February 14, 2006

February 14 is “No Luv 4 Google” Day

NoLuv This post will stay at the top until the end of the day Tuesday.

I’m not a big fan of boycotts, because they tend not to be effective and tend to run out of steam.

This idea is different, and potentially effective:


Paul Hackett Interview with OH02

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:38 pm

OH02 managed to hold a very good and clearly unscripted interview with a bedraggled Paul Hackett this morning.

There are also some interesting insights into how he was treated by the national party, and some very choice words for certain people.

Even if you’re not into the inside-baseball stuff, there is a part that’s worth a listen. About 2/3 of the way through (22:15 to be exact), he mentions an issue that he feels very passionately about. About a minute later, he goes off on that issue for 2-1/2 minutes. There’s a good chance you’ll be screaming “yes” at your computer as he gets into it (hint: It’s like he’s channeling Michelle Malkin).

It left me wondering why I never heard about the issue during the 11 months he spent in public life.

Listen, and be amazed.

Retail Gas Prices Refuse to Cooperate with High-Price Predictions

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 9:23 pm

Here’s where the lowest prices were in Metro Cincinnati this evening.


I believe these prices are lower than they were in the month before Katrina hit.

This is in contrast to this prediction from just 10 days ago:

Q. What is the outlook for gasoline prices this year?

A. Unless something dramatic happens soon to lower oil prices — say, a sharp economic slowdown — analysts believe U.S. motorists could pay close to $3 a gallon for gasoline by the time summer rolls around.

Of course, any $3-a-gallon scenario is predicated on simultaneous supply-chain problems, an outcome analysts fear but executives say is unlikely. But concerns about everything from hurricanes to new clean-fuel specifications are, at the very least, going to keep the market on edge and retail prices elevated.

Motor fuels expert Tom Kloza of Wall, N.J.-based Oil Price Information Service said retail gasoline prices could rise by 50 cents over the first six months of the year and by an additional 25 cents if demand stays strong and any significant supply interruptions occur.

Of course it isn’t summer yet, but the prediction of a 50 cent rise over the first six months of the year looks pretty problematic, given that prices have dropped quite a bit since the first of the year (I couldn’t find an average price as of December 31, but I know prices were higher than they are now).

What You Really Need to Know about the Retail Sales Report

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 1:42 pm

The business news has very upbeat reports (“Retail sales surge”) of strong retail sales in January. They are fine as far as they go.

But (and this isn’t a media bias thing, it’s a personal preference), I think the most useful comparison is the current month of the current year vs. the same month last year, on a raw (not seasonally adjusted) basis.

These are numbers you can relate to (source is the retail sales PDF you can find a link to at the Department of Commerce home page):


An 8.9% increase year over year is very impressive. Take out the impact of higher gas prices (not shown), and you’re still near 8%. That is very, very good, which only leaves me wondering why the 8.7% Christmas spending increase was labeled very good, but not exceptional, when it occurred.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ Links (021406)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:56 am

Free Links:

  • Europe on verge of steep decline? Fareed Zakaria thinks so, and lays is out at MSNBC/Newsweek. I think there may be exceptions to the malaise, such as Poland and the Baltic states, and that the UK may muddle through with at least acceptable economic performance, but unfortunately I believe Zakaria is otherwise dead on.
  • In a story totally related to the previous item, the German public sector has walked out in its biggest strike in 14 years (HT EU Rota). For fans of socialized medicine, be advised that this includes hospitals. Expatica also has a story.
  • Old news, yes, but a different and I would say accurate spinCliff Kincaid sees trouble in the fine print of the documents that came out of the Tunisia United Nations Internet Summit. It’s never really over with these folks.
  • “Mom Was Right” Headline of the Day — “Money really doesn’t buy happiness, study finds.”
  • When I see a story about how Michelle Kwan’s endorsement deals might dry up as a result of her injury-driven withdrawal from the Olympics, my immediate reaction is that she probably doesn’t care about those things, and never has. She has to be one of the classiest acts ever to appear in any sport.
  • More news on Katrina fraud than I can stand to recount. If you can handle it, there’s a PDF link to the results of a Government Accountability Office report investigation into the extent of fraud. One word: pervasive.
  • It looks like Alan Greenspan will get $5 million or more for his memoirs — I’m all for it, if his wife and NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell’s retirement is part of the deal.
  • I’m sorry, this irritates me (US near full employment, White House says”) — What that means is that full employment for whites is just below its current 4.1% and full-employment for African-Americans is just below its current 8.9%. That’s not acceptable — I realize there are any number of reasons not relating to discrimination for the difference that won’t be solved overnight, but employers have to exert themselves a bit more to get, train, and keep people when times are good. No coasting, please, when people are still looking for work.

Positivity: Oklahoma Couple’s 72-Year Marriage Honored

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:13 am

A commemorative brick? Making it through 72 years of marriage in this world seems to call for a statue, in a story tailor-made for Valentine’s Day: