Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The ultimate resource's value continues to increase. The term was from Julian Simon's conclusion from studying resources. Raw materials have no value until people find use for them. There is no natural resource, only resources made valuable by people. And the most valuable resource is - people. In Poland economic growth has increased the demand for labor. In past years they were glad to see their people leave for employment in Western Europe. Today they need them back. Poland is advertising for them! Good news. Poland launches campaign to lure back migrant workers - Home News, UK - The Independent: For nearly four years, Britain's construction and hospitality industries have flourished thanks to the influx of an estimated one million Polish workers – but now Poland wants them back. The Warsaw government is so worried about a national labour shortage in the professions that it plans to advertise in the UK to encourage expatriate Poles to return to the country that many of them left after it joined the European Union. According to Polish media reports, the adverts will soon appear in English and Polish-language newspapers in this country. They are part of a wider campaign by the newly elected government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who swept to power six months ago with a pledge to encourage migrant workers to return.
Monday, April 28, 2008
My Congressman Jim McDermott provided the Republican Party with $1 million. He wasn't tried for the crime he committed; Janet Reno could never see any violation by a partisan Democrat. But he declined to settle out of court for less than a tenth this amount. Thanks, Honorable Jim. Seattle Times Rep. McDermott pays $1 M to Rep. Boehner in taped call case
Rep. Jim McDermott has paid more than $1 million to House Minority Leader John Boehner, ending a decade-long dispute over an illegally taped telephone call. McDermott, a Seattle Democrat, paid $1,093,297 to the Ohio Republican's campaign committee earlier this month, spokesman for the two men said Monday. The payment is in addition to $64,000 McDermott paid Boehner in January, as part of court-ordered punitive damages in the long-running case. A federal judge ordered McDermott to compensate Boehner for attorney's fees after Boehner sued McDermott for leaking the contents of a cell phone call that was illegally recorded in 1996. A federal court found last year that McDermott had no right to release the call, in which Republican leaders discussed an ethics case against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. A Florida couple recorded the cell phone call on a radio scanner and gave the tape to McDermott, who at the time was a senior member of the House ethics committee. McDermott leaked the tape to two newspapers, which published articles on the case in January 1997. The Supreme Court decided in December not to revisit the case. Boehner's spokesman, Kevin Smith, said the $1.09 million payment includes $628,000 from McDermott's campaign account, and about $465,000 from McDermott's legal expense trust fund. "Every last penny will be used to help elect Republicans," Smith said, calling it ironic that McDermott - an outspoken partisan - "is helping fund the defeat of his fellow Democrats. I wouldn't expect he'll receive a lot of thank you's come November."
Friday, April 25, 2008
The United Nations couldn't get lower? A majority controlled by presidents-for-life denounces every move by the US and Israel. Libya was elected - elected - to chair preparations for the Human Rights Council's upcoming Durban II "World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance". And Iran and Cuba are members of this committee. Get lower than that? Here we go. Put a conspiracy theorist in a position of responsibility. The Second Time as Farce:
IF FURTHER PROOF BE needed of the terminal decline of the United Nations as a world body that purports to advance human rights, look no further than the recent appointments of Richard Falk and Jean Ziegler by the UN's Human Rights Council (HRC). Both appointments should be of major concern to U.S. leaders disturbed by the UN's increasing failure in the arena of human rights and the blatant and widespread anti-American and anti-Israeli bias among key UN human rights officials. Richard Falk, the Emeritus Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice at Princeton, is an outspoken, zealous critic of Israel and American foreign policy who has just been appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territories by unanimous vote. Falk has compared Israeli policy to the actions of Nazi Germany, publicly defended the reputation of former Colorado University Professor Ward Churchill, and wrote the foreword to controversial theologian David Ray Griffin's 2004 conspiracy theory treatise The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. ... Jean Ziegler, a Swiss sociology professor and UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, has been an apologist for dictators such as Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe"And "once described the West Bank as an Israeli-run "immense concentration camp."
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Here is a man who is brining people to face the facts that aren't easy to handle. John McCain. Obama claims to do it, but does not. Obama says he will work across the aisle with people who disagree. But his record in the US Senate shows he did not work with Republicans to solve problems. Hillary did it on several issues. But look at McCain. Trade enriches our country overall. There is friction. As we move toward making/doing what we can do best and away from what we cannot, there are some losers; they have to retrain for a more valuable skill and/or industry and sometimes have to relocate. But the whole country - and the world - is better off. McCain has the guts to tell people on the losing end. McCain to hit hard on free trade in hard-hit town - USATODAY.com:
Youngstown, Ohio, is a struggling steel town where jobs have been lost and free-trade deals are unpopular. McCain, however, is prepared to argue the overall benefits of unfettered trade, aides said. "Protectionism devastates the economy," said Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to McCain. In an economic speech last week, McCain said: "When new trading partners can sell in our market, and American companies can sell in theirs, the gains are great and they are lasting."
Sunday, April 20, 2008
It's worth sitting through this feature-length documentary for 2 minutes of it. Not that it seems long; it doesn't. But the highlights are high. Distinguished Professor Richard Dawkins, while explaining one of his theories, wanders and gets drawn out. And the audience laughs at the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, Oxford University; that's him; that's Dawkins' title. A good portion of the audience of 200 laughed at him. Second, when asked repeatedly how life originated, his explanation: A much superior race on another planet somewhere, who evolved somehow, planted the seed of life on earth. He continues: so you expect to find signs of intelligence. That's what we call intelligent design. It's priceless, his explanation requires intelligence and he admits it. See also: review by Brent Bozell at Townhall. See the movie's trailer. Look up a theater where it's playing. Update: Here is another recounting of Dawkins' admission that intelligent beings might be the source of life on Earth.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Some of the biggest challenges to American business come, not from competitors or regulatros, but from the media. The US media. They often approach any business story with the assumption that the entrepreneurs and managers have no concern at all for the health and safety of their customers. And there are proven cases where trusted, major news outlets have intentionally staged abuse - the "abuse by business" they are reporting on they themselves committed. More often their anti-business bias leads them to believe the worst without checking the facts. Business & Media Institute : Nine Worst Business Stories (of the Last 50 Years) :
Some of the toughest obstacles American businesses face come not from other companies or the economy, but from the media – journalists exaggerating an issue to make a story sexier or anti-business groups influencing the media to advance their agenda. Four of the stories on the following list started with a press release or report from an environmentalist group, labor union or “consumer group.” Those exaggerations or manipulations resulted in lost jobs, lost revenue, unfounded health scares, unnecessary government intervention, and even deaths. The Business & Media Institute has compiled a list of the nine worst business stories (of the last 50 years).NBC and GM Trucks
Imagine being in a low-speed side-impact collision during which your truck bursts into flames, engulfing the cab and burning you alive. On Nov. 17, 1992, NBC’s “Dateline” made that fear a reality in one of the most notorious Worst Stories. “Dateline’s” report focused on an abnormally large number of fires resulting from side-impact collisions on certain models of General Motors trucks. The trucks featured gas tanks mounted outside the frame rails, where they were, according to NBC, more vulnerable to crumpling and explosion in a side-impact hit. To demonstrate the danger, “Dateline” commissioned test-run collisions. The first, a 40-mile-per-hour side-impact crash, resulted in absolutely no fire. But the second, a 30-mile-per-hour collision, erupted into flames engulfing both the truck and the car sacrificed for the visual effect. There was some basis for the report itself – “Dateline” cited accident statistics showing GM trucks were “more than twice” as likely as other pickup trucks to be involved in fiery crashes. GM faced numerous lawsuits over the truck, including one civil suit in early 1993 that ended in a $105-million penalty against the manufacturer over the death of a 17-year-old Georgian. But the powerful visual effect for “Dateline’s” report had been staged. In a press conference in February 1993, GM showed that the test runs were rigged. Screen captures taken moments before impact showed “plumes of smoke” from underneath the truck, the result of small igniters placed on the gas tank to ensure a fire.That's just one. They also feature the Audi cars that were not in fact defective; the scare over the chemical alar in apples that crashed the price of apples at great cost to my state and I will have to do a separate entry on DDT. Via Newsbusters
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Good news. Japan has found a source of energy. There is methane hydrate sealed in permafrost, as I understand it, of the coast of Japan. The reserve is huge - decades of Japan's needs if it can be used. And a successful experiment indicates so. Of course the people who talk about energy independence then fight tooth-and-nail against it are aghast. Japan's Arctic methane hydrate haul raises environment fears - Times Online :
Japan is celebrating a groundbreaking science experiment in the Arctic permafrost that may eventually reshape the country's fragile economy and Tokyo's relationships with the outside world. For an unprecedented six straight days, a state-backed drilling company has managed to extract industrial quantities of natural gas from underground sources of methane hydrate - a form of gas-rich ice once thought to exist only on the moons of Saturn. In fact, the seabeds around the Japanese coast turn out to conceal massive deposits of the elusive sorbet-like compound in their depths, and a country that has long assumed it had virtually no fossil fuels could now be sitting on energy reserves containing 100 years' fuel. Critically for Japan, which imports 99.7 per cent of the oil, gas and coal needed to run its vast economy, the lumps of energy-filled ice offer the tantalising promise of a little energy independence. ... The potential of methane hydrates as a source of natural gas has been known scientifically for some time, though how much was lurking off the Japanese coast has been confirmed only in the past couple of years. Methane hydrates are believed to collect along geological fault lines, and Japan sits atop a nexus of three of the world's largest. In 2007 the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry declared that there were more than 1.1 trillion cubic metres (39 trillion cubic feet) of methane hydrates off the eastern coast - equivalent to 14 years of natural gas use by Japan at current rates. Academic studies suggest total Japanese deposits of 7.4 trillion cubic metres.
Friday, April 11, 2008
For years, NewsBusters has reported on Al Gore's financial interests in advancing global warming hysteria around the world. Now Albert Gore, Jr., admitted that he has a conflict of interest. He recommends investments that he profits from. Confession is only the first step, Albert. Now you have to determine that you will profit no more. Promise. Gore Admits Financial Gain from Advancing Global Warming Hysteria - NewsBusters.org:
On March 1, while speaking at the TED Conference in Monterey, California, the Nobel Laureate admitted to having "a stake" in a number of green "investments" that he recommended attendees put money in rather than "sub-prime carbon assets" like "tar sands" and "shale oil." This occurred as pictures of such products appeared on the screen with names of the companies involved (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 15:00. "There are a lot of great investments you can make. If you are investing in tar sands, or shale oil, then you have a portfolio that is crammed with sub-prime carbon assets. And it is based on an old model. Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and their legs collapse. Developing tar sands and coal shale is the equivalent. Here are just a few of the investments I personally think make sense. I have a stake in these so I’ll have a disclaimer there. But geo-thermal concentrating solar, advanced photovoltaics, efficiency, and conservation. " As Gore spoke these words, pictures of electric cars, windmills and solar panels appeared in multiple slides on the screen with company names at the bottom such as Amyris (biofuels), Altra (biofuels), Bloom Energy (solid oxide fuel cells), Mascoma (cellulosic biofuels), GreatPoint Energy (catalytic gasification), Miasole (solar cells), Ausra (utility scale solar panels), GEM (battery operated cars), Smart (electric cars), and AltaRock Energy (geothermal power).
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
President Jimmy continues to move lower. FOXNews.com - Report: Jimmy Carter to Meet With Hamas Leader in Syria Former President Jimmy Carter is reportedly preparing an unprecedented meeting with the leader of Hamas, an organization that the U.S. government considers one of the leading terrorist threats in the world. The Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported Tuesday that Carter was planning a trip to Syria for mid-April, during which he would meet with Khaled Meshal, the exiled head of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, on April 18. Deanna Congileo, Carter’s press secretary, confirmed in an e-mail to FOXNews.com that Carter will be in the Mideast in April. Pressed for comment, Congileo did not deny that the former president is considering visiting Meshal. “President Carter is planning a trip to the Mideast next week; however, we are still confirming details of the trip and will issue a press release by the end of this week,” wrote Congileo. “I cannot confirm any specific meetings at this point in time.” Meshal, who lives in Syria to avoid being arrested by the Israeli government, leads Hamas from his seat in Damascus, where he is a guest of Bashar al-Assad's regime. Update - Jimmy feels "quite at ease." Seattle P-I: Jimmy Carter defends meeting with Hamas:
Several State Department officials, including the secretary, Condoleezza Rice, criticized Carter's plans to talk in Syria this week with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in the first public contact in two years between a prominent American figure and the group
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Trade saves money for everyone. Everyone. (I don't call it "free trade," because it is always restricted - never free.) Trade between countries allows the market to decide where is the most efficient place to produce something. Country A gets efficient at producing X, so it produces more X and less Y and Z. A trades for them - buys them. And Country B turns to produce less X and more Y or Z. Production goes to the efficient place - counting the cost of transportation. The goods we buy become cheaper. Colombia is our friend between two big problems - Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. So let's treat Colombia like a friend and trade with them; a new trade treaty goes for the vote in the US Senate this week. The Democrats demanded protection for their union buddies, so the treaty was changed for them. But they won't accept yes. John Fund at Wall Street Journal does a good job on the petty politics over Colombia this month.
But in truth, the Uribe government has made great strides in reducing violence in Colombia. Since 2001, the number of kidnappings has dropped by over 80%, acts of terror are down over 75%, and the murder rate associated with trade unionists is down almost 80%. President Uribe made clear how disappointed he was that the Democratic front-runner had chosen domestic politics over geopolitical stability: "I deplore the fact that Sen. Obama . . . should be unaware of Colombia's efforts," he said in a statement. "I think it is for political calculations that he is making a statement that does not correspond to Colombia's reality." The simple truth is that the opposition to the trade agreement--from the Democratic presidential contenders to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi--has nothing to do with reality. Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, admitted as much recently: "It's not the substance on the ground--it's the politics in the air."
Sunday, April 06, 2008
A prominent Brit speaks out. Lord Lawson claims climate change hysteria heralds a 'new age of unreason' - Telegraph One of the striking features of how concern over global warming has risen to the top of our political agenda is the extraordinary unanimity with which it has been taken up by our political establishment. Not only have our main political parties unquestioningly accepted the more extreme claims of the threat posed by global warming, as exemplified by the Treasury's Stern Review or Al Gore's alarmist film. Our politicians have similarly endorsed without a murmur all the steps now being taken to avert this predicted catastrophe - which, if carried through, can only mean a dramatic transformation in our way of life. Only one senior political figure in Britain has dared stand apart from this stifling orthodoxy: Nigel Lawson, now Lord Lawson of Blaby, who as Margaret Thatcher's Chancellor presided over the renaissance of our economy in the 1980s. In 2005 Lord Lawson played an influential part in shaping a report on The Economics of Climate Change by the Lords economic affairs committee. It stood out as a measured but often critical appraisal both of the science behind orthodox global warming theory and of the political response to it. In 2006, in a lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies, Lord Lawson gave a more personal view of one of the overriding political issues of our time, which he has now expanded into a book, An Appeal To Reason: A Cool Look At Global Warming. His timing is impeccable. On one hand, we are just starting to appreciate the colossal cost of the measures being taken to meet the European Union's target of a 60 per cent cut in our CO2 emissions in the next four decades, ranging from plans to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on wind turbines to the EU's emissions trading scheme, already costing us billions through our electricity bills.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Do you want to be ruled by the mega-rich? Then elect Hillary. Townhall online
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton made nearly $109 million since they left the White House, capitalizing on the world's interest in the former first couple and lucrative business ventures. The Clintons reported $20.4 million in income for 2007 as they gave the public the most detailed look at their finances in eight years. Almost half the former first couple's money came from Bill Clinton's speeches. The tax returns are a portrait in post-presidential success. The Clintons, who had lived in taxpayer-paid housing in the governor's mansion in Arkansas or the White House for years, left the presidency struggling with a legal defense fund stemming from a spate of investigations. They now are wealthy enough that she could lend her presidential campaign $5 million earlier this year. The campaign released tax returns from 2000 through 2006 and gave highlights from their 2007 return. The Clintons have asked for an extension for filing their 2007 tax returns, citing the dissolution of a blind trust last year. The Democratic presidential candidate and her husband paid $33.8 million in taxes from 2000 through 2007. They listed $10.25 million in charitable contributions during that period. Clinton has been under pressure to release her tax returns, especially from rival Sen. Barack Obama, who posted his 2000 to 2006 returns on his campaign Web site last week. Neither Obama nor Republican Sen. John McCain has made their 2007 tax returns public, though both say they will this month. The Clintons last made their returns public in 2000 when they reported an adjusted gross income of $416,039 for 1999. Since then, the former president has embarked on a number of business ventures and has made millions from speaking engagements and books.The "charitable" donations were to their own charity. Good deal, give money to yourself and get a tax deduction.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Colombia in South America has large oil reserves. It shouldn't be a complete surprise. Venezuela next door has produced oil since around 1920 and is a major world source. Brazil has started high production of oil. Indeed, the headlines have been "Brazil to attain energy independence with ethanol from sugar can." But that is less than half the picture. in 2005, Brazil consumed 2,000,000 barrels of oil per day, versus 280,000 barrels of ethanol. So ethanol consumption is 1/7 that of oil. [Ethanol in Brazil] FT.com / In depth - Colombia sitting on big oil reserves: Colombia’s heavy oil area could hold 20bn barrels of recoverable resources, giving the country greater reserves than leading producers such as Mexico and Algeria, said its natural resources agency. Foreign investment in Colombia’s oil and gas industry is booming, and the country hopes to lift oil production to 1m barrels a day in the next decade, from about 550,000 b/d currently. Colombia’s heavy oil potential is dwarfed by that of its neighbour Venezuela, which is estimated to have at least 240bn barrels recoverable in its Orinoco belt region. But Colombia has the great advantage of welcoming foreign investment. It is one of the few countries with significant resources becoming more accessible to international companies, and capable of growth in oil exports. The ANH, Colombia’s national hydrocarbons agency, is on Wednesday setting out details of Colombia’s second licensing round in London, following presentations in Houston last week. Larger companies have been invited to bid for heavy oil exploration acreage in the Llanos Basin, towards the border with Venezuela.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Fox News is doing the best job - being fairest. And this is from Clinton partisan Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. How does he dare say it? Hillary Supporter Ed Rendell: Fox Has Done Fairest Job Covering Campaign | NewsBusters.org:
Speaking with host Steve Doocy, Rendell said the following (h/t TVNewser via NBer Thomas Stewart): Well, I said that I think during this entire campaign coverage starting in Iowa and up to the present, Fox has done the fairest job, has remained the most objective of all the cable networks: you hate both of our candidates. No, I'm only kidding. But, you actually have done a very balanced job of reporting the news. And, you know, some of the other stations are just caught up with the, Senator Obama who's a great guy. But Senator Obama can do no wrong, and Senator Clinton can do no right.