The Preamble; Fix it or Nix It?



Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

At present, oil saturates the Gulf Stream.  An official six-month cessation of permits for new drilling did not actually affect the industry or government decisions.  Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead.  To explain such an authorization and waiver, the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Services Division which regulates drilling, pointed to public statements by Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.  He did not intend to forbid all first cuts in the Earth’s crust.  Absolutely not.  The Federal Government approved wells off the coast of Louisiana in June. Regardless of the day, or realities that are anathema to our citizenry, little has truly changed.  Today, just as in yesteryear, we, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union, polish policies to appear as though our civilization would wish to protect and defend all beings, equally.  

In an earlier era, and now, the electorate embraces practices that establish justice, while we unreasonably raze the planet.  As a devoted citizenry, we insure domestic tranquility through appeasement. Furthermore, for the sake of homeland harmony, we adopt practices that encourage petroleum production, excessive oil and coal profits, whilst we also rob crops of their inherent dignity.  We, the countrymen, commit to the promise that we will provide for the common defense. In accordance with the demands of the public, policymakers further endorse perilous practices.  

These pursuits are realized in the form of perpetual war.  Blood for oil, minerals, or any resource that makes more money for the few, is what we, believe brings security to the native soil.   Our energy plans, or was it the profound Preamble to the United States Constitution, afforded us world prominence.  Globally, America is seen as powerful, so much so other countries chose to emulate us.  

Our governance and Preamble now belong to many a proud nation.  Collectively, in this country and the next, people clamor, “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Over the years, there have been many opportunities to consider our constitution, our commitment to country, and our love of power.  Before this country was born, we could have seized on the chance to harness energy in a way that did not cause harm.  In 1766, British Scientist Henry Cavendish identified the energetic element, hydrogen.  By 1838, Swiss Chemist Christian Friedrich Schoenbein stumbled upon the “fuel cell.”  Only seven years later, Sir William Grove, an English Scientist and Judge, demonstrated the practicality of the discovery.  Mister Grove created a “gas battery.”  For this feat, he acquired the title “Father of the Fuel Cell.”

Most recall the Franklin kite experiment, which, while not the first appearance of an electrical consciousness certainly was one that gave us a jolt.  That event occurred in 1752.  Then, people began to realize that electricity, not produced from coal or dependent on fossil fuels, could make a meaningful difference in the society.  Initially, there were struggles.  Some people were afraid of an incomprehensible current.  A few did not wish to succumb to a change in lifestyle.  Convenience at a nominal cost convinced the citizenry to change their conventional ways, and of course, modify the meaning of the Constitution.

By 1769, with the advent of the first automobile, people began to ponder inexpensive means for mobility.  The invention of engines and the Industrial Revolution completed the conversion. Steamships and steam-powered railroads became the foremost forms of transportation.  These vessels used coal to fuel their boilers. Still, it was not until the 1880s that “coal was first used to generate electricity for homes and factories.”  Since then, there seemed no desire to turn back.  Way back when, our constitution, or at least the Preamble as practiced today, was set in stone.  

Give it to us cheap and dirty is the American credo.  We guzzle gas, burn through barrels of oil, and belch out endorsements for big businesses that earn billions on our backs.  Americans strip the countryside in search of more and more coal.  We savage the seas and shores whilst we annihilate all the creatures dependent on these.  Indeed, we ignore that we too are reliant on the chain of life to survive.  We disregard what science teaches us; each species and specimen plays a part in the planet’s endurance.  Instead, we loudly state, “We the people commit to cheap fossil fuels and biomass consumption that we have become accustomed to.”  Damn the damage to the planet, and ultimately to humans and all other populations.  We travel on, full speed ahead!

As the Gulf Bay puncture wound bleeds, present and former Governors, Jurists, and citizens clamor, Drill Baby Drill!  In June 2020, be it in Alaska, in the Gulf, anywhere, almost anywhere, regardless of known risks, we are ready!  We want our fix.  Fossil fuels and biomass flow through our blood.  Petroleum, or the reliance on this and other hazardous forms of energy, run our boats, cars, trains, planes, and our lives.  Even if a pipe, mineshaft, or the food chain are broken, the people say, Let it be!”

“Fix It or Nix It” defines the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity campaign. This statement is not an endorsement for renewable energy policies. Nor does it address the altered Preamble, No. This group does advocate for further advancements in fossil fuel usage.“ACCCE.cannot support the Kerry-Lieberman draft bill.”  This all-“powerful” organization considers these two Senators dissenters, or their proposed legislation a threat to the American way.  Reflective of past policies and practices, those who rebel are often forced into submission.  Popular opinion can suppress opposition.

Peers, polls, any pressure, can sway the people.  Promotional pieces are abundantly persuasive.  Ample advertisements feed the public and influence actions. Perhaps this explains why millions of people are easily fooled, or more likely just want to believe as we all do, that what we do now is wise.  

Factoids from associations such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity offer us food for thought.  Statements that support what we yearn for speak to our heart, head, and soul. These satisfy the American appetite for energy and satiate the anthem.  “We the people commit to inexpensive energy and welcome any reassurance that all is well, just as it is.”  

  • Coal costs less than any other major fossil fuel source.
  • According to an electric power industry journal, 23 of the 25 power plants in the U.S. that have the lowest operating costs (and therefore provide power to their consumers at the lowest prices) are powered by coal.
  • Thanks, in part, to $90 billion invested in new technologies, the environmental footprint of coal-based electricity generation has been significantly reduced.
  • Since 1970, the use of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. has nearly tripled in response to growing electricity demand.
  • Using coal to generate electricity is less than a 1/3 of the cost of other fuels.

Corporations that profit from the use of coal, petroleum, and biomass fuels flood the airwaves with anti alternative and renewable energy oratory.  Lobbyists and Legislators who like the status quo are also hard at work.

Commentaries, commercials, Congressional concessions, and common clichés do not negate the reality that whenever we invest in naturally replenished resources, environmentally friendly green energy, we ultimately provide jobs, as well as preserve the planet.  Research abounds.  studies confirm.  Pew Charitable Trusts asserts Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth.

Nonetheless, the well-established Preamble persists.  We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”  Nations that did not accept our programs, sooner or later, were “willingly” brought into the fold. Money and might can move mountains, petroleum fields, and large quantities of botanical mass. Indeed, the production and use of any fossil fuel is encouraged.  Promised earnings offer a profound argument to dissenters.  

Some followers of the more modern Preamble, an altered petroleum policy, were brought onboard reluctantly. The bid for biofuels proved profitable.  Influential Advisors and Advertisers offered a rationalization. Plants can be grown.  Vegetation is renewable.  This thought removed a sense of guilt.  The public purchased the argument.  For most ethanol is envisioned as euphoria.

Some were less relieved by this opportune “reality.”  However, in time, they too do as the devotees do.  They drive hither and yon.  Petroleum and plants fill their gas tanks.  These persons call themselves environmentalists.  Yet, they know that they too, myself among them, consume gargantuan quantities of fossil fuels and biomass energy. To participate in present day life, we, the people, must pump petro and pledge allegiance to the American way, or else . . . For the sake of convenience, expediency, pragmatism and the Preamble, in a Twenty-First century culture, even conservationists surrender.  

Perchance, as gas and oil fill the Gulf Stream, and travel North, South, East and West, as microbes, mammals, and all other creatures in its path perish, we, the people, will think it is time to reflect.  Let us ponder our proud past.  Perhaps, through the plumes, we will unearth what the petroleum, coal, and biofuels Preamble has hidden, the history of hydrogen and how we abandoned this truly renewable and reliable source of energy.  

1920s German engineer, Rudolf Erren, converted the internal combustion engines of trucks, buses, and submarines to use hydrogen or hydrogen mixtures. British scientist and Marxist writer, J.B.S. Haldane, introduced the concept of renewable hydrogen in his paper Science and the Future by proposing that “there will be great power stations where during windy weather the surplus power will be used for the electrolytic decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen.”

1937 After ten successful trans-Atlantic flights from Germany to the United States, the Hindenburg, a dirigible inflated with hydrogen gas, crashed upon landing in Lake- wood, New Jersey. The mystery of the crash was solved in 1997. A study concluded that the explosion was not due to the hydrogen gas, but rather to a weather-related static electric discharge which ignited the airships’ silver-colored, canvas exterior covering…

1958 The United States formed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s space program currently uses the most liquid hydrogen worldwide, primarily for rocket propulsion and as a fuel for fuel cells.

It would seem that we, the people, could have endowed and empowered the energy that was first recognized before our forefathers penned what was the United States Constitution.  We might realize that great strides have been made in endlessly renewable hydrogen energy.  However, we, the people, never stopped to consider what we accepted as our manifest destiny.   What we defined as divine intervention or intervention by design was our chosen well-deserved deliverance.  As independent Americans, free spirits, mavericks, we would not be bound by physical boundaries.  Petroleum, coal, and biofuels, we decided, would set us free.  We would drive as if we were driven, deliberately.  

We did. Whilst barrels of oil flood from the ocean floor, we still do.  Nary a person proclaims; it is time to stop the madness, completely.  Hardly an American truly thinks he or she will reinstate the Preamble in its original form.  No, the “better life” has been fashioned. Yet, in Louisiana and elsewhere in the South there is reason to question what had been our truth. “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Possibly, now we will acknowledge belatedly, the better question would have been why did we rely on reports released by the International Oil Spill Conference.,  This organization offers studies sponsored by those who are the worst offenders, who are most dependent on petroleum, and who gain greater power and prowess when oil flows. After the fact, will we abandon the Advisors who brought us our present burdens, our blunders, and our oddly converted Preamble?

Will humans resume operations and disregard reality?  Will we proceed on a false premise that biomass is the better source for fuel? Will we look beyond the boundaries of our desires or will humans, not BP, Exxon, the company of your choice, nay the Governments of, the United States, Britain, Nigeria, or . . . rape the land, place food in the mouths of machines rather than man?  Might we finally admit, that we need not concede to consumption, crave petroleum products, and biofuels?  Will we choose to see that people, and the planet, will not survive if we rely on what has been our folly, our friend, and our funeral march, our converted constitution, and a corrupted Preamble?   Only we can decide.  Fix it or Nix it?  Perhaps, we must do both.

Written with thanks to By Larry Hartweg Zero Energy Design® for a visual presentation that inspires and investigates, Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

BP; Texas Tea or Gulf Coast Coffee



BP Spills Coffee

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

For more than a century, in unison, the planets’ population proclaimed, thankfully petroleum flows.  Oil powers our machines.  The refined product has helped us manufacture massive quantities of clothing, aluminum sheet, and photovoltaic (PV) solar cells.  “Plastics.”  As was professed in a popular film decades ago, “There’s a great future in plastics.” Presently, and in the past, BP understood this and much more.  The company’s Executives knew petroleum could and would provide endless profits, power, and a perpetual presence.

Mother Earth’s Coffee was BPs Cream


One need only consider the pretty penny made ($9 Billion) on the sale of Innovene, or the big bucks BPs SPORT Polymer Cracking technology is expected to yield.  Black Gold, Texas Teas, and Gulf Coast Coffee, arguably, have fostered the good life for Americans.  Nothing has changed that truth; yet, recent events  have tweaked perceptions.  

Talk began in April, on the 20th to be exact. On that fateful day people began to recognize a shift in the wind, or more correctly in the seas.   Waterways in the Gulf of Mexico filled with fuel.  The flow seemed endless. Months later, the stream of crude has barely subsided.  Many mused as the corporate slogan states, BP is “Beyond Petroleum.”

Today, millions, perchance billions, believe this company has operated beyond the reach of what were presumed to be regulations.  Documents reveal that on countless occasions the oil giant violated government set standards .  With “willful neglect of safety rules, and penalties for manipulating energy markets” British Petroleum moved forward with an unmistakable mission, profits at any price.  Human and environmental tragedies were thought the cost of doing business. “Accidents” happen. People perish. Either or each is as milk spilled.  A company, as conventional wisdom taught British Petroleum, cannot cry over spilled milk, coffee, or oil.

BP never has.  Throughout their more than century long existence cruelty has characterized the corporations policies and practices. BP is not only Beyond Petroleum.  This business is Beyond Belief.  

Cravings Cut to Mother Earth’s Core


In 2010, as America and the world watches and waits for the calamity of an oil well gone awry to end, most wonder why, how, when, and where did BP go wrong?  In actuality, the question is how, when, where, and why did people throughout the planet allow this to happen, over and over again until the scale of the calamity could not be controlled?  Perchance, people on this planet collectively decided not to cry over earlier “spills.”  For more than a century, we were satisfied with satiated gas tanks, and all the other products petroleum provides.

Try as we might to justify our shared gluttony, it is difficult to imagine that anyone could truly deny the human thirst for fossil fuels has led us down the path of destruction.  We wanted Texas Tea, and what we now have is Gulf Coast Coffee.  

People may wish to call what occurred a spill, and from what is read and heard in the Press, we do.  Yet, no object dropped.  No cup of oil can be turned upright.  Indeed, the only splash or spatter seen was blood.  We can safely say that life sustaining red fluid from human bodies was spilled.  However, the oil that rushes from the ocean’s ground is another sort of bleed.  The gusher from below is a hemorrhage.  It is an uncontrollable surge of fluid.  The oil that now fills the sea and covers the shores is the result of a puncture wound.  Pierce an artery and the effect is the same.

Humans have purposely, physically hurt their Mother Earth and ultimately, themselves.  We have done anything and everything to feed our addiction.  People in the “civilized” world might be compared with any individual who desperately craves food, drink, or drugs.  We will do what we must to satisfy our desires, regardless of the fact that our folly will injure another.

Thus, we drill hole after hole into our planet’s body.  Not long ago, actually days before the Deepwater Horizon rig was ablaze, citizens in this country chanted, in chorus with the Obama Administration, “Drill Baby Drill.”  

Even two months after the catastrophe, as a nation we advanced the theme, and happily arranged to act on “Drill Baby Drill.”  The difference is, today, we express a bit of concern for what might be, but only a bit.

To Clean, Wean, or Glean Greater Gulps of Coffee


Americans have begun to recognize the hazards of oil consumption.  Still, very few think to immediately turn away from fossil fuels.  Only some consider an authentic overall investment in renewable energy.  The mantra of most is this must be a slow transition.  President Obama speaks to the people’s preference.  Gulf drilling only if we can ensure no more spills.  Keep the coffee coming.  Texas tea is more than a temptation.  It is America’s source of elation.  “Spills” can be sopped up.  Well, sort of.

Conveniently, as addicts do, we rationalize.  Several say we have begun to wean ourselves. Besides, in the past, we controlled the Earth’s hemorrhages,  . . .or pretended to. Now we opportunely take no blame and call what has occurred a spill.  

For so long we, just as British Petroleum, immersed ourselves in the “bliss” of ignorance.  The “spilled milk” adage has been our aide.  Thus, at present, we proudly search for solutions.  BP too has embraced this tradition, although the company’s attempts to answer the call might be considered clumsy , comical., and call into question the term “sweet crude.”

Absolutely.  Something must be done.  We must find a way to stop the bleed.  Bandages have proven to be inadequate.  It has been confirmed; crafts and chemicals are calculated risks.  Numerous persons recall their childhood.  Mom’s tried and true traditional healing techniques were often the better cure to what ailed them.  Yes.  Scientists, Doctor Riki Ott among them, avow, there are natural common sense ways to clean and contain the flow that gushes from the Gulf floor.  However, as is often observed, BP has adopted not one of these.  In truth, the company dismissed all but four of the more than 35,000 ideas it received in the month of May.  These scant treasures were only “tested.”

Also in May, a frantic Public Offered Ideas to Stop Oil Flow to the Government.  These too were rejected.  At the time, an Official said the US cannot take over cleanup duty. Let the coffee flow as we klatch, offered company Executives..

Small communities adopted some natural alternatives.  The Obama Administration, which had relied solely on the vaunted wizardry of British Petroleum, has begun to be, ever so slightly, more engaged,  However, spokespersons say the government is reliant on the company’s tools, technology and expert talent.   Surely, it is evident; clean remediation is not BP’s standard.  The petroleum profiteer prefers the use of toxic chemical solutions, even those banned by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA].

People are frustrated, as  the oil comes ashore.  BPs Chief Executive Officer offers absurd analysis and silly statements.  The beleaguered boss admits his job is on the line; however, he assesses the oil gusher and the gallons released into the wild as, “relatively tiny” compared with the “very big ocean”.

Many have wondered why we do not use hay, hair, and other natural fibers to, at least, capture some of the oil as it spouts.  Limited supplies of one, fragility of  the other, does not negate the truth as stated by Myron Sullivan II, founder of Global Response Group (GRG), a well known industry expert on oil spill responses.  In an electronic mail message, he professed hay could be a good complement for other novel systems.  Indeed, the GRG prospectus emphasizes that many existing oil spill response solutions could be used in combination with its technology to contain and remove oil spills. Indeed, hay, hair, or other natural forms for cleanup could compliment and harmonize with any safe and sane system.

While Mister Sullivan and his organization could realize capital gains if his own technological triumph was embraced, at least, for now, the creator of the AEROS system understands that biology works to benefit an ecosystem.  Surely, any organic alternative would be better than the various poisonous, preposterous, BP funded fumbles and follies the public has seen.

At this moment in time, even a system such as AEROS is not an option.  No tested technique, hair and hay amongst these, has been incorporated into the cleanup and containment.   BP thinks it best to go it alone, to persuasively advertise, and advance only the message the company hopes will move the masses.

Dollars are not doled out to those whose lives have been destroyed. Almost none of the billions from profits have been spent to hasten the prospect of Gulf water purification.   Nor has this cash and crude ravenous company donated dollars to other more sound endeavors.  British Petroleum is too busy ravaging the environment and destroying economic stability.

Why?  The answer is perhaps as illogical as the attempts to cap the huge hole BP bored into Mother Earth’s flesh.  No matter what BP or other companies do, profits are the priority.  BP only wishes to capture and resell the crude. Critters, communities . . . These are as spilled coffee. . . only a concern to the degree they might create a problem for BP.

References for a refinement of natural resources . . .

Clean Coal and the Clause

(Today it is oil.  Just as President Bush, Mister Obama is concerned only with the use of “foreign” oil, or fossil fuels brought to our shores from abroad.  Domestic fuels, fossil or otherwise, for him, are fine.

Obama’s Oil Drilling Plan Draws Critics From Both Sides

The plan, which Mr. Obama said would balance the need to produce more domestic energy while protecting natural resources, would allow drilling along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska. It would end a longstanding moratorium on exploration from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

– promoted by Betsy L. Angert)



Barack Obama Supports Developing Clean Coal Technology

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

You better watch out!

Better not cry!

Better not pout!

I’m telling you why,

Santa Claus is comin’ to town.

He’s making a list

and checking it twice.

He’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town.

We better watch out.  We better not cry.  While Santa checks his list twice, so too might you and I.  The ebony chunks Old Saint Nick might place in our stocking, contrary to what coal corporation sponsored commercials might claim, are not clean.  Nor is this source of energy cheap.  When used as a resource for power, this sedimentary rock is dirty, deadly, and digs deep into the pocketbooks, and personal lives, of those the industry touches.  In America, that may be you and me.

  • Millions of acres across 36 states have been dynamited, torn, and churned into bits by strip mining in the last 150 years.
  • More than 60 percent of all coal mined in the United States today, in fact, comes from strip mines.
  • In the “United States of Coal,” Appalachia has become the poster child for strip mining’s worst depravations, which come in the form of mountaintop removal.
  • An estimated 750,000 to 1 million acres of hardwood forests, a thousand miles of waterways and more than 470 mountains and their surrounding communities — an area the size of Delaware — have been erased from the southeastern mountain range in the last two decades.
  • Thousands of tons of explosives — the equivalent of several Hiroshima atomic bombs — are set off in Appalachian communities every year.
  • More than 104,000 miners in America have died in coal mines since 1900.
  • Twice as many have died from black lung disease.
  • Dangerous pollutants, including mercury, filter into our air and water (through mining practices.)
  • The injuries and deaths caused by overburdened coal trucks are innumerable.
  • A recent report reveals that in the last six years the Mine Safety and Health Administration decided not to assess fines for more than 4,000 violations.

Source . . . Washington Post.  Jeff Biggers is the author of “The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightenment to America.”

Mister Claus; however, will not ignore the signs or signals.  He knows when we are sleeping.  He knows when we are awake.  Jolly Old Saint Nick also knows we have been bad or good; thus, he shrugs as he says, ‘for heavens sake.’  

The man in the red suit, from his North Pole residence, feels the effect of Americans who have been naughty, not nice, to the planet.  He wonders why, after all these centuries, citizens of the United States do not grasp the notion he has thought to teach for all these years.  Coal is not a gift.  The petroleum product is placed in the stockings of children who have been cruel, adults too.  Old Saint Nick sighs for he sees that his message has been long lost.  

Yes, tis true; just as people sing; Santa Claus is comin’ to town.  However, while his sleigh is weighted down with packages, his heart is heavy with woe.  Will the reindeer soon be extinct?  Might the air be too contaminated for his herd and him to breathe?  Could it be children will no longer be snug in their beds. Might the visions that dance in little ones heads be horrific reminders of what has aired on the news.  The ice shelves collapsed and seawaters rose.

As the 2008, Presidential election came to a close Mrs Claus told her husband, Santa, to hope.  She said, on January 21, 2009, President Elect Obama’s first full day in office, certainly, there would be a change.  However, Saint Nick saw reason to think otherwise.  He has listened to Barack Obama for quite some time.  Mister Claus has looked at the soon-to-be Chief Executive’s record, and he realizes there has been little for him to believe in.

Kriss Kringle is optimistic as he contemplates the recent energy appointments.  Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and proclaims to be on a “mission” to ensure the United States is “the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy,” was selected to be the next Energy Secretary.  

Carol M. Browner, an Administrator from the Environmental Protection Agency under Bill Clinton, who worked vehemently for stringent air pollution standards, will direct a new White House position.  She might be considered the Czar of Energy, Environmental, and Climate Policies.

Lisa P. Jackson, former head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and a fervent advocate for green energy, has been asked to head the Obama Environmental Protection Agency.  Nancy Sutley, a Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles for Energy and Environment, with a long record on environmental and natural resources policy, will Chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality.   Santa says, that is all good.  Yet, he still feels great concern.  Can Barack Obama change his ways.  Aware of the fact that Americans are comfortable with coal, will the President Elect continue to pacify the people who selected him to serve?

Mister Claus is less buoyant when he considers Congress, which has, for so long strengthened the hold the industry has on energy policies.  Coal lobbyists, Kriss Kringle muses, are a powerful bunch.  All of those who support the status quo, which includes the use of fossil fuels are as children coddled and content, even when given a gift of coal.

Hence, Santa is apprehensive.  Will policies change?  Climate certainly has.  For decades, Mister Claus has pretended to be happy when in the presence of little ones.  In public, he bellowed a blissful “Ho, ho, ho.”  However, when at home, alone with the Missus, the man in the red flannels and furs spoke of his truer trepidation.  Santa, quotes, Stanford University biologist Terry Root; “We’re out of time.  Things are going extinct.”

The once jolly man reads the gloomy reports in the press.  He peruses the United States Enviornmental Protection Agency literature in his desire to verify the conclusions.  Unlike the skies and seas, it seems clear.   Climate change, he contends, is real.

“U.S. emissions have increased by 20 percent since 1992.  China has more than doubled its carbon dioxide pollution in that time.  World carbon dioxide emissions have grown faster than scientists’ worst-case scenarios.  Methane, the next most potent greenhouse gas, suddenly is on the rise again and scientists fear that vast amounts of the trapped gas will escape from thawing Arctic permafrost.

The amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has already pushed past what some scientists say is the safe level.”

Santa wonders of what the future might bring.  Missus Claus again avows, there is reason to hope.  However, Saint Nick reflects on what he thinks an apt comparison.  A proud parent will ignore obvious impish behaviors.  A mother or father will consider imprudent actions acceptable.  Papa or Mama will tell themselves a child has potential.  A devoted Mommy or Daddy will declare their progeny are decidedly different.  He, or she, will be unlike any other offspring who might misbehave.  

Caregivers will do as Barack Obama has done in the past, posit policies that while profound do not alter behaviors.  Indeed, strategies that lack the substance that sustains a transition encourage greater mischief.  Mister Claus cannot forget what remains on Barack Obama’s webpage even after he announced a change in energy consultants; Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology

President Elect Obama has said we can grow clean coal expertise.  Americans, reluctant to authentically change agree.  Santa pleads, “Please!”

Days ago, is a moment of deep despair Kriss Kringle turned to the television.  He endeavored to lose himself as Americans have, in thoughts of whimsy.  Yet, as he tuned in, he is horrified to see what reminds him of the power of persuasion.  Misinfomercials market; coal is clean.  Little lumps of black carbon sing.

Frosty the Coal Man, is a jolly happy soul.

He’s abundant here in America and he helps our economy roll.

Frosty the Coal Man, is getting cleaner every day.

He’s affordable and adorable and helps workers keep their pay.

There must have been some magic in clean coal technology,

For when they looked for pollutants there was nearly none to see.

Santa grimaced and cringed.  While he welcomed the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity decision to suspend the spirited campaign intended to convince Americans that coal is clean and good, Saint Nick surmised, the people and perchance the nation’s newer Chief Executive will continue to ignore obvious, and intentionally invisible behavior.  

Santa ponders; the past has long been prologue, regardless of what is experts, said to former Presidents and the one soon-to-be.  Chief Executives were told just as Barack Obama is today.  There is ‘little time left to curb’ the crisis.  ‘(T)he world has just a few years to make deep cuts in emissions.’ If few or no changes are made, worldwide people and creatures will perish.  

Other Officers of the people postured as the President Elect did, after a conference with former Vice President Al Gore, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming.   The President Elect stated, “The time for delay is over; the time for denial is over.”  

However, Kriss Kringle contends, this suggested commitment to transformation could be challenged and Santa Claus offers his arguments.  He checked his list.  He reviewed it twice.  After a through assessment, Mister Claus is hesitant to believe that Barack Obama will be the clean, the green, change the globe needs.  

Santa knows what records reveal.  As a Senator, and as a Presidential candidate, Obama supported clean coal.  The American people had been persuaded to depend on the fossil fuel.  Congress was convinced coal was clean, cheap, and worth the investment.  Indeed, Saint Nick knows, Congress loves coal.  That, the man in the red suit says, as he mounts his sleigh, and heads for hills whose tops have been removed for coal excavation, is naughty not nice.

Overwhelmed with woe and wonder, as Old Saint Nick flew through the sky he pondered the many lumps of coal he had planned to deliver.  He wondered.  Might there be a better way to communicate his concern for behavior that is bad.  Could he part the seas, pummel the terrain with snow, sleet, and hail?  Might he move mountains, melt the frozen masses at the poles?  Would wind gusts be the best way to warn the American people, Congress, coal corporation campaigners, and the President Elect?  No, he concluded; Mother Nature tried each of these.

So Santa surmised, all he could do was to shout; “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, a Cherished Chanukah, a Joyous Kwanzaa, a Cheery Ramadan to all, and to all, if you prolong a confidence in coal for power, this may be our last night.”

Resources for coal; clean and dirty . . .

My Hair; His Energy Policy



Bush Oil Dancing!

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

“Drill baby, drill,” is the now ever-present and popular battle-cry for many Americans.  From Presidential candidates to everyday people, those who wish to consume sweet light crude as they have for a more than a century remind me of my hair, and the current President’s energy policy.  I ponder the parallels and invite you to consider . . .

During a recent press conference, as I gazed upon the President of the United States, noticeably aged after years in the Oval Office, I thought of my hair and my history.  His wavy gray locks are not as the strands that fall from my head.  Nor did the diminutive curl that danced on his brow remind me of my own tresses.  The style the Chief Executive donned did not resemble the permanent waves, pompadours, or ponytails I once wore.  As George W. Bush spoke of his energy policy, I pondered.  His approach to petroleum and power were as the methodology I embraced when I colored my hair.  

For years, I addressed the truth of my tresses just as the President assesses the paradox of propulsion.  In speech after speech, George W. Bush proposes, as he did on this occasion; America needs to end its addiction to oil.  In the past, I proclaimed, I need to bring to a halt the habit of dying my hair.  I, as President Bush, postured and yet, I did next to nothing to truly take me closer to my stated objective.

My progression towards a chemical free treatment of my hair was, as it seems Mister Bush’s advancement is.  I avoided more authentic change than I approached.  My evolution was perhaps slowed by love.  The tale of transformation began oh, so long ago.

Decades ago, I met a man who felt like family.  Indeed, emotionally Eugene was part of my intimate circle.  Gene did much with my Mom, Dad, brother, and I.  As a pair, Eugene and I often ventured off together.  We chatted on the telephone, spent time in each other’s home.  We were close.  This fine fellow was influential in many aspects of my life.  I respected his opinion.  I valued his friendship.  His wisdom often wowed me.  

Thus, when my good friend Gene, who was also my hairdresser, told me the tint would brighten my face, I thought he must have reason to think this sage advice.  At first, I protested.  As insecure as I was about my appearance, I was confident that my natural hair color was perfect.  Still, I considered the source.  Therefore, I trusted the recommendation.

Possibly, George W. Bush could share a similar story.  A loved one might have said, “Your future will be bright if you dabble in petroleum.  extraction”  “Build an oil well, my boy, and become a billionaire, or at least a multi-millionaire with substantial influence.”  “Taste the Texas Tea, and your life will be wondrous,” could have been the claim Papa George Herbert or Momma Barbara uttered.

“Oil,” family or friends may have opined, will improve the quality of the your existence.  Perchance George felt as I did.  He had no cause to distrust those he was close to.  Indeed, relatives of the heir apparent could avow, with knowledge, to refine sweet crude would put money in a person’s pocket.  Black gold had helped to grow profits for the Bush brood for generations.  As evidence, any of those related to George W. might have offered the family history.

Oil:. The Bushes’ ties to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil go back 100 years, when Rockefeller made Buckeye Steel Castings wildly successful by convincing railroads that carried their oil to buy heavy equipment from Buckeye.  George H. Walker helped refurbish the Soviet oil industry in the 1920s, and Prescott Bush acquired experience in the international oil business as a 22-year director of Dresser Industries.  George H.W. Bush, in turn, worked for Dresser and ran his own offshore oil-drilling business, Zapata Offshore.

Frequently a boy child will follow a father’s path.  Fondness can fashion a future.  On land and in the seas sweet light crude secured the Bush family’s future.  Young George W. Bush looked at evidence.  His ancestral past, and his present circumstances even at an early age, helped establish a proven record.  Investments in petroleum equate to prosperity.  After a scant assessment, the youthful Bush likely decided, drill, drill, drill.  That would be the life for him.  Silver platters can be persuasive.  The opinions of friends and family can also be extremely influential.

Through our personal acquaintance, Gene taught me to trust him and to have faith in his beliefs.  Eugene had experience with hair dye.  He felt the practice was safe, sane, and offered a sensational opportunity to liven up a face and an existence.  Although initially hesitant, I concluded I would at least “try” what quickly became my habit.  However, what I did not realize was once you begin on a path, it is a challenge to change course.  Dark roots appeared in no time, as did my demand for more hair-dye.  

George too may have approached his novel exploration cautiously.  Many offspring resolve, they do not wish to be in the family business.  The son of the senior Bush might have thought to play at this prospect until he found something better.  However, George W. may have quickly discovered just as I did; it is easy to become hooked on a habit, newly acquired or tried and true.  

When a career choice yields great wealth and greater opportunity, it is difficult to resist the temptation to continue on a prosperous path.  Once the journey begins, an oilman such as George W. Bush realized, empty gas tanks require more fuel.  Electrical equipment must be charged.  The demand is endless.  The people, such as the Bush band, who earn income from the supply, are happy to serve.  Thus, the dissonance thrives.  

The provider of power or the person caught in a mad pursuit for peroxide journeys deeper into an endless downward spiral.  However, neither is aware of the consequences.  Gene might not have considered that his chosen career shaded his truth.  Nor did I ponder that a professional hair-styler has a singular perspective.

When first introduced to the idea of hair-dye,  I pondered; who was the person who presented the proposition.  However, I did not think of the veracity, or what later was so clear.  Eugene was trained to trust in toxic dyes.  When a person sees tinted hair all day, and into the evening, shades of stain on strands of hair seem sensible.  The individual that takes the time to apply the colors, surely must think the work wise.  

Perhaps, a young George W. Bush also concerned himself with the credibility of those who counseled him.  He too found reason to have faith.  The future President of the United States might not have pondered further.  He may not have investigated the possible hazards associated with oil production or petroleum use.  Often, when presented with a choice, we cannot imagine the infinite unknown possibilities, probabilities, or the perils.  

My friend not only shaded my hair; his beliefs tainted my own.  The hair on my head, and the thoughts in my gray matter were tinted.  The Bush family may have colored the consciousness of the youthful George and persuaded a future President to forget what he could have known.  Petroleum pollutes.  Refined crude contaminates the air and seas.  The fumes from Texas Tea in an engine cause temperatures on the terrain and in the troposphere to rise.

Granted, I understood how chemical treatments harmed my tresses and dulled the tint.  Aware of the damage done beneath the surface of a follicle, I persuaded myself it was slight and worth the sacrifice.  Possibly, the Bush family thought the same of their endeavors.  Certainly, George W. Bush still does.  He offers plans for renewable energy as he continues to pursue petroleum.  Ah, the dynamics of a decision are vast and deep.

Only now, as the globe warms, the climate changes, and the weather whips people and their property into oblivion, does Mister Bush face the true cost of his earlier decision.  Only recently did the  President recognize the harmful influence of fossil fuels on the environment.  Today, he finally acknowledges the immediate need for a commitment to cleaner energy.  Just as I slowly understood, the damage chemicals did to my hair, George W.  now touts his mindfulness.  There is a problem.  The planet is in peril.

As death and destruction beckon for attention, George sees as I did when I looked into the mirror.  Life, or the look, was out of balance.  The natural beauty was gone.  The breaks were bad.  Chemicals had stripped the surface . . . of the land or my locks.

However, while Mister Bush sees a need for transformation, it seems he is, as I was, reluctant to recognize the seriousness of the situation.  His does not act decisively to change what has become his [and our nations’] practice.  

President Bush advised Americans to ponder alterative renewable sources for power.  This country’s Commander touted; viable resolutions for our energy crisis are easily accessible.  “Biodiesel refineries can produce fuel from soybeans, and vegetable oils, and recycled cooking grease, from waste materials.”  The President proposed Americans could invest in clean energy.  Indeed, he exclaimed; we must go green.  However, for Mister Bush an emerald endeavor is black as oil or golden as bullion.  This oilman has reaped many a reward from America’s addiction, as have we all.  Convenience is but one benefit cheap energy bestows upon the United States public.  Profits have been more profound, more colorful for Chief Executive Bush.

Possibly, for the President charcoal is a fine hue.  “George,” if I might speak in the familiar, seems to think as I once did.  One shade can be substituted for another.  Only the more transparent tones cause George W. Bush much angst.  Who will or how might moguls who have invested lifetimes of worth, as this oil magnate has, harness, the sun, the wind, and water.  Mister Bush is unable to imagine a future so different from the life he and his family have long known.  Thus, he avoids the option he says he appreciates, just as I eschewed the thought of using no tint at all on my mane.  The untried did not ring true.

Attempts to transform what has been an American tradition are preferred by this President (and perhaps, the public.)  George W. Bush speaks of clean coal, as though there is such a substance.  Coal is a recognizable source of energy; yet, not a renewable or alternative choice.  Coal generates 54% of the electricity used in the United States. Whilst he ran for President, candidate Bush pledged that he would commit $2 billion over 10 years to advance clean coal technology.  Indeed, as promised, the National Energy Policy and budget requests to Congress demonstrated the President’s dedication to this cause.

Few fear what they do not wish to accept.  The Chief Executive favors an element that is essentially filthy.  The President might muse clean coal is the change.  Yet, he ignores that the hard black sedimentary rock is a health hazard to all it serves.  This “plentiful” element pollutes when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned.  This combustible material destroys life throughout the global community.  Many species cannot survive as well as man believes he might when nature is out of balance.

Equilibrium is the gracious essence that helps us to thrive.  I too sought to sustain symmetry.  I pondered the many ways in which my mane might maintain its sheen and still be enhanced.  I hoped to find energy in color.  When confronted with the notion that a tint could damage my tresses, I also contemplated other options.  Clean dye; that was my criteria.

I assessed what I thought would be safe.  With a similar pious conviction, I concluded henna could perhaps be a practical possibility . . . that is if I wanted to enhance the natural hue of my hair.  At the time, this substitute seemed sensible to me.  I thought only of what I believed true, just as George W. Bush does today.  Plants are pure, plentiful, and will provide what I need . . . or want, perchance.

I had not authentically considered the possible predicament a product could cause.  At first blush, I was content with what seemed an ideal and equal opportunity.  Then, later, after I acknowledged my error, I was easily satisfied with what I trusted to be an indigenous replacement.

Now, cognizant of the connection between my hair and his history, I wonder; what concerns did George W. Bush weigh.  Did he study the consequences of his choices?  Did he hear or think to heed any of the cautions?  Might President Bush have ruminated on the probable ruin of the land and lives?  Could he have predicted what might happen if we raped the land to gratify our need for energy?  

One never knows what is in the heart or mind of another.  Nonetheless, as I reflect upon times gone by in my own life, I trust the President did not imagine, and perchance, still, he has no idea of what he reaped and sowed.  I surely did not.

For me, awareness arrived slowly.  As I processed my hair, I did not have the opportunity to notice the subtle changes.  I was too close to the situation.  I could not see what I did not wish to acknowledge.  I suspect George W. Bush [and Americans absorbed in what feels, oh, so fine] do not realize what harm unhealthy dependence causes.  

To dye or to die.  To drive vehicles powered with fossil fuels or to authentically preserve the planet, which is now in peril.  These might be the questions George and I avoided, or only addressed half-heartedly.

When I thought tinted hair was desirable, each alternative possibility required me to treat my hair with color.  Upon reflection, I realize I had not known to think of how the texture or tone of my mane might change if I ingested a more nutritious diet.  That is another story for another time.  Today, I wonder.  Was George open enough to evaluate horizons he had yet to explore?

As I gazed upon the President speaking of energy, I could not help but think of how Mister Bush said we must work to improve technology.  He confidently confirmed, we can wean ourselves away from fossil fuels.  In his own words the President espoused , “(A)t the same time” we must find “oil and gas here at home.”  The mantra is very familiar.  It was mine.  I believe this rationalization is reflected in the adage ‘You can have your cake and eat it too.’

Indeed, for a very long time, I indulged in similar silly logic.  As the blonde stain grew out, I said, I could refresh the look and limit my use of artificial satin all at the same time.  Oh, if only that was possible.  As long as dye is applied, the harmful effects of the treatment will not fade away.  The problem was, and is, whether we speak of fossil fuels or human hair, the more you invest in the unhealthy habits you claim to condemn the less likely it is that change will come.

Much to our detriment, individuals such as George and I are, and mankind is, comfortable with the familiar.  Humans are content to engage as they have for so long, regardless of whether a practice nourishes the body, soul, or the planet.

People may plan for or posit a change.  George W. Bush emphatically pronounced, “(N)ow is the time to get it done.”  He or I might suggest a slow move towards purity.  However, as my hair taught me, as long as I [or we] do as we have done, nothing will be different.  

As long as I stained my mane, there was more reason to stain my mane.  As long as America satisfies its addiction to oil, there is more reason to continue to gratify the love of gasoline.  When manufacturers build more machines reliant on petroleum, they encourage a greater dependence on fossil fuels.  An obsession for oil is as a mania for a colored mane.  Each, initially, captivates an individual and then controls the person.

Most of us learn to love what we later determine may be detrimental.  

George W. Bush, just as many Americans seem to be, is as I was.  The President is caught in a horrific, harmful, spiral, and yet comfortable with what he knows and does.  While the cost, to the environment, and to personal pocketbooks, may encourage a desire for change, convenience and expediency are enormously more persuasive.  Oh, how well, I know this to be true.  

I was once victim to a viability that made sense.  The President and the American people are caught up in the same conundrum.  If he, or we, fails to eliminate our physical and psychological, dependence on oil now there may not be a later.

To transform our reality we need to recognize the delicate dance for what it is.  Just as less dye was an unwise compromise for me, limited selective, additional drilling is a concession with consequences.  Partial progression will not alter our habituation.  It is time to stop!  To rethink, reinvent, to re-power our plants and public opinion is to truly care for our selves and for generations to come.

Resources or Reflections on Refinery . . .

Fly Me To The Moon

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth





There has been a lot of talk recently about the “energy crisis”. I wonder if this is the same energy crisis we heard about in the 70’s? If it is then that means for over 30 years instead of solving our domestic energy needs, we have ignored them and allowed them to grow. In 1970 we were importing about 24% of the oil we used and the embargo back then threw our economy into a tail-spin, imagine what would happen today when we import about 70%. Rather than using the past 30 plus years to develop new or existing technologies to reduce or break our dependence on oil, we have elected to do something worse than nothing. Instead of our vehicles getting smaller and more fuel efficient during this time they have actually gotten larger.

Today we as a nation and as a world face one of the most daunting and important tasks in the history of mankind. We must put an end to our usage and dependence on fossil fuels. They have created an economic drain on our resources and they are killing our planet. We are borrowing money from one foreign country to pay our oil bills from another foreign country. This should be our biggest national security issue, yet few people are saying anything. You see it is the old diversion or bait and switch tactics. Focus on the faceless terrorists while we are bled dry by the oil countries and companies. How long do you think we can continue our crusade in the Middle East occupying these countries and still be dependent on their oil reserves?

I remember when I was a child a speech I heard, it was in 1961. The speechmaker was then President John F. Kennedy and what he said seemed shocking to me at the time. He challenged this nation to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Now imagine what that sounded like back then, many thought the man insane. Space exploration was still in it’s infant stages and the US was being beaten to every milestone by the Soviets. They had sent up the first satellite and the first man in space. The challenge seemed impossible at the time, after all space travel was the stuff of science fiction. But despite the overwhelming odds against the challenge enough of us accepted it and went about the business of making it a reality that we succeeded. Regardless of your opinion of the importance or relevance of space exploration, we all must marvel at the ingenuity we displayed as a nation to accomplish it.

Despite skeptics who thought it could not be accomplished, Kennedy’s dream became a reality on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong took a small step for himself and a giant step for humanity, leaving a dusty trail of footprints on the moon. CNN

Today we are being challenged by a different obstacle. One that I feel is vitally more important to not only us as a nation, but to the rest of the world. That challenge is how will we supply our energy needs into the future without destroying the planet we live on. The call has been sent up by both Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens as well as a host of other concerned citizens. The goal is to reduce and to eventually end our reliance on fossil fuels and replace them with clean renewable sources. Of course as with the naysayers of the 60’s there are those who say “it is too hard and we can’t do it”. There are those who want us to not only continue on this path of destruction but to escalate it by continuing to drill for fossil fuels no matter what the consequences.

It is sad to realize that we have become a nation of physically soft and intellectually lazy people. We have become fat, dumb, and happy. The energy companies would have us to believe that they will solve our energy needs for us. Are these the same energy companies that for the past 30 plus years have done absolutely nothing but rake in astronomical profits from fossil fuels and now they are going to put themselves out of business? Are these the same energy companies who in association with the automakers have given us the SUV and the Hummer as an answer to our shrinking energy supplies? It’s like the airplane is crashing and no one is saying a word. We all see it happening and everyone is just quietly sitting in their seat with their seatbelt on waiting on the inevitable crash.

“We are borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change,” the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 continued. “But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we are holding the answer to all of them right in our hand. The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels. I’m convinced that one reason we’ve seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately – without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective – they almost always make the other crises even worse.” Mongabay

This was from a speech given by Al Gore where he makes a direct appeal to the nation much in the same way that JFK did 40 years ago. Every time I see Al Gore I am reminded of what could have been done if he had been seated as President. That election and the following one demonstrates for those willing to see the state of our nation. George Bush offered us all the things we wanted with none of the sacrifice. He was the snake oil salesman who promised us panacea in a bottle. Al Gore on the other hand presented us with challenges which would have required sacrifice. Many of us chose the snake oil, because it was easier. The time for easy is over. There are no more easy answers. There are no more tax-cuts and war; there is no more deregulation without foreclosures.

The U.S. should switch to the use of natural gas-powered vehicles for a chunk of the national fleet, Pickens said.

“Natural gas is cleaner, it’s cheaper, it’s abundant and it’s domestic,” Pickens said.

Natural gas generates about 22 percent of the country’s electricity. If most of that natural gas was diverted from electricity generation to fuel for cars and trucks, and if wind turbines generate that electricity instead, that would cut demand for imported oil by about $300 billion a year at today’s prices, Pickens said.  Straight Stocks

We have the technology to begin to solve our problems, the question then is do we have the will? Are we willing as a nation to take up the challenge and change the way we live for the good of all? Or shall we continue to be the selfish bullies of the world consuming the lion share of all the natural resources despite our small numbers? The challenge is there for us as a nation and with all that is at stake how can we not accept it. Many people falsely believe that if we change that jobs will be lost and our economy will tank, but I ask you to remember all of the industries and products that were spawned by the space industry. It may even return us to a nation of producers and not just the biggest consumers on the planet. Anyone for a flight to the moon?

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

~ John F. Kennedy

Offshore drilling is the answer? Really?




To view the original art, please travel to Offshore drilling is the answer? Really?

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

The sad reality of politics-as-usual seems to make the development of a sustainable energy policy almost impossible.  We need bold leadership right now, both to retool our economy and reverse the terrible damage we’re doing to the global ecosystem.  Instead, we get . . . offshore drilling? That’s obviously not the answer to “The Oil Problem,” short- or long-term.

At this point, we need to face the fact that change is inevitable.  The only question is what that inevitability will be: a quick transition to a post-fossil-fuel economy, or the devastating effects of our refusal to do so.

The First Sign of Summer




To view the original art, please travel to The First Sign of Summer

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

I’m of mixed mind about the recent surge in gas prices.  Part of me realizes that pocketbook pain is the only thing that will get many Americans to reassess our gas-guzzling lifestyle.  Cutting back on fossil fuels would be good news, both for the environment and our national security.  But, on the other hand, our economy has been fueled by cheap gas prices for decades, and I fear it is an already-strapped working class that will disproportionately bear this pain.  My latest toon, “Hitting the Road (Summer 2008)” [Archive No. 0820], tries to capture the current mood.

Till next week,

Andrew

toon@offthewahl.com