Friday, December 23, 2005
MSN alerted me at 8:46 a.m. of the explosives being found on four men
Yahoo.com had the first article I could find
ABC news actually posted before Yahoo did
At 8:55 MSN still couldnt get the latest info posted, but it was coming soon!
Nothing on Fox News.com yet either
Good job ABC on the early pick-up
Google News is a terrific way to look at all the big news of the last five minutes
- Bush bringing home 7,000 more troops, I guess it's going better than the dems could have hoped, bummer for them
- Union leaders in New York could face jail time for contempt of court, now that's "right to work" coming to life
- Wal Mart in $172 million worth of trouble because they didnt give part time employees time off for lunch, crazy kinda world that fines a company for allowing people to come to work and work four or five hours and go straight home, which is what the worker wants
I like to see what my brother and his bible research friends are digging up at minor prophet
Jumped to www.econopundit.com and then to a link to an article about the liberals much ado about Bush's eavesdropping issue. On this I agree with the wacko liberals, Bush should have had a Supreme Court Justice sign off on each of the warrants, in secret.
Indiana Blog Review picks up an ariticle projecting that the dems will pick up Congressional seats and move from the current 7-2 split to 5-4 ... or worse. Of course this was the day the Bush had 40% approval polls, isn't he running 60% now?
Great blog about blogging in 2005 and the trends that could change the way we communicate.
Investor and Consumer confidence at a 17 month high ... Bush popularity high (both links compliments of www.instapundit.com)
Wonderful PDF report on the worldwide progress of freedom. Yes, some countries like Uzbekistan moved backward but many moved ahead. A very positive continuing move.
New website for Calvary Church, complete with link to the Bishop's blog and Lionel's family blog for the Kenya trip.
I'm headed to Kenya in February so I'm keeping an eye on the recent reactions there to the constitutional election, take a look at a Kenyan blogger whom I read regularly.
Local News more interesting? Surf the discussion board at NWITimes.com ... you won't believe the things people will type. The biggie right now is young Mike Essany and his potential run for political office.
Enough for now, more tomorrow from sunny Naples.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Looks like New York transit workers have decided to go the way of steel and auto workers. Outsourced, laid off, and replaced by people that actually want to work. My vote is for Mayor Bloomberg to walk to work for the next six months and break the union.
So W breaks the law and wiretaps some criminals without permission from the liberal courts, catches criminals, and the liberals leak the information so we can't catch any more? That's brilliant.
Inflation dropped, let's say that again ... "dropped" by the greatest margin in 31 months. Time for efficiency to kick in or wages are going to have to go down.
I was watching CNBC this morning, T. Boone Pickens predicted oil at mid $40's in early 2006 and then back up to much higher levels by late 2006. Looks like lots of good news for the elections in 2006. Oil back down, inflation back down, interest reates to level off, W's popularity coming back up ... Republicans can hold House and Senate.
Steve Forbes suggested that the tax cuts in 2003 created the heated economy of 2003 and 2004 ... he wants the cuts extended for ever. I would agree if they cut the budget by the same abount. We've allowed government to grow way too large, again, at all levels.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
First, we need more doctors and nurses and specialists. I didn't even consider this problem. I guess this liberal (calls himself progressive) would suggest that the government should take over healthcare, but isnt so cavalier as to miss a salient point ... namely, we can't make the market balance by increasing demand and then complaining that prices go up.
We need more supply, on all levels.
So, let's make the application, since the entire exercise started with me asking the question, isn't housing next.
I would suggest that this means we need more builders, more remodelers, more suppliers, more trades, more people working to create homes and housing opportunities, more developers, more land under development, more homes being rehabbed, more supply ... that will begin the process of capping prices and letting the market determine value instead of false limitations on inventory doing the rapid increases.
By the way, that just proces Mr. Harper is an idiot. Everything he stands for is the antithesis of all of this. But what do you expect from an attorney who represents >>>>
The government has had a hand in making sure costs go up, by creating a monopoly and price protection. Getting the government out of medicine and letting the free market control would be preferrable.
Insurance companies have a hand in making sure costs go up. They don't care if costs increase as long as they can tell their shareholders that premiums are going up even faster. I don't see many insurance companies that are actually working to reduce the costs of medical expenses for families.
Doctors and Medical Practioners are in on it too. They work darn hard to make cosmetic and optional medicine a "need" so that the insurance companies can pay. They are using only expensive drugs, and very rarely perscribe generics unless asked by the patient. They never suggest to the patient ways to save money
Attorneys, the ambulance chasing kind, have run the cost of practicing medicine up to draconian levels because doctors have to purchase millions in coverage in case they ever make a mistake.
So, what are the politicians suggesting? Let's see Hillary thinks the government should just take over all medical coverage. Tax everyone who makes money, to pay for the entire system. Does that sound a bit like social security, which we already know doesn't work. Republicans are so busy being scared of the "poverty" segment of society, they don't want to recommend anything expect "limiting" government largess. Socialists and Libertarians are suggesting even dumber things. I would include the labor unions for the most part with the former, and "think tank" talking heads with the latter.
This is shaping up as a pretty catastrophic battle. The average household in middle America will have to work to make $50,000 a year for all their expenses, and then a second or third job for the $20-30,000 it would take to pay for their ever-increasing medical coverage. Now that's the kind of country I can be proud of, that's the place I like to call the American Dream.
No one, not a single politician, seems to care about the sheer cost of the medicine. You'll hear some talk about quality of life, or quality of coverage, or cost of innovation, or need to limit the power of the attorneys. But, I say no one is saying "Medicine Costs Too Much!!!!!"
You know what comes next, right? Housing and the expense of a home for the average American is going through the same exact cycle, it's just a few years behind. No one is saying "Homes and the expense of keeping a home are too expensive!!!!!"
I'd like to be the first.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Now if you talk to doctors or nurse practioners they will blame much of the medical cost increases on insurance companies. The insurance companies appear to be the easiest to blame for "massive" profits on the little people. They will also blame the liability coverage required because our legal system allows them to be sued anytime they make a mistake, they are risking our lives and deaths every day and will be punished financially if they make a mistake.
If you talk to insurance companies they will say that it is the doctors making huge salaries and profits off the little people and the drug companies pillaging us so they can sell cheap drugs eleswhere. Airline pilots don't make $250,000 a year for flying around anymore. Big business CEO are having their income reviewed for overpayment. But according to insurance, doctors and medical practitioners are making huge incomes and increases on the backs of the little people. For some reason this is compounded by the government making it illegal for a doctor to give a preferred price to a preferred patient. Talk about big brother. You can't negotiate your prices on medical coverage, why?
The media will suggest that advances in life sciences which have added decades to life expectancy are expensive. We can live much longer but to do so requires extremely expensive drugs and treatments that someone has to pay for. We can now live many years into retirement and that means that eventually the government will take over many people's health care since they will run out of savings, and the government as we all know is a poor purchaser of anything. They pay full price, or higher than full price for everything. By the way, the theory continues, that once the government agrees to pay too much, then everyone will raise their prices to that level. Basically, government protected pricing, like a monopoly utility.
Regulation is high, the cost of research is high and the government is extremely slow at processing new technologies. Many foreign countries get new medical technologies before the United States patients do.
Therefore a spiraling cost formula, where the rest of the economy is growing steadily at 3-5% and inflation is low at 2%, the cost of health care is in the double-digit growth ranks. What's the market going to do? Shouldn't the market forces prevail in this state of irrational exuberance and drop the cost of health care by 20 or 40%. That's what's predicted for housing right?
City of Bethlehem suing Guidant over product failures
The IRS lets a taxpayer deduct any expenses over 7.5% of their AGI, which for many people is a reality. More than 7.5% of their income for health care?
Big companies are dropping their near job to grave coverage, too expensive, now retirees and employees will have to pay some of their own expenses. My prediction? The end of company medical coverage within a decade. No company can pay year over year increases in excess of 10%, and keep the prices of their products level or even decreasing. It can't happen. Something will break.
Part Two tomorrow, here's the rub. I don't know that much about medicine, but I know housing. Are we next? What's the other huge increase in family expenses? Housing! I'm worried.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
They pushed to get the EU to offer reductions in agricultural tarriffs as well
I am generally in favor of the elimination of all tarriffs. No country needs the protection of arbitrary taxes to favor their products. In a global economy each product should stand on it's own merit.
Also, our system of taxes in the developed world arbitrarily raises the costs of foods for the underdeveloped world. What kind of person raises the price of food to the poor?
Saturday, December 10, 2005
He is more American than he is Democrat. I would much rather see him in the White House than Hillary.
He's made members of his party angry by supporting the military.
Of course not, Bob Harper pulled a fast one on Porter County residents, he got an open space ordinance and a drainage ordinance slammed into law that basically make developing in the county impossible.
All housing will go up by 5-10% immediately
You want homelessness? He's serving it up
You want people to have to drive 25 miles to work in Valpo, guzzling precious gas and ruining the environment? He's your guy
You want increased taxes? He's your guy
You want employers to move out of Porter County to areas that allow their employees a better standard of living? Make sure he keeps his job
Valparaiso isn't Southern California, we aren't so celebrity struck that we have to kiss a cable television "star's" behind to feel good about ourselves.
The scarry thing is how many people are using the Times bulletin board as a forum for whipping this "campaign" up in to a frenzy.
Times Bulletin Board on today's article
Want to see what the other side says? It's scarry stuff
Friday, December 09, 2005
Rest assured, 2006 will be a leveling of the huge increases we've seen in the last decade.
We will see builder stocks and mortgage stocks decrease as the market overeacts and penalizes these two segments.
But, by 2007 we will all be hearing about how much the market overeacted, and how healthy the housing and real estate markets really are. Just in time mind you, for the Republicans to make their 4 year political comeback in time for the Presidential election year in 2008
It's time we stop doing these two years extensions. If the tax cut is a good idea, it's good idea forever. Every time the Republicans try and extend they get beat up anyway, why not just extend for good and take the beating once and for all?
Detriot News suggests that the Republicans tried to pass a spending cut bill to cut about half of the money that this tax reduction will "cost" the budget. I disagree with the entire assumption that a tax cut "costs" the government anything. They didnt have the money, and werent using it wisely, theres no cost to them. They just need to function like a small business and zero base budget on what they got last year.
If they got 1 trillion dollars in 2005, they should only be able to spend 1 trillion in 2006. Is this so simplistic?
Now, let's pause and think this through a bit. The studies are mixed, on the one hand we are living a bit longer on average. But, the studies are filled with concern about the increase of obesity and diabetes in the post 50 crowd. This is the group that will be going on Social Security and Medicair this decade.
Our largest groundswell of people going on the government's dole will be in the next decade. Amazingly we have begun to assume a lifespan of 80 or 90 years, and the associated costs of living that long have been taken for granted.
I would suggest that the system of medicines and health care will bury us as a nation. We can't be beaten by terrorists. We can't be beaten by world leaders and rogue nations. We can't be beaten by privatization, or globalization, or out-sourcing ... But we seem easily overcome by our own desire to live forever.
I disagree, Gary Airport has the length of runway that Midway doesnt. It's time to get serious about Gary being the second Chicago Airport!
ABC news coverage
Indian site says it was exactly 33 years after the same thing happened to a United Airlines flight
Thursday, December 08, 2005
The first is a blog post attacking the Indiana requirement that you bring an identification card to vote. I guess asking for an ID is patently anti-black!
I guess a doctor testified in Indy that being gay is a mental disorder, causing rampant craziness and gnashing of teeth
Read this article closely, we might be able to make $100 million on a state asset, and have it run like a business instead of a government monopoly with a bad attitude. But doesnt the article make that sound ominous and bad?
This blogger is ticked because the Christian conservatives have the gall to be working together with black religious leaders against "gay marriage." Let's see ... Gay Marriage is against all of their beliefs? So they band together on this issue. But this guy says they arent allowed to band together because they aren't the same color?
Kinda like 23 year old Michael Essany for mayor of Valparaiso. Great idea.
Valpo blogger who points out Essany is already pulling "carpet bagger" status ala Hillary Clinton
EOnline essany page
He is getting a degree in political science, this month
Boston Globe big press style coverage, always make it Bush's fault.
"who can blame the Marshall for his response? I think he did exactly the right thing, and it makes me feel safer that we have such rapid responders. I wonder if the lefties will try to make a bad guy out of this man? Any one else feel an ACLU lawsuit coming on?
And so the demonizing begins."
A very well written note on opinion bug, the pervading thought is that the liberals will villify the air marshalls as trigger happy.
I disagree, I think the liberals are in the same box here that they are with Iraq. Watch Hillary, she's the leader. She will hail the air marshalls for doing their jobs, while also calling for more specific procedures for making sure mentally challenged people don't get killed accidentally. She'll talk our of both sides of her mouth, to try and keep the liberals happy, while maintaining some distance from their crazy ideas.
Sure the ACLU and wacko libs will cry for a lawsuit, and this guy's wife may sue, I'm sure she'll have no problem finding an attorney. But they have no case and the courts will throw it out.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Does it bother you that the gay-day supporters are making money off Evangelicals?
Does it bother you that it took Mickey Mouse's cash to make C.S. Lewis' novel into a blockbuster?
Or, do you feel like this article that Evangelicals are beginning to creep into the boardrooms of American?
In the world ... Not of the world. A tension indeed
A gay christian says he's buried in Aslan's closet
Mere-Othodoxy says Narnia will beat King Kong at the boxoffice
The Guardian says Narnia represents everything that is hateful about Religion
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
When voting started in the country, bloggers once again picked up the slack for the mainstream media after the five main opposition parties withdrew from the race and called on voters to stay home. A.M. Mora y Leon at Publius Pundit traveled around Caracas and witnessed only empty polling stations, saying, “We went to about 15 stations and saw about four voters at one station in West Caracas and another four at another station nearby. ... The only place where we found a line of voters was just outside Chávez´s presidential palace where some troops were standing in line to vote. They had been told: Vote, Or Else.” Miguel Octavio from The Devil’s Excrement took photos of the troops – and no one else – voting. He notes that Deputy Iris Varela threatened public workers with firing if they did not vote. Daniel Duquenal liveblogged with news on the ground all day long.
Pajamas Media coverage of Cuba's buddies in Venezuala trying to pretend their doing an election
Also, health insurance never showed the great bargain gains expected in "group" buys. Any person can go out and buy a major medical insurance policy ... for very little more than the group policy at work. This policy stays in effect no matter where they work. This policy stays in effect at the emoployees choice. It's good policy for employees and freedom of choice.
Verizon has frozen pension expansion and health care will be reduced
The commentators, especially the big government types, will say "Verizon will never be able to recruit employees". Hogwash. Employees are wanting freedome, mobility, home technologies, and empowerment ... not benefits that allow them to be controlled by others.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
You need to go to the Narnia movie.
Washington Township students have planned for months to go
The movie trailer and teaser are pretty cool
Put your favorite word in, fundamentalism? baptists? Islamicists? Abortion pushers? Crazy lifers who kill to save? Inquisitions? Communists? Socialists? Gang Leaders? Corporate Chiefs that steal and lie?
Truth will find you out, be sure of that. I think a really smart guy said that
- Hong King’s unique history has made it distinctly suited for being at the forefront of the battle for human rights and democracy, from British influence on common law traditions to thousands of refugees fleeing the communist mainland in the 1940s. They are Chinese people born and raised in the tradition of openness. They are a beacon for their brothers who were never given the liberties that they are entitled. This march, and others like it, will serve as an example for activists in Beijing and elsewhere who are preparing — even now — to challenge the government and take their rights back.
Publius has a rundown as usual of opposition forces in lots of far-away places. The question is are they really that far away in this global economy? No, not really. Oil comes from many of these countries. Terrorists too.
Scott Maddux of Agile TV Corp, a company trying to create a voice powered remote control for television
Blake Krikorian of Sling Media, a company working on a "gizmo" that lets you pick up your home TV signal on your computer anywhere in the world instead of letting the cable companies have a geographic monopoly.
Dmitry Shapiro of Veoh Networks, a company the lets anyone create and broadcast their own cable programming over the internet
Scott Newman of GoldPocket Interactive, a company that lets a cable show be interactive with the audience members
Pat Dunbar of DiMA Group, a company that helps companies look at additional advertising choices on the cable-internet collision, like T-commerce which lets you buy a product by clicking right on the ad on your TV.
What will happen to our industries? What innovations will change the very nature of our world?
Why is that? They employ millions of people who choose to work part time or off hours for their families. They buy billions of goods from countries that are fevereshly scrambling to get on the capitalism bandwagon. They sell at such low prices I would make the case that they, more than Alan Greenspan, have held down American inflation to 2 and 3% levels. They just won't take "price increase" for an answer. They believe in empowerment and innovation.
Go ahead tell me what's so wrong with this perennial American Dream creating company?
Fast Company Magazine relates the story, based on a Music Trades article, of WalMart's announcement that they would be selling inexpensive guitars. An instrument retailer said "After seeing an $89 guitar in WalMart, if they walk into your store and see a guitar for $500, their immediate reaction is, "" this guy's ripping me off.""
So, the overpriced guy, is complaining that the big mean WalMart monster is going to take away his $400 mamouth profit that he was screwing the buyer out of for years?
- We currently have passed legislation that delays the onset of full Social Security to 68, and there is a good deal of talk that we're going to push it to 70 -- a good deal of talk in Congress. At the same time, people are retiring earlier. The average age of retirement is now around 62, which is pretty high compared to Western Europe. It's 59 in France. So, it's very likely that by the time my son retires, there'll be 10 years of no government support for retirement, which he'll have to finance himself. So, that's more than 50 percent privatizing the retirement system.
We're probably going to shift gradually, despite the opposition to it, to private accounts, which exist in some countries, which require everyone who enters the labor force to put aside 30 percent of their income into a fund to cover retirement, health care, and education. In some countries, they permit you to borrow against that fund to buy houses.
And, it's approaching what American academics have. You cannot teach in American universities without having TIAA-CREF. In American universities, you're required to put aside between 12-and-a-half and 17 percent (it varies from university to university) into this fund so that when you retire you don't end up with a tin cup sitting on the administration building saying, "I was a good teacher once, please help me."
So, that's a forced retirement system. It has the advantage over Social Security that the government can't take it away.
Secondly, 24 hours a day I can call up and find out what am I worth today. It's my money and, I can leave it as a legacy to my children or grandchildren. Not only that, everyone who did as I did, when CREF became available, and took three-quarters in equities and one-quarter in bonds, is a multi-millionaire today.