Murdoc’s thoughts on the speech

I’ve wanted to write a few notes on the State of the Union speech, but I haven’t had time. I’ve barely even looked at other bloggers’ reactions. Here are a few random thoughts, which I may add to if others pop up:

  • It doesn’t matter how much we cut our dependance on Middle Eastern oil. Middle Eastern oil prices will affect US energy prices because oil is a commodity and Middle Eastern oil feeds into the same supply and demand equation as everyone else’s.
  • We’re adicted to “energy”, not oil. He mentioned nuclear power, but why not an initiative for 50 new nuclear power plants in the next ten years?
  • Was he soft on Iran, or was it “soft talk, big stick”? I’m not sure.
  • The GOP should publish a list and link to video of those applauding the fact that Bush’s Social Security plan was voted down
  • I’m not pro-human cloning, but I’m skeptical that he’s correct about standing so firm on the genetics issue
  • Did I miss the part about the fifty-foot-tall wall along the Mexican border and the creation of the Border Brigade in the Army? If that wasn’t part of the speech, nothing he said about immigration matters one damn bit
  • I believe that he handled the NSA listening issue pretty well
  • I really wish that ethanol worked…but I’m skeptical
  • I almost blew milk out my nose when he said he planned to cut the deficit in half by 2009…and I wasn’t even drinking milk at the time


  1. One comment about oil. You are right that it doesn’t matter whether the oil we use physically comes from the Middle East. However, since we are by far the largest oil consumer in the world, we are as dependent on Middle Eastern oil as if there was a pipe from Riyadh to your local gas station. For the same reason, if we cut down on oil use, we pull the rug out from under the extremist regimes in the Middle East. If we just reduced our imports a couple percent, prices would plummet, and the Saudi princes would be in danger of bankruptcy again. (No one seems to remember how recently low oil prices and Saudi overconsumption and bad investments had them in terrible financial positions.)

  2. We don’t need to cut dependence on foreign oil. We need to cut dependence on oil. Drilling into ANWR is one of the stupidest things Bush has pushed for, and I’m not even talking about the environment. (The impact looks pretty low, if you buy the plan they’re selling.) We need policies to replace energy that we currently get from oil, as well as policies to shift tax burden onto the shoulders of those who use more oil than they need to. (i.e. your local dentist can no longer make the rest of us pay for depreciation on his $101,000 H1 Hummer via the farm subsidy) Oh, yeah, and troops on the southern border. Lets save the oil we DO use to power the Tex-Mex Stryker brigade.

  3. Until electric cars are widespread, nuclear power is a poor substitute for oil. Nuclear power produces electricity. The only places that produce significant shares of their electrical output from oil are Hawaii, where the state constitution bans nuclear power, and Alaska, which is mostly too dispersed for existing style nuclear power plants to be helpful (although some proposed new models might be viable).

  4. Uh… that’s not really true. How much oil goes into heating homes? That can be done with electricity and/or natural gas. How much coal is used for power generation or similar? That coal can be turned into oil, if nuclear is used instead. How much natural gas is burnt for electricity? That natural gas can power cars, replacing oil, or can even be turned into diesel. If electricity was cheap and plentiful, there are definitely measures that could be taken to reduce oil usage.

  5. Sorry ohwilleke, not trying to make you out to be a liar or an idiot or anything, I just think the problem is you’re thinking of direct ways nuclear power can replace oil (which are few). If you think about indirect ways, where nuclear replaces ‘a’ and ‘a’ replaces oil, there are a lot more ways. Keep in mind that scientists discovered a while ago (1930s I think?) that you can turn coal into natural gas (‘coal gassification’, which can also be done in situ, aka ‘underground coal gassification’), and natural gas into diesel (which is what the German ‘synthetic oil’ plants which we were continuously trying to bomb in WW2 were doing). Also, natural gas can be liquified and with relatively simple modifications cars can run off it. All the taxis here do, because it’s cheaper (mainly due to taxes). After the USA ditched nuclear and coal power, my understanding is a lot of electricity generation went over to natural gas. I think that’s a poor use for it. Natural gas is great for two things – heating (including cooking) and internal combustion engines. However, even the heating/cooking aspect can be done using electricity if there is sufficient nuclear capacity, with no significant pollution, and the LNG can be used to offset gasolene and diesel usage as much as possible. Basically, there are two major uses of energy today – home/office/industrial and vehicles. Nuclear (including waste heat for industrial processes/heating) can pretty much take care of the former exclusively, leaving ALL easily portable fuels (including liquid/gaseous coal derivatives) for use in vehicles. At least, that’s what makes sense for me.

  6. Sorry, I got LNG and LPG slightly confused. LNG is mostly suitable as a replacement for diesel, it’s not the same as LPG. However, I’m pretty sure the synthetic oil processes allow for conversion from regular natural gas straight to a liquid form which doesn’t have the same difficult storage requirements as LNG (i.e. high pressure/low temperature). Regardless, vehicles can be made to run off either with existing technology.

  7. ‘I really wish that ethanol worked…but I’m skeptical’ It does work Murdoc. I can attest to that. Thank goodness we don’t have an asprin shortage! Ya just can’t drink too much or it’ll make you blind, kill ya or both!

  8. Given that the US has a couple centuries of proven coal reserves, why replace coal with nuke power? One thing we need to remember, though, is we’re going to need to expand power production if the ecomony is going to keep expanding. Increasing efficiency will help in that regard, but it’s nowhere near enough. Nuke power can fulfill that requirement.

  9. I almost blew milk out my nose when he said he planned to cut the deficit in half by 2009…and I wasn’t even drinking milk at the time Excellent line. That pretty much sums up my reaction too. How is he going to shrink the government with all those big government programs he was proposing? Regarding the ethanol fuel, there is a new technology involved. Apparently there are enzymes being developed that can crack cellulose down into sugars that can be converted to ethanol. I would imagine it is similar to the process they use to make artificial sweeteners from corn starch. I got a link to this article from Kevin Parkin’s blog. It’s pretty interesting. It weaves back and forth between discussing the future technology of making ethanol from cellulose (the stuff that makes trees strong) and the current uses of ethanol derived from corn or sugar cane.

  10. Bad news, Bush was just lying about the oil thing: ‘his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn’t mean it literally.’ Is there a point where those hard core members of the right will realize that he’s just a liar? Link below

  11. Drudge has a link to this article by Bob Novak. The president’s slide in the polls started when he broke with his conservative base over the Meyers nomination. What is he thinking? Does he really believe he is going to ingratiate himself with the name calling, reactionary liberals? As long as he continues to alienate his base, his numbers will stay in the toilet. He should fire someone on his staff over that speech and hire Newt Gingrich to get some ideas bouncing around. That would energize his base if for no other reason than it would infuriate the looney left.

  12. FWIW, here’s the full text that Aaron didn’t put in his post: WASHINGTON – One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn’t mean it literally. What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025. But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that’s where the greatest oil supplies are.’

  13. Nice try KTLA, maybe you can explain why the Republicans just cut alternate fuels by 15% producing this result: The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget. A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation’s oil imports. Decepticons.

  14. Que? Try? What are you talking about? I’m not ‘trying’ anything. I’m simply putting the line you selected from the Knight Ridder article back in the context it originally appeared. Take off the tin foil hat for a moment, join the civilized world in grown-up discussion.

  15. Another episode of Bush lying to convince the public that he actually cares about something. FACT -BUSH PUSHED FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY CUTS IN LATEST BUDGET: President Bush’s FY06 budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy efficiency and renewable energy programs envisioned ‘reductions totaling nearly $50 million – an overall cut of roughly four percent.’ [Renewable Energy Access, 2/28/05] BUSH REJECTED BIPARTISAN PLAN TO SET GOALS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY: Last year, President Bush ‘oppose[d] efforts to include a national renewable energy requirement for utilities in Congress’ broad energy legislation.’ According to the Union of Concerned Scientists it ‘is a cost-effective, market-based policy that requires electric utilities to gradually increase their use of renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, and bioenergy,’ to between 10 and 20 percent by 2020. A 10 percent standard ‘would have virtually no impact on electricity prices and could save consumers as much as $13.2 billion.’ [Reuters, 2/10/05; Union of Concerned Scientists; Union of Concerned Scientists] BUSH ENERGY BILL CONTAINED LITTLE ON RENEWABLE ENERGY: The energy bill supported and signed by President Bush dropped a provision that would have required utilities ‘to generate at least 10 percent of their electricity through renewable fuels by 2020.’ [New York Times, 7/26/05] instead of actually doing something about it- he throws off lies so that rubes who want to believe in him have something to latch on to convince themselves that he really does have a plan, and frankly its rather pathetic. Just look at the posters above who are trying to have a serious conversation about a well deservingly serious topic, as if it mattered. But of course- there is no serious discussion to be had. neither here nor at the cabinet level. Bush has shown us his intent: cutting development funds for the alternate fuels that could make up the difference. Sounds like another ‘healthy forest initiative’ to me. So, what part of what he said isnt a lie?

  16. Aaron, Aaron, Aaron. Take a deep breath and go back and read the posts above. I’ll recap the important bits for you: YOU: Post snippet of one sentence from an article on Bush. ME: Post the rest of that section of the article that you were referencing, so others could get better context then the poorly redacted version you posted. YOU: Accuse me of ‘trying’ something. ME: Point out that I wasn’t ‘trying’ anything, just posting more of the article than you did. Figured that’d make you happy. YOU: Ranting about something unrelated to the question of how posting your referenced article is ‘trying’ something. I read and re-read your post, I can’t find anywhere you respond to my question of what you thought I was ‘trying’ by referencing the same article you posted. ME: Post this recap to try and make some sense out of whatever it is I ‘tried’. OK, here’s what should come next… YOU: Act like a grown up and answer my original question of exactly what it is I was ‘trying’ when I posted a bunch more text from the article you yourself brought into the discussion. It’s funny, I’m against Bush on just about all of his energy policy. I may have to rethink, I’m pretty sure that someone that applies critical thinking in the fashion you’ve demonstrated above is probably not on the right side of an argument. If you want to protest Bush’s energy policy, how about NOT attacking those who agree with you? Just seems like common sense, no? Seriously, just WHAT did I ‘try’ by posting more of the article you referenced?