Monday, June 30, 2008
New Lies Seared, Seared Into Liberal Memories
Friday, June 27, 2008
Some Chicagoans Take Up Civil War Again Today
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Glen Reynolds Gets It - Bill O'Rielly, Not So Much
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
"New Direction Congress" Throws Energy Policy Under Bus
What they were prepared to tell the nation concerning their obstructionist policies that have exasperated the recent rise in gasoline prices is anybody's guess, however my instincts tell me that the EPA may have had a hand in the cancellation, the Capital simply is not prepared for that much manure.
Hat Tip: Powerline
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
In Defense of Speculation
The role of speculators in markets like the current oil market has a few facets, the first is one that seems counter intuitive, speculators smooth out volatile markets. That seems hard to swallow considering some of the intra-day moves that we have seen in oil, however my experience has been that futures markets are almost always deeper and more liquid than the underlying cash markets and even more so when markets go crazy. One reason is that futures contracts deal with the market in the future giving a hedger or trader more time to deal with the market as opposed to the underlying cash markets that deal with the market in the here and now. It is not unusual for the volume traded in a futures market to represent many times the volume traded in the underlying cash market. It is completely reasonable to say that the addition of speculators helps to make markets less volatile than they otherwise would be.
Another advantage that speculators bring to markets is foresight, professional speculation involves looking at the world as it may be in the future given what is known at the time. It is a very interesting exercise that does a great service even when incorrect. Working out scenarios for the future can make markets and interested parties aware of potential problems and also of potential advantages so that market participants are less likely to be taken by surprise. The exercise also smooths out market moves, a market move will occur as more participants become aware of a scenario, the likelihood of it's occurrence and the scenario's time frame. The alternative is dramatic moves in very short time periods, instead of seeing dime changes overnight in the price of a gallon of gas we could see 50 and 75 cent increases overnight.
Another advantage that speculators bring to markets is the transference of risk, the liquidity that speculators help bring to markets help both users and producers lower their own exposure to the risk of price movement. Commercial users of futures markets use those markets to hedge against either increasing or decreasing prices and often times those commercial users market interests do not occur at the same time or price and that is where the speculator often steps in. The fact that there is trade between the areas where commercial users want to trade increases the attractiveness of using the markets to insure against risk. Speculators help businesses large and small protect themselves from a major risk, that of price.
When I hear politicians and others talk about the need to raise the margins of oil futures to 50% I am shocked at their ignorance, I wrote about futures margins here and I should stress that margins are simply a down payment that insures that a party to a trade is good for any losses that could ensue from a particular trade. The reason that the level seems so low is that markets are primarily used by entities looking to insure against future price movement and it is unreasonable to force them to leave such large amounts of money on deposit, especially if their position is backed by a position in the underlying cash market. The reason that it is unreasonable to levy 50% margins on speculators is that they serve some very important roles, some of which I have likely missed in the above paragraphs. Congress or a government bureaucracy taking over the decisions on margin levels is the same as having the government take over the setting of insurance rates, it would lead to less use of and usability of futures markets and more risk for American business. Bottom line, it is an ignorant idea.
This deserves it's own post but a short synopsis fits well here. I have been doing some investigation of the now infamous "Enron Loophole" that allows energy markets that exclusively trade electronically to avoid US governmental oversight. The Clinton era loophole for energy markets clearly exists but surprise, surprise much of the commentary is misinformed. The story is that the West Texas Intermediate oil trade that takes place on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is all electronic thus it is beyond all American regulation. Due to the current political posturing as the Feds deal with issue all of those I spoke to chose their words carefully, a friend who runs a US trading firm just rolled his eyes when asked about the level of federal oversight and replied that the US government regulator the CFTC definitely oversees the trade on ICE. One issue is that the oil trade on Atlanta based ICE takes place on ICE Europe because ICE bought the International Petroleum Exchange in London in 2001. When they closed the London trading floor in 2005 ICE retained the London market designation, meaning that they are overseen by British regulators. The CFTC has been in very close contact with the British regulators and they have open access to ICE Europe trading screens and open position books. Don't get me wrong, it is a good idea to correct the "Enron Loophole" but is just height of silliness to suggest that the demand led oil rally that we have seen has been due to a regulatory loophole.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Speaking Democrat - level 101
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Cubs Win First Half of Civil War
Saturday, June 21, 2008
New Obama Presidential Seal...Gabba Gabba Hey!
Johnny, Joey, Tommy and Deedee or Barack? Gabba Gabba Hey.
Friday, June 20, 2008
First the Cougar - Now an Alligator Found in Chicago!
Chicago's Civil War Starts Today
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Democratic Lies on Oil Leases
It should not really take much to imagine why any certain leased land may not be drilled on, the most obvious being dry holes. While looking around the internet for a more complete answer I ran across American Anachronism, the blog of Lt. Col. Mark Ward, US Army (Ret.) and the good Colonel had the good sense to contact one of his fellow Heritage Foundation members and former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Ishtook who wrote a very interesting response that includes the following:
Believe me, with oil at $130 per barrel, they would drill on those lands if it made sense to do so! No, not all oil and gas leases are “being used”, because not all of them have production-worthy quantities of oil or gas. Lots of people have property that is not being used, but government doesn’t use it as an excuse to take it away, or to forbid the owners from buying other property.
First, a company may lease property, but never have the funds to properly explore it or drill an exploratory well. Second, after paying for further tests (such as seismic), they often decide the lease isn’t worth the high, high costs of drilling after all. Or they may hold onto the lease for years until either higher oil prices or new technology makes it feasible to drill. Third, a company may lease property but drill on another tract (which drains a “pool” that covers multiple leased tracts), so perhaps they’re counting it as “not used” if no well is sunk on that particular piece of property. Fourth, they may try to drill and be blocked by government bureaucrats, environmental lawsuits, etc.
Finally, not all acres are alike. Some have lots of oil. Others have virtually known (sic). Saying they’re not drilling for oil everywhere is like faulting them for not digging a gold mine on every acre.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Obama Clicks Heels 3 Times and Finds Magical Motor!
This sort of nonsense has been rife among leftists for years. I have been hearing that the "oil companies" have stopped dramatic advances in engine technology by buying patents and by other means since I was a child in the 1960s. Earth to liberal lawyers, patents expire. That bit of reality is often met with icy stares and talk of how I might be part of the conspiracy.
I am an avid sport car nut and not only have I built automobile engines but I even once blogged about building an engine to run on E85, ethanol. Over the years I have even read information from the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) on the subject of new engines and I have absolutely no idea what this unprincipled politician is talking about. Well, I must confess that I do know what he is talking about, as an old theology teacher used to say, "Lies, All Lies!"
Here is what the Black Rand McNally had to say, "if we had tried to look at how are we going to create a new engine that doesn't run on fossil fuels. Imagine that. Over the last five years, we could be in a position now where we could have perhaps sliced our energy consumption by a third, and if we had done that gas prices would be low because people wouldn't be using gas." Where do these people get this silly stuff? Hey Hopey, try that line in Michigan, a place where folks actually work on their cars and know about such things.
I should add that this bit of dishonesty fits perfectly with many of Obama's economic ideas, they rely on Jack's Magic Beans.
Obama Campaign on Vote Fraud - Yes We Can!
Here is an important note, extremely volatile markets like the current oil and agricultural markets hold a great amount of risk (thus the possible rewards) not the least of which is "limit moves." The grain markets all have limits of how far prices can move from the previous day's settlement and during volatile times the markets can "lock limit", meaning that liquidation of a losing trade could be impossible. The limit situation is often a good circuit breaker or cooling off mechanism but it has also sometimes had the effect of feeding on itself. The threat of possible large losses that cannot be liquidated and the fact that the brokerage houses are on the hook for losses that their customers cannot make good on means that those brokerage houses make sure that their customers aren't trading on a shoe string. They are in the business to clear trades with the least amount of hassles possible not hire lawyers to sue their former customers.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Gore Family Leaves Aspen - Heads to Spokane
Audi Wins Le Mans
24 Hours of Le Mans - Audi Leads With 53 Minutes Left
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Le Mans Coverage Over for 8 1/2 Hours
Race Leading Peugeot 908 In Pits For Repairs
Class Leading Flying Lizard Porsche GT3 Out!
The IMSA and Flying Lizard Porsche GT3 RSRs have both gone off of the road. Disaster for Porsche. They now have to limp back to the pits, repair the cars and start over again from many laps down.
Le Mans 2008
Le Mans Goes Green for Start
Le Mans Starts This Morning!
The start of the 24 hour race at Le Mans, France is just an hour away. Break out the crepes and champagne. Due to the fact that I am not Stephen Green, the Vodkapundit I will not spend the 24 hours drunk-blogging the race as he did for the much shorter Presidential Debates. Btw, the race starts this morning Chicago time, it will take off at 3:00 PM local time.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
24 Hours of Le Mans - This Weekend
Here is a killer lap of the Cicuit de la Sarthe in a 1983 Porsche 956, which along with the longer wheel base 962 were world-beating race cars. The long straightaway, Mulsanne has been tamed with a chicane.
The race has four races within it, the four classes and their speed differences make for some dangerous racing, especially at night. The fastest class, Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) has been dominated by Audi for years, initially the R8 (the race car not the new street car) and now the turbo-diesel R10 TDI, this year the Peugeot 908, another turbo-diesel aims to give Audi a run for their money. The Peugeot 908 is not to be confused the fantastic Porsche 908 of yore. The Porsche 908 had a racing career that astoundingly covered parts of three decades, the 1960s to the 1980s. Peugeot is favored and in fact they hold the pole position and the next two spots. What has been dubbed the battle of gasoline powered cars in LMP1 will likely be lead again by Pescarolo Sport, the team of local favorite son and former Le Mans winner Henri Pescarolo and their Pescarolo-Judds. The second prototype class LMP2 features heavier, less powerful cars and has been dominated by the Porsche RS Spyder (check out this video of a test drive), in America the Porsche has frequently beaten the Audi like a drum but the Le Mans course with it's 200+ mph sections and the fact that Roger Penske didn't enter his Porsches from the American Le Mans Series mean that barring problems with the entire LMP1 field the Porsches will not battle for the overall lead. The RS Spyder took the first two slots in LMP2 after qualifying.
Here is the circuit at night run by a Peugeot 908 and an Audi R10 in last year's race, the Audi is the, ah, convertible and the Peugeot is the hardtop.
The non-prototype, converted street car classes feature what should be the most intense races within the race, the Aston Martin DBR9* versus the Pratt & Miller prepared Corvettes in Grand Touring 1 (GT1). Classic America versus Europe, blue collar car versus the $160,000 car, on top of that toss in the American super-car the Saleen S7R which qualified second in class and you have a real shootout. This year like last year, Aston is considered the favorite but Corvette has the pole in that class. In GT2 it will be the Porsche GT3 RSR versus the Ferrari F430 GT, this is a class that was once so dominated by the Porsche Carrera (911) offshoot GT3 that they were sometimes the only cars entered in the class, the name GT3 is derived from name that this class once went by. Ever since they overcame reliability issues the Ferrari's eight cylinder engine has given the Ferrari F430 offshoot the F430 GT an edge over the Porsche and it's classic flat-six cylinder engine. This year's Porsche factory offering, the RSR can put up better lap times than the 430 GT but is out numbered 6 to 3 and the Ferraris probably have better drivers, although the Ferraris are favored the Porsches hold 3 of the first 5 spots on the grid, Virgo Motorsports slipped their Ferrari into third place.
Here is a video of the old circuit from 1969, the video notes say that it is from 1967, that is wrong. The great Vic Elford is interviewed and he compares the performance of the then world-beating Ford GT40 with the soon to be world-beating Porsche 917, there was not a single 917 on the planet until the spring of 1969 and the last year that the GT40 competed at Le Mans was 1969. I'm going with 1969 on this video.
So within the four classes three look to be very competitive, the Audi R10 versus the Peugeot 908 in LMP1, the Aston Martin DBR9 versus the Chevrolet Corvette versus the Saleen S7R in GT1 and the Ferrari F430 GT versus the Porsche GT3 RSR in GT2. Large portions of the race will be on Speed again this year.
Here is a video of the awesome Mazda 787B 4-Rotor Le Mans Prototype car. It can be intimidating to be near these cars on the track, even at lower speeds.
Here's a lap of Le Mans with the great Stirling Moss from 1968, probably driving a Ford GT40. Moss gives a fantastic running turn-by-turn dialogue of the circuit. The circuit has changed since those days, mostly for safety. I think that this is Part 1 of an old Castrol promo film.
Here is Part 2 of that Castrol video, it shows the April 1968 practice and the pre-race preparation on race day. The 1968 race was run in September rather than the usual June due to student unrest during that summer.
Here is Part 3, the 1968 race.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Mark Kirk's Iranian Idea Gets More Notice
Mark's idea is to cut off gasoline shipments to Iran, it sounds very counter-intuitive due to Iran's membership in OPEC, they are sizable crude oil exporters. However Mark wants to exploit the fact that Iran does not have the refinery capacity to supply their own gasoline needs, Iran only supplies 40% of their own gas, they even had riots over an abandoned gas rationing plan earlier this year. The linked article is an interesting read.
Mark's opposition in this year's election is the same lightweight he beat 19 months ago, while Mark Kirk has been doing the heavy thinking Dan Seals has been standing on the corner of Milwaukee and Half Day giving away gas and campaign literature while causing a lunchtime traffic jam. The choice between the two is a no brainer.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Obama: Just Making It Up As He Goes Along
This video of a befuddled, fumbling, telepromterless Barack Obama has made the rounds with the very reasonable observation that if McCain had done this the press would be in high cotton going on and on about how senile John McCain is. Just as the press would have done if it had been McCain rather than the Black Rand McNally who thoughtfully announced that he had campaigned in 57 states or when he actually based an argument on the idea that Arkansas, rather than his home state of Illinois borders on Kentucky. On Obama's confusion with Kentucky being across the Ohio River from Illinois one should remember that Obama spent eight years in the Illinois legislature in Springfield, Illinois. That would be Springfield, Illinois in southern Illinois, two-hundred miles from the Ohio River.
No, I think that Obama and his campaign strategist David Axelrod are just making it up as they go along. You be the judge.
Gore Family to Summer in Aspen
Monday, June 09, 2008
the Black Jesus?
Obama and the Dirty Chicago Way
Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Seiche Warning on Southern Lake Michigan
a Lakeshore Flood Warning... also known as a seiche warning... which is in
effect until 9 PM CDT this evening.
A 2 foot drop in lake water near Chicago this afternoon indicates
that a seiche is in progress across Southern Lake Michigan. This
is a very dangerous situation for waders along the Chicago
Lakeshore. Water levels may fluctuate rapidly... taking
unsuspecting waders out to more open waters.
A Lakeshore Flood Warning means that flooding is occurring or
imminent along the lake. Residents on or near the shore in the
warned area should be alert for rising water... and take
appropriate action to protect life and property. Evacuate docks...
piers... and breakwalls now.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Omaha Beach Chapel
D-Day 64 Years Ago Today
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Robert F. Kennedy - Assassinated 40 Years Ago Today - RIP
Robert Kennedy and Mickey Mantle in Yankee Stadium New York, NY
Robert Kennedy lay shot in a kitchen hallway outside of the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Ca. June 5, 1968
Forty years ago this morning Robert F Kennedy was assassinated in a hallway leading from the ballroom of the (since torn down) Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles Ca. Although I was quite young at the time that is a morning that I will not forget, I had shook the man's hand weeks before in Indiana. My father was a long time Democratic precinct captain in Chicago and he took me to an Indiana campaign stop, I think that was the day that I met our future Senator, Paul Simon. Simon would become somewhat of a friend of my father's and an occasional guest in our home. That morning was the only time I recall watching television in a classroom at St. Giles Catholic School in Oak Park, we probably watched it on other occasions but that is the only instance that I recall.
Senator Kennedy's last public words were (if memory serves correct) "and it's on to Chicago!" My father always said that not only did Sirhan Sirhan take the life of a wonderful man but he took the votes of millions of Americans. That is a horribly selfish act. To a young boy who had met the man who's late brother's portrait hung on the wall in our family home that was a very shocking day. Rest in Peace, Joseph, John and Robert Kennedy.
LaRouchies in Chicago
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tiananmen Square Massacre - 19 Years Ago Last Night
Photo Copyright: Matt Groening
Students and Soldiers before the real violence broke out
Iconic image of man standing up to the tanks
Students and soldiers
A couple hide from tanks in the square above them early on the morning of June 4, 1989
During the month of May 1989 the world was treated to the televised spectacle of a freedom protest/sit-in/festival in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The Chinese government brutally cleared the square during the night of June 3 - June 4 1989. I wrote about meeting two student leaders from the Tiananmen protests at the end of this post.
10 Cent Beer Night in Cleveland - 1974
After the Rangers took an early lead, the alcohol-fueled frenzy that had pushed fans through the turnstiles began to push them onto the field. In the second inning, a large woman jumped into the Indians' on-deck circle and lifted her shirt; in the fourth, a naked man slid into second as Rangers outfielder Tom Grieve circled the bases with his second homer of the game; and in the fifth, a father-and-son team welcomed Hargrove to Cleveland by leaping into the infield and mooning the crowd. From the seventh inning onwards, a steady stream of interlopers greeted Burroughs in right field. Some even stopped to shake his hand.
Things got ugly in the 9th inning when the Indians tied the game and put the winning run on third, that's when fans stole the hat and glove of Texas right fielder and that year's eventual AL MVP Jeff Burroughs. When he retrieved his hat and glove fans started throwing beer, rocks, seats, parts of seats, golf balls and reports noted that many fans were armed with knives. Texas manager Billy Martin told his players to grab bats and go out to save the Texas outfielders, Cleveland manager Ken Aspromonte ordered his players to do the same. All hell had broken out and the umpire crew forfeited the game in favor of the Rangers.
Here is the Wikipedia account of the game.
Former Cub and then future Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins started the game for Texas.
66th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway
Photo Copyright: US National Archives
Photo Copyright: US National Archives
Update: Guilty on 16 of 24 counts. Here is the ABC Chicago account with video.
Hat Tip on the video: Anne at the Backyard Conservative.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Fr. Michael Pfleger: the Bully Becomes the Victim
Just like a schoolyard bully, when the bullying stops working the victimhood starts. It is also worth noting that the problem here according to Pfleger was his own imperilling of the Obama campaign rather than overt racism that underpinned Pfleger's "conversation."
Monday, June 02, 2008
Bo Diddley Dead at 79 - RIP Bo
Bo Diddley from the Big TNT Show in 1966 with the Bo-ettes