January 15, 2007

Paragraph of the Day: Reisman on ‘Green Japan’

Reisman (HT Don Luskin), after criticizing a New York Times article (probably requires free registration) praising Japan’s conservation efforts as a blueprint for what other countries should do, has a wrap for the ages (items described are as reported by the Times):

So there you have it: the Green party line presenting poverty as technologically advanced, as the wave of the future, and as morally virtuous. We can supposedly all look forward to the day when we will be as advanced as the Japanese and energy will cost us twice as much as it now does. When we too will be unable to afford central heating and will have to live in houses half their present size. When we will have to gather our entire family into the one heated room in the house. When we will have to follow one another into the same bathwater, and then use that bathwater to wash our clothes, which we will have to dry outdoors, as our great-grandparents did. When we will have to wear long underwear and sweaters to keep warm indoors. What a glorious, green future! What green slime The Times pours on the readers of its alleged news reports.

Fun Factoid About Manufacturing

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 1:27 pm

Decmber’s rebound of the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Index (from contraction in November at 49.5 to expansion in December at 51.4; noted as part of this post; any reading over 50.0 is considered expansion) was unprecedented.

Every long period of manufacturing expansion in the past 60 years has been followed by several at least seven months of contraction. But the most recently ended expansion was followed by only one month of contraction before manufacturing moved into expansion mode again, as you’ll see.

The following is from ISM history going all the way back to 1948; parenthetical values are for the month following the end of each streak, the lowest value it went to during the subsequent contraction, and the number of months of sub-50 performance occurred before the Index went back to 50.0 or higher (previous info carried forward from this previous post):

– February 1971 – August 1974: 43 months (46.2, 30.7, 12)
– August 1986 – April 1989: 33 months (49.3, 45.1, 12)
– October 1962 – December 1966: 51 months (49.1, 42.8, 8)
– August 1975 – July 1979: 48 months (49.5, 44.8, 7)
June 2003 – October 2006: 41 months (49.5, 49.5, 1)

Of course, no one can predict whether the expansion will continue, but it’s worth celebrating early indications that, unlike in the past, an extended expansion in the manufacturing sector appears, so far, to no longer automatically indicate that there will be a long period of decline.

Media outlets I have found that have noticed the above: Zero.


Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

BHOO ‘Can’t Ignore This’ Item: Where I Come From, This Is Known as ‘Making Stuff Up’

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:15 am

From the New York Daily News’ story Sunday about BHOO (Barack Hussein “Obambi” Obama; the “Obambi” nickname comes from beat writers in Chicago and has also been used by the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd) and his “quiet years in New York City”:

Obama’s first night in New York was spent curled up around his luggage in an alleyway on W. 109th St. – because his new landlord was AWOL.

He claims one of his roommates while in New York was an undocumented Pakistani immigrant named Sadiq, although he warns some of the people in the book are “composites.”

We can thank BHOO for introducing literary devices even James “Million Little Pieces” Frey might be too embarrassed to use into the realm of political biography.

No One Saw THIS Coming (/sarcasm)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:03 am

From CNNMoney.com, in a section inexplicably called “Special Report: Gas Crunch 2007″ (huh?):

Venezuela to nationalize ‘absolutely all’ energy sector

Of All the Cars to Have This Problem ….

Filed under: Business Moves,Consumer Outrage — Tom @ 6:16 am

…. it’s probably the last one you’d expect, and the one that has just about the most to lose, given its carefully cultivated image.

Ouch: Dayton Homearama Cancelled This Year

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 6:11 am

From the Dayton Business Journal:

Homearama canceled for this year

The Home Builders Association of Dayton and the Miami Valley will not hold its 2007 Homerama due to lack of builder interest as a result of a sluggish housing market.

The organization rarely has had to cancel a show since the event’s conception in the 1970s, said Tim Franck, executive director.

The 2007 Homerama was slated to take place in Washington Trace.

Franck said builder interest was lacking this year because of a high amount of existing spec inventory and existing homes for re-sale, as well as the slow-down the market has been experiencing for the past year.

“The builders didn’t think it was appropriate to start more spec inventory,” Franck said. “And I would tend to agree.”

It would seem to be a mistake to build pricey homes that won’t sell. As I understand it, in most years the Homearama homes are gobbled up almost before the show begins.

There’s One Word for This: Unsustainable

Filed under: Economy,Soc. Sec. & Retirement,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:06 am

France’s leaders are trying to convince their constituent to work more years, and to retire later.

Good luck:

Pension debate looms in French election campaign

PARIS, Jan 12, 2007 (AFP) – France’s next government will have to persuade workers to stay at work much longer if the country’s generous pension system is to survive into the 21st century, a top advisory body warned on Thursday.

Raising the retirement age is an explosive issue in France, and one that neither of the main candidates in April’s presidential election, the right’s Nicolas Sarkozy or the Socialist Segolene Royal, has tackled head-on.

Employment rates among France’s 55-64 year-olds stand at 37.8 percent, among the lowest in the European Union, where the average is 42.5 percent, due to a relatively low legal age of retirement, at 60, and high unemployment.

The workforce participation and employment rates in the US in 2005 were:

Ages 45-54 — 81.7%, 78.9%
Ages 55-64 — 62.9%, 60.8%

Stunning. I don’t see how France’s or the EU’s low employment rates, in combination with low birth rates, can possibly be sustainable.

Looks Like There’s Even a Lack of Agreement on ‘Climate Change’ in Europe

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:01 am

At least when it comes to doing something about the “problem”:

Germany considers legal action over EU emissions plan

11.01.2007 – 09:17 CET

Germany is considering taking the European Commission to court over its proposals for slashing industry carbon dioxide emissions.

According to German daily FT Deutschland, Berlin is currently preparing legal action, although a final decision at the coalition level has still to be taken.

Joachim Würmeling, the state secretary for energy, on Wednesday said that court action was being prepared so that the emission reductions required by Brussels for Germany would not become set in stone.

Economics minister Michael Glos and head of the Social Democrats Kurt Beck have also raised the idea of legal action.

“Economic growth will not help us if our environment is at risk but we need to achieve these objectives in a way which does not impinge on our competitiveness,” Mr Glos said, while refusing to rule out the legal path.

When the Social Democrat can’t handle what the EU is trying to force onto Germany, I’d say the idea a “consensus” is indeed shaky.

Positivity: On Martin Luther King Day, His Story of Lincoln and Stanton

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From “Loving Your Enemies,” delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, on 17 November 1957 (additional paragraph breaks added by me; HT to Jeff Sinnard, who posted on this last year):

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you.

Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load.

That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

I think of one of the best examples of this. We all remember the great president of this United States, Abraham Lincoln—these United States rather. You remember when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, “You don’t want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States.” He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it.

Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And if you read the great biography of Lincoln, if you read the great works about him, you will discover that as every president comes to the point, he came to the point of having to choose a Cabinet. And then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton.

And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: “Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?” Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said: “Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job.”

Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War, and a few months later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made by, about Abraham Lincoln was made about this man Stanton. And as Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, Stanton stood up and said: “Now he belongs to the ages.” And he made a beautiful statement concerning the character and the stature of this man.

If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton, if Abraham Lincoln had answered everything Stanton said, Abraham Lincoln would have not transformed and redeemed Stanton. Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.