Thursday, April 3, 2014

A 200-Coal-Hopper Unit Train; US LNG Exports To Increase; Global Warming Dumps Record Amount Of Snow On Minnesota (Probably US, Too)

I'm not sure what to blog next -- either a meandering musing I've been thinking about for quite some time, or a link/comment to a story Don sent me.

I guess I will go with the story, this one from South Africa. Bloomberg is reporting on an $18-billion rail plan to expedite coal exports. This is an incredible story. For me, this is simply another story of the futility of warmists' goal to cut emissions from coal. Look at the size of this endeavor:
In more than 40 years driving trains in South Africa, Jacobus Cornelius van der Merwe has never seen anything like the Shongololo.
The train, whose name means millipede in Zulu, carries 200 coal wagons, is as long as eight Eiffel Towers laid end-to-end and can haul 16,800 metric tons of coal at 80 kilometers (50 miles) an hour non-stop to the country’s main export port.
The 580-kilometer Shongololo journeys from mines in Mpumalanga southeast to Richards Bay Coal Terminal on the coast, without having to change locomotives because some lines use alternating current and some direct. About 110 dual-powered trains made by Toshiba Corp. been put in service since 2009, while diesel locomotives on the coal route will be replaced with General Electric Co. models. 
That's an incredible story with many, many story lines, least of which is a reminder that US presidents come and go, but entrepreneurs never give up.

Look at all the diesel locomotives GE will build. Wow. Shon-go-lo-lo.

Leader of the Pack, Shangri-Las

I can only imagine how many wind farms one would have to see in the US to match what the South Africans are doing with their coal.

Spain: So Much For Windmills
Meanwhile, Good News Continues To Flow From The US Gulf Coast

Houston Business Journal is reporting: Cheniere inks LNG export deal with Spanish company.
Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc. has signed another major customer for its Corpus Christi liquefied natural gas export facility.
Spain-based Endesa Generacion S.A. agreed to buy about 1.5 million tones per annum of LNG from Cheniere subsidiary Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC once the facility’s operations commence.
The agreement lasts for 20 years from the date of first commercial delivery, and it has an extension option of up to 10 years. Deliveries are expected to begin as early as 2018.

Global Warming Dumps Record Amount of Snow on Minnesota

Don: "If they do not stop global warming soon, the snow will be so deep I will never get out of my driveway." He could have added, " ... and my wife is shoveling as fast as she can." LOL.

CBS Minnesota is reporting
The Artist Formerly Known As Prince was wrong. It’s not “Sometimes It Snows In April.” It “Always Snows In April.”
OK, it only seems that way after the brutal winter we had this year, and the extended winter we had last year. But many Minnesotans are understandably at the breaking point with the news that a spring snowstorm is expected to dump possibly more than a foot of snow in many parts of the state.
The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for most of the state, including the Twin Cities. The warning is in effect from Thursday afternoon until Friday night.
WCCO director of meteorology Mike Augustyniak says that the storm should begin with a wintry mix in the Twin Cities. Then it will eventually begin to turn over into heavy, wet snow late Thursday into Friday morning. The period of accumulating snow could last up to 12 hours, Augustyniak said.

US Employers Say ObamaCare Will Cost Them $5,000 More/Employee

TheFreeBeacon is reporting:
Obamacare will cost large companies between $4,800 and $5,900 more per employee and add hundreds of millions to their overhead, according to a new survey.
The American Health Policy Institute conducted a confidential survey of 100 large employers—those with 10,000 or more employees—asking what costs they expect to incur from Obamacare over the next decade.
Factoring in the health care law’s added mandates, fees, and regulatory burdens, employers anticipate cost hikes between $163 million and $200 million in 2016, a 4.3 percent increase. By 2023, employers will be paying 8.4 percent more than “what they would otherwise be spending” for their employees’ health care.
Health care is so incredibly unpredictable, there is no way one could predict health care costs in 2023. 

I don't quite understand all the whining. It's my understanding that corporations can opt out. The Supreme Court justice Sotomayor told Hobby Lobby that it could opt out of ObamaCare and simply pay the penalty, which is around $2,000/employee, a whole lot less than what insurance will cost.

It's also my understanding that companies are in compliance with ObamaCare if they provide a monthly stipdend for employees to purchase their own health care insurance through ObamaCare websites (assuming the websites work). 

Fifty weeks x 40 hours/week = 2,000 hours, or $2.50/hour. Minimum wage is about $7.50, but in reality is probably closer to $9.00. The Senate doesn't have the votes for a $10.10-minimum-wage but $9.00 plus $2.50 is not a whole lot more than the minimum wage, and except for businesses like McDonald's, I doubt most employees have a preponderance of minimum-wage employees.

In addition., the additional expense is an expense which decreases taxes for a corporation. 

I think folks forget that the primary reason driving ObamaCare in the first place was the unpredictably of ever-increasing health premiums that came out every October. The high cost of health care was a problem but it could always be passed on to the consumer (if the playing field was level); it was the unpredictability of the premiums that created havoc.

So, now the cost of health care is squarely in the hands of the employer. Ms Sotomayor says employers can opt out and pay the penalty. This is not rocket science. 

[I think ObamaCare is a total scam, fraud, a trainwreck as the Montana Democratic Senator said, but it was a godsend for the Corporate America.]

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