Monday, January 25, 2016

Slow Saturday Special: Dumb Idea Floated in Davos

See: Change of Climate in Davos

It's where all the good citizens are:

"Citizens Financial Group Inc., ending its first year as an independent bank, on Friday reported a jump in fourth-quarter profit but a slight decline in overall earnings for all of 2015. The Providence-based bank, spun off from the Royal Bank of Scotland PLC last year, reported fourth-quarter profit of $221 million. Investors, however, were not as impressed. Citizens stock lost 55 cents a share to close at $20.78."

"The high tech of low carbon" by David Abel Globe Staff  January 23, 2016

Some MIT professors are researching nuclear power plants that can float in the ocean.

Do I even need to comment on the craziness? 

I'd rather have the global warming and climate change.

Others are testing atom-sized solar cells that can coat skyscraper windows or smartphone screens. And still others are looking at how to mix algae with sunlight to make a reliable, clean fuel.

Policy makers, scientists, and many others are banking on technological breakthroughs in the wake of an agreement last month by 195 nations to cut carbon emissions — a landmark effort to slow the rise of global temperatures.

That's so weak.

But the Paris climate agreement has no enforcement method.

So researchers at colleges and universities across the country — including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — are looking at a range of ways to combat climate change and to reduce the costs of current energy sources.

Have you checked the oil markets lately?

History says we can invent our way out of this, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Robert Armstrong, a professor of chemical engineering who is the director of the MIT Energy Initiative.

The HUBRIS coming from that place while literally gag you!

For example, Jacopo Buongiorno, a professor of nuclear science and engineering who serves as director of the Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems at MIT, envisions a future for nuclear powerat sea. 

It's getting to be time to cast the elite of this planet loose on the high seas.

The regulatory challenges may be too great in the United States, where the number of nuclear plants has declined in recent years, but he has been working on building a plant that could be moved around the world, depending on where market conditions were favorable.

Just avoid the storms and hurricanes, 'kay?

His design for a nuclear plant that could be moored at sea, like an oil rig, would cost about one-third less than a conventional plant and take about half the time to build, he said. 

Oh, that's good. It's not like anything ever happens to oil rigs or anything.

Other advantages include that it wouldn’t be in anyone’s backyard, minimizing siting issues, and its reactor would be submerged, reducing the risks of a meltdown.

No, it would be in all our backyards. 

At least the reactor would be safe under the ocean. 

I mean, there are never earthquakes down there.

“We need nuclear — big time,” Buongiorno said. “Renewables are not as easily scalable as nuclear, and they’re intermittent. With nuclear, you get the energy when you need it. This is very doable.”

So what other ideas do they have?

Professor Yet-Ming Chiang, a professor of materials science and engineering who cofounded the companies A123 Systems and 24M, has spent years studying how to make batteries cheaper and last longer. He’s now seeking to cut in half the costs of the kind of lithium-ion batteries that power cutting-edge electric cars made by Tesla. He’s also looking at building batteries for electrical grids that can store energy from wind turbines or solar farms, so it can be distributed when needed.

Jeffrey Grossman, another professor of materials science and engineering, is working on making solar panels as much as 100 times thinner than those today, allowing them to be used in glass or paint, so they can charge electronic devices, buildings, and much more.

He’s also researching how to store energy in the form of heat.

“We’ve demonstrated these technologies are possible, but we don’t know yet how to manufacture them at a large scale,” he said. “We need to be trying a lot of things, in parallel with one another. We have many more ideas than we have the funds.”

Meanwhile, MIT is embarking on an unprecedented program to accelerate progress on low-carbon energy technologies. In the coming months, MIT plans to launch eight “energy centers” on campus that will seek more than $300 million in research funding over the next five years from companies, foundations, and other sources. 

I often get the feeling that the elite have completely dismissed us and are simply talking to themselves these days.

The centers, announced last fall as part of a “plan for action” to curb carbon emissions, aim to further research and ultimately commercialize new technologies in the areas of solar energy, nuclear energy, energy storage, energy bioscience, electrical grids, nuclear fusion, materials science, and the capture and use of carbon.

Spurred by criticism from student groups about its investments and relationships with fossil fuel companies, MIT’s plan cites the “overwhelming” scientific evidence of climate change and the “risk of catastrophic outcomes” if emissions aren’t reduced. 

I'd rather have emissions than floating nuclear plants. 

What if terrorists attack and occupy one?

“Given the scale of the risks, the world needs an aggressive but pragmatic transition plan to achieve a zero-carbon global energy system,” the authors of the report wrote.

At least your are seeing what the New World Order goals are for after you and I are gone, readers.

In addition to the centers, MIT promised to devote $5 million to its Environmental Solutions Initiative, hold a competition among alumni for new ideas, and deepen research on new technologies for utilities, cities, and ground and air transportation.

University officials also pledged to eliminate the use of oil as a fuel by 2019, and expand its educational offerings on climate issues, including the creation of an environment and sustainability degree.

But some students argue that the university should be doing more, including divesting from some 200 fossil fuel companies.

I'm sure I could go find protest links that would prove my point regarding the agenda-pushing controlled opposition, but that would take up too much of my valuable time. 

MIT continues to invest its $13.5 billion endowment in companies such as ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and Shell.

“The plan is insufficient — incommensurate with limiting warming,” said Geoffrey Supran, a PhD candidate and leader of Fossil Free MIT, which has held a sit-in outside the president’s office since October. “But it’s a start, and we’re doing everything we can to work with our administration to make it stronger. Nothing less than science and our futures are at stake.”

Are they mocking us?

MIT’s plans are part of a broader international effort to increase research and development on energy.

As part of the Paris climate accord, the United States and 19 other countries vowed to double their budgets on clean energy.

The United States pledged to increase its investments to $10 billion over the next five years.

Related: Feeling Flinty Friday 

And it's not just about Flint.

In a statement accompanying the agreement, Obama administration officials said investments and other policies over the past seven years have helped reduce the price of wind projects by more than 40 percent, solar photovoltaic modules by 80 percent, and LED lighting by nearly 90 percent.

The United States now generates three times as much wind energy and 20 times more solar power than it did in 2008, they said.

Who said? 

The lying Obama administration? 


Another global effort called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition involves recent pledges by 20 billionaires, including American tech magnates Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg, to invest in new clean energy projects and help commercialize them.

So they can make more money. 

Good to know our futures -- and the past forty years -- have been in the hands of noble people like them, huh?

“Our primary goal with the coalition is as much to accelerate progress on clean energy as it is to make a profit,” Gates wrote on his website, noting that global energy use is expected to increase some 50 percent by the middle of the century.

Yeah, Bill "Endgame" Gates, great.


I'd say it would be a miracle, but...

"FOR A town whose first claim to fame was as a place where people went to die — it was known for years for its tuberculosis sanatoriums — the Swiss mountain town of Davos can be a surprisingly optimistic place. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, which I’ve been privileged to attend for nearly 20 years, works on the seemingly crazy assumption that if you gather world leaders from business, government, and civil society, and stick them in a remote mountain valley for a few days, they will engage in dialogue that makes the world a better place. And, actually, they often do. This year, the conceit was sorely tested. Still, with that background looming like the mountains of the Graubunden do over Davos, it’s worth remembering that we live in an age of miracles. The great news is that we know how to keep the miracles coming." 

OMG, they are MIRACLE WORKERS over there! 

Not only is the conceit and arrogance of the gods of the universe sickening, but it really scares you regarding what is upcoming for the year 2016! 

At least they are looking out for your health, right?

"Should companies publicly report employees’ weight and stress levels?" by Ike Swetlitz, January 22, 2016

Do you know how stressed Merck employees are? How about the average body mass index of workers at IBM?

Let's see:

"Researchers calculated the body mass index - a standard measurement of size.... There is growing debate about the accuracy of the standard method of calculating whether someone is overweight.... the system would put nearly half of NBA players in the overweight category"

Another bogus measurement from the government?

Soon, you might.

Several giants of global industry, including Novo Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo, on Friday joined forces with nonprofit health advocacy groups to call for businesses large and small to publish information about the health of their employees.

Makes me feel better. How about you?

The goal: To give executives, investors, and directors a window into the durability of a valuable corporate asset — the workforce.


You are now an ASSET!

Sadly, many companies have a better sense of the wear on their machinery than the health of their employees,” said Derek Yach, chief health officer of The Vitality Group, which designs employee wellness programs and helped organize the initiative, unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

(Blog editor just shakes his head; so how are the buffets over there anyway?)

Just what data, exactly, companies might collect and publish remains unclear.

Yach suggested measures such as changes in employees’ body mass index or anxiety levels. Or how many start, or stop, smoking. The information, he said, would be reported in aggregate, not for individuals. 

But the individual information would be collected.

Eileen McNeely, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who worked on the program, said companies might also measure and report broader metrics, such as whether employees are “socially connected” or “full of purpose.”

WTF does that mean?

She called it the next step in a decades-long effort to encourage companies to be more transparent about their impact on the world outside their bottom line. So far, such disclosures have mostly focused on environmental impact.

To improve the bottom line, of course.

“This report is calling for health and well-being to be as central to these nonfinancial disclosures as carbon emissions and waste and water utilization,” McNeely said.

One of the smaller companies participating in the initiative, Allegacy Federal Credit Union of North Carolina, already publishes a three-page “corporate health metrics report” that rates the company on categories ranging from “leadership” to “health status” to “environment.”

World, Inc.

Garrick Throckmorton, an assistant vice president at the credit union, said Allegacy has no plans to report “specifically on the literal health of an employee or an employee group.”

But other companies are doing just that — among them, Discovery Ltd., a South Africa-based financial services organization that signed on to the initiative. (The Vitality Group, which is organizing the campaign, is a member of the Discovery organization.)

In a report last year, Discovery noted that the proportion of overweight employees — those deemed “at risk” due to high body mass index — rose from 58 percent to 60 percent.

As Donald Trump would have said, "You're fired!

"On the plus side, employees lost a collective 210 inches from their waist circumference. The Discovery report also details results from the company’s “10 Ton Challenge,” listing which departments lost the most weight.

Publishing such information could spur discrimination against employees who have trouble keeping up with the pack, said James Zervios, a vice president at the Obesity Action Coalition.

“It does inadvertently put a target on employees’s backs who are dealing with obesity,” he said.

It's one of the unspoken forms of discrimination in our society, but the masters would rather you argue over gender and race (speaking of which, that's who will likely replace you -- as long as they are women).

“If you want to talk about how many times a machine broke down last year, I can understand that,” Zervios said. But people, he said, don’t belong in that category of asset. “At the end of the day, these are human beings. We all have families, we all have lives, we all have problems,” he said. 

It doesn't look like the elite feel that way.

Yach said he is confident that existing laws are strong enough to prevent companies from firing employees for being unhealthy.

I'm glad he is and doesn't have to worry. 

That's where the print copy ended.

And he and others involved with the initiative said holding companies accountable for their employees’ health is important — not just for the workers, but for stockholders

What did I say above! 


They point to a study recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which found that several companies that had won an award for wellness programs outperformed the S&P 500. 


It's about the STOCK PRICE!

It’s important to note, however, that the awards only honored companies with good programs; it wasn’t an award for the healthiest employees. And there’s no proof that the financial gains had anything at all to do with employee weight or mental health. But Yach said he was convinced that it was “more than a pure chance finding.”

Furthermore, he said, employee health data might be useful to investors.

STAT contacted more than a dozen investors to see if they, in fact, wanted such information. Only the Tennessee Department of Treasury responded to specific questions.

Their response? “We really do not have an opinion on this novel information.”


So where do you want to eat?

"Boston College student sues Chipotle over sickness" by Felice J. Freyer Globe Staff  January 22, 2016

Bill Marler, the Seattle food-safety lawyer representing both plaintiffs, said he has 13 clients who are Boston College students affected by the outbreak.

Marler told the Globe in an e-mail that he is working with Chipotle to settle all the cases out of court. And Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold wrote that the company aims “to take care of customers who have been impacted by incidents like this.”

They are hoping the corporate sabotage for going GMO-free will be cleaned up by this.

Andrea C. Dow, mother of Alexander Keough, a Brookline teen who got sick after eating at the restaurant, and the local counsel in both suits, said, “This isn’t about the money. It’s really about seeing some positive change with the restaurant. . . . Sometimes, this is the best way to get a company’s attention.”

I believe that. It's about destroying a business, and I'm sure you have their attention.

Dow said she hopes Chipotle stays in business, because she believes its food is healthier than what other fast-food restaurants offer, and her sons love it. As for the son who got sick, she said, he still hasn’t worked up the courage to go back to Chipotle, but she believes he will eventually. “He doesn’t hold a grudge,” Dow said....

Then what is with the suit?


Maybe we should head over to the bar, although it looks like they are crying in their beers because of the game

Speaking of games:

Mexico president to accelerate extradition of drug lord

Next stop, Penn Station:

"Mexico probes possible money tie between actress, drug boss" Associated Press  January 19, 2016

MEXICO CITY — There are indications that drug lord Joaquin ‘‘El Chapo’’ Guzman had business dealings with actress Kate del Castillo, who arranged a meeting between the drug boss and actor Sean Penn, Mexico’s attorney general said in an interview published Tuesday.

Arely Gomez told the newspaper El Universal that officials are investigating possible money laundering involving the actress’ tequila business. But she said they don’t have ‘‘legal certainty’’ a crime was committed.

Del Castillo arranged Penn’s Oct. 2 interview with Guzman, which was published by Rolling Stone magazine on Jan. 9, a day after the fugitive Guzman was recaptured.

Gomez said officials want to question del Castillo, possibly at a Mexican consulate in the United States, where she lives.

‘‘We have an investigation in the tequila case,’’ Gomez said, adding that information leads officials to believe the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel gave funds to that business.

That the same Sinaloa cartel the U.S. government protected?

Gomez said Penn wasn’t under investigation for any crime.

Del Castillo hasn’t replied to requests for comment. On Twitter, she said last week that many people are making up ‘‘items they think will make good stories.’’

It's called a newspaper. You got a problem with that?

Authorities say the meeting between Penn, del Castillo, and Guzman helped them locate the drug lord, though he managed to escape capture at that time.

Three months later, Mexican marines raided a safe house in the city of Los Mochis and Guzman was arrested after fleeing through a storm sewer.

Guzman is being held in the same maximum security prison he escaped from through a mile-long tunnel in July.

Gomez said authorities are also investigating del Castillo’s spending for the trip to meet Guzman.

‘‘We have to make sure who provided the airplane, who paid for it, all of the logistics of the trip,’’ Gomez said.

Guzman is facing extradition to the United States. Gomez said Mexico had decided to extradite Guzman, though other officials have said the process could take months.

To keep him quiet about his connections to U.S. government agencies!


At least there is a Couch in his cell:

"Lawyer says ‘affluenza’ teen may be in Mexico against his will" by Emily Schmall Associated Press  January 19, 2016

FORT WORTH, Texas — Lawyers in the U.S. for a Texas teenager known for using an ‘‘affluenza’’ defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck said Tuesday that the 18-year-old is dropping his deportation fight in Mexico as they investigate whether he willingly fled the country.

Authorities allege that Ethan Couch and his mother fled to Mexico in December, as Texas prosecutors investigated whether he may have violated his probation in the 2013 drunken-driving accident that killed four people. His mother was quickly deported after both were caught last month in Puerto Vallarta, but Couch won a delay based on a constitutional appeal that normally leads to a lengthy trial process.

Couch’s lawyer in the U.S., Scott Brown, said ‘‘documents have been filed to release the injunction’’ that objected to the Couch’s return to the U.S., but he did not say how long the process would take. Immigration and federal courts system officials in Mexico said that they don’t have any information indicating Couch has agreed to drop his deportation fight.

Couch’s attorney in Mexico didn’t return messages. U.S. Marshals spokesman Trent Touchstone says he has no information about the status of Couch’s deportation fight.

Brown also said that whether his client ‘‘was voluntarily or involuntarily taken to Mexico is something that is still being investigated.’’ Attorneys for Couch’s mother, Tonya Couch, who is charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon, declined comment Tuesday. The 48-year-old was released on bond last week in Texas.

Brown made the comments after a brief hearing Tuesday in juvenile court that was scheduled to determine whether Couch, who remains in a Mexico City detention facility, violated his probation and if the case should be transferred to adult court. But the judge cut the hearing short after Couch’s attorneys said his parents weren’t properly notified. Another hearing was set for Feb. 19.

The drunken-driving case drew widespread derision after an expert called by Couch’s lawyers argued he had been coddled into a sense of irresponsibility by his wealthy parents, a condition the expert called ‘‘affluenza.’’ The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association.

Investigators said Couch was driving at three times the legal intoxication limit for adults when he crashed a pickup truck into a crowd of people trying to help a stranded motorist. A juvenile court judge sentenced Couch, who was 16 at the time of the crash, to 10 years’ probation, outraging prosecutors who wanted him to face detention time.


Time to get up off the couch, I resolve, as I toss this at you:

"As Mexican frustrations rise, so does number of lynchings" by Azam Ahmed and Paulina Villegas New York Times  January 23, 2016

AJALPAN, Mexico — The lynching began around 7:20 p.m., not long after the brothers had finished conducting their final interviews on tortilla consumption.

Why did Davos just come to mind?

Residents confronted them, mistaking the pair for kidnappers. Police confirmed that the men were, in fact, pollsters for a marketing company and whisked them to safety. Irate residents rang the church bells in the town square anyway, summoning hundreds.

The mob then stormed the arched doorways of the government center, set fire to its library and snatched the brothers from the police. Finally, a man in a motorcycle helmet calmly walked into the center of the frenzied crowd, doused the semiconscious brothers with gasoline and lit a match.

A grisly cellphone video of the episode played for days on local news media this fall, eliciting condemnation and hand-wringing.

First I've seen of it as far as I can remember.

Officials blamed the crowd and rumors that kidnappers were taking children off the streets. One local official suggested that it was the opposition party making trouble.

But the people of Ajalpan had another explanation: Tired of government corruption and indifference, the mob fashioned its own justice, part of a long-standing problem that Mexican officials say is on the rise.

The way the elite are running this place, it may well come to that.

The killings raise difficult questions for Mexico, highlighting an alarming development: By some accounts, there were more public lynchings this past year than at any other time in more than a quarter-century.

  I can $ee where the pre$$ would be concerned.

There were at least 78 lynchings last year in Mexico, more than double the number the previous year, according to data collected by Raúl Rodríguez Guillén, a professor and an author of the book “Mexico Lynchings, 1988-2014.”

The mob actions were born of a sense of hopelessness and impotence shared by many in Mexico, where 98 percent of murders go unsolved and the state is virtually absent in some areas. By some estimates, just 12 percent of crimes are even reported in Mexico, largely because of a lack of faith that justice will ever be served.

Such a void, taken to extremes, has found its resolution in violence.

“There is a crisis in terms of the growth of violence and crime and a parallel erosion of authority and the rule of law,” Guillén said. “These lynchings acquire a double meaning. People lynch both the suspect and the symbol of authority.”

As if governments obeyed their own laws!

Interviews with dozens of residents about the lynching of the brothers — David and José Abraham Copado Molina — revealed little remorse. In the end, the fear that two suspects might be escaping with the help of the police outweighed concerns over spilling innocent blood.

“If they were innocent, and I’m not saying they were, then this is a case of one group paying for the crimes of another,” said Emanuel Petla, 33, near where the lynching took place in October. “What happened the day of the lynchings is a situation that has been unraveling for some time now.”

“One thing led to the other,” he added. “Insecurity, frustration, confusion and weariness.”

On the day they died, the brothers had arrived in Ajalpan around 9 a.m. They had come to this town of about 60,000 people for the firm Marketing Research and Services, polling residents about tortilla consumption by children. Often their work was like this, asking basic questions of populations on behalf of businesses collecting market data.

Though the job was standard enough, the context was not. The town was swirling in a tempest of fear. In the days before the pair arrived, social media brimmed with warnings about child abductions and admonitions to be on the lookout for strangers.

Just a few hours after the Copado brothers arrived, word began to spread about the two, dressed in slacks and collared shirts, carrying shoulder bags. By evening, a group of townspeople approached the pair outside a store.

The crowd demanded to know why they were asking about children. The brothers explained and produced identification. But the residents grew more aggressive, witnesses said, until the police arrived and took the brothers away.

The police are not a source of confidence here. 

Well, that is something we have in common with Mexicans!

Nearly every resident interviewed recalled an episode a year earlier, when a man had been caught stealing money from a church collection plate and the police had released him. Villagers tried then to lynch the man, but he escaped.

So when the police announced that the brothers were innocent, few believed them. Someone claimed there was a girl who could testify, a child who had been sexually assaulted.

The girl was ushered into the precinct, where she encountered the two brothers, shaking with fear. But she did not recognize them, officials said.

“She said she had never seen them,” said Enrique Bravo, the police officer on duty.

Her testimony did not save them.

The crowd had doubled by this time, their angry chants audible inside the station. The police shut the brothers in a small 8-foot-by-7-foot room. Guards were placed at the door.

Someone began ringing the town church bells, a call to arms. Hundreds more flooded the square, and a game of telephone ensued.

Roberto Hernández, 24, said he heard that the brothers had already confessed. Miguel Hernández, an ice cream vendor, recalled his neighbors yelling, “Come join us, we are going to get the robbers!”

After the mob punched its way into the building, members broke open the cell, grabbed the brothers and dragged them into the plaza.

Afterward, the crowd looted the building, setting fire to the adult education center and the post office.

In the days after, a small shrine was erected in the parking lot, directly over the chalky residue where the brothers were immolated.

A horrible way to die.

Some mourned what the lynching had done to their town.

“We have such culture and tradition here, our food, our crafts,” Juan Guzmán, the deputy mayor, said. “But now we are known for this.”

For others, the reputation was not such a bad thing. Some residents reckoned it would be a long time before another thief or would-be kidnapper turned up in town.

“It has an effect,” Donardo Andrade, 27, said.

So would jailing or executing a few banker looters and war criminal leaders.


Also seeStaying Warm This Winter

Let me turn up the thermostat:

"Lower oil prices — they aren’t good for everyone" by Jay Fitzgerald Globe Correspondent  January 23, 2016

42 energy firms filed for bankruptcy last year in the United States and Canada as energy firms have laid off tens of thousands of workers while leaving behind at least $17 billion in unpaid loans.

Locally, Global Partners LP, an energy transportation, storage, and distribution company is hurting like other publicly traded companies in the energy sector. Global Partners, a Fortune 500 firm, grew quickly as shale oil production boomed in North Dakota and crude needed to be shipped to ports and refineries. It also invested heavily in building a network of rail-loading facilities, storage and barge terminals, and retail gasoline stations.

Global Partners’ stock fell below $16 a share at one point last week, down from its 52-week high of $42.74. The company recently reported that third-quarter revenue last year plunged to $2.5 billion from $4 billion in 2014, a drop of nearly 40 percent.

A spokesman for Global Partners did not respond to requests for comment. But company officials in earnings calls blamed deteriorating conditions in the oil industry.

Rich Hendrick, general manager of the Port of Albany in New York, where Global Partners owns a large rail, port, and storage terminal, doesn’t need financial reports to see that business is slowing for Global Partners and other energy firms.

Global Partners was “shipping oil by barge [down the Hudson River] at about one per day,” Hendrick said, “but now it’s down to about a barge every other day.”

Banks take a hit

Still making record profits, but....

A lot of that expensive drilling equipment that opened oil reserves trapped in shale rock formations needed financing, and many of the nation’s largest banks find themselves exposed to billions of dollars in losses from loans they made to energy companies.



Wells Fargo & Co. of San Francisco has set aside about $1.1 billion to cover potential loan losses. JPMorgan Chase & Co. of New York has said energy loan losses could top $750 million. Citigroup Inc. has set aside $300 million to cover potential losses in its energy lending.

Bank of America, one of the largest banks in the country and the largest in Massachusetts, has set aside reserves of $500 million to cover potential losses from the plunge in oil prices. In all, Bank of America has about $8.3 billion in “higher risk” loans to oil exploration and production companies, of which about 35 percent are considered especially at risk of default. 

Do those numbers add up?

These “higher risk” energy loans represent less than 1 percent of Bank of America’s outstanding loans, but it and other banks are still on guard. Investors, too.

On the other hand . . .

Transportation companies, from major airlines to trucking firms, have benefited, and fueling auto sales are falling gasoline prices that have contributed to soaring auto sales and brought gas-guzzling SUVs back in vogue. Motorists are also big winners....

Between that and NASCAR, I'm going to pull over regarding the climate change crap.


Yes, “lower oil prices remain a net plus for most people.” 

That's why they need a TAX on CARBON!

RelatedAs stocks fall, what should investors do?

Look to the central banks, of course:

"The world’s central banks are under pressure to do something about slumping economies and panicky stock markets. The question is, can — or will — they do much that would help? So far, the global economy has benefited modestly at best from the cures central banks have offered. Some analysts argue that central banks can’t do much more. They’ve already cut short-term rates to record lows and made massive bond purchases to reduce long-term borrowing rates." 

They say “everything is going south.” 

‘Citizen scientists’ use drones to map El Nino flooding

You've registered them with the government, right?

Alaska jolted by magnitude-7.1 quake

Was it an underseas quake?

Ice fishermen rescued from frigid Andover pond

The whole global warming argument is on thin ice these days.

For many in Mass., day after snowfall was easy sledding

This was not:

East Coast officials report at least 17 storm-related deaths" by Seth Borenstein and Jennifer Peltz Associated Press

Then why is the byline by Verena Dobnik and Ben Nuckols, and why did the Globe quickly shovel that?

"A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill Saturday, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow, stranding tens of thousands of travelers and shutting down the nation's capital and its largest city. After days of weather warnings, most of the 80 million people in the storm's path heeded requests to stay home and off the roads, which were largely deserted. Yet at least 18 deaths were blamed on the weather, resulting from car crashes, shoveling snow and hypothermia. And more snow was to come, with dangerous conditions expected to persist until early Sunday, forecasters warned. "This is going to be one of those generational events," Ryan Maue, a meteorologist for WeatherBell Analytics, said from Tallahassee, Florida, which also saw some flakes."

It snowed in Florida as the public mind is seared by another generational event?

That's enough to get me hot.

"At least 29 deaths from the Gulf Coast to New England were blamed on the mammoth blizzard that set snowfall records, with officials saying shoveling snow and breathing carbon monoxide claimed more lives than car crashes."

Now I'm hyperventilating and need to stop blogging. 

Have a good day, or a healthy one at least.


Experts At Davos Say Weaponized Artificial Intelligence Robots Are Dangerous

Iran, Saudi Arabia "Clash" Over Syria At "Secret", Closed-Door Meeting In Davos

The Davos Blind Eye: How the Rich Eat the Poor and the World


East Coast commuters dodge mounds of snow to get to work

Where's the kid?

Cold snap hits east Asia, blamed for more than 65 deaths

Don't worry; I'm sure 2016 will be the hottest year ever (pffft).

Oil slumps again, and so do stocks

Sprint said to cut 2,500 jobs, 7 percent of staff to lower costs 

Sprint is $lowing down?

Former Disney employees say layoffs were illegal

Companies using temporary H-1B visas to bring in immigrant workers, knowing that Americans would be displaced from their jobs and had to train replacements as a condition of their severance. 

H1-B Hijacking

And that was three years ago!

"Jay Ellis, an investment fund founder, may be the only person in Texas giddy about collapsing oil prices. He sees it as an opportunity to buy another crucial asset: ranchland. “Right now, you’re seeing the first signs of panic,” said Ellis, who started Sporting Ranch Capital, based in Dallas. In 2012, the group, backed by Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, opened its first private equity fund to buy and restore ranch property throughout the West. Now, Ellis is raising a $100 million, Texas-only ranch fund, aimed at scooping up $15 million to $25 million “trophy ranches” from owners who want to sell quickly and quietly. In Texas, where wealth is measured not in dollars but in acres, land prices have for decades followed the price of oil. Now, after the collapse of oil prices, Ellis is wagering that this link between land and oil will create opportunities to buy premium ranches at 2008 and 2009 prices, or about a 25 percent discount."

Ex-prosecutor to spearhead investigation into Flint water

Judge denies order to stop Detroit teacher ‘sick-outs’

Struggling Sports Authority in talks with creditors

But it's been a decent holiday $ea$on and the economy is recovering. All the fudged figures extolled by mouthpiece pre$$ $ay $o.


‘Affluenza’ teenager arrives in Texas

Global Partners cuts dividends by a third

‘Affluenza’ teen’s case moved to adult court

Judge gives Texas ‘affluenza’ teen nearly 2 years in jail

He wants to become a banker.