American Elephants


More on The Deepwater Horizon Disaster by The Elephant's Child

If you are interested in and are following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster,  there is a very interesting piece at Watts Up With That, Anthony Watts splendid blog.  The article is by Paul Driessen, and there is, as well, a transcript of a call from a worker who was on the rig when it blew.   Comments on Watts’ articles are always worthwhile for many come from knowledgeable people who add to the very sane discussion.

An accident — even a very big one — is no reason to shut down operations on other offshore oil rigs.  This spill does not begin to reach the volume of some tanker spills.

The safety record of oil rigs is really quite good.  As Driessen says: “Since 1969, we have drilled over 1.224,000 wells in state waters and on the Outer Continental Shelf.  There have been 13 losses of well control involving more than 50 barrels; five were less than 100 barrels apiece; one was a little over 1,000 barrels; two (both in 1970) involved 30,000 barrels or more.  Only in Santa Barbara (so far) did significant amounts of oil reach shore and cause serious environmental damage.

I hope this whets your appetite for the article.  The media is full of catastrophe, and hype.  Lots of grandstanding and kneejerk reactions.  Politicians want to be seen as “doing something.” Yet it is too soon to know the exact cause,  too soon to know if there were human mistakes or if this is a trick of Mother Nature.  A  Congress that is already in bad favor with constituents will want to rush to make some laws to prevent…?



Another Rick Santelli Meltdown. Will Somebody Please Pay Attention? by The Elephant's Child

Remember Rick Santelli? He’s the on-air editor for CNBC Business News network, where he reports from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.  His on-air rant on February 19, 2009, was a catalyst in forming the Tea Party movement.

Yesterday Fannie Mae announced its 11th consecutive quarterly loss — $11.5 billion — and asked for another $8.4 billion in taxpayer help.  This government-created mortgage investor is a prizewinning money loser. Fannie continues to pour taxpayer money into the housing market.  Freddie Mac last week requested another $10.6 billion from taxpayers.  This adds up to $145 billion that they have received so far from taxpayers.

Mr. Santelli is melting down in the video above,because a congressman said they couldn’t address the problem because it was “too complicated.”

The Obama Administration and Senator Chris Dodd have collaborated on a financial reform bill that includes no reform of Fannie or Freddie.  And in fact, Democrats in Congress are still demanding more loans and bailouts for people to buy homes that they cannot, under prudent rules of banking, possibly afford.  Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) said that the Democrats plan to get to the GSEs sometime next year when it seems more politically advantageous.

George Bush pushed a reform plan in 2003, Democrats refused.  Sen. McCain tried in 2006. It is a big problem and getting bigger, and it’s very complicated, and they keep kicking it on down the road.

For November, look for the candidates that are willing to tackle complicated things, because it’s the right thing to do.  We’re in this mess because they keep kicking it down the road.

ADDENDUM: Senator John McCain sponsored an amendment to the financial reform bill to shrink the mortgage giants, raise their underwriting and capital standards, cap the taxpayer losses and eventually shut down the failed enterprises.  Senator Christopher Dodd said “We all should have done a better job.”  BUT they absolutely need to be reformed, but just not yet.  He opposed Mr. McCain’s amendment and “countered with a bold plan to authorize Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to…conduct a study.”  The Senate voted down the McCain amendment, 56-43.
It is only six months till November.



The Secrets of Green Energy, Exposed! by The Elephant's Child

A government-funded study from Bruce Arnold of the Congressional Budget Office, shows the negative impact of CO2-cutting policies like cap-and-trade or carbon taxes.   His recent “CBO Economic and Budget Issue Brief: How Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Affect Employment” points out that”

In particular, job losses in the industries that shrink would lower employment more than job gains in other industries would increase employment, thereby raising the overall unemployment rate.

In other words, sorry folks, there is no green stimulus.  Carbon cuts lead to net job losses.  Arnold also points out that those who keep their jobs will get reduced pay.

This is all so confusing.  President Obama and his energy people are insisting that clean green energy will transform America.  Chris Horner points out in his new book  Power Grab, that:

For example, in April 2009, Jon Wellinghoff, Obama’s appointee to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), declared that the United States had no need of new nuclear or coal baseload electricity generation, and that wind was going to be the “cheapest thing to do.”

This is the mindset of the  chairman of a regulatory body with significant decision-making authority over critical energy decisions. ” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told an audience in Atlantic City that windmills off the East Coast could generate enough electricity to replace most and possibly even all of the coal-fired power plants in the United States.”

Dr. Robert Peltier, editor in chief of Power magazine, didn’t take kindly to such sophomoric rhetoric…

“If we assume the entire eastern coastline were open to development, then there is room for 3,600 wind turbines, one row deep.  Also, if the rating of all these new turbines were the same as for Cape Wind”  — that’s the project stalled by the Kennedys and Kerrys of the world for threatening their views — “then to replace the entire nation’s installed capacity with a like amount of offshore capacity requires 334.462 wind turbines.  In other words, the entire east coast would have wind turbines…located every half-mile and 93 turbines deep (over 30 miles) out to sea.” …

“Problematically, far from being out in the dusty plains far away from most anyone, the view offshore generally belongs to rich people…who know other people like judges, lawyers, zoning chairman, and politicians.  Further, …offshore windmills cost between 2.5 and 3 times as much to build and operate as new conventional energy plants, even despite conventional plants having to pay for their fuel.”
(emphasis added)

Extrapolating that estimate to 334,462 wind turbines, Peltier wrote, produced an estimate with so many zeroes his calculator gave  him a zero overflow error.

I’m currently reading Christopher Horner’s Power Grab: How Obama’s  Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America, and recommend it, heartily.




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