Nokia, once the most valuable company in Europe, is going down. Done in by failure to adapt and anticipate technological changes introduced by the Apple iPhone. I’ve always admired Nokia (among other products, it used to manufacture the best snow tires on the road) and so I’ve watched its decline with a mix of sadness and awe, but this is how capitalism is supposed to operate. Interesting to note that Nokia pinned its hopes on Microsoft’s new operating system only to discover that no one wanted Microsoft’s take on the mobile phone. Will Microsoft follow Nokia into oblivion? Sooner or later, sure – and so, eventually, will Apple, if they don’t start spending more on lobbyists. In America and other corporate socialist countries only state-dependent companies are allowed to live beyond their sell-by date.
Daily Archives: September 26, 2012
Vilsack said the Obama Administration is working with school districts to create snack programs and encouraging parents to pack extra food for their active students to munch on before football practice or band rehearsal.
“We understand that change is difficult,” Vilsack said. “Some folks love it, some folks have had questions about it, but that’s to be expected when you’re dealing with 32 million children and you’re dealing with over a hundred thousand school districts.”
No, what’s to be expected is that a centralized lunch program designed by Washington bureaucrats and imposed on 32 million children with different needs, body types, activity levels and even, gasp, tastes, will be a complete friggin’ disaster that can only “succeed” by force, which the government is now applying.
President Obama’s stimulus allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, including, eventually, up to $3.5 billion for California’s project. However, according to the stimulus law, California must begin construction on the project before December 31, 2012 or they will not be eligible for any more high speed rail stimulus dollars. Obama’s Transportation Department reaffirmed this time limit last year when they admitted they had “no administrative authority to change this deadline.”
Fast forward to this June when the city of Chowchilla filed suit to stop construction of the project alleging that the High Speed Rail Authority failed to conduct a proper Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).
Studies show that the average time to complete the NEPA process is 6.1 years. And NEPA is designed to be a preventative statute. Federal courts routinely issue injunctions to stop projects before they ever begin. That is why oil companies preemptively sued environmental groups earlier this year over leases in Alaska. They wanted to get the litigation out of the way so they could begin oil exploration as fast as possible.
Windmills, solar power facilities, transmission lines which could carry that solar energy to cities, natural gas drilling, coal, oil: all are opposed by the greens, using every law and regulation they’ve promulgated since Earth Day 1970. What’s our world without energy? Nasty, brutish and short, and that’s the way they like it.
[From a 2007 WSJ article – nothing’s improved since then]
Once regarded as the symbol of national greatness, hydroelectric dams have now fallen into disrepute for many legitimate reasons. They are enormously expensive undertakings that would never have taken off but for hefty government subsidies. Worse, they typically involve changing the natural course of rivers, causing painful disruptions for towns and tribes.
But tearing down the Klamath dams, the last of which was completed in 1962, will do more harm than good at this stage. These dams provide cheap, renewable energy to 70,000 homes in Oregon and California. Replacing this energy with natural gas — the cleanest fossil-fuel source — would still pump 473,000 tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. This is roughly equal to the annual emissions of 102,000 cars.
Given this alternative, one would think that environmentalists would form a human shield around the dams to protect them. Instead, they have been fighting tooth-and-nail to tear them down because the dams stand in the way of migrating salmon. Environmentalists don’t even let many states, including California, count hydro as renewable.
They have rejected all attempts by PacifiCorp, the company that owns the dams, to take mitigation steps such as installing $350 million fish ladders to create a salmon pathway. Klamath Riverkeeper, a group that is part of an environmental alliance headed by Robert Kennedy Jr., has sued a fish hatchery that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife runs — and PacifiCorp is required to fund — on grounds that it releases too many algae and toxic discharges. The hatchery produces at least 25% of the chinook salmon catch every year. Closing it will cause fish populations to drop further, making the demolition of the dams even more likely.
But the end of the Klamath won’t mean the end of the dam saga — it is the big prize that environmentalists are coveting to take their antidam crusade to the next level. “This would represent the largest and most ambitious dam removal project in the country, if not the world,” exults Steve Rothert of American Rivers. The other dams on the hit list include the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley that services San Francisco, Elwha River dam in Washington and the Matilija Dam in Southern California.
Large hydro dams supply about 20% of California’s power (and 10% of America’s). If they are destroyed, California won’t just have to find some other way to fulfill its energy needs. It will have to do so while reducing its carbon footprint to meet the ambitious CO2 emission-reduction targets that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has set. Mr. Schwarzenegger has committed the Golden State to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 — a more stringent requirement than even in the Kyoto Protocol.
The effect this might have on California’s erratic and overpriced energy supply has businesses running scared. Mike Naumes, owner of Naumes Inc., a fruit packing and processing business, last year moved his juice concentrate plant from Marysville, Calif., to Washington state and cut his energy bill in half. With hydropower under attack, he is considering shrinking his farming operations in the Golden State as well. “We can’t pay exorbitant energy prices and stay competitive with overseas businesses,” he says.
I’m quite busy, but I’m just (oh so) special, so don’t base your judgment of the state of the market on me.
Nothing much to report in accepted offers, with nothing asking more than $1.8 million and that one, 8 Alpine, is the bank sale discussed below. One sale: 21 Woodside, in Milbrook, $1.350 million. Very much not my cup of tea (neither is Milbrook, for that matter, but many people like it) because it’s a teardown on a rocky hillside, but at 0.67 acres (29,000 square feet) in the R-20 zone, it’s a building lot large enough to accommodate a 6,000 sq.ft. house and someone wanted it.
8 Alpine Road, bank owned, was originally purchased for $2.995 million in 2008 was re-listed by its new owner at $1.899 last week and already has an accepted offer. Good address, good land and under $2 is a good price, so this one’s no surprise. The wreck of a spec house here has been plaguing everyone else on the street for years, so I imagine they’ll be glad to see a new owner take over and, presumably, tear down the existing hulk and start anew. In fact, and I have not even a whiff of rumor to support this, I wonder whether one of those neighbors is buying this property just to protect his own home’s value. Wouldn’t be a bad idea, if so.