Power Politicians

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Unfortunately my electricity was on during Larry King last night. Among Larry's guests discussing the blackouts were former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton, and Gray Davis. A few bits from the transcript:

RICHARDSON: "You know, Larry, when I was secretary of energy, I went around the country warning that this could happen."

***

DAVIS: And I have been listening to Governor Richardson, I agree of much what he said.

***

CLINTON: Well, Larry, I agree with Governor Davis and I know Governor Richardson is very knowledgeable about this as well, that we just haven't made the kind of national investments that we need, particularly in the transmission system. I happen to think that making sure we have a reliable, affordable system of energy is a national priority. And I don't think that this administration sees it that way. They have continued to try to push deregulation and privatization, and to try to undo a lot of the systems in changes that many of us thought were important and necessary that we tried to work on during the Clinton administration under Secretary Richardson's leadership. And frankly to throw in a lot of roadblocks in the way of Governor Davis, when he tried to clean up some of the problems that he had with the manipulation of the energy markets by Enron and others. So, no, I don't think the federal administration under this president is really focused on making sure we don't have these problems in the future.

***

KING: Bill, I know this is probably a stupid question, but we'll ask it any way. Why does it come on sporadically? Why can't it just come on?

RICHARDSON: Larry, you are talking to me?

KING: Yes, I am sorry, governor. Why is it sporadic?

RICHARDSON: Well, the problem is that the electricity grid is all interconnected but some systems that are more overloaded than the others. And I think that what Governor Davis said made a lot of sense, and he doesn't get the credit he deserves for dealing with these kind of blackouts that he had. He has massive conservation measures in California that are very important.

***

KING: Do you think you can defeat the recall?

DAVIS: I think in the end, we will. Because I think people are fair and I trust their judgment.

KING: And Governor Richardson, you are confident that this kind of thing will lead to what you want?

DAVIS: Yes because I'm optimistic about this country. We're a great country. I just wish we didn't react to crises to do the right thing. But if there's one thing we need to do is to have mandatory reliability standards so these utilities don't overload the system. And left a lot of people victims, families, ordinary people that have nothing to do with this problem become the victims. And that's not right.

KING: We take electricity for granted, don't we governor.

DAVIS: We do.

KING: We turn the switch, it goes on.

DAVIS: We do and we shouldn't. We can see what happens in terms of potential loss of life, tremendous inconvenience, and obviously there will be a huge economic loss associated with this.

KING: Governor Richardson, we take energy for granted, don't we?

RICHARDSON: Yes, we do.

KING: Going to be there!

RICHARDSON: We go around in this and big cars and that's fun. I'm not very good at it. I have an SUV for security.

KING: Oh!

RICHARDSON: But we should all be more energy efficient. We should all promote fuel-efficient technologies and we haven't done that. We don't like to bite the bullet. But I do think that the government can do its part and promote production of new source of energy, oil and gas is fine. Clean. Done cleanly. Conservation measures, we've got to do more. New technologies, emphasize wind and biomass and solar. We just talk about it. We never do it. And then finally, our grid systems, our transmission lines, our generating facilities. Everyone takes them for granted but we need to modernize them. We need to invest in these new technologies. We need to get some utilities like these monopoly powers that overload to stop doing this. It takes leadership. It takes the president. It takes the Congress to move forward. It takes governors. And I think Governor Davis bit the bullet and made his energy situation a lot better.

KING: Thank you.

NEXT: Frampton Comes Across

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  1. I would say that the ideological hobbyhorses line up pretty firmly on the left side of the energy bill. I can recall some neo-Kyoto crap in there, as well as booshwah like mandating an increase in wind energy and thel like.

    The whole notion of a national energy policy is so, well, Soviet, it is hard to believe anyone seriously treats it as a solution to anything.

    Surely no libertarian could possibly support anything in the bill other than its deregulatory provisions (like allowing ANWR drilling).

  2. So why exactly did Clinton do absolutely nothing in the 8 years he spent in the Whitehouse? He and his energy secretary say they have known about this for years and why did they do nothing? Typical leftist drivel

  3. OK, ‘fess up. This is really a Saturday Night Live script, isn’t it?

  4. That’s Larry, always asking the tough questions.

    “Mr. Burns, your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train…”

    Left or Right’s got nothing to do with it. King’s a sycophant.

  5. “The power grid built under strict government regulation is inadequate. Therefore we need more government regulation. The re-regulation that has taken place in the past decade shows that de-regulation doesn’t work. We need, more government, MORE GOVERNMENT!”

  6. I don’t think we American really and truely have the guts to allow the measures needed to solve our energy problems. First of all we need alternate energy source, and I’m not talking about wind farms and solar cells that can only power a flashlight on a windy or sunny day. I’m talking about the other “n-word” that you don’t dare utter without risk of political retribution: NUCLEAR. Next we need to start exploiting domestic petroleum sources, not just in ANWR, but the west coast and the gulf of mexico as well. We also need to look at decentralizing the nation’s power grids, expanding natural gas piplines and increasing the number of refineries in our nation.

    Of course, as I said a large portion of the nation doesn’t have the guts to do it. Anyone suggesting it would no doubt be gothed down by left-wing politicians and enivironmentalists who will bring up their “ideological hobbyhorses.” (e.g. Global Warming, Ozone Depletion, Paranoia About Nuclear Waste, granola visions of alternate energy, etc.)

  7. Care to tell the Norwegians that alternative energy is not worth pursuing?

    Denying science doesn’t make it go away.

  8. “Care to tell the Norwegians that alternative energy is not worth pursuing?

    Denying science doesn’t make it go away.”

    I don’t think anyone is doubting the science behind hydroelectric power.

    Here in sunny Seattle, the left is trying to have the dams that supply the city with electricity torn down for the sake of the Salmon, so I suppose some people are willing to deny the realities of hydroelectricity, if not the science.

  9. Wind power is a very good alternative power source; a lot of engineering and science has gone into this field, and fruits of this research are being born today. I’ve read that Vermont is about to have four wind farms of moderate size that will supply about 1/4 of that state’s needs.

    I’ve no problem with nuclear energy, but the plenitude of power from the wind should not overlooked.

  10. JDM,

    Its not only environmentalists who are wishing to see some dams go; its fishermen as well (whose livlihood is being eradicated by a government program I might – electricity generation). Its hardly the manichean issue that you paint it as.

  11. Private operation of the power grid guarantees it won’t be modernized. Similar to the “just in time inventory” concept, they save millions by operating right up to the edge of blacking out, providing little or no redundancy and using outdated technology as long as it will fire up. Crashing the system occasionally is just one of the prices you pay for that business plan.

    On top of all this, the new generation power companies are so far in debt from their acquisition sprees that they have no investment capital left.

  12. Lefty, why do you always stop short of thinking things through?

    Power generation isn’t the problem, it’s the transmission, which is the most regulated part of the electrical system.

    Nobody should really be commenting on the efficiency of federal government without first reading this old reason article.

    https://reason.com/9804/fe.delong.shtml

  13. Mark is right about the need to allow more nuclear power plants to be constructed. However, I think the domestic petroleum issue is largely irrelevant. And anyone who nay-says nuclear power based on global warming or ozone depletion has their head up their ass past their shoulders, as NP is green friendly on those issues.

    As for wind and other “alternative” energy sources, I say you’re living in a dream world. But go ahead and dream on. If market forces were allowed to work, we’d find out soon enough if sun and wind could be made to pay.

    Lefty,
    Huh? What are you talking about? JIT is being used to great success by many companies. Furthermore, privatizing will ensure that modernization takes place in the most efficient means possible, with money being spent where it will provide the most return on investment. Blackouts will occur only as often as people are willing to tolerate them. If they want more reliable power they could pay for it. An option we don’t have now.

  14. Mark S.,

    Nuclear power would never have come about on a free market, and could not survive today without massive federal subsidies. The federal government developed the technology at taxpayer expense; it leases land with uranium deposits at sweetheart rates, and builds roads to the mines at taxpayer expense; it disposes of the waste; it underwrites a major part of liability for nuclear accidents, and indemnifies the industry over a certain level of liability. For that matter, I wonder how well Alaskan oil would pay for itself if the oil companies actually had to negotiate the purchase of the land in a free market, instead of leasing it for a nominal amount.

    I know people with wind and solar systems, and you’re all wet on what they can do. For three or four thousand bucks, you can build a combined wind-solar system that generates (depending on the mix of power sources) one or two kilowatts a day. That means most household needs except for air conditioning, if you own a high efficiency fridge and think about avoiding wastage. Even the air conditioning can be handled with an evaporation system, which requires a fraction of the wattage.

    As for decentralizing the grid, though, I’m all for it. The solution is not “public” ownership (this means you, Lefty). Nationalization of centralized, inefficient industries just makes them even more centralized and inefficient, and less accountable. The present centralized grid is the product of state intervention. OF COURSE it couldn’t pay for itself in a free market, any more than most of the other centralized activities in our economy. The solution is to stop subsidizing centralization and underwriting inefficiency at taxpayer expense.

    The State is the problem, not the solution.

  15. There may well be a case to be made for bringing back nuclear power. But the general public does not have the knowledge to judge the wisdom of this move on its merits. They need to depend on their judgement of the honesty and bone fides of the politicians and industry people pitching it. The public’s opinion on their honesty will not be improved if they dishonestly talk down renewables, conservation, and smarter urban design; or if they don’t tell the truth about the ecological impacts of acquiring and burning fossil fuels.

  16. JB,

    I’m not painting it as anything. My respose was to joe’s comment about the wonders of alternative energy in Norway. Since Norway generates over 99% of its electricty from hydroelectric dams, it hardly makes any sense to claim it as some sort of poster case for new energy technologies. It struck me as ironic that the example he chose actually highlights the left’s riding idealogical hobby horses into irrelevance more than anything else.

    As for fishermen opposing the dams, I’ve heard that, but it hardly seems relavent since the main cause of the salmon decline in the NW seems to be overfishing. People ought to be farming fish, not puling them out of the ocean like chimpanzees.

  17. “I know people with wind and solar systems, and you’re all wet on what they can do. For three or four thousand bucks, you can build a combined wind-solar system that generates (depending on the mix of power sources) one or two kilowatts a day. That means most household needs except for air conditioning, if you own a high efficiency fridge and think about avoiding wastage. Even the air conditioning can be handled with an evaporation system, which requires a fraction of the wattage.”

    You could possibly get away with such a system for your home if you like rationing your power input. (You think AC is a power hog, try your average personal computer.) For home power generation I would like to see what we can do with fuel cell technologies.

    However solar and wind can, by no means, effecinetly generate power on the scale necessary to meet the power needs of a large city like New York. That solar cells for instance: You would need 50 square miles of photovoltaic cells to generate 1000 megawatts of electricity. To meet New York’s 7000 + megawatts demand, you would need 350 square miles of solar cells. That’s larger than the area of the entire city!

    (Source: Trashing The Planet; Ray, Dixie Lee; Guzzo, Lou pp. 130)

    This is not to say that such energy sources can’t be used to supplement existing power supplies for small scale power needs, but we can’t depend on them to be the sole source of electrical power. For that you need coal, gas, hydroelectric, or (shudder gasp) nuclear.

  18. Mark S.,

    How old is the book you are qouting from? I know that wind power has gone through at least three generations of innovation in the past six years, for example. The monster turbines being put into the North Sea are an example.

    JDM,

    Because farm-raised fish suck; especially salmon and cod.

    As to what has caused the depletion, the factors are myriad, but over-fishing is not alone the problem. Admittedly for Cod it is the problem (its a typical tragedy of the commons issue), but dams and foresting are more of a concern than fishing regarding the decline of salmon stocks; that and the foolish artificial stocking efforts which have eroded the genetic hardiness of the salmon runs.

  19. The basic problem is that the right is ideologically opposed to wind power; I think this is largely due to the left’s absolute obsession with it. In other words, they are not willing to give it a fair shake because their “enemies” don’t like it.

  20. their “enemies” like it.

  21. I nearly choked on the cheesesteak that I was daintly nibbling on when I read this.

  22. That’s all standard Larry King — leftists appeasing one another’s guilt and views — until the end. The most outrageous thing in the world is Richardson demanding fuel conservation and admitting that he drives an SUV around. It’s a willful double-standard, admitted in plain view. Absurd.

  23. “leftists appeasing one another’s guilt and views — until the end.”

    Yeah…and what they said was technically true and the british still stand behind it…

  24. So, Clinton doesn’t think that the Bush administration sees energy as a national priority? He might be hard pressed to explain Cheney’s speech to the U.S. Energy Association Efficiency Forum two years ago. Here’s an excerpt from the full speech ( >http://www.whitehouse.gov/vicepresident/news-speeches/speeches/vp20010613.html ):

    “The report we issued last month presented more than 100 recommendations covering virtually the entire range of concerns that face the American people. One of the concerns, obviously, is the aging power grid and the growing problem that we have in getting electricity from the power plant to the light switch. It’s clear that we must upgrade and expand the power grid. If we put more connections in place, we’ll go a long way towards avoiding future blackouts. Another broad aim is to increase energy supplies from diverse sources; from oil and gas, renewables, coal, hydro and nuclear. This is the kind of balanced approach we think is essential if we’re going to meet the country’s energy needs down the road and take care of many of our other concerns, especially with respect to the environment.”

  25. If they were serious, Scott, they wouldn’t hold commonsense measures with broad support in Congress hostage to ideological hobbyhorses like ANWR drilling.

  26. The best part was the very end: “And I think Governor Davis bit the bullet and made his energy situation a lot better.” He sure did! Without Governor Davis’ valiant efforts, California might have had huge price increases and rolling blackouts! Just imagine!

  27. I’m still amazed at how they cannot see that its the very regulations they worship which causes infrastructures to be outdated………

  28. Joe,

    It is fundamentally incorrect to use “Congress” and “commonsense” in the same sentence, unless it is a sentence like this one.

    To which “commonsense” measures are you referring, and, since you used the plural, which idealogical hobbbyhorses (other than the aforementioned ANWR drilling)?

  29. “When I was Secretary of Energy, I went around the country warning this could happen.”
    Exactly what was his reason for doing absolutely nothing?

  30. Yeah, only a nut would try to solve energy problems by taking advantage of known energy reserves in a snowy wasteland.

  31. AAAAAAAAAAgh

    Make it stop!

    Couldn’t finish it…I think my head would have exploded if I did.

  32. I went 8? hrs without electricity last night. I sorely missed my A/C.

    Why should private electric generation companies build more infrastructure when government energy efficiency is being imposed? Unlike oil, there’s no good way to store electric generation that is not currently in use. Government should get out of the efficiency business, and let the market roll.

    As citizens, in every sense of the word, we should be burning the juice, putting demands on the system, until the system is resized for our demand, and for future demands. Does anyone doubt our electrical needs will increase over time? My dad’s house had 40 amp service, my condo has 150 amps.

  33. It’s inaccurate to lump all hydroelectric power sources together. Big, old fashioned hydro plants do more environmental damage than they prevent, but small hydro causes much less disturbance.

    Hydro, solar, wind and geothermal applications have, for the right, the same hippie stink as marijuana. I don’t why they ended up in the middle of the culture wars (probably because culture warriors get so much money from fossil fuel interests), but the opposition to them from poeple who should know better is something to see.

  34. Mark S.,

    You’re right that solar and wind power can’t supply the current level of energy consumption. The point I’d make is that current consumption is a lot higher than it would be on a free market. Since the consumption of energy and resources is subsidized, the current system encourages economic actors to use them much more extensively than they would under a free market system where consumers had to pay the real costs of what they consumed. Private consumers and industry would be making much more intensive use of energy and resource inputs if they were not subsidized. People always use less of what they have to pay for themselves; my landlord pays my water bill, so I’m not nearly as careful about shutting off the water while brushing my teeth and things like that as I would be if I were paying it.

  35. Jean Bart, do you understand what even goes on in a free market (I know you are from France or somewhere, so I guess that’s a rhetorical question)?

    Anyway, if windpower payed off, people would have windmills all over their property. It doesn’t matter who is “against it” or “for it” What the heck does that mean? If it works, it’ll be in use, if it doesn’t it won’t (without government projects or handouts). It’s not high-tech engineering like nukes, with the exception of a really fancy electronic control system if you want that.

    Right now, windmills can generate enough to power a house, but only out in the country (i.e. enough land for your set-up) where there is a lot of wind (plains states), and it’s probably way more than 4 grand. You need storage too, as even in windy places, it’s mostly calm once the sun is down. You could supplement your utility power, I grant you.

    Same with solar power: Were the price of oil $100/barrel today (just guessing) and coal and natural gas 5x higher, it may compete very well, but it doesn’t now.

    How do I know that?? Cause it’s not in use, dummy! Why don’t you set up your own systems, Jean and Joe, but let us know what your capital and operating costs will be before you get started. We don’t want Reason to be sued for steering you wrong.

    Come on, y’all!

  36. Aah! Fresh meat. Young, tender ones that actually believe in the free market. I’ve been looking for new suckers.

  37. “dams and foresting are more of a concern than fishing regarding the decline of salmon stocks”

    From what I’ve read, the overfishing is far and away the main problem. Obviously there are many factors. There is a lot of bad research on every environmental issue that supports the anti-humanity crowd.

    “The basic problem is that the right is ideologically opposed to wind power”

    “Its hardly the manichean issue that you paint it as.”

  38. Some pertinent facts:

    The combustion of a single carbon atom (e.g., from coal-burning) yields about 30 electron-volts of energy. The fissioning of a single uranium or plutonium atom yields about 200 MILLION electron-volts. This 7 million-fold advantage is the attraction of nuclear power in a nutshell. Because of this and the known crustal uranium abundance, it is estimated that there is enough uranium to supply the world with energy at the current consumption level for many thousands of years — and that is if we don’t re-process spent fuel. If we do, and we use the plutonium created in the fuel, there is enough for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of years. Our entire fossil reserves are on the order of hundreds of years (predominantly coal).

    Because of the huge power density advantage mentioned above, it takes WAY more trucks & rail cars to supply a coal plant than it does a NPP. Here in WV, those trucks are allowed to run up to 60 tons (a terrifying sight when bearing down on you on a narrow, two lane country highway and drifting over the centerline!). By subsidizing the trucking industry by undercharging for the use of roads, we in turn greatly subsidize the coal power industry (this is never included in any stats I’ve seen). Even so, it is the CAPITAL cost of a NPP that makes it less competitive that coal. Once this is amortized, the production costs go way down — NPP operating costs run about a third of a fossil plant. Nuclear will become much more competitive in the near future because so many plants are being re-licensed, with their capital costs already paid during the first licensure term.

    Solar energy bathes the earth with an intensity of just under 1400 watts per square meter — at the top of the atmosphere, at the equator, at noon, on the equinox. Everywhere else on the globe, the amount of energy received is less. Nevertheless, sunlight is inexhaustible for all intents and purposes, and free. Current photovoltaic technologies range in efficiency between 10 and 15 percent (although a new technology is being reported that claims 36%).

    The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has spent more research dollars than the offices of Fossil Energy; Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology; and Fusion Energy COMBINED over the past decade. Renewables account for about 10% of US energy production (mostly hydro-electric, and most of THAT from the Grand Coulee).

    Finally, a comment, or rather , a question. Is it me, or is the word “manichean” being overused? Do the users even know who Mani was?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought;)

  39. Jean Bart –

    Manes is merely a Latinized version of Mani, which is the more common modern transliteration from sanskrit.

  40. Jean Bart –

    The French track record re: waste disposal is hardly uncontroversial.

    Wind power in denmark has been heavily subsidized by its government [though not for much longer]. Most American population centers, unlike the cities of Northern Europe, are far away from open coastline.

  41. Jean Bart,

    I believe it’s you who does not understand my point: Ideology has not a dang thing to do with whether wind power is cost effective, hence has nothing to do with whether it is in use.

    I happen to be a Mechanical Engineer. My ideology is libertarian, which you (and others who can’t tell their asses from holes in the ground) may consider “right-wing”. As an engineer, I am for wind power when it pays, and against it when it doesn’t pay. We cannot “make up the money in volume”, as they say. Right now, for most US locations, especially urban and suburban, it does not pay vs. electricity generated by coal, natural gas, and yes nukes – I have no problem with nuclear power.

    What does “techics of wind power” mean, BTW?

    Also, there are pros and cons of both nuclear waste storage methods you mentioned. It depends very much on whether you are writing about low or high level waste. You mention “neutralizing” [sic] the waste. What the F? It’s not an acid or a base. It has a half-life, and there’s nothing you, I, Dubya, or even whoever the hell is the President of France can about that. Neutralize, my lily white ass! What do you know about it, really, Jean?

  42. Joe, obviously a large proportion [around half] of the US populace lives near SOME manner of coastline; this doesnt mean they live near places well sited for wind power. The Gulf Coast and much of the florida coastline is ineligible due to hurricane strikes and (in the case of florida) low wind speed. West Coast shoreline is too ; the Great Lakes freeze over in wintertime. The best sites for wind power in the US are off Mass. and the mid-atlantic coast, but there again NIMBYism trumps environmentalism as the case in Cape Cod demonstrates.

  43. correction to last post — “west coast shoreline is too deep” — all along the pacific coast, sharp dropoffs occur too close to shore to permit wind farm installation.

  44. correction to last post — “west coast shoreline is too deep” — all along the pacific coast, sharp dropoffs occur too close to shore to permit wind farm installation.

  45. Joe — the US does not directly underwrite US oil projects. Greenpeace claims the entire military budget in the persian gulf as a ‘subsidy,’ along with interest on the SPR. the danish subsidies have taken the form of direct government capital susidies of 30+% and gov.-mandated wind energy purchases by danish utilities. Even under those conditions it accounts for less than 20% of their total power supply, a figure sure to diminish with the recent repeal of subisidies.

  46. Jimmy writes, “As an engineer, I am for wind power when it pays, and against it when it doesn’t pay. We cannot “make up the money in volume”, as they say. Right now, for most US locations, especially urban and suburban, it does not pay vs. electricity generated by coal, natural gas, and yes nukes – I have no problem with nuclear power.”

    Your free market rhetoric ignores the pollution externalities of fossil fuels, and the subsidies those fuels have recieved, and continue to receive. Wind pays, if you count fairly.

    Alex writes, “Most American population centers, unlike the cities of Northern Europe, are far away from open coastline.” Within the top 10 North American population centers one will find New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston and Miami, along with Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, New Orleans, Norfolk/Vinginia Beach (major military center), Tampa, Ft. Myers, etc etc etc.

  47. Joe,

    Who will do the counting, Joe? Uncle Sam, I suppose. Pollution credits were invented by the Reagan administration (I think) and are a good idea. I that’s what you had in mind, OK, count the pollution, but keep in mind that’s being done now to some degree. Lots of money has been spent on scrubbers in the stacks of coal plants, and yet these plants are still waaay more cost effective than a wind farm.

    Also, Joe, I know this country very well. You DON’T get a lot of wind in any of the cities you mentioned (though, you are right in your point these big cities are near the ocean is well taken). You gotta have consistent winds of 15 to 20 knots through large parts of the day, through large parts of the year to make a windmill pay for itself. That’s why the plains states are decent candidates.

    If you notice the places in America that have some large scale wind farms – Altamonte, CA, and I believe somewhere in So. Calif in the desert – these are pretty specialized locations that are not right at urban centers. This means a lot of transmission lines must be built. Gas-fired plants can be built anywhere.

    Tell me what subsidies conventional energy sources receive (vs. Wind and Solar tax credits!!, excuse me).

  48. Jean Bart-

    This story speaks volumes about the left’s commitment to clean energy. NIMBY-ism goes great with ecological sanctimony.

  49. Mr. Antley,

    None of what you’ve written undermines my point – the right (and by this I mean its ideological clerics) is ideologically opposed to windpower no matter how cost-effective it is. Something about the technics of wind power does not fit your moronic thought patterns apparently; or rather it does not fit in the paradigm which you’ve created regarding the production of electricity.

    As to “setting up” wind farms and the like, Europe has already done this. Which is why 20% of Denmark’s electrical consumption comes from sea-based wind farms; Germany rolls in around 5%. You need to read more. 🙂

    As to France, well, we aren’t the scared little monkeys that Americans are concerning nuclear power or nuclear storage either. From what I understand of the American plan, it proposes to bury and *leave* the waste underground. In France, we propose to store in such a fashion it can be retrieved if a ever a methodology of further re-using the spent fuel (its already re-used at least once) or neutralizing it ever is created.

    Mark A.,

    A manichean is a believer in dualism, generally the religious or philosophical variety. I learned the term in highschool, but as we are dealing with Americans here, I can see your skepticism about their intelligence. BTW, the man’s name was “Manes,” not Mani. I guess you must be an American as well. 🙂

    Manes was a 3rd Century CE Persian philosopher; he claimed that the universe was built on a dualism in which “light” is regarded as the essence or source of God and “darkness” is the essence or source of evil. Later historical revivals of beliefs related to Manicheanism include such people as the Albigensians (Cathars), who Pope Innocent III sent a crusader army against in the 13th century.

  50. I wasn’t trying to site wind farms, just dispute the assertion that the US’s geography makes us unsuited for wind power.

    The US military budget may not be intended as a subsidy for oil companies, but it keeps getting used that way. If one energy source requires regular military involvement, with an attendant cost in blood and treasure, and another does not, it is fair to say that the first is dumping costs on the public.

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