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Aftermath of Wilma

Question to ask next time you fill up: Does your station have an emergency generator? One of the big problems since Wilma is the gas line that affects the efficiency of the state’s economy. From the seattlepi.com,

Three days after Wilma hit South Florida, many gas stations remained shut down Thursday. Most closed stations have full storage tanks, but the widespread power outages have silenced their pumps.

From the Miami Hearld Opinion Page:

GERALD LURIE, MiamiIf gas stations were required to have back-up generators, the stations could also serve as distribution points for food, water, ice and gas during power outages. It would leave people better able to assist with recovery efforts. Without gas, many residents can’t reach FEMA distribution centers.

Another problem with the lack of generators, from the Christian Science Monitor

A lack of generators has also set the stage for a potential health emergency. Sewers are beginning to back up and overflow into the streets. Backups are caused when sewer lift stations are shut down from lack of power for too long. Without a generator or some other power source, the sewer pipes fill up and eventually overflow through manhole covers.Such problems are usually averted by the swift restoration of power.

Another sign that the economy could take a hit is this report on the damage to the agriculture in South Florida:

(Florida’s agriculture commissioner Charles) Bronson said losses of greenhouses and nursery plants in horticulture, Florida’s leading agriculture sector, could lead to an “economic meltdown” in many rural areas.No official estimate has been made of Florida’s agriculture losses from Wilma, but Bronson said this week they likely will exceed $1 billion. The losses appeared to be worse than those from Hurricane Katrina earlier this year and the four hurricanes that ravaged Florida last year, he said.

mover mike

Palladium and Platinum

I posted information about Palladium in Metal of the 21st Century before I ran out the door to my Pilate’s class. I want to add some additional information. Yesterday, I read at Le Metropole Cafe that the price of Palladium was up $9 to $221. That’s a darn good gain in one day. I took a look at the monthly chart and again, darn, if it doesn’t look like it wants to go a lot higher. It was over $340 last year in mid-April and over $1100 in January, 2001.

My guess, it has made a huge base and if it breaks out, $340 would be the first target (up 53%).

Palladium has an advantage over gold, in that there doesn’t seem to be the concerted effort by federal officials and politicians to hold the price down.

The monthly chart of Platinum looks similar to the gold chart, up 100% from its lows in 2001, and also doesn’t have the gold stigma attached.

One ounce Palladium coins sell close to the price of the metal content and IMHO seem to have a big potential. One other thing Palladium seems to be used or is researched to being used in the latest technologies, solutions to many of our problems.

Palladium Platinum gold
mover mike

Louisiana Hospital System on Verge of Collapse!

From the AP, Official: Louisiana public hospital system on verge of collapse

Two months after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s public hospital system is on the verge of financial collapse unless federal aid is forthcoming quickly, the head of the system said Thursday.[…]

Congress passed emergency legislation earlier this month providing up to $1 billion in federal loans to local governments to enable them to continuing paying essential employees. (Donald) Smithburg, (chief executive of the LSU Health Care Services Division) said the public hospitals are not eligible for loans under that legislation.

Katrina and Rita were like rocks thrown into a pond, the ripples keep getting wider!

katrina rita
mover mike


Metal of the 21st Century

PALLADIUM(Pd) Metal of the 21st Century

Softer than platinum, ductile and resistant to oxidation and high temperature corrosion, palladium is useful in eliminating harmful emissions produced by internal combustion engines. Autocatalysts are by far the largest user of palladium; autocatalysts convert over 90 percent of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen produced in the exhaust from gasoline engines into carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor. More about autocatalysts.

Palladium has a number of electronic applications. For example, palladium’s chemical stability and electrical conductivity make it an effective and durable alternative to gold for plating in electronic components. More about electronic uses.


Palladium-based alloys are used in dentistry for dental crowns and bridges. And palladium metal is also compatible with human tissue and is used, in a radioactive form, in the medical industry for the treatment of cancer. More about dental uses.

Palladium is lighter than platinum having about the same density as silver, thus, palladium is a jewelry metal as well. Palladium in jewelry is primarily used as an alloy with platinum to optimize platinum’s working characteristics and wear properties. Palladium is also used as an alloy in producing white gold. More about jewelry uses.

Palladium is an important part of the refining of nitric acid, and has important uses in developing raw materials for synthetic rubber and nylon. More about chemical uses.

Fuel Cells

Palladium-based alloys are actively being researched for applications in fuel cell technology, an area of future promise for the metal. More about fuel cell uses.

Palladium is an attractive metal for coinage purposes. Northwest Territorial Mint is actively minting both bullion coins for the bullion market, as well as custom coins from this attractive and precious metal. More about coinage uses.

Oil Refining

Palladium and other PGM metals serve important functions in catalytic reactions that are used in various stages in the refining of petroleum. More about petroleum refining.

Palladium is a critical catalyst in the manufacture of polyester. Read a first hand account about the development of that critical step.

Palladium and platinum are both used in an historic photographic printing process that many consider superior to conventional silver in tonal quality and archival longevity. More about palladium printing.

Water Treatment
Palladium is a unique and important catalyst being studied for use in removing a number of toxic and carcinogenic substances from groundwater. More about water treatment.

Hydrogen Purification
Palladium’s ability to absorb and desorb hydrogen depending on circumstances allows it to be an effective material to filter hydrogen from other gasses resulting in an ultra pure hydrogen gas. Find out more.

Palladium-103, a radioactive isotope of palladium, is seeing promissing applications in the treatement of prostate cancer. A newly emerging added area of research is potential use in the treatment of breast cancer. Find out more.

Other Uses
Palladium has some uses that rank as befitting royalty. Come see the royal coffemaker with which the preparation is not just a taste sensation, but an event as well. For an audio sensation, check out the palladium interconnect cables.

mover mike

On-The-Job Training!

On Oct. 25th I posted about Refco and quoted The Faulking Truth

In our opinion, REFCO is not the tip of the iceberg in this issue, it’s nothing more than an ice cube floating in a sea of icebergs.

I have also posted that there is not enough portfiolio management talent for 8000+ hedge funds. Financial Director in Lack of hedge fund talent risks another Refco

Experts have warned that firms are finding it difficult to recruit staff capable of coping with the demands of assurance and advisory work around the funds, posing a substantial risk to investors and hedge fund managers.

In addition,

Amin Rajan, CEO of research firm Create, which has worked extensively with KPMG on hedge fund research, said that, because the funds used such intricate techniques, it was difficult to recruit individuals with the required ability.‘There is a huge shortage of skills. There are not enough people out there who understand how the investment vehicles are used,’ Rajan said. ‘Skills will only develop as demand grows.’

Great! That’s like putting trainees in charge of a Nuclear Power Plant and giving them on-the-job training!

Refco hedge funds
mover mike

Harriett Miers Withdraws!

I’ll be darned! Harriett Miers withdraws. From President Bush:

I understand and share her concern, however, about the current state of the Supreme Court confirmation process. It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House disclosures that would undermine a president’s ability to receive candid counsel. Harriet Miers’ decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.

And I was wrong when on Oct. 8th, I said Harriet Miers Will Be Confirmed!

harriett miers mover mike


The nation’s largest conservative women’s group yesterday called for the withdrawal of the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination.
The move, which surprised even Republicans working closely with Mr. Leo, came as the Concerned Women for America called for the nomination to be withdrawn in part because of reports of a 1993 speech in which Miss Miers appeared to agree with some of the grounds for the legal right to abortion.

The Dis-Ease!

From the London Irvine Report, it’s going to be tough to be an American worker as this is a sign of things to come:

The world’s largest automaker (GM) disclosed in an SEC filing that it had received subpoenas from the agency related to a variety of topics, including concerns over pension and retiree health care costs, transactions between GM and its former parts unit, Delphi, which filed for bankruptcy court protections earlier this month, the automaker’s recovery of recall costs from suppliers and supplier price reductions or credits.

Delphi Corp., the largest U.S. auto parts supplier, wants to cut workers’ wages by as much two-thirds and eliminate health care for retirees as part of a plan to exit bankruptcy.

An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart’s board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer’s reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.

In a final bit of irony,

Moody’s Ups Russia’s Credit Rating into Investment Grade Territory

Is it any wonder that there is an unease in this country or as Peggy Noonan in A Separate Peace wrote, fear the wheels are coming off the trolley.

GM Delphi Noonan Walmart mover mike

It’s About Oil Shortage, Not Price!

The NYT has a lengthy article by Jeff Gerth titled Doubts Raised on Saudi Vow for More Oil. The US has always looked to Saudi Arabia as the swing producer of oil. We have cut them some slack over terrorists and human rights for women because they would increase production to meet world temporary decreases in oil supply. Echoing the book Twilight in the Desert by Matthew Simmons (which I posted about in Let’s Talk About Credit and Oil!), Gerth says

…doubts about Saudi Arabia’s assurances of how much it can expand capacity – and for how long – have been raised in a secret intelligence report and in a separate analysis by a leading government oil adviser, according to a federal government official and the oil expert.If those skeptical assessments are correct, the administration’s hopes of increasing supplies would become still more difficult to fulfill. Washington’s expectations about oil production from Iraq and the United Arab Emirates have proved overly optimistic, and the White House has failed to heed advice about both those countries from industry and government specialists, according to documents and interviews.

In a related article Rob Kirby points out how energy stocks have receded 20% and the news from CNN and CNBC, et al

…reasoned, heck argued, through these venerable news outlets – time and time again – that the rising prices of said commodities have in effect sown the seeds of their own declines, and all is either fine or returning to normal. The age old reasoning, of course, is that rising prices lead to lessened demand and a resultant fall in prices – all economics 101 stuff that few would argue.

Here we have a weekly chart of Oil traded on the NYMEX and it shows a decline from above $70 per barrel to just under $60. Does the chart look like Oil has dropped into a bear market? Or does Oil look like this is merely another correction much like corrections in the past?

The real story according to Kirby is that we are starting to run shortages in key materials made from oil, one reason being that 25% of our production is shut down because of Katrina and Rita! We have seen recently shortages and price increases in foam used in seat cushions. Now Kirby has a copy of a letter from Royal Pipe Systems (Royal Pipe Systems is North America’s largest PVC extruder and just happens to be one of the largest suppliers of building materials to the construction industry in Canada.)that says they will no longer provide quotes until Nov. 7th and then review that date; a quote over 15 days old is cancelled; and they will prioritize shipments (meaning ration). The two key commodities involved are ethylene and chlorine.

Call me silly, (says Rob Kirby) but I’ve really been scratching my head the past couple of weeks – wondering why the heck petroleum based products [crude, gasoline, nat. gas as well as their specific related exchange listed shares] have been plummeting in price? The shortages outlined here are not only real but involve the most basic and fundamental products required in countless industrial and manufacturing processes – jeepers, we wouldn’t even have potable water without chlorine. You see, the letter cited above never once mentioned that price was an issue. What the letter did do was explicitly state that “supply shortages” was the issue. With that being the case – why are these prices precipitously falling and why are we being ‘pelted’ with pronunciations that “all is fine” when it clearly is not?

If the information from Matthew Simmons, and the “secret intelligence report” are true, then we have more shortages ahead due to peak oil, and much higher prices. Complacency is not an option!

Saudi Arabia Matthew Simmons peak oil Rob Kirby mover mike

Update: MEXICO CITY – The paralysis of Mexico’s world famous tourist resorts on the Yucatan peninsula caused by the devastating passage of Hurricane Wilma may slow the country’s economic growth in 2005 by up to a quarter of a percentage point.

If one hurricane hitting the tip of Yucatan could slow the Mexican economy by 1/4 of one percent, what do Katrina, Rita and Wilma do to the US, especially when it shuts down 25% of our oil production?

A Response and Correction from USATODAY.com

I received the following email in response to my email complaining about the photo of Condoleezza Rice:

Thank you for your e-mail of Oct. 26 regarding the photo of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that was published Oct. 19 at http://www.usatoday.com.As you know, Rice’s eyes appeared unnaturally bright in the photo. I’d like to explain how this happened. USATODAY.com, like other news organizations, often adjusts photos for sharpness and brightness to optimize their appearance when published online. In this case, a newly hired USATODAY.com editor sharpened the photo and then brightened a portion of Rice’s face. Those changes had the effect of inadvertently distorting the photo and failed to meet our editorial standards. The photo has been replaced with a properly adjusted copy and an editor’s note has been published here:


The photo did not appear in the USA TODAY newspaper.

The editors of USATODAY.com will make every effort to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

Thank you again for your email and for your concern.

Kind regards,

Kinsey Wilson

VP & Editor-in-Chief


rice mover mike

Update: The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns has an excellent analysis of the techniques used to give us the “evil eye” of Condoleezza Rice

Halloween for Condi

I just send an email to USA Today’s Graphics and Photos Managing Editor, Richard Curtis a note (rcurtis@usatoday.com) an email saying

“Shame on you and your publication for showing this doctored photo! An apology is in order!

(Hat tip to the Maxedoutmama!)

mover mike

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