Sunday, July 31, 2011

Energy-- Good News

Automakers are not protesting Obama's increase in fuel standards to 54.5 MPG from the current 27 corporate average by 2025. The president calls for five percent a year improvement from 2017 to 2025.
This is a different posture from that taken by the automakers four years ago. Apparently the companies thought it would be bad form to oppose the new standards after the goverment saved their butts with bailouts.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Conservatives Become Radical

Conservative has always been a misnomer and never more than when applied to the Republicans in Congress. They are radicals who are willing to bring the country down to protect the super rich from taxes, break the unions, etc.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Light Goes On?

The ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs set to be phased in January 1 is being opposed by some in the name of freedom. Whose freedom? Usually we say that people should be free to do as they wish if they do not affect others. But if some buy incandescent bulbs and thereby use more electricity and require more coal-burning generaton, they most certainly affect me. In an interdependent world, no honest argument may be made for freedom in general. The honest statement is that one person's freedem to use incandescent bulbs is a non-freedom for others.

Farmland Bubble

The value of Iowa farmland has almost doubled in six years. They rose 160 percent in the decade through last year. The super rich are looking for places to put their money. So they are buying farmland hoping for prices to apprciate. Some guy who sold his business for 45 milllion dollars bid $4 million for 430 acres in Michigan. His capital gains are taxed at a low rate. The Republicans say we can't taax these people because the provide us jobs. But, like many other fat cats, they do not create jobs, they just inflate asset values. In this case, there are no more farm jobs than under the previous owners.
Part of the rapid rise in farmland prices is due to government subsidies for ethanol made from corn. The Congress passed this silly subsidy as presidential candidates competed for votes from the Iowa caucus. The same people who oppose Obama's increase in miles per gallon requirements for auto manufacturers probably support the ethanol subsidy in the name of reducing oil dependence.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


The space shuttle program is now history. It never made much sense from a scientific perspective. Unmanned space exploration is cheaper and even more effective. Manned exploration was problematic from the beginning, but it was thought that manned flights were more likely to capture the public's interest and support. So chalk up another victory for show business.

Unemployment and Military Budget--both up

Unemployment has reached 9.2 Percent. So what did the Congress do? The House increased the military budget by 17 billion. The AP story cites "Concerns about undermining national security, cutting military dollars at a time of war, and losing defense jobs." "National Security" has become a take-out term that is meant to stop all debate. Our nation, states, and cities are more threatened by police and fire layoffs than by the Taliban.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tea Party ON

The Detroit News reports that in the city of Flint, "Nine abandoned homes were torched Monday and Thursday, and a dozen burned in a four hour period last month. The week before, a civil rights pioneer was killed in his upper-income neighborhood. Two weeks earlier, one of the police mini-stations erected as a solution to rising crime was burglarized."
Because the city is broke, the number of police was cut by two-thirds. Patrols take hours to respond to calls. Even if suspects are apprehended, the city jail has been shut for three years and the county jail is full. "The criminals freely roam the streets while residents huddle in their homes...." Is this really the brave new world that Tea Party voters wanted? Is this the smaller government that they wanted?

Captains of Industry

The Lansing State Journal laid off 19 staff. A few years ago the paper had 24 reporters and now the newsroom has two editors, eight reporters, a columnist, and a multimedia assistant. The LSJ is a Gannett paper that owns 82 papers and shrank its employees by roughly 2 percent. On the other hand, the Gannett CEO took home a $1.75 million bonus last year that was part of 9.4 million total earnings. The Chief operating officer's earnings more than doubled from 2009 to 2010 to $8.2 million including a 1.2 million bonus.
I guess you have to pay a lot to get people to do this dirty work! These are the super rich that the Republican Congress refuses to increase their taxes because they provide us jobs. This is Orwellian double-speak at its worst.

Dumb and Dumber No. 2

A New York man is killed while riding his cycle to a rally protesting a law requiring a helmet. He was not wearing a helmet. That's dumb!