Saturday, October 31, 2009

Michigan's Goal Line Offense


First 4 tries from the 1-yard line at Iowa: zero yards. Next 4 tries from the 1-yard line at Illinois: zero yards... and then Illinois scores going 99 yards. 14-point swing.

Just one question: who is the genius [perhaps yclept otherwise by others] calling the plays for Michigan? They go into a formation that hasn't worked all year and, guess what, you do what you did and you get what you got.

Oh, and you get another loss. The choice that turned the game... and the season... around... the wrong way.


Classic Cars


Received this as an email:

Anyone in this planet could only dream of owning any one of these cars. Please let me introduce two people that restored every one of these cars and still retain ownership to every one, Ted and Sharon (Sunflower) Forbes.

This collection is without a doubt the absolute finest collection of fifties cars in the World.

1956 Ford Skyliner (Glasstop) We restored this car in 1988 from an original car that came from the Indian reservation here on Vancouver Island. It is full power with all options.

1956 Meteor Crown Victoria We restored this car in 1990 and drove it to Ocean Shores Washington for its first drive. It is full power with all accessories except "air".

1955 Meteor Convertible This car is mostly original and it has taken me 28 years to buy it from the original owner. This car spent a good part of its life in Winnipeg. There is probably only about 8 of these cars surviving out of the total production of 201 cars. We have driven this car more last summer than any of our other cars. I rebuilt all the mechanics and added all the accessories and options and it has everything except "air". There is an article on this car in FoMoCo Times

1956 Meteor Convertible Meteors used some Mercury colors in 1956. This 56 Meteor is painted Grove Green and Saffron Yellow with a black lightning bolt and the production numbers are only 479. It is full power with all accessories except "air". She has taken us to Rockin Red Deer in Alberta, Hot August Nights in Reno and many other trips. Because of the color, we call her "Juicy Fruit" and many people have seen this car.

1956 Mercury M-100 Pickup We have driven this truck all over the place from California to Manitoba to Sturgis many times since we bought it in 1978. About 12 years ago I put an Aspen suspension, 302 and AOD in the truck to make it drive better. It has never missed a beat. The next time I rebuild the truck I have a 5 L. for it.

55 Merc Sun Valley. I bought this car from an old ladies estate sale in 1983. It was rust free but pretty banged up with only 26000 miles on it. I added all the options and accessories and restored only as needed keeping the car as original as possible.

56 Mercury Montclair Convertible. This car is one of our favorites. I found what was left of it in the Spokane area and restored and drove it to Hot August Nights in Reno in 1996. It is London Grey and Persimmon with full power and all accessories.

1955 Mercury Convertible I tow barred this car from Southern California in 1989 behind my little Ford short box 302. The 55 was so ugly, not once did anyone give me the "thumbs up". It is now restored Canadian colors, Sunset Coral with matching Tapestry weave interior and Metric speedo, full power and accessory steering wheel. It has only 530 miles on it because we mostly drive the 56 Mercury convertible.

1958 Pontiac Parisienne Convertible. I built this car out of a super basket case. I welded 6 months on this car alone. It is a 348 tri-power, bucket seats and with practically every factory and dealer option available in 1958. We drove this car to Hot August Nights in 2004.

The 64 Park Lane convertible is a good old 78,000 mile car, with all good parts to restore it. It is a full power, bucket seat car with super marauder engine and rare 15" wheels. I have cast iron headers and tri-power for it.

1958 Mercury Convertible I looked for one of these cars for about 10 years and finally got this one from John Fowlie in Calif. We restored it with a 430, full power with memory seat and everything and it is big. I was able to find a lot of NOS parts for this car probably because not many of these cars are being restored. Mostly 57's.

When I found the 59 Impala it was a rust bucket folded up on a 8 ft pallet. The car had no interior or power train. It was originally a black Canadian built car. I have installed a 1995 LT-1 fuel injected engine with 700R4 trans but when finished this car will look like it was built this way from the factory(I hope). It is going to be the usual cruiser with fender skirts, full continental kit, spotlights and so on. It is presently 70% finished but will probably be finished for next spring.

This 1959 Edsel Convertible is the latest addition to the Mountaintop Collection. Of course it goes without saying, this machine has full power options and has been meticulously restored under the skilled hands of Ted Forbes. Another beautiful contribution to an already stunning collection. Congrats Guys!

I suppose in 50 years someone will get excited about restoring these government-favored vehicles... I just can't imagine who.



Friday, October 30, 2009

Michigan Unemployment Down From 97% Due To Stimulus


Michigan would have had a 97% unemployment rate except for the stimulus...

White House: 650,000 jobs saved, created by stimulus
FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2009, file photo, road workers begin construction along California interstate 215 north in San Bernadino County. The White House said Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, new job numbers will show the president's economic stimulus plan has directly created or saved about 650,000 jobs.(AP Photo/Nick Ut, file)

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2009, file photo, road workers begin construction along California interstate 215 north in San Bernadino County. The White House said Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, new job numbers will show the president's economic stimulus plan has directly created or saved about 650,000 jobs.(AP Photo/Nick Ut, file) (Nick Ut - AP)
FILE - In a Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama announces $2.4 billion in taxpayer grants to create electric cars and tens of thousands of jobs to try to stabilize American confidenceat during a speech on the economy in Wakarusa, Ind. The federal government overstated by thousands the number of jobs it created or saved with contracts awarded to businesses under President Barack Obama's economic recovery program, according to a review by The Associated Press of employment data released in the stimulus program's first progress report. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

FILE - In a Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama announces $2.4 billion in taxpayer grants to create electric cars and tens of thousands of jobs to try to stabilize American confidenceat during a speech on the economy in Wakarusa, Ind. The federal government overstated by thousands the number of jobs it created or saved with contracts awarded to businesses under President Barack Obama's economic recovery program, according to a review by The Associated Press of employment data released in the stimulus program's first progress report. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File) (Michael Conroy - AP)
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 30, 2009; 11:07 AM

Reports to be released Friday on the government Web site are expected to show that the $150 billion in grants and loans made so far under the economic stimulus package have created or saved about 650,000 jobs, White House officials said Friday morning.

Read more....

The real question is "How many jobs were lost or will be lost due to the policies of and legislation to be passed by the Obama administration." The chart below reflects the jobs saved. Oh, really?

Better get ready for those unemployment numbers to stay high while Obama spends trillions on building big government.



3.5% Growth


The media have touting the reported 3.5% in Gross Domestic Product for the last quarter. Hey, the economy is booming!

Not really. When you examine the growth, you will see that more than half was related to a pull-ahead program "Cash for Clunkers." The 4th quarter will see that paid back. There has been some replacement of product inventories by manufacturers. What is absent is consumer spending outside of the "clunkers" blip... and that is likely to remain absent for some time as employment, housing, and personal investments remain severely depressed.

It good to be optimistic to the extent that it is realistic. Right now it is hardly realistic. Looking around, the equities markets are highly optimistic given the economic realities. That should flash "proceed with caution" to anyone with spare cash burning a hole in his pocket.

In the Detroit area, General Motors has shown some signs of life, but once again closer examination shows that they are moving the metal with high incentives... and many of their sales are for leftovers from 2009 that carry a lower price tag than their new models.

This is still a bargain-hunter market and is likely to remain that way for some time. The Obama administration is hoping to spend enough future taxes now to stimulate a real recovery, but they may only be succeeding is devaluing the dollar and driving a "bomb shelter" mentality in businesses that see only more tax burdens and downtrodden taxpayers.

We've gotten the change, but not what 52% of Americans hoped for... you know, that overwhelming majority behind this nonsense.



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Detroit: A Really Safe City


Forbes ran an article: Full List: America's Safest Cities

I copied the data into Notebook and then imported it into Excel as tab-delimited data. Then I was able to play with the rankings a bit.

Here are the most dangerous cities based on:

Violent Crimes
Rank Metro Area
1 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI
2 Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
3 Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
4 Jacksonville, FL
5 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
6 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
7 Baltimore-Towson, MD
8 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
9 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
10 Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC

Workplace Fatalities
Rank Metro Area
1 Indianapolis-Carmel, IN
2 St. Louis, MO-IL
3 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
4 Pittsburgh, PA
5 Columbus, OH
6 Jacksonville, FL
7 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
8 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
9 Kansas City, MO-KS
10 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

Traffic Fatalities
Rank Metro Area
1 Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
2 Jacksonville, FL
3 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
4 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
5 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
6 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
7 Austin-Round Rock, TX
8 Kansas City, MO-KS
9 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
10 St. Louis, MO-IL

Natural Disaster Risk
Rank Metro Area
1 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
2 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
3 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
4 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
5 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
6 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
7 Columbus, OH
8 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA
9 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
10 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Overall Most Dangerous Cities
Rank Metro Area
1 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
2 Jacksonville, FL
3 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
4 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
5 Indianapolis-Carmel, IN
6 Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
7 St. Louis, MO-IL
8 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
9 Kansas City, MO-KS
10 Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC

Detroit isn't even close to being a top-ten dangerous place.... Whodathunk? Yeah, you might have a very high chance of being a victim of violent crime, but there are no hurricanes... and since hardly anyone is working or driving to work and more than half of the city has left town, it's a really safe area in that regard... chances are you won't run into anyone. In fact, Detroit just missed being in the top-10 safest cities:
Rank Metro Area
1 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
2 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
3 Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
4 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
5 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
6 Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA
7 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
8 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
9 Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN
10 Denver-Aurora, CO
11 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH
12 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI
Detroit News Photo

You may want to avoid some areas.

By the way, Kwame Kilpatrick, felon and Detroit's Mayor for eight years, can't afford to pay restitution for the millions of dollars he cost the city. He barely has enough to afford housing in Texas.

Careful Dallas. Kwame could help make you safer.



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

UAW In Violation Of Anti-Trust Laws


This is soooooo obvious that I'm absolutely certain that others have come to the same conclusion. In fact, I'll link to one of those below.

Okay, where is the FTC or the Justice Department on this one? If you control the market on labor and give special discounts to two companies in which you have ownership, but refuse to give the same discounts to another company that must use your labor, how is that exempt from anti-trust laws?

The FTC/Justice Department should do one of two things:
  1. require the UAW to give the same labor contract to Ford that it gave to GM and Chrysler... or...
  2. require the UAW to give up its contract at Ford and open the jobs at Ford to non-union [right to work] or any other union representation besides the UAW with a new contract to be negotiated and independent of the UAW contracts at GM and Chrysler
Could it be that a certain Federal government administration is buddy-buddy with the UAW, so the UAW can get away with anything? Remember, GM and Chrysler got rid of their debt and the UAW got partial ownership... all a gift from taxpayers. Ford took on the load itself and now is about to get screwed for doing the right thing.

Could it be that legal Justice has nothing to do with ethical Justice? I wonder what our new Justice thinks about this? Oh, she will undoubtedly say that unions are exempt under the Sherman Act and the National Labor Relations Act... but should they be? Especially in light of the fact that it can be argued they are intrinsic to the ownership structure of two large corporations and the UAW is, in fact, as much a corporation... a corporation controlling other corporations... as it is a negotiating entity for workers. The protection under the Supreme Court ruling in Hunt v. Crumboch [325 US 821 (1945)] should not protect the union in this instance.

Yes we can't! This has got to change. Soooooooo obvious that only the FTC and Justice Departments can't see it.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Volunteer Work Today


Part of the freedom of being a "senior" is being either totally self-centered or choosing to use one's time in a variety of ways that help others... family, friends, or strangers. Today, I chose the last choice and am spending the day with 40 other seniors who will be working together for the next two month to help other seniors. That's part of "community."

It seems that there is a lot of the attitude that "I've paid my taxes and the government can handle the helping out for me." Maybe that's why we've got what we've got.



Monday, October 26, 2009



Another bill that will shape your future to be voted on without reading....


Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (Introduced in Senate)




Solving The U.S. Budget Problem


There has been growing concern about the U.S. deficits and our government's ability to fund all of the mandates and edicts and policies of the Obama administration. Of great concern is the devaluation of the U.S. currency and the potential rejection of that currency as the de facto world reserve currency.

China, our biggest creditor, has been not so quietly declaring that it might not be so wise to put so much faith in the U.S. currency. When your banker is telling you that your credit is failing, you need to get your spending under control... not increase your spending.

Recently in Detroit, thousands of people were gathered downtown to try to take advantage of the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program [I can't pronounce the acronym]. One woman was excited about getting some money. She was asked where the money was coming from and responded that it was from Obama. Then she was asked where Obama got the money to give to her and she responded, "Obama's stash."

Granted, that was a Detroit resident with the IQ of a groundhog, but there was some truth to her reasoning. The Federal government, under the direction of President Obama, is creating one "stash" after another out of thin air. This magic has baffled many as to how it works, but this blog's investigation has revealed that not only will these programs not cause budget problems, but that they are backed by the full faith of the Obama government.

This is an example of Obama's "stash."



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lions Did Not Lose Today


Despite the fact that they were 13 point underdogs, the Detroit Lions did not lose today in their "Bye" game.



Saturday, October 24, 2009

Peak Food Predictions To Come True


While the Obama administration takes the highly public lead on the U.S. Energy Shortage Creation Policy [E-SCrP], it has been taking a somewhat lower profile on the U.S. Food Shortage Creation Policy [F-SCrP]. Both are related to misguided, so-called environmental crises [never let a good crisis go to waste].

Just as the Obamaites are using thriving polar bear populations to prove how endangered the polar bears are, so too are the Obamaites saying that localized loss of a 3-inch minnow-like fish will endanger the whole Pacific Ocean food chain and so water has to be shut off to agriculture in California.

DeMint Seeks Immediate Reprieve in California Water Crisis
Amendment would suspend two environmental rules that have cut off water to vital farming region, costing thousands of jobs and threatening to increase food prices across the country

September 22, 2009 - WASHINGTON, D.C - Today, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, proposed an amendment to the FY2010 Interior Appropriations Act restricting funds for one year from being used to cut off water to California’s Central Valley. Environmentalists have used the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to stem the flow of water to the region's farming community, which produces 13% of the U.S. food supply and over half of the nation’s fruit and vegetables in order to protect a 3-inch fish called the Delta Smelt.

Read more....

How many times will the Democratic Party cry wolf before nobody actually listens?



Peak Oil Predictions To Come True


In an effort to ensure that the U.S. runs into a shortage of oil, the Obama administration has taken action to prevent development of rich oil fields in Alaska. No, not ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Preserve], but an isolated area between the U.S. and Russia. Of course, Russia will see this as an opportunity to move in and reap all of the benefits. Read more....

Meanwhile, to offset this stupidity, the same Obama administration is giving away $50,000 per home to provide solar power electricity? Did I say offset? I meant enhance.

By the way, it is NOT the Obama administration that is providing that money. Have you checked your checking account lately?

H/T: Gateway Pundit


Friday, October 23, 2009

Open Source Software - An Alternative Computer Style


During this past week, I have been reloading my laptop with software and, in the process, venturing off into the world of open sourced programs. It's been quite enlightening.

Years ago, I became a Microsoft Office aficionado and gained a reputation for being able to work magic with that suite. Although I plan to continue to use Office 2007, I decided to try some alternatives to the old Microsoft and Adobe/Macromedia standbys. It's not that the products are bad in any way. On the contrary, I have been quite pleased with them. But there are more than two horses to ride out there.

I downloaded and then replaced it with a slightly different version called Go-OO. All of the documentation is online which is a little inconvenient, but not critically inconvenient. My first impression was that the suite was "okay" but there were some things that just didn't seem to work the way they should ... the way I was used to with the Microsoft suite. For example, I love "toolbars" and load them on my program views.

There just didn't seem to be what I wanted at first, but gradually I learned the OpenOffice approach and discovered that virtually all of the features I was looking for were there... they just worked a little differently, but not so much different that with a little patience I couldn't figure it out. I think the difference is that Microsoft has done a really good job of making features easy to use, while OpenOffice has decided to keep things completely customizable and maybe even more feature-rich in some areas. I'm still sorting through that.

There are tutorials, but I hate tutorials. Typical man, my wife would say.

Gimp was a really pleasant surprise. A very powerful graphic manipulating software that seems really intuitive... maybe more so than Photoshop or Fireworks. Kind of load and shoot.

I'm sure there are thousands of programs available, but I've been quite pleased with the two described above. For someone buying a basic computer loaded with some "crippled" software like "Works" and "Paint", these are really great alternatives to spending many hundreds of dollars.

I plan to look at some alternatives to Dreamweaver.

Using open source software is not something new. My preferred browser is Firefox which seems to come out very frequently with new features and updates. For example I love the Adblock Plus and CoolPreviews add-ons.

Now for those of you who say they are too old to learn all of this... even though you have the time and a computer... I'd have to ask, "When did the learn circuit in your brains get switched to off?"


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Carbon Scam


Many of you have seen the long-standing blurb in the right column titled Democratic Party Suicide. It is a laundry list of why the Cap and Trade [aka Cap and Tax / Cap and Scam] will achieve nothing except creating a significant cost to our economy and burden those least able to afford it.

Forbes Magazine November 2, 2009 issue ran and editorial piece by Peter Huber of the Manhattan Institute titled The Carbon Con Game.

Since nobody can track how many twigs, cowpats and rice husks a billion peasants burn--or alternatively, leave to fungi to convert into methane, a powerful greenhouse gas--China's carbon accountants can make its renewable numbers come out anywhere they like.

Read more....
Hidden in the article is one sentence that strikes at the heart of the matter:
The global climate, however, doesn't care a fig about hyphenated emissions, whether per capita, per dollar or per unit of sly political prevarication.
It really doesn't matter whether China's accountants fudge the numbers or not. It's just an exercise in futility. It's also an exercise in wealth transfer... to China... as if the U.S. hasn't done more than enough of that already.
China says because it's poor and we're rich, we must slash our emissions--absolute emissions, not the per-GDP kind--by 25% to 40% in the next decade, and also pay China and other developing countries in both cash and technology transfers to help them curb theirs. Translation: "You're responsible for our sorry past."

Meanwhile in the U.S.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FTC: This Product Review Not Paid For


Yesterday was the first day in October that would be considered normal... mid-60s high and mid-40s low temperatures. Partly sunny, slight breeze, dry... perfect.

So, rather than spend the day with my warm, cozy laptop computer, I hit the links for 18 holes of satisfying golf and a leisurely lunch with my foursome. Upon returning home, I still had no desire to stay indoors, so I decided to take on one of those jobs that come up occasionally around the house: trimming a large tree. Actually we have several large trees that are beginning to encroach on the house and a couple of weeks ago I took on a small, flowering crabapple.

This time the target was a fairly good sized Linden that seemed to be spreading up, sideways, and even downward toward the driveway. It had overtaken the last 15 feet of the driveway so much so that parking was problematic. Plus it was a magnet for bees, spiders and those Asian beetles that love to nip at your skin this time of the year.

Taking on the task of pruning 6-inch diameter branches without climbing the tree meant having more than a manual pruning saw. Yet, the cost of a professional, gas-powered saw was prohibitive. Fortunately, the local Home Depot carries just the tool... and electric-powered pruning saw that extends to 9 feet. It is made by Homelite and had good reviews, so the $100 seemed reasonable.

As an aside, the box itself claims the saw has a "15 ft. Reach." When you buy something like this and it is in a box, you don't really have a chance to examine it very well. So I asked the fellow who worked at Home Depot whether the "15-ft. reach" meant the saw extended to 15 feet or whether the 15 feet included a person 6-feet tall. He said the saw extended to 15 feet. He was wrong.

I was tempted to return the saw to Home Depot, but decided that I could make do with a step ladder.

So, four hours after starting, I had trimmed a large stack of limbs and small branches and stacked them neatly at the curb for pickup by the city. There are still some branches higher up that I'll need to reach with a longer ladder. That "15-foot reach" the Homelite marketing people put on the box would have come in handy... if it had meant what it insinuated - an extension saw that was 15-feet long.

I guess the Homelite lawyers agonized over this for 10 seconds and said, "sounds good to us."

And, no, I'm not getting paid for this review... just in case the Obama watchdogs are watching.

Oh, ignoring the fact that I felt "short-changed" on the length of the pole, that saw actually did very well in cutting through those limbs... better than I expected from a small electric chain saw.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Trading Places


I won't say "I told you so." Just read the articles linked below...

Hindsight is so 20-20. What could possibly go wrong with huge trade imbalances and loss of core manufacturing capability and jobs... as long as our government could get the money it wanted to spend on its social and economic experiments?


Monday, October 19, 2009

The U.S. Sales Tax


Bill has been busy again. Although he doesn't write a blog or post to any that I know of [I have offered him to be a guest writer], he sends me emails about his hot buttons along with plenty of links... and not from obscure sources.

He called shortly after his last email to ask what I thought about "it" and I had to admit that "it" was pretty much under my radar considering the number of other issues I follow on the internet and through various newspapers and magazines. "It" is a National Sales Tax... also called a Value Added Tax which is prevalent in Europe. [They actually are a bit different in implementation, but the net effect to the consumer is a tax on goods and services purchased]

Bill said Nancy Pelosi is up to her armpits in the muck of mixing a VAT for the U.S. Nancy said that she had only one point to make... this of course means that income taxes will not be raised for lower income citizens to cover all of the spending... a promise is a promise.

Our Democratic Party leaders never promised that a sales tax would not be implemented. The numbers Bill had heard ranged from 5% to 17% and all the way through the supply change or just at the retail level. So, the wheels are turning, but the train hasn't started moving... yet.

Below is the content of Bill's email:

Obama Allies Continue Laying VAT Groundwork

*Includes a timeline of remarks.
Oct 8, 2009

Once Considered Unthinkable, U.S. Sales Tax Gets Fresh Look
Levy Viewed as Way to Reduce Deficits, Fund Health Reform
May 27, 2009

Greenspan: It's Not Easy Being Greenspan...or Any Other Central Banker
Oct 2, 2009

*Watch the second video.

Greenspan: Deficit Means Tax Increase Must Be Considered
Oct 2, 2009

"This Week" Transcript with Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan
Oct 4, 2009

Greenspan: Budget neutral health care overhaul not enough
Oct 4, 2009

The Dangers of a Value Added Tax
Oct 14, 2009

You have to wonder what is going on in the minds of the Democratic Party "leaders" at this point. They want to crush the economy with their "crisis" programs and then are planning the most regressive kind of tax possible... a tax on everything at the same rate regardless of income.

Well, there might be a "workaround."


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Raise Interest Rates


I was surprised to see this cover on Barron's October 19 issue:

It's an interesting conundrum: should the Fed try to slow an economy that is dead in the water or try to prevent inflation caused by policies of the Obama administration? Apparently, there is no alternative such as "let the markets work."

Here's what is going on:

  • The federal government is flooding the world with dollars that have no real backing, thus diluting the value of the dollar against other currencies [inflation within the U.S.]
  • The Federal Reserve is trying to protect the banking system by keeping the cost of their money low while trying to figure out how to deal with insolvent banks
  • U.S. trade and tax policies encourage the gutting of U.S. manufacturing and the rise of U.S. unemployment creating a greater "dependency class"
  • U.S. unwillingness to enforce immigration laws is flooding our cities with uneducated, social services dependent masses that have strained cities' and states' budgets to their breaking points
  • Despite optimism in the stock markets, most investors have lost substantial amounts in the past three years leaving personal finances in a mess
  • Real estate is a cesspool and now Congress is trying to re-institute the very policies that caused the mess
  • On top of all of this, the Obama administration is trying to pass energy and health care legislation that will further cripple the economy and place inflationary pressures on the dollar
So, I guess it's time to raise interest rates.

Soon to come... big increases in taxes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Health Care Information For Seniors


Most of the public not associated with the automotive industry think of how the companies' health care plans have taken away their employees' health care insurance concerns for life. But things have changed in the last decade... especially for retired salaried employees. When you turn 65 as a retired salaried employee, you go into the "public" system like everyone else... welcome to the world of Medicare and the maze of supplemental insurance.

Last year, a group of these retirees decided to try to set up a process to help the transition from "I don't have to think about it" to "What the hell do I do now?" The result was a website... focused on Ford Motor Company retirees, but available to all who are interested... that pulls together the questions most of us have with a lot of the answers we need.

This group is gearing up for the 2010 Medicare enrollment period which begins mid-November, so the site and support system are not fully engaged, but for those of you who might be in the boat of trying to figure out the Medicare system or what choices you have, you might take a look here. While there is an email system for answering personal communications, it is designed primarily for answering questions specific to Ford Motor Company retirees. The website, however, is a good resource for everyone. Click image below.

Expect that the information will be updated often over the next few weeks.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Detroit: The New Minneapolis


If you look down the right hand column, you will see a chart like this:

It shows the temperature variance from normal, by month, since 2/1/08 in a suburban Detroit area. For 2009 YTD, we have averaged about 3.0°F below normal.

To give you a reference, Detroit's average annual temperature is 48.6°F while Minneapolis' is 44.9°. That's a 3.7° difference. According to the thermometer, Detroit is now just a bit south of Minneapolis. A slightly different perspective is that Cincinnati's average annual temperature is 51.7°F or 3.1°higher than Detroit's.

Map from Google

Looking at it from an agricultural perspective, that difference in climate means a shortened growing season and a more limited variety of crops. It also means a significant increase in fossil fuels used for heating. But it may extend the skiing season. FYI, the normal low around here is about 8-10° higher than forecasted lows for the next several days, so that 7.8° below-normal number for October will, at a minimum [no pun], stay near that level for a few more days. It will take a very warm second half of the month to get anywhere near normal.

With all of the unemployment in the Detroit area, we're needing a little warming here. There are many more cold weather related deaths than warm weather related deaths and a lot of people are skimping on their heat to get by. Tell me again, why our government is so concerned about CO2... concerned enough to impose economic hardship on top of unemployment on top of a cooling climate? Sure, global warming is happening... somewhere... just not this planet and just not this decade.

Could it be that politicians simply need a cause... any cause that can arouse the susceptible... to demonstrate their worth to the voters? If that involves some extreme hyperbole [that's not redundant in politics and you should read that last link], then bring it on!


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

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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)