Friday, February 29, 2008

February Cold


Snow and cold. I wrote about that yesterday... so this is a footnote.

The western part of Michigan's lower peninsula such as Grand Rapids already had record snowfall for February... not counting what falls today. Not so much as Concord, NH, but enough to keep the snowblowers well lubricated.

Our area had 4 days during the entire month with the high temperature above normal; you can work out the converse of that.

We may reach normal highs by Sunday and stay that way for Monday. Then back to the freezer with highs at least 10 degrees below normal as the first week of March comes our way.

Where's that global warming when you need it?


Leap Year


Our oldest son and daughter-in-law are celebrating their 2nd anniversary today... having been married on Feb. 29, 2000. Sure, it's just a technicality, but why not take advantage of it?

No doubt they will allot some time for a nice dinner, maybe a movie, and some quiet time. They've just moved into a new home and boxes are piled everywhere. Straightening that out will take a little energy. My daughter-in-law recently started a new job and is winding her way through the maze of new working relationships and corporate processes. Navigating that maze will take a little energy. We just shipped them a 240 pound grill so that my son can throw something good on it when we show up. Moving and assembling that will take a little energy.

Still, they are young... so I believe they will find a reserve of energy for each other.

Happy 2nd [8th] anniversary.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Let It Snow


Winter cold is expected. Snow is expected. So those who point to cold weather and snow as evidence that there is no global warming are simply guilty of the same errors that those who point to summer hot weather and little rain as evidence of global warming.

Weather is variable.
What should not be variable is the way weather is measured. Moving weather stations from grassy fields to asphalt lots or roof tops or surrounded by buildings or airport runways means that measuring the variability of weather has been compromised by the variability of measurement itself.
This has been covered before.
Then what can be determined as factual?
The crux of the matter.
It is a fact that:
  • CO2 concentrations have increased in the past 200 years and, in parts of the earth, growing seasons have extended somewhat concomitantly [look it up] but not necessarily proof of causality
  • The surface of the earth has been modified significantly by human activity contributing to different patterns of weather
  • The sun's activity has varied as general weather patterns have changed and now the sun is in a period of relative inactivity associated with colder weather on earth
  • Ocean circulation patterns have shifted from time to time changing landmass weather patterns and there has been a recent significant change in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Wind patterns affect Arctic and Antarctic snow and ice accumulation and there have been significant changes recently with ice being driven out of the north polar region and then a re-accumulation of ice exceeding previous levels.
  • Computer models have been far too simplistic to capture the dynamics of either weather or climate patterns and have been shown incapable of predicting the future with any certainty
  • Politicians and special interests have acted precipitously and in their own self interests in a attempt to form massive new bureaucracies and industries on spurious and indefensible data.
  • Dubious schemes threaten to siphon billions or even trillions of dollars out of western economies in an effort to save earth from a non-existent threat.
So, in the context of the larger picture, record cold and record snowfalls these last two winters is really of little concern or consequence. Spring will come followed by summer. When it is finally warm enough to stay outside comfortably, the doomsayers will fill the streets with their placards and warn us of the impending doom about to be brought down on us all because we have the audacity to live.

Meanwhile, another winter storm from Canada is bringing... guess what... more snow and cold. Expected... like heat waves and hurricanes in summer.
So, for 6 months we are now allowed to talk about global cooling... to be fair and balanced.

[Normal High 40°]


Call Me?


Maybe this is the next neat thing... but I'm not convinced.

Let's stick to text comments for awhile.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008



Having a mother who is 90-years old and living by herself more than 1,000 miles away is difficult. She still drives a few miles a week and is able to get around fairly well. But aging means losing strength and vigor. Even though her mind is sharp, her body often doesn't follow the orders her brain sends. So, we worry.

It's difficult for the son or daughter to tell a parent it is time to admit their limitations. You are telling them that they have to be dependent on others. Sure, we all have some dependency on others, but the concept of "retirement home" or "assisted living" brings the image of semi-conscious, white-haired people who shuffle along without purpose. The idea of being part of that is enough to cause dread.

My wife and I convinced my mother to visit a facility that had some very good reviews. Then she decided she wouldn't. My wife was not going to take no. My mother visited the facility. Not a minute into the building and she met someone she knew. Then she saw the dining room with its mahogany walls and furniture and white linens. And she saw the spacious, well-lit apartments with spectacular views of the city. Then there was the church at the very top of the building with its beautiful windows and massive pipe organ. And there was the medical clinic, bank, pharmacy, convenience store, beauty salon, fitness center, auditorium... you get the idea.

She spent over an hour walking around the facility and forgot that she didn't have her walker with her. She had to work hard to find anything negative to say... and when it came out she dismissed it as really of no importance.

So, now we arrange for a real estate agent to try to sell her house. That's a challenge these days with the market as it is and her house is small and woefully out of date. But her home's location is fantastic. Old homes are being torn down and large, expensive homes built to replace them. Perhaps she will be fortunate and be able to sell her home for a good price in a short time. After all, good "retirement communities" are expensive. If not, we'll deal with that.

Now my mother-in-law is interested. My wife is a great sales person.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cry Me A River


Sen. Obama is skillfully skating around the sweet deals with Antoin Rezko and Nadhmi Auchi. That's grist for future grinding.

However, there is a connection between that and the mournful weeping by Michelle Obama that she and her husband were finally able to pay off their student loans. Obviously, her expectation was that an affirmative action pass into the Ivy league wasn't sufficient opportunity for them. The cost was soooo high.

Well, how about surgeons who actually do some good in this world? They have even bigger costs to get to that point.
Woe is Michelle; woe is Barack!

Let's hold on a minute. Somehow the Obamas can afford a $1.65 million home. Maybe they could have settled for a $0.65 million dollar home and used the rest of their money to pay off their loans.
No, that didn't fit into the deal they had with Rezko and Auchi. Too hard to hide the weenie paying off loans.
[HT Kathy]


Monday, February 25, 2008

Global Warming Logic


As one winter storm after another pounds the northern U.S., we are still reminded that global warming is our primary climate concern.

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to present a "primer" on a "skeptic's" perspective about the global warming controversy. My sister-in-law teaches philosophy at a prestigious Washington, D.C. university and thought it might be interesting to have a perspective other than Al Gore's offered to students who are supposed to be open to logical arguments.

Because it is a "primer" followed by discussion and the total class time was limited to about an hour, the materials attempted to hit the "high points." Feel free to use it if you find it useful.

You can download an Adobe pdf file version of the presention here.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Obama-Paul Strategy


One of the pivotal points in the campaign strategies of both Barack Obama and Ron Paul is that, if elected, they would start... immediately... the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq. Their justification is that the U.S. should not be in Iraq

...whether or not the intelligence reports which were part of the basis for our being there [and accepted by members of both parties in Congress] were correct, whether or not the U.N. was correct, whether or not the perceived threat of Saddam Hussein working with al Qaeda was correct...
the U.S. simply should ignore the rest of the world and keep its military inside our borders.

Obviously, there are a lot of people who believe that as well. So, let's examine the possibilities.
February 2009: President Obama-Paul issues the Executive Order to begin the immediate withdrawal of troops.

April 2009: The first 50,000 troops are flown to the U.S.

June 2009: The second 50,000 troops are flown to the U.S.

September 2009: The third 50,000 troops are flown to the U.S.

December 2009: The remaining troops are flown to the U.S. except for a small contingent of specialists who will remain to assist with training Iraqi troops and training Iraqi equipment maintenance personnel.

January 2010: The Iraqi government gratefully recognizes the help of the U.S. in the reconstruction and reunification of their nation.
  • Iran recognizes the sovereignty of Iraq and pledges peace and economic ties.
  • The Kurds in the north have serious discussions with Turkey and pledge that they will work with Turkey to ensure that no Kurds create further problems for Turkey.
  • The Taliban agree to cease their efforts to regain control of Afghanistan and pledge to peacefully rebuild that nation along with the government... and work for lasting peace in the Middle East
March 2010: President Obama-Paul is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

We have had our first great change and the realization of all of our hopes.
Or the future might go like this:
February 2009: President Obama-Paul issues the Executive Order to begin the immediate withdrawal of troops.

April 2009: The first 50,000 troops are flown to the U.S.

May 2009: Sunni clerics declare that they must be given final approval for all laws proposed and passed by the government.

June 2009: The second 50,000 troops are flown to the U.S.

July 2009: Iran identifies "inconsistencies" in the position of the Iraqi government and the Iranian understanding of their rights to "monitor" the "peace process" inside Iraq.

August 2009: The Kurds declare that they are an autonomous state, but will "endeavor to cooperate" with the Iraqi government.

September 2009: The third 50,000 troops are flown to the U.S.

October 2009: Syria expresses concern that the area from their border with Iraq to 100 miles inside Iraq has become "unstable" and, therefore, Syria will be sending in their army to "stabilize" the area.

November 2009: Turkey expresses "grave concern" with Kurdish failure to control rebels along the Turkish border and announces that they will be sending troops into the Kurdish state up to 100 miles from the border.

December 2009: The remaining troops are flown to the U.S. except for a small contingent of specialists who will remain to assist with training Iraqi troops and training Iraqi equipment maintenance personnel.

January 2010: The Iraqi government dissolves declaring that "special elections" will be held within the various provinces to determine further participation in a national government.

February 2010: The last of U.S. troops are withdrawn and returned to the U.S. President Obama-Paul receives a standing ovation as he announces to Congress: "Mission Accomplished."

March 2010: President Obama-Paul is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. We have had our first great change and the realization of all of our hopes.

April 2010: Iran and Syria invade the remainder of Iraq and then join the Taliban in Afghanistan to overthrow that government. Saudi Arabia enters negotiation with Iran to create a Middle East cartel exclusive of OPEC. China declares Iran to be their strategic military and economic partner.

May 2010: Gasoline reaches $6.00 per gallon in the U.S. triggering a massive recession.
President Obama-Paul declares that America has achieve pieces in the Middle East and that alternative energy and anti-global warming programs are now the highest priority. The first step of that program will be to shut down all coal-fired power plants and require automobile manufacturers to produce vehicles achieving 50 mpg by 2012. Tax increases for business and wealthy individuals earning more than $75,000 will take place immediately.

Hope and change triumph.


Technical Issues

Due to some technical issues, I have been relegated to land-line dial-up for posting and comments. This will cause some delays.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Issues Are Irrelevant


Earlier this week, I wrote about the religious aspect of Barack Obama's campaign. The point was simply that Mr. Obama's whole campaign is based on how euphoric he makes his audience feel.

Decades ago there was a movie titled "Elmer Gantry," starring Burt Lancaster. Elmer was a sly devil who got his way with his silver tongue. An "amen" here and a benevolent smile there. The movie made an impression on me. I couldn't look at a TV evangelist without thinking about Elmer. It's deja vu all over again.

It's not what Obama says because he rarely says anything of substance. We all have hopes, so promising hope implies that he will be able to give us that for which we hope... even if my hopes conflict with your hopes. We can all get bored or dissatisfied or displeased, so promising change implies he will be able to give us the change that we seek... even if what I want changed may conflict with what you want changed.

If you have a pension, savings, and social security, will he deliver part of your pension and savings in increased taxes so that someone who didn't work as long or hard or save as much rather than buy the toys or take the trips will have what they want? Will the grasshopper get the ant's food? Will Aesop be shown to be naive about politics?

Obama plays to the emotion that we just want to be at peace so regardless of what is happening in the world, let's withdraw into our own cocoon. Ron Paul promised the same thing, but he forgot the free rides... Ron Paul didn't plan to take your money and give it to me. But other than redistributing income ala the Soviet Union, it is striking how similar the other positions of Ron Paul and Barack Obama are. It only goes to show that money talks to voters as well as politicians. Poor Ron Paul didn't promise free rides, so he never got more than 5% of the votes. Both candidates are on the fringes... the only difference is that Ron Paul talked about individuals being responsible for their future while Barack Obama says he will take care of us... with someone else's money.

We'll have hope and change and maybe my hope for change will be more important than your hoped for change... or maybe we will just feel good for awhile and then realize that there was really never much of an agenda for hope and change, so the only thing that will change is that we will hope for someone else.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Islamic Europe


George Bush has made the single most significant blunder in his administration.

That's a grand statement considering how many people believe that U.S. troops in Iraq represent the single largest blunder any president could have made. But President Bush has bought the line that Europe needs to have an Islamic state and, as a result, the U.S. has now recognized Kosovo as an independent nation.

There is more to the story than the Serbs being bad guys. It will come out. And the U.S. will look really stupid... again. The argument that the Serbs "lost" Kosovo when the "U.N. took it away" establishes the principles that:

  1. Muslim populations in Europe should have their own nations
  2. The U.N. can legitimately take land from a nation for the purpose of establishing such Islamic nations
Let's see what happens when Germany and England are faced with that.


Lunar Madness


I had a great time trying to explain a lunar eclipse to my wife and mother-in-law last night as we watched the event taking place.

Using our heads as stand-ins for the sun, earth, and moon, I tried to demonstrate the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse. After what I thought was a clear, concise demonstration, my mother-in-law stood there with this confused look. Then she swiveled her head around in a large circle and asked, "What's this."

I responded, "Empty space."
After my wife stopped laughing hysterically, she said, "I finally get it."

Shot with a Nikon Coolpix 4mp camera.


Wishin' And Hopin' And Plannin' and Schemin'


It is looking more like a McCain - Obama match-up this coming November.

The Team-Clinton has run into problems. HC has the problem of being unable to separate herself from WJC... first because she was an integral part of his presidency and then because she brought him in as an attempt to rescue her faltering campaign. It just seems as if the Democrats have reached the point of "no mas."

No matter how HC tried to portray herself as just a woman trying to break into the "boys club," she came across as disingenuous and calculating.
A lot of women saw her as their "champion," but the fact that she creates as much negative as positive response apparently ran into the Democrat party as well as across party lines. It wasn't just her politics or her gender; a lot of people simply feel she doesn't have good character.
But it still may be premature to count her out. There are many vagaries and convolutions with the delegate process of the Democrat party. Primary votes may or may not have the final say.
Meanwhile, Obama is being challenged to say what he means when he calls for "hope" and "change." He certainly has the black preacher act down. One almost anticipates the shouts of "Amen!" from the crowds.
We need hope! Amen! We're gonna have change! Amen! You'll all be saved. Amen!
How are we going to do that Reverend Obama?
We're going to tax the rich and corporations. Amen! We're going to give the money to the poor. Amen! We're going to send everyone to college. Amen! We're going to give everyone jobs if they want one. Amen. We're going to take care of everyone without a job. Amen.
But Reverand Obama, Al Gore is rich. Are we going to take his money? And the Clintons are rich. Are we going to take their money? And you are rich. Can we have your money?
You're gonna have change! You're gonna have hope!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oil and Carbon Don't Mix


[normal high is 36° F]

By Alexandra Twin, senior writer

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sanitizing The Second Amendment


Regardless of what the Bill of Rights might say, you still have to obey your mother.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside


After a very brief warm-up, the temperatures look to be well below normal again. The high temps should be in the mid-30s instead of the lower 20s. But eventually it has to warm up.

Meanwhile, reports of colder than usual weather all over the world have been pouring in since the beginning of 2008. Arctic ice... you know the stuff that was going to disappear and leave the polar bears stranded in the ocean... has roared back with a vengeance.

Don Surber has a litany of record cold temperatures for February.

But all we hear about is global warming... which is simply not happening. The full story will eventually come out about how an erroneous assumption about climate and CO2 was compounded by inappropriate adjustments to weather data records and further compounded by weather stations that have been situated improperly or impacted by encroaching buildings or pavement or equipment to cause artificially high readings.

That story will eventually explain how the scientists who really didn't have a good handle on climate dynamics were able to convince politicians and the general public that billions or trillions of dollars were needed to correct this terrible situation caused by man.

The story will eventually show that even after the climate did not follow dire predictions, those scientists and politicians were so invested in the error that they couldn't reverse their positions and continued to push for solutions to a problem that didn't exist... claiming that record cold temperatures were evidence of global warming.

Finally, that story will eventually conclude that the real emergency facing the world was the need to develop energy sources to deal with the demands of a growing population...

  • demands that could not be met quickly enough by unreliable "alternative" energy sources...
  • energy needed to heat the homes of people living in areas not benefiting from the global warming that never arrived...
  • energy to produce more electricity to support more business and industry than our present grid can output
But meanwhile, we'll just have to wait while all of our leaders' focus is on carbon credits.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spelling Optional


We all presume to make a living you need a good education. Perhaps....

[click on picture for larger image]

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Miracle Of GPS


We were visiting my brother-in-law at his new home. It was night, not much light on the streets. Our first time in the neighborhood.

Our GPS announced that we were arriving at our destination, so my wife, who was driving, dutifully pulled over to the curb and stopped. We got out of our vehicle and she proceeded to the house next to our position... which was where our GPS announced the arrival.

I asked if she was sure about this being the house since it was too dark to read the numbers. No, she wasn't. I really wasn't comfortable about knocking on doors in the dark in an unfamiliar area, so I called her brother on my cell phone and he asked where we were. I told him I thought we were in front of his house. He said he didn't see us. I asked him to go out in the street so that I could see him.

He appeared about 1/2 block away. We learned to differentiate between "arriving" and "arrived" because, apparently, the GPS does.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Freedom Of Speech


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

These days, we have ways around that; cities that refuse occupancy permits, protest groups that attempt to intimidate those with whom they disagree, laws against "hate crimes"... many ways.

But let's step back. Over the course of our nation's history, semantic prestidigitators have been able to differentiate between free speech and assault. We have now reached the point, in many situations, where "my words are free speech and your words are assault."

The other day, I ran a post about a group calling itself Code Pink. This should not be confused with the women's group trying to combat breast cancer that uses pink ribbons as their symbol, but I wouldn't be surprised it that was not part of Code Pink's strategy... another noble "pink" cause. Code Pink is an organization dedicated in its opposition to the military and war.
While I disagree with their position and logic, I acknowledge their Constitutional right to assemble and say what they want.
However, I want you to notice just this one aspect of their peaceful assembly and free speech:

Keep this in mind as we move to the next part of this post.

Media Credit: Photo courtesy of University Police

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 17, 2007; Page A07

Under a barrage of questions from House Judiciary Committee members, a federal prosecutor said yesterday that the hanging of nooses at a high school in Jena, La., constituted a hate crime but that charges were not brought because the students allegedly responsible were juveniles.

And this...
I attended a religious service at Qazwini's mosque that was anything but pro-American and peaceful. Dressed undercover as a Muslim woman, I watched invited speaker Louis Farrakhan preach hate and violence to a very receptive audience of over 1,000 primarily Arab Muslim-Americans.

It was chilling to watch their and Qazwini's frenzied applause and wild cheering as Farrakhan preached about how our government was occupied by "forces of evil" and "people in positions of power with a Satanic mentality" and urged, "We should perform a jihad (holy war). [They are] frightened, and we must frighten them even more." Qazwini and a man whom I believe to be Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab-American News, called Farrakhan "our dear brother," "a freedom fighter" and "a man of courage and sacrifice." (Siblani denies this and claims it was Nouhad El-Hajj, publisher of the Arab American Journal, but Siblani's publication openly praises Farrakhan and his sentiments.) [source]

It appears that free speech covers those who advocate murder as long as it is politically-based or religiously-based, but not if it is racially-based... unless you happen to have a racially-based religiously based speaker such Louis Farrakhan.
I guess the difference must be that hanging a noose is "hateful" while holding a sign advocating murder of U.S. troops is "protected speech."
Personally, I find that all three examples are highly repugnant examples of "free speech." Still, if almost-seditious speech is protected as "free speech", what's the big deal about a noose... or name-calling? It's all just talk, right?
Hate is hate. If one form is not protected, all forms are not protected... and vice versa.

Intimidation is intimidation. Drawing the line because it is racial in nature is illogical. Religions that use force and intimidation are no different from individuals who do the same. "Protesters" who do that are no different from individuals or religions that do the same... whether the targets are abortion clinics or Marine offices.
Protect all or protect none.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sunshine Makes Us Happy


Happy St. Valentines Day. Better than getting chocolate, we awoke to the second day of clear skies.

Here in Michigan, we have two seasons, the blue season [mid-spring to mid-autumn] and the gray season [mid-autumn to mid-spring]. So those occasional days when the sun shines brightly... even if it is 9° F... cheers us up and gets us going.

When you think about it, the sun has been the central focus of most of mankind for most of our existence as a species. It didn't matter where people lived, the sun was recognized as the controller of our lives in one way or another. The Egyptians had their sun god as did the Aztecs.

Western thought and civilization relegated the sun to the position of nothing more than another star in our sky... bigger, from our perspective, and brighter, too... just another star when all was said and done. The sun is necessary, of course, but it just floats in space and pretty much can be counted on for doing its job.
The sun has become a sort of Cosmic Constant that is important, but can be ignored while we go about our lives.
Now, the focus is on mankind. Earth has once again become the center of the universe and mankind is the factor that drives change on earth.
We are the center of the universe.
We drive our cars and heat our homes and power our factories and change the landscape of this planet. We change the cycle of nature and control the forces of nature! We add dirt into the air and free upon carbon dioxide from our actions.
And because we are the center of the universe and because we are the ones who change the cycle of nature and control the forces of nature, we are responsible for changes in our climate that are sure to lead to our doom!
Oh, by the way, in case you hadn't heard, the Cosmic Constant has become very quiet lately. It looks like this through a telescope... no sunspots...


As Anthony Watts reports...
"It is normal for our sun to have quiet periods between solar cycles, but we’ve seen months and months of next to nothing, and the start of Solar cycle 24 seems to have materialized (as first reported here) then abruptly disappeared....

Given the current quietness of the sun and it’s magnetic field, combined with the late start to cycle 24 with even possibly a false start, it appears that the sun has slowed it’s internal dynamo to a similar level such as was seen during the Dalton Minimum. One of the things about the Dalton Minimum was that it started with a skipped solar cycle, which also coincided with a very long solar cycle 4 from 1784-1799. The longer our current cycle 23 lasts before we see a true ramp up of cycle 24, the greater chance it seems then that cycle 24 will be a low one.

No wonder there is so much talk recently about global cooling. I certainly hope that’s wrong, because a Dalton type solar minimum would be very bad for our world economy and agriculture. NASA GISS published a release back in 2003 that agrees with the commonly accepted idea that long period trends in solar activity do affect our climate by changing the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI).

Some say it is no coincidence that 2008 has seen a drop in global temperature as indicated by several respected temperature indexes compared to 2007, and that our sun is also quiet and still not kick starting its internal magentic dynamo."

Well, sunshine still makes me happy... but there is a possibility it may not make me as warm and comfy. I guess I'll have to hug some CO2 for warmth.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Some Small Sacrifices


Back in 2005, I wrote:

Extremism is nothing more than reasonable thought that has been extended to an unreasonable conclusion.
  • If two aspirin reduce pain, 50 aspirin will eliminate it forever (well, yes, this may be true)
  • If cutting back calories is good, eating nothing is best
  • If rain is good for crops, floods are best
Part of the problem in dealing with extremists is their inability to understand that context in which a statement is rational. Another part of the problem is falsely equating one condition as a logical extension of another (more = better).
While one might argue that the examples are ridiculous and that rational people don't think that way, I beg to differ.

Here is a prime example of how reasonable thought goes extreme. But why bother with that when you can just do this?
Why bother to turn lights off when you can just not produce electricity? Why bother with heating and cooling? Why bother with growing and transporting food?
Think of all the CO2 we won't produce. We'll stop that global warming. If we're really lucky, we can have more of this.
Afghan refugee women wait for relief outside their makeshift shelter in Kabul on Sunday. Nationwide, cold weather, snowstorms and avalanches have killed more than 650 people and more than 100,000 sheep and goats.

It's the coldest this impoverished, war-ravaged nation has been in at least a decade — that's as far back as Afghanistan's weather records go ....
Oh, is that too extreme?

But never fear, for every skeptic such as me, there are an adequate number of "scientifically-based" expert thinkers who come up with this:
Sify News, 12 February 2008

Mumbai: The recent cold wave sweeping across Mumbai and other parts of India could be attributed to global warming, experts said on Tuesday here at an environmental conference.

Addressing the ‘Combat Global Warming’ conference at the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) here, former Union minister for power and environment Suresh Prabhu said global warming was primarily a problem created and induced by human beings.

He said the increase in emission of green house gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and methane had resulted in the situation, which could prove catastrophic if unchecked.

Prabhu said the cold wave that swept Maharashtra and other parts of India recently could be attributed to the phenomenon of global warming.

[HT Benny Peiser]
Heat, cold, snow, rain, drought, floods, disease, famine, war, pestilence, asteroid impacts, black holes... it's all because of AGW.

4" of fresh snow and this today


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Code Pink


In case you haven't heard, an organization called Code Pink, in their effort to end U.S. involvement in the Middle East, has been joined by the City of Berkeley, California in trying to get rid of the U.S. Marines in that city. I'm not certain how that's supposed to work exactly.

Please feel free to contact them below to offer your input and advice. or call 310-827-4320

But before you do, consider some of the reasons that the soldiers are in the Middle East... none of which are because they want to be.
Code Pink is the same organization of women that says nothing about the people who did this...

Or about U.S. soldiers with children they prevented from taking their rightful place with Allah...

Or about women being forced to dress like this...

is that a hit of pink there?

Or about this... woman, who was raped, partially buried and then stoned as punishment for her "crime".

No, Code Pink is a fine organization of women who, on the simple principle that U.S. Marines are evil, are busy doing this...

I'm surprised Nancy and Barbara aren't there.

Okay, NOW you can contact Code Pink... and also your congressman to ask that the City of Berkeley be declared a "federal funding free zone"... please!
Or you can just dig a big pit and find some rocks.

Buying The Government


Yesterday, I wrote about the way our federal government was for sale to the highest bidder using examples of campaign contributions. I also stated that Dean Baker's remarks about economists were off the mark [but not necessarily wrong].

Bill, who started my explosion, wrote back to agree in principle that the government does not operate as intended, but he defended Dean Baker's comments about economists [Baker has a Ph.D in economics from the University of Michigan].

I responded [slightly edited] to Bill:

I have been venting about politics and economics lately... your note was the spark that set off the subsequent explosion. Of course Baker was reasonable and I have written similar positions recently. It's just that economists argue from wildly disparate perspectives, but the underlying dynamics of our economy's problems are not truly based on economic factors as much as political manipulations and subterfuge that create "opportunities" for the unscrupulous and unethical to screw everyone else... maybe legally, but certainly questionably.

I don't truly know if Obama is "fairly honest" or not [Bill was actually talking about Dean Baker being "fairly honest"]. His little real estate deal seems to indicate that he is not beyond "bending the rules" in his own favor. McCain had his S&L party a while back. The Clintons flex the rules a bit so that Hillary can "loan" her campaign $5 mil and get it back even if she drops out... can't do that with a donation... just bending the rules again.

It has become the nature of our political system to bend the rules as much as possible. Maybe there are no Thomas Jeffersons left... or if they were around, the system would prevent them from ever winning an elected position.
I'm beginning to sense that I sound a bit crazed. Politics can do that. For example, Pat Dollard has a couple of posts that linked to articles forming a perfect non-sequitur ... how our government represents interests other than its citizens.

In the first one, certain elected officials seem to view the restriction of illegal immigrants from Mexico into the U.S. as a problem because, as I mentioned yesterday, the immigrants represent a huge voting block around which to consolidate their power. So others, like Duncan Hunter [an apparent dinosaur with regard to current political practices], have to introduce legislation to force action on legislation that has already passed.
  • Jim Kouri
    February 7, 2008

    Representative Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, author of the fencing provisions of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, has introduced new legislation in the House of Representatives to require the construction of double-layered fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico within six months, according to a memo sent to the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
Meanwhile, our government sees nothing unusual about offering up over a billion dollars so that Mexico can build a fence protecting its border to the south.
  • The White House wants a $1.4 billion stimulus/national security package…for Mexico

    By Michelle Malkin • February 11, 2008 01:54 PM

    A reader asked me to check into information that President Bush was pushing a massive foreign-aid package to Mexico to help them secure their southern border against the flow of illegal aliens from Central America.

    “We can’t even get our own border straight, and we are going to provide Mexico with funding so they can solve their problem,” the reader fumed. “I doubt the Central Americans are staying very long in Mexico anyway. We know where they are going!”

    Too outrageously outrageous to be true?

    Well, I checked it out and it’s even worse than the reader described. Far worse.

    The plan is called “The Merida Initiative.” Seems that the White House has had this plan in the works for nearly a year with little congressional input on either side of the border.

    We can’t finish our own border fence, properly supply our immigration agents and border patrol with all the equipment and resources they need, or get our house in order. Yet, the Bush administration wants to fork over $1.4 billion to Mexico and Central America–with much of it going into the hands of corrupt law enforcement officials and government bureaucrats who have worked tirelessly to undermine our immigration laws. The funding is tucked into the 2008 supplemental budget.

I'd agree with the $1.4 billion if the money was to be used for a fence on Mexico's northern border.

Good work Duncan and Michelle... although this example is tough to categorize.
Is it because of special interests... or is it just plain stupidity?
Bill framed the problem we face:
I don't have answers for correcting all of our problems, certainly not, but we can't give up on our system of government. We have to fight back with better presentations and arguments. It's the only way I know to do it effectively.
Thomas Jefferson thought differently:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787.
Today, we tend to think he was talking about Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan... or maybe he was just caught up in the moment. Hell, today he probably would be arrested as a "terrorist conspirator" under the Patriot Act.

In a practical sense, Bill is probably correct. The system is too massive with too much inertia to have a convenient "bloody revolution".
Couldn't we just hope for some "revolutionary leaders" ... representatives, senators, presidents... who put the interests of American citizens... individuals... above special interest groups, foreign governments, or their own pocketbooks? Is that really too much to ask?

All In A Day's Flight


My son and daughter-in-law are moving to a nice, but out-of-the way location south of San Francisco. It has a great view of the ocean and some stores less than a mile away, so it is not isolated from civilization, but the coastline really only has one main highway north and south and very limited highways east and west due to the mountains [and a lot of state and national parks].

We were talking about the commute to work ... only one feasible route... which was quite roundabout. I said something to the effect that they needed a helicopter. That got me to thinking about autogyros.

I found this on YouTube and shared it with them:

And also ran across this talking about the possible future of these personal aircraft [source]:
Gyrocopter to the Rescue
Related Pictures

Flying cars are out! Welcome the Gyrocopter – a new flying motorcycle, currently under development by the Dutch company PAL-V. This hybrid vehicle will be able to reach speeds of 200 km/h (125 mph) both on land and in the air, requiring only a short runway of about 100 meters (330 feet) for take off and landing. Expected to be launched in 2009, this unique vehicle enables commuters to leap over traffic jams on their way to work.

The basis of the Gyrocopter's flight technology is the autogiro. Unlike conventional helicopters that use rotating, overhead, motor-powered propellers to provide lift, an autogiro has an engine-powered propeller (attached in the front or back of the vehicle), that provides thrust, similarly to the propellers in fixed-wing aircrafts (airplanes). While the propeller provides thrust, overhead rotor blades act just like fixed wings on a plane, creating lift when air rushes through them. Unlike helicopters, autogiros cannot hover and do require a runway for take off and landing (although usually a very short one).

The autogiro is not a new invention. The idea was first introduced by Juan de la Cierva y Codorniu in 1919, and just four years later, in 1923, the first successful autogiro flight took place in Spain. The autogiro concept continued to develop throughout the 20th century, and autogiros were used by the German navy in World War II - carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance tasks for German U-Boats.. Since then, aircrafts based on the autogiro design have been used for various purposes by different countries, including unmanned target drones used by the United States Air Force.

PAL-V started working on advanced transportation concepts in 1999 and now claims that in two years' time it will release a commercial version of the autogiro-motorcycle hybrid vehicle, called the Gyrocopter. The vehicle is similar in many respects to the Carver One, a tilting three-wheeled vehicle already manufactured and sold by Carver in the Netherlands. The company is currently working on a prototype vehicle that will hopefully prove the possibility of effectively combining the three-wheeled motorcycle with the autogiro.

The Gyrocopter will run on regular petrol and most of the vehicle's components originate in the automotive industry rather than the more expensive aviation industry. In this way, both purchase and maintenance costs can be kept relatively low (although PAL-V has not published an exact cost estimate yet).

One of the most important aspects related to the development of the Gyrocopter is licensing. Gyrocopter drivers will need to pass a theoretical exam (Recreational Pilot License or RPL or PPL) and meet with an instructor for several hours of training, in order to learn how to fly the gyrocopter. According to PAL-V, the gyrocopter license will be obtained after 10 to 20 hours of training, depending on user skill and talent, at a cost of approximately 2,500 Euros.

Another possibly problematic aspect of Gyrocopter licensing has to do with flight certification. Different countries in the world have different regulations regarding small, low-flying aircrafts. The Gyrocopter will need to receive flight certification both in Europe and in the U.S. (and possibly in other countries as well) before consumers will be able to use it. Since it seems that Gyrocopters and other similar aircrafts will soon start commuting in our skies, we will need to find new technologies for controlling these aircrafts. NASA's "highways in the sky" technology should be able to provide us with virtual aerial highways, based on GPS and other positioning technologies. These virtual highways will even have on- and off ramps, which will simplify aviation for the masses in 10-20 years' time.

In the past, TFOT covered a different autogiro-based vehicle, known as the CarterCopter, with a theoretical top speed of 800 km/h (500 mph). A different unique flying vehicle covered by TFOT is the UH-19XRW Hoverwing, which uses ground-effect in order to fly up to six feet above the ground or water surface. TFOT also covered several three-wheelers, including the elegant T-Rex and the scooter-like PIAGGIO MP3.

More information on the gyrocopter, including videos, can be found on the PAL-V website.

Hmmm... virtual highways in the sky. Just think what fender-benders... or chopper-chops... would mean.


Monday, February 11, 2008

It's All About The Money


Bill always sends interesting and challenging emails. Yesterday, I received this:

I recommend reading Dean Baker's blog. He's knocking some of his fellow economists out of the ring. Knockout punch style.

Well worth it.


I responded in my usual long and roundabout way [some typos fixed and a few asides added]:

I have reluctantly concluded that our representative form of government has lost its way.

Contrary to what the press or political candidates or political parties say, our country was not based on the idea of a democracy of ill-informed voters casting their votes for specific initiatives [such as health insurance or trade regulations]. Rather, our government was conceived during a time when the culture was relatively homogeneous and small. The people knew their representatives and the leaders were men of achievement and reputation outside of politics. The representatives knew that their responsibility was to protect the interests of their states and their people.

Now the population has become magnitudes larger and the culture is "diverse" ... fragmented and disjointed, if you will. A representative is supposed to represent hundreds of thousands instead of hundreds or thousands. Senators are even more removed from the individual voters. Now there are special interest representatives who have the attention of our representatives and senators. Some of those special interest representatives may align with us on an issue... or not. Some special interests may represent interests that are foreign and against our best interests. But all of those special interests bring money to the table. And that money buys candidates and future votes. And those votes may not have anything to do with the interests of the "common citizen" or any citizen.

We seem to have a government of special interests, paid by special interests, and for special interests... whether they are banks, unions, investment firms, foreign governments, trial lawyers, or whatever. The factory worker, small businessman, educator, doctor, and your neighbor may be able to cast votes, but they are not really voting for someone who represents them when bills are introduced and votes are counted.
Dean Baker's lament takes pot shots at economists and the media and the Republican party [no surprise] and the Fed [no surprise], but he is simply writing around the central, core problem that the special interests control government... the Clintons can be bought by the Chinese [think a boy named Hsu]... maybe Cheney was too close to Haliburton.... Consequently, the interests of the U.S. ... us... seem to take a back seat.

Obama may not have a record of substance or an understanding of economics or the dynamics of foreign relations. But I think he has picked up on a general feeling that our government may no longer represent us... whether we are liberals or conservatives... and he is playing to that discontent [and the unending gullibility of voters].

Baker is off target: it's not about economists being right or wrong or the Federal Reserve making stupid or untimely decisions or if the Federal government should manage health care. It is that our system and our representatives are no longer for the commonweal, but are for the special interests. It's all about the money.
Maybe there is no real way to avoid money having the first say... even if it is the worst say for us. The representative process may be just too broken to repair it to its original design.

Voters are content with being told by their unions or parties or corporations what is best for them... so they rally to empty suits... or suits full of foreign cash. And they get politicians from both parties who spend money as if it were free to purchase loyalty, pass legislation to benefit the manipulators, and promise us CHANGE... small change... bus fare... what's left over after the special interests get theirs.
Maybe it has always been that way... bail out the banks and investment houses, government benefits for illegal aliens (potential voters), sweet deals and pardons for campaign contributors... but I don't think that is what Thomas Jefferson had in mind or George Washington fought for.
It's not the stupid economy! That'll recover.


Sunday, February 10, 2008




Blowing Snow
Wind: W at 33 mph
Humidity: 61%

But it's not so bad....
We could be in International Falls, Minnesota

Tonight [ More }

Mostly Cloudy
Low: -26°F
RealFeel®: -47°F
Sunset: 5:28 PM

Economic Fragmentation


Two weeks ago, I wrote about the implications of state unemployment rates. There was the glaring disparity between states like Michigan and California versus Virgina.

The Economist has put that into the larger perspective of all states' unemployment and housing price changes on this map:

[click image for larger view]

Once again Virginia, which is closely aligned with the growth of the federal government, and western states with very small populations have been spared from economic downturn. As the article in the Economist states:

"So far, much of the misery has been concentrated in one sector—housing—and in two distinct sets of states: the industrial Midwest and those states that saw the biggest housing bubble, particularly California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. These two groups are disproportionately important politically. They include many states that voted early in the primary races. Several of them (such as Michigan and Florida) are traditionally swing states in the general election.

The situation is still grimmest in Michigan, Ohio and other erstwhile manufacturing strongholds, where the subprime bust came on top of the secular loss of factory jobs. But the most dramatic weakening has been in bubble states. Economies that were buoyed by booming construction and soaring house prices are now being dragged down.

California's mighty economy is visibly wobbling. In some cities, house prices are falling at double-digit rates and the unemployment rate has jumped from 4.8% to 6.1% in the past year, an increase twice as steep as the national trend. In Los Angeles, the weak dollar and slower consumer spending have sharply cut import-traffic through the port. This downturn is not as gut-wrenching as those in the early 1990s or 2001, when core industries such as defence and technology suffered badly. But it is steep enough to have thrown the state's budget into disarray and derailed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's ambitious plans for health-care reform."

On the brighter side, the free-fall of the dollar [an adjustment to the current account deficit, the Federal Reserve's wildly fluctuating interest rates, unfettered greed and manipulation by the investment and banking sectors, and the massive increase in the federal budget deficit pushed farther by a stimulus package] will eventually lead to more manufacturing and export opportunities and a rebound in the overall economy.

However, there may be a longer road to recovery than usual according to the Economist:
"A downturn centred on housing will have pernicious effects, even on the regions it hits least. That is because it constrains one of the biggest safety valves in America's economy: people's ability to move. Previous downturns spawned sizeable migrations from recessionary states to booming ones. In the early 1990s, for instance, people flocked from New England to southern states. This time, that mobility is hampered by people's inability to sell their homes. Unemployment may go on rising in California, even though Montana cannot get the workers it needs."
So how do we avoid this unpleasantness? It appears we don't... unless we can get investors from China and Saudi Arabia to buy all of those unsalable homes. After all, they have all of our manufacturing and energy money and need to spend those dollars somewhere.
Tell me again why outsourcing [here, here, and here] leading to manufacturing collapse (let's blame the Republicans) and a restrictive energy policy leading to energy price inflation (let's blame the Democrats) are so good?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Tick Tock


Just a casual observation.... Last winter in the southern hemisphere [May-September] was arguably one of the nastiest and coldest in decades. This winter in the northern hemisphere is arguably one of the nastiest and coldest in decades. A coincidence? Or is it time for a new round of climate predictions? The clock is ticking... be the first to make the pronouncement.

I'll just use this old picture... it looks the same every day.

More snow today.... The sun just seems dimmer.

So just when is global warming going to give us those mild winters we residents of the northern tier states and Canada are looking forward to?


What Money Says


The other day, I wrote about Wall Street contributions to political candidates. Here's a follow-up from CNN.

Following the money.

Clinton and Obama have both raised more money overall than the leading Republican candidates, according to recent year-end campaign finance reports. (Full story).

Clinton and Obama have also raised more money from big investment firms - including banks, hedge funds and private equity shops - than their Republican counterparts.

That marks a reversal from the last two elections, when financial companies funneled more of their money toward the Republicans. It also marks a return to the funding trend of the 1990s, when Wall Street's donations to Bill Clinton's campaigns topped that of his Republican rivals, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Big Wall Street firms are donating money to the Republicans too, which could suggest that market makers are simply hedging their bets, rather than showing a preference for Democrats or any lack of enthusiasm for the Republican candidates.

Romney received bigger donations from Wall Street firms than McCain. But McCain is expected to be the Republican candidate now that Romney has dropped out.

"It's political expediency to cover all bases and to attempt to have an input in the policy and structure of the economy and the country," said Ned Riley, chief investment strategist at Riley Asset Management. Riley is a Republican.

But the increased flow of cash from Wall Street to the Democratic Party may also be a sign of the increased insecurity about the economic outlook. Trying to fix the credit and housing market meltdown is certainly a bipartisan issue.

Sure, Wall Street likes tax cuts and other purportedly Big Business-supportive policy, said Barry Ritholtz, CEO and director of equity research at FusionIQ.

But he said investors realize the problems in financial markets and the economy are about more than just whether or not the Bush tax cuts are made permanent. Ritholtz is an Independent.

Ritholtz said Clinton is unique in that she's "polarizing" and may not appeal to Wall Street. But he said a lot of Democrats on Wall Street are saying they could live with McCain in the White House and Republicans are saying that they could live with Obama.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Winter Travel


In a week, I plan to be traveling for a couple of weeks. A large loop around the eastern U.S. One of the obvious issues is winter weather in the north. For the past few days, we awaken to a fresh layer of snow or ice or both. That's hardly what one wants for a road trip. But it certainly is expected this time of the year.

This winter has been quite a bit snowier than those of recent memory. I talked with my sister in Wisconsin yesterday and they were still digging out from 14" of the stuff. Pretty... but after awhile... pretty awful. Over at ICECAP, the story is that la Nina is to blame for that and a lot of other nasty weather. Of course, you've probably heard all that by now.

So, for this road trip, I will be driving a 4X4 pickup with big mud and snow tires. It will have tools and a golf bag and luggage in the back, plus some emergency gear... just in case. Of course, once I get south of D.C., that should be overkill... hopefully.

I bought a new Garmin GPS navigation device and traffic alert accessory. But there's no weather alert system on it yet. Maybe that's next. But that's what a radio is for. I'll have my digital camera and laptop so if I come across any unusual situations, I'll try to capture that for sharing. Maybe the palm trees in Florida as a symbol of the threat of warming.

In the meantime, I'm working on a project to update the 50 U.S. statewide minimum records temperatures for 2005-07. I have to wait until all of the daily records for all of the reporting locations are updated and then I can condense them in another Excel spreadsheet. I don't expect much in the way of new records, just as there were practically no new high records... although we did have some fairly cold weather last February. Still, the last few years have seemed fairly "average"... that's from someone who got to experience North Dakota in the late 60s and early 70s when a 3" ice storm or -110° F wind chill blizzards became my "norm."

So the 30° F outside right now seems pretty "normal" for February in Michigan... snow and all.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Romney To Drop Out


From The New York Times:

Romney to Quit Presidential Race
Mitt Romney, with his wife Ann, in Boston on Tuesday. (Richard Perry/The New York Times)

Updated Mitt Romney is suspending his campaign for president, having made the final decision last night.

“If this were only about me, I’d go on,” he said during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. “I feel I now have to stand aside for our party and our country.”

Huckabee may as well do the same.


Political Doppelgangers

I've been watching too much political coverage this week. The candidates faces... over and over. My mind tends to wander and I start seeing strange connections where, of course, there really are none. You know, we've all probably had this sort of thought... "That sure reminds me of...."

Here are mine.

[source] [ source]

[source] [source]

[source] [source]

[source] [source]

[source] [source]

Hey, it's just a visual thing... those strange connections.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Money Talks


This marks the 1,000th post on this blog.

From The Detroit News:

Bush defended his budget proposal, saying Congress must take steps to reign in the growth of entitlement programs. "Our budget protects America and it encourages economic growth," he said.

The Energy Department proposed flat vehicle research to $221 million, down from $223 million this year, but funding for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle research will take a significant hit, dropping from $211 million to $146 million. Hybrid systems research would be boosted to $103 million, up from $94 million.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would add $2 million and double its staff dedicated to writing new fuel economy regulations in the wake of the energy bill passed in December that requires automakers to increase fuel economy to an industry-wide 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

Just a few comments and observations.

First of all, anyone who has read my blog knows that I am highly critical of the politicization of climate science and the potential economic havoc that it may cause; I'm not alone in those concerns.

While I believe the dramatic concerns about global warming are incorrect and of minor concern... especially as population trends show that people are actively seeking warming climes... I do believe that some long-term good may come of it.
The fact that there is so much effort and money being spent to develop alternatives to fossil fuels is a good thing... not because of any inherent climate change, but because it will move U.S. energy sources away from politically unstable and undesirable energy sources... and that change may well cause those political realms to shrivel in importance.
Now that brings me back to the Bush budget proposal. Going from last to first,
  • spending $2 million dollars to create more bureaucratic red tape while
  • increasing research funding for technology already in the marketplace that still relies on petroleum products and, at the same time,
  • reducing research funding for technology that could eliminate dependence of foreign producers of oil... simply
  • does not support the assertion that the budget protects America and it encourages economic growth
Money talks, President Bush. And this budget says that your administration is not serious about energy independence and protecting America from the likes of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, Iran, Russia, etc.

ASIDE: Astute Bloggers ran a post about why the U.S. has to continue to buy some of its oil [now less than 20%] from the Middle East so that we can retain influence in that area.
I agree, but that doesn't mean we should reduce our efforts on research that could eliminate the need to buy their oil at all... especially since it seems unlikely that our Congress is going to expand our own fossil fuel resources.

Europe can continue to buy Middle East oil. After all, it will be an Islamic continent within 100 years given current population trends.

By then, U.S. focus will return to the Western Hemisphere as the Hispanic population approaches a majority. [note the change in absolute and percent of U.S. population between the 2000 and 2006 tabs]

The choice may not be entirely ours to make.

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Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

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CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... 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.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

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."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"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 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
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 "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?

About Me

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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)