Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Every person, newscaster and commentator always prefaces any, even the mildest criticism, of President Obama's policies with some statement about how dazzlingly brilliant the man is. Liberals, conservatives, independents — it never changes. Why is this? And most important of all, is it true?
What and where is the proof that Obama is such a sharp fellow? The recorded evidence is unavailable since his academic records, and test scores from three universities are sealed at his demand. Sure, he graduated from Harvard, but so did George Bush, who earned an MBA but is still pilloried by some as dumber than dirt.
We shall have to examine Obama's performance and make our own assumptions based on observations.
Obama selected advisers and Cabinet heads who have basically no experience in the private sector. He relies heavily on them to tell him what to do about the sick economy. Their knee-jerk responses are Keynesian (borrow and spend), based on a dubious theory popular 70 years ago, and proved unworkable in the past.
They sold us the stimulus ("porkulus") package of spending.The result? Rising unemployment and falling home sales prove that "recovery summer" is going down the tube without touching the sides. The president retains his economic Rasputins. Is loyalty to failure a sign of a great mind?
Obama farmed out the stimulus, omnibus budget, financial reform, cap-and-tax and health care bills to Congress — allowing it free rein. He did not exercise leadership and instead abdicated to the whims of Nancy Pelosi, David Obey, Harry Reid and Chris Dodd.
Trillions are borrowed and spent on the public sector while real jobs evaporate. Banks invest in bonds instead of businesses. Impending and threatened mandates, regulation and tax increases choke off entrepreneurial ambitions. Does this activity indicate a high level of intelligence, or just managerial ineptitude?
The president is unable to string a cogent sentence together without a pair of Teleprompters working perfectly. He can deliver a mesmerizing speech but can't even remember who is standing beside him when the tape runs off the tracks. His most often used extemporaneous word is "um."
This may be a clue as to why he has granted fewer press conferences than any president in memory. Can such performances be equated to "brilliance"? Not in my book.
Stepping in the political equivalent of a doggie dumpling seems to bring out the worst in Obama. Why and how could he pop off with everything from "The Cambridge Police acted stupidly" to flip-flops on the New York mosque issue, and everything in between? His inane mumblings about the skivvy shorts bomber, the public trial of the 9/11 plotters, the fanatic major who gunned down 13 soldiers, the Arizona immigration law and "saving or creating" jobs belies any vast reservoir of intelligence.
Basically, these clowns get wined and dined by the companies that the analysts are supposed to be critiquing so the likelihood you, the investor, actually gets good information is next to impossible.
Even the ratings they use, (buy, sell, hold) is to be so non-descript as to be meaningless. Seriously, are they recommending a buy because it has upside, or because the the analyst believes that company has an excellent track record for growth, or because other investment opportunities are worse. You could use the same parameters for all the other companies. The ratings don't mean squat.
Now we have an analyst challenging companies earnings reports and he's getting the squeeze.........
For that critique, Mayo has been denied one-on-one meetings with top players of the firm, including CEO Vikram Pandit, Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach, and any other member of management, while other analysts enjoy full access to the bank’s top executives, FBN has learned.
In fact, Mayo hasn’t had a meeting with Pandit or anyone in Citigroup management since around the time of the financial crisis, in the fall of 2008, when Citigroup was on the verge of extinction and needed an unprecedented series of government bailouts to survive.
Since then Citigroup has been profitable, albeit marginally. Though it posted a loss for the full year of 2009, after it repaid a government bailout loan during the fourth quarter and began to unwind Uncle Sam’s ownership stake. One reason Citigroup may be unwilling to write off its DTAs: to do so may sink the troubled bank back into unprofitability.Now, Mayo’s continued criticism of the firm’s accounting has turned a testy relationship between Pandit and Mayo into one of the most-bitter analyst-CEO confrontations seen on Wall Street for some time. When asked about the matter, a spokeswoman for Citigroup would only say “I have no comment on Mike Mayo.”
Mayo told FBN: “I’d like to know why all my competitors get meetings with Pandit and the key people there and I don’t.”
Why? Try this. These clowns see you getting frozen out and they know they don't get invited to corporate meetings in the Hamptons or South Beach. That's why.
I've never understood why analysts don't rank companies against each other in specific industries.
For instance, if you were to look at large banks you would rank them like you would college football teams with a letter score.
An example might look like.....
1) Nationsbank - A
2) Bank of America - B
3) PNC Bank- C
4) Chase Bank -D
5) Fifth Third Bank - E
In addition, firms would rank industries based on market conditions, long term prospects etc. That might look like.....
1) Transportation - A
2) Medical Devices - B
3) Auto - C
4) Finance - C
5) Food - C
6) Consumer products - D
Then your rating has some weight behind it.
As it is, you'll find out when a company goes down the tubes right after your broker tells you your shares are worthless.
During the first half of this year, German and American political leaders engaged in an epic debate. American leaders argued that the economic crisis was so bad, governments should borrow billions to stimulate growth. German leaders argued that a little short-term stimulus was sensible, but anything more was near-sighted. What was needed was not more debt, but measures to balance budgets and restore confidence.More.....
The debate got pointed. American economists accused German policy makers of risking a long depression. The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, countered, “Governments should not become addicted to borrowing as a quick fix to stimulate demand.”
The two countries followed different policy paths. According to Gary Becker of the University of Chicago, the Americans borrowed an amount equal to 6 percent of G.D.P. in an attempt to stimulate growth. The Germans spent about 1.5 percent of G.D.P. on their stimulus.
This divergence created a natural experiment. Who was right?
The early returns suggest the Germans were. The American stimulus package was supposed to create a “summer of recovery,” according to Obama administration officials. Job growth was supposed to be surging at up to 500,000 a month. Instead, the U.S. economy is scuffling along.
The German economy, on the other hand, is growing at a sizzling (and obviously unsustainable) 9 percent annual rate. Unemployment in Germany has come down to pre-crisis levels.
Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them."
That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.
-- Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.
-- Disgust and alarm with the federal government's unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.
-- Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.
-- Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.
Now we know why the country has become "ungovernable," last year's excuse for the Democrats' failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?
Read the rest
Tomorrow, Glenn Beck is having a rally at the Lincoln Memorial. There will be thousand of counter protesters there protesting Glenn Beck's right to his 1st amendment free speech rights.
What's the difference?
Was I shocked when I read Andrea S. Lafferty’s article about ABC News sending an undercover photographer into a crowd of Ground Zero Mosque protesters? Yes and no.
Yes, because it’s something a news organization has no business doing. No, because nothing surprises me with the media nowadays.
NBC’s Dateline sent people dressed as Muslims to a NASCAR race shortly after 9-11 to videotape bigotry that they hoped to find. They found none, but that’s not the point here. The fact they thought they would find it at a NASCAR race shows NBC’s bigotry.In this latest case, ABC needs to explain what it was doing and why it was doing it (of course, we already know, but if they are truly transparent as a media outlet, they would want to explain themselves.)
Undercover cameras are used all the time in gathering news, but they are used when media feel they are going after a “perp”, a bad-guy or some other evil criminal. ABC used an undercover camera to go after average American citizens who apparently are seen as “perps” by the network.
The Obama administration has shelved the planned prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged coordinator of the Oct. 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, according to a court filing.
The decision at least temporarily scuttles what was supposed to be the signature trial of a major al-Qaeda figure under a reformed system of military commissions. And it comes practically on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the attack, which killed 17 sailors and wounded dozens when a boat packed with explosives ripped a hole in the side of the warship in the port of Aden.
In a filing this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department said that "no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future."
The statement, tucked into a motion to dismiss a petition by Nashiri's attorneys, suggests that the prospect of further military trials for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has all but ground to a halt, much as the administration's plan to try the accused plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in federal court has stalled.
Only two cases are moving forward at Guantanamo Bay, and both were sworn and referred for trial by the time Obama took office. In January 2009, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates directed the Convening Authority for Military Commissions to stop referring cases for trial, an order that 20 months later has not been rescinded.
Among the cast for the show. Ruth Buzzi, Joanne Worley, Charles Nelson Riley, Soupy Sales, and many, many more.
Where's Ed Sullivan when you need him...... for president?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
One in ten Ohioans receives food stamps; obviously a signal of tough times.
It is also obvious that if we want to bring back the state economy, we need an enormous state tax increase. That will be just the stimulus this area needs to bring jobs back to Ohio. Along with the tax increase, we also need some serious business regulations; like they have over there in France (or Michigan).
For instance, if Ohio shortens the required work week to 32 hours, that means employers will have to hire more employees to do the work that was done with the previous workforce.
Let's not forget things like mandatory health coverage, vacation pay, another increase in the minimum wage, mandatory union membership, etc.; those things are sure to bring about an ample supply of jobs to the area.
If we can just create an environment in this state where employers are forced to pay more to their employees, we'll solve this whole dilemma.
Boy, how is it things haven't worked according to the DNC road map to recovery.
But should I have as much interest in who Ken Mehlman is sleeping with today now that he insists on telling me, and the rest of the world, he is gay? What if he came out of the closet and told the world he was really into being ball gagged and spanked with an adult diaper on (special turn on if it's Barbara Walters doing the spanking)? Do we, as the public need, to know that or even care?
By the way, here's a partial list of people that I don't care, want to know, have any interest in knowing who they are sleeping with.........
So I'll make you a deal. The day you want to hear about who I've banged during my lifetime, I'll be more than happy to send you video/audio tapes.
But you need not worry about me asking about your fetishes, proclivities, compulsions, kinky turn-ons, etc....... because I don't care.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
3. Small business owners use their homes to obtain business credit. According to the 2009 Gallup/NFIB survey, 16 percent of small business owners finance a business with a home mortgage, and an additional 6 percent pledge that real estate as collateral. As a result, business borrowing of more than one in five small business owners is tied to the value of their homes.
As home prices have fallen, small-business-owning households have seen their personal balance sheets weaken. And the NFIB survey shows that 9 percent of owners owe more than their homes are worth.
The more fragile financial position of small business owners has made expansion difficult. In addition, as home values have fallen, the 22 percent of small business owners whose business debt is linked to residential real estate have faced demand for more collateral by lenders. The weakened balance sheets and demand for additional collateral has meant that fewer small business owners have been able to expand.
One of my friends is filing bankruptcy today. At one time, he owned a home in a nice part of the city. That home appreciated from his purchase price of 290k fourteen years ago to 790k two years ago.
He used the 200k of the equity in the home to finance a start up business which ultimately failed. Now he's on the hook for 490k in debt on a home that now appraises for $475k.
What's interesting is that they received an offer just before the crash for $720k that they declined because they thought they could get more.
So for all the douche bags out there who want to jump start the housing industry, here's a real life case study on what over inflated real estate values did to people during the past two years.
First, by creating all these home ownership programs, which included stated income loans (liar loans), the feds created an environment for speculators in the housing market.
Second, if this market had more normal rates of returns, this guy would never had the equity to speculate in a business (which I thought was a loser from the get go).
Third, too many business owners knew they could keep borrowing on their house believing the rates of return would keep skyrocketing. Shit, why sell at $720k when I can get $820k next year! In addition, I have all kinds of equity to do a plant expansion.
Fourth, the banks got Viagra like results when they could take a home as collateral. The thinking was "hell, people won't let their houses go". How'd that thinking work out? I know of banks doing 150 percent loan to value home equity loans. That was bad enough but combine that with an appraisal industry more than willing to be an accomplice in inflated appraised values and you have a giant real estate Ponzi scheme.
During the time of all this, I counseled (some would say lectured) my clients on the importance of treating housing like any other consumable item..........not an investment.
I also lectured clients on the importance of not rolling other debt on the house; credit cards, auto, or otherwise.
But it's like spitting into the wind an entire industry and the feds are promoting houses for everyone.
So now that the state of New Jersey has been charged by the SEC with lying to bond investors about the (desiccated, horrific, probably insolvent) state of its pension funds, the guessing game begins: Who is next? Exchequer readers will not be surprised to learn that Illinois, the place where Barack Obama developed his famous financial acumen, is on the list of potential targets.
When Illinois passed its pension “reform” law a few months ago, it decided it could skip an additional $300 million in pension contributions this year, and many millions more in the future. This, for a pension system that already is less than half funded. The New York Times asked a few actuaries about that decision, and the bean-counters are crying foul:
Paradoxically, even though the state will make smaller contributions, the report forecasts that Illinois will get its pension funds back on track to a respectable 90 percent funding level by 2045. It projects that costs will increase slowly and an economic recovery will make cash available for the state to make the contributions it has failed to do in the past.
Whether that is even possible is contested by some actuaries who note that its family of pension funds is now only 39 percent funded. (If a company let its pension fund dwindle to that level, the federal government would probably step in, but federal officials have no authority to seize state pension funds.)
Some actuaries who have reviewed the state’s plans said that shrinking contributions would make the pension funds shakier, not stronger.
Indeed, one of them, Jeremy Gold, called Illinois’s plan “irresponsible” and said it could drive the pension funds to the brink.
Further, Mr. Gold pointed out that Illinois’s official disclosures said that its pension calculations used an actuarial method known as “projected unit credit,” but that the pension reform report used another method, which had not been approved for disclosure.
“According to Illinois statute, the prescribed contributions are determined under a method that may not be in compliance with the pertinent actuarial standards of practice,” Mr. Gold said.
The Wall Street Journal has more on state pension shenanigans here.
Hey, taxpayer: How’s your retirement fund looking these days? Anything left to put in it after the state-workers’ unions are done with you? Heck, you’re probably the kind of sucker who pays his mortgage with his own money.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
At Bruegger's Bagels in Albany, New York, getting your bagel sliced is going to cost you an extra 8 cents. Not because the owner is a cheap jerk, although that's what many customers thought when the price increase was initially posted this summer. Instead, the use of knives in a bagel shop magically summons the tax man:
In New York, the sale of whole bagels isn't subject to sales tax. But the tax does apply to "sliced or prepared bagels (with cream cheese or other toppings)," according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. And if the bagel is eaten in the store, even if it's never been touched by a knife, it's also taxed.
This isn't an isolated incident, and stories like this are likely to become more common as state governments that are out of money start looking for ways to nickle and dime their taxpayers.
Ask someone who actually hires people............
Intel chief executive Paul Otellini offered a depressing set of observations about the economy and the Obama administration Monday evening, coupled with a dark commentary on the future of the technology industry if nothing changes.
Otellini's remarks during dinner at the Technology Policy Institute's Aspen Forum here amounted to a warning to the administration officials and assorted Capitol Hill aides in the audience: Unless government policies are altered, he predicted, "the next big thing will not be invented here. Jobs will not be created here."
Otellini singled out the political state of affairs in Democrat-dominated Washington, saying: "I think this group does not understand what it takes to create jobs. And I think they're flummoxed by their experiment in Keynesian economics not working."
Since an unusually sharp downturn accelerated in late 2008, the Obama administration and its allies in the U.S. Congress have enacted trillions in deficit spending they say will create an economic stimulus -- but have not extended the Bush tax cuts and have pushed to levy extensive new health care and carbon regulations on businesses.
"They're in a 'Do' loop right now trying to figure out what the answer is," Otellini said.
As a result, he said, "every business in America has a list of more variables than I've ever seen in my career." If variables like capital gains taxes and the R&D tax credit are resolved correctly, jobs will stay here, but if politicians make decisions "the wrong way, people will not invest in the United States. They'll invest elsewhere."
Take factories. "I can tell you definitively that it costs $1 billion more per factory for me to build, equip, and operate a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States," Otellini said.
The rub: Ninety percent of that additional cost of a $4 billion factory is not labor but the cost to comply with taxes and regulations that other nations don't impose. (Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers elaborated on this in an interview with CNET, saying the problem is not higher U.S. wages but anti-business laws: "The killer factor in California for a manufacturer to create, say, a thousand blue-collar jobs is a hostile government that doesn't want you there and demonstrates it in thousands of ways.")
So if you're a new tech grad looking for that good paying job, you can thank that Hope and Change guy you supported last election.
I don't why
You call some place Paradise
Kiss it Goodbye
Computer software giant Adobe, computer game monster EA Games, and Internet auction king ebay are abandoning California to set up shop in Utah. Why? California’s horrid business climate and high taxes.
Adobe Systems, maker of a suite of graphics programs such as Adobe PDF, Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, have announced that they are building a $100 million facility in either Salt Lake City or in nearby Utah County, Utah. The facility will bring thousands of jobs to Utah over the next few decades.
In May the Internet auction company ebay also announced a major new facility to be built in Salt Lake City. The $287 million data center will also bring hundreds of new jobs to the Bee Hive State.
Not to be forgotten, games maker Electronic Arts opened its new facility in July in Salt Lake City where around 100 employees are already at work.
These companies fleeing California’s horrid business climate are not alone. There has been a steady flow of businesses out of California for the better part of a decade. As California’s political morass worsens, as its budget woes increase, and as her politicians are proven incapable of making the hard budgetary decisions to take power from unions and chop unnecessarily lavish social programs, the state’s jobs are bleeding out. California is an a freefall the end of which is still unseen.
Jobs? We don't need no stinkin' jobs...........
Now that's "progressive"!
A few months ago, I asked Mrs. Gekko why a number of the shows we watch are shot in non LA/NY locations, Burn Notice and Dexter (Miami), In Plain Sight (Albequerque), Hung (Detroit), etc.
It's been my theory the part of the reason is the costs of doing business in those cities versus the cost of LA and/or NY.
Now Woody Allen offers this.............
However, the film director told reporters in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo that he finds Manhattan poses fewer limitations than European cities, where more tailoring of the story is required to fit the location.
When London is less expensive then LA or New York, what the hell does that say about your local business environment?
But hey, it's not like any of those people looking to be extras have any problem flying to London.
Remember how the public was told how people would be leaving the suburbs to get their kids into the KC schools?
Well, in a surprise to no one, it didn't quite work out that way............
Like so many other public school parents, Reshonda Sanders felt confused on Thursday as she tried to comprehend why nearly half of the schools here, including her own alma mater, are to close for good at the end of the year. As the mother of two high school students, she was well aware of the district’s struggles.
“But even so, I thought, Could they be serious? Close almost 30 schools, all at once?” said Ms. Sanders, 34. “That’s devastating for us. How did it get to be this bad? What were they doing for years and years so that something like this happens just like overnight?”
In her bafflement, Ms. Sanders is not alone. In the wake of the Kansas City school board’s decision to shutter 28 of its 61 schools, many people were left scratching their heads. While school closings as a result of demographic change and tight budgets are commonplace across the country, rarely does a system lose half of itself in one sweep.
The sudden move suggests a depth of dysfunction here that is rarely associated with Kansas City, a lively heartland town with a reputation for order. But a closer look at the school board’s recent history reveals a chaotic, almost nonfunctioning body that put off making tough choices and even routine improvements for generations. Experts said that in the board’s years of inaction is a cautionary tale for school districts everywhere.
Needless to say, it's just one of the many things that liberals have managed to rot.
The most pathetic thing about this article is the last sentence.
Nakisha Eubanks, a mother of three students, said: “I don’t want my kids in this district, going through all this disruption. But I can’t move, and I don’t have transportation. So, this is it.”
And that my friends is the only way liberal can govern; by forcing the people who have no choice into accepting the putrid and disgusting.
Now that's "progressive"!
Monday, August 23, 2010
A stunt gone awry Sunday on Interstate 275 has left a Cincinnati man dead after he attempted to climb onto the roof of a moving car, fell and was hit by at least two vehicles.
The accident happened at about 2 a.m. on the interstate between the Five Mile Road and New Richmond exits.
According to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office, Joseph S. Needels, 29, slipped and fell from the passenger window of a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier when the vehicle drove over a patch of rough pavement.
He was hit by a 2006 Kenworth semi-tractor trailer, a 2009 Mazda 3 and possibly a white pick-up truck that left the scene, investigators said.Needels was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the semi trailer, 31-year-old Theodore A. Hooks II of Cincinnati, was taken to Mercy Hospital Anderson, where he was treated and released. The Mazda 3 driver, Adrienne Williams, 18, of St. Bernard, was not injured, nor was the driver of the Cavalier, 22-year-old Courtney L. Groeshen of Cincinnati.
Alcohol and/or drugs are believed to be factors, authorities said.
Let's see....... 2:00 am..... guy falls off of moving car......... Yeah, I'd say alcohol was most definitely involved.
None the less, did this Future Darwin Award winner vote for The One or The Maverick in that 2008 presidential election?
For instance, let's go through the list....
#6 Judicial Fiat
#5 The NEA
#4 The Welfare State
#3 Trial Lawyers
#2 Affirmative Action
You know what you won't find on that list. Your average garden variety working schlep. You know the people democrats claim to represent. But when push comes to shove, if the interest of your average union worker gets in the way of any of these hills..........tough shit.
If needed any evidence of that read this piece.
Senior Obama administration officials concluded the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling would cost roughly 23,000 jobs, but went ahead with the ban because they didn’t trust the industry’s safety equipment and the government’s own inspection process, according to previously undisclosed documents.
Critics of the moratorium, including Gulf Coast political figures and oil-industry leaders, have said it is crippling the region’s economy, and some have called on the administration to make public its economic analysis. A federal judge who in June threw out an earlier six-month moratorium faulted the administration for playing down the economic effects.
So let me make sure I have this right. The Obamunists were more than willing to sacrifice the jobs (probably high paying union ones at that) for some unknown environmental threats?
What gets me is how the union heads are so committed to a party that would sell them out in a heart beat.
It looks like we have a new recruit............
Police in North Miami say a Democratic congressional candidate has been robbed at gunpoint while waiting to make a campaign appearance at a church.
Police Lt. Neal Cuevas said that Marleine Bastien was in a car Saturday with her sister outside the Church of the Living God when another car pulled up along side them. A man got out, opened the driver's door, and demanded the women give him their purses and threatened to kill them.
Cuevas says the man then took off. Investigators believe he was involved in a similar robbery 30 minutes earlier.
Bastien is one of four Haitian-born candidates running in a Democratic primary next week for an open House seat in a South Florida district.