Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Small Business Protests Cap and Tax

McArthur's Bakery on Lemay Ferry Road, exercised their freedom of speech to protest Rep. Russ Carnahan's (D-MO) vote in support of Cap and Tax (HR 2454). Their sign read: "Russ Carnahan voted to close us and other small business;" however, they've agreed to take it down pending a discussion with Rep. Carnahan. Randy McArthur, President and CEO of McArthur's, is working with the Congressman's office to setup a face-to-face meeting.

Dana Loesch reported on the sign on her Sunday evening radio show and has a copy of the letter that Randy sent to Russ. It reads in part:
You sir are not good for small business. And we are letting all of our customers and neighbors know it.
More to follow including a discussion with Randy and David McArthur, Ed Martin, and myself...

This is just a one minute teaser from the fifteen minute discussion. I ask Randy about his profit margin; he responds; and then David comments about the increase in energy costs caused by Cap and Tax. The rest of the interview will take me a couple of days to post—I've got some Tea Party prep and real work to do.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Future of American Medicine?

I just saw a tweet from 24thstate.com. It's about the tragic realities of socialized medicine in Canada. He linked to this story from the Hamilton Spectator (emphasis added):
A critically ill Hamilton preemie turned away from McMaster Children's Hospital is all alone in a Buffalo intensive care unit because her parents don't have passports to get across the border.

Hamilton's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was full when Ava Isabella Stinson was born 14 weeks premature at St. Joseph's Hospital Thursday at 12:24 p.m.
Doesn't that change the reason given in the first paragraph for why the child is alone? I mean, Ava's not alone because of an insufficient supply of passports, she's alone because of an insufficient supply of NICU beds at McMaster Children's Hospital. What in the world!?!

Note that the bureaucracies of Canada and the US didn't have any trouble expediting the travel of the newborn--presumably without a passport. Here's a hint for the geniuses at Foggy Bottom: if you let the mother cross the border with her baby, there will be fewer stories about the deficiencies of both socialized medicine and your competence.

Skipping down a few graphs, the article continues:
A second area mom has also been separated from her children since being turned away from McMaster's NICU, which is closed to new admissions about 50 per cent of the time.


Dr. Peter Fitzgerald, president of McMaster Children's Hospital, said he's in discussions with the Ministry of Health about getting more beds for the NICU, which is already the largest and most modern in Ontario.
So it would seem that little Ava and her mother got the finest (or, at least, "most modern") socialized healthcare available in Ontario. Well, not literally "available in Ontario".

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Half Year Review from Uncle Jay

Play this video

Uncle Jay reviews the first half of the year to the tune of patriotic songs. It's another great episode from the Internet's funniest uncle!

Alternate Universe

Glenn Reynolds sent shock waves through the right-o-sphere today when he dreamed about an alternate universe without hehs, indeeds, and fierce moral urgency:
MY WHOLE LIFE MIGHT HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT, if I’d known as a kid that it would one day be possible to gain employment as a professional LEGO builder.
I can't be the only one going all Edvard Munch!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

CEI's Silence of the Regulated

I just watched the video above by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. This is a particularly challenging episode of "Name that Bureaucratic Rule" because the piece is an artistic parody. Nonetheless, please review The Practical Rules of Bureaucracy and add your assessment to the comments. I'm going with #9: Jerk People Around, but what do you think?


Friday, June 26, 2009

Cap and Tax Passes without ANY Republican Support *UPDATED*

Gateway Pundit is reporting that the Democrat's "Cap and Tax" bill passed without any Republican support. Republicans must remain united like this in their shouts of: No we wont!

Bravo to the House Republicans! Keep up the fight!

The clerk of the House has the Cap and Tax roll call (updated link).

Update: Michelle Malkin (via Gateway Pundit) is reporting:
At approx. 2:35pm Eastern, GOP Rep. Joe Barton announced that there is now a placeholder in the bill to be determined later.

Barton notes that this is unprecedented. He can’t recall any final passage of a bill that has a placeholder in it.
What in the world!!!

The early reports were apparently mistaken. Eight Republicans supported the bill. Here they are linked to their House webpages:
The Left Coast Rebel has a much more detailed review of the turncoat eight.

Yeah! What She Said!

I saw the picture above on Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi facebook wall. It's nice to see a protest babe conveying the opinions of the free world to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Update: Iowahawk says it's photoshoped.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

James Madison in Federalist No. 62

Philip Howard's post (h/t Instapundit) reminded me of something I saw at Friesian.com on The Fiction and Tyranny of "Administrative Law". It's a quote from Federalist No. 62 by James Madison:
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

....Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any manner effecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens....

....What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not but that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed? What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government?...

....No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Barney Frank Endorses Financial Deregulation

Reuters is reporting that Barney Frank (D-MA) wants to deregulate Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, two financial institutions that failed last summer because of his earlier opposition to financial oversight:
Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.
Apparently, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) wants to deregulate Fannie and Freddie because the existing regulation "may be too onerous" (emphasis added). What better way to add certainty to that "onerousness" than to take another run at insolvency at the GSAs!

I'm sure I was told that the problem was that these institutions were "unsupervised." Has Barney Frank (D-MA) tired of the oversight role that his position as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee affords him that he now embraces deregulation?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Neda: Angel of Iran *UPDATED*

The picture above of Neda Agha Soltani is from Iran Press News (via Gateway Pundit). Neda was murdered by the evil regime of Iran's puppet president Ahmedinejad while her father stood helplessly next to her. This CNN report shows Neda walking with her father at the protest shortly before being shot through the heart (WARNING: graphic):

Michael Silence has dubbed "Angel of Iran" the new rally cry for the opposition.

Cross Coverage:
Update: Armed and Dangerous Answers the Call
Key quotes from esr's Dispatches from the Iranian cyberfront:
Within an hour after I received a plea for help from Iran, a regular commenter on this blog recruited me into a hacker network that has been forming to support the democratic Iranian revolutionaries by providing them with proxy servers, Tor anonymizers, and any other technologies needed for them to communicate over channels the Iranian regime cannot censor or control.
If you are able, the people of Iran need your help.


Headline from Drudge: California crisis threatens to devastate school system...

You mean government education can be worse!? Who knew...

Seriously, I've thought for awhile that we should just cut education spending in half and see what happens. Everyone assumes that outcomes would worsen. I doubt they would be 50% worse. Nonetheless, it would tell us something about almost 3% of GDP and the marginal utility of education funding.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Interview with Iranian Activist Ahmad Batebi

The Gateway Pundit has a three part audio interview with Iranian activist and exile Ahmad Batebi. Batebi was imprisoned and tortured by the Iranian regime in 1999 because he was a leader of the student protests there. Now, through translator Banafsheh Zand Bonazzi, Batebi has spoken out against the soft response of the United States:
His (Obama) lack of response will not be regarded lightly. We will watch for how much his response will help the people or the regime. We will know more this week... Obama can hold talks with the regime in Iran if he wants. Is it morally correct for Obama to support the regime? Does he actually believe the people of Iran will appreciate that? The social movement requires support. If the world really wants the advent of terrorism to disappear in the Middle East, if they want peace with the Palestinians and Israel, if they want nuclear techhology to be developed for peaceful things and not nuclear weapons... They only need to suuport the people of Iran right now. This regime has the most dangerous of ideologies.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Video Editing is Coming to Wikipedia

Technology Review is reporting that Wikipedia will soon support editable video:
The organization behind Wikipedia is close to launching an editable online video encyclopedia to enhance the current textual one. The hope is to revolutionize the popular reference site and goad content providers--from public broadcasters to the music industry--into allowing more video to enter the public domain.
I like their long-term vision:
Later, Wikipedia plans to offer ways for users to search the entire Web for importable videos, and plans to provide tools to edit, add to, and reorganize the clips within the Wikipedia website, just as is now done with text.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shock City Studios Grand Opening Party

Shock City Studios: 2200 Gravois Av, St Louis, MO | 314.771.3099
Shock City Studios held their Grand Opening Party Thursday in their studio in the Benton Park neighborhood of south Saint Louis. The studio occupies nearly 7000 square feet in a 1920s era ice warehouse. Mix Magazine highlighted Shock City as one of the "coolest new studios" of 2009. While the building no longer delivers the ice to cool the city's many local brews, it will be delivering hot new music including a forthcoming single from Jibbs.

Doug Firley of Gravity Kills outside His New Office
Doug Firley and Chris Loesch are the ones that have made Shock City Studios happen, but there are many others behind the scenes. That includes Head Engineer Tony Esterly, a few independent engineers, and several interns. On the video side I met Andy (Aunt Max Entertainment), David (Sight & Sound), and Michelle—she's a video producer; however, I'm not sure if she's with Aunt Max or Shock City. I should've asked about the relationship between the two companies.

SSL 6000 Series G/G+ Console
The studio promises 5-star amenities including runners for each control room. Their spacious main control room is anchored by an SSL 6000 series console with flying faders. This room features the best new and vintage outboard gear and has a direct view into the huge live room and a 95 sq ft isolation booth. They're equipped with a Pro Tools|HD 4 Accel system.

Huge Live Room
Shock City Studios main attraction is their 1,100 sq ft live room. With 24 ft ceilings and 14,000 cu ft of total air space, there's plenty of room for the sound to develop. Four adjacent, distinctly tuned isolation booths are available to capture the live vibe. Make sure you check-out Shock City Studios website!

Video of the Live Room and Control Room
I'll be adding video from the interviews I conducted with Doug, Chris, and Andy, but it will probably be Monday before I get that done. Please check back!

Dana (L) at Shock City Studios Grand Opening
Dana Loesch of 97.1 Talk, BlogHer, Mamalogues, and Saint Louis Tea Party fame was also there. When I asked her about upcoming Tea Party events, she said that plans are not yet finalized for the 4th, but should be soon. She also indicated another, smaller event might be brewing for the weekend of the 27th.

Patriotic Dissent

Fox News is reporting that dissent is no longer patriotic, but rather a form of "low-level terrorism" according to the Pentagon:

The written exam, given as part of Department of Defense employees’ routine training, includes a multiple-choice question that asks:

“Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism?”

— Attacking the Pentagon

— IEDs

— Hate crimes against racial groups

— Protests

The correct answer, according to the exam, is "Protests."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

W Speaks Out

The Washington Times is reporting that George W Bush took aim at Obama's policies:
Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States, he said to huge cheers...

There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care, Mr. Bush said. I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Heed the Call

Cynthia Yockey of the blog A Conservative Lesbian, want's David Letterman fired for his appalling comments about Sarah Palin and her daughter Willow. She's done the hard work of continuing this battle and she's rebuked the right-o-sphere for giving up so easily. As the Other McCain has observed: "Dave has pissed off the wrong lesbian!"

Gateway Pundit has coverage of a protest outside Tuesday's taping of Letterman's Late Show. Letterman mocked the protest, but you can mock him by following that link and voting "no" in the poll there about his most recent apology.

Cynthia's got some great posts—posts the right needs to read to understand how to be more effective in the public arena. Checkout her blog and do what you can to keep the pressure on Dave!

International Interference

Greg Sargent at the The Plum Line looks favorably at Obama's handling of the Iranian crisis:
But guess who is praising Obama’s approach and saying Obama’s right to refrain from McCainian chest-thumping: George W. Bush’s top negotiator with Iran, Ambassador Nicholas Burns.

In an interview today with NPR, Burns praised Obama’s handling of the crisis, and said that a more aggressive response would actually play into the hands of President Ahmadinejad.

“President Ahmadinejad would like nothing better than to see a very aggressive series of statements by the United States that would try to put the U.S. in the center of this,” Burns said. “And I think President Obama is avoiding that quite rightly.”

“This is not a dispute for the U.S. to be the center of,” Burns said at another point. “It’s up to Iranians to decide who Iran’s future leaders will be. He said he respects Iran’s sovereignty. I think it was important to do that.”
Perhaps this Burns guy is right. Perhaps Obama is discretely promoting "hope and change" in Iran by exerting influence in ways that wont be covered in the media. After all, Obama dodged media scrutiny while steering foreign donations to victory last November, so he's not that troubled by international electoral meddling:
Something like $63 million has poured into Obama's coffers from foreign sources -- the tip there is that the donations end in pennies, like $43.36, which indicates they've been converted from foreign currency. Hence the odd amount of the donation.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama and Ahmadinejad

Having said that he will sit down with Ahmadinejad, I wonder if Obama will really do that if Ahmadinejad is still in power in a month. While Obama is voting present on the Iranian youth revolt, I'd like to suggest a venue for a townhall-style meeting between The Won and Ahmadinejad: Tehran University.

Update: Glenn Reynolds links the following:
The post-election options couldn’t be any more clear-cut: fight for democracy and human rights — or cut a deal with a thuggish despot at any price. What will Obama choose?
He'll vote present until the situation passes. This video makes that clear (h/t Gateway Pundit):

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Assorted Links: A View of Iran from Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis area bloggers have been doing a lot of work this weekend covering the upheaval in Iran. Here are some of the posts I've found:

FairTax Rally in Columbia, MO

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Saturday's FairTax Rally in Columbia, but at least one Saint Louis area blogger covered it.

The Gateway Pundit, is trying to elbow me out of my interviewing niche. Hey, Jim, next time you're conducting an interview, if you can't find a battalion of running air conditioner condensors for a backdrop, look around for a passing freight train! (mghoft, let me know where to send the check ;-) Here's the Gateway Pundit's coverage of the FairTax Rally. He's got a shot (reproduced below) of The Black Sphere's Kevin Jackson (L) with Herman Cain (R), former Chairman of Godfather's pizza. Kevin just published a book: The Big Black Lie. It might make an excellent father's day gift!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Civil War in Iran?

Looks like it:

The picture above is from Michael Totten's excellent coverage of riots and upheaval in Iran. He's got some video and a couple of first hand accounts.

We Had to Bulldoze the Village in Order to Save It

Peter Arnett call your office! Flint, Michigan, was the testing ground for a new "urban renewal" plan being considered by the administration:
Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.
"Shrink to survive"? I'd prefer to call it "destroy to save". That conveys a more historical perspective... the American version of Carthago delenda est without the salt.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Securities Reform

A few days ago I saw a Wall Street Journal article about reforming corporate elections. I have some thoughts about that below...

Yesterday, I saw a short video of Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) making a fool of himself. When he walked off the set I thought for a minute that he might have a point, but then I watched the full interview. He clearly did not understand the question. Yeah, he's one of our betters in Washington providing Congressional oversight of the financial sector.

The question was vitally important and my suggestion below for reform plays right to it. CNBC's Mark Haines asked Barney Frank (I'm massively paraphrasing): "The current investment model doesn't work very well because most shares are not owned by individuals but rather by mutual funds and ETFs, so the funds (mutual funds or ETFs) that an investor owns have voting rights, but the individual with the equity stake does not. How do you pass voting rights through mutual funds and ETFs to the actual investors?"

If you've only ever bought mutual funds through your company's 401k, you might not be aware of how the underlying asset works. You probably know that your S&P500 tracking fund buys shares in all the companies on the S&P500. You may not realize that the people that manage that fund at Fidelity, Vanguard, or a host of other investment houses vote your shares their way at the annual board meetings. You should get to vote your own shares: that is the inequity that CNBC's Mark Haines was getting at and the knuckle dragging Barney Frank was too dimwitted to grasp.

When you buy a fund, you are buying a small fractions of shares in many different companies. I would like to see funds reformed to account for the voting preferences of the shareholders. If someone buys shares in a mutual fund, their representation at board meetings should be proportional to their equity stake in the fund. In other words, if the fund effectively owns 13 shares of AAPL on behalf of John Doe, then John Doe's desire to kick Al Gore off the board of Apple Computer (AAPL) should be represented at the board meeting by the fund voting those 13 shares to oust Gore. Obviously, there's a substantial amount of calculation that has to happen to figure out who gets to vote on what. Furthermore, presenting all of that to someone that just wants to setup their 401k and be done with it is potentially problematic—no one wants to read the proxy statements of all the companies on the Wilshire 5000.

The way to bring representation to fund investors is two fold. First, fund investors should be granted the right to attend and participate in the annual meetings of companies whose shares are owned through the investor's fund. This does not compel companies to distribute their proxies to every fund investor that owns a fraction of a share through a fund. Rather, investors will have to determine when the annual meeting is for themselves (or perhaps be notified by their brokerage).

The second step is to require funds to track investor preferences. This can be accomplished by allowing investors to select rules that represent their preferences. Here are some rules of thumb for boards of directors:
  • Against all board members if company lost more than $1/share last year
  • Against chairman if company lost more than $0.50/share last year
  • Against the following specified board members: Al Gore
  • For the following specified board members: Steve Jobs, Anne Mulcahy
  • Against board members that donated to ANY political campaigns
The bolded parts should be user definable; they're variables. If you only want to support board members that donate to the Libertarian party, you should have that right. If you're wondering why I don't specify more rules for voting "for" board members, it has to do with how corporate elections are done. Every share in a company is voted in a corporate election. The board of directors signs off on a proxy statement (effectively, a ballot) that share holders are mailed. If a shareholder does not respond to the proxy, their shares are voted per the preference of the board. Needless to say, the board's preference is always for reelection.

I do not think the above list is complete or that you should only pick one of those rules. I would want all of those rules, but I might switch the last two. Steve Jobs and Anne Mulcahy are amazing corporate leaders. I suspect Steve donates to liberal politicians, but I'd like to keep him around anyway. In other words, each rule is considered in order so they narrow the field. If the "for" was last it would save Steve even though he may have made some iffy (in my opinion) donations.

The other question that is voted on annually is the choice of accounting firm. I have a simple rule for that one:
  • Against, if accounting firm has been selected in either of the previous two years
I don't want the companies I own to get to cozy with their auditors.

Corporate proxies often have a lot of other questions. Many of those will be hard to capture in the system of rules that I'm talking about, but some are not. Here are some obvious one:
  • Against all poison pills
  • For tender offers worth 10% over the share price
  • Against issuing more shares
Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

Cross Coverage:

Bailing Out California

Megan McArdle asks Can We Really Bail Out California? (emphasis in original):
I'm pretty sure that the feds can afford to bail out California. I'm pretty sure they can't afford to bail out fifty states who have learned that if they are just intransigent enough about spending more money than they make, Uncle Sugar will come in and pay the bill.
Let's take Megan's point (about the feds not being about to bailout all fifty states) to the next level. I want Missouri to pass a law suspending all state taxes if California is bailed out with the promise to restart collections when the feds bailout the 24th state. Let's do it across the country. No sales taxes, no property taxes, no state income taxes, no licensing fees, no tolls, no state revenue collection of any kind. It's time for the Show Me state to tell the feds to Show Me the Money!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rush Limbaugh: Obama is Destroying the Economy

The above is a ten segment YouTube playlist of the first hour and a half of Rush's 6/8/9 show.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference Video Wrap-up

Ed Martin Interview

This is fifteen minute interview with Ed Martin. Ed is the force behind the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference, the American Issues Project, and Circular Letter.

David Limbaugh

David was a featured speaker at Thursday's lunch. He spoke for about 25 minutes. The Missouri Record has the transcript. I did not properly focus the camera so David is, unfortunately, out of focus. There's a reason why Rush says "don't try this at home."

Senator Norm Coleman

Norm was a featured speaker at Thursday's lunch. He spoke for about 28 minutes. While the focus is good on this one, I did have a little problem with the tape running out. Fortunately, I saw that this was going to happen and was able to grab my mini-video camera and record the rest on it. The mini-video camera has a fixed focal length which means that I was not able to zoom in on the Senator, so that's why the image changes. You may hear my five month old voice her opinions in this one.

Bill Hennessy Interview

I talked with Bill Hennessy about both the state of the Saint Louis Tea Party movement (part 1) and blogging (part 2). Each segment is about five minutes.

Citizen Journalism

If you're thinking about doing some of your own citizen journalism, go for it! It's not that hard, even with a five month old. That doesn't necessarily mean running out and video taping everything, though there's a need for that. I think as we become more organized here in St Louis we'll not only get more complete coverage (checkout the Missouri Record blog for great CHLC coverage), but we'll also share the work and specialize better.

On the technical side.... I've got to be more diligent about camera focus. The background noise is a problem in several of the videos. I'll be working on that, too. I've upgraded my Internet connection. That's a requirement if you're going to be uploading videos. The hardware I use for rendering seems to be the bottleneck now.

Cross Coverage:

Note: I have HD versions of the above videos available online. Please contact me if you would like to incorporate them into your reporting.

You Go Girl: Dana Loesch is #1!!!

The lovely and talented Dana Loesch tops John Hawkins' list of The 15 Hottest Conservative Women In The New Media. Dana has an extensive empire: she blogs at Mamalogues, Dana Radio, and BlogHer; she's got a radio show on 97.1FM; and she's active on Facebook. I met Dana at the Arnold/100 Days Tea Party, so, given her much deserved fame, I'm invoking The Other McCain's rule #5 and re-posting the above pouty protest babe picture.

I've got video of her from both the Saint Louis Tea Party (parts 5 and 6, I think):

...and the Arnold Tea Party (skip the first segment in the following playlist):

Update: The top of the list for Rule 5 Sunday! Thanks Smitty! Dana's Sunday evening radio show goes live at 8PM Central. You can listen at http://www.971talk.com/ after a free registration.

I've gotten a second Rule 5 link for a picture of Dana Loesch. Perhaps I should setup a Dana photo gallery...

My latest coverage of Dana Loesch.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Unemployment and the "Fair" Wage Act

In 2006 the Democrats retook Congress. Here in Missouri and two other states, ballot actions to raise unemployment the "minimum wage" passed with 50+ point margins. I expected the ballot measures to pass, but I thought it would be closer.

Most people don't make the connection between employment and "minimum wage" laws. Think of it this way: do you buy more gas when it costs $1.99 or when it costs $2.39? Prices matter. And the price of labor, wage rates, are no different. When the price of labor goes up, demand for labor goes down, and the market is left with unemployed workers. This is supply and demand 101.

Laws that raise the price of a good or service above it's market clearing level create a surplus of that good or service. "Minimum wage" laws artificially raise the price of labor above its market clearing level creating a surplus of labor, aka: unemployment.

So, the 2007 "Fair" Minimum Wage Act, passed with overwhelming Democrat support in Congress and signed by Republican President George W. Bush, has contributed to the rising unemployment levels. To be sure, the financial meltdown and the collapse of two of the big three auto makers are also driving unemployment up, but there's little that can be done to stem that tide.

On July 24th of this year, as graphed above, the "minimum wage" will rise to $7.25. That represents a 40% increase over the $5.15 rate that existed before the 2007 "Fair" Minimum Wage Act. We gotta get folks back to work and a quick way to do that is for Congress and the President to cancel the planned bump on July 24th.

Right now the President's economic team has egg on their faces because of the high unemployment numbers. This is illustrated in the graph below from MichaelsComments. Gateway Pundit has noticed the egg, too. The promise of Obama's economic team was that more spending was needed to contain unemployment. We've gotten both more spending and more unemployment.
Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, noted a blog post at Reuters:
Remember the stress tests? The baseline scenario had unemployment in 2009 at 8.4%, rising to 8.9% under the more adverse scenario. Well, we’re only up to May, and already it’s at 9.4%.
So we know that the banks have not been tested for solvency at this level of unemployment. That should add some urgency to getting people back to work.

Over at the Corner, Andy McCarthy takes a shot at one of Obama's economic advisers (emphasis in original):
Goolsbee didn't resort to the administrations's blather about "saving or creating jobs," but he did repeat its fustian about how last month's loss of 345,000 jobs (resulting in a half percentage point jump in the jobless rate) is somehow good news because it beat predictions (I don't recall him saying whose) of even more dire loss numbers. It made me wonder why, if those predictions either existed or were serious, the Obama administration would have previously predicted that unemployment would top out at 8%?
McCarthy's post is a very good takedown of Goolsbee's spin. Read the whole thing. My concern is that the better-than-expected results are being spun as "good news" when the reality is that employers are accelerating their purchases of labor prior to the July 24th "minimum wage" bump and plan to let workers go in August. In other words, unemployment now looks better because unemployment in August and September is going to look wretched.

I've suggested canceling the pending "minimum wage" hike. I know how politically untenable that is, so make it conditional on economic indicators. For instance, require three consecutive months of GDP and job growth before raising the "minimum wage". That would be a good policy in both lean and prosperous times.

Note: The minimum wage has always been, is now, and forever will be $0, that is why I put "minimum wage" in scare quotes.

Related posts:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Where's St Louis's 4th of July Tea Party?

Bill Hennessy is looking for a venue for the Independence Day Tea Party here in Saint Louis. He writes:
If you know of a good location with ample parking, please let us know.

These locations have already been considered and rejected for one reason or another:

  • Forest Park
  • Downtown (anywhere)
  • Spirit of St. Louis Airport Fairgrounds
  • Jefferson Barracks
My suggestion is to hold our Tea Party on Friday night (July 3rd). There's simply no way to compete with all the other stuff on the 4th—the 4th brings national attention to Saint Louis because of the fireworks over the Arch, so everything's booked a year in advance. I also like the idea of kicking off the Tea Parties around the country on the 3rd.

An obvious alternative would be to close out the country's weekend Tea Parties with a Sunday (July 5th) evening event. That's my second favorite option.

I'd like to see us integrate better with other area Tea Parties. I don't really know what that entails beyond plugging them... If we scale down and do multiple, smaller Friday evening Micro-brew Tea Parties in Saint Louis, we could encourage our Tea Partiers to attend other Tea Party events on Saturday. The different micro-brews could each have a narrow, topical focus. For instance, we might have one focusing on how to use social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook. Another might focus on citizen journalism. While others focus on our traditional topics of fiscal responsibility, limiting and simplifying taxation, reducing spending, and increasing government transparency.

Update: The Saint Louis 4th of July Tea Party will be held in Washington, Missouri.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference: Main Event

The Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference wrapped up today here in Saint Louis. The event, sponsored by the American Issues Project, brought conservatives from Minnesota to Texas together and featured many conservative luminaries. Pictured above are Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle Forum) and Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform). They participated in the Capstone Seminar moderated by Ed Failor (AIP and National Taxpayers Union) with Wendy Wright (Concerned Women for America), Alan Cobb (Americans for Prosperity), and Jim Durbin (24thstate.com).

There were several important points raised during the panel discussion. Mr. Norquist highlighted the efficacy of the no tax pledge in holding down taxes. He also encouraged attendees to get involved in local/state center-right meetings. (If you have a link to more information, please leave it in the comments.) Mrs. Schlafly encouraged attendees to host a house meeting to spread the word about fiscal conservatism, US Constitutional concerns, and other conservative priorities. Wendy Wright spoke about the fight to end abortion. A common, though not universal, theme of the session was the need for a concise, targetted political approach.

I'll be uploading interviews and other video footage from the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference over the next few days.

Interview with Ed Martin about the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference

Interview with Bill Hennessy about Tea Parties and blogging.

Interviews with Catherine Favazza and Ed Martin from the American Issues Project are coming. I also have some video of David Limbaugh and Norm Coleman that I'll be uploading.

Other Bloggers Coverage:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference: Dinner

Ed Martin (above) of the American Issues Project is the force behind the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference. The conference kicked-off this evening at the Millennium Hotel in downtown St. Louis. There was a cocktail reception followed by a dinner.

The dinner featured a panel discussion on transparency in government finances. Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans emceed the event. The panel included Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, former Governor Matt Blunt, and Nebraska's State Treasurer Shane Osborn. Shane Osborn is was the least recognizable name of the panel participants, but you have heard of him. In early 2001, he was flying a Navy EP-3E when a Chinese J-8 collided with his aircraft leading to the Hainan Island incident.

I interviewed Katie from the American Issues Project and Ed Martin. I'm in the process of prepping that video for upload. I'll be attending part of tomorrow's events and hope to get interviews with Bill Hennessy (Saint Louis Tea Party), Jim Hoft (Gateway Pundit), and other bloggers.

Above I'm speaking with former Governor Matt Blunt and below is a picture of Jim Hoft and Bill Hennessy. Jim's got a lot more at Gateway Pundit.

Ford gets some Love

This is a graph of short interest in Ford (F) falling through the floor:

I just posted this comment over at FabiusMaximus (graph above):
@FM: I think the prospects of Ford are looking up. The wreckage of GM and Chrysler must have put the fear of Godverment in them, the flexibility to build what they want gives them more agility in the industry, and lots of "Buy American" conservatives will never buy Chrysler or GM again. Others are bullish on Ford, too. Their short interest, as reported on Yahoo, went from 124.5M in April to 45k in May. Four orders of magnitude... I'm wondering what the story is there and whether that's a typo. Here's a graph.
Update: Some readers may not know what short interest is or what it tells us. Everyone's familiar with the adage: "buy low, sell high." That's how you make money on a long position. A short position reverses the timing: "sell high, buy low." How can you sell something you don't have? Well, your broker borrows the shares for you. Your brokerage account shows a negative number of shares until you "buy to cover your short position." If everything goes according to plan, you make money.

I think the change in Ford is important, because short interest was almost 300M for a long time and then fell to 45k over the course of a few months. Savvy investors, or at least investors who short stocks, decided en mass that they could no longer expect Ford's share price to go down. Some might argue that this was a long drawn out short squeeze and maybe it was. Still, market sentiment is more favorable towards Ford Motor Company than it has been for quite some time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some Advice for Michael Steele

Jay Cost of the HorseRaceBlog has some advice for Michael Steele, chairman of the RNC:
Mr. Chairman - crazy suggestion for you. Instead of spending your Friday morning fielding calls on a talk show, why don't you pick up your phone and try to find the RNC the cash it'll need to compete next year? Or call up that marginal, would-be candidate one more time to talk him into running - perhaps by promising him the support from all the donors you're about to call. This task might also be referred to as...your job description...

Obama, Iran, and the Bomb

President Barack Obama suggested that Iran may have some right to nuclear energy—provided it proves by the end of the year that its aspirations are peaceful.
That's from the Washington Post (via Gateway Pundit). Last month, Gateway Pundit reported that an Iranian general thought that it would take only "eleven days to wipe out Israel." As I've implied before, if a cities start getting nuked, the migration patterns of the world will reverse: people will leave cities to live in suburban and rural areas. A side effect of that migration will be a reduction in urban wealth and an increase in suburban and rural wealth as property values are bid up outside cities and down in them.

Monday, June 1, 2009

CNN Healthcare Poll

Greg Mankiw links to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll conducted May 14-17, 2009 of adults Americans. I'd like to see the poll re-run with the following minor rewording:
Would you prefer a health care reform plan that raises your taxes in order to provide health insurance to all Americans, or a plan that does not provide health insurance to all Americans but keeps your taxes at current levels?