Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mandating Green Wastes Green


Interesting how those energy mandates work in the real world [from Fox News].  You can stop the video at the 2 minute mark.

Ener1 is the third company to seek bankruptcy protection after receiving assistance from the Energy Department under the economic stimulus law. California solar panel maker Solyndra Inc. and Beacon Power, a Massachusetts energy-storage firm, declared bankruptcy last year. Solyndra received a $528 million federal loan, while Beacon Power got a $43 million loan guarantee. 
"One bankruptcy may be a fluke, two could be coincidence, but three is a trend," Stearns [Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla.] said. "Our investigation continues, and we are working to ensure taxpayers are never again stuck paying hundreds of millions of dollars because of the administration's risky bets."

2012 IS HERE


Florida GOP Primary Survey


2012 IS HERE


Vitamin D Deficiency


Years ago it was known that a deficiency in vitamin D caused Rickets... a softening and weakening of the bones that causes deformities.  It was thought that you simply needed to get out in the sun more or take some fish oil which tasted bad.

Today, vitamin D is widely available at food stores, drug stores, and health stores or conveniently on-line for purchase.  But studies have shown that the level of vitamin D thought to be sufficient for good health are actually much higher than previously recommended.

From the National Institutes of Health:

Table 1: Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] Concentrations and Health* [1]
nmol/L**ng/mL*Health status
<30<12Associated with vitamin D deficiency, leading to rickets in infants and children and osteomalacia in adults
30–5012–20Generally considered inadequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals
≥50≥20Generally considered adequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals
>125>50Emerging evidence links potential adverse effects to such high levels, particularly >150 nmol/L (>60 ng/mL)

* Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D are reported in both nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
** 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL
The Vitamin D Council says this:
Studies indicate that for proper health, serum vitamin D levels should be a minimum of 50 ng/mL (125 nmol/L), with optimal levels falling between 50-80 ng/mL (125-200 nmol/L). These values apply to both children and adults.
This means the Vitamin D council is recommending blood serum levels at least three times that recommended by the government.

There have been numerous studies that show vitamin D goes beyond preventing weak bones.  Connections have been made to low vitamin D levels and multiple sclerosis [MS], weakened overall immune systems, and now... infertility.

Do your own search for vitamin D deficiency.  It's not a cure-all, but it helps significantly.

2012 IS HERE


Monday, January 30, 2012

Sorry, It's Not Sharia


Recent headline:

Federal court deals blow to anti-Sharia efforts

In a decision that Muslim legal advocates celebrated as a major win, a federal appeals court on Tuesday agreed with a lower court that blocked an Oklahoma law that would have barred state courts from considering or using Shariah law — the Islamic code of conduct.
Another headline:

Arizona Bishop: Catholics will not comply with Obama birth control mandate

Arizona Bishop Thomas Olmsted appeared to urge the faithful to civil disobedience against an Obama administration mandate requiring Catholic employers to include coverage for contraception, including abortifacient drugs, and sterilizations. 
“Unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so),” he wrote. “We cannot – we will not—comply with this unjust law.”

So, respecting Islamic tradition is reasonable, but Catholic tradition not supporting abortions is not.  I'm having a problem here.

2012 IS HERE


Global Cooling - We Are All Going To Freeze


There is a new round of alarming predictions encircling the planet and keeping the light of reason out.

... and many more.

I'm not sure if these headlines are intended to be parodies of the last decade of global warming alarm headlines, but they do an adequate job of displaying the National Inquirer College of Climate Science approach used by climate alarmists [heaters and freezers] in general.

The fact is that climate is variable and cyclical.  The CO2 scare was perfect for scientists to obtain government funding and so-called alternative energy companies to get government loans of millions of dollars.  It was a simple, easy-to-understand, wrong answer.

It may very well be that CO2 is running out of gas with regard to the climate... just as these alternative energy companies are running out of money and going bankrupt.  The reason: the stories don't match the reality.

The next big money sponge: climate sustainability.

For more reading:


It's long, but may help clarify all of this global warming, ice age, global warming, ice age hysteria.

2012 IS HERE


Economic Trajectory And The Green Bay Packers


I'm going to reiterate what I wrote in the previous post regarding Wisconsin's governor and economy:

... I'm not necessarily of fan of Gov. Walker's approach to laying a big chunk of the fiscal burden on the backs of teachers, many of whom have been driven into dangerous economic straits by changes in their benefits funding.  The argument was that teachers were paying little or nothing for their benefits... all true.  What hasn't been said is that many teachers, not all, have been paid a relatively low salary as an offset to those benefits and that taking a large chunk of their current salaries to now fund the benefits... as much as 25%... placed an enormous and inordinate burden on individual teachers. 
 An example of the manipulation going on: the premium pay for a Masters degree was less than $3.00 per hour... not enough to pay for the cost of degree, but absolutely required for some teaching positions... and now the premium pay is being taken away... but the requirements remain.  Try doing that in the private sector.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I enjoyed a variety of blogs.  One is Econbrowser.  Recently, there have been a couple of posts targeting the economic performance of Gov. Walker of Wisconsin.

The most recent post disputes Gov. Walker's notion that the state is "heading in the right direction."  Based on the data charts shown below lifted from Econbrowser, the author is correct to dispute that notion. [Note the recent trajectory differences between Wisconsin and Michigan]
Figure 1 provides a comparison of Wisconsin's performance, in terms of economic activity, using data released on Thursday by the Philadelphia Fed.
Figure 1: Log coincident index for Wisconsin (WI, bold blue) and US (bold black), and other state indices associated with the Federal Reserve District 7 plus Minnesota, all rescaled to 2011M01=0. Vertical line at 2011M01. Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and author’s calculations. 
...Returning to the macroeconomic indicators for Wisconsin, the Philadelphia Fed provides this map identifying three month trends:
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, "State Coincident Indexes: December 2011" (January 26, 2012).
I posted a couple of comments about this.

First, I noted that in absolute levels for all measures of unemployment [U1 through U6], Wisconsin was below the national average and well below Michigan [a state doing very well in the trajectory charts], although the author argued that such positional metrics were not that meaningful.  That despite the fact that the period-to-period change of those metrics was similar for the different geographies. So, then I made the following observation:
I understand the trajectory arguments and that recently Wisconsin has had some less than stellar results while Michigan, for example, has had stellar results [fig. 1 and Fed. map]. 
Let's frame this differently. 
The Green Bay Packers had a regular season record of 15-1 while the Detroit Lions had 10-6. Last year the Green Bay Packers had a regular season record of 10-6 while the Detroit Lions had 6-10. Overall, the Packers ... 5 more wins ... improved slightly versus the Lions... 4 more wins. 
Last year, the Packers won the Super Bowl while the Lions failed to make the playoffs. This year, the Packers lost in the first round of the playoffs, while the Lions finally made it to the playoffs also losing in the first round. The Lions improved significantly versus the Packers when compared to last year. 
Overall, the performance trajectory for the Lions was much better than the Packers, indicating that the Packers are being lead poorly by Aaron Rogers while the Lions are being led superbly by Matt Stafford. 
Trajectory versus position....
Let's look at some 2nd half summaries for states from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and note that three states [Illinois, Minnesota, and Indiana] had positive numbers for Total Non-farm Employment [near the bottom of each table] when comparing July with December.



[Why did Indiana have a sudden improvement in yr/yr % in December?]

Three other states [Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin] had a loss of non-farm employment when comparing July with December.



[Could Wisconsin's small December yr/yr % be due to an earlier recovery than other states?]
[One thing is certain, government jobs ... teachers?... took a big hit in September accounting for about 1/2 the total decline.  Excluding the one-time government jobs fall-off, the decline in Wisconsin's total non-farm workforce would be quite similar to Ohio and Michigan.]

This may be a case of Econbrowser being right about certain numbers showing poor performance for Wisconsin's economy, but it would seem that if Gov. Walker's actions in the first half of the year were unique and led to loss of jobs in the second half, what accounts for similar occurrences in Michigan and Ohio?

Wisconsin's unemployment percentages are lower than all these other states except Minnesota, so if the loss of non-farm jobs isn't unique, I'd really like to know what specifically caused the changes in other states before making a risky assumption that Gov. Walker was able to cause Wisconsin's losses [beyond the change in government jobs] versus the losses in other states.  Sometimes, numbers raise more questions than answers.

The point is that Gov. Walker may be taking the blame for changes in the Wisconsin economy that are not significantly different from changes in nearby states.  Wisconsin may have recovered jobs faster than some of these nearby states... maybe too fast... and now may be forced to take a "breather" due to outracing the national economy and the real economic situation last year.

If Wisconsin continues to show job losses over the next six months and surrounding states show job growth [absolute number of non-government, non-farm jobs], then it will be proper to point the finger at Gov. Walker.
Regardless, Matt Stafford did not perform better than Aaron Rogers and Michigan's economic situation is not better than Wisconsin's.  Total won versus total lost... versus change in the number won and change in position in the playoffs.
I'll take 0.5% of $1 million over 50% of $1,000 any day.  Position counts... short-term trajectory, maybe.

Wisconsin Unemployment - Blame Gov. Walker

2012 IS HERE


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Swedish Blogs - Politics and Health


My reading is somewhat eclectic and my wife helps by continually sending various posts for me to read.

Most of the blogs I read are U.S. based, but a few are from Europe.  Here are two from Sweden that you might find interesting:

If you are overweight or have type 2 diabetes, you would benefit from this video from the Diet Doctor.  If you simply want to maintain good health, you would benefit from this video.  It is long, so watch it in place of Jersey Shore.

2012 IS HERE


Blogging Rule 5?


Not here, but these two picture will show a change toward... a more pleasant countenance... with some professional help.


Sure you know who she is.

But then, what is beauty?
Click here to hear the original
for Kathy

Oh, you want to know what Rule 5 is?  Click here for the explanation.

2012 IS HERE


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Obama And The Bushes


Got an email with a link to the following post at Politico and questioning what it could all mean.

Obama hosts H.W., Jeb Bush at W.H. By DONOVAN SLACK | 1/27/12 9:02 PM ESTPresident Barack Obama is pictured with George H.W. Bush and Jeb Bush at the White House on Jan. 27. |Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
I responded with:
Obama was just asking for recommendations for the best golf courses in Maine and Florida.  Jeb offered to lend Obama a set of clubs... left-handed because Obama is... if he visits this spring.  GHWB offered to help cure Obama's slice... goes far left every time.  Obama provided dinner: left-overs. 

2012 IS HERE


Where Are Those Canadian Orange Trees?


Strange headline of the day:

FDA blocks orange juice shipments from Canada
Well, think about it.

2012 IS HERE


Obama Likely To Be Re-elected


As I watch the news and watch the GOP candidates commit fratricide, it seems increasingly likely that President Obama will remain President Obama through 2016.

The reasons:

  • Obama has the general press on his side for the most part.  Problems that would have been front page under the Bush administration are swept aside or given a positive spin; e.g., unemployment remains high, but "the economy is improving."  Both true, but the emphasis is on the latter.
  • The open warfare among the Republican candidates has made it appear that no candidate is presidential material.  Shaking hands after the bloodshed is not going to repair the public image. 
  • Issues that stung the Democrats in 2010 have melted into the news background.  The Tea Party is invisible and fragmented by the infighting of the candidates.
  • The volatile Middle East is all but forgotten as the spotlight is on Bain or Gingrich's ex-wives.  The public is tired of the Middle East and gladly takes a news break from it providing Obama cover as his foreign policy crumbles in that region. 
  • Obama remains an effective public communicator, even if a significant portion of what is communicated is not quite accurate.  The public is willing to accept "close enough for government work."
  • The GOP field is rife with uninspiring candidates or candidates with too much baggage.  A vote magnet such as Paul Ryan or Allen West or Marco Rubio is at least four years away.

Maybe the situation will change once the Republicans finally make a choice.  But from where I stand now, I don't see a repeat of 2010.

The problem, of course, is that by 2016 it won't be just Republicans who are fragmented.  By then, Obama's class warfare and binge spending will make Europe's problems look like a kid's birthday party.  By then, the next recession will make this last one seem like a minor bump in the road.  By then, I'm not sure if anyone will want to be president.

I hope I'm wrong.  I can change my mind if I see a reason to.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Court Denies U-M Students Their Say


Court Denies U-M Students Their Say: Only pro-unionization parties allowed to testify.[...] 

2012 IS HERE


Your Government In Action -- Inaction?


2012 IS HERE


Obama On College Costs


President Obama at the University of Michigan:

What Obama Won't Mention Today in Michigan: Campus Has 53% More Administrators Than Faculty  January 27,2012

Study finds increase in university administrators  Sept. 1, 2010

Where all that money is going

Tuition rises, class size grows, and the bureaucracy gets big  - January 14, 2010


College costs are going up for non-teaching reasons:
  • Universities desire to enhance their research status which leads to buildings and staffing focused on non-teaching efforts.
  • The federal government requires a variety of programs be implemented for special interests that have nothing to do with teaching and these requirements each require an administrator to manage the government mandates [title this; title that, etc.]

2012 IS HERE


Why The Stock Market Drives Me Nuts


A tale of two pictures:

No, I don't have a position in this stock.

2012 IS HERE


U.S. Military Changes Coming


The Pentagon has been working on ways to trim its costs without gutting its capabilities.  On reading the following from Military Times, it looks as if they are taking a well-balanced approach as opposed to the post-Vietnam slash and burn.

Despite Panetta’s doomsday rhetoric of recent months, the budget proposal does not include any radical cuts in hardware and weapons programs that have not been widely discussed already. 
Two key aspects of the budget remain largely intact: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program that will supply the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps with a so-called fifth generation aircraft; and the Navy’s carrier fleet, which will remain pegged at 11 flat-tops. 
The Army’s total force should be slashed by an additional 30,000 troops, down to 490,000 by 2017. That will bring the Army back to about the same level as 2001. The current force swelled to 570,000 in response to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and previous plans called to reduce that to 520,000 by 2017. [image source
The budget plan calls for the Marine Corps to fall to 182,000, down from a peak of more than 202,000 but still higher than the roughly 172,000 personnel that the Corps had in 2001. 
“While the U.S. does not anticipate engaging in prolonged, large-scale stability operations — requiring a large rotational force — in the near- to mid-term, we cannot rule out that possibility,” according to a briefing prepared by the Pentagon. 
To keep the force flexible and capable of ramping up if needed, the Pentagon will not significantly reduce National Guard and Reserve forces. Moreover, the Army will retain a higher percentage of mid-grade officers and senior non-commissioned officers to provide leadership if a rapid expansion of the force is required down the road. 
The Air Force is likely to lose six of its 60 tactical air squadrons, bringing its total down to 54 squadrons. [image source]
The Navy will retire “low-priority cruisers that have not been upgraded with ballistic missile defense capability or that require significant maintenance, as well as combat logistics and fleet support ships.” It is unclear precisely how many ships would be affected by that move. 
The Pentagon will retain its nuclear triad — the three-pronged arsenal of land-based missiles, ballistic-missile submarines and weapons delivered by Air Force bombers. However, the Navy’s next-generation ballistic submarine can be delayed “for two years without harming the survivability of our nuclear deterrent.”
It would seem that the other branches of the military would do well to follow the Army's strategy in terms of senior-junior personnel if their total numbers are cut... although it is "feet on the ground" where most military expansion occurs.

Although 2001 represented a low point of military expenditures as a percentage of GDP, I would be surprised if this was not considered "the first round" by the Obama administration, but the second round will not be announced unless he wins re-election.


Members of Congress call DoD cuts dangerous
The $259 billion in defense cuts announced Thursday by the Defense Department drew criticism from Congress, even though these reductions are the direct result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that...
Posted Thursday Jan 26, 2012 17:20:28 EST

DoD proposes to cut 7 squadrons, cancel C-27
Proposed reductions in defense spending would cut seven squadrons, cancel the C-27 and the Global Hawk Block 30, and retire numerous transport aircraft, according to documents obtained from sources by Air Force Times.

Navy avoids most of Pentagon’s latest cuts
The U.S. fleet keeps its 11 aircraft carriers as well as its 10 air wings. About a third of the fleet of 22 cruisers — seven ships — will be decommissioned early. A number of shipbuilding...
Posted Thursday Jan 26, 2012 17:38:24 EST

2012 IS HERE


GIGO Or Climate Science


Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. [left] has an interesting, though quite long, post at Climate Science that intertwines his comments with an interview of controversial climate modeler Michael Mann [right - of "hockey stick" fame or infamy].

Dr. Pielke has a solid reputation in climate research although he is not popular with followers of Al "The Sky Is Falling" Gore.  Dr. Pielke is of the Missouri school of science... show me... as evidence by his challenge regarding climate models:
"...the global climate models (whether downscaled to regions or not) have failed to predict changes in the statistics of regional climateI invite any climate scientist to present evidence on my weblog (as an unedited guest post] that refutes this conclusion."
This is a challenge not likely to be taken up for two reasons:

  1. Those basing claims of global warming [aka climate change] realize that Dr. Pielke has given them an impossible task because all climate models have be shown to be deficient in "backcasting" and therefore are deficient in forecasting.
  2. Critics of Dr. Pielke do not want to give him more credibility with regard to the followers of Al Gore by allowing him to prove he is correct.  Their preference is to treat his positions as the ramblings of a mad scientist by ignoring his challenge... which, if accepted, would prove them to be incompetent scientists.
Dr. Pielke's closing statement with regard to the Scientific American interview of Michael Mann:
As written in the Scientific American Interview, Freeman Dyson is 100% correct: 
  “that climate change science relies too much on such computer models. And even worse, that the climate scientists behind them are too much in love with their computational creations. Such mathematical approximations are crude, failing to capture the real world climate impacts of a cloud, for example. That makes them useful for understanding climate but not for predicting climate change” 
It is an open question as to how long it is going to take funding agencies and policymakers to recognize this reality.
Hall of Record: GIGO Jan 10, 2007 
Hall of Record: Global Warming GIGO Jun 07, 2007 
Hall of Record: GIGO Again Sep 13, 2007

2012 IS HERE


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eye Candy


Popular blogs such as Theo Spark have an ongoing parade of pictures of beautiful women to boost readership return rate.  So, I thought I'd give it a try.  Whadduyathink?

2012 IS HERE


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

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Blog Archive

Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map

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

My photo
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)