Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rush sees anti-Mitt conspiracy in 'Dark Knight'

Rush says 'Dark Knight' bad guy is a plot against Romney
It's another Hollywood pinko plot against Republican presidential soon-to-be nominee Mitt Romney.
As Robin might have once said, Holy cow, Batman! But pay attention, here's Rush's thinking:
The movie's villain is a mask-wearing, gas-breathing terrorist named Bane. Bain Capital is the investment firm Romney used to run before he got into politics. Get it?
"Do you think it is accidental that the name of the really vicious firebreathing, four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?" Limbaugh said Tuesday on his radio show.
I wonder if Rush Limbaugh knows that Bane is an actual word that has been around a lot longer than Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and looking at the definitions, Bane is a pretty good name for an evil bad guy.
bane: (bn)
1. Fatal injury or ruin:

2. a. A cause of harm, ruin, or death:
    b. A source of persistent annoyance or exasperation:
3. A deadly poison.

So the question is, why did Mitt choose the word Bain for his private equity firm in the first place  knowing that the word is a homonym for a something sinister.   Maybe he chose Bain as a subliminal message to people on the other side of negotiations that his firm was going to be source of persistent annoyance and if necessary even inject deadly poison.   

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Detroit memorabilia: 1972 Tigers autographed baseball

I got this ball for a birthday present in April 1973 from my Aunt Stella and Uncle Stanley, who both worked at Tiger Stadium at the time.   Aunt Stella ran a concessions stand and Uncle Stanley (aka Spitz) was an Usher who sat in a chair on the field collecting foul balls.  The signatures are authentic, this isn't a mass produced concession stand trinket.

Most of the 1972 Detroit Tigers autographed the ball along with manager Billy Martin.   1972 was the first year I got the baseball bug and became a loyal Tigers fan.  I remember going to my first game at the magnificent Tiger Stadium and my first look out the upper deck tunnel on the way to our seats.  The occasional televised games became a family gathering around the TV and we listened to a lot of the games on WJR on the AM radio.  I occasionally stayed up late that Summer keeping score from the play by play call of Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey in my own score book and I pored over the box scores and player stats in the Free Press every morning.  When I unwrapped the present and saw it was a genuine autographed Tigers' baseball, I was ecstatic.  Best birthday present ever.  

The '72 Tigers team had a great season and outplayed the Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox for the AL East crown and a trip to the league championship series.   The Tigers went up against the Oakland Athletics for the American League Pennant and eventually lost the best of 5 series in 5 games, but the series was full of drama and great action.  After defeating the Tigers the A's went on to win their first of 3 consecutive World Series championships, this one against Sparky Anderson's Cincinnati Reds.    

These are the signatures on the ball.

Billy Martin (manager)
Al Kaline
Bill Freehan
Gates Brown
Mickey Lolich
Norm Cash
Jim Northrop
Aurelio Rodriguez
Mickey Stanley
Dick McAuliffe
Ed Brinkman
Joe Coleman
Joe Niekro
John Hiller
Wayne Comer
Ron Perranoski
Bill Slayback
Chris Zachary
Tony Taylor
Tom Timmerman
Chuck Seelbeck
Fred Scherman
Tom Haller
Paul Jata

There are two more indecipherable autographs on the ball.. hmm.  Woodie Fryman? Ike Brown?  What a great collection of autographs on one baseball.  I've never considered selling it.  I doubt it would be worth more money than it is memories.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

India's economic growth short on energy

Here are two recent articles about India's lack of economic growth.  The first one explains some of the forces that led to the slowdown and how the Indian Government might intervene financially.  The second one  is explains how shortages in coal and natural gas are affecting economic growth in India due to the unreliable electrical grid and India's increased reliance on imported energy.

Reuters:  India's April industrial output growth almost stalls    

"The data clearly points to industrial growth being extremely weak," said Abheek Barua, chief economist at HDFC Bank in New Delhi. "It is in clear need of monetary as well as fiscal support."
High inflation and interest rates, a lack of government initiative and the euro area debt crisis have weighed on Asia's third-biggest economy for more than a year. Annual GDP growth hit its weakest pace in nine years in the first three months of calendar 2012.

 WSJ: Grinding Energy Shortage Takes Toll on India's Growth

India is facing an energy crisis that is slowing economic growth in the world's largest democracy.
At stake is India's ability to bring electricity to 400 million rural residents—a third of the population—as well as keep the lights on at corporate office towers and provide enough fuel for 1.5 million new vehicles added to the roads each month.
Shortages of coal, oil and natural gas will require India to import increasing amounts of high-cost fossil fuels, say energy experts, risking inflation and putting the country in stepped-up competition with China, Japan and South Korea.

Energy is the lifeblood of the economy and for a financial stimulus to spur new investment and job growth, there has to be a reliable, cost-effective supply of electricity and petroleum products. Economic growth in the developing world requires increasing investment in the infrastucture and availability for increasing supplies of energy related materials.

India was not blessed with abundance of natural energy resources, so in order to meet the growing demand for energy, they will need to rely on imports.   The dual effects of unstable market prices and a fluctuating currency value make it difficult to plan costs associated with generating electricity or to attract outside investment into new power generation facilities.  But without large investment in new energy infrastructure, the Indian economy will reach an inflection point and growth rates will continue to lose speed.


Because so much new investment is required to supply energy to all India's residents, I think it would make more sense if they played "leapfrog" and skipped over coal burning power plants and invested in renewable energy like solar or wind power instead. Renewable energy sources secure long-term supplies and stabilize costs providing a sustainable alternative to increasing carbon emissions to support economic growth. When you are building the infrastructure from the ground up, renewable energy makes a better business case then when it replaces existing fossil fuel plants. It makes little sense in 2012 to invest resources in new coal-fired power plants, considering the mining operations can not meet current demand for coal from power plants already operating.

Another key strategy for India should be to conserve electricity and fuel as much as possible at every opportunity. Root out the waste from energy consumers in all operations. A Megawatt-hr conserved is the same as a Megawatt-hr generated. Also, as long as the government continues to subsidize energy costs for consumers, conservation efforts will ride in the backseat. If the Indian consumers had to pay market prices for energy they would be more likely to focus on conservation efforts.

Neither the developing nations, nor the long established ones can rely on ever-increasing amounts of petroleum, coal and natural gas to enable permanent economic growth. Sustainable economic growth will require a decreasing reliance on fossil fuels, replaced by renewable energy sources and an ongoing commitment to eliminating waste.    

And a final note on this subject. As the economic growth cools in India, I look for downward pressure on the price of gold. India purchases more gold than any other nation, mostly in the form of jewelry collections in lieu of bank accounts.   When the demand for gold falls in India, it will cause the market price to slip and maybe even slide. It will be $1200 within months.  Just my swag.

One of these days..

Foo Fighters...