Things could have turned out otherwise.

This post is by Jim Fitch of Some Assembly Required.

Things could have turned out otherwise.

Pot / Kettle: Headline: Bush: China Must End Detentions, Ensure Freedoms.

Optimism: Why all the cheering for oil at under $120 a barrel? The price is falling not because some new supply has been found, but because the economies of the world are expected to crash and thus destroy some of the demand oil-based energy.

Either / Or: Stopping catastrophic climate change depends almost completely on stopping carbon dioxide emissions from coal before they trigger melting of the Arctic permafrost. The more coal we burn, the less chance our children have of a future. The industrial revolution is about to eat its children.

Quoted: “If the hard truth is that the federal government can’t do much to lower gas prices, the really hard truth is that it shouldn’t try.” Elizabeth Kolbert.

All The Tea In China: At the 95% confidence level, the Arctic holds about 3 billion barrels of oil. Another 12 billion barrels have a 50-50 chance of actually existing. The USGS reports a “mean” estimate of about 30 billion barrels – less than a one year supply for the world and a rather deceptive presentation of the facts. If this is our last, best hope, there is no hope.

Win – Win: Climate changeniks say coal-fired power plants are the bane of our existence. Energy experts and investors say that coal-fired power plants are the only viable solution to our energy problems. Both groups are right.

Public Debate: Proper tire inflation can improve gas mileage 3%, regular tuneups can add another 4%. The current Administration estimates that offshore drilling may meet 1% of our demand, 20 years from now. One one hand, reason. On the other, magic. We’ll vote for magic.

Scale: Osama Bin Laden knocked down a couple of buildings and killed some 3,000 US citizens. We launched two wars, destroyed the Constitution and created Homemade Security. Global warming will kill hundreds of thousands, destroy cities and farmland and forests and oceans and Bin Laden is still at large.

Some Assembly Required reflects my somewhat cynical view of the world on a daily basis. Think of it as having coffee with a curmudgeon. Come visit.

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  1. Anonymous

    In lifting a 2006 consent order, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said Tuesday that “two years of hard work” by Fannie Mae officials had resolved many internal accounting and management problems. Regulators will continue reducing surplus capital requirements imposed on Fannie Mae after the company was forced to restate several years of earnings, OFHEO said.

On March 1 OFHEO removed a cap on the size of Fannie Mae’s mortgage portfolio — loans or mortgage-backed securities the company holds for investment.

    Re (back in the good ol days): The Enterprise is cooperating with OFHEO in accomplishing our mutual goal of remediation. As a result of the increased operational risk at Freddie Mac, OFHEO directed Freddie Macto maintain a targeted capital surplus of 30% over their minimum capital requirement. To date, Freddie Mac has maintained a surplus in compliance with this directive. f…dfinancials.pdf

  2. Mike

    This guy has some good insights, but I’m so sick of this cynical world view.

    Let’s solve problems. Let’s look at causes. But for god’s sake, let’s stop pouting about the challenges and stop patting our back for our righteous understanding of how the world ‘should’ be.

  3. Legal Sodium

    are you talking about the “curmudgeon” who thinks OBL just “knocked down a couple of buildings” but that apparently america is the worst country on the (dying) planet?

  4. Anonymous

    18 billion barrels of oil is a lot and under current US law you cannot export crudes from the US (products, but not crudes.) So, although 18 billion barrels of oil is only 7 months of global demand, it is actually 2 1/2 years of US demand. But, the US produces about 40% of the oil it consumes–it imports 12.5 mb/d. Therefore, 18 billion barrels of oil = 3.9 years of our total import requirement. The Middle East fulfills 30% of our total import requirement, 18 billion barrles of oil = 13 years Middle Eastern imports.

    In a world where taking 500 kb/d off the markets due to a conflict in Nigeria can have the effect of pushing oil prices up $10/b, I’d say that 18 billion barrels might well do something to mitigate prices at the pump.

    Kolbert’s arguments re: global warming aside, her understanding of the oil markets is limited. What’s her option, depending on coal?

  5. Dan Duncan


    Why do you write “some assembly required?”

    There’s absolutely no assembly required. Your world-view appears to be a simple, regurgitated rehash of all things “Left”: USA is to be hated. Climate Change is going to kill us all…unless Bush manages to first.

    There’s no assembly. It’s all one, nice little Leftist Formula—without a shred of novel insight. All you need to do is consult your Krugman Handbook, add a little water and a dash of “fascist”, “imperial” and “hegemon”….and you got you a neat little, utterly redundant and predictable blog.

    Can’t wait for that whacky Cassnadra to follow up with one of her “novel” insights!

    I suppose at some deeper level, she at least realizes that’s she’s just spewing the same old garbage. That’s why she came up with zany premise: “I have nothing but the same old, bitter blog blather, so I’ll be that old, bitter Cassandra from the Kung Fu movie. Then, I won’t even need to construct a thought of my own. Nobody will even notice cuz they’ll be laughing so hard at the fact that I’m just typing away with a cigarette dangling from my mouth and curlers in my hair. It’ll be gold Yves. Gold!”

  6. Unsympathetic

    Dan, would you like some cheese with your whine? Keep insulting the persona of the blogger instead of the substance of the argument – you’re just another ignorant Republican with no solutions.

    Problem: Lack of energy independence for the US. Solution: Nuclear and coal plants for all energy, burying the silly objections of the greenies once and for all. Also, the “new” nationwide investment needs to be in trains/subways for passenger service.

    If you release ANWR tomorrow, you’re not seeing one barrel of that oil for a minimum of 10 years. By then, gas price could be $8/gallon – as it is today in Europe.

    Cynicism is a good thing – and it’s a well deserved backlash after gratuitously ignorant Republican free-market idealogues wrecked the US economy for their own benefit.

  7. JB

    Yikes you guys are harsh. His style is concise, rather funny and extremely readable. I enjoy his posts.

    And that’s a great quote by Kolbert.

  8. Anonymous

    I am not finding the SAR posts useful. Snipets are unlike the usual detailed analysis I look for here.

  9. Chris M

    I’ve enjoyed these the last few days, but today’s is pure crap. Maybe he should stick to the economic and housing issues. He apparently believes in the most alarmist version of apocolyptic global warming, but thinks the islamists just “knocked down a couple of buildings”. Those are not level headed priorities.

  10. Anonymous

    Oh for pity sake,

    You still have the right to write whatever you want and Jim is just pointing out some stories that suggest that Bush is a crook for trying to spook people into thinking that Friends Of Angelo that are well connected to lobby groups should continue to rule the world and do as much harm as they can get away with; if I’m the guy in charge, these bastards would all be hung as examples of corruption and treason — ok that was harsh, I’d let them rot in prison and take the money they stole and give it back to America.

  11. Anonymous

    Geez, what drabble. How long before Yves gets back to the keyboard? This guy offers nothing that I can’t dredge up on dozens of other sites.

  12. ScottH

    Here’s a suggestion for all the whiners and complainers.

    At the top of each of Jim’s posts, you will see the words “This post is by Jim Fitch of Some Assembly Required.” If you are more than 5 minutes out of bed, you will also recognize the unique style and coloration of his posts.

    At that point, STOP and move on. Don’t read on and get yourself all worked up in a lather and then muck up the comments section with your nasty and personalized attacks. Some of us enjoy the format and “get” the sarcasm that you seem to miss. I like Jim’s posts. I am not a raving leftist. However, I do not care for raving-extreme-right people who haven’t the time of day for an opinion other than their own. Blinders are for horses, not people.

    Oh, one other thing. Yves DESERVES a vacation, and has tried to accommodate all of us in her absence. Let’s try to show a little respect for that too, rather than making – or trying to make – her feel guilty for not being here 365 days a year at no cost to you.

  13. Johnson

    The ‘whiners’ are simply leaving a comment where it is appropriate. Or should we simply clap our hands in praise and bat our lashes when anything is posted on this site?

    It’s not that I don’t appreciate another point of view, it’s just that this point of view seems to be so ‘off’ from the previous posts.

    Granted, the author has much insight and wit, but it’s the emotionally laid bombs of his style that gets my gonads.

    Why should I complain? I can read and listen to this type of self-righteous, looking down on anyone else that doesn’t ‘get’ it, world view on any other blog and news channel.

    Count me as one reader who no longer visits this site.

  14. Hank Roberts

    And the single most effective thing we could do to save energy, with a major immediate payback greater than the cost of doing it, is insulate all the housing.

    Yes, including all the housing owned by unwilling landlords and rented by people who pay for their heat,awhere there’s a stupid economy trap preventing action.

  15. Anonymous

    Jim Fitch

    Thanks for your point of view. I don’t agree with some of your points, appreciate the tongue-in-cheek irony in others, and the off beat delivery.

    I have no idea where the non-regular commentators have come from. I suspect they may normally not get through.

  16. HC

    Dan Duncan +1. Amazing how we’ve gone from global cooling, to global warming, to now catch all “climate change.” Well around the NW where I live, the climate changes about every 4 months..

  17. Anonymous

    Last time I checked, you need to have a population and some form of industry to have an economy.

    IF (and yes, Im a believer) global warming exists and if we do nothing, there’ll be no economy or booms or busts to comment on.

    If you think developing countries coal consumption is not close enough to home, try this: (BTW I do not believe in denying developing nations achieving developed country standards of living either):

    “It takes five to 10 days for the pollution from China’s coal-fired plants to make its way to the United States, like a slow-moving storm.

    It shows up as mercury in the bass and trout caught in Oregon’s Willamette River. It increases cloud cover and raises ozone levels. And along the way, it contributes to acid rain in Japan and South Korea and health problems everywhere from Taiyuan to the United States.” From:

    By the way, the above link was authored by Yves so you cant blame Mr Fitch.

    For those that are interested,while we’re sort of off-topic in this thread, I cant recommend the book “Our Stolen Future” highly enough. I just finished reading this book which was written 10 years ago and has some pretty important messages we need to be cognisant of. I’m shocked that I hadnt heard of it earlier and that it hasnt been the basis of a documentary as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth has – btw, Al Gore wrote the preface in OSF.

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