Global Temperature Update – FEB 2014

With the latest Snowpocalypse set to hit the South this week, I figured now was a good time to update global temperatures and show once again how the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) team’s fixation on CO2 is misguided (at best) and more akin to cult like behavior.

Remember, the AGW cult says that increasing CO2 emissions will send the planet on a runaway warming scenario and they have tons of peer reviewed literature to back up their claims.

The AGW rightly cautions us to not confuse ‘weather’ events (a recent blizzard, a few hot days in the summer, etc.) with ‘climate’ events.  In fact there is a peer reviewed paper that states:

“Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

OK, let’s play their game.

I will show 17 years of global temperature anomalies (departure from a base period average) for three well known datasets: Hadley Climate Research Unit (CRU), University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and the Remote Sensing System (RSS).  In addition, I’ll compare each of these temperature anomalies to the atmospheric CO2 concentrations as measure from the Mauna Leo research station.

Here is the graph of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sure enough, we are definitely pumping more CO2 up there and I’ll concede the AGW point that most of this increase is from humans.

co2Now let’s see what effect this increasing amount of atmospheric CO2 has had on the three temperature data sets over the last 17 years.

crucru vs co2uahuah vs co2rssrss vs co2All these temperature graphs look pretty flat, don’t they?  And since this is a time period of exactly 17 years, then we can use the conclusions of the AGW cult peer reviewed paper to confidently state that increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations have NOT raised global temperatures.

As I’ve stated before, the AGW cult has an inconvenient correlation problem.  Notice that the correlation coefficient (R2) for all these temperature anomalies vs. CO2 graphs is very low (less than 1% for RSS/CRU and only 3.7% for UAH).  This means there is less than a 3.7% probability that the temperature anomalies over the last 17 years were influenced by atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Is the science settled now?

Posted in Climate Change | 5 Comments

The Budget Deficit Memory Hole

The Left appears very organized in the way they are presenting our fiscal situation and as expected, “journalists” are reprinting the talking points unchallenged.

Have you missed it?  Team Obama is trying to cast The One as a very austere POTUS over the past few years and they are doing this by saying Obama has cut the deficit in half.

Here is an example from NPR’s Mara Liasson (emphasis mine):

In President Obama’s State of the Union address last month, he all but declared victory on the federal deficit. He ticked off the country’s accomplishments: a housing rebound, more manufacturing jobs and “our deficits cut by more than half,” he said.

The annual budget deficit has indeed decreased from 9.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product when Obama took office to 4.1 percent now, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

This is the very short (and unchallenged) fact that we’ll hear over and over again as we are coming up against the next debt ceiling fight and the mid-term elections.  Watch as this short sentence will be the extent of the “reporting” on this topic because apparently journalists seemed to have lost the ability to look at our deficits past 2009.  Do you think it might be worth looking at the deficits under Obama and compare them with the deficits of say the last couple of decades?

Here is a graph using data from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which is very similar to the CBO data quoted in the NPR article.

budget deficit as percentage of gdpNotice anything significant that happened under Obama’s first year in office (2009)?  Yea, we’ve basically cut the deficit in half by using 2009 as the base year but we’re still running a deficit that is WAY above anything we’ve seen over the past 20 years.

Let’s give Ms. Liasson the benefit of the doubt and say she was busy and didn’t have time to graph this for herself.  She referenced the CBO report in her article and there is a table at the very top of that report that lists the budget deficits for 2008 – 2013 and that should’ve raise at least a yellow flag for this veteran reporter.  Note the two red circles!

cbo deficit reportDid you notice that Ms. Liasson used the phrase “when Obama took office” when she told us that the 2009 budget deficit was 9.8% of GDP?  That’s done so you make the assumption that the 2009 budget deficit was due to Bush and not Obama.  Conveniently, she fails to mention the $787 billion stimulus package that Obama and the Democrat controlled House and Senate sailed through in early 2009.  You can see from the following graph that without that $787 billion in extra spending in 2009, that year’s deficit would have been almost identical to 2008’s deficit.

budget deficitSorry to break the news to Ms. Liasson but the vast majority of the 2009 budget deficit wasn’t Bush’s fault.  With regard to the 2009 budget deficit, we can safely say that Obama most certainly DID build that.

Why will we see the State Run Media regurgitate this talking point without challenging it?  Are the reporters just lazy?  Do they lack the mathematical ability to analyze tables and graphs?  Do they have lousy memories?

No, I don’t believe any of those excuses.  Simply put – They’re hacks.

Posted in economics, politics | 1 Comment

Jacob Lew Is Clueless

NPR’s Melissa Block recently had an interview with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and I’m amazed at how much the Treasury Secretary struggles with simple math.

Here is the main quote from that interview where Ms. Block was asking if he was worried about our $17+ trillion debt (emphasis mine):

BLOCK: Secretary Lew, if you look at the long-term prospects here, even though annual deficits are shrinking, the U.S. long-term debt is now over 17 trillion dollars. It’s about, I think, 73 percent of GDP. How big a problem do you consider that to be?

LEW: Look, I think if you look at the path that we’ve taken over the last five years, we’ve reduced the deficit, cut in half. We’ve stabilized the deficit as a percentage of GDP, kept it coming down and we’ve stabilized debt as a percentage of GDP. Obviously, there are longer-term issues that the president has spend much time looking at, negotiating with Congress about, but you don’t get to the long term if you don’t get through the short term in a successful way.

The short term, we’re doing very well. We’re bringing the deficit down and, frankly, we need to worry more about growing opportunities for Americans to find good middle-class jobs because that’s ultimately the path towards the strongest fiscal policy.

Wow, according to Mr. Lew, it sounds like the US is on very sound fiscal footing right now.

It’s true, Team Obama is bringing the deficit down but their starting point for this talking point is 2009 (when Obama took office) and you can see from the graphs below, something extraordinary happened during that year.  (Note that the graphs below were generated from the Office of Management and Budget data)

budget deficitbudget deficit as percentage of gdpFirst off, even starting with 2009 as our baseline, we haven’t cut the deficit in “half” as Mr. Lew stated.  Our budget deficit as a percentage of GDP went from 10.1% in 2009 to 4.0% in 2013 and that is a 40.6% reduction (not a 50% reduction).  I’ll give Mr. Lew the liberty of rounding up but still, after looking at the charts above, I doubt any fiscally responsible person would call that a success!

If I increased my credit card debt by 315% in 1 year (which is exactly what we did in the US in 2009), continued to spend more than I took in for the next 4 years but reduced my deficit over these 5 years by 50% I doubt my wife would be happy with my self-defined “austere” choices.  In 2013, my budget deficit would still be 2 times as high as my deficit in 2008.

Sorry to interject some basic math into Mr. Lew’s talking points but tripling our budget deficit in one year (2009) and then gradually cutting that in “half” is NOT lowering our National Debt!  A third grader could figure this out!

Posted in economics, politics | 2 Comments

Real Income Inequality Solutions

If you watched Obama’s State of the Union speech (I didn’t) then you know he spent a lot of time talking about Income Inequality.  If you think this is just a short term talking point then you haven’t been paying attention to what the Left is doing and you need to be armed to battle their most recent meme.

Unlike some conservatives, I do believe that there has been a real shift in income inequality over the last 20 years and a very powerful graph from this blog post proves it.

income inequality graphTrue, there was a recent study that showed no change in upward mobility in the US over the past 20 years but upward mobility and income inequality are two different things.  From the NPR story about this study:

“The researchers, led by Raj Chetty of Harvard University, looked at low-income people born in the early 1970s, and how likely they were to advance to top income brackets. The researchers then compared their economic mobility with that of people born later.”

“What we found is that mobility has remained remarkably stable,” says Harvard’s Nathaniel Hendren, a co-author of the study. “The chance in which kids can climb up or down the income ladder has remained pretty stable over the last 20 to 25 years.”

So there is no change in the percent of people moving into higher tax brackets over the last 20 years but the graph above clearly shows the percent change in income of the top 10% has more than doubled those in the bottom 90%.

Instead of following the path of the Obamas and Elizabeth Warrens of the Left who seek to treat the symptoms of Income Inequality (increasing the minimum wage, increasing taxes on the wealthy, etc.) which will not have any impact on income inequality, I’d prefer to attack the underlying causes of this Income Inequality.

So without further ado, here is my 4 point plan to attack these real drivers of Income Inequality.

Welfare Is Not Working

As I have shown in a previous post, we’ve drastically increased the amount of Welfare spending since the US declared its ‘War on Poverty’ but yet the poverty rate has been basically unchanged for the 40 years.

heritage 2poverty rateThrowing money at this problem has not helped so Congress should take a serious look at the outlays of these Welfare programs (and other ‘entitlement’ programs) and reduce them.  It’s well known that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results so 40 years should be enough time to realize Welfare, as we know it, isn’t working.

Let’s try something else that will lift people out of poverty.

Family Values Pays

There was a study performed in 2006 that showed how changes in the family structure and changes in poverty are closely related.  From the chart below, you can see that single parent households with children are much more likely to fall into the poverty rate and the situation has worsened over time.

single parent poverty rateIn 1969, only 10% of households could be categorized as having a single parent (8% with a female and 2% with a male) but that figure increased to 17% in 2006 (13% with a female and 4% with a male).  Conversely, the amount of households categorized as having married parents went from 67% in 1969 to 46% in 2006.  So the US has decreased the amount of 2 parent households by 31% and increased the amount of single parent households by 70%!

Is that bad?

Well, Yes!  In 2006, single female families with children had a 39.9% chance of falling within the poverty rate and single family male families with children had a 19% chance of falling within the poverty rate.  Compare that with a 7.5% chance of married couples with children and you see that single parent families have a 2.5 to 5.3 times higher likelihood of falling into poverty when compared with 2 parent households.

The harsh truth here is that we can totally reverse this trend if we are willing to confront this brutal fact.  Babies do not materialize out of the vacuum of space; two people have to engage in the act of sex to make a baby.  Having children ‘accidentally’ is something that is very preventable and it doesn’t take a blue ribbon government commission to figure it out.  Stop having unprotected sex or at a minimum learn to use birth control!

This data needs to be publicized so young men and women can become educated and realize that the choices they make in the heat of passion can not only affect their earning potential but the futures of their children.  We can’t ‘legislate morality’ but we can show people that there is some sound economic logic in waiting until marriage to have kids and to deny this brutal fact and avoid appearing prudish is really doing a disservice to our youth and causing more long term pain to our next generations.

Education Is The Tide That Floats All Boats

Another reason for the decline in earning potential for the middle class is the movement of manufacturing jobs to foreign countries.  This was a good thing in that Union memberships plummeted in the US but many hard working people lost their jobs (and the economy lost their spending) because they were not prepared for this paradigm shift.  People were incapable of finding other high paying jobs in more technical fields because they thought they’d be able to work for 40 years turning a wrench on an assembly line.

As a Free Market zealot, I not only expected this off shoring of manufacturing and other industries but I welcomed it.  This is what Companies have a duty to do – Find a way to cut as much cost out of the production of their goods and services  as they can while not sacrificing quality.  A publicly traded company has a fiduciary responsibility to do this so as to maximize profits and returns to their shareholders.

While there are stories coming out how this off shoring trend is reversing now that wages in China are rising (leading to ‘re-shoring’), we will never be back to the golden years of US manufacturing of the 50’s and 60’s.  We need to acknowledge that fact and educate our children and adults to adapt to this move to a knowledge based economy.  I wrote about that here:

“But here is the rub.  Moving to a Knowledge Based Economy demands a workforce that is highly skilled and those employees are required to have more education than a high school diploma provides.  Americans need to recognize this now, better yet we should have recognized it 10 years ago, or we will be left behind.   China, Mexico and India are not going away and there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle.  America needs to set a priority on producing a highly skilled workforce which means more graduates from technical schools and traditional 4-year colleges.”

While this isn’t a quick fix, Education is truly the tide that floats all boats.  Only through an education curriculum geared toward giving students tools to thrive in this new economy can we have a more educated citizenry that can get jobs, start companies and innovate our way out of this malaise.

There is still plenty of innovation left in this new knowledge based economy and plenty of jobs for all people but we have to change in order to take advantage of it.  A Bloomberg article said it best:

“Will there be enough decent jobs in this new world — or will the new technologies just make the rich richer while impoverishing everybody else? Brynjolfsson and McAfee meet this second kind of pessimist halfway. Just like its predecessors, the next phase of innovation will eventually destroy a lot of jobs, they say. But it will create a lot as well. This won’t happen all at once. There’ll be time to adjust, as economies have in the past. If policy makers rise to the challenge, they can make the adjustment easier and the gains more widely shared.”

“To support growth in the second machine age, the government needs to retool the education system (digital technologies can help), foster a favorable climate for entrepreneurs and new business startups (where most of the new jobs will be), encourage research and development, build modern infrastructure, and liberalize immigration to help meet the demand for skills. In all these areas, the U.S. has advantages it’s in danger of surrendering, especially if undue pessimism drives it into a defensive crouch.”

Did you catch that very important sentence in the 1st paragraph above?

If policy makers rise to the challenge, they can make the adjustment easier and the gains more widely shared.”

Which brings me to my last point…

Big Government Is Not The Solution, It Is The Problem

Unless we can get Big Government out of the way and have Washington DC focus only on their Constitutional duties, we’ll never be successful in implementing any of the real solutions above.

Yes, companies will move some of their manufacturing back to the US once labor rates are no longer attractive overseas but many companies will still stay in foreign countries because of the high US corporate tax rates.

The US has the highest corporate tax rate in the world and this is an obvious motivation for companies to relocate in other countries (sending important jobs with them).  The solution to this is really simple.  Lower the US corporate tax rate (I prefer 0% but really anything equal to the world average of 24% would be better than our current 40%) and watch the magic happen.  Companies will move jobs back to the US, these new jobs will involve people paying income taxes (that the US isn’t getting now), spending money (which will stimulate the economy and create new jobs) and the net effect will be lower unemployment and more Federal/State tax revenue even with the lower corporate tax rate.

Big Government’s hindrance to real income equality goes even further when we factor in crony capitalism that upsets the Free Market and gives sweetheart contracts to a politician’s biggest donors.  See Solyndra.

This Forbes article takes it a step further in stating that if you want to reduce Income Inequality then you need to take Big Government out of the currency business.

“Don’t blame “the rich” for America’s growing inequality. The problem is our unstable fiat dollar, which is to say, the problem is government. If we want prosperity for all, we have to go back to basics. We have to go back to gold.”

Our current Government is too involved in the weeds to take a strategic view of the problems we’re facing and work WITH private businesses instead of working AGAINST them.  Washington DC spent months wringing their hands of the Sequester cuts that amount to just 2.4% of overall Federal Government spending and then, months later, reinstituted some of that spending.  That is spending way too much time in the weeds while more US companies moved jobs overseas during this mental masturbation over sequester cuts.

I’m not a fan of the Department of Education but if we have to have it then let’s have them focus on retooling our system to educate our kids so they are prepared for this new knowledge based economy.  The DOE is too involved in Common Core and other useless initiatives that do little more than create paperwork that justifies their existence.

Conclusion

So there you have my 4 point plan to really address Income Inequality and return the US back to an economic power that it once was – 1) Reform Welfare and other ‘entitlement’ programs, 2) Encourage the two parent household, 3) Improve Education and 4) Get Big Government out of the way.

Let’s see if the Left and the GOP establishment are willing to confront these brutal facts and implement these solutions to fix our current (and future) Economic problems.

Posted in economics, Income Inequality, politics | 2 Comments

Supernova In M82

The galaxy M82, located in the Ursa Major (UMa) constellation (i.e. The Big Dipper), had a star go supernova a few days ago (designated SN 2014J) and over the coming week or so you will have an opportunity to see something that very few people will ever get to see.

The reason that non professional astronomers (who don’t have access to huge land and space based telescopes) can see this event is because M82 is part of a galaxy pair (M81 being the other) that is located just about 12 million light years away which is practically our next door neighbor in galactic terms.  This supernova is close enough and bright enough that we amateur astronomers can view this bit of cosmic evolution (a star dying, sending out its matter to be recombined to form other stars) with our own eyes and this is truly a once in a lifetime event.

I went out tonight to see this supernova I hope with this blog post, you’ll be inspired to do the same.

At first, I tried to see the supernova with my 15×60 binoculars (which I have to secure to a tripod) but due to the low magnitude of the supernova and the intense light pollution in my northern sky, I was unable to detect the exploding star.  I could easily see M81 and M82 in the binoculars but they appeared like any other galaxy in my binoculars, a fuzzy blob with no bright features.  Although I was unsuccessful, others may be able to see this supernova with binoculars if you live in a region where the northern sky is dark and unhampered by light pollution.  But unfortunately for me, I don’t live in such a location.

Undaunted, I then pulled out my big gun – the 10” Newtonian reflector.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith this huge light bucket I was able to easily view the exploding star with my 27mm Televue Panoptic eyepiece although I had to use averted vision techniques to really see it.  For those unfamiliar, averted vision is the method of seeing faint objects by looking to the side of the desired object (it’s a skill we humans have hardcoded in our DNA because this gives us good periphery vision to spot predators and/or prey).  Many back yard astronomers, like myself, who like to hunt distant galaxies and nebulae are familiar with this technique.

I had another bullet for this big gun so I went a step further and used my 11mm Televue Nagler eyepiece and this really made the supernova pop and at times I didn’t need to use averted vision to see it.  I spent about 10 minutes in the freezing temperatures staring at this supernova and I only stopped once my toes started getting numb.

One of the great things about Astronomy is the fact that when we look up to the cosmos we are actually sitting in a time machine.  The stars we see in the night sky with our naked eye are all contained within our Milky Way Galaxy which is about 100 thousand light years across.  The stars we see with our naked eyes are really only thousands of light years away but that still means that the light you are seeing left those stars about the time Moses was leading his people out of slavery in Egypt!

The power of our virtual time machine grows when we use a telescope or binoculars and this allows us to not only look deeper into our own galaxy but see other galaxies that are millions of light years away from us.  When I looked into my telescope tonight, the photons of the supernova SN 2014J explosion were hitting my eyes 12 million years AFTER the event happened!  That means I was seeing this star’s death unfold as it happened 10 million years before humans appeared on the evolutionary time scale.  Truly amazing!

Now here are my tips if you want to see this supernova for yourself.

Although there are many articles with locator guides to this supernova, I have to be honest with you – Finding this galaxy is not easy for those who are not familiar with the night sky and most likely you’ll need a telescope.

Because I’m “Old School”, I have a manual telescope on a non-motorized Dobsonian Mount.  I like to see the objects with my own eyes (versus through photographs that have been enhanced and over exposed) and I like to find the objects myself (versus punching in coordinates and having a computer drive move my telescope to that point).  That’s just me and if you have an automated telescope then chances are you’ve already punched in the coordinates and taken some fantastic photos.  The rest of this blog post is for those who aren’t so lucky!

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that this hunting expedition will be tough for even those familiar with the constellations.  Fortunately for even the most novice amateur astronomer, this supernova is located in one of the most easily recognized northern hemispherical constellations – The Big Dipper.

My suggestion is to start at the upper left star in the Big Dipper ‘scoop’ (Dubhe) and then move up to the next brightest star (h UMa).  Then move left to an asterism of stars that looks like an angle and the next two pictures should help you with that 2 step star hop (note that my star chart app calls M81 “Bode’s Nebula” since that is another name it is known by).

m81 and m82 locator guide 1m81 and m82 locator guide 2Once you’ve located that angle asterism, you will then need to move down a little to find M81 and M82.

Once you zoom in on M82, you’ll see the supernova located inside the galaxy at the tip of the bottom arrow in the following picture.

m82 detailsThe other two arrows in the picture above represent normal stars that are always present but if you can find that lower star then you’ve located the supernova!

Happy hunting fellow amateur astronomers and I hope you receive as much awe and joy as I received tonight when I saw SN 2014J with my own eyes.

Posted in astronomy | Leave a comment

#PrincessBrideScience

There is a new twitter hashtag #PrincessBrideScience that related famous quotes from that movie to science so I decided to have some fun with the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult with a few tweets.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Enviro-Whacko Logic

barred-owls-perchedFrom the ‘You Can’t Make This Up’ Department….

Environmentalists have had a long love affair with the spotted owl and they’ll tell you it’s because they love all creatures and want to protect them but the reality is they saw the spotted owl as a means to attack the logging industry.  Well now the chickens, or really the owls, are coming home to roost.

From the NPR story:

“In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that’s rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.”

The barred owl is moving into the spotted owl territory and because the barred owl is more aggressive and reproduces faster, it’s taking over the spotted owls’ nests and reducing the amount of food the spotted owls can eat.

So what is the Leftist solution to this case of Nature behaving in a ‘natural’ way?  Kill the barred owls!

“Barred owls are not rare. Still, shooting them has presented such a quandary to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it has taken more than seven years come to this solution.”

“On the other hand, the Fish and Wildlife Service can’t ignore the invasion because it’s legally required to help rare species under the Endangered Species Act. The agency even hired an ethicist, Clark University’s Bill Lynn, to help wildlife experts resolve the dilemma.”

People recognized there’s a crisis for the spotted owl, that barred owls are part of the cause of that crisis and, so, they reluctantly, essentially justified the experimental removal of barred owls,” Lynn says.”

They hired an ethicist to justify the killing of the barred owls to make them feel good!

Who gave the Federal Government the authority to play ‘God’ and decide which species is more important?  Do we derive such a great public benefit from having spotted owls flying around that it necessitates killing barred owls?

Of course not, but this is what always happens when Leftists get emotionally attached to an issue and then come face to face with the reality that Nature is against their cause.  They double down on stupid and try to influence a natural process so their preferred issue wins.  See Solyndra.

The spotted owl deserves its fair share and the wealthy barred owls have to sacrifice.  Besides, there are too many barred owls and they can afford to pay a little more to help the spotted owls.  Sound familiar?

Posted in politics | 2 Comments

A Damaging Book For Team Obama

Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense under Bush and Obama, has written a new book called “Duty” and NPR’s Steve Inskeep had a long interview with him about the new book.  Read the whole transcript here but I’ll share a few money quotes that show just how damaging this book will be to Team Obama.

All quotes are from Mr. Gates but I’ve also included some questions from Mr. Inskeep and they are noted with his name in front of the quote.

Vice President Joe Biden:

INSKEEP: Why did you write that Vice President Biden, in your view, has been wrong about every major foreign policy issue for 40 years? That’s a pretty scathing line.

GATES: And he was in there advising the president every day. He was, I think, stoking the president’s suspicion of the military. But the other side of it is, frankly, I believe it. The vice president, when he was a senator — a very new senator — voted against the aid package for South Vietnam, and the — that was part of the deal when we pulled out of South Vietnam to try and help them survive. He said that when the, when the Shah fell in Iran in 2009 — 1979, rather — that that was a step forward for progress toward human rights in Iran. He opposed virtually every element of President Reagan’s defense buildup. He voted against the B-1, the B-2, the MX and so on. He voted against the first Gulf War. So on a number of these major issues, I just — I, frankly, over a long period of time, felt that he had been on the wrong — he’d been — I think he had been wrong.

The young, arrogant members of Obama’s staff:

I had worked for probably three of the most significant and toughest national security advisers in our history: Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft. And there were things that went on in the Obama White House that, under those three guys, I am confident would have been a firing offense, such as direct calls from NSC staff members to four-star generals and so on. That just wouldn’t have been allowed.

They were going outside the chain of command. It’s not appropriate for somebody on the National Security Council staff to be in direct contact with combatant commanders.

Hillary Clinton and why she opposed the Iraqi Surge:

Well, Hillary was a very strong supporter of the Afghan surge. And she turns to the president and says, you know, the reason that the surge worked — that the surge worked in Iraq, in terms of arguing for the surge in Afghanistan — and just commented almost just as an aside that the main reason she’d opposed the Iraq surge has been because of running against him in the — in the presidential — early in the presidential year in 2008.

Obama’s advisers cared more about politics than National Security:

INSKEEP: You do describe what you felt was, quote, a total focus on politics by often the president, nearly always Vice President Biden and always from the rest of his staff.

GATES: Well, what I — what I write about in the book was that domestic politics had a role in the debates about national security issues that I had not previously experienced. But I also go on to write that at the end of the day the president made — President Obama made decisions based on what he thought was in the best interest of U.S. national security. So his decisions to increase troops in Afghanistan early in 2009 and then a substantial increase toward the end of 2009, were decisions taken against all of the advice of his domestic political advisers, White House staff and the vice president.

The paranoia of Obama and having a need for everyone to love him:

INSKEEP: It’s remarkable this exchange that you record here on page 369. You’re in a private meeting with the president and Admiral Mike Mullen, the president’s top military adviser, and you quote the president asking a number of really direct questions: What is wrong? Is it the process? Are they — meaning the military — is the military suspicious of my politics? Do they resent that I never served in the military? Do they think because I’m young that I don’t see what they’re doing? That’s a remarkable series of questions to hear from a man who outwardly has always been quite confident.

That’s some pretty damning stuff right there.  This should be bad for Team Obama and the future POTUS aspirations of Hillary Clinton, right?  I doubt it.

I predict the State Run Media already have pieces written to discredit this book and they’ll say Mr. Gates has a political agenda and that is what drove him to write these lies.  The Juice Box “Journolists” like Ezra Klein will do their blocking as best they can to tamp down the hype of this book and divert attention to Bridgegate.  Jay Carney will deflect questions and refuse to comment on matters of National Security or some other bullshit like that.

But hopefully people will read this book and realize how much danger we are in right now because even matters of National Security aren’t immune to the petty, Chicago style politics of Team Obama.

May God have mercy on us because we have 3 more years of this.

Posted in politics | 4 Comments

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes In One Year

Type 2 diabetics can bring their blood sugar measurements within the normal range without medicine if they are diagnosed early and they adopt a lifestyle change. I did this in less than a year and I will share my journey in this blog post in the hopes that others can do the same thing and not only improve the quality of their life but also extend it.

On 08-MAR-13 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  My A1C measurement was 11.5% (which is literally almost off the charts since the maximum is 12%) and my morning blood sugar measurement was 352 mg/dL (which also bumps into the maximum level of 400 on most meters).  It should also be noted that in March 2013 I was 20 pounds over my normal ‘fighting weight’ and this also contributed to my poor physical health.

My Endocrinologist prescribed the maximum dose of Janumet and that accompanied with an increase in my exercise regime brought my A1C and fasting blood sugar measurements within the range of where Diabetics are asked to be – fasting blood sugar measurements of around 125 mg/dL and around 150 mg/dL two hours after a meal.  It should be noted that during the first 4 months on this Janumet/Exercise regime I did lose 10 of the 20 pounds that I needed to lose and that also helped.

But that wasn’t good enough for me.  These blood sugar measurements are not normal for a non-diabetic (less than 100 mg/dL fasting and less than 140 mg/dL two hours after a meal) and I wanted to be in that range without medicine.  There is sufficient evidence that high blood sugar measurements, even those classified as ‘normal’ by the American Diabetes Association, can lead to brain loss so just meeting the limits of the ADA was not enough for me.

When I expressed that desire to my Endocrinologist in July 2013, I was told to give up that fantasy because my genetics predisposed me to Type 2 Diabetes and I should get comfortable taking 2 pills a day to control my blood sugar.  Sorry doc, that’s not the way I operate!

Against the advice of my doctor but based on a comment thread in an earlier blog post, I decided in August 2013 to stop taking my medicine and undertake a radical, short term diet (based on a medical study from Newcastle University) to eliminate the fat around my pancreas and restart my beta cell/insulin production.

This diet is not easy and amounted to 800 calories per day with very little carbohydrates but I committed to do it for 2 weeks just to see what would happen.  To my surprise, after a week on this diet I lost that final 10 pounds and my morning blood sugar measurements were in the 70’s

blood sugar during dietSo, in only a week, that diet worked to reset my pancreas and bring my fasting blood sugar measurements into the normal range of a non-diabetic!

For the past 5 months after that radical diet, I have settled into a high fat (100 – 150g per day), high protein (100 – 150g per day) diet of around 2,000 – 2,500 calories a day and limited my carbohydrates to around 40g per day.  Those 40g of carbs come mainly from nuts, berries and vegetables and I totally eliminated bread, rice, grits, potatoes and other starchy carbs.

The results can be best shown via this graph of my morning blood sugar measurements which I started logging the day I was diagnosed.  The red arrow signifies the point where I started the week long diet and long term life style change.  Also note that there is a month gap where I stopped logging my morning blood sugar measurements in my spreadsheet but I did measure them everyday wi my meter and they were in the 130 – 150 mg/dL range.

morning blood sugar measurementsAnd now for the happy ending!

On 13-JAN-14 I had my 6 month checkup with my Endocrinologist and my A1C measurement was 5.1% (which is right in the middle of where a normal, non-diabetic would be) and based on that, my doctor ‘released’ me!  My blood sugar measurements are now ‘normal’ without medicine so (in my doctor’s own words) there is no reason to see him every 6 months and I can get a yearly A1C with my primary care physician during my annual physical.

Although this is a ‘happy ending’, this is not the end.  This lifestyle change is something I’m committed to do for the rest of my life and I continue to learn something every week about how what I put in my mouth correlates to my overall health and blood sugar measurements so expect many more blog posts about what I’ve learned.

What I hope to stress to everyone reading this blog post is that the Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis I received in March of 2013 was not a death sentence but instead a wakeup call.

After that diagnosis, I wondered what goes through the mind of a diabetic who is in the hospital getting prepped to get his feet amputated.  Does he think about all the pizzas, cup cakes, baked potatoes, french fries and sub sandwiches he’s eaten over the course of his life and say, ‘yea, that was totally worth it?’  Or does he wish he could have a few more years to walk his daughter down the aisle, see his son graduate from college or hold his grandchild in his arms?  I think it is the latter and I’m taking responsibility now for what goes in my mouth so I can lead a long, full life and be there for my family.

Posted in Diabetes | 10 Comments

War On Poverty Update

There seems to be a rallying cry of the Left this year to push the class warfare, income inequality memes and they are now claiming a renewed interest in the War on Poverty.

Before we listen to the Elizabeth Warrens of the world tell us how to redistribute the wealth, let’s see how we’ve done fighting this War on Poverty over the last 50 years.

The following graph shows the US annual poverty rate plotted against the combined spending (expressed as a percentage of US GDP) of Welfare and Medicaid.

poverty rate vs welfareDo you think we’re winning this war?

At first you might draw the conclusion that this war has had the direct opposite results – Increased Welfare/Medicaid spending caused an INCREASE in the poverty rate since the slope of the trend line is positive.  But we must be careful with this statement because the correlation factor (R2) on this data is just 12% so that isn’t a sound statistical conclusion.  (Note – For a primer on correlation and R2, go here).

You can, however, draw a sound statistical conclusion that there is absolutely no truth to the meme generated by the Left that states we can lift people out of poverty by handing them more money via Welfare and Medicaid.  If the Left’s theory was right then the trend line would be negative (increased spending would correspond to a drop in poverty rate) but the graph clearly shows that isn’t true.

At best, you can make the claim that the US poverty rate has been stuck on about 11% since we started this war in the mid 1960’s and the massive amount of money we’ve thrown at this problem has had no effect at all.   The following graph illustrates this point.

poverty rate

Posted in economics, Income Inequality, politics | 1 Comment

Time For An AGW Cult Team Huddle

One of the high priests in the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Cult is Michael Mann (the hockey stick guy) and he’s all about supporting the cause (not science, the cause) but he better be worried because the guys and gals responsible for “supporting the cause” are starting to look like even bigger clowns than they have in the past.

Just about everybody in the continental US is experiencing record breaking cold temperatures that are blamed on this polar vortex (it was 7 F this morning for me in South Carolina) and you’d think the AGW cult would lay low while this latest example of their failed predictions comes on the heels of the Goretanic getting stuck in the Antarctic ice.  But no, leave it to NPR to continue carrying the water (I mean ice) for the AGW cult (emphasis mine):

“The next logical question is why the vortex has weakened so much that a big piece of it has spun down over the U.S.”

“Along with the effects that those high-pressure systems over Alaska and Greenland are having, there’s the possibility that climate change is also a factor.”

That’s right, according to the AGW cult, Global Warming is causing the massive deep freeze for the US right now.

In case you were wondering, NPR got this information from this Scientific American article:

“More and more Arctic sea ice is melting during summer months. The more ice that melts, the more the Arctic Ocean warms. The ocean radiates much of that excess heat back to the atmosphere in winter, which disrupts the polar vortex. Data taken over the past decade indicate that when a lot of Arctic sea ice disappears in the summer, the vortex has a tendency to weaken over the subsequent winter, if related atmospheric conditions prevail over the northern Atlantic Ocean.”

So this is all related to melting ice in the Arctic?  First, this is just a theory that can’t be confirmed by the very climate models that the AGW cult uses as their holy texts (see the end the blog post at this link).  But even if this theory were true, the Arctic sea ice extent measurements contradict this theory because they have within 2 standard deviations of the 30 year historical average for 2013.

arctic iceThe AGW cult claims that we had an unusual melting of Arctic sea ice during the summer of 2013 and this caused this disruption in the polar vortex this winter.  But from this link, we see again that the 2013 Arctic sea ice extent (shown as the brown line) was very close to the 30 year average (shown as the black line).  Moreover, we see that there was much more melting of Arctic ice in the summer of 2012 (shown as the dashed line) but that didn’t cause the polar vortex to send the US into a deep freeze last winter.

arctic ice 2013The AGW cult is flailing and it’s a glorious schadenfreude to watch.

ADDENDUM – If you want to monitor polar sea ice extent you can use the following links for the Arctic and Antarctic.

Posted in Climate Change | 1 Comment

The Mother Of All Climate Ironies

By now, we’re all familiar with the mother of all ironies as a Ship of Fools packed with Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) zealots got trapped in Antarctic sea ice.

You can’t make this stuff up.  A group of people that claim sea ice is melting on the poles plans an Antarctic expedition to document the sea ice melt but instead gets trapped in the sea ice and has to be air rescued by helicopter.  That kind of fail is reserved for the most ignorant of humans and can be likened to two submarine detecting submarines colliding in the open ocean (which actually happened).

We’d expect the AGW cult to use this inconvenient truth to seriously examine their models and theses but instead you can expect the AGW Team to spin this like nothing significant happened.

I can see the AGW cult spinning this failure two ways but we must be informed and not allow them to get away with it.

Spin #1 – The leader (Chris Turney) wasn’t going there to examine melting ice but just leading a tour retracing the path of an expedition that occurred in 1912.

First, Chris Turney is a high priest in the AGW cult as you can see from this video:

Here is Chris Turney blaming hurricane Sandy on Climate Change:

Chris Turley and his team believe that sea ice is melting and even though they were actually stuck in the ice, the AGW cult members on board doubled down in a message here.

“We’re stuck in our own experiment. We came to Antarctica to study how one of the biggest icebergs in the world has altered the system by trapping ice. We followed Sir Douglas Mawson’s footsteps into Commonwealth Bay, and are now ourselves trapped by ice surrounding our ship.”

“Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up. We have found this has changed the system on many levels. The increase in sea ice has freshened the seawater below, so much so that you can almost drink it. This change will have impacts on the deep ocean circulation.”

It should be noted that like all good AGW high priests (see Al Gore), Chris Turney has a financial interest in keeping this lie going.

“Chris Turney is, apparently, Professor of Climate Change at the University of NSW. He is also a Director of Carbonscape Holdings, which has “developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.”

Carbonscape, a company based in New Zealand, is funded by several government bodies there, such as the Ministry of Science & Innovation, the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.

Chris Turney wants others to get into this Ponzi scheme as well:

Make no mistake about it, Chris Turney is an AGW cult high priest and he lead this trip to Antarctica with the intent of documenting ice melt but instead encountered a wall of sea ice to rebut his cult beliefs.

Spin #2 – The ice appeared quickly and was a freak phenomenon.

Chris Turney seemed to allude to this as the cause of their debacle here in this tweet:

A “breakout”, huh?

No, this wasn’t a sudden event.  Here is a graph of the Antarctic sea ice extent and you can see that for the past 4 months Antarctica has seen ice formation outside 2 standard deviations of the average for the past 30 years.

antarctic iceSo expect the AGW cult to use these two spin tactics to divert attention away from this epic failure.  It is our job to ensure that we rebut these lies and prove to everyone that the AGW cult members are the real deniers of science.

Addendum – Here are a couple more ironic tweets from Chris Turney over the past year:

Posted in Climate Change | 2 Comments

GLAAD Just Went A Bridge Too Far

a bridge too farGLAAD (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has had a couple of no good, terrible, rotten years.

Last year it was their “kiss-in” protest at Chick-Fil-A restaurants that ended in complete failure.

This year GLAAD didn’t like Phil Robertson giving his interpretation of what the Bible calls a sin so they forced A&E to suspend him indefinitely.  GLAAD probably thought they had a huge win here but soon after both A&E and Cracker Barrel realized they were about to cut off the main demographic of their money making empires so they both reversed their positions and dropped GLAAD like a bad habit.

You might think this is just another example of a Leftist organization attempting to suppress the opinions with which they don’t agree only to realize the truth in Quinn’s First Law (Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of its stated intent).  But I think this latest temper tantrum of GLAAD took the culture debate in America to a new level and this is why I say GLAAD went a bridge too far.

If you aren’t familiar with the movie “A Bridge Too Far” then allow me to give some background.  This movie, which is one of my favorite war movies, told the historical account of the failed Operation Market Garden in WWII.  Montgomery had a plan to punch through the German Siegfried line defenses and send his troops deep inside German occupied lands but the operation was risky because it required paratroopers to take and hold 6 bridges while the main force motored through the country side.  In the end it was a failure because the logistical difficulties in trying to hold these 6 bridges proved too much and hence the movie title – A Bridge Too Far.

I think this latest GLAAD protest has gone a bridge too far and not only awaked a sleeping giant in America but also revealed just why the Left hates Duck Dynasty.

Before Duck Dynasty, attempts to infiltrate reality TV failed on the right because the focus was on “infiltrating” rather than producing good entertainment. With a grasp of pop culture and capitalism that puts Kris Kardashian to shame, the Robertsons are the first conservative family to understand how reality TV works.

The threat of the Robertsons isn’t in Phil’s politically incorrect comments. The threat is that this family has figured out how right-wing politics and Evangelical Christianity can influence pop culture without being the punch line or the bad guy. While the left has spent decades making conservatives look like idiots and Christians look like bigots, Duck Dynasty reminds average Americans that these views are mainstream. The left is alerted but will those on the right take advantage of what the Robertsons have created?

The Left, and specifically GLAAD, is worried.  Big Time!

And GLAAD’s worries are not just on a cultural war level but on a business level as well.  From GLAAD’s latest available Performance Report available on their website (ending December 2011), they have a money problem.

GLAAD Financial reportFor the fiscal year 2011, GLAAD had $4.1 million in revenue but $6.7 million in expenses.  Nobody ever accused Liberals of being good with balancing budgets!

GLAAD has not issued a similar report for 2012 but they did provide a copy of their Form 990 for 2012 and they had the same amount of revenue ($4.1 million) that year and reported expenses of $5.3 million.  Their budget deficit shrunk but they still are on a financially unsustainable course.

I noticed something else interesting from the Form 990 for 2012 – Their annual revenue from gifts, grants, contributions and membership fees has dropped.

glaad contributionsUnless things have changed in 2013 (which I doubt they have), GLAAD is on the ropes both financially and in the court of public opinion so now is the time to step on their throats.

We have seen over the past couple of years what can happen when Conservatives fight back with our voices and our money to force companies and organizations to stop giving money and time to Liberal groups.  Now is not the time to stop.

Addendum – If you are so inclined, Page 19 of the GLAAD Financial Report lists their corporate partners.  Notice NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN are listed.

GLAAD Corporate Partners 1GLAAD Corporate Partners 2

Posted in politics | 4 Comments

What To Do When Obamacare Unravels

Over Christmas there was a great Opinion piece in the Wall-Street Journal that fleshes out what I’ve been dancing around for a couple of years now.

The real way we will make our US healthcare system better is by moving it closer to a Free Market model and that means moving us away from employer provided group plans and toward individual plans.

Here are three paragraphs that should get you excited enough to not only read the whole thing but also write your Congressional representatives.

Health insurance should be individual, portable across jobs, states and providers; lifelong and guaranteed-renewable, meaning you have the right to continue with no unexpected increase in premiums if you get sick. Insurance should protect wealth against large, unforeseen, necessary expenses, rather than be a wildly inefficient payment plan for routine expenses.

People want to buy this insurance, and companies want to sell it. It would be far cheaper, and would solve the pre-existing conditions problem. We do not have such health insurance only because it was regulated out of existence. Businesses cannot establish or contribute to portable individual policies, or employees would have to pay taxes. So businesses only offer group plans. Knowing they will abandon individual insurance when they get a job, and without cross-state portability, there is little reason for young people to invest in lifelong, portable health insurance. Mandated coverage, pressure against full risk rating, and a dysfunctional cash market did the rest.

Rather than a mandate for employer-based groups, we should transition to fully individual-based health insurance. Allow national individual insurance offered and sold to anyone, anywhere, without the tangled mess of state mandates and regulations. Allow employers to contribute to individual insurance at least on an even basis with group plans. Current group plans can convert to individual plans, at once or as people leave. Since all members in a group convert, there is no adverse selection of sicker people.

What a novel idea – Let individuals decide what insurance plans are right for them and then watch as insurance companies adjust their policy offerings to meet the demands of the Market.

This plan makes so much sense that Washington DC won’t do it unless we start a grassroots movement to force them.

Posted in healthcare, Over Regulation, politics | Leave a comment

A Stimulus Plan That Is Too Good To Be True

I think of the weirdest things when I am running.  This just came to me and I’m surely missing something so please read through this and tell me why this won’t work.

Problem Statement

Companies legally avoid paying corporate taxes many ways but one of the more popular methods is moving manufacturing outside the US.

Granted there are other reasons why companies move manufacturing to a foreign country and many of these reasons make sound business sense and are just a nature of the Global Free Market.  My proposal below will not move all manufacturing locations back to the US and I believe that forcing companies to go against Market forces is bad so I’m not advocating that.  Market forces are not involved when a corporation has no option but to flee the US because of a Federal tax code that is anti-business and I’m proposing that we can stop this flight of manufacturing jobs from the US.

My Proposal

I think I have a way to remove the ‘stick’ the IRS uses to force corporations out of the US and replace it with a ‘carrot’ that will entice businesses to move manufacturing back to the US and level the playing field when it comes to corporate tax rates with other countries.

My proposal will move some of these jobs back to the US, stimulate the economy, lower corporate tax rates and increase Federal tax revenue.

Sound too good to be true?  Well, it does to me too but for the life of me I can’t think of a reason this won’t work.

Without further delay, here is my proposal:

Congress shall pass a law stating – A corporation will pay a 0% Federal tax rate on profits from products and/or services that are manufactured and/or generated in a US facility that is constructed or commissioned in 2014 and beyond.

There it is.  If you start up a new operation in the US anytime in 2014 and beyond then you’ll pay NO Federal taxes on profit from that location….forever.

To me, this plan has zero risk as far as the Federal Government is concerned.  Right now corporations are avoiding tax payments by having operations outside the US so having these companies move these operations back to the US and still pay no taxes on their profits from these facilities doesn’t reduce the amount of tax revenue Uncle Sam currently receives.

But in reality this proposal will INCREASE Federal tax revenue because these new US facilities will hire people who will earn a paycheck and pay taxes to the Federal Government (taxes they are not currently collecting).  Not to mention the fact that our budget deficit will shrink due to a reduction in outlays from Welfare and other entitlements as the unemployed or under employed grab some of these full time jobs.

And don’t forget the ripple effect of more people in the workforce buying things in the Market which will increase other revenues for other industries (which will increase the tax revenues these other industries pay).  Now this is what I call a real stimulus that doesn’t require shovel readiness.

This proposal can also help reduce healthcare costs since more people having full time jobs and participating in employer sponsored health care plans will allow for more preventative care and fewer emergency room visits and high cost, catastrophic medical procedures.

This proposal also appears to have enough red meat in it for both sides of the aisle and therefore can be pitched as a win-win for both the Left and the Right.

Conservatives will like this proposal because it is pro-business and reduces corporate tax rates.

Liberals will like this proposal because Federal tax revenue will increase.

Both sides should be in favor of decreasing the unemployment rate, removing the number of people on welfare and stimulating the economy.  That’s a nice message for Congressional representatives to take back to their districts!

But Seriously, this sounds too good to be true.  Why hasn’t Congress already passed a law like this?  What am I missing?  Please show me why this can’t work.

Addendum – For further reading on the subject, here is a link to a report from Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey outlining the damage done to US businesses due to our high corporate tax rate.

Posted in economics, politics | 8 Comments

Merry Christmas 2013

If I was the Creator of the Universe and I wanted to offer Salvation to the humans on planet Earth, I would not have done it the way God chose.

Think about it:

The Son of God was born to an unwed teenage mother in a stinky, unsanitary manger (most likely a cave).

He grew up in a poor household, became a carpenter and spent his spare time fishing.

He was followed by a small band of guys who weren’t in any danger of being listed on any Who’s Who lists and they were considered the lower end of society.

He spent just 3 years of His adult life walking and talking to whoever would give Him an audience and most of the time He spoke to poor, common folk and sometimes even prostitutes and tax collectors.

He was ridiculed and mocked by the religious and political elite.

Although He committed no crime, He was sentenced to die on a cross in one of the most painful and humiliating ways to die humans have ever devised.

The 11 guys who were entrusted to carry on His message were so afraid of meeting the same fate that they hid out after His death and one of them even denied even knowing him.

But yet here I sit, over 2,000 years later, in my office where there is a bookshelf that contains a dozen or so copies of a book that chronicles the teachings of Jesus.  How can this be?  How can we still be talking about Jesus when he led such an ordinary life and those entrusted to spread the Gospel were uneducated and scared of sharing this message?

Because God had a different plan!

God chose to use the imperfect, dregs of society to change the world and that means he can use you too.  Are you upset with the hand life has dealt you?  Tell it to Peter who was crucified upside down.  Tell it to the countless number of Christians who have paid the ultimate price for practicing their Faith.  Did you think this Christian life was supposed to be easy?

If there’s one thing you can take away from the less than ordinary birth of Christ, it’s that Christians weren’t meant to lead a pampered life full of unicorns and rainbows.  Christians follow Christ’s lead and live in the real world.  The Christian life is messy.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s controversial.  It’s radical.  It’s divisive.  It’s emotional.  It’s disappointing.  It’s unfair.  It’s hard.

But like those 11 men who were literally scared to death after Jesus’ death, Christians were created to change the world.  Are you ready?

Posted in christianity | 5 Comments

What The Chevy Volt and Obamacare Teach Us

Some people are pointing to the recent failures of Obamacare as proof that disaster ensues when the Federal Government gets involved in the private industry and tries to counteract Free Market forces.  You get no argument from me on that but we didn’t need to wait for the predicted Obamacare failures to arrive at that conclusion.  Remember the Chevy Volt?

Let’s compare the sales of the Government Motors Chevy Volt to the Nissan Leaf – two very similar Electric Vehicles (EV’s) that were both introduced at same time (December 2010).

You can see that while the sales numbers of the Volt beat the Leaf in 2012, the Leaf has now caught up with the Chevy Volt in 2013.

volt vs leaf

But in reality, the Volt is doing much worse than the graph above shows.  When you compare the Volt and Leaf sales to the overall trend of all US auto sales, the Leaf is clearly outperforming the Volt.  The Leaf sales are comparable to the overall US automobile sales but the Volt sales are lagging way behind the industry trend.  The two graphs below show Leaf and Volt sales on the left y-axis and all US auto sales on the right y-axis.

leaf vs usvolt vs usWhy did the Leaf outperform the Volt in 2013?

Maybe it’s because the Leaf is $5,385 cheaper ($26,685 for the Volt vs. $21,300 for the Leaf).  It should be noted that these MSRP’s have been reduced to take into account that both qualify for a ridiculous Federal tax credit of $7,500.

Maybe people avoid the Volt because it was a byproduct of huge government subsidies that amounted to $5 billion. After the GM bailout I vowed to never buy another GM product again and I’m sure I’m not alone with that decision so I can see how the Volt sales will suffer from this stigma.

Maybe it’s because the Volt has shown a tendency to catch fire during a crash.

It’s probably a combination of all the above but I think the main reason for the Volt underperformance is the fact that the Federal Government intervened and rescued a company that should’ve gone through bankruptcy and fixed its problems.  What happens when the Federal Government tries to counteract Free Market forces?  You get a product that is over-priced and doesn’t meet the needs of the consumer.  A Reuter’s article captured it best here.

“GM’s basic problem is that “the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced,” said Dennis Virag, president of the Michigan-based Automotive Consulting Group.”

“Over Engineered and over-priced” – Sounds a lot like Obamacare doesn’t it?

And full disclosure here, I’d love to buy an EV.  An EV is ideal for my long daily commute but right now the Volt is just not financially justifiable for me but I’ll wait for the private automobile companies (that didn’t rely on Federal Government subsidies to compensate for their inefficiencies) to innovate and eventually arrive at a final product that the Free Market always provides – an affordable product in plentiful supply that meets the needs of the consumer.

I’ll close with the following video from Ben Howe.

Posted in economics, politics | 3 Comments

This Is Newsworthy To NPR

npr-logo

It’s either a slow news day or NPR is trying to push the Elizabeth Warren ‘class warfare, wealth redistribution, Income Inequality’ talking points.

NPR just ran an honest to goodness story (it’s on their website and everything) that is about a part time contract security guard at Google earning less money than the full time Google employees inside the building.  I’m not joking.  That is the entire take-away of the story and I think NPR believes this revelation will make people angry or something.

Here are some parts from the article that really tug at the ole heart strings:

Take Manny Cardenas, a security guard at Google who lives in low-income housing in San Jose and commutes regularly to Google’s sprawling corporate campus in Mountain View. Cardenas, a stocky, soft-spoken 25-year-old, has been working as a part-time security guard at the search giant for the past year and a half.

Cardenas says his job is to “make sure none of the people were parking in Google’s parking place.” He says he usually stands in the lot for eight hours and gets a lunch break. That gives him a chance to dive into Google’s famous free gourmet food buffet; he would like to bring a few snacks home for his 5-year-old daughter, but as a contract worker, he can’t.

“I see people taking to-go boxes,” he says. “They give you to-go boxes if you ask for them, but we weren’t allowed to do that.”

Sometimes, Cardenas says, he doesn’t make enough money to feed himself and his daughter, which feels strange, working at a place like Google.

“Like, I was thinking, ‘Wow! If I was just one of them, I wouldn’t need to do any of that.’ They get to eat whatever they want, however they want.”

He stands in a parking lot for 8 hours, tells people where to park, earns $16/hr and even gets a free lunch inside Google’s gourmet buffet.  Off the top of my head I can think of about 20 other jobs that are way worse but the NPR story is presented in a manner that leads you to believe he is a 2nd class citizen who is being denied some God given right.

Did you catch all the class warfare terminology in this article?  “If I was just one of them”, “We weren’t allowed to do that” and “as a contract worker, he can’t.”  These phrases are supposed to give the impression that there is a caste system preventing Mr. Cardenas from moving up. 

This next sentence was just too much:

NPR reached out to Google, Apple and Twitter about pay for their security guards, and none responded.

“None responded.”  Well no kidding!  They probably thought it was a prank phone call.  What’s next?  Will NPR call the city of Santa Clara, CA and ask why the city garbage collectors earn less than the City Engineers?  Who told NPR to ponder such mysteries of the universe? 

I am glad to report that the story has a happy ending for Mr. Cardenas:

He finished college this semester, and on Monday he’s starting a new full-time job at a nonprofit.

Wait, you mean if someone works for and obtains a higher level of education then they can have a better job with benefits and higher income?  For those keeping score, that is TWO bombshells that NPR dropped in this one article!  I hope NPR devotes more time to this 2nd revelation that more education equates to higher earnings and better benefits.  Who knew?   

 

AddendumI’d like to make the following disclaimer – I have no issues with Mr. Cardenas and based purely on the info in the NPR article I’d say he’s a pretty good guy.  I commend him for working hard, striving to move up the economic ladder, going to college and supporting his daughter.  I wish him well in his new profession.  My gripe is purely with the obvious bias of NPR and their desire to push a dangerous meme.  And it’s obvious the State Run Media has been successful at pushing this class warfare meme because many of the statements made in the article came directly from Mr. Cardenas. 

Posted in Income Inequality, npr, politics | 2 Comments

The AGW Cult Is In Denial

There is snow in Egypt for the first time in over 100 years but yet the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult is still clinging like Pharisees to their shifting holy scriptures.

Yes, AGW climate scientists have always predicted that increased atmospheric CO2 would lead to increased snow fall.  Oh wait!

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

I asked one of the more vocal AGW attack dogs from Skeptical Science, @Dana1981, to weigh in on this unprecedented event.

His response was a predictable straw man argument and he avoided the facts.

I challenge any AGW cult member to point me to a peer reviewed journal paper that predicted increased atmospheric CO2 would cause the Middle East to have snow accumulation.

Posted in Climate Change | 9 Comments

Understatement of the Year

I received a letter from Honda stating that my 2003 Odyssey needs to have its SRS electronic control unit repaired because there is a possibility that the air bag will deploy in a non-crash scenario.  A portion of the letter is shown below and the highlighted sentence is what I’d call a gross understatement!

honda

“An airbag that inadvertently deploys while the vehicle is in motion may distract the driver, increasing the risk of a crash.”

Yea, it would be a little distracting if my airbag deploys while I’m driving 65 mph on the interstate.

I’ll be taking my van into the Honda dealer soon!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments