Saturday, May 24, 2008

Read it read it read it, and learn!

Mark Steyn says it all right.
I was watching the Big Oil execs testifying before Congress. That was my first mistake. If memory serves, there was lesbian mud wrestling over on Channel 137, and on the whole that’s less rigged. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz knew the routine: “I can’t say that there is evidence that you are manipulating the price, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not.”
Had I been in the hapless oil man’s expensive shoes, I’d have answered, “Hey, you first. I can’t say that there is evidence that you’re sleeping with barnyard animals, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence and prima facie evidence, lady? Do I have to file a U.N. complaint in Geneva that the House of Representatives is in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?”

But that’s why I don’t get asked to testify before Congress. So instead the Big Oil guy oozed as oleaginous as his product before the grand panjandrums of the House Sub-Committee on Televised Posturing, and then they went off and passed by 324 to 82 votes the so-called NOPEC bill. The NOPEC bill is, in effect, a suit against OPEC, which, if I recall correctly, stands for the Oil Price-Exploiting Club. “No War For Oil!,” as the bumper stickers say. But a massive suit for oil — now that’s the American way!

I just love it -- I think you may be doing something illegal, but I have no proof, but you have to prove to me that you're not. Excellent. That's one of our esteemed and honorable lawmakers showing just how effectively she can say stupid things. The oil execs brought to testify in this kangaroo proceeding should have said "I'm here because you asked me. If you want to grandstand and call me a jerk, do so, but be aware that not only are you wrong on the facts, you're dishonest. If you're not lying, then you're an idiot that doesn't understand basic economics. If you're just pandering to your constituents, well, pander away and make sure that you try to kill the goose that laid the golden egg for the American economy."

Why don't we just nationalize the industry? That has worked so well in the past. Oh no wait....

UPDATE: Learn some more. American oil companies, supply of oil, and the policies that keep us paying more at the pump than we need to. But we must protect the majestic caribou!!! And China can drill in the Caribbean, but our companies can't even explore for oil in the most promising areas for domestic oil production. Sheesh.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Them intartubes are much fun.

If you don't like the internet, you haven't been here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Simple = true = disconcerting = uncomfortable = political suicide

So Thomas Sowell says it right. Trade-offs are a necessary part of life, political or otherwise. Remember that when you think "it sure would be nice if those mean developers would build the necessary infrastructure, but I also want them to build houses that cops and teachers can afford."

Well, which is it, young feller? Do you want I should build that road or do you want I should build inexpensive houses?

Money comes from somewhere, ladies and gentlemen, and it's almost always the end consumer that pays the costs associated with bringing a product, any product, to the market. Do you think gas taxes are paid by the producers of gas? Think again! Do you think import duties are paid by the importers? Think again! Ultimately, the consumer pays, because companies pass all their costs along to whomever the next consumer of those goods or services are.

So, I ask you, when you think something is an unalloyed good, who pays for it? We all do, in some form or another, be it higher prices, decreased mobility, decreased choice in the marketplace, whatever. Trade-offs are inevitible in life, and we shouldn't act, or even hope, like they aren't.

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake!

Friday, May 09, 2008

First, they came for the jolly roger


Via Hit and Run.

So there . . .

Some other smarty pants agrees with my rant on sticking it to "Big Oil."
If you tell oil companies that they won’t be able to keep their profits past a certain point, you know what they’ll do? They’ll make money right up until that point and then they’ll stop. Unlike the guy building the better mousetrap, oil companies aren’t in it for the glory, they’re in it for the money. No oilman will go home hungry and wake up like Scrooge on Christmas morning, having repented because of a windfall profits tax.

Now, there will be plenty of punishment doled out, more than at a Belgian S&M club during recess at the European Parliament. But the crack of the windfall whip will land in unintended places. “Corporate sacrifice” means sacrificing share value, jobs and, most of all, reinvestment.

So people dependent on pension funds — union workers, government employees and the like — will be asked to sacrifice some of their retirement income. Jobs dependent on oil and gas extraction would be cut. And, as Schumer explains, money that would otherwise be invested in exploration and improved efficiency will instead be diverted to “alternative” energies that politicians (like Schumer) think are better investments.

No wonder Schumer’s so cocky, given the boffo success of Washington’s “investment” in ethanol, which creates more greenhouse gases than oil does, contributes to deforestation, and is fueling the starvation of millions around the globe.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ninnyhammers! All of Them!! CACAFUEGO!!

What are we looking for in our presidential candidates? HANDOUTS! POPULIST BUNK WITH NO POSITIVE ECONOMIC IMPACT! SUBSTANCE!

Take this "gas tax holiday" stupidity. What does it do? Well, it tricks people into thinking they're getting cheaper gas for a day. They're not, and Hillary (and McCain) know it.

Oh, and that "windfall profits tax" on BIG OIL (cue boogeyman music) is the rankest of stupidities. Think about it this way: a widget generates a 10% profit margin. A $10 widget, therefore, generates $1 of profit. Now, a huge increase in global demand forces the price of that widget up to $100. The company takes $10 in profit. Bully for the company, right?

Not according to the democratic candidates for president. It's somehow "unfair" for the oil companies to reap large profits, even though their profit margin isn't any bigger now than it was when gas cost 75 cents a gallon. The real dollars are greater, but that's what business of all sorts are run to do -- make large profits. It benefits the shareholders (a.k.a. the owners of the company), it benefits society at large because more profits mean more capital the company can invest in itself and other things, like alternative energy sources.

Who would you rather investing in alternative energy -- a company that has to answer to its shareholders and make a profit, or Congress? We're seeing right now how effective Congress is at getting things done -- we're right now subsidizing ethanol production to the point where there is going to be a global food crisis!! Good work, Mr. Senator! Starving poor Africans so we can feel virtuous about using less gas. Whoops!! Did someone say ethanol production at its current production level does absolutely nothing to reduce dependence on foreign oil? And that burning ethanol actually can produce more greenhouse gas emissions than gas? I SHALL IGNORE SUCH FACTS! And these are the idiots that would get to decide precisely what a "windfall" is. Why not just be honest and say "we want to redistribute the profits made by oil companies because it is politically expedient and popular to do so, and oil companies are easy targets that no one cares about. Remember that awful Valdez oil spill?"

Oh yeah -- did you know that Big Oil, such as Chevron, is actively promoting and researching alternative energy sources? Of course not -- if you listen to our idiot politicians. You'd also think pharmaceutical companies are the very devil, trying to kill everybody and make huge profits for their money-grubbing-cigar-smoking CEOs, instead of developing life saving treatments every day that we all feel entitled to have at virtually no cost.

It's looking more and more like anarchy for me. Anyone care to join me in the Independent Republic of Hank?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This is teh awesome.

Read the whole thing. Ten insulting words you should know. My favorite?
Definition: A swaggering braggart or boaster.

Analysis: Cacafuego literally means "shit fire" in Spanish. Anyone who boasts their new knowledge of insulting words from this article can be called a cacafuego.

That's not the only interesting thing about it:

Cacafuego is also the nickname of a 16th century Spanish galleon captured by Sir Francis Drake (El Draque or The Dragon as he was known to his Spanish victims). The ship's original name was Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (Our Lady of Conception), but for some reason it's called by her sailors as "cagafuego" (fireshitter) or "cacafuego" (shitfire).

It was Drake's biggest plunder: it took his crew four days to transfer the cargo from the Cacafuego. In all, Drake got 80 pounds of gold, 26 tons of silver, 13 cases of silver coins, jewels, and more.

Synonym: BLATHERSKITE, BRAGGADOCIO, FANFARON, GASCONADER, and RODOMONTADE (English is full of this kind of word, though I think caca "shit fire" fuego is in a class of its own!)

Via Ace of Spades.