Thursday, January 31, 2013

Time To Say Goodbye... Again

It's been an interesting exercise writing this blog from 2004 to now.  But now, after 3,149 posts, it is time to move on.  I've written about myriad subjects and issues.  Travel awaits; grandchildren await.  Perhaps other forms of involvement await.  The call of the keyboard is now an echo of the past.

To my many loyal readers, thank you.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Forgot What This Post Was Supposed To Be


[h/t Stephen Skousgaard]

Justin Bieber's Gun Assault


Recently, small children were suspended from school for pointing with their index fingers.  That was considered extremely dangerous behavior by the school.  Now Justin Bieber is being investigated for possible assault charges for tossing foam projectiles.

As Voltaire said: "Common sense is not so common."  Some of these so-called gun-control advocates have their anuses squeezed so tightly they are simply spewing shit through their mouths.


Economy Flat Due To Less Government And Corporate Spending


Economists tell us that in order to correct the federal government revenue/spending imbalance, we will either have to raise taxes or have no-growth or a declining economy... which is then used to justify spending even more.  Debt is a problem for the next generation.  We need to keep up appearances of prosperity.

A small taste of the impact of reduced spending appeared in the 4th quarter of 2012 as defense spending and corporate inventories shrank [companies produced from their inventories without adequate replacement] resulting in a Gross Domestic Product decrease of 0.1% from the previous quarter.  That's hardly reason for panic, but it does tell us that without excessive borrowing, economic measures will look anemic.

GDP contracts on tepid inventories, government spending drop.

The question is whether that is a bad thing.

Sequestration Cuts Will Lead to Floods, Plagues, and Pestilence...

But a drop in CO2.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bad Day For Democratic Politicians In Michigan


What do you call a former mayor who ran an organized crime ring in his office and a state supreme court justice convicted of bank fraud?  Why Democrats, of course.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Closing out its case against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and two others, the federal government today unleashed a barrage of text messages and secret phone recordings as a sort of exclamation point on its claim that an organized crime ring ran the mayor’s office. [more]

DETROIT (WJBK) -- Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway entered the federal courthouse innocently enough, but left a convicted felon.  She took a plea to bank fraud.
Here's the deal.  She will spend up to 18 months in a federal prison.  She will pay up to $90,000 in restitution, and she will pay a fine of approximately $30,000.  After that, she'll spend three to five years on supervised probation, and all the other charges against her will be dismissed.
"This is a crime that spanned almost two years, and so for a very serious, well thought out crime like that, I think it's important that the public see that people at the highest levels of government are held accountable," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. [more]

No surprise, of course.

4K Television Broadcasts Coming By 2025 Or Not


We've just gotten used to 4G for cell phones.  The next upgrade may come in the form of 4K broadcasting.  4K is roughly 4 times the resolution of a Blu-ray DVD.

Look for it sometime in the 2nd quarter of this century.  Meanwhile...

Japan to broadcast in 4K starting in 2014.

We could have it sooner, but that would mean your monthly cable bill would go up 100% or so.   And some people think that it is just not worth it.

Why Ultra HD 4K TVs are still stupid.


Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste


It seems that Egypt's President Morsi has taken some advice from President Obama's former Chief of Staff and now mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel.

Egypt's armed forces chief has warned the current political crisis "could lead to a collapse of the state".
General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, in comments posted on the military's Facebook page, said such a collapse could "threaten future generations".
He made his statement following a large military deployment in three cities along the Suez Canal where a state of emergency has been declared.
More than 50 people have died in days of protests and violence. 
Overnight, thousands of people in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez - where some of the worst unrest has been - ignored a night-time curfew to take to the streets. [source]
This crisis has allowed President Morsi to use the army to quell opposition to his Islamist constitution and imposition of Sharia law.

There seems to be something about people that resents elected officials who use their positions to try to fundamentally change their societies and trample the rights and freedoms that have been a tradition for centuries.  Fortunately, here in the United States, we don't have politicians like that, do we?

Hmmm.  We have fundamentally changed our debt.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Detroit - How Low Can You Go?


The Chicago Tribune ran this headline:

Analysis: Stuck in reverse, Detroit edges closer to bankruptcy

The story of Detroit's decline is decades old: Its tax revenue and population have shrunk and labor costs have remained out of whack. But the city's budget problems have deepened to such an extent that it could run out of cash in a matter of weeks or months and ultimately be forced into what would be the largest-ever Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States.
Frustrated by the lack of concrete progress, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, last month appointed a team to scour the city's books. The audit could result in a state takeover of Detroit's finances through the appointment of an emergency financial manager. Such a manager, who would seize control of the city's checkbook, could then propose federal bankruptcy court as the best option.
Snyder, who has called the situation "a crisis in terms of financial affairs," said the team would deliver its report in February.
I left this comment:
My wife and I moved to Michigan 5 years after the riots... she was not happy with the idea. But we took up residence in a suburb and stayed in that area for almost 40 years, during which I worked for periods in Detroit and watched it disintegrate physically, financially, and racially. Detroit's doom was sealed with Coleman Young and his "hate whitey" politics which quickly accelerated the white exodus to more welcoming places. Kwame Kilpatrick was the second version of Coleman Young and took corruption to new heights. But the black "super majority" seemed to take the approach that "he is a crook, but he's our crook" rather than kicking the bum out. That was left to the courts. 
Bankruptcy may take some of the urgency away from solving the myriad problems that are Detroit, but it only postpones facing the music. Detroit is a shell of its former self... a rotting shell. There are some enclaves of relative prosperity, but they are fragmented and disconnected from the whole. Ultimately, there is only one solution for Detroit... dissolution. 

Ignoring Immigration Laws And Calling It Reform


The people of the United States have had a principle that the rule of law rather than the whims of leaders was necessary and required to have this republic function properly.  As with any principle, this one can be and has been subverted many times for many "good reasons."  This subversion has occurred millions of times in ways small and subtle to presidential "recess appointments."  Even the courts of the land will jump and twist through legal "double think" to fit judgments to political expediency.

Therefore, is it any wonder that immigration laws are subject to the same whims?  On the one hand, you have millions of people who have followed the letter and spirit of the law in their efforts to come to America and become citizens of these United States.  On the other hand, you have millions of people who have simply walked or driven in, taken up residence, used up local and national resources, demanded cultural accommodations, and created a wide crack in our "rule of law."

Some local law enforcement agencies have attempted to enforce the immigration laws, but have been penalized by the federal government which claims jurisdiction.  The same actions have been taken against states that attempt to enforce these laws within their borders.  The problem, of course, has been that the federal government has been more interested in asserting its power than enforcing the laws.  Consequently, we now have somewhere in excess of 10 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S.

This same federal government which paid people up to 99 weeks for not working has argued that these illegal aliens benefit the U.S. because they take jobs that nobody else will take.  You may find that to be a non-issue, but others will rightly ask what are the jobs that illegal aliens take that others refuse?  Construction?  Agriculture?  Service jobs?  And isn't it illegal to hire illegals?  Or is this another version of "don't ask, don't tell?"

Now the federal government says it is going to get serious about illegal immigration.  It will come up with a "path to citizenship" that makes the 10 million illegal aliens not so illegal.  A so-called "gang of eight" congressmen are working on just such a proposal.

A bipartisan group of eight senators plans to announce they have agreed on a set of principles for comprehensive immigration reform. 
The deal, which will be announced at a news conference Monday afternoon, covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country. 
The eight senators expected to endorse the new principles are Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona. [source]
The Miami Herald reports:
The Gang of Eight’s plan rests on four "pillars:"
1. Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required.
2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families.
3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers.
4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.
The plan is just a framework. So many of the hard details concerning how long people would wait for citizenship, how the border is declared secure and roughly how much it would all cost will have to be worked out in the coming months.
The Senate legislation, whenever it’s drafted, will also spell out how the visa process would be streamlined, what new types of work permits would be available and how the government plans to stop businesses from hiring illegal immigrants.

Read more here:
In other words, the law was not obeyed, so "let's make a deal."

I like that concept and think that should Sen. Diane Feinstein's firearms legislation pass that millions of American should simple ignore the law and force the federal government to "make a deal."  What?  You say that's not the same thing?  Of course not.  Senator Feinstein and her cohorts are attempting to ignore a Constitutional right that Americans have.  The "gang of eight" are simply trying to grant Constitutional protection to those who have broken the laws of the nation.  So, indeed, they are not the same thing.

If Women Combat Soldiers, Then Children Combat Soldiers?


I've written my position about women in combat:

Women Okayed For Combat Duty... But Is That Okay?
Others are not quite so equivocal:
On the Idea of Women in Combat.
Still others may not think that is "inclusive" enough:
Obama admin says the use of Child Soldiers in conflict is in the ‘national interest of the United States’.

More here:
The U.S. Can Do More to Keep Children off the Battlefield.
Not opposing "Child Soldiers" in other countries is not the same as advocating it for the U.S. ... yet.  But, hey, it might keep them out of street gangs.  That probably would be in the "national interest of the United States."

But for now, the president will start with community organizing various youth corps.
They'll set a goal that all middle school and high school students engage in 50 hours of community service a year, and develop a plan for all college students who engage in 100 hours of community service to receive a fully-refundable tax credit of $4,000 for their education. [source]
That could be expanded into areas more in line with the "national interest of the United States."  Protecting the Vaterland, so to speak.  Frogs in pots of water being heated.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Obama Explains The REAL Reason Assault-Style Rifles Are So Dangerous


A lot has been said about the fact that assault-style rifles are exceptionally dangerous despite the fact that many of them are virtually identical, mechanically, to non-assault-style rifles.  But the mechanical aspects are not important.  Neither are the pistol-style grips.  Neither are the shoulder straps or the carry handles.  Neither are the magazines.

No, President Obama has divined the real reason why assault-style rifles are so dangerous.  Read about it here.


The Egyptian Mafia


Most adults have at least heard about organized crime... often referred to as the Mafia.  It used to be just about Italians, but now it encompasses just about any ethnic group of criminals... Irish, Russian, etc.

This short video is part of a documentary about the Italian Mafia.

Now there is an Egyptian Mafia.  That's not what they call themselves, of course.  They go by the name of the "Brigade of Muslims."  Here's an excerpt.
An armed Islamic movement calling itself the "Brigade of Muslims" released a statement on Saturday threatening Egypt's Coptic Christians and asking them to pay tribute.  jizya, also spelled jizyah, Arabic jizyah ,  head or poll tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects.]
"Egypt is an Islamic country and will be ruled according to Shariah," the statement added. [source]

Meanwhile, the U.S. sends military equipment to Egypt and other Islamic countries to defend themselves against ???  Perhaps those Copts?

Economic Recovery Ending?


For those of you who may have missed it, the economic recovery is now in its fourth year.

So, it's not too unexpected that various national economies might be slowing down.

Profit warnings highest since 2008

However, in the U.S., the stock market has been plowing right along to 5-year highs.

IBM's Results Lift Dow Average to a 5-Year High

Does that mean the U.S. economic outlook is really good?

Economic Forecasting Survey

The unemployment rate registered a dramatic 0.5 percentage-point drop over the past two months, but economists in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey don't expect that pace of decline to continue.
"The general trend in the unemployment rate is lower, and this should continue to be true as long as the economy grows along the profile we project," said Joseph LaVorgna at Deutsche Bank. "However, the cumulative five-tenths decline over the past two months appears to be overdone."
On average, the 48 respondents, not all of whom answer every question, expect the jobless rate will still be at 7.8% in June of next year—matching the September figure released last week. The reason for the stagnation in the job market is expectations for lackluster economic growth during the rest of 2012 and into 2013. Through the first half of next year, the average forecast is for growth in gross domestic product below 2% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate.
Expansion is seen picking up as the year progresses, but isn't expected to surpass 3% through 2014. That means that even when the unemployment rate does begin to fall, the economists don't see it doing so quickly. On average, they still expect the rate to be at 7.1% in December 2014.
That's a "yes, maybe, no."

Friday, January 25, 2013

How Do You Tackle A Kid In A Wheelchair?

I can't see what could go wrong here, can you?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Breaking new ground, the U.S. Education Department is telling schools they must include students with disabilities in sports programs or provide equal alternative options. The directive, reminiscent of the Title IX expansion of athletic opportunities for women, could bring sweeping changes to school budgets and locker rooms for years to come.
Schools would be required to make "reasonable modifications" for students with disabilities or create parallel athletic programs that have comparable standing as mainstream programs. [source]
Fits right in with sending women into hand-to-hand combat.
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
George Orwell, "1984", first sentence


Indian Women Given "Weapons" To Protect Themselves


Friends, Romans, countrymen, send me your arms.

After a particularly horrendous rape-homicide in India, a political party has taken action.

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's radical Hindu nationalist party governing Mumbai has handed out kitchen knives and chili powder to women following a gang rape in the capital New Delhi that ignited a national debate on the best way to tackle sex crimes.
The Shiv Sena party, an ally of the main opposition BJP, said it had handed out 21,000 knives with three-inch blades to women in the city and surrounding areas and plans to distribute 100,000. [source]
So that's how "civilized" societies protect their women... pen knives and chili powder!  Let's look for that to spread quickly to the U.S. once Sen. Diane Feinstein gets her revocation of the 2nd Amendment passed through Congress and signed by the great Peace Prize president.

with love, Barack and Diane.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
George Orwell, "1984", first sentence

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Women Okayed For Combat Duty... But Is That Okay?


I have very mixed feelings about women being allowed into ground combat.  I'll admit that I'm from a generation that would consider such a move to be the antithesis of what a military should be.  Neither men nor women are "made" for combat, but I question the wisdom of placing women in certain combat situations where sheer physical strength may be the difference between living and dying.

One woman writer has this opinion:

But mostly it just annoyed me. Honestly, I don’t know a single woman who would want to serve in combat. But the exclusion, and its defenders, were so paternalistic that its existence was a sign of how conservative and reactionary we can be as a nation (not politically, just that whole “change” thing). The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hasn’t been simple, but it has been relatively easy. The earth did not fall.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday he will remove the ban on women in combat. There will be difficulties with these changes, I have no doubt. And it was clearly the litigation by women who have served, have won purple hearts, and who have been denied opportunities (and who also represented the more than 150 women who have died being in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan in all but formal legal designation) that finally moved the Pentagon. As I note in this column, this administration was not likely to be too fond of defending the rules.
But starting from a position where women are included, and the details are worked out, is a far better place for this nation and our security.  [source]
First of all, what were the "more than 150 women who have died being in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan in all but formal legal designation" actually doing in those situations.  Were they at a forward base that was attacked?  Were they on medic teams?  Were they simply at the wrong place at the wrong time?  If they were not "formally" part of the combat, were they unfortunate bystanders?

Combat can mean a variety of things.  Flying drones may be considered combat.  Flying planes may be part of combat [and women do fly fighter jets already].  Driving an armored vehicle into combat is certainly something either sex is capable of doing.  So are there limits?  Perhaps not.  Perhaps in modern warfare with modern technology, even the most strenuous combat activity is within the realm of reason.

But one thing should not be compromised: physical training requirement should be absolutely the same for men and women who will be sent into combat units.  No special consideration should be given to women so that they can pass the physical training tests.  That means no lowering of the requirements for all soldiers to accommodate women.  There will be no special consideration given on the field of combat and male combatants should not be placed in a situation where they have to fight an opponent while trying to protect a less-capable woman along side them.

Not every soldier can do this.

Women are subject to greater risk for certain types of back and leg injuries than men because of the geometry of the skeletons.  But if women are serious about strength and conditioning, they can overcome most of that risk.  The real question remains: is it in the best interests of the military to include women in certain types of ground combat missions?
Human Protection and Performance Division 

Defence Science and Technology Organisation
*Defence Health Service Division, Defence Personnel Executive 
We investigated the physical and occupational capabilities of male and females soldiers before and after 12 weeks of specialised physical training. The Combat Fitness Assessment (CFA) was employed to assess the infantry-related occupational capabilities, which consisted of a 15-km march at 5.5 km/h followed by the Run-Dodge-Jump (RDJ) activity. All soldiers (35 males and 28 females) carried 34.6 kg, which was based on the requirements for a 3-day operation. Physiological assessments of muscular strength and endurance, and aerobic and anaerobic capacities were also performed. All males could complete the RDJ in a rested state, prior to the march, whereas the majority of females (57%) could not complete the RDJ with weapon and webbing. The majority of males (91%) completed the 15-km in 165 min, whereas fewer females could complete the march successfully (36%). All infantry soldiers and the majority of combat-corps soldiers (79%) could complete the post-march RDJ in less than 70 sec, whereas the fastest female required 73 sec to complete the course. The specialised physical training improved strength and aerobic capacity for the female group and strength only for the male group, although the female scores remained below those of the males. These improvements did not translate into improved success in the infantry-based CFA task, i.e. no female could pass the 70-sec RDJ barrier. Post-specialised physical training one female completed the post-march RDJ in 73 sec, while another Control female achieved an RDJ time of 65 sec after the physical training period. Therefore, assuming that this small sub-group of female soldiers are representative of the whole Army, it is likely that a small number of female soldiers are physically able to complete this assessment within the same performance limits as current infantry soldiers. The elevated environmental heat stress encountered during the post specialised physical training CFA potentially masked any possible benefit gained from the physical training program. Combined with the dramatic drop in soldier numbers it is difficult to provide definitive conclusions as to the effectiveness of the specialised physical training program. CFA administration should be planned for the cooler less humid months to diminish the likelihood of thermal injuries. If the CFA is conducted in hotter and more humid conditions, longer completion times (allowing rest periods), reduced distance and lighter loads should be considered. [source]

In other words, we need to reduce combat capability so that women can be declared combat capable.  And heat was a problem.  Well, heat can be a real problem in Afghanistan.  

Perhaps some common sense will prevail.

Obama Says "Shall Not Infringe" Is An Outdated Concept


President Obama is all about gun control now that he has solved the U.S. economic problems and gained peace in the Middle East and Africa.  Although there are federal, state, and local laws/regulations/ordinances regarding guns and gun ownership, President Obama felt compelled to issue "executive orders," which supposedly have the weight of Constitutional law in his mind, to further constrain We The People from exercising our basic rights.

Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions [source]
Today, the President is announcing that he and the Administration will:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.  [PRIVACY?]
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.  [PRIVACY?]
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.  [PRIVACY?]
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.  [CRIMINALS OR JUST PEOPLE WHO OWN GUNS?]
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.  [PRIVACY?]
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.  [PRIVACY?]
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.  [ANTI-GUN PROPAGANDA?]
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).   [PRIVACY?] 
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. [DOES THIS INCLUDE STATE AND LOCAL INVESTIGATIONS?]
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.   [DOES HE MEAN CREATE A NEW FEDERAL SYSTEM?  AGENCY?]
11. Nominate an ATF director.  [TO INVESTIGATE "FAST AND FURIOUS?"]
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.  [WILL "FIRST RESPONDERS" INCLUDE HOMEOWNERS WITH GUNS?  HOMEOWNERS WITH GUNS MADE ILLEGAL BY NEW YORK?]
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.  [CONFISCATION?]
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.  [OR KNIFE VIOLENCE OR BLUNT INSTRUMENT VIOLENCE OR EXPLOSIVES VIOLENCE OR FIST VIOLENCE OR HUMAN ANGER OR CRAZINESS?]
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies. [DISABLE OR CRIPPLE PRIVATELY OWNED FIREARMS?]
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. [REQUIRE DOCTORS TO ASK ABOUT GUNS?]
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.  [REQUIRES THEM TO DO SO?]
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.  [WHO WILL DO WHAT?]
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.  [PUT YOUR HEAD BETWEEN YOUR KNEES AND KISS YOUR ASS GOODBYE?  WHAT ABOUT ARMED SECURITY GUARDS?]
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.  [THOSE SERVICES THAT HAVE BEEN CUT BACK?]
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.  [MEANING?]
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.  [MORE REGULATIONS THAT DO WHAT?]
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.  [HAS THERE ACTUALLY BEEN ANY "DIALOGUE" WITH ANYONE BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION?]
Many people will say that all of those sound just fine... common sense, if you will.  An innocuous question here, a regulatory roadblock there, minor restrictions here, tying gun control to health care there.  Nothing to take away the 2nd Amendment, just chip away at it some more.

Here is what a senator from Oklahoma has to say:

[h/t Noisy Room]

Lets face it.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Federal Government Still Absolutely Not Serious About Addressing The Debt


This was after the so-called Fiscal Cliff deadline.


Federal Government Absolutely Not Serious About Addressing Debt

We can say with reasonable assurance that nothing has changed.

House votes to defuse debt limit crisis
House votes overwhelmingly to defuse debt crisis, decides to increase borrowing limit
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday to permit the government to borrow enough money to avoid a first-time default for at least four months, defusing a looming crisis setting up a springtime debate over taxes, spending and the deficit.


The Politician's Answer To All Problems: Invest In Transportation


When it comes to "problem solving" and "thinking big," the professional politician has one fallback position: "invest in transportation."  The American dream has always been to get there from here.  "Getting there" wasn't always a journey in a vehicle.  It mostly meant a journey of personal growth and wealth.  But now it seems that the once grand dream has been reduced to a daydream of mass transportation and electric vehicles.

A few days ago, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Detroit, Michigan bearing a gift of $25 million dollars to help build an "M-1" mass transit system estimated to cost $140 million [before waste and corruption] for just over ... three miles.  Well, in Detroit, three miles is about all you want to go... in the city.  Mostly you want to go about 20 miles... out of the city.  Besides, Detroit's last mass transit effort was pretty much a flop. That could be because all of those "masses" left the city which once held 2-1/2 times as many people.

Let's put that "mass transit" project in perspective:
Regardless, that $25 million should go a long way in helping solve Detroit's chronic $250 million budget deficit.  Let's presume it was a "thank you" gift from the Obama administration for delivering those 800,000 votes from that city of 700,000 people.  But, I guess it is "better than nothin'."

A few days before that, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder gave his State of the State address and slipped in a message that he thought some new taxes to raise $1.2 billion or so each year for roads and bridges would be a good "problem solving" exercise for Michigan.

And President Obama, in his inaugural speech, thought that "investment" in transportation would get us to where we wanted to go.  It solves unemployment, deficits, and a myriad other problems like really bad fiscal management.

Now the only problem left is to get people to travel again.  So many roads... so little money for gas.

We all like good roads, but we'd like a nation that can afford those good roads, too.  Maxing out another national credit card may not be the best approach.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cold Weather Consistent With Global Warming


Actually, cold weather is consistent with winter.  This odd map of pressure systems is unlike most I've seen before.  Must be consistent with something that will require government action and new taxes.

That results in this.

Yup, that's consistent with winter.

Good Thing Dick Wagner Of Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, And Kiss Got His Surgery Before 2013


The U.S. health care system is about to change under the Affordable Care Act... aka Obamacare.  Some think for the better.  That may be true... for some.  This is a story about Dick Wagner, lead guitar player for bands such as Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, and Kiss.  His story could well have turned out differently from this year forward.  This was written less than a week ago.

Now listen to this and learn why his story and yours could be far different under President Obama's version of "health care."

Well, Dick Wagner's outcome might not have changed.  He could afford to go outside of the U.S. for health care, if needed.  Can you?  Can your parents or grandparents?

Welcome to the world of the 51%-ers.


Monday, January 21, 2013

MLK - Still Dreaming?


Today is one of those holidays that not everyone celebrates, but perhaps they should.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 07, 2012I Have A Dream 
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Interesting how that has become accepted by those who you might not think would accept it and rejected by those who you think would be the strongest proponents.

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

My photo
Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)