Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just how disingenuous?

Today, in the face of growing criticism over his handling of the economy, president Bush held a news conference to... well, what else? Blame the Democrats. The Washington Post reports:

Bush cited an Energy Department estimate that drilling in the refuge could allow the United States to produce about 1 million additional barrels of oil a day, yielding about 27 million gallons of extra gasoline and diesel a day.

"That would be about a 20 percent increase of . . . crude oil production over U.S. levels, and it would likely mean lower gas prices," Bush said. "And yet such efforts to explore in ANWR have been consistently blocked."

Here are some interesting statistics, courtesy of yahoo.com:

World oil production: 76,010,000 barrels per day
U.S. oil production: 7,800,000 barrels per day

So, we produce roughly 10% of the world's oil. A 20% increase in U.S. production would, therefore, amount to a 2% increase in the world oil supply.

And that's going to bring prices down? Not very likely, and certainly not by much, even if it does have some measurable effect. Consider, for instance that world demand for oil has been growing at about 1.5% per year, a figure that is relatively unchanged even in the face of the current economic slowdown. At that pace, it would take less than 18 months for demand to outstrip new Alaskan oil supplies, and that's assuming such supplies could come on line immediately, at full capacity.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Paging Jonah Goldberg

It's not a frequent occurrence, but every so often a College Republican will actually complete the assigned reading for his European History class and, in so doing , discover that the official name of the German Nazi party was the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Delighted by a discovery that has mysteriously and inexplicably escaped the note of academic scholars (Great Scott, the Nazis were Socialists!), and thinking himself quite clever, said president of the campus chapter of Young Americans For Freedom will invariably thrown down his history book and pen an insightful and compelling (if somehwat rambling) piece for his college's conservative journal explaining how deep down inside the Students for a Democratic Society and the Campus Democrats are nothing more than a bunch of goose stepping fascists. The most recent example of this phenomenon is Jonah Goldberg who, despite having graduated from college many years ago, has nonetheless managed to pen a sophomoric volume called Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning in which he demonstrates rather convincingly that no one loves Hitler quite as much as your average Democratic voter. Sadly, and somewhat embarrassing for Goldberg is the fact that so many Republican legislators appear to have missed his memo laying out the Democrat=Nazi equation and continue to frequent their favorite Neo-Nazi lectures, marches and other gatherings a if nothing had happened and new proscriptions and prescriptions were not in force. David Duke, the founder of the totally not racist National Organization for the Advancement of White People is the most famous, but by no means only example. Trent Lott, Bob Barr and dozens of Republican public officials, have been, were frequent speakers at meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group that, while not explicitly Neo-Nazi, does continually warn America of the dangers of "race mixing" and the powerful Jews who control the media.
And now, following in this grand tradition of GOP members who haven't yet figured out that they're supposed to denounce Fascism because it's so left wing, is Indiana congressional candidate Tony Zirkle. Zirkle recently attended a neo-Nazi conference celebrating Hitler's birthday and then explained his actions by noting that he gives talks to all sorts of different groups, spanning the political spectrum from black hating KKK chapters all the way to Jew hating Neo-Nazi outfits. As a consequence, no one should read anything into one little appearance at a gathering marked by dozens of swastikas a 5 foot oil painting of Adolph Hitler, and where everyone wore Nazi arm-bands to emphasize how much they're looking forward to voting for Barak Obama in November. I swear these conservative activists have got to improve communication and get on the same page! Sheeesh!