Oil drilling

With gas prices what they are, there's been a lot of news lately about possible drilling in ANWR and expanding off-shore oil drilling.  Of course, what is usually not mentioned is just how incredibly marginal the impact of this will actually be on energy prices.  The government's own Energy Information Administration estimates that when ANWR would be fully on-line– a couple decades from now– we could expect a drop in the price of oil by a whopping $.75 per barrel (courtesy, Kevin Drum).  Would that even save us $.01 a gallon?  The simple truth is, oil is a global commodity in a global marketplace and nothing the US ever does is going to be more than a drop in the bucket.  All else being equal, presumably more oil is better, but let's not kid ourselves about the actual benefits. 

The more you look

the more corruption you find in the Bush administration.  In what should be not the least bit surprising to anybody even half paying attention to politics:

Justice Department officials improperly used political and ideological
factors to screen applicants for the agency's prestigious honors and
summer intern programs, sometimes rejecting otherwise qualified
candidates because of their ties to Democrats, internal auditors said
in a report issued this morning.

Not at all surprisingly, two Bush political appointees are responsible…

Two members of the screening committee in 2006, Esther Slater McDonald,
an adviser to the associate attorney general, and Michael J. Elston,
chief of staff to the deputy attorney general, considered political and
ideological factors when rejecting candidates “and thereby committed
misconduct,” the investigators said.

McDonald allegedly wrote “disparaging” remarks about job seekers'
liberal ties on their applications, and Elston allegedly failed to take
action when the problems were brought to his attention by another
concerned member of the hiring panel, according to the report.

On the bright side for President Bush, when people look back years from now on his administration, the fiasco that is the Iraq War will surely largely overshadow the 19th century level of corruption he has brought to the executive branch.  This from the man who campaigned on restoring “honor and integrity” to the White House.

More on China’s cement production

Last week I reproduced a really cool graph created by my friend, political scientist extraordinaire, Kyle Saunders.  Turns out, I wasn't the only one who thought this was really cool and a lot of blogs that people actually read linked to this as well.  Consequently, Kyle has now achieved the ultimate goal of all political scientists– he was on NPR's “All Things Considered” this weekend discussing the impact of China's cement production on global warming.  What's pretty funny about this is that Kyle didn't actually know anything at all about the topic till Monday of last week, but thanks to a cool chart, he's NPR's go-to guy.  Nonetheless, he gives a pretty interesting interview on the topic (and actually really sounds like he knows what he's talking about) if you are curious.

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