Monday, February 21, 2011

Gaddafi's Scorched Earth Policy

Apparently Gaddafi has said that he built Libya and if he is to go, he'll undo everything he created. Thus he is ordering his own army, navy and air force to destroy his own infrastructure. Truly a reprehensible bastard, but we knew that. The US ought to intervene here and preserve the infrastructure of the country for the Libyan people - otherwise these people will have nothing and we can bet our keisters that the Islamists will move in and own it.

UPDATE: Aside from doing what is right, which I wouldn't expect the Obama administration to do anyway, they ought to do something practical. All this instability and uncertainty is driving the price of oil $105/barrel. A $90 barrel implies a gas price that is politically disastrous for Obama, now his administration's cluelessness and lack of assertiveness is spooking the oil market giving us a crude price spike of indeterminate duration and magnitude. He can't and doesn't have to solve things, even just some clarity on the US government's policy regarding a not-insignificant oil producer like Libya would keep the markets from getting to out of hand. But, as I have said before, Obama doesn't get how bad a runaway oil price is for his political future. I'm sure his political folks are telling him, but not having done anything relevant to life in his life, he doesn't understand it at a basic level. Or he doesn't care, which means he thinks he is bigger than life, because energy prices are a reality that all political leaders must bow to...eventually.

Friday, February 18, 2011

When the Other Side Recruits for You!

Between Wisconsin's union goons, their Democratic State Senators, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, we've got to be signing up (figuratively of course) thousands of new conservatives/libertarians/Republicans everyday. I mean seriously, who wants to be associated with these giant a) assholes, b) weenies, and c) dipshits? I don't don't know if Sun Tzu said to let your opponents do your recruiting for you, but he should have!

Metaphor for the Modern World: Special Courts vs. Dead Pirates

A shipping industry executive whose family has been in the shipping business for genreations understands the historical reality and offers the unvarnished truth on how to cure the $7-$12 billion plague of piracy: "sink their vessels and their pirates with man and mouse" and "kill them on the spot." Good to see at least someone who isn't infected with modern, ahistorical fantasties about how to deal with ancient problems of human nature, like yours truly. Of course, his company immediately trotted out the classic politically correct corporate responsibility bullshit in the name of PR damage control to keep the bien pensant hordes at bay. Contrast Mr. Stolt-Nielsen's response with the modern response of the political establishment...more courts. That sound you don't hear is hundreds of young, illiterate Somali men, who make a nice living hijacking $300 million assets using $300 fiberglass skiffs, quaking in their boots.

Major Self- Back Pat Time

Stephen Green is in self-back-patting mode, so I guess so too should I be. On the very day, I said "we bought ourselves a pig in a poke." I said gird your loins for big, winner-take-all fights. I said the stimulus would be an economic disaster. I said businesses will choose to expand not here but overseas. I said businesspeople, large and small, will hide under their desks (again) rather than expand and hire. I saw early just how destructive this man would be to our economy.

So, just like the VodkaPundit, I'm gonna have that self-congratulatory drink now as well...a nice one too, I can afford it: I also said that stocks will rise as Obama flounders. I hope you took that one to heart, I did.

Stagflating Away

What did I tell you back in August about "stagflation"? Um, that we had it. Conventional wisdom seems to be catching up with NBfPB...not the first time!

In Wisconsin, We Choose to Be Greece or Not

The WSJ's lead editorial today rightly puts the Wisconsin showdown in its proper context by referencing Greece and the labor upheavals that typically sweep through Europe. I contextualized where we are in this country with reference to Greece too. We are at a less advanced stage of rot as Greece and our upheavals will ultimately prove to be of a much milder ilk, but the disease is the same - a labor driven quasi socialist state - and the toll it takes is on civil society itself. I only hope that we maintain our distance from Greek-like levels of societal Wisconsin the rot has only progressed far enough that teachers do not feel compelled to teach, whereas in Greece the entitlement besotted labor mobs kill people.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Geez, Immelt and Schmidt Again ?!?!

Is there any other CEO who Obama will talk to? Maybe one of these guys? Change it up a's starting to look a bit, well, if the President wants us to think he doesn't have a toxic relationship with the business community, without actually having to, you know, not have a toxic relationship with the business community.

The Tone Is Set at the Top

Christie to Obama: Don't Kid Yourself, You're Small

Chris Christie, essentially, to Obama: "Big things? Pshaw. You are, in fact, a small man."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Treasuries In Real Trouble?

The US federal government's creditworthiness is in peril and deteriorating. There are credibly rising inflation fears. So what is keeping Treasury yields so low? The safe haven effect. But that leg of the stool might be getting knocked out too? IMHO, Treasuries are in trouble.

A wise associate of mine told me during the last financial crisis, "don't worry about this crisis, during this crisis we'll sow the seeds of the next one. That is the one to worry about and prepare for." Of course, the trick to being prepared (and to making a little money) is to figure out how we sowed the seeds and thus what the next crisis will be. I don't think it is any great mystery. In my view the next crisis is the sovereign crisis, more specifically, a US sovereign debt crisis brought about by the prevailing approach of spending gobs of money (and locking in much bigger government, call it the Rahm Emmanuel UnWasted Crisis Effect) to cure what was essentially a monetray panic. We've institutionalized a response that is no longer needed and that we can't afford (we couldn't afford the pre-crisis level, but at least we had breathing room - we've since removed any breathing room). Thus, US debt will get a hefty mark down in the coming years. There is no political solution to this problem, bondholders will have to grab the reins. I think it is coming, soon, so I've been upping the "short Treasuries" piece of my portfolio. The paradigm shift is here.

UPDATE: And when the people in charge are talking like might oughta have a short bet going...

"We're F**ked" Part 2, Coming to a Small Middle East Country Near You

OK, what did I predict for 2011 as far as Israel is concerned? Let's do a quick round up. Hezbollah says get ready to invade Israel. Jordan's foreign minister says Israel is "a terrorist state that will be destroyed." Egyptian "liberal" movement leader Ayman Nour says the Camp David Accords are over. Iranian warships will transit the Suez Canal. It would take only an enormous fool not to see the danger that is right in front of our faces, but I have every confidence that our President will prove worthy to the task. After all, he missed, as Niall Ferguson has pointed out and a lowly part time blogger could have predicted, that a widely loathed 80 year old dictator could invite instability. We will surely get another chance to experience just how f**ked we are having this Harvard- slick fool in office.

UPDATE: My God, I am spitting mad! Hide the children and pardon my French, but there is no way to contain my outrage....This bloody clueless SOB has done it. He's invited war, the fucking moron. We are on the brink of a war in the Middle East, as above noted, and he decides that the US, Israel's longest standing ally, the ally whose friendship has kept war at bay for decades, is going to go before the world community and rebuke its long-time democratic ally and undermine its sovereignty. Sheer fucking madness! We just gave the crazies in the middle east the go ahead to precipitate war against Israel (officially that is, we've been signaling it unofficially for precisely 746 days). We haven't hung a people and a nation out to dry this cynically and disastrously since we let Stalin have eastern Europe. It's the absolute heights of dereliction of duty at best and criminally immoral at worst. Bloodshed and misery are coming and Barack Obama is directly complicit - the blood is on his hands. Our farcical President has descended into tragedy. God help us.

OK...I'm a little calmer now...thank a nice Aussie Shiraz for that...when Michael Totten said that "War is coming again, and it's coming like Christmas" the only thing he left out was that Barack Obama would play Santa Claus.

UPDATE: PJM's Tatler blog gets it...great minds think alike, although Bryan Preston seems less inflamed as I. No French in his post.

Petraeus For Partial Credit

In my 2010 predictions, laid out in December of '09, I said that David Petraeus would quit his job as commander of forces in Afghanistan. Well, it seems all but official. I'm taking .5 credit, which after my .5 score for my Mubarak call, puts me at 4.5 for 8. Pretty good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

China To Spend $53 Billion Looking for Oil Offshore China

That's is, of course, in addition to the tens of billions they have lent Brazil to develop their billions of barrels, and the tens of billions they are spending to basically own all the oil in Africa, and the tens of billions spent buying up Canadian oil sands and tight gas plays. Thomas Friedman call your office.

UPDATE: Clearly the Chinese did not get the memo.

Obama's Green Zealots Claim a Scalp

The Daily Caller has the story at the top of its homepage...a major corporate casualty of Obama's viciously misguided and cynical drilling moratorium. It was a bad trade to begin with, even if taken at face value. It was fraudulently promulgated, extra-legally maintained, and continues to devastate the Gulf region's economy. It really is nothing short of criminal.

Maybe this Will Wake Us Up

Oh, I guess the issue of piracy (on the high seas that is) - and our sucking at addressing it - is now going to be cool or something...

Of course, before it was cool...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Funny How that Works

Here is a shocking story. The government of a country places importance on energy security and values the contribution that resource extraction makes to economic development. They institute incentives for both the national oil company and private partners to find and extract energy. And, lo and behold, they are successful. Truly shocking. When you want to look for oil and gas, you can find oil and gas! I'm simply amazed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Most Clueless Union in America??

Wow, I thought the teachers' and cops' unions had there heads in the sand about fiscal reality these days, but these guys might take the prize. They work at what is a cultural nicety in a hollowed out shell of a city, and they're gonna strike?? I like the arts as much as the next guy, but it's not a right, nor is it a necessity. Throughout history, these institutions have only ever existed through the good graces of their benefactors. Maybe they are reading from the "Tavern on the Green Union Playbook" because, you know, no job is better than a non-union job.

Whack That Guy with the ABBO Club

So there are some flip-flops and some typical politician warts to contend with...nothing out of the ordinary for anyone who's held office. But empty-suit is wrong and unfair. No person in the likely presidential candidate ranks has more real world chops and accomplishment under his/her belt. He may be hopelessly boring, white and Mormon, but nobody holds a candle to Romney's business and public service credentials.

Someone needs to whack Deroy Murdoch with the ABBO club. Look at what we are dealing with right now...I'll take Romney after about thirty-seven more flip-flops between now and next week. Say it my friends, ABBO.

"Horrible Error"

John Hofmeister agrees with me:

Former Shell Oil Co. president John Hofmeister said that the Obama administration's energy policies and regulations are strangling the U.S. economy and preventing the country from decreasing its dependence on foreign oil.

Testifying before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, the Houston businessman blamed the administration for restricting offshore drilling after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

"I believe that the decline" in drilling in the Gulf of Mexico "will be sharper and deeper than what anyone is currently projecting," he told lawmakers. "We have made a horrible error as a country."

Over to You Barry

Obama to speak shortly. What are the chances he even f**ks up the post-mortem? Definitely he will tell us something obvious by say it as though it was a massive revelation from his knowing mind to our clueless selves.

Mob Civility?

Believe it. Statism brings on the rot. Anti-statism cures it.

Don't Dare March in March, Bloomy

F You Mike Bloomberg. Don't show your face at the St. Paddy's Day Parade next month...

Murbarak Is Out

So indeed he is out. Not before going on camera before a rivetted world to make the very specific and clear point that he would not bow to President Obama's calls to step down. To do this and bow out a day later is an enormous stick in the eye. Good for Egypt, but what a sad spectacle for President Obama, and ultimately for Americans. Again, though, it is important to focus on the important things...Congratulations to Egypt and Egyptians. Good luck with the work that begins now. So, from America, from the real America - not the White House - God Bless and Good Luck....but but but, choose carefully for your own freedom's sake, do not replace one tyranny with another, and despite our well wishes for you today, you cannot expect Americans' friendship - real Americans, real people - if you choose a hate-based, intolerant path forward.

Update On Hosni's Line of Death

Given the surprising events of yesterday, it is now becoming clear that one of Barack Obama's critical mistakes, among many, in handling the Egypt crisis was to make an aggressive call for Mubarak's resignation. The mistake doesn't emanate from the political choice between a known stable allied regime and an unknown potentially risky new order in Egypt. The mistake emanates from a failure to understand cultural and political nuances at play in the Arab world. Mubarak's speech made no bones about him not taking any marching orders from any outsiders. Gee, who could he mean? So, at least one factor in his defiance, clearly, was the desire not to be seen as a US puppet. His Arab bravado was in full flower and Obama's failure to understand that he would trigger this bravado by calling on Mubarak to leave the stage ultimately stiffened Mubarak's intransigence. Murbarak may ultimately go, but at least he's laid down his marker for the all the world, mostly the Arab world, to see - he will not take any guff that punk Obama. This episode only adds to the body of contrary evidence building up in against that "smart as a whip" thing.

UPDATE: Maybe the Saudis had a point about not humiliating Mubarak. Then there is this from Israel: "Former Israeli Defense Minister and Labor Party member Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak realizes “this is the end of the road,” but is looking to leave in an honorable fashion, AP reported Feb. 11, citing Ben-Eliezer’s interview with Army Radio. Ben-Eliezer, who has known Mubarak a long time, spoke with the embattled president hours before his speech late Feb. 10. Another former Israeli defense minister and current opposition lawmaker, Shaul Mofaz, agreed Mubarak wants “to end it on his feet and not on his knees.” For all his putative smarts and education, you would have thought Obama understood the concept of letting Mubarak "save face." If that elemental understanding of human nature, and the extent to which it matters to different cultures, is over Obama's head, even I (I of the 2008 "pig in a poke" call) am shocked into a mild depression at the inept boobishness of the man our nation placed into the highest office in the land.

btw, the Robin William's gag still applies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Robert Springborg = Expert = Exactly Wrong

The geniuses (Springborg has editors I assume) over at Foreign Policy Magazine are proven exactly dead wrong in exactly eight days. Yet another cautionary tale about all the "experts". Good thing we listen to them less and less.

Just for shits and giggles, note that FP is "now published by the Slate Group, a division of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC". Keep taking those Kaplan courses, otherwise the world may be deprived of the prescient analyses of the ilk that Foreign Policy provides!

UPDATE: Wow, shocker. Murbarak says: "F**k you all, and f**k Obama...and did I say f**k you all?" He just raised the odds of getting Ceaucescu'd. All remains to be seen. Terrible development.

UPPDATE: VP Suleiman: "Go home, trust us."

UPPPDATE: Critics are dumbfounded, some even saying that Mubarak must be senile and thus is removable. Obama said we are watching history in the sh*t Sherlock. Who was it who said that Obama has a way of stating the obvious as if he was giving us an important discovery? Noonan, Althouse???

UPPPPDATE: OK, I'm back to maintaining that FP and Springborg are just took nine days to prove they whiffed.

Hosni's Line of Death

When Hosni Mubarak defiantly said he would die on Egyptian soil, that was the precise moment I knew he was cooked. It is precisely that kind of display of Arabic bravado that tells the world to not believe a word of it, and sure enough, he is now shopping for a nice safe place to live out the rest of his days enjoying an eleven figure Swiss bank account. It all puts me in mind of Robin William's classic Khadafi routine (or is it Gaddafi, or Qaddafi ??) ... "this is the line of death, you cross, you die! OK, now this is the line of death.." Check it out, it's a classic. Also, savor the days before Islamists got hip our perchant for political correctness and used it as a weapon against us to silence us. RW is refreshingly politically incorrect. He'd be stabbed in the streets for this kind of stuff today. Enjoy.

Sarbanes-Oxley Law Achieves Logical Conclusion

Nine years later the culmination of the Sarbanes-Oxley law has finally arrived. I have chronicled the slow decline of the US's poistion in capital markets since it's passage. There were brief moments of hope that the law would be muted by some reforms or even scrapped. Alas that was too optimistic and now the consequences are all but irreversible. One more lesson in what happens when we legislate in haste after a crisis and when we "solve" a failure of regulation with more regulation. Sigh.

Vindication on Ethanol Silliness, Now Can We Stop the BS?

Long ago, when George W. Bush said "ethanol from wood chips and switchgrass", I said "God help us." I even said to beware of slick venture capitalists with Democratic ties, like Vinod Khosla, looking to grease their bets with taxpayer cash. (and I actually drew some fire for my criticism of Khosla)

Well, the WSJ today has the 110% vindication of Donny Baseball in re this fiasco.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

S&P Cuts New Jersey's Credit Rating

Downgraded. As big a fan I am of Chris Christie, I don't think he can stop the inevitable. He's come too late and the die is cast. As I've said, politics can't solve these problems, only the bond market can.

UPDATE: Going Robert Half

Piracy About As Brazen As It Can Be

Well, the punks managed to hijack a $100 million ship laden with likely $200 million of oil. And it wasn't as if this ship was a remote loner way out at sea. They nabbed this one 350 miles southeast of Muscat in the Gulf Oman, basically right at the doorstep to the Persian Gulf, where 40% of the world's sea-borne oil transits. The only more brazen it could get is if they boarded the ship at the dock and sailed off with it. Civilization is asleep.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Claude Raines Award of the Day to Freaknomics Guy

Stephen Dubner is shocked- shocked! - that the academy is a nearly monolithic collection of lefties. Dubner is fooling no one - these guys are neither shocked nor sobered by this putative revelation. On the contrary, I wouldn't be surprised if Tierney's column hasn't already spawned an effort to get those last few righties that slipped through drummed out of the professoriate.

ABBO Is Catching On!!

Escape from the Dead End Job, A Marcellus Story

From delivering pizzas to meaningful pay and career prospects, but let's choke off fracking and send these guys back to the pizza parlor just like we're doing on the Gulf coast. So do you believe the President when he says he's open to any ideas that will get Americans working again?

Another Year, Same Tax Lies

Here we go again. The media is selling the poppycock that taxes are puny. Note the happy contrast between now and the Bush years. Seems like I have to address this bloody issue every year. Tax receipts to the federal government are low because of the crappy economy and people are likely engaged in tax avoidance of every legal sort...I know I am. Furthermore, a meaningful portion of tax receipts is capital gains taxes, which can be highly variable from year to year, and investors were completely in the dark about what rate they would pay on capital gains. Finally, when the Republicans took the House in November and the issue looked to get resolved, a wave of tax selling that likely would have occured at the end of the year did not happen as investors got more breathing room to defer gains, bringing down potential tax revenues for the government. So let me repeat, tax receipts and the tax burden are not the same thing, and the relatively low amount of collected taxes in no way argues in favor of current taxation policy.

UPDATE: Check this out from TaxProf...told ya' so.

Leftist Political Leader Has Oil Field Named After Him

Popular lefty politicians usually want hospitals, schools, roads, and sundry august institutions named after them to burnish their legacy. So it is a little strange, and yet refreshing, to see that Brazil's immensely popular former president has had his name affixed to an ... oil field. Brazil's massive Tupi oil field, that has spawned a not-to-be-believed gold rush of development of Brazil's oil sector, has been renamed "Lula". Every future hospital, school, road, etc. just may owe its existence to the vast national wealth created by tapping Brazil's oil deposits, so Lula must know that his name cannot be more at the center of Brazil's future as it is with this memorial. I guess lefties can appreciate the indispensability of abundant, cheap energy to economic growth and higher standards of living after all. Just goes to show you how in thrall our lefties here in the US are to a declinist radical green agenda that this would be inconceivable here. I said climate change legislation was doomed due to national greatness agendas that were based on oil wealth, but this is the perfect metaphor for what I was talking about. If only all those numbnuts at Copenhagen a few years ago had known that a massive oil field would be named after the left of center President of one of the world's largest and fastest growing economies, then we all could have saved ourselves alot of time, effort and heartache.

UPDATE: Apparently the global warming/climate change/climate chaos crowd is still gnashing its teeth over this stuff. Give it up guys, they're naming oil fields after lefty pols now! Get a clue, your agenda is sunk. Sunk as in rotting at the bottom of the ocean. Move on.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Let's Hope It's a Trend

Wow, we are only in February and my 2011 predictions has already achieved even more likely status given this.

Move Over Lincoln, FDR, Mandela...

Nobel Peace Laureate, Lightworker and Smartest Man Ever Elected to Anything proposes brilliant new solution to intractable social/political challenge...phony sick leave!!!

February 7, 2011
U.S., Egypt: German Clinic Considered For Mubarak
A U.S. government solution for an end to the political chaos in Egypt may allow a dignified departure for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by traveling to Germany for a “prolonged health check,” Der Spiegel reported Feb. 7. Talks are reportedly under way with suitable hospitals, according to sources close to the Max-Grundig clinic near Baden-Baden.

Should I throw in a "smart diplomacy" joke in here just for shits and giggles? This almost as good as "weatherization as economic stimulus to combat 10% unemployment." This is your President America. When you treat elections like American Idol, this is what you get. Enjoy.

Gas Price Update

Hot off the presses, last week was a bad week for gas price inflation. We took an almost 1% price rise on the chin last week and are up 18% in the last year, and it was worse for diesel (btw, BMW's diesel ad during the Super Bowl was clever, especially the takeaway message under the BMW logo that "Diesel Is Ch-Ch-Changing") with a 2.2% gain last week and a nearly 27% gain in the last year. Ben Bernanke has alot of culpability here, but guess what else is, well, nearly a year old? Brace for more of the same. I still can't believe Obama's political people don't get this, they are gambling with one of the iron clad rules of politics here.

UPDATE: Hey, I love the libertarian-leaning alternative media, but even they are only picking up on this now. Where ya' been?

Obama to Biz: I Can't Spread the Wealth Alone, So Please Help Me Do It

Is it just cynical (and not-very-pro-Obama) ole' me or did the Chamber of Commerce speech today not even attempt a warmed-over centrism but just offer a six-one-way-half-dozen-the-other formulation of "spread the wealth"? Nope, not just me. He's not even hiding it any more, although to be fair, I think this speech was probably mostly for the consumption of his socialist weenie base. After the speech, he was no doubt handing out cards with Bill Daley's phone number on them saying "Got a sticky problem, need a waiver? Not a union? No problem. Call Big Bill's Crony Capitalist Favor Emporium. Offer Valid thru 11/6/12"

Thank You Sir May I Have Another

After Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, Cote D'Ivoire, Gabon, South Korea, Albania, Pakisatan, Iran, what's one more hot-spot (with bonus actual bullets flying)...

Why all the chaos all of a sudden?

First Hollywood, Now Madison Ave Treading Cautiously

I dunno...I actually liked seeing Roseanne Barr get throttled by the swinging log. Paired with the overt disapprobation of whiny New York jews, you'd think liberal taste makers are hip to the mood of the country or something...

Again: You Heard It Here First

This analysis suggests that boringness, managerial compentency, maleness (and left unspoken, "whiteness" in the non-racist sense but sense that blacks refer to as "acting white", as in studying with the goal of getting good grades) might be assets in the 2012 presidential race after the failure of Hopenchange. So basically rock star out, proven manager in. Where have I heard that before?

NJ Senators: Forget Christie, We Insist on Wasting Billions on Rail Project

New Jersey's two U.S. Senators, the limosine liberal octogenarian Frank Lautenberg and loathesome machine hack Bob Menendez, are attempting to make Chris Christie look bad with a new plan to build a rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River to replace the project that Governor Chris Christie cancelled due to skyrocketing costs. On the surface it may seem like a shrewd political gamble, but that is if you look at politics today through the prism of the politics of the last several decades. The days of politics as a pork-barrelling pissing contest are over but Lautenberg/Menendex seem to think that they can trump the Governor by ballyhooing that they brought home this elephantine project whereas Christie could not. First, the project is just a plan and is miles away from approval, funding and years away in terms of reality, so the Senators are bringing an imaginary weapon to this fight. Second, the essential difference seems to be that they've gotten the federal government to foot the bill, which a) was what Christie said could make the project go forward, b) will raise the ire of federal taxpayers and lawmakers who are not from New Jersey (the nation needs a new Big Dig to rail against), and c) Christie could counter with a claim to victory, "See, I called the Feds bluff and now they are paying for this" he could say. All in all, if this was an attempt to one-up the Governor, it's pretty weak. Or maybe it's not, maybe it is an attempt to spend yet more billions to bring some form of relevancy to the Frank Lautenberg Seacaucus Junction which is the biggest useless, pork-barrel eysore of a rail station you have ever seen. I travel through the Secaucus station fairly often and I never see more than twenty people on the platforms, which stands to reason because there is no reason to go to Seacaucus and nobody really lives in Seacaucus, it's a warehouse hub served by trucks.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Eagle Flies at Dawn, The Fat Man Walks Alone...

Was just watching Sarah Palin give her speech at the Reagan Centennial and she mentioned an "Army of Davids" who have risen up to say "Don't Tread on Me". Savvy political prognosticators will understand the coded message at once...mobilize the troops for Palin/Reynolds 2012!!!!!!!!!!

Haven't you noticed all those, "Why They'd Rather Talk about Sarah Palin" posts lately????

It all makes perfect sense!!

John Galt Yields Stage to Robert Half

Going John Galt has become Going Robert Half.

In the depths of a recession and financial crisis that was being exploited by radical progressive politicians who found themselves with unfettered power, our creators, innovators and productive citizens embraced the notion of rebuting this assault on free enterprise and personal liberty with an economic boycott of sorts - a deceleration of their risk-taking/spending and a self-imposed restriction on offering their talents into the economy - that went by the phrase "Going John Galt" after the famous Ayn Rand character. See here (my own term for John Galtism is Job Market Vigilantes).

Well, we are two years out and we've made, well, er, um, progress if you can call it that. We're not going Galt anymore, we are going Robert Half. Robert Half is, of course, a company that will hook your business up with temporary workers. Judging by this (see #2) it seems that they are busy these days. With Nancy Pelosi defanged, Barack Obama sporting pedestrian approval ratings, and a global economy that decided it couldn't afford to indulge in the progessive rubbish that we Americans foisted on ourselves (here, here, and here), the business climate is looking less awful, so going the full Galt may not be justified. But going the full Milton ain't justified either, after all we are still living with the spectre of the regulatory blobs of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank, Obama's EPA is in overdrive trying to raise our energy costs, and the rule of law is still being flouted from on high. So how does one make a halting, tentative commitment to the prospect of better times? Hire temps. If Obamacare survives judicial muster (or if Kath Sebelius is ordered to just implement it anyway) or if the economy shows signs of weakness or if another regulatory push seems like it's making traction, as a business operator you'll want to have the flexibility to ratchet back your commitment in a hurry. With temp workers, you just say "bye-bye", no difficult firing procedures, no wrongful termination lawsuits, no pension obligations, no union goons protesting layoffs. Easy peasy Japanesey. Thus, we are now Going Robert Half.

Polarizing? Really?

Has he left anything out? Not off the top of my head, but with only 253 words surely he couldn't have gotten it all...

The Chris Christie Revolution

Chris Christie is a big guy, but he's also a big deal. I'll cut right to the meat: The Governor of the great state of New Jersey has made it acceptable to take on the public sector unions, whereas it was taboo prior to his arrival on the scene. While many of us knew that what was bankrupting us was out of control spending directly related to obscene union contracts for civil servants, it was socially unacceptable to say so publicly. Thanks to Christie, it is socially unacceptable no longer. This is major progress towards the fiscal rectitude that the nation needs at every level. I'm seeing it first hand. Last year, my little town had a budget brouhaha over its school budget. We were over a million dollars in the hole and the school board was looking at cancelling field trips, which cost $14,000 apiece. The merits aside, it was appalling to see our school board, comprised of putatively intelligent and accomplished individuals, adressing a dollar bill problem by looking for pennies and nickels in the sofa cushions. Meanwhile, there were renegotiations going on with three unions that represent school employees, and yet the Board avoided any mention of these negotiations as the central focus of our budget problems like the plague. No one wanted to even talk about the unions and the teachers' compensation. Let me break here to mention that my town is no struggling hamlet, it's a rich town and we take the school damn seriously, parents are very involved, and our community has stewarded over decades a school that is a dream employer for its employees. If you have chosen public education as your career, working conditions don't get much better than in my town's school - great facilities, great kids (almost zero truancy), involved parents, and a commitment to the school's excellence. Thus it is not by accident that educators are clamoring to work at our school, we get hundreds of top applicants for each job opening. Yet the local teachers' union takes its orders from the state level union and continues to make outrageous compensation demands because they know no other way. The state level union does not allow local teachers to moderate their stance based on the working conditions of the individual school, 'who cares if conditions are great, push hard' is the union's stance; and, everyone has been cowed for years into not criticizing the union for fear of looking "anti-education." Furthermore, the state union arms the local union with the data and the fortitude to make their demands because we are a rich town. In the end, the unions hypothesize, we'll pay. For years they've been right, pushing the limits so aggressively that budgets have exploded and things have gotten obscenely unaffordable even in our rich town. Last year it looked like they'd be right again, but in less than a year though, I've noticed a sea change in attitudes. People are engaged, looking at the issue clearly, and are no longer afraid to examine unionism in the schools critically and discuss it openly. People are starting to understand again that our schools are not the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and that in our society employees don't bark demands in a "take it or leave it" manner to preferred employers, preferred employers ought to be treated with the respect they have earned. I attribute this to Chris Christie. The change could not have been this pronounced if it weren't for the spark he lit, and now everyone from Michael Bloomberg to Andrew Cuomo is targeting public sector unions as the correct source of budgetary problems. The taboo has been broken and there just may be hope for us to regain fiscal sanity, thanks to a little Trenton Thunder.

Proof Is In the (Canadian) Pudding

The top headline at Drudge is juxtaposing the 36,000 jobs added in the US in January with the 69,000 jobs added in Canada. Doubtless that I need not point this out to the ultra-savvy regular readership of NBfPB, but if there are any stragglers on the site let me point out that Canada has a population of 34 million while we have 300 million. So let's adjust those numbers for population and Canada's job addition is equivalent to 609,000 jobs. In other words, they are leaving us in the dust, ya nyooh. Doubtless due to alot of factors, but it is worth noting that Canada a) had no such crazed policy of promoting home ownership at nearly any cost and thus no Fannie Mae or Freddie and thus no reationary, job-killing, regulating of their banks into the ground, b) Canada is loosening the government's grip on healthcare, moving in a more market-friendly direction, c) they have a strong currency, d) Canada is drilling, drilling, drilling, unshamed to explore for and develop wondrous hydrocarbons, and e) they are signing free trade agreements. Pretty much the exact opposite of what the US is doing in terms of economic policy. The proof in the pudding my friends.

UPDATE: In re jobs, the man himself, Rick Santelli, rains truth down on Steve Leisman's annoying poppycock (again). (Note: Someone pointed out to me recently that NBfPB has taken on a noticeably less family-friendly tone with a rougher lexicon, so I am taking pains to reverse trend, it's just that developments of late have me so incensed.)

Quote of the Day

"There was a time when journalists could be assumed to be literate, even if perhaps deficient in more specialized areas of knowledge." In other words, at least they were dopes that could write, now they're just dopes.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

UN Chief: "We Suck"

Ban Ki-Moon today admitted that the United Nations, representing the collective will and resources of the entire world, is getting its ass kicked by gangs of illiterate third-world punks. Not holding my breath that this admission of failure will result in the adoption of the Donny Baseball Anti-Piracy Plan.

Job Market Vigilantes Graphed!

Remember my classic post "Job Market Vigilantes" and its siblings (here and here)? Well Mark Perry has found a graph that illustrates the work of the job market vigilantes - second graph here. The GDP trend would indicate businesses have cause to hire, but nope. Not with all the regulatory attacks, thuggery, rhetoric, extra-legal maneuvering, and two giant 2000+ page bills that nobody has read. They need to have confidence in the rules again in order to hire and look now further than yesterday's news out of the Gulf coast to tell you where business's confidence in the rules ought to be. I've said this in so many ways. The jobs won't come back until the entire modus operandi of the Obama administration and everything they stand for are things of the past.

I Was Lowballing the Energy Disaster that Obama Has Wrought

I said $3.25. The experts are saying $3.50. Meanwhile our President's Interior Department is in contempt of court for illegally shutting down and keeping shut America's most prolific energy producing region, piling up costs to the economy that will ultimately be measured in the tens of billions. But he's going to win re-election in a walk...or so the media keeps telling us.

Moratorium Judge to Obama: Cut the BS

Remember when I introduced you to the company that was "losing by winning against Obama"? Well, that company may actually win in the end. The judge presiding over the case is starting to get fed up with the Obama administration's bullshit.

But this case is just one of many highlighting the Obama administration's loathesome disregard for the rule of law.

Utter disdain for our rules and laws, destructive economic policy, and bumbling foreign policy...but he's going to get re-elected in a walk? Are we that stupid?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Egypt Has a Point

Egypt: U.S. Demands Are Contradictory - Official
February 2, 2011
An Egyptian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Feb. 2 that there is a contradiction in U.S. demands for both an orderly transition of government and for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately, AP reported. The official said that Mubarak’s decision not to seek re-election in September was not a result of pressure from the United States.

You've heard of "Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick two." Well, in the world of state craft in the Middle East, where nothing is ever cheap, we've a stark choice - good or fast. Indeed orderly/stable and immediate are contradictory. So Obama's administration policy fails on the most basic test of logic. Smart Diplomacy! Ugh.

Arm of the Liberal State Eats Its Young

When surveying the vast expanse of the economic world , there are few more potent icons to act as a rallying call as the "family farm." Like all things with liberals, an activity is only good based on who is engaging in it. So just like free speech is only good depending on who is doing the speaking, farming is only good depending on who is doing the farming. Not all farms are good you see, only the "family farm" is worthy of admiration and, thus, when faced with challenges government protection. "Save the family farm" has thus entered the panoply of lefty "Save the ..." rallying cries and a superstructure of subsidies and regulations have been setup in the name of saving the family farm. One type of family farming that is particularly beloved of the left is dairy farming (don't know why, maybe it is all the lefties in Vermont and Wisconsin or because cows are so cute), so you would think that a left of center government would not be the font of policies that demonstrably harm the sacred family dairy farm. Well, you would be wrong because the mindset of a regulator is programmed to regulate, re-regulate and regulate some more, period, with no thought to the outcomes.

So this spilled milk brouhaha is typically depressing but I don't lament it actually, for this is the process by which liberals become conservatives (allow me to use the crude modern political labels of the day, but I really mean - how "statists" become "classical liberals" also known as libertarians). It is through this kind of display of intervention-inspired stupidity that makes previously politically naive people scratch their heads. This is how utopian dreaming and scheming meets everyday reality and spawns the vast multitudes of "former liberals mugged by reality." It is a necessary birth process that, in fact, mimics the natural birth process - it feels good initiating it, it morphs into prolonged discomfortable, culminates in severe pain, but ultimately is needed if humanity is to persist. I expect that this big government, regulation happy stupidity will ultimately backfire. Too bad for the family dairy farmers in the meantime.

Fools Abound at CNN

Who is this LZ Granderson fool? Dick Cheney has always supported gay marriage and Barack Obama has never supported gay marriage. Most people Barbara Bush's age support gay marriage, so why would expect otherwise from her? It is because her last name is Bush? What, she can't have an opinion that differs from her father's? Well, that's quite ignorant and chauvanistic all at the same time. Then there is this inanity: Obama has done more for the LBGT community than any president in history. What exactly? Reluctantly and clumsily encourage Congress to repeal the Clinton-era DADT policy? That's about it and nothing really has been determined regarding the de-implementation of that policy, so how can we assess this achievement? We can't. So what else has he done? Seems to me that all he's done is 1) be black, 2) act as the Left's perfect image of itself. That's good enough for LZ Granderson.

Obama Is a Joke, Part 127

Obama tells Mubarak he's got to go and got to go now, so what does Mubarak do? Says he'll finish his term, die on Egyptian soil and proceeds to send in the goon squad. If Obama was unofficially impotent on the world stage before this, it is now official. We have a pathetically weak, dangerously weak, President and the world will be worse off for it. We'll be lucky to get through these next two years without some major international problems. This what happens when Americans flake out.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Oil Is All About the Benjamin

A friend over at Say Anything is paying attention to the oil price. Here is the gas price - it's moved $0.44 against us in the last year. As $100 crude filters through the system, gas should rise to $3.25. What does this mean? Well it sucks for all of us and it is gonna suck for you know who - he's gonna try to blame it on Egypt but don't be fooled, higher prices were baked in the cake once his administration clamped off oil production in the US's most productive energy producing region.