Category Archives: Business

An Upcoming Regulatory Disaster

This is insane. Here’s why:

Since EPA plans to find endangerment on both health and welfare grounds, the Agency could be compelled to establish “primary” (health-based) NAAQS for GHGs. Logically, the standard would be set below current atmospheric levels. Even very stringent emission limitations applied worldwide over a century would likely be insufficient to lower GHG concentrations. Yet the CAA requires EPA to ensure attainment of primary NAAQS within five or at most 10 years—and it forbids EPA to take costs into account. Regulate CO2 under the NAAQS program and there is, in principle, no economic hardship that could not be imposed on the American people.

It’s the new hair shirt in the new environmental religion. And all from unelected bureaucrats.

[Tuesday morning update]

Here’s a place to go to express your concerns.


None Dare Call It…

what it is:

Jonah Goldberg evaluates the Treasury Department’s efforts to control the banks without actually nationalizing them: “It’s not socialism. It’s corporatism.”

It is interesting that Harwood depicts the choice to discuss the use of the word fascist as a strategic choice to pump up the volume, which it may be for some. For other commentators, such as perhaps Larry Kudlow, they might be straining not to deem as “fascist” proposals that they would call fascist if that term were not so politically charged.

Me, I just call ’em like I see ’em. And I’m going to continue to attempt to recapture the language from the left. They’re not liberals. I’m a liberal. They’re fascists, even if they insist on remaining ignorant of their own intellectual history.

Falcon One Problems?

Via email from Jim Oberg comes this story from Malaysia:

The launch of the RazakSAT, Malaysia’s second remote sensing satellite has been postponed until further notice due to “technical problems”.

Due for lift-off on April 21, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry secretary-general Datuk Abdul Hanan Alang Endut said the delay was because of problems with the launching vehicle.

The vehicle, Falcon 1, belonging to a company Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX), is to lift off the satellite from the launching pad at Omelek Island, Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Island.

Abdul Hanan said SpaceX will be doing the repairs which will take at least six weeks.

There’s nothing visible on the SpaceX’s front page about a delay. They list the launch date for the Malaysian ATSB as “2009.” I assume that’s the same bird.

How Do The Numbers Work?

Sorry, but I just can’t buy this:

PG&E is pledging to buy the power at an agreed-upon rate, comparable to the rate specified in other agreements for renewable-energy purchases, company spokesman Jonathan Marshall said. Neither PG&E nor Solaren would say what that rate was, due to the proprietary nature of the agreement. However, Marshall emphasized that PG&E would make no up-front investment in Solaren’s venture.

“We’ve been very careful not to bear risk in this,” Marshall told

Smart move.

Solaren’s chief executive officer, Gary Spirnak, said the project would be the first real-world application of space solar power, a technology that has been talked about for decades but never turned into reality.

“While a system of this scale and exact configuration has not been built, the underlying technology is very mature and is based on communications satellite technology,” he said in a Q&A posted by PG&E. A study drawn up for the Pentagon came to a similar conclusion in 2007. However, that study also said the cost of satellite-beamed power would likely be significantly higher than market rates, at least at first.

In contrast, Spirnak said Solaren’s system would be “competitive both in terms of performance and cost with other sources of baseload power generation.”

I just can’t see how. Unless there are going to be many satellites, the system has to be in GEO to provide baseload power to any given region on earth. They talk about putting up a 200 MW system with “four or five” “heavy lift” launches (where this is apparently defined as 25 tons).

Suppose the conversion efficiency of the cells is a generous 30%, the DC-MW conversion is 90%, the transmission efficiency is 90% and the MW-AC conversion efficiency is 90% (generous numbers all, I think). That gives an overall efficiency of 22% from sunlight to the grid. The solar constant in space is 1.4kW/m2, so that means you need 650,000 square meters of panels to deliver 200 MW to the grid. Suppose you can build the cells (including necessary structure to maintain stiffness) for half a kilo per square meter. That means that just for the solar panels alone, you have a payload of 325 metric tons. Generously assuming that their payload of 25 tons is to GEO (if it’s to LEO, it’s probably less than ten tons in GEO), that would require over a dozen launches for the solar panels alone.

That doesn’t include the mass of the conversion electronics, basic satellite housekeeping systems (attitude control, etc.) and the transmitting antenna, which has to be huge to get that much power that distance at a safe power density.

So even ignoring the other issues (e.g. regulatory, safety studies, etc.) that Clark mentions, I think this is completely bogus until I see their numbers. And probably even then.

Apples And Oranges

One of my chronically unintelligent commenters posted his fantasies that government health care is much more “efficient” than private health service provision. Here’s an explanation of why that’s nonsensical.

…the comparison between public and private plans is a false comparison. Private insurance and public benefits are not the same business. For all its warts, private insurance tries to manage care. Medicare is mostly about paying the bills presented to it.

Many who favor a public plan as part of comprehensive health-care reform dismiss the administrative “overhead” of private plans as having little or no value. Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D., Calif.), for example, insists that “most private plans are poorly managed.” Contrasting them with the supposedly sleek and efficient Medicare program, he labels commercial insurance “the General Motors of medical care.”

In fact, the administrative expenses of private insurance plans represent money well spent for their members. Here are four reasons…

Whenever you find yourself agreeing the Pete Stark on anything, it’s a pretty good sign that you should rethink your position.

Party Like It’s 1773

Here’s a site that is tracking all of the spending protests tomorrow. And I have to agree with the hilarious irony and stupidity of leftists complaining that these are astroturfed top-down fraud, including at least one in my own comments section. Apparently dissent is only the highest form of patriotism when it’s against George Bush and funded by George Soros.

[Mid-morning update]

Tea Party movement picking up steam. With the usual amusing whine about astroturfing in comments. You’d almost think that these people went to a seminar.

[Update a few minutes later]

The Examiner explains why leftists are upset and (as usual, with accusations of “racism,” “hate,” “lies,” etc.) engaging in projection about top-down protests:

Part of the reason for the mean-spiritedness in some of the attacks from the pro-Obama groups is likely the failure of efforts to turn out large crowds in support of the chief executive’s $787 billion economic stimulus package and $3.6 trillion 2010 federal budget, with its $1 trillion deficit and comparable floods of red ink for a decade thereafter. The recent “New Way Forward” gathering here in D.C., for example, was heralded by organizers as the first of a wave of counter-Tea Party Protests, but barely a dozen people turned out. Similarly, much-publicized efforts to use the 13-million email addresses compiled by the Obama campaign to generate pressure on Congress barely caused a ripple, much less a wave of support for the Obama budget.

It’s easy to understand why they’d be both frightened, and angry. And apparently part of that mind set consists of having one’s sense of irony excised at birth.

[Late morning update]

Speaking of which, Iowahawk has dug up an old script from that old favorite, the Mary Hamsher Moore Show:

MARY: I … I’m sorry Mr. Soros.

LOU: Whatever. Say Mary… you’re all over that internet thing. What do you know about these Tea Party protests?

MARY: I don’t know. I guess it’s just a bunch of retarded wingnuts whining or something. I don’t think they’re anything worth worrying about.

LOU: Nothing worth worrying about? There are 300 of those stupid protests scheduled for Tuesday! If they end up screwing up the next stimulus bill, I’m never going to short the currency markets. I need you to get to the bottom of this.

MARY: Bottom of it?

LOU: Come on Mary, don’t be naive. We both know the money and professional staff and layers of front organizations it takes to build an authentic grassroots movement. Geez, just look at the good cash I’ve wasted on this dump. There’s just gotta be some sort of conspiracy going on behind that Tea Party crap… like…

MARY: … like Fox News?

LOU: Now you’re thinking! I need you to get out there and spread that meme, and start up some counter protests…

…Mary is leading a massive national anti-anti-tax rally of six protesters

MARY (into bullhorn): One two three four, America needs a New Way For. Ward.

PROTESTERS: One two three four, America needs a New Way For. Ward.

MARY(into bullhorn): Nine ten six five, Tea Baggers are just a bunch of phony populist Faux News wingnuts who are pissed off because they’re not the ones stealing.

PROTESTERS: Nine, seven… thirteen….

MARY (clapping): Come on everybody, that’s the spirit! Take one of these preprinted picket signs and official chant sheet. I printed off 20,000 so there should be enough for everyone. Hey, where are you going?

KID PROTESTER: This protest blows. You said there would be free XBox 360s, not these lame Gameboys. Come on mom, I want to go home.

MOTHER PROTESTER: I’m sorry Mary, I know I said we’d stay until the cameras showed up, but it’s cold and you know how fidgety kids get.

KID PROTESTER 2: Mommy, the funny-tooth loud lady is scary.

RHODA MADOW (holding bullhorn battery): Do something Mary! You’re losing them!

MARY: Wait! Wait! Please, don’t leave! This is real grassroots activism in action! Come on, we can’t let the Tea Baggers out-organize us!

PROTESTER 1: Tea Baggers? Lady, we’re getting drowned out by the friggin’ UFO protesters.

Just demonstrating the will of the people. And don’t miss the commercial.