Friday, April 30, 2010

Conspiracy Theory For The Gulf Oil Slick

There seems little doubt that the giant oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is a vast man-made disaster... probably much worse than anything ever seen in those parts. So now I am waiting to receive one of those frequent emails that come with conspiracy theories from Wayne Madsen.

Usually, those emails contain some nefarious plot supposedly concocted by George Bush and the CIA. How about this:

[Image from The New York Times]

WMR has learned through back channels that former President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been involved with interest of the nuclear industry to sabotage President Barack Obama's attempt to expand U.S. offshore drilling, something that this group has secretly opposed for over a decade. WMR has learned that both Bush and Cheney have received millions of dollars to push nuclear power as the source of U.S. energy independence and see abundant oil as a threat to their plans and enormous profits.

This nuclear group has secretly contracted with rogue members of the CIA to subvert all efforts to expand oil production. WMR has evidence that a critical component of the oil drilling rig was intentionally weakened in a manner that would delay the failure for several weeks and make it impossible to detect after the failure caused the destruction of the oil rig.
Bush and Cheney are now meeting secretly with the nuclear group to target other energy producing sources in plausibly deniable ways that leave nuclear power as the only viable alternative of electrical energy independence. They are expected to receive a total of over $50 million each for their involvement. WMR has learned that funds will be in the forms of various impossible-to-trace assets which are easily convertible to cash.
Bush, Cheney, and the CIA have denied such involvement; however, WMR sources are impeachable.
No doubt this little spoof of the conspiracy-around-each-corner author will provoke an equally absurd conspiracy theory.  How about Hall Of Record gets paid enormous sums by the oil industry to deflect blame from them?  Nope, just checked and nothing has come in from BP or any other company in the oil industry.  Too bad.





Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rep. McCotter On Iran


Rep. Thaddeus McCotter [R - Livonia, MI] is not one to pull punches.

[click image for larger view]

So tell us what you really think....



Changes Coming 3


We have gone through the inspection and appraisal on our current home in readying it for sale.

We have placed a deposit on another home to rent for the period that our lake cottage [left] is being rebuilt and enlarged. The temporary tax credit has worked for the buyer and that works for us. Now the work begins.

First we must dispose of many things that have accumulated over 40 years, including furniture that will not fit into a smaller home. Then we must start notifying all of our accounts of a new, temporary mailing address [to be repeated when we move into our new home]. We have alloted ourselves two weeks to filter through the stacks of storage in our basement and dispose of what we do not want and then two weeks to gradually move smaller things into the home we are renting.

We'll start by checking with our family to see if anyone wants any of the items we do not want to move. If not, we will set aside a brief time to try to sell those items. Then, off to some charity for the remainder.

Hopefully, by next Memorial Day, we will be fairly well established in our new place. We have the time, tools, and funds to accomplish this. It's the energy part that will be questionable at times.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Energy Equation


Today, the Obama administration announced the plans to have offshore wind-powered electricity generators in place by 2013.

That paired in my brain with another piece of information posted at Al Fin. I love it when our government decides to lead the charge in efforts that have recently been shown to be the worst possible alternatives. You know, like dramatically reducing human produced global warming from our CO2 production... when it's based on hokey science.

27 APRIL 2010

Wind Power Emerges as Scandalous Failure

Hundreds of European offshore wind turbines have a design flaw that causes them to slide on their bases . More, expensive gearbox failures are an industry-wide problem . Worst of all,wind energy is unpredictable and massively expensive for power utilities to integrate into a dynamic power gridPDF. Big wind turbines are gaining a well-deserved reputation as expensive failure-prone hobby-horses for incompetent green activists and politicians.

Now that we have discovered how deep and wide the problem of organised crime infiltration into the wind industry is becoming, it is long past time for taxpayers to begin to confront their elected officials with the massive waste and fraud that their tax dollars are being diverted to support.

Whenever klutzy monolithic governments are made to scramble to solve anonexistent manufactured problem such as carbon climate catastrophe, waste and fraud are guaranteed to occur -- probably on a massive scale. Indeed, that is what we are seeing across a broad panorama of wind industry investment, lobbying, and media public relations. There are literally trillions of dollars to be made in the "clean energy industry", and political reputations to be made. Nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of the juggernaut -- not even the stark cruel facts.

Wind power is expensive, unreliable, and prone to massive breakdown at any time.Siemens and General Electric are attempting to evade one massive problem of wind turbines -- ubiquitous gearbox failures -- but the new turbines have their own problems, and faulty gearboxes are just one piece of the ugly puzzle. Even if wind turbines could perform as specified for their full "20 year lifetime", they would not be close to competitive with nuclear, coal, or gas for electric power production.

The Obama - Pelosi regime is in too deeply to back out of the crime-ridden enterprise now. They have to "tough it out" and hope that they can keep the media under their thumb so that the masses of taxpayers never learn what they are doing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Revising Obama's Health Care Grade


Last week, I gave President Obama a "D" on his performance in the area of health care.

Health Care: D
While forcing through a partisan "re-form" of the health care system, the Obama administration has alienated a significant portion of the population, threatened the careers of Democratic Party members of Congress, set up the nation for massive deficits related to health care [the CBO allows $500 billion of savings from diverting funds from Medicare and is based on 10 years of revenue to the government versus 6 years of health care coverage... check the chart closely], potentially driven many doctors to consider early retirement, and may well have created disincentives for those considering a medical career. Meanwhile, the idea that more Americans will be covered by health insurance may be more numbers juggling than reality as businesses react to the burdens of providing health care under the new law. [chart source]

I believe that has to be downgraded. Via The American Spectator:

The economic report released last week by Health and Human Services, which indicated that President Barack Obama's health care "reform" law would actually increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on consumers, had been submitted to the office of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius more than a week before the Congressional votes on the bill, according to career HHS sources, who added that Sebelius's staff refused to review the document before the vote was taken.

"The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote," says an HHS source. "Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think."

The analysis, performed by Medicare's Office of the Actuary, which in the past has been identified as a "nonpolitical" office, set off alarm bells when submitted. "We know a copy was sent to the White House via their legislative affairs staff," says the HHS staffer, "and there were a number of meetings here almost right after the analysis was submitted to the secretary's office. Everyone went into lockdown, and people here were too scared to go public with the report." [h/t Gateway Pundit]

From the analysis, here are the estimates of the increased costs [click on image for larger view]:

That's an expensive "free lunch." Can you say "robbing Peter to pay Paul?"

Notice the footnote for the "Cost Trend." Can you say "I'll believe anything Obama says?"

Oh, the revised grade? You can figure that out.



Monday, April 26, 2010

State All-Time Extreme Temperatures


Recently, I posted about the new state weather extremes webpage on the NOAA network. The focus was on the dropping of two minimum temperature records that were colder than the now recognized minimum.

Below are the changes that I have been able to identify for all of the states:

State Type Month Old Record Year Location New Record Year Location Net Change
Maine Minimum January -48 1925 Van Buren -50 2009 Big Black River -2°
Minnesota Maximum July 114 1936 Moorhead 115 1917 Beardsley +1°
New Hampshire Minimum January -47 1934 Mount Washington -46 1968 Mount Washington +1°
Oklahoma Minimum January -27 1930 Watts -27 1947 Guthrie None
Rhode Island Minimum January -23 1942 Kingston -28 1942 Wood River Junction -5°
Utah Minimum January -69 [Feb] 1985 Peter's Sink -50 1913 Strawberry East +19°
Vermont Maximum July 105 1911 Vernon 107 1912 Vernon +2°
Wyoming Maximum July 114 1988 Whalen Dam 115 1988 Basin +1°

Not too much to get excited about.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

NFL Draft


It's now the middle of the 7th round. There is one player who is still available from the state of Michigan who is a real sleeper for any team willing to take a chance. He is not just "athletically smart", he is actually smart... and disciplined... and athletically gifted. He made an average quarterback look pretty good. He made some good defensive backs look pretty average.

If he his not selected as part of the draft, he should be picked up as an undrafted free agent. Lions, are you listening?

White, Blair

Wide Receiver

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 205 pounds
Class Year: Sr
Experience: 3V
Hometown: Saginaw, MI


The lions did not listen and wasted the last pick of the draft:

Round 7 48 (255) Detroit Lions Tim Toone WR 5'10 175 Weber State

National Football Post: An undersized, productive small-school wideout who will have his work cut out for him making the Lions roster.

Note: compensatory selection

Other than that, a pretty good draft for the Lions.

By Hugh Bernreuter | The Saginaw News

April 25, 2010, 8:00AM
BlairWhite.jpgBlair WhiteSAGINAW TWP. — Blair White’s disappointment didn’t last long.

Actually, he became optimistic before the NFL Draft even ended.

The former Nouvel Catholic Central and Michigan State University receiver was not picked in the NFL Draft, which ended Saturday.

But before the draft even ended, White found a home.

The Indianapolis Colts contacted White during the seventh round, letting him know they wanted to sign the 6-foot-2 receiver as an undrafted free agent.

“It was just a really good situation for a receiver,” White said. “They didn’t draft a receiver. They called me before the draft ended and said they wanted me if I didn’t get drafted.

“They just said they liked what I could do. I’m excited.”

White caught 70 passes for the Spartans in 2009 for 990 yards and nine touchdowns. He led both teams in receptions in the East-West Shrine Game.
So, the Colts got the real steal.



Mr. President... How True


"Our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others," Mr. Obama said in the Rose Garden ceremony. "That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe." [more]

Yes, Mr. President, the failure of the federal government to properly enforce immigration laws has let to states to the point where they must do the work of the federal government... while the federal government attempts to become a further obstacle. This is very perceptive of you.


Arizona governor signs immigration bill, reopening national debate

By Anne E. Kornblut and Spencer S. Hsu
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Friday the most restrictive immigration bill in the country, setting the stage for a showdown with the Obama administration and reigniting a divisive national debate less than seven months before congressional midterm elections.

Interesting... in the spin world of Obama, what is "common sense?" The answer is on this blog's banner.



Friday, April 23, 2010

We're From The Government - Trust Us


Every politician knows that the boogie man is needed to get agendas past reluctant constituents. The latest boogie man is Wall Street ... and associated financial institutions. The Stock Market is bad; banks are bad; Fannie Mae and the Federal Government are good.

So, when I got this email from my insurance company of 40 years, I wasn't too surprised to see that left-wing political intentions are going to bite us in the ass again. [click image for larger view... then zoom in your browser's view]

Only government can do things right. Sure.



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Subsidizing Subsidized Alternative Energy


With all of the efforts by state and federal governments to make alternative energy competitve [read that as "subsidizing"], you'd think that electric companies would be doing pretty well moving into that arena. Well, maybe not.

We just received this letter from DTE [formerly Detroit Edison] asking for monthly contributions. [click image for larger view]

For those who might not read the letter closely, DTE is not saying that those who contribute will have their electricity generated from these "green" sources. This is supposed to be a "feel good" program that generates income for DTE.

If 18,000 people are paying $2.50 per month for the privilege of "being greener," that is generating $540,000 annually in feel-good cash.

Wow! A sucker born every minute.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting Ready For Summer


Thought you might like this picture I took on the dock today. Very different.


Utah Record Cold Temperatures Disappear


Previously, I reported that NOAA/NCDC has a committee to determine all-time statewide weather records. This web page was added to the NOAA system and allows individuals to look at the approved records.

While there have been some minor changes in a few states, the change to the record minimum temperature in Utah is rather dramatic ... it is now 19 degrees warmer!

From NOAA:

20. An un-official temperature of -62 F at Middle Sink, UT was reported by the Utah State Climatologist on Jan 30th, 2002. Middle Sink, UT is located in the upper reached of the Logan river drainage between Logan and Bear Lake. If this reading is accepted as an official record this would be a new January record low for Utah. The current January record is -50 F set at Strawberry East in 1950. The all time record low was set at Peter's Sink at -69 F on February 1, 1985.
From the new U.S. State Climate Extremes Committee webpage for Utah:

VariableLocationValueDateStation IDStatus
24-hr PrecipitationDeer Creek Dam5.08 in.February 1, 1963422057NA
24-hr Snow FallAlta38.0 in.December 2, 1982420072NA
Snow DepthAlta179 in.April 5 & 7, 1958420072N1A
Maximum TemperatureSt. George117 °FJuly 5, 1985427516EA
Minimum TemperatureStrawberry Tunnel (East)-50 °FJanuary 5, 1913422319NA

I've requested clarification from NOAA. Right now, I do not have a "warm and fuzzy feeling" about the integrity of the data.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Spider


My son's family headed off to California this evening. It's really quiet without our grandson. So, I thought I'd watch a little TV.

About 30 seconds into checking programs, I noticed a spider walking across the screen. Taking a tissue to capture it, I walked up to the screen and swiped at it. It was still there. I tried again. Still there. Then I realized... it was in the TV.

We have this projection set made by Samsung. It is unique in design and has been a flawless performer. But a spider inside... just sitting there?

I checked it out and found about a dozen and a half screws holding the screen panel in place. Out they came and, with some careful cajoling, out came the screen. I checked the backside of the screen. No spider. Then my wife told me to look inside the set.

There was the spider hanging by a thread right in the middle of the reflecting mirror. This time the tissue dispatched the offender. Problem solved in about 30 minutes.

Later I decided to check online for a stand that fits around the pedestal. Samsung had one ... model TR-85. But they don't seem to make it anymore. Ameriwood made a knockoff, but they don't make it anymore.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grading Obama One-Third Into His Term


Coming up on the end of the first third of President Obama's term, we can begin to assess the success or failure of his administration.

  • Economy: D Minus
    The stimulus package has helped General Motors and Chrysler avoid collapse, but it merely shifted the burden to taxpayers and creditors. Meanwhile, financial institutions have taken the stimulus funds without necessarily turning on the credit spigot, consequently the housing market has remained severely damaged and businesses find loans for operations difficult to obtain leading to a continuation of high unemployment. [chart from Google]
  • Health Care: D
    While forcing through a partisan "re-form" of the health care system, the Obama administration has alienated a significant portion of the population, threatened the careers of Democratic Party members of Congress, set up the nation for massive deficits related to health care [the CBO allows $500 billion of savings from diverting funds from Medicare and is based on 10 years of revenue to the government versus 6 years of health care coverage... check the chart closely], potentially driven many doctors to consider early retirement, and may well have created disincentives for those considering a medical career. Meanwhile, the idea that more Americans will be covered by health insurance may be more numbers juggling than reality as businesses react to the burdens of providing health care under the new law. [chart source]
  • Military Operations: C
    Contrary to President Obama's initial optimism that the U.S. could simply leave the Middle East and talk ourselves into a lasting peace, U.S. troops will remain beyond his campaign timeline in Iraq while a new quagmire is developing in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Meanwhile, politically correct dictates from the Administration now place the troops in a damned if you shoot when you shouldn't [even if you couldn't know you shouldn't] or damned if you don't and are killed. [picture from CNN]
  • Nuclear Control: F
    While focusing on a new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty [SALT] with Russia that is more token than significant, Iran continues to move forward toward nuclear weapons capability. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration determines the best it can do is offer up assurances that we will not use nuclear weapons against an aggressor if they do not have nuclear weapons which is supposed to be an incentive for Iran? to give up its efforts to become a nuclear power... at the same time that Secretary of Defense, William Gates, admits that the Obama Administration has no real strategy developed for coping with a nuclear Iran [its not like Iran developing those weapons is a big surprise]. [picture unknown source]
  • Energy: D
    While coming up with a resolution to consider offshore drilling for oil and natural gas [excluding some of the most promising offshore areas], the Obama Administration continue to focus on alternative energy and mandating smaller cars and trucks as its focus for becoming energy independent and "solving" a CO2 "problem" that is quickly being recognized as a non-existent problem. Meanwhile, moving forward on more new safe, dependable, and clean nuclear power plants has fallen into neglect as the Obama Administration continues to push nascent, inefficient, unreliable alternatives while concurrently trying to dismantle coal power which is the source of nearly half the nation's electricity. [chart from NY Times]
  • Immigration: D
    It is difficult to grade the Obama Administration on anything positive it has done to manage the massive influx of illegal aliens into this country because it has done nothing really. Meanwhile, states such as Arizona and Texas are beginning to address the issue of defending the borders which should be one of the Obama Administration's primary responsibilities according to the Constitution. [picture unknown source]
Overall: a good, solid D and working on a D Minus.

My wife considers this grade inflation.



Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday


Our youngest grandson, who is here from San Francisco with his parents, celebrated his 1st birthday [a few days early] today.

We went to the petting zoo at Domino's Farms which is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the grounds of the Domino's Pizza headquarters. A couple of days ago it was around 80°. Today, yeah, it's Michigan.

Still the kids enjoyed the day. The animals love to be fed carrot pieces [which the Farm sells] and fully expect that if you come near them that you will be giving them a treat.

Fortunately, the little rustic room you can rent for such occasions is heated. After a very quick ride on the hay wagon, the kids and parents were happy to warm up inside.

Naturally, the food fare was Domino's Pizza with a smattering of fruit and veggies brought in by the grandparents. The big chocolate sheet cake was mandatory and dutifully devoured by the kids and parents alike.

It was a nice way for our son's family and their friends and kids to get together. Domino's does a nice job of creating a pleasant place for toddlers, parents, and grandparents to all have a nice time at their own pace.


Friday, April 16, 2010

March 2010 Weather


Here is SE Michigan we enjoyed a mild, but variable, March. Temperatures were 3.8°F above normal... the highest positive variation in over two years. This leaves the cumulative variation at minus 1.92°F since February, 2008.

March seems consistent with temperatures across the U.S. which is a break from the past two years when Michigan was consistently colder than the U.S. average.

The flurry of outdoor activity seen nearby... as opposed to snow... was a welcome change for an area beset by chronic cold, wet weather. April is shaping up to have an even greater positive variance from normal as evidenced by the early use of local golf courses and the ducks getting ready for the annual ritual of raising a brood.

This is bound to help consumers in this area with lower heating bills and less cold weather related illnesses. Unfortunately, reality looks like it may be setting back in next week as more normal April temperatures invade the area.



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Congress Creates Incentives Then Attacks Business For Using Them


A few days ago, I posted how Spirit Airlines was making a stupid mistake charging fees for carry-on luggage.

From CNN:

New York ( – Senate Democrats are taking aim at carry-on baggage fees after Spirit Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to propose charging passengers to store luggage in overhead bins.

On Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, introduced a bill that would amend the tax code to eliminate a loophole that he and four other Senators say allows airlines to avoid taxes on certain fees.

"This latest fee crosses the line and is a slap in the face to travelers," Schumer said in a statement. "Our legislation will rein in the airlines and keep air travelers from being gouged every time they board a plane."

That effort comes one day after two other Senators put forward a bill that would change how the Federal Aviation Administration regulates carry-on baggage fees.

Full story
The point here is that rather than allow the marketplace to work, Congress fiddles with the tax code to provide breaks to special interests... and then gets their panties in a wad when special interests change the marketplace because of those very codes.

The more big government gets involved in the marketplace, the more things seem to go wrong... go wrong... go wrong.

Perhaps that is a lesson that should be applied to other Congressional efforts.



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Changes Coming 2


The sale of our home seems to be going forward... of course it isn't over until it's over... and we have started the pre-moving planning.

Because our goal is to rebuild our lake cottage into a larger, all-year, permanent residence, we have a bit more complicated logistics with which to deal.

  • Find a 6-month residence near the cottage
  • Find storage for our overflow goods during the construction
  • Get all of the building plans completed and approved by the township [done once in 2006 and stopped due to the collapsing economy]
  • Close on current home and move goods to storage or the temporary residence
  • Select finishing components for the construction [kitchen and bathroom fixtures, cabinets and appliances... flooring... carpeting... paint... etc.]
  • Deal with problems... and problems... and problems.
I plan to be involved in some of the finishing work having done quite a bit of that on my current home [and I need a reason to keep all of my expensive power tools]. Additionally, my wife and I will have our mothers visit during the time we are out of our current home and before we move into our new home [stress, stress].

Yesterday, we started looking at some potential interim residences. We thought we had found a conveniently located apartment complex with flexible rental leases and 3-bedroom apartments.

Then we were told our household income was too high. Excuse me? Too high? The young man at the complex office said they were something called a "tax credit organization" so they had to have an upper limit on renters' incomes.

We found another potential place, but the 2-bedroom place [which was several hundred dollars more than the 3-bedroom place] reeked of cigarette smoke. The young lady also indicated that they had a restriction on dogs [good], but not cats [of which my wife is deathly allergic]. Back to the drawing boards.

We may enlist a real estate agent in the area to find us a home for rent as well as do more online research [everything looks good online]. We need to get things arranged reasonably quickly, so that will be our focus for the next two weeks. Then the fun begins.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The New Supremes


The average IQ in Motown may not be all that close to average, but they know their Supremes. So, those from southeastern Michigan will recognize these faces that could be the chosen one for the Supreme Court.

Jennifer Granholm has presided over the punishment inflicted on the State of Michigan for the past eight years. She has repeatedly decreed that the future was bright as long as the state could get more taxes out of business coffers. Business decided that maybe it should just get out.

As a Canadian, Ms. Granholm knows about how the U.S. should operate and will certainly do her best to see it follows her homeland model. However, it is not certain that she would follow the Canadian model of aggressively using forests for lumber or drilling for gas and oil. The environment is far too sensitive in the U.S. for the hardy Canadian approaches.

Janet Napolitano is familiar to those in the Detroit area. She blithely declared that the Homeland Security system worked just the way it was supposed to after a whacked out Nigerian set his pants on fire aboard a plane bound for Detroit [even Detroiters know that you don't set your own pants on fire].

Billions for a system that works as intended... as long as a Dutch passenger is available to subdue someone intent on blowing up a plane.

Ms. Napolitano's unique perspective of the world should be a fine addition to the Fantasy Land in Washington, D.C.



They Could Have Asked A Soviet Colonel


I received an email from an old colleague who volunteers with me on a retiree health care support group.

[My] sister took her car in for an oil change last week. With her in the waiting room was an elderly gentleman watching the news on TV.

He said "Excuse me, but do you understand what they are doing with these health care changes? Can you explain this to me?"

Not knowing the gentleman, recognizing that English was not his first language and not wanting to enter into a debate on health care, my sister briefly highlighted some of the upcoming changes in what she felt were fairly neutral terms. She addressed a couple of his questions, noting that he was becoming uneasy as he continued [watching the newscast].

Resuming, he asked her: "Do you mind if I tell you about myself?"

"I don't mind", she replied, "Please do."

He said he was a colonel, a pilot [in the Soviet military]. He didn't say what branch of the service. He showed [her] 4 pictures of himself in uniform. He said, yes they had free education, and free medical care, BUT they had nothing else. No one had any money, to do anything else.

"Why don't they ask me what it was like, why don't they ask me." He kissed [her] on the forehead when he left and said, "God bless you!" It was so touching.
This isn't the Soviet Union, so fears of a government takeover of health care and other large segments of the economy are unfounded... right?



Sunday, April 11, 2010

Changes Coming


After four years, we decided to try selling our house again. Based on sales of similar homes [which have been few], the value of our home has dropped by one-third in four years. So, why sell?

  • First, this is Michigan. Michigan led the nation into recession and it will trail the nation out of this economic morass. [image source]
  • Second, a 33% decline requires a 50% increase to get to break-even. The time frame we are talking about is probably a decade or more. Paying property taxes alone would wipe out any benefit from the recovered home value since I have a second property which does not qualify for a homestead exemption... and the property taxes on the lake property are equal to our primary home's.
  • Third, our children moved out years ago and two now live in a different part of the area... near our other property.
  • Fourth, our other property includes a small cottage that is quite old and in need of extensive renovation.
Taking all that into consideration, we have decided to price our home competitively [even though not very satisfyingly], tear down the old lake cottage and build a new home [to very energy-efficient specifications] and reduce our carbon/economic footprint by being close to the rest of our family living in this area.

This means some major changes for us. Obvious, a year of distraction.

The first part, selling the present home, may be accomplished much more quickly than we anticipated. We have two offers in two weeks and it looks like we may be closing within a month. The buyer is getting a great bargain and we are getting rid of the economic burden of two homes.

Then the summer and fall will be consumed with the building process. We chose a builder recommended by Glenn Haege. They may be a little more expensive than some, but we found from the very beginning that their vision of the rebuild was almost perfectly aligned with ours... and they offered their ideas first.

This means that we will be giving up some things. I've already let my golf league know that I won't be participating anymore. My wife will be giving up her participation in the local community chorus. The summer at the lake will be pretty much shot this year.

It also means taking on moving twice: the first move out of our home into an apartment during the building period and the second move from the apartment to our new home... a considerable nuisance, but unavoidable.

It also means somewhat erratic posting to my blogs... not sure if that is bad or good. But it should also provide some interesting pieces for posting.

Still, the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term drawbacks. We'll eliminate several thousand miles of annual driving back and forth between the two places. One of our grandsons will be right across the lake. Other relatives live in that immediate area... and, yes, that is a positive.

Of course, like anything else in life, it's not over until the money changes hands.

Can"t Find It?

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

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

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

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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)