Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Devil IS Prada!


High fashion, don’t you know?



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Happened on August 28, 2008…

…that might have had something to do with our financial collapse?  Barack Obama accepted the Democrat nomination, that’s what.  That is also when the stock market took a dive and also when unemployment really kicked in to high gear.  Look, I am no statistician or pollster or financial analyst, but when you look at the following charts I have assembled, it gives you pause.  I thought at the time that at least part of the reason that things cratered when they did is that it became clear to Wall Street and businesses in general that we were about to elect an anti-business President and perhaps a Democrat majority in Congress.  And, since businesses can’t afford to wait and see if they are right in these matters, they acted almost immediately in the face of the higher cost of doing business that was coming their way.

From the BBC, here is the timeline of the 2008 election:

BBC Election Summary

I used Rasmussen in the above shot because according to this analysis from Costas Panagopoulos of Fordham University, Rasmussen was the most accurate poll of the 2008 election. Sorry, I know that Rasmussen is evil and all, but he is also mostly correct.

Less than a month later on September 18, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke were asking Congress for carte blanche to deal with the imminent collapse of the whole damn global financial system and it was on like Donkey Kong.  Here is a very nifty timeline of events back then, from Dipity:

You can probably see it better if you click through to Dipity.  Also, scroll a bit to the left to see the beginning of the events.  Dipity starts with September of 2008.  Things really accelerate after August 28, don't they?

Next, from MSN Money is the Dow Jones, S&P and NASDAQ averages from February 2007 through February 2010.  Note the highlighted points; the market cratered beginning at the end of August 2008.

DJIA historical

Clearly, the market was already trending down by August, but right after the nomination everything fell off the cliff.  

Finally, here is the unemployment trend from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:


Again, unemployment was trending upwards from about December 2007 on, but it accelerated dramatically after August 2008, increasing a full 1.3 percentage points from August to December of 2008.  For the math-impaired, that was a 21 percent increase over that period of time, compared to an 8.6 percent increase over the same period in 2007.

I posit that the election of Barack Obama pushed the economy over the edge into panic mode.  Investors wanted out of markets, companies knew they had to cut overhead and they all knew that they had to act quickly, before Obama and the Dems took office and imposed higher costs in the form of higher taxes, health care reform, cap and trade and because of the simple fact that modern Democrats in general and Obama in particular are essentially socialist in philosophy. Couple this with the deteriorating business conditions in general and the collapse was inevitable.

No, Obama’s nomination did not cause the financial deterioration of the economy.  That was already underway.  But it damn sure sped things up and made things worse.  With his nomination and subsequent election, all hopes of a soft landing evaporated.  Elections really do have consequences.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Obama Fail


Or it will soon be a fail.  Again, the ego gets in the way. 

“President Obama kicks off what might be called his "Save the Senate" tour this week, heading west to campaign for two embattled Democrats trailing badly against Republican challengers - including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.”

He has this unfailing belief, it seems, that his mere presence assures victory.  It didn’t work in in Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts or for the Chicago Olympic bid.  It won’t work for Harry Reid; Reid is so far down in the polls that he must know that he has little, if any, chance to be re-elected.  Bringing Obama out to the desert isn’t going to change that for the better, at all.

Obama will be able to raise money for Reid and Michael Bennet of Colorado, but it will almost certainly cost them votes, especially Reid.

Obama Win


I pretty much hammer on our President here, but I am willing to give him some props when he does something I think is right, and by helping to get a new nuclear power plant built, he is doing something good.  If he really wants to help this project, he will smooth the regulatory process out for the builder.  The red tape these projects must go through add greatly to the cost of the project.

As always, though, with our ever so humble President, it remains to be seen what sort of follow-up he will deploy.  He’s not so great with follow up.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fall Far, Fall Fast

Look at this snip from tonight’s home page of the Huffington Post:



The Alexander McQueen story posted today about three hours ago.  The John Edwards story posted two days ago.  Dude is toast.  Rielle must be holy hell in the sack.

And Herein Lies the Problem


When members of his own party begin to make statements like this, I don’t see how anybody should expect Republicans or leaders of other countries can be expected to do business with Obama:




Link to story and video is here.  (Real Clear Politics doesn’t allow embedding, apparently.)

Maybe Obama is doing some kind of amazingly brilliant counter-intuitive strategy.  Maybe he is doing the old “reverse psychology” trick that works so well on 4 year olds.  But we’re not 4 year olds, though he apparently thinks that we are all a bunch of rabble to be led into the wake of his magnificence. 

And when the New York Times begins to question his credibility and integrity, he is on the downward slide to Cartericity or maybe Nixonism.  Either way, this is a problem for all of us, conservative or liberal.  The US needs a strong, trustworthy, effective President and right now Barry is lacking in all of those things.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Problem with Familiarity


Remember this?  (From the NY Times)




Now look at this headline from Bloomberg:




Now look at these two, from The Raleigh News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer, respectively:





In the first two stories, we have a glaring example of lack of consistency and an arrogant display of subjective bias.  He takes the “fat cats” to task on a regular basis and that is the part that people will remember.  The rabble cheers him when he does this.  But these two guys over here, the ones that he knows personally?  Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan?  Hey, they make less than A-Rod, so it’s cool.  He has given a tacit approval to their clear attempts to avoid controversy by taking stock instead of large cash bonuses.  Blankfein clearly reined himself in by taking only $9 million, while Dimon unapologetically took $16 million.  Dimon should have taken double that; JP Morgan is a very profitable company and he has served his shareholders and employees well.  Blankfein took $62 million in 2007 and Goldman is the undisputed king of Wall Street.  He should have taken another $62 million.  The problem with this is that Obama is giving a pass to two CEOs merely because he knows them personally while essentially meddling with the relationship between these two guys and their company and shareholders.  When Obama is calling out the fat cats, he is really saying, “We want our money back from the fat cats…….uh, except for my golfing buddies Lloyd and Jamie.  But all the rest of you are evil and greedy.”  This is arrogant.  This is subjective bias, with the pardon granted merely because he knows these two guys and thinks they are “savvy”.  It shows a lack of rigor in his thought processes in allowing him to grant leniency merely because of personal familiarity.

Then you look at the headlines from the Raleigh and Charlotte papers (they are both McClatchy papers, hence the identical photos) and it adds further to the recognition that Obama doesn’t know the effect his “fat cat” comments or his ongoing disdain for Las Vegas have on the economy.  Charlotte is the 2nd biggest banking center in the country, after New York.  Bank bonuses are important to the economy there and always have been.  My daughter attends a college near Charlotte that has long had a relationship with Wachovia and the donations that came from Wachovia and one of its executives in particular were vital to the school.  That Wachovia fat cat is no longer able to help out as he had done in the past.  New York Mayor Bloomberg is on record as wanting the state of New York and President Obama to soften their stances with regard to the wealthy over taxing the bonuses they receive.  He recognizes that when taxes on the rich become confiscatory, it hurts the New York City’s and Charlotte’s of the world.

Obama has absolutely no understanding of how the economy works in this country.  He wants to punish business and confiscate money from the business world to redistribute according to his whims, hence the healthcare bill and the increased taxes that he is contemplating, not to mention the cap and trade bullshit bill.  That this is done on a whim is the real problem.  He is attempting to reshape the country according to his personal vision.  This is a country of laws and individuals, not the United States of Obama.  Companies aren’t hiring or moving forward right now because Obama’s governance by fiat makes them uneasy and who could blame them? 

A suggestion to all Fortune 500 CEOs; try to get a tee time with Barry some time this year.  Maybe that will settle things down once and for all.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Well, I Feel Better Now….


….because Timmy said it would be OK.  Sometimes, I think these clowns that we have in office don’t know basic math.  Apparently, we can grow the national debt to insane levels while revenue drops and, if you believe our Treasury Secretary, it won’t change our credit rating.  Even though the people who create credit ratings said it would.

Look at this, and weep:



That was as of 10:20 AM EST, Feb. 7, 2010.  Go here to get an update; it’s changing really fast.  You may need a welder’s mask to protect you from all the red ink you will see on that page.

I understand the allure and the principle for a government to borrow money.  Like any other organization, it is a way to leverage your way into spending money on things that you would not otherwise be able to afford.  Sort of like sub-prime mortgages.  And governments, particularly the US government, can borrow money so cheaply that it is like crack cocaine for a self-aggrandizing egomaniac.  Why pay for something today when you can borrow the money and pay it out over time with inflated dollars?  Because it results in the image you see above. 

There are things that a person should borrow money for and it’s a short list; to buy a home and to get an education.  It’s not a good idea, but most of us borrow money to get a car.  That’s it; those are the only loans a person should have.   A government doesn’t need a house and you clearly cannot educate a government; Lord knows we have all tried.  Instead, the federal government has a clearly laid out set of items it should provide and they can be found in the Constitution; the defense of the country, facilitating interstate commerce, the judicial system and so on.  Most of what we pay for is not mentioned in the Constitution.  The Left likes to use the “promote the general welfare” phrase from the Constitution to justify whatever it is that they are freaking out about at any given moment, ignoring the fact that having, say, Social Security doesn’t really improve the general welfare.  It improves the welfare of those who are eligible for it, at the expense of those who must pay for it.  See here for more ideas on what parts of government need to be reduced or eliminated.

My 1 year old nephew owes over $40,000 right now and he still craps his diapers.  By the time he turns 18, at the rate this mess is going, that number will be far into the 6-digit range, maybe even 7 digits.  He will never catch up.  WE will never catch up.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Woooo---Check out the Katie Cougar!!!


The coug on the loose!  Looking upscale, while CBS is thinking about cutting staff or wages or both.  Way to rally the troops, Katie!  But you’re lookin’ mighty fine:



Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cheating in Sports…


…it’s been going on for a while:


Monday, February 01, 2010

Is it a Reflex? [UPDATED]


Does he do this consciously or is this some long dormant remnant from his youth?  He grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, and maybe this is a common greeting in those places.  I can’t say for sure; I’ve never been to either place.  But it seems that the minute he sees someone with Oriental features, his waist goes all jelly-like and he starts bowing like crazy.



Had Bush done this, he would be getting ridiculed for being an insular, unworldly idiot.  Why doesn’t Obama get the same treatment?  Why does he continue to get a pass in the media for these actions?  Because the media is only now coming around to the notion that he ain’t all that and a bag of chips, but they still can’t bring themselves to go after him hammer and tong.  Yet.

UPDATE:  Video here of the actual bow and it confuses me.  On the one hand, his eyes are facing the ground, the essence of a bow and as sure a way as any to show subservience.  On the other hand, he bows so quickly that it could simply be an overly energetic greeting, sort of like what some people do when they are really excited to meet someone.  I think it is simply a reflex action for him, probably from having lived in Asia and Asian-influenced places.