Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If I Only Had a Brain ...

Does he know the difference ...
Corps vs. Corpse
2008 vs. 2011.
Transcontinental vs. Intercontinental
Breathalyzer vs. Inhalator vs. Inhaler.
Jews vs. Janitors
57 states vs. 50 states
(See: Michelle Malkin)

And a heart ... (See: Jane Sturm)

And some courage ...
“We watch a president who once talked about the courage of his convictions, but still has yet found the courage to lead,” Christie said.  (see: Chris Christie)

The Wizard of Ozama

Purloined Powerline

The Powerline blog (see: Powerline) ran an entry this week on "things I don't care about" which idea I found so compelling I have decided to "borrow" it.  (I've also borrowed their above graphic.)  So here are the things that cause me to switch channels, turn off the radio, or start daydreaming about a zesty Bloody Mary:

- The Miss America contest
- The very latest Apple Inc. Iphone®
- Saltine® crackers
- Time magazine (or Newsweek, etc.)
- Sting (or Bono or Paul McCartney, etc.)
- Doonesbury (I borrowed this one from Powerline too)
- James Sokolove TV ads
- Thomas Friedman's solutions to the world's problems
- Robo telephone calls (no matter from whom)
- The Emmy's
- Falling-to-earth space junk
- Pasteurized apple cider
- Chrysler® cars
- Debby Wasserman Schultz
- Anyone living on the fictional Wisteria Lane
- Pizza from nationally-franchised companies
- Wagnerian operas
- Lists of things people don't care about (just kidding)

Monday, September 26, 2011

International Monetary

Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), now estimates that, in order to fully protect the European Economic Community (EEC) from cascading debt default, it will cost the IMF €3 trillion (see Lagarde Unloads).  The IMF now has about €300 billion in available funds which means that it is €2.7 trillion short of this needed bailout reserve.  The question then becomes ... what will it cost the United States to put this gigantic finger in the financial dike?  Well the Wall Street Journal states the our additional share of this shortfall would be at least 17.1% to 19% ... or even possibly more (read the: WSJ Article).

This translates into a $618 billion to $687 billion reach into the (empty) U.S. piggy bank to bail out Europe!  Wow! This is more than five times the 2008-inflation-adjusted cost of the post-World-War-II Marshall plan (see: Bailout Costs).

The operational idea behind the IMF seems to be -- "from each according to its ability, to each according to its need."  Hmmm, what does this sound like?  (By the bye, the world's second largest economy, China's current related IMF assessment percentage is ... I think ... below 4% ... and it may be 0% ... the IMF is not very transparent about these things.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Juxtaposition XXVIII



Circular Firing Squad
Harry Reid: "Ready, aim, FIRE!" 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Crony Capitalism

The Barry is sagging under the weight of two crony capitalism disclosures -- Solyndra Corp. (see: Reuters Article) and LightSquared (see: LightSquared).  Now we hear that Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric and a clear Obama crony, has just been thrown a $230 million bone from OGX, the Brazilian oil company, to supply them with off-shore drilling technology (see: Surprise GE Contract).  Now, clearly coincidentally, when Obama was in Brazil earlier this year, he announced a $2 billion U.S. loan to help Brazil develop its huge off-shore oil discovery (see: Forbes Take on the Loan ) ... despite the fact that he has effectively stopped oil exploration off our own shores.  He punctuated this largess by another of his arm-waving grand gestures ... saying that the United States is looking forward to importing this new Brazilian oil (see: Drill Brazil Drill).

Is anyone surprised that Obama will raise $1 billion to fund his re-election campaign?

Long afterthought:  Here is another link to a listing of Green Energy pork: Michelle Malkin

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bail? ... Bananas!

I've complained before about the fiction of Iran releasing a female American prisoner "on bail."  Iran is ready to release the last two Americans captured after straying across the Iraq border over two years ago ...  after a payment of $1 million ... called "bail" (see: $1 million Bail Payment). How can people who have been convicted of spying and sentenced be released on bail?  Let's face it, this is ransom money ... and the American media plays along with this silly narrative ... and helps to paint Iran as being less depraved than they truly are.  Bananas!! What happened to America's backbone?  Remember, "Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute" (generally attribute to Thomas Jefferson when refusing to pay ransom to the Barbary pirates in order to free American sailors).  Please, media monkeys, let's be realistic with your language for a change ...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The UNdoing of Israel

This week there will be a series of arm-waving speeches at the UN headquarters in New York City regarding an attempt by the Palestine Authority to establish itself as a full voting member of the General Assembly ... as opposed to its current PLO observer status.  Were this to happen, this will mean that the UN will de facto recognize Palestine as a legitimate state.  This obviously cannot happen as then there will be zero leverage for Israel in its negotiations with the Palestinians toward mutual state recognitions ... and this 65-year old conflict, in turn, would continue to be an open sore for a long, long time.  Therefore, the United States may be forced to issue a veto of this resolution in the Security Council and further paint itself as an anti-Arab force in world politics.

The Barry has brought this embarrassing situation upon himself (and us) with his misguided rhetoric and misunderstanding (hopefully) of the consequences of same (see: Obama's Axle Wrap).  See my thoughts on this Obama-boner here.  According to John Bolton, our UN Ambassador under Bush 43, in previous similar situations, the United States has gone to the UN member states to whom we give foreign aid and threatened to withdraw this aid if a vote for Palestinian General Assembly membership were to occur.  This kept this genie in a bottle for the last twenty years.  Now, with his chin high and a wave of his hand, President Obama has given up this leverage. Was the naivete or purposefulness on his part? 

You decide ...

No Moral Compass?

The Barry's recent spending cuts proposal has been analyzed by Jeff Sessions in the Senate and ... surprise, surprise ... it contains no net cuts to actual federal spending.  Under Obama's proposal, the federal deficit would balloon back above $1 trillion in fiscal 2012.  It is all accounting legerdemain (see: Powerline Reprise) clearly designed to raise taxes and fool the gullible public.  How can a President continue to try to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people?  Has he no feelings for the fate of his fellow countrymen?  Has he no moral compass?  Is he after all just a cynical Chicago thug politician who will try to take advantage of every crisis to further his own political agenda ... even though it might help ruin his own country?

The very sad fact is ...  it appears so.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The President's Chimera

"Pass this jobs bill now!"
"We need to pass this jobs bill right now!"
"If you love me, you will help me pass this jobs bill now!"
"Now is the time to pass this jobs bill!"

What jobs bill?  The Barry really must believe that the American people are naive ... or stupid ... or worse.  He urgently wants us to pass a jobs bill that hasn't been filed yet in Congress.  And if it hasn't been filed, it can't be voted on.  And obviously it can't then be passed.  It can't be scored by the Congressional Budget Office to see if it really will create [and save?] the jobs he claims ... or that it will only cost $447 billion of taxpayer money.  And it's not clear when it will be filed.  If you don't believe me, read this surprisingly frank artcle in the L.A.Times.

What kind of rhetorical charade is Obama engaged in?  Has this bill really even been written?  Or is it still evolving in focus groups and in the friendly editorial rooms of the main stream print media and network television.  In a way, this is a scary situation.  The President is representing a reality that doesn't exist so that he can attack the Republican members of Congress.  And yet the fact that this bill hasn't been filed isn't generally known to the cheering crowds he is appealing to ... or to the overall American public for that matter.  We are being fed a feast of ephemeria ... right out of George Orwell.  I am nervous that we now have a President who is so detatched from the truth ... and that he believes that he can turn this chimera into a living, breathing beast with his teleprompter skills.
And it's time for us all to be nervous.

Stupid Republicans

Stupid Republican
The Republicans have for years called the Democrats the "tax and spend party."  Obviously they have had it wrong.  The savvy Democrats are clearly the "spend and then tax party" ... see: $1.5 Trillion in New Taxes and Coming Obamacare Taxes.  This most assuredly will get the economy going ...

Savvy Democrat

Friday, September 16, 2011

Energy Slaves

Buckminister Fuller and his Geodesic Dome
Many, many years ago (around 1971 as I remember) I had a chance to have a sit-down with the great Buckminster Fuller (see: Wikipedia Entry). I was demonstrating for him a piece of software that I had architected called MUSE®. MUSE, among many other things, had a mechanism for resolving units calculations such as BTUs to calories ... and all the more complex physics conversions. Mr. Fuller was quite impressed with this capability until I showed him that it also handled monetary units conversions (such as drachmas to dollars) at which point he bristled. Apparently he, being an outside-the-box thinker, felt that mixing the metaphysical (monetary units) with the physical units was anathema.

He then revealed to me his far-sighted solution to this dilemma – all national currencies should be based upon the cost of producing a quantity of work. He called this monetary unit an “energy slave” (see: Calculations) on the basis that it would be the same the world around and would not be susceptible to the political vagaries of national bank shenanigans and/or a particular country’s trade policies. And, if one thinks about it, the amount of energy that our world possesses is constantly being augmented by that grand and universal mint, the sun.  Therefore our global money supply would expand at a fairly predictable rate.

Upon reflection and given the current ultra-fluid nature of world currency markets, I hearken back to Mr. Fuller’s idea. Were we to adopt this notion for an international monetary base, China would not be able to artificially devalue its currency, the yuan, to capture world manufacturing; countries would not be able to inflate their way out of their profligate spending and borrowing ways; and gold might not be the Silas-Marner investment haven it has become. And, very possibly, this country might adopt more rational policies toward the development of our own energy resources. Wouldn’t that be special?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pass This Jobs Bill Now!

President Obama (The Barry) has proposed new taxes to pay for his proposed $447 billion "jobs" program (see: The NY Times Agrees).  I suspect this tax proposal is as much to play politics as it is to pay for his dog's breakfast of "new" jobs proposals.  That is ... The Barry knows that the Republicans will not go along with any tax increases now and therefore he can call them out during next year's campaign and blame them for what surely will be high unemployment rates then.  In other words, it is a bald-faced set up to try to keep his job rather than grow new jobs for the rest of Americans.

However, surprisingly, I agree with a few of the bullet points in this new taxes proposal ... independent of whether his jobs proposals will or will not help the economy ... and so I will list these points as outlined by the NY Times editorial and indicate my feelings about each:

1) Capping the value of itemized deductions and other tax breaks at 28% (of adjusted gross income?).  I AGREE  This, in effect would be an extension of the alternative minimum tax in the current tax code ... a step that I have already proposed (see: Taxing Ideas).

2) Ending tax breaks for oil and gas companies.  I DISAGREE  If we are going to become energy indipendent then we cannot punish the very companies that would make this happen.  I have opined on this in more detail in the past (see: Oily Decision).

3) Not letting hedge-fund managers pay taxes on most earnings at the capital gains rate.  I AGREE  This has been an egregious loophole through which the wealthest on Wall Street have avoided paying their fair share of our government's cost.

4) Curbing tax breaks for corporate jets.  I DISAGREE  This is pure two-faced silliness by a man who flies, at taxpayer expense, in the most expensive flotilla of jets of any other American entity.  Is he bound and determined to kill the private-jet building business?  Even Warren Buffet has disagreed with this proposal.

5) Ending the lower tax rates installed by George W. Bush.  I DISAGREE  If The Barry's proposal to cap tax deductions (see #1 above) comes about, then there will be no need to scrap the Bush tax cuts as I strongly suspect that government receipts will grow anyway.

The Democrats, as of this hour, have not yet filed The Barry's "pass this jobs bill now." bill.  What's up?

Is this just political theater afterall?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Re: Cursive

I recently received a note from a fraternity brother of mine written in a beautiful cursive script.  Now, I am a tutor in a MetroWest school system outside of Boston.  I have taught many students in Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, History, English, Physics, Biology, and Chemistry.  To my shock and disappointment none of my students has been able to write in longhand.  They all print ... usually very slowly and often so illegibly that they cannot read their own notes.  A few say that they did learn cursive writing early on in school but can no longer perform it due to lack of practice and pedagogical focus.

Can I be a little dogmatic?  I think that this failing on the part of our nation's schools is a main reason for our educational degeneration.  The simple ability of students to take notes quickly and efficiently while in class or on the computer is a big step forward in their learning process.  Too, too many of today's students cannot do this and therefore have lost a tempo in what was once the traditional educational experience.  And learning script writing was a second- and third-grade rote exercise that I also believe helped reinforce our children's  hand-eye coordination, hand-eye-mind connection and, even more importantly, non-oral communications skills.

How about it Arne Duncan, our Secretary of Education, can you spend a few billions of your huge yearly budget to re-introduce serious cursive writing practice into our children's early educational experience? I can even suggest a slogan for this effort: "Writing is also fundamental!"

Added thought: I did not mention that, if a student cannot decipher his/her own printing, how is his/her teacher supposed to understand and/or fairly grade such student's essays, exams, and other written communications?

Roosting Chickens

The above picture represents the gift that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright sent to the Ground Zero 9/11 ceremony yesterday in New York City to commemorate the comments he made shortly after the terrorist attack in 2001 (See: About Half Way Down).

Friday, September 09, 2011

Data Drives Out Speculation

The Barry took off the gloves last night and pretty much gave the speech that two days ago I predicted he would make (see: Laser-like Focus).  He kicked off his 2012 campaign with the proposal to "spend" $447 billion of money our government doesn't have to create jobs.  But as one can see from the above chart I "borrowed" from the Powerline blog (see: Powerline) there appears to be a clear inverse relationship between such Keynesian economics and job creation.  I even think Obama's proposal to continue the cuts in the FICA tax is more a political move than an economic one.  Can one seriously say that the extra few dollars a week in everyone's paycheck is going to cure our economic malaise?  Or will the long-term damage that this does to the Social Security System negate any short-term "stimulus effect." And, for that matter, has the FICA tax cut last December helped one bit in creating jobs?  I don't see any evidence to support this notion.

The more I reflect on the United States jobs problem, the more I am convinced it is a policy issue and not a process issue.  Our current government unfortunately has continually exhibited an anti-business bias in its day-to-day actions -- from trying to stop Boeing from building the Superliner in South Carolina ... to its recent rapping of Gibson Guitar's knuckles in Tennessee over the wood that it uses ... to the stopping of oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.  And, if one takes a serious look at the tax increases that The Barry has or plans to impose on U.S. businesses (if you doubt me, please take a gander at: Obama Tax Hikes), one can understand their reticence to invest in the future and thus grow jobs.

I'm sorry President Obama, even though you "hope" it will get you re-elected, more of the same just doesn't cut it in my book.

Further Thought:  One might add to the list of Obama's anti-business actions ... the recently-passed health care law.  Again, to see exactly how this act works against U.S. companies, refer back to the link above referring to Obama Tax Hikes and see how oppressive this unilateral action has/will become to capitalism.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Kitchen Cabinet

Last night, while watching the Republican debate from the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, I was impressed with this lineup of Presidential hopefuls. I also felt it was a shame that only one of them could take the fight to The Barry next fall. I realize that this idea cuts across the grain of the current media narrative -- that the Republicans offer a weak slate of candidate hopefuls. But, to me, each of these potentials is better than what we got now … and each has significant strengths that he/she could bring to the next administration. Since only one could be our next President, the next fanciful step then was to imagine how each of them would fit into a Republican administration. I do realize that this would never happen, but I did have this chimera and let me here share it with you:

Mitt Romney – President
Newt Gingrich – Vice President (if I can’t have Marco Rubio)
Jon Huntsman – Secretary of State
Ron Paul – Surgeon General
Rick Perry – Secretary of Defense
Michele Bachmann – Attorney General
Rick Santorum – Secretary of  Treasury (if I can’t have Paul Ryan)
Herman Cain – Secretary of Commerce

I can dream can't I?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Thursday’s Laser-like Focus

[My prediction ... to be straight from the Teleprompter-in-Chief]

"My fellow Americans. I am here today to focus like a laser on jobs. I have suffered almost three years of stagnent job growth in this nation, primarily brought about by the severe recession that I inherited from my predicessor. I have stopped the bleeding but the patient is not cured. I believe that, if we as a nation can come together and focus on providing jobs to those unfortunate among us who have no gainful employment, then I, with your help, can start to grow our economy once again. This is my mission and my only mission for the next 15 moths of my current administration. My mission is to get America and Americans back to work. I may not be able to complete this mission before 2013, but I think this mission is so big that it may take even more time to complete my vision for America. … and this is why I insist that we must come together."

"And when I say come together, I mean that the obstructionists among us need to step back and let their fellow Americans get back to work. I have had to get our economic car out of the ditch in which I found it … and, in doing so, I have had to deal with many of you I see sitting in front of me now who want to see this car stay in the ditch … so that their party can grab the reins of power back. I can only do so much.  If I do not get your cooperation then I will see continued stagnation as a nation and the car will be driven back into the ditch. I cannot tolerate this and I cannot let the obstructionists among us here try to destroy this nation. And so I plead with you to stop this partisan bickering and follow my lead into a better economy."

"I believe we are a great nation that needs to get back to what has made us great and to this end I want to propose the following twenty-seven steps that I guarantee will bring jobs back to our nations’ factories and service sectors:

1) I urge you to create an infrastructure bank that will focus on investing in the rebuilding the crumbling roads, bridges, and schools in our country.

2) I would propose that you provide major government-funding for re-education programs that will enable the long-term unemployed to refresh their job skills so that they can reassimililate themselves into our new high-tech economy.

3) I think that there should be created a twenty-first century equivalent of the Civilian Conservation Corps so our government can reconstruct our national parks, seashores, and wilderness areas while at the same time providing jobs to hundreds of thousands of young Americans.

4) I blah, green jobs blah, me blah, my blah …"

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Solar Flare

Once again we learn the painful lesson that the federal government is seldom a savvy investor.  It seems that The Barry has thrown $535 million of taxpayer money down a rat hole to show how sensitive he is to growing "green jobs" (see: Solyndra Shuts Down). 

As it turns out, these 1,100 jobs at Solyndra Corp. in Fremont, CA lasted only a little over one year and now the only green left there is the envy that these erstwhile environmentalists feel for their neighbors who are still gainfully employed.  To be perfectly fair, one has to mention that $600 million of private venture capital had also been frittered away on this cadre of tree-huggers (see: The Green Wombat).  And this also parallels an even more foolish investment of something like $20 billion of federal funds in 1979 by Jimmy Carter on the pie-in-the-sky Synthetic Fuels Corp. (see: Synfuel Sin).

Now, Thursday next in his "jobs, jobs, jobs" pep rally, when The Barry calls for our government to "invest" in more green jobs, please also invest a healthy amount of scepticism on your own at his pom-pom waving.