Monday, March 27

Petro- Politics and War

Borah Symposium Blogging Part I

Professor Michael T. Klare gave a speech about Oil, its problems, and the potential for conflict that is more and more inevitable every day. His speech was part of the Borah Foundation's Annual Symposium (Founded for Senator Borah), where topics outlining war and peace are discussed. This year, the topic is "Resource Wars," the first of which was Professor Klare's speech.

Oil is finite. We have consumed half of the oil we know this Earth has. Those 2 Trillion some barrels of Oil is all that we know of, and any debate about more is beside the point: We will be out of it around 2040. The miniscule amounts in debate may extend its viability for months, and "undescovered fields" significant enough to provide more are increasingly becoming more of a dream than reality. Here's the kicker: Most of that 1 Trillion we've comsumed have been burned off in the last 30 years. We are addicted to Oil.

And it isn't just the United States. No, the rest of the industrialized world is vulnerable to its loss as well. More dire, however, is the rise of China and India as consumers of Oil. by 2030, China's gross consumption of Oil will match that of the US, furthering the inevitable crisis over oil. And if the bleak picture is still too rosey for you, think of this: The last areas of significant oil reserves are in hostile nations. Think Iran, Iraq, Western Africa, the Caspian Sea nations, South and East Chinese seas. These areas are either directly hostile to the US and/or rife with their own internal ethno- religious tensions. There should be no doubt that the 21st century is going to be the century of conflict over resources. As man continues to expand, competition for oil, water, agricultural land, and just basic living spaces will increase.

Think I'm kidding? China has laid claim to the seas around it in direct contention with the Phillipines and Japan (Both of which the US is bound through treaties to defend). Both China and the US are jockeying for control and support in the Caspian Sea region. The west coast of Africa is fast becoming an oil rich region (God, it seems, it not without a sense of humor). That is to say nothing of the Middle East. The great powers are entering regions and starting to support nations in an eerily similar way to the Balkans certa 1900's- 1914. One of Prof. Klare's points was that war, once it comes, will be a mirror spark of confict as was the assassination of Arch- Duke Ferdinand. The major nations won't choose war with each other. Rather, it will be through treaty obligations that we will once again engage in a World War.

So what is the big idea of this? We can avoid these wars. It's "simply" a matter of kicking out Oil habit. Our leaders need to sit down and really focus on this (And no, W's foray's into alternative energy don't count. They're a drop in the bucket of the necessary funds to really turn things around). Alternative energy needs to become mainstream energy. We that are on top of the World need to look at our lives and reduce our use of energy and resources so that there's some for others to use. There's no more dreaming or questioning about it: It has come to either we change our ways, or we go to war.

Thursday, March 23

We Are The Cooler Generation

That's the feeling I get after going over this survey from the New Politics Institute (God it feels good to link to a Progressive Think Tank). According to the survey, the "Millennial Generation", aged 13-28, holds more liberal views than those of Generation X or the Baby boomers. I was particularly pleased with the showing of "Trasitional Millennials" (18-22, and yours truely) and "Cusp Millennials" (19-23):

Transitional Millennials (18-22 years old) and Cusp Millennials (23-28 years old) started their political awareness during the Clinton years. While their political identifications are still not fully formed, the greatest number in both groups tend toward a Democratic party identification and a liberal/progressive ideological orientation, the Transitional Millennials more than the Cusp Millennials. These two older Millennial groups, especially the Transitional Millennials, are more likely than any others to hold opinions considered to be “liberal” or “progressive” across virtually all issue clusters: economic intervention, environmental protection, security, crime, education, and social issues. Finally, these two Millennial groups tend to have relatively positive and optimistic perceptions of the political process and their economic futures.

Do take a look at it. They give breakdowns of how the different generations vote. Most suprising to me is that it is Generation X that is most likely to be conservative; something I didn't expect.

Wednesday, March 22

I was suspicious at first....

But I believe it now:

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative[...]

A study of more than 100 children- turned- adults has been published in the Journal of Research Into Personality a la UC Berkeley. And boy, I am not suprised:

[...]At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.

The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity. The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

Political alignment, being a social construct created by man, is a learned attitude (nuture, if you will, as opposed to biological, or nature). Understanding that, I should say thanks mom and dad. I appreciate it.

The piece is relatively short and a good read. So take a couple of minutes and check it out.

Tuesday, March 21

V for Vendetta


I cannot put it any simpler than that. This is a fantastic movie in any way that I can think of: Great story, superb acting (especially by Ms. Portman), and a timely movie. A mysterious anarchist only known as "V" aims to completly undo the facism and supression over a futuristic Britian.

Though it is taken from a comic written in Britian during the mid 80's, so much in it pertains to today: The ruling Conservative party stays in power through fear and religion, supressing the rights of all peoples under their rule. The media is all but a machine of the government. Anyone that sticks out (dissenters, homosexuals, muslims) is "black- bagged" and never heard from again.

Hugo Weaving, who plays the very theatrical hero V, is remarkable. Even though his Guy Fawkes mask is immoble, he had no problem showing the emotional turmoil that his character goes through in the movie. He as perfect delivery of the many tricky lines he must speak. Stolen shamelessly from

V: This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished, as the once vital voice of the verisimilitude now venerates what they once vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-à-vis an introduction, and so it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.
And this one:

Evey Hammond: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what. And what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey Hammond: I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I am not questioning your powers of observation. I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.

So "Remember remember, the fifth of November, The gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot." And see this movie.

Wednesday, March 15

SurveyUSA, Idaho, and a ray of sunshine

SurveyUSA's latest poll show's President Bush at his LOWEST level of approval in Idaho in at least 11 months. Checking in at 50-47% approval to disapproval, the President is in the midst of a 2 month, -16% net change. I've complained before about how Idaho has been quite the cheerleader of the Pro-Bush team. We've fallen to number 4, following Utah (net +13%), Wyoming (+7%), and Alabama (+5%). Only 7 states give Bush a positive rating. After us (+3%), it's Mississippi and Oklahoma (Both +2%) and Nebraska (+1%).

This is a big drop. The past two month's drops are out of the margin of error, in both directions. Where is it coming from? Frankly, I was suprised. Not from where it came from (all sides), but how much. The strongest drops came from Conservative frames: Republican identification, -11% (45% of those surveyed); Conservative identification, -20% (41% of those surveyed); and a whopping -22% for self- identified as Pro- Life (48% of those surveyed). There are more drops found among regular church goers, -13%; women, -14% (50% of those surveyed... Duh.); and 18-34, -17% (33% of those surveyed).

Now what's it mean? To me, this shows that the conservatives in Idaho have finally woken up and smelled the trash. This is step number 1 on us taking over: Dissatisfaction among the base. Midterms are notorious for low turnouts, mostly members of the base of the parties. If the other side isn't fired up, even less of them will go to the polls in November. This gives me even more hope for Mr. Brady, Mr. Grant (who was kind enough to visit Moscow's Drinking Liberally the other night and is invited back any time) and other democratic candidates. I have a lot more hope for the good guys in Idaho now. The dream of a democratic Idaho isn't as much of a pipe dream now. Not to say it's going to be easy, but this is a step in the right direction.

To put it bluntly, "Grey skies are gonna clear up! Put on a happy face..."

Monday, March 6

We Will Not Be Silenced

Here's a quickie that really speaks the truth: It's a flash animation that is seriously awesome. Well done animations, a riveting speaker, and a real good message.

Watch it.

Sorry for Slacking

But Midterms have been getting pretty busy (I think this Real Life thing is a bit of a bore). I have some good ideas, but those need to take a back burner to American Foreign Policy (PolS 339), Political Leadership (PolS 404), Diversity and Stratification (Soc 301) and Criminology (Soc 331) for this week. Thankfully, Spring Break is next week, so I can get some R & R in the Lovely Sun Valley (And maybe some skiing in, too.)

But for some substance, the University has finally given us students more bandwidth, so I can finally listen to internet radio whenever I want, instead of at 4:00am, when the traffic was light enough to allow it. I really like Etherbeat Radio, Groove Salad, and Smooth Jazz. They make great study music. (Just to make sure everyone knows, you need either iTunes or Windows Media Player to listen. Just read the directions on the radio station's sites [Hi mom]).