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September 8, 2008
Foreign PolicyBy Greyhawk
Bumped from 1 September - with an update you have to see to believe.
One knock against (relative) political newcomers Barack Obama and Sarah Palin has been their lack of economic and foreign policy experience. That's valid - compared to guys like Biden and McCain they don't have much of a resume. But there are points of comparison between the two younger members of the opposing tickets - here's a hopefully unbiased look at one somewhat direct point of comparison.
Ladies first - Governor Palin recently approved a deal with a Canadian corporation for a gas pipeline under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA). Here's the press release from her office:
Palin Signs AGIA License Bill Start Development on Natural Gas PipelineMore at the link. Accoding to Bloomberg, "The link will ship 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day through Canada to U.S. markets. TransCanada expects to hold an auction for capacity to help determine the size of the line in July 2010, the company said Aug. 1. The project could be operating by September 2018."
With that kind of money on the line, one might expect (ahem) competition. According to the Canada-based Financial Post, one would be right:
With Alaskan oil production on the decline, natural gas would keep the state's coffers flush. Jobs and cheaper fuel for Alaskans would be part of the package.Oddly enough, Palin's husband works for one of those companies in competition with the project:
Ms. Palin gets a daily reminder about the sector's impact on the state. From her Anchorage office she has a full-on view of the ConocoPhillips building and its red, white and black logo. Moreover, her husband, Todd, works for BP in a "blue-collar union" job on the North Slope. (She denies this puts her in any conflict position). The governor is adamant about the role of the new pipeline in the state's future.But the Governor isn't afraid to take on Big Oil - using tactics that Democrats have enthusiastically approved:
Ms. Palin has her own weapon in her arsenal should a stalemate emerge. Exxon, Conoco and BP hold the majority of natural gas leases on the North Slope, but the state has the power to cancel them if the producers do not get the resources out of the ground when it is "reasonably economic" to do so. It's a weapon the state used as recently as this month when it cancelled all of Exxon's leases in the Port Thomson oil and gas field, save for a 15-acre unit, for failing to develop the zone. Exxon and the state are now fighting in court, and on Thursday it said it moved equipment into area.If all goes well, there will be many "winners" from this pipeline...
Mr. Palmer notes the massive project is not just good for Alaska. About 1,550 kilo-metres, or almost 60%, of the pipeline will run through Canada, generating "large" income tax and property tax benefits to the federal government, provinces, territories and First Nations, Mr. Palmer says. "In addition, there will be a very large reduction in tolls projected for Western Canadian producers because Alaskan gas should refill partially empty Western Canadian pipes. Our estimate has been that in the first 15 years, that's a toll reduction of some $10-billion."And the "loss" of Governor Palin to a Presidential campaign is not expected to derail the project she's set in motion:
Both TransCanada and Denali said Ms. Palin's race to the White House will have no effect their plans. Mr. Palmer, however, noted governors or legislatures can always pass new laws, but "this summer, the administration, as well as the legislation, ratified AGIA and strongly supported it after a very significant review period. We're confident the state of Alaska will remain supportive."Next: the Senator from Illinois. Even though he's not an executive, folks whose memories aren't too short will recall that Barack Obama has gained some recent experience dealing with America's northern neighbor on economic issues, too:
Obama faces tough questions on NAFTA, integrityUpdate/Bumped/HEH - Anchorage Daily News, August 7, 2008:
Obama is on board with the natural gas pipelineSo add "endorsing Palin's project" to Obama's foreign policy resume. Make that double heh.
More: What the hell, "triple heh" from the same story. How will the "federal partnership" work? Obama doesn't know - he'd let Palin figure that part out:
They were vague about how the partnership would work and how Exxon's influence might be blunted, saying that would have to be worked out with the governor.
Posted by Greyhawk / September 8, 2008 11:11 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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