Saturday, January 24, 2009

SAR #9024/Weekender

Do the riots come before or after a country defaults on its loans?

Free At Last: Imagine, a government of openness, not of fear and hiding. "Starting today,” Mr. Obama said, “every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.”

The Wedding Ritual: US forces sent missiles into two houses in Pakistan. Sort of a reverse Welcome Wagon gift from Obama.

Shared Sacrifice: When a politician speaks of a shared sacrifice, he (or she) means that the taxpayers are going to share the expense. When a whole country speaks of having to share the sacrifice, they mean that other countries are going to share the costs - be it sending troops into combat or buying US debt. The Treasury hopes that China, Japan and Saudi Arabia re-enlist real soon.

Slash and Burn: Some of California's largest farms are slashing their planting this spring, for fear the California drought will burn up their crops. First to go, lettuce, next tomatoes. Hold the toast.

Bad and Worse: The US is second only to China in CO2 output. But if the US had to take responsibility for the CO2 produced outside the country in making stuff for the American consumer, it's output of poisons would exceed China's by 20%. But that would entail the US consumer taking responsibility...

Words of One Syllable: When Republicans tried to explain to the President what they would and would not accept in a stimulus package, he explained to them "I won."

Three Card Monte: Who'll believe that the US can maintain a strong dollar long enough to pay back the next $2 trillion, and the trillions after that? Do we have captive lenders - those who've lent us so much they can't afford to see us fail? Better hope so.

You Are There: Here's a marvelous 2 minute video of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in its last days.

Hard Truths: All together now: The bailouts have not worked. Not in the US, nor Britain, nor Germany... More is not going to change this. Untried but worth discussing is triage: leave the solvent banks alone, let most fail and nationalize the rest.

Egyptian River: Like Tim O'Reilly, every time I drag a little AGW item into the light here I get angry responses from those in deep denial. I'm not going to stop, so I suggest that those unpersuaded by 30 years of scientific research take the self-centered view that if global climate change has even a 10% chance of happening, we should try to prevent it. Changing to a sustainable world will not hurt us and may keep us from some very bad things.

On Again, Off Again: As expected, President Obama struck down the Bush revived Clinton canned Reagan initiated ban on letting anyone who could spell abortion get near any federal funding either here or abroad.

All Together Now When? Leaders often do things on the international stage that make no sense until you realize they have to do certain things to stay in power at home. Roubini says coordinated global economic action is impossible because each country must put its own citizens and its own industries first.

Selfish: Bolivia, which has over half the world supply of lithium, doesn't want to just lay back and let Mega Corp International come in, scrape up the ore and scamper off with the big bucks. Bolivia and its dirty rotten socialist leader think they are going to share in the profits. Silly people; just wait until the Marines get done in Afghanistan.

PR/News: A 'market research' firm that is constantly finding the newest thing to invest in (Chinese Fast Food! Singapore Tourism!) claims that by 2030 the US will generate 917 billion KWh with nuclear power plants. Today's US nuclear power capacity is just over 100 billion. Better get going.

Today's Word: Seigniorage. In days of yore the king would shave a little bit off each gold or silver coin. Not much, but it all adds up. Debasing of the coin of the realm hasn't gone away just because the gold coins have stopped circulating.

Cautionary Tale: Global oil production entered a plateau in 2005 and hasn't grown since. Not in three years, some of which had wickedly high oil prices. Even if TARP II and Stimulus 3.6 is the theoretically right antidote, the continuing physical and geological limits on oil production will trip the economy again and again.

Don't Look Now: If NSA is grabbing all the electronic bits about you, all of you, all the time, 24/7 - and they are - what are they doing with all that info? Turning it into intelligence by finding connections. They've got some terribly clever people working for them who are not particularly introspective.

Porn O'Graph: The hills and valleys growing in China.


Anonymous said...

Sir: Read this article from the Sunday Telegraph and think, think, think. Just a bit of balance and less fear mongering.

John H

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

John H.
I prefer to get my science from scientists, unfiltered - so may I in turn invite you to the source of the scientific research, a report in Nature by Seigal et al, that found that since the 1950's overall Antarctica is warming by about 0.1 °C per decade.
Also, Scientific American (January 21, 2009) reports: "Antarctica is warming, not cooling." and puts the Seigal report in layman's terms.
Nature here:
SA here:
Cheers, ckm

maxrates said...

RE: Free at Last.

Are you kidding? I sure hope your title is satirical.
I will be so glad when the GITMO jail is closed. Then the whiners can shut-UP !
As for our new and wonderful and open BHO government, How about telling us where all the Treasury money is going ? Do I sense a little hypocrisy ?

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Ah, Maxrates, if you've not caught on to the deadly somber and serious nature of my headers, I cannot help you. The song Dr. King was quoting was about the freedom of the grave.
I suspect that the exhileration on this occasion is as premature as on most, but so is rendering a judgement on BHO's administration after a very short week.
As for the Treasury money, ask Bush, Paulson, Bernanke where the first couple of trillion went, why it went there, and what we the taxpayers got for it.
Don't worry, politics is about money and both teams are sponsored by the same firm. There'll be a lot to poke fun at as time goes by.

Anonymous said...

In days of yore the king would shave a little bit off each gold or silver coin.

Erik Klipping, Danish King 1259-1286.

Erik "(he who) is cutting" died from entirely natural causes: The loss of blood from 56 knife wounds inflicted by his own men, obviously they got pissed off!

We need to bring back the old ways IMO!