Archive for October, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Just back from helping take the lil’ grandkids trick or treating. Unlike last year, not many people here giving out candy for little goblins, no doubt a sign of the economy.

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National Agricultural Summary Oct. 20-26, 2008

Corn: Nationally, 96 percent of the corn crop was mature, 4 points behind last year and 3 points behind the 5-year average. Nebraska acreage at 87 percent mature was the farthest behind, lagging 13 points behind the average. The crop was within 6 points of full maturity elsewhere. Producers had harvested 39 percent of the national crop, 31 points behind last year and 27 points behind the 5-year average. Producers in the Dakotas had harvested the smallest amount of their planted acreage, with 4 and 16 percent of the crop harvested in North Dakota and South Dakota, respectively. Harvest was also well behind in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. Condition of the corn crop improved 2 points from last week, reaching 64 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans: Producers had harvested 76 percent of the soybean acreage, 5 points behind last year, and 7 points behind the 5-year average.

Winter Wheat: In the winter wheat growing areas, the majority of the rain fell over Kansas and Nebraska. Totals reached 5 inches in isolated areas, while only light, scattered showers fell over areas to the south in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. Nationally, planting of winter wheat was complete on 84 percent of the acreage, 2 points behind last year and 4 points behind the 5-year average. Major planting activity was evident in Illinois, Indiana, and Oregon, where at least 15 percent of the crop was planted during the week. Producers completed seeding acreage in Colorado and Ohio. Producers in Arkansas and Missouri were planting their acreage 16 and 20 points, respectively, behind the 5-year average. Nationally, 69 percent of the crop had emerged, 3 points ahead of last year, but the same as the 5-year average. The winter wheat crop was rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Cotton: Nationally, 92 percent of the cotton acreage had open bolls, 3 points behind last year, and 1 point behind the 5-year average. Producers had harvested 40 percent of the crop, 7 points behind last year and 5 points behind the 5-year average. In California and Mississippi, harvest lagged 22 and 20 points, respectively, behind the average. Cotton condition was 48 percent good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week.

Sorghum

Rice: Ninety-five percent of the rice crop was harvested, 1 point ahead of last year, but 1 point behind the 5-year average. Harvest was complete in Louisiana and Texas. Harvest was 7 points ahead of the average pace in California, but was at or behind elsewhere.

Peanuts: Peanut producers had harvested 66 percent of the acreage, 7 points ahead of last year’s harvest pace, but 1 point behind the 5-year average. Harvest was very active in all States, with between 10 and 23 percent of the crop being harvested during the week.

Other Crops: Sugarbeet producers had harvested three-fourths of the acreage, 6 points behind last year, and 9 points behind the 5-year average. Harvest in Minnesota and North Dakota was most advanced, while major harvest activity during the week occurred in Idaho and Michigan. Twenty-two percent of the sunflower acreage was harvested, 25 points behind last year and 31 points behind the 5 year average. Other than Colorado, where harvest was 1 point ahead of the 5-year average, harvest was more than 30 points behind the average pace.

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Heritage Says Obama is Lying About His Tax Plan

Heritage never endorsed Obama’s tax plan, as his ads on television say they did, at all.  Why would he lie about something so obvious and easy to check?  (This seems to be a recurring theme.)

Anybody that thinks that Obama’s tax plan of wealth redistribution will lead to economic growth needs to get their medications changed.

Conclusion

The economy improves under each plan as compared to the baseline. The baseline forecast assumes that all of the Bush tax cuts disappear, which raises the cost of capital and marginal tax rates. Both candidates plan to reduce taxes com­pared to this scenario.

Senator McCain’s plan is substantially better at spurring economic growth than Senator Obama’s. This is not surprising, since Senator McCain focuses on economic growth and job creation while Senator Obama focuses on the redistribution of income. As Tax Policy Center Director Len Burman states, “the major themes of the two plans are, in the case of Senator McCain’s plan, that the major emphasis is on economic efficiency—cuts marginal tax rates, improves economic incentives…. In the case of Obama’s plan, the goal is primarily to improve pro­gressivity…to lower tax burdens on low-income people and raise them on higher-income people.”[10]  Each presidential candidate achieves his stated goal,with Senator McCain generating the most new jobs, growth, and additional income for individuals. Sen­ator Obama’s plan drives up the tax rate for individ­uals with annual incomes above $250,000 and redistributes money to workers with lower incomes.

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Excerpt from McCain Speech Today

After months of campaign trail eloquence, we’ve finally learned what Senator Obama’s economic goal is: to spread the wealth. In a radio interview revealed this week, he said the same thing — that one of the quote, “tragedies” of the civil rights movement is that it didn’t bring about “redistributive change.”

You see, Senator Obama believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs. He said that even though lower taxes on investment help our economy, he favors higher taxes on investment for quote “fairness.” There’s nothing “fair” about driving our economy into the ground. We all suffer when that happens, and that is the problem with Senator Obama’s approach to our economy. He is more interested in controlling wealth than in creating it … in redistributing money instead of spreading opportunity. I am going to create wealth for all Americans, by creating opportunity for all Americans.

Senator Obama is running to be Redistributionist in Chief. I’m running to be Commander in Chief. Senator Obama is running to spread the wealth. I’m running to create more wealth. Senator Obama is running to punish the successful. I’m running to make everyone successful.

From a speech by John McCain today.

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Car Problems and Good People

My daughter’s car started pouring out smoke this morning as she was driving to work in the left hand lane of the freeway.  She was able to get it pulled over to the side and safely stopped in the grass before she had to go across a bridge.  The tow truck driver arrived to find her crying in her car because she could not reach me (I was already at work and had my phone turned off for the day) and she didn’t have her daddy’s cell phone number entered into that cell phone, a replacement for the one that had gone through the washer and dryer and then inexplicably refused to function.   To top it all off, she was now late for work and had no idea how she was even going to get home, get the kids out of day care, or pay for any vehicle repairs.

The tow truck driver, to stop her tears, offered to buy her a cup of coffee (she doesn’t drink it), offered a cigarette (she doesn’t smoke) and when that failed, loaned her his car to drive to work.   He had never seen her before!  He towed the vehicle back to a family-owned mechanic shop, had it looked at, and called her at work to tell her that it was the master cylinder that had gone out, sprayed brake fluid all over the engine; hence the smoke.  Well, she had had the master cylinder replaced 2 months ago at a brake shop.  The driver opined that it should still be under warranty, and the car should be towed over to the facility that had replaced it.  There was just one problem; her insurance did not cover the additional towing and the towing fee of $60 would have to be paid up front. There was no charge for diagnosing the problem.

They (mechanic shop and tow truck driver) paid the additional towing fee for her, and told her that she could repay them when she returned the car that afternoon.  She suspects that he also had a lil’ talk with the place that had replaced the master cylinder 2 months ago because when she walked in to collect her car after work and to see if she owed any additional money (which she did not have), they just handed her the keys.

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LA Times Holding Video of Barack Obama with PLO Supporters and Operatives?

Read about it at Gateway Pundit.

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Redistribution of Wealth

From Bluey’s Blog:

In a local restaurant my server had on a “Obama 08″ tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference–just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need–the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I’ve decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

A lot of people that blithely support redistribution of wealth do not think that it will apply to them.

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Europe on the Brink of Currency Crisis Meltdown

The financial crisis spreading like wildfire across the former Soviet bloc threatens to set off a second and more dangerous banking crisis in Western Europe, tipping the whole Continent into a fully-fledged economic slump.

Currency pegs are being tested to destruction on the fringes of Europe’s monetary union in a traumatic upheaval that recalls the collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992.

“This is the biggest currency crisis the world has ever seen,” said Neil Mellor, a strategist at Bank of New York Mellon.

Experts fear the mayhem may soon trigger a chain reaction within the eurozone itself. The risk is a surge in capital flight from Austria – the country, as it happens, that set off the global banking collapse of May 1931 when Credit-Anstalt went down – and from a string of Club Med countries that rely on foreign funding to cover huge current account deficits.

The latest data from the Bank for International Settlements shows that Western European banks hold almost all the exposure to the emerging market bubble, now busting with spectacular effect.

They account for three-quarters of the total $4.7 trillion £2.96 trillion) in cross-border bank loans to Eastern Europe, Latin America and emerging Asia extended during the global credit boom – a sum that vastly exceeds the scale of both the US sub-prime and Alt-A debacles.

Read the rest in Sunday’s Telegraph.

Some of y’all may recall that I posted a piece about the bursting of the oil bubble this summer when some economists were predicting $500/barrel oil. At the time, I speculated that this would prove to be devastating to the eastern bloc countries that were so dependent on oil revenues (as well as Venezuela, Mexico, the middle east, and alternative fuel producers). I had no idea that European banks were so heavily invested in countries that will not be able to pay back the loans extended.

Exposure is 50pc of GDP for Switzerland, 25pc for Sweden, 24pc for the UK, and 23pc for Spain. The US figure is just 4pc. America is the staid old lady in this drama.

There is nothing wrong in being the staid old lady with a firm hand on the purse and eye toward repayment. Too bad that American banks were forced to lend money to Americans that could not pay it back; no sense in going into other markets in order to lend money to even more people that cannot repay.

Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas, says there is an imminent danger that East Europe’s currency pegs will be smashed unless the EU authorities wake up to the full gravity of the threat, and that in turn will trigger a dangerous crisis for EMU itself.

“The system is paralysed, and it is starting to look like Black Wednesday in 1992. I’m afraid this is going to have a very deflationary effect on the economy of Western Europe. It is almost guaranteed that euroland money supply is about to implode,” he said.

A grain of comfort for British readers: UK banks have almost no exposure to the ex-Communist bloc, except in Poland – one of the less vulnerable states.

The threat to Britain lies in emerging Asia, where banks have lent $329bn, almost as much as the Americans and Japanese combined. Whether you realise it or not, your pension fund is sunk in Vietnamese bonds and loans to Indian steel magnates. Didn’t they tell you?

Florida’s tourism income was a bright spot during an otherwise financially disastrous year due largely to European tourists. Those areas in Florida that are heavily dependent on tourism can only hope that this calamity does not occur, but I would certainly be planning for that eventuality in my budget decisions.

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Seein’ Stars?

Hat tip Rayra at GCP.

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Barack Obama’s Career Path

From Politically Drunk on Power:

Barack Obama, according to his own book and the testimony of relatives and their friends, was raised in quite a radical family. His adolescent mother developed an affinity with a Marxist teacher and become an agnostic or atheist. She met Barack Obama Sr. in a Russian language class. Yes, a Russian language class, circa 1960.

With no father in his home in Hawaii, he was mentored throughout his teens by Frank Marshall Davis, a man famous in communist circles, with a large FBI file. Davis also wrote an autobiography, “Sex Rebel,” which demonstrates numerous of his perversions, including pedophilia. Nothing new there, “sexual revolution” was a part of the Russia’s Marxist revolution: sex is divorced from reproduction, marriage, and child rearing; abortion becomes sublime. Sexual involvement is “liberated” into mutual use.

From there, Barack was on to New York and Columbia University (Bill Ayers was a neighbor there, too) then Chicago (where Ayers returned). Obama writes of attending socialist conferences and reading Marxist books around this time. He was trained in and taught the insurgent methods of “Rules for Radicals” drafted by cynical, “transformational Marxist,” Saul Alinsky. Thesis: lie, cheat, steal, etc., while making those with American principles live up to impossibly high standards of institutional altruism, so that we and our liberal government fail in ridicule, paving the way for the “egalitarian state.” Preach “change” and gradually build an activist army of the proletariat, motivated by (short sighted) self interest, for a crescendoing revolt. And funny thing, Alinsky’s book tosses an acknowledgment to Lucifer, “the very first radical,” a refreshing lapse into candor.

In Chicago, Obama met his wife Michelle at the Sidley & Austin law firm, where Ayers’ terrorist wife Bernardine Dohrn worked, too. And in Chicago, they joined Jeremiah Wright’s church, investing two decades and significant indoctrination of their daughters there. That is, until Wright turned his criticism from merely “God damn America,” toward the one, Obama. This congregation espouses Black Liberation Theology, an institutionalization of ethnocentric bitterness and a variant of Liberation Theology, which had been conceived in South America as an attempt to sell Marxism to Christians through the clergy, misapplying portions of the Bible. Concurrently, Obama has repeatedly exhorted, “our individual salvation depends on collective salvation.” While that would have been less than Good News to Christ’s Apostles, Marx may have found it catchy.

Obama also shared an office for apparently three years with Ayers and fellow SDS member Michael Klonsky (a self-described Maoist communist) while taking Annenberg millions and devoting much of it to ACORN and other insurgent “community organizations.” The goal? “Raise political consciousness” among chiefly black school kids. (Historically, an SDS and Weathermen objective has been to piggyback on any black revolt against America, for their Marxist ends.) What “political consciousness?” One attractive to Ayers, a self-proclaimed anarchistic Marxist. Ayers secured the purse, thus presumably played a responsible role in setting up young Mr. Obama as chairman. They apparently formed a small circle of Chicago’s education radicals.

In an overlapping circle, Obama became a member of the Marxist “New Party“ in the 1990’s while maintaining membership in the Democratic Party. He also gained an odd circle of radical Muslim, anti-Israel friends, including Khalid al Mansour and Rasheid Khalidi, has connected with the radical Muslim Brotherhood, and Louis Farrakhan credits Obama with a key role in organizing his 1995 “Million Man March.”

And what has Obama been doing as Senator besides running for President? Well, he donated $1M to, and in 2006 visited Kenya to campaign for, Raila Odinga, a Kenyan out of prison for communist insurgency, who allied himself with radical Islamists and their establishment of brutally oppressive Sharia law in that nation. Odinga lost and led the kind of protest that killed 1,500 Kenyans, mostly Christians, mostly by Muslims. Rape, too. Churches were burned. The thuggery worked and Obama’s man was named Prime Minister. “Change.”

Many Americans are hearing about Obama’s redistributionist and welfare/workfare plans, but do not know he is committed in the direction of conscription to state service and to planning his presidential agenda in meetings with ACORN. He is also committed to the “Freedom of Choice Act,” which would nullify all laws against partial birth abortion and those for parental notification, and any other restriction of abortion. So much for “Life, Liberty, and Property.”

These are some key elements of the Marxist/fascist career development of the one poised to become, of all things, United States President. Is that the one you want to stomach for America?

by Arlen Williams

That’s a pretty good summation. Although it is possible that somebody from a bad background can change for the better, his past and present associations prove that he hasn’t.

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