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Author Topic: Presidential General Election News & Discussion Center
Lord Solar Macharius
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Well then... why don't we have a face-palm smiley?
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Farmgirl
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Has anyone else heard that perhaps Caroline Kennedy could be picked as a running mate for Obama? (I know she's on the "search" committee, supposedly helping him find a running mate, but yesterday for the first time I heard someone say she could be it.)

That would be a very hard ticket to beat. Caroline is considered a sort of "princess" of sorts - the daughter of the late great JFK who is revered by many.

If this was already in this thread, I apologize. I didn't see it. Just wondered if anyone else had heard that. I don't know where the person who mentioned it to me heard the idea.

(Edit: found a linky)

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Mucus
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Not a big fan of at least two of the types of reactions this story could generate, but in spirit of full disclosure this is a story of potential interest:
quote:
... stories have surfaced about Democrat Barack Obama’s own, more personal, connections to China. Obama’s estranged half-brother, Mark Ndesandjo, is an entrepreneur who has been living in Shenzhen with a Chinese girlfriend for several years. Neither man seems particularly eager to talk to the press about the others’ existence, but reports indicate Ndesandjo has been promoting cheap exports with his consulting business, Worldnexus. The tie is a potential political bombshell for Obama in a country deeply fearful of what China’s inexpensive goods mean for jobs at home.
link
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TomDavidson
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Is Kennedy really still revered by many people? Who?
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Lyrhawn
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Kennedy might be good on the "do no harm" part of what a VP has to do for a ticket, but she brings absolutely nothing to the ticket. Obama at least needs to take a stab at shoring up his shortcomings, and Kennedy doesn't accomplish that at all.

There're increased rumors circling around Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, which is a little surprising since I swear he said last year that he didn't want the job at all, he wanted to spend more time with his family, but maybe it was naive to think that'd last. Kaine is young, very popular, has a good record, has never been in Washington and thus fits into Obama's new outsider way of doing things. But he's only been governor for three years, which means limited executive experience, and it does nothing for his military cred.

I'm not bothered by that though. No one candidate is going to do ALL those things for him. Even Richardson, arguably the most well rounded of potential running mates, doesn't have the military experience. Kaine I think sets Virginia solidly in the Obama column, and that in itself is a major coup. Win every state Gore won in 2000 and flip Virginia and that's the ball game. Plus I think Kaine is a great choice to run for office on his own in eight years.

Mucus -

I don't see that being all that big of a deal. A half brother that Obama doesn't even talk to? What are they going to pull out of the closet next, a fourth cousin twice removed that had an abortion? It's a non-issue. I don't think that means it won't come up, but I think MOST people who were already thinking about voting for Obama won't be swayed by something like that.

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Alcon
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quote:
Not a big fan of at least two of the types of reactions this story could generate, but in spirit of full disclosure this is a story of potential interest:

quote: ... stories have surfaced about Democrat Barack Obama’s own, more personal, connections to China. Obama’s estranged half-brother, Mark Ndesandjo, is an entrepreneur who has been living in Shenzhen with a Chinese girlfriend for several years. Neither man seems particularly eager to talk to the press about the others’ existence, but reports indicate Ndesandjo has been promoting cheap exports with his consulting business, Worldnexus. The tie is a potential political bombshell for Obama in a country deeply fearful of what China’s inexpensive goods mean for jobs at home.

link

Doesn't estranged generally mean that Obama's pissed off at him? And it sounds like with good reason...

This really shouldn't hurt him. We all have relatives who do things that we wouldn't, that we're not happy about. Most of us don't even really hold it against said relatives too much, we sorta shrug our shoulders and say "well, that's just cousin Bob for you." But from the sound of this, Obama does hold it against his half-brother. So what can people possibly say? That he has a relative somewhere making an arse of himself, that he's already pretty much denounced and rejected?

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kmbboots
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What, by the way, happened to Senator McCain running a campaign on the issues? What is that garbage ad he is running about Senator Obama going to the gym but not bothering to visit the troops? How is that about the issues?
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Farmgirl
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Is Kennedy really still revered by many people? Who?

Heck, I don't know. I don't revere him. He is often held up (in public speeches, etc.) in a fond manner, and people are always quoting him. The whole Camelot thing.
(I'm not a Democrat, so I have no idea why people liked him)

Caroline Kennedy would have more name recognition than, say, Tim Kaine -- who I had never heard of until they started considering him.

How much experience does it really take to be Veep? I mean, they go to official funerals and do a lot of political social things (which I suppose she would probably be comfortable with).

Unless, of course, something happens to the president. Then experience would be very important.

I could see this choice as appeasing to those who wanted Hillary just to have a woman in the higher office. And Caroline would be more likable.

But like Lyrhawn said, it probably won't be her. Because everyone's saying Tim Kaine. It was just a rumor anyway.

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Mucus
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Lyrhawn: I never said it was a "big" deal. I did say that it was of potential interest. It may be just another small tidbit that right-wing pundits might attempt to make trouble with in the same vein as other small tricks such as "Barack *Hussein* Obama." It may not mean much to the informed that are ready to vote for Obama and the optimist in me hopes that you're right. However, the pessimist in me doesn't want to underestimate the potential of the dangerously partially-informed "do not want prayer mats in the White House" crowd.

quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
Doesn't estranged generally mean that Obama's pissed off at him? And it sounds like with good reason... he has a relative somewhere making an arse of himself, that he's already pretty much denounced and rejected?

Thats precisely one reaction I'm not a fan of. I do not see any reason that Obama's half-brother should be considered an "arse" and a couple reasons that he should be proud of what he's accomplished.


Anyways, I'm just passing along the news and giving everyone a heads-up. No need to shoot the messenger.

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aspectre
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quote:
...as a professor...Obama was in the business of complication, showing that even the best-reasoned rules have unintended consequences, that competing legal interests cannot always be resolved, that a rule that promotes justice in one case can be unfair in the next.
"When you hear him talking about issues, it’s at a level so much simpler than the one he’s capable of," Mr. Rodriguez said. "He was a lot more fun to listen to back then."


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Lyrhawn
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If anything that makes me happier. I honestly wonder if a candidate can have that kind of campaign and succeed anymore when the opposition so willingly pounces on people for trying nuance in a nation that prides itself on short, quick, blunt answers. Anyone who tries a multipronged response will be dubbed wishy washy or a flipflopper and they'll hit back with their own 10 word answer and they'll likely succeed.

Certainly any pretext of this being a civil high minded campaign has totally evaporated recently. But knowing that Obama DOES have that kind of mind, and that behind the scenes he is considering issues that way makes me hopeful about what kind of president he'll be.

I'm wondering what McCain is trying to do recently with the Iraq war thing. Obama has always said that he supports a 16 month withdrawel, but that it'll still be kind of dependent on what commanders tell him about the situation on the ground. A year ago even he was saying "we'll be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." McCain is turning that into "Obama totally agrees with me," and then the other day said that he'd support a timetable so long as the conditions were right.

Why is he trying to make his position identical to Obama's, and in doing so, make it look like Obama just changed his mind? I'm not sure I get the angle. Is he trying to make Obama look late to the game while making himself look prescient? I can't see what he stands to gain out of neutralizing the issue entirely.

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Threads
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House panel votes to cite Rove for contempt.

As there are already pending court cases on the extent of executive privilege, this action probably won't have any significant consequences for a while.

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Lyrhawn
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Agreed. For it to proceed any further, I think Pelosi would have to give the okay, and I'm not sure if she will or not. I tend to lean towards her not giving the okay, for the potential backlash it'd have against her. There are lower profile people that are already on the books for contempt that have been voted on by that panel that could approve and avoid part of the media firestorm. If those cases go well, then she could go after Rove with a much freer hand.
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DarkKnight
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quote:
Obama has always said that he supports a 16 month withdrawel, but that it'll still be kind of dependent on what commanders tell him about the situation on the ground.
and he also said that he would be CIC and do what he felt was best despite what commanders tell him about the situation on the ground.
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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
quote:
Obama has always said that he supports a 16 month withdrawel, but that it'll still be kind of dependent on what commanders tell him about the situation on the ground.
and he also said that he would be CIC and do what he felt was best despite what commanders tell him about the situation on the ground.
If you actually come at assessing Obama (or whoever) with good faith, these aren't contradictory.

-Bok

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aspectre
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_7/31/2008_ "Despite continued statements from the White House that former aides are protected by 'executive privilege' and cannot be subpoenaed, a federal judge ruled Thursday that former White House aides are, in fact, subject to subpoena.
The ruling takes on special meaning in the wake of the Karl Rove incident, where the former White House deputy chief of staff ignored a subpoena and refused to testify before a Congressional committee, citing the very protection the Federal Judge overruled.
Others facing subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 include Bush's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and former legal counsel Harriet Miers. President Bush has maintained that they cannot be forced to testify. However, U.S. District Judge John Bates sided with Congress Thursday, ruling that aides can be subpoenaed."

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
If you actually come at assessing Obama (or whoever) with good faith, these aren't contradictory.
This is becoming a bigger and bigger issue with me. I'm having a harder time assuming Obama's good faith.

[ July 31, 2008, 03:50 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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Bokonon
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I thought it was an issue with you for a while now.

-Bok

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Link

Now that he has the nomination in the bag, this isn't exactly a courageous stand for democracy.


__________________

quote:
I thought it was an issue with you for a while now.

-Bok

I've found him appalling since he got rid of Wright.

[ August 04, 2008, 12:40 AM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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Lyrhawn
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Yes, but it also isn't at all a surprise. We knew six months ago that whoever the nominee was, he or she would insist that the full delegations be sat.
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Shawshank
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Watching a speech live on CNN by Obama outlining his energy policy. He says he's going to end foreign oil imports from Middle East and Venezuela wtihin 10 years. He wants to give 150 billion dollars over 10 years towards that goal.

He's in Michigan today, and he's talking more about the economic benefits of getting rid of our addiction to foreign oil- which is a much better track than talking about Global Warming. The time has come that people are starting to feel the economic crunch of oil.

In addition he says 10% the nation's power supply will come from renewable resources by the end of his first term.

Not a full transcript, but a CNN overview plus McCain's counter

[ August 04, 2008, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Shawshank ]

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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I've always had the vague idea, and I could be wrong, that Middle East and Venezuela oil was more important to stabilizing the world economy than US power, and the only effective way to curb the power of those regions was to develop technology that does not depend upon oil, then export that technology.
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Shawshank
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Well in a very short time, we will not be the biggest user of oil in the world- China is very quickly taking that role.
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Lyrhawn
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I'm watching too.

I'm liking some of it and not liking others. I think he's pandering far too much with the windfall profits tax to give money back to people in the form of a rebate. I think it's a bad idea that won't have any real impact, but I also doubt it will actually get past Republicans, so I'm not really worried.

Pretty much everything else he is saying is like it came right out of my head. New T&D infrastructure all over the country for efficiency and to connect renewables to the market, new sustainable biofuels, plug in hybrids, renewable energy, efficiency standards, regulations and upgrades. etc etc.

And for Michigan, he's certainly talking to the right crowd, and I don't really call it pandering in the way I call that oil tax crap pandering. That's classic Robin Hood pandering where you take directly from the rich and give directly to the poor. Here he has a national plan for energy independence and he's talking the upside for Michigan workers, which is a national version of what Governor Granholm has been saying for at least four years now. And really it makes perfect sense since Michigan's manufacturing base and alternative energy potential is just perfect for this new energy plan. The only pandering I really heard was offering government loans to auto companies to help them retool, which I don't think is necessary (yet) for GM or Ford, but meh, they're loans not giveaways.

On the whole I like the speech. It's precisely tailored to be the best speech on the environment he could give Michigan. It's not about hugging trees, though we in Michigan love our wilderness, it's about jobs and the economy. He's tying the energy crisis directly to the economy and giving a "two birds with one stone" solution that makes sense. I like it.

I'll also say that I actually like his stance on OCS drilling now. My main opposition to OCS drilling was that Republicans have been treating it like some silver bullet. I know that isn't the only thing they want, but it's the only thing they are harping on when frankly, it just isn't that important. I'm okay with OCS drilling, a limited amount, so long as it is part of a much larger energy strategy. Also, I like that he's willing to compromise in order to get legislation passed rather than just sink the whole plan over a single issue. Willingness to compromise has been sorely lacking over the last few years, on BOTH sides. So call it a flip flop if you want, but I like it.

Shawshank -

I'm not sure if it'll be a "very short time." The US stills uses 1/5th of the world's daily production, and while China AND India are both growing their usage in leaps and bounds, I still think it will be a couple years before they reach our level of waste, even though I think they already have more cars on the road than we do. So maybe I could be wrong on that. Either way, China is actually spending tons of cash on renewables right now. Not as much as they need to, since their problem will only exponentially grow larger than ours, but they're on track to have a lot more installed renewable power than us in a few years.

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Shawshank
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I guess I should have specified what I meant by a "very short time" I meant a couple of years. That seems to me to be a very short time in terms of something as important as becoming the world's biggest user of oil.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
The US stills uses 1/5th of the world's daily production, and while China AND India are both growing their usage in leaps and bounds, I still think it will be a couple years before they reach our level of waste

As a point of principle, although the US consumes more oil (for the time being), China produces more "waste" (if by waste you mean greenhouse gases, particularly C02).

As for Obama's energy policy, it's one of the areas I disagree with him most strongly. I think ethanol corn subsidies he pushes are a bad investment. They're expensive, they're not energy efficient, they require dramatic infrastructure change. They make mid-Western farmers happy, but they should make every energy consumer shudder (IMO).

Politically, I think focusing on electric (which is "safe" in the sense that the US can supply our own energy needs electrically) rather than fuel-based is much smarter. This does nothing environmentally (in fact it hurts more than it helps), but it does address the significant security/economic concerns.

Until a candidate has the guts to tell us that each American personally needs to to halve his/her energy consumption, rather than touting "alternative energy sources" I won't believe they have a real plan for environmental energy policy. Pitch it as a point of American pride, like the victory gardens and nylon drives during WWII. Convincing people to leave their thermostats five degrees lower in the winter and five degrees higher in the summer will have a bigger impact on fossil fuel consumption that any "alternative energy plan."

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talsmitde
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I'm pretty sure Obama's already talking up the conservation aspect--hence the McCain campaign making fun of him for telling people to keep their tires properly inflated so they could have better gas mileage.

I'm not too worried about Obama's tie to the corn ethanol people. I feel like he'll happily use their money to get elected and then point out to them how much more power they'd be able to produce in Iowa by building windmills rather than growing cord.

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Noemon
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Obama vows to protect NASA budget

I suspect that he's just trying to shore up votes in Florida, but time will tell (well, probably).

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aspectre
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Proposed Rule: OuterContinentalShelf Drilling
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
As a point of principle, although the US consumes more oil (for the time being), China produces more "waste" (if by waste you mean greenhouse gases, particularly C02).

On the other hand, the US consumes roughly ten times as much oil and produces roughly ten times as much waste as Canada. Whats up with that, eh?

(If it was unclear, I'm just noting that these kinds of statistics would be much more useful if you take into account the differing populations)

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
As a point of principle, although the US consumes more oil (for the time being), China produces more "waste" (if by waste you mean greenhouse gases, particularly C02).
I wasn't talking about that kind of waste, but you're right.

quote:
As for Obama's energy policy, it's one of the areas I disagree with him most strongly. I think ethanol corn subsidies he pushes are a bad investment. They're expensive, they're not energy efficient, they require dramatic infrastructure change. They make mid-Western farmers happy, but they should make every energy consumer shudder (IMO).
Both McCain and Obama support ethanol, but I don't think either of them wants corn to be the main source of it. Obama just today was talking about a cellulosic ethanol plant opening in Michigan that uses wood scraps as a fuel source. Corn based ethanol is an awful idea, but it's just a stopgap measure to get us to the better stuff like wood scraps, miscanthus, algae, and maybe even trash someday. We're almost there, but not large scale operations yet.

quote:
Politically, I think focusing on electric (which is "safe" in the sense that the US can supply our own energy needs electrically) rather than fuel-based is much smarter. This does nothing environmentally (in fact it hurts more than it helps), but it does address the significant security/economic concerns.
I strongly disagree that electric hurts more than it helps. But electric plug in hybrids was a major point of Obama's address today.

quote:
Until a candidate has the guts to tell us that each American personally needs to to halve his/her energy consumption, rather than touting "alternative energy sources" I won't believe they have a real plan for environmental energy policy. Pitch it as a point of American pride, like the victory gardens and nylon drives during WWII. Convincing people to leave their thermostats five degrees lower in the winter and five degrees higher in the summer will have a bigger impact on fossil fuel consumption that any "alternative energy plan."
Obama did exactly this today as well. He even used the victory garden type example and spoke about reducing our total usage via efficiency upgrades.

I think talsmitde is right. First off he is pushing efficiency and being made fun of for it by McCain. Second I expect a similar reaction for ethanol as well. I think he'll start to call for a cut to corn subsidies in favor of second generation subsidies, and soon the technology and feasibility will make that politically possible.

Noemon -

That's interesting, and I think there's more than a little pandering there, but it might just be a two birds with one stone sort of thing. A lot of people like the idea of increased or even stable funding for NASA, and I'm one of them.

aspectre -

Are you sure that's the same change that's being discussed now? That link is to a two year old paper.

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Lyrhawn
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Republicans make a joke out of national conservation measures proposed by Obama - And why they're wrong.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Both McCain and Obama support ethanol, but I don't think either of them wants corn to be the main source of it. Obama just today was talking about a cellulosic ethanol plant opening in Michigan that uses wood scraps as a fuel source. Corn based ethanol is an awful idea, but it's just a stopgap measure to get us to the better stuff like wood scraps, miscanthus, algae, and maybe even trash someday. We're almost there, but not large scale operations yet.

I still think it's a red herring. Although his rhetoric is about next generation biofuels, he has endorsed and voted for significant benefits to corn-based ethanol producers. McCain hasn't, to my knowledge.
quote:
I strongly disagree that electric hurts more than it helps. But electric plug in hybrids was a major point of Obama's address today.
True, but McCain was talking about them first. Obama's insistence only on "clean coal" technology would blunt the ecologic impact of going electric, but it also makes the sort of gains he's proposing economically infeasible (since clean coal technology is a long way away). Essentially, Obama's moratorium on new coal plants would price the plug-in electric hybrids he spoke of out of the market until gas reached a couple times what it costs today.
quote:
quote:
Until a candidate has the guts to tell us that each American personally needs to to halve his/her energy consumption, rather than touting "alternative energy sources" I won't believe they have a real plan for environmental energy policy.
Obama did exactly this today as well. He even used the victory garden type example and spoke about reducing our total usage via efficiency upgrades.
Can you point me to where that is in the transcript?

To be more clear about what I meant; both McCain and Obama claim we can reduce our footprint through innovation, by making cars/appliances/houses/industrials more efficient. I think that's wrong. Making things more efficient just means we will consume more. It's the traffic/bandwidth principle. When traffic gets congested, the immediate solution is always to add another lane to the highway (or more bandwidth to the internet connection). But traffic always expands to fill the new capacity. The same is true with increasing efficiency. For instance, car engines are 25% more efficient today than they were 15 years ago. Yet each car pollutes more, because we've made our cars bigger, heavier, with stronger engines and more electonics, meaning the efficiency is swallowed up by added consumption.

So until someone says "you will have to start doing without some of the comforts you've enjoyed up until now" I won't believe they have a real plan for cutting carbon emissions.
quote:
I think talsmitde is right. First off he is pushing efficiency and being made fun of for it by McCain. Second I expect a similar reaction for ethanol as well. I think he'll start to call for a cut to corn subsidies in favor of second generation subsidies, and soon the technology and feasibility will make that politically possible.
The tire inflation thing -- totally classless on McCain's part. And stupid, too.

As for an Illinois senator who wants to win Iowa and Indiana calling for a cut in corn subsidies -- I'll believe it when I see it. Maybe after the election when subsidies are less politically expedient.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
I still think it's a red herring. Although his rhetoric is about next generation biofuels, he has endorsed and voted for significant benefits to corn-based ethanol producers. McCain hasn't, to my knowledge.
That's because McCain finds a way to be out of the room whenever the vote is being taken. But after years of opposition to corn based ethanol he switched positions on it when he started running for president. I don't have a problem with flip flops so long as you have a good reason for it.

quote:
True, but McCain was talking about them first. Obama's insistence only on "clean coal" technology would blunt the ecologic impact of going electric, but it also makes the sort of gains he's proposing economically infeasible (since clean coal technology is a long way away). Essentially, Obama's moratorium on new coal plants would price the plug-in electric hybrids he spoke of out of the market until gas reached a couple times what it costs today.
I disagree. There's already enough energy to power two thirds of the US LDV fleet currently available during the night. 70% of the people in the LDV fleet switched over to PHEVs, they could charge up at night and drive 40 miles the next day on electric only and we'd need no additional electrical generating capacity. That's why we need a two tiered pricing system. Using his (and others') proposed $7K tax credit for PHEVs, that brings the price down to what an average person can probably afford, and with the savings from increased fuel efficiency and the nature of a PHEV, they'll end up coming out ahead.

I'll cover the last point and such later, my laptop is out of power.

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Lyrhawn
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Here's the fact sheet used for the speech from his website.

I'll look for the transcript later. But I think you overestimate the value of a president asking for certain kinds of sacrifices in today's day and age. He can only do so much.

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Blayne Bradley
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According to TopGear, 80% of C02 emmisions come from nature.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
There's already enough energy to power two thirds of the US LDV fleet currently available during the night. 70% of the people in the LDV fleet switched over to PHEVs, they could charge up at night and drive 40 miles the next day on electric only and we'd need no additional electrical generating capacity. That's why we need a two tiered pricing system. Using his (and others') proposed $7K tax credit for PHEVs, that brings the price down to what an average person can probably afford, and with the savings from increased fuel efficiency and the nature of a PHEV, they'll end up coming out ahead.

If we use the current electric grid to power our PHEVs we will release about twice as much CO2 as we did previously using fuel-based vehicles. Until clean coal is viable, or until we go significantly more nuclear, PHEVs represent a near doubling of carbon emissions.

Solar? Wind? Geothermal? Hydroelectric? All these have non-negligble environmental impact, suffer from "not in my backyard" syndrome, and are tied to a limited set of specific geographic locations. Furthermore, getting anything like the amount of power necessary to supply a modest transition to PHEVs with those sorts of renewables will be hugely expensive.

I don't see congress, or a President worried about re-election, doing anything to increase the net portion of our electricity derived from these sources. The same is probably true of nuclear (although it is a more versatile and economic option). Which is why I think going electric will result in a net increase in CO2 emissions.

Tell people to drive less, buy smaller houses (less expensive to heat/cool), turn off the A/C, warm less in the winter, turn off their computers and lights, use canvas bags to transport groceries. And properly inflate their tires. If we want to decrease our national carbon footprint, this is what citizens can realistically do (IMO). I think Obama could generate a lot of enthusiasm for this sort of self-sacrifice; he should do it.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
According to TopGear, 80% of C02 emmisions come from nature.

Its closer to 90%, but still irrelevant.

Nature both emits CO2 into the atmosphere and sequesters it from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and absorption in the oceans. Industrial emission of CO2 throws that cycle out of balance resulting in a build up of CO2 in the atmosphere.

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SenojRetep
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I've been checking 538 pretty frequently over the past few weeks, and decided to crunch a few numbers.

Based on current model estimates, I categorized the electoral votes into certains (> 10% spread), likelies (10 > x > 5% spread), leans (5 > x > 2%), and toss-ups (< 2% spread).

The results:
Certains: Obama = 168, McCain = 123
Likelies: Obama = 70, McCain = 34
Leans: Obama = 26, McCain = 70
Toss-ups: Obama = 29, McCain = 18

Total: Obama = 293, McCain = 245

If we say all but the toss-ups go to whomever is leading currently, we have 16 scenarios. Of those 16 scenarios, we get Obama victories in all but 2. If McCain sweeps the toss-ups, he wins.

If McCain wins VA, OH, CO and loses NV it's a tie which then goes to the House for resolution, where each state delegation gets a single vote. By my count, state delegations by party lines have a 27-21 advantage for Dems (with two states evenly split), which means a victory for Obama.

If we consider both the leans and the toss-ups as in play and the rest as constant, there are 328/8192 winning scenarios for McCain. The largest group consists of:

Hold VA, FL, IN, MO, NC and capture OH, MI (64/328)

<edit> And in the case of both toss-ups and leans being in contention, there are 36/8192 scenarios that lead to a tie which would then be decided in Obama's favor by the House</edit>

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Sterling
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If current trends continue, it's hard to imagine Obama losing. That said, the candidates haven't even picked VPs yet.
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Noemon
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Well, McCain has been gaining in the polls lately. Obama's victory still seems likely to me, but it isn't an absolutely foregone conclusion.
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Lyrhawn
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Senoj -

quote:
If we use the current electric grid to power our PHEVs we will release about twice as much CO2 as we did previously using fuel-based vehicles. Until clean coal is viable, or until we go significantly more nuclear, PHEVs represent a near doubling of carbon emissions.
Again, not true. Well, possible untrue, it depends entirely on what structure you are using to power the cars. I imagining that in your hypothetical version of powering a PHEV LDV fleet, we're all charging our cars at 4 in the afternoon. But you seem to have totally ignored what I said about charging at night. We have most of the power we need so long as those PHEV owners charge their cars at night. A great many power plants stay on through the night because it just doesn't make sense to turn them off for a few hours and then back on again, so massive amounts of energy races around the electrical grid and then just fizzles out. Harnessing that energy would be a freebie.

quote:
Solar? Wind? Geothermal? Hydroelectric? All these have non-negligble environmental impact, suffer from "not in my backyard" syndrome, and are tied to a limited set of specific geographic locations. Furthermore, getting anything like the amount of power necessary to supply a modest transition to PHEVs with those sorts of renewables will be hugely expensive.
Eh, solar wind and geothermal are arguable on their impact on the environment. And if you compare them to the scale of coal and oil plants, then I don't think it's much of a contest at all. Also I don't think they all suffer from NIMBY at all (well, I think hydroelectric does), considering the large number of homes putting up solar power on their roofs. Besides, most largescale solar power plants being planned are in the desert, most wind power are out in the plains where population density is at its lowest, and geothermal looks like a smaller version of any other power plant.

And even if all that weren't true, it's a lot easier to control emissions from one power plant than from a million little ones all driving around on the road. This is why Obama is pushing next generation technologies for a modern T&D network to get power from the renewables to people, upping efficiency standards and working on smartgrid technology.

Sterling -

I don't know, if current trends continue, that is, McCain gaining in the poll in fits and starts and his insanely negative ad blitz continuing then I think it'll be a much tougher Fall than most of us imagined. But things are going to turn on their heads after the conventions. First off, Obama is going to spend a LOT more money than he is now, and McCain's spending will start to fall off in some areas. McCain has to more or less empty his coffers now in preperation for the big infusion of money he'll be getting from public financing. Obama has to build up a bit of a war chest and then pump out the money in the Fall. Plus people will really start paying attention.

I think things will heat up a lot in the Fall and it could still go either way, though I do think things currently favor Obama.

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fugu13
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Wind doesn't suffer from NIMBY? There have been numerous cases all over the news about communities being against windfarms, even when those windfarms would only be disrupting their skyline out on the ocean.
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Lyrhawn
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And yet it's still the fastest growing energy source in America, with a four year waiting period at GE for new turbines and so many more waiting in the wings that GE had to stop taking orders. The news doesn't cover the farms that get made, they cover the ones that don't.
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talsmitde
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Solar in the southwest, wind in the midwest and the great plains, tidal and wind along the coasts, hydro-electric, geothermal, and nuclear to cover what's not covered by that . . . and I have a feeling that federal and state zoning laws for power plants are going to be rewritten in such a way to sidestep NIMBYism.

And Lyrhawn's right about wind farms being built--my home state of Delaware is getting a massive wind farm off its Atlantic coast.

As for trends in the polling, etc., I'm still of the opinion that McCain going negative in such a massive way does significant damage to his brand and the more he continues to use the typical Republican machinery (Schmidt, et. al.), the more backlash he'll suffer.

And it's really amazing to see how we still perceive the MSM as favoring Obama when McCain's gotten a free ride from CBS on the surge interview and lots of pundits on the grind of every daily news cycle.

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fugu13
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Oh, there are definitely wind farms being built. But there are also prime locations where wind farms are having hard times being built. The Cape Cod wind farm was projected to be able to start generating electricity by the end of 2007. Due to holdups from Ted Kennedy and lots of other people with land in the area, they won't even be ready to contemplate building until the end of 2008, at least.
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Jhai
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At current levels of technology, there is simply no way that green energy can make a significant dent (say, above 20%) in the US's power needs without sending the cost of energy skyrocketing. I've only been working in the power markets for two months now, but I have learned that much.

Wind farms aren't reliable enough, especially during peak hours; solar power has the same problem too. Both tend to be most effective located away from the population centers - which means transmission costs & losses are going to kill you - or have the NIMBY problem that fugu points out. The big hydroelectric sources have been tapped, or can't be tapped because of environmental concerns (salmon, etc). Geothermal isn't located where we need it. Tidal isn't a player at all, given current technology levels.

I'm all for green power, but there are some major, major technological and logistical problems that need to be solved for it to be a workable solution for our energy needs. It's really frustrating to hear the candidates debating and putting forward ideas that I know (from just two months study, mind) aren't realistic by any stretch of the imagination.

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fugu13
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Yes. If a candidate wants to be serious on green power, here's the package to be unveiling:

Remove subsidies for the use of green power (such as corn ethanol). They don't work very well, result in the preservation of inefficient ways when better ones come along, and create entire industries around maximizing how much subsidy is received for minimum cost (often implying minimum environmental benefit).

Step up scientific R&D. Less the practical stuff; once that's within reach, companies are plenty interested. More the raw research that will be the practical stuff in ten years or more.

And, most important in the short term, put a lot of effort into clearing unnecessary regulatory hurdles and preventing unreasonable red tape from other sources; perhaps some funding to be used in carrying out necessary evaluations, because many of these installations do require significant evaluation for environmental and other reasons.

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SenojRetep
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Jhai & fugu-

Have you seen anything from Steve Koonin? He's a former Cal Tech physics professor who's now chief scientist for BP.

Here's a lecture he gave at UC Berkley. He spoke here at MIT not long ago and I found it very interesting.

He makes much the same point, that renewables aren't ready (particularly solar). He starts out talking geopolitically, and looks at energy from economic, political, security and ecological standpoints. Highly recommended viewing.

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SenojRetep
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Two of my favorite quotes from today's news cycle:

"It will be interesting to watch this debate between John McCain and John McCain" (Obama on McCain's reversal regarding proper tire inflation)

“Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan,” (McCain rep Tucker Bounds on Paris Hilton's mocking commercial)

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