Political Angst In America

Location: Pantego, Texas, United States

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Based on reports on the activities of Acorn to promote voter fraud, the coming election shapes up as the most crooked in recent history. The Democrats are going to stuff the ballot box in key states. Their work in signing up fictional people, dead people, and in preventing requirements for voters to provide ID will pay off in a huge victory in Novemeber (which they probably would have won anyway). When I was a Democrat involved in local elections one thing that turned me against Democrats was the way they cheated, and their joy in cheating when they would have won anyway.

A lot of people are unaware of Raza, MEChA, and Aztlan. Here is a bit of info about this subversive group.


Today I played golf on a short golf course and shot a 70 to beat my age (72). I had thirteen one-putt greens and no three-putts. I don't play that well very often. It only took two and one-half hours to play 18 holes; that was key, since I don't do well when play is slow.

For those who are in denail about the root cause of the current financial crisis, consider this:

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending Published: September 30, 1999


In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

Take a look at this video of Democrat Congress persons defending Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac from Republicans trying to regulate them. I wonder if Barney Franks and the others still think there is no problem with Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Notice how the black congresspeople defend those who promoted the no down payment, no doc loans. Of course they now blame Republicans for not imposing more regulations that they opposed. This is surreal.


A Canadian Think Tank rates economic freedom in countries around the world, as related in this opinion piece by Star Parker. In the last few years the US has fallen from 2nd in the world to 8th. Imagine how far the US will fall in regard to economic freedom after a few years of President Obama.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Here are some comments by Victor Davis Hanson regarding the hypocrisy of Democrats regarding the sub-prime mortgage fiasco.


One question I have thought about in regard to the Sub-prime mess is this: will the white people have to pay off their mortgages while the "minorities" have theirs forgiven?

It is clear that Democrats were responsible for regulators forcing banks to make loans to minorities that were unlikely to be repaid. But, it turns out that Bush was responsible for extending the bad loan practice to illegal aliens. (About one-third of the loans to Hispanics that are in default are to illegal aliens.)

Old Barney Frank has a lot of Gaul. I have always thought Barney was a weasel. Here is an article exposing old Barney's hypocrisy:


Sunday, September 28, 2008

The despicable Nancy Pelosi says the party is over for Wall Street. No more huge bonuses and golden parachutes for failed executives. That sounds good; something good may come from this disaster. News from Europe is not so good. According to talking heads on the Bloomberg Network a lot of banks in England and Europe are failing or are being nationalized. The Europeans are predicting that the bail-out plan in the US will fail. They say that there is a global crisis, not one limited to just Wall Street. Is the problem in Europe due to their buying sub-prime mortgages from the US, or do they have their own issues?

South Africa now has a communist leader. I assume white flight from there will now accelerate. The US is about to elect a communist as president, but his backers are billionaire fascists. It will be interesting to see how he governs. That will determine whether the US sees white flight or some sort of civil war. Here is an article about some of the folks who back Obama. There are some other billionaires who support Obama who are not mentioned, such as Obama's campaign finance manager, Penny Pritzker, who also managed to hurt a lot of poor and middle classed people with a failed financial institution. Here is the article about how Washington Mutual failed due to bad loans acquired from billionaire Democrats.


The cowardly Republicans are not doing anything to explain to the citizens what actually happened.

The Governor of Missouri apparently is concerned about the threats to opponents issued by the Obama campaign:


I'm sorry if Democrats don't like the characterization but this is thuggish behavior of the type one would expect from a disciple of Saul Alinsky.

It appears to me that Barack Obama is going to be elected President. The Democrats have long wanted a communist leader, and now they have one based his work experience as a Saul Alinsky style community organizer. One thing I have learned from Democrats in the last few years is that dissent is the highest form of patriotism, even during a time of war. I expect that I will become even more of a patriot over the coming years. This will be significantly more dangerous than dissenting against President Bush, given the Democrat's assault on free speech and the thuggish behavior being exhibited by Obama supporters as they attack those who oppose Obama. (I have not heard of anyone being threatened by President Bush for opposing him, but the Obama campaign, like the Kerry campaign in 2004, is threatening communication outlets that oppose Obama by broadcasting true accounts of his past.)

In my opinion the root cause of the current financial crisis is the Community Reinvestment Act. This was an affirmative action program that forced financial institutions to loan mortgage money to people who were unqualified. The government established a quota system on loans that financial systems had to comply with. The financial system tried to find out ways to deal with the bad loans. It seems likely to me that the regulators that Democrats blame for the crisis were simply ignoring the issue because they knew that banks had a problem with the bad loans. This crisis was manufactured by politicians, and it seems to me entirely appropriate that the government handle a "bail-out," since government caused the problem. I think it is revealing that Democrats want to funnel 20% of the potential profits from the bailout to ACORN, Obama's old radical organization. Here is an article about this issue:


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Regarding limiting the pay of financial company executives as Congress would like, it seems to me that honest guys will probably work for less than the promoters who run those comapnies get. So a CEO pay limitation may be a good idea for investors. I have a hard time believing that paying a CEO $20 million per year gets any better performance than paying, say $2 million per year. It seems to me that those large pay packages separate the CEO's from the real world. The CEO's need to realize that they couldn't play shortstop for the Yankees. There are only a few guys who have the talent to play shortstop for the Yankees, but there are thousands of guys who would be perfectly good as CEO of a financial institution.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A lot of investors like myself have lost a lot of money in the current financial system meltdown. Democrats I heard today in the Senate hearing said we deserved it, evil beings that we are. It was hard for small investors to avoid losing money on investments because we were lied to by everyone. It was apparent to me that the government was demanding that banks loan money (called sub-prime loans) to people to buy houses they could not afford, with no down payment with variable rate, interest-only loans. Real estate agents were eagerly selling homes to these people. (They encouraged people to buy homes the people could not afford, but the Agents got their commission immediately, and didn't care what happened to the foolish buyers.) I knew this was happening, and realized it was creating a real estate bubble, but didn't realize it would affect me directly. That was because it was thought that the government was guaranteeing these stupid loans. When I checked I was told that companies I was invested in had no exposure to these bad loans. It turns out I was mis-informed, whether I was lied to or that the brokers and CEO's of companies were just ignorant, I don't know. It turns out that they were unaware of the hazards of SIV's, but they were self-proclaimed geniuses paying themselves many millions of dollars per year in salary, and often hundreds of millions in bonuses so one naturally assumed they knew what was happening. I saw the CEO of one company (TMA) on TV saying his company had no problem so I bought more shares, and two days later he declared bankruptcy. The famous Bob Rubin, genius Treasurer of the Clinton Administration, was being paid $4 million a year by Citibank. It turns out he had never heard of SIV's when they collapsed and almost put Citibank into bankruptcy. But, since he is a genius, he is now running the place after the previous CEO was kicked out with a small fortune received for brilliantly leading one of the largest companies in the world to near collapse. The CEO's of the mortgage companies pulled the ripcords on their golden parachutes when things went south, and rode into the sunset with hundreds of millions of dollars. Former Clinton Administration officials checked out of Fannie Mae with big gains before the collapse: Franklin Raines got $90 million and Jamie Gorelick got $26 million mostly in bonuses because of increased profits achieved by cooking the books. (I think Raines gave some of the money back, but he isn't in jail, at least so far.) Based on what I saw in the Senate hearings today, they think we evil investors got what we deserved. But they are very concerned about saving the people who lied about their income, and bought houses they couldn't afford. The Congress very much wants to reward those humble folks. It is clear that instead of investing in the stock market I should have bought a multi-million dollar house that the government would help me pay for. One of the risks that the genius CEO's failed to recognize was the mark-to-market accounting rule that apparently came about from the Enron collapse. To prevent companies such as Enron from artificially valuing their assets, the accounting rules were changed so that companies had to use the market price of assets to determine their worth. This is an insane rule when applied to real estate mortgages. A company could have no loans that are not performing, but they cannot value those loans at the note value. Instead, if the value of real estate goes down they have to value the note at a "fire sale" value, that is the value that they could get if the real estate had to be sold today. Obviously no one knows what that value is, so it was put near zero. As the companies wrote down the value of their loans, they began to get margin calls from the people they had borrowed money from. It turned out that many of the mortgage companies were leveraged at an incredible 30 or 40 to 1(apparently done at the insistence of the government), so their stock quickly became worthless. This was helped along by clever Wall Street operators began to sell short the stock of financial companies, frequently by the technically illegal "naked" short sales technique which effectively increases the number of shares in the company since it sells shares that do not exist. (The FBI is investigating, and will probably send a few unfortunate sacrificial lambs to jail to make the public feel better.) To raise money Merrill Lynch sold some of their mortgages to a hedge fund at an alleged 22 cents on the dollar, but perhaps as little as 5 cents on the dollar in reality. The hedge fund will make a lot of money since most of the loans are performing. Warren Buffet put $5 billion into Goldman Sachs, and is already up about $400 million. As a home owner, how would you like to buy your loan for 5 cents on the dollar? Sorry, but you can't because it is bundled with a bunch of other mortgages in an SIV, and it may be that no one even knows who owns your mortgage now. But guys like Buffett can afford to buy the entire package of mortgages. I suppose that Buffett could still wind up losing money on his bet if Congress doesn't approve a bailout. Based on what I saw today, the Democrats would very much like to not approve a bailout because they could then blame Republicans forever for the ensuing depression, and might be able to stay in office for decades. The Democrats want to buy distressed assets at fire sale prices so that small investors will lose their money, and lots of companies will go bankrupt. Also, the government would make a lot of money since 95% of the loans are performing; this would amount to a sort of tax on investors. It will be interesting to see what Congress does. It appears to me that the government will come out OK on a bailout if they buy the paper at more than fire-sale prices, but below the actual note value. Buffett is a Democrat, and he probably knows what the Democrats in Congress are thinking, so it may be OK to stay invested since he is making a huge bet.

Here is a WSJ article about the financial crisis, and how politicians who caused much of the problem blame someone elses actions that actually did not cause the crisis.


Democrats are ecstatic over the current financial meltdown. It almost cinches a win for Obama in November, and Democrats with their nedia allies will blame this on Bush and Republicans for decades. The fact that Bush warned about the potential meltdown, and the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac for years, but couldn't get Congress to act doesn't matter. The fact that Democrats pushed the actions that caused the meltdown, and they profited from it will be forgotten. The Republicans deserve what is happening to them; this is why Republicans are known as the "stupid" party and Democrats are known as the "evil" party. Here is a rundown of the events leading up to the meltdown. (Remember, Freddy Mac had a $75 million per year budget for Washington lobbyists, and most of the money went to Democrats who stalled any attempts at reform.)


Monday, September 22, 2008

The mortgage meltdown is being blamed on President Bush by Democrats, because, according to one I saw on TV, he is President now so it's his fault even if he tried to do something to solve the problem before it blew up. It appears that if you follow the money, it mostly flowed to Democrats. Obama says that McCains campaign manager collected $2 million as a lobbyist for Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. But, according to Peter Wallison of AEI, all lobbyists in Washington were in the pay of those firms to the tune of $75 million per year. Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, and Chris Dodd all supported Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, and worked to prevent more regulation of their activities, like requiring them to have more capital reserve, etc. Here is an article about this by Mac Ranger, who is a radio talk show host that I have never heard, so I don't know how reliable he is. But, what he says here is correct based on what I recall.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Someone asked me what it would cost to operate an electric powered vehicle. I'm going to assume that the interest is in a vehicle similar in size to a family car, not a motorized rickshaw type vehicle. I assume that the Otto cycle powered car gets 20 miles/gallon, which is an energy use of about 1.66 kw-hr/mile. This auto may have an overall efficiency of 20%. If gasoline cost $3.50 then it costs $0.175/mile to operate. If this vehicle is turned into an electric car, assuming a charge-discharge efficiency of 80%, it takes 0.41 kw-hr/mile to operate. (This ignores the regeneration occurring during braking of the battery powered vehicle, the impact of which varies a lot between highway and city driving.) At the ridiculously high electricity cost 0f 14.9 cents/kw-hr in the DFW area, the cost would be $0.061/mile. At the average cost of electricity in the US of 8.9 cents/kw-hr, the operating cost would be $0.0365/mile. I don't know how the life of the battery stacks up against the life of an Otto cycle engine. A Li-ion battery would probably be good for 5000 cycles which is probably the life of the car. Electric cars would be attractive for city driving.

Friday, September 19, 2008

One of the curious things to me about Joe Biden is how he has lied a lot during his career, but the MSM have not called him on it. Like Bill Clinton, he will tell a lie when the truth would do. The story of Biden stealing a Neil Kinnock speech, and appropriating Kinnock's life story for himself is well known. In another case he claims his first wife was killed by a drunk driver. His first wife was killed when she ran a stop sign. Joe says the other driver was drunk, a charge the police did not support. Joe claims "victim" status, a position desired by Democrats and other passive aggressive types, while slandering a dead person who cannot defend himself. Here is a blog about this:


I'm not the only one who thinks Democrats were primarily responsible for the financial meltdown we are now experiencing in the US. Here is another blog that provides some more info.


Obama and the Democrats are still relying on some of the people responsible for the financial crisis such as Raines, Jim Johnson, and Jamie Gorelick, who is first in line to be Obama's Attorney General. Jamie Gorelick has been a disaster for the United States as discussed here:


Politicians have been aware of the dangers posed by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac for some time, but Congress couldn't be bothered. They were too busy investigating Bush anti-terror activities and steroids in Major League baseball. (Apparently collectively they are more concerned about baseball than about the state of the economy.) Here is what McCain had to say a few years ago:

“If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.” –John McCain, May 26, 2005

Bush said something similar back in 2002, but I couldn't find his exact words. Bush didn't appoint the 5 directors to each of the organizations allocated to the government to show what he thought of them. But, Clinton appointees did well as they collected huge bonuses for the increase in business gained by writing a lot of mortgages for people who couldn't afford to pay. Of course, the mortgage collapse we have seen would not have happened without the ridiculous Sarbanes-Oxley law written after the Enron collapse. Mark-to-market is downright silly when applied to real estate.

Great Britain is in dire straits beecause of their lack of a responsible energy policy. Here is a view of the situation from there:


Thursday, September 18, 2008

There is a lot said about "peak oil," that is, the imminent exhaustion of oil in the world. But, there are trillions of barrels of heavy oil in the ground. The problem is to get that oil out of the ground economically. The environmentalists oppose any attempts to produce the heavy oil. They want a sudden end to the use of fossil fuel rather than a more or less graceful transition over the next century or so. Here is an article about an in situ technique for converting the heavy oil to a lighter grade and extracting it for a rteasonable price. It appears that this price may be low enough to keep the various green technologies from being able to compete economically with fossil fuels in the forseeable future. Here is the article:


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Great Britain is facing a severe energy shortage, thanks to their commitment to "green" technology and EU rules. It is curious to me that Democrats in America want to adopt the same policies that are not working in Great Britain and Europe, bot with regard to energy and also economics. Here is an article about the energy situation:


Barack Obama probably didn't intend it, but he has started a movement with his calls to improve vehicle economy by properly inflating tires. Now California is going to consider regulations on tire inflation, and having the police check tire pressure and issue tickets if tires are not properly inflated. This won't save much fuel, but it may raise some money for the state. Here is the article:


It is curious to me that liberals always complain about the alleged restrictions on individual liberty they claim conservatives support, like not recognizing "gay marriage," while ignoring the attacks on freedom of speech and liberty by liberals. Liberals want to tell people they can't smoke cigarettes (but marijuana is OK), fast food rrestaurants are banned, etc.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It is alleged that Governor Palin ordered a police commissioner to fire a state trooper because he was in a bitter divorce from her sister. The commissioner refused, do she fired him. I don't know about any of that. What is known, and is not disputed is that the trooper tasered his ten year old stepson. As far as I am concerned that is ample reason for firing the trooper. And, refusing to fire a trooper who tasered a ten year old is enough reason to fire the police commissioner in my opinion. (The trooper also has a drinking problem, and that would be enough for me to fire him, but I suppose our society would give him another chance on that. My opinion is that policemen, airline pilots, train engineers, bus drivers, truck drivers, etc. should not be given a second chance if they show up at work under the influence.) I wonder why the Democrats think they can make something out of this. I guess they would rather investigate Palin than why Jamie Gorelick, one who had no experience in the mortgage industry, was paid so much at Fannie Mae.

Here is more about the Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac fiasco. For many years the politicians used these agencies as a slush fund. Both political parties were involved. Bush tried to do something about the probelm in 2002, but Congress wanted no part of reform. Democrats want to blame Bush, but he is probably the least culpable. I saw Steney Hoyer blame Cheney today, because Cheney allegedly said "debt doesn't matter." I'll assume that if Cheney actually said that, that Hoyer took it out of context. Anyway, Hoyer said the Cheney's comment was taken by everyone as a sign that anything goes. Hoyer sort of acknowledged that the bad accounting practices and outright fraud started long before Prsident Bush got to Washington. Hoyer and Pelosi both said they were trying to fix the problem, but somehow Bush prevented that. Curious since Bush had proclaimed Fannie Mae and Freddy Ma to be corrupt. The record does show that Democrats got the most money from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Here is more about this from the blog Flopping Aces (read the comments, too):


Monday, September 15, 2008

Democrats have long had the operating premise that they are the legitimate governors of the United States, and that Republicans cannot ever be legitimately in charge. The disputed election of 2000, in which Al Gore failed in his attempt to steal the election, only reinforced the this view. As a result of this worldview, Democrats were comfortable engaging in what otherwise might be considered traitorous activities, such as the damage they did to the US war effort in Iraq in order to gain internal political advantage. It can be seen Nancy Pelosi's meeting with the Assad, dictator of Syria, and in Barack Obama's recent trip to Iraq and Afghanistan in which he attempted to undermine the Bush Administration. Here is an article about Obama's duplicitous activities in Iraq. (I think even liberals would have to admit that the Democrat leaders were committed to defeat for the US in Iraq, though now with victory clearly possible, they would like to string things out until they can claim they turned defeat into victory; in their view it is essential that George Bush be denied victory.)


There is a lot of talk about global cooling as opposed to global warming these days. I suppose that is because the average temperature is falling, and because sunspot activity has stopped, something historically associated with falling temperatures. Here is an article discussing this:


One important thing to consider is that historically colder has been worse for people than warmer, and at present our politicians are only focused on warming. Warming, at least for the next 100 years, would only make life on earth better for humans while colder would cause severe dislocations in a few years. Yet, our politicians are doing nothing to ameriolate the effects of cooling, particularly on the poor.

Despite what the Democrats say, the economy of the US is pretty good at present. It is certainly better than most of the other nations of the world. Here is an article about this from the WSJ:


Sunday, September 14, 2008

I hope this report is not accurate, but it appears that, as I have expected to happen, Britain has now established Sharia Courts to handle civil cases involving Muslims:


This is bad news for women's rights. It could well be the beginning of the end for Great Britain; basically they are committing suicide. This is the standard procedure for Muslims as they undermine the government of a country that they plan to take over. They have tried this tactic in Canada, and Muslims in America have also expressed the desire for their own courts. It is illogical that there could be two sets of laws in one nation. The Muslims never accept the law of the nation they infiltrate anyway. They continue with honor killings, etc. A question that Obama should be asked is whether or not he supports separate courts for Muslims. For me it wouldn't matter what his answer was anyway, since I wouldn't believe him. But, it would be get him on the record.

Powerful Congressman Charlie Rangel has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He charges more rent than is allowed on his rent-controlled apartments. (Rent control is another dumb Democrat idea.) Then he didn't pay federal income tax on income from renting out his vacation home in the Caribbean. He blamed his wife for that; it turns out they were in the middle of a divorce proceeding, so that makes sense. Now it turns out that he has failed to report a vacation trip that was worth thousands of dollars. But, Nancy Pelosi's attack on the culture of corruption in Congress only applies to Republicans, so Charlie, who is a Democrat will have no problem. I'm surprised that the MSM even reported any of this.

There is a lot of talk this year about voters wanting "change." Both Obama and McCain promise change. There does not seem to be much discussion so far about specifically what they propose to change. People must surely know that change is not inherently good. When corporations announce change to their benefit plans, usually described as an improvement, it is usually not a good change for the employees.

Tonight I watched Brian Lamb on C-Span interview Peter Wallison from the American Enterprise Institute about the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Basically this is a story of greed and corruption. Fannie Mae was created by the Johnson Administration in 1968 as a Government Sponsored Enterprise. (That is a bad sign, as far as I'm concerned, since LBJ was fundamentally corrupt.)Originally it was a government agency, but Johnson wanted to get its debt off of the governments books so he set it up as a public corporation backed by the government. This was about the same time that he started including Social Security in the Federal Budget so he could use the excess FICA payments to reduce the size of the Federal deficit. Freddy Mac was created a few years later so that Fannie Mae wouldn't be a monopoly. The government gets the right to appoint 5 of the 15 members of the board of directors of the two organizations. Over the years a culture of corruption developed as Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac morphed into political organizations that backed home mortgages.. Fannie Mae hired a lot of friends of congressmen, and people leaving office were appointed to the board, etc. Congress used Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to funnel money to their friends without having to make federal appropriations to them. The amount of money paid to former administration people was outrageous. For example Jaime Gorelick, the Clinton Administration Deputy Attorney General who put the wall between intelligence agencies and law enforcement to stop investigation of illegal foreign campaign contributions to Clinton, was paid $26 million between 1998 and 2003. (A nice payoff for protecting Clinton's flank.)President Bush never liked Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and refused to appoint people to be on the their boards. But, Republicans in Congress thwarted his efforts to reform the organizations. (Both political parties are responsible for the corruption of the two organizations.) McCain has said he would try to reform them; maybe he will be able to if elected but it is doubtful that he can succeed, even now that they have basically failed. (There is no chance that the Democrats will do anything as long as Barney Frank is in office, even if Obama is elected.). What is needed is wholesale defeat of people in Congress, and also discharge of the current crop of Congressional Aides and Staffers.

Here is how the Democrats cut the cost of healthcare.


Is this what we can expect if Obama is elected? My opinion is that my healthcare situation will be worse no matter who wins the Presidential election. That is because of the large percentage of the US cost of healthcare that is spent on the elderly in the last few months of their life. Thus, rationing healthcare for the elderly is easiest avenue for reducing healthcare costs.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

No matter what one thinks about the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, the scientific dishonesty of the UN IPCC and liberal politicians in many nations is a disgrace. Here are two articles that you should review with an open mind, no matter how strongly you feel about AGW. The attempts to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period from history remind me of the sort of thing communists used to do. And, in fact, the advocates of the AGW hypothesis are proponents of liberal authoritarianism.



In Great Britain a group of eco-terrorists who damaged a coal-fired electricity generating planet were found not guilty by a jury because they were combating global warming. Here is an article about this event:


If toleration of this type of criminal behavior becomes widely accepted, our civilization will be in danger. It is clear that the eco-terrorists do not like any type of power generation. At this point they claim to favor "green" energy, but once they find out how much area is required, and how intrusive the "green" energy systems are, they won't like them either. James Hansen's appearance as an expert witness in this case is particularly troubling. He should have been discharged from NASA some years ago due to his political activism. His claims that he has been censored by the Bush Administration are clearly bogus.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When I was a boy back before WWII everyone relied on the Farmer's Almanac for the coming years weather prediction. Experience had shown it to be more reliable than the long range weather forecasts of that time. Some folks still rely on it. If it is correct we are in for some cold times in the coming years. There are some smart scientists (whose funding does not come from the UN IPCC or the US, and who are not impressed by Al Gore) who also predict that colder weather is coming. Here is an article on this from American Thinker:


The CNN reporter in this article is really confused if she thinks the gun the girl in the Bikini is holding is an AK-47. I suppose the reporter could believe that the body in the bikini is a 44-year old woman with five kids, but what kind of reporter in today's world doesn't know what an AK-47 looks like?


Professor Bainbridge discusses how most law Prof's donate money to Obama rather than McCain. He also refutes the common perception that Democrats are better educated than Republicans.


Democrats have found a scandal involving conservative Sarah Palin. She raised taxes to build a sports complex. It turns out that this complex is for citizens and kids to play in, not professional athletes. This sounds OK to me, and certainly a lot better than Arlington spending a billion dollars for a place for the Dallas Cowboys to play. I think she should have included a baseball field, but maybe it is too cold for baseball in Alaska, even in Summer.


I saw a video on Youtube in which today on the floor of the House Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee implied that Barack Obama is Jesus, and Sarah Palin is Pontius Pilate. I wonder if the Democrats actually think that sort of language is helpful. It seems to me that characterizing Obama as the Messiah is a serious mistake.

Here is an article from the warmist site "Real Climate." I copied this from the blog "Greenie Watch" For some reason I couldn't get it at Real Climate. The author of this piece comments that senior engineers, such as me, want a simple explanation of the "Greenhouse Gas Effect." The author doesn't seem to realize that we senior engineers are computer literate, and that we know that the climate is complicated, and what happens depends on hundreds of variables. That is the reason we have doubts about runaway global temperatures. We suspect that the earth's climate as negative as well as positive feedback's, and that the climate modelers probably don't understand all of the mechanisms. On reason for that is that in the past the climate has been warmer, and there has been substantially more CO2 in the atmosphere, and the temperature did not spiral upwards. The global warming hypothesis advocates have taken great pains to attempt to prove the the earth was never warmer, such as with Mann's hockeystick, but the attempts have failed. I have only seen a little written about it, but Mann's latest hockeystick curve also appears to be flawed. Here is the piece from "Real Climate:"

An honest (sort of) post on "Real Climate"

"Real Climate" is the Warmist theological seminary so I had better reproduce the post below before they delete it. The author, Spencer Weart, points out how difficult it is to quantify climate phenomena and how multifarious are the factors involved -- meaning that any final numbers produced are inherently shaky. He is trying to convey that it is all too difficult for you peasants to understand so trust us experts and our mysterious calculations -- but he gives far too much away in the process

I often get emails from scientifically trained people who are looking for a straightforward calculation of the global warming that greenhouse gas emissions will bring. What are the physics equations and data on gases that predict just how far the temperature will rise? A natural question, when public expositions of the greenhouse effect usually present it as a matter of elementary physics. These people, typically senior engineers, get suspicious when experts seem to evade their question. Some try to work out the answer themselves (Lord Monckton for example) and complain that the experts dismiss their beautiful logic.

The engineers' demand that the case for dangerous global warming be proved with a page or so of equations does sound reasonable, and it has a long history. The history reveals how the nature of the climate system inevitably betrays a lover of simple answers.

The simplest approach to calculating the Earth's surface temperature would be to treat the atmosphere as a single uniform slab, like a pane of glass suspended above the surface (much as we see in elementary explanations of the "greenhouse" effect). But the equations do not yield a number for global warming that is even remotely plausible. You can't work with an average, squashing together the way heat radiation goes through the dense, warm, humid lower atmosphere with the way it goes through the thin, cold, dry upper atmosphere. Already in the 19th century, physicists moved on to a "one-dimensional" model. That is, they pretended that the atmosphere was the same everywhere around the planet, and studied how radiation was transmitted or absorbed as it went up or down through a column of air stretching from ground level to the top of the atmosphere. This is the study of "radiative transfer," an elegant and difficult branch of theory. You would figure how sunlight passed through each layer of the atmosphere to the surface, and how the heat energy that was radiated back up from the surface heated up each layer, and was shuttled back and forth among the layers, or escaped into space.

When students learn physics, they are taught about many simple systems that bow to the power of a few laws, yielding wonderfully precise answers: a page or so of equations and you're done. Teachers rarely point out that these systems are plucked from a far larger set of systems that are mostly nowhere near so tractable. The one-dimensional atmospheric model can't be solved with a page of mathematics. You have to divide the column of air into a set of levels, get out your pencil or computer, and calculate what happens at each level. Worse, carbon dioxide and water vapor (the two main greenhouse gases) absorb and scatter differently at different wavelengths. So you have to make the same long set of calculations repeatedly, once for each section of the radiation spectrum.

It was not until the 1950s that scientists had both good data on the absorption of infrared radiation, and digital computers that could speed through the multitudinous calculations. Gilbert N. Plass used the data and computers to demonstrate that adding carbon dioxide to a column of air would raise the surface temperature. But nobody believed the precise number he calculated (2.5§C of warming if the level of CO2 doubled). Critics pointed out that he had ignored a number of crucial effects. First of all, if global temperature started to rise, the atmosphere would contain more water vapor. Its own greenhouse effect would make for more warming. On the other hand, with more water vapor wouldn't there be more clouds? And wouldn't those shade the planet and make for less warming? Neither Plass nor anyone before him had tried to calculate changes in cloudiness. (For details and references see this history site.)

Fritz Moeller followed up with a pioneering computation that took into account the increase of absolute humidity with temperature. Oops. his results showed a monstrous feedback. As the humidity rose, the water vapor would add its greenhouse effect, and the temperature might soar. The model could give an almost arbitrarily high temperature! This weird result stimulated Syukuro Manabe to develop a more realistic one-dimensional model. He included in his column of air the way convective updrafts carry heat up from the surface, a basic process that nearly every earlier calculation had failed to take into account. It was no wonder M”ller's surface had heated up without limit: his model had not used the fact that hot air would rise. Manabe also worked up a rough calculation for the effects of clouds. By 1967, in collaboration with Richard Wetherald, he was ready to see what might result from raising the level of CO2. Their model predicted that if the amount of CO2 doubled, global temperature would rise roughly two degrees C. This was probably the first paper to convince many scientists that they needed to think seriously about greenhouse warming. The computation was, so to speak, a "proof of principle."

But it would do little good to present a copy of the Manabe-Wetherald paper to a senior engineer who demands a proof that global warming is a problem. The paper gives only a sketch of complex and lengthy computations that take place, so to speak, offstage. And nobody at the time or since would trust the paper's numbers as a precise prediction. There were still too many important factors that the model did not include. For example, it was only in the 1970s that scientists realized they had to take into account how smoke, dust and other aerosols from human activity interact with radiation, and how the aerosols affect cloudiness as well. And so on and so forth.

The greenhouse problem was not the first time climatologists hit this wall. Consider, for example, attempts to calculate the trade winds, a simple and important feature of the atmosphere. For generations, theorists wrote down the basic equations for fluid flow and heat transfer on the surface of a rotating sphere, aiming to produce a precise description of our planet's structure of convective cells and winds in a few lines of equations. or a few pages. or a few dozen pages. They always failed. It was only with the advent of powerful digital computers in the 1960s that people were able to solve the problem through millions of numerical computations. If someone asks for an "explanation" of the trade winds, we can wave our hands and talk about tropical heating, the rotation of the earth and baroclinic instability. But if we are pressed for details with actual numbers, we can do no more than dump a truckload of printouts showing all the arithmetic computations.

I'm not saying we don't understand the greenhouse effect. We understand the basic physics just fine, and can explain it in a minute to a curious non-scientist. (Like this: greenhouse gases let sunlight through to the Earth's surface, which gets warm; the surface sends infrared radiation back up, which is absorbed by the gases at various levels and warms up the air; the air radiates some of this energy back to the surface, keeping it warmer than it would be without the gases.) For a scientist, you can give a technical explanation in a few paragraphs. But if you want to get reliable numbers - if you want to know whether raising the level of greenhouse gases will bring a trivial warming or a catastrophe - you have to figure in humidity, convection, aerosol pollution, and a pile of other features of the climate system, all fitted together in lengthy computer runs.

Physics is rich in phenomena that are simple in appearance but cannot be calculated in simple terms. Global warming is like that. People may yearn for a short, clear way to predict how much warming we are likely to face. Alas, no such simple calculation exists. The actual temperature rise is an emergent property resulting from interactions among hundreds of factors [meaning that you have to quantify ALL those many factors correctly to get a correct answer. He has already shown above that getting the inputs wrong can produce spectacularly wrong answers]. People who refuse to acknowledge that complexity should not be surprised when their demands for an easy calculation go unanswered.

I have written before about how Britain's "green" movement has stopped the development of new electrical power generation facilities, and now the country is facing blackouts:


Britain is driving corporations out of the country with uncertainty due to green regulations and tax policy:


We are going to see more of that in the US also. The Democrats have already driven Halliburton out of the US. If Obama is elected President I expect a wholesale retreat. Even if McCain is elected, the Democrats in control of Congress will pass regulation and tax increases that encourage companies to leave.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Recently I posted about the amount of natural gas that is recoverable in the United States. I didn't include in the list the estimated 420 Tcf of natural gas that is in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), in addition to an estimated 86 billion barrels of oil. That gives a total potential supply of about 1.5 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Barack Obama says he doesn't deal with lobbyists. Yet, in just three years he has collected a lot of money from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. No doubt they didn't expect anything back when thy donated money to Obama. I'm sure they just wanted good government. One reason Congress people fight over committee assignments is because of the money that flows to the ones on those committees. That is also why they want their party to be in the majority, since people don't waste money on the powerless minority. Check out the table in this article. Hillary Clinton has also done quite well in a sort time.


Bob Woodward has written another book critical of President Bush. This time he reports on how Bush ignored the advice of the Pentagon, and proceeded with the "surge" in Iraq. Woodward seems to think Bush was wrong even though the strategy succeeded. One of the problems for leaders of nations during wars is that the people who rise in the military during peacetime are often not good at winning wars. The entire liberal establishment in Washington, including many in the Pentagon, simply did not want to win in Iraq. I would break the war in Iraq into two phases. There was the major combat phase where the Pentagon knew how to win, and did in short order. Then there is the guerrilla phase in which the Pentagon (and the State Department and the Intelligence Agencies) did not have a clue. Here is a piece from the blog Powerline on Woodward's book:

Being right should count for something

The Washington Post is running a series of articles adapted from Bob Woodward's book "The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008." The articles purport to provide an inside account of the dissension over Iraq war policy and especially the surge.

The articles are well worth reading but they have an odd quality. The point of view that Woodward's narrative conveys is that a cowboy president, at the urging of a cowboy retired general (Jack Keane), ignored or gave short shrift to the sober warnings of top military professionals that the surge wouldn't work and would weaken the military. Bush did, of course, reject the advice of top military professionals, but events have proven that this advice was poor. And we have long known that the approach many of them advocated was failing on the ground. Yet the way Woodward writes the articles provides little sense of this. The reader almost wants to scream at Bush, "don't do it," despite the fact that "it" has been hugely successful.

The tendency among many conservatives is to criticize Bush for waiting so long to reverse course in Iraq and to implement the winning strategy. But if Woodward's account is true, I think Bush deserves considerable credit for getting it right at all, given the terrible advice he received from his top military professionals.

Even historians not favorably disposed to Bush may have to conclude that he was more sinned against than sinning, especially when it came to Iraq. Prior to the war, he was plagued by an intelligence agency that was largely clueless about the situation in Iraq. Once the war started, he was plagued by military leaders who seemed largely clueless about how to win there and, in Woodward's account, may not have been sufficiently committed to winning. Yet Bush was able nonetheless to come up with the winning strategy.

Historians should also be impressed by this statement by President Bush to Retired Gen. Keane, that Bush told Keane to deliver to Gen. Petraeus at a time when Petraeus was struggling against superiors who did not support what he was trying to do:

"I respect the chain of command. I know that the Joint Chiefs and the Pentagon have some concerns. One is about the Army and Marine Corps and the impact of the war on them. And the second is about other contingencies and the lack of strategic response to those contingencies.

"I want Dave to know that I want him to win. That's the mission. He will have as much force as he needs for as long as he needs it.

"When he feels he wants to make further reductions, he should only make those reductions based on the conditions in Iraq that he believes justify those reductions. These two concerns that we are discussing back here in Washington -- about contingency operations and the needs of the Army and the Marine Corps -- they are not your concerns. They are my concerns.

"I do not want to change the strategy until the strategy has succeeded. I waited over three years for a successful strategy. And I'm not giving up on it prematurely. I am not reducing further unless you are convinced that we should reduce further."

This is Lincoln (the resolve) and Grant (the clarity) rolled into one. The author, the recipient, and the intermediary deserve the nation's gratitude

The price of oil is falling, and is now hovering around $100 per barrel (Brent crude is actually under $100 today). The Saudi's are said to have decided to support the price at $80 per barrel (they can do that by cutting production; the other OPEC members can't afford to cut production because they need the money.) If true, this means that the Saudi's have determined that alternative fuels are able to compete economically with oil ate an oil price above $80per barrel. It also indicates that they are willing to accept into the marketplace oil from Canadian oil sands and US shale oil.

Prairie Pundit doesn't think Obama has a viable energy plan;


It does appear to me that the politicians from neither party have done any simple back-of0the-envelope analysis on energy. They do not appear to recognize the implications of the "green" energy projects that they talk about, even to the level covered by Prairie Pundit.

Here are some interesting facts not specifically covered in the article. The United States land area is about 2.3 billion acres. Not including Alaska, the area is about 1.9 million acres. Of that about 600 million acres are forest, 600 million acres are pasture, and 500 million acres are farmland. An acre of good farmland can produce about 5 tons of biomass per year. Maybe a ton of biomass can be converted into 100 gallons of ethanol, so maybe 500 gallons of ethanol can be produced from an acre. The US uses 390 million gallons of gasoline per day, or about 140 billion gallons per year. Ethanol only has about 70% of the energy content of gasoline, so it would take 200 billion gallons of ethanol to replace the gasoline. At 500 gallons of ethanol produced annually per acre, it would take 400 million acres to replace the gasoline. The US only has 500 million acres of farmland, so it is clearly impractical to replace all of the gasoline consumed at present in the US. It is expected that the US population will continue to grow as Latin America moves north. At present the population of the US is 300 million, so there is about 1.67 acres of farmland per person. There are some estimates that by 2050 the population will be 500 million meaning that there will only be one acre of farmland per person. The implications of this are that the US will change from being an exporter of food to being an importer. This will put pressure on the available arable land, making it unlikely that there will be much available for production of biomass for conversion to fuel.

All of the "green" energy concepts that can produce a substantial portion of the energy needed by the United States require huge land areas. This makes them problematical for meeting the energy needs of America. Nuclear power offers the best concentrated energy source. There is enough thorium available to power the US for centuries in breeder reactors. We need to be building them as fast as we can. We also need to be drilling for oil and gas, and developing technology for converting coal into liquid fuel.

Here is an excellent article by the great Thomas Sowell on the differences in liberals and conservatives:


Basically the right operates off of reason and logic gained from experience and the left operates off of emotions and feeling. This is the reason why the left so admires "feel good" legislation, such as hate crime laws, that doesn't actually accomplish anything.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Here is the view of Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the Uiversity of Alabama at Huntsville:


According to Al Gore's declaration about people who do not believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, Dr. Christ must believe that the earth is flat, and is probably being paid a fortune by Exxon to confuse the public.

Here is an interesting question for environmentalists:


I read the response of some of the warmists; they say that we have 10 years to take action, otherwise we are doomed. Those that are paying attention know that they said the same thing 10 years ago. Mother Nature just won't cooperate with their computer models.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I am opposed to Barack Obama because he is clearly a committed liberal and, based on his record, tends towards socialist fascism (but, international rather than nationalistic). Here, from his memoir, is something that makes me very nervous about him (from the blog Roger's Rules):

Recalling in his memoir how he dealt with his mother when she confronted him about drug and alcohol use in high school, he confides a bit about his methods: “I had given her a reassuring smile and patted her hand and told her not to worry, I wouldn’t do anything stupid. It was usually an effective tactic, another of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves.”

How do we know that he is not just playing us now, and will reveal his true intentions after he is elected? By the way, his tactic wouldn't have worked with my Mother; maybe that is why I am skeptical of him.

I have been thinking more about the economics and feasibility of using compressed natural gas as the fuel for transportation, as opposed to the liquid gasoline currently used for most automobiles in the US. In terms of energy content about 4800 cubic feet (cf) of natural gas at a pressure of one atmosphere and room temperature is equivalent to a barrel of gasoline (42 gallons). (The AGA says that in 2007 there were 130,000 vehicles in the US fueled by CNG, and these vehicles used 31 Bcf of CNG, the equivalent of 250 million gallons of gasoline; that gives a conversion of 5.2 mcf to one barrel of gasoline.) For convenience I just assume a barrel of gasoline is equivalent to 5 mcf of natural gas. Currently a gallon of gasoline costs about $3.50 so a barrel costs $147. (The oil feedstock costs about $110 per barrel; so, obviously while there is a lot of profit in oil, there is not much profit in gasoline.) Natural gas costs about $8 per mcf, so the equivalent to the energy of a barrel of gasoline costs $8*5 = $40. All other things being equal then, it appears that using natural gas offers a significant cost advantage. There are some other factors to consider. The price of gasoline includes a road tax that is not in the price of natural gas. And the price of gasoline includes the cost of transportation to the delivery point while the natural gas price does not. Actually the price of natural gas does include some transportation cost, but does not include the cost of compressing the gas to the pressure in the vehicle CNG tank, which is in the range of 3000 to 3500 psi. The pressure of the gas in the pipeline that transports the gas to the point of transfer to the automobile could be in a range of 200 to 1000 psi. A compressor would be required at the delivery point to the automobile. I don't know precisely how much this would cost, but an idea could be obtained from the cost of compressing gas for movement through the pipeline system, which appears to be around $0.50/mcf. Compressing the gas to 3500 psi could cost two or three times that amount, which would increase the cost of the CNG equivalent of a barrel of oil to $47.50, still much less than the cost of a barrel of gasoline. Then, a road tax would no doubt be added, maybe another $10. But $57.50 is still much less than the $147 the barrel of gasoline costs.

There would be a lot of capital expenditure required to make CNG attractive to motorists. There would have to be a sufficient number of fueling stations. Pipelines to deliver the CNG to these fueling stations would be required, storage tanks would be necessary at the fueling points, as well as compressors and fuel transfer equipment. The fuel tanks in the automobiles would be more expensive than gasoline tanks, and the connectors at the fueling port would be more expensive. T. Boone Pickens talks about people having CNG re-charge facilities at their home. People already have natural gas lines to their home, but they do not have the rather expensive compressor required to increase the low line pressure to 3500 psi. The compressor cost would depend on how fast it could re-charge the CNG tank. And, of course, it requires some energy to power the compressor. (I have not researched it, but I have read that natural gas is cleaner burning than gasoline, so engine life may be longer with lower maintenance cost, possibly providing another incentive for auto owners to switch to CNG fuel.)

Now consider the cost of producing natural gas as compared to oil. Based on what I read and hear on TV, the cost of lifting oil in the US is about $7 per barrel. (In Saudi Arabia it may be only $1.00 per barrel.) But, because of the demand for oil, it sells for a much higher price. Given the demand for oil, the marginal cost of producing oil from new sources is probably more meaningful. I have heard it is about $20 or $25 per barrel for oil sands, maybe $30 to $35 per barrel for oil from the Bakken Shale, and maybe $50 per barrel from oil shale in Colorado and Wyoming. Natural gas sources currently costs about $2.50/mcf in the Barnett Shale in Tarrant County, in the Haynesville Shale, the Fayetteville Shale, and similar tight gas sources around the United States. There is an enormous amount on natural gas that has already been developed in Alaska that probably cost much less, but, no matter since it has already been found. A $40 billion pipeline is about to be developed to bring the Alaskan natural gas through Canada to the American mid-west(assuming that 100 Tcf are transported over 30 years, with maintenance and operating costs of 5% per year, then the cost of bringing the gas south is $1/mcf). Thus it appears that there is a lot of natural gas available at a lift cost at the equivalent of $12.50 per barrel of oil. This is a lot less than the cost of oil from non-traditional sources such as shale oil.

It appears that there is plenty of natural gas available to make it attractive as an alternative to gasoline. The US currently uses about 21 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas per year, with about 18 Tcf coming from conventional sources (with a reserve of perhaps 180 Tcf). New sources have large supplies (Alaska, 100 Tcf, Barnett Shale, 60 Tcf, Fayetteville shale, 30 Tcf, Haynesville Shale, 245 Tcf, and Marcellus Shale, 500 Tcf.) If all US transportation fuel were switched from oil to CNG (an unlikely scenario) then US yearly natural gas consumption would go up from 21Tcf to 37 Tcf. The known supply would last 30 years at a consumption of 37 Tcf per year. If we could shift natural gas electricity production to nuclear or coal fired plants (or wind turbines), that would free up more natural gas for use in transportation. It appears that CNG is a viable alternative transportation fuel.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Just for fun I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations comparing the use compressed natural gas (CNG) to gasoline for fuel in an automobile. I assumed the auto gets 20 miles per gallon on gasoline, and that the efficiency of the auto is identical for either fuel. (That is probably a reasonable assumption of the same engine is used, but an engine designed specifically for CNG might be better.) Based on that, the cost for the gasoline fuel would be 17.5 cents/mile if gasoline is $3.50 per gallon and 15 cents per mile if gasoline is $3.00 per gallon. For CNG the cost is 4.56 cents per mile at the current price of $8/mcf and 6.84 cents per mile at the recent high price of $12/mcf. So, it appears that CNG is less expensive than gasoline until gasoline gets done to $1 per gallon, which seems unlikely. If one is concerned about the amount of CO2 produced, I didn't do a detailed analysis. But the weight of fuel used is a good indicator. For gasoline the mileage per pound of fuel is 3.07 miles/lb. For CNG the weight required is 4.55 miles per lb. So, less CO2 would be produced by CNG.

James Hansen of NASA is a true believer in catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. He flew to Englnad recently to testify on behalf of eco-terrorists:


I agree that scientists need to give the public more knowledge. The only thing is that regarding AGW scientists don't really yet have a good enough understanding to guide public policy. I disagree with Hansen on the issue of whether or not computer model simulations are actually science. THe moderls are currently so gross that they cannot accurately model cloud behavior, and if they can't model cloud behavior that cannot be relied on. And the models have not accurately predicted the future. For example, despite the models, the actual sea level has fallen over the last two years. If sea level is falling, the earth is not warming.

Laws frequently have far-reaching consequences that are totally unintentional. Even the best lawyers writing laws do not seem to be able to avoid this. Here is an example of a law that was supposed to help Universities, but has actually done severe damage to the schools, and to American technology. I saw some of this personally, but was unaware of what caused it until reading the following article.


Islamists proclaim that they are protective of women's rights. Here is an example of how they support women's rights in Iran:


Friday, September 05, 2008

Regarding the upcoming Presidential election and Barack Obama, I am in agreement with the assessment of Professor Keith Burgess-Jackson:

"Damn right Republicans are trying to strike fear in the American people! There is reason to fear a man who wants to talk to dictators, who is ignorant of world affairs, who aims to tax and spend, who has no executive experience and a shockingly thin résumé, who believes that prisoners of war have constitutional rights, who intends to appoint progressive federal judges in the mold of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who tolerates and encourages hatemongers (e.g., the Daily Kos and MoveOn crowds), who wants to prosecute President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and who believes that this country should be more like European countries. There is too much at stake for Republicans to unilaterally disarm themselves."

My son recently did a home photovoltaic solar cell analysis on his blogspot:


He concluded that it would take 16 years to recover the investment in rooftop solar cells from a lower electric bill.

Here is a similar analysis done by someone else:


The guy who did this analysis concluded it would take 100 years to recover the investment cost. On the other hand, the article reports on an advocate of solar cells who concludes that payback will take 13 years. However, he ignores maintenance, which, as Brad points out, could be large in North Texas where hailstorms destroy roofs more often than every 13 years. Another factor that is difficult to accurately assess in the economic analysis of solar cells is the future cost of electricity from the grid. Solar cells could be attractive if the price of electricity went up by a factor of four or five, but that seems unlikely to happen.

I have written before about the European decision to get 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020. The former chief scientist of te UK, and prominent global warmist, agrees with my opinion:


Notice the ridiculous statement by the CEO of the British Wind Power Association that the wind energy is "free." This is a ridiculous assertion because an enormous amount of capital is required to manufacture and install the wind turbines and electric transmission lines necessary to harness and distribute the wind energy. These assets occupy a significant amount of land which requires some expense to acquire. It also costs money to maintain those assets, and those assets have a limited life and have to be replaced after 15 or 20 years. Finally, the wind doesn't blow all of the time, so backup power sources are necessary to ensure no interruption of service. Those costs must be apportioned over the wind power delivered. Thus, even though the wind is "free" the electric power produced by wind farms is not. It is by no means certain that wind power will be less expensive than sources using fossil fuel or nuclear reactors. Even at the current prices of fuel, wind power is more expensive, and, at present, no power grid has enough capacity based on wind to have to have really addressed the back-up capacity issue.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Each year in the US there are about 15,000 to 16,000 people murdered. That is compared to just over 4000 soldiers killed in action in Iraq during the entire war there. Here is an article that says more people were shot to death in Chicago over this past summer than were killed in Iraq during that period.


For some more perspective on war death's in Iraq, consider Mexico. There have been 71 police officers killed in Mexico in August, with a total of 136 people killed in the Mexican drug wars in the past week, many of them decapitated. Mexico has about 30,000 soldiers as I recall, so it is more dangerous to be in the Mexican Army in Mexico than to be in the US army in Iraq. We don't see much about that in the news. The chaos in Mexico right on our border is perhaps worse than the situation in Iraq.


Sarah Palin gave her acceptance speech at the Republican convention last night. Last week 38 million people watched Obama give his acceptance speech. According to one report I saw, the estimate for those watching Palin was 37.1 million, by far the most to ever watch a VP acceptance speech. I thought the speech was impressive. I noticed that she started referring to her notes about half way through the speech, and it turns out that the teleprompter failed as I suspected. So, she did even better in the speech than the audience realized. Here is a view from across the pond, some of what Fergus Shanahan wrote in the London Sun:

"Democrats and their Lefty media backers had been sneering that she was a small town nobody, a hick from the Alaskan sticks put into a job way beyond an inexperienced woman.

Believe me, you will not be hearing that again.

Palin turned out to be an electrifying mix of intelligence, passion, energy, optimism and plain speaking. ..."

I'm not the only one who has noticed that lawyers dominate the Democratic Party. Here is Victor Davis Hanson's view:


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A lot of people have trouble coming to grips with the Democratic Party's opposition to free speech. Typically they favor speech codes on university campuses and hate laws that can be used to attack preaches who quote the Bible. In 2004 the Kerry campaign threatened the Sinclair Broadcasting network with loss of license in a Kerry Administration if they showed a movie critical of Kerry, even though the movie was accurate. Now Obama is threatening those who broadcast items critical of him, even though his actions being criticised did happen. Here is an article about Obama's reaction to discussion of his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers. (And I would note that Obama would like to install in the entire nation the failed education policies that he and Ayers instituted in Chicago.)


Those who support the idea of catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming often accuse those who disagree with them of being sponsored by oil companies. Actually there is little evidence of that as far as I can determine. In fact it is a rather silly assertion since the large domestic oil companies are fundamentally rent-seekers who happily go along with the consensus political positions regardless of what they actually think about any issue. Then, it is clear that oil companies love the idea of restricting drilling since that vastly increases the value of the oil they have in the ground with no investment required on their part. They are smart enough to know that all of their oil will eventually be produced because economical alternative energy approaches will only evolve over scores of years. One thing that has not been widely publicized is who is funding the supporters of the AGW hysteria. Everyone knows Al Gore is involved. But the involvement of the Democratic Party is not widely known. Starting in the late 1980's Maurice Strong helped get the IPCC organization started in the UN, with the charter, not to understand the climate, but to establish that anthropogenic sources were going to harm the climate of the earth. Al Gore was in the Senate at the time and was also involved in the IPCC start-up. The left-wing Public Relations firm Fenton Publications was involved. Environmental Media Services was set up to spread the word of impending doom with reporters who were mostly in the pay of Fenton. EMS was set up by Fenton with money from the Tides Center (the foundation funded by Teresa Heinz-Kerry). Here is a rather long article about a dispute between Gavin Schmidt, a NASA scientist and a proponent of the AGW hypothesis and Noel Sheppard. IN the middle of the article there is a discussion of funding for the AGW hypothesis proponents. Schmidt accuses Sheppard of ad hominem attacks, dodging true scientific denate, etc. Actually, from what I have read, the proponents of the AGW hypothesis are more prone to ad hominem attacks, avoiding scientific debate than those who disagree with them, etc. Al Gore, for example, says that those who disagree with him are believers in the flat earth. I wonder if he actually thinks that Roy Spencer or Freeman Dyson believes the earth is flat? Does he even know who Freeman Dyson is? One thing that people should take note of from the article is that wikipedia is not a reliable source of scientific information because it has a definite left-wing bias. Here is the article:


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I just saw the Australian Treasurer on the Bloomberg network talking about the world economic downturn. Australian growth declined to 0.3% in the second quarter (compared to 3.6% in The US). He said Australia is doing well compared to the rest of the world. Then the British finance minister was on. He said the economic situation in the UK was the worst it has been in 60 years. I don't see much in the MSM about how bad the economy is in the rest of world. I suppose the so-called journalists can't figure out to blame the world's economic downturn on President Bush. They instead talk up the idea that the situation in the US is the worst since 1932, despite the fairly good 3.6% growth rate in the last quarter. The MSM is more concerned with defeating Republicans in the upcoming election than accurate reporting.

A lot of the economic problems in the world are self-induced resulting from silly "green" energy policies. The UK is on track to shut down their nuclear electricity generation capability with a plan to replace that capacity with wind generators, which they are beginning to realize is neither technically nor economically feasible. Expect rapid economic decline in the UK. In Australia the carbon tax proposals are causing consternation as people begin to realize that much industry will be shuttered with massive layoffs. They still have time to avert catastrophe, but the liberal government may not do it. Russia, China, and India are growing quite well since they have not adopted the suicidal policies of much of the west. The United States is also doing relatively well because President Bush resisted the catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming prophets. But, the whole world would be better off if Democrats had allowed the US to develop a responsible energy program (which to me means more drilling in the near term and more nuclear power generation in the longer term.)

According to what I read in newspapers and on the internet most of the world wants Obama to be elected President. I assume the MSM has this correct. Specifically Castro, Chavez, al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and a lot more have said they want Obama. That helps convince me that I should vote for McCain, because I think those guys are worried about their own interests, not the interests of the United States. I want a President whose primary concern is for the United States, and not for its enemies. Obama seems more interested in advancing international socialism.

We don't like to face the facts, but the United States is a moderately socialistic country. I think McCain as President would push the country more toward socialism. I don't like it, but it is inevitable as the leaders of the country have deliberately invited in people who are inherently socialists to become citizens. (This is the only possible outcome now since most people in the world are socialists of some sort; most of those for individual rights came to America in the past.) I favor McCain as President because I would like to see the country avoid either the Fabian socialism of England or the fascist socialism represented by Obama and liberal Democrats. (The difference between the liberal Democrats and Mussolini's fascism is that he was a nationalist while they are internationalists, but in terms of the command economy, regulation of everyday life, etc. the two are the same.)

Democrats keep telling me that McCain voted with Bush 90 or 95% of the time. I wonder how they figure that out, since the President doesn't get a vote in the legislature. Bush didn't veto any bills, which would have given the Congress an opportunity to override the veto, but that didn't happen. The Democrats are sort of misleading us again. McCain, unlike Obama, has a habit of not voting with his party. In McCain's case the President is the head of the party, so if McCain didn't vote with the party, he didn't vote with the president.

I've been watching Karl Rove on TV for the past few weeks, and I am impressed by him. He comes across as a smart guy. He is low key and does not employ the histrionics that are typical of Democrat spinners like James Carville. It is easy to see why the Democrats hate Rove. He does not appear to me to be the anti-Christ. But, as witch-hunters of a few centuries ago said, the devil is clever.