May oil futures are negative. People are paying other people to figure out how to store May oil production contracts:
Now might be a wonderful time to add a $0.50 or $1.00 per gallon gas tax.
Sorry about this morning’s OTR post, restoring my laptop’s hard drive after repair went long after I gave up and went to bed last night. I’ll post it Monday.
I’ve been pondering this renewable energy question off and on recently and figured I’d open it up to discussion to broaden my thinking.
The question is: if you pay a surcharge for renewable energy from your electricity provider, is it better to then be wasteful or at least a “big consumer” of that clean electricity in order to increase demand for clean electricity and thus spurring more investment in renewables, or should you try to be as energy-conscious as possible and not leave lights on, keep the thermostat down/up, etc.?
In this scenario, the electricity that comes in your house is technically a mix of renewable and dirty, but you pay a surcharge to have clean energy equal to your usage added to your provider’s feed. If every customer chose this option, all the electricity provided to your home would be from renewable sources.
My thinking is that, since demand increases investment/supply, it’s desirable to consume more electricity once you’re setup to pay the premium as described above. More investment in renewable energy is a good and a larger supply/higher percentage renewable in the renewable/dirty mix that my provider supplies is also a good. So except for wasting some money, it seems to me like wasting electricity is actually a good here.
If your supply is already 100% renewable (from a provider, not your own solar/wind/etc.), I’m undecided if it makes sense to be a “big consumer” or not. Again, increasing demand means more investment in supply in your locality and region, and provides the market/investors evidence that such demand might exist in other under-served areas. Since a major goal of us who pay the surcharge for renewable or are willing to pay higher rates or invest in infrastructure like solar is to make a better, carbon-free world, there, perversely, seems to be a clear incentive to be wasteful here too. But I’m not sure.
What think you?
Consider this a non-political open thread.
This is nice:
Natural gas producers in West Virginia no longer can drill on one person’s property to reach gas reserves under adjoining or neighboring tracts, the state Supreme Court said Wednesday in a much-anticipated ruling that gives additional leverage to residents struggling with the effects from the booming industry.
In a 5-0 ruling, the justices upheld a lower court ruling and jury verdict against EQT Corp., siding with two Doddridge County residents who had sued the state’s second-largest gas company.
Justice John Hutchison wrote that gas and other mineral companies must obtain permission from surface owners to use their land to reach reserves under other properties.
“The court will not imply a right to use a surface estate to conduct drilling or mining operations under neighboring lands,” Hutchison wrote. “The right must be expressly obtained, addressed, or reserved in the parties’ deeds, leases, or other writings.”
In the case, two people who live on a 300-acre farm in Doddridge County said EQT came onto their land to extract gas from underneath adjacent properties. The two people, Beth Crowder and David Wentz, warned EQT that the company would be trespassing. EQT entered the property anyway. Crowder and Wentz sued, and a local circuit judge ruled in their favor, and a jury two years ago awarded them nearly $200,000 in damages.
It’s insane that a company would be so brazen as to even take this to court, but, you know, West Virginia.
The Energy Information Administration has an interactive map of energy infrastructure with storm information. It looks like something that energy nerds could spend some time with even when we’re not expecting major storm disruptions. The graphic at the top of the post is a screen grab. Check out the real thing. Also lots of useful links to energy information on the page.
Open thread, also too.
Today’s climate change updates in the LALALALALALALA I Can’t Hear You file…
National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans’ role in causing climate change in drafts of a long-awaited report on sea level rise and storm surge, contradicting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s vow to Congress that his department is not censoring science.
The document was supposed to report results of studies on the risks to National Park properties from sea level rise, which is one of the major proximate consequences of anthropogenic global warming. Stuff like this:
The report, titled, “Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Projections for the National Park Service,” reveals that national treasures will face severe flooding if global greenhouse gases keep increasing. Some of its projections, according to the drafts, include:
This is the kind of information that would be useful — complete with an analysis of causes and mechanisms — to anyone trying to think how to protect America’s parks, and/or mitigate the damage that human action has set in train. Interior Secretary Zinke and his staff — and the Trump administration as a whole, and the GOP in toto — seem to think that not saying certain words means that what those words name won’t happen.
Sadly, of course, carbon dioxide don’t care if Mr. Zinke doesn’t want to pay attention to its radiative properties. The atmosphere in bulk isn’t somehow going to get rid of the last 20 years of CO2 ppm increase just because Republicans shout at it. The ocean isn’t going to turn around in its tracks because Deadbeat Donnie, the orange hemorrhoid-cream salesman now sadly infesting the White House wiggles his ample posterior over a putt (that he’ll miss) on some seaside golf course.
King Knut knew better, even if he had to make the live demonstration to prove it too his court.
And then there’s Exhibit B:
Dead Man Walking Trump/GOP Corruption Poster Child Scott Pruitt won’t be dynamited out of his office at the EPA without attempting to gut one more Obama-era accomplishment, the increase in fleet fuel efficiency requirements for American light trucks and cars:
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Monday that he would revoke Obama-era standards requiring cars and light trucks sold in the United States to average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025, a move that could change the composition of the nation’s auto fleet for years.
This is no surprise from Pruitt, of course, who never met a fossil he didn’t want to burn (and whose long term livelihood and political ambitions turn entirely on making sure Big Carbon loves them some Scott). It will be challenged in court, and California may yet save the day.
Before that gets settled, though, two thoughts:
First: this is a reminder that you cannot trust oligopoly capital under any circumstances. The new standards were negotiated over a quite a long time with the big automakers, and they signed on to the Obama deal. As soon as Trump was elected, they reneged:
Pruitt’s decision reflects the power of the auto industry, which asked him to revisit the Obama administration’s review of the model years 2022-2025 fuel-efficiency targets just days after he took office.
The Auto Alliance (these guys) will tell you that they’re all about clean transportation — just look at their home page! But it took them less than a month (see p. 4) into the new guy’s term to write to the Trump administration and seek a do-over. You could have had these guys put up Agamemnon’s pledge and they’d have backed out on this deal as soon as they got the chance.
So: moral one. Don’t trust anyone with that much cash on the line until you have at least one of their kidney’s in pawn. And maybe not even then.
Moral two: this is how big US industries die. I’m sure it will be nice for those who pay for their hookers and blow by selling SUVs that the gravy train will run a few years longer. But the rest of the world isn’t completely ignorant of climate change and, more immediately, the insane and expensive toll that air pollution takes on their cities.
I’m old enough to remember the ’70s, when the Big Three US automakers discovered in a shocking short time just how destructive it could be to miss the next technological and design shift. Fuel efficient and alternate fuel vehicles are not just coming; they’re here. If the US-based auto industry wants to let China or whoever get one, two, three generations ahead of domestic production, that’ll happen. And those companies and vehicles will roll, and ours will straggle behind.
Again: our kleptocratic leaders can say what they want. Shortsighted corporations can grab for the next dollar, and miss next year’s millions. Don’t change a thing.
So, in sum: this is one dumb move on every level, and puts yet more pressure on an already breaking climate system. But I don’t think that a change in US fleet standards is nearly as big a deal as Pruitt et al. wish it were. Much of the world doesn’t give a shit about our stupidity, and the creation of a more efficient transport system is already on rails (sorrynotsorry). ISTM that this move is mostly a surrender of crucial industrial ambition and opportunity to other regions and will have only a minor effect on emissions going forward.
IOW: Trump, Pruitt, the Republicans and Big Auto just punched America in the nuts, for all the joy it brings them.
Also too: King Knut was a pretty smart guy.
Images: Joseph Mallord William Turner, Calais Pier, 1803.
Jan Steen, The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, 1671.
Time for another thread, I’d say, and I don’t have the functioning synapses to come up with anything new to say about the moral and intellectual crater that is both the Republican Party and the right’s public intellection bunch. (Did you know that Ron Johnson’s mug is being considered as the “After” portrait in the upcoming “Don’t Eat Tide Pods” campaign? Or that Rod Dreher’s thought leading crunchy conservative Christianity is racist to its root?)
So here I’m just going to lock and load some stuff I’ve kept open in my browser, waiting for the moment to foam in rage over here. Think of this not so much as considered analysis (don’t think of it as all). Rather, it’s a very partial catalogue of how much damage decades of GOP anti-government, and worse, anti-society sabotage has done. A goad, perhaps, though I hope no new one is needed, to crush these sorry f**ks come November, and forever after.
So here they come, in no particular order:
According to the CDC, the average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. fell by 0.1 years, to 78.6, in 2016, following a similar drop in 2015. This is the first time in 50 years that life expectancy has fallen for two years running. In 25 other developed countries, life expectancy in 2015 averaged 81.8 years.
The article acknowledges the impact of the opioid epidemic on those figures but notes that cross-country comparisons reveal systemic failures that make the disaster so much deeper here. And then there’s the way we treat — or don’t — our elderly:
It is widely accepted that the accessibility and quality of medical services strongly affect life expectancy among the elderly and elderly Americans fall behind their counterparts overseas when it comes to being able to get and afford the health care they need.
This may seem surprising given that Americans over 65 enjoy universal health insurance coverage under Medicare. But as valuable as Medicare is, it provides far less protection against the cost of illness, and far less access to services, than do most other Western countries. In a recent cross-national survey, U.S. seniors were more likely to report having three or more chronic illnesses than their counterparts in 10 other high-income countries. At the same time, they were four times more likely than seniors in countries such as Norway and England to skip care because of costs. Medicare, it turns out, is not very good insurance compared to what’s available in most of the western world.
Next: that GOP assault on environmental regulation and protection?
Yeah — that’ll kill grandma. Via a Harvard School of Public Health a press release, “Short-term exposure to low levels of air pollution linked with premature death among U.S. seniors”:
Short-term exposures to fine particulate air pollutionand ozone—even at levels well below current national safety standards—were linked to higher risk of premature death among the elderly in the U.S. according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health….
Certain subgroups were particularly vulnerable to short-term air pollution. Among Medicaid-eligible (a proxy for low income) recipients, the mortality increase linked with increased PM2.5 was three times higher than that of people not eligible for Medicaid. Women and nonwhites also faced a mortality risk that was 25% higher than those who were male or white. Poverty, unhealthy lifestyle, or poor access to healthcare may play a role in such disparities, the researchers speculated.
Hey! Ho! Coal is all-American, while solar panels need to get way more expensive before all that nasty sunlight wrecks certain major-GOP-donors’ balance sheets.
I could write this every week. Hell, with eleven school shootings in the first twenty four days of 2018, I could write this every 48 hours or so and twice on Wednesdays. But once again we find that the tree of liberty thrives especially on the blood of children.
This one’s old (I’ve had it open for while, but still, from the Tampa Bay Times,In Harm’s Way “/Gun injuries and deaths among Florida kids have spiked. One child is shot every 17 hours.”
The analysis found that, between 2010 and 2015, nearly 3,200 kids 17 and younger were killed or injured by firearms. Put another way, a child in Florida was shot, on average, every 17 hours.
From 2010 through 2015, the number of kids killed in gun-related incidents rose nearly 20 percent. Injuries from guns jumped 26 percent from 2014 to 2015 alone….
About 80 percent of the youths shot between 2010 and 2015 were teenagers, the Times analysis found. But some were far younger. Nearly 30 children under age 5 went to the hospital for gun injuries each year.
Most of the injured or dead were boys. A disproportionate share — roughly two-thirds — were black. Black boys were two times more likely to be shot than white boys in 2015, the analysis found.
In the hospital data, most cases were categorized as accidents, assaults or self-injury.
Accidents accounted for about 45 percent of all incidents — and were by far the fastest-growing category. The uptick: nearly 50 percent between 2010 and 2015.
Read the whole thing. It’s heartbreaking — and an essential account of how gun-fundamentalism is literally killing kids.
Onwards. To the question of what did they know and when did they know it — asked of the oil industry about the risks its product posed to global climate — the answer is, pretty much all they needed a very long time ago, as reported in this piece in The Guardian (h/t Adam Silverman, who forwarded it to me) “On its 100th birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming.”
Teller’s task that November fourth was to address the crowd on “energy patterns of the future,” and his words carried an unexpected warning:
Ladies and gentlemen, I am to talk to you about energy in the future. I will start by telling you why I believe that the energy resources of the past must be supplemented. First of all, these energy resources will run short as we use more and more of the fossil fuels. [….] But I would […] like to mention another reason why we probably have to look for additional fuel supplies. And this, strangely, is the question of contaminating the atmosphere. [….] Whenever you burn conventional fuel, you create carbon dioxide. [….] The carbon dioxide is invisible, it is transparent, you can’t smell it, it is not dangerous to health, so why should one worry about it?
Carbon dioxide has a strange property. It transmits visible light but it absorbs the infrared radiation which is emitted from the earth. Its presence in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect [….] It has been calculated that a temperature rise corresponding to a 10 per cent increase in carbon dioxide will be sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York. All the coastal cities would be covered, and since a considerable percentage of the human race lives in coastal regions, I think that this chemical contamination is more serious than most people tend to believe.
…After his talk, Teller was asked to “summarize briefly the danger from increased carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere in this century.” The physicist, as if considering a numerical estimation problem, responded:
At present the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 per cent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 per cent, by 1980, 8 per cent, by 1990, 16 per cent [about 360 parts per million, by Teller’s accounting], if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels. By that time, there will be a serious additional impediment for the radiation leaving the earth. Our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one or 5.
But when the temperature does rise by a few degrees over the whole globe, there is a possibility that the icecaps will start melting and the level of the oceans will begin to rise. Well, I don’t know whether they will cover the Empire State Building or not, but anyone can calculate it by looking at the map and noting that the icecaps over Greenland and over Antarctica are perhaps five thousand feet thick.
They knew. The foundations of this reasoning had been well known, wholly established physics since no later than 1895. I’m guessing Pruitt and Zinke and the rest know too, and they don’t give a tinker’s damn, because there’s money and power in black gold, and not nearly so much in the breeze and the stray photon. Climate change kills; it creates refugees (including within the US); it sparks conflict; it wrecks lives — all these sorrows attend us now, and there’s more to come. Maybe some, or even most of what’s past couldn’t have been prevented, along with some of what’s to come — but we aren’t even trying now at the federal level, and that misery is all on the Grotesque Old Party.
Happy now, y’all?
Anyway, that clears out a few windows. Let me leave you with an essay I found profoundly moving to read, Masha Gessen’s account of identity and memory and above all on choice. This isn’t a tale of woe or miserable political behavior (though both form much of the context for Gessen’s account). It is rather a credo, and, quietly, subtly, a call to arms. I know Masha a bit, and count her a friend; she’s certainly someone I hugely admire, and whose courage leaves me awestruck. Anyway, better to end in her company than in the slough within which reading all the bad news above would confine us. So, from The New York Review of Books, “To Be, or Not to Be“, this taste:
…Suketu Mehta, in his Maximum City, wrote:
Each person’s life is dominated by a central event, which shapes and distorts everything that comes after it and, in retrospect, everything that came before. For me, it was going to live in America at the age of fourteen. It’s a difficult age at which to change countries. You haven’t quite finished growing up where you were and you’re never well in your skin in the one you’re moving to.
Mehta didn’t let me down: this assertion appears in the very first pages of his magnificent book; also, he moved to America at the same age that I did. And while I think he might be wrong about everyone, I am certain he is right about émigrés: the break colors everything that came before and after.
Svetlana Boym had a private theory: an émigré’s life continues in the land left behind. It’s a parallel story. In an unpublished piece, she tried to imagine the parallel lives her Soviet/Russian/Jewish left-behind self was leading. Toward the end of her life, this retracing and reimagining became something of an obsession. She also had a theory about me: that I had gone back to reclaim a life that had been interrupted. In any case, there are many stories to be told about a single life.
Have at it, y’all.
Images: Claude Monet, Camille Monet on her deathbed, 1879
Vincent van Gogh, Factories at Asnières, Seen from the Quai de Clichy, 1887
John Frederick Peto, Pistol, Gate Latch, and Powder Horn, 1887
D. Howard Hitchock, Halemaumau, Lake of Fire, 1888.
BREAKING: Trump administration says it won't allow oil drilling off the coast of Florida, bowing to pressure from governor.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 9, 2018
The governor and the residents of Mar-a-Lago
— Tony Arnold (@SantaAnnaArnold) January 9, 2018
As many people pointed out, given the current economy, the oil industry was not exactly eager to start pouring money into starting the process to eventually build more offshore rigs that would inevitably draw politically explosive protests. Zinke’s Drill-Baby-Drill Statement was always intended as a slap against the blue states and their “disloyal” non-Repub voters. But getting him publicly pantsed was a win for our side, yes?…
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) January 9, 2018
How, after this statement, do you justify extending the program to other states where the governors object, which is most of them? https://t.co/jH53QRSDIR
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) January 9, 2018
We'd like a word in Virginia. https://t.co/hKumvPMcV4
— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) January 10, 2018
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 10, 2018
Dear Secretary Zinke, California like Florida, has hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline and a governor who wants to keep it that way. Or is that not enough for blue states? https://t.co/vQ5Qtl8Xik
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 10, 2018
This is the view from Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles (in Rancho Palos Verdes). Would Pres Trump enjoy having an oil rig right out there? pic.twitter.com/QNvyCgIdad
— Tom Herron (@gifuoh) January 10, 2018
SO YOU ARE EXEMPTING THE STATE THAT IS HOME TO THE FESTERING CANKEROUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST THAT THE ADMINISTRATION LIKES TO CALL THE "WINTER WHITE HOUSE" AND NONE OF THE OTHER AFFECTED STATES??????? GO LOOK UP "BANANA REPUBLIC" THEN GO FLY A ZINKE FLAG TO CELEBRATE MAKING US ONE
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) January 10, 2018
It’s too late in the evening for another serious post, so here’s some Florida man and woman for you.
A Florida man and woman were arrested for stealing downed power lines after Hurricane Irma, according to officials.
Deputies were called to an Altamonte Springs neighborhood Sept. 16 after a neighbor said two people were cutting downed power lines on his property.
Deputies said the power lines were down after a pole snapped in half during Hurricane Irma.
The power was out and the neighborhood was dark, deputies said.
Deputies found $5,000 worth of power lines cut up in the back of a truck.
They questioned Charles Mahoy, 41, and Andrea Foster, 45, and found methamphetamine and marijuana in the truck, deputies said.
Mahoy and Foster were arrested on suspicion of larceny during a state of emergency, criminal mischief and drug possession.
Apparently it’s something of a crime epidemic:
— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) September 14, 2017
I’m annoyed by the New York Times hire of Bret Stephens, more annoyed by the defense that Times editors are mounting on Twitter. I’m annoyed that this has to be said again, but here we are, as Times editors tell us that any criticism is merely trying to silence a conservative voice. My objections have nothing to do with Stephens’s political views, except that it is clear that those views drive his views of climate change.
I was once a climate skeptic, with a great deal more basis than Stephens’s sense that life is uncertain and therefore we should eat dessert first. My skepticism arose BECAUSE I knew something about the climate models.
The nuclear weapons labs have contributed a lot to climate modeling. Climate models have a lot in common with nuclear weapons models. The models divide things up into little boxes and track the flow of matter and energy between the boxes. There are complications like phase changes and chemical reactions. The model is a mass of partial differential equations that the computer solves.
Before that project, I had been working on reaction mechanisms. A reaction like combustion, in which fuel combines with air to produce water and carbon dioxide, is made up of a great many reactions in which only one atom or molecule changes; those reactions are called elementary reactions and all together they make up the reaction mechanism. A co-worker developed an elementary reaction mechanism of 150 elementary reactions for our project, which was a specialized form of combustion. We were proud of that reaction.
We went to the modelers to help design additional experiments. They had branched out from nuclear weapons to automobile engines. Automobile companies were beginning to use their models. Our system had some differences, but not a lot. It was actually simpler in some ways.
The modelers proposed how they would handle our system. They collected our 150 elementary reactions into six. That was all they could work with, given computer capacity. I was dubious.
But I knew that much simpler models work well in chemical industry. That they allowed the building of refineries and the design of reaction vessels. There are many ways to approximate systems, and what the modelers proposed was a great deal more detailed than those rough and ready engineering models.
That got me thinking about climate models. So much was not known about climate processes. The calculational boxes were enormous – many kilometers on a side. Much, much harder than our cylindrical few-liter reaction vessel. They would have to make an enormous number of simplifications, far more than our 150 reactions down to six.
Climate modeling, in my opinion, was a fool’s errand.
More immediately, we needed to model the experiments we were planning. I still didn’t feel good about those six reactions. My objection was like that of some of the climate critics: You could change a few parameters and get the results you wanted. I said that to the modelers. They were patient and willing to show me how it worked.
I gave them inputs that I thought would fix the outputs. I fiddled with individual input parameters to see how they affected the results. (That is called sensitivity analysis.) And something very interesting happened.
Modeling, of course, was not the whole story. We had experimental results and could design experiments to get more. The model input had to coincide with our starting conditions, and the output had to agree with the results. That’s the case for climate modeling, too. It uses historical climate records, along with measurements derived from calcium carbonate deposits in caves, from coral reefs, from glaciers and atmospheric movements, and many others.
So I twiddled the knobs of the model, as they say. I could make particular results come out the way I wanted, but then other results were wildly off. A faster reaction might yield the wrong products, for example. The inputs had to approximate reality in order to get realistic results.
I never found a way to fix the results convincingly. I think it is because there are so many moving parts that messing with one is like pushing down on a bump in the rug. It shows up in an unrealistic result somewhere else.
I gained a new respect for climate models.
There are many kinds of climate models. Some encompass the earth and others concentrate on smaller pieces. They set up their calculations in different ways. Their results need to agree with each other and with the measurements. Those constraints I observed in my much smaller model operate even more strongly.
The IPCC process compares models and inputs. Comparing the models shows where problems need to be solved. Clouds, for example, have been a problem for some time. But, as for my 150 reactions down to six, there are ways to work around those problems until there is a better answer.
Bret Stephens and his editors clearly understand none of this. Uncertainties in electoral polling have nothing to do with uncertainties in climate modeling. That’s sophistry, not an argument worth having.
My photo at top.
(Not Cheryl Rofer!)
Fails Dancing With The Stars, Wins Nuke Prize
by Cheryl Rofer
According to the New York Times, Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, presidential aspirant, and now Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Energy, um, didn’t know what the Department of Energy does when he accepted Trump’s nomination. “Sure I’ll be Ambassador for Oil and Gas,” he said. Twitter is meeting this revelation with humor and “We’re all going to die.”
In a better world, like the one we’ve been living in the past eight years, Cabinet secretaries actually know something about the organizations they are leading. It’s time to disrupt that fusty idea. We have Betsy DeVos, who wants to eliminate public education, as Education Secretary, a fast-food executive as Labor Secretary, and so on. Rick Perry has advocated eliminating the Department of Energy, so he was the natural pick.
Does that mean we are all going to die? That’s not so much the purview of the Energy Secretary. The President has a military guy who carries around the “football,” which is the most immediate starter of nuclear wars. As far as policy goes, the Secretaries of State and Defense have much more to say about starting wars nuclear and conventional. And, surprisingly for this administration, they actually seem to have responsible views on nuclear weapons. Here are excerpts from James Mattis’s and Rex Tillerson’s testimony to Congress. They are quite different from what Donald Trump has tweeted, and much more like the policies that Obama has followed.
Mattis almost says something that the arms control community has wanted to hear from the president:
the role of nuclear weapons is “[t]o deter nuclear war and to serve as last resort weapons of self-defense.”
Change that to
the only role of nuclear weapons is “[t]o deter nuclear war and to serve as last resort weapons of self-defense.”
and a lot of arms-controllers would be very happy.
The Secretary of Energy is in charge of building and maintaining nuclear weapons, so there is some concern about accidents and such, but fortunately it will not be Rick Perry handling the wrenches or working the gloveboxes. A big downside of someone like Perry is that there is no way he can play the role Ernie Moniz did in developing the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Now the question is how much influence Mattis and Tillerson will have on their boss.
— Popular Mechanics (@PopMech) December 10, 2016
… The Geminids are the last meteor shower of 2016, and you should be able to catch them between December 12 and December 15. The peak of the shower will be late at night on December 13 and early in the morning of December 14.
You’ll see the most meteors at around 2 a.m. local time, when the meteors radiate from directly overhead. The supermoon will also be visible, and even though the bright moon will make it harder to see the meteors, the Geminids are large enough that you should still be able to catch the brightest shooting stars.
Anybody going to be out there watching for meteors tonight?
(Our attempt this summer to see the Leonids shower was a major #FAIL, which ended with us & three wired little dogs stuck in a six-hour pre-dawn traffic tie-up, so I’m not even gonna mention this to the Spousal Unit… )
Speaking of immense fusterclucks, here’s a small piece of good news from The Resistance:
Wow. Energy Department says it won’t provide individual names who worked on climate polices to Trump’s team https://t.co/UGtazl4mAN
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) December 13, 2016
Apart from scienterrific scienterrorism, what’s on the agenda for the evening?
Exxon’s Rex Tillerson is top candidate for secretary of state https://t.co/bcmujkGsYi
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 9, 2016
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) December 10, 2016
In case it isn't clear: if you're a Western oil executive with "close ties to Putin," it means you bend over backwards to please Putin.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) December 10, 2016
From Ioffe’s Politico article:
… It’s hard to imagine Tillerson publicly chiding Putin today because he is now so very dependent on that friendship. In 2011, he negotiated a multibillion-dollar deal between Exxon Mobil and Rosneft, the Russian state oil giant cobbled out of Khodorkovsky’s seized empire and run by Putin’s former KGB buddy, Igor Sechin. The deal would have allowed Exxon access to the Russian Arctic shelf—which, according to U.S. government estimates, is thought to contain some 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas deposits—in exchange for helping Rosneft, which didn’t have the technological capabilities, drill for the stuff.
In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, seized the Crimean peninsula and started an insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, triggering a wave of American and European sanctions. But that summer, Tillerson thought it best to stay away from the St. Petersburg Economic Forum and instead sent his deputy, who, acting on behalf of Exxon Mobil, signed another energy deal with Rosneft and Sechin, who had ended up under sanctions…
… Russia had become an international pariah, and its economy—to say nothing of its rule of law or judiciary—was in shambles, but Western companies were bowing and scraping before a man who had just shocked the world by violating international law. Tillerson was at the head of that line. Instead of using their deep ties to Russia—by this point, it is said Tillerson had become buddies with Sechin—to push the Kremlin on the “rule of law” that had so bothered Tillerson six years prior, Russia’s new friends pushed on the White House. Shortly before sending his emissary to St. Petersburg to sign the deal, Tillerson told reporters in Texas that he was lobbying Washington against sanctions…
The lesson of Putin’s 16-year tenure is a lesson that all businesspeople, foreign and domestic, have learned: To do business in Russia, you have to be on good, personal terms with Putin and Sechin. And you have to understand that those two gatekeepers to Russia’s riches are fickle and sadistic, and, as former KGB operatives, know little of real friendship. To do business in Russia—both for Exxon Mobil and for Tillerson’s own massive retirement fund, whose fortunes would rise significantly if a Trump White House lifted sanctions—you have to dance to Putin’s tune, and take whatever favors and humiliations he sends your way. Putin may act a friend and pin state medals on your breast, but he is, ultimately, a cynic. And to play ball with him, you have to be a cynic, too. Forget your honor, your rule of law, your independent judiciary, your human rights, your international law, and focus on the gold coins he throws to your feet. And forget looking dignified as you gather them up.
That, "Don't worry, it's all set" look. pic.twitter.com/vplv8rJsSR
— Schooley (@Rschooley) December 10, 2016
If HRC chose a SecState who ran an oil giant and got a medal from Putin, the GOPers defending Trump would re-convene the Salem witch trials.
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) December 10, 2016
— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) December 11, 2016
Whether I choose him or not for "State"- Rex Tillerson, the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2016
Ex-CIA guy, who ran against Trump (primarily in Utah):
It must be clear that Donald Trump is not a loyal American and we should prepare for the next four years accordingly. @realDonaldTrump
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) December 10, 2016
BREAKING: Army Corps halts Dakota Access Pipeline work, tells Standing Rock the current route for the pipeline will be denied.
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) December 4, 2016
Goddess, I hope this isn’t another lie from “our” government…
The secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers has told Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault that the current route for the Dakota Access pipeline will be denied.
The proposed route led to a protest encampment by the Standing Rock Sioux and other activists.
The 1,172-mile pipeline is nearly complete except for a small section beneath a Missouri River reservoir near the encampment, which is about 50 miles south of Bismarck.
Archambault cheered the decision in a statement Sunday.
“I am thankful there were some leaders in the feral government that realized something was not right even though its legal,” he said. “For the first time in hisopry native American, they heard our voices. This is something that will go down in history and is a blessing for all indigenous people.
I heard the army corp of engineers will not grant the easement and they will reroute.
I would say that it is over.”…
Story’s been picked up by the AP / Washington Post.
— Sally Jewell (@SecretaryJewell) December 4, 2016
Here’s an actual Tesla coil rifle to shock you awake on this early Sunday morning/late Saturday evening. If you want to build your own, the details are here. I’m going to bed, amuse yourselves!