Saturday, January 31, 2009
I personally like the financial markets.
Do you believe in Obama and his ability to lead us into a great recovery? Possibly, go down in history likened to FDR leading us out of the Great Depression.
I am personally making the call it will follow the green line (I guess I should have used a red line)
It MIGHT turn up around 7000(Link to my previous post on Dow at 7000). I use MIGHT because I'm not sure our leadership really GET IT, and even worse, has never managed an organization of any size before!
But you don't have to be on Wall Street to have GSHI(you'll have to read the article if you want o know what this means). Congress has it too. That's what the stimulus bill was about—not knowing what time it is, not knowing the old pork-barrel, group-greasing ways are over, done, embarrassing. When you create a bill like that, it doesn't mean you're a pro, it doesn't mean you're a tough, no-nonsense pol. It means you're a slob.
That's how the Democratic establishment in the House looks, not like people who are responding to a crisis, or even like people who are ignoring a crisis, but people who are using a crisis. Our hopeful, compelling new president shouldn't have gone with this bill. He made news this week by going to the House to meet with Republicans. He could have made history by listening to them.
The emphasis added above is mine. DEMS GONE WILD is mine also. Her article was more graciously titled LOOK AT THE TIME
Friday, January 30, 2009
From Ben Stein at the American Spectator
I love this. The new kind of politics of hope. Eight hours of debate in the HR to pass a bill spending $820 billion, or roughly $102 billion per hour of debate.
Only ten per cent of the "stimulus" to be spent on 2009.
Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ or both members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democrat-controlled unions.
This bill is sent to Congress after Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for President Obama to have read the entire bill.
For the amount spent we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.
We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.
There has been pork barrel politics since there has been politics. The scale of this pork is beyond what had ever been imagined before -- and no one can be sure it will actually do much stimulation.
Further, no one can be sure that we are not already at the trough/inflection point of the recession such that this money will be spent mostly after the recovery is well under way.
How long until the debt incurred under this program is so immense that it causes a downgrade in the sovereign debt of the USA? What happens to us then?
This has been a punch in the solar plexus to the kind of responsible, far-seeing, mature government processes that are needed to protect America. This is more than the pork barrel. This is a coup for the constituencies of the party in power and against the idea of a responsible government itself. A bleak day.
Unfortunately, it is only the latest in a long series of such days stretching across decades of rule by both parties, to the point where truly responsible government is only a distant echo of our forgotten ancestors.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
He comments frequently on Global Warming on his own blog click here
I have posted his recent blog in its entirety below.
The methods used by global warming alarmists to convince you that more carbon dioxide is going to ruin the Earth are increasingly laced with insults and attacks directed toward anyone who might disagree with them. For instance, one of the many intellectually lazy (& false) claims is that I am paid by Big Oil.
Mr. Gore’s tactics have been a little more subtle, and reminiscent of propaganda methods which have proved to be effective throughout history at influencing public opinion. One should keep in mind that his main scientific adviser, NASA’s James Hansen, has the most extreme views of any climate researcher when it comes to predicting a global warming induced Armageddon.
Listed below are ten propaganda techniques I have excerpted from Wikipedia. Beneath each are one or more examples of Mr. Gore’s rhetoric as he has attempted to goad the rest of us into reducing our CO2 emissions. Except where indicated, most quotes are from his testimony before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, March 21, 2007. (Mr. Gore is scheduled to testify again tomorrow, January 28, 2009, before the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee…if the cold and snowy weather doesn’t cause them to reschedule.)
Appeal to fear: Appeals to fear seek to build support by instilling anxieties and panic in the general population.
“I want to testify today about what I believe is a planetary emergency—a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth.”
Appeal to authority: Appeals to authority cite prominent figures to support a position, idea, argument, or course of action. Also, Testimonial: Testimonials are quotations, in or out of context, especially cited to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation or the role (expert, respected public figure, etc.) of the individual giving the statement is exploited.
“Just six weeks ago, the scientific community, in its strongest statement to date, confirmed that the evidence of warming is unequivocal. Global warming is real and human activity is the main cause.”
“The scientists are virtually screaming from the rooftops now. The debate is over! There’s no longer any debate in the scientific community about this.” (from An Inconvenient Truth)
Bandwagon: Bandwagon and “inevitable-victory” appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to join in and take the course of action that “everyone else is taking”. Also, Join the crowd: This technique reinforces people’s natural desire to be on the winning side. This technique is used to convince the audience that a program is an expression of an irresistible mass movement and that it is in their best interest to join.
“Today, I am here to deliver more than a half million messages to Congressasking for real action on global warming. More than 420 Mayors have nowadopted Kyoto-style commitments in their cities and have urged strong federal action. The evangelical and faith communities have begun to take the lead, calling for measures to protect God’s creation. The State of California, under a Republican Governor and a Democratic legislature, passed strong, economy wide legislation mandating cuts in carbon dioxide. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have passed renewable energy standards for the electricity sector.”
Flag-waving: An attempt to justify an action on the grounds that doing so will make one more patriotic, or in some way benefit a group, country, or idea. Also, Inevitable victory: invites those not already on the bandwagon to join those already on the road to certain victory. Those already or at least partially on the bandwagon are reassured that staying aboard is their best course of action.
“After all, we have taken on problems of this scope before. When England and then America and our allies rose to meet the threat of global Fascism, together we won two wars simultaneously in Europe and the Pacific.”
Ad Hominem attacks: A Latin phrase which has come to mean attacking your opponent, as opposed to attacking their arguments. Also Demonizing the “enemy”: Making individuals from the opposing nation, from a different ethnic group, or those who support the opposing viewpoint appear to be subhuman.
“You know, 15 percent of people believe the moon landing was staged on some movie lot and a somewhat smaller number still believe the Earth is flat. They get together on Saturday night and party with the global-warming deniers.” (October 24, 2006, Seattle University)
Appeal to Prejudice: Using loaded or emotive terms to attach value or moral goodness to believing the proposition.
“And to solve this crisis we can develop a shared sense of moral purpose.” (June 21, 2006, London, England)
Black-and-White fallacy: Presenting only two choices, with the product or idea being propagated as the better choice.
“It is not a question of left vs. right; it is a question of right vs. wrong.” (July 1, 2007, New York Times op-ed)
Euphoria: The use of an event that generates euphoria or happiness, or using an appealing event to boost morale:
Live Earth concerts organized worldwide in 2007 by Al Gore.
Falsifying information: The creation or deletion of information from public records, in the purpose of making a false record of an event or the actions of a person or organization. Pseudo-sciences are often used to falsify information.
“Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” (May 9, 2006 Grist interview)
Stereotyping or Name Calling or Labeling: This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable. Also, Obtain disapproval: This technique is used to persuade a target audience to disapprove of an action or idea by suggesting that the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience
“There are many who still do not believe that global warming is a problem at all. And it’s no wonder: because they are the targets of a massive and well-organized campaign of disinformation lavishly funded by polluters who are determined to prevent any action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming out of a fear that their profits might be affected if they had to stop dumping so much pollution into the atmosphere.” (January 15, 2004, New York City)
Sunday, January 25, 2009
It relates to what's going on in Washington as the Democrats take charge. We all seem to have very busy lives with limited time to pay attention to what elected officials are doing on OUR behalf. Certainly they are honorable, well intentioned and will only act in a prudent manner.
Think again. To help you decipher what is happening read this very short interview with Rush Limbaugh. Some of you already discount him as some kind of extremist but it doesn't hurt to listen to a thoughtful, well articulated argument re what's going on right under our eyes because we don't pay attention. Katie, Charlie and Bryan (Major network news anchors) won't go any deeper than the headline Obama singles out Rush...Limbaugh responds...
Byron York posted an exerpt from his interview with Limbaugh in the National Review. Link to his post is here. Below is Rush's statement. The title quote is from Saul Alinksy (subject of Hillary Clinton's graduate thesis) and is referenced at the end.
There are two things going on here. One prong of the Great Unifier's plan is to isolate elected Republicans from their voters and supporters by making the argument about me and not about his plan. He is hoping that these Republicans will also publicly denounce me and thus marginalize me. And who knows? Are ideological and philosophical ties enough to keep the GOP loyal to their voters? Meanwhile, the effort to foist all blame for this mess on the private sector continues unabated when most of the blame for this current debacle can be laid at the feet of the Congress and a couple of former presidents. And there is a strategic reason for this.
Secondly, here is a combo quote from the meeting:
"If we don't get this done we (the Democrats) could lose seats and I could lose re-election. But we can't let people like Rush Limbaugh stall this. That's how things don't get done in this town."
To make the argument about me instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. Obama's plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR's New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule, and it would also simultaneously seriously damage any hope of future tax cuts. It would allow a majority of American voters to guarantee no taxes for themselves going forward. It would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy. Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing "eternal" power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle.
Obama was angry that Merrill Lynch used $1.2 million of TARP money to remodel an executive suite. Excuse me, but didn't Merrill have to hire a decorator and contractor? Didn't they have to buy the new furnishings? What's the difference in that and Merrill loaning that money to a decorator, contractor and goods supplier to remodel Warren Buffet's office? Either way, stimulus in the private sector occurs. Are we really at the point where the bad PR of Merrill getting a redecorated office in the process is reason to smear them? How much money will the Obamas spend redecorating the White House residence? Whose money will be spent? I have no problem with the Obamas redoing the place. It is tradition. 600 private jets flown by rich Democrats flew into the Inauguration. That's fine but the auto execs using theirs is a crime? In both instances, the people on those jets arrived in Washington wanting something from Washington, not just good will.
If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of the trillion dollar debacle.
One more thing, Byron. Your publication and website have documented Obama's ties to the teachings of Saul Alinksy while he was community organizing in Chicago. Here is Rule 13 of Alinksy's Rules for Radicals:
"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
More on Alinksy here and here
Saturday, January 24, 2009
The author parses one sentence from O's inaugural address and provides a thesis that Obama was invoking the spirit of the French revolution when he said :
"The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."
As O himself said: "Words matter". You can bet that every word of that address had a meaning/message. The sad thing, as the author himself points out...
So, how can it happen that such a mangling of the most famous quotation in American history could take place before the (supposedly) largest crowd at the most hyped inaugural ever, and with such a profound, far-reaching twist of language, and few noticed or care? The answer is American education, from K-12 to higher education, which is a human disaster.
So what's the big deal? Read the article and let me know what you think.
Friday, January 23, 2009
One last chance to save mankind
The article is an interview with James Lovelock, the originator of the Gaia theory, which describes Earth as a self-regulating planet.
Here is a sample question with answer:
So are we doomed?
There is one way we could save ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. It would mean farmers turning all their agricultural waste - which contains carbon that the plants have spent the summer sequestering - into non-biodegradable charcoal, and burying it in the soil. Then you can start shifting really hefty quantities of carbon out of the system and pull the CO2 down quite fast.
I like the idea but it is based on what I consider the faulty premise that co2 is a problem. Could it be possible that we would do such a good job of reducing co2 (think unintended consequences associated with attempts to control nature) that we start to restrict the growth of plant life. Jeepers creepers, Batman!!
Read the details here
Note where my pet project ranks: Dead Last. Somehow I don't think this will stop congress from taking care of the Green lobby. At a minimum we will see Cap & Trade on co2.
This will be sold on the necessity of us taking a "Leadership" role in the world. They will impose hefty fees on Utilities and energy intensive industries that use conventional fuels (which will be passed on to the consumer which last time I checked that is us). A whole new bureaucracy will be set up (think a Enron style brokerage, more middlemen taking their cut) to buy and sell carbon credits. It will encourage scams posing as carbon neutral or carbon offsets that can be sold (think planting trees that you would probably plant anyway but now getting $'s because they absorb co2) and LASTLY, the money collected will go into the hands of congress to be dispersed as they see fit (think earmarks with a capitol E). With all these rent seekers I don't think opinion will count.
Also note where Tax cuts come in. Not surprising when you consider the role of people that actually pay income tax is dwindling.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
One of the key transformative moves by Obama will be enlarging the percentage of the population who will pay "no personal income tax" to over half of the population.
Wonder how these folks will vote when it comes to increasing tax?
Read the whole thing, its not too long.
But it is not his spending that will transform our political system, it is his tax and welfare policies. In the name of short-term stimulus, he will give every American family (who makes less than $200,000) a welfare check of $1,000 euphemistically called a refundable tax credit. And he will so sharply cut taxes on the middle class and the poor that the number of Americans who pay no federal income tax will rise from the current one-third of all households to more than half. In the process, he will create a permanent electoral majority that does not pay taxes, but counts on ever-expanding welfare checks from the government. The dependency on the dole, formerly limited in pre-Clinton days to 14 million women and children on Aid to Families with Dependent Children, will now grow to a clear majority of the American population.
"What is required is a new era of responsibility." Well, not responsibility for your own health care, the government will set up a program for that. Or responsibility for your own financial obligations. The government will take care of that, too.
No, this is more the kind of responsibility where you’re responsible for everyone else’s health care, and everyone else’s financial problems. You know, that kind of responsibility
The whole "responsibility" thing irritates me. It's the "Nanny state" thing. The elites at the top (which includes the people driven to the inauguration and seated in the front) understand that the rest of us (the ones who had to walk in or take the bus) are unwashed and misguided. Let the king declare that we must start behaving and fall in line.
I don't consider myself unique in this area but I have been conducting myself responsibly for a LONG time.
Yes, it is a good message for those of us who don't behave responsibly but is it necessary to manage that kind of behavior from the Oval Office? In fact most of people who probably needed to hear this were watching American Idol
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
All I can say is "sigh!!".
Some noteworthy points:
The blue line works 5 days/week except for maybe a handful of holidays
The red line gets every holiday you can think of off
The blue line goes up and down with the business cycle
The red line only goes up
the blue line is subject to dismissal for performance
The red line can't be fired
The blue line has a self managed 401k retirement plan
The red line has a pension for life + 401k
and so on and so on ...
Oh, lest I forget it takes 100% of your salary from Jan1 to April 23 to pay for the red line. (source The Tax Foundation)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
While the private sector was shedding millions of jobs in 2008 and government budgets were collapsing under the weight of waste, fraud and carved-in-stone personnel costs, the public sector had another banner year. Governments at all levels hired 164,100 new employees and were largely responsible for the addition of a further 96,600 jobs in education and 371,600 in health care. Now President-elect Obama wants to add 600,000 to the bloated federal payroll. Untold thousands more local, county and state employees will be needed to fill all the new and bigger public facilities built with stimulus cash. As it is, nearly 15 percent of the civilian work force draws government paychecks.
Friday, January 16, 2009
I can't do it justice. Check some of the Key quotes below. The point that resonates with me is how "fear" allows government to intrude and exert control. Pause and reflect on fear and how it has driven the government to over reach: 911, gas prices, poverty, environment, financial stability, and health care. In each of these areas the government takes advantage of our fears and does what it does best... enacts laws, establishes regulatory agencies, hires armies of bureaucrats and spends money (lots of money - light years beyond what they take from us, borrow from China and raid from our children's legacy). Every year they re affirm their commitment to fighting our fears by "increasing" the budget because that is how we measure commitment. However motivated, self or selfless, once government is entrenched it is very difficult to extract. Remember, these people think of us in aggregate, not as individuals. In their heart of hearts there is smug sense that they know better and it is best (again in the aggregate) that they steer the ship and we fall in line.
Is this right? Can we do better?
Key Quotes from linked article:
For most of our nation's history, our approach to economics has favored enterprise, self-reliance and the free market. While the American economy has never been entirely laissez-faire, we have historically cared more about equality of opportunity than equality of results. And while Americans have embraced elements of the New Deal, the Great Society and progressive taxation, we have traditionally viewed welfare as a way to help those in dire need, not as a way of life for the middle class. We have grasped, perhaps more than any other nation, that there is a long-run cost to dependency on the state, including an aversion to risk that eventually enervates the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for innovation and prosperity.
They recognize a sea change coming ...
The last several months are a foreshadowing of a new era of government activism, rather than an unfortunate but necessary (and anomalous) emergency action. We will soon shift from a market-based economy to a political one in which the government picks winners and losers and extends its reach and power in unprecedented ways.
maybe the public is distracted and can't see it coming ...
Our sense is that at the moment, the public is not thinking in terms of "big government" or "small government." Instead, Americans want efficient government -- one that is modern, responsive and adaptive. People want government to act as a fair referee, providing guardrails that allow individuals to rise without intrusively dictating individual decisions.
it is not impossible to reverss this sea change but it will not be easy ...
This is quite a tall order. But if we do not succeed in resisting greater state involvement in the economy -- and health care is meant to be the beachhead of this effort -- we will move from a limited welfare state into a full-blown one. This will reshape, in deep and enduring ways, our nation's historic sensibilities. It will lead here, as it has elsewhere, to passivity and dependence on the state. Such habits, once acquired, are hard to shake.
Between now and the end of this decade may be one of those rare moments in which among other things will turn decisively one way or the other. The stakes could hardly be higher for our way of life.
Aussie John (17:11:03) :
I would also like to see the specifics for Dr Hansen receiving his award.
And just to lighten the mood:
It was April and the Aboriginals in a remote part of Northern Australia asked their new elder if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.Since he was an elder in a modern community he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky he couldn’t tell what the winter was going to be like.Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the tribe should collect firewood to be prepared.But being a practical leader, after several days he had an idea.He walked out to the telephone booth on the highway, called the Bureau of Meteorology and asked, ‘Is the coming winter in this area going to be cold?’The meteorologist responded, ‘It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold.’So the elder went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.A week later he called the Bureau of Meteorology again. ‘Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?’The meteorologist again replied, ‘Yes, it’s going to be a very cold winter.’The elder again went back to his community and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.Two weeks later the elder called the Bureau again. ‘Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?’ he asked.‘Absolutely,’ the man replied. ‘It’s looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters ever.’‘How can you be so sure?’ the elder asked.The weatherman replied, ‘Our satellites have reported that the Aboriginals in the north are collecting firewood like crazy, and that’s always a sure sign
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Also, there was a "Oxford style" debate hosted by NPR Intelligence Squared, on the motion "Bush 43 was the worst president in the last 50 years"
The venue was upper west side in Manhattan so you can imagine the ideological leaning and it was reflected in the PRE debate poll of audience sentiment:
Audience supports the motion 65% to 17%, with 18% undecided.
Speaking for the motion: Simon Jenkins and Jacob Weisberg
Speaking against the motion: William Kristol and Karl Rove Moderator: John Donvan
Rove and Kristol are in the Lion's den and their performance was admirable, as were the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae . The winner is judged by who best moves the undecided. I won't spoil it for you so you will have to check it out yourself.
You can view the transcript or listen/download the podcast here
I use ITunes to synch and download these debates to my IPod. Much better listening when you're stuck in your car than standard radio fare.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Why are so many oligarchs, royal families, and special-interest groups giving money to the Clinton Foundation?
And all I can think to ask—as perhaps some senator might think to ask—is why such a big corporate interest doesn't just donate the money directly, rather than distributing it through the offices of an outfit run by a seasoned ex-presidential influence-peddler. What do they and the other donors suppose they are getting for their money? A good feeling?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Common exclamations and curses include: plague on it, Lord, oh God, the Devil, bless my soul, bless me, by Jove, gracious, goodness, oh my, oh me, in Heaven's name, great Caesar's ghost, the deuce, did you ever; gee*, gee whillikins*, gadzooks*, mercy*, sakes alive*, drat*, good night*, so what*, dang*, land of Goshen*, darn*, hang it all*, bejesus*, blast*, blimy*, by crickey*, Chrisamighty*, Keerist*, damn it*, damn*, double-damn*, goshdamn*, goshdang*, gosh darn*, by golly*, Chrisake*, damn-it-to-hell*, for cripe's sake*, for crying out loud*, Gawd*, Judas Priest*, Jesus H. Christ*, I swan the Deil*, Lord-a-mercy*, I'll be cow-kicked and hornswoggled*, I'll be a lop-eared gazelle*, I'll be damned*, I'll be a son of a gun*, I'll be a monkey's uncle*, God's teeth*, hell's whiskers*, hell's bells*, ye gods, ye gods and little fishes*, holy mackerel*, cheese and crackers*, holy bilge water*, holy smokes*, geez*, jeepers creepers*, ay caramba*, yikes*, shoot*, ach, Gott in Himmel, Gottlob, Donnerwetter (all German)*, sacré bleu*, mon Dieu*, diable*, cochon (all French)*, diablo (Spanish)*
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Click this link =>Link
Monday, January 5, 2009
Why We Keep Falling for Financial Scams
Notable quote (Hint - will be on the final exam!)
Skepticism is generally discussed as protection against beliefs (UFOs) or practices (feng shui) that are irrational but not necessarily harmful. Occasionally, one runs across a situation where skepticism can help you to avoid a disaster as major as losing one's life (being sucked into a crime) or one's life savings (being suckered into a risky investment). Survival in the world requires one to be able to recognize, analyze, and escape from those highly dangerous situations.