Friday, May 05, 2006

Hyman Out of Gas

In another case of Mark Hyman flip-flopping on long held positions (he recently touted the importance of making the rich pay their fair share of taxes while advocating for a tax system that would do the exact opposite),
he now says that three-dollar-a-gallon gas is a major problem.

You might remember that about six months ago, Hyman mocked the idea that three-dollar gas was a big deal, saying that the extra cost to Americans was marginal.
As we pointed out at the time, Hyman’s math was disingenuous. In fact, the average American would pay more in higher gasoline prices than they would get back in the much touted Bush tax cuts.

But now Hyman says that gas prices are a problem, and suggests a possible solution is increased use of nuclear energy. Beyond expensive gasoline, Hyman also notes other signs of the need for expanded use of nuclear power, including the fact that “the Al Gore green house gases side show is heating up” and “obstructionists continue to block a sensible oil drilling plan in a barren section of Alaska.”

That’s right. Global warming is reduced to a “sideshow” and those who object to drilling in a wildlife refuge in
order to get less than one-year’s worth of oil are “obstructionists.” Welcome to Hyman World.

Of course, if lack of oil is what concerns Hyman, perhaps he should aim his ire at the Bush administration’s failed “reconstruction” of Iraq. While the American people were promised that the rebuilding of Iraq would “pay for itself” in the form of Iraq’s vast oil reserves,
oil production has actually been dropping. Poor planning, corruption, and the insurgency that the administration claims it didn’t see coming have eroded Iraq’s ability to profit from the one thing it has going for it: oil.

But the larger issue concerning this administration is whether it has any intention of seriously investing in alternative energy sources. Given the personal business histories of the president and vice-president, more than a little skepticism is called for. On top of that, we had the infamous flip flop by President Bush: having claimed in his State of the Union address that America is “addicted” to foreign oil and suggesting we needed to break this addiction,
we were told immediately afterward that Bush didn’t really mean this.

And touting nuclear power as a solution lacks any imagination. I’m not necessarily opposed to using nuclear power across the board, but it’s not a good long term solution (particularly not when considering the specific issue of the problem of automobile emissions).

Given the centrality of oil in the crafting of Mideast policy, developing a comprehensive program to investigate new, clean, cheap, environmentally friendly, and domestically produced sources of energy is not simply an energy issue or even an economic issue; it’s a matter of national security. Freeing ourselves from the ball and chain of dependency on foreign oil would allow the United States to fashion a far more coherent and evenhanded foreign policy, one that might actually be consistent with our stated values as a nation.

Does anyone doubt that a President Gore would have laid down such a challenge to the nation, particularly if we assume the September 11 attacks had still happened? I can’t imagine him *not* calling for the pursuit of energy independence the way John Kennedy called for a mission to the moon.

But, despite defeating Bush by half a million votes, Gore is not the president, and any call for alternative energy sources, even Hyman’s short sighted one, is going to be DOA as long as oil men rule Washington.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 4.14


At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is interesting about these propagandists. One thing essential to them "winning" the argument is a totally one-sided presentation. Thus, with Hyman, there is no rebuttal time... Just 100% HymanSpeak.

Another case in point was Rumsfeld's recent performance in Altanta, Georgia, where several anti-Bushco protesters interrupted his presentation with heckling. Like small mosquito bites in the BushCo propaganda machine.

More telling was Ray McGovern's careful and thoughtful challenges to Rumsfeld. He successfully rebutted Rumseld-McBush's pattern of lies by:

(1) directly quoting Rummy's statement about how he knew where the Iraqi WMD were.

(2) getting Rummy to compound his lies by having him offer that he's "not in the intelligence business". Oh, so the military doesn't conduct intelligence operations?

Hmm, that's a lie! See: or the infamous
"Office of Special Plans"

2) Rebutting Rumsfeld's assertions that the Al Quaida / Saddam connection was proven by the presence of Zarquawi in Iraq. McGovern clearly knocked that lie aside.

For a transcript, audio, and video of this, see:

And you better see it here, uncut.

I've checked the MSM and they cannot help but abridge Ray McGovern's answers to make Rummy look better. For example, see CBS News' video of this Q&A... they completely cut out the substance of one of McGovern's answers regarding Zarquawi's irrelevance.
Shameful and puts the lie to the whole "liberal media" Big Lie.

At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We haven't been able to drill for oil off the Atlantic coast of Florida because?.....

We haven't been able to drill in the Gulf because?....

We haven't been able to drill off the coast of California because?....

We haven't been able to drill in ANWR because?.....

We haven't built a new refinery in 30 years because?....

We haven't built a new nuclear power plant in decades because?.....

We haven't built wind farms off the upper Atlantic Coast because?.....

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

Well, as far as ANWR goes, I think I pretty much answered your question in my post, Anon.

In almost all the other cases (except the wind issue), the answers are more or less the same. One or more of the following apply:

A) they've been rejected as short term solutions to a long term problem.

B) they put the environment and human health at risk for little gain

C) they perpetuate the problem because they foster continued dependence on energy sources that aren't sustainable.

D) all of the above

You've missed the whole point of the post: what's needed is aggressive, innovative work done on new energy sources, not coming up with a few more percentage points of oil from domestic sources. That's no solution. Nuclear power solves some problems, but creates others, and does little if anything about the environmental issues involving burning gas in our cars.

On the wind issue, I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago.


At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog!

Not only does touting nuclear energy as an alternative to high gas prices lack imagination, I also don't see how it would work.

Nuclear energy is used to generate electricity, oil, for the most part, is not. About 20% of the electricity in the US comes from nuclear compared with 3% from oil.

Even if nuclear energy production were to double overnight, it wouldn't free up any oil for other uses, like making gasoline. With the exception of some military submarines and air craft carriers, nuclear has no real application in transportation.

If Hyman were truly worried about higher gas prices, perhaps he should editorialize in favor of smaller, more fuel efficient cars, public acceptance of bike lanes to make it a more viable means of commuting or doing away with the SUV.


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