Wednesday, February 29, 2012

MSNBC beclowns itself - But I repeat myself.  Ace: "Liberals really think this way."  Although, to be fair, the government is capable of generating jobs.  It's just that the jobs disappear a short time later.
No more bailouts...except for the auto bailout which was fantastic

Here's George Condon on February 28th in National Journal claiming that Obama's bailout of the auto industry will be a kick-ass issue for the election:
Democrats today are confident that the message of the UAW speech is not one just for the day of the Michigan primary. They believe - with good reason - it is one that will have traction in the general election, particularly in battleground states where the auto industry is inextricably woven into the local economies.
And today, February 29th, in National Journal: "Despite Detroit comeback, public opposes bailout"
A majority of Americans think the federal government should not have helped out U.S. automakers that were in financial trouble, but rather should have allowed them to go it alone, according to a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.
Thirty-six percent of Americans think the government should have provided help, but 55 percent think “these companies should have been allowed to succeed or fail on their own,” the poll shows. The results echo other surveys, including a May 2010 poll conducted by CBS News in which a third of respondents thought the government should have helped, while 61 percent thought they should not have.
It seemed only a month ago when some guy was reading off his teleprompter about how there should be "no more bailouts" and everybody should play by the same rules as long as those rules include paying off the unions and ignoring the tax code.

Now let's all buy a Chevy Volt!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Americans H8 Obamacare - Interesting question from Hit & Run: "Will the unpopularity of Obamacare matter to the Supreme Court?"  Probably not.  I can easily see Justice Scalia retorting that if you don't like a piece of legislation, well, that's what elections are for.
Focus on what works - Commentary: "A model for Medicare reform."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Zero Hedge quiz - They asked to "Name that Bubble" but my guess of "Twilight" DVDs was wrong.
Incentives - Megan McArdle argues that corporate tendencies are geared towards avoiding taxes instead of building business and current policy does little to rein in corporate power: "Why I still think we should eliminate the corporate income tax."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Daytona 500 today!  Oscars tonight!

I'm rooting for Tony Stewart in the race and "The Artist" for Best Picture.  In the meantime, here's Danica Patrick going for a ride after getting forced down the track in the Gatorade Duel.  The former Indy driver takes her hands off the steering wheel just before impact because the open-wheel cars will snap a wrist as the force is transmitted to the wheel.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Obama: victim of circumstance or man of action

It all depends on the outcome.  If gas prices rise it's Bush's fault, Exxon, oil speculators, unrest in Iran, demand in Brazil, people buying big trucks, etc.  If they go down, it must be due to the GM bailout, Chevy Volt subsidies, and new fuel mileage standards.  Opinion Journal reviews Obama's latest slice of un-reality:
"The American people aren't stupid," thundered President Obama yesterday in Miami, ridiculing Republicans who are blaming him for rising gasoline prices. Let's hope he's right, because not even Forrest Gump could believe the logic of what Mr. Obama is trying to sell.
To wit, that a) gasoline prices are beyond his control, but b) to the extent oil and gas production is rising in America, his energy policies deserve all the credit, and c) higher prices are one more reason to raise taxes on oil and gas drillers while handing even more subsidies to his friends in green energy. Where to begin?
I'll take a shot at Obama taking credit for increasing fuel mileage standards to 55mpg.  NPR had an excellent series called "Getting to 55 MPG" that reviewed the challenges.  The first thing to remember is that this is level is for a carmaker's entire fleet average, meaning that the companies are going to have to churn out thousands of cars that few people want since hybrids and electric cars make up a tiny percentage of vehicles sold in America.  If you want to stick with a car that doesn't plug in, you're going to have to do without some, uh, comforts:
"Like, when was the last time you actually took your hand and rolled down a window?" she asks. "But now there's an expectation that every vehicle, even if it's an entry-level vehicle, will have that kind of creature comfort [power windows]."
Wooldridge says we expect our cars to heat faster in winter, to cool faster in summer, have seat warmers and plugs for two cellphones, maybe a DVD player, and - of course - have a radio.
So get ready for the return to stick shifting, America.  Or as Fark put it: "To get to 55mpg you'll have to give up power windows, heated seats, DVD entertainment, and AC that could freeze the Sahara.  But on your deathbed you will receive total consciousness."

So you got that goin' for ya.

Extra - Lots of stuff at Memeorandum.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

General Motors says: "Let's try this Internet thing"

I read somewhere that the management culture at General Motors is so sclerotic and old-school that it's unable to adapt to trends in the automobile industry until they're introduced by other (foreign) car makers.  So I can just imagine the boardroom meeting where somebody proposed starting a blog without understanding what every blogger understands: anybody can make comments.

Here's a good'un from "We did not engineer the Volt to be a political punching bag"
When GM took the route of getting bailed out rather than bankruptcy & restructuring in order to save the UAW’s featherbed contract it made itself into a political football.
When the crooks in DC gave $7500 subsidies to the VOLT to help rich tree huggers preen as green it made the Volt into a political football.
Get used to it. Volt is viewed as a laughable subsidized toy for the trendy rich, and GM is a now pariah in Conservative circles. All my Democrat friends always drove Japanese cars and laughed at our Buicks & Cadillacs. I always bought GM out of loyalty. No more. From now on, I’ll buy Toyotas and Hondas built in the US by non union workers. Cheaper and better.
I think this blog will have the lifespan of "Attack Watch."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

End game - Well, this is a cheery post from Zero Hedge: "As US debt-to-GDP passes 101%, the global debt Ponzi enters its final stages."  "The Fed now has just one mandate: to keep the US fiscal machine well-greased by buying up US debt at zero rates, through wanton monetization."  Hmmm, maybe it's time to re-think gold....and ammo.
That's not how I remember it - The White House goes full-out Rashomon.  Hot Air: "Jay Carney: Hey, Obama didn't cancel the Keystone pipeline, Republicans did."  Uh-huh.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Everybody's on the dole

Missed this last week, but the Grumpy Economist has a good post about how intractable entitlement spending has become because it's mostly cash sent to, well, people who vote:
Comment: Now, could we please stop talking about how we need more taxes to pay for roads and bridges or to help the poor? The main function of our government is to write checks to middle-class and wealthy voters. And that's the reason its finances are in the toilet.
RTWT as they say, but the key to remember is that discretionary spending is getting squeezed by payments to banks (to cover interest on the debt) and relatively well-off seniors.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

From Paris to Daytona - Talk about a culture shift: this afternoon, I watched Woody Allen's Oscar-nominated "Midnight in Paris" which was a great movie with a neat little time-shift plot twist.  Now I'm watching the unofficial kickoff to the NASCAR season with the Budweiser Shootout.  What a wreck fest and Kyle Busch won with a backup car he spun out twice.
Take it from me, buddy: nobody cares - LA Times: "Payroll tax cut undermines Social Security's security."  It's always been a big accounting trick and people want their money now.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The end of America, visualized

Doug Ross: "A chart from the Obama budget that is so horrifying it must have been left in accidentally."  Here it is: the new plan is that debt goes up and never comes down.

Tim Geithner thinks it's funny.  Zero Hedge has been covering the austerity riots in Greece and the dissolution of the European Union - that's fun reading too.

Extra hilarity - Hit & Run: "Geithner admits Obama budget leaves America with unsustainable entitlement commitments."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

La Solyndra - Hit & Run: "Who knew? European carbon market is an expensive failure."

And in other energy-related news, auto dealers are warning that the speculative fuel efficiency standards set to go into effect will price millions of Americans out of car ownership.  Get on the bus, hippies!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be careful what you wish for - NPR: "Can Congress ever restore payroll taxes to their usual levels?"
The word "abysmal" means both "deep" and "awful" - What's deeper than the "deep fiscal irresponsibility" of the Bush years?  The Mariana Trench of the Obama Administration.  But that's different because, um, Slurpees!

Extra - Dana Milbank "Obama's budget games": "The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery asked why the projected debt had swelled by $1 trillion since September. Zients spoke about “differences in economic assumptions.”"  In other words: they made stuff up.

More - Weekly Standard: "The Cost of Obama."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ramming into the debt ceiling - Zero Hedge speculates that the GOP is going to let Obama spend spend spend until he hits the debt ceiling again a couple of months before the election.  This is all so dispiriting on so many levels.
The Senate budget can't be filibustered - After CNN and Meet the Press gave White House chief of staff Jack Lew a pass on his obvious fib, the WashPost's factchecker gives him Four Pinocchios.  If only the talking heads had been so quick.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

You'll take your entitlements and like it - Tom Maguire dismantles a NY Times article on Americans "depending" on the government by taking Social Security and Medicare.  As we now know, even if you want to opt out of entitlements - gosh darn it - the government is going to make sure you take 'em.

Extra - Powerline: "Clueless Times."
Why I hate the mainstream media - I was watching "Meet the Press" this morning and when David Gregory asked White House chief of staff Jack Lew why the Senate had not passed a budget in over a thousand days, Lew responded something along the lines that the Senate needs 60 votes to do anything.

Wrong wrong wrong and either Gregory doesn't know that the Senate needs only 51 votes to pass a budget or he willingly lets Lew get away with the lie.  And IIRC the Senate Budget Committee has not even produced a framework of a budget, much less proposed a vote.

Extra - Via Instapundit, here's "Why Americans hate the media" on Amazon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Houston, she had a problem - Well I just got back from seeing "The Artist" and I was going to post a rave review but the breaking news is that Whitney Houston is dead.  She was only 48.  Tragic.
Everybody act surprised - USA Today: "Obama budget to miss deficit goal."  Hey, maybe this one will get a vote.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What a week - I'm tired.  And there's no football and/or NASCAR this weekend.  I'm going to try to see "The Artist" tomorrow, so that's what I got goin' on.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Aw, c'mon guys, I thought we were pals

Ace: "President Waffles when asked about the contraception mandate: 'Come on, guys'."  It must be unnerving for this President to step out of his cocoon of softball interviews and pre-packaged answers to have a real news conference, which is why he hasn't had once since July 2011.  Don't worry: the media will be demanding one any day now.

Any day now.
Orwellian quote of the day

From "Obama lets 10 states miss 'No Child Left Behind' deadline":
On Tuesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said states without a waiver will be held to the standards of No Child Left Behind because "it's the law of the land."
All shall be equal under the law, but some states will be more equal than others.

Extra - From Hot Air.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Should the Senate do its job?  White House: "Meh."

ABC News Jake Tapper posited this question to press secretary Jay Carney today:
TAPPER: President Obama is going to be introducing his outline for a budget. Fed Chair Bernanke has said the lack of a budget having been passed by the Senate has had an adverse affect on growth because it’s created uncertainty. Harry Reid has said that he doesn’t think there’s a need to introduce a budget this year. Who do you — who does the president think is right, Harry Reid or Ben Bernanke?
As reported, the White House has "no opinion" as to whether the Senate should pass a budget as required by law.  It's already been a thousand days, so what's the hurry?  President Truman Obama wants to run against a "do nothing" Congress and the Senate is happy to oblige.
This is what happens when your kid takes the PSAT - I'm so proud of my son for receiving an exclusive and prestigious invitation to this phony-baloney conference.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I think that 53rd guitar was out of tune

Here's the OK Go video promised during the Super Bowl and you have to admire the scope of this project:

Monday, February 06, 2012

Fair's fair - Some good questions here: "A fairness quiz for the President."
Super Bowl roundup

Well, obviously I would have preferred a different finish for the football game.  Here are the commercials I loved:

Volkswagen's fat dog getting into shape PLUS Darth Vader at the Mos Eisley cantina.  LOL.
Doritos cat killing dog.  I know I shouldn't laugh at feline-icide but the "You didn't see nuthin'" was great.
The "Kill Bill" / Betty White singing in the shower promo for some show.

Ads I hated:

Every Go Daddy commercial...ever.
That E-Trade baby just creeps me out.
Clint Eastwood's "Halftime in America" and not because as some have alleged that it was a commercial for the auto bailout.  It was just a long monologue of hollow bromides of cheap nationalistic boosterism.  Shorter version: "We're Americans, how you like them apples?!"  The only thing missing was a shot of the USA Hockey team beating the Russians in 1980, although that might have been in there, I don't remember.  I do remember it was Chrysler which took a bailout and is now partially owned by Fiat.  USA! USA!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Friday, February 03, 2012

Sign of the Apocalypse: Krugman turns on Obama

In a stunning and biting article in the New York Times, self-described liberal Paul Krugman lambastes the President for his tepid jobs record.  Check out “No More Excuses on Jobs” (slight editing by yours truly):
With all the debt they've racked up, the Obamites have precious little job creation to show for it. Though the onset of the recession was not their fault, the complete failure over three years to retrieve those lost jobs certainly is.
As job growth continues to elude the U.S. economy, we're hearing two main excuses from the Obama administration and its supporters: that the real situation is much better than you're hearing, and that to the extent employment is lagging, it's the result of factors outside the administration's control. But after three years of extravagant promises and dismal results, the time for excuses has passed.
Krugman notes that job creation has failed to keep up with population growth, resulting in a stagnant labor force.  Then he takes on today’s BLS report on a drop in the unemployment rate:
But wait - hasn't the unemployment rate fallen since last summer? Yes, but that's entirely the result of people dropping out of the labor force. Even if you're out of work, you're not counted as unemployed unless you're actively looking for a job.
We don't know why so many people have stopped looking for jobs, but it probably has something to do with the fact that jobs are so hard to find: 40 percent of the unemployed have been out of work more than 15 weeks, a 20-year record. In any case, the administration should feel grateful that so many people have dropped out. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, if they hadn't dropped out, the official unemployment rate would be an eye-popping 7.4 percent, not a politically spinnable 5.6 percent.
In short, things aren't as bad as they seem; they're worse.
On the point of a smaller labor force distorting the unemployment rate, Krugman is correct.  As Zero Hedge forcefully reported today: “No, that's not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month!”  As Commentary noted, if the labor force in January 2012 had been the same as January 2011, the unemployment rate would have been an eye-popping 8.9% and not the merely troubling 8.3% rate reported today.  Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge goes even further and declares the unemployment rate is 11.5% once you strip away the BLS gimmicks.  As Krugman implies, no matter which figure you choose, it’s not politically spinnable.

One other thing: Krugman’s figures of long-term unemployment are much worse than he cites.  CNN is reporting that the percentage of long-term unemployed of people who have been out of work six months or more now stands at 42.9%.  But he is correct that it’s a depressing new record.
No sensible person blames Mr. Obama for the onset of the recession in 2008. But he does deserve blame for the fact that all he has to show for three years of supposed job-creation policies is a mountain of debt. 
And how.  Well, it’s refreshing to see Krugman give some balanced criticism for once.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

That's why they get the big bucks

Charity begins at somebody else's home

Politico: "Obama: Jesus would tax the rich"
President Barack Obama on Thursday tied his proposal to raise taxes on wealthy Americans to his faith, telling leaders gathered for the National Prayer Breakfast that Jesus’s teachings have shaped that conclusion.
The rich should pay more not only because “I actually think that is going to make economic sense, but for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’”
The man makes a point: the government must seize more money from the rich because some of them are just common-day tightwads.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Double-A haircut - I'm sure at some point during the Social Security debates I averred that I'd rather have my retirement fund in a private account, even if it paid a lower rate of return than the government program, as long as I knew it was under my control.  Otherwise, you're just depending on promises that can disappear when the Trust Fund runs dry or your company goes belly-up.  Megan McArdle: "American Airlines wants to terminate pension plan, lay off 13,000."  Ouch.
Nice Steely Dan reference - Vodkapundit "California tumbles into the sea": "Translation: Sacramento isn’t making its Visa card payments, while racking up additional debt on the MasterCard."