Saturday, February 28, 2009

On The Road 11


Sometimes plans change for no other reason than there was no reason not to change them. So, my wife announced that I should not pack for several more days because she saw no reason to get home if the high temperature was going to be 27 degrees [seeing it was 72 degrees here at the time she made her decision]. We'll head back to Michigan in time for the high temperatures to be 20 degrees warmer than they are now.

For the most part, our visit to Florida has been really pleasant even though the temperatures have been 5-10 degrees below normal. We don't think it is below normal, but then we haven't seen anything near normal in Michigan for several months. I'm beginning to think there must be a giant heat sink someplace in the world that has taken away the normal temperatures and left everyone shivering while NOAA declares global warming. One of our Florida kin complained that they have had several hard freezes and one of the coldest winters that they can remember. I didn't try to one-up that with an invitation to come to Michigan to experience cold [which is actually nothing like the cold of the four winters I spent in North Dakota]. Rather, I just grabbed my golf clubs and headed to sparsely populated golf courses where sub-four hour rounds are easily accomplished.

My younger brother is heading down here tonight and we'll get together before he and his wife head off for a 3 or 4 day cruise. We definitely will be leaving before he returns. Before that happens, my wife will be trying to convert more people to her low carb diet. I can picture the future: low carb parties where you get to try her recipes and then become a new "member" ala Tupperware. It's better than the political haranguing of last year.

Moving on....

The other day after Ben Bernanke spoke and the market jumped 270+ points, there was the positive impact of the Fed all over the news. Then, apparently, people actually listened to what he said and the market promptly lost what it had gained. Right now, President Obama is hoping things will change by randomly spending a lot of taxpayers' money... he seems to have bought into his own rhetoric about hope and change. The problem is that neither Wall Street nor Main Street has. Even California is beginning to understand that there is no free lunch.

And then there is scam and trade...


Thursday, February 26, 2009

You Can't Get There From Here


Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter comes across more like a logic professor than a U.S. Congressman. A leads to B and B leads to C therefore A leads to C.

Unfortunately, the federal government doesn't necessarily use sound logic when establishing its programs and provisions. Let's look at the loans to General Motors and Chrysler as an example. The government is lending these manufacturers money to continue their operations. As part of the deal, they must jump through various restructuring hoops and come up with plans for producing and selling vehicles that will save our planet from the non-threat of CO2. These companies are doing just that. People are being laid off and engineering teams are whipping together fanciful vehicles that run on a variety of propulsion fuels that have no supporting infrastructure. Regardless, Congress can feel good about its efforts to "fix" these companies.

Here is where Rep. McCotter, the Diogenes of Congress, looks around and sees the hypocrisy and duplicity of the government and says [via Jameson Cunningham in McCotter's staff]:

“As our American auto industry’s working families continue to endure a painful and perilous restructuring process, the Federal Reserve must help – not hinder – these working families and our auto industry’s chance to survive and, one day, thrive.

Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve’s Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) may not include credit access relief for domestic auto dealers to purchase cars from manufacturers. This past Wednesday, in the House Financial Services Committee, I reaffirmed the Federal Reserve must help make TALF work for auto dealers, consumers, and every working family in the American auto industry.

“Bluntly: if the American auto industry receives an enhanced bridge loan and continues its painful restructuring on the path to viability, the Federal Reserve cannot put this immense road block in the way of working families’ efforts to keep their jobs, their homes, and their dreams for their children.”

What is he saying... for those who miss the obvious... is that the government can't offer money to the auto companies on the condition that they do what the government says and then make it impossible for these companies to sell their vehicles because the government fails to ensure that the dealers who buy these vehicles have access to the credit from the banks which received much more from the government... but are refusing to provide dealers with credit.

The left hand doesn't know what the left wing is doing.


On The Road 10


I almost choked when I read this from The New York Times:

The White House says it is unfair for high-income people to get a bigger tax break than middle-income people for claiming the same deductions or making the same charitable contributions.
Let's get this straight: it is fair to pay more taxes per dollar for income made, but it is not fair to get a greater deduction per dollar for charity. And who is this "White House" person and when did he take logic?

I think I heard this White House character once say something like, "What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine." He seemed very pleased with his philosophy.

Moving on....

I know a diet must be working when my wife tells me I have to eat more. It really is difficult to eat 1,800 calories a day when it is comprised of mostly fat and protein with just some fiber thrown in. My stomach won't tell me I'm hungry.

We'll be traveling north soon, but not before some more golf. After a 4 month layoff, my game vacillates between golf and flog.

Moving on to the economy....

I am thinking that the psychology of a recession is similar to that of coping with grief and loss as postulated by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

From Wikipedia, the five stages are:

  1. Denial:
    • Example - "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me!"
  2. Anger:
    • Example - "Why me? It's not fair!" "How can this happen, I hate this world!"
  3. Bargaining:
    • Example - "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything, can't you stretch it out? A few more years." I will give my life savings if..."'
  4. Depression:
    • Example - "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"
  5. Acceptance:
    • Example - "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
That struck me as what may take us out of this recession more than a government sponsored spending mess. I was talking with my brother who had called to tell me he was going to buy a new boat to replace the one he had bought used 12 years ago. It has seen better days and many days of hard use. He gave two reasons:
  1. He can get a great bargain now.
  2. He has lost many thousands of dollars in his retirement investments and the purchase price of the boat is small potatoes compared with that.
Basically, he has come to accept the present reality and concluded that he is going to go on living despite the loss. As more people do that, the economy will begin to return to normal.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On The Road 9


While I enjoy vacationing in the south during the winter, one of my pet peeves is the traffic control system in the Orlando area.  I have to admit that it seems a little better this winter, but that may be due to fewer tourists such as myself.  It's not about the roads which are pretty good given the lack of the freeze/thaw cycle of the north.  It's about the herky-jerky traffic movement patterns that simply waste time and gas.

The light synchronization on main surface streets gets so bad sometimes that I have resorted to taking the toll roads that are under construction rather than the surface streets whenever possible.  This evening I was on a main north-south street that is a boulevard and three lanes wide each way.  Start at a green signal and get to the next signal... at the posted speed... and it is turning red.  Start again when the signal turns green and get to the next signal as it is turning red.  That's infuriating enough, but it is made worse by the fact that these are secondary surface streets that are crossing the main street... not other primary thoroughfares.  Those intersections should be flashing yellow for the main street and flashing red for the secondary streets by 9 pm.  

At one point there was a line of vehicles on the main street at a bicycle path crossing that had the green light.  How many bicycles do you think were using the trail that time of night?  The federal government is making a big deal about pushing automobile manufacturers to build 1/2 ton pickups that get 35 mpg and cost $50,000 and emit no CO2, but nothing is said about the waste associated with really bad traffic management.

This is all over the U.S.  So why not have a provision in all of this road building stimulus giveaway that links the funds to a 100% improvement in traffic signal management.  All signals on all main roads should be timed so that a vehicle traveling at the posted speed can continue without having to stop for a signal when the road is at 80% of capacity or less.  That 30 minute drive is reduced to 20 minutes and the gas mileage is increase 25-50%.

Let's get something for our money beyond more taxes and vehicles that automobile manufacturers can't sell because ... regardless of government mandates ... they are only niche vehicles that are too expensive with too short of a range and too unreliable fuel sources.  Still looking for the hydrogen filling station?  Have to wait for propane while some guy get 4 barbeque tanks filled?  Too bad you have to go 50 miles and your plug-in electric only has a range of 40 miles.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Economy 2009: You Are Here


I keep this image [without the red text] in the right column.  You can disagree with the specific order and maybe even the specific parts, but history has shown that the spiral does and is happening.  

Meanwhile, how about $1 billion to Hamas?


On The Road 8


Got a temporary wifi connection for my laptop. God, I love regular keyboards instead of those elfin touch screens.

As I mentioned a few days ago, my wife's family tends to be on the large size. One of her sister's kids had spent a couple of weeks with us last year and we had discussions about eating right. Because of the success we've had with a low carb diet, my wife and I decided to have another discussion about food and health with our niece who lives in the area where we are visiting.

My wife spent the better part of a day going over her recently discovered recipes and preparing them with our niece. She seemed to enjoy that. But then I showed her a little application that can be downloaded into the iPhone called "Lose It." It's a free add-on that allows you to set your weight goals and then gives you a calorie "budget" for the day.

Our niece got very interested at that point... she had an iPhone, too. Like so many young people, she was intrigued by new technology. This was just what she wanted... an easy way to track what she ate and get an analysis of how it fit into her diet goals. Calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates, all detailed and graphed. The application allows a person to enter whole recipes that can be divided into various serving amounts. It has a large database of foods... including brand name and restaurant food. Want to know what that double Whopper cheeseburger contains? I looked it up. About 2/3 of a day's calories for me.

My niece spent quite a bit of time copying all of the recipes from my iPhone into her's. It would have been nice if I could have just sent them via email, but the application does not have that functionality. Still, the fact that she spent all of that time entering the information manually shows more than just passing interest.

I'm curious to see if my wife and I are able to maintain this diet successfully as we continue our travels. We did not bring our own scale and it seems that there is at least a 10 pound variance among home scales... +/- 5 lbs. So, we'll see if we could at least maintain the level we were at when we left. No double Whopper cheeseburgers included.


Monday, February 23, 2009

On The Road 7


It's all relative here with the relatives. Temperatures have been cold for them, but warm for us. Normal high is mid-70s; it's been in the 60s... which is a far cry from the below-normal teens and 20s back home. Not sure how much snow there has been, but the neighbors are kindly handling things and we have a 4x4 that can handle most of what the winter travels might throw our way. I'll agree to give up my winter-capable vehicle as soon as global warming actually makes a difference in Michigan weather... perhaps a few thousand years from now.

My wife can't handle political news withdrawal. She spends her non-visiting hours watching cable news or web-surfing on her iPhone. This morning before coffee was even ready, she announced that it was time to impeach Pres. Obama for signing an order/legislation? allowing thousands or hundred of thousands of Palestinians into the US after they were refused entry by Egypt and other nearby Muslim states who apparently saw them as potential security threats. Her reaction is that is just what we need (dripping sarcasm) ... a major influx of Jew-hating, women-suppressing, it's-okay-to-blow-up-your-children-for-Allah nut jobs... on top of millions of illegal aliens from Mexico bringing chaos to our cities (well California anyway) and destroying our state and local budgets. Impeachment? It's about protection from all enemies... foreign and domestic... and doing the opposite.

Reminds me of an old episode of "House" I watched with my mother-in-law. He was carrying on about an unnaturally calm and seeking-to-please patient. House said that he had to be ill because nature breeds out people like that patient. The gist: three cavemen faced with a stranger carrying a weapon. One turns and runs. Another gets his own weapon and confronts the stranger. The third yells a welcome and tries to give the stranger a friendly hug. The third one does not have offspring.

Coffee put her in a slightly better mood.

The plan for today is to try to find a suitable movie to take our elderly mothers. I believe those ceased to be made in the 1950s, but it looks as if I'll be getting my vitamin D from a pill.

Another local peculiarity: TV ads are dominated by hearing aids and battery-powered "scooter" chairs. You'd think the average age of Florida residents was 80 or so.

More from my $)$);@!? iPhone touch-screen later.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

On The Road 6


An interesting artifact of local roads in part of the Central Florida area are so-called "traffic signal confirmation lights" ... small, bright blue lights that appear over the traffic signals when the light is red. Apparently, the purpose of the blue lights is to assist law enforcement officers in determining that a vehicle has run through a red light.

Before I read why those blue lights were there ... the City of Oviedo website provided the explanation ... I thought the lights were added to assist Florida's older drivers or red-green color-blind drivers at night when poor vision or the inability to see the signal light position in the stack could add to the danger of going through a red light. I still think it would be a good idea in highly congested areas where speeds are in excess of 40 mph.

Of course, the best of ideas needs to be executed properly. At several intersections, the blue lights were on over one red signal, but off over the red light in the adjacent lane. Worse, sometimes they were off over the red signal and on over the left-turn lane signal that was green. Bad execution of techology is worse than the absence of the technology.

Technologies have a lot of unintentional consequences ... good and bad. Cell phones can be life savers or life takers depending on how, when, and where they are used. So it's not surprising that lights intended to help police make more certain arrests also assist some drivers in avoiding those arrests. Of course, the only technology that would really help with some of Florida's speeding, tail-gating drivers is a system that signals the car to brake when the approaching light is red. Maybe that's one for the future.

Still hunting and pecking on the iPhone touch screen. There is a foldable Bluetooth keyboard that has been developed to work with the iPhone... once Apple gets off it's collective butt and enables it's iPhone to work with the keyboard. The phone has Bluetooth capability, but for some reason Apple won't program it to work with the keyboard.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

On The Road 5


Yesterday, I had a little fun with CO2 and O2... and our government's push to treat a harmless... no, necessary... chemical of life that has been given this monstrous reputation as a threat to our existence... based on erroneous assumptions and sloppy science... as a pollutant. Without a real understanding of climate dynamics, climate drivers, and man's real impact on the environment, a few politicians and activists began a deliberate campaign of misinformation and half-truths designed to create fear in the general population about our future... fear that would give them power, influence, and money. And they were largely successful.

Now we have large segments of our government focused on "reinventing" our economy and the free market around the one big lie: man-made global warming is happening because man creates CO2 as a by-product of his economy and free-market. The scam artists and fringe products are lining up to take money from the government's "reinventing." But we'll be saved from harmless and necessary CO2.

This same government is now going to protect us from racism. AG Holder laments that out legal system is putting too many young blacks in jail... since the percent of black inmates is three to four times the percentage that the black population comprises of the general population. Just as government chooses to ignore the real science of climate and the minor role that CO2 actually plays, it seems this government official wants to ignore the violent, anti-intellectual black sub-culture that produces these jail squatters and seeks to blame the legal system. Perhaps this is the next "reinventing" planned by our new administration. A "reinventing" that will now over-protect our criminals and terrorists from our legal system. After all, our system "discriminates" against their actions just because they are minorities.

Did George Orwell own a time machine?


Friday, February 20, 2009

On The Road 4


More pecking from the iPhone touch pad ... @$&@/?!

Been reading about the latest Orwellian effort in the Obama junta... make CO2 a pollutant. Climate Science ( ... don't even think about creating links on an iPhone ... had a really good post on the folly of this yesterday (2/20/09). But this fine analysis misses the point: the EPA and all of the alarmist organizations and their lawyers are missing the "root cause."

Without O2, their could be no CO2. O2, as every scientist knows, is highly corrosive and poisonous in some situations. It will take a perfectly good bridge girder and turn it into a pile of rust... endangering all who cross the bridge. In our bodies, O2 causes all manner of ills. That's obvious from all of the ads for anti-oxidants... can't "oxidize" without that O2. But the real danger to all of us from O2 is that it converts perfectly harmless carbon into melting glaciers, desert infernoes, and spreading malaria.

It is just like the government to ignore the root-cause of a problem and treat the symptoms. Rather than waste trillions of dollars chasing CO2, go after the O2. By clearing whole forests and other areas of vegetation, O2 production could be reduced dramatically. The would also address the jobs issue by increasing the opportunities for paving huge expanses. And it would reduce the formation of other poisons formed with O2... NO/NO2... SO/SO2... etc.

Yes, we must pressure our government to act rationally and begin to severely constrain O2 in our environment.

Or maybe the government could just go on a long vacation and not worry about "protecting" us so much.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

On The Road 3


My wife's family are salt-of-the-earth people... honest, hard-working, and generous. They also tend toward the larger sizes. My wife has always fought the battle of the bulge... and in recent years I have crept up a bit. Still it wasn't until she found out that she might be developing diabetes that she got serious about correcting her health.

My wife is a voracious reader and can be amazingly focused when she is motivated. She is determined to control her blood sugar levels with diet and has gone full-bore into a new way of eating promoted by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades in their book "The Protein Power Lifeplan." It is basically a restricted carbohydrate diet that allows generous amounts of protein and fat. Sounds easy, but try eliminating sugar and grains and sweet fruits. No cereals. Deserts? A few. Going out to eat? Lots of luck.

She started after Thanksgiving. I figured Christmas would be the end of the diet, but she kept finding good-tasting recipies online... and making them. By New Years, she had lost 10 pounds and had gained enthusiasm. Then I noticed I had lost 5 pound and I was not on her diet... officially. Of course, I was eating a lot of the low carbohydrate meals... just not getting rid of all of the "carbs." I decided that it was time to make it easier for her. I would eat only low carb. But there was that "no wheat, corn, rice" part that didn't thrill me. Well, with a little digging, we found that we could make some great tasting muffins and buns with freshly-ground flax seeds or coconut oil or protein powder. A flax bun with cheese baked in worked great for hamburgers. Take out the cheese and add some vanilla protein powder and you have the "cake" for strawberry short cake. Then there were the flax, banana, walnut muffins (only 1/2 banana for a batch). And I loved the flax pumpkin muffins. Suddenly, I didn't miss the wheat bread.

So here we are in Florida visiting her family. I guess the 20+ pounds she has lost and the roughly 20 pounds I've shed made an impression on her family. Now they all want in on "the plan." Boxes of carbohyrate-laden food are being removed from her mother's pantry... and Costco made a lot of money selling protein and fat foods. Yes, fat. Apparently, eating more fat... but keeping calories at 1,800-2,000 per day trains your body to burn fat instead of sugar. And your pancreas stops flooding your body with insulin to burn sugar... and convert the excess carbs into fat stored in your fat cells.

Today I played my first round of golf since October. I had a low-carb, high-protein breakfast and six hours and a round of golf later, I still wasn't hungry. That seems to be a side-effect of this diet... no more "munchies" that carbs cause. And... being 20 pounds lighter and not hungry by the 14th hole made the round more enjoyable.

Still pecking on the iPhone. Hey, Apple, I need a foldable keyboard that works with the iPhone. Are you ever going to listen?


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On The Road 2


More observations via my iPhone.

Had a brake problem coming down the mountains in Tennessee. 6,000 miles after having my truck's front brakes/rotors replaced because of a bad caliper, the truck started shaking while braking on a 6-degree grade. That doesn't sound like much, but there were "runaway truck" ramps every 3/4 mile... so it's steeper than you might think. The dealer here in Florida said a bad caliper had caused the brake pad to rub on the rotor and the excessive friction heat warped the face of the rotor. It's like sliding two flat pieces of metal over each other. As long as they are perfectly flat the effect is smooth. If one gets bumpy, the effect is shudder.

I'll discuss this with the dealer who did the first repair when we get back to Michigan. Glad this didn't happen going back with the truck full of my mother's excess furniture.

All the news around here is about foreclosures. I thought Michigan's housing market stunk, but this is advanced decay here. Vulture "refinancers" abound. Some homes are selling... trying to be sold... for 1/3 of their "market value" of just a few years ago. This problem is not going to be fixed soon and "responsible" homeowners are going to be penalized twice... their home values have been crushed and they will get to pay full original price while subsidizing those who got in over their heads. Of course, not all of those people were irresponsible. Many were 2nd phase losers... as the economy spiraled down, they lost their jobs or businesses and couldn't keep up with their bills. That has hit close to home with my brother-in-law losing his construction business and probably his home, too.

As the old song goes... "what you gonna do when the well run dry?"

More hunting and pecking on my iPhone later.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On The Road


Posting from my iPhone from Florida. No free wifi in the immediate area. It's a real pain typing on the one-finger touch screen. I wrote sometime back how the iPhone needed a dockable folding keyboard... and this is one of those times when it would be perfect. But from what I could ascertain, Apple has prevented 3rd party keyboard makers from selling iPhone-compatible keyboards.

The other irritant is that AT&T that provides service for the iPhone, including the Internet connectivity, won't let the iPhone serve as an Internet connection for my laptop. Given that I pay for that connectivity for both my iPhone and at home with AT&T U-verse, I'm peeved that I don't have a decent traveling option for my laptop... and the so-called free wifi service at scattered points around the US is nothing but PR fluff.

Oh well. It's Florida and February, so I'll get over this AT&T - Apple stupidity.

A couple of observations during the drive....

The Western Kentucky Parkway gave a brief glimpse of how bad the ice storm must have been. 100 miles ... more ... of broken forests. As if a giant helicopter hovered over the trees and pushed branches of large trees from their normal pointing to the sky to pointing to the ground. Smaller trees were shredded or flattened. Large convoys of trucks carrying clearing equipment and trailers to haul away debris lined the highway.

Another thought: if Obama wants to start public works efforts, start with road construction in Michigan which has to have the worst roads in the eastern US.

More hunting and pecking later.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Brother Is Gone


Posts may be less frequent for a little while. As you get older, you begin to lose family members. Two months ago a cousin; last month an aunt. It's expected for the most part, but sometimes hastened along by factors that could have been avoided.

We are on our way to see my older brother, Jack. Although we've been separated by geography most of our lives, it doesn't make the bonds any less. Over the last 15 years, he has suffered more than most with nasty afflictions. First came the rheumatoid arthritis. For a guy who loved his hobbies of horseback riding and raising cattle and just getting out to the barn, that was a major setback. Then last year came the bypass surgery complicated by the arthritis medicine that compromised his immune system. Then last month the news that he has advanced lung cancer... somehow missed by his doctors when all of his heart treatment was being done last year. He was told he had about six months to live by his doctors.

The rheumatoid arthritis doesn't run in the family, so I looked up what might have triggered that in someone in his late 50s. Well, according to, my brother hit the smoking trifecta:

Smoking is well known to be associated with added risks for a number of diseases including emphysema, lung cancer, and coronary artery disease. Now it appears that heavy smokers are also at a markedly increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
It's tough for non-smokers to appreciate the power of tobacco addiction. Many smokers know what they are doing to themselves and can't stop. Unfortunately, my brother was one of them.

Wednesday he took a turn for the worse. He died yesterday, much sooner than we expected. I didn't have a chance to say goodbye in person because our trip was scheduled on the basis that he had more time. But death has its own schedule. Jack was a good man who just couldn't save himself from the poison that was robbing him of everything that gave joy to his life.

I'm glad my older sister and my brother's wife were there and able to tell him that I loved him. I'll say goodbye to my brother at his funeral service on Sunday.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Watt's Not Is Hot


The last few posts have been about measuring temperatures and new records. It was noted that while Maine's reading of -50°F was recognized as a new record low for January for the entire state, the -38°F reading in Illinois was rejected by the state's climatologist, Jim Angel, despite the fact that the weather station had be calibrated the day before. Jim had his own rationale.

That does raise the issue... again... about the quality of weather stations. In a recent post at "Watts Up With That?" Anthony Watt provided an update about the survey of surface weather stations [as opposed to satellites]. This survey measures the error built into the readings because of surrounding... artificial heat sources, nearby reflective surfaces, etc. He showed the following graphs [note all of the red and orange]:



Almost 60% of the officially accepted stations have a warm bias of greater than 2°F due to things like air conditioner exhaust, asphalt parking lots or roofs, highways, brick walls, etc. And another 11% have a bias of more than 5°F.

That's about 5 times the increase that has sparked hysteria about global warming!
They support the hypothesis, so they are acceptable. Yet a station that was calibrated to correct measurement standards within 24 hours of recording a new record low was rejected. Let's not ascribe political motivations to this. Let's just ask some basic questions: if more than 2/3 of surface weather stations have at least 2°F error, what is the standard for accuracy that is acceptable... and why is that standard acceptable... and why is it reasonable to reject a station with zero bias?
And, further, why are new statewide, all-time, high temperature records not being set?
I'm thinking cooling... real cooling... cool!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gasoline Rises On Drop In Oil Prices


Northeast and midwest gasoline prices jumped 10-20¢ per gallon as oi prices dropped further to around $36 per barrel. Keeps happening here. Must be in anticipation of the stimulus package.

Oil plummets on global demand report
U.S. inventory report also shows bigger-than-expected rise in crude supply.
By Julianne Pepitone, contributing writer

Oil prices sank after one report said global demand for crude will continue to fall, and another said U.S. crude stockpiles increased.

NEW YORK ( -- Oil prices plummeted Wednesday after an international report said global demand for crude will continue to fall in 2009, re-igniting oversupply concerns.

The International Energy Agency reduced its predictions for demand to fall 84.7 million barrels per day in 2009, according to the monthly report.


Where Did The Hot Go?


Last week I posted "How Are We To Measure Global Warming"? It was a brief litany of the various ways climate and temperature change could be measured and was meant to show the basis for disagreement when the "facts" seem so obvious.

Over at Climate Science, Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. posted an examination of one of those areas: ocean heat content change as a measure of global climate change. The post was more technical than the average Al Gore YouTube video, but not so technical that even the slightly educated would be deterred from the obvious conclusion, to wit:

Thus, the best estimate value of 0.60 Watts per meter squared given in Hansen et al can be used, as a conservative value, to calculate the heat change in Joules that should be expected in the upper ocean data from 2003 to the present, as an update to results reported on Climate Science on June 5 2008.

The observed best estimates of the observed heating and the Hansen et al prediction in Joules in the upper 700m of the ocean are given below:

OBSERVED BEST ESTIMATE OF ACCUMULATION Of JOULES [assuming a baseline of zero at the end of 2002].

2003 ~0 Joules 1/
2004 ~0 Joules
2005 ~0 Joules
2006 ~0 Joules
2007 ~0 Joules
2008 ~0 Joules
2009 ——
2010 ——
2011 ——
2012 ——

[my comment: that looks an awful lot like no change to me]

HANSEN PREDICTION OF The ACCUMULATION OF JOULES [ at a rate of 0.60 Watts per meter squared] assuming a baseline of zero at the end of 2002].

2003 ~0.98 * 10** 22 Joules
2004 ~1.96 * 10** 22 Joules
2005 ~2.94 * 10** 22 Joules
2006 ~3.92 * 10** 22 Joules
2007 ~4.90 * 10** 22 Joules
2008 ~5.88 * 10** 22 Joules
2009 ~6.86 * 10** 22 Joules
2010 ~7.84 * 10** 22 Joules
2011 ~8.82 * 10** 22 Joules
2012 ~9.80 * 10** 22 Joules

Thus, according to the GISS model predictions, there should be approximately 5.88 * 10**22 Joules more heat in the upper 700 meters of the global ocean at the end of 2008 than were present at the beginning of 2003.

For the observations to come into agreement with the GISS model prediction by the end of 2012, for example, there would have to be an accumulation 9.8 * 10** 22 Joules of heat over just the next four years. This requires a heating rate over the next 4 years into the upper 700 meters of the ocean of 2.45 * 10**22 Joules per year, which corresponds to a radiative imbalance of ~1.50 Watts per square meter.

This rate of heating would have to be about 2 1/2 times higher than the 0.60 Watts per meter squared that Jim Hansen reported for the period 1993 to 2003.

While the time period for this descrepancy with the GISS model is relatively short, the question should be asked as to the number of years required to reject this model as having global warming predictive skill, if this large difference between the observations and the GISS model persists.
So, maybe instead of asking Where Did The Cold Go? we could be asking Where Did The Heat Go?

1/joule (J)
the SI unit of work or energy, defined to be the work done by a force of one newton acting to move an object through a distance of one meter in the direction in which the force is applied. Equivalently, since kinetic energy is one half the mass times the square of the velocity, one joule is the kinetic energy of a mass of two kilograms moving at a velocity of 1 m/s. This is the same as 107 ergs in the CGS system, or approximately 0.737 562 foot-pound in the traditional English system. In other energy units, one joule equals about 9.478 170 x 10-4 Btu, 0.238 846 (small) calories, or 2.777 778 x 10-4 watt hour. The joule is named for the British physicist James Prescott Joule (1818-1889), who demonstrated the equivalence of mechanical and thermal energy in a famous experiment in 1843. Although Joule pronounced his name "jowl", the unit is usually pronounced "jool" or "jew'l".
Got it?


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Here Is Where The Cold Went


Earlier today, I asked "where did the cold go" in reference to two new statewide all-time record low temperatures that had not appeared in the January 2009 records at NOAA.

Joe D'Aleo who writes a popular blog about all things climate at ICECAP posted this today:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
New Maine and New England All-Time Cold Record Confirmed

By Giselle Goodman, Maine Portland Press Herald - Maine Today

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey and Maine State Climate Office announced today that a minus-50 reading in northwestern Maine held up to scientific scrutiny. That beats Maine’s old record of 48 below zero set in 1925 in Van Buren, and ties the record for coldest temperature recorded in New England. That reading was made in 1933 in Bloomfield, Vt.

The record on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington is minus -47. Maine’s minus-50 reading was made on Jan. 16 at a remote site along the Big Black River near the Quebec border as the region was in the grip of a blast of arctic air.

By the way after a thaw this week, cold air will return starting Friday to the nation. Watch for lots of cold and snow probably the rest of the month.


See story here. Don’t expect it to receive a lot of national media coverage.

Posted on 02/10 at 12:17 PM
Incidentally, the records page for January 2009 at NOAA has the following statement:

PLEASE NOTE: All temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages. As final data become available, the most up-to-date statistics and graphics will be available on the Climate Monitoring Products page and the U.S. Climate at a Glance Web site.

The only problem is that the Climate Monitoring Products link returns an error. I guess that's appropriate.

Apparently, the Illinois record was disallowed.


Where Did The Cold Go?


Yesterday I reported that NOAA calculated that January was slightly warmer than normal for the U.S. As a Michigan resident, that's like saying only your head was shot, but the rest of your body is better than average.

In January, ICECAP reported a couple of all-time statewide cold temperature records... for Illinois [-38°F] and Maine [-50°F]. So, out of curiosity, I checked January's all-time minimum low records at NOAA and guess what?... neither of those records appeared. Let's give NOAA the benefit of the doubt here. These may be preliminary reports. If so, we'd expect the records to appear once they have been verified.

I'm just wondering about the massive storms that hit most of the mid-latitudes of the U.S. and the record snowfalls in the north. How did all of that happen... plus the record cold temperatures in the Northeast... when things were just slightly warmer than normal? Has someone been lowering those historical temperatures again? The 19th century just seems to be getting colder and colder.

Perhaps memories just play tricks on one's mind... or maybe some records got left out in the cold.


Monday, February 09, 2009

January Was Just Another Warm Month


After a month where temperature averaged more than 10°F below normal, NOAA now tells me that it was just our state and Maine that were cold... for the most part the U.S. was warmer than normal.

NOAA: January Temperature Slightly Above Average for U.S.

February 9, 2009

Temperatures for the contiguous United States last month were slightly above the long-term average, based on records going back to 1895, according to a preliminary analysis by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The average January temperature of 31.2 degrees F was 0.4 degree above the 20th Century average.

January 2009 Statewide Temperature Ranks.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

U.S. Temperature Highlights

  • January temperatures were below average across much of the eastern United States, while the western half of the nation experienced warmer-than-average temperatures.
  • California had its sixth warmest January on record. Maine and Michigan had their eighth and ninth coldest January on record, respectively.
  • Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index, the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was 3.0 percent above average in January.
Excuse me if I find that just a little hard to believe with utility bills about 50% higher than last year. All of that snow must have melted upon contact west of the Mississippi.


Some Like It Hot... For Others


There seems to be something about hot, dry situations that bring out the very worst kind of people in the world: arsonists. That's a euphemism for mass murderer.

Australia is suffering from massive fires in the worst of summer heat and drought thanks to arsonists... people who just like to see things burn because they like bright objects because their brains are otherwise too dull to process what is around them.

This is similar to Southern California where homes have been built in desert or near-desert conditions and stand in the path of annual fires started by idiots with matches. I suspect some of these idiots have a political motive... save the planet from people sort of thing. Others are just several cans short of a six-pack.

We forget about this when it is far away like Australia. But come July or August, we can expect a La Nina dry spell and someone who never grew out of playing with matches to hit California. Of course, like California, there is bound to be some Australian with the same IQ as the arsonist who will blame the fires on global warming.

From the BBC:

Australia fire toll 'to increase'

The wildfires that have ripped through the state of Victoria

Australian officials have warned that the death toll from wildfires that have already killed 108 people in the state of Victoria is likely to rise further.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the numbers were "numbing" and warned the nation to prepare for more bad news.

Troops and emergency crews are still battling about 25 fires - two of which are threatening urban areas.

Some towns have been almost completely destroyed by the fires, with arson suspected in some cases.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Stimulus - An Old Argument; A Failed Argument



Feeling Unstimulated? Watch This.

Filed under: Economics, General — Jack Dunphy @ 6:36 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

In the below video, Milton Friedman takes Phil Donahue to school on the value of free markets. He expresses what not so long ago were America’s guiding economic principles. These principles may rise again, but not, I fear, before much “stimulating” damage has been done.

If the video inspires an interest in Friedman’s work, I recommend reading Free to Choose, which he co-authored with his wife, Rose.

Act, Plan, Think


Does it not seem incredible that the U.S. Congress that debated a long month over loans of $15 billion to keep the domestic automobile industry afloat is the same Congress that spent an entire weekend to decide to spend $827 billion on everything in and out of sight... and did it when public attention and press coverage would be at a minimum? Loan $15 billion with a web of strings versus spend $827 billion without so much as a whimper?

Excuse me, but someone might get the idea that there is some irresponsible leadership out there.

However, as President Obama says: “It is inexcusable and irresponsible to get bogged down in distraction and delay while millions of Americans are being put out of work.” It's practically unpatriotic to pay attention to those who point out that this action will result in less of a long-term recovery as the burden of debt grows. Still, as Alfred E. Neuman famously said, "What, me worry?" After all, we didn't get anything from the $700 billion to Wall Street and we still kept our problems, so why should we worry if we don't get anything for our $827 billion? We can still keep our problems. Someone is bound to benefit. Right, Alfred?


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Bailout + Stimulus = ?


The bank bailout was supposed to save the financial system and get the economy moving by making credit available again... $700 billion.

The economic stimulus package is supposed to save jobs and get the economy moving by making consumer spending available again... $780 billion.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Bad Management Is Contagious In The Automotive Industry


Normally, I would post this under Duh-No!, since I find this is a curiosity that cannot be explained by those who constantly berate Detroit automotive manufacturers as stupid and inept. From The New York Times:

TOKYO — Less than two months after forecasting its first ever full-year operating loss, Toyota Motor said on Friday that it now expected that loss to be three times larger than originally expected as global auto sales continued to plunge.

Toyota said it expected to lose 450 billion yen, or $5 billion, in the fiscal year through March 31 in its vehicle-making operations. The new forecast underscored the deteriorating situation at Toyota, which until recently seemed unstoppable as it dethroned General Motors last year as the world’s biggest producer of vehicles.

[full story].

2009 Toyota Tundra

2009 Toyota Sequoia

2009 Toyota Highlander

Apparently, Toyota's plan to compete in all of the U.S. vehicle segments has resulted in them producing vehicles that nobody wants... now that banks don't lend money, jobs have been disappearing, and personal fortunes have been lost. That all can be traced back to poor management of the Detroit "Big 3."

American companies are so stupid.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Granholm Cold On Coal


In her State of the State message [.pdf via], Michigan Gov. Granholm gave strong indications that planned new coal-powered electricity generating facilities would be stalled, if not completely abandoned, in favor of wind and solar powered facilities.

While there are pollution concerns regarding coal-powered facilities, the primary focus is to reduce CO2 release. This, of course, begs the question of whether CO2 is a pollutant and a threat... or not. The implications are considerable for Michigan, a state that has been in the forefront of economic malaise for most of the decade.

Affordable electricity is paramount to industrial growth and profitability. Michigan is at the forefront of industrial collapse. The promise of wind and solar powered electricity is reduction of CO2 and more expensive electricity. Governor Granholm was given a choice between economic recovery and climate ideology and chose the latter.

Can Michigan recover without new coal-powered electricity producing facilities? Yes. Will the cost of the recovery be greater? Yes. Will the obstacles to recovery be greater? Yes. Governor Granholm is counting on the notion that homeowners and individual business will buy their own solar or wind electricity generating systems and tie into the larger grid... an expensive notion for those homeowners and businesses.

This is an interesting compilation of expert opinions regarding the pros and cons of new coal-powered facilities. It is worth your reading.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Should Coal Plants Cool It?

President-elect Obama wants America to "develop and deploy clean coal technologies." To that end, coal companies Arch Coal and Peabody Energy and electric utility Ameren Corp. last week announced $12 million in clean coal and mining research grants to three universities. On the same day, the environmental community launched a campaign charging that clean coal is a myth because no U.S. utilities are capturing and burying their global warming pollution. The greens are challenging construction of nearly every new coal plant on the drawing board throughout the nation.

Should the nation stop building new coal-fired power plants until the technologies are perfected to burn coal without releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?

Full article


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Remember The Antarctic Warming That Recently Hit The News?


This just arrived in my email, so excuse the formatting. For those of you not familiar with the cast of characters, Gavin Schmidt is a climate scientist who administers the alarmist blog, RealClimate. Steven McIntyre is a retired statistician with a nose for phony science who administers the skeptic blog, Climate Audit.

The upshot is that McIntyre was skeptical about the sudden warming of Antarctica that was all over the news, so he did some data analysis... his specialty. What he discovered was that the story was basically Alarmist hot air. Read the rest of the story....

Alert: Real Climate Woes: Pielke Jr.: 'Gavin Schmidt admits to stealing a scientific idea from his arch-nemesis, Steve McIntyre'
Morano, Marc (EPW)
show details 4:53 PM (7 minutes ago)

Alert: Real Climate Woes: Pielke Jr.: 'Gavin Schmidt admits to stealing a scientific idea from his arch-nemesis, Steve McIntyre' – February 4, 2009
Excerpt: This is not a hypothetical example, but a caricature of real goings on with our friends over at Real Climate . . .Due to an inadvertent release of information, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt (a “real scientist” of the Real Climate blog) admits to stealing a scientific idea from his arch-nemesis, Steve McIntyre (not a “real scientist” of the Climate Audit blog) and then representing it as his own idea, and getting credit for it. (Details here and here.) In his explanation why this is OK, Gavin explains that he did some work on his own after getting the idea from Steve’s blog, and so it was OK to take full credit for the idea. I am sure that there are legions of graduate students and other scientific support staff who do a lot of work on a project, only to find their sponsor or advisor, who initially proposed the idea, as first author on the resulting paper, who might have empathy for Gavin’s logic. […] But lets be clear, in science, the ethical thing to do is to give full credit to the origination of an idea, even if it comes from your arch-enemy. Gavin’s outing is remarkable because it shows him not only stealing an idea, but stealing from someone who he and his colleagues routinely criticize as being wrong, corrupt, and a fraud. Does anyone wonder why skepticism flourishes? When evaluations of expertise hinge on trust, stealing someone’s ideas and taking credit for them does not help.

Gavin's "Mystery Man" Revealed - by Steve McIntyre on February 4th, 2009
Excerpt: On Monday, Feb 2, Gavin Schmidt explained some "ethics" to realclimate readers as follows: [Response: People will generally credit the person who tells them something. BAS were notified by people Sunday night who independently found the Gill/Harry mismatch. SM could have notified them but he didn’t. My ethical position is that it is far better to fix errors that are found than play around thinking about cute names for follow-on blog posts. That might just be me though. - gavin] As readers know, I was interested in who was the scientist that, unbeknowst to me, had "independently" identified the problem with Harry - a problem overlooked by BAS, NASA GISS for a year or so anyway; and a problem which had been missed by his realclimate coauthors, Steig and Mann, during their preparation of Steig et al 2009, and which had been missed by the Nature peer reviewers. And remarkably this had been "independently" identified just after I had noted the problem at Climate Audit and Climate Audit readers had contributed ideas on it, even during the Super Bowl. Yesterday, I inquired about the identity of Gavin's "mystery man"? Today (Feb 4) the British Antarctic survey revealed the identity of Gavin's "mystery man". It was… GAVIN.

Schmidt’s Antics Prompts Laughter Scientist ‘“How am I supposed to get any work done when I am laughing so hard?”
Reaction By Climate researcher Dr. Craig Loehle, formerly of the department of Energy Laboratories and currently with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvements, who has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers.
“How am I supposed to get any work done when I am laughing so hard?”

Report: Error in Antarctic Warming Paper? Warming trend 'arises entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together' – Australia’s Herald Sun – February 4, 2009
Excerpt: But Steve McIntyre, who did most to expose Mann’s “hockey stick”, now notices a far more embarrassing problem with Steig’s paper. Previous researchers hadn’t overlooked the data. What they’d done was to ignore data from four West Antarctic automatic weather stations in particular that didn’t meet their quality control. As you can see above, one shows no warming, two show insignificant warming and fourth - from a station dubbed “Harry” shows a sharp jump in temperature that helped Steig and his team discover their warming Antarctic. Uh oh. Harry in fact is a problematic site that was buried in snow for years and then re-sited in 2005. But, worse, the data that Steig used in his modelling which he claimed came from Harry was actually old data from another station on the Ross Ice Shelf known as Gill with new data from Harry added to it, producing the abrupt warming. The data is worthless. Or as McIntyre puts it: Considered by itself, Gill has a slightly negative trend from 1987 to 2002. The big trend in “New Harry” arises entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together. It’s a mess.
Read this link and this to see McIntyre’s superb forensic work. Why wasn’t this error picked up earlier? Perhaps because the researchers got the results they’d hoped for, and no alarm bell went off that made them check. Now, wait for the papers to report the error with the zeal with which they reported Steig’s “warming”.

Prominent Scientist ‘Appalled’ By Gavin Schmidt’s ‘lack of knowledge’ – ‘Back to graduate school, Gavin!’ – Climate Science Blog – January 29, 2009
By Atmospheric scientist Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, a scientific pioneer in the development of numerical weather prediction and former director of research at The Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute, and an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric boundary layer processes. Tennekes is featured in U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims
Excerpt: Roger Pielke Sr. has graciously invited me to add my perspective to his discussion with Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate. If this were not such a serious matter, I would have been amused by Gavin’s lack of knowledge of the differences between weather models and climate models. As it stands, I am appalled. Back to graduate school, Gavin! [...] Gavin Schmidt is not the only meteorologist with an inadequate grasp of the role of the oceans in the climate system. In my weblog of June 24, 2008, I addressed the limited perception that at least one other climate modeler appears to have. A few lines from that essay deserve repeating here.” [...] From my perspective it is not a little bit alarming that the current generation of climate models cannot simulate such fundamental phenomena as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. I will not trust any climate model until and unless it can accurately represent the PDO and other slow features of the world ocean circulation. Even then, I would remain skeptical about the potential predictive skill of such a model many tens of years into the future.
[Note: for more analysis of the warming partisans at Real Climate, see these links from Israeli Astrophysicist Nir Shaviv’s website: “The aim of is not to engage a sincere scientific debate. Their aim is post a reply full of a straw man so their supporters can claim that your point ‘has been refuted by real scientists at’” Shaviv, who calls the website “” noted that the “writers (at try again and again to concoct what appears to be deep critiques against skeptic arguments, but end up doing a very shallow job. All in the name of saving the world. How gallant of them.” ]
Marc Morano
Communications Director
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) Inhofe Staff
202-224-5167 (fax)

Is New Hampshire Seceding?



Not sure what to make of this post via Pat Dollard. It is obvious that someone in New Hampshire is really pissed off about something. It would be interesting to get the whole story.

The Betrayal:

The New Hampshire state legislature took an unbelievably bold step Monday by introducing a resolution to declare certain actions by the federal government to completely totally void and warning that certain future acts will be viewed as a “breach of peace” with the states themselves that risks “nullifying the Constitution.”

Click the link above to read the above to read the rest.

Or go to Pat Dollard's version which is a little easier on the eyes.

How Are We To Measure Global Warming


Why is there so much controversy about global warming? Is the world warming or isn't it? How much more direct can a question be? Then why can't we get agreement on whether it is happening or not?

Well, for one thing, measuring global temperature change is not like measuring the distance between two points on a table. The two dimensional metric of measuring two points distance is insignificant compared with measuring the three dimensional atmosphere and ocean temperatures and heat content.

The first question is what are we measuring? From the very start there is little agreement....

  • Surface temperatures versus complete atmospheric temperatures
  • Land temperatures versus ocean temperatures
  • Ocean surface temperatures versus ocean heat content to 700m.
How are temperatures to be measured AND UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS?
  • Satellite readings
  • 6 ft. above ground thermometers [calm, windy, sunny, cloudy, rainy, dry]
  • Ocean surface buoys [current conditions/direction]
  • Ocean buoys at various depths [circulating versus non-circulating water]
What constitutes a measurement?
  • 1 time per day, 2, 24, continuous readings per day
  • randomly or evenly dispersed readings geographically [grid vs. sporadic]
What quality control/calibration variances/accuracies are acceptable?
  • Daily, monthly, quarterly, annual calibration
  • > 0.1°, >0.5°, >1.0°, >3.0°
  • Electronic vs. manual readings
For what reasons will measurements be adjusted and in what manner?
  • Disagreement with nearby sites
  • Time of day for readings
  • Artificial heat sources
  • Relocation of a site
  • Specific adjustment versus general formula
What is the definitive metric?
  • High temperature/average of high temperatures/record high temperatures
  • Low temperatures/average of low temperatures/record low temperatures
  • Daily average of maximum/minimum/record daily average
  • Average of continuous readings/record average [per period]
  • Variance from historical average [variable 30-year period/all recorded history]
What is an appropriate time period for determining significant change?
  • The last 30-years [to establish normal?]
  • Since 1880 [why start in a recognized cold period?]
  • Since the last ice age [what are the bases for measurement and how can they be made consistent?]
  • Geological eras [does trend variability over a century that is less than annual average temperature variability mean anything significant?]
What constitutes record temperatures?
  • Maximum/minimum for a day
  • Maximum/minimum for a month
  • Average monthly temperatures [max/min or continuous?]
  • Average annual temperatures [max/min or continuous?]

Once everyone agrees on the answers to all of the above, then we can have a rational discussion about whether the temperature history [as agreed upon] indicates global warming, global cooling, or climate oscillations within an expected variation.

For those who argue that using monthly, statewide, all-time, maximum and minimum records does not meet an acceptable analytical standard, I will only point out the following:
  • the data have not been adjusted on the basis of estimated correction factors for specific locations
  • the data cover more than a small geographic area and are not as impacted by unusual circumstances as a single site
  • the data average roughly a 30-day span for each record and are not as impacted by random day-to-day readings... not entirely seasonal, but not restrictively short
  • the data establish the temperature boundaries for large areas/regions versus micro-climate boundaries
There are many who want to see Littletown's record for the 23rd of May be recognized. The question is whether that micro-climate record is meaningful in the larger picture.
A single statewide record could be nothing more than an extreme event, but 113 statewide records in a decade is an extreme decade covering a large area. The fact that those 113 records in the 1930s [about 19% of all records from all years] have stood for 70-80 years is a pretty good indication that the more sporadic incidents of records subsequently have been related to minor climate oscillations... comparatively.
I'll stand by my statewide, monthly, all-time temperature records as being as meaningful as any other metric in judging climate change... at least for the U.S. where there have been long-term observations over a large geographic area. I would interpret a 1° trend increase over 130 years from a low starting point as essentially irrelevant... given the absence of a significant concentration of extreme temperature records currently. It is more likely that the trend can be solely attributed to the low starting point and nearly every other change has been variation within the general upper limit defined by the 1930s.


MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 2009Where Is The Global Warming... Extreme Temperature Records Update January 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Global Warming Posts


Over the past couple of years, I have posted many items regarding global warming. Unfortunately, as blogs go, the organization has not kept up with the subject matter. Consequently, posts specifically related to global warming data analysis and presentations, along with discussions and opinions about global warming, have gotten categorized under the general heading of "environment." This heading has a variety of related and unrelated posts including weather, energy, politics, ecology, etc.

Therefore, I am in the process of producing a small blog that organizes posts within the narrower subject of global warming and links back to the specific posts on this blog.

You can take a look at the beginnings of this site here: Where Is Global Warming


And Justice For All


With all of the tax avoidance scandal going on in the new Obama administration, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has slid under the radar. It seems that Mr. Kilpatrick is going to be job hunting in Texas. Not surprising since he might have a difficult time finding one in Michigan where his actions have cost the city of Detroit millions of dollars and resulted in a jail term of several months.

Meanwhile this appeared in The Detroit News:

School worker, 34, charged in theft of $28

A Canton High School maintenance worker could face four years in prison and a $5,000 fine on claims she stole $28 in school money, police said. Sheila Marie Honeycutt, 34, of South Lyon, who Plymouth Canton Community Schools says has been employed with the district since December 2000, was arraigned Saturday on two felony counts of larceny from a building. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13.

So, let's get this straight on how our justice system works:
  • If you make millions of dollars and avoid paying large sums of taxes for many years, you are rewarded with a presidential Cabinet post.
  • If you are a corrupt mayor and cost your city millions of dollars in legal fees and settlements, you get a few months in jail.
  • If you are a worker in a school and take $28, you get four years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Tell me that part about how all men are created equal in the eyes of the law.


Obama Oversight Candidate Had A Tax Oversight

Cross-posted from Duh-No!

You just can't keep making this up. It appears that there is something in the Democratic Party gene pool that simply forces this type of behavior. Perhaps there is a flaw in the "ethical gene" that creates a "Robin Hood" attitude: "I'll take from the rich and give to the poor, but don't ask me for any of my money."

From The New York Times:

Published: February 3, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nancy Killefer, who failed for a year and a half to pay employment taxes on household help, has withdrawn her candidacy to be the first chief performance officer for the federal government, the White House said Tuesday.

Killefer was the second major Obama administration nominee to withdraw and the third to have tax problems complicate their nomination after President Barack Obama announced their selection.

"Nancy Killefer has decided to withdraw her nomination, and we accepted her withdrawal," Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Tuesday. The 55-year-old executive with consulting giant McKinsey & Co., was expected to explain her reasons for pulling out later in the day.

When her selection was announced by Obama on Jan. 7, The Associated Press disclosed that in 2005 the District of Columbia government had filed a $946.69 tax lien on her home for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help.

Since then, administration officials refused to answer questions about the tax error, which she resolved five months after the lien was filed. Obama's first choice for commerce secretary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, took his name out of consideration when his confirmation appeared headed toward complications because of a grand jury investigation over how state contracts were issued to political donors.

More recently, Timothy Geithner was confirmed as Treasury secretary despite belatedly paying $34,000 in income taxes, and Tom Daschle is still waiting to see if his late payment of more than $128,000 in income taxes will harm his nomination to be health and human services secretary.

On paper, Killefer brought impressive credentials to the two jobs Obama selected her for: deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, which requires Senate confirmation, and a new White House post, chief performance officer for the entire federal government, which does not require confirmation.

Killefer oversees McKinsey's management consulting for government clients. During 1997-2000 in the Clinton administration, Killefer was assistant Treasury secretary for management. As such she was the chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the Treasury and its 160,000 employees and led a modernization of its largest component, the Internal Revenue Service.

But for nearly a month, the administration had refused to answer how its choice to make government workers more efficient and more responsive had bungled her household payroll taxes.

The AP reported that on March 7, 2005, the D.C. Department of Employment Services slapped a tax lien on her home in the tony Wesley Heights neighborhood. The local government alleged that just three years after she left the high-powered Treasury post she began to fail to pay unemployment compensation tax for a household employee. And she failed to make the required quarterly payments for a year and half, whereupon a lien for $946.69 was placed on her home.

That sum included $298 in unpaid taxes, $48.69 in interest and $600 in penalties. The lien was filed March 7, 2005, but Killefer didn't get the lien extinguished for almost five months, not until July 29.

During that period, Killefer and her husband, an economics professor, had a teenage son and daughter, but she had two nannies and a personal assistant to run her life when she was on the road, she told Harvard business students back then.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Detroit On The Verge Of Hope And Change


Over three years ago I wrote this post:

It's hard to fathom that the most maligned mayor in the U.S., Kwame Kilpatrick, would be re-elected by the citizens of Detroit. Yet, somehow, the citizens of Detroit decided that Mr. Kilpatrick would be a better choice than Freman Hendrix, the challenger.
While Freeman Hendrix did have experience as a Deputy Mayor of Detroit, it was under Dennis Archer who was the only good, ethical mayor that Detroit has had in over 30 years.  That said volumes to me when comparing Mr. Hendrix to Kwame Kilpatrick.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I heard an advertisement for Mr. Hendrix on the radio while driving... which made it impossible to record or transcribe it, but I'll give you the gist.  The argument being made for electing Mr. Hendrix was that he had strong connections to the Obama camp and would be able to funnel significant economic recovery money from the stimulus package to Detroit.  

That's it.  Nothing about responsible and ethical government... or new approaches to deal with the chronic cultural-of-victimhood and culture-of-corruption... or strategies, plans and actions to deal with urban blight that continues to rot the city like stage-4 cancer.  
No, just an intimation that a vote for Hendrix was a vote to get someone else's money... in other words, business as usual.
If that's the best better candidates can do, Detroit is lost.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Super Bowl


Pittsburgh 27; Phoenix 23.  An entertaining, amusingly erratic, in-doubt-until-the-last-second game.  Both teams should be congratulated for their effort and passion.  No one quit or gave less than they could.



Pot Calling Kettle Stainless


"I've known Tom Daschle for years, and he is a man of great character and integrity who will do a superb job in helping us fix our healthcare system,"  Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement. Kerry is a member of the Finance Committee, which will vote on Daschle's nomination.
... after news of Daschle's tax evasion.

It's becoming "transparent" with what kind of people Obama likes to surround himself.


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
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... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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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)