Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The End of Oil Tyranny

Honda’s first commercial fuel cell powered cars rolled off the production line in Japan yesterday. The Honda FCX Clarity goes from 0 to 60 in about 9 seconds. The car can travel up to 280 miles per “fill up”. It can reach speeds of 100 miles per hour. It’s a good looking car and an engineering marvel.

Fuel cells generate power by producing an electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to convert chemical energy into electrical energy that powers the car. Fuel cells don’t pollute. The only thing that comes out of the tailpipe is water.

Honda has sold the first few hydrogen cars to some Hollywood celebrities, including Jamie Lee Curtis.

General Motors has also been testing fuel cell versions of the Chevy Equinox for a couple of months.

Unfortunately, the cars are only available in limited markets – the Honda in the Los Angeles area and the GM in New York City and Los Angeles. One reason is that there aren’t many hydrogen refueling stations.

Honda and GM are ready to launch home hydrogen refueling stations to help bootstrap the market. Honda’s home refueling station will operate on natural gas, while GM’s will work off of electricity and solar power.

BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and most of the other major car companies have fuel cell vehicles under development. Honda and GM are out in front of the market.

We are witnessing the end of the energy control that the Arab Sheiks, Latin Dictators, and Russian Mafia have over the world.

It will take time, but how cool is that?

Monday, June 16, 2008

John McCain and the American Gulag

Last week the United States Supreme Court upheld the writ of Habeas Corpus. John McCain responded by saying that: the Supreme Court decision protecting habeas corpus "is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country."


What is the writ of habeas corpus anyway? Basically, it's the right not to be arbitrarily incarcerated by the government without being charged with a crime by a lawful authority. Article One of the United States Constitution explicitly upholds this right.

The writ of habeas corpus is even much older than the Constitution. It was first codified into law in England by the Maga Carta in 1215.

In old Soviet Union, and many other countries in the world, the government could imprison you, and hold you indefinitely without charge for as long as they wanted. John McCain apparently thinks that jailing you without cause is a wonderful idea. Now he is angry that the Supreme Court won't throw away over 200 years of American law and almost 800 years of Western Civilization.

Just what country do you think you are living in Mr. McCain?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

John McCain: Space Cadet

This week brought us an incredible amount of bad news that bodes ill for our future, as well as John McCain’s bid for the White House.

Oil prices made their largest single day increase ever on Friday, surging nearly $11 a barrel to $139. This was after an increase of $5.50 the day before. The unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent in May from 5 percent -- the largest monthly increase in 22 years. The Dow Jones industrials declined nearly 400 points, the biggest drop in more than 15 months. The already weak dollar plunged against the Euro and gold prices registered their largest increase in six months. Russian President Dimitry Medvedev warned that the world may be headed for the worst economic decline since the Great Depression.

If this wasn't bad enough, an Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said that his country will attack Iran if it doesn't abandon its nuclear program. In addition, Israeli paper Ha'aretz reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Washington trying to convince Bush to set aside our own intelligence estimate that Iran halted its nuclear program in 2003. Instead, he wants Bush to use the data presented by Israel, which says that Iran is still actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability. Daniel Pipes, who is a neo-con political commentator, told the National Review that if Obama is elected, George Bush will attack Iran in the remaining weeks of his presidency.

What was John McCain’s response to all of this great news? Well, he wrapped up the week by telling a town hall meeting in Florida that he wants to send a man to Mars to "inspire" the American public, as they were inspired when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969.

I’m sorry Mr. McCain, but dredging up a stale idea from the 1960s in a sad attempt to pretend that you have some vision is not going to fill our gas tanks, prevent Americans from dying in yet another senseless war, or put you in the White House.

Friday, June 6, 2008

McCain and Obama: Environmental Twins

John McCain’s endorsement of the Eurocrat “cap and trade” system for limiting carbon emissions demonstrates once again that the GOP has virtually become the Democratic Party. Of course, this isn’t the first time McCain has promoted this idea. In 2003, McCain and his good buddy Joe Lieberman introduced a “cap and trade” bill in Congress.

Europe’s experience with “cap and trade” demonstrates that it doesn’t work. Electricity costs have skyrocketed. Due to the lobbying of politically connected companies, most European countries participating in the program have higher carbon emissions today than they did when the treaty was enacted in 1997.

“Cap and trade” does little to help the environment and costs too much. Its only purpose is to further politicize the economy.

In the meantime, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are pouring money and resources into solar energy technologies. New companies are springing up. Established companies are retooling to provide solar cells in addition to microchips. For the first time in years, high tech factories are being built in Silicon Valley.

The price of solar electricity is still a bit high, but it’s becoming more competitive. Electricity prices in the U.S. range between 5 and 18 cents per kilowatt hour. Abengoa Solar is building a 280-megawatt solar plant in Arizona that will produce electricity at 15 cents per kilowatt hour. The hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in solar technologies in Silicon Valley will ensure progress towards making solar energy competitive to conventional sources of electricity.

Solar energy requires a lot of sun. Nevada is one of the sunniest states in the nation. It’s also the seventh largest state in the country, covering 110,567 square miles. The federal government owns 86% of it.

Here’s a modest proposal for Bob Barr to differentiate himself from his rivals – auction off a portion of federal land in Nevada to companies who will use it to build solar farms. Couple this with a tax holiday for companies that generate clean electricity. This will do a lot more to reduce carbon emissions than the bureaucratic schemes of the McCain-Obama twins.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bob Barr Democrats

It looks like Barack Obama has won the Democratic nomination. Congratulations to him. My guess is that he is going to be the next President. Not because he’s so great. Rather because George Bush has ruined the party that Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, Dick Armey, and others tried to build.

Obama has a big challenge ahead, namely that white, blue collar voters in the industrial Midwest don’t seem to be inclined to vote for him. The big question for Bob Barr is how he turns these “Hillary Democrats” into Barr voters.

One thing that Barr should propose is to bring our troops home to save our manufacturing base. The U.S. spends countless billions of dollars every year stationing troops in Japan and South Korea. These countries respond by doing everything they can to put GM, Ford, and Chrysler out of business. They are able to compete effectively because their total tax burden is significantly smaller than ours, in part because we are subsidizing their military defense. We need to end the huge defense subsidy that American taxpayers are shelling out to over to 130 countries around the world and then use the savings to cut taxes to help make us more competitive.

We know why McCain won't propose this – he is admittedly clueless about the economy and he is too vested in his antiquated Cold War view of the world to make any real change. I do find it very odd that Obama won't talk about this either. Perhaps his elitist disposition makes him too tone deaf to the plight of blue collar Americans to care.

This gives Barr an opportunity to win over a lot of folks who voted for Hillary in the primary, while upholding our American libertarian values at the same time.