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Friday, April 30, 2010

Race Baiting for Dummies

I think that the liberals across the country have been using methods that they got out of an instruction manual distributed by the DNC that must be called "Race Bating for Dummies". How else can one explain the crazed response to the new Arizona statute on immigration. Calling upon the expertise of Democrats of an earlier day like Bull Connor, George Wallace,Lester Maddox and Orville Faubus, the Democrats are doing all they can to rile up racial conflicts for purely political purposes. It is disgusting and should disqualify both obama and the Obamacrats from any further chance to govern the nation.

During my lifetime, this country has moved from segregation to integration; from lack of opportunity to equal opportunity; from exclusion to affirmative action to open opportunities; from intense racial confrontation to something close to racial harmony. Oh, I know that everything is not perfect. There are still many who harbor racial grudges and there may be 5% of the population that can be called racist, but the key point is that racists are clearly outside the mainstream of the US. Indeed, racism is so far outside that norm that being called a racist is one of the most damning things that can be said of someone in America today.

Why then do Obama and the Obamacrats think it is a good idea to reopen old wounds and incite racial conflicts? First we had the nonsense that tea partiers were racists. Then we heard that all who oppose Obama's policies do so only out of racial hatred. Then we progressed to having demonstrators falsely accused of calling Congressmen racial epithets just so as to discredit those demonstrators. Now we hear that Arizona police who will simply enforce federal law in the sam way that federal police of the INS do are storm troopers, NAZIs and Klansmen. Indeed, anyone who supports the Arizona law does so only because of race hatred according to the Obamacrats.

This course of action is the most destructive and hateful one that the Obamacrats could have chosen. No matter who wins the argument, it will take decades to undo the words of hatred that the Obamacrats are spewing into the political discourse. When you factor in the fact that they are doing this all just for their own political ends without and regard for the truth (they know they are lying), their conduct gets that much more outrageous.

I hope that America soon understands exactly what the Obamacrats are doing. There should not just be a rejection of the Obamacrats in November; they should be wiped out as a meaningful party. We can all disagree on the healthcare system, global warming, foreign policy, tax levels and the like. That is the American way of government. There is no excuse for the Democrats wounding the country with their incitement of racial hatred, however. It is time for them to go!

Another Howler

Yesterday I wrote about the UN naming Iran to a council that promotes women's rights. It seemed to me that nothing could be more absurd. Then today I heard Charley Crist announce that his switch to an independent candidacy in the Florida Senate race had nothing to do with him but was a reflection of where the country and the state (of Florida) are. I wonder......did he come up with that howler on his own? When he was way behind in the primary polls, Crist gambled on a way to get himself in office and keep his power, but it was due to the country? No, it was due to his own selfish interests. When he does not respect the electorate enough to allow the people to choose the nominee of his party, it is absurd to blame the move on the state of the country.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stock of the month for May

With the end of April, it is time again to name the stock of teh month. This time the stock is Shamir Optical Industry LTD (symbol SHMR), and it is a long term growth play. Shamir's pricipal product is the progressive lens used in glasses in place of bifocals or trifocals. These lenses are needed most often by people in their fifties and older. As the population ages, the numbers of potential buyers of these lenses will increase each year. Shamir has a quality product which is well accepted in Europe. Shamir also has the major part of its home market in Israel, although that is a small market. It is also making inroads in the US, although it is third in market share in the US market and far behind the two leaders. Still, Shamir is making a particular effort to enlarge its foothold in the US market and it has been successful thus far in this effort. At its current price of $9.75 per share, Shamir is about ten percent below its 52 week high. In the last year it also paid a dividend of about 8% although the dividends are not consistent over time. this is a stock investment with a long horizon; it may take three to five years for it to achieve its full potential. In the meantime, however, it will pay some meaningful dividend.

And now for something completely different

Years ago, Monty Python used to segue to something absurd with the words, "and now for something completely different." These are the perfect introduction into one of the strangest things I have ever heard. The United Nations has named Iran as one of the members of the council on the status of women, a UN body whose charter calls for it to promote equal rights for women. Perhaps Iran will be moved to investigate the government minister in Iran who blamed earthquakes on scantily clad women. Or maybe they will investigate the women who get stoned for not wearing burkhas. Or -- well you get the picture.

What's next? Maybe the UN will nominate Bin Laden for the Nobel Peace Prize.

License please

I was speaking to a usually will-informed friend this morning and was surprised that he was unaware of the drivers license provision in the Arizona illegal alien law. The law expressly states that it is conclusive proof of legal residence to have a valid drivers license. In other words, if a policeman has reason to suspect that someone is an illegal, they need only produce their drivers license to end the matter. Indeed, the policeman cannot stop someone just based on ethnicity; this is also expressly stated in the law.

So the terrible police state intrusion into the lives of the people of Arizona is that they need to produce their drivers licenses if the police have cause to suspect that they are illegals. Oh the Humanity! In the last thirty days, I had to produce my license to open a bank account, to enter an office building in New York City, to cash a check, to charge something on my credit card and when I got a ticket from a policeman. I am sure that most people have a similar experience.

If the government and private companies can require a picture ID for all sort of mundane activities, why is it racial profiling for Arizona to require a drivers license be produced in the face of valid suspicion of illegality?

The truth is that the law is not racist. The truth is that President Obama and the Obamacrats are just using this law to try to stir up racial fears. The truth is that Obama is not the first post racial president as he claims. Rather he is the most racial president of my lifetime. I cannot recall any other president who intentionally and dishonestly stirred up racial tensions for his own political gain. Indeed, the last president I can think of who did that was Woodrow Wilson.

Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter

For the second time this cycle we have a major Republican who is leaving the party since he cannot get the nomination for a senate seat. First we had Arlen Specter who was elected to the senate four times as a Republican from Pennsylvania who decided that he would be more likely to be re-elected as a Democrat. As a result he bolted and immediately became a liberal Dem. Indeed, the speed of his transformation left many wondering if he had any core beliefs at all.

Now we have Florida governor Charlie Crist moving to the independant line in the Senate race since he was sure to lose to Marco Rubio in the Republican primary. this move comes after months and months of Crist announcing to everyone that he would only run as a Republican and not as an independant. Does he think that people do not listen? Does he think that it does not matter when he lies to the public? To say the least, it will hurt his candidacy with those who value honesty and ethics in a senator.

My prediction is that in 2011 the senate will contain neither Arlen Specter nor Charlie Crist.

And this is a bad thing?

This morning the AP released a story entitled "Illegals Plan to Leave Arizona over Law". The point of the article is that many illegal aliens in Arizona are leaving the state as a result of the new law passed by the state legislature. While the AP slants the story to lament the departure of these folks, one has to wonder why it is bad for people in Arizona illegally to leave. Had the INS stopped these same folks and deported them, would that also be bad according to the AP. One must assume so. I just think that the AP has lost its mind. First, it mischaracterizes what is in the law. Then it publicizes the many outrageous lies told by Obama and his minions about how the law works. Then it complains that the law is adversely affecting illegals. The whole thing is just nuts.

Lessons from London

Yesterday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met a supporter at a campaign stop who asked him about immigration and some other issues. The supporter was concerned that immigrants to the UK would overwhelm the government assistance programs in that country. After speaking to the woman, Brown got into his limo and forgot that he had a live mike still pinned to his jacket. He called the woman, a Labor voter, a "disaster" and a "bigot".

What is it about political leaders on the left? Do they not understand that it is possible to discuss immigration issues without being a bigot? Apparently, the answer is a resounding no.

In the UK, the expectation is that Brown severely hurt himself by calling the woman a bigot for no more reason than that she was concerned about immigration. that should be a lesson to Obama and the Obamacrats who are so quick to call the new Arizona law and its supporters "racists". Most Americans who do not have an axe to grind understand that there is a crisis in border states lie Arizona as illegals from Mexico bring the Mexican drug wars into this country. Most Americans understand that there are laws governing immigration and that the law needs to be enforced or changed; it cannot just be ignored. Most Americans understand that it is possible to be against allowing illegals to stay here with no consequences without the basis for such a view being race or ethnicity. Indeed, it is only the hard left which sees nearly everything through a racial prism that gives a racist coloration to everything. Thus, the tea parties are "racist" because they oppose Obama's policies. why else could someone oppose excessive government spending, unmanageable deficits, and the destruction of the free market system? Similarly, opposition to healthcare had to mean that the protesters were bigots. That is why, when there was no proof of any sort that the protests had a racial basis, members of the Congressional Black Caucus took it upon themselves to manufacture a phony claim that protesters outside the Capitol had called them the N word.

Brown is rapidly losing any chance to regain his position as Prime Minister. The bigot remark is probably the final straw. Obama and the Obamacrats might well learn a lesson from that. Of course, they probably just think that Brown's defeat will be a triumph of bigotry. The truth is that the coming defeat of the Obamacrats has nothing to do with race and everything to do with sound public policy (or the lack of such a policy put forth by the Obamacrats.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Harry Reid in Connecticut

The news today reports that Senator Harry Reid is coming to Greenwich Connecticut for a fund raiser being hosted for him by Senator Joe Lieberman. One can only ask why Lieberman would host such an event. Reid accused Lieberman of doublecrossing him in connection with the healthcare law. Reid supported Ned Lamont against Lieberman in the election that sent Lieberman back to the Senate. More important, Reid is a morally bankrupt, small minded, hack who thinks only of himself and his party at the expense of the country. Just today, Reid is quoted as calling Republicans who have voted to keep the bank bill from the floor of the Senate unless a compromise is reached on certain important elements as "Unamerican". No one called Reid Unamerican when he announced that the war in Iraq was lost. True, many called him a schmuck and an idiot, but that was accurate. Why is it that no one can oppose Reid's position without having his or her patriotism questioned? Clearly, Reid thinks that he has a monopoly on wisdom and truth. Actually, he has neither on his side.

I wish they would stop over dramatizing

Pew Research has issued a poll on the public's views of the economy. Pew used the headline "Pessimistic Public doubts Effectiveness of Stimulus, TARP". In the poll, pew asked respondents if they thought that the Obama stimulus package helped the job situtation, the express reason for that package. By two to one the public says no. Only Pew could say that the public "doubts effectiveness" of the stimulus. A clearer headline would be Public Rejects Idea that Stimulus had Good Effect. Of course, while more accurate, that headline would conflict with the basic liberal narrative. Accordingly, Pew has to understate its findings.

Taxes -- a murky future

During the 2008 campaign, President Obama promised not to raise any sort of taxes on anyone making under 250,000 dollars a year. Since taking office, Obama has signed into law about 300 billion in new taxes that affect this group, thereby breaking his pledge. The big question about taxes remains, however. What is going to happen with the Bush tax cuts for those making under $250,000 per year? As we move into May and the legislative calendar gets crammed with items like immigration and cap and trade bills (not to mention the upcoming Supreme Court nomination), it is getting harder and harder to see how Congress will ever get to dealing with the tax issues this year. Obviously, the Obamacrats are hesitant to deal with taxes in an election year, but the alternative is a tax increase for nearly every American. Clearly Obama and the Obamacrats have no regard for Obama's promise not to raise taxes.

The truly strange thing to me is this: the Obamacrats have overwhelming control of the Congress. They can pass any tax bill they want. Even so, they sit motionless and ignore the whole issue. Do they really think that the American people will not notice? Amazing!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What is wrong with this man?

Last Sunday I wrote about how it took President Obama nearly a month to declare portions of Connecticut a disaster area following the great windstorms and flooding of March. For some reason, Obama could not get around to helping Connecticut. Now comes the final act by Obama to kick the state. Obama decided today that his disaster proclamation would pertain only to aid to local governments or the state. Obama denied help to individuals and businesses whose lives were upended by the storms. While it is often said that Obama only cares about government rather than individuals, this is perhaps the most egregious example of this fact that I have seen. The damage to individuals and businesses who needhelp to get back on their feet is estimated at many tens of millions of dollars. Just in my town alone, schools were closed for an entire week while trees and downed electric wires were removed from the roads. Big chunks of the town had no power for a week. The damaged buildings from these Storms are clearly visible every time I go out. Of course, the damage in Connecticut is principally in the more Republican areas of the state; is that a coincidence?

Just imagine what would have happened if Bush had done the same thing. The outcry would have been unstoppable.

Holder -- Arizona law may be subject to abuse

Attorney General Eric Holder applied his great legal mind to say that the Justice Department is considering a suit to enjoin enforcement of the new Arizona law regarding illegal immigration since the "law may be subject to abuse." I do not know why, but I actually thought that Holder went to law school and practiced law. I guess I am wrong. A law is not unconstitutional if it may be subject to abuse. That standard would make every law unconstitutional. For example, a law that makes robbery a crime could be abused if the police were to stop every fifth person they saw and arrest him or her for robbery. That police action would be wrong and improper, but it would not make the robbery statute unconstitutional.

The truth is that Holder well knows this fact. Right now, the chief lawyer of the United States is more interested in being a demagogue who panders to the Democratic base rather than to uphold his oath as an attorney and as Attorney General. Sad, isn't it? Of course, Holder is the same guy who was so successful closing Guantanamo, commencing the civilian trial for Khalid Sheik Muhammed, etc. What more could one expect from Obama's chief lawyer.

This is ridiculous

I just watched a portion of the Senate hearing at which the representatives of Goldman Sachs are testifying. What utter nonsense! The one thing that is clear from the hearing is that most of the senators have no idea what it is that Goldman Sachs actually does. Indeed, most of the so-called questions from the senators could have been asked equally as well by a two year old. My particular favorite is the repeated reference to protecting the investing public in connection with deals like the one at issue in the fraud case brought by the SEC. The reality is that there were in essence only three very large investors involved in a deal for many many millions of dollars. These investors were all informed and experienced in deals like this one. The choice of the instruments that made up the synthetic security which was sold in the deal was not a mystery to anyone involved in the deal. A subsidiary of the buyer of a majority of the deal had final say over what went into the package. The seller got to recommend instruments for the package, but the buyer only accepted about half of those recommended. There was no fraud here.
More important today, there was not even any involvement by the general investing public. Nevertheless, the senators act as if Goldman Sachs sends out serial killers to murder people every day.

I have no special regard for Goldman Sachs. It can take care of itself. I do, however, have the apparently strange belief that senators should speak honestly about what is happening and not knowingly distort the truth for political gain. I do not believe that the senators are all so dumb that they do not understand that they are misleading the public. In this regard, I want to give a special shout out to Carl Levin of Michigan as the winner of the prize for Demagogue of the Month. The man seems to know no limits when he sees a political advantage.

Jim Himes may be in trouble

The conventional wisdom in Connecticut is that Congressman Jim Himes is reasonably safe in his bid for re-election this year. I am not so sure. Just yesterday, Himes announced that connecticut residents may have become complacent with regard to fighting racism. As best as I can understand Himes' point (which was less than clear), there is now so little racism in the state that people no longer struggle against it. If this point were not made in the context of the current attempt by the obamacrats to paint the Tea Party as a bunch of racists, I would think it was just inappropriate and overblown rhetoric from a typical liberal congressman. I view it, however, as a sign of fear from Himes. He is trying to ramp up the fear of being called a racist -- particularly if you disagree with him. Unfortunately for Himes, the people in this district are no so ill informed that they would buy into this nonsense. I have not seen any polls regarding Himes chances for re-election, but I bet that Himes has some that show a big sympathy in his district for the Tea Party and its positions. If that is true, it is very bad news for Himes (and very good news for Connecticut).

Monday, April 26, 2010

The end of an era

Today, the latest circulation figures for the nations newspapers were released. The biggest paper, the Wall Street Journal, achieved a gain in circulation of 0.5%. No other paper in the top 25 had an increase. The New York Times did manage to keep lost circulation just below ten percent, but the only paper in the top 25 with small losses was the New York Post which saw about a 5% decline in circulation. The figures are truly remarkable. We are seeing the end of the dominance of the large liberal daily newspapers in informing this country. Their readers are literally dying. As readers in their 70's and 80's pass on, very few young people are taking up the habit of reading a paper.

Beyond the loss of readers for the newspapers, we have the great decline in viewership of the network evening news programs. In addition, the liberal cable news networks like CNN and MSNBC have lost their audiences -- both are down about 50% in just a year.

Put this all together and the liberal media is crashing big time. In the latest poll which asked Americans where they got their news, the biggest source identified, by far, was Fox News. Indeed, Fox is the only TV news source that has shown growth in the last two years. Fox's ratings have soared as those of the other networks and the paper circulation have crashed.

But for Fox's success, we could all buy into the story that people are just moving to new media like the internet to get their news. Clearly, that is not the case. The only paper to do well, the Wall Street Journal, is also the most conservative of the top 25. Fox News has grown quickly at the expense of its rivals. The truth is that Americans have found news outlets that do not feed them the liberal/left line all of the time and they have come to rely on these outlets to inform them of what is happening. All of this bodes well for the country. All of this also is driving the left crazy.

A good example is the demonization of the Tea party by the left. This story line has been picked up by all sorts of liberal media. Years ago, that would have been the end of it as the Tea party would have become in most people's minds the modern incarnation of the KKK. Now, however, most people have seen the pictures of tehte party rallies shown on Fox. The well behaved, middle class folks hardly look like terrorists or racists. Their speeches are moderate. Their rallies are non-violent except for the few instances where thugs tried to break up the rallies. As a result, the liberla libel of the tea praty just did not work. The left is frantic as a result. They keep denouncing the Tea party, not realizing that the attack did not and cannot work since they have lost their monopoly of the news media.

Caribou -- Stock of the month

Since I publicized Caribou Coffee as the stock of the Month baed upon a pick from Steve Brill, I thought I should let everyone know that Steve got out of the stock today. He still likes the stock, but he sold at $8.55 since he had a nice gain and was concerned that there might be a pull back.

Great moments in Crony Capitalism

Much has been said about the rise of the government corporation like General Motors, Citibank and AIG. These large companies were bailed out with massive infusions of taxpayers money. Obama portrays this as temporary and a necessary evil, and he expects these companies to go along with that narrative. Today, however, comes news of a lie so amazing that I am surprised that even the Obamacrats stood by and let it proceed. As most people know, last week GM paid off billions of dollars in federal loans and it did so years early. Sounds great, right? The Washington Times discloses this morning that the funds used by GM to pay off the federal loan were TARP funds. The Times quotes the Inspector General of the TARP program to confirm this fact. So GM paid off a loan from the federal government with other funds provided by the federal government. That is bad enough, but the Obamacrats let this lie proceed without telling the American people about it. GM's self-congratulatory ads about paying off its debts are much more misleading than anything that Goldman Sachs ever did. Remember "Hope and Change"? What a lie. It's more like "Fraud and Deceit"!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Arizona -- no semblance of reality

Today's news brings the earth shaking development that Al Sharpton is threatening civil disobedience to fight the new Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration. Given the enormous brouhaha that has arisen following the passage of this law, I need someone to explain the cause of this upset. Simply put, it is without question that federal immigration agents have the power to ask for identification from those for whom they have reasonable cause to believe are illegal immigrants. The Arizona law gives this same power to the state police. Federal law already makes it a crime to hire illegal immigrants and sets severe fines and penalties for employers who do so. The Arizona law adds that potential employers of day laborers are now prohibited from stopping to hire day laborers if their stopping creates traffic blockages. No one seems too upset by this provision. Federal law already makes illegal immigrants subject to deportation. The Arizona law makes it a crime to be an illegal in Arizona with the remedy being deportation. In short, the only real difference between current federal and new state law is that the new state law allows the state police to do what the feds are supposed to be doing already. And this is racist? How? There is a reason that polls in Arizona show over 70% support for the new law. Perhaps if the media were to ask those who protest so vehemently in Washington or New York about the law just why the law is racist, we could get to the bottom of the problem. The truth is that this law does nothing different from current law except for making it a state enforcement problem in addition to a federal one. The feds have stopped enforcing the immigration laws on the books, so the states are going to be forced to do so. That is not racism. Indeed, maybe President Obama can tell us all why it was wrong for Arizona to act when the federal apparatus that Obama controls is just not doing anything.

I would love an answer to this problem.

It is supposed to be news not wishful thinking

Sunday's New York Times leads with an article entitled "Democrats Long-held Seats Face GOP Threat". the Times then goes on to report the big news that some Democrats are not doing so well in this election cycle. For anyone who follows the national political scene this is not big news. Indeed, for anyone who is not comatose this is not big news.

What I do find funny, however, is the Times map which shows the likely status of the various Senate races of 2010. It categorizes races as likely or leaning to a party or a tossup. The geniuses at the Times put Pennsylvania in the leaning Democrat column. Is this a payoff to Arlen Specter? Specter the Democrat turned Republican truned Democrat is up for re-election in 2010. In recent days, polls in the Keystone state have shown his primary challenger congressman Sestak closing the gap rapidly. Specter may win the primary, but it will be a close one. The general election, however, is not showing a close race. Pat Toomey, the Republican candidate is ahead by 9% in the three polls of likely voters taken in April. More important, Specter, the incumbent, does not break 40% support in any of these polls. With numbers like those six months before election day, it is almost a foregone conclusion that Specter will lose. In the last forty years only two incumbent senators have managed to come back from numbers that bad at this point in the election cycle: Jesse Helms and Al D'Amato. Particularly since there is likely to be a more energized Republican base this year, Specter is toast everywhere except in the pages of the New York Times where he is the likely winner.

A similar blooper by the Times is rating the Illinois race for Obama's old seat a tossup. The Democrat here just got pummeled when his family's bank (which he ran for quite a while) was seized by the FDIC as insolvent. News has come out that the bank had lent money to many less than savory characters. This will slam the Democrat at a point when Obama is busy in Washington criticizing bankers. Obama's seat is going the way of Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts.

There are many in this country who have looked at the New York Times as an authoritative paper which tries to state the truth in its articles. This map of likely outcomes is just another instance where the Times is revealed as a propagandist for the Democratic party.

When politics overpowers reason

Much has been written about the Quinnipiac poll regarding the handling of foreign policy by the Obama Administration. One aspect in particular is most peculiar: the reaction of Jews to Obama's dealings with Israel. When asked if they approve Obama's handling of relations with Israel,all voters disapproved by a margin of 44 to 35%. Jews, however, disapproved by a margin of 67 to 28%. This is not surprising since Jews pay more attention to relations with Israel than other groups and the recent disputes between Israel and the USA would be better known to them. The crazy thing is that when the same people were polled as to whether or not Obama was a strong supporter of Israel, they split 42-34% that he was not. This is almost exactly the same split as those who disapprove of his handling of relations with Israel. Among Jews, however, by a margin of 50 to 46% the view was that Obama is a strong supporter of Israel. Huh? How can 2/3 disapprove of Obama's policies but a majority think he is a strong supporter of Israel? The answer comes when one looks at all of the other questions in the poll. On every other foreign policy question, Jews support Obama by higher numbers than Protestants or Catholics or, indeed, any other group aside from blacks. I guess that affiliation to the Democrats is just too strong to allow for the reality of the situation to get into the views of most Jews. I wonder if this will change as the Obama foreign policy (or the lack of a coherent one) continues as we move towards 2012.

What took so long

On March 13th, coastal Connecticut was hit with sever windstorms that downed tens of thousands of trees, damaged thousands of homes and cars and left large parts of the region without power for up to a week. Two weeks later, rainstorms dumped up to eight inches of rain on the region in 24 hours with resulting floods. Again there was widespread damage to homes and businesses. Today the news has been announced that President Obama has declared the three Connecticut coastal counties as a "disaster area". A fair response is, "What took so long?"

When disaster struck in New Orleans, the Bush administration was skewered endlessly for its disorganized response. Is it better that Obama had no response here. Within a few blocks from my house I can still see fifty trees that were felled during the windstorm. Things were so bad here that schools had to be closed for a week due to blocked roads and downed power lines. My own house flooded in the second storm. Fortunately, the trees that went down in the first storm missed the house for the most part. We only had windows broken when hit with flying debris. Why does it take six weeks for the Pesident to call this a disaster?

I realize that Obama took five months to consider what to do in Afghanistan before deciding to mostly go along with the generals. At least in that case there was an opposing point of view. Here there is only the enormous damage wrought by the wind and the floods. Are we to understand that there was a big group opposing disaster relief? Did this become a political event like the Afghanistan funding so that Obama wanted to look like he was moving at deliberate speed? I doubt that. The only realistic conclusion is that Obama is just too busy giving speeches or playing golf to do his job or to actually care about folks who need help. Mr. President, shame on you!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Medical malpractice arbitration

When Republicans talk about cutting medical care costs, they frequently say that they will work to cap medical malpractice claims. While that is a good start, there is a more refined way to proceed: the arbitration of medical malpractice claims before approved malpractice panels. Such a law would allow doctors to ask patients to agree ahead of treatment to resolve any malpractice claims before an arbitration panel. These panels would consist of one or three people depending on the size of the claim. Members of the panel would include at least one medical professional. The panels would not be allowed to award punitive damages; nor would the panels be likely to award excessive damages on an emotional basis. Further, since the panels would have medical personnel on them, the need for excessive defensive testing by doctors and hospitals would be reduced since someone who understood the need for testing (rather than the emotional appeal of an injured plaintiff) would be making the decision. Finally, there could be a cap on contingent legal fees of 20% of the award. While this is less than the current level, it would be justifies since the cost of an arbitration should be substantially less than the cost of a full blown trial.

Medical arbitration has a group of benefits: First, there would be fewer tests done for legal defense purposes as discussed above. Second, frivolous and fraudulent claims would be less likely to proceed as there would be a more educated trier of fact and a greater likelihood of a correct outcome. Third, the cost of trying these cases would be removed from the state court system reducing the cost to the state. Fourth, patients who suffer severe damage would still be able to recover for their losses even without a cap. Fifth, the patients who are injured would get a bigger slice of the pie with the lawyers having their share reduced. Sixth, there should be a great reduction in the time between the injury and any recovery. Seventh, a system like this should allow the hospitals and doctors in the state to get reductions in their insurance premiums.

Remember November

The Republican governors' association has just come out with an amazing video that needs to be viewed by everyone. Click on the title to this post to go to the site. If it does not work, the URL is below.

Arizona's new Law

Arizona Governor Brewer signed into law yesterday a measure designed to enforce immigration laws in that state. Many across the country are up in arms about this law since it will supposedly result in racial profiling. Actually, that is nonsense. Racial profiling takes place when one group is unfairly singled out for enforcement efforts. In the classic example, police stop blacks driving through a neighborhood at night based solely on their race when they do not stop whites. this is racial profiling. On the other hand, it is not racial profiling to stop someone who is breaking into a house no matter what the race of the perpetrator. If the people stopped in the middle of committing a crime are predominantly of one race, that is still not racial profiling.

The Arizona law expressly requires that the police must have reasonable cause to believe that anyone whose identity they check is an illegal alien. Now obviously, in Arizona, those about whom there is reasonable cause will most likely be Hispanic. that is no surprise since the illegals in that area come from Mexico for the most part. If the police enforce this law by randomly stopping all Hispanics, it will be racial profiling. On the other hand, even if 97% of all of those stopped are Hispanic, it will not prove racial profiling. The issue is how the law is enforced, not the law itself.

Maybe it is time for some of the more breathless commentators to stop fomenting racial divisions. Thus far, there is nothing wrong with the law.

Did North Korea sink the South Korean navy ship

News reports today indicate that it is most likely that it was a North Korean torpedo that sank a South Korean ship last month with the loss of many South Korean sailors. Salvage crews raised the front end of the sunken ship and preliminary indications are that it sank as a result of an external explosion outside the hull. While these conclusions are preliminary, they do raise the riddle of how to deal with the North if it was responsible for the sinking and all of the death.

Right now, the South Korean president is assuring the world that South Korea has no plans to respond militarily to this attack. The preliminary nature of the findings give him that luxury. If the final conclusion drawn from the salvage operation is that it was a North Korean attack that led to the sinking, many of the options disappear. Will the president be able to just condemn the attack an go on with business as usual? Will the South Korean public allow its navy to be attacked with no retribution? these are very important questions for the USA since we still have 28,000 troops in South Korea, with nearly all of them stationed near the border with North Korea. Any military action in Korea places all of the troops in danger.

Of course, to make matters worse, the North Koreans have nuclear weapons. One strike on Seoul could kill many millions of people. Hopefully, it will never come to that, but one does have to wonder how the North Koreans view President Obama and his likeliness to use US nukes to avenge a North Korean attack on the South. The fruits of a weak and apologetic foreign policy may soon have the consequence of further emboldening the North Koreans. Indeed, I wonder if the North Koreans would have taken the risk of attacking the South Korean navy were Bush still the US president. That is something we will never know for sure.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sounds correct to me

I just caught a small bit of an interview of Newt Gingrich on the radio as I was driving. Newt said in essence that it was appalling that the Obama Administration is more concerned about Israelis building apartments for Jews in Jerusalem that about Iran building nuclear weapons. No truer words were ever spoken!

Frankly speaking

Real Clear Politcs has posted a video in which Barney Frank blames Republicans for members of the SEC staff spending its time watching pornography -- click on the title of this post for the link.

I think it is safe to say that no one in Washington thinks it is a good idea for any of the SEC staff to spend countless hours watching porn. Those who did should be identified and fired (if they are still there) just as would be the case in private industry. Still, it is the most amazing gall for Frank to blame the Republicans for this. After all, it is Frank that had a male prostitute ring operating out of his own home. At least the SEC staff was not committing a crime, just wasting the taxpayers money and ignoring their responsibilities. The male prostitutes operating out of Frank's home were breaking the law. Now it may be possible that Frank has blamed the Republicans for the guys turning tricks out of his house, but if so, I missed it.

In short, Barney Frank this was an idiotic attack even for you. You should be ashamed to have even said it.

Of course, the good folks at MSNBC just televise it and act as if everything said is perfectly normal. What else can you expect from a so-called network that won't even allow Keith Olbermann to be called "angry"?

Congrats to New York!

New York State's Department of Environmental conservation must truly be basking in the glow of its decision announced today that effectively bans drilling for natural gas in the watersheds of both New York City and Syracuse. The DEC did not ban drilling but rather set the requirement that every well has to be reviewed by the DEC on a case by case basis to assure the safety of the watershed. Translating this requirement into English it is a statement that drilling in these areas for natural gas will be an extraordinarily slow and expensive process with no guarantee of approval and the certainty of litigation in the unlikely event that the state approves the drilling. These factors make any drilling for natural gas in the area prohibitively expensive.

The ruling does not apply to the Marcellus shale ares in southern New York, but one can only assume that once the DEC has completed its review regarding those areas, the rules will be extended to them as well. In the interim, drilling in all areas is on hold pending action by the DEC.

The net effect of this ruling is that New York will not allow drilling for natural gas inside the state. Production of gas in New York could reduce fuel costs for all New Yorkers, it could reduce air pollution in New York, it could provide jobs for tens of thousands of unemployed New Yorkers, it could provide a cash infusion into the upstate economy (an area that has been in decline for the last few decades), and it could help the entire country by reducing dependance on imported fossil fuels. The New York DEC should be proud of all it has accomplished. Just because there were some unfounded claims that there might be a threat to the water supply from drilling two miles below the surface, DEC caved to the environmental protest groups and blocked drilling. Is it any wonder that New York, which used to be the biggest state with the biggest economy, is in such serious decline?

Stock of the Month

Today I am starting a new feature on the blog, the stock of the month. The first pick is Caribou Coffee Company (CBOU) which operates coffeehouses mostly in the United States. It sells premium coffees, teas, baked goods, and related products. The selection of this stock is not mine, however. It was the Consensus Partners stock pick for April. I bought it on March 29 and 30th for $6.68 and sold on April 20th at 7.65 At the moment, the stock is trading at 8.04. The interesting thing to me, however, is that Steve Brill of Consensus was still recommending it as a buy as of this morning. His thesis is that there is unusual activity in the stock which has been driving it higher.

I do not know why the stock continues to rise at this point, but I thought it was worth passing this on. Steve Brill has a great track record as a stock picker in my experience; he consistently beats the averages by substantial margins.

Disclosure: I have no current interest in Caribou stock.

Kick the Iran can down the road

Reuters this morning is reporting "Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday he expects new U.N. sanctions on Iran by late April or early May and dismissed the notion that Israel might attack the Islamic Republic before first allowing sanctions to take their course." Sound familiar? It should; it is just the latest in the line of "future sanctions" coming from the Obama folks.

When Obama got elected, he promised that there would be progress with Iran or there would be meaningful sanctions put in place. Obama scrapped planned installations of US defensive missiles in Poland, the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Eastern Europe in order to win approval of the Russians for the sanctions. While the Russians spoke kindly about the possibility of sanctions, they did not agree to any. Obama also dropped any pretense of there being consequences for the russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 in the hope of getting sanction approvals. The Russian response was the same. Lately Obama has agreed to a treaty reducing nuclear weapons which requires US reductions but no Russian reductions. The treaty even allows the Russians to walk away from it if the US goes ahead with introduction of defencsive missiles. Again, the Russians have not agreed to sanctions out of the United Nations.

Obama has been played effectively by the Russians. No progress on sanctions has occurred, but the Russians have gotten nearly everything that they wanted. And for NOTHING in return!

Previously, the Obamacrats were telling the world that there would be UN sanctions by December of last year. Now we hear that December has become late April or early May. That is in just two weeks. Do I beleive it? Let me put it this way: Biden said late April or early May but he did not say of what year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obamanomics -- what's next?

Earlier today I wrote about the economic policy followed by the Obama adminsitration for the first third of the term. So far, this policy has been a failure. Obama has kept things under control enough to allow the financial markets to quiet down, although a bit of bad news could send them again into a tailspin. Unemployment has soared way past the level promised by Obama if only the stimulus were passed. The economy is growing, but not at a sufficient rate to allow for the creation of any net jobs. So what is next?

Obama's answer is rapidly taking shape. First, there will be new taxes. Second there will be new regulations on the financial industry. Third, there will be no meaningful cuts in spending. This package of measures is bringing the USA one step closer to renewed economic decline.

First come taxes. Certainly, there is a need to close the deficit that threatens to cause hyper inflation, higher interest rates and the collapse of the economy. Obama's answer is new taxes. These proposals include the Value added tax which has gone from an impossibility to a distinct possibility in the space of a few weeks. Let's assume for the moment that the ultimate answer from the Democrats is to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and also to enact a ten percent VAT. This will mean that trillions of dollars will be taken from consumers and sent to the government to pay for its planned expenditures. Even if the Democrats do not enact further spending plans (unlikely), the net effect will reduce consumption and production of goods in the USA. People who are now just getting by will be driven under when faced with a ten percent rise in the cost of nearly everthing they buy. How many more houses will go into foreclosure as a result of this tax? How many fewer cars will be sold? How many jobs will be lost due to this tax? The results of this tax would be a severe blow to the economy. And there will be fewer new investments coming from the usual sources of growth in the economy since these folks will be paying much higher income taxes, leaving them with less assets to invest.

The proposed new Wall street regulations are equally as harmful to the economy. The truth is that the bill should be called the big bank protection plan. All of the new regulations will stiffle competition by making it much harder for a small player to enter the field. Indeed, the biggest beneficiary of this statute will be none other than Goldman Sachs, the biggest investment bank of all. Less competition will allow costs to raise capital for new investments to rise. this will reduce total investment and will reduce economic growth, job creation and even tax revenues. Again, this will harm not help the economy.

The lack of spending cuts are not by themselves harmful if there was a way to pay for all of the spending other than raising taxes. Unfortunately, there is not. Clearly, spending has to be cut in order to reduce the need for higher taxes. The spending which gets cut should be that which has the least effect on economic growth. For example, construction of infrastructure improvements should be kept at high levels. These facilitate growth and allow for job growth. Excessive and conflicting regulatory schemes, however, should be abolished so as to remove obstacles to growth. Entitlements should be rationalized in one major change that affects everyone. No one should be off limits from such an adjustment. Government workers benefits, pay and pensions should be reduced. Social security retirement ages should be changed to reflect the longer lifespan of people today compared to what they were when the program was last modified. Medicare fraud should be rooted out. medicare benefits should be changed to prevent unlimited use of the system for unnecessary procedures and doctor visits. Subsidy programs from the government should be cancelled. Every federal program should be reviewed and closed down unless it serves a valid current purpose, and this has to be done without regard to the constituency that supports the program.

Will Obama do any of this? The simple answer is NO! We are in for rough days ahead in my opinion.

Now they get it

The Democrats now have a proposed budget resolution despite their earlier decision to forego one this year. Apparently they realized that without a budget resolution, they could not use the reconciliation method to pass bills through the senate over a Republican filibuster. The budget will call for the AMT to remain unchanged thereby subjecting millions to increased taxes including many who will make less than Obama's promised minimum of $250,000. The budget will also call for the reintroduction of the full estate tax at 2001 rates.

Simply put, this is a strategm by the Democrats to get cap and trade and similar legislation passed. It has nothing to do with the budget. We are about to be treated to more unpopular legislation rammed through just like Obamacare. The Democrats may choose to do this, but my guess is that if they do, they will lose an additional fifteen House seats and two or three senate seats. It almost seems like the Democrats do not care if they keep the majority in either house.

Marcellus Shale

One of the most important economic stories in the country today is the huge reserves of natural gas found in the Marcellus shale formation. This gas field lies under much of Pennsylvania and continues on into New York and West Virginia and elsewhere. The amount of natural gas estimated to be in this field is enormous; enough to supply the Northeast USA for many decades to come. In addition, the cost of extraction of the gas is low enough to make these filed feasible even if the price of gas stays at its current low level.

The Marcellus shale is now one of the biggest drivers of employment growth in Pennsylvania. It is estimated that by the end of 2010, something like 100,000 jobs in that state will exist just to support the extraction effort, jobs that simply did not exist in 2008. In today's poor job climate, the creation of 100,000 jobs is of major importance. Beyond the job growth, the production also provides a substantial source of cash to the many landowners in this area whose land has been leased for drilling.

The drilling methods being used in the area are also revolutionary. From each drilling site, the equivalent of seven or eight old style wells are being created with the use of horizontal drilling in the shale at depths like two miles below the surface. This means that many fewer drill sites mar the landscape or require access for support.

Despite the enormous economic implications for the region and the entire country, the drilling the Marcellus shale is under attack from environmentalists (mostly from the type who never met a project of which they approved.) Thus, there is scare talk about how the drilling will contaminate ground water even though there is no proof of any such problem. There are claims that the drilling will despoil the state forests in Pennsylvania, again without any proof of a problem. Lawmakers are being enlisted in the anti drilling effort both in Harrisburg and Washington.

To say the least, it is strange that the environmentalist groups attack natural gas drilling. After all, when natural gas replaces oil, the amount of pollution and greenhouse gases are cut substantially. Natural gas is the easiest and quickest way to move towards a substantial reduction in greenhouse gases. Apparently, none of this matters. The environmental zealots seem to want to return to life as it was in 1860. No power, no electricity, no cars and not much else.


We are now just about one third of the way through President Obama's term in office, and I think it is important to review his economic policies both for consistency and impact. According to all the polls, the economy was the single most pressing issue in the minds of the voters in 2008, and it remains so today. So let's look at Obamanomics.

First, we need to understand the nature of the economic problems facing the nation. Unemployment is at unusually high levels and for a lengthy period not seen since the Great Depression. Second, the financial markets were in a state of panic when Obama was sworn in. Third, the USA runs enormous balanced of trade deficits. And fourth, the federal budget was in severe deficit when Obama took office (the projected deficit was between 400 and 500 billion dollars.)

On taking office, Obama offered his major solution to the economic problems, the emergency stimulus package that was rushed through Congress. Obama told the USA that passing the stimulus package was an emergency and could not wait for normal review in congress. Any delay would, in Obama's own words, allow unemployment to rise above 8%. Congress complied and rushed through a package of just under 800 billion dollars of spending and some tax cuts.

The stimulus package was sold as a keynesian measure designed to get the economy moving again. The administration said that not only would the 800 billion dollars grow the economy, but the keynesian multiplier would add an additional 1.5 times the spending to the economy as well. In other words, we would get two trillion dollars of growth from an expenditure of 800 billion dollars. this would be an immediate and much needed shot in the arm for the economy.

Unfortunately, it did not work. There are a number of reasons for this failure. First, much of the expenditure was for items that are one time spending with no lasting economic effect. For example, the biggest chunk of the stimulus went for funding local and state governments so as to avoid layoffs of state workers. While these moves delayed the inevitable reductions in state and local governments (which are hitting now), they did not do anything to increase the economic output of the USA. An extra clerk at the department of motor vehicles may make the lines slightly shorter, but it will not lead to any increase in production of anything. Similarly, many of the items for which expenditures were authorized were for grants to a favored constituency of the Democrats, university researchers. Thus, we have the famous grants for studies regarding salamanders, pigs, bats, and all nature of animals. These grants, for the most part function like the payments for state workers. They keep a few researchers employed but contribute nothing to the economy in the long run.

The second reason for the failure of the stimulus package was the inability to get the so called "shovel-ready jobs" under way. These construction projects, at least, were supposed to be infrastructure improvements that would improve the ability of the economy to function and therefore have a long lasting effect. Unfortunately, very few of the shovel ready jobs were able to be located quickly. this resulted in the stretching out of the expenditure to a point that we still have not spent half of the funds on these projects that were authorized. Beyond this, some of the projects approved were, like the bridge to nowhere, things that had no valid purpose. think of the millions spent on the Murtha Ariport near Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The late Jack Murtha was a powerful Democratic Congressman and got millions for his namesake airport, but the field serves only three half empty flights a day. There were many other political payoffs stashed in the shovel ready jobs, further diluting the impact of these items.

The third reason for the failure of the stimulus package is the budget environment in which it was passed. The high deficits left by Bush were multiplied by a factor of four under the Obama plans. This gave rise to fears of hyper inflation, soaring interest rates and a flight from the dollar. Whether or not these events take place is not the issue; rather, the fear of these events is sufficient to form a major drag on the economy. When people invest a significant portion of the savings in gold, it may be good for the price of gold and the few companies that mine gold, but it takes these funds away from those that could be invested in more productive assets. When businesses put some of their funds into foreign currency assets to hedge against a collapse of the dollar, it again takes investment assets out of the US market. When businesses attempt to forecast the profitability of an investment, fear of high interest rates makes any analysis look less favorable and thereby cuts the number of projects undertaken. All of these effects worked to push down economic growth, and all of these effects were directly increased by the Obama stimulus.

But the stimulus was just the first of Obama's economic actions. The second was his first proposed budget. This budget vastly increase spending by the federal government on all manner of programs. Here too, we heard from the administration about the multiplier effect of federal spending. This simplistic analysis, however, ignored the dampening effect of the incresed deficit discussed above, the fear that these actions induced.

Obama, however, ignored the fear of economic consequences to go ahead with his favored programs. He pushed cap and trade, a bill which was passed by the House and remains alive in the Senate today. This law would raise the cost of energy througghout the US by a high percentage. Again, even before the bill passes, the threat of passage is enough to discourage many companies from investing in energy intensive projects which might become uneconomic if passage is achieved. Obama also pushed through the healthcare bill. Obamcare is touted as a deficit recuction measure, but no sane person actually believes this. It depends on Congress actually cutting half a trillion dollars from Medicare, something no American has ever seen and likely will never see. In other words, since few, if any of the funding mechanisms are likely to remain in place, we will soon see an explosion of ever higher deficits which will further tamp down economic activity. A third maor action by Obama was his freeze of off shore drilling and his threatening of much natural gas drilling in the country. Offshore areas were opened up by Congress and President Bush in 2008 at the height of the oil price rise. Obama closed them again on taking office and has only recently reopened a small portion. Natural gas, a fuel where the USA has ample supplies, is being threatened by actions from the Democrats to stop drilling since it may contaminate ground water. This claim is nonsense, since there has been drilling for natural gas in this country for a century without such contamination. Nevertheless, Obamacrat Congressman Henry Waxman is holding hearings on the issue as part of a bill to stop drilling.

The net effect of all of this has been that Obama has made the economy worse not better. Unemployment soared way past the 8% maximum that Obama promised with the stimulus. The budget deficit has quadrupled. There has been no appreciable help to lower the trade deficit. the only bright spot has been the return of confidence to the financial markets. Of course, on that score Obama has just started a major push to demonize Wall Street and to "regulate" the markets. The proposal would losk in an advantage for the big Wall street firms like Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley by making it much harder for small firms to compete in the harsh regulatory environment. So, after demonizing the big boys of Wall Street, Obama would pass a bill that gives them more economic power, not less.

I think it safe to say that Obamanomics has been a failure thus far.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I promise

The opening lines of an AP story this afternoon read as follows: "President Barack Obama suggested Wednesday that a new value-added tax on Americans is still on the table, seeming to show more openness to the idea than his aides have expressed in recent days".

While running for President, Obama pledged and promised over and over again that he would not raise taxes on any American who made less than $250,000 per year. And Obama made it clear that the promise covered taxes of all sorts, NOT JUST INCOME TAXES. According to the ranking member of the House Budget committee, since taking office, Obama and the Obamacrats have enacted about $670 billion of new taxes with more than $300 billion of that amount hitting people making less than Obama's promised cut off number. It is safe to say, however, that the $300 billion would be loose change compared to any amount raised by a Value Added Tax. a ten percent national VAT would raise trillions of dollars with every American paying it.

Is it surprising that Obama is reneging on such a high profile promise? Not really. He thinks that he can simply convince everyone that what he says now is all that is important -- in essence, he has no accountability for his past statements. my guess is that Obama will soon learn that the American people are neither mesmerized by his oratorical skills nor are they foolish enough to believe him when he makes future promises. Time will tell (even if Obama won't).

What a think skin!

TV newser is reporting that Donny Deutsch has been dumped off of MSNBC because he allowed a guest to criticize Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz and did not stick up for them. This took place in a segment yesterday about angry TV and radio hosts. Hugh Hewett stated that he would not believe that MSNBC was serious about the issue until they did something about Olbermann and Schultz who he called two of the biggest hate mongers on TV. Deutsch said then that he was not taking anyone's side.

I watched the video of the interchange today and am of the opinion that it was nothing of great moment. Deutsch was non-committal about the whole thing, but Hewitt certainly has a point. I recall Olbermann's rant right before Scott Brown won in Massachusetts in which Olbermann screamed that Brown was a bigoted, homophobic redneck and many other choice names. I do not know much about Schultz since I have never been able to stay awake long enough while watching his show to get the full flavor of it. It truly is the TV version of the Daily Snooze.

In any event, I have to wonder why MSNBC felt it necessary to take this action. It daily televises endless criticism (much of it by Olbermann) of people appearing on other networks. Can it be that MSNBC is so thin skinned that it cannot allow any criticism of its front men like Olbermann and Schultz. I would think that MSNBC would be happy that someone actually mentioned Schultz since no one seems to watch his show.

Obama and Goldman Sachs -- Hiding the Obvious

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that President Obama would not return any of the nearly one million dollars that his campaign received from Goldman Sachs employees. According to Gibbs, Obama did not take any money from a Goldman Political Action Committee or PAC so there was no need to return the funds. what utter nonsense! Federal law strictly prohibits a PAC from contributing more than $5000 to a candidate per election. That means that a Goldman Sachs PAC could have contributed $5000 to Obama for the primaries and another $5000 for the general election. Obama got over $924,000 from Goldman directly from employees. Does Gibbs really think it matters if Obama to a pittance of $10,000 from a PAC? That one is stupid even for Gibbs.

Gibbs also says that those who contributed knew where Obama stood so there is no need to give back the money. Let's put this in context. The question of returning the money supposedly arose because Goldman is charged with fraud by the SEC. Accordingly, the contributed funds may be tainted if the fraud allegations are correct. Gibbs's argument is like saying that it would be ok to keep contributions from Bernie Maddoff because he knew where Obama stood on the issues. In other words, this is another Gibb's howler!

A false choice--part 2

Earlier today, I wrote about the squeeze on education budgets and the need for the teachers and staff to recognize that wage and benefit cuts were essential in the current economic climate. Results are now in from nearly all of the locales in New Jersey that voted yesterday on approval of proposed school budgets. In a major expression of unhappiness, New Jersey voters rejected 54% of the school budgets presented to them. This is the highest rate of rejection in over thirty years.

It seems that in New Jersey, governor Christie's push for a teacher wage freeze and a partial assumption of healthcare costs by the teachers (1.5%) has resonated with the voters. It certainly does not surprise me. Teachers unions will have to choose between layoffs and salary freezes. The old tactic of bemoaning the cruel fate of the children in order to get raises for the teachers will just not work any longer.

The Goldman Sachs case

On Monday, in "Wall Street -- the Obama drumbeat gets louder", I posted about the case brought by the SEC against Goldman Sachs supposedly for fraud but more likely for political help for the Obama Administration. It seems that many of those looking at the case came to the same conclusion. A good summary of these views from diverse sources are summarized in an excellant post on Real Clear Politics. the article can be reached by clicking on the title to this post.

The little company that could

Over the years I have invested in the stock of a large number of companies. One of my favorites has been a small California based food company called Armanino Foods of Distinction. I originally bought the stock at a split adjusted price of 23 cents per share and today it is 48 cents per share. More important, however, is that during that time, the stock has paid a dividend in the range of 7% to 10% per year. In the last year, the growth of the company has been accelerating. Today, the company announced both record sales and earnings (the announcement is linked to the title of this post.)

Armanino has been moving towards sales in large retail outlets like Ralphs stores out West. Today's announcement indicates that the company is close to placement in a number of other large chains that could move the company's sales substantially higher. Right now, I think this is a great stock to own. It pays a high dividend and seems likely to appreciate in value. The management is both shareholder friendly and extremely competent. And there is always the possibility of some other food company buying Armanino for a substantial premium in price.

A false choice

Now that the so-called stimulus money for the states and localities has mostly been used and those same governments are having to face major deficits, the media drumbeat has commenced for the choice between either a good education for the children or saving money. For example, just this morning CBS News broadcast a piece about the effect of budget cuts on education and highlighted it with a tearful plea by a Cleveland teacher not to put money ahead of the education of the children.

While this is the standard story that comes from the media in times when money is short, it is a phony choice. The issue is not how well to educate the children. The true issue is the proper level of pay and benefits for teachers and administrators in the school systems. More than 85% of all school expenditures are for wages and benefits, so the level of compensation directly controls the size of the school budgets. Decades ago, when teachers were paid low salaries with few benefits, there was a push to increase pay in order to attract better teachers. Today, however, teachers' unions have succeeded in wresting fat contracts from local school boards that give teachers high pay for nine months work with generous benefits that are much better than those available to most workers in the private sector. These levels of compensation, which may have been sustainable during an era of strong economic growth, can no longer be maintained without significant pain for the taxpayers. The solution to the problem, however, is not necessarily layoffs of teachers and larger class sizes. Much better would be a freeze in teacher pay and a cut in some of the more extravagant benefits. In essentially every jurisdiction across America, however, the teachers' unions have refused any such freezes or cuts. As a result, the school boards are left with cutting staff to close budget gaps.

So let's be clear: the teachers' unions are not allowing freezes in pay or cuts in benefits; they prefer instead to see some of their members fired. This gives the unions the ability to cry about the damage done to the education of the children resulting from larger class sizes, a potent weapons particularly when the cry is taken up by a complicit media. The school boards have no choice; they are required by law to balance their budgets. Tax increases are possible in some areas, but cannot be achieved in most parts of the country. So the real question is this: do teachers care more about the education of the children or about protecting every penny of their salaries and benefits? That tearful teacher from Cleveland should have been asked that question. Apparently, however, it is beyond the scope of CBS's thinking to even articulate it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Burns ahead

Today, the results of the latest polls in Pennsylvania's 12 congressional district were released showing Republican Tim Burns ahead of the Democrat Critz by 44-41. given that this is a special election to fill the seat of the late Jack Murtha, the results are just too close to call. Still, the idea that a Republican could be ahead in the polls at this point in this district which has been represented by a Democrat for the last five decades at least is striking. While the district did vote for McCain over Obama by a narrow margin, it is part of the bedrock of the Democrats in Pennsylvania.

I believe that some of the results are due to the poor campaign run by Critz. for example, Critz has refused to say how he would have voted on the healthcare bill recently passed in congress. He has also been mum on other issues of a similar nature. Critz seems to be relying on his money advantage and the Democrats advantage in the district. He also seems to have no problem insulting the intelligence of the average voter he seeks to represent. How can anyone ask for votes without telling the voters how he would have voted on the single biggest issue in congress of the last two years? My prediciton is that Burns will pull this out in a close race, and that my friends is a prediction that I never thought I would make.

The truth leaks out

Today on the politico website, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-California) who is a senior member of the House Financial Affairs Committee, lets the cat out of the bag with regard to the financial "reform" bills that President Obama is pushing in Congress. According to Congressman Sherman there is "unlimited executive bailout authority" in the bill. In other words, the bill which Obama says will end bailouts actually give Obama the ability to bailout any financial institution without any further action by Congress. Once again, the truth and the rhetoric do not line up.

I find it amazing that after Congress authorized the TARP funds of over three quarters of a trillion dollars to be used for financial bailouts, that the Obamacrats think this is not enough. Apparently, the Obamacrats are worried that if the Republicans increase their seats in Congress after the 2010 election, the Obamacrats will no longer be able to get unlimited bailout funding for their favored constituencies. the era of crony capitalism fostered by the Democrats might actually be forced to an end. As a result, they are trying to pre-authorize the practice of bail outs so that they will not need approval from a more heavily Republican Congress.

It is almost funny to hear Obama state that he is trying to pass the bill to prevent future problems when the true reason for it is to assure that Obama has the unfettered ability to continue to pour cash into his favorite receipients. Indeed, this is just what the big Wall Street banks want. There is, after all, a good reason why Wall Street personnel gave four times as much to Obama as they did to McCain.

It gets even more absurd

Thanks to Roberta Toporoff for alerting me to the decision of the British Advertising Standard Agency that ruled that ads for tourism to Israel that showed a picture of the Western Wall with the Dome of the Rock mosque above it could no longer be shown in Britain as they are considered misleading. According to the Advertising Standard Agency, the Wall and the mosque are in the portion of Jerusalem that was held by Jordan before 1967 and therefore they are not part of Israel. This makes a reader of the ad believe that they can see these sights in Israel when they are really not in that country. A copy of the article in the Jerusalem Post about this decision is linked to the title of this post.

This decision by the British gives rise to a simple question: Have they lost their minds? The Western Wall is the only remnant of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is the single most important religious site for Jews over the world. It has been under Israeli control since 1967 and was formally made part of Israel at that time. If one wants to visit the Wall or the mosques that are on the top of the Temple Mount (Al Aksa and the Dome of the Rock) one has to go to Israel. So the picture is of important sites in Israel which cannot be accessed from any other country. Still, the Advertising Standard Agency has decided that it needs to involve itself in foreign affairs. What a joke!

I do have a suggestion for the Agency, however. They should also ban any ad that shows the Falkland Islands since these are claimed by Argentina as part of that country. The Agency might also consider banning any ad that shows the Elgin Marbles or even the British Museum where they are located since these were looted by the British from Greece which would like these statues back. Just because the Elgin marbles have been in London for a century and a half is no reason for the British to mislead the world into thinking that these items can be seen in Britain when they are really Greek.

Of course, this may all seem like nonsense -- because it is nonsense. The Advertising Standard Agency should be ashamed of itself for such foolish behavior.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Finally some good news

It was announced today in Baghdad that two top Al Qaeda leaders in Iraq were killed by government forces. Both Al Masri and Al Baghdadi were very high ranking members of the AQI leadership. Their deaths are a serious blow to what is left of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Congratulations to the troops who killed these terrorists.

Will the lunacy never end

Well now we have gone further down the road towards a completely crazy media. Joe Klein of Time magazine was on Chris Matthew's show on MSNBC and said that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck had come very close to committing sedition. The link to an article recounting this in detail by Jeff Poor of News Busters is connected to the title of this post. Another guest then added Rush Limbaugh to the list of those committing sedition.

Are these guys completely nuts? Well, I guess the answer is yes, but still, sedition? Sedition is a major crime which entails calling for the violent overthrow of the US government. So are we to understand that disagreeing with the policies of the Obamacrats is akin to calling for the violent overthrow of the US government?

Klein is an educated man who should clearly know better. While it is true that he only said this on Matthew's show, so few people other than Matthews immediate family saw it, it is still offensive that a network would show this or that Time would allow Klein to continue at the magazine. And Limbaugh -- he was attacked because he calls the Obama Administration the "regime." If these folks had bothered to ever listen to Limbaugh, they woudl know that he is doing this on purpose since many on the left criticized using that word -- even though they all used it endlessly with regard to the Bush administration.

As far as Matthews is concerned, one cannot expect much of a filter to be applied. After all, Chris is the one who got chills running up his leg when Obama spoke. He is also the one who said that after a recent Obama speech, he forgot for the moment that Obama is black. Do we all get to call Matthews a racist for this last remark? Imagine if Sarah Palin said that she forgot that Obama was black. The truth is that most of the racial thought in this country now comes from the left. The rest of the country has gotten over the fixation with race that was a staple of American society for so many years. Indeed, the Democrats were the biggest purveyors of racism during the 19th and 20th centuries. Even Bill Clinton, who the Obama folks called a racist -- but who clearly is not a racist, had as his mentor Senator Fullbright of Arkansas who fought bitterly against all of the civil rights legislation of the 60's and 70's. And who can forget Obama's mentor Jeremiah Wright whose rhetoric was about as racially charged as anyoone in the country.

I guess I am just tired of the nonsense and the double standard. First, it is nonsense to call the statements of Beck or Palin sedition. No sane person could believe that. Second, it is ridiculous that the press does not take on these folks and drive them out of their prominent roles in the "impartial" mainstream press. Over the top rhetoric is a staple of American politics (too bad), but accusations of crimes goes beyond this. It ought to stop in my opinion.

Obama's sustained outreach to Islamic Americans

The New York Times reports this morning that the Obama administration is in progress with a sustained outreach to all Islamic Americans. One of the main points in the article is that Obama has stood by his nomination of Rashad Hussain,a 31-year-old White House lawyer, to become the United States’ special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. As the Times says,"in a video address, Mr. Obama highlighted Mr. Hussain’s status as a 'close and trusted member of my White House staff' and 'a hafiz,' a person who has memorized the Koran."

Of course, shortly after this nomination, it was revealed that in 2004, Hussain called a number of domestic terrorism prosecutions “politically motivated.” The cases he criticized included that of Sami Al-Arian, a professor in Florida who pleaded guilty to aiding members of a Palestinian terrorist group. So in essence, according to Hussain, it was political motivation that got Al Arian indicted and the guilty plea that followed. One does wonder why Al Arian admitted his guilt if this was just political theater.

Despite Husssin's support for an admitted criminal who was aiding terrorists, Obama is standing by his man. Indeed, according to the Times, the administration is also apologizing to Arab American groups for being too zealous in looking for potential domestic terrorists.

It seems that the Obama thinks that the tactic of apologizing for past success has worked so well abraod that he is implementing it now at home. What truly amazes me is that the Times writes of this in a laudatory fashion. Do they really think that average Americans think that Obama should stand by a man like Hussain or apologize for past US efforts to thwart terrorism? Maybe on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that works, but in the real world, it surely does not.

Wall Street -- the Obama drumbeat gets louder

The Democrats obviously think that they have found a new issue which will let them have an advantage over Republicans, namely: they are fighting Wall Street greed. Their plan is becoming clear. Thus, two weeks ago, the White House told Democrats like Blanche Lincoln to stop negotiating with Senate Republicans for a bipartisan bill to regulate financial institutions; the Democrats decided to do their own partisan bill. Then, obama stepped up his rhetoric against Wall Street. Then, in a supposed coincidence, the SEC files fraud charges against Goldman Sachs which, on their face, seem not to constitute fraud at all but rather 20-20 hindsight and unhappiness at the results of some trading. Now, we have today's leak that the SEC is investigating other investment banks for designing investments that were meant to fail. This generalization of the supposed wrong committed by Goldman actually goes way beyond the acts with which Goldman is actually charged. Goldman is supposed to have allowed the seller of the investment to speak to the selection agent for the bonds to suggest some which could be included in the final product. Since the selection agent is a subsidiary of the buyer of the majority of the investment, we also see that the buyer got a bigger say in the selection process than the seller. Still, Goldman did not, even according to the SEC, design the product to fail. It only let the seller participate in the selection process. For the media and with government leaks, however, niceties like accuracy and truth seem not to matter. Now, all of Wall Street designed rigged investments that were sure to fail so as to get money away from ignorant investors.

This subject is too complicated for most people to understand it. Indeed, it is perfectly designed for the demogogues of the Democrats to use it to bludgeon Wall Street. It leaves the Republicans with the choice of either going along to avoid being tarred with the Wall Street label or opposing the bill and end up looking like they are defending the rich. My guess is that we will soon see the Republicans go along with the bill. Strange isn't it that Wall Street gave the vast majority of its money to the Democrats? Nothing like having friends in high places!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The view from space

Amid the debates on healthcare, banking oversight, deficit spending, Iran, Israel/Palestinian problems, and the like, one subject that has received little attention is the recent decision by President Obama to cut back the space program by cancelling the project for Americans to go back to the moon. Obama instead wants to task NASA with dealing more with Global Warming and have the next space mission to be one to Mars in a few decades. This will supposedly save billions of dollars of federal spending in the next decade.

It is indeed strange that the place that Obama chooses to cut is one of the few where the task is uniquely suited to be carried out by the federal government. In many respects, the space program, like defense or border control can only be done effectively by the feds. Further, the space program is one of the few federal endeavors of the last 50 years that has paid enormous dividends to the country. Millions of today's jobs are a direct offshoot of the space program.

Let's take a look at just a few of the things that have come from the space program. Probably the biggest benefit from NASA is the computer chip. During the 1960's, NASA had to come up with a way to minaturize the computers needed to help fly the Apollo spacecraft that went to the Moon and back. NASA spent a great amount of money to conceive and then produce tiny silicon wafers that were made into computer circuits. Every computer in the world today uses these chips. Now it may be that chips like these would have been designed at some point, but they would have come decades later and perhaps in another country, thereby denying the USA enormous economic growth and advantage. Indeed, think of all the other devices like cell phones, ipods, cars, and the like that use these chips to great advantage.

A second invention stemming from the space program is closely related to the first; it is the computer network. On the Apollo command module there were a number of computers that had to be coordinated so that they could function as a unit together. NASA's need (and federal funding) was the impetus for the whole science of computer networks. Again, imagine what a world without computer networks would be like. There would be no internets, no ATM's, no e-mail; the list goes on and on. Again, computer networks would probably have been invented at some point, but we would be decades behind where we are now and the USA would not have its current advantage in these fields.

A third advantage is just in the scope of our scientific knowledge. Imagine what has been discovered by the Hubble telescope. Think of what we know about the moon from our visits there. Think of the increased knowledge of the earth from our satellite investigations.

A fourth advantage comes in our military strength. While NASA is not military, the discoveries made in engineering for various space missions have proven invaluable to the development of our military capabilities.

This is what Obama wants to defund. Thousands of jobs will be lost. These are not government clerks, but rather scientists, angineers and affiliated personnel who have toiled together for years to carry out these missions. After the USA spent billions to put this team together, it is crazy for Obama to simply throw them away.

Waxman melts

Right after the passage of Obamacare, a number of large companies announced that they would suffer substantial losses this quarter due to the new law. The removal of the tax credit for certain coverage provided to retirees required the companies to announce losses as these credits were removed from their financial data. The total loss to US businesses is estimated at 14 billion dollars. Almost immediately, Congressman Henry Waxman sprang into action to counter this bad news coming from the companies. His course -- hee attacked the companies head on. Waxman, chairman of a powerful House committee, ordered hearings in late April on these purported losses and the timing of their announcement. Waxman demanded that the CEO's of companies like Verizon and AT&T come to testify before the committee to explain why they were suddenly announcing losses and to provide the committee with all sorts of documents that would back up the supposed losses. Waxman publicized these demands in the media and clearly was trying to force the companies to recant and to prevent other companies from following suit. After all, it is more than slightly embarrassing for the Democrats to pass Obamacare only to be met by a sudden 14 billion dollar loss for US companies at a time when such losses only mean fewer jobs and less hiring.

Now, a few weeks later, Waxman has just cancelled the hearings. None of the media has covered the cancellation. Nor have I seen any articles in the mainstream media reporting on the report from the committee staff to Waxman which informed Waxman that not only were the announcements of losses by the companies correct, but they were required to be made by the securities laws. In other words, Obamacare passes and causes these companies to lose 14 billion dollars, they announce the loss as required by law, Waxman attacks the companies with great public fanfare making them out to be doing this for anti-Obama political reasons, Waxman drops the whole thing since he was clearly wrong, and no one in the mainstream press reports about this. Once again, the Democrats propaganda machine puts out a phony message and its allies in the media push the story. the American people are not told the truth, however, when the lie is put to the Democrats message.

It reminds me of the narrative of Tea party people calling congressmen names (untrue), Democrats being threatened for their healthcare votes (the only physical attack was on a Republican by the left), Goldman Sachs gets sued for civil fraud when the facts seems at first glance to show the complaint to be without merit, and many other things. wouldn't it be nice if the Democrats could just for once tell the truth about their positions and let them stand or fall on the merits of those positions? Don't hold your breath!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Goldman Sachs -- actual or political target

The action yesterday by the government in bringing civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs is a move which will be popular with the average American. After all, these Wall street bankers earn fortunes each year and did so while they took part in trading mortgage backed securities that were a big part of bringing down the economy. Clearly, it looks like the Obama Administration has a big winner here. Or do they? Thanks to Steve Brill, a keen observer of Wall Street, for pointing out to me the flimsy nature of the charges against Goldman. Essentially, the government claims that Goldman arranged for the sale of instruments composed of mortgages to buyers who were unaware that the seller of the mortgages was shorting the investment (betting that the value would go down) and that the seller was consulted in the selection of which mortgages would be included in the package. Thus far, this is troubling -- not because Goldman did not disclose the identity of the seller since such disclosure is very unusual, but rather because the seller was secretly involved in selecting the mortgages to be included. Late yesterday, however, Goldman released a statement in which it point out two very salient facts: first, there were only two buyers of these instruments and the one who bought the majority of the mortgages is the one who selected which mortgages would be included after discussing it with the seller. This means that it was not secret that the seller was involved in selecting the mortgages -- he did it in conjunction with the main buyer. Second, Goldman itself took a long position in the transaction and suffered a net loss of $90 million, hardly a good reason to commit fraud.

So if the facts are as clear as goldman says, why would the Obamacrats bring the charges? there, the reason seems clear. Right now the Democrats need an issue that can bring them some public support as a way to recover from the healthcare fiasco. what better way than to attack Wall Street. Who cares if the attacks are invalid. No one will know until years from now -- and most importantly after the November elections -- that the government's case is without merit. Indeed, when you tie in the fact the Obama asked senators like Blanche Lincoln last week to stop negotiating with the Republicans to come to a bipartisan deal you see that this is all part of a concerted plan to paint Republicans as the defenders of Wall Street and the Democrats as the defenders of the people. To say the least, this is comical in view of the overwhelming support that Wall Street gave to the Democrats in recent election cycles (better than 2 to 1 in favor of the dems). Still, with a matter as complicated as these mortgage backed securities, it is not surprising that the Obamacrats hope to hoodwink the nation into thinking that they are actually doing something valid. Hopefully, the truth will get out.

Twisting the numbers

In today's LA Times, timothy Rutten writes a piece about the polling done by the New York Times and CBS to see just who the members of the Tea Party are. Rutten concludes that the Tea Partiers are nothing more than the angry white males of whom much was written in the last two decades. While this kind of piece is standard fare for the left, rutten has twisted the numbers and just lied about the results in part in order to support his conclusion. The poll results can be found at Rutten's article can be reached by link to the title of this post.

I was annoyed by the blatant dishonesty of Rutten's piece, so I sent him an e-mail with my views which I reproduce below.

Dear Mr. Rutten:

I read your piece about the tea party polling data and what it reveals in the LA Times. Your piece is filled with errors. Doesn’t someone check facts at the LA Times. For example, you state that 75% of the tea partiers are Republicans over the age of 45%; if you look at the party identification question in the poll (near the very end) you see that only 54% of the total called themselves Republicans. That means that the segment of those 54% who were older than 45% cannot be a higher number like75%. Another example, you state,” Moreover, a majority told follow-up interviewers that, though they wanted "smaller government," they didn't want cuts in our largest social programs, Social Security and Medicare.” If you look at question 23 in the poll, you will see that of the 96% of the tea partiers who wanted smaller government, fully 73% favored achieving smaller government even if it meant cutting programs “such as Social Security, Medicare, Education and Defense”. Clearly, your article is wrong.

You also mislead by focusing on a question which asks whether or not this year’s taxes are too high, fair or too low. The high numbers for “fair” do not say anything about what the view is of next year’s taxes (once the Bush cuts expire) or of the $670 billion in new taxes that have been passed so far during the Obama Administration but which have yet to go into effect.

You also mislead when you say, “As it turns out, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans "supports" the tea party movement in any respect, and just 4% of all adult Americans have contributed to it or attended one of its events or both. (On any given day, you probably could drum up twice as many people who think the Pentagon is hiding dead aliens in Area 51.) “ What do you think the numbers would be if the same question were asked of all Americans as to whether or not they had attended a rally or contributed to a Democrat during the last 13 months (since the start of the Tea Party movement)? There is no way that it would come close to the numbers who have gone to tea party events. You know that, and I do as well. Nevertheless, you still try to belittle the tea party by twisting the statistics. The fact is that if 4% of Americans of voting age have either contributed or attended a rally, that is over 8 million people. The left and those who seek to belittle the tea party (like you) better realize that we are dealing with numbers here that are much larger than any seen for a movement of this sort in many decades. The last movements of this size were the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 60’s and 70’s. And remember, there are only 20% of those who say they support the tea party who have donated money or attended a rally. That would make the number of tea party supporters more like 40 million people if we want to extrapolate to the population as a whole.

One more statistic that you ignored: fully a third of those who support the tea party say that they usually support democrats or are truly swing voters. That means 13 million people fall into this category. And remember 97% of the tea party supporters say that they are registered to vote as opposed to the 80% of those who are not tea party supporters. (this 80% is derived from the question after number 108 using simple algebra). These folks are clearly more enthusiastic about voting. That means that we may be looking at something in the order of 25% of the electorate. The third who are not generally republican voters make up about 8% of the electorate. Just imagine what will happen in November if this 8% swings from the Democrats to the Republicans. Last time we would have had president McCain and a Republican congress.

In short, I suggest that before you write any more puff pieces analyzing away the tea party threat, you do some careful review of the actual facts rather than making them up as you go along.

By the way, I have not given money to the tea party nor attended any of their events. I do not support their views since I am not sure that I know exactly what those view are. I am sure that I do not like Obama’s policies which are leading the economy over a cliff.



Friday, April 16, 2010

What's next? Will Obama order Israel to commit suicide?

The recent news that Syria gave scud missiles to Hezbollah, thereby putting all of the Jewish state in range of attack, is now followed by some really disquieting news. According to the National, a newspaper in the UAE, Israel was planning to bomb a convoy from Syria to Lebanon carrying these very missiles but was convinced by strong words from the US not to do so. Given the source, no one can be sure if this is true. Nevertheless, it certainly sounds like the Obama administration whose moto seems to be "words not deeds". If those missiles are ever used to kill Israelis, the blood of those people will be on the hands of Obama and Clinton for preventing the destruction of these deadly devices. Hopefully, Israel will soon realize that Obama is all words all the time.

Well It happened

Yesterday, there really were plants sent by the Democrats to Tea Parties to try to discredit those in attendance. The effort seems to have failed for the most part, but there were some confrontations as the Tea parties tried to rid themselves of these plants (or to quote Harry Reid, "Evil mongers"). Click on the title to this post to see a short video of one interesting confrontation.

They must be kidding!

In this morning's Washington Post, Democratic pollster/politico's Doug Shoen and Pat Caddell argue that Democrats can avoid a bloodbath in November if they switch their priorities to those of the Tea Parties, namely: lower taxes and spending and general fiscal discipline. When i read this, I thought for a second about whether it was April 1, since it seemed like an April fool joke. Obama and the Obamacrats switch to lower spending, lower taxes and fiscal discipline. This is like going to a crack house and telling those who are their smoking crack that they would do better if they switched to drinking coffee. The Democrats are addicted to high spending, higher taxes and waste. They have done everything except introduce a spending bill entitled "No dollar left behind".

The truth is that during the Bush Administration the Democrats took up the cry of controlling spending and pretended to be fiscal watchdogs. Of course, the Dems never had to act on this rhetoric, they only used it to bash Bush. It had been over twenty years since there had been an extended period of total Democrat control, so the tax and spend philosophy of the Democrats was a distant memory in the public which enabled the Dems to get away with their posturing as fiscal watchdogs. Now, of course, their cover has be blown. No one in the USA (aside from those in a coma) could ever think of the Obamacrats as careful with spending. Indeed, it is clear that the Dems solution to every issue is to throw money at the problem haphazardly and then to throw some additional money to their special interests.

Caddell and Schoen are correct. The public has had it with never ending spending. Nevertheless, the Dems will not change. November will indeed be a bloodbath for the Dems in my opinoin.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good economic news

Reading the press today, I saw that the economy has turned the corner and is expanding rapidly into a strong recovery. Then came the statistics: New unemployment claims jump by large numbers for the second week in a row. According to the government, both weeks were thrown off by Easter. Last month it was rain storms and before that snow storms. Apparently, the government believes that so long as the jobless numbers increase it is due to some anomaly. Next we learned that the number of homes being foreclosed has also soared. No one has explained how this happened after Obama and the obamacrats had three separate plans put into effect to prevent people from losing their homes. It must be another anomaly.

The truth is that the economic statistics are mixed. We may see a nice recovery eventually, but right now, we are in a very fragile condition. One big blow to the economy could send us falling right back into recession. It would be nice if the media stopped acting as cheerleaders for the Obamacrats and instead reported the actual facts. Most people will not be fooled by "news" articles that recite propaganda, but the press should take its job more seriously. the public has a right to know the truth.