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CHEMICAL INDUSTRY NEWS
For the most up to the minute chemical industry financial news - See YAHOO! Their chemical industry news page is the most comprehensive on the Internet right now. You can visit them at http://biz.yahoo.com/news/chemicals.html . Another good Yahoo! site is their Biz page specific for Chemicals. You can visit it at http://dir.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Companies/Chemicals/
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An American businessman is poised to hitch a ride on a Russian Soyuz flight to the International Space Station Alpha. The 10 day flight during a crew return vehicle changeout is reported to have cost $12 to $20 million, hard cash the Russian space program sorely needs.
NASA has debated the Russians on the merits and risks of this "payload manifest item". The thought that one could buy a seat on a manned spacecraft seemed to frighten NASA, initially at least. Perhaps the memories of the Challenger remain strong. At present all indications are that the free market will prevail and the flight will proceed as long as certain physical standards are met.
Amid these events in the newest of free markets, space tourism, the dislocations in the deregulated power market in California continue. The utilities were buying power on the open market at unusually high spot prices and held to user rates set by Public Service Commissions. Eventually the utilities were hard pressed for cash to pay their bills since income was not equal or greater than outgo.
Just ask the Russian Space industry about dislocations and cash flow difficulties in a deregulated market.
A long-term solution is needed and with so much of the public's interest at stake the California State Government has stepped in to play a role. Long-term, low cost supply contracts have been struck which will maintain California as a net electrical power importer. Few if any new generating stations will be built in California, mostly due to the high costs of permitting and environmental regulation. So much for deregulation.
The larger lesson here is what a dependence on electric power we have. So much of our modern conveniences, including the Internet from which you read this column, are dependent on a constant supply of electrical power. But power plants burn fuels which create waste and require huge investments in capital to build, operate and maintain.
Speaking of capital, as predicted, the Federal Reserve eased rates. There is a high probability they will ease again. But fuel costs have stung the economy and uncertainty surrounds us. Corporate earnings reports are down and the high-tech heavy NASDAQ has dropped 60% from it's high point. Ominous words like stagflation, inflation and recession have been spoken and written. A herd of Bears can be heard thundering down Wall St.
Mr. Greenspan may have cost us many grumbles last year when he described the "exuberance" of the markets and then promptly raised the interest rates. He also probably saved us from the most severe of the -ion words mentioned earlier.
Let's hope he eases rates enough to do what is needed. We trust he will. We will all certainly see.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
A teacher was taking her first golf lesson. "Is the word spelled
'put' or 'putt'?" she asked the instructor.
"'Putt' is correct," he replied. "'Put' means to place a thing
where you want it. 'Putt' means a vain attempt to do the same thing.
A Texan, a Russian and a New Yorker go into a restaurant in
London. The waiter says, "Excuse me, but if you wanted the
steak you might not get one as there is a shortage." The
Texan said, "What's a shortage?" The Russian said, "What's
a steak?" The New Yorker said, "What's excuse me?"
To tell the weather, go to your back door and look for the dog.
If the dog is at the door and he is wet, it's probably raining.
But if the dog is standing there really soaking wet, it is probably
raining really hard.
If the dog's fur looks like it's been rubbed the wrong way, it's
If the dog has snow on his back, it's probably snowing.
Of course, to be able to tell the weather like this, you have to
leave the dog outside all the time, especially if you expect bad
"This is the age
Of the half-read page.
And the quick hash
And the mad dash.
The bright night
With the nerves tight.
The plane hop
With the brief stop.
The lamp tan
In a short span.
The Big Shot
In a good spot.
And the brain strain
The heart pain.
And the cat naps
Till the spring snaps --
And the fun's done!"
Sound familiar? But wait -- this poem was actually published in
The Saturday Evening Post in 1949, under the title, "Time of the
Mad Atom." Seems that people were as rushed then as they are now!
A QUOTE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
"Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day;
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