Thursday, January 28, 2010

Here’s What Obama Wants for us….


….just heartbreaking.




This is how health care rationing works.  Some bureaucrat, our wonderful Governor in this case, has to save a few bucks and it is people like the Mabrys that suffer for the incompetence.  Some years ago, the state decided that a great way to save money would be to get out of the mental health care business.  Sort of.  You see, they decided that it was absolutely necessary that they retain some control over the system, so they just held the purse strings while outsourcing treatment to private providers.  I’m all for the private operators providing care, but the state has terribly mismanaged the whole process.  The whole system functions sort of like Medicaid, with the state paying for treatment in amounts they deem appropriate.  It doesn’t work.  There are constant backlogs, people can’t get service and many simply walk away.  The state insists on oversight of the care of these people and apparently, oversight includes not providing services when it is inconvenient for them.

It looks like Obama’s health care plan is dead, or at least on its last legs.  I truly hope that someone soon, I don’t care who or which party, takes up reform again in the very near future and fixes the whole mess.  A big first step in fixing it will be getting the government all the fuck the way out of it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Speak of the Devil!


I asked earlier today what Valerie Jarrett does and just a little while ago, I get the answer:


She sends out bland spam.  Gee, I can’t wait to see Geithner’s report in this thing.

Maoist Fashion [UPDATED]


This is too easy, sometimes.  Here is a photo of White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett that landed in my inbox this morning from Politico. (article here)  Is that a Mao jacket she is wearing?



Pretty close.  Here is the original:


Mao Tse-Tung jacket.gif

Does anybody really know what Jarrett does?  Her title is Senior Advisor.  So, what is her area of expertise?  I know she’s President Obama’s best buddy, blah, blah, blah.  But what, exactly, is she good at?  Military affairs?  Economic matters?  Education?  Union relations?  O originally wanted her to be in his cabinet (Can’t remember what for.  Health and Human Services?), but that didn’t fly so now she is in the kitchen cabinet.

Read the opening two paragraphs from the Politico piece:

“White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett vowed that President Barack Obama will keep up his aggressive outreach to the business community, even as the president steps up his attacks against irresponsible players on Wall Street and in the insurance industry.

“Business is really not a partisan issue,” Jarrett said in an interview for POLITICO’s new video series, “Inside Obama’s Washington.” “What I hear from the business community all the time is that they want a strong economy. That’s a goal that the president shares. They want to create the kind of environment in this country where they feel secure about investing and building for the future, and that’s completely consistent with the president’s objective to create jobs.”

Read more:

President Obama is making an “aggressive outreach” to the business community?  He disparages business at every opportunity.  A recent poll showed that 77% of investors view him as anti-business.  He wants “to create the kind of environment in this country where they feel secure about investing and building for the future, and that’s completely consistent with the president’s objective to create jobs.”?  Really?  Really, Valerie?  OK, let me help you.  This afternoon, have the President make the following announcement.  He will probably need the teleprompter so he doesn’t choke on the words:

“In view of the continued economic strains the country is under, I have decided to suspend pursuit of health care reform.  Also, I will be putting on hold any further discussion on the cap and trade bill.  I recognize that businesses view these initiatives as additional costs and until we determine that businesses can absorb these additional costs, we will halt our efforts.”

His all-important popularity will soar, markets will rise and businesses will pick up the pace.  Try it, Valerie, you’ll like it.

UPDATE:  So I went back to trash the article out of my inbox and got another look at the headline that came in with the picture and it struck me as funny to see that picture of Jarrett with this headline:



Mao nationalized private business in China. She wants us to believe that she, and Obama, understand how to support business.  My ass.

Monday, January 11, 2010

“Extend and Pretend”


That is the phrase that bankers are using to describe how they will handle the coming commercial real estate collapse.

I saw my uncle over the holidays and he has been in and out of commercial real estate since the ‘70’s.  He was recently working with some bankers on a deal and he asked how they would handle the round of refinancing that is coming.  “Extend and pretend” was the answer.

A little explanation will help you to understand what this means.  When a new construction project is built, it is frequently done on a 5 year note (and, though I am not positive on this, maybe interest-only).  At that end of those 5 years, the borrower is supposed to retire the note and refinance into a longer term loan.  So, what was going on 5 years ago when those loans were being made?  That’s right, a lot of loans were being made on everything from shopping malls to hotels to office buildings.  Many of which are empty right now.  And therein lies the problem.  The project was originally funded based on a higher value.  Clearly, that value is gone now.  So if you are a bank and are holding a note with a face value of $10 million on a piece of property that is now worth only maybe $6 million, what do you do?

You extend and pretend.

The good news is that, according to Evil CEO Jamie Dimon at J.P. Morgan, the worst may be over.

Friday, January 08, 2010

More Loss of Privacy on the Way [NSFW] [UPDATE]


Many people have likely seen this image by now, if you are on the interwebs much at all (Try to ignore Janet Napoletano doing an Obama and looking down her nose at someone.  Shouldn’t be too hard to look at the x-ray image.):


Nappy-J assures us that these images do not represent an invasion of privacy.  We are about to spend a few billion to buy and install these body scanners at, apparently, every place that has ever had an airplane parked at it.  That’s a fairly revealing picture all by itself.  But look what happens to it in the hands of a geek with a copy of Photoshop:


I don’t know squat about using Photoshop (note to self: check local community college for Photoshop lessons), but according to Gizmodo, this must have taken all of about 20 seconds to do.  And of course, the instant they had done it, they launched it off into cyberspace to show their skilz. Of course, this also demonstrates how woefully incompetent Nappy-J and her crowd are when it comes to what can be done with commonly available software.

We are going about airport security all wrong.  The recent Christmas day bombing attempt was not a failure of technology, it was human error and all the tech in the world will not prevent that.  Jeez, was it Newark airport that got shut down recently because some TSA agent walked away from his post for a minute or two and some dingbat took that as a good time to kiss his girlfriend one more time?  Thousands of people were stopped, millions of dollars of cost and delays ensued as the TSA over-reacted.  That was human error and it took all of one thoughtless decision on the part of the agent for it to happen.

UPDATE:  I was right, it was Newark.  Just found this little gem from Reason TV:

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Country Poised to Prosper in 2010


Tax cuts, particularly for businesses, rolling out this year are expected to give dramatic boost to the economy.

Great news, if you live in Germany.

I love to see real world examples of economic theory.  We’ve all been part of a huge demonstration of the forces of supply and demand since Hurricane Katrina as the price of oil and gas has gyrated up and down the spectrum.  People bitch and moan about the price for a gallon of gas and I, being the weirdo I am, study them and try to suss out their decision process.

If you will recall, right after Katrina, the gas pipelines that supplied us here in North Carolina were shut down.  Immediately, the price went from about $1.80 or so to as much as $5 in some places.  I had filled up the day before because I had to drive to Burlington in the morning, about 90 minutes away.  Gas that morning as I left town was still about $1.80.  When I rolled into Burlington, prices were up around $4.50.  I switched to a news channel on the radio and heard what was going on and immediately pulled in to the nearest gas station to top off.  (Of course, they were telling everyone not to do that, but I drove for a living then and some places were already out of gas, so I couldn’t risk not having gas.)  The gas station was no busier than it ever was and that was what was so interesting to me.  People either didn’t need gas or were so shocked by the increase that they muttered to themselves about getting ripped off and drove on in search of cheaper gas.  The latter point was proven to me as I was filling up.  A little ol’ blue haired lady pulled in behind me.  She sat up so she could see over the car door and I watched her study the price on 3 or 4 pumps as she looked for a lower price, each time shaking her head.  Eventually, she left the station.  She didn’t understand that we were not in a position to shop for cheap gas, we had to worry more about getting gas at all.

Which brings me to an observation that I have made and it is that we, as a country, have lost our survival instinct.  We are so cosseted, so far from having to make decisions about food, water and shelter (and transportation) that we cannot even recognize when one of those things is about to disappear.  Because these things are so easy to come by in America, we do not really get too agitated when our property is threatened.  Kind of like it is now by our congress.  Yes, people are pissed off and we are all supposedly poised to vote the bums out.  The town halls of last August were a thing of beauty.  This is a thing of beauty:

But in the end, we have to take action.  Obama and the congressional Democrats are clearly ignoring us.  They seem the think that they are only there to represent the nutroots and not the whole country.  We must keep the pressure on them, we must be unrelenting.  We cannot take our eyes off of them, not for one minute, because they will duck into a smoke filled room and pull off some shit.  They’re doing it right now on health care.  They’ll pay at the polls next time around, but we have to make them pay every day between now and then.  Write them, email them, call them.  Do not back down.

Back to Germany.  The critics there are going after Angela Merkel, as could be predicted.  Merkel has cut individual taxes, among other things, though not by a whole lot.  I am not conversant with the German economy, so do not know if they are in as bad a way as we are.  I assume so, since the whole world is pretty much in the shitter right now.  But this is a perfect chance to see the theories of Hayek and Friedman played out against the theories of Keynes.

I wish we were getting the Hayek/Friedman treatment.  Germany will recover quicker than we will.  Just watch.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Dorking in Surrey


Heh.  Gotta love the names that the Brits give to their towns.  Tiger probably still has a ways to go to catch Warren Beatty.