There was nothing "mock" about it--and by the bye, we have a California
Democrat, Steve Peace*, to thank for that disastrous deregulation that
left us open to the depredations of Enron, et al. (See "The Smartest
Kids in the Room" for the full story.)
* Not to mention the deposed Gov. Gray Davis, also a Democrat.
Washing one\'s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
It was indeed "mock" deregulation as in typical CA fashion, they tried
to lock consumer utility rates while making the utilities absorb all
risk from fluctuation in the energy markets.
Here in Texas deregulation is legitimate and we have a wide array of
supplier choices and rates that are pretty midrange relative to other
states. We can even select a 100% wind generation source if we want for
a few cents more per kwh. Of course given the intermittent generation of
wind, we're still dependent on other generation technologies to fill in
the gaps, the primary drawback of wind generation, but they claim 100%
wind on an equivalent KWH basis at any rate.
I would have to question just how legitimate the deregulation is in
Texas. Yes, it has been deregulated to the point that you have
options to choose from more than one provider but the way they have
setup the system, it really doesn't provide for true competition. The
base rates are still set based on the cost structure of natural gas
even though more cost effective fuels are used for much of the
generation. Most of the providers are actually resellers who buy on
bulk rates and resell to consumers. Several have gone under during
the last year because they were buying on the spot market and the
price they were paying was well above what they were charging. True
deregulation will only come when there is true competition in the
generation of power.
In upstate NY where Niagara Mohawk used to be king and was the
cheapest power outside of the TVA until they tried and failed to go
nuclear. . .
National Grid bought them out a while back. In the past 2 years the
"stated cost" has gone from 7.1 to 15 [and back down to 7.8cents this
month]. But the delivery fees & all the other crap has upped the
rate from 14.6 to 16.4- and last month was 14.2.
One other component here to consider when comparing standards of
living is this. How much does Norway, Sweden or Switzerland spend to
keep the world free? And how much has the US spent, since WWII doing
exactly that? How many aircraft carriers do those countries have in
hot spots like the Straits of Hormoz, keeping the worlds oil supply
lanes, which their own economies depend on, open and protected from
countries like Iran?
Had the US not spent trillions on defense over the last 6 decades,
we could have spent that money on a higher standard of living. But
then those other three countries likely wouldn't be free because the
communists would have taken them over, and perhaps the rest of the
world too. Must be nice to be one of those countries, living so
well, knowing that someone else is bearing the majority costs of
defending the world and will be there to save you if necessary.
You make an excellent point. We ARE the world's policeman, but, like police
everywhere, we don't do a perfect job. We do do a good enough job to
(mostly) discourage the really bad perps from taking over the world. As the
Color Sergeant said in "Zulu" when asked "Why us?" he replied: "Because
we're here, lad. No one else. Just us. Now face to the front. Mark your
target when he comes. And button that tunic. That's a good lad."
In his book, "The Pentagon's New Map," Thomas Barnett makes exactly the
point you raise.
It's also interesting that the United States Coast Guard is larger than any
other country's navy.
Consider Sadaam Hussein - he pissed off somebody. So we invaded his country,
evicted him from his homes, confiscated his fortune, exiled his family,
killed his children, imprisoned most of his friends, and ultimately hanged
his ass. Presumably this will have a sobering effect on others similarly
As an aside, the complaint that some soldiers die as a result of American
adventures is specious. Our warriors volunteered knowing that death or
injury was possible. Exactly the same as someone who wants to climb a
mountain or drive a race car or take a dive to the Titantic. But those
hobbyists don't get an opportunity to kill people and blow things up.
I can only wonder what would happen if someone came to you anti-nuke
extremists with some other ideas. How about a device with 4 wheels
and a motor that could transport 4 people at 60MPH? But the downside
is that 50,000 a year in the US will die in it due to accidents.
Yet, we all live with automobiles. Should we eliminate them too?
Or how about airplanes? We have those and huge international
airports close to major cities. I could conjure up images of plane
crashes in highly populated areas and make the case for eliminating
As a side note, the only reason all that nuclear waste is still
sitting around at nukes, both operating and decommissioned, is that
extremists have blocked moving it to a single, safe, secure storage
facility, ie Yucca. Had extremists not still be doing everything
they can to try to stop or slow it down, the waste would be there now.
Nuclear isn't perfect or without risks. Neither is any other form
of energy. Particularly amusing to me is how the same environmental
extremists who rail against nukes are telling us that in a few more
decades we're going to have disastrous climate change from CO2
emissions which will kill hundreds of millions, if not all of us.
So, we have nuclear power, which could be a quick and major way to
reduce CO2 emissions, yet we shouldn't use it even as other supposedly
enlightened countries like France openly embrace it?
And I'm tired of the usual nonsense about how we can just conserve.
The simple fact is that the world's population is growing every
year. And countries like India and China are becoming rapidly
developed. At most, conservation can slow the rate of increase of
energy growth. And BTW, these other countries are going to build
nukes whether we do or not. By not doing so ourselves, all we do is
put ourselves at an economic disadvantage to them.
Excellent points, all.
The bottom line is that anti-nukes, evironmentalism, and conservation are
all MOVEMENTS. The logic behind the movement is immaterial, it is membership
in the movement that is important - to be a part of something, to give
meaning to an otherwise useless life. The same people who are members of the
anti-nuke movement are also members of the ban-the-bra parade, promote (or
oppose) metrification, home owner association advocates, or any other
Unfortunately 'nuclear' electric power has NOT proven to be as
economical as originally thought. Also, leaving aside Chernobyl and
much lesser dramatic, Three Mile island accidents etc. and the problem
of 10,000 to 100,000 year disposal/storage of nuclear wastes, nuclear
after some 50 years has not yet proved itself a viable technology for
the day to day production of electrcity.
Isotopes and other medical products etc. yes.
In norther Canada, especially Labrador there is a vast potential for
(although it does involve further flooding of native lands) less
polluting further production of electrcity that can and will be
developed during next few years.
It would be wise for the rulers of California and other energy hungry
and inefficient users of energy to a) Conserve, get more efficient. b)
Think internationally for the purchase of energy from a politically
stable and friendly country to the north. There is no doubt that
Canada is expanding it's own East-West energy corridors/links and that
hydro generated power is relatively cheaper, and less directly
polluting (especially at point of use). And just wait until electric
cars are a an actuality!
As opposed to dragging barrels of oil from the political turmoil of
the Middle East, past the pirates of Somali-land, burning off some of
it to make gasoline etc.!
Plug into an outlet and recharge your vehicle in a few hours.
There is a story (true or otherwise?) that some hybrid car owners are
already doing some home recharging after daily commuting? Also that it
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