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Friday, April 27, 2012


On the Lighter Side

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that all time great Al Green has resumed touring, though he regrets time away from his tabernacle where he is Reverend Al Green. The article went through his colorful past, starting out as the soul singing sex symbol, the scalding incident, the end of his partnership with Willie Mitchell, and the gospel period. In fact, Green's shows blend his soul pop with his gospel songs these days, and his fans (especially this one) delight in his still superior singing chops regardless of the idiom. One of my favorite and most cherished CD's is Al's Greatest Gospel Hits CD, favorite because it includes 17 amazing cuts, especially "Ocean Blue (I'll Rise Again)," "Straighten Out Your Life," "Your Heart's In Good Hands," and an amazing version of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." Cherished because this record is almost impossible to find, and generally is not included even on the internet juke boxes where you seem to be able to find just about anything you might want to hear. So if you run across this one, just buy it, whatever the price. And if Al's tour comes to your area, get your tickets early. Also on tour, and with a new record called Underwater Sunshine, is Counting Crows. This is a little surprising since front man and lyricist Adam Duritz felt he was creatively burnt out after the wonderful Saturday Night, Sunday Morning album. Yet, here he was back again, introducing the record (as is group custom) at New York's Roseland Ballroom on April 24. The show was an immediate sellout, and though I returned several times to StubHub hoping to score a ticket, what few tickets offered were not close to a reasonable price. The tour goes to Mashantucket, CT tomorrow night and Atlantic City Saturday before heading South. So I will be hoping for a Central Park show this summer, having fond memories of the one two years ago. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Spent the last couple of days lobbying in Albany, NY, nothing especially interesting about that, but I did hear a couple of good stories. Here's one: Three candidates for a CIA position are told that they will be given an assignment which they need to carry out to the letter to secure the position. Two of the candidates are males and one is a woman. The first man is given a gun, told to open a door and go into a room where he will find a person whom he must shoot. He takes the gun, goes into the room and finds his wife tied to a chair. Shocked, he quickly determines this is not for him, leaves the room, hands back the gun and gives up the job. The second man is also sent into a room with a gun, finds his wife and has the same reaction. Unable to carry out the assignment, he leaves. Finally the woman is given the same instructions. She enters the room sees her husband tied to the chair and closes the door behind her. Shots ring out, then the sounds of struggle, furniture hitting the walls, etc. She emerges disheveled, hands the gun to the interviewer and reports, "there were blanks in that gun, no bullets. I had to untie him and beat the son of a bitch to death with the chair." -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our last post moved a reader to comment on our generally negative view of the environmmental movement, wondering where we got the idea that many in the movement are motivated by a generally anti-corporate, anti - growth and anti- industrial philosophy as opposed to (or, at best, in addition to) genuine concerns about the health of the planet. I guess my answer would be from talking with them and reading their articles, letters, blogs, position papers, etc. Most seem to have very little knowledge about environmental subjects beyond the slogans and talking points they are provided with by the movement's "leaders." I pointed out that nuclear energy, which does not output carbon dioxide, methane, or mercury is still frustrated and opposed by so-called environmentalists, with the result that we are only now planning the building of the first plants in 30 years. I would also stipulate that it is dangerous to generalize about such things, since I am sure there are many sincere environmental scientists, just as there are many sincere skeptics. The reader also pointed out that the statistics we printed indicated that green energy solutions were yielding a few trillions in BTU's per year. But the point of the statistics was to show that this was a meaningless percentage of our total power output, and that even after all the subsidation of these power sources, they were nowhere in terms of replacing carbon based energy sources, and would not be anywhere for decades. So all in all, while I appreciate the comment, I am not tempted to moderate my position at all. Environmentalism is basically a religion for too many of its adherents, and they have faith in it to the extent that they too often ignore facts, statistics and the scientific method. And this was my most important point. Environmental concerns are and should be in the forefront of our thinking. Putting aside whether global warming is man made or not, our planet is in a warming trend. I choose to believe this is neither good nor bad, it just is, and we need to understand and deal with the implications of that. Environmentalists hurt their own movement and therefore all of us when they ignore the scientific method, belittle those who disagree with them (rather than discussing the merits and evidence of the arguments), and emphasize the politics instead of the science. Unfortunately, there is a lot of money riding on which studies get funded, which articles get published and so on. The whole controversy goes to credibility. That's why the e-mails that related to the academic interest in subverting global warming skeptics were so damaging to those who conspired to keep the skeptics' articles out of print and to discredit them. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Since we've been buying, the stock rally has lifted some of our new shares and that's a good thing. On 4/16, we bought 300 shares of Newpark Resources (NR), one of our Tulane portfolio stocks, for 7.39, a value buy. On 4/19, we added 100 shares of Harsco (HSC) to our IRA at 21.80, a zero buy. On 4/20, we bought 100 shares of SunTrust preferred (STI.PR.A) at 20.45. Monday, we were back at it, buying 100 shares of Flir Systems (FLIR) for 23.26. Wednesday, we added 50 more shares of Dupont (DD) at 53.27.

Funny you accuse environmentalist of following a religion and ignoring the facts, while you go on turning a blind eye to the impact of higher carbon levels in our atmosphere. Being skilled at debate does not equal having an accurate view of a situation. Your skill in this debate may well help to postpone honest efforts at improvement. Is that really something to take pride in? You are acting as part of the problem by facilating others denial that there is anything for us humans to do. In your professed view we should carry on as before and scoff at those that would encourage use of renewables like solar and wind power. I noticed you could not provide a response to the issue of the length of time the renewable technologies have had in comparison to how long we have been setting things on fire. Again your debate skills don't equal providing an accurate assessment. I own oil company stock myself, but I don't want my descendants to suffer for the sake of my portfolio. I think you are the one denying the scientific method and the data coming out of it. Yes you manage to throw some piss on some few scientists, by pointing to an isolated email incident, but that involved a very small portion of the scientists that see more carbon, in our atmosphere, as an issue. It is your blog so of course blog away, but don’t expect a free pass when you mock those that would have us take seriously what is serious.
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