Thursday, July 23, 2009

President Obama's Speech to Africa

What Obama said in Ghana will resonate for a long time with not only that continents people, but also with people all over the developing world. It is also very consistent with what he said to the NAACP.
In the end the themes he raised about the culture of corruption, failure, and blaming the west for every wrong is a message that should be heeded in Latin America. The old/new leftist agenda (Chavez), besides being bankrupt ideologicially, subsists on churning out propaganda that fosters a culture of blaming others for its own failures.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

POWER, CORRUPTION & LIES- Bolivia follow blackout Venezuela

Evo Morales publically "nationalized" the energy companies in Bolivia on May 1st, forcing private investors and worker cooperatives to sell their ownership shares of jointly owned companies.   So the state assumes total ownership and management control over the production, transportation, and sales of power that these companies held, constituting 80 percent of the sector in Bolivia, with a few regional cooperatives outside State hands.  What in fact was a mixed-model of ownership is now becoming a solely state-run system.

By looking around the region, there is no more striking contrast as that presented by the energy policies and results of Colombia and Venezuela, which illustrates why Bolivia will likely end up in failure.

A Tale of Two Countries -

According to the CIA factsheets for Colombia and Venezuela, the neighboring countries are roughly around the same size, Colombia about a sixth bigger, and with more people 43.6m to 26.8 m, (est).. But, Venezuela with 17 million less people has almost double the GNP of its neighbor. ($353.5 billion 2009 est.vs. 228.6 billion) and has a higher per capital income $13,200 vs. $9,200 . Government revenue is roughly par, with Venezuela's government spending about 15 percent more ( $92.04 billion vs. 79 billion).

 "In 2008" Venezuela "was the eighth-largest net oil exporter in the world"; a petroleum powerhouse that co-founded OPEC and . Colombia may have a more diversified economy but it doesn't have the Orinoco oil belt or Lake Maracaibo in its territory. Historically, high oil prices mean Venezuelans are on the average richer than their more populated neighbors - in fact sometimes Venezuelan income levels have been first world - in the 50's the country had a GNP close to West Germany's. Venezuelas government can afford to spend much more per capita on its citizens than Colombia on infraestructure and social programs.

Venezuela not only has oil and gas to spare, and money, but it has a vast hydsroelectric potential (think monster rivers w/big elevation changes) and major infraestructure in place.he  Guri Dam Complex on the Caroni River, known officially as the Central Hidroeléctrica Simón Bolívar, one of the 3 largest hydroelectric plants in the world, either 2 or 3 behind Brazil's Itupi and China's Three Gorges Dam. Planning for the complex started under dictator Perez Jimenez, and the first stages were completed in the early 60's.

So with this kind of riches and government spending, why in the world is the electric power grid in Venezuela dangerously close to collapsing, threatening the country's future growth.

Blame it on El Niño, the climatic phenomenon that is causing a drought in that part of South America. Lower water levels in the rivers that drive generators means less power.

With this going on, you'd expect next-door Colombia also suffering the drought to be going through a similar energy crisis - Bogota and Medellin sharing Caracas-style blackouts.

Not the case by a mile, if anything Colombia has excess capacity it has offered to sell to Venezuela.

Sin embargo, El Niño no golpea con la misma fuerza a todos los países, pese a que los déficits de agua que produce son similares. Mientras en Ecuador y Venezuela los apagones de hasta ocho horas diarias empezaron a convertirse en cotidianos durante los meses de enero y febrero, en Colombia el país logró mantener sus luces encendidas, incluso con capacidad de sobra que podría vender a sus países vecinos

First of, Venezuelans of all classes, have benefited enormously from the oil boom, and they have more money to spend. That has driven demand for power way up. If you are poor and you suddenly are able to afford things like refrigerators, TV's, air conditioners, you buy them. Middle class folks, all the sudden can afford more goodies, TV's. Tony restaurants, night clubs, and fancy shopping malls spring up to cater to the new and old rich and they all use up power. That happens in an oil boom, and it has happened in Venezuela before in the 70's and again the early 90's.

El Nino, like an oil boom is cyclical, and comes through Venezuela.

And the chaotic response has included Chavez' emergency rolling blackouts, importing Castro's former-Interior Minister to advise on the crisis, government prayer meetings for rain, buying huge turbines from US Multi-National General Electric,

El caso de Venezuela es paradójico, pues se trata de un país prodigiosamente rico en recursos energéticos. No sólo cuenta con las consabidas enormes reservas de hidrocarburos. Además, tiene la segunda hidroeléctrica más grande del mundo después de Itaipú. Se trata de Guri, una represa que tiene una capacidad de 10 millones de kilovatios/hora, equivalente a 300.000 barriles diarios de petróleo, la que sólo es una de tantas represas del río Caroni, todas administradas por Electrificación del Caroni (Edelca).

lo inexorable en la situación energética no es el clima, sino la realización o no de inversiones adecuadas.

El Niñoes también una dura prueba para las matrices energéticas de los países andinos..

Lo que representa Edelca no es menor, pues la compañía abastece 70% de la demanda eléctrica, por lo que su incapacidad de generar energía frente a un fenómeno climático no habitual es síntoma de la ausencia de inversiones con las que planificar contingencias como ésta.

Actualmente Venezuela tiene una capacidad instalada de 23.642 mw, según informó el mismo presidente Hugo Chávez, una cifra que plantea oficialmente el ambicioso desafío de generar 10.000 nuevos mw en cinco años, amén de reducir drásticamente la demanda.

“Somos muy derrochadores, los que más gastamos electricidad en América Latina”, ha dicho Chávez. Pero la voluptuosidad del consumo venezolano es sólo una parte pequeña del problema. “En 11 años el gobierno sólo ha logrado incrementar la capacidad en 3.200 mw”, dice Guillermo Ovalles, ex presidente de la empresa transmisora de energía Elecentro y actual presidente de la comisión de energía eléctrica de la Federación de Cámaras y Asociaciones de Comercio y Producción de Venezuela.

meanwhile Colombia has adequate energy supplies, despite being twice the size and having half of the budget of Venezuela.  (not to mention 10's of thousands of crazies waging war on the state - and for control of drug routes) 

En Colombia Después del colapso energético de 1993, las autoridades empezaron a trabajar en un parque de generación eléctrica de bases hídrica y térmica. Gracias a esas inversiones, el país hoy tiene una capacidad instalada de 13.800 mw (53% proveído por plantas térmicas y 47% por hidroeléctricas). Una diversificación de la matriz eléctrica notable, más si se considera que en el reciente 2008 las plantas hidroeléctricas respondían por el 80%.

Hoy Colombia está iniciando su programa de ampliación del parque energético entre los años 2010 y 2018, mediante el cual desarrollará nueve proyectos, la mayoría de los cuales entrará a operar antes de 2015. Las inversiones sumarán más de US$ 6.000 millones y adicionarán 3.421 mw al sistema nacional.

This is what you get with sensible policies

Friday, July 03, 2009

La Palin Resigns

Sarah Palin just announced she is resigning as governor of Alaska, running for President in 2012?

Todd S. Purdum’s excellent Vanity Fair piece , It Came from Wasilla,, detailing La Palin's doings in Alaska and in the McCain campaign. that has Democrats laughing, Republicans fighting among themselves, and Independents glad that one of the most brainless of American politicians in recent memory is not a heartbeat away from the presidency.

She apparently didn’t like preparing for debates back then either. “In the campaign for governor, they’re prepping her for debate,” Curtis Smith’s former business partner, Jim Lottsfeldt, told me recently in Anchorage, “and Curtis says, ‘The debate prep’s going horribly. Every time we try to help her with an answer, she just gets mad.’” (Smith himself says, “Unfortunately, I don’t recall having that exact conversation with Mr. Lottsfeldt, nor do I recall my experience, including debate prep, with Governor Palin in the light he portrayed.”) But Palin’s lack of knowledge turned out not to hurt her. Andrew Halcro later remembered that he and Palin once compared notes about their many encounters, and she said, “Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I’m amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, Does any of this really matter?”

Thursday, July 02, 2009

MILLER: End Of The Tony George Era

Tony George's reign at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over after leaving the sport divided after forming the IRL and locking out CART in 96.
Robin Miller tells it right:
MILLER: End Of The Tony George Era

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Alexis Arguello, Nicaraguan 3-Time World Boxing Champ Dead

DAMN, this is a real bummer. I grew up watching Alexis' fights. "El Flaco Explosivo" was a national hero in Nicaragua and the whole country would shut down when he fought. Before the era of a bewildering number of "world championships" boxing had two sanctioning bodies which crowned a world champion for each weight class. Alexis won 3 separate titles. a major feat.

Alexis Arguello dies
.....from ESPN

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Alexis Arguello, who fought in one of boxing's most classic brawls and reigned supreme at 130 pounds, was found dead at his home early Wednesday.

Coroners were conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Sandanista Party's Radio Ya and other local media were reporting it appeared to be a suicide.

[+] EnlargeAlexis Arguello
Getty ImagesAlexis Arguello was found dead Wednesday at 57. He is pictured in June 1981 after beating Jim Watt to win the WBC lightweight title.

The La Prensa newspaper reported that Arguello -- elected mayor of Nicaragua's capital last year -- was found with a gunshot wound to the chest.

The 57-year-old Arguello retired in 1995 with a record of 82-8 and 65 knockouts and was a champion in three weight divisions. He was perhaps best known for two thrilling battles with Aaron Pryor and fights with Ray Mancini, Bobby Chacon and Ruben Olivares.

"I'm kind of in a daze right now," Pryor told The Associated Press. "Those were great fights we had. This was a great champion."

Nicknamed "The Explosive Thin Man," Arguello was inducted in 1992 into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, where flags were flying at half-staff in his honor Wednesday.

Hundreds of people lined up to say goodbye to Arguello Wednesday night at a memorial service at the Palace of Culture in the capital of Nicaragua.

pic/ ESPN/Getty