Quick Roundup 345

Friday, July 18, 2008

Excellent Satire

This Onion story would be funnier if it didn't so well characterize the dominant Keynesian view of economics held by our politicians and chattering classes, as well as the Pragmatism that is effectively lobotomizing our culture:

"What America needs right now is not more talk and long-term strategy, but a concrete way to create more imaginary wealth in the very immediate future," said Thomas Jenkins, CFO of the Boston-area Jenkins Financial Group, a bubble-based investment firm. "We are in a crisis, and that crisis demands an unviable short-term solution." [bold added]
Or the idea that the truth is what most people feel that it is:
"Little pieces of paper are the next big thing," speculator Joanna Nadir, of Falls Church, VA said. "Just keep telling yourself that. If enough people can be talked into thinking it's legitimate, it will become temporarily true."
And that punchline at the end is also a nice bit of inadvertent philosophical journalism....

And the Next Government-Financed Scam Is...

... Wind Power.
In what experts say is the biggest investment in the clean and renewable energy in U.S. history, utility officials in the Lone Star State gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from gusty West Texas to urban areas like Dallas.


Texas electric customers will bear the cost of construction over the next several years, paying about $3 or $4 more per month on their bills, according to Tom Smith, state director of the consumer group Public Citizen. But he predicted that increase would easily be offset by lower energy prices.
Oilman T. Boone Pickens has been lobbying hard for this, but his project will power only "1.3 million homes" if he completes it and it delivers as promised, while everyone in Texas who buys electricity will be paying an estimated $3-4 per month for it for the "next several years". (The $4.9 billion price tag amounts to $233 for each of the 21 million men, women, and children currently residing here.)

If wind power were really such a great cash cow, why can't or won't Pickens finance this himself? Why insulate him from losses if he's wrong, while guaranteeing that everyone in Texas will subsidize his next fortune at best or take his bath at worst?

Whatever he may have accomplished in the past, Pickens, with government help, has now become a looter of fabulous proportions.

Commercial Art

A newspaper flier has alerted me to a commercial art exhibition taking place in Houston. Each whimsical piece --which you can view in the on-line gallery -- is made entirely from Red Bull cans. I don't drink it myself, but I really like the creativity here, and the color scheme of the cans lends itself well to this activity.

One criticism I have is that my favorite piece, "Unbridled", is very hard to see with the Adobe Flash viewer they are using to show the pieces. "Zoom" really ought to let you zoom out. Not to knock "A Wish Granted", which I also like, but that's why you can't see the bull here.

Chavez Passes out Bush Bulbs in Houston

There was an Ayn Rand Institute press release awhile back that correctly called President Bush and Hugo Chavez the "Two Amigos".

How fitting is it, then, that now that President Bush signed into law the statutory obsolescence of incandescent "Edison" bulbs in favor of mercury-laden compact fluorescent "Bush" bulbs, his amigo, Hugo Chavez, has taken that as his cue to start passing them out among the poor in Houston?
Citgo Petroleum, the Houston-based refiner owned by the Venezuelan government, will distribute 460,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs to consumers in 11 U.S. cities in the coming months.

It's an expansion of a program Citgo has done through the Boston-based nonprofit Citizens Energy, which has provided $100 million in heating oil to low-income households the past three winters. [link added]
True, Edison bulbs are still legal for now, but in addition to violating our property rights and dictating how we will light our homes in the future, the bill was a sweeping moral capitualation by the United States government to global warming hysteria.

Without the help of that great "Second Messiah", Hugo Chavez, how, how, O Lord, will the poor be able to join the great crusade against global warming climate change? Bush may be a failure as a President, but he's doing a superb job of helping the likes of Chavez to come in and look like a hero to people who don't know any better. Thanks for less than nothing, presidente.

-- CAV


Andrew Dalton said...

I've seen the "Pickens Plan" commercial, and it is horrible. One really lousy argument that I remember was his characterization of America's use of foreign oil as an enormous "wealth transfer" to the Middle East. (That phrase would be accurately applied to the nationalization of Western oil resources by those countries during the 20th century, but not to our ongoing purchases of oil.)

How can a wealthy businessman evade (or fail to grasp) the distinction between trade and government welfare?

Gus Van Horn said...

As to your last question, either because his mind is addled with pragmatism, or because he's evil enough to want to feed at the government trough rather than do away with it.

On one aspect of his "wealth transfer" argument, Pickens is right by accident. States have no property rights. Our money should not be going to foreign regimes, particularly if they are guilty of having stolen the property of Americans.

However, the solution is to reclaim what is ours, not for our own government to repeat the crimes of foreign regimes past as Pickens has succeeded in making it do.