Big Shocker

Oil companies see the world rationally; NPR does not.

In my first post on this subject on May 1 I contrasted the competing perspectives of NPR’s self-rightious chicken littleing everyone’s gotta conserve right now or we’re gonna die! regurgitation of Matthew Simmons to oil company analyst’s somewhat less exiting forecasts on oil prices.

Today the Seattle Times reveals that the Oil companies read on the situation was exactly right. Nearly the entire recent rise in oil prices was due to temporary factors that had little to do with available oil in the ground. The floor has fallen out of the oil market and it could be quite sometime before it stabilizes.

I know I-told-you-so’s are always annoying but someone needs to identify the endless streams of BS that media organizations with editorial proclivities like NPR pump out with what seems like impunity. Grasping at any novel idea that reinforces a desired policy (environmen…I mean sustainability in this case) like a fat kid plowing through a happy-meal isn’t anything close to responsible journalism.



My 3G ipod and cell phone are getting a little long in the tooth so I eagerly awaited today’s announcement from Steve Jobs to hear about what new revolutionary consumer electronics his flip-flop wearing elves would build next. I read numerous articles on digg and Slashdot that speculated that a widescreen IPOD with touchscreen interface and/or an apple cellphone would be announced. Instead he revealed that they shiney’d up the nano with some metallic appliqué, converted the stupid chewing gum form factor of the shuffle into a stupid matchbook form factor and somehow managed to figure out a way to make downloads of Disney movies available in sub VHS quality for $15. Where ever do they find the time?

Unfortunately Apple doesn’t seem to learn from its past mistakes. Until at least 1993 Apple had a superior product that dominated the market. For years they justifiably ridiculed the competition for even attempting to equal them. The problem is that eventually the competition succeeded and they never recovered. Now in the portable media player market they are similarly vulnerable. Already Toshiba has produced a media player that’s widely considered to be superior to anything apple has and Microsoft is on the verge of releasing a wide format media player and an increasing number of cellphones contain impressive media playback capabilities.

Steve, your serve has again been broken. Can we look forward to you flaking out, getting fired by the board and trying to start a company that makes ridiculously expensive and underperforming cube shaped cell phones that virtually no one but Earlham will purchase* only to come back in 2020 to save the day? That would be insanely great.

*Yeah, for some inexplicable reason someone at Earlham decided to buy NeXT workstations in the 90’s instead of the cheaper and much more powerful Suns like everyone else.


Pants Stuffer and Pals Grumpy

I think the uproar over the last week involving aspects of the upcoming ABC historical dramatization “Path to 9/11”, like the previous hullabaloo regarding CBS’ “The Reagans”, is completely absurd. In both cases critics latched onto less than flattering portrayals of events that transpired behind closed doors offering instead versions of events that reek of the best possible spin while remaining silent about all the potentially embarrassing situations that still are known only to those involved. Did Reagan sound like a bigoted codger in the Oval office when Nancy pleaded with him to fund AIDS research? Maybe not, but we do know that he dragged his feet in signing a bill authorizing funding to a degree that could be fairly interpreted as animus. It shouldn’t be a reasonable expectation that public officials, particularly those whose actions have the far reaching implications of say a president can have things both ways. While I’m certain the portrayals of Clinton officials are far from accurate their decisions, policies and their ultimate outcomes are very much a matter of public record. To claim that the Clinton administration took the threat of Muslim extremism with the seriousness it warranted just isn’t borne out by the clear increase in frequency and severity of attacks and the comparable inaction by the administration. If bad things happened during and because of a president’s term unflattering dramatizations should be the least of their concerns.

* January 25, 1993: Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani, fired an AK-47 into cars waiting at a stoplight in front of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Virginia, killing two CIA employees.
* February 26, 1993: Islamic terrorists try to bring down the World Trade Center with car bombs. They failed to destroy the buildings, but killed 6 and injured over 1000 people.
* March 12, 1993: Car bombings in Mumbai, India leave 257 dead and 1,400 others injured.
* July 18, 1994: Bombing of Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, kills 86 and wounds 300. The bombing is generally attributed to Hezbollah acting on behalf of Iran.
* July 19, 1994: Alas Chiricanas Flight 00901 is bombed, killing 21. Generally attributed to Hezbollah.
* July 26, 1994: The Israeli Embassy is attacked in London, and a Jewish charity is also car-bombed, wounding 20. The attacks are attributed to Hezbollah.
* December 11, 1994: A bomb explodes on board Philippine Airlines Flight 434, killing a Japanese businessman. It develops that Ramzi Yousef planted the bomb to test it for the larger terrorist attack he is planning.
* December 24, 1994: In a preview of September 11, Air France Flight 8969 is hijacked by Islamic terrorists who planned to crash the plane in Paris.
* January 6, 1995: Operation Bojinka, an Islamist plot to bomb 11 U.S. airliners over the Pacific Ocean, is discovered on a laptop computer in a Manila, Philippines apartment by authorities after a fire occurred in the apartment. Noted terrorists including Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed are involved in the plot.
* June 14—June 19, 1995: The Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis, in which 105 civilians and 25 Russian troops were killed following an attack by Chechan Islamists.
* July—October, 1995: Bombings in France by Islamic terrorists led by Khaled Kelkal kill eight and injure more than 100.
* November 13, 1995: Bombing of OPM-SANG building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills 7
* November 19, 1995: Bombing of Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan kills 19.
* January 1996: In Kizlyar, 350 Chechen Islamists took 3,000 hostages in a hospital. The attempt to free them killed 65 civilians and soldiers.
* February 25 - March 4, 1996: A series of four suicide bombings in Israel leave 60 dead and 284 wounded within 10 days.
* June 11, 1996: A bomb explodes on a train traveling on the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line of the Moscow Metro, killing four and unjuring at least 12.
* June 25, 1996: The Khobar Towers bombing, carried out by Hezbollah with Iranian support. Nineteen U.S. servicemen were killed and 372 wounded.
* February 24, 1997: An armed man opens fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire State Building in New York City, United States, killing a Danish national and wounding visitors from several countries. A handwritten note carried by the gunman claims this was a punishment attack against the "enemies of Palestine".
* November 17, 1997: Massacre in Luxor, Egypt, in which Islamist gunmen attack tourists, killing 62 people.
* January 1998: Wandhama Massacre - 24 Kashmiri Pandits are massacred by Pakistan-backed Islamists in the city of Wandhama in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
* February 14, 1998: Bombings by Islamic Jihadi groups at an election rally in the Indian city of Coimbatore kill about 60 people.
* August 7, 1998: Al Qaeda bombs U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, killing 225 people and injuring more than 4,000.
* August 31 – September 22, 1998: Russian apartment bombings kill about 300 people, leading Russia into Second Chechen War.
* December 1998: Jordanian authorities foil a plot to bomb American and Israeli tourists in Jordan, and arrest 28 suspects as part of the 2000 millennium attack plots.
* December 14, 1998: Ahmed Ressam is arrested on the United States–Canada border in Port Angeles, Washington; he confessed to planning to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport as part of the 2000 millennium attack plots.
* December 24, 1998: Indian Airlines Flight 814 from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi, India is hijacked by Islamic terrorists. One passenger is killed and some hostages are released. After negotiations between the Taliban and the Indian government, the last of the remaining hostages on board Flight 814 are released in exchange for release of 4 terrorists.
* January 2000: The last of the 2000 millennium attack plots fails, as the boat meant to bomb USS The Sullivans sinks.
* August 8, 2000: A bomb exploded at an underpass in Pushkin Square in Moscow, killing 11 people and wounding more than 90.
* August 17, 2000: Two bombs exploded in a shopping center in Riga, Latvia, injuring 35 people.
* October 12, 2000: AL Qaeda bombs USS Cole with explosive-laden speedboat, killing 17 USAden, Yemen. sailors and wounding 40, off the port coast of