Comments Posted By Darren
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I wouldn't say the 2006 Congress has done nothing.

Nancy Pelosi had a plan in 2006 to lower gasoline prices.

One worldwide economic panic and recession later, I believe she can check that one off the list.

Comment Posted By Darren On 3.11.2008 @ 17:41

I wish I were as sanguine, Mr. Moran. Lay your Eyore burden on me and let me carry it for a paragraph or three.

Americans as sodbusters and river-forders is something to be proud of, no doubt. Our nation was built by people who looked to the horizon, rather than over their shoulders to the government. This is all good, the memes and themes are there for those of us who remember them and are inspired by them. But even the 'final frontier' as described by science fiction has been breached for the last 40 years. There isn't a lot of room left to expand into, so now rather than filling in the blank spaces in our national maps more and more of us are having to learn to live with each other.

People don't look to the far horizon anymore. They look to the end of the block, or to the end of the week. A sizable portion apparently can't see the horizon beyond the Capitol Dome and rely on the people inside to tell them that there is a horizon and it's wonderful, and they'll keep telling you stories about it if you'll keep them in the Dome. Bringing up the questing, seeking nature of our forbearers only makes our current situation seem all the more petty, because it elides almost a century of federally-mandated Nerfdom.

My ancestors crossed the Appalachians with Daniel Boone. They had the food that would fit in their wagon, the shot and powder in their stores, and lots of hope. Their outcome would be at the tails of human experience -- greatness or death. They fought wilderness, weather, disease, hunger, a hundred other things that don't penetrate the plastic wrap of our lives.

By comparison, the biggest near-term challenges I forsee -- keeping my 401k out of the hands of Barney Frank, and my firearms out of Chuck Schumer's furnace -- are by comparison petty, and that's being generous. While it's inspiring to point to our history and say that we're all about change, the rapid change in field of view from the far tails of human experience to the very middle of the homogenized, middle-standard-deviation-of-the-Bell-curve and the few percent of real change that is likely to occur one way or the other is jarring.

Now this is just me personally, but don't drag out my ancestors breaking trails and shooting bears unless we're going to lift our sights a bit and really try to change things. Find another way to tell me it's all going to be better, and save the pioneers and the men of Omaha Beach for when we need to raise the Black Flag in earnest. This four years will suck if Obama is elected. My best hope is that the fratricide of making Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama agree on the details of anything will function, along with the GOP House remnant, as a de-facto opposition party. The Senate will most likely not go to a filibuster-proof majority, but there are only so many times the GOP can go to the filibuster well.

If you're going to give me a historical reference, give me the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, or Rorke's Drift. In the wilderness, but not cowed and not surrendering to the tender mercies of your opponents. Dig in, hold out, remember what you believe and wait for the left to implode. They might not realize it, but they are just human, like the GOP reformers in 1994 were.

We're just two years and one day away from the next House and Senate elections. And if the GOP should win the House and/or Senate again, remind them why they're there, and what they screwed up the last time. I can send them a list if they need one.

Comment Posted By Darren On 3.11.2008 @ 13:13



I think Rick is referring to the computer, not the Internet. Specifically he referred to the integrated circuit, a product of Fairchild and TI.


Coal is not as deadly as asbestos in and of itself, and it's much easier to deal with for a variety of physical reasons than asbestos.

What is most assuredly deadly, though, is the variety of things that occur when our society, accustomed to ubiquitous electricity, is suddenly deprived. We don't live in the most temperate part of the planet and it gets exceptionally cold at times and warm at others, either extreme can kill. What will really start filling graves is something like foodborne illness, which could come from inadequate refrigeration, or waterborne illness from improperly treated drinking water.

You are blithely ignoring real threats and cowering in front of imaginary ones, at least in the short-term. Nobody here wants to see coal plants still in operation 100 years from now, but just because the political will exists to see something done does not mean it immediately becomes physically or fiscally real. This is part of the problem with the political expediency of throwing money at difficulties, it breeds the expectation that throwing money always works. Seeing as it doesn't even work in the social sciences, trying it on the physical end is even more doomed to failure.

There's also the issue that nitrogen trifluoride, used in the production of photovoltaic solar panels as well as most semiconductor electronics, is a wicked greenhouse gas. More solar panels, more NF3, more greenhouse effect, if you believe in that sort of thing.


Comment Posted By Darren On 3.11.2008 @ 17:56

Chuck Tucson,

More FUD from you. Enron Corporation already provided that for us.

Enron simply took advantage of the silliness of California's government making stupid rules. California utilities could only by electricity on the spot market, day-to-day, and could not sign long-term contracts.

Kaiser Aluminum in the Pacific Northwest had wisely signed a long-term electrical contract. The summer of the brownouts the difference between spot markets and long-term contracts got so bad that Kaiser shut down their smelters -- they could make more money selling their contracted allotment of power to California than they could using it to make aluminum. The California electricity deregulation scheme was practically designed to fail, and if you can make a buck breaking a system then someone will. This is human nature.


Thanks for your words. Nukes and coal, with coal to get us to where we have enough nukes, wind and solar as they come along.

Wind and solar advocates misunderstand the difference between evolutionary and revolutionary changes. You can make incremental improvements in technology, but it takes time and money. Revolutionary changes can't be predicted and can't be bought. IMO, it will take a revolutionary change in solar affordability and efficiency before we can really start taking homes off the coal-fired grid. Wind works, but not generally in the places where you need the power, and not all the time -- so you have to spend a fortune in transmission costs and power-buffering battery or flywheel systems that aren't even in production yet.

Why am I not surprised that the Obama campaign logo is contains so much blue sky? It is simply a visual reflection of the rhetoric.

Revolutionary changes can’t be predicted and can’t be bought.

Precisely. The government modestly invested in the idea of computers back in the 1940's and 50's. But it took a private laboratory - Bell Labs - to come up with the silicon chip. And it was two guys working out of a garage that invented a computer for the home that everyone could use.

Who woulda thunk it? Not some government bureaucrat that's for sure.

Comment Posted By Darren On 3.11.2008 @ 11:39

I love how the carbon tax plan is supposed to bankrupt coal plants, but at the same time generate billions of dollars in taxes to support alternative energy. Why do people who propose these things never think beyond the first iteration, and assume static behavior?

The simple thing to do is for the coal-fired generating companies to either a) pass along the carbon-tax costs to ratepayers (who will be none too pleased), or b) slow down power production dramatically. If PUCs say that power companies can't pass on the costs, they will have little to no choice but to cut back on power production.

At that point we will find out that the term 'brownout' has been a racist slur all along.

There is always the possibility that all this is a rope-a-dope to make us fear how bad things could possibly be under an Obama Administration, with the idea that when they aren't that bad we might join the bandwagon. I would actually be happier if this were the case, but my fear is that Barack Obama actually means these things. He actually believes that if we can make solar generation work at 15c/kWh we can sell it to the Chinese to replace the coal that costs them 6c/kWh or less. He actually believes that the European countries will spend another 1% of their GDP on defense so they can actually be field-effective for peacekeeping, simply because they like him. Sophistication in an opponent I can appreciate, but arrogance simply does not bode well.

I think Mr Obama is going to be disappointed frequently, while events will probably continue to meet my incredibly low expectations.

Comment Posted By Darren On 2.11.2008 @ 12:19


A "rush" to war? Assuming the start point for discussions was September 11, 2001, we didn't invade Iraq until early 2003--over 18 months later.

Slowest rush I've ever seen.

Comment Posted By Darren On 1.06.2008 @ 22:18


The FISA court itself ruled in 2002 that the President has inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information and hence the FISA law could not restrict this authority. See the bottom of page 11 of the case In Re Sealed Case at

Comment Posted By Darren On 7.02.2006 @ 14:17

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