Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why I'm (we're) Not Hiring

Some labor food for thought.  

Business responds (or should) to market forces.  When the business is unable to respond, or market forces are unable to drive businesses, the root cause of this "failure" is becoming more and more common...government meddling.

Additional costs incurred by the business can not be passed on to the consumer during these lean times.  So, either the business takes a loss, or, it reduces its input costs.  Thus, the business eliminates jobs.

If the government decides to intervene in this process, the invisible hand gets crushed.  "From where I sit, the government's message is unmistakable: Creating a new job carries a punishing price."

Flippin' On the Hope Signal

I usually don't agree with Jon Stewart too often, but recently, he's making me laugh and making me say,

"Exactly."

Take A Look...

...at Econlog.

Dr. David R. Henderson will be providing me insight into the world of cost/benefit analysis for the next couple of months.  Hopefully my economic blogging will improve.  If not, you may assume my grade will reflect as much.

Please go take a look...well worth your time!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Wonder What Noah Felt Like?

Please don't forget about our friends in the East.  If you haven't given to the American Red Cross or another organization helping Japan, please do so.

If you needed more to convince you, here you go.  This is nothing like I've seen yet...nothing like I've even imagined.

Imagine if your family was in this town.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good Friends In High Places

"Imagination at work" indeed.

General Electric worldwide profits: $14,200,000,000
US Operating profits: $5,100,000,000
Taxes paid on profits: $0

Friends in High Places: priceless

For the rest of us, enjoy paying your taxes.  Because, you know, we need to spread the wealth around.

Yeah.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Review - T52

Ah, Friday.

Today's cigar review, always in honor of the nanny state of New York, is of the Liga Privada T52.

I've been a HUGE fan of the Liga Privada No. 9 for a while.  Just recently tried the T52.

A 5" by 54 ring gauge, this guy is full bodied.  Honduran and Nicaraguan filler with a Connecticut Habano wrapper.  Lots of leather and spice (but not too heavy) from the start all the way to the finish.

Medium draw (make a nice size cut), and burns evenly.  Towards the middle, it's got a great earth and coffee taste.  The spice mellows out significantly towards the middle.

Again, thumbs up.  Buy a bunch.



The Spirit of Attack

Hat tip to CDR Salamander.

The speed of life often presents us with limited choices on what we learn.  The day is so often, very short.

Thank goodness for blogs.  Project White House Forum, via CDR S, gives us a history lesson that many may have missed.  Including me.

I've been honored to have met and served with many great men and women.  And a couple heroes, too.  Stories like this make me wonder "what if"...what if Cadet Mathew La Porte had been able to continue on his path.

Our stories, whether we deem them complete or not, have a purpose.  Learn from Cadet La Porte.  Maybe that was his purpose.

Would have been an honor to fly with you, Cadet.

Foreign Policy: Winning!

Someone please explain our position on Libya to me.  I've tried to rationalize, and it just isn't working.  It's almost like the administration has invented a new national security theory.  To add to realism, internationalism, and ideological, the new national security policy is....

Randomism.  I'm sure someone could write a book.

I really love Xtranormal.  So many, many hours of potentially wasted time.

But, think of the children.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sanity Returns...



...and the return of a "real Plebe year."

“Conducting the ceremonial climb in the same manner as so many previous classes helps to instill spirit and camaraderie among plebes and better links them to the many classes that have gone before them. The Herndon Monument climb serves as a useful event in reinforcing teamwork, organization and leadership.”


 Thank you, Admiral.  The cable won't have a weak link this year.

Practical Option? Practically Unfair

Well, when you lose the ability to control yourself and lose the ability for innovative thought, there's only one thing to do:

Tax.

The CBO has thought it a magnificent idea to tax people for each mile that they drive.

So, now that we've actually done what they wanted...increase our fuel-efficiency...they realized that revenue from the incredible gas taxes...well, will no longer do.

So, how do we fund the President's plan on increasing spending by $556 Billion (with a B) over the next six years on transportation?  TAX!!!!  Yeah!!!  Hey, that will help the economy.

Several problems with this plan:
1. The people who can not afford to live in the city but work there will be hit hard.  Those who cannot afford the crazy mortgage required to live "downtown" have to live in the suburbs...if they are lucky.  Those people, who already can not afford a reduction in salary will be most affected by such a tax.

2. The Heartland, where our food (and since we have decided to "burn" our food...ethanol...don't get me started) is produced, is very spread out.  Because, you know, of the farms.  People who live in the heartland have to drive long distances to do...well...anything.

3. Businesses who rely on shipping via truck (that means just about every business) will incur MORE cost.  Do they pay for the cost?  Nope, it gets passed along in the form of...

HIGHER PRICED PRODUCTS

4.  Since our food is produced in the heartland, where we've established it takes forever to get anywhere, it will cost even more to ship the food from the heartland...to your plate.  Thus, the price of food continues to increase.  Awesome!  Along with inflation without a corresponding increase in the amount of money you make, this is going to be great!  I wonder what a $10 gallon of milk tastes like?

Where do we get these guys?  Seriously, this is what you voted for North Dakota?  This is logical to you?

Honorable Gentlemen in Washington, let me give you a graph that those of us who have had Economics 101 understand about what increased taxes do to demand:

See that deadweight loss?  That's loss in the economy that benefits...no one.  Cash McLovin will kill me for saying it, but the Laffer curve is making more and more sense.  With folks like this in Congress, do you really think we're on the left side of the bell curve?


George, take it away.  Please.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hideaki Akaiwa

If our country encounters extreme hardship, hopefully we'll come out the other side looking more like Japan.

My grandfather fought the Japanese during WWII.  A determined, brutal, and severely misguided  enemy.

But after the almost complete destruction of their country, economy, and way of life, they created something magnificent.  A truly good culture.  I'm not sure of what happened between then and now, but I can truly say I'm more impressed by the Japanese people after this earthquake than of the American people after Katrina.  Within hours, the American people were killing each other, dodging responsibility, and looking for "who to blame" for extreme weather.  The Japanese, on the other hand, have taken to rescuing, recovery and rebuilding.   When the appropriate time comes, I'm confident they'll look into what could they have done better.  But now, they act for the good of the nation.

I haven't posted on this yet, but I have definitely wanted to.  The incredible, apocalyptic, and horrific details of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami were almost too much to blog about.  But what was clearly evident was the reaction of the people.  Calm, organized, and caring.  People didn't steal...they made sure their fellow citizens had as much as they did.

They became heroes.  Case in point, Hideaki Akaiwa.


The Communication Gap






Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When Seconds Matter...

...the police are minutes away.

Not sure what I enjoy more.  The fact that there's one less creep on the streets, or the image of a beauty queen holding a pink .38.



Can we all get behind the Second Amendment on this one?

Or should she and her fiance just become another statistic?

By the way, I prefer the Para Ordnance .45.  Stainless steel.  But I respect the pink.


Insolvency or Not Insolvency...That Is the Question

Followers (given, just a few right now) of this post recognize my fear that we're heading toward an economic cliff.

We're standing at the edge...we are either pushed over by an event (like a crisis of nature, military crisis, or crisis of society), or we regain our balance and live another day.

Don't take it from me...just ask a Federal Reserve Bank President.



Do we run in fear or do we embrace the "very painful"?  That is not only an important question for our economy, but for our future society and way of life.

For, you see, I believe the two are inseparable.


Monday, March 21, 2011

QE1 + QE2 = QE3 (and other complicated Econ math)

Some econ meat to chew on...enough is being circulated about Libya right now, and I don't believe in kicking a dead horse.  Unless, of course, the horse deserves it.

So, some Econ 101 and my new favorite dead horse to kick...the Fed.

Have you ever seen someone try and help so much that they end up causing more trouble than the original problem was to begin with?  If you don't remember my post on the Fed's decision to pull out of the bond market, you might want to go back and read that post again.  It's important to understand that the Fed hasn't always been so "in our face".  Some say Greenspan got too big for his britches (yes, Cash, I'm referring to you), and the Fed began chasing its tail around the economic backyard.

Whatever the case, interesting stuff.  Again, I like seeing that the questions are being asked.  The first step is...admitting you have a problem.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Phase 4

I really hope that Phase 4--transition--has been well thought out and developed for Operation ODYSSEY DAWN.  This has been a classic deficiency of US military planning in the past, and hopefully we're not getting ready to make the same mistake.  If the intent is to never fully engage our forces in a classic Joint Pub fashion, what exactly is our mission?  And what is our role?  Whether you live by the Joint Pub or not, you still have to plan an endgame...what exactly is that?

So, what's the objective again?  Establishing a no-fly zone?  Ah, looks like there's a little more to it:



So, is the intent to protect the Libyan people?  Can't do that from the air alone...gonna need some ground pounders for that.

So, is it to remove Qaddafi?  Not so, according to VADM Gortney (Director, Joint Staff).  "We are not going after Qaddafi."  Period.  The Chairman, ADM Mullen said that the goals of the operation "...isn't about seeing him (Gadhafi) go."  Ah, ok.  That's Qaddafi's compound in the above picture, right?

So, what national security interests do we have in Libya?  Definitely can't be for oil...otherwise I would have heard the normal people screaming "no blood for oil" at the steps of the White House...you know, cause they are very consistent people.



It's good to see the right questions being asked.  I still haven't figure out how to come down on this...the realist in me sees no reason to engage US military forces in Libya.  The reasons, all internationalist in nature, do not show a consistency of policy.  That is, if the reason we are engaging with military force is to protect people from their government, let's start working on the names of operations for:

Sudan
Congo
Ivory Coast
North Korea

....just to name a few.  Plus, being used as the world's police reminds me of something...hmm...what could that be?




Saturday, March 19, 2011

Help Wanted: Speechwriter

Please submit your application to:

VP of the United States
Number One Observatory Circle
Washington, DC

Apparently they are looking for "outside of the box" writing.  Crazy metaphors are accepted.

Geez.

Slight Accounting Error

I hope that when my financial accounting professor is grading my final this weekend, he doesn't grade me too hard on the mistakes I've made.

Because, you know, accounting mistakes happen.

Just ask the White House Budget Office.

I hope they don't do their own taxes...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Keep Buying Your Iodine Pills...

...and let the people with level heads do some real good.

Nice job, shipmates.  Always standing the watch.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

And Now They Are For It...

What's the stake in Libya?  Any national security issues?  Any big economic issues (some might say oil, but there's no disruption so far...and no change in Egypt either)?

Well, something is worth risking the lives of Americans and "spending our blood and treasure", right?  All those folks who cried out "no blood for oil" and "Say No To Illegitimate War" should be marching in the streets...any...minute...now...

I know:  people being brutalized and killed by their government.  Well, hopefully the UN will provide No-Fly's over:

North Korea

FREEDOM !!

...from Financial Accounting !!!


What?  Business Accounting...I have to take that, too?  @#!%


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Chicken or the Egg

Which comes first?

I thought politicians want to get elected so "they can make a difference."

But when they get there, it seems they are scared to "make a difference" because it might cause them to lose the next election.

What a quandary.  To do the right thing, or to do the expedient thing.  Gee, that is a hard choice.

To save the economy, or to save another 4 years.

Watch and see.  I think I already know the answer.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Precious Life

Hug and cherish your family, be grateful for your "things", and be thankful the alarm clock wakes you up in the morning.  Try to not sweat the small stuff...and be able to recognize how many things in life are "small stuff".

There are no guarantees in life, especially a guarantee to life every day.  Things can change very quickly.

Prayers go out to our friends across the pond.  May their families find some comfort.

I look forward to providing the "helping hand" to Japan when the time comes...and I hope you do, too.

If you find reputable charities trying to lend a hand, please post in the comments so we can all benefit.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not Much New

Well, in the throws of debits and credits, my departure the last few days from the blog have been pretty uneventful.  Not much new going on.

GOP Threatens Senate Blockade:

Wisconsin Passes Law Stripping Unions of Collective Bargaining:

NPR Board Ousts Vivian Schillar:

Hearings On Radical Islam:

Economist Warns of Double Dip Recession....Oil and Gold Pop:

Libya Turmoil Explodes:

Charlie Sheen Goes Nuts....or just proves the hypothesis from long ago.


Well, ok.

Guess I should take less time off.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

Please excuse the lack of posts...finals are approaching again.

The MBA gods need a sacrifice, and I don't want to be the slowest one in the herd.

They don't seem to do well.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Bond, U.S. Bond. Dry Martini, Shaken Not Stirred

Thanks to Cash McLovin for the link.  Some good econ meat to chew on.

First, the graphs.  From left to right, the purchasers of US Treasury Bonds.  Chart 1 shows historical, chart 2 is current, and Chart 3 is....what happens after June 30th?


Leaves me scratching my head.  Some may say that the Fed has been funding the government's deficit.  In other words, Congress spends over revenue (deficit) knowing that it's ok...the Fed will just buy it up.  But, I think that's a little simplistic.  I truly think the Fed has the economy's best interests in mind.  The government...well, not so much.  I think the government spends because it can.  There have always been people willing to buy the debt incurred.

But, as people lost confidence and as the 2008 crisis hit, the Fed moved in to try and save the day.  Well, as the article points out, not after June 30th.  The Fed is getting out of the US debt business.

So, who will step in?  The public?  Not me.  Not confident enough.  But there may be more confident people than me.  Maybe....maybe not.  And if "maybe not", who is going to fund the debt?  Are we willing to sell more of it overseas, and even if we are willing, are overseas funders interested?

And I think that's the point.  A very scary point.  D-day...indeed.

Friday Review - Mi Amor

TGIF!

Today, I'll review the La Aroma de Cuba, Mi Amor.


What a great cigar!  Recently reviewed by Cigar Aficionado, and rated number 6 out of 25 of the year's best cigars.  Wonderfully priced around $6 a stick, this is one to stock up on.

The magnifico is sized at 6" with a 52 ring gauge (a little over an hour smoke).  Toothy, with an interesting Mexican wrapper (Cuban seed), this smoke has all that I love.  Hints of mocha, vanilla, and towards the end, a cedar taste.  Has a Nicaraguan filler and binder.

It drew nicely, with only a slight uneven burn at the very end.  Not for the casual cigar smoker...this beauty packs a heavy buzz.  Recommend end of the day smoke.

Fantastic cigar...buy as many as you can.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hitler! Stalin! AHGHHHHHGG !!!!

Well, usually I joke about people comparing our national politics/policies to Hitler or Stalin...the last refuge of someone who has lost the argument.  Usually relegated to those who are not really worth debating in the first place.

Well, I guess I can't give Senators the benefit of the doubt.

But, of course, they are not actually, truly comparing the Governor to Hitler.  Right?


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Looking For Riders


Well, when things that begin with "U.S." are about to fail...at the end of the year...is it now ok to get worried?

How about now?

Wait, I know....how about now?