Saturday, February 28, 2009

New Word for Webster's

Every year the good folks at Webster's pick new words to go in their dictionary. Surely this year they will pick as a new word "TheDeficitIInherited". It's a very popular word these days. Especially with our new Chief Executive. Has anyone else noticed this? Every time He says "deficit", He follows with "that I inherited".

It's smart. Blame it on Bush. After all, if it's a deficit that "I inherited", then it's not my fault. And, too,"TheDeficitIInherited" has surely been heavily focus-group-tested so it's surely a safe bet.

The question is, will Barry O'B get away with it? Who knows? FDR beat Herbert Hoover in one election and Hoover's ghost in three more even when unemployment was 16.9% in 1936 and 14.6% in 1940. And once again, anyone who can beat Billary is a force to be reckoned with.

Some would say, what's to get away with, He did inherit it? I would say, yes He inherited a mess. But
So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains/
And we never even know we have the key.
The chains are a debt so large it can't be paid back. Spending more will not free us from those chains. In fact, the key to unlocking those chains is to spend less.

For some, "TheDeficitIInherited" will always remain a problem that's not this President's fault because, for some, Barry O'B can do no wrong.

The question is when, or will, the rest of the folks realize the "TheDeficitIInherited" has morphed into "ADefictIMayBeResponsibleFor". Time will tell.

Monday, February 23, 2009

India's Model T

Tata Motors' 33 horsepower Nano hits the road in April. Billed as the world's most economical car, the Nano will cost only $2,500. For that, there are no airbags, no Ipod docks, no shoulder belts in the back seat, no passenger-side mirrors. Hand crank windows, plastic bumpers, glued-together seams in places that on other cars are welded.

But, it's safer than a scooter. It'll get you to work on Monday and across town on Sunday to visit Grandma. And it's green, boasting a 50 mpg rating.

No wait a minute, the Greenies are complaining. In fact, "having nightmares". This means more cars on the road. So many that the Nanos will counteract any improvements made by industrial nations to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Too bad for the Greenies. A billion-with-a-"b" members in the new middle classes of India and China will likely not be denied the freedom and economic opportuny afforded car owners. After all:
Rich Westerners, says Tata Motors boss Ravi Kant, “ask about congestion and pollution and global warming. I ask them, ‘Sir, will you stop using your car and take the bus?’”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Obameter

At one can track Barry O'B's campaign promises on the Obameter. Courtesy of the St. Pete Times.

Right now they claim he's kept 11 promises, broken two, compromised on three, and has 20 in the works. He's yet to take action on 474. (And here I thought Bill Clinton would go down in history at the great promiser-in-chief with those never-ending laundry lists of promised pork in his State of the Union speeches). The Obameter needs to be updated bc. that behemoth pork package that Barry signed this morn reportedly "fulfills or makes progress" on 50 more promises.

It'll be fun to watch how this goes. Grab your wallets.

Go here to buy the poster.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Audacity of Soap

"This is our moment. . . to clean up America."

The American Spirit survives. Buy some silly soap and support wounded veterans and thier families through the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Count me in . . .

With this 44%:
Forty-four percent (44%) voters also think a group of people selected at random from the phone book would do a better job addressing the nation’s problems than the current Congress.
That, according to Rasmussen. Only 37% disagreed.

Put another way, only 37% of voters agreed that these Bozos are doing a better job than would folks picked randomly from the phone book.

Very amusing. Someone at Rasmussen has a good sense of humor.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Scared People Don't Buy

Back from a couple days with one of those "intestinal" things. . . .

Not generally a fan of Donny Deutsch--one of those pretty-boy, New York, Frank Gifford-types--but he sure did hit it on the head today in an appearance on CNBC.

The talking heads were arguing about whether the "stimulus" package will stimulate and bring us out of this mess. Argues Donny, "Scared people don't buy cars. Scared people don't buy houses. People are scared." Those are pretty close to the exact words. I would add that scared people don't even go to the mall, let alone buy anything there. They don't go to Disney or buy lattes at Starbucks. They wait an extra week or two before getting a haircut and, unfotunately, may not be as charitable.

And there's no doubt, folks are scared these days.

I agree with Donny that the government can posture and primp and spend all they want, but until Joe Sixpack has stopped being scared, he's never going to buy a new truck.

So my prediction? This "stimulus" bill will have no effect. (Did Pres. Bush's package last spring bring us out if this?)

Prob. is that this "stimulus" bill is only $790 bil. in a GDP that in 2008 was $14.58 tril. Of course GDP won't be that high this year. Even so, the most of the money in this bill will not be spent this year either.

Think of it this way. $790 bil/$14.58 tril=5.4%. What's happening is Congress is borrowing 5.4% of what we all produced last year in order to give it back to us. So we're all going to get, collectively, a 5.4% "raise".

If you got a 5.4% raise starting tomorrow (and remember, it would really only be a 2-3% raise in '09 bc of the back-loaded nature of the package), what would you do with it--assuming that Donny is right and the you are as scared as the rest of us are these days? Buy a new GM car? Eat out a couple extra nights each month at Ruth's Chris? Or save it, pay down debt, or chuck it into the 529?

There's no way that even those Bozos on Capitol Hill can make up for a consumer frozen by fear. We got burned when the bubble burst. Then the real estate bubble burst. Then the banking system collapsed.

Spending a bunch of money and calling it "stimulus" may get you re-elected in some parts of the country, but it's not going to get us to buy new cars again. Or RVs made in Elkhart, Indiana.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

GE Footnote

Someone must have been reading me: GE was up 14% yesterday. I take full credit.

Some Change

Looks like Pres. Obama won't be "changing" much with regards to Iran. That's a good thing. And a compliment to his predecessor. This from Stratfor about Biden's speech at the Munich Security Conference:

The Obama administration’s position, as staked out by Biden, is that the United States is prepared to speak directly to Iran provided that the Iranians do two things. First, Tehran must end its nuclear weapons program. Second, Tehran must stop supporting terrorists, by which Biden meant Hamas and Hezbollah. Once the Iranians do that, the Americans will talk to them. The Bush administration was equally prepared to talk to Iran given those preconditions. The Iranians make the point that such concessions come after talks, not before, and that the United States must change its attitude toward Iran before there can be talks, something Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani emphasized after the meeting. Apart from the emphasis on a willingness to talk, the terms Biden laid out for such talks are identical to the terms under the Bush administration.
The question is: what will Tehran do? They have "elections" coming up soon.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

GE: The Dems' Haliburton?

Pres. Obama put Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, on his Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

We'll all but skip over the fact that by the only measure that matters to his bosses, the shareholders of GE, Immelt is a complete failure as a businessman. GE stock is at a 14 year low. As a stock broker would say, "$10,000 invested in GE stock in 1985 would now be worth . . . . . . $10,000." Tah dah! Shoulda bought a GE washing machine instead, at least then you'd have something clean you cloths with.

The way I see this is that it's payoff for MSNBC and NBC news--GE owned businesses--being in the tank for candidate Obama throughout the campaign. And now it's time to shovel the dollars into govt support for GE products.

Prediction: this advisory board will recommend that we build nuclear plants to create jobs. Guess who's big in the nuclear business? GE. (Pres. Barry will suddenly turn pro-nuke on the advice of this commission. I'm not complaining here. Nuclear is the way to go and it makes no difference how we get there.) Guess who makes all those florescent light bulbs that, thanks to the "stimulus" bill, we will be paying former auto workers to install in govt buildings? GE. Guess who makes bajillions from making windmills and "smart grid", whatever that is? Again, GE.

Guess whose Ecomagination (and here) initiative will start getting millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to research green technology? GE's. Just you wait and see.

Personally, no problem here with much of this. It's a rough game and as the Pres. says, he won. And so has GE. They bet on the right horse.

Don't tell me, tho, that this is change. It's the same old thing. GE is a special interest just like any other and they have a right to make a buck as does anyone else. Gettin' your guy in office is simply good business. Use that jackass Kieth Olbermann to do it. Jam that "stimulus" package through and let's start opening all those presents under the tree.

What cracks me up, tho, is the hypocrisy, intended or unintended. I 'spect very few of the people who were whining about Haliburton owning the executive branch for eight years will have much to say about this. They either can't see or won't see or simply refuse to mention that this is no different: it's just a different company.

I guess, tho, it's OK for Big Business to own the White House as long as they use it to save the planet. Instead of using it to free 24 million Iraqis.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009


The Israelis told a ship carrying humanitarian aid from Lebanon to Gaza that it had to land in Egypt rather than Gaza. The ship agreed and then decided to go to Gaza first anyway. So the Israelis boarded the ship, took control, and are now reportedly towing it to Israel where the crew will be turned over to Israeli immigration and the cargo sent to Gaza over land. Read about it here.

My prediction? There will be more than rice and blankets found amongst the cargo.

No matter, Israel will still be portrayed as the aggressor (and as the devil) by Al-Jazeera.

If you want calm in the Gaza strip, you have to stop the smuggling of rockets. And that means Egypt needs to cooperate.