Friday, November 21, 2014


In her latest cry of despair at the supposed horrors of the Obama presidency -- this one's titled "The Nihilist in the White House" -- Peggy Noonan explains the real meaning of Keystone:
And there is the Keystone XL pipeline and the administration's apparent intent to veto a bill that allows it. There the issue is not only the jobs the pipeline would create, and not only the infrastructure element. It is something more. If it is done right, the people who build the pipeline could be pressed to take on young men -- skill-less, aimless -- and get them learning, as part of a crew, how things are built and what it is to be a man who builds them.

On top of that, the building of the pipeline would show the world that America is capable of coming back, that we’re not only aware of our good fortune and engineering genius, we are pushing it hard into the future. America's got her hard-hat on again. America is dynamic. "You ain't seen nothin' yet." Not just this endless talk of limits, restrictions, fears and "Oh, we're all going to melt in the warm global future!"

Which is sort of the spirit of this White House.
Where to begin? Well, I'm trying to be high-minded here so, in response to the notion of Keystone allowing laborers to "take on young men," I'll resist the temptation to post sexualized totalitarian shirtless-laborer propaganda. Instead, I'll say: We need to build this specific pipeline in order for laborers to be able to mentor other laborers? Hey, how 'bout we ask the American Society of Civil Engineers whether there are any other projects that need doing?

Are you telling me, Peggy, that you don't see anything we could build on this list that would show the world that "America's got her hard-hat on again"? It has to be Keystone?

And if you're looking for some sort of engineering marvel, well, is Keystone even what you're looking for? Isn't it just another pipeline, apart from the fraught nature of what it's supposed to carry?

Ahhh, but I guess that's the point -- it carries a payload that's utterly masculine in its viscous dangerousness. Build it and you're the boss of the beach, able to kick sand in the face of our 98-pound weakling of a president and his effeminate whining about climate change.

That's the message of the last bit I quoted, of course: that Barack Obama is a big girl because he worries about greenhouses gases, and because the thought of fossil fuels doesn't make his sap rise. Of course, when he tried to fund some actual cutting-edge manufacturing technology, in the alternative-fuels area, the program was vilified by the right, including Noonan herself, even though the overall program turned a profit for the U.S., and even though the world would probably be much more impressed by U.S. breakthroughs in alternative energy than by one more pipeline meant as a conduit for unusually dirty oil. But that wouldn't have the intended effect on Noonan, would it?


PJ said...

Shut up, sissy

Mart said...

Ran into the crew building the Enbridge Flanagan South tar sand pipelines in Quincy, IL a ways back. Flanagan South will connect the tar sand pipelines currently feeding BP in Whiting, IN, and Conoco across the river from St, Louis; to the Cushing, OK terminal Keystone will hook up to. They are building along their existing natural gas pipeline so few permit issures. It will of course cross a few environmentally sensitive things, including the Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas Rivers.

You can Google Enbridge Flanagan South and read Enbridge's construction techniques, commitment to safety, pipeline route maps and related documents. The crew mostly consists of heavy equipment operators to dig trenches, pick up, and drop pipe; and welders to connect the pipe. There are ancilaary jobs - a good number including pipe segment staging and transportation; and source material jobs including making the pipe. But as far as installing the lines, a crew of fifteen is plenty. Maybe tack on a few when crossing a river.

As far as jobs after built - chemical plants/pipelines rely on automation. 35 permanent jobs souds about right. Need someone to look at a screen in Flanagan and Cushing to note what tanks are being pumped from, valve position, etc. Most of the rest of the jobs would be checking/calibrating flow monitors and related instruements, exercising valves and related. If the sensors detect a line break, expect they would close valves from the PLC screen, and send a local contractor to investigate.

Ken_L said...

I'd love to know what she means by "pressed" in this bit: "If it is done right, the people who build the pipeline could be pressed to take on young men -- skill-less, aimless". Because if anyone from the despised government started "pressing" the masters of the corporate universe to hire a few young moocher losers out of the goodness of their hearts, conservatives would scream bloody murder at the statist interference in private enterprise.

But she's right about global warming. All America has to do is man up, grow a pair and stare global warming down. It will slink off to some other planet.

Victor said...

You know who could lay a pipeline?

Ronald Reagan.
THAT'S who!

Man, Peggy knows that the man had a pipe - and that he loved laying his pipe!
In her fevered dreams...

Yastreblyansky said...

What Ken said