Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What the heck?

Regular unleaded gas for the car costs $4.00 a gallon!!! This is the single biggest factor for Obama's re-election prospects. Gas over $3.50/gallon, there is no way Obama wins again.

But, how about this for a crazy factoid? Jet fuel, the kind they fly commercial airliners on, averaged $3.03/gallon last month (May 2011).

Say what?

Jet fuel is cheaper than gasoline? Somebody needs to tell the oil cartel, they are f*cking us over...

Confidence declining

From the America is going to H-E-double hockey sticks in a handbasket files, as seen in the USA Today: the percentage of middle-income American families that think it is possible to save for a secure retirement 37% in 2007, only 28% in 2011. Only 28% of American families think it is even possible to save for a secure retirement? The tiderbox is primed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thoughts on Peace

"Peace is the deliberate adjustment of one's life to the will of God."---Unknown

"Each one has to find his peace from within."---Gandhi

"Let us forgive each other- only then will we live in peace."---Tolstoy

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Avoiding the worst

Yahoo Finance had an interesting article this week about some of the metropolitan areas that have suffered less in the Great Recession. The Clarion Content has read about the low unemployment in parts of the depopulated Great Plains, the Dakotas and Nebraska, but this is less about regional commonality and more demographic commonality.

Yahoo says that university centered towns and cities have been more recession proof. There are still 112 metro areas in the United States with 10% unemployment or greater. It is not the places with big universities. Among the cities Yahoo cites, Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colorado and Madison, Wisconsin---all have unemployment rates well below the national average. Of course, double winner, big university town, in a depopulated natural resource heavy state, Lincoln, Nebraska, checks in with a miniscule unemployment rate of 4.1%.

Another factor not noted by the Yahoo folks, but likely just as important as the universities in shielding these areas from recession, all saw significant population growth in the last ten years.

Austin, TX Population change 2000-10: 20.4%

Madison, WI Population change 2000-10: 11.6%

Boulder, CO Population change 2000-10: 5.8%

Lincoln, NE Population change 2000-10: 14.5%

If one buys into the Simon-Steinmann Economic Growth Model, that may simply be that. Simon would seem to be especially likely to be relevant in metro areas with big universities because his assumptions about population growth and economic growth moving in concert are underpinned/fueled by technological developments and advances.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fixed, Part II

Wait a minute! There were insiders who made billions off of gaming the system before the financial house of cards collapsed?

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for Manhattan, is fighting systemic corruption.

The New York Times reports hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, who's Galleon Group hedge fund managed more than $7 billion in assets, was found guilty on yesterday of fourteen counts of fraud and conspiracy by a federal jury in Manhattan. Evidence showed that Mr. Rajaratnam allegedly used a corrupt network of tipsters to personally make over $63 million from insider trading trading in stocks. Apparently, that was merely the tip of the iceberg.

Rajaratnam and his firm paid out roughly $300 million in trading commissions annually to brokerage firms. As one of the prosecutors noted, "Cheating became part of his business model." Rajaratnam was taped saying, among many other incriminating statements, "I heard yesterday from somebody who’s on the board of Goldman Sachs that they are going to lose $2 per share," in advance of the bank’s earnings announcement.

Unfortunately, the uber-wealthy Rajaratnam's lawyers will appeal the verdict and will likely keep him out of jail long enough to flee the country. He will probably be sipping cocktails and proffering advice at Davos next year.


During the 2008 campaign, this guy vowed to "close the revolving door" and "clean up both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue" with "the most sweeping ethics reform in history." He must have just meant that as a rhetorical flourish, rather than an active policy making effort.

Need one more instance, one more reminder of just how fixed the game is Washington, D.C.?

One of the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) members, who mere weeks ago voted to approved the controversial merger of the Comcast cable monopoly and NBC television network, is leaving the FCC to become a senior vice president for the merged firm.

Can you say conflict of interest? Can you say bribery? Can you say, boy, the political environment sure has changed under President Obama?

Allegedly, yes, yes, no.

The media watchdog organization, Free Press, called the move, "just the latest, though perhaps most blatant, example of a so-called public servant cashing in at a company she is supposed to be regulating."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bin-Laden Raid

An interesting note in the Chicago Sun-Times points out that the U.S. Navy Seals conducting the raid on the house Osama bin-Laden was living in needed extra time on the ground. As you have probably read, one of their helicopters broke down and had to be destroyed. The Seals used this extra time to gather what may turn out to be valuable intelligence.

The interesting part of the story...despite the helicopters, the explosions, the firefight at a compound in a Pakistan city, all taking place supposedly down the street from the Pakistani equivalent of West Point, no Pakistani authorities, police, military or otherwise rushed to the scene.

Hmmmm. This registers as somewhat more than simply coincidental. Could the United States government be denying the complicity of the Pakistani government in the raid on bin-Laden to give its partners in the regime political cover?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We have been hearing a bunch of jive from Washington, D.C. about how the recession is over. This in no way matches up with what we are observing on the ground. In fact, to our eyes the recession is deepening, consumer confidence is weakening further, soaring gas prices and food prices are trimming consumer spending, and there is no end in sight.

Of course, the fat cats in Washington, D.C. who not only never pay for gasoline, but have their own drivers that come out of the taxpayers nickel, can hardly tell. When they want to know how bad the recession is, they have a secretary/aide/staffer, bring them a report. If the lobbyists and campaign contributors aren't worried, why should the politicians care?

Youthful Patriots

Spotted this on Texts from Last Night, ahhh, American youth culture.
"Went from writing my paper to watching obamas speech to crushing beers and singing springsteen in a crowd of 100 within 20 minutes. I love this country!" ---from New Hampshire.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More of the same

We saw another signal that Osama bin Laden's apparent assassination is not going to change much of anything this morning. Both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today show, neither of which we watch frequently, went directly from stories about bin Laden's death to commercials featuring the chairman of Exxon Mobil.

Aren't those two on the same side, trying to bleed America to death?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Patron saints of PC strike again

The dark forces of political correctness have struck again, once more trumpeting morality over truth. As smarter political commentators than the Clarion Content have noted, these paragons of political correctness set the stage for King George the II and his lackey, the Dick, Cheney. Their willingness to put a moral code above the truth gave King George solid firmament to stand on as he blithely lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, like the PCers he knew what was best for the country, the facts be damned.

Unfortunately, those cardinals of political correctness still haven't learned their lesson. We read this week, in the Huffington Post, where they bludgeoned the President-elect of the American College of Surgeons into resigning, a man who invented the Greenfield Filter, a device that has saved countless lives as a means of preventing blood clots during surgery, a professor emeritus of surgery at the University of Michigan, who has written more than 360 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, 128 book chapters and two textbooks and served on the editorial board of fifteen scientific journals.

His crime? Citing a peer-reviewed scientific study that suggested semen had health and psychological benefits for women.

The sentence in question, "So there's a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there's a better gift for that day than chocolates."

His intention as he told the Detroit Free Press, "The editorial was a review of what I thought was some fascinating new findings related to semen, and the way in which nature is trying to promote a stronger bond between men and women. It impressed me. It seemed as though it was a gift from nature. And so that was the reason for my lighthearted comments..."

The response from the Inquisition on behalf of Political Correctness? You're fired.

What a country!

One more Shuttle snafu

It was just the other day that the Clarion Content was lamenting the money pit that is NASA Space Shuttle program in all $200 billion has been poured down the drain. As if we needed one final demonstration, one more reminder of what it means to throw good money after bad, as gas creeps over $4 a gallon and more and more American children have to go hungry, NASA scrubbed the shuttle Endeavour's launch this weekend. Cost to scrub and reschedule $500,000 minimum for fuel alone!

They should have just cancelled. (the program twenty years ago...)


This is what we hope the reaction to Osama bin Laden's death is across all of America. Let us support peace.

Funny ha, ha