Saturday, April 2, 2011

On Messaging, Mountaintop Coal Mining, Warren Buffett and that Warm California Sun (BTU)

After the Democrats got a supermajority in the Senate with Al Franken's swearing-in (July 7, 2009) but before they lost it with Scott Brown's swearing-in (Feb. 4, 2010) they had a couple hundred days to do pretty much anything they wanted on cap-and-trade.
They couldn't pull it off.
Which, as far as I'm concerned was just fine.

I've reviewed some 120,000 pages of science and politics and economics since Rio's Earth Summit ( 1992). I'm pretty much convinced that C&T would introduce huge distortions into the economy with many, many perverse effects and outcomes.
Additionally I have no interest in giving Goldman Sachs another tool with which to manipulate energy markets.

Meanwhile the U.N. caravansari continues it's globe-trotting. Here's the calendar, go take a look, I'll wait.
Did you scroll down? And Down? I started counting how many meetings they're having this year and I got bored at thirty. There's a really nice one in Bangkok April 3-8. If you go do try to get out to Phuket.
Who are these people that can do this kind of jet-setting?
This type of hypocrisy on the part of the Apocalyptic Global Warming crowd led to slogans like:
"When the people preaching AGW start acting as if AGW is real I'll start listening to them."
Which brings me to messaging.

If you are going to do something that huge you'd better be straightforward about what you are doing and trust the people to be smart enough to figure stuff out.

Instead we were subjected to a parade of horrors, from bees and colony collapse to Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore flying around to spread their fictions. Every researcher hustling a grant in just about any field had some global warming tie-in.

Carbon King Lord Nicholas Stern came out with his eponymous report that anyone who's ever had to discount a cash flow or amortize a mortgage laughed at.

It got so bad that in December 2006 The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, strong AGW proponents they, warned that this Climate Porn was making a laughingstock of anyone who even mentioned CO2.

So the Party controlling all three branches of government told tales, overreached and were exposed as not something the American people wanted.

After the failure there was the whole wailing and gnashing of teeth thing and folks from USCAP on down decided it was just poor messaging.

Yeah, that's the ticket! It's the messaging!

They didn't consider that maybe people didn't buy the message or that the messengers were quite unlikable, displaying traits ranging from superiority to intolerance to infantile emotionalism to questionable veracity.

If you hang out at certain get-togethers (the next big one will be Abu Dhabi in May) they are still talking about Messaging.

Which brings me to mountain-top removal coal mining.
The coal companies basically cut off the top of a mountain so they can open-pit rather than underground mine the coal. There are a couple points in it's favor:

1) It's cheaper, so the energy produced is cheaper.
2) It's safer for the miners.
On the anti side:
1) They're cutting off the tops of freakin' mountains.
2) They dump the overburden down the side of the mountain into the glens and hollers where streams and cricks flow.

It's a nasty, dirty business.

Unlike a lot of subjects, I haven't looked into it enough to form an opinion but if I was running one of the giant pressure groups, WWF, NRDC, ED with their budgets in the 10's or 100's of millions of dollars, the folks that CounterPunch (self-described radicals) refers to as "Gang Green" I'd go play a song.

That's some messaging.
If you didn't know, the BTU in our headline is the stock symbol for Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal company.

The psychologists tell us that in most instances people prefer to buy something from people they like so if what you are selling is your idea, try to make the packaging (you) likable.

Here's what Warren Buffett said to students at Georgia Tech a few years ago:
“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually love you.
“I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them.  But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them.  If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster. 
“That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life.  The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it.  You can buy sex.  You can buy testimonial dinners.  You can buy pamphlets that say how wonderful you are. 
But the only way to get love is to be lovable.  It’s very irritating if you have a lot of money.  You’d like to think you could write a check: I’ll buy a million dollars’ worth of love.  But it doesn’t work that way.  The more you give love away, the more you get.” 
That insurance salesman from Omaha knows a few things about the art of selling intangibles.
And life.

So like any good intangibles salesman I'm lovable and I'll leave you with an option.
If you didn't like that Johnny Cash guy doing the Master of Ceremonies thing in the video above here's something completely different, with no M.C. about a place where they don't need to burn a lot of coal: