Monday Open Thread (2010-06-14)

Here is your open thread for Monday June 14th, 2010. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

120 comments:

  1. 1

    By David Losh @ 63:

    The Obama response to this current oil crisis has been exactly what I would have expected from a President of the United States. Obama blames the oil company that caused the disaster.

    That’s what you would expect a worthless incompetent politician to do. Name one other President that has done what Obama regularly did that to companies to try to deflect blame and focus public opinion? I can’t even think of one other example, going back to Nixon.

    Of course the oil company (or a company working for them) is to blame. They were the only ones out there. They designed everything. They did everything that was done. But to to publicly vilify the company and threaten them with criminal prosecution before any investigation, that’s something Obama has raised to an art form. It’s good politics, but it makes for very poor policy. And it leads to Americans not learning a thing, like with Enron where most Americans blame Enron for the California electrical energy crisis. And if anything, it’s counter-productive to actually getting the problem solved.

    Obama on this spill has been a joke. He took almost a month to get there, and once that started being criticized he over-reacted by going there four times in short order. He was criticized of not showing anger, and then makes a fool of himself with the ass-kick comment. He claims he wouldn’t have the BP CEO working under him due to the things he said, when he picked Joe Biden as his VP. He announces a total drilling moratorium, and then has to back off that because it’s a completely foolish over-reaction on many different levels.

    About the only thing the government has done here that has helped move things along is requiring that two relief wells be drilled. And even there the government has delayed things, taking roughly a week to approve the plan to start drilling the first relief well. What people don’t seem to realize is that BP is very motivated to stop the leak, because they’re likely on the hook for cleanup (unless maybe they can push that off on Halliburton). Doing things like demanding that BP come up with a better plan by a certain date (last night) is just moronic toothless politics at it’s worst, and again is more likely counter-productive than helpful.

  2. 2

    By Ross @ 69:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 49:

    […] That the bank has no significant chance of recovery, other than from the property directly, usually makes that choice on that isn’t even given the slightest thought.

    That’s the part that confuses me. With the rise of strategic defaults, I’d think that the bank *does* have significant chance of recovery, in many cases. Moreover, the banks need only have a few highly publicized cases where strategic defaulting resulted in a net worse situation for the defaulter (after legal fees and deficiency judgement) to have an impact on the rate of strategic defaults. Given the volume of strategic defaulting that is being reported as occuring, it would seem there’s even an oppurtunity for a law firm to specialize in these cases (streamline process, economies of scale) much like the music/movie industry had started doing for their filesharing cases.-Ross

    You might have a point about the public perception thing, but if the person can easily file Chapter 7 the recovery for the bank will be zero, or actually less than otherwise. But the thing is, they don’t have to hit a strategic defaulter to get the same effect. Going after anyone with income/assets on a seven figure loan could accomplish the same results.

    I don’t think though that they should do that for that reason. It’s too speculative. The should pick the borrowers to go after based on expected recoveries for that particular loan.

  3. 3
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    You’re right, it’s moronic to allow drilling, again, when there is obviously a problem. It’s convenient to forget that BP was spinning the leak as not that big of a deal in the first month. They had a plan, they were supposedly prepared. Of course every one, I’m taking it including you, thought a big time oil company could do no wrong. It is after all our energy policy.

  4. 4

    RE: David Losh @ 3 – I would never think a company could do no wrong. But what I don’t do is vilify an entire company, and everyone that works for them, when something does go wrong. And what I don’t do is take positions that will cause third parties unnecessary harm, and lead the US being in a weaker position down the road.

    One of the reasons I went small in my law practice is I realized that whenever you add more people, you also add some bad people. LA County was taken into bankruptcy by a rouge employee who traded in derivatives. A European bank had a similar problem a couple of years ago, but I think they survived that. AIG had that problem too. Did LA County and all of it’s employees get vilified? No. Did that happen at the European bank? No. The difference? One word: Obama.

  5. 5
    David Losh says:

    Come to think of it how many hundreds of people were jailed from Enron? Wasn’t Enron the largest swindle ever committed against the American People? Did we seize all of those assets? How much was returned to the consumers?

    I’ll research that this afternoon, but my guess is that the United States government did nothing.

    At least I’m seeing some action out of this President, with a focus on the responsible party.

  6. 6
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    Now that’s naive.

  7. 7

    By David Losh @ 3:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1 – It’s convenient to forget that BP was spinning the leak as not that big of a deal in the first month.

    I don’t know what you’re smoking, but I don’t see how anyone could say this wasn’t a big deal. This has never happened at this depth before. A lot of what you’re relying on is just bad reporting.

    For example, before they tried the junk shot, and before they cut off the top of the riser, it was known that doing those things could increase the flow. Both those things were thought worth doing, however, because they had some chance of success before August, when the relief well could possibly fix the problem. But what gets reported after each is tried is that they were a bad idea because they possibly increased the flow (no one really knows).

    I have some news for you. No one has ever tried a relief well at this depth either. That oil might still be spilling out a year from now at twice the rate. Try to imagine the environmental impact of that. And then come back here and give a justification for not allowing drilling in much safer places.

  8. 8

    By David Losh @ 6:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    Now that’s naive.

    Am I supposed to respond to that somehow? Maybe call you naive back?

    Why do you constantly support guilt by association? And why do you support those that do that?

  9. 9

    By David Losh @ 5:

    Come to think of it how many hundreds of people were jailed from Enron? Wasn’t Enron the largest swindle ever committed against the American People? Did we seize all of those assets? How much was returned to the consumers?

    Do you do any research at all? Enron was two scandals. One very legitimate–an accounting scandal. That’s what forced the company under and into bankruptcy. So what are you talking about seizing assets? Their assets became property of the bankruptcy estate. And two of the top leaders of the company were convicted.

    The other scandal was the energy crisis scandal, where Enron did what you would expect someone to do when politicians create a system as stupid as what the California politicians did. But Enron did not cause the California energy crisis. The effect would have been 99.9% the same even if Enron had not existed at the time.

    To analogize it to the gulf crisis now, undoubtedly some owners of boats in the gulf will be scamming BP and others, charging high fees for doing little or nothing with their boats. That’s to be expected as something likely to occur. But that doesn’t mean you can then point to those boat owners has having caused the spill.

  10. 10
    Ricoshea says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 7:

    For example, before they tried the junk shot, and before they cut off the top of the riser, it was known that doing those things could increase the flow. Both those things were thought worth doing, however, because they had some chance of success before August, when the relief well could possibly fix the problem. But what gets reported after each is tried is that they were a bad idea because they possibly increased the flow (no one really knows).

    I have to disagree with you here Kary, all these things were tried on a similar spill at even shallower depths in a gulf of mexico spill in the 1970’s. none of them worked…even the names of the things they are trying are similar…things like a top hat instead of a Sombrero. It would be naive to believe that BP did not have all this information from a major oil disaster only 30+ years ago in the same gulf region, built by the same company that built this oil well and with similar ties to Halliburton. All these “efforts” were really just smoke and mirrors, knowing they’d have to delay the American public into thinking something was done for several months as they destroy the environment. In that spill, the only thing that worked were the relief wells.

  11. 11

    By Ricoshea @ 10:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 7:

    For example, before they tried the junk shot, and before they cut off the top of the riser, it was known that doing those things could increase the flow. Both those things were thought worth doing, however, because they had some chance of success before August, when the relief well could possibly fix the problem. But what gets reported after each is tried is that they were a bad idea because they possibly increased the flow (no one really knows).

    I have to disagree with you here Kary, all these things were tried on a similar spill at even shallower depths in a gulf of mexico spill in the 1970’s. none of them worked….

    I think that’s the nature of things that have much less than a 100% chance of success. You can point to examples where they don’t work. But my point was more that you don’t point to the oil flow possibly having increased as a result, when that was known beforehand, and that was considered an acceptable risk given the alternative of allowing the oil to flow until at least August. (BTW, it’s not really known that the oil flow increased, but there were known scenarios where the outflow today would be much worse than it is–but they took the steps even knowing that was a possibility.)

    That things like that didn’t work at a shallower depth is reason not to allow drilling at this depth. It’s not a reason to at least make another attempt to see if you can get something to work.

  12. 12
    Pegasus says:

    Kary @ 1 hahaha. Well spoken Kary! Big speech coming for damage control of his failing image. It will fail. I wonder if he will tell everyone what his golf handicap is?

  13. 13
    Ricoshea says:

    But when you try something that has been proven not to work and apply it to a case where it has no chance of success and expect to create a worse flow of oil, it doesn’t make sense. Though if BP had said, sorry, the only thing that will work is to create relief wells and they won’t be complete for several months and even then it will take up to a year before the other flows stop…you see where I’m going here…they had no way to win and using these proven failures was a smoke screen.

    It does go back to something you and I agree on…”That things like that didn’t work at a shallower depth is reason not to allow drilling at this depth.”

    If they can’t fix a problem when something goes wrong, they should not be drilling that deep.

  14. 14

    RE: Ricoshea @ 10

    Not to Worry; “Drill Baby Drill”

    Dr. Chu, Obama’s Energy Sector Secretary states in part:

    “….After an initial segment touching on broader energy issues, Maddow and Chu focused on the Gulf oil spill for the second segment. Maddow took issue with Chu’s assertion that the administration has instituted a moratorium on new drilling offshore, pointing out that approvals seem to be moving forward. Chu suggested it could be a matter of interpretation.

    While Maddow respected her guest’s credentials, she also wasn’t afraid to call him out when he seemed to duck a couple of her questions. After Chu twice suggested that he only knew what he learned from media reports, Maddow mused, “Mr. Secretary, I would say I’m worried that you only know what you read in the papers about what’s being approved.”…”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/25/energy-secretary-steven-c_n_588217.html

    We’ve lost our minds, IMO, when it comes to lack of safety engineering in oil rigs and automotive accelerators…..if we don’t have a solution, we lie and pretend we do. God forbid we can’t have horrifying foreign product invasion in America and uncontrolled population growth needing oil to feed them, that goes with the corporists’ wishes.

  15. 15

    By Ricoshea @ 13:

    But when you try something that has been proven not to work and apply it to a case where it has no chance of success and expect to create a worse flow of oil, it doesn’t make sense. .

    If it had no chance, I would agree. But I don’t think you can say that. I would say that it was worth doing even if the chance of success was only 10%. We’re talking about a lot of oil going into the gulf between now and August (with August not being certain at all).

  16. 16
    Markor says:

    Kary, what would you have Obama do differently? I can’t think of much that would definitely end this disaster sooner. Seems that all the opportunity to end it sooner was lost by the time the rig caught fire. I can’t blame Obama for doing “worthless” activities that mitigate the blowback on him politically, but I don’t want him doing too much of that either. I think the best thing he can do now is use his authority to help the victims, who would otherwise be forgotten by BP. I like the idea of taking claims processing out of BP’s hands and letting an independent claims company have access to their bank account.

  17. 17
    jj says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    Kary,

    I think given what we’ve learned about how BP blew off safety and environmental concerns for the sake of profits, both at the Horizon and at multiple other sites around the world, shows a company wide disregard for the environment and the people in the communities poisoned by contamination with oil and the byproducts of the mining and processing industries. Is BP different than many other megacorporations? No, not really. Am I okay with a president saying this company has been irresponsible to the point that: 1) 11 people are dead, 2) hundreds of species are threatened with extinction, 3) the economy of the entire gulf region is at risk, and 4) we are potentially facing the worst man made environmental disaster in the whole of recorded history; and that he wants to know whose ass to kick? Yeah. Maybe it’s not the most presidential thing to do, but it expresses some of the anger and frustration that many of us are feeling. The fact is that almost the entire spill WAS preventable, but BP decided they’d rather make an extra 50 million dollars (by not predrilling the relief well) rather than be responsible. They decided not to put in a second blow-out preventer, which is considered industry safety standard. The philosophy of profit over safety is a long-term systemwide problem with BP management, and the company should be vilified and reviled.

  18. 18

    By Markor @ 16:

    Kary, what would you have Obama do differently? I can’t think of much that would definitely end this disaster sooner.

    About the only thing he could have done would have been get some requests processed faster or even eliminated (e.g. approval of the relief well, sand for the barrier islands, etc.). Also there are suggestions that he should suspend the Jones Act to allow foreign based/crewed ships to participate in the cleanup.

    But my complaints aren’t really about that. For example, I’m not complaining that he took almost 4 weeks to go to the gulf, because I think such trips are mainly useless. That said, however, I’m not impressed by the fact that he will have gone 4 times just to create an APPEARANCE that he’s doing something.

    My complaint is that his crisis management skills are seemingly lacking to the point of frequently doing more harm than good. If others applied the same practices to him that he does to others there would be calls for impeachment each time anything bad happened. His political posturing is causing harm. He needs to stop the posturing.

  19. 19

    RE: jj @ 17 – A pre-drilled relief well is not required in the US, so I don’t think it’s done by any company. I did hear it’s required in Canada. It’s probably a good idea in sensitive areas, or deep areas.

    Oh, and I don’t have a problem with him saying they’re responsible. I said they’re responsible in my first post above. It’s going so far above and beyond that to the point of creating an international incident with a major ally that I have a problem with.

  20. 20
    Markor says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 18

    Problem is, a lot of people *like* that posturing. I think Obama is mainly a behind-the-scenes worker; that can hurt him politically, but it’s probably better for the nation. There are 20000 gov’t workers and 1900 gov’t boats working on this leak–seems the majority thinks it’s close to zero for both. Most of what Obama could do differently would be only for appearances. If the relief well had been approved sooner and then it caused a similar leak, Obama would be blamed for that. This thing could get even worse, so he has to be careful.

  21. 21

    RE: Markor @ 20 – A lot of people liked the attacks on Enron too. But that meant that the politicians that were 100% responsible for the California energy crisis got off the hook. Even Governor Davis was recalled for a completely different reason.

    It also meant that when gas prices started shooting up in 2007-2008, people had not learned a damn thing about supply and demand, and thus didn’t have a clue what was happening, and were calling for stupid things that would not do a damn bit of good, like a reduction in the gas tax.

    In a democracy we’re supposed to elect officials that will make good decisions, not popular decisions.

  22. 22
    Markor says:

    I think some of that posturing can do good, if it helps Obama to win in 2012, rather than a GOPer who might well enact a bailout for BP and limit their liability too. The benefit of politics can be subtle. I think Davis did get booted largely for his mishandling of CA energy deregulation. The masses there finally realized the rolling blackouts were extortion.

  23. 23

    RE: Markor @ 22 – It was well after the energy crisis, and had to do with unrelated things. I don’t remember them all, but drivers licenses for illegals might have been a part of it.

    And your statement that the rolling blackouts were extortion is what I’m talking about. The rolling blackouts were a result of retail prices not being allowed to rise, which caused shortages. Raising the prices solved the problem instantly. But connecting that up, that was another thing not learned in the past. In 2007-2008 there were calls for price controls on gas, even though we learned during the 70s oil embargo that price controls only lead to outages.

  24. 24

    RE: Markor @ 22http://www.recallgraydavis.com/FiveReasons.asp

    This site lists it as reason 4 of 5. And I guess it was clearly somewhat related in that he burned through about 20B of surplus reserve funds and put the state greatly in debt, greatly increasing the need for new taxes.

  25. 25
    zoneman says:

    Re: Kary @ various…

    With due respect Mr. Krismer, I submit that you would have been a loud voice in the chorus touting unreasonable and unwarranted government interference had Mr. Obama been more aggressive with BP.

    This situation shows in stark relief…as did Enron (and I reject catergorically your take on the “crisis”)…the degree to which the multi-national corporation controls and has controlled this American government (forever…but heavily for the last 30 years and almost completely for the last twelve). Congress and the state legislatures are bought and paid for with corporate campaign money. The Bush Administration completed the job that Reagan began of systematically dismantling the Federal regulatory and enforcement mechanisms. There is not a shed of doubt and there should be no surprise what so ever that a disaster like this one in the Gulf was going to happen. Katrina was the “canary in the coal mine”.

    Whether the American people have the will to take back a share in governance is the question now. Obama is somewhat culpable…but he and his administration (what would have been a moderate Republican in the past) are beholden to these large, enormously globally powerful corporate interests. There are limits on what he can do…even if he wanted to do more.

    Your bleating about Obama rings false, sir.

  26. 26
    Trigger says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1 -Kary – Obama is a Nobel Prize Winner. Please Bow down in front of a Nobel Prize Winner and please watch your language. Remember that you are talking about a Nobel Prize Winner that got this prize because of contributions to humanity and politics that no one has ever made.

  27. 27
    Markor says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 23

    Look further into it. People weren’t using significantly more electricity because prices were low. Rather, Enron was paying kickbacks to take power generation offline for “maintenance”. CA proved that electricity can’t be fully deregulated because it’s an inefficient (thus manipulable and corruptible) market. When the blackouts were happening, a friend of mine (the same one strategically defaulting now) got a $350K bonus on his $50K salary as a power trader. He’d spend all day buying power and selling it to CA for a lot more just minutes later. The end customers were raped.

  28. 28
    David Losh says:

    Well, number one you brought up Enron, I didn’t, but you are making my point that very few went to jail, and the assets are lost. Bankruptcy, as you well know, is a means to an end, I’ll research it.

    You are also conveniently forgetting the first 30 days of the oil crisis in the Gulf. BP had a plan, BP was in control, and they would take care of it. They had the hat, they were going to burn, they were going to do a lot of things that never happened. Then they began spinning the leak as not that bad, oil leaks naturally any way into the sea, the sea can adapt.

    How do you forget these things?

    BP is the expert. They should have had a contingency plan. As it turns out they don’t care, they don’t have to. They will bankrupt.

    Why don’t we focus on the BP response? The CEO never called the families of the dead. That’s how much they care. They don’t care, they don’t have to. They have a huge market share. Oil is a huge energy market. It’s almost all we have.

    So by all means, let’s blame Obama for sixty years of failed oil policy, and let’s just start drilling some place else, like Alaska. That sounds safe.

  29. 29
    Ross Jordan says:

    By David Losh @ 28:

    They should have had a contingency plan. As it turns out they don’t care, they don’t have to. They will bankrupt

    They did in fact have a thorough contingency plan to deal with oil spill. See http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/04/bps-spill-plan-leaks.html

  30. 30
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Trigger @ 26

    Snark! You’ve moved to the dark side, haven’t you?

  31. 31
    Scotsman says:

    If they had enforced the laws and inspection standards that were already in existence then the whole thing wouldn’t have happened. Much of the time a wink and a nod gets you what you want in politics- but once in a while you get caught with your pants down. This is one of those times. Now the current administration has to pay the price for their combination of ineptitude, cronyism, and acquiescence. Life’s hard. It’s really hard if you’re stupid.

  32. 32
    Pegasus says:

    Scot @ 32
    I am hearing that Obama’s excuse in tomorrow’s blameathon besides that this is Bush’s fault is that when they tried to explain to him what was going on in the gulf he got confused by thinking they were talking golf instead. It sounded like a really tough course and so he wanted no part of it.

  33. 33
    The Tim says:

    Time for some Obama oil spill comedy relief, where I abuse the administrative privilege that allows me (and only me) to embed YouTube videos in the comments.

  34. 34
    pfft says:

    By Pegasus @ 12:

    Kary @ 1 hahaha. Well spoken Kary! Big speech coming for damage control of his failing image. It will fail. I wonder if he will tell everyone what his golf handicap is?

    this is bush’s fault, not obama’s. obama just didn’t move fast enough to clean up the mess that bush left. just like bush left the economy in a mess he also left many regulatory body in a mess.

  35. 35
    pfft says:

    By Trigger @ 26:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1 -Kary – Obama is a Nobel Prize Winner. Please Bow down in front of a Nobel Prize Winner and please watch your language. Remember that you are talking about a Nobel Prize Winner that got this prize because of contributions to humanity and politics that no one has ever made.

    obama got a nobel prize because bush was such a bad president that when obama smoothed international relations over they gave him the nobel prize. he deserved it.

  36. 36
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 31:

    If they had enforced the laws and inspection standards that were already in existence then the whole thing wouldn’t have happened. Much of the time a wink and a nod gets you what you want in politics- but once in a while you get caught with your pants down. This is one of those times. Now the current administration has to pay the price for their combination of ineptitude, cronyism, and acquiescence. Life’s hard. It’s really hard if you’re stupid.

    doesn’t that go against your the government shouldn’t regulate and wouldn’t know how to anyway ideology?

    why did BP act so recklessly? wouldn’t they drill very safely because they wouldn’t want to be punished in the market place?

    our regulatory bodies are a mess because of bush, not obama.

  37. 37
    pfft says:

    more signs of a recovery.

    “Real (inflation-adjusted) PCEs have been in an uptrend for about a year. Also note they are now slightly above levels seen before the financial collapse in 2008.”

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/06/beige-book-and-flow-fo-funds-overview.html

    there is only one dark spot, the WLI.

    ECRI Weekly Leading Indicators Turn Negative
    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/06/ecri-weekly-leading-indicators-turn.html

  38. 38
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 34

    “this is bush’s fault, not obama’s”

    Ha ha. Last time I heard that I fell off my dinosaur. Time to move on.

  39. 39

    By zoneman @ 25:

    Re: Kary @ various…

    With due respect Mr. Krismer, I submit that you would have been a loud voice in the chorus touting unreasonable and unwarranted government interference had Mr. Obama been more aggressive with BP. r.

    Maybe you didn’t understand, but I was saying he was too aggressive.

    Also, you’re just wrong on California. If electricity is priced higher, people use less. When they finally raised the rates, there were no more outages (in CA). Governor Davis had people under him who laughed at the concept of supply and demand, and it bankrupted two large utilities and nearly bankrupted the state. It’s rather simple.

    Now when you have that type of a situation (shortages), there are entities that will take advantage of the situation. That doesn’t mean they caused it. And it’s predicted by standard economic theory.

  40. 40
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 38:

    RE: pfft @ 34

    “this is bushâ��s fault, not obamaâ��s”

    Ha ha. Last time I heard that I fell off my dinosaur. Time to move on.

    I guess you didn’t read about the rampant corruption in the MMS office of the Interior Dept?

    let me inform you.

    MMS ethics violations included drugs, bribery, and cheating
    http://www.examiner.com/x-37619-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2010m5d26-MMS-ethics-violations-included-drugs-bribery-and-cheating

    obama is cleaning up yet another Bush mess.

    “Interior Secretary Salazar plans to reorganize the MMS, by dividing it into three separate agencies. In a previous investigation of MMS not long after Salazar was appointed, a half a dozen people were given disciplinary action and 2 people were fired.”

    the republicans have for 30 years pursued a “get the government off our back” deregulatory ideology. what we got was a crash on wall street, deadly mines and oil washing up on our shores. businesses can’t regulated themselves and cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

  41. 41

    By Markor @ 27:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 23 – Look further into it. People weren’t using significantly more electricity because prices were low. Rather, Enron was paying kickbacks to take power generation offline for “maintenance”. CA proved that electricity can’t be fully deregulated because it’s an inefficient (thus manipulable and corruptible) market..

    Nope. California published their predictions of supply and demand each day, and there were clear shortages. What Enron did was try to make those worse at time when they held contracts, but they would have existed either way.

    Also, California energy was never fully deregulated because they only provided for supply deregulation, not the consumer side. Rather obviously that doesn’t work because it doesn’t deal with shortages. They did a bunch of other stupid stuff too, like requiring that the retailers sell all of their production capacity.

  42. 42

    By David Losh @ 28:

    You are also conveniently forgetting the first 30 days of the oil crisis in the Gulf. BP had a plan, BP was in control, and they would take care of it. They had the hat, they were going to burn, they were going to do a lot of things that never happened. Then they began spinning the leak as not that bad, oil leaks naturally any way into the sea, the sea can adapt.

    How do you forget these things?.

    Apparently you’ve forgotten them, because you’re not even mentioning what they are. I don’t know how I’m supposed to respond to that. By claiming “They did lots of things!”

  43. 43

    By pfft @ 34:

    By Pegasus @ 12:

    Kary @ 1 hahaha. Well spoken Kary! Big speech coming for damage control of his failing image. It will fail. I wonder if he will tell everyone what his golf handicap is?

    this is bush’s fault, not obama’s. obama just didn’t move fast enough to clean up the mess that bush left. just like bush left the economy in a mess he also left many regulatory body in a mess.

    Just how many years into a Presidency is it before that’s no longer an excuse? And is a still an excuse AFTER the new President calls for additional drilling? You’d think before he did such a thing he would have been confident in the government agencies overseeing the process.

  44. 44
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 40

    From WIKI:

    “On January 20, 2009, Salazar was confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate.”

    Let’s see- that’s 18 months in office. Nope, I think this one gets hung around the current administrations neck. Unless Salazar was following the lead of the president and spending all his time golfing and partying when he should have been working. Face it, the whole crew’s incompetent.

  45. 45
    Markor says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 41

    Google for “Tapes Show Enron Arranged Plant Shutdown” from NYTimes. There were “clear shortages” because of artificially reduced supply, due to corruption that can easily occur in an inefficient market. (Artificially reduced supply is occurring in the real estate market via shadow inventory, BTW, albeit apparently legally.)

    “In one January 2001 telephone tape of an Enron trader the public utility identified as Bill Williams and a Las Vegas energy official identified only as Rich, an agreement was made to shut down a power plant providing energy to California. The shutdown was set for an afternoon of peak energy demand.”

    My friend didn’t work for Enron. Power traders all across the country were piling on to the inefficiency.

  46. 46
    Markor says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 43:

    Just how many years into a Presidency is it before that’s no longer an excuse?

    Very reasonably it depends on the damage done, since it’s far easier to break stuff than it is to fix it. I’d say that Bush caused enough damage to take 20-30 years to fix, with a lot of extra effort on the part of the average American. In monetary terms Bush created probably at least a $10 trillion hole.

    I don’t expect Obama to know everything before he approves stuff. It’s up to his staff to apprise him of all the ramifications. If the Minerals Management Service was corrupt, Obama could easily be misled, and the MMS could be corrupt due to Bush’s actions or inactions. There’s an oil tanker named Condoleezza Rice, after all.

  47. 47
    zoneman says:

    Mr. Krismer seems to be of the fact-averse “libertarian” ilk.

  48. 48
    Tim McB says:

    RE: The Tim @ 33

    Nobody else said it so I will…, hilarious Tim, made my evening. I never knew Obama was a singer. Perhaps he and T Pain can do a duet next time.

  49. 49
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Tim McB @ 48

    It was OK, but when Chuck Norris didn’t get a chance to “kick ass” I was disappointed. That boy knows his stuff!

  50. 50

    RE: Markor @ 45 – Yes, I know about those incidents. That’s exactly what economic theory would predict parties to do. Other things they did was try to re-route the electrical traffic to make it appear to come from sources that were not price controlled. Again, something expected. But what you fail to understand is that the outages would have occurred anyway. Enron might have made a couple of them worse, but they would have happened. They were only able to do what they did because California set up a situation where electricity was in very short supply.

    There were other times when the bottleneck was the transmission lines. Clearly something caused by too much consumer demand, as a result of low prices. If they’d raised the price, consumption would have dropped, as actually did occur when they raised the rates for only a portion of the consumers (and most businesses, which is probably part of the reason that they have such high unemployment today.)

    Do you deny supply and demand? If you want to cut consumption you raise prices. That California repeatedly refused to do so created the situation that let Enron do what little it did.

    And as to the little comment, just how do you think Enron managed to go bankrupt if the were actually causing all these problems? The total cost of that mess was probably well over 100 billion dollars. If they were raking that money in, just how did they manage to go bankruptcy.

  51. 51

    By zoneman @ 47:

    Mr. Krismer seems to be of the fact-averse “libertarian” ilk.

    You seem to be the one that is fact-adverse, because you don’t state any. It would be impossible to refute what you say, because all you state are your feelings.

  52. 52
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 42

    They were lowering the cone to capture spewing oil. They were going to burn.

    You don’t really have a response, just a very convenient memory.

    I’m going to start on this Enron rationalization you keep bringing up, so give me a few minutes.

  53. 53
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 50

    Come on, I was just clicking out to research the Enron swindle when I read this. You’re kidding, right? It’s the contrarian argument, right?

    You’re bankruptcy attorney for goodness sakes. You mean to say Enron bankrupted over a measley $100 billion? No, they were caught red handed. The golden calf was gone, so they all scurried off.

  54. 54
  55. 55
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 43:

    By pfft @ 34:

    By Pegasus @ 12:

    Kary @ 1 hahaha. Well spoken Kary! Big speech coming for damage control of his failing image. It will fail. I wonder if he will tell everyone what his golf handicap is?

    this is bush’s fault, not obama’s. obama just didn’t move fast enough to clean up the mess that bush left. just like bush left the economy in a mess he also left many regulatory body in a mess.

    Just how many years into a Presidency is it before that’s no longer an excuse? And is a still an excuse AFTER the new President calls for additional drilling? You’d think before he did such a thing he would have been confident in the government agencies overseeing the process.

    it takes years to reform government. obama has had to deal with Iraq, Afghanistan, the financial crisis, healthcare reform and the recession.

    obama only asked for more drilling because he needs to get a climate change bill passed all the deniers. he had to make concessions to get a bill and help save the planet.

  56. 56
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 44:

    RE: pfft @ 40

    From WIKI:

    “On January 20, 2009, Salazar was confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate.”

    Let’s see- that’s 18 months in office. Nope, I think this one gets hung around the current administrations neck. Unless Salazar was following the lead of the president and spending all his time golfing and partying when he should have been working. Face it, the whole crew’s incompetent.

    the last crew was incompetent, not this crew. it takes a long time to undue 8 years of bush policies and 30 years of Reaganomics.

    why aren’t you focusing on BP?

  57. 57

    By David Losh @ 54:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 50

    By focusing on small details you miss the big picture.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Enron_scandal

    By focusing on no details you don’t give a picture at all. What do you think that shows? Per that site Enron at the time was showing profit at about 1/2 billion per quarter. That number was probably fraudulently high. California state went through about 20 billion in less than a year, and that doesn’t count the money spent by the two bankrupt utilities and by states like Washington.

    If Enron was responsible, just where do you think the other billions went? And again, why do you think they went bankrupt?

    You’ve fallen for the story woven by Republicans and Democrats from California.

  58. 58
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57

    What story? You brought up Enron “like with Enron where most Americans blame Enron for the California electrical energy crisis.” Who does, and why would any one care about that? It was a fraud, wrapped in a swindle, in a long line of thefts.

    That is our energy policy. It’s how much these companies can steal before they get bought, sold, traded, or go bankrupt.

    Obama was not strong enough. He should go after this company tooth, and nail. This oil company is to blame for the largest ecological disaster since the Exxon Valdez. Look what happened there. The settlement of only $5 billion, which was a generous gift to Exxon, got reduced in court to $507 million.

    How long are we going to pat the oil industry on it’s poo poo baby butts, and just go on with the gas combustion engine? This should be the end of oil as we know it. It should be a foot note in history. These people need to pay, and we should get at least the full $10 billion in dividend funds to start with, right now, until we figure out how much more they should pay.

  59. 59
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 56

    “From WIKI:

    “On January 20, 2009, Salazar was confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate.”

    Let’s see- that’s 18 months in office. Nope, I think this one gets hung around the current administrations neck. Unless Salazar was following the lead of the president and spending all his time golfing and partying when he should have been working. Face it, the whole crew’s incompetent.”

    The truth is looking you right in the eye, but you won’t see it. This guy would have been fired in 6 months in private industry, but since he’s a political appointee/hack he gets a pass even though his performance is pathetic. And the left just keeps coming to his and Obama’s defense, blaming everything on Bush, because they lack the spine, intellectual honesty, and even creativity to do anything else. You and all of Obama’s defenders get the government and the environmental disasters you deserve since you’re unwilling or un-able to demand accountability from yourselves, let alone those you’ve elected. Obama and the left’s credibility are as hollow as the phony Greek styrofoam pillars that hope and change were wrapped in during his Denver speech. Looks like the “Greek god of wisdom” (or was that narcissism?) has fallen hard to earth, leaving a nasty stain.

  60. 60
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 59

    We blame the first George, and Dick Cheney. No one in thier right mind, pun intended, never thought George II had an ounce of intligence. He was just following orders.

  61. 61
    Markor says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 50

    I don’t deny supply and demand. The supply was being illegally manipulated, as I’ve shown. We don’t know whether CA would have been in much the same boat without such manipulation, but it’s unlikely given the scale of it. My friend made $350K that year for little effort, just buy low and sell high to CA all day every day. (His wife got half of that for even less effort!) I don’t see how you’ve made your case.

    Enron went bankrupt because they had big losses in other ventures.

  62. 62
    Scotsman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 60

    You mean like Barack Obama- puppet of George Soros and the Left? Or does Obama just a need a lot more hand-holding than most “leaders?”

    “If you want to see where President Barack Obama’s response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster is heading, try following the urgings of the Center for American Progress.

    The liberal think tank with close White House ties appears to have more influence on spill policy than the president’s in-house advisers. On May 4, for instance, the CAP’s energy and environment expert, Daniel Weiss, called on the president to name an independent commission to look at the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. On May 22, he did just that.

    On May 21, CAP president, John Podesta, privately implored White House officials to name someone to be the public point person for the spill response. A week later, the White House announced that Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen would hold daily briefings on the spill, wherever he would be on any given day.

    On May 26, Weiss said the White House needed to demand that BP immediately set up an escrow account with billions of dollars from which claims for Gulf state residents would be paid out.

    Monday’s headlines proclaimed the president’s latest get-tough stand: BP needs to set up a billion-dollar escrow account.”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/06/14/wh-takes-cues-from-liberal-think-tank-on-spill/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Fwashwire%2Ffeed+%28WSJ.com%3A+Washington+Wire%29

  63. 63
    Markor says:

    By David Losh @ 58:

    This oil company is to blame for the largest ecological disaster since the Exxon Valdez. Look what happened there. The settlement of only $5 billion, which was a generous gift to Exxon, got reduced in court to $507 million.

    Nay, the largest ecological disaster in US history, period. Far larger than the Exxon Valdez. I expect a similar roundabout taxpayer bailout for BP, esp. if Republicans gain seats this year. We have a precedent of bailing out foreign corporations too.

  64. 64
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 59:

    RE: pfft @ 56

    “From WIKI:

    �On January 20, 2009, Salazar was confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate.�

    Letâ��s see- thatâ��s 18 months in office. Nope, I think this one gets hung around the current administrations neck. Unless Salazar was following the lead of the president and spending all his time golfing and partying when he should have been working. Face it, the whole crewâ��s incompetent.”

    The truth is looking you right in the eye, but you won’t see it. This guy would have been fired in 6 months in private industry, but since he’s a political appointee/hack he gets a pass even though his performance is pathetic. And the left just keeps coming to his and Obama’s defense, blaming everything on Bush, because they lack the spine, intellectual honesty, and even creativity to do anything else. You and all of Obama’s defenders get the government and the environmental disasters you deserve since you’re unwilling or un-able to demand accountability from yourselves, let alone those you’ve elected. Obama and the left’s credibility are as hollow as the phony Greek styrofoam pillars that hope and change were wrapped in during his Denver speech. Looks like the “Greek god of wisdom” (or was that narcissism?) has fallen hard to earth, leaving a nasty stain.

    you are trying really really really hard but it’s just not working. republicans have run on deregulation for 30 years. the MMS had rampant corruption under Bush. keep trying to blame it on bush. try to deflect the fact that the republicans just months ago pushed drill baby drill.! drill baby drill! drill here drill now!

    the same thing that happened to the economy happened in the oil sector.

    “McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, has long supported fewer regulations for businesses.”
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26831372/

    look at what the tea party darling said recently.

    Rand Paul: “I believe business should be left alone from government.”
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/06/14/rand-paul-mountaintop-removal-coal/

    obama should have moved faster but he has a lot to clean up.

    let’s be very clear here. BP is responsible for this in the end. they were drilling not the obama administration.

    BP engineer called doomed rig a ‘nightmare well’
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jun/14/bp-engineer-called-doomed-rig-a-nightmare-well/

    FLASHBACK: BP exec testified that offshore drilling is ‘safe and protective of the environment.’
    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/04/30/bp-offshore-testify/

  65. 65
    Markor says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 62

    It’s fine with me if Obama follows the advice of others, even all the advice of a certain group. I just want the choices to be good ones.

  66. 66
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 64

    “obama should have moved faster but he has a lot to clean up.”

    You’re right- I hear his short putt needs a lot of work. Better get back out on the course champ!

    News flash for Pfft! It’s 2010, not 2002. Admit it- this guy’s a joke too.

  67. 67
    What's my name says:

    By Scotsman @ 59:

    RE: pfft @ 56

    “This guy would have been fired in 6 months in private industry.”

    This is great irony in a thread having so many references to Enron. BTW, has BP fired the execs responsible for the cluster in the gulf yet? Please sir, may we have more?

  68. 68
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Wow, this place is really becoming red state / blue state. It’s like I’m watching talking head political pundits on a housing blog. Signal to noise ratio is hitting epic lows.

  69. 69
    Hugh Dominic says:

    I think we can all agree that obama’s strategy is to let this disaster unfold so he can pillory big oil. This disaster weakens resistance to his green energy initiatives. He just needs to make certain that the disaster is big enough to cause public outcry, and ensure that the public primarily blames big oil.

    I fully support this strategy. It will take a crisis of at least this magnitude to start breaking the addiction.

  70. 70
    zoneman says:

    Mr. Krismer has no patience for anyone whose views do not echo his…to wit…”when I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you,”

  71. 71
    Markor says:

    Yesterday’s headline: “$1 trillion in mineral wealth discovered in Afghanistan”. Today’s headline: “Setbacks cloud U.S. plans to get out of Afghanistan “.

    Color me a conspiracy theorist! God help anyone who joins the military now.

  72. 72
    Pegasus says:

    Markor @ 71
    That headline was getting massive play all day by all media yesterday. I wondered what’s up with that? It’s not like they just discovered those natural resources. They have known about them for many years. Why all the sudden massive story play? Is the game that Americans will no longer be dying for oil but will now be doing it for Lithium?

  73. 73

    By Markor @ 61:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 50

    I don’t deny supply and demand. The supply was being illegally manipulated, as I’ve shown.

    Enron went bankrupt because they had big losses in other ventures.

    Assume you’re right, and that the entire thing was due to Enron. What would be the solution? Raise consumer prices so that a bit of manipulative wouldn’t be effective. Regardless of the cause, the problem was tight supplies. If they had capacity 20% over peak consumption, no one could have charged $1,000 for something normally that costs $10.

    So which is the better solution? Try a bunch of stuff that doesn’t work, and probably blow through $100,000,000,000, or raise prices 15% costing consumers a small fraction of that amount, while simultaneously having other benefits?

    Yes Enron had other losses. And they hid those through fraudulent accounting, which was the main Enron scandal. That they were involved with that scandal made them the perfect scapegoat. But what do you think those other “ventures” were that the losses were so great that they lost more than what you think they were making off of the energy crisis?

  74. 74

    By Markor @ 65:

    RE: Scotsman @ 62

    It’s fine with me if Obama follows the advice of others, even all the advice of a certain group. I just want the choices to be good ones.

    Well following good advice would be good, but I think you sort of get to my point. I’m not critical of everything Obama does. What I’m critical of though largely is a result of his paying attention to critics and responding to that. If he paid as much attention to critics before the election as after, he would have dropped out.

    The four trips to the gulf, for example, clearly a reaction to critics. The bright side is that it’s probably not too counter-productive, although I imagine having him around does slow things up a bit.

  75. 75

    By Markor @ 71:

    Yesterday’s headline: “$1 trillion in mineral wealth discovered in Afghanistan”. Today’s headline: “Setbacks cloud U.S. plans to get out of Afghanistan “.

    Color me a conspiracy theorist! God help anyone who joins the military now.

    One thing they don’t have is a port. That’s largely why that stuff is still there untouched.

  76. 76

    By Lake Hills Renter @ 68:

    Wow, this place is really becoming red state / blue state. It’s like I’m watching talking head political pundits on a housing blog. Signal to noise ratio is hitting epic lows.

    I generally stay out of the political discussions here, except for health care, things that directly pertain to housing (e.g. tax credits), and now this.

    Unlike some here I don’t think Obama is a complete failure. But I do think he’s better at policy than crisis. And I got sick of his blaming others for everything a long time ago.

  77. 77
    David Losh says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 68

    What’s ultimately being discussed is the direction of the economy. The Republicans are pushing a cut government spending, so we can lower taxes agenda. The claim is that Democrats are adding government programs to take over the economy.

    It’s probably true that the government now controls 70% of the economy in the United States. Government policies are shaping the economic landscape more now than in the past. We have the financial markets, health care, banking, energy concerns, auto industry, and Real Estate being directed by a growing set of legislation proposed by politicians. This impacts your ability to create wealth.

    Wealth, your legacy, is what we are discussing. Most of that, for us, will be in the form of a Real Estate.

  78. 78
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    RE: David Losh @ 77 – Sorry, David, but open threads here these days are a one trick pony — blame Obama for something, or defend Obama by blaming Bush. Used to be health care, now it’s the oil spill. It will be something else next, I’m sure. The topic doesn’t really matter because that’s not the point — the point is the politics and being on message. It’s exactly the same as the talking heads on the news channels.

  79. 79
    Markor says:

    By Pegasus @ 72:

    Is the game that Americans will no longer be dying for oil but will now be doing it for Lithium?

    Bingo. Electric car batteries, laptop batteries, IPod etc.

  80. 80
    Markor says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 73:

    So which is the better solution? Try a bunch of stuff that doesn’t work, and probably blow through $100,000,000,000, or raise prices 15% costing consumers a small fraction of that amount, while simultaneously having other benefits?

    For something felt to be needed by the masses the solution isn’t to raise prices, it’s to socialize it and regulate it (like water is, in most places). That solution worked fine for power before CA deregulated it.

    Yes Enron had other losses. And they hid those through fraudulent accounting, which was the main Enron scandal. That they were involved with that scandal made them the perfect scapegoat. But what do you think those other “ventures” were that the losses were so great that they lost more than what you think they were making off of the energy crisis?

    There’s a book about that (I read years ago, and don’t recall where all they were losing money), and a bunch of stuff online. Check Wikipedia, for example.

  81. 81
    Pegasus says:

    For pfft
    What Happened to the Green Shoots?

    The economic reports for May are rolling in, and so far they’re pretty ugly. In the first four months of 2010, it seemed pretty clear that a recovery was upon us, though it was shaping up to be a slow one. Last month, however, the economy seemed to take a step back. Was it a blip, or a sign of a double-dip to come?

    Even though we don’t yet have full information to evaluate May, here’s what we do know:

    Employment

    Unemployment technically declined in May. But a deeper look at the numbers showed that was mostly due to temporary census hiring. The private sector only hired a measly 41,000 new workers. If you subtract all government jobs, then hiring was the worst we’d seen since January.

    more with pony at the end for pfft:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/109777/what-happened-to-the-green-shoots;_ylt=Ah.BOpw8kWpycUjJVRQxN4S7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTFmbjVqNDFqBHBvcwMzBHNlYwNleHBlcnRPcGluaW9uRHluYW1pYwRzbGsDd2hhdGhhcH

  82. 82
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 78

    Might be more to it than that. Maybe, just maybe, it’s important to discuss current events and the government in a democracy. Sure, some like to just sit on the sidelines and not get involved, but there are real issues here- ideology is only one of them. Getting the spill under control, or at least mobilizing a response that limits the damage to shorelines, etc. while those who can (i.e. BP and other corporations) work to stop the flow sounds like a good idea. Competent and responsive government, when the government is such a huge portion of our economy and regulatory structure, is pretty important. Sitting around playing golf and planning sound bites while you blame the past 12 years of administration just doesn’t strike me as a very effective plan for protecting national interests in the Gulf region. But maybe I missed something.

  83. 83
    Scotsman says:

    What a joke- just what we need, more “outsourced” leadership to some unelected, unaccountable “czar.” Why doesn’t he just appoint a “presidential” czar and then go away for good. Some days I wonder if the guy even pulls his own pants on in the morning:

    “President Barack Obama, in his televised speech to the nation Tuesday, will announce the creation of an oil recovery “czar” to oversee progress in siphoning crude from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, his chief spokesman said.
    Speaking on ABC television’s “Good Morning America” program, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the position is envisioned as “somebody that will be in charge of a recovery plan, putting a recovery plan together…when we get past the cleanup and response phase of this disaster.”

  84. 84
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    By Scotsman @ 82:

    Maybe, just maybe, it’s important to discuss current events and the government in a democracy…

    I completely agree, but unfortunately I’m not seeing much of it here. Lobbing tomatoes at your ideological opponents from an entrenched position is not discussion, it’s argument, and there’s a huge difference. Threads here used to be discussions — that was one of the things I liked about this place. But now it seems to be all argument and ideology.

    To be fair, I’ve been away from here for a while so maybe I missed all of the actual discussions, but coming back after a while gave me new eyes that see nothing more here (at least in the open threads) than the same political blather that’s all over the TV and the rest of the Internet these days. It’s sad to me, because I always thought of this place offered more.

  85. 85
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 83:

    What a joke- just what we need, more “outsourced” leadership to some unelected, unaccountable “czar.” Why doesn’t he just appoint a “presidential” czar and then go away for good. Some days I wonder if the guy even pulls his own pants on in the morning:

    “President Barack Obama, in his televised speech to the nation Tuesday, will announce the creation of an oil recovery â��czarâ�� to oversee progress in siphoning crude from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, his chief spokesman said.
    Speaking on ABC television�s �Good Morning America� program, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the position is envisioned as �somebody that will be in charge of a recovery plan, putting a recovery plan together�when we get past the cleanup and response phase of this disaster.�

    to put this into perpective everyone, scotsman thinks bush showed leadership after 9-11

  86. 86
    pfft says:

    dow up over 100 points, guess they are buying the recovery today? what say the down 100’ers?

  87. 87
    Betsy says:

    My firm is working for a few gulf coast communities. Reports back from people in the field are bleak (as I’m sure you are all aware).

    If I might add my 2 cents to the blame game. May I suggest the citizens in this county take a good look in the mirror. From my work over the last few years I’ve come to realize a few things:

    1. People care about the environment, however it falls about #4 on their list of things they care about after how much money they have, family, friends and whether a new “Ugly Betty” is on tonight.
    2. This prioritization of the environment allows for its destruction not only through catastrophic f-ups like the oil spill, but also through the “thousand cuts” contributed by everyone’s daily lives (what we buy, where we live, how we make our money, etc).
    3. Politicians know what people care most about and act accordingly. In the end it’s not a bad apple so much as a rotten barrel.
    4. People care a lot more about the environment when it affects their daily lives (gas prices go up, they lose their job, someone in their family gets a nasty rash at the beach or worst case a chronic disease), unfortunately at this point the environmental problem takes a ton of money to clean up and everyone else who is not affected directly by said problem could give a rat’s ass about it (because ugly betty is on tonight after all).

    In the end BP will get away with it, poor people will suffer most (both in this country and in nations around the gulf) and people will blame the overall loss of jobs on illegal immigrants or just relax into the new season of 24.

    May I suggest you encourage your children to study toxicology in college because this problem is not going away even after the beaches are pristine (looking) 5-10 years from now.

  88. 88
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: pfft @ 86 – I say individual daily fluctuations mean nothing, regardless of their direction. Zoom that lens out a bit, Skippy.

  89. 89

    By Markor @ 80:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 73:

    So which is the better solution? Try a bunch of stuff that doesn’t work, and probably blow through $100,000,000,000, or raise prices 15% costing consumers a small fraction of that amount, while simultaneously having other benefits?

    For something felt to be needed by the masses the solution isn’t to raise prices, it’s to socialize it and regulate it (like water is, in most places). That solution worked fine for power before CA deregulated it.

    Yes Enron had other losses. And they hid those through fraudulent accounting, which was the main Enron scandal. That they were involved with that scandal made them the perfect scapegoat. But what do you think those other “ventures” were that the losses were so great that they lost more than what you think they were making off of the energy crisis?

    There’s a book about that (I read years ago, and don’t recall where all they were losing money), and a bunch of stuff online. Check Wikipedia, for example.

    You can’t just regulate electricity into existence. If there isn’t enough of it, you need to raise prices so that there is enough of it. That’s what we didn’t do in the 70s with gasoline, and what California didn’t do in the early 2000s with electricity.

    As to Enron, I don’t remember the specifics, but they had a bunch of related entities that were losing money, and a system of accounting that recognized revenues early based on very favorable assumptions.

  90. 90
    joe user says:

    As someone said – it’s far easier to destroy things than rebuild/fix them. The modern Republican party has so screwed up the country it may never be repaired…. Especially by their doppelgangers, the modern Democratic party.

    It IS primarily the fault of the previous administration, though in many cases they were just finishing off what previous presidents had started. That being said, this is no reason to let the Obama administration off the hook for anything whatsoever – he is the one that wanted to be President and he is the on that won. Ergo, he’s now responsible (not necessarily to blame) for what’s happening. And I don’t think he’s doing a very good job of it, and I’m very suspect of his continuation of Bush policies, including putting industry exec types in positions of power.

  91. 91

    One thing about two of Obama’s targets, AIG and BP, they both have one thing in common. Assuming the latest claims regarding BP’s well development are correct, they both allowed employees to take incredible risk, and apparently rewarded them on short term performance. You would think these types of business entities (as opposed to say a government entity like LA County) would be aware of the risks of their industry and maintain better controls over employees to prevent the occurrence of events that threaten the entire entity.

    I really don’t remember any events like this in the past 30 years where a small group of relatively low level company employees made decisions that threatened the existence of the entire company for a company the size of either of these two entities.

  92. 92

    RE: joe user @ 90 – With the exception of rhetoric and the health care legislation, just what do you think is so different under Obama than it was under Bush? There have been no massive changes of policy in this country with the change of power.

  93. 93
    Markor says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 89:

    You can’t just regulate electricity into existence. If there isn’t enough of it, you need to raise prices so that there is enough of it.

    There’s enough of it. You don’t see blackouts any more due to lack of supply, right? What is regulated is the profit. This is basic socialism that has existed all our lives. Say WA needs 10% more power in 10 years, estimated. The public issues bonds, builds the power generation, some company runs it and gets a maximum profit margin set by the public. Because the profit margin is limited there’s no price gouging or corruption. The system works great.

    That’s what we didn’t do in the 70s with gasoline, and what California didn’t do in the early 2000s with electricity.

    Kary, read your history! The oil crisis was the result of an embargo against the US because we supported Israel. Gas prices did go up to compensate for that. And CA didn’t have to raise prices; their prices fell when electricity was re-regulated and corruption eliminated. Their prices during the blackouts were a lot higher than needed to match supply with demand.

    The masses pay a steep price for failing to appreciate how well socialism works, like these folk:

    When Deborah Jackson opened her electric bill in February, she had no idea it would be a life-changing event.
    She and her husband, Patrick, who live in a three-bedroom brick house in East St. Louis, Ill., owed Ameren (AEE) $600.82, up from $172 in January. In March, the tab floated into the stratosphere: $1,024.31.

    The Jacksons are among millions of U.S. residents reeling from the aftershocks of electricity deregulation in 17 states and Washington, D.C.

  94. 94
    Markor says:

    By pfft @ 86:

    dow up over 100 points, guess they are buying the recovery today? what say the down 100’ers?

    It could go anywhere in the short term. In the long term, my bet is well below 10K, sustained.

  95. 95

    RE: Markor @ 93 – Please provide a cite showing that consumer prices are now lower. No doubt wholesale prices are. The reason there’s enough supply now is because prices are higher. I don’t know about current rates in CA, but up here they’re roughly twice as high still.

    Edit: Here are CA’s rates:

    http://lee.org/blog/2008/07/23/historical-electric-rates/

    You need to read history, I lived through it. Gas prices roughly doubled, but then price controls went into effect. At that point there was rationing because price no longer was the rationing tool. You had long lines and had to buy gas on certain days. We could have had that again in 2007-08 if we’d listened to some of the politicians.

  96. 96

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 95 – I couldn’t find residential rates for 1999, but in Seattle “Small General Service” was 3.46/KW in 1999 and 5.61 in 2009.

  97. 97
    Markor says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 95

    Well, I didn’t say that prices are lower now. I said they fell after re-regulation and the corruption was eliminated. Check out page 57 of http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/states/sep_prices/notes/pr_print2007.pdf. (Your link leads to it.) Use the inflation calculator at http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl to see that inflation-adjusted CA residential electricity prices fell 11% from the 2002 peak to 2004, and were still lower in 2007 than in 2002.

    I don’t advocate price controls on an open market, like on gas. If I could get electricity from one of many competing vendors, maybe I’d support deregulation of that. I don’t see what you’re supporting here, but it seems strange to be talking about the need to raise prices to lower demand, without mentioning corruption and embargoes that are causing supply drops and/or unfair profits. Why not focus on those issues as well?

  98. 98
    patient says:

    There is currently a strong anti wall street sentiment among the public. I expect the big financial institutions to through everything they have at an attempt to prevent that fiscally responsible candiates get elected this fall. This could include manipulation of data and markets to try to convince the public that the spending is working, this to ensure that the transfer of tax payer money into their pockets will not be jeopardized by new members of congress with an agenda to stop it. It’s interresting times.

  99. 99

    RE: Markor @ 97 – You said: “And CA didn’t have to raise prices; their prices fell when electricity was re-regulated and corruption eliminated.”

    But you keep using 2002 prices. Those are the prices that were raised and stopped the blackouts. After adjusting for inflation they might be slightly lower than 2002, but those aren’t the prices that were causing the blackouts.

    Using your data or mine, it only took about a 10% increase in price to reduce consumption an acceptable amount. It would have been much better to do that prior to the state spending over 20B and bankrupting two utilities (thereby harming a lot of retired people, etc.).

    Also, you need to look at the business prices, where they really hit the “consumer.” Using your source, industrial went from about 21 in 2000 to about 29 in 2002, commercial from about 29 to about 38 those same years. Undoubtedly that caused some reduction in use too, as well as some unemployment which probably still exists today. This was just another indication of the real problem–politicians trying to protect voters from increases in their utility bills. They did that, but at the cost of increased taxes and unemployment.

    (BTW, California in many areas had a really goofy pricing system where certain usage was cheap and above that was expensive, based on prior use. I don’t remember the details, but the end result was that the price increases didn’t hit some people at all, and hit others really hard. I believe over half weren’t affected at all. Anyway I bring it up because the 10% increase was really more than 10% for those affected, but that didn’t have to be.)

  100. 100
    pfft says:

    By Pegasus @ 81:

    For pfft
    What Happened to the Green Shoots?

    green shoots are old news. we are way past that and into recovery. yes, some indicators like I posted the other day are slowing. where were you when they were good?

  101. 101
    Pegasus says:

    Pfft…. I wasn’t the clown shouting every green shoot and pump story when the Dow was over 11,000 a short while ago. You were…short memory Mister “Don’t know nutting about the bond market” guy and now you are spinning bond stories. What are you an expert on today that yesterday you were clueless on? Clowns? Your master is on TV right now with his sinking ship desperation play. It’s a hoot. Go watch and repeat everything he reads off his teleprompter and proclaim it as the truth.

  102. 102
    Markor says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 99

    2002 is close enough to 2001 for me. Corruption isn’t rooted out overnight. That 10% increase could be all extortion. You pay the ransom, you get your consistent power back (that was possible to provide at the lower price). See http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/business/06electric.html?_r=1

    Why do you focus on increasing prices to lower demand, when deregulation and corruption seems to be the primary culprit? Do you just not believe that? From that link:

    The difference in prices charged to industrial companies in market states compared with those in regulated ones nearly tripled from 1999 to last July [2007], according to the analysis of Energy Department data by Marilyn Showalter, who runs Power in the Public Interest, a group that favors traditional rate regulation.

    That’s a huge difference. It seems so much better to employ regulation before wondering if increasing prices will solve a lack of supply issue.

  103. 103
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 99

    Let me bring this back down for you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Enron_scandal

    You seem to be a little hazy on the details, but you did accuse me of not researching my comments. Wait, i better get that comment down here also or else you’ll start in with you never said any such thing.

    “Do you do any research at all? Enron was two scandals”

    Enron’s electrical rates scandal was by cutting supply. Your long argument here is that California should have raised rates?

    So are you denying supply manipulation?

  104. 104
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 84

    Well said Lake Hills. I’d much prefer it if people would attempt to ascertain and present the facts along with reasonably objective analysis of problems and proposals for solutions. Of course there’s always room for a little comic relief, in good spirit of course. But I don’t need anybody to show me how to finger point and whine, I’m already an expert at that.

  105. 105
    geon says:

    Wow! Here’s a sale I find amusing. Been on the market for about 10 months, for $1.6, just sold for $1.5. I figured $1 to 1.1 million at the most. We checked it out about 5 months ago. Nice house, long, steep, switchback stairs down to the beach. I guess they buyers thought the view was worth it. I’ve seen just as good for a lot less. Bubble price. imo.

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2657-SW-172nd-St-Burien-WA-98166/48762445_zpid/

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Burien/2657-SW-172nd-St-98166/home/335673

  106. 106
    pfft says:

    By Pegasus @ 101:

    Pfft…. I wasn’t the clown shouting every green shoot and pump story when the Dow was over 11,000 a short while ago. You were…short memory Mister “Don’t know nutting about the bond market” guy and now you are spinning bond stories. What are you an expert on today that yesterday you were clueless on? Clowns? Your master is on TV right now with his sinking ship desperation play. It’s a hoot. Go watch and repeat everything he reads off his teleprompter and proclaim it as the truth.

    I was never talking green shoots. I laughed at green shoots. I’ve been trumping the economic recovery we are in, not green shoots. I’ve been bullish on the recovery for almost a year when the dow was way below 11,000.

    I just realized you mentioned the telemprompter so I know you’re aren’t serious. I’ll just move a long.

  107. 107
    Scotsman says:

    Everything you thought you knew is wrong- known universe shrinks while stupidity remains boundless:

    ” If true this could mean that the ripples are significantly smaller, which could imply that dark matter and dark energy are not present after all.”

    On the bright side, global warming remains a certainty- at least until it too is proved false.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100613212708.htm

  108. 108
    Scotsman says:

    Wow. Hell has frozen over. Even Olbermann and Matthews are dumping on Obama for his speech:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/15/video-msnbc-hosts-dump-on-obamas-speech/

  109. 109

    RE: Markor @ 102 – Here’s my belief in a nutshell. Any time you have an item that is in very tight supply compared to the market demand, anything that upsets the balance can send prices skyrocketing. That’s what you had with electricity in CA in 2000. That’s what you had with gasoline in 2007-2008.

    Whenever you have that happen, what you have is people looking for other causes. Greed. Corruption. Futures trading. They look for those things because they don’t understand the simple basics of supply and demand. And they think those things are the answer even where there’s no possible way they could be (e.g. futures trading in gasoline).

    In better stock markets you can see that behavior frequently whenever a stock reaches a new high. When that happens, a lot of people want to jump on and buy. The people that own it don’t want to sell. The price can seem to go up almost exponentially for months and months, without any corruption or illegal activity.

    But, returning to the electricity market, what is a bit unusual in that market is you have the utilities who if not practically forced to buy power no matter the price, certainly have no outages being part of their core value. When you have a situation where a shortage develops, because the utilities remained regulated there was no corresponding price action on the demand side that cut consumption. And because of environmental and other government regulations, increased supply in the form of new plants was years off. So what you ended up with was the utilities bidding against one another to buy the limited supply, and the more severe the shortage, the more astronomical the price. But because the consumers are completely shielded from the price impact, they don’t respond at all by doing simple things like turning off computers and lights, etc. Consumption doesn’t get cut at all, except through outages.

    The other area we’re seeing this type of behavior is in health care, but over a much longer term. Just as the consumers in California didn’t care that electricity was in short supply, people in this country with insurance don’t care about the cost of their health care either. That leads to ever increasing prices (e.g. my prior discussion of the cost of Prilosec OTC compared to the identical prescription stuff).. And with Obamacare, and no real cost controls, the situation is going to get much worse. More people are going to be able to demand health care, without regard to the cost, and the amount of money that we spend on health care will skyrocket.

    It’s really just basic economics. And yes, basic economics does predict the corruption that you point to occurring during these events. But that is a side effect, not a cause. What you’re doing focusing on the corruption is akin to someone thinking stinging during urination is the cause of gonorrhea.

  110. 110

    By David Losh @ 103:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 99 – So are you denying supply manipulation?

    No, as I’ve said many times, it occurred and was even expected, but the blackouts would have occurred anyway. But for the short supply, they wouldn’t have been able to do the manipulation. It wouldn’t have driven up prices.

  111. 111

    By Scotsman @ 108:

    Wow. Hell has frozen over. Even Olbermann and Matthews are dumping on Obama for his speech:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/15/video-msnbc-hosts-dump-on-obamas-speech/

    They weren’t too friendly to him on PBS either. About the only good thing that had to point to was presentation.

    I liked the beginning of the speech. Apparently the government was on top of it from the beginning, everything has been going fine, and soon we’ll be capturing 90% of the oil. With that explanation, I now don’t understand why anyone has been so upset about this matter. :-D

  112. 112

    RE: Markor @ 102 – Markor, go to this page: http://www.caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html

    They had a variation of that back in 2000. I used to watch it daily. If you look at it earlier in the day, it shows the projected demand for that day, and also the expected available supply. They would show it two days out. You could typically predict within an hour or so when the blackouts would occur. The blackouts probably occurred late or not at all at least as often as early or unexpectedly, because often plants came back off maintenance earlier than expected. But overall I remember demand being a bigger wild-card than supply.

    BTW, the one I’m looking at now shows rather tight supplies compared to when I last looked at this a few months ago. Apparently the time of the year.

    Anyway, imagine if you were a mutual fund, and you published this kind of information regarding your funds purchases and sales of Apple stock. You’d probably not do to well as a fund manager, now would you? I still don’t understand why California published that type of information. Maybe because of their auction procedure, where every seller got the highest price for the time period regardless of when they reached the deal, they thought it didn’t matter. I don’t understand why they used that auction procedure either. But because they were giving out that information it isn’t terribly surprising that Enron and other traders were attracted to the market.

  113. 113
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 111

    Well, that is a relief! Good to know everyone on the gulf coast can relax tonight and get some sleep. Plus, they hired a new guy to take a stab at running MMS. He’s an old Clinton buddy with no experience in the oil or gas industries. Not a big deal since things are going “swimmingly” as they say:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/15/AR2010061504970.html

  114. 114
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 108:

    Wow. Hell has frozen over. Even Olbermann and Matthews are dumping on Obama for his speech:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/15/video-msnbc-hosts-dump-on-obamas-speech/

    olbermann has criticized the president many times. more times than fox news combined criticized bush.

  115. 115
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 113:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 111

    Well, that is a relief! Good to know everyone on the gulf coast can relax tonight and get some sleep. Plus, they hired a new guy to take a stab at running MMS. He’s an old Clinton buddy with no experience in the oil or gas industries. Not a big deal since things are going “swimmingly” as they say:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/15/AR2010061504970.html

    you don’t want a former inspector general and justice dept prosecutor to clean up a corrupt dept? the corruption that happened on bush’s watch.

    “In the United States, an Inspector General (IG) is a type of investigator charged with examining the actions of a government agency, military organization, or military contractor as a general auditor of their operations to ensure they are operating in compliance with general established policies of the government, to audit the effectiveness of security procedures, or to discover the possibility of misconduct, waste, fraud, theft, or certain types of criminal activity by individuals or groups related to the agency’s operation, usually involving some misuse of the organization’s funds or credit.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inspector_General#United_States

    why would we need a former inspector general?

    Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/washington/11royalty.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin

    another fine mess obama inherited.

  116. 116

    RE: pfft @ 114 – The criticism of Obama has been pretty extensive on most the networks on Sunday mornings the past two weeks (except maybe CBS which I never watch). On the Fox Sunday morning show, Obama has been getting more support from the conservatives than from the two PBS panelists.

  117. 117

    RE: pfft @ 115 – I’m not sure why you think my comments have anything to do with cleaning up MMS. They didn’t even come close to touching on that issue. [Edit: I now see you were quoting Scotsman, not me, but just included my name tag. Anyway, since I wrote this . . . .]

    But if you want to touch on that, another part of the speech was particularly funny, where Obama said: ” A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be [b]absolutely safe[/b] – that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken. ”

    I’m sorry. He only approved more oil drilling because he was assured it would be perfectly safe? He expects us to believe that he thought oil drilling was “absolutely safe?”

    But despite saying that, he also said this: ” One place we have already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility – a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.
    When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency. But it’s now clear that the problems there ran much deeper, and the pace of reform was just too slow.”

    So let’s see. He said unemployment would go over X percent without the stimulus, because he didn’t properly assess the state of the economy. And now he called for increased drilling because he didn’t properly assess the state of his own administration. I’m having a hard time seeing how this speech makes things seem better.

  118. 118
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 114

    “olbermann has criticized the president many times. more times than fox news combined criticized bush”

    What B.S. Show me a source.

  119. 119
    The Tim says:

    By Scotsman @ 118:

    What B.S. Show me a source.

    No no no, the correct notation is like this.

    By pfft @ 114:

    olbermann has criticized the president many times. more times than fox news combined criticized bush.[citation needed]

    Code:

    <sup>[<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia%3ACitation_needed”>citation needed</a>]</sup>

    ;^)

  120. 120
    Scotsman says:

    RE: The Tim @ 119

    inter-tubes etiquette- i have a lot to learn. thanks for your help!

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