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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Obama's Climate-Control Plan Is Working

Fewer of those planet killing emissions will be spewed into the atmosphere now that Obama's plan is kicking in. The economy has turned so toxic, Southwest Virginia coal mines are shutting down.

I can hear the environmentalists cheer:
Largest Coal Mine in the State Idles Operations
By Debra McCown, Bristol Herald Courier

Clintwood, Va. – Here in rural Southwest Virginia, an area dependent on the coal and natural gas industries, the global economy’s downward spiral is starting to hit home.

Among the latest letting employees go is CONSOL energy in Buchanan County, which idled its Buchanan Mine – the largest coal mine in Virginia – for at least a month. The mine employs 540 people.

The reason for the stopped work: They aren’t getting orders for coal.

CONSOL spokesman Tom Hoffman said soaring coal prices as recently as last year were a result of global demand for coal.

“Then … the fall happened, that the economy just, it didn’t slow down; it literally fell off a cliff, not just in the U.S., but very quickly in many places around the world,” Hoffman said. “Suddenly, steel makers were saying, ‘We’re going to shut our factories down. We’re not going to make any steel for a while because we don’t have any orders. And so coal producers have to follow that lead pretty closely in order to make sure we’re not producing coal nobody wants.” [link]
The economy is in free fall. Sending the coal industry spiraling. Laying off those who can afford to be without work least.

But carbon emissions will decline.

Al Gore must be as happy as a pig in slop.

Playing It Straight

I have to give Roanoke Times reporter Greg Esposito credit. He provides us this morning with an intriguing story about a particular school within the Virginia Tech empire being under state investigation but, frustrating for us, doesn't tell us why.

See "State investigates Virginia Tech research institute."

So why is that creditworthy?

Neither the state nor Virginia Tech is divulging the specifics of the investigation, other than to confirm that it's ongoing, and Esposito, to his credit as a reporter, doesn't speculate.

You go, dude.

Of course, we're left with an emptiness, not knowing exactly what's up in Blacksburg. Other than snippets about the former director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Bruno Sobral, being ineffective as director and concerns about "his ability to manage a large-scale enterprise while trying to run his own research centers," and about the use of the state's fraud, waste and abuse hotline, we're left with the big question unanswered - what went on?

But if Esposito doesn't know, he doesn't know.

Thanks, Greg, for not editorializing. It's quite refreshing.

Renewable Energy Is a Pipe Dream

A fantastic but vain hope that Democrats like our own Tim Kaine and Mark Warner cling to (for votes) in the forlorn expectation that it will someday amount to something. The fools.
Let's Get Real About Renewable Energy
By Robert Bryce, writing in the Wall Street Journal

During his address to Congress last week, President Barack Obama declared, "We will double this nation's supply of renewable energy in the next three years."

Let's start by deciphering exactly what Mr. Obama includes in his definition of "renewable" energy. If he's including hydropower, which now provides about 2.4% of America's total primary energy needs, then the president clearly has no concept of what he is promising. Hydro now provides more than 16 times as much energy as wind and solar power combined. Yet more dams are being dismantled than built. Since 1999, more than 200 dams in the U.S. have been removed.

If Mr. Obama is only counting wind power and solar power as renewables, then his promise is clearly doable. But the unfortunate truth is that even if he matches Mr. Bush's effort by doubling wind and solar output by 2012, the contribution of those two sources to America's overall energy needs will still be almost inconsequential.

Here's why. The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that total solar and wind output for 2008 will likely be about 45,493,000 megawatt-hours. That sounds significant until you consider this number: 4,118,198,000 megawatt-hours. That's the total amount of electricity generated during the rolling 12-month period that ended last November. Solar and wind, in other words, produce about 1.1% of America's total electricity consumption.

Sure, Mr. Obama can double the output from solar and wind. And then double it again. And again. And again. But getting from 76,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day [the amount generated by solar and wind] to something close to the 47.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day needed to keep the U.S. economy running is going to take a long, long time. It would be refreshing if the president or perhaps a few of the Democrats on Capitol Hill would admit that fact. [link]
To the non-mathematician, that (76,000 out of 47.4 million) means that solar and wind, compared to petroleum-based energy sources, is generating, in terms of per barrel of oil equivalence which takes efficacy into account, a microscopic 0.16% of our total energy needs today. Or one-seventh of one percent!

And Warner and Kaine - and Obama - are choosing to ignore (that's being charitable) that 99.84% of our energy production, preferring to believe that the government can spin gold from straw. I don't know who's more foolish here. Them for being such knuckleheads or you for supporting them.

On This We Disagree

A California congressman thinks we're headed toward the final chapters of Atlas Shrugged. Nice thought (in a twisted sort of way) but it can only work in a novel, alas:
Congressman: We’re Living in ‘Atlas Shrugged’
By David Weigel, Washington Independent

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), who gives his departing interns copies of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” told me today that the response to President Obama’s economic policies reminded him of what happened in the 51-year-old novel.

“People are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’” said Campbell. “The achievers, the people who create all the things that benefit rest of us, are going on strike. I’m seeing, at a small level, a kind of protest from the people who create jobs, the people who create wealth, who are pulling back from their ambitions because they see how they’ll be punished for them.”

In Rand’s novel, creative people (the “Atlases” of the title) are hounded and punished for their labor by an oppressive, socialistic state. In response, they retreat from society to a hidden enclave where they watch civilization’s slow collapse.

How far, I asked Campbell, are we from the final chapters of the novel? “We’re still a ways away,” he said. “That will happen when people expect that there ought to be a recovery going on, and it isn’t going on.” [link]

I agree that what's going on today bears a remarkable resemblance to that which takes place in Ayn Rand's novel - capitalists are hounded and vilified, achievers are taxed beyond their capabilities so that non-achievers can be given sustenance, individuals are told by an intellectual elite that things may be bad but they are for the greater good and that society as a whole is more important than the individual, and the system breaks down under its own weight. As the collapse accelerates, the powerful elite demand more and more from the achievers until those achievers have had enough and "go John Galt." They flee to the mountains where they set up their own capitalist utopia and watch as the outside world completely disintegrates into chaos, despair, and abject poverty.

When we are no longer a nation made up of rugged individuals - goal-setters, achievers - and become "members of society," we as a nation - the greatest nation the world has ever known - are doomed.

But where do we run and hide?

In the novel, the capitalists take their ideas and their drive to succeed (and little else), to the mountains of remote Colorado, leaving everything else in the way of worldly possessions behind. But times - and Colorado - have changed. It's made up largely of non-achievers with their hands out now too.

That leaves what? Barrow, Alaska?

No. We have to fix this world of ours. There is no other. It's this one or we join the ranks of the non-achievers and we all sink into poverty. As some are suggesting.

Problem is, most Americans (just as in the novel) seem quite accepting of that powerful elite (think Obama) confiscating wealth from the achievers and giving it to those who are "in need." And, at the same time, they gain an acceptance of the fact that the system is broken, and that we're all sinking into the morass, but feel helpless to prevent it.

But we can turn this thing around. In the arena of ideas.* Capitalism has proven to be the only viable economic system ever devised by man. When we all agree to rebuild that which worked so well, we win. We get that message to sink, we win.

It's going to be a long struggle though ...

- - -

* That's why it's important to the liberal elite to shut down the arena of ideas we know as talk radio.

- - -

A small case in point in today's news (I could probably find a handful of examples in the news every day):

Tenants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the sprawling middle-class apartment complexes on the East Side of Manhattan, won a major victory over their landlord on Thursday when an appeals court ruled that the company had wrongfully raised rents and deregulated thousands of apartments after receiving special tax breaks.

“It’s a good thing for the tenants and for affordable housing,” said Alvin Doyle, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association.

Yes, it is. a wonderful gift to the tenants and for "affordable housing."

At least until the landlord goes John Galt.

Quote of the Day

From Investor's Business Daily:
From breathtakingly big budgets to burdensome new taxes to boneheaded ideas for punishing energy producers and rewarding failure, government has become a deadweight on the U.S. economy. Little wonder the markets seem to sell off every time Geithner and others in this new administration speak.
"Geithner's Gas," March 5, 2009

Wonder Why Congress Is Held In Such Low Regard?

Exhibit A:
Levin defends $3.8M earmark for Tiger Stadium
By Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press

Washington -- A $3.8-million earmark to help preserve a bit of old Tiger Stadium in Corktown was wrapped up in a debate on the Senate floor today on wasteful spending, with its sponsor -- Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan -- defending the appropriation as a project that will help bring jobs to a city “that desperately needs them.”

Levin took to the floor today to defend it, saying the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy plans to use the preserved portion of the old ballpark as a magnet for economic development in a distressed area and that investor interest is strong. The conservancy is aiming at a $27-million redevelopment of the remaining part of the stadium, including a dugout-to-dugout section that would be converted to commercial space and a community center. The playing field would be renovated for youth baseball.

“For too many years economic development has been stopped because of the unpredictable status of what would happen to the property,” Levin said. [link]
Three points:

First, THIS MAY BE THE MOST COCKAMAMIE IDEA I'VE EVER HEARD OF. A dilapidated baseball park is going to be converted into commercial space and a community center? Are they out of their freaking minds?

Second, Levin, never really having had a firm grasp on what honesty is all about, wants us to believe that investor interest in this notion is "strong"? Does anyone believe that? Anyone? I've been down in that area many times over the years. There are sections of Detroit that investors have run from - this area around Michigan and Trumble being one of them - since the '67 riots. Areas that are still rubble. And after 40 years, investors have an interest in developing the neighborhood - after Tiger Stadium was abandoned? Now that there is nothing but decay for blocks around?

Does Levin think all taxpayers are stupid?

No need to answer.

Last, there's this thought. If investors do indeed have an interest in developing the property, let them do what investors do - invest. And keep my hard-earned money out of this awful, awful contrivance.

No matter. Obama is in charge. So the federal government is about to invest our money in a fetid, decaying, crumbling, rat-infested shell-of-its-former-self hulk of an abandoned building in a rapidly depopulating once-great American city. A metaphor for our times if there ever was one.

At The Point Of a Gun?

Are they this obtuse?

U.S. to Invite The Wealthy To Invest in The Bailout

Is that the same "wealthy" that the Obama administration is seeking out with the intention to destroy? And hasn't the government already "invited" the wealthy to invest in the bailout through Obama's massive tax increase scheme?

I can only imagine what the response from the wealthy is going to be.