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Energy

Every indication points to the eventuality of Iran obtaining the technology to build a nuclear bomb.  It is my humble opinion that:

  1. A nation has the right to obtain such technology.
  2. We have no real ability to prevent this eventuality.

Rather than expend resources and political capital on attempting to prevent the inevitable, I think that we should prepare for the undeniable.  A nuclear Iran.  And as part of that planning, we need to address the following.

Can We Trust Iran To Be Rational

In other words, is Iran a nation ruled by people who respond to incentives in the way and manner that we would respond to those same incentives?

It turns out that Soviet Russia was.  They understood and reacted rationally to our nuclear stand-off.  Same goes with India and Pakistan.

Or do we think that Iran is led by a mindset that is mostly based in ideology, a religious ideology?  The most obvious example of which is the existence of Israel.

This question HAS to be answered.  And after it has been answered, all plans must account for the general agreement.

What Nations Put And Take With A Nuclear Iran

Who gains and loses when Iran obtains the technology and the ability to launch nuclear weapons?  The obvious losers are the United States and Israel.  But less obvious is who gains?  Understand not only who gains but why will allow us to negate many of the perceived “advantages” of those nations.

My guess is that the current modern world is mostly stable in terms of boundaries.  Certainly there will be small and rather negligent “map changes” but by and large the shape of our nations are mostly settled.  What isn’t settled is the economic influence of our nations as they stand.

How does China benefit, if they do, by a nuclear Iran?  Hell, how does Iran benefit from a nuclear Iran?

How Do We Negotiate With A Nuclear Iran

The Soviets had them and modern Russia does.  North Korea does, as does China.  Several other nations as well.  None of them have initiated a nuclear launch.

Why?

How will Iran be prevented from the same?  What will it take, what changes will have to be made, if any at all really, to prevent the launch of an Iranian weapon?  Is it the United States, in the end, that has to be the primary negotiator in these talks?  Is the United States the primary agitator in Iran’s mind?

In the end, these are the concepts that our leaders need to address.  There is little, if any, grounds to stand on that would allow us to prevent Iran from obtaining this technology.  Further, there is little, if any, hope that we’ll be able to prevent the

I’ve seen people drive all over creation to find a gas station that sells gas for $0.02 cheaper than they can get at their local fill-up.  In fact, they’ll spend 15 minutes to obtain cheaper petrol.  I see the same thing with folks wanting to buy a CD, or a book or a video game.

People react to price variance, often outrageously so.

Further, I acknowledge that we need to pay for roads.  Society needs to be burdened to cover the cost of building and maintaining this infrastructure.  Currently we use gas taxes to cover this.  However, with the advent of more fuel efficient cars, and all electric cars as well, that tax may no longer be appropriate.  It is continuing to fall short of requirements, though I suspect this is in large part due to the fact that gas taxes fund other things besides roads and bridges, and so another method is required.

I think that method is tolls.

We have long ago mastered the technology that allows us to gather and collect tolls without having to stop at toll booths thereby slowing traffic.  We can do this automatically and accurately.  Now the only thing preventing us is fear of change.

By tolling a rod we are able to directly collect funds from the vehicles using those roads.  AND we can tax some vehicles more than others.  For example, an 18-wheeler is going to impact our highways much more than a Prius.  We can tax the truck more.  And, from a capacity perspective, we are able to tax our roads in order to increase capacity.

As I mentioned above, people will go to great lengths to avoid even a small increase in price.  It is my expectation that as we increase the cost of driving on a road during peak times, fewer people will drive during those times.  This will spread traffic out  more evenly and allow for much more traffic on our roads than we currently experience.

And I’m glad North Carolina is going to experiment with this use:

Raleigh, N.C. — Growing congestion on Interstate 540 could require an expansion of the state’s first toll road, part of which is set to open to traffic next month, a regional transportation planner said Wednesday.

The Triangle Expressway is an 18-mile stretch of road that includes the western part of 540. Tolling is scheduled to begin in January on a 3.4-mile stretch that runs through Research Triangle Park

The rest of 540 is currently free, but planner Chris Lukasina said that could change in the future.

The long-term plan for the road, slated for completion around 2035, includes widening it from six lanes to eight, Lukasina said. Two of those lanes could become toll lanes, with varying costs throughout the day depending on traffic.

“At different times of day, or as congestion picks up or slows down, they can change the toll on that particular lane,” Lukasina said.

In other words, drivers will be able to pay their way into a faster lane.

I’ll be fascinated to see how this works.

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During the 2008 campaign, we heard a lot of Sarah Palin extolling America to “Drill Baby Drill”.  And, from the Left, we heard the mockery of such a policy.  Chief among them the complaint that any oil production is more than 10-15 years away.  We’ll simply never see the oil is what they would say.

It’s starting to look like that’s not a true statementHat Tip to the incomparable Care Diem

A new record for monthly production: 13,768,395 barrels, a 34.6% increase from last August.  In just a little more than two years (since June 2009), oil production has doubled in North Dakota.

Like anything, expose it to the market and the benefits will astound you.

 

More good news today out of California regarding Green Technology and the creation of jobs in that sector through Obama’s stimulus:

Solar company to file for bankruptcy

Knowing what we know about Obama’s business acumen the story here isn’t that he was wrong about a company and it’s ability to flourish.  While interesting, THAT aspect of the story has been told and retold.

No, the REAL story here is the fact that the company failed even though it received some money, a LOT of money:

A California-based solar company that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will shut down.

The company, Solyndra Inc., said Wednesday it would suspend its manufacturing operations and lay off 1,100 employees effective immediately. The company said it intends to file a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Another one bites the dust.

I’m interested though, what were the details surrounding the company’s decision to throw in the towel?

“Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion,” Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison said in a statement. “Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible. This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate.”

Oh.  You mean that laws being passed make it difficult to predict the future?  And this inability to predict the future is creating a situation where banks don’t wanna lend you more money?

Weird.  Who woulda thought THAT?

It appears that demand for rooftop solar panels is, ahem, heating up.  Even in Minnesota, hardly a, ahem, hotbed of solar innovation, the industry is seeing significant activity.

High demand for rooftop solar electric panels, especially for commercial buildings, has exhausted Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards subsidy program for the year, shutting out other customers, solar industry officials said Monday.

“People are really excited about solar,” said Rebecca Lundberg, CEO of Powerfully Green.

Sounds great.  Right?

Maybe not.

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Three words. Two if you don’t count ’em twice.

But they’re pretty powerful.

On each side, Left and Right, those words elicit emotion. On one, it brings to mind an independence. On an ability to depend on one’s self for the requisite needs.

On the other, it brings to mind ugly environmental dangers, global warming and corporate greed.

But the biggest argument against increasing our domestic output of oil is that it simply won’t impact the price of a gallon of gas. The incremental gains that we would see will take years to realize. And even then they won’t amount to any meaningful impact on the global supply of oil.

I have a thought experiment.

If the addition of oil to the market won’t lower the price, then the reduction of oil to the market shouldn’t raise the price.

Right?

Wrong.

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Light-rail and high-speed trains have long been the darling of the Left.  If some local or state government can come up with a plan to build trains, the Left is only TOO anxious to deliver the money.

Rail corridor between Raleigh and DC? Done!

Charlotte and Atlanta?  Done!

Roanoke and Durham. Done!

I admit that I’m flummoxed by this fixation.  But let’s take a look:

The idea is based on two angles:

  1. If we can move more people from here to there on a train, we’ll decrease the amount of fossil fuel burned.
  2. It creates jobs.

How much of this is true?  And to the extent that it IS true, what price are people willing to pay?

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