Saturday, March 26, 2011

SAR #11085

"We are not in a position where we can be optimistic."

The Hard Part: Now that nuclear is not our favorite solution and you haven't fallen for the oil-will-last-forever fantasy, and actually understand that coal will kill us in the end, where do you think the energy to power a world with 9 billion people is going to come from? Have you done the math on solar power lately, figured out how to build windmills without fossil fuel, and still think the economy will continue to double every 25 years?

Collateral Damage: Turkey's President and Prime Minister have criticized French President Sarkozy as “lacking a conscience” in leading the more-or-less allies in the Libyan air war.

Clarification: President Obama's Navy is conducting high-profile submarine exercises in the Arctic Ocean this month to demonstrate the US commitment to peaceful exploitation of the area's resources. Establishing once again that the US is first among nations, and you'd better not forget it.

The List: Add Jordan to the list of countries where the government is willing to kill citizens in the public street, joining Bahrain, Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

To The Rear, March! In NC the Republicans want to repeal a renewable resources law mandating that the state's power companies provide 12.5% of 2021's electricity through renewable sources – even though the power companies are in favor of doing so. The GOP-controlled House passed a bill that makes the death or injury of a fetus at any stage of development a crime, even if no one – including the woman – knew she was pregnant. The provision would not apply to legal abortions, which will soon be outlawed under the murder statutes.

Up & Down & Back Up: The 2010 fourth quarter GDP growth was a)3.2%, b) 2.8%, c) 3.1%, or d) all of the above at one time or another in the last two months. They'll get it right eventually.

Trial Balloon: The Irish Property Council plans to file class-action lawsuits against banks and former government officials, seeking to hold them directly responsible for “knowingly and recklessly” giving mortgages to people who were subsequently ruined financially when they could not make their payments. It's the “they made me take the money” strategy.

Yes, But... When figuring out how much to pay for a car, do you just look at the sticker prices and don't bother with the sales and markdowns and rebates? Four states want to pretend that distressed house sales do not happen, do not affect the value of the house next door. This is an effort by builders and realtors to establish a system of willful ignorance that would allow them to inflate the value of a house so they could sell it for more money, even though it would immediately be worth tens of thousands of dollars less. Comes with a lollypop.

One-A-Day: Today's most disgusting GOP ploy is to eliminate food stamps for any family that has a family member out on strike. In that these gratuitous attacks on society have absolutely no chance of becoming law, what does this sort of petty viciousness say about the GOP's target audience?

With Footnotes: If speculators are not responsible for soaring food prices, why do we all think they are? 1) It's nice to have someone to blame. 2) We have no idea where our food comes from, so anything's possible. 3) They buy up all the food on the spot market and put it in big warehouses. 4) They somehow cleverly play both sides of the trade and make a profit.

Dead Budgie: Housing is dead. The inventory of unsold new houses is so big that by the time we need another house built no one will remember how to do it. But at least we don't have to worry about housing declines hurting the economy further – the Girl Scouts pulled in more from cookies than anyone made from building houses last month.

Plus One: Starbucks is everywhere, as attested to this list of “15 Facts About Starbucks”. Here's a sixteenth: I've had only three cups of Starbucks coffee, all of them paid for by other people.


john patrick said...

The Hard Part... scaling back. It's like removing one spark plug from your engine to save 20% gas useage. It just doesn't work. The engine will barely run.

There is a synergy attained at each level of complexity. And it cannot be unwound. Which is probably why nature uses extinction and starts over.

Thanks for the writeup, CK.

Anonymous said...

The Hard Part:

Do you think that England had peak wood in the 1700's?

CKMichaelson said...

Sorry, Anony 2.39, but hope is not a strategy and deus ex machina is a best a weak plot device.


Anonymous said...

America’s combined energy resources are, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CSR), the largest on earth.

They exceed Saudi Arabia (3rd), China (4th) and Canada (6th) combined – and that’s without including America’s shale oil deposits and the potentially astronomic future impact of methane hydrates.

Of course our abundance of natural resources isn't worth much unless we put ourselves in a position to take advantage of them.

If we do, then we have ample time to come up with affordable and available renewable energy products.

However, we have no coherent energy plan from this administration. Instead, this administration has gone to war with the oil industry and is seemingly doing everything it can to slow its ability to find and exploit these resources.

19,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in earnings have been lost since the imposition of the administration’s GoM moratorium. Both former Presidents Bush and Clinton have spoken out against the delays. And the administration remains in contempt of a court order which ordered them to speed up the permitting process. As a result the EIA has estimated a loss of 74,000 barrels a day of production due to the moratorium this year.

Meanwhile our President touts foreign oil, our investment in it and claims we’ll be its “best customer”.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the President on this one thing. Save the oil for the grandchildren. The Deity of your choice knows we have left some some big bills for them. I say let's leave the oil as well.

fajensen said...

Politicians like to blame "speculators" for the fall-out from their brain-dead economic policies.

In this case the printing of ever more money to pretend that the finance sector is not bankrupt and backstopping debt to keep interest rates low.

However, low interest rates simply signal that there are no worthwhile investments. When there are no worthwhile investments, the money will flow to where it's value is preserved - Raw Materials, since the EUR and the USD is in a head-to-head competition to lose value the fastest "to be competitive"- which would perhaps work IF we manufactured anything and did not need imported resources.

Soaring food prices is just reflecting the debasement of currencies and the endgame comes when exporters refuse to sell at any price. Perhaps because they need the resources themselves (Russian wheat) or perhaps because EUR/USD does not buy anything they need (Chinese rare earths).

CKMichaelson said...

fajensen - good to hear from you. And thinks for the reminder "low interest rates simply signal that there are no worthwhile investments"