Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. Rush. Like a lot of you, I lost a friend last week when Rush Limbaugh lost his battle with lung cancer. I started listening to his show in 1991 and have been a fan ever since. The Thomas hearings were a real revelation, coming four years after Teddy Kennedy and Joe Biden orchestrated the political assassination of Robert Bork in 1987. I was astounded nobody on Our Side stood up to either the democrats or the pack of braying hyenas the media had become. Little did I know at the time that help was on the way, as Limbaugh took his show national a year later in 1988. It took a couple years for me to find it. I first started listening to Limbaugh during the runup to and execution of the First Gulf War Aug 1990 – Feb 1991. What I remember out of the coverage of the First Gulf War was hilarious parodies, including a Beach Boys knock-off of Barbara Ann called Bomb Iraq, though the first version was based on Yackety Yack (Bomb Iraq).
This was reprised in 2011 aimed at Iran. By the time Bush 41 nominated Clarence Thomas in July 1991, I was a part-time fan. It is the Thomas hearings I remember most vividly from that period, as Rush was the first to describe to me what was going on and why. One of the hooks Rush had early on and for most of his career were timely political parodies. They were initially listener-supplied, which worked until he started getting billed for using the submissions. He ended up commissioning most of the parodies with Paul Shanklin. Over the years, the funniest parody I think I ever heard was his Timber Update, based on a basic blues shuffle and a variably loaded chainsaw playing the blues riff. Second most favorite was his Animal Rights update with gunfire and animal noises overlaying Andy Williams’ Born Free. By the time the Heritage Foundation started their TownHall online forum in 1995, I was completely hooked. This column started two years later initially as a vehicle to bring what he had been saying to the people online, few of whom listened to the program at the time. Over the years, the scope and focus shifted a bit, though never its foundation. All that being said, there has been a lot of things to be sad about over the last decade or so, and Rush’s year-long battle with cancer and ultimate passing is high on that list. I asked their online help over the weekend if there were any plans for whatever happens next. Received a reply Sunday that they hope to continue the show, the web site, and the newsletter. I do expect a transition to whatever is next. It will not be Rush. But it will be next. And maybe there will be a lot of different nexts. Godspeed, Rush. Prayers for you and your family. And thank you for years of friendship, love of country, and a heck of an education.
2. Texas. Before we delve into the massive finger-pointing exercise looming in Texas following their cold snap of a week ago, the very first thing on the table needs to be a discussion of weather forecasts, after which we can smartly get on with the old-fashioned Placing of the Blame exercise. With that in mind …..
- American Thinker ran a piece Sunday reprising 50 years of failed media and weather forecast failures. Most of the 1970s (which were pretty chilly) warned of the Next Ice Age unless we did something immediately, right now, instantly, and put government in charge of everything. It took most of the decade of the 1980s for this to shift over to warnings of Manmade Global Warming due to human CO2 emissions which is where we sit today. As the sun continues to be quiet, I expect over the course of this decade, the swap back to the next great ice age to be made, with the identical solution (more government). I am including two images, both from the Weather Channel, both less than a month old, of the February 2021 temperature forecast for the US and what actually took place in the center of the US last week. Question for the Assembled Masses is how can any state reliable plan on a robust, resilient energy sector when burdened by fundamentally fraudulent weather forecasts which have long become tools to further a political agenda? The name Lysenko comes to mind, as we are traveling much the same path.
- So, what happened? Well, it got cold, really cold for over a week, with multiple fronts that dropped ice and snow followed by exceedingly frigid temperatures in Texas. By my count, there were at least three systems rolling through the state over the course of a week. The first system brought ice, snow and frigid temperatures. It was followed by another blast of even colder air with more snow a few days later, after which it started warming up. ALL FORMS OF GENERATION had problems delivering what they were designed to do. This is an important point. The cold hit EVERYTHING, some worse than others. Wind was mostly frozen to a stop. Natural gas froze at the wellhead. Coal, natural gas and nuclear had problems at the actual generation stations, where water lines froze. Center of American Experiment had an extensive analysis on Feb 19, which I found via PowerLine. The analysis demonstrated that nuclear did best in reliability with an ‘A’ grade. Coal and natural gas weighed in at ‘C’. Solar at ‘D’ while wind and hydro brought up the end with well-earned ‘F’s. All three worst performing generation – wind, solar and hydro – were renewable. Wind was especially poor, as Texas has invested heavily in wind over the last decade, even winning awards. Depending on whose bogus numbers you believe, wind produces some 23% of all installed capacity in Texas, though that number ranges between 7 – 36% depending on whose bogus numbers you choose to believe. The bottom line is that when wind was expected to produce 11% of what was needed during the cold blast, it was at best producing 2%, which is an absolute failure. Now it is possible to winter-proof your generation. It is done in most cold locales, with wind winterized down to -20° F. Natural gas is freeze-protected at the wellhead, something not done in Texas as yet. I predict it will be high on the list very soon. 3 of 4 reactors in Texas continued to operate. One was shut down based on a frozen water line.
- Given that over the last decade we have seen at least four instances of electrical grid failure based on wind not turning during a cold blast (Great Britain a couple times over the last decade, Germany this winter, and Texas last week), I am starting to wonder if there is a maximum penetration of wind into an energy grid above which that energy grid will become fundamentally unstable. I think that number is somewhere around or below 20% of total installed capacity. Perhaps we ought to keep that in mind as we embrace the democrat headlong charge to their Green Nude Eel.
- Finger pointing on this is going to happen early an often, especially since nobody in Texas implemented recommendations following the next most recent cold snap in 2011. Recommendations were made but neither the legislature nor the governor implemented them. There are at least 36 dead this time around due to the cold so far and many billions of water damage due to frozen pipes. Cleanup may end up being more expensive than the $125 billion following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Democrats may believe they are poised to make political hay from this event, as Governor Abbott is up for reelection next year. Their problem is that they are so tightly bound to renewables, the Green Nude Eel, and continuing wanton destabilization of the energy grid, that it will be impossible for them to take advantage.
- Texas a non-profit called Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) that operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated energy market for 75% of the state. It turns out that their Board has become an old boys’ network, where new members are approved by current members. Apparently, they were awarded sovereign immunity by a state court five years ago in a lawsuit by an energy company. And at least two current Board members live out of state. As these guys are already in the political cross hairs, I expect investigations and other lawfare bullets to be flying their direction shortly.
- Finally, it does appear that Texas dodged a real large caliber bullet last week with the intentional blackouts, the loss of heating and water. A writer in American Thinker reprised the 1989 weather-induced blackout in New England. Like Texas, this one was blamed on a blast of very cold weather working its way east. The writer claimed to work in the energy sector and reprised the nightmare scenario considered by the system operators. As the temperature fell, demand on natural gas for heating exploded. In one city, gas production fell, and natural gas feeding the high-pressure system could not supply enough to meet the demand, meaning pressure in the natural gas system started dropping. Once this pressure drops below atmospheric, this allows air into the system. Although there are check valves designed to keep this from happening, air can enter from any system connected to the user end of the system. Mixing O2 with natural gas is extremely dangerous, leading to explosions. So, the operators were planning to shut off the gas to entire neighborhoods, which would lead to the predictable response by the general public to plug in electric heaters which would then blow up the electrical system, overload it, and black it out. With no electricity, nobody pumps gasoline, and vehicles used for heating and electrical generation like we saw in Texas last week will soon run out of gas, get abandoned, and clog the roadways. This particular scenario would take months to recover from based on having to purge air from the system. This particular city was saved from this catastrophe by a break in the cold weather along with an unexpected additional supply of natural gas into the system. ERCOT was worried about the same thing which is why they shut off the gas to tens of millions of users.
3. Lisa. Alaskan Republicans have been busy following Senator Lisa Murkowski’s vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his second impeachment. As of this morning, 13 of 40 districts have voted to censor Lisa with more expected to follow as the days continue to pass. These resolutions will be brought to the Republican State Central Committee on March 13 and likely combined to an overall censure of a sitting Alaska congressional member. In my experience, this has never happened before here in Alaska. And Lisa has all but demanded it take place. Like her father, Frank Murkowski, Lisa had a temper and is incredibly stubborn, generally only listening to things she wants to listen to. With Donald Trump, she has allowed her inner Orange Man Bad to come out and play one time too many. And of the 7 who voted to convict, she is the only one up for reelection in 2022. Removing her will be complicated by Ballot Prop 2 passed last year turning the primary system into a jungle primary and imposing the same instant runoff via ranked voting that other states (Maine where this started) have been throwing out as unworkable. The ranked voting is expected to help Lisa win reelection unless the rewrite of state election law via ballot initiative is tossed by federal court. It has already been greenlit by state courts.
More later –