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Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Term Adopted

I am officially adopting the term "Woo" as the word that envelops astrology, homeopathy, phrenology, chiropractors, crystal healing, fen shui and such old and new age claptrap. UFOs are woo, SETI is not. Dowsing is woo. Quantum tunneling is not. While certain political flakes use and advocate woo, woo in an of itself is not political. If you Google "Friday dose of woo" you will find a website that explores one of the silly beliefs that saturate the internets. The supply of woo is inexhaustible and vast. The debunkers are few and harried.

The Ahal Bidness

We have crude, at least some grades of "sweet" crude selling for over $115 for a forty two gallon barrel, and no sign of a downturn any time soon. This is a good thing. High oil prices force conservation and efficiency on end users rather than lip service. High oil prices also make previously unexploitable petroleum resources suddenly feasable. Oil too deep or too bound up in a matrix to extract at twenty five dollars, but attractive at $120. In parts of the Pallouse wheat country in central and southern Washington there are thousands of feet of Eocene basalt overlaying the sort of strata that produce lots of oil in Wyoming and California. Natural gas has been found there, but the wells are too shallow to produce commercial quantities. High oil prices also encourage new technology. So long as we play at market-ish economics only price will sort the wheat from the chaff in new technology.

OPEC (read Saudi Arabia) has squelched alternative fuels by crashing oil prices when new sources are developed. The Saudis can extract the shallow, sweet crude for under two bucks a barrel, so can break the back of any competition whenever they want. Oil shale is the best example. The oil locked up in the shales of Colorado are simply tremendous, but expensive to extract. A pilot operation was launched in the late 70s, and then the sheiks crashed the competitive price to fourteen dollars killing oil shale.

My solution would be to put a moving duty on imported oil that would keep the price over a hundred dollars no matter what OPEC does. An agency somewhat like the Federal Reserve would have to be created to set the duty on imports because the legislative process is far too cumbersome. An import duty would give competitive advantage to domestic producers, and encourage both exploration and innovation without requiring upsetting societal and economic changes.

Because I'm not running for office I can propose this bare faced market manipulation without any fear of repercussions.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Texas Does The Right Thing!!!


This is really breaking news. The Texas Higher Education Board has rejected the application of a creationist fundamentalist bible college in Dallas to accredit a degree in "Creation Science".  Wow! Given the opportunity to do something really stupid, a Texas governmental agency does the right thing. Unprecedented!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

With Friends Like This.........

Israel got caught again filching military secrets from the Pentagon. In the last, and I would argue most dangerous, days of the Soviet Union Israeli Mossad spies gave extremely valuable US military secrets to the Israelis, who turned around and traded them for Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union. Later Michael Pollard, a Naval Intelligence Officer, gave telemetry that later made our enemies aware of US satellite capacity. The State of Israel works for its own best interest, and will help us when it doesn't conflict with their interests. Fair enough. Now we have the Israeli government creating a de facto concentration camp out of the Gaza Strip and to a lesser extent, the West Bank. The establishment of Israeli apartheid has lead to little outrage here in the US because the victims of their race crimes are Arabs, the most unsympathetic ethnic group going. Our ignorant vision of the Arab peoples is one of corrupt Saudi princes and suicide bombers, certainly a small percentage of Middle Easterners. It is not genetic. Israelis are the same ethnic stock as the Arabs, if their culture is not. You would think that twelve centuries of European abuse would have taught the Jewish people that there is a downside to discrimination and genocide. A friend of mine said that the only difference between the Israeli treatment of the Arabs and the German treatment of the Jews was that the Israelis don't have railroad cattle cars to pack the Arabs into.

Now the most annoying and dangerous political organization in the Americas, the Evangelical Christians, have allied themselves with the worst of the Israeli ultra nationalist right wingers. John McCain openly courts the ignorant thug John Hagge, Überpreacher of the "Christians United for Israel". An innocuous sounding group that is supportive of the "Greater" Israel concept that moves the zionist border to almost all of the Middle East. These are the jokers who find quit claim deeds in the bible, and claim that the only reason their god doesn't smote us big time is our support of Israel.

If we pick our next president on their support of any policy that the Israeli government desires, but doesn't demand that they stop and remove their settlements from the West Bank, then we are doomed to repeat the last fifty years of Mid East quagmire. Israel has an excellent track record of protecting itself, and doesn't need our help.