Tag Archives: Global Warming

Crisis in Ukraine

As I write this, Russia is escalating ground forces in Kiev with the goal of occupying the capital and installing a new regime more favorable to Moscow. The world is watching in horror as Ukrainian forces, standing alone and enlisting all men 18-60 to pick up arms and fight for their country.

The scenes coming from the city are heart wrenching.

What Can the United States Do in Ukraine

Before we can discuss what can be done, we have to acknowledge some facts as they exist.

They are:

  1.  It is possible to acknowledge strategic and tactical moves employed by Putin to be smart or effective or even genius and NOT be rooting for the Russians or for Putin to emerge victorious in this conflict.  Imagine playing chess and your opponent make a nifty play landing you in unexpected check.
  2. Trump was not elected in 2016 with help from the Russians or from Putin.  There was no Russian Collusion.  When you say that you sound like the people who claim the 2020 election was stolen.
  3. Nirvana is not for this world.  There will be the biggest kid on the playground.  Right now we can choose to have that kid be the United States or we can choose to have it be someone other than the United States.   Choose wisely.
  4. There is little to no appetite in the United States to send soldiers to defend Ukraine.
  5. NATO is broken.  As currently configured, NATO is just a term that we apply to the United States acting with the implicit approval of Europe.  The member states of NATO have not been paying their share of the freight for a very long time.  One way or the other, that has to change.  Pay or go.  Choose wisely.
  6. President Biden is suffering significant cognitive decline.  The time has come for him to resign.


The United States has short and long term goals to consider.

Short Term Goals

Our current and perhaps only priority at the moment is the cessation of the conflict in Ukraine.  One way or the other, Putin needs to stop the invasion and restore peace.  This can take several paths:

  1.  Ukraine surrenders
  2.  Ukraine cedes the Eastern breakaway regions and retains the rest of the nation
  3.  Putin surrenders and pulls back Russian forces

The question is which should the United States pursue?

I would like to see Putin call back his armies in full, would work very hard to prevent the outright surrender of the current Ukraine regime and would probably settle for some version of a split nation.

So, how do we get Putin to agree?

How to Prosecute for Peace

The United States does not want to commit ground troops to Ukraine.  We know this.  Putin knows this.  The world, waving at you China, knows this.  So, we have sanctions.  But are sanctions enough?

I think that Putin has done the calculus on possible sanctions that we can impose on him, his cronies and his economy.  I think he knows that the line he has crossed has cost him any future at the table of civilized nations going forward.  I think that he knows that the only real, and is it really real, sanction that as any bite is to cut off Russian energy sales to the West.

But Putin has two aces up his sleeve.

  1.  He knows the West NEEDS Russian oil as much as Russia needs the money.
  2. If we won’t buy his energy, China will.

Because of this, it is my belief that no amount of sanctioning by the West will move Putin in the direction we want him to move.  For better or worse, he has cast his die.

What this means for peace is that the United States is going to have to become “war adjacent”. 

It is not going to be enough to shuttle crates of bullets and guns to Ukrainian men in their 40’s.  We are going to have to provide more and better and more tangible elements of war.  Maybe this is securing air superiority in the region.  Maybe it is by deploying rockets of our own.  It might mean bombing key Russian installations.

Also, in lieu of sanctioning Russian exports of gas to the West, it might be time to bomb Russia’s energy infrastructure.

Short of this, there is little reason to think that the Ukrainians can do anything more than die with honor.


Long Term Goals

To be very clear, our long term goals have to end this obsession with the eradication of fossil fuels.  I understand climate is changing.  But it won’t change in any significant manner in such a time frame that warrants the danger to world peace that we currently find ourselves in.  It is time to recognize that moving to a greener world can be accomplished by replacing energy sources that emit lots of CO2 with sources that, while still emitting CO2, emits less.  Transitioning from coal to oil, then from oil to gas, is a win.

Take the dub.

Germany has to reopen its nuclear plants.

Germany has to replace the energy it is purchasing from Russia.

Same for the rest of the world.

The United States must restore energy independence that was in place when President Biden was elected.

This will almost certainly not occur under the current administration.  Biden lacks the clarity of vision and even had he seen the light, the current democrat party as it is configured will not allow him to abandon the green energy policies that they have championed.  The United States will have to elect a new President on an energy independent platform.

In Conclusion

We find ourselves in a bleak position brought about by our own decisions and taken advantage of by a very shrewd Mr. Putin.  We are not going to go to war, soldier v soldier, with Russia.  We are as dependent of Russian oil as Russia is on Western money.  There is not current appetite to change our energy policy in the US.

This means that the Ukrainians have a long night ahead, both literally and figuratively. 

We’re Against Corporate Abuses Too

Corporate Welfare

I often rail against the regulations put in place that restrict the growth of commerce, business and the economy – minimum wage being one of my favorite ones to hate.  Further, I often rail against the religion that is Catastrophic Global Warming.  We believe in science, not withcraftery.

Combine those two policies and you can get the traditional republican thug.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  I’m not tied to selfish self interests of corporations nor am I a hater of anything alternative energy.

Consider this abuse of government influence:

ATLANTA (AP) — Sunlight is free, but if you use it to make electricity your power company wants you to pay.

Utilities in many states say solar-friendly rate plans, conceived to promote alternative energy sources, are too generous and allow solar customers to avoid paying for the grid even though they use it.

Some power companies are proposing an extra fee for solar customers. Others are trying to roll back or block programs that allow those customers to trade the solar power they generate during sunny days for power they need from the grid during other times.

As rooftop solar expands from a niche product to a mainstream way to save money on power bills, utilities are afraid they will lose so many customers — and revenue — that they won’t be able to afford to build and maintain the grid.

“We want to make sure that as we change the way our system works that all of that is good for all customers,” said Greg Roberts, vice president of pricing and planning at Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power. The utility is proposing additional fees for renewable energy users, including one that would add up to about $22 per month for typical home solar systems.

I don’t support the concept that oil companies should be punished.    However, neither do I support the idea that emerging technologies should be bullied by the incumbent.

Only Global Warming Would Have Made This Funnier

I have to admit, I’ve had times in my career when I’ve had to try and explain away something horrible.  So I resonate with the feeling.

But this is just painful:

The only thing that would have increased the “richness” quotient would  have been for Gore to blame Global Warming for the Presidents ass kicking last night.

There Is No “War On Women”

The Democrats, lead by President Obama, are going to craft, create, launch and feed the idea that there is a “War On Women” taking place in America.  However, there is no “War.”  Only a Democratic attempt to manipulate women.

Gas is $3.91 where I fill up.

And it’s not only the Democrats that are gearing up; it’s the media too.

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Hurricane Season 2011: June Review

We’re one month into the hurricane season here on the Atlantic side of the continent.  While the season begins in June, the storms really don’t start spawning until later in the summer.  I’m not a climatologist. not that that stops OTHER people -ahem Gore ahem- from pretending, but I suspect the reason the season starts out so slow is that the oceans need to heat up.  Again, I don’t know…

Earlier this year the National Hurricane Center made some predictions.  Last year as the season wore on I thought that maybe the storms would be equally distributed.  However, as I mentioned above, they aren’t.  So, the advantage we’ll have this year is that we can keep track of the season as it progresses and we can compare to the season last year.

So, where are we?  Let’s check:

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Hurricane Season 2011: May Predictions

Hurricane season is almost here.  June 1 marks the official beginning of the start of that season.  It’s from now until November that storm activity in the Atlantic starts to produce storms and hurricanes.

This year the US Government is predicting another busy year:

As many as 18 named tropical storms may develop during the six-month Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1, according to forecasters at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. Six to 10 of those storms could strengthen into hurricanes with top winds of at least 74 mph, the agency said. Three to six could become major hurricanes, with maximum winds of 111 mph and up.

As I mentioned, this is seen as a busy storm season, however, not as busy as last year:

So, how’d they do?

  • Named Storms – 19
  • Hurricanes – 12
  • Major Hurricanes – 5

It’ll be close, but so far, they don’t think we’ll get to where we were last year.  And of course, the really important measurement of hurricanes is how many of ’em hit land.  We were lucky last year and in fact, we haven’t had a major hit in 5 years.

Here’s to continued good luck!

Right Law – Wrong Reason

Maybe not the wrong wrong reason, but not the main one either.  Don’t get me wrong, I love extending the school year, but I think it should be extended for other reasons:

Raleigh, N.C. — State lawmakers are considering a bill that would give local school boards more flexibility with when to start and end the school year.

House Bill 94 would repeal a 2004 law that requires districts to begin the school year after Aug. 25 and end it no later than June 10.

Under the proposed legislation, schools operating on a traditional calendar schedule would be able to open any time after Aug. 15.  The bill does not apply to schools operating on a year-round calendar.

Supporters of changing the law point to issues like a high number of snow days, especially in the western part of the state, and the challenge in making those up to meet the 180 days of school mandated by state law.

They’re right.  Snow days have been a massive problem here.  And with Global Warming creating more and more snow days here, it’s only gonna get worse.

However, I still think that we should extend the school year because it helps kids learn and quit pandering to tourism.

The 2004 legislation was the result of a group of business owners and parents who, in part, were concerned about how extending the school calendar into the summer months could affect local tourism economies.

Businesses at North Carolina tourist destinations depend on the summer months to boost their profits, and business owners say every week of the tourism season is critical.

Teaching our kids is critical.


Tragedy of the Commons

Some time ago {okay OKAY!  It was this morning!} I was arguing with Liberals.  We were talking about what a government can do, should do and then, what they WILL do.  In our examples, we specifically were speaking about the “common good” as it relates to non-National Defense.*

For example, can/should/will the government regulate medical doctors?  How about florists?

Another example, can/should/will the government regulate the workplace safety?

And even another.  Can/should/will the government regulate food quality in our grocery stores?  How about stereo component quality?

As you can imagine, a very clear divergence of opinions evolved.

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I Suspect This Won’t Work Either

The idea is a good one, and noble too. I just don’t think it’s gonna work.

It’s been tried before.  And it’s failed before.

The idea, of course, is to make available a large number of bikes to the public so that they can:

  1. Get healthy
  2. Reduce congestion of the road ways

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California: Part VI

Planes, trains and automobiles.  It’s a famous movie, but what really has the attention of politicians everywhere is this very same concept.  Planes, trains and automobiles.  Specifically, “how do we get fewer automobiles and more trains?”.  Everywhere people are requesting and demanding that we expand our mass transit system.  Part of it is a pander to the people who are best served at the expense of the rest of us.  Lately, though, we have begun to see the Global Warming crowd clamor that we need to implement more transit in order to reduce the number of carbon producing cars.  Still others claim that we have reached peak oil and going forward, we need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

In each case, the supporters are wrong, blind or both.  But nobody is as wrong as often or as blind as California.  Check this out via Reason:

For three years, Veronique Selgado took BART from the East Bay to her job working for an airline at San Francisco International Airport. But she recently switched to driving because BART raised fares and upped its SFO round-trip surcharge from $3 to $8, boosting her daily trip cost to nearly $20.

“It’s outrageous,” Selgado said. “At what point do they stop raising the prices, when it’s $50 a day to go round-trip to work? At what point does BART stand back and say, ‘People can’t pay that much to commute’?”

Millbrae resident Robert Smith, 63, had taken BART and Golden Gate Transit to his job in Sausalito because his employer provided transit vouchers, but eventually he threw up his hands, bought a Honda Civic and started driving.

It took him 21/2 hours each way by train and bus, turning his nine-hour workday into a 14-hour endeavor. Now he drives, and it takes him 45 minutes each way, which he said is well worth the extra gas and toll bridge costs.

Rick Mann loves public transit but hates the two hours and 15 minutes it takes him to walk from his Milpitas home to a transit station, catch a train, transfer to another train and then walk to his job as a software engineer in Sunnyvale.

The point is this: “Mass transit doesn’t work”.  We aren’t dense enough to make it work.  People live too far from where they work.  Transfers are common.  Further, because this is the government, making upgrades to the system is seen as an expense, not an investment.  As such, expenses are minimized meaning fewer trains and busses and fewer stops.  This raises the time of the commute and reduces riders.  But we have to continue to meet the costs.  And that means higher fares and higher taxes.

And soon, gentle reader, that means I am going to be taxed here in North Carolina so that someone in San Francisco can ride a bus that they don’t wanna ride.