Nov 192015

This morning, my ten-thirty AM consultation was with an economist from the USDA. We spent about an hour and ten minutes discussing the ramifications of the Renewable Fuel Standard and its impacts on the corn market. Manufacturing fuel ethanol from corn was a stupid idea when it got started during the Carter administration, of course, and it’s a still a stupid idea today, but stupidity never kept the US government from doing anything the farm lobby and agribusiness happen to want. There was still plenty of analysis remaining, but my guest cut things off twenty minutes early. “Thanks, Tom,” she said with a smile as a gentleman whom I had never met opened the door to the reception area and […]

Sep 212015

This morning, I received a visit from Dr. Benjamin Cash, a branch chief from the Treasury Department. He was there to review the results of a currency logistics mathematical model which I developed after being requested to do so last June, when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a portrait of a woman would replace Alexander Hamilton on the obverse side of the US ten dollar bill. The model calculates the lengths of service and rates of circulation, inactivity and return for destruction of ten dollar notes bearing various female portraits, assuming the reverse remains constant and consists of a neutral image of a well-known public building, in terms of a matrix of parametric partial differential coefficients representing esthetic, political, […]

Sep 072015

As regular readers of this Web log know, Gretchen and I make special preparations for visits from my client “Ahmed.” These involve scheduling him as the last consultation on a Friday, preferably before a long weekend such as this one, which includes Labor Day on Monday, installing new filters in the office air purification system, and making sure there are sufficient supplies of high thickness, low gas exchange oversized sealable plastic bags, impermeable polymer gloves, and activated carbon canisters for the gas mask Gretchen bought with her own money, all of which she needs in order to dispose of the filters on Tuesday morning, and to subsequently replace them with fresh ones before the first client takes their seat in […]

Aug 162015

Friday morning at nine, I was visited by Dr. Lura Tradkrammer, Division Director, Office of Water, US Environmental Protection Agency. My clients don’t come more agitated and anxious than she was. I could feel the tension and apprehension exuding from her as she forthrightly positioned herself in the chair directly in front of my desk. “Mr. Collins,” she timorously declared, “I’ve heard a lot about you, and frankly I was – and remain – highly skeptical of your alleged talents.” “So why are you here?” I asked. “Because the Administrator ordered that the Deputy Administrator recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Water Quality instruct the Deputy Assistant Administrator of my Division to require that I see you.” “Okay,” I observed, […]

Jul 282015

Prior to taking in The Book of Mormon Sunday evening at the Kennedy Center, Cerise and I enjoyed an early dinner at the Willard Hotel, followed by cocktails at the Round Robin Bar. There we witnessed Bodine and Garcia, Senate staffers for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and freshman senator Ted Cruz, respectively, engaged in a heated discussion over their drinks. “Three times!” Garcia bellowed, pounding his fist on the table for emphasis, “just like Peter denying Jesus! Three times your man McConnell denied there was a deal to attach funding for the Export-Import Bank to the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 in exchange for their votes last May in favor of Trade Promotion Authority! Three times!” “That,” […]