Friday, August 31, 2007

Lawyer in BP case uses Scumbag Tactic

Coon did a good job with Eva Rowe (apart from his attempts at legislation), but is using a dishonest tactic (yes, shocking, I know):
"A lawyer representing people hurt in the deadly 2005 blast at BP's Texas City refinery today compared responsible refinery operations to responsible gun ownership.

The gun analogy came after Coon asked if anyone thought explosions are inevitable at refineries. No one raised a hand."
So, Coon is comparing guns, which are designed to kill people and do by the thousands each year, to refineries which rarely result in fatalities. Hopefully, the jury will see past that leap in rhetoric. Of course, I am not saying that BP shouldn't pay, and they have. I just marvel at the twisted way lawyers present their story.

Child Killed by pet pit bull

Another tragedy:
"Family members told police the 1-year-old dog did not have a history of aggressive behavior."
Bull shit. There is always history before a fatal attack.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Economy Grows at Fastest Pace in Year

Economy Grows at Fastest Pace in a Year:
"The economy grew at its strongest pace in more than a year during the spring as solid improvements in international trade and business investment helped offset weakness in housing."
And now for the infamous "yeah, but":
But the growth spurt could be short-lived. There are concerns that the recent turmoil in financial markets, a result of a spreading credit crisis, could seriously dampen economic activity in the second half of this year.

Feds find no conspiracy in 2006 gas price spike | - Houston Chronicle

I guess Congress will apologize after this report:
"Market forces, not price gouging, caused the cost of gasoline to rise during the spring and summer of 2006, according to a report sent to President Bush today by federal antitrust regulators. The report said U.S. pump prices surged — as high as $3.02 a gallon, on average, in mid-August — as a result of increased customer demand, the rising cost of crude oil and ethanol, refinery outages and other factors. "
And of course, I called it exactly one year ago today.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I love my dog, but...$12Million?

Helmsley loves Trouble:
"Leona Helmsley's dog will continue to live an opulent life, and then be buried alongside her in a mausoleum. But two of Helmsley's grandchildren got nothing from the late luxury hotelier and real estate billionaire's estate. Helmsley left her beloved white Maltese, named Trouble, a $12 million trust fund, according to her will, which was made public Tuesday in surrogate court. She also left millions for her brother, Alvin Rosenthal, who was named to care for Trouble in her absence, as well as two of four grandchildren from her late son Jay Panzirer — so long as they visit their father's grave site once each calendar year."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another View on Vick

I could not agree more with the below, which I reproduce in its entirety because the Chronicle does not archive editorials.

Making devils pay for crimes against man's best friend

Readers keep asking me what I think about Michael Vick, the disgraced Atlanta Falcons quarterback who last week filed a guilty plea to a number of charges relating to his aspiration to be the Don King of dogfighting. They ask not because I'm a renowned sports lover, but because I'm such a dog lover.

And I do love dogs. They are, evolutionarily and otherwise, man's partners, our wingmen — winghounds if you prefer. Dogs are the only animal to choose to be our friends and comrades in the great struggle of muddling through our turn on this mortal coil. (Cats, I'm sorry to say, hold one paw in each camp so as to forever keep their options open, and all other domesticated animals had to be forced into the arrangement.)

What we see most clearly in dogs are precisely the things we as human beings wish to see in ourselves: loyalty, joy, love, home, family, commitment, humor and an utter disregard for the pieties and pretenses of fashionable life. ("If you take a dog which is starving and feed him and make him prosperous," Mark Twain observed, "that dog will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a dog and a man.") My dog cares not that he is beautiful, that he is rich, that he is prized. All he cares about is that he is loved and that he has someone to love back. And if that someone happens to have a piece of ham behind his back, well, he's no fool either.

Indeed, as many have noted, dogs look to us as we look to God. Even Ambrose Bierce, a great cynic, defined "reverence" as "the spiritual attitude of a man to a god and a dog to a man."

This helps us understand why finding joy in cruelty to animals is horrific. Torturing a dog or a cat for sport is not disgusting because animals have rights, it is repugnant because human beings have obligations. If animals look to us as gods, and we in turn torture them for our amusement, have we not willingly made ourselves into devils?

Dogfighting in particular is grotesque because in it we reject all that is lovable about dogs in favor of all that is animalistic. We exploit canine loyalty and trust, stripping away the joy like so much bark in order to make dogs more fearsome than even wild animals. No wolf or coyote could stand up to one of Michael Vick's pit bulls, nor do wolves and coyotes have anything like that kind of bloodlust.

It's revealing, however, that we call dogfighting a "sport." This can partly be explained by the double meaning of the word. One definition is mere "amusement." When we do things "for sport," we're doing them for trivial or base reasons. Yet, we also define "sportsmanship" as among the highest forms of conduct. We talk of the glories of sports, the purity of sports, the nobility of sports. Sport, we are told, is a selfless endeavor of sacrifice and excellence.

Businessmen and hucksters exploit this double meaning. After all, there's a lot of money to be made in athletes being seen as heroes. So, every few years we have one of these canned, fruitless debates about whether athletes should be role models, sparked by the latest incident of some poorly educated multimillionaire egomaniac beating (or killing) his wife, trashing a strip club, buying cocaine or, most recently, electrocuting dogs in his spare time.

When these men make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, we are told that it's because such men are special, super even. They are heroes and community leaders, not to mention role models and brand names. But when these same ubermenschen hit the skids, the lawyers, P.R. flacks and front-office men suddenly decry holding these mere mortals to a double standard. Vick's defenders say he wouldn't be banned-for-life from any other profession, so why, they ask, should he banned from his career as a ball-thrower? Well, if football were like ditch-digging and if we treated quarterbacks like ditch-diggers, this complaint would ring more true. But we treat quarterbacks like gods and sports like the highest form of human expression.

So when these men behave like devils and revel in the lowest aspects of humanity, it will not do to suddenly declare "it's just a job." (The NFL, though hardly in danger of succumbing to an epidemic of moral integrity, can surely see this distinction, at least as an issue of brand integrity. It suspended Vick without pay on Friday.)

Indeed, if sports is supposed to represent all that is best in men, it should tell us something about more than merely Vick himself that his greatest joy came in bringing out the very worst in dogs — and in us.

Goldberg is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, an editor-at-large for the National Review Online and a commentator for CNN. ( )

Report: Vick to lose over $100 million

I don't know if $100 million is enough:
"Michael Vick could lose over $100 million in salary and endorsements after pleading guilty to federal dogfighting charges, according to a report. Citing estimates from the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the total cost for Vick could reach almost $150 million. If the Atlanta Falcons terminate the quarterback's contract - a 10-year $130 million deal signed in 2005 - he will lose $71 million. Legal experts say the team has the right to terminate Vick. The Falcons could also sue Vick to try and recover some of the $37 million already paid to Vick in bonuses."
I still think Vick should be put in a ring with a couple pit bulls. Then let's see what happens.

Museum director muddleheadedness

The Houston Chronicle has an interview with The Houston Museum of Natural Science's director Joel Bartsch:
"Museums exist to take authentic objects and put them on display as a way of allowing people to engage in a dialogue around these objects. You could not ask for a better object to fit that bill than Lucy. If you're pro-evolution, Lucy is the poster child for pointing out all the strength of the evolutionary position. If you're pro-creation, Lucy is used as the poster child to point out what they perceive as weaknesses in the fossil. No matter what side of the debate you're on, Lucy is your girl."
Um, what? How can Lucy be anything other than a piece of pro-evolution evidence? First of all, you say she is 3.18 million years old which totally destroys the young-earth creationists' time line. Second of all, what are the "flaws"? Is Joel Bartsch engaging in the "god of the gaps" argument? That is, a claim that into every gap in the fossil record god must be thrust? What a strange position to take for someone running a large Museum of Natural Science to take. Surely, Bartsch is trained in science and the scientific method and knows the answers to these fundamental and misguided creationist arguments, and yet, he cannot help but trot them out in an effort to boost ticket sales. Shame on you!

Frankly, I don't care if creationists accept the truth of evolution or if they come and see Lucy. They can stay away for all I care.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Home-owning - It's just math

If people would learn how to do math, owning a home would not turn into a nightmare.:
"'We thought we were fine,' Connie Pent said regretfully. 'You never know.'" could you not know? You took a risk by not putting down money and taking a variable rate mortgage. You gambled and lost. But of course, they are "victims":
Many of the victims are subprime borrowers...Many prospective home buyers, through little fault of their own, are having trouble getting mortgages because of the changing market.

Others were sold on too much house, piled up huge loans based on the inflated value of their property and didn't fully understand the interest rates they would have to pay. Now, they are struggling to keep up with the payments.
I agree. They are victims. They are victim to a lack of mathematical ability mixed with an inability to reason through complicated financial situations. Whose fault is that? Let's find out details on the Pents:
"The Pents grieve losing their three-acre property in the middle of horse country, with its swimming pool and fish pond.

"It was my dad's house," said Connie Pent, 39, an elementary schools receptionist.
"It's quiet, it's open — we love it."

Their troubles began in April 2006 when they refinanced the remaining $207,000 on a 30-year fixed loan to a two-year adjustable rate mortgage so they could pay down hefty obligations on their SUV and pickup."
I'll comment no further. The situation is self-explanatory from here on out.

Race Planners Cause Craziness

OK. Everyone has just gone crazy.:
"Two people who sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare and now face a felony charge."

Scientific Elitism

Sometimes, I think scientists could do with a little less elitism and a little more diplomacy:
"In the Ethiopian language, she is called Dinknesh — a name that means the wonderful, the fabulous, the precious. But to most of the world, she is known as Lucy, a 3.2 million-year-old fossil whose discovery 33 years ago yielded then-unparalleled insights to the origins of humankind. Next week, the iconic set of bones will be the star of a much-hyped exhibit that is pitting the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Ethiopian government against the world's scientific community."
You know I am going to go see this exhibit. Evolution is the most elegant scientific principle and Lucy is an important part of our legacy. She should be seen by everyone!

Help Wanted Ads Go Unanswered

There has to be some bad economic news in this story:
"Record low unemployment across parts of the West has created tough working conditions for business owners, who in places are being forced to boost wages or be creative to fill their jobs."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Read a Book Why Don't You?

This is just sad:
"One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices."
So. To sum up: Most Americans don't read books and when they do, it is religion and popular fiction. Nice.

So quit complaining that "the man" is holding you down. You want to get ahead in this world? Read books. Nonfiction books. Educate yourself. No one else can do it for you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Emissions Trading Fallacy

Via the Volokh Conspiracy:
"As a measure of the gap between Europe's rhetoric and its reality, nothing beats its emissions trading scheme. The idea is that CO2-intensive companies -- chiefly those that produce power or use a great deal of it -- receive a certain number of permits to emit the gas. If they reduce their emissions and end up with a surplus, they can sell the extra permits to firms needing more allowances. In this way, market mechanisms are supposed to punish or reward companies for their carbon output, encouraging them to reduce it in the long run. In Europe, however, the 'market' consists of demand that government has created artificially and -- more important -- supply that the state distributes arbitrarily. Not surprisingly, companies lobbied hard to ensure favorable allocations when trading began in 2005. The number of permits exceeded actual emissions and prices plummeted. Today, allowances for 1,000 tons of CO2 are priced at about 11 euro cents, hardly high enough to prod a company to cut its carbon instead of just buying more permits. If you think the U.S. Congress -- whether led by Democrats or Republicans -- would be more likely to shun special interests in the name of environmentalism, then I've got some tariff-free Brazilian ethanol to sell you."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bears eat man at beer festival

Bears eat man at beer festival:
"A 23-year old Serb was found dead and half-eaten in the bear cage of Belgrade Zoo at the weekend during the annual beer festival. The man was found naked, with his clothes lying intact inside the cage. Two adult bears, Masha and Misha, had dragged the body to their feeding corner and reacted angrily when keepers tried to recover it. 'There's a good chance he was drunk or drugged. Only an idiot would jump into the bear cage,' zoo director Vuk Bojovic told Reuters. Local media reported that police found several mobile phones inside the cage, as well as bricks, stones and beer cans"
Do I have to say: "Don't drink and bare it."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Migrant Cash Is World Economic Giant

Interesting story about immigrants and their money:
"Experts tracking the phenomenon told The Associated Press they have gotten a much clearer picture since the 9/11 attacks, when authorities trying to cut the flow of cash to jihadists began taking a harder look at how immigrants move their money around. Mass migration, they say, has spawned an underground economy of staggering proportions. Globally, remittances -- the cash that immigrants send home -- totaled nearly $276 billion in 2006, the World Bank says. Remittances have more than doubled since 2000, and with globalization increasing the numbers of people on the move, there's no end in sight. If these guest workers incorporated as a company, their migrant multinational would rank No. 3 on the Fortune 500 list, trailing only Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil in annual revenue."
Immigrants want the same thing world-wide: to have a better life for themselves and their families. It really is that simple.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dirty Air? Sue!

I guess I am on a tear tonight so if you have a grievance, I say sue!:
"Arvin has none of the smoke-belching factories or congested freeways of cities such as Los Angeles. In fact, it produces little pollution. But the pollutants that blow in from elsewhere get trapped by the mountains, causing airborne particles to coat homes and streets and blot out views of the nearby Tehachapi range on hot summer days."

Venezuela wants Good Luck

I say good luck to this:
"Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said the state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, is starting its own version of Houston-based oil-field services company Halliburton Co. to provide services within the oil-producing country. 'We're going to create our own firm, called PSVSA Services,' Ramirez said during a televised interview. 'We can have our own Halliburton, ours, the Boliviarian one.'"
The real question is, "can you do it without stealing all of Halliburton's technology?"

"Massive" Leak spills gasoline at BP's Texas City plant

File this under "not even worth a story" Yawn:
"A pipeline leak over the weekend at BP's Texas City refinery spilled 120 barrels of gasoline onto the grounds but was quickly contained and did not injure any workers, BP and government officials said.

But Andrea Morrow, spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said an agency investigator sent to the plant Saturday morning found last week's leak could not have been foreseen."
Then why waste time even reporting it? Disappointing Brett. Disappointing.

Investment in America falls to 4-month low

If I was writing the headlines, I would state it this way: "Investment in America by Foreign Nations Falls to a Four Month Low": But I don't, so you get the standard.:
"The U.S. trade deficit dropped to a four-month low in June [on] record exports

Through the first six months of this year, the trade deficit is running at an annual rate of $705.5 billion, which is down 7 percent from the all-time high of $758.5 billion set in 2006.

Analysts believe that the deficit for the full year will show an improvement after five straight years of record imbalances. The belief is that a weaker dollar against the currencies of major trading partners plus stronger global growth will boost exports while a slowing U.S. economy will trim demand for imports.".

Sixty Seven Days for Murder

The feminist movement has officially arrived:
"The woman convicted of manslaughter in the shotgun slaying of her minister husband was freed Tuesday after serving 67 days in custody. Mary Winkler was released from a mental health facility where she had been undergoing treatment for about two months, defense attorney Steve Farese Sr. said. He has declined to identify the facility where Winkler was held. Winkler, 33, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shotgun slaying of her husband, Matthew, at the Church of Christ parsonage in Selmer, where the couple lived with their three young daughters."
And the vicitm's crime:
"She was charged with first-degree murder, but jurors convicted her of the lesser charge after she testified that her husband abused her and demanded sex she considered unnatural."
So the death penalty for him and 67 days in jail for her. Sounds fair to me.

Rutgers Women's Basketball Player Files Lawsuit Against Don Imus

And this will be the destruction of our society:
"A member of the Rutgers women's basketball team sued Don Imus and CBS on Tuesday, claiming the radio personality's sexist and racist comments about the team damaged her reputation."
You had no reputation. Now you are getting one by your own actions. I guess it would not be wise to comment further or she might sue me.

Worth Pondering

Found this quote:
"Reacting yesterday to word that certain European governments and officials are suddenly trying to abandon their costly 'global warming' policies, Royal Astronomical Society fellow Benny Peiser, of the science faculty at Liverpool John Moores University in Great Britain, recalls the teachings of Marcus Aurelius: 'The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.'"

Ingest electronics to avoid heat stroke

OK, this is just plain cool!
With afternoon temperatures sizzling around 100 degrees and the heat index pushing as high as 127, about 20 Texas Longhorns pop a little white pill before they strap on their helmets for practice.

This is no medicine. About the size of a thimble, it is a miniature mechanical tool that helps players avoid heat stroke during rigorous workouts in the hottest time of year.

Covered with epoxy to aid swallowing, the pills contain a battery, a communication coil, a circuit board and a quartz crystal. A hand-held monitor placed next to the player's midsection reads the level of vibrations from the crystal, translating it to a digital temperature reading.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stick it to the Oil Companies

Nice lead on this: CNN "article" on a proposed electric car:
"If all goes according to plan, by 2009 you could be sticking it to Big Oil by driving an all electric, Chinese-made sedan for little more than the cost of a Camry."
But wait, we also have to stick it to the cheap, foreign laborer and utilize foreign subsidies:
"Both the low cost and the high range can be attributed to China, where low labor costs keep the price down and state-sponsored research into battery technology yielded what Rubin said was an advanced lithium ion power pack produced by Lishen Battery."
I guess since the Chinese like the deal and I would like the car, bring it on.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Study: U.S. Slipping Down Life Expectancy Rankings

Study: U.S. Slipping Down Life Expectancy Rankings
"Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries. For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles. Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands. 'Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries,' said Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics."
And then the inevitable result...."we need government programs.":
Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care, they say.
The narrative and propaganda is incredible.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Auto tech Tom Smith

Auto tech Tom Smith:
"Including, and this is my point, the pressure in each of my all terrain tires, which rarely, if ever, leave a paved surface. But I'm ready, just in case of a break down in civil order. To wit, I have just recently received an email telling me my tire pressure is fine."
I always say I have 4WD just in case they move the fast food restaurants to the mountains. Never know.

Bailing out the Banks

In the ongoing discussion about Jim Cramer asking for Fed intervention into the banking crisis, this was posted in Jim's defense (H/T Instapundit):
"That's bullshit. Look, I know some people like Cramer and some don't. But, he wasn't asking for relief to save the hedge fund managers. He was asking help for people losing their homes.

Asking for Fed intervention in this scenario is not (sic) appropriate. That is the Fed's job -- to adjust the money supply based on current economic conditions. If there is a big deflationary risk due to a large number of real-estate defaults, then it makes sense to increase the money supply to ensure adequate liquidity. It seems to me that sometimes the Fed forgets that there are other risks besides inflation."
I don't get it. The Fed engages in open market operations which, in this case, is buying treasuries from banks to boost the money supply. Or it lowers the federal funds rate. Neither action helps the home owner, it helps the big banks and financial institutions by increasing the money supply and ensuring the credit markets keep functioning. Those action don't help the homeowner who overextended himself one bit.

If Cramer wanted to keep people in their homes, he would be arguing for a cash infusion directly to those homeowners at risk, not to banks and large financial institutions. Of course, the Fed cannot do that. So Cramer is asking for the Fed to bail out the big banks that offered, packaged and sold the "sub-prime" mortgage-backed securities. People are still going to lose their homes if they can't pay regardless of what the Fed does.

These big banks, hedge funds and financial institutions should face the consequences of their risky propositions. The Fed should only act to keep the credit markets fluid and open, not to engineer a bailout.

Nasa Revises Temperature Data

There was a big story this week all over the blogosphere regarding NASA's quiet revision of temperature data due to a programing error. A blogger breathlessly compares the before and after revision here (and no, I cannot figure out how to do a basic table):
Top 10 GISS U.S. Temperature deviation (deg C) in New Order 8/7/2007
Year Old New
1934 1.23 1.25
1998 1.24 1.23
1921 1.12 1.15
2006 1.23 1.13
1931 1.08 1.08
1999 0.94 0.93
1953 0.91 0.90
1990 0.88 0.87
1938 0.85 0.86
1939 0.84 0.85

Do you know what I say about these revisions: who cares? The data revision was 2-3 hundredths of a degree Celsius. That is 0.02 or 0.03 degrees folks. That is a smaller error than the uncertainty of the measurement itself and is therefore statistically insignificant. In other words, 1934 is indistinguishable from 1998. Besides, NASA revises the temperature data all the time. I snap shot the data only to later find it has changed by these same 0.01 or 0.02 degrees. Big frikin' deal.

In my mind, there are two bigger issues.

1) NASA need to be open with its data and any adjustment protocols. When they refuse to release the algorythms, it deminishes the ability of skeptics to check their means and methods. This leads to charges of "cover-up" when reverse engineering reveals an error.

2) Global warming proponents have now set themselves up for disappointment of Millerite proportions by making this claim:
"Global warming is forecast to set in with a vengeance after 2009, with at least half of the five following years expected to be hotter than 1998, the warmest year on record, scientists reported on Thursday."
If 2009, 2010 come and go without significant global warming, they will have their Great Disappointment. Further, if the CO2 levels continue to rise without a corresponding increase in temperature, they set themselves up for total loss of credibility.

I have created some graphs of the phenomena below:

It appears that even as the C02 concentration increases, the temperature increase has slowed cause a little cognitive dissonance. This further makes it necessary for the Global Warming Millerites to push the Apocalypse out into the future, setting themselves up for the Great Disappointment. I will be hear to watch. So will you.

Failing the Fed

Failing the Fed Test:
"'My people have been in this game for 25 years . . . They are losing their jobs': I thought Wall Streeters were paid big money because they took big risks. Capitalism, etc. But when those risks actually materialize, and the Wall Streeters are actually threatened with large losses that might change their lifestyles, Jim Cramer shows up to demand that the government bail out his friends. "
I have been amazed that the Fed is pouring money into the market to slow a problem that they created in the first place. It is amazing that first, banking regulators demanded that loads be made to people who, frankly, could not afford it. Then the banks turned to extremely risky configurations and now act surprised when the party is over.

The thing is, the Fed has bailed out many such activities as these so many times, that the big banks and financial institutions make even bigger bets the next time knowing that the Fed considers them too big to fail.

This is the downside to having a Fed. Perhaps the Fed should allow a few banks to fail and just cover ordinary people with FDIC insurance. That would set things right for a change.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Progressive -- not!:
"These 'Progressives' want America to 'progress' back to a state of mind that holds that we ordinary men and women are so naturally weak in mind, body and willpower that we must be protected by heroic white knights from nefarious forces intent on destroying us."
Read the whole thing, for it is not only correct, but good.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

China threatens trade war retalliation

China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales:
"The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.

Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (�658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress. Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

Described as China's 'nuclear option' in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.

It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds."
It could happen, but I doubt it. They will be hurt worse than us and a global recession will follow. This is all bluster in my opinion, but still a warning to the Congress.

Record Rain in Texas

Those of who live here know the feeling:
The first seven months of the year were the wettest on record in Texas, further confirmation of the recent declaration that the state is drought-free for the first time in at least a decade.

The statewide average through July was 27.11 inches, nearly 11 inches above the norm of 16.21 inches, National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy said Tuesday.

"When we broke the drought, we broke it with a bang," Murphy said.

The previous record for the first seven months was 25.88 inches in 1941.

July was the third-wettest since 1895, and the wettest since 1903. The month was also the coolest since 1976 and the fourth coolest in 113 years.
Get that, the coolest since 1976 and the fourth coolest in 113 years.