Monthly Archives: April 2006


Some dumb questions:

Q: Who is the U.S. fighting in Iraq?

A: People who want the U.S. to leave.

Q: And so what will happen when we win, and have defeated all the people who want us to leave?

A: We will leave.

Or will we?

Given the construction of the huge embassy complex in Baghdad, and the ‘temporary’ military bases, and Bush’s comment that the next president would still be dealing with Iraq, I can only conclude that the U.S. plans to have a big presence there for many years. We may draw down some troops (and perhaps replace them with private security forces), but it’s now the US outpost in the Middle East, to keep an eye on the oil of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia.

Goodbye to Jane Jacobs

I note that Jane Jacobs passed away at age 89.  NYT obituary here.  Her books on cities and economies have many great observations that still inspire fresh thinking.  The Death and Life of Great American Cities is deservedly a must-read classic.

Kunstler says we're up to 'bargaining'

Good post from James Kunstler called ‘Desperation’ – on the peak oil situation:

Events seem to have dragged us kicking and screaming beyond the sheer denial stage, since this is now the second time in six months that oil and gasoline prices have ratcheted wildly up. Something is happening, Mr. Jones, and now we want to talk our way out of it.

Michael Klare in Portland, 21-April-2006

Fourth event of the Illahee Oil + Water lecture series last night, with Michael Klare, an expert on war and defense issues.

Klare laid out a four point argument for why oil is a particularly dangerous resource at this time.

1. The economics of oil – it provides 40% of US energy and 75% of transportation energy. Cheap oil is the basis of American resource-intensive ‘culture’.

2. Geology – the remaining sources of ‘easy’ oil are going to peak, sooner or slightly later. The alternative sources are costly to extract and require much more processing.

3. Geographic – the countries with easy oil are unstable and undemocratic, are all distant from the US, and increasingly risky.

4. Geo-political – Iraq was created by the British after WWI as an oil-producing state, and the US is now attempting to hold it together for the same reason. The US is hated in Iran for having installed the Shah, who jailed and tortured members of the Shiite clergy. The US has an ‘unholy alliance’ with the House of Saud. All this appears to mean that the US Armed Forces have been turned into an oil protection service.

Klare denounced the Cheney energy plan as one that uses public funds to subsidize ‘big oil’ as they attempt to find additional sources, and it ignores any action on developing alternatives for twenty years. By that time he feels the oil crisis will be so far along that the lack of investment in alternatives will spell doom for the future generation.

His recommendation was to develop non-partisan appeals that go beyond the logic of ‘peak oil’ and hit on American patriotism and care for the future generation to start taking action. He believes that America is now quite ready for leadership on this issue.

As he put it, the existential crisis question is whether America will fight to the bitter end for its current ‘lifestyle’ (literally sending its young to war around the world), or if it can shift to a lower resource-use position. We shall see…

Langford & Timms @ Towne Lounge, 14-APR-2006

Gold Brick CD

Yes, Jon Langford and Sally Timms made a visit in Portland last night, playing the Towne Lounge to a small but lively crowd. Sallie stuck to simple country and western numbers, along with “Wild and Blue”. Witty banter, of course. A local act, Tara Jane ONeil, played a subdued set in the middle, which didn’t fit so well with the more exuberant headliner.

Langford opened with “Lost in America” from his new CD, and played a strong set that was tighter and more focused than I’ve come to expect. Nice show! He’s also got a book out that collects his art, called Nashville Radio.

Alley Cats

A nice set of photos from December, 1965 is up at Julie Baker Fine Art and a story on the photos is at SFGate.

Old Computer Graphics

I’ve posted some work I did back in 1987-88, back in the ‘stone ages’ of computer graphics…

Andy, 1987