Monday, August 31, 2009

SAR #9242

This sure doesn't look like Kansas.

South of the Border: Mexico's petroleum output fell 7.8% m/m in July and exports are down 20% YTD. Its mainstay, Cantarell, is down 41% y/y.

Cognoscenti: Word on the cocktail circuit is that Congress is going to give Obama an Internet “kill switch” to use in case of a national emergency. Such as a flu pandemic, or a bank holiday. Those in the best position to know seem to be bailing out.

Assaulting the Battery : About those electric cars. Why don't I feel relieved that we've got enough lithium to power 2 million cars by 2015. How many cares are sold every year? How many cars in the US fleet? Saved, we're saved?

The Sun Also Sets: Japanese exports to the US are now down 40% y/y and to China down 26%.

Combination Platter: At least one in four US banks is discovering that making bad loans leads to unprofitability. Who knew?

Down, On the Farm: American farm profits are forecast to fall 38% this year – just like the big hedge funds. But according to Tractor Man, nothin' from nothin' is nothin'.

Fools All : People with vast amounts of money invested in Cerberus Capital Management lost 24.5% of their vast amounts last year and now they want 71% of their money back immediately. If “immediately” translates into a sudden need to dump holdings and raise cash, things could get... awkward.

Failing Grade: The FDIC's quarterly report card shows that the Deposit Insurance Fund has fallen to $10.4 billion – 22 cents for every $100 of insured deposits.

Moving On Up: Venezuela, at 1.39 mbd, has moved into second place among suppliers to the US. Saudi Arabia fell to third (1.1 mbd) and Mexico to 4th with only 1.07 mbd. Canada remains the largest source of imported oil for the US.

Porn O'Graph: Deserts in the sea.

Some Cure: Those financial institutions that were bailed out because they were too big to fail have been putting on weight. Not surprising, it was like putting the obese on an ice cream diet.

The Great Awakening: The bubbling of methane into the atmosphere from both the thawing Arctic permafrost and the dissolving of sub-sea methane hydrates continues to haunt scientists. Temperatures in Alaska, Canada and Siberia have risen more than 4.5ºF since 1970 – much faster than in lower latitudes. If the rate of change does not increase, the temperature will go up another 13ºF by 2100. If the methane hits a tripping point and massive amounts escape, “additional warming and unpredictable consequences” will take a decade or two.

Pukka Beads: Sea shell adornments go back 80,000 years, with finds located far enough inland to indicate rather extensive trade. Wonder what went the other way, and what the going rate was.

Help Wanted: Consuming is far more central to American life than citizenship. Americans are more likely to attempt to change society through their shopping – boycotts or patronage – than by contacting an elected official.

Porn O'Graph: Mine's bigger! Or at least a tie.


Bill said...

Your climate change/global warming articles are quite alarming. However, the Beltway crowd apparently isn't all that concerned.

Here's an excerpt from George Will's latest Newsweek column:

The supposed means of paying for the president's $1 trillion health-care plan include substantial Medicare cuts that will never happen, and the auction of carbon-emission permits that, instead, would be given away by the Waxman--Markey cap-and-trade legislation the House has sent to the Senate.
That legislation is a particularly lurid illustration of why no serious person nowadays takes seriously Washington's increasingly infantile bandying of numbers. The point of cap-and-trade is to impose a ceiling on the nation's greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions—primarily carbon dioxide. The legislation endorses the goal of holding the global carbon--dioxide level to a maximum of 450 parts per million by 2050. That. Will. Not. Happen.

Steven Hayward and Kenneth Green of the American Enterprise Institute do the math. The 450 level is less than the 2030 projected level for all countries other than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's 30 developed nations. Which means the global goal would be unreachable even if in 2030 those 30 disappear—if they have zero emissions. Waxman--Markey endorses the goal of reducing all of this nation's GHG emissions 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. In 2005, the United States' carbon-dioxide emissions were 6 billion tons, so an 83 percent -reduction would permit about 1 billion tons—what America's emissions were in 1910, when the population was 92 million and the economy was one twenty-fifth of today's. But by 2050, the population probably will be about 420 million, so per capita carbon-dioxide emissions would have to be 2.4 tons—one quarter of 1910's per capita emissions.

Hayward and Green say that historical data indicate that the last time emissions were that low was 1875....

Obviously Hayward and Green are correct that meeting the 2.4-ton goal "is not going to be seriously attempted." So why do the same politicians who want to radically expand government's control of health care pretend otherwise? Because they are not serious people. Which is why so many Americans are seriously alarmed.

Serious they're not.

FYI, the administration's updated $9 trillion deficit projection includes $600 billion in revenue from Cap-and-Trade.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Bill - I often find myself gritting my teeth when I read Mr. Will, but on this he's right: Stopping our CO2 emissions is something "That. Will. Not. Happen."

Bill said...

Sit down, because you may agree with Will (at least in large part) twice in one week. From Politico:

George F. Will, the elite conservative commentator, will call in his next column for U.S. ground troops to leave Afghanistan, according to publishing sources.

[F]orces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters,” Will writes in the column, scheduled for publication later this week.

In the column, Will warns that any nation-building strategy could be impossible to execute given the Taliban’s ability to seemingly disappear into the rugged mountain terrain and the lack of economic development in the war-plagued nation.

Not for lack of interest, but I don't understand our goals and objectives in Afghanistan. If it's indeed nation building, I don't believe the Lord Almighty could pull it off. Whatever the goals are, they haven't been clearly communicated to the public.

kwark said...

Yes, good'ol Georgy Will, who finally saw the light on obscene government spending when "his" party lost both houses of Congress and the Presidency. But then a broken clock is correct twice a day - F'ing hypocrite. And then Bill notes Georgy's comments on Afghanistan - but for George it's not about the colossal failure of foreign policy or even about the immorality of our actions there - it's about some notion of fighting more "efficiently". So while he's correct we should get the hell out, he continues to demonstrate that he's just another warmonger who prefers to siphon money to the hi-tech branch of the war profiteers. But then he and his cohort of armchair hawks are well recompensed for their troubles.