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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Nonsense abounds

The most effective step you can take to cut oil dependence and decrease global warming.
That's from the envelope of a letter I received from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Fearful yet intrigued, I opened the envelope, hoping to see that they actually had found or were at least supporting a truly effective way to cut fuel consumption. Instead, my fears were confirmed. This is what it says in the letter:
You also probably know that the simplest, most cost-effective way to reduce our consumption of oil in the United States is to increase the fuel economy of motor vehicles.
(emphasis in original)

This sort of arrogant, "of course you know" presumption is just as annoying to me coming from supposedly lefty non-profits as it is coming from the Bush administration. I agree that improving fuel economy is a good thing, and that technologies exist to do it. That doesn't necessarily make it a simple task. Neither does blythely claiming that it is a cost-effective, much less the MOST cost-effective, way to reduce oil consumption make it so.

Improving fuel economy in the US auto fleet requires replacing millions of vehicles with new ones, a task that will use huge amounts of energy in manufacturing, distribution, and disposal of the older vehicles. Even getting to the point where this happens will require a change in the mind-set of the automakers, Congress, the misadministration, and millions of Americans. Possible? Certainly. Simple? Not on your life.

And cost-effective? Tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in retooling costs, and people buying new cars before their old ones have worn out?

I won't be so rash as to claim that I know what the simplest and most cost-effective way to reduce oil consumption is. But I can certainly suggest a way that is more cost-effective than what the Union of Concerned Scientists is suggesting--DRIVE LESS! It's very simple, saves you money, and saves oil. If you replace your car trips with bus or bike trips, you will be helping to provide the critical mass needed to make these modes of transportation attractive to many more people.

If you think that you've got any chance of getting this Congress to pass any positive legislation at all, after you get your head examined you should probably push for an increase in the gasoline tax instead. It probably has the same chance of passing as raising the CAFE standards (zero), but would be a better solution if somehow it did get passed.

Okay, enough picking on the nonsense of lefties. The pResident left lots of low-hanging nonsense fruit in his commencement address at the Naval Academy on Friday. For example:
When I spoke to the Class of 2001, none of us imagined that a few months later we would suffer a devastating surprise attack on our homeland, or that our nation would be plunged into a global war unlike any we had known before. Today, we face brutal and determined enemies -- men who celebrate murder, incite suicide, and thirst for absolute power. These enemies will not be stopped by negotiations, or concessions, or appeals to reason.
Of course they won't, because none of those things will ever be tried. And "none of us imagined?" Ever hear of John O'Neill, or Richard Clarke, or Chalmers Johnson? And the nation "would be plunged into a global war?" The 9/11 hijackers didn't do that, idiot--you did. And these sentences seem to be pretty conclusive evidence that W is still doing cocaine:
Thanks to the men and women of the United States military, our strategy is working -- we are winning the war on terror. Since September 11, 2001, we've removed brutal regimes in Kabul and Baghdad that supported and harbored terrorists. We helped launch Afghanistan and Iraq on the path to lasting freedom by liberating over 50 million people.
The best way to protect our citizens is to stay on the offensive. In the last few weeks, we've dealt the enemy a series of powerful blows. In Afghanistan, we brought to justice scores of terrorists and insurgents. In Pakistan, one of Osama Bin Laden's senior terrorist leaders, a man named al-Libbi, was brought to justice. In Iraq, we captured two senior operatives of the terrorist Zarqawi. And in recent days, our forces have killed or captured hundreds of terrorists and insurgents in Baghdad and Western Iraq and near the Syrian border. Across the world, our military is standing directly between the American people and the worst dangers in the world, and Americans are grateful to have such brave defenders.
As Jonathan Schwartz said, you just have to hope he knows he's lying. Because if he believes his own BS we're in even deeper than we thought.