Monday, December 31, 2007

Pakistan delays election

Pakistan delays election

It could only be expected. In other news, Benazir Bhutto's husband and son were appointed co-chairmen of the PPP, as I predicted.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

[POLL] Are the Patriots the Best Team Ever?

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Are the Patriots the best team in the history of the NFL?
Yes free polls

Friday, December 28, 2007

An Al-Qaeda Assassination?

It appears it may have been either Al-Qaeda or the Taliban who carried out Benazir's Bhutto assassination. It's not completely clear it was either group, but for our purposes, let's assume it is.

Why would Al-Qaeda carry out this attack? Number one, to damage the pro-democracy movement. AQ is fine with Musharraf in power - he's barely even trying to crack down. Bhutto was and other democracy advocates are anti-Musharraf, and AQ wasn't happy about that.

Number two, Al-Qaeda likes a destabilized Pakistan. It's a safer - if there's more chaos, the Pakistani government has other things to worry about rather than cracking down on terrorists.

Number three, is AQ trying to steal nuclear technology or radioactive waste? A destabilized government and military won't be able to control Pakistan's nuclear technology as easily. The military is the main protector of the weapons, and they will be kept busy keeping this crisis under control, and will be even more busy if President Pervez declares martial law, which is a definite possibility.

Even if AQ or the Taliban did not carry out the attack, the perpetrator could have been other Islamists. Unless the government of Pakistan was responsible (and it's possible), Pakistani nuclear technology should be kept under close watch for the next couple weeks.

Sharif's Boycott: Policy Implications

Sharif says his party to boycott Jan. 8 election.

This could help him take the lead in Pakistani democracy movement by taking such a hardline, but it makes you wonder, who will take over on the political front? I see two viable candidates: Bhutto's husband, and one of Bhutto's political rivals that I still cannot remember the name of.

More importantly though, you can see why this complicates the U.S.'s anti-terrorism interests there. Sharif's boycott will totally undermine the elections unless a new, strong leader emerges from the PPP, Bhutto's party. Undermined elections = undermined Musharraf, and Musharraf will be weaker than ever.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

On Benazir Bhutto's Assassination

The details are still emerging of this horrific event, but we can make some significant conclusions.

How will this effect the PPP, Bhutto's political party? They no longer have a leader. There are leaders within the party who could take over (their names escape me), but I don't know if they have international democratic recognition.

What about Nawaz Sharif, the other internationally recognized democracy activist and political candidate? This will certainly boost his popularity. Also, this is likely to fracture voters in Pakistan, who were mostly united behind Bhutto.

Will this boost the chance of democracy? Bhutto's been martyred, and is likely, at least for the short term, to boost the calls for reform in Pakistan

Then again, one could look at this the opposite way. The attack could give President Musharraf an excuse to call for martial law.

The other question to ask: Who carried out the assassination?
Was it Islamists?
Was it the Pakistani Intelligence Service?
Was it one of her political rivals?
Was it Musharraf?

We can definitely say this: This will complicate the U.S.'s work in the Middle East.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

[POLL] Mike Huckabee?

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Mike Huckabee?
Crazy Christian anti-evolutionist
He's in tune with god
Other (explain below) free polls

Light Posting Ahead

I have no idea how many posts I'll be able to get out this week, so don't expect too many.

Everybody waiting for the Iowa Caucuses?

Happy political season holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mike Huckabee: Undecided Republican's New Fad

When I think back to my days in elementary school (or grammar/primary school, for you Brits), one word will always pop into my head: fads. Power Rangers, Pokemon, etc. You know what I’m talking about.

It’s one word the Republicans of Iowa and New Hampshire should keep in mind as well, as Mike Huckabee skyrockets in the polls. Mike Huckabee is just another Republican fad, during their desperate search for the right candidate.

First there was Bill Frist, who decided not to run after a 2006 congressional loss. Then there was John McCain, the maverick from 2000, who fell out of style when the media focused attention on his stand on immigration. Soon after Rudy Giuliani, who was temporarily displaced by Fred Thompson before recapturing the lead. Then, more recently, Mitt Romney looked like he would be the nominee. Had his strategy of going for the early states worked? Had the GOP finally decided on a candidate?

No. Huckabee plodded along at the perfect moment, taking advantage of the doubt at the ideal moment. As the wise old political analysts say, he said the right thing at the right time.

His campaign accelerated in the first week of December, and hasn’t looked back since. Nevertheless, the Huckster has reason to worry – the wise old political analyst is predicting his downfall.

Just a fad
Let’s go through the basics a campaign needs to succeed in any state. First of all, funds. You’re not going to get anything done if you don’t have any cash money to do it with. Second, organization. Hillary Clinton showed us the importance of political organization. Thirdly, support for basic beliefs.

Let’s go through these. Funds? Nope. Organization? Not really. Basic beliefs? Besides Christian fundamentalism, not so much.

Huckabee’s positions on nearly every major issue contradict in basic ways with the fundamental ideas of the Republican Party. His foreign policy in many ways do not correspond with the hawks of his party. He has gone as far as to criticize the President’s international policies, which has not gone unnoticed by other candidates.

All of these facts lead to one and only one conclusion: the incredible Huck is a fad. Republicans are looking for the next Ronald Reagan, and they think it’s Mike Huckabee. It’s not. He’s lucky enough that there are no more debates left to ask him any serious questions, but by the time New Hampshire passes, I can guarantee the Huckster fad will be over.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Note to Readers////FutureGen Clean Coal Plant

Hey - to anybody that subscribed to this RSS for political and geopolitical opinion and analysis: I've got a bunch of good posts about the 08 horse race coming up, along with a little bit of Putin and Turkey (tasty). In other words: don't unsubscribe yet!

Chicago (TGW) – The FutureGen Alliance has selected a site in Illinois to be the location of its $1.5 billion clean coal power plant.

The plant will use advanced technology to capture and sequestrate carbon dioxide from the coal underground.

FutureGen includes companies from around the world and is funded by the Department of Energy to design and test technology that can turn coal into a gas that can be stripped of harmful emissions, then burned to produce electricity and hydrogen.

Uncertainty about CO2 emissions “"underscores the need for a public-private venture such as FutureGen to advance cutting-edge technology," said Michael Mudd, chief executive of the alliance.

Via :: Reuters

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Energy Bill Phases Out Incandescent Lightbulbs, Increases CAFE Standards, and Expands Renewable Energy Mandate

The House has passed the energy bill passed in the Senate, which had been modified to take out $20 billion in tax breaks for clean energy.

But what are other key provisions of this bill?

CAFE increase

• Increases the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to 35 miles per gallon by 2020
• Automakers can trade credits to achieve this standard
• According to government estimates, it could lower U.S. crude oil usage by 2 million barrels a day - 8% - by 2030 and save American families an average of $700 to $1000

Renewable Energy Mandate

• Expands biofuel mandate to 36 billion gallons by 2022, versus 6.5 billion gallons today
• Caps ethanol from corn at 15 billion gallons – the rest must come from cellulosic sources

Efficiency and Research
• Increases the efficiency of buildings, homes, appliances, and lighting, carbon dioxide emissions 75 percent, which will save homeowners an estimated $400 billion by 2030
• Incandescent lightbulbs phased out by 2020, cutting energy use from lightbulbs by 60%
• Requires dishwashers and cut water usage 28% and clothes washers by 40%
• Funds carbon sequestration research and renewable energy research

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bali: What was achieved?

On Wednesday we published an article, “What to Expect at Bali: Nothing, or Worse”. The good news is we weren’t wholly wrong in our predictions (you can still trust us). The better news is we were wrong in some of our predictions.

What wasn’t achieved
As we predicted, nothing on the scale of the Kyoto Protocol was produced. The European Union wanted a mandated 25%-40% carbon cut in developed nations, but the United States blocked any chance of that.

One ‘achievement’ that we predicted did not come into realization: a weak carbon mandate. We had predicted the possibility that the U.S could force the world into a weak, non-binding climate treaty, setting back the possibility of a real treaty probably more than a decade. Luckily, this type of treaty did not come into fruition. The U.S. had not even one country standing beside it by the end of the talks.

What was achieved
There still is a possibility for carbon caps. The deal sets a framework to create a subsidiary committee at the U.N. Views of the committee will be sought by April next year, and the deal commands a full carbon cap deal on the scale of the Kyoto Protocol be completed by the end of the 2009 U.N. Copenhagen summit.

This is the story the media is reporting, but they are missing the most important news to come out of this conference: the deforestation pact.

20% of anthropogenic emissions are from deforestation – it’s arguable the worst humanity has done for the planet. So when deforestation was barely mentioned in the Kyoto Protocol, many were surprised.

Delegates corrected that mistake this time around. A $300 million grant program was assigned to be created at the World Bank, to assist developing countries with planting new trees. The real achievement was REDD: reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries, a pay-and-preserve program.

"It is one of the substantial achievements of this conference,” said EU Environmental Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

It’s not one of the substantial achievements; it is the most substantial achievement of the conference.

You can probably see why it is a good thing: we were wrong in saying nothing would be accomplished.

To infinity, and beyond?
The reason I’m quoting Buzz Lightyear (If you don’t understand the above quote, go out to Blockbuster right now and get Toy Story. Or order it on Netflix. I don’t care. Just do it. Now) is to ask, “Where do we go from here?”

Buzz Lightyear knows exactly where he is going, but do we?

The framework set out at Bali mandates a deal be completed by early 2009. For most of the short timeframe the Bali roadmap provides for a deal to be agreed upon, George W. Bush will be president of the U.S. He was willing to make concessions at this summit because essentially no countries stood at the United States sides. It showed that the U.S. is in fact vulnerable to international pressure

That means the real question is: will the pressure be maintained?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

[POLL] What did you Think of the Bali Climate Conference

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What did you think of the Bali climate conference?
In the middle
Other free polls

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What to Expect at Bali: Nothing, Or Worse

Written in coalition with Thoughts on Global Warming, Environmental Graffiti, Thoughts on the World, and The International Relations Blog.

The Bali climate conference taking place right now is one of the most important climate conferences, if not the most important, since the conference at which the Kyoto Treaty was designed. This conference has a potential to achieve something, relative to other recent conventions.

Throughout late 2006 and early 2007, global warming was high on the public’s mind, especially in the U.S. Global warming was an easy target; it could be blamed for just about any weather related disaster. And after the hurricanes of 2005 and skyrocketing oil and gas prices, the public needed something to blame. Not only that, but Inconvenient Truth was bring the real science of global warming into the eyes of the public. Al Gore was riding high. Many Floridians, who hurricanes had hit the hardest, were probably regretting a vote or two from a couple of years back.

This climaxed in early 2007, when negotiators from developing and developed countries announced the current climate convention in Bali, Indonesia.

So what can we expect at this year’s climate conference: nothing, or worse. That is my prediction – and give me a chance to back it up.

After May of this year, things started to cool down a little bit. Although oil prices skyrocketed in September and haven't come down, and sea ice hit a record low in August, there have been some disappointments. Number one: hurricanes.

Just as a disclaimer, I don’t live in Florida or down south (though I have at one point). Hurricanes are just such a huge natural disaster it can’t help but be noticed when an abnormally large amount of super storms hit. And people noticed in 2005 and 2006. But then this year, an uncharacteristically high number of intense storms were predicted, but they never showed. That’s only case number one. I’m sure I could find other examples, like ski resorts doing very good business this year, but I think I get my message across.

Let me say something else: though this has weakened public resolve to fight global warming, that doesn’t mean every environmentalist caught the plague. Public support for a climate solution is still stronger than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. But relative to a year and a half ago, global warming has fallen to the edge of the radar. It’s still there, but not as obvious.

This leads me to another point: the economy. The economy in the U.S., and therefore China, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, is slowing down. Emissions cuts APPEAR to be hard enough to achieve in good times, but in bad economic times, there is less public (let alone political) support for emissions cuts. This is a much bigger issue than my first point, even if it is a shorter read – in other words, this is more important and don’t forget it!

This is evidence for my assertion that ‘nothing’ will be achieved at the climate conference, but you probably wonder what I mean when I say ‘or worse.’

Well, given the fact that the U.S. and China would like to get out of binding carbon caps for as long as they can, the governments could collaborate to produce a very weak climate framework. This framework would theoretically set unenforceable benchmarks for emissions. Once this framework would be in place, it would be unlikely to be replaced for several years. And during these several years, President Bush will be replaced, meaning that there is a possibility that the U.S. could soon have a totally different environmental policy during the lifespan of the framework. Not to attack the president over the top, but it would give him a legacy many would remember happily – until they see the effects of global warming really get going.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chuck Norris Endorses Huckabee, Huckabee Surges in Polls - Correlation?

October 22: Chuck Norris endorses Mike Huckabee

Hmmm… This is interesting. Take a look at this graph of the presidential candidates poll positions in Iowa, starting with October 22, the day of the endorsement:

Huckabee is in black, if you can't read the key. It appears that after October 22, Huckabee’s campaign really takes off. Hmm. Interesting.

By the way: Chuck Norris doesn’t endorse presidential candidates, he ALLOWS them to be president.

Cash Money

Days after I publish my analysis concluding the U.S. will use the NIE to work with Iran over Iraq... Well what do you know... More U.S., Iran talks next week

Monday, December 10, 2007

Iran and the NIE: Where We Go From Here

We’ve talked a lot about the recent National Intelligence Estimate, and rightly so. It is having a tremendous impact on U.S. foreign policy on the foreign policy of any great power. What we have not yet discussed is where we go from here.

In Iraq
As I’ve pointed out before, the NIE can be and most likely will be exploited as a tool to solve the crisis in Iraq. To summarize, the U.S. needs Iran on board to have a politically stable Iraq, and Iran needs the U.S. to allow Iran to influence events in Iraq in Iran’s favor. You might want to read that sentence twice. The biggest obstacle since negotiations have begun stopping the U.S. from getting what it wants has been Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons program. Iran has been using its nuclear program as a bargaining chip; if they surrender on the nuclear issue, they would expect to see concessions from the U.S. on the Iraq issue.

Now, the U.S. has a real chance to turn Iraq into a stable, democratic country that can be a model for the whole region. The U.S. could possibly even imagine achieving the goal of the Iraq invasion: a safe, friendly, democratic country in the Middle East. This possibility can only come into fruition if we continue negotiations with Iran over Iraq, and take advantage of the fact that now Iran has lost its biggest bargaining chip.

At the U.N.
Though the threat of Iran has appeared to diminish, the need for global political pressure is still necessary. Iran still has the capability, though no longer the intentions, to restart its weapons program and to build nuclear weapons. Therefore, the need for continuing pressure and sanctions is twofold: one, to ensure Iran does not restart its weapons program and two, to possibly coerce Iran into giving up its civilian nuclear program.

The need to guarantee Iran’s weapons program is never resurrected is self explanatory. We need to continue sanctions at the U.N. until Iran allows full open inspections of its facilities. Until then, there is always the possibility that Iran could restart its weapons program, and we cannot allow that to happen.

The reasoning behind compelling Iran to give up its civilian nuclear program is not as simple. The logic behind this requires an understanding of the broader Middle East and its countries. When it became public that Iran had worked on a nuclear weapons program at one time, the neighboring countries, especially those with majority Sunni populations, reacted with fear. The possibility of a regional arms race quickly became clear. This hit a high point in late 2006 when several regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, expressed ‘interest’ in nuclear power.

A world where the highly volatile region of the Middle East constantly has nuclear missiles pointing at each other would be unacceptable. As unacceptable as that would be to us westerners, Saudi Arabians would find a nuclear Iran even more unacceptable. Not only that, but it is unlikely Saudi Arabia, or any other Middle Eastern country, would find an Iran with civilian nuclear power any more bearable than an Iran with a nuclear weapon. A country often can claim it is developing civilian nuclear power, when in actuality, it is developing nuclear weapons, hidden from the eyes of U.N. and U.S. weapons inspectors.

And if there were to be a regional arms race?

If you thought a single country going nuclear was bad…

Sunday, December 09, 2007

On My NIE Analysis

I would just like to say, as a disclaimer, that I have no experience in government intelligence or at think tanks or anything like that. Although, I do feel I have read enough news reports and enough news analysis so that I think I have a good feel for what's going on in the world.

Shane has questioned the basic thesis of my analysis: that the NIE report will be used in negotiations over Iraq. Let me say this: This isn't why the intelligence was produced, but how it will be used.

Also, the thesis makes perfect sense. The government could have hushed up the report and never had it released. Or, they could have had it released, but criticized and attacked it and ripped it to shreds. But they haven't.

More on the NIE:
On My NIE Analysis
[POLL] Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

[POLL] Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?

Voting Booth

Do you think the Iranians have a nuclear weapons program?
Other free polls

On My NIE Analysis
Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Why The NIE Should Be Trusted

I'm willing to trust the report for two reasons:
1. It was approved by the DNI, who in turn was appointed by the President
2. It doesn't make sense that Iran would have a nuclear program

I will elaborate more on the second. As I've argued before, as did the NIE, Iran is guided by 'cost-benefit analysis'. In an attempt to build a nuclear weapon, they would have to recognize, before it was completed, the program would be attacked and most likely destroyed bye either the U.S. or Israel. And Iran, guided by 'cost-benefit analysis' would realize it does not have the military might to stop an attack.

From this, one can draw the logical conclusion that Iran would only build a nuclear weapons program because it wants the U.S. or Israel to attack. One reason could be is that they need a reason to strike at Israel. This argument cannot stand because, first of all, Iran would not be able to carry out the attack. The U.S. and/or Israel would first take out major military installations so that Iran cannot retaliate. And even if Iran could retaliate, it would spell doom. A U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear weapons would only take out nuclear and military installations. Iran - if they could - in retaliation,would be sure to strike civilian centers. The U.S. and/or Israel would then wipe Iran 'off the map'. And if Iran is basing its decisions off of 'cost-benefit analysis', they would realize this, and would never retaliate.

The only other reason Iran would build a nuclear weapons program, other than looking for a fight (which we just proved makes no sense), is that they would be looking for a North Korea-like deal. They would expect some economic or geopolitical aid in return for the shutdown of weapons.

Iran is different from North Korea. In North Korea, they had already spent a huge amount of money developing their weapons program. Iran hasn't. North Korea wasn't planning from the beginning to ask for economic aid in return for its weapons program. It was planning to use its weapons program as a threat against South Korea. Also, North Korea is ruled by a crackpot dictator who loves attention. If Iran is basing its work on 'cost-benefit' analysis, the cost is much different from North Korea's cost. The benefit would not outweigh the cost in Iran's case, unlike in North Korea's case.

Iran could be looking for 'geopolitical aid' in return for the shutdown of its weapons program. But once again, the benefits do not outweigh the costs. The 'geopolitical aid' Iran would receive from the U.S. would almost definitely be in Iraq. Iran would be given more influence there. But the geopolitical cost of even having a nuclear weapons program would be huge.

And remember, MOST IMPORTANTLY, the U.S. never has to give Iran any aid at all. The U.S. could just say, "Nope, we're not giving you anything," and give Israel the go ahead to blow up Natanz and other nuclear facilities. That would mean Iran gets a negative return. They spend all their resources building facilities, and in return, get their infrastructure destroyed.

Is it worth the cost? No.

On My NIE Analysis
Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

The Significance of the NIE

I left this out of the first post on this topic, so I'll include it now.

The significance of this report is not that we can stop pressuring Iran, but 2 different points:
1. Going to war with Iran would be pointless and dumb.
2. Iran is guided by 'cost-benefit analysis'. They're vulnerable to international economic and political pressure.

On My NIE Analysis
Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

About time I wrote about this. Iran nuclear weapons report finally released, and says Iran has suspended its nuclear weapons program, etc., here comes the analysis.

It is important to consider the use of this report by the Bush Administration. Far lefties *cough* DAILY KOS *cough* have been milking this for all it’s worth. It’s a big dent in the Administration’s policy towards Iran, and the far right isn’t going to get a war with Iran. It’s huge. But in fact, I’d say this helps Bush more than it hurts him. Are you skeptic? You should be. But I won’t need a National Intelligence Estimate to convince you.

Uses by the Administration

1. To discredit Hillary Clinton based on her vote to classify the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorists - HIGHLY UNLIKELY
2. To pass the problem of a nuclear Iran on to the next administration - UNLIKELY BUT POSSIBLE
3. As an excuse for NOT going to war with Iran - LIKELY
4. To take away Iran’s biggest bargaining chip - HIGHLY LIKELY

Iran’s biggest bargaining chip
As you can probably tell, numbers three and four are the most important. Number one I’d reserve for hardcore Clinton supporter conspiracy theorists.

We’ll start with use number four. To understand this, we have to take Iraq into the equation. Iraq is the President’s biggest concern right now. He may not show it in public, but it’s his biggest worry. It’s his legacy. He’s not going to be remembered for denuclearizing North Korea, or an attempt at Israeli-Palestinian peace. He’s going to be remembered for the invasions of both Afghanistan and the disastrous invasion of Iraq. And with little more than a year left in his presidency, it’s more on his mind than ever.

Consequently, he’s been working hard in order to improve the image of how successful the coalition of the willing has been in Iraq. He’s hired General Petraeus, a counterinsurgency expert, and has willfully engaged in talks with Middle Eastern states over the situation in Iraq. One of those states has been Iran.

Iran is crucial to the stabilization of Iraq. They have influence over much of the Shiite population, their leaders, and their weapons. It will be impossible to have even semi-stable state in Iraq without the support of Iran. The good news, Iran would love to see a friendly, stable Iraq under Shiite control. To get a friendly, stable, Shiite Iraq, Iran needs the U.S.

It may sound like a win-win situation, but like everything geopolitical, it’s not that simple in any way. It’s complicated by bad U.S.-Iran relations and uncooperative presidents on both sides. Iran wants a more Shiite dominated, Iranian influenced Iraq than the U.S. would care to give them. But Iran has had one huge bargaining chip the U.S. hasn’t been able to ignore: its nuclear weapons program.

Up until a few months ago, when the current NIE was being finalized, it appeared Iran had a weapons program (the last NIE thought the same). Iran didn’t mind; it gave them a huge bargaining chip. So, behind back doors, it played along.

But now Iran has lost this influence, because of this report. The U.S. could have the upper hand in Iraq negotiations, and Bush could receive a more favorable view from historians than even appeared possible six months ago.

Use number three, “an excuse for not going to war with Iran,” has just as much to do with Bush’s legacy as use number three. A third war on the president’s report card would be given an ‘F’ by historians, and could possibly an expulsion (read: impeachment) by the school administrators even before that.

Of course, this is a very oversimplified version of the situation. There are many more players involved: Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Now that we’re done with all that, it’s probably a pretty good idea to see the consequences of the report. These, compared to the reasoning for the report, are simple.

1. Repercussions at U.S.-Iran discussions over Iraq (as discussed above)
2. Allies less likely to pursue sanctions at the U.N. (specifically Russia and China)
3. Virtually no chance of war with Iran
4. Cheney very disappointed (just kidding)

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the months ahead.

On My NIE Analysis
Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Iran Article Coming Tomorrow

Because I've been too sick to write anything decent that involves my brain.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Top 5 Reasons Geothermal Energy Works

Part of a series

5. You can have one in your backyard.
The cost of having a geothermal system in, literally, your backyard, for a 4,000 square foot house is estimated to be $15,000 to $20,000. The payback would only take 5 to 10 years, as well. [reference]

4. Maintenance costs are low
Geothermal pumps have very few parts and require very little maintenance. Once up and running, the system can be mostly left alone to produce energy without the need to repair parts of the system.

3. The amount of land needed is low
Unlike nuclear power plants, wind farms or solar farms, a geothermal pump does not require much land. Like mentioned in #5, if you live in a suburb, you could install one in your backyard tomorrow. Larger pumps for commercial electricity generation have also been built, and those too require very little land.

2. Energy output is unaffected by changing weather conditions
Unlike wind power or solar power, there will always hot magma under the surface of the Earth. It’s predictable when one source is cooling down. You can’t predict when the wind is going to stop blowing.

1. It’s renewable
This is pretty self explanatory. Geothermal power produces no greenhouse gases, except in production of the machinery and in any possible maintenance.

The are only benefits. We haven’t talked about disadvantages. Why? Because there are very few. The three most common are:
1. They produce greenhouse gases during production and maintenance (though very few).
2. They could affect their surrounding environment (but they take up very little land).
3. If a system is too large for its site, the energy could dry up (so don’t make them too large…).

More Alternative Energy Series:

Why Corn Ethanol is Bad
The Temporary Solution: Coal
Nuclear Power: Energy of the Future or As Bad As Fossil Fuels
5 Reasons Solar Power Works
The Wind Power and Solar Power Combination
Another Look at Nuclear Power - Nuclear Waste
What's So Special About Hydropower and Hydroelectricity?
Top 5 Reasons Geothermal Energy Works

Sunday, December 02, 2007

[POLL] Who Won the Republican Youtube Debate?

Voting Booth

Who won the Republican Youtube debate?
Rudy Giuliani
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
John McCain
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney
Tom Tancredo
Fred Thompson free polls

And please don't choose Ron Paul...