Monday, December 31, 2007

What Lies Ahead


As we wind down 2007, the most looming cloud on our horizon is the 2008 presidential election.

Sure, there will be a lot of arguing over global warming and Iraq and energy policies that aren't... but the really big, dark cloud hanging over the U.S. is the election of the next president.
Recently, I received an email from someone who asked me what I thought about Ron Paul. In essence, I said he might be a nice, well-meaning guy, but not presidential material. That lead to a brief look at past presidents:
When you look back at presidents that are remembered as great leaders, they often had little in common except that they could look out at a crowd of thousands or millions and make every person feel as if that president's gaze was directed at each of them personally and that president's message was the most important thing that could be said to them. It didn't matter if the nation was in peril or at peace.
  • Roosevelt
  • Truman
  • Eisenhower
  • Kennedy
  • Reagan
They had it.
  • Carter
  • Nixon
  • Ford
  • Bush I and II
They didn't have it... and it went way beyond communication skills.
  • Clinton
He had it, but was such a screw-up that he finally blew it completely when she blew him.
I didn't try to define "it." But "it" was independent of party or platform. Perhaps "it" was dependent upon circumstances... or opportunities. But, more likely, "it" was the ability to create a sense of national direction and purpose, whether waging a war or avoiding one, whether rising to a challenge or throwing down the challenge.

When I look at all of the presidential hopefuls, I see another addition to the Carter, Nixon, et al group. There is not much inspiration or vision to be found... just a lot of false piety and pettiness... but I guess that is the nature of politics and it takes something... someone... special to rise above that.

Politics is now about "spin." How can you ascribe meanings to words and actions of your opponents that demean and debase them within the political process?
With 300 million citizens and, maybe, 125 million voters, each candidate is hoping to appeal to about 63 million people... enough to get elected.
So a little exaggeration here and a little omission there and maybe we get our next Carter or Nixon.
But my greatest fear is that, given the divisive circumstances the next president faces, we will get the one president I have not listed yet: another Lyndon Johnson.
Let's hope that the new year will be a good year, but let's be prepared for something less.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Taliban Career Path


This appeared today in the Detroit Free Press:

... Taliban soldier... environmental soldier?
Obviously a perfect fit and and a logical career path.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Future Truck Past Truck


From The Detroit News:

Friday, December 28, 2007
Toyota to roll out concept pickup

Small hybrid truck to debut at Detroit auto show adds solar panels to charge GPS system and displays.
Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

Toyota Motor Corp. will unveil a concept for a small hybrid pickup at the North American International Auto Show in January.

From Dearborn Classsics:

1957 Ranchero Custom with Two tone paint scheme

The Ford Ranchero was produced by the Ford motor company from 1957 through 1979. This unique vehicle was the first of its kind being the first car with a truck bed. In the 23 years of total production, there were a total of 508,355 units produced. After the immediate success of the Ford Ranchero, Chevrolet proceeded to try and duplicate their own version of the Ranchero in 1959, but the Ranchero was the original "car-truck".
There is a place for the "car-truck", but is it the future for the "truck-truck"? Apparently so if 35 mpg is the bottom line.

There is no future for trucks like these:

That may be a good thing from the perspective of saving fuel. That may be a bad thing from the perspective of having a useful vehicle. After all, the Ranchero only sold a fraction of the sales volume for the F100/F150. It was a cute idea, but had limited practicality.

The Honda Ridgeline has enjoyed the same modest success as the Ranchero. It is advertised as a vehicle for the "Urban Wild"... probably because truly it is not capable as a commercial truck.
But Congress has assured us that we will all want and benefit from vehicles such as the Toyota concept.
Maybe the 3rd time will be a charm.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Celebrating The Purchase Of America


There is increasing happiness on Wall Street as CNN reports:

In recent weeks, a number of big financial services companies - including Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500), Citigroup Inc. (C, Fortune 500) and UBS AG (UBS) - have received capital infusions from foreign government investment entities to help offset subprime related losses.

"The big news of the day are these investments in investment banks by sovereign wealth funds," said Brian Gendreau, investment strategist at ING Investment Management.

Let's step back a little.
  • We don't allow development of our oil, natural gas, or other energy resources
  • We ship off jobs and manufacturing.
  • The people who previously earned good incomes from those manufacturing jobs now have no jobs or lower paying jobs.
  • They no longer purchase as much from local businesses who cut back on their staffs.
  • Homes that were being purchased by those people are being foreclosed.
  • The banks and financial institutions who wrote mortgages on those homes lost big time.
  • Countries from which we purchase our energy [oil] or now have our manufacturing and jobs, send back money to bail us out.
Sounds good... something for nothing! We're being "subsidized" again!
We haven't lost a thing! Have we?
A little less than a year ago I wrote:
As a nation, we have "chosen", increasingly, to not have control in two strategic areas:
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
In the area of energy, we have chosen to stay wed to oil and natural gas as our mainstays for energy rather than nuclear power, coal or alternative fuels. As a result of that choice, we "outsource" a significant amount of our energy resources.

In the area of manufacturing, we have chosen to seek lowest cost labor as a panacea for remaining "competitive". Consequently, we have "outsourced" a significant portion of our manufacturing capacity to countries such as China.
As we move jobs, facilities, and... finally... ownership elsewhere, we lose control of our destiny. At what point do we decide that maybe there is a limit to this expedience?


Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007


Tomorrow our sons return home and my brother's family joins us for our Christmas celebration.

We hope that you will be able to share this holiday with those you love.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Finding The Focus


It is interesting to have discussions about climate change or global warming or environment or energy because research or actions related to these are perceived differently depending on your own predispositions.

In the chart below, you can look at two major UN efforts and plot the point that characterizes each one. If you are a regular reader of Real Climate your plot points are guaranteed to be different from the readers of Climate Audit.

Yet the actual content of each remains unchanged....
So in which quadrants do those UN efforts fit best?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

How Climate Models Fail


Yesterday, Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. at Climate Science posted this:

However, as I read your reply below, you are convinced that the climate will continue to warm from the greenhouse gases. Yet the lack of warming in recent years by several measures (upper ocean heat content, lower tropospheric temperatures), and the at best muted positive feedback from the water vapor feedback, indicates that we know quite a bit less on global warming than you indicate.

Models View of CO2 "Blanket"
Make the blanket thicker and you get hotter.

I agree the warming could resume (due to the diversity of positive climate forcings of which CO2 is up to 30% in a global average) but the lack of recent agreement between the models and the observations raises questions on whether negative feedbacks and negative climate forcings could actually result in cooling, at least for a period of time. After all the IPCC SPM admits that they left off climate forcings with a low level of scientific understanding.

With respect to added CO2, I am becoming convinced that its effect (threat?) is more from alterations in ocean and land biogeochemistry. rather than its radiative heating. I am also convinced (and have published on this as well) that the more heterogenous climate forcings (due to aerosols and land use/land cover) have a much greater impact on climate through alterations in atmospheric and ocean circulations than do the well-mixed greenhouse gases.

Forcings View of CO2 "Blanket"
There are other factors that affect overall warmth.
Some of those factors [forcings] can be quite negative
(such as reduced solar activity).
Models don't account for observed changes successfully.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mandates As Law


Today I was busy writing an email to a well-known expert on automobile emissions and legislation and a proponent of allowing California to have standards that are stricter than Federal ones. I expressed my opposition with several reasons.

He responded with a simple question:

George Bush just signed a law for 35mpg by 2020. Do you disagree with that as well?
My rather lengthy response was this [try to get through it]:
I believe that regulations for toxic substances is a legitimate function of government in protecting the commonweal. Establishing and enforcing reasonable safety levels for products is a legitimate function in protecting the commonweal. Setting arbitrary mileage mandates, within arbitrary time constraints, that are poorly conceived, defined and administered is not a legitimate function of government and leads to poor choices by manufacturers responding to those artificial limitations and more costly choices for consumers. CO2 is not a toxic gas and mandating smaller, higher mileage vehicles does not increase occupant safety.

If oil-based fuel becomes increasingly expensive, consumers will choose vehicle alternatives that offset that expense as they have done already in response to $3.00 per gallon fuel. The real marketplace demand for efficiency puts immediate pressure on manufacturers to provide products that meet consumer demands. Government interference is not necessary. If, on the other hand, oil prices decrease because of increased production or alternative extraction methods or profitable development of alternative power sources, then consumers can have a full choice of vehicles without the costs that government-forced marketplace manipulation would generate... such as the $100 billion plus that automotive manufacturers must spend to meet mandated mileage/emission requirements... that would be passed along to consumers.

The best products and solutions come in response to a marketplace where consumers are free to select products that meet their needs, their budgets, while providing safety and not creating a toxic environment... something that, for example, government-mandated ethanol fuel increases cannot do or more nickel-based batteries cannot do.

Toyota created the Prius, not because of a government mandate, but because it saw a market opportunity based on real market demand. Ford created the Escape SUV hybrid for the same reason. GM is creating the Volt, not because it sees an immediate mass market, but because it sees it as an opportunity to get people to think about GM as an innovative company with exciting products. People respond to creativity as well as need. Government-mandated requirements simply force a marketplace people don't want (restricted choices, unexciting products, unnecessary costs) and place the blame on manufacturers.

The focus on automotive vehicles has always been an easy target for government and special interests because they are highly visible and everyone has or wants one. Yet politicians conveniently ignore many other more pressing issues regarding resource management and energy when they parade their "energy bills." For example, with a growing population (including millions of undocumented "guests"), what is being done to ensure adequate fresh water and electricity? California certainly is not addressing those needs internally, but wants to tell everyone else what their cars and trucks must be like. Hmmm.

I believe that experts such as you need to be addressing the systemic issues that will allow manufacturers greater range of responses to a marketplace that will naturally demand greater efficiency out of their vehicles without sacrificing the enjoyment or utility they derive from them. Those systemic issues include the availability of appropriate support technology and infrastructural changes which would allow manufacturing of non-fossil fuel vehicles on a mass-produced basis.

Where, for example, is the government mandate that automotive batteries must exceed lithium-ion performance with no safety risks by the year 2015? Then vehicle manufacturers can design and build electric vehicles that people might actually want because they have the power and range that is needed. Where is that government mandate that natural gas fuel cell filling pumps must be available in the same number at service stations as gasoline pumps by 2020? Or do vehicle manufacturers have to hope "a miracle happens" and people can actually use the vehicles they build to meet government mandates? Automobile manufacturers have spent billions and built millions of E85 flexible fuel engines for their vehicles. Where are all of those government-mandated E85 stations that should have been set up long ago? Consumers have paid for the product without the benefit because the government pushed a phony "solution."

Government mandates don't work because they disregard the fundamentals of the marketplace. They simply add unnecessary costs to products.

People didn't demand a 500 gb hard drive for their computers when all the software was DOS based. Would it have made sense for the government to demand that computers be built for specifications that required software not yet created to use and cost the owners unnecessarily in the process?

You are well-intentioned. You want people to buy innovative, super-efficient products so that we all can have more with less. You want them to want that. Some people are willing to pay more for an innovative product that provides them perceived advantages. But just because they perceive the advantages doesn't mean the rest of the marketplace does... or realistically should. Some people opted for those $8,000 low-definition plasma TVs because they were innovative and conferred some perceived benefits on them. Good for them. They made it possible for people to now buy $1,000 high-definition plasma TVs. The government didn't have to mandate that every manufacturer build them when the marketplace wasn't there. Now they are all scrambling to respond to the market demand and the selection is enormous and the product affordable.

So, no, I do not agree with the Federal mandate of 35 mpg or a California mandate of 43 mpg. I believe the marketplace, driven by real market forces and proven support technology and available infrastructure, is a better arbiter of how products should be engineered and resources allocated. That marketplace may well dictate that 0 mpg is a better target... no gallons at all. But that will happen when all of the pieces are really ready to come together and it will come together better than those 1980 vehicles that stalled and required constant maintenance because unproven technology was forced into action by government mandates in response to California allowing too many people with too many automobiles to reside in areas that had unfavorable atmospheric conditions.

If you believe California should force the issue, convince your politicians to add a $3.00 per gallon gasoline tax and people will angrily buy the smallest vehicle they can get their hands on... and won't blame auto companies for forcing them into products they don't want or can't afford.
I posed this question before and I'll do it again: what happened to the concept of a market economy?


Thursday, December 20, 2007

New York Times Censorship Policy


Today, The New York Times ran an article decrying the EPA's decision to prevent states from setting their own higher mileage and restrictive emission standards for automobiles.

I posted a comment that pointed out the so-called energy bill which ended up as an automotive mileage and emissions bill had neglected several areas of reality... including cost... and totally ignored areas that should have been part of a comprehensive energy policy.

The Times seems to have selectively eliminated my comments from the list because they did not agree with the position of the article. So much for "rational dialogue."
Apparently, free speech only refers to speech that agrees with The New York Times.


In order to meet the censorship requirements of The New York Times, I posted the following:
December 20th, 2007 12:01 pm
The great thing about the free market is that if a person in California or Vermont wants to pay for a product that supports his political conviction, he can find one.

The great thing about political bureaucracies is that they can create an array of laws and regulations to ensure that the free market is crippled.

The great thing about a democracy is that you can vote for either situation.

So should states have the right to mandate random and inconsistent laws and regulations regarding vehicle emissions and mileage? Certainly, if that's what the voters want.

Just be careful what you vote for... you may get it.

— Bruce Hall, Michigan

We'll see if that one passes muster.
Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.
Apparently not. Free markets choice is simply too "abusive" and "off subject" for The New York Times.
December 20th, 2007 12:34 pm


After reading this article, I was a bit peeved at this denial by the EPA. It is their job to protect the environment, so why would they not confirm the states' desires to raise their standards for emissions? If it is beneficial to our society, then I do not see why the EPA cannot contribute.
I believe that the states should be allowed to set their own standards, especially if the government would set their standards that high in Cali.

— Raeil, Kenmore West High School

December 20th, 2007 11:55 am


It appears that the Republicans believe very strongly in States Rights at all times except in those cases where they don't.

— RileySavon, Santa Rosa CA


After I wrote an email to one of the authors of the article, my second (but still not first) comment appeared as a 12:37 post.


Winter Solstice


Technically, tomorrow is the winter solstice, but I just wanted to share this with you. Cold has its own beauty when the sun is shining and the air is calm.

Nevertheless, it is not necessarily the desirable condition for mankind.

10:00 AM


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just Keeping Our Cool During Global Warming


I know we are supposed to be welcoming anything that can cool down earth's average temperature, so I guess the fact that in our locale the temperature averaging about 3 degrees below normal for 1-1/2 months must be welcome news to the rest of the world.

2.2 degrees below average for November

4.5 degrees below average for December so far.
Wish we could share your sentiments. [data from]
Omigod! Will you look at that heating bill!

Climate Science Website


Some of you may not be aware that since December 10, Climate Science has had updated posts.

This is no longer a forum for discussion/comments, but still offers an interesting array of climate studies and critical observations by Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.


That Bow Tie Should Turn Her On, Too


From Benny Peiser:


The Daily Telegraph, 17 December 2007

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent

Women must stop admiring men who drive sports cars if they want to join the fight against global warming, the Government's chief scientist has urged.

Professor Sir David King said governments could only do so much to control greenhouse gas emissions and it was time for a cultural change among the British public.

And he singled out women who find supercar drivers "sexy", adding that they should divert their affections to men who live more environmentally-friendly lives.

His comments were greeted with anger by sports car drivers who insisted that their vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions were tiny compared with those from four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Sir David, who is due to retire as the UK's Chief Scientific Adviser at the end of the year, said individuals needed to change their behaviour.

"I was asked at a lecture by a young woman about what she could do and I told her to stop admiring young men in Ferraris," he said.

"What I was saying is that you have got to admire people who are conserving energy and not those wilfully using it."

Sir David, who persuaded the Government to start using the Toyota Prius, a hybrid car that claims to have lower emissions than most conventional cars, added: "Government has so many levers that it can pull - when it comes to the business sector it is quite effective.

"As soon as you come to the individual, however, they will buy a Ferrari, not because it is cheap to run or has low carbon dioxide emissions, but because young women think it is sexy to see men driving Ferraris. That is the area where a culture change is needed."

A Ferrari F430 produces 420g/km of carbon dioxide - more than four times as much as the hybrid petrol-electric Prius.

Car enthusiasts criticised Sir David for attempting to lay the blame for climate change on a small number of drivers who own sports cars.

Peter Everingham, secretary the Ferrari Owners Club, said: "Nearly 90 per cent of people who buy Ferraris are married so they are not looking to impress women by buying their car.

"There are fewer than 5,600 cars made a year by Ferrari. To suggest Ferraris are a factor in climate change is unhelpful."

Sir David, who will next month publish a book on climate change called Hot Topic, insists his comments were intended as an example of the scale of culture change that is needed in society in order to combat global warming.

As chief scientist he has been instrumental in driving the climate change issue to the top of the political agenda.

Three years ago he sparked controversy when he claimed that global warming was a more serious threat than that of global terrorism.

Sir David said: "For a while I was quite unpopular at Number 10, but the point is that the Prime Minister then understood this was a very important issue.

"Now I would go one step further and say that our civilisation has never had to face up to as big a challenge as the climate change challenge of the 21st century."

Copyright 2007, TDT

EDITOR'S NOTE: To gauge the mood among the British public, I strongly encourage curious subscribers to read the comments section after the news story.
Yes, and young women should be turned on by men wearing Argyle socks, bow ties, and tweed jackets with suede elbow patches... all eminently practical clothing items.
Nothing about what young men should focus on. Perhaps they should continue to focus on women who wear skimpy clothing because they use less of earth's energy resources for their personal adornment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Biofuels - A Really Bad Idea Unless....


Of all the "alternative fuel" notions to come from the global warming alarmists, perhaps the worst one is expansion of biofuels.

It fits right into their notion that the world is better off without people, so let's make it more difficult for people.
Contrary to claims of saving the world, biofuels expansion has already shown its long term negative consequences without any significant impact toward reducing oil consumption or improving the world's environment.
I've chosen these sources because they tend to be supportive of the environmental/climate disaster movement positions, so if they are sounding the alarm bells regarding biofuels, then one has to wonder why the Nancy and Harry Show is pushing biofuels.
Can it be that it panders to certain special interests rather than being sound energy policy? Oh my goodness, that just couldn't be!
After all, using biofuels will help vehicles achieve 35 mpg while reducing emissions.
Oh, wait. It won't. Not even by increasing production of ethanol by 600%.
Well, it will raise the cost of food by increasing the amount of land used for plant production that is targeted away from human consumption.

a plus for those who want to rid the earth of a lot of poor people... and make everyone else poorer.

So how about an entirely different approach to biofuel energy? Rather than getting biofuel from sources like this...

How about from here instead?

Nothing says that biofuels have to go into fuel tanks and take food out of the mouths of people.
Since we throw out massive amounts of bio-matter every day, why not use it this way? Maybe because there isn't enough political pork in it for the Nancy and Harry Show.
It is, however, a rational alternative biofuel.
And it keeps the cost of corn tortillas reasonable.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dear Rep. Markey


The Boston Globe

Representative Edward J. Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who has led a seven-year, sometimes-lonely push in Congress to raise fuel-economy standards, said yesterday that the bill sets America on the right course.

"It is revolutionary in its impact," he said, noting it mandates the first fuel economy standards increases since 1975.

Markey was deeply involved in the most recent negotiations over the energy bill, which lost significant proposals in the Senate - including measures that would have increased taxes on America's five largest oil companies and called for utilities to create at least 15 percent of their power output from renewable sources. The legislation does increase efficiency standards for light bulbs, household appliances, and commercial buildings.
I wrote this to Rep. Markey:
You've been a strong advocate of an energy policy that creates a new direction for the U.S.

I'm curious now that the present energy bill [automobile mileage] is moving toward signing, what your position is regarding the deletion of the requirement for 15% of electric power to be generated from renewable resources. Obviously, this would have impacted Massachusetts which previously rejected wind turbines off the coast of Cape Code... a perfect location.

I'm also curious about the requirement for a 600% increase in ethanol production which provides a fuel with only 2/3 the energy content of gasoline and increased smog levels. How do you see this consistent with the requirement for increased mileage for vehicles while reducing emissions?

I'm also curious about the lack of expanded drilling permit approvals for natural gas which would be the source of fuel for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles now being developed by nearly every automobile manufacturer. Will that be the next crisis?

I don't see any requirements that all construction by 2020 use geothermal heating and cooling. That is the most inexpensive, efficient, and effective way to save both electricity and reduce carbon output. Why not? Simply because it has no political backers?

I don't see any requirement to start building more nuclear power plants to replace coal and natural gas fired plants. 3rd and planned 4th generation nuclear plants are not only safe, but provide far more reliable electricity production than either solar or wind. I live within 30 miles of the Fermi plant that has been working for decades without problems and catch walleyes and perch within a mile of the plant in water that is clean and safe.

This energy bill is simply a Fire, Ready, Aim approach that relies on a miracle to happen at the end. It's a joke and a farce.
Rep. Markey's automated email sent this:
Thank you for sharing your views with my office. I appreciate your taking the time to write. Due to the high volume of email messages my office receives, we are unable to respond to messages from outside the 7th district of Massachusetts.
But Rep. Markey, your legislative efforts were designed primarily to affect Michigan manufacturers, so you should be more than willing to respond to questions and comments from Michigan residents.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Future Transportation


As noted in The Detroit News editorial I posted yesterday, the new "energy bill" is essentially limited to:

  1. dictating mileage and emission standards [which may be allowed to conflict]
  2. dictating the increased production of ethanol [which will hinder the compliance with mileage and emission standards, if used]
There are essentially only two alternatives for automobile companies that want to produce a full range of vehicles that meet both mileage and emission requirements and neither are fully realized:
  1. battery powered vehicles
  2. hydrogen fuel cell vehicles [Honda is readying a small, test fleet of these vehicles for leasing at $600 per month. What isn't being said is that the real cost is over $1 million per vehicle]. Of course, when you combine batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, you do get one concern:
    Ford is still some way behind when it comes to fuel-cell vehicles. President and CEO Alan Mulally says the automaker is at least 10 years from offering a fuel-cell car, in part because Ford is concerned about the safety of the highly flammable lithium-ion batteries used in the vehicles. These batteries, also used in consumer electronics such as laptops, can ignite or explode when exposed to high temperatures.

    “We’re not there yet,” Mulally said Wednesday at the Los Angeles show, adding that the prospect of a vehicle that emits nothing but water is “one compelling vision.” [source]

Neither of these technologies is presently viable for widespread commercial application and both would be extraordinarily expensive for consumers.
The U.S. government, which is setting mileage and emission standards, is involved in both battery and fuel cell research through its Argonne National Laboratory efforts. With regard to batteries, it uses the following verbs:
  • conducting
  • addressing
  • developing
  • studying
Fuel cell research is a little more vague.
One other issue regarding fuel cells is that they require fuel... natural gas. As I pointed out in an earlier post, although there are large reserves of natural gas available to the U.S., the Nancy and Harry Show has prevented access to it. So, even if an infrastructure can be built for refueling vehicles with natural gas, guess what the next crisis will be when fuel cell vehicles become commonplace?
Meanwhile, I don't read anywhere on the Argonne site about producing. Well, it is a laboratory... but shouldn't something with immediate commercial application be coming out? How about ready for production?
After all, there are only 12 years to go before automotive fleets must be converted to new technologies... whatever they are.
What about gasoline/electric or diesel/electric hybrids? What about ethanol [E85] powered vehicles?
They may make sense for today in that the technology is available. However, if I were running an automobile company that was forced to deal with both future Federal and California mileage and emission regulations, I would not be placing a lot of bets on anything requiring combustion for the long term. Especially with the newly-found ability of states to arbitrarily set new standards based on any perceived unrelated issue.
What is certain is that over the next 12 years consumers will see some very different and much more expensive vehicles than are being sold now. We're talking about covering $100 billion plus in research and development costs that have to be paid by the consumers.
What is less certain is whether consumers will be better off as a result.
Fire, ready, aim.
We had the same political process recently in Michigan resulting in the Michigan Service Tax. Ouch!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bashing Auto Companies


This editorial from The Detroit News says it very well:

Friday, December 14, 2007
Energy bill does little more than bash autos

A modified energy bill has had to be stripped by the U.S. Senate of most of the House language that offended various special interests. What's left, however, is legislation that almost exclusively burdens the automobile industry.

If such a version of the legislation makes it to the president, it deserves a veto.

The legislation can't rightly be called an "energy bill," since it does nothing to lay the strategic groundwork for responsible future energy production and use. Instead, it is an anti-automobile bill, pure and simple.

About the only impactful provision that remains in place is the mandate for a 40 percent increase in corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) by 2020, or a fleetwide industry average of 35 miles per gallon.

This demand would cost Detroit's automakers an estimated $80 billion to meet, plus billions for other automakers. That price tag was not seen as too onerous by senators who worked feverishly throughout the day Thursday to spare most other industries any pain.

For example, the bill erases the $21.8 billion in additional taxes the oil and gas industries would have paid under the House version.

A proposed mandate that utilities get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources will disappear.

And the bill is being seasoned with hundreds of millions of dollars in pork for coal miners in Kentucky and fishermen in Alaska to buy a few extra votes.

But the automobile industry is being spared nothing. Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Democrats, lobbied to guarantee the automakers would face just one set of regulations.

But as it stands, the bill does not clarify with certainty that the fuel economy levels set by Congress will be the national standard.

Federal court rulings in California and Vermont cases extended the right to set fuel economy levels to the Environmental Protection Agency in the name of curbing tailpipe emissions.

The rulings allow states to petition the EPA for their own CAFE mandates and could ultimately mean automakers would have to produce different vehicles for different regions of the country, or withdraw entirely from certain markets.

The regulatory ambiguity will cost the industry an estimated 5 percent of its sales and add $1,500 to $6,000 to the cost of a vehicle.

The best Levin could do was to gain from the bill's sponsor, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, statements on the record that their intent is for congressional fuel economy levels to be the national standard, and that regulations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency must be consistent.

The statement is better than nothing, and Levin deserves credit for winning it for the industry.

But it is far from the certainty automakers would get from specific language in the legislation that would spare them the unfairness of inconsistent regulations.

Unfortunately, there weren't enough votes for such language.

Along with squeezing automakers, the bill provides some tax incentives for conservation and efficiency, and a commitment to producing ethanol and other alternative fuels.

But the legislation is not by any stretch a strategic national energy policy.

When it hits his desk, President Bush should send it back to Congress with a veto.

Friday, December 14, 2007

U.S. Resists U.N. Coup


The U.N. is holding a large boondoggle in Bali... ostensibly about climate change. While the U.S. has "delegates" to this circus, it is not signing on the dotted line for all of the snake oil... but maybe thinks the shell game is pretty interesting.

Regardless of the rhetoric, this conference is not about global warming or climate change. The UN meeting in Bali is about usurping political and economic power. It is about a small group of self-appointed political activists who are trying to circumvent the constitutional authorities of every nation on earth.

No, I'm not talking about the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals... it only wants to usurp the constitutional authority of the U.S.
The tactic of this U.N. group is to use hyperbole to create hysteria. Any opposing viewpoint is prohibited. This is not about science or protecting the earth; this is about grabbing power and taking away freedom.
The so-called science of anthropogenic global warming has been demonstrated to be ill-conceived and fatally flawed. But it is now the basis of popular belief. So much medieval superstition. It is the science of predicting doom... and when the predictions don't occur, then they are simply delayed for a few years.
Where are the voices of reason?


Thursday, December 13, 2007

States Rights and Consequences


There have been attempts by states to set their own standards for international or national products. For example, California and a few other follower states want to be able to set emission and mileage standards for vehicles made around the world. You want to sell a vehicle in our state, you do what we demand. They've tried to push their demands onto the national stage by either getting a court decree or passing national standards that meet their wishes.

It's likely that they won't get what they want in terms of a national "energy bill", so they will likely do what that can to enact their own rules, regardless.
I think that is fair. Consumers in those states should have their choices restricted by their politicians since they were stupid enough to elect them.

How about some other regulations that California could impose:
  • all products must be certified as produced in facilities having at least 15% of their electric power produced from renewable resources
  • all products must be transported to California using either hybrid electric, hydrogen, or E85 powered vehicles
  • all electricity imported into California must be from renewable resources [California doesn't believe in building new power plants for its own needs]
  • all products grown in California must be sown/planted and harvested using either hybrid electric, hydrogen, or E85 powered vehicles
  • all products shipped from California must be transported using either hybrid electric, hydrogen, or E85 powered vehicles
  • all companies doing business in California must be certified as carbon-neutral or carbon-negative... or pay a carbon-penance
...among many.

Why not? As California goes, so must the rest of the world. You think we're on to something here?
Or the rest of the world can say that 38 million Californians constitute less than 1% of the earth's population... that's too small of a tail wagging a very big dog.
Even absent California's 38 million people, that still leaves a market of 260-270 million others in the U.S. Not that shabby. Meanwhile the cost of doing business or living in California will grow rapidly while choices decrease.

Sure, companies will make some products that meet California requirements. But if California insists on its own standards, sooner or later companies will say to California customers, "Here are the products that meet your standards. The others you can buy in Nevada, Arizona, or Oregon."
I'm really anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see that E85 1/2-ton pickup truck that gets 35 mpg city/highway. That'll be a real winner for anyone who actually wants to use it for something. The cost might be a little more than what you're paying today... even adjusted for inflation.

Appropriate consequences, eh?
Has anyone heard about California's secret plans for its own immigration laws? They don't need no rotten Fed laws.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ice Cover - It's Back


ICECAP has an interesting article by Joseph D'Aleo, to wit: In the Northern Hemisphere, the ice and snow cover have recovered to within 1% (one snowstorm) of normal with the official start of winter still more than 12 days away.

Check it out.


November 2007


Once again, no new all-time statewide high temperatures. In fact, November was a fairly "blah" month for talking up records of any sort. The "all-time" record listed in Nevada was actually a calculation of an average temperature taken at an airport for the whole month... not a record high temperature in the traditional sense.

I'm going to take a crack at "predicting" and say that there won't be any statewide record high temperatures in December around the U.S. So far, in Michigan, December has been below normal... every day... and forecasted to remain such for the next 10 days.

Of course, we all know that any forecast beyond 48 hours starts to become suspect... no 85% probability.

November 2007



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Federal Reserve Baby Steps


Death by a thousand cuts:

``They're thinking that the Fed doesn't get it,'' said Jeffrey Kleintop, who helps oversee about $163 billion as chief market strategist at LPL Financial Services in Boston. Investors are concerned ``these little baby steps are not going to be sufficient to avoid a recession.'' [source]
Just look at my comments along the right side.
Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.

35 MPG Trucks


The Nancy and Harry Show has decided that a nice even... well, no... odd number of 35 mpg for trucks sounds like a good mandate for 2020. Well good for Nancy and Harry!

Now let's look at what we have and what has to change.
Let's presume that Nancy and Harry are not going to nitpick and if a vehicle puts gasoline in its tank and gets 35 mpg, it passes the test. Now if E85 is substituted, the actual mileage would probably be:
(35 x .15) + (35 x .65 x .85) = 24.6 mpg
That's because ethanol contains significantly less energy per gallon than gasoline.
So we have to presume that mandating 36 billion gallons of ethanol has nothing to do with better mileage... plus there is the added smog problem and from what we'll produce that 36 billion gallons... all of our corn crop?
What kind of technologies will get us to 35 mpg... real 35 mpg?
We know that diesel engines can improve mileage up to 30% or so over gasoline. And hybrid diesel/electric would improve that somewhat more... let's guess up to 35-40% over gasoline. Of course, there might be a little more expense involved.
If a truck now gets 17 mpg average [combined city/highway], then a 40% improvement is not enough... it would need a 100%+ improvement which an electric/diesel hybrid can't deliver. So these trucks are out!

If a truck now gets 24 mpg average [combined city/highway], then a 40% improvement almost gets there... so let's take a leap of faith and say that the physics of the situation tells us that an electric/diesel hybrid could reach the holy grail mileage. These trucks would make it.
Oooops! Sorry, none are available.
Well, these compact trucks might make it with some tweaks... perhaps by making them smaller. Of course, they might not be good for anything at that point.

Of course, at least 15% of the energy to recharge the batteries must come from renewable resources. That's another part of the Nancy and Harry Show.
How about solar panels in the pickup bed? Of course, that means you couldn't actually put anything into the pickup bed. But since the trucks will be too small to haul anything anyway, why not?
So, if you are applauding the Nancy and Harry Show, is it because you think this should be the design of future trucks?

Or is it because you haven't done the math and physics? Nancy? Harry?
I know, I know. Then a miracle happens!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

2007 - The Year That Wasn't



If you are a skeptic about runaway, anthropogenic global warming, then you are a "denier" and worse than the Nazis.

The problem is that the voices of doom... those holier than thou... just can't seem to get it right.
This year there was an 85% probability that we were going to be belted with many more big hurricanes than normal... didn't happen.

This year we were supposed to have the hottest year on record... didn't happen. In fact, South American had one of its longest, coldest winters on record and Antarctic ice expanded significantly.
As quoted by Dr. John Ray:
An email below to Benny Peiser from David Whitehouse []

"With just a few weeks to go it's looking like 2007 will be the coolest year this century and possibly the coolest since 1995. If so then one more year like this and we will begin to have enough statistical information to speculate about a downward trend, though a few more years will be better. With this in mind may I remind readers what the UK Met Office predicted on 4th January 2007:
"2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998, say climate-change experts at the Met Office. Global temperature for 2007 is expected to be 0.54 øC above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14.0 øC; There is a 60% probability that 2007 will be as warm or warmer than the current warmest year (1998 was +0.52 øC above the long-term 1961-1990 average)."
But the most amazing sentence in their prediction is this:
Katie Hopkins from Met Office Consulting said: "This new information represents another warning that climate change is happening around the world. Our work in the climate change consultancy team applies Met Office research to help businesses mitigate against risk and adapt at a strategic level for success in the new environment."
I wasn't aware that a "prediction" represents "new information." Well, perhaps it does to a certain breed of consultant. I wonder if the Met Office's clients will ask for their money back if the Met Office's prediction proved way off the mark?"
Yes, when the facts don't support the rhetoric, the predictions will.
At some point, there will have to be a judgment... based on facts... that can't be ignored.
Of course, those predictions are good enough for politicians around the world to try to make stupid economic decisions that will cost the world trillions of dollars.

Still, we wouldn't mind a little of that "global warming" here in Michigan... especially with that layer of ice on our vehicles and roads.
1129 AM EST SUN DEC 9 2007


You're Probably An Idiot


In a recent email exchange with Bill down South, he forwarded a long commentary about Mitt Romney written by another person. It was a litany of quotes from well-known people and organizations concerning Romney's handling of the "Mormon issue"... most of it highly praising Romney for managing to deflect the religious issue by calling upon the words of Samuel Adams and John Kennedy.

I don't have much concern about a person's religion unless they want to use the power of their office to try to force their religious beliefs upon me. Other than the political red herring of abortion that comes up every election, there is little chance of a president's religious beliefs affecting the course of the U.S., given the array of hurdles to achieve anything these days. More than likely, a Mormon president would take extra pains to avoid even the slightest hint of using or abusing his office to accommodate his religion.

I wrote:

There needs to be a large pre-filter for any presidential candidate: integrity. That's not about changing one's mind about issues; it is about being honest and principled. If you've never been convinced that your original thoughts on a subject needed rethinking, you are probably an idiot. But if you change your mind and then say your present position is the one you've always had, you are unprincipled and lack integrity.

Can you identify any candidates who are examples of the latter?
Bill wrote back:

Your closing questions nails Clinton and the G-man (my new nickname for the NY Thug). And many of the other Democrats hugging Clinton's skirt or should I say pantsuit. Not sure about the other Republicans - most appear to have strong value systems, however unhinged they may be. Most of the Dems are clueless on character traits. Feet of clay.

I liked your line: "If you've never been convinced that your original thoughts on a subject needed rethinking, you are probably an idiot."

I've met a few idiots - mostly arrogant senior military officers at the O-6/O-8 levels and perhaps 400 second lieutenants (including myself, of course). The others I have met were primarily military retirees and factory workers. Lockstep thinkers...not unintelligent in terms of mental capabilities, but stupid for being so arrogant and self-righteous when their scope of knowledge was not much better than a Rush Limbaugh radio show. No deep thinking.

Well, that's among the Republican crowd.

As for the Democrats, I've never met that many who could stick to one thought, belief, or idea for more than a few weeks at best. Still, I have to admit that I had my greatest success moving legislation or funding needs through the two Houses of Congress with the Democratic Party office holders and staffs. Never did understand that, other than to note that many of the Republicans thought they knew everything in the world - arrogant beyond compare. Some deserved good ol ass whippings out behind the barn - but that needed correctional opportunity apparently didn't occur during their youth or early adult experiences.

I am supporting Romney and perhaps Huckabee. At least they believe in something of value and stands behind it. I believe that I could trust either of these gentlemen. Can't say that about any Democrats, though there must be one out there somewhere that has that level of conviction and character.

Bill is a difficult man to please. Maybe he just thinks more than most. But I'm less interested in a personal "values" [which is often a code word for a specific set of immutable beliefs] than a candidate with integrity, intelligence, and an approach to government that doesn't see it as the cure for every perceived ill... and who will surround himself with like people.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Energy Stupidity


The House version of the Energy Bill pushed by Nancy Pelosi of California calls for 36 billion gallons of fuel to be biofuel... primarily ethanol.

A new study shows that developing “green” fuel alternatives may put those with asthma and other respiratory diseases at a higher risk.

The research, which was developed by Civil and Environmental Engineering Prof. Mark Jacobson, indicates that more of the corrosive gas ozone would be produced by the combustion of ethanol than by the combustion of gasoline.

“Ethanol is being promoted as a clean and renewable fuel that will reduce global warming and air pollution,” Jacobson said in a recent Los Angeles Times article. “But our results show that a high blend of ethanol poses an equal or greater risk to public health than gasoline, which already causes significant health damage.”

The study specifically deals with E85, an alternative to gasoline which is composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

According to Jacobson’s report, “under the base-case emission scenario derived, which accounted for projected improvements in gasoline and E85 vehicle emission controls, it was found that E85 may increase ozone-related mortality, hospitalization and asthma by about nine percent in Los Angeles and four percent in the U.S. as a whole relative to 100 percent gasoline.” [source]

Good thing there aren't any voters for Pelosi in Los Angeles; she might lose every 11th one. But not to worry because she'll be sure to include a liability provision in the Bill that allows all those Californians to sue the auto manufacturers for damaging their health.

And the bill would force utilities to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity using renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power by 2020. Does the House leader realize that wood is a "renewable resource" and is a relatively simple conversion... albeit far less efficient... from coal? Just cut down the forests and wait for the new ones to grow back!
Ah, the smell of wood smoke filling the air!
How about building a bunch of 4th generation nuclear power plants...
fourth-generation design called a gas-pebble-bed reactor (PBMR). The new reactors are supposed to be inexpensive to build, more powerful, and safer; and they can be operated for up to 60 years, according to nuclear-power trade groups... [source]
and actually have a solution that works consistently, efficiently and safely? Even when it is raining or the air is calm. More here.
This bill sounds like something an old hippie might write.

Friday, December 07, 2007

December 7


From last year with a minor update:

66 years is a lifetime ago... ancient history.

Ford stopped production of cars and trucks and began building bombers.

66 years later, Ford is closing down automotive plants... and Toyota is poised to eventually become the largest producer of cars and trucks in the U.S.

All kinds of thoughts come to mind... but "what have you done for me today" seems most appropriate.
There are those on the west coast who have already forgotten.


Winter Forecast


They are sticking to their story:

We hope so... but I think I'll keep my shorts and golf clubs in storage a little longer.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Cold Enough?



Mega Freeze


While there has been a lot of anguish about earth warming up some, The History Channel has a program that may give you a different perspective... what might happen if temperatures dropped 1-2°.

The episode is called "Mega Freeze" and was first aired in 2006.

If you get a chance to see it, do so. You'll see what happened the last time the sunspot activity went into a protracted quiet period.

The one part of the show that was a bit controversial was the conjecture of what might happen if the Gulf Stream was disrupted by global warming... conjecture that has been pretty well discredited... to trigger a new ice age.

If you are queasy, you may need to avoid this show.

Life was a lot more like this...

Than this...

The interesting thing about this show was that it used actual history to show what would happen with a drop in temperatures, but used a great amount of conjecture about what would/might happen if temperatures increased a few degrees.
I guess that's expected because we haven't really had warmer temperatures for a few thousand years... so no one really knows what would happen... except that human population and range increased tremendously the last time earth was warmer.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Future Mandate


Yesterday's post dealt with the Federal government's mandate for automotive fuel efficiency... CAFE. After posting that, I began to speculate on the next, great government mandate.

My guess is significant restriction of water usage.
Think about it. Periodic droughts south of 35° N and renewed talk about diverting water from the Great Lakes [wonder how Canada would react?]. Ground water drying up in the southwestern states. The Colorado River a constant source of concern and debate.

I see the following possible government-mandated water regulations circa 2020:
  • All consumer appliances using water must be restricted to 1/2 the 2008 standards, including; faucets, dishwashers, toilets, washing machines.
  • All lawn systems must have separate meters that will be limited to X gallons per month with mandatory shut-offs.
  • Irrigation from ground water is forbidden
  • All phosphate fertilizers [which could contaminate ground and lake water] are forbidden
  • All new buildings must be built with rainwater catch basins to supplement non-drinking water needs.
  • Bottled water from underground sources is forbidden
  • Bottled water-based products from underground sources are forbidden
  • All cities must ensure that underground distribution systems of water are certified leak-free.
  • All water purification must be done at solar or wind-powered facilities
  • Water, other than rain water, for any landscaping purpose is forbidden.
  • All watercraft must use only electric or manual propulsion systems to avoid water contamination.
  • All ships carrying any non-water liquids in U.S. territory must have double-hulls.
  • All land-based transport of non-water liquids must be in double-walled containers
  • and on and on....
Why not? None of these are beyond the realm of some well-intentioned senator from California working together with some negative-growth group.
Water is limited [ignore all of that water running back out to the oceans]; population is growing. It's time to act so that we don't run out of water before we die from global warming [neither is likely, but water quality is a concern in many places in the U.S.].
And the cost couldn't be too much, could it? Let's have a 1/10 penny-per-gallon tax on water to finance the administrative cost of enforcing this mandate. At 400 million gallons per day, that will raise $150 billion per year.
That should be enough for the needed enforcers. Of course there might be other costs.
Of course, there is the alternative of living where there is abundant water....


Tuesday, December 04, 2007



The latest government mandate is the 35 mpg CAFE standard that is percolating through Congress, but may face a veto because it doesn't contain enough alternative fuel mandates to satisfy the President.

The thing about government mandates is that they are pushed by special interests who have no funding liability. They mandate; we pay.
The thing about mandates is that they run counter to all marketplace dynamics. The incentive of mandates is to avoid punishment rather than gain reward.
When you look at all great advances in human commerce, science, and technology, you rarely... if ever... find the motive to be one of avoiding punishment.
Yet, the government approach is the source that doles out all sorts of money to special interest cronies while costing other businesses and consumers billions of dollars in needless expense. In this latest example, automobile manufacturers have to spend vast sums guessing which unproven technology strategy to pursue to avoid punishment... rather than responding to a marketplace that demands the optimum combination of low cost, high performance and greatest efficiency.
In this case, efficiency is the only factor mandated by the government... and done in a way that is certain to maximize cost and minimize performance.
In other news, the education mandate "No child left behind" continues to disrupt schools systems already achieving high standards and excellent results by measuring those systems with faulty, illogical metrics....


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)