Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Best Pre-College Primer I Have Ever Read

This is required reading that should be handed out with the Orientation Guide when you enroll in a new college.

And so, dear students, welcome back! Your generation is going to have dig its own way out of the hole my generation has dug for you (thanks for the Medicare, kids, and sorry about the deficit!), but here are a few tips that may help you get the best out of your college years.

The tips are outstanding and I especially like this one:

Creativity, integrity and entrepreneurial initiative will pay off; following the old rules and hoping for the old rewards is a road to frustration. You have to fight the tendency of the educational system to turn you into a timeserving baby bureaucrat, following the rules and waiting for the inevitable promotion.

As you go through college, think about ways you can fight the pressures of institutionalization. Work or volunteer — not just for money, but to keep your hand in the real world. Live off campus. Start a business. Shake things up.

Yup, if you run a small business selling stuff on Amazon you will already be ahead of most of your professors as well as the entire Obama White House. You will know the crushing burden of taxes and begin to figure out that if you run a business you don't pay taxes your customers do.

Hopefully, you will have to make a payroll, purchase inventory, or maybe just take a big risk in order to get your pay. You will have the ability to make money with your own two hands and your brain and not just wait for the next batch of grant money or for your public workers union to shake down your State House.

If you are lucky you will start the next Microsoft or Dell Computers and not need to finish college like Bill Gates or Michael Dell. This real world education will take you much farther than taking a hundred credits worth of ethnic studies or modern dance.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Location Based Sharing is Not as Popular As You Might Think

I guess people just don't want to hang a rob my house sign up every time they go on Foursquare or Facebook Places.

It seems like everyone's doing location these days in one form or another, but popular services like Foursquare or Facebook Places aren't just about using your location to find a good place to eat nearby. They're about sharing your location. The New York Times reports that despite all the attention these location sharing services are, most people still don't use them:

I guess this to me is the same thing as watching TV on your phone. An interesting technology that I wouldn't use in 100 years. The idea of sharing with potentially 100s of people your exact whereabouts is just too 1984 for my tastes.

I was watching a GPS sharing commercial for a cell phone that had these people dressed up as big dots and showing their location on some sort of tracking app. What reason would a non-CIA agent want to use such a thing? If I wanted to know where my friends are I would just ask them instead of tracking them like KGB assets. That is pretty much why I have ignored all of the location apps out there and will continue to ignore them in the future.

When Should you Buy Your Airline Tickets? Exactly 8 weeks Before Your Flight

That is according to this formula created by economist Makoto Watanabe.

Like any such rule, I'm sure you'll find plenty of exceptions, but if you don't enjoy spending a lot of time agonizing about when to buy an airline ticket, it's a good rule of thumb to have on hand. In addition to the eight-week rule, Watanabe's formula also suggests that tickets are cheapest in the afternoon, according to The Observer. We can't explain all the science to you [apparently the eight-week formula looks a little something like ∏A = gUG + min(k - g, (1 - g)(1 - r))], and the findings, which will be published in the Economic Journal, aren't yet available.

Also according to Watanabe the best time to buy the tickets is in the afternoon. I wonder why that is? I figure that the fare rate meetings at the Airlines occur in the morning and they update the servers after lunch. I guess this is so people coming home from work can book their non-business flights at 7 - 8 PM their time. I figure the selection is better in the afternoon because the fares have just been updated and all the seats are in play.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Hope You Aren't a Home Builder in California: CalGreen Just Cost you Your Job

I thought the state was going bankrupt and needed construction jobs. This must be the dagger in its heart that will kill the building industry in California.

The level of detail specified by CALGreen is shocking. The new laws regulate every aspect of construction, far beyond what you might have thought possible. Mandates stipulate how builders handle storm water pollution prevention, bicycle parking, changing rooms, the paint used for marking parking stalls, "light pollution", grading and paving, all water use (including "multiple showerheads serving one shower" and all plumbing fixtures), irrigation design standards, handling of construction waste material, handling of excavated soil, fireplace design and testing, indoor moisture control, CO2 monitoring systems (not carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, which humans exhale), all HVAC standards (including required "ozone depletion and greenhouse gas reductions") and everything in between... including the kitchen sink.

About the only person that will jump through all these hoops just to build a building in California are the Federal Government or the States. What is really hilarious is all the different California State groups that are going to get in on the act:

Among the interlocking agencies that must be satisfied in order to build: the State Department of Housing and Community Development, the Division of the State Architect, the California Building Standards Commission, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, CALBO (California Building Officials), local chapters of the International Code Council, the California Air Resources Board, and the California Building Industry Association.

That is a lot of people to bribe in order to grease the wheels. I guess all the builders put out a job can always be hired by one of these agencies to make sure no one builds anything anywhere in the state.

I wonder if they thought about how this will decimate the Hispanic workers in the construction sector as well? I mean what construction company will comply with this mess if they can somehow avoid it? Maybe by declaring CALGreen as racist and anti-immigrant they will ditch it.

Case in Point on Why the US Postal Service Lost $3.5 Billion in One Quarter

I have to agree that this picture sums up what is wrong with the US Postal Service and as an extension much of the government as a whole.

Now I just can't wait until they control our Health Care system as well.

The Slayer of the Land Line Telephone: Google Voice

You can make calls from your Gmail?

Yesterday, Google began rolling out the ability to text and make calls from within Gmail.

Google has been working on VOIP with Google Voice for a while now, but this puts calling features right in the face of millions of users, putting Google in direct competition with soon-to-be-public Skype.

What it will really kill is Land Line Phones. They have already been dealt a mortal blow by cell phones and if Google Voice becomes popular it will kill them dead. In fact the idea of an Android App that lets you to connect to Google Voice and suddenly you don't even need the calling or texting function on your cell anymore. Talk about Google getting revenge for the markets cold reception shown toward its own phone foray.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Intel CEO Blasts the White House

Well it seems that Cramer is no the only one to become disillusioned by the economic failure of the White House.

Take factories. "I can tell you definitively that it costs $1 billion more per factory for me to build, equip, and operate a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States," Otellini said.

The rub: Ninety percent of that additional cost of a $4 billion factory is not labor but the cost to comply with taxes and regulations that other nations don't impose. (Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers elaborated on this in an interview with CNET, saying the problem is not higher U.S. wages but antibusiness laws: "The killer factor in California for a manufacturer to create, say, a thousand blue-collar jobs is a hostile government that doesn't want you there and demonstrates it in thousands of ways.")

In other words those 1000s of high paying semiconductor jobs will instead go to Indians or Chinese and not to Americans. The bad part too is that these jobs are exactly the type that need to be created to raise our GDP for years to come. I think Otellini is finally saying publicly that Obama might be damaging businesses more then people realize. I could see the writing on the wall when he lumped venture capitalists in with hedge fund managers. They couldn't be more different in everything they do.

The bad part is that I would be willing to bet that Otellini has just been put on some enemies list in the White House. Instead of listening to his warnings they are hatching plans to get all of their machines with AMD processors or some other such nonsense. The government picks the winners and losers in the Obamaconomy and not marketplace or the company with the best product.

In any case I hope Otellini throws Intel's weight behind some pro-market GOP candidates to better block to job destruction coming out of the White House.

Cramer Finally Sours on Obama

It is about time Jim! Welcome to the club.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that there is almost a universal belief among all of the large firms -- mutual and hedge and research -- that if this president gets his way and the House and Senate stay Democrat we are going to decline precipitously. It is so palpable that it overrides any data that could come out, whether it be earnings, or inflation, or spending, or employment itself.

But no one will say it!

It is amazing to me that no one will break ranks and say out loud what they say to me 10 times a day: "This president hates business, hates successful business people, and hates the basic way business is done in this country!"

Believe me, not only is it unspoken but it is vehemently and viscerally mutual. I can't find a business person who, privately, will say a good word about this guy or his team. He is despised. Just not openly. Never will be. Too dangerous. Seditious even.

Well they big Wall Street firms got stabbed in the back by Obama even after giving millions to his campaign. He is totally anti-business and anti-success with his statement "eventually you have to say you have made enough money." Who is he to make that decision?

The Chrysler bailout told me all I needed to know about his economic ideology. They screwed the long term debt holders and gave an equity stake to the Unions. If he could do the same to every other company in America he would. I is as simple as that.

Plus, his team doesn't know how to make a private sector job to save their skins. As I point out over and over he doesn't have a single person that has run a lemonade stand anywhere in his administration. All he knows how to do is raise taxes and borrow trillions from the Red Chinese that he immediately flushes down the toilet and then blames Bush, the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, or whomever for screwing up.

Mark my words, you will see a multi-month rally as soon as the GOP retakes Congress because businesses know that Obama's job killing agenda will be blocked.

Court Rules that the Feds can Put a GPS on Your Car when it is Sitting in your Driveway

Hmm, I wonder if this means that electric fence sales will start to go up?

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.

Also they ruled that the Feds can keep the GPS device on your car indefinitely without a warrant. That part is still up in the air and the Supreme Court will probably have to rule on it eventually. I wonder if the Feds still have their 4th Amendment rights in place if someone put a GPS device on their car?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

48% of Americans Now Think Obama's Views are Extreme

Hmm, I think Americans are starting to wish they had Hillary as Pres instead of Obama.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of U.S. voters now regard President Obama’s political views as extreme. Forty-two percent (42%) place his views in the mainstream, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

By comparison, 51% see the views of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as mainstream. Thirty-five percent (35%) think Clinton’s views are extreme. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

I think supporting the 9/11 Mosque (then recanting soon afterward) right after bungling the oil spill has damaged the Presidency to the core. I think vacationing and keeping himself out of the public eye while waiting for some kind of good economic news is all he can do right now.

Who Coined the Term Nerd?

It seems it was Dr. Suess according to this:

The first documented use of the word Nerd is in the 1950 Dr. Seuss story, If I Ran the Zoo, in which a boy named Gerald McGrew made a large number of delightfully extravagant claims as to what he would do, if he were in charge at the zoo. Among these was that he would bring a creature known as a Nerd from the land of Ka-Troo. The accompanying illustration showed a grumpy humanoid with unruly hair and sideburns, wearing a black T-shirt. A fitting image, these days, for a nerd.

Actually the creature looks more like a Dweeb to me.

New Solar System Found

Now this is a pretty interesting find.

The planets and their own sun-like star are about 127 light-years from Earth, astronomers with the European Southern Observatory said. It is one of just 15 planetary systems known to have more than three worlds.

The five planets circle their parent star, HD 10180, in a regular pattern like the planets of our solar system, only in a more compact arrangement, the researchers said.

Of the two potential additional planets that may be present, one may have a mass that is the closest to the Earth's yet seen, if it is confirmed, they added.

Now we need to train our radio telescopes that way to see if that earth-like planet actually has aliens on it that are able to create communication technology. The idea that it is only 127 light years away would make my idea of space travel possible.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sorry Fibromyalgia Sufferers Addicts Took your Drug

Well I guess it all came down to the *potential* of people to abuse the drug once it is sold to a larger population.

A panel of experts voted 20-2 that the Food and Drug Administration should not approve a powerful sedative to treat fibromyalgia, a type of chronic pain. The news is a blow to maker Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

I think this might be a new era in risk-mitigation form the FDA. This REMS is now as important (or in this case much more important) than the efficacy data:

The panel vote is more confirmation of what I wrote this morning (see: The FDA’s New Power): That risk management programs, known as Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies or REMS, are becoming one of the pivotal issues when it comes to the approval of new drugs. These have resulted in delays for Johnson & Johnson, Theravance, and Amgen, and are increasingly the major factor in FDA drug approvals. REMS are one of the most important factors for biotechnology investors to track.

I guess the fear of lawsuits and having to pull the drug off the market is just too great now. Oh well, I guess fibromyalgia sufferers have that much longer to wait for their relief.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

An Idea for the New WAC

After hearing the news that Nevada and Fresno betrayed the WAC and jumped ship to the MWC I came up with some creative ways for the WAC to jump into the BCS. This is what I propose:

12 New WAC League I would call it the Pan-American Conference or the American Athletic Conference:

Western Conference:
Utah State
San Jose State
Texas State
UT San Antonio

Eastern Conference:
New Mexico
North Texas
Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Lafayatte
Louisiana Monroe
Sam Houston State

Then you would have 3 Bowl Games:

Hawaii Bowl: Aloha Stadium
Sam Houston Memorial Bowl: Alamo Dome
Cajun Classic: New Orleans Super Dome

Aloha Bowl will stay the same, Hawaii against CUSA team. The Sam Houston Memorial Bowl would pit the winner of the Western division against a Big 12 team. The Cajun Classic would be the winner of the Eastern Division against a MAC team. The Conference Champion is put in the running for a BCS bowl birth. You would also have a Texas State Cup that goes to the Texas team with the best record and a Louisiana Governors Trophy that goes to the best Louisiana Team. In other non-football sports BYU joins the Western Conference.

Intel Buys Out McAfee for $7.7B

I guess the chip business is just not lucrative enough for them.

The all-cash deal announced Thursday marks the biggest acquisition in Intel's 42-year history, an expensive example of Intel's commitment to sell more than chips for personal computers and servers. It is the sixth biggest deal globally between two technology companies over the past 3 1/2 years, according to Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

I'm wondering if this might usher in the world of having the security suite on a computer run off of a chip. I like the idea of running the AV scan and the anti-spyware program directly off of the motherboard. That way they will be even harder to attack since there is no vulnerable OS to add surface area to said attack. I wonder if they will go after a cloud vendor or even a hard-drive company next.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jazz Pharmaceuticals Fibromyalgia drug Moves One Step Closer to Approval

Well it seems that the FDA panel is fairly positive about the drug, Rekinla according to this article.

Investors are all jazzed up about Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ) after the Food and Drug Administration posted on its website fairly positive documents on the company's fibromyalgia drug, JZP-6. A panel of experts will make a recommendation to the agency at Friday's advisory committee meeting. Investors boosted shares as much as 16% before mellowing later in the day.

The drug that treats debilitating pain seems to be on the right path. The documents conclude that the company "provided sufficient evidence to support the efficacy" of the drug. It doesn't get much better than that.

Here is a link to the FDA briefing document on the drug. I think one thing the drug has going for it is that it has already been used for 8 years to treat narcolepsy. The fibromyalgia use of the drug would have the same side effects and Schedule III controlled substance status as that drug. I guess the only bad part is that quite a few more people suffer from fibromyalgia than from narcolepsy so the drug would be more widely available.

College Football Stunner: BYU to Go Independent in Football and Join the WAC in other Sports

Now this is some very interesting news and fits BYUs plans according to this article.

BYU will become an independent in football and put its basketball and non-revenue sports in the Western Athletic Conference starting in 2011 according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. It’s similar to the arrangement Notre Dame has with the Big East

They did this so that they could expand their BYU-TV network which is mostly made up of Mormon-related content. With the addition of football they could expand their message to football fans as well as Mormons. It makes quite a bit of sense and it renews rivalries with University of Hawaii from ages ago. They also don't have to worry about money since they are bankrolled by the Mormon church already.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Obama's Disapproval Rating Dips Below 50% for the First Time

I think that whole supporting the 9/11 Mosque thing is what drove him to all time lows.

Don’t look now, but the Gallup daily presidential approval tracker has a clean majority of Americans disapproving of Obama’s policies for the first time ever:

Bill Introduced to Bail out the Teamsters Pension Fund

So the Teamsters mismanaged their own pension fund and they want us to pick up the tab?

Sen. Robert Casey (D., Pa.) and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D., N.D.) are pushing legislation that would commit taxpayers’ dollars to bailing out the Teamsters’ retirement pension fund. The financial crisis and the Great Recession may have upset your retirement plans, but that’s not reason that politically connected union thugs have to share the pain.

I mean they gave a piece of the Chrysler Bailout to the United Autoworkers so I don't see how this is the a stretch for the Dems. They look at tax payer money as theirs so they can dole it out to their Union cronies whenever they see fit.

I would be willing to bet that the next bailout will be directed at the Public Worker Pension Funds which are facing record shortfalls as well. The article points out that the shortfall in California's Pension Fund is bigger that the GDP of Saudi Arabia. If go on the hook for that money there is no telling how bigger our debt can go.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Harry Reid Grasps for Straws: Says he is Against 9/11 Mosque

I think he is really battling for his political life coming out against Obama on this issue.

Locked in a tight race, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid became the highest profile Democrat to respond to Obama, who last week backed the right for the developers to build a mosque near ground zero. Since his comments Friday, the Democratic president and his aides have worked to explain the statement, which drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.

"The First Amendment protects freedom of religion," said Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman. "Senator Reid respects that, but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else."

I have to agree that the First Amendment protects the building of the mosque but Reid jumping on this issue that has nothing to do with Nevada is just a politically motivated joke. I have to say that this is a New York matter and only they should have a real say in putting the mosque in or not.

Another Economic Headwind: Boomers Cutting Back

I guess the Generation of Conspicuous Consumption is coming the realization that they may not have saved enough for retirement. The bad part is if they pull in the horns on spending that will take the last legs out of any recovery.

Low yields present retirees with a difficult choice: Accept the lower income offered by safer bonds, or take the risk of staying in the stock market. Either way, their predicament could put a long-term damper on the consumer spending that typically drives U.S. growth.

Plus many of their houses are underwater so they will feel even less rich than they did before. So that is even less of an incentive to spend money during retirement. You add that to the fact that young people are spending less as well because they can't find a job right out of college and you see slow consumer spending for years to come.

However, I would be willing to bet that there will be some sort of rise in Social Security based on borrowed money. You can see the Dems using it as a political tactic to get more seniors to support them. Then they could use it as scare tactics by saying the GOP "will slash Social Security to the bone" if you don't keep the Dems in power.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Could the Hindenburg Omen Foretell a Market Crash?

Oh the humanity! This article points out an interesting indicator of a possible market drop off coming down the pike.

But first the facts. There was a correction in the markets this week, and the sell-off triggered the Hindenburg conditions. The Hindenburg Omen occurs when an unusually high number of companies in the New York Stock Exchange reach 52-week highs and lows at the same time. The proportion of NYSE stock highs and lows must both exceed 2.2% of the total listed on the exchange. The Hindenburg Omen last occurred in October 2008, according to UBS data.

It seems to be a fairly robust idicator according to this:

In the mood for some more Hindenburg Omen doomsday numbers? The probability of a move greater than 5% to the downside after a confirmed Hindenburg Omen was 77%, according to historical data quoted on Benzinga. It usually takes place within 40 days of the first Hindenburg event. The probability of a panic sellout was 41% and the probability of a major stock market crash was 24%.

There seems to have been 5 of them right before Black Monday in 1987, and 6 of them before the Tech Wreck in 2000 according to this research site. Also if you count 40 days from the first Hindenburg Omen which was Thursday we get the 8th of October which will be just 4 trade days away from the 18th which was Black Monday in 1987.

Even if this is not true it is a good idea to take some money off the table until growth picks back up. I have moved into cash for the most part and intend to buy back in when stocks are cheaper. I mean the Fed is talking about slowdown and is buying Treasuries. The stimulus was a absolute failure and we are still barely creating any jobs (71,000 new jobs this last month is a joke.) Also companies have stopped building inventories so it is up to the beleaguered consumer to actually prop up the GDP.

Also we have a White House that doesn't know how to create a job without spending $70,000 or more per job. Plus, they seem hell bent to raise taxes during a recession which is bad no matter what sort of economist you are. So stocks will probably languish for a while.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Has Bush Been Doing in Retirement?

Hiding in some dark place hatching foul schemes? Nope, greeting returning troops at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airpost with a handshake and a job well done. I have a feeling that Obama will be nowhere to be found in 2013 after he loses the election.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This is How You Quit Your Job

This Jenny girl is LOL funny.


I hope the Spencer guy that she worked for has to reimburse the firm for this waste of time:

Emergency Exit America?

Hmm this WSJ article has given me an idea about what is currently happening in the US.

Mr. Hart said the 2010 contest is being pulled by the sentiment associated with the JetBlue flight attendant who fled his plane via the emergency chute after an altercation with a passenger. Calling it the "JetBlue election," Mr. Hart said: "Everyone's hurling invective and they're all taking the emergency exit."

I think the flight attendant that cussed out the customers and took the emergency chute (and the positive reception his actions have gained) is indicative of things that are happening now. It first happened with the Tea Parties last year where they got to vent directly to the Congress. Then you had the Congress simply ignore them and pass Obamacare anyway.

People are just tired of the government, business, and whomever not listening to them. In this case an unruly passenger was rude and obnoxious and did not listen to this flight attendant. That passenger might represent all of the people that are not listening and just do whatever they want.

So you can replace that passenger with the White House that bulldozes things like Obamacare through even though 60% of people don't want it. This passenger also represents Congress who not only doesn't listen but has open disdain for the common man as well. This passenger also represents big business who would rather hoard billions then hire people. They are hoarding because the White House and Congress are creating uncertainty and they want to wait and see what the landscape will be. It doesn't matter what the reason is because it is still making people angry.

So with uncertainty and the feeling that those who are in charge seem to be incompetent and you have the Emergency Exit America. People just want to forget all about the White House, Financial "reform," Obamacare, and the failed stimulus. This is already manifesting itself in the drop in productivity, Obama's abysmal approval numbers, and drop in consumer confidence that we have seen recently. People just want to hunker down grab a few beers and jump down the emergency chute out of everything.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Pushback Against College Life

Well, it seems that people are finally doing a cost-benefit analysis when it comes to college in general.

Many of the schools Mr. Brandon describes are education-free zones, where students' eternal obligations—do the assigned reading, participate in class, hand in assignments—no longer apply. The book's title refers to the fact that only 30% of students enrolled in liberal-arts colleges graduate in four years. Roughly 60% take at least six years to get their degrees. That may be fine with many schools, whose administrators see dollar signs in those extra semesters.

The capitalist in me sees this as perfectly understandable behavior to keep the kids using your product as long as humanly possible. However, if they go through these lengths then they need to be exposed.

In an effort to win applicants, Mr. Brandon says, colleges dumb down the curriculum and inflate grades, prod students to take out loans they cannot afford, and cover up date rape and other undergraduate crime. The members of the faculty go along with the administration's insistence on lowering standards out of fear of losing their jobs.

I have to agree that there are big problems with colleges and they should be addressed before Obama throws even more money their way in his plan to pump out 8 million more graduates. Many people are finally coming to the understanding that the only true value in college is in the hard sciences and business.

Everything else is a waste of money. Anyone majoring in something with a two word title like Interpretive Dance is just taking tens of thousands of dollars and setting them on fire. About the only thing the liberal arts portion of college is good for is getting people into law school.

Campuses are full of anti-American dinosaurs like Ward Churchill who cannot be fired because they are tenured up the hilt. I mean some political science departments should just change their names to Communist Studies. Leftist sentiment where America is evil, capitalism is wrong, and our enemies have a point seem to be everywhere.

The worst part is that parents keep shelling out larger and larger piles of money to subsidize the jobs of people like Churchill. I hope books like The Five-Year Party can get more parents to think about not only where they send their kids but what they are learning there as well.

White House Lashes Out at Liberals

Too bad I pretty much agree with Gibbs on this statement.

The White House was on the defensive Tuesday after press secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out at liberals he dubbed the "professional left," saying some of them should be drug-tested.

Gibbs contended that some progressives critical of President Barack Obama wouldn't be satisfied until the Pentagon was eliminated and Canadian-style health care ushered into the U.S. Some of them wouldn't even be happy if anti-war congressman Dennis Kucinich were president, according to Gibbs.

I think many of them should be drug tested and will probably come up positive. Also they cannot be satisfied no matter what Obama does. They are against Guantanamo but have no idea where to put the terrorists held there. They don't want Hellfire missiles fired at Al-Quida even though they have no better way of handling them.

Most of them live in academia where the only contact they have with companies that create jobs is trying to hit them up for grant money. They only see regular Americans only when they fly over them. So in their insular, protected little worlds they think Obama is George W. Bush because they never have to see massive failure in handouts like in Greece, run a company or a country, or deal effectively with Al-Quida killers.

So they go against the closest thing they will ever have to a progressive President. Also after the bungling and ineptitude shown by this President they may never have another. I mean they need to understand that they are 20% of the population and they need get at least 50% on board to even have a chance at any of their schemes. The whole idea of them getting anyone more progressive than Obama is crazy so they should be okay with the guy they have now.

Dems Pass State Bailout bill

Well it looks like we will be blowing more money to "save" jobs.

The legislation provides $10 billion to school districts to rehire laid-off teachers or ensure that more teachers won't be let go before the new school year begins. The Education Department estimates that that could save 160,000 jobs.

That is $62,500 per job saved. Of course the average salary for a teacher is less than $45,000 each. So that means we overpaid by $17,000 per each job "saved." I would be willing to bet that most of this money will go to pad the bloated bureaucracies at the department of education in many states. I can't wait until the CBO goes over this thing next year and they find out is "saved" like 25,000 jobs or something similar.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Tangible Success from the Stimulus Bill: It is Forcing Out Obama's Economic Team

Well it seems to be rats off a sinking ship at the Obama Economic Team.

It's no coincidence that Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, announced her retirement the day before Friday's brutal unemployment report. With 131,000 more jobs lost in July, and downward revisions of 97,000 for the previous two months, it's easy to see why she would start looking for the exits.

She was always so cheerful about economic growth. I think she is now the exclamation point on the end of the failure of the stimulus. I borrowed a trillion dollars from the Red Chinese and all I got was this lousy 9.5% unemployment.

Predictably, the stimulus bill has proven to be an extraordinary waste of borrowed money that has failed to create jobs, generate economic growth or do much of anything other than line the pockets of White House political allies. That and give $308 million in subsidies to BP before the Gulf oil spill disaster, and subsidize a study on what happens when monkeys snort coke.

The one I'm the most disappointed in is Tim Geithner he seemed like the economic whiz kid that could get us growing again. Instead he is just carrying Obama's water on killing off tax cuts and doesn't seem to be listened to at all. It is still telling that the White House doesn't have a single person that has even run a lemonade stand let alone any sort of business. All they know how to do is create uncertainty and provide reasons why businesses should horde their money rather then hiring people.

As Romer fades back to her teaching post at Berkeley, Obama is adding to the economic misery by creating an environment of regulatory uncertainty. The Wall Street reform law Obama recently signed potentially requires 533 new regulations, 60 studies and 93 reports, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency has 29 active rulemakings, and there are 100 new rules on the Labor Department's agenda and 26 at the Transportation Department.

Could the Marabella Trip be Another Sign of Obama not Wanting to be President?

Hmm, this article is certainly food for thought.

Michelle’s $375,000 Spanish vacation — with the Daily Mail dubbing her a “modern-day Marie Antoinette” — is further proof of my thesis. What man who wanted to be re-elected (or see his party do well in November) would let his wife go off on such an “excellent adventure” in these economic times? Of course no one denies the right of people to have vacations – I’m coming to the end of one myself on my beloved Bainbridge Island — but closing Mediterranean beaches while booking 60-plus rooms in a five star Marbella hotel for her entourage? It is beyond tone deaf, perhaps to the level of subconscious (or even deliberate) self-sabotage.

You would think that operatives in the White House would have nixed this whole trip or suggested a different place to go. Instead they green-lit it and sure enough she broke the bank. Think about how that $375,000 could have employed 10 people for a year (let alone how many hungry people it could have fed.)

Instead that money was blown on the Spanish luxury economy pretty much for no reason at all. Why did she need so many rooms? Why did she pick one of the most expensive hotels in Marbella? I mean it was supposed to be to teach her daughter about Europe. How much cultural exchange could you do from a $6,500 a night suite?

Does Michelle know that the underemployment rate was 19.1%. That means that nearly 1 or of 4 people are either looking for work or doing part-time work because they can't find something full time. Like I said before they can't afford a $3,750 vacation let alone a $375,000 vacation.

The more this stuff happens the more I agree with the thesis that Obama just doesn't want to be President and is self-sabotaging himself so he doesn't run for a 2nd term. He just wants to give himself an A- for his only term and get out there and do million dollar speaking engagements and forget about leading or running the country.

Michelle Obama Playing the Role of Marie Antoinette

I always thought the Dems were the party of the working man and the GOP was the aristocrats? I guess we have things turned 180.

So the Versailles-like aura around her trips suggests that her prior angst arose not because millions were not able to share the lifestyles of the elite but that she herself had not yet quite partaken in the sort of life she felt she deserved — which she is now apparently enjoying to the fullest. The fact that her Costa del Sol trip coincides with hard times back in the states, comes on the heels of the Kerry yacht and the Clinton wedding, and clashes with her husband’s anti-wealthy rhetoric (e.g., “at some point you’ve made enough money”) makes it all the more weird, both for her adminstration’s equality-of-result politics and for the larger liberal narrative of talking truth to power.

You really can't "talk truth to power" when you are not only showing off the power but also the trappings of great wealth as well. I mean they reserved 30 rooms at a hotel that charges up to $6500 a night. That sounds like something a movie star or royalty would do and it seems okay when Americans are doing well. I mean it is their money after all.

The idea that we have 9.5% unemployment and many Americans can't afford to take a vacation anywhere let alone a millionaires resort like Marabella, Spain should have given someone in the White House some pause. Maybe a nice trip to the Bahamas or something or even just keep the money in the US and go to Disneyland would have been far better. Oh well, the Dems have just gave up their rights to criticize the spending habits of everyone now.

US to Hook Up the Saudi's With Warplanes

Hmm, I wonder if these planes will eventually go up against the Iranian Air Force sometime in the near future.

But the scope and size of the Saudi deal has unnerved Israel and its allies in Congress at a time when U.S.-Israeli relations are particularly unsteady.

Under the proposed sale, the 84 Boeing Co. F-15s for Saudi Arabia will have onboard targeting systems similar to those offered to other foreign governments, officials say. They aren't as technologically advanced as F-15s flown by the U.S. military.

I have a feeling that Israel has nothing to fear from these planes. This is all about a detente with Iran in the fight for Middle East hegemony. Could we see a reprise of an Iran/Russia axis (The Russians sold them advanced anti-aircraft missiles) and a Saudi/US access just like the Cold War?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The August Surprise? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Forgive the Underwater Portion of your Mortgage?

Hmm this would be quite a big deal if it turned out to be true.

Main Street may be about to get its own gigantic bailout. Rumors are running wild from Washington to Wall Street that the Obama administration is about to order government-controlled lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to forgive a portion of the mortgage debt of millions of Americans who owe more than what their homes are worth. An estimated 15 million U.S. mortgages – one in five – are underwater with negative equity of some $800 billion. Recall that on Christmas Eve 2009, the Treasury Department waived a $400 billion limit on financial assistance to Fannie and Freddie, pledging unlimited help. The actual vehicle for the bailout could be the Bush-era Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, a sister program to Obama’s loan modification effort. HARP was just extended through June 30, 2011.

That loan modification effort was a dismal failure but Fannie or Freddie forgiving the underwater portion of your home loan is a big deal. People would open mortgage bills that Freddie and Fannie owned and see that it suddenly dropped by $200 - $300 or more. They will also find out that their home was suddenly worth far less. Is the government going to hand people the difference between what their house was worth and what it will be worth now? I can see this screwing up anyone that:

1. Paid their mortgage already
2. People that decided to rent instead of buy during the boom years
3. Decided to put down a 20% down payment and lived within their means by getting a decent mortgage
4. Have a bank/hedge fund/foreign company own their mortgage and not Freddie and Fannie

I wonder what it will do to the housing market because is will effectively drop home prices by a certain percentage. I guess it would be the equivalent of buying a stock on margin at $40, then seeing it drop to $30. Then the government comes in and says it was worth $30 all along. Is the stock worth $40 like when you purchased it? Or is it worth $30 like the government is saying? Will the government reimburse the $10 loss or will you just pay on credit on $30 and not $40?

What it might also do is wreak havoc on financial stocks. What would happen if a bank suddenly saw home prices drop by 20% as mandated by the government. They would be pressured by irate customers into following suit with their own loan portfolios in order to compete with the cuts by Freddie and Fannie. So the banks get to take their haircut on the loan right now and not defer it until whenever. Those bank stress tests better be real or we might see another wave of banking bankruptcies if this thing is done wrong.

Also what would happen to 2nd tier loans and home equity lines of credit. They were all set for when the home was worth more. Will they be reset to reflect the lower prices? Would the bank be forced to take a haircut on these loans too?

The other thing that it could effect is property taxes. Will the tax assessment by trimmed by the new value of the home? Will this result in state revenue being slashed by this loan forgiveness scheme? They just bailed out the states to the tune of several billion dollars in a "jobs" bill. Will the Feds suddenly take more money away from the revenue side of state income statements?

I guess all this means more uncertainty will get injected into the market as this stuff moves from rumor mill to the real world. The day to watch is August 17 when the fate of Fannie and Freddie will be decided by Treasury. If they do it wrong there might be a raft of unintended consequences after that date.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Bomb Just Misses Ahmadinejoke

Too bad it wasn't a little more powerful.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad survived an attack with a homemade explosive device on his motorcade during a visit to the western city of Hamadan on Wednesday, a source in his office said.

The source said Ahmadinejad's convoy was targeted as he was traveling from Hamadan's airport to give a speech in a local sports arena and the president was unhurt but others had been injured in the blast.

Of course he lashes out at the enemy he sees everywhere.

During a speech to a conference of expatriate Iranians in Tehran on Monday, Ahmadinejad said he believed he was the target of an assassination plot by Israel. "The stupid Zionists have hired mercenaries to assassinate me," he said.

I'm pretty sure if it was Zionist Mercenaries he would be dead right now. Those guys don't mess around. It might be a feeling out attack and the real attack will come later.

Also, I wonder if "Members Only Jacket" boy sees Zionists creeping all around him. "My toast was burnt!" Zionists! "My car got a flat tire!" Zionists! "I can't get reception on this damn TV!" Zionists! Also I hear his least favorite band is "They Might be Zionists" which you know is the Jewish version of "They Might Be Giants."

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Glenn Beck Talks about Death Camps?

Well, if you read his argument he is in the right on this issue. This all started with a beef between Simon Greer who is a member of the Jewish Funds for Justice which is a liberal Jewish group. He said:

"Government makes our country function," Greer wrote. "To put God first is to put humankind first, and to put humankind first is to put the common good first."

Beck disagreed.

"This leads to death camps," Beck said on May 28. "A Jew, of all people, should know that. This is exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany — put humankind and the common good first." (Listen to the clip below, via liberal watchdog Media Matters).

Beck has a point though. Right in the 25 points of Hitlers Nazi Party we have this statement.

24. We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: common utility precedes individual utility.

That last line is what Beck is talking about. So when someone talks about common good precedes individual good they are citing Nazi ideology. If some government bureaucrat (or in this case a failed wall-paper hanger) decides that all the Jews must be liquidated "for the common good" or "that is what is morally correct" then that is what leads to 6 million people being massacred.

What Beck is talking about is who decides "the common good." It is almost never principled men that are looking out for everyone. Most of the time it is a small elite (in this case Hitler and his Inner Circle) who control every facet of their society and get to call all the shots. They get to decide that Jews are inferior, crippled people need to be euthanized, and their people need more land and it must be taken from others by force.

This same thing happened in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China. There the individual was sacrificed for the common good. There humankind as a whole was more important than the individual human. So when we get a maniac like Stalin or Mao in charge of deciding what the "common good" is we end up with millions of bodies. To them a few million dead in the pursuit of the glorious Stalinist/Maoist/Fascist whole was a small price to pay.

So Beck is saying that we cannot let government be controlled by a small elite that has the power to decide what the "common good" is. That means there needs to be no "Death Panels" that decide that Grandma has had enough health care and needs to be euthanized. There needs to be no environmentalists who think 6 billion people are too many and must be culled. In short the common good cannot ever be greater than the individual good if you want to avoid more death camps.

Motorola and Verizon Might Team up to Produce Tablet

Hmm could this be the first attempt as an IPad killer?

According to the Financial Times, which gives no source, Motorola is working closely with Verizon to produce a 10″ Android tablet that will take advantage of Verizon’s FiOS service, which Moto makes the set-top box for. The size tallies with the Droid tablet we heard rumored a while back, but the TV focus is new, as well as the information that it would have dual cameras.

They say this device might be coming out as early as this fall. The idea of watching TV on a 10" Android tablet sounds pretty crappy to me but others may like it. However the idea of an Android tablet sounds like a much better idea. I hear that Android apps are quite good and may even offer a decent portable gaming experience as well. Also I wonder if it will have a Google Chrome OS on it? I might seriously consider this thing depending on its specs and how it looks. The Chrome OS and the Android apps would be what would sell me.

Japan Misplaces Several 100 year old people

I think the Japanese government has some explaining to do.

Japanese authorities admitted Tuesday they'd lost track of a 113-year-old woman listed as Tokyo's oldest, days after police searched the home of the city's official oldest man — only to find his long-dead, mummified body.

Officials launched a search this week for Fusa Furuya, born in July 1897 and listed as Tokyo's oldest citizen, after it emerged her whereabouts are unknown.

The idea that they didn't know that the oldest living Japanese man had been dead for 30 years is pretty crappy. What is even worse is that they found his mummified body in his apartment and no one knew to check on him. I know he had some sort of relations that could have at least checked up on him in the 30 years that his body was slowly mummifying. I really hope someone goes to jail for that mess.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Why Can't Obama Get Growth Going Again?

I think this article contains one of the main reasons why things will stay stagnant far longer then he might want them to.

Reagan got the country out of the mess because he cut taxes, cut regulation, set clear objectives, and let ordinary Americans make money. Obama is failing to get the country out of a recession because he’s telling Americans what money they can make, what kind of jobs should be created, what extra regulations will be imposed on them (once he and his dysfunctional party have made up their collective minds), and how much more they’re going to be taxed once that has been decided by all the committees that have jurisdiction. In short, he has done the one thing he should have avoided like the plague—he has created uncertainty.

That uncertainly creates hording behavior instead of risk taking behavior. This article also points out the demonization of Bond Holders in US Car Companies,"Wall Street Fat Cats," Health Insurers, Big Pharma, and now Offshore Drillers. I know many executives who will just keep their heads down and not invest in their business and hire more people because they don't want to be the next industry in the White House cross-hairs. This part also describes the White House in a nutshell:

The Obama administration consists of politicians who believe that a crisis is too good to waste, academics whose main contact with business has been soliciting money for endowments, bureaucrats impervious to economic considerations, environmental visionaries, and—to the extent that there is anyone who has spent time in business—quick buck artists who went briefly into “finance” to translate their political connections into money. Obama has appointed a cabinet and a White House staff which contains not a single former business executive. It is an administration whose only contact with Main Street is shopping.

It seems like the White House doesn't have a single person that even ran a lemonade stand let alone an actual business executive. Of course they want to raise taxes in a recession because they read it in a book and Obama wants to be FDR in the worst way. I think the GOP winning in November will go further toward a recovery then anything the White House will do in its 4 years in office.

Ahmadinajoke Challenges Obama to a Debate

I think Obama should take him up on the offer.

During the trip, "we are ready to sit with his excellency Obama, face to face, free and before media, to put the world's issues on the table to find out whose solution is better," Ahmadinejad said in a speech to visiting Iranian expatriates aired live on state TV.

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly proposed televised debates with American presidents over the past years, an offer dismissed by Washington.

Perhaps this will be the "meeting without preconditions" that Obama talked about on the campaign trail. I mean the opportunity to debate an enemy leader face to face would put Obama in the same league as Nixon and Kruschev and the Kitchen Table Debate of the 50s. If Obama lives up to the oratory skills that the press tells us he had in 2008 he should run rings around Ahmadinajoke. It sure would make for interesting historic theater in any case.

Democrats Becoming the Party of the Rich?

It sure seems that way according to this article.

From Newport, R.I., where Kerry’s “Isabel’’ was berthed before heading to Nantucket, to Rhinebeck, N.Y., where Chelsea Clinton was married in a mansion modeled after Versailles, today’s Democrats are looking more like Louis XVI than Tip O’Neill.

Kick in the First Family’s vacation plans for Martha’s Vineyard, and there’s a real air of Marie Antoinette & Co. retreating to idyllic gardens, while Fox News whips up revolutionary flames. The ethics charges against Representative Charles Rangel of New York are added foie gras.

This is part of the reason why Americans are so fed up with Washington as a whole:

It isn’t about having a lot of money. It’s about making people feel you are rubbing your money in their faces, while draining their modest assets for sketchy government programs funded by taxes you don’t want to pay.

Things like the failed stimulus and the auto-bailouts are case-in-point. It looks like they just took a pile of your tax money and set in on fire. They don't even know where all of the spending is going. Then you add fuel to the fire by seeing government bureaucrats slipping out of paying taxes or giving themselves gold-plated pensions at the tax payers expense.