Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rise in CO2 has 'greened Planet Earth'

I've talked about this in the past.  CO2 increases benefit the earth.  The article talks about this and then says the effect diminishes over time. This  is a rather naive and stupid reason to justify cuts in CO2,  The reason given was also rather vague and didn't answer a lot of questions.  For instance, what if CO2 continues to rise? And who says the greening affect will take hold everywhere at once?  And how long does the effect last?  A year?  Ten years?
The new study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change by a team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries.

It is called Greening of the Earth and its Drivers, and it is based on data from the Modis and AVHRR instruments which have been carried on American satellites over the past 33 years.The sensors show significant greening of something between 25% and 50% of the Earth's vegetated land, which in turn is slowing the pace of climate change as the plants are drawing CO2 from the atmosphere. 
From the website Wattsupwiththat:
“The greening over the past 33 years reported in this study is equivalent to adding a green continent about two-times the size of mainland USA (18 million km2), and has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system,” says lead author Dr. Zaichun Zhu, a researcher from Peking University, China, who did the first-half of this study as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, USA, together with Prof. Myneni.
So this greening has been going on for almost a generation.  If the benefit does diminish, it's clear the diminishing effect takes a very, very long time. All the more reason NOT to try to curtail CO2 increases.  And we can take advantage of this affect to feed the world.

Friday, April 22, 2016

UC Berkeley Touts $15 Minimum Wage Law, Then Fires Hundreds Of Workers After It Passes

Leftists always amaze me.  They stab their own devotees in the back and the devotees still love them.
Labor Markets: Hundreds of employees at the University of California at Berkeley are getting schooled in basic economics, as the $15 minimum wage just cost them their jobs. Too bad liberal elites “fighting for $15” don’t get it.

A week after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s $15 minimum wage boost into law, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent a memo to employees announcing that 500 jobs were getting cut.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

California mass transit cracks down on 'seat hogs' and 'manspreaders'

They are doing this and persecuting commuters because they are too broke to buy more train cars.  It's that simple.
Last week, the agency's board voted 5-4 to adopt a new "one ticket, one seat" rule imposing a $100 fine on commuter train riders who, after a warning continue to use a seat for something other than sitting.

Subway riders who park a backpack on a seat or spread out in wide-legged oblivion have long been the bane of the rush-hour crowd in major commuter cities across the United States.

The effort to prevent these faux pas in California follows similar campaigns launched by transit agencies in New York, Philadelphia and Seattle with slogans such as "Two seats? Really?" and "Dude ... Stop The Spread. Please."
I loved this comment:

That seems funny that a state that welcomes and coddles people who come there and live there illegally is going to crack down on people invading extra room in a row of seats."

Sunday, April 10, 2016

National Review and Trump. What does it all mean?

The National Review is normally a very stodgy magazine/website that has, ever since William F. Buckley died, lost its way.  From  what I could tell, it has slowly spiraled down to the point where special sound equipment is required to detect a heartbeat.

But when Trump decided to run for President, the National Review Editors defibrillated from its stupor, hastily threw on their crumpled up purple robes (moth-eaten holes and all), accidentally putting their crown on upside down...

...and decided to kill Trump's bid for the Presidency.  But, in the process there is and will be collateral damage.  In my opinion, the collateral damage will be the complete destruction of the Republican Party.  Yes, the  GOP might win the Presidency with someone other than Trump, but it will have forever lost the nation.

Because we know the outcome of all of this.  Whether it be a Democrat or a GOP Establishment member as the next president, the end result will be devastation of the middle class;  a dependency class so completely dependent that to even talk of cutting back on welfare will send people in a rage and revolt;  a banking system that will crater under the strain of more subprime mortgages and illiquidity; a country who can not pay back debts that will at the same time experience a harmonic convergence of economic cycles that will crush this economy and this people; an electorate wallowing in ignorance as a product of our derelict education system, who will be more than happy to follow the devil and crucify the Savior; a national collapse of such magnitude and proportions that the combined devastation of the Huaynaputina and Krakatoa volcanic eruptions will seem as but a fire cracker.....

....and then.  And then the Americans...citizens of that once powerful and prosperous and shining city on the hill will see their country will have been snuffed out, the final spark extinguished - the final ember doused - the 999th...then the 1000th point of twinkling light...blink to blank....

And all the Americans will be standing, mouths gaped open, having born witness to the destruction and complete annihilation, not able to breathe.  Not able to speak, listening to the blood pounding in their heads, hearing nothing but silence.  Just standing...wondering how it all happened.  How it all just...ended.

Is Trump the answer?  Well, that was never the point of this article.  The point of this article is that the truly ugly face of the Dealers and Wheelers is exposed for all to see.  We seem them for who they truly are.  And what we see is repulsive.  Is treacherous.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Standing up to the man.

“If you don’t change how things operate around here, you will be out of business in a year”

The district director looked at me.  He let out a long breath.

“I understand,” he said.
There comes a time when someonehas to address the 800 pound gorilla.  Or to be the one that stands on the side of the parade pointing out that the king is naked.  When the time is ripe - and I mean really ripe -when the answer is so obvious and so clear, instantaneously, everyone in the room agrees with you.  And not only agrees with you, they are eager to implement a strategy to obliterate the problem.

But…is it enough?  Is it too late?

Back in the 80s I worked in Greenville, SC for a large engineering company.  I was in my late 20s and married.  Like most people my age we were in the nascent stages of building a family.  We had just confirmed that we were going to have a second child.

Of course, health insurance is important for any family at this stage of their lives.  I had signed up for an HMO plan…it was the cheapest plan the company offered, but it paid for practically everything. The HMO was set up sort of oddly.  The plan was administered by a local full service clinic that handled everything.  We were required to go to the clinic that treated all patients.  If a specialist was needed we would be referred to him.

I was on the phone with an administrator at the clinic trying to figure out what I needed to do.  Most certainly we would need an obstetrician among many other things.

“Well, before we assign your wife an obstetrician, we need to get your case approved” the lady on the other end of the phone said.

I was just a bit stunned and confused.  “I…I’m sorry, what did you say?  Did you say you have to get my wife’s case approved?”

"Yes, that’s the procedure.  In fact, we have to schedule an appointment with the clinic to officially verify that she is indeed pregnant. Once that is done, her case will be reviewed by the board.  We will then schedule her an appointment with a partner obstetrician."

I was still a little flustered.  “Ma’m.  I don’t understand why you need to do all of this. How long will this take?”

“The entire process takes about 6 weeks” she said very business-like.

I was flummoxed.  “Six weeks?  Six weeks?  Do you understand what you’re saying?  Do you understand what you’re doing to us?  My wife is already two months pregnant.  You’re telling me that we won’t be able to see an OB doctor until her second trimester?  Do you see how this doesn't make any sense?

Also, let us make the appointment.  I guarantee the appointment you set up will not work and we’ll end up having to reschedule, adding even more delays.

Also, we already did the pregnancy test.  Are you guys still killing rabbits?  This will be our second child.  We know how this works.”

The woman completely understood, but was powerless to help us.

“Ma’m,” I tried to be as calm as I could.  I tried focusing on the first order of business: To get a prescription for some supplemental vitamins for my wife.   “You’re going to make us wait 6 weeks before we can get them.  Could you…could you at least let me know the OB’s name so I can short circuit this process and go ahead and get the vitamins?”

“Sure, I can do that.”  So, we at least got the OB doc's name.


Later, on another occasion, I sat in the examining room for 45 minutes waiting for the doctor to waltz in at any moment to get me checked out.  I had already sat out in the waiting room for almost an hour.  This had happened again and again at this clinic.  When he finally showed up, I didn’t even wait for the formal greeting.

“Doc, you guys have got to stop this.  I waited and waited and I’m tired of the waiting.”  I ranted a little longer as the doctor listened patiently  - with an almost perceptible amount of empathy.  The more I ranted, the more his initial smile melted into a frown.

“Johnny, I understand.  If you don’t like it I recommend you change insurance companies.”

A doctor who was part of the clinic who only saw patients with this certain insurance company was recommending I change plans. And he wasn't the only doctor to say this to me.

I had already complained to the Obstetrician about the red tape the clinic had set up.  He absolutely knew what I was talking about.  He already had several patients from the clinic and had received the same complaints. 

 “I know what you’re saying”, the OB doc said.  “I think you should change insurance plans.”

That was it.  Something had to be done.  If I could see the handwriting on the wall, surely the insurance company could see it, too.  Right? 

But, what if they couldn't?  What if they were run by stodgy bureaucrats who didn't care about the fact they were dealing with humans?  What if they really didn't care?  

Insurance companies are, well, companies.  Surely they desire to run at a profit.  It was so plain to see this insurance company was going south. I didn't need to see their books.  I didn't need a profit-loss statement.  I didn't need to talk to the CEO to figure this out.


I walked into the District Director’s office and shook hands with him.  He was all smiles and seemed eager to hear what I had to say.

He listened attentively to all my grievances.  Long wait times.  No pediatricians on staff.  Red tape for a baby doctor was intolerable and unacceptable.

“So, what would you like us to do?” He asked.  He seemed sincere.  He was sort of a laid back person so he was a tough read.

“I want all of these issues taken care of.  There’s no reason in the world for a pregnancy to have to be reviewed by a board of doctors, nurses, janitors, whatever.

I want access to pediatricians.  If you don’t have them on staff, you need to allow us to go out and get one.

For my wife, I want access to a gynecologist.  My wife refuses to use your clinic GPs for this.”

The Director leaned back in his chair, smiled and chuckled and said the most astounding thing. “Yeah…my wife won’t use the doctors here either.  We have to pay for an outside gynecologist for her.”

After a few more minutes of discussion we pretty much wrapped it up.

“Listen,” I said, “I don’t want to see this clinic or the insurance company that supports you to fail.  I want to see you all succeed.  If you don’t change how things operate around here, you will be out of business in a year”

“I understand” he said.  “We’ll see what we can do.”  We shook hands and I left.

“Hi. This is the Hillendale Clinic."

“Yes?” I asked.

“We just wanted to let you know that the board met to discuss your criticisms and solutions.  We’re going to implement all of your suggestions.”

“That’s wonderful!” I said.  “So when will the new plan be available?”

“We are near the new re-up period.  So you should be able to get a pediatrician then.

“Great! So, what did you do about the red tape for pregnancies?”

 “Oh, yes.  We took care of that too.  Pregnancies will bypass the board for approval.  Your wife will immediately be referred to an OB doctor.  And you can make your own appointments.”

I thanked the person and hung up the phone.  After a few days of cogitating on all of this, I realized I needed to go ahead and start calling some pediatricians.  I needed to find out who had open slots.  

When I called, this is what I heard from practically all of the pediatricians:

“I’m sorry but we’re booked up.  The phone has been crazy with calls.  You might want to try Dr. So-and-So.  He might have some openings.”

I had no idea how the news had spread so quickly.  But, boy did it ever!  It was like a flood gate had opened up.

Now, I am sure I wasn't the only one to complain.  I’m sure many others called and complained, too.  But it wasn't until I sat down and explained things in as plain a language as I could muster did something seem to click with the Establishment.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't have a happy ending.  Within a few months of all of this, I left the engineering company and embarked on a new adventure in Houston, TX.  Two years after I left, I read in the newspaper that the insurance company filed for bankruptcy and had shut their doors.  I guess whatever they did was just too late. 

Well, maybe I bought them that extra year.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Saudi Arabia in a Post Oil Era :"Saudi Arabia Plans $2 Trillion Megafund for Post-Oil Era: Deputy Crown Prince"

Those aren't my words.  Those are their words.  If you read my blog about how OPEC is now and forever the victim of markets - as we ALL are - and no longer the instigator of markets, you would see what the problem is.

It is much to Saudi Arabia's credit that they understand this. And it explains the giant holding company they are putting together.
Saudi Arabia is getting ready for the twilight of the oil age by creating the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund for the kingdom’s most prized assets. Over a five-hour conversation, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman laid out his vision for the Public Investment Fund, which will eventually control more than $2 trillion and help wean the kingdom off oil. As part of that strategy, the prince said Saudi will sell shares in Aramco’s parent company and transform the oil giant into an industrial conglomerate. The initial public offering could happen as soon as next year, with the country currently planning to sell less than 5 percent.

“IPOing Aramco and transferring its shares to PIF will technically make investments the source of Saudi government revenue, not oil,” the prince said in an interview at the royal compound in Riyadh that ended at 4 a.m. on Thursday. “What is left now is to diversify investments. So within 20 years, we will be an economy or state that doesn’t depend mainly on oil.”

Almost eight decades since the first Saudi oil was discovered, King Salman’s 30-year-old son is aiming to transform the world’s biggest crude exporter into an economy fit for the next era. As his strategy takes shape, the speed of change may shock a conservative society accustomed to decades of government handouts.
I find some of this a little odd.  They want to transform Aramco into a company that refines the oil and converts it into a value added product. The "twilight of the oil age" is really the twilight of their oil age.

But this is already being done in KSA.  In fact, it's been going on for quite some time.  I personally worked on a large polymer project owned by Sharq (a subsidiary of SABIC) in 2005.  SABIC is, in fact, already in the holding company.

So, for quite some time the transformation process has been going on.  The only thing I can take from this is that the KSA is going to speed up the process.

But here again, they are going to run into problems.  The biggest problem is that they will continually find themselves a slave to markets.  If there is no demand for whatever it is they produce, how the heck can the investors expect a decent return on their investments?  In a world now swimming in oil and abundant natural gas, do they think they are going to be the only ones who will be building petrochemical facilities?  Right now, in Lake Charles, LA a gigantic multibilion dollar polymer plant is under construction.

But why stop there?  The fracking industry has opened up old north east industrial areas that were abandoned for dead.  Now, in the area that was the cradle of the original American oil boom, companies are looking to construct new polymer plants.  Can you imagine that?

So, once again, OPEC can not barge in and say they are going to take over and call the shots.

Mr. Market calls the shots.  Plain and simple.