Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New at PJM: Gas Jumps In A Flash

I have a new column up at Pajamas Media... here's a preview:

Obama and his minions have been chasing the green jobs chimera for so long that it’s an instinct. They pompously suggest that Americans ought to trade in their current vehicles for pricey, government-approved matchbox cars, asserting still that there’s “no quick fix” for high energy prices. History, and very recent history at that, indicates that they are mistaken.

Take a look at this chart compiled by metalprices.com. It’s the price of a barrel of crude oil over the past 5 years.

See that big peak in the middle? That was the last oil spike, in the summer of 2008. Notice how the price hit a high point, then fell off a cliff afterwards?

The day corresponding to that peak, an all-time high of $145.16/barrel, was July 14, 2008. By some strange coincidence, that was the very same day then-President George W. Bush lifted, by executive order, a federal ban on offshore oil drilling.

Bush’s order was, of course, immediately dismissed by the “experts.” Reuters waved away the action as “a largely symbolic move unlikely to have any short-term impact on high gasoline costs.” Barack Obama’s campaign lectured that if “offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks. But most experts, even within the Bush administration, concede it would do neither.”

The movement left was even more dismissive. ClimateProgress.org blasted The Washington Post for failing to headline their story about the order “Offshore Drilling Raises Oil Prices.” In response to Bush’s assertion that additional offshore extraction could equal current U.S. production in 10 years, they editorialized: “Yes, and monkeys could fly out of my butt” (emphasis in original).

There was just one problem: reality. Even though, as critcs were eager to point out, any additional American drilling was years in the future, oil prices immediately went into free-fall. By Friday, July 18, the price of a barrel of crude had dropped to $128.94, a 12% decrease. A month later, on August 14, the price had fallen to $115.05. In spectacular fashion, Bush’s academic and media critics were proven seriously wrong.

Here's the rest.

Monday, April 25, 2011


When I read this one-liner at Instapundit today...

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Will The Khan Academy Knock Out The University Degree?

... I immediately got a mental image of university presidents from coast to coast doing this.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nobel Ignorance

From today's WaPo (H/T to Jim Geraghty):

On May 10, President Obama ordered his Nobel Prize-winning secretary of energy, Steven Chu, to dive into the response. Two days later, Chu showed up at BP headquarters with a hand-picked team of advisers, most of whom had limited experience with petroleum engineering. (Chu, a physicist, had won his Nobel for figuring out how to freeze atoms with lasers.)

BP executives were not thrilled to see the scientists march through the door. It looked to the company as though the administration had said, “Where are our experts?” and then rounded up anyone who did not flinch at the sight of a differential equation. Science, engineering, it was all the same. The Obama folks were obviously in love with the idea of Chu — this notion of having an in-house Nobel Prize winner who could be dispatched, superhero-like, to solve intractable problems with the power of his giant brain.

It says quite a lot about the Obama Administration--and Barack Obama in particular--that nobody in the White House understood the difference between a scientist and an engineer. It's not at all surprising that these guys (and gals) think they can solve any problem by waving credentials at it ('Guy's got a Nobel Prize! So what if it's in a completely unrelated field?'), but even so, it's disheartening.

Learning what you don't know is one of the most important lessons of adulthood (to say nothing of engineering). Shame that all these allegedly-brilliant lawyers still haven't figured that out.