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


      Cheney in a chignon

      From Anne B. Butterfield
      Cheney in a chignon
      Sunday, September 7, 2008

      With intense fanfare, crowds at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul roared "Drill here! Drill now!" Some wore hardhats and safety vests emblazoned with images of caribou nestling up to pipelines. It was a drilling cult festival with Gov. Sarah Palin, her hair done up in a high, puffy chignon known as a beehive, as their newly crowned princess.

      John McCain was just this guy they could interrupt during his speech to keep up the roar for more drilling.

      When it comes to oil that lady is Dick Cheney in a chignon. She tackled big oil in Alaska by threatening to evict major companies from their leases because they had sat on them fruitlessly for decades. She then slapped a windfall profit tax on them and rejected their plans to own the new natural gas pipeline.

      Palin's colleagues have worried that she drove too hard a bargain, making it not profitable enough for the companies which can build big enough to draw out large supplies, and which also require high profits to stay in the high risk ventures. But Queen Sarah has also given large incentives to drill for more oil, up to half a billion in "contribution" from Alaska to the company winning the license.

      Thomas Freidman of the New York Times sums it up dryly, "Palin's much ballyhooed confrontations with the oil industry have all been about who should get more of the windfall profits not how to end our addiction."

      He's right. Palin's windfall profit tax has added $1,200 into the pocket of each Alaskan to help them meet oil prices, which is how many Alaskans still tragically heat their homes. Even Palin's Republican critics have complained this rebate provides no incentive to economize or make changes.

      The handouts are cash in hand for Alaskans so they can stay committed to carbon-based fuels, and no renewable portfolio standard exists in Palin's state. On the up side, the state has created a weatherization rebate and programs to promote efficiency. To serve her cities and remote villages, Palin should use every legislative tool of Colorado's to reap the state's rich wind energy, fast.

      If you put together Palin's record with McCain's you get bats in the belfry: tax incentives and gifts for fossil fuels as well as high consumption of same, but no tax credits for renewable energy, and a bunch of technical lies or ignorance. Like McCain, Palin is woefully out of date, dismissing alternative energy solutions as "far from imminent and would require more than ten years to develop."

      She's got it backwards. The new sources of fossil fuels take serious time to get to market, and wind turbines are the fastest way to get new megawatts onto the grid. A drive on I-80 through Iowa will surprise any regular driver (like your humble scribe) in its town of Adair which has been transformed in the 31 days of this August with 11 new wind turbines, or a megawatt a day.

      Our panhandle prophet T. Boone Pickens has paid a bundle in television ads to remind us that the fast way out of our energy crunch is with wind and natural gas to power homes and cars. On oil, he drawls: "Drill, drill, drill but the debate misses the point -- you're still dependent on oil." He knows that any effort to enable oil at the center of our lives is fooling around.

      In spite of delivering product a good ten years from now, Palin's new pipeline is in fact a boon because natural gas, the cleanest of the fossil fuels, can provide the quick-start reserve power that partners well with the variability of wind and solar on the grid, and it can power existing, converted cars. Natural gas is one key lubricant of our energy transformation.

      Palin has contributed to the future of energy, but overall she's favoring the past as she does with her hairstyle. And John McCain is still muttering about nuclear energy even as the technology for "new nuclear" has been stayed for lack of hundreds of design certifications and always has been the slowest to install. Nuclear and its party date clean coal are as slow and unpromising as John McCain's athletic future. It you want fast results, focus on wind and natural gas, and tell the Governor of Alaska.