Tuesday, July 14, 2020

July 14th Links

  • Thus, shipyard repair work is not a commodity like bushels of corn. There are tradeoffs between distance (which means time, which means money) and cost of work, and quality (which means time, which means money) and cost of work. When the vessel market is tight and your ship rents for $50,000 per day, you're going to be less price sensitive regarding repair work. That's good for Conrad margins. Lots of work and lots of price-insensitive customers. No wonder that when their repair segment is good, it's really good. We also know that when repair work is weak, Conrad's repair segment is really weak. Think of a soft vessel market. (Like right now in 2015, unfortunately, because of oil prices.) You forgo less revenue by moving your ship around for cheaper repairs. Also, with ships sitting idle you have some options to postpone maintenance. You have alternatives (which help your repair negotiating position), and you need to tighten your belt because of the soft market. Think of all the whipsaws in the energy business since 2007. There have been three busts actually! In 2009, in 2010 (post-spill) and now! It actually speaks highly of them that they have been continuously profitable and have continuously built shareholder value over that time period. However, it is hard to get a clear picture of Conrad's sustainable earning power. What if the tank barges never come back and GoM oil exploration is underwhelming since it's higher cost than the onshore shale basins? Seems like revenue and profit could fall quite a bit. [CBS]
  • You know who else has the business model of protecting against all hazards, and would gladly help a baker who was being fined for having the wrong kind of latch on his flour bins? The Godfather. Ultimately, I think Murray is right that people need and are going to want insurance against the hazard of government. The question is whether the business that delivers it is going to be nonprofit, for-profit, or traditional warlord/mafia. Of course, if interest rates on U.S. government bonds ever rise - and I believe that that would happen automatically if a substitute currency or store of value superior to the U.S. dollar emerged - then the regulatory hazard will be obviated because there simply will not be the money to bother bakers about their flour bin latches. This extralegal state within a state is - just like the asset bubble, junk bonds, private equity - simply a creature of ultra-low interest rates. [CBS]
  • Our Chinese people are wiser than the Germans because, fundamentally, our race is superior to theirs. As a result, we have a longer history, more people, and larger land area. On this basis our ancestors left us with the two most essential heritages, which are atheism and great unity. It was Confucius, the founder of our Chinese culture, who gave us these heritages. This heritage determined that we have a stronger ability to survive than the West. That is why the Chinese race has been able to prosper for so long. We are destined "not to be buried by either heaven or earth" no matter how severe the natural, man-made, and national disasters. This is our advantage. Take response to war as an example. The reason that the United States remains today is that it has never seen war on its mainland. Once its enemies aim at the mainland, these enemies would reach Washington before its congress finishes debating and authorizes the president to declare war. But for us, we don't waste time on these trivial things. Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said, "The Party's leadership is prompt in making decisions. Once a decision is made, it is immediately implemented. There’s no wasting time on trivial things like in capitalist countries. This is our advantage!" Our Party's democratic centralism is built on the tradition of great unity. Although fascist Germany also stressed high-level centralism, they only focused on power of the top leader, but ignored the collective leadership of the central group. That's why Hitler was betrayed by many later in his life, which fundamentally depleted the Nazis of their war capacity. What makes us different from Germany is that we are complete atheists, while Germany was primarily a Catholic and Protestant country. Hitler was only half atheist. Although Hitler also believed that ordinary citizens had low intelligence, and that leaders should therefore make decisions, and although German people worshipped Hitler back then, Germany did not have the tradition of worshipping sages on a broad basis. Our Chinese society has always worshipped sages, and that is because we don't worship any God. Once you worship a god, you can't worship a person at the same time, unless you recognize the person as the god's representative like they do in Middle Eastern countries. On the other hand, once you recognize a person as a sage, of course you will want him to be your leader... This is the foundation of our democratic centralism. The bottom line is, only China is a reliable force in resisting the Western parliament-based democratic system. [Chi Haotian]
  • We have employment and non-competition agreements with Messrs. Conrad Jr., Hernandez, Wolbrink, Hebert, Jr. and D. Conrad. Due to the impact from COVID-19, John P. Conrad, Jr. and Cecil A. Hernandez agreed to salary reductions of 20% and the other executive officers agreed to salary reductions of 10%. Accordingly, the agreements provide that the Company will pay base salaries of $332,000 to Mr. Conrad, Jr., $232,000 to Mr. Hernandez, $207,000 to Mr. Wolbrink, $175,500 to Mr. Hebert, Jr. and $175,500 to Mr. D. Conrad. [CNRD]
  • While the prosecution of a sitting President provides the most dramatic example of a clash between the indispensable work of the Presidency and a State's exercise of its criminal law enforcement powers, other examples are easy to imagine. Suppose state officers obtained and sought to execute a search warrant for a sitting President's private quarters in the White House. Suppose a state court authorized surveillance of a telephone that a sitting President was known to use. Or suppose that a sitting President was subpoenaed to testify before a state grand jury and, as is generally the rule, no Presidential aides, even those carrying the so-called "nuclear football," were permitted to enter the grand jury room. What these examples illustrate is a principle that this Court has recognized: legal proceedings involving a sitting President must take the responsibilities and demands of the office into account. See Clinton v. Jones, 520 U. S. 681, 707 (1997). [SCOTUS]
  • In 2004, the Federal Highway Administrationwas testing a new typeface, Clearview, designed to have improved readability at night with headlight illumination. One test sign was placed at Baltimore, Maryland – the eastern terminus of Interstate 70 – that listed Cove Fort as a control city with a distance of 2,200 mi (3,500 km). One employee stated with the number of queries the department received about Cove Fort, the test was a success. The sign became so popular that after the test was over, federal authorities made arrangements with Maryland authorities to keep the sign permanently installed. The sign prompted a series of stories about Cove Fort to be published in the Baltimore area. Since that time, a small effort has been made by people in both states to lobby the Utah Department of Transportation to reciprocate by placing a sign at Cove Fort listing the distance to Baltimore. [Wiki]
  • Unusually high numbers of small burrowing mammals, which make their home on a plateau rich in vegetative cover and ideal soil, support a high density of raptors. Paiute ground squirrels, the main prey of the prairie falcon, are the most abundant of the burrowing creatures (in fact, according to the BLM, portions of the Birds of Prey NCA support the densest ground squirrel populations ever recorded). Nesting success for prairie falcons is linked very closely to the squirrel abundance. [Wiki]
  • It has been revealed that FBI agents nearly flubbed the $4.9 million operation. A neighbor reportedly complained about the sound of circling planes overhead. That same neighbor went over to ask FBI agents what was going on at the time. Neighbor was reportedly told by agents that the planes were with the New England Aerial map society, which was fictitious. The man, who is an expert in maps and geology, said he saw through their lie. He then asked to see the inside of their van and was told to back off; the man then went back home and told his wife, who called the police on the FBI. [Daily Mail]
  • One measure of how things are for average people is whether people get nervous and start looking around the room to see who is listening when you start talking about politics. In the West there are now certain trigger subjects (migrants, gays etc) that make people uncomfortable and immediately trigger a reflexive signaling with non-racist, non-homophobic etc opinions when in uncertain company, clearly driven by fear that someone might rat out to Facebook, workplace, social circle and increasingly the law. "Hate speech" prosecutions for things said or done in private is new and the UK is further along in this than most countries. Russians don't react to these subjects at all in the same way and I haven't actually found any subjects that would make Russians nervous about snitches that might be listening. Putin is clearly not one of them, even though the Western media wants us to believe that Russia is one giant personality cult. Russia seems to be much more free than the West right now, even if on paper it has all sorts of laws that can (and probably eventually will) be used to crush dissent. I have this pessimistic view that actual freedom is a sign of a country in transition – the old power faction has lost its means to intimidate and no new faction hasn't established intimidation yet – and the reason why Russia is relatively free now is that Putinism is not a genuinely new force, it's a faction of old Soviet elites reasserting a bit of control that they will lose once they get senile. Russia had a brief transitional freedom period between monarchy and communism, too. [Sailer]
  • All expensive Fords—Lincolns included—have the same problem: They simply cost too much. They're priced as if they were all-around more-premium products than they are. Just look inside this thing. The hard, oddly grained plastic that lines most of the lower half of the interior not only looks as if it had been pulled straight from the old Explorer, it also resembles a popcorn ceiling and is about as appealing as asbestos. And I know what you'll say: "But this one is based on a rear-drive platform!" Sure, but turn-in is a little doughy, and the front and rear axles roll at different rates. And why does the front end look as though someone punched it flat? Durango SRT, please. [Car and Drive]
  • Anarchotyranny is the dominant political formula of the Bioleninist ruling elite – an amoral system of fundamentally asymmetric law enforcement – administered via a byzantine, bureaucratic labyrinth of selective rule application. Under Anarchotyranny, the regimes primary directive is to control its subjects so that they cannot coordinate / oppose the managerial class / ruling elite (constituting tyranny) as opposed to controlling 'real' criminals / reigning in its own de facto paramilitary forces (causing anarchy). Meanwhile, laws are interpreted and enforced selectively / asymmetrically, depending on what is perceived to be in the interests of the regime. Anarchotyranny refers to a demonic Hegelian synthesis in which the regime tyrannically / oppressively regulates subjects lives yet refuses to enforce fundamental protective law – e.g. the State prioritising gun law reform / criminalising self-defence over preventing riots and looting / prosecuting actual criminals. [parallaxoptics]
  • Over the completion of the current market cycle, I expect that the entire S&P 500 total return since 2000 will be wiped out. Specifically, I continue to expect the S&P 500 to lose about two-thirds of its value. Even a 50% market retreat would bring valuations only to levels matching the 2002 low, which was the highest valuation level ever observed at the completion of a market cycle. [Hussman]
  • I don't care if it were a Sunday, the Navy was MIA from the information flow as one of our nation's premier city was blanketed with smoke from a capital ship burning in the heart of the cities. We almost seemed paralyzed and waiting for everything to be fully smooth and approved while the city and nation wondered what was going on. [link]
  • I've lived here 6 now, and I chose a quiet neighborhood next to a great park. It's never been crime free, it's not perfect, but the events of the last month and a half are just too damn much. I can't talk to co-workers, I can't talk to family - they go back to their quiet neighborhoods and don't worry about it anymore. I live directly in the middle of the 2 big issues of this summer, ignoring it isn't possible. The Floyd memorial site is in a state of limbo - permanently blocked streets, not really that many people there except weekends and some afternoons, and nobody has any idea what to do with it. Every night turns into retaliatory turf war and the nightly gun battles 400 ft from my back door and cars peeling down my alley is not imagined or "just fireworks". It's not an autonomous zone like the CHOP - that got shut down when one person got shot - it's a no-bullshit lawless zone where multiple shootings and deaths have occurred. As much as I don't want to tell people how to grieve and I know it's not up to me to dictate this movement, it needs a conclusion at some point. [r/Minneapolis]
  • This study provides evidence that re-infections with the same endemic coronavirus are not 49 atypical in a time window shorter than 1 year and that the genetic basis of innate immune 50 response may be a greater determinant of infection severity than immune memory acquired after 51 a previous infection. [medrxiv]


CP said...

"The fact that a major warship is burning itself to the ground at the pier at one of the biggest naval bases in the world ranks right up there with surrendering to the Iranians, running (repeatedly) into merchant ships, and sending letters to media about the pandemic, etc. The ESG 3 RDML just needs to stop talking, if I was CNO he'd already be gone. He is on the record saying "we'll rebuild her" which seems stupid as we watch the ship melt into a slag heap. Hope someone is preparing for the inevitability of a million gallon fuel spill. They probably need to scuttle the ship to stop the fire before we get a major environmental catastrophe. Unfortunately, the home-owners association that is Navy leadership will undoubtedly wait until it is too late. Also could drag her out of port and sink her. Might be the best option."


Allan Folz said...

USN surface fleet might be the most glaring example of US as a failed state.

One could argue Army and Marines were set-up for failure trying to nation-build, but if push came to shove and the gloves were to come off the Army and Marines would do OK.

One could argue our porous border is because we don't have the stomach for a humanitarian crisis, but if push came to shove and the gloves were to come off the Border Patrol and ICE would do OK.

There's no argument for a navy that crashes into commercial vessels at sea and cannot arrest a dockside fire at port.