November 22, 2005

The Kyoto Treaty Is Dead–I Knew That

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:13 pm

Protein Wisdom (HT Amy Ridenour) pronounces the Kyoto Treaty dead. Congrats for giving this fact wider coverage.

With all due respects, though, the funeral was two months ago, as noted by Jim Pinkerton (my post on Pinkerton’s announcement of last rites is here). It was just not given adequate notice by the wishful enviros of the world:

Tony Blair Pulls the Plug on Kyoto at Clinton Summit
September 16, 2005

Kyoto Treaty RIP. That’s not the headline in any newspaper this morning emerging from the first day of the Clinton Global Initiative, but it could have been — and should have been.

Onstage with former president Bill Clinton at a midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was going to speak with “brutal honesty” about Kyoto and global warming, and he did. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had some blunt talk, too.

Blair, a longtime supporter of the Kyoto treaty, further prefaced his remarks by noting, “My thinking has changed in the past three or four years.” So what does he think now? “No country,” he declared, “is going to cut its growth.” That is, no country is going to allow the Kyoto treaty, or any other such global-warming treaty, to crimp — some say cripple — its economy.

Looking ahead to future climate-change negotiations, Blair said of such fast-growing countries as India and China, “They’re not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto.”

The UK Guardian article Jeff at Protein Wisdom cites essentially calls the above verbiage from Tony Blair two months ago a “hint.”

If that’s a hint, my saying that Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of the last half of the 20th century is a “hint” that I sort of liked what he did.

Margaret Beckett’s attempt to work out “voluntary standards” is noteworthy, in that it is the first formal evidence that Blair’s acknwledgment of reality is being carried out. But the carcass of Kyoto has thankfully been in the ground for some time.

Quote of the Day: Mark Steyn on Exit Strategies

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:54 pm

From his UK Telegraph column of November 22:

In war, there are usually only two exit strategies: victory or defeat. The latter’s easier. Just say, whoa, we’re the world’s pre-eminent power but we can’t handle an unprecedently low level of casualties, so if you don’t mind we’d just as soon get off at the next stop.

Demonstrating the will to lose as clearly as America did in Vietnam wasn’t such a smart move, but since the media can’t seem to get beyond this ancient jungle war it may be worth underlining the principal difference: Osama is not Ho Chi Minh, and al-Qa’eda are not the Viet Cong. If you exit, they’ll follow. And Americans will die – in foreign embassies, barracks, warships, as they did through the Nineties, and eventually on the streets of US cities, too.

Updates re Schmidt Cartoon and on Schmidt Situation

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:18 pm

Go here, and read the November 22 updates (reports on Bubp statement, plus Cunningham interview transcript, not available until tomorrow morning) for the details.

NOTE: I want to fully transcribe the Cunningham interview, which I believe just got up at about 6PM, and need time to do that. Given other commitments, I don’t think I’ll be done until early AM on Wednesday, and I don’t want to post reaction until I’m completely done. …..

Quote of the Day: Glenn Reynolds on Internet Freedom

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:31 pm

Mr. Reynolds, who also toils as Instapundit, reacting to the generally good but not slam-dunk results of the EU-UN attempted power-grab at the World Summit on the Information Society:

I’ve been writing about Internet free speech for a long time in Internet years. I’ve written about the new communications media’s effect on old media, the challenge it poses to dictators, and its effect on U.S. elections. But the truest thing I’ve ever written on the subject was this:

“You want to keep this media revolution going? Be ready to fight for it.”

Along those lines, if anyone has a clue about whether the problems of these bloggers (look at the top far right) are self-inflicted or deserving of a major assistance effort, e-mail me.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ Links (112205)

Like a Rock–Not

GMs’ plan to lay off 30,000 employees in North America represents a stunning 27% reduction in its workforce in the hemisphere.

Two things came to mind when I read the news today:

  • Bob Seger, whose agreement to let Chevy use his hit song “Like a Rock” is credited with turning that truck operation around in 1991 and was used until 2004. I always thought that it was ironic that the song was used, given what it’s really about–looking back at a simpler, more robust time in one’s life when “I still believed in my dreams.” And it seems that a lot of people who deserve better are coming to the end of that song. I wish them the best; they deserved better from their company and their union.
  • I noticed that one of the plants to be closed is in Spring Hill, TN. That’s also very sad, as it’s one of the original Saturn plants–you know, the “different kind of company” that operated with relative independence for so many years, but eventually got sucked into GM’s corporate vise, and its problems. Nobody thought of it at the time, but maybe they should have sold or spun off the whole thing in its heyday.

Leading Indicators Advance

Though it was expected in light of what has already been reported (lower unemployment claims, etc.), the fact that the leading indicators made up what was lost in September is stunning. It indicates that in addition to the lingering effects of the Gulf storms, the economy seems to be shaking off the impact of the airline and Delphi bankruptcies, the problems at GM and Ford, higher interest rates, and the September-October surge in personal bankruptcy filings ahead of the law change.

It will be interesting to see what the consumer confidence numbers look like.

NWA Stiff Hotels in Advance of Its Bankruptcy Filing

NWA’s filing came on pretty suddenly, and many hotels in the airline’s headquarters city were caught off guard:

In the months before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Northwest Airlines Corp. ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in local hotel bills.

But when the Eagan-based carrier entered the protective folds of bankruptcy court, the hotels were left out. Now the hotels are writing off the bad debt, and many managers are a bit miffed at the airline.

“Our position is we’re not expecting anything, and we’re not expecting it for a long time,” said Steve Harper, general manager of the Radisson Riverfront Hotel and Radisson City Center Hotel in St. Paul, which together are owed $150,000 by Northwest.

Some of the debt represents everyday transactions between airlines and hotels — putting up crews and displaced passengers, for instance. But the St. Paul Radisson hotels, along with at least a dozen others in the metro area, participated in Northwest’s strike-contingency plans in the months leading up to an August walkout by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. Several hotel managers attributed most of the unpaid bills to that effort.

Northwest housed 1,000 replacement mechanics in hotels here and elsewhere, but also conducted training for replacement flight attendants at local hotels and conference centers to prepare for a possible sympathy strike by the flight attendants’ union. (In the end, attendants didn’t strike.)

Northwest began that training months before the strike and paid some of the hotel bills earlier in the year.

But many hotels still absorbed financial hits of $50,000 to $100,000. While a $100,000 bad-debt charge won’t sink a big hotel — the St. Paul hotels managed by Harper have combined annual revenues of about $30 million, for example — it’s still significant.

“That would totally throw a lot of hotels out of achieving their budgets,” said one general manager, who asked not to be identified.

Since budget targets are often linked to employee bonuses, the write-off has engendered some bad blood.

Bad blood? I would think so. People in the hospitality business aren’t exactly paid like airline mechanics.

I thought there were rules about debts incurred “in contemplation of bankruptcy.” Any such debts are essentially treated as first in line to be paid. I have to wonder why the hotels aren’t pursuing this angle to recover some of their money. Can doing business with a bankrupt airline that might ultimately liquidate be that attractive?

Positivity: Holiday Train Exhibit is in 60th Year

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:05 am

On Tuesday, November 22, a Cincinnati holiday tradition continues (go to end of article):

Train a comin’: Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman will emcee the 60th annual Cinergy/CSX Holiday Train display opening event, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET Tuesday in the lobby of the Cinergy building at 4th and Main Streets downtown.

More than nine million visitors have seen the display since it first opened in 1946. This year, Cinergy is partnering with the Yellow Ribbon Support Center, a charity founded by the parents of U.S. Army Sgt. Matt Maupin to support military personnel serving overseas and their families.

Tuesday’s ceremony is free and open to the public.

Here is some information about the exhibit from Cinergy’s web site:

The first model train displayed in our lobby was designed by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) in 1937 as part of their traveling display. The train display first appeared in the CG&E lobby in 1946. The portable model grew through the 40s, 50s, and 60s. In the 1980s, CG&E made a commitment to the long-term renovation and expansion of the display.

….. The display, one of the largest portable models in the world, measures 36½ feet by 47½ feet long and is authentic “O” gauge in which a quarter inch on the model is equivalent to one foot on a real train. Rail cars, tracks and buildings are 1/48th actual size. The Cinergy/CSX display includes approximately 300 train cars and 50 locomotives on 1,000 feet of track. During the holiday season, the trains will run over 100,000 scale miles.

….. Assembly and testing of the display begins approximately 30 days before the annual opening ceremony. A small group of volunteers Cinergy/CG&E employees and retirees spends many hours throughout the year handcrafting replacement parts and adding to the collection of miniature buildings and structures.

….. Many of our trains are handmade antique trains from the original B&O model. Every year the display continues to grow as new equipment is added. Whether the trains are old or new, they are precisely scale-sized and historically accurate. The display depicts the time in railroad history when the steam engine was on the verge of being replaced by the diesel engine. For historical purposes, the design of the display was intentionally set up to feature both steam and diesel engines.