Fed Cuts Rate to 2%

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

As expected, and against my wishes, the Fed cut the federal funds rate a quarter point to 2%.

Signals are mixed as to whether or not they are done cutting.


Thomas Friedman Returns

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Globalist lapdog and Iraq War Supporter Thomas Friedman returned to the editorial page of the New York Times today. He had been away working on a book about the Green Economy.

Friedman is one of the “useful idiots” who supplied the journalistic cover for Bush’s disastrous Iraq War. His complicity is all the more shameful because he seemed to have understood the half-baked assumptions and dubious motives that led to the war in the first place. With Irving Kristol’s son, that makes two key neo-con morons on the NY Times editorial page.

Didn’t Judith Miller get fired for this?

Oh, one other thing, “the world is flat” is the worst metaphor in the history of metaphors. That this continues to be used widely (particularly in advertising) is deeply disturbing.

Not Technically a Recession

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The economy grew at a rate of 0.6% in the first quarter of 2008, matching the last quarter of 2007. Obviously, this is not a retraction, so there’s no recession. Woo-hoo! Just really poor growth.

Economists predict that our current quarter, April-June, will see a retraction.

McCain’s Big Problems

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Despite all the turmoil among the Democrats, I am very optimistic about the general election. When the dust settles and the Democrats have anointed Obama, the world will start to look more closely at John McCain.

And he’s got big problems.

1) The Economy. A gas tax holiday and extending the Bush tax cuts (beginning in 2011), isn’t going to do much to ease what is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. This is playing out in slow motion, but by the time November rolls around, it’s going to be pretty ugly: housing, gas prices, inflation, poor or negative growth, and rising unemployment will all contribute to McCain’s defeat. His admitted ineptitude (that famed straight talk is going to come back to haunt him) in economic matters makes him look ridiculous whenever he starts talking about the economy.

2) Iraq. Unless the Messiah comes and brings universal peace, this place is still going to be a mess. You can talk all you want about recent successes (and there have been many – Petraeus lives up to the hype and more; he’s a true leader and a great American with a brilliant political future, if he wants it.), but they amount to nothing more than a temporary patch on an intractable problem. I’ll write more about this in the future, but, for now, understand that Iraq will not be a plus on the McCain side of the ledger.

3) The Senate. McCain has been in the Senate for a long time. From Charles Keating and the Savings and Loan scandal to lobbyists and contributors, there’s going to be a lot of dirt here. It is impossible for a politician to serve for any length of time without compromising principle and ethics, if not laws. Plus, McCain is a major league flip-flopper. Right now, I’d classify this as a Rumsfeldian known unknown. McCain is going use his military service to press a “how dare you question the honor of a war hero” defense, but it won’t work like it would have in 2004.

4) Bigotry. Please see this earlier post. McCain has got serious race problems with an entire foul-mouthed career behind him, just waiting to see daylight. There are some known knowns here but I’m guessing there a lot more unknown unknowns in his past.

And I’m not even going to get into Bob Barr, age, and temperament, among other things. So, you see, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

$200 Oil

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

OPEC president Chakib Khelil (who is also the Algeria’s Energy Minister) see the potential for $200 a barrel oil. He blames the weak dollar and global security issues (read: America).

Oil is currently trading at around $115 a barrel.

Wall Street’s Depression

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Several big investors predict a long hangover for Wall Street in this story from Reuters. They suggest that the recession on Main Street (no one questions that we’re having a recession) will be shallow.

Whatever they’re smoking, I want some.

Obama’s Outrage

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama’s sharp denunciation of Jeremiah Wright is good progress. And what was needed from the beginning to close off this story. When you’re running for president of the United States, you can’t voluntarily be associated with a guy who says, “God damn America.” Period.

Now the problem will be what did Obama know and when did he know it. That is, is he telling the truth about not having heard these things in church? I hope so, but somehow I can’t help but feel someone is going to come out of the woodwork on Fox News to say he was there. (After all, there are going to be a lot of people loyal to Wright who might be upset.)

The reality is, Obama must leave the church and apologize for his mistake in staying there. He must say he has seen the light.