Archive for March, 2011

Servile and Filial Fear

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Not really clear on my religion, but find portions of theology fascinating. I came across the term “servile fear” in C.S. Lewis’ writings and had to look it up.


Servile Fear:

Selfish fear based on dread of pain to oneself that would follow if another were offended. It is the fear of punishment for wrongdoing, without being motivated by honor or a sense of duty, and least of all by love. Theologically, however, servile fear may co-exist with filial fear. There is nothing incompatible in both loving and fearing God. The object of loving him is the divine goodness, of fearing him the divine justice. However, purely servile fear, with no love of God but only self-love that fears the divine punishments, is at least in theory, inconsistent with the true love of God.

Filial Fear:

Fear of some impending evil based on love and reverence for the one who is feared. Actually filial fear is close to love that dreads offending the one loved. Thus the filial fear of God is compatible with the highest love of God. A person, knowing his or her moral weakness, feats that he or she might displease or betray the one who is loved. It is selfless fear. (Etym. Latin filial, becoming of a child in relation to its parents.)

Secularly, I think it applies to fellow humans. There are those you fear offending due to what they’ll do to you, those you fear offending due to regret of offending unduly, and those who inspire a combination of the two. That’s my experience, anyway. No, I don’t focus on fear, let’s move on.

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Videos on Energy Policy

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Just happened upon a few good videos regarding our inane energy policy and thought I’d share.

This is from the Sad Hill News article Where’s the Oil. It was linked to in an article on there from today that draws some suspicious connections between Obama and BP, Another Gulf Oil Spill Near Deepwater Drilling Site – W&T’s Matterhorn SeaStar.

They get the video above from the Institute for Energy Research. When I went to their site I found Tilting at Turbines, which was made by

Then I found this video on Chicks on the Right, made by the Offshore Marine Service Association:

I’m not against renewables, but stopping domestic drilling and propping up economically failing sources of energy is not the way to go

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More Mary Katherine Ham

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Not as good as the Michael Moore clip below, but pretty motherf***ing funny and spot on.

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Michael Moore Gets Appropriately Hammered

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So I found this on iowntheworld, though it looks like it originated from The Daily Caller. Regardless, it’s Mary Katherine Ham proving that Michael Moore is bad at math. “National resource!”

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Lies and Nonsense from Obama

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Reuters reports that Obama vows to stabilize fuel prices, calls for reform.

“The United States cannot drill its way out of its energy problems and must begin reforms now to reduce oil dependence, President Barack Obama said on Friday, pledging to do all he could to stabilize fuel prices.”

So he’s going to do “all he can do” except the obvious solution of seriously expanding our domestic production. Green energy is great and all, but it’s not currently cost effective. It can also rob fertile farmland of food production. But primarily, we’re not getting off oil any time soon. I’m not saying we shouldn’t or whatever, but it’s simply not realistic. In addition to cars using oil, trucks that bring us goods use oil and most of those goods use oil (plastic). Oh, and oil is a major part of asphalt that even electric cars drive on.

I agree with Sarah Palin (Palin Derangement Syndrome bonus) that we need an “all of the above” policy. We need to incentivize innovation, but we also need to use our own resources to stimulate fossil and nuclear production in the meantime. Unnecessarily relying on unfriendly nations is stupid and thinking we’re getting off oil any time soon is naive. It’s ridiculous and obscene that we aren’t already producing the majority of our own energy.

So that’s the nonsense. For the lies, I turn to Jazz Shaw’s column on Hot Air, Obama’s Curious Claims:

“We can’t escape the fact that we control only 2% of the world’s oil.” This is a common refrain among anti-drilling Democrats and environmentalists, and it’s repeated enough that many people accept it as true. In reality, it’s 100% false. The number comes from a highly conservative estimate from the Energy Information Administration totaling America’s proven reserves where we are already drilling. It does not include the 10 billion barrels available in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It does not include most of the 86 billion barrels available offshore in the Outer Continental Shelf, most of which President Obama has placed under an executive drilling ban. And it does not include the 800 billion barrels of oil we have locked in shale in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Those shale resources alone are actually three times larger than the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia, so the claim that the U.S. only has 2% of the world’s oil is clearly false.

“Last year…our oil production reached its highest level in 7 years.” This is pure spin. President Obama is deliberately trying to take credit for actions unrelated to his policies. The increased level of production is due to the actions of previous administrations and production in the Dakotas where most drilling is occurring on private land. By contrast, the Energy Information Administration projects that there will be a decline in production of 220,000 barrels of domestic oil per day in 2011, and in 2012 America will produce 150 million fewer barrels in the Gulf of Mexico, all because of President Obama’s policies to discourage or ban domestic drilling. In addition, President Obama’s drilling moratorium (and subsequent refusal to issue drilling permits) has forced at least 7 rigs to leave the Gulf and sign contracts in other countries, taking much needed jobs and revenue with them.

Jazz’s article Shocker: Domestic Oil Production Down, Foreign Imports Up, links to this report from the House Natural Resources Committee: EIA Short Term Energy Outlook: Gulf of Mexico Production Down, U.S. Oil Imports Up

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 8, 2011 – Today, the Department of Energy’s independent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released their latest Short Term Energy Outlook for projected crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and net U.S. imports (see charts below). Despite the misleading comments made by Interior Secretary Salazar last week, GOM crude oil production has continued to significantly decline since the Obama Administration’s de facto moratorium. EIA’s latest numbers also show the Obama Administration’s anti-energy policies have made us more vulnerable to energy price spikes as we have become increasingly reliant on unstable foreign energy.“The numbers don’t lie—it’s clear that this Administration is taking U.S. energy policy in exactly in the wrong direction. Gas prices are closing in on $4 per gallon and thousands of people are out of work in the Gulf because of the de facto moratorium on drilling permits,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “Unemployment is only going to get worse as this Administration’s policies continue to increase the cost of gasoline, which trickles down to every sector of our economy. We need to use our resources to produce American made energy, create good jobs, and insulate ourselves from uncontrollable energy prices spikes.”

Tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves in response to rising prices is like someone losing their job and responding by spending their savings without looking for another job.


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Indiana Legislative Strike

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While the Wisconsinites hog all the attention, House Democrats have been AWOL in Indiana since February 22nd. I understand that fleeing can be the last recourse given a lack of filibuster. I’m more concerned with understanding the realz, so I did some research that I have no intention of analyzing at the moment:

This is an Excel spreadsheet I put together regarding the contentious bills. It has the Indy Star summary of the Democrats’  opposition to the controversial bills (that they consider the impetus for their exodus), the official summary from the bills,  and links to the bills themselves. Note: I couldn’t find anything about HB1585.

If you’re looking up bills in Indiana, the Bill Information section of the Indiana General Assembly site is the best search apparatus I’ve found. Outside of that there are indices you can peruse, such as

Note that you’ll have to change the year in the URL every year.

Web sites:
House Republicans
House Democrats
Senate Republicans
Senate Democrats

House Republican agenda:

House Democrat agenda:



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Size of the court

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I was talking to a friend and realized I didn’t know the history of the size of the Supreme Court. It’s pretty interesting.

This is from wikipedia, which is lame, but better resources are welcome. I checked the constitution and my friend was right: There is to be a supreme court of some size or something (Article 3, Sections 1-2).

Size of the Court
Article III of the United States Constitution leaves it to Congress to fix the number of justices. The Judiciary Act of 1789 called for the appointment of six justices, and as the nation’s boundaries grew, Congress added justices to correspond with the growing number of judicial circuits: seven in 1807, nine in 1837, and ten in 1863.

In 1866, at the behest of Chief Justice Chase, Congress passed an act providing that the next three justices to retire would not be replaced, which would thin the bench to seven justices by attrition. Consequently, one seat was removed in 1866 and a second in 1867. In 1869, however, the Circuit Judges Act returned the number of justices to nine,[59] where it has since remained.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to expand the Court in 1937. His proposal envisioned appointment of one additional justice for each incumbent justice who reached the age of 70 years 6 months and refused retirement, up to a maximum of 15 justices. The proposal was ostensibly to ease the burden of the docket on elderly judges, but the actual purpose was widely understood as an effort to pack the Court with justices who would support Roosevelt’s New Deal.[60] The plan, usually called the “Court-packing Plan“, failed in Congress and proved a fiasco for Roosevelt.[61] Nevertheless, the Court’s balance began to shift within months when Justice van Devanter retired and was replaced by Senator Hugo Black. By the end of 1941, Roosevelt had appointed seven justices and elevated Harlan Fiske Stone to Chief Justice.[62]

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USA Inc.

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USA Inc. is a report put together by Mary Meekers of KPCB. It’s an interesting concept: review the finances of the Federal Government as if it were a business.

Read the whole thing or Doug Ross has a great extended summary.

I liked this summary from Capitalist Preservation (Screwed, Any Questions?):

Business Insider
Note a few things…
First, “Revenue” is tiny relative to “Expenses.”
Second, most of the expense is entitlement programs, not defense, education, or any of the other line items that most budget crusaders normally howl about.
Third, as horrifying as these charts are, they don’t even show the trends of these two pies: The “expense” pie is growing like gangbusters, driven by the explosive growth of the entitlement programs that no one in government even has the balls to talk about. “Revenue” is barely growing at all.
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OK, I’m slightly torn on the union debates going on because the teachers I know don’t seem particularly overcompensated. I do get the feeling that unions tend to make demands in a vacuum, ignoring the larger economy (see Detroit). In general, I believe the market should set the value of services.

Regardless, There are some misinformed protesters out there on a few things:

  1. “Hitler broke up the unions” – Hitler replaced the Weimar Republic trade unions with the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF).
  2. “Stalin broke up the unions” – I can’t find any evidence of this. Further, the USSR clearly had unions in their waning days, as Oleg Atbashian recounts in Shakedown Socialism, ” … in the USSR, where organized labor was part of the official establishment and union membership was mandatory.”
  3. While people are freaking out about losing collective bargaining for state employees, Jimmy Carter stripped Federal employees of these rights in 1978 and Obama is “standing with you” by not changing that.
  4. Hero of the left, FDR, was opposed to public unions

A little more from the excellent Shakedown Socialism:

“In theory, unions become workshops of communism only when they go beyond their original legitimate purpose of collective bargaining and taking care of work-related issues (safety, training, etc.), and turn into collectivist pressure groups that engage in class warfare. In practice, however, there is hardly a union in existence that hasn’t become a tool in wealth distribution schemes that use the “common good” as an excuse for voter fraud, coersion, intimidation, and diverting membership fees to support anti-business policies”

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Party in Power

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Looking at the "Party in Power" article from

The article focuses on the the balance of power among the elected Federal branches (House, Senate, President) and draws these interesting statistics from 1945-2009:

"Only 10 times (20 years) since 1945 have both branches of Congress and the Presidency been controlled by the same party.

However, most of the time, Congress has been controlled by the same party. The "odd man out" has literally been the President. Since 1945, the House and Senate have been controlled by different parties only five times (10 years). And there have been only two complete turn-overs of Congress since 1945: one in 1949 and the other in 2007."

I think that's cool and appreciate having debate. However, I was struck by how blue the table was overall:

In the 33 terms covered, the Democrats have held the House for 26 of them. Republicans 7.

Democrats have held the Senate 23 times, Republicans 10.

Democrats have held the President 15 terms, compared to the Republican's 18.

Democrats have held all three elected branches 11 times, the Republicans 5.

Republican president against Democrat congress: 11 times; Democrat president against Republican congress: 4 times.

For the following, the sequence is President/Senate/House, with 'R' indicating Republican and 'D' indicating Democrat:

R/R/D: 4; D/D/R: 0 (unless you include the 112th Congress)

R/D/R: 1; D/R/D: 0

I don't think this proves anything. It's impossible to really guage the balance of powers without studying the actual history. I just noticed how blue it was and had to do some amateur data mining.

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