Telecoms: California Declares Free Market Broken

“There is no indication of any change in the near future regarding the current state of competition. Market forces have not yet met the challenge of controlling price increases.”

[From Telecoms: California Declares Free Market Broken, Recommends Price Controls For Phone Services]

huh, the California PUC is suggesting that you can’t have a competitive market without competition. Why didn’t I think of that.

Unfortunately, the PUC is offering a cure that is more severe than the disease… price controls.

T. Boone Pickens

I’ve been watching Pickens with a high degree of curiosity as he pitches his energy plan. On one hand I see a guy worth $4b that isn’t in this for the money, yet I haven’t seen too many billionaires that were not always looking for a 45 degree angle on a deal. I was therefore somewhat disappointed to realize that the core of Pickens plan is not just wind but natural gas, to which he has substantial financial incentives in the form of Clean Energy Fuels.

I’m not casting a judgement on the Pickens plan, mostly because very little of it is described in detail. The plan is essentially a 3 page brochure that says we need more wind power and natural gas for transportation. No word on vehicle conversion, gas pipeline development, electrical grid impact, taxes, distribution of costs as they span state boundaries, exploration for natural gas, etc.

Then there is Nancy “trying to save the planet” Pelosi and Pickens making strange bedfellows indeed with the Speaker’s investment in CLNE, even if it is a relatively small one. Nonetheless, these perceptions of conflicts lead to actual conflicts that fuel the “business as usual” sentiment among the public that results in voter disgust and disenchantment.

We don’t doubt that T. Boone Pickens will eventually make substantial earnings off of his green kick — including the world’s largest wind farm, and the proliferation of natural gas to power our vehicles. But Clean Energy Fuels, Pickens’ natural gas distribution company, reported earnings yesterday and, yep, it’s still losing money. The company reported a loss of $2.41 million for the quarter, though that was narrowed from a loss of $3.56 million for the same quarter a year ago.

[From Wasn’t T. Boone Supposed to Be Earning Money Off Green? « Earth2Tech]

Obama and McCain on Electric Cars

Interesting analysis on the candidates proposals for alternative energy and vehicles.

PM’s Geek the Vote series takes an in-depth look at the presidential candidates’ policies and positions on science and technology. In this installment, car-tech experts evaluate the stances of Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on America’s future electric vehicles, including funding for battery research, tax credits and loan guarantees for a struggling American auto industry.

[From Obama and McCain on Electric Cars - Energy Plans for Gas Prices, Plug-in Hybrids - Popular Mechanics]

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From the OMG Lighten Up Files

Nutritionists are pissed because Michael Phelps is on the front of the Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal box… but I’d speculate they are not nearly as pissed off as the guy who got bumped, Tony the Tiger. That’s great…

Of course, nutritionists aren’t too happy about the switch either, since Tony the Tiger’s cereal has three times the amount of sugar as Wheaties and only a third of the fiber, neither of which help the fight against childhood obesity.

[From Frosted Phelps. Will You Eat 'Em? - E! Online]