Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Much as President Obama did when he tried to make those automobile company bondholders who tried to affirm their legal rights appear unpatriotic, Henry Waxman is trying to portray the Republican Party the same way for voting against the Cap and Trade legislation. Moreover, he cites the fact that the preponderance of scientific research falls out on the side of global warming as a ticking time bomb. Both statements are of course untrue.
As the video below explains, there is NO way that our representatives had the opportunity or inclination to read this bill which is 1200+ pages long, with an additional 300 pages added only hours before the vote,
"Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) on Republicans voting against the energy plan and Rep. John Boehner's comments on the House floor Friday evening: "They [Republicans] want to play politics and see if they can keep any achievements from being accomplished that may be beneficial to the Democrats. They're rooting against the country and I think in this case, even rooting against the world because the world needs to get its act together to stop global warming." (RealClearPolitics)
Strong words with little or no science to back it up. Let's face the reality Congressman Waxman and your Democrat band of merry men and women. If this legislation is as good as you say it is, why the rush to bring it to the floor? Why not the time and opportunity to read it and debate it with facts? Why portray it to the often gullible American public as something that it is not?
And what is it exactly that the rest of the developing world, our economic competition, is doing about emissions?
And why Congressman Waxman, in the most partisan environment that anyone can remember in Washington, did 44 of your party vote against this bill? That fact speaks the greatest of volume of all! Are they anti-American, unpatriotic and anti-world as well? Or do they recognize that with the potential negative impact that this bill would have, a vote against it even superseded partisan politics
Monday, June 29, 2009
A Common Question
Whether it is a political or corporate scandal, a crime or some greater societal event, a common question when discussing the key players is what did they know, and when did they know it?.
We are all aware of the unfortunate early passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. These events, in particular the Michael Jackson death, are consuming the airways and all other forms of media as well. People are gathering in the streets to pay their respects and are creating makeshift shrines in areas that are relevant to the singer.
Nobody can begrudge people the right or opportunity to mourn the death of someone who touched their lives, and the outpouring of love and adulation must be of some small comfort to the family.
There are other events taking place, however, that have the potential to impact our lives, economy and our ability to compete around the world. These events, while potentially game changing, fly under the radar, for the most part a mystery to the people they could affect the most, all of us.
What Are These Other Events?
I did some amateur polling over the weekend in order to find out if people were aware of an event that took place, and if aware what they actually knew about it. The answer is that some were aware, and fewer still knew of the potential impact. How is it that something this important is traveling through the political system and so few know about it? That is part of a larger question. For today, what are we the people going to do to try and stop it?
Friday night at around 7:00 PM, away from the light of day, an Act narrowly passed in the House of Representatives that will now move on to the Senate for consideration. This Act is approximately 1200 pages long, and few if any of our representatives actually read it. A full court press was put on by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as well as President Obama to get it passed.
Even then, within one of the most partisan Congress's in recent memory, about 50 Democrats defected and voted no.
Cap and Trade
"...Under a cap-and-trade system, government sets a cap on the total amount of carbon that can be emitted nationally; companies then buy or sell permits to emit CO2. The cap gets cranked down over time to reduce total carbon emissions...
...The hit to GDP is the real threat in this bill. The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment. Some companies will instead move their operations overseas, with the same result...
...Even as Democrats have promised that this cap-and-trade legislation won't pinch wallets, behind the scenes they've acknowledged the energy price tsunami that is coming. During the brief few days in which the bill was debated in the House Energy Committee, Republicans offered three amendments: one to suspend the program if gas hit $5 a gallon; one to suspend the program if electricity prices rose 10% over 2009; and one to suspend the program if unemployment rates hit 15%. Democrats defeated all of them.
The reality is that cost estimates for climate legislation are as unreliable as the models predicting climate change. What comes out of the computer is a function of what politicians type in. A better indicator might be what other countries are already experiencing. Britain's Taxpayer Alliance estimates the average family there is paying nearly $1,300 a year in green taxes for carbon-cutting programs in effect only a few years..." (WSJ)
This vote was so controversial that Al Gore, the king of green, was asked to stay away from Washington. The height of political folly was made in a statement by Nancy Pelosi that "It's a question of what was energy efficient for the vice president," Pelosi said of the decision to keep Gore in Tennessee.
Will Cap and Trade Save The Environment?
If you believe that the environment needs to be saved, is this Cap and Trade Act the "vehicle" that will take us there?
"Since the U.S. share of global CO2 production is now less than 25 percent (and is projected to decline as China and other developing nations grow), a 15 percent fall in U.S. CO2 output would lower global CO2 output by less than 4 percent. Its impact on global warming would be virtually unnoticeable. The U.S. should wait until there is a global agreement on CO2 that includes China and India (see picture above) before committing to costly reductions in the United States."(Washington Post)
Contact your Senator using this Emergency Life Preserver and tell him to vote NO on Cap and Trade.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
A Rose By Any Other Name Still Stinks
The Cap and Trade Act passed in the House last night by a small margin (3 votes), with the yes and no votes listed below by state and by Congressmen.
Take note of who voted yes, and do what you can to make sure that they are not re-elected.
Contact them and ask them if they even read the legislation they voted on, which I feel confident in saying they did not.
Take a look at the chart of the country and see where it is that the majority of the no votes came from, and where the majority of the yes votes came from. Then read various opinions of what this would mean to you in terms of money out of your pocket, the economy of the country and our ability to compete internationally. Taking care of the earth, our home, is a good thing. Cap and Trade is not.
Then I would suggest that you lean on the Senators from your state, and make sure that they are clear in the fact that the American people do not want this Act to become law.
If you typically do not get involved and just assume that the people in Congress and the Senate are doing what is in your best interests, "the peoples business" as they love to say, GET INVOLVED NOW!
Cartograms give an equal area in an image to an equal number of votes by distorting the image. Senate vote cartograms are shown with each state stretched or shrunk so that the states each take up an equal area because each state has two votes. For House votes, it is each congressional district which is stretched or shrunk. (courtesy govtrack.us)
No AL-1 Bonner, Jo [R]
No AL-2 Bright, Bobby [D]
No AL-3 Rogers, Michael [R]
No AL-4 Aderholt, Robert [R]
No AL-5 Griffith, Parker [D]
No AL-6 Bachus, Spencer [R]
No AL-7 Davis, Artur [D]
No AK-0 Young, Donald [R]
No AZ-1 Kirkpatrick, Ann [D]
No AZ-2 Franks, Trent [R]
No AZ-3 Shadegg, John [R]
Aye AZ-4 Pastor, Edward [D]
No AZ-5 Mitchell, Harry [D]
Not Voting AZ-6 Flake, Jeff [R]
Aye AZ-7 Grijalva, Raul [D]
Aye AZ-8 Giffords, Gabrielle [D]
No AR-1 Berry, Robert [D]
Aye AR-2 Snyder, Victor [D]
No AR-3 Boozman, John [R]
No AR-4 Ross, Mike [D]
Aye CA-1 Thompson, C. [D]
No CA-2 Herger, Walter [R]
No CA-3 Lungren, Daniel [R]
No CA-4 McClintock, Tom [R]
Aye CA-5 Matsui, Doris [D]
Aye CA-6 Woolsey, Lynn [D]
Aye CA-7 Miller, George [D]
Aye CA-8 Pelosi, Nancy [D]
Aye CA-9 Lee, Barbara [D]
Aye CA-10 Tauscher, Ellen [D]
Aye CA-11 McNerney, Jerry [D]
Aye CA-12 Speier, Jackie [D]
No CA-13 Stark, Fortney [D]
Aye CA-14 Eshoo, Anna [D]
Aye CA-15 Honda, Michael [D]
Aye CA-16 Lofgren, Zoe [D]
Aye CA-17 Farr, Sam [D]
Aye CA-18 Cardoza, Dennis [D]
No CA-19 Radanovich, George [R]
No CA-20 Costa, Jim [D]
No CA-21 Nunes, Devin [R]
No CA-22 McCarthy, Kevin [R]
Aye CA-23 Capps, Lois [D]
No CA-24 Gallegly, Elton [R]
No CA-25 McKeon, Howard [R]
No CA-26 Dreier, David [R]
Aye CA-27 Sherman, Brad [D]
Aye CA-28 Berman, Howard [D]
Aye CA-29 Schiff, Adam [D]
Aye CA-30 Waxman, Henry [D]
Aye CA-31 Becerra, Xavier [D]
Aye CA-33 Watson, Diane [D]
Aye CA-34 Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D]
Aye CA-35 Waters, Maxine [D]
Aye CA-36 Harman, Jane [D]
Aye CA-37 Richardson, Laura [D]
Aye CA-38 Napolitano, Grace [D]
Aye CA-39 Sanchez, Linda [D]
No CA-40 Royce, Edward [R]
No CA-41 Lewis, Jerry [R]
No CA-42 Miller, Gary [R]
Aye CA-43 Baca, Joe [D]
No CA-44 Calvert, Ken [R]
Aye CA-45 Bono Mack, Mary [R]
No CA-46 Rohrabacher, Dana [R]
Aye CA-47 Sanchez, Loretta [D]
No CA-48 Campbell, John [R]
No CA-49 Issa, Darrell [R]
No CA-50 Bilbray, Brian [R]
Aye CA-51 Filner, Bob [D]
No CA-52 Hunter, Duncan [R]
Aye CA-53 Davis, Susan [D]
Aye CO-1 DeGette, Diana [D]
Aye CO-2 Polis, Jared [D]
No CO-3 Salazar, John [D]
Aye CO-4 Markey, Betsy [D]
No CO-5 Lamborn, Doug [R]
No CO-6 Coffman, Mike [R]
Aye CO-7 Perlmutter, Ed [D]
Aye CT-1 Larson, John [D]
Aye CT-2 Courtney, Joe [D]
Aye CT-3 DeLauro, Rosa [D]
Aye CT-4 Himes, James [D]
Aye CT-5 Murphy, Christopher [D]
Aye DE-0 Castle, Michael [R]
No FL-1 Miller, Jeff [R]
Aye FL-2 Boyd, Allen [D]
Aye FL-3 Brown, Corrine [D]
No FL-4 Crenshaw, Ander [R]
No FL-5 Brown-Waite, Virginia [R]
No FL-6 Stearns, Clifford [R]
No FL-7 Mica, John [R]
Aye FL-8 Grayson, Alan [D]
No FL-9 Bilirakis, Gus [R]
No FL-10 Young, C. W. [R]
Aye FL-11 Castor, Kathy [D]
No FL-12 Putnam, Adam [R]
No FL-13 Buchanan, Vern [R]
No FL-14 Mack, Connie [R]
No FL-15 Posey, Bill [R]
No FL-16 Rooney, Thomas [R]
Aye FL-17 Meek, Kendrick [D]
No FL-18 Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R]
Aye FL-19 Wexler, Robert [D]
Aye FL-20 Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D]
No FL-21 Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [R]
Aye FL-22 Klein, Ron [D]
Not Voting FL-23 Hastings, Alcee [D]
Aye FL-24 Kosmas, Suzanne [D]
No FL-25 Diaz-Balart, Mario [R]
No GA-1 Kingston, Jack [R]
Aye GA-2 Bishop, Sanford [D]
No GA-3 Westmoreland, Lynn [R]
Aye GA-4 Johnson, Henry [D]
Aye GA-5 Lewis, John [D]
No GA-6 Price, Tom [R]
No GA-7 Linder, John [R]
No GA-8 Marshall, James [D]
No GA-9 Deal, Nathan [R]
No GA-10 Broun, Paul [R]
No GA-11 Gingrey, John [R]
No GA-12 Barrow, John [D]
Aye GA-13 Scott, David [D]
Aye HI-1 Abercrombie, Neil [D]
Aye HI-2 Hirono, Mazie [D]
No ID-1 Minnick, Walter [D]
No ID-2 Simpson, Michael [R]
Aye IL-1 Rush, Bobby [D]
Aye IL-2 Jackson, Jesse [D]
Aye IL-3 Lipinski, Daniel [D]
Aye IL-4 Gutierrez, Luis [D]
Aye IL-5 Quigley, Mike [D]
No IL-6 Roskam, Peter [R]
Aye IL-7 Davis, Danny [D]
Aye IL-8 Bean, Melissa [D]
Aye IL-9 Schakowsky, Janice [D]
Aye IL-10 Kirk, Mark [R]
Aye IL-11 Halvorson, Deborah [D]
No IL-12 Costello, Jerry [D]
No IL-13 Biggert, Judy [R]
No IL-14 Foster, Bill [D]
No IL-15 Johnson, Timothy [R]
No IL-16 Manzullo, Donald [R]
Aye IL-17 Hare, Phil [D]
No IL-18 Schock, Aaron [R]
No IL-19 Shimkus, John [R]
No IN-1 Visclosky, Peter [D]
No IN-2 Donnelly, Joe [D]
No IN-3 Souder, Mark [R]
No IN-4 Buyer, Stephen [R]
No IN-5 Burton, Dan [R]
No IN-6 Pence, Mike [R]
Aye IN-7 Carson, André [D]
No IN-8 Ellsworth, Brad [D]
Aye IN-9 Hill, Baron [D]
Aye IA-1 Braley, Bruce [D]
Aye IA-2 Loebsack, David [D]
Aye IA-3 Boswell, Leonard [D]
No IA-4 Latham, Thomas [R]
No IA-5 King, Steve [R]
No KS-1 Moran, Jerry [R]
No KS-2 Jenkins, Lynn [R]
Aye KS-3 Moore, Dennis [D]
No KS-4 Tiahrt, Todd [R]
No KY-1 Whitfield, Edward [R]
No KY-2 Guthrie, Brett [R]
Aye KY-3 Yarmuth, John [D]
No KY-4 Davis, Geoff [R]
No KY-5 Rogers, Harold [R]
Aye KY-6 Chandler, Ben [D]
No LA-1 Scalise, Steve [R]
No LA-2 Cao, Anh [R]
No LA-3 Melancon, Charles [D]
No LA-4 Fleming, John [R]
No LA-5 Alexander, Rodney [R]
No LA-6 Cassidy, Bill [R]
No LA-7 Boustany, Charles [R]
Aye ME-1 Pingree, Chellie [D]
Aye ME-2 Michaud, Michael [D]
Aye MD-1 Kratovil, Frank [D]
Aye MD-2 Ruppersberger, C.A. [D]
Aye MD-3 Sarbanes, John [D]
Aye MD-4 Edwards, Donna [D]
Aye MD-5 Hoyer, Steny [D]
No MD-6 Bartlett, Roscoe [R]
Aye MD-7 Cummings, Elijah [D]
Aye MD-8 Van Hollen, Christopher [D]
Aye MA-1 Olver, John [D]
Aye MA-2 Neal, Richard [D]
Aye MA-3 McGovern, James [D]
Aye MA-4 Frank, Barney [D]
Aye MA-5 Tsongas, Niki [D]
Aye MA-6 Tierney, John [D]
Aye MA-7 Markey, Edward [D]
Aye MA-8 Capuano, Michael [D]
Aye MA-9 Lynch, Stephen [D]
Aye MA-10 Delahunt, William [D]
Aye MI-1 Stupak, Bart [D]
No MI-2 Hoekstra, Peter [R]
No MI-3 Ehlers, Vernon [R]
No MI-4 Camp, David [R]
Aye MI-5 Kildee, Dale [D]
No MI-6 Upton, Frederick [R]
Aye MI-7 Schauer, Mark [D]
No MI-8 Rogers, Michael [R]
Aye MI-9 Peters, Gary [D]
No MI-10 Miller, Candice [R]
No MI-11 McCotter, Thaddeus [R]
Aye MI-12 Levin, Sander [D]
Aye MI-13 Kilpatrick, Carolyn [D]
Aye MI-14 Conyers, John [D]
Aye MI-15 Dingell, John [D]
Aye MN-1 Walz, Timothy [D]
No MN-2 Kline, John [R]
No MN-3 Paulsen, Erik [R]
Aye MN-4 McCollum, Betty [D]
Aye MN-5 Ellison, Keith [D]
No MN-6 Bachmann, Michele [R]
Aye MN-7 Peterson, Collin [D]
Aye MN-8 Oberstar, James [D]
No MS-1 Childers, Travis [D]
Aye MS-2 Thompson, Bennie [D]
No MS-3 Harper, Gregg [R]
No MS-4 Taylor, Gene [D]
Aye MO-1 Clay, William [D]
No MO-2 Akin, W. [R]
Aye MO-3 Carnahan, Russ [D]
Aye MO-4 Skelton, Ike [D]
Aye MO-5 Cleaver, Emanuel [D]
No MO-6 Graves, Samuel [R]
No MO-7 Blunt, Roy [R]
No MO-8 Emerson, Jo Ann [R]
No MO-9 Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R]
No MT-0 Rehberg, Dennis [R]
No NE-1 Fortenberry, Jeffrey [R]
No NE-2 Terry, Lee [R]
No NE-3 Smith, Adrian [R]
Aye NV-1 Berkley, Shelley [D]
No NV-2 Heller, Dean [R]
Aye NV-3 Titus, Dina [D]
Aye NH-1 Shea-Porter, Carol [D]
Aye NH-2 Hodes, Paul [D]
Aye NJ-1 Andrews, Robert [D]
Aye NJ-2 LoBiondo, Frank [R]
Aye NJ-3 Adler, John [D]
Aye NJ-4 Smith, Christopher [R]
No NJ-5 Garrett, Scott [R]
Aye NJ-6 Pallone, Frank [D]
Aye NJ-7 Lance, Leonard [R]
Aye NJ-8 Pascrell, William [D]
Aye NJ-9 Rothman, Steven [D]
Aye NJ-10 Payne, Donald [D]
No NJ-11 Frelinghuysen, Rodney [R]
Aye NJ-12 Holt, Rush [D]
Aye NJ-13 Sires, Albio [D]
Aye NM-1 Heinrich, Martin [D]
Aye NM-2 Teague, Harry [D]
Aye NM-3 Lujan, Ben [D]
Aye NY-1 Bishop, Timothy [D]
Aye NY-2 Israel, Steve [D]
No NY-3 King, Peter [R]
Aye NY-4 McCarthy, Carolyn [D]
Aye NY-5 Ackerman, Gary [D]
Aye NY-6 Meeks, Gregory [D]
Aye NY-7 Crowley, Joseph [D]
Aye NY-8 Nadler, Jerrold [D]
Aye NY-9 Weiner, Anthony [D]
Aye NY-10 Towns, Edolphus [D]
Aye NY-11 Clarke, Yvette [D]
Aye NY-12 Velazquez, Nydia [D]
Aye NY-13 McMahon, Michael [D]
Aye NY-14 Maloney, Carolyn [D]
Aye NY-15 Rangel, Charles [D]
Aye NY-16 Serrano, José [D]
Aye NY-17 Engel, Eliot [D]
Aye NY-18 Lowey, Nita [D]
Aye NY-19 Hall, John [D]
Aye NY-20 Murphy, Scott [D]
Aye NY-21 Tonko, Paul [D]
Aye NY-22 Hinchey, Maurice [D]
Aye NY-23 McHugh, John [R]
No NY-24 Arcuri, Michael [D]
Aye NY-25 Maffei, Daniel [D]
No NY-26 Lee, Christopher [R]
Aye NY-27 Higgins, Brian [D]
Aye NY-28 Slaughter, Louise [D]
No NY-29 Massa, Eric [D]
Aye NC-1 Butterfield, George [D]
Aye NC-2 Etheridge, Bob [D]
No NC-3 Jones, Walter [R]
Aye NC-4 Price, David [D]
No NC-5 Foxx, Virginia [R]
No NC-6 Coble, Howard [R]
No NC-7 McIntyre, Mike [D]
No NC-8 Kissell, Larry [D]
No NC-9 Myrick, Sue [R]
No NC-10 Mchenry, Patrick [R]
Aye NC-11 Shuler, Heath [D]
Aye NC-12 Watt, Melvin [D]
Aye NC-13 Miller, R. [D]
No ND-0 Pomeroy, Earl [D]
Aye OH-1 Driehaus, Steve [D]
No OH-2 Schmidt, Jean [R]
No OH-3 Turner, Michael [R]
No OH-4 Jordan, Jim [R]
No OH-5 Latta, Robert [R]
No OH-6 Wilson, Charles [D]
No OH-7 Austria, Steve [R]
No OH-8 Boehner, John [R]
Aye OH-9 Kaptur, Marcy [D]
No OH-10 Kucinich, Dennis [D]
Aye OH-11 Fudge, Marcia [D]
No OH-12 Tiberi, Patrick [R]
Aye OH-13 Sutton, Betty [D]
No OH-14 LaTourette, Steven [R]
Aye OH-15 Kilroy, Mary Jo [D]
Aye OH-16 Boccieri, John [D]
Aye OH-17 Ryan, Timothy [D]
Aye OH-18 Space, Zachary [D]
Not Voting OK-1 Sullivan, John [R]
No OK-2 Boren, Dan [D]
No OK-3 Lucas, Frank [R]
No OK-4 Cole, Tom [R]
No OK-5 Fallin, Mary [R]
Aye OR-1 Wu, David [D]
No OR-2 Walden, Greg [R]
Aye OR-3 Blumenauer, Earl [D]
No OR-4 DeFazio, Peter [D]
Aye OR-5 Schrader, Kurt [D]
Aye PA-1 Brady, Robert [D]
Aye PA-2 Fattah, Chaka [D]
No PA-3 Dahlkemper, Kathleen [D]
No PA-4 Altmire, Jason [D]
No PA-5 Thompson, Glenn [R]
No PA-6 Gerlach, Jim [R]
Aye PA-7 Sestak, Joe [D]
Aye PA-8 Murphy, Patrick [D]
No PA-9 Shuster, William [R]
No PA-10 Carney, Christopher [D]
Aye PA-11 Kanjorski, Paul [D]
Aye PA-12 Murtha, John [D]
Aye PA-13 Schwartz, Allyson [D]
Aye PA-14 Doyle, Michael [D]
No PA-15 Dent, Charles [R]
No PA-16 Pitts, Joseph [R]
No PA-17 Holden, Tim [D]
No PA-18 Murphy, Tim [R]
No PA-19 Platts, Todd [R]
Aye RI-1 Kennedy, Patrick [D]
Aye RI-2 Langevin, James [D]
No SC-1 Brown, Henry [R]
No SC-2 Wilson, Addison [R]
No SC-3 Barrett, James [R]
No SC-4 Inglis, Bob [R]
Aye SC-5 Spratt, John [D]
Aye SC-6 Clyburn, James [D]
No SD-0 Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie [D]
No TN-1 Roe, Phil [R]
No TN-2 Duncan, John [R]
No TN-3 Wamp, Zach [R]
No TN-4 Davis, Lincoln [D]
Aye TN-5 Cooper, Jim [D]
Aye TN-6 Gordon, Barton [D]
No TN-7 Blackburn, Marsha [R]
No TN-8 Tanner, John [D]
Aye TN-9 Cohen, Steve [D]
No TX-1 Gohmert, Louis [R]
No TX-2 Poe, Ted [R]
No TX-3 Johnson, Samuel [R]
No TX-4 Hall, Ralph [R]
No TX-5 Hensarling, Jeb [R]
No TX-6 Barton, Joe [R]
No TX-7 Culberson, John [R]
No TX-8 Brady, Kevin [R]
Aye TX-9 Green, Al [D]
No TX-10 McCaul, Michael [R]
No TX-11 Conaway, K. [R]
No TX-12 Granger, Kay [R]
No TX-13 Thornberry, William [R]
No TX-14 Paul, Ronald [R]
Aye TX-15 Hinojosa, Rubén [D]
Aye TX-16 Reyes, Silvestre [D]
No TX-17 Edwards, Thomas [D]
Aye TX-18 Jackson-Lee, Sheila [D]
No TX-19 Neugebauer, Randy [R]
Aye TX-20 Gonzalez, Charles [D]
No TX-21 Smith, Lamar [R]
No TX-22 Olson, Pete [R]
No TX-23 Rodriguez, Ciro [D]
No TX-24 Marchant, Kenny [R]
Aye TX-25 Doggett, Lloyd [D]
No TX-26 Burgess, Michael [R]
No TX-27 Ortiz, Solomon [D]
Aye TX-28 Cuellar, Henry [D]
Aye TX-29 Green, Raymond [D]
Aye TX-30 Johnson, Eddie [D]
No TX-31 Carter, John [R]
No TX-32 Sessions, Peter [R]
No UT-1 Bishop, Rob [R]
No UT-2 Matheson, Jim [D]
No UT-3 Chaffetz, Jason [R]
Aye VT-0 Welch, Peter [D]
No VA-1 Wittman, Rob [R]
No VA-2 Nye, Glenn [D]
Aye VA-3 Scott, Robert [D]
No VA-4 Forbes, James [R]
Aye VA-5 Perriello, Thomas [D]
No VA-6 Goodlatte, Robert [R]
No VA-7 Cantor, Eric [R]
Aye VA-8 Moran, James [D]
Aye VA-9 Boucher, Frederick [D]
No VA-10 Wolf, Frank [R]
Aye VA-11 Connolly, Gerald [D]
Aye WA-1 Inslee, Jay [D]
Aye WA-2 Larsen, Rick [D]
Aye WA-3 Baird, Brian [D]
No WA-4 Hastings, Doc [R]
No WA-5 McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R]
Aye WA-6 Dicks, Norman [D]
Aye WA-7 McDermott, James [D]
Aye WA-8 Reichert, Dave [R]
Aye WA-9 Smith, Adam [D]
No WV-1 Mollohan, Alan [D]
No WV-2 Capito, Shelley [R]
No WV-3 Rahall, Nick [D]
No WI-1 Ryan, Paul [R]
Aye WI-2 Baldwin, Tammy [D]
Aye WI-3 Kind, Ronald [D]
Aye WI-4 Moore, Gwen [D]
No WI-5 Sensenbrenner, F. [R]
No WI-6 Petri, Thomas [R]
Aye WI-7 Obey, David [D]
Aye WI-8 Kagen, Steve [D]
No WY-0 Lummis, Cynthia [R]
Friday, June 26, 2009
From the website of Republican House Leader John Boehner
Read about what your congresspeople are voting on, and what it's passing would mean to you.
What You May Not Know About Speaker Pelosi's National Energy Tax
More Mandates, More Regulations, and More Costs Than Ever Before
Washington, Jun 26 - Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax is going to raise electricity prices, increase gasoline prices, and ship American jobs overseas to countries like China and India. This, we know.
It would be a bureaucratic nightmare overseen by a confusing web of government agencies that would take and redistribute trillions of dollars from family budgets and workers payrolls. This, we also know. Even Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) admitted in the Washington Post this morning that: “The truth is, nobody knows for sure how this is going to work.” How encouraging.
But what don’t we know? Here are some facts you may not know about Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax:
Homebuyers Beware. Trying to save up for a new home? You may have to save up a little longer for your purchase. The Democrats’ bill would dramatically increase new home costs by mandating California’s expensive new building codes for the entire nation. Immediately upon enactment, the Democrats’ bill would demand a 30 percent increase in energy efficiency for new construction. A couple of years later, the Democrats’ bill would require an additional 50 percent improvement. These numbers were chosen with no concern for cost to consumers or feasibility in implementation.
Homebuilders Beware. The Democrats’ bill imposes new mandatory regulations and civil penalties for homebuilders. If your state refuses to accept the stringent and costly California building codes, the federal government may assess penalties. And don’t get too comfortable with the new mandatory regulations because the Democrats’ bill allows for “consensus-based” codes to supplant those outlined in the bill. So, as soon as you’ve invested your hard-earned money to comply with the bill’s mandates, the rug could get pulled from underneath you. Translation? You’ll pony up more and more money.
Home Sellers Beware. Having a hard time selling your home? Here’s one more hurdle to jump: all homes sales are conditioned upon an energy audit and a new energy rating assessment and energy labeling program for your home that’s outlined in the Democrats’ bill. And if you thought you could improve your property with a fresh coat of paint and some granite counters? Think again! Now your home will be subjected to a new energy rating assessment and energy labeling program that will penalize you for older windows, original fixtures, and dated appliances. So the Democrats’ bill would bring down the value of your home!
New Lights No Matter the Cost. As early as 2012, the Democrats’ bill eliminates all existing lighting technology used in many outdoor lighting fleets (parking lots, stadiums, secured facilities like power plants and factories). Just as an example, switching to the mandated technology in the bill will cost one small utility about $30 million in annual revenue. So you now have to comply with the new mandates for new lighting? Hold the phone. It is not clear that a feasible alternative technology is available for every existing lighting application – regardless of cost – which could force some businesses to close.
The consequences of Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax for families and small businesses are real. It will drive up energy costs, send millions of jobs to countries like China and India, and place an especially heavy burden on rural America. There is a better way. House Republicans have proposed the American Energy Act, legislation that represents the fastest route to a cleaner environment, lower energy costs, and more American jobs. The legislation would:
Increase environmentally-safe energy production on remote lands and far off our shores;
Promote the use of alternative fuels that will reduce carbon emissions, such as nuclear, clean-coal, and renewable energy technologies; and
Encourage increased efficiencies and cutting edge technologies to maximize America’s energy potential.
Today’s vote on Speaker Pelosi’s ill-advised national energy tax will have consequences for every American. It is a bad deal for America. And the American people will remember how their Members of Congress vote
"Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech, and I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false, and I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you." Bill Clinton
"I did not tell Bank of America's management that the Federal Reserve would take action against the board or management if they decided to proceed with termination of the deal" Ben Bernanke
We know that Bill Clinton lied for reasons that had nothing to do with saving the economy and markets of this country and by extension the economy's and markets of the world. He lied to try and save his own ass.
Ben Bernanke most likely lied but for much grander and honorable reasons. I believe that in his mind a failure of Merrill Lynch, and the uncertainty and panic it would have created around its' massive base of individual investor accounts, would have directly undermined confidence in the financial system of the United States, and was an unacceptable occurrence. Even though B of A could have bought Merrill at a fire sale price after any type of filing, Ken Lewis was somehow "persuaded" to go through with the deal before that happened.
Bernanke testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday, saying that the Fed exerted no influence over the decision of Bank of America going through with the acquisition of Merrill Lynch. His testimony provided a forum for the congressmen to grandstand on whichever side of the story their beliefs fell out on, and it allowed Bernanke to reclaim some of the credibility that this story may have taken from him.
The event was a success for the congressmen, but Ben Bernanke to me sounded nervous and unsure. The arbiter of the testimony was the stock market, however, which rallied as he spoke.
The bigger picture issue at this point is whether the Obama plan to give the Fed increased powers in financial regulation will now be passed.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
"A cap and trade system is a method for managing pollution, with the end goal of reducing the overall pollution in a nation, region, or industry. Many proponents of pollution control support the concept of cap and trade systems, arguing that they are extremely effective, and that they make sense economically as well. Such a system is only one option among many for reducing the emission of pollutants, most notably carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas which has attracted a great deal of attention due to its environmental impacts.
Under a cap and trade system, a government authority first sets a cap, deciding how much pollution in total will be allowed. Next, companies are issued credits, essentially licenses to pollute, based on how large they are, what industries they work in, and so forth. If a company comes in below its cap, it has extra credits which it may trade with other companies.
For companies which come in below their caps, a cap and trade system is great, because they can sell their extra credits, profiting while reducing their pollution. For companies which cannot get their pollution under control, a cap and trade system penalizes them for their excess pollution while still bringing overall pollution rates down. In a sense, the need to purchase credits acts as a fine, encouraging companies to reduce their emissions." (Wise Geek)
What Is The Reality Of Cap and Trade To The Country And The Middle Class?
Now that was the textbook description of cap and trade has been dispensed, what could the Waxman-Markey bill mean to all of us if it is not defeated tomorrow? From the look of things, nothing good. Watch, learn and respond:
Health Insurance From The Doctor's Perspective
Went to the doctor yesterday and asked him what he thought about the potential for a government run health insurance system. He said he didn't really follow the argument because it didn't do him any good. He was to involved with trying to make it through the current system.
Some feel that the government should cover everyone, but be careful what you wish for because the standard of healthcare is going to go straight downhill as the ability to make a living comensurate with the time and expense required to become a doctor shrinks even more than it already has. Today for the uninsured, the emergency rooms function as the family doctor. That however, can be the case now even for those that are insured.
What Ever Happened To The Good Old Days Of 80/20?
Remember that? You go to the doctor, they bill you $150.00, you pay them $150.00 and then you send in all of the information to your health insurance carrier for an 80% reimbursement. The onus, the work and the responsibility to make sure you got that money was on you, the patient. One or two months later you would get a check in the mail, and if it was for an amount you didn't agree with, you, the patient took care of it.
Today, with managed care, the onus is now on the health care provider to make sure that they get paid. You walk in and the office will have an accounting and billing department who is responsible for making sure that the bill for services rendered are paid. For the same bill of $150 I pay the front desk $25.00 when I walk in, and the doctor will now have wait the months required to get reimbursed by the managed care company who is in no rush to send it (lots and lots of float). When they do finally receive the money, instead of $125.00 which is the difference between my copay and the actual bill, the insurance company will tell the doctor what the service was worth. Looking at statements I receive from the managed care company I would estimate they would get about $37.00 for my checkup. Add that to my $25 copay and they will have gotten about $62.
Just to do the math. The doctor's office had to hire a billing staff, wait to get paid, sometimes fight to get paid and when they finally did get paid it was $88 less than it had been under the old 80/20 system. That only covers the money part of the equation. How about the medical decision making part?
Just Who Is Making The Decisions
As if the fact that the ability to earn money has been sliced to the bone was not problem enough (I know, don't cry for doctors who spent 8+ years and umpteen thousands of dollars to get to where they are), doctors now have the added battle of trying to get procedures approved for their patients that in their learned opinion are required. They need them to be approved by the liaison at the managed care company whose ONLY job is to look for a reason to deny procedures in order to "save" the company money.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
A Brief History of Change, Source Unknown
Five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of
"Pick up your shovel,
mount your asses
and your camels, and
I will lead you to the Promised Land".
Seventy-five years ago,
"Lay down your shovels,
sit on your asses, and
light up a Camel,
this is the Promised Land".
Five months ago,
Obama announced plans to
steal your shovel,
kick your asses,
raise the price of Camels, and
mortgage the Promised Land.
Just when you thought there was nothing that could happen in Albany that could surprise you ( as opposed to just the nothing that typically goes on there), these State Senators, aka nursery school children, have outdone themselves.
Circus ringleader, Governor Paterson, called the Senators in for a special session Tuesday that was to supposedly cover non-controversial issues that need to be voted on so that the business of the citizens of the State of New York can be attended to. As sad as it sounds, this was an ambitious undertaking by the Governor.
Asking these people to focus on the tasks that they were sent to Albany for is maybe asking just a little to much. Maybe they are not making enough money on the salary of a State Senator to take it all to seriously. Maybe they are focused on self serving issues that don't do you or I any good. Or maybe they have been consumed by some space rays that take over when you enter the Capital that prevents thought. These rays may take politicians minds and turn them back to kindergarten level of maturity, attention span and focus. These are the same space rays I thought were limited to those politicians inside the Beltway in Washington but apparently not.
In any event, that's enough conjecture about the problems that they have as they have made them ours as well. With the recent defections of certain Democrats to the Republican side that appeared to give the Republicans control and therefore claim on the Presidency of the Senate, there is no consensus between the two party's as to who actually holds this position. Therefore there is no consensus on who will bring the gavel down to bring this special session to order. Therefore there will be no bills decided on until the impasse is resolved. They picked up their balls and went home.
(New York Daily News) "While the governor has the power to order senators into session, he can't make them vote or choose an official to preside over the chamber.
Paterson has threatened to call the Senate back into session every day, including weekends and July 4."
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday morning the World Bank lowered the growth target for the world economies from contracting or falling 1.7% to contracting 2.9%.
For the watchers of programs like CNBC who approach the markets as if it is a daily game with the bulls winning or the bears winning, and with a bias that is always geared to making any news, good or bad, sound good, maybe it is.
Analysts will for the most part be used retreads who have appeared for years with the same song. Right, wrong and no accountability. This is nothing new. I have spoken about it all before. But for you and I, the piker investors who cannot take advantage of every sell off, who don't have the advantage of 20/20 hindsight to say this is where we were supposed to be buying or supposed to be selling, who are living with the prospect of retirement in the next 10 or 15 years, what does it all mean?
Maybe you can track my attitude to the fact that in New York we have had about 20 straight days of rain that could impact anyone's attitude. Or perhaps you could say that the markets seem to have rolled over and are looking extremely tired. Maybe it is the macro world economic picture that seems to be a little bit gloomy right now. Or maybe it is the macro world political picture with Iran and North Korea to name just two. It's possible that it is the fact that the United States needs to borrow so many trillions of dollars that I lost count, or that unemployment is edging up to double digits. There is always the fact that mortgage rates are moving higher which threatens to choke off a recovery in housing that most will say is necessary for the economy to get back on track. General Motors and Chrysler filing is never a good thing to see, and oil moving up past $70 a barrel is definitely not a "green shoot" for the economy (although it pulled back on the forecast of a weaker global economy). Finally, the fact that there are murmurings around the world questioning the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency, and even conversations questioning the credit worthiness of America, is like cold water in the face.
So we have the discussions, the bull/bear debates, figure out who is in charge of the markets at the open of trading or at the close of trading. Irrelevant blather that means little in the scope of things but is entertaining, I suppose, for the stock market junkies who watch trading all day.
Then we have this ranting and raving. Maybe all we need is a sunny day!
A Note About Trading Opportunities
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or CFD allows one
to trade long or short, taking advantage of price movement in either direction. Find out more.
Monday, June 22, 2009
What is the definition of a regressive tax? A tax that will impact lower income people over higher income people. Nassau County in New York is proposing an additional 2% tax on fast food. There is no question that Nassau County faces a huge budgetary crisis, and finding ways to fill the hole is an imperative. But is the place to look to fill the gap on the backs of the very people that can afford it least?
As an alternate suggestion, why not impose a bar tax at some of the fancier eateries around the Island. A 2% tax on a $5.00 Happy Meal is all well and good, but how about a 2% or 5% tax on a $100 bar tab? Now we are talking real money. One of the supposed ideas behind the fast food tax is to lead people in the direction of a healthier diet. Forcing people to cut back on alcohol could serve the same purpose, but for the more affluent there would probably not be a cut back, just a ton of additional revenue for the County.
Could the rich be a constituency that politicians do not want to go after?
North Korean Showdown
A United States destroyer is trailing a North Korean cargo vessel that is suspected of carrying weaponized missiles, and the ship may be headed for Myanmar. North Korea threatens that all hell will break loose if attempts are made to stop and search the ship. What will the United States and the rest of the world do to address the situation?
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Despite the declaration that came from the Supreme Mullah Leader, Ali Khamenei that all demonstrations need to end, demonstrations and protests continue, although they have become smaller in size. These demonstrators face the crackdown of the police, beatings and death.
But as in any sea changing or seminal moment that begins in a society, they are standing up to those that would beat them down in their reach for a democratic government.
The press has been thrown out, and attempts have been made to limit the use of any social networks to get the story out. It has not worked, as seen in the following slide show. Ask yourself why the signs are in English. Are they reaching out to the other Iranians in country, or are they reaching out to us?
There are demonstrations going on around the world in support of the uprising including at the United Nations in New York.
The assumption has to be that in the near term the government of Iran will do whatever it takes to beat the uprising back to maintain theocratic power. The key is that the seed for change has been planted.
Can this movement push change through without violent revolution? Can they push change through without the momentum for change spreading throughout the entire country? To what lengths will the government of Iran and it's allies go to quell the call for a democratic, non-theocratic rule of law? Other country's in the region that govern along the same lines, who have populations that are watching how this turns out, also have a vested interest in seeing this uprising beaten down.
Reports out of Tehran say that besides the diminished participation in the protests, life just beyond it is going on unchanged. There is worldwide outrage at what is going on, but that outrage has to spread throughout Iran.
The seeds of change have been sown, but in a country that is ruled by leaders that will use any methods necessary to put down the unrest, another catalyst will unfortunately be needed that will bring those satisfied with the status quo over to the other side.
This will mean more violence, bloodshed and loss of innocent lives. It is very easy for those of us not involved, and who are living in freedom and democracy to say that violent change will be required, but it appears that is the case.
What should the role of the United States be? President Obama has the opportunity to either support the uprising or to use rhetoric to try and persuade the current government to "back down" or face a roadblock in talks with the United States. Obama's call is for the government of Iran to allow protesters the right to protest, much as the United States allows people to demonstrate in the park across from the White House. There has got to be more. This represents an opportunity for the world as much as it is an opportunity for the Iranian people.
"The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights," Mr. Obama said.
The fact is that these demonstrations are about the ultimate winner of an election, with neither candidate being a very attractive choice. But that is the basis of democracy, as we very often see in this country.
Friday, June 19, 2009
We all know the joke. The answer, I think, is to get to the other side. Wrong! That's the answer that you or I might give. But what if we asked John Kerry? Or maybe John McCain. Or maybe some other people from politics, history or the media. Is that what they would say?
I guess it depends on what your definition of is, is. This is a bi-partisan joke (source unknown), and a funny way to end a long week.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Let them tell you:
The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!
My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road
When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! - that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.
The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.
Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.
GEORGE W. BUSH:
We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.
ANDERSON COOPER - CNN:
We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.
Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.
That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.
To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.
No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.
Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.
To die in the rain. Alone.
In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.
Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.
It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.
I have just released eChicken2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% reboot.
Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?
I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?
I invented the chicken!
Did I miss one?
Where's my gun?
Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Oh boy, a politician of any party having an extramarital affair is about as unbelievable an event as not finding two scoops of raisins in a box of Raisin Bran. These are powerful, egotistical, self righteous, self absorbed individuals who think that they can do what they want with a certain level of impunity.
That said, when Senator John Ensign revealed an affair that he had, the sanctimonious commentary regarding this act from partisans of the Democrat Party was heard loud and clear. The title to this blog is owed to a particular lib who writes an occasional comment here ( I would give the name, but as many cowards do that will not stand behind the comments and beliefs they make and have, the moniker of this one is Anonymous). The reference to What Happens In Vegas was heard in other spots more than once today.
My thinking is that before we go to far in pointing fingers at Republicans, let's first feel badly for the Senator's family that has to go through something in public that they do not deserve to have to do. After that, let's take a small sample of some other politicians and the indiscretions that they had committed, and realize that some of them remain in positions of great power.
Ted Kennedy - Pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident after his car plunged off the Dike Bridge, on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, on July 18, 1969.
Barney Frank - Admitted in 1990 to having paid Stephen L. Gobie, a male prostitute, for sex
Henry Gabriel Cisneros - In 1995, an independent counsel was appointed to investigate allegations that he had made false statements to the FBI about payments he made to his mistress.
William Jefferson Clinton aka President - Impeached by the House of Representatives in December 1998 over allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with his sexual contact with a White House intern.
James Edward McGreevey - Announced his resignation as governor in 2004 after acknowledging a homosexual affair with his homeland security advisor.
Eliot Laurence Spitzer - Resigned as Governor following disclosure that he had paid a prostitution ring for sex.
Let's remember that is not the first, and will certainly not be the last case of politicians being politicians. To go back in history and see some of the crimes and near crimes that have been committed, visit The Political Graveyard.
I think the phrase "people in glass houses should not throw stones" says it best.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In one corner we have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, denier of the Holocaust and staunch believer that Israel should cease to exist. Also is seemingly mentally unstable and wants to acquire nuclear weapons if he has not already accomplished that to use as he sees fit. That does not bode well for any of us.
In the other corner is the challenger, although certainly no stranger to Iranian politics having served as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, is Mir-Hossein Mousavi. He is being billed as the reformist candidate in this contested election, but is he really?
Before getting to his "accomplishments", whatever the eventual outcome, the uprising and protests of the ordinary citizens can only be called a good thing (although deaths have occurred) as many experts have always felt that serious governmental change had to start there.
Just How Moderate Is This Guy?
When Prime Minister in the 1980's, many considered him to be as hard line as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is today. That said, here are some of his thoughts:
- Does not believe in the existence of Israel although he does seem to acknowledge the reality of the Holocaust
- Wants to continue Iran's uranium enrichment program, but not for weapons. Hmmmm
- Was part of a regime that executed dissidents
- A defender of the Iranian hostage crisis
- Attempted to carry out the execution of Salman Rushdie
- States a belief in improving women's rights
Bottom line is that to many of the younger citizens who were not even alive when he was originally in power, Mousavi represents change, and change is what they want!
The government has promised limited recounts from contested areas, and the rhetoric, as well as actions indicates a certain level of fear that this grass roots uprising may have traction:
"Meanwhile, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for a meeting with the envoys of four presidential candidates, state TV reported, as the government proceeds with an investigation into the election to calm unrest.
Khamenei urged Iranians to unite behind the cleric-led ruling system despite the demonstrations and street clashes, saying that, "In the elections, voters had different tendencies, but they equally believe in the ruling system and support the Islamic Republic."
Khamenei, Iran's ultimate authority, says that representatives of all four candidates should be present for any limited recount of disputed ballots, which the country's cleric-led Guardian Council said Tuesday that it would be willing to conduct.
The clerical government appeared to be trying to defuse popular anger and quash unrest by announcing the limited recount even as it cracks down on foreign media and shows its strength by calling supporters to the streets. " (Fox)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
You know the market analysts. Great at telling you where things were. Great at giving a multitude of reasons as to why we are where we are now. Fantastic at hedging their opinions so that it is difficult to be wrong. Not so good at picking a bottom in a move, but great at telling you that we have "most likely" seen the bottom after we are 30% off of it. Basically, like weathermen and economists, wrong most of the time but still gainfully employed with no recourse for those who listen to them for all of the inaccuracies they dispense.
Not So Jim Cramer
The Mad Money Guy likes to say that he tells it like it is. Not here to make friends, but to make us money. That is why last nights show was a little disappointing.
The entire first segment of the show was about how first thing on Saturday morning, the rest of his weekend was ruined. That right there and then he knew Monday was going to be a bad day, as retold to us on Monday night. The reason? The front cover of the chart book he gets delivered showed a disappointing pattern in the S&P which was trading significantly above the moving averages that he says are so important to him.
That the markets HAD to trade down to retrace that gap.
Now Jim Cramer, would like us to believe that Saturday morning was the first look at these critical charts he had since the previous Saturday? That the S&P is not something he watches constantly? That he hadn't seen this very chart pattern during the day on Friday, or the developing situation on Thursday?
Or maybe a stock market bull is doing what all of the "analysts" do and what he is not supposed to be doing. Hedging his bets and coming up with reasons for something after the fact that he should have been alerting his viewers to before the fact.
Et tu Cramer?
Every now and then you see an ad on television or a billboard along side the road that makes you stop, scratch your head, and wonder if society can reach lower lows or if this one is it.
The picture above is not in an issue of Maxim or Penthouse, and it is not an ad for an adult movie.
No, it is on the corner of Houston and Lafayette Streets in Soho in Manhattan, which for those not familiar is an extremely well traveled area both in cars and on foot. It depicts a young girl without her shirt on with two guys on a couch kissing. This while a fourth guy is on the floor without a shirt and pants undone.
The overt suggestion is that she is involved in a threesome, with the clear potential of a foursome. If we have not reached an absolute low for mainstream advertising, we are hopefully extremely close to it.
As if our kids and young adults minds are not being inundated enough by incredibly sexual music lyrics and videos with a message that is not always consistent with personal respect and pride, we now have an ad like this that cannot be controlled or shut off by turning a channel or unplugging a computer.
These images are there for anyone and everyone of all ages to see. Is society declining into a new phase that we will call Sodom and Gomorrah II. Ads like this can only make you wonder.
Monday, June 15, 2009
The top twelve indicators that the economy is bad:
12. CEO's are now playing miniature golf.
11. I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
10. I went to buy a toaster oven and they gave me a bank.
9. Hotwheels and Matchbox car companies are now trading higher than GM in the stock market.
8. Obama met with small businesses - GE, Pfizer, Chrysler, Citigroup and GM, to discuss the Stimulus Package.
7. McDonalds is selling the 1/4 ouncer.
6. People in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and are learning their children's names.
5. The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.
4. People in Africa are donating money to Americans. Mothers in Ethiopia are telling their kids, "finish your plate; do you know how many kids are starving in America ?"
3. Motel Six won't leave the lights on.
2. The Mafia is laying off judges.
And my most favorite indicator of all.
1.. If the bank returns your check marked as "insufficient funds," you have to call them and ask if they meant you or them.
A Different Kind Of Rap: The Young Cons
Saturday, June 13, 2009
The Son Of James von Brunn Apologizes For His Father's Actions: Who Is Apologizing For Reverend Jeremiah Wright?
In a statement, the son of James Von Brunn called his father's shooting at the Holocaust Museum an act of cowardice, and said that his family had been tormented by his father's beliefs all of their lives:
"For a long time, I believed this was our family's cross to bear. Now, it is not only my families' lives that are in shambles, but those who were directly affected by his actions, especially the family of Mr. Johns, who bravely sacrificed his life to stop my father."
While it will be little comfort to the family's of the security guards who were killed trying to stop him, it is something.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright
James Von Brunn is (until he hopefully dies from his wounds) a white supremacist, part of what will hopefully remain only a fringe group of dangerous people.
On the other hand, Reverend Jeremiah Wright is not a member of a fringe group. Far from it. For many, many years Reverend Jeremiah Wright was the spiritual leader of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He was the leader of members such as Oprah Winfrey, and of course President Obama.
Each was a member of the church for quite some time, no doubt well aware of the anti-semetic views held because of the fact that they were expressed in sermons that they no doubt were in attendance for.
Each left the church for their own reasons: one to maintain the popularity and ratings of a television show, and one to become President of the United States.
One was uncomfortable with the views expressed by the Reverend, and one said that until the time he resigned from Trinity Church of Christ, he was unaware of the views held by his spiritual leader,advisor and long time close confidant until it became a risky move politically and Wright was made persona non grata by now President Obama.
Well the Reverend Wright is back in the news, and who is it exactly that will be denouncing the things that he says? Not things uttered to a fringe group in secret meetings or on a website, but within mainstream religion. What did he say this time:
"WASHINGTON - President Obama's fiery ex-minister Jeremiah Wright is now blaming "them Jews" for keeping Obama from giving him a call these days.
"Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office," Wright told the Daily Press in Newport News, Va.
"They will not let him talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is .... I said from the beginning: He's a politician; I'm a pastor. He's got to do what politicians do," Wright continued.
The White House wanted no part of another Wright controversy, and declined to comment. But officials pointed out that the First Couple last year dumped Wright, pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, after he made incendiary remarks such as blaming the U.S. government for spreading AIDS..." (New York Daily News)
How convenient for the White House. By remaining voiceless on further incendiary comments made by his longtime friend and advisor, President Obama is giving de facto credence to what it is that he is saying.
President Obama has no problem coming on T.V. every day to decry the pay of executives, but cannot find his voice to decry the anti-semetic rantings of his former Reverend?
While it may not be politically expedient Mr. President, a statement denouncing your "former" advisor is what we are paying you to make!
Friday, June 12, 2009
For the young man or woman that goes into a crowded cafe and detonates themselves with the sole intention of taking out as many innocent men, women and children as possible, in their warped minds, there is no greater way to go out.
Wednesday, a life-long anti-semite and hater of anyone that did not fit his description of an acceptable human being, went into the Holocaust Museum on the National Mall and opened fire, fatally wounding 2 security guards. The shooter was shot and is in critical condition, and whether he dies from these wounds or from old age, he will go to hell in short order. This was his equivalent of a suicide bombing.
This begs the question, what is it that can embed this level of hatred in a man. He went into the Holocaust Museum, a shrine to an event that he denies having had occurred, with the intention of fulfilling 50+ years of a despicable dream. That of killing Jews to make whatever statement men of his thinking seeks to make. He killed two black security guards, but in his mind that may have been the same thing.
His son loves him, and if history is any guide, believes in the same things. This is how the hatred perpetuates: "I love my father. Everything you need to know about him is on his Web site," Erik von Brunn told The News Wednesday night. (New York Daily News)
That is correct, but does his son agree or disagree with his fathers views? This man committed this crime as an 88 year old man near death. He wanted to go out in a blaze of his kind of glory. In my own small way I will not mention his name so as not to give him any kind of perverse recognition.
As our veterans from World War II fade away, and the survivors of the Holocaust become fewer and fewer, those who are sane among us need to remember what a group possessing hatred can do, and realize we are facing similar groups today.
Never Forget So That We Can Help Keep Another Holocaust From Happening Again.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
We have heard the speculation that the United States led by the Obama Administration MAY place North Korea back onto the list of state sponsors of terror.
We have heard noise regarding U.N. sanctions that MAY be placed on North Korea which will ultimately have no effect on the current dictator (or most likely his son either) as the well being of the ordinary citizenry of this country is really of no great concern to the leadership.
We have heard some rhetoric out of Washington concerning the POTENTIAL of holding what they hope would be substantive talks with North Korean leaders in the hope of bringing them to their senses about giving up the nuclear arsenal in exchange for something that may be more meaningful to them.
Now I don't necessarily have the solution for this problem that has the POTENTIAL to escalate into an international disaster, but I do know that all of this blowing of smoke is not it. Here is just one of the statements coming out of Pyongyang:
"Our nuclear deterrent will be a strong defensive means...as well as a merciless offensive means to deal a just retaliatory strike to those who touch the country's dignity and sovereignty even a bit," said the commentary, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency." (Associated Press)
Mere bluster or the ranting and raving of a society out of touch with the rest of humanity?
How Appealing Are Our Treasury Bonds To Our International Customers?
One thing is for sure. In order to fund our huge requirements for government spending, we require a huge amount of government borrowing. If the current buyers of this debt move on to what they consider to be a safer or more stable vehicle for their investments, the only direction for our cost of capital will be straight up. Russia has made these threats before, and they come in front of a 10-year auction, made with the goal of pushing yields up.
The result of the auction was indeed that yields went up in order to satisfy the supply.
If there is any boycott in the form of foreign governments not participating in our auctions, it would translate into higher costs for our consumer loans, if we could get them in the first place. For the government, and you and I by extension, it will mean that higher mortgage rates will throw a roadblock in the way of any economic recovery.
These were the statements made by Russia: "Selling intensified after the Interfax news agency reported that Russian central bank Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said that the nation plans to reduce the proportion of gold and foreign exchange reserves it invests in U.S. Treasury bonds. Mr. Ulyukayev said that reserves are just over 30%-invested in U.S. Treasurys at present, but didn't specify by how much that figure would fall." (Wall Street Journal)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
There is no doubt that the government is printing an enormous amount of money that is "designed" to stimulate the economy, get banks lending, get consumers spending, generate employment through "shovel" ready projects (although a small percentage of these projects have gotten off of the ground)and in general pull us out of "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression".
Has this happened? The yield curve has steepened (difference between short and long term interest rates) which is a positive for bank earnings as they borrow short-term and lend long-term. The problem is that the people that need loans to buy houses or durable consumer products like cars are not getting it. Some are, but they have credit scores above 700 and strong balance sheets.
So in a story that puts it into language you don't need an MBA from MIT to understand, here is an analogy regarding the movement of money in the current economic environment:
The other day I went out to lunch with some friends. As we were sitting around the table the state of the economy came up and the things that our Government was doing to "help" out. One of the fellows sitting around the table came up with the following analogy and I thought it pretty much hit the nail on the head, so with nothing else to do, I decided to pass it along to you guys.
It is a slow day in the East Texas town of Madisonville. It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit.
On this particular day a rich tourist from the East is driving through town. He enters the only hotel in the sleepy town and lays a hundred dollar bill on the desk stating he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.
As soon as the man walks up the stairs, the hotel proprietor takes the hundred dollar bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to pay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer then takes the $100 and heads off to pay his debt to the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmer's Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute who has also been facing hard times and has lately had to offer her "services" on credit. The hooker runs to the hotel and pays off her debt with the $100 to the hotel proprietor paying for the rooms that she had rented when she brought clients to that establishment.
The hotel proprietor then lays the $100 bill back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveler from the East walks back down the stairs after inspecting the rooms. He picks up the $100 bill and states that the rooms are not satisfactory. Pockets the money and walks out the door and leaves town.
No one earned anything. However the whole town is now out of debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism. That ladies and gentlemen is how the United States Government is conducting business today. If that doesn't scare you, then I don't know what will.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
In yet one more example of politicians doing what is in the best interest of their own constituency, themselves, the New York State Senate is out of session while still in session.
Two Democrat senators have switched their votes to the Republican side, giving the majority to the Republicans. The minority leader Dean Skelos took control as the majority leader pushing Malcolm Smith to the minority role. There are two weeks left in the session before the summer recess (these summer recesses are a whole other issue),and many issues left on the legislative docket.
In a classic case of taking your ball and going home when things are not going your way, regardless of the impact such a move will have on your teammates, opponents, the league and the fans, the Democrats have locked the gates to the Senate chamber, and Malcolm Smith will not call the Democrat's back until order is restored. By order being restored, one can only assume this means him getting his majority role back.
That is putting the interests of the citizens of the State of New York first? Here is a snippet from an article on the situation:
(New York Daily News) "ALBANY - Chaos reigned in Albany on Monday night after Republicans seemingly pulled off an unprecedented mid session coup to gain control of the chamber.
The GOP flipped two Democrats to shift power to their side, making one of them, Pedro Espada Jr. (D-Bronx), the temporary Senate president.
After weeks of intense discussions, Espada and Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) agreed to side with Republicans in what they are calling a new bipartisan coalition to run the Senate.
The two said they will remain Democrats.
Republican Minority Leader Dean Skelos was installed to his old post as majority leader.
Espada and Skelos said they plan to return to session under the new leadership tomorrow.
That could be difficult since the Democrats have locked the gates leading to the Senate chamber, and ousted Majority Leader Malcolm Smith said he will not call his members back to session until order is restored.
With two weeks left in the legislative session, the move throws into question a host of high-profile legislation:
- Reauthorization of mayoral control in the city.
- Legalization of gay marriage.
- Democratic-sponsored ethics reform.
- Changes in city rent laws..."
Get back to work fellas. As Mr. Spock said: "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one".