Wednesday, March 31, 2010

SAR #10090

We have guns, too.

Timing:  The incoherent rage started long before Obama's health care plan became law.  It started when Obama became a strong contender for his party's nomination.  It is not that Obama is black; the rage is because he is not a white male.  The bewildered white males in this country see a black president, a female speaker of the House, a Latina Supreme Court Judge, gays getting married...  They fear America is changing, leaving them behind.  It is, and it is.

Good Old Days:  Americans are back to spending more – consumption rates are increasing rapidly - and we are saving less, especially the unemployed.  We are ignorantly happy about the future, with only 40% of us concerned about retirement.  “The number of people who reported being concerned about issues such as day-to-day expenses, education costs, paying off credit cards, and saving for big ticket purchases didn’t just decline – each category hit a four-year low.”

Flip a Coin:  Professor Shiller says the odds of another drop in housing prices are 50/50.  Optimist.

Point/Counterpoint:  Loaded shipping containers are piling up in Asian ports because demand from the West has picked up much faster than expected.  Yet the ATA Truck Tonnage Index fell 0.5 % last month as domestic shipments slipped.  For all of 2009, the tonnage index contracted 8.7 percent, which was the largest annual decrease since 1982.  Maybe they were all waiting for their ship to come in.

Time Marches On:  The GAO estimates that within ten years Social Security, Medicare, and interest payments on the debt will take every available dollar of taxes.  But don't worry, we'll just borrow some more.

Water Seeks Its Own Level:  One out of four mortgaged houses is underwater, one out of seven is delinquent.  The government's efforts to stem the foreclosure tsunami is aimed at continuing to prop up the financial system at the taxpayer's expense.  Foreclosures will eventually drive prices down far enough to end the spiral.  The only question is how long the government can postpone the inevitable.

WARNING, DANGER: Day traders are back.

Adding to the Confusion:  One explanation for the (apparent) lack of inflation is to look at the CPI without the Owners' Equivalent Rent – which was put into the CPI back in 1980 to hide what turned out to be pretty severe inflation.  Absent the OER, the CPI was up 5.8% in January on an annualized basis.  Probably similar to (in reverse) the government not counting food and energy in the ‘core’ CPI.

Intent:  A Lawrence, Kansas judge has ruled that an 11 year old who shot his father's pregnant live-in girlfriend shall be tried as an adult.  Apparently to teach a lesson to other kids who don't like the replacement dad brought home.  Makes you wonder about the judge, doesn't it?

Good Neighbor:  Oil Minister Ali Al- Naimi says Saudi Arabia can turn on the taps and produce an extra 4.5 million barrels a day.  He also said oil in the $80 a barrel range is “as close to perfect as possible.”  He did not add, “because we don't want to make too much money off your addiction.”

Our Girl:  Elizabeth Warren says that by the end of this year about 50% of all commercial real estate mortgages will be underwater.  These mortgages are mainly held by about 3,000 mid-sized banks, and will pose a “very serious problem” for the economy.

Salvation, Not:  It is clear that modern biofuels return useful energy in approximately the same proportion to the energy inputs required as did pre-industrial agriculture, and therefore are incapable of supporting industrial civilization.

Porn O'Graph:  Shipping out (subject, apparently, to change).


ibilln said...

Agree about bwm's, that "They fear America is changing, leaving them behind." But IMO they are also upset specifically "that Obama is black".

One has to admit that.

Namke von Federlein said...

Just some notes about food, energy and water to try to cheer you up.

The Earth is a tremendous source of geothermal energy. The problem is turning that energy into food, water and energy that people can use.

Here are you instructions for saving the human race :

1) Find a geothermal location anywhere on the ocean.

2) Boil the water to create steam. This produces energy (steam power) and pure salt-free water.

So far, all you've got is water and electricity.

Step 1: Use the simple process of running an electrical current through the water (it's called electrolysis - not the hair removal - see Wikipedia). At one pole you will get pure oxygen bubbling up. At the other pole you will get pure hydrogen bubbling up. Compress them, put it into ships and you are now a major supplier of oxygen to industry and hydrogen for fuel cells.

Step 2: Since you have tons of geothermal energy, produce tons of pure salt-free water. It can be used in industrial processes, irrigation (to wash the minerals in ground water used for irrigation out of the soil) and drinking water. Put it in tankers and sell that, too.

Step 3: Use the pure water for salt-water farming. You have lots of energy to run pumps and heat the salt water. You use the salt-free water to rinse off the finished product (the big problem with salt-water farming). Now you are also producing first-class food for feeding livestock and first-class food for feeding humans. Put it on a tanker and ship to market.

There you have it. The future.

All of these ideas are cheap, safe, low capital cost and proven.

Life if full of happy and sunshine. I find your blog is definitely part of that!

All the best from

Namke von Federlein

Anonymous said...

As ever, I enjoyed today's SAR and just had to comment on two things:

The American Spending Binge: First, If there was any need to prove the utter inability of the Average American to get his/her life under control, this would be it. The rush back to the lounge of the Titanic for more partying is something to behold. And, I must admit that waiting in line to load the lifeboats is sooooo dreary.

Second, Ventu really has a rage on, doesn't he? Must be tough living in his skin.
- rsd

Anonymous said...

My Ventu comment was related to his rant of the 30th, not the 31st SAR.