Tag Archives: energy independence

Give thanks to Saudis? I don’t think so

The president of the United States says Americans should “give thanks” to Saudi Arabia for the relatively low cost of gasoline.

I don’t think I’ll do that.

I will give thanks instead to a domestic energy policy that has enabled the United States to achieve energy independence. I’ll give thanks to a president, Barack Obama, who had the foresight to insist on an energy policy that sought to develop alternative sources of energy.

I’ll also give thanks to automakers for developing more fuel-efficient motor vehicles. My wife and I own one, a Toyota Prius, that we gas up about every, oh, three or four weeks.

No, I don’t believe the Saudis are our friends. They are murderers. The president likes to foment fear of terrorists coming to this country from Latin America. Hell, the Saudis are the breeding ground for terrorist monsters; 15 of the 19 hijackers who flew those commercial jets into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11 hailed from Saudi Arabia.

Am I going to give thanks to Saudi Arabia for anything? Cheap gasoline? Energy independence? For their alliance with us against Iran and other hardline states in the Middle East?

Hah! Hardly.

Wind power is in the wind

wind farm

ADRIAN, Texas — You have to squint your eyes a bit to take in the view in this picture.

It’s along Interstate 40 in the Texas Panhandle. I shot the picture this afternoon with my fancy-shmancy phone camera as I was returning home from a lunch meeting with a colleague in Tucumcari, N.M.

It’s a wind farm. Lots and lots and lots of wind turbines are blowing in the breeze, generating electricity — I reckon — to be shipped to points hither and yon. Given that I don’t get out as much as I used to, I was struck by the sight of hundreds of those turbines along nearly the entire length of I-40 through Oldham County after driving back onto the Caprock.

I want to call attention to this form of energy because of the presidential campaign that’s now in full swing in both major political parties.

Republicans and Democrats are seeking to nominate candidates for the White House, one of whom will succeed President Obama on Jan. 20, 2017.

That silence you’ve heard along the campaign trail has dealt with wind energy. You remember wind energy, don’t you?

Politicians are supposed to talk about it as a way to wean this nation from its dependence on fossil fuels. We’ve made some progress in one critical area: The United States is about to become the world’s leading fossil fuel energy producer, which means we’ve all but ended our dependence on foreign oil.

Of late, the only mention I’ve heard of energy production has been on the Democratic side of the campaign trail, with Bernie Sanders accusing Hillary Rodham Clinton of being in the hip pocket of fossil fuel producers; Clinton has fired back, saying Sanders also is beholden to campaign contributors who are associated with fossil fuel producers. The world has a glut of oil, demand is down, therefore so is the price of fossil fuel-related products — such as gasoline!

Oh sure, the candidates traipsed through Iowa corn fields in the first contest of the season and talked here and there about ethanol, the “bio-fuel” produced by corn. One of the big surprises of the campaign, of course, was Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s victory in Iowa — even though he stuck his neck out and criticized ethanol subsidies as a form of government giveaway the nation couldn’t afford.

The Republican/Democratic Road Show trekked eventually to Texas. Did you hear much around the Panhandle about how any of the candidates would seek to shore up wind power?

If you did, then were dialed in far more acutely than I was. I don’t recall hearing a peep out of that still-large herd of candidates in the time leading up to the March 1 Texas primaries.

I’m proud of my state for becoming a leader in wind energy. Think of it: Texas and California have something in common after all, as they are the two leading wind-producing states in the country. Who knew?

Heaven knows we have enough of it here. It’s renewable and clean — even when it kicks up tons of dirt from the cultivated fields that are spread out for miles upon miles along our vast horizon.

Here’s my plea to the candidates … if they or their staffers see this blog post: How about talking more about wind and other renewables? It’s no longer cool to just “drill baby, drill.” We’ve got a lot of wind out there that’s not coming from┬áthe mouths of political blowhards.

How about ensuring we find ways to put it to use?


Economy jumps ahead, but few folks notice

The latest report from the U.S. Commerce Department about the state of the nation’s economy has me wondering about something.

When are Americans going to start accepting that we are recovering from the Great Recession of 2008-2009?


Commerce officials report that the economy grew 4.1 percent in the third quarter, which is revised upward from 3.6 percent — which isn’t a bad report, either.

Joblessness is down to 7 percent. We’re adding an average of just less than 200,000 jobs a month; the vast bulk of those jobs are in the private sector. Foreclosure rates on homes are at a five-year low. Companies are making money. The stock market is rockin’ and rollin’. The Federal Reserve Board is going to start scaling back the stimulus initiatives it launched with its bond-buying.

And yet …

We keep hearing pundits, commentators and some economists harping about a struggling economy.

I totally understand that a 7 percent unemployment rate isn’t good. It’s a lot better than where it was four years ago. And it’s trending downward.

Some leading individuals — such as former Texas Workforce Chairman Tom Pauken — have griped openly about what they’ve called a “jobless recovery.” Employers are finding they’re able to boost productivity with fewer employees; I despise the term “workers,” by the way. However, we’re not in the middle of a “jobless recovery.”

I should add that energy production — which helps fuel the Texas economy — is way up. The Energy Department reports our oil imports are way down and the United States is on the verge of becoming the world’s leading producer of fossil fuels, a spot occupied for many decades by Russia.

The gloomy Gus crowd, though, keeps winning the argument.

How come? What am I missing?