Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Green? Maybe Not So Much

August 18, 2008

Soon Nevada may no longer have the largest solar power plant in the nation, the 14-MW Solar One at Nellis. Two larger plants are planned for California, although they face possible bureaucratic hurdles.

The plants will cover 12.5 square miles of central California with solar panels, and in the middle of a sunny day will generate about 800 megawatts of power, roughly equal to the size of a large coal-burning power plant or a small nuclear plant.

Elsewhere in California, legal action has possibly prevented several other power plants from being built. One of the proposed plants affected by the ruling is a natural-gas facility slated for the city of Vernon. It would generate 914-MW and, according to this article, require 13.7 acres. Yes acres.

There are 640 acres in one square mile, which means the natural-gas plant planned for Vernon would generate 667 times more power per acre than the solar plants. And that’s comparing peak power from the solar facilities to anytime power from the gas. So, in reality, the Vernon facility likely would generate approximately 2000 times the power per acre than the two solar plants.

The court ruling affects 12 other facilties besides the one in Vernon. One official stated that the Los Angeles Basin needs 2000 MW of new capacity to avoid brownouts and blackouts. Solar plants using the same technology as those touted in the NYT article would require a minimum of 31 square miles of photovoltaic cells. Think the enviros will go for that? I’m not holding my breath.

UPDATE: I’d like to make clear that I believe that solar is the power source of the future – well, along with nuclear. But the idea that we can simply quit building new coal- or gas-fired plants or reduce the number of them that we currently have and still be able to provide adequate power for our homes, schools and offices is quite simply a fantasy.


Should We Expect Anything More (Or Less)

August 15, 2008

Gerard Baker gives Europe a gold medal for defeatism in Georgia.

Once again, the Europeans, and their friends in the pusillanimous wing of the US Left, have demonstrated that, when it come to those postmodern Olympian sports of synchronized self-loathing, team hand-wringing and lightweight posturing, they know how to sweep gold, silver and bronze.

There’s a routine now whenever some unspeakable act of aggression is visited upon us or our allies by murderous fanatics or authoritarian regimes. While the enemy takes a victory lap, we compete in a shameful medley relay of apologetics, defeatism and surrender.


There’s something odd about listening to European governments speak about the futility of diplomacy. They are the ones who usually insist that military force alone can achieve little and who say that diplomacy must be given a chance. But now they seem to say that, since we can’t stop Russia militarily, there is nothing else we can do.

They’re wrong, as usual. As Baker points out, there are steps that can be taken — such as restoring the G8 to the G7, rejection of WTO membership. Russia still looks to be seen as a responsible member of the world community even as it acts so irresponsibly. This provides a means of punishing them, although not without costs and consequences to Europe and the US. However, the Europeans default position is inaction, whatever its consequences.

via RCP

More on VDH

August 15, 2008

I wanted to expand a little bit on this post. There is a strong isolationist streak among Americans. From George Washington’s exhortation to avoid entangling alliances to the rise of Ron Paul, there is revealed the general preference of Americans to leave the rest of the world to solve its own problems. Some of the lure of the US to our ancestors was the desire to leave those problems behind.

A few years ago, I received an email from an acquaintance. It was one of those that had been forwarded a million times and I believe this person just sent it to everyone in the address book. Essentially, it advocated pulling all of our troops out of everywhere and closing the doors to anything coming in or going out. I couldn’t take it so I had to reply.

I stated that it would be nice to leave the rest of the world to its own devices. Unfortunately, the world needs some adult supervision and we’re the only grown-ups around. We tried to retreat from the world once, in the 1930’s, and the results weren’t too pretty.

Western Europe is currently in the longest continuous period of peace since approximately the time of the Neanderthals. Why? Because the US military has been there to enforce the peace. One unintended consequence of this is that now these countries are utterly incapable of even protecting themselves, much less projecting force to deal with problems beyond their borders. So who is going to deter the various thugs, tyrants, and despots of the world? Certainly not the Europeans. NATO? Please, without the US, NATO is incapable of anything. The UN? Ha! Ask the people of Darfur and Srebrenica about the UN. There is no one but the US.

It is only the promise of the US to intervene that keeps China from invading Taiwan. Although the South Koreans are probably capable of defending themselves now, for most of the last 55 years only the US could deter the North. Were the US to pull out of Europe you could substitute Poland, Ukraine, possibly even Germany and France for Georgia. Until very recently piracy was a major problem for international trade. Why is it not such a large issue now? Because of the presence of the US Navy patrolling the world’s shipping lanes.

If the US were to withdraw from the international stage, the results would be catastrophic. Granted, not many people advocate this drastic isolationism. But it may not take that. We need not retreat from the world, we only need to be unwilling or unable to act.

Hanson’s outlook is pretty bleak. But the reality is that he may be an optimist.

Making the Case for Drilling

August 15, 2008

ANWR in pictures.

h/t Blogfather

Blowback from the Invasion?

August 15, 2008

U.S., Poland Reach Agreement on Missile Defense. I wonder who this comment, from the Polish Foreign Minister, is directed at? “‘Only people of ill intent should fear this agreement.'”


August 14, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson:

what a richer but more critical world has forgotten is that in large part America was the model, not the villain — and that postwar globalization was always a form of engaged Americanization that enriched and protected billions.

Yet globalization, in all its manifestations, will run out of steam the moment we tire of fueling it, as the world returns instead to the mindset of the 1930s — with protectionist tariffs; weak, disarmed democracies; an isolationist America; predatory dictatorships; and a demoralized gloom-and-doom Western elite.

If America adopts the protectionist trade policies of Japan or China, global profits plummet. If our armed forces follow the European lead of demilitarization and inaction, rogue states advance. If we were to treat the environment as do China and India, the world would become quickly a lost cause.

If we flee Iraq and call off the war on terror, Islamic jihadists will regroup, not disband. And when the Russians attack the next democracy, they won’t listen to the United Nations, the European Union, or Michael Moore.

Brace yourself — we may be on our way back to an old world, where the strong do as they will, and the weak suffer as they must.

Not a pleasant vision.