Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

It’s ok (maybe better) if Dems keep Senate and Reid wins …

November 2, 2010

First, it’s a given that the GOP will retake the House.

That’s good … real good … because:

  • Revenue (i.e. tax) bills originate in the House not the Senate … so, the House can keep passing sensible tax laws and, even if they get stopped in the Senate or vetoed by Obama, members of the House & Senate will have votes on record for 2012
  • The House has subpoena power … so there’ll be a constant string of public hearings on ObamaCare, tax policy, the economy etc. … I doubt that Steven Colbert will get a 2nd bite at the apple
  • While I’d prefer a young gun like Paul Ryan or Kevin McCarthy as the face of the GOP in the House, I think Boehner — with some coaching — can play the role without causing major damage

I also think that a Reid-led Senate would be a good thing … because:

  • If the Dem majority shrinks to, say,  52 … they won’t be able to pass any more mega-destructive legislation … some moderate Dem senators will be running in 2012 … they’ll be less willing to vote like rubber-stamp lemmings
  • I want Reid to be a public face of the Democratic party … it’ll play as “business as usual” and continue to infuriate voters
  • I don’t want Mitch McConnell to be the face of the GOP … he “shows” almost as badly as Reid

In other words, I think a GOP sweep would help Obama’s 2012 re-election run.  He runs against demons, and he’ll have some.

Winning just the House takes some of the wind out of that sail, and lays the groundwork for the GOP in 2012.

Musings: “Hey dude, why are you snapping your fingers ?”

October 18, 2010

3 variants of a very old joke:

Original
A dazed guy is standing on a street corner snapping his fingers.  Curious guy approaches and asks “Hey dude, why are you snapping your fingers ?”  Dazed guy answers: “To keep away elephants”.  Curious guy says: “There aren’t any elephants around here.” Finger snapper says: “See.  It works.”

Recent Past Version
A President is standing on a street corner ordering troops to Iraq.  Curious guy approaches and asks “Hey dude, why are you ordering troops to Iraq ?”  Troop-sender answers: “To avert another terrorist attack”.  Curious guy says: “There haven’t been any terrorist attacks since 9-11.”  President says: “See.  It works.”

Current
A President is standing on a street corner spending like a drunken sailor.  Curious guy approaches and asks “Hey dude, why are you spending like a drunken sailor ?”  Free-spender answers: “To avert an economic depression”.  Curious guy says: “There’s no depression around here.”  President says: “See.  It works.”

Hmmm.

Why are only 2 of these counter-factuals considered far fetched by the media?

Random thoughts from Thomas Sowell …

September 2, 2008

Excerpted from “Random Thoughts”, by Thomas Sowell, August 26, 2008

* * * * *

The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer– and they don’t want explanations that do not give them that.

* * * * *

Although you can block unwanted phone calls from commercial sources, you cannot block automated phone calls from politicians, which will be inundating us this election year. 

* * * * * 

One of the problems with successfully dealing with threats is that people start believing that there is no threat. That is where we are, seven years after 9/11, so that reminding people of terrorist dangers can be dismissed as “the politics of fear”.

* * * * *

There are countries in Europe that would love to have their unemployment rate fall to the 5.7 percent unemployment rate to which ours has risen. Yet those who seem to want us to imitate European economic and social policies never seem to want to consider the actual consequences of those policies.

* * * * *

Full article:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/08/random_thoughts_3.html

* * * * *

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Hmmm: Obama Visits Doctor (on a Sunday Night !)

July 28, 2008

The Story

CHICAGO — Barack Obama, back in his home town after a tour of Afghanistan, the Middle East and Europe, saw a doctor at the University of Chicago Medical Center on Sunday night to deal with a sore hip, inflamed from playing basketball.

My POV  (POV = point-of-view)

1) Obama promises that when he’s elected, we’ll get exactly the same health care that Senators get.

Does that mean that my doctor will see me on a Sunday night (for “soreness” no less)  instead of telling me that the next open appointment slot is 6 weeks from Tuesday at 1:46 — come early, but plan to wait?

Must be, because Obama certainly wouldn’t think of accepting preferential care, right?

2) Why do all of the candidates confuse “medical insurance” with “health care” ?  The former is just money; the latter is fundamental service delivery.  Two different things !

Amen.

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Energy – T. Boone Picken’s Plan

July 10, 2008

T. Boone Picken’s Plan to Escape the Grip of Foreign Oil
OpEd excerpted from the WSJ July 9, 2008

T. Boone Pickens has started running TV ads explaining the severity of the energy crisis and touting wind power as a quick, partial solution.  His WSJ OpEd spells out his plan:

“Each year we import more and more oil. In 1973, the year of the infamous oil embargo, the United States imported about 24% of our oil. In 1990, at the start of the first Gulf War, this had climbed to 42%. Today, we import almost 70% of our oil … [So] our economic engine is now 70% dependent on the energy resources of other countries, their good judgment, and most importantly, their good will toward us.

This year, we will spend almost $700 billion on imported oil, which is more than four times the annual cost of our current war in Iraq … if we don’t do anything about this problem, over the next 10 years we will spend around $10 trillion importing foreign oil. That is $10 trillion leaving the U.S. and going to foreign nations, making it what I certainly believe will be the single largest transfer of wealth in human history.

I have a clear goal in mind  … to reduce America’s foreign oil imports by more than one-third in the next five to 10 years.

Start with wind power  …  the U.S. has the capacity to generate 20% of its electricity supply from wind by 2030 …  [take] the energy generated by wind and use it to replace a significant percentage of the natural gas that is now being used to fuel our power plants.

Today, natural gas accounts for about 22% of our electricity generation in the U.S.  …  use new wind capacity to free up the natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. That would displace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports.

Natural gas is the only domestic energy of size that can be used to replace oil used for transportation, and it is abundant in the U.S. It is cheap and it is clean. With eight million natural-gas-powered vehicles on the road world-wide, the technology already exists to rapidly build out fleets of trucks, buses and even cars using natural gas as a fuel. Of these eight million vehicles, the U.S. has a paltry 150,000 right now.

[To get started] the government must mandate the formation of wind and solar transmission corridors, and renew the subsidies for economic and alternative energy development .

We need action. Now.”

                                      * * * * *

Observations:

1. Gotta like the guy’s passion and clarity of thought.  And, he puts his money where his mouth is – in ads and development capital.

2. Why not? Doesn’t solve the problem completely, but at least it hacks away at it.  No apparent downside. Doesn’t conflict with political agendas. 

3.  My bet? Politicos will take Picken’s ad quote “we can’t drill our way out of the problem” out of context and use it to support drilling bans. 

4. Watch: Congress will convene hearings on wind power and drag their feet.

                                   * * * * * 

Full story at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121556087828237463.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

Thanks to Christian Walker (MSB MBA alum) for the heads-up on the article

Want more from the Homa Files?
 Click link =>  The Homa Files Blog

Energy – T. Boone Picken's Plan

July 10, 2008

T. Boone Picken’s Plan to Escape the Grip of Foreign Oil
OpEd excerpted from the WSJ July 9, 2008

T. Boone Pickens has started running TV ads explaining the severity of the energy crisis and touting wind power as a quick, partial solution.  His WSJ OpEd spells out his plan:

“Each year we import more and more oil. In 1973, the year of the infamous oil embargo, the United States imported about 24% of our oil. In 1990, at the start of the first Gulf War, this had climbed to 42%. Today, we import almost 70% of our oil … [So] our economic engine is now 70% dependent on the energy resources of other countries, their good judgment, and most importantly, their good will toward us.

This year, we will spend almost $700 billion on imported oil, which is more than four times the annual cost of our current war in Iraq … if we don’t do anything about this problem, over the next 10 years we will spend around $10 trillion importing foreign oil. That is $10 trillion leaving the U.S. and going to foreign nations, making it what I certainly believe will be the single largest transfer of wealth in human history.

I have a clear goal in mind  … to reduce America’s foreign oil imports by more than one-third in the next five to 10 years.

Start with wind power  …  the U.S. has the capacity to generate 20% of its electricity supply from wind by 2030 …  [take] the energy generated by wind and use it to replace a significant percentage of the natural gas that is now being used to fuel our power plants.

Today, natural gas accounts for about 22% of our electricity generation in the U.S.  …  use new wind capacity to free up the natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. That would displace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports.

Natural gas is the only domestic energy of size that can be used to replace oil used for transportation, and it is abundant in the U.S. It is cheap and it is clean. With eight million natural-gas-powered vehicles on the road world-wide, the technology already exists to rapidly build out fleets of trucks, buses and even cars using natural gas as a fuel. Of these eight million vehicles, the U.S. has a paltry 150,000 right now.

[To get started] the government must mandate the formation of wind and solar transmission corridors, and renew the subsidies for economic and alternative energy development .

We need action. Now.”

                                      * * * * *

Observations:

1. Gotta like the guy’s passion and clarity of thought.  And, he puts his money where his mouth is – in ads and development capital.

2. Why not? Doesn’t solve the problem completely, but at least it hacks away at it.  No apparent downside. Doesn’t conflict with political agendas. 

3.  My bet? Politicos will take Picken’s ad quote “we can’t drill our way out of the problem” out of context and use it to support drilling bans. 

4. Watch: Congress will convene hearings on wind power and drag their feet.

                                   * * * * * 

Full story at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121556087828237463.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

Thanks to Christian Walker (MSB MBA alum) for the heads-up on the article

Want more from the Homa Files?
 Click link =>  The Homa Files Blog

Oil Econ: Losing Our Financial Independence ?

July 9, 2008

Pump Prices Hurt Americans Not Just in Pocketbook

Highlights from the WSJ July 8, 2008

Referencing a McKinsey Research Study

 

“Both presidential candidates are focusing on the economy this week, and for good reason: $4-a-gallon gasoline has Americans sliding into pocketbook shock.

 

But pain at the pump is only one reason energy now should be the central issue of this year’s campaign. Here’s the other, more insidious one: High oil prices are shredding America’s financial independence and producing a massive transfer of wealth from U.S. pocketbooks into the hands of suspect actors around the world, including Iran, Venezuela and Russia.

 

The U.S., in other words, now has an energy problem that is not only draining the bank accounts of its own citizens, but filling up the bank accounts of some who work against American interests around the globe … Oil-producing countries are accumulating piles of excess cash that they can use — and are using — to buy pieces of Western companies … (to buy) the  U.S. Treasury bonds that finance the federal government’s budget deficit (foreigners buy 80% of all newly issued Treasury bills) … (and) to advance anti-American political [and military] agendas.

 

To their credit, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama are trying to raise awareness of the corrosive national-security effects of oil prices. In his recent centerpiece address on energy, Sen. McCain declared: “When we buy foreign oil, we are enriching some of our worst enemies.” As far back as last fall, Sen. Obama said in a speech that money spent on foreign oil “corrupts budding democracies and allows dictators from hostile regimes to threaten the international community.” 
                                              * * * * *

Observations:

 

1.  Right now, about 1/3 of US oil is sourced domestically, about 1/3 comes from friendly nations (Canada, Mexico), and about 1/3 from problematic nations.  Let’sdrive less and drill more to at least cover the most problematic 1/3 of our consumption.

 

2. Both candidates have to stop parsing words and make the issue visceral —  e.g. “roughly $1 of each gallon of $4 gas goes into the pocket of folks who don’t like us and want to hurt us”  — “what are the prospects for long-term job security if US companies are increasingly foreign-owned?”

 

3. Shouldn’t the Congress be doing something a little more action-oriented  than “negotiating to hold a bipartisan energy summit”?  Geez guys, do something already… 
                                               * * * * *    


Full WSJ article:
http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB121546528614733687.html

 

McKinsey Global Institute special research study
“The New Power Brokers, Oil, Hedge Funds, Asia” 
http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/publications/The_New_Power_Brokers/index.asp 

 

Free Idea: “Drill Here, Drill Now” Referendums

June 21, 2008

This one is for the McCain campaign:

Given the popular support for drilling in ANWR (over 50% approval) and off-shore in the deep seas (over 70% approval), why not get some ballot initiatives going in battleground states (e.g.  the environmentally unaffected midwest states) — public referendums on whether or not to increase domestic drilling.  Wouldn’t be legally binding on anybody, but might turn out the (right) vote.