Yes, housing starts are dismal along with virtually every other economic indicator. But, I believe I know a way to improve that, at least in housing starts. This is just a beginning , mind you but it seems to have lots of potential.
I read a blurb in Sports Illustrated the other day about Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Mr Howard is by any estimation a baseball star and plays for what is probably the best team in baseball. For that he is well compensated. For purposes of this post, I make no comment about what Howard makes, except to say that it is enough to afford a nice home.
Mr Howard has plans in place to have a home constructed in the Tampa area that has an estimated completion date of sometime in 2014. With a cost estimate of $23 million, that should be no surprise. The only catch is that the regs in that area require a maximum construction time of 24 months which has required a bit of negotiation with local officials. While they are involved in that, they should not miss a great opportunity to boost the housing starts there and maybe even start a nationwide trend.
Here is my suggestion. Divide the estimated construction cost by ten and voila , you have 10 housing starts. Numbers look better which is really all that matters anyway, right? Besides an expensive home should count for more than a less expensive one. And the trend catches on, before you know it there is a housing “boom” that inspires confidence and inspires companies to hire, consumers to spend etc. Bet the Obama Administration would love this plan. No need for thanks, just trying to do my part.
As of today, there are officially 10 republicans in the running for the party’s presidential nomination. There are at least 4 other potential candidates. This is definitely a case for that old baseball axiom that you can’t know the players without a scorecard.
At this stage of the process, anything is possible and hope springs eternal as in baseball’s spring training. While it is early, of course it is not as early as it might seem. President Obama will obviously run for a second term and among other advantages that he has are an excellent fund-raising apparatus and a significant advantage in name recognition over most of his potential opponents ( other than Palin and maybe Bachmann, who will still only the second most well-known Michele-hint, hint).
It is fascinating to me to see the interaction among those already declared and the coyness of those on the sidelines. And, let us not forget the curse of the front-runner. Mitt Romney is probably still in the ” head lead” as a childhood friend of mine said. But, Michele Bachmann is closing fast and may actually lead in Iowa polls.
Right now, Iowa native Bachmann has 22% and Romney 23% in a Des Moines Register poll. If one has any math skills that would leave 55% to be divided 8 ways and that doesn’t sound so good. Can you win Iowa and lose the nomination oh yeah- and the opposite is also true. It is also true that one can be ruined in the Iowa caucus which will take place on February 6, 2012.
This will be an interesting journey to chronicle so just for the record, I will at least name the 10 who are in and the four who are not.
Hovering on the sidelines are Sarah Palin, Rick Perry ( Rush’s choice and mine) , John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani.
Those in it to win it, I guess, are the aforementioned Romney and Bachmann along with the following, in no particular order: Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Mitch Daniels and Rick Santorum. ( ” Fringe candidates not included.)
Perhaps the best candidate would be a guy who has already recused himself, Jeb Bush. Should be quite lively with Paul, Palin and Bachmann in the fray, should it not?
- Lackluster GOP field of Presidential wannabes meet for first major debate (capitolhillblue.com)
And on it goes, rolling, rolling, rolling to borrow from the Rawhide theme song of years gone by. What is it ? For our purposes, it is the continuing controversy or fight or debate ( although there seems to be precious little in the way of real debate) or any such word of your choosing about immigration of the illegal variety and the state of Arizona.
There have been untold thousands of words written and opinions expressed. There have been boycotts , threatened boycotts, angry demonstrations, considerable name calling and now federal intervention in the form of a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department. And now we have a ruling by federal judge Susan Bolton halting the implementation of significant parts of the law. A big deal, yep! A comment by Yale immigration law professor Peter Schuck to the New York Times called her decision a ” rush to judgment. ” Wonder why? Without knowing any better I would have guessed that perhaps there was some pressure exerted from somewhere to get a quick stay from what was perceived as a favorable source. But I doubt I would have thought that was the case since federal judges should be somewhat immune to such pressures, right? Judge Bolton, nominated by Bill Clinton, but recommended by Senator Jon Kyl. has served on the U S District Court for the District of Arizona since 2000. Bet she never expected to be smack dab in the middle of such controversy. Sorry for the digression. One more statement from Professor Shuck. His opinion is that her quick decision reflects pressure from the feds ( Justice Department or higher?) to get this done quickly.
So, where do we stand now and what happens next? Governor Brewer is condidering an appeal and pondering some revisions to the law. Whether the boycotts continue or not or how successful they have been I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to this but I wonder if an individual state has been boycotted before? Thankfully, Commissioner Bud Selig has had the good sense not to move the 2011 All-Star game.
But my real question is what are people protesting against or boycotting? Do they know or have many/most just been agitated or encouraged to yell and scream angry things in front of cameras and photographers without a clear of understanding of what or why? And not for one minute do I buy the opinion that Arizona’s actions go against the truths expressed so eloquently on the Statue Of Liberty or violate the great American tradition of immigration.
I have two acquaintances, one whose father immigrated from Italy, legally, making him 1st generation American and another who immigrated from Mexico legally and earned citizenship. I applaud them and many like them. Those who are illegally and remain here illegally, with no thought towards becoming citizens are not the historical norm of immigration.
One closing thought which may be a repeat from another post. Find out how the country of Mexico deals with illegal immigrants. ( This is not an issue that will go away nor is it one easily solved. I fervently hope that ther can be a solution, not only for Arizona but for the country as well.)
The Department of Agriculture and its head, Tom Vilsack are not really a high-profile combo. But they are sure in the news these days. Kinda reminds me of an oft-repeated comment about baseball umpires. They are doing a good job when they are not noticed. But alas, for Mr Vilsack that will no longer be possible. Whether he even retains his job is probably open to question. Would that not be ironic if Ms Shirley Sherrod whom he fired and has since tried to rehire retained her job and he didn’t?
A couple of things have intrigued beyond the actual firing/re–hiring. One is the fact that the White House said it was on board with the action and then after the media firestorm began to build, the President disavowed any connection to the firing. Could not resist that disavow. Mission Impossible was always one of favorite shows.
Ok, number two was a media type David Rodham Gergen, comparing Ms Sherrod to Nelson Mandela who by the way spent 27 years in a South African prison, led the country for a time and would have to be considered an internationally known figure. Quite a stretch, even for the liberal media.
Finally, a comment from Ms Sherrod, but not what you might think. Her epiphany she said came when she realized that it was not black vs white but rather rich vs poor. There are many comments that one could make. Rush called it the idea of Obamunism which isn’t bad. I remain convinced that it does not have to be a situation of one side vs another. But when one of Ms Sherrod’s latest media comments ( and she is all over the media now) is that she will not appear on Fox News since they are both biased and racist . Gotta wonder on what basis she formed her opinion, do you not?
Jon Kyl is the junior Senator from the state of Arizona and is now serving his third term. Recently he and President Obama had an Oval Office meeting on immigration, legal and otherwise. It appears that there are different perspectives on the substance of that sit down.
Senator Kyl was asked an immigration related question at an event last Friday in Tempe. The question basically asked if Obama was in fact going to challenge the controversial Arizona law. Senator Kyl said this:
“…… the problem is, he said ( he being the President) if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform. In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it combined with comprehensive immigration reform.”
That was Sen Kyl’s statement. The White House wasted little time in responding. Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton plainly said that Kyl lied about what was said at the meeting. Going still further on Monday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told ABC’S Jake Tapper that Obama didn’t say that and Kyl knows it.
So, there you have it, two quite different points of view. The thing I find a bit interesting is that neither White House official actually stated what Obama did say. They only said what he didn’t say. Confused yet, so am I. Guess one must speculate on what was actually said, huh? Perhaps this tidbit can be a guide. Yesterday, I posted about Secretary Clinton’s assertion that a lawsuit was definitely going to be filed against the Arizona law. She said that and then was backed in what she said. Today we learn from Justice that no decision has been made. To paraphrase Casey Stengel from his time managing the woeful Mets teams of the early 1960′s, can’t anybody here play this game?
Long time baseball fans will recognize the title from way back in 1919. It refers to the comment made by a distraught young fan at learning that the great Shoeless Joe Jackson had been involved in ” throwing ” baseball games. It was the infamous Black Sox scandal that hit baseball very hard.
Today, there looms a much more dangerous Joe and one which surprises me. It is Senator Joe Lieberman, the independent one from Connecticut. The bill he is proposing, entitled Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act. Lieberman has been pushing for internet control for a while, it seems. This bill would give the federal government the authority to shut down the internet, the proverbial kill switch, as it were, in response to a Homeland Security directive.
Lest you think Lieberman is flying solo, the bill has the stong support of West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller. He has wondered aloud if maybe it would have been better had ” we never invented the internet.” Better not let algore hear him say that, huh?
Of course, the bottom line , the very scary bottom line at work here is control. The government, at least not yet, cannot control the internet. And it cannot control things like the Bob Etheridge video, for example .
No president, repeat, no president, whether his name is Obama or Reagan or even as incorruptible as a Washington needs this kind of control. Perhaps I am being too much of an alarmist. I certainly hope so. Perhaps some folks thought Paul Revere was overdoing it too.
It may not have the ring of Tinker to Evers to Chance who comprised 3/4 of the Cubs infield about 100 years ago but it certainly is an example for our day of what? Of excess, of too much money far too soon, of parental overkill of three young women who have and are engaged in a great spectacle of squandering their talents.
Their ages range from 28 to 24 to 17. Hard to believe since it seems that they have been in the spotlight forever and in a sense they have. All three started their careers at very young ages and became successful and wealthy very quickly. Nothing wrong with that if, and it’s a very big if, they are in the right situations with the right people to manage all that is swirling around them.
And, the right people may not necessarily be their parents. All three of these young women have had heavy parental involvement in their careers, If fact, Ms Cyrus’ father was a star in his own right. With his direct involvement in her Hannah Montana series, one would have thought her more insulated from some of those things that have befallen Ms Spears and Ms Lohan.
Recent events seem to belie that hope as the photos and the music and the concert tours get ever more edgy and the Hannah Montana series comes to an end. An ongoing European tour has produced a ” simulated” lesbian kiss on stage, just rockin’ out she calls it and a flashing her underwear moment at a British show.
The mirror.co.uk had a very interesting statement at the end of an article entitled ” Looks like the game may be up.” This is what they said. “ Hanging on to armies of loyal pre-pubescent fans ( and their moms I might add) while dressing like a porn star is tricky business. Behaving like one suggests the game is up.”
For my money, I would prefer she not follow the path she seems to be following. Two of her most prominent predecessors have not fared so well with the examples of drugs and booze and bizarre behaviors almost too many to count. My hope is that her path will not head in that direction.
I will admit to being somewhat confused. Just a day or so ago, President Obama dispatched 1,200 of America’s finest to the U S – Mexican border. Just a guesss, but they are probably not there for vacation. Several members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat have been urging the President to send troops. Do you think it has something to do with illegal immigration and the increasing violence on the border ? If I am a Border Patrol officer, I am thrilled about this. But we must temper our enthusiasm by wondering what the rules of engagement are. But still, I am glad to see this action.
But just a few days ago, Obama was side by side with his bff, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and agreeing with his denunciation of the Arizona immigration law. By the way, Calderon’ s remarks were wildly cheered by Democrats. Now this is the President Calderon who presides over what could charitably be called a rather corrupt government, who has trouble taking care of its own internal security. But Calderon seems to have no difficulty taking potshots at one of our states. Just a reminder, do not forget that Mexico has extraordinarily tough laws against illegal immigration. Just sayinglse you forget.
For a bit of historical perspective, President Polk sent troops to the U S Mexican border way back in 1846 under the command of General Zachary Taylor. Of course, the Mexican War ensued shortly thereafter. Not that we are expecting nor do we have any wish for such a thing today. But make no mistake, there is some heavy duty stuff going on the border and sending the troops , albeit belatedly, was a good move.
Meanwhile, demonstrations occur outside a baseball stadium in Chicago trying to get spring training in Arizona cancelled. Thank goodness, Commissioner Bud Selig has refused to consider moving the 2011 All Star game from Arizona. Don’t you wish that the protestors would take a little closer look at the overall picture.
Can’t resist an NCIS allusion. Last night was the season finale and in a turn of events that I expected, Abby’s Mexican government friend did turn out to have connections to the drug cartel. Just did not expect them to be family connections. Once again, art and life intersect.
Many sports fans in general and readers of Sports Illustrated in particular are familiar with a strange phenomenon. It is known as the cover jinx. Briefly it posits that an individual who appears on the magazine’s cover will encounter difficulty in his/her sport by means of an injury or just plain playing poorly. The jinx has been around for along time and while not infallible is rather accurate. I wouldn’t call it the Bermuda Triangle of sports but you get the picture.
The latest example involves the New York Yankees and their “core four.” These four teammates, three of whom have been together for an unprecedented 16 years, were on the magazine’s cover a couple of weeks ago. The aforementioned three are Derek Jeter, Mariano Riviera and Jorge Posada. The fourth, Andy Petite, has been part of the group for a mere 13 years. It was a great cover and an even better article by Tom Verducci.
Now, for the jinx. Since the article appeared, Riviera, Posada and Petite have suffered nagging injuries that either limited their playing time or reduced their effectiveness. As for Jeter, his batting average has only dropped 50+ points. And the team itself has been scuffling somewhat.
So, as a Yankees fan and SI subscriber, I just have one request. Fellows, can you do an article on Tampa Bay and quickly? And be sure it’s a cover article!
Can one have too much money? I have no clue, since I don’t think I have ever been in that position. I can remember being told by a prospective employer that they could not afford me , since I made too much. That was somewhat ironic since I was working a lot of unpaid overtime at the time and we were struggling a bit to make ends meet. But thanks anyway, Tom’s Foods for the ego boost.
But, now I learn that it may actually be possible to be making too much money. My source for this knowledge is none other than President Obama himself. I will confess in the interest of full disclosure that I have thought on numerous occasions that this or that celebrity or media personality ( Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer for starters) or pro athlete or actor made wayyyy too much money.
But I shall explore the President’s opinion first before sharing any more of my choices. Just this week the President was speaking in Quincy,Il promoting the idea of financial reform over which Congress is itself battling. He made this statement.” Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re ( read Democrats here) not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”
Of course, there have been posts galore , replete with crowing conservatives saying we’ ve got him. Not so fast, folks. I believe that there are lots of people who believe that very thing and I suspect that they overwhelmingly vote Democrat. It was actually a rather safe thing for him to say, playing to the base, as it were.
But, just for kicks, wonder what Obama supporters like Eric Schmidt and the Google guys thought of his comment as well as all his Hollywood friends ? Believe I have that one covered as well. All he need to do in response to such a query would be to place those folks and others like them into the “fairly earned ” category, lumping Rush, Glenn Beck etc in another category indeed. The quote actually reminds me of a phrase I have read several times in regard to baseball teams swapping players’; a trade that benefits both teams.
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