Friday, August 31, 2012
In my heart of hearts I hope this is NOT true.
The worst part is that in the minds of those who wonder what the heck a Republican is-----the answer was clear. Out of touch, out of step, out of solutions and------- in general-------- out to lunch. The primary platform seems to be to just get Prez Obama outta the White House------they ain't got no plan to recover this country. No plan to improve edumication, no plan to help the environment, no plan to balance the trade deficit, no plan to strengthen the dollar, no plan to improve international diplomatic relations, no jobs plan, no plan to rescue, and save Social Security, and Medicare, no workable, equitable tax plan, no plan to rennovate our dangerously unsafe infrastructure, no plan to make our food supply safer, both meat and produce. They have no plan for even minimal health care coverage.
Here is what we DO know about Republican thinking. Repeal of the ACA, overturn R v W, tax workers while giving the richest a pass (including corporations), continue to pander to big Pharma and heck with Rx prices for the working person, do away with Planned Parenthood. That would be just peachy since Repubs don't think insurance should pay for contraception. So where do women go for reproductive counseling and support? They also pander to big Insurance, big Banks by allowing them to levy the life out of our own money with ridiculous unjustified fees.
Clint Eastwood threw the drowning Republicans a giant anchor--------I mean hey--------There is no way the Democrats could have come up with such a destructive strategy to destroy a candidate. The election will not be close, not by a long shot.
— Angry. On the campaign trail this summer, President Obama has become — in the words of the mainstream Associated Press — more “aggressive.” But don’t you dare call him “angry.” According to MSNBC host Touré, that’s racist!
“You notice he said ‘anger’ twice,” Touré fumed in response to a speech last week by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man.” Or maybe Romney is just accurately describing the singular temperament of the growling, finger-jabbing, failure-plagued demagogue-in-chief. It’s about the past four years, not 400 years. Sheesh.
— Chicago. The Obamas and their core team of astroturfers, pay-for-play schemers, and powerbrokers hail from the Windy City. This is a simple geographic fact. But in progressive-of-pallor Chris Matthews’ world, it’s an insidious dog whistle. The frothing cable TV host attacked Republicans this week who had the gall to remind voters of the ruthless Chicago way.
“(They keep saying ‘Chicago,’ by the way. Have you noticed?” Matthews sputtered. “That sends that message: This guy’s helping the poor people in the bad neighborhoods and screwing us in the ‘burbs.”
Actually, it’s a pointed reminder that the radical redistribution politics of Chicago-on-the-Potomac have done little to alleviate the suffering of impoverished Americans in violence-plagued, job-hungry inner cities everywhere. Racist!
— Constitution. Fox News contributor Juan Williams, who proudly calls himself a “real reporter,” has apparently added real telepathist to his curriculum vitae. Earlier this year, he read the minds of Republicans and conservatives whom he accuses of deep-seated bigotry when they show any public reverence for our founding principles, documents, and leaders.
“The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any responsibility for the racial content of his message,” Williams wrote. “References to a lack of respect for the ‘Founding Fathers’ and the ‘Constitution’ also make certain ears perk up by demonizing anyone supposedly threatening core ‘old-fashioned American values.’”
The technology does not yet exist to make cars that get 54 miles to the gallon that are no smaller than today’s models. EPA estimated that the retooling to make lighter cars would cost $140 billion for model years 2017 to 2025, following a cost of $51 billion for model years 2012-2016.
Ron Bloom, White House Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy until his resignation in August 2011, told Toyota executives last summer, “Our technical folks think you can get there. It’s the best we can do.”
Prices of new cars will rise. The nonprofit, unaffiliated Center for Automotive Research anticipates an increase of $4,000 to $11,000 between 2008 and 2025. If that occurs, fewer motorists will buy new cars and employment in the auto industry will suffer. As for used cars, their prices will rise too, as new cars are avoided.
As EPA told a Mazda official in July 2011, as documented in the House Committee on Reform and Oversight report, the administration needed to do a final rule before the 2012 presidential elections because the president “wants to secure his legacy.”
The administration negotiated it with a few companies in violation of the law. The technology doesn't exist. The consumers will buy fewer autos in the coming years. Can you spell auto bail out again? Political gain.
This administration has to go.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Paul Ryan: ‘College Graduates Should Not Have to Live Out Their 20s in Their Childhood Bedrooms, Staring Up at Fading Obama Posters’
“President Obama’s version of America is a divided one — pitting us against each other based on our income level, gender, and social status. His policies have failed! We are not better off than we were 4 years ago, and no rhetoric, bumper sticker, or campaign ad can change that.”
Stan Thompson · Top Commenter · California State University, Fresno
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Politicians think of themselves as being bigger and better than the rest of us. This mindset leads them to believe that they know better than we do how to run our lives.
The president and Congress have to decide for us what charities we should support with our money. They need to determine what health-insurance benefits we should buy. What kinds of light bulbs we buy to how our toilets flush, our political leaders are needed to design and micromanage our lives. They know what we should eat and what we should earn. They understand how much an airline should charge for baggage fees and know, down to the last decimal point, what the proper fee for processing a credit-card transaction is.
This is our country today, will it remain the same after Nov. 4th??
HE is running----------and I like Romney less for dragging his wife around the campaign stops. I am sure she gets SOME rest, but with MS---------and cancer, a lot of rest and peace and quiet are absolutely essential. She is a trooper and I wish her nothing but the best----------
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
Does anyone think this movie will have any impact in November?
1773-2009 Mr. Obama, it's not working. You didn't build anything.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
I am just a poor boy, though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises
All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest (hmmmm....mmmm......)
Now the years are rolling by me, they are rockin' even me
I am older than I once was, and younger than I'll be, that's not unusual
No it isn't strange, after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same
After changes we are more or less the same ...
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Back in my Bernstein days, I never really took a large amount of presentation materials to most of my meetings. However, there was one chart that I always printed out and brought with me and I called it “The Most Important Chart in the World.” It still is. The chart I am referring to is the ratio of the Dow Jones Industrial Average: The Gold Price. In a nutshell, charting this ratio demonstrates the “real” return on stocks adjusted for inflation or currency debasement. As we all know, the Zimbabwe stock market essentially went up to infinity during their hyperinflation but did anyone get rich from that? Of course not, the shares were denominated in a currency that was on its way to worthlessness. At the moment, with many U.S. stock indices hitting new post-2008 highs there seems to be a general view that stocks as an asset class will do well in an inflationary environment. As a result, whenever there is actually QE or even the mention of the potential resumption of Fed balance sheet expansion there is a rally in equity prices. In fact, I think the entire investor class in the U.S. has been lulled into a sense of sleep and complacency at the moment. There are two things I want to point out to people when they are considering whether to increase exposure to equities broadly or not.
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists. – Ernest Hemingway
1. Allocation of Portfolios from the BRICS and Europe: When you look at how well U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds have done this year, it becomes pretty clear that investors have shifted massive amounts of bond capital away from the formerly high growing areas of the world (that are now in serious collapse) into those nations perceived as “safe havens.” While Germany doesn’t have its own currency, the U.S. obviously does and given concerns surrounding a Euro breakup and the extreme difficulties in the Chinese and Indian economies, many investors have decided the dollar is the best house in a bad neighborhood, at least temporarily. This has led to a flight to U.S. equities generally, but also specifically into large cap U.S. centric names with dividends. This is THE crowded trade of 2012 and three prime examples are Wal-Mart (WMT, +22% YTD), Target (TGT, +26% YTD), and Home Depot (HD, +36% YTD). If you ask me, this trade is extremely long in the tooth.
2. Strong Performance Concentrated in a Few Stocks: I have hit on this theme many times before, but the key point is that if you weren’t in the right names this year there is a good chance you have underperformed the market significantly. While you can say that this is normally the case, this year has been far more extreme as is evidenced by reports of horrible hedge fund performance this year relative to the benchmarks. Apple (AAPL), of course, is the prime example. This giant now sports a market cap of $623 billion and is up 65% YTD.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
Sunday, August 19, 2012
California Doesn't Exist—It's Now Two States
Driving across California is like going from Mississippi to Massachusetts without crossing a state line. Consider the disconnects:
• California's combined income and sales taxes are among the nation's highest, but the state's deficit is still about $16 billion.
• It's estimated that more than 2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week to flee high taxes and costly regulations, yet California wants to raise taxes even higher.
• Its business climate already ranks near the bottom of most surveys. Its teachers are among the highest paid on average in the nation, but its public school students consistently test near the bottom in math and science.
• Public employees enjoy some of the nation's most generous compensation, but state retirement systems are underfunded by about $300 billion.
• The state's gas taxes — at over 49 cents per gallon — are among the highest in the nation, but its once-unmatched freeways, like the 101 and 99, for long stretches have degenerated into potholed, clogged nightmares.
• The state wishes to borrow billions of dollars to develop high-speed rail, beginning with a little-traveled link between Fresno and Corcoran — a corridor already served by money-losing Amtrak. Apparently, coastal residents like the idea of European high-speed rail — as long as construction doesn't begin in their backyards.
• As gas prices soar, California chooses not to tap millions of barrels of oil and even more natural gas offshore and below ground.
• Home to bankrupt green companies like Solyndra, California has mandated a third of all energy provided by state utilities soon must come from renewable energy sources — largely wind and solar, which now provide about 11% of its electricity and almost none of its transportation fuel.
How to explain the seemingly inexplicable? There is no California. It is a misnomer. There is no such state. Instead there are two radically different cultures and landscapes with little in common, each equally dysfunctional in quite different ways. Apart they are unworldly, together a disaster.
A postmodern coastal corridor runs from San Diego to Berkeley, where the weather is ideal, the gentrified affluent make good money, and values are green and left-wing. This Shangri-La is juxtaposed to a vast impoverished interior, from the southern desert to the northern Central Valley, where life's becoming pre-modern.
Near the coast, blue-chip universities like Cal Tech, Berkeley, Stanford and UCLA in pastoral landscapes train the world's doctors, lawyers, engineers and businesspeople. In the hot interior of blue-collar Sacramento, Turlock, Fresno and Bakersfield, over half the incoming freshman in the California State University system must take remedial math and science.
In postmodern Palo Alto or Santa Monica, a small cottage costs more than $1 million. Two hours from the Bay Area, in pre-modern and now-bankrupt Stockton, a bungalow the same size goes for less than $100,000.
In the interior, joblessness in many areas peaks at over 15%. The theft of copper wire is reaching epidemic proportions. Thousands of the shrinking middle class flee the interior for the coast or nearby no-income-tax states.
To fathom the state's nearly unbelievable statistics, visit the state's hinterlands. As the state population grew by 10 million from the mid-1980s to 2005, its number of Medicaid recipients increased by 7 million. One-third of the nation's welfare recipients now reside in California.
But in the Never-Never Land of Apple, Facebook, Google, Hollywood and the wine country, millions live in an idyllic paradise.
Coastal Californians can afford to worry about the state's trivia — as their legislators seek to outlaw foie gras, shut down irrigation projects to save the 3-inch delta smelt and allow children to have legally recognized multiple parents.
But in the less feel-good interior, crippling regulations curb timber, gas and oil, and farm production. For the most part, the rules are mandated by coastal utopians who have little idea where the gas for their imported cars comes from, or how the redwood is cut for their decks, or who grows the ingredients for their Mediterranean lunches of arugula, olive oil and pasta.
On the coast, it's politically incorrect to talk of illegal immigration.
In the interior, residents see first-hand the bankrupting effects on schools, courts and health care when millions arrive illegally without English-language fluency or a high school diploma — and send back billions of dollars to Mexico and other Latin American countries.
The drive from Fresno to Palo Alto takes three hours, but you might as well be rocketing from Earth to the moon.
So much for the Golden State.
My question is this------------As high as the Medicare SS deduction is (on a % basis), and given that a senior will pay at LEAST $550 for a Medicare premium, and at LEAST $150-$350 for the supplement insurance plan the minimum they can get by with is $700 a month in total.
There is NO WAY for one to buy adequate insurance for $700 a month--------so the rest is covered by the government---------isn't that already a voucher system?
Saturday, August 18, 2012
A parasite found in cats is tampering with people's brains and driving them to suicide, research suggests.
Scientists have shown that men and women infected with a bug that breeds in cats' stomachs and worms into people's brains are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than others.
They say that Toxoplasma gondii may tinker with the delicate chemistry of the brain and screening people for it could help identify those at risk of taking their own lives.
A parasite found in cats is tampering with people's brains and driving them to suicide, research suggests
The parasite, which is carried by many Britons, has a complicated life cycle but can only breed inside cats. The microscopic eggs are passed on in cat faeces, spreading the infection.
Pregnant women are advised not to empty cat litter trays because the parasite can be fatal to unborn babies. The bug can also be picked up from contaminated food.
Around a third of people worldwide carry the parasite, with most catching it by consuming undercooked meat, especially lamb, pork and venison or by ingesting water, soil or anything contaminated by cat faeces.
Scientists looked for evidence of the infection in the blood of 84 men and women, more than half of whom had tried to commit suicide.
The Toxoplasma gondii parasite is only able to reproduce in a cat's gut
Dr Lena Brundin, of Michigan State University, said: 'We found that if you are positive for the parasite, you are seven times more likely to commit suicide.'
She said that the parasite, which has previously been linked to brain cancer, schizophrenia and personality disorders, may inflame the brain or tamper with its chemistry, including levels of the 'feel-good' chemical dopamine.
Those behind the latest study stressed that not everyone who is infected will be suicidal. However, they said if the link is confirmed, screening for the bug could make it easier to determine which mental health patients are at the greatest risk of attempting suicide.
Knowing more about the biology that precedes suicide could also lead to the creation of better anti-depressants.
Dr Brundin said: 'It means we can develop new treatments to prevent suicides and patients can feel hope that maybe we can help them.'
Friday, August 17, 2012
Last week in Egypt, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters terrorized the secular media, several Arabic websites—including Arab News, Al Khabar News, Dostor Watany, and Egypt Now—reported that people were being “crucified.” The relevant excerpt follows in translation:
A Sky News Arabic correspondent in Cairo confirmed that protestors belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others. Likewise, Muslim Brotherhood supporters locked the doors of the media production facilities of 6-October [a major media region in Cairo], where they proceeded to attack several popular journalists.
That there were attacks and violence—both in front of Egypt’s presidential palace and at major media facilities, is well-documented. An August 9 report by El Balad, a widely read Egyptian website, gives the details:
Last Wednesday, August 8, “thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters” attacked 6-October’s media facilities, beat Khaled Salah—chief editor of the privately-owned and secular Youm 7 newspaper—prevented Yusif al-Hassani, an On TV broadcaster, from entering the building, and generally “terrorized the employees.”
El Balad adds that the supporters of Tawfik Okasha, another vocal critic of President Morsi—the one who widely disseminated the graphic video of a Muslim apostate being slaughtered to cries of “Allahu Akbar”—gathered around the presidential palace, only to be surrounded by Brotherhood supporters, who “attacked them with sticks, knives, and Molotov cocktails, crucifying some of them on trees, leading to the deaths of two and the wounding of dozens.”
Far from condemning these terrorists, Al Azhar, Egypt’s most authoritative Islamic institution, has just issued a fatwa calling for more violence and oppression, saying that “fighting participants in anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations planned for 24 August is a religious obligation.”
Most of the aforementioned Arabic sites point out that these attacks are part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign to intimidate and thus censor Egypt’s secular media from exposing the group’s Islamist agenda, which Youm 7, On TV, and Okasha do daily. [Note: the latter's channel was recently shut down, despite Morsi's previous reassurances that "no station or media will be shut down in my era."]
These threats are not new; back in April, an organization called the “Jihad Group to Cleanse the Country” threatened these media with “painful and severe punishments.” Apparently now that Morsi has become master of Egypt, threats are becoming reality, just as promises are being broken.
And the threats are taking their toll. Sky News, which was first to report about the crucifixions, has taken down its original article (though the URL still appears in the address box with the Arabic words “protesters-crucified-in front of-egypt’s-presidential-palace”).
While one may argue that Sky News removed the article because it was found false, one can equally argue that it censored itself for fear that it would be next in the terror campaign against the media.
In reality, there is little reason to doubt this crucifixion story. Militant Muslims crucifying their opponents is a regular feature of the Islamic world—recent cases coming from the Ivory Coast, where two Christian brothers were crucified, similarly by supporters of a Muslim president who ousted a Christian; Indonesia, where Islamic separatists crucified a fellow Muslim for being a military informant; and in Iraq, where Muslim militants crucified Christian children.
Moreover, those alleged to have been crucified in Egypt certainly fit the Koran’s description of who deserves to be crucified. According to Allah, “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this: that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off…” (Koran 5:33).
“Making mischief in the land” is precisely what the secular media is being accused of, by constantly exposing the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist agenda. Even the Jihad Group to Cleanse the Country, which threatens to “liquidate” many secular media, accuses them of “creating chaos to implement the American and Zionist agenda.”
Finally, it is telling that only a few months ago, and for the first time in Egypt’s modern history, an Egyptian MP proposed to institutionalize Sharia’s most draconian punishments—including crucifixion.
In short, under the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the bottle has been uncorked and the Islamic Genie set loose. Expect much worse to come.