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


      Colliding tragedies and the missing pie slice

      Anne B. Butterfield, May 20, 2010 (NewEnergyNews)

      While the blame game proceeds in Capitol Hill seeking the cause of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, some voices are adamant on the larger picture: we demand this product to be cheap so that we can waste it. All of us caused this monstrous accident.

      The problem is so much worse than this visible tragedy.

      Few are admitting that the amount of oil from offshore drilling, which could offer up to 15 years of American supply, is swallowed in the shadow of financial uncertainty in producing such oil. The capital risk of exploring and tapping those fields cause great pause to energy companies. Oil companies should be even more hesitant now that deep sea operations have proven to be like space adventures requiring ceaseless dedication and accountability. That sterling standard is not a great match for companies which have been earning billions per quarter after getting what they want from regulators by having their lobbyists literally sleep with them.

      While oil companies have great access to government regulators paid with public funds, they do seem to enjoy great privacy concealing the many strategic vulnerabilities of our oil based life.

      Fox News recently refused to run an ad by calling for the passage of a climate and energy bill based on a well known link between oil markets and Iran’s invention of sophisticated weaponry against our armed forces. Partly owned by a Saudi interest, Fox dismissed the ad as too “confusing”.

      The press was also notoriously silent about a small earthquake of news on the oil front that appeared nine days before the platform explosion, which was shared by the Guardian of UK: The U.S. Joint Forces command issued a Joint Operating Environment report warning that surplus oil production capacity could vanish as soon as 2012, leading to serious oil shortages by 2015.

      That grand omission might stem from the denial of the Energy Information Administration, which forecasts that the world could be producing millions of more barrels of oil per day within two decades if the capital investments get made. That’s a big “if” when such capital would be better spent on technology that could reap renewable, clean energy.

      More mischief from oil’s privacy: the EIA’s nation-by-nation analysis of resources relied on proprietary data that cannot be released for further scrutiny. What nation doesn’t inflate their strategic, competitive advantages? Saddam Hussein taught us that lesson, luring us into war to our lasting financial plight.

      Another problem with the EIA’s sunny optimism is that it’s upstaged by its own preceding pessimism, shown in a 2009 graph showing a glaring and widening gap between supply and demand for liquid fuels starting in 2012. If someone offered you a pie slice at Thanksgiving as wide as that oil supply gap, you’d say “Oh no, no, that’s too much.”

      A major part of that missing pie slice shall come in part from the burgeoning demand for oil in China, which produced a 41 percent leap in sales for gas-powered vehicles in just the past year, according to the New York Times.

      The blunt truth is we are idiotically dependent on inefficient internal combustion engines, and our waste of energy has brought the world to this moment of declining supplies foreseen by so many insider analysts such as Matthew Simmons.

      As world oil prices rise, energy companies can commit capital to more dangerous and energy-intensive modes of extraction, resulting lately in environmental tragedies of biblical proportions. Consider tar sands extraction, in which hundreds of square miles of Canada’s boreal forest have been scraped to get up the gooey bitumen that can be turned into crude oil with the help of huge amounts of natural gas and water for heating. About 5 percent of our fuel in Colorado comes from Alberta’s tar sands.

      Also energy and water intensive, Congress concocted mandates and incentives for corn ethanol, the making of which sends runoff to the Gulf of Mexico that prompts blooms of algae that rob the water of oxygen, sending marine life fleeing – and this year they will go into oil tainted water.

      Our reliance on oil of all types, not just imported, has created many tragedies, two of them now colliding in the Gulf with direct threat to our supply of seafood. The next hit will clobber our larger food supply with price hikes that won’t stop. What’s your family’s plan for transportation and food production, when the next oil shock comes? It could be sooner than expected.