Friday, February 15, 2013

Bloomberg – NYC to Expand Electric Car Outlets 20% - New York Times – Test Drive Ended Up on Flatbed – Fantasy Versus Reality and the Cost of Funding Business. Bloomberg Should Retire in DC





President Obama invests in "Electric Cars" - Image and article from www.igocars.org - Will Obama Help Grow an Electric Car Bumper Crop in Hawaii"

In his State of the City address, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, outlined an aggressive end to his third term according to Bloomberg.com In the address, Bloomberg plans to ban Styrofoam, compost food waste from Staten Island and insure the city is more friendly to Electric Cars, mandating that 20% of all future parking spaces be “outfitted to charge electric vehicles” (Bloomberg.com). In the same week, in the same city, an apparent disagreement with the viability of using an electric care started between New York Times auto reporter, John Broder, and the car manufacturer Telsa. (New York Times) The gist: Broder test drove a model of the electric car, one which is designed to go the distance, from Washington to New York City. Apparently, Broder took a detour, and the car ended up being transported back to New York, along with Broder, on a flat bed truck. Going from D.C. to New York City, is not a Sunday drive, however, it’s not a cross country trip either, one would think that the battery would hold up for at least as long as one’s laptop. Telsa fired back that the author of the article didn’t like the car and was therefore biased. The fact that the cars do not perform well in colder climes, apparently is a non-starter with the U.S. government funded business.

Adding fuel to the fire, a scathing editorial on Philly.com by by the Washington Post’s Charles Lane, suggests that the New York Times reporter had a point. In addition Lane included the Obama administration in his dressing down of the high priced, inefficient and tax-payer funded fiasco:

Who wants a $101,000 car that might die just because you take "a long detour"?

President Obama repeatedly declared that, with enough federal aid, we can put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. His administration has invested about $5 billion in grants, guaranteed loans - including $465 million for Tesla - and tax incentives to buyers.

Yet Americans bought just 71,000 plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles in the past two years, according to GreenCarReports.com. That's about a third as many as the Energy Department forecast in a 2011 report that attempted to explain why Obama's goal was not preposterous.

Federal billions cannot overcome the fact that electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids meet few, if any, consumers' needs. Compared with gas-powered cars, they deliver inferior performance at a higher cost. As an American Physical Society symposium on battery research concluded in June: "Despite their many potential advantages, all-electric vehicles will not replace the standard American family car in the foreseeable future."
(Philly.com)

Lane goes on to quote notables from the world of car manufacturing, suggesting the idea of manufacturing electric cars was somewhat of a “mistake”. Moreover, in closing, Lane notes that the Obama Administration’s, Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, does not even own a car.

The entire premise upon which this former capitalist United States was based was simple. One would invent and build something the public might want, and would be either a success or fail dismally. If one failed, one had the option of declaring bankruptcy and trying again. That changed when the U.S. government has decided which businesses to “back” or “partner” with, fund that business, include mandates to protect and promote that business, and when that business fails, add more funds. Meanwhile, there is a need to increase taxes, to cover additional debt by those “lawmakers” who only leave Washington DC by flying over the rest of the nation.

One would suggest that those who are pushing for more tax payer funded projects test them personally, first, before funding begins. Should those living in the wealthiest city in the nation (DC), find a product less than worthy, it might end the insanity – or not, given that there may be a ton of money in DC, (which does not produce a thing other than taxpayer cash), but zero common sense. When Bloomberg retires, perhaps he can find a job with the Obama administration, he’ll fit right in.



Food for thought

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Horse meat – what’s the Beef? – Europe Reels from Horse meat Scandal - Obama OK's Horse meat for Sale in U.S.





Horse meat for sale in the U.S. - article Ivn.us - Horse Meat In the U.S. ...

According to the Daily Mail, horse meat is routinely used in the U.K for food for human consumption, but not for pet food. Additionally, the horse meat contains traces of drugs that could be dangerous to humans, and the biggest problem is that is has been “passed off” as beef.

In the UK, it may not be seen as atrocious or anti-cultural to eat horse meat; the problem arises when it is labeled as beef. Cultures, such as the U.S. and most of Europe, for the most part, do not regard eating horse meat as desirable. In the U.S. horses are considered to be pets, rather than food for consumption. Cultures that do not find eating horse meat as “taboo” according to National Geographic are Europeans from France, the Netherlands and the Island of Sardinia, with the largest consumer of horse meat being the Chinese, followed by Kazakhstan, Russia, Mexico, Mongolia, Argentina, and Japan.

The sale of horse meat for consumption was banned in the U.S. in 2006, but that band was lifted by President Obama according to Petside.com. (See The Louisville Courier: Obama Administration OK's horse Meat

Frankly, this blogger recalls a local horse meat shop set up in the 1970’s when beef prices skyrocketed. The shop did not last long, as there was little to no demand by consumers – substituting anything for beef was more acceptable than eating horse meat. (See Macaroni and cheese.) One has to ask how the UK equivalent to the FDA allowed the practice of businesses selling the family pet as “beef” and if the FDA is keeping an eye on the sale of horse meat for human consumption in the U.S.

See Senate Bill 1176 to ban the sale of horse meat for consumption in the U.S. introduced in 2011.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Obama State of the Union February 2013– Loaded with Ideas – Some Good Points – Bigger Government – Lackluster event –and the Wealth and the Fashion – America on Display

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The First Lady, Michelle Obama, stunning hair, stunning dress - image CBS News



President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address for the beginning of his second term. A Complete transcript is available at www.npr.org.

There was general applause throughout the speech, not over much, but surprisingly bi-partisan, specifically as the President hit on several sound ideas, two in particular stood out: immigration reform and decreasing the tax rate on manufactures that return to the U.S. and create jobs. However, he opted to blame “big business” for making massive profits, prior to announcing an end to loopholes for more tax reform which, in essence is a tax increase. For some larger businesses, that may be an incentive to move elsewhere – or return to manufacturing in Mexico, etc. An across the board simplified reform of the tax code would be more beneficial to most Americans, as some of the loopholes that are subject to close are mortgage interest deductions and the ability to deduct interest on student loans.

Immigration reform, which is way overdue, was spelled out in terms that would please anyone – fix the borders, put actual boots on the ground (perhaps U.S. Military that is due back from Afghanistan and could be kept on the payroll, rather than unemployed, while keeping human and drug trafficking down on our southern borders), given those here illegally an opportunity to become a citizen, but having them go to the back of the line, giving preference to those who have legally gone through the process, and finally overhauling or simplifying the legal immigration process (which is extremely costly, requires thousands of dollars for lawyers, testing and fees) – the president mentioned speeding up the process, however, a lowering of the fees involved and a realistic test that an 8th grade student could pass, would accomplish a deterrent to illegal immigration and increase the line for legal immigration). Overall, in his plan for immigration reform, including an English only segment, the President sounded less progressive and more conservative in his approach.

The balance of his programs, however, required “investments” in infrastructure and education. Investments, as anyone knows, are taxes and or outlay by the government. The fact that the initial stimulus was to put millions to work on construction projects fixing roads and bridges, somehow contradicts the 2013 call for billions to be spend on repairing those same bridges. There are several in Massachusetts that have been in the “construction” stage, for more than 2 years, part of the original stimulus. One can imagine if there are two in one small Western Massachusetts cities, how many more would be languishing half finished across the nation, based on the original spend.

He spoke about how these programs would not add to the deficit. Unless he is anticipating a rather large haul through closing loopholes one has only one recourse, and that is to take on additional debt. However, if he pushes through a low tax rate on manufactures, which will increase the workforce, he will be generating revenue through additional private enterprise.

The education cooperatives were somewhat bothersome, as they involved schools in cooperation with government and businesses. A student comes through high school, with skills and a two year college degree, and is hired by the company which partners with the government and the school. It sounds like a win-win – however, in his remarks he also signaled that more people cannot afford higher education, and therefore, this is an alternative. The President did go father suggesting colleges should cut back on tuition rates, which would give everyone an opportunity to save and go to college. Perhaps he is aware of Texas Govenor Rick Perry’s plan that called for state University and Colleges to produce a 4 year degree, tuition and books included, for $10,000. Perry’s plan succeeded as colleges and universities took up the challenge.

The president does have a great sense of humor, but somehow, when he joked, there was little response, and he is funny. Thus the lackluster response. Overall, it was a good speech, challenging both parties to work together to get things done, and laying the responsibility on Congress (and because they are his ideas and plans, a leader takes the responsibility as well (note to the President), and Congress should act, on several of these programs suggested by the President there is enough bases on his address, to get the job done.

In watching State of the Union deliveries in the past, political junkies watch C-Span, as those attending are ushered in, and nothing beats the sound of the Sergeant of Arms introducing the President, which is generally followed by 5 to 10 minutes of continuous applause. Perhaps speaking of the improving economy, and the need to be realistic about college spending, and specifically more reforms, was a sobering message in a room, in a City, that has the most wealth of any in the United States, and is, consequently growing in leaps and bounds – based on nothing more than tax dollars and lobbyist.

They are the self-styled and media and academia heralded “elite” of our society. A Society in which no one man or woman is more “elite” than the next and we all, every citizen, from the least to the greatest, has the opportunity to reach for the moon or fall just as far. It is a bubble in Washington, where out-of-touch of the city limits, one imagines a different America.

Finally, on gun control, the president introduced the grieving parents of the 15 year old girls shot in a park not far from the President’s home. There was former congresswoman, Gabriel Gifford’s, as well as others who had experienced the heartbreak of finding a loved-one murdered. Yet, the focus was on the legal gun owners, and restrictions that are similar to those in Massachusetts. (Criminal background checks for one, which makes sense – and the inability to sell firearms to criminals –the first thought was “Fast and Furious”. What most American’s understand is that there is too much violence in this nation, whether it is with a gun, or beating someone to death, or using a machete, a golf club, a tire-iron – there will always be crimes of passion. The crimes though, that are so prevalent are gang related for the most part, and those guns used, are hardly legally purchased. Additionally, on those who have committed mass murders, such as Newton, Colorado, Virginia Tech, at el, the perpetrator(s) were on medication for mental illness. In every single incident. What this tells us is that reform in the mental health field is more important to prevent mass murder than gun control. Reform such as mandatory visits with one’s psychiatrist to monitor prescription use. As of now, some drugs can be obtained, depending upon the state, at a physician’s office, with no follow-up.

The President now has three years, and a very ambitious agenda, if can accomplish two of the many, he would make great strides and up his political capital, and capital in general on the talk circuit. The two that seem most likely are immigration reform and cutting the corporate tax rate. That said he will have to really push both Congress, and the irascible Harry Reid in the Senate, to get the job done on any of the proposed. I like what our President had to say in party, and in part, not so much (the bigger government at no cost is something that defies math). Therefore, to reach this moderate conservative poetical junkie, he did a good job, however if one in the center right approves, does the base?

Check the Huffington Postfor that side of the response. Marco Rubio delivered the rebuttal. According to Forbes - Senator Rubio delivered an “Impressive Response to Obama's State of the Union Address” Rubio can speak, and he is passionate about the nation and as a conservative and Cuban-American, he is the poster boy for immigration. He agreed with the President, especially on immigration, and delved into two areas of disgreement, more government and the ability to pay for larger programs. He made sense. Yet, he was roundly criticized for taking a break to sip some water during his speech (Slate andCBSNews (difference- very little). That fact alone puts Rubio in contention for 2016. If all the mainstream and left media could find to fault Rubio’s first Republican response to the State of the Unions was in need to take a sip of water during the speech, and said placement of the bottle factored into the this, then Rubio may be squeaky clean for 2016.

Right now, however the focus should be on getting those programs through, again, with bi-partisan work, and knowing, as the President said, not everyone one each side of the aisle will be happy, as they have to give a little to get a little – he may also be speaking of himself, as he has to sign the final bill.

Finally, as a woman, and one who likes fashion, at any age, and specifically when one puts their own spin on their look, it amazes, that those viewing the fair, First Lady, Michelle Obama, and not loving her bangs, are simply out of any loop. She is an extremely attractive woman, who dresses appropriately at such events, and looked less stunning, more age appropriate, and extremely well groomed. One thing American’s do enjoy is a “First Lady” We can at the least be kind, or in cases honest, rather than throwing back partisan critiques on hairstyle and dress. P.S. I love Hillary Clinton in a high placed ponytail too. Instant facelift, defines features, and softens the face, all at the sometime. I missed seeing Clinton at this State of the Union, instead seeing the former Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kerry in her stead. Not quite as inspiring.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Who is Dr. Ben Carson and Why are Conservatives Now Hopeful for 2016?





Dr. Benjamin Carter - 2016? - Image from Dallasweekly.com

There’s been a bit of chatter the last few days in the outlying hinterlands of Massachusetts about a brilliant conservative who is hoped to be running for President in 2016 - quoting one political junkie from the eastern end of the Bay State – “untouchable”. When speaking of “untouchable” and a candidate for any position in government, one is also speaking to electability and the penchant for the opposition (i.e. liberal/progressives) to damage a reputation or find something that will be a tag line to “scare the herd” into voting in opposition to said candidate. In 2012, it was some non-existent “war on women” - someone, some Republican, was going to take away their $7 to $9 monthly supply of birth control. Of course, that was if they worked for a religious organization, the Catholic Church for example – something that was not brought into the national conversation.

Anyone who has watched the political scene for any length of time understands that no-one individual is “untouchable”, as no-one is perfect, and if they are fairly perfect, then something must be wrong. Who would be the perfect “untouchable” candidate? To Conservatives, that’s one Dr. Benjamin Carson, Professor of Neurosurgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery and Pediatrics, Director, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Co-Director, The Johns Hopkins Craniofacial Center (John Hopkins), who had , in a recent interview noted that “he was retiring from surgery in June” (Hot Air). The author of “Gifted Hands”, had delivered a speech, at the National Prayer Breakfast, and had the unmitigated gall of criticizing “Obamacare”, in the presence of the President. (Real Clear Politics) It is not that Dr. Carson is the first medical practitioner who is concerned and critical of national health care as structured under the President’s, plan, but, he is the first one to do so on the national stage, in the face of the President.

Immediately following, what was seen as criticism of the President, there was the usual Democrat response – From the Washington Times: It sure didn’t take long for Democrats to strike back at Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast remarks made by Dr. Benjamin Carson that took a conservative tack and criticized the national debt and current fiscal tax-and-spend policy. On a CNN on Sunday, Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky accused Dr. Carson of hypocrisy, saying he actually used political correctness — which he had denounced in his speech — for his personal gain.

“Well, I think that there’s a political correctness that he was trying to use to appeal to a conservative audience,” she said, on CNN, as reported in Israel Matsav. She also criticized Dr. Carson for making what she described as a “political speech” during a religious event, calling his timing inappropriate — as well as his “invoke[ing] of God as support for that kind of view.” Ms. Schakowsky said Dr. Carson’s comments are simply indicative of “where many of the Republicans and tea partiers are right now,” and said that “we need to have an economy that works for everyone.”
(Washington Times). Note: If Dr. Carson was not seen as a threat to hold a political office, there would not have been an immediate response.)

One might have to break it to the Congressional Rep, the National Prayer Breakfast is a political event, and Dr. Carson, in his speech was talking about the human condition and its relationship to one government program., in a setting that was full of politico’s – apparently, Dr. Carson left his “politically correct “speak” at the door”

Which led to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal: simply titled “Ben Carson for President”

One understands, if one is a hard right conservative that the Wall Street Journal is hardly the body of hard right news – it is more moderate in tone, therefore, Dr. Carson is growing a fan base well ahead of his “retirement from surgery” or any formal (or non) announcement for the top job in D.C, in 2016. From this perspective, it is the time when those thinking about a run, are getting their ducks in order, and those who would be political junkies are seeking the “right” candidate. Dr. Benjamin Carson, might be the right medicine for the problems we, as a nation face, - whether one is conservative or moderate – that remains to be seen – yet, he walks the walk and certainly talks the talk - in not a politician, a relative or spouse of a politician or member, no matter how remote of a political "dynasty"– refreshing.

Listen to Dr. Benjamin Carson (video below)





There was also a movie.......

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI To Step Down –The Firebrand of the Holy See





Benedict meets with Fidel Castro, March of 2012 - Reuters

Reuters: The following is the text of the resignation of Pope Benedict

"Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

"Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."


The announcement is dubbed a “shock” by the BBC, as it was “entirely unexpected” Generally, it is rare that a Pope resign, according to CBBC Newsround, the last Pope to resign was in the 1400’s, was Gregory XII, on July 4, 1415; prior to that Celestine V, abdicated in 1294. (popes and papacy).

Pope Benedict cites his age, and the global nature of the papacy in today’s world, as reasoning for his resignation. Benedict was relentless in his anti-abortion – pro-life message (Catholic News Service). In a meeting with then, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi a Pro-Choice, Pro-Abortion, Democrat, the pope instructed Ms. Pelosi on the duty to protect all human life (politicalvelcraft.org), a rarity for a Pope in recent years to speak out privately or publicly to leaders of the U.S. on the subject.

Most recently, the Pope had traveled to the Island of Cuba (and other nations), calling for an end to the U.S. embargo on that island as well as promoting Democracy in the dictator-state.

He was outspoken, modern, (his twitter account), and steadfast in his ministry. It remains to be seen if the next Pope chosen by the College of Cardinal will be another leader in the vein of Benedict. One might think, however that Benedict would have some input into the choice.

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