Saturday, April 23, 2011

SAR #11113

We are a nation of lawyers, not laws.

Shadow Dancing: Congress does not want to raise the debt ceiling. But for the government to keep operating on the budgets that Congress passed, the debt ceiling must be raised. So, Congress is aghast at its own actions? Lord knows, most of us are.

Revival: Suddenly the President is all concerned about speculators driving up the cost of petroleum and has promised “to root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices...” Relax, he said something similar about Wall Street a couple of years ago and see how that worked out.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Americans and Europeans have lost interest in global climate change, while Latin Americans and sub-Saharan Africans see it as a growing threat. It isn't the science that has changed.

See-saw: Observe how the price of oil goes up as the value of the dollar goes down. It isn't the demand for oil that's the problem, but the lack of demand for dollars.

Spring, Sprung: Just in time for the spring house-shopping season, reports show that nationwide house prices have now fallen to levels last seen in March 2003, down 4.3% y/y and down 36% from the high in 2007. In some areas there are stupendous bargains: in Atlanta prices fell 16.3% in the last year, 13.6% in Jacksonville. But don't tell the prospective suckers buyers.

Just So Story: Sir David Attenborough notes that the world’s resources cannot sustain current levels of population growth and that “there cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed.” Not for very long, anyway.

Drilling Bably, Drilling: Those arguing for increased oil production (actually the cries are for more drilling, blindly assuming that drilling leads to production) are wrong for a number of reasons. One, oil companies are trying to make a profit; if drilling at point A in the USA would produce a greater profit than spending the money elsewhere, they would. Two, the price of the oil keeps going up; the longer we keep ours the more valuable it becomes. Three, the time span between drilling the exploratory well and bringing the oil on line is years, so drilling now will not solve any of today's problems. And increasing the US supply by 10% (an enormous task) would have little effect on the price of oil – which is an international commodity – and thus not have much impact on the US economy. Or my gasoline bill.

Victory! After 10 years and tens of billions of dollars, Iraq has doubled its electricity capacity. Now most folks can get power 4 hours a day.

Casper: Missing from a list of shocking facts about Colombia's $10 billion illegal drug industry are the names of the too big to fail bankers who take a taste of all the money transfers.

Silence of the Lambs: Let's see: Cellphones store all sorts of personal information about you in secret files. Cops, and others, can snatch data from you cellphone nearly at will. Now we learn that Google and Apple gather information about where you are, at least several times an hour. Why? Well, first because they think they can sell the information. The rest? Maybe someone asked them to add those features. The question is, why are you still using one?

Quoted: “Discussions like this [on the usefulness of taxes] really disturb me; they indicate that there are a lot of people with Ph.D.s in economics who can throw around a lot of jargon, but when push comes to shove, have no coherent picture whatsoever of how the pieces fit together.”

Porn O'Graph: Complete completions.


john patrick said...

Thanks, CK!

kwark said...

RE Revival One does wonder how many times this sort of slick political theater will succeed in confusing the public. Hasn't failed yet so . . .