Saturday, May 31, 2008

Entrepreneur Milt Kuolt Founder of Horizon Air passes | Northwest News and Weather

A great entrepreneur of the Pacific NW just died, Milt Kuolt. | Northwest News and Weather:
Horizon Air founder Milton G. Kuolt died Friday of lung complications at Swedish Medical Center. Kuolt, 79, founded Horizon Air and then sold it to Alaska Air. The entrepreneur also developed Thousand Trails, a chain of private membership campgrounds. His family says Kuolt began his career sweeping floors as a janitor for the Boeing Company and progressed to planning manager for the 737
Clear, isn't it? He started at Boeing sweeping floors and became a planning manager. Then he left and started two successful (one for a limited time) companies from scratch. Seattle Times
In his many roles at different companies, Mr. Kuolt was known for his formidable work ethic, his sense of humor and his unflappable allegiance to all of his employees, regardless of their rank. "Milt didn't care if you were a baggage handler or in the boardroom. He was concerned about everybody on his team," said Bill Endicott, who worked for Mr. Kuolt at Thousand Trails and Horizon, and later wrote "Remember the Magic: The Story of Horizon Air." According to one of the stories in Endicott's book, Mr. Kuolt once overheard a man being rude to one of his employees at the ticket counter. "He leaned over and told him he wasn't welcome to fly on Horizon Air anymore," Endicott said. "Milt said, 'Nobody treats my employees like that. I don't care if you have to ride to Sun Valley on a horse!' " Dee Dee Maul, one of the original team members at Horizon, said Mr. Kuolt made a concerted effort to treat everyone who worked for him with equal respect and camaraderie. "If something needed to be done, he'd do it. He'd help out behind the counter. He'd sling bags. Everyone loved him for it," she said. ☞

Friday, May 30, 2008

China acquiring overseas land for food

The dictators can't refocus their thinking. The leaders of China think China must own all its food production - to be self-sufficient. But food is a set of commodities that are traded internationally. It is a question of prices - supply and demand - not self sufficiency! Oh, but it's a question of security. Not! You pays the prices and you gets the goods. Any economics sophomore can teach the Great Leader of a billion people this humble lesson. / Asia-Pacific / China - China eyes overseas land in food push :
Chinese companies will be encouraged to buy farmland abroad, particularly in Africa and South America, to help guarantee food security under a plan being considered by Beijing. A proposal drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture would make supporting offshore land acquisition by domestic agricultural companies a central government policy. Beijing already has similar policies to boost offshore investment by state-owned banks, manufacturers and oil companies, but offshore agricultural investment has so far been limited to a few small projects. If approved, the plan could face intense opposition abroad given surging global food prices and deforestation fears. However an official close to the deliberations said it was likely to be adopted. “There should be no problem for this policy to be approved. The problem might come from foreign governments who are unwilling to give up large areas of land,” the official said. The move comes as oil-rich but food-poor countries in the Middle East and north Africa explore similar options. Libya is talking with Ukraine about growing wheat in the former Soviet republic...
Oh, yes. There might be a problem with countries not wanting to give up large areas of land to dragon China, which is building up its military. Just a question of sovereignty. Might be. But the dragon is no threat when buying on the open market. Via Thomas PM Barnett

Thursday, May 29, 2008

No recession here - Growth of 0.9% in First Quarter

This is not a recession. It's poor growth, but it is growth. A recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Both the 4th quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 had economic growth. Are the networks praising President Bush for his excellent track record? GDP Grew More Than First Thought, Increasing 0.9% in First Quarter -
The U.S. economy was stronger than first thought because of a better trade balance and stronger business spending. Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted 0.9% annual rate January through March, the Commerce Department said in the second estimate of first-quarter GDP. Originally, in a report a month ago, Commerce said GDP increased 0.6% in the first quarter -- the same, anemic rate of growth achieved in the fourth quarter.
The official source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chocolate is good for everyone

Even diabetics, at least type 2s. Enriched Cocoa Improves Blood Flow in Diabetics - Yahoo! News:
All the talk about chocolate being good for your health is starting to get serious. Mars Inc., of chocolate bar fame, has established a scientific division. And a group of researchers, some in Germany, others with the new Mars division known as Symbioscience, has just published a report showing that an enriched hot cocoa beverage can improve blood flow in people with type 2 diabetes. "The study is the first of its kind in terms of its rigor, as well as the population studied," said Harold Schmitz, chief science officer of Mars. "Diabetics treated as well as they could be treated with pharmaceutical intervention did see, on average, a 30 percent improvement in vascular function." .... "The bottom line is that diabetics who have a poor vascular system can benefit from something that gives pleasure at the same time it helps health. Cocoa increases the amount of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals."
OK, I stretched it with "everyone." But something sweet being good for diabetics caught my attention. As did the Mars laboratory. More about dark chocolate at University of Michigan Integrative Medicine.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

J.R. Simplot, entrepreneur supreme

A great business leader of the West passed on. J.R. Simplot, potato and computer chip king, dies - Yahoo! News: The quintessential Idaho farmer increasingly dominated the state's business and political landscape for 70 years, and the company that bears his name remains a powerful force today — in Idaho and beyond. Simplot and his family were ranked at No. 80 on Forbes magazine's 2006 list of richest Americans, with an estimated wealth of $3.2 billion. His businesses, still family owned, manufacture agriculture, horticulture and turf fertilizers; animal feed and seeds; food products such as fruits, potatoes and other vegetables; and industrial chemicals and irrigation products. In 1980, at age 71, Simplot took a gamble on the next generation of businessmen, giving Ward and Joe Parkinson $1 million for 40 percent of what would become computer chip maker Micron Technology Inc. Over the years, he pumped in $20 million more to help Micron build its first manufacturing plant and to stay afloat. Micron went on to become a major producer of DRAM memory chips, which are used to store information in personal computers. ... n 1923, he left home at age 14 with four $20 gold coins given to him by his mother. He paid $1 a day for room and board at Declo's only hotel. As a shrewd young businessman, Simplot bought interest-bearing scrip paid to teachers who were also boarding there for 50 cents on the dollar. He used it as for collateral on a bank loan to buy 600 hogs at $1 each. He spent the winter shooting wild horses, selling the hides and boiling the meat with potato scraps to feed the hogs. When pork prices jumped the next year, he brought some rare fat hogs to market for a whopping $7,500. That was Simplot's stake for the potato business. He leased land and from an early partner learned to plant certified seed, not cull potatoes as was common then. Idaho's dominance in potatoes grew with the innovation. Simplot bought an early electric potato sorter and by 1940 had bought or built 33 potato warehouses along the rich Snake River plains from Idaho Falls to Vale, Ore. A chance encounter with a Chicago businessman led Simplot into the onion-drying business in Caldwell in 1941. He made $500,000 the first year and soon was supplying much of the dried potatoes and vegetables consumed by U.S. troops during World War II. The headstrong young man then started buying ranches, cattle and timberland. Taking notice of the wartime shortage of fertilizer, he bought phosphate reserves and built a fertilizer production plant at Pocatello. After the war, his food production business expanded into freezing and canning, developing the product that would become the company's mainstay: the frozen french fry. Simplot struck a deal with McDonald's Corp. founder Ray Kroc, and his fry business grew with Americans' love for fast food.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Broken pelvis

Yes, me. Bicycle riding home, I was descending a steep hill in the rain - 3 blocks from Bill Gates' now former office. I have ridden the route many times before. But, despite the intent and attempt to control my speed, my front wheel slipped. Wheel right. Ron down on left hip. Severe broken pelvis.
I am very fortunate that at bicycle speed my other injuries were limited to road rash and a minor bump on the noggin and broken helmet. But my break is severe - about the worst pelvis fracture. Evergreen Hospital sent me to the trauma center at Harborview Hospital in Seattle. 5-hour surgery. Oxycodone for pain. Avoid it! Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC
Fractures of the acetabulum are harder to treat because access to this bone is more difficult, and because of the acetabulum's proximity to the major blood vessels to the legs, the sciatic nerve (the major nerve that arises from the lower spine and provides sensation and movement to the leg and foot), the intestines, the ureter and the bladder. Unlike a hip fracture, which can be treated relatively easily, to repair an acetabular fracture, the orthopaedic surgeon, must, in essence, fix the broken bones from the inside out.
I will not be able to put weight on my left foot for 6 to 8 weeks. Weeks! No weight on my left foot! Walker and wheelchair first, then crutches. Update - July 3, 2008 Six weeks have passed and I am still weeks away from putting ANY weight on my left foot. Healing of this type of injury is so slow that they don't even take an Xray for 6 weeks after surgery. I passed the first milestone - I got to start the real physical therapy last week. (PT came to our home to help us figure out how to take a shower safely and other in-home needs.) But I am still weeks away from putting any weight on it. I was so weak that I used a walker at first. Imagine using a walker as crutches. I had to carry my full 195 on my hands. And on the worst spot, where there is no padding at all. For two weeks I bragged that the standard folding walker is great engineering - strong and light. Then I started complaining that it is woefully inadequate. Why doesn't anyone make a model for this need? Obvious: A million people use a walker as a super cane - to avoid falling. But a tiny number use it as crutches carrying full weight; there is not the market to support the model I needed. I was at Harborview for 6 days, housebound for one week. Then getting out, but not driving for 4 weeks. Now I can drive, but my energy is so low that I have to plan 30 to 60 minutes rest before any outing. And I am limited to about 2 hours on any outing. Everyone thinks that I tricked Boeing out of 2 plus months off with 80% pay. I am so weak that what I do in a day any healthy person can do after working 8 hours! I expect to return to work the second week of August, which is after 12 weeks. First, I will see how far I can carry grandson Benjamin while on crutches. Just kidding! Update - August 9, 2008 I might have been the only person at Whistler on crutches, but all the other people with broken pelvises missed a great 12 days. 9 days with daughter, SIL and 4-year-old and 20-month-old. 4 days with younger daughter. 8 with son. Whistler is filled with active people: active people have accidents, so I spoke to a couple people with pelvis or hip breaks and lots who were on crutches for months. A few construction accidents, but mostly sports. I started weight bearing July 24 after 10 weeks: one week 25% - a start; one week 50% - little better; now at 75% - a big improvement. I can use one crutch and put very little weight on it. A quantum improvement. I couldn't walk far while there. Twice I pushed myself - like walking 3/4 mile - and had to cut back a bit. It was not easy, but sure beat sitting at home talking to our dog. My energy level is still low, but I have to start working next week as much as I can. Probably 40% at first. The MS society has a bike ride September 13-14. No, it looks like a couple of months after that.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How Greenspan Went Wrong--and How to Make It Right -

Alan Greenspan allowed the overheating of the housing market. He wanted to help the economy, so he lowered interest rates again and again. This induces inflation and pushed the US dollar lower. Bernake followed the weak dollar push and allowed the price of oil to climb to the stratosphere. Steve Forbes sums it up: Greenspan wasn't satisfied with his powerful job; he played God. How It Went Wrong--and How to Make It Right -
The chief rap against Greenspan is that he loosened money too much after the high-tech bubble burst in 2000--01 and kept it loose even when the economy began to recover vigorously in 2003. The former chairman has also been criticized for the Fed's failure to crack down on growing abuses in the mortgage lending market. ... This is a misbegotten view of what central banking's main mission should be. The Federal Reserve should have two key tasks--and only two: preserving the integrity of the dollar and dealing vigorously with financial panics to limit unnecessary damage. Greenspan's woes came about precisely because he lost sight of the Fed's prime job: ensuring a stable dollar. In the late 1990s Greenspan inadvertently tightened up. The most sensitive barometer of market mistakes is gold. During that time the yellow metal plunged to a low of $250 an ounce. Other commodities crashed, with oil dropping to nearly $10 a barrel. For a time the dollar became too dear, which contributed to the 2000--01 recession. When it became clear--just before George W. Bush was sworn in as President on Jan. 20, 2001--that the economy was skidding, Greenspan realized his mistake and started to reverse gears. But he stayed too easy, even when the economy was back on track. In 2004 gold began to surge well above its 12-year average, and oil began its long, rapid ascent, as did all other commodities. The dollar weakened not only against gold but also against other currencies, such as the yen, the Swiss franc and the pound. With money easy, the already buoyant U.S. housing market began to go berserk as lending standards started to decline precipitously.
See also: Greenspan's Bubbles: The Age of Ignorance at the Federal Reserve, by William A. Fleckenstein with Frederick Sheehan. Other sources: Robert Campbell; Inside Mortgage Finance.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Burma/Myanmar government refuses aid workers

The government of Burma only cares about its control of its country. It is refusing workers who bring aid and has confiscated aid brought to the country. UN halts aid to Myanmar after junta seizes supplies: YANGON, Myanmar (AP)—The United Nations blasted Myanmar's military government Friday, saying its refusal to let in foreign aid workers to help victims of a devastating cyclone was "unprecedented" in the history of humanitarian work. While the junta dithered and appeared overwhelmed by last Saturday's disaster, more than 1 million homeless people waited for food, shelter and medicine. Many crammed into Buddhist monasteries or just camped out in the open. Entire villages were submerged in the worst-hit Irrawaddy delta, with bodies floating in salty water and children ripped from their parents' arms. At least 62,000 people are dead or missing, state media reported, and aid groups warned that thousands of children may have been orphaned and the area is on the verge of a medical disaster. ... "Believe me the government will not allow outsiders to go into the devastated area. The government only cares about its own stability. They don't care about the plight of the people," said Yangon food shop owner Joseph Kyaw, one of many residents angry at the regime for doing little to help them recover from the storm's destruction.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Great Radio - Rush channeling Clinton - Put yourself in my shoes

Rush channeled what poor Bill Clinton is thinking in a monologue today. It is the King at his best. It is so good that competitor talk-show host Hugh Hewitt played it today. You can read it at the link, but to listen to the audio requires a paid subscription to Rush's web site. What Bill Clinton Was Thinking : RUSH: I received an e-mail, ladies and gentlemen, during the break. "Rush, your monologue to women in the last hour was funny as hell. It was very brilliant. But I think you're misunderstanding Bill Clinton standing behind his wife frowning and looking bored. Could you try to look at it from his perspective?" And that's all the e-mail said. So I got to thinking about that: What would Bill Clinton say if he'd heard my monologue to women? Because that e-mail got me to thinking. It might go something like this: (doing extended Clinton impression) "Hey? Hey, Limbaugh! I heard that monologue that you did to women, talking about me sitting back there looking all depressed and down in the dumps, like I had sunburn and so forth. Come on, Rush! You're a guy. You gotta look at it from my perspective. Where did I come from? I came from the swamps. I came from nothing. I mean, I came from poor people. Nothing, nothing. Arkansas, Limbaugh, I came from -- and I rose up. I rose up to become president of the U-nited States of America. I did. I overcame obstacles like you can't believe. "'She stood by her man,' everybody is saying, because she stood by me. What about me? You think I didn't stand by her? How many guys -- you included, Limbaugh -- how many of you ditched your first wives? How many of you guys ditched your second wives? You know my wife sounds just like your first wife and second wife probably put together, but I -- I -- stuck in there. And look what's happened to me? I presided over one of the greatest periods of prosperity and peace the world has known! I got my daughter out there. My daughter! My daughter is saying my wife will be a better president than I could be, and I can't say anything about that, Limbaugh. I can't say anything about it. My daughter is out there disrespecting me, and I gotta sit there and smile? You want me to smile standing behind those two? You want me to stand there behind a loser who couldn't run a smart campaign if her life depended on it? "She had no plan after February 5th, Limbaugh! Do you understand that? She thought she was going to have to it wrapped up by February 5th. She had no plan! That's why she's in this sit'ation. I'm supposed to stand back there and I'm supposed to smile.? Look at me! I've lost all my black friends. I was 'the first black president.' I have to sit here and I have to listen as this rookie out of Chicago gets to be the first black president. Everybody knows I was. This guy is the biggest lightweight I have run into. I'm called a racist! I was the first black president. I had Maya Angelou do that poem, 'A River, A Rock, A Tree,' at my inauguration; and now Oprah is running around throwing birthday parties with Maya Angelou and not inviting me. My God, Limbaugh, you have no clue what this is like! I'm supposed to sit there and listen to my daughter insult me by saying my presidency would be nothing compared to my wife's? I'm supposed to stand behind her, and I'm supposed to look happy? "Here's another thing, Limbaugh. I bet you haven't thought of this. There have been 43 presidents of the United States. Forty-three. And I, I'm the first damn one of them whose wife wanted the damn job, too; and I gotta sit there and act like, 'Whoa, that's great, honey! What can I do to help you?' This woman has been trying to take over every day of my life! Everything I've done she tried to take over. She's held everything that every other husband does over my head and demanded payback for it. I'm supposed... I get shipped out into the dregs of North Carolina! You saw me. They had me in the back porches in the sticks talking to 20 people at a time. I'm supposed to help her win North Carolina? All this time I'm being called a racist. You know how humiliating it was, Limbaugh? You commented on this. I know you know. I was dispatched to someplace called Whiteville, North Carolina, in the midst of this campaign -- and my wife doesn't even have the courage. "She may thank me up there, but she doesn't talk about how great I am. She praises her mother; she praises Chelsea. You saw that picture Drudge had up on his site of Chelsea. She can't draw a crowd. What did she have, 20 people there? I can outdraw my daughter any time, but I am the one...that's getting all the grief here? And you expect me...? I mean, I've done more for women -- I've done more women -- than Hillary could ever think of doing; and I'm supposed to sit there and act happy? I swear! People have lost their ability to understand how tough it has been for me. All that scandal stuff that wrecked my presidency, what was it? You think that was my fault? That scandal stuff, you think that was my fault? Hillary's billing records show up on my watch in the White House in the Map Room, and that somehow is my fault? Hillary wants to fire everybody in the travel office. Hell, I don't know what's going on in there! "I'm president. I haven't got time for that kind of mundane stuff. She's firing everybody in the travel office. Real estate deals? She was always so obsessed with money, Limbaugh, you can't believe it. That Whitewater deal? She messed around with the McDougals. All that was about getting rich quick -- and I let her have health care. I let her do whatever she wanted with health care, and she botched it; and she's the reason that we lost the House in 1994! It wasn't me. And I'm supposed stand behind her and act like I'm happy I'm standing behind a loser? You can sit here and you can talk to these women all you want. Let me give you my perspective on this, Limbaugh. You're me. You're president of the United States, surrounded by all kinds of women -- women of great passion. So on one hand I got women of great passion; on the other hand my wife. What would you do? Now, you know, guys out there understand what I'm going through. They understand what I'm talking about. "But I really resented that monologue you did talking about how all these liberal guys are cheating on Hillary. It's up to her to do something on her own for once, isn't it? Limbaugh, do you know how embarrassing it is for me to understand that you did more for her in this campaign than I could do? That bothers me more than you will ever know. If they'd have let me have my way I could have taken Obama out of this in the first week; I could have done it even before Jeremiah Wright showed up. Certainly after Jeremiah Wright showed up I could have handled this. But noooo, no! They didn't want me anywhere near it. Ickes, Wolfson, all these people -- people I kicked out of my administration -- are a bunch of hacks. This is the thanks I get. If it hadn't been for me being elected president, my wife... If it weren't for my last name that she has, she wouldn't be known by anybody in this country, and I gotta sit here and you tell me I'm supposed to be happy standing behind a lo-ser? "Now, where in the hell were we last night? We've been traveling so much, I don't even know. (sigh) These women out there, they used to have me in their dreams. You remember all those stories about the power is "crackling in my jeans"? You remember all that? And now I've become a joke! I'm a laughingstock. And now you even out there. You tell people I hit on your date. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Hit on your date in the Kobe Club in New York. Ha-ha, you wish Limbaugh you wish you dated somebody I cared enough about to be able to do that. These women, they're mad, and they're bitter. They used to love me! They used to love me. They used to crave me. They used to crave about me. They used to promise me that they would give Lewinskys in exchange for keeping abortion legal, and now they want to abort me. You put yourself in my shoes."

Jerry Yang's Foolish "Victory" at Yahoo

Yahoo's rejection of the bid by Microsoft to buy it for $45 billion is the dumbest business deal of this year. Jerry Yang was said to have won by rejecting Microsoft. He lost. He cannot make his company have the value that Microsoft was offering - 62% premium on its market value. He was ahead 62%; he had won already. But he chose defeat instead. Holman Jenkins describes the mess: Business World -
Congratulations to Steve Ballmer. Not many CEOs would have the nerve – humility, cold-bloodedness, whatever – to float a gotta-have takeover offer, then back away over the difference between $33 and $37 a share. Not many CEOs would have been willing nakedly to advertise strategic vulnerability and faulty execution vis-a-vis a rival like Google, then fail to consummate the deal marketed to investors as the remedy for that vulnerability and faulty execution. Even more so because of Mr. Ballmer's Murdochian approach: He came at Yahoo with a rich 62% premium designed to foreclose a rival suitor and confront the Yahoo board with a choice of accepting Microsoft's terms or serving up a big ugly stock price drop to Yahoo's suffering shareholders. By laying such a dramatic premium on the table, he also sent a message to his own Microsoft shareholders that said: "This is the only way I see forward." But Mr. Ballmer didn't count on Jerry Yang, whose idea of what his company was worth became inflated by the perception that Microsoft needed it so much. When Mr. Yang said Microsoft's offer "undervalued" Yahoo, he meant it underestimated Yahoo's value to Microsoft, not to anybody else.
Read on at the original. And Fake Steve Jobs does it with drama.
Says here that Jerry Yang is facing a shareholder rebellion and possible lawsuits for failing to make a deal with the Borg. Money quote: "Disillusioned shareholders are bound to question whether the rejection of Microsoft's sweetened offer was driven more by emotion and ego than sound business sense." Um, yes they are. And for good reason. FWIW, Jerry called me last night. Crying. He'd been on the phone getting screamed at by Wall Street people. And by Yahoo employees who apparently are being really abusive. In men's rooms all over the Yahoo campus a nasty new drawing is popping up, depicting Jerry Yang with his tongue hanging out, his legs pulled up and both thumbs firmly positioned in his ass. Jerry's like, Steve, dude, I know I can turn this company around. I just need a little more time. I've got it all mapped out. First we'll do another 100-day review period to review our operations and re-review the review we did a few months ago; then we'll have a 100-day listening period; then a 100-day period to digest what we've heard when we're listening and incorporate that data into the data we gathered during our review; then a 100-day period to develop a new strategy; then a 100-day period to explain the new strategy to employees; then a 100-day period to reorg the company and start rolling out the foundations of the new strategy to maximize shareholder value and pursue ways to better leverage our opportunities in the still very young online advertising market where we continue to believe we are well-positioned with a unique strategy; then a 100-day period to finish the reorg and roll out the second half of the new strategy. I mean it's pretty simple stuff." I'm like, Jerry, dude, I'm not very good at math and to be honest I kind of lost track of what you were saying because I put down the phone at one point so I could check myself out in the mirror, but I think that plan is going to take something like fifteen years, isn't it?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hypocrisy Alert - If gas guzzlers are so evil, why does Obama keep - Update riding in them?

If gas guzzlers are so evil, why does Obama keep riding in them? Michelle Malkin
There he goes again. Barack Obama is lambasting Detroit’s Big 3 automakers again for manufacturing SUVs. He attacked the car companies over the weekend for making the “mistake” of investing in SUVs and large trucks instead of producing more fuel-efficient vehicles. Obama also bragged about his Big 3- bashing speech a year ago that delivered “the kind of truth-telling we need from the next president.” A truth-telling reminder of the gas-guzzling car Obama himself was driving before eco-hypocrisy caught up with him: His own car: Chrysler 300C Output: 340 hp, 390 lb-ft EPA fuel economy, city/highway: 17/25 (17/24 AWD) His fancy wheels got less than the standard 27 mpg that he now whines is too low. After his do-as-i-say-ism was exposed, he traded in his beast for a Ford Escape Hybrid. But on the campaign trail, to this day, it’s still the bigger the better. [photo of Him getting into a shiny black monster SUV] Obama’s eco-hypocrisy emission standard: High.


The London Daily Mail documents many more eco-hypocrites: - John Travolts owns 5 jets. - Sting travels with a retinue of 750 people. - Chris Martin of Coldplay brags about low-impact tours. But he flies home and back multiple times during one "tour." - Leonardo DiCaprio the Learjet liberal, flies "as much as possible on commercial," which is infrequently. - Brad and Angelina criss-cross the country in their private jets. - Barbra Streisand tells us to cut down on laundry. She flies on private jets. - Madonna is really trying. Her carbon footprint is 100 times the average Brit. - Prince Charles brought 14 people with him when he traveled to the US to accept an environmental award. And his sons travel the UK in military Chinook helicopters.

Taxes to slow the economy - Worked for Pres. Jimmy

It failed before; it retired President Jimmy. So let's try it again. If you want to cause less of something you tax it to death. Do we want to kill oil - exploration, production, transportation, retailing? Then tax it. Amity Shales tells us the problems with the "windfall profits tax" on big, bad oil companies. Bloomberg
Not Much Revenue The first is that such taxes tend to yield disappointing revenue. Back in 1980, lawmakers were riled over the news of Arab Light hitting $36 a barrel, up from just $14 in 1978. Congress, the world's worst economic forecaster, began to envision an endless increase in the price of oil and an endless gusher of revenue. Lawmakers imposed a levy of as much as 70 percent based on a per-barrel increase over a designated base price. Carter wasn't necessarily comfortable with the recent ending of price controls. And he knew that Mobil Oil Corp. and other oil companies were excited about future discoveries. Now he consoled himself with the thought that this windfall tax would take the profit of such discoveries from such irritating petrocrats. Of course, oil prices didn't surge -- in fact, they dropped. There was something at work that lawmakers hadn't thought of. The oil-price increases had been partly a monetary event, reflecting the inflation that the new Federal Reserve Chairman, Paul Volcker, was then vanquishing. Quiet Death Some would argue that inflation plays the same role in goosing commodity futures prices today. By 1986 oil prices had collapsed. Disappointing windfall tax revenue reflected that. At the Cato Institute, authors Jerry Taylor and Peter van Doren reckon that the windfall profits tax generated $40 billion or so, instead of the $175 billion once projected. By 1988, embarrassed lawmakers allowed the tax to die a quiet death. But in the course of its life, the tax did plenty of damage. As a Congressional Budget Office paper from 1983 pointed out, the levy early on proved itself an administrative nightmare since it effectively required the collection of ``detailed information on each individual oil-producing property in the United States.'' What's more, the tax so depressed business activity that it had an effect on the general economy. Experts Baffled But in 1980 the economy's refusal to recover was baffling some economists. One of their conclusions, published in the New York Times, was that the windfall-profits tax was being passed along to consumers, reducing disposable income and so demand. In other words, it was doing the opposite of what the tax-rebate checks are supposed to be doing this month and next. Specifically, the Windfall Tax made investment and production at domestic oil companies more expensive. Mobil was right. You needed incentives to want to drill. That deterrent slowed the sort of research that might have made energy less expensive earlier.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Satellite Indicates 23-Year Global Cooling

Warming? No. Cooling. It's the science, Albert Gore, Jr. Look at the data. CFP: New Jason Satellite Indicates 23-Year Global Cooling:
Now it’s not just the sunspots that predict a 23-year global cooling. The new Jason oceanographic satellite shows that 2007 was a “cool” La Nina year—but Jason also says something more important is at work: The much larger and more persistent Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has turned into its cool phase, telling us to expect moderately lower global temperatures until 2030 or so. For the past century at least, global temperatures have tended to mirror the 20-to 30-year warmings and coolings of the north-central Pacific Ocean. We don’t know just why, but the pattern of the last century is clear: the earth warmed from about 1915 to1940, while the PDO was also warming (1925 to 46). The earth cooled from 1940 to 1975, while the PDO was cooling (1946 to 1977). The strong global warming from 1976 to 1998 was accompanied by a strong and almost-constant warming of the north-central Pacific. Ancient tree rings in Baja California and Mexico show there have been 11 such PDO shifts since 1650, averaging 23 years on length.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

There's A Sucker Born Every Minute... But President Jimmy...

Power Line: There's A Sucker Born Every Minute...: THERE'S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE... ... but a sucker like Jimmy Carter comes along only once or twice in a century.
BLITZER: Let's talk about foreign policy, a very sensitive issue: Your recent trip to the Middle East, your decision to meet with Hamas, a group the U.S. government brands a terrorist organization. President Bush was asked about it at his news conference. And here's what he said. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Foreign policy and peace is undermined by Hamas in the Middle East. They're the ones who are undermining peace. They're the ones whose foreign policy objective is the destruction of Israel. They're the ones who are, you know, trying to create enough violence to stop the advance of the two-party state solution. They are a significant problem to world peace, or Middle Eastern peace. And that's the reason I'm not talking to them. (END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: He was specifically asked about your decision to talk to them. Do you want to respond to what you just heard? CARTER: Well, he's completely mistaken. It's obvious that he doesn't know the policy of Hamas. And I think that, since I met with them, I can very well say that -- and I've talked to Hamas a number of times...
This is truly breathtaking. President Bush "doesn't know the policy of Hamas," apparently with regard to the destruction of Israel and the desirability of peace in the region. Let's not take President Bush's word for it; let's go straight to the source: the Covenant of Hamas. From the Preamble:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it. Article 11: The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it. Article 13: Palestine is an Islamic land... Since this is the case, the Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Moslem wherever he may be. Article 15: The day the enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In the face of the Jews' usurpation, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.
The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: 'O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.'
You get the picture. Yet Jimmy Carter thinks that President Bush is "completely mistaken" in calling Hamas a terrorist organization that tries to subvert peace. The dialogue continues:
BLITZER: Well, he says they're committed to the destruction of Israel. CARTER: Well, I asked them about this. And that was one of the major requests or suggestions that I made to Hamas -- I made five or six of them. They brought all of their leadership together, from Gaza and also from within Damascus. And they spent all night Saturday and all Sunday considering the proposals that I made to them. And they gave me a response to all my proposals Sunday night by telephone. One of the things I asked them to do was to agree to accept any peace contract between Israel and the Palestinians with Mahmoud Abbas being the representative of the Palestinians, provided it was approved by the Palestinians in a referendum, even if Hamas agreed with it... BLITZER: Did they say they would accept... CARTER: Absolutely. BLITZER: ... Israel living alongside Palestine... CARTER: Absolutely, they said they would accept that. BLITZER: ... a Jewish state of Israel? CARTER: That's correct. Absolutely...
And he is doing this damage in our names. He is not authorized to represent the US, but he claims to and people accept him at his word.

Mayor says prayer is working in Yakima

Mayor says prayer is working in Yakima Yakima Herald
YAKIMA -- It's working, says Yakima Mayor Dave Edler. Just take a look around. From dropping crime rates to efforts to revitalize the downtown area, prayer is transforming this city, he says. "My sense is when the name of our city of Yakima is bouncing around the halls of heaven, God responds," says Edler, also the senior pastor of Yakima Foursquare Church, one of the largest evangelical churches in town. Edler will deliver the keynote address -- "How Prayer is Changing Yakima" -- at the annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on May 1. The breakfast is held in celebration of the 2008 National Day of Prayer.

Cut the cruelest tax

The cruelest tax of all is the property tax. It's the equivalent to taxing the air we breathe. You can't live in your home without paying hundreds per month. Floyd Brown is doing something about it and needs help. Tax Fight: Save your home. Cut property taxes now! The League of Washington Taxpayers has sponsored Initiative 1030 which will cut your property taxes by 30 percent beginning in 2009.

No starvation for fuel, Al

Demon ethanol, an icon of the left called it, has raised the prices of corn, rice and other staple grains. It bothers us Americans. But in third-world countries it is breaking people. There have been huge price increases that caused riots in Haiti, protests in the Philippines, and other countries. But the intent is to help the environment. Albert Gore, Jr., has pure motives. How is it going? Not well. American Thinker Blog:
Big science is starting to agree that ethanol production is hurting, not helping the environment. According to an article in today’s Washington Post by Steven Mufson entitled “Global Food Crisis; Siphoning Off Corn to Fuel Our Cars ”

“Although ethanol was once promoted as a way to slow climate change, a study published in Science magazine Feb. 29 concluded that greenhouse-gas emissions from corn and even cellulosic ethanol "exceed or match those from fossil fuels and therefore produce no greenhouse benefits." By encouraging an expansion of acreage, the study added, the use of U.S. cropland for ethanol could make climate conditions dramatically worse. And the runoff from increased use of fertilizers on expanded acreage would compound damage to waterways all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.” [Emphasis added]

SCIENCE MAGAZINE is the official publication of the American Association of the Advancement of Science,, a peer-reviewed academic journal with very high scientific prestige equivalent to NATURE, so Al Gore cannot claim it is under the control of the evil oil industry.