Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ouch, Lynne Cheney.

She is good. I am not on the same page religiously, but what she is says, in my opinion, is accurate.

Story here.

You have to hand it to her. To be able to get on CNN and be prepared to take on all comers, and do it with quite fierce determination. There are so many of pitfalls that lie in wait. And if something goes bad, the spin explainers have to come and and say 'what she really meant was' type comments. But this time it looks fairly clean, direct and hard hitting.

PS : Is it "Lynne" or "Lynn"? Wikipedia writes the former, but many links have it the latter.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Media Keeps Trashing Emissions Trading.

I responded to a comment found on Larvatus Prodeo which seemed to me to be symptomatic of the general take on Emissions Trading:

I find it interesting that the idea of emissions trading - when taken from what the MSM puts out - always receives the initial negative response. The system is not perfect, I grant you, but it is really the first global effort that has some sort of organizing umbrella organization (the UN [link] ) that has the galvanizing support of one very important group behind it: financial market types.

Sure you may laugh at my comment, but if you consider other suggestions as put forth by the environmental types (um, basically shut down everything) or the individual “taxation” routes adopted by governments, you might begin to see why the idea of bringing into the realm of financial markets trading has some street cred.

I am, you should be aware, a financial markets type and a cynical one at that. My first salvo of cynicism is this: it would not ever have the chance of succeeding from the get-go unless bankers saw a profit in it. Sure, greed plays a major part in the success of the emissions trading scheme.

Next I will say that when people begin to understand emissions trading, they will see that the issue of ‘too many credits’ could very well be considered (in my opinion) a carrot rather than the stick, approach. Later on these carrot addicts will be facing the stick but entirely too far along to get out the carrot-stick world. I mean, basically, that the credits given out will be less and less over time.

Next, and this is very important, is that while there is emissions trading in the 25 nations of the EU (and 27 next year when Romania and Bulgaria join), credit can be incubated and harvested from around the world. For example, an energy user in China which burns coal, may be converted to gas, a cleaner fuel. They are enticed to do this because they can sell the future credits to willing buyers (to be used by the EU25 companies who must pay with these credits at the end of each year).

It may surprise you that there are huge amounts of money being invested into such funds now and a financial markets type like me begins to see the value of it (and begins drooling).

Ok, so now I am appearing to be a self=serving greedy trade. Well I am. But it proves to you one thing, capitalism, the pursuit of profit, has done what a bunch of greenies could not do: bring real action into the equation.

Yes, yes, there are problems. There are inequalities of access, far from transparent markets, perhaps too many credits to begin with. But it is a start!

Another criticism is that it is not so easy to understand is the economists’ wish of an auction.Well, I hate to say it, but I have now experience first hand the threat of a financial markets boycott. How? Well if the bankers are involved, they see ways that they can subvert the system to trade as they do Bonds or Equities. This is very cynical, but in my opinion, very accurate.

Lets say that the EU 25 companies were all given their credits, EUAs (European Union Allowances), all on one day, and told to trade them all on one exchange, via one electronic platform. A system like this would have been ideal, free from the issues of credit line relationships, payment worries, price transparency, and unequal access, as well as being cheaper to set up. But it wasn’t to be. In my opinion it would never have enlisted the support of banking and energy trading organizations that dominate the market (but represented through their governmental representatives).

Ok. Cynicism aside. I am in it because I enjoy new markets, found a niche for my company (as an intermediary between sellers from Eastern Europe to buyers in Western Europe). But also, I must say that even if one does not believe in global warming, the overall efforts of the Kyoto borne emissions trading scheme gives me succor on two fronts : 1) I do believe lower emissions is better from a general environmental view. I.e.., cleaner skies, cleaner neighborhoods, cleaner rivers. (oops, do NOT call me a greenie, please). 2) It really helps to promote energy efficiency by virtue of the huge R&D money thrown at the search for renewable energy. I don’t know if you have heard, there might be an energy shortage soon.

Ok back to cynicism. Windmills? Not in favour of them. I do not care of the blight on the landscape, but since wind does not come with an on/off switch, its hard to figure into the electricity trading grid. Storing it?: this means using the windmill power, converted to electricity, to pump water up a hill to a reservoir, to be let down the hill, to be converted into electricity. I cringe when I think of this waste.

Other backyard solutions? Solar panels, friction magnets in the oceans, even, if you believe the latest commercial on CNN, small generators under dance floors??? They do have some home applications such as heating the bath water, but the only real hope in my opinion is Nuclear. This is because it is the only big, big, BIG source that can begin to make a dent in the coming energy deficit.

Sorry I have run on a bit, but there are many things people need to understand about the emissions trading schemes. It is driven by the high-minded efforts to help the environment, stop global warming, save us from and energy deficit, etc etc. But only after some greed is thrown into the equation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Well, I mentioned Kinky Friedman in the last post and now I truly am worried. The pollsters have him grouped with others well behind the leader, Perry.
Referring to some attacks he has faced from opponents, he replied:
"You don't tackle anybody unless they're carrying the ball, and I think we're carrying the ball right now,"
Go Kinky!

Scenarios That Hurt

I have always wondered which of these scenarios more accurately describes the real relationship of posturing to actual results.

A. You say that your candidate/party/referendum is likely to win, so some supporters of said candidate/party/referendum don't come out to cast their vote and your candidate/party/referendum loses.
B. You say that your candidate/party/referendum needs every vote because we are neck and neck so get out there and vote, but this causes some despair and some supporters don't cast their vote.
C. The media purports one candidate/party/referendum is doing very well and the other candidate/party/referendum is likely to lose, so the same supporters of that one candidate/party/referendum do not come out to cast the vote, feeling secure that their candidate/party/referendum will do well.

Lately we have had the Democrats saying that Bush and his cronies will be removed, the tide is turning, run the crooks out of office, etc, etc. I think this might very well be working against the Democrats. (Perhaps rod will help but showing me a few 'here, here and here' links to show me which of the choices more aptly describes these situations - without succumbing to whining about one or the other party).

After all, I don't think it is a situation like the battlefield where one side overruns the other's defenses, and, upon seeing that, the rest of the soldiers run to join the victorious charge. Its sounds more like a few lieutenants are attempting to rally the troops, only to be found later face down in the mud.

Okay, okay, I personally can easily imagine the Republicans losing control of one or both houses of congress (well, yes that could be due, in part - a large part - to the fact that I read a lot of the MSM). But then I have two problems with this portrayal of the situation :
"I'm confident we're going to keep the Senate; I'm confident we're going to keep the House" and later "Mr. Rove was upbeat, telling stories from the campaign trail and joking about skewed political coverage that disproportionately shows Democrats poised to take control of Congress"
Problem 1. Rove seems to be adding to the weakness of a potential scenario A. mentioned above.
Problem 2. If Rove says this, he must be quite secure in the knowledge that the Republicans will hold both houses. After all he would not like to give ammunition to the Left that will accuse him of losing his evil superpowers (I still love the 'dark side' analogies). So, it would seem he is not at all worried about scenario A.

Doesn't it seem that in the last few elections that the Democrats were purported to be closer than the actually were? No need to challenge me on that. I am not looking at numbers. Just comparing what the press says and the fact that the USA has a Republican president, senate and house. Go figure.

Ps, A. and C.above are indeed very similar and that is because A. represents the Democrats and C. represents the media. B? Well that represents the Texas Gubernatorial race. I am worried about Kinky Friedman. I want him to win. So much so, that I asked someone how difficult is it for me, a lapsed yank, to vote in Texas!

Property Buying

Wow, what a pain.
The wife an I have been trying to find a mountain cottage for the last few months. Admittedly wife number 1 has been doing all the work.
Problem is, of course you might know already, I keep finding things wrong with whatever we see. So I come across as being Mr. Negative.
But we sooo want the weekend house.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Found on Clayton Cramer.

Innumeracy Among Journalists

The more I think about the Lancet article, the more obviously bogus the results are. The claim is 654,965 excess deaths caused by the war from March 2003 through July 2006. That's 40 months, or 1200 days, so an average of 546 deaths per day.

To get an average of 546 deaths per day means that there must have been either many hundreds of days with 1000 or more deaths per day (example: 200 days with 1000 deaths = 200,000 dead leaves 1000 days with an average of 450 deaths), or tens of days with at least 10,000 or more deaths per day (example: 20 days with 10,000 deaths = 200,000 dead leaves 1180 days with an average of 381 deaths).

So, where are the news accounts of tens of days with 10,000 or more deaths? Where are the news accounts of hundreds of days with 1000 deaths or more? This article claims that there are perhaps 100 Iraqis a day now being killed in sectarian violence--and this is described as escalating violence. This horrifying article talks about 65 bodies found around Baghdad--with the claim that the day was "notable in its number."

Either the news media have been ignoring hundreds of days with 1000 or more deaths--or tens of days with 10,000 or more deaths--or the Lancet article is utterly wrong.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google Reader

I am fascinated by Google's Reader. I have been using their Blogsearch function (a different page) and then pasting the rss feed to the Reader. In the Reader I can make folders and look for the latest on the topic. I have also used the reader to set up a job search using the rss feeds from This way I can see the latest jobs that meet his criteria. (ok, these job sites are a bit too much like fit the peg in the hole, plug in type jobs, I have to admit. But if you use them, you might as well have them all readable in one Reader).
Wasting time? Perhaps.

A Bank With 107 million Customers

Reading yesterday's Financial Times on the tram to work today. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China will IPO soon. What caught my eye? "..this is a bank that has 18,000 branches and more customers than there are people in Mexico".
I checked the CIA Factbook and saw the there are 107.4 million people in Mexico.
This seems like some science fiction futuristic bureaucracy.
Could you imagine, for instance, how many people will be on the phone, being redirected by the automated phone system? "If you would like information on your balance press 238, if you would like information on your overdraft, press 1402, if you would like to hold for an operator, please press zero ... Estimated waiting time is ... 25 days, 2 hours and 4 minutes. We value your patronage! "

Monday, October 09, 2006

South Park Trainer Video

If you have never watched South Park and cannot understand the popularity of the show, perhaps this is where you might start ... to believe!

Sorry, just at home with huge tooth ache. Waiting for dentist to give me morphine...or whatever is OTC legal (heh, over the counter legal).

This episode (in three parts) really displays their virsatility. Very witty, and an interesting use of the online-games genre. (Although, the poop scene was a bit too much ).


Friday, October 06, 2006

Pelosi and the Swamp Creatures.

I got to admit, Drain the Swamp, is a catchy soundbite.

Speaking of swamp creatures...

Oh, nevermind, ... too obvious. I bet Jay Leno will already have had his writers on that one.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Osama Wears Croc Shoes!

Somehow I came upon this cartoon (Happy New Year from Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad, Assad and Osama are wishing everyone a happy new year by singing, Hava Nagila. Yes, the Jewish song.

But some flash animator has the wacky sense of humor to display Osama wearing Croc shoes. (The animator must really, really, hate Crocs!)

Now, I am offended that someone has the audacity to put Osama in a pair of my favorite shoes!

Actually, I can understand it. They are quite wierd looking. Comfortable, though. There are even some really aggressive Croc haters out there. Perhaps this video was hoping to target and aligh with that group? heh heh.

Happy New Year from

An Expectant Nobel Dad

The father of a Nobel prize winner - who himself won a Nobel prize winner from 1959 - 'wondered why the second family Nobel was “so long in coming.”'

Those Nobel guys must have some wit! From


Monday, October 02, 2006

Silly Afternoon Humor

I had to watch this at least 5 times at work today.