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From Bill Still:

My commentary:

Very nice and utterly immaterial.

Here's why -- hydrogen is in a very high energy state as a "raw" material.  Fuel cells operate on hydrogen and oxygen, and thus are considered "clean" in that their only "waste" product is water (H2O.)  However, the hydrogen has to come from somewhere, as it does not exist anywhere on its own in nature; it is always in a compound.

Since that energy state is lower than that of hydrogen as an element you must add energy to break that bond and extract the "neat" hydrogen, which is then used in the fuel cell.  If you start with water (H2O) and break the bond you must, by the laws of thermodynamics, put in more energy than you will get back at the wheels because the laws of thermodynamics do not permit a "free lunch", or even getting back everything you put in.

The most-common place people talk about getting the hydrogen from for these vehicles is natural gas, which is (mostly) methane, or CH4.  Well, that's fine; you can get the hydrogen out by using what is called a "reformer"; by putting in some energy you can break the chemical bonds.  You now have carbon (which usually is combined with oxygen and forms CO2, that evil gas that Obama and Gore hate) and hydrogen.  While the fuel cell itself produces no "greenhouse gas" the process produces lots of it; in fact, exactly the same amount as would be produced if you just burned the same amount of natural gas!

So no, folks, these are not "zero-emission" vehicles any more than an electric vehicle is when the source of the electricity is a coal or natural gas fired boiler!

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2014-11-18 07:55 by Karl Denninger
in Health Reform , 514 references

This is pure comedy -- and a gross insult to the American public.

As an anchor at CNBC, I questioned the president’s claim that adding millions of people to the health insurance rolls would be free. How was that mathematically possible? If people with pre-existing conditions didn’t pay more, someone else would have to bear that cost. Healthcare isn’t free. The math didn’t add up.

One day, after raising these questions on air, I was called into my manager’s office and told to stop. When I pushed back, my manager explained that my questions were “disrespecting the office of the president.” The rebuke was surprising, but this incident wasn’t the only time I was called up and reined in.

Yeah, ok.

Anyone want another example?  Look up Cramer's "The Winners of The New World".  How did you do?

My point made, exactly.

But this sort of self-promotional crap is truly insulting -- and a bald lie:

So for anyone deciding which financial news channel to watch, know that CNBC is on the lookout for comedy writers and actresses. For their business channel.Here at Fox Business, we are looking out for your money.

Two words: **** you.

The medical system in this country is not bankrupting people or the nation because of Obamacare.  It is bankrupting people because it has managed to exempt itself from the very laws that I had to follow running an Internet company.

Those are the same laws, incidentally, that a company making cars, washing machines or for that matter computers must follow.

They are the reason that a computer today costs a tiny fraction of what a computer of equivalent capability cost a few years previous.  They are the reason you can buy a $3 calculator when the original Monroe "portable" cost a few hundred dollars.  They're the reason my original Sony D-5 CD player cost $350 in 1984 and yet today you can buy a CD player for $30 or less.  They are the reason my first 50" HDTV cost close to $10,000, while today I can buy one at WalMart that uses a tiny fraction of the power and is also a fraction of its size and mass -- for $500.

These laws are good, not bad.  They say that if you buy a laptop computer you own the ******ned thing and may do with it as you wish, including selling it to someone else for whatever price you may negotiate between you.

They also say that if I, as a manufacturer of said computer, get together in a room with other manufacturers and try to fix prices we all go to prison because that's a violation of 15 USC, the Sherman and Clayton Acts.  We can go to prison for a decade and be fined $1 million each, while our respective companies can be fined $100 million -- for each attempt.

These two laws say that any act designed to fix prices or restrain trade by agreement or conspiracy between two or more entities where market power exists is per-se unlawful and triggers these penalties.

Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

This is a good law.  It is a law that I lived by despite having one hundred competitors in my local market.  I lived by it not only because it was the law but because competition is good and it results in better goods and services, along with lower prices, for everyone.  Those who put forward a superior product at a lower price prosper, those who can't or don't fail.  That's what competition is and there is exactly none of it in the medical industry.

As just one example the common and in fact near-universal practice of pharmaceutical companies of selling drugs for different prices in different nations would not last 15 minutes if this law was enforced.  The reason is simple; I would immediately go to Mexico, for example, where the drug was cheap and fill my trunk with it, then come back into the United States and sell it for a few dollars more than I paid, immediately collapsing the price here in the US.  Thousands of other people would do the same in the other direction (Canada.)  15 USC says that any contract, agreement or otherwise that restrains trade in this fashion across a state or national boundary is a felony; it is only through passage of laws that exempt the medical industry in general from these laws that medical care and commodities are ridiculously expensive instead of dropping in price like a stone through technological progress.

Bluntly put the entire medical business is one gigantic monopolistic scam and these practices, all of them, are supposed to be felonies instead of an industry.

Let's make this perfectly clear:

When you're flat on your ass having a heart attack I assure you that market power exists.  It is only through that power that you can be charged $100,000 for $10,000 worth of care, where scalpels that can be had for a buck a piece are charged to your account at $20 and an aspirin that costs a penny is charged out at $10.

When you just got stung by a scorpion and need the anti-venom now (lest you die) market power exists.  It is only through that market power that you can be charged $60,000 for $100 worth of product.

When you are in the ER, market power exists.  It is only through that power that you can be charged thousands of dollars for a half-dozen stitches and 15 minutes of a doctor's time -- a service that should cost at most a couple hundred bucks.

Every one of the people involved in the US medical industry -- all of them -- ought to be rotting in a prison cell right now and yet Melissa Francis, and Faux News, just like CNBS, have said exactly zero about this fact over the years and that this, and this alone, is why our medical care in the United States costs five to ten times what it does in other industrial, first-world nations.

We would not need Medicare or Medicaid but for this fact, say much less Obamacare, as even the old and/or poor would be able to pay cash for anything routine and would also be able to afford inexpensive and private catastrophic insurance for that which is not.  In short your "health insurance" should and would cost less than your car insurance, yet nobody seriously argues that we need to "nationalize" and subsidize car insurance!

Resolving this problem alone would remove $1.18 trillion, or more than 29% (all-in) from Federal spending -- overnight!  In addition resolving this problem would instantly and permanently resolve the mess in state and local budgets all of which is caused by spiraling retiree health care costs. 

Worse, the impact on the economy as a whole is some three times the federal impact, with roughly 18-20% of our economic activity being stolen through these practices.

This is the reason, above all others, that this nation has become and continues to be uncompetitive in the global marketplace, it is why Detroit and Stockton CA went bankrupt and it is a ticking time bomb for corporations, state and local governments -- along with the federal government itself.  

In addition it is the cause of Federal Deficit spending -- all of it, literally.

For this intentional omission in Melissa's alleged "reporting" and peacock-style strutting in the cited opinion piece her ass, along with all of those at CNBS and Fox Business, ought to be brought up on those very same charges under those very same laws, because that law cited above states that everyone involved in conspiring to concoct or protect such a scheme is exposed to the same legal liability and penalty.

Do not prance around as if you, Melissa, and Fox News are better than CNBS because you are not, you mendacious witch.

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Will someone please start asking the actual question behind these sorts of "policies" and their "need"?

The biggest threat to a retiree's nest egg isn't a stock market crash. It's a long illness requiring round-the-clock care.

The statistics behind that scenario -- $81,000 a year for a nursing home, $184,000 for 24-hour home care -- are what sells long-term care insurance policies. But while past research suggested that many more people needed the coverage than bought it, a new study suggests that most people should just skip it.

The study, by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research, focused on singles, who now make up the majority of Americans. Long-term care insurance makes financial sense only for the richest 20 to 30 percent of unmarried people, it finds. For the rest, it makes more sense to go without. If they need care, spending down their assets and then letting Medicaid pick up the tab is the most practical solution.

Why does it cost $81,000 for a nursing home or $184,000 to have someone available (not necessarily present) 24x7 in your home?

What's the overhead on this crap?  200%, 300%, 400% or more?  Yeah.

We cannot solve the problems we have in this country until we talk about what they actually are.  It is not the cost of said "insurance" and whether it's a "good deal" or not.

It is the ridiculous ramp in the cost of care -- costs that exist at this level only because of monopoly practices that are supposed to be felonies and in fact are in virtually every other sort of business.

You can stop this insanity tomorrow.

All that has to be done is to apply the existing Sherman and Clayton Acts to Health Care in all of its forms, both goods and services, along with formally recognizing that once you buy a thing you own it and may do with it as you wish.

The latter would cost the price of drugs in developing nations to rise some 10%.

But they would collapse by 80-90% here, simply on the arithmetic.

And thus, even for complex, difficult conditions, most people could afford to pay cash -- and insurance for those who wanted it would cost less than it does on your car.

Until we are willing to enforce the law that is supposed to apply everywhere and imprison everyone up and down the line that is engaged in this crap there is no solution to the problem; there are only ways to hide the cost and make you think you're getting "a deal" when in fact you are not.

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No, really?

The head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday strongly condemned comments from former ObamaCare consultant Jonathan Gruber in which he blamed the law’s passage on the “stupidity” of the American voter.

“I was extremely offended by his comments,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell told an audience in Tampa Bay, offering her most critical comments yet about the Obama administration's former adviser.

Note what she didn't say.

Nothing like "he's full of crap", for instance....

In other words, she's offended all right.  She's offended because the Obama Administration got caught by a glad-handed lieberal, a prime example of the Ivory Tower game in which the left believes they know better than you and should dictate how you live but won't live that way themselves.

Another prime example of this is Al Gore, who professes that he believes in Global Warming and that it's terribly dangerous to the planet (and everyone on it.)

But -- he owns a 10,000+ square foot mansion (that consumes a gob of fossil-fuel energy), a 40' yacht (ditto; that thing burns a metric ton of diesel -- literally) and he flies on a private jet (which is several times less efficient in terms of carbon spewed per-seat-mile occupied than a commercial airplane.)

If Gore actually believed that your (or his) actions would make a difference or if he gave a damn about anything related to the climate he would lead by example, living in a bermed, modest residence that was extremely energy efficient, he would not own a yacht and he would fly commercial -- first class, I'm sure, but commercial.

And, I might add, he would drive a Prius.

He does none of the above because he doesn't believe any of his own crap -- he simply believes you should do as he says.

Gruber has exactly the same mindset, as does Pelosi along with the rest of the jackwads in Washington DC.  

They simply don't care if you get screwed, in fact they want you to get screwed because that's how they and their friends get rich!

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The news last week was not that BlackBerry rolled out BES12.  That was expected.

Nor was it that service revenue from BB7 phone users (the former company "bread-n-butter") will continue to contract and eventually reach zero.  That was also both known and expected.

No, the news was the Samsung partnership deal to manage Knox-enabled handsets.

Samsung is much larger than BlackBerry as both a company and market penetration.  Samsung's "Knox" product, however, while being an effective virtualization model for the Linux-powered handsets it sells (which all Android phones in fact run under the hood) does not have an effective Samsung management product to go with it.

Now it does, and BlackBerry produces it in the form of BES12.

BlackBerry has somewhere north of 5 million BES12 users either on paying or trial subscriptions.  Samsung shipped or sold that many S5 phones in May of this year alone.

That's just one phone line, of course, and new releases will also be Knox-enabled, all of which can then be managed on a corporate network using BES12 with that being the actively-promoted solution by Samsung.

My personal view is that while the Android is "serviceable" the BlackBerry Passport is a far-superior device in essentially every dimension.  It's fast, it has a monster battery in it that delivers, it is extremely secure out of the box and the interoperability with Android is excellent.  It's a flagship phone with excellent build quality and wins not only on functionality but style, which in the professional world does matter.

But Samsung does and will continue to sell a hell of a lot of phones -- including into BYOD and enterprise channels.  Those going into large and mid-sized enterprises, where there is sensitive data that will be on the device, need a competent management platform.

BES12 is that platform and by being co-marketed in a partnership deal with Samsung BlackBerry may have, over the next couple of years, actually added a zero to the number of BES12 licenses it sells, each of which comes with recurring revenue.

If that materializes then the firm is dramatically undervalued as the cash flow from BES12 licenses have a gross margin approaching 100%.  That, in turn, assuming the Passport and Classic both turn out to be profitable, argue for a sales figure expansion of more than 100% within the next 12-24 months beyond analyst models.

There are of course execution risks -- big ones.  But since Chen has taken the helm of the company the firm is getting the software out on time and on-plan, BB10 v 10.3.1, which I am running now on my Passport, is a tremendous step forward (particularly considering the inclusion of Blend) and provided the company continues to execute and begins returning a profit within the next two quarters I believe you're looking at a company with a $30 stock price 18-24 months out.

PS: There is also the possibility, which nobody is talking about, of BlackBerry licensing BB10 to Samsung.  Should that happen and result in an OS choice for their future devices the licensing revenue would utterly dwarf anything that the company would likely put up on pure hardware sales -- with a near 100% margin as well.  I suspect that is being discussed behind the scenes but have no way to handicap it.

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