Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Airport Security Scanners


A lot of attention is being paid to airport security processes and technology. A controversial technology is the use of full body scanning which can make a person appear naked.

Another scanning technology is shown below.

As you can plainly see, the lower scan makes it impossible to hide anything. This technology made its first appearance here.



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Civil Rights For Terrorists


A question being asked is whether or not Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged attempted-bomber aboard the Delta flight to Detroit, has been read his Miranda rights and received his free lawyers in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

This, of course, is asking whether or not the Obama administration will continue to argue that foreigners who are part of a terrorist organization actually qualify under the constitution for civil rights or whether they should be treated as terrorists who qualify for neither civil rights nor rights under the Geneva Convention.

Those arguing for granting civil rights to foreign terrorists say that gives us moral superiority even if there really is no legal standing for such an argument. Those arguing that such foreign terrorists do not deserve such protection point out that not only is it contrary to the intent of the Miranda Rights decision to extend those rights to terrorists, but wholly stupid to suffer the consequences of being unable to interrogate such persons for information that will lead to crippling the terrorist organization.

One must ask, if the process is to extend rights to one terrorist, what about a group of terrorists, or an army of terrorists. What happens if 100 terrorists attack the U.S. in a coordinated manner? Are they simple criminals... the same as your neighborhood burglar... who should be given free legal services and a warm jail cell with three meals per day? What about 1,000 terrorists? Same deal? Remember, they aren't wearing uniforms and are not an organization of any country.

President Obama needs to think this through before he cuts off our noses to spite our faces.



Homeland Security Should Ask El Al


This is really, really long, but you'll find it interesting if you are not going to be flying and even more interesting if you will be... and then when you get to the end, you'll find it much more interesting.

(CBS) What’s the safest airline in the world?

There's no question. It's El Al, Israel’s national airline.

What’s the safest airport? Ben Gurion, Israel’s international airport.

It's ironic, when you figure that Israeli aviation has been the single most desirable target for terrorists since the 1960s. Correspondent Bob Simon reports.

What do the Israelis do that the Americans don’t do? Well, they’ve had sky marshals since the 1960s. And racial profiling.

But the most important question is: Who’s in charge? And the answer may surprise you. The Israelis don’t like to advertise who’s really running security. But Shlomo Dror, a former Israeli sky marshal, told us.

Says Dror: "The security in Israel is not like the security in the United States. We have the secret service here, he’s training the people, he send them to work abroad, some working only with El Al, some working with embassies."

What Dror is saying is that El Al security and airport security is not in the hands of El Al or the airport, but in the hands of the secret service. Dror clarifies, "The secret service training the people…"

It’s as if the American Secret Service that protects the President of the United States was also running airport security in the United States.

"Yes," says Dror. "This is the only way that you can do it if you want to be serious."

Since Sept. 11, America has gotten serious about airline security - or has tried to. Dror asks how Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, was ever allowed on that American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami. [click link below to continue]

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Voted For It Before I Voted Against It


President Obama's hand-picked Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, tries to get her stories straight... and comprehend the obvious:

A day after saying the system worked, Napolitano backtracked, saying her words had been taken out of context.

“Our system did not work in this instance,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show. “No one is happy or satisfied with that. An extensive review is under way.”

Read more....

Please be patient, she is simply trying to multitask. It's hard to decide which color to use... green, yellow, orange, red... and figure out if things are working or not.



Who Pays Their Medical Bills?


In the recent attempted destruction of a Delta Airlines flight into Detroit, two people were injured:

The man who tried to blow up the plane.

The man who subdued the man who tried to blow up the plane.

Both required medical treatment.

Who pays for the treatment?

  • The government [you, the taxpayer]?
  • The airline?
  • The person who was injured?
You can bet the government [you] pays for medical treatment and future room and board for the man who tried to blow up the plane.



Hamas Denigrates Palestinians' Worth


In the never-ending saga of "we don't really give a damn about human life," Hamas has declared that one Israeli is worth 1,000 Palestinians.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel delivered its counter-demands Tuesday for a deal with Hamas to exchange about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for a single Israeli soldier held captive by Gaza militants for more than three years.

As families on both sides agonized over the outcome, last-minute differences over who should be freed or sent into exile threatened to imperil the deal.

Read more....

Israel, of course, should not really be that stupid to accept such a preposterous demand... even if the market value may be realistic. The other day, the Israelis, at the insistence of the great Washington, D.C. know-it-alls, loosened up a checkpoint used by Palestinians. The Palestinians promptly sent through one of the former prisoner-swapped heroes to murder a rabbi who was a father of six. Such is the bravery of the Palestinians who are traded in 1,000 to 1 deals. Such is the wisdom of Washington, D.C. bureaucrats who believe in such trades.

Will the Israelis accept the 1,000 to 1 swap? Possibly. They have some wishful-thinking politicians, too.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security head, Janet Napolitano, assures us that everything was really under control...

"Obama administration officials scrambled to portray the episode, in which passengers and flight attendants subdued Mr. Abdulmutallab and doused the fire he had started, as a test that the air safety system passed.

“The system has worked really very, very smoothly over the course of the past several days,” Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary said, in an interview on “This Week” on ABC. Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, used nearly the same language on “Face the Nation” on CBS, saying that “in many ways, this system has worked.”" - NYT

and that the "Department of Homeland Security immediately put additional screening measures into place—for all domestic and international flights—to ensure the continued safety of the traveling public."

Wasn't that what her Clockwork Orange level... er, Security Level Orange... was supposed to be doing.

How about spending a nice round number like $100 billion to improve security even more?



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lost In Translation


Some headlines from Chinese online sources:

Okay, we wouldn't do any better writing headlines in Chinese.



Obama Stimulating Hawaiian Economy


While millions of Americans lost their jobs this year, our Tax and Spend President has demonstrated that nothing can exceed his own wants or insensitivity:

From the Huffington Post:

Today the first family will return to the Hawaiian rental house they rented last Christmas. The 7,000 square foot abode sits on a beach on the southeastern coast of Oahu. When 'Good Morning America' visited there was a special delivery Christmas tree sitting in the corner. The owner had also stocked the place with what the president "really loves": sweet potato chips and taro chips, a local specialty.

The tour included the poolside room Malia and Sasha will share, and the master bedroom which boasts breathtaking views of the ocean. The place goes for $4,000 a night, and the first family also rented the two house next door for family and friends.

The house is on the market and the local realtor told ABC News that Obama has expressed "some interest" in buying it.

WATCH:[original video with annoying commercial has been replaced]

Perhaps he is just trying to "stimulate" the economy. Or maybe he just has some official business with the Hawaiian Secretary of State to be sure his birth records are classified and protected by Interpol.



Saturday, December 26, 2009

How To Use $100 Billion


$100 billion is a number that seems to come up a lot with regard to the Federal government. Go ahead and "google" that yourself. You'll be surprised.

Recently at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, Sec. Hillary Clinton offered up $100 billion to combat global warming in developing countries. That's $100 billion to do something about CO2... the naturally-occurring gas that plants require for their existence.

Well, I bet there are a lot of things that could be done with $100 billion besides pretending we were preventing changes to our climate [which will happen regardless]. How about...

  • eliminating hunger for 25-30 million Americans
  • paying doctors reasonable fees for their Medicare services
  • not increasing the federal debt by $100 billion
... and many more that you can come up with.



Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

There Is No Land Bank Big Enough For Detroit


From The Detroit News:


Michigan is poised to launch an ambitious plan to take control of thousands of foreclosed, blighted and vacant properties statewide through land bank programs, and hopes to get $290 million in federal funds to accomplish it.

The state leads the nation with 29 land bank authorities, which are quasi-public agencies whose aim is to spark commercial and residential development in struggling areas.

Most states have one or two.

With the federal money expected to come in January, cities such as Detroit and counties such as Oakland are starting land bank agencies for the first time. The state filed for the Housing and Urban Development funding through a coalition that includes 12 city governments and eight counties. It’s a national competition, and the overall fund totals $1.9 billion. Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Saginaw and Wyandotte also would be targeted for revitalization.

The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority would provide land bank services in Detroit; Oakland County, including Pontiac; and Kent County, including Grand Rapids, until local land banks are ready to take over.

Under the plan, the Michigan land banks aim to buy and redevelop more than 6,000 foreclosed, abandoned and vacant properties. The land banks also envision razing 2,500 structures and rehabilitating or building 1,500 homes.

Read more....
Land banks are one way to deal with some urban problems, but the situation in Detroit is way beyond that. Detroit is in the last stages in a spiral of corruption and decay.

Don't watch this unless you are mentally resilient.

Mayor Dave Bing is trying to paddle away from the whirlpool that plummets into the urban abyss, but the city can't do it alone and the state is led by people without vision. There is only one way out of this mess... read this.
It is time for some "creative destruction."



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Health Care Math


Fuzzy logic, fuzzy math, fuzzy thinking, fuzzier future.

Roughly 53% of Americans elected a President and Congress in which the Senate is 60% controlled by the Democratic Party which has voted itself a Christmas present of a health care bill supported by 41% of the people.

Here's one way to look at it:

...the American voters were careless buyers and are now going to experience buyers remorse.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Senator Ben Nelson Gives It Up For Harry


UPDATE: Editorial from The Wall Street Journal says it all.

Original post below.

Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska maintained his principles until the money got to be too good. How could he turn down "Sugar Daddy" Harry Reid when he was offered so much to "give it up" just this one time?

Some of Nelson's colleagues accused him of using the abortion issue as leverage to get a better reimbursement rate for his state under Medicaid provisions in the legislation. "You've got to compliment Ben Nelson for playing 'The Price Is Right,' " Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said. Read more....
Sure Sen. Nelson resisted, but "Sugar Daddy" anted up...

Nelson did win restrictions on abortion coverage, which is what he sought for weeks. Under the compromise, states would be permitted to ban insurance coverage of abortions in policies sold in the exchanges, except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. In states where such coverage is permitted, consumers must notify their insurance company they want it, and pay for it separately.

That didn't do much to please some anti-abortion lawmakers. But Nelson also won several other concessions, most notably a commitment from the federal government to fully fund his state's expanded Medicaid population. All states get full federal assistance for the first three years of the bill -- but Nebraska would be the only state getting full assistance afterward. One Democratic official put the cost to the federal government at $45 million over a decade. Read more....
Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson boasted that, compared to some of his colleagues, he was a "cheap date," holding out as he was as a matter of principle and not for some outlandish dropping of federal largesse in Nebraska.

Read more....



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Global Warming Or Local Hunger


The point of this post was to get you to think about the stupidity of our government pursuing vaporous problems while real human problems are staring us in the face. $100 billion per year is about $3,500 that could be used for feeding the 25-30 million people in the U.S. that need help getting enough food to survive.

That's about $10 per day per person. That's the difference between hunger and health. Organizations like Gleaners and Feeding America provide millions with low-cost, nutritious meals. A lot more could be done.

It's time for the Obama administration to cut the crap and stop throwing money around after useless, worthless efforts that do little more than enrich a few special interests... political cronies.

Original post below:

Perhaps the Obama administration needs to stop looking elsewhere for problems.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Global Warming Made Easy Part 2


From Climate Ark:

Climate change blamed for Great Lakes decline

Source: Copyright 2009, Globe and Mail
Date: December 15, 2009
Original URL

The water levels of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have been falling steadily compared with those on Lake Erie, and no one knew why.

But a major report financed by the U.S. and Canadian governments suggests an answer: The fingerprints of climate change are starting to be found in the Great Lakes, the world's largest body of fresh water, causing a discernible drop in their levels.

The report, released Tuesday, estimated that Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have fallen about a quarter metre relative to Lake Erie since the early 1960s, with 40 to 74 per cent of the reduction due to recent changes in precipitation patterns and temperatures.

The alteration in climate is "the most significant factor' in the water level drop and "could be a more substantive issue for the future on the Great Lakes,' said Ted Yuzyk, Canadian co-chair of the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board, which compiled the report.

Read more....

From The Detroit News electronic edition December 19, 2009:

Click image for larger view.

Another government study hindered by the facts. Oscillations in weather patterns, including Pacific Ocean currents, change precipitation levels in middle North America. Globular warming is hype piggy-backing on the brief historical memory of the masses.



Global Warming Made Easy


A picture is worth a thousand words; two pictures are wordy.

Global Warming Paused

Global Warming
It must be the former...

Is anyone brave enough to tell President Obama and his buddies Harry and Nancy? Did the President make it back to Washington D.C. after giving his speech about the dangers of global warming and before the airports were snowed in?



Friday, December 18, 2009

Mexican Navy Special Forces To Be Arrested For Giving Criminal A Black Eye


The Wall Street Journal reports:

Top Mexican Drug Lord Killed in Shootout

CUERNAVACA, Mexico -- Mexican Navy special forces killed one of the country's top drug kingpins in a shootout in the central city of Cuernavaca, notching an important victory in President Felipe Calderón's three-year-old clampdown on narcotics trafficking.

The death of Arturo Beltrán Leyva, who called himself "The Boss of Bosses" and was one of Mexico's three most-wanted drug lords, came after a four-hour battle Wednesday evening at a condominium complex in Cuernavaca, a retirement destination for Americans and weekend getaway for Mexico City residents.

Read more....

That's all well and good that a top drug criminal was taken out, but take a long, hard look at that picture above. Do you see the terrible abuse that was inflicted on the captured criminal? Can you imagine if President Obama had the authority to do something about that? I can.

Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told

The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called a captain's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Read more....

Meanwhile, President Obama is trying desperately to save us from President Obama... er, Global Warming.
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
George Orwell, "1984", first sentence



Private Sector To Fund Fight Against Global Warming


Hillary Clinton said it:

She said the money would come from "a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance."

"The private sector is going to be the engine that drives all of this," an administration official said. "A lot of this is not aid in the traditional sense of aid."

Read more....
So, Hillary Clinton, speaking for President Barack Obama, is pledging $100 billion of private funding to combat global warming in third world countries. I'd really like to see the list of companies and individuals who have signed up for that.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Billions To Fight Global Warming - Not So Fast


From the Washington Post:

U.S. pledges billions; China says climate pact is doubtful
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 17, 2009; 7:01 AM

COPENHAGEN -- The United States on Thursday announced it would help build a $100 billion annual fund by 2020 to help poor countries cope with climate change, but said its commitment depended on whether the nations gathered here could reach a substantive pact that includes "transparency" on tracking emissions cuts.

Read more....

The question that remains is whether the world leaders are now simply going through the motions or whether there are still a few truth believers in the Big Story about global warming. They can talk all they want about "Climate Change," but no one will pay attention unless there is evidence of dramatic warming that is causing dramatic damage. There is ample evidence that the Big Story is based on Big Lies. Most recently, Anthony Watts reported on the evasiveness of one of the Big Story's Big Supporters. It is apparent from where most of the Big Story's hot air is coming.

Back to the billions.... The measure of science is neither the politicians' nor the public's support of an idea. But the measure of politicians is how quickly they recognize the public's reaction to a Big Story. While you can fool some of the people all of the time, it is becoming apparent to many politicians around the world that you can't fool all of the people indefinitely.

How many politicians are going to stand up in front of their citizens and say that they are giving away billions when their economies are in disarray... especially when the pretext of giving away those billions is in disarray?


If you randomly had asked someone last year what their opinion of Global Warming was, they likely would have spouted the Associated Press' line from Seth Borenstein... the North Pole is melting and Santa's shop will sink into the ocean. Now they are not so sure that Christmas will be cancelled.
Just 30% of adults say the world is headed toward an irreversible catastrophe if the members of the United Nations fail to deal with global warming. Nearly half (48%) of Americans don’t believe the fate of the world hangs on UN action. Twenty-two percent (22%) are undecided.
Again, this has no bearing on the science of climate... only on how politicians will pursue a pot of gold in the name of science. If they see the pot of gold is really a pot of poop, they will quickly back off. That seems to be the case in Copenhagen.



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh, My! Canada - Record Cold Temperatures


This was skidding around the internet yesterday, just in time for the Copenhagen climate nonsense. As Joe D'Aleo at ICECAP points out: Over the next few weeks, very cold temperatures and snow will be in the news across southern Canada, the United States, Europe, the FSU and much of China. This was expected as a stratospheric warming event last few weeks led to building arctic high pressure now pressing south.

It's really hard to fear global warming when your world is a popsicle.

EDMONTON — Edmonton's weather boasted two dubious distinctions Sunday: it was colder here than anywhere else in North America and it marked the coldest Dec. 13 in the city's history.

Environment Canada recorded a frigid minus 46.1 C, or minus 58.4 C with the wind chill, at the Edmonton International Airport at 5 a.m., said meteorologist Pierre Lessard.

The old record of minus 36.1 C was set last year.

"To break a temperature by 10 degrees is very exceptional," said Lessard.

Read more.... h/t Netizen and ICECAP

"Only 7 more years until all of this cold goes away." - Al Gore



Quality Of The Long Term Surface Temperature Trend Data Set Over Land


From Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. at Climate Science:

Recommended Reading Of An Article By Joe D’Aleo On The Lack Of Quality Of The Long Term Surface Temperature Trend Data Set Over Land

There is an excellent article by Joseph D’Aleo at Pajamas Media titled

“Climategate: Something’s Rotten in Denmark … and East Anglia, Asheville, and New York City (PJM Exclusive)”.

It very effectively summarizes a number of major issues with the quality of the land portion of the long-term surface temperature trend record that was used in the 2007 IPCC report, and is being assumed as robust at the current Copenhagen meeting.

I recommend this article for anyone who wants to see how really bad this temperature data is with respect to its application to the quantitative assessment of long-term surface temperature trends.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NOAA At Copenhagen


Although there is a paucity of information on the NOAA site about ClimateGate, there is plenty about the role of NOAA at Copenhagen which is just winding up:

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and Senior NOAA Climate Scientists Contribute to COP-15 Conference

December 7, 2009

Laurie Fulton, United States ambassador to Denmark and Sandy MacDonald, director of NOAA's Earth Systems Research Laboratory, visit NOAA's Science On a Sphere at Copenhagen Climate Conference.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, will be in Copenhagen as part of the U.S. Delegation from Dec. 13-16. As a member of the president’s science team and head of NOAA, Lubchenco is one of the senior administration officials attending the conference, including President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. Many of the leading federal climate scientists work within NOAA.

NOAA will play a major supporting role in the U.S. Center. Along with other U.S. scientists and senior administration officials, NOAA scientists will explore the United State’s efforts both domestically and internationally to research, understand and provide tools to respond to the impacts of a changing climate.

The centerpiece of the U.S. Center exhibit space is NOAA’s “Science On a Sphere,” a large globe that displays a wide range of climate, weather and other spatial data around the Earth. On Dec. 8, NOAA’s Sandy MacDonald, Ph.D., will conduct a climate change “spherecast” from Copenhagen that will be viewed live on spheres in select science centers around the world.

NOAA scientists and Department of Commerce officials will also blog and hold web chats from Copenhagen. Lubchenco will also be posting updates and information about COP-15 activities on her Facebook page.

Daily updates from NOAA and the Department of Commerce at will be available on: The State Department Web site has the full program of events:

This year the events at the conference will be more widely accessible than ever before. The following NOAA presentations will be webcast at All times are listed in EST:

  • Monday, Dec. 7, 3:00 a.m. Arctic: One of the Earth’s Most Rapidly Warming Regions, presented by James Overland, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
  • Monday, Dec. 7, 9:30 a.m. The History and Science of Monitoring Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gases, presented by Sandy MacDonald, NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory
  • Monday, Dec. 7, 5:30 a.m. Ocean Acidification: Impacts of Carbon Dioxide on Marine Ecosystems, presented by Oceana and Richard Feely, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
  • Tuesday, Dec. 8, 9:30 a.m. Global Climate Change Impacts in the U.S., presented by Tom Karl, NOAA National Climatic Data Center
  • Tuesday, Dec. 8, 12:00 p.m. Extreme Weather and Climate Events in a Changing Climate, presented by Tom Karl, NOAA National Climatic Data Center
  • Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1:00 p.m. Climate Change Science on a Sphere, presented by Sandy MacDonald, NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory
  • Wednesday, Dec. 9, 12:00 p.m. The Critical Role of Climate Literacy in addressing Climate Change, presented by Frank Niepold, NOAA Climate Program Office
  • Thursday, Dec. 10, 10:15 a.m. Climate Change Toolkit: Wildlife and Wildlands Videoconference, presented by EPA and Peg Steffen, NOAA National Ocean Service
  • Monday, Dec. 14, 4:15 a.m. Climate Services: Providing the Information that People Need for a Changing World, presented by Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator
  • Monday, Dec. 14 7:00 a.m. Clim’City: An Interactive Informal Educational Network, presented by Ned Gardiner, NOAA Climate Program Office
  • Tuesday, Dec. 15, 4:15 a.m. Oceans and Ecosystems in a Changing Climate, presented by Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

Okay, then.


From Climate Science:
The authors, of course, may be correct that the warming will recommence and continue into the future. However, while they did not intend this message, what they have shown convincingly is that natural climate variations exceed what the IPCC models can skillfully simulate. This should give pause to anyone who claims that these models are skillful predictions of the climate in the coming decades.

Read more....



Department Of Energy Plays Market Favorites


This may be slightly better than opening the taxpayers pockets and dumping their money into the wastelands of Detroit without a real plan... but only slightly.

When tiny Fisker Automotive Inc. hit a financing glitch last year, threatening its plan to build a fancy gasoline-electric hybrid car in Finland, it turned to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The DOE had a bolder idea. Why not also step up the company's plans to develop a less-expensive model, and assemble it in a closed U.S. auto plant?

Within months, Vice President Joe Biden, the former senator from Delaware, was helping lure the embryonic car company to a shuttered General Motors Co. factory four miles from his house in Wilmington, right across the tracks from Biden Park. Soon, Fisker Automotive, a two-year-old business that has yet to sell a car, won loans from the federal government totaling $528 million.

Fisker's new Karma model car, on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show earlier this month.

Fisker had joined a flock of other businesses seeking cash from the biggest venture capitalist of all, the U.S. government.

The DOE hopes to lend or give out more than $40 billion to businesses working on "clean technology," everything from electric cars and novel batteries to wind turbines and solar panels. In the first nine months of 2009, the DOE doled out $13 billion in loans and grants to such firms. By contrast, venture-capital firms -- which have long been the chief funders of fledgling tech firms, taking equity stakes in the start-ups that will pay off if they go public -- poured just $2.68 billion into the sector in that time, according to data tracker Cleantech Group.

Read more....

Rather than pick a company as a winner in the electric/alternative fuel race and then pour hundreds of millions of dollars... or more... into it [or whatever the amount today is], the DOE could simply work with a consortium of U.S.-based companies to develop systems that would be made available without fees to those companies. The systems could be patented and foreign-based companies could use them if they were superior to those developed by Japan, Inc. or Europe, Inc. for a fee per vehicle.

What is more likely is that a variety of competitive systems will be coming out faster than any government-run group could get its products through the red-tape maze. Given that, what is the government doing shelling out money to create another automobile manufacturer in an already crowded market?

Unlike the Kennedy administration race to the moon that opened up many new technologies to a variety of industries, this effort by the DOE has a vague goal and vaguer protocols about dealing with existing markets, companies, and infrastructure. Another fine stimulus program.



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CO2 Cap and Trade

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)