Daily Digest

Daily Digest - July 3

Saturday, July 3, 2010, 9:59 AM
  • Governor Puts 200,000 State Workers On Minimum Wage
  • Global Economic Policy: Austerity Alarm
  • Free Ride For Oil May Be Over
  • White House Releases Staff Salary Data
  • Latest Electric Car Will Be a BMW, From the Battery Up
  • Oil Companies' Dash For Gas: Vapour Trails
  • Obama Gives $2 Billion to Solar Plants
  • Baltic Dry Approaching Sea Level, Just Above 1 Year Lows

Economy

Governor Puts 200,000 State Workers On Minimum Wage (Davos)

According to a letter delivered to Controller John Chiang in late afternoon, July pay for most hourly state employees will be withheld to the minimum allowed by federal law – $7.25 an hour – and then restored once there's a budget.

Chiang, whose office cuts state paychecks, said Thursday that he won't follow the order unless a court tells him to.

Global Economic Policy: Austerity Alarm (jdargis)

At their most recent gathering, in Toronto on June 26th-27th, the club’s rich-world members pledged “at least” to halve their deficits by 2013. Though they left themselves wiggle room, the change of tone was clear. Thanks to Greece’s sovereign-debt crisis, which has terrified politicians, stimulus is out and deficit reduction is in.

Energy

Free Ride For Oil May Be Over (pinecarr)

With countries committed to cutting their deficits, it is hard to ignore giving billions of real money away to the fossil fuel industry or to keep fuel prices low.

White House Releases Staff Salary Data (Davos)

Emanuel, press secretary Roberts Gibbs, senior adviser David Axelrod and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett make the top salary amount of $172,200 per year. Three staffers have their salaries listed as $0. In total, the White House pays its staff $38,796,307.

Latest Electric Car Will Be a BMW, From the Battery Up (joemanc)

BMW engineers, or at least the ones working on the electric car project, seem to believe that shifting to battery power is a matter of long-term company survival. The company says it expects sales of gasoline and diesel-powered cars to begin declining in 2020. “The departure from fossil fuels is an irreversible trend,” said Kai Petrick, a BMW marketing and product strategist.

Oil Companies' Dash For Gas: Vapour Trails (jdargis)

Global oil production will peak within a few decades, if not before. And the remaining “easy oil”—which can be extracted without fuss or expense—is increasingly out of bounds for Western firms. Almost 90% of it is in the hands of national oil companies which have, with few exceptions, blocked Western giants from their riches. This is forcing Big Oil into trickier and pricier areas, notably deepwater fields, such as those in the Gulf of Mexico and off Africa’s west coast, and unconventional reserves, such as Canada’s tar sands. Hence the appeal of gas, and a string of deals in Australia and America.

Obama Gives $2 Billion to Solar Plants (jdargis)

The two companies that will receive the money from the president's $862 billion economic stimulus are Abengoa Solar, which will build one of the world's largest solar plants in Arizona, creating 1,600 construction jobs; and Abound Solar Manufacturing, which is building plants in Colorado and Indiana. The Obama administration says those projects will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.

Environment

Baltic Dry Approaching Sea Level, Just Above 1 Year Lows (pinecarr)

The decoupling theorists are about to experience a second smackdown in 3 years.

Please send article submissions to: [email protected]

17 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

"PARIS -- Templeton Asset Management's Mark Mobius said he sees an 80 percent change of a fresh financial crisis. Two big risks are that central banks could take liquidity away and that the regulatory system won't be able to cope with the US$600 trillion of outstanding derivatives. “The regulatory system can't handle this volume of derivatives,” Mobius told reporters in Paris Friday."

"HARRISBURG -- Under legislation slated for a Senate vote today, cameras at red light intersections in the city of Pittsburgh would document violations and a portion of fines paid by motorists would help the city's ailing pension funds.

The bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday. Sen. Jay Costa of Forest Hills, the committee's ranking Democrat, said the full Senate will vote on the measure, H.B. 1800, with the amendment approved yesterday."

"A pilot program in Philadelphia collected $7.6 million the first year and $8.7 million the second year through fines, Costa said.

Under the bill, the revenue breakdown for fines paid would be: half of the money to PennDOT, 25 percent to the state police and 25 percent to the municipality.

In Pittsburgh, 75 percent of its 25 percent portion would go to the pension funds, Costa said, and the remainder would be used for highways.

The pension funds have about a third of the $1 billion needed to cover obligations. The funds must accumulate 50 percent by the end of the year to avoid state takeover."

"CHICAGO — Even by the standards of this deficit-ridden state, Illinois’s comptroller, Daniel W. Hynes, faces an ugly balance sheet. Precisely how ugly becomes clear when he beckons you into his office to examine his daily briefing memo.

He picks the papers off his desk and points to a figure in red: $5.01 billion.

“This is what the state owes right now to schools, rehabilitation centers, child care, the state university — and it’s getting worse every single day,” he says in his downtown office.

Mr. Hynes shakes his head. “This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,” he says. “That is obscene.”

For the last few years, California stood more or less unchallenged as a symbol of the fiscal collapse of states during the recession. Now Illinois has shouldered to the fore, as its dysfunctional political class refuses to pay the state’s bills and refuses to take the painful steps — cuts and tax increases — to close a deficit of at least $12 billion, equal to nearly half the state’s budget.

Then there is the spectacularly mismanaged pension system, which is at least 50 percent underfunded and, analysts warn, could push Illinois into insolvency if the economy fails to pick up.

States cannot go bankrupt, technically, but signs of fiscal crackup are easy to see."

.........................3A) Agencies around Illinois try to figure out how they'll deal with budget cuts

"For at least 30 cash-strapped states counting on federal stimulus money, the news was a stunning blow: A deficit-weary Congress had rejected billions in additional aid, forcing lawmakers into a mad scramble to balance their budgets.

Now, with a new fiscal year just days away in most states, many governors are proposing to make up for the shortfall with tax increases, cuts in essential services and potential layoffs of thousands of public employees.

"I support restraining federal spending, but cutting the only funding designed to help states maintain the very safety-net programs Congress mandates us to preserve will have devastating consequences," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a letter to his state's congressional delegation.

California faces a whopping $19 billion deficit _ more than 20 percent of the state's total budget _ despite deep cuts that have already been made to many programs. Its new fiscal year begins July 1, and a budget deal there is nowhere in sight.

The federal stimulus program enacted last year is set to expire in December. Much of the money goes to states to provide unemployment insurance and to help offset cuts to education, health care and public safety brought on by the recession.

Congress was poised to extend some funding to states through June 2011, including $35.5 billion for unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and $16 billion for Medicaid, the public health care program for the poor. But the measure died in the Senate earlier this month, blowing a hole in the states' budgets and bouncing thousands of unemployed workers off the rolls."

 

  • Other news and headlines:

 U.S. Consumer Bankruptcies Rise 14% in First Half

Shallow Gulf Drilling Grinds Toward Halt as Permits Trickle Out

Merkel Says $945 Billion EU Rescue Deal Only Bought Some Time for the Euro

Venezuela faces mounting bill from nationalizations

Bond swaps cost city units $93 million in penalties (Indianapolis)

Ukraine close to winning $14.9 billion IMF bailout

IMF to Disburse $1.15 Billion to Romania After VAT Increase

Pensacola Beach advisory: Stay out of the water

Detroit looks east: GM sells more cars in China than in the US

Oil spill claims arriving faster than BP can pay them

Florida Keys, Miami at high risk for oil pollution: US agency

Alabama's Oiled Beach Towns Brace for Big Tourist Season Losses (PBS)

Kentucky Medicaid cuts its budget

Expanded Gambling In Colorado Not Meeting Expectations

Florida taxpayers foot bill to shore up state pension

Tale of Two Cities Struggling to Survive

Delinquencies Inch Up in May, Foreclosure Inventories Remain Flat: LPS

 

.................Enjoy the long weekend!  Maybe that extra day will give us time to catch up on a few things: like changing the light bulb, fixing the drapes and cleaning off the desk. 

idoctor's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

Rick Santelli......one of the few I like on CNBS

http://www.kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/Broadcast/Entries/2010/7/3_Rick_Santelli.html

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3
idoctor wrote:

Rick Santelli......one of the few I like on CNBS

http://www.kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/Broadcast/Entries/2010/7/3_Rick_Santelli.html

Ditto

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

unanswered questions re: Obama Gives $2 Billion to Solar Plants

how much would the electricity generated cost if that $2B were amortized?
 
and how much coal generated electricity will it take to build the panels, and how much diesel fuel to mine the materials and to build the arrays?

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3
rjs wrote:

unanswered questions re: Obama Gives $2 Billion to Solar Plants

how much would the electricity generated cost if that $2B were amortized?
 
and how much coal generated electricity will it take to build the panels, and how much diesel fuel to mine the materials and to build the arrays?

Good questions, hope someone knowledgeable has answers. I'd also ask:

  1.  What is the true cost of carbon based energy, I've never seen a solar spill
  2. After a 20 year panel dies can they mine the silver and other elements from it

I think we need to transition to something more renewable, but like you point out, green isn't 100% green.

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

Davos quote: I think we need to transition to something more renewable, but like you point out, green isn't 100% green.

I for one am all for global warming. Increase carbon emissions, I say, and the biosphere might just recover from the last century of pollution and destruction

Fact: Carbon dioxide, at today's levels, is a limiting factor to photosynthesis. More of the stuff means more plant growth and a much greener little planet & from what I undersatand green is GOOOOOOOD LOL.

Just kidding...

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

Cool

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

Where does Nepalitano get that the G20 protesters were there to try to get MORE gov't support?  I saw more signs saying, "end monetary slavery" than "give me more gov't money!"  WTF!

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

Giving Gov. money to something that the private sector would do if it were feasible and profitable seems like biz as usual. Somewhere in all of this green is good there is a foul smell .............CFR

V

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

On solar panels:

Severin Borenstein, director of the U.C. Energy Institute and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley's business school, called existing technology "a loser" in a research paper. "We are throwing money away by installing the current solar PV technology," he said.

Borenstein calls for more state and federal money to be spent on research into better technology, rather than on subsidies for residential solar power systems. In his analysis, Borenstein found that a typical PV system costs between $86,000 and $91,000 to install, while the value of its power over its lifetime ranges from $19,000 to $51,000. Even assuming a 5 percent annual increase in electric costs and a 1 percent interest rate, the cost of a PV system is 80 percent greater than the value of the electricity it will produce. In his paper, Borenstein also factored in the value of greenhouse gas reductions into his calculations, and found that at current prices the PV technology still doesn't deliver.

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3
printfaster wrote:

On solar panels:

Severin Borenstein, director of the U.C. Energy Institute and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley's business school, called existing technology "a loser" in a research paper. "We are throwing money away by installing the current solar PV technology," he said.

Borenstein calls for more state and federal money to be spent on research into better technology, rather than on subsidies for residential solar power systems. In his analysis, Borenstein found that a typical PV system costs between $86,000 and $91,000 to install, while the value of its power over its lifetime ranges from $19,000 to $51,000. Even assuming a 5 percent annual increase in electric costs and a 1 percent interest rate, the cost of a PV system is 80 percent greater than the value of the electricity it will produce. In his paper, Borenstein also factored in the value of greenhouse gas reductions into his calculations, and found that at current prices the PV technology still doesn't deliver.

 

Thanks, I'll add that to my reads, there is a hidden cost to coal, I'm wondering if he touched on it.

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3

On Pittsburgh could get red light cameras

The process of governments turning to fines and fees instead of taxes is becoming a disgrace, and in my view is a criminal activity.

My view is that the government should never be allowed to profit in any manner from fees or fines.  Neither should ever be used to offset taxes.  And the idea that private companies can profit from fines (red light camera contractors) is equally criminal.

Fines should be to promote safety, and any profits therefrom should be used only to retire the federal debt.  No one should profit.  Red light cameras are a pure scam.  If you want to reduce accidents at critical interesections, put in more visible semaphores and time the yellow longer, or increase the gap between red to green.  Guess what?  People do make mistakes, and not every minor violation in our lives deserves to be fined.  Red light cameras are not a solution to traffic accidents, they are an income generation tool.

There are more an more such fine scams being pressed, like fining for parking during street sweeping on various dates, speed cameras, saturation speeding patrols where thousands are ticketed for speeding in a single weekend.

Remember when we moaned about the small southern towns that would post a 25mph speed limit sign without warning after a 65 mph zone, and put a radar cop behind it?

Soon all taxes will be punitive fines so the public will be completely cowed and enslaved.  Fines for CO2 use.  Gasoline use. Fat food.   Fast food.  Ice cream.  Pancakes.  Donuts.  Bad books.  Bad movies.  Bad cars.  Bad clothes.  Eating meat..  Having pets.

 

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3
printfaster wrote:

On Pittsburgh could get red light cameras

The process of governments turning to fines and fees instead of taxes is becoming a disgrace, and in my view is a criminal activity.

My view is that the government should never be allowed to profit in any manner from fees or fines.  Neither should ever be used to offset taxes.  And the idea that private companies can profit from fines (red light camera contractors) is equally criminal.

Fines should be to promote safety, and any profits therefrom should be used only to retire the federal debt.  No one should profit.  Red light cameras are a pure scam.  If you want to reduce accidents at critical interesections, put in more visible semaphores and time the yellow longer, or increase the gap between red to green.  Guess what?  People do make mistakes, and not every minor violation in our lives deserves to be fined.  Red light cameras are not a solution to traffic accidents, they are an income generation tool.

There are more an more such fine scams being pressed, like fining for parking during street sweeping on various dates, speed cameras, saturation speeding patrols where thousands are ticketed for speeding in a single weekend.

Remember when we moaned about the small southern towns that would post a 25mph speed limit sign without warning after a 65 mph zone, and put a radar cop behind it?

Soon all taxes will be punitive fines so the public will be completely cowed and enslaved.  Fines for CO2 use.  Gasoline use. Fat food.   Fast food.  Ice cream.  Pancakes.  Donuts.  Bad books.  Bad movies.  Bad cars.  Bad clothes.  Eating meat..  Having pets.

 

Agree. This is a mess. There was a contractor who reduced the yellow light time to increase their commission, people died as a result.

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3
printfaster wrote:

On Pittsburgh could get red light cameras

The process of governments turning to fines and fees instead of taxes is becoming a disgrace, and in my view is a criminal activity.

My view is that the government should never be allowed to profit in any manner from fees or fines.  Neither should ever be used to offset taxes.  And the idea that private companies can profit from fines (red light camera contractors) is equally criminal.

Fines should be to promote safety, and any profits therefrom should be used only to retire the federal debt.  No one should profit.  Red light cameras are a pure scam.  If you want to reduce accidents at critical interesections, put in more visible semaphores and time the yellow longer, or increase the gap between red to green.  Guess what?  People do make mistakes, and not every minor violation in our lives deserves to be fined.  Red light cameras are not a solution to traffic accidents, they are an income generation tool.

There are more an more such fine scams being pressed, like fining for parking during street sweeping on various dates, speed cameras, saturation speeding patrols where thousands are ticketed for speeding in a single weekend.

Remember when we moaned about the small southern towns that would post a 25mph speed limit sign without warning after a 65 mph zone, and put a radar cop behind it?

Soon all taxes will be punitive fines so the public will be completely cowed and enslaved.  Fines for CO2 use.  Gasoline use. Fat food.   Fast food.  Ice cream.  Pancakes.  Donuts.  Bad books.  Bad movies.  Bad cars.  Bad clothes.  Eating meat..  Having pets.

 

I recall seeing an article a few months ago, where Goldman Sachs had bought in heavily on one of the red light camera companies. What a joke......

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/3759

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3
Davos wrote:

Agree. This is a mess. There was a contractor who reduced the yellow light time to increase their commission, people died as a result.

Not just contractors but governments are shortening yellows to raise revenue.  Guess all the promises that red lights are really just to save lives is a bunch of hooey!

http://www.leftlanenews.com/six-us-cities-tamper-with-traffic-cameras-for-profit.html

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Re: Daily Digest - July 3
V wrote:

Giving Gov. money to something that the private sector would do if it were feasible and profitable seems like biz as usual. Somewhere in all of this green is good there is a foul smell .............CFR

Agreed, it's just like Ethanol.  Government picks a winner for political reasons.  When it turns out not to be feasible, we all pay.  At least right now with all the incentives you can claim some of your money back.  Of course if you are one of the far left who believe in redistribution of wealth, you won't want to take advantage of the solar incentives, after all, it means the majority (taxpayers) are funding the minority (those who can afford to buy solar installations).  Or you could come join the dark side and be green. LaughingKind of a delima for some I suspect. Tongue out

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