Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oil Supply And Demand

Julian Murdoch thinks oil supply and demand are out of whack.

OPEC has publicly stated that they believe inventories in developed OECD countries to be equal to roughly 61 days of demand—a number OPEC is none too happy about. They'd prefer the world to be constantly on the brink of running out (that is, 55 days or less). So with all of this supply, you'd expect to see OPEC talking production cuts—or at least a drop in the price of oil.

Instead, last week the group discussed the need to increase production, so as to keep oil under $80—it seems even OPEC thinks prices are still too high. As OPEC Secretary General Abdalla El-Badri told Bloomberg:
"Anything above $80 will really hamper economic growth. Watch the floating storage, if that is eliminated, and watch the stocks, if they are at 52, 54 days, then OPEC will take action."
Of course, if the floating stocks (that is, oil stored at sea) remain at current levels and inventories stay full, then apparently OPEC will just sit back and rake in the money.
He does not say we have an oil bubble. But if you consider that supply is high and yet prices keep rising it seems obvious that there is a bubble.

And it may be more of a bubble than people think. There are a lot of new technologies becoming available sooner or later that will cut the cost of drilling wells. One of them is laser drilling of wells.
Laser drilling, Graves said, would have several advantages over conventional drilling:

-- Costs could be at least 10 times lower and up to several hundred times less than wells drilled with rotary rigs. For example, a typical, 10,000-foot gas well in Wyoming's Wind River Basin costs about $ 350,000 to drill. Laser drilling would drop that cost to $ 35,000 or lower, Graves said.

-- A laser drill's "footprint" -- the amount of surface space it occupies -- could be as little as 100 square feet, or even less with some models.

-- The laser rigs could be transported to drilling sites in one semi-trailer load. Conventional rigs take up several thousand square feet of space and require numerous truck trips to haul equipment.

-- Lasers could drill a typical natural-gas well in about 10 days, compared with 100 days for some conventional wells.
"You're looking at three months of disruption versus a week or so of disruption with a laser drill," Graves said.

-- Lasers could be programmed for precise well diameters and depths. In addition, they could alternately drill coarsely to deliver mineral samples, finely to vaporize rock and leave no waste materials, or with intense heat to melt the walls of well bores, thus eliminating the need to place steel casing in wells.
He goes on to say:
Compare this with the peak oiler theory:
So, as we slide down the Hubbert's Curve, not only will the rate of production decrease, but the cost of that production will increase.
Laser drilling may actually make production of the "hard to get" oil and gas easier than production of the stuff which was "easy to get". This would cause a lot of havoc with reserve numbers because commercially unfeasible small/deep deposits would suddenly become "proven" (i.e. exploitable with current technology).
Well OK! That article was from 2005 and so far the laser technology is not commercial despite advances in high power solid state lasers. Here a nice video about solid state lasers. However, the technology is advancing rapidly so it is only a matter of time.

But that is not all there is going on in the field. Exxon-Mobile announced in 2005 some very simple ways that it could reduce the cost of drilling substantially.
Exxon Mobil Corporation announced today that its drilling organization has developed an optimization process that consistently reduces the time required to drill oil and gas wells by up to 35 percent. ExxonMobil's Fast Drill Process (FDP) achieves this breakthrough performance by using real-time, computer analysis of the drilling system's energy consumption. This analysis, in turn, helps improve the management of the factors that determine drilling rate, such as weight on the drill bit, rotary speed and torque.

The result is significantly faster drilling rates and reduced downtime.

The company has used FDP in many of its operating areas, and the process improves performance in a broad range of conditions: hard and soft rock, deep and shallow wells, high- and low-angle wells in a variety of mud weights. It has shown comparable success in exploration, delineation and production wells.
So that technology is probably already being deployed. It may explain in part the recent reduction in costs for drilling natural gas wells.

There are other techniques that are coming to fruition. Here is another one from 2005.
Expectations are that widespread adoption of microhole technology could spawn a wave of “infill development”—drilling wells spaced between existing wells—that could tap potentially billions of barrels of bypassed oil at shallow depths in mature producing areas.

At the same time, microhole and related micro-instrumentation technologies offer the opportunity to dramatically cut producers’ exploration risk to a level comparable to that of drilling development wells.

Together, such efforts hold great promise for economically recovering a sizeable portion of the estimated remaining shallow (less than 5,000 feet subsurface) oil resource in the United States. The Energy Department estimates this targeted shallow resource at 218 billion barrels. Recovering just 10 percent of this targeted resource would mean a volume equivalent to 10 years of OPEC oil imports at current rates.

In addition, the smaller “footprint” of the lightweight rigs utilized for microhole drilling and the accompanying reduced drilling waste disposal volumes offer the bonus of added environmental benefits.

The microhole initiative is in line with the Bush Administration’s goal, set forth in the National Energy Policy, of promoting “dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound” energy production.
I knew it. That evil Bush was in cahoots with the oil companies to increase American oil supplies and reduce American dependence on the terrorist supporting nations of the Middle East. How evil can you get?

How about another Exxon project to lower the costs of drilling for natural gas?
"We're about 15 minutes away from a new frac being born," Randy Tolman, Exxon's project coordinator for the Piceance Basin, shouts over the noise. He invented this faster method of fracturing, or "fracing," the underground layers of rock and sand to unlock natural gas.

Exxon aims to export the new process to the unconventional natural gas reserves it is accumulating around the world. Drilling for more natural gas could make Exxon a lot of money as Americans demand cleaner fuel because natural gas doesn't emit as much pollution or greenhouse gases as oil and coal when burned.
Do you suppose the Greenhouse gas hysteria is a plot by the oil/natural gas companies to get government to shut down their competition? I wouldn't put it past them. Thomas Edison used similar methods to get his competition, the George Westinghouse Company's Tesla invented AC electricity system, shut down. Fortunately it didn't work. Will the CO2 hysteria work against the coal companies? So far the answer is no. It all depends on the ability of the interested parties (Al Gore will make tens of millions) to get the Senate to pass the Cap Coal and Tax the People Bill. They appear to be stymied. Good.

Ah but we are not done yet. Jared Potter is working on a water/flame drill in order to tap deep geothermal energy sources. Obviously it might also be useful for oil and natural gas.
Conventional geothermal power plants draw upon underground aquifers of hot water relatively close to the surface to create steam that drives electricity-generating turbines. The problem is that underground water currently tapped for geothermal is found mainly in the western United States. But the technology Potter is developing could drill much deeper, meaning geothermal energy could be generated nationwide.

According to a 2006 MIT study, so-called Enhanced Geothermal Systems could potentially supply 2,500 times the country’s current energy consumption. That grabbed Google’s attention, and last August the Internet giant’s philanthropic arm agreed to invest $4 million in Potter Drilling as part of its green energy initiative.

The tech twist: Potter drills not with hard-as-diamonds bits but with water—extremely hot water. (More on that in a bit.) The goal is to radically cut the cost of EGS to spread the technology to regions that rely too much on coal for generating electricity but are not suited for solar, wind and other renewable energy generation.
You can watch a video of the drill in operation. Here is some of what the people who posted the video have to say:
Inspired by designs created by his father decades ago, Jared Potter is building an arsenal of ultra-powerful flame-jet drills. As seen in the NatGeo video above, one prototype directs a jet of burning hydrogen at 3200°F against a slab of solid granite. The rock doesn't melt, as one might expect under such a blast of heat; instead, the high temperature causes the rock to fracture as it expands along existing micro-cracks in the material. After a short exposure to the flame-jet drill, a gaping, perfectly smooth borehole has been created in the granite.

For deeper drilling jobs, in wet, high-pressure conditions where traditional bits jam and break, Potter has another prototype. This one burns at a toasty 7200°F, but the flame is used indirectly, to superheat a jet of water, which in turn bores through the rock and simultaneously flushes the fragments out of the borehole.
The drill could drill at up to 100 ft an hour. Not as fast as conventional drilling, however there would be no need to lift mile long strings of pipe out of the well to replace drill bits. Or at least it wouldn't have to be done as often. And when you are replacing a drill bit you aren't drilling.

And that is not the only place such work is being done. The Swiss are working on it too.
Heated oxygen, ethanol and water are pumped into the reactor burner through various pipelines and valves and mix under temperature and pressure conditions, which correspond to the supercritical state of water (see box). The auto-ignition of the mixture is being observed through small sapphire-glass windows by means of a camera. A newly developed sensor plate measures the heat flux from the flame to the plate and records the temperature distribution on the surface for different distances between the burner outlet and the plate.

Based on these experimental results, conclusions are drawn concerning the heat transfer from the flame to the rock. “The heat flux is the crucial parameter for the characterization of this alternative drilling method”, explains Philipp Rudolf von Rohr, professor at the Institute of Process Engineering of the ETH Zurich and supervisor of the three PhD students.

During the experiment, the flame reaches a maximal temperature of about 2000°C. Rapid heating of the upper rock layer induces a steep temperature gradient in it. “The heat from the flame causes the rock to crack due to the induced temperature difference and the resulting linear thermal expansion”, explains Tobias Rothenfluh. The expansion of the upper rock layer causes natural flaws, already existing in the rock, act as origin points for cracks. Disc - like rock fragments in the millimeter scale are formed in the spallation zone. These particles are transported upwards with the ascending fluid stream of the surrounding medium. “One of the main challenges of the spallation process is to prevent the rock from melting, whilst it’s being rapidly heated”, says Tobias Rothenfluh. “The lager the temperature gradient in the rock, the faster you can drill.”

The method is particularly suitable for hard, dry rock, normally encountered at depths greater than three kilometers. In such depths conventional drilling bits wear out much faster, and their frequent replacement, renders the conventional drilling techniques uneconomic: a 10 km borehole costs around 60 million US dollars.
And that is just what we know publicly. Who knows what is going on in labs all around the world that is currently being kept secret for commercial advantage?

Bottom line? We may be running out of oil. Or not. But I do think fears of a near term peak oil limit on production are greatly exaggerated. Near term our limits are political not geological or technological. But isn't it always that way? And you know what they call a system where businessmen are in cahoots with the government to restrict the competition? National Socialism.

H/T pbelter at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Watching The Fundamentals

I was reading Seeking Alpha today to see where stock traders think the economy is going and I got this wonderful piece of advice in the comments for judging market fundamentals.

You may be right about the sentiment on this board, but this board isn't the place to look for sentiment. On average the people here are moved less by emotion and more by data points.

You want to measure sentiment in the masses. For example, in 1999 at the top of the market I got a stock tip from a stripper who was taking out a second loan on her home to buy more Iomega. That is a sell sign.
Wait 'til I tell my mate "Honey I have to go to the nudie bar to judge market sentiment". It could make investing in the market a LOT more popular. Or at least doing the research on the fundamentals.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Double Dip?

Are we headed to a return to recession in the American economy?

U.S. consumers cut spending in September and turned gloomier this month, underscoring the fragility of the economy's recovery even as signs emerged that manufacturing may be picking up.
Manufacturing may not be picking up as advertised. I will get to that in a minute.

How about a look at some unwarranted optimism?
A separate report showed factory activity in the nation's Midwest expanding for the first time in more than a year, but employment conditions deteriorated. A dismal job market appeared to weigh on consumers, with the Reuters/University of Michigan final index of sentiment for October slipping to 70.6 from 73.5 last month.
What are gasoline prices doing to consumer sentiment?
Gasoline prices are now up 17 straight days after climbing 0.4 cents overnight to $2.695 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Services. That is the highest price since Oct. 26, 2008.

Prices are up 5.9 cents from a week ago and 14.8 cents from a year ago.

The average retail price for gas was $1.686 a gallon in December. Today's price will tack about $50 a month on to the monthly gas cost for the typical customer compared with then. It comes at a time when unemployment is at a 26-year high.

"It's a wet blanket on the consumer. It's something visible you see," said economist Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics.

Oil prices that skyrocketed to $147 a barrel a barrel in July 2008 helped push the economy into recession to begin with, he said.

"Can high oil prices shut down the economy? Well, clearly the answer is yes," he said.
With pessimism ruling the economy rising gasoline prices are going to hurt sentiment. The stimulus by the government is nearly played out and the government's line of credit went mostly for present consumption and not future growth. On top of that people know that with Bush's tax cuts expiring in 2010, taxes will be going up. That will further dampen current sentiment.

Now what about manufacturing? Steel is a barometer of the economy, just as steal is the watchword of politicians. And steel is going down while steal is going up. Not a good combination.

Let me start with steel tubing prices.
Price increases flopped for steel tubing products in October--in fact, they slipped--as prices of the feedstock hot-rolled sheet plateaued at September levels and tube purchasing by original equipment manufacturers declined, according to buyers.

Market sources say the proposed increase of $50/ton for structural tube has been rescinded by tubing mills in the South and Midwest. The October market price reported to is $634/ton, down a smidge from a $638 average in September-and well below the $720 list price for hollow structural sections.
So demand is meeting supply at a lower price. That can only mean lower demand.

Steel scrap prices are slumping.
The economy is recovering too slowly to help U.S. steel manufacturers maintain recent steelmaking rates in excess of 60%. So, Key Bank Capital Markets analyst Mark Parr writes to clients that ferrous scrap prices could continue to decline over the next couple of months, noting that export scrap pricing for November already has dropped $30/long ton. "Domestic mills and export buyers remain on the sidelines," the Cleveland analyst writes, "likely dampening the ability to substantially maintain or raise hot-rolled pricing realizations over the near term despite low supply chain inventories."

Analyst Eric Prouty at Canaccord Adams in Vancouver, British Columbia, says market research "indicates that scrap industry fundamentals are weakening due to falling ferrous scrap prices, a relatively quiet export market, the end of inventory re-stocking by domestic steel mills and weaker seasonal trends."
And finally a how about sheet steel prices whose demand reflects the demand for autos and appliances.
Commentary from various steel mills and large service center chains discussing fourth quarter outlooks says demand for steel is muted amid the continued downturn in manufacturing and construction. This has held down prices since buyers have refused to pay what the mill shave been posting. Analysts now say recent increases in the rates at which mills are running have been an overreaction to customers, mostly distributors, who replaced inventory last quarter rather an indication that demands has increased among manufacturers.

Earlier last quarter, steel orders improved from historically low levels earlier in the year, helped by rising demand from the auto industry trying to boost manufacturing to replace cars junked in the "Cash for Clunkers" program. However, demand from the automotive and auto parts sectors appears to have slowed this month. So, the market for steel continues to pale in comparison to levels seen during much of last year.
Well well well. Cash for clunkers is no longer stimulating auto demand and with all those clunkers now in the scrap yards the demand for replacement parts has dried up. Who could have predicted this? I did. And I'm not even a government economist. I wish I was as smart as the economists now giving advice to the Obama administration. I could be getting a lot of money for saying really dumb things. Unfortunately it is not in my constitution to say things I know are dumb. Oh. Well.

Ron Paul Agrees With Michael Moore

Both are against corpratism (the old word for corpratism used to be fascism). The union of government and large corporations. On some other things they are not entirely in agreement. This is a nice discussion of the problems with medical care in America.

H/T Below The Beltway

Theocons vs Communists

Given the Choice between a Communist and a Culture Warrior I'll take the Communist.

Why? Because a Communist might admit that a policy doesn't work. A Culture Warrior will say: God Says. Making the Culture Warrior immune to reason. For the most part.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Palin Calls For Hoffman - GOP Folds

Sarah Palin endorsed Doug Hoffman in the New York 23rd District House of Representatives race on October 23rd and now the Republican Party is getting behind him.

The House Republican leadership is prepared to welcome Doug Hoffman into its ranks, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said Thursday, a sign that the GOP establishment is recalibrating its approach toward the contentious New York special election and the Conservative Party nominee whose candidacy has divided the party.

“He would be very welcome, with open arms,” Sessions told POLITICO in an interview off the House floor.

Sessions’s comments came as polls showed Hoffman surging in the Nov. 3 special election against Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava, a moderate who supports abortion rights and gay marriage, and Democratic attorney Bill Owens. Nearly a dozen rank-and-file Republican members announced their endorsements of Hoffman Thursday.

While the NRCC–along with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.)—have all thrown their backing to Scozzafava, grassroots conservatives have revolted against the GOP nominee, asserting that she is too liberal for them to support.
Which brings up a question. Just how libertarian is Palin? The best I can say is kinda libertarian. Eric Dondero in the comments at Independent Political Report has this to say:
Her husband was a member of the Alaska Independence Party going back two decades. Need I remind you all, that the AIP was FOUNDED BY EX-LIBERTARIAN PARTY MEMBERS!!!

Two of Palin’s top Lts. in her numerous campaigns for Mayor of Wasilla were LIBERTARIANS!!

Palin has been attending Libertarian Party meetings for at least a decade.

In fact, in 2006, she was slammed by her Frank Murkowski/social conservative opponents in the GOP primary who spread the rumore that “Sarah is really not a Republican… She’s a closeted Libertarian.”

And Palin didn’t do anything to halt those rumors. In fact, she flamed them, by continuing to attend Rob Clift’s famous Libertarian Supper Club meetings at the Denny’s on North Star in Anchorage every Wed. night.
Did she ever get the Libertarian Party endorsement? No. Alaska Libertarian Party Secretary Rob Clift was asked about her.
First of all, Clift wanted to make clear that the Alaska LP did not endorse Palin. They said that they liked her, as did LP gubernatorial candidate Billy Toien, but there was never an official endorsement. Clift also said that the state party won't endorse the McCain/Palin ticket, though he might vote for them.

But why? For one thing, Palin's always been friendly to the party, Clift said, speaking at a few of their meetings and asking for their support. He also said that he sees her as a straight shooter, who doesn't try to hide her disagreement with libertarians on drugs, abortion and other social issues.
Phil Manger blogging at Noaln Chart has this to say about her.
She is libertarian on the issues that matter most. She is for smaller government, less regulation and lower taxes.
The Western Standard has this to say about her.
“She is known to have spoken to two Libertarian Party meetings in 2004/05. She was endorsed by the Libertarian Party of Alaska in the final days of her race for Governor in 2006, even though the LP had it’s [sic] own candidate. On election night, Ms. Palin at the Egan Center, went out of her way to acknowledge the Libertarian Party’s support in her victory speech.”
So the libertarians and Libertarians get a seat at her table even if they have to pay for their own meals. Megan McArdle had this to say about her during the 2008 election.
As a person I like her. Politically, I dislike what she represents: populism, culture warmongering....
Which brings up the actual libertarians at the Federal level. The Republican Liberty Caucus. One of its elected members Dana Rohrabacher who sits in the House of Representatives has endorsed Hoffman.
Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, has picked up two more endorsements from sitting House Republicans, Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Dana Rohrabacher of California, who are joining in the right-wing revolt against the nomination of moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava.

Cole's endorsement is big news, because he is in fact a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee -- the party organization dedicated to electing Republicans to the House.
Rohrabacher is best known for the The Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment which eliminates Federal penalties for Medical Marijuana in States where it is legal.

So how about the American people?
David Boaz at Cato@Liberty points out that since late 2008, the percentage of Americans whose political beliefs could be roughly characterized as "libertarian" (that is, say yes to both "government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses" and "government should not favor any particular set of values") has hit a high of 23 percent.
Well how about me?

Here is my take on things political. Where did I stand on the 2004 Senate election in Illinois? Let me just say that given the choice between Communist Obama and Theocon Keyes I voted for the Communist. Keyes got 27% of the vote in a State that GW Bush got 45% of the vote. Obama got 70% of the vote. Do the math.

Personally I like Sarah Palin. She was somewhat supported by the Alaska Libertarian Party. Why? She can tell the difference between her private life and government. A shame that more conservatives can't make that distinction. Conservatives and libertarians would make a great alliance. Gallup says that 23% of the population is libertarian. With Keyes' 27% socons (of course there is some overlap) that makes a heck of a base to win elections.

So why do I say that I like Palin despite her conservative leanings? Because before she got picked for the VP slot the voters in Alaska had no clue about her personal beliefs. She stuck to governing and stayed out of the Culture Wars. Will that continue? It remains to be seen.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Church And State

I got a really interesting comment to my post at Classical Values: A Libertine Speaks.

Even though I spent many years active in the Church, preaching and having a music ministry, once I got old enough to realize I didn't have all the answers, I didn't want any church elders having influence in law. Law should only be about not directly harming others, and nothing else.

The problem with imposing values is that when someone says "God told me this is the right thing to do" you can't argue with it. They've invoked the ultimate authority and don't think they have to even listen to opposing viewpoints. Calvin, who is STILL considered an authority, had people murdered for disagreeing with him. Almost every Christian church old enough has blood on its hands.

I've been active in quite enough churches to see first hand the jealousy and conflicting values. My music was more modern, and some Christians said "I feel the Spirit" and others said "I feel Satan in this why did you do this". They weren't both right, but both think they know God enough to use the Law to force people to live according to their own set of values.

Paul even told the early church in Corinthians to stop arguing over less important matters.

Jesus spent his whole time WITH the "sinners", not lecturing them or judging them.

We've already seen what the world looks like when the Church runs it, no one wants to go back to that.

plutosdad · October 29, 2009 03:05 PM
I have nothing to add.

Well actually I do have something to add. Eric at Classical Values documents some people who do want to go back to a time when the church ran the world as it still does in some places.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Where Does The Oil Come From?

There is some relatively new sciece out about the origins of oil and natural gas.

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2009) — Researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm have managed to prove that fossils from animals and plants are not necessary for crude oil and natural gas to be generated. The findings are revolutionary since this means, on the one hand, that it will be much easier to find these sources of energy and, on the other hand, that they can be found all over the globe.

“Using our research we can even say where oil could be found in Sweden,” says Vladimir Kutcherov, a professor at the Division of Energy Technology at KTH.

Together with two research colleagues, Vladimir Kutcherov has simulated the process involving pressure and heat that occurs naturally in the inner layers of the earth, the process that generates hydrocarbon, the primary component in oil and natural gas.

According to Vladimir Kutcherov, the findings are a clear indication that the oil supply is not about to end, which researchers and experts in the field have long feared.

He adds that there is no way that fossil oil, with the help of gravity or other forces, could have seeped down to a depth of 10.5 kilometers in the state of Texas, for example, which is rich in oil deposits. As Vladimir Kutcherov sees it, this is further proof, alongside his own research findings, of the genesis of these energy sources – that they can be created in other ways than via fossils.
Well isn't that interesting. So called fossil fuels may not be from fossils after all.

That would tend to confirm the work of Thomas Gold and Freeman Dyson:

The Deep Hot Biosphere : The Myth of Fossil Fuels

What other findings do we have that might add further confirmation? There is some other work done in Sweden.
When Gold proposed this theory in the early 1980s, few scientists took him seriously. However, he did persuade the Swedish State Power Board to drill into a slab of granite fractured by an ancient meteor impact. Since oil is supposed to be found only in sedimentary rocks, it was a good test of Gold's theory. If gas is coming up from deep in the Earth, it might be expected to accumulate beneath the dense granite cap, and migrate slowly up through any fissures, perhaps turning into oil or tar. In the event, the prospectors did strike oil - about 12 tons of it. This was not enough to make the well commercially successful, but it did confirm that Gold was on to something.

It was not the Swedish oil that proved the most significant discovery though. Mixed in with the sludge at the bottom of the well, at a depth of over 6 km, was a large quantity of magnetite - a reduced form of iron oxide often associated with bacterial activity. After further investigation, Gold announced to the world that life exists not only on the surface of our planet but, in microbial form, deep inside the crust too.
Ah but that is not all.

There seem to be more than a few oil wells in the world that refuse to run dry.
Mystery in the Gulf

In 1973 oil was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 80 miles south of Louisiana known as Eugene Island 330. Producing 15,000 barrels per day, it was thought the well had seen better days when in 1989 its output dropped to 4,000 barrels per day. In 1990 the production of the well increased to about 13,000 barrels daily and has held steady. Although its output has slightly dropped it still refuses to run dry.

Want a Refill - Is That Possible?

Scientist working at the site discovered two important changes in the oil properties. Its age was was more recent than in previous years and its temperature was hotter. Using 3-D seismic technology scientist found a deep fault at the bottom of the well. What they saw startled, intrigued, and forced them to rethink the origins of oil. What they clearly saw was a deep fault gushing oil and refilling the well. There was no debate about it.

Mystery in the Mideast and Elsewhere

It's been said that the Mideast oil was a finite resource and could last 40 or 50 years at best. Yet over the past 25 years, reserves have more than doubled. With no new wells geologist have been hard pressed to explain why and it appears there is no end in sight. These fields have been methodically exploited since the first gusher was discovered. Today, OPEC is pumping over 30 million barrels of oil per day.

Cook Island in the Gulf of Mexico and oil fields in Uzbekistan are other examples of wells that refuse to dry out. Many wells around the world are refilling.
Peak oil? I dunno. Maybe not.

And then there is the biology of the Gulf of Mexico. We hear a lot about killer oil spills. But what if oil is life? Here is an article about all the oil seeping out of the gulf of Mexico.
The discovery of abundant life where scientists expected a deserted seafloor also suggested that the seeps are a long-duration phenomenon. Indeed, the clams are thought to be about 100 years old, and the tube worms may live as long as 600 years, or more, Kennicutt said.

The surprises kept pouring in as the researchers explored further and in more detail using research submarines. In some areas, the methane-metabolizing organisms even build up structures that resemble coral reefs.

It has long been known by geologists and oil industry workers that seeps exist. In Southern California, for example, there are seeps near Santa Barbara, at a geologic feature called Coal Oil Point. And, Roberts said, it´s clear that "the Gulf of Mexico leaks like a sieve. You can´t take a submarine dive without running into an oil or gas seep. And on a calm day, you can´t take a boat ride without seeing gigantic oil slicks" on the sea surface.

Roberts added that natural seepage in places like the Gulf of Mexico "far exceeds anything that gets spilled" by oil tankers and other sources.

"The results of this have been a big surprise for me," said Whelan. "I never would have expected that the gas is moving up so quickly and what a huge effect it has on the whole system."

Although the oil industry hasn´t shown great enthusiasm for the idea -- arguing that the upward migration is too slow and too uncommon to do much good -- the search for new oil and gas supplies already has been affected, Whelan and Kennicutt said. Now, companies scan the sea surface for signs of oil slicks that might point to new deposits.
Well what do you know. Look for an oil slick, find oil.

If you do some searching around on your favorite search engine you can find lots more of this stuff. Which made me think of the Firesign Theater Album: Everything You Know Is Wrong.

Peak oil? Probably more like peak hysteria. Well it used to sell newspapers. Today? Not so much.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Row Bust

There is a report from the UK that the melting of the arctic is not as bad as previously thought.

The extent of Arctic sea ice has been decreasing since the late 1970s. In 2007 it decreased dramatically in a single year, reaching an all-time low. At the time it was widely reported that this was caused by man-made climate change and that the rate of decline of summer sea ice was increasing.

Modelling of Arctic sea ice by the Met Office Hadley Centre climate model shows that ice invariably recovers from extreme events, and that the long-term trend of reduction is robust — with the first ice-free summer expected to occur between 2060 and 2080. It is unlikely that the Arctic will experience ice-free summers by 2020.
Well that is a relief.

Of course that leaves out the true meaning of row bust.

A scantily clad model in a boat with oars.

Technically the lady in question is rowing a shell not a more pedestrian row boat. But what the hey. She is cute and she has her hands on the oars. I would classify the picture as barely safe for work. YMMV.

H/T Watts Up With That

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Seat At The Table

Tom Donohue of the US Chamber of Commerce has a few things to say about the Obama Administration not offering them a seat at the table.

"I did an interview a couple of week ago, and somebody said, 'Well, the White House says that you've become Dr. No and you are going to lose your seat at the table.' And I said, 'The White House doesn't give out the seats at the table. The seats at the table go to the people who have a rational policy, who have strong people to advance that policy, that have a strong grass-roots system, that have the assets to support their program, and that are willing to play in the political process," Mr. Donohue remarks, sitting in his office, which looks across Lafayette Park to the White House.
I note that Sarah Palin has no seat at any table and yet a word from her on Facebook moves political mountains.

Mr. Obama is losing his clout. And there is no worse debility for a Chicago politician than losing your clout.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Libertine Speaks

Eric Olsen of Technorati interviews Andrew Breitbart at Technorati. And a delightful video it is. Worth fifty minutes if you are interested in the state of the culture, the state of politics and how the two intersect.

Andrew Breitbart who broke the ACORN child prostitution scandal talks about his happy time on the left (about 8 minutes 30 seconds in) when it came to sex (who knows about drugs and rock and roll - although he talks about rock near the beginning of the video). He goes into why the left dominates the culture. For instance how many right wing bands do you know? There are a few. How many right wing actors are there? A few. But in general the state of right wing popular culture is abysmal.

He has some very nice things to say about libertarians about 24 minutes in. In that segment he makes a very good point (obliquely) about the social conservatives being on the wrong side of the culture wars and thus losing the more important war for limited government and fiscal responsibility. A point I have been making for a very long time and certainly since I started blogging in September of 2004.

He also talks about how media bias creates great opportunities to present points of view that are shut out of the failing media. This is an expansion on a point that he made earlier in the video about the people running the failing media having no business sense. That they are not there to serve a market but to serve as the propaganda arm of the left.

Here is a link to the Financial Times piece mentioned in the video. And here is the Wall Street Journal on Breitbart.

Then he goes on to say that people should be writing in their own names. I agree. And then he gets into the fact that people can lose their livelihood if they speak out under their own names. Which brings him to the McCarthyism of Hollywood.

He also gets into his libertine side. A side most folks are unwilling to admit. As most of you know I have my libertine side and although it is not my focus I'm not ashamed of it either. All I'm going to say on the matter is "Lesbians. Yummmmm." And one other thing. I love hanging out with musicians. I will add that if you choose to be a libertine be a responsible libertine. Succinctly: Don't drink and drive. Don't have unprotected sex unless you are willing to bear the consequences. etc. Other than that do what I tell my kids to do. Have Fun!

Andrew says he is trying to create a groovier conservative movement. So just maybe there are beginning to be enough libertine conservatives to create a critical mass. I do notice that libertarians - often confused with libertines for good reason - are starting to get more respect on the right. About time. And Objectivists, who have Ayn Rand's personal life as an example of a sexual libertine, are also starting to be accepted as part of the right. It seems to me that the core values of the right are being whittled down to two. Fiscal responsibility (and responsibility in general) and limited government.

He also mentions that the right are the adults in the room and tells social conservatives that they have to come up with a coherent policy on gays that makes gays whole. They cannot be written off. The socons can't pretend that they don't exist or that they can be made to go away. That pretending that gay love is not real love has no future. As I said above. Lesbians. Yummmmmmmm! Then he goes off on the supposed socially liberal Democrats and says - show it. He says that the Democrat constituencies of Hispanics and Blacks are as socially conservative as any white Republican socons and yet the Democrats get the reputation as the socially liberal party.

Breitbart finishes up with the comment that what he does is not about business. It is about his passion for information. When did my passion for information get really rolling? First when I worked for WFMT in Chicago in 1962 and I got to watch the AP news stories come over the Teletype in real time. Stories, many of which I never saw in the newspapers and television of the day. The second place that fired it up for me was when I was in Electronic Technician School in the Navy and we set up one of our receivers with a Teletype to get the AP wire over the air. Getting the news in real time before it was printed in the newspapers or even announced on the radio was a real thrill for me. And the thrill has never gone away.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Herding Junkies

Peter Moskos of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition takes a look at what the drug war means from a law enforcement perspective.

As a police officer, I responded when citizens called 911 to report drug dealing. Those calls didn't tell me much, though, because I already knew the drug corners. And what could I do? When a police car pulls up to a drug corner, the corner pulls back. Dealers, friends, addicts and lookouts walk slowly away.

I didn't chase them. If I did, they'd ditch the drugs. What would I do if I caught them? Charge them with felony running? A smart dealer doesn't hold drugs and money and guns. He's got workers for that. Besides, an anonymous call to police doesn't give the legal "probable cause" needed for a search. So I'd walk up, perhaps frisk for weapons and stand there until "my" corner was clear.

But soon enough I'd have to answer another 911 call for drugs. And when I left, the crew would reconvene. One of my partners put it succinctly: "We can't do anything. Drugs were here before I was born, and they're going to be here after I die. All they pay us to do is herd junkies."
Seems like a waste of time. A huge waste of time. At a cost of $50 billion a year. A typical government program. Lots of people getting paid lots of money to make it look like something is being done when in fact hardly anything is being done.

Peter goes on to compare how Amsterdam deals with drugs and compares Dutch drug use rates to American. The Dutch have a significantly smaller problem (per capita) with drugs than America does. And they spend significantly less on enforcement (per capita) than America does.
In another neighborhood in Amsterdam, a man caught breaking into cars was released pending trial. The arresting officer returned to him, along with his shoelaces and personal property, his heroin and drug tools. I was amazed. The officer admitted he wasn't supposed to do that; heroin is illegal. But the officer had thought it through: "As soon as he runs out of his heroin, he'll break into another car to get money for his next hit."

For the addict, the problem was drugs. But for the police officer, the problem was crime. It made no sense, the officer told me, to take the drugs and hasten the addict's next crime. The addict was not a criminal when he had drugs (beyond possessing them); he was a criminal when he didn't have drugs.

I asked the officer if giving drugs to addicts sends the wrong message. He said his message was simple: "Stop breaking into cars!" With a subtle smirk in my direction, he added, "It is very strange that a country as violent as America is so obsessed with jailing drug addicts." Indeed, Dutch policymakers plan, regulate, fix and pragmatically debate harms and benefits. Police in the Netherlands are not involved in a drug war; they're too busy doing real police work.
If only American police were as interested in doing police work. If you take the "herding junkies" quote as some kind of evidence it seems that at least some of them are.

So what does Peter suggest?
Regulating and controlling distribution is far more effective at clearing the corners of drug dealers than any SWAT crackdown. One can easily imagine that in some cities -- San Francisco, Portland and Seattle come to mind -- alternatives to arrest and incarceration could be tried. They could learn from the experience of the Dutch, and we could all learn from their successes and failures.

Regulation is hard work, but it's not a war. And it sure beats herding junkies.
We will eventually come to our senses about drug prohibition just as we came to our senses about alcohol prohibition. The sooner the better.

H/T Drug Policy Forum of Texas

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Smaller Government vs Smaller Party

Patrick Tuohey at Big Government has some complaints about the Tea Party support for third party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY 23rd election.

Chris Wilson of Wilson Research Strategies–and a fellow brigand from that 1992 Buchanan campaign–published a similar concern:
I don’t necessarily disagree with how the Tea Party members are expressing their anger and backing a candidate they believe in; however, their work will split the Republican vote and give NY CD23 to the Democrats.

The reason I believe the Republican and Conservative party candidates will fail is because they draw support from the same vote base. If you split the conservative and moderate Republicans in just about any race in the nation, the base erodes and the candidate will lose.
I understand the urge to clean one’s own house, but as I learned from Morton Blackwell, “don’t make the good the enemy of the perfect.” The issue in New York’s 23rd may very well be resolved due to pressure from national conservatives, but a campaign of eating our own is not something we should relish.
The difficulty is that the Democrat running in the race is more Republican than the Republican. And to tell the truth, the Democrat is not very Republican.

Thus the support for third party candidate Hoffman.

Of course I left a comment at the post:

Well yes. We should suffer while evils are sufferable. When they are not we may need to increase suffering to decrease evil.

I think there was a famous document that once made that point. And a civil war leading to a revolution fought on that principle.

I'm told there is a certain Country that celebrates that civil war every July 4th.

H/T Instapundit

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Government Finance Reform

Now compare what he says near the end of this two minute video to what is said 36 minutes in to the video that can be found here.

And also carefully note that he doesn't hold the Legislature of California totally to blame. He says the voters are driving the problem.

Also note that Bill Lockyer, who is a Democrat, obliquely takes a shot at the Republicans for focusing on the Culture War instead of bread and butter issues like controlling State spending.

H/T Diogenes via e-mail

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The New World Ordering

I do not agree with everything presented in this hour and fifty minute video. I do find a LOT of food for thought though.

You can also watch a larger screen version at YouTube.

H/T commenter RTF 360 at Seeking Alpha

The DOD Looks At Energy Security

The gentlemen and gentlewomen at Talk Polywell have come across a couple of major finds. The first is a discussion of American energy security and its military implications. Energy & National Security: An Exploration of Threats, Solutions, and Alternative Futures [pdf].

Abstract – Findings of multiple Department of Defense (DoD) studies and other sources indicate that the United States faces a cluster of significant security threats caused by how the country obtains, distributes, and uses energy. This paper explores the nature and magnitude of the security threats as related to energy—some potential solutions, which include technical, political, and programmatic options; and some alternative futures the nation may face depending upon various choices of actions and assumptions. Specific emerging options addressed include Polywell fusion, renewable fuel from waste and algae cultivation, all-electric vehicle fleets, highly-efficient heat engines, and special military energy considerations.
Interesting (to say the least) that Polywell gets a mention in the very beginning of the paper. We have come a long way since the Polywell program was nearly permanently shut down in 2006.

The second paper is about funding for various quick reaction [pdf] programs by the DOD. The interesting bits are on page 11 of the document. Look at just how small the effort was in fiscal year 2008.
Boron Fusion The objective of this project is to continue research towards a proven, validated, and reviewed and approved final design basis for engineering development and construction of full-scale clean nuclear power plants. Boron/hydrogen reactions are radiation-free and non-hazardous and well-suited to direct electric power applications to Navy propulsion, as well as to modest scale ground power plants/systems, able to be run without fossil fuels. Such power plants would revolutionize DoD power systems applications and requirements.

FY 2008 Accomplishments:
This project continued research towards a proven, validated, and reviewed and approved final design basis for engineering development and construction of full-scale clean nuclear power plants. Payoff would be elimination of the need for fossil fueled plants. Boron/hydrogen reactions are radiation-free and non-hazardous and well-suited to direct electric power applications to Navy propulsion, as well as to modest scale ground power plants/systems, able to be run without fossil fuels. Such power plants would revolutionize DoD power systems applications and requirements.
Things are picking up speed in the Polywell research. You can find out more about the latest funding for Polywell at WB-8 Contract Details and at WB-8 Contract Progress.

You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

The American Thinker has a good article up with the basics.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Three Percenter Speaks

I found an interesting comment at The statists' fear and loathing of the Oath Keepers.

In the end, too, we can always lean back on this concept with the control freaks, a concept which Vanderboegh makes brilliantly: the instant that the law fails to protect us from the state, making it null and void--that being the whole point of that charter-document thingy, after all--it also no longer protects the state from us. And for anyone who whines about the current dialogue being "uncivil", what with people speaking frankly and displaying a willingness to resist: remember, these are the people who want to talk. These are the nice guys. It might be prudent not to shut them down, lest others start to pop up. Anyone who thinks that won't happen is, as the saying goes, whistling past the graveyard of history.
Which is why the White House war on Fox News will hurt the ∅ administration in the end.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Republicans Are A Joke

Two Republicans were standing in front of a firing squad and the executioner asked if there were any final requests.

One said, "Have you got a cigarette?" The other Republican said, "Shhh. Don't make any trouble."

Cribbed from the comments at "Consternation is overheard in the lounge of the Dead Elephant Society. The pukka sahibs have finally noticed -- the natives, it seems, are restless."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Palin Endorses Hoffman

Yesterday I covered the New York 23rd District's Congressional race in my post: The Revolution Starts Here. The race pits "Republican" Dierdre Scozzafava against Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Party of New York candidate Douglas L. Hoffman. As you know from my previous report Scozzafava is to the left of many Democrat Congress persons. i.e she is a Democrat. Or if you prefer A Republican In Name Only.

In a surprise move Sarah Palin on Facebook has endorsed Hoffman.

The people of the 23rd Congressional District of New York are ready to shake things up, and Doug Hoffman is coming on strong as Election Day approaches! He needs our help now.

The votes of every member of Congress affect every American, so it's important for all of us to pay attention to this important Congressional campaign in upstate New York. I am very pleased to announce my support for Doug Hoffman in his fight to be the next Representative from New York's 23rd Congressional district. It's my honor to endorse Doug and to do what I can to help him win, including having my political action committee, SarahPAC, donate to his campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law.

Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a "time for choosing."

The federal government borrows, spends, and prints too much money, while our national debt hits a record high. Government is growing while the private sector is shrinking, and unemployment is on the rise. Doug Hoffman is committed to ending the reckless spending in Washington, D.C. and the massive increase in the size and scope of the federal government. He is also fully committed to supporting our men and women in uniform as they seek to honorably complete their missions overseas.

And best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine.

Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.
Well that is a shot across the bow of the Republican establishment.

And Palin finishes off her Facebook message with this zinger:
Republicans and conservatives around the country are sending an important message to the Republican establishment in their outstanding grassroots support for Doug Hoffman: no more politics as usual.
You know, whether Hoffman wins or loses I believe Palin has a future in politics. Currently Hoffman at 23% is trailing Scozzafava at 29%, with Democrat Owens leading with 33%. If Hoffman wins or at least does better than the Republican anointed Scozzafava, Palin's official political future will start November 4th.

My advice to the Republican Party? Wake up. The days of business as usual are over.

Interesting times.

Oh yeah. Palin asks that people donate what they can to Doug Hoffman for Congress.

Update: And Don't forget to buy Palin's book Going Rogue: An American Life which is currently selling for $9.00 in hardcover.

I ♥ Sarah'cudda

More: RS "The Other" McCain and I don't always see eye to eye on many political questions. But he has been way out front in his support for Hoffman. Read his take on events at Palin Endorses Hoffman.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

MSM Does The Right Thing

I never thought I would say that. Ever. But when confronted with a fundamental challenge to the free press in America the press did not cave. Obama caved.

Moe Lane has a few words on the dust up.
So this administration had what passes for a brainstorm among that group: now that they’ve made it clear that they disapprove of one particular news network, why, there would be nothing stopping them from stepping up their attempts to marginalize said network. So the White House announced today that a specific White House Press Pool access - Ken Feinberg, who is one of the myriad ‘czars’ so beloved of this administration - would explicitly exclude Fox News. Despite the fact that the Press Pool is supported in part by Fox News.

And the media refused to play along.

This, oddly enough, has not been brought up by any of the other networks, so for right now the best source for this story is FNC (yes, savor the irony)
Well other than standing tall when it counted I guess I can't give the MSM as much credit as I would like. Damn shame because had they reported the news instead of burying it they would have deserved it.

Baby steps.

There was one MSM reporter who sees an ominous connection between the psychology of this administration and one long passed into history
How do you know that the White House's anti-Fox News campaign has gone seriously wrong? When CNN, let alone Anderson Cooper, begins to compare the Obama and Nixon administrations
As I recall the Nixon thing didn't end well. Nixon was forced to resign and his Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was convicted on corruption charges. Leaving Gerald Ford to baby sit the country until Jimmy "incompetent" Carter's election.

H/T Instapundit and Judith Weiss on Facebook

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Revolution Starts Here

The Tea Parties are not Republican friendly according to the Wall Street Journal.
The rise of conservative "tea party" activists around the country has created a dilemma for Republicans. They are breathing life into the party's quest to regain power. But they're also waging war on some candidates hand-picked by GOP leaders as the most likely to win.

In upstate New York, Dede Scozzafava, 49 years old, is the choice of local party leaders to defend a Republican seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, an abortion-rights candidate who could appeal to independents. Doug Hoffman, 59, is a local accountant backed by tea-party activists who has jumped into the race declaring himself the real conservative.

Mr. Hoffman has siphoned so much support from Ms. Scozzafava that their Democratic rival has vaulted into the lead, according to a poll released Thursday. The election is Nov. 3.
Evidently the current Republican Party is no longer conversant with small government libertarians.

You can see how much trouble Ms. Scozzafava is in by watching this video.

Which brings me to an e-mail I got from The Tea Party Express.
The Tea Party Express is an effort made possible by the support of all sorts of different patriotic Americans coming together with basic, shared, common goals. We are generally "conservative" although some would bristle at that description and prefer to be called 'libertarians' or 'constitutionalists' or students of 'objectivism.' I helped start Our Country Deserves Better Committee, which is the lead sponsor of the Tea Party Express, during the last campaign season to call voters attention to the far-left policies we could expect if Barack Obama were elected President, and to rally Americans to oppose these policies and Obama's candidacy. The Our Country Deserves Better Committee continues to be a thriving project that wouldn't be possible if many different individuals associated with many different other groups didn't all work together to advance the shared cause we believe in.
It looks to me like traditional conservatives are making common cause with those of a more libertarian bent. I applaud this. In fact it is about time. Because as one of my favorite politicians has said:

"If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." Ronald Reagan.

In fact there are far too many Christian Socialists like Mike Huckabee in the Republican Party. They use God Talk to cover for their socialist impulses. They run on a platform of crosses. I'm sorry. It offends me. I have no interest in crosses or bigger government. I'm interested in smaller government and praying to my God in private.

It is good to see the Tea Party Express folks have not fallen for the Christian Democrat brand of conservatism. It is what we have a Democrat Party for.

H/T Instapundit and Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mach-Einstein Drive

I have a new article up at ECN Magazine on experiments testing out the possibilities of a Mach-Einstein Drive. I call it: Maching Einstein.

Why is this important? If the experiments work (and even if they don't) we will learn more about how our universe is constructed. If they do work we can get propulsion without having to build huge rockets. Earth to Mars travel in a few days would be a definite possibility. If it works really really well faster than light speed travel is a definite possibility.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Fox News

Since the White House has declared War on Fox News I'm putting a link to Fox News near the top of my sidebar.

I suggest all bloggers against Government Censorship do the same.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Serve The People

Eric of Classical Values and I have been having an e-mail discussion of management styles provoked in part by his article on Chairman Mao: Proudly emulating the bold and imaginative attitude of Chairman Mao!

My attitude was to always treat those below me with the same attitude I treated those above me. Respect. Because good results depend on every one on the team. Or as an American philosopher put it:

“The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.” — John W. Gardner, Saturday Evening Post, December 1, 1962

Chairman Mao was not the only one to see that a fundamental respect for others was necessary to make an organization work. Sadly the Chairman got carried away with the privileges of power and bad philosophy. Leading him to kill at least 50 million Chinese. The movie The Last Emperor is an excellent look at the Empire of Mao.

Which leads us to another dying empire. The American auto industry. Or as I currently prefer: Government Motors and Crisis Motors.

Everyone knew Detroit's reputation for insular, slow-moving cultures. Even by that low standard, I was shocked by the stunningly poor management that we found, particularly at GM, where we encountered, among other things, perhaps the weakest finance operation any of us had ever seen in a major company.
But that is only the money. What about their attitude towards the people producing the cars?
The cultural deficiencies were equally stunning. At GM's Renaissance Center headquarters, the top brass were sequestered on the uppermost floor, behind locked and guarded glass doors. Executives housed on that floor had elevator cards that allowed them to descend to their private garage without stopping at any of the intervening floors (no mixing with the drones).
And that is the essence of the problem. They never practiced management by walking around. Finding out what was actually going on and fixing things. They never liked the peasants. Reminding me of the old joke: Courtier to the King: "The peasants are revolting." King to the Courtier: "Yes they are." There is an identity there. As in congruency.

As Mao once knew. If you don't serve the people you can not succeed.

And Michelle Obama? All she wanted was a few servings of leafy greens.
Let's say you're preparing dinner and you realize with dismay that you don't have any certified organic Tuscan kale. What to do?

Here's how Michelle Obama handled this very predicament Thursday afternoon:

The Secret Service and the D.C. police brought in three dozen vehicles and shut down H Street, Vermont Avenue, two lanes of I Street and an entrance to the McPherson Square Metro station. They swept the area, in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs, with bomb-sniffing dogs and installed magnetometers in the middle of the street, put up barricades to keep pedestrians out, and took positions with binoculars atop trucks. Though the produce stand was only a block or so from the White House, the first lady hopped into her armored limousine and pulled into the market amid the wail of sirens.
Andrew Monaghan thinks this shows more than a minor disconnect from the "little people".
I ask my readers to consider one thing: What mindset must one be in to block traffic during rush hour (in Washington DC of all places!) in an attempt to satiate your craving for certified organic Tuscan Kale?

Here's the answer: One must be in the state of mind where your whimsical cravings supersede the desires of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people to get home to see their families after a hard day of work.

This is giving Michelle Obama too much credit. The statement above presupposes that Michelle Obama actually has the desires of these people on her radar. She does not. Anyone who stops traffic in rush hour to obtain an obscure lettuce isn't thinking of anything other than impressing the "small people" with her nuanced palate.
Which brings me back to the political side of the current bunch of liars we have in office. They have more than the usual amount of disrespect for the people they serve (yeah that Chairman Mao again). It will not end well.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Euros Balk On Climate Agreement

The Euros are balking when it comes to paying to prevent climate change. As if restricting the output of plant food could actually accomplish that goal.

Environmental campaigners slammed Europe’s governments tonight after latest talks to settle funding levels for climate change broke down without agreement.

The European Commission has put a price of up to £14 billion a year on the EU’s contribution towards the cost poor countries will face meet a global climate change deal.

But talks between EU finance ministers failed to agree figures today.

Swedish finance minister Anders Borg, chairing the talks, said afterwards: “There was a disappointing failure to reach agreement on climate financing today. The lack of conclusion was disappointing - but it doesn’t mean we won’t find a solution.”

EU environment ministers will try next — but all eyes are on an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels at the end of the month to deliver an accord on funding with little over a month before the EU goes to Copenhagen hoping to present a united environmental front to the rest of the world..

Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said: “Today’s EU fiasco has made the chance of failure in Copenhagen very real.
Good news for the people who would actually have to pay for this stuff. You know the former darlings of the socialists. The Workers. Who seem to have become a liability.

Evidently the workers are putting up a fight.
Nine of Europe's poorer countries, led by Poland, demanded their own economic circumstances be taken into account before the EU agrees up to 15 billion euros ($22.5 billion) in financial aid for developing nations.

Developing countries say they cannot cut emissions and adapt to changing temperatures without help from industrialized nations, which grew rich by powering their industries with hydrocarbons and polluting the atmosphere.

Earlier, India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh rejected an Indian newspaper report that he was willing to drop a long-standing demand for foreign aid and technology as the price for accepting international curbs on India's rising emissions.

Dropping such a link would have been a big concession for the December 7-18 U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen. India is the fourth biggest emitter behind China, the United States and Russia.

Ramesh said in a statement India would agree to international monitoring of emissions "only when such actions are enabled and supported by international finance and technology."

The 190-nation U.N. talks are bogged down over how to share out greenhouse gas curbs between rich and poor nations as part of an assault meant to avert ever more heat waves, rising sea levels, floods and more powerful storms.
Ah yes. Well things are looking bad indeed. Except for one small point. Temperatures are not rising. They are falling.
Global satellite data is analyzed for temperature trends for the period January 1979 through June 2009. Beginning and ending segments show a cooling trend, while the middle segment evinces a warming trend. The past 12 to 13 years show cooling using both satellite data sets, with lower confidence limits that do not exclude a negative trend until 16 to 22 years. It is shown that several published studies have predicted cooling in this time frame. One of these models is extrapolated from its 2000 calibration end date and shows a good match to the satellite data, with a projection of continued cooling for several more decades.
Evidently there is no rush to curb emissions of plant food. We have time to study the matter further and come up with economical fixes if a fix is even needed.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Winning A War With A Warmer

Always open up in the attack mode:

There is no way to know for sure but is it possible that the proponents of Climate Catastrophe are being paid by Al "I'm going to make billions off of carbon trading" Gore to push his agenda? He and his friends stand to make a LOT of money if they can get Congress to act in the fashion they desire.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to read a book:

Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed

Inspired by Tall Dave's dust up with some warmistas. (in the comments)

Cross Posted at Power and Control

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dollar Down Exports Up

Here is a headline I never expected to see in my lifetime. U.S. Steel Exports Surpass Imports. So far it is only for the month of August. Still.

A steel industry trade group said the United States exported more steel than it imported in August for the first time in more than 50 years. But another group said that assessment was based on a selective reading of government data.

The American Institute for International Steel said late Monday that government data indicated U.S. steel exports totaled 800,000 tons while imports amounted to 975,000 tons during the month.

But the group, which advocates for free trade and opposes tariffs, subtracted imports of 156,000 tons of semifinished steel and 30,000 tons of hot-rolled steel because that metal is turned into other steel mill products that are considered domestic, the group's president, David Phelps, said Tuesday.
OK. So it looks like they are cooking the books in search of a headline. They got one from me. So I guess it is working - for them.

Some people think corporate America worries about the shrinkage of the US dollar.
Chief executives from the biggest U.S. corporations worry that the slumping dollar could sap U.S. credibility around the globe, spur inflation and ultimately undermine the economy.

The dollar has fallen to a 14-month low; and while a weaker dollar makes U.S. products cheaper overseas, chief executives gathered for the Business Council meeting in Cary, North Carolina, expressed deep concern that the anemic dollar signals serious jitters.

"The issue is currency devaluation, and the worry is that it essentially lowers our credibility in the world," said Office Depot Inc (ODP.N) CEO Steve Odland in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

CEOs say that a slew of government spending programs on health care and other priorities could undercut economic recovery.
And all that is true.

But let us take a look at the numbers. US imports have exceeded exports for a very long time. This is balanced by loans and other investments, thus more or less balancing the books. It does argue that at least on a materials basis the dollar is overpriced. But I got to tell you that a 14 month low is not exactly panic city. My worry is not about the amount but the continued direction.

One thing that does happen in a market system when costs are rising is that the people in the markets work very hard to reduce costs. No one wants to be the first to raise prices. It is bad for business. It is the usual: the greed of the honest businessman leads to a better deal for the consumer.

Of course not all businessmen are honest.
Raj Rajaratnam, a portfolio manager for Galleon Group, a hedge fund with up to $7 billion in assets under management, was accused of conspiring with others to use insider information to trade securities in several publicly traded companies, including Google Inc.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas F. Eaton set bail at $100 million to be secured by $20 million in collateral despite a request by prosecutors to deny bail. He also ordered Rajaratnam, who has both U.S. and Sri Lankan citizenship, to stay within 110 miles of New York City.
A guy like that has to know who his friends are.
Rajaratnam, 52, was ranked No. 559 by Forbes magazine this year among the world's wealthiest billionaires, with a $1.3 billion net worth.

According to the Federal Election Commission, he is a generous contributor to Democratic candidates and causes. The FEC said he made over $87,000 in contributions to President Barack Obama's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and various campaigns on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and New Jersey U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in the past five years. The Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group, said he has given a total of $118,000 since 2004 -- all but one contribution, for $5,000, to Democrats.
And it seems that he was interested in some rather unsavory characters.
...even before his arrest, Rajaratnam was under scrutiny for helping bankroll Sri Lankan militants notorious for suicide bombings.
Now why would a guy friendly to suicide bombers also be friendly to Democrats? Let me think. It will come to me soon I'm sure.

Did some one say economics? All I can say is that the Democrats are moving in the wrong direction. A slide in the dollar may be a good thing for some and a bad thing for others (gasoline prices say - and didn't Sarah Palin have a word or two recently about developing more domestic supplies? Yes she did.) But a cratering of the dollar would be a disaster. Time for a new direction? You betcha!

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blog Of The Week

According to Vodka Pundit (about 2:30 into a 4 minute video) I'm the number four blog in his top ten for this post: An Epiphany On The Left?.

H/T EricF via private message at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The New World Order

Watts Up With That has some excerpts from the treaty.
Skimming through the treaty, I came across verification of Monckton’s assessment of the new entity’s purpose:
38. The scheme for the new institutional arrangement under the Convention will be based on three basic pillars: government; facilitative mechanism; and financial mechanism, and the basic organization of which will include the following:

World Government (heading added)
a) The government will be ruled by the COP with the support of a new subsidiary body on adaptation, and of an Executive Board responsible for the management of the new funds and the related facilitative processes and bodies. The current Convention secretariat will operate as such, as appropriate.

To Redistribute Wealth (heading added)
b) The Convention’s financial mechanism will include a multilateral climate change fund including five windows: (a) an Adaptation window, (b) a Compensation window, to address loss and damage from climate change impacts [read: the "climate debt" Monckton refers to], including insurance, rehabilitation and compensatory components, (c) a Technology window; (d) a Mitigation window; and (e) a REDD window, to support a multi-phases process for positive forest incentives relating to REDD actions.
And of course there is an enforcement mechanism.

It will be interesting to wake up one day and find the country under new management without benefit of an election or revolution. I expect we will have a new government first and a revolution second. Interesting times.

You can look at copy of the treaty and come to your own conclusions.

Maybe it is time for a call to the politicians.

House of Representatives
The Senate

It seems like they are throwing so much at us that it is near impossible to defend every point. All they need is one win and they are over the top. Any loss means our destruction. Eric at Classical Values shows where a bill making wood illegal has already passed. And then there is the health care monstrosity wending its way through congress. How do you fight it all?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Any Way You Want To

There is a lot to look forward to if the health care bill gets passed.

"One of the things that concerns the legal minds of this country is that any bill that contains arbitrary language can be interpreted after it's passed any way they want to. And in this bill, virtually every page gives arbitrary powers to the Secretary of Health and Human Services."

Blaylock warned that under the House bill, hospital readmissions will be very restricted.

"One of the things they targeted to save money was to punish hospitals and physicians if they readmit a patient within a month of them being treated in an emergency room," he said.

"The effect of that is going to be that doctors are not going to want to treat these patients, hospitals are not going to want to treat these patients. It's going to cost hospitals a considerable amount of money as well as the physicians in fines if a patient comes back readmitted.

"Now the people who are going to be readmitted are people with chronic illnesses, the elderly, the disabled. Those are the people who are going to have complications occur within that month period. And why should hospitals and physicians be punished for that?
And if there is an error the first time around? The people who made the error will not be fixing it. Some one else will. So will error prone facilities get run out of business? Of course not. They are a profit center for those fixing their mistakes.

Wisely the politicians in charge of this debacle will start collecting taxes as soon as it passes and will only be implementing the changes a few years after they start collecting taxes. Some time after the 2012 election. The crooks in charge of ramming this through must know how bad it is. Which just goes to show what a vile political class the American people have elected.

H/T Sarah Palin on Facebook

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Snobbery

Can you tell me who said this?

"Yes, the snobbery about Palin's five colleges is especially distasteful, given the Democratic party's supposed allegiance to populism. Judging by the increasingly limited cultural and factual knowledge of graduates of elite schools whom one encounters working in the media, blue-chip sheepskins aren't worth the parchment they're printed on these days."
Obama supporter and critic of the zeitgeist Camille Paglia.

H/T Texans 4 Palin.

Is Roland A Warrior?

I just got an e-mail from Roland Burris (who claims to be my Senator). He wants me to know that he is here to help.

As Congress debates contentious issues such as health care reform, climate change, and our continued economic recovery, it is more important than ever to keep in touch so that I can faithfully serve your needs in Washington.
Well of course climate change is very serious. So I asked Roland a serious question.
In order to stop the climate from changing the USA will have to invade every country burning carbon based fuels and make them stop. Are you making plans for this? If not why not?

At the very least we could be atomic bombing power plants.

Could you let me know a couple of weeks before the bombing starts? I'd like to be prepared. And I can keep a secret.
Well of course the last statement is a flat out lie. I CAN keep some secrets. Starting a war for Climate Change (or is it against Climate Change? I forget) is not one of them.

But lest you think Mr. Roland "I am not a crook" Burris is some hard hearted politician from Chicago I have some news for you.

On his www site he suggests:
If your are experiencing a personal crisis or emergency and you need immediate assistance, please call 202-224-2854
So if the climate is too hot, or too cold, or too much rain, or not enough snow, or if you want a sunny day for your wedding - please give Mr. Burris a call.

And of course I had another Roland in mind when I was asking about warriors.

Paul Shaffer looks like he was getting a big thrill from playing with Warren.

Cross Posted at Classical Values