instituted an oil embargo against the US and most western countries in Europe, all of whom were considered major allies of Israel. The US was supremely unprepared for this. Long lines at gasoline stations and endless suggestions of policy changes in Washington ensued. The president, Richard Nixon, declared a goal of energy independence for the country. Continue reading
I: Three days in Thailand
It’s not so good to have your international flight delayed out of LAX for three hours. Because we were connecting to Bangkok by going through Guangzhou in China, this caused the need for rebooking (line standing time: one hour), and sitting around at the airport for an extra three hours in the morning after getting up at five and driving two hours to get to the airport.
It’s hard to catalog all the issue silliness that seems to pervade the public arena, which means things that show up in the newspapers or that lead to campaigns to make governments or businesses or normal people change their practices or even their preferences. There are a lot of good things, of course, such as forcing the British Open to stop playing its matches at courses like Muirfield, which don’t admit women. Jeez, are there still such institutions in 2016? Well, yes, the eating clubs at Harvard have the same problem except for the golf part. And I am particularly fascinated by the campaign to Save the Vaquita. I had to look this up to find out that it was a small porpoise found only in the norther reaches of the Gulf of Mexico and which is being exterminated by Mexican fishermen using gill nets. I can’t find a good t-shirt to buy to support them, however. Marketing is everything.
For better or worse, there will be a new administration on or about 20 January of next year, and the scramble for jobs working in the new administration has already begun. In Washington this is politely called “transition planning,” and both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have already formed teams to engage in this recruiting and placement fair. Governor Christie leads the Republican team and Clinton’s is chaired by Ken Salazar, currently a Washington lobbyist but formerly a Senator from Colorado and Secretary of the Interior. Continue reading
It is no secret that neither of the two major party presidential candidates has set any records in voter esteem. Since polling on this issue began they place first and second for highest negatives of any candidate ever at this point in an election cycle. It’s 57% negative for Donald and 52% for Hillary, according to the most recent CNN poll. Continue reading
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not an energy expert. She probably has some such person on her campaign staff, but she didn’t need them when she told the unfortunate truth to a West Virginia audience. She said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.“ This occurred at a roundtable forum in March in Kentucky, hosted by CNN. The statement was made in the context of proposing to replace these jobs with renewable energy jobs, and was not made as a policy prescription, more as a statement of fact.
Was she right? What is the future of coal in the US, and more broadly in the world?
Part 1 of this article covered the unanticipated, stupid or maybe just amusing consequences of Donald Trump’s proposed ban on letting Muslims enter the US. Some of these problems can perhaps be corrected, at least over time. But now we move on the really difficult part of administering this “Muslim ban.”