Saturday, June 30, 2012

NOAA Briefly Fighting Global Warming One Locality At A Time


Checked out the local weather from NOAA.

2012 IS HERE


What If You Buy A Bus Pass And There Are No Buses?


Universal health care insurance brought to you by Obamacare.  One critical flaw.  Read this.

2012 IS HERE


Independence Day Travel With A Free GPS Navigation Device


If you are traveling for the 4th or anytime this summer and don't have a GPS unit like Garmin or Tom-Tom, here is something that rivals those that you can get at no cost and works great on your smart phone.  I've been using it for quite awhile on my iPhone and it keeps getting better.  On a recent trip to San Francisco, it routed me all over the city and avoided traffic problems with ease.

I found that by applying a Velcro strip on the dashboard where the phone could be seen and then placing a strip on the back of the phone... or getting an inexpensive plastic case from the Apple store on which the other piece of Velcro can be attached, you have an effective navigation screen.  This app also has voice directions and is very good at prompting for turns.  I found that keeping the phone plugged into the car's power port/cigarette lighter is a good idea since the phone uses quite a bit of power to run this app.

Happy traveling.

2012 IS HERE


Friday, June 29, 2012

The Other Congressman Paul Speaks Out About Obamacare Verdict


2012 IS HERE


Obamacare 2.0


In case you had any doubts about the ultimate effect of Obamacare on those who pay the bills ... you... this should be a good indication.  Via Pat Dollard:

President Obama’s most recent budget proposal includes billions of dollars in higher fees for members of TRICARE, the military health care system, and is part of the administration’s plan to cut nearly $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget. [more]
You are a soldier... until you need medical care.  Then you are just another patient who needs to pony up more for your medical treatment.  As Commander-In-Chief, does that apply to Barack Obama as well?  Heh.

The government spends over $1 Billion per year for the maintenance of the presidency.  Here's what enlisted personnel make in 2012:

So, after ten years of service, an E-5 [sergeant] who possibly served a couple of tours in the Middle East makes about $36,000 per year.  The sergeant may have a couple of children.  His family may have medical needs.  What does our Commander-In-Chief Obama say?  Let them eat cake.

But those public hospitals can't refuse to serve those who can't or won't pay... even if they are residing in the U.S. in a manner not considered approved by the Constitution or Congress.

2012 IS HERE


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Romney's Potentially Fatal Mistake


If there is one mistake that Mitt Romney can make in his effort to become the next President of the United States, it would be the selection of Chris Christie as his choice for Vice President.  His ties to Hamas supporters are simply too big of a wart to overlook.  Simple as that. [image]

2012 IS HERE


Voter Fraud Likely To Increase In 2012


Now that Obamacare has cleared the courts, the next big obstacle will be the implementation.  Now that Obama has administratively circumvented immigration laws, the next big obstacle will be implementation.

What does that mean?  Simply that there are only five months remaining until it is determined which philosophy will run the country beyond 2012.  If Republicans gain control of Congress and the White House, Obamacare and and the administrative "free pass" to illegals will not be implemented.

What does that mean?  The biggest hint is the Department of Justice effort to prevent states from requiring voter identification.  If the Obama-run DOJ is successful in allowing "mystery" voters to register and vote, then Obama will be re-elected and the Democratic Party will enjoy gains in Congress.  Simple as that.

2012 IS HERE


Obamacare Passes Supreme Court Test

Waiting for more details, but what was reported on the radio a few minutes ago was that Obamacare survived with the "Individual Mandate" interpreted as a new tax and the Commerce Clause argument sidestepped.

This sets the stage for the government takeover of the U.S. health care system and a huge escalation of personal health care costs with an attendant reduction of healthcare for the elderly.

Welcome to the socialist vision of the future.


If Obamacare individual mandates are to be paid for by a "tax"... who pays this tax?  Everyone?  The ruling implies only those who can afford health insurance, but do not have it.  The reality is that there will be significant cost increases with corresponding decreases in available treatment as doctors are forced into a federalized system that is inefficient and administratively burdensome.

Justice Roberts' opinion starts on page 7

Outsourcing 2 Obama 0


President Obama is attempting to incite his labor supporters by claiming their jobs are being sent overseas or given to illegals.  That, of course, presumes every business is vertically integrated which is hardly the case.  His wife has outsourced the food growing and preparing, but we won't hold that against her.  Still, our President feels that non-do-it-yourself production is bad.

And then this happens...

Obama Bashes Romney For Bain Offshoring, But Employs Call Center In Canada

And this...
Hey, he's a community organizer, not a businessman or economist.

2012 IS HERE


Brazil 2 Obama 0


It would be laughable if it were not so pathetic.  Our lightweight President once again demonstrates why he should spend more time on the golf course and less in his official capacity.


It's almost painful to read it, but go ahead.

Ohhhh!  It was sooooo close.

2012 IS HERE


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Climate Scientists To Determine Constitutionality Of Legislation


From The Wall Street Journal:

A federal appeals court backed the Obama administration's campaign to limit greenhouse-gas emissions, in a blow to the coal industry and other companies that say regulators acted without a scientific basis and are stifling job creation. 
The court in Washington, D.C., gave the Environmental Protection Agency almost everything it wanted in the 82-page ruling on Tuesday. A three-judge panel unanimously upheld the EPA's central 2009 finding that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide endanger public health and likely have been responsible for global warming over the past half century.
Given that lawyers and judges can now determine what is science and what is not, a panel of climate scientists has been established to review legislation to determine what is constitutional and what is not.

2012 IS HERE


New NCAA Football Playoffs


The NCAA announced that starting in 2014 there will be a four team playoff for the national championship.

Many college football fans have been clamoring for a playoff for years, and the BCS has been a constant target for criticism. Lawmakers have railed against it. A political action committee was formed, dedicated to its destruction. The Justice Department looked into whether it broke antitrust laws. Even President Obama said he wanted a playoff. 
Now it's a reality. 
No. 1 will play No. 4, and No. 2 will play No. 3 on Dec. 31 and/or Jan. 1. The sites of those games will rotate among the four current BCS bowls - Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar - and two more to be determined. One of the new sites will likely be wherever the newly formed bowl created by the SEC and Big 12 is played, Slive said. 
There are still some details to work out - such as who will be on the committee and what new bowls will be involved in the semifinal rotation - but all the decision-makers are on board. [source]
I'd like to see a graphic of the system.  Back in January, I posted this:
Bowled Over 

2012 IS HERE


Spending For Education And Results Of That Spending


Yesterday, the Mackinac Center For Public Policy sent out some information regarding the highest and lowest spending per pupil by district in Michigan.  The article wanted to point out that:
[UPDATED] New data show that Michigan’s public schools received more revenue per pupil in 2011 than ever before, according to analysis conducted by Michael Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center. Taxpayers supplied a total of $19.5 billion — $13,405 per pupil — to schools through federal, state and local revenues. An updated online database maintained by the Mackinac Center contains this district-level fiscal data.
Spending per pupil seems to be the measure of whether or not the students are getting a good education. However, like Medicare or Veterans Administration spending, the amount of money spent doesn't necessarily reflect the amount of waste or ineffective spending.

The State of Michigan provides graduation rate data by school district.  Out of curiosity, I compared the spending per pupil by school district to graduation rates.  Shown below are the top 5 and bottom 5 districts in spending and associated graduation rates.  Oh, surprise, surprise.


Highland Park falls within the Detroit area; Bendle is adjacent to Flint.

You can draw your own conclusions.  But my conclusion is this: spending money to educate students doesn't change attitudes attitudes toward education.  It may make you feel better about your efforts to improve the opportunities for those who don't value an education, but the data do not support the conclusion that you've achieved your goals.

2012 IS HERE


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

First The Armenians, Then Then The Ukrainians, And Then The Jews


Everyone, except some Turks, acknowledges the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the Jewish Holocaust of World War II.  But between those events came another mass killing that has been conveniently hidden or ignored for 8 decades: the Holodomor.

This wasn't about the persecution of a minority religious group as was the case in the Armenian and Jewish mass murders.  This was about the redistribution of wealth ideology of the Soviet communists.  In 1932-33, Josef Stalin ordered the pillaging of the Ukrainian farms because the peasant farmers [yes, peasants] refused to join the collectives.

Stalin brought in the army to take all of the grain for shipment back to Russia or for export sale to raise money.  Men, women, and children were sent off to Siberia to perish.  Millions of others starved to death.  Holodomor literally means "death from forced starvation."

Similar to the protestations of the Turks about the Armenian Genocide, Russians are quick to dismiss the Holodomor.  Not that they deny the famine occurred.  It's just that it was more widespread than Ukraine.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has rebuffed Ukraine’s efforts to have the famine of the 1930s recognised solely as a tragedy of the Ukrainian people. The body says the event was an international tragedy. 
Moscow’s representative to PACE has reaffirmed Russia’s position that other nations were affected by the famine. 
Holodomor, or the Great Famine, was one of the largest catastrophes to hit Ukraine during the Soviet era. Joseph Stalin's agricultural reforms affected all the grain-growing regions of the Soviet Union, such as the Urals and Kazakhstan. However, Ukraine bore the heaviest toll. 
Ukrainian historians say up to ten million people died during the famine in the early 1930s. 
The famine is thought to have been instigated by Stalin's campaign to force peasants to give up their land and join collective farms. Ukrainian wheat was shipped out of the country leaving millions without food. 
In order to survive, many resorted to cannibalism. 
The Ukrainian leadership believes the Communist regime of the time is to blame for the disaster and continues to call on Russia and other nations to recognise the event as genocide. 
“Should we act like the communists did for the last 85 years, erasing the facts from our memory?” President Viktor Yushchenko asked. 
“I don’t want my children, my family and my people to be deprived of the truth. In the village where I was born, out of 5,000 people one third didn’t survive because of the famine. We’ll be a crippled nation if we reject our history,” he said. 
Russia admits the famine was artificially engineered by the Soviet rulers and treats the actions taken by authorities at the time as criminal. However, it denies it was an early attempt at ethic cleansing. [source]
Sure, it wasn't genocide, it was just bad central planning.  Speaking of death panels....

This is why the 2nd Amendment is so important.  You say it couldn't happen here?  Why?  Our Constitution?  Read the news.  The Constitution doesn't seem to matter to the Executive Branch... and the Supreme Court???  The 10th Amendment is dead already.  The 1st Amendment is shaky at times.  The 4th Amendment is being undercut in the name of "national security." The 2nd Amendment is continually challenged by government at various levels.

The Armenians were powerless against the Ottoman Empire, the Ukrainians were powerless against Stalin's army, and the Jews were powerless against Hitler's SS.  Thanks to the 2nd Amendment, the U.S. has the largest defacto militia in the world.  The people of the U.S. are not powerless against any government.  It must be kept that way.

2012 IS HERE


Monday, June 25, 2012

Supreme Court Invalidates Arizona Immigration Law And The 10th Amendment


Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that most of Arizona's immigration law was an infringement on U.S. Federal law.  As a result, about all that Arizona can do regarding illegal immigrants is stand back and  watch ... nothing done by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service.  That, combined with the Department of Justice's penchant for gun-running and either getting border guards killed or putting border guards in jail, results in a giant boost for the Democratic Party's voter registration efforts.

It's a sad day when the Supreme Court rules that only the federal government can enforce federal laws that the Executive Branch of the federal government refuses to enforce.  Sorry Congress, you are outvoted 2-1. And states really have no power to sue the federal government to enforce federal laws.  States' rights?  No such thing anymore.  This, combined with the Commerce Clause, effectively negates the 10th amendment.

Next order of business: making Cinco de Mayo an national holiday.

2012 IS HERE


Summer Is Boring


Summer is boring.  The NBA Finals are over; golf's U.S. Open is over, baseball... who cares?  Sure, the weather is great and the outdoor grill gets a workout.  Yes, the water in the lake is refreshing on a hot day.  Okay, fireworks go off every night since they were legalized in Michigan.  And the kids seem to have more energy and less colds.  But summer is boring in the world.  Nothing happens; everyone goes on vacation.

True, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on Obamacare soon... but they haven't.  Congress may hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress... but they haven't.  Egypt's Islamists have won a victory in the presidential elections and may turn against Israel... but they haven't.  Europe may address its economic problems and prevent problems in other economies... but they haven't.  President Obama may become serious about his job and quit blaming George Bush... but he hasn't.

I told you; summer is boring.

2012 IS HERE


Sunday, June 24, 2012

This Has To Worry Israel


Muslim Brotherhood's Mursi declared Egypt president

From the BBC:
The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi has been declared the winner of Egypt's presidential election run-off. 
He won 51.73% of the vote, beating former PM Ahmed Shafiq, the Higher Presidential Election Commission said. 
The head of the panel of judges, Farouq Sultan, said it had upheld some of the 466 complaints by the candidates, but that the election result still stood. 
The announcement prompted scenes of jubilation in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where Mr Mursi's supporters gathered. [full story]
Now that Egypt is moving into its 'Arab Winter', it should be interesting to see how long it takes for diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt to go back to pre-1978 conditions.

2012 IS HERE


Friday, June 22, 2012

Does Anders Behring Breivik's Mass Murder Spree Equal Insanity?


Norwegian prosecutors are trying to be oh-so-civilized in their prosecution of mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik.  BBC reports:

Prosecutors in Norway have called for self-confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik to be considered insane in their closing argument at his trial. 
Prosecutor Svein Holden said there were still doubts about his insanity but he should be placed in psychiatric care, not sent to prison. 
Judges in the trial in Oslo are due to deliver their verdict in the trial in July or August. 
Breivik killed 77 people and injured 242 on 22 July of last year. 
He bombed government buildings in Oslo before shooting young Labour Party supporters at an island camp. 
Breivik, who insists he is sane, sought to justify his attacks by saying they were necessary to stop the "Islamisation" of Norway.
Is he "normal?"  No.  Does that make him insane?  Apparently in the eyes of the government.  But one has to wonder why the government would be so anxious to brand his actions as "insane" and send him off for "treatment" rather than prison.  Could there be another motive not related to "justice?"  Think about it.

Breivik is passionate, extremely, unreservedly anti-muslim and anti-government.  Does that make him insane?  His targets were supporters of a government that he felt was destroying Norway.  His actions were extreme... not the actions that "normal" people would take in their opposition.  He chose to treat the situation as a "war" and the response to the situation was killing those who supported his perception of destruction of the Norwegian culture.  Did that make him insane?

Or is he merely a sociopath?  Is he simply a person who believes any means is justified by the ends?  His actions are intolerable in any society.  Does that make him insane or merely without conscience and morals?

He knew what he was doing, just as a suicide bomber knows what he is doing.  We may want to call their actions "insane," but in reality they are simply abnormal.  He has his mental faculties.  He understands exactly what he did... without remorse.  He may be misguided in our estimation, but is he insane?  From his perspective, he undoubtedly sees himself as a "defender" of Norway... as a suicide bomber sees himself as a defender of Islam.  Our perspective says he is completely wrong and misguided in his thinking, but maybe we are misguided.  Is the majority always correct?

So, why the call by the prosecution for a judgment of insanity?  Two reasons perhaps:

  1. Breivik's maximum sentence for his crimes is 21 years.  That's a little over 3 months per person he killed.  An insanity conviction can put him in holding for his entire life.
  2. More importantly to the government, it throws a pall over anyone else who believes the government is contributing to the destruction of the Norwegian culture by allowing significant Muslim immigration.  It is a statement that says, "The government's policies are rational and humane and those who oppose such policies are irrational... insane."
Think about it.

2012 IS HERE


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Welcome Summer


The summer solstice was officially yesterday, June 20.  Here in Michigan, we marked the occasion with temperatures in the low 90s.  After 3 weeks in California, I marked the occasion by giving our garden a soaking that it needed.

Summer is our busy season with a lot of traveling and a lot of visitors.  We'll cover over 6,000 miles in trips and have family come in from Florida to California.  It's when we cram in as much activity as the sunlight will allow.  Last night, we docked the boat at sunset... a spectacular red sunset.

For those of you who have the opportunity to visit Michigan, do so in the summer.  As we flew over the U.S. from California, I marveled at how lush it is in the summer and how many lakes Michigan has compared to most of the U.S.  It doesn't have mountains... but nice rolling hills... and it doesn't have an ocean... but coastlines on 4 Great Lakes.  [image]

Too many people think of "Detroit" when they think of Michigan.  Yeah, there is that.  But  that's only 140 square miles of Michigan's total 96,810 square miles... 11th largest state.

If this sounds like an advertisement, it certainly could be construed that way.  But it really is about the feeling you get from looking out at the water, the green trees and plentiful wildlife [although the Canadian geese on our lawn irritate me].  And it is a summer paradise for golfers.  Michigan is a great place to be when the sun shines the longest.

2012 IS HERE


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

House Oversight And Government Reform Committee Votes To Hold Attorney General Holder In Contempt


From Rep. Mark Walberg (R-MI)

Washington, D.C.—House Oversight and Government Reform Committee member Rep Tim Walberg released the following statement regarding the Committee’s approval of a resolution to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his refusal to turn over documents related to the Fast & Furious operation:  
“Today’s vote is part of the Committee’s pursuit and my personal commitment to provide the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, a native of Michigan, with answers on why their son was killed by guns in Operation Fast & Furious that had been allowed to “walk” into the hands of criminals. It gives me no excitement or joy, but after a series of accommodations made by the Committee, the Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice continue to stonewall a Congressional investigation.  
Despite being contrary to the Constitution and a century of case law, the Department of Justice thinks they can decide what documents we need and which ones we don’t.  Attorney General Holder refuses to comply with a Congressional subpoena and won’t even give the Committee a list of the documents he is withholding. Frankly, we don’t know what we don’t know.  
Next week, the House will continue its pursuit of the truth by considering this contempt resolution on the House floor.  It is my hope that Attorney General Holder and the Obama Administration will realize the gravity of this matter and being complying with the subpoena so that we can bring clarity and justice to the family of Brian Terry.”

2012 IS HERE




During the middle of Congressional contempt hearings against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, President Barack Obama declared...

'Fast and Furious' documents are privileged

From USA Today:
"The president's assertion of executive privilege creates more questions," said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind. "That brings into question whether Eric Holder knew about it and how much the president knew about it."

The White House made the move after Issa and Holder met late Tuesday evening for about 20 minutes in an unsuccessful, last-minute effort to head off today's hearing to consider whether to hold Holder in contempt. Holder told reporters following the meeting that he offered to provide the documents on the condition that Issa gave his assurance that doing so would satisfy two committee subpoenas and resolve the dispute. 
Issa is particularly interested in seeing documents that shed light on why the Department of Justice decided to withdraw a February 2011 letter sent to Congress denying allegations of gunwalking.
Congressional Hearing Regarding Contempt Charges AG Holder

2012 IS HERE


Congressional Hearing Regarding Contempt Charges AG Holder


Congress is flexing its muscles.  While this may be a partisan theater, its genesis is the Executive Branch's general disregard ... contempt? ... for the role of Congress and the laws passed by Congress.

2012 IS HERE


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Being A Skeptic


The word "skeptic" has been abused.  A skeptic is part of a noble breed going back to Plato and, most likely, much earlier. [image]
"The term “skeptic” derives from a Greek noun, skepsis, which means examination, inquiry, consideration." [source]
It doesn't mean that a skeptic struggles to hold a position.  It simply means that a skeptic is slow to accept what others may quickly believe.  Skeptics are from Missouri.  They want more than one point of view to examine.  They want all voices heard.  They want to know both the strengths and weaknesses of your belief system.

They understand that correlation is not causation.  They understand that a theory or a model is not proof, but merely a possibility that must be corroborated, tested, and be falsifiable.  Belief in God does not fall into that realm.

Here are some "theories" that have occurred during my lifetime that have been shown to be questionable based on disagreements among those who can be considered well-educated in the related fields:
Debatable?  Yes, that's the point!

If you expressed skepticism about any of these, you were deemed uneducated.  Someone in authority had accepted each as a fact, so the appeal to that authority could not be questioned without fear of humiliation.  That authority, of course, was the government... more specifically, those in government who were deemed "experts."  That, of course, translates into a politician on a crusade.

So call me a skeptic.  I'll accept the compliment.


2012 IS HERE


Monday, June 18, 2012

Europe Is A Confusing Mess


It seems that the Greeks are for a bailout of their economy and the French are for more taxes and spending while the Germans seem willing to pay for everyone else to make a royal mess out of their economies.  Meanwhile, the Italians who are having trouble with their own economy are paying 7% interest to borrow money which they then lend to Spain at 3%.  If anyone can make sense out of this European situation and what the proper course is for their economies, I'd like to hear it. [image]

The economies of Europe seem to be disjointedly connected through the Euro in a fashion resembling a drunken octopus in a shallow pool.  While this may be slightly amusing to non-Euros, the effect has been one of the financial flu around the world.  Will there be a global recession or will the crisis fizzle into much ado about nothing?

Going to blogs by economists leaves one with the feeling one gets from a suspension-type roller coaster and just as clear-headed.  Econbrowser provides a great example of that with these two posts:

June 16, 2012
Options for Europe 
June 13, 2012
Contractionary Fiscal Contraction, Quantified: European Edition [you have to love the title]
Why not admit it?  No one really has an answer that will satisfy a majority of those directly involved nor will the world come close to figuring out why the French are so keen on taxing millionaires when they've driven most of them out.  Let's face it, countries tied to the Euro are engaged in one giant cluster-[vulgarity] and have lost their collective economic minds.  They are pointing out the blame with one hand while reaching for an handout with the other.

Of course, the U.S. isn't much better... just too big to fail... maybe.

2012 IS HERE


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Science-Corrupted-By-Politics Alive In California


Earlier this week the story of Dr. Nickolas Drapela broke.  Dr. Drapela was fired from Oregon State University after being a thorn in the politics of the climate agenda at OSU.

Oregon State University Fires Scientist For Being An Unbeliever
Now, Anthony Watts reports an even more egregious firing of a 35-year university professor at UCLA.
Another skeptical university professor fired – related to CARB’s PM2.5 air pollution regulation scandal
“The facts of this case are astounding,” said David French, senior counsel for the ACLJ. “UCLA terminated a professor after 35 years of service simply because he exposed the truth about an activist scientific agenda that was not only based in fraud but violated California law for the sake of imposing expensive new environmental regulations on California businesses.”   
French said, “UCLA’s actions were so extreme that its own Academic Freedom Committee unanimously expressed its concern about the case.”  [read the whole story at the link above]
Other than a couple of professors who had their careers ruined, what's the problem?  Well, how about billions of taxpayer dollars being funneled into onerous and unnecessary special interests?

If there was any doubt that honesty and integrity have been eliminated from the progressive-environmental left-wing academia, these attempts to squash scientific-based challenges should put those doubts to rest.

2012 IS HERE


Obama To Declare November Elections Unnecessary


The Great O is about to declare that November's presidential election is unnecessary.  While required by the Constitution, it should be apparent by now that the Constitution is unnecessary.  While the Constitution requires three branches of government, the Obama administration has successfully shown that Congress and the Supreme Court are not required to run the country the way Obama wants it run.

Immigration law?  Well, that's something that Congress passed so we can ignore it through our Homeland Security policies.  Cap and Trade?  The Congress did not act on it so we can just implement it through the EPA.  Voter registration requirements by states?  We're not worried about states rights because we have the Department Of Justice.

So there you have it.  We don't need laws or interpretation of laws.  We have executive orders and regulations... and we can always add some unelected "czars."  And given that laws or interpretation of laws are unnecessary, it follows that Congress and the Supreme Court are unnecessary.  And given that Congress and the Supreme Court are unnecessary, it follows that the Constitution that established those institutions are unnecessary.  And given that the Constitution is unnecessary, if follows that elections are unnecessary.

The Great O is here and running things just the way they should be run.  Why mess up a good thing with technicalities?  Now it is time to pull the troops home... from our borders.  We need them to enforce our policies at those coal-fired power plants and make sure those citizens without identification can register and vote the same day.  Oh, wait.  Forget the last part.  We don't need elections.

But rest assured that the Great O's administration is open to all people in the United States.  Just make an appointment several months in advance and bring two forms of picture identification.

2012 IS HERE


Friday, June 15, 2012

Amateur Beau Hossler Leads U.S. Open Golf


Something you don't see too often... an amateur leading the U.S. Open.  He may not win, but he'll play on the weekend which is also quite an achievement for a 17-year old.  I'm about 2-3 miles from the tournament, but visiting grandchildren so my viewing is at the screen.

His lead did not last for long as he had an errant tee shot and double bogey, but he is still only 4 shots off the lead and tied for 10th.  Quite and achievement for his age.  Now the weekend comes and the hard stuff.

2012 IS HERE


Prediction: Obama Will Ignore Supreme Court Ruling


Just as the Obama administration has ignored the will of Congress regarding immigration laws ["Dream Act"] and rejection of cap and trade to kill coal, we can look forward to the Obama administration circumventing the Supreme Court if the decision comes down to kill the "Affordable Health Care" legislation or its individual mandate.

How?  Simple.  The Obama administration will do it through a combination of ignoring decisions it deems unworthy and implementing policies, procedures, and regulations that have the same effect as implementing the rejected law.


2012 IS HERE


U.S. Changes Immigration Policy


The Obama administration is hoping that their newest side-step on immigration law will bring a landslide of Hispanic voters out in November.  From the BBC:

US to stop young migrant deportations
The US is to end deportations of illegal immigrants who came to the US as children and to offer the chance to apply for work permits. 
Under a new plan, those aged between 16 and 30 who have lived in the US continuously for five years would be eligible to stay in the US. 
The plan, which goes into effect immediately, is expected to affect as many as 800,000 people. 
The move is seen as addressing a key Latino concern in an election year.[more]
Only one question remains then: what happens to the older folks that were brought to the U.S. by these children and young adults?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Egypt Begins Arab Winter


Four months ago we asked...

Arab Spring, Dignity Revolutions, Or New Tyrannies?
The question may be in the process of being answered.  From BBC:
Egypt's supreme court has caused outrage by calling for the dissolution of the lower house of parliament. 
It has ruled that last year's parliamentary election was unconstitutional, deciding that one third of the seats were "illegitimate". 
The controversial decision, days before Egypt's presidential election run-off, has prompted the ruling military council to hold an emergency meeting. 
The Muslim Brotherhood said it would send Egypt into a "dark tunnel". 
Its Freedom and Justice party won 46% of the vote in the three-month poll and senior Brotherhood figure Essam Al-Arian warned that the decision would leave the incoming president without a parliament or a constitution. [more]
Okay, Mr. President, should the U.S. invade Syrian and Egypt and Iran?  Or is Ron Paul right and we should just watch the old cookie crumble?

2012 IS HERE


New HIV Drug Screener Identifies Better Drugs Quickly


The general media in the U.S. has pushed the subject of HIV/AIDS into the shadows as the other more lurid or contentious subjects arise.  After all, AIDS has been around awhile and there are medicines out there.  People with AIDS can lead a pretty normal life.  When a super-star athlete like Magic Johnson can look as healthy as he does and appear on TV for important sports events showing him laughing and feeling quite-fine-thank-you, then what's the big deal.  Just another disease. [image]

So, when it is announced that a better method of finding drugs to fight HIV has been found... yawn.  Via EurekAlert:
New drug-screening method yields long-sought anti-HIV compounds  The drug candidates act on a target unlikely to mutate.
The first screening test employed a technique known as fluorescence polarization to measure the ability of each compound in the library to displace the binding of the viral genome to the nucleocapsid protein. (The study focused on the virus type HIV-1, which accounts for the vast majority of HIV infections outside West Africa.) The second test, using differential scanning fluorimetry, was applied to the 101 compounds that passed the first test; it identified those that perform the displacement by binding strongly to the nucleocapsid protein rather than to the viral genome. 
After eliminating the weaker and more toxic candidates with further tests, Breuer, Torbett, and their colleagues ended up with 10 compounds. Detailed analyses of these yielded two that were sufficiently powerful at inhibiting viral infectivity in cell culture tests, without being unacceptably toxic. 
"We went very quickly from having a concept to having these two inhibitors with demonstrated anti-HIV activity in cells," said Torbett. [more]
CDC estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S.. One in five (20%) of those people living with HIV is unaware of their infection. 
Despite increases in the total number of people living with HIV in the U.S. in recent years, the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. However, new infections continue at far too high a level, with approximately 50,000 Americans becoming infected with HIV each year.
Only 1 million!  That's 1/3 of one percent.  Lots of severe diseases are more common.

While the rampant spread of AIDS in the U.S. has been halted by better education and information and those infected have been able to live relatively normal lives, worldwide the disease has had far more devastating results.  From the World Health Organization:

34 million.  Well, still a small percentage of 7 billion, but not insignificant.  Especially because the disease is not well treated worldwide and causes severe human and economic hardship in some areas. If this new drug testing process successfully identifies a compound that stops HIV in its tracks, it would be the most significant health achievement in the 21st century. [image]
Let's hope that the scientists at Scripps Research Institute are on to something.

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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)