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


      Cities on the forefront of energy freedom

      Anne Butterfield, January 14, 2010 (NewEnergyNews)

      Critics of the coming climate bill say it would cripple our economy, restrict personal freedom, attack property rights, ignore real pollutants, create corrupt political bureaucracies for offsets and trades, and put billions into research and technologies that won't improve our lives.

      In such coded speech we hear the sound of the thick-skinned species known as talkingpointapotamus, those undying creatures of sci-fi which thrive in echo chambers and have no viability apart from the money-fueled fictions which drive them.

      Telecom, tobacco and insurance interests fund the FreedomWorks organization, headed by former Speaker for the House Dick Armey, who alleges that the Tea Party movement is all about grass roots in its opposition to health care reform and a cap and trade bill. In reality it's Astroturf and it's very appealing to pundits such as Glenn Beck who has woofed: "They are going to take our financial systems, and then they are going to nationalize industry, and then they are going to nationalize energy."

      Beck got it backwards. The threat with real ballast behind it is not nationalization of industry but the longstanding corporate manipulation of government.

      Boulder's radio pundit Duncan Campbell paints the picture as one in which we need to go beyond both major parties and (the compliant Big Media) that are in collaboration with the eight other "Bigs" that are preventing the change needed to prevent the nation's ongoing decline. Those Bigs are finance, military, oil and gas, coal, utilities, pharmaceuticals, insurance, and agribusiness. Campbell adds, "our U.S. Congress and

      Government are not included among the Bigs -- the ignorant angry citizens' nostrum -- as Big G is already subsumed, owned by, the controlling other, agenda-setting Bigs.. ."

      In "Gangs of America," Ted Nace shows that the political power of corporate interests is greased with old-fashioned money, but not usually cash in the cloakroom. Instead, "smart lobbyists direct contributions strategically rather than tactically, giving year in and year out to the members of the crucial committees of both political parties and sometimes to a politician's pet causes..." It's not hard to see how the lever works: when the politician misbehaves, funding is withdrawn.

      It is against this backdrop that we should consider the most privileged corporate sector of all, investor owned utilities which, unlike the other "Bigs," do not even face competition.
      They are monopolies grandfathered in from the dawn of the last century on the pretense that being regulated would render justice to communities. With the municipally owned utility, on the other hand, the wealth and the choices of how to produce power stay in the community. But with the investor owned utility, the wealth is transferred to shareholders anywhere in the world with the decisions made at a corporate office, then often rubber stamped in the regulators' office, with priorities that do not match those at home.

      Investor-owned utilities traditionally pay a high dividend due to being granted a guaranteed return on investment for their installed generating plants. It is those central, thermal, fossil fuel burning plants that utilities most want to build -- and which have put our oceans, climate, energy security, and our politics into a stranglehold.

      So how to we democratize our energy supply and bring power generation closer to the functioning of the internet with its dynamic delivery of goods from multitudinous providers?

      It is not easy, but the legal pathway does exist through a construct called community choice aggregation. The most successful example of this model is in Ohio where 800,000 customers decide through their cities what their mix of electricity shall be based on their energy policy goals.

      For a home rule city like Boulder, with its moral and civically endorsed commitment to reducing its fossil fuel emissions, and with its franchise agreement with an investor-owned utility up for renewal this summer, the pathway to becoming a community choice energy aggregator should be compelling. According to Susan Perkins, a 34-year veteran of energy law, to make the new status as an "aggregator" operational is not automatic, but it is a credible pathway to self rule. And it brings the legal assurance of continued stable electric service due to the utility's obligation to serve well past the expiration of the franchise.

      Many have said that federal climate legislation can only improve the trailing edge of policy change, while the cities, counties and states are out in the forefront exerting the true leadership that is needed. For communities such as Boulder to know and assert their legal rights as home rule cities is a very good thing. And it sure beats listening to the morbid calls of talkingpointapotamus.