Category Archives: Current Affairs

Rush vs the NFL – The Hypocrisy

As we know by now, Rush Limbaugh has been discarded as an investor for one of the cartels bidding for the NFL St. Louis Rams.  The call of arms for Rush to be dismissed traveled in many waves – from NFL owners to the NFL commissioner, fans, NFLPA, African American activist, and even players.  Were Rush’s controversial comments about Donivan McNabb 5-6 years ago as part of the NFL Countdown on ESPN really to be blame here or was there another issue at hand?Rush Limbaugh

Love him or hate him, Rush is a lightning rod of controversy from his addiction to pain meds, to his grand conservative views, and to his attacks on any sitting Democratic president, but to call the man a racist is a bit daft.  Rush makes his living as an entertainer whose sensational word is designed to elicit a response either positive or negative.  That is who Rush is.  It boils down to the fact that the NFL did not want a lightning rod as owner who could bring unwanted attention to an organization that prides itself on family entertainment with a conservative public relations image.    

The real racist in this dance is not Rush, but the NFL.  The NFL deploys a racial slur each and every Sunday for the last 76 years – Redskins, more specific the Washington Redskins.  The term Redskin is more than a name or mascot but, a single descriptive slur that singles out a member of our society (Native Americans) by the color of their skin.  Can you believe the NFL and the ownership for this team (Washington Redskins are worth more than a billion dollars) make a fortune using this slur while at the same the NFL condemns Rush is a racist. When this issue was brought up by our Native American brethren, the NFL hid behind the veil of tradition and will fight using this slur all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  Where is the hypocrisy???!!!!

Who is really the racist here – Rush or the NFL?  I think any tribe in the United States will tell you it is NFL, the real villains.

Advertisements

East Coast Wind Farms – is the future now?

wind-farmsAs the United States moves deeper into the 21st century, our energy needs are growing while the amount of inexpensive fuel at our deposal decreases.  This shortage is due to the increased world demand from emerging economies of India, China and the Third World – one could say the law of Supply of Demand is truly in effect.  Take last summer’s s astronomical rise in gas prices that gripped our country as a good example.

So, our need as a nation to explore alternate avenues of inexpensive and renewable energy is not only a high priority for our economical stability, but a component in our own National Security.  So, I was extremely excited when I read President George Bush’s speech at the Renewable Energy Conference on Oct 12, 2006 stating that the United States needed to severe our dependency on oil and explore new energy sources.  Finally we are on the right path to become self reliant again and not worry if the next Middle East conflict will cut off our energy needs.

Much to my delight, I was quite please to learn that Mr. Obama was going to continue what President Bush started by looking for alternate resources for our energy needs – Solar, Geo-Thermal, Hydro Electric, Nuclear, Bio-Fuels, and Wind Power.

The first step is to look at wind as resource.  A recent report from the Interior Department announced that wind farms could supply 20-25% of the electricity for majority of the East Coast.  These wind farms could generate up to 1000 gigawatts of electricity.  Not only could these farms have the potential to supply three-fourths of the United States’ electricity demand, but could lower our carbon emissions, a win-win situation.

The wind farms would reside in shallow-water and it looks like from the study that 71 percent of the nations wind resources are between North Carolina and Delaware.  As a resident of Virginia I found this possibility for our local economy and energy needs exciting.

However, as a realist I find this project utterly ridiculous and an irresponsible use of tax payers.  I give two words why this project will not only fail but would cost the tax payers imminence amount of money each year in repairs and construction costs – Hurricanes and Nor’easters.

One designated area for these farms is the Outer Banks of North Carolina or previous know as the Grave of the Atlantic.  This nickname, which the Outer Banks sorely deserves, originates from the 1500 ships that sunk over the last 300 years in its waters due to the strong off shore winds.  Even the Wright Brothers found the winds as a resource by launching their historical fight from the fields of Kittyhawk. 

These shores are not only a great source of wind, but are also the ideal place for the creation of Nor’easter storms that tendto  race right up the Virginia, Maryland, Delaware coast into New England.

Like Hurricanes, Nor’easter storms are nothing to sneeze at, they pack high winds, punishing surf, and heavy rains, and depending on the time of year even deadly hurricane_fran_optsnow/ice.  The winds from these storms can in some cases reach up to 80 mph.

The wind farms consist of tower that jets 328 feet into the air like a #2 pencil with a turbine that has a diameter as large a 747 airplane.  A nice size Hurricane or Nor’easter could easily break these turbines like tooth picks.  If Hurricane Katrina could move large off shore oil derricks that are anchored in the sea bed and not nearly as high while weighed down with several hundreds of tons several miles then image what it would due to a wind farm.  The results from a storm would devastate the farm.   People would be picking up turbines up and down the East Coast.  This danger would not only occur one, but year in and year out.   

What type of cost will the tax payer have to incur year after year to repair these facilities from storm damage and then added in additional costs of the environmental cleanup from broken turbines on our beaches or coastlines?  We are talking millions and millions of dollars per year.   Will the energy cost savings these wind farms generated be enough to offset the rebuilding and clean up cost?  I don’t think so.   So those costs would fall on you and me – the tax payer.

So cheap energy has now turned into expensive energy and again fossil fuels look to be the better alternative.  My suggestion would be to move these farms to mountain tops and other areas that the severe hand of Mother Nature cannot reach.

Although a good first step in finding an alternative source of energy, I just hope that the Federal Government and this Administration use their heads before sinking tax payer money into a potential money pit.  These type of ideas need to be vetted by many viewpoints before they reach the public form.

Federal Bailout of the NFL

Over the last few months, as our country navigates through turbulent waters of this Recession, the Federal Government has conducted some unprecedented moves – increased deficits spending, bailouts, and increased unconstitutional powers to the Department of Treasury.

On the heels of the forced retirement of CEO Rick Wagoner of GM, Secretary Timothy Geithner has acknowledged recently on “Face the Nation” on CBS that the Federal Government should have the option to purge any directors or senior management of financial institutions that received aid from the Federal Government – “Where that requires a change in management and the board, then we will do that” states Geithner.NFL

Wow!  Now that is power.  Maybe Geitner and the Federal Government need to take this power to the next step by beyond struggling financial firms and auto companies, but to all areas of the economy.  My first suggestion would be for them to start with the National Football League.

You heard me correctly…the multi-billion dollar a year industry that is call the NFL which is sorely in need of Federal help.  If anywhere there was an example of poor leadership and grossly abuse of bonus money, the NFL is defiantly the poster boy in these areas. 

Where else can besides Fannie Mac and Fannie Mae can an individual receive millions of dollars of bonus money for failure and performing below expectations.  Take for example DeAngelo Hall of the Washington Redskins.  He received a six-year deal worth $55 million, $23 million of which is guaranteed this year.   To give you an idea of the season that Hall had in 2008 here are his stats:

  • 73 Tackles, 63 Solo Tackles, .5 Sacks, 4 Interceptions, and 21 Pass Deflections in 15 games

Not too bad, I guess…However, this is the same guy who got beat out of starting position in Oakland and dumped mid way through 2008{is this the right year} by Al Davis due to poor performance.  Oh yeah, he just signed a $70 million free agent contract months beforehand with the Raiders.  To break it down, he was paid $8 million for eight games, while receiving a $7 million signing bonus for that bit of work.  To make matters worse, he struggled in the man-to-man defense scheme that Oakland runs and was rottenly beaten for big plays which lead to numerous Raider losses. 

Where is the outcry about Hall’s over bloated salary and bonus that were paid out for his poor play and performance?  I don’t see Congress freezing his pay or the pay of his ex-teammate Javon Walker who received an $11 million signing bonus for the 15 catches in 10 games he played in.  $733,333.333 per catch!!!  OMG!  Hall and Walker are just a few examples of bonuses being paid for underperforming employees without any Congressional outcry…where are you Nancy Pelosi??!!

Now let’s talk about management.  No one can argue that Geitner needs to fire everyone involved from the owner down to the towel boy in the Detroit Lions organization after their historical 0-16 season.  Mr. Obama himself could run a better organization that the Fords can.

You shouldn’t discount doing the same type of dismal strategy to the organization that seems to draft more felons than the Dallas Cowboys and that would be the Cincinnati Bengals (4-12 in 2009 and 110-193 since 1990).  Tell me one reason why Mike Brown and William Clay Ford should still be in position to run these teams in communities that deserve better?  Mr. Geitner, time to make your move and hand out some pink slips, the fans are waiting!

If you are not convinced yet that NFL needs government oversight and help, then I offer one last example.  The bloated rookie signing bonus that draftees receive year in and year out for services yet performed on the expectation that they will “rock stars” and be worth every penny they were given.  However that seems not to be the case for most first round draft picks. 

Take for example Jake Long on the Miami Dolphins.  He signed last year for a $57.5 million contract which included a guaranteed the $30 million signing bonus he received in 2008 as the #1 draft pick.  The $30 million guarantee bonus was given out for services that yet to rendered and Congress is ruffled by the AIG bonuses.  What a hypocritical world we live in!!!  I guess the severance package that Wagoner received for 30 years of service at GM of $20 million is not looking too bad after all.

Hopefully I have created a good case for Federal intervention into the NFL so our national pastime can be saved.  So, I deeply implore everyone to write and call their Congressional representative requesting Government assistance before it becomes too late… Do for the children!

Obama vs. the Veterans over Healthcare

One of the most shocking revelations to come out of the new administration is not the approved “pork barrel” laden budget or the highly skeptical stimulus plan, but the new proposal to have private insurance companies pick up the health care of battle injuries for our veterans instead of the government.

Yes, you heard me correctly; Mr. Obamas’s administration has a plan on the table to have private insurance companies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield and United Healthcare pick up the tabs for battle field injures from a gun shot in the butt to an amputated leg brought on by IEDs.Mr. Obama

Isn’t it the government’s responsibility and fundamental promise to take care of our veterans when this great country sends these fine people to war to protect our liberties and way of life?  If you answered yes, then why should the private sector pick up the tab?  It wasn’t the insurance companies who sent these honorable individuals off to battle.

My guess is that proposal is the first of  too many controversial spending cuts that this administration will try to implement as a way to pay for the monstrous spending programs that have been passed these last 50 or so days in office. 

A better way would be to save money would be to eliminate or veto the enormous earmarks populating the new budget.  Welcome to Mr. Obama’s “change.”. 

Hass the White House considered what would happen if the private sector picks up the tab for veterans?  I am betting that cost would be passed on to the consumer through increased premiums and increased employer costs.  These added costs would damage an already frail health care system and economic situation.

US VetsI am not sure what the correct answer is to fix the health care our veterans are getting except by increase funding and providing less bureaucracy in managing the care which would improve efficiency. 

However, having the private sector pick up the tab is not the answer.  Give less money to the bailouts of GM, Citibank, Chrysler, and AGI and more money to our veterans.  They are the ones that need it!

What would you do with $53623.19 from the Goverment

A 7.4 trillion dollar bailout; is Congress, President Bush, and Mr. Obama kidding?  That is $53,623.19 for each of the 138,000,000 tax returns filed in 2007 if you do the math.  Instead of focusing in propping up the financial industry, auto industry, or any other industry that comes groveling to the Federal Government, I say give the money directly to the taxpayers.money

The taxpayers would have a greater influence in pulling this economy out this “recession” than any current or future program our economic wizards can think of.  Just image what each taxpayer would due with the $53,623.19.

  1. The taxpayers would put that money in the bank; this would trouble banks by providing increase assets to draw on. (bank bailouts)
  2. Majority of the taxpayers would pay off their debts. This would increase liquidity in the market and improve the lending potential of the public since credit scores would increase. 
  3. A portion of the taxpayers would use the funds as a nice down payment on foreclosed home or a new home.  This would boost the housing market and mortgage industry.  
  4. Another portion would get a new car.  Hopefully an American car which would boots sales and would starve off any threat of bankruptcy in the near future.  Hmm…maybe that not a good thing.
  5. Consumer confidence would rise which would lead into increase sales of durable goods and services.

All in all, a win-win situation for economy, the public, and believe or not our government since they would be serving the public interest for once in the last twenty years.

Post Election Poll by Zogby – Obama Supporters

Okay, believe it or not there is still a good amount of information that seems to be filtering out in our post-election environment.  One of the more interesting items that have taken place recently is a new Zogby poll.Election 2008

Zogby conducted an unbiased scientific poll that was commissioned by John Ziegler.  The purpose of the poll was to determine how informed the Obama supporters were of all the Presidential candidates and if the hypothesis about a bias media is correct.   The poll provided startling results

So, let’s break down the poll.  The poll was conducted from 11/13/08-11/15/08 with a sampling size of 512 (229 male and 283 female) with a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.  Further breakdown on the specific sample group and results of the questions can be found at http://www.zogby.com/news/wf-dfs.pdf

Here are results of the 12 question survey:

  • 1. 12% correctly identify Obama as the candidate whose energy policies would bankrupt the coal industry in this country.
  • 2. 17% correctly identify Obama as the candidate who won his first election by getting all of his opponents kicked off the ballot.
  • 3. 72% could not correctly identify Biden as the candidate who quit a previous Presidential run due to plagiarism of a campaign speech.
  • 4. 47% did not know that Biden stated that Obama would be tested by an international crisis during the first six months of his administration.
  • 5. 56% could not correctly answer which political party controlled both Houses of Congress prior to the election.
  • 6. 86% correctly associated Palin with the $150,000 wardrobe purchase by her party.
  • 7. 81% correctly identified McCain as the candidate who did not know how many houses he owned.
  • 8. 23% correctly identified Obama as the candidate that claimed to have campaigned in 57 states.
  • 9. 87% correctly identified Palin as the candidate whose state they could see Russia from their house.
  • 10. 94% correctly identified Palin as the candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter.
  • 11. 81% correctly identified Obama as the candidate who stated that government should redistribute the wealth.
  • 12. 44% correctly identified Obama as the candidate who started their political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground.

So, did the media really shape the minds of the voting population with tilt toward the left?  Is the voting population so misinformed that “we” fail to question what is being told to us?  Has our media-driven society turned into the vision that George Orwell wrote about in 1984?  I truly wonder…

Are high oil prices a blessing in disguise?

There was an article in the USA Today on Aug 22nd that really struck a cord with me – “Transportation Costs Could Alter World Trade.”  The article continued the theme of articles that ran in the Money Section for most of the summer about the rapid rise in energy cost that is affecting the world.

 Instead of focusing on automobiles in this country, this article is focusing on a section of the transportation grid that has been largely overlooked -shipping by sea.  For the last 20 years, businesses have been moving their manufacturing base to various parts of the world to take advantage of cheap labor, lower environmental laws, lower taxes, etc.  The one key area that has allowed this globalization of the manufacturing base is the availability of cheap oil.  It has been far cheaper to manufacture various goods overseas and ship them back to the USA by containers on ships. 

 However, since oil has been running above $120 a barrel for most of the year, corporations are rethinking portions of this supply chain.   Here is a great example of the increase of shipping costs companies are experience base from the article – “Shipping a standard 40-foot container from Shanghai to the U.S. East Cost in May cost about $8000 vs. $3000 eight years ago when oil was round $20 a barrel.”  That is a 266% increase in costs!  How can any company sustain those costs over a long period of time?  They can’t, so something has to give.

 One of two things must happen here.  First companies could raise prices, in turn increasing inflation.  Not the best option as we all know.  The second option is to reverse the trend of the last 20 years and reinvest in this country with new a manufacture base.  In doing so, this will cut their transportation cost by 200% since the markets are lot closer to distribution points. 

 In my home state of Virginia we are already seeing that trend with the announcement of Ikea manufacturing plant in Danville along with the opening of Rolls Royce aircraft engines plant in Price George.  Both of these companies see the advantage of being closer to their prime markets and taking advantage of lower transportation costs.  steel, furniture, apparel and other consumer goods are also starting to see this trend is occur.

 So what is the net gain here besides lowering the cost of these corporations?  Good question.  For the U.S. the advantages are huge.  We could very well start to reverse the decline in our manufacturing base, increase jobs, increase tax revenue (local, state, federal levels), and lower the National trade deficit.  Before we all get giddy about this prospect, we as nation will need to realize this trend will not happen overnight nor will it occur on a massive scale.

 Not all companies are going this route instead they are looking at other options that will help offset fuel cost.  One option being implemented is slowing the container ships down as they cross the ocean.  Instead of cruising from Asia at 30+ knots, ships will be setting new cruising speed at 20 knots.  The draw back here is that your transit time increases which could potentially cause an increase in shortages at the retail level. 

 Another way to possible supplement this slowdown is by adding more ships to these lanes.  However you would need to bring ships from retirement and retro fit them to take advantage of fuel efficient technology (like there is any for ships). This plan would take time and money which could be easily passed onto the consumer who could very well stop buying the products if they get too expensive.

 Each company will have to determine what option best fits its balance sheet; either to invest in new manufacturing plants, distribution centers, labor, etc in the U.S. for the long haul or continue to ship goods from Asia with higher cost and longer transit times.  If companies do go with reinvesting in America then these high oil prices might be a blessing in disguise after all.  Time will only tell.