|June 14, 2012||Posted by Beth Shaw under Energy, Issues|
Remaking a popular prime-time television soap opera that’s central premise is about the lives of a Texas family make rich through oil in the age of Environmentalism must have been a challenge. However, the new ‘Dallas’ remake addresses this issue straight from the get-go. Now the son’s of the quarrelsome brothers J.R. and Bobby Ewing are continuing the soap opera as quarrelsome cousins.
It doesn’t take long to figure out who the good guys and who the bad guys are. The ‘good guys’ are Bobby’s family who want to change the direction of Ewing Oil towards alternative energy while J.R.’s son represents the ‘bad guys’ who wants to drain the earth of all its resources.
In the new plot, John Ross schemes to develop the oil on Southfork without the consent of Bobby (still played by Patrick Duffy). Meanwhile Bobby’s son Christopher, played by Jesse Metcalfe, has founded Ewing Alternative Energy and espouses a seemingly anti-oil perspective. Like any good soap opera, everything is incestuous and intertwined. The two men battle over the affections of Elena, a buxom entrepreneurial wildcatter who is also the daughter of the Ewing’s in-house cook, even while Christopher marries another woman. JR — the senior villain still played by Larry Hagman, watches on in bemusement.
The cheese is thick enough to spread on crackers.
“So, I hear you’ve come home with some kind of alternative energy scheme to save the world,” John Ross asks Christopher, in their first major argument around the dinner table.
“Oil is the past,” Christopher replies. “Alternatives are the future.”
“I couldn’t disagree more.”
“Well this country is quickly running out of resources,” Christopher adds.
And just like that, 16 minutes into the first episode of the pilot, the fundamental dynamic of U.S. energy policy — err… I mean, of the Ewing family in Dallas TX — is laid bare. Christopher even speeds away under the high-pitched electric whine of his sleek black Tesla.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where this is going.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal writer Dorothy Rabinowitz reviewed the show’s first episode:
We’re clearly now in an updated “Dallas,” very 21st century, with battle lines between good and evil firmly established. The opening scenes tell the story—evil comes in torrents of black, as in oil gushing from the earth, a gush that soils the faces of the cheering drillers who brought it forth. All this thanks to the ruthlessly ambitious John Ross (Josh Henderson), a third-generation Ewing, J.R.’s son, who has committed the “crime” abhorrent to environmentalists—namely drilling for oil. On the family’s land, no less. There’s also scary talk about fracking (high-volume drilling opposed by preservationists), about which you heard nary a word in the old “Dallas.” On the side of the good there’s Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), adopted son of Bobby, another third-generation Ewing—but an enlightened and principled one, and a fervent advocate, he explains, of alternative sources of energy. Christopher is certain he’s found the answer in his plan to harvest methane—a plan he’s testing in waters off the coast of China. Don’t ask.
See, it only hurts the Earth if the resources are harvested in the clean and highly regulated United States. Getting those resources in other places in the world is a-okay!
Oh, I long for the days when we could watch television for entertainment and not be bombarded constantly with politically-correct propaganda about whatever the cool/popular issue du-jour is!
|April 24, 2012||Posted by Beth Shaw under Energy|
Last month the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suffered what should have been an embarrassing defeat when the Supreme Court ruled that Mike and Chantell Sackett could bring suit against the EPA. That Supreme Court decision was the culmination of a costly 3-year battle between the Sackett’s and the powerful Obama Environmental Protection Agency which used the Clean Water Act in an attempt to prevent the couple from building their home on their property in Idaho.
Apparently the Sackett ruling might not have been such an embarrassment to the mega-bureaucratic government agency because just last week the EPA announced plans to use the Clean Water Act to preemptively prevent the Pebble Mine Project from being built in Alaska. This battle has also been going on for about three years.
It seems that many of the well-heeled in Alaska and Oregon don’t want the Pebble Mine Project built close to an area they consider their personal playground, Bristol Bay, Alaska. And so, under the guise of environmentalism, the powerful few help finance astroturf campaigns and environmental activists in an attempt to ‘Keystone’ the Pebble Mine Project without concern for the Native populations of the area and the much needed jobs and the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be infused into the depressed economy both directly and indirectly.
These NIMBY activists (Not in My Back Yard) have shut down projects across the country. The most famous recent case is the Keystone Pipeline. Now, through the EPA’s announcement last week, it seems the next Obama Administration ‘Keystoning’ will be focused on the Pebble Mine Project.
The question is, what does anyone have to gain by preventing mining, transporting oil or even a couple from building a house in Idaho? Why is there an entire large government agency focusing its attention and spending tax-payer money on preventing these projects that would only help the economy, give people jobs and lower energy prices?
By all appearances it has mostly to do with returning political favors and asserting power, both over those attempting to get the permits and those who are having to pay the price of having to buy energy from places like China, Chile, Venezuela and who knows where else. Those countries are reaping the profits while Americans are paying the price.
|April 4, 2012||Posted by Beth Shaw under Energy, Issues|
Even though President Obama has indicated that he may (or may not) rethink his rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline, his initial rejection of it has caused Canada to rethink their energy partnership with the United States. After all, Canada has to look after their own interests.
“Look, the very fact that a ‘no’ could even be said underscores to our country that we must diversify our energy export markets,” Harper said. “We cannot be, as a country, in a situation where our one and, in many cases, only energy partner could say no to our energy products. We just cannot be in that position.”
The Prime Minister also mentioned that Canada has been selling oil to the United States at a discounted price. But now that the Great White North is expanding its oil export market, that discount will probably disappear.
Get that? The U.S. will not only have less access to Canadian oil but it will also have to pay more for it because the market for oilsands crude is expanding (and therefore more competitive).
“We have taken a significant price hit by virtue of the fact that we are a captive supplier and that just does not make sense in terms of the broader interests of the Canadian economy,” Harper said. “We’re still going to be a major supplier of the United States. It will be a long time, if ever, before the United States isn’t our number one export market, but for us the United States cannot be our only export market.”
This is what happens when you try to make everybody happy on both sides of an issue. Everyone ends up unhappy. Either way, we end up paying more for less oil.
|March 30, 2012||Posted by Beth Shaw under Energy, Issues|
Today’s failed environmentally friendly stimulus program is A123 Systems, hailed by former Democratic Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as a federal stimulus ‘success story. Nancy Pelosi called it a ‘great example of how Recovery Act funding is helping American companies.’ Nearly $300 million of Obama Recovery Act Funds and $135 million in tax credits and subsides used to keep jobs and money in Pelosi’s state.
So how’s this Obama tax-payer funded money working out for us? Well, it’s on the verge of bankruptcy. Another Solyndra? Is there any end to the Obama funded eco-friendly businesses that just aren’t working? At what point do we learn that utilizing the resources that are abundantly available to us in this country are not only the answer to our energy problems but also the answer to our economic and employment problems?
From Michelle Malkin:
How’s the return on government investment? This green dud will have taxpayers seeing red. A123′s official company motto is “Power. Safety. Life.” But the firm’s reality is “Out of power. Endangering safety. Clinging to life.”
Earlier this week, the company announced a recall of malfunctioning battery packs manufactured in Livonia, Mich. A123 makes the products for Fisker, Chevrolet and BMW electric cars. Consumer Reports flagged the potentially hazardous defect caused by faulty calibration earlier this month. The recall will cost upward of $55 million.
A Deutsche Bank analyst wrote: “We no longer have enough confidence that (A123) can raise sufficient capital (without massive equity dilution) and/or continue to augment their book to future business. Recent quality issues may lead to concerns over (A123′s) ability to manufacture with quality at high volumes, potentially leading to customer defections or at least difficulty in procuring new contracts.”
When it rains, it pours. The dead battery debacle follows news of 125 layoffs in November due to diminished vehicle production by top client Fisker Auto. That troubled company (which A123 has itself dumped $20.5 million of stock equity and cash into) admitted faulty wiring problems with its electric cars.
While Michigan workers lost their jobs, Massachusetts executives burned through $155 million in cash this year and the company stock plummeted to just over $1. A123 lost a net $172 million over the first three quarters of 2011 and has yet to see a profit. Like Solyndra’s top brass, A123 managers have been living high on the hog and partying it up with Democratic Party bigwigs.
The Michigan-based Mackinac Center reports that in February, “A123′s Compensation Committee approved a $30,000 raise for (Chief Financial Officer David) Prystash just days after (its primary customer) Fisker Automotive announced the U.S. Energy Department had cut off what was left of its $528.7 million loan it had previously received.”
Prystash’s hike was 8.5 percent, taking his base salary from $350,000 to $380,000. One A123 vice president, Robert Johnson, received a 20.7 percent pay increase that saw his salary grow from $331,250 to $400,000. Another vice president, Jason Forcier, vice president of the automotive solutions group, climbed from a $331,250 base salary to $350,000.
Analyst Paul Chesser of the D.C.-based National Legal and Policy Center raises pointed questions about the timing of the pay raises: “Were their actions intended as greater protection for their executives in the case of a sale or bankruptcy of the company?” Inquiring House GOP investigators looking into the Obama Department of Energy’s big green boondoggles should want to know.
And taxpayers should want to know more about the cozy ties between A123 and the White House and Democratic politicians. A123 Systems CEO David Vieau showered Barack Obama, the Democratic National Committee and key Democrats on Capitol Hill with nearly $17,000 before receiving the stimulus injection. A123 enviro-boodle also flowed to Mass. Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Ed Markey. Betting on “smart grid” cronyism has been a bonanza for the well-connected — and a big, bad bet for taxpayers.
|February 16, 2012||Posted by Beth Shaw under Energy, Issues|
Native Alaskans are being snubbed by the Obama Administration’s EPA. All an Alaska Native consortium wanted was a chance to ask Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Lisa Jackson for assurance their villages and native culture will be preserved. They were denied the opportunity which in turn denies the opportunity for jobs in an area in the midst of devastating economic depression.
Abe Williams and Lisa Reimers of Nuna Resources (an Alaska Native consortium) went to Washington last week with a very reasonable request. They had written and asked for a meeting with EPA Director Lisa Jackson to talk with her about the Pebble Mine Project in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska.
You see, they represent the area of Alaska that is most affected by whether or not the enormous copper deposit is harvested. The situation for the tribes of that area is dire. The Native Alaskans of the area have little opportunity, and so many are leaving behind their homes and community to seek opportunity elsewhere. The migration away from the area is decimating the Native Alaskan culture, traditions and community. Without opportunity, few will be left to pass the traditions along to subsequent generations.
Williams and Reimers went to Washington to ask for the opportunity to save their community and culture. They didn’t ask for an bail-out. All they asked for was fair hearings for the Pebble Limited Partnership.
Nuna Resources and its native village constituency want to allow impartial scientific studies to build the Pebble Mine near their homes and villages. The natives do not specifically endorse the mine, which would exploit the largest known ore body of copper on the planet. But they want its proposed developer, the Pebble Limited Partnership, to be given a fair hearing for its claims of environmental and cultural protection on Native traditional lands.
Jackson would not even give Williams and Reimers a meeting. The EPA’s emailed reply their request for one — on Feb. 6, 7 or 8 — came just two days before their already-scheduled flights: “While the Administrator greatly appreciates this request, she will unfortunately be unavailable.”
The note ended, “Have a nice day.” Really.
If the Pebble Mine Project is safe, then they can have jobs and a chance to save their community. It would seem that fair hearings would be a very reasonable and rational request. Unfortunately for Williams, Reimers and the Native Alaskan community they represent, that doesn’t fit the party line. Their request was denied.
You have to HAVE ‘green’ to BE ‘green’ and no one is giving Nuna Resources millions of dollars like is being filtered through to the radical environmentalists. The monied left and well-heeled environmentalists don’t have a problem having their voices heard. They are backed by big money to fund AstroTurf faux outrage through groups like ‘Stop Pebble Mine’ and ‘Save Bristol Bay’. They have almost unlimited funding for advertising and public relations (propaganda?) from the millions donated by the likes of Gordon Moore of Intel, Tiffany Company Foundation and Brainerd Foundation who funnel money through anti-development Big Green groups like Natural Resources Defense Council, Trout Unlimited and EarthWorks.
While the Native Alaskans of the area are facing devastating economic hardships (paying $9 for a gallon of milk and $8 for a gallon of gas!) environmentalists are loudly declaring that harvesting the ample supplies of copper in the area will endanger the native salmon. The radical left ignores the reality of the situation. The area can have their fish and their jobs as well. The Pebble Mine study has just been released. The exhaustive scientific study conducted over 7-years at a cost of $150 million using more than 40 respected independent research firms represents the company’s commitment to protecting the fish and the environment as an integral part of the project.
Is it really better to get our copper from China than from Alaska? Will China be more concerned with protecting the environment than Americans? I think not. It seems to be more of a ‘not in my backyard’ kind of argument. We have to have copper so it will come from somewhere. Why insist it come from somewhere without the regulations and restrictions that will undoubtedly be MORE damaging to the environment? That’s irrational and counterproductive to the very cause they claim to embrace. But when has reason ever stopped a good money-making ’cause’. Buckets of money, in fact.
The problem is that while it’s a ‘feel good’ issue for many of the environmentalist – you know, stand up and make a big stand about something that you only know anything about at a very shallow level – its being done standing on the necks of the people who live in the area. The native people are suffering so some environmentalists can feel like their lives have meaning or some of the major financial backers can have even more money in their own portfolios.
In reality, mining copper and gold from the Pebble Mine Project in Alaska is a win-win situation for everyone involved (other than those who have a financial interest in stopping it). It is better for the environment (as opposed to getting the copper from somewhere else), it already is providing jobs in Alaska and will provide tens of thousands of jobs in the long run in a depressed area of the country and it will provide American’s copper at a better price than if it were bought from other countries.
Seriously, what is the downside?
The problem is that it flies in the face of the monied environmentalists that Obama is courting for his re-election campaign. He’s playing nice with the environmentalists while America jobs are being lost and the environment damaged by having us obtain copper from countries where how it is extracted from the Earth is not so well monitored.
Unless something is done, Obama and his environmentally radical EPA will ‘Keystone’ the Pebble mine project.
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