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Thursday links

Deadlining this week as well as doing my small bit to get The Zelman Partisans ready for its next big step (look for it mid-April, Lord willing and the crick don’t rise). So blogging is a bit slow. But got some links for ya …

  • Missed an important anniversary in the history of government on Monday: passage of the Enabling Act. March 23, 1933.
  • Personally, I think if they can’t afford to pay for their own first-class travel, the whole scurvy bunch of ’em ought to just hitchhike and stay in hostels. And what the heck is a “first lady,” anyhow, and why should any sane human being want one? She wouldn’t be worth it even if she cost only $1.98 in upkeep.
  • One more reason not to live in California: the Obamacare of energy policies.
  • Fabulous opening line: “It’s spring, and just as the appearance of shoots and buds makes you optimistic that winter is departing, so too are there signs around the country that make you optimistic that our leviathan state is, if not departing, at least starting to retreat.” New Mexico abolishes asset forfeiture without criminal conviction.
  • The .sucks domain is almost here — and its price structure makes it look like a very clever shakedown scheme.
  • “We were wolves once …
  • … and maybe some of us still are. (H/T jed from comments)


  1. Bear
    Bear March 26, 2015 6:04 am

    Don’t recall if you covered this, also related to California: California Farmers Are Selling Water To The State Instead Of Growing Crops. And they’re proudly trumpeting that they are the first state to render a full five percent of their power generation unrealible, subject to the whims of clouds and dust… during the half of a day when it works at all.

    No more food, crappy power, no more housing, no more A/C (in SoCal?!). Gee, maybe they finally realized that it’s a freaking desert unfit for large-scale human habitation and are deliberately driving people out. For their own good, of course.

    I left California almost 33 years ago, and except for one time that I accidentally, briefly crossed the state line in 2001, I haven’t been back since. For a reason.

  2. Claire
    Claire March 26, 2015 7:30 am

    Hahahaha, s. “Palimpsest.” Oh my. I try to picture my dogs’ thinking and the most complicated concepts I can come up with are “food” and “ball.”

  3. Laird
    Laird March 26, 2015 9:22 am

    I like SMBC. Not sure how I missed that one, but it’s good and also thought-provoking. “For blood cannot be covered by ink. Ink was used in times of ease. When scarcity returns perhaps blood will follow.” I’m going to have to ponder that.

    As to FLOTUS’s travel expenses, that’s what happens when trailer trash wins the lottery. Conspicuous consumption of unearned wealth.

  4. Fred
    Fred March 26, 2015 10:35 am

    Really? What blackouts in Calif? Really,no food? No housing? No water?

    I must have missed that memo.As for reliable,the most reliable power producer on Cali’s grid is ….SOLAR,at Kramer Junction.Did they all work,no…a few NEW TECHNOLOGIES didnt pan out,many have.Very reliable power.

    Is there a drought?Yes.Have we had them before YES,and worse!
    Did infrastructure keep up with population,no.

    Are politicians EVERYWHERE stupid? YES.Case in point,approving an 80 billion dollar train to nowhere when the less sexy choice,DESALINATION plants for survival,arent here…..yes,I see stupidity as rampant.

  5. Fred
    Fred March 26, 2015 10:43 am

    Oh PUHLEEZE!!!! You quote Fortune as a source on renewable energy,they anti anything but fossil,oil and big bidniz ????

    I’ll go with Germany,who somehow is managing the best economy in Europe with 18% of power from ‘unreliable’ solar and wind.

  6. Claire
    Claire March 26, 2015 11:45 am

    Fred, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but wouldja mind taking a deep breath before you post? No need to spike the blood pressure over a little disagreement, okay?

  7. Bear
    Bear March 26, 2015 12:28 pm

    Fred, please check your med levels.

    I was referring to what SoCal is setting itself up for in the future, by diverting water from food production and making new inhabitable housing unaffordable (when one can get the permits at all). But…

    Blackouts: U.S.
    Rolling Blackouts Hit California Again

    Reliable solar: In this reality, the sun only shines an average of half of a 24 hour day. Clouds, dust, dirty panels, worn storage batteries all degrade the power supply further.

    Drought: Chill, dude. I didn’t say anything specific about droughts past or present. I merely pointed out that SoCal is largely a desert, and …

    Infrastructure : Population: was exactly my point. So what the heck is yours?

    Fortune/Big Oil: I’m sorry that the rolling blackouts apparently prevented you reading that Fortune “anti-anything but fossil fuels” article which, oddly, was glowingly approving of California’s supposed solar strides. Funny thing, “big bidniz” is who makes those expensive renewable power systems of which you seem approve because they aren’t “big bidniz”. There are several trials underway for new schizophrenia treatments; have you considered trying to get into one of those programs?

    Until you get your condition under control, could you give me a list of Fred-approved new sources so I won’t tip over your unstable mental state with scary Conspiracist-Condemned sources?

  8. Bear
    Bear March 26, 2015 12:42 pm

    Oh, heck. I’ll even address the German renewables success story. It. Ain’t.
    They’re restructuring because it hasn’t worked yet. Even the new, guaranteed-it’ll-work-this-time plan proposes to subsidize each renewables generator for anything above market rate power costs. (Which they’ve been doing already, but still see rising consumer prices, besides increased taxes to subsidize subsidies.

    That article also doesn’t really get into another issue with German renewable power: Co-generation. Wind, particularly, is so unreliable that each wind farm requires a backup co-gen fossil-fueled plant to maintain grid supply. It’s not unusual for the “backup” co-gen to run 24/7.

    I’ll need to find the piece I wrote on it but: I did some research a while back on power production efficiency, spurred by claims for one of the big bird-incinerator solar concentrators. What I discovered was that the greenweenie efficiency claims for the plant (which only rated it for daylight operation, discounting that it’s inoperable half the time) were lower than the new gas-fired plant being built in Germany, which also will produced more power than the bird-burner. Funny that.

  9. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty March 26, 2015 12:55 pm

    I still have friends and family in So. Calif. Their problems go far, far beyond energy production of any sort, but I can relate one family member’s problems directly associated with it. He has sole custody of two minor children. He can’t find much work (many, many problems related, but…) He therefore can’t afford the electricity needed to run his air conditioner – needed a good part of the year. The court says that he must run the A/C, or they will take the children from him. Nobody would be happy if he didn’t pay the electric bill… and he’d lose both the electricity and the children in that case anyway. He’d move to Wyoming, but of course the court isn’t having any of that nonsense either. Catch 22…

    So, the method of energy generation quite aside – California is truly the land of fruits and nuts. And some people simply can’t even leave.

  10. Claire
    Claire March 26, 2015 1:10 pm

    Um … Bear, good info, thank you. But please cool it on the getting personal part. Both of you. Okay? This could be an interesting discussion without that.

  11. Bear
    Bear March 26, 2015 2:13 pm

    Let’s talk about “Kramer Junction”. That’s part of the SEGS network, for a grand total power estimate of 354 MW, at an estimated efficiency of 21% (in fairness, the inefficientNREL rates elements of the SEGS as high as 35.6%. 1,600 acres. 14 cents per kilowatt hour (significantly higher than the US average residential rate — the highest — of 12.15 cents). Works only in daylight. Subject to oil spills and fires.

    While I can’t find the combined data, apparently just one 30 MW Kramer Junction site cost $90 million to build, and $3 million per year to operate. If that’s typical, then SEGS cost around $810 million to build.

    Let’s look at just Unit 5 of the Irsching Power Station in your gloriously renewable Germany, “consisting of two smaller gas turbines and one steam turbine. This unit has capacity of 860 MW of electricity with an efficiency of 58%.“(emphasis added-cb) It can run 24/7. Produces essential plant food as a byproduct.

    Irsching 5 cost @ €450 million ($490 million), but can produce more than twice that of all of the SEGS combined.

    Then there’s the bird incinerator I mentioned previously,the Ivanpah heliostat facility. Rated at 28.72% gross efficiency. Works only in daylight. Kills birds. Blinds pilots.

  12. jed
    jed March 26, 2015 4:42 pm

    I’m going to make some popcorn for this one.

    One thing I’m looking at for my amateur radio hobby is photo-voltaic power. Haven’t figured out all the details, but as part of being prepared to keep on keepin’ on even if the power is out, it’s attractive. Cost keeps coming down too. Worst part is trying to figure out watt-hours for wildly intermittent loads. Which has nothing to do with California, or replacing fossil fuel generation or hydropower. (Well, tangentially, I suppose.)

    I’d go to California on vacation. Wouldn’t ever live there. Haven’t been there for years and years, and never on vacation.

    Oh, what the heck:
    That’s actually more enthusiasm than I can generate for the 1st Harridan’s travel budget. #STOPWASTINGMYMONEY

  13. Bear
    Bear March 26, 2015 5:32 pm

    Hey, jed,,

    “One thing I’m looking at for my amateur radio hobby is photo-voltaic power. “

    Now that’s what phovoltaic is good for: off-grid (and emergency) power. I’ve got a little 15W home-built solar powere box just for that sort of thing. Obviously, I don’t power stuff directly from the PVC; I have a batterry to store and dispence accumulated energy.

    But until someone invents an affordable industrial grid-scale battery system, Wind/Solar have no business tying intothe grid.*

    * I’ll make a theoretical exception to that: Everyhouse, store, factory, etc across all time zones and regions have enough “renewable” production to provide most of their local requirements, with the load and capacitu shared out across the continent. We aren’t there yet. If ever.

  14. Fred
    Fred March 26, 2015 5:45 pm

    Im done.Hasta.

  15. Fred
    Fred March 26, 2015 5:51 pm

    Bear,thanks for being such a jerk,appreciated.I’ll post elsewhere and save the hate posts for someone else,eh?

  16. Scott
    Scott March 27, 2015 9:29 am

    I agree with MamaLiberty, I have friends in SoCal, and their issues are legion, far beyond just energy costs. Apparently, finding a full-time job out there is like finding gold-one guy has had nothing but temp jobs for several years now, and gets by only just barely…with a lot of help from family and friends.
    Solar is great for small-scale , emergency, or as an assist. I kept my old Walkman charged off a small solar panel for several years, and still use it on occasion to charge batteries. The panel itself is approaching 30 years old. I charged my scooter’s battery with it as an experiment-took 3 days( I can kickstart the scooter-electric start optional).
    The panel is 12 volts @600ma. Or thereabouts. I’ve charged my “jumpbox” with it, as well( one of those battery-in-a-box emergency jumpstarter gizmos)-took about the same amount of time.
    Solar has its place, but it’s not the magic solution.

  17. LarryA
    LarryA March 27, 2015 10:11 pm

    I listened in on a discussion by recent college grads. One of them, who was born in California, was asked if she would go back.

    “Moving to California for a job is like taking a year-long vacation on Carnival.”

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