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American Idol – April 24th

You didn’t have to wait up for Mover Mike to tell you this was the best AI show this season for consistent, all-around performances. All contestants stepped up their games. Check it out:

Chris Richardson sang Change the World – This was actually pretty good. Chris kept the melody intact, but added his own take on such a well known song. My only problem is that Chris is beginning to sound the same each week. The same moves and the same earnestness.

Melinda Doolittle sang There Will Come A Day – Melinda is a professional and AI is hers to lose. I think this was her best song yet. It was intense and I was on the verge of chills.

Blake Lewis sang Imagine – I really like this guy, but there was no Blake in the song. I sang it the same way in the shower.

LaKisha Jones sang I Believe – LaKisha is in trouble. First a Carrie Underwood song, and now a Fantasia song and Paula thought Fantasia did it better. Again, she can imitate, but can she originate like the others. By that I mean can she put her own stamp on the song. Last season McPhee did Barbara Streisand and Michael Bolton one better when she sang Since I Fell for You

Phil Stacey sang The Change – Phil has a very good voice and I can see him doing a lot of country. Not in the top three.

Jordin Sparks sang You’ll Never Walk Alone – The judges think this song was the best performance in six seasons. It was very good, BUT the judges have a short memory. Clarkson sang many great songs, including A Moment Like This. Then there was Fantasia version of Summertime and McPhee in Somewhere over the Rainbow, and don’t forget Jennifer Hudson.

BOTTOM THREE: Blake Lewis, LaKisha Jones and Phil Stacey!

American Idol AI Melinda Doolittle Lakisha Jones Chris Richardson Phil Stacey Jordin Sparks Blake Lewis Mover Mike

Update:


Bond Holders Bitten

This from Bank Net360

Bond investors stand to lose as much as $75 billion on securities comprised of nonprime mortgages, according to Pacific Investment Management Co.Newport Beach, Calif.-based Pacific manages one of the world’s biggest bond funds, with more than $600 billion of assets.

Investors are situated to take the brunt of asset-backed losses connected with the nonprime market, because they have replaced banks and thrifts as the primary source of funding for U.S. mortgages.

In Riverside County, California, a tripling of foreclosures has led to a steep drop in the value of bonds sold by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. securities firm.

Sold in Jan. 2006, the bonds used Riverside loans as collateral. Some of the lowest-rated portions of the securities now trade at $0.63 on the dollar, down from more than 100 cents in October, according to data compiled by Merrill Lynch.

Ouch! That’s going to leave a scar.

nonprime mortgages subprime mortgages
Mover Mike

Ancient Rainforest Rises Again

One of Earth’s first rainforests has been found in an Illinois coal mine, where an earthquake entombed it 300 million years ago. At 10 square kilometers–roughly three times the size of New York City’s Central Park–the discovery represents the largest swath of fossil forest ever seen.[…]

The trees lived during a global warming period that eventually melted ice caps and reshaped coastlines. Researchers think that a massive die-off of the telephone-polelike lycopsid trees, certain fern species, and some marine creatures occurred around the same time.

Did you see that rain forest? And right in the middle of what has become the state of Illinois during global warming 300 million years ago. Are there any rain forests in Illinois today? Are conditions ripe for a tropical rain forest anywhere in the U.S. today? Was there a race of people driving cars and spewing CO2 300 million years ago? Then, what caused the global warming? Could it be a natural ebb and flow of the planet Earth?

GlobalWarming Ancient Rainforest Global Warming Hoax Mover Mike

Quake in Drain, OR

map 1.3 2007/04/23 15:05:56 43.658N 123.234W 28.9 7 km ( 4 mi) E of Drain, OR

Unfunded Pension Liabilities

When it comes to unfunded pension liabilities, Forbes has the top five states as: California at $70 billion, New Jersey at $60 billion, New York at $54 billion, Texas at $26.8 billion and North Carolina at $23.8 billion.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs says she won’t follow a new national accounting standard that requires states and cities to disclose the estimated costs of benefits promised to retired workers, such as health care and life insurance.[…]

Disclosing its future costs may force Texas to raise taxes, increase borrowing, sell assets or cut programs to come up with the money. Refusing to recognize them may jeopardize the ratings on $22 billion of outstanding bonds and prompt investors to demand higher yields when they lend to the state.

Oregon may have an unfunded pension liability as well. John Radford, State Controller, Oregon Department of Administrative Services writes

the state will receive the results from an actuary study around mid April of 2007

Several things popped out at me from the article in Bloomberg: if it isn’t reported officials don’t have to do anything about the problem; Managers who purchase bonds for mutual funds or hedge funds have a need to know; your pension benefits, unless in a defined plan, are only promises and Combs says The state has no legal obligation to provide such benefits; if the voters find out the real costs, they may refuse to vote for taxes to cover unfunded pension liabilities and thus benefits would be reduced; finally,

actuaries have told us it’s nearly impossible to calculate numbers 30 years into the future

The NewsRegister reported

Oregon pension fund, battered by investment losses during the recession, once had a long-term deficit projected at $17 billion.

Because of the strong economy that deficit was reduced to $1.7 billion, so you can see the problem with estimates, but to refuse to disclose is a whole different issue.

unfunded pension liabilities Texas Comptroller Susan Combs SusanCombs John Radford, State Controller Mover Mike

Virginia Tech Jeff Soriano Dies

Reminds me of the movie “Final Destination”:

A Virginia Tech freshman who returned home with his family after last week’s campus massacre was killed in a car crash, his father said Sunday.

[…]

(Jeff) Soriano’s vehicle flipped several times and struck a tree before coming to a rest, investigators said. The cause of the crash was not known.

Virginia Tech Jeff Soriano Mover Mike

Two Sixes on 4/21/2007

MAP 6.2 2007/04/21 17:53:47 -45.266 -72.496 38.1 AISEN, CHILE

MAP 6.3 2007/04/21 07:12:47 -3.550 151.311 401.5 NEW IRELAND REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

“What’s wrong with Socialism?”

How do you answer the question my friends asked, “What’s wrong with Socialism?” I don’t have a canned elevator spiel on the problems, but I was reminded of the question today. I received am email from NewsMax.com with the headline of a story: Ethanol Boom Could Boost US Natural Gas Prices. I have posted about ethanol before, here, and I was interested in the subject.

You will recall that the meddling began as the government “offered farmers millions of dollars in incentives to produce the fuel in an attempt to cut imports of foreign oil.” Interfering in the market is where the problems began. Besides the inefficiencies of ethanol in our cars, using corn began to have an effect on corn prices as we consumed food for fuel. Higher prices for corn are great for farmers, but already Mexican peasents are feeling the price impact on corn prices for corn-based foods.The article states that “farmers this year are planning to plant a bumper crop of corn, possibly the most since World War II. Corn fields consume large amounts of fertilizer, the ammonia of which comes from natural gas.” In addition, 78 ethanol plants are under construction and seven undergoing expansion. “If all the new plants and expansions come on line, total capacity will be above 12 billion gallons per year, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

Up to 95 percent of U.S. ethanol plants use natural gas boilers

So now the government’s meddling has created two new demands for natural gas and demand causes the price to go up if supply is limited. Which it is. Here’s a chart of Natural Gas (see chart). You can see that the price has been contained under $8.00 for most of 2006 and 2007. It appears to me that it is getting ready to move back to the $10.00-$12.00 area. Here are some of the uses for Natural Gas:

Furnaces

Pool and Spa Heaters

Clothes Dryers

Outdoor Lights

Barbecues

Water Heaters

Stoves/Ranges

Fireplace Logs

Patio Heaters and Fire Pits

When winter comes and the poor can’t pay for the higher prices of natural gas, who do you suppose is going to pick up the tab?

Here’s another problem, production of natural gas peaked in 1970, despite higher prices and increased drilling:

The six largest countries in order of Proved reserves
(trillion cu ft)of Natural Gas are

  1. Russia 1,680
    Iran 971
    Qatar 911
    Saudi Arabia 241
    United Arab Emirates 214
    United States 193

Seems to me the end result is heavier demand and greater reliance on the very countries that we swore we would cut imports of foreign oil.

Socialists turn to government to solve short term problems and don’t bother to think of the long term consequences. What happens if corn-based products go up in price? Socialists want to step in and subsidize or tax or resort to price controls.

Ethanol is a boondoggle. It is bad for the environment, bad for our cars and bad for our pocketbooks. If the government would stay the hell out, we would see higher prices for oil and gas which in turn would inspire creative solutions, like Zero Point Energy applications. More on that later.

Socialism Natural Gas
Ethanol
Corn
fertilizer
Mover Mike

Kings Fire Musselman

Eric Musselman was fired as Kings coach Friday after one season on the job

Tell me again why Adelman was fired!

Update:My friend Michael Hall writes:

Well, Rick had a great, almost old school, beautiful to watch, cutting and passing attack with good shooters, role players and other sharp and brilliant elements, along with a smart, hustle defense; this instead of a one-on-one, everybody else stand around and watch while one guy dribbles and tries to post up and/or dunk or draw a foul or crank up a long one when time is running out offense and a let the other guys do it, “I’m a Star” defense. That’s about it in a nutshell. Cya


Rooting for a blond sociopath

Just once I would like the sociopath get the order of the killing wrong!

A NASA contract worker took a handgun inside an office building Friday at the Johnson Space Center and fatally shot a hostage before killing himself

Update:


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