Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beware of politicians who are loyal to ignorance.

For some inexplicable reason, it has become the norm for politicians who identify as Christians to  promote their ignorance of science as a reason to support their campaigns.  Take for example Michelle Bachman (R, Mars) who thinks among other things that global warming is a hoax, and  evolution is just another unproven theory.

Here's my take. If on any particular topic a person disregards facts, data and scientific analysis in forming their opinion, then how can one predict for which subject or if at all the willfull ignorance will step aside for clear thinking. If you know a person is prone to make up their own facts some of the time then how can you trust anything they have to say?

And why do so many Christians claim loyalty to ignorance?  Is that part of the deal?  You're supposed to shun the truth to be part of the fold?  That's a load of hooey.  Jesus never told anyone to cling to ignorance.  This is what he said..    
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever- the Spirit of truth."  John 14:16.
The spirit of truth will help you and be with you forever.  That's empowering.  The more knowledge we gain, the more it will help us all.  With all of the problems facing mankind these days, its good to know that the Spirit of truth is here with us to help us forever. 

That is an optimistic message and totally contrary to the tribal ignorance promoted by the Tea Party Theocrats like Michelle Bachman and fellow GOPer Rick Perry in a shameless attempt to suck up to uneducated people for political support.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Definition of "Bulletin Board Material".

In the Downriver (Michigan) News-Herald Sports Section 2011 high school football preview, there was a nice long write up about the team from local Catholic school Riverview Gabriel Richard.   FOOTBALL 2010: Senior-rich Pioneers hoping to rebound 

Now, here is a classic case of what is commonly referred to in sports as "bulletin board material".  Some comment or quote made in print by a player or coach from one team that is used by the other team as a little bit of extra motivation.  The coach uses a thumbtack and posts the snipped article up on the locker room bulletin board for everyone there to read.      
The constantly shuffling Catholic League has shifted again, leaving the Pioneers in a three-team Intersectional 2 Division along with Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes and Royal Oak Shine.

The lack of league games basically forced the Pioneers onto the market for non-league games and that led to some weaker-than-usual opponents and a long overnight trip.

The Pioneers will play Summit Academy, Star International and likely Melvindale ABT.

My son is the Senior captain  first year quarterback and free safety for Summit Academy Dragons.  The same team that the GR coach referred to as weaker-than-usual opponents for his team.  Ha.  Long story short,  Summit Academy won the game 26-16 playing with a tough swarming defense, a balanced offense, and speed.  It was a great start to the season.   Thanks coach.  You know, you just might want to refrain from dissing your opponents in the paper before the game.  Just sayin.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rick Perry's poll numbers and inflection points

So I read today that Texas Governor and GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry is leading the polls. IBT: Rick Perry Beats Mitt Romney in Gallup Poll, One Week After Entering Race
Texas Gov. Rick Perry moved decisively into the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

The poll, conducted Aug. 17-21, showed Perry supported by 29 percent of Republican primary voters, 12 points ahead of Mitt Romney's 17 percent.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Rep. Ron Paul came in at 10 percent, with businessman Herman Cain receiving 4 percent and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum each receiving 3 percent.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who has tried to carve out a niche as a moderate candidate willing to work with ideological opponents, continued to trail the pack with 1 percent of the vote, underscoring how conservative the Republican electorate has become.
Although Rick Perry has been a very public GOPer for a number of years now, he is an official newcomer to this race. In my opinion the fact that he entered the race at the top is not all that surprising seeing as the rest of the field is comprised of Tea Party kooks (Paul, Bachman), GOP retreads (Romney, Santorum, Gingrich) and heretofore unknowns ( Huntsman, Cain) and most the people who responded to the poll just want someone/anyone to unseat President Obama. Although I doubt it, Perry may even go as far as to win the GOP nomination, but if he does, it will be for naught.  He has zero chance of winning the Presidency.  Americans are gullible, but they aren't dumb.

Perry is an anti-science creationist who believes in the story of Noah's Ark and that evolution is a hoax. He is a homophobe who has compared gays to alcoholics who need rehab. He is a staunch opponent of reproductive rights for women and an opponent of assistance for poor mothers as well.  He claims to subscribe to Christianity but has executed more prisoners than anyone else in the free world. He spouts anti-Fed Tea Party BS to placate the sub-intelligent base who apparently long for an American economic meltdown .  He speaks in code to the racists in his party.  He used his powers as Governor of Texas to subsidize businessmen who donated to his political campaigns. His record on education in Texas is abysmal and should be an embarrassment for Texans.  His economic record in Texas is more smoke and mirrors than enlightened policy. And whether or not it is "fair", America is simply not ready to elect another Texas governor for the Presidency. Perry is a political sleazeball who got this far by riding GWB's coat tails.  The majority of Texans with voting rights may like him but Americans in general won't.  Not for long at least.

Now that he has thrown his wannabe cowboy hat into the ring, look for journalists everywhere to go about digging up all sorts of unhelpful and embarrassing quotes and policies from Rick Perry to expose him as the far right wing candidate that he truly is. And look for Perry and his staff to spin in overdrive the next few months trying to explain away his extremism already out there in the public record.  In calculus, the inflection point is the spot where the curve changes from having a positive slope to a negative slope.  The news that Perry is leading the GOP polls will be the inflection point in this race.  His numbers may still climb for a while, but the slope of his poll numbers is approaching zero and is on its way to negative territory.

I have pointed out before that in order to win Primary elections a candidate has to appeal to the fringes of their party, but in order to win the General election, the candidate has to switch up and appeal to the centrists in both parties and Rick Perry, while attractive to RWNJ's,  has no chance of attracting the centrists from either party. If the GOPers make him the nominee, it will assure a second Obama Presidency.

Jon Huntsman is the only GOP candidate who could potentially win the General election.  That is if he doesn't cozy up to far right to win the nomination.  He ought to be distancing himself from the radicals in the Tea Party because that is really his only chance of winning the nomination.  Let the kooky kandidates fight over the Tea drinkers.    He can win the nomination with the support of the rational, centrist GOPers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tap legend Ardie Bryant. An American treasure you never knew about..

Tap students Savannah, Kelsey, and Molly with Ardie Bryant

Sometimes you attend an event and it disappoints because the hype and marketing made it out to be much more than it ended up being. And then sometimes you attend an event and it just blows you away and you immediately start thinking about the next one and who else you're going to bring along so they don't miss it.

The latter describes The Masters of Tap show at the Max M. Fisher Music Center yesterday. Denise Caston, the producer of the show assembled an incredible mix of young and old masters of the American art form of tap dance. To accompany the dancers with live jazz music Denise brought in the Scott Gwinnell Trio. They were perfect for the show. I really had no idea how great this show was going to be.

Performing along with Denise were Motor City Tapfest instructors Bril Barret, Gregg Russell, Ardie Bryant, Robert L. Reed, Karen Callaway Williams, Starinah Dixon, Rod Ferrone, Sarah Reich, Jenefer Miller, and Claudia Rahardjanoto. Denise also mixed in numbers featuring dancers from around Detroit and beyond who participated in Tapfest classes at Wayne State University and dancers with Detroit roots who came home to join in the fun.

The acts were incredible. One after another amazing performance. Men and women, short and tall, old and young. There is no perfect tap body like there is for jazz or ballet. Each one of the dancers brought a different kind of energy and style, each one passionate and expert. No one is born a tapper. Anyone who rises to that level has put in countless hours practicing and performing.

And that's why the picture above is so cool.  That is Mr. Ardie Bryant posing with three of the young dancers who performed in the show.  Ardie is a living legend in the tap world, known as the Father of modern jazz tap. His mentor and teacher in the 1940's was none other than Mr. Bill Bojangles Robinson. Back in the day, Ardie performed with Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Sammy Davis Jr., and just about every other dancer and musician from Hollywood's golden era and he appeared in a number of movies, stage shows, and productions as well.  The few minutes he spent speaking to the crowd about his experiences to convey a bit of the wisdom he picked up along the way was captivating.  And then the 82 year young man went and tapped a piece, Unreal. Of course he got a wild standing ovation.

Molly is a student of tap dance history and the published biography of Bill Bojangles. So for her to meet and hear stories from a tap dance legend who learned directly from Mr. Bojangles himself was a once in a lifetime experience.

Ardie brought in a pair of antique wooden heel taps that were given to him by Bill Bojangles years ago to show to the class. The wooden taps gave Bojangles his unique tap sounds. The dancers were all impressed to see and hold the historical artifacts, but I think they were really in awe of Ardie more than anything else.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thomas Jefferson: The Earth belongs in usufruct to the living

As the USA and the rest of the world ponders what the hell to do with the all the debt we have all accumulated over the past decades, this letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison in 1789 offers some good perspective on the subject. Sometimes when you can't figure out how to make something work its a good idea to go back and read the owner's manual.  And in case you didn't know, the term usufruct is the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that belongs to another person, as long as the property is not damaged. 

Letter from Thomas Jefferson - to James Madison - Paris, September 6, 1789

I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self evident, "that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;" that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it.
The portion occupied by an individual ceases to be his when himself ceases to be, and reverts to the society.. the child, the legatee or creditor takes it, not by any natural right, but by a law of the society of which they are members, and to which they are subject.
Then no man can by natural right oblige the lands he occupied, or the persons who succeed him in that occupation, to the paiment of debts contracted by him.  For if he could, he might during his own life, eat up the usufruct of the lands for several generations to come, and then the lands would belong to the dead, and not to the living, which would be reverse of our principle. 

Interesting concept this Usufruct thing. You can use your little chunk of the Earth while you are alive but it's not going to be your's anymore after you die because the Earth belongs to the living not the dead.  So no one should plunder the land and steal its value from future generations.  This is a very green concept I might add.  Oil must be the ultimate anti-usufruct seeing as it took millions of years to form and we're going to use it in a century or two.  Jefferson ties this usufruct theme into his opinion about National debt.  TJ3 said that no generation should bind future generations to debt.

The earth belongs to the living. 

Which is not to say you can inject his wisdom in the here and now in the current debt crisis.  It might have been helpful about 100 years ago, but its too late now for usufruct to kick in on this greatest (debt accumulating) generation ever and unbind the future from trillions of usufruction.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Never ride on a bus through the mountains in BFE

Back some years ago at LGF I learned about the phenomenon of the bus plunge.  Bus plunge is the term universally applied to all deadly accidents involving buses full of people in poor areas of the world that for one reason or another drive off of a mountain road and plunge down into a ravine killing dozens.

Really, you can search the term "bus plunge" in Google News and see for yourself.  Here are the stories today..

Pakistan bus plunge kills 15 pilgrims

QUETTA, Pakistan — At least 15 people were killed and 20 more injured on Sunday when a passenger bus plunged into a deep ravine in southwestern Pakistan, officials said.

The bus was carrying pilgrims from the shrine of Sufi saint Shah Noorani, and fell into the ravine in Lasbella district -- some 700 kilometres (430 miles) south of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province -- as it tried to negotiate a sharp turn on a hill road. 
Death toll rises to 7 in mini-bus plunge accident in China
(Xinhua) -- Death toll has risen to seven in a mini-bus plunge accident in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, after a child passenger died in hospital, local authorities said Wednesday.

An initial police investigation found that the 18-seat bus was loaded with 26 passengers including three children when the accident happened at 2:35 p.m. Tuesday in Liucheng County.

The bus glided backward after the driver stopped the bus to avoid a car on a slopping mountain road section. It rolled down a ravine of 54 meters deep.

12 dead in Himachal bus plunge

Shimla : At least twelve people were killed and four others are missing when a bus rolled down a hill and fell into a river in Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba district on Wednesday,police said.

“Twelve bodies have been fished out of the river and search is on for four other bodies downstream.One person is injured,” said Chandu Ram Thakur, a senior official on phone from Tissa.
There are new stories every few days.  All I can say is that I hope I never have to rely on a bus to get me anywhere in the undeveloped world.  And speaking of buses with a Detroit connection, here is a funny video some student made to an I.C.P song "The Little Yellow Bus".  Scoop us up, c'mon and scoop us up say the Juggalos.


Rick Perry the Pander Bear threatens Bernanke to impress the Tea Party girls.

Texas Governor Rick Perry put his hat in the ring one day and followed it up by putting his boot in his mouth the next day.  He threatened Fed chairman Ben Bernanke with "ugly treatment down in Texas" and even called him a traitor.  The only part he left out was a wink wink reminder of how the good Christian judges down in Texas sentence horse theives and bankers who print too much currency.
"Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous — or treasonous in my opinion,” Mr. Perry said Monday, taking a voter’s question about the Fed and criticizing the possibility of the central bank’s taking further steps between now and the election to keep interest rates low.

He added, “I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.”
I think the part that the Tea Partiers and the candidates who suck up to the Tea Partiers are failing to see is that each piece of the economy is largely dependent on the rest of the economy and that social order and civilization itself is dependent on that economy. If you let a large chunk of the economy die off, the rest of it does not proceed unabated. Its all interrelated and co-dependent. If things come to a grinding halt, they will not come back. We can't let that happen unless we really want to witness Armageddon happen in front of us.

The economy is based on confidence. Confidence that it will all continue to function even through economic and social disruptions.  Enough confidence to participate by exchanging your time, labor or talent for some form of currency that can then be traded for other desired goods and services.  Without confidence there can be no currency and without an economy there can be no civilization, just tribalism. 

Its not much of a secret that a main strategy of Tea Party politics is to chop away at confidence in the Fed, and our economy to convince voters to unelect President Obama in 2012.  But in doing so they risk doing real damage to the economy that won't be so easy to fix even if they win the office.  Once you kill consumer confidence, its not always simple getting it back.

Rick Perry was doing that here.  Tossing red meat to the "sub-intelligent and proud of it GOP base" by  ridiculing and threatening the Fed. He figures once he gets to be President all that confidence will come back and the economy will start humming again.  What he doesn't seem to see is that most of the American economy doesn't have the ability to withstand a prolonged recession.  It won't be there on the other side. So if the Fed has to ease monetary restrictions or whatever they call it, I'm OK with it if it is my best alternative to the loss of civilization and social order. 

Perry is a political sleazeball and I can't tell at which point the pandering to dumb people stops.   

Monday, August 15, 2011

The GOP trio of rock-paper-scissors candidates. Ho humm.

Apparently while I was out playing a round of golf, the GOP nomination race for 2012 snapped into focus. 

WATERLOO, Iowa — A Republican presidential campaign that has been slow to take shape suddenly snapped into focus Sunday, with an unlikely three-person top tier of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and the newest entry, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

I'm not crazy about Romney. But I might possibly vote for him in a general election against Obama. As for Bachman and Perry, no way. If either of them is the GOP nominee I will cast my first vote ever for a Democratic candidate in a general election. That's right.. 30 years of straight-ticket GOP votes right down the tubes.

Bachman is too dumb to be entrusted with the office of Presidency judging by her quotes and half baked analysis of economic strategy. At the very least we knew George W. Bush was smart enough to fly an airplane. I wouldn't get in a school bus if Bachman was driving it. You heard it here first. She will not handle it well when the press starts asking her to explain some of her extremist views and dumb statements and there is a treasure trove of that stuff out there to sort through. A meltdown on camera is in the works. Bachman has even less of a chance of winning the Presidency than Sarah Palin ever did.

As for Rick Perry, well he is a Governor from the State of Texas and let's face it. There is zero chance in 2012 that's going to fly with enough mainstream American voters to win a majority of electoral votes.

And frankly, Romney has no chance either because if he does somehow surprise the nation and win the GOP nomination, it will just lead to a 3rd party run for the Tea Party with either Ron Paul or Michelle Bachman at the helm, stealing votes from the GOP. If that happens, Obama can start rehearsing his 2nd inaugural speech before the election is even held.

I look at the GOP nomination contest between these three almost like it's a game of rock-paper-scissors. Each has an advantage over one but a weakness against the other and there is no real winner in the group. And not that it means much but my favorite GOP presidential candidate for 2012 is Jon Huntsman, if for no other reason that he understands politics does not have to be a tribal war where loyalty to your Party comes before loyalty to your country. He's logical, he avoids the bombastic proclamations, he doesn't try to scare people to vote for him, he doesn't speak in code phrases or Fox News talking points and he knows how to work with people on the other side of the aisle and not just toss grenades in their general direction.

I am done with party politics taking precedence over actually getting things done in Washington.  I hope the American people actually get a chance to see and learn more about Jon Huntsman before the early polls convince him to drop out.  I think the longer he could hang around the more likely it is that the others will self destruct trying to defend their spotty records and goofball quotes. 
But I am generally skeptical that Huntsman can differentiate himself from Mitt Romney enough to generate some Mojo with the sub-intelligent and proud of it GOP base. Too bad because the USA could really use Huntsman to help navigate the ship the next few years.

So for what it's worth, the Pathteacher blog endorses Jon Huntsman for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.  I'm rooting for the optimist in the bunch.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why not set up the band on the front yard?

This is what the scene looked like if you stood on the corner of Colgate and Cornell in Dearborn Heights, Michigan last Saturday evening and looked North.  Yes indeed that is a rock and roll band setting up on the front lawn of a house in a sleepy neighborhood.  Yes, the police did stop by to make us stop playing shortly after 10 PM, but we had already quit playing and were well into tearing down the equipment so they just left.  

I got to sing War Pigs, the Rover, Californication,  Hotel California, She's White, Far Behind, and lots more.  It was another great party hosted by Cowboy and Karen.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What can we do to fix the economy.

So what can be done to fix the economy.  Before I dive into this question I need to reiterate my underlying theory of everything.  "The more difficult a problem seems the simpler its solution will be."

So fear not.  It's not all that bad.  But what it will take is for people to realize that they have to actually become involved.  This is a patriotic venture for all Americans that transcends politics.  We don't really have much of a choice.  We can either ride down the slippery slope while civilization crumbles around us or we can take positive action to pursue a strategy that can help fix the problems.  Why not try to save it all, I say. Forget about the dingbats in Washington arguing over budgets and tax rates.  None of that means anything anymore.  Clearly, they can't fix a thing.  It's up to us in the cities and small towns across the country.  

First, we need to eliminate waste in our consumption of gasoline to work to create a glut in the oil market to crash the price. The Government can't do that by mandates, we need every one of us to find ways to cut our gasoline consumption by say 10%. That would be enough to clog the supply chain and crash the price when the glut starts to impact production. Oil and gasoline are the lifeblood of our economy. If we can crash the price then it will be a windfall for every American consumer.  In an earlier post I wrote about why I thought gasoline ought to be treated as a public utility, and I do think that could eliminate much of the speculation and price fluctuations. To build on that, here are some thoughts.. First about reducing fuel consumption, then some other ideas to reduce the trade deficit and get more dollars rolling around inside the USA.

1) Please time the stoplights.  Every time a car or truck has to stop at a red light they waste a tablespoon of gasoline or something like that.  Why can't our municipalities time the stoplights in town so that traffic can flow without people having to stop and start every half mile or so.  Gosh, this one is so easy.  We already have the crews that can do it, they just need a plan for how to time the lights.  Some entrepreneurs could figure out how to utilize Mapquest data to calculate the travel time between the main intersections and then the optimum on/off timing of the stoplights to keep the traffic flowing along at the posted speed limits.  This will save more fuel right now than all the CAFE increases planned for years down the road.

2) Eliminate backups at highway construction merge points. When there is a highway construction project it typically involves traffic lanes merging prior to the construction zone.  This always ends up being a clusterf*ck when most drivers get over early but others wait till the last minute and have to merge in right at the end.  To fix this, there should be either a traffic guard or a row of stoplights installed across all lanes of the highway at the very point the lanes need to merge into one.  Then, one lane at a time gets to proceed to the single open lane while cars in the other lanes wait their turn.  So you stop once and wait for your lane's turn to go.  This would eliminate the ridiculous backups we have all been stuck in for miles on highways.  It would save gasoline and time.

3)  Schools need to consider converting to 4-day weeks.  This would cut transportation costs about 20% and that would help budgets in struggling school districts across the country

4) The US Mail delivery could be reduced to 3 days per week from the current 6 days per week.  Really.. Who would miss it?  Everything would still get there.  Just one day later. 

5) Promote all efforts to electrify the fleet.  Go Chevy Volt.

6) Schools and businesses should promote car pooling programs.  This could be so easy with social networking helping make connections.  Even if people car pooled just one day per week or could work from home one day per week.  Commuting is waste. 

7) Now to revitalize the cities, and to cut spending, I would close many if not most of our foreign military bases and relocate some or most resources to decaying and decayed cities like Detroit to lead demolition and recommissioning of the land. It's high time for some Nation building right here in the USA. These forces could also be deployed to natural disaster areas. Look, we are broke but still borrowing more money every month so we can operate dozens of military bases in ally territory. Bring that money back home.

8)  Look at ways to contract guest services at some National Parks to companies like Disney who could package the visit to attract more foreign and domestic tourism.  I am not saying they would disrupt nature or ruin the park's beauty, I just think they could do a better job of moving people around and extracting money from tourists than the Department of the Interior does.  Why not give them a few parks to run to help raise funds while preserving the park's beauty.

9)  Sell off major chunks of the US owned land and State owned land.  It is estimated that about 1/3 of the USA is government owned.  And the Government is broke.

10)  Eliminate tariffs on imported raw materials used in commerce and increase them on assembled products.  The trade deficit has to shrink for the US economic recovery to ever gain traction.             

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Awesome mashups by Andy Rehfeldt

Andy Rehfeldt makes really cool mashups using the the video feed and singer's voice from a famous song dubbed in with his own version of the same song performed in a totally different style of music than the original.  It might not sound like such a great idea, but it turns out the mashups are highly listenable and funny as hell to watch.  There are lots to pick from when you look through Rehfeldt's YouTube channel.

But to get an idea, check this one out.  AC/DC Back in Black, funk version..


Monday, August 8, 2011

Congressman explains his vote against debt ceiling increase. Fails to mention S&P downgrade

Standard and Poor's downgraded the US credit rating due to waning confidence that the US can and will continue to meet financial obligations.  This unprecedented move spooked the confidence of investors and set in motion a major sell off in financial markets in the US and around the globe.  Hard to say when it will hit bottom.  (I say around the same time oil hits $50, just a guess)

But now comes Rep. Scott DesJarlais the Tea Party Republican from Tennessee's 4th district with a terse explanation for his no vote on the debt ceiling increase.  DesJarlais: Why I Voted Against Raising The Debt Limit    I assume he wrote this prior to the credit downgrade by Standard and Poor's because he fails to mention anything about it in the column defending his opposition to raising the debt ceiling.  As if that were a subject for another day unrelated to the debt ceiling question.   
After careful consideration and numerous conversations with my constituents, I came to the conclusion that while some of these proposals contained worthwhile measures, they all ultimately fell short of the spending cuts needed to justify giving President Obama another $2.4 trillion blank check.
First, if the congressman really thinks that increasing the debt ceiling amounts to giving President Obama a blank check, either he has a basic misunderstanding of the Constitution or he thinks we do.  But back to the point that he never mentioned the credit downgrade in the explanation for his vote.

I wonder, did DesJarlais not realize the credit downgrade was a likely outcome with Washington's dysfunctionality on full display. They boldly threatened to let the US default just to prove a point to their political opponents, the country be damned. A few more votes next time, and they could succeed. That's a big part of the S&P downgrade. There are kids driving the bus over a winding mountain pass. Or perhaps DesJarlais knew about the impending downgrade but didn't think it would spook the markets all that much. The classic, "Who could have seen that coming?" Or just maybe he knew about the impending downgrade and knew of the massive sell-off it would trigger, but still held on to the idealistic Tea Party position that got him elected.

Anyway, one of those three scenarios is true and none of them speak well of the apparent Tea Party initiative to save the ship by sinking it. The credit downgrade will cost more money to US taxpayers than they ever could have hoped to save with the dramatic negotiating tactics.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

The key to economic recovery, cheap gasoline.

So why did the stock market correct itself today. Well if I had to guess at one thing, I'd say that the steady ramping up of gasoline prices since the last price crash during the 2008 recession has become a speed governor on the recovery.   The initial big jolt from the dramatic drop in the price of gasoline helped start the recovery by restoring some confidence and optimism.  But over the last few years the steady price increase has squeezed off enough of the budding recovery that investors are spooked again and bailing out.

Here is a good site to look at gasoline and oil price trends.

And here is a good site to look at Dow Jones Industrial Average trends

The corresponding trends demonstrate correlation but which is cause and which is effect? I say that the price of fuel drives the business indicators that the stockwatchers observe so it is an indicator of stock market trends. So find ways to make fuel cheaper and that will not only increase stock market capitalization, it will reduce our trade deficit and give American consumers more money to spend on other things. The price of fuel affects the price of every other product, so cheaper fuel will drive down all consumer prices. This is how to grow the economy. Make gasoline cheaper.

How to do that?  Simple.  Reduce demand and increase the supply.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Debt ceiling. What next?

Phew, sigh, and one big :-)  the kids in Washington who were playing chicken on their bikes sure did give us all a scare and make it look close, but luckily they all bailed out with just enough time to avoid a big spectacular crash.  Good show all!  I mean, it was a show right?  What else could that whole series of events been beside a staged act.  And in the end all they did was leave everyone in the audience hanging until next season when we'll all find out what really happens next.  Woah.  Who could have seen that formula plot coming at us all? 

But here is a strange twist about which I would like to find out more.   Link to story..

"... Another $1.5 trillion would be sought this fall by a special committee with unique power to force congressional action. If it fails to reach that goal, spending could be cut by $1.2 trillion automatically, divided equally between defense and domestic programs. "
Call me a cynic, but the phrase "special committee with unique power to force congressional action" raises a red flag for Constitutionality issues.  I presume those unique powers over Congress will eventually get challenged in court. We'll see how that all turns out. 

Here are some things I would do, knowing we are broke. 
  • Sell major tracts of US owned property up to and including Territories and perhaps States.
  • Reduce US military presence in foreign nations by closing most military bases in Germany, Korea, etc. 
  • End the tax deduction for church contributions.  Salvation doesn't need a tax deduction.
  • End the tax shelters referred to as private foundations and assign their assets back to the owners.
  • End the war on drugs.  A monumental waste of money and lives to prop up police employment.
  • Promote merging of Municipalities into regional authorities.  Does every Mayberry RFD need a mayor, police chief, etc,?
  • US mail reduced to 3 days delivery per week.  Saves gas and trees and no one will miss it.
  • Public Schools convert to 4 day weeks.  Immediate 20% drop is busing costs
  • Quit using the Navy as a global escort service for ships bringing imports into US.
  • Quit subsidizing the production of ethanol and other farm products

We need to grow out of the economic crisis. We can't shrink to prosperity.  To grow an economy the most important thing to do is reduce waste and reallocate the resources that were saved somewhere else where they will be more productive in the big picture.