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Bruce Enberg's Commentary

The HeisEnberg Principle isn't just for physics

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Only one week until the government shutdown because the tea baggers need to be in the spotlight for as long as possible. The thing is, we've been here before. An actual government shut down in the 90s was a disaster for the Republicans which makes seeing Newt Gingrich on the Sunday morning shows acting like an expert statesman all the more hilarious. People forget that he was run out of the Congress by Republicans. And the tea baggers have already tried this fiscal brinksmanship themselves, and failed miserably.

 

This time around Obama isn't even pretending that he give them anything, not even the courtesy of pretending that they are his equals. That has got to so burn under their white sheets and hoods.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 23 September 2013 22:07 Read more...

Ronald Reagan, the bust

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New unemployment claims fell last week to 326,000, a 5 1/2 year low. July's survey of employers showed 162,000 new jobs created, this is about three times the rate of population growth. The odd thing was that 92,000 of these jobs went people 55 and over, with only 15,000 going to prime age workers 25-54. This could be taken as a good sign since workers over 55 have been systematically passed over for jobs since the Bush Crash.

 

Recent college grads got the other 55,000 new jobs. Not that a college education is necessarily worth much in a post-industrial, post-middle class country like the US. Forty percent of the people who make less than $10/hour have some college education. Plenty of young lawyers and engineers work at Best Buy.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 August 2013 16:04 Read more...

Facing the 'Final Resort'

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The aluminum foil shelter that Wildland Firefighters carry as part of their 50 lb back-country fire kit is intended to be that last resort when the fire is not only gaining on their position but has skipped ahead, and they are trapped with fire coming from all sides.

The physics of this 'last chance' technology are real and can be easily calculated. Hotshot Firefighters drill on this like their very lives depend on it. Any fire is the equation of heat + fuel + oxygen. Heat is temperature of the the available mass either mitigated by high humidity, or greatly boosted by low humidity. Fuel in a forest is a given. Oxygen in the outdoors is a matter of wind speed.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 July 2013 19:45 Read more...

Birds of different feathers chase different bugs

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The markets all tanked again today on ginned up fears that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. But it was gold that fell right through the floor losing well over 5% in one day to $1280 per oz.

 

Gold has lost a third of its value from the peak when the Gold Bugs were sending me nasty mail about me advising people to ignore Glenn Beck.

 

This week's new unemployment claims jumped back up again, but they're still not so high as to be a real problem.

 

The big 'scary' news all the 'experts' are cackling about (between chasing June Bugs they predict the sky is falling), the big news is that China's banks are having problems borrowing overnight from each other with rates for single day borrowing going to as high as 25% (annual rate).  China's Central bank is refusing to pump in money, or rather it is just silent, and the 'Chicken Littles are saying this signals the 'end times'. There is of course a more reasonable explanation.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 21:41 Read more...

A Place Upstream, if you can find it

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A large sink hole opened in a DC street only blocks from the White House, it turned out to be a washed out sewer line from an improvement project done back in '96, that's 1896. This is not an unusual situation for American cities that are dependent on drainage projects done during during the Progressive Era, or at best during the New Deal. As little as possible has been done to make America work since the Reagan Revolution defined 'government as the problem, not the solution'.

 

The estimated $3 trillion shortfall in maintenance is just public infrastructure like the thousands of bridges waiting to collapse, but doesn't include  privately held assets like high pressure natural gas lines that are nothing but ticking time bombs. There are also the abandoned chemical waste dumps, the overloaded and failing mine waste containment ponds, or those unregulated fertilizer and chemical plants waiting to go off like a small nuke. Then there's the actual nuclear plants and their massive hot fuel containment ponds waiting to do a Chernobyl dead zone on a large swath of North America.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 21:33 Read more...

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