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Wild Rant?

August 31, 2009

Woke up early.  Turned on the news and Fox and Friends had Michelle Malkin going on about some congresswoman’s “wild rant”.  I listened to the sound bite and while I didn’t agree with what she said I didn’t think the congresswoman was ranting or wild.

Immediately after the Fox anf Friends crew and Ms. Malkin talked about a New Hampshire congresswoman having a constituent ejected from a townhall meeting and heckling him as he was escorted out by police.  That was wrong, no doubt about it, but they acted like it was wrong mainly because he was a retired NYC policeman.  I’m sorry being a retired cop doesn’t confer special privileges.  It was wrong simply because people are entitled to access to their representatives.

Sometimes I see why liberals call it Faux News.  If it wasn’t for Red Eye and Special Report I think I would switch back to CNN.

So what else is going on this morning that I can run my mouth (ok fingers actually) about?

According to the Seattle -PI we are going to be taking part in a large scale deployment of electric cars as part of a viability / proof of concept test.  It will be interesting to see how the grid holds up to the change in demand.  I foresee a spike in electricity prices and brown-outs.

The Seattle Times is questioning the economic recovery based on falling oil prices and a 6.7% dip in the Chinese stock market.  Who knows?  I have heard so many conflicting opinions it’s impossible to make a guess at the moment.  My feeling is things are slowly getting better, but its going to be a long haul.

Bush and Paulson were right.  Despite my libertarian leanings I supported the President (Bush) last year when he and Hank Paulson asked for money for the TARP program.  I was uneasy about it because in general I think the economic cycle should be allowed to work and because I really dislike the idea of government being heavily invested in private business, but when the President said falt out that without this program the financial system was going to collapse I shelved my misgivings and went along.  Bush never struck me as the type to make that kind of statement idly.  I was a little doubtful when Paulson testified that the government could realize a profit from the endeavor though; I figured at best we would get some money back but most would be lost in the name of keeping the banking system alive.  How suprising then to see the NY Times reporting this morning that the TARP program is actually turning a profit.  4 billion dollars so far.  Not a lot compared to most businesses but still its a profit.  Next thing you know a WMD stash will turn up in Iraq.

Add: The Other McCain sees the indicators mentioned in the Seattle Times article above as pointing to a sell-off on Wall Street.  So what? Periodic adjustments are a normal part of the economic cycle.  If the market starts crashing again then I will get worried but a couple day downturn – nope.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Portlandic permalink
    September 1, 2009 10:10 am

    Brownouts? Not to worry.

    This plan calls for 2,550 outlets on the street in Greater Pugetopolis.

    They would max out at 6KW draw per outlet (assuming using max charge rate of the battery packs in highest-capacity electrics). That totals 15 MW, if they’re all charging at once at the charge from dead-to-full in four hours. They won’t all charge at once, but let’s assume they will for a worst-case estimate.

    Seattle City Light has delivered a historic peak capacity of 2,550 MW, and typical base load is (May) 1050-1380 (Jan) MW.

    So, if _every_ electric charging stand in Seattle is drawing its maximum, that’s 1.3% of the margin between base and peak, which these vehicles could, at worst case, add to the baseline load.

    Please also consider, some of those charging stands won’t be in Seattle proper, but in territories served by Puget Energy http://www.wutc.wa.gov/webdocs.nsf/0/33fe0a205ba62bf688257118006087e4/$FILE/Investor%20Owned%20Electric%20Utilities.tif or other public co-ops http://www.wutc.wa.gov/webdocs.nsf/0/33fe0a205ba62bf688257118006087e4/$FILE/Operating%20Public%20Agencies%20&%20Cooperatives.tif . I just use the City Light data as a worst case.

    Therefore, I’m not worried; and, once electrics start showing up in the perpetual standing traffic jam which is I-5, folks will start demanding more electrical generation and distribution capacity. I can see a lot of solar dishes feeding Sterling engines http://www.stirlingenergy.com/technology.htm on the Dry Side of the Cascades, like these PGE projects http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solarone/index.html http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solartwo/index.html will use.

    Sixty of those dishes now generate 1.5MW in Arizona; put 900 of those in the High Desert (allowing for differences in insolation and transmission losses) and those charging stands are covered.

    Let a million (sun)flowers bloom (heh).

  2. xbradtc permalink
    September 1, 2009 2:06 pm

    I was VERY supportive of Paulson’s original plan to buy toxic assets at a steep discount, allowing companies to unload what were to them assets that could only be booked at $0, with the intention that the government would unravel them, then sell them at a premium over their purchase price, but still at a discount over their true value.

    That would have freed up cash for many institutions, and avoided most of the credit crunch, with a fair chance that the government would recoup some of its expenditure.

    Sadly, after selling TARP, Paulson switched horses in midstream, and opted instead for a straight capital injection program. Basically, that was throwing good money after bad. The toxic assets are still on the books, still impacting balance sheets, and firms are still failing because of them, meaning the government can’t expect any of that money back.

    Economically, it was the single most disastrous decision made by the Treasury.

    Politically, it was a disaster as well, since people saw the government giving away 3/4 of a trillion dollars to big business, while private citizens were in the middle of their own cash flow crisis.

  3. jenn1964 permalink*
    September 1, 2009 2:37 pm

    My understanding is that there was really no choice. From what I have read the bad assets were so interleavened with the good that they couldn’t be separated out and in addition any effort too would have triggered a whole slew of defaults which would have bankrupted most of the major institutions. I’m not happy with the way things turned out but I think Paulson made the best decision he could.

  4. Portlandic permalink
    September 2, 2009 10:31 pm

    Just found a link to a UCTV program on nanotech boosting battery performance which should make electrics even more viable in cold weather. http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=14879 and which explains much about battery performance for vehicles. Sure do miss UWTV, which shut down this year; a lot of good science and engineering programs are generated at Yew Dub.

  5. jenn1964 permalink*
    September 2, 2009 10:46 pm

    I wasn’t aware that UWTV had shut down. I still flip over to it occasionally on cable. Are they just showing re-runs now?

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