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Thursday Miscellany

Sometimes my mind is a terrible thing.  Here are just a few of the items that have passed through in the last few days………

An Early History of American Oil

In 1818, a salt well suddenly began to fill with oil, making it the first well to produce crude oil in America. People had known about such oil seeps in western Pennsylvania for centuries. Native Americans, as far back as 1410, had been harvesting oil for medicinal purposes by digging small pits around active seeps and lining them with wood. For years European settlers had been skimming the oil from the seeps and using the petroleum as a source of lamp fuel and machinery lubrication.

The Seneca Indians and Revolutionary soldiers serving under General Benjamin Lincoln had found similar pools and determined it to have use as a medicinal compound. But no commercial use for the black goo could be determined, and salt wells like the one of 1818 in eastern Kentucky were deemed useless and promptly abandoned.

Things had changed by the 1840s. Numerous uses for oil had been discovered, and businessmen couldn’t find enough oil-producing salt wells to meet the increasing demand. The salt wells became invaluable because the only known way to harvest oil was from creeks, springs, and ditches, and the process was slow and expensive.

Even though practically everyone knew that oil was often found in salt wells, all had overlooked the idea of drilling in these locations specifically for oil. When James M. Townsend, president of Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company, suggested to a friend in the late 1850s that oil could be produced from wells just like water, the friend replied, “Nonsense! You’re crazy.” Read the rest….

 

What if Obama were Governor of the State of Texas?

For anyone having trouble imagining Rick Perry replacing Barack Obama as America’s president, imagine if Barack Obama had replaced Rick Perry as governor of Texas.

Both Obama and Perry inherited an economy from George W. Bush, but here’s what happened in each case:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), under Obama, 2.4-million jobs have been lost in America.

In the first decade of Perry’s tenure, from June 2000 to June 2010, the BLS says that Texas had a net gain of 907,000 jobs—the best record in the country. Perry refers to research from the Federal Reserve’s Dallas branch that since the recession technically ended in June of 2009, Texas has created about 48 percent of the new jobs in America.

Since Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, unemployment nationwide has gone from 7.6 percent to 9.1 percent. The current unemployment rate in Texas with Perry as governor is 8.2 percent.

During the past seven years, CEOs polled by Chief Executive magazine have rated Texas first in the nation in business development and job growth. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in 2010, Texas’ economy grew 5.3 percent versus 3.8 percent for the overall U.S. economy.

Perry’s critics (especially those in the Obama White House) say that Texas’ job growth is attributable to its booming energy sector. However, USA Today reports that Texas has had “broad based” job increases in several sectors, including health care, education, professional and business services and leisure.  Read the rest……

Yeah, I know I said I was gonna leave it alone…
And lastly:
It is time to diversify that portfolio.  Miss K and I are steadily converting the intangibles into precious metals like gold and silver.
The Motley Fool says about gold:
I’m sure you’ve seen the invariably confident claims that gold must represent a bubble, backed by deeply unscientific litmus tests. It must be a bubble, because “my mother recently asked me if she should buy some.” (Psst! Hey, Mom … Yes!) Others may feel compelled to sound the panic alarm because — gasp! — commercials have appeared on television to sell the yellow metal.Of course, those anecdotal arguments against gold exposure have proven incorrect time and time again. With each successive breakout to fresh all-time highs, gold continues to confound perennial bubble callers with the sheer strength and continuity of its secular bull-market run. 

Concealed amid the cavernous disconnect between the equally entrenched outlooks of gold bulls and bears, however, lies a basic and crucial consideration that bubble callers have persistently overlooked. It’s all too easy to presume that a bubble exists when an asset gains value and attention quite rapidly. But one careful look at the relative historical context offers enormously compelling evidence that gold’s historic resurgence retains ample room to run. At the core of gold’s momentum is not a fear-driven speculative frenzy, as many have argued, but rather a protracted revaluation event for a global currency that had been all but tossed into the world’s collective wastebasket.   Read the rest here……..

 

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8 comments to Thursday Miscellany

    • admin

      Joel,
      I didn’t write that article ya know. I have been living with Rick Perry as Governor down here for 11 years and I am not impressed. But don’t underestimate the guy. He is a SHREWD politician, a galvanizing speaker and he has the ability to say what the people want to hear. I don’t know if it is all him or his handlers but he is a formidable foe. There is going to be plenty of things come out to sully his image like his rental mansion, mandatory vaccinations for female school children, shooting a coyote while jogging, the manner in which he gutted the school system to balance the state budget, his support of toll roads, the Trans Pecos Corridor and use of Eminent Domain. He is teflon and most of that stuff will not stick. Plus he has great hair. He is a politician’s politician and I told my daughter 2 years ago he was prepping for a run at the White House and stood a good chance. I am not a fan.

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  • Joel

    Good to hear, Andy.

    I don’t underestimate the triumph of image over skill when it comes to winning elections. I learned my lesson with Reagan.

    Whether or not Gov. Goodhair has the ability to win a national election has no bearing on the falsity of the Rick Perry Texas Miracle myth. But I’m a scientist, so I’ve always privileged data over propaganda. I understand that’s a minority POV.

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    • admin

      Propaganda is exactly what it is Joel and the propaganda is promulgated by the mainstream media which quit reporting factually and honestly about the time Walter Cronkite retired. Look how effectively mainstream media has stifled Ron Paul. I am not a fan of his either but obviously some people in high authority do not want the American people to hear his message.

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  • Joel

    I guess I don’t know what the term “mainstream media” means. If you refer to television, you might be right. I haven’t watched TV in nearly 15 years. But if you include print and online media, I’m and avid consumer and I’ve had no trouble finding out about Ron Paul and his message.

    The reason Ron Paul doesn’t get more coverage than he already does is because most people can see he is unserious as a national candidate.

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  • Joel

    Having not watched TV in almost 15 years, I missed this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKRwIm_N0vA

    How is televising Ron Paul’s announcement that he’s running on “Good Morning America” stifling him? I’m sure there are hundreds of politicians who would gladly be stifled by such MSM coverage!

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  • Joel

    LOL! The evidence that Ron Paul is being ignored is . . . a post on the Ron Paul web site?! Sweet!

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