The Real Data On Energy Usage

The Real Data On Energy Usage

Undoubtedly you read at least some organs of the mainstream media. Perhaps your go-to source is the New York Times, or maybe the Washington Post, or Bloomberg News, or The Economist, or maybe Reuters. And therefore you have the strong impression that the world is well on its way to a huge energy transition, away from the dirty fossil fuels of the past, and toward the low carbon and renewable energy of the future. Or maybe you steer clear of all of those propagandists, but you still have the same impression. Perhaps you are getting this impression from the politicians running places like New York, or California, or Germany, or Denmark, or South Australia, or Spain, or any of many other holier-than-thou jurisdictions that have announced the imminent end of their fossil fuel use. Anyway, with so many people so loudly proclaiming the approaching end of fossil fuels, surely by now fossil fuel use must have begun its rapid drop toward oblivion.

But where can you get actual information on world energy consumption of each type, and of how it is changing over time? One quite comprehensive source is the Statistical Review of World Energy, put out each year by the BP oil company. The 2019 version, covering statistics through 2018, just came out on June 11. It was covered at Watts Up With That by Larry Hamlin on July 23.

The following chart, covering 2018 world energy consumption by fuel type, really tells you all you need to know: . . .

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Why Are They All So Angry?

It’s the defining characteristic of today’s progressive left: Anger. And it’s not just the rioters like Antifa, or the unspeakably rude people who confront administration figures in restaurants and gratuitously yell at them. Take a look at any of the new icons of the Democratic Party when they are speaking — for example Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Ilhan Omar — and you see them seething with barely controllable anger, if not outright fury. Same with essentially every left-wing commenter on CNN or MSNBC.

And I’m just getting to the Democratic presidential candidates. Bernie Sanders. Is there anybody angrier? Always, and about everything. For that matter, all the contenders who have broken out of the less-than-1% category (and most of those who haven’t) are putting on a show of trying to out-angry all the others. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris. Anger must be what sells these days to the categories of voters they are pursuing.

But how about Joe Biden, you say? Certainly he is not as angry as these others. You must have missed Biden’s July 5 interview with Chris Cuomo of CNN. Having just been outmaneuvered by Kamala Harris at the first Democratic debate, Biden decided that it was time to show that he can do anger with the best of them. According to that New York Post report of the interview, “throughout it all, Biden was angry.” It reached the boiling point when Cuomo raised the issue of Russian election interference, drawing this response from Biden:

“You think that would happen on my watch, on Barack’s watch? You can’t answer that, but I promise you it wouldn’t have. And it didn’t.”

Sure, Joe.

My observation is that, at least for those of the progressive mindset, the less they have to be angry about, the angrier they become. . . .

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Every Redistricting Map Is A "Gerrymander" From Somebody's Perspective

Every Redistricting Map Is A "Gerrymander" From Somebody's Perspective

How do you tell a perfectly fair and neutral congressional redistricting map from a “gerrymander”? You might think that the answer to the question can be found by looking at the map. If you see sprawling and oddly-shaped districts, whose outlines in some cases resemble the form of a salamander, then obviously this is a “gerrymander.” But then you look at the maps that were at issue in yesterday’s Supreme Court decision, and you are not so sure. In the case of North Carolina, the outlines of the districts in question — drawn by partisan Republicans allegedly to maximize their advantage — look relatively compact and normal, mostly following county boundaries, and not particularly unusual in any way. Here is the North Carolina map that was at issue: . . .

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The Labor Department Thinks It Can "Fix" The Lack Of Racial Diversity At Major Law Firms

On Wednesday of this week, a guy named Craig Leen — Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in the Department of Labor — showed up in Manhattan to hold a “town hall” meeting with representatives of major law firms. The event was covered at law.com here, and then commented on by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line here. The headline of the law.com piece is “Government Warns Law Firms of Consequences for Diversity Failures.” Mirengoff characterizes the DOL’s effort as “seek[ing] to impose a radical diversity agenda on law firms.”

The gist of Leen’s presentation was that you guys have a big problem here that you need to “fix,” or there will be consequences. From law.com:

Craig Leen . . . told industry representatives at a town hall meeting in New York that the scarcity of women and minorities at firms in leading roles has been noted by the office, and it will be taking a closer look. Leen said in a brief interview after the meeting that “there is evidence of low representation at law firms and financial firms, and our goal is to fix it and work with them to do so." . . . Leen said during Wednesday's meeting that the office looks at systemic issues, “and we are seeing serious issues.”

So what’s your game plan, Craig? The law.com article describes Leen making veiled threats of cutting off federal contracts for firms that don’t meet some unstated targets. He made these remarks to the right group, since there is no collection of people more filled with a deep sense of guilt over their success than major law firm leaders. On the other hand, since federal contracts are a very small part of the business of major law firms, the chance of Leen’s threat having any meaningful effect is about zero.

But more important, what are the “serious” and “systemic” issues that Leen claims to be seeing? . . .

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Progressive Hypocrisy At The Highest Levels: The Case Of Paul Weiss

Progressive Hypocrisy At The Highest Levels:  The Case Of Paul Weiss

A core mission of this blog has been making fun of sanctimonious progressives who demand that others be forced to take actions and make sacrifices that the progressives themselves would never make in their own lives. The climate follies provide nearly infinite examples. Almost as many examples can be found in the realm of “diversity, equity and inclusion.” This week we have an example of a progressive icon at the very highest level caught with its pants down in “diversity” hypocrisy.  Oh, what fun!

Have you heard of the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, sometimes known just as “Paul Weiss”?  If you haven’t, you should have.  It is one of those New York-based firms at the very pinnacle of the U.S. legal firmament.  It has around 1000 lawyers and about 200 partners, plus or minus.  The firm represents a who’s who of corporate America in corporate transactions and litigation.  According to the American Lawyer, in 2017 the partners at Paul Weiss earned an average of over $4.5 million per head.  That is not a typo.  Expectations are that profits for 2018 will be up substantially.

In a post way back in June 2014 titled “Is Lack Of ‘Diversity’ At Big Law Firms A Crisis?” I summarized some of the strange history of the New York legal practice, particularly the long-time division of the profession into Jewish and non-Jewish firms.  From the late 19th through mid-20th centuries, thousands of Jews, many the children of recent immigrants, flooded into the legal profession, in numbers far exceeding their percentage of the overall population; but the then-prestigious “white shoe” firms nakedly discriminated against the Jews.  As a result, many Jews formed their own start-up firms, some of which then grew to become powerhouses by the late-20th century.  Today, many of these firms continue to have substantial pluralities of Jews in their ranks of attorneys, and even more so at the top levels of leadership. . . .

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On Being Thankful On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  We are reminded of the importance of being thankful for the many blessings we have in life.  The most important blessings are the simplest and most basic:  family, and extended family; friends; the large traditional meal; the opportunity to support a family through hard work; a government that doesn't intentionally starve and imprison dissenters.

Have you noticed that the liberals and progressives have lost the ability to give thanks for these things?  Their world view seems to be a combination of guilt and self-loathing on the one hand, with hatred of those who disagree with them on the other.  Somehow these things so overwhelm the consciousness that thankfulness for the simple things, or for anything, just can't break through.  Can any reader find a single example of a progressive pundit this Thanksgiving giving unqualified thanks for the basic and simple things without then turning to the usual guilt, self-loathing, and hatred, let alone the self-flagellation over "white privilege," over "racism," over "sexism," over "homophobia," and on and on?

Let's take a little survey of the New York Times op ed columnists.  Most of them have chosen not to address the subject of Thanksgiving at all.  The ones who have border, as usual, on self-parody. The Krugman article is headlined "On Feeling Thankful But Fearful."  So, what are you thankful for, Paul?

I’m thankful to have had the privileges that went with being a white male, growing up and building a career during an era — perhaps temporary — in which open anti-Semitism had become socially unacceptable. To my shame, until recently I didn’t fully appreciate just how big those privileges were (and at a deep level I probably still don’t). I knew that racism and sexism were real and continuing, but was oblivious to just how vicious they were (and are). 

See what I mean?  And Paul, do you have any other qualifications you want to add to your "thanks"?

[E]very one of those good things is now very much under assault. . . .  White supremacists are, of course, making a big comeback thanks to encouragement from the top. . . .  So are anti-Semites, which is really no surprise to those who remember their history.  Even as old prejudices return, we’ve clearly entered a new age of politically potent anti-intellectualism. . . .  

Meanwhile, the even more strident Charles Blow has a column headlined "Thankfully Recommitting To Resistance" -- but, after the headline, I can't find the word "thanks" in the column at all.  It is an angry screed directed at the President, and unwilling to concede that he has done even one thing worthy of the slightest gratitude.  Sample:

Donald Trump, I thought that your presidency would be a disaster. It’s worse than a disaster. I wasn’t sure that resistance to your weakening of the republic, your coarsening of the culture, your assault on truth and honesty, your erosion of our protocols, would feel as urgent today as it felt last year. But if anything, that resistance now feels more urgent.  Nothing about you has changed for the better. You are still a sexist, bigoted, bullying, self-important simpleton.

If Blow has anything to be thankful for, you will not find it in this column.  So, does even one of the Times's columnists offer any genuine thanks for anything?  The closest is Bret Stephens -- but then, he is the house conservative.

If you want to find an example of someone actually counting his blessings, you're just going to have to go over to the right side of the political spectrum.  Among many examples, one of the best is the article from Deroy Murdock at National Review.  National Review has been known as among the "never Trumpers."  But this article gives credit where credit is due, even to someone the magazine has strongly opposed on many issues.  The headline is "This Thanksgiving, Thank Donald J. Trump."  There is a list of some 36 positive accomplishments of the Trump administration, on subjects ranging from the economy to foreign policy to civil rights to immigration.  Many of these things you would think the progressives would agree with.  For example, on the economy:

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 all hit record highs on Tuesday. The Wilshire 5000 Index calculates that some $3.4 trillion in new wealth has been created since President Trump’s inauguration and $5.4 trillion since his election. Fueled by the reality of deregulation, expectations of lower taxes, and a new tone in Washington that applauds free enterprise rather than excoriate it, the economy is on fire.
  • Atop the second quarter’s 3.1 percent increase in real GDP, and 3.0 in 3Q, the New York Federal Reserve Bank predicts that 4Q output will expand by 3.8 percent. This far outpaces the feeble average-annual GDP growth rate of 1.5 percent on President Obama’s watch. Meanwhile, the IMF expects global GDP to rise by 3.5 percent this year. So much for a Trump-inspired “global recession.”

In the past I have expressed skepticism about crediting (or blaming) a President for economic performance of the economy starting on the day of his election or inauguration, since economic policy generally operates with a lag.  On the other hand, I think it is entirely reasonable to expect an economy to react more or less immediately to promises of deregulation and of tax cuts.  

In case you are not aware of it, note that Murdock points to a forecast put out by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, known as its "Nowcast."  This indicator tracks economic statistics day by day to give an early read as to how the economy is doing in the current quarter.  As of November 24 the New York Fed "Nowcast" for 4th Quarter GDP is at 3.7% increase (a 0.1% decline from a few days ago when Murdock wrote his article).  When combined with the 3.1% GDP increase in the 2nd Quarter, and 3.0% in the 3rd, there is no doubt that economic performance has dramatically improved on Trump's watch.  But then, Obama waged what I called (in August 2015) the "War On The Economy":

[T]hat war has many fronts, including: massive wasteful spending and debt accumulation; artificially suppressing cheap and reliable energy in favor of subsidizing expensive and unreliable energy; overregulation and endless phony prosecutions directed against anyone who dares to make too much money in a financial business; forcing people to overpay for wasteful health insurance (Obamacare); big tax increases; and more. . . .  I truly believe that Obama and his minions have no idea that there is any relationship between intentional suppression of economic activity by the government on the one hand and sluggish economic performance by the economy on the other. 

Murdock contrasts the economy's performance since Trump took office to Krugman's prediction on November 9, 2016 (the day after the election):

Now comes the mother of all adverse effects — and what it brings with it is a regime that will be ignorant of economic policy and hostile to any effort to make it work," Krugman wrote. "So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.

For two other examples, both from the right, of things that deserve your unqualified thanks, consider this article from Kurt Schlichter at Townhall, and this one from Marc Thiessen at the Washington Post.  Both lead with the same item:  Be thankful that Hillary Clinton was not elected President.

UPDATE, November 25:  You might have thought this was not possible, but my friends at Maggie's Farm have found someone who hates Thanksgiving even more than Krugman and Blow.  It's a guy named David Zirin, writing in The Nation on November 17.  Zirin works himself up into a purple rage over the fact that the NFL's Thanksgiving day game was being hosted in Washington by the Redskins.  Or, in The Nation, the "R*dskins."  They change the spelling because, in their world, the word "Redskins" is a "racial slur."  Excerpt:

Whether it’s a question of tin-eared insensitivity, or their own sick, private joke, Washington will be hosting the Thanksgiving game for the first time in league history. . . .  The NFL . . . of course has a team named after a Native American racial slur in the nation’s capital. That’s not news. What is news is that on Thanksgiving, for the first time in league history, this team in Washington will be playing host. That means as we finish our food . . .  and gather around the television to watch NFL football, a tradition only slightly less ubiquitous than pumpkin pie, the R*dskins slur— a name that exists only because of genocide and displacement—will have center stage. 

Bird Dog's comment is, "Oh for crying out loud."  Amen.

[For some reason, Squarespace is refusing to embed the link for The Nation article.  Here it is:  https://www.thenation.com/article/by-having-the-washington-rdskins-host-a-game-on-thanksgiving-nfl-owners-show-their-true-colors/.]