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February 01, 2006

State of the Union, 2006

Wow, what a great speech the President gave last night! This was my favorite part:

Vacuous niceties. Freedom. Lies lies lies. Strength. Spin spin spin. Freedom on the march. Empty platitudes. Hope. Peace. Liberty. Spin. Freedom, and still more empty platitudes.

Brilliant, don't you think?

But don't listen to me. Many others are saying it better:

And hey, if you're “talkin' with al Qaeda, we want to know about it,” mmm-kay?

Damn! I just feel so much safer and more hopeful, don't you!?

Posted February 1, 2006 09:14 AM | general politics

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I didn't see the speech, so I can't speak to the whole thing, but, I was actually kind of surprised and refreshed that he emphasised our dependance on foreign oil and said we need to reduce our dependence by 75%. Now, will this administration actually do anything about it? I'd be surprised. But even saying it was more than I've given Bush credit for.

Posted by: Unreasonable Man at February 1, 2006 10:36 AM

you forgot the "fear", "9/11" (about 1.30 in), "brown people", and "big business".

Posted by: jose at February 1, 2006 11:31 AM

Dude, how could you leave out "human-animal hybrids." Human. Animal. Hybrids.

Posted by: gr at February 1, 2006 01:06 PM

Unreasonable: True, but last year he promised to push for hydrogen-fueled cars, etc. that would have reduced our dependence on foreign oil by 75% and what has come of that? As others have pointed out, the only time we have really cut oil consumption in this country was in the late 70s when we raised fuel efficiency standards for cars. We could do that again pretty easily at this point, but is that even on the table? Nope. Bush said lots of good-sounding things, but as usual, they were empty promises. What's that old saying? Fool me once...? ;-)

Jose and Luminous: Yeah, my bad. I was so bowled over by all the empty platitudes I obviously missed the best parts.

Posted by: ambimb at February 1, 2006 01:26 PM

Unreasonable: Sorry about that. I don't think anyone ever said hydrogen cars would reduce anything by any particular percentage; that was just a typo on my par, but the point was that the SOTU is always a bunch of hot air....

Posted by: ambimb at February 1, 2006 01:29 PM

I agree that its all hot air... especially this one (since its in a mid-term election year where POTUS has been taking a political beating), but it has never seemed to be this POTUS's style to even talk about things that are so clearly against his own personal beliefs (what with his ties to Saudi oil, and TX oil, he would probably love if we stayed dependant on oil). That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: Unreasonable Man at February 1, 2006 03:03 PM

Human . Animal. Hybrids. ;-)

Posted by: ambimb at February 2, 2006 08:44 AM

As others have pointed out, the only time we have really cut oil consumption in this country was in the late 70s when we raised fuel efficiency standards for cars.

Assuming you're implying causation in the sentence above, isn't that a bit rich? The CAFE standards weren't the primary impetus behind a drop in oil consumption: two large oil shocks were. (Oil consumption will decline with a considerable lag after an oil shock, because corporations and individuals won't replace capital equipment unless the higher prices look to be relatively sustainable.)

Now if what you're saying is that the country needs a really good oil shock... ;)

Posted by: A. Rickey at February 2, 2006 11:25 AM

Unreasonable Man: well, the way to reduce dependence on foreign oil is to have more here by drilling in ANWR. you're assuming he means "reduce dependence on oil," when bush really meant "reduce dependence on foreign" countries.

Posted by: monica at February 2, 2006 01:21 PM

Actually, according to the gov't Energy Information Agency, there's been no decline in the transportation sector's consumption of "Motor gasoline" since the start of their records in 1949. Check out the graph (in the lower left hand corner) of consumption here (This link leads to a pdf. You can find the actual numbers here). The graph interestingly shows a drop in consumption in 1978, the year that CAFE mileage standards went into effect for passenger cars. This had the effect of reducing a sharp upward trend in consumption that had begun around 1965. But overall, consumption continues to rise steadily, due no doubt to an increase in the number of vehicles on the road.

It's even more disgusting to look at the margin (the difference between acquisition costs and the sale price to wholesalers, essentially a measure of profit) changes. Since 1999, the composite margin has doubled from 18.9 cents a gallon to 36.7 (est.) in 2004 (the numbers are here. Margin numbers are at the bottom). For gas alone, that margin was 40.8 cents!!! (Thanks Dudya!!). Despite record profits and the shrub in chief's expenditure of hot air, most investment in refining capacity is happening overseas (see this article for a quick overview) meaning we won't have any choice to but to remain dependent on foreign sources. This is to say nothing of the fact that extracting oil, which US oil companies tend to spend about three times as much on as refineries, is about three to four times more profitable than refining.

SO yeah, the oil companies, in collusion with Cheney, et. al., are manufacturing a situation in which higher oil prices will be sustainable. Screw the invisible hand and/or oil shocks. It's all about friends who can craft the geopolitical situation so as to make it worth yer interest.

Posted by: Famous P. at February 3, 2006 11:09 AM

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