Friday Hodgepodge - *Three Things* *1*. *To drink or not to drink?* That is the question Stone's Full Circle Ale presents to me: Stone Brewing is breaking new ground by becom...
14 hours ago
EXCERPT: "Tuesday's vote was a voter cry that the state needs more such restraints, and now is the time to push them. First, California needs a sturdy cap on the rate of spending growth. Thirty years ago this November, when California's economy was in a similar rut, three-quarters of the voters approved the famous Gann Amendment. That limited the annual growth rate of spending to population growth and inflation.Emphasis mine.
The result was that California's annual average rate of spending growth after inflation fell to 2% through the 1980s from 9% in the 1970s. California's state per-capita expenditures fell to 16th in the nation in 1990 from 7th in 1979. The economy soared, growing by 121% -- 14% faster than the U.S. average. The Gann limits were effectively neutered in 1988 and 1990 by initiatives that exempted education and transportation from the cap."
If a capital infusion is not appealing, you should be aware that your regulator will require it in any circumstance.Here, then, are the actual "Gift Certificates" signed at that meeting.
Thanks to layoffs at Cessna, General Dynamics and Hawker Beechcraft, over 12,000 general aviation manufacturing jobs have been lost in recent months, but it's not just the plane makers that are hurting. Pilots, mechanics, dealers and others who make their living serving those planes are also feeling the heat. Jay Mesinger, who runs a corporate jet brokerage business in Colorado, says his sales plunged 50 percent in 2008 and he expects further drops this year. With orders for new planes being deferred and the market flooded with used aircraft, firms that supply the manufacturers with everything from seats to avionics are downsizing, too.
We’re Dull, Small Banks Say, but Have ProfitsWow!
EXCERPT: In states like Indiana, where property values never soared, community banks have been rock solid. The last failure in the state was in 1992.
To spend time with these Indiana community bankers is to step into an alternate universe, where everything sounds a little strange because it makes perfect sense. You hear things like, “If you don’t understand the risk you’re taking, don’t take it.” And, “We want to be around for decades, so we’re not focused on the next quarter.”
Forget “too big to fail.” These banks consider themselves too small to risk embarrassment. They are run by people who grew up in the towns where they work, and their main fear is getting into a financial jam that will shame them in the eyes of their neighbors.
after what a Williams press release called “a long period of non-payment by Petroleos de Venezuela,”
EXCERPTS:And of course, politicians will decide who is too "systemically important" and who isn't.
“Part of the problem is nobody really has a mandate for the whole system right now,” she said.
. . .
Ms. Bair also said that Congress should create incentives to shrink the size of the nation’s too-big-to-fail institutions, perhaps by demanding that they set aside far greater capital reserves or contribute more money to insurance programs that would help in closing them if they stumbled again.
. . .
She advocated giving the F.D.I.C., or some other entity, the legal authority to quickly manage the closing and resolution of “systemically important institutions” — in addition to giving the F.D.I.C. the power to shut down bank holding companies — just as it now has with individual troubled banks.
A Hero Speaks Up for Hedge Funds
EXCERPT: "One businessman has finally said NO. Cliff Asness, hedge fund manager at AQR Capital Management, has declared in an open letter that he is “entitled to [his] voice and to speak it loudly.” Despite intimidation from the Obama administration and the general public, he has refused to “intentionally ’sacrifice’” his clients’ money without their permission.
A particularly good line from Asness’s letter:
“The President’s attempted diktat takes money from bondholders and gives it to a labor union that delivers money and votes for him. Why is he not calling on his party to “sacrifice” some campaign contributions, and votes, for the greater good? Shaking down lenders for the benefit of political donors is recycled corruption and abuse of power.”
He concludes: “I am ready for my “personalized” tax rate now.”"
Wanda Jo Stapleton, in her letter in the April 22 Oklahoma Gazette ("Selfishness to a 'Tea'"), accused those organizing and attending the Tax Day Tea Parties of being motivated by selfishness.My letter, which is the second one in this week's column, is followed by a letter from Jim Telcocci of Oklahoma City:
I cannot speak for the other attendees - nor was I an organizer - and will not pretend that I can read their minds and tell you what their motives were. But I will stand up, speak for myself, and proudly declare, "You're damn right I'm motivated by selfishness!"
As an "autonomous individual with an independent mind" (to borrow the words of John Lewis from a speech he gave at a Tea Party rally in Charlotte, N.C.), I am proud that - by using my own rationality - I can identify and choose my own values and discover the means to achieve them.
This makes it possible for me to live my own life. I don't need a brother to keep me and I certainly don't need a Big Brother in the form of the government pretending to do that. If it's possible for me to live without a brother to keep me, it's possible for other human beings to live that way, as well.
Nor is it necessary for me to hurt anyone else to get what I want out of life, since I create or trade for my values. Further, I believe that if I can get what I want out of life without hurting anybody, it should be possible for everyone else to get what they want without hurting me and each other. I hold that dealing with such harm when it does happen is the only legitimate reason for any government to exist.
Unfortunately, conventional morality rejects all of that. Altruism assumes that reason is inherently flawed, that human beings are incapable of surviving on their own two feet, and worse: that human nature is inherently destructive. Is it any wonder that both liberals and conservatives always end up pushing for an ever-expanding government to be our brothers' keeper?
Under such circumstances, the budget of that government will keep growing and growing - along with taxes - because no one will have the courage to stand up and say "NO!" And what society under the influence of altruism will want them to? Members of such a society will consider it their duty to pass along their unpaid bills to future generations, until reality steps in and pulls the rug out from under them, plunging them into a downward spiral of recession, unemployment, inflation, depression and worse.
All of this was made clear by Ayn Rand in her novel, "Atlas Shrugged," which is probably why it is currently enjoying unprecedented sales. While many of those who participated in the Tea Parties across the country are aware of Rand's ideas, not all of them are in agreement with her ideas about morality - in fact, most probably aren't. And this is a shame, for without an understanding of the underlying reasons for our leaders' actions and the resulting economic crisis, those who know only that it frustrates them won't know what to do about it. Without that knowledge to sustain and guide them, the Tea Party movement and the thoroughly justified anger which caused it will simply fade away.
Who is John Galt?
Belief in science could be more superstitious than belief in religion.Tellingly, among the targets of the column are those atheists who have recently trumpeted their own skepticism, such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, but who have also admitted their own impotence to answer just the kind of questions that the religionists are now proclaiming as the historical province of faith: the ultimate nature of man and existence, and the implications for his life on earth, which are to be found in morality.
It is inappropriate to ask our high school students to sit in their judgment; we must first simply educate them as to what has been learned.Read the whole thing here.