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January 31, 2006

Comments

What reading about addiction is on your syllabus? If you've got a recent, not-particularly specialized book or author you could recommend, I'd be grateful.

The world must be saved from centaurs and men who turn into serpents. Remember Thulsa Doom in Conan? Is that what you want overrunning America?

We've also got to stop those mad scientists from putting four butts on various animals, and crossing pigs with elephants.

Won't someone think of the children?

I believe the President is trying to protect us from Dr. Mephisto.

Thank goodness he is in office and there to protect us. John Kerry and the Democrats favor elephants having sex with pigs, and human-animal voters, you know.

"We've also got to stop those mad scientists from putting four butts on various animals"

I thought it was chickens with extra drumsticks that the labs were working on. Now if they make a cow with extra porterhouses, that'll be ok.

I probably should have acknowledged that 3GorchBro paid homage to the good Dr., and more amusingly than I did.

Jackmormon: what sort of thing did you have in mind? I range over a bunch of stuff: a bit of science, some econ-related rationality stuff, philosophers on weakness of the will, the big book of AA (about which I have A Theory, which I plan to inflict on my students) -- you name it.

I just saw this at DeLong:

"Wall Street may be intensely interested in just about every word ever uttered by Mr. Bernanke, the former Princeton economist and chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers who is President Bush's choice to succeed Alan Greenspan.

But in Washington, he is barely on some people's radar screens. Indeed, here is what Senator George Allen of Virginia, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said when asked his opinion of the Bernanke nomination.

"For what?"

Told that Mr. Bernanke was up for the Fed chairman's job, Mr. Allen hedged a little, said he had not been focused on it, and wondered aloud when the hearings would be. Told that the Senate Banking Committee hearings had concluded in November, the senator responded: "You mean I missed them all? I paid no attention to them.""

To the Republicans on this site: please, please don't nominate someone who doesn't bother to find out when a new fed chair is appointed, and doesn't know his name.

Please.

Just asking.

"...about which I have A Theory...."

I'd be quite curious to hear even a brief summary.

Hilzoy, I think I understand the general science, although a few cites would never do me harm. The econ-stuff would probably do me good, but it's the philosophy stuff that would more cleanly align with my field and the Dissertation Not To Be Named or Discussed.

Thinking of the children, I recall Kermit and Miss Piggy's hope for "bouncing baby figs."

Green figs?

Well, so much for the posting 'rules'.

May I say that this open thread is one insufferable ass of a post?

(not as insufferable as the Democrats who voted to confirm, mind you...)

I decided not to try to cultivate an addiction to painkillers.

So close to being like Jerry Lewis, and yet so far away...

What does this mean for pundits? After all, your typical pundit in 2006 is a hybrid of man, hyena, and jackass, usually sired out of the love scene in Deliverance...

Lewis Grizzard was part pig late in his life. I miss Lewis.

Oh, ThirdGorchBro. Don't you know that pig and elephant DNA just won't splice?

What the president didn't say, but certainly implied, is that it's full speed ahead for cyborgs.

Delicious P: I was scared, when they gave me the Oxycodone, that I would at last have to have something in common with Rush Limbaugh, Luckily, his drug of choice was Oxycontin, so I was spared that.

Jackmormon: there isn't (imho) a lot of good philosophical writing on addiction. Alas.

Does anyone know what President Bush's new legislation is to prohibit cloning? (I was not aware it was still on his to-do-list)

I was not particularly struck by his comments against cloning or his indirect attack on stem cell research. However, I was not expecting it. I feel as though in his speech he probably needed a rallying point, and stating "creating human-animal hybrids" would probably bring a lot of gasps to those watching... hence support. But I am not a Presidential speechwriter so I can only speculate.

However, it could be that the President watched "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," over his winter vacation and became frightened by the idea of scientists creating real-living satyrs (one-part goat, one-part man). The D.C. neighboring Prince George's County does have reports of an actual Goat Man. (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Aurora/4746/feature2.html) Sorry, I need some humor.

The line of research studies that I pursue completely relies on using genetically engineered mice for breast cancer studies. Our transgenic mice provide one of the best breast cancer models in the world. The mice express a human proto-oncogene under the control of a powerful mouse promoter. Essentially, not only are these mice chimeras, but also one gene is half-human and half-mouse. (By definitions of both chimera and gene).

I see this entire situation as an awakening. I will not be the alleged 'pessimistic American' somewhere on the left side of the isle as nearly half of our country was called tonight. No, in spite of that comment, I will fully support the President in one area where I found him completely correct:

Bush: "We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations."

In honor of our President who has not made any true attempt (to my knowledge) to understand the elaborate and complex science behind basic stem cell research and somatic cell nuclear transfer, I vow the following. Mr. President: I will teach everyone I possibly can the true science our country is being denied. (Maybe we should restrict Intelligent Design to religion classes so that time can be spent teaching actual science.)

Hilzoy: Delicious P: I was scared, when they gave me the Oxycodone, that I would at last have to have something in common with Rush Limbaugh, Luckily, his drug of choice was Oxycontin, so I was spared that.

You both use the same computing platform. Or at least he did as of a few years ago...

In the honor of Rush Limbaugh and drug additions I give you this quote from none other but Rush Limbaugh...

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer is to ... find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them, and send them up the river."

The irony is just plain beautiful.

I have to say I'm no expert on George Allen, but whenever I've noticed him, he's been being an idiot.

And I don't mean that I'm challenging his policies. I mean he's been saying stuff like the above.

Perhaps I've always caught him on a bad day. As I said, I've not paid close or deep attention to him, as yet.

Also: George Pataki -- not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, though three heads and shoulders above Allen, so far as I've noticed. (But he was just a tool of D'Amato's, and I've never really gotten past that.)

I have a lot of issues with Rudy Guiliani, by contrast, but he's reasonably bright. Ditto Cheney. And I don't actually agree with those who maintain that G. W. Bush isn't bright. I have endless issues with Bush, and with his approach to many things, but I don't think he's actually stupid. Though he does give a credible appearance of that at times, to be sure. (And the Gardner multiple-types-of-intelligence thing is also relevant.)

Gary Farber: And the Gardner multiple-types-of-intelligence thing is also relevant.

Interpersonal Intelligence, Kinesthetic Intelligence, Stovepiped Intelligence, and such?

In a vain attempt to demonstrate that mattbastard is not a sockpuppet of mine, I'll ask him what the point of his posting with a link to a site that requires a password to access.

Give me a moment to log out and log back in to answer, ok?

"Interpersonal Intelligence, Kinesthetic Intelligence, Stovepiped Intelligence, and such?"

Something like that.

Verbal intelligence: don't think so. Stovepiped? Yes. Interest in hearing people tell him where and when he's wrong? Probably not.

Intelligence at reading people? Probably.

If anyone cares, which I doubt, I'm, incidentally, about a zero on the bodily/kinesthetic; musical, not so much, though I know what I like (0 if we're talking making it); interpersonal, I'm actually effing brilliant at reading people in person, believe it or not -- communicating in person, up to a point -- mastering tone in writing -- not so much; knowing myself -- pretty good; logical-mathematical -- pretty good if there's no actual arithmatic involved; verbal, pretty good. So I think, anyway, for whatever that's worth. Rilkefan need not give me the news that I am biased and nonobjective about this.

But most of the time, put me in front of you in person, give me some time to get to know you (at least a few hours, maybe a few days if you are unusual), and I can generally read your mind. There are rare exceptions.

I can actually read pretty well, which is not as common as commonly presumed, and when I care to take the time, and I can make the words go where I want in adequate fashion.

Don't ask me to dance. You don't want to see me dance. And for god's sake, don't ask me to draw.

My sincere and humble apologies to Gary for breaking an apparently unwritten rule re: proper link decorum.

I used to link to my Livejournal, but I post far too infrequently in that particular forum to warrant any trivial self-promotion. The admin of the PR community was supposed to have opened up journals to non-registered users ages ago.

Still waiting for the grand unveiling to occur (and for ponies, etc.)

BTW Congrats to Hilzoy for THREE Koufax best post nominations!

"Interpersonal Intelligence, Kinesthetic Intelligence, Stovepiped Intelligence, and such?"

Something like that. Verbal intelligence: not one of G. W.'s. Stovepiped, yes. Interest in being told he's wrong: maybe not so much.

Ability to read people: probably.

Okay, I have no idea why your software presented me with an earlier post again, and then I hit post because my knee jerked "oh; it must not have posted".

So I'm too tired now, and need to leave and go sleep. Bye.

I imagine it's a reference to the guy who first cloned a sheep, who made headlines here in the UK a few weeks ago because he wants to create hybrid human/rabbit embryos to study motor neurone disease.

It also might possibly refer sinply to the use of the "shells" of rabbit ova as incubators for ordinary human stem cells by Chinese scientists. The two techniques are closely related, but do not necesarily pose the same ethical questions.

None of those three is fit to fasten the sandal strap of this post, IMO.

"To the Republicans on this site: please, please don't nominate someone who doesn't bother to find out when a new fed chair is appointed, and doesn't know his name.

Please.

Just asking."

Hilzoy, are you kidding??!?!?!?!?!!

Nothing could be better for the Democrats than the Republicans nominating Allen. Then, the Democrats could nominate Mark Warner. The contrast in intellect and thoughtfulness would lead Warner to an easy victory!

As a sidenote, I should disclose that Allen once helped me get one of my animals back into a trailer. Despite his helping me, I would never consider voting for him.

Bush was probably referring to this.

"Mice With Human Brain Cells Created"
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/12/1214_051214_stem_cell.html

Has the First Lady eradicated the scourge of gangs from this great land yet by all 'bangers on a camping trip to Mars?

First things first: Has the First Lady eliminated the national gang scourge by sending all 'bangers on a camping trip to Mars?

I hate you, Typepad. So very much.

To the Republicans on this site: please, please don't nominate someone who doesn't bother to find out when a new fed chair is appointed, and doesn't know his name.

Bah! We'll nominate who we please! The only thing the nominee has to know is "tax cuts" and "culture of life" are the answers to every question. You silly Democrats, with your nuance and your outmoded ideas about competence and responsibility. Why do you hate America?

And now I'll stop channeling DougJ from Balloon Juice and just say I hope the Republicans actually nominate someone that I can respect and, you know, vote for.

What I like best are the faux profundities the writers always sprinkle in Bush's speeches, sparkling little gems like:

"Sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore."

Um, yeah. Somebody's been mangling Yeats. What rough beast indeed.

And hardly did I write that than a vast image out of the Bloggerus Mundi troubles my sight! A shape with lion body and the head of a man. And that my fellow Americans, is why need legislation prohibiting human-animal hybrids, toot-sweet!

George Allen? Why would the GOP nominate a Senator in 2008, when they've had so much better luck with Governors?

The human-animal chimaera thing is kind of weird. Bush has a record of doing the opposite of what he says he advocates, so I suspect there's a Secret Gummint Lab somewhere working on chimaeric Super Soldiers.

See if we can spice it up for you hilzoy. I found http://www.thismodernworld.com/speech.html>this http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2006/02/carnival-of-commies-special-sotu.html>here. If it'll help, imagine the famed Pirate John "Cold Blooded Killer" Kerry presenting.

Via BBM's second link:

"I missed the State of the Union address since I was at dinner with a bunch of bankers, having to settle for the second half with a NPR voiceover on the drive home."

Now that's the true face of human tragedy right there. I missed--well, I didn't miss it all, really--I neglected the address because I was at dinner with a bunch of drunken musicians.

I'm fully on board with the chimera thing, and think it should be extended to interbreeding between phenotypes of the same species so as to prevent such crimes against euphonia as the "Labradoodle." Do it for the children.

"My sincere and humble apologies to Gary for breaking an apparently unwritten rule re: proper link decorum."

I don't think there's such a rule. I was merely puzzled at what the point might be. You've explained nicely. Thank you.

"...so I suspect there's a Secret Gummint Lab somewhere working on chimaeric Super Soldiers."

Hey, Stalin had one, so why not?

"Why would the GOP nominate a Senator in 2008, when they've had so much better luck with Governors?

"Why would the GOP nominate a Senator in 2008, when they've had so much better luck with Governors?"

Because Allen is still much better known as the former governor than the junior Senator?

I kind of like the sound of "Labradoodle". At least it's a damn sight better than the "Schnoodle".

The human-animal chimaera thing is kind of weird. Bush has a record of doing the opposite of what he says he advocates, so I suspect there's a Secret Gummint Lab somewhere working on chimaeric Super Soldiers.

maybe he's been staying up late playing Far Cry and because of the lack of sleep, he's having a hard time keeping the two worlds straight in his mind.

But then my favorite, one of which I once had and loved dearly, is cockapoo.

Well, it's not that I object to chimaerism per se. I mean, I'd elbow my way to be first in line the day they can embed feline traits in humans. I've wanted kitty ears since forever, not to mention that agile flexibility...

"I was at dinner with a bunch of drunken musicians."

Like one can have dinner with a bunch of sober musicians? (Though hangovers and piccolos [well, and violins too] don't mix well.]

]<->)

Don't want to break the site...


Re kitty ears, one word: mites.

CaseyL - I want a tail. Long, covered in soft fur, prehensile. Oh yes, that would be wonderful.


And you enablers of abomination: "Cockapoo?!" "Schnoodle?!" - Aaaaargh! Don't you understand that you are destroying Western Civilization? Whatever happened to "Mutt?" - that I could tolerate, even love. But I live in terror of the day our cities are ravaged by roving bands of Dachspoolabraspanbullhasas. And so should you.

"But I live in terror of the day our cities are ravaged by roving bands of Dachspoolabraspanbullhasas. And so should you."

We'll just set the abyssawarthippopardelots on 'em!

abyssawarthippopardelots

i want a St. Bichon's Pincer

Like one can have dinner with a bunch of sober musicians?

True, true.

I'd elbow my way to be first in line the day they can embed feline traits in humans.

Never mind crimes against euphonia, what about the furries? OMG!

"I want a St. Bichon's Pincer."

That comes in two configuration options:

1. Highrider: Fluffball on long legs
2. Ankle-snapper: Scary head on stubby legs

The "bright button eyes" are standard.

To the Republicans on this site: please, please don't nominate someone who doesn't bother to find out when a new fed chair is appointed, and doesn't know his name.

Senator George...who, now?

I want a tail. Long, covered in soft fur, prehensile. Oh yes, that would be wonderful.

Screw that. Teeth, scaled up in proportion, plus retractable claws. Having the kitty-adrenaline surge might come in handy, too. The possibility that a truck with a piece of rope dangling off the back might distract me to the point of car-wreck is a sobering one, though. Having the visual acuity of a cat might be nice, but not if it comes at the expense of skull volume heretofore reserved for gray matter.

One of my rescue dogs is probably half belgian shepherd and half akita. Hence, shakita! (Great dog, btw.)

The other rescue dog appears to be half akita and half cat. I didn't know that Felix could crossbreed with Canis, but it appears to have happened with her. (also a great dog, but stubborn as a rock.)

George Allen is as dumb as a bag of rocks, and just as interested in his surroundings (as the Bernanke questions show).

Still, Ed Gillespie's anointing hand has been placed on his head. Allen is the un-McCain, who will have the fundamentalists and the Boeing (and similar) money behind him in the 2008 primaries. Unless something effectively ties him to the Abramoff-DeLay corruption before then, which is quite possible.

If Bush really meant to outlaw everything from transgenic mice to the hamster egg assay, and if he succeeds in his desire, medicine in the US is officially screwed and we might as well all move to Britain, which has unusually sane laws on cloning*, now.

*British law, if I understand it correctly, basically says "in vitro clones ok, in vivo not ok": in other words, just don't try to implant the clone.

[I]f he succeeds in his desire, medicine in the US is officially screwed..."

Then take it as given that he will succeed. There is not one single aspect of American education, industry, or medicine, that Bush hasn't screwed up. I hardly think genetic therapies will be an exception.

We have a young apple headed Himalayan rag doll. He's a hoot.

If you cross a dachshund with a terrier, what do you get? I just realized that my dog is the French word for "butt".

"Then take it as given that he will succeed."

I've opened my cv in another window and begun updating it. I literally can not work without violating the law Bush proposed and therefore will have to move elsewhere. Hope I can beat the glut of US medical researchers about to come onto the European, Canadian, and Asian market.

"apple headed Himalayan"

huh?

It's a cat, methinks.

"Hope I can beat the glut..."

I came this/close to leaving soon after November 2004. The only thing that stopped me was age - mine. There's just no way I'll be ble to contribute my share to NZ's retirement fund, and finding a job in my field at my age might also be difficult.

Plus - and its a big factor - my kitties. They're much too old to endure the 9-month quarantine, and much too old to find another home.

But if you're under 45, and you're bright - esp. if your work is in sciences, life science, medicine, etc. - for the love of god, get out. Particularly if you have kids, get out. Go to a country that hasn't opted for senescence and decay.

Although this thread has gone in other directions, I'll answer the original question: he's trying to make them all sound morally equivalent, so that supporting stem cell research makes you the moral equivalent of Dr. Moreau.

Francis - I have a cat that's half dog. Lovely beast despite being quite, quite mad. She comes when called, and loves to play fetch.

Ted - I think you are correct, which is why I have kissed reality goodbye and retreated into the comfort and security of batshit craziness. In loonyland the most powerful nation in the world isn't ruled by a man who equates lifesaving medical research with the creation of B movie monsters. It's ruled by Butterstick the baby Panda. You should visit sometime.

I want a tail.

Go out and read Venus on a Half Shell by Kilgore Trout. (Discussions of the authorship are interesting as well)

Read it, know all about the authorship thingie. He had me fooled, too, although in hindsight...not quite as much like KV; the name-plant just steered me that way.

"apple headed Himalayan"

I thought we were talking about animal-animal hybrids, not animal-plant hybrids. The sphinx, ok. Fruitocephalic felines, not ok.

Anubis. That's the name I was looking for. And who could forget Chworktap?

Fruitocephalic felines, not ok.

But they're refreshing, when served chilled.

Weren't the Hawkmen the mortal enemies of Ming the Merciless? It's all starting to make sense.

A fable about hybridism in search of an editor.

i want a St. Bichon's Pincer

I was thinking St. Berhuahua.

It's Groundhog Day. Wonder if John Thullen is going to see his shadow.

"(Discussions of the authorship are interesting as well)"

Well, it was pretty much just typical of Phil Farmer, really. He wrote endlessly, essays and books, about all the imaginary connections, particularly family relationships, between and among a vast number of fictional characters, and who allegedly begat who and such, quite creatively. (Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, and the like, being typical of his focus; then there were the endless Riverworld books using "real people" as characters, which like many series, started out fairly well, but eventually turned into a dead horse as due to their popularity, he was offered more and better contracts and $.)

And he did endless number of pastiches; pastiches have always been popular in the field, but he might be the king.

So "Half Shell" has always just seemed another in a vast horde of such work, to me, and not a hugely interesting one; his pastiches were better when short, as such things usually are, in my view (then; haven't reread the thing since it was published). But I'm more than a bit jaded about that sort of thing; I was already working as a freelancer for Jim Frenkel when he bought the manuscript and published the book.

I quite liked Vonnegut when I was young, as most folks of that age do. Haven't read or reread anything of his but some modern essays in umpty years. I imagine some of it would hold up, and some not as much, but I couldn't say without putting it to the test again.

This seems reasonably right to me, though:

Whereas Vonnegut is Juvenalian or Swiftian in his tone, his work suggesting genuine misanthropy, Farmer is a genial Horatian satirist here. There seems to be more readiness to accept the limitations of human life in Farmer, more hopefulness about the human capacity to enjoy life, even if dreams and ideals are for the most part doomed to not to be realized completely.
"It's Groundhog Day. Wonder if John Thullen is going to see his shadow."

Well, Harper Lee came out and saw hers.

Thanks Gary,
My particular point was that the description of the protagonist realizing he has a prehensile tail and then, well, it was quite, errr, vivid. The authorship link was that I didn't want anyone to presume that Kilgore Trout was a real person.

GF: Thanks for the Harper Lee link. It was a lovely late-afternoon distraction. I'm looking forward to the time when my kids are old enough for me to read TKaM to them.

"Why would the GOP nominate a Senator in 2008, when they've had so much better luck with Governors?

"Why would the GOP nominate a Senator in 2008, when they've had so much better luck with Governors?"

You know, I don't think I've ever seen anyone double post inside the same post before...

It's stereo, for the increased pleasure of you, the reader. Be grateful I didn't decide to provide quadrophonic.

It's all part of the evil service.

Since this is an open thread, I will ask a question of everyone that has been rattling around in my head. I am not a great conspiracy theorist, yet I am wondering why Bush and Co. want to reduce the size of the National Guard at this time? If we have a national disaster (or a terrorist attack), I thought these should be our frontline responders...of course, if they are not in Iraq. But why now? Why the National Guard....because they are theoretically under the control of the Governor of each State? I find the implications of this a bit unsettling.....

He wants to replace the National Guard with chimaeric Super Soldiers loyal to him alone.

I seem to remember something about a provision in the renewed Patriot Act for the formation of a uniformed branch of the Secret Service with the power to arrest anyone who was near an event important for "national security" whether they had probable cause to believe that a crime was being committed or not.* Maybe the uniformed SS is the replacement for the National Guard.

*I'm going on memory, being too lazy to actually look it up, so I may be mistaken about the details of the new SS branch. I assume Gary Farber will correct me if I'm wrong.

"I am wondering why Bush and Co. want to reduce the size of the National Guard at this time?"

Easy one-word answer: cost. Compared to what they want to do, and given all the Congressional mandates to spend money on this, that, and the other, including the usual range of stuff the military actually doesn't want, but which makes for lovely pork, despite the number of billions in play, the Pentagon still doesn't have remotely as much as would be nice and desirable to do what they do want to spend money on, so it's gotta come out of somewhere.

And we really do need to spend more money on full-time troops, not National Guard troops, the use of whom, as should be obvious to anyone who has paid even the faintest atttention in the last five years, has been deeply politically problematic, and whom have also not been quite as effective as hoped. You just can't possibly get the same quality of performance with troops who train on weekends and for two weeks a year as with people who do it full time for their living.

It's just that simple. The Pentagon isn't in the business of making governors happy; they're in the business of fighting wars, and now of doing peacekeeping and nation building.

Lastly, this is one of those "oh, you want to cut the Park Service budget? We'll have to close the national parks!" moves where the agency involved, when faced with a cut or lack of funds, announces that the most valued and publically popular thing they do will have to be closed, knowing completely well that Congress will never let it happen, and will vote more funds to keep it from happening.

Thus, like clockwork, 70 Senators write a Concerned Letter.

Works every time. Guaranteed.

"I assume Gary Farber will correct me if I'm wrong."

Sounds right, except for this: "Maybe the uniformed SS is the replacement for the National Guard."

That's just silly, though maybe you were making a joke.

The definition of "an event of national significance" was made in law a few years back; whether it was in the original Patriot Act or in another law, I'd have to double-check; certain events are declared as such, such as Presidential inaugurations, national political conventions, the Super-Bowl, Olympics, a few other events of such nature.

Sorry, I was hasty, as usual, and missed this on the first pass: "formation of a uniformed branch of the Secret Service."

The uniformed Secret Service has been around for umpty decades. They're the guys who stand around in uniform guarding the White House and such. There's nothing remotely "new" about them, or that needs "formation."

Founded in 1860; reformed into the Executive Protective Service in 1970; they've protected a lot of people, included designated embassies, ever since. Changed to United States Secret Service Uniformed Division in 1977.

Of course, if you're a moron like Michael Moore, this is news to you. I think I read my first book about the history of the Secret Service at around age 7, circa 1965. It was simple, but had the basic history. (Note: this is not to condemn anyone for not knowing this; it's to condemn someone who would make a film that made a big deal about this, without first reading the modern grade-school version, at least, or spending six seconds on Google, or who pretends he didn't.)

I am wondering why Bush and Co. want to reduce the size of the National Guard at this time?

Well, the article doesn't say that, does it? What it does say is that Rumsfeld wants to reduce the authorized number of Guard from 105% of its current ranks to 100% of its current ranks.

Unless I missed something, which of course is a strong possibility.

It's ruled by Butterstick the baby Panda. You should visit sometime.

Hey! His name is Tai Shan, and he's the cutest, bestest baby panda ever!

They named a panda after a Rush song?

Why am I not surprised?

One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.



Presumably, then, we can just consume more so that imports are as high as ever?

This tends to confirm my theory that, while nuclear power is better than the old coal plants, the much greater interest that conservatives show for nukes than, say, wind power is less based on economics than sheer spite. Sure, the government can subsidize energy, but none of that hippy dippy pollution free-crap for us--give us some old fashioned uranium, damn it.

oops. here is what the second part of that was supposed to say:

This is also special:

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said he was enthusiastic about nuclear power but questioned whether the government should be subsidizing alternative fuels like ethanol.

"It loses some of its shine when it becomes another government support program for an alternative fuel, which seems to be the pattern here in Washington," Mr. Cornyn said.

This tends to confirm my theory that, while nuclear power is better than the old coal plants, the much greater interest that conservatives show for nukes than, say, wind power is less based on economics than sheer spite. Sure, the government can subsidize energy, but none of that hippy dippy pollution free-crap for us--give us some old fashioned uranium, damn it.

"Sure, the government can subsidize energy, but none of that hippy dippy pollution free-crap for us--give us some old fashioned uranium, damn it."

Umm, its because it takes a lot of land for windmills to make the energy of just one nuclear power plant. And wind power is really bad for birds. The subsidy-to-gigawatt ratio is very different comparing nuclear to say wind power.

Bad for birds? Years ago, yes, though the environmental effects were never actually comparable in any way shape or form. Now--not so much. When did you last review the literature on this, Seb? To me this sounds like a knee jerking.

After that start you're going have to provide some actual info on subsidy-to-gigawatt ratio before I'll begin to believe you. Nuclear power is very heavily subsidized indeed, say the Cato institute and the NRDC (the NRDC citing MIT economist Paul Joskow, I should note). And while wind power is getting much cheaper per amount produced nuclear power is getting a lot more expensive.

Of course, before futzing around with subsidies we should be talking about a carbon tax, cap and trade, replacing those ridiculous midwestern coal plants, raising the CAFE standards--internalize the externalities & let the market work. But the administration is not interested in more than futzing.

sorry, nuclear power isn't getting ANY LESS expensive.

I know it's partly safety regs etc. but a lot of those are in place for a reason and I very much doubt that there is political will to repeal them.

"What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025."

Call me wacky, and I sort of hate saying things that sound like I'm defending Bush, but of all the quite valid things to smack him about that he said in the SOTU, and there are more than a few, this one -- which is of course going around all the left/liberal blogs since it was posted and I read it some time this afternoon, this one seems pretty darn silly to me.

Anyone not an idiot knows that oil is fungible, and there's no other possible meaning to "we're going to cut oil imports from the Mideast." I read the text of the speech last night and understood that as an obvious given. It makes no sense otherwise. You can cut oil imports oil you like (will this happen?; I'll believe it when I see it), but it's not going to change anything in the Mideast or the importance of its oil to the world.

If one wants to smack Bush for the energy part of his speech, I'd point out that the money he announced he desired for alternative sources is merely restoring money he cut earlier in his term, and that the amount he announced he desired for solar is pocket change.

This one is just a silly, much as I enjoy pointing out when Bush is being a hypocrite; it's much ado about nothing. There are endless other things in the speech really worth smacking. In my opinion, of course.

"Presumably, then, we can just consume more so that imports are as high as ever?"

Doesn't seem to inherently follow, although it's quite possible and perhaps likely that's how it will work out.

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