Another Green Energy Failure – Gevo

27 Dec 2011

To Survive, Some Biofuels Companies Give Up on Biofuels [Technology Review]

Same old story. They received millions of US government money. Unproven technology. High cost of production. No guaranteed market. Yada, yada, yada.

So they are changing direction from producing fuel from cellulosic sources (grass, wood) to producing other products with corn. And then there is this at the bottom of the article.

The use of corn for fuels and chemicals is controversial, in part because growing and processing corn releases significant amounts of greenhouse gas, and in part because using corn for fuel may affect food markets.

Who cares about greenhouse gas now? They are losing their shirts and are willing to do environmentally “risky” procedures to make a profit. Imagine that.


In Context – Citigroup

27 Dec 2011

2011/12/16 – SEC Files Historic Appeal of Judge Rakoff’s Citigroup Settlement Rejection [Forbes]
2011/11/28 – SEC v Citigroup – Opinion and Order [US District Court Southern NY]
2011/10/19 – Citigroup to Pay $285 Million to Settle SEC Charges for Misleading Investors About CDO Tied to Housing Market [4closure Fraud]
2011/10/17 – Citigroup Posts Big Profits, But No One’s Mentioning Its Bailout [The Atlantic Wire]

National Guard Personnel at Border to Decrease 75%

23 Dec 2011

National Guard at border cut to about 300 [MSNBC]

Starting in January, the force of 1,200 National Guard troops at the border will be reduced to fewer than 300 at a cost of about $60 million, said Paul Stockton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense.

They will be transitioning to aerial surveillance.

Previously, the budget for this was $1.35 billion. This is not where spending should be cut. The border is not secure now. This large decrease in personnel will seem to make it more porous. Also there is strength in numbers. This reduction in force makes it more dangerous for them.

Nuclear Reactor Designs Approved for Construction

23 Dec 2011

Approval of Reactor Design Clears Path for New Plants [NY Times]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a new reactor design.

The decision, a milestone in the much-delayed revival of plant construction sought by the nuclear industry, involves the Westinghouse AP1000, a 1,154-megawatt reactor with a so-called advanced passive design. It relies more heavily on forces like gravity and natural heat convection and less on pumps, valves and operator actions than other models do, in theory diminishing the probability of an accident.

Government is not known for its expertise – so it doesn’t give me great comfort that they are the arbitors of what is built. Remember Solyndra?

Two reactors will be constructed – one in South Carolina and Georgia. 3,000 high paying construction jobs per job site are expected.

Congress has approved $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors and there is considerable support for even more, but it is not clear that borrowers will emerge.

So here are more energy subsidies that provide the opportunity for private success with a decreased financial risk. It is not stated how much of the $18.5B Westinghouse will receive.

Bachmann, Huntsman, Santorum – Out of Virginia Primary

23 Dec 2011

Bachmann, Huntsman, Santorum not on Va. primary ballot [Richmond Times Dispatch]

Virginia is one of the toughest states for candidates to make it on the presidential primary ballot.

Candidates must submit the signatures of at least 10,000 registered voters, with 400 from each of the 11 Congressional districts.

Romney submitted 16,026 signatures; Paul 14,361; Perry 11,911 and Gingrich 11,050.

Signatures still have to be verified at this point. The primary election is March 6th.

More analysis at The Other McCain.

The Tebow Effect

6 Dec 2011

I am enjoying Tebow’s success in that it crosses the wires of many in the media. I ran across the article…

Column: The anti-Tebow bias isn’t about football [USA Today]

This is an excellent article as to why Tim Tebow may be the focus of the football world right now. This is the end of the article that builds on ex-NFL quarterback Jake Plummer’s suggestion that Tebow “shut up” about his faith in Jesus Christ.

Plummer said what the commentators wouldn’t say. Their dislike for Tim Tebow is not, as they would have us believe, about his throwing motion or his completion percentage; it’s all about his open professions of faith and his goody-two shoes image. When it comes right down to it, we don’t want heroes who are truly good. We want them to fail the occasional drug test or start a bar fight from time to time. It makes us feel better about ourselves. Tebow, however, doesn’t make us feel better about ourselves. People like him make us feel a little convicted about the things we say and do. So we find a reason to dislike them. Or, when Tebow says that glory goes to God and the credit for a victory goes to his teammates, coaches, and family, we are suspicious. An increasingly jaded culture, we don’t believe that anyone can say such things and really mean them.

So we wait.

We wait for evidence that he really isn’t that good. We hope to see him kick a player on the ground, drop an F-bomb on television, or Tweet pictures of his privates. In the meantime, we always have Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky to make us feel better about ourselves.

What I made bold above is right on the money. People are afraid to look at themselves and see imperfection – and when they see someone who seems to have it all, they are torn down. Why? Why would we not want the people with the best character, and the best track record to succeed? Because they are threatening to people’s self-worth. It’s hard to look at yourself and realize you could have done better. It’s hard to look at yourself and all of the bad decisions you have made in the past and how those decisions have affected your status today.

And then there is the added animosity because he is a Christian, and proclaims it continuously. Many say we don’t want his religion crammed down our throat. ‘This is football, not church.’ This is one player out of 500-600 players. How is a proclamation of faith an act of cramming his religion down someone else’s throat? He is not suggesting anyone become a Christian. You never her this sentiment among the Islamic religion…  or Buddism… or Hinduism.

Tebow is smoking out people who hate Jesus Christ. There are plenty of bad quarterbacks to talk about in the league. The are plenty of success stories in the league. He is the only one actively proclaiming Jesus Christ, and somehow he is getting all of the attention.