Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Jaw Jaw

One thing I know a fair amount about is the energy industry. That is why I can say that Obama's speech today on energy was the rankest form of cynical bullshit I have heard in some time, but I'll let Jazz Shaw describe the foul stench. But the speech reads just fine, no? Encourage development of our current resource base while investing in future technologies...totally sensible right? Sure, except that none of it is true. So what is going on here? Simple. Obama still thinks his talktalk holds currency with the American people (doubtful, but if true, less and less each day) and energy is an issue he's going have to answer for, so he's trying to get out in front by throwing the only weapon he knows at the problem - talk. Trouble is, the die is cast, the bed is made, the cake is baked - he will run for re-election in an environment of high gas prices. There is nothing that he really can do (he will try tapping the SPR, but this will be mostly futile) and there is nothing that he would really care to do to improve the situation for Americans and the economy. So he talks, by which I mean "lays down some egregious bullshit that actually sounds OK if you're not listening intently for congruence with reality." ...and check out this nice snark from Say Anything. UPDATE: "Disgraceful." True indeed.

Libya Dangles Chads

Two reports to take with a grain of salt: 1) Libyan rebels are clashing with army units from Chad (that is a country if you did not know), and 2) there are numerous defections from the ranks of Quaddafi loyalists. Taken together, this makes sense, if his own guys won't fight, he has to call in someone else's guys. Why would Chadians fight? Apparently each Chadian fighter was promised in the afterlife, if they give their life to Quaddafy's cause, not 40 virgins but 40 Ukrainian nurses. OK, I made that one up but the first points are actual reports from intelligence sources.

Shock: Guy Who Never Had Real Job, Didn't Solve the Mortgage Crisis

I am shocked (shocked!) that a man who has never held a private sector job (and doesn't even understand what insurance is) was unable to fix a complex, years-in-the-making crisis through a hastily put together legislative concoction that everyone said at the time wouldn't work. The New York Times is in mild disbelief and coming to terms to with the emerging reality. (Please keep Keller & Co. in your thoughts and prayers, it is clearly hard on them.) Of course, this is only one of the umpteen areas of policy leadership and effectiveness where Obama has been a miserable failure. And his polls show it. Count your blessings though, think of how much he could f**k up the country if he was actually effective!! Egads. I shudder just to think about it. But in America in the 21st century, we fail upward, so I guess he's a lock for re-election...

Financial Industry Dominance Ping Pong

I have talked about the perverse rivalry between New York and London for dominance as a global financial hub. It's perverse in that neither decisively improves it's competitiveness, supremacy is achieved by cocking it up the least. It appears that it is now London's turn to cock it up, and New York may score a big one as a result. If you lose this round London, not to worry, we'll fumble the ball sooner or later.

I Hear History Rhyming

The food is running low and the lights are going off... March 30, 2011 Venezuela’s National Electric Corporation (Corpoelec) began nationwide electricity rationing March 28 after the stoppages of four units at the Tacoa and Termozulia electric plants led to a national shortfall of 1,060 megawatts, El Tiempo reported March 30. The damage to the units at the Termozulia plant was reportedly due to the bombing of a natural gas pipeline by militants on March 26 near Maicao, Colombia. Onward to Socialism!!

How F**ked Up Is Albany??

This f**ked up: California has 33.8 million people and a $1.9 trillion economy, New York has 18.9 million people and a $1.1 trillion economy. California's budget is $85 billion (an amount that it struggles mightily to come even close to covering). So, with an economy almost 40% smaller and just over half the people of a notoriously profligate California, what would you expect New York state's budget to be? $50 billion? $60 billion? Maybe $70 billion? Nope. Try $132 billion. Andy Cuomo sliced $2 billion and he's some sort of bloody hero to taxpayers and villain to all the union goons. F**ked up, I tell ya'.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Here We Go

Egypt: Iran Not Enemy, Talks With Hezbollah Welcomed - FM March 29, 2011 Egypt will begin a new phase in foreign relations, including in its ties with Iran, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby said March 29 in a news conference, Ahram Online reported. Iran and Egypt historically are not enemies, Elaraby said. He said Hezbollah was considered part of Lebanon’s political and social makeup and welcomed communication with the group. Funny, Bret Stephans has his column today titled, "Egypt - The Hangover". Apt. Of course, the US could nip this in the bud by telling Egypt, get in bed with Iran and the military aid is so over...

OK, the Obama=Carter Parallels Are Getting Eerie

A floundering economy, inflation, high and rising gas prices, a messianic and belligerent Iran, swirling turmoil in the Middle East, a halting and apologetic US foreign policy, billions of new subsidies forced down alternative fuel ratholes and wasted on fantastical green utopian visions, nuclear power angst, dismal prospects for college graduates, polarization and social unrest at home over key issues...the Obama era could hardly use another parallel harkening back to the Carter-era malaise. And yet, here come the...bell-bottoms.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cash Hoarding

Someone named Jeff Cox at CNBC rightly points out the impact of corporate cash-hoarding onthe economy, but doesn't seem to find it worthwhile exploring what is causing those corporations to hoard all that cash.

Newsflash: Terrorists Respond to Incentives!

Greg Mankiw talks terrorism and demand curves. Where is he getting this crazy talk?

No Job and No Career Prospects? Well, At Least You "Care"

I warned all these silly and naive, reflexively liberal voting younglings.

Lots of Words in WSJ Echo Few Words in NBfPB

Excellent piece in the WSJ this weekend on taxing the rich. Worth a read, but I can't resist a small critique - that's alot of words to tell us we have a "key man problem" and the result is greater instability. You'd think all the liberal geniuses would figure this out. Bonus I Told You So: The pros at the Weekly Standard seem to think that the necessary coalition Obama needs for 2012 is a tough nut. Where have I heard that before?

No Food Available? You're Better Off.

Of course. When your economic policies result in food shortages, telling people to cut calories 1) is kinda redundant, you've done the cutting for them, 2) serves your interest, 3) is sick given how miserably poor your nation still is relative to the rest of the world.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Buffett the USD Bear

Warren is bearish on the US dollar, doesn't like long dated bonds. Gee, who sells alot of long-dated bonds? Warren is nothing if not subtle, he's saying that our economic policy sucks. Great minds think alike.

China: Don't Mess With Our Oil

...even if it is actually your oil.

Here in the West the phrase "No Blood for Oil" is popular. A Chinese would never say something like this; to them blood is cheap, oil is dear. They'll make that trade all day long.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beats Me, Ask My Boss

Why it's almost as if the military brass want to make their Commander in Chief look like a doofus. When a guy who gets this high in the Navy is so nonchalant while in theater, it is for a highly calculated reason. I told you, they really don't like the guy.

Portugese Parliament: The Tooth Fairy Will Help Us

Portugese legislators seem to feel that money grows on trees and so they voted down a deficit reduction plan (advanced by the Socialist party Prime Minister...yes, European politics is weird) aimed at addressing that country's Greek-like profligacy and civic dysfunction. It was a cynical move by the opposition to bring down the government and get in line for the ever-expanding pan-Euro governmental cheese. Piss-ant losers like Portugal can keep acting as if they don't care about the Euro and continue to flaunt it's rules because they know that Germany, France and the bigger economies are too entrenched in their commitment to the Euro to call their bluff. As long as Germany & Co. let themselves be played for patsies, they will be. The German electorate is no doubt on the lookout for a Scott Walker or Chris Christie-type pol to put an end to the gravy train. The coming upheavals in Europe will make our clash of cultures (government bill payers vs. government check cashers) look like tiddlywinks.

UPDATE: Think I was too hard on Portugal? Read this. Think your average German taxpayer wants to pay to keep these yo-yos on the dole?

RIP, Liz

I actually, in six years of blogging, managed to get in one mention of Elizabeth Taylor. Back in 2006 it was. God Speed Madam.

Is This Still Even Funny?

Has it lost its luster or is it still a hoot...? Let's give it a try...


I don't know, still kinda fun.

UPDATE: Welcome readers of the Good Professor...snoop around. What will you find? For starters, that I made the greatest prediction ever along with my many other sage prognostications. Also: that the international shipping idustry has taken my advice in combatting the scourage of piracy; moment to moment reporting on the death of global warming or climate change/chaos or whatever; incisive economic analysis (with Johnny Cash references); brilliant political/social commentary; gas price updates; political handicapping; and plenty of stuff about how Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama have shat on our economy; alliteration; investing advice; the dirty secrets of Corporate America, and media bias exposure. Oh, and I almost forgot, intoxicant-induced quasi-conspiracy theories. Yes, a veritable one-stop shop here at NBfPB. Welcome!

We're the Flakes

Check this out. Just an analytical way of saying "flakey". It's us y'all. He's flakey alright, but it's ALL ON US.

UPDATE: Either the poll is wrong or we just don't want to shed our flakiness. All I can say is "Why?"

Kill It Dead vs. Stuff It in the Attic

I have to admit it. It's The Critical Issue and Pawlenty owns Romney.

Starting to Learn


I'm crushed. Our Friend in Low Places is a banal political naif. Long way from Yukon, that boy is.

Looking Back at the "Auto Bailout"

I went into apoplexy when Obama screwed over bondholders during the bailout of two unionized domestic auto manufacturers (it was not, I repeat, not an "auto industry bailout") because I understood the larger ramifications of this terrible move on the overall economy and to our system of laws. I was right of course, but this, more sophisticated and mannerly, take is a must-read.

Israel Sees Prelude to War in Escalated Rocket Attacks

Donkey Kong? Getting very close to a full score on my prediction. Aside from all the other reasons I outlined on my Israel's enemies will pounce, you can add a distracted and bumbling "international community."

UPDATE: Rockets and, now, bombs in downtown Jerusalem...

From the Not-So-WayBack Machine: "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."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Price of Pasta and Bread in Venezuela to Go Up 30%+

Anything with wheat in it is going up big time in Venezuela. Maybe ole' Hugo can get Ben Bernanke to come down and tell his citizens not to be worried because "core inflation remains well-contained", although I doubt that they eat iPads in Venezuela either, so this may not fly. So, here the Venezuelan people get yet another kick in the teeth from Chavismo, while El Jefe Himself says he ain't going anywhere, even if voted out. Are the Venezuelan people going to take this in stride? It'll come down to how much of that $100+ per barrel of crude gets lavished on them between now and and election day. Could get ugly.

Trillions Go Missing Thanks to Obama

The Obama administration's "permitorium" on drilling in the Gulf (today's approval of a Shell drilling program remains to be seen as either a change of policy or a begrudging concession to mounting legal pressure) is decimating the economy of the Gulf Coast region and driving up gas prices. This we know, but what is less known is the other negative ripple effects throughout the economy. A recent study gives us some insight into the dollars that flow to other parts of the country from oil and gas drilling activity in the Gulf region. From 2008-2010, $1.8 billion dollars was spent by member companies of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition on vendors located outside of the Gulf region, or $600 billion dollars per year. That is money that won't get spent if there is no drilling activity. Think about it, the government passed the supposedly crucial and then undeniably awesome $800 billion stimulus spending bill to putatively save the economy and yet the administration's current policy is demonstrably choking off a minimum of $600 billion in places outside of the Gulf Coast region. So what amount of spending is the Obama Permitorium Policy choking off in total? Alot more. Hundreds of billions. By the logic of the stimulus, this reduction in vendor spending should severely contract the economy, and it is. Now add on the hundreds of billions more in capital expenditures in other industries that have been driven to the sidelines (corporations have enormous cash balances currently) either from punitive policies or the poisonous anti-business rhetoric of Obama's first two years. So the government doled out $800 billion with one hand and removed trillions through dangerous rhetoric and awful policy on the other hand; and, people wonder why the economy is doing so poorly. The Pelosi/Reid era in the Congress and the Obama administration have written a case study in how to hold back a juggernaut $13 trillion economy.

UPDATE: Whaddya know, great minds think alike...the good folks over at Say Anything have more...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where Is John Kerry When We Need to Insult Our Allies? (and Ourselves)

Obama Punts on Critical Issue...Now Even More Formidable Opponent!

Breaking: Obama will punt on Social Security Reform. Cue the inane punditry declaring: by not leading, Obama just ensured his re-election in a walk!

Meaningless Question of the Day

Q: Is Tim Pawlenty a syphilitic camel?

A: Irrelevant. Doesn't matter.

NBfPB 2011 Predictions Looking Solid

Wow. Surveying the media landscape for positive signs regarding my 2011 predictions, I'm encouraged. First, the reemergence of Hillary Clinton is proceeding apace. Second, Soros is making noises about funding a progressive candidate whose initials are not BHO (I guess he is taking for granted the fact that we have a President named Barack Hussein could he? C'mon George, put that lightning back in the bottle!). Finally the kissing and making up between Hamas and Fatah combined with the steep escalation of rocket attacks into Israel hints that it may soon be on like a certain popular Nintendo video game of the 1980s.

Professor: We Need to Be More Inefficient to Show We Care

Ray Fisman, a professor at my alma mater, has an interesting article over at Slate examining some of issues regarding choosing lay offs versus across the board pay cuts in corporate reengineering efforts. The article is fine as far as it goes but is pretty typical of an academic approach. It is not clear Fisman ever talked to a CEO or any type of management practicioner whatsoever, rather he is more interested in recent "studies." He therefore misses a major aspect of the issue - layoffs are not merely seen by corporate managements as cost-cutting exercises, they are opportunities to pare "dead wood". In euphemistic, "corporate-speak" layoffs might be termed 'opportunities to optimize workforce resources' or other such fancy formulation, but the truth is more raw - there are always underperformers and from time to time you want to purge these people from your organization as a matter of basic institutional hygiene. Some companies even institutionize this need, such as GE's cashiering of the bottom 10% of its employee or the famous "up or out" mantra adopted at places like McKinsey and IBM. But purging dead wood has become harder over the years. Politically correct and/or tort-driven workplace grievances, from racial discrimination to ageism to the ridiculous extremes of some sexual harassment claims, have made it hard to fire the people that need firing during normal times. So companies tolerate dead wood and bide their time waiting for a chance to lump all these people together in a mass layoff to avoid the attention and mayhem that can come from individual wrongful termination claims. Increasingly this form of insulation is valued over the basic dollars and cents of reduced workforce expenditures. Any CEO will tell you this, sotto voce of course. Finally, Professor Fisman takes a stab at judging what might be socially optimal and makes reference to government employee furloughs as a potentially a better solution, missing of course the obvious point that corporations answer to their investors and accountability is usually swift and direct, while governments only ostensibly answer to constituents and accountability is usually rare and ambiguous. So yes, (and thank God we have academia to tell us these things) accountable organizations seek efficiency and there may be some attendant heartlessness involved, and unaccountable organization labor along inefficiently as a cost of their putative sensitivity. Still, there is some value here, at the very least Professor Fisman has confirmed for us, indirectly, that which we all know - the least effective among us gravitate to government work. Such is a good view to have reinforced during these times where we have to choose to between continuing to lavishly feed our public sector at the expense of crowding out our private sector. Valuable indeed! Thank you Professor Fisman!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poll Data a Cold Shower

This makes some sense to me. Frankly, I've been a little flummoxed - not too flummoxed, it is the MSM after all - over the far too frequent expressions of conventional wisdom that Obama will win re-election in a walk. The man is so appallingly, awfully, and disastrously appalling, awful and disastrous that it is hard for me to believe that he can have an easy time of it in 2012. And yes, I understand the power of incumbancy, but the evidence that has been mounting in favor of putting the Obama experiment behind us is overwhelming and growing everyday, and the arguments for the conventional wisdom are extraordinarily weak. Just as an example, one line of thinking actually held that Obama's dreadful SOTU address where he punted on our nation's fiscal crisis was a clear sign that he'll win. Huh? How does abdication of leadership signal strength? Hell, even Charles Krauthammer fell into this ridiculous camp for a second or two. Even if you bought into this centrist comeback line, which I did not, Obama has since ladelled on the incompetence, smugness, and head-scratching amateurishness so thick in the last few weeks that no amount of cheery rebound optimism could possibly suvive. It is hard for me to conceive that anybody who is paying attention can come to the determination that Dear Leader is up to the job. That may not disuade all people from voting for him, but it will disuade many. Then there is the raw coalition politics of 2008, which gone, over, and done with. Then there is the liberal/progressive disillusionment combined with conservative/libertarian enthusiasm for stopping progressivism's momentum. And he's got a personnel problem and, let's call it a landlord problem. Finally, there is the economy. No amount of carping, which I and others have amply done, can express the abysmally malign influence of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama nexus on the US economy. Although stronger than it was during the worst of the panic of 2008 and resultant recession, the economy is far from stronger, and worse, it doesn't feel strong where it counts, to average people. Finally a weak Republican field (which isn't truly weak, just comparatively unexciting and uncertain) doesn't mean a strong Obama, it just means an Obama with one less challenge, that of a formidable opponent.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mitt, Jim...Say It...ABBO

Guys! Guys! Calm down would you??!! ABBO! Seriously, who gives a rat's arse, it's water under the bridge. We have a job to do now. ABBO! Jim, don't worry, talk to Hubbard. ABBO. Mitt, don't get all defensive, it's competence and a clue we all want. ABBO, boys. ABBO. We cool? We cool? Say it, say "We cool." Good.

"Honey, Why Do the Towels Smell Like Crap?"

From almost the very moment we purchased our glistening new, top of the line, attractive-looking front-loading washing machine, the ever ravishing Mrs. Baseball has offered up a consistent, disheartening sucks. I was confounded. Seriously? European engineering, latest (expensive) technology...all that and it still sucks? Perhaps there is some intricate feature or potential issue of user error that might be over the little Missus's head? Nope, it just doesn't get the clothes clean. I should have known.

Rand Paul's rant the other day in Congress may seem like pettiness, but the larger point is much more important - we're not free when bureaucrats and busy-bodies tell us what we can and cannot buy and innovation, the driver of America's economy for decades, will wither when said bureaucrats tightly proscribe what is acceptable in the marketplace. The sagas of my washing machine and Rand Paul's toilet are a metaphor for your freedom and America's economic dynamism. And it's getting pervasive, lightbulbs, cars (Chevy Volt), debit cards, bank accounts, home loans. Do-gooderism is creeping ever further into our lives turning dynamism and a world of ever-increasing convenience into a world of Soviet style mediocrity and frustration. Sure the budget deficit and the debt are important we ought to address those, but these small things that touch our lives everyday are of similar importance. They show us that things work, that we've gotten the basics down so we can move on the bigger things, that no small need should go unmet or no petty thing cannot be improved upon. This is where we feel the dynamism of America most viscerally, where we can literally smell the promise of the future and be inspired to get on with it. If we can't get clean, fresh smelling towels right (from a washer that works properly) how the hell are we going to produce the next iPhone or the next steel mini-mill or the pervasive wireless network or any "21st century" anything for that matter?

Hillary to O: "Hey, Didn't You Hear Me the First Time?"

Hillary is saying "Hey, Dodohead, didn't you get the hint the first time, I want outta here." So why hasn't Obama just given John Kerry the nod? This is a tough spot for Dear Leader, he needs Hillary inside the tent because surely if she was outside of it, there is no reason for the Clintonite machine that currently runs things to keep the roof from caving in. However by keeping her he can only be assured that those Clintonites will do no more than they have to in order to keep the Democratic party from total meltdown, but they won't go even an extra inch toward making the Obama administration a success. So any upside has to come from himself and his people, which is nearly impossible at this point - only the C teamers are still true believers.

UPDATE: It just hit me! All the twilight-zonish crap that has us all scratching our heads - the focus on bullying while the world burns, the acting like the deficit/debt is no big deal, more attention on NCAA brackets than on helping Japan - simply has to be because Obama has been told by the Clintonites of the above reality and he knows he's done, so he's gonna mail it in for the next two years. Obama's thinking to himself, "I made history and I'll dine out with kings and queens for the rest of my life, they can have their stinkin' political party back and they can figure out how to save it's ass."

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey is a pretty savvy commentator, so check out how his thoughts jibe with mine, more or less.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Qaddafi Has Won

It's all over but the crying (and retribution killings). The world failed these brave rebels and now most all of them will be killed. Unfortunately, the leader of the free world, the Lightworker, was tied up applying his precious "smartest President ever" brain cells to keeping the US economy roaring ahead, keeping food and energy costs low, providing critical leadership to the precarious fiscal situations exploding across America, and soothing the heightening tensions among Americans that is resulting from degenerating civil discourse.

UPDATE: ...I left out "inspiring Americans to seek higher purpose and in the process find a deeper sense of our own humanity."

UPPDATE: Ouch and Double Ouch. I told you, the bad guys took the measure of Obama last year, and now they are cutting the cloth...

UPPPDATE: Simply unbelievable. All these rebels will be dead in short order, by the time we lace up our boots, there won't be any rebels to help. In this game, making the right decision too late is more embarassingly tragic than having made the wrong decision and sticking to it. It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. Now we are seeing the consequences of America's Great Brain Fart and it ain't pretty.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yes, Sadly...Sigh

Best snark of the day here in an otherwise serious post.

Obama: Hey, Let's Continue to Focus on Our Secondary Priorities

Clintonite Restoration of Democratic Party Update

Remember I said that the Clintonites now own the Obama presidency lock, stock and barrel and that they would steward it as responsibly as possible for the sake of the party but ultimately phase the Obama era out? Lots of evidence of this, but this might be the most compelling. Bubba himself taking the side of jobs over the false gods that othewise drive Democrats, and really drive this president. Not for the first time either that Bubba has stuck the knife in.

Imagine a sailing ship where the crew is really in charge sailing about looking for the ideal remote island on which to abandon their captain and get back to business.

Unquestionably Brilliant Economist Says Something Even Dumber Than Last Time He Said Something Really Dumb

Again. Supposedly whip-smart economist and Democratic Party one man brain trust, Larry Summers, says really really dumb thing that reveals a basic lack of understanding of economics. Like I said, not the first time, but this latest one is so way dumber. At least Summers is no longer in the administration bringing this sort of bankrupt thinking to the policy table. Small favors.

Unions vs. Greens

Remember I told you of an alliance that will pit two of the Democratic Party's main constituencies against one another? Don't remember? Here it is. And here is the battle hitting the front pages. I said at the time that jobs trump tree-hugging every time. Well, that was before Barack Obama proved himself to be either completely out to lunch or so coldly, irrationally idealogical as to not give a skinking iota about jobs, something which every President - and every politician - has heretofore, justifiably, made a priority. I made this statement thinking that the grass would remain green, the sky remain blue and cats would not sleep with dogs. Alas, all givens are out the window in the era of Obama. This President is happy to screw the Louisiana economy and its tens of thousands of jobs if we can shut down the oil industry (illegally mind you), and happy to unleash the EPA to impose an onslught of new job killing regulation when the economy is muddling along with (an understated but official) 9% unemployment rate. Jobs mean nothing. This guy has such a delusionally high opinion of himself that he is willing to challenge the fundamental gravitational forces of American politics, squashing the employment opportunities of thousands of Americans to pursue the false gods of liberal politics.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lies, Lies, Lies Yeah Yeah

Two piles of steaming shit from Dear Leader today:
1) We're producing lots of oil. Horsepucky. His administration has a strangle hold on drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico and major work has stopped. Nobody who knows what they are talking about would buy this bullshit.
2) We "tightening the noose on Ghaddafi." Really? How? No aid. No military efforts. No nothing but a few press conferences. Avowed reluctance unless others go first direct from the Sec. of State's mouth. Some f***ing noose.

UPDATE: Just remember we are tightening the noose. If I am ever so unfortunate to have a noose tightened around my neck, I sure hope that Barack Obama is doing the tightening. It'll probably feel like wearing a turtleneck.

An American Response for Japan

Japan needs our help. Witnessing the unimaginable devastation brought by the tsunami, it is obvious that our friends in Japan need America's singular talents to help them recover and rebuild. So let's resolve to commit ourselves to providing the people of Japan the best disaster recovery resources that America can muster - environmental bureaucrats that will keep people from reclaiming their lives due to unacceptable concentrations of potentially hazardous air-borne materials, trial lawyers to help victims sue greedy corporations who profiteered by building housing that was not tsunami-proof, community activists to slow the rebuilding while they agitate for more "public space", stifling governmental processes to keep building from moving forward for years, unions goons, mobsters and corrupt bureaucrats to sap rebuilding resources through waste and fraud, and infighting politicians.

I understand the reluctance to share America's best resources when our own country is hardly experiencing the best of times, but we need to maintain perspective. Our friends in Japan have it far worse than us right now, their needs are just so much greater, and we owe it to them share the expertise that we've built up over so many years. Now is our time to do with a little less of our own precious ability to snap back from a catatrophic setback and be truly selfless. With any luck and by the grace of God, if we help our Japanese brothers and sisters with a true 21st century American response, in 10, 20 or 30 years the northeast coast of Japan might just show some signs of a return to normal life.

OM F***ing G

These people are crazy. They will have their jobs, they just won't get ever-increasing and galloping pay raises, and yet they threatening murder. Reprehensible on a good day, but when we get to witness human suffering the scale we are seing in Japan, a few thousand bucks pay raise seems like not alot to get worked up about, let alone make death threats. These people live among us. Sobering.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

...middle ground between light and shadow...

Pesek Pukes Up Prada Polemic, Perplexed on Pedigree of Prosperity

Bloomberg columnist William Pesek is back again caterwauling over his Gini coefficient obsession with Hong Kong. Pesek does the usual class warfare bit, throws in a lame anti-tax cutting poke at George W. Bush while ignoring the Obama/Pelosi spending deluge ($800 billion stimulus, Billy?), and doesn't fail to add what appears to be his signature talent - completely misunderstanding how the Chinese think. (That last appears to be a requirement of working for Al Hunt.)

PS: I don't know why it is that reading Pesek sends me into alliterative frenzies, just happens...

Monday, March 07, 2011

Greatest Prediction Ever???

Not come true yet, but we're getting there. Check it out...from this past Sunday's political talk shows. You heard it here first folks, on May 28, 2009 to be precise: "It is a virtual certainty that oil prices will rise by 2011, potenitally substantially. Here though is my less certain prediction (20% probability): gasoline prices over $4 during the heart of the election cycle will weigh on Obama in the polls and he will tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to mitigate high prices (e.g. save his ass)."

Let's face it, it's not the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It's Obama's Strategic Political Fortunes Revival Fund. Several billion dollars worth of US taxpayer property, ready to be used, essentially, for Obama's re-election campaign. Happy Monday!

UPDATE: I nailed it. Pure Genius.

Friday, March 04, 2011


"Palin Effect"? Where have I heard that before?

Just Spitballin' Here...

Self-identifying rubes come in for alot of exposure over at Instapundit (here, here, here, here, here and you get the point). But not, it seems, Pulitzer-worthy Ann Althouse. Should Dr. Helen be worried? Sally Fairfax, anyone? Anyone?

Metaphor for Liberalism

On the other hand, NASA's Muslim outreach is going exceedingly well. Why it's almost as if superficial feel-goodism is more important than actual tangible success with these people.

Gee, Ya' Think?

I like Pajamas Media's new Tatler blog, but once in awhile something over there elicits a "No shit Sherlock!" from me. Like this. So again, I ask, why is Donny B. not on Tatler's roster? If that lame-O, late to the party analysis can get server space...

Of course, I'm already resigned to the fact that no Hat Tip Love is forthcoming from the WSJ. I'm happy just to set the agenda.

Jobs Numbers Look Better, Still Feel Crappy

This morning's unemployment report was OK, not great. I'm sure it will be spun as evidence of Barack Obama's economic genius, but the question that I and other have addressed before is not what the numbers are or how they can be spun, but how the economy feels to the average Joe. The MSM can declare "land of milk and honey" to the rooftops, but if average folks don't viscerally feel good about the economy it's just empty spin and effectively for naught. The key to examining how the economy will affect the 2012 election is not to focus on the numbers but to gain insight into how the economy truly feels to voters. Here is probably the best example of what I am getting at: oil is spiking higher to over $100/barrel so you'd think it'd be a great time to be in the oil business, from shareholders on down to roughnecks. And you'd be wrong. It's a great time to be a shareholder in, say Exxon, but it's a terrible time to own a business in energy services or to be a rig worker. It takes a special talent for a Democrat to reward oil investors while ass-reaming the industry's blue collar workers and small businessmen, but this President certainly has that something special.

For the broader economy, much the same is playing out. We know that companies are filling their increasing need for labor with temp help as well as overtime from existing employees. Employers seem to be filling their gaps by hook or by crook and studiously avoiding taking on the risk of new fulltime employees. This is likely due to a combination of natural conservatism and fear of new and increasing regulatory burderns. Now, here's a piece that contributes additional evidence to the thesis that the economy feels alot worse than the numbers would indicate, at least for the lowest skilled among us. (Note, this is not to say that the numbers are good, they are not. The numbers are bad, so feeling worse than bad numbers, means feeling pretty darned terrible.) If you are marginally employable, things are looking pretty bleak, and this hardship falls disproportionately on the young, immigrants, the poorly educated, and people who chose, imprudently, to take a break from work to live on the government cheese for awhile. Thus has Democrats' economic policy walloped a Democrat core constituency. Makes you almost pine away for the economic dummies of the Bush administration that at least gave us a taste of sub-6% unemployment. Thank God for all that high quality talent nearly brimming over in the Obama White House!

Update: We're Still a Bunch of Namby Pambies

Good (depressing) analysis of the state of modern civilization. Of course, I gave you the translated into English version months ago: "we are a bunch of namby-pamby, feminized, over-intellectualized twits."

We don't have to flay or crucify them, just sending them to deep, watery graves would be enough for me. I have a brilliant plan. It just so happens that a large user of this kind of ship has just filed for bankruptcy and can't pay the rent on the ships to the ships' owners. The owners of these ships need to find new employment for the ships. So the US Navy should hire out ten of these ships, place a ten man Navy SEAL team on each one, and ply the waters between the western coast of India and the shores of Somalia looking to get hijacked by pirates. When the pirates inevitably attack, send them all to Davy Jones's locker courtesy of US special forces. Easy peasy, Japanesy.

Isn't this How the Polish Developed Their Reputation As Stupid?

Of course, it is a totally unjustified steroetype - Poles have a deep and admirable intellectual and cultural history (even more admirable given their traditional levels of poverty) - but nonetheless one of the most enduring of the hoary ethnic stereotypes is that the Polish are stupid. How did they acquire this ignominious reputation? Through the propagation of the myth that they brought wholly inadequate and laughable efforts in a martial confrontation with the Germans - riding on horseback into the teeth of Hitler's Panzer divisions. So how does (the actual reality) beanbag gun-wielding US agents facing off against Mexican cartel gunmen stack up? Hand over that title Poles.

I sense perhaps an internal revolt might happen. I don't see any US agents agreeing to go into Mexico armed only with some dinky peashooter. That's real cause for calling in sick!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

More Underemployment, More Crickets

According to Gallup, underemployment has hit 20% (OK, 19.9%). That's those who are out of work and actively seeking work plus those who are out of work and have given up looking for work. 1 in 5. And, as predicted, crickets.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

NEA: No, It's Not About the Children, It's About Money


Two US servicemen killed at Frankfurt airport by 21 year old Kosovar man. Michael Bloomberg has released a statement that, even though reports are that the suspect shouted "Allahu Akbar" before firing shots, very clearly this is a case of a Tea Partier upset over the passage of ObamaCare.

Gillibrand Fulfills Reagan's Caricature

Witness the sad confirmation of Reagan's humorously disparaging characterization of leftist economics - "if it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidize it" - in dim-witted Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's plan to address the woes of the dairy farming industry in New York state. Kudos to Sen. Gillibrand for modernizing Reagan's characterization to "don't even wait for regulation to cause an industry to stop moving, break out those subsidies (again) before regulating has fully done the job.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Prosperity Can Stop at the Water's Edge

Greg Mankiw highlights Robert Barro's views on unions, in which Barro points to research comparing the economic growth between the borders of right-to-work states and non-RTW states. Interesting stuff. If you want to see this pictorially, check this out.

Tanned, Rested and Ready

Sorry for the light blogging folks, was away with the Baseball clan for a little R&R in the tropics. There has been much I've wanted to blog on, but frankly when you are ensconced in a lounge chair on the beach with a mango and dark rum's low on the list. Couple things though fitting with my themes in the past...

- add yet another CEO who thinks Obama is clueless and is not afraid to say so, things are that bad. (bonus: Jack Welch calls it all a charade, like, well, I did)

- my $4 gas prediction is now vindicated and I may ultimately look like a piker for only predicting $4 as the CW is now talking about $5 gas. Just remember folks, I said in May of 2009 that Obama would have 10% unemployment and $4 gas to contend with as his bid for re-election got going. I am now officially a political forecasting genius. With that and all the other examples of abominable leadership and disastrous policy tracks that Obama has inflicted it is hard to see how he achieves re-election. That said, I was 200% convinced back in 2007 that the American people who never elect such a bozo, and yet we did. So frankly on these matters, I have some moments of doubt about my instincts. Still, the market though is confirming me for the time being. It's rise has been directly related to Obama's decline in approval ratings and increasing impotence politically. Current market sentiment is telling me that the market is cautiously optimistic that Obama will have a very difficult time of it in his re-election bid.

- people are now getting hip to what our impotent response to piracy says about us. I was on to the whole piracy thing before it was cool.

- every day that the union-led protest goes on in Wisconsin is a day worth reprising this post.

- looking around the world you could be forgiven for thinking that things are truly coming apart at the seems. Remember folks, American weakness begets chaos, and in direct proportion too. So the extreme state of discord around the world is telling us exactly how weak and pathetic we are at this point.

Good to be back.