Monday, October 31, 2011

Headscratcher of the Day

Wait a second. A reporter who doesn't want to get into specifics? Isn't that like a lawyer who doesn't want to get into "legalese"?

It Was That Kinda Game: Gameball to the Punter

Who gets to live out the week next to the Hermanator? Hard to say, there were no true standout performances, everyone did just enough of what they had to do (and some not even that...yes, I'm talking about you Brandon Jacobs). So in times like this we like to go off the reservation a bit and give the gameball to someone a little unexpected. I guess we could give it to Eli for yet another winning Q4 drive or Victor Cruz for more big play heroics, but hey, why not a punter? When will we get a chance to do that again? Steve Weatherford meet the Hermanator.

Egregious Violation of Separation of Church and State!

Alert! Alert!

We have evidence of football and prayer. Isn't that new stadium somehow tax=payer funded??

Somebody call the SCOTUS, call the school board, the somebody!!!

The Gini Coefficient Is Dumb

One of the stupider concepts/preoccupations in economics is something called the Gini coefficient. Bloomberg News columnist William Pesek has a bit of an obsession with it, and redistributionists the world over - from guilt-ridden rich Westerners, to cash-hungry/graft-seeking/opportunist leaders of developing nations - love them some Gini coefficient.

But it's stupid. I know that is not a high form of argumentation, but it is simply the case - the Gini Coefficient is stupid (see my above link). Mark Perry has some graphs today to illuminate the point further. Take a look and tell me if you think the Gini Coefficient is something we should be worrying about. Great emphasis tying the GC to Mencken's hobgoblins.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Euro Crisis: Scarily, The Real Action Is Now In Italy

For those inclined to wonk-out on the European financial crisis, watch the painfully dry and robotic bigwig Charles Dallara on Sir Lawrence's show.

It's informative stuff, and after it is all over Sir Larry asks his guests for a "whip around" commentary on the most important aspect of what Dallara shares. Since He of the House of Mustard Seed did not invite me on the show despite my clear qualifications, I will have to comment here.

Dallara hinted at it, but it's hard to escape the Big Kahuna here - Italy. Italy is the big bad mess that could sink everything. Greece is chump change and the world can move past a Greek meltdown before you can say spanikopita. Italy, however, has a big and meaningful economy and a gargantuan pile of debt for which there is no bailout solution. Italy has the potential to make this all for naught and bring the crisis right back to white hot danger levels. There must be a solvency-focused solution - deep structural reforms aimed at dynamic growth and a complete rethink of the welfare-state model - coming from the Italians. Unless that happens, we are all right back in this mess up to our necks; and the recently announced changes to the retirement age are, well, underwhelming. If the Italians don't get it right, we're f**ked, and sure enough the bond market seems to understand this and is starting to send its gentle hints.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Checking In On 2011 Predictions

After you stop laughing at the sheer hilarity of this, take note of a certain prediction made almost one year ago...
- Hillary Re-emerges for 2012: Now that the Obama presidency is officially owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Clintonites, they will work to undermine his 2012 chances and/or strike a grand bargain that enhances Hillary's power post 2012 and sets her up for further gains when the time is right. The Clintonite cadre will now set the conditions as best they can for Democratic success (work with Boehner, win back business) but otherwise allow Obama to blunder into a situation that enhances Hillary's profile.

Ambition? Imagination?

We've lost our ambition? We've lost our imagination? Really?

Wait a second...burying 1,661 miles of 36-diameter pipe in the ground in a $13 billion effort so that no one sees it or is disturbed by it is not ambitious or imaginative?

Expanding production of a plane with revolutionary innovations in advanced material design and fuel efficiency is not ambitious or imaginative?

Trying to cure breast cancer is not ambitious or imaginative?

Trying to tap the largest reserves of energy known to man is not ambitious or imaginative?

Maybe it is because we can't even let people try to make better ice cream that we can't do big things, because we don't even let people do small things and thus learn how to, ya' know, do things at all...

Or is it "the government" he's taking about? Wait, the government isn't doing big things? Coulda fooled me. Indeed.

President's Genius Economic Plan

President Unilateral's plan to bypass Congress to heal our economy with a student loan modification program has me in mind of something I wrote long ago about the regrettable Bush/Pelosi tax rebate of 2008:
If you believe this story, the tax rebates are keeping consumers spending and buoying the softening economy. Those tax rebates took several months, almost a year, to debate, pass, and implement. Let's recap. In 2008, you and me have earned income, sent it off to the government, waited for them to send it back, and now have it back. And because we have it back, this is helping the economy. So, in the interests of further helping the economy I offer this bright idea: let's shorten the cycle time by cutting out the middle steps. Let's say that me and my fellow Americans be allowed to not send off a portion of our income to the government. That means it wouldn't take months to come back and we could help the economy right now, today, pronto, immediamente. Hmmm. But what would I call such a plan?
Obama's student loan plan displays the same stunning economic logic: Recent graduates owe money to the federal government, they owe so much that they are unable to participate in the economy as much as they'd like and as much as it needs them to. So the federal government will alter the rules, which may take awhile as the rules are designed, debated, promulgated, communicated and implemented. In due course though, the rule changes will allow the loan holders to hold some money back from the federal government and use it to participate in and help grow the economy (apparent meagerness notwithstanding).

So again I say, why don't we cut the cycle time. Let's not wait for the rules go through the various formal steps, let's get that money into those grads' hands pronto. Sounds great! But what would we call such a program?


Today's Economic Numbers

Some brief commentary on the economic news today. First, the GDP numbers. They were OK, but not enough to help the White House. The good news is we are not tipping into another recession, the bad news is we are stumbling along in a pattern of mediocrity that won't be strong enough to have people feel good about the economy and their lives. As I have written before, this economy stinks for Joe Six Pack. And, as the stock market action today shows, life is OK for investors - not great but not nearly the troubles that the average working person is experiencing. To my mind this is a classic lefty economy - with policies designed to appeal to middle income workers superficially, but that harm them in actuality. Just check out Drudge's headline about the dollar - the Euro-driven fear premium is coming out of the dollar and the bad investment climate and profligate government spending fundamentals here in the US are taking center stage again. That's too bad for poor to middle income people whose purchasing power benefits from cheaper imported goods. Those goods will now be more expensive.

Classic lefty economy, the rich do OK, or at worst stay static, while the poor and middle class take it on the chin. Even though it is a caricatured view of a conservative economy, I bet many Americans would trade this economy for one where the rich do quite well and so do the poor and middle class. We'll see, such a choice is pending in the near future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tax It, Bash It...What's the Difference?

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): 205 to lose jobs after Piper decides to mothball Altaire jet program.

So Obama bashes private jets, private jet sales then plummet, now a bunch of jet-making workers lose their jobs. Hope and change!

Didn't we do the same thing in the 1990s with yachts??

Yes. Ugh.

A Split Enz song is ringing in my ear just now..."History never repeats, I tell myself, before I go to sleep..."

Latest Stupidity from MSM - Regulation Is, Like, Totally Harmless for the Economy

In a classic of the "Who You Gonna Believe, Me or Your Own Lyin' Eyes?" variety, Bloomberg News - deep into its support campaign for the re-election of Barack Obama - tries to get us to believe that the explosion of regulations coming out of Washington isn't hurting the economy, and they have something snazzily called the BGOV Barometer to convince you of this. (I'm sure the BGOV Barometer would also tell you that falling out of a fourth story window wouldn't hurt either.)

Of course the definitional criteria is narrow and misses the point - employers responsible for dismissals of at least 50 employees cited regulations in just 1% of the cases. This is of course measuring large employers - companies that can lay off 50 or more people and still have people working there. Among small business owners, regulation is their number one concern. That's strike one. Strike two is that regulations are working their way into the system now, they wouldn't account for previous lay-offs. Bank of America is in the process of laying off 30,000 workers, and here is a list of more. UBS will lay off thousands. Does anybody really think that Dodd-Frank, Washington's silver medal olympian regulatory feat, has nothing to do with this? It strains logic to deny the link. Moving on, government regulations wield their most devastating effect not on existing jobs but on hiring, and we all know there has been very little hiring. So who cares if regulations don't directly link to layoffs? They do directly link to lack of hiring, which is stagnation. So regulation is Okey-Dokey because it gives mere stagnation rather than contraction? Dumb. Strike three.

Bloomberg is measuring the wrong thing, over the wrong time period and making the wrong conclusion. Regulation is they number one key to economic reinvigoration, and the next occupant of the White House, be it President Obama or Romney or Cain or Perry, will succeed or fail based on whether they can tame the onslaught of regulation plaguing the economy.

"Frack Water" Is Greens Latest Desperate Attempt Against Fracking

I won't rehash the particulars of the national debate over "fracking", the technology behind the natural gas revolution here in the US (some background here). But for those who are well-versed in the industry and the relevant policy fights, a couple basic facts are more or less agreed upon. Fracking is more or less inevitable, for the following reasons:
  1. the energy resources available to us by virtue of fracking are too big to ignore,
  2. fracking is in the plus column in terms of environmental impact (gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel and it will largely displace coal, and then replace large chunks of oil).
  3. in the end, the greens don't have very good arguments against fracking, there just isn't the evidence that fracking is dangerous.
  4. fracking is bringing alot of jobs to previous depressed areas, which, even if fracking was marginally dangerous, are accepting fracking for the economic impact
Given these, especially #3, people in the industry have predicted that efforts to ban or slow fracking will ultimately fail, but that greens will throw everything they have at trying to stop fracking. After the "groundwater pollution" tack fails, which it has almost completely done, the next phase will be to attack the "frack water". We are now there.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will soon begin the process of developing "comprehensive" national standards for wastewater discharges produced by extracting natural gas from underground coalbed and shale formations.

In a written statement released by the agency, the EPA noted that proposed standard will include input from federal and state governments, industry and public health groups. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson contends this latest action is necessary "to make sure the needs of our energy future are met safely and responsibly."

Frack water disposal is probably the least problematic aspect of the entire technology, but that is not stopping Obama's EPA.

The Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coaltion, which in its three-year history has established itself as a key voice for developing the Marcellus Shale play in an environmentally responsible manner, expressed bewilderment at the EPA's regulatory plans.

"While we certainly appreciate that the EPA shares our concern in protecting the environment, especially water, it is baffling that the agency would move forward with such measures that completely disregard the facts on the ground," said Kathryn Klaber, the coalition's president. "This is yet another Washington solution in search of a problem, as treated Marcellus water in Pennsylvania is no longer discharged into surface waters."

The fight goes on.

Monday, October 24, 2011

NY Post Is the First to Wonder About the Obvious

Everybody seems to think that it will be the cold weather that will truly test the staying power of the OWS losers. As an old NYC hand, I have known otherwise. Even the most fastidious and anally cleanly NYCers have a hard time keeping them at bay, these clowns don't stand a chance.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Me and Steve Jobs

“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.
So said Steve Jobs to the Lightworker. Here's what Donny B. said to, well, um...maybe 10 or so readers:
"I guess what I am saying is what I have said before...if The One thinks he can shit on capital and business leaders for four years he's got another thing coming. People who hire other people will hide under their desks, the campaign money will dry up, the layoffs will accelerate."
Obviously, I'm similarly brilliant and perceptive as Steve Jobs. I started my own company like Steve Jobs. And I'm adopted too. So I'm pretty much just like Steve Jobs, just minus nearly $8 billion and universal notoriety and acclaim for having changed the world. Other than that though, twins.

Thoughts on The Hermanator

As a member in good standing of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, I got a chance to see Herman Cain a few weeks ago speak to a large-ish audience here in the Big Apple. He was great - alot more fluid and smooth than he is on TV - and never missed a beat. When he is rolling, Herman has a hard time softening the edges of that hard core black Georgia accent. I'm not saying he ought to soften it, he shouldn't - it's great, it's authentic - but he clearly attempts to do that on TV, so you don't get the full exposure. I came away with the impression that if the Hermantor gets on the Republican ticket (either as the POTUS candidate or the VPOTUS candidate), he's gonna steal a meaningful chunk of the black vote from the Lightworker. Certainly in the south, blacks are gonna see and hear Herman and conclude, 'this guy is like me - he talks like me, he says things that I hear all the time'. Barack Obama can't drop enough "g"s in ten lifetimes to come even close to affecting the authentic southern black Preacherman loquaciousness that Cain has by virtue of who he is. In 2008, all Lightworker had to do to was be more black than John McCain. This time around, if the psychology of the black vote comes down to "blackness" (which it shouldn't but often does simply because of human nature) and he has to be more black than the Hermanator, he's gonna lose that battle. Dear Leader will need to garner black support by virtue of his policies and Democratic Party loyalty.

Those were my impressions weeks ago. This week, I revisited those impressions talking to someone who I consider the archetypical smug New York City liberal sophisticate. Said person told me that they saw a clip of Cain speaking to a largely white audience in the south (in the "backwoods" was the verbatim reference, although it was very likely a small city) and that he had them quite fired up. Our NYC sophisticate concluded that if the Hermanator could appeal to "those type of people" he could be formidable. The statement was obviously suffused with the NYC bias that all the rubes in the hinterlands are so irredeemably racist that they shouldn't, if playing to type, respond so enthusiastically to Cain. There must be something to that Cain fellow, hypothesized our interlocutor, if he can appeal to such an audience - he might actually make inroads with white voters. (Shocker!) Not once though, did this person suggest that Cain might make inroads with black voters, because here on the insular island of Manhattan, blacks are presumed (taken for granted?) to vote for a Democrat, always and everywhere.

Of course such thoughts are unspeakable. As a whitey in a society where racial identity is all some people have and thus is fiercely protected, I dare not attempt suppose what a black person might think. So today, I am at least somewhat heartened to find my impressions confirmed almost exactly by the great, and black, Thomas Sowell. Unspeakable though it is in the public square, it happens to be true, and the Hermanator, if he finds his way onto the Republican ticket, may well pick off enough votes to send Obama to defeat - not because he is some sort of fig leaf for whites but because he is someone who blacks can viscerally, not superficially, identify with.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Drudge Captures Defining Arrogance In Iconic Lede

Drudge is having alot of fun today. He's not rotating this puppy out of top billing in favor of other news.

It's perfect...iconic even. This is where we are: a terrible economy mired in 9%+ unemployment, inflation on the rise, street protests, three years of $1.3 trillion deficits, billions pissed down the rathole of green energy fantasies, US alliances abroad in tatters, aggressively anti-US piss-ant dictatorships plotting mayhem on our soil...but he's self-satisfied, he's nailed it. Boo-Ya!

We couldn't have a more perfect example of what Reagan meant when he said that the problem isn't that liberals aren't smart, it's that so much of what they know, just isn't so.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lefty Nuttiness Runs Smack Into Lefty Nuttiness

A delicious example of lefty contradiction and cognitive dissonance over at SayAnything. Seems they have to shut down wind turbines because they're killing bats (or a bat).

They don’t run when there’s no wind. They can’t be run when there’s too much wind. They can’t be run when it’s too cold, and now some wind power turbines in Pennsylvania can’t be run at night because they’re slaughtering endangered bats.

LILLY, Pa. — Thirty-five windmills at a western Pennsylvania wind farm have been silenced at night since a bat that belongs to an endangered species was found dead under one of the turbines.

The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown is reporting the farm shut down the windmills overnight after the Indiana bat was found Sept. 26.

The farm in question was built by Gamesa Energy USA and covers parts of Portage, Washington, and Cresson Townships in Cambria County, and part of Blair County, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Wind power is unreliable and extremely expensive. Yet, for some reason, the direction of national policy is toward subsidizing more and more windmills while traditional, reliable and cheap energy sources like coal are targeted for extinction through taxation and regulation.

Wind power is going to save the planet so we must get cracking, but not unless an insignificant number of annoying animals interfere. Hah! Lefty nuttiness meets lefty nuttiness! Love it.

Banks Are Starting to Lend Again...Barely

My thesis is that Barack Obama is more likely a goner than not (that could change but that is the state of play today) and, as such, businesses are slowly ramping up to enjoy better times when he is gone. Remember that both Victor Davis Hanson and I have predicted a surge in economic vitality once the Lightworker's departure is in the bag. My view is that we may indeed get good policy coming out of a Republican White House in 2013 working in tandem with a Republican or a split Congress, but that we needn't have it. Good policy would just be gravy. The simple fact of businesspeople coming out from under their desks, where they've been cowering in fear for the last three years, will be enough to generate meaningful and noticeable economic momentum.

Some are taking the leap of faith already. Bank lending is starting to creep up.
Despite all the bleak economic news, a funny thing has been happening in the financial industry over the last few months: the banks have quietly turned on the lending spigot...
Over all, corporate lending has rebounded 7.2 percent after bottoming out in October 2010. Consumer lending, with the exception of housing-related loans, turned positive during the second quarter and has been gradually increasing since then, the data show. All told, total loan balances are near where they stood in mid-2007.
It's not gangbusters, but it's a start. Expect a rough correlation between news like this and continuing bad numbers for the "sort of God" President.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Big Blue's Bradshaw Burns Bills

Great win for the G-Men going into the bye week. I was tempted to do a non-obvious choice for the Gameball in an attempt to try and get some unrecognized players next to the Hermanator - like Corey Webster for his two picks, the second of which was all-but-game-winning. But the post-game interviews sealed up the honor for the obvious choice - how can you not give to the man who "runs with anger" to three TDs...? Ahmad B., meet the Hermanator!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ford and UAW Update

Remember when I said that Ford and the UAW are now incompatible and that a showdown was coming? In case you don't, here it is.

Well, things are getting interesting. UAW rank and file are thumbs-downing the deal recently struck by Ford and the UAW brass. I think Ford wants a deal because they are making money and consumer demand is actually decent so why screw with things while the sailing is relatively smooth, right? If the rank and file walk out, will Ford hire scabs? I don't know, but they should. Long term Ford needs to ditch the UAW and if the conditions are ideal now - tens of thousands of workers willing to fill those jobs - why on Earth should the long term not start today?

Piracy Progress

Regular readers of NBfPB know that I follow and comment on the inexplicable resurgence of the scourge of piracy here at the dawn of the 21 century. Readers will further note that I favor the 19th century solution - watery graves for pirates - to this 19th century problem. Alas, much of the global shipping industry went along with the 21st century solution - international cooperation, under-resourced military escorts, haphazard judicial prosecution, namby-pamby rules of engagement - which has now proven a total failure. Today comes news of the capitulation. The largest ship-owning company in the world, AP Moeller-Maersk, long a holdout against having men with guns on its ships due to its vast global profile and inherent Danish pacifism, has given up on the oh-so-very-modern approach.

Danish shipping AP Moller-Maersk has accepted that armed security personnel are needed on its ships.

The decision to allow selective use of guards on some vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean comes after a thorough legal review, the Maritime Danmark website said.

Progress in my book.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

DB Says: "Live Free or Die...and RELAX about Romney"

Let me establish some bona fides: 1) I love the PJ Tatler blog and Bryan is one of the their best IMHO, 2) I think Rick Perry is fab and I'll happily pull the lever for him in Nov. 2012. 3) I probably own more "Live Free or Die" paraphernalia than anybody at Pajamas.

But this...? This is whining of the pansy, liberal variety and it's unbecoming. Man up and quit yur whynin'. What's more...relaaaaaaaaaxxxx.

Couple things. 1) Romney has been running for President since 2007, he's got a head start. It is no surprise he's doing well and hauling in cash (see my prediction of how Romney's fundraising would work here). 2) I think you'll find in time that a good chunk of the "East Coast Establishment" will be Cainiacs, so "the fix" is hardly in. 3) Relax. Romney is OK. Yeah yeah RomneyCare and shit like this...I get it, but we gotta re-laaaaaaxxxxx. It's OK. The Big Prize for us rabid terrible awful racist destructive Tea Partiers is the Congress. The White House is only of marginal importance to us - most of its value rests in who does not occupy it, namely Barack Lightworker Obama. The difference between a President Romney and a President Perry is from here to the corner, the difference between a President Romney and President Obama is to Mars and back.

So listen to me fellow ConservoLibertarTeaPartySmallGovAnti-EuroWeenieSocialDemocracy types, and listen good. The Congress is where the action is act - we must tame that Beast. But whoever occupies the White House after 2012 is OK as long as it is not Barack Obama. Got that? Whoever. Romney included. So fight for your guy (or gal), but come time, put away that RomneyCare/East Coast Establishment angst and drag your butt to the polls and GIT UR DONE! Capeesh?

Wherefore Romney's Fingernails-on-Chalkboard Capital Gains Tax Policy?

Not that I read or care about David Brooks's musings at all, but it is hard to be a political junkie and not cross paths with a smattering of Brooksitry. Recently the NY Crimesian had this to say about Mitt Romney's economic advisors:
"He seems to know how to pick staff. His economic advisers include R. Glenn Hubbard of Columbia, Greg Mankiw of Harvard... This is the gold standard of adviser teams."
Mankiw, of course, is fine although in desperate need of a Pigouectomy; and, of course, I have highlighted Hubbard here on this blog numerous times. I think Hubbard can be a top notch economic policy advisor and, more importantly, a formidable influence on the US economy. So I don't doubt that Mitt Romney is getting great economic policy advice. Or is he? Frankly, I can't disagree with Landsburg's takedown of Romney's capital gains tax incoherence one iota (gotta click thru, no copying/pasting allowed apparently).

So what is going on here? Can such economic gibberish really be emanating from the Hubbard and Mankiw braintrust? Were they overruled? Fine, but who overruled them? Political strategists? Mitt himself? Answers are needed. (Actually answers aren't truly needed, I'm in the ABBO camp and I'm gonna pull the lever for Romney if he's the nominee, but it would be nice for the fingernails-on-the-chalkboard effect of this policy stance to go away.)

My hope is that this is just a pander, so that the campaign doesn't have to directly confront the anti-rich sentiment loose in the land, and that more rational tax policy would prevail in a Romney administration with a Treasury Secretary Hubbard. Sure it's dishonest, but it's a dishonest game and this pales in comparison liberal omelette-makers.

UPDATE: More here in re Romney and economic policy from the fantastic Scott Grannis.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Shows Why We Are "Pre-Revolutionary"

Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that congressional opposition to the American Jobs Act is akin to the Confederate “states in rebellion.”

Jackson called for full government employment of the 15 million unemployed and said that Obama should “declare a national emergency” and take “extra-constitutional” action “administratively” — without the approval of Congress — to tackle unemployment.

“I hope the president continues to exercise extraordinary constitutional means, based on the history of Congresses that have been in rebellion in the past,” Jackson said. “He’s looking administratively for ways to advance the causes of the American people, because this Congress is completely dysfunctional.”

Here's the link with bonus video. Again, let me point out that pollster Pat Caddell (a Democrat) has determined that Americans are in a "pre-revolutionary" mood, fast becoming "revolutionary". Gee, I wonder why that is...

Let me also reiterate to any of these dodoheads who care to listen, which is likely precisely none of them...
"...elections are the best thing you have going for you right now. With any luck you'll be voted out, allowed to return to society to live out your days peacefully, and then fade into obscurity. Suspend elections and, on current course, you'll probably be hunted down by mobs and strung up in the town square like the elitist pillagers of old. If I were you I'd take that safe retirement via the ballot box over doors one, two or three."
When you don't have the people's consent, they're gonna let you know one way or the other, and, like in all things, there is an easy way and a hard way...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Term Rallying??

There is very little meaningful news driving the stock market up today. Europe is fairly quiet regarding its proposals to deal with the sovereign debt crisis. Earnings are not prominent. So why is the market rallying? Hmmm.

Did someone say "one term rally"? Yes, someone did and the more that someone thinks about it, that someone thinks it could be rather huge. Corporate profitability has more than held up, it's at record levels. Corporate financial soundness is at record levels as debt as a percentage of anything - equity, assets, cash flow - is ad low as it's been in decades. The only thing that is missing is growth. If we get a reversal of the damaging policies inflicted on us by the Lightworker, there will be growth opportunities for American businesses. Put together profitability, financial soundness, and growth and it could be off to the races.

Think I'm crazy? Hell, I'm just predicting a stock market rally. No less than Victor Davis Hanson is predicting a bloody Renaissance!

Friday, October 07, 2011

John Galt and Robert Half, Kill Joys

Yet again, you heard it here first. To the extent companies are hiring at all, it's temp workers and/or giving more hours to current employees.

U.S. employers, unwilling to commit to full-time hiring until they see a clear pickup in demand for their goods and services, are relying on short-term contracts to try out workers before offering them a job, staffing industry executives say.
This is almost right. Companies are worried about demand but they are also holding back because of things like ObamaCare. A new full-time employee is a new set of fixed administrative burdens and costs around which there is no certainty and ominous portents.

John Galt and Robert Half are both kill joys for America's economy. But they were invited in.

Greece Gets Desperate

What does any bankrupt socialist paradise do when it is truly desperate...drill for oil, of course.

Greece in January will invite offers for oil exploration off its western shores in the hopes of tapping reserves of some 280 million barrels, the junior energy minister said Thursday.

Yiannis Maniatis said the cabinet had approved drilling in the gulf of Patras, the sea region west of Ioannina and Katakolo off the Peloponnese coast, the semi-state Athens News Agency reported.

"It is the first time Greece is taking such a step, and it will be done in complete transparency," Maniatis said according to the agency.

Wait, did they forget that they are European? California, Greece, who knows, maybe the US will get so broke we'll start drilling for oil again...

Exxon To Spend Less in the US Than It Would Like To

ExxonMobil is going to spend $37 billion this year. In the business world, this money is known as "capital expenditure". When spent by the federal government, this type of money is called "stimulus".

One interesting tidbit, Exxon's CEO notes that the number could have been higher except that the US basically doesn't want the investment.

ExxonMobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Thursday the company expects to spend a record $37 billion on capital projects this year, almost 9% more than it has previously said it was planning to invest.

"We are investing over $37 billion this year," Tillerson said during an interview with CNBC. "We will do more in the U.S. if we are given the opportunity to do so."

A clear example of what I've been saying for over two years now. Capital can flee and capital can sit on its hands, and if attacked and threatened, it will. Sadly, labor needs capital. When capital flees or sits idle, labor does too. This is basic stuff.

Hope and change baby.

The Upside of the Tattoo Juggernaut

Tattoos are making it much easier for cops to hunt down criminals. Below is a description of some "youths" that the NYC cops would like to find. What were the chances of finding "Hispanic male, 17-20, 5-10 to 6-feet with braided hair"? Now, what are the chances of finding "Hispanic male, 17-20, 5-10 to 6-feet with braided hair. He has an Eye of Horus tattoo on his neck and spider web tattoo on his left arm." His tat has increased his chances of apprehension by at least a factor of 10, no?

Complete descriptions of the suspects as provided by the police are as follows:

  1. Black male 17-20, 5-7 to 5-10, 190 pounds, tattoo on right arm.
  2. Black male, 17-20, 5-9, 180 pounds, earrings in both ears
  3. Hispanic male, 17-20, 5-10 to 6-feet with braided hair. He has an Eye of Horus tattoo on his neck and spider web tattoo on his left arm.
  4. Black female, 18-20 years old, 5-4, 120 pounds. She has the word “Hated” with a picture of a rose and the word “Loved” tattooed on her arm.
  5. Hispanic male, 17-20, 55-10 to 6-1, 190 pounds, with a piercing in his right eyebrow

More Canadian Pudding

It's deja vu all over again as Canada smokes the USA in job creation. Canada added 60,900 jobs in September. Obviously, since Canada has a tenth of our population and equivalently small economy, their 60,900 jobs is akin to the US adding 609,000 jobs. Alas we added 103,000 jobs (and that 103K is not really 103K), a pretty poor performance. Serves us right though, we are doing everything wrong and Canada is mostly doing things right:
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.
Hope and change America. You bought it, enjoy it.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

On Palin

OK, so Sarah Palin isn't running. Most of us knew that, so ho-hum, right? Wrong. People paying attention know that she is up to something:
Yes, I know that's the news that everybody was waiting for -- but what interested me most was what Palin said about her vision for America and how she said it. It was crafted very intentionally --and it was simply pitch-perfect.

Palin spoke of ideas and priorities. These were above and beyond what paLinkrticular position she -- or anyone else -- might play in our arena of ideas. That she's still very much in the arena -- and planning on making a difference -- is obvious.

In her written statement -- and her immediate follow-up interview with Levin -- she made it clear what was important. Saving the country is all that matters, and the first step required for that task is to totally reverse our current course. Of course, that includes removal of the current occupant in the White House.

Hmmmm. Does any of that sound like this:
She's going to do what nobody has really ever done, she's going to defeat a sitting President...without running for President herself.

She's going to energize not just "the base", but the entire population of the country that is not an Obama-bot. She's going to tour the country, rallying people for a rebirth of liberty, a re-commitment to the constitutional framework of limited government, and the first step in that process is to put an end to the Obama presidency.
The genius at the AT posted that today. I posted my analysis back in May. Palin is an out-of-the-box thinker, a guerrilla politician, and you can only understand her if you are a guerrilla thinker. Not many guerrilla thinkers in the MSM, which is why they were, are, and will continue to be flummoxed by her. Just watch, she will have a decisive role in the elections of 2012.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

DW-S Strikes Again, Republicans Hope for More

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is an almost Biden-esque source of comedy/political gold. The Republicans must consider her a gift from on high.

Today she maintains that "anyone" can see that the economy is turning a corner
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted to yesterday that “anyone’ can see that the economy is improving and sought to interpret what Pres. Obama really meant when he admitted Monday that Americans were not better off today than four years ago.
Anyone, perhaps, but the 152,881 people who were told they'd be laid off in the last two months.

UPDATE: This ought to be noted:
"It would be easy to look at the September job-cut figure alongside some of the other less-than-stellar economic news that has been reported lately and draw the conclusion that the economy is indeed headed for a double dip. However, it is important to keep in mind that 80,000 cuts, or nearly 70 percent of last month’s total, came from just two organizations: Bank of America and the United States Army ..."
A smaller Army and a shrinking Bank of America...for the left I'd say this is a feature not a bug.

We're "Pre-Revolutionary"? Why Is That?

Democratic pollster Pat Caddell says that Americans are in a "pre-revolutionary" mood, fast moving to "revolutionary". Hmmm, let's see...for starters: three years of trillion dollar deficits, 9% unemployment, 18% underemployment, loss of our AAA credit rating, a looming healthcare insurance "individual mandate". That is the core of the source of the anger. So what has been the response to the anger by our representatives: 1) Suspend elections, 2) restrict free speech.

Hmmm, tell me again why we are "pre-revolutionary"....??
Well, at least our churches are safe...

Predictable Surge In Truck Orders Starting to Happen

Awhile back I highlighted how the Obama administration is repeating a massive distortion in truck market whose consequences are thoroughly predictable. New, onerous fuel efficiency standards are being imposed on truck manufacturers in a repeat of standards that were imposed on truck engine-makers in 2002. Just as in 2002 case, truck operators rushed out to buy the old technology before the new standards went into effect and truck sales fell off a cliff after the deadline. The same will hold true this time around. Although we are not bumping up against the deadline yet, truck operators are starting to load up tractors already. Granted, some of this is just natural recovery and the overhang from a period of low capex, but a desire to load up on pre-mandate trucks is surely part of it. I expect orders to continue to surge for this reason.

China and Green Energy

What did I say China's "alternative energy" strategy is? Appease, Follow, Use Hydrocarbons. Actually, I was being tame, it is more like - Bluff, Window-Dress, Devour Fossil Fuels. Check out some numbers here. They suggest that I am right.

Bloomberg Bias Gets Wider Scrutiny

Bloomberg's dud of a silly hit-piece on the Koch Brothers is cluing some observers into the fact that Bloomberg News is among the most biased and sloppy media outlets out there. All I have to say is "welcome to the party" folks. Readers of NBfPB have known this for years.

Better Late - Gameball to Manning & Nicks

I regret being late with this, but, as I mentioned, it was a tough call. So tough that I've decided to split the difference and have co-game ball recipients. The decision to join the Hermanator reflects, not both sides of the ball, but the combo that did the dirty work and sealed the V in racking up 31 points - Eli to Hakeem. Gents, enjoy your spot next to the Hermanator!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Obama Makes Good Decisions Way Too Late to Help Himself

After nearly three years of stalling and undermining three important free trade agreements, the Lightworker has sent them to Congress. IBD rightly praises this move:
After years of dithering and bowing to protectionists, President Obama finally submitted three pending free-trade pacts with South Korea, Panama and Colombia to Congress for a vote. Let the U.S. economy recover.

The president's decision marks the first bright economic move he has made to boost the nation's ailing economy. Dropping tariffs, opening markets and equalizing investment terms are a proven way to boost economic growth.

Contrary to all the nonsense about outsourcing and giant sucking sounds, the real impact of free trade is new freedom and opportunity.

The pacts are now on their way to a vote in Congress after a long delay, marking Obama's first real shift from campaign demagogue captive to special interests to President of the entire U.S.

In a lesser covered move, the administration is moving forward with leases and permits for oil exploration in the Chukchi Sea off of Alaska.

The Obama administration announced Monday it was moving forward with oil-drilling leases issued off the coast of Alaska by the previous administration, marking an important development in the battle over Arctic Ocean drilling.

The Interior Department said it was going to uphold nearly 500 leases issued in the Chukchi Sea after several environmental groups challenged the sale of the leases in court. The George W. Bush administration conducted the sale in 2008, collecting bids worth about $2.7 billion.

Among the companies securing leases in "Lease Sale 193" was Shell, the energy giant at the center of a high-profile fight to secure permits to drill in the Arctic.

Environmental groups oppose the Chukchi Sea leases, contending U.S. regulators don't know enough about the Arctic--its marine life and ecosystem--to allow drilling in the region. The groups also raise concerns about the ability of energy companies to respond to spills in the Arctic's icy waters.

I guess the guy really does want to get reelected and seems to now be doing things that actually promote economic growth and jobs. I'm afraid all of this is too little too late. We won't see the tangible benefits of these moves for awhile, and it's not like he can rally his base with this stuff.
"The Obama administration said it would make decisions in the Arctic based on sound science, but today it flunked the test," Earthjustice attorney Erik Grafe said.

BIG BIG "I Told Ya' So"

I predicted, more or less, this sequence (here, here, here, here) upon the election of our 44th President:
1) Barack Obama and the Democrats attack business relentlessly with rhetoric and punitive legislation and regulation;
2) businesses pull back substantially on investment;
3) the economy suffers or languishes at best;
4) the poor economy sinks the Obama presidency and many Democrat's careers.

Check out this post at Carpe Diem, as evidence of #2. #s 1 and 3 are hardly in dispute. All that's left is the crying, or #4.

Barack Obama is in the final stages of being taught (not necessarily learning though) an elemental lesson that he should have known or picked up on mighty quick. America's prosperity is grounded in the free market system, nurturing vibrant businesses that are allowed to be flexible and responsive and reap wide open rewards for their efforts. When you suffocate the economic freedom in the system, it shuts down. And America follows.

Bubba Is Enjoying This Knife Twisting Thing

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Nice Big Blue Win in the Desert (Reminiscent of the Greatest SB Win Ever)

Big Giant win.

I have no idea who will join the Hermanator this week. It's a tough, tough call. This was an odd win, so I'm gonna have to sleep on it.

BTW, the Hermanator will be in the Big Apple this week and I will do some first-hand investigative reporting. Stay tuned.

Sadly, no poor Nicaraguan kids got t-shirts out of this one...

Also, this is delicious. I'm on Vick's dumb/infuriating is the media? I think he handled it with as much aplomb as one should given the proper reaction would have been throw a projectile at the reporter's forehead...this kid has matured. Good for him.

Why Are We Risking Collapse Over the Stupid Greeks?

I'll have more on this later, but here you have an amazing question - amazing in the contrast between its bracing centrality and its shocking novelty: Why are we risking cratering the global financial system over the f**king deadbeat Greeks?

When you ask yourself, doesn't it all seem so clear? Not to the doofuses that run Europe apparently.

"Post-Obama" Will Be An Inflection Point for the History Books

It is not the first time that Victor Davis Hanson echoes me, eerily. (I cannot prove whether he reads NBfPB, and frankly, I doubt it.) His latest argues for the post-Obama American Renaissance. There's alot more meat on Hanson's bone, but essentially, he's saying what I said here. I think the thesis, applied broadly to American vitality or narrowly to the stock market, has alot of validity to it.