Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ethanol More Efficient Than Previously Thought

via OWH, a new UNL study of the energy efficiency of ethanol shows a substantial increase in the net benefit of the alternative fuel. Previous studies based on older technologies showed less substantial benefits. The research showed that 13 gallons of ethanol were produced for every gallon of fossil fuels used in production.

"The Nebraska Corn Board reports that Ken Cassman, director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, said earlier studies that examined ethanol's energy balance sheet were based on "backward-looking data."

These studies looked at older technologies with regard to energy use in corn production, the biorefinery and co-product use," Cassman said. He said recent research conducted at the University of Nebraska shows that estimates for the energy balance of corn-based ethanol are much more favorable — in fact, two to three times more favorable — than previous estimates.

Cassman, a Heuermann professor of agronomy at the university, said ethanol has a substantial net positive direct energy balance — 1.5 to 1.6 more units of energy are derived from ethanol than are used to produce it. "Using dated information simply doesn't work in a world where the technology and efficiency of corn and ethanol production are rapidly improving over the years," he said."

In just the last five years, ethanol plants increased production 15% from each bushel of corn, while using about 20% less energy in the process. In addition, many earlier studies ignored the positive effects of by-products such as distillers grain used as an alternative livestock feed. More recent research also shows that the use of ethanol reduces the emmission of greenhouse gasses more than previous estimates.

While this won't end complaints about the subsidies that ethanol enjoys, (I am all for opening the market to sugar based producers) it may go a ways towards refuting those that claim the fuel is a net energy loser. The last two studies I saw were from Michigan State and U of Minnnesota, both of which showed about a 1.3 unit of energy benefit, so we've made quite a bit of progress since that time. Like any maturing technology, ethanol will liekly make further gains in energy efficiency and productivity.

Boston Legal Quotes

Shirley: Denise, I understand you're going through some difficulties in your personal life.
Denise: It's hard, but I'll get through it.
Shirley: From what I know about you, when things get tough you prefer to bury yourself in your work. Allow me to provide you with a shovel.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: Shirley, as lovely as the new case you sent me is and she is delightful. I just had Jerry Espenson last week, I need a break from this sort of thing.
Shirley: I'll get the new girl to help, she knows employment law.
Alan: You can't just assign me cases and girls. Girls, maybe.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan Shore: Mr Lumis, how do you feel about fat people? Because according to the Surgeon General three hundred thousand Americans die every year from obesity-related illnesses.
Kurt Lumis: Other businesses are firing people for that. I haven't done it yet.
Alan Shore: So you're thinking about it?
Kurt Lumis: I'm always thinking.
Alan Shore: Anyone can see that. How about alcohol consumption? People who have more than fifteen drinks a week are at risk of becoming alcoholics and alcoholism can cause cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, increased incidents of cancer. Wouldn't it be a good idea to monitor your employee's alcohol intake?
Kurt Lumis: Maybe I should.
Alan Shore: What about coffee? Caffeine temporarily raises your blood pressure. Trans-fatty acids! And stress! Both of these things could cause heart attacks. That would certainly raise your premiums sky high. It's been proven arguing thirty minutes a day lowers your immune system. As does loneliness, there go your married employees and your single ones! You're going to have to watch these people all the time, Mr Lumis. I hope you're multitasked.
Kurt Lumis: Mr Shore, I think you're exaggerating.
Alan Shore: No. I'm just welcoming us all to 1984-the bus arrived a little late, and our tour guide George Orwell is good and dead. But nonetheless, we made it. And big brother Lumis is watching us.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No Oil Myth

Great column at The American Thinker by Janet Levy regarding the supply of oil resources in the US. First, energy supply estimates use false methodologies and are consistently understated - predictions of the oil supply running out were been made seven times before the year 1950 alone, even while the US was the world's leading oil producer until 1973, and is still the third largest (if I recall correctly) today.

The primary issue with the numbers are that they do not count actual oil resources, but oil reserves, which is the oil that can be economically and physically recoverable, which changes as new technology is introduced. Resources also include huge amounts of oil from unconventional resources such as oil shale, tar sands, and coal liquification. Reserve calculation also use current prices and production rates, which are also subject to change. In addition, as prices rise, the economic feasibility of more difficult to reach supplies becomes more attractive, and it becomes increasingly feasible to exploit unconventional resources.

Levy discusses some of the changes new technology brings:

"...well depths now approach 30,000 feet on land and, in offshore drilling, water depths to 9,000 feet. The yield from a single well has increased greatly through the use of horizontal drilling techniques. Instead of a single well accessed through one vertical shaft, multiple horizontal shafts are now bored from a vertical shaft, resulting in substantially greater yields. Other new technologies that have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of oil discovery and exploration include:

Hydraulic fracturing - Injection of fluids into a well under high pressure to release oil from rock formations.
Tertiary recovery techniques - Injection of C02 or natural gas into the well to improve oil viscosity and draw more oil into the well bore.
Reservoir simulation technology (RST) - Computer modeling of reservoir properties through mapping and behavior simulation to aid in resource prediction.
4-D seismic imagery - Use of time intervals and dynamic evolution of reservoirs, to lessen guesswork and allow geologists to view reserves below the surface. It also reduces drilling risks and improves recovery by identifying drainage patterns and bypassed petroleum sources.

In addition, technological advances have led to re-tapping of previously capped wells and opening of closed formations to production. It has also dramatically reduced the oil-production footprint. In the 1970s, wells were spaced at least 100 feet apart. Today, with drilling and equipment advances, wells can now be placed 50, 25 and even 10 feet apart. An oil field covering 65 acres thirty years ago would use less than 10 acres today."

Levy also discusses unconventional resources in some depth, the first being Oil shale, of which there is an estimate 1.5 trillion barrels to be found in the American West, a oil supply far greater than the known reserves of even leading oil producer Saudi Arabia. Such oil resources can be profitably extracted at prices over just $30 a barrel. Tar sand supplies in Canada, which exceed 174 billion barrels, already supply about half of that nation's million plus barrel exports to the US, and their total oil producton from such supplies is expected to reach over 3 million barrels a day in the next decade. Canada is the US's leading oil supplier.

And then there is coal liquification, or the conversion of coal into liquid fuels. This technology was pioneered by Nazi Germany during World War 2 and is used today in South Africa to supply 40% of that nation's petroleum needs. This technology is proven economically effective at world oil prices of just $30 a barrel, and the US possesses 27% of the world coal supply - in effect, the US is the Saudi Arabia of coal. The US Airforce is planning to use the tehcnology to supply all its domestic fuel needs by 2016.

Levy then returns to conventional sources of supply to be found within the US, which using 30 year old estimates is thought to be around86 billion barrels in offshore depsoits and 32 billion onshore. However, this estimate does not include new technologies, unconventional resources, or relatively new estimates of recent discoveries like the Bakken formation found under the northern Great Plains states and the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. The US Geological Survey increased its estimates of the Bakken formation in 2008 to between 3-4 billion barrels, and oil industry estimates of ANWR believe that area could hold anywhere from 9 to 16 billion barrels.

Unfortunately, at least until Sept. 30th when it is set to expire, we can't even go take a look at 85% of the offshore deposits due to the Congressional moratorium, not to mention develop our oil shale deposits. We shoulod at least examine what we have, shouldn't we?

Boston Legal Quotes

Shirley: White roses, gold leaf cake, Bev's boobs swimming out of her wedding dress.
Brad: Who said money can't buy tastelessness?
Alan: I think Bev and Denny did a lovely job.
Paul: 11 marriages between the two of them. They've had plenty of practice.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Judge Sanders: Ten A.M. tomorrow. And I would ask Counsel to check his sense of humor at the door. My courtroom is a temple of decorum. And I do not tolerate jibber-jabber.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Paul: You had sex with another woman and your wife in the three hours you were married?
Denny: It was my special day. I had taken my little blue pill.
Shirley: There is no cure for cancer, but we've got three pills for that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Dwarf Planet

Livescience reports that the object formerly called 2003 EL61, a Kuiper Belt object discovered by Caltech's Mike Brown, has been declared a new dwarf planet by the IAU and is named Haumea after the Hawaiian goddess of fertility. The newly named plutiod is the fifth designated dwarf planet in our solar system, along with fellow distant travelers Pluto, Eris, recently named Makemake and the inner system dwarf planet Ceres.

"Haumea joins Ceres, Pluto, Eris and Makemake as the fifth dwarf planet in our solar system. Pluto was re-classified from planet to dwarf planet in 2006, following the discovery of Eris. The new dwarf planet has the same diameter as Pluto, but is much thinner, and contains about 32 percent of Pluto's mass. Scientists suggest Haumea's long, narrow shape arose from its rapid spin — it rotates about once every four hours."

The planet orbits erratically around the sun, varying from 35 to 50 astronomicla units, and also boasts two small moons, christened Hi'iaka and Namaka, after the two children born to the goddess Haumea.

Boston Legal Quotes

Garrett: This is my office.
Catherine: Oh, I needed a base of operations for my sandwich cart business.
Garrett: But... I...
Catherine: You're a first year, right? [Garrett nods yes] Well, it goes like this: named partner, senior partner, junior partner, senior associates, sandwich lady, xerox guy, janitor, first years.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: While everyone was whining about Bev, you were actually trying to take her out. I admire that. You have very large testicles, my friend.
Brad: Well. Thank you Denny, I'm flattered you have that opinion of me.
Denny: It's not my opinion. I saw you in the shower at the gym. Good God!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Bev: Denny? I love you. But, I love Hawaii more.
Denny: Well, you'll be the one that got away from Denny Crane. That makes you a large fish in a very small pond.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meet NE Strength Coach James Dobson

I love the way this guy approaches his job and his attitude, article at Huskers.com (HT: Huskerpedia).

"The edge Dobson envisions has an icon, and it stares at him every day when he walks into his office and plots his next move. “It’s the Blackshirts’ skull-and-bones,” Dobson said. “It looks hard-nosed. It looks dominant. It looks tough. It looks unforgiving. When you see it, you think dominant, and you think physical. That’s what we have to think and what we have to strive for every day, all year long.”

Head coach Bo Pelini set a goal for Nebraska to become the most physical team possible, and that’s been Dobson’s almost singular focus since he set up shop inside Nebraska’s massive weight room. “If you’re not going to be the most physically dominant team in your conference or in the country, then why are you trying to go out and play? That’s the way I look at it,” Dobson said. “There’s nothing better than taking the will out of somebody. That’s what this game is all about. It’s about lining up across from a guy and beating him until he doesn’t want to do it anymore. When you’re sitting on that sideline and the other team quits, that’s the best feeling in the world.” "

A lot of the players have given credit to Dobson for improving their stength and increasing their quickness, and the results appear to be bearing this out. A number of them bill their new streamlined looks as "Body by Dobson". Dobson arrived from Iowa where he was an assistant to Chris Doyle on the recommendation of Barney Cotton, whose son Ben (now with NU) was being recruited by the Hawkeyes. Dobson grew up in a small Wisconsin community west of Madison where he attended the U of W. He achieved his masters and Central Michigan.

"While he has no direct ties to Nebraska, Dobson feels like he fits in. “A lot of people in Nebraska can relate to the way I grew up in Wisconsin,” he said. “In most places, it’s either ‘he’s a good guy” or ‘he’s a bad guy.’ Or ‘he has a lot of money’ or ‘he doesn’t have a lot of money.’ When you’re from a small town like I came from, there was only one comparison. It’s either ‘he’s a hard worker’ or ‘he’s not a hard worker.’ That’s how you’re evaluated growing up. Either you work hard or you don’t. They couldn’t care less if you’re a nice guy or have money. But if you worked hard, you have someplace to go.”......Dobson said the coaching staff and the players share another bond. “We have a no-nonsense head coach, and no one wants to let him down,” he said. “I respect him and think he’s one of the best coaches in college football. He gave me a chance here, and I feel a huge sense of loyalty to help him get done what he wants to get done.”

The passionate, sometimes animated Dobson checks the Blackshirt poster again on his wall. Instead of pulling his arms into his chest and then crossing them to emulate the skull-and-bones, he chooses to drive home his point with mere words. “We have to think dominant, and we have to think physical,” he said. “That’s where we all want to be, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there.”

Love it.

Foreign Policy Views

Yesterday's WSJ had Fouad Ajami articulate the differences in the foreign policy world views of the two presidential candidates. He quotes political scientist Samuel Huntington, who defines three impulses in America's relationship with the world - national, imperial and cosmopolitan.

"In the first, America remains America. In the second, America remakes the world. In the third, the world remakes America."

America traditionally oscillated between the first two impulses, but these have now fallen prey to the latter viewpoint - at least in the elite universities and urban metropolises of America's coastal areas. The current Democratic/leftist view sees the world as the latter, a global community, one in which America should apologize for being wealthy, powerful and successful. As Ajami puts it:

"the Illinois senator and his devotees are disaffected with American power. In their view, we can make our way in the world without the encumbrance of "hard" power. We would offer other nations apologies for the way we carried ourselves in the aftermath of 9/11, and the foreign world would be glad for a reprieve from the time of American certitude."

This view is at odds with the more traditional post World war view of American exceptionalism which McCain adheres to, one in which the opinion of foreig

"he shares the widespread attitude of broad swaths of the country that are not consumed with worries about America's standing in foreign lands. Mr. McCain is not eager to be loved by foreigners. In November, the country will have a choice between a Republican candidate forged in the verities of the 1950s, and a Democratic rival who walks out of the 1990s."

2008 Campaign

Richard Baehr takes a look at the 2008 Presidential race, which is pretty even right now nationally. However, due to the Electoral College, what really matters is the individual state races, which are currently trending towards McCain.

"The state polls, which tend to lag the national tracking polls by a few days, have been more favorable for John McCain the last few days, reflecting his slightly stronger position since the convention and the Palin pick. But even if the latest state polls overstate McCain's numbers a bit due to the lag, they do reflect the new shape of the race."

Things look up for McCain in battleground states Florida and Ohio, which carry 47 electoral votes. Obama faces a pretty uphill cultural battle in Ohio, which went for Hillary in 83 of 88 counties. Obama needs to pick up 18 electoral votes from the 2004 Kerry states, the likeliest of which is Iowa, which has 7. Obama is targeting Colorado (9), Nevada and New Mexico (5 each) and Virginia (13), but is slightly behind in all except Virginia, which is even, but has not gone Democratic since 1964 (although the demographics there have changes substantially).

Obama once targetted as many as 18 red states, then 14, but now appears vulnerable to McCain in several 2004 Kerry states once thought unquestionably blue. The Rasmussen Pennsylvania poll taken this weekend shows the state (and its 21 electoral votes) even. There is almost no scenario for an Obama victory without Pennsylvania, and it gets worse. McCain is within 3 points in New Jersey and Washington, and also within strking distance in Minnesota and Wisconsin (10 votes apiece), Michigan (17) and New Hampshire (4). Red states now appearing safe for McCain include Montana, North Dakota, and Alaska (3 each) as well as Georgia and North Carolina (both 15) and Missouri and Indiana (both 11) are both trending Republican as well.

"The race is close to a national tie in the popular vote, in the number of safe electoral college votes for each side, and in the number of tossup electoral college votes that are blue or red. We have in other words, a 50-50 race."

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: Hope you die. Denny Crane.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Shirley: But understand that everyone at this firm is considered a witness. Don't expect anyone at this firm to help you -- OR speak to you.
Alan: And won't that make for a refreshing change.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: With all that's going on in the world these days, who among us hasn't wanted to take an axe to a priest?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: You never talk about your wife. What was she like?
Alan: She had all the most delectable qualities one could hope for. Creativity, desire, zealotry, a gorgeous clavicle,

healthy lack of inhibition.
Denny: Sounds spectacular. What happened?
Alan: She began...to know me too well and I began to hate her for it. Even when I was unpredictable, she'd predict it. For

those of us who aspire to be original, it's the worst sort of banality. She died. I've missed that banality ever since.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fred on John McCain

The Fred writes at Townhall about the goals of his convention speech and his ideas of how the American voter gains their impressions of the candidates through all the rhetoric. His goal in the speech (and the current column) was to point out the long history of McCain's service to his country, not only in the military but also in the Senate, and how that record contrasts with that of his opponent.

"Put simply: Others talked about reaching across the aisle and reconciling differences; John McCain did it. Others went along with pork barrel spending and getting the political benefit from it; John McCain fought it. Others wanted to declare defeat and cut and run in the central front of the war on terrorism; John McCain fought for a strategy that would ensure victory. Others gave lip service to reform; John McCain actually made it happen."

Fred points out the concerns Americans have regarding the judicial process, and how only McCain would appoint judges that adhere to their historical role rather than engineer wide reaching social changes by judicial fiat. I really, really hope I will be blogging about Attorney General Fred Thompson next year.

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: Denny, I refuse to shoot you.
Denny Crane: You... Democrat! Protesting war and banning guns. If you Nancys had your way, nobody would ever shoot anybody! And then where would we be?
Alan: Where would we be...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

American Oil

Dan Kish at Human Events explains the realities of oil exploration, and the disinformation being endlessly recycled by the media and Congressional Democrats opposed to exploring for domestic energy resources. The biggest myth is that America uses 25% of the world's oil with only 3% of the reserves. But you have no idea of what percentage of the world reserves are within US control if oil companies are forbidden to even look for additional energy supplies, which is currently the case (at least until September 30, when the Congressional moratorium is scheduled to expire).

"We will never increase our oil reserves if we can never look. A huge amount of acres are owned by the federal government off our shores and onshore, principally in the western states, but instead of addressing that problem and helping to bring down energy prices, politicians have been making up stories and trying to fool Americans with wild allegations. The truth is, over 96% of the lands that belong to the taxpayer haven’t even been leased by the government so that energy exploration might occur."

Then there is the other lie that the 68 million acres (of 91 miilion acres total) under lease that aren't producing any energyis because the oil companies are simply sitting on these leases and refuse to drill. The truth is that the lease is only the start of the process, and that 1/3 of offshore leases near the shore actually wind producing energy economically, while only about 1/5 of deep water leases prove to do so. Onshore is actually only about 1/10, so the vast majority of leases never wind up discovering and producign any energy whatsoever.

"So, if the chances of finding oil under leases in various categories of lands are 33%, 20% and 10%, it probably makes sense that they’re only producing oil on 25.6% of the leases they hold. In fact, that’s pretty good, and well within the historic range of lands producing versus lands leased. The problem is the government is leasing much less land than it did several decades ago. If oil explorers could look in more places for oil and gas, the chances are they would find more of it. With more supply, prices would come down."

Then there are the environmental activist convinced they are saving the planet from the evil oil corporations tying up any activity from occuring via their favorite arm of the government, the endless judicial process. Just since 2000, lawsuits relating to energy exploration have increased over 700%. There are over 1.7 billion acres of government controlled areas offshore and another 700 million acres onshore, yet the government allows exploration and leasing of only 91 million acres, less than 4% of the total.

The fact of the matter is, unless we look, we'll never know.

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: I suppose coming to a lawyer's office can't be much fun.
Marissa: Actually, everyone seems friendly here.
Alan: Well, they're given an unlimited supply of donuts.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Leftist World View

Thomas Sowell examines the leftist world view - the immature world of "wishing the world were a better place" due to inexperience in dealing with the real world of jobs, responsibility, trade-offs and adult concerns.

"Most of us learn that from experience-- but experience is precisely what the young are lacking. "Experience" is often just a fancy word for the mistakes that we belatedly realized we were making, only after the realities of the world made us pay a painful price for being wrong.

Those who are insulated from that pain-- whether by being born into affluence or wealth, or shielded by the welfare state, or insulated by tenure in academia or in the federal judiciary-- can remain in a state of perpetual immaturity. Individuals can refuse to grow up, especially when surrounded in their work and in their social life by similarly situated and like-minded people."

Sowell notes that it is precisely the working class peoples that these liberal groups propose to "assist" that view them with the suspicion born from the condenscension brought to bear on them when addressed by their "betters". Instead they cling to their guns and religion, and they note that happy talk to our enemies may not persuade them to be our friends. Sowell notes that the happy talk theory was tried with disasterous results in the 1930s, while the Cold War ended due not to happy talk but substantial investments in weaponry that could not be matched by Soviet central planning.


Boston Legal Quotes

Phyliss: I need your help. You always said I could come to you for anything.
Alan: I meant sexually.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Thoughts on San Jose

Thank god for special teams and defense. Great game by the defensive line with 2 INTs including the tip by Zach Potter that was returned 49 yds for a TD by Ndamakong Suh. Great return by Niles Paul to begin the fourthy quarter when we really neeeded it.

If anyone would have told me we'd need repeated defenisve stands in the first half to avoid being down to SJ St. at the half, I'd have thought they were crazy. Watson & Cotton has to find a way to get the line going and get the running game started. Roy Helu appears to deserve some more playing time.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: I wonder if sometimes I get married just to have someone listen to my stories again.
Alan: Not a terrible reason.

Friday, September 05, 2008

McCain Speech - Call to Serve

Fantastic finish last night.

"I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself."

While I've had my doubts about the man, as well as many, many disagreements, I could not agree more with these words. Wow.

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: Catherine, may I ask why would you seek to befriend this man?
Catherine: Well, I felt at his core he wasn't evil. I also thought I could help him by introducing him to Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Alan: Was he open to that?
Catherine: Not terribly. He thought it would make him look like a bad Jew.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Dwight Biddle: We became very close.
Shirley: You strayed with livestock?
Dwight Biddle: It's not what you think. It was all very loving.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Economic Report Card

Robert Samuelson takes a look at the Census Bureau's just released "Economic Report Card", sure to cause anguish in the media and punidtry circles, but the appearances of some bad numbers mask some positive signs. Samuelson takes issue with the methodology, which I believe justified, in using the year 1999 as the baseline. As he points out, this was the peak year of the Y2K/millenium boom, so using the peak as a baseline appears to me to be seriously suspect.

Secondly, the study is based on aggregate household data, not that of individuals, so changes in a person's personal life, such as getting married or divorced, children moving out, retirement, etc. effect the results. Samuelson also effectively makes the case that immigration skews the results as more unskilled immigrants are added to the household pool regardless of their legal status. If you look more closely, you find that white and black household gains are remarkably similar.

"Low-skilled immigrants, concentrated among Hispanics, outnumber the high-skilled. They drag down median incomes and raise poverty and the uninsured. One way to filter out the effect on income is to examine groups with few immigrants or their American-born children. Consider non-Hispanic white families. From 1997 to 2007, their median incomes rose about $6,000 to $69,937, a gain of about 9 percent. For black families, the increase was also about 9 percent, though only to $40,222. Again, not stagnation.

Immigration's effects on poverty and health insurance coverage are greater. Since 1990, Hispanics numerically account for all the increase in the number of officially poor. Similarly, immigrants represented 55 percent of the increase of the uninsured from 1994 to 2006, says the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Many unskilled workers can't get well-paid jobs with insurance."

Thirdly is the survey only measures income and ignores transfer payments and fringe benefits provided by employers. Nearly half of compensation gains from employers have been channeled into benefits due to increasing healthcare costs and pension contributions, as well as increased tax payments due to rising (albeit slowly) incomes.

Samuelson notes that things look worse over the long term given the trends - rising helthcare costs and increased immigration risk further damage to the economy and rising burdens to government. If not addressed, these factors threaten the long term prospects of the Americna economy.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: Denny Crane.
Shirley: That is not a legal defense.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Western Michigan Game

No link, just my thoughts.

I attended the beginning of the Pelini era, and am cautiously optimistic my prognostication skills have successfully returned along with the Husker defense. I figured 42-17, actual was 47-24. Largely a successful effort, but as Bo stated in hyis post game comments, we strive for perfection around here, and while we've got a long way to go, it was a pretty solid effort. A lot of good things to consider, along with a few negatives.

First, the offense appears to have not lost a beat, with Joe Ganz going for 20 of 36 for almost 350 and throwing four scores. The not so good was the two picks, although only the second one was his fault. He'll have to avoid that impulse to force things when facing better opponents.

Secondly, while the running game wasn't dominant, it was somewhat effective, as we ran for 7 first downs and averaged 4.5 a carry with a patchwork line missing two projected starters (Lydon Murtha and Javario Burkes) and having another ( Mike Huff) suffer a minor injury. The Broncos also often came out stacking the box and daring us to pass, which cost them.

The big concern going into the game was the defense, and while it wasn't mistake free, there was good effort and some nice penetration from the line (four sacks), and the Cody Glenn conversion appears succcessful, as he had 12 tackles (9 solo) three pass breakups and a forced fumble. The secondary had a couple of issues but we wound up missing Murillo, Colbert and Thenarse for most of the game. Young corners West, Amukamara and Hagg all had fairly solid play most of the day. The kicking game was excellent, with four FG from 44 and a good effort in the return game from Niles Paul.

Overall, I'd give it a B. Improvement will be necessary to challenge the better teams in the conference, and more consistent play out of the secondary and linebacking corps is needed, along with further development in the running game.

McCain's Worldview Contributed to Selection

Hard to say the last time I linked the NY Times, but I believe that David Brooks makes an important point regarding McCain and Palin, althoug I do disagree a bit on his summation. (HT: RCP) I think Brooks may the paper's token conservative/moderate columnist - in other words, the only adult on staff.

McCain is not a true conservative Republican, he is a moderate, and while he usually toes the traditional party line (I think his ACU rating is around 85) he seems determined to go his own way at times, and Brooks does a nice job of identifying the crux of the McCain's Teddy Roosevelt worldview.

"The main axis in McCain’s worldview is not left-right. It’s public service versus narrow self-interest. Throughout his career, he has been drawn to those crusades that enabled him to launch frontal attacks on the concentrated powers of selfishness — whether it was the big money donors who exploited the loose campaign finance system, the earmark specialists in Congress like Alaska’s Don Young and Ted Stevens, the corrupt Pentagon contractors or Jack Abramoff."

Palin, like McCain, is a political reformer and it now seems obvious that she would appeal to McCain's instincts. He simply picked the only potential VP pick that was like himself. The fact she is female and relatively young were merely bonuses, although ones that are likely to have a major impact on the race.

Brooks worries that such a moralistic worldview doesn't work in every situation, particularly on issues that are complex and require compromises. While McCain has forged such compromises (and infuriated many Republicans when he has done so) Brooks worries that McCain's lack of fundamental political philosophy on the scope and purpose of government may hinder his effectiveness.

Brooks loses me at this point, stating there aren't enough Republican experts to staff the new administration (Huh?) and thus McCain will have to turn to Democrats and independents, significant Democratic opposition in Congress, and his own free wheeling ways when it comes to those issues that aren't moral crusades. Brooks then appears to imply that McCain should have picked someone well versed in guiding items through the Washington establishment, someone who covers for McCain's weaknesses. But the job Brooks poutlines isn't necessarily the job of the number two, it is more in the job description of the White House Chief of Staff, which would be a great spot for one of the names he floated, Rob Portman.

Still a very interesting column, especially considering the source, and remarkably balanced.

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: What are you thinking about? It's not a trick question.
Denny: Can't I have a solitary, pensive moment? Keep a thought to myself?
Alan: Ha, ha... You forgot what you were thinking.