Take Their Leverage Away.

Saudi Arabia.  Fuel Prices. Oil Dependency. Alternative Sources of Energy.

My feelings have nothing to do with politics or religion.  I just don’t like the way the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does business.  Oil is their poison pill and their leverage.  If they did not have this leverage could they behave badly with their Middle East neighbors and the rest of the world? Could they hide behind the fact that they licensed the murder of a journalist at their consulate in Istanbul?  We can complain all we want but the only answer is to take that leverage away and lower our dependency on foreign oil, especially with Saudi Arabia.

Here is some background information starting with facts and questions from S², who was born and raised in the Middle East:

  • In 2018 the USA surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the leading producer of crude oil.  
  • The USA consumes over 20 million barrels of petroleum products per day.
  •  Most of the oil consumed in the USA is used in cars.  So why not reward owners of high mileage vehicles?  
  • Electric – make it’s use affordable. I cannot buy the argument that we put a man on the moon in 1969 and we cannot create a battery that yields 500 miles of range on one charge.
  • Solar usage. Israel forces every new home to have solar panels. Why not create incentives for home and commercial builders to design solar into their construction plans?
  • Why should we continue to import oil from Saudi Arabia.  Why not increase our buy from Canada and Russia?

Realities:  As a transport-intensive society, and though the USA’s production is up year-over-year, it is not nearly enough to satisfy our thirst for oil.  While we produce close to 12 million barrels daily, our consumption is close to 21 million barrels per day.   Can the USA produce more oil?  Not exponentially as we can only extract a certain amount of oil at reasonable or competitive prices.  Extracting oil from U.S. soil is difficult and expensive to obtain – not a viable option with overseas oil prices remaining relatively low.

Creating alternative fuel sources used for transportation seems like a good way to deal with the problem. Bringing domestically produced alternative fuels — like ethanol, natural gas, electricity, and hydrogen into the transportation fuel mix will reduce our oil consumption and decrease the amount of foreign oil we import.  Reducing our imports, especially from Saudi Arabia, will mean that the USA is less susceptible to price hikes which for the most part are caused by international events and political discord.  For example, ten of the last eleven recessions have been preceded by a spike in oil prices – along with the U.S. government spending billions of dollars defending oil trade routes.  Alternative sources of fuel, at a basic benefit, give people the opportunity to select their fuel source and mitigate the cost implications of a spike in oil prices.

An associate of mine, T.A., works within the energy sector.  Her view:  “I agree with the comments regarding electric vehicles to lessen our dependency on foreign oil.  We are seeing public transportation fleets convert to electric or compressed natural gas in California based on mandates from the state. 
More and more states are putting in renewable energy targets as well to maximize use of solar and wind. Storing that energy for future use is essential. EV may play a part in that but not sure how right now.
Adoption will be the key. Whether it’s making the cars more attractive, states putting mandates in place or people like you helping people connect the dots may motivate people to make their next car an EV.”

An alternative fuel like E85 may not be the long term answer but at a minimum it seems to be another path of least resistance to slow down the USA’s dependency on foreign oil.  E85 is made up of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.  There are attributes and some downside to E85 but it does seem that the pluses outweigh the minuses:  it is domestically produced and for the most part made of corn starch.  It supports the efforts of our farmers.  E85 can reduce greenhouse emissions and is biodegradable.  On the downside, it does cost a bit more than regular gasoline and yields less MPG’s based on fuel volume.  One big reason that E85 has not caught on in the USA is the lack of fueling stations. This issue also affects owners of electric cars, who continuously complain about the lack of plugin infrastructure across America.

I offered up the energy issue to W.P., who summed up what many must be thinking:  “….I was struck by how relatively uninformed I am on this subject, and how I take the availability of inexpensive sources of energy for granted.  Maybe this observation is my message, i.e. too many of us have become complacent with the energy status quo (cheap, virtually limitless) so we don’t think much about it, and we have no sense of urgency to develop alternative sources. To build on your thoughts, I think the USA needs a bipartisan strategy to gradually wean ourselves off of fossil fuels in a manner that minimizes economic repercussions over the next 10-20 years. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Therefore, I believe we will be poorly prepared for the next energy shock — and it will happen sooner rather than later.”

The bottom line:  it is essential that the USA, once and for all, reduce their dependency on foreign oil.  It is time to marginalize Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East.  It is time to take some risks with creating viable and alternative sources of domestically produced energy.  It is really bad business for bad-behaving countries to have leverage with crude oil.  Very bad business.

I would like your take on this subject. Comments are welcome – use the “Leave a Comment” section of the blog. I stay away from politics but if you have a position on this issue you can email Rick Perry, our Secretary of Energy, at:  The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov

 Thoughts and prayers to all who were affected by yesterday’s incident in Pittsburgh.

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!

Reset. Stay Wealthy. Game 7. The Mystery Abroad. Arena Enhancements. Next Up. Cornhuskers.

Changing It Up. Don’t Just Give It Away.  Compelling Baseball?   Really, An Accident? The Revised Arena.  The National Team Dilemma.   Mid-America Tourism. 

Orlando City played a mid-week game and set a Major League Soccer record that no one is proud of……goals allowed in a season.  With that said their second 45 minutes on Wednesday showed glimpses of a team with fight and perseverance.  After today’s finale Orlando City must pivot and show their supporters, partners, and the media that they mean serious business.  Here’s to their ownership and management getting it done!  

Will you win the $1.7B Mega Millions jackpot?  I hope so and if you do come up the winner please donate the majority of your winnings to charities of your choice.  It is not about just ‘giving back’, it is about using your money wisely and not being one of many who have gone broke within a few years of winning the grand prize.  Financial analysts state that 70% of all lottery winners, within five years, declare personal bankruptcy.  Seriously.

If you are a baseball fan last night’s game seven between the Brewers and Dodgers was good fun. It’s really tough  to watch a three-hour baseball game but the World Series match up between the Red Sox and Dodgers should be a good one.

A journalist, a Turkish consulate, and Saudi Arabia.  Are you not sick and tired of listening to the Saudi’s insane rhetoric, posturing, and political positioning over the death of this journalist?  A man lost his life after supposedly being put in a choke hold.  That is called a homicide.  This is why I stay away from politics and religion – enough said.

Congrats to Steve Koonin and the Atlanta Hawks on the grand opening of the refurbished State Farm Arena (formerly named Philips Arena).  Now it is time for the club to make a statement on the court. 

I am a patriot….always been and always will be.  That is why I am still very interested with the decision the United States Soccer Federation needs to make in regards to their new national team manager.  The inability of our national team to qualify for this past summer’s World Cup exposed glaring issues with our team’s management, our player pool, and the youth systems who in essence should feed the player pool of the national team. This decision is paramount as the World Cup cycle and qualifying for Qatar 2022 will kick in sooner than we think.  (By the way, yes, I wrote Qatar 2022, a decision from #FIFA that will live in infamy).  The front runner for the job seems to be Gregg Berhalter, currently the manager of the Columbus Crew.  I am not qualified to tell you whether or not Berhalter is the right man for the job, but what I do know is that status quo in this search and selection should not be a part of picking the manager.  It is very, very unlikely to happen but here is my favored scenario:  Gerardo “Tata” Martino, the manager of Atlanta United, becomes the next manager of the United States National Team.  U.S. Soccer negotiates a deal with Darren Eales and Atlanta United to allow Tata to train the national team at Atlanta United’s beautiful training center AND to stay on board with Atlanta United in a advisory role.  Win-win as our national team finally gets a manager who can develop, train and prepare our player pool, Atlanta United hires a new South American manager who receives guidance from Tata, and the national team benefits from training at a world-class training facility.  Reality:  my plan goes down the drain after the MLS Championship game when Tata, who has not been approached by the U.S. Soccer Federation, takes the helm with Mexico’s national team.   Meh.

I love the state of Nebraska’s new tourism tag line: “Nebraska. Honestly, It’s Not for Everyone.”  My former college coach most likely disagrees with the new tag line as he once again is living and coaching in Omaha.  I have been to Omaha – a great town with great people.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!

Mid-September Takes.

Here’s To Many Things:

Here is to everyone that was in Michael’s path recovering quickly.  To those who lost their loved ones….our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Here is to OPEC and the other power brokers dealing with yield and sanctions to prevent oil from skyrocketing to $100 a barrel.

Here is to Orlando City providing their manager with a great player pool for 2019;  to Atlanta United figuring out a positive path should Tata Martino leave and a big club in Europe swallow up Miguel Almiron; to Inter Miami and David Beckham getting a positive vote to turn Mel Reese Golf Course into a mega-center including a stadium for their new Major League Soccer club.

Here is to what is expected to be a tremendous year for California wineries.  Every empty bottle is filled with a great story!

Here is to “The Gulch” next to State Farm Arena and near Mercedes Benz Stadium receiving the support it needs to build out a real “city center” for the city of Atlanta.  

Here is to the Department of Defense figuring out the F-35 program, and doing it quickly.  The program is now on hold but the reported spend to date to build out the entire fighter jet program is over $350 billion.  

Forgetting specific politics, here is to Germany finding a replacement for Chancellor Angela Merkel.  You may not have agreed to her stance on many things but she was a woman of pride, dignity and professionalism.

Here is to many more people having the brain power of Stephen Hawking.  I won’t even pretend to understand his “black hole” theories but many people do.  Smart doesn’t even begin to describe Hawking.

Here is to the section of Interstate 4 in Orlando being completed before 2022.  It is time to make the “City Beautiful” navigable.

Here is to the scientists screwing around with gene editing having the smarts to not mess with nature.  Do we really need more mice created from two females?  

Here is to the Dow Jones, international diplomacy, the Centers for Disease Control, and to both footballs.  

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!!

UFC Rubbish. Changes. $. Parity. Ford. Inspiration. Brunch with the EPL.

This is Not Sport. The OCSC Pivot.  Draw Now?   This Is Why Saturday’s Are For Football.  A Workforce of 70,000 Salaried Workers. One Arm.  The Battle at Anfield.

Obviously it is a money grab but the UFC circus is out of control.  Last night’s pay-per-view fight between Khabib Nurmagomedev and Conor McGregor ended rather quickly with McGregor completely over-matched.  Never much of a fight, Nurmagomedev dominated McGregor from the opening bell and this ‘battle’ ended with a choke hold and submission as McGregor tapped out.  What happened after the fight was the telling tale as a melee broke out OUTSIDE the cage.  Outrageous, demeaning, and unprofessional – and this is a sport that attracts big pay-per-view money and a demographic dominated by millennials.  Not good.

I jammed up Orlando City a couple of weeks ago but I was told that last night’s effort was outstanding in a loss to a very good Dallas F.C. club.  That is great news to hear.  November through February should be an interesting time for Orlando City as they look to make changes that should have their supporters excited for a great 2019 season!  On a down note, Atlanta United’s win over New England came at a great expense with Miguel Almiron going down with a hamstring injury.  Everyone is replaceable but his shoes will be big ones to fill. 

Does anyone have a SIMPLE online calculator to determine when someone should start drawing social security benefits?  Obviously age and future income expectations come into play but it would be nice to have a plug and play calculation using all the variables.  Anyone have an answer?

The first Saturday in October brings drama to the pitch and the gridiron.  After a few weeks of the Premier League and NCAA football, the dynamics of competition always seem to heighten our awareness of parity, and maybe a bit of drama.  Yesterday started off with Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United going down to Newcastle 2-0 in the first half.   All the naysayers at Armando’s in Winter Park were already cursing at the TV’s, cheering on the fact that Manchester United’s manager would soon be shown the door. Whether it be Mourinho’s will or the aura of #OldTrafford, Manchester United stormed back to win 3-2 on a 90th minute header from Alexis Sanchez, the shortest player on the field.  Then we move onto the other football which was a day of showing why bookmakers in Las Vegas go just a bit crazy.  Auburn, ranked 8th, scores only 9 points and loses to Mississippi State.  Clemson, ranked 4th, barely squeaks by Syracuse 27-23 and #5 LSU lays an egg losing to the Gators 27-19.  There was no defense in this year’s Red River Classic as #7 Oklahoma gave up 48 points in a loss to Texas.  Parity and a good bit of drama.  Saturdays = good fun.

Ford’s stock is down 26% year-to-date and now they announce a reduction in force.  Ford expects to eliminate up to 5,000 salaried jobs which only prompts the question: “If you can take out 5,000 jobs from your salaried workforce what were those 5,000 people doing in the first place?”  If you are a shareholder of their stock you just have to be shaking your head.

Inspiration. Google the latest episode of HBO’s Real Sports and go to the segment featuring seven year-old Tommy Morrissey.  Or…take two minutes and watch this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0vUhhissaQ

That’s all for today as I need to get ready for more football….that would be Liverpool v Manchester City at 11:30am EDT.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!