Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Morning Ramblings -- Mostly Very Convservative Politics -- Read At Your Own Risk -- Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Bakken

1. From the Boston Globe:  I'm glad the judge finally threw the book at her. Facing 2nd drunk driving charge, her bail was set at $3,000; told to remain alcohol-free; and, forbidden to drive. Her driver's license was revoked indefinitely.

Allegedly under the influence she caused a 5-vehicle crash with multiple injuries in early morning hours this past Sunday.

In 2009, she was charged in drunken driving and driving to endanger.

Oh, and this little gem buried at the end of the story: "Three years earlier, then 17, she was charged in the hit-and-run death of ..." a 48-year-old male walking on a public road in early evening hours.  Hit-and-run. Death. No jail time, apparently. We are a very forgiving people.

2. From USA Today: Obama economy eliminating gridlock, solving highway/street congestion problems.
Traffic congestion dropped 30% last year from 2010 in the USA's 100 largest metropolitan areas, driven largely by higher gas prices and a spotty economic recovery, according to a new study by a Washington-state firm that tracks traffic flows.

That was the largest drop since the nation plunged into recession in December 2007.
Largest drop since December, 2007 -- I believe that was under President Bush. Almost five years later and another indicator that despite a trillion dollars in stimulus, not much to show for it.  Largest drop since December, 2007.

3. Nice editorial in WSJ on "market-driven energy revolution." Link through CarpeDiem.com.
In 2008, natural gas sold for about $12-$14 per thousand cubic feet. Now it sells for about $2 per thousand cubic feet. Instead of supplies lasting only 12 years, there is now sufficient natural gas for at least 100 years.

Four years ago, oil prices climbed to about $145 a barrel world-wide. The impact on the U.S. economy was devastating. Consumers who paid between $2.50 and $3 for a gallon of gas in 2007 paid as much as $5 a gallon in 2008. 
Complementing that editorial is a piece by Daily Ticker: XOM more consistent with energy policy than the US government

4. It's hard to believe this is a story. It was predictable. The tariff on Chinese solar panels could destroy the nascent solar panel installation business in the United States.
A move designed to punish Chinese solar panel makers that charge unfairly low prices in the United States could, ironically, end up hurting American-based solar panel installers, a fast-growing sector of the green economy. [Nothing ironic about this; predictable. Read on.]

Last week, the Department of Commerce announced it would impose punitive tariffs as high as 250% on panels imported from China after finding that Chinese companies have been "dumping" them at prices below production costs.

But many installation firms in the United States rely on lower-priced Chinese-made solar panels, and say the tariffs will hit their businesses hard -- potentially increasing their costs, hurting demand for their services, and stalling their hiring plans.
Cheap solar panels was driving the green revolution. Nipped. The administration picking winners and losers. In this case, I see no winners. [Note: talking head on CNBC did not get this memo: today he is still recommending solar. First Solar was at $132 last July, 2011; now $13.62 and falling.]

5. Last night I mentioned I had not seen any political advertisements yet. Just after posting that, a television ad for "Harvard's first woman of color" running for Massachusetts senator aired. It is impossible for me to look at her now and not think of her Cherokee history. Another minority female has done very, very well. Good for her.

6. Apparently not every Democrat agrees with the President that private equity is bad. First it was the Newark, New Jersey, mayor; now it's former Pennsylvania governor Rendell and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia.

7. I guess the LA Times is researching Ms Romney's expensive horse-riding hobby. It will be interesting to compare those costs (paid for by private money) with the costs of Ms Obama's expensive vacations and taxpayer costs associated with those trips.

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