Green Voicemail

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Perplexing Puzzles

I'm slowly learning to take very little of what I read for granted. A rule these days that that just about any assertion needs to be fact-checked, because it's an unfortunate technique of modern debate that when one finds one's self in a hole, one just makes up facts in the hopes that they won't be checked.

An interesting assertion, from United States Army Special Operations:

Demand for electricity, a product of healthy national economic growth, continues to rise even as coalition and Iraqi engineers build new capacity. According to Parker, up to four times the current electricity allocation will be dedicated to major Iraqi businesses over the next year. This will enable Iraq’s key industries — such as cement, fertilizer, phosphate, and petrochemical — to add new working shifts and bolster production in response to increased internal demand for these goods.

National electricity demand further rises as citizens purchase record numbers of air conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, and other power consuming household goods, Parker said.

In itself, that would be a good thing. Until I read this from

Two new power plants are to be built near Baghdad as part of the a US programme to rehabilitate Iraq's infrastructure, a programme for which around $5 billion has been put aside by the US government. Contracts for the two plants have been signed by the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, according to local sources.
One of the plants appears to have been awarded to a US company or consortium which will construct a six-unit gas-fired power station with a capacity of 750 MW. This plant is expected to enter service within 12 months. An unnamed Scandinavian company will build the second plant, a 340 MW station that will burn heavy fuel oil. The station is due to start generating power in six months.
The Iraqi minister of electricity, Ayham Al Samurai, has already announced that the ministry will build four new power plants with an aggregate capacity of 2.1 GW. The two contracts now announced appear to be part of this programme. As a further boost to supply, neighbouring Iran has agreed to provide 100 MW of power to Iraq, 50 per cent of which will be paid for with oil and the remainder with cash.
Daily electricity demand in Iraq is 18 GW. By June the government hopes to have generation 7 GW in operation.

So my question is this one. Right now, Iraq MIGHT in the future be able to meet about 39 percent of its electrical needs in the future. Why would people be buying electrical appliances in anticipation if the power's not on most of the time anyway? Why would you buy a refrigerator given that the food might spoil during a 12 hour power outage? What good would it be to have the air conditioning on only half the time -- it might provide some momentary relief, but when the machine clicks off and you have 120 degree temperatures in the summer?

How are these Iraqi factories going to operate if they have no electricity, much less physical security? How are these plants going to be built? Will the US Army stand as armed guards for the several months it takes to build a power plant?

I have a lot of questions. Any answers?

posted by Green Voicemail 8/05/2004 10:26:00 AM

Alan "Deep Resentment" Keyes

From CNN:

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- After two days of deliberations capping an often-frustrating six-week search for a new candidate, the Illinois Republican Party on Wednesday night offered its U.S. Senate nomination to former GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who does not live in the Land of Lincoln.

However, Keyes did not immediately accept the offer, saying he needed time to consider whether to run. He said he would announce a decision on Sunday.

"I think that an effort of statesmanship at this level requires a response from me that has been thought through at the same level," Keyes said. "And that's what I intend to do over the next couple of days."

"I'm not one of those folks who gets up every morning with the certainty that I have something to offer. But I'm always willing to consider it when people make that point."

However, Mr. Keyes has THIS to say about a First Lady running for Senator in New York:

"I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it."

posted by Green Voicemail 8/05/2004 07:02:00 AM

Monday, August 02, 2004

Baby Got a Blog, Can't Work No Mo'

Well, my wife put her feet in the mudpuddle that is political blogging. So please visit her at:

And of course, I'll be adding her to the blog roll.

posted by Green Voicemail 8/02/2004 10:03:00 PM

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Pushing the ORANGE Button

The latest news from just about everywhere:

WASHINGTON - The financial services sector in the U.S. capital, New York City and northern New Jersey were placed under a heightened orange terror alert Sunday by the U.S. Homeland Security Department.

Well, this is amusing. After several months of yellow, they go to orange. Selectively.

The Prudential Building in Newark is orange, but all of Hoboken, NJ is yellow. The New York Stock Exchange is orange, but Bayside, Queens is yellow. It's a nice little palette of fear. Maybe New York was too blue and Bush wanted to paint it in some red tones.

Of course, the big problem is is that the system is highly subjective. We don't know exactly how much more dangerous yellow is than green? Five times? Ten times? We don't know exactly how much more likely you are to die under orange than yellow. Twenty times? Fifty?

Heinlein said something to the effect that anything that you can't quantify with numbers is just someone's opinion. Which is why the only color the terror alert system really works with is brown -- which is the color of bullshit. I mean, think about it. "Guys, we have word that al-Qaeda wants to hit these five buildings. I mean, it's not like you're not in danger, but it's not like we want you to stop going to work or anything."

Friend, if I heard news that the police had come to my job and began sending bomb-sniffing dogs in, I'd be taking a sick day. There ain't no fucking job that's worth my life.

More news from Mr. Ridge:

Naming the possible targets was vital because, "This is not the usual chatter. This is multiple sources that involve extraordinary detail," Ridge said.

I remember the situation involving Iraq and our "intelligence" there, which consisted of listening in on the telephone conversations of Iraqi big-wigs, all of whom swore that Iraq had the bomb. What we didn't know was that Saddam wanted to convince us that he had the bomb in the hope that we would go away. There was no bomb.

Therefore, only three possibilities:

a) al-Qaeda is planning something and now, we just told them on national TV that we've been monitoring their secure conversations,
b) al-Qaeda is feeding us disinformation,
c) ...?

posted by Green Voicemail 8/01/2004 05:49:00 PM

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