Thursday, February 16, 2006

Environmental Extremism - Breaking Winter

Winter is a relative thing... we go to visit relatives then... in Florida.

After a few brisk days, the warm, sunny days are returning to that area. So, after several months of gathering dust, my golf clubs were put back to use. As they say in North Dakota... oofdah! Getting out on the grass is different from hitting from a mat in a covered driving range. There were the errant 8-iron shots and the spectacular 3-wood drive (145 yards from the pin on a 415-yard hole) over trees. Naturally, the putting was just as erratic.

But having a sunny, 70-degree day with a nice breeze and a good pace of play (3-1/2 hours for the round), made ever shot a winner.

Winter was totally forgotten... for at least one day.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Environmental Extremism - Global Warming Cooling It's Heels

Okay, cold in Michigan isn't unexpected. Snow in Kentucky is not unexpected. 27" of snow in NYC is a little unexpected. Snow in Georgia is pretty unusual. Freezing temperatures in mid-Florida is just a bummer.

So much for our trip south, so far. But on the bright side, the outside is the bright side. Nice, clear, sunny skies. And it will get better. So, we don't mind cooling our heels visiting inside while global warming takes a break outside.

Meanwhile, our youngest son didn't waste too much time occupying the house and keeping the large screen TV warm. Hey, we don't mind as long as the dishes are done.

Maybe I'll get the golf clubs out tomorrow. Definitely on Wednesday. And if the VP is around, I'll be sure to yell "fore" before I shoot.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Excessive Spending - Buy Chinese

... and this is why....


BTW, TCS is the site that generally supports non-PC positions; e.g., there is no global warming.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Excessive Spending - Headlines

A few headlines from The Detroit News business section today:

U.S. business:

  • (GM) Salaried retirees hit again
  • Pfizer considers selling drug unit
  • Spirit scales back for future gains
  • Governor searches for job openings
  • Costs soar, Coca-Cola's net falls 28%
  • Toll (Brothers) orders plunge 29%; forecast cut
  • Liz Claiborne will cut 500 jobs
  • Consumer borrowing slows to a 13-year low
Non-U.S. economic news:
  • Toyota reports soaring profits
  • BMW Jan. worldwide up 15%
  • India says economy will grow 8.1%
Nope, I don't see any pattern there. November 20, 2005

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ethnic Divisiveness - I'll Kill You If You Call Me A Terrorist

Violence Spreads Over Muhammad Caricatures

Anti-Cartoon Clashes Spread, Turn Deadly

Why has a cartoon turned into a crisis?

... and if you think that we react badly to cartoons, wait until you see what we will do if you write a book or produce a motion picture that says something bad about Mohammed....

What? What's sad? What's ironic?

No, YOU are barbaric for allowing cartoons. Our reaction is totally, like, civilized, you know. After all, you hurt our FEELINGS!
Okay, all kidding aside, I wrote to the author of the third article (who did respond with a thanks) that:
While the Danish cartoons were, unfortunately, in bad taste, the reaction of Middle Eastern Muslims only reinforces the stereotype in the West of a culture of one-minded, one-thought, one-truth, humorless fanatics who will kill you if you disagree with them.

It's much less the offensiveness of the cartoons that hurt Muslims than their own parochial emotions. But perhaps it is just that in the West, children learn from an early age that "sticks and stones...."
The West really cannot comprehend the reaction of those Muslims who are spreading violence as a means to protest a cartoon that says they have a violent religion and culture. It seems juvenile and too well staged to be genuine as far as non-Muslims are concerned.

It is as if they are going out of their way to create a parody of themeselves.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Sunday

Woke up to about 3" of wet snow on the driveway. Looks as if Winterfest may have a good ending downtown. The streets look pretty good, so I don't think the Superbowl fans will have any trouble getting around.

My brother and second son are going to show up and shout a lot... probably not shout... too much food to keep their mouths busy.

Looks like we'll take off for Florida for a couple of weeks... next weekend. Winter has been pretty easy this year, so we didn't feel the need to rush off south right away. Besides, there were rooms to paint and skunks to chase off.

Comments about the rest of the world can wait until later.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Excessive Spending - Jobless Rate or Jobless?

WRAPUP 3-U.S. January jobless rate drops to 4-1/2 year low
Fri Feb 3, 2006 1:04 PM ET

The jobless rate "is probably at or slightly below the level the Fed is thinking is full employment, so it will strengthen their resolve to lean against inflation pressures," said economist Elisabeth Denison of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in New York. "We expect another quarter-point hike in March."
I just discovered that Michigan is now considered part of Canada for purposes of Jobless Rate statistics.

January 18, 2006 Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December edged-upward by one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.7 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG). The annual unemployment rate for 2005 showed a decline of three-tenths of a percentage point from the 2004 annual rate.

Excessive Spending - Federal Reserve

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!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ethnic Divisiveness - Islam: Humor Prohibited and Punishable by Death

Just in case anyone failed to understand the mentality of those who believe in the one-mind, one-thought, one-truth approach that certain Middle-Eastern followers of Islam have...

Rage at Drawings Spreads in Muslim World (long, drawn-out exhale)

The Nation Thu Feb 2, 11:12 AM ET
Islam forbids any visual depiction of Mohammed, and since these cartoons basically argue that terrorism is inherent to Islam, Muslims across Europe have taken offense, some countries have boycotted Danish goods, and a few are up in arms--literally.
Now that's delicious IRONY!

Maybe the world will not end with either a wimper or a bang, but just a lot of humorless people waiting to die so that they can have paradise.

Environmental Extremism - Or Maybe Not

Remember all of those warnings about how fossil fuels were contributing to the greenhouse effect by increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? New warning: fossil fuels are contributing to the cooling of the atmosphere (what's next, an ice age scare?).

Yep, the most populated portion of our planet has increased its use of fossil fuels so much that it is actually cooling the planet.

It seems that if China continues to pollute at its current rate of increase, we won't have to worry about global warming because a large portion of the world will die from toxins. On the other hand, if the Chinese become good world citizens and clean up their act, then we will all drown or die from heat stroke.


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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)