(Read more here)
This is another example of the lack of humor that government types exhibit. Have you ever spoken to an I.R.S. agent?
(Read more here)
This is another example of the lack of humor that government types exhibit. Have you ever spoken to an I.R.S. agent?
Holy crap!! The following chart is from the U.S. Chamber of commerce and it carefully details how the Lieberman – Warner climate bill would work. Woe to us if this bill ever gets put to law. This would be just another big and expensive government mandate that promises more than it can deliver. See the
whole report in PDF form here
Yup, that’s right, folks. Step right up!
In order to give blood donors a break from gas prices, the Red Cross is entering all volunteer blood donors, who give blood between June 1, 2008 and June 30, 2008, into a drawing for one of two $750 gas cards.
(Read more here)
Ronald Reagan speaking in a 1975 interview with Reason magazine:
“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals—if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories, The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”
“Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to ensure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think libertarianism and conservatism are traveling the same path.”
Pithy comments on race
by Thomas Sowell:
William F. Buckley’s wife once mentioned in passing, at dinner in her home, that she had been involved for years in working with a school in Harlem. But I never heard her or Bill Buckley ever say that publicly.
Nor do conservatives who were in the civil-rights marches in the south, back when that was dangerous, make that a big deal.
For people on the Left, however, blacks are trophies or mascots, and must therefore be put on display. Nowhere is that more true than in politics.
The problem with being a mascot is that you are a symbol of someone else’s significance or virtue. The actual well-being of a mascot is not the point.
It would do us well in this country to be a little more careful and discerning with some of the policies implemented in order to help minorities. Some of those policies actually hurt and don't help. Sowell, as always, uncovers and exposes some of the inconsistencies still alive and well in our dealings with race. The man is a national treasure.
Global oil prices zoomed up to $135 a barrel this past week. But that doesn't worry Roberto Morales, a 33-year-old Venezuelan businessman. Morales, who drives a compact Volkswagen Gol, still pays only $1.32 to fill up his car with 11 gallons of high-octane gasoline, thanks to
"This is crazy but I'm not complaining," says Morales. "Gasoline here is cheaper than water."
Comment: If countries like
High gas prices have driven a
Watch the video of this report
The future of high gas prices is here, folks! I’m gonna name my little mule Charlene.
Zimbabwe inflation estimated
at more than 1,000,000%
Independent finance houses have said in an assessment that annual inflation rose this month to 1,063,572% based on prices of a basket of basic foodstuffs. As stores opened for business on Wednesday, a small pack of locally produced coffee beans cost just short of Z$1-billion. A decade ago, that sum would have bought 60 new cars.
This is an example of the economic havoc that runaway inflation can inflict.
From The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 62% of voters would prefer fewer government services with lower taxes. Nearly a third (29%) disagrees and would rather have a bigger government with higher taxes. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 62% of voters would prefer fewer government services with lower taxes. Nearly a third (29%) disagrees and would rather have a bigger government with higher taxes. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.
HT: Andrew Roth
A shareholder revolt at ExxonMobil led by the billionaire Rockefeller family has won the support of four significant British institutional investors who will call on Monday for a shakeup in the governance of the world's biggest oil company.
Exxon is facing a rebellion from its investors over its hardline approach to global warming. The firm has refused to follow rival oil companies in committing large-scale capital investment to environmentally friendly technology such as wind and solar power.
Exxon maintains that present green technologies are not financially viable. But critics on Wall Street and in the City fear that the company's reluctance to explore alternative energy will prove to be bad business judgment in the long run as rivals such as BP seek to capture public affection by re-branding themselves as environmentally sensitive enterprises.
Comment: Exxon is going to continually find itself in this sort of pickle with powerful shareholders. It is now very fashionable for corporations to “green” their image in order to sell themselves as being environmentally responsible. Yet, one must ask, is it to Exxon’s benefit to divert an ever larger share of resources to fund environmentally friendly technology, just for branding purposes, as opposed to improving its ability to drill, deliver, and produce petroleum? I know what my greenie friends would say—absolutely. However, since the search for the magical alternative fuel that will replace oil has been going on for 30 years, I seriously doubt that Exxon increasing funds to that end will have an impact except, of course, for making itself look environmentally sensitive. It’s expensive being “green.”
Mark Beverly, an overnight shift supervisor at a SuperAmerica in Roseville, Minn., was fired in March after he jumped on a masked robber who he believed was attacking a fellow employee.
SuperAmerica said he violated company policy when he came to his colleague's aid in the early morning of March 26. So instead of accolades,
Adding insult to injury,
Show a business card or other written document to him and he'll give it a brief stare and tell you the words are meaningless.
t's not for lack of brain power. Streck, 25, said he passed high school math with little problem and he enjoys using computer spreadsheets and building Web sites.
When he drives, he navigates by memory rather than street signs.
But he knows that his future prospects are dim if he can't read instructions on a job application, respond to e-mails or even go through the newspaper want ads.
Comment: This poor fellow was moved along from grade to grade with little help. While the reason that he can’t read is due to dyslexia, the fact that he was able to graduate high school with barely a third grade reading level is baffling and disturbing. Another example of how our tax dollars are wasted away.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Electric cigarette
Inventors have created an electric cigarette which gives a nicotine hit while still managing to avoid the smoking ban.
The small white stick, which looks just like a proper cigarette, contains a chamber that vapourises pure liquid nicotine into a puff of steam.
For good or for ill you have to admit that the free-market allows this sort of creativity.
Gas prices in
Indeed, though the cost of gasoline does matter, other factors, including distance, congestion, carpooling rates and use of public transit also play important roles.
Cha-Ching!! Congratulations my fellow Americans! We get to subsidize big agricultural companies and millionaires for another five years! Woo-hooo!
They passed it with a veto proof majority,
HT: Andrew Roth
THOSE who had won whooped with joy and punched their fists. The disappointed shed tears. Some 5,000 people attended April 17th's
The desperation of these parents is hardly surprising. In one
Despite what United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten tells us about the “failure” of school vouchers and charter schools on
Charlie Rose, desperate parents living in one of the toughest parts of New York City are aching for something better for their children than the usual rhetorical pabulum served up by the Teachers Union. In the interview with Charlie Rose, Ms. Weingarten tells Rose that the voucher program in
Bob Williamson fled a broken home in
Successful businesses often spring from a combination of hard work and dumb luck, and Williamson credits both. Not long after arriving in
The latest data from
Approval of Congress has dipped below 20% for only the fourth time in
Club For Growth:
A vote in favor of the Farm Bill will be a permanent stain on the lawmaker’s record and on the 110th Congress. The bill’s terrible features include:
My Comments: This bill is a high example of the waste and graft that exists in our government. Have you seen any local coverage on your news channels? probably not. BTW, most food and grain producers are doing VERY well right now with commodity prices at all time highs. And the usual excuse that I hear for the high food prices being that "it's because of oil prices," isn't a good enough reason for taxpayers to subsidize these big businesses.
According to a
Gallup poll released today, most Americans are supportive of the “Tax Holiday.” Lifting the federal tax for the summer does nothing for our looming long term energy issues. It may not even alleviate the sting of current gas prices in the short term.
I completely agree with
Cato’s Jerry Taylor that the federal gas tax should be abolished completely. It should be replaced with a carbon tax. Watch the video and let me know what you think.
I couldn’t resist posting this article from the Boston Globe. It’s about an upcoming book by economist Peter Leeson. My first thought after reading this was on F.A. Hayek’s elaboration of ”spontaneous orders”. In the case of pirates, an equitable democratic process arose from what seems to us as a strong environment for anarchy. Here’s a snippet:
The pirates who roamed the seas in the late 17th and early 18th centuries developed a floating civilization that, in terms of political philosophy, was well ahead of its time. The notion of checks and balances, in which each branch of government limits the other's power, emerged in
To Leeson, pirate democracy was an institution born of necessity. In one successful cruise, a pirate could take home what a merchant sailor earned in 50 years. Yet a business enterprise made up of the violent and lawless was clearly problematic: piracy required common action and mutual trust. And pirates couldn't rely on a government to set the rules. Some think that "without government, where would we be?" Leeson says. "But what pirates really show is, no, it's just common sense. You have an incentive to try to create rules to make society get along. And that's just as important to pirates as it is to anybody else."
Much thanks to Café Hayek for turning me on to this topic.
A new generation of nuclear power plants is on the drawing boards in the
Nuclear power is regaining favor as an alternative to other sources of power generation, such as coal-fired plants, which have fallen out of favor because they are major polluters. But the high cost could lead to sharply higher electricity bills for consumers and inevitably re-ignite debate about the nuclear industry's suitability to meet growing energy needs.
Nuclear plants haven't been built in meaningful numbers in the
Comment: Since we have neglected, over the last 25-30 years, to build enough plants to meet our current and future energy needs, it looks like we may have to swallow the bitter pill of paying through the nose. Blame
environmental hysteria and fear mongering
Possible solution: A carbon tax on fossil fuel emitter plants will continue to make nuclear power construction economically viable.
Check out the great post on a similar subject at
The BoBo Files
A House panel to hold energy speculation hearing. Well, thank heavens! I was wondering how long it was going to take our idiot politicians to stand on a soap box and spew mindless partisan rhetoric about gas prices. I can’t wait to watch the hearings on c-span. The last time this topic was “investigated,” it turned out to be a laugh riot for viewers: Senator Barbara “chow chow” Boxer illustrated how talented she is at feigning indignant anger. Priceless.
There will be unmelted snowballs in Hades before this Congress agrees to cut out the pork in the farm bill headed for a vote within the next week, so President Bush should get his veto pen ready. At an estimated cost of at least $285 billion over 10 years, this will be the most expensive and regressive farm bill ever.
Well, I haven’t received mine yet. But it looks like someone started up a
website for people who have received their check and have already done some spending. My favorite one is the guy who went out and bought a sack of marijuana. Ah, our tax dollars at work.
HT: Andrew Roth
From SFGate: Senate Democrats on Wednesday called for a windfall-profits tax on oil companies...The proposal also would impose federal penalties on energy price gouging and calls for stopping oil deliveries into the government's emergency reserve.
The proposed 25 percent profits tax would apply only to windfall oil company earnings above what would be considered reasonable and only if those profits are not reinvested in refinery capacity expansion or renewable energy sources, according to a summary of the proposal.
Comment: In another case of politicians telling the public what it wants to hear, we now have some liberal democrats pushing for an economic experiment that has been tried in the past and failed—the windfalls profit tax. Of course, these skillful sophists are betting that most of the American public has nary any memory of the 1980’s, the last time these taxes on oil companies were tried and were
shown wanting (1980-1987): Windfall profit taxes brought less domestic production and MORE dependence on foreign supplies of oil. This is not what we need right now or in the future--higher gas prices.
Instead of trying to correct popular economic misconceptions, these guys indulge them for political gain at our expense.
CSM: Amnesty International Report released Tuesday alleged that Islamist militants, as well as US-backed Ethiopian and Somali government troops, are committing widespread atrocities against civilians in the capital, Mogadishu. And a recent
Comment: Food riots and anti-American protests are raging through
Hollywood celebrities preach that they have gone green but the truth doesn’t bear that out. While they get to jet around the world and lead a life of convenience and luxury, they try to sell their “greenness” to the great unwashed masses that can nary afford the high cost of being environmentally conscious. Let's face it, the
I paid $32.30 today to fill up at the local Shell station. O.K., my car is a small four cylinder
Unfortunately, Americans are going to have to get used to these high prices. Our lame politicians serve up weak solutions (Sorry, but a “tax holiday” or windfall profit taxes on oil companies will not make gas prices drop and they will certainly not make any difference in the long run) that only pander to susceptible voters. Coupled with our current cultural obsession with everything and anything having to do with the environment, they have pretty much guaranteed pricier gas for decades to come.
We Americans are a strange lot; we want cheap gas for our cars but we shun most offshore oil drilling and refuse to tap resources in desolate landscapes like ANWR (even though less than fifty miles away, there is the major oil facility of Prudhoe Bay): A fitful contradiction that probably drives politicians looking for votes to make stupid suggestions on lowering gas prices and it certainly leads to bad national energy policy.
There’s a part of me that actually welcomes high prices; Gasoline consumers are already starting to cut back on their fuel use. Auto consumers are carefully weighing fuel economy in cars they intend to purchase. Auto manufactures are getting the hint that they need to design and build cars that are more fuel efficient: this is the market magic at work here, folks. Despite all the bellyaching, it is working just as it should.
But what is most worrisome, is that Americans do not seem to understand that for the foreseeable future, energy prices in general are going to be higher than they have in the past and for a far longer period of time. For the last thirty years or so, our country has been committing energy suicide: We have failed to build new petroleum refineries to meet growing demand, new oil and gas pipelines have not been built, and nuclear power has been off the table as a viable source of clean energy for decades. Americans will finally see how expensive it really is to be wholly “green.” As it has been envisioned by those that believe that to severely restrict oil, gas, and nuclear energy production (with enough litigation to bog any sensible progress) will therefore get us to the promised land of magic alternative fuels or the super green infrastructure that will be cheap, clean, produce no carbon emissions, and will cause Greens everywhere to smugly exclaim “I told you so, don’t you feel ashamed now, you idiot?”
Except that the Green economy, as envisioned by individuals like Al Gore, is going to be ferociously expensive. The technology to reduce emissions to the levels that environmentalist’s desire simply is not there or is not politically viable (i.e. nuclear power). So now we are stuck with not enough conventional energy to meet our growing demand and not nearly enough alternative energy too. When the average American starts to fork over a sizable amount of their income to comply with rising energy needs, a backlash may occur and the most likely candidates for a drubbing will be those very same politicians that pushed unrealistic energy goals.
Now don’t misunderstand me on the climate change issue or on pollution in general. I don’t believe that industries, corporations or even individuals should be allowed to pollute without penalty. If I have a business that pumps unhealthful fumes into the air that a city is downwind from and that they may end up breathing, I should at least have to pay a penalty or a recompense for my use/polluting of everyone’s air. If you have read this blog for some time you know that I have always advocated a national carbon tax on polluters and that the carbon tax is far more efficient than a carbon trading scheme. But I digress. What I object to is that most environmental policy has been forged in a climate of hysteria. This has led to some of the policies alluded to above that most likely will fritter away billions in precious investment capital that could have been used to develop efficient technologies of the future. Instead, we are going to have to settle for what we have now as far as an energy infrastructure and hope that energy costs don’t spike as fast or as painfully as filling your car.
With so many needy people on the streets, it is sad to see some bad apples taking advantage of the good will of others. This video is a good example of why giving to charities and homeless shelters are the best way to help the homeless.
HT: Andrew Roth
President Bush’s recent remarks regarding the high cost of food being due to an increased demand in
No Child Left Behind continues to wreak havoc on our educational system.
Click on over to The BoBo Files for a great commentary on this one:
Republican group asks for a permit to counter-protest against Code Pink in
CNNMoney-- Record oil prices netted Exxon Mobil $10.89 billion in the first quarter, sharply higher than a year earlier but short of Wall Street expectations and below what was needed to set a new all-time profit record.
The sheer size of the Exxon profit reported Thursday will still likely attract attention from consumer groups and lawmakers, who have been arguing for higher taxes on oil companies amid soaring gas and oil prices.
The company posted first-quarter net income of $10.89 billion, or $2.03 a share. That's up 17% from the $9.28 billion, or $1.62 a share it earned a year earlier, but it missed analysts' consensus forecast of $2.14.
Revenue hit $116.85 billion, up 34% from a year earlier when sales hit $87.2 billion. The profit was still enough to be the second highest
Prediction: In every single media story today about Exxon, the one key income statement variable that will receive ABSOLUTELY NO ATTENTION is the amount of income taxes paid by Exxon, which was $9.32 billion in the first quarter, according to Exxon.
Following CNN's analysis, Exxon paid $1185 in income taxes every second this quarter, enough to buy 327 gallons of gas.
Bottom Line: Although Exxon's profits in the first quarter didn't set a record, its quarterly income taxes paid of $9.32 billion did set an all-time record. I predict this will go largely unreported.
My Comments: Yes, I know, the oil companies are all evil and they are "gouging" us at the pump. However, that general and popular sentiment is easy populist scapegoating. All of the investigations on price-fixing by the major oil companies over that last several years have turned up nothing. The price at the pump has a lot more to do with our government's lousy energy policy. Notice who on the presidential campaign trail is using this scapegoating tactic to get elected.
The Wall Street Journal:
At a time when parts of the world are facing food riots, Big Agriculture is dealing with a different sort of challenge: huge profits.
The robust profits are emerging against the backdrop of a food crisis some experts say is the worst in three decades.
Comment: As food prices spike and grain companies’ profits soar ever higher, I continue to question the justification for farm subsidies. Most subsidies end up in the hands of large corporations like Archer Daniels Midland. And it must be pointed out that companies like ADM are making out like bandits: Profits for ADM climbed a whopping 42% in its fiscal third quarter. While I am pleased that ADM and other grain producers are having great success in their industries, there should be no doubt that corporations like ADM do not need any extra help from the American taxpayer. Additionally, as much of the world grapples with mounting food prices that have become severe in some developing countries and that has led to rioting, poor farmers from developing countries can not compete on the world market with large corporations that receive subsidies in rich countries. Our government constantly harps about how developing countries should liberalize their trade, yet our subsidy policy makes their attempt at a decent livelihood far more difficult and discouraging. This is all an example of how crony-capitalism makes matters worse for everybody.
School vouchers in D.C. are going to get a long look on Capital Hill this week. I have a funny feeling that this program will not get the funding it needs to continue.
Support for Republican Party falls; no surprise except that somehow the presidential race remains tight.
Exxon Mobil profit up 17%; How long before we see a politician ranting about “obscene” profits?