Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving. We Are Doomed.


From The Hill

Trying to reassure the American public in the lead-up to Thanksgiving, President Obama said Wednesday there is no specific or credible threat against the United States.
Remember "bin Laden is dead and GM is alive" implying Al Qaeda was not a worry anymore?

Or ISIS is the JV team?

Or "ISIS is contained" the day of the Paris attack?

We are doomed.

Happy Thanksgiving


Hail the Frackers


This is going to be a statistical mess, but since I'm not a statistician, I have no obligation to be precise.

There are about 100 million households in the US. In 2014 about 137 billion gallons of gasoline were consumed, and 90% of that was for passenger, SUVs and light-duty trucks. That's about 1,370 gallons per family per year. The EIA just published a report showing the average price per gallon in the US is now about $2.10 versus about $3.00 in 2014.  So on average in 2014 the average family spent about $4,000 on gasoline and in 2015 about $2,900 per year.

Median household income is about $45,000 per year. The lower gas price, $1,100 per year, is equivalent to a 2.4% pay increase.

But this pay increase is actually skewed to the poor and middle class. If you use the numbers above, the average family in 2014 spent about 8.9% of its income on gasoline. I don't have precise data, but my pretty good guess is high income families spend more like 1% of their income on gasoline: lower gas consumption and higher income. So if gas prices go up or down, it's just not that large of an impact on the well off. But for the poor it is a very big deal.

It's even worse than that. The well-off, for instance, commute to NYC on subsidized rail lines. The subsidies come from general tax revenue and from gas taxes. That's right, they get paid to ride a train to work courtesy of those who drive, so when gas prices go up, they are even better off because they avoid the pain of the price hike AND people less off than them pay to keep them riding the rails.

It would be wrong to blame this regressive subsidy on one political party, it is bipartisan. However, it would be fair to say the Democrats are much less supportive of promoting policies that encourage lower oil prices and lower gas prices (Keystone Pipeline, hydraulic fracturing), and to that I can only say, not much skin off my nose, but it sure does hurt the constituency you claim is your primary concern.

I know the counter argument involves global warming/climate change/extreme weather. But if I'm that guy who pays 10% or more of my income on gasoline and I'm offered a choice of making that 5% of my income or paying the same  or more so the rich guy living on the shore can keep his house dry, I know which one I would choose. Other than the global warming/climate change/extreme weather models being hopelessly wrong, I think that's the reason why the average American doesn't give two hoots in hell about carbon.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Trump is a Pathological Buffoon. So is CNN.


I'm not a fan of Ben Carson, but I don't think he's as dangerous to our country as Trump is. Trump is dangerous. Like George Wallace. Like Joe McCarthy. Like Father Coughlin. Like all the other demagogues and charlatans throughout history.

That the media allows him to compare Carson to a child molester, and consistently misquote Carson and misuse the term pathological shows me they are just as dangerous to our country as Trump, George Wallace, Joe McCarthy, Father Coughlin and the rest.

Stop it Trump. Stop it CNN. Just stop.


The Bolivian View of Global Warming


Some of us deniers have an issue with models that are running too hot and also believe global warming of doom proponents are really aruging for the destruction of capitalism.

Thank you Bolivia:

Bolivia’s contribution bears into account that the new climate agreement must be developed over the basis of the vision of the peoples and social organizations, to be revealed in the conclusions of World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Defence of Life in October 2015, rejecting in turn the vision of empires and transnational corporations, paving the way for a solution to the climate crisis from another alternative to the current view.

The structural cause that has triggered the climate crisis is the failed capitalist system. The capitalist system promotes consumerism, warmongering and commercialism, causing the destruction of Mother Earth and humanity. The capitalist system is a system of death. Hence, capitalism is leading humanity towards a horizon of destruction that sentences nature and life itself to death. In this regard, for a lasting solution to the climate crisis we must destroy capitalism.
 Maybe the authors attended Mizzou, or Yale.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Axelrod Sponsors the Koch Brothers

Take a listen to Episode 10 of David Axelrod's new podcast, "The Axe Files."

Mark Holden, senior vice president and general counsel at Koch Industries, chats with David about working with the Koch brothers and their push for criminal justice reform.
It's an interesting discussion of criminal justice reform and other things. Also interesting how Axelrod demonstrates all of the caricatures of the Koch's believed (to their detriment) by the Left.


Those meddling kids

It is always the case that the current generation thinks the prior generation(s) were laudatory and the coming generation is the beginning of the end of mankind.

This time it might be true. What the heck?

Glenn Reynolds: After Yale, Mizzou, raise the voting age — to 25
How can students too spoiled to tolerate debate weigh opposing political arguments? They can't.

In 1971, the United States ratified the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.

But now I’m starting to reconsider. To be a voter, one must be able to participate in adult political discussions. It’s necessary to be able to listen to opposing arguments and even — as I’m doing right here in this column — to change your mind in response to new evidence.

But now the evidence suggests that, whatever one might say about the 18-year-olds of 1971, the 18-year-olds of today aren’t up to that task. And even the 21-year-olds aren’t looking so good.

Consider Yale University, where a disagreement over what to do about — theoretically — offensive Halloween costumes devolved into a screaming fit by a Yale senior (old enough to vote, thanks to the 26th Amendment) who assaulted a professor with a profane tirade because the professor's failure to agree with her made her feel ... unsafe.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

2 Thoughts on the CNBC Debate


1) It irritates and vexes me the debate was only available to subscribers of CNBC. Why would the Republican National Committee not demand it be available streaming on the Internet for all those, like me, who don't have a cable package that includes CNBC.

2) From what I read the stars of the debate were Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. I've never believed the assertion the Democrats were destined to win the Presidency because of the Hispanic vote. I'm even less likely to believe that assertion now.