Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category.

Guns, Property, and Religion

A bill was filed with the Texas Legislature called the Teacher’s Protection Act. You can find the text here. The basic idea is to limit liability for teachers in self-defense situations.

First off, I thought that people already have a right to self-defense, regardless of who or where they are. According to the article, lawyers at the Association of Texas Professional Educators feel the same way.

But what is interesting about this one is that it allows “deadly force”. That phrase is used several times. I am guessing this means guns. I guess it’s not enough to be a pro-gun legislator in Texas. You have to be so pro-gun you have to file redundant bills.

It does say that “force or deadly force” can be used by the teacher to defend themselves or other people. What is interesting is there is also a provision for using force to protect school property. Not defense while ON the property, but defense OF the property. I guess putting that in the same section as defending actual human beings was not enough.

Back in the 1990s, Whoopi Goldberg had a talk show that was on late at night. One of her guests was George Carlin, and he said something that has stuck with me all these years: Democrats care about peoples’ rights, Republicans care about property rights.

Republicans seem to want to take that as far as they can. Some of them probably want to go back to the 1850s.

This bill was mentioned on The Immoral Minority blog. There is one paragraph in the comments that I think sums up a lot of the religious people in this country:

You righties mock the Islamists, yet you do the same things: glorify weapons of death, glorify those who use them, teach the usage of weapons of death to children, and by your ideology teach your people to hate the ‘other’ – thus ensuring that eventually, the ‘other’ is obliterated by your weapons of death. All because you, just like the Islamists, are totally lacking in any positive, socially transformative, ideas that are uplifting to your fellow man, including those with whom you disagree. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is anathema to you, just as it is anathema to the Islamists. Your ideology is ‘obliterate your neighbor’, the same ideology that they have.

Image from Wikimedia,  assumed allowed under Fair Use.

SSDD In Texas

We have a new governor and new legislature here in Texas. Mostly Republican, largely Tea Party. The current group of wingnuts said the last group was not conservative enough. Granted, the last group said the group before them was not conservative enough.

I think a lot of conservatives are pathological. Nothing is ever conservative enough for them. News flash: If nothing is conservative enough, maybe the problem is you.

A few writers on the Texas Tribune Tribcast were wondering how much more conservative can some of the policies get, especially with abortion. I write this in jest, but it may come to pass: Perhaps there will be a menstruation fee, since that is a potential fetus leaving a woman’s body. If they are willing to lie about the timelines for fetal pain and fetal heartbeat, what would stop them from saying life begins at ovulation?

Governor Goodhair is leaving the scene. He was a state representative for six years, then Ag Commissioner from 1991 to 1999, Lt Gov for about a year, and was the longest-serving governor in Texas history for 14 years. What is it with conservatives who spend a long time in government, all the while saying government is the problem? (And Republicans think the answer to bad government by Republicans is to elect more Republicans.)

We might see less “crony capitalism” here in Texas. Perry started the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which seem to steer a lot of money towards Perry’s contributors. He also started the Texas Enterprise Fund, which unlike the other two does not have a reputation for being a slush fund for his friends, but does play a part in bringing business to Texas. All three have not always been closely monitored to ensure that companies were creating as many jobs as they claimed they would. Perry is one of those conservatives who think the government should stay out of the free market when it comes to clean air and water, but not when it comes to giving money to people and companies that do not really need it.

If Texas is such a great place to do business, why does the state have to bribe them to come here?

Perry is also famous (or infamous) for going to states with Democratic governors and telling companies based in those states to come to Texas. In all seriousness, why did he never go to states with Republican governors? If you really think that Texas has a better model that all 49 of the other states, then why not say so in all 49 of them? For one thing, you might inadvertently inspire companies in those blue states to look at other red states, and not come to Texas. And why is it that Perry would ask people from more educated states like California and Illinois to come to Texas, but he never went to Mississippi or Alabama? Does Perry want people from more educated states, or does he need them to come here? Whose model is really being validated here?

In other words, Perry is practicing corporate socialism: It works until other states run out of educated workers.

And then there is our new governor, Greg Abbott. Mr Stuff For Me, But None For Thee. He is in a wheelchair because a tree fell on him. He is rich because he sued the landowner and landscaping company and they paid him about $14,000 a month for several years. And he has been against accomadations for handicapped people at public facilities, and all for tort reform. I wonder what would have happened if Greg Abbott’s policies had been in place when the tree fell on him. But I am sure there is some convoluted legal argument about why it’s okay for him but not for you.

While he was still AG, his office ruled that chemical plants did not have to file reports about what compounds they had at their sites. The reasoning was that terrorists might use that information. But then Abbott said if anybody wanted that information they could just ask the chemical companies. If I can just ask for it, why can’t a terrorist just ask for it?

It is hard to believe that this is happening after the disaster in West, Texas. There is a town called Athens that almost had a similar disaster a few months ago (see here and here). Abbott said all you need to do as a homeowner is drive around your town to see if there are any potential risks.

This sounds like the typical conservative idea that companies need to be coddled and shielded from any liability or responsibility for their actions, and all the burden is on citizens. I think that companies should file that information with the government, and it should be available to citizens. If a company is putting people at risk, the burden should be on the company to tell people. Conservatives talk about responsibility, but they always seem to shift it to the people least able to bear it.

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Thoughts On Scotland, Water and the Future

During the decade or so I was living in Chicago, I thought that I was going to be in Chicago for the rest of my life. Then I wound up in Texas. But I do not think I will spend the rest of my life here.

One major reason is water. There was an excellent article in Men’s Health called “Who Stole the Water?” about water in Texas. Governor Goodhair is telling everyone to come down here, but not telling people that the water is running out. And since this is Texas, nobody wants to spend any money. As I wrote before, when you want to point out magical thinking, you say, “X does not just fall from the sky.” Water actually does fall from the sky, just not when and where you want it to.

I think Texas will not do well in the future. Climate change will hit Texas hard. It is already too hot for me already. According to the Drought Monitor, Illinois is doing fairly well. So I might go back to Chicago. Or perhaps up to Canada. I had thought about Portland or Seattle, but it looks like the northwest is getting a bit dry as well. I always thought the northwest was the best place to be to deal with climate change. Plus I don’t understand how Portland can have a drought. They are right on the Columbia River. Are they starting bonfires every time they light a joint?

I am toying with the idea of checking out Scotland. Part of my family is from there. Part of my family is also from Ireland. (Being Scottish AND Irish is NOT the same as being Scots-Irish. Scots-Irish are Lowland Scots who moved to northeastern Ireland. Some of them were not Scottish at all.)

My mother offered to take me to Scotland for a few weeks. I have not given her an answer either way. She is retired, and needs her money more than I do. But all the news about the independence referendum has got me thinking about looking into moving there. It would be a long shot. If they become independent, they will probably allow more people in. I hope they need software developers.

Another reason to go would be to find a wife. I have not had much success with women, so the idea that one woman will choose to do something that no woman until now has chosen to do is pretty slim. Plus, I do not want to break the chain.

I do not know too much about my family history. My great-grandmother came to the USA from Ireland with her parents when she was very young. She married an Irish man. All of her siblings went into interracial marriages. Polish and German I think. My grandmother married a man who was mostly Scottish with some Irish. Again, her siblings got their swirls on with Polish or Germans. Same with my mother’s siblings. And now my siblings are in interracial marriages. My sister-in-law is badda-boom-badda-bing, and my brother-in-law does not speak any Polish but has a last name with five consonants in a row that none of us can pronounce. (The “ski” at the end I can say.)

So if the chain is going to continue, it is up to me. Women have picked guys who beat the crap out of them over me. They can write me off in two seconds knowing nothing about me, yet somehow everybody fools everybody else. I do not assume that I will rank any better over there, but I could not rank any worse.

I did look at Craig’s Lust for Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are a LOT of American women who are interested in Irish and Scottish men. I am guessing it is the accent, because being Irish and Scottish has not worked at all for me. Seeing some of these ads gives me pause. Moving to another country is a lot more difficult than moving to another state. Moving inside of Chicago was a major hassle. Some of them are really delusional. One said “I want a older rich man who can come t the states (florida) and take me to vegas and marr and take me back to their country. And live happly forever.” Another said she was part Irish and part Croation. She’s soooooo Croatian, she doesn’t need to spell it correctly. Why place a personal in another country? What do these women think will happen? Then I think to myself: I am reading these ads, so maybe I am a bit off the wall thinking about this as well.

My employer does have an office in Edinburgh. I am guessing that the clients are probably in the financial sector, which I have heard is pretty big in Edinburgh. Many financial firms said they would leave if Scotland voted to become independent. (After that news came out, the “No” gained a bit in the polls; it makes me wonder who does Scotland really need to be independent from?)

Lately I have been spending more time learning some new software languages. That is one reason I have not posted here as much. I need to get a Plan B ready. So I guess my future might lie in Chicago, Toronto, or Edinburgh.

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Thoughts on States’ Rights and Local Control

It seems that conservatives push states’ rights when they disagree with the federal government. But when a state does something they do not like (usually a state other than their own), they have no issues siding with the federal government. They go on and on about local control, but they have no problem butting in when someone somewhere else does something they do not like.

Right now Wendy Davis is running for governor of Texas. A few months ago, the Texas Tribune Tribcast said it might look bad for her if most of her money comes from out of state. A lot of Ted Cruz’s campaign money came from out of state. The guys who ran against Hillary Clinton for Senate got money from outside of New York. A lot of Tea Partiers have gotten money from outside their states/districts. For people who go on and on about unchanging values, they sure seem willing to cast them aside when it’s convenient. IOKIYAR.

Many of them say gay marriage is a states’ rights issue. A lot of the money for Proposition 8 in California came from the Mormon Church in Utah. Why can’t those Utah conservatives mind their own business? There are a lot of states with laws against gay marriage. But I bet if they thought they had a chance of getting an amendment to the US Constitution passed, they would go for it.

When New York passed a law allowing gay marriage, Rick Perry said that was a good thing. He said if you’re okay with that, then live in New York. If you are not, you can live in Texas. I think that how they want people to think they view states’ rights. But then after he said that he was quiet for a few days, and said that gay marriage is always bad. I wonder what happened. Perhaps some of his paymasters had a talk with him about it.

Ted Cruz recently criticized the Obama adminstration for not going after people for marijuana laws. As some have pointed out, he doesn’t seem to think that states should not make their own laws on gay marriage, gun control and abortion. But don’t hold your breath.

And when a level of government below the state does something a conservative does not like, they think it’s okay for a state to make a law overriding a local law.

Travis County has required companies running gun trade shows to perform background checks for all “person to person” gun sales. And Greg Abbot had threatened to sue Travis County. Why can’t Travis County do what Travis County thinks is best? Would it really be so hard to have it in a different county? I have heard Taylor really wants to build up its economy. And Hutto has nowhere to go but up. (Hutto is northeast of Austin. It is about as small and rural as it sounds.)

One of the things I forgot to mention in my review of my first year in Austin is that Austin recently banned plastic bags at retail stores. At first I kept going into HEB and get to the counter and realized I did not have a bag. And I still see people walk out of the store without stuff in bags and they put things in their car one item at a time.

Well, a Repub in the lege from another part of Texas proposed the Shopping Bag Freedom ActHis objection was that it could spread disease and bacteria, and it is an overreach of big government. I wonder how he feels about chemical plants polluting rivers and blowing up. To see why a bag ban can be a good idea, see this page.

Sometimes repubs have this magical view that state goverments can do no wrong. Unless they pass a law allowing people to smoke pot or allowing gay marriage.

Then there is the issue of Park 51 in New York City, aka the “Ground Zero Mosque”.  A lot of conservatives were against it, even though it got approval from a local zoning board. And let’s not forget, that Constitution they all claim to love says we ALL have religious freedom. I thought it was funny seeing all of these repubs fall all over themselves screaming about this. They don’t want outsiders telling them what to do, yet they have no problem sticking their noses in other people’s business. The best part: Seeing conservatives get soooooo concerned about NYC. Usually there is a competition amongst conservatives over who hates NYC the most.

Sidebar: This country is becoming more urban and less rural, and they seem to think that only people in small towns are “real Americans.” How can these people say they love America, when they hate most of the people in it?

These people talk about freedom. My question for them is: Freedom for whom to do what?

I am not saying that states’ rights is not a valid issue. But if you look at segregation and gay marriage, it seems to get the most airtime when Southern conservatives see something they do not like. If they only time you talk about states’ rights is when you want to kick someone around, do not be shocked if some people do not get on board.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

Thoughts On Crazy Conservatives

I have stated on this site that I think a lot of conservatives are pathological. Nothing is ever conservative enough, and each thinks that THEY are the only TRUE conservative.

Now we are seeing that the Tea Bagger voters are upset that the guys they sent to Congress are “waffling”, or “not conservative enough”, or, as some might put it: realizing that not everybody in the country agrees with you. One article about this was published in The Guardian.

Another was published in The American Prospect. I think the last paragraph is a nice summary:

As many a Republican politician will tell you (ask Marco Rubio, for one), convincing the Tea Party that you’re sufficiently conservative and that you hate Barack Obama enough isn’t just a full-time job, it’s a game that almost everyone will eventually lose. At some point you’ll take some position or express some opinion that is interpreted as less than maximal anti-Obamaism, and all it takes is one slip to be declared a traitor forevermore.

But I have an issue with the last sentence: So as crazy as Republican politicians sometimes seem, don’t forget that they’re under constant pressure from a base that is even crazier.

I wonder what was going through the author’s head when he wrote that. Are we supposed to have sympathy for these Tea Bagger congressmen? They chose to suck up to the crazies. Some of them bad-mouthed people who did not vote for them, or Democrats/liberals in general. And now they are choosing to not stand up to the Tea Baggers.

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A while back I mentioned the Texas Tribune Tribcast. I got through the first half of 2013 about a week ago. They also make the Tea Baggers sound pretty crazy. The TB’s don’t want to spend any money or raise any taxes. Two of the big issues in the past regular session and the special sessions were transportation and water. As I have stated on this site, lower taxes are nice, but they are not the answer to all the world’s problems. Neither is cutting spending. Cutting taxes won’t repair roads, and cutting spending won’t make it rain more.

Usually when you want to deride someone for magical thinking, you say, “XYZ does not just fall from the sky.” In the case of rain, it does fall from the sky. However, you have no way of making it fall when and where you need it to.

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. Because Tea Parties are for little children with imaginary friends.

Ideology does not trump reality.

I Hope Voting Makes a Comeback

I have voted in every election since I turned 18. I recently moved to Texas, and I got my registration card the day before the election. So my voting streak is unbroken.

I know a lot of people who do not vote. They think there is no point and that nothing ever changes.

There is a great line I have seen on the web: If voting is not important, why are Republicans always trying to stop you? I have noticed the Same Old Party goes on and on about invalid registrations. So their solution to this non-existent problem is to purge the voter rolls. They never seem to have any interest in registering people properly.

You have probably heard about or heard the recording of Mitt Romney’s statement about the 47%.  That was at a fundraiser with an admission price of $50,000. That is about the median income in the US. I bet the people at that fundraiser all voted.

If you don’t vote, you give people who can spend your annual salary in one night even more power. You are giving them more say in our government. You are causing the very thing you say you want to prevent. Granted, it takes a lot of median income people voting to equal the voice of a wealthy person. But if you don’t participate, then who will?

I think it’s funny when people say that there is no point in voting because it never changes anything. By itself it might not do much. But if you are not willing to stand in line to press a button every couple of years, then what are you willing to do to change society? If you won’t press a button, then how exactly is society supposed to change?

I think that slowly things are changing. People are starting to realize that a lot of things happen at the state level. The Trayvon Martin incident. The Wendy Davis filibuster. The Moral Monday protests in North Carolina. I think people are staring to organize. Secular Texas is part of this.

This really hit me after a few exchanges on Twitter (archived here). Do not ignore what happens at the state level.

Image from Bobbi’s Blog, originally from Political Loudmouth, although I could not find it there

Freethought Radio and The Texas Tribune Tribcast

I generally do not listen to podcasts as they are released. I let them pile up for a few months. Sometimes when I find a new one that I like I will go back and download all or some of the older episodes.

Over the past few weeks, I listened to episodes of Freethought Radio from 2012. Freethought Radio is produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. One of the things that they do is file lawsuits against various state and local governments (and sometimes the federal government) over church/state separation.

They have members all over the country, and their members are informing them of First Amendment issues all the time. Many times the communities the FFRF is contacting complain about “outside groups telling us what to do.”

First off, it’s an outside group with local members. Secondly, it is amazing that so many people claim to be all for the Constitution yet do not understand it. Many people complain about the FFRF trying to “take away our religion”, or something like that. The case law is pretty clear that government cannot endorse religion. The FFRF is not trying to shut down churches. Opening a city council meeting with a prayer does violate the First Amendment. There is nothing stopping people from praying on their own time.

Recently they had a case down here in Texas in a town called Kountze near Houston. They talked about it quite a bit on Freethought Radio.

It was also mentioned on another podcast that I listen to: The Tribcast produced by The Texas Tribune , “a nonprofit, nonpartisan public media organization covering Texas politics and policy with verve.” I started going through the 2012 episodes right after I got done with the 2012 episodes of Freethought Radio.

The governor and the attorney general played the whole “outside groups coming in and trying to tell us what to do” angle. It’s still a load of BS. (Are they that stupid, or do they think the voters are that stupid?) What really shocked me was that when the Tribcast talked about it, nobody on the show seemed to know how a group in Wisconsin found out about this. (They usually have four people on each episode; they rotate amongst their writers and editors.) That really surprised me. I generally like The Tribcast, but I think they fell down on this one.

I found a couple of links on the Texas Tribune site about this case: here  and here. There may be a few more that I did not look at, and maybe I skimmed these two a bit too quickly, but neither of them mentioned that the FFRF acts on complaints from local members throughout the country. There are some quotes from some locals, the AG and the governor, and there is a lawyer for the students who is mentioned by name. There is a link to a PDF of the original letter from the FFRF to the school, but no link to the FFRF home page, no quotes from the FFRF, why they would have standing to file a lawsuit if they were to do so, or mentions of any attempt to contact them.

If I am wrong, send me a link or point out a paragraph that I missed.

As I see it, it just seems like really bad journalism. Maybe the hosts of Freethought Radio were too busy to talk on the phone, or the FFRF lawyers were swamped, but I honestly think that if the Texas Tribune called the FFRF that they would have gotten some answers.


There are pictures of the staff members on the website. Reeve Hamilton sounded like a young guy, but he looks like he is still in high school. I guess the rarified air of Vanderbilt will do that to you. And that is a really WASP-y name. Jay Root and Ross Ramsey kind of look like what I thought they would. Sometimes when I see a picture of someone whose voice I have listened to, I realize I had formed a picture of them in my mind that I was not always aware that I was forming. But Evan Smith definitely looks like what I thought he would look like.

Image from Freedom From Religion Foundation website, assumed allowed under Fair Use. It is from a page called “Logos and Photos”. 1. I think it is kind of funny they of all organizations have a page called “Logos and Photos” considering that Logos has a theological meaning. 2. If they have a page with a few different pictures of their logo, I guess that means it is okay to use elsewhere.

Thoughts On Abortion and Religion

As you may have gathered, abortion has been in the news a lot here in Texas lately. Juanita Jean has been keeping me informed on what is going on. Many people at Secular Texas were at the rallies and the hearings. I was not able to go since I work full-time. A big chunk of the people in Secular Texas are either retirees, freelancers, or work much closer to the capitol than I do.

As with many abortion debates, many people on the pro-birth side are men, who try to use religion to justify their positions. I wrote “pro-birth” on purpose. We need to stop letting them get away with saying they are pro-life. If you fight tooth and nail for an unborn child, but then refuse to lift a finger once the child is born, you are not pro-life.

Over the past few weeks, the Talibaptists in three states used underhanded tactics for pro-birth bills: Texas, Ohio and North Carolina. Either they stacked the deck for scheduling testimony, or they introduced bills or amendments at the last minute.

If you have to lie or obfuscate to do the right thing, are you really doing the right thing?

On the pro-choice side are a lot of women. There are a lot of old women. Grandmothers who are too old to get pregnant. Yet they fight pro-birth bills tooth and nail.

Religious people like to think they are better than us atheists since they believe in something greater than themselves.

Which leads to a couple of questions. If they can see the big picture, why can’t they see this issue from the perspective of the women on the other side? Shouldn’t the fact that women who are too old to get pregnant are so vehemently against abortion restrictions make the big thinkers stop and think why these women fight tooth and nail for something they themselves will never need?

Alternatively, shouldn’t these people who believe in something greater than themselves be able to persuade people who disagree with them?

I am starting to realize that religion and libertarianism are just a way to put fancy words and catchphrases around selfishness and control.

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Tweets by GOP on Science, Oil, Technology

A few days ago some GOP nutcase in Texas tweeted about oil and gas (see articles here  and here).

In addition to saying a few wacky things, it seems like a good time to write up some of the notes I have been accumulating.

The main tweet that got attention was “The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.”

Unless you happen to be George W Bush, who poked a lot of holes in West Texas and managed to not find any oil.

He also made a few cracks about liberals and environmentalists being against science and technology. And human progress.

Let’s start with human progress. A lot of conservatives think that atheists should have fewer rights than Christians. And that other races should have less rights than white people. And that woman should have less rights than men. And that homosexuals should have less rights than straight people. And of course that actual people (human beings) should have less rights than paper people (corporations). Liberals think that the powerless should have the same rights as the powerful. That all people should have the right to vote. That everyone should have a say in their lives and their community. I like all the things that oil allows us to do, but “finding more places to drill more oil” is a pretty narrow definition of human progress.

But then again, conservatives seem to love narrow definitions.

He thinks that liberals and environmentalists hate technology? What about solar panels? They may not be much good at night, but they have come a long way in the past decade. And who has been for them? Liberals and environmentalists. And a lot of liberals are for nuclear power. Listen to “The Atomic Show” with Rod Adams. He has had quite a few pro-nuclear liberals on his show. I would say if you are pro-nuclear, you are pro-science. He’s a Navy man from the southeast, but he sounds pretty liberal to me sometimes. He thinks that we should build more nuclear power plants because he has been to poor countries and seen how people live without electricity. He also thinks it is the best solution for climate change.

Yes, climate change. That thing that a lot of conservatives say is not happening. (I love the fact that a scientist funded by the Koch Brothers to refute climate change came to the conclusion that it is happening. Recently, Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House requested hearings on climate change, but were denied by the Renutlican leadership. If conservatives love science, what’s the problem?

Conservatives have been wrong/lying about evolution for a long long long time. And let’s not forget about all the comments about sexual assault and pregnancy that were spoken by Republicans in the 2012 election. (I am thinking of the original comments, and the douibling down by many others in the conservative community.)

The only science and technology that conservatives seem to love is science and technology that helps the fossil fuel industries.

A lot of conservatives seem to think that oil, gas and coal are the only worthwhile forms of energy. I also see this in the media. A lot of people are still part of the “Drill, baby, drill” crowd. That is fine, as long as there is something left to drill. But for how long will that be the case? Yes, the earth is still producing oil,but we are using it faster than the earth is making it.

The DBD crowd says it makes no sense to drill out in the middle of the ocean when we have plenty of oil on federal land. I say: Go ahead, drill on that federal land. You will wind up back in the middle of the ocean in a few decades. If the DBD crowd isn’t thinking about non-fossil fuel energy sources now, why would they starting thinking about it in their Alternative Yellowstone Derrick Future?

Even with all the advances in shale oil and fracking, I still only see predictions about our oil and gas supply for about 150 years. The nuclear industry says we have enough uranium for 6,500 years. Apparently there is a lot of uranium in sea water. I am not a math genius, but 6,500 is a lot more than 150. Plus, I don’t think we should use oil and gas for cars or electricity. Let’s save them for fertilizer and plastic. I guess on a finite planet, eventually everything goes to zero. But some things are much closer to zero than others.

I don’t think we should put too much faith in fracking. People say that thanks to fracking, the peak oil debate is over. That might be a hasty conclusion. The depletion rates for these wells are pretty high. And they have high environmental costs. A lot of pro-oil people say that we will never hit peak oil because “technology and the market will find new ways to get more oil.”

I have two responses to that. First off, we cannot be so sure that there will always be new ways of extracting oil which get discovered when we need them to. A lot of the people raving about fracking did not see it coming ten years ago. If fracking and horizontal drilling were not around today, all that oil would still be in the ground, and our oil supplies would be in decline. Where would we be then? We may reach a point where the market does not find a way. This is related to a post by Tom Murphy, an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. He has a post on his blog “Do The Math” detailing a conversation he had with an economics professor about the fact that there are real physical limits to the amount of energy this planet can produce.

Secondly, there may very well be limits oil extraction. There may be technological limits, and there may be societal limits. Fracking and the Canadian tar sands are pretty controversial. Even if the petroleum industry finds more ways to extract oil, we may be reaching the limit of society’s tolerance for the environmental costs of oil extraction.

Image from Disney movie John Carter. Copyright owned by Disney, assumed allowed under fair use. John Carter is the name of my representative.

I Saw An Obama Sticker

I saw a bumper sticker recently calling Obama the worst president ever. How someone in GW Bush’s home state can call anyone else the worst is beyond me. The Republicans did not have their only living two term president speak at their convention. Clinton has spoken at all thee Democratic Conventions since he left office.

Most presidents how rank low (like Hoover) are dinged for how they reacted to exongenous events. But GW Bush chose to ignore al Queda. he chose to fight a war in Iraq. He chose to pay for that war with debt. He chose to cut taxes and increase spending. He chose to let Wall Street do whatever it wanted. He chose to inject religion into government.

How someone can live through all that and then call a Democrat president who tries to implement policies originally proposed by Republicans but winds up getting obstructed by Republicans is beyond me.