Thursday, January 20, 2011

SAR #11020

Not only has it come to this, but it came to this some time ago.

On the Other Hand:  The deep-water oil reserves off Brazil's Atlantic coast may hold 123 billion barrels, not the previously estimated 50 billion barrels. Then again, they may not.

Housing Records:  Housing completions in 2010 set a new record low at 703,000 units. The previous lows were last year's 844 thousand and 1.244 million back in 1982. In December there were only 529 thousand (seasonally adjusted annual rate) house starts, down 4.3% from November. Single-family starts decreased 9.0% in December.

It Can Happen Here:  Ventura, California is moving some city facilities inland to escape the rising sea.  Is it global warming, normal erosion, or the result of bad planning?

Cut & Save:  Technician/chartist Tom DeMark is predicting an 'imminent' 11% drop in the market averages and says an eventual decline of 20% or more is possible.

Grocery Stopping:  The global increase in food and other commodity prices should be welcomed by US investors, because it “largely reflects economic growth” (and thus more profits for speculators). Corn has hit a 30-month high, wheat prices are increasing as stockpiles shrink, and soybean prices are up in expectation of increased demand from China. India is suspending taxes on foodstuffs as prices soar and record food prices in Africa have spurred riots in several cities. A revolt seems to be brewing in Egypt, too, although there it seems more about dictatorship than food and fuel.

Please Explain:  Iraq has agreed to pay people to come and find their oil and then take it away. Isn't this like paying burglars to come ransack your house?  Are they using some of the US billions to do this?

Shovel Ready:  The Texas AG argues the EPA should not be able to regulate CO2 because it is a naturally occurring emission of living things. Which is a load of crap, also an emission of living things, especially politicians.

Be Prepared:  British MPs are urging the government to institute an energy rationing system to deal with an impending energy and climate crises. First in, first out?

Insurance Dance:  Most of us agree, most of the time, that no one should be kicked to the curb and denied health care when they need it – we're not to the point of letting the poor die on public streets. Not yet. The question we do not agree upon is who should pay for this care, and how. What is the fairest way to share the burden of basic health care for our citizens? If everyone is to benefit, then all should contribute – proportional to their incomes. And if we're going to do that then we must adopt a fair, efficient system that eliminates the profit motive and unnecessary administrative costs. And that leads us to a single payer system of some type, for some degree of health care for all. Or should we just look away and walk on by?

Protecting the Guilty: A Federal appeals court has supported the Obama administrations view that letting the American people know about (have access to the transcripts and videos of) the torture conducted in their name would lead to the prosecution of many former high-ranking officials (and not a few current ones) for war crimes, so the public cannot be allowed access. That's not what the court said, just what they meant.


Anonymous said...

It Can Happen Here:

A disingenuous article at best. Anyone who has lived on the coast knows that points erode because of waves. Hell, in New Jersey, they've been trying to save the northern beaches, from Sandy Hook down through Island Beach, by building jettys since the early 1900's.

These articles are what is killing reasonable discussion of global warming. You just can't take it seriously.

CKMichaelson said...

Yeah, you're right. Unless there's data to support the idea that the erosion is significantly different than normal sea/land interaction... Before the onslaught, I plead carelessness and inattention and bias and all that.

ckm, abashedly.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

Most of us agree, most of the time, that no one should be kicked to the curb and denied health care when they need it – we're not to the point of letting the poor die on public streets. Not yet.

This topic led me to look up Mother Teresa - and when one goes into detail about just how she did things, a non-Catholic like myself gets a bit queasy.

But in general, your logical analysis of the issue seems correct to me. And the fact that it is so controversial in the U.S. is just one more reason why those in a position to emigrate to a more civilized country should do so. It's too late for me, but so it goes.

lineside said...

Re "Housing Records"

Would add that the average size of new homes built is also decreasing. So impact on construction industry and its upstream is even worse than starts alone would suggest.

lineside said...

Re "Please Explain"

I sure can't. A poorly written article, which is hard to decipher (and I have experience in the industry). The only thing I can tell is that this is a fight between the Kurds and the Iraqi Central Government over their respective share of the spoils.

"Production sharing agreements"', via which the host country and the oil producer share the profits of an oilfield development, are entirely conventional practice throughout the world. Usually the oil companies pick up the tab for the exploration phase, but everything is negotiable (and there may be reimbursement for past unpaid contractual payments at play in
this specific instance). The host governments negotiate to maximize their total "take" of a project's overall life-of-field economics, usually through a competitive bidding process (and, yes, in postwar Iraq companies from all over the world have bid competitively for development rights; the US didn't take their oil as the tired meme even still proclaims).

I wouldn't worry that the actual arrangement is that the Iraqis are going to pay foreigners to take their oil. That's not what oil exporting countries do.

kwark said...

RE: It can happen here Well at least it's partly because we've cleverly starved the beach of sand. A dam, built on the Ventura River in the 1940's (which coincidentally enters the ocean just up the coast from the parking lot facilities in question) has trapped many millions of cubic yards of sand and gravel - sediment that once replenished losses from longshore currents and winter storms. By the way, the dam is almost full of sediment and will soon become a giant waterfall. Not that sea level isn't rising as our globe warms. . . but honestly, I suspect the city fathers were more concerned with income from parking fees than the debate over sand replenishment vs global warming!