GE’s Smart-Meter Move


GE and the city of Miami are banking on $200 million of stimulus pork for a pilot “smart meter” program that will allow users to know how much electricity they’re using and when:

The City of Miami announced a proposal on Monday to install 1 million two-way “smart meters” to all Miami residents over the next two years in what would be the most comprehensive smart-grid program in the U.S.

Mayor Manny Diaz outlined the Energy Smart Miami plan, which is anticipated to cost $200 million in its first phase, at a press conference at Miami Dade College. Joining Diaz were the CEOs of the key suppliers in the project: Florida Power & Light CEO Lewis Hay, General Electric CEO Jeffery Immelt, Cisco systems CEO John Chambers, and SilverSpring Networks CEO Scott Lang.

“To me these are prudent and smart investments that will easily pay for themselves,” Diaz said. “It will show the nation how to address environmental, energy, and economic challenges all at the same time.”

The installation of meters with a wireless Internet connection will allow consumers get detailed home energy usage information from the Web, according to Hay, the CEO of the Florida utility. With the up-to-the minute data, consumers are expected to take steps to lower their consumption.

About 1,000 consumers will get in-home energy display from GE, called an EcoDashboard, and have smart-meter-controlled appliances and thermostats. These people will also participate in a demand-response program that will allow the utility to adjust appliances to throttle down electricity use during peak times.

What the piece doesn’t say is that a two-way meter is the only way to get time-of-day pricing. You want to use your air conditioner at noon in Miami? Well, that’s going to cost you extra. Now, whatever you think of time-of-day pricing, the politics of should get quite messy — especially in a state like Florida, where most folks are using their air conditioners at noon.

Obama in Iowa


Yesterday, President Obama was in Iowa, touting the virtues of clean energy and the urgent need to deal with climate change. Much of the same: Out with the old, in with the new; spend lots of money; America should set an example; global warming is a real and growing threat; etc. etc.
  Here is his message, in a nutshell:

“Now, the choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy. The choice we face is between prosperity and decline. We can remain the world’s leading importer of oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of clean energy. We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc across the landscape, or we can create jobs working to prevent its worst effects. We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can confront what countries in Europe and Asia have already recognized as both a challenge and an opportunity: The nation that leads the world in creating new energy sources will be the nation that leads the 21st-century global economy.”
President Obama is certainly correct in noting that we have a choice between prosperity and decline, but the irony is that his plans, as presented, will lead to less energy, not more. And less energy means more expensive energy.

Obama has made clear that his regime will send coal packing, yet he has offered no plausible replacement for the fuel that generates roughly half of our nation’s electricity. He wants to wean us off of foreign oil, yet petroleum meets around 96 percent of our transportation-fuel needs, and there is no commercially viable subsitute in the near future. He wants wind power to sweep the nation, but the list of reasons that won’t happen — at least no time soon — is a long one. It’s one thing to price conventional energies out of the market. It’s quite another to do so without realistic alternatives to step in and fill the void. Yet this is exactly where Obama is taking us.   He talked about creating “millions of new jobs right here in America.” Sounds great. Now, what about the jobs that will be lost, as a result of shifting resources away from more efficient to less efficient energies? As I detailed in Myth 3 of Energy & the Environment: Myths & Facts: What about the 1.8 million Americans working in the oil and gas industries? What about the over 81,000 coal-industry workers? Create green jobs all you want. Just be honest with the American public about the fact that creating jobs does not necessarily mean an overall net gain in employment. A net decline is much more likely.   (Interestingly, Obama actually mentioned nuclear power, as well as the need to expand domestic extraction of oil and natural gas: “As I’ve often said, in the short term, as we transition to renewable energy, we can and should increase our domestic production of oil and natural gas. We’re not going to transform our economy overnight. We still need more oil, we still need more gas. If we’ve got some here in the United States that we can use, we should find it and do so in an environmentally sustainable way. We also need to find safer ways to use nuclear power and store nuclear waste.”)   Plenty more to respond to from Obama’s speech, like exploring the facts about Denmark’s wind power generating 20 percent of the country’s electricity. Or his praise for California’s energy policies. I don’t even know where to begin with that one. 


I Haven’t Read It


So, EPA chief Lisa Jackson testified yesterday to kick off four days of hysteria that will culiminate, naturally, with the Goracle on Friday (I’d leave the snow tires on until Saturday just to be safe).

She was forced to admit that she hadn’t read the bill she was testifying about.
Later, she somehow managed to claim that the same bill would be vastly better than the disastrous “endangerment” rulemaking she had just threatened us all with, obviously to blackmail the weak-kneed into just suing for carbon peace (or at least, what they think will be peace).
Having read much of the bill that she hasn’t, I can attest that the above assessment confirms her prior answer.

You can’t read Waxman-Markey and conclude it’s somehow an acceptably managed chaos compared to “endangerment” regulation; all a regulated party would accomplish by agreeing to legislation instead would be to relieve both the administration and Team Reid-Pelosi them of the political burden that’s kept them from legislating, that prompted the mad scramble last year to get Bush to take ownership of this mess, and that would set off round after round of infighting and threats.

It is worthwhile to bear in mind as this circus proceeds that the parade of horribles Waxman-Markey put in their bill — and all that they refused to put in it, like preemption of ESA and NEPA, of states doing anything other than cap-and-trade, of numerous other CAA provisions kicking in . . . a breathtaking list of threats that would persist unmolested after passage of this vehicle for supposedly providing regulatory “certainty” — make the thing completely unfixable.

This leaves industry better off taking its chances:

  1. in court litigating the EPA rule, which is entirely grounded in unverifiable computer models and non-peer reviewed documents like IPCC AR4 (grounded in the same models, textbook arbitrariness); and
  2. with the likelihood that both the admininstration and congressional Democrats will continue “blinking” in their intra-family spat, one that we have no business getting in the middle of since they’re fighting over which of them should get the chair for taking the axe to us.

We’ve seen two major overreaches by the Democrats — the budget’s cap-and-trade revenue stunt, and now this bill. The administration has painted itself into a corner with the “endangerment” threat: “We’ll do something really disastrous to the economy unless you agree to do it first!” Now, either acting means they both lose — mutually assured political destruction, which is why they are desperately seeking to have their bacon saved.

I fail to see the threat. Let’s hope the targeted industries and congressional Republicans continue to see things similarly.

Secretary Chu Admits He Was Being Silly


From the climate hearings yesterday on Capitol Hill:

REP. CLIFF STEARNS, R-Fla.: Last September you made a statement that somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe, which at the time exceeded $8 a gallon. As Secretary of Energy, will you speak for or against any measures that would raise the price of gasoline?

SEC. CHU: As Secretary of Energy, I think especially now in today’s economic climate it would be completely unwise to want to increase the price of gasoline. And so we are looking forward to reducing the price of transportation in the American family. And this is done by encouraging fuel-efficient cars; this is done by developing alternative forms of fuel like biofuels that can lead to a separate source, an independent source of transportation fuel.

REP. STEARNS: But you can’t honestly believe that you want the American people to pay for gasoline at the prices, the level in Europe?

SEC. CHU: No, we don’t.

REP. STEARNS: No. But somehow, your statement, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” doesn’t that sound a little bit silly in retrospect for you to say that?

SEC. CHU: Yes.

Hat-Tip Marc Morano

CBS Calculates President Obama’s Earth Day Fuel Usage


CBS estimates that President Obama used 9,116 gallons of kerosene yesterday to fly to Iowa and talk about saving the environment with wind power.

But check out how the post by White House correspondent Mark Knoller starts:

It happens every time a president leaves town to make an Earth Day speech. Reporters scramble to point out how much fuel was expended so the President could talk about conserving energy and using alternative fuels.

Yes, it happens every year because it’s hypocritical — but particularly for a president whose rhetoric is as green as Obama’s.


Obama Futurama


“One thing we know is that for (Detroit) automakers to succeed in the future, these companies need to build the cars of the future,” Barack Obama said in Iowa on Earth Day.

Think about that statement a moment. Since this guy is supposed to be our “smart” president, let’s assume he doesn’t believe auto engineers are studying how to return to the Model T’s hand-crank starter technology. In fact, automakers are always building the cars of tomorrow with teams of employees looking years into the future, listening to focus groups, testing fuels, assessing new technologies.

But our omniscient president already knows the future. It’s a future, he says, where Americans should not be “ever more dependent on the supply of foreign oil.” So what post-gasoline car would he recommend Detroit build?

Would it be the General Motors’ 1996 electric EV-1, which cost the company millions and was discontinued after three years for lack of a market?

Would it be the 80-mpg, battery-diesel hybrid GM Precept, which Vice President Al Gore test drove in 2000 and applauded as a car that “will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil?”

Or would it be GM’s fleet of ethanol-capable cars — an industry-leading 3 million on the road already — announced with much fanfare at the 2008 Detroit International Auto Show, and an investment that has proven a bust as biofuel prices have been uncompetitive with gasoline?

As these “cars of the future” attest, there is no shortage of technology to meet Obama’s future, only a shortage of customers willing to buy them. Which means that the automakers of the future must be lean, efficient companies with competitive labor forces and work rules so that they have the flexibility to adapt to changing market demands.

Unfortunately, that is the opposite of what our CAFE-regulating, union-beholden president has in mind.

Don’t Try This at Home


Do-it-yourself biofuels aren’t going so well:

EDMONDS, Wash. — Trying to live green and beat high gasoline prices, some enterprising Americans are turning cooking oil into biodiesel in their garages. Problem is, some of these do-it-yourselfers are burning down the house.

Fire officials around the country are warning of the dangers and considering new restrictions to make sure people don’t torch the whole neighborhood.

As they might say in New Hapshire, “Live Green and Fry.”

Another Gore Effect


What Ryan Sager calls the “Giant Fraggin’ Mansion Effect,” from True/Slant:

Don’t pat yourself on the back too hard this Earth Day — it could be bad for the environment.

That is: If you’re too-well-satisfied that you’re a good greenie, you’re more willing to cut yourself slack when you hurt the environment.

Call it the Al Gore’s Giant Fraggin’ Mansion Effect.

According to a new study in Psychological Science, humans engage in a process called “moral self-regulation.” Basically, we’re constantly calculating the trade-off between being able to see ourselves as good people and the cost of engaging in all that non-advantageous goodness.

You might expect that being prompted (primed) to think of yourself as a good person would make you more altruistic or moral — but, in fact, the exact opposite appears to be the case. Primed to think about what a good person you are, your most likely reaction is to think you’ve paid your morality dues and go on about your business.

The researchers tested it this way, as recounted by Neuronarrative:

In the first experiment, participants were asked to write a self-relevant story using words that referred to either their positive or negative traits.  After finishing, they were told that the research lab was interested in supporting social awareness and usually asks participants if they would like to make a small donation to the charity of their choice. Participants were told they could write down the charity and the amount they wanted to donate (note, they were not aware of any link between the story they wrote and the charity donation).  The result: participants who used positive words about themselves in their stories donated one fifth as much money as those who used negative words.

In a follow-up experiment, subject were asked to pay to control pollution from a manufacturing plant. As in the first experiment, those primed with positive words about themselves chose the less-altruistic option: to pollute and maximize profit. . . .

Now, I’m of the opinion that most “green” personal choices are already completely about moral vanity — their scale makes them meaningless while endowing the environmentalist with a great sense of self-worth. So, the real effect of Earth Day, I think, is for this smugness to get a significant one-day boost. Which, the research would suggest, gives the green-conscious an internal license to be total bastards in some other area of their lives.

Happy Earth Day!

Dearth Day 2009


Planet Gore is not alone in “celebrating” Lenin’s birthday and the Malthusian effort to promote poverty around the planet that coincides with it.

Over on the homepage, don’t miss Jonah Goldberg on the EPA and CO2 regulation; Mark Hemingway on Discovery’s “Planet Green”; Duncan Currie on cap-and-trade; and Wesley J. Smith on Hollywood’s burgeoning anti-humanism.

And over on the Media Blog, Kevin Williamson recalls the charming history of Earth Day’s founder:

Given that Earth Day is basically a media festival, it’s always mysterious to me that so little press attention is given to the guy who started it, Ira Einhorn:

Environmentalist Loved Planet, Murdered Girlfriend

Great headline!

And I always forget this part:

Arlen Specter, currently Pennsylvania’s senior United States Senator, was Mr. Einhorn’s attorney. He managed to get the bail set at the unheard of amount of $40,000 for the suspected murderer. Only 10 percent was needed to free him. Barbara Bronfman, heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune, paid it.

Cap-and-Trade, Dog-and-Pony


This morning I spoke on a panel on the legislative prospects for cap-and-trade kicked off by EPW chair Barbara Boxer. The California senator cited the death of a young girl in Ohio last year who developed a bacterial infection after swimming in a local body of water. Boxer blamed global warming for the presence of the pathogen — because, well, it’s never been this warm before.

I have small children, and therefore zero reservations about categorizing such abuse of individual tragedy as heartless. (Perhaps the senator believes this nonsense — which raises other, significant questions.)

As Boxer left, one lobbyist from an oil company pushing for this cap-and-trade scheme that, uh, is a shell of its former self, fawned to the senator, asking if she were frowning during the lobbyist in question’s remarks. The response? “No, I was smiling the whole time. I loved everything you said!”

Welcome to Capitol Hill. This set the tone for other lobbyists from rent-seeking industries who, when asked if a bill might pass, gushed, “We sure hope so!” Another cited the sale of CFLs as proof that customers will go green if given a choice — and as an argument for even more mandates (like the ones that help explain CFL sales), with no hesitation advancing that contradiction. Yet another offered windy remarks citing Hurricane Katrina as proof that “climate change” is here. Paging the Dimmock judge: You’re needed in Washington.

The least troubling remarks on this panel of experts (other than my own) came from the National Resources Defense Council. [Sigh.] So this is what the taxpayers face: A policymaking community thriving on cynical fairy tales, illogic, outright fabrications, and a slobbering love affair with the idea of picking your pockets in order to fund state-mandated wealth transfers to buy off the constituencies necessary to drag this scheme over the finish line.

Most of which points I made — while the august audience emitted the odor of recognition that the public will block this scheme, and were none too pleased about it. I look forward to the day the global-warming industry and their pals in Congress finally bite the bullet and try to force this on you. I have a feeling their delay arises from a shared suspicion that it will end in a way similar to the legislative anecdote with which I began my remarks: the 1993 BTU debacle.

Earth Day, 2009: The More You Know, the Less You Care


What on Earth is going on in Washington? The public believes less and less that human beings are responsible for global warming, surface temperature shows no net change in over a decade, and there’s still a bill about to be debated in the House that will require the average American in 2050 to have a “carbon footprint” no larger than it was for the average American in 1867.

The politics of global warming are becoming increasingly disconnected from the public. Day after day, hour after hour, telescreens shout, “Go Green! Go Green!” Fewer and fewer people care.

On April 19, Rasmussen Reports released a new global warming poll: 48 percent of respondents believe that observed climate changes are being “caused by planetary trends,” while 34 percent believe they are a result of human influence on the atmosphere. When Obama was sworn in, the relative numbers were 44 percent and 41 percent. Just three months ago, opinion was pretty much evenly split, and now there’s a whopping 14 percent plurality in favor of “natural causes.”

This is a change from bad to worse in the eyes of environmentalists. In January, Gallup found that, out of 20 prominent issues, Americans ranked global warming dead last in terms of importance. If the newer Rasmussen results are any guide, support has waned even further since then.

If the political class had done its homework, it would have seen this coming. The incessant hype has generated a massive political backlash. It was first documented over a year ago in the refereed journal Risk Analysis, by Paul Kellstedt and two colleagues, political scientists at Texas A&M University.

The standard thinking is called the “knowledge deficit” model. That’s academese for the notion that the poor blokes aren’t concerned about global warming because they’re just stupid and haven’t heard enough about it. Obviously no one watches television any more (CNBC’s peacock is green this week), walks outside in major urban downtowns (plastered with billboards and posters — from energy companies — urging their customers to use less of their products), or goes to the movies (The Day After Tomorrow, An Inconvenient Truth, Ice Age: The Meltdown, etc).

Actually, people still do go to the movies, and watch TV, and are assaulted every urban minute with global-warming propaganda. And, according to Kellstedt, the more people know about global warming, the less they care:

Contrary to the assumptions underlying the knowledge-deficit model, as well as the marketing of movies like Ice Age or An Inconvenient Truth, the effects of information on both concern for global warming and responsibility for it are exactly the opposite of what were expected.

Jon Gertner touched on this in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. He noted that debate as to why climate change isn’t higher up on the priority totem-pole usually is blamed on “the doubt-sowing remarks of climate-change skeptics,” or “the poor communication skills of good scientists.”

This prism has bent the light on global warming exactly wrong. In fact, it is the communication skills of scientists that are responsible for people’s opinions. Kellstedt found that people “with high confidence in scientists . . . show less concern for global warming,” as did the “more informed respondents.” Americans’ lack of alarm has less to do with “skeptics” than it does with people’s perception of mainstream science.

Interestingly, this is parallel to other issues at the science-political nexus. Despite years of campaigning against genetically modified (GM) food on the part of many environmentalists, the more people learn, the less concerned they are about that, too.

Maybe this has to do with the fact that Americans have been consuming, in one form or another, GM food for decades, and we obviously aren’t dead yet. Sober scientists note that GM foods are nutritionally indistinguishable from their progenitors — so when someone else loudly and angrily foretells disaster upon disaster that will befall us from the use of GM products, people say “so what?” And when they see some movie about the horrors of global warming — if they know that scientists observe that the planet’s surface has been warming episodically and modestly for a century — they likewise say, “So what? It’s a movie.”

Washington would be well-advised to pay attention to what folks are telling pollsters out beyond the Beltway.

But it’s Earth Day, so I expect the response of the political class here will likewise be, “So what?”

– Patrick J. Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and author of the forthcoming Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know.

Obama Heads to Iowa for Earth Day . . .


. . . using a not-very-emissions-friendly mode of transportation. Maybe a teleconference would have been better — today of all days?

John Tierney’s Earth Day Predictions


From yesterday’s New York Times:

1. There will be no green revolution in energy or anything else. No leader or law or treaty will radically change the energy sources for people and industries in the United States or other countries. No recession or depression will make a lasting change in consumers’ passions to use energy, make money and buy new technology — and that, believe it or not, is good news, because . . .

2. The richer everyone gets, the greener the planet will be in the long run.

Happy Earth Day From Best Buy


For those of you on Facebook, here is Best Buy’s status update:

Best Buy

Happy Earth Day. Check out our new application and take the Greener Together pledge. And let us know what ways you have to help improve our environment.15 minutes ago

If global warming really is the crisis the alarmists say it is, then nearly all manufacturing must stop and I doubt Best Buy really wants people to start thinking about the economic impact of their purchase.

If you really want to save the environment, Best Buy customers, put off buying new stuff until your old stuff is unusable. Let’s see if Best Buy is ready to offer that pledge. 

Earth Day Blues, Continued


The Wall Street Journal’s Keith Johnson writes: “Today, just in time for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the House will start a marathon parade of 54 witnesses over four days to talk about climate and energy, culminating with an inevitable Friday appearance by former vice president Al Gore. Will anyone be listening?”

I hope so. I’m one of the 54 witnesses. Diary to follow (if it is interesting).

I Feel for the French


A company with rather sensitive security concerns spies on a group because that group is dedicated to disrupting their operations. Besides the ritual criminality of these disruptions, that group also happens to use similar tactics to spy on others who they don’t like or who don’t agree with them.

So I’m shocked (shocked!) that nuclear plant operators EDF would spy on Greenpeace. If Greenpeace (with its own record of spying, as I and a former White House aide, among others, have learned firsthand — and of dishonestly combining and otherwise lying about the things they pulled from our trash) fiegns outrage, why, I’d suggest we stop taking them seriously.

Ok. It’s well past that time, on a substantive level.

Though it seems EDF went a little far, if it didn’t at least try to anticipate attacks from its antagonists we really should be concerned.

Stick to the Facts


My Earth Day contribution to the Washington Examiner:

This year’s official Earth Day poster depicts a polar bear climbing a wind turbine that sits atop a sheet of ice floating at sea.  A catchy picture, to be sure, but hyperbole will not advance energy-policy discussions — especially when environmental goals must be balanced with the need to cope with a recession and rising unemployment. 

To ensure continued access to the reliable, affordable energy that is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy, policies must be rooted in facts and realities, not myths and pipedreams.

Unfortunately, results from a new survey conducted for the Manhattan Institute by Zogby Associates illustrate that a majority of Americans’ ideas on energy and the environment are not based in fact.  For example, 49% of respondents believe Saudi Arabia exports the most oil to the U.S., while just 13% correctly identified Canada as our top foreign supplier. 

Over two-thirds believe that we can meet future energy demand through conservation and efficiency — but energy usage has historically increased alongside efficiency gains, and conservation provides only marginal consumption reductions. 

Environmentalists tout wind and solar power, but collectively these sources generate less than 1% of our electricity. They are significantly more costly than their conventional counterparts – coal and oil – and provide power too intermittently to be added to our electric grid in large volumes. 

Still, over 49% believe renewable energies will soon replace conventional power sources, even while the Energy Information Administration projects that 85% of our electricity in 2030 will be generated by fossil fuels and uranium. 

No new nuclear reactor has been built in the U.S. in three decades, though 104 nuclear-power plants safely produce one-fifth of our nation’s electricity — with virtually zero carbon-dioxide emissions. No one has ever died from the actual production of U.S. nuclear power, a fact known by just 37% of respondents.

We’re warned that catastrophes might result from global warming unless we reduce our carbon footprint, though very little of the carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere is caused by human activities. Yet 63% of respondents believe human activities are the greatest source of greenhouse gases. 

Moreover, we don’t know how, if at all, actions to reduce emissions will benefit the global climate, particularly since projections show our future emissions will be dwarfed by developing nations, namely China. All we do know is that any such carbon-reduction plans will come with a hefty price tag. 

Finally, we’re told we need to become energy independent, but vast areas of our natural-resource rich public lands and offshore waters are off-limits to extraction. We’re blessed with tremendous reserves of coal and uranium, yet coal and nuclear power are taboo. Ninety-one percent of our electricity is generated by fossil fuels and uranium, but instead of continuing to extract such resources safely, we put our hopes in alternative energies and fuels that are economically and technologically incapable of meeting large-scale energy needs. 

From the largest corporations to lone consumers, higher energy costs affect everyone, ultimately raising the prices of other goods and services. Nonetheless, the Obama administration has made it clear that achieving its environmental goals will, by necessity, make energy more expensive.  

It plans to spend of billions of taxpayer dollars to try to alter the global climate, prop up fledgling renewable energies and alternative fuels, and artificially create subsidized “green” jobs — while shunning the very resources that have successfully powered our economy and our standard of living.  The more prudent path is to pursue new resources and technologies that might one day make meaningful contributions to our energy supply — while not turning our backs on what sustains us. 

 A fact-based, energy reality check is a good place to start meeting our needs today and planning for tomorrow.

– Drew Thornley is the author of the new report, Energy & the Environment: Myths & Facts, published by the Manhattan Institute.

Engineer Schwarzenegger, Day Two


Detroit, Mich. — The weather here and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the main pre-occuations during the second day of the Society of Auto Engineers annual convention, themed “The Race to Green Mobility.”

In January, the organizers of Detroit’s International Auto Show wrapped their event in green to impress Washington that they were serious about tackling global warming. Outside, temperatures hit a bone-chilling 12 degrees below zero. This week, the SAE has also preened green, inviting enviro-governors Jennifer Granholm and Schwarzenegger to the podium, while trumpeting its commitment to save the planet. Outside, spring temperatures dropped into the 30s and the sky hailed buckets.

If no one wanted to talk about the inconvenient weather, everyone was still buzzing about Schwarzenegger, who had jetted into Motown yesterday (on a plane guzzling 500 gallons of fuel an hour) to complain about Detroit gas-guzzlers.

In an interview with the Detroit News published today, the Governator — a collector of big SUVs and fast sports cars — said that “we should not villainize SUVs or villainize the Hummers or villainize the big cars, but we should villainize the old technology (gas-powered engines).” This from a governor who has refused to send a price signal to consumers by heavily taxing gasoline, but has instead villainized automakers by trying to impose a 42-mpg fuel-efficiency mandate.

Schwarzenegger’s staff was reluctant to say how the governor got around Detroit during his stay (though you can bet if he was driving a hybrid we would have known about it) but did disclose that his ride was a “flex-fuel Ford.” The only flex-fuel (ethanol-capable) vehicles Ford makes are its giant Expedition, Navigator, or F150 trucks, and its big Lincoln Town Car sedan — all solid sellers before $4-a-gallon gas and the current economic downturn.

Yet, in his News interview, Schwarzenegger insisted that “Detroit was asleep at the wheel” for producing these “status quo” vehicles. In fact, Schwarzenegger’s summation of the auto in America is representative of how spoiled Californians have become about the affordable, individual-transportation revolution Henry Ford introduced 100 years ago.

“For a century, Detroit has produced the most powerful cars,” he said. “But we now know this technology has made our world a more polluted world. The next 100 years should be about cleaning.”

Move over automakers. Sacramento pols have this auto thing all figured out.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Hypocrites


Remember when Harrison Ford pulled that stunt of getting his chest hair waxed for the sake of the environment?

Well, the erstwhile smooth-chested spokesman for the rainforest has a new gig. He’s pimping for the CO2-spewing, environment-killing, private jet and airplane industry. New York Post:

In a role that could be tougher than proving his innocence in the film “The Fugitive,” actor and avid pilot Harrison Ford is trying to convince a fed-up public that small planes aren’t “jets for rich people.”

Ford is starring in a new campaign touting the economic benefits of general aviation, a category that includes private jets, corporate planes, aerobatic aircraft, historic airplanes and helicopters.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, with about 415,000 members, is kicking off a campaign to combat negative perceptions of the industry, the threat of higher fees and stricter security measures.

The group said general aviation pumps $150 billion into the economy every year and employs 1.2 million people.

Maybe Obama will give Harrison Ford a billion dollars to develop a plug-in hybrid aerobatic aircraft?

Imagine if Rush Had Said This


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls Obama “An ‘Indentured Servant’ of the Coal Industry.”

I have long wondered whether little Bobby actually kicked his youthful drug addiction. I’ll look forward to other environmentalists disavowing him.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The ABC News headline that prompted this post was a misleading conflation of Robert F. Kennedy quotes.

Kennedy called politicians who support coal “indentured servants of the coal industry” on September 10, 2005; July 7, 2007; December 12, 2008; and January 30, 2009.

Kennedy called Obama “a very sensible [politician]” and a “great [man],” who nonetheless “[feels] the need to parrot the talking points of this industry that is so destructive to our country.”

We regret the repetition of ABC’s error.


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