Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Oil

What’s Going on with the Dakota Access Pipeline?

There are protests in North Dakota over the half-complete Dakota Access Pipeline. The plan is for the DAP to carry 400,000 barrels of oil per day from North Dakota to existing pipeline infrastructure in Illinois. This is about half the capacity of the larger Keystone XL Pipeline, which President Obama cancelled in response to protests from environmental groups. While Keystone was planned to transport Canadian shale oil, the DAP is a domestic pipeline transporting American fracking oil. Because it is a domestic pipeline, regulatory standards are not as high for the DAP, and this has made it easier for the pipeline to secure the relevant permits. While there has been some media coverage, the DAP protests have been pushed to the periphery of the American political agenda by the US presidential race, which has at this point devolved entirely into horse race reporting–who is winning, why they are winning, what the loser needs to do to turn things around, etc.–with no serious policy emphasis. This does the issue a disservice, so I’d like to take a closer look at it.

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Should You Flee to Canada if Trump Wins?

Recently Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hung out with President Obama. The American left has been cooing all over Trudeau, and many people suggest they might move to Canada if Donald Trump becomes president. This idea of Canada as a haven for American progressives is an old one, and at times it has come in handy for Vietnam draft dodgers and runaway slaves. For many left-leaning democrats, Canada is considered something of a paradise, and in some ways it is–healthcare is a right of all people in Canada, and Canada scores better on life expectancy, homicide rate, obesity, social mobility, and in a number of other areas. But lately I get a sense that Americans are being perhaps a bit too utopian about Canada, and if you’re considering relocating, there are a few things you should know first.

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Stephen Harper’s Austerity and Weak Oil Prices are Sinking Canada’s Economy

Canada has a federal election coming up on October 19, 2015. The election could not have come at a worse time for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party. Canada’s economy has ground to a halt, and the voters are furious with Harper. His net approval rating has dropped to a disastrous -32:

What has he done wrong? Let’s take a closer look.

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Ted Cruz vs. Ellen Page and Jimmy Carter

Ted Cruz has had a busy week. First the Texan senator and republican presidential candidate got in an argument about LGBT rights and religious freedom with actress Ellen Page. Then he launched an awkwardly timed attack on the presidency of Jimmy Carter, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I’m not here to scold Cruz for being impolite. What I would like to do is talk about the substantive arguments Cruz makes and the way he makes them. So consider this post something of a doubleheader. Read the rest of this entry »

Saudi Arabia under King Abdullah

King Abdullah’s reign in Saudi Arabia has come to an end with his death at age 90. Abdullah became king in 2005, but his rule truly began in 1996, when, as crown prince, he became King Fahd’s regent. Effectively, he was in power for nearly 20 years. It can often be difficult to judge the legacies of democratically elected leaders. Their short terms in office make it difficult to distinguish the effects of their administrations from those who precede and follow them. By contrast, autocratic rulers not only typically rule for far longer, but they also have much greater personal influence over the policies that emerge during their reigns. For these reasons, when a long-serving autocrat passes the torch, it is an interesting and useful exercise to have a look at how much better or worse off their country is now than it was when they rose to power. In March 2013, I ran a similar piece about Hugo Chavez’ 14-year reign. So let’s look at Abdullah’s legacy.

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