Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hines Ward Released By Steelers


From Yahoo Sports:

Steelers will release WR Hines Ward 
By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer 
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Hines Ward has been an icon for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 14 seasons, but no more, as the NFL team announced Wednesday it was releasing the veteran wide receiver. 
A four-time Pro Bowl selection, who holds franchise records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, Ward, 35, will be released by the organization that drafted him back in 1998.
No confirmation on the rumor that Hines Ward will become a pro on Dancing With The Stars.

2012 IS HERE


California: It's A Gas


From The LA Times:

California gas prices jump 26 cents in a weekThe average cost of self-serve regular hits $4.29 a gallon, 57 cents higher than a year ago. The average nationwide is $3.29. 
February 27, 201210:28 p.m.  [image source]
That was so 2 days ago.

Yesterday, we put some gas in my son's car to cover the hour trip to the Detroit Metro airport.  That was $3.85 per gallon... more than we've spent on gas in quite awhile.  Eight hours later, our oldest son picked us up in San Francisco and we noticed the gas prices were $4.50 per gallon.

That's got to be good news for the energy self-starving state.

2012 IS HERE


Michigan And Arizona Republican Primary Results


Watched the news about the Michigan primary on the flight to San Francisco last evening.  From Google:

It was a better showing for Santorum than expected by some of the polls, but makes Romney's delegate count a bit larger.  Also from Google:

The delegate count now stands like this.  From The NY Times:

2012 IS HERE


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Michigan's Democratic Republican Primary


The political buzz is reaching a crescendo in Michigan as the Republican primary is upon us to select which challenger gets delegates for the GOP presidential nomination.  Except, of course, this is actually the day when the Democratic Party tries to sabotage the democratic process.

From The New York Times:

With polls in Michigan suggesting a tight race between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, the victory could be determined in part by Democrats and union workers eager to cause mischief in Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary.
Voting booths will be open only to Republicans, but party rules allow anyone to declare himself a Republican on the spot — temporarily — and then vote. The result is a primary that is effectively open to Democratic or independent game-playing. 
And while such predictions are usually overstated, there’s some indication that it might actually happen in Michigan on Tuesday. [read the full article here]
Told you... different candidate, perhaps, but same strategy.  Maybe it's time to rethink the primary process.  The ironic part, however, is that it may not help the Democratic Party in November.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 04, 2012The Ron Paul Strategy
From Rasmussen polls:
The latest polls for Election 2012

2012 IS HERE


Monday, February 27, 2012

Soft Natural Gas Prices Soften Economic Impact Of Oil


From Mark Perry's blog:

Why This Time Could Be Different: Rising Oil Prices Are Being Offset By Falling Natural Gas Prices 
WSJ Blog -- "Soaring oil prices in the spring of 2008 sent gasoline prices surging and accelerated the recession. Now, rising gas prices are threatening the recovery. But lower natural gas and utility costs this time around might limit some of the damage, says Deutsche Bank chief U.S. economist Joseph LaVorgna.

I commented:
Given the abundance of natural gas, is there any doubt that CNG would be a natural choice as an alternative to oil-based vehicle fuels? 
The vehicle technology is proven and the ease of expanding distribution/refueling stations simply needs a concerted effort. $5/gal. gasoline might provide the push. 
Another comment stated:
Except that regulatory hurdles have ensured that the cost of converting a car to natgas is $6500 to $12,000, where in the absence of govt. meddling, it would be just $1000 (the price in many other countries).
What is absurd is that we will export one liquid fuel to Japan and India, while importing another liquid fuel from a similar distance.
To which I replied:
Of course it is government regulation and taxation that stand in the way of effective and efficient use of energy resources.
That's why Obama wants to reduce regulation. ;-}
Nevertheless, the future belongs more to direct energy sources for transportation than indirect [electric] sources which require $10,000 tax incentives. We just have to vote correctly.
See also:

The Electric Brick


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sen. Barack Obama's 2008 Speech About Oil And The New World Order


You are seeing his plan being implemented.  11% reduction of oil drilling on Federal lands, bankrolling alternative energy corporations that have no market, increasing regulation on the energy industries, stopping Canadian pipelines, mandating extraordinarily expensive electric vehicles [54 mpg mandate] using batteries that are extraordinarily expensive to service, pushing to make the UN a super-government, expanding foreign aid... and so much more.

Oh, and the specter of record prices for gasoline.

Oil Production Increased During Obama's Administration


President Obama recently pointed out that domestic oil production has increased during his administration.  True.  But he is taking credit for those increases which occurred because they were outside of federal jurisdiction.

The increase in domestic drilling was almost entirely in areas for which the Obama administration exercised no authority, as oil production on federal land declined by 11 percent in fiscal year 2011, according to a study by the Institute on Energy Research (IER), a free-market energy think tank. But oil production on state lands increased that year by 14 percent and increased by 12 percent on private lands.

Increases? Yes.  His doing? No.

About a year ago, the headlines read:
U.S. approves first deepwater oil drilling permit since BP spill 
Published: Monday, February 28, 2011, 9:05 PM 
You should remember that during the time when the Obama administration was dragging its collective feet, China and Cuba were doing the drilling dance not far from U.S. shores.

But, you say, the Obama administration was simply being responsible.  When the time was right, the Obama administration acted decisively to ensure a new flow of oil for the country.

Eh, not exactly....  From one week earlier:
Court orders Obama to act on drilling permits

February 21, 2011: 11:14 AM ET 
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A federal court ordered the Obama administration Thursday to act on five deep water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days, calling the delays in issuing new decisions "unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified."

Still, with environmental concerns, President Obama was completely justified in stopping oil exploration.
Bill Clinton: Drilling delays 'ridiculous' 
Bill Clinton reportedly criticized delays in oil drilling permits since last year's spill in the Gulf. | AP Photo
CloseBy DARREN GOODE | 3/11/11 4:55 PM EDT 
Former President Bill Clinton said Friday that delays in offshore oil and gas drilling permits are “ridiculous” at a time when the economy is still rebuilding, according to attendees at the IHS CERAWeek conference.
Oh, but that was so last year!

True, Obama has had a chance to change directions and make the U.S. less dependent on oil from OPEC.
Obama’s Keystone pipeline rejection is hard to accept
January 18, 2012 
But one has to admire Obama for being consistent about his anti-oil policies.

Besides, the economy is recovering.  What's the big deal? Well, oil prices are up from $33.07 in January 2009 when Obama took office to...

That more than tripled ... and that's just the start.  The story, of course, is that starting expansion of drilling would take 3-4 years to influence oil supply.  Uh, help me with the calculations here, but isn't it three years since 2009?

Gas prices high? No magic bullet, Obama says. 
Gas prices rise to average $3.65 a gallon, a record for this time of year. Obama dismisses GOP plans to lower gas prices as 'bumper sticker' answer.  
Oil prices are approaching last year's highs as tensions increase over Iran's nuclear program. The rise pushed gasoline prices Friday to a national average of $3.65 a gallon, the highest ever for this time of year.
The most recent innovation of the Obama administration to ensure no lessening of foreign oil dependency is aggressive regulation.

Now we understand.  It is not necessary for the U.S. to increase its own supply of oil because those are "bumper stick" solutions to high gasoline costs in the U.S. which is the result of the fear of not having enough oil because of actions by countries like Iran on whom the West is dependent for some of its oil.  

In other words, being less dependent on unreliable sources of foreign oil would not make any difference regarding the impact of being dependent on foreign oil... so we're just not going to do anything about it.  Same story 100th verse; a little louder, a little worse.


Energy - Obstructionism As Policy


2012 IS HERE


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Obama's Radical And Communist Friends


Just wondering why the President of the United States would surround himself with people who are either radicals, communists or closely related to communists.

Just wondering.


These people are all intelligent... that's not the issue.  They are all capable of mingling with powerful people and arguing persuasively from their perspective. But what is at issue is the content of their characters.  That's should disturb you.

Is this just bad judgment on the part of the President or is this simply a true manifestation of the President's character?  Is this a man who should be President... or President again in 2013?

2012 IS HERE


Friday, February 24, 2012

Plausibly Obama


From HillBuzz:

Toldja So: Jon Huntsman Begins Third Party Presidential Effort (In Exchange for Obama’s Promise to Make Him Secretary of State) 
Posted on February 23, 2012 by Kevin DuJan // 2012 GOP CandidatesJon Huntsman * 
I’ve been saying this for some time now:  Jon Huntsman has been promised the Secretary of State position in a second Obama administration in exchange for Huntsman splitting the Republican vote enough in the general election for Obama to squeak to victory a la Ross Perot in 1992. 
Huntsman today is talking up the “time for a third party” garbage that’s a precursor to him definitively launching a third party run in the spring (presuming Willard “Mittens” Romney is the GOP nominee…as Huntsman was specifically chosen to be the third party alternative to Romney).

Sounds like Obama's typical politics of divisiveness... be divisive and conquer.

2012 IS HERE


Obama The Great Satin Apologizes While Troops Face Trial


The supreme ruler of The Great Satan, President Barack Obama - The Great Satin, apologized about some 7th century superstition being burned while NATO, The Great Nuttin, considers putting soldiers on trial for burning that nonsense [HT/ Gateway Pundit].

Hey, freedom of speech... the right to condemn nonsense to a fiery death!  If they are guaranteeing our freedom and rights, then their freedom and rights must be guaranteed as well.  That includes the right to be protected from the religious beliefs of others.

If they are not there to protect our freedom and rights, then The Great Satin should be impeached for sending them there.  The Great Satin turned a relatively small force in Afghanistan into a huge standing army.  Why?  For nation building?

Perhaps if they simply put the superstitious writings in a jar of pig piss and called it art, The Great Satin would rush to defend their rights to free speech.  Or if the soldiers were gay... then Obama might defend their rights.  But ordinary soldiers?  Forgetaboutit.  The Great Satin must support only important things.

Tell me again why we are in Afghanistan doing what we are doing.

Our Sorry Leader
Oh, "Great Satin?"  Gay writer, Kevin DuJan, explains that... and he hasn't been sued for slander.

2012 IS HERE


Michigan Governor Synder Wants To Be Detroit's Partner


From mlive:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he is not looking to take over Detroit.
Rather, he says his newly-proposed budget will allow him to "partner" with Detroit and other distressed cities as he continues to "reinvent" Michigan.
"It is about us working together as a team," Snyder told Mayor Dave Bing on Monday during a Detroit Economic Club luncheon at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel. "We need to provide basic services to our citizens." [full article here]
Gov. Snyder, Detroit does not need a "partner"; Detroit needs dis-assembly.   Detroit is broken; Detroit is not reparable.

Detroit's population is barely over 700,000 [although this older graphic had it closer to 900,000] covering an area once populated by three times that many people.  There is insufficient tax base and a remaining population of predominately poorly educated, economically dependent people.
The result?  A largely empty city.

The solution?  Along with that dis-assembly, a new government, streamlined administration, strict zoning enforcement, condemnation and bulldozing of blighted areas, enterprise zones, and a revise tax structure.  Detroit could become a new San Francisco or Boston, but there is no chance of that happening in its present configuration.  There is only the future of continued failure and draining resources from the State of Michigan.

For more on this subject, CLICK HERE.  Below is a letter sent a year ago to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.



2012 IS HERE


Thursday, February 23, 2012

2-23-12 Michigan Primary Poll


From Rasmussen Reports:

2012 Michigan Republican Primary

Michigan Primary: Santorum 38%, Romney 34%.

2012 IS HERE


Our Sorry Leader


You sent them there and now you apologize for this?  From Military Times:

Man in Afghan army uniform kills 2 U.S. troops 
By Amir Shah and Patrick Quinn - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Feb 23, 2012 11:10:34 EST 
KABUL, Afghanistan — President Obama apologized Thursday for the burning of copies of the Muslim holy book at a U.S. military base this week, as violent protests raging nationwide led a man dressed in an Afghan army uniform to kill two U.S. troops.
Your strategy is nation building.  Afghanistan is hardly a nation worth building.  Go after those you have identified as the enemy in an efficient, effective, destructive, military fashion and then get the troops out of there.  Or wait until the Taliban take control and offer themselves up as really good targets.  Drone them into oblivion.

Afghanistan is not Iraq; it is removed from the notion of civilization.  The U.S. military is not a public corporation for building and education.  Take care of your business and let them build their own version of a nation... if they even care to.  Don't arm them; don't support them... they don't support us.  They will simply stab you in your back with the knife you gave them as a gift.

And if you, as supreme Commander In Chief of the greatest military force in history, cannot figure out who the enemy is or how to effectively eliminate them, you are both incompetent and incompetent... as a leader and a strategist.

Meanwhile, soldiers die.


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2009 No Afghanistan Nation Building

You May Not Vote For Newt Gingrich


But you have to admire his quick wit [via Gateway Pundit].

Newt Gingrich saw it coming and hit it out of the park – pointing to Barack Obama’s support of infanticide.

2012 IS HERE


Silly Russian Response To European Union Carbon Tax


The European Union has decided to tax airline flights in order to combat global warming... or simply create another tax.  The Russian response [via Benny Peiser]:

Russia is considering limits on European flights over Siberia as countries approve possible retaliatory measures against the European Union's move to force airlines to pay for carbon emissions. “We intend to get the EU's carbon trading measures either canceled or postponed,” said Okulov, who was previously chief executive officer of OAO Aeroflot, Russia's biggest airline. Russia reserves the right to reject requests from EU carriers that seek to increase flights through Siberian airspace, giving preference to Asian airlines, Okulov said.  --Bloomberg, 22 February 2012
The correct response is a carbon tax on purchases of Russian natural gas by EU countries.  Fight silliness with silliness.

2012 IS HERE


Is Ron Paul Correct About Military Non-Involvement?


The single thing that precludes Ron Paul from gaining wider acceptance among Republicans is his consistent position on the non-use of the military.

By and large, Dr. Paul's position boils down to one that states the military should be used to defend the U.S. ... on U.S. soil.  And gee whiz... sending our military to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Middle East only makes them angrier.

Should the U.S. fight large land wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan... including occupation and nation building?  I think that is misguided.  Should the U.S. refrain from military action against al Qaeda and the Taliban?  I think that is also misguided.  Military action should be aimed at keeping an enemy in chaos and on the defensive until it loses its will to fight.

He would withdraw U.S. forces from the rest of the world and be reactive if there was yet another attack on U.S. soil by militaristic Islamic terrorists.  Possibly, he hopes that such action would convince them that the U.S. was sincere in wanting to live in peace with them and that would dissuade them from their goals of an Islamic-Sharia global empire where nonbelievers... infidels... were treated with contempt, barbarity, and disenfranchisement... like they are in such springtime places as Egypt.

As one of his supporters wrote in a comment:
By the way, my 13-year-old, who reads these comments suggests that you read or watch the Lord of the Rings. Aragorn is a great leader precisely because he is the type of man who does not seek power. Sauron was not an evil person at the beginning. He started off as wishing to impose order on the world. But the power of the ring consumed him and he did become evil. The power in the lesser rings consumed the human kings who possessed them and all of the 'good guys' rejected the One Ring because they understood just how dangerous the power that it represented really was. 
Of course, Tolkien leaned towards anarchy and hated the State just as Nozik did. Perhaps that is why they are held in such regard while the slimy public intellectuals that you appeal to in order to support your narratives are quickly forgotten and held in such low esteem by so many people.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a world of fantasy.  Is the anarchy of fantasy writers a good thing?  How about the chaos of fanaticism?  We live in a world where a single nuclear bomb in the hands of religious-political fanatics can leave the U.S. in shambles.

A "prevent defense" seldom works in football, fantasy, or real life.  That is why Dr. Paul's whole message does not resonate with those who do not live in a fantasy world.  Conservative Republicans love Dr. Paul's economic and limited government positions, but they also understand the enormous risks of his military position.

There is no logical connection between military strength and big government domestic spending programs.  There is no logical barrier created by military strength to free trade and liberty.  Those who attempt to make such connections are simply misguided... illogical.  We can afford to be strong; we can't afford to be weak.

2012 IS HERE


Obama's Free Birth Control A Red Herring


The recent flap about the Obama administration wanting to force the Catholic Church to provide free birth control to their employees is a bit of a...

yes... that's a herring... a red herring.

For those of you who don't know the significance of this image with regard to the Obama administration action, here's a little background.

This is a typical ploy of politicians when they find they are facing problematic issues and feel the need to avoid them.  In the case of the Obama administration, it is the President's push for mandating his version of better health care... even if it steps on the Constitutional rights of the Catholic Church [and everyone else].  The "red herring" is that this is being "fair" to the poor and, besides, it will be provided for free by insurance companies.

A few thoughts here:

  • If the Catholic Church is providing health insurance to its employees, the Church is paying for these "free contraceptives" even if the insurance companies are forced to show in their accounting that it is for free.  No insurance is "free."
  • The notion that free birth control is "only fair" is something being pull out of someone's a--.  Because they supposedly can't afford contraceptives?  Hardly.
  • Contraception is widely available and dirt cheap.  If you can buy that Coca Cola, you can buy several contraceptives.

If you got as far as fifth grade, you can do the math.  You can have a really cheap date for less than 40 cents.  If you can't afford that... you shouldn't be having kids.  

How about a little personal responsibility here?  From the CDC.
Unmarried Childbearing(Data are for the U.S.)
  • Number of live births to unmarried women: 1,693,658
  • Birth rate for unmarried women: 50.5 births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44 years
  • Percent of all births to unmarried women: 41.0%
Source: Births: Final Data for 2009, table C Adobe PDF file [PDF - 1.3 MB] 
Well... that just raises the question about whether or not cheap or free contraceptives even are the issue.  Why are women having a dozen children out of wedlock with multiple partners?  Certainly not because they can't afford 40-cent contraception.

Perhaps it is the whole notion that contraceptives are even wanted that is the red herring.  This is a culture of irresponsibility abetted by the U.S. government... and not simply by providing abortions or contraceptive, but by taking away the consequences of irresponsibility... by providing all manner of support... in the name of "fairness."  We are moving to a culture where men are relegated to "sperm donors" and husbands are replaced by a rich uncle... Sam.

But then why is the President pushing this red herring?  Because he can then say he is "doing something" for the poor... that he really "cares".  Sure, he cares for their votes... but he doesn't want anyone to think this through the whole way.



2012 IS HERE


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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)