Open thread

Surprise! The FBI is abusing controversial “National Security Letters,” underreporting their use by at least 20-percent.

The FBI repeatedly failed to follow the strict guidelines of the Patriot Act when its agents took advantage of a new provision allowing the FBI to obtain phone and financial records without a court order, according to a report to be made public Friday by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

The report, in classified and unclassified versions, remains closely held, but Washington officials who have seen it tell ABC News it documents “numerous lapses” and describe it as “scathing” and “not a pretty picture for the FBI.”

[…] Civil liberties groups have long opposed the provision, saying the lack of oversight could lead to the kinds of problems apparently uncovered by the inspector general.

[…] “Expect a weekend firestorm,” said one Justice Department official.

See, this is why we have a Constitution. And this is why the Bush administration is so eager to undermine it.


  1. 2

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    I have a question for you gullible fucking moonbats who practice the religion of “global warming”.

    I ordered a package of gourmet beef from a well known internet outfit in the midwest. The box arrived at my home with the meat packaged with a brick of dry ice to keep it frozen. Since most of you are too fucking stoopid to know this, “dry ice” is carbon dioxide in solid form. As it sublimed (look it up) from solid to gas, it released carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. If I understand your religion and the preaching of your gawd Algore, this is a bad thing.

    Here’s my question: Should dry ice be considered as “hazardous waste”? Should its use be outlawed?

  2. 3

    skimaxpower spews:

    The dry ice had a lot less CO2 than the fossil fuels used to freeze and transport the meat.

    I’m not thrilled about the dry ice (or the styrofoam for that matter), but I’ve got bigger fish to fry – like your ignorance.

  3. 4

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    Moonbat quiz: Which produces more CO2:

    1) All the internal combustion engines in the world.
    2) “Emissions” from all the cattle in the world.

    Check PETA’s website for answer.


  4. 7

    skimaxpower spews:

    CO2 + Sun + H20 = Grass
    Grass + Cow = CO2
    Net C02 release = zero

    The release of methane (an even more powereful greenhouse gas) is a serious concern. But methane recapture facilities can actually burn this and turn it into energy. Yes, C02 is released in the burning. But remember, that CO2 was in the atmosphere last week before it became grass.

    The CO2 coming from your car was not in the atmosphere until you burned it.

  5. 8

    skimaxpower spews:

    richard pope @6

    “Sublimate” is past tense for “sublime.”

    sublimed,” however, is NOT A WORD.

    I’m not usually inclined to be a grammar nazi about this stuff, but if Mark is gonna be rude and tell me to “look it up” I’m going to expect that he knows how to use a dictionary!!!

  6. 11

    headless lucy spews:

    What difference does it make if they have bogus “pro forma” warrants, or just bludgeon us with a fuck you, we’re gonna spy on you?

  7. 12

    Dan Rather spews:

    Since CO2 + Sun + H20 = Grass and Key + Car = CO2 wouldn’t it be more sensible to grow more grass? Maybe if you stop smoking it so much we may get to a zero net release without buying any carbon credits.

  8. 13

    Broadway Joe spews:

    I just have a hard time seeing MTR going to PETA’s website.

    I’ve actually heard that line about cows generating more CO2 than cars, but if you’re willing to believe a bunch of eco-terrorists (PETA has bankrolled the legal defense of a number of people eventually convicted of such crimes, which would technically mean they sponsor terrorism, thus making themslves terrorists), I don’t know if you’re naive or just stupid.

  9. 14

    Richard Pope spews:

    Methane will change into CO2 over time in the atmosphere. CH4 + 2(O2) = CO2 + 2(H2O) Perhaps it traps more heat than CO2 in the short term, but in the longer term it becomes CO2.

  10. 15

    Richard Pope spews:

    Maybe this belongs in the previous thread …

    Man burns genitals in ‘Jackass’ stunt


    EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Attempts to do a movie stunt landed one man in the hospital with burned genitals and another facing criminal charges. The men were trying to do a stunt from one of the “Jackass” movies, in which a character lights his genitals on fire.

    Jared W. Anderson, 20, suffered serious burns to his hands and genitals, according to the criminal complaint. Randell D. Peterson, 43, who sprayed lighter fluid on Anderson and lit him on fire, was charged with felony battery and first-degree reckless endangerment Tuesday in Eau Claire County Court.

    Witnesses told police that Anderson, who was drunk, volunteered to do the stunt Sunday after watching the movie, the complaint said.

    According to the complaint:

    Anderson pulled down his pants and let Peterson spray him with lighter fluid. When the fire didn’t catch, Peterson sprayed more lighter fluid on Anderson, splashing some on his clothing. He tried again to light the fire, catching Anderson’s genitals, hands and clothes.

    Anderson ran into the bathroom, jumped into the tub and put the flames out. Other guests took him to Luther Hospital, and eventually he was treated at the Regions Hospital Burn Unit in St. Paul, Minn., for second-degree burns.

    Anderson told police who were called to the hospital that he didn’t want anyone to get in trouble because of the stunt.

    Peterson was freed on a $2,000 signature bond. He has a hearing scheduled April 16. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

  11. 17

    YOS LIB BRO spews:



  12. 18

    xenophon spews:

    Why does the FBI break the law? It isn’t just Bush. The FBI has a long track record of breaking the law through a series of administrations of both parties.

    From forming an inept and comical alliance with the mafia to assasinate Castro during the Kennedy years, to treating pro-civil rights demonstrators and activists as disloyal and subversive during the Johnson years, when all they wanted was the rights all Americans are supposed to be entitled to, and they committed burglaries during the Nixon years against Americans who were not breaking any laws, they cooperated with and protected assasins sent by Gen. Pinochet to murder a former diplomat and an innocent American, and on and on.

    The apparent contempt they have not only for the law but their oaths of office they swore upon entering federal service continues under Bush/Cheney. The various laws passed since 9/11 have given the FBI and other agencies virtual carte blanche in what they do and how they do it. Yet even with all that freedom, and retroactive immunity from crimes even like torture/homocide the FBI still manages to find laws to deliberately and willfully break.

    Maybe the Bush/Cheney war on terror would be more successful if congress passed laws saying things like; “this law expressly forbids the FBI from hunting down and capturing every terrorist inside the US over the next two weeks”. The temptation would be too great for them to resist! Hey! Its worth a try!

    Where is the oversight of the FBI? Why is it that over a long span of several decades that when the FBI is left to its own devices it always comes down on the side of racism, and against the normal exercise of democracy? Why does it always come down on the side of breaking the law instead of enforcing and supporting it?

    Why is it that in spite of their unscrupulous pursuit of bad guys they don’t seem to be very successful?

    Are we not paying those people enough? Or are we paying them too much?

  13. 20

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    Newt the Hoot…says he’s not a hypocrite for having an affair with his intern – while attacking President Clinton for – having an affair with an intern. It must be great to be a Publican. You get to convince yourself of all sorts of utter bullshit that just won’t ever be true, but you get to pretend it is anyway.

  14. 22

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    No wonder Handjob Hannity had such a big smile on his face. That Matt Sanchez (marine who Hannity used to attack student anti war groups) turns out NOT just to have been a gay porn actor, but a gay escort too! I wonder if Mrs. Handjob knows about this?

  15. 23


    From – The Fundamentals of Physical Geography:

    Since 1750, methane concentrations in the atmosphere have increased by more than 150 %. The primary sources for the additional methane added to the atmosphere (in order of importance) are rice cultivation, domestic grazing animals, termites, landfills, coal mining, and oil and gas extraction. Anaerobic conditions associated with rice paddy flooding results in the formation of methane gas. However, an accurate estimate of how much methane is being produced from rice paddies has been difficult to obtain. More than 60 % of all rice paddies are found in India and China where scientific data concerning emission rates are unavailable. Nevertheless, scientists believe that the contribution of rice paddies is large because this form of crop production has more than doubled since 1950. Grazing animals release methane to the environment as a result of herbaceous digestion. Some researchers believe the addition of methane from this source has more than quadrupled over the last century. Termites also release methane through similar processes. Land-use change in the tropics, due to deforestation, ranching, and farming, may be causing termite numbers to expand. If this assumption is correct, the contribution from these insects may be important. Methane is also released from landfills, coal mines, and gas and oil drilling. Landfills produce methane as organic wastes decompose over time. Coal, oil, and natural gas deposits release methane to the atmosphere when these deposits are excavated or drilled.

  16. 24

    Liberal Dragon spews:

    History repeats itself…

    Much like the Nazi party in prewar Germany, the G.O.P. has passed a labyrinth of laws designed to take people’s right’s away and ultimately give the government control over the masses. This has all been accomplished while they keep people living a life in fear of the “terrorists”. At the same time, they continue with their illegal and immoral war all summed up in their movement centered in greed and power.

    It’s time to wake up and take America back people; these people are scum and they’re dangerous.

  17. 25

    Libertarian spews:

    We may be hastening the warming of the earth, but the earth does what it does. Like I said in a previous thread, we’re part of the bio-mass, not part of management. We could all stop breathing, farting, driving cars, flying airplanes, and eating red meat today, but the earth will continue to get warmer if that’s what the current tendency is.

    It has been about 200 years since the little ice age ended. If memeory serves, that period lasted several hundred years, and scientists attributed it to a reduction of energy from the sun. Before that time, England’s wine grapes rivaled those of France, and the French king was starting to get concerned about it.

    Ever since the little ice age, the French haven’t had to worry about English competition for wine grapes, but before the little ice age started, why was England warm enough to grow good grapes? England is not currently producing wine grapes, to my knowledge, so that would imply that England was much warmer, say 1,200 years ago, than it is today.

    We do not fully understand climatology and why the earth does what it does. Either side in this debate is proably wrong, at least at some level.

  18. 27

    Thomas Trainwinder spews:

    Gingrich proves the adage that the ones most vocal about “family values” are the ones least likely to have any.

    C’mon right wing conservatives…bash Gingrich! Of course, by doing so…

  19. 28


    The Holocene is marked by the present inter-glacial warming period. We humans are accelerating a natural process. We can now measure variances in the output of the Sun with increasing and due precision, along with solar dimming on Earth due to a thicker cloud cover and the presence of man-made greenhouse molecules; we know that axial variations in the orbit of the planet also play a role – particularly in mid and upper latitudes – to ongoing global warming. We also better understand the role of volcanism in this question. There is another process at play here: we laymen especially like to conflate and confuse weather and climate.

    On a political level, a dynamic that is quite interesting to observe are the conservatives making the smooth rhetorical and intellectual transition from denial of global warming to fatalistic acceptance – “What can we do about it?” – without acknowledging their role in the first part of the equation and their own theology of denial.

  20. 30

    Libertarian spews:


    Well, Laurance, time will tell. Remember back in 1977 they thought we were entering a new ice age? (Are you old enough to remember that?) Hindsight is 20/20, but predicting the future isn’t.

  21. 31

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Here’s my question: Should dry ice be considered as “hazardous waste”? Should its use be outlawed?

    Actually, no. In fact, we all think it would a great if you locked yourself into an enclosed space with a couple of kilograms of the stuff. Any temporary increase in CO2 emissions would be more than offset in the long run.

  22. 32

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Methane will change into CO2 over time in the atmosphere. CH4 + 2(O2) = CO2 + 2(H2O)

    Ummm, it’s called COMBUSTION.

    You guys should really stop practicing chemistry without a license.

  23. 33


    When I was at the UW in 1971 studying to be a exo-geologist for NASA (double major: geology/poli-sci), plate tectonics was a radical theory. Older Profs harumphed a great deal. People tend to like science in neat, tidy, solved packages like a jigsaw puzzle or a detective novel where there is one and only one conclusion; scientific study – and accompanying theories – are abstract by virtue of definition. You create a hypothesis, collect data, move forward. Greater knowledge is a grand adventure, literally filled with trial and error. Theories change. We tend to forget that gravity is a theory; but I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that if I drop my piece of breakfast toast, it will hit the kitchen floor. Why it seems to ALWAYS land butter-side down is another question…

  24. 34

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Oh, and I am shocked, just shocked, I tell you, that a policing agency would abuse their power. Especially the FBI. After all, we know what a stand-up guy, their boss ‘Abu’ Gonzales is. I’m sure he’ll get right to the bottom of this and hold the responsible parties accountable.

    [crickets chirping]

  25. 35

    Libertarian spews:


    Well, we’ll see if your correct, eventually, won’t we?

    BTW, could you post the winning lottery numbers ofr us all?

  26. 36

    KatieL spews:

    Maybe if we spent more money on eliminating the threats to our country, rather than defending it against the increasing need for the most highly sophisticated thing to ensure that were on top and on one is bothering us, we could actually get somewhere and realize that there isn’t a need for ridiculous security scandals to occur. We could eliminate poverty- no that has got to be practically the biggest threat to anyone in the world right now. Tell Congress to support the Global Poverty Act.

  27. 37


    Godwin’s Law aside, the discovery by the Inspector General of the Justice Department of abuses by the FBI of strict guidelines for Patriot Act National Security Letters strikes me as something which is commonplace in the Red Fascist State of China, for the past several decades.

    Or Munich, circa 1935.

    And now the U.S. of A. in the 21st Century.

  28. 40

    Jack Burton spews:

    Would someone please tell me:

    What is the CORRECT temperature/CO2 concentration for the Earth?

  29. 41

    GBS spews:

    See, this is why we have a Constitution. And this is why the Bush administration is so eager to undermine it.

    Lest we not forget that the Republicans in the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congresses were 100% complicit in allowing the usurping of Executive power by Bush and the undermining of our Civil Liberties, the Rule of Law, and the principles of the Constitution.

    Without congress passing every piece of legislation this Administration wanted and with total disregard regard to their loyalty pledge to the Constitution, this would never have happened.

    This is what happens when you’re “loyal to your president & party” over the Constitution and the United States of America.

  30. 42

    Libertarian spews:

    Milo says:


    Actually “they” if you mean the science community as a whole, weren’t predicting a cooling climate…this is revisionist history by global warming skeptics.


    Look, Milo, the headline on Newsweek read, “Are We Entering a New Ice Age?” This was back in ’77. Newsweek published the story about how many climatoligists thought the world was cooling, and possibly entering a new ice age. I’m not making this stuff up. My point is that nobody know with certainty what the earth is doing or not going to do. Heck, there are even scientists who debate about that asteroid hitting Mexico about a zillion years ago. If we take a hit from another one of those, forget about global warming. It’s gonna get real cold, real fast!

    The Mayans predicted 12/31/12 as the end of the world. That’s just under six years from now. Hmmmm…should I stop making contibutions to my 401K and Roth IRA?

  31. 43

    Libertarian spews:

    WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert Mueller took responsibility Friday for problems over how the FBI used so-called national security letters to obtain sensitive information during terrorism investigations.


    Well what do you know? Somebody ACTUALLY taking responsibility for their actions, for a change!

  32. 44

    ArtFart spews:

    12 Grass, sure. Trees…even better.

    In my state of quasi-ignorance, I always figured that the rising carbon dioxide level would result in algae blooms in the oceans, which would take the place of the forests we’ve cut down and tend to restore the balance. Indeed, there has been dramitic algae growth in some areas, but what I didn’t know is that the majority of marine algae are extremely poisonous. Therefore, where this is happening the algae end up annhilating every other living thing for hundreds of square miles–fish, dolphins, seaweed, birds, plankton, krill–the stuff would kill you and me if we were unfortunate enough to fall into it. So, the law of unintended consequences is working overtime.

  33. 45

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    Yeah, Mueller took responsibility – but also said something like, “we really didn’t do anything wrong, we just did it the wrong way…”

    Which goes to show you that these pricks think that they are above the law.

    My favorite part was when he promised to “never do it again.” Yeah, like I believe that.

  34. 46

    ArtFart spews:

    I noticed a little item in this morning’s Pea-Eye about how the Bush administration has prohibited federal employees from talking about drowning polar bears.

    “I’ll blindfold myself, so you can’t see me.”

  35. 47

    Milo spews:


    That’s the point – Newsweek isn’t a scientific reviewed journal. Studies back then on global cooling were scientifically reviewed and the conclusions of those reviews were that at that time they did not have the technology or data to conclude we were in a global cooling period.

    I agree that no one can predict with certainty, however to cast doubt on the current theory of global warming by saying ‘scientists were all predicting global cooling back in the 70’s’ is BS – they weren’t.

  36. 48

    GBS spews:

    Lib @ 30:

    The difference being, of course, that while there was a genuine concern in the scientific community about global “cooling” it never, ever enjoyed the broad based support and consensus of leading scientist around the world as Global Warming has received.

    Regardless if we are causing global warming or not, and regardless of the fact that we can even effect the warming trends; Why be so against the idea of doing the right thing for our one and only livable environment in the entire and endless universe?

    What’s wrong with moving away from fossil fuels?

    Why should we remain dependent on energy sources where terrorists create significant geopolitical instability?

    What’s wrong the idea of creating clean, renewable, and safe energy sources?

    Why should we delay advancing the technology that would allow America to being the leading EXPORTER of energy sources?

    The debate is not be about whether or not the emissions of pollution are changing the climate and if we can stop it; but rather in who’s best interest is it for America to remain dependent on Muslim oil?

    Only the truest patriots want America to be energy independent of Muslim oil. Followers of al Qeada want us addicted to their oil so our dollars can fund their military operations against us.

  37. 49

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Why are we absolutely NOT surprised that the Crooks and Liars Party is abusing the Unpatriotic Act and — omigod — has been LYING about it?

  38. 50

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Big News Day

    In other news, the GOP’s Chief Hypocrite, Newt Gingrich, was having an affair (and lying about it) while trying to impeach Bill Clinton for having an affair (and lying about it) … and,

    Bush’s troop surge is larger, costlier, and will last longer than we were told … gee, they LIED about that, too.

  39. 51

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Oh man, I hope the GOP fundies force their party to give the GOP’s presidential nomination to Newt … oh God yes, please God, a little favor just this once, oh yes oh yes, please God, please God, make them nominate Newt … :)

  40. 52

    Libertarian spews:


    Are you Roger Rabbit in real life? Your styles are the same.


    Here’s something:

    WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court overturned the District of Columbia’s long-standing handgun ban Friday, rejecting the city’s argument that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applied only to militias.


    Wonderful news for individual freedom!!!



    Man, I’ve got nothing against coming up with a substitue for oil. I’m all for it. I’d love it dearly if the US stopped getting involved in religious conflicts that began over 1,000 years ago. I’d love it if we could deal at arm’s lenght with ALL nations and look out for ourselves, first and foremost.

    The world’s getting warmer. Is it solely related to us? Or are there other reasons? If you think it’s soley due to us using fossil fuels, then should we simply cease using them?

    If you’re concerned about “Muslim oil” ( a term that seems to have a slightly racist tinge to it, to me), what do you think about using our vast coal reserves to develop a US-based alternative to imported oil? What about expanding nuclear power? Are you OK with that?

  41. 53

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 The more pertinent question is whether YOU should be considered “hazardous waste.” From your mother’s womb. Too bad she threw away the baby and kept her shit. But hey, Welsher, are you still pouring my gas into your Hummer? Thanks, I appreciate your business!

  42. 55

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 Your formula assumes no fossil fuel is consumed in raising cattle. According to a National Geographic article a couple years ago, it takes 5 barrels of crude oil to raise one head of beef cattle.

  43. 57

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    10, 11 Well, the idea is — if you have an honest judge, i.e., one who isn’t a member of the Bush Gang — they won’t get the warrant without showing probable cause.

  44. 58

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 Maybe if you stood on your hands, your CO2 would rise to your feet instead of your head, and your brain wouldn’t be engulfed by a cloud of smog all the time.

  45. 59

    Richard Pope spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 58

    CO2 is heavier than air. It will hug the ground, until turbulence mixes up the air.

  46. 61

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 I guess all those flag waving (presumptively) Republican wives of our (presumptively) Republican soldiers are supporting the troops, hey? By divorcing them when they come home. Waytago team!

  47. 62

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 No wonder Vietnam smelled like shit! I assumed it came from the natives shitting in the rice paddies. My mistake.

  48. 64



    See @33 – Your inquiry is a non sequitur; assuming your question is genuine, you’re seeking an engineer’s answer to a scientific query; a binary solution to an abstraction. “Correct” for whom, for what? Dandelions? Diatoms? Dadaists? It gets rather tricky. The “correct temperature/CO2 concentration for the Earth” when? Precambian eon or the current Phanerozoic? What is correct? How can the Earth be incorrect? What seems apparent to modern theory is this: absent our contributions in the current epoch, the present warming trend wouldn’t be so rapidly increasing.

  49. 65

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @30 We have better computers and computer modeling than we did in 1970, jackass! Crystal ball? No. But your arguments are thoroughly disingenuous. When denying that global warming was even occurring didn’t work for you liars, you’ve shifted to a new game plan — the argument now is that global warming is an inevitable natural occurrence that we can’t do anything about, so to hell with it. I have news for you — burning fossil fuels is NOT inevitable, and we CAN do something about it, and if we don’t, there will be hell to pay.

  50. 66

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    Libertarian @ 42:

    1) You seem to be confusing the scientific word “theory” (i.e. a series of premises which have been tested over and over using peer reviewed experimentation) with the layman’s word “theory” (i.e. an idea based on observation which may or may not have any basis in fact. Lay “theories” are frequently argued over “beer”. Scientific “hypotheses” are also argued over beer).

    2) The Maya calendar is correct. Have you seen any Maya around lately? Nope. The Spanish slaughtered them like cattle, and assimilated the rest into Iberoamerican (Spanish-speaking) culture. The Mayan world has ended. There’s nothing left but some weird-ass pyramids in the jungle.

    3) More worrying for your IRA is that that on about Jan 18 2038, the calendar will end for a bunch of big computers worldwide, including those run by large banks and securities firms. I don’t expect to be playing with computers then, but someone will have a lot of fun with that.

  51. 67

    Jack Burton spews:

    Lawrence @ 64

    Perhaps “correct” isn’t the right word.

    Generally speaking, what is the optimum temp and CO2 Concentration?

    I never seem to get an actual answer just responses just like yours.

    I’m not interested in “Dandelions? Diatoms? Dadaists?” but a common sense view of the world.

  52. 68

    Yossarian spews:

    Roger you fucking dipshit!

    The best part of global warming is that hopefully it’ll kill all the fucking idiots like you.

  53. 69

    Libertarian spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 65,

    You obviously have me confused with someone who cares what you think. If I said the sky was blue, you’d want to argue about the shade of blue.

    The world’s getting warmer. The world’s getting warmer. The world’s getting warmer. The world’s getting warmer. The world’s getting warmer. The world’s getting warmer. The world’s getting warmer. The world’s getting warmer.

    We’ve got THAT settled!!!!!!!!!

    Now, why was it warmer just before the little ice age that began in the Middle Ages and ended about 1840 or so? Nobody, even the self-appointed experts on this blog has answered THAT question yet!

    The Danish Vikings settled in Greenland only to be driven out by the little ice age. Why was Greenland warmer and more hospitable before that event?

    Somebody tell me, because Roger sure as hell doesn’t know the answer. Nor does Laurance.

    If the earth was warm then, it can be warm again. Our use of fossil fuels and other activities may be increaseing the warming trend, but can we say with certainty that these are the singular CAUSE of this warming trend? Yes or No?

  54. 70

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    Rog @ 65:

    A few reasons to pay Libertarian no mind. (not as funny as a Letterman top-10 list, but I am working with the egg timer on, so…)

    1) Doing he-says, she-says works for the law, and it works for town meetings where we argue whether to spend a spare $100,000 on filling potholes or building a new park. It does not work for scientific inquiry. Libertarian doesn’t get this.

    2) You know that a lot of the anti-global warming stuff is funded by Exxon. I don’t believe that Exxon is evil. However, I have it on fairly good authority that they’re institutionally pretty stupid. They think they’re in the oil business. If you’re in the oil business, you want to talk down emissions-based global warming as much as you can.

    If you are an energy company however, you look for the block points in the production and distribution of energy that require massive capital, technical expertise, or both, and you move there. You can’t turn crude oil into gasoline efficiently in your back yard. You also can’t turn solar power and water into hydrogen in your back yard either. Both are expensive, complicated technical processes.

    (if someone comes back with some line of bollocks about batteries, salt water, and two sticks of carbon from a lantern battery, I’ll beat them over the head).

    3) We’ve been using oil for the last 100 years for a very good reason. It’s CHEAP. Conspiracy theories aside, there is no other technology that provides as much bang for the buck as oil. You can promote other technologies like solar, wind, alcohol, etc. Those are political and environmental decisions, and can be valid at that level. They are not economic decisions.

    If you haven’t filled up your gas tank lately, the days of cheap oil are over. As oil goes up in price, all these other hippy-dippy energy solutions like tidal, solar, wind, etc. start making sense at a basic economic level, not just at a “we should do this because it’s good for the country and for the environment” level.

    Everything will work out in the end. It should happen faster rather than slower, but it will happen no matter how much Libertarian, MTR, etc. stand in the way as professional curmudgeons.

  55. 71

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    I’m getting held in the filter. Two fun messages coming soon.

    Lib @ 1:50 pm

    Yes, the earth gets warm and cool outside of human forces. Human forces are also a factor in the current warming trend. By most accounts they are a pretty substantial factor.

    Non-human forces you can do nothing about. Human ones you can.

  56. 72

    GBS spews:

    Lib @ 52:

    No, I’m not Roger Rabbit in real life, or otherwise. Ask Puddybud or PacMan and they’ll tell you I’m not small, fuzzy, or cute; I’m large, clean cut, damn good looking AND a sharp dresser!

    However, I’ll take the comparison as a personal compliment to be mistaken for Roger Rabbit’s obvious superior intellect.

    Don’t’ take this the wrong way, but I find it rather revealing that you would take my accurate description of Muslim Oil as somehow being tainted with racism. I described it that way on purpose to differentiate the various sources of oil that are available to us from Alaska to Venezuela to the Gulf of Mexico with the overwhelming percentage of oil we must get from Muslim countries. All too often, incorrect thinking permeates the debate with drilling in Alaska as a viable solution to our growing dependence on oil from Muslim countries. In addition, it’s also well documented that money from oil rich Muslim nations finds its way into the coffers of al Qeada.

    So the distinction, “Muslim Oil, is, in my view, critical to the centerpiece of my argument; who wants America’s dependent on Muslim Oil?

    If you’re for, or at least not opposed to finding alternatives for oil, then what’s there to debate? Just because Group A wants to blame Global Warming on fossil fuels, and Group B says it’s not the only contributor to Global Warming, or, as the president put it, global climate change.

    I believe the climate is changing, and I believe that human beings are a significant factor towards that change, but not the sole factor. Our impact on the Earth is unprecedented in the history of the world and that impact is only going to grow. So, if our contribution now isn’t causing significant climate change, what will our contribution to that change be in 50 years? 100? 200? Particularly if we don’t seek intelligent changes now.

    To say “simply cease using them (fossil fuels)” over simplifies the complexities of the debate. Of course we cannot immediately stop using fossil fuels. Even if there were a replacement technology ready today, it would take years if not decades to replace. But you have to start some time. President Carter tried to move the country in the direction of change only to have it reversed by Reagan thumbing his nose at the previous administrations goals. Just think of it; we’ve waste 30 years of progress towards alternative energy development because of the partisan bickering of the conservative mindset. I would be in favor of continuing to use oil, promote conservation, expand coal, nix nuclear because we’re creating a problem that will have to be dealt with for thousands of years and we have NO right to impose our mistakes on future generation of humans because we didn’t properly analyze the cause and effect of our actions, and fund alternative fuel research by the federal government to the tune of $150 – $200 billion per year. Our national security is at risk. And the investment will spurn industry, the same way researching jet engines for military and space use, sending a man to the moon – all those created trillions upon trillions of dollars of private wealth and all funded by tax payers.

    The quandary comes down to this about changing our energy habits:
    Environmentalists are right for the wrong reasons.
    Conservatives are wrong for the right reasons.

    In the final analysis, I’d rather align my beliefs with the group that is right for the wrong reasons, then to align my beliefs and political actions with the group that is ultimately wrong.

  57. 74

    Libertarian spews:


    Yes, I see now that you can’t be Roger Rabbit: he couldn’t write such a long piece without a potty break.

    I’d LOVE to not have us import ANY oil from terrorist countries. You and I have no debate on that issue. The sooner we come up with an alternative, the sooner we can un-invilve ourselves in the foreign entanglements that George Washington warned us about in his farewell address over 200 years ago.

    My beef is that the left gets on these tirades about their issues like it’s some new-found religion. Anyone who doens’t buy-into the latest mantra of liberalism is a rat-bastard-nazi-asshole. There’s no middle ground with either the left or the right, and I wish both sides would realize neither has a monopoly on the truth. Neither do the Libertarians.

    I would hope that the left would be more ammenable to other points of view, but I’m not getting a lot of positive feedback here.

  58. 75



    The Medieval Climatic Anomaly is just that: a bit of a mystery. When I was in school it was thought to be a world-wide event due to the wealth of historical documentation from Medieval Europe. Great vintages from Southern England, for example. Recent research does not support the earlier hemispheric and global models. Another tremendous source of historical data – China – does not show the extent of warming from the Medieval Warm Period as does Alaska, or especially the North Atlantic. Also, the warmer period anomaly was mostly wetter, milder rather than being precisely warmer. The Medieval Warm Period was moveable across the upper latitudes in the northern hemisphere – cool one place, wet and warmer in another. Factor in the North Atlantic oscillation, a maximum of solar activity in the 12th and 13th centuries, not to mention major eruptions of El Chichon in 1259, Oraefajokull in 1392, Mt. St. Helens in 1479 and you have a handful for paleoclimatology.

    Check out this page for much more (and current) information:

  59. 77

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @59 I used to think CO2 is heavier than air, too, until I got to thinking about why it all goes to the trolls’ heads.

  60. 79

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @68 This is your rationalization, or argument, or whatever it is, that consumption of fossil fuels is not causing global warming? Or, do you wish to argue that global warming is good?

  61. 80

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Okay, well, it appears Libertarian’s argument that global warming (a) isn’t occurring, and/or (b) doesn’t matter, goes like this: Roger Rabbit is ignorant.

  62. 81

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t supposed it occurs to you, Lib, that whether or not I’m ignorant about global warming is completely irrelevant; it’s going to occur anyway.

  63. 82

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @69 GBS — I hope you won’t take it as a personal criticism if I point out that the U.S. consumes comparatively little “Muslim oil.” The Mideast supplies about 16% of U.S. imports and less than 10% of U.S. consumption. It’s true we import about 60% of the oil we use, but much of it comes from the Western Hemisphere.

    Here were the top sources of U.S. oil imports in Dec. 2006 (in millions of bbls.):

    Total – 394.0
    Canada – 74.7
    Saudi Arabia – 46.2
    Mexico – 42.3
    Venezuela – 39.4
    Nigeria – 33.1
    Algeria – 21.0
    Angola – 19.2
    Russia – 11.4

    Europe, Japan, and Asia are far more dependent on Mideast oil than we are. Of course, if they weren’t supplied by the Mideast, they’d be competing with us for western hemispheric supplies.

  64. 84

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Nuclear power technology has come a long way since the 70s, and it’s the $500 million cap on operator liability and the nuclear industry’s sorry management history that keeps me from supporting nuclear power. I can’t support nuclear until Congress removes the liability immunity, requires operators to carry adequate insurance, and government oversight and regulation is strengthened.

    “Clean coal” technologies, like nuclear technologies, have made advances in recent years and, from the technological and engineering standpoint, are more promising than they were a few years ago. Greater use of coal is something I could support if we could get rid of the dirty-coal dirty politics practiced by the GOP and the energy industries it sucks up to. Clean up the stack emissions, clean up the water discharges, clean up the environmental pollution, and you might have my support for coal-to-liquid-fuels conversion technologies.

  65. 85

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @71 “My beef is that the left gets on these tirades about their issues like it’s some new-found religion. Anyone who doens’t buy-into the latest mantra of liberalism is a rat-bastard-nazi-asshole. There’s no middle ground with either the left or the right, and I wish both sides would realize neither has a monopoly on the truth. Neither do the Libertarians.”

    Oh Christ, get off that soapbox before you fall off it and go splat on your face. You’ve just described Republicans to a “t”. Stop imputing GOP looniness to moderate Democrats. We’re reasonable people. Unfortunately, we have to run against lying scumbags who refuse to discuss issues, negotiate, or compromise. We’ve found we can’t do business with Republicans, and the only way to deal with them is to crush them. So be it. They chose that, not us.

  66. 86

    ArtFart spews:

    81 I keep waiting for the nuclear power industry to show some signs of innovation. We have a “bigger-is-better” mindset in this country that doesn’t necessarily apply well here. Admiral Rickover complained bitterly that the commercial power folks basically took the light-water reactor design that the Navy tuned for really effective marine propulsion and scaled it way up. His contention was that this created problems in and of itself. Just the tremendous amount of thermal mass in a huge reactor means that loss of coolant is a greater problem because all that energy has to go somewhere. Of course, on a naval vessel you have en essentially infinite amount of emergency coolant right outside, and in a dire emergency there’s probably some scenario where someone makes the ultimate sacrifice, climbs inside and hand-cranks the control rods. On the other hand, why not build more and smaller plants and place them closer to where the power is needed? I mean, if the things can really be made safe, the secondary coolant could be used to heat buildings instead of being steamed off in cooling towers or cooking fish.

    I’ve always liked the idea Dixy Lee Ray proposed once, of putting an RTG in every garage.

  67. 87

    YO spews:


  68. 88

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @70 Unfortunately, the era of relatively cheap oil is far from over, because Canada and Venezuela, between them, have around 3 trillion barrels of tar-sands oil that’s recoverable for under $20 a barrel.

  69. 89

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I say unfortunately because, as a scientist quoted by National Geographic said, “We’re going to run out of atmosphere before we run out of oil.”

  70. 90

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @87 Well, we agree on one thing, Y’o; but when are you going to learn how to spell your fucking name correctly?