Friday, November 28, 2008

Coming to our senses?

There is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change, according to findings of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries, including Canada.

Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year.

Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend "extra time" on the effort, an eight-point drop.

And only one in five respondents - or 20 per cent - said they'd spend extra money to reduce climate change. That's down from 28 per cent a year ago.

Read it all here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Silent, but the pen still works

Evidently Ann Coulter recently suffered a broken jaw and now has it wired shut. This hasn't kept her thoughts from reaching those of us who revel in her way with words. Here is her latest and a sample is given below.

After being captured fighting with Taliban forces against Americans in 2001, Abdullah Massoud was sent to Guantanamo, where the one-legged terrorist was fitted with a special prosthetic leg, at a cost of $50,000-$75,000 to the U.S. taxpayer. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, Massoud would now be able to park his car bomb in a handicapped parking space!

Upon his release in March 2004, Massoud hippity-hopped back to Afghanistan and quickly resumed his war against the U.S. Aided by his new artificial leg, just months later, in October 2004, Massoud masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in Pakistan working on the Gomal Zam Dam project.

China has a problem

In recent weeks, a series of riots across central and southern China have flowered as disgruntled employees aired their grievances at the downturn.

Today, around 500 protesters rioted at the Kai Da toy factory in Dongguan in the Pearl River delta, flipping over a police car and trashing computers in a dispute over payoffs to 80 fired workers. Tens of thousands of factories across the region have already shut their gates.

Yin Weimin, China's Social Security minister, has revealed that employment is the Communist Party's number one concern in the downturn and said the "situation is critical". Unemployment is expected to rise from 4pc to 4.5pc by the end of the year and anecdotal reports have suggested that 3m people have already been fired in the industrial province of Zhejiang alone.

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Economic Musings

1. If you liberals think the federal government has a handle on how to fix the economic mess the federal government got us into in the first place, disappointment awaits you. They don't have a clue.

2. GM makes a profit on cars made in China, but the United Auto Workers don't operate there. The dems in Congress won't impose any hardship on the unions when they give the automobile companies money later this month.

3. If you have a mortgage on your house, you should look into refinancing in the next few months because interest rates are going to drop like a stone for those who qualify with good credit and equity in the house. Look for 4.0 to 4.5% interest rates on 30 year mortgages.

4. Inflation problems in this country will hit in 4-5 years and your money will lose as much as 50% of its current value. We should all buy some gold coins with the "free" money the government sends out in the so-called stimulus package.

5. Passive stock investors (those who buy and hold) have a really sad future before value comes back to the holdings. I suggest CDs as replacements.

6. This is going to be really a rough decade for the economy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I am going to Texas

A Russian analyst has predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong.If this proves to be accurate, I am going back to Texas.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Obama Choice

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Obamas are fortunate to have the means to send their daughters to private school, and no one begrudges them that choice given that Washington's public schools are among the worst in America.

Most D.C. parents would also love to be able to choose a better school for their child, but they lack the financial means to do so. The Washington Opportunity Scholarship Program each year offers up to $7,500 to some 1,900 kids to attend private schools, but Democrats in Congress want to kill it. Average family income for kids in the voucher program is about $22,000.

Mr. Obama says he opposes such vouchers, because "although it might benefit some kids at the top, what you're going to do is leave a lot of kids at the bottom." The example of his own children refutes that: The current system offers plenty of choice to kids "at the top" while abandoning those at the bottom.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bill O'Reilly Strangely Silent

On July 11, oil was $147 a barrel. Now, a little more than four months later, it's roughly a third of that. An OPEC emergency meeting to cut production and raise the price has had little effect.

Oil increased dramatically as global demand increased — as is now apparent, driven by an economy resting too much on a highly-leveraged financial system. With financial leveraging unwinding, the economy has fallen and so too the demand and price for oil.

Bill O'Reilly pompously intoned on his program that it was the evil speculators who were responsible--despite booking knowledgeable guests who tried to explain the concept of supply and demand over his constant interruptions.

We don't hear much from him these days. If speculation was a problem then, why is it not a problem now? If speculators were responsible for the price rise, why are they not liable for the price decline? The blowhard has fallen silent on the speculator theme.

A Blue State Problem

States have collectively racked up some $731 billion in unfunded liabilities for pensions and other retirement benefits, according to a study published last December by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Center on the States. In particular, the states have been promising their employees rich nonpension benefits -- such as retirement health and dental care -- and paying for virtually none of it. According to Pew estimates, states have put aside a mere $11 billion to fund $381 billion in future nonpension benefits. Illinois, which has the largest percentage of unfunded pension liabilities among the states, actually cut its contributions to pension funds by $2.3 billion in the flush years of 2006 and 2007 as stock market returns were rising.

Taxpayers are often erroneously told that there's plenty of money to finance new perks. In the late 1990s, to take one example, California's legislature approved a series of pension enhancements which the California Public Employees' Retirement System predicted could be funded almost entirely out of stock market gains. Today, of course, major stock market indices are lower than they were in 1999. California state and local governments are paying some $12.8 billion a year to finance public employee pensions, up from $4.8 billion in 1999, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's survey of government expenditures.

Who is going to be asking the federal government for a bailout next? The cities and states.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When will we learn?

All it takes is a little history lesson. Consider the steel industry, the airline industry, and now the automobile industry. Unions killed them all. The teachers have also used unionization to kill our education system and our federal workers have crippled our government agencies. Most of the damage is not as obvious as the industrial corpses, but the havoc is there nonetheless. Liberals still insist the unions prosper at the expense of the workers they presume to represent and an all the rest of us as well. When will we learn?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bailout for whom?

When a GM car comes off the assembly line, the workers who drive that car to the inventory lot have an annual salary of $100,000 per year. We just must save those jobs and those who work at harder jobs for less must pay for them.


The fires in California seem to be a given at some point every year with mud slides soon to follow and then there is the occasional earthquake. This string of natural disasters is just a background for the consequences of the liberal fallout from idiotic environmental policies, excessive taxation, even more excessive spending, riots by gays, demonstrations by illegals from the South, and so on. About the only place on earth that compares with this combination of disasters is Bangladesh.

Friday, November 14, 2008

MLK family disgrace

Zealous guardians of his words and his likeness, the family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is demanding a share of the proceeds from the sudden wave of T-shirts, posters and other merchandise depicting the civil rights leader alongside Barack Obama.

Isaac Newton Farris Jr., King's nephew and head of the nonprofit King Center in Atlanta, said the estate is entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees - maybe even millions.

"Some of this is probably putting food on people's plates. We're not trying to stop anybody from legitimately supporting themselves," he said, "but we cannot allow our brand to be abused."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Charitable Liberals

Larry King Cardiac Foundation

The CNN talk-show host and heart-attack survivor raises funds for heart operations for poor patients. But the charity spent $2.3 million on salaries, supplies, advertising, program expenses and gala dinners in LA and Washington, DC, in 2006, much more than the industry standard of 10% for fund-raising. Meanwhile, King employs his son, Larry King Jr., as the organization's CEO at a $200,000 salary - a hefty raise from the $66,667 he was paid when first appointed in 2004. Junior's current salary blows away the standard 3% of total expenses recommended as the ceiling for a CEO salary. Family members on charity boards are also a red flag. "I'm afraid that this just doesn't pass the smell test," said Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing for Charity Navigator, a leading charity watchdog group. King Jr., 46, said that the charity has only three employees and that he wears many hats. "I am not your typical CEO or president," he said. "I do everything, and I agreed to take this on because I really wanted to help my father." The group didn't respond to requests for financial information from the charity division of the Better Business Bureau, which asked for it after receiving calls from potential donors who wanted more details on the organization.

New York, New York

Let's tax the rich. That is the liberal solution to all budgetary matters and certainly one espoused in New York. Here in this "progressive" state, the credit crisis will be a particular problem since the state relies on such a high proportion of its income from wall street. The financial services industry employs between 2 and 3 % of the non-government workers in the state---the same as in the 1970s. The problem, however, is this is 212,000 people making $80 billion in wages last year. The taxes paid by these workers is progressive so there is a great dependence of the state on relatively few people. One estimate has 45,000 taxpayers in New York providing 20 to 30% of total income tax receipts.
So, here we have a year when these workers are being fired, the ones working are getting no bonuses, others are leaving for lower tax states, and attempts to meet the budget shortfall through budget cuts is being resisted by public employee unions, teachers unions, etc.
One thing to look for in the coming reaction to the recession is the howls from cities and states with powerful labor unions and progressive tax codes, e.g., California, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and others.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good Cartoon Chuck Asay

The Obama Bubble

They always end badly. Think of the bubble in the 90s when anything remotely connected to the internet went to the stock market heavens regardless of earnings or even revenue. Then there was the housing bubble when your house went up in value 10% between the time you closed and moved your furniture in. All you had to do was go see your friendly mortgage broker and he would refinance your note and even though you had no equity in the house, he would write you a big check. Now we have the Obama bubble where all of our hopes and aspirations are heaped onto his magical promise and prose. When this one breaks, it is not going to be fun and we must all pray that we survive as a nation.

Favorite Quote from Election post-mortems

"John McCain wanted to be nice and Obama wanted to be President."

Electoral Mystery

BestView has long been puzzled by the fact that our two biggest states, California and New York, continue to be miserably in debt despite rising taxes, continue to have net loss of businesses and poor and failing schools and yet, in large numbers vote for the democrats who keep doing this to them. The two most viable theories are the voters would rather pay for failing government than vote for Republicans who are anti-abortion or they are stupid. Presumably, both theories can hold at the same time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. If we wind up bailing out GM and other auto companies in Michigan without restructuring the auto workers union contracts, the consequences will be profound since everyone will come for their handout and high tax cities and states will lead the parade. Our dollars will soon be worth less than pesos.

2. The big election winner this month is George Bush. He gets to go home and leave the mess to others.

3. The message for Republicans in Congress and especially those whose term in Congress is coming to an end is they should leave liberal legislation to the Democrats and don't try to out spend them, for example. Think playing golf against Tiger Woods.

4. A compassionate conservative isn't one.

5. The liberals in Congress are going to be the source of great amusement in the coming months as they overreact to the election and fight amongst themselves.

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