Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SAR #9243

Knowing what needs doing, and doing it are different things.

Fools, Played for: The headlines shout: Big Banks Repay Bailout Money! Taxpayers Profit! Some say $4 billion, some $14 billion. I say hogwash. Profit involves toting up your investment and expenses, subtracting that from the income produced from the investment. We're years away from that accounting. Even if you limit discussion the few big firms that have “repaid” some of the bailout money, you've got to include all the billions passed to them through AIG and who knows what other “private” deals that Bernanke doesn't want to talk about. Pull the other one, it's got a bell on it.

Check the Expiration Date: Our man in Kabul says the use-by date on US strategy in Afghanistan has passed and a new one is needed. Maybe we could find one that has a get-out-by date.

False Dawn: The coming age of electric vehicles may be a way for a few to adjust to dwindling gasoline supplies, but it will do nothing for global warming. It just moves the CO2 from cars' tailpipes to the smokestacks of coal and gas fired power plants. One stone, one bird.

Pencil It In : The market keept going up because 'earnings beat expectations'. But they mostly did so on falling sales revenues. You can only fire Joe down in production once. After that you can use up on-hand inventory and not re-order. And the quarter after that you can maybe fire Mary-Jo in accounting, 'cause there'll be nothing left to account for.

Frigid Ridge A: The coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth – so boring it barely has any weather – is Ridge A on the Antarctic Plateau. Just the spot for an observatory. And night lasts several months, too.

Gonna' Make War No More: Not only are the Afghans and Iraqis pretty tired of US wars, Argentina and Mexico seem ready to call it quits on the US sponsored War on Drugs – which has been going about as well as the campaign in Afghanistan, only much longer.

Calling Dibbs: To make a lot of the things that go into hybrid cars – magnets, bateries and other high-tech components – requires a number of rare metals. China, the dominant producer of rare earths, has begun limiting exports. Ah, market forces.

Too Little Too Late, Again: Every ten years or so the leaders of the world gather, nod solemnly about the need to do something about global climate change and put their names at the bottom of a list of promises they have no intention of keeping. The next repeat of this charade is set for Copenhagen this December. It may be the last such; the planet seems to be tiring of the foolishness.

Daniel in the Liars Den: In a WSJ article, Daniel Yergin of CERA argues that there's no danger of peak oil any time soon. His “factual” citation is “a new analysis of over 800 oil fields [that] shows ample physical resources below ground.” That refers to an International Energy Agency report that reads, “first detailed assessment of more than 800 oil fields... has found that most of the biggest fields have already peaked and that the rate of decline in oil production is now running at nearly twice the pace as calculated just two years ago.”

Got Milk? Over 60% of adult humans are not lactose tolerant. It's the default setting. A few folks – about 4% are allergic to things eggs, peanuts, shellfish, and gluten – but most humans simply stop making the enzyme to digest the sugars in milk when they're about 4 or 5.


fajensen said...

Whoops - Thats me pension gone!

Amazing - Denmark right between Germany and England with 1/10'th of the population of either.


Following is a table of European government’s commitments. All figures are in billions of euros and include capital injections, guarantees granted, effective asset relief and liquidity interventions.

United Kingdom 781.2
Denmark 593.9 <--- ick!
Germany 554.2
Ireland 384.5
France 350.1
Belgium 264.5
Netherlands 246.1
Austria 165
Sweden 142
Spain 130

Anonymous said...

May I humbly suggest a merger with Iceland?


TulsaTime said...

Re: Banks on Secret Fed List

Don't rat us out, or we will blow up the system again.

Reminds me of the scene in Blazing Saddles where Clevon pulls the gun on himself. HA! I wish they would. We will survive a top-down financial meltdown better than most people think, certainly better than the government thinks.


fajensen said...

The off-colour joke running here to wind up our Nordic brethren was for the Icelanders to pawn all the pretty Icelandic women so we Danes could "merge" with them (while leaving the crazies like Bjork for the Icelanders)... well, so much for that plan ;-9

Anonymous said...

Regarding the article by Mr. Petersen linked to in your False Dawn item, I have a couple of comments:

First, why does he feel it necessary to construct that elaborate graph plotting gasoline saved by kilowatt hour of battery capacity? Why not just do it per vehicle? Well, one reason to not do it per vehicle, of course, is that the numbers don't look bad for EV's and PHEV's that way.

Second, at the end, just before the fine print that reveals that he has a strong financial interest in bashing non-lead batteries, he writes: " PHEVs and EVs are little more than vanity items for elitists who will happily let up to fifteen other Americans waste up tp 2,610 gallons of gas per year so that they can save 462 gallons by driving a 100% green car. The hypocrisy is appalling."

I agree that there's some appalling hypocrisy here but nowhere in his article do i see any substantiation of how elitists let others waste gas so that they can save gas. Where is the connection showing that someone's buying an EV somehow forces up to 15 others to waste gas?

This thing reminds me of that David Irving's incredibly detailed Holocaust denial books meticulously footnoted except that when you tracked the footnotes down, you discover that he was deliberately misquoting his sources. Certainly Petersen's arguments are equally mendacious.

Full Disclosure: I own neither an EV nor an HEV.

Bill said...

Peak Oil: Implying that Yergin is a liar is quite inflammatory.

I'm no geologist or petroleum engineer, so I can only form my opinion based on what I read. I'm open-minded but concerned about peak oil.

So don't shoot the messenger, but here's a piece by Michael Lynch that was published in the NY Times in which he makes the case against the assertion that we've reached peak oil.

And here's his response to the criticism to his Times' article.

Bill said...

Fools, Played for: The NY Times obviously believes that most of their readers are foolish enough to take at face value anything they print.

The Times certainly wouldn't have framed the repayments that way if Bush were still president. Unfortunately, they see their primary objective as to protect Obama.

Pencil it in: Spot on. I have enjoyed the ride since March, but am taking my gains (which only make up for my prior losses). In my opinion, this is no time to be greedy.

Anonymous said...

Market down 56% from high. Then goes up 50%. So, if I had 100K and lost 56% I have 44K. If the market now goes up 50% I have 82.5K. Not sure how I made it back. Seems like Goldman got my 17.5K and CNBC tries to make me feel better about it. Remember Abott and Costello's 2 Tens for a Five?