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A brief slice of the American pie was shown to me during my travels the other day.
The Orlando Magic professional basketball team had a "Seats for Soldiers" day where season ticket holders offered up their seats for a game dedicated to soldiers from the area. My nephew is a marine sergeant and his parents, my sister-in-law and her husband, are active in the local support group which is how I became aware of this effort.
Here is a city that celebrates the soldiers from their area and offers up a special night to show them their feelings.
And then there is Jane Fonda, the professional war protester who is stuck in the 1960s, trying to garner as much publicity as possible for her favorite cause... making life more difficult for our soldiers. She was personally responsible for showing the North Vietnamese that Americans "approved" of the criminal treatment afforded to Americans who were prisoners of war. While she didn't give away secrets or betray individual soldiers, her presence did give the North Vietnamese a sense that Americans would not do anything about the torture the American soldiers suffered. Now she wants to encourage the Iraqi criminal elements by saying that their actions have been successful in taking support from American soldiers in Iraq. What do you suppose that will lead to?
In related news, four American soldiers were executed after they were captured, handcuffed, and driven away to a location miles from the attack. Meanwhile, an army Lt. Colonel is being court-martialed on charges of cruelty for having prisoners stripped and photographed in "humiliating" poses. I wonder how "humiliating" the poses of those executed American soldiers were?. The criminals in Iraq must really be laughing at the U.S. now. What kind of fight can they expect out of a country that glorifies Jane Fonda and court-martials its men for "humiliating" those who would execute our soldiers?
It is Vietnam all over again. Too many Americans... including some prominent politicians... really don't deserve the sacrifice of the soldiers who protect them. Maybe they would be more comfortable in Cuba or Venezuela. They can say it is about the war and not the soldiers... but they are wrong. It is about the soldiers.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
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Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
- O. Henry
The Independent (UK)
FEDERAL RESERVE & HOUSING
February 3, 2006 Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
November 28, 2007 FED VICE CHAIRMAN DONALD KOHN
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.”January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...
What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?
- Bruce Hall
- Michigan, United States
- Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)