I’LL BELIEVE IT’S A CRISIS WHEN THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP TELLING ME IT’S A CRISIS START ACTING LIKE IT’S A CRISIS: Despite Climate Concern, Global Study Finds Fewer Carbon Capture Projects.
SUPPORT FRACKING, FOR GAIA’S SAKE. “America’s carbon dioxide emissions are actually falling. In fact, they have not been this low since 1992. And while no single factor can account for the entire shift, much of the credit goes to something environmentalists often detest: hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. . . . All of that was achieved without government direction — and in the face of considerable environmental resistance. Now the world’s worst CO emitter, China — which gets 80 percent of its electricity from coal — has taken up fracking, too. China’s natural gas reserves are 50 percent bigger than America’s. If climate change is the worst danger facing the planet, as some environmentalists contend, then Chinese fracking should be good news. But most environmentalists hate fracking.”
I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.
I’LL BELIEVE IT’S A CRISIS WHEN THE PEOPLE WHO TELL ME IT’S A CRISIS START ACTING LIKE IT’S A CRISIS: Obama quietly signs bill shielding airlines from carbon fees in Europe.
I’LL BELIEVE IT’S A CRISIS WHEN THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP TELLING ME IT’S A CRISIS START ACTING LIKE IT’S A CRISIS: CIA climate-change unit closes its doors.
CLIMATE HYPOCRISY: Will.I.Am attends climate change talk in helicopter. I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis. Just sayin’ . . .
PANETTA: CLIMATE CHANGE HAS ‘DRAMATIC IMPACT ON NATIONAL SECURITY:’ This seems like it could be a great opportunity for Romney to have a little fun with Obama, by issuing a speech saying that if his administration really believes that, they should put the environment where their mouth is, and start campaigning solely via the Internet, ground Air Force One except for national security missions, and slash the president’s enormous, seemingly ever-expanding motorcade.
As the Professor is wont to say, I’ll believe there’s a crisis when the people who tell me that there’s a crisis start to act that way themselves.
UPDATE: Insta-reader Rich Chapman emails:
Then why does Panetta commute “home” on weekends to Monterrey, Calif. aboard his government issue Air Force C-37A (aka Gulfstream V)?
“I’ve gone home because my wife and family are there and because, frankly, I think it’s healthy to get out of Washington periodically just to get your mind straight and your perspective straight.”
Periodically meaning 27 times in less than a year.
So it’s healthy for Washington bigwigs to spew carbon from private jets for weekend getaways. But it’s not healthy for ordinary people. Or it’s healthy, but somehow healthy things for ordinary people are a national security threat, whereas healthy things for the special people are a national security stimulant. Or something.
I’m guessing under the Obamacare, advanced medicine will be healthy for the special people, but a national security threat for the rest of us. Maybe our bureaucrats can relabel the death panels to “national security panels.” All decent Americans would want to support something with a name like that.
Panetta obviously hasn’t taken the Gore Pledge.
A GENERATOR BLEG: Reader Russell Sayre emails: “Have you posted in the past on home generators? I’m in the market, but the selection on Amazon is fairly bewildering. Do you or your readers have tips or suggestions?” A bit, but I’ve never bought one. They can be dangerous, both electrically and from carbon monoxide. (Storing gas is dangerous, too). And my power’s pretty reliable. So even though my house has a transfer box and a generator inlet, I’ve never gotten the generator to go with it.
That said, you can go with a small inverter-based machine like this Yamaha for powering electronics, etc. Or you can get a whole-house standby generator. The key is figuring out what you want it for in advance, and then working backward. As I’ve said before, if I were building a house from scratch I’d put in a big underground propane tank and have a propane-powered backup generator. Then I’d be nearly independent except for getting my tank filled once or twice a year.
UPDATE: Reader Tom Fenton writes: “Please remind folks that they just can’t plug the generator into a convenient plug without an isolation box as power then also flows out into the network. Generators that power the neighborhood slow down restoration as utility crews often go door to door asking to shut off generators before repairing broken power lines.” Yes, that’s why you need a transfer box — or you can just run an extension cord from the generator, of course.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dave Tulka writes:
We have a 5500 watt Diesel and have yet to install the transfer switch. We have a Coleman dual-fuel camp lantern and two Aladdin kerosene lamps. For winter heat, we have been using our Toyotomi/Kerosun kerosene heaters as an almost primary heat source. Even if the gas stays on, there is no heat without the electric blower fan.
When we updated the kitchen, we converted from an electric stove to gas and have a dual-fuel Coleman camp stove as backup. We purchased the Coleman lantern and stove for family camping when our kids were younger.
The cool thing about Coleman dual-fuel units is they run on Coleman fuel or gasoline. Both fuels are far more energy-dense than propane resulting in less space for each BTU stored.
When we first started using kerosene for winter heat about ten years ago, our friends and families looked at us like we each had a third eye. Now, not so much. We’ve had two friends lose their gas furnaces in the winter that were thrilled to borrow one of our kerosene heaters for a few days until they could get their furnaces repaired or replaced.
Our story is about reducing the absolute need for electricity. The remaining critical-path items are the fridge, washing machine and internet access. Assuming the internet stays up, each machine and the network gear has pretty respectable battery backup in place.
Kerosene heaters are remarkably good if used properly, and kerosene — like diesel fuel — is comparatively safe to store. Gasoline is somewhat more dangerous.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Allen Peirce writes:
One consideration not explicitly mentioned: fuel storage time (and therefore the likelihood that you’ll have usable fuel when you need the generator) favors the propane. Gasoline degrades quickly, e.g. in six months or less unless expensive treatments are added. Diesel degrades more slowly unless water (e.g. from condensation) gets into it, in which case algae can grow in it and the life, and cost of keeping it treated and useful, is more like gasoline. Propane on the other hand will still be good years later…but the engines for the generators are likely to be more expensive. (Note, if possible, get one that takes the propane in the liquid state rather than as vapor – much less likely to freeze up in winter!)
And reader James Loftis emails:
When we moved back to the hurricane belt that is Houston, we decided that a stand-by generator was a must. From my research into the subject, and the experience of getting it up and running:
1. Air-cooled generators are smaller and cheaper to buy and maintain, but you are probably limited to 20kV. If you have 2 air-conditioners, like many of the homes here, you will not be able to run the whole house. Some power-management planning is needed.
2. Not every contractor or electrician has installed (easy) and connected (hard) a generator, and some won’t be able to recognize problem 1.
3. If you go with NG, city authorities are likely to require a new gas meter and connection. And, the transfer switch is not “optional”, no matter what the vendor’s website might say.
4. It will take you much longer than planned to get everything done. Much longer. From talks with others who gone down this path, this seems a common complaint.
5. I noticed while shopping for generators that most every website that monitors activity will offer a substantial day-of-purchase discount to convince you to buy from them. No idea whether that’s still going on, but it happened on 3 different sites.
Plus, from Alex Nunez:
Over at ConsumerSearch.com, we have a full report on portable generators. In addition to making recommendations in a variety of product categories (based on what’s being said in published third-party reviews) on the landing page (http://www.consumersearch.com/portable-generators), we include a more evergreen What To Look For section that breaks down some basic shopping tips on choosing wattage, fuel type, and features: http://www.consumersearch.com/portable-generators/important-features. That page may help some of your readers who are beginning their research. I think the genny manufacturers are going to have a nice bottom line this year.
Yeah, me too.
MORE: Reader Teresa Hummel writes:
We have had a generator for years. It was last used during the winter of 2008 when an ice storm took out our power for 3 days. We were lucky, others were out for weeks. Had we not used the generator we would have had frozen pipes and a far greater disaster. You are correct though, using a generator takes some care. After reading your post and the other comments, I have a tip that may save someone a big headache and money in the long run.
Many people buy a generator when there is a crisis, then sell it once the crisis is past. There is one major thing people overlook, or don’t bother with, when they use a generator in these situations. Like all engines, they need to be maintained. If you read the manual you will often find it calling for an oil change after about 25 hours of use and periodically there after. I’m sure many people have no idea they need to do any kind of maintenance that soon, if at all. Even though it is seldom used, my husband does twice yearly maintenance on our generator to keep it in good running condition. In an emergency, it’s too late to find out it doesn’t work.
In the case of a multi-day power outage, such as the recent hurricane, people hurry out, buy a generator, and run them nearly continuously for days. All of this without doing anything other than adding gas when it runs out. While it doesn’t usually cause the generator to stop at that time, it will shorten the life of the machine considerably. It’s something to keep in mind for those who are thinking of buying a used generator. If the seller can’t give you any specifics on how long it was used and what maintenance was done, walk away. No matter the price, it’s not a bargain at that point.
Also they need to be started regularly — like once a month — even when they’re not used. Seems like that could become a pain.
And reader Christine Lanzon writes:
Just this weekend we installed this smallish (3500 watt max) propane-fueled generator. And this transfer switch.
The generator is being kept on the side of the house (away from vents and windows), hooked up to the same kind of propane tank I use on the gas grill (which makes the gas grill propane tank a handy spare), off the ground on a wooden platform that we built for the purpose. It’s mainly to make sure the sump pump and freezer can run during an outage, but we also hooked up the circuits for a few receptacles on all three levels so I can power my router, my laptop, some lights, and other small loads. With a grill cover over it, it’s hardly noticeable; I don’t have to store gasoline; and it starts easily. It seems like the perfect compromise between a full-blown generator and powerlessness.
You can run a small generator off those little tanks, but I believe you’re much better off with a 75lb tank, especially in low temperatures.
STILL MORE: Reader Walter Boxx writes:
You won’t need nearly as big a generator as you probably think. I have a 5500 watt generator and could get by with half that. The less the better since you may be driving 30 miles and sitting in line for an hour or more for gas. All you really need is a refrigerator, a couple of lights and some fans or a couple of small window unit A/Cs. During the recent tornado-induced multi-day power outage I got by with just the fans for a couple of days since it was cool in the evenings and mornings. When the humidity got too high I hooked up the window units and it made a big difference. My refrigerator only pulls 500 watts, as do the window units (6,000 btu) for a total of just under 2,000 watts with a few lights. You’d probably want 3,500 watts to be sure you can start them, but 5500 was overkill. And bigger means more gas to run. I was using 1/2 gal/hr. A smaller generator would have used 1/3 gal/hr. Even so, I was giving gas away before it was over. And having a spare window unit AC or two around is not a bad idea. Not only is it probably cheaper to use a small generator with window units than to buy a generator big enough to run your house unit, but I’ve used mine for backup when the A/C was on the fritz and even loaned them out several times.
And reader Jeff Pttman writes:
I have a “portable” (weighs a ton but can be rolled about on a level surface by one person) gasoline generator with 7800 watts running power and 13,700 watts starting power. The way I figure it, I can run my refrigerator, my portable air conditioner (which rolls from room to room), a few lights and electric fans, and I can recharge the UPSs that power my cable modem, wireless router and laptops. I can cook on my propane gas grill or on my bottled gas hotplate (originally bought for wok cooking). But as you say, you have to plan ahead to buy and store gasoline and you have to deal with the the risks. My problem is that I can’t find a portable propane-powered generator, or an inverter for my car, that will pump out this amount of power at anywhere near this price point (I paid about $1,600 for the generator; similar ones can be had now for half that). If any of your readers have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
I dunno. Northern used to have a line of “tri-power” generators (gas, propane, natural gas).
MORE STILL: Reader Jon Bryan writes:
I bought a Generac/Guardian 8kw standby generator that runs from our 500-gallon propane tank.
I thought about gas or diesel, but decided that I wanted something my wife wouldn’t have to deal with if she happened to be home alone. That meant wiring it up permanently with a transfer switch (which was part of the package).
I’ve had it for almost two years now. It really feels luxurious when the power goes out. In a few seconds the generator starts up and voila! we have lights again. I wired enough circuits over to the transfer switch to keep the heat, refrigerator and freezer, kitchen, and master bed/bath on. It could easily handle more, given our modest requirements, but it only has eight breakers. A bigger one with a mains switch would have been nice, but I’d have had to hire an electrician.
I’ve been happy with it. It automatically starts up every Saturday afternoon and runs a few minutes to keep things lubed and the battery charged. The only thing extra that I did was add an hour meter from Digi-Key. I like to know how long it’s run.
I’ll be doing the annual oil and filter change in the next couple of weeks.
Maintenance is key.
CLIMATE CONFERENCE FACES BRUSH WITH REALITY: “In case you missed it – and judging by the complete lack of coverage on the cable news networks you may very well have – there was yet another climate conference held this week in Bonn, Germany. But rather than the usual singing in the round of Bob Dylan tunes and boisterous plans to alter the world, there was a decidedly depressed tone to the discussions. It’s not that they’ve suddenly begun to question their previously held beliefs concerning anthropogenic global warming, (AGW) but rather a grim realization that most of the nations involved are a bit too busy making sure their economies don’t collapse to dump a significant portion of their GDP into carbon emission control. . . . The other problem causing the talks to essentially fall apart until their next meeting in December was the lack of buy-in by both China and some developing countries. Even if China participates, they are insisting on a ‘trust me’ approach where no outside verification of compliance would be allowed.” Yeah, that’ll work.
The world’s foremost authority on climate change used a Greenpeace campaigner to help write one of its key reports, which critics say made misleading claims about renewable energy, The Independent has learnt.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), set up by the UN in 1988 to advise governments on the science behind global warming, issued a report last month suggesting renewable sources could provide 77 per cent of the world’s energy supply by 2050. But in supporting documents released this week, it emerged that the claim was based on a real-terms decline in worldwide energy consumption over the next 40 years – and that the lead author of the section concerned was an employee of Greenpeace. Not only that, but the modelling scenario used was the most optimistic of the 164 investigated by the IPCC.
Critics said the decision to highlight the 77 per cent figure showed a bias within the IPCC against promoting potentially carbon-neutral energies such as nuclear fuel. One climate change sceptic said it showed the body was not truly independent and relied too heavily on green groups for its evidence.
And: Rex Murphy: Climate Scientists Make A Mockery Of The Peer-Review Process. “Much of what the world bizarrely allows to be called climate ‘science’ is a closet-game, an in-group referring to and reinforcing its own members. The insiders keep out those seen as interlopers and critics, vilify dissenters and labour to maintain a proprietary hold on the entire vast subject. It has been described very precisely as a ‘climate-assessment oligarchy.’ Less examined, or certainly less known to the general public, is how this in-group loops around itself. How the outside advocates buttress the inside scientists, and even — this is particularly noxious — how the outside advocates, the non-scientists, themselves become inside authorities. . . . A report on renewables, by the Renewable Energy Council of Europe, and Greenpeace, peer-reviewed by the man who wrote it. . . . Kind people may put this down to pure sloppiness on the part of the IPCC. Coming after its disastrous handling of the Himalayan glacier melt, however, it looks to me more like deliberate mischief. The IPCC cannot be that stupid by chance.”
You know, I’m entirely ready to believe that CO2 emissions are having an effect on the climate. But the scientists involved aren’t acting as if they’re confident in letting the data speak for themselves, which is a big deal since they’re asking us to make enormous economic sacrifices based on what they’ve predicted. If, say, pharmaceutical companies were caught doing the same kinds of things, the politicians and the news media would be after their scalps.
Meanwhile, for the political leaders, well, I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis. Until they start foregoing private jets and beachside mansions, it’s going to be hard for me to take their calls for sacrifice on my part seriously.
A SMALL METAPHOR: The end of Nancy Pelosi’s “Green Capitol Initiative.” Which didn’t extend so far as her forgoing the Gulfstream or anything. . . . But note this:
It turns out that the composting program not only cost the House an estimated $475,000 a year (according to the House inspector general) but actually increased energy consumption in the form of “additional energy for the pulping process and the increased hauling distance to the composting facility,” according to a news release from Lungren.
As far as carbon emissions were concerned, Lungren concluded that the reduction was the “nominal … equivalent to removing one car from the road each year.” He plans to switch the House to an alternate waste-management system recommended by the Architect of the Capitol, in which dining-service trash would be incinerated and the heat energy captured.
“Composting releases methane,” said Lungren’s spokesman, Brian Kaveney, and methane gas, as even the most warming-conscious among us have to admit, traps atmospheric heat far more efficiently than carbon dioxide, the usual bugaboo of the climate-change crowd.
Lungren’s stick-a-biodegradable-fork-in-it (if you can) stance toward a linchpin of Pelosi’s grand green plan marks the latest skirmish in a lifestyle war that may on its surface seem purely partisan: GOP global-warming skeptics versus a Gaia-worshipping Democratic Party. But I’d say the battle lines are really between an elite determined to impose upon a captive populace its notions of what is good for it — cost be damned — and the populace itself, which would rather not be coerced.
As I said before, I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis. Pelosi could have saved a lot more energy/greenhouse gas by flying commercial, but that was never on the table.
MORE CARBON FOOTPRINT HYPOCRISY. I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me I’m going to have to sacrifice start making a few sacrifices themselves. At present, worry about carbon footprints, like taxes, is for the little people.
WHAT TO DO? In response to this piece by Angelo Codevilla on America’s ruling class, readers wonder what to do. Well, a few things suggest themselves.
First: Mockery. They are very mockable, and they are very thin-skinned. That leads them to erupt in embarrassing ways. Use their sense of entitlement against them.
Second (and related): Transparency. One-party government makes you stupid, and although composed of both Democrats and Republicans the political class is basically its own party, and these people are pretty stupid. Point it out, repeatedly. Use FOIA, ubiquitous videocameras, and other tools to make the stupidity show.
Third: Money. Codevilla writes: “Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof.” The coming budget crisis — already here, really, but still largely denied by the rulers — is an opportunity to defund a lot of this patronage stuff. They’ll try, of course, to cut the muscle and preserve the fat, but that won’t work very well if they’re closely watched (see above). Cut them off in other ways, too. Don’t support the media, nonprofits, and politicians who support them with your money.
Also, make sure that money flows TO things you like: Businesses, alt-media, politicians who aren’t part of the problem, etc. Build up countervailing institutions that don’t depend on the government to survive.
Fourth: Organize and infiltrate. Take over party apparats from the ground up. Create your own organizations that can focus sustained attention — the “ruling class” relies on others having short attention spans while it stays focused on amassing and protecting power.
Finally: Don’t act like a subject. Rulers like subjects. Don’t be one. As a famous man once said: Get in their face. Punch back twice as hard. Words for the coming decade?
UPDATE: Reader Stephen Clark writes:
All the things you’ve listed are good. However, one of the most important is to get involved with politics. Local and state politics are the most accessible to citizen movements. Take advantage of that. This is one of the most important features of the Tea Party movement, in my opinion. Many of these organizations are focusing as much on local and state party apparatus as on the higher profile national offices and races. Local and state government is, or at least can be, the defense in depth needed to take on the class and its ambitions described in Codevilla’s piece. As he makes clear, this is not the work of a few election cycles.
A few other items I would add to your list: Get to know your representatives and their staffs well and make sure they know you. Don’t fall for the suggestion that the task of government has grown so very complicated that only professional legislators and staff are fit to govern. Apart from being self-serving on its face, it’s a damn good argument for cutting back and decentralizing the tasks of government at all levels. Frequent changes in legislative seats not only can bring fresh faces and new ideas, it builds a reservoir of talent and knowledge that can augment that defense in depth meant to keep representatives on a very short leash.
Indeed. And let’s be honest — the claim that only “professional legislators and staff” are smart enough falls apart once you meet a few of these people.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Andrew Wharton emails: “Be armed, both intellectually and especially with guns. The ruling class hates it, but more importantly, it mitigates their baser instincts.” Yes, they’ll do whatever they can get away with, so it’s important to be sure they can’t get away with too much.
MORE: Reader Joan Varga writes:
What to do? Have a back-up plan for your information web. Do we really think that the powers that be will allow us unfettered access to information for much longer? What’s our plan for staying in touch, for finding out, for gathering information, for disseminating information after the Internet becomes too big to fail and too sweet for Obama to resist?
Why we aren’t taking over television stations and Hollywood studios is beyond me. They did it in the 60′s because they knew where real power comes from. Focusing on politicians and politics is not going to win the day.
You answer audacity with something more audacious. And “serious” people will be trampled by the mewling mob of gored oxes and spoiled public sector unions.
MORE: Steve White of Rantburg writes:
A practical application of the point made by reader Joan Varga today was seen last year in Tehran. When the Mad Mullahs of Iran wanted to shut down the anti-government demonstrations, they did everything they could to interfere with cell phones, internet service, and Twitter. It largely worked, too, not that the western press pointed it out at the time.
A backup plan for communication for the day that the government becomes serious about stifling the free flow of information is a good idea, because if push comes to shove our ‘ruling class’ will indeed lock down communications. It might not be as abrupt as what happened in Tehran, either, it might be cloaked instead in a serious of interlocking decisions such as ‘network neutrality’, anti-porn, anti-hate speech, and so on. They have ways.
Well, this isn’t Iran, and there’s no Revolutionary Guard here. But backup plans are always good. There’s always ham radio, and probably a lot more out there. I believe some geeks are working on this.
STILL MORE: Reader Donald Golgert writes:
This piece finally codified what I’ve been seeing/feeling/living for some time now. I’ve been uncomfortable with Republican politicians and hated the Democrats as a whole.
I’ve done two things.
I’m now the Republican PCO for my precinct. I’ll attempt to fix the problems from inside. At 46, I’m the youngest acknowledged (out?) Republican in my very blue district in Seattle.
I’ve launched a Cafe Press store. The 1st design is built on the phrase “Depose the Ruling Class”. More to follow. Snarkier to be sure. Mockery laden even.
Snark and mockery?
MORE STILL: Reader John Steakley writes:
The founding fathers had the idea of checks and balances before parties emerged. Parties undermine C&B because we can’t expect the White House to keep Congress in check (or vice-versa) when they are both of the same party.
We need a third party (or maybe a fourth, too) dedicated SOLELY to either Congress or the White House. Let’s call them the “White House Party” and the “Capitol Party.” Each one fields candidates only for that branch of government, immunizing themselves of influence peddling from another branch. They could openly campaign against the excesses and abuses of the other branch, free from fear of party retribution.
Can you imagine the power a President would have if he could truly serve as a check and balance on Congress regardless of which party controlled it without fear of losing votes in the upcoming election? Can you imagine the power Congress would have if controlled by a party with no eye on the White House?
Since the third branch – Judicial – is unelected, the Supreme Court candidates would, by definition, have to be approved by BOTH parties.
WORRY ABOUT CARBON FOOTPRINTS IS FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: BBC lectures us incessantly on climate change. So why did their bosses make 68,000 domestic flights in two years? I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.
Stephen Green, of course, will be drunkblogging it, and has links to various State Of The Union drinking games. Jim Treacher will be liveblogging, too, and while it isn’t formally “drunkblogging,” well, informally it just might be . . . .
The country’s in the very best of hands. Our future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades. So sit back, relax, and watch!
Plus, Sandy Levinson on a SOTU catastrophe. “If we really do believe that there is, say, a 1% probability that a successful attack will take place on the Capitol when everyone gathers for the State of the Union address, that’s a good reason either to revert to an earlier tradition, when Presidents delivered written messages, or, at the very least, telling most of the Cabinet and Justices, for starters, that they can, like the rest of us, watch it on TV. (I note that Dick Cheney did not attend the immediate post-Sept. 11 address to Congress, but did seemingly attend all of the States of the Union address thereafter. But why? I ask this as a fully serious, and not cheap-shot, question.)” Well, Hillary isn’t attending tonight, but not as a security holdout. What does that mean?
From the Cato Liveblog: “The assertions about the Depression we would have had are outrageous. Their forecasts of the stimulus’s impact have been horrible, so how can they have any credibility on this kind of issue? ” I think it’s full speed ahead, here, credibility be damned. Plus this: “Bastiat is spinning in his grave.”
The “stimulus” didn’t produce any jobs, but if we pass a new stimulus and call it a “jobs bill,” it will!
On Facebook, Alex Lightman writes: “I was looking forward to the State of the Union speech. Then I read most of it, and got depressed. It’s as if he’s running for office, not holding office. I didn’t hear anything about what’s going to be cut. Anyone can make promises to spend other people’s money.”
Reader C.J. Burch writes: “‘The worst of the storm has passed.’ Forget Green and Crittenden, what the Hell is Obama drinking?”
More from Cato: “Wonderful, more government-directed investment. That worked really well with Fannie and Freddie.” Plus this prediction: “He’ll pivot from a new $100 billion jobs bill to cutting the deficit.”
Ann Althouse: “Small businesses are good. (Come on, talk to them.) Big business sucks though. We want to help small business grow… so it can become big business and then we can hate it.”
Seems pretty much like a recycled campaign speech to me.
And not just recycled campaign speech — the Cato folks note this:
“Through stricter accounting standards and tougher disclosure requirements, corporate America must be made more accountable to employees and shareholders and held to the highest standards of conduct.”
–George W. Bush, 2002 SOTU
They told me if I voted for John McCain we’d see a third Bush term. And they were right! [LATER: Tad DeHaven keeps running quotes from Bush SOTUs that match what Obama's saying tonight.]
More from Cato: “He has decided to run against lobbyists. The populist turn again. Carter did that too.” Those guys are on fire. Just head over there to catch all the gems. But here’s one more: “This is the most awful anti-trade position of any president in a long time.”
More liveblogging from Jason Van Steenwyk.
Ed Driscoll: The Semiotics Of The Anointed.
Stephen Green: “’Our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as one trillion dollars over two decades.’ Fine. But when those two decades mean another 20 or 30 trillion dollars of debt, you’re talking about scooping pee out of the ocean with sieve.”
Plus this: “’Let me know.’ Dude, the voters of Massachusetts just did.”
And: “The guy who just bragged of his (mysterious) 25 tax cuts just ragged on the Bush tax cuts.”
An Obama speech word cloud.
“But we took office in a crisis — and never let a crisis go to waste!” Okay, I kinda interpolated the second part. . . .
Hey, does this sound familiar?
Many of you have talked about the need to pay down our national debt. I listened, and I agree. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now, and I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years.
It’s from George W. Bush’s 2001 SOTU.
A reader emails: “Oh for heaven’s sake. It’s a freaking stump speech. You’ve been elected all ready Mr. President. Now you have to do things. See the difference?”
The freeze starts next year? And I start my diet tomorrow.
From Dan Mitchell at Cato: “We’ve all done something very naughty if this is the government we deserve.”
Now Obama, after delivering an hour-long stump speech, criticizes the perpetual campaign. Luckily for him, most people will be watching Teen Mom on their Tivo by now.
A reader sends a link to Reagan’s 1982 State Of The Union by way of comparison.
The Insta-Daughter: “He needs to quit referring to Bush. It’s weird.”
John Samples at Cato: “I agree with Chris. It is surprising how unsurprising this speech has been, particularly for a president in deep political trouble.”
More liveblogging at Reason. Radley Balko: “wow. no none is better at trivializing opponents’ arguments than obama.”
A call to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I’m for it, but I’ll bet there’s not much follow-through.
Stephen Green: “’I have embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.’ Okay. Except you embraced the competence of Jimmy Carter & Herbert Hoover.”
Jim Harper at Cato: “Following through on his transparency promises would be a great way to actually deliver change.”
Matt Welch: “8-year-olds sending money to the president don’t make me all tingly inside.”
Reader Rob Lain emails:
Others have probably done this already, but I just ran these numbers:
Obama SOTU 2010 First Person Singular Pronoun Count
I – 96 times
me – 8 times
Bush SOTU 2008 First Person Singular Pronoun Count
I – 39 times
me – 2 times
Think this may wind up correlating to their relative contributions to the national debt, when all is said and done?
I dunno, but what’s funny is that I think Obama was restraining himself here . . . .
Okay, it’s over. My sense is that he was trying a bit too hard. Comparing the mood to last year, the Democratic applause and cheering seemed rather forced, too. Plus, I don’t think his public scolding of the Supreme Court was very Presidential — or, for that matter, very smart.
Krauthammer is noting that Obama treats “Washington” as a pejorative, but that he is Washington now.
Matt Welch: “I think I’ve forgotten it already. Except for the I WON’T QUIT part. Don’t worry, it *is* about you, etc.”
Reader Matt Barger writes: “There has never been a SOTU as patronizing as this. God help us.”
C.J. Burch emails again: “A brittle speech by a brittle administration. He’s done as a political force, I think. If not now, soon.” We’ll see.
And Stephen Green concludes: “We’re into the Big Finish… but there’s no new here. For a guy who got his bottom handed to him in three big elections, he’s strangely reluctant to change course. In fact, he’s not even willing to change tone. Which means, whatever you thought of Bush’s lousy last three years, Obama has already outdone him in being tone-deaf. Let me restate that. This guy hasn’t gotten one single thing done since Porklulus was passed 11 months ago, and he just doubled down. Well, you know what? Who cares how much is in the pot when it’s other people’s money?”
Reader Allen S. Thorpe writes: “It is probably better to think of it as a State of My Presidency speech and it’s probably the best chance he’s had since his Inauguration to speech to this size of an audience. He’d better be in campaign mode, because he’s losing the election right now. From the back of my memory, some familiar words are floating up: ‘Lipstick on a pig.’”
Gerard van der Leun emails with praise: “Excellent digest. All the hot liveblogging lines with none of the screen refreshing tedium.”
Thanks! As Leon Lipson once said, “Anything you can do, I can do meta.” But really, follow the links to the other blogs as this is just the merest skim of cream.
And there’s always the Zomby translation.
Plus, Richard Fernandez weighs in. “Since the current administration is doing all these good things, it will stay the course. It won’t let the aforementioned saboteurs and wreckers stand in the way.”
The McDonnell reponse? The bar for these things is low — and he was certainly infinitely better than Jindal last year. But the big story is the subtext: “I was just elected in a state Obama carried, even though Obama campaigned against me. Whatever he may say under the lights, he can’t save you come election day.” Likewise, the Scott Brown mention.
And from Meryl Yourish: Breaking the Obama Code:
Tonight, he addressed the American people, and he addressed Congress. Go back and look at the speech. He was earnest, and his chin was down, his head relatively level, when speaking to Congress. When he spoke to us, his chin rose, and he talked down to us—literally.
Go ahead. Take a look. Note his posture. You’ll see it, too. You and I, we are not his equals. He is above us.
That’s what sets my teeth on edge every time I listen to him.
That’s almost worth rewinding the DVR for, but . . . no, I’ve suffered enough.
Some extensive thoughts from Dan Riehl, including this: “Obama praised the concept of separation of powers, then immediately turned to question the Supreme Court’s recent decision on campaign finance reform. That tendency caused much of speech to ring hollow throughout.”
Alex Castellanos writes: “There were too many Barack Obamas tonight, making too many promises to too many interests. The same president who said he wasn’t interested in relitigating the past . . . did exactly that for over an hour. The same president who yearned for less partisanship also resorted to it without hesitation, often just a few sentences afterwards, blaming his problems on his predecessor one long year into his own administration.”
More from The Anchoress:
You know, one could argue that President Bush “inherited” Al Qaeda from Bill Clinton, who did little-to-nothing in response to all of Al Qaeda’s provocations throughout the 1990’s and unto the USS Cole bombing. But never, not once, did Bush ever say, “I inherited this…” It’s time for Obama to become a man.
Much more at the link.
John Podhoretz: “One liberal trope after the speech, voiced by Chrystia Freedland of the Financial Times on Charlie Rose, is that Obama is putting Republican politicians on notice he will go after them as the do-nothing impeders of progress. Republicans should pray this is the case, and it may be the case.” In New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts he’s proven impotent. Why should people fear him more now, when he’s weaker?
And reader Eric Naft writes:
You posted a CATO link that mentioned Bastiat, but do you realize exactly how precisely delicious that observation is? In extolling the virtues of the stimulus, President Obama cited several small businesses, including a “window repair company” in Philadelphia.
Having read Bastiat’s influential “That Which Is Seen & That Which Is Not Seen: The Unintended Consequences of Government Spending,” I don’t think he could have chosen more poorly (or perhaps more aptly?). The opening vignette of Bastiat’s seminal work, which demolishes the notion that government spending stimulates anything, is subtitled, “The Broken Window.” It explains that paying to repair broken windows doesn’t help the economy at large because the money used to pay for the repair is money that can’t be used to buy a shirt or to do whatever else the private citizen may be inclined to do with his money.
Has nobody in the administration’s speech-writing team ever read basic economics? Never mind. I think I know the answer to that.
Yes, I do realize. But heck, forget the speech-writing team. What about the economic team?
Plus, what the voters think about Obama’s speech points.
Good grief. Why is this guy still on the air? Oh, wait, he’s not — he’s on MSNBC . . . .
And reader Scott Blanksteen writes:
Obama’s comments about the Supreme Court’s decision enabling foreign corporations to donate in US campaigns are particularly ironic given that it was his campaign that mis-configured their credit-card acceptance software in a way for which the only purpose would be to enable foreign donations!
Jules Crittenden: “But seriously, we have just witnessed an extraordinary exercise in presidential oratorical animation that may be without peer or precedent. Can it be said that any American president has ever tried to blame so much on other people, or has been willing to so rapidly abandon his own principles for the betterment of his standing with the people, to seize up the banner against himself in our nation’s time of need, that this nation should not stand against him? For this, the president deserves our unabashed, gaga-eyed astonishment.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS CONTROLLING CARBON EMISSIONS? NOT VERY. Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region. I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like a crisis.
HOT AIR AND CARBON: Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges.
I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.
COPENHAGEN? More Like Carbonhagen! I’ll believe it’s a crisis when they do these shindigs via videoconference.
Related: Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, flew 443,243 miles in a 19 month period while speaking against global warming. A fraud, a hypocrite, and probably a liar. Somebody tell this guy about Skype and iChat.
GREENHOUSE UPDATE: Government officials and activists flying to Bali, Indonesia, for the United Nations meeting on climate change will cause as much pollution as 20,000 cars in a year. I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis. Like, you know, substituting videoconferences for tropical-island junkets.
U.N. GREENHOUSE CONFERENCE WILL overload Bali’s airport with private jets:
Tempo Interaktif reports that Angkasa Pura – the management of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport are concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas. To meet the added demand for aircraft storage officials are allocating “parking space” at other airports in Indonesia.
I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis. That clearly hasn’t happened yet.
CHINA: No binding emissions limits: “China will reject any agreement that calls for binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, an EU official said Wednesday.” China’s now the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, which makes this pretty important.
UPDATE: MARK STEYN: “It’s fascinating to observe how almost any old totalitarian racket becomes respectable once it’s cloaked in enviro-hooey. For example, restrictions on freedom of movement were previously the mark of the Soviet Union et al. But in Britain, they’re proposing limits on your right to take airline flights to other countries – and, as it’s in the name of environmental responsibility, everyone thinks it’s a grand idea.”
I’ll buy it when they stop jetting off for global-warming conferences in Bali. As I’ve said before, I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting as if it’s a crisis.
GREEN FAKERS: Radar on why eco-hypocrisy matters:
Take Laurie David, soon-to-be-ex-wife of Seinfeld co-creator Larry, and producer of An Inconvenient Truth and other save-the-earth extravaganzas. Though she boasts about using recycled toilet paper and compact fluorescent lightbulbs, David has been pilloried for, among other excesses, flying on private jets. Here’s what she has said in defense of her travel habits: “I’m not perfect. This is not about perfection. I don’t expect anybody else to be perfect either. That’s what hurts the environmental movementâ€”holding people to a standard they cannot meet.”
Apparently, when you’re worth a few hundred million dollars, being asked to refrain from the most carbon-intensive indulgence known to man qualifies as “holding people to a standard they cannot meet.” Note, too, her use of emotional jujitsu: the ones who are really hurting the environment are the ones who are so impolite as to point out her bad behavior. . . . It’s always galling to be exhorted to curb your consumption by people who are living the poshest lifestyle imaginable. But the problem here goes beyond aesthetics. Eco-hypocrites undercut the very message they’re trying to peddle. How desperate could the planet’s plight be if the people who present themselves as most concerned about it consider flying first-class commercial an unacceptable sacrifice?
Read the whole thing. As I’ve said before, I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who say it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.
ADVANCE STATE OF THE UNION EXCERPTS: Click “read more” to read more.
To the delight of Republicans, Cindy Sheehan will reportedly be in the audience. GayPatriot will be liveblogging. And RightSideRedux has a lot of reports from the blogger event on Capitol Hill this afternoon; just keep scrolling. And reportedly Rumsfeld took a hand. Daniel Glover has more. This early bird report is amusing, too. But David Corn isn’t excited. The Corner is moreso, and is liveblogging.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey will be liveblogging, too. I don’t know if I’ll liveblog, but I’ll at least have some thoughts later.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Full text available now — it’s below the excerpts. Just click “read more” and scroll.
Lots more livebloggers here.
“Every year of my presidency we’ve reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending.” Not a barn-burner of a line. But a bit later he endorses earmark reform, a key PorkBusters goal!
MORE: N.Z. Bear: “George W. Bush — Porkbuster!” The Bear continues: “Having the Presidential bully pulpit keeping Congressional feet to the fire on the need for earmark reform is a Very Good Thing — and one that I sincerely hope is not a This Night Only performance.”
STILL MORE: I don’t like the cloning ban endorsement, though.
To the delight of Republicans…’ »