Monday, January 29, 2007

Ford Resume Executive Bonuses

Get this. Ford loses the most money in its history and wants to give bonuses to the executives that made it happen. This, according to Bloomberg . Maybe I should start a bankruptcy watch for Ford.
Ford Motor Co. may resume paying executive bonuses to boost the morale of managers battered by three rounds of job cuts and plant closings in the past five years, people familiar with the matter said.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker is considering the renewal of bonuses as a way of supporting managers coping with reduced benefits, the elimination of merit raises and the threat of job losses, said the people, who didn't want to be identified because the discussions are private.

Ford paid no bonuses to its top 6,000 executives during the last two years. Ford's net income shrank to $1.44 billion for 2005. Ford said today it lost $5.8 billion in the fourth quarter and $12.7 billion for 2006, the biggest annual loss ever. The company is cutting 40,000 factory and white-collar jobs in hopes of restoring North American auto profits in 2009.

Restoring the bonuses may alienate the United Auto Workers union and its president, Ron Gettelfinger, in advance of midyear contract talks. ``Ford may be making a tactical mistake,'' said Dan Luria, an analyst at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth, Michigan.
A tactical mistake?!? You think?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Baby Boomers and Eco-friendly housing in Texas Hill Country

As the baby boomers retire to the Texas hill country and the culture of global warming marches on, we will likely see more of this. I don't see any reference to the use of solar power or any alternate fuels. They are collecting rain water and using compressed earth bricks. Big deal! I wonder if anyone has studied weather or not the energy used to produce, heat and cool these homes is less than traditional construction. Probably not.

Welfare Advocacy Journalism

Is this a news article on welfare or an editorial? It is apparent what it is from the beginning:
When Texas became one of the first states in the nation to overhaul welfare by insisting the poor work, the governor made a bold prediction.

"I believe this bill will make Texas a much better place," Gov. George W. Bush said at the June 1995 bill signing.

If issuing fewer welfare checks means better, then Texas has succeeded. But Texas' welfare-to-work success masks a growing poverty problem that, critics say, has little to do with the writing of paltry checks and much to do with the state's historical resistance to offering services to those in need.
When the articles use the phrase "critics say", that means, "the writers say, but this is an editorial masked as a news article so we have to hide our bias."

That aside, I think we need a new way of looking at welfare and politics. Such new thinking is found in economist Eric D. Beinhocker's book The Origin of Wealth. First some background on what he calls strong reciprocity:
Human beings are neither inherently altruistic nor selfish; instead they are what researchers call conditional cooperators and altruistic punishers. [They] refer to this type of behavior as strong reciprocity and define it as "a predisposition to cooperate with others, and to punish (even at personal cost if necessary) those that violate the norms of cooperation, even when it is implausible to expect these costs will be recovered at a later date."
Beinhocker goes on to apply this to public support for welfare:
The economic and political ramifications of strong reciprocity may not be immediately obvious, but once we change the core assumption of human behavior, a lot changes. As an example, consider the issue of public support for the welfare state. In the 1903s through the 1960s, U.S. government programs to help the less fortunate generally enjoyed widespread popular support. That support dropped dramatically in the 1970s through the 1990s. The reason for this drop have been the subject of much debate. Those on the left argue that the lack of support stems from racism, as those receiving benefits are overwhelmingly minorities, and the rise of the selfish "me" generation during this period-in other words, a lack of altruism. The favored explanation of the Right is that people finally woke up to the ineffectuality of most welfare programs, thought it was a waste of their taxes, and wanted their money back-in other words, self-interest.

Using a combination of surveys, [researchers] found significant evidence that the swing in attitude was really due to neither of these explanations, but to strong reciprocity in action. When the social programs were instituted, those receiving benefits were viewed primarily as people who wanted jobs but who, because of bad luck and the vagaries of the economy, could not get them. Social norms supported the idea that such people deserve help. In more recent times, however, the popular perception has shifted to the idea that people on benefits are lazy, not interested in work, and abusing the generosity of society. Those behaviors violate reciprocity norms, and are seen as warranting the withdrawal of support and even punishment.

The authors suggest that social policies should be designed specifically to "mobilize rather than offend reciprocal values." For example, policies that are consistent with strong reciprocity included providing skills training those who want to work, giving incentives for the poor to accumulate savings, supporting entreneurial activities in deprived areas, and improving educational opportunities for the disadvantaged. Likewise, strong reciprocity norms encourage people to categorize the disadvantaged into the deserving and undeserving.
So in the whole welfare debate, policy makers would be wise to heed Beinhocker's advice.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Foster Dog: Brady

Well, I got a new foster dog. Brady is a 9 month old chocolate lab who was given up by his owners. I have no clue why he was given up. He is perfectly fine. He walks good on a leash, is not hyper (at least so far), is not dog aggressive and is not one of those high energy dogs. The very first day I got him and he is as sweet as can be. He won't last long in the program, of that you can be sure.

Are Americans saving too much?

I am skeptical about this report. The only thing that tempers my skepticism is the realization that a lot of so-called conventional wisdom is just plan wrong. Plus, I have grown weary of the financial industry scamming people out of their money.

I have a theory that there are basically two groups of people in America right now. The first group is saving nothing for retirement and will be dependent upon others or the government. The second group is saving a lot (possibly too much if this economists are correct) and will have a comfortable retirement. As a result, the average savings rate is about zero now. I don't have any statistics or studies to back up my theory. Given the ridiculous nature of business articles in the Houston Chronicle, I could probably be a columnist.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's Official: Global Warming Causes Everything

With the recent assertion that climate changes causes terrorism, I would like to make it official: Global Warming Causes Everything. Here is just a short list of things Global Warming has caused:
-A prince to cancel his holiday.
-The Democrat election victory.
-A call for the next set of Nuremberg trials.
-Threats to wine production
-Predictions of Biblical disasters.
-Global warming implicated in China deaths.
-A total loss of hope.
-Fish kills
-Mountain growth
-Polar bears getting political.
-Better beer.

So it is apparant that Global Warming can be tied to any noticeable phenomenon. So not only does Global Warming Cause Everything, it explains everything. Therefore, this concept will hereafter and forever be known as the "Global Warming Theory of Everything" - GWTE for short.

Pass it on.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Climate change causes terrorism

OK. You man-made global warming proponents need to step back and take a deep breath. You have now gone over the edge by first blaming Katrina on global warming, but terrorism? Let's get real here. If you continue to spout nonsense, why should I take you seriously?

Ford May Set a Record

When Ford releases their 2006 earnings, they may set a record. However, instead of record profits, it will likely be the worst loss ever. Say goodbye while you still can.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Oversold Global Warming?

So, there is some room to to be skeptical about man made global warming when scientists fear they have oversold the theory.
Climate scientists might be expected to bask in the spotlight after their decades of toil. The general public now cares about greenhouse gases, and with a new Democratic-led Congress, federal action on climate change may be at hand.

Problem is, global warming may not have caused Hurricane Katrina, and last summer's heat waves were equaled and, in many cases, surpassed by heat in the 1930s.

In their efforts to capture the public's attention, then, have climate scientists oversold global warming? It's probably not a majority view, but a few climate scientists are beginning to question whether some dire predictions push the science too far.

"Some of us are wondering if we have created a monster," says Kevin Vranes, a climate scientist at the University of Colorado.
Better be careful Eric Berger. For writing a story like this, you might get your journalistic license taken away. There can be no dissent on the topic. Do not question. Do not doubt. Vranes, Lindzen and Pielke - you better shut up and go along if you know what is good for you.

That is the saddest part of this whole situation. When scientists present certainty in theories that are anything but certain and those that question the conclusions and methodology are basically drummed out of the profession, that is not science. We have a right to question and dissent without being compared to holocaust or evolution deniers. That is the way of science.

Global Warming Comes to Arizona

First a season of one tropical system entering the Gulf and then snow in Arizona. Al Gore, call your office.

Bears, Colts: Why Is It Historic?

Is it is historic? I guess it is, but why does the color of the coach matter? To me it doesn't and I would have never even notices had it not been for news stories trumpeting the fact.

To me, they are great coaches who have done great things with their teams. That is all. End of story. Good luck to both of them.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Universal health care interest grows

Hillary announces for President and this story appears. Coincidence? Right. I will save you the trouble of reading it. This is the bottom line:
The promise: Cover millions of uninsured adults and children. Improve the quality of care at hospitals and doctor's offices. Rein in rising costs that are eating up workers' wages, company profits and state budgets.

The problem: Someone's got to pay. And getting those with a stake in health care — doctors, insurers, hospitals, workers, employers, government — to agree on who and how much won't be easy.
Sure. It is easy. All of us will pay and medical care will be unaccessible and rationed. That is why people in Canada pay to come to the US for routine hip and shoulder replacements rather than wait for years.

To that, I say no thanks. Keep your "Universal Healthcare". I prefer mine to be private.

Trees-for-fuel plans

Using leftovers from logging operations is nothing new. I guess, it is getting more popular.
My dad goes to the local mill for the scrap wood to burn in his fire place. That is better than going to the mountains to cut wood. Trust me, I know. Both of us are two old to go cut wood in the mountains and haul it back in the pick up truck.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I thought dissent was patriotic

Don't you dare question manmade global warming or you will be drummed out of the meteorological profession. Or so says Heidi Cullen.

This is what the whole debate has come to? We cannot question the conclusions for risk of being called immoral, sued, put on trial and then have our livelihoods taken away from us. Nice. I did not think science worked that way.

Steve Jobs a Genius

This article on Microsoft anti-trust action has a buried nugget:
Microsoft had been working with partners on music devices for at least a year before Apple introduced the iPod in 2001 and catapulted to a dominant position in the market. Microsoft and its partners failed to come up with compelling hardware and had difficulty getting software to properly connect music collections on computers with their devices.
For people who love music like I do, that is why the iPod is the favorite piece of technology ever. You can keep the cell phone and I would rank the laptop 2nd behind the iPod. When I got one two years ago and my 2nd one a couple of months ago, I could not help but marvel that I can carry my entire CD collection around in my front shirt pocket. I can listen to any song I want, anytime, anywhere. If that is not magic, I don't know what is. Steve Jobs is a genius.

Steffy on Private Medical Data

I guess I need to keep track of the times the Houston Chronicle's Loren Steffy and I agree. This article is one of those times.

I am of the belief that certain things should be private and one of those things is medical data. And yet, the information age has spawned whole industries dedicated to getting your data and using it - sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.

When insurance companies start denying coverage or payments for genetic or unavoidable health problems (if that is not already happening) then that is going too far.

Prices Go Up Demand Falls

Imagine the surprise when the most basic of economic forces takes place. The Associated Press's Dan Caterinicchia registers such surprise when demand for oil dipped in 2006 below levels in 2004. Of course global demand was still higher driven by China and the Middle East. What drove the US decline:
In the U.S. — still the world's largest energy consuming nation — residual fuel oil deliveries experienced the steepest decline, falling nearly 27 percent to 673,000 barrels per day as industrial and electric utility facilities made major shifts to natural gas, the report said. Jet fuel demand declined by 2.8 percent to 1.6 million barrels a day.
In other words, flexible industries adjusted their demand as a result of price increases. What could be more basic than that?

Plans seek a better dog's life

I like this idea, but I think more needs to be done to prevent unwanted dogs than to house and adopt them out. I am not a big one for government action, but it is my view we should charge a tax for every dog that is not neutered or spayed. Whenever a dog goes to the vet, there is a $5 or $10 charge for the un-altered dog or cat. That money would then go to support facilities caring for unwanted pets or to provide low cost neutering or spaying.

That is what I would do if I was king.

Prince cancels holiday after blackmail

So, the global warming hysteria an associated religious fervor has come to this. We are now subject to coercion by the eco-police. I think Charles should have just paid money to plant trees. That would get him off the hook just like Al Gore gets off the hook for flying all over the world and driving in SUV's. Pathetic.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dropping oil prices provide economics lesson

Usually, the Houston Chronicle's Brett Clanton is a better business writer than this. However, he appears to have bent under the pressure of those hell bent on bashing "Big Oil". Here are some key grafts from this article:
Crude prices continued their downward slide Thursday, ending near $50 a barrel, in a move that should bring drivers more relief at the fuel pump. But they shouldn't expect the savings to come overnight.

Gas-station owners — many of whom were quick to raise prices when crude shot up to nearly $80 a barrel last July — have been taking longer than usual on the way down, industry analysts said.

Gas-station owners, many of whom are independent business people, are the ones who ultimately set the retail price of gasoline.

As with any business that bases rates on the ebb and flow of wholesale prices, gas-station owners are slow to lower pump prices because they want to hold on to the highest profits for as long as they can, said Steve Boyd, senior managing director of Houston-based Sun Coast Resources, one of the largest gasoline wholesalers in U.S.

"If you were an independent businessman, you'd probably do the same thing a little bit," he said.

Gas-station owners also may be keeping extra padding in prices, because there's always the chance wholesale prices will suddenly turn upward, analysts said.

Shoukat Dhanani, who owns more than 50 gas stations in the Houston area, disagrees with both of those ideas. The biggest factor in determining pump prices, he said, is what rivals nearby are offering. There is no competitive advantage in keeping prices high, he said, because lower prices bring in customers.

"When (crude) prices are coming down, everyone wants to be the first on the block to lower prices," Dhanani said.
And then the obligatory quoted from clueless Americans:
Several drivers interviewed Thursday said they would be happy if falling crude prices pushed pump prices lower.

"When you got a car that sucks gas like mine, it's nice to have gas prices go down," said Chad Evans, a Houston gym owner who was filling up his Chevrolet pickup for $2.18 a gallon at a Chevron on Kirby.

Maria Rojas, a dentist who commutes everyday from Sugar Land to Houston, said she doubts falling crude prices have anything to do with what she sees at the pump.

"It's never going to affect the gas prices because the oil companies are going to keep their revenue and we will always have to pay higher prices," she said.
Two points:
1) The retail gasoline market is one of the most perfectly competitive markets in the world.
2) The cost of most products in the market place are completely disconnected from the cost to make them. Prices are set upon the value they bring and the competitive environment.

This is why I think economic and business education is so lacking in this country. This is why we will end up serfs to government who will "make everything OK" instead of learning to think for ourselves.

Sorry Brett, you have done us a disservice with this article.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Women warned about serious hazard

Of all the stupid things to worry about, this takes the cake. No wonder our society is in decline when what we worry about is the size and weight of a woman's hand bag. Sheesh!
With big handbags becoming a key fashion accessory for working women, health experts are warning they can also become a key health concern.

Bags for women have become bigger and heavier as designers combine briefcases with handbags and straps have become longer but the extra leverage has many patients complaining of neck, shoulder and back problem

Shoppers Pay for Global Cooling

Man, I wish it was warmer so this would be avoided. After all the stories about this , everyone ignores when cold weather causes food supply problems.

James Baker Knows Chemical Industry Safety

I am sure glad James Baker has added his voice to the BP bashing chorus. I mean, first the Iraq Survey Group and then the BP commission. Is there anything James Baker cannot be in a position to judge?

Sure, they probably had some great people on the panel, but all I can find about anyone other than James Baker is:
Panel member Nancy Leveson, a professor of aeronautics and engineering systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I would like to hear from her more than from diplomat Baker.

Then again, I cannot stand reading 300 more pages about this story. I'll probably skip the rehash of the same suggestions.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Woman Dies for Wii

This is a very sad story of a woman who entered a contest to see how much water she could drink and died as a result. What a tragedy. What was the radio station thinking?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Rules over Results

This article by Walter Williams uses an analogy to describe the rule of law instead of the rule of results:
By creating and enforcing neutral rules, we minimize conflict. Consider one area of ruthless competition -- sports. In Super Bowl XL, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks had a lot on the line. Specifically, there's the $73,000 payment per man, contract enrichment and other benefits to the winners. Despite a bitterly fought contest and all that was at stake, the game ended peacefully and winners and losers were civil to one another.
How is it that players with conflicting interests and reasons for winning can play a game, agree with the outcome and walk away as good sports? It's a minor miracle of sorts. That "miracle" is that it is far easier to reach agreement about the game's rules than the game's outcome. The rules are known and durable, and the referee's only job is their evenhanded enforcement. Even football teams with losing records would find their long-run interests lie in known, durable and evenhand rules. They can more adequately devise a winning strategy because predictability is enhanced.
Suppose the game rules were flexible and referees played a role in determining the game's outcome. In other words, imagine the referees were more interested in what they saw as justice than enforcing neutral rules. What might one predict about team behavior? Instead of trying to raise team productivity, owners would allocate resources to influence-peddling in the form of lobbying or bribing the referees.
This is exactly correct. The rule of law should be enforced. Equal outcomes should never be legislated. Thanks Walter.

Ex-TSU President on Trial

Ex-TSU President Slade's saga continues. I wonder if she is teaching?

Chemical Spill, Chronicle on the Story

The crack team (or is that team on crack?) of Houston Chronicle reports are all over a chemical incident in Sugarland. Notice the template in play:
Three employees of a Sugar Land chemical company were sent to a local hospital for treatment of respiratory problems Monday after water vapor and a chemical were accidentally released at the Nalco facility.

More than 5,200 students at five Fort Bend Independent School District schools were also ordered to stay inside classrooms until the emergency passed. That order was lifted shortly after 3 p.m.

Smith said there was a malfunction on a tank truck containing ethylenediamine.

The substance can cause respiratory and eye irritation and nausea, according to documents that give technical information about chemicals for employees and emergency workers.

Liver, kidneys and lungs may be damaged from repeated exposure.

Ethylenediamine is used to manufacture corrosion inhibitors in boiler feed water and other types of petrochemical plant process equipment, said plant manager John Wantuch.
The only thing left out of the standard template is the plant OSHA safety record.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Email from Beyond the Grave

Not sure I like this idea, but it might me nice to have information stored somewhere that could then be transmitted after death. It is kinda sad that the Internet would be a prefered method over having a trusted person. I wonder what kind of safeguards would be in place for something like this.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Biodiesel in Texas

I know a guy who is going to work here. This look interesting:
Agribiofuels, LLC was formed in 2005 for the purposes of producing biodiesel fuel from vegetable and animal fats and oils. The company has access to proprietary microwave technology which will enable it to use lower cost and quality feedstock to produce its biodiesel. Agribiofuels selected Dayton, Texas as the plant site based on its location in the heart of the south-east Texas agricultural belt and its easy access by rail and road to Houston and the rest of the Gulf region. Agribiofuels began biodiesel production at its Dayton, Texas technology center in November 2006 and plans to complete its 42 million gallon per year facility in late 2007.

It's All About Steffy

Once again, the Houston Chronicle's Loren Steffy peddles his self-centered, economic mumbo-jumbo in his latest column:

Just after Christmas, I took my family camping on Padre Island for a couple of days.

It was peaceful and relaxing. The serenity was shattered periodically, though, by a convoy of tractor-trailer trucks, running down the beach with oil-field equipment.

It was my first encounter with the national seashore drilling program that was authorized in 2002.

My immediate reaction was "this shouldn't be allowed."

Then, on the return trip, I happily filled my gas-guzzling Chevy van with $2.15 a gallon gasoline. What a relief from the prices of the summer.

In one short trip, I managed to span the range of emotions that's stymied what passes for a national energy policy. We can't decide who the enemy is.

Just like with cell phones, Steffy seems to think the economic world revolves around him. Because his vacation is interrupted by economic activity, it "shouldn't be allowed".

What should not be allowed is for economic might being welded by a misguided and irresponsible government that cannot even account for its own finances. Until the government stays out of energy policy, and other other economic matters for which it is totally unsuited, the problem will not be solved.

Of course, it will be solved without "decid[ing] who the enemy is" other than the government's interference.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Immigrants are Entrepreneurs

This is why I like immigrants:
A study released this week says about 25 percent of the technology and engineering companies launched in the U.S. in the past decade had at least one foreign-born founder.

The study throws new information into the debate over foreign workers who arrive in the U.S. on specialty visas.

The report, based on telephone surveys with 2,054 companies and projections by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Duke University, found that immigrants — mostly from India and China — helped start hundreds of companies with estimated sales of nearly $50 billion.

What is the phrase? "More...faster please"?

AP: "Hold Some of the Price Drop For Themselves"

It is article like this that really display the lack of economic knowledge in the world in general, and the press specifically. Here are the money quotes:
Kloza, though, said drivers shouldn't expect retail gasoline prices to drop as steeply as crude prices did this week. Many retailers were unable to pass along higher wholesale costs in December, and they'll likely hold onto some of the price drop for themselves.
Um....gasoline prices NEVER rise or drop as steeply as oil prices. In general, they follow each other, but there are dynamics far beyond translating the price of oil into the price of gas. To imply that there should be a direct, linear relationship portrays the writer's ignorance of how the economic world really works and disqualifies him or her from speaking on the subject. No wonder the story does not identify the writer. I might have to treat him or her like I treat Loren Steffy.

Steffy's Nardelli Principles

Occasionally, I agree with the Loren Steffy column. This week, he writes on the exorbitant compensation package for the outgoing CEO of Home Depot. I could not agree more. How can a guy fail so miserably and then be given $210 million to go away?

The only problem I have with Steffy is that every year (and every day for that matter) is the year of the stockholder. If you do not like a CEO or a company's practices, sell the stock or implement a proxy fight. However, the proxy votes are often controlled by insiders and until the big mutual funds step up and take a hard line against abuses, nothing will ever change. That is my opinion.

Three Weeks, Three Snow Storms in Colorado

I mean, what the hell is going on with all the snow in Colorado? I had to cancel my trip there over Christmas and New Years and likely am not going to go until February. Perhaps I should wait for the spring!

Oil Price Goes Down, Profits Go Down

No big surprise here. When the price of oil goes down, so do the profits of the oil companies, big or small. Why is that such a revelation? Sheesh!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Good News on The Jobs and Compensation Front

The news continues to be good regarding jobs and wage growth:

Employers stepped up hiring last month, boosting payrolls by a healthy 167,000 and keeping the unemployment rate steady at a still historically low 4.5 percent. Workers' wages grew briskly.

For all of 2006, the nation's unemployment rate dropped to a six-year low of 4.6 percent as the economy added 1.8 million jobs. In 2005, the unemployment rate averaged 5.1 percent.

Workers, many of whom had seen their paychecks eaten by inflation, saw wages grow robustly last month. Average hourly earnings jumped to $17.04, a sizable 0.5 percent rise from the prior month. Analysts were forecasting a more modest, 0.3 percent increase.

Over the last 12 months, wages grew by a strong 4.2 percent. That matched the annual gain registered in November and was exceeded only by a 4.3 percent annual increase in November 2000.
I must admit, I did not expect the economy to be this strong. All of the signs of a slowing economy were there, but reality is the global economy is still strong and the adaptation shown by the American economy is as robust as it has ever been. We may see a strong economy and stock market all the way up to the 2008 elections. The Fed isn't going to raise interest rates nor does it appear they will drop them. Inflation is tame.

It's all good.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cars Wi-Fi Hotspots

OK, this is going just a little too far. Is there no end to how connected we are all becoming? Next thing you know, they will have cell phones on air planes.

Want to Travel Into Space?

So do I. Will we be able to book it on Maybe some day if Jeff Bezos' secretive space company is successful.

I wonder if my father or grandfather felt like this regarding air travel? I guess I could ask dad because he is still around. Alas, both sets of grandparents have passed away so I can no longer ask them about the massive change they witnessed in their lives. I can only wonder if I will witness groundbreaking events like making space travel common. If only I live that long.

Change or Die

I heard an interview with Alan Deutschman on the radio driving into work this morning. In 2005, he wrote this article called "Change or Die". Now he has written a book by the same title. It sounded interesting enough for me to order on Amazon. I look forward to reading it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Boudreaux to Dobbs: "You Are Mistaken"

Dr. Donald Boudreaux, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, writes this letter to Lou Dobbs. The harshest Boudreaux gets is:
Every night on CNN you claim to speak for these people. They are America's middle class: decent folks who work hard and play by the rules but who, you insist, are abused by the powerful elite. Free trade is one of the policies allegedly supported by the elite and for which you reserve special vitriol. You thunder that imports destroy American jobs, reduce wages, and make the economy perilously "unbalanced."

But you are mistaken.
Me, I don't mince words. I've made it abundantly clear that I think Lou Dobbs is an American idiot. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. Do yourself a second favor and check out Professor Boudreaux's blog at Cafe Hayek. Hell, read it. Every day.

Celebrities and Science

I would say that this article applies not just to celebrities, but to anyone who wishes to speak on science. To be blunt, get your facts straight before opening your mouth. Here is a link to Sense about Science. Here is a report on Making Sense of Chemical Stories which is quite good. Check it out.

Toyota Soars, Ford Sinks

Gee, I never saw this coming.
Toyota Motor Corp. continued to gobble up market share in 2006, passing DaimlerChrysler AG as the No. 3 auto seller in the U.S. for the first time during a full calendar year.

The company had its best year ever in 2006, with sales up 12.9 percent for the year at more than 2.5 million vehicles.
What happened to poor Ford?
Ford sales dropped nearly 13 percent last month compared with December 2005, and they were off 8 percent for the year at about 2.9 million vehicles. Ford attributed the decline to a drop in truck and sport utility vehicle sales and the end of production for the Taurus sedan.
And how did Toyota do it?
Industry analysts say the Japanese automaker benefited from its reputation for quality and fuel efficiency as gasoline prices sent consumers fleeing to cars from trucks and sport utility vehicles during much of the year.
And what is Ford's brilliant strategy to counter Toyota?
Ford has said it is not focused on keeping market share, but rather wants to sell cars at a profit. The company lost $7 billion during the first three quarters of 2006 and is in the midst of a major restructuring plan to shrink its factory capacity to match lower consumer demand.
Goodbye Ford. You are done.

Doom for dollar? Don't bet on it

Are you worried about the value of a dollar? I'm not.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Real Tragedy: Darrent Williams Killed

On the heals of the Denver Broncos not making the playoffs this year comes a real tragedy: Bronco cornerback Darrent Williams was killed in a drive-by shooting in the early morning hours Monday. My condolences to his family. The playoffs mean nothing next to the death of an innocent person. Why do people have to go to such lengths to settle problems?