The American Left likes the Government that takes Children away from their Parents to Earn Olympic Gold

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 4th, 2012

Week in Review

The American Left has long attacked the competitive spirit in America.  They stopped keeping score when their kids played in sports matches.  They awarded participation ribbons to everyone participating instead of first place, second place and third place trophies.  They’ve altered the educational system to grade on effort more than on being right.  To protect the students’ self-esteem.  And yet it’s these same people that want to model America after the communist Chinese.  To have a powerful central government managing the economy.   A government so powerful that it can do things for the people’s own good without having to deal with elections.  Or an ungrateful electorate too stupid to know what’s good for them.   They yearn for a strong China-like government.  Even when that same government would never hand out a participation ribbon (see Family kept grandparents’ deaths secret from Chinese diver until she won gold medal by Martin Rogers posted 8/1/2012 on Yahoo! Sports).

Chinese diver Wu Minxia’s celebrations at winning a third Olympic gold medal were cut short after her family revealed the details of a devastating secret they had kept for several years.

Wu’s parents decided to withhold news of both the death of her grandparents and of her mother’s long battle with breast cancer until after she won the 3-meter springboard in London so as to not interfere with her diving career…

The story of Wu’s family secret has generated huge discussion in China, where the pursuit of success has been chased by the government-backed sports national sports program with unshakeable zeal over the past two decades…

Now there seems to be a backlash against the win-at-all-costs mentality after the revelations about Wu followed fierce criticism from a national newspaper when a 17-year-old weightlifter failed to medal.

In China, athletes are often taken away from their families at a young age and placed in specialist training schools where they practice for hours every day. Wu began training daily at a diving camp at the age of 6. By the time she was 16, she had left home to be installed in a government aquatic sports institute…

The Chinese government’s attitude towards the performances of its athletes is now coming under greater scrutiny than ever before. Messages of congratulations from the government to athletes through the state news agency have been sent only to gold medalists, not those winning silver or bronze.

The Chinese may govern like the American Left would like.  But the Chinese are not a bunch of namby-pamby pansies like the American Left.  They’re tough.  And are very competitive.  So much so that they will take children away from their parents.  Steal their childhood.  All so they can earn a gold medal for China.  And if they fail they heap abuse on them.  This is the strong central government that the American Left so admires.  Which makes the American Left a true enigma.  They want a strong central government that can rule against the will of the people while being a bunch of namby-pamby pansies that just shrink away from harsh words of criticism.  Like, “Sorry, Johnny, 2+2 is 4.  Not 5.  You’re wrong.”

They’re either enigmas.  Or they’re just not that bright.

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France uses Renewable Energy to offset a Decline in Nuclear Power Generated Electricity

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 4th, 2012

Week in Review

France may be moving ahead in renewable energies but they are only a sideshow to the major electricity producer.  Nuclear power.  In the grand scheme of things there is only one renewable energy that is a serious player.  Hydroelectric power.  Which is picking up the slack during some planned outages at their nuke plants (see French utility EDF sees profit up 4.6 percent as renewable energy offsets lower nuclear output by Associated Press posted 7/31/2012 on The Washington Post).

Electricite de France saw profits rise 4.6 percent in the first half of the year as growth in renewable energy offset lower nuclear output…

The increase in profits and sales came despite more planned outages at nuclear plants — and also unexpected extensions of those outages — this year than last. The company’s chief financial officer Thomas Piquemal said those issues should be resolved by August.

Hydropower, which struggled last year, and other renewable energies made up the difference. Excluding one-off charges, the group’s net income grew 10.3 percent.

Executives said that the group’s better-than-expected results were also due to a reduction in costs.

One would almost get the impression that the French, too, are abandoning nuclear power in favor of renewable energy sources.  To save the planet.  Well, they are pursuing renewable energy sources.  But they’re not abandoning nuclear power.  Because they can’t.  Taking a look at French electricity production explains why.  (These numbers are pulled from Table 6 in The French wholesale electricity, natural gas and CO2 markets in 2010-2011 and Part V in THE FREN CH ELECTRICITY REPORT 2010).

(Note: The variation is in electricity produced.)

Nuclear power produces the majority of French electricity.  About three-quarters of it.  And they were increasing their nuclear capacity in 2010.  And of all their electricity sources nuclear power is operating nearest full capacity.  Of all the nuclear reactor capacity they installed 74% is producing electricity.

The next largest producer of electricity is hydroelectric power.  And it only produces 12.4% of all electricity.  Of all the generating capacity of hydroelectric power only 31% actually produced electricity.  So more than two thirds of hydroelectric dam capacity sat idle.  Hydroelectric power increased 9.9% in 2010 “as a result of changes in the availability of water resources and the use of reservoirs” according the French Electricity Report.  Which means hydroelectric power is only as good as the volume of water behind those dams.  And once they build those dams it’s up to the weather to snow in the winter (in places that have winters with snowfall) and rain in the the spring, summer and fall.  With more than two-thirds of installed capacity sitting idle either it hasn’t rained or snowed enough in the mountains.  Or that water is being diverted for other uses.

The next largest producer of electricity is natural gas producing 5.5% of the total.  Because of the speed they can bring a gas turbine on line we often use these to handle peaks in demand.  So they don’t run all of the time like the nuclear power plants that provide the baseload.  Based on these numbers the baseload handled the electrical demand most of the time as these gas turbines only produced at 42% of their installed capacity.

After natural gas comes coal at 3.5% of the total.  A 7.6% drop from the previous year.  With 72% of installed capacity sitting idle.  A basic shuttering of the coal industry to make way for renewable energy.

Wind power produced 1.7% of all electricity.  An increase of 22.2% from the previous year.  So they’re increasing wind power.  But it’s almost statistically insignificant.  Worse, of the installed capacity only 24% is producing electricity.  That’s because they can only produce electricity when the wind blows.  But not too fast.  Or too slow.  Only a narrow band of wind speeds can produce electricity at the same frequency (typically 50 Hertz in Europe) that matches the grid.

And solar power produced a statistically insignificant 0.1% of the electricity total.  And this is a 281.6% increase over the previous year.  But of the total installed capacity only 34% of it produced electricity.  Because it is sometimes night.  And sometimes cloudy.  Which is why it will be difficult to get a large percentage of our electricity from solar power.  The fuel may be free.  But it’s just not always there.  Also, photocells are semiconductor devices that produced low DC currents.  So you need a lot of solar arrays to produce useable power.  And additional electrical equipment to convert the DC power into AC power.  And more if you want to store power during the day to use at night.  So even though the fuel is free solar power can be very expensive.

So nuclear power isn’t going anywhere in France.  It’s too reliable.  And it’s just too prevalent.  To replace that capacity would require enormous amounts of money.  Which just isn’t that prevalent during a European sovereign debt crisis.

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Drug Addict Mugs an 8 Year Old Girl to Feed his Cocaine Addiction

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 4th, 2012

Week in Review

So what’s the downside of decriminalizing drugs?  Stuff like this (see Drug addict mugged girl, 8, for just £3.50 as she walked to shop to buy sweets by Emma Reynolds posted 8/2/2012 on the Daily Mail).

A cocaine addict mugged an eight-year-old girl for just £3.50 as she walked to the shop to buy sweets.

That’s about $5.48 in US dollars.  Which really doesn’t matter as much as a cocaine addict mugging an 8 year old girl.  It’s just yet another example of a drug related crime.  Which, incidentally, won’t go away by decriminalizing drugs.  Unless the government provides free drugs to all drug addicts.  Which is doubtful.

This cocaine addict just didn’t wake up one morning and decided to mug an 8 year old girl.  Just as he didn’t wake up one morning and decided to experiment with hard drugs.  Picking cocaine as his first drug.  No.  More than likely he started with marijuana.  Then moved on to the harder stuff.   And over time an addiction grew.  Until one morning he saw an 8 year old girl with a purse.

If they decriminalize drugs more people will experiment with drugs.  More people will become addicts.  And more 8 year old girls will get mugged.  Unless all these addicts today made a conscience choice to become a drug addict.  And they didn’t become an addict because their recreational drug use got out of control.  Which is doubtful.  Addiction happens.  It is never a conscious choice.  And it can happen to anyone.

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The NHS works to Reduce Post-Caesarean Infections because they’re not Cost-Effective

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 4th, 2012

Week in Review

Birth by caesarean section is now 25% of all births in the UK.  Reasons being obesity and women waiting until later in life to have their babies.  And now infections from caesareans are on the rise.  And they’re making these women costly patients.  First the childbirth.  Then the infection.  Consuming two rounds of medical treatments for one childbirth.  And that’s just not good for the business of health care (see Caesarean sections result in infections for one in ten patients, study finds by Denis Campbell posted 7/31/2012 on The Guardian).

One in 10 women who have a baby by caesarean section go on to develop an infection around their scar, which causes them pain and discomfort and forces some to go back into hospital to be treated…

While many of the infections following a caesarean are minor, some are so serious that they affect deep tissues or internal organs, including the lining of the womb…

The number of women giving birth by caesarean section has risen sharply, from 9% in 1980 to 25% in 2009-10, partly as a result of increasing maternal obesity and the trend towards later motherhood…

Dr Elizabeth Sheridan, head of healthcare associated infections at the Health Protection Agency, said the study showed that the NHS should make reducing post-caesarean infections a priority. “Given that one in four women deliver their baby by caesarean section, these infections represent a substantial burden. They will impact not only directly on the mother and her family but also are a significant cost in terms of antibiotic use, GP time and midwife care, and every effort should be made to avoid them”, she said.

In America the proponents of a national health care system like to point to people using the emergency room for their health care.  Because emergency rooms can’t deny treatment.  And when these people don’t pay we all end up paying for it.  So we need a national health care system to fix that.  They also like to pick on the ‘greedy’ pharmaceutical companies who make those life saving drugs no one else but them can make.  But they don’t talk about people exceeding their quota of health care services.

In a national health care system funded by the taxpayer medical care transforms into cost management.  For the usual reasons.  An aging population has more people leaving the workforce than entering the workforce.  And those leaving the workforce consume the majority of the health care services.  So you have the demand for health care services increasing (retirees suffering the effects of aging) while the supply is decreasing (fewer people paying taxes to fund health care services).   So there’s rationing.  Doctors talk about excessive antibiotics consumed by patients.  And the need to reduce the amount of time a patient takes up with doctors and midwives (people who provide care during pregnancies and deliver babies).  Because post-caesarean infections are simply not cost-effective.

Obamacare, too, will transform medical care into cost management.  By using mandates to get more people to pay into the system.  And then having medical boards to ration treatment.  Which they will have to do because America has an aging population, too.  And its population is greater than the UK’s population.  About five times greater.  So if the NHS is rationing care Obamacare will ration care.  And they’ll start tracking the amount of antibiotics a patient gets.  As well as how much time they get to spend with doctors and other health care providers.  Because health care is money.  And when you’ve had your fair share that’s it.  No more health care for you.

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New Study shows Casual Ecstasy Use causes Brain Damage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 4th, 2012

Week in Review

It’s a popular drug with the teenagers.  Ecstasy.  It’s a party drug.  But like all drugs use it comes with some unwelcomed side effects (see Study: Casual Ecstasy Use Causes Memory Impairment by Jason Koebler posted 7/30/2012 on U.S. News and World Report).

New users of the rave drug suffered brain damage after as few as 10 doses…

Self-professed “new users of ecstasy”—subjects who refrained from any other drugs besides ecstasy, marijuana and alcohol—were studied over the course of a year. The study found memory impairments in people who used the drug just 10 times over the course of 12 months…

Researchers also said marijuana and alcohol were allowed in the study because it’s too difficult to find people who solely use ecstasy.

So drugs are bad for you.  And marijuana is a gateway drug.  For they had trouble finding people who had only used ecstasy.  Which makes the whole decriminalization of drugs a complicated issue.  Even for ‘harmless’ marijuana.  Which is nothing like those nasty harmful drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.  But if marijuana is a gateway to ecstasy it’s probably a gateway to the harder more harmful drugs, too.  Unless people going along the straight and narrow wake up one day and decide to shoot up heroin.  It could happen.  But it’s not likely to happen.

So bad things follow drug use.  But bad things also happen trying to interdict drug use.  As so much crime is drug-related.  So what to do?  Perhaps a little more religion in our lives would encourage us to choose not to use drugs.  Things tend to work better when it’s our choice.  Going back to our early history we were more religious.  And when we were we didn’t have a drug problem.  But that didn’t stop people from having a good time.  There was church.  Community.  The local saloon.  And, sure, alcoholism.  It may not have been perfect.  But there was less crime.

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Energy/Environmental Policies requiring Ethanol cause Hunger and Economic Devastation throughout the World

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 4th, 2012

Week in Review

As if the Great Recession wasn’t bad enough already.  Bad economic policies and bad regulatory policies have already beaten this economy into the ground.  And now the government is going to pile on with bad energy/environmental policies.  Making the American people say “ouch” (see Corn for Food, Not Fuel by COLIN A. CARTER and HENRY I. MILLER posted 7/30/2012 on The New York Times).

…By suspending renewable-fuel standards that were unwise from the start, the Environmental Protection Agency could divert vast amounts of corn from inefficient ethanol production back into the food chain, where market forces and common sense dictate it should go.

The drought has now parched about 60 percent of the contiguous 48 states. As a result, global food prices are rising steeply. Corn futures prices on the Chicago exchange have risen about 60 percent since mid-June, hitting record levels, and other grains such as wheat and soybeans are also sharply higher. Livestock and dairy product prices will inevitably follow.

More than one-third of our corn crop is used to feed livestock. Another 13 percent is exported, much of it to feed livestock as well. Another 40 percent is used to produce ethanol. The remainder goes toward food and beverage production.

Previous droughts in the Midwest (most recently in 1988) also resulted in higher food prices, but misguided energy policies are magnifying the effects of the current one. Federal renewable-fuel standards require the blending of 13.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol with gasoline this year. This will require 4.7 billion bushels of corn, 40 percent of this year’s crop.

Almost half (40%) of our corn goes to produce ethanol.  That alone has raised the price of our food.  And a lot of our food has corn in it.  Including cows.  As in corn-fed beef.  Dairy cows, too, eat corn.  They give us milk and cheese.  Chickens eat corn.  Providing us with low-fat chicken breasts.  Eggs.  And those delicious Chicken McNuggets our kids love.  Our energy/environmental policies have been increasing the cost of groceries for families.  And the drought is only going to increase them more.  Making it ever harder for the American family to put food on the table.  Especially when a lot of them are struggling to get by on less thanks to an already bad economy.  So why do we use food to fuel our cars?  Because the government has dictated that we do.

The price of corn is a critical variable in the world food equation, and food markets are on edge because American corn supplies are plummeting. The combination of the drought and American ethanol policy will lead in many parts of the world to widespread inflation, more hunger, less food security, slower economic growth and political instability, especially in poor countries…

Any defense of the ethanol policy rests on fallacies, primarily these: that ethanol produced from corn makes the United States less dependent on fossil fuels; that ethanol lowers the price of gasoline; that an increase in the percentage of ethanol blended into gasoline increases the overall supply of gasoline; and that ethanol is environmentally friendly and lowers global carbon dioxide emissions.

The ethanol lobby promotes these claims, and many politicians seem intoxicated by them. Corn is indeed a renewable resource, but it has a far lower yield relative to the energy used to produce it than either biodiesel (such as soybean oil) or ethanol from other plants. Ethanol yields about 30 percent less energy per gallon than gasoline, so mileage drops off significantly. Finally, adding ethanol actually raises the price of blended fuel because it is more expensive to transport and handle than gasoline.

Ethanol isn’t what they say it is.  In fact it makes a pretty poor fuel.  And it will propagate hunger and economic devastation throughout the rest of the world.  Especially in poor countries.  So there is no good reason to use food to fuel our cars.  It would appear the only reason why the government dictates this policy is that the lobbyists make it worth their while to dictate this policy.  Amazing what you can get away with when you veil your special interests in the cloak of environmentalism.  The media and the court of public opinion eviscerate any non-environmental corporation for doing what the ethanol lobby does.  But if you want to make evil profits all you have to do is say ‘global warming’ and no one will fault you for your greed.

Families will have to cut out their visits to McDonalds as these high prices hit pretty much everything on their menu.  Which is an unintended consequence the government may actually like.  For they say our kids are too fat.  But this won’t make our kids happy.  They like their McNuggets.  Which can mean only one thing.  Our government hates kids.

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