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Military Coup in Honduras?

Manuel Zelaya, President of Honduras, and a Hugo Chavez wanna-be, has apparently been overthrown in a bloodless military coup in Honduras. This is apparently in response to his attempts to co-op the military in his unconstitutional attempt to hold on to power despite term limits.

Although Obama is likely to disagree, this has all the earmarks of a major improvement in the living conditions in Honduras. I would have voted if the choice was threeway: Obama/McCain/MC.

Regards, Don

A billion here, a billion there ?


I think I'll sell my bearer bonds on Ebay to avoid the 33% Italian tax. Will Italy now be solvent?

Regards, Don

GE Compact Fluorescent Bulb Failure

After replacing almost all of the incandescent bulbs in my apartment in 10/2006, all on almost 24/7 since, (as I rarely sleep more than 45 minutes at a time), I finally have my first failure at about 20K operating hours. For a total of about $45 for about 12 bulbs, I have probably avoided replacing 120 incandescent bulbs so far and saved 60% of the electricity required.

Regards, Don

Talk about burying jars filled with FRN's


Obama Unveils Plan to Fund High-Speed Passenger Rail


President Barack Obama on Thursday set U.S. transportation policy on a new course, announcing at least $13 billion to enhance passenger rail service as an alternative to clogged highways and overcrowded airports.

"Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system, and everybody stands to benefit," Mr. Obama said, speaking at an event in Washington before leaving for Mexico....

This is someone who needs a drug test immediately.

What is the premium for inflation-protected first class stamps?


Both current first class stamps and Forever stamps (Liberty Bell) cost 42 cents today, but only the latter will suffice to mail a first class letter (or whatever) when the rate increases to 44 cents in May.

Regards, Don

It IS the heat, not the humility


WASHINGTON (AP) — Tinkering with Earth's climate to chill runaway global warming — a radical idea once dismissed out of hand — is being discussed by the White House as a potential emergency option, the president's new science adviser said Wednesday.

That's because global warming is happening so rapidly, John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month

Millions of Americans will die this summer and Walmart will run out of ice cubes, and they won't accept an ice cube subsidy.

Regards, Don

The Ultimate Futility of Economic Education


Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing

By Marisol Bello, USA TODAY
A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money.
Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses.

The systems generally work like this: Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount — say, 95 cents for $1 value — and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency.

Workers with dwindling wages are paying for groceries, yoga classes and fuel with Detroit Cheers, Ithaca Hours in New York, Plenty in North Carolina or BerkShares in Massachusetts.

Ed Collom, a University of Southern Maine sociologist who has studied local currencies, says they encourage people to buy locally. Merchants, hurting because customers have cut back on spending, benefit as consumers spend the local cash.

"We wanted to make new options available," says Jackie Smith of South Bend, Ind., who is working to launch a local currency. "It reinforces the message that having more control of the economy in local hands can help you cushion yourself from the blows of the marketplace."

About a dozen communities have local currencies, says Susan Witt, founder of BerkShares in the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts. She expects more to do it.

Under the BerkShares system, a buyer goes to one of 12 banks and pays $95 for $100 worth of BerkShares, which can be spent in 370 local businesses. Since its start in 2006, the system, the largest of its kind in the country, has circulated $2.3 million worth of BerkShares. In Detroit, three business owners are printing $4,500 worth of Detroit Cheers, which they are handing out to customers to spend in one of 12 shops.

During the Depression, local governments, businesses and individuals issued currency, known as scrip, to keep commerce flowing when bank closings led to a cash shortage.

By law, local money may not resemble federal bills or be promoted as legal tender of the United States, says Claudia Dickens of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

"We print the real thing," she says.

The IRS gets its share. When someone pays for goods or services with local money, the income to the business is taxable, says Tom Ochsenschlager of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. "It's not a way to avoid income taxes, or we'd all be paying in Detroit dollars," he says.

Pittsboro, N.C., is reviving the Plenty, a defunct local currency created in 2002. It is being printed in denominations of $1, $5, $20 and $50. A local bank will exchange $9 for $10 worth of Plenty.

"We're a wiped-out small town in America," says Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels, which accepts the Plenty. "This will strengthen the local economy. ... The nice thing about the Plenty is that it can't leave here."

Finally, an economic logic that even Obama can understand!

You can't fool all of the people all of the time

From a comment on the Atlantic Business Channel :

... richardAH March 30, 2009 4:59 PM
Concerned: "Now you've got yourself a car company, President Obama, what are you going to do with it??"

I think it imperative to recognize that the president is not a practical man. He is an ideologue, as should be obvious from his insistence on pursuing his agenda no matter what the cost. "He will print money until the presses melt," is, I think, what Rahm Emmanuel said a week or two ago. Now that he has a car company, here is what he will do with it: He maintain control indirectly by placing his people on the board; he will probably remake the company into a producer of a green fleet that matches his ideas about energy and global climate change. Since very few people want such cars, the next challenge will be to get Congress to pass legislation mandating fuel efficiency and emissions standards that only the GM cars (and a few imports) can meet, thereby forcing the more successful, mostly Japanese, companies to retool in order to compete in the American market. It probably wont work, but this is how Obama thinks. COMMAND and CONTROL. He wants to control three things: Education (to indoctrinate children), Energy (to control not only the economy but the shape of society itself), and Health Care (so the government can decide who lives and who dies). His father was a Communist; his mother was a Communist. What did you expect? a Centrist? a Humanist? He is very consistent if you don't listen to what he says (except when he slips up), but pay attention to what he does."

Universal Healthcare?, never mind


Roberts said she was confident that any other mistakes in operating endoscopic equipment at other VA facilities were corrected during the review. The VA has attributed the mistakes to human error.

The review of all VA medical centers and outpatient clinics followed reports in February that the department discovered "improperly reprocessed" endoscopic equipment used for colonoscopies in Murfreesboro and ear, nose and throat exams in Augusta, Ga.

According to a VA e-mail, only about half of the Murfreesboro and Augusta patients notified by letter of a mistake that exposed them to "potentially infectious fluids" have requested appointments for follow-up blood tests offered by the department.

Calculating Your 2008 Inflation Tax Credit

To calculate your 2008 Inflation Tax Credit, first find your average dollar asset wealth total for 2008 by adding the totals for Dec 31, 2007 and Dec 31, 2008 and dividing by 2. Then multiply the result by the price inflation rate for 2008, say .04. This is your 2008 Inflation Tax Credit. Then subtract this, and any prior year carry-over, from your 2008 income tax liability to produce your net 2008 tax liability.

For example, if your average 2008 dollar asset wealth was $250,000 and 2008 price inflation was 4%, then your 2008 Inflation Tax Credit is $10,000. If your 2008 income tax liability was $12,000, then your net 2008 tax liability would be $2,000. Alternately, if your 2008 income tax liability was $8,000, then your net 2008 tax liability would be zero and there would be a $2,000 inflation tax credit carry-over into TY2009.

Regards, Don

When Pat Buchanon is the most rational politician, you know we are in trouble


Yet one senses that we are doing again exactly what we have done before in this generation. Rather than endure the pain and accept the sacrifices to cure us of our addiction, we are going back to the heroin. And this time, with Dr. Bernanke handling the needle, we may just overdose.

Regards, Don

Making sense of it all

Follow the link

Keynesianism has conquered the hearts and minds of politicians and ordinary people alike because it provides a theoretical justification for irresponsible behavior. Medical science has established that one or two glasses of wine per day are good for your long-term health, but no doctor would recommend a recovering alcoholic to follow this prescription. Unfortunately, Keynesian economists do exactly this. They tell politicians, who are addicted to spending our money, that government expenditures are good. And they tell consumers, who are affected by severe spending problems, that consuming is good, while saving is bad. In medicine, such behaviour would get you expelled from the medical profession; in economics, it gives you a job in Washington.

Mis-evaluating centrally planned healthcare

One of the things that makes Socialism unworkable as an economic system is the unavailability of true market prices to allocate resources and make other necessary choices. As it turned out, the economic failure of communism was much delayed by the presence of much freer markets around the world which served up example prices to copy. These were lousy prices to use, but far better than nothing.

When I had someone tell me that the outcomes of the Canadian healthcare system were just ducky, I realized that a system in isolation and one with a US healthcare system south of its border will have substantially different outcomes.

As abysmal as the US healthcare system is, it is now effectively the only remaining system in the world in which drug companies have some incentives and funding to develop new products. The new product funding can only come as long as existing products earn sufficient profits, which either are re-invested directly, or serve to attract new outside investment.

The fabled low drug costs in Canada are entirely the result of the fact that Canadian sales do not support new development. Drug manufacturers are only willing to sell drugs at close to marginal manufacturing cost if the level of leakage back into the US is not sufficient to destroy US pricing and profits.

The Canadian government should be a strong opponent of universal healthcare, etc., in the US, since the loss of the ability to ride on the back of the US system is likely to drive Canadian costs and supply to levels which threaten the survival of governments all by itself.

Regards, Don

Challenge -- Describe the result if Foodcare Insurance were the standard

Insurance is never appropriate for universal, routine needs. If insurance premiums are to be low enough to be seen as both useful and affordable, then there must be a fundamental uncertainty so that services insured against are underpriced for actual consumers and over-priced for those who don't end up needing the services. This is necessary for the services to be actually paid for and provided. Third party payment doesn't really work.

Regards, Don

What the hell happened to the Blogroll order?

Did I hit a wrong key or was the loss of alphabetical ordering deliberate? Please change it back.

Thanks, Don