Monday, December 27, 2010

This'n'That; December Twenty-Seventh [ChineseCars-Investments; Chinese Currency, Labor]

The "Kandi" Electric Car Lineup
The Chinese Auto Industry
    In yesterday's 'The Sunday Report,' one of the articles was entitled: "Buffet's Favorite Auto Stock."  Having just run across that article, I decided to look further--some of what I found:

Buffett Turns to China
  • by: Jim Trippon October 05, 2010
  •     Is the icon of American investing changing his tune? Well, Warren Buffett's big week in China suggests that's exactly what's happening.   Billionaire Buffett became one of the world's richest men with a cautious investment style. He's often quoted as saying he won't invest in a company whose business he doesn't understand. During the dotcom bubble of 2000-2001, Buffett stayed on the sidelines as his critics mocked him. Yes, he missed the big run-up in tech stocks. But he also missed the disastrous crash of the dot-com bubble. [....]
  •     More recently, Buffet made headlines by purchasing a 9.9 percent stake in BYD (BYDDF.OB), an electric car and battery maker. Buffet invested about $230 million in the company in 2008. His stake is now estimated to be worth more than $1.5 billion.  So far Buffett has been extremely picky [....]
3 Technology Sector Picks for 2011
  • by: Steven Bulwa, December 21, 2010
  •      [....] This is not a new theme but there are a multitude of initiatives under the alternative energy umbrella that offer investment opportunities. The big winner to this point is solar. While solar will continue to be a winning development for the planet, stocks like First Solar (FSLR) look very expensive and the investment potential of this area may be exhausted.
  •     Looking to 2011 I believe the next big investment opportunity in alternative energy is the electric vehicle.  BYD (BYDDY.PK) is a Chinese company that is the market leader in rechargeable batteries for cell phones and a vehicle manufacturer. The company benefits as the industry’s lowest cost operator as a fully integrated producer of its own battery technology and from CEO Wang Chuanfu’s innovative approaches to product development and manufacture. BYD plans to introduce its all electric car, the E6 in the U.S. in 2011. After a year of setbacks and disappointing stock performance, 2011 may well be the start of a [....]
Kandi Technologies: An Intelligent Vehicle Electrification Plan
  • by: John Petersen, December 07, 2010    The last thing regular readers expect from me is an article praising a vehicle electrification plan, but I've seen one that overcomes most of the problems I've been writing about for the last couple years and is simply too intelligent to ignore. It's a uniquely Chinese solution to their particular problems, which means it might not work in the U.S. or Europe, but the potential in the target market could be huge.
  •     Kandi Technologies (KNDI) has developed the "KD5010" a two-passenger electric vehicle for city dwellers that looks a lot like a stretched Smart Car. Earlier versions of the KD5010 include a 60-unit plug-in fleet that Kandi delivered to the China Postal Service last summer and the Kandi-Coco, a shorter plug-in “neighborhood electric vehicle” that Kandi's distributors are offering in the U.S. for [....] (Article includes photos)
Kandi Technologies: Still Charging Ahead
  • by: Arthur Porcari,  October 21, 2010
  •     It has now been a month since and Seeking Alpha editors saw fit to publish my lengthy four part “Examination” of this China-based, potential sleeping giant in the electric car industry, Kandi Technologies (KNDI).
  • What a difference a month makes.
  •     The closing price of the stock the day before the article was published was $3.21. On Wednesday the stock closed at $5.64 up some 76%. The average daily volume for the month prior to the article was 48 thousand shares. Since then, the average daily volume has been 385 thousand shares. There is no question that the power of Seeking Alpha has increased the audience and just in time for a powerful press release on Oct. 5th and an even more powerful 8K on the 12th.  If you have followed my past articles and blogs on KNDI, you will note that I do not have, nor do I care to have access to any non-public information [....]
Buffett’s Sweet Tooth: Should Kandi Technologies Be on His BYD Dessert Menu?
  • by: Arthur Porcari,  September 28, 2010
  •     Ok, call me crazy. While it might not make “sense” to think that Warren Buffett would even consider looking at NASDAQ listed Kandi Technologies (KNDI) with its tiny $80 million market cap, it sure could make “dollars” for Buffett’s China doll, BYD (BYDDF.PK). Let me explain.
  •     Last week I was pleasantly surprised that Seeking Alpha picked up and syndicated a 4 part article I wrote titled “Examining Kandi Technologies: A China-Based EV and Quick Change Battery Company.” From the stock action in this normally quiet virtually unknown stock, it appears the article was well received. Imbedded in that lengthy multi-part article were several points why it could be deemed smart for BYD to consider marrying up with KNDI. For the sake of brevity here, I am going to skip the background on KNDI and suggest that those interested attain it by reading the above linked Seeking Alpha article. In this piece, I am going to highlight just two main logical reasons why a relationship with KNDI would be beneficial to BYD.  (A number of the below links are from China based website which I [....]
Electric Cars: Dream or Nightmare for the Auto Industry?
  • by: Investment U,  September 27, 2010
  • By Tony D’Altorio
  •     Investors often get excited over new technologies. Sometimes they have a reason to and sometimes not so much.  Take electric cars, a topic Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA) just reopened with its IPO.  After years of development, road tests and marketing hype, it seems that the vehicles are hitting the showrooms by the end of the year.
  • Some of the companies set to roll are:
  • Japan’s Nissan ADR, which plans to market its Leaf in the U. S. and Japan.
  • France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen ADR, which has two electric cars under each of its brands and a joint venture in China with Dongfeng Motor Group.
  • General Motors and its Chevy Volt.
  • And over the next three years, Toyota ADR (NYSE: TM), Volkswagen ADR, Ford (NYSE: F) and BMW ADR have plans to do the same.  Daimler plans to make electric cars under a new brand in China with local automaker BYD. And it has further ideas for its own brands.  In other words, the hype is definitely on…
  • New Auto Industry Generation
  •     Initially, electric car sales will only claim a tiny share of the world’s car market. But many industry insiders believe it could quickly take over from there.  They see electric motors and batteries increasingly operating engines. Some even think the technology could overshadow the combustion engine altogether.  That would change car designs, production, driving, sales and services. It could push the auto industry into a whole new business model altogether, and even turn the global hierarchy upside down.
  •     So far, Chinese automakers can’t seem to beat American, European and East Asia when it comes to the internal combustion engine. But they do have the skills, manufacturing capacity and domestic market to takeover the electric car and battery markets.  The aforementioned BYD, which designs both, serves as a [....]
The Electric Car Market: These Companies Could Put a “Charge” in Your Portfolio
  • by David Fessler, Energy and Infrastructure Specialist
  • June 4, 2010: Issue #1274
  •     I recently plunked down a deposit for a Nissan LEAF – the world’s first all-electric car, which is destined to hit the United States in big numbers.  I figure since I work from my home office and don’t drive much, I’ll use the Nissan as my everyday car and leave the gas-guzzler for longer trips.
  •     A Nissan engineer will shortly be visiting my home to make sure I have enough power to handle the LEAF’s charging requirements. But as a degreed electrical engineer, that won’t be a problem. When I restored my 200-year-old house, the electrical infrastructure became my pet project! I should have plenty of power.  Jet across to California, however, and anyone willing to drive an electric car will be in for a rude awakening when it comes to charging them…
  • The California Electric Car Market: Land of the Free, Home of the Green
  •      Think of electric vehicles and one of the first places that springs to mind is California. You don’t have to go far before you come across a Toyota Prius or Honda Insight.  In fact, a U.S. Department of Energy survey from 2007 (the latest data available) revealed that there are more than five times as many hybrids registered annually in California than the next six states combined. And 25% of all hybrids sold are purchased in California.  That shouldn’t be surprising. Despite its [....]
     Although "late-to-the-show,"  I intend to invest in one or more of the stocks mentioned in these articles.  I'm not promoting ANY OF THESE ISSUES; the reader MUST perform his own due diligence!!
    Now that we're off on a rant, talking about China and how things are so great for the investor, let's have a look at some possible negative aspects:

[#1]  Must See: Nordea's Chart Of The Week - Collapsing US Import Demand

 by Tyler Durden, 12/17/2010 12:09 -0500

Gross Domestic Productrecovery
    Every massive inventory accumulation.... has an equal and opposite effect on GDP. To all those who snickered at the earlier chart of the BDIY, we recommend you read the following brief blurb from Nordea, whose implications may put everything you have heard about a surge in GDP in Q4 and Q1 (primarily from the Goldman bull brigade) in a just slightly different light.

Cargo stagnation
    We have understood that Chinese cargo ships have been told to proceed at 'wind speed', because of a collapse in US import demand - this is partly visible in the activity amongst Long Beaches shoremen - hence, is this the final proof that the inventory rebuild that drove the recovery in the autumn is OVER? Figure 1 (See URL below for chart) shows the average speed amongst bulk carriers! Bulls - Watch Out!
[#2]  Outsourcing To China, Not So Cheap Anymore

Soaring oil prices, rising wages and a stronger currency could spell an end to globalization.
By The (Montreal) Gazette June 27, 2008

    The China Price used to be the global standard for low-cost manufacturing. It shut thousands of factories across North America, put tens of thousands of Canadians out of work and drove down the price of consumer goods around the world.  Now China’s cost advantage is being eroded by soaring oil prices, rising wages and an appreciating currency. Canadian companies that outsource their manufacturing to China are already feeling the pinch and some are even bringing production closer to home.  Could globalization be reversed in an era of high oil? What would that mean for Canadian companies that have come to depend on the China Price?
    Levon Afeyan flew to China this week to find out the answer to these questions for his mid-size Montreal company. He’s the president of Seatply Products Inc., a manufacturer of molded plywood for use in commercial seating.  About half of Seatply’s products originate in China and Malaysia and he’s becoming increasingly uneasy about soaring freight costs that have seen the price of a shipping a standard container from China hit as much as $6,000 from $4,000 a year ago.
    On his trip, Afeyan will try to get price concessions from his Asian suppliers to help cover his rocketing freight costs. But he’s not expecting an easy time because his suppliers have their own problems and want to raise prices.  Inflation has already risen 8 per cent this year in China and the government just lowered subsidies on gasoline, resulting in an increase of roughly 20 per cent at the pump. Meanwhile, the Chinese currency has jumped about 17 per cent against the U.S. dollar, making exports more expensive.  And wages are rising fast. Depending on the industry and skill-level, wages are up by 10 to 25 per cent a year and labour shortages have developed in some regions.
{**}Til Nex'Time....
“People are taking a second look at everything because the costs are becoming prohibitive,” said Afeyan, whose company’s efforts to cut costs through lean manufacturing techniques were featured in The Gazette in 2006. “It goes right to the bottom line.”

    CIBC World Markets economists, who predict oil is heading to $200 U.S. a barrel, believe the cost of maintaining a supply chain that reaches to the other side of the world is outstripping the benefits for many North American sectors.
    Rubin and Tal note there remains a huge differential between Chinese and North American wage rates but have found evidence that companies are already looking for production closer to home in capital-intensive manufacturing such as steel where there’s a high ratio of freight costs to final selling prices. {**}
“In a world of triple-digit oil prices, distance costs money,” CIBC economists Jeff Rubin and Benjamin Tal wrote in a report at the end of May. “Soaring transport costs suggest trade should be both dampened and diverted as markets seek shorter, and hence, less costly supply lines.”

  {*}The CIBC economists expect Mexico with its maquiladora plants along the U.S. border to be a prime beneficiary of the high freight phenomenon as companies seek low-wage centres closer to home.
“Furniture, apparel, footwear, metal manufacturing and industrial machinery -- all typical Chinese exports, incur relatively high transport costs.”

[#3]  Outlook 2011: Is the Smart Money Right About China?

by: Dian L. Chu, December 25, 2010

    China has been ranked as the top growing country among the G20 since 2001, and is expected to retain that title for at least another five years (See Growth Chart). However, the news coming out of China for the past three months has not been good. It is looking more and more that it is not a question of if China is a bubble and going to burst, but when.  The country has major infrastructure issues, troubling population dynamics, poorly aligned employment outcomes, inflation problems, a real estate bubble, an opaque and potentially insolvent banking system (had mark-to-market accounting been applied), geo-political problems with North Korea and Taiwan, and an underperforming stock market in 2010 (see stock comparison chart).
Smart Money Rushing Out
    While the hot money is flooding into China, the smart local money is doing everything they can to get their money outside of China, which partly explains why Shanghai SE Composite has underperformed other markets for the past year or so (see Comparison Chart).  The many issues of China could conspire to become the biggest train wreck waiting to happen, and potentially dwarf any little budget problems in Europe by a factor of ten.
Big Trouble In Big China
    China has a population related societal structural problem. The nation has tried to utilize the vast manpower to its advantage over the last two decades building a powerhouse manufacturing economy through the availability of low cost workers, which supplied the world with lower cost goods.  Nevertheless, the harsh reality is that the nation's infrastructure, quality jobs, food, and overall resources are too scarce to support such mass population, while achieving the government's goal of a smooth transition to a developed middle class to sustain an internal demand model going forward.  If you think having riots in Greece over the pension retirement age being raised is bad, just wait till riots break out in Beijing and other cities over a 90 cent bowl of noodle soup now costing four dollars due to food shortages, and a runaway inflation problem.
Loose Lending = Non-performing Projects
    This is only reinforced by some of the news events taking place over the last three months. Let's start with the raising of banks' reserve requirements by the central bank, which is the sixth such increase in 2010.  These measures are meant to curb the excess lending which has fueled much of the overbuilding and real estate speculation occurred over the past two years as China`s central bank initially wanted to avert a recession by artificially creating demand for workers and construction projects to replace lagging demand from the developed economies.  The problem is that too much lending has occurred, and bad lending at that. Because of the cheap available credit, now you have cement companies and manufacturing firms getting bank loans to invest in endeavors such as real estate, which is outside of their core expertise and competency.
Real Estate Misery Loves Company – China & Spain
    The result is a bunch of excess inventory and poorly thought-out construction projects which have no means of recouping the initial investment needed to repay the bank loans.  This practice is similar to Spain's situation now, where they have entire uninhabited building complexes that have yet to be marked to market, and will probably ultimately be demolished. But at least in Spain, even though it was a construction boom, it was engineered by developers in Spain, and not by some manufacturing outfits like those in China.  So, multiply the bad business project factor by ten and you get an understanding of the magnitude of bad loans on the books of Chinese banks. The problem is being further exacerbated by the practice similar to Spain's-- of banks making additional loans to the businesses just so that they can then turnaround and pay back the interest owed on the original loans.  The only way this would work out is if these projects magically develop revenue streams. Unfortunately, in the case of Spain, a 20% unemployment rate, coupled with a still [....]



Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Sunday 'Report;' 12/26/2010

What The National Pamphleteers DON'T Report:

Tea Party at Year's End
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The Tea Party movement was one of the biggest political stories during the 2010 election season. From an electoral standpoint, the grassroots movement had it first impact by forcing long-time Senator Arlen Specter out of the Republican Party (and eventually out of the U.S. Senate). By the end of the season, several Tea Party candidates [....]
Harry Reid Ate The November Elections
December 21, 2010
The lame duck session has been a pathetic joke on Republicans and conservatives who thought they won the elections in November.  An illegitimate Democratic House and near filibuster-proof Democratic Senate have run roughshod on most issues, and several Republicans have helped them along.  Unfortunately, we have numerous weak links, some of whom will be gone in a couple of weeks and others of whom will no longer be links waiting to be broken.  Once the new Senate is seated, two or three Republican Senators cannot bust a filibuster, so the people who have held sway over our political landscape by virtue of [....]

More Stealth Reparations: Obama Enacts Van Jones’ Indian Energy Plan
December 22, 2010; by Ben Johnson
    The Obama administration’s actions last week proved, although Green Jobs Czar Van Jones is gone, his ideology continues to guide the White House. Barack Obama called the leaders of American Indian tribes to Washington to witness him sign a UN treaty that, if followed literally, would return the entire continental United States to tribal control. He is not prepared to go that far, but he has made a down payment on the pledge by offering stealth reparations to the tribes in exactly the manner advocated by Van Jones.
    Last Thursday, Obama held a summit with the tribal elders of 565 federally recognized American Indian tribes to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The treaty stipulates, [....]

Printing Money: Literally
Filed in Monetary Policy, Taxes on December 20, 2010
(This post is about the literal printing and issue of money. The next will cover money printing figuratively.)
     The holiday season is upon us and one thing is for sure: the public is demanding more folding money—cash—for shopping, although debit cards have no doubt cut into that ritual significantly. The public gets more cash by “cashing checks” or withdrawing cash from their accounts at banks and other financial institutions. They pay for their additional cash—coin and currency—by drawing down their checking and savings account balances.
The Public Determines the Amount of Money Printed
     There are seasonal patterns to the public’s demand for cash, the strongest being this time of year when retail shopping peaks. In January, the process will reverse as the public reduces its cash holdings in favor of deposits. Cash will flow back into the banks as the public exchanges it for deposits. It is important to note that the demand for cash—the coined and printed portion of our money supply—is entirely determined by public preferences. If the public wants more printed or coined money, it buys it with deposits. If the public wants less cash, it sells it for deposits.
The Role of Banks and Federal Reserve Banks
    As the public increases its cash holdings, inventories of cash at banks are drawn down. Banks then order more cash from their local Federal Reserve Banks, which has its own inventory of pre-circulated and newly-printed cash stored in large vaults. Banks pay for their additional coin and currency by drawing down their reserve deposits at the Fed. Just as the public’s holdings of money don’t change when [....]

On Printing Money
by: Bob McTeer December 23, 2010
(This post is about printing money figuratively. It should be considered Part II of a previous post about the literal printing of money.)
    The biggest argument against the Fed’s new round of monetary easing, dubbed QE2, accuses the Fed of printing money, a rare draconian measure bound to create high inflation and a weak dollar.  The Fed, of course, does not literally print money. In my previous post, I explained the process of how money gets printed and into circulation. Elsewhere, I have argued that, whatever you call it, what the Fed is doing is different from traditional monetary policy only in its magnitude and pre-announcement of amount and timing.  Open market purchases by the Fed always create (print if you insist) new money. The main difference now is that a quantity [....]

The Man Who Would Not Be King
Published on February 5, 2007
by Matthew Spalding, Ph.D.
    George Washington is one of the most recognized figures in U.S. history. But familiarity breeds contempt. More often than not, Washington is an old painting on the wall - solemn, impersonal and distant - or the subject of childhood stories and nursery rhymes. We all know that he chopped down a cherry tree and had wooden teeth.  The actual Washington is much more compelling. We can all see the brilliant flourishes of Jefferson's pen, Madison's constitutional handiwork or the success of Hamilton's economic policies, and that can cause us to overlook or underestimate the magnitude of Washington's achievement. Yet he really was, as Washington's greatest biographer, James Flexner, put it, the "indispensable man" of the American founding.
    Remember that we look at history with the luxury of knowing what happened. What might seem inevitable or obvious in hindsight was more often than not a bold course, the outcome of which was uncertain at best. We must recapture this sense of contingency and daring if we are to understand Washington.  A soldier by profession and a surveyor by trade, Washington was first and foremost a man of action. He was at every important intersection of the American founding; his decisions and practical wisdom were crucial to the success of the effort at every stage. And at every moment - from the time he [....]

Silver Stealth in Gold Bull
by: Marco G.;  October 03, 2010
    I’ll bet that you the reader thought that the Gold Bull was strong in September, didn’t you? Yes, Gold was strong gaining in price by 5% over the month and hitting a high of $1315 USD on September 30th before closing at $1308 for the end of the month. Well, would it surprise you to know that Silver made the stronger moves in September gaining 12.4% for the month and hitting a high of over $22.08 USD before closing at $21.78 for the end of the month.
Silver Stealth Bull
    Silver is following the higher priced Gold in the Bull market for precious metals this fall. In the Google Trends chart following, the search [....]

Assault Weapons and the Truth
The Obama administration has nominated an anti-gun zealot as the U.S.’s top gun cop.
     The Obama administration is moving into high gear in putting gun-control advocates into important government positions. The administration’s nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), Andrew Traver, should be of particular concern. His attacks on the civilian use of so-called assault weapons raise real questions about his willingness to distort the truth for political purposes. The person nominated to be the nation’s top gun cop shouldn’t use inaccurate descriptions to scare people into supporting gun control.
    Mr. Traver is the special agent in charge of the BATFE’s Chicago field division. Therefore, he knows what was covered by the federal assault-weapons ban that sunset in 2004. But in November 2009, NBC interviewed Traver and reported: “Traver says the power and randomness of the heavy caliber, military-style weapons make them so dangerous not only to people, but to police. They’re so powerful, body armor can’t withstand a hit, and they’re so difficult to control, their bullets often get sprayed beyond the intended targets, striking innocent victims even when they’re in their own homes.”
    The list of problems with Mr. Traver’s claims is very long. If he really believes that these weapons fire unacceptably “heavy caliber” bullets, he is going to have to ban virtually all rifles. Small-game rifles — guns designed to kill squirrels and rabbits without destroying too much meat — typically fire .22-caliber bullets, which are only slightly smaller than the .223-caliber bullets fired by the M16 (used by the U.S. military since Vietnam) and the newer M4 carbine (used in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars). Deer-hunting rifles fire rounds that are very similar to those used by the AK-47.  Speaking of M16s, M4s, and AK-47s, [....]

Automakers See China Driving 2011 Sales
December 23, 2010
By Don Miller
    The world's largest carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), General Motors Co. (GM) and Volkswagen AG (VLKAY.PK), expect China's red-hot economy to keep auto sales rolling at a record pace in 2011, making it the third year in a row the Red Dragon will top the U.S. in car sales.  China's vehicle sales jumped 46% in 2009, dethroning the United States as the world's largest auto market and ending more than a century of American dominance that started with the Model T Ford.  The nation's sales of passenger cars, buses and trucks rose to 13.6 million in 2009, the fastest pace in at least 10 years, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. At the same time, U.S. sales tumbled 21% to 10.4 million, the lowest level since 1982, according to Autodata Corp.
    China's vehicle sales have surged since 1999 as its gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged more than 9% a year, helping U.S. automakers make up for slumping demand in the West. China's vehicle sales surged 30.45% in the first half of the year to 7.18 million units, compared with 5.6 million for the United States.  "China is becoming the center stage of development for the 21st century global auto industry," Bill Russo, a Beijing- based senior adviser at Booz & Co., told Bloomberg. "Economic growth has directly translated into growth in automobile sales."  Fatih Birol, chief economist for the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that today 700 out of every 1,000 people in the United States and 500 out of every 1,000 in Europe own cars. But in China, only 30 out of 1,000 people own cars. And Birol thinks that figure [....]

Bloomberg Counters Gold’s Run With Absurd 'Hit-Piece'
by: Wall St. Cheat Sheet December 23, 2010
By Jordan Roy-Byrne
    Monday morning I was greeted via my inbox with a Bloomberg report on Gold (NYSE:GLD). Bloomberg has a series called “The Dark Side of Gold.” Its important to note this isn’t the first time the news organization has attempted a hit-piece on Gold. I wrote about this exactly one year ago and identified the cases and examples of Bloomberg’s gold bashing.  The crux of the biased series (one that even makes CNBC blush) is how Gold ETF’s are responsible for Gold’s rise and contributing to a bubble. It is insinuated that because the ETF’s are easily tradeable, a torrent of sell orders would cause Gold could to fall sharply, ala 1980.  Gold’s rise actually has very little to do with the GLD ETF. It really is a non-factor when you consider any of the following reasons: Threat of sovereign debt defaults, debt monetization in Europe, Japan and US, 0%-1% interest rates, commodity bull market, and falling gold production. The GLD ETF is an effect of the bull market, not a cause. The same is true with mutual funds during the bull market in the 1980s and 1990s.
    In the two minute preview video, Bloomberg’s Carol Masser makes two ridiculous claims in a span of about four seconds. She claims that prior to the Gold ETF, only “conspiracy theorists” were buying Gold and that it cost a “fortune” because of holding costs and commissions. This is nothing other than failed [....]

Buffett's Favorite Auto Stock
by: StreetAuthority
December 24, 2010
by Andy Obermueller
    When I went to the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B) annual meeting in 2009, there was something I really wanted to do.  No, it wasn't a chat with Warren Buffett.  That's almost impossible at the yearly "Woodstock for Capitalists," and only first-timers make the trek to Omaha, Nebraska, to see Buffett anyway. Longtime shareholders make the trip to listen to Berkshire's vice chairman, Charlie Munger.  But even speaking with the inimitable Munger, who's probably the smartest guy in U.S. business, wasn't at the top of my list.  I really wanted to see a floor model of one of Berkshire's newest acquisitions -- the BYD (BYDDF.PK) car.
    You see, all of Berkshire's companies display their wares in the exhibition hall at the Qwest Center in Omaha, from the GEICO gecko to Fruit of the Loom, and tucked off to one side was a BYD vehicle, complete with a leather interior, an atypical option for BYD cars, which are barebones and compete on price.
Hundreds of attendees, mostly younger men, were doing the same thing I was doing -- snapping pictures of the engine with my iPhone.
    BYD is a Chinese company, one that Buffett took a major stake in at Munger's behest back in 2008. Buffett sent his top scout -- a guy named David Sokol -- to China to meet with the company's CEO, who showed him BYD's electric cars and, just as important, the highly efficient car batteries the company builds.  The battery fluid in the power cells is [....]
Til Next Sunday....



Saturday, December 25, 2010

This'n'That; December Twenty-Fifth [Whte House Message]

"Clown Prince" And The 'Mooch' Holiday Message [With Translation]
Weekly Address
December 25, 2010

The "Clown Prince:"  Merry Christmas, everybody. Michelle and I just wanted to take a moment today to send greetings from our family to yours.
The 'Moocher:"  This is one of our favorite times of year. And we’re so fortunate to be able to celebrate it together in this wonderful home.   This is the “People’s House.” So Barack and I try to open it to as many people as we can, especially during the holiday season. 
    This month, more than 100,000 Americans have passed through these halls. And the idea behind this year’s theme, “Simple Gifts,” is that the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don’t cost a thing – the comfort of spending time with loved ones…the freedoms we enjoy as Americans… and the joy we feel upon giving something of ourselves.  So in this time of family, friends, and good cheer; let’s also be sure to look out for those who are less fortunate, who’ve hit a run of bad luck, or who are hungry and alone this holiday season.
[Translation:  We actually only taped this message because it's expected of us.  We don't think you really believe any of this tripe; nor believe that we want to be any where but the Hawaiian Islands, one of those infamous 'fifty-seven states' I visited during the "Campaign of Fluff."   We DO EXPECT the serf class to take care of and look out for others of their class!! The Ruling Class cannot be expected to lower themselves to tender any help to those lower in the American caste system!!]
The "Clown Prince:"  Because this is the season when we celebrate the simplest yet most profound gift of all: the birth of a child who devoted his life to a message of peace, love, and redemption. A message that says no matter who we are, we are called to love one another – we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, our separate stories in this big and busy world are really one.  
    Today, we’re also thinking of those who can’t be home for the holidays – especially all our courageous countrymen serving overseas.  That’s the message I delivered when I visited our troops in Afghanistan a few weeks ago – that while you may be serving far from home, every American supports you and your families. We’re with you. And I have no greater honor than serving as your Commander in Chief.  Today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen make up the finest fighting force in the history of the world. Just like their predecessors, they do extraordinary things in service to their country. What makes that all the more remarkable is that today’s military is an all-volunteer force – a force of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives.
The 'Moocher:'  That’s right. As First Lady, I’ve had the honor to meet members of our military and their families on bases and in communities all across the country. I’ve gotten to know husbands and wives doing the parenting of two while their spouse is on another deployment…children trying their best in school but always wondering when mom or dad is coming home…patriots putting their lives on hold to help with a loved one’s recovery…or carry on the memory of a fallen hero.  When our men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve, too. And they’re proud and glad to do it. But as long as that service keeps the rest of us safe, their sacrifice should also be our own. Even heroes can use a hand, especially during the holidays.
[Translation: As a practicing, pretend Muslim, I don't really believe all 'the Jesus Christ' stuff that happens at this time of year; I'm expected to acknowledge these Christmas 'fantasies' so I do.  Just more efforts in the way of disguising my true religious proclivities!  Our good friend George Soros keeps chiding me as being the most inept, the most incompetent individual he's EVER put into public office, anywhere on the planet!  We know he's just kidding, though... 'least we hope he is!!  Both 'The Mooch' and I have had several blather and photo ops involving the military here and overseas.  We've managed to exploit both the military members and their families to our political advantage.  As much as we preach to them about the amount of good this regime as done for both them and the country as a whole, we both and George doubt that we've gained much; the military traditionally can be counted upon to vote republicRAT in almost all national-level elections.  George was most surprised that the 'Tea Party' movement reached every corner of the world where the military, the travellers and the ex-patriots were.  We--as both fascists AND obamacRATs--have sadly underestimated the voter rage has it manifested itself in the past November's elections!!]
The "Clown Prince:" So we’re encouraging Americans to ask what you can do to support our troops and their families in this holiday season. For some ideas on how to get started, just visit
The 'Mooch:'  You’ll see that you don’t need to be an expert in military life to give back to those who give so much to us. There are countless ways to contribute by harnessing your unique talents.  If you live near a base, you can reach out through your local school or church. If you don’t, you can volunteer with organizations that support military families. And anybody can send a care package or pre-paid calling card to the front lines, or give what’s sometimes the most important gift of all: simply saying “thank you.”
[Translation:  We Ruling Class royalty are really good at setting up websites that assist the serf class in aiding their fellow man; we're not so good at actually participating in this aid!!  Beyond the ubiquitous 'photo and blather ops,' we generally don't lower ourselves below our royal stations.  IF the regime truly gave-a-crap about the American military member OR the career foreign-service worker, each trip could deliver supplies and 'everyday goodies' to each destination.  Just in 2010 alone, the regime visited FOUR military installations either enroute or as destinations and could have easily carried tons of supplies and 'goodies' on Air Farce One rather than our normal 'cargo;'  March 28-Bagram AB, Afganistan;  November 10, 11-Seoul, South Korea; November 12, 13, 14-Yokohama, Japan and December 3-Bagram AB, Afganistan.  While there are several thousand voters at the sites we lay-over, they are not nearly as politically important to this regime as our fellow fascists in the Congress that travel with me and us, nor the national pampheleteers that pontificate on the federal blather we create!!]
The "Clown Prince:"  America’s brave servicemen and women represent a small fraction of our population. But they and the families who await their safe return carry far more than their fair share of the burden. They’ve done everything they’ve been asked to do. They’ve been everything we’ve asked them to be. And even as we speak, many are fighting halfway around the globe – in hopes that someday, our children and grandchildren won’t have to.  So let’s all remind them this holiday season that we’re thinking of them – and that America will forever be here for them, just as they’ve been there for us.
And on behalf of Michelle, Malia, Sasha…
The 'Mooch:'  and Bo…
The "Clown Prince:"  and Bo…have a very Merry Christmas.
The 'Mooch:'  and an even happier New Year.
[Translation: The American people sure did swallow the drivel about getting the troops out of harm's way and back home; remember that?.... during the "Campaign of Fluff?!"  We--as a regime--have accomplished virtually nothing positive for the country, so far in the Twenty-First Century!! As far as 'the happy holidays' go; they're gonna go from bleak to dam' bleak as far as we can see into the future!!]



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This'n'That; December Twenty-Second [Neutrality=Fascist Control!]

What Neutrality?!?!

Meaning #1: Confusion resulting from failure to understand.
Meaning #2: The activity of obscuring people's understanding, leaving them baffled or bewildered.
Meaning #3: Darkening or obscuring the sight of something.

    This is but the latest in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski’s ongoing terrible interpretation of his self-appointed role as Captain Transparency.  As we have much discussed, the FCC has decided to power grab Internet authority on December 21st. The Commission must seize said authority because it does not have it unless and until Congress writes a law saying so – which The Chairman himself admits Congress has not done.  The Chairman will do so via a three unelected bureaucrat Democrat Party-line vote (that’s counting him). He intends to do so under cover of Christmas – slamming it through less than 96 hours before the Big Day.
{*}Meaning #1: The absence of declared bias. In an argument, a neutral person will not choose a side.

{*}Meaning #3: Is not synonymous with objectivity.
{*}Meaning #4: Implies not judging the validity of an opinion.
{*}Meaning #2: Is not synonymous with indifference or ignorance.

    The Chairman will do so by writing (and rewriting, and rewriting some more, and rewriting again) an 80-plus page “order” – which sounds an awful lot like he’s appropriating Congress’ job and writing law. (Because, again, Congress has never written a law that allows him to do this.) He is in perpetual revision mode to continue to capitulate to the demands – and induce the vote – of the FCC’s most Leftist member – Commissioner Michael Copps – driving this Web takeover to the outer limits of illegal usurpation.  And the Chairman will do so after accepting over 2,000 pages of last minute document-dump filings, which no one on Planet Earth could properly pore over, get through and understand the ramifications of in time for the December 21st vote.  If we could even access them – which for 60 of the last 88.5 hours before the vote we could not. For if you went to the FCC’s website on Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, or early Monday morning – the weekend before the Tuesday vote.  The irony would be amusing, were the ramifications of this un-transparency from Captain Transparency – I mean Chairman Genachowski – not so dire.  The timing of this “scheduled maintenance” is either incredibly unfortunate – or intentional.
    If it is intentional, it means The Chairman never intended to be “fair, open and transparent” – or anything else but a stooge for the Media Marxists and the Net Neutrality campaign-promising White House.  Which means The Chairman is either incredibly incompetent – or deceitfully secretive in every conceivable way about this extraordinarily important vote.
    The FCC is poised to take a significant step today to regulate Internet providers in the name of so-called net neutrality. If it does, its action will say a lot about what’s wrong with an agency that was created in 1934 to regulate telephone and telegraph monopolies.  I had always held out hope that the FCC wouldn’t really move to regulate the Internet, not until hell froze over. I guess the fact that the temperature here in Washington has been not much above freezing for about two weeks now is not a good sign.
Most important, the FCC’s new rules should require a showing of the Internet provider’s market power and a showing of consumer harm resulting from the provider’s practices as prerequisites to any finding of discrimination. In other words, absent a showing of dominant market power and consumer harm, the actions of Internet providers would be deemed presumptively reasonable. In this way, the commission could acknowledge, at least in some fashion, that it realizes the competitive, dynamic marketplace of today’s digital environment is different from the monopolistic marketplace that prevailed at the time the ’34 law was adopted. [....]
....and more:
    Imagine a future where the Internet is governed by unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC, who rule at their own whim, regardless of legislators’ demands or judicial rule. Sadly, that future is now. Today, the Federal Communications Commission is poised to make an unprecedented power grab and assert the authority to regulate the Internet, despite opposition from Congress and a contrary federal court ruling. And while it’s a story that has gone largely unnoticed amid Congress’ big-ticket lame duck decisions, it’s a tale of unchecked government expansion that must be told.

    Meet FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a political appointee and Harvard Law classmate of President Barack Obama. Genachowski is leading the FCC’s charge for new powers over the Internet so it can enact a policy known as “net neutrality,” which would allow the commission to regulate how Internet providers like Comcast or Verizon offer their services. If you’re someone who is suspicious of big corporations, that sounds like a great idea. If you’re someone who is fearful of big government, take heed. In reality, the policy will limit consumer choice while granting the federal government unprecedented power over the Internet. As Heritage’s James Gattuso describes:

The net result [of net neutrality]— a slower and more congested Internet, and more frustration for users. Even worse, investment in expanding the Internet will be chilled, as FCC control of network management makes investment less inviting. The amounts at stake aren’t trivial, with tens of billions invested each year in Internet expansion.

    There are those, too, who argue that those regulations are not even necessary. FCC commissioner Robert McDowell (who opposes the net neutrality policy) wrote in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal:

Nothing is broken that needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist.
This should be enough to 'chew on' for a day or so!!
Til Nex'Time....



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This'n'That; December Twenty-First [Quotes; obama Reparations]

Quotes You Won't See Nationally!
[Any emphasis-MINE!]
  • "The Democrats have never liked the Bush tax cuts. They blamed them for virtually every economic calamity that we've had, and now all of a sudden they're the greatest thing since sliced bread because Obama extended them." -Rush Limbaugh
  • "For those of you who think that repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' will put the gay rights issue to rest for a while, just ask yourself, did electing Obama put an end to all race issues?" -Rush Limbaugh
  • "ESPN forgets they're telecasting a football game. The game is secondary -- and they're not the worst at it.  But NBC makes it look like this is the only game of the weekend that matters even when it doesn't." -Rush Limbaugh

"Clown Prince" To Make 'Reparations'
    The "Clown Prince" obama INjustice Department, in continuing 'wealth redistribution' activities is awarding 'reparations' to 94,000 claimants in the Pigford v. Glickman class action lawsuit against the USDA.  The suit, known as Pigford v. Vilsack, or simply "Pigford II," alleges the USDA starting in the early Eighties, had discriminated on the basis of race in administering various grant and loan programs. Yet the details of the case strongly suggest that the evidence of willful discrimination was at best was fragmentary and often fraudulent.
    The Senate has approved $1.25 billion in funding for black farmers who were supposedly discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture. Only one problem: The vast majority of claimants to that cash are fraudulent. There are only 18,000 black farmers in the United States.
    We know that it isn't tough to cut spending. The federally-funded Smithsonian Institution spends cash stocking its National Portrait Gallery with pictures of Ellen DeGeneres clutching her naked bosom, penises, and nude brothers making out — all of this in order to show America how gays and lesbians "struggle for justice ... [attempting to] claim their full inheritance in America's promise of equality, inclusion and social dignity."  {*}
Note to the federal government: the unemployment rate is 9.8 percent and climbing. Perhaps that money might be better spent actually helping those who "struggle for justice" by giving it back to the people who create jobs for those in need.
    The "Clown Prince" doesn't get it because he doesn't understand the American people as a whole. Yes, during good times, we like our social services — we make foolish decisions and elect liberals who promise to use our wealth in "fair" fashion. Then, when liberals inevitably screw things up, we wise up to our mistakes and recognize that wealth creation requires the dynamism of freedom rather than the stability of redistributionism.

In addition to the money each claimant receives, USDA will forgive all their debt. Indeed, some have gone so far as to consider Pigford another form of reparations, pointing to the Pigford Judge Paul Friedman’s reference to “Forty acres and a mule” in the opening line in his consent decree.
republicRAT lawmakers called on 'General' Holder to start an investigation into the settlement’s claimants to ensure they are genuine. In addition, they asked congressional leaders not to sign off on new appropriations for the settlement.

How's that "Hope 'n' Change" workin' for ya, now?!?!
Til Nex'Time....



Monday, December 20, 2010

This'n'That; December Twentieth [My List-Steve LeVeille, WBZ-AM]

My List:  The Origin
    Each workday morning the missus and I listen to WBZ radio from Boston-on the computer.  We listen from about 3:50 AM-or so, until she leaves for work at about 5:20 AM or so.  Previously, we'd tried all sorts of local stations on the AM radio; we got kinda sick of 'George Norey,' so went to the computer and 'dialed-up' WBZ right off the bat; I had listened to the station while living in Portsmouth, N.H., in the 'sixties and the early 'seventies.  What we found was a true treasure in broadcasting: "The Steve LeVeille Broadcast (Midnight-5AM, weekdays; WBZ, 1030AM)"
    On today's show (12/20/2010), Steve talked about his 'Groundhog Hat!'  Curiosity got the better of me; I searched and searched for a photo!  To no avail!  But I did find the URLs below, and through one-Steve's "list-" which I adapted to my own choices:

Heroes: My father, of course; a largely self-educated bacteriologist!!  Barb comes in at a close NUMBER TWO!!
Military Heros:  TSgt Blount, 3706BMTS, Lackland AFB, Tx; 2Lt John W. Slattery, 2nd SPS, Barksdale AFB, La.; Gregg G., (a former stepson-now friend) 3rd Ranger Bn; a true 'Hard Charger!!'
Biggest Influences On My Life: Ellsworth Tripp, Athletic Director-Cohocton Central School, Cohocton, N.Y.
Favorite Jobs: (In Order) Over-The-Road truck driver; Product Engineer, The Gunlocke Co., Wayland, N.Y.
Biggest Thrill: Attending the actual birth of my third daughter, Erica
Favorite Radio Anchor, Then: George Haefner and Jack Slattery, WHAM Radio-1180AM; 1950s-'60s.
Favorite Radio Anchor, Now: Local:  Joe Lomonoco, Host-WHAM's "5 O'clock News Hour."  National:  Laura Ingraham.
Favorite Talk Show Host of All Time: Dale Somers, the "Truckin' Bozo" Radio Network
Favorite Radio Shows, Then: The "Truckin' Bozo Show;" WLW, Cincinnati (now on XM-Sirius).
Favorite Radio Shows, Recent/Current: The Laura Ingraham Show
Favorite Old-Time Radio Show: "The Lone Ranger (a weekly radio 'play' of the 1950s)"
Favorite Sports Radio Show:  Bob Matthews' "Sportstalk" (6-8PM, weeknights; WHAM-1180AM)
Favorite TV Anchor of All Time: Walter Cronkite
Favorite TV Anchor, Current: NONE!  They're all 'teleprompter readers' with ZERO credibility!
Favorite Quotes:  "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell;
"I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it" [....] "the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."-Benjamin Franklin
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Month: May-We're almost assured, NO MORE SNOW!
Favorite Food: MY 'homemade' chili
Favorite Beer: It's been along time since I've had a 'favorite' beer-can't drink anymore; diabetes!
Favorite 'Chain' Restaurant: ANY 'Shoneys'
Favorite Restaurant of Days Gone By: "Gilly's," Portsmouth, N.H., (a freight wagon-dragged to the square each evening-in the 1960s)
Favorite Deli: There used to be a deli on a side street in Portsmouth, N.H.; made the most fantastic subs on the planet!! Can't remember the name, after all it was way-back in the 1960s!!
Favorite Breakfast Place: Parkside Diner, Irondequoit (SeaBreeze), N.Y.
Favorite Beach: Tarrague (taa-RA-gie) Beach, Agana, Guam (Andersen AFB)
Favorite Museum: ANY auto museum
Favorite Sport: To watch: Football; To play: Video solitaire!
Favorite Musical Artist: Elvis Presley
Favorite Elvis Song: "You Saw Me Crying In The Chapel"
Favorite Rock Group of All Time: Bob Segar and 'The Silver Bullet Band'
Favorite "New" Musical Artist: "The Annie Moses Band"  (We just discovered them while waiting for 'Sunday Night Football" to start!!)
Favorite Country Artist: Willie Nelson
Favorite Country Concert I Attended: Ronnie Milsap (playing at World's of Fun, Kansas City, Mo., 1979 or 1980)
Favorite 'Non-Elvis' Song: Bob Segar's "Ol' Time Rock 'n' Roll"
Favorite Christmas Song: Elvis' "I'll Have A Blue Christmas"
Favorite TV Show of All Time: Too many to name
Favorite TV Shows, Current: "Blue Bloods;"  "The Good Wife;"  "The Big Bang Theory"
Favorite TV Character: Too many to name
Favorite Comedian of All Time: Roy Clark; George Carlin; Jim Parsons of 'The Big Bang Theory'
Favorite Books: (See below)
Favorite Writer: WEB Griffin; Robert B. Parker
Favorite Athlete: Then-George Blanda; Now-Brett Favre; Jared Allen.
Favorite Movie: The "Walking Tall" Trilogy
Favorite Actors: Tom Selleck; Sam Elliot; Eric Stonestreet (Cameron-'Modern Family')
Favorite Actress: Jenna Elfmann; Bridgit Moynahan; Julianna Margulies
Favorite State:  Texas
Second Favorite State: Tennessee
Least Favorite State: New York!  I live there; subjected to the usurious tax policies AND Dorothy "Geeze-Louise" McIntosh Rodham Slaughter (NY-28)!
Only Reasons to Visit New York: Can't think of a single one!!
Favorite Cities: Atlanta, Ga., Dallas, Tx., Munich, Germany, Reykjavik and KeflavĂ­k, Iceland.
Favorite Smaller Cities: Asheville, N.C., Morristown, Tn., Portsmouth, NH
Favorite Politician: "Ronaldus-Magnus" (President Ronald Reagan)
Most Important President of My Lifetime: Dwight Eisenhower
Worst President of My Lifetime (SO FAR!):  barack(The "Clown Prince")obama (Dishonorable Mention: "Slick-Willie" Clinton)
Favorite First Lady: Laura Bush; (close second: Barbara Bush)
My First Vote for President: Richard Nixon (BUT-I seriously considered writing in Pat Paulsen, SERIOUSLY!!)
Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving
Favorite Candy Bar: PayDay
Favorite Place: Any place NOT in New York!
Second Favorite Place: The 'mid-south' states
Favorite Moment of the Year: The first time overnight temps are above 60 degrees!
If we don't "talk again," have a very Merry CHRISTMAS (NOT 'Happy Holidays') and a 'Happy Hangover!!'
Til Nex'Time....



Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Sunday 'Report;' 12/19/2010

What The National Pamphleteers DON'T Report:

The Worst Books Ever Written
December 17, 2010 by Chip Wood
    [....] No, I’m talking here about some really dreadful books. The ones that helped produce the world’s most ruthless dictators… slaughtered millions of innocent civilians… and created the most misery.  A couple of years ago, Human Events (one of my favorite conservative news-weeklies) asked a group of scholars and public-policy leaders to compile a list of the 10 Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th centuries. Each panelist nominated a number of titles. They then voted on all books nominated, with the worst (No. 1) getting 10 points, the next getting nine points and so on down the list.  A whole bunch of terrible titles got an Honorable Mention. (Or maybe that should be a Dishonorable Mention.) But here are the Top 10 — the books the scholars credited with causing more harm to mankind than anything else written in the past 250 years. [....][EED4034]&rrid=387432349

The Set-Aside Boondoggle

November 26, 2010;
By Heather Mac Donald
    Here’s a fat target for any member of the new Congress who wants to make his mark rooting out government waste, fraud, and abuse: minority set-asides. Two major construction companies are under federal investigation for using minority front companies in New York subway and water treatment-projects. Skanska USA and Schiavone Construction Company hired government-designated “struggling” minority sub-contractors that merely wrote checks to other subcontractors hired on their professional credentials; those qualified subcontractors actually did the work. Big surprise. Minority quota programs virtually force companies into deception, since there are not enough competent minority-owned companies to fill the quotas. And when “disadvantaged” companies do actually participate on a project, rather than just acting as fronts, their suboptimal skills can require the hiring of additional workers to oversee or redo the quota employees’ contribution. New York City has long been afflicted with extortion outfits that show up at construction sites demanding payoff money to not sue for an affirmative-action violation.
    Government set-aside programs actually require ineffiency in infrastructure projects by demanding that the least competitive contractors be hired to work on them. Success in a contracting business disqualifies a contractor from being designated as a “minority business enterprise.” Only contractors with a net worth below $750,000 and a relatively low annual income may participate.  But the bureaucracy required to oversee these programs is reason enough to cut them out, even if they did not guarantee waste in the actual operation of a project. Federal, state, and local governments all have employees on their payroll whose only job is to [....]

Who the Hell are These People to Decide the Limits of Our Freedom?
November 3, 2010
    RUSH: Well, I had a chance to listen to just a little bit of the Obama press conference. Jake Tapper, ABC, asked Obama about the compromise that he might make on extending the Bush tax cuts. Right now, of course, the tax cuts will eliminate, stop for everybody, $250,000 or more, and maybe everybody's taxes will be raised. But believe me, there's no tax cuts on the table. And Jake Tapper said, (paraphrasing) "Would you compromise and say people who make a million dollars a year will not see their tax decrease, tax cut sunsetted?" And I started thinking, where's all this talk of rich equaling $250,000 a year, a million a year, where does all this start? What right does Obama have to sit there and proclaim that people who earn X are gonna be punished with Y, people who earn less than X won't be punished with Y? Do you notice how easy it is to fall into the premise trap that the left sets?
    Looked at within the prism of liberty and freedom, as our founding documents spell out, the Declaration, the Constitution, in nowhere in any of our founding documents was it ever said that people earning X would be punished for it. It was never said in our founding documents that people earning X would share a greater burden of funding the [....]

Franklin Would Have Opposed Extending Unemployment Benefits

December 9, 2010 by Bob Livingston
    The White House announced late Monday it had reached an agreement with Republicans to extend the current tax rates — also known as the Bush era tax cuts — for two years. To reach that compromise, Republicans agreed to extend unemployment benefits.  Under the agreement — which displeased Congressional Democrats who wanted President Barack Obama to stand against tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year —unemployment benefits would remain in effect through the end of 2011 for workers who have been laid off for more than 26 weeks and less than 99 weeks.
    In agreeing to extend unemployment benefits, Republicans made a bad deal. Unemployment benefits are paid by businesses as a tax. Money is confiscated from businesses through a Federal tax and distributed by State governments to unemployed workers, many of whom have passed up job opportunities that paid less than they wanted to earn. And many of those workers have given up their job search altogether, favoring instead the “free” money that continues to come their way.
    Benjamin Franklin knew that providing for the poor would not help them out of poverty. In a letter he wrote May 9, 1753, Franklin said: [....][PIZ5010D]&rrid=387432349

Boy booted from class gets $350,000

 Associated Press
December 3, 2010
     MIAMI — The mother of a Florida child who was kicked out of his kindergarten class — after the teacher held a vote among fellow students about his disruptive behavior — has reached a $350,000 settlement with St. Lucie County education officials.
Federal court documents show the county school board and teachers union agreed to pay the settlement to Melissa Barton and her son [....]

A trillion-dollar missed opportunity – enough to pay U.S. deficit

December 6, 2010
Posted by Ken Cohen
    On the heels of the Administration’s recent decision to place a de facto moratorium on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, we asked readers of today’s Wall Street Journal if they knew how much that decision might cost in terms of lost government revenue.
    According to a study by ICF International, expanding domestic energy development in America’s offshore areas could alone generate $1.3 trillion in government revenues over the life of the resource – along with major increases in [....]

Last Week's Polls
  • 52% of voters approved of the tax cutting deal between the president and Republicans in Congress
  • 46% of all voters expect the winning Tea Party candidates to sell out and become just like other politicians. Only 34% disagree.
  • Most Tea Party members expect those candidates to stay true, but 61% of those with no ties to the movement think the Tea Party candidates will become just like other politicians.
  • Just 23% of all voters now say the country is heading in the right direction. That’s the most pessimistic finding since January 2009.
  • Only 36% think the president is doing a good or excellent job handling economic issues.
  • Voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on the economy and on seven out of the 10 most important issues regularly surveyed by Rasmussen Reports.
  • Still, consumer and investor confidence remains higher than it was last year at this time.
  • Daily Presidential Tracking Poll finds that 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of Obama’s performance, while 54% disapprove.


Boiling Down New Tax [PORK] Bill
    [....] But there are plenty of other tax perks in the bill, most of which extend breaks already in place. Here’s a rundown:
  • Marginal tax rates [....]
  • Unemployment benefits [....]
  • Estate tax [....]
  • Social Security tax holiday [....] 
  • Making Work Pay [....]
  • Alternative minimum tax [....]
  • Tax breaks for families [....]
  • Marriage penalty relief [....] 
  • Other breaks [....]

VOLT-A Wise 'Idea' For Government Motors?
    Four years after a fanciful "concept car" revealed General Motors' (GM) plans for an electric-powered, plug-in vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt is finally arriving in showrooms. The next challenge will be spotting one on the road.

    The Volt is one of the most hyped cars in history and given GM's marketing muscle, that's an achievement in itself. The automotive press is buying it, so far. Motor Trend named the Volt its 2011 Car of the Year, saying that it's a "game-changer" and "an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America." Green Car Journal dubbed the Volt Green Car of the Year, thanks to fuel efficiency that's the equivalent of 60 miles per gallon. That eclipses every major production car except the new Nissan Leaf, an all-electric hatchback that gets the equivalent of 93 mpg. No doubt the gee-whiz Volt will rake in [....]

2011: The Year of Trading Dangerously
    Market indices around the world continue to climb based on forecasts for economic growth in 2011 that are based on historical trends, philosophy, optimism, need – but not an agnostic view of real world date. Simply put, without an upturn in housing in the US, there can be no meaningful upturn in employment and with an upturn in employment there will be no meaningful economic growth.
First, and Foremost, Housing: The number of new homes being built is at catastrophically low numbers, an annual run rate of less than 300,000 homes per year. In the gold old days - pre Lehman (LEHMQ.PK) – a run rate of one million residential units was a bottom. [....]
Is Housing That Important to EmploymentBased on my and other calculations, residential construction contributed 40% of all new jobs in the period 2002-2007. This excludes the number of undocumented workers not found in official statistics. While this number may seem [....]
What About Recent Increases in Consumer SpendingWhat increases? According to a fascinating analysis by Durban Capital, more than 60% of the growth in consumer spending this year went to one company – Apple (AAPL). No kidding, check out the interview on CNBC.  The government is funny about creating numbers and considers healthcare spending [....]
A Jobless Recovery? It Does Not Exist  Recovery – or what some economists are calling a recovery – is a wonderful word for a headline. We all want patients to recover; we wall want to recover the wedding ring we left in the hotel room; we all want to recover the passion of young love. The word is dangerous.  Recovery, in reality, means moderate to strong economic growth. This growth in the US is dependent on national income that in turn drives consumer spending. Consumer spending is dependent on [....]
Til Next Sunday....