Saturday, March 29, 2008


I'm officially the least capable of us four. You three are so much more savvy than I am. It's embarrassing but keep at it.

A movie test

I'm testing what looks like a different kind of movie embed. Picked a clip for Scooter:

Same process to put it here, though. Just copy the embed code; then paste it into the "Edit Html" window for creating posts.

From the Daily Show, Jan. 30, 2008.

[Update: taking movie down, in case having it embedded slows loading of SSJ page. But video of Peggy Noonan on the Daily Show can be found here.

Lean men

Nice, where's it from?

Dims v Rethugs

This is a nice example of how they differ. Rethugs take positions based on big ideas; Dims cater to constituencies. Here's Gail Collins, silly Dim, on how she perceives McCain: "But give the man credit for telling it like he thinks it is. So far, he’s only alienated the homeowners, retirees and vacation-takers."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Film about Oil in ND (1953)

Part I

Part II:

This movie is in the public domain and is part of the Prelinger Archives.

Sandwich-eating for me. Apparently, the northwestern part of ND was settled by Norwegians.

[Update: But the movie says the winds blow west from the Great Lakes. I think they blow mostly from the west, northwest and north. So maybe it's wrong about the Norwegians, too.]

Re: Oil and Gas Jobs in ND

Regretfully, transportation is the area of my least experience. Pipelines can be really ugly when they leak. I can drive a truck, though. Driving around all day listening to right-wing radio sounds interesting. Not sure about a big rig with something extremely flammable.

Gosh, I've done O&G in TX, CO and WY, surely I can help in ND.

Oil jobs in North Dakota

Posted on


Company: Gas Transportation
Status: Full Time, Employee
Location: US-ND-Minot
Job Category: Energy/Utilities

Sr. Business Specialist

Organizational Statement

Enbridge Liquids Pipelines, Inc., a leader in crude oil and natural gas transportation, gathering and processing, is currently seeking a Senior Business Specialist to be located at the Enbridge Minot, ND office.


  • Provides the lead business development service for Enbridge Pipelines (North Dakota) LLC Market Development initiatives
  • Identifies and develops specific liquid pipeline opportunities for Enbridge Pipelines (North Dakota) LLC
  • Monitors market conditions and industry events along with political and business environments to assess the viability of business prospects.
  • Markets prospective business ventures by promoting the Company's capabilities to governments and private companies. Must interface, negotiate and coordinate with customers, partners, agents and consultants.
  • Develops project frameworks by preparing business strategies, negotiating preliminary contracts, providing letters of agreement and defining legal parameters.
  • Coordinates technical, legal, tax, treasury and economic evaluations and models for contract development.
  • Provides ongoing project support in the form of interpretation of contract detail and intent of agreement specifics to management, project partners, consultants and business unit operational staff.
  • Develops and maintains a network of contacts within the producer, refiner and pipeline industry.
  • Provides team lead on coordination of business development ideas amongst the Enbridge Pipelines (North Dakota) LLC groups such as Business Services, Engineering, and Operations.
  • Assists the Business Service group on issues regarding Rules and Regulations, Oil Movements, and crude quality
Reports to the Manager of Enbridge Pipelines (North Dakota) LLC

Re: Oil in ND

I'll have to work on my Fargo accent. I can't believe I missed the NYT article.

Oil in North Dakota

Here's an excerpt from a NYTimes story about oil in North Dakota, from January 1, 2008:

STANLEY, N.D. — At dawn, people from faraway states huddle outside the Mountrail County courthouse here, the coldest ones leaving briefcases and books to secure their spots for the moment it opens.

It is a peculiar sight in Stanley, population roughly 1,200, one in a constellation of isolated and, in some cases, shrinking farm towns along North Dakota’s wide open western edge where few residents recall a traffic jam.

The early morning line hints at the sudden fortune that has arrived: Oil companies, saying that they located what may prove to be one of the largest recent oil finds in the United States, have begun drilling all through these parts. Fifty-two drilling rigs were at work in the state at the end of December; a count taken in October showed that 198 new wells had been drilled in a year, state officials said.

At the courthouse, the crush of people, known as landmen in the world of oil, spend their days scouring enormous old binders of deeds, each trying to sort out who owns the mineral rights to land that once seemed valuable mainly for growing durum wheat or peas.

There's been oil drilling in western North Dakota for as long as I can remember. In the North Dakota Badlands, outside of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, there are derricks (is that the word for the pumping thing or is that the word for the drilling thing?) sprinkled about, silently pumping away. I found them to be kind of beautiful. And the oil companies have built dirt roads in and through the badlands that are a hoot to drive and give you access to spectacularly beautiful land.

200B barrels of oil in North Dakota?

This could be great news. H/t Michael Ledeen. Stephanie, let me know if y'all need an oil & gas lawyer. Does Texas have a reciprocal bar with ND?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Re: Wright's car

Full disclosure: my former church in Denver (lily-white and rich) works very closely with an inner-city church there whose former pastor drove an older Rolls-Royce. I was disheartened by that (thinking this expenditure was perhaps not the best example of "good stewardship") until by chance I drove by the pastor's house. The house was quite humble and his car just appeared to be a, somewhat expensive, hobby.

I attended maybe three services at this church over five years. While I never heard any "liberation theology," I would not be surprised if it were preached there though I hope not to Rev. Wright's extreme.

Re: Unemployment rates

I recall from my college days that most economists consider 4% to be "full employment." Theory being that those last 4% are just unemployable for whatever reasons.

The Poll

Like both but am a Rachmaninoff man. My favorite classical album ever.

Minnesota's unemployment

We're not doing so well here.

Minnesota's unemployment rate for February was 4.6 percent, up one-tenth of a point from January. The labor force participation rate slipped two-tenths to 72.4 percent and the employment-to-population ratio dropped three-tenths to 69.1 percent. These are the lowest both measures have been in Minnesota since 1989.

From the Minnesota Department of Employment

Texas unemployment rate drops to (from what I heard is) a 30 year low

From the Chronicle.

BigDog - Beta

If you enjoyed the video of BigDog, you need to see this.

If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not giving enough

Stephanie’ post reminds me that I haven’t blegged for any of my for my favorite groups in a while. Links to each and text pilfered from their websites.


Texas Lions Camp

Texas Lions Camp is a residential camping facility for children with physical disabilities, type 1 diabetes and cancer. The Camp is located on over 500 acres in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, and is designed to introduce the "Can Do" philosophy to children dealing with special medical conditions.

Children with special needs from all over the State of Texas are invited to attend one of 9 weeks, which we hope will become one of their life-long childhood memories. A week designed for fun, exploration and challenge.

Foundation Communities

Creates high-quality affordable housing and empowers low-income families and individuals with programs that educate, support and improve financial standing.

Not so secular ("sacred" always sounds so haughty):

Austin’s City School

The school provides a custom-tailored education that results in students who love to learn, learn to lead, and lead to serve. The school is accessible to students from most ability and income levels. City School parents and students are co-producers of a joy-filled education.

Community New Start

We are investing in the future of the St. John community by investing in the lives and families that live here. We believe that each caring relationship developed significantly adds to a community’s health. These relationships are built by expressions of service and commitment to the schools, churches, and people within the community. We use Biblical principles to guide us as we work to address the unique needs of the communities we serve, and these principles are constant. The methods have grown and changed through the past decade as we invest deeper into the strategies that have been the most fruitful.

Re: Christian Capitalists

For Michael: Didn't I read that Rev. Wright drives a Porsche? There is no substitute.

Re: Christian Capitalism

As a Christian and a capitalist, I find these arguments (that somehow Jesus espoused capitalism) pretty weak.

Though not a very good Christian and no expert on economics, I’d have to say that the New Testament is pretty much neutral about economics.

Off the top of my head the only two economic concepts I can think of even being addressed are paying taxes and helping out the poor.

21"Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

I’d have to say that the best argument a Christian can make for capitalism is one of implication. It is the capitalist system that has created the most prosperous (bottom to top) nation on the planet, how can that not be the system that does the most to help the poor? I think of my earlier Wal-Mart post. Any arguments that the NT, or Jesus’ teachings in particular, are capitalistic really stretch credulity.

George Will’s recent column on charity (spanking Austin) is not really on topic but is at least somewhat related if it can be presumed that conservatives are generally more pro-capitalism:

Reviewing Brooks' book ("Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism") in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, Justice Willett notes that Austin — it voted 56 percent for Kerry while he was getting just 38 percent statewide — is ranked by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as 48th out of America's 50 largest cities in per capita charitable giving. Brooks' data about disparities between liberals' and conservatives' charitable giving fit these facts: Democrats represent a majority of the wealthiest congressional districts, and half of America's richest households live in states where both senators are Democrats.

While conservatives tend to regard giving as a personal rather than governmental responsibility, some liberals consider private charity a retrograde phenomenon — a poor palliative for an inadequate welfare state, and a distraction from achieving adequacy by force, by increasing taxes.

I quickly concede that much of that giving is church related.

Prosperous Touch Board Game

Sometimes I have a hard time understanding how capitalism jives with Jesus' teachings. I would say there's no reason it should, except that some people are enthusiastic about both so I seek to understand how this works.

I've stumbled on a board game, described in U.S. Patent No. 7,021,626, that perhaps explains the connection. The Abstract describes that the game promises to be a "great blessing to believers of all ages, as it paints a real life picture of how trust in God and his principles can bring a person to a place of not only spiritual freedom but also financial freedom."

According to the rules of the game, one languishes in The Wilderness until one's passive income exceeds one's monthly expenses at which point one moves to The Promised Land where one's power to anoint [I'm presuming that means convert lost souls to Jesus] is multiplied.

"The first person to become financially free and win 100,000 souls to Jesus is the winner." Col. 6, lines 13-14.

A review of the board reveals a general, puzzling (to me) philosophy that souls can be purchased (and/or that there's a zero sum game between souls and money). Here's a sampling of the compromises a player must make between cash and souls (and an opportunity to teach kids to calculate ROI and make investments accordingly):
  • "Start Christian airline" - 10,000 souls, cost $50,000
  • "Start Christian version of MTV" - 20,000 souls, cost $350,000
  • "Give church one million dollar check" -- 15,000 souls, cost $225,000 (hmmm)
  • "Buy partnership in Christian fast food restaurant" - 5,000 souls, cost $125,000
  • "Co-found Christian Amusement Park" - 100,000 souls, cost $500,000
But players should be wary of "High mindedness" for which one is docked $40k.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Not Peck's Chickens

Since I posted that one of Rev. Wright's sermons were inspired by something Admiral Peck had said, I'd best post this from HuffPo. Peck says he "would not endorse" Wright's sermon language and would have walked out. But, he says, there were "seeds of truth" in it, and he says he has only seen the clips of it and not the full sermon.

How is this even possible?

From the Chronicle:

LA JOYA, Texas — A La Joya woman believed to weigh at least 800 pounds has been charged with capital murder in the death of her 2-year-old nephew.

Myra Lizbeth Rosales initially told authorities she fell on Eliseo Gonzalez Jr. while he was left in her care. He was pronounced dead March 18.

This is tragic, if true (I'm not yet convinced), on a multitude of levels.


For several years, the Minneapolis libraries have been in a sorry state due to lack of funding. Many old neighbhorhood libraries were shut down, and all the rest have kept very short hours: each just 5 days per week, only open 6-8 hours at a time, and not open on SUNDAYS. Now, though, the city libraries have access to enough funding from a county-wide sales tax (that exists to build a new baseball stadium) to be open on Sundays.

How can you expect children to learn the art of procrastination if they can't go to the library on Sunday to write their reports that are due on Monday? I suppose kids don't need to use the sets of encyclopedias at the library to write reports these days, what with the internets.

RIP Thor and Mr. Jingles

I can't get Meryl Streep's voice out of my head, "A dingo ate my baby!"

Coyotes, real coyotes, not smugglers, in Austin

Poor Thor, poor Mr. Jingles.

From the Austin American Statesman:

Thor, a Chihuahua, barked as he charged out to his Shoal Creek backyard about 3 a.m. on a January morning. That was the last time his owner, Kay Aielli, saw him.

"All I heard was the dog yipping, and I could tell he was being carried down the bank of the creek and off to the other side," she said.

She said her other Chihuahua, Mr. Jingles, must have run out the door at the same time as Thor. He was also never seen again.

They may not be as pesky as Michael's feral hogs, but don't tell that to Thor.

New Poll -->

Simpsons 6, Seinfeld 4. Voter fraud suspected.

Also on my office wall next to his picture...

"The fact that our econometric models at the Fed, the best in the world, have been wrong for fourteen straight quarters does not mean that they will not be right in the fifteenth quarter."

Alan Greenspan (1999)–Speech to the IMF

My Favorite Keynes Quote

"It is astonishing what foolish things one can temporarily believe if one thinks too long alone, particularly in economics...."

John Maynard Keynes (1936)
A General of Employment, Interest and Money

It hangs on my office wall next to his picture.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Sparrow

I'm pretty sure Scooter is talking about The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. My book club just read it a few months ago. Liked it pretty well. (There's a sequel, Children of God, that I have not read. The main priest who survives in The Sparrow returns to the planet.)

M.D. Russell recently wrote a forward for a reprinting of A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr., a book Michael read, and had me read, about two decades ago. It's vaguely similar to Sparrow in that it's sci-fi involving priests. I encouraged my book club to read Canticle largely because of Russell's enthusiasm for it (because they'd loved her WWII Italian resistance novel Thread of Grace), but they didn't enjoy it. I loved Canticle because it explores juicy themes about sin, redemption, cycles of violence, responsibility, religion, science, the quest for knowledge and its consequences.

[Update: I just realized Scooter said he read the second of a pair, so maybe he read Children of God.]

Re: Book Club post...(kinda)

Stephanie's post got me thinking about a book I read while in a club in Denver (I was the only guy).

It was actually a book that was second of a pair. Set on another planet and authored by a woman whose name escapes me. My recollection is that the planet was inhabited by kangaroo type creatures. The planet was being visited by, I think, Catholic priests who were also astronauts. This sounds ridiculous but was very well written and I remember being appalled by the depictions of violence.

Does this ring any bells with anybody? I quickly scanned my liberry and can't seem to locate it.

Global jihad got you down?

Cheer up with Paul Johnson’s ruminations on Russia and China:

Watching the run-up to the U.S. presidential elections from proud and self-indulgent yet weak and cowardly Europe, I am disturbed that so little attention has been paid to electing a President who will have the courage to provide leadership — and, if need be, resolute action — in an increasingly dangerous world.

...Which of the leading U.S. presidential candidates is likely to provide the kind of firm, consistent and cerebral policies that will contain and render safe this newly invigorated Russia? From a European viewpoint this is the key question of the election. It is linked to other factors that have been looming but are now moving to the center on the world chessboard: the burgeoning economies of China and India. What policies should the U.S. adopt regarding them, separately and together?

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I'm in a neighborhood women's book club. The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid, was a book club pick.

I keep re-writing this post to describe the book, but I didn't think much of it and have decided not to bother you with a plot summary and instead just note its style.

It's written as a monologue by a Pakistani man speaking to an American (who may or may not be carrying a gun; who may/may not be CIA; may/may not be trying to assassinate him) in a cafe in Pakistan.

The narrator occasionally notices and comments on the American's discomfort: "I see this makes you tense..." In my head, the Pakistani narrator was speaking English with a bad accent (since I can't do accents). Partly because of the bad accent, partly because of the discomfort of the American, partly because of the verbosity and creepiness of the narrator, I kept being reminded of Christopher Walken's Saturday Night Live character, the Continental. That pretty much ruined the suspense the novel promised to deliver.

Re: Re: Economic Stimulus Notice (cost)

The cost? Per Larry Kudlow:

By the way, this little IRS letter cost the taxpayers a cool $42 million.

A drop in the bucket, sure, but what a waste.

So happy to have voted for her

Misspoke? Misspoke? We called them whoppers when I was a kid.

From ABC:

...Clinton said, "No, I went to 80 countries, you know. I gave contemporaneous accounts, I wrote about a lot of this in my book. You know, I think that, a minor blip, you know, if I said something that, you know, I say a lot of things -- millions of words a day -- so, if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Reconsidering Jimmy Carter

At the time, as someone who really believed in the ideals behind the Olympics, I thought JC's boycott of Moscow short-sighted. I really believed at the time that those ideals could have great effect. I was naive.

I suppose I need to get ready to eat a 30 year old sandwich as I contemplate Tibet and China. I'm not really calling for a boycott but Bush should not go.

David Freddoso echoes Scooter on the Stimulus Notice..

I absolutely agree(d) with him about this terrible expenditure:

I have just received a totally unnecessary "Economic Stimulus Payment Notice" through the mail from the Internal Revenue Service…

Steroid Testing at Texas High Schools Began Today

From last year's Statesman:

Legislative budget planners have set aside $3 million, which will allow the University Interscholastic League to test between 20,000 to 25,000 of the state's estimated 740,000 student-athletes. Those tested will come from a randomly selected pool of 30 percent of the state's 1,246 public high schools, making Texas' steroid-testing program the largest in the nation.

Why exactly is this a good expenditure? I know that kids on 'roids is a bad thing but why should taxpayers pay for this. If some high school golfer (I'm not kidding, they're testing all sports and both sexes, er, genders) wants to 'roid up so he can hit it a full 200 yards, shouldn't the parents be the ones who notice the huge head and emotional outbursts and spring for the test. Some reports today are saying that the statistics obtained from the early tests will determine how this is funded. Anybody operating under the assumption it won't be the taxpayer?