Filed under: Entertainment, Europe, Heartwarming, Music, Pop Culture | Tags: A Tribute to ABBA, Perpetuum Jazzile, Slovenian a capella jazz choir
Time to revisit Perpetuum Jazzile, the Slovenian a capella jazz choir. Here they pay tribute to the Swedish vocal group ABBA with a medley of ABBA’s songs. We have long admired this group.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Europe, Junk Science, The United States | Tags: Distorting Markets, Germany's Energiewende, Subsidies Don't Work
Country after country in Europe is abandoning, curtailing or reneging on once-generous support for renewable energy. Green dreams are giving way to hard economic realities. In a time of straightened budgets and recession, they are beginning to recognize that their ill conceived projects have been a self-inflicted economic and political debacle.
A study by British public relations consultancy CCGroup analysed 138 articles about renewables published during July last year in the five most widely circulated British national newspapers: The Sun, the Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, which have a combined daily circulation of about 6.5 million.
The study found a number of trends in the reporting of news about renewable energy. The media’s sentiment toward the renewable industry was cold. More than 51 percent of the articles published were negative or very negative toward the industry.
EU member states have spent about €600 billion ($882 billion) on renewable energy projects since 2005, Germany’s green energy transition alone may cost consumers up to €1 trillion by 2030. These billions of Euros are being paid by ordinary families in what is certainly one of the biggest wealth transfers from the poor to the rich in modern European history. Rising energy bills are dampening consumer spending, a poisonous development for a Continent struggling with a severe economic crisis.
Germany has Europe’s most expensive electricity at 26.8 euro cents a kilowatt hour. Angela Merkel has warned that the rapid expansion of green energy is weakening Germany’s competitive advantage in the global economy. More than half the world’s solar panels are installed in Germany, meeting almost 40 percent of the nation’s peak electricity demand. But during many weeks in December and January, Germany’s 1.1 million solar power systems generated almost no electricity. Solar panels just stopped generating, and Germany had to import nuclear energy fro m France and the Czech Republic.
Siemens, one of Germany’s biggest companies is abandoning the industry. They announced in June that they are closing the entire solar division, at a loss of about €1 billion. Last month they fired the chief executive. Interestingly, as I was writing this I was startled to hear a commercial extolling the wonders of solar energy — from Siemens. They’re going to unload their excess stock on us?
One of the unintended consequences of Germany’s Energiewwende has been that preferential treatment for wind and solar has meant that natural gas plants have become unprofitable, and are being mothballed. Governments are not successful in picking winners and losers, Competition and the free market will do a far better job of directing investment. Government subsidies simply suppress the information that the marketplace is trying to send.
Would someone please explain this to President Obama?
Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Humor, News of the Weird | Tags: Architechural Accidents, Spanish Skyscraper, The InTempo Building
This 47-story skyscraper under construction in Alicante, Spain has had its construction fraught with problems, including allegations of fraud from both customers and suppliers who are owed $3.3 million. The fact that it looks like a giant pair of pants is beside the point. The real problem — the really, really big one is that they forgot the elevator shafts. “In what will surely go down in history as one of the greatest architectural blunders, the building was almost completed when it realized that it had excluded plans for elevator shafts.” Great analogy for ObamaCare.
The comments were a riot!
“On the other hand the advertising potential of this design is impressive. Haggar and Dockers are in a bidding war right now.”
“Can I show you something nice in a 40th floor walk-up?”
“On the subject of Spanish design flaws, their new, 2 Billion Euro submarine is 70 tons too heavy. If it submerged it wouldn’t be able to resurface.
Its named the Peral.”
“This is a great apartment if you ‘re into cardio.”
ADDENDUM: This story is turning out to be a hoax. The building is so dramatically ugly that it is easy to believe stories of major mistakes. The building, according to a Spanish blog, Barcepundit, does have elevators—11 of them: 3 in each tower plus 4 for the penthouses on top and a panoramic one on the outside. If you look really closely at the left tower, you will see an orange stripe which is the panoramic elevator.
Supposedly a bad translation from a confusing article in El Pais, a Spanish daily newspaper that only touched on the elevator issue tangentially. American TV crews are reportedly on the way to investigate. Der Spiegel reported on the story and had a building planned for only 20 stories, a late decision to make it significantly taller, with no freight elevator until the first 23 stories were constructed. When the freight elevator was finally installed, it collapsed, injuring 13 workers.
So what will happen when U.S. TV crews arrive? If it is a non-story and they have been hoaxed will they still report it? The town is apparently Benidorm, not Alicante, but is Alicante a province, a county? I have no idea how a story can get so fouled up. It seems to be a town with a magnificent long beach. The building towers over the rest of the town and is beyond ugly. I apologize for falling for a story without further checking, but further checking would not have been accurate anyway.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, History, Law, Politics, United Kingdom | Tags: A Looming Train Wreck, The NHS Failure, The ObamaCare Disaster
The Obama administration lied to you from the beginning. They claimed that health care costs were spiraling out of control and by reforming health care they would bring costs down. In fact, the costs of health care were slowly coming down in response to new diagnostic tools and new medicines that saved higher hospital costs. They claimed that they were echoing Massachusetts health plan, but the president’s advisers on health care were all great admirers of Britain’s National Health Service.
The advisers looked at the cost of health care and determined that most of the cost for any person came in the final years of their lives. If they could get rid of that cost, then American health care would cost lots less. So if someone was in their 80s or 90s, they shouldn’t be allowed to rack up big costs for operations or expensive treatments.
A new report on Britain’s National Health Service notes that as many as 13,000 needless deaths have occurred in 14 NHS hospital trusts since 2005. This is no fluke. It’s the result of socialized medicine, done by experts.
In ObamaCare, the government panel that controls what procedures one may receive (cost effectiveness) is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) or as Sarah Palin called it — the Death Panel. It would decide when you could get dialysis and when they pulled the cord.
Then there was the “Liverpool Care Pathway” — an Orwellian death panel operation, where nurses shouted to visitors to not give their dying relatives sips of water for fear it would interfere with the hospital’s death target. “No one was doing anything ‘wrong’ since everything was done by the book,” wrote Jenkins.
Keogh found that as many as 13,000 “needless” deaths were the result, about 3 per day in each hospital district.
The U.K. has seen reform after reform of its health care system, but none has made much difference.
The administration granted a one-year delay in the employer mandate, something that he cannot legally do. The House just passed a one-year delay for the individual mandate, which Obama says he will veto. Obama’s goal is to get as many people signed up or ObamaCare subsidies as he can, as quickly as he can, so that any repeal of the law becomes politically impossible. That’s why the administration is paying people to sign individuals up. Delaying the employer mandate guarantees that hundreds of thousands of people will end up at an ObamaCare exchange after their employers use the delay to drop coverage.
He is even allowing states to take the applicants’ word for it that they don’t have coverage available to them at work and that their income is as low as they claim it is. It opens the door to fraud, but lax enforcement means more will sign up.
Unions are turning against ObamaCare in a big way, they are learning about the downside. The law will drive up insurance costs, massively increase government spending, create huge shortages of doctors with no way to solve that problem except for long waits to see a doctor, $1 trillion in new taxes, continue to destroy full-time jobs, and do nothing whatsoever to control health care costs.
It is a train wreck. Even Democrats are wanting to repeal and replace. But they are obsessed with “public” rather than “private”, “non-profit” rather than “for profit” that they become oblivious to simple basic facts. Some Democrats see the solution as moving everyone into Medicare, but that would not solve a single problem in ObamaCare.
A warning shot was fired a few months ago when one hospital, Mid-Staffordshire, was found to be a veritable death trap of neglect, misspent funds and starved investment. Now a new report on 14 NHS trusts, released by government-appointed Prof. Sir Bruce Keogh this week, finds that neglect and “needless” deaths are pretty much a characteristic of the entire system.
Socialized medicine simply doesn’t work. The state can cover up big problems, state priorities trump those of the consumer, bureaucracies resist change. Is that really what we need— a system to provide needless death?
Filed under: Entertainment, Freedom, History, Humor, United Kingdom | Tags: Queen Elizabeth"s Horse 'Estimate', The Royal Ascot Meeting, Winning is Just Plain Fun
This post began with a picture. Queen Elizabeth’s horse won the Gold Cup at the Royal Ascot meeting. The Gold Cup is the most prestigious event for “stayers”— horses which specialize in racing over long distances. It is traditionally held on day three of the meeting.
The Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, and the Ascot estate belongs to the crown. Queen Elizabeth attends every year, as do members of the Royal Family. They arrive each day in a horse-drawn carriage, with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day with the raising of the Queen’s Royal Standard.
It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often gets more attention than the actual racing. Ladies’ hats are a feature of the day. Dress code is strictly enforced, day dresses with a hat for the ladies and for the men black or grey morning dress with top hat is required. People who have no idea about the horse race part of the day have undoubtedly seen pictures of the weird and wonderful or just plain strange hats.
There are five days of races, and the Gold Cup on the third day was on June 20th. The Queen has reigned for 61 years and has attended Ascot every year since 1945. Her horses have won races 22 times, but this is the first Gold Cup, the most prestigious of all. Estimate’s win is the first time ever that a reigning monarch has won the Gold Cup. The Queen usually awards the cup to the winner. This year Prince Andrew awarded the cup to his mother. The race is two miles and four furlongs. It is the world’s most famous horse race.
So this is a belated post, but I just loved the triumphant grin.
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, History, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: America's Problematic Finances, Britain As A Great Power, Winning By Not Losing
“The country that declared its independence on July 4, 1776, had many advantages in the military struggle with Britain that was already under way. Finances, however, was not one of them.
The United States was fighting on its home ground and could react quickly. Britain had to fight from a distance of three thousand miles and with a communications time lag of at least three months, often four. The American military commanders and politicians were intimately familiar with that ground; their British counterparts were often profoundly ignorant. Most of all, the United States had only to avoid losing the war until the British government and people tired sufficiently of the struggle and its mounting costs. Britain had to defeat and pacify a vast country awash in rebellion.
But Britain had virtually unlimited financial resources; the Americans had hardly any. Because of those resources it could deploy the largest and best navy in the world (although it had been allowed to decay considerably since the end of the Seven Years’ War). The British army was second to none in training and equipment, and could be easily augmented with hired foreign troops. The Americans had to scratch together what forces they could using state militias and privateers as much as if not more than the Continental Army and Navy.
The rest had to come from borrowing, some from wealthy Americans committed to the cause, but mostly from France and Holland, who were both, of course, far more interested in humbling Britain than in helping the Americans. Along with money, they also supplied about 60 percent of the gunpowder used by American forces. During the course of the war, American privateers seized some two thousand British vessels, worth, together with their cargoes some 18 million pounds.” *
So to overcome the limits of borrowing, the Americans turned to the printing press, with the usual result — inflation. From early 1779 to early 1781 prices rose nearly tenfold. Robert Morris, a Philadelphia merchant, took charge in 1781 and was able to raise financing to move the Continental Army from New York State to Yorktown, Virgina.
The French fleet blocked the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, cutting off relief to the British army. If the British wanted to continue the war they would have to raise, equip and transport a new army. There was no political will to do so. The British were “war weary” in the common phrase of journalists. The British began negotiating a peace treaty that resulted in formal recognition of American independence in 1783. The Americans won the war by not losing.
* John Steele Gordon: An Empire of Wealth
Filed under: Freedom, History, Military, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Commander-in-Chief George Washington, The Beginnings of the Revolution, The War Around Boston
General Washington arrived in Cambridge. The next morning, without ceremony, he took over command from General Ward. For the following two or three days he toured the lines, appraising his forces, their camps and their fortifications. He was accompanied by General Charles Lee who wrote to his old friend Robert Morris in Philadelphia: “We found e everything exactly the reverse of what had been represented. We were assured at Philadelphia that the army was socked with engineers. We found not one. We were assured that we should find an expert train of artillery. They have not a single gunner, and so on…”
Two weeks later, he remarked of the army, “I really believe not a single man of ‘em is capable of constructing an oven,” Lee was a soldier of fortune who had seen a variety of troops in several parts of the world. He was described by a Yankee clergyman as “a perfect original, a good scholar and soldier, and an odd genius, full of fire and passion and but little good manners; a great sloven, wretchedly profane, and a great admirer of dogs.” Lee said of New England’s enlisted men:
…they are admirable — young, stout, healthy, zealous, good-humoured and sober. Had we but uniforms, compleat arms, more gentlemen for officers, I really believe a very little time and pains would render ‘em the most invincible army that have appeared since the first period of the Roman Republic …The more we consider the affair of Bunker’s Hill the more wonderful it appears…
July 27, 1775
Three and a half weeks after his arrival at Cambridge, Washington summed up his efforts and the general situation in this way:
My whole time since I came here has been impolyed in throwing up lines of defence at these three several places; to secure, in the first instance, our own troops from any attempts of the enemy; and, in the next, to cut off all communication between their troops and the country …Their force, including Marines, Tories, etc., are computed, from the best accounts I can get, at about 12,000 men. Ours, including sick, absent, etc., at about 16,000 …
The enemy are sickly and scarce of fresh provisions…I have drove all the live[stock] within a considerable distance of this place back into the country, out of the way of the men-of-war’s boats. In short, I have, and shall continue to do, everything in my power to distress them. The [British] transports are all arrived, and their whole reinforcement is landed, so that I can see no reason why they should not, if they ever attempt it, come boldly out and put the matter to issue at once. If they think themselves not strong enough to do this, they surely will carry their arms (having ships of war and transports ready) to some other part of the continent, or relinquish the dispute; the last of which the Ministry [in England] unless compelled, will never agree to do. Our works and those of the enemy are so near and quite open between that we see every thing that the other is doing.
August 14, 1775
Reinforcements continued to arrive. A newspaper report stated:
Last night arrived at the camp, …Swashan the chief, with four other Indians of the St. Francis tribe, conducted by Mr. Reuben Colburn, who has been honorable recompensed for his trouble. The above Indians came to offer their services to the cause of American liberty, have been kindly received, and are now entered the service. Swashan says he will bring one-half of his tribe and has engaged four or five other tribes, if they should be wanted.
Other new arrivals at Cambridge were additional riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Dr. Thacher described them:
They are remarkably stout and hardy men, many of them exceeding six feet in height. They are dressed in white frocks or rifle-shirts, and round hats. These men are remarkable for the accuracy of their aim, striking a mark with great certainty at two hundred yards distance…They are now stationed in our line, and their shot have frequently proved fatal to British officers and soldiers who expose them selves to view, even at more than double the distance of common musket-shot.
Late in August, Washington wrote:
…As we have now nearly compleated our lines of defence, we [have] nothing more, in my opinion, to fear from the enemy, provided we can keep our men to their duty and make them watchful and vigilant. But it is among the most difficult tasks I ever undertook in my life to induce these people to believe there is, or can be, danger till the bayonet is pushed at their breasts…
The stalemate in Boston was to drag on until the following spring. But a second front was moving to attack Quebec. The province was largely inhabited by Frenchmen who were not all reconciled to having British masters. In the summer of 1775 there were only about eight hundred regulars in the whole of Canada. One expedition under General Philip Schuyler and General Richard Montgomery assembled at Ticonderoga prepared to boat northward on Lake Champlain, hoping to capture St. Johns and Montreal before heading on to Quebec. The second expedition under Colonel Benedict Arnold proposed to go up through the wilderness, up the Kennebec River.
This is the point at which you have to read Kenneth Roberts Arundel and Rabble in Arms, historical novels written in the 1930s that turned many a young man into an historian. They follow Steven Nason of Arundel, Maine, as he joins Benedict Arnold in his march to Quebec. I have always loved those books.
Filed under: Freedom, History, Military, Politics, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Assembled in Philadelphia, The Army Awaits in Boston, The Continental Congress
“When the Congress convened in the morning, John Hancock, from the chair, informed Washington of is appointment and expressed the hope of the Congress that George Washington, Esquire, would accept their choice of him as General and Commander-in-Chief of the forces raised and to be raised for the defense of America. The Colonel bowed, took a paper from his pocket and read:”
Mr. President: Though I am truly sensible of the high honor don me in this appointment, yet I feel great distress from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important trust. However, as the Congress desire, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for the support of the glorious cause: I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.
But, lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room, that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.
As to pay, sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have acce3pted this arduous employment at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it; I will keep an exact account of my expenses; those I doubt not they will discharge ,and that is all I desire.
And so it began.
“On June 23, Washington wrote a short note to his “Dearest,” and armed with his commission and instructions from the Congress, mounted his horse for the long ride northward to his army.”
from Rebels and Redcoats.
Filed under: Capitalism, Humor, United Kingdom | Tags: British Humor, Human Nature, The Same the Whole World Over
Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, United Kingdom | Tags: Burnistoun, Scottish Humor, Voice Recognition Technology
I do too have a sense of humor, though it doesn’t seem like it. Here’s a little humor to break the bad news cycle.
It’s called: Voice Recognition Lift