Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Okay, please help me understand the word clever.  Does it have a negative connotation?  I think the positive side of being clever involves using one’s noggin to find logical solutions to pressing matters.  It’s not rocket science to think that people in an oil-producing region want leadership that market and handle natural resources to the benefit of all the people. 

Gil Scott Heron wrote “natural resources and minerals will control your world” in his 1981 political song “B-Movie.”  I can’t believe I was deep enough in high school to listen to this poetry put to music while President Obama and his friends were likely doing the same in college.  Heron wrote, “The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World.  They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one.”  If you toss in China, old Gil seems like Nostradamus. 

I have always been confused about the real meaning of conservatism.  To me, it means being careful and prudent with public spending and the limited role of government.  Liberals think conservative means to return to a time when life seemed simple and sweet.  Of course, some people forget that their sweet life was actually supported by the exploitation of others but why dwell on details and facts.  Our gas-guzzling sweet life requires that we deal with Egypt, other parts of Africa and the Middle East and these folks don’t want to be handled like children or colonists anymore.  Wow, that sounds very familiar.   

 Heron sang/rapped that America wants nostalgia; not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards.  My friends in my community (code for southern rural Black voters) have lived long enough to wax nostalgic about the good old days when you knew who you were and “whose” you were.  The days when kids cared about how they carried themselves, shame was still important and most of “us” were striving to come up.  Oh my, have we become the new Black conservatives and if so, what is to become of us politically. 

I am proud that I listened to radical, yet productive music back in the day—from Gil Scott Heron to Ice Cube and Public Enemy to Eryah Badu’s “Cleva.” On Cleva, Badu sings, “I am alright with me.”  In this non-election year, it would be alright with me if we were “cleva” enough to chill with the other political side on a ‘get to know each other” style because as Guns and Roses sang “there is nothing civil about war.”   It’s about understanding folks. 

 Egypt isn’t tripping as they flirt with civil war; they are just tired of the world not acknowledging that they had the knowledge and culture to build the pyramids 2500 years B.C. and that their region has power on the world stage because we want their oil.  We must interact with them in a respectful way.  We must be cleva.  Time Magazine put Obama and Reagan on their cover recently and the comparison is interesting.  Is President Obama cleva enough to draw on the Reagan, Clinton and other successful presidencies?  With all his commentary on President Reagan, Gil Scott Heron fairly admitted that Reagan “stood tall…when other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy.”  Obama also has a special character…in my opinion. 


B-Movie: Gil Scott Heron



What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer.  And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune…the consumer has got to dance.  That’s the way it is.  We used to be a producer – very inflexible at that, and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand.  Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World.  They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one.  Controlling your resources will control your world.  This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now.  They don’t know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan.  They don’t know if they want to be diplomats or continue the same policy – of nuclear nightmare diplomacy.  John Foster Dulles ain’t nothing but the name of an airport now.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia.  They want to go back as far as they can – even if it’s only as far as last week.  Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards.  And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment.  The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse – or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in “B” movies.  And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne.  But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan – and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at – like a “B” movie.

“You go give them liberals hell Ronnie.”  That was the mandate.  To the new “Captain Bly” on the new ship of fools.  It was doubtlessly based on his chameleon performance of the past – as a liberal democrat – as the head of the Studio Actor’s Guild.  When other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy – Ron stood tall.  It goes all the way back from Hollywood to hillbilly.  From liberal to libelous, from “Bonzo” to Birch idol…born again.  Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights…it’s all wrong.  Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild.  God damn it…first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation.  And here’s a look at the closing numbers – racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot – the House claims all ties.  Jobs are down, money is scarce – and common sense is at an all-time low with heavy trading.  Movies were looking better than ever and now no one is looking because, we’re starring in a “B” movie.  And we would rather have John Wayne…we would rather have John Wayne.


Read Full Post »

Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubin made perfect sense this morning when he said that every oil collection device in the world should in the Gulf of Mexico by now.  His independent opponent Governor Charlie Crist did a good job on Morning Joe as well.  Democrat Congressman Kendrick Meek is third in that Senate race and I always wish young brothers well but Crist might get some surprising support from my community for not bashing Obama as much as some would have liked.

Georgia agricultural colleges have done fine research on by-products or the residual benefits of our crops.  Years ago, my congressman announced the absorbent qualities of peanut shells and their new use as kitty litter. I bet you those same shells could be grounded to a level that makes them perfect for oil collection. While studying wheat production on a Farm Bill tour in North Dakota, I learned that wheat straw could be used to make fiberboard for Ikea-like furniture.      

Since the oil dispersants might be harmful to the ecosystem, BP and the federal government should consider allowing the oil to rise and dropping peanut, wheat straw or other ag byproducts on the water then collecting the manageable clumps.

Read Full Post »

Oil is ruining a proud, culturally rich gulf region and outside forces seem selfish.  I am talking about our beloved Gulf of Mexico but people in the Persian Gulf could say the same.  For decades, we drove large cars and used dirty fuels but the discover of oil in the Middle East had us covered.  Our leaders made friends with their leaders with little regard for the treatment and well-being of the people in that sandy region. 

We know the large oil companies that got crazy-paid as the child of Abraham’s other son grew restless.  Bla Bla, Shah of Iran..Bla Bla…Jimmy Carter told us to change….Bla Bla I wish we never got involved in that volatile region.  

So, you have vocal groups who feel that their religion should run the government with secondary consideration for other folk’s religions.  Which gulf region are we talking about now?  

Sure, you can blame BP and blame the Obama Administration but at the end of the day, we all share the blame.  The real blame extends back in our history to every time empires expanded without respecting cultural legacy and the rich histories of others….Africa, the Americans, Asia, the Middle East.  How much does gas cost?  You have no idea.

The fragile ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico is some of God finest work; I can watch the TV coverage oily marshes.  Can we fix it?  Can you un-ring a bell?

Read Full Post »

I saw Annie Leonard on The Steven Colbert Show and she makes some interesting points.

Read Full Post »

Thomas L. Friedman wrote the daylights out of this book in my opinion.  I have “borrowed” the best sections to get my crew to read the whole book:

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need A Green Revolution And How It Can Renew America

p. 8  I have already mentioned one disturbing trend: Post 9/11, we as a nation have put up more walls than ever, and in the process we have disconnected ourselves emotionally, if not physically from many of our natural allies and natural instincts to embrace the world.  In the process, America has shifted from a country that always exported its hopes (and so imported the hopes of millions of others) to one that is seen as exporting its fears. 

p. 32  To put in another way, the Industrial Revolution gave a whole new prominence to what Rochelle Lefkowitz, president of Pro-Media Communications and an energy buff, calls “fuels from hell”- coal, ooil, and natural gas. All these fules from hell come from underground, are exhaustible, and emit CO2 and other pollutants when they are burned for transportation, heating and industrial use.  These fules are in contrast to what Lefkowitz calls “fuels from heaven” – wind, hydroelectric, tidal, biomass, and solar power. These all come from above the ground, are endlessly renewable, and produce no harmful emissions.

p. 80  Finally, through our energy purchases we are funding both sides of the war on terror.  We are financing the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps with our tax dollars, and we are indirectly financing, with our energy purchases, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad.

p. 101  The way I like to out it is: The motto of the American Revolution was “No taxation without representation.”  The motto of the petrolist authoritarian state in “No taxation, so no representation, either.”  Oil-backed regimes that do not have to tax their people for revenue – because they can just drill an oil well and see the oil abroad- also do not have to listen to their people or represent the wishes.

p.  168  If the rural poor on every continent no longer feel they have to move to cities and take manufacturing jobs or drive taxis or work as maids, because they have the tools and skills to connect globally and the abundant, clean energy to support their connectivity, “they will be able to get the best out of both localization and globalization,” said Sridhar. 

They will be able to remain in the countryside, enjoy its benefits, maintain, their traditions, food, dress, and family ties, but also be able to generate the income the need to thrive.  Also, the more that rural populations have their standards of living raised, the fewer children mothers will have – another way to reduce crowding.  

p. 192  What constitutes an ethic of conservation?  We can start to answer that question by saying what ethics are not.  Ethics are not laws.  They are not imposed by the state.  Rather, they are norms, values, beliefs, habits, and attitudes that are embraced voluntarily – that we as a society impose on ourselves.  Laws regulate behavior from the outside in.  Ethics regulate behavior from the inside out.  Ethics are something you carry with you wherever you go to guide whatever you do. 

p. 198  With tongue only slightly in cheek, I would argue that what we need is a renewable energy ecosystem for innovating, generating and deploying clean power, energy efficiency, resources productivity, and conservation < the true cost of buring coal, oil and gas.  That is, we need clean energy that is cheaper than the true cost of society of fossil fuels, when you measure the climate change those fuels cause, the pollution they trigger, and the energy wars they engender.

p.  207  Pentagon planners like to say: “A vision without resources in a hallucination.”

p.  264  The best way of fully appreciate the scope of the challenge we face in shifting to a Clean Energy System is to reread Machiavelli.  My favorite passage in The Prince goes like this: “It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.  This coolness arises partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”

p. 335  Often the people who design or purchase products inside a company, and the people who use those products, and the people who paid the electricity or fuel bills for those products, were all different people.  So the vice president for equipment buys the lowest-cost machine to make his budget look good.  But the vice president for accounting, who pays the electric bills, is on his back ever day because that same low-cost machine was the one that sucked up the most energy when electricity prices started to soar, and when electricity prices went through the roof, that cheap machine actually cost the company over its life cycle far more than the expensive super-energy-efficient model would have.  Because no one had a bird’s eye view of all the costs and benefits of energy decisions, money, and resources were continually wasted.

p. 376  The money from the “energy-industrial complex” – auto companies, coal companies, certain unenlightened utilities, and oil and gas companies- has obscured our ability to tell the ecological truth about the situation we are in and has undermined out ability to engineer the smart policies (at scale) that are needed for us to out an Energy Internet in place.

Their cumulative impact on decision-making is this: Rather than having a national energy strategy, we have instead what the energy expert Gal Luft calls “the sum of all lobbies.”  Whichever lobby generates the most campaign cash wins.  To put it another way, “We have energy politic, not energy policy,” says Nate Lewis of Caltech.  And energy politics is life gender politics or race politics or regional politics.  It means that the politics of the issues (that is, who will benefit in specific) drive the policy priorities (what is really best for the country as a whole), not the other way around.  It is very difficult to produce a coherent and viable long-term strategy in such an environment.

Read Full Post »