Category Archives: science

How To Tell If Your Religious Liberties Are Being Violated In America

Religious Liberties

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What If The Cure For Cancer…

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Cadillac ELR — Another Shot From The New General’s U.S. Arsenal

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Cadillac steps up its game yet one more time with yet one more totally new model in the lineup: ELR. This time the U.S.’ top tier car manufacturer brings its dynamic design language to the Volt technology package.

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Actually, this is a car that could sell on design alone — its green bonafides make ELR compelling. The fantastic electric Tesla Model S presents a great image great, too, but it looks like several other cars in general, whereas the ELR design is truly unique and distinctive—it stands out everywhere. The two-door CTS is a really good design direction… but this ELR is even better. Many green-minded Europeans will find this to be the first Cadillac they would ever be happy to own and drive everyday. We Americans should step up, as well. Our home team has done well.

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While the ELR does indeed utilize both the FWD platform (I’d prefer rear or all-track) and the Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) hybrid powertrain that were introduced in the Volt, those elements have been tuned to suit the coupe’s premium character. And, speaking of premium character… yes, that’s actual stitched leather and Alcantara covering the dash, doors, and full length center console, as well as the seats. The wood grain? Yes, real wood. Premium? Seems so.

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“The ELR is an unprecedented combination of luxury, advanced engineering and progressive design in a coupe that is both sporty and environmentally friendly”, said Cadillac global vice president Bon Ferguson. “This is a pivotal moment in Cadillac’s history.”

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Measuring 4,724 mm (186.0 in) in length, 1,847 mm (72.7 in) in width and 1,420 mm (55.9 in) in height, the ELR is longer, wider and shorter than the Volt and, at 2,965 mm (106.1 in), it has a slightly longer wheelbase.

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Its hybrid powertrain comprises of a 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a naturally-aspirated 84HP 1.4-liter gasoline engine that functions as a generator and two electric motors with a combined output of 181HP — creating instantly available torque that is 12 percent greater than the 3.6-liter V6 in the SRX crossover.

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ELR has an all-electric, zero-emissions range of 35 miles (56 km) plus, when the gasoline generator  kicks in, the range is extended to 300 miles (480 km), so there are no concerns about finding a charging station.

Although the suspension layout is, by necessity, the same as the Volt’s, the much wider front and rear tracks, the use of aluminum in the HiPer strut front suspension with hydraulic ride bushings, the CDC electronically controlled dampers, and the 20-inch alloy wheels promise a more sporting drive.

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The Cadillac ELR will enter production in late 2013 and go on sale in the beginning of 2014. The company hasn’t announced official pricing yet, but estimates bring it close to US$60,000 after state and federal tax credits.

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Faustian urGe Manifesto

Ensuring That Serving “Capital” Interests Must Also Serve To Broadly Improve The Lives Of “We The People”

manifesto

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST often bemoans ethical failures while he also attempts to mitigate, in some minuscule way, the social damages he and too many other citizens suffer from “Traditional” American Values (social and business). Inappropriate personal agendas and indifference toward obligation and ethics are significant annoyances that he addresses by trying to learn more — what wags the world and why.

Given the circus of extremes on display in society and within the political realm since President Obama’s re-election, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST is currently working through the conundrum of how so many intelligent, educated people manage to place their feet in their mouths while their heads are so firmly up their arses.

He’s frustrated, and believes the nation is threatened, by libertarianism — knowing the objectivist/libertarian belief system is inappropriate to a fruitful, functional society. Libertarians disregard a profound reality: We are responsible for the decisions we make, yes, but we’re not responsible for the options we’re given. Thus, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST believes that we should create that “society we would want if we didn’t know in advance who we’d be.”

He sees that another libertarian delusion is establishment of the fanciful “self-made” individual. The laughable concept discounts external influence or inspiration and exhibits a blatant disregard for the interconnectedness that is the human condition.

He remains convinced that we humans do not have to destroy each other to survive (as in two wars extinguishing 100,000+ lives as revenge for the prior killing of 3000) but that we choose to do so… not the nonsense propounded that genetics or patriotism demands it. CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST knows we have the ability to reason and that too many simply choose the easier way of reactive non-thought.

Though imbued with a simmering cauldron of rage just below his deceptively pleasant (and not altogether unpleasant looking) exterior, he’s always willing to self-examine and learn — yearning for family, friends, community members to take the same ride.

The hope… the desire… the craving… for forward movement and betterment on cultural, political, and individual levels are woven into his personal fabric, with key objectives toward equality/equitability*, liberty, fraternity, justice-for-all, empathy, self-awareness, growth, momentum, compassion, and humor.

(*EQUALITY of advancement opportunity and treatment under the law and social memes — EQUITABILITY of rewards and outcomes [economic and social])

On EQUALITY:

It appears that a large number of citizens seeking minimalist government from the Right are for strong government, though, when it favors their perceived social interests, such as interfering with the reproductive rights of women, the marriage rights of non-heterosexuals, and the civil rights of non-whites.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST relishes challenging the authority of political, religious, and societal priests, as he liberally supports marriage for everyone, equal rights for everyone, less poison for the environment, progressive taxation, removal of corporate personhood, financial regulation enforcement up to and including criminal incarceration, the elimination of all “consensual crimes,” and many other positions that lead conservatives to squirm uncomfortably in their seats.

On EQUITABILITY:

The Right will argue that allowing the free market to function will fix our problems. But, the free market doesn’t guarantee social outcomes, merely economic ones. Yes, it may provide more efficiency on the whole and grow the economy faster as a whole, but by itself doesn’t guarantee how wealth is distributed. The Right cannot be indifferent to the consequences of a middle-class life undermined, nor can it be indifferent to half the population’s inability to buy the products and services that businesses sell.

The Left would argue that the solution is for laws to transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class. But, while that would increase consumption, depending on the scope, it could threaten the amount of capital available to investment by the transfer itself and by eliminating incentives to invest. The Left cannot be indifferent to the fact that one can’t invest what they don’t have, and that no one will accept the risk of investment if the payoff is transferred completely away.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST understands the take away to be that “reasonableness” must prevail as to the extent, but transfers of some wealth should ensue as a part of the solution. So, let’s avoid extreme redistribution and focus on finding the correct amount that ameliorates the problems at hand (which will improve sales and garner more aggregate profit for firms, shareholders, and stakeholders… alike) while retaining enough incentives to invest and risk take.

As a Social-Capitalist/Social-Democrat**, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST favors smart government — a government as big or as small as needed to achieve progressive social and capital ends, ensuring that serving “capital” interests must also serve to improve the lives of “We the people” broadly (hence, “Social”).

“Our” government’s job is best done when it benefits all of the people, and not just capital interests — as he interpretes the right favors.

(**Social Democracy is exhibited as an economic precept of Social Capitalism. The contemporary social democratic movement seeks to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social justice while maintaining the efficient and wealth-building capitalist mode of production, as opposed to creating an alternative socialist economic system. Practical modern social democratic policies include the promotion of the commonweal, and the creation of economic democracy as a means to secure stakeholders’ rights.)

“This vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view, has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions.” – Carl Sagan

Taking exception with the very concept of “American Exceptionalism,” CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST feels compelled to explore these issues in rambling-though-coherent thoughts and an adventurous assortment of arbitrary amusements.

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Liberalism is “Life.”

It is an unrelenting pursuit of freedom from physical dangers that can kill or disable us.

  • The Liberal believes it is a nation’s job to protect its citizens from physical harm, whether from external sources, such as hostile nations, or internal ones, like crime, disease, or hunger. Without the solid ground of physical wellbeing, our nation and its citizens cannot enjoy the benefits of being free.
  • Liberals believe in a strong military, well suited to defend the nation.
  • Liberals believe in good laws, hard-working police, and a just legal system to protect its citizens from crime.
  • Liberals believe in affordable health care for everyone, to keep our people strong.
  • And Liberals believe in the availability of food and shelter for its needy, not as a hand out but as a reasonable step in moving all Americans toward self-reliance and the freedom that comes with it.

Liberalism is “Liberty.”

It is the freedom to do as your conscience dictates without impeding another’s rights. Liberalism established a nation where personal belief and self-determination are protected, not persecuted; where hard work is rewarded, not demanded; and where each person is bestowed with the ability to better his or her life because of citizenship, not class.

  • Liberals believe in freedom of speech to protect us from political oppression.
  • Liberals believe in sound regulations to protect us from economic oppression.
  • Liberals believe in just laws to protect us from social oppression.
  • And Liberals believe in quality education to protect us from the oppression of ignorance.

Liberalism is “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

It is the freedom to create an environment where the individual can excel. What is freedom if it cannot be used to better our lives? A truly free society must be one where its members can rise above their limitations and expand their futures — it is “The American Dream,” and it’s alive and well in the heart of the Liberal.

  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities for all to rise above our means.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our education levels.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our social status.
  • And Liberals believe each and every family should have an equal opportunity to make this world better for their children.

Based on these tenets, Liberalism is not the monster it’s made out to be by the opposition.

  • It is pro individual and pro family.
  • It is pro community and pro country.
  • Liberalism is, by its very definition, the heart and soul of what it means to be an American.
  • It stands against tyranny of any kind, whether international or domestic.
  • It works to remove abuse and fight crime.
  • And it strives to eliminate the idea of a wasted life by not wasting resources and opportunities.

PROUD: Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law!

Finally, U.S. Begins Movement Toward Universal Health Care Access – A Right Of Citizenship In Every Other Civilized Nation

In a dramatic victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care law, preserving Obama’s landmark legislative achievement!

The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who held that the law was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax.

The decision came as sharp repudiation to congressional Republicans, many of whom had expected the court to strike down at least some parts of the law.


Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent — A Liberal’s Calm Before The Storm

Made glorious summer by this sun of Windy City;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried…

…for how long?

For some of us the inauguration of Barack Obama ushered in the potential for an era of liberal progress, of recovery from the dark clouds of George W. Bush… illegal wars, reactionary social policy, and economic destruction.

The republican party nomination process stimulated my presaging fear of tumult as I witnessed enthusiastic applause for the proposed destruction / elimination of women’s’ rights, civil and marriage rights, health care access, criminalized physical expressions of hate, and responsible stewardship of earth’s resources.

While I know that I am not alone in my liberal desires for a more progressive and better nation, it sure feels a lot lonelier.

As I contemplated my sense of alienation and just how far I am away from the American political norm, a battery of political spectrum tests proved that, indeed, I am a Liberal Elite in a right wing, conservative nation…and it is not a good feeling.

For the Liberal Elite contemplating the national mood, it may soon be another kind of Winter…the end (winter) of our contentment…


Gas Prices: It’s Obama’s Fault!…Or, Is It? — Part 2: Refining Bottleneck

As a follow up to my October 11th post outlining the factors “not Obama” that are increasing gasoline prices, I was challenged by the same anti-Obama businessman I mentioned to explain this “supposed” refining capacity bottleneck.

Ok… here ’tis:

Here’s the bottleneck in a graph. No matter how much crude oil is brought out of the ground or imported, the bottleneck is that US refining capacity has not increased in over a decade (actually you’ll see later, it’s about two decades). That folks is what’s called a “bottleneck.” Very simple. The gap between demand and what we have the capacity to refine is imported at substantially higher costs.

“Yeah, well, you know dude, the free market will fix that!”

Really? ‘Cause here’s the federal EIA outlook up until 2030. Um…barely any capacity improvement. And the gap between demand and what the US can refine: goes from a shortfall of a little more than 3 million barrels of oil per day to a gap of almost 8 million barrels of oil per day. The gap is made up by importing expensive refined product from abroad.

Ooops! Looks like a lack of energy industry progress.

Now, let’s look at what the energy industry and the feds have to say about our refining capacity and the coming urgent problems:

From U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “Refining: Petroleum & Other Liquids”

U.S. refining capacity, as measured by daily processing capacity of crude oil distillation units alone, has appeared relatively stable in recent decades, at about 16 million barrels per day of operable capacity—the level is a reduction from the capacity of twenty years ago. …the first refineries were shut down as demand fell in the early 1980’s. …additional refineries were shut down in the late 1980’s and during the 1990’s, always, of course, those at the least profitable end of a company’s asset portfolio.”

The report notes a mediating factor: “At the same time, refiners improved the efficiency of the crude oil distillation units that remained in service by “debottlenecking” [internally] to improve the flow and to match capacity among different units and by turning more and more to computer control of the processing.”

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Nonetheless two contravening facts deny the relief of improved capacity utilization efficiencies so that refineries continue to function as “the bottleneck:” 1) Continued shut down of refinery facilities reducing total potential capacity levels and 2) A turn to exporting American refined oil products to industrializing, higher profit margin international markets.

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From ”Rising Gasoline Prices 2012,” Congressional Research Service (R42382), March 1, 2012

Two large oil refiners in the Northeast, Sunoco and ConocoPhillips, have decided to close refining assets.  Sunoco announced the closure of its Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania refinery on December 1, 2011, followed by ConocoPhillip’s closure of its Trainer, Pennsylvania refinery later that month.  Sunoco also plans to close, its Philadelphia refinery. Together, these three refineries comprise over 50% of refining capacity in the Northeast.  Higher wholesale price margins would be required in the Northeast to draw supplies from other areas to make up for the loss in refining capacity.”

Separately, the Hovensa Refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands is also closing. Most U.S. refined product imports from Europe and the Virgin Islands go the East Coast.”

Europe, a major source of U.S. gasoline imports, has also experienced a reduction in refining capacity recently. It has been reported that Petroplus, the largest European independent refiner, has begun shutting down three of its five refineries.  (As a result of these closures, Europe may also seek to draw greater supplies of diesel fuel from U.S. refineries.)”

From EIA February 2012 Executive Summary of Report. “Potential Impacts of Reductions in Refinery Activity on Northeast Petroleum Product Markets”

“…price impacts are highly uncertain. …in the short term, prices can spike. In the longer run, higher prices and possibly higher price volatility can result…loss of the Sunoco Philadelphia refinery presents a complex supply challenge, and no single solution has been identified by industry participants… The industry will have a financial incentive to serve all markets in the Northeast, and companies are currently investigating options. However, companies are not [soon] likely to make significant investments in new logistical arrangements…”

From The White House, March 11, 2012, “A Secure Energy Future: A Progress Report.”

The U.S. refiners export gasoline, and that shrinks national supply. Though placing a positive spin by extolling the virtues of a “world-class refining sector,” the report revealed a “refining sector that last year was a net exporter for the first time in sixty years.”

Report by Ron Scherer at the Christian Science Monitor, ““As Gas Prices Rise, Should US Oil Industry Stop Exporting?”

The oil industry maintains it must export to stabilize profits and avoid layoffs. Observers contend the new status of refiners as “net exporter[s] for the first time in sixty years” keeps domestic supply low and gas prices high.

“The oil industry maintains the exports are necessary because domestic demand is weak. The industry says if refiners could not send American-made gasoline to China, India, Europe, and South America, the refineries would have to close as several have already done on the East Coast. Yet, other energy observers say exporting gasoline at a time of rising prices is sort of like throwing flammable liquid on a fire.”

TADA! US Refining Bottleneck!

Not the fault of Obama… the fault of industry.