Thursday, August 27, 2009

SAR #9239

I'm hearing music from another time.

Democracy, Meaning of: Rep Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) “this is a democracy, and I think the voice of the people have [sic] been heard quite loudly.” Yes, House, Democrats 256, Republicans 178; Senate, 57 Democrats, 40 Republicans; White House; 1 Democrat , 0 Republican. Americans in favor of healthcare reform, 70+%. The voice seems to have been pretty clear.

What He Said: “Now Ted Kennedy is being remembered as a great man. The thing is, he didn't change – he always was.”

Cart, Horse? In past global slowdowns, the United States invariably led the way out, followed by Europe and the rest of the world. But now the catalyst is coming from China and the rest of Asia, where resurgent economies are helping the still-shaky West recover from the deepest recession since World War II.

Report Card: Nearly one third of US banks have already reached the failure point in one or more key facets of their operations.

It's All Over, Except: The recession is all over except for the stillborn housing market, increasing negative equity, collapsing commercial real estate, excessive household debt, increasing bank failures, falling personal income, dormant consumer spending, and oh, the shouting. There'll be lots more shouting.

Whose Ox? The destruction of the world's forest is contributing far less carbon to global climate change than is generally claimed. Or so claims Brazil, which is busy burning down the Amazon.

FDR Was Wrong: It is not only fear itself, but the idiots at TSA. How much longer will the traveling public pretend to believe the story about monsters under the bed? Or, in this case, in the seat-back pockets? Why do we have this Ministry of Fear?

Strange Fruit: There's a recovery going on – in the US, Europe, China – a world wide recovery, except. Except Japan's exports have fallen for 10 straight months. Except China's exports are over 20% down from last year. Except the Baltic Dry Index – a measure of how much stuff is getting shipped in this recovering environment is down 35% from last years low figure.

Feeding Time: Remember how JP Morgan, Countrywide, et al. made all that money palming sub-prime mortgages off as AAA investments and brought on the credit mess? Now the taxpayers are going to give them $21 billion more – supposedly to help out those now in trouble with their loans – the ones JP Morgan etc. were so proud of. More rewards for the guilty.

New House News: The number of new houses sold was up about 10% in July, m/m, while prices were down 10% y/y. How the $8,000 first-timer gift affected sales and prices is unknown. Quite possibly it increased not only the number of sales, but the prices, too.

Petri Dish Economics: By 2030 the population will increase 30%, demand for food will increase at lest 30% and more likely 50% if incomes rise, demand for water will increase by 30%, and the demand for energy will increase 50%. What happens when the 2 billion newbies find out that demands don't necessarily elicit supply? Better question: How many people will the planet actually be able to feed, water and provide for in 2030. Bonus question: How do we lower the population that much that fast?

Straight Line: Move up. Get a $50 to $200 rebate to help pay for that new fridge, freezer. The idea is to get the old inefficient ones off the grid and replace them with Energy Star stars. Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper just to rule that any appliance that doesn't get the equivalent of 32 mpg can't be sold? Or is this about selling appliances, not saving energy?


Anonymous said...

Straight Line:

Should have been titled "Ask and Answered"


TulsaTime said...

Petri Dish:

Like any colony of bacteria, growth continues until resources are gone or the toxins kill it off. It does not seem as though we are any different, since no bidy can tell the world to stop breeding!


K Ackermann said...

Ted Kennedy had a habit most people don't know about: he used to help pay the heating bills for elderly poor people in the winter.

He probably got sick of it, and that's why he created the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

I can't point to anything to substantiate that. I just remember Tip O'Neill telling my grandfather about it at a family function.

Growing up in Mass, politics ruled, and was very contentious, but it was so in an honest way. The straw men were so-and-so is a bum, not such-and-such will kill you, or we need to get rid of (some hated group of people).

I have a much tougher time arguing politics here out west because too often the opposing viewpoint does not start in reality. It's too much effort to dispell 100 things first.

Bill said...

Democracy, Meaning of: Fouad Ajami recently wrote the following, which is spot on:

American democracy has never been democracy by plebiscite, a process by which a leader is anointed, then the populace steps out of the way, and the anointed one puts his political program in place. In the American tradition, the "mandate of heaven" is gained and lost every day and people talk back to their leaders. They are not held in thrall by them. The leaders are not infallible or a breed apart. That way is the Third World way, the way it plays out in Arab and Latin American politics.

Those protesters in those town-hall meetings have served notice that Mr. Obama’s charismatic moment has passed. Once again, the belief in that American exception that set this nation apart from other lands is re-emerging. Health care is the tip of the iceberg. Beneath it is an unease with the way the verdict of the 2008 election was read by those who prevailed. It shall be seen whether the man swept into office in the moment of national panic will adjust to the nation’s recovery of its self-confidence.

Regarding Kennedy, I agree with Andrew Klavan's observation:

Fifty years in office – or 47 plus, I think it was – but in any case, longer than the longest-serving tyrant-for-life in the worst third world dirt puddle you can think of. Whose fault is that? Ours, of course. We the people allowed the courts to give his homicide a pass – he got a two month suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident. We voted him back into office again and again, knowing what he was. Blame Massachusetts alone if you want to, but we, all of us, have failed to demand the term limits and the end to gerrymandering that would keep our representatives from devolving into entrenched toadies of special interests and unscrupulous slaves of their own ideologies. We have failed to demand the reforms that would keep our republic vital and true to its ideals. We get the leaders we deserve and God help us.

What we need is a constitutional amendment that (i) institutes Congressional term limits (I like 12 years), and (ii) separates corporations and their money from the state.

Petri Dish Economics: Go to YouTube and search for "The Most IMPORTANT Video You'll Ever See." It starts slow, but it's outstanding.

K Ackermann said...

Kennedy wasn't a todie for special interest groups.

That's right, he killed Mary Jo, he never denied that. Did he call the cops right away? No. Did he call her parents right away? Yes. Was he given special treatment? Probably. It's not like he killed her on purpose.

I would be less forgiving if he hadn't had such a remarkable career in public service. He was one of the rare few who understood his roll was to serve the people.

Here is a list of the current bills he authored this last term. Other than the dedication bills (which they all have), right down the line his bills deal with improving education, health, and civil rights.

Just about every other senator has bills looking for exemptions, or steer money to specific companies and narrow sectors.

Kennedy has atoned. If he hasn't, God will fix it now.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Amen. We owe a debt of gratitude to the people of Massachusetts for electing him 8 times.

Bill said...

Interesting rear-view mirror logic: withhold judgment on politicians (especially those with money, influence and connections) until they die on the remote chance that they may redeem themselves.

Allow them all to serve indefinitely no matter what as long as they are able to get reelected, and reward the longest serving members with extra influence over the entire country by basing committee chairs on seniority.

Here's a newsflash: no one is irreplaceable. I find it hard to believe that anyone who is critical of the political class doesn't believe that career politicians are at the root of the problem.

Anonymous said...

I bet if you were Mary Jo's father you might have a different opinion of the man.

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.
George Orwell

K Ackermann said...

I bet if you were Mary Jo's father you might have a different opinion of the man.

That may be, even though her parent have publically forgiven him.

We could say the same about Mary Jo herself. Many republicans would have hated her. She was a liberal's liberal and cared deeply for all people.

K Ackermann said...

Don't forget also, TK voted against the war. There is a lot of blood on all their hands. The difference is, Kennedy's was an accident.

Fred said...

When Health care reform can be PAID for with spending cuts in other areas by an EQUIVALENT AMOUNT, then and only then does it make sense. The country is broke dude.

Oh and dont forget that the logistics of this 'reform' will work out just like Medicares failure: poor service, low reimbursements to Drs, Drs not taking medicare patients due to low reimbursements and hassle.
Anything the Federal govt does, it does poorly and at 100 times the cost of the private sector. No im not a repugnican.

Sadly the people will find this out only after the fact, and after folks die like flies from delayed care, as they do in Canada, UK and other socialist nirvana heavens.

K Ackermann said...

Fred, I'm guessing you are on the West coast (maybe down south?)

You bring up a great point I was trying to make earlier about having to start political conversations so far out from reality that it makes it difficult to even go there.

Do you really think people would tolerate dying like flies because of delayed care? In France, they burn their government to the ground when it doesn't do what the people want.

On what planet would someone say, "Gosh, it's too bad my kid is going to die. I just know they could save him if only they worked a little faster. Oh well, maybe the next one will survive."

It's the same with the "Death Panels". What American would put up with the government putting grandma to sleep?

People are using you.