Obama’s green push: Houston, we have a problem

President Barack Obama’s lackluster national address Tuesday provoked as many questions as it answered. Here’s mine:

Why the moon landing?

Why did our hippest president ever — the president who wields his own BlackBerry and who ran campaign ads against his 2008 opponent for not being tech-savvy — try to summon our national gumption for a “mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny” in energy by referring to something that happened four decades ago?

The past 40 years have given us the microprocessor, Google, cloned sheep, myriad lifesaving drugs, the iPod — wonders even to those who witnessed the moon landing.

But the generation Obama called upon isn’t old enough to have anticipated or watched Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind. We grew up in an era when our ability to pull off such a feat was already proven.

Obama may as well have evoked the Bell telephone. Except that, unlike moon landings, we still make phone calls (wirelessly now, natch). Except that modern marvels have built upon Bell’s feat, leaving more than a legacy program that’s spent billions while atrophying.

And except that the new technologies of the past 40 years flowed primarily from the decentralized decisions and creativity of private enterprise, not the government’s single-minded focus.

Obama’s model for innovation is stuck in the 1960s. He wants this mission and, unless his professed openness to other ideas is truer now than amid the health care debate, he wants government to lead it.

Never mind that the feds, with their experts and 30,000 personnel and other resources Obama mentioned, couldn’t beat the floating oil slick to the Gulf’s beaches with four weeks’ notice. Now it’s going to direct an efficient overhaul of energy that would touch nearly every segment of our economy?

Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank described the impulse last week, telling Young Democrats, “You can reach out to your fellow young people and make it clear … that when they may not be satisfied with everything we’ve done — we’re not satisfied with everything we’ve done. The way to cure that is to give us more authority and more ability.” (My italics.)

(As for the apparent irony of conservatives complaining about government inaction in the Gulf: It’s not that I and others on the right suddenly want big government when crises hit. It’s that the big government we already have has been impotent. We’re not asking for more government. We’re asking, Why the $*#& do we pay taxes if it’s not to act at times like this?)

More authority and more ability: That’s what Obama’s mission sounds like.

It’s become chic among some liberals to dream disturbingly about letting Obama have — just for a day, mind you — a Beijing-like, unaccountable authority to order broad changes in sectors like energy.

But unaccountable authority isn’t enough. What China also has is the cash to afford some mistakes while subsidizing new, unproven technologies. Even if everyone wanted the king-for-a-day Obama of liberal fantasies, we couldn’t afford his royal prerogatives because we already spent the money on other liberal fantasies.

The oil spill may well generate some public sentiment for new energy policy. But not for an economy-wrecking cap and trade plan, favored by the likes of BP, that was written and shelved long before the spill.

What we can afford is conservation — i.e., spending less money. But we can’t spend billions more tax dollars on cash for clunkers or caulkers. If Americans really want to reduce our energy use, we should be able to do it without taxpayer-funded programs. We should be able to do it without Obama’s moonshot.

127 comments Add your comment

dougmo2

June 16th, 2010
7:47 pm

1st, I’m so proud.

Mr. T

June 16th, 2010
8:38 pm

obama =loser

oldtimer

June 16th, 2010
8:42 pm

Kyle..Well written.

Grumpy

June 16th, 2010
8:49 pm

Why the moon landing? Because at the time the proclamation was so bold, so daring, so unbelievable…it reflected Kennedy’s belief in the greatness of this nation.

It is entirely fair to frame our current goal in the same light. Sadly, today this nation hasn’t got what it takes to accomplish such a mission.

Willie

June 16th, 2010
8:59 pm

We have a massive oil spill and Obama’s resonse is to build windmills and raise taxes.
For the Obamacrats more government, lots more government is ALWAYS the answer to everything.

Algonquin j. Calhoun

June 16th, 2010
8:59 pm

Why the $*#& do we pay taxes if it’s not to act at times like this?)

Your concern for the beaches and marsh lands is laudable. Were you calling for government action when New Orleans was in ruin? Did you lambaste sorry ole Bush when he did a fly-over? Did you lament the lack of action to save lives by the Republican administration? By the way, the idea of going back to the moon was offered up by George W. Bush in 2004. He stated he envisioned a permanent base on the moon and wanted an exploration of Mars. This while we were being bled dry by his idiotic war in Iraq. Also, Bush gave billions to crooked, and failed, financial institutions to bail them out. Citi was bailed out on a weekend when no one could do anything about it. As usual, your criticism of President Obama is that of a partisan hack!

Rev. Menthol Shatbat

June 16th, 2010
9:03 pm

Cowpie(Calhoun)

Kyle wasn’t writing for the AJC during the years that you mentioned.

joan1

June 16th, 2010
9:11 pm

Obama’s eyes are bigger than his stomach. This country is so deeply in debt we are going to be coming up like Greece, Spain and Portugal. It is getting so bad, that perhaps we will actually see another American revolution in our time. We pay our taxes, lots of them, and are asked to pay more. We see our taxes pis..d off on bailouts for companies and people who have done nothing to help themselves, we are asked to pay more. We see our healthcare taken over by the same government who can’t regulate banks or oil producers. And we are asked to trust?? Give me a break. This administration needs someone intelligent and common sensical in it. Something those ivy league wonks and chicago politicians will never be.

Peter Haskett

June 16th, 2010
9:21 pm

“We’re not asking for more government. We’re asking, Why the $*#& do we pay taxes if it’s not to act at times like this?)”

Kyle, the taxes we are paying fund, more than any “liberal fantasy”, the Reagan war on drugs, the conservative bankruptcy bill, and the failed military escapades left unfinished by Bush, just to name 3 off the top of my head.

Conservatives hate small government. That’s why more laws were passed in the last 40 years than any other period in US history. The result is the US has more prisoners than any country in the world and our military spending is more than every other country combined.

Conservatives hate private innovation. That’s why they have steadfastly refused to do anything that might encourage people to find changes in our energy sources or modes of transportation.

Conservatives are among the US slave-owner class. They think the function of government is to give our corporations the lowest-priced labor in the world. That is and remains the Conservative agenda.

Where’s the “faith based initiative” money? Wouldn’t it be nice to have all that war on drugs money?

And furthermore, you state “The past 40 years have given us the microprocessor, Google, cloned sheep, myriad lifesaving drugs, the iPod — wonders even to those who witnessed the moon landing.”
Without conservative protectionism for huge corporate profits we might have an operating system that works better than Windows.

Before the moon landing, “liberal” government initiatives brought us pasteurization, antibiotics, a CURE for measles, a CURE for polio, the airplane, the car, air conditioning, and high wages for workers, creating the largest middle class in world history … I’d also like to point out that the “myriad life saving drugs” are treatments, not cures. Conservatives have no desire to cure, only treat. Remember Terry Scaivo?

Conservative politics, on the other hand, brought us the Dred Scott decision and segregation, the Great Depression, McCarthyism, the 60s assassinations, Nixon & Watergate, the continuing war on drugs, 9/11, a monopoly on healthcare through the pharmaceutical companies, and monopolies on transportation and energy through the auto-petroleum-highway complex, which includes BP.

I’m sorry that a Republican wasn’t president when the US put a man on the moon, or for that matter, when the US won a war. But you should consider that since the moon landing, conservative politicians have used the technology to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to launch spy-satellites that couldn’t even save us from a handful of students with box-cutters. Students from a country where BP is one of the largest businesses, BTW.

If Bush was prez, he’d be using our national debt to pay BP execs’ bonuses while his supporters blamed the BP negligence on gay people.

Bill

June 16th, 2010
9:27 pm

Kyle,

You are an idiot!! You have no appreciation of the technological achievement of landing a man on the moon. At the beginning of the decade, we did not even have the elements of the technology required to make that happen. At the end of the decade, we made it happen.

At the beginning of this decade, we do not have the elements to make energy independence happen. If we follow the same formula, we can make it happen. We really are that good!!

Idiots like you will keep it from happening. Shame on your small-minded, myopic vision of what the future could hold just because “we cannot trust government”.

YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT. I am really embarrassed for the AJC that they have someone with your intellect on the editorial board. YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT.

Regards,

willbrad

June 16th, 2010
10:35 pm

Peter, Peter, Peter,

Such anger!! You forgot to mention how conservatives want to kill all the baby seals and take away everyone’s social security!

Turn off MSNBC and open your eyes! You might actually learn something….

Rev. Menthol Shatbat

June 16th, 2010
10:39 pm

“YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT. I am really embarrassed for the AJC that they have someone with your intellect on the editorial board. YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT.”

Kyle, you know you’ve won the debate when the left wingers resort to name calling. Keep it up!

ghengis kahn

June 16th, 2010
10:47 pm

Bill,

You’re just like Obama. You talk some vague stuff about technology saving us. Got news for ya. Windmills and solar panels aint gonna get it done. It just isn’t. Sorry dude but it is what it is.

Now we could go to the electric car. They now have electric prototypes that can hit the magic 400 mile mark before needing recharging. At that point they would be feasible. But now we need enormous power to charge these electric battery cars. Only one clean energy source can do that and that is nuclear power. And guess what- Nuke power used to be clean, cheap, and was always safe in this country. Till the left wing tree huggers made it so expensive to build them with a series of frivolous lawsuits that we haven’t built one in 30+ years.

The liberals and left wingers will always try to find some type of way to stop us from succeeding. Why? Cause like the scorpion in the story of the scorpion and the frog-its in their nature.

Kyle Wingfield

June 16th, 2010
10:52 pm

Calhoun: I think plenty of conservatives asked my same question during the Katrina aftermath. It was not a proud moment in American history.

Haskett: I’m not sure where to begin, so how about this: A Republican *was* president when we first landed on the moon…not that that detail really matters. I’m not sure how liberal policies led the Wright brothers to fly the first airplane or cured polio (Salk worked for a private charity) or gave us air conditioning (which a private businessman invented in its modern form). But I’m not sure from your writing that you’re very interested in facts.

Bill: It has nothing to do with appreciating the achievement of landing on the moon. It has to do with why, more than four decades later, that should be our model. We don’t have an extra 4 percent of GDP (what we spent on NASA during the 1960s…more than $500 billion a year in today’s economy) available for publicly funded energy experimentation. We don’t have a fraction of that just lying around. Maybe we did before the TARP, the stimulus, Fannie and Freddie, GM and Chrysler, ObamaCare, and, yes, Iraq and Afghanistan. But we don’t now.

Kyle Wingfield

June 16th, 2010
10:57 pm

ghengis: Some good points. Let me add this one: If electric cars ever come into wide usage, it won’t only require the batteries (and the minerals needed to make them) and the additional generating capacity. It will require changing out transformers across the country, because the ones we have now couldn’t handle the sudden surge in demand that would come with 2-3 electric cars on a given street starting to charge at the same time.

vuduchld

June 16th, 2010
11:03 pm

Kyle
As each day passes you and the other members of the “flat earth society” become more and more irrelevent I saw the President’s speech last night and given the gravity of the present situtation this certainly wans’t the time for boasting and theatre, but people like you can’t grasp that because you’re too inexperienced and clueless to see the difference.

What President Obama did last night was to explain to all of us with open minds(sans you) that now is the time to seize the moment. Yes, THE speech was similar in a lot of ways to President Carter’s speech during the energy crisis of the late 1970s, but it goes to show you that we haven’t learned a thing. Here we are more than 3 decades later and we’re still fiddling, like Nero did when Rome burned.

I know it’s hard for people with limited intelligence like you to understand what our President was conveying because you and your do nothing cohorts are the problem, not the solution. The only idea you people had was “drill baby drill”, with no safegaurds or back up plan and now we’re suppose to think that idiots like you and others have an answer.

All you conservatives EVER have been about is chaos, death and destruction. Everytime the reins are given to you and your ilk disaster comes. You people should be in charge of NOTHING because all you ever do is FAIL. So, why should we listen to idiots like you, you have nothing!

Like I have said time and again, you too inexperienced and clueless to talk or have an opinion about anything, so do yourself and others a favor – SHUT UP!!!!!

BullyButt

June 16th, 2010
11:08 pm

@Wingfield.
You don’t listen (or read) very well. Haskett stated when we “put” a man on the moon, meaning making the push the get us up there through policy, research and investment. Not HAPPENING to be in the room when someone else hits the Lotto, that doesn’t make YOU millionaire. You didn’t pick the numbers (LOL).

@willbrad.
I personally see no “anger” in Haskett, only a series of arguments supported by statement of many FACTS that you could not personally refute. So, what did you do?? Launch an ad hominem attack coupled with hyperbole (as defined in the study of Rhetoric). Nothing undermines one’s argument position like having to resort to such a tactic. (LMAO)

willbrad

June 16th, 2010
11:29 pm

@Bully,

I like to keep my comments short…I could dispute just about every ridiculous “FACT” that Mr. Haskett claims, but I generally choose to spend my time on productive activities rather than whining on blogs.

BRICK TAMLIN

June 17th, 2010
1:47 am

LOUD NOISES!

Gordon

June 17th, 2010
6:34 am

I want to step back from the debate and just say that on this blog (at least on this day and up to this point), both sides at least try to stick to facts and stay away from name calling. Neither is 100% successful, but reading this blog is so much more entertaining that Bookman or Tucker.

We have serious problems that deserve serious debate. America is now too poor to waste time calling each other names. We need to solve problems, and that only occurs if people can remember that while debating issues in which they have an emotional investment. Anyone who cares about this country should have exactly that on most of the issues that are discussed here.

Uncle Billy

June 17th, 2010
6:38 am

Is this a food fight? BP did, after the President prodded, agree to put up $20 billion. Is that nothing? Is rooting for the home team all that matters? Disgusting.

Gerald West

June 17th, 2010
7:37 am

Obama’s model for innovation is based on imagination, science, and engineering: all those things that once made us a prosperous people and the envy of the world. He is trying to whip up a little enthusiasm for progress among a population of cynical old people and fat, lazy young people whose only interests are video games, vampire movies, and improbable sexual fantasies.

How dare our president suggest lifting our vision from present-day problems to the future! Probably, he’s just whipping a dead horse: present-day Americans are bent on pulling our nation apart and pushing it backward. Our university students study business administration, law, and anything else that does not involve brain-taxing math or science. Our incompetent monopoly-bound enterprises produce one catastrophe after another: a financial blow-out here, a colossal oil spill there, plenty of poisoned food in between. Yet our politicians are “divided” when it comes to clean up or prevention.

Heaven forbid that we should “come together” like China, where the GDP grows by 8-10% per year, where trillions of dollars are poured into education and infrastructure for the future, where half the future engineers of the world are being educated, where music conservatories have more students than all of Europe and North America combined, where employment, income, and profit rise inexorably.

Yes, Kyle, let’s just muddle along. We can point with pride to our accomplishments of the past.(Once, we could put men on the moon!) We can count on illegal immigrants to grow and harvest our food. We can count on the Islamic states to satisfy our energy needs. We can count on Asia to provide our manufactured goods. We can depend on Europe to provide high-tech innovations, fashion, and luxury goods. We have the Fox commentators and local “conservative” columnists to cheer us on the path to decline and oblivion.

Is that “conservative” enough for you?

A toast to Gordon

June 17th, 2010
7:44 am

Amen Gordon!

“We have serious problems that deserve serious debate. America is now too poor to waste time calling each other names. We need to solve problems, and that only occurs if people can remember that while debating issues in which they have an emotional investment. Anyone who cares about this country should have exactly that on most of the issues that are discussed here.”

And the issues are:

Energy – for Transportation – weaning ourselves off of oil to electric/natural gas/ hydrogen etc. a good idea for a joint public / private initiative; Positive impacts – environmental ( battery challenges), foreign policy, and more
Energy – for home and industrial use – Go Nuclear! with solar and wind supporting; and scub the you know what out of coal emissions.
Energy – Gulf of Mexico – The spill is bigger than the office of the president or US Government – it is going to take a lot of help from the private sector BP, local communities (that depend on the oil companies for jobs), and time. We need to re-evaluate our oil drilling policy and Energy Policy vis a vis the environmental and larger economic risks.

Foreign Policy – we can’t yet need to be involved globally – how do we pay for it?
Related Foreign Wars – How do we pay for it?

Immigration – Reagan had it right – this country is what it is for our open arms to new immigrants; update the process, and provide a path for those that are deserving.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – Time to quit worrying about how good the Chinese, Germans or whoever does it – we can do it better – Reinvest in America

Public Private Partnerships – the partnership between local government, its federal delegation and a an engaged private sector with strong leadership is what helps economies hum.

hotlanta

June 17th, 2010
7:49 am

Why are people who are talking about clean air and all of this stuff have air conditoned cars and homes. Ask a homeless person about the enviroment they are in it 24/7. If the Conservatives don’t like big government they need to quit their post to make it a smaller government.

Rev. Menthol Shatbat

June 17th, 2010
7:57 am

“As each day passes you and the other members of the “flat earth society” become more and more irrelevent I saw the President’s speech last night and given the gravity of the present situtation this certainly wans’t the time for boasting and theatre, but people like you can’t grasp that because you’re too inexperienced and clueless to see the difference.”

Huh, for someone to claim that other people are “flat Earth people” you sure have poor grammar/spelling skills.

Rev. Menthol Shatbat

June 17th, 2010
7:59 am

“I know it’s hard for people with limited intelligence like you”

LOL! You can’t even spell or put a coherent sentence together and here you calling other people dumb.

“All you conservatives EVER have been about is chaos, death and destruction.’

Please explain because left wingers love killing babies. Oh, and if you bring up “war” you might need a kick in the face since we are STILL in two wars. Obama has yet to close Gitmo and bring home any troops.

“Like I have said time and again, you too inexperienced and clueless to talk or have an opinion about anything, so do yourself and others a favor – SHUT UP!!!!!”

Retard much?

Horrible Horrace

June 17th, 2010
8:30 am

The only positive I see out of this entire oil leak mess is that finally the message has come home. That message being “Obama doenst have a clue about much of anything and he is pretty much finished”.

Stay tuned…The lame duck session begins in Nov 2010!!

nelsonhoward

June 17th, 2010
8:31 am

Wind power, the endlessly renewable source of clean energy. This is the future. One “Nacelle” wind turbine can produce enough enegy to provide the needs for 750,000 homes. This is one turbine. It has a large “foot print” requiring 100 acres to construct. It however, will produce a kilowatt hour for 3.5 cents, far less than the cost of energy today. It is surprising, the amount of resistance there is to wind turbines, many see them as not aesthtically pleasing. These people are summer residents that consider them ruinous to the viewshed. With CO2 pollution at monumental levels making it difficult to impossible for some people to breathe, clean energy is paramount. Another contention is, that these turbine will have to be funded with tax dollars. I feel, that if industrial ingenuity cannot bring this wind power to fruition, then forget it. If every new reform has to be funded by the government, then forget it. I read the lead article AGL wants to run a natural gas line to Greene County, destrying or altering the natural environment along the way. What AGl should be promoting is wind power, developing an alternative to CO2 producing, fossil fuels. It is time to take the initative and make the 21st century a healthy time where children can grow and mature as healthy adults as a result of a healthy environment.

Horrible Horrace

June 17th, 2010
8:34 am

Agreed Nelson and if we could have The Goron standing in front of a field of these wind turbines, preaching about PMRC, the internet, climate change, dragons living on Mars, development of undersea bicycles, etc, then the KWatt production would probably drop exponentially.

jarjar

June 17th, 2010
8:34 am

For the record, please no one mistake Kyle as a REAL Conservative. A real conservative doesn’t censor freedom of speech on the assumption someone “hijacked” a Neo-Comms handle to mock them. Kyle is simply the best this dying paper could get to pass off as a Conservative. He’s the David Brooks of this rag. So please, no one mistake this clown for a real Conservative. Conservatives actually celebrate freedom of speech and do not censor people’s voices.

That is all.

Peter

June 17th, 2010
8:48 am

Kyle your “Small Thinking” is part of the over all Republican thinking…..

Starting Wars is good to Republican’s because they like to Kill to make money. War as it has been written many times over is Good for the Economy, by your bloggers on the Right.

Creating infrastructure and creating Green energy is bad, because that is the one area, Republican’s do very little about. Read below how pathetic America has been in creating new Solar Power despite the many states where it is truly viable, especially in the south.

In 2009 Germany installed approximately 3,000 megawatts of solar. The United States installed about 475 megawatts, which is one-sixth of German installations. And remember, the U.S. has four times the population of Germany. If you are going to look at it per capita, it’s not even close. In fact, the Czech Republic, which is a far smaller country with a far smaller economy and population size, installed over 400 megawatts last year, which is almost as much as the United States. And what that tells you is the power of incentives. In markets where incentives are generous, where solar-project economics are therefore advantageous, demand can be extremely high even if the size of the economy and the size of population are so low that you wouldn’t expect that much demand. So that puts things in perspective. Germany right now is about 50% of the global market for solar. It’s so overwhelmingly dominant from the demand side of the equation that it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of that market.

Did you get it Kyle ……the Czech Republic installed about the same amount of solar as all of America did last year….. Hello Kyle….wake up please !

Horrible Horrace

June 17th, 2010
8:54 am

Does the govt still give tax credits for solar panels installations?

MarkV

June 17th, 2010
8:56 am

Kyle Wingfield’s articles generally run a gamut from not so bad to really bad. This one is pure drivel. Comparing moon landing with microprocessor, Google, iPod, shows his total incomprehension of the issues involved. The moon landing effort was a response to a specific threat of Soviet’s domination in the space program, and involved a concentrated mission and a national effort. None of those developments Kyle mentions comes even close to that, but overhaul of the energy does. Kyle’s comments about the inability of the feds to beat the oil slick is puerile; where were the feds to get the expertise to do that? If the government had instituted a large program to deal with oil slicks (and why should it?), people like Kyle would be the first ones to cry about waste of taxpayers’ money.
The simple fact is that people like Kyle stand as obstacles on the path to better energy future, and bear part of the responsibility for disasters like the Gulf oil spill.

Peter

June 17th, 2010
9:01 am

Hey Kyle..Why did Ronald Regan take the Solar panels off the White House ?

MarkV

June 17th, 2010
9:01 am

Kyle: Are you serious in your reply to ghengis” “ we … couldn’t handle the sudden surge in demand that would come with 2-3 electric cars on a given street starting to charge at the same time.” What are you talking about? That somebody wants to wave a magic wand and suddenly the gas a diesel cars would be replaced by electric cars?

Peter Haskett

June 17th, 2010
9:09 am

Thanks for your attention to my post. I enjoy most of your articles, but disagree with the right-wing, “Obama’s Katrina” articles of the last 2 days. I’m a persuadable voter, but as long as the conservative agenda remains to block and criticize everything Obama and the Democrats do, as long as people like Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, and everybody on the radio and TV repeats it, and as long as conservatives offer up candidates like Sarah Palin, Republicans might win a few mid-term seats in Congress and the Senate in 2010, but Obama and executive crony capitalism will continue to damage our country in every regard.

Kyle, you said “And except that the new technologies of the past 40 years flowed primarily from the decentralized decisions and creativity of private enterprise, not the government’s single-minded focus.”

But you don’t offer any facts to back up this assertion. The internet did not flow from “creativity of private enterprise.” As a matter of fact, according to wikipedia “The origins of the Internet reach back to the 1960s when the United States funded research projects of its military agencies to build robust, fault-tolerant and distributed computer networks.”

I mentioned the airplane and air conditioner because I couldn’t think of any “new technologies of the last 40 years.” You mentioned Google and made a reference to drugs and sheep cloning. I submit that google is just another of several search engines on the internet, hardly “rocket science.” Would you have preferred Obama use the Pet Rock model? The guy made a million dollars! 57.

I mention Salk, polio, and smallpox to counter your “life saving drugs” model that you recommended for Obama. Name one drug from the last 40 years that CURES a disease. All of your wonder drugs treat, not cure, creating windfall profits for Pharmaceuticals at the expense of the sick. The last 40 years of medical technology started with warnings on cigarettes, progressed to the baby with the baboon heart, to the conservative campaign where Reagan told us AIDS is spread because of gay sex, to our present age of Vioxx, Viagra, Prozac, and the breakthrough discovery of Restless Leg Syndrome and female Viagra. I will give our scientist MUCH credit for the recent improvement in prosthetic limbs. But the demand for those is cause by these silly conservative wars. The NHI is funding much of that research. The military is creating all of the patients.

The many conservative, profit-motivated business models have made health care our leading cause of bankruptcy. Furthermore, you pointed out that Salk worked for a private charity. Are you the one person who considers a charity the same as an enterprise?

I didn’t listen to Obama’s speech, but the moon-landing analogy sounds great to me. I don’t remember the moon landing, but it is the last amazing achievement this country produced.

Peter

June 17th, 2010
9:11 am

Kyle….Why did Ronald Regan take the Solar Panels off the White House ?

Jim

June 17th, 2010
9:21 am

If we had to depend on private enterprise to get us to the moon, we would still be waiting! The type of change necessary to gain our independence from oil will take massive infrastructure changes. Private enterprise is too concerned with near term profits to be able to deliver.

Port O' John

June 17th, 2010
9:45 am

Hey Uncle Billy — re: your comment on Obama and getting BP to fund a $20 billion escrow account. Kyle is unable to comment favorably (or even neutrally) on anything Obama does.

His style of opinion writing is just to cherry-pick stuff that supports his world-view. Thus you can call Obama evil, socialist, a terrorist, a marxist or a nazi, no problems. But don’t say anything negative about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. That will get you in trouble.

Jed Rothwell

June 17th, 2010
10:02 am

You wrote: “The past 40 years have given us the microprocessor, Google, cloned sheep, myriad lifesaving drugs, the iPod . . .”

All of these technologies were either developed with government support, government money, or by government researchers. Some were developed for the Apollo program. The microprocessor and other integrated circuits were first developed at Texas Instruments, but rapid progress was made in because the government poured money in, for the space race and military applications.

First generation computers such as ENIAC were invented with U.S. government funding during WWII, at the University of Pennsylvania.

Google is an outgrowth of the Internet, which was invented, built and administered entirely by U.S. federal researchers, under the political leadership of Al Gore. (The researchers say that Gore was a big help.) HTML, the web and browsers were invented at U.S. and European CERN national laboratories. After all of this was in place, Google was invented by Page and Brin while they were working at Stanford University, a public university.

The cloned sheep was made at a publicly funded laboratory, with money from the BBSRC, a UK government agency. The human genome project was paid for by Uncle Sam.

Virtually all of the myriad lifesaving drugs are paid for in part with government research funding at the NIH and elsewhere.

The iPod is yet another integrated circuit, from the Apollo program.

Lasers were invented by Townes with a research grant and other support from the U.S. Navy (NRL).

No one denies that private capital and corporations invented much of modern technology, but governments and the U.S. and UK governments in particular have contributed enormously to just about every major technology in the last 220 years, including: steam engines, telegraphs, railroads, steam ships, most of aviation technology, airports, air traffic control, highways, antibiotics (during WWII), nuclear power (and weapons of course), computers, integrated circuits, satellite weather and GPS systems, etcetera.

jconservative

June 17th, 2010
10:12 am

Blaming Obama or Bush or others is unproductive. It is easy to point fingers at others. It is hard to blame yourself. Obama did not create the $12 trillion national debt. We, the American people, did that.

A history lesson. From 1961 to 1981 the national debt grew by an average of $15 billion a year, from $650 billion to $961 billion. But in 1981 the American people realized that they could raid the national treasury. How? By cutting taxes! So in Jan 1981 the national debt was $961 billion. After 30 years of cutting taxes the national debt is $12 trillion.

Oh, we all had more money to spend. We were happy as children on Christmas morning after Santa’s visit. Everyone get “welfare” without calling it “welfare”.

And we knew deep down that we really needed to cut spending. But we just could not bring ourselves to do so. Eliminate the Dept of Education? Good idea but a lot of folks would lose their jobs. Can’t do that. Cut defense? Are you crazy?

The old folks need help with their drugs, lets create a new entitlement. We haven’t had a new one in 40 years, and the old folks will vote for us on election day.

OK, so the debt is going up; but we are NOT going to raise taxes! If we keep electing the same folks year after year we are sure they will get it fixed. Besides its the other party’s fault, everyone knows that!

In the past 30 years the Republicans have controlled the White House 20 years. The Democrats have controlled the House 18 of the last 30 years.
The Republicans have controlled the Senate 16 of the past 30 years.
This is all the proof needed, it’s the other party’s fault!

So what to do? About half of us will blame the Democrats. About half of us will blame the Republicans. A few of us will blame the Incumbents. But very few of us will blame ourselves and do anything to turn things around.

We will not cut spending. We will not raise taxes. We will continue what has failed the past 30 years.

My apologies for the length.

Peter

June 17th, 2010
10:15 am

Gee…Kyle will NOT comment on the fact Ronald Regan took the Solar Panels off the White House.

Typical Republican baloney……..Isn’t that about the same time a man went to the Moon Kyle ?

So we were heading in the correct direction, but a Republican President, who sold DRUGS decided, he didn’t want America heading for Green Energy…..Typical Republican stuff.

Sell Drugs for weapons……. no less then Cocaine….. but stop Green energy !

Intown

June 17th, 2010
10:43 am

How many strawmen can Kyle beat down in a single post!?!? Attacking Obama for using the moon shot as an example (a widely used one mind you). Odd. I do agree with one thing Kyle said, though, Obama’s address sucked. It managed to disappoint everyone across the entire political spectrum. Great job Barry.

Jed Rothwell

June 17th, 2010
10:45 am

You wrote:

“If electric cars ever come into wide usage, it won’t only require the batteries (and the minerals needed to make them) and the additional generating capacity. It will require changing out transformers across the country, because the ones we have now couldn’t handle the sudden surge in demand that would come with 2-3 electric cars on a given street starting to charge at the same time.”

That is incorrect, according to EPRI, the EIA and other sources. First, batteries are made mainly of metal, not minerals, and batteries materials can all be recycled so this would not require much more materials than we now consume. It is like the demand for steel or today’s lead-acid batteries, which are 100% recycled. We need enough to supply the entire fleet of cars, built up over 20 years or so, but not much additional demand after that.

Second, electric cars are generally driven during the day and recharged at night. It is more convenient to recharge at home, overnight, than at the office or grocery store. Recharging at night can be done slowly and with intelligent meters to eliminate surges. Recharging could even be done at 110 VAC. An electric car uses 1 or 2 kWh per mile, or 20 to 40 kWh per day for a 20 mile commute. (The average U.S. automobile or truck is driven 11,700 miles per year, or ~40 miles per commuting day, but this includes trucks which go a lot farther on average.) So if you charge the car at the same rate as your clothes dryer (4.5 kW with 220 VAC) it will be done in 5 or 10 hours. Every house on your street can run a clothes dryer simultaneously without causing a surge or requiring new transformers.

There is enormous extra capacity at night and at other off-peak hours so there would be no need for additional generators. Existing generators would consume more fuel. Total consumption would increase from ~12 Quads of electric power to ~18 Quads. Note that vehicles presently consume 26 Quads of fossil fuel energy but they would need only ~6 Quads of electricity. I am not accounting for the waste heat from power generation, but even accounting for that, total energy consumption is far lower because electric cars are more efficient gasoline powered ones.

The increased demand might be met by burning more coal, but this would not be necessary. In the time it takes to convert to electric cars we could easily install enough wind and nuclear power to produce 6 Quads more electricity during off-peak hours.

My numbers come from an overview by NREL, the EIA, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, here:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/NRELenergyover.pdf

Kyle Wingfield

June 17th, 2010
10:47 am

I honestly thought you were joking about the WH solar panels, Peter. Do you think we’d have achieved energy independence by now if he’d left them up?

Kyle Wingfield

June 17th, 2010
10:49 am

Jed: On the transformers, I’m going off what I’m told by people in the electricity business. Keep in mind that these people would love to sell power to people charging electric cars.

Rev. Menthol Shatbat

June 17th, 2010
11:03 am

“Why did Ronald Regan take the Solar panels off the White House ?”

Because they didn’t work. Just like Jimmy Carter didn’t work…..and Obama….

Rev. Menthol Shatbat

June 17th, 2010
11:21 am

Uh oh, muslims are outraged over pork and booze. Paris police cave in to the minority.

Pork fest chopped over Islamic fears

PARIS – French cops have said “non!” to a “Sausage and Booze” street party in a now-heavily Muslim neighborhood, saying it would be a provocation.

Sylvie Francois of Goutte-d’Or in northern Paris was accused of racism after she organized the party on Facebook, but she denies any ties to extreme right groups and says she launched the pork fest to “express exasperation.” Francois says the “Islamization” of her working-class neighborhood has become “more and more ostentatious,” and Muslims now block several streets for Friday prayers.

“It offends my concept of the republic’s secularism, I feel increasingly excluded in the neighborhood,” Francois said.

redneckbluedog

June 17th, 2010
11:25 am

Nope…..we’ll just keep sucking that same Big Oil t#$t until she runs dry. Then we’ll start killing each other for oil, gas, and coal. It’s the American way. Time to have some vision when it comes to energy. You know it, I know it, the people in West Virginia know it, the people along the Gulf know it, and the citizens of Brazil know it……

JKL2

June 17th, 2010
11:28 am

vudu- inexperienced and clueless

That’s a perfect discription of our president and how he is handling the current situation. The problem is an oil slick and a leaking well. His solution is raise taxes on everything made in America, destroy BP, and make us more dependant on foreign countries for fuel.

I can’t believe he read it off the teleprompter because it sounds like someone asked him a question. He gives a vague answer that has nothing to do with the question that was asked.