NewEnergyNews-Butterfield Archive

WALL STREET JOURNAL'S Environmental Capital quotes NewEnergyNews:

  • 06/05/2007
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    WALL STREET JOURNAL selects NewEnergyNews as one of the "Blogs We Are Reading" --

  • 05/14/2007
  • 04/16/2007
  • 03/28/2007
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      Anne B. Butterfield of DAILY CAMERA, a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews


    • My Novels: OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades & OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades by Mark S. Friedman
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades, the second volume of Herman K. Trabish’s retelling of oil’s history in fiction, picks up where the first book in the series, OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction, left off. The new book is an engrossing, informative and entertaining tale of the Roaring 20s, World War II and the Cold War. You don’t have to know anything about the first historical fiction’s adventures set between the Civil War, when oil became a major commodity, and World War I, when it became a vital commodity, to enjoy this new chronicle of the U.S. emergence as a world superpower and a world oil power.
    • As the new book opens, Lefash, a minor character in the first book, witnesses the role Big Oil played in designing the post-Great War world at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Unjustly implicated in a murder perpetrated by Big Oil agents, LeFash takes the name Livingstone and flees to the U.S. to clear himself. Livingstone’s quest leads him through Babe Ruth’s New York City and Al Capone’s Chicago into oil boom Oklahoma. Stymied by oil and circumstance, Livingstone marries, has a son and eventually, surprisingly, resolves his grievances with the murderer and with oil.
    • In the new novel’s second episode the oil-and-auto-industry dynasty from the first book re-emerges in the charismatic person of Victoria Wade Bridger, “the woman everybody loved.” Victoria meets Saudi dynasty founder Ibn Saud, spies for the State Department in the Vichy embassy in Washington, D.C., and – for profound and moving personal reasons – accepts a mission into the heart of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Underlying all Victoria’s travels is the struggle between the allies and axis for control of the crucial oil resources that drove World War II.
    • As the Cold War begins, the novel’s third episode recounts the historic 1951 moment when Britain’s MI-6 handed off its operations in Iran to the CIA, marking the end to Britain’s dark manipulations and the beginning of the same work by the CIA. But in Trabish’s telling, the covert overthrow of Mossadeq in favor of the ill-fated Shah becomes a compelling romance and a melodramatic homage to the iconic “Casablanca” of Bogart and Bergman.
    • Monty Livingstone, veteran of an oil field youth, European WWII combat and a star-crossed post-war Berlin affair with a Russian female soldier, comes to 1951 Iran working for a U.S. oil company. He re-encounters his lost Russian love, now a Soviet agent helping prop up Mossadeq and extend Mother Russia’s Iranian oil ambitions. The reunited lovers are caught in a web of political, religious and Cold War forces until oil and power merge to restore the Shah to his future fate. The romance ends satisfyingly, America and the Soviet Union are the only forces left on the world stage and ambiguity is resolved with the answer so many of Trabish’s characters ultimately turn to: Oil.
    • Commenting on a recent National Petroleum Council report calling for government subsidies of the fossil fuels industries, a distinguished scholar said, “It appears that the whole report buys these dubious arguments that the consumer of energy is somehow stupid about energy…” Trabish’s great and important accomplishment is that you cannot read his emotionally engaging and informative tall tales and remain that stupid energy consumer. With our world rushing headlong toward Peak Oil and epic climate change, the OIL IN THEIR BLOOD series is a timely service as well as a consummate literary performance.
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction by Mark S. Friedman
    • "...ours is a culture of energy illiterates." (Paul Roberts, THE END OF OIL)
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, a superb new historical fiction by Herman K. Trabish, addresses our energy illiteracy by putting the development of our addiction into a story about real people, giving readers a chance to think about how our addiction happened. Trabish's style is fine, straightforward storytelling and he tells his stories through his characters.
    • The book is the answer an oil family's matriarch gives to an interviewer who asks her to pass judgment on the industry. Like history itself, it is easier to tell stories about the oil industry than to judge it. She and Trabish let readers come to their own conclusions.
    • She begins by telling the story of her parents in post-Civil War western Pennsylvania, when oil became big business. This part of the story is like a John Ford western and its characters are classic American melodramatic heroes, heroines and villains.
    • In Part II, the matriarch tells the tragic story of the second generation and reveals how she came to be part of the tales. We see oil become an international commodity, traded on Wall Street and sought from London to Baku to Mesopotamia to Borneo. A baseball subplot compares the growth of the oil business to the growth of baseball, a fascinating reflection of our current president's personal career.
    • There is an unforgettable image near the center of the story: International oil entrepreneurs talk on a Baku street. This is Trabish at his best, portraying good men doing bad and bad men doing good, all laying plans for wealth and power in the muddy, oily alley of a tiny ancient town in the middle of everywhere. Because Part I was about triumphant American heroes, the tragedy here is entirely unexpected, despite Trabish's repeated allusions to other stories (Casey At The Bat, Hamlet) that do not end well.
    • In the final section, World War I looms. Baseball takes a back seat to early auto racing and oil-fueled modernity explodes. Love struggles with lust. A cavalry troop collides with an army truck. Here, Trabish has more than tragedy in mind. His lonely, confused young protagonist moves through the horrible destruction of the Romanian oilfields only to suffer worse and worse horrors, until--unexpectedly--he finds something, something a reviewer cannot reveal. Finally, the question of oil must be settled, so the oil industry comes back into the story in a way that is beyond good and bad, beyond melodrama and tragedy.
    • Along the way, Trabish gives readers a greater awareness of oil and how we became addicted to it. Awareness, Paul Roberts said in THE END OF OIL, "...may be the first tentative step toward building a more sustainable energy economy. Or it may simply mean that when our energy system does begin to fail, and we begin to lose everything that energy once supplied, we won't be so surprised."
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • My Photo
      Location: Agua Dulce, CA

      *Doctor with my hands *Author of the "OIL IN THEIR BLOOD" series with my head *Student of New Energy with my heart






      Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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    • NewEnergyNews


      Hip towns and a clever measure

      From Anne B. Butterfield
      Hip towns and a clever measure
      October 7, 2008

      We in Boulder have so many reasons to see Berkeley, Calif. as our rival; in worldclass research and education, in natural beauty and liberal views bordering on wackiness, and for leadership with new ideas. And now the rivalry comes down to Boulder's vote coming up to allow property owners to finance green improvements on their properties with county bond money, and to pay the debt through their land tax bill. Pretty clever: no taxes, low interest, low risk, low or no money down, lower utility bills and the loan goes with the property.

      The concept was first dubbed "the Berkeley financing plan" for the idea that was approved by Berkeley's council just 11 months ago. Berkeley's Mayor Tom Bates received hundreds of phone calls from around the world to inquire about it, and Boulder's County Commissioner Will Toor immediately received 17 emails about it. Many dozen cities are carefully watching Berkeley's progress, and Boulder is jumping in to join its western twin through the ballot issue cleverly called 1A.

      Voters, please memorize this drab little name, 1A (picture the kid who sits in the front of the class and brings an apple for the teacher), because that item will be near the bottom of our unusually long ballot this November. If it passes we stand to join Berkeley in leading the nation in cutting back our use of fossil fuels.

      And 1A is happening in the nick of time. The fuels that power and heat our homes (coal and natural gas mostly) are under severe market and production pressure, with prices rising steadily.

      A senior geoscientist who has testified on the natural gas market to Colorado's Public Utility Commission, Dave Hughes explains that our natural gas today comes out of the earth from about three times as many drilling rigs as was needed ten years ago for about the same amount of gas. And those rigs cost up to $10 million each. Our current state of production is widely called "treadmilling" -- meaning we're working harder for the same production. Just last winter, the price on natural gas nearly doubled. Hughes says, "prices will be volatile and upward moving for the foreseeable future."

      In coal, we can see extreme increase of demand. On the global market coal has doubled in price in the past three years, with India and China both producing heavily as well as importing more. In the United States we are producing and consuming heavily but the energy content of our coal is decreasing so we should not be surprised that utilities have paid more for coal for seven straight years, with the price of coal futures skyrocketing in 2008.

      And such prices get handed straight through to us the ratepayers through a little rule called the energy commodity adjustment, or ECA. Just this summer the ECA increased from under four cents to just under five cents per kilowatt hour, translating to about a 10 percent increase in the average bill -- in three months. Imagine that keeping up. This is the type of financial havoc that can be pushed back by adding new windows, insulation and maybe some solar panels onto one's home or business.

      Spin and corporate self-interest are dominating the national discussion of our energy and climate security, with T. Boone Pickens backing a plan that's just wacky to natural gas experts like Dave Hughes; and now a group called " Lights out in 2009?" warns illogically about more brown outs which they claim can only be cured by building 120 gigawatts of new capacity. In the face of this noise, passing 1A will provide a high quality investment to a recovering bond market and a steady path real to energy solutions for Boulder. Thanks, Berkeley.